Kitsch

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Its Holiday Time! Break out the little winter world!

Kitsch.

According to Wikipedia, it denotes “art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art.”

Frasier Crane and his brother, Niles would be repulsed by kitsch.

Kitsch is velvet Elvis but, hey, some people like velvet Elvis. Who am I to say someone’s opinion or taste is better or worse than my own?

Back in the day, brightly colored bold Hawaiian flowers pasted all over men’s shirts were considered kitschy when tacky tourists wore them on the islands. Its a completely different ball game now! Coffee table books have been published on the history of Aloha wear and clothing companies are making waves in the fashion industry with it!

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some of Alistair’s Aloha wear… I love it!

I love finding new Aloha shirts in colors and patterns that Alistair likes and the clothing itself makes me smile because it transports me to a warm, tropical paradise with trade winds, mai tais and a never-ending golf season.

Maybe that was part of the problem with kitschy things. They make people smile or feel good because they are simple.

Unlike complicated art that begs for comprehension amidst confusing words or designs. Writings that lament the human condition or an individual’s inability to grasp the meaning of life.

Frasier and Niles love art and poetry or writings like that.

But this blog isn’t about Aloha wear.

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One of the tanks in the Fish Room

Its about waiting over 20 years for a kitschy fish tank.

Alistair had fish and small mammals growing up and he bred and sold fish to pet stores for years. His tanks always were (are) clean, healthy, tasteful and well designed. They contain a normal substrate you would find in nature, like brown or tan rocks and gravel with real wood, pieces of slate and large rocks throughout.

His plants are green or a version of that and some are living and some are plastic. They look like the real plants you would see in a pond, creek or lake and they offer hiding places or they provide discreet areas to deposit eggs.

 

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Fish Room tank #2. Goldfish is very swirly!

He will add some fun variety like these broken clay pots and his fish communities thrive for years. And they are lovely!

Some of our little ecosystems (well, not so little when you consider the 150 gallon Texas or Convict Cichlid tanks!) have been with us since we moved to Montana from Bismarck in 2007. They had breeding pairs and lots of fry over the years and their DNA lives on.

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Guest room tank. Very natural-looking environment.

We like to sit and watch the tanks at night, feeding them every couple of days or so. We have a couch facing the tanks in the fish room and you can just feel your heart rate and blood pressure going down when you sit and watch. And listen to the bubbles.

On his last trip here Alistair combined fish from 3 less populated tanks for larger communities as fish had gradually died off from some of them.

This gave us a couple of empty tanks along with substrate and hoods… it was the ultimate time for The Dream Tank….. Kitsch!

For whatever reason I have always wanted a fairy-tale, princess type of tank with vibrant colors, a bubbling clam shell, buried sparkly treasure and pink gravel or rocks. I wanted pink plants and clear, shiny marbles on the ground because, as simple as it was, I knew it would always make me smile.

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The Kitschy Tank!

And Alistair gave me my little land of fantasy.

We used some items from our consolidated tanks and found some other fabulous, colored things at PetSmart in Missoula. My step-daughter, Whitney had bought me the sunken pirate ship, the oversized pirate and the missing jewels years ago knowing I yearned for my silly tank.

The colors aren’t real- they aren’t what you would find in nature but they are bright and fun and funky and they really do make me smile.

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Bubbling clam shell!

Alistair even found a bubbling clam shell and dropped marble-like pink glass shells all throughout the tank.

And bubbles are everywhere, providing such a relaxing sound as well as the visual to go along with it.

Now we just need fish!

We are going to go with African Cichlids again but it has been a few years. They are a more challenging fish species to care for because of their pH requirements but they are usually absolutely stunning fish as far as their own color spectrums go.

I will keep you all updated…

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Decidedly essential and non-kitschy.

For now, though, this is today’s reality.

We have been fortunate enough to have had a snow-free November but Mother Nature is more than making up for it today. We already have a foot of it out there and its still coming down. It started blowing about an hour ago, too, and the temperature is predicted to plummet into the night.

Which means I need to plug all of the rigs in and just get used to dragging my warm, heavy, huge boots through thick snow, and keep a piddle path plowed for Loki and gloves or mittens near every door in the house while not forgetting to stoke the fire and keep tabs on how the wood pile at the house is looking and just get used to wearing a toque and 3 layers of clothes with leggings and ski pants whenever I’m outside.

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Lovely orange glow! Ahhhhhh….

We weren’t sure last year (or the year before that) if Loki would make it to another winter. November was fabulous for our little grand-dog, though, even if she is becoming more clingy and set in her ways.

Loki needs her couch time at night, particularly when Alistair isn’t here. She was banging on the French doors to the living room repeatedly 2 nights ago, the day Gampy left to go in or come out because I was eating my supper at the kitchen table enjoying my veterinary journals.

She got completely worked up about it and ended up having  a wake-up seizure early yesterday morning.

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Enjoying the mild weather last month.

It wasn’t a bad or unusual seizure but it was the 2nd one we have witnessed when she had been asleep. I don’t know the pathology behind that or even if its significant. She did piddle, though, and was pretty tired afterwards.

Since then she has been great and even toughed out the snow better than her younger brother, UB this morning. Poor Loki was high-centering on the snow and trying to do her business, grunting and “chibbering” at the same time while UB ran to the barn to climb up onto the hay bales with the barn kitties.

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Front pathway after some shoveling this afternoon.

She eats with wild abandon (ground beef added to the kibble, morning and night), does her business when she has to (with occasional “I’m-pissed-at-you-Step-Gammy” moist notifications on the tile floor if I’m gone from the house too long), pin-balls her way around the house (particularly if she realizes I am in another room and she comes to find me) and cuddles into my legs or lap during couch time at night (where she snores and sometimes toots and also breaks my heart because she’s so damned adorable and endearing and I know to treasure each night we have together because each day is a gift.)

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Conked out on the bathmat by the shower I had just got out of.

Loving and caring for our little old friend is a big part of our lives right now but we aren’t willing to stop unless she indicates that she’s not having any fun anymore. But you all know that.

Which is why the kitschy tank is even more special to me right now. Its a boat load of Happy with glass shells and a silly pirate (“Arrrrrgh!”) and a shiny clam shell that burps out its own bubbles and pink, blue, orange and teal plants.

I didn’t get my pastel pink gravel because the cheapskate in me agreed with my Scotsman husband that we should re-purpose the gravel from the tanks he had shut down.

But I’m happy. And even Alistair admits that its a pretty cool tank.

And Loki is sleeping on my feet right now.

I will leave you all with a fun video we shared from our Aloha hot tub to Facebook-land the other night. Just like the sunny new fish tank in our wintery world, the tiki torches and Aloha music station help make anything dreary bright again. Its kitschy, no doubt, and Frasier and Niles wouldn’t want much to do with it.

Which is fine by us. We’re kind of private people up here anyhow.

 

 

 

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Not quite the same today.

 

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The front of the house this afternoon.

 

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Convict Cichlid tank in the Bling Emporium! (Note the natural-looking gravel, rockery and plant-life)

 

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Hiking out back last week before the snow fell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Kitsch

  1. Kathy

    Enjoyed seeing all the tanks and think the Kitschy tank will shine this winter when you need it the most! Love it and glad you finally put it together… Stay warm and cozy,happy, healthy and the humor up there in your mountain paradise!

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