Weird History and Trying to Get my Focus Back

I have started five different blog posts since my last one on February 25th, but struggled to focus on any of them. Like many these days I’m feeling overwhelmed by the tragic world news. So being in a low frame of mind I started googling what was the worst year in history and there was a clear winner.

Here’s the short version…

In 536 AD a volcanic ash/fog blanketed large portions of the world. Day after day the sun barely shone through the murk. “The sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon,” wrote Procopius, a historian who lived at this time.

This condition continued for 18 long months (!) leading to a cooling of the environment (that lasted for decades). In fact in some areas, snow fell during summer months. This temperature drop and lack of sunshine resulted in crops failing to grow and subsequent widespread famine.

Now if you survived starvation and the hellish uncertainty of those nearly sunless 18 months, a few years later you might have succumbed to the Bubonic plague that started in Egypt and swept through Europe. Dead bodies piled up in the streets. It was a bit of a nightmare.

If you were still alive after the years of numbing fog (and wondering if the sun would ever shine), starvation and rampant disease, you found yourself in world “governed” by chaos and social instability, with peasants revolting. Yikes. Not a good time to be alive.

Strangely researching this cheered me up…a bit! And I realize I need to get my focus back and keep living my life. So this Saturday I will be at our local flea market looking for a few treasures. Despite its tiny size (about 40 vendors), I do find good things and most of the vendors are nice.

And my neighborhood thrift store has yielded a couple of things, like this burnished pottery trinket box from Mexico signed Jimon. It has a tiny bit of paint loss in the black border, but I didn’t mind that.

And I thought this handmade wood Blitz game box, circa Christmas 1978, was too charming. I’m guessing its young recipient also got a wood burning kit and inscribed it on the bottom. (I’ve listed this for $50.)

And as we are swimming in artwork, I decided to list one of the paintings I bought in 2020, though I’ll be happy if it doesn’t sell quickly!! It’s a mid-century knife palette painting of robins signed “Meier.”

The seller I bought it from didn’t know who to attribute it to, but when I researched it the other day I got lucky and found this painting on 1st Dibs. The signature and style matches mine–Dennise Meier (1927-2006). Love when I find the answer!

I struggled finding sold comps despite the fact that her work was frequently in galleries but I did price mine more modestly than the 1st Dibs one.

I am also trying to get more gardening done: general cleanup and thinking about what new plants to put in. We did get our ultra dwarf ambrosia apple tree planted over the weekend. Of course the joke is how soon will we get apples from it. Love spending time outside. Need to do more of that!!

Hope you are coping with all that life is throwing your way,



  1. That is a great painting! I love figuring out who did the artwork I buy at thrift store! I wish the artists would think of the future and make their signatures more legible! If they sign it at all. I have a signed print, and messaged the artist on Instagram to verify it’s hers, but she’s not responding. Oh well… I have had others email me back with information on what the painting’s about, and when it was painted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa. I bought that painting from an eBay seller…for myself really, but I also thought it was worth more than what I paid and it turns out it was!

      Sorry to hear about your that artist is getting back to you about the print. Humph!

      I feel the same way about illegible signatures/chop marks on pottery. Sometimes it takes a lot of research to figurine out who made it and of course sometimes I never figure it out.

      Take care, Karen


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