Monday, January 30, 2017

BROKEN LAMP & SHATTERED MEMORIES


When I was growing up my Nana had a dresser top full of things I adored. Seemed every square inch was occupied with something. Most important to dress up the furniture, she had an elegant translucent white lace doily that covered the top. Remember doilies? In the center was a small pot of purple African violets. And then, off to the side, was an ornate very old lamp. When she passed away I was given the lamp. I treasured it with all my heart for many years. It was extremely fragile and delicate though, so I always took precautions to tread carefully around it. But one day while in a hurry to clean up, it fell out of my hands to the floor and shattered into a million pieces. I was devastated. That part of my grandmother was now gone. All I managed to salvage were the broken heads of the figural Victorian couple in it. Everything else was destroyed. I cried and cried. I was so mad at myself for letting this happen. Over time the hurt got easier to deal with and I moved on… by buying myself another antique lamp, similar but different to the one my Nana had on her dresser.  Have you ever had a beloved treasure or family heirloom leave you empty handed with a broken heart?


Sunday, January 22, 2017

IT STINKS


A few years back… my mom and dad who live halfway across the country… bemoaned a plague worse than death… STINKBUGS. They were beside themselves because these ugly varmints were hugging one side of their house so that the color had changed from cream to brown. They were camped inside the window jams and basically were a pain in the butt. Eliminating them was near impossible according to one exterminator after another. And the most pressing issue was the smell they emanated when you killed them. It was by all accounts just HORRIBLE. We sympathized with my parents and wished them well. Eventually the bad bugs dissipated and that was the end of it… until here and now at our house.



We now have STINKBUGS and they are driving us crazy. They simply can NOT be ignored.  A dozen turned up throughout the house, and we squished them taking their crusty carcasses outside. We thought that was it. WRONG! The pesky things keep showing up everywhere. The bathroom, the family room. I plugged my cellphone in to charge it and there were two STINKBUGS. I popped a top on a cream soda, sat it on my desk to drink it… turned around and guess what,  there was one STINKBUG about to dive in. GROSS. Sitting on the couch we’ve had a handful fly into the carpet in front of us. They circle the lights attracted by the brightness at night. And just this afternoon we discovered yet another STINKBUG floating in a mug…. put in the kitchen sink. We’ve been told the same thing my parents have, these BUGS are practically invincible. Bug spray does no good. When you smash them, they emit an odor that attracts more of the bugs to the area. Our question is WHERE are they coming in from???? We’ve sealed every place we can think of to keep them out. If we could find that source perhaps we could eliminate part of the problem. These things look prehistoric. Their bodies are in the shape of a shield. Have any of you had SINKBUGS? Do you know what to do to discourage them or have a way to RID the premises of them? Enlighten us please. HELP! Meanwhile, I’m taking no chances.


LIDS cover everything and I carry a big FLYSWATTER.




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BAG LADY LOVES SACHETS


I grew up in a family of tea drinkers. My dad and Nana both started their mornings with a cup of Lipton Tea. One bag, with two or three lumps of sugar.  And a splash of creamer. Then they’d have another cup  following the supper hour. Back in the day... to drink tea... you had to put the kettle on, then wait for the whistle, to let you know the water was ready.  



My mom had a Revere Ware kettle that was always polished and ready to use. When I got older I mimicked my relatives adding tea drinking in my own life. Only I kicked it up a notch, and drank Constant Comment by Bigelow. And when I poured my water  it came from a charming Copper kettle. To this day, I do not drink coffee at all. An occasional cup of Chai or African Autumn is often on my menu. But truth be told I’ve gotten finicky about my tea, as I’ve aged.  I now exclusively use Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney & Sons which comes in SACHETS, not bags… which are housed in pretty tins. Perfect for gift giving and receiving. It is the one luxury I afford myself. And, though I have a bright RED kettle on the stove, I’ve cut my brewing time down immensely by NOT using it. My husband has a Keurig coffee maker that has proven to be pretty handy to this tea drinker. We all know the right teacup or mug makes tea drinking, a special event, not just an everyday occurrence. SO... once you have the drinking vessel chosen… you just sit it under the coffee dispenser WITHOUT a pod, push a button, and get hot water  at the right temperature... instantly. So simple. And it makes for a joyous TEA experience each time... without waiting for the whistle to blow... 


Though I do miss the routine of the past, every now and then.

Friday, January 13, 2017

CURTAINS FOR US


Our family room has mini-blinds in it instead of curtains. The notion being outside is a work of art. So... when we open the blinds to let the sun shine in… the windows provide the frame to view the beauty out there. And depending on the weather… that scenery could change giving us a new canvas to enjoy… every day. Curtains are more formal and have a whole different vibe. But the truth is… the real story we face here… is that the height of our ceiling is lower than average, so a standard 84 inch curtain... is too long for the space. And... it would cost a fortune to have them shortened because I’m not so handy... with the sewing machine anymore. However, years ago we found out cloth shower curtains are a perfect fit, length wise, if we ever decided to use them. This year has been bitterly cold... and the mini-blinds just aren’t enough of a barrier... to keep the warmth in, so we relinquished using the blinds alone. In part… because I accidently stumbled on the sale of the century, at a major retailer. I found two matching paisley shower curtains... showing a $9 price tag... but ringing up just a $1 a piece. UNBELIEVABLE, Right? Cloth curtains to cover the windows and keep the cold out for only $2 total.  



They cover the area needed, and then some… and look FABULOUS to boot… blending in with the room d├ęcor perfectly… making us feel more home-y than artsy. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

DECOR VOCABULARY


When I was a young homemaker and learning the ropes, someone taught me  a vocabulary lesson that opened my eyes. Naive about the ways of the world, I had a limited dictionary at my command or so it seemed, regarding one important piece of furniture.  In my neck of the woods… we called it a sofa or a couch… but a good friend of mine did not. I remember her inviting me over for a coffee klatch and while we conversed, she showed me around her house. It was the first time I had been there. When we headed into the living room, she says, “I’ll be getting a new DAVENPORT soon.” I had never heard of a DAVENPORT before… so I just smiled, pretending I knew WHAT she was talking about. I remember thinking at the time… that it must be some kind of buffet, hutch or sideboard. But… I discovered it wasn’t… when I asked my husband about it… later that night. Slightly older and more knowledgeable than me, he educated me on the subject. The expression DAVENPORT is used among folks of a certain geographic location, (the Midwest and New York) and age (born before World War 2). It is used as a synonym for the word couch or sofa. (It can have storage under it or be made into a bed, sort of like today’s futons.) I was gobsmacked to hear this… but quickly added the word to my vocabulary… so if it ever came up again, I would know how to respond. Suffice to say, I grew up and have learned so much in my life… but this one piece of information has always stuck with me. SO… what do you call that thing you sit down on in your living room? A couch, sofa or davenport?



We replaced our old torn one (the slipcovers weren’t working for us anymore) with a couple of new armchairs. Saw them on the showroom floor and fell in love. VERY, very COLORFUL, aren’t they? Believe me… they are not that sedate look we usually go for here at our house. But it’s a new year and the chairs BRIGHTEN our lives and fit our derriere’s. Not to mention, the price was right. CLEARANCE. So we’re taking a walk on the WILD side.



Monday, January 2, 2017

INITIAL IT, BIG R


A while back… our local Walmart, up and moved to a  different location. That left the old building vacant, sitting there, waiting to be sold. After 4 or 5 years of being empty, it finally did. So… a new store moved in to occupy it’s walls, with little if any remodeling, to utilize the space. It’s called BIG R. It specializes in western clothes, boots, belts, farm & ranch stuff, food, candy and pet food, including bird seed.



And surprisingly, it also carries Alfred Dunner clothes too, which tend to be a bit more upscale and seemingly out of character for this kind of place. But,  I enjoyed looking though the Dunner clothes and trying some pieces on. Though… they were a bit too pricey for me, since I thrift my wardrobe.



The dressing rooms in BIG R are in the round, inside a small silo. It makes for an interesting  experience.


 So does shopping there in general, for a ‘citified’ person. When you come into the store you are greeted by the aroma and sound of fresh popping popcorn.

And they hand you a small  bag of it… to eat, to enhance your shopping fun. MINE was gone in a heartbeat. YUM!


They have quite an interesting inventory of old fashioned foods and candy, as well. Two things my parents always had in the pantry, from back in the day… were Circus Peanuts, that orange marshmallow-y delight. (They were invented in the 1800’s and are considered one of the original PENNY candies.) And in lieu of potato chips or potato sticks, at BIG R… I found that classic country snack, my parents still adore… pork rinds. Their origin as a snack food dates way back too. Made me smile... thinking of my folk's... sweet and savory treats. So of course... I had to buy a bag of both, the peanuts and the rinds. Not diet food, I know... but hey, when good childhood memories beckon, you listen.  Thank you BIG R for moving in. You made my day. You were not the department store I was expecting to settle into this space, but one I enjoyed visiting, nonetheless.