Picture This

Two things: first- my dog is a ham. Second, I’m so freaking happy to be done with this foyer, I almost want to paint something. Two months ago, I posted A DRAMATIC ENTRANCE all about turning my boring-as-dirt entrance into one with high drama. I imagined going dark. But that worked out the way it does when I decide to color my hair anything but blonde. I had regrets. I also had a hangover. It doesn’t pay to consider wall colors while drinking wine. Luckily, I came to my senses.

The wall color is Hawthorne Yellow, a Benjamin Moore product. I’ve been using BM for years, my favorite of their products is Regal in pearl finish.

I have about one hundred framed photos of immediate family, extended family, family I never met (yet) because they died before I was born. My mother’s mother was an only child, and out of her three grandchildren, I am the one most interested in our history.

I won’t bore you with it, because no one is as interested in a person’s family history as the person telling it. Instead, imagine your foyer, or entrance, or place where you throw your keys as an opportunity to visit yours.

This is Gigi. She isn’t a dog model, she just thinks she is.

OK, I give up. Who wants a treat?

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Indoor Garden Party

It was supposed to be outside. My parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party, that is. Until the forecast called for rain, the torrential kind, with high winds. And it was going to be COLD.

Doesn’t Connecticut realize that it’s MAY? The day after the party (today!) is Mother’s Day. Isn’t the earth a mother?

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I imagined the 40 + guests enjoying the fragrance of the giant lilacs I inherited, walking in the garden, and generally taking the sun, eating, laughing, and talking until dark.

What happened the night before the party? A mad dash to swap out big round tables meant to be under the tent for smaller indoor tables under. . . the living room ceiling.

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It was an excercise in delegation: my aunt, my sister, cutting massive amounts of lilacs from the yard, and me, (on the way home from bringing the puppy to the kennel), stopping the car to gather pretty yellow weeds flowers from the side of the road.

It was an hour before the party (I was hopping in the shower) when my sister and twin sons made tissue paper poofs and opened white lanterns to hang from the dining room ceiling. They should have been in the tent. We all should have been in the tent.

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img_7613But, New England weather can never be trusted. And that, as it turned out, was a good thing. Because, the torrential rains never came. It wasn’t warm, but the wind stayed away. 

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By the time the sprinkles started, the party was hours in and nobody cared. Not a one. Cake can have that effect on a person. Also, lots of laughing, and eating delicious food (catered by Jessica Tuesday’s), and hugging in the beautiful Connecticut countryside.

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All these pictures are of my mom with one of her best friends, MaryEllen and her husband Jim, her cousins from Baltimore, and with my twins. My dad isn’t in them becasue he was where he’s happiest: looking at an old car, (it happens to be ours), a Morgan Super-Sport, Plus 4.

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Happy 5oth Anniversary Alan and Carol! (Dad and Mom to me.)

P.S. I made the cake and frosting from scratch. If you are looking for the best white cake ever, look no further. I found it HERE. The frosting is good, old-fashioned butter cream.

 

A Dramatic Entrance 

Our farmhouse is old. 1830 foundation old.

The main part of the house, rebuilt in 1900, is a Cape. Of course it has a front door, but since it faces the street, and not the driveway, we barely use it.

Attached to the rear of the Cape is an addition, once a woodshed/tractor garage.  That structure is now a two-story wing with a new main entrance that leads to the driveway. The outside is lovely: classic portico, hanging pendant light, bluestone underfoot- then you open the door.

And it’s boring as dirt.

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You are greeted by a utilitarian closet at right, and an electrical panel at left. A commercial-grade recessed light is not flattering to the space or your complexion. No place to toss the mail, keys, or check lipstick before running late to an appointment.

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Last May, in a spring fit, I took down the closet doors to create an alcove, slid a chest from the dining room in on a blanket, added a lamp and mirror.

A MAJOR improvement, but certainly not finished. I promised the space: next month.

Here it is, nearly a year later, with one patch of snow still in the yard and the entry is just as I left it. I thought I knew what I wanted. Wall color that is light, bright, and spare. Something like this:

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Pretty. Pretty freaking boring. I realized that for the last twenty years I’ve been creating houses for other people, even though I lived in them. The whole time I was paying the mortgage on the first three houses, I was designing the remodels based on a future buyer. The future buyer isn’t a mysterious creature: give them classic, solid construction with quality fixtures, and you’ll sell in days. But, this time I’m not leaving. So, I sat down and thought: what do I want my entry to look like?

Dramatic. Rich with heritage and oozing history. Every real estate agent says upon listing your house, “Remove family photos.” This will be the opposite. Walk in my house, and even if the dog answers the door, my family are in your face.

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I’m going against traditional small space design protocol. Instead of light-bright, I’m going for English gallery. The whole space is 10 feet by 10 feet. Hardly a manor entrance. But, I have about fifty framed photos to crowd the walls with.

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I haven’t decided on a precise color, but the options all have a theme: blue-black, green-black, ooo…how about blackety-black? This is damn fun.

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Whatever Sprinkles Your Donuts

 

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Gigi has a hangover.

New Year’s Day, 2017! You: New! Improved! Ugh.

After a late night (early morning) of celebrating, I snuggled with Gigi on the sofa and turned on the TV. In about ten seconds the “lose weight” ads started. I’m so over it.

Christmastime media tells women to bake it, New Year’s Day media tells us not to eat it.

At this very moment I am eating a Deluxe Hershey’s Kiss. I peeled back the gold foil wrapper and enjoyed. I don’t feel guilty about it and I don’t wish it was sugar-free. As a mother, I have enough guilt to fill a Hershey’s factory, so I certainly don’t want to eat my guilt. I’d rather look it square in the eyes of my three sons (have I doled out love equally?) and the garden I planned on whipping into shape but ended up neglecting as other things took priority. Like sleeping.

You know, you’ve just got to do what makes you happy. And things that make us happy change. So this year, instead of seeing flaws, I’m seeing possibilities for happiness. If I’m going to eat a donut, it better be slathered in sprinkles, as if it were covered in all the stars in the sky.

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A Little Sparkle (even from teenagers)

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Flight of the SpiderWoman

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When my boys were little they used to ask me, “Mom, if you could pick, what superpower would you want?” I always said, “flying” because I knew that they would get it. What little boy didn’t want to fly? I also said “flying” because some of my favorite dreams from childhood involved me tripping near the basement stairs but instead of falling, I floated safely to the bottom. My mother was always in the basement of my dreams, doing what else? Laundry.

What I really wanted to say to my little boys was, “I want a superpower that hasn’t been invented. One that picks up all the toys when I’m sleeping, can predict when one of you kids is about to push the other or get a splinter, a superpower that can remind me to bring all the coupons to the grocery store since I spent an hour and a half cutting them out and organizing the in an envelope by isle.”

I never got those powers. If I didn’t pick up the toys or remember the coupons there was twice as much work to do the next day and it was more expensive. I am not nostalgic for that time. (Is it obvious?)

I continue to develop as a mother (I think of it as a life-long exercise in patience) and would ask for different things now. A week ago I got my chance.

To reduce stress and fit in my jeans, I like to ride my bike. Last Sunday I was on a long bike ride, The Flattest Century in the East, with a friend. At the second rest stop, around mile 50, my friend suggested we sit in the grass and stretch our legs. I grabbed a handful of grapes and sat down. Seconds later I said, “Wendy, I think something just bit me.” I hopped up and we finished the 102 miles, ate dinner together and once I got home I went right to bed.

Two days later enormous welts appeared on the back of my right thigh. The doctor said, “You’ve been bitten, many times, by a spider.” He winced when he said it. He also looked at me funny. When I got home, completely bandaged up and loaded with antibiotics, I pulled my bike shorts out of the laundry basket. There was a hole right where the biggest bite was. I presume my attacker bit me, climbed into my shorts, and attempted to eat the rest of my leg for dinner.

For the last several days I have been going outside in the dark to water my flowers and carrying around a towel to sit on. The spider bites are weeping. I’m wearing shorts rolled up to my hip bone. It’s a look I don’t recommend. After all this, I am waiting for my superpowers to show up. Spiderman was bitten and he got a cool suit and web shooters.

I don’t want practical things anymore. Like Spiderman, I want magic. I want the summer not to turn to fall, I want my boys and I to always be close, I want my parents to be healthy and for anyone with an illness to be cured. I want to remember for myself what I always tell my boys, that we can do anything. I want to laugh out loud with the wonder of being alive and if I happen to do this walking down the street, I want other people to laugh too- not wonder who the crazy woman is. I want people to stop being caught up in things that don’t matter. I could probably be more kind.

After I checked my bike shorts that day, I went in my bedroom, took off my bandages and looked at my leg. Reflected in the mirror was my bum, which was wearing a pair of black lace underwear. I laughed out loud and my laugh went out the window, ricocheted off the house across the street and flew throughout the neighborhood. My underwear looked like a giant spiderweb.

But, Seriously…

Surprise! This is not a regular Monday Moment post. This week YMM hit 100 subscribers. In 100 words I am expressing my thanks. I love that 100 of you enjoy what I write and found me, a needle in the blogging haystack. YMM began as a way to brighten the day of my mother and aunt as they cared for my ailing grandmother. I sent them posts via email every Monday. My grandmother past away in December, but I still write the blog, for me and for you. As a direct result, I am pursuing an MFA in creative writing. 100 thanks to you.

For anybody who counted, leave out the “100”’s. Those of course, are numbers.
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