Sunday, November 20, 2011

Architectural Digest VS. Elle Decor

                                   Extreme Way (Moby) from the closing credits of The Bourne Identity.

After falling back to sleep, during the early morning hours of the rainstorm, I woke to find Jeff in the living room, seated on the sofa, near the coffee station, watching the Bourne Identity on our small TV that I dug out of closet storage last evening. Huddled around him were the indoor gang. SO pathetically spoiled.
After coffee Jeff has settled in at the long oak table to spread out his storyline ideas for a Hollywood script contest, while I tackled the last remants of leftover chaos from the rearrangement of decorating items yesterday. Do you notice how when you move things around you find an isolated spot and begin heaping things there so that when you're finished you now have another area to tackle?
I can honestly say I really like the way the rooms have turned out-- we have a great team spirit, since I can't move furnishings these days, Jeff moves them according to whatever plan I have going on. Then I tackle lifting/moving and arranging the smaller decorative accessories- it works well for us as Jeff is part of the process, no more tripping over things I've moved while he's been at work, although, those moments were vastly entertaining for me- the dark twisted side of my personality is easliy amused.
Jeff and I love beautifully decorated homes like you find in Artchitectural Digest. Unfortuneately, while appreciating this style in magazine layouts and homes of friends, we've discovered we're Elle Decor. The artists in us are more creative in a boho chic environment. Jeff and I love open spaces with 3-4 sitting areas... like Soho, or the Old Tribecca industrial warehouse environment. It just works for us.
Of course, I haven't always favored this design. In my teens I found that I liked the artful floor displays of say, a Macy's supplemental advertisement in the Sunday paper, or the then widely popular Ethan Allen design gallery showroom. This changed to Bombay and then in the 80's to Shabby Chic, which arrived just in time as my 3 kids had pretty much gone through my Ethan
Allen type furnishings by then.
Then I discovered Elle Decor magazine and realized that the entire time I thought I liked, or felt, I should like traditional furnishings and the home environment they created/represented of middle America, I really didn't. 
Years ago, I happened across a home photo shoot of Jacqueline Schnable (wife of Julian) and it hit me like a thunderbolt, her style was my style, who'd have thunk? 
I still have a Met Home magazine (from the 80's) that showcases a NY city townhouse with that same type design. This occured at the same time as I saw columnist Linda Ellerbee's original NY Bronx brownstones (love those!) It was so boho chic (before the term was coined and in pop culture speak).  Why change and be conventional?

Nathan Lane after a reference to the intriguing design element of a large crucifix and Nancy Drew collection.

 I placed the above Birdcage footage on the blog because one of my most cherished collections is my mom's original Nancy Drew book set. I've lost photographs, paintings, etc, but I have managed to always hold on to these.  So, the above reference always makes me laugh, because I've always had to juggle where to place them. I rearranged them (again)
 this morning to fit into our new winter new design scheme.  These days Jeff and I are more inclined in having a house that is comfy and that we and our indoor gang can lounge and hang out in. Maybe this is an added benefit of age, but whatever it is... it works for us.
Here are some pics:

Notice the Nancy Drew collection (above)? This display still needs some tweaking, but we're getting there. Breaktime. We have to dash out into the world to get a jump on our Thanksgiving day menus...

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Rainy Night

Left work to run errands about town. First stop was the $ Tree... loaded up on housecleaning products, gathered up some holiday accessories for tabletop, mantle and dining room chairs along with the necessary aluminum pans for our weekend holiday feast.

And, books (of course) 4 hardbacks (a $70 value for $4- love it!) For a glimpse inside the books we'll start with A Christmas Caroline by Kyle Smith who is the author of Love Monke, which makes me laugh every time I say it, Love Monkey. Which was adapted into a CBS television series. Anyway, it's The Devil Wears Prada meets Charles Dickens. It's a hip, delightfully irreverent take on the classic tale.  The next book is written by Cathleen Falsani entitled Sin Boldly, a field guide for grace. It's a collection of stories about the author's experiences with grace- in ridiculous moments and in those that seem trivial but are anything but; in wacky adventures and quiet walks; with family and with strangers; in bars, restaurants, the occasional house of worship, and in her own home; and through conversations with people-- some famous and some not-- who have introduced her to grace in new ways that have shaped her faith and the way she tries to live it. These stories have appeared in her Spirituality and popular culture columns for the Chicago Sun-times. The next book is written by Mark S. Weiss, When Your Wife Has Breast Cancer, A story of love, courage & survival. A very well written book that immediately draws you in. A slim volume, but fast moving. And, Lastly Farahad Zama's debut novel, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith's intrepid Precious Ramotswe are likely to find an equally engaging protagonist in Mr. Ali (the main Character).

From the $ Tree I had to dash into Cost U Less to pick up cat food. It began to rain as I left the store. Driving over Melones the storm gathered force and began to pour. In the distance mist hovered around the base of the mountains, their forms blending into the charcoal covered skies. The scenery was like a pre-Thanksgiving Hollywood movie set; glistening black pavement, the landscape was a perfect blend of burnt umber, ochre, sage & ollive greens, wheat mixed with myriad shades of brown with splashes of mandarin orange and vibrant crimson reds.  Driving through this scenic stretch of highway I turned the radio on to the Hawk and found myself listening to Santana's Black Magic Woman--  Wind, rain and Santana... a perfect pairing. 

Arriving in Angels I stopped in at Good Stuff and found two garlands of autumn leaves for the fireplace mantle to blend in with my other holiday decorations.  A very happy, but tired girl arrived home just as the sky opened up and it began to pour. Brought in cat food and will bring the remainder in tomorrow.

Jeff and I hunkered down to dinner in the den-- very cozy and warm. It's time to  toddle off to bed. The rain continues to fall... perhaps, the meterologists are right (it could happen) there might be snowfall in the Sierra's tonight....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

life in a multi-generational house, 1990-2011

Day before Thanksgiving:
Pre-Thanksgiving preparations are underway in the kitchen. Uncle Art and aunt Jo are due to arrive in the afternoon. David (10), Tara (7) & Amanda (3) have finished breakfast and are in their bedrooms putting toys away and trying to create some sense of order from scattered debris that looks like some kind of unexplainable nuclear explosion, while I am baking quiches and pies (pumpkin and mince) in the oven. Dad will be over soon to greet Art & Jo when they arrive. Meanwhile, I am besieged everywhere by pots, pans and an overwhelming amount of dishes that have to be loaded into the dishwasher. Ella Fitzgerald plays softly on the living room CD player:

                                                            Cheek to Cheek-- Ella Fitzgerald.

FF to present:

Day After Dave's 31st birthday:
Pre-party preparations are underway in the kitchen. Erin is stirring Dave's homemade chili on the stovetop and heating cornbread in the microwave for our lunch, while we wait for Amanda & Landie (6) to arrive, along with longtime Copper childhood friends later in the afternoon. Dave and his posse are fishing at Melones. Emma (6 soon to be 7 in 2 days) is joining us in the dining room. Zach (3) is asleep in his bedroom which used to be Amanda's. Adele is softly playing on Dave & Erin's living room computer (connected to an online radio via their television):

                                                                Someone Like You-- Adelle.

I love that the house that Dave, Tara & Amanda grew up in continues to be part of our lives. I love how past moments reflect present moments... a ribbon of continuity.
                                       (then) Amanda, Uncle Art, Tara (holding Courtney), Dave, 11/1990.

                                               (now)  Zach, Emma, Landie holding Cricket, 11/2011.                       

                                                     (then)      Amanda, Art, Tara, 11/1990.

                                         (now)   Zach, Landie, Cricket & Emma, 11/2011.

                                                  (then)      Dave, Amanda, Art & Tara, 11/1990.

  (now)   Amanda talking to Erin, 11/2011--  in the same space as (above photo) where she was sitting all those 
             many years ago with uncle art and her sister Tara.

                                                        (then)   Tara holding Chelsea, 11/1990.

                                        (now) Zach watching Phoenix & Cricket, 11/2011.
                                                    (then)        Amanda & Tara, 11/1990.

                                                (now)        Zach, Landie & Emma, 11/2011

                                                        (then)       Amanda, 11/1990

                                                  (now)           Amanda, 11/2011

                                          (then)           Dave, 11/1990

                                           (now)         Dave, 11/2011.

(now) Dave preparing Carnitas, Amanda preparing "Stiff Upper Lips" cookie dessert, 11/2011.

                           (then) Art & Dad absolutely stuffed after their 2nd Thanksgiving helpings, 11/2011. 

                                  20+ years of family history in the same house continues...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Swinging the House

                                       I'm beginning to See The Light-- the Ink Spots w/ Ella Fitzgerald.

Jeff has left for work while I'm blogging, sipping French roasted coffee and swinging the house to the sounds of Jazz and Big Band. The indoor gang is happily spread out and napping.

After driving through a breathtakingly beautiful scenic commute from work I arrived home exhausted a far cry from my usual envigorated and elated self when facing a 3-day holiday weekend. What's up with that? Arriving home in the late afternoon it was all I could do to walk up the front pathway to the house, then feed the outdoor gang before collapsing. I guess it had been one of those burn out weeks that you don't realize your navigating through until after it's passed. Whatever it was, after a night of great sleep, I am back to my old self. Although, that might be due to the fact that I have today off then later getting together with my fav peeps; Dave, Erin, Emma, Zach, Landie, Aims and friends to celebrate Dave's birthday in Sonora.
The skies are overcast and gray with the forecast of afternoon rain showers. A cold breeze is picking up as well. Meanwhile, Dave and his posse are fishing at Melones.

Plus, we've changed our mini pre-Thanksgiving holiday get-away plans to include a stay at our fav cottage in Sutter Creek. Anna Chan will be coming along on our adventure and we're totally stoked.

It's going to be purely relaxtion. Jeff and I are both in need a vacation desperately and will be indulging ourselves. Jeff is bringing along his French easil and paints, along with a video cam and books. Bath salts are on my list for long hot baths in the lovely claw-foot bathtub.

And, Vanity Fair & The Paris Review magazines that I've neglected over the past few months, a good book to read at night, and my camera. We'll take Anna on walks (I'm bringing my crutch for that part of the plan (with the thought in mind that the next time we visit the cottage I won't need the crutch). Deep autumn in Sutter Creek is beyond beautiful and with my fav guy in tow,
it's going to be wonderful and just what we need to fortify ourselves with before heading into winter.  Sounds like a plan...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November rain

Jeff cheffed up a wonderful dinner last evening. He arrived home to a dark, overcast sky that promised rainfall. We caught up on the day's events while doing food prep and pre-setting the oven for baked potatoes. 
As Jeff sauteed the mushrooms with fresh garlic and scallions (my fav aroma) the skies opened and it began to rain. The rain fell in torrents running along the patio terrace border in rivulets while we chatted over wine and listened to the rainfall while he grilled steaks and I sat on the wooden kitchen stool. A lovely autumn evening.
We dined in the den which was wonderfully cozy. Over dinner we watched Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil~ one of our fav movies.
Dessert was coffee ice cream (1 small scoop for me) with strawberries.  So decadently delicious.
Later Jeff surfed the Net while I reread a few passages from an old Shirley MacLaine paperback, My Lucky Stars, a Hollywood Memoir. I focused in on a chapter about the Rat Pack (specifically Sinatra & Martin), the Mob and her long ago Vegas days. She had a major crush on Dean Martin~ who could blame her? I still think he is one of the most authenically cool men of that Hollywood star generation.

I woke at 7 this morning, then realized it was only 6 AM- I liked that part. Jeff was already up making coffee, the rain continues and we're going to hunker down in the den and catch up on reading today. A very lazy Sunday is planned.  Although, the time change will take me weeks to catch up on...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Savoring the moments

It's a perfect November weekend afternoon; temps in the low 60's, the air has a slight chill, the skies are gray and overcast. I'm kicking-back with an over-sized European coffee cup filled with delightful goodness; leftover Starbucks peppermint mocha heated on the stovetop with heavy cream and a splash of brandy added to it-  SO yummy and rich!
The house is wonderfully still and cozily warm. The indoor gang are spread out napping. I've finished my household chores and am enjoying some down time.  Hunter and Mahjong are adapting to indoor life, they're curled up together in a ball, on a dining room chair that's pushed in, so that they are beneath the table out of sight.
Jeff is working, but has called and said that tonight's menu is steak n bake with sauteed mushrooms served with a salad. I love that Jeff is such a great cook and enjoys it so wholeheartedly.  I think I show my gratitude by devoring everything on my plate, in sharp contrast, to the theory that something should be left behind as a reminder of etiquette and good breeding. My thought is that in this day and age it's a sin to waste food when food costs are so astronomical and Jeff's cooking so sinfully delicious.

                                                She's Everything I wanted by Brad Paisley

I'm in a country frame of mind this afternoon listening to Brad Paisley- who has new memoir on the bookstands.  I love this song as it reminds me of Jeff and how he feels about me. There's nothing better than having your husband as your best friend and all around best supporter.

This evening reminds us that winter is almost here as it's time to set our clocks back 1 hour- how did this time of year arrive so quickly?
I think it's time to find a book to read and hunker down under my plush plaid cranberry comforter in the master bedroom and relax along with the indoor gang who are looking blissfully content...

Saturday AND all of it's possibilities

                                          Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting, Elton John.

Sat' noun 1. Saturday- the seventh day of the week;observed as Sabbath by Jews and some Christians.
Weekday- any day except Sunday (and sometimes except Saturday).
Weekend- a time period usually extending from Friday night through Sunday; more loosely defined as any period of successive days including one and only one Sunday.
Old English translation of latin: Satumi dies- day of Saturn (not so popular in these times; although, centuries ago, it was to the Romans. In ancient Roman religion and myth Saturn was a major god presiding over agriculture and the harvest time. His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of abundance and peace by many Roman authors. In medieval times he was known as the Roman god of agriculture, justice and strength.  He held a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right. 

We've defined the word Saturday; but the interesting thing to me is, what is the visual of Saturday? Certainly not the above image. We all know what it means, but what it means and what it represents to each of us is illusive and ever changing to all of us. It isn't like say, refrigerator. We all get that. We visualise a tall cold storage unit that is filled with food and beverages, pretty standard. But, weekend... now that can be sleeping in, getting up early to jog, working, running errands, grocery shopping, chauffering kids to sports games; there are a thousand and one visual connotations that we adapt to fit our individual needs for that one word.  And each one is different. Isn't it fascinating that ONE word can have so myriad and varied meanings? And, yet it is a day that we  all long for at some point during the average work week. I still think that Saturday these many centuries later continues to represent abundance (of free time) and peace (that comes with creating our own weekend agendas), some things don't change... and I like that.
So, what's in your Saturday? I'm across the board with goals that mostly pertain to home. One that I've put off for ages is cleaning out my clothes closets. Today is the day to sort and get rid of old clothing that is taking up too much space. I'll donate these items to the Hospice thrift shop on Monday as I drive through Angels.
I have laundry already underway.  There are kitchen and bathroom floors that need to be cleaned, not fun, but eventually, rewarding.
Perhaps, another blog. Surf facebook.
Reading is on tap for later.
I have 2 scrapbook projects I want to begin on. A 1920something journal of Gram's that I want to bring up to speed. An album of letters from aunt Bette that date from the 1970's through 1984. This dovetails into other projects. Jeff and I are (yet again) reorganzing the living room. We'll be bringing out the fainting couch from the writing room and other scattered furnishings. I want to set up a family section that will be available for Hali, Emma, Zach & Landie that they can touch and read and get a feel of their family origins when they are bunking over. Get to know those who've gone before them. It'll be a fun, eclectic corner to hunker down in.
Today there are movies to watch, music to listen to and DVR recordings to get caught up on.
A very full day awaits with SO many possibilties to chose from. Whatever you do, enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Delta Dawn

Jeff and I had a great time Sunday with Aims, Sam, Lidia and Cricket on the Delta. Instead of my writing a description about our day I thought a visual would be much more fun.