Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, August 31, 2009

This is what smithereens looks like

Ever hear of breaking something into smithereens? This is what it looks like. Ever hear that Corelle is unbreakable? It isn't. Just sayin.

Main Entry: smith·er·eens
Pronunciation: \ˌsmi-thə-ˈrēnz\
Function: noun plural
Etymology: perhaps from Irish smidiríní
Date: 1829
: fragments, bits

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Good evening from Portsmouth, Virginia.

I've found a wonderful new blog from a woman in New York City.  I love New York City blogs, because I just love New York City.  Each entry starts something like the way I just started.  I find it so dignified, spare, and restrained...all the things I'm not, but I thought that I'd try the greeting on for size.  See if you enjoy Frances' blog as much as I do.
If I was blogging as Frances does, I'd say that I spent a very enjoyable day today.  I slept in and had a cup of coffee out while reading a wonderful book about dynastic marriages in the 1200's in Europe.  (I'll go back to my Anne personae here and say, seriously, I really was.  No kidding. I always read books like that.   I just never tell people because I would sound like a freak.)  Back to channeling Frances. 
I  met a charming man who is very patient with me for a lunch along the river.  (It's Bruce, my husband, but still..)  Then I traveled to the old, cobblestoned area of town, to an elegant 1880's row house with a bay window featuring glass so old that the panes were wavy. It is a magnificent home with marble busts, tapestrries on the walls, and wonderful oil paintings.
I met with my employer, a dignified British man who is writing his memoire with my help.  We spent some time together in World War II during the Blitz of London when he was a boy,  I could nearly hear the sound of the air raid sirens droning on and on. (again true, but if I were being flippant ole Annie, I'd say, "You've heard of Tuesday's with Morrie?"  This is Sunday with Joseph.) We made great progress on our work together.
I then returned home and painted, appreciating the vibrant brush strokes of maize (on the wall, because Frances is a wonderful oil panter and I'm a mediocre painter of walls.) I cleaned up all my brushes and watched the paint swirl into the sink, down the drain and out in the Hudson River...(oops, too much of Frances, there) into the Elizabeth River.
I cut up some lovely vegetables for a simple pasta dinner with freshly-grated paremesan cheese and a small salad.  It was a a fitting end to a good day.  I listened to some classical music while I ate...(Okay, I listened to Law and Order Crimina Intent and daydreamed how I'd love to be an extra on that show when it shoots in New York City..)
Wait a sec...Did I tell you guys that Bruce and I are booked to go to New York City on October 22?   We will be going to an exhihbit of Vermeer paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  One of the masterpieces which will be shown is the amazing painting I've included here called "The Milkmaid."  We're also going to visit the High Line which Frances mentioned in a recent blog.entry.  Which is great.  Seriously. You must read it.
Best wishes to all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

23 Wind Road, East Hartford, Connecticut

My grandmother, Helen, was a truly amazing woman.  She lived at 23 Wind Road, East Hartford, Connecticut in an old seafoam green Cape Cod home with a deeper green door and shutters.

We moved around a lot when I was little, from Boston to Philadelphia to Virginia to Connecticut to New York. 23 Wind Road was a constant in my life.  My grandmother inspired my love of antiquing, of knitting, of flea markets...of salvaging something that others would think unusuable, from a Victorian Directoire sofa on the curbside to the ornery widow whose property taxes she quietly paid for many years. 
I have so many wonderful memories, The sound of her rotary dial telephone making a call.  The dry sink in the kitchen filled with plants.  The little porthole window over her bed.  Watching Elvis movies and Miss America with her,  The glow-in-the-dark rosary beads she gave me to keep me from being afraid in the dark, telling me, "Don't be afraid if you fall asleep before you're done because the angels will finish it for you."  Her ironing board that folded right into the wall.

Her knitting needles clicking row by row.  The sound of the storm door opening.  The breakfast nook. Her bed with the carved pineapple posts that's in my house now.  Her Beleek china with the little shamrocks on it.  The gorgeous cranberry glass in the living room.  Her pantry.  The crows cawing in the back yard.  Her spaghetti and meatballs, New England boiled dinner, pork roast, and homemade mashed potatoes.  Can you tell I still miss her?

The last time I visited her, she went up to the attic and came downstairs with the painting you see pictured here.  She had it painted years ago by someone who desperately needed work during the Depression.  She handed it to me and said, "Now you can take 23 Wind Road wherever you go."

When my father first visted me here in Virginia, we walked the dogs.  He kept looking up and down the street and finally said, in a bemused way, "You recreated Wind Road right here."  I'm not sure if that's because I have 23 Wind Road hanging in my dining room or because there are many houses here that look like hers...maybe both.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doing Dishes

I found this great little quote from this month's Country Living, from a book called, "The Gift of an Ordinary Day" by Katrina Kenison

I magined a simple kitchen, a farm sink full of soapy water, a view from the window that would lift my heart, and time enough just to stand there, fingers swirling a sponge across a chinat plate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crosby, Stills, and Nash

I relived my childhood, or at least my young adulthood recently when I saw Crosby, Stills,and Nash at Ntelos Pavilion. It was David Crosby's birthday and it was the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, which combined to make it a truly amazing experience. I haven't been to this type of concert in nearly twenty years.

I found a perfect CSN shirt to wear with my jeans, a retro sixites print with flowing sleeves It wasn't the tie-dyed, peace sign grubby retro garb which I don't care for, but retro in a sweet, tiny floral and paisley, purple-y kind of way.

CSN's harmonies have lost nothing over the years, in fact, I think they've probably been enhanced. The acoustic and electric guitairs were amazing. The atmosphere in the audience was electrifying.

They sang "Wasted on the Way," "Ruby Tuesday," "Teach Your Children Well," and "For What It's Worth." (Hey now, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down...") My favorite moment was hearing the unmistakeable beginning chords of "The Southern Cross," a very meaningful song to me. If you've never heard it, here it is for you from You Tube:

Got out of town on a boat
Goin' to Southern islands.
Sailing a reachBefore a followin' sea.
She was makin' for the trades
On the outside,
And the downhill run
To Papeete.
Off the wind on this heading
Lie the Marquesas.
We got eighty feet of the waterline.
Nicely making way.
In a noisy bar in Avalon
I tried to call you.
But on a midnight watch I realized
Why twice you ran away.


Think about how many timesI have fallen
Spirits are using melarger voices callin'.
What heaven brought you and me
Cannot be forgotten.
I have been around the world,
Lookin' for that woman/girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.
And you know it will.

When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time
You understand now
Why you came this way'
Cause the truth you might be runnin' from
Is so small.
But it's as big as the promise
The promise of a comin' day.
So I'm sailing for tomorrow
My dreams are a dyin'.
And my love is an anchor tied to you
Tied with a silver chain.
I have my ship
And all her flags are a flyin'
She is all that I have leftAnd music is her name


.So we cheated and we lied
And we tested
And we never failed to fail
It was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
Somebody fine
Will come along
Make me forget about loving you.
At the Southern Cross.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Before and After

I bought some new living room furniture a few months back which includes a big, cushy chair with matching ottomon. It's the perfect place for reading and reflection EXCEPT...there was no place to put a coffee cup or iced tea glass. Clearly unacceptable as you will all know. I cast about in my mind for some low cost solution. The spot didn't lend itself to a table. Then I remembered a little marble-top table, tiny really, that belonged to my grandmother. It is the perfect thing and cost me only a half a can of spray paint I already had and some gorilla glue. I love the way it turned out and the price was right.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I drove downtown today. It took me three and a half hours to drive home, a distance of a little over half a mile. I was in a meeting with the police chief when the skies opened up and enough rain for a month poured down in an hour and a half. As I left the chief's office and saw the cars floating in the back parking lot, I was thankful that I used metered parking right out front on higher ground.

I've been working out a lot for the past few months. Tonight I was very thankful that I'd been getting into better shape. After being stuck in traffic gridlock for two hours with both of our major tunnels completely shut down, I drove across a sidewalk and on to the grass. I parked my car on the highest ground in the parking lot, took off my sandals, rolled up my jeans, and waded home through sometimes waist-deep water. I wasn't even out of breath when I got home. I don't think I could have done that six months ago.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia

Every once in a while, I see a movie which is so wonderful that I don’t want it to end. Books can be like that, too, can’t they?

Julie and Julia is one of those movies. It brings together quite a few things that I feel passionate about: beautiful architecture, vintage clothing, cooking, blogging, and New York City, all in one place.

Julie and Julia is the story of two intersecting lives; that of the famous television star and chef, Julia Child and an obscure blogger from Queens who decided to cook every meal in Julia’s famous cookbook…even the dreaded aspic. You aren’t familiar with aspic? Think beef flavor Jello.

Those of us who grew up watching re-runs of the French Chef on PBS station will marvel at the amazing performance of Meryl Streep, who is able to convey the essence of Julia without making her a caricature. We see a different Julia than the familiar face with the pearls, the blue short sleeved shirt and the towel tucked into the waist. We see Julia the OSS spy who was stationed in China and Ceylon. Julia the world traveler and, could you believe, a sexy Julia passionately desired by her husband.

This is also the story of blogger. Julie and Julia examines why we blog, as well as the horizons which open to us when we pour out ourselves to whichever parts of our world want to read us.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Richmond House Front Series

Bruce and I love to explore around. We often drive to another city or region to walk around and absorb the ambiance of the community. We particularly like to explore in Richmond, VA. Richmond was the capitall of the Confederacy and continues on as the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has block after endless block of lovingly restored homes dating from before the Civil War. Although it was a warm Saturday, we were energized by the lovely architecture.
We stopped at an amazing Health Food Store called Elwood Thompsons for organic berries and a healthy bar of chocolate with the proper proportion of cocoa.

Sound Bite of the Day

Overheard amongst a group of teens at Walmart while buying moisterizer to avoid the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles:

"You lie, your feet stink, and you don't know Jesus."

That about covers it all. Just sayin...