Archive for September, 2009

Change is good. *Update: Now with Readers’ Photo Gallery!!!*

Yes, I’m alive. Alive and … redecorating!!

It’s not like Extreme Home Makeover or anything, we’re not knocking out walls and adding a new wing– more like I found a couch I really like at the furniture consignment place and I got so jazzed about having more seating room in the den (yes, I am THAT easily excited) that now I am casting a critical eye on the rest of the house and walking through every room with a look of concentration on my face and one finger tapping on my pursed lips while I say, “Hmmmm….”

Something about this time of year makes me want to change things around a little, I have no idea why. This time of year also makes me sneeze vociferously and blow my nose like a foghorn, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the redecorating thing.  Russ, bless him, helped get the big honkin’ couch unloaded and is now patiently helping me move stuff all around while I try to get it situated. He has been kind of a saint, now that I think about it. What I really need is one of those kind of interior design people that come to your house and while you leave and go get a sandwich or something they shift all of your stuff around and reconfigure the furniture and rearrange all of your tchochkes so that when you walk back in the door, voila! A whole new house except you didn’t actually go buy anything! (Those kind of people do exist, right? I know I saw something about that kind of designer service on HGTV… Either that or I’m mixing this up with that fairy tale ‘The Shoemaker’s Elves’, or something. Either way, it’s a good idea don’t you think?) So now I’ve decided to maybe change the color in my kitchen, and paint my fireplace, too. I’m on a roll, folks!

So all of this house stuff has made me curious about you guys. What is your favorite decorating style? Do you like traditional, contemporary, classic, antiques, country, retro, beachy, European…? Do you like bright colors, a neutral palette, earthy colors, pastels, jewel tones? What about furniture? Rustic, sophisticated, new, old? Do you collect anything?

My ‘style’? Well, I like eclectic rooms with lots of personality. Love that French flea market feel, LOVE art deco, especially  European antiques of that period. I also love folk art, and have some kind of wild, colorful pieces scattered around. I like rich colors and luxurious fabrics, but I don’t like dark rooms. I like elegant but not fussy. I have lots of books everywhere, and lots of lamps– I really love lamps, and chandeliers, too. My paint colors vary–my entry hall is red, my den walls are painted a soft gold called “Warm Muffin”, the piano room color is kind of a neutral beige/taupe called “Cashmere,” my bedroom is kind of a warm vanilla color, my kitchen is in two tones of green, somewhere between a sage and a moss…? I’m kind of tired of it, I’m thinking like a green apple color instead! In my dining room I painted these big harlequin diamonds in metallic gold all over  the walls. I know, it sounds kinda early Rococco/whorehouse, right?  Actually it kinda is.


Wait, it gets weirder–I also painted one wall matte black and it has folk art cabinet doors hung on it like paintings. Actually, one of those interior designer re-arranger people would probably run from my house screaming.

Ok, I showed you mine– tell me yours! I’d love to have a picture in my head of your place. And even if you are a guy and not into all of this decorating talk, tell me about your place anyway– come on, jonny,  it’ll be good for you!

I’m going to go sit on my wonderfully squishy new-to-me couch now.

**UPDATE!!! (My administrative account is kinda jacked up, so I won’t be adding photos in the order they are received…)

From DELIVEREDJEPARKER63’s camera phone: Her china cabinet


Her desk, with cat:


Her antique bed:


From swerchon: This one is hilarious– that’s her leg sticking out as she attempts to plug in her Christmas tree!


This is swerchon’s pride and joy fireplace and her ‘little friend’, Nicolette.


OK, here’s the first photo to come in… and it’s of a hamster! However, we will definitely count Delightedabroad‘s newest addition “Flitzi” as a decorating accessory. A tchochke with legs, as it were. How cute is she?!

Flitzi - Gr008 - 19-1.09.2009 008h

Flitzi - Gr007 - 18.09.2009 005h

OK, who’s next?

From rachelbaker: here’s that miniature bottle collection (that she SWEARS she had no part in emptying) and darling jade tea set from Honk Kong that she told us about!                                                                                                                                                                                           2


As You May or May Not Know, I Kinda Have a ‘Thing’ About Old Ladies.

(AND BY THE WAY, you don’t qualify as ‘old’ around here unless you are at least in your 90’s! Just so you know.)

I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that my mom is 93, sharp as a dang tack, and I just love her. Mom does not in any way fit the ‘sweet little old lady’ stereotype– she says that inside she does not feel nearly as old as 93 sounds. Of course she has slowed down, of course she’s not like a woman in her 40’s, but her curiosity, her passion for God, her interest in what’s going on in the world and her capacity to enjoy things and laugh at herself has not faded as the years have added up.

I’ve been thinking about all of that a lot lately. Maybe it’s because between FaceBook, Twitter, this blog and all of the other social media out there I have been reconnecting with a lot of people from my past. And when I click over to their photo pages and see pictures of my high school buddies with their GRANDCHILDREN, I am honestly shocked that they are old enough to be that… old. There’s a word for that, let’s see, what is it? Oh yeah, denial. Because, hello, I’m the exact same age– just because my kids are still teenagers doesn’t mean I’m any younger than my classmates who are walking their offspring down the aisle! I totally get what Mom is talking about, now. Even though I see that blonde in the mirror with the crinkly eyes and the ever-increasing number of chins, on the inside I can also see a show-off-y little kid, smart-aleck-y teenager, lovestruck young wife, grateful, grateful new mother and older-but-wiser woman all looking back at me.

Maybe that’s why I love old ladies so much. I’ve learned that behind every heavily-lined face and slow-moving body there are not just the ghosts of all of their past selves, but the soul, the very essence of exactly who they were in their ‘prime.’ If I take the time and energy to engage, it’s not very long before that self starts getting revealed which is endlessly fascinating to the writer/voyeur in me.   Of course, it can go either way– a lot of sweet-looking little old ladies are anything but!  Russ often quotes something he heard a preacher say once: “What you don’t conquer in your youth, you become in your old age.” So when I see older women who are kind of grouchy and bitter and complaining about everything, I have a sneaking feeling that has always been in there, even when they were young and active. And when I see older women who are funny and wise and interesting, I think that was probably always a part of their personality, and that they simply refused to allow the years and the indignities of old age rob them of those things. Because even though we can’t always control how our body ages, especially in the case of  illness or accidents, I’m thinking that we CAN control how we react to whatever we have on our plate.

Mom has been blessed beyond reason with enough good health that she can still participate in life. She reads the paper and watches the news, she gardens and cooks and fusses at Daddy to walk more and eat fresh fruit. She clips out articles that she thinks her kids need to read  and sends them to us– usually about the benefits of walking and fresh fruit! Living a long time guarantees that you will have more than your share of loss. I see that with Mom, who has outlived all of her 8 brothers and sisters. But I also see her choosing to focus on what she still has– her husband, her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mom has set an impossible standard for my sisters and I to follow, but honestly, she is one of the greatest inspirations in my life. Hopefully, when I’m 93 I’ll still be blogging away, sifting through the events of my day to try to come up with something to tell you guys so we can all discuss it to death! I’ll be posting pictures of my grandkids and griping about Pip (oh yeah, he’ll outlive us all) and going to Homecoming concerts (oh yeah, Bill will outlive us all too.) And I am TOTALLY counting on all of you guys to still be here, OK?  *pinky swear*

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the incredible 104-year old British lady named Ivy Bean that inspired this post. Someone recommended that I follow her on Twitter (she has over 45,000 followers!) and as I idly clicked over to look at her profile I found these photos and laughed out loud. I did some research and was delighted to discover that apparently Ivy is the resident celebrity at the Hillside Manor Residential Home For Retired Ladies and Gentlemen in the town of Bradford, England. Their website proudly features links to various newspaper articles that describe Ivy as “the oldest person on FaceBook.” One of them, dated 2007, says, “The former millworker heard about the internet social networking site as staff chatted at the care home where she lives. She told them, “I’d like to have a go.”  … “I love being online, and it beats writing with a pen!”

Hillside Manor looks like a lovely place, with lots of activities. Here’s a photo of Ivy (second from left) and some of her girlfriends preparing to compete in the Bradford Senior Olympics– please note that the list of events include ‘cap hurling,’ ‘walking stick javelin throwing’ and the ever-popular ‘bean bag shot put.’

ivybean:mirror(Courtesy of Daily Mirror)

Ivy’s the one cracking up in the blue dress, third from left.

friendsCourtesy of

I personally don’t think it’s an accident that Ivy is surrounded by women friends in almost every shot– well, except for that one picture where she’s working with her own personal Geek Squad…


Anyway, these are the shots that completely stole my heart! I truly hope to live long enough to be the seemingly sweet little old lady who is actually a feisty little “Chicks on Tour” lady who is still capable of, well, THIS:



Courtesy of TwitPic– and


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