Saturday, February 28, 2009

Morning Ritual

My dad did it for my mom, my brother-in-law does it for my sister and as tradition would have it, my husband does it for me. What is it?

For 29 years my husband has brought me coffee in bed. Before I have even opened my eyes the aroma of the mug by my bedside sends a wake up call to my brain. I roll over and reach out, and there it is, a freshly ground, french-pressed cup of coffee. It is simply heaven and not something that I take for granted either. This ritual is one of the most treasured gifts that my dear husband has given me and believe me I cherish his loving kindness.

Call me spoiled but my dad did the same thing for my mom, well almost. Back in those days my dad would wake up early and "put the coffee on" - the language to be used when one percolates the coffee. In my mind's ear I still hear the sound of their Corning coffee pot being placed back on its holder on the kitchen counter. Back then my mom used Poppytrail's Sculptured Grape as her everyday china and I still treasure the memory of holding that coffee cup in my hand while siting at the kitchen table. Once the coffee was brewed, my dad lovingly placed a cup of coffee by my mom's bedside. Sadly, I don't think my mom ever realized what a kind gesture it was to have her coffee given to her before she even stepped out of bed. At our house we have assorted pottery mugs we use for morning coffee. My favorite mugs are the ones made by Polly the Potter, a well-known Atlanta potter (Polly Made Me is how she signs her work). You can enjoy dining or drinking coffee from Polly's pottery at Atlanta restaurants such as the Flying Biscuit, Stone Soup and Savage Pizza.

My husband has added a bonus gift to his weekend deliveries these days. Now in addition to my morning coffee, my husband has gotten into the habit of bringing me my laptop too. There are some things that husbands do that are just too outstanding for words and for me it's coffee and a laptop.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm a Rosebud

I confess to it, yes, I am a Rosebud. I don't tell many people and in fact I am not sure that I have ever shared this with my children. My mother is a Rosie, as in Rosie the Riveter. There are lots of Rosies located throughout the U.S. and over the past several years many of these women have begun to share their stories for the first time. About eight years ago my mom got involved with the Rosies and when she affiliated she signed me and my sister up as Rosebuds (The photo is my mom in her Rosie costume). When my dad was living my mom and dad would travel around the country meeting women who had all sorts of stories to tell about their work during the war. Over the years I would get the newsletter but frankly I didn't pay too much attention to much of the happenings as it seemed more like my mother's hobby than mine. Then the convention came to town and that changed my attitude.

Summer before last, Rosies from across the U.S. gathered in Atlanta for their annual convention. My sister, neice and I decided to join the program for an evening. We got to meet a group of the Tuskegee Airmen which was a fascinating experience but the best of the evening came when a tiny elderly woman in the crowd got up to tell her story.

This woman told us that as a WAC, she had been trained for a top secret mission. She was drilled on the importance of secrecy and understood that she was never to share her secret mission. And so for more than forty years she never told a single soul, not even her husband that she was the secretary that had typed up the battle plans for the invasion of Normandy. There were two copies (of course one carbon) and this woman had prepared the notes from the meetings that became history. It was one amazing story and thankfully a Rosebud is working to help record the story before her story is lost.

On Saturday the Atlanta area Rosies are meeting and I plan to be there and if I hear any more great stories, believe me I will be sure to post.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Today I realized that my oldest son will be coming home from Iraq in just a couple of weeks!!!! He left the end of August and has been counting down the days since November. It's funny but we have already been thinking about what foods we want to prepare and tossing around ideas for activities to celebrate his return. My son loves country cooking (southern food) and if you like it too and you live in Georgia, Buckner's Family Restaurant is the place to eat. I love the fact that Buckner's is located on Bucksnort Road. I don't think the name sounds appetizing but don't let the name of the road turn you off. Buckner's is most famous for its fried chicken, but the yeast rolls, creamed corn, barbeque, corn bread, peach cobbler are all hard to ignore. When you get to the restaurant, you pay a flat fee and then sit at a big round table with a lazy susan. The more food you eat, the more they bring. My guess is that Buckner's will be one of the first places we go so that my son can get his fill of southern food. I am sure that in the weeks to come there will be more postings about this big event but for now we will just keep thinking about how to make his homecoming special. Sami is the person on the left in the photo.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Layaway?

Do you ever just jump in and do something and then spend days wondering "what was I thinking?" Well I have had one of those experiences this week but in the end I am excited and very thankful for layaway.

When I was growing up I loved and admired my mother's Gorham coffee service. Over the years I spent hours polishing the silver and of course my mom promised that it would one day be mine. I believed that. Unfortunately life just doesn't always turn out the way you believe it should. About two years ago following my dad's illness and eventual death, my sister recognized that my mother's service was missing. After looking around the house and trying to deal with the shock that someone would have taken it, we had to accept the fact that while my dad was sick and caregivers and others were in and out of the house the service went missing.

This past weekend I decided that I was going to finally just buy my own and we went to the antique market to look around. My son and husband went with me as they have listened to me grumble, complain and whine that I never got to enjoy the service. My son also enjoys polishing and so his opinion counts. At the market my son spotted a beautiful set that had the initial "H" engraved on it. My maiden name starts with "H" so of course he immediately decided this was the service that was meant for me. And so I put it on layaway.

I am so excited about finally getting my service!!! It may take me a year to get it paid off but after asking myself what I was thinking, I decided the real question should have been, "why didn't you do this sooner?" As soon as I get my set I will be having a girl party! Maybe it's time for me to join the Red Hat Society.

Friday, February 13, 2009

American Sweetheart Monax

I love doilies. To me they are form of paper lace that can be used in a million different ways - lining wastebaskets to make trash pretty, a beautiful border to edge a room, the inspiration for a valentine card, a placemat, stencil...or more. Several years ago I was visiting my sister in who was living in D.C. at the time. She had heard that there was a great Goodwill store in the Anacostia neighborhood in D.C. and while the neighborhood was not the safest, she thought we might find some bargains so off we went. It may seem strange to talk about doilies and Anacostia but on that day I found a small plate that was like finding a glass doily. It took me several years to see the same plate again but when I found it, an antique dealer was able to tell me a little something about the glass doily. It was a depression glass called American Sweetheart Monax. You have probably seen the pink, amber and green but you don't see the glass doily as often. When I think of Valentines Day I think of doilies and doilies remind me of my favorite glassware. To celebrate the season, today I stopped in at an antique market and picked up a few more plates for my collection. Happy Valentines Day!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sun & Lighting

It has been a gorgeous weekend so far making it impossible not to spend most of the daylight hours working in the yard. While my son and I were cleaning and mulching flower beds and soaking in the sun, my husband was rewiring some sconces we just purchased on ebay for $16. The wiring is complete but we still need to get the shades for these iron sconces.

Recently we have stumbled on to several beautiful light fixtures that after a little rewiring and rework have made lovely additions to our home.
The pair of sconces were totally reworked and are now gracing my bedroom walls.

Found this Murano glass chandelier on the internet 3 years ago. My girlfriend just bought one for a few thousand but I bought mine for just $300! This was new but after looking around I know that I found a deal.

This French floral lamp was an unbelievable bargain purchased at Scott's Antique Market. We try to go shopping after lunch on Sunday afternoon when the vendors are packing to go home. They are usually willing to really bargain if it means a sale and a lighter load.

This was a Ginori lamp found on a Sunday afternoon last summer for only $75. One of my friends who is an appraiser for French porcelains questioned whether Ginori produce lamps in the early 1900's. He explained that many times people would have lamps made from certain pieces. We confirmed it must be a lamp since there is a finial that obviously matches the lamp.

We found this lovely lamp just two weeks ago and it happens to be my favorite. I am using this as a bedside lamp and I am proud to say we found this one for only $35. With a new shade and new wiring it is as good as new.

Today I will be going back out in the sun but as the sun goes down I will be enjoying beautiful lighting indoors.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Movie and a Makeover

Yesterday I got up worried that no matter how hard I work, I can't make a difference in the world. To be more specific, I have been mentoring two children who lost their mom last summer. There has never been a mention of a dad but even when their mom was living, she was addicted to drugs and alcohol. I will never know the half of what these two kids experienced in their home environment but you can imagine. Their older brother (age 24) is now their legal guardian. While their mom was living the family received food stamps but those were terminated when she died. The mother never worked so there is no social security so these kids depend on charity from a few very poor family members and a few school officials. One of the reasons I get discouraged is that no matter what I do with the kids, deep inside I feel that I can't undo the years of their painful growing up nor can I remove them from extreme poverty and other negative elements in their environment.

In a previous post you may have read about some of the things we do with the kids but we have kicked off a new series of Saturdays called GirlTime. These are days designed to give the 11 year old some female time since she doesn't have a mom at a critical time in development. The first session was about hair care. My girlfriend Claristine volunteered to teach the session while I served as the assistant. It was a three hour session. This child's hair has been permed and put in tight braids that have damaged hair to a point that it was sad to see. Claristine is an expert in working with African American hair and she went right to work. Meanwhile I did the things I do best, baking cookies, popping popcorn and selecting the best movie for the occassion. The movie we watched was Enchanted. At the end of the day when the movie ended and the hair was finished, this little girl turned and said "today I got to be a princess."

I almost cried. We all take so many things for granted - homemade cookies, clean hair and clean clothes - no big deal - but for some, these small things are big struggles. My Jewish girlfriend has been helping a struggling family for four years. She too has been discouraged and even ridiculed by some in her social circles but she has inspired me with a Jewish teaching Tikkun Olam, meaning repair the world. Maybe we can't repair the entire world but have to start somewhere. Just knowing that one little girl went home feeling like a princess made me feel like yesterday was a day well spent.