Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Amazing Sale

Last Friday I thought I was spontaneously stopping by an estate sale.  I had never been to one before and I had a little time between the post office and whatever was next on my list (Facebook?  No, surely something more important, although now it seems to have slipped my mind).  There were a lot of cars on the cramped street so I had to pull over and let all the cars that had gotten there after me pass by and then I finally found a lonely little spot way down at the end of the street.  I always feel personally affronted by such circumstances, "How rude.  Don't they realize that I have to carry a big baby all that way?  They don't have big babies.  They are selfish.  Oh wait, I am trying to lose weight.  What a great opportunity."  So instead of changing my mind, I lugged my big baby down the street, around to the back of the house and in through the garage.  The scene was typical of any other garage sale: an old fuchsia sofa (I need a new couch, but my walls are red, cringe!), random gardening tools, some broken chairs -- no portent of anything noteworthy.  I wondered if this was the sale in its entirety, but then saw that there were people inside the house.  I sidestepped my way unsuspectingly through the narrow back door and found myself in a veritable Aladdin's Cave!  (Angels singing -- Aaah, Aaah).  Everywhere I turned another treasure caught my eye.  In the butler's pantry were tiny Limoges saucers for .50¢, the kitchen held heaps of trays and bowls overflowing with kitchen ware.  The dining room had sets of china and old Japanese framed prints.  The living room had beautiful furniture -- lacquer hutches and a mahogany secretary.  I found myself wanting to transport the contents of the house lock, stock, and barrel to my own.  But I resisted and merely crept around looking and pondering.  There was part of me that felt like a plunderer, rummaging through another woman's things while she is powerless to do anything about it.  And the thought coming quickly behind  that you really cannot take it with you.  You spend your life scrambling around  and really in the end, very little of it matters.  Those impressions kept my hands loot free for a while (or was it that big baby?) and I felt somewhat somber as I looked at the scraps of her earthly life:  She was a mother -- three boys and one girl; her husband was a prominent doctor in the area; she was catholic; she loved dishes, crystal, and silverware; she was a quilter, a gardener, a reader, a cook, a traveller, a homemaker.  She had made a lovely home and I felt a comforting spirit there.  I turned, and there on a table in a back room were my dishes that I use every day!  I smiled and thought, "We are kindred spirits.  No wonder I like every single solitary item in this house."  This discovery changed my tune as I began to think that she wouldn't mind, with her newly acquired perspective from the other side, if her things went to another house with someone who would enjoy them.  I thought about my own eventual demise and the inevitable letting go.  It will be fine.  With that I picked up a lovely set of cake plates -- each with its own flower pattern, grabbed the little saucers I had seen earlier which would be ideal for sushi dipping, and then went to stand in line.  I made my purchases then stopped back by the dining room.  Hmmm.  What a table!  It matches my hutches perfectly.  And those chairs.  I don't like the way that lady is eying those.  In fact, I am pretty sure that those belong in my house.  I picked up the phone and told M that I was going to buy a new dining set.  "We already have a table."  "I know, but we this one is perfect!"  We went the next day to pick it up and everything was discounted, in fact by the time we left everything was 75% off.  Here is what we ended up with: dining room table with three leaves and six chairs (same brand as my free hutches), loveseat (exactly the same shape as the one I have wanted online that cost $3500 and I was considering saving up for, given to me free because I bought the table), a black afghan with bright flowers (exactly like the one in "Stranger Than Fiction" that I admired so much that I checked out "Crocheting for Dummies" from the library because it had the pattern and I was going to try to make it myself even though I don't know how to crochet), the game "Acquire" (Matthew's favorite game ever and no longer sold in stores and one which I need never play since I am obviously expert at acquisition), my set of dishes -- I now have 18 dinner plates, time for a party! (she had them marked $100, but then gave them to me free when I told her they matched ones I already have), a hammock (I have wanted one for five years and have scoured clearance aisles and garage sale in vain.  I didn't want to pay too much and it ended up that I didn't), a Christmas tree skirt (with pom poms on the edge), a cake slicer (my mom has the one that I grew up with and that was her mother's.  I have looked for one like it at antique stores and thrift shops for years and there it was sitting patiently with its yellow handle that matches my kitchen), and various other plates, bowls, etc.  I think that is all of it.

The first question is should I ever set foot inside another estate sale?  There would not be room enough to receive another haul like this last one, but surely nowhere else would I be able to find so many of just the right things.  I have been having dreams about the sale almost every night (it really had an effect on my subconscious) and woke up quite disappointed on Monday that I couldn't go find one somewhere.  And what did they do with the things that didn't sell (hands wringing, did I need something else)?

And the next question is, what does this all mean, if anything?  It was incredible to me that so many things that I have been searching for were right there at that one house.  I really am not looking for that many things, but I am learning to be patient and just wait for them to find me.  What if I hadn't gone?  Would the Earth have stopped spinning?  Was I meant to go there?  Was it a coincidence?  Or was it a blessing, a tender mercy if you will?  And if so, why?  Things aren't that important, and certainly me having things isn't that important.  And there are plenty of more deserving people in the world who seem to have it pretty rough.  This is a question I ask myself often about amazing little occurrences that happen in my life and I really don't know the answer.  What I do know is that I want to give credit where credit is due.  I know that God loves me and I am sure that I am supposed to "pay it forward" somehow since I have been smiled upon.   I am grateful for what I assume was a unique experience.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Kind of Chair Are You?

Some people know exactly what they want. They are decisive and poised when faced with choices. When it comes to "dressing their nests" their houses feel serene because everything goes together and has a nice flow. How I wish that I could be like that. I am like a magpie -- everything turns my head, especially if it is shiny! I know it isn't the most crucial thing in the world, but I am continually striving to find out what my style is and then decorate my house that way. Actually, I do think it is important because Home should be a peaceful haven where you can escape the world and where your family and friends can find solace. At least that is what I tell myself when I feel like I am being too materialistic and obsessive. Last week I finally went to frame the picture that my nephew took of the Salt Lake Temple.  I walked right in and actually didn't take too long choosing a frame. I picked something that was almost black and kind of like bamboo because I thought it would look nice with our Japanese tansu chest and the other oriental things in that room. I used my coupon, picked a plain mat for it and walked away. Then the torment starts. "Did I pick the right thing? Sure we have an asian thing going on in that room, but the temple isn't asian, I should have picked something that was more straight lines like the temple. But wait, I really love a softer look. Who am I kidding? I love flowers! I should have picked the dark wood frame with delicate flowers carved into the edge. I need to just be true to myself! But Matthew wouldn't like that and it is his house, too. I know, I should have gone with that ornate silver frame. The temple is gray and that would look fabulous! But nothing else in that room is really that color and besides with the tint..." Blah, blah, blah and on it goes until it is too late and I pick it up and I hate it and I feel sick because I spent money on it and should love it. But then I bring it home and put it up over the piano and it looks fine.  I do not have this problem with things from Goodwill or garage sales. "I like that. I don't like that. That is not worth a dollar, but love it for a quarter."   There are no options -- just one size, one color.  It either will or will not do.  There is no pressure there, no agonizing.  But actually having to spend real money on something? Well, you might as well just kill me now and save the debilitating ulcer some trouble.  I think I am done buying new things and I will have to tell you about the Amazing Estate Sale later.

As an example of my widely varying tastes, I have gathered some images of chairs that I like.  Asian, modern, cottage, retro, biedermeier, you name it!  I might not like them next week and they definitely don't go together!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clearance and Catch Up

Well, it has been a long time...  We have been so busy!  We had the most humongous yard sale ever last weekend and it went surprisingly well.  My friend and I spent so much time getting ready for it, but then as the morning progressed and we weren't getting much business, I began to think that my goal of $30 was a bit lofty.  Fortunately, more people came along who were loony enough to want my rubbish and it all turned out okay.  We laughed about how some people wanted stuff that we were a little hesitant to put out because it was so junky, but then other items that we thought were amazing and were loathe to relinquish were still sitting there dejectedly at the end and we had to decide yet again if we still wanted them or not.  Unfortunately, some of it did find its way back into my house and I also am now the proud owner of some of my friends garbage.  One of those things is a curvy little oval coffee table that I love!  I am officially addicted to yard sales and already have a pile of clothes germinating in the corner which I am sure will blossom into a full blown garage full by next Spring.

We also did a birthday party for oldest boy and his friends last weekend.  As I have mentioned before, he is getting so big.  He has always been my little bugaboo and he is a wonderful son and big brother.

And Lucy had a music concert so a pic of her.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Favorite Monday

My friend Amy dedicated an entire post to being hooked on blue which made me think, "Hey, I LOVE blue, couldn't live without it."  So I decided to also take some pictures of some, but not all, of my favorite blue things.  Here is my Ode to Blue.

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  1. glass cherry tree
  2. Ella's bedroom
  3. Japanese woodblock print
  4. little girls room complete with cat -- everything looks better with a little black cat
  5. new basement room
  6. collection of tins -- post about how Martha ruined that later
  7. my bedroom
  8. my favorite earrings ever
  9. diaper bag
  10. living room chair that needs help, but still love the color
  11. big cushions and baby blue boy
  12. ocean and sky -- gorgeous!
  13. my purses
  14. clearance t.v. stand
  15. thrift store pitchers -- I seem to be drawn to the same color over and over

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday!  My kids are home from school today which I always love.  We have had a relaxing morning and look forward to having essentially two Saturdays!  I made asparagus omelets for breakfast and later we will dye Easter eggs and get ready for the holiday.  I found this recipe for Resurrection Rolls.  We made them for Activity Days last week and I am going to make them again with my kids.  They are a finger-licking, lip-smacking way to teach a lesson so what more could you want?  I really love Easter, maybe because I love Spring so much, but also because the Easter story itself is so full of hope and promise.  Last weekend during our church's General Conference so many of the talks were about Christ and how we can have hope and happiness even in troubled times.  Pres. Monson wins the prize for telling the all-time saddest story I have ever heard(!) in his talk entitled Be of Good Cheer.  So after we picked ourselves up out of the puddle of tears (war, grrrr), we could see that even in the most trying circumstances we can find peace.  It is hard to remember that sometimes and very good to be reminded.  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

First and Last

Oldest girl just turned 15  -- I have such tender feelings for my first baby!  I feel like our time with her at home is "far spent" so I want to enjoy the next few years as much as possible.  She wanted a "pastry" instead of a cake, so I found the easiest one possible and it was really good, if not quite as pretty as an actual birthday cake.

And youngest boy turned 1 last week.  Whoa!  That year couldn't have rushed along more pell-mell and I don't see things slowing down anytime soon.  For some reason I always feel like in two weeks I will have more time.  What on earth am I thinking?

And he finally got a much needed haircut.  What a handsome boy  -- oh, who just woke up.  Ciao!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baby Come Back!

Hey Spring, come back!  We really liked you.  I hope that we didn't give you the wrong idea by complaining about the wind and the rain (and the sleet and the hail).  We were glad that we didn't have to shovel the driveway anymore and were looking forward to the blossoms and the flowers.

Last week I  began my annual tradition of making daily rounds along the flower beds.  As I balance on the bricks I notice the whorls of ferns and hostas, the nubs of the peonies breaking through the ground, and oh look, the surprise lilies grew three inches overnight!  The leaves of the irises, daylilies, daisies, and tulips have all shot up; the forsythia and hyacinth have braved their blossoms, the hydrangea has begun to replenish its leaves, and even the rosebush is covered with red sprouts.  I pause by each plant,  turn and view the yard from different vantage points, and then I begin to dream.  I could put some kind of wall over there for the wisteria to climb; a picket fence around the vegetable garden to keep the bunnies out; a Japanese garden in that corner complete with bamboo, a koi pond, and a torii gate; in the front yard a parterre with a peach tree at each front corner and a fountain in the middle...  Who am I kidding?  We can barely keep the grass mowed!  So I try to tone down my dreams a little bit.  I drive around town looking for inspiration for what grows well here --  grass, grass, grass, shrub, house; grass, grass, grass, gravel, shrub, house;  grass, grass, grass, gravel, phlox, shrub, house.  It is pretty exciting.  So I called a local nursery and paid a guy $40 to come to my house and tell me that my yard is full of roots and shade and nothing would grow well in it.  Thank you so much!  I had no idea that I had so much shade and had not noticed all of my big trees.  I really appreciate your guidance!  Those same trees also hamper my grand plans of planting one zillion bulbs in the fall because every spare hour is spent raking the generous amount of leaves they produce.  I always pine over the the frilly, multi-hued tulips, the double-headed daffodils, and the fluffly allium I failed to plant.  Sigh.

photo taken on this, the sixth day of April, 2009 -- look at the hyacinth, isn't it sad?  It can't blossom.  It can't even stand up.  (Veggie Tales allusion)

So Spring, come back, any kind of fool could see there was something in everything about you.  Spring, you can blame it all on me.  I was wrong, and I just can't live without you...

Friday, April 3, 2009

On Vacation!!!

We have been in Florida and it was divine! It is still a little chilly here -- 38˚ right at the moment, so it was beyond fabulous to be a normal temperature for a bit. My mom was so kind to fly here and then drive with us to my sister's house even though it would have been cheaper for her to just fly there. Gotta love her -- oh, I do!  Grandma was a great driver and the kids were so good in the car!  I have strong opinions about dvd players in the car (against), but whenever we are planning a long trip, I always stop and reconsider my position.  Once again, I decided not to get one and once again my children proved to me that we absolutely do not need to be watching movies as we sail through rolling hills in Kentucky, mountains in Tennessee with spring waterfalls at every turn, more hills in Georgia, and then the first glimpses of the tropics in Florida.  We listened to books on tape, sang songs, listened to stories from Grandma's life, argued a bit (until we found the primo seating arrangement), played games, and stared out the window (what!?! is that allowed?).  So I am still against dvd players, but I am not judging anyone who decides they need one (I just think I am better than them).  

Can you see the alligator behind them? We went to the Everglades...

And boating on the gulf of Mexico where we found shells and sand dollars.

Thanks Aunt Janis and Uncle John for your hospitality.  We had a great time!
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