Discerning The Real Purpose Of A Christmas Tree Skirt

•  Just this week friends gave us a wonderful holiday present.  We now have a beautiful quilted, velvet Christmas tree skirt, monogrammed with our name, under our tree.

This is a huge step up from our previous faded cotton, mis-stitched, puny Christmas tree skirt, that I purchased in a fit of cheap, when it was on sale at Lowe’s after the holidays.

•  Our new perfect Christmas tree skirt has reminded of two things.

First, my mother, who enjoyed the giving and baking aspects of Christmas, did not care for Christmas decorating.  AT ALL.  Her example definitely rubbed off on me.  Case in point?  No nice Christmas tree skirt for us when I’m left in charge.

Second, I remembered Bernice [“you little fruitcake”], from Designing Women, wearing her Christmas tree skirt gift as a piece of clothing.  It’s one of those classic sit-com moments that can still get me giggling.  Timeless, you know?

•  So without further ado, and with a hat tip to memories past, I give you today’s chuckle.  Enjoy, my friends.

Sitting Pretty On New Kitchen Chairs

~ ~ • ~ ~

DSCN5971
Just like on HGTV, here’s a teaser for the BIG REVEAL.

~ ~ • ~ ~

I’M ALL ABOUT MISMATCHED CHAIRS.  If things are too matchy-matchy, I get nervous. [What if I stain or break something? Then what? Things won’t match.]

I prefer the positive energy that eclectic style brings to a space.  So after years of perfectly coordinating table and chairs in our kitchen, it was time for a change.

Here’s the story.

~ ~ • ~ ~

DSCN5946
Is this box from Hannibal Lecter or Pottery Barn?

~ • ~

I BEGAN THIS PROJECT BY SEARCHING for chairs in brick & mortar stores and online.  Eventually I decided which new chairs I wanted around our Ethan Allen kitchen table, which we’ve had since we moved here 15 years ago.

DSCN5950
UPS plopped this very large box, filled with chair pieces + hardware, on our front stoop and I dragged it inside.

To make the table look better, Zen-Den painted the pedestal a warm neutral shade, SW6141 Softer Tan.

I figured that we’d use 2 dining chairs from Arhaus that we already had, knew to be comfortable, and were no longer being used in the dining room.  To these we would add 2 new chairs from Pottery Barn, ordered online.

We received the Pottery Barn chair pieces in a very large box.  Then one of us put them together in the foyer on Sunday morning while the other one of us photographed the event.  For posterity, ‘ya know?

~ • ~

DSCN5947
Looking lonely, a chair back leans against the wall, waiting to join together with other chair pieces to make a seat.

~ ~ • ~ ~

I’M GROOVING ON THESE NEW CHAIRS, brilliantly built by Zen-Den.  After sitting on the wobbly, match-y Ethan Allen Windsor chairs that came with this table, these new sturdy chairs are wonderful.

They coordinate with, but don’t match, our former dining room chairs repurposed as kitchen chairs– all of which makes my frugal, design-y heart happy.

No higher praise than that, eh?

~ ~ • ~ ~

DSCN5974
The BIG REVEAL shows my eclectic sense of style works for us.

~ ~ • ~ ~

[Hello FTC!  I know it’s been so long since we spoke, but I wanted to make sure that you understood that there was no monetary &/or other compensation involved with these kitchen chairs.  The foregoing is my opinion about things, shared here– just ‘cuz I can.  We good?]  

Of Autumn Beauty & Chores Most Necessary

DSCN3109Our weather this week has been perfect.

The night temps are down into the 50s while the days are in the 70s.  We have clear blue skies with sunshine going on during the day.

Twinkling stars have filled the sky at night, while the moon, which is now waning, has been such a small crescent that its light doesn’t diminish the shining stars.

With all due respect to December and the holiday season, I’d suggest that this is the most wonderful time of the year.  

# # #

I noticed the stars early this morning while I was taking the screens out of the windows.

Late yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from the man who cleans our gutters and washes our windows.  He asked if he could come over today, the weather being so nice and all.

I said “sure.”

So very early this morning I removed all the screens from the windows, and gazed into the dark blue starry sky, appreciating its simple beauty.

# # #

DSCN2192Tomorrow the sprinkler system will be deactivated for winter.

The man who does this is a delightful, talkative character who always leaves me laughing.  The stories he tells, often about our neighbors, are, shall we say, insightful.

But after he’s finished blowing the air out of the underground sprinkler system, the rest of the winterization chores will be ours to do at our leisure.

Or not to do at all, I suppose.

And on that tentative note, I shall end this post.  An old-school style blog post that offers no controversy or angst to the blogosphere, but tells its own quiet little story.  Such as it is.

A Lazy-ish Summer Weekend, Idyllic As Can Be

DSCN5641

• • •

It was a relaxing weekend here.  Nothing special going on, but enough to do to keep us content.

I read an enjoyable novel.

He watched his latest TV obsession.

We went for a walk around the neighborhood noticing that the new houses under construction are very large indeed.

I did laundry.

He repaired and painted the mailbox post while I cleaned the mailbox and numbers.

We went to a triple-A baseball game.

I shopped online for a new lamppost light to replace the worn-out one shown above.

He caught up on work while sitting at the kitchen table.

We ate, for dinner, cold sandwiches instead of cooking hot somethings.

And we drank bottles of beer instead of goblets of wine.

It was a weekend befitting warm August days under clear blue skies.

• • •

So gentle readers and kind lurkers, what did you do this past weekend?

Please tell all in the comments below.

May We All Be This With It When We Reach Our 70s

“I wore rouge today.”

I was standing in the personal care aisle at Kroger.  I wanted to buy some hair mousse, which is in a white container, and is on the shelf about ankle height, near the end of the aisle, on the left.

“Or I guess they call it blush now.”

In front of me was a woman, late-70s, with a coupon in her hand.  She and her cart were blocking my path– not because she was careless, but because shoppers and boxes of product yet to be stocked crowded the aisle.

“I have on mascara, too.”

She batted her eyes at me so I could see her blackened eyelashes behind her thick eyeglass lenses.

I smiled and said, “It looks nice.  I don’t have any on today.”  I batted my eyes back at her.

This made her smile.

“I don’t usually wear any, but I had to go somewhere special.  I went to lunch with a friend and there were men there.”

I smiled at her, nodded my head– and tried to casually, gracefully lean over to the left, reach around her cart and grab my mousse.

It was not meant to be.

“I’m sorry I’m in your way here.  But I have this coupon for $2.00 off and I can’t find the right product.”

I could see her predicament, the hair care line she was looking for had 4 different manifestations of their products, all in different colored bottles.

So I waited.  No rush really.

“It was a free lunch at Barrington Manor.  You know that place?  It’s assisted living for old people.  I’m not ready for that place yet.”

I told her that I knew where it was, in a fancy part of town.

“They had a make-up stylist after lunch who showed us how to wear make-up now that we’re senior citizens.  I didn’t have him do mine, but I asked questions.”

{ silence as she eyeballed the shelves  }

“And they gave us a make-up bag filled with $37.00 worth of free make-up.  FREE.”

{ big smile as she continued to look for the hair care product }

“Thirty-seven dollars!”

After about 30 seconds she found what she wanted to buy, then turned to me with her coupon and her product.

“This is right, isn’t it?  For the $2.00 off.  Like on the coupon.”

I looked at what she had picked up and pointed out that the words on her coupon were the same as the words on the bottle.

“Well, I hope I can read these words,” she said.  “I taught reading for years.  That’s what I did.  Read. Words.”

And with a chuckle and a “thank you” she moved on, leaving me to grab my hair mousse off the shelf and to reflect upon what it means to age stylishly while retaining your sense of humor.

May we all be so cheerful, curious and coherent when we reach her age.

Amen.

Bourbon, Bunnies & Baffling Skies + Q[s]OTD

An acquaintance suggested that I needed to start an Instagram account.  She’s there and loves it.  She thinks that I could drive traffic to my blog from Instagram + she likes my photos and wants to see them all in one place.

Isn’t that sweet?

DSCN5537

So last night, as a test run, I snapped some photos around here.  I figure that these are the sort of photos that I’d probably put on Instagram, if I was there.

Which I’m not sure that I’m going to be.

DSCN5544

As I was taking these pics I remembered a woman from years ago who had a unique blog, the name of which I don’t remember, in which she posted one photo per day of her kitchen table OR of what she saw while sitting at her kitchen table.

Her kitchen counter.  Her backyard.  Her sky.

DSCN5565

And suddenly I was giggling to myself because what I’d snapped for my Instagram test run was exactly what this blogger, who I hadn’t thought of in years, used to do.  Yet here I was doing the same thing, lending credence to: everything old is new again!

# # #

Q[s]OTD:

1)  Are you on, or do you follow people on, Instagram?  What do you like about it? What do not like about it?  Should I be there?

2)  In general, when viewing other people’s photos, what is your favorite kind of photo to see?  And why?

We Went To Nashville, Y’all

Like just about every post that I write about our travels…

Zen-Den was in [fill in the blank] for work and I decided to join him.

In this case he was in Nashville, TN, aka Music City USA.  So I flew down there for a goof-off weekend in a city that is cheerful and easy to navigate.

Nashville is fun, y’all.  Here are the highlights of our Weekend.

::  We went to the Parthenon.

Built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this building has INCREDIBLE detail, a small art museum in the basement featuring regional American landscape art, and is located in a large, somewhat uncared for, city park.

I learned how little I know about Greek mythology while here, y’all.

::  We went to a fancy part of town called Green Hills.

There we wandered around a mall, and adjacent lifestyle center, that had many of the same stores that we have here, BUT they were twice as large with FRIENDLY sales help.  As much as I don’t usually enjoy shopping, this I liked.

I bought a Coach purse, y’all.

::  We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This museum was amazing.  FASCINATING.  Curated to tell, entertain and engage everyone with music, videos, instruments, album covers, photographs, costumes, interactive displays and tasteful decor, we enjoyed this museum more than we thought that we would.

I saw Elvis’s gold Cadillac, y’all.

::  We ate at Ted’s Montana Grill.

This is a chain restaurant, owned by Ted Turner, that features beef and buffalo, along with salads and fish and milkshakes.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated in a 1970s steak-house style with lots of dark wood and shiny brass.  The food was DELICIOUS and the service was attentive.

I ate a bison burger– and I washed my hands with Boraxo powdered soap, y’all.

::  And finally, the answer to the question that everyone asks when you go to Nashville: Yes, we went to the Grand Ole Opry.

It was GREAT. We saw lots of older performers who we’d never heard of [Connie Smith?], but eventually, as the evening progressed, we saw performers who we knew, like Vince Gill and Pure Prairie League.  Then, in true Opry fashion, two superstars stopped by the Opry on a whim– and the crowd went crazy.

I saw Tricia Yearwood AND her husband, Garth Brooks, perform together, y’all.