Decorating Inspiration: Shabby Chic

Decorating Inspiration: Shabby Chic

White pitchers, roses, crystal–this is Rachel’s signature style.

Treasure hunting? I’ll admit it, when it comes to big garage sales on a summer afternoon–it’s so much fun to come home with a treasure. My writing desk was in an “antique store” which is really another name for selling stuff people no longer want. It’s oak and serviceable, but I’m sure its value lies in my love of it.

And right this moment, I ask you to look around the room you are sitting in–because I am sure there is at least ONE ITEM that you picked up at a sale (garage or other venue), or you inherited or it was a gift from a dear friend–and it is something old and chipped, or white enamel, painted with roses, or covered in needlepoint and you will never part with it.

HOW RACHEL FOUND HER CALLING

Rachel Ashwell was born in England and remembers the excitement of walking through flea markets on cold mornings with her parents. They opened the door to what became not only Rachel’s passion but a rich and profitable business. She now lives in Malibu, California and has her cornerstone store in LA. But I have bought many of her designs through her Target Brand–and have followed her style by reading her Treasure Hunting and Decorating Guide. It opened my eyes as to FINDS at sales–garage, antique, flea markets, rummage sales, swag meets and tag sales.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Stopping your car when you see a piece of furniture at the curb is one thing. But spending hours examining pottery and glassware, finding the uses of items you have never seen before is another.

It became a passion and a hobby with me. In the suburbs of Chicago, I held and visited garage sales, garnering cast off chairs–you set the chair in your garden and place a plant on the seat and let ivy trail down. Tins, gardening tools, flower pots can fill an old baker’s rack that you have to spray paint every season or just let it become a chipped antique. 

In Iowa, I found McCoy pottery at the Iowa State Fair, crystal candle sticks and white pitchers. I now have a collection. And I am always on the lookout for a single plate that I can display or hang above my kitchen cabinets. Anthropologie plates are expensive–but if you head to the back of the store there are always some on sale.

RACHEL knows the value of old sheets, pillowcases, napkins, hand towels–any of these items being even better if they are monogrammed with the name of a hotel or a bride’s initials. She also recommends anything that is embroidered or hand stitched. She refers us to a time when these items were precious and thus were mended if they tore. 

I treasure a quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was married. It’s pattern is THE TREE OF LIFE and each of my children and grandchildren have been photographed on the quilt.

COLORS, PASTELS, WICKER AND WOOD  

Rachel loves white, soft greens and pink in all of its shades, especially if you add a painting or a pitcher of cabbage roses, another aspect of her signature style. She places wicker white furniture against a backdrop of pink white or soft blue. In my last home, the guest room featured bedding styled by Rachel, prints of flowers and a built-in shelf where I displayed books from my childhood, paintings done by my grandchildren and framed photos of loved ones.

This new house is smaller and a bigger challenge as to how I can honor my  Shabby Chic items. One wicker chair is already gone–via a neighborhood organization where you can post a photo of the item on Facebook, provide the street and general area where you live, and people can then write back if they are interested. This is a great way during Covid to look for castoffs that just might become precious to you.

In the famous yearly sale that my church in Des Moines held, I found the best of the best–things I still cherish. A big white chest that I painted, adding new hardware. A painted toile tray that I will never part with. High-end pillow cases and linens that I cherish. A small stool that has probably been repainted five  times.

And crystal! Rachel will hang a crystal chandelier anywhere–and I love how crystal plays in light, especially sunlight. My mother-in-law said yes, when I asked for a bag of crystals that I found in her bedside table. They had come from a lamp and she loved how they played in the light. I have hung them, displayed them–and though we weren’t in love with a chandelier in our last dining room, it provided a great place to hang the crystal ornament we receive every Christmas from dear friends. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. 

NEED A FUN PROJECT? 

So to welcome in a year that is new, but also stymied in some ways by Covid: cruise your dwelling. What room could use some new paint? What piece of furniture would brighten a room if you chose some awesome color of milk paint and gave it a new life? 

No matter where I live, I will always be eager for setting a mood, repurposing an item or finding a better use for something I own or a treasure I have come upon. I won’t say Rachel Ashwell changed my life, but she underlined the beauty of the “found” item and emphasized that cherishing and repurposing old things can bring warmth and charm to your life.

Decorating Inspiration: Shabby Chic

Decorating Inspiration: This Week, Mary Engelbreit

Decorating Inspiration: This Week, Mary Engelbreit

Decorating Inspiration: This Week, Mary Engelbreit

Every house I have ever lived in, inspires me to create a HOME. But wow–over time, have my tastes changed. I’m old enough to have lived in the avocado green & harvest gold period. This was our first house, a track house with spring green carpeting and touches of orange and gold everywhere. I even painted my antique wicker desk orange. (I still have that lovely desk and now it is properly white.)

Our second house went through many stages: from a yellow living room to a lovely federal blue. From orange shag carpeting in the family room to oatmeal Berber. During negotiations on our third home, I walked out the door, unable to picture how this house with great bones could actually become a home. But after conceding and after a total remodel, the house became everything I wanted. But life changed, my husband took a job in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Cape Cod in Des Moines will probably remain my favorite. But following the usual pattern, it needed a lot of work. That’s when I discovered Mary Engelbreit, her ability to transform each room so that it reveals your personality, highlights the things you love.

The smallest bedroom had not been touched in years. So—I painted the walls a soft light gold and sponged on deeper shades for texture. The trim was white. I hung Belgium lace valences on the windows and a quilt behind the bed to serve as a headboard. I sanded an old chest, only to bring it down to “pedimento”– revealing was was underneath–blue. New hardware highlighted that color. I  hung a copy of a Picasso print from his blue period, and used white whicker baskets to hold pillows and shawls. A drawing of a picnic on laminated pressboard became a table when I set it on top of a luggage rack. I loved to tell anyone that admired the room: “Nothing in this room is new. I just dug in my closets.” I wish I had a photo of it to show you. 

Many of my ideas were fueled by reading Engelbreit’s books and looking at endless photos of her transformations. It was great fun and the bones of the house were perfect for the style of that time. (Next week: Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic) 

Below, more Ideas from Mary Engelbreit: All photos are of rooms done by Engelbreit–they are not my rooms.

A Variety of Thoughts in the Time of Covid 19

A Variety of Thoughts in the Time of Covid 19

I’m on Twitter. I like it there. If I am angry, I say so. People who are also angry, or simply agree with me, follow me. It’s virtual hand holding. Oh, I’ve had to block folks. They’d be the ones to tell me to shut up or worse. There were a few that threatened me. But I’ve decided to defend what I believe in, and I’m not silent concerning those things. Back in California, I walked out of a gathering, because the people there, in my opinion, had hardened their hearts.

Now there is Covid19–and ironically, it can bring people together. Last night a woman tweeted that her mother had died. I wrote back: So sorry. I have thanked God many times that my mother, the person who gave me more than I could every repay, died in 2013. TRUTH.

WORKING AT HOME

My mother Jinni was tireless. But now, she reminds me not to be tireless. To take care of myself and my family. To fight back at Covid. Jinni would. When I yearn for a nap, I think of her.

Jinni would sometimes walk into our living room and “collapse”, as she would say, on the dark green couch, falling instantly to sleep for five minutes or ten.

I often watched her as she struggled to get up and back to it. (My mother worked in our dining room, typing insurance policies to pay the bills.) At some point, I began to understand that she longed to have a reason to just relax, to lie there and do nothing. But for a widow with three children to raise, that reason never came. And at the end of the day, when she was “processing” what she had typed, pulling carbons apart and stamping paper and using paper clips, she would take my face in her carbon-smudged finger and tenderly kiss me.

How could I have become anything but active, when I had a mother who labored at home keeping us all perfectly safe and healthy, who settled us in school, and then one day put on high heels and nylons and went downtown to work.

Jinni might be comfortable with COVID. She’d be working at home again.

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THIS TIME

Now that many of us are home most of the time, we need to focus on things that lift the spirit: warmth, comfort, cleanliness—and also the stamp of our own individual personality. These are essential.

Our rooms call out to us and we decide to make some choices. A throw or pillow add color to a cloudy day. Books, plates and photographs provide comfort, help us decide that we are okay. We will be okay. And as we face the darker seasons, light is essential, enhances where we live. The blocks of sunlight on the floor; the rocking chair that creaks, because it was grandmother’s. The shadows, the lamplight, when daylight departs. If we have to BE HOME, let’s make it cozy, cheerful, comfortable.

TELEVISION

Many bloggers will alert you to things to watch on television. That’s awesome. And most nights that is what my husband and I do—currently watching THE CROWN. And also the news, Rachel Maddow. I cannot begin to say how her finally being back, telling us upfront, how she dealt with her partner Susan having Covid, and almost dying—how hard that was for Rachel to tell us, how that was for us to watch. The pain in her voice, her face. Especially since Rachel has been a constant presence, warning us, urging us to be careful. She is part of why so many people are still alive, so many doctors and nurses finally got the PPE that they needed.

READING

And there is always reading. On Sunday we get both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. We could read all day! And when we moved, almost all of our books came with us. Books are life.

From Lauren Grodstein’s A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

“We were standing looking out on a beautiful April evening. The magnolia in the yard was cloaked in blossoms, and the rabbits that lived under the purple hydrangeas were foraging in the fading daylight. The air in the room smelled heavy with food and sweat and burning wax and Lysol and clean linen. Steve didn’t cry, didn’t speak, just held both my hands in his own. His grief was stark and monstrous behind his thick, gentle glasses. The room was silent.”

AND FINALLY: THIS IS FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EVER BEEN A LABOR AND DELIVERY RN 

From Gentle Reminder by Ray Spooner  

Go placidly amid the laboring patients and remember what peace there may be in coffee breaks. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with the unit secretary; for she controls everything…Enjoy each delivery as if it were your first…You are a labor and delivery nurse, no less than the obstetricians and the midwives; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe will fall apart as soon as you sign out. Therefore, be at peace with God…and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of shift change, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and popcorn trodden into the carpet, this is still a beautiful unit. Be careful. Strive to be happy, and don’t go home with the narc keys in your pocket.

GRATEFUL…

In the Midwest, the grass is thickening and widening, the color deep and truly green. When the sun slants through my garden door around three o’clock in the afternoon, you can see the yellow-green haze of color flowing through the yard. There are a few roses lifting their lovely heads. The aster’s purple is fading and the apple tree has lost all of its golden leaves. The mums on my front porch sigh with loss, but we can still celebrate the colors of fall, the orange of pumpkins, the symbols of the end of the season, the perfect blend to highlight the green grass that will return and the golden leaves that blow and sparkle like some crazy fairy dust.

AUTUMN CHORES  

My back garden walk is now swept clean, allowing me to enjoy the tidiness of the fading season. When things fall back toward the earth, the outlines of garden and lawn, of walkway and road, become more apparent. This definition pleases my sense of order and organization.

Fall is the time to remember the trailing vines and the riot of summer flower color, to now become satisfied with the quieter tones that hug the ground–the shaped evergreens, remnants of fall that are softening, the air cooler, drier. The skies have swept up too, presenting swathes of crystal blue. You can see the definitive outlines of the trees, and the houses along the street–definition being the order of this season. It’s soothing and with family help, garden things are cleaned and put away, everything quietly asleep, waiting for a reawakening.

THIS IS THE TIME...

to store energy, like rabbits and squirrels or fly away, like birds who leave for warmer places. With Covid 19, most of us will stay in place, storing energy for the burst of growth in the spring. I have always been a person who seeks solace and quietude more than riotous living. I don’t like loud bars, overdrinking and eating. I like the lines of furniture in my rooms, broken only by the placement of things I love that sit on their surfaces—a flowered pillow, a piece of crystal, a flowing candle of light.

This is my season to highlight my rooms with colors like autumn leaf, chamois and seagrass, all reminding me of endings, good endings that are resolute and leave one feeling blessed, not sorrowful. 

Autumn is the time to tidy up one’s house, yard and soul as the earth prepares for sleep and hibernation. In colder climates, like the squirrels, we stock up on food-energy and light-energy, remnants of what our ancestors needed to survive. We find a time when we can settle back into our brains and examine who we are, where we are going, and how we might improve. Life cannot be lived like the riot of spring where nature blows her wad and lets everything grow and rush about, sperm floating in the millions until it whittles itself down to one plant, one bud. We humans must be more judicious in our use of fertility and in how we utilize and share our bounty.

THINGS TO DO…

In autumn, we need to count the jars in the cellar, the apples in the basket, the sins on the soul. We need to tidy our lives and draw within to discover how we will survive, how we will make it through the dark times of our lives. In spring, when life comes back, we hope to have no fears for the future. 

I will miss the complacency of California, where change is not so noticeable as it will be this year, being back in the Midwest. So what’s happening? Our fireplace is being cleaned tomorrow and we have a new shed to store wood. . . 

What rituals do you go through as the seasons change?

Anne Lamott writes: “Autumn ain’t so shabby for Wow, either. The colors are broccoli and flame and fox fur. The tang is apples, death, and wood smoke. The rot smells faintly of grapes, of fermentation, of one element being changed alchemically into another, and the air is moist and you sleep under two down comforters in a cold room. The trails are not dusty anymore, and you get to wear your favorite sweaters.” 

Thanks to Jennifer Williamson 

Hoping to Smell the Roses

Hoping to Smell the Roses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I save things. Like a piece from the magazine “Loyola Chicago”, written by Hannah Rockwell. Like the above photo that accompanied it. 

Rockwell is reacting to many things, but stresses the proliferation of enclosed malls in the United States–because when the piece was written, malls “outnumbered cities, four-year colleges, hospitals, hotels or movie theaters.” Rockwell sees this proliferation of wandering, shopping, as a metaphor for the WORLD OF WANTING. And then she stresses that “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that children in our country under the age of 15 are 12 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than children in the top-25 industrial countries.” 

Rockwell wants us to see that we must recognize how much we actually have, cherish all that has come to us. She wants us to live simply, be present to our own experience, help pass these important messages on to our children. She wants us to “smell the roses.”

SO TODAY… I want that too. I want that for all of America, but I also know that today, we are at a precipice. The roses are fading for many of us. Voices across the country are coming together loud and clear:

Jennifer Senior: 45 has normalized selfishness.

L. Friedman: The whole world has gotten darker.

Roger Cohen: He severed America from the idea of America.

Michelle Goldberg: Four years of cultural impoverishment.

David Brooks: Smashing the ‘decency floor.’

Maureen Dowd: It’s exhausting to be this outraged all the time.

Charles M. Blow: How could we have been so blind?

Ross Douthat: Have we learned nothing?

Farhad Manjoo: He shattered the comfortable bliss of not having to pay attention!

And there were those who were asked about their AMERICAN DREAM…

Kimberly Berry: The day I realized that no matter how hard I work or how smart and educated I am, as a Black woman in America I will always be perceived as invisible. 

Marcel Dzama: It’s paralyzing to consider how much we’ve lost in the last four years: the human lives, our democratic norms, the health of our planet. I was imagining a migrant child lost in a decaying earth of our doing. The death is staggering. 

SO THINK HARD ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AMERICA. Then, if you haven’t already, VOTE. We all want roses to bloom for our children and grandchildren. Thanks for reading. 

Photo Credit, Loyola Chicago Magazine Thanks to the NEW YORK TIMES for the quotes….

Hope, Gratitude and Planning

Hope, Gratitude and Planning

Autumn in the garden.

GRATITUDE

This past week my oldest daughter and her husband drove from Boston to Chicago–to see our new home and to be with us. They brought with them tools and the talent and love we needed right now, as we settle into our new home. They worked tirelessly all week–first, putting our garden to bed (remember the photo, that it’s rather large with lots of cultivars?) Our Chicago son and daughter-in-law were right there too, building a shed to store things for the coming winter, and working in the house: painting, reorganizing, advising and most of all loving.

The six of us ate six-feet-apart dinners at night, the cooking and prep all shared. Then one important night, we celebrated on the phone and online with our other daughter who lives in California–because this past week she and her husband celebrated twenty years of marriage! 

PLANNING

Between ripping off wallpaper, picking out paint colors and talking about what might be done next, we drove through the Beverly neighborhood where John and I were raised, and where we again call home. We pointed out the homes where we were raised, the schools and churches we attended and the homes of my grandmother and aunts.

Every day, there was laughter and planning, and of course many tears when they left. My daughter helped me plan for more projects, discussing paint colors, organization and she even photo-shopped a new look for the outside of our home. NOW THAT’S talent– and of course love.

HOPE …. 

We did not watch the last debate, but of course there was much talk about the election, about the future of our country and how much we love it–from California to Boston, and all in-between. We did watch Barack Obama’s stunning talk from a platform in Pennsylvania–loved that he got angry, that he didn’t hold back, revealing his fierce love for this country, a love that we all share.

And we were all in agreement as to what needs to happen in this country–so that we can save our democracy, fight back at COVID19, help people get healthcare and decent educations–so that all of us can contribute to the forward motion of the United State of America.

Yes, it was a week of hope, gratitude and planning. Prayers go with my daughter and son-in-law as they drive home.

And when will we all be together again–with our daughter and her family back in California???  We are planning….

Photo Credit: Me, taken on a cloudy day. That’s Chicago!

Autumn Is Here! Are you ready?

Autumn Is Here! Are you ready?

Autumn Is Here! Are you ready?

I bought mums—four lovely burnt orange ones. I hung a wreath of yellowed leaves. I found flowers in my garden to cut and bring inside that echo the colors of autumn. It’s early yet, but it’s coming. And now that I am in Chicago, autumn will mean more than decorating with orange and gold—it will mean winds and rain and putting the garden to bed, making sure we have a good heavy quilt and this year—seeing if one of the two fireplaces we now have really, truly works.

IDEAS ARE ALL AROUND US! 

No matter what part of our great country you live in, autumn is a wonderful time to test your decorating chops. Yes, I have the newest copy of Better Homes and Gardens. They always have great ideas and there have been times I’ve lingered in the grocery store, just paging through Meredith publications (where I used to do copyediting for their magazines). They provide so many wonderful country or city how-to’s for the seasons, especially this one.

But my favorite go-to, and how-to person who you can follow online–is French Country Cottage, presented so beautifully by Courtney Allison. Courtney bought a run-down cottage near San Francisco, totally rebuilt and altered it, while building a blog, writing a book and taking amazing photographs as she proceeded. Her business flourished by incorporating furniture pieces from showrooms, but even better, by finding antiques and cast-offs and showing us that you can create amazing rooms with these–but even better by using what you have, and loving what you use—and always thinking FLOWERS, fresh or dried.

Today Courtney wrote: Chunky blankets, cups of warm cider, candles and a cozy fire in the fireplace. And home truly is our haven this year with spending so much more time right at home. Today is all about a simple autumn look in the dining room & tips for creating a cozy feeling in your home.

Here are a few of Courtney’s tips: Bring those muddy orange pumpkins inside for a bit of color while staying on the softer side of autumn. Forage your garden and yard to find dried elements that inspire you and create a gathered arrangement for autumn.

And my advice? Don’t forget the candles to warm the colors and cozy the mood. Above I’ve shared some of the throws and delights that I will be using as the wind picks up. And below is a photo of a modern home that brings the nostalgia of life on the farm alive once again.

Do you make changes in your home when autumn arrives?

What is your favorite way to celebrate the autumnal equinox?

Autumn Is Here! Are you ready?

Warmth and memories.

The Light in My Kitchen

 

The Light in My Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found it at TJ Max. It sat on the counter in our kitchen in Des Moines. I loved the colors of the lamp base, but I loved even more–that I kept it lit at night, and if for some reason I had to go downstairs before sunrise, there is was, welcoming me. In California, I often awoke in the grey dawn and again, it welcomed me.

OTHER LIGHTS IN OUR LIVES

All humans are drawn to light. It’s been that way since we came into existence. We can wander after the sun goes down–but we need the light of the moon or of fire–a candle, and then later, modern light run by batteries, solar power. Those who came before us would not fall into a ravine or over a cliff if there was light to keep them safe.

But the most important light of all, is the one that shines from other people. Light in their eyes. Light, excitement, love and care in their voices. Amidst the clamor of modern living, how wonderful to sit quietly and talk with a friend, hold a newborn, smile at your life partner who has always been there for you.

BE A LIGHT FOR OTHERS

Today while I am writing about THE LIGHT IN MY KITCHEN, I am remembering and loving last evening, when our three children and their families, my husband and I, did a zoom call–in the kitchen. True light. The light of laughter, the glow of the faces I love and miss, even the light from their homes coming into ours.

More and more we need connection. Yes, we miss hugging, handshakes, and when I go shopping, I try really hard to smile behind my mask so that my welcome or gratefulness moves into my eyes, comes through in my body movements. We can do this.

Thanks for reading. I wish you true light in your kitchen–a person you love, the phone call that soothes, the music that calms you, the poem that echoes. Whatever it is, embrace it– and if you can, be a light for others.

Photo Credit: Me

THE MOVE…

THE MOVE...

the garden…

The sense of it, the experience of it started with “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf. Parts of it read: 

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon

the walls, pendant from the ceiling—what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest well of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat softly.

A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass.

Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent…

AND I FOUND MYSELF…going to that place whenever I read A Haunted House, or thought about those roses and apples. That was the first lighting of my vision.

FROM VIRGINIA WOOLF TO…

The second was so opposite in its source! Yet I cannot remember the exact magazine, but it was either Country Home or Better Homes and Gardens. For when you fall in love with your own rooms, with your roses and apples, the sunlight on your carpet, the soft beating of safety when the sun departs and the moon glows in your window—a-ha, there are others who feel the same way about their homes. And they were reading the same magazines.

And so, this woman had a house in California. I do wish I’d saved the photographs. But in a major living area with tables and candles, with chairs and tea cups, she could open large doors of glass and smell the roses growing just beyond, in jardinières or window boxes, I don’t remember. And she was gracious and giddy about the bees that hummed just there, beyond the openness of her home’s windows and doors.

And I thought that lovely. I thought that so like Virginia Woolf, the image of crossing from the wooden floor planks of a house into the stones of the garden—the roses and sunlight bending inward, the bees behaving, possibly humming with the music that wafted outwards from a radio, a stereo.

Did I have that vision in my mind when, my patient husband, my patient brother and the real estate agent, took me from one place to another. Until. Until—there it was.

The day was cloudy, and the rooms smaller, but there was a large glass window and a door that opened to the garden, to the roses I would plant, the bees that I would summon, and the sunshine of southern California. And Virginia Woolf, the woman in the magazine, they would have approved.

But the trees did spin darkness for a wandering beam of sun. Though “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The Treasure yours.” And again, the wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall.

There were moon beams and sun beams to warm the floor, the home, this harbor, this home. There was laughter and weeping, kisses and warm embraces—and music, downstairs and flowing up the stairs, all throughout and lingering. What remains of us—only worn and warmed places and those spirits, and all those words, so many words that weave us together.  

DEPARTURE, SWEET SORROW….

But now we depart California, bid this home goodbye, we eager to love another, a treasure of solid walls lightened by sunlight, brightened by roses, by flowers that bend to us in summer, and blessed by all those who have ever sheltered there and now will shelter us.

Leaving has its pain, but—as Joan Didion, who was born in California but now lives in New York City, wrote: A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest…remembers it most obsessively, loves it so radically that it remakes his image…

Goodbye California, I will miss you, always. Hello, Chicago. We return to the neighborhood where we were both born and raised. We will greet our son and future daughter-in-law who now live just a few Chicago blocks from us. And the photo above—this is my new garden, and there is that door that opens to it, that pulls the inside out and the sunshine in. And there is some sunny window where I will sit and write…

P.S. So now we wait for the machinations of business, for things like escrow. What a funny word! And for a while we will be staying in Nevada with family. I hope to keep posting every Sunday, as living is change and change can make for interesting writing. Be “safe, safe, safe”—– Beth

Goodbye…

Just For Fun, Peeking Into Other Lives

Just For Fun, Peeking Into Other Lives

Claire McCaskill–the kitchen is the place to be…

This will not be a contest, but my friend Anita and I were discussing how we now get to peek into other lives because of COVID19, and the way news is shared. We started laughing, because what surrounds you also says a lot about you. It’s truly the background of your life.

So question: if you suddenly were going to be on national television, would you be calm about where the camera was set up or would it be NO BIG DEAL?

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri talks to us from her kitchen. That says much about Claire, who is warm, eager to share and a person for the people.

Trevor Noah’s place in New York City was sterile. When asked about a single candle holder on the shelf behind him, he said with a grin that it’s there to attack a robber. Sounds like Trevor.

John Heilemann is also in his kitchen with a bowl of fresh fruit and white cabinets. I guess he doesn’t mind that we are stopping by, because he always has a sharp opinion to share. Coffee anyone?

Chris Cuomo of CNN fame has had COVID19. But even before he became ill, he was broadcasting from his basement. It’s a nice basement, painted cream, with sofa-chairs in the background and a flight of stairs. He said he stayed there during his illness to keep his family safe, and we hoped there was a bed somewhere in another room.

Phil Rucker from the Washington Post has a lovely brick wall with artwork, abstract art and a table with fresh flowers. He comes across as a man of many and varied interests, as well as a damn good reporter. No wonder a certain person really doesn’t like Phil.

Donna Edwards, a former Congresswoman from Maryland, has a large black and white abstract work of art on her back wall. She also displays a bowl of roses against a light wall. I always admire how she dresses and her hair is amazing. This is a woman who pays attention to detail. We need that now so no one can put things over on us.

Dr. Irwin Redliner was interviewed about Covid19 and science. I was relived to see that his desk was piled with folders and his book case jammed with books. To me that’s science. If he had a clean desk, I wouldn’t listen to him!

Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican party, displays some plaques on the back wall of his office. He sits in a leather chair and his desk sports a colonial-style lamp. The only thing that truly comforted me (and I really like Michael) was the bust of Abraham Lincoln which he displays on a table against plain walls.

Robert Costa of the Washington Post is only 34, young handsome and a damn good reporter. Educated at Notre Dame and Cambridge, he seems to be living the grey-toned bachelor life. He has a lovely suede coach up against white walls and shutters. There’s a multi-colored throw on the couch and a bowl of orange flowers. Okay, Robert, show us your messy bedroom–or not.

And if I had to speak from my home, I would probably choose my living room. No way anyone is going to see my office and a desk piled with notes and To-Do lists.

Please share if during your TV viewing you’ve been surprised at the way someone revealed their home. Like Jimmy Fallon in what looks like an attic!!  But probably is a separate building on a huge expanse of lawn and trees where he goes to hang out and film.

Take care, Beth