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Friday, January 29, 2010

Koen Crazy...

What makes this girl giddy? A stack of books waiting to be read. Which title is wooing me..."pick me, pick me!"

I've read 9 pages of "The Help." It's good; BUT, Ms. Koen's new tome staring me in the face makes me want to whoop!  "Now Face to Face" is the sequel to "Through a Glass Darkly," a 700 pager written in '87, yet I've only just devoured it.  I inherited my Mom's library....and "TAGD" was hers, a hardback with her delightful signature inside.  It's traveling the country to  fellow bibliophiles.  I've asked them to sign, date it and make a comment on the flyleaf.  A Sisterhood of Traveling Books...

Some of my loves are listed on the sidebar.   Why don't you post your top three or five - we'll have a virtual book swap.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mimi & Maurice

My Mimi was the epitome of a Grand Dame.  She wore dresses or skirts, pearls around her neck, red nails as well as her lips.  She was perfectly coiffed.  My best memories as a child revolve around Mimi.  It was a different lifestyle in the '60s and early '70s.  She taught me how to live life - in a natural, loving way.  I was blessed to live "her way" when I visited.  My every day....was most normal.  Trust me.  I am blogging about it for a historical report so to speak.  Someday my family might read these posts.

One lovely day in The Hamptons, we were served lunch out on the loggia that looked similar to this picture.  It was here that I heard Mimi's love story.

Her first husband tragically killed himself...and Mimi found love in a BIG way with Eddie.  Her piece of wisdom this day:  "Don't marry for anything other than love and laughter."  I sat at her feet listening to her music and learning from it.  "Thank Heavens for Little Girls" was our theme song!  Aaaaah, we swooned to dear Maurice!  Mimi had another home in Palm Beach and I was introduced to Lily.  She was always generous, showering me with girly gifts with huge doses of love.  Those dresses of citrus hues, luscious colors were "it" in 1960.  If only I kept a few - they'd be vintage now.  Lily Pulitzer's story is fascinating. 

Her head was always in a book and I've definitely acquired that habit.  I hope perhaps a smidgen of Mimi has melded into my soul.  I don't have butlers or "help" but I can entertain.  Maurice Chevalier is not on my iPod but I NEED music.  I know by day's end if I haven't laughed.  My innards tell me so.  And, thank the Good Lord Above I am married to Love & Laughter!


The internet is a great tool.  Or it can be.  It's introduced me to some of the best friends I've never met.  Soul sisters, fo sho!  We are now a very tight group of women that met on a popular blog...grew so deeply that we developed our OWN (private) blog. 

Chicks share.  We laugh, pray, decorate and shop together.  It's all good.  I feel like I'm running next door every time I click on the blog.  Cannot wait to see who is "home" and what the chit chat is all about.  These 25 women know more about me than anyone I hang around with on a daily basis. 

One such friend has a wonderful blog of her own and I visited her ranch this morning.  It was after my morning coffee and quiet time.  My sons are on my heart - today, the oldest is pulling at the heartstrings over the youngest.  I feel like I know the Rx for his soul...yet he's not there - not ready.  He does not want/cannot hear what his Mom has to say.  BUT...boy does he need to visit Chatelaine Ranch and read what my pal has written today

Her post resonates with me - not so much FOR me - but I know a few people who could put their anger to good use.  Like Kelly, I am allergic to martyrs.  A-C-T-I-O-N.  It's a must in my vocabulary.

(Due to my '70s Music Party last weekend...) this song is on my mind:

I want to go where the people dance

I want some action
I want to live
Action, I got so much to give
I want to give it
I want to get some too

The meaning behind these tunes means something else perhaps...but in Vava Terms:

  •   "...go where the people dance" = FUN.  I surround myself with positive, fun people. 
  • "I want some action."  =  I won't lie down.
  • "I want to live."  =  Bucket list, to do list, dream, call it what you will.  LIVE people!
  • "I want to give it."  =  Be authentic, be an encourager.  Be.
  • "I want to get some too."  =  (mind out of gutter, please).  I want to be open to LIFE!
Strange how my friend and I are posting on similar topics.  Whether anger or action get you going....choose one.  Don't lie down and take it...think about dancing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

St. Steve's

There's a new reality TV show in the works:  St. Steve's.  It's about  a 60+ year old bachelor that sucks the marrow from life:  loves cooking, eating, reading, selling. 

He once had a nice, roomy home - all to himself.  The 'rents moved from Louisiana to Texas and the best place was St. Steve's.  Two bedrooms down, two to go.  Since he's a saint; he allowed a friend to move in.  Three bedrooms down, one to go.  Life moved along....and yes there were adjustments for Steve and his parents but if anyone could do it, The Saint could! 

Said Saint's litte brother has a prodigal son.  This (wayward) child needed a home and no one could quite put him to the streets.  Can you guess?  Yup, in that fourth bedroom.  Add to the mix an occasional girlfriend and two standard poodles that visit weekly. 

I hope it stays on for years.  Really I do.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Entertain or Else!

"A good party is not about the food, it's about the people."  And, that's a quote from Ina Garten.  So, c'mon people - let's party.  After the shindig a couple of days ago - laughing hysterically, dancing like a mad woman...

And certainly NOT a good dancer, I want more...FUN in the everyday.  There's a great little book entitled, "Nesting-It's a Chick Thing"  with a gazillion party ideas, themes, recipes, antidotes.  It's perfect for your Entertainer Friend. 

The economy stinks; people are losing jobs, losing their shirts in some cases.  I think we need to open our doors....bring people into our homes.  If money is an issue; don't let that deter you.  Throw some hot dogs on the grill.  It does not matter WHAT is on the menu.  It's about the people.  If perfection is your stronghold and your house isn't perfect (to you!)....we won't notice.  I promise.  Throw everything into a closet, use a Swiffer, spray some Pledge throughout the home.  Voila - Party Central.

Let's start a movement shall we?  Share your ideas - what works for you, what's easy for you.  Entertain or else!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Play Date!

Grown ups can have play dates too!  I really look forward to mine and have one tonight.  My Guy and I are going to a friend's home to eat, drink and be merry with a very, merry bunch!  The hostess insists we wear jeans and their famous deer sausage is on the menu.  Woo-hoo!  It's silly how happy I am today.  Could be the party tunes I downloaded to make a CD for the gang.  Nothing like '70s music to put a little skip in your step.

It's not a Family Affair; but I Heard it Through the Grapevine that there is a Spirit in the Sky when we Get Down TonightI Gotta Feelin' these folks are The Sunshine of My Life.  I Can't Help Myself but am very thankful My Guy is someone I Can't Get Enough of...

2010 is my year for joy and Stayin' Alive and though we don't party anymore, every once in a while, I Love the Nightlife. 

I'm going to make a concerted effort to play this year. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Move On, Don't Hold On!

I have two sons.  I love them fiercely!  When I was pregnant with #1 Son, I wrapped my arms around My Guy and said:  "...this child of ours will know he's loved."  You see...I did not have that warm and fuzzy love growing up.  And I craved it.  When #2 Son entered the picture, #1 was purt-near perfect.  Our description was:  "He Could Do No Harm." 

I sure thought love conquered all.  But as life in the burbs rolled on, my treasured, precious, handsome, (preppy) sons ventured down Dark Paths.  I did not sign up for this.  I took it personally for a while.  My Guy and I lived quite the all-American life.  We had a cute home, cute kids and l-o-v-e was in the air.  What else do ya need? hindsight, I am thankful for these past seventeen ++ years.  I would not have the faith I have.  I wouldn't know the comfort a church home offers.  I would not have worked a program for co-dependency and discovered how freeing it is to be detached in an act of love.

I beg friends to participate in an exercise that changed/rocked my world.  List every single thing that's happened to you...that you wish had NOT...if you had been God.  My list was long.  I'll name just a few:

  1. Gut-wrenching "fight" between parents
  2. Parents divorce
  3. A move to Texas in 8th grade
  4. An alcoholic Mom
  5. Rush at college:  a BAD deal
  6. "Flunking" out of college
  7. Wrong choices 
  8. Bad - tough - mean bosses
  9. Mom dying of cancer
  10. Losing my Mimi of cancer
  11. My 19 year old's mental illness
  12. My 26 year old's wild lifestyle
  13. Jail for Prodigal
  14. Rehabs for Prodigals
  15. Psych hospitals for Prodigal
After completing this exhaustive list it was obvious WHY each of these happened.  As trite as it sounds, they have made me the person I am today.  I don't want pity.  This list (an idea by Russell Kelfer) gave me perspective, insight.

God's grace IS sufficient.  He erases, softens the ole memory banks so that I can look back without bitterness.  As if viewing a movie.  I need to learn from the past, accept it...but move on!  He HAS used each situation in my "now."  A perfect example is the day I physically wrote # 3 down on my list, I received a phone call.  A woman, new in town, with an 8th grade daughter needed help.  Her daughter was miserable.  She didn't know anyone----did I have an opening in an upcoming class (for girls?).  I hung up the phone, glanced at my list and thanked God that I knew what it was like to feel ugly, insecure, scared and lost in the 8th grade.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."  - Roman 8:28


I'm still waiting on #2 Son, but I'm not holding the past OR to busted dreams of what coulda or shoulda.  By the way - #1 Son is a love.  I love him, he loves me, he loves his Dad.  We've come a long way, the three of us.  We laugh at some escapades, we bemoan others.  We've moved on.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

Props for The Panhandle

Let me digress...the year before we spent Christmas in Amarillo.  The folks were divorced and Mom needed a break.  As a hip, elegant divorcee, she landed in the Texas Panhandle with three wild Yankees.  The Christmas season at my cousins was very different than Christmas in Connecticut.

Our first cousins greeted us for the first time.  There is a saying:  "...everything's bigger in Texas."  I witnessed it first-hand in 1966.  My aunt and uncle were larger than life.  Uncle was tall and lean and taller still when he wore his Stetson.  Aunt was the love department.  She enveloped me with her arms and her heart.  She would give me sage advice over the years such as never scrub your face with a washcloth.  My first hot rollers were a gift from Aunt.  Grandmother was a Texas Grande Dame and another Aunt was a long, tall drink of water.  They corralled us in, made us feel right at home.  And I didn't feel too right in my skin after a divorce (I took personally) at the cranky age of 12.

We moved to The Panhandle one year later.  The big family welcomed us in a big way.  We moved the dog and snake into a little home not too far from The Cousins and our New Life began.  It consisted of Mom working and my brothers and I entering new schools.  8th grade.  I was already an oddity:  a Yankee with a divorced Mom.  Thankfully I had fun, well-liked cousins - they paved the way for an instant "in" factor.

I lived in this small town for only five years; yet this is where I was formed.  The Aunt and Uncle were the glue.  Girlfriends and their parents were my comfort.  My Mom was an enigma - the polar opposite of me.  She was petite, athletic, worldly, elegant, aloof.  I was 13.  Not a good mix.

I am very thankful I "grew up" in Texas vs. the east coast.  We left behind a very fast life.  I learned how to lean on folks: my girlfriends then are girlfriends now.  I saw good marriages.  I went to church.  I met My Guy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mom and Her Mustang

She piled three kids, a dog and a snake into a yellow Mustang convertible and began the journey from Connecticut to Texas. It was 1967. She was my mother. The divorce was finalized and our new life awaited in the panhandle of Texas.

(Periodic posts about my wild & crazy life will show up on this blog. The posts based on my childhood/past are entitled "Vava's View." I am called Vava by a few family members).

I recall feeling afraid. Connecticut to Texas? Good grief - what culture shock. The move itself was a fear factor. Mom took a few days to get there. Back in the '60s we checked into motels - rather, she checked in, we waited in the car and snuck the dog and snake into our room. When we were supposed to be asleep I'd hear Mom sneak out. Why would my mother leave us in a strange town alone at night?

Morning reveille wasn't pretty. Mom was cranky. Who wouldn't be? Tossing luggage, kids, and animals into a small auto could not be fun. I was 12...the oldest and pretty intuitive even at that age. "Something" in my gut made me fear Mom...or her habits.

I was thankful for ornery little brothers and a stack of comic books.

We were almost there...