Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thinking Beautiful Thoughts

Thinking Beautiful Thoughts

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was fascinated by the story of Peter Pan.  She particularly adored the old production of the play that still aired on television annually and every year she would watch, eyes wide, as Mary Martin, in the role of Peter himself, would line up the Darling children on their wide windowsill, instruct them to “think beautiful thoughts” and jump out into the night air.  Every year the little girl stared as they flew, (THEY FLEW) out over London, taking a left at the north star and going straight on till morning. Straight on to Never Never Land and all the unfathomable wonders it held. 

One hot summer afternoon, this little girl stood atop a stone wall roughly as tall as her house.  She looked out past the rolling hill beneath her to the tops of the trees beyond.  She thought, quite clearly,  
“I’ll never know if I don’t try”
 and then, she jumped.
No, she... or rather I... did not fly.  I broke my left leg in three places.

This past April, many years later, I went for a run on a South Carolina beach with Edward.  We ran, not like marathoners, but like kids...  jumping sea walls and splashing through tidal pools.  I felt like a million bucks.  Thirty minutes later, I swung my leg over a bicycle and...ow, Ow, OW!  Thinking  I had sustained a pulled muscle, I tried to ignore the pain for several months, limping my way through dog walks and shopping trips in April, limping along the streets of London in May, finally going to the doctor in June.  He declared me to be “too young” for the problem to possibly be related to my hip, but did x-rays and a MRI anyway, the results of which were revelatory, and sobering.  My right hip looked like Vitruvian man, it was so perfect.  It practically glowed.  Whereas, my left hip?  Well the curvature of my left hip resembled a serrated knife.  It was an utter mess.  It is remarkable that I knew nothing of this before April, but I’m happy I didn’t.  The cause?   Sad to say, that innocent, though ill-fated, attempt at flight when I was six.  

So when The Songwriter and I returned from our overly dramatic trip to Scotland, with his ankle in a cast, we visited an orthopaedic surgeon recommended by our stateside doctor who added when he referred us, “Now, this is the fellow I’d want to do Pamela’s hip when she decides she’s had enough.” Little did he realize, I had already had enough and would honestly have gone ahead right then with the surgery, had The Songwriter been his usual bipedal self.  But as he was to be, in the immortal words of Peter Cook, a unidexter, for the next six weeks, I was sentenced to wait awhile.  For the past few weeks we have presented quite a humorous display - him on crutches, me limping like a pirate - as the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the orthopedic floor.  As our surgeon said, “You know how some couples who’ve been married a long while start to look alike?  Well, you two are taking it one step further.”  Sigh. 

I am happy to report that The Songwriter is healed and perfectly ambulatory now.  He can drive; he can shop for groceries; he can take out the trash... (yippee!). Which is why.... believe it or not....I am writing this from a fairly comfortable hospital bed with a fairly unoffensive view of the city.  In my tartan nightshirt and green pashmina, I can happily report that I am the proud owner of a shiny new titanium hip.  I KNOW!  Crazy, right?

Fortunately for me, I was deemed an excellent candidate for a fairly new procedure called “anterior” hip replacement.  Unlike traditional hip surgery, no muscles are cut during the anterior and this enables the recovery to be relatively painless and much, much faster.  Seriously, the first thing I noticed upon waking up from surgery was that the excruciating pain I’d been experiencing for seven months was gone.  Marvelous! (An interesting side note:  Martha Stewart had this exact same procedure several years ago.  She’s quite a bit older than me and she was back to work in five days!  So I have no excuses. )

One thing I have noticed over the past several months is how devilishly distracting pain can be.  Deadlines have whizzed past my head, uncatchable.  Emails have languished in my inbox, unnoticed.  My writings here on the blog have been much sparser than I like and I’m grateful you all have stuck with me, graciously commenting and writing each time I posted something new, even though those postings were few and far between.  Well, things are looking up now and I promise to be much more available.

I am due to go home tomorrow and will give myself over, quite willingly, to the kind care and attention of The Songwriter and Edward.  Apple, who has had her own joint surgery this year and who taught me how to be a good patient, will come in from squirrel patrol to check on me as often as she can, I’m sure.  Edward will not leave my side.  I plan to do some light reading, some gentle walking (huzzah!), and some deep sleeping, all the way till Thanksgiving.
I have much to be thankful for.
As do we all.
See you soon!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Top Ten List for November!

I am rich today with autumn’s gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides,
Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running over with molten gold.
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this?
By Gladys Harp

A Top Ten List for November!

1.  A Book for the Festive Season
I am happy to say that From The House of Edward is in stock and ready to ship for the holidays. 
 As a bonus, all books mailed out between now and Christmas will come gift-wrapped for the festive season.
  If you wish to send some as gifts, please indicate the shipping address, as well as who you’d like them to be autographed to, on your paypal info form. 
I cannot believe Christmas is so close!
Find the book HERE.


2.  Holiday Knitting
It’s no secret that I love to give hand-knitted gifts at Christmastime.
Last year, I knitted fourteen, yes fourteen, pairs of these wonderful, warm mittens for friends and family.
Everyone was delighted and, bonus, they were so much fun to do.
One skein of THIS YARN makes one ultra warm pair.
Find this wonderful pattern HERE.


3.  More Divine Antique Pillows
The beautiful antique pillows I found and placed in my etsy shop sold out so quickly in the summer!  
I am happy to say that I’ve found a few more.
Just in time for a holiday house spruce up.
I even kept some for myself!
Find them HERE!
(Update:  Only four left now!)

4.  The Bulldog
Find him HERE.

5.  Peacoquette Designs
One of my friends, Sarah Walden, recently became a designer for Spoonflower.  I knew nothing about Spoonflower and was rather astonished when I investigated.  Seems they are a company that gathers designers from all over to create patterns for fabrics, wallpaper, and gift wrap.  Amazing! Select the design, have it printed and mailed to you. I went to my friend’s page and was gobsmacked by all the designs she has available.  Medieval tapestries, colorful damasks, Grimshaw fairies, William Morris. They can all be printed on various types and weights of fabrics, cotton to linen.  (Just imagine decorating a little girl’s room all in fabrics of Alice in Wonderland illustrations.)
Sarah can even create custom designs just for you. 
  For myself, I went for the gift wrap. 
 Christmas gift wrapping is as important and enjoyable to me as Christmas gift shopping,
and I look every year for special papers and ribbons for that task. 
 Well, all my Christmas wrap came from Peacoquette Designs this year! 
 Visit and I know you’ll find something, too!
Find Sarah’s Spoonflower shop HERE

6.  SKII Masks
Cate Blanchett and I have little in common, I suppose, save for our pale, pale skin. 
 And our devotion to these wonderfully magic little masks. 
 I’ve read that she puts one on for every single plane flight.
  This was extremely tempting to me, but unfortunately nixed by The Songwriter who begged, really begged, not to have to sit next to me if I chose to wear the thing.  
Well yes, they are sort of Halloweeney. 
 But boy, they make my skin feel like a three year old’s.
  A must for holiday stress, take my word for it!
Find some HERE.

 7.  That Photo
I cannot help myself.
I smile every time I look at that photograph.

8.  A New, Old Phone
Although I am not as devoted to my iPhone as some, I have to admit it has made my life easier. Texting for appointments, to tell someone I’m running late, of just for a tidbit of brief information, all time-saving and convenient. And who can complain about that fabulous built-in camera?  The little gadget was vital to me in Scotland when The Songwriter broke his ankle. 
 But sometimes, don’t you miss a real phone?  
One with a cord to twist round your fingers as you consider whether or not to accept a dinner date? 
 One with a real ring? 
 One that you have to run to answer?  Just every now and then?
This one caught my eye.
The kids will think it’s oh, so, retro!
Find it HERE.

9.  A Baby’s Bookshelf
I see a new baby’s room.
All in soft shades of green and blue.
With a forest mural painted on all the walls.
And this bookshelf!
Holding magical books for all the happy days to come.
Find it HERE.

 10.  And finally.....
I am in the middle of this book, 
and I am enchanted!
Find it HERE.

See you all soon.
Christmas book lists are coming!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Forever Chic

Forever Chic

One of my dearest childhood friends lived three houses up the street from my own, in a small white farmhouse with a screened-in porch across the front, a neat row of boxwoods lining the walk and a cellar with a real dirt floor. As soon as I got home from school every afternoon, I would head to her house as fast as I could, my dog at my heels.  She would always greet us both with a genuine smile, which I realize now must have been occasionally difficult.  You see, Dee Dee was in her eighties and surely she would have liked the odd afternoon to herself.  But she always seemed happy to see me and cheerfully allowed me to follow her around as she tended her garden, cooked up a batch of fresh blackberry jam, or repotted ferns in that fabulous cellar of hers.  Of course I made myself scarce when her family came to visit, but always made a point to watch from afar, often from the branches of a sweet gum tree, whenever her grand-daughter Bonnie came calling.  Having no sister of my own, I was fascinated by every single thing about Bonnie.  With her dark hair in the most divine sixties updo, her tiny pink skirts and black cashmere sweaters, she looked like the perfect girlfriend for one of the Beatles.  She even drove a bright yellow Mustang convertible, for goodness sakes.  

Whenever I saw that car parked in front of Dee Dee’s house, I made sure to keep a covert eye out for beautiful Bonnie, memorizing every move I saw her make to later try them out for myself in my bedroom mirror.  I imagined talking with her for hours, listening intently to all the wise advice she would give me; advice no doubt vital in ensuring the success of my upcoming teenage years.  Bonnie looked like the sort of girl who would innately know all the things I didn’t; all those secret tidbits and tips necessary to make my life easier, and so much more fun.   Sadly, I never mustered the nerve to climb down from my tree and actually have a conversation with Bonnie.  But years later, whilst browsing the blog world one afternoon, I found Tish, and just as I imagined Bonnie to be, Tish proved to be that one essential fountain of information every girl desires.  

Tish Jett started the wonderful blog, A Femme d’un Certain Age, right around the time I started From the House of Edward and I feel fortunate to have followed her from the get go.  For over five years, her blog has been the one place I go each day for the most delicious advice on everything in the realm of style.  Skin care, fashion, make up, manners.  A Femme d’un Certain Age slowly replaced my need for fashion magazines as I soon discovered Tish provides infinitely more interesting and helpful fare.  From Tish, I learned to stock up on Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler whenever I am in London.  I learned to slather my winter-dry face in Avene Masque Apaisant Hydratant.  I learned the magical benefits of Cornflower water.  I learned, from experience, to trust her impeccable voice on all matters of style and beauty, just as I would have trusted a sister’s.

Of course it helps that Tish Jett is an American who moved to France over twenty-five years ago.  This gives her a unique perspective from which to communicate to today’s over forty woman. We all know French women have that certain something that makes aging beguiling rather than bleak.  We all recognize it.  No matter her age, one only has to give a French woman a pair of sleek black trousers, a slim cashmere sweater, and a simple square scarf and she will instantly transform into a creature of supremely insouciant style.  Well I am happy to say, in a brand new, beautiful book entitled Forever Chic, Tish Jett has finally created the ultimate resource for any woman who has ever gazed at that French lady from afar and wondered... “How DOES she do it?”.  

Published by Rizzoli, Forever Chic is no mere meringue of a book, full of nothing but  bubbles and froth.  No, this is a 239 page compendium of style that succeeds wonderfully in translating the French mystique, making it charmingly accessible to us all.   Tish decodes the French woman’s closet, leads us by her well-manicured hand into the secret realms of French diet and exercise, (Why IS it that French women never get fat??).  She reveals their skin care regimens, explains their almost supernatural way with accessories.  And best of all, she makes it so much fun, like a long lunch with your best girlfriend at the chicest cafe in Paris.

 Despite my lack of a sister, I have gathered many sweet and stylish girlfriends through the years.
  All of them are getting this book for Christmas. 
 And if I could track down Bonnie, I’d get her one, too.
Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tish Jett drives a yellow convertible herself.

Get your copy, and several for your girlfriends and sisters, HERE.