A New Friend

On a moments whim and a Sunday afternoon drive, we came home with this little guy.  His name is Wally.  He is very tiny and sweet and a bit rambunctious but he is our new distraction.  After all we needed one.  Rudy is starting to warm up to him and for the past few days they have been chasing one another and playing with toys together.  Although Rudy still wants to show me that he is not thrilled, I catch him when he thinks I'm not looking nudging Wally and looking for ways to get him to chase him.
I pray Wally can fulfill his mission, to bring us healing and comfort back into our lives.  That's a tall order for such a little guy.


Awake From Your Slumber! Arise From Your Sleep, A New Day Is Dawning For All Those Who Weep!

Yesterday afternoon my husband took me on a long drive.  I needed quiet time away, no conversation, just driving and looking at the beauty all around us.  Do you ever do that?  I needed to terribly.  It was my father's one month anniversary.  I felt too overwhelmed and the day was too beautiful but a little chilly to sit outside for too long.  So we went on a drive.  I love these tiny little bunches of yellow wild flowers that grow in meadows.  How beautiful are they!  I couldn't help but think of how the verse from City of God (Liturgical song) talks about awaking and arising from a deep slumber like the winter.  Then I took it a step further and thought of death and resurrection.
It was a lovely drive and we even went to check out where this year's designer house was that opens next week.  Susan is in charge of designing the bedroom.  (Quick peek check out her blog to see it, Georgeous!)  Anyway, it was a very therapeutic drive.  Denise and Susan and Michelle, three friends who have lost their sweet mothers,  take time to sit outside and look at the blooms and the trees and breathe.  It is helping me find my peace after my dad's passing.  I pray for you as well.
Wisterias and azaleas and trees are all filling up with leaves and buds and even flowers.  I find it comforting to be in their presence.  It is a humbling reality to be a witness to such beauty and signs of God's presence.



 What a Find!  I love settee's and little antique chairs.  I'm always picking one up here and there and then painting it or changing the fabric.  I had seen a lovely photo in one of my Carolyne Roehm books
where her bed has a settee at the foot of it.  It reminded me of those old mansions in the movies where the beautiful women in there long evening gowns or dresses would sit by there beds and finish dressing. Especially in the old black and white films.  I have had my dear Lane Hope Chest for 22 years.  My mom and dad bought it for me a month or two before I got married.  I have always kept my linens and bedding's in there.  I was at one of my favorite little antique stops when I saw this settee. I ran to it and sat on it without regard for the sign that said PLEASE DON'T SIT.   I loved it and so did my friend Dawn.  I knew I wanted it but didn't know how it could fit in my bedroom.  I came home and measured and looked around to figure out how it could fit.  That's when my mother suggested taking my Hope Chest into her room.  I was thrilled.  After measuring it I realized it was the perfect size and shape.  The molding matches my bed as if they were made by the same carpenter.  The fabric matches the gold fabric that I did my chase in.  I also used the same fabric in a pillow, a night bench and my Hope Chest.  I love it so much and love thinking about when it was from and what house did it sit in.  I love old things.  I have a few old mirrors that I have gathered and adore even though they are missing reflecting spaces they are priceless to me.


Quiet Time and Small Steps

You know what's odd about being in Mourning?  It's not what you expect at all.  It's not what you thought it would be.  Take for instance, Easter Sunday.  I was so worried about how Easter was going to be for me and my mom and family and Easter came and went like any other day for us.  Today was very hard for us. Today, of all days, not a special day, but an ordinary day.  Ordinary days can drive you crazy with emotional mood swings.  It is in the daily mundane that there is much pain.  So I decided that I wanted to take a drive.  I asked my husband to go on a drive with me.  My mom was home with my sons and my dog Rudy who is in mourning as well. (poor lil guy)  I had two commitments with two special God sons today that I couldn't keep.  I feel bad about it and I love them so much, but I wasn't up to it.  I'm not ready to be around a lot of people right now.  I just want to be home, "nesting" if you understand.  I want to be in the garden, I want to lay on the couch, I want to put away laundry (okay maybe not that) and watch my sons play soccer outside.  I want to sing in my dogs ear as we swing on my front porch swing.  I want to breathe slowly.  That's what I want to do.  So that's what I did today.
We had no real plan, just a drive.  Everything is so green right now.  And so much is in bloom.  I did take some photos of my trees and a statue I got to honor Max my beloved friend and dog.  Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with trees.  I love trees, love photos and paintings of trees.  They are spiritual and symbolic and peaceful.

Here is the sweet statue I bought to honor Max.
Our drive through Bucks County led us to Black Eyed Susan's.  Okay so I wanted to show my husband the new store.

Check out the entrance to the new store.  Don't forget to Breathe!  I know it's amazing.  Here are some more for you to see.

Love these Dog paintings.  I have acquired several dogs paintings and sculptures in my home already.  I told Susan when we build Rob's den, I want a dog theme just like this.
This is the upstairs.  It is breathtaking.  This is where Joanne makes her exquisite flower arrangements.
I could sleep here.  Right there on the corner below the roses.  I wouldn't take up much room.
I love the stone and the beautiful oversized armoires and cabinets.  I would need to buy a new house to fit them.  I only have 8 foot ceilings.  Darn it!
I did buy some lovely things.
Does this bag just scream me?  It's my blog colors.  I loved it and had to buy it.  I also bought a lovely kloche.  Have no idea if I spelled it correctly or even called it by it's correct name.
It is a glass dome that goes over anything you want.  I bought a lovely birds nest on a stand.  It is lovely.
Afterwards, we stopped at a lovely place that sells Antiques and Statues from Paris.  It is an experience to even walk on the grounds.  They actually have a peacock on their property.  You see I wasn't exaggerating.
I think she was a bit cold.  But beautiful.
I felt like I was in Versaille.  it was truly magnificent.
I enjoyed walking peacefully through such a lovely place with my husband today.  It felt nice and I was at peace.  I'm not saying I didn't have my moments of pain, but it was a start.  Small steps every day and a lot of prayer.


My time with Dixie

My husband told me the news about Dixie after reading it in the morning paper.  We looked at each other and we both sighed.  I'm sure he knew I would be saddened by the news but I'm sure he was too.  You see we had a first hand experience with Dixie and her husband Hal Holbrook.  And ever since that experience I have continued to quote Dixie or mimic her sexy sultry voice time and time again.  Rob would even call me Dixie and I would call him Hal whenever I wanted him to do something.  We would always laugh.  It became part of us in a way.  I'll explain.
Two and a half years ago I had the opportunity to go to Nashville again.  I say again because I have been there 8 times and it is and will continue to be my home away from home.  I am obsessed with Nashville and with the south in general.  Especially southern women and southern accents, southern food, I think you get where I'm going with this.
Anywho, we were coming home from spending an evening at a fan club event with Martina McBride (another of my favorite southern women, along with Sela Ward and Jaclyn Smith)
We were on our way back and boarded a tiny tiny plane.  I had never been on such a tiny plane before and for those of you who know me, you know I detest flying.  Well, my husband and I sat in the two seat side on the right.  Rob at the window seat and me on the aisle.  If you can call it an aisle.  It was the width of my hips.  On the left was a single row of seats along the windows.
Our usual routine when we fly is, my husband takes out his reading material which usually consists of 80 golf magazines and me, well, I sit back and pray.  I move around in my chair making sure that it's not broken, check the seatbelt three or four times and make eye contact with the emergency exits.  That is after I lean over and inspect the cockpit and make sure there is no alcohol visible of any kind.  (Hee Hee)
The flight was empty, pretty much, maybe there were 12 people on the darn thing.  As I sat back I saw this older gentleman in a tweed jacket with white lovely hair sit in the seat on the left, one behind me.  I caught just barely a glimpse of him before I saw his beautiful wife enter and take the seat next to me.  She had porcelain white skin and black wavy hair up to her neck in curls.  She wore dark large Jackie O sunglasses and had on jeans.  She was carrying a laptop computer and immediately took it out.  I remember staring at her skin and thinking to myself, wow this woman is striking.  Before I could sit back and Rob could finish his first golf magazine the woman took of her glasses to expose her clean, no make up face, flawless complection.   She leaned over to her husband and said  "Hal  (in a low sultry voice that I immediately recognized from being a Designing Women fan from the 80's)  we are going to be late.  We should have checked with the hotel."
I gasped and knew immediately who she was, Miss Dixie Carter.
I leaned over immediately to my husband  (Can you say Lucy and Ricky)  I didn't have to say anything.  He already knew and gave me a look like "Oh no you're not going to embarrass me are you?"
For the Record, I've never embarrassed my husband whenever I have been around celebrities. I have always kept my cool.  But he knows that I do not have a problem speaking to them.  That's why he panicked.
I sat and watched as Dixie played with her computer and checked her cell phone for messages.  That's when the pilot announced, "Due to an increase in outgoing flights, we will be detained for 25 minutes before we take off.
Dixie quickly turned to her husband.  "Hal, can you believe this!  I have to call Mary Dixie.  (Mary Dixie, whom I later learned, was Dixies daughter)
Hal responded: "Just tell her if they can have housekeeping ready to press my suit.
"I told you, we should have had that done before hand Hal." (I can do this impersonation to a T.  If I do say so myself)
Then she proceeded to make a phone call on her cell to her daughter.  Honestly, this was exactly what she said.  I know because I have re-enacted this over and over.
Speaking into her phone on her daughter's voice mail:  "HHHHeLLLO  Mary Dixxxie, this is MMMAMA!!!  We have been deeetainnned.   We will call you the mminutte we arrive.  I love you darlin."
Now is that the south or what?  I was in southern utopia having just spent two days in Nashville and now being treated to this entertainment.  Fantastic.  I wasn't even scared to fly.  Had even forgotten that I was on the airplane.  This was a story to tell for years.  Look I'm blogging about it!
After a few minutes of Dixie playing with her computer, turning off her computer, checking her skin on her compact, checking her cell phone and then taking off her shoes and stretching her bare feet which I thought looked longer than mine if that's possible, I noticed that Dixie was fiddling with her computer.  Now this flight had no overhead compartments.  The space under her feet was minimal.  Mine on the other hand was roomy.  She kept looking around and turning around and trying to figure out where to put it.
I don't know why Hal didn't answer but she said it again."Hal!"
He leaned over and I remember looking at him and thinking that he looked very old because his eyes were glazed over a bit cloudy.  Dixie continued. . . "Hal, I have no room under my chair to put my commmputer. Where shall I put it?"  (Dixie tends to stress certain letters and hold others with her southern drawl.) Hal replied, "I don't know Dixie, I barely have room myself."
That's when I got an idea?  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Yep.  Simultaneously, as my body leaned forward my husband's hand tugged at my wrist telling me in the silent married way couples discreetly speak to one another using hand signals or tugs, don't!
Some how he knew what I was about to do.  But I didn't care.
"Excuse me."  I said in a quiet voice to Dixie.  She turned and starred at me with those huge almond amazing brown eyes.  "Yes."
"Would you like to put your computer below my seat?  I have plenty of room."
She looked down beneath my seat and saw that I did have plenty of room.
"Are you sure?" She said with a smile from ear to ear.
"Of course I am.  That would be fine."
"You are a doll.  Thank you."  She said as she stood up and placed her computer that was in a felt bag that reminded me of one  of my Kate Spade felt bag holders.  I'm sure it was the same.  Not intended for a computer.  It had drawstrings on it.
After she bent over and placed it under my seat she sat down, leaned over and grabbed my wrist and said  "Thank you ever so much."
I had to, I just had to.  Rob did not even raise his head from his 2nd golf magazine (snore).
I said in a whisper as I leaned over to her.  "I'm a fan of your work."
She looked and smiled at me.

Now oddly enough a friend/kitchen designer whom I became friends with, Kristen Greaves, had told me quite some time ago her relation to Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter.  Her mother and Hal are cousins.  They have been to numerous family gatherings in the past and have been with Hal and Dixie.
So I had to tell her this right?

I said, "I have a friend named Kristin whose Mother, whom I don't know her last name, is a cousin of your husband Hal's."
"Really."  She said and immediately turned to her husband and said this twice.  ( I guess he has a hearing problem)
"Hal, she says she has a friend whose mother is a KKKKKIINNNNN to you."  He asked me who she was and I told her the name but it was not the mother's maiden name that I knew so that was useless.
I thought that would be the end of our conversation because after all, I really didn't have any more info about his kin so I sat back in my seat.  To my surprise Dixie leaned over and said, "Do you live in Nashville?"
I told her where I lived and what I was doing in Nashville.  I asked her where she was going since we were flying to Newark I guessed her destination was NY.
She said Hal was presenting that night at the TONY Awards and they were meeting her daughter Mary Dixie and her husband for dinner beforehand.  But she proceeded to tell me how she was nervous because the flight was delayed and now they were going to miss dinner and probably not have time to press Hal's suit.  I thought "how cool is this that Dixie Carter is telling me private information."
We sat back in our seats and listened to announcements that we were next to take off.  The rest of the flight, Dixie sat in her seat with a black eye mask and slept for the hour we were in the air.  I sat feeling excited about my experience.
When we landed they announced that it would be a few minutes before we could step off the plane.  Dixie stood up and grabbed her computer.  Put her jacket on and then stood facing me by my seat while Hal stood behind her.  Rob's face still in golf magazine 14.
She then said this.  (Honestly)  "You know, you remind me of my daughter Mary Dixie."  She then turned to Hal and said "Doesn't she Hal?"  He nodded and said "Yes, especially the smile."
She smiled back and said you do, you really do, even the hair and your eyes.  (AHHHHHHH! How cool was that!)
I asked. "So are you working on any new projects that you can tell me?"  She said, "No, I wish, but no, not right now." (That year she got a part on a law show on television which I forgot the name of and then Desperate House wives, along with a lifetime movie.)
I had heard that Sela Ward was working on a sit com about southern women.  I told her about it and she lit up.
I then said, "Well, I hope you get something great soon, and I'll pray that you get to the hotel on time."
She smiled and then looked at Hal and said, "We are going to have to race to make it Hal."
Then she looked at me and Rob who was looking at her and smiling but quiet.  She said, "Well dear, it was lovely meeting you and I hope that I will someday soon, meet you again.   It was a pleasure. "
She then grabbed my hand and smiled and then waved with the other.  Hal followed her and smiled too.
I turned to Rob and I was speechless.  He looked at me and smiled (thinking Wow, she did it again huh.)
As we came off the flight Hal and Dixie were standing outside waiting for his suit.  She was shivering because it was cold.  She looked at us lovingly and kissed her hand and as if sending her love.
I shall never forget that experience.  Maybe she is telling my dad about it right now.  Hee Hee.


Things To Do When Grieving. . .

This is pretty much what I find myself doing.  Honestly, I don't know why.
l.  Clean out and arrange closet in master bedroom.
2. Take out winter clothes.
3. Space bag anything you can.  (It gets addicting)

4. Organize draws in Tim and Matts rooms.
5. Space bag some more things from son's rooms.
6. Watch QVC late at night to avoid thinking before you go to sleep.
7.  Wake your husband and tell him you just ordered 300 dollars worth of knitting equipment and (I don't knit) Nate Burkus Bedding and towels on QVC.
8.  Make shopping list
9. Buy more Space bags.
10. Organize Pantry.
11. Start all over again.


Finding Peace

The past few days I have been searching for peace.  Peace of mind.  I have been unable to find peace when I sleep or even at times awake because I am constantly in a state of grieving and mourning.  I try to watch a movie or look through a magazine and for a small moment I forget and get lost in thought and then BOOM!!!!! it hits me like a mad truck coming at me 100 miles per hour.
This blog is supposed to be a venting place for me, a release of some kind even if no one will ever read it.  (I wish people would comment more so I could actually know if someone was reading it)
On Friday, my friend Susan opened up her brand new store in a new location.  Before my father had the stroke I was counting the days to venture out and experience The New Black Eyed Susan.  Ever since it happened I have been consumed and have retreated.  I decided on Friday that I needed to get away by myself. (and not for food shopping Yuk!)  I had received a reminder that the store had its grand opening.
I had a card for my friend and I decided that I would go.
My friend Susan lost her mother last week.  The day after my father's memorial she received a phone call that her mother had fallen and probably had suffered a stroke.  She told me on Friday that her and her sister Denise were planning to visit me on Sunday and bring me and my family dinner since they had missed the memorial due to the store's opening.  To their surprise, their dear mother suffered a stroke and passed a few days later with her family by her bedside.
Susan's daughter Michelle wrote the most beautiful blog and blogged about the funeral and her precious grandmother.  (I hope Susan, Denise nor Michelle mind that I am including this) I was moved and had my mother read it as well.  (If anyone is interested, I have Michelle's blog on my list of Blogs that I follow titled chez moi, just click and read.  You will be moved.)
As I was reading her blog I felt sad that I hadn't done the same for my father's memorial.  You see anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not ever too far from my trusted friend, my camera.
There isn't any event that is important to me that I don't have it right by my side documenting with my digital companion.
Truthfully, I couldn't handle Saturday.  I couldn't handle the last month and a half.  I can't even handle writing this well.
This is too close to write about.  I guess since Michelle was the granddaughter, she could document for her mother from a view that her mother would never be able to take.  Too painful.  That is why I couldn't.  Thinking about it I asked one of my cousins if anyone had taken any photos.  I had so many lovely flowers and beautiful cards and more flowers and did I say more flowers.  Unfortunately there were not many but I did get a photo of the table I had prepared with my dad's things.

I wish I had taken more photos of the flowers and all the cards.  It was truly overwhelming.
Did I say food too?  Lets just say I am in no hurry to see any more cakes or hero trays.

So what am I doing now, after the last flower had died and the food is all gone, the phone calls and cards have stopped and the calendar has turned it's page?  I sit on my porch with my trusted and loyal friend Rudy.  Rudy has suffered a great loss too.  He lost his best friend and brother Max.  They spent hours tormenting each other and chasing one another and even sleeping along side of one another.  Now Rudy is constantly by my side, asleep or just simply watching me.  He looks at me and with those big eyes that are sad now he tells me . . . he says I know momma, I know, me too.  And then he licks my face.
Thank you God for him.  He is helping me heal.  Maybe I can help him too.
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