Oh Mary Carol, Why do you do this to me?

Growing up I've had many obsessions and loves.  When I was twelve I wanted to be an investigator (duh! a.k.a Charlies Angels)  When I was 15 I wanted to be a professional ice skater (although I've only ice skated once but I was convinced I could do a triple axle due to a pair of comfy socks and an overly waxed floor.  When I was sixteen I wanted to be a model.  And I did for two years (about ten fashion shows) but never got anywhere or did anything.  When I was 18 I wanted to be in a band. (And was for many years, Salvation - A christian Rock Band.)  I was in college and toyed with journalism, nursing, writing and then teaching.  Now at 45 I am a writer (have always loved writing) because that continues to be my passion and hopefully soon I will be able to say I am a published author.  But one of my biggest and latest passions is for decorating and creating in my home.  
For years I have followed Carolyne Roehm and adored her books and her flair for finer things and gardening but truth be told, Carolyne has always been a tough goal to reach.  I don't have famous antiques from Paris, nor do I have homes in Aspen, Connecticut and NYC.  I am not a socialite nor am I a gazillionaire.  About two years ago, my dear friend Lisa introduced me to someone that would soon change my life and knock Carolyne off of her pedestal. 
Mary Carol Garrity, above, is my newest and most favorite.  Thanks to Lisa and her love for Christmas (I have truly met my match when it comes to someone who loves decorating for Christmas as much as I do when I met Lisa)  We met one afternoon in Starbucks (another mutual love) and she pulled out this beautiful red and book that she held very carefully in her hands.  Almost the same way Indiana Jones held the sacred artifact he so longed for.  I carefully cleaned the table and made sure my hands were clean before I handled her sweet book.  She told me "Okay Lisa, I'm going to warn you, this is going to change your life."  Okay so maybe not in those exact words but I have a flair for the dramatic.
I began to look through it, page by page and sighed at each photo and each preciously written description.  AHHHHH!  She was right!  I looked at her, fingers pressed on the spine of the book, unwilling to part with it and listened as she graciously said "You can take it home and borrow it for a few days."  OMG!!!!!!!  I was thrilled.  But I didn't.  I could see how important this book was to her and all I could think of was if something would happen to it I would die.
Instead I rushed home, told Rob and we ordered one on Amazon and it came in two days.  Not only did I order that one but I ordered the next six or seven too.  Honestly, honestly and once again, honestly, these books, this woman has changed my life.  I read them over and over and never get tired of looking 
at the photos of her home and her stores.  
Here are a few for your eyes only.

 Okay so once a year Mary Carol, the woman I told you that changed my life.  The woman whom I have memorized every part of her house that has been photographed and know pretty much all the tips she has written down about.  Okay you with me?  WEll once a year  Mary Carol, you ready!!!!!!!!!  Has an open house. . . AN OPEN HOUSE!!!!!!  Do you know what that is?  That means she lets you go to her house, walk around in it, meet her face to face, talk to her and then if that wasn't enough, she lets you buy stuff from her three stores.  She has a huge tent (this year in her own back yard) selling her furniture, accessories.  You name it.  Check out www.nellhill.com  or Nell hill on facebook.  Mary carol also has a blog.  I have a link to it on my blog.
Well last year I said to Lisa and to Kc, okay we are going next Sept.  We talked about it briefly but I fantasized about going.  All sounding pretty great right?  Except for one minor detail.
I am terrified. TERRIFIED!  Of Flying and Mary Carol lives in Atchinson KS.  So time passed and Kc nor Lisa could go.  My dear husband Rob told me "I will take you."  I know right!  How can you resist! Me and Mary Carol with a camera.  I could take photos of everything, buy stuff, walk through her home, steal a lock of her hair.  (Did I say that?)  Sorry!  Anyway.  I am torn.  My fears are bigger than me.  Don't know what to do.   Plus we are in the beginning stages of construction.  My sons offered to stay with my mom and take care of things but I am screaming for answers. I worry about so much.  Don't know what to do.

 This is her home.  Above.  Ahhhh!


The Calm before the Storm

For those of you who truly know me, you know that I have an obsession with the sea and the beach.  I am empowered by the ocean and feel most alive when I am by it's side.  The smell, the sound, the feel all  mesmerize me into a peaceful state of being.
But as much as I admire, worship and am fixated with it I also respect it's great power and strength.  I am fearful of it's mystery and am humbled by it's magnitude.
We are getting ready for a hurricane and although I am away from the ocean at home, my sweet dear home in Cape May remains close to my heart.  We are six blocks from the beach.  It was evacuated last night and my husband and I were planning to go today to close everything properly.  Now the island is closed.
Dear Lord, bless my home and all those homes that are in arms way of the  hurricane force that is about to arrive.  Keep all those who live by the sea safe from harm and cast your shield over all who have no other place to seek shelter and safety. Amen.


To Facebook or Not to Facebook? That is the Question!

For the past year I have heard only the following words by everyone I pretty much know.  "Are you on facebook?"  "Why aren't you on facebook?"  Aye!  If I heard that one more time I was going to scream.
It became a matter of principal.  "No I will not get on facebook!  I was fighting against the machine!  Sticking it to the man!  Waving my fist at the computer fanatics and standing my ground.
Okay so it didn't last long.  I'm on facebook.  I honestly don't really know what the heck it all means.  All I know is I went on facebook about 9:15 in the evening and by 10:30 the next morning I had 25 requests to be my friend.  Most of my "friends"  people that "friend-me"  are my students that I taught so many years ago.  Now they are all in there late 20's and early thirties.  Crazy huh.
Well there was one friend I have been looking for, for a very long time.  His name was Joe and he was a dear friend.  My husband and I met working with him at a Camp in the Bronx called Camp Fordham.
Years and years have gone by, I have been married, have had two sons, and always wondered about his whereabouts.  I had called friends at my old church and mutual acquaintances but no one could help me.
Until this "facebook" portal allowed me to enter and search.  And lo and behold I found my friend.
We finally spoke today for an entire hour.  I was thrilled to hear his voice and hear about his family.

This was us, camp counselors in the late 80's.  I'm the one with the dark glasses and the princess Leyah braids.  From Left to right, Joe, me, a co-counselor named Rene, Frank on the top, my future husband Rob in the yellow polo, Haydee (another co-counselor he was dating)forget her name and my other best male friend Jose who I'm still best friends with and whom I have the honor of being his son's godmother.
Oh to be young again.  I look at my face and how I'm laughing and I wish I could jump into that picture and be her again.  Not that I don't love my life, but I long for simpler days when I was carefree, young and felt pretty.  When my biggest worry was "what should I do Saturday night?" or "Should I go out with him?"  I guess something good came out of joining this facebook and that's finding my friend again.
He is married and has a son and we are going to see them next month.  I'm very happy and pray that our friendship can pick up where we left off and continue a lifelong journey of friendship.
So here is a toast to my friend, Joe, and to Camp Fordham, to old friends, and care free time and to days of old when we were young.


To Be Inspired!

I recently was inspired by this bedroom in the pottery barn catalog.  A few years ago I had my curtains and bedspread done by Ethan Allen.  Beautifully done!  Remember a few years ago when every bed was shiny and satiny?  Well that's what I got.  After a while you look at it and say, it's a bit too fancy for every day.  I know I know it's crazy.  I don't think I will ever do that again.
I went to Susan's class the other night with my friend KC and Susan was talking about the same thing, being locked into something when you go with whats the latest.  She was saying that she has these fancy draperies made and now she wants to change everything and she feels bad because window treatments as we all know can be very expensive.
Okay so this was my room before except, unfortunately I can't find my photos of the bed with the EA bedspread and all the satin pillows I had.  I can't find it in my iphoto.  (Honestly sometimes looking for photos on my computer can make me cockeyed and give me a headache so I opted for one.  It shows the window treatments along with my settee that I am trying to have reupholstered.  (spell check on reupholstered)
My son promised me he's going to take a decent photo of my room in the morning.  But I will post this partial pic I took today.  Not the greatest lighting.  But I absolutely love my bed and room now even more.
Here is a side view of the pillows (8) and the duvet.  I love it!  We had our room painted in Benjamin Moore Bleecker Beige HC-80  Which I love!  We took out the silver sagey green that I had.  I figured I want a neutral base so that whenever I want to switch colors and accessories I can and it won't clash.
Ordered my linen curtains that I will have in a week.  They match the bedskirt which I will post in the morning after Tim takes a decent pic.  It's calm and peaceful and not heavy at all.


Peaceful Days

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So, throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the tradewinds in your sails.

-Mark Twain- 

I love this quote from Mark Twain.  I saw it in three places this week and decided that it should be the theme of my post.  We went away again to our house in Cape May.  AHHHHHHH!  That's all I can say.  I could stay there the entire summer.  But I am torn between two loves.  My home , my land, my gardens, my things, and my beach, my house, simplicity, my things, the sound of the seagulls, falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.  These are all part of me and when I'm home, I miss the other.  I feel guilty all the time, how is it that I have been blessed to have a place to stay in two perfect spots that I love.  I also know I'm blessed and I feel thankful and humbled by my gifts.  
I guess life is about feeling torn at times.  One is never truly balanced I guess.  Hmmm.
When we go...  this is what we like to do. . . 

We love to go out for breakfast.  This is our favorite spot although there are so many to choose from.  Matt loves Zoe's.  I do too but there is something about coming here that has a life of it's own.  
Then it's all about the Beach.  That's the only place I want to be.  Someone else loves it too!

 Cape May is the first and oldest beach destination in the country.  It is known for it's victorian charm and historic homes and streets.  A few places seem to take you back in time.

I love Congress Hall, built in the 1900's.  Here's an old photo of Congress Hall and it's staff.

We try to walk the boardwalk at night as much as we can.  Nothing better than walking for over a mile after dinner with the ocean breeze at your side.  I can't explain how wonderful it makes me feel and after a long walk I have no trouble sleeping at night.  
I enjoy visiting the little shops Cape May has to offer, but sometimes it's just as much fun watching everyone enjoying themselves strolling through the mall.  Here is Matt and my mom enjoying a little fresh air.  
There is one of our favorite places to eat, Tisha's the most amazing risotto, mushroom and lobster yum!  And of course, Dairy queen.  Hee Hee.  What can I say, Life is short.  


The Little Things

Spent Sunday afternoon with my husband and sons at our golf club.  Watched my sons and husband play.  It is very relaxing there and I love that it is literally 5 minutes from home.
I have to hide my camera because my sons don't wish to be photographed.  But here is Matt from behind.  It was a beautiful day.  This is what I did while they played.
Here is a shot of my leg.  Thank God I shaved!  Hee hee. Susan's always taking a photo of her toes so I thought why not?
I relaxed in this cute cart which I wish we could take home with us.  So fun to ride around in.  Stayed hydrated and tried to take a bit of sun.
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