Blooming-hills

Over a week has passed since our 2nd Annual Road Party and while the bubbly and food have all but disappeared, the memories and flowers linger still. 

This year we opted for a brunch event where we served our newly famous Belgian waffles with fresh whipped cream and fruit along with home made biscotti and thirst quenching Mimosas.

 

Our very own chef: Irwin   

We decided to utilize the porch and front lawn, which are both shady and cool during the early part of the afternoon and had an immeasurable amount of help from our neighbor Jeanne, who co-hosted the gathering as well as our good friends Marty and Robyn, who came for the weekend.                                              

 

 Jeanne, our neighbor and resident bartender

Our neighbors brought an array of epicurean edibles including scrumptious spinach and mushroom strata, spinach and feta individual spanakopita, a homemade peach cobbler, herb biscuits, parmesan rolls, a fresh blueberry pie from the local blueberry festival and bottles and bottles of Prosecco.

                                 

Lots and lots of Prosecco

 

Unlike an evening event, which allows for more time to capture the set-up pictorially, a brunch with a warm main course does not permit such a luxury, so we hope you will use your imagination.

What I was able to capture were the simple,colorful floral arrangements Irwin made from an assortment of flowers Jeanne ordered from a local farm.  The total cost for the flowers was a mere thirty dollars and we are still enjoying the blooms more than a week later.  Irwin employed an assortment of vintage pieces including a silver plated pitcher, a pewter pitcher, assorted glass vases and our personal favorite, a ceramic swan that Irwin purchased in Virginia last year.

                                                   

  

a pewter pitcher filled with farm favorites

 

 

A silver plate pitcher filled with a breathtaking assortment

 

the same pitcher over a week later 

 

a simple table set with a petite bouquet

 

the petite bouquet the following week

 

 

a beautiful swan

 

beautiful still

 Needless to say, a good time was had by all.                                                                 
 

                                      enjoying the afternoon

        

In our last post we suggested using found objects to hold candles for a little Midsummer Lights Dream. Found objects can also make interesting containers for flower arrangements, making every day a special occasion.  And this time of year the burgeoning plethora of wildflowers are wonderful additions to seasonal blooms.                                                                                                                          

  

Wildflowers, including Goldenrod

So, this weekend, purchase or pick some of this season’s best and fill your favorite containers.  Whether you are enjoying your time indoors or out,   surround yourself with the sweet bouquet of flowers and enjoy your very own Blooming-hills.

 

 

 

 

 


As the moon set I set the alarm for two am, yet by midnight I was still awake.  I could not shake the events of the past few days and I could not get this phrase out of my head: “More being, less doing.”

 

The moon setting over "our" mountain

 

It is no secret that we love our life in the country. We have managed to rebuild a slow home that we have furnished with vintage and mid century pieces and live an intentionally slower life that we fully embrace.  We even held off bringing internet into our home for over ten years, fearing that it might inhibit the quality of life we enjoy here.  I write about it all the time, the slower pace, the thoughtful lifestyle, paying attention to the little things, making memories, taking the time to smell thethe rebirth of spring, but never had the importance of this lifestyle become clearer to me than this past week.

I attended the memorial service of a friend’s sibling, an extraordinary individual who passed away too soon. Although the situation was tragic, the celebration of his being was stunning and I walked away wishing I had known him in life. His wife’s words resonated in my head as she reflected upon their life together, wishing that there were “more being and less doing”.

More Bee-ing

 

So simply stated, it was profound: More being, less doing. Which brings me back to Friday night.  Setting the alarm and getting up at 2am would probably have not been a priority two or three years ago.  I would have probably set the alarm with good intentions and then shut if off and gone back to sleep.  I now know better.  Given the finite amount of time we are privileged to be here and how quickly it flutters by, every day & every experience is a gift to be savored. The time spent “being” is why we do all the ”doing” in the first place.

Life Flutters by

 

Although I know that inherently, and write as well as talk about it, I often forget to do it.  My children remind me of this all the time and to be honest, I am not always the best at practicing what I preach, but I am going to try each and every day as I chant my new mantra: More being, less doing.

So, Irwin and I took a blanket outdoors after 2am and lay under several more as we faced the Northern sky awaiting a five thousand year old event that did not disappoint.  We spent over three hours gazing at the meteor shower and the enormity of the heavens; just being, not doing.

Perseid Meteor Shower

 

Capture the Flag...And Memories Too!

Last year, right before Memorial Day, I wrote a post about our flag tradition.  Well, with the Fourth of July practically upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to re-share this lovely tradition with all of you.

Our Annual Flag

As we all know, summer is fleeting.  Even as we are preparing to begin the celebrations of the season, back to school items and early fall fashions are hitting the shelves and windows of our favorite stores.  While this has been going on for quite a long time, it seems that it worsens every year.  Irwin and I always joke about it, saying that it is difficult to find summer items in mid-July because stores are filled with Halloween items and sleds, which by the way, is not very far from the truth.

As more of our goods became imports and delivery times increased, retailers had to make earlier commitments to goods and ….well, you know the rest, we are about two and a half steps away from Christmas in July-literally.

So, while that ephemeral summertime window is open, we should take every opportunity to savor the sweet smells and vivid colors of the season, and do all that we can to capture this season’s memories so that they can be enjoyed throughout this year and for years to come.

colors of the season

 

 

A happy fellow in yellow

 

Coleus Foliage

 

Vivid in Violet

 

Our flag tradition allows us to do just that.  It began three years ago when:

our flag, which we had hung from our porch in the country, was ruined in a storm and Irwin and I were unable to find a good quality replacement in time for our upcoming Fourth of July celebration with friends. In a quest to create last minute, patriotic décor, Irwin grabbed a handful of small, cut out, color copies of a beautiful American flag, which we kept in a jar in the kitchen and placed them in planters all over the porch.  He then hung one flag on one of the posts as well.  Our celebration was a success and even after the holiday ended, and the other paper flags were put away, the flag on the post remained.  Irwin suggested that we leave it up there until the following July 4th, as a tribute to our country and as a reminder of the wonderful celebration we had.”

The flag remained there until the following July 4th, when we took it down, noted the names of the guests from the previous year on the back and placed it, once again, in the glass jar on our kitchen shelf.  We replaced it with a new flag that already had the current year’s guests’ names on it. And the tradition continued.

 

 

our Captured Flags

 

 

This year, we will replace the flag, once again and save the current flag along with its memories for years to come.

 

 

 

Memories in a jar

 

 

While Irwin and I have been trying to capture summertime in a jar since we were little kids by collecting fireflies & caterpillars, our “Capturing of the Flag” is far more humane and longer lasting.

 

So, while you are preparing for your family celebration this weekend, consider including our version of “Capture the Flag” in your festivities.  With best wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July from our family to yours!

 

 

our newest family members

 

 

Irwin celebrated a milestone birthday this past Friday and he and I learned a phrase that had somehow escaped us thus far: Double Nickels.  Turning fifty-five, which we all know is the new forty-five, Irwin was welcomed into the “Double Nickels Club”, an honor we had no idea even existed.

the birthday boy

 

We had just come to the realization that we were no longer “the kids”, and now, without a moment to digest our pre-geriatric status, Irwin was a confirmed “Double Nickels Club “ member and as if that were not enough to process, I will be following in his footsteps in six months. 

Life really does creep up on us.   We work and raise families, always pushing towards the next vacation, the next summer, the next level of success, the next milestone, when all the while life is moving forward.  Unlike the endless summers of our youth, the days quicken and the years pass and while you may have been considered the “kids” just a handful of years ago, you are now referring to your children as the kids and receiving Long Term Care mailings from AARP, to which you have been a card carrying member for a nickel’s worth of years.

But is this really such a bad thing?  While we might be longer in the tooth, we have attained years of life experience.  Being born smack dab in the middle of the ‘Boomer” Generation( 1955: A “double nickels” year), we have had the best of both worlds.  While we were taught the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil, were forced to do research with books in the library rather than on line and witnessed monumental historic events, we were still young enough to learn computers after Fortran and move from the Space Age into the fast paced virtual world we live in today.

That is probably why we love MCM furnishings so much.  It is not only because we are from the same period, which we are, but also because we share so many similar attributes.  Both of us were born in celebration of the new post-war era.  We were designed/raised with old world know-how and the belief that anything was possible. 

  

1950'sAtomic Steel & rope lamp

 

1950's Bat Winged Chair

 

1950's cerused oak console

Fran by lu Jarvis

As pre-Sesame Streeters,  who grew up with The Beatles, The Jetsons, TV dinners and Lost in Space, we were not married to anything that came before us, and were open to almost anything new.  Although we were born only ten years after the end of WWII it seemed like ancient history even when we were still toddlers.  And because we had lived through so many turbulent events, we learned how to reinvent/re-purpose ourselves to suit ever-changing lifestyles.

The Jetsons

 

 

TV Dinner

 

 

Lost in Space

 

We might be slightly marked like the Double Struck 1955 Lincoln Penny, but as in the case of the penny, it only increases our value.  Our imperfections, like those of our MCM counterparts serve as reminders that we are resilient survivors whose practicality and function are always in style.

 

double struck penny

 

Irwin & I were born in an amazing year- the one where the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the world series, Germany became a member of NATO, seat belt legislation was first introduced, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus AND...Disneyland opened!

1955 World Series

 Rosa Parks Arrested


 

 

1955 Pontiac Star Chief -the car I grew up with AND was NEVER equipped with seat belts

  

Disneyland Opened

 

So, cheers to  “Double Nickel “ club membership!  We wouldn’t want it any other way!

The Sweet Smell of...Roses

I can’t help myself.  When springtime explodes in the country and we are on the cusp of summer my heart literally skips a beat.  When hummingbirds visit while I have my morning coffee on the porch and fireflies light up the night time sky like fireworks, I am in heaven because I know that this is the season when we become more than transient guests in our own home.  This season, however fleeting, is the one that literally forces us to stop whatever we are doing and smell the roses.

While Irwin and I try to get away for at least one night a week during the year and spend part of the winter holidays in the country with the family, it is not quite the same as the late spring and summer when we afford ourselves the luxury of spending considerable blocks of time in our rural retreat.

And…what better way to welcome us for the season than to be greeted upon arrival on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend by a sweet little bird finally building the nest I had been pining for since the start of spring; the nest that has been there every spring/summer since we bought the house, the nest I was so disappointed not to see on Mother’s Day.

 

The perfect building project began on Friday-moved in on Sunday

 

It is part of my ritual.  When I arrive at the house, I walk around and examine the changes in our plantings and check on our seasonal guests including the Robin’s nest in the gutter and the other in our beloved Dogwood.  Imagine my utter surprise and sheer glee when I saw the first specks of mud on the porch roof. At that moment I exhaled, knowing that all was right in our little piece of the universe.

We all know that is so easy to get caught up in the complexity of daily living and lose sight of the time we need to spend enjoying the beauty we are surrounded by.  But acknowledging it and doing something about it are two incredibly different things.  Just the other day, I had that very discussion on Twitter with two good Twitter friends, @tandemantiques and @jonathanlegate.  We all acknowledged the fact that because summer is fleeting, we must take time to “smell the roses”, a priority that we often overlook.  I said that I needed to enjoy EVERY moment of this precious season and take it one day at a time.  Hilary (@andemantiques) agreed adding “It's true - I know that I sometimes squander my now because I'm focused/worried about down the road”, something we are all guilty of and Jonathan added: I’m “always thinking of the future but taking time to enjoy the present while respecting the past.”   A truly beautiful statement that says it all and is something we should all allow ourselves to do.

So, here is to summer and the beauty it reveals to us everyday.  Let’s all make a commitment now to stop and enjoy "the sweet smell of... roses” this season before it is just a memory.

Some of "the roses" we have stopped to smell this season so far: Enjoy!

Superb Spirea

 

 

colossal Catnip

 

Color-fusion

 

 

relaxing Goldfinches

 

A statuesque Iris

 

 Breathtaking Day Lilies

 

A humble bumble bee

 

The beauty of another sunset

 

The Golden glow of evening's approach

 

 

The warmth of a tea light

 

Only nature's song can be heard

 

the dance of the flames

 

Waxed beauty

 

 

Our mentor Charlie, who inspires us everyday & reminds us of how sweet the roses can be!

 

 

 

It is often said that you can never go back, that it is best to allow memories to remain as memories because all to often, when revisited, reality pales in comparison.  While this is true most of the time, sometimes, if the stars are aligned, some memories are well worth revisiting.

Irwin & I returned to the country for one night last weekend, because although we knew we needed to be in the city Sunday, we just could not bear to miss a weekend of spring’s continued revelations.

Upon arrival, I was shocked and disappointed to find the addition the robins had added to the nest featured in last week’s post, The Best Nest, torn down and laying in shambles on the ground.  I was not sure if the original builders returned and reclaimed their nest or something catastrophic had happened since neither bird family appeared during our short visit.  The burning bush guests were still in place, but there were still no tenants in the roof of our front door porch and it remained beautifully repainted and nest-free for the first time since we own our house.

Nest remains

 

 

pieces on the ground

 

Still Vacant

 

While Irwin was thrilled with the prospect of clean front steps for the first time in ten years, I was struck with a bout of melancholy.   As silly as it may seem, I love having these guests every year because they are a reminder of life’s promise and renewal.  While I began to grapple with my sense of loss, I walked around the perimeter of the house, desperately seeking some new affirmation of life, when I noticed our budding lilacs.


 

lilacs in bloom

 

Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers.  Their scent takes me back to my childhood, when my grandmother, who truly had a green thumb, tended the small garden that surrounded our house.  While we had fruit trees and a grape vine along with her prized roses, my favorites were the enormous lilac bushes in front of our porch.

 As I stood there, feet firmly planted on our soil with my eyes closed, memories of my childhood flooded my mind.  They were so tangible and life affirming, that I found myself smiling. 

The “green thumb” gene was not one that I inherited from my grandmother, as evidenced by the number of plants that have died under my care, still my appreciation for all things green runs deep.  As the lilacs of my childhood signaled the beginning of spring along with the promise of summer, our lilacs in the country perpetuate that affirmation each year.  It is no coincidence that our lilac bushes usually reach full bloom around Mother’s Day, showering me with fragrant memories.

 

Summer's promise

 

We returned to the country yesterday to celebrate Mother’s Day with our children and as promised, the lilacs were in full bloom. As we sat around the table enjoying our first barbecue of the season and reminiscing, the fragrance of the lilacs wafting through the air reminded me to step back for a moment and drink in the new memories we were creating.

 

Full Bloom

 

And….as it that were not gift enough, to my surprise and delight, when I looked out the kitchen window this morning, I saw that the robin’s nest was rebuilt.  Still in true robin’s nest style with a multitude of branches and leaves hanging over the side, but seeming more finished and polished than the last incarnation.  I’m assuming this time they consulted with an interior designer!

Re-designed nest

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

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