Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Two days ago Abby graduated from high school. My youngest child. The baby. The caboose. It was a bittersweet ceremony and celebration, with the underlying theme that four years ago these young ladies entered school as girls and they were now leaving as women They have been educated and empowered to make their way into the world. And in my mind, "at least they think they are."

Things have been tense in my home lately. Well, not just lately, we are by no means the Brady Bunch. Not even the Kardashian's for that matter. But I won't get into that, we all have dirty laundry but I prefer to keep mine in the basement where it belongs. Graduating from high school with ever changing thoughts and emotions about college, leaving home, the beginning of an new life as it were, has turned my sweet (?) daughter into this "woman" that I can barely recognize, much less tolerate anymore. And in consideration of these major upcoming events in her life, I have been sympathetic and kind to her, ignoring her outbursts, her rudeness and her general attitude that I know nothing, that I am no more than maid, money machine and most times, a monster. My other children say, "Why do you let her treat you that way?" And I reply, "She's stressed out, that's all." To which they say, "You always let her get away with this!" To which I reply, "I always let all of you get away with that!"

So all of this has really got me thinking and pondering this constant weight of guilt and feelings of inadequacy. I think back to when all of my children were younger and their dependency on me was innate. I was the one who felt empowered. Feeling needed and fulfilling the needs of my family did a multitude of good for my self image. And then they got older. Smarter. More capable. Yet I continued to take on their needs. I needed to continue to nurture that self image I had. Well, the self image isn't so hot anymore! I feel used, used up, beat down. Confused. In Abigail's case, one minute she is an "adult," who needs no advice, input or opinions from me, and the next she is whining that I won't make her hair appointments or go to her graduation practice with her. Lately I have just been the "bad mom," and crazy as it sounds, I often wonder if I am. And yet, I still wonder what will I do when they are gone?. Now that is crazy.

Which brings me to this. The other day I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor's office reading a magazine called WebMD. I came across an article that resonated so much with me that I stuck the magazine in my purse. Okay, it was free. The article was written by Rebecca Adams, PhD, associate professor of family studies in the Department of Family and Consumer Services at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The following is a portion of that piece.

"Working mothers and stay~at~home mothers have one thing in common: guilt. Traditional mothers may feel like, since they're home, they have to be supermoms," says Adams. "so they try to be perfect, overcompensating and taking on every one's needs while ignoring their own. And some of these moms inadvertently encourage dependence over independence because satisfying their family member's every need makes them feel needed. Conversely, working moms sometimes rush home, feeling guilty for missing out on so much and don't set limits, thus setting themselves up to be used. Neither approach is healthy for anyone."

I have been both a stay~at~home mom and a working mom and as much as I would like to say that I was happy and fulfilled in both roles, I can't. At work I stressed out about what was going on at home, and at home I stressed about work. Neither was an ideal situation. After a long day at the office, I came home to meals and laundry and scrubbing out the tub. Sunday was never a day of rest. When I was in the stay~at~home role, I felt I was living my children's lives, not my own. If I were a teenager, I could have used the ultimate put down towards them, "It's all about you!".

Adams says, "So often once children come, both men and women slip back into traditional roles. Women need to say 'Yes, I'm staying home, but my expectation is that we are both involved' Even if familial roles have come to feel cemented, the first step is acknowledging things are out of balance and specifically setting out to make a change."

Which leads me drag The Husband into the mix. Let me first say that he is an extraordinary father. Let me say that he is a wonderful husband (look at all the dishes he has bought me). But when Dr. Adams uses the term "cemented," The Husband's way of thinking comes to mind. He has very specific ideas of what my role is and I have very specific disagreements with his ideas. However, I have had a long term battle with being defensive. By now I should be sure of myself. I should be a confident, centered "together" person. But I'm not. In spite of how sure I am about my role in this family, I manage to ramble on in my own defense of that knowledge until he has long left the room. Been there? Humbling experience.

"Even if you have been married 10 years," Adams says, "it's never too late to start talking. Explain to your spouse why you need to say 'no' sometimes, why you need more time to yourself or simply can't take on a specific chore or responsibility...and tell your kids that mom can't be on call 24/7."

But there is a flip side to all of this. I won't be on call 24/7 forever. In a few short months I will be living in the proverbial "empty nest". And it won't be particularly the loss of my children, I think, than it is who I was with them. The flight my children are now taking is supposed to liberate me and yet I feel I am being demoted from a professional job. Will I feel lost, lonely, old, irrelevant? Or will I be capable, rested, focused and occasionally even well groomed? And how will my relationship with The Husband be? Will I start making all the vegetables that my children refused to eat at dinner? Will I skulk out of my comfy bed at 8:00 at night where I usually am, curled up with a good book and a stack on my nightstand, to spend the evening in the same room with him even if it is to watch National Geographic on television?

So these are my days. I want to sit out under a tree, magazine and iced tea in hand, watching my flowers in the garden wave in the warm breeze. But I can only imagine these flowers fading and the leaves changing colors, first vivid reds and yellows, then turning brown and brittle, only to fall away. Could this be my rebirth perhaps? The first bold snap of cold reddening my cheeks. The first white snowflake caught on my warm tongue. Will I be wrapping Abigail up in my arms as tight as I can while she drops her laundry bag at the door and squirms? I think I know this as well as i know that soon these rooms will be empty, full of ghosts of my very best self. Because Mom is my real name.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I am happy to join everybody for Tablescape Thursday. I have to laugh because some of you ladies have teased me that thus far I have only done tablescapes with dishes that The Husband has bought for me. Well...here we go again!! I would like to add, and this is important, my daughter Emily truly deserves the credit for not only choosing the dishes, but for making the tablescape and photographing it herself. Some of you may know that she is in school studying interior design. She and I do not have similar taste and sometimes we have even clashed over paint colors or furniture arrangement. But I think that not only is she realizing that her work in the future will not be about her taste, but her clients. And she is starting to take quite an interest in some of my collections and finds, and she has become much more open minded. In fact, she enjoys looking at the tablescapes on Thursday! So, this entire table was my gift for Mother's Day. Emily & The Husband were able to sneak away to Pier I, and Emily chose all of these pieces, put the table together very quietly and early on Sunday morning, and this is what I awoke to:
A beautiful centerpiece of anemones and Bells of Ireland in a green, crackled vase. It's very large and will work just about any place in my home. I love it! She added candles I already had as well as two of my cast iron birds.

A view of the table on a misty morning...

She chose paisley place mats that reverse to stripes and over that layered woven straw mats, set on an angle.

Isn't this pretty. Not only did she choose what she knew I would like, but she was loving everything as well!! :-D

The salad plate... please note, the above picture barely shows the bread/dessert plate in the shape of a sunflower. It is the white plate under the napkin. Just beautiful.

The dinner plate...

And a Capiz shell charger. The pattern of the dishes is Audrey, made exclusively for Pier I.

Here is Emily with Mike at his house where they also celebrated Mother's Day with his mother. I hope she made out as well as me!! ;-D
And I have to thank my wonderful husband who had this idea in the first place, knowing how much I love to play with dishes. And a big thanks to all four of my children who contributed their hard earned money to buy this gift.
It is my hope and wish that all the mother's out there were honored in some special way. I am blessed beyond belief with the beautiful family I have.
Now everyone has to go visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch to see her pretty porch tablescape and then visit all the ladies who worked so hard to create beautiful tablescapes for all of us to see!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Good morning...well actually, almost afternoon. I have been so busy but I really wanted to participate in 2nd Time Around Tuesday. I finally figured out a way where I could show all of you some of the things I have been collecting on my thrifting excursions over the past month. I am so excited to hear what you think so...this is my first time doing 2nd Time Around and I'd like you to visit Diane here to see what goodies she has to offer today and to visit all the other participants that want to show off theirs!! Later in my post I will tell you the winner of the Pay~It ~Forward give~away that I have been posting about.

Above is a partial view of my den, or The Antique Store, as everyone in my family is calling it. These are part of all of my recent finds and now I have to find a place to put all of it. ;-D

I think I have mentioned that my house is very old with very small rooms. We have no formal dining room. My den is not used very often as we have a living room and family room. I just keep all of my books in here, an old grandfather clock and an expensive settee and chair that I won't let anyone sit on. So in this corner I am planning to put in some sort of display cabinet for dishes etc., or a hutch and cabinet. We'll see. I have been too busy to look! I am showing only a few things, so if you want to enlarge, you might see more.

The compote on the right I ordered from Lidy at French Garden House. Her website is fabulous and she has an equally fabulous blog~visit her! The two sets of salt and pepper shakers I just picked up this weekend at an antique mall in Niles, Michigan, when we were up at the lake house. The smaller set has no markings, but the larger set, which is very heavy (maybe real silver?) is marked Henley, Oneida Community Ltd. I just love both sets and paid $3.50 each!

This is a chair, a lone chair I bought at a thrift store in a suburb here. It is sturdy and is perfect as is. I think I will use it on my bedroom balcony or front porch at the lake house; maybe put a planter of flowers on it or a stack of good magazines and books for guests. Maybe use it to hold a tray of iced tea or lemonade and glasses. The possibilities are endless and if anyone has any other ideas, let me know (so far those are the only three things I can think of!!! On the chair I have a pretty scalloped table runner and something else that is weird. I should have taken a better picture of it so I could get some feedback from you ladies. I thought it was a table runner, but the lady told me it was a cover for pillows, that it is to be draped over the pillows on your bed to keep them dust free. Hmmmm... It's pretty; cotton with a decorative circle crocheted in the middle and at the ends. But I never heard of such a thing! I will wash it and see how it looks. I also have a yellow pitcher which I think is rather new. By the way, the chair was $20.00.

This is some china I found at an antique store in Chicago a few blocks away. If I find three more tea cups and saucers, I will have place settings for four. The marking is Wedgewood, Made In England, Of Etruria & Barlaston. Got me!! It is pretty and I will probably use it in a tablescape so I didn't take any detailed pictures. I do love it a lot though.

Here I have a nice, heavy tea set and tray, but no markings. It could use a little polishing but I don't think it is very old.

I found this plate just recently and I treasure anything that has to do with Monticello because I want to visit there someday soon so badly. The back says, Old English Staffordshire Ware, England, Imported For Brown's Gift Shop And Monticello Craft House, Charlottsville, Va.

Ooops, I guess you can read this yourself if you click to enlarge! :-D

Here is the first piece of Old Britain Castles that I want to complete a set of. I found three of these bread plates, so that is a start! They were $2.50 a plate. I can't tell you how pleased I was when I found these!!

And finally, an ironstone tea or coffee set that I found for $20.00. It looks to be new and I am so impressed with all the details. Don't you like the lids on the sugar bowl and pot?
Finally, I have the winner of the Pay~It~Forward. I received a several little gifts from Lisa at Another Day Today, who had also won gifts. She contacted me as her winner and now I had to find a winner of my gift. Since I don't know how to work that Random numbers thing, I added up all the bloggers who left comments on the three posts I wrote during the give~away. The Husband picked a random number and that number was....Bo from Blinks 'N Winks From Brown Eyes ! So, Bo will receive a gift from me and then she will do the give~away! Fun!!!
Thanks for visiting me today and for looking at some of my goodies. I hope you have a great day (It is 65 degrees and beautifully sunny here in Chicago!!!) and I will be visiting all of you soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Happy Outdoor Wednesday! I am happy I am not outside today; it is pouring rain and a little chilly. But the grass is emerald green and the trees are now leafy canopies hanging over the sidewalks and streets. Luckily, I took some pictures about two weeks ago when my bulb garden was in bloom. These pictures are of a bed along the back fence in my backyard. I actually planted new bulbs last year after The Husband cleaned out the bed and "cleaned out" all of my spring bulbs ("How was I supposed to know what they were?"). Grrrr.... I wasn't able to save anything so last year I just picked up some tulip & daffodil bulbs on sale and started digging like crazy. This Fall I will add some more color.
Once these have died off, I will fill in with some annuals and there will also be some perennials coming up. I'm also thinking of clearing some space for some flowering shrubs. My problem is that by mid~summer my backyard is shrouded by our huge, old Black Walnut trees. I really have to watch that whatever I plant is shade loving.

So, I have my work cut out for me once this rain stops. I also have an herb garden, a vegetable garden a flower bed along the patio and of course 10,000 pots and planters! Oh, and don't forget, I have 3X the amount of gardening to do at the lake!! But happily, I love it!! :-D

My church is three blocks away so I took a walk there last week because there is always something beautiful blooming. This is along the west side of the church near the rectory. It is so pleasant and serene to sit on one of these benches in front of the Blessed Virgin to reflect, pray, daydream or just breathe in the fragrant air.

Isn't she beautiful?

I wish you could smell these!!

Isn't this little angel precious. I just love statues, especially angels and fairies.

She blends in so perfectly....

Whoa....back to reality! I mentioned a few weeks ago I had the chance to meet a fellow blogger who came to Chicago with her sweet husband on a business trip. Well, this is Christine from Christine's Travel And Home Adventures and her husband John. I took the train downtown, cabbed over to The Husbands office, picked him up and then went to meet Christine and John at their hotel. We had dinner at a little place The Husband found, West Side Tavern and it was really good. Generally I am the one to pick restaurants but he really seemed to want to play "tour guide" on this night! We just had so much fun! You can easily guess that I felt I had known Christine forever~but not just from blogging. I think we have such personalities that we just clicked right away. For example, if The Husband and John had decided to.... who knows, go off and catch a movie or play, Christine and i would have found a multitude of things to do and keep us happily occupied together for hours! She is just so sweet and smart and pretty~look at that hair. You can find more pictures of our wonderful dinner, which by the way was also a celebration of her and John's birthdays, by clicking on her blog. And by the way, we are definitely going to meet up again! ;-D
Finally, I want to mention the Pay~It~Forward Giveaway that I won a few weeks ago from Lisa at Another Day Today. She sent me some wonderful gifts that I posted last week and it is now my turn to Pay It Forward. So anyone that commented on my posts as of last Monday (Blue Monday) through and including today, has a chance to win a gift from me! So today is the last day to leave a comment. If you have commented on all my posts since 5/4, your name will be thrown in that many times. I am hopeful I can announce the winner on Monday but we are going to the lake to work, work, work, but I will try really hard to get something out Sunday night or Monday morning. Good Luck everyone!!
I hope the sun is shining wherever you are! I think I am going to make a big mug of tea and curl up with Milo & Layla and a good book while that rain works it's magic on my little part of the world!! Visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer and give her a big hug for all her hard work hosting Outdoor Wednesday every week! You will find a list of everyone else joining in and try to visit them too, even if it takes all week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


May 2nd was Abigail's Senior Prom and I thought I would share all the pictures I took for Three Or More Tuesday, under the guise that you will be seeing three or more pictures of dresses, of Abby, of her friends... you know what I mean. It's fitting! Visit Tam at The Gypys's Corner to see more of Three Or More Tuesday posts. Give Tam a hug while you are there for hosting today's event!
Are these not the prettiest girls and dresses? Abby is the 3rd from the right in yellow. This was her first formal dance. She has been one of those lucky girls that has been to all the dances since junior high, but this was the big event, no mini~dresses in sight! These girls were loving there formal gowns and later you will see the guys trying to get comfortable in tuxes! I really love all the different colors and styles. It must say a lot about the girl's personality; why one would pick a full skirt over slim, taffeta over silk...

Abby posed at home before her date arrived. We had a beautiful sunny day in the seventies! Yeah, Chicago!!
The back of her dress just floored me. She actually found the dress by herself, one day out after she and I had unsuccessfully looked together. When she came home and tried it on I nearly cried, she looked so beautiful. Can you make out all of the beading and sparkles on the straps and bodice? And of course, her biggest accessory~her Jamaican tan (our graduation present to her!).

This is her boyfriend, Dylan. They have been going out over three years. He is just the sweetest guy.

As you can see, our little French girl gets her very French looks from her very French father! Someday when you meet Emily, you will see where she gets her fair, German features!

We went to the home where all the kid's were meeting to take pictures together before they took a bus downtown to the dance (at the Marriot~Chicago). We were late for group shots but I got a few of Abby and her friends. BFF: Meg, Shannon, Abby. Wow, look at the different shades of yellow, all fabulous!

BBBFF: Lauren & Abby

As pretty going as they are coming!

Isn't this dress stunning? Look at Anne's teeny waist!! She is going to be Abby's college roommate this Fall.

This is a picture of Abby with all of her grammar schoolmates that were at this home.

And one last one.
After the dinner they all went to a chalet in Indiana on Lake Michigan. It was warm and they had a bonfire on the beach and stayed up all night... oh, to be young again! Before she left, Papa came over for pictures. He hugged her and said "Now listen up, young lady! This is the time of your life!" I truly hope she was listening. ;-D

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It is Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps On The Porch. Visit Susan to see her pretty tablescape this week and then visit all the other gals participating. We all love your comments!
I call this my wedding china, sort of, because The Husband and I did not have a real traditional wedding. As he had been widowed, we decided on having a small wedding at an elegant hotel in Chicago with about sixty guests. I had a small wedding shower with family and friends, and another with all the girls from work, but I did not have a registry. And I didn't care!! I was blissfully in love!

About two years into our marriage, The Husband was out and about on errands when he called me and asked me if I would like a set of china. I was a tad confused and he then explained that he had stopped at an estate sale and there was a beautiful set of china there and he described it over the phone. He said, "It really looks like something you would like, Jane." So I said yes. And so this is what I call my wedding china. I could not have picked out anything more perfect myself. The sweetest thing was, he told me about the chat he had with the girl at the sale. It was her mothers house and the mother was going into a nursing home. The daughter had no need for the dishes herself, but remembered so many holidays and special occasions when the china was used and how her mother took such pride in the set. She said her mother would be so pleased that it was going to become a part of another family's lives. And it has! I cherish it. I have place settings for twelve, assorted serving platters and bowls, a gravy boat, sugar and creamer. The Husband paid $100.00!!!

Today I decorated the table in a pink, tiny floral mode. I have bleeding hearts growing like crazy in a small wooded garden in my yard and I snipped a few of those. When my girls were young they used to delight in these little flowers, wanting me to make them into little necklaces!

I also cut these little white flowers that grow in low mounds and re~bloom a couple of times over the summer. I can't remember their name. I have them in the creamer of my antique tea service. In the background you can see these little pots with grass and rosebuds in them. I fell in love with them at the grocery store this week and they were only $2.99. The hardest part was choosing the ones I liked best!

I have pillar candles in the berry bowls. But before you gasp, I lined the bottoms of the bowls with a round of parchment paper to protect them. They really are the perfect size for a pillar candle and I have yet to use them for berries!!

My place mats and napkins are from Carson Pirie Scot, which I believe is quite like Belk's in the South. I have a beautiful tablecloth I like to use with these dishes but my cleaning ladies might have mixed it up with pillows or sheets and I was in a hurry!! I think the ivory looks nice, but maybe not with the rustic look of my table. Oh well...

A close up of the pattern. I am using the vintage flatware again, but different patterns this time.

I really love the flowers against the creamy background.

And here is the marking on the back.

A pretty view with Blondie teetering on a chair overhead! :-D

You can see the little rosebud pots better from this angle.

It looks like I took this last picture in the evening but actually a big thunderstorm swept in and the sky turned ominous. I was too busy having fun to listen for tornado warnings!
I hope you enjoyed my wedding china!! Isn't that husband of mine quite a shopper? Maybe next week I will show you something I bought myself!!