Monday, August 30, 2010

They Don't Call Me The (Crazy) Boston Lady For Nothing!

Last week was exciting in the life of The Boston Lady.  In addition to my successful installation of my windows/shutters/cabinets (see previous post if you missed this spectacle) I scored a bounty of Boston "stuff".

You can see the fella on my sidebar.  I've decided to call him, Bowser. Because that seems to suit him.  Depending on the angle of the shot, his expression and demeanor appear different.

Here, we have the contrite:

Next we have the angry and aggressive when snapped from above:

Finally, proud, yet defiant Bowser. (Or the "I want a treat" Bowser):

Thanks to my friend CG who has been hunting on her travels for a Boston figurine for me.  She found one in Maine and safely transported it back to me.  She's headed to Italy in the upcoming week - wonder if they know what a Boston is there?

The same day CG presented me with Bowser, we stopped by the shop where Suebee has her booth.  While browsing around store I found this:

A framed vintage needlepoint piece of a Boston puppy.  It was a steal at 25% off the regular price and this pretty puppy sits on my piano at the moment.


CG told me that there was an old Boston Terrier doorstop on sale on Ebay.  I have always wanted one of these, but they are crazy-expensive.  I've seen them priced at over $200.  I had gotten an Ebay gift certificate from The Writer's GF, Sammy - check out her terrific Foodie Blog, for my birthday.  She specifically said: "Hope you find something fun you can blog about!"  And I did!  This "re-purposed" cast-iron Boston doorstop only cost me $10.  The cost of shipping this heavy little guy.  He has a place of honor near the front door - Thanks Sammy!!! (and thanks CG for alerting me to the auction)

Of course, there's nothing like the real thing:

Notice who has possession of the dog toys - Alpha Female, Panda.  Sadie is just waiting for her chance!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Husband Doesn't Understand Me!

I know this is shocking for those of you who know Mr. Tennis, but really, this week, he doesn't understand what I am doing.

Remember these?

Well, Mr. T couldn't understand why I would want to put "windows" on the inside of our bedroom window.  They are actually cabinet doors, so therefore, it makes more sense, in my mind.  Why not mount cabinet doors to give your otherwise unadorned bedroom windows some personality?

Again, Exhibit A:

I didn't even know if I could hang the darn things, but today was the day I wanted to try it.  AND I actually used a drill!


Ok, ok, I used an electric one, but I still labored hard!  Oh, and then I needed anchors because of our old plaster walls, that by-the-way, did not behave well when I drilled.

Nevertheless I got the "windows" up. And Mr. Tennis still doesn't understand why.  I'm not sure I do either, but I like the look so far. (Please excuse my poor lighting and photography skills - they are only second to my drill and anchor technique)

I had to reposition the hinges to the opposite side of the cabinets/windows so they could open with the "good" side out.  It only took me about an hour to figure that out.

I would show you the lighted evening shots I took, but I think you might have flashbacks to some scary movies with all the towering shadows.  What the heck, here's one of them.  I have not done a good job of absorbing the online photography tutorials - please don't be scared and not come back to see where I go from here with my "indoor windows". Promise? Not to mention the awful conglomeration of pillows.

But, you know, now that I see the two photos close to each other, I think this second one is quite dramatic and not as scary as I thought.

I'm not sure where I will go from here with this look.  I think there are a lot of possibilities: painting, draping, putting something above the window - who knows. 

 All I know is that my husband is still somewhat puzzled that we have windows mounted on the sides of our "real" window. And I patiently explain, once again, they are cabinet doors, now doesn't that make sense?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Windows to my World - also known as, My Next Project(s)

I have a couple of projects lined up for the not too distant future.  One of them, this one:

I have to think about a little bit longer and wait for some of this rainy, humid weather to back off a bit.  But I'm quite excited to see how I might bring this beautiful hope chest back to life.  It was Mr. Tennis' grandmother's and held all her treasures as she entered into her married life with Gramps (you can read about this special man, by clicking here).  Over the years it has been neglected on the outside, but still has a lovely cedar lining inside.  It is now The Maven's.

She and I discussed lightening up the look a bit and bringing out the details with some embellishing techniques:

Perhaps we will upholster the top and make it into bench to rest at the end of a bed.  This will be a challenging one for me, but I really am looking forward to seeing how I can help these lovely details get noticed.

Another, somewhat simple project involves these two cabinet doors.

I purchased them from a place I had never been before, The Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  These ReStores have new things, used things, furniture, raw building materials, just a whole bunch of stuff that I was surprised to see there.  These two cabinet doors just told me to buy them.  I at first was imagining them framing The Maven's large window when I was doing her room re-do, but then decided I would like them to frame MY bedroom window.  I need to get a set of hinges, decide to paint or refinish or just leave them as is and how to anchor them to the wall.  I don't have curtains or any embellishments on the window and I thought these might add an interesting look. 

So, now that I've posted I am obligated (in my mind - this is how I motivate myself people) to follow through and begin these projects.

Any suggestions, especially for how to bring out the details on that hope chest will be greatly appreciated.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eye Candy in O-Town

Hey! This is not my road-weary mind talking - this is the real deal!  I may have seen many mirages during my trip across the country, but what I saw today was real! A true sight for literally sore eyes.

I'm talking about my friend, Suebee, and the plunge she has taken with a good friend of hers into the world of vintage/well-loved items for sale at one of our local businesses.

This wonderful shop is new to our area after relocating from downtown Orlando where they had a very loyal following.  Well, after several visits, I understood why and it just gets better every time I visit.

While I was in California - actually, while I was in Country Road Antiques .a business run by another blogging friend named Sue, I got a text from Orlando Suebee that she and a friend had taken the plunge and rented a booth at Art Angel's.  A place not unlike CRA, in Old Towne Orange, CA,  but on a smaller scale and a perfect place to test the waters.  I was so happy to hear about their undertaking and couldn't wait to get home and see their booth.

I was meeting up with my friend, CG for lunch and some exploration. After satisfying my craving for tuna at a favorite local deli, we headed to see our friends' booth and walked through the front door.

We headed right for Suebee's booth and it is right up front where it should be because it is lovely, tasteful and pleasing to the eye.  But, of course, so is everything at Art Angel's.  Suebee and her partner's booth is the perfect addition and brings even more class and sweetness to an already fantastic store.

I love the way  Suebee and her friend displayed their treasures in this unique hutch with the blue accents on the inside of the glass doors.  What a wonderful way to highlight the treasures on the shelves.

If you look closely at this well-loved can of powdered hand-soap, you will see a horseshoe in the background.  When Suebee told me about her booth, I looked around Country Road Antiques for something to give her to wish her and her partner good luck in their new venture.  A rusty old horseshoe seemed to fit the bill.

But, the big picture is the pretty dresser the hand soap and many other pretties rest upon:

What a special piece with it's drawers and then the unusual middle section with the doors.  Inside it rests old cookbooks and vintage tablecloths, along with an old pot.  I should have taken close-ups of the beautiful details on the top drawers, but even from a distance they can be appreciated.

I love these cowboy boots!  Their tough appearance is a great contrast to the elegance of the shiny bucket with the deer and antlers in front of them.  

 And see that sugar bowl in the background?  Check out the next picture.

What a pretty way to display a set of spoons wrapped in a pretty, gauzey bow.  A delicate bowl on a rugged crate. 

One of my favorite displays was on this old metal cart.  I imagine it being used years ago to serve lemonade and dessert on a patio. 

Here it serves up pretty cake platters, an old hand cross-stitched tea towel, glassware and an old place-mat sized grouping of stitched together "yo-yos" - something I had trouble walking away from since I love those old yo-yos.  There's just something about them.

Here is what we found on the lower shelf:

a delicate pillow and an equally delicate and elaborately embellished plate.

My two friends' booth is a terrific addtion to a wonderful place in our community.  I hope more people will go visit and discover the talent, the treasures and the owner's very helpful and welcome hospitality at
 Art Angel's, 5515 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sacred Cow Makes It's Return to Florida!

A little worse for the wear,

But your skin would be cracked and brittle too if you had ridden back and forth across the country on an antenna.

We made it back too.

A kind lady at the welcome center took this picture for us, so we didn't have to use our trusty tripod and it's reasonably straight.

Things I learned during this drive home:

1.  This country is huge. And beautiful. And so diverse.

2.  I will never be a long distance truck driver.  I don't know how they do it!

3.  Bring more than three books on CD just in case you don't like one of them.

4.  My daughter is a really great person, but I already knew that.  She tolerates her crazy mom very well.

5.  Not sure I will ever own one of these myself.  If I never have to hear that flat instructional voice again, I will be very happy.  We call her Betty:

6.  Turning Betty's voice into what we thought would be a more soothing British version who we called Bernadette was a mistake.  Bernadette was much more judgemental and less forgiving when we made a wrong turn.  Bernadette only lasted a day.

7.  Maps are not obsolete.  I have this discussion on every trip with my husband.  I like to see the big picture and maps provide it.  Besides when Betty stubbornly keeps telling you to "turn left, turn left" and you are looking at a cow pasture, a map is helpful.  (Let's remember The Office episode when Michael drove into a pond at his GPS' request people).

8.  The Pontiac Vibe is quite the little car.  Not one problem either way.  I have one too.  They will last forever and too bad the company didn't.

9.  McDonald's has sugar-free vanilla lattes! Enough said. And please don't ruin my pleasure and tell me they are full of calories anyway.  Are they?  Even with skim milk?

10.  Jason Dottley has a sense of humor and seems like a nice guy - see previous post and subsequent comments here.

11.  There's no place like home.  And home is where you make it.  In LA home is The Writer and Sammy's and Stanley's place.  Here it is on Nealwood.  Sometimes its at the beach for a week.  I'm glad to be back in my Orlando home.

The Maven drove us away from Nealwood in May, 6:30am:

It was only fitting that she drive the last leg back and up into the driveway at Nealwood in August at 4:00pm:

Ok, now shhhhhhhh, I've got three weeks worth of Mad Men to catch up on with Mr. Tennis...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Ivy - A Strange/Funny LA Experience

The Maven and I were reflecting back on our last day in LA when we were determined to go to West Hollywood and see a celebrity.

We were too intimidated to strut into the celeb-heavy restaurant hang-out "The Ivy"

I always see pictures in my beloved People magazine of various well-knowns emerging from this trendy eatery.  We didn't think they'd let us, un-knowns, in so we ate across the street at another slightly less, but perhaps still trendy cafe, The Newsroom.

I looked them up later and saw that Matthew McConaughey had been snapped there, but whatever, the food was good, not expensive and there were actually paparazzi hanging around on the sidewalk right by our table.  I could tell who they were because they seemed to have no other reason for standing around their SUV for about an hour on their cell phones - across the street from The Ivy.

The Maven and I finished our tasty meal. Suddenly the "paps" starting opening their car doors, talking on their phones, pulling out cameras and dashing across the street.

Showtime!! We sprang into action. There were so many of these vultures that surely Miley Cyrus, Kate Hudson, Brad and/or Angelina, Jennifer Anniston or Garner must have been ready to exit The Ivy!  We and about ten other people positioned ourselves across the street to see who it was that was emerging and making these camera and video device wielding "professionals" act in such an excited fashion.

This is what we saw from across the street:

The "paps" were focused on the guy in the plaid shirt.

"It's the kid from GLEE!"  exclaimed a woman behind us. "It's Finn from GLEE" she shouted.  Uh, no.  The Maven and I could clearly see that it was not the actor who plays Finn on GLEE.

We crossed the street.  As did the crowd of ten behind us.

We were closer and the guy with the green scarf had joined "the celebrity". "Who is it?" was the constant murmur going through the group.  The Maven and I saw the fellow with the green scarf next to the celeb and guessed that they were perhaps musicians.  I mean, look at this guy, he screams "I am a Black-Eyed Pea Wannabee".

Someone from our little knot of star-struck (or at least we thought we should be) group approached a "pap" and asked "who is it?"  He/they wouldn't tell.  The guy in the plaid was the intended target as he was the one they pointed the cameras at and interviewed with a microphone.  I actually was close enough to hear him say at one point, "Uh, where IS my ride?"

Finally one of "us" got the goods.  "His name is Justin Quinn, from Assorted Lives", she announced with confidence and a little smugness.  Who?  From what? 

We texted Sammy to see if she knew who he was.  Afterall she is "in the business" and would know. Nope, she'd never heard of him or the show. 

The guy with the scarf left in one car.  "Justin Quinn" left in a black SUV and dropped his take-out box before getting into the backseat.  He had to scoop it up in front of "the fans". I actually felt bad for him.  WE were all watching for some reason.

So, while The Maven and I were driving the second-to-last leg of our trip home today we were speculating about who that really was.

When we got to our hotel tonight we started "googling".  "I think she said Jason", The Maven said.  We tried every combination. Jason/Justin Quinn. "Assorted Lives", "Sorted Lives", "A Sort of Life".  Then we hit on it.

"Sordid Lives"

"A Black Comedy About White Trash". Nice.

And, sorry lady, but his name is Jason Dottley, not Justin Quinn.  We found his head shots (and more) and saw that "he" was the guy in the plaid shirt.

Not Finn, from GLEE. Not Justin Quinn. Not Brad and/or Angelina, Kate, Tom & Katie, George, Britney or a Jonas. Not Matthew McConaughey or even, ugh-these days, Mel Gibson. Just this Jason guy from a show we've never seen or heard of (but has some well-known guest stars, according to our research).


But fun.

It's all been fun.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oklahoma City

April 19, 1995, 9:02am.  Where were you?

"We come here to remember those who were killed.  Those who survived and those changed forever.  May all who leave here know the impact of violence.  May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."

I don't remember the exact moment like I do for other tragic/historic events, in my memory, such as the Challenger explosion or September 11th.  I do know that my children were quite young when I watched, in horror, the events of this day unfold.  It was a true act of terrorism, perhaps in the cruelest form, since it was at the hands of "one of our own", the ultimate betrayal.

This memorial is a thoughtful and emotional presentation.  The memorial design was one selected from amongst 624 entries from around the world. The selected design was chosen by family members of the victims, survivors, rescuers and civic leaders. 

Before we entered we found two chain-link fences on the outside filled with tributes:

The original fence was erected to protect the ruins of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  People began leaving their tokens of love, support and sadness that soon totalled over 60,000 items.  Some of the original tokens now reside in the adjoining museum to the memorial, in the city archives or are used for educational purposes.  Today more than 200 feet of the original fence still stand and gives present-day visitors a chance to leave something to symbolize their support and sorrow.

I know my children, most likely as many of yours did, wrote letters to the children of Oklahoma City.  The Maven was six years old when this terrible event occurred and her most vivid memory was writing that letter in her first grade classroom.  I showed her pictures of what the bombed out building looked like - she did not remember that image at all. And she didn't remember who was responsible.

You have seen the entry arch to this memorial at the beginning of this post.  There are two of these arches which frame a beautiful reflection pond that symbolizes the moment of destruction, 9:02am. 

On the reverse side of the entry gate is a simple inscription: 9:01, which represents the innocence of the city before the bombing.

And then, on the facing gate are the numbers 9:03, which represent the moment we were all changed forever and the hope that came from the moments, days, weeks, months and years following the bombing.

This plaque describes best the symbolism of the "Field of Empty Chairs" that is to the side of the reflecting pond.

The smaller chairs represent the 19 children killed in the bombing. The glass base of each chair is etched with the name of a victim.  By day, the chairs seem to float on air and by night the bases are lit as beacons of hope.

One of the aspects I felt was unique was the survivor's wall.  More than 600 names are engraved on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby and hang on the only remaining walls of the original building. 

Oklahoma City. 
 A place I rarely thought about before this tragedy.  A place I have remembered often throughout the years since the bombing occured.

I have two things I will always remember about my visit to Oklahoma City. This overwhelmingly beautiful tribute, and, my glimpse into the future of this city, the wonderfully alive and squirming Anna Elizabeth:

If It's Thursday, it must be OK, as in Oklahoma...

Today was a day of contrasts for The Maven and me.

We arrived in a very dark, blurry fashion to Albequerque last night and didn't much care about anything except food, sleep, and for me, the Vegas blog entry which took every last ounce of strength I had left. We have lost an hour each day with the time difference and it's much more difficult for me to adjust to going in this direction!

Earlier, The Maven managed to capture this picture of the spectacular rocks at sunset as we hurtled towards Albequerque.  It's one of the best shots she's taken through the window.  Not an easy task when your mother is barking photography orders from the driver's seat.  Northern New Mexico is my favorite "out West" area, I think.  (Besides California).  There's just enough green to satisfy those that like a little vegetation and then there are the spectacular sights such as these colorful cliffs that Mother Nature has worked on for so long.

Besides, it was a blessed sight after being stuck in an hour's worth of this:

Construction traffic nightmare
My camera wasn't working properly when we took off this morning and that made me mad because the hills that send you on your way out of Albequerque are just so pretty.  Drat!  Please note:  this had nothing to do with The Maven, who is an excellent photographer, but had all to do with the camera's owner (her mother) who hadn't set the darn thing up properly after her downloading her Post-Vegas pics. Some control-freak The BL has turned out to be!

One day, three states for us today.  Started with the beauty of northern NM, as I said, and then we drifted in almost seamlessly to the flatter terrain of that little part of Texas that sticks up.  I was enchanted with this little farm and how the little red and white building was in such sharp contrast to the rest of the surrounding scenery.

I looked and looked for barn quilts. I wanted so badly to see one.  Tomorrow I may have another chance.  My blogging friend, Linda, introduced me to these, click here to see one of her posts that highlights not just one of her barn quilt sightings, but honors a very special quilt she recently received.  I'm trying Linda!

Texas was blessedly short for our return trip.  Two hours, as opposed to two days.  Not that we don't LOVE Texas!

Our main goal was to make it to Oklahoma City.  We have a very special person in our lives who lives here and we very badly wanted to stop by and see him and his new baby.  And we did!

Meet six month old Anna Elizabeth!

She was a blur of pumping legs and waving arms and has the cutest face you ever saw!

It was hard to get a picture of her.  She was one squirming baby, but The Maven managed to corral her for a shot while we waited for a delicious Mexican dinner with Anna's dad, Elliott and her mom, Brooke.  What a treat it was to finally see Anna and meet Brooke.  And to indulge in some "real" Mexican fare at "Ted's Cafe Escondido", in Edmund, OK, just outside of OK City.

My second-son, Elliott, Anna and Brooke

The Maven and I are going to slow our pace a bit and take in some of the sights tomorrow.  We would like to stop in the morning at the memorial at the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing  before we leave this lovely city.  It's an important event in our recent history that we feel we should stop to reflect upon and to pay our respects to the victims of this tragedy.

Then we will pass through Little Rock, Arkansas and then continue on until we are "Walkin' in Memphis" for the night.

Mr. Tennis, we are almost home!!

The Boston Lady and that squirming mass of beautiful baby, Anna, out!