The Christmas List

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Do you remember being a child and sitting on Santa’s lap or writing him a letter telling him the wonderful things you would love for Christmas?

I still remember the year, when I was about ten years old and I wanted this beautiful doll for Christmas.  It was all I wanted.  It was similar to the American Girl Dolls we have today.  I pined about this doll.  It was one the years we drove from our farm in northern California to West Hollywood, to the home of my father’s sister and her husband.  In my eyes, with a view of the city and a swimming pool, they had everything.  My cousin even had a four poster white bed, something I dreamed about for years.  It was a long drive, and my father put all of our presents on the top of the family car in boxes. I have never forgotten those windblown beat-up gifts being put under the prettiest tree I had ever seen.  I was sad to my toes to see our pathetic gifts under their perfect tree with all their big beautiful gifts beautifully wrapped. Christmas morning came and I knew my main gift was the wrong shape to be that doll I coveted. My parents had given me a big pink fuzzy bathrobe.  I opened the present and just started crying.  No one knew what to do.  To this day, my gifts are perfectly wrapped and NO ONE ever gets a bathrobe for Christmas.

When I was younger, in my twenty and thirties I always just wanted something special for Christmas and I was very lucky that happened for many years. My sons never lacked for gifts and got everything on the list that they gave me.  I never had a list after that Christmas at my aunt’s house.  I never wanted to be disappointed again.  If you don’t have a list, you can’t be sad when don’t get anything from that list.

At my current stage of life, if I want something I buy it.  I don’t need or want more jewelry, as it will just be a question of what happens to it when….  (Granddaughter Claire gets it all) As my sons grew older and didn’t really want much for Christmas, I started giving them memories.  I took them hot-air ballooning over Del Mar, California. We had a very wonderful dinner at the Hotel Del Coronado for New Years Eve. We skied at Whistler, Mt. Hood, Mt. Bachelor, Mission Ridge and hit every ski resort locally.  We ice skated, roller bladed and ate at a lot of wonderful restaurants.  I attempted camping only once and failed miserably, but it was all about making memories. We cooked together and always had a candlelit dinner together on Sunday evenings. I think it was a good thing to do.

As I said now I don’t want “things” as gifts. If you were to ask me today what I really wanted, I might tell you that I would like the screen in the kitchen replaced where the paint drop made a hole when I tried to clean it. I would love the beautiful aqua fountain between my house and my garage to be working again, as I loved coming home to the sound of it. There is a tiny hole in the grout in the living room and I think I will just fill it in today myself, as it bothers me every time I vacuum and with Frostyman the Cat I vacuum each and every day.  I would love to see the beautiful light fixture over my desk fully-functioning again.  Four of the lights just quit working and it has to be taken apart to fix. So maybe I would just like a card that says these things will be done.  That would make me so very happy. I would love to see the garage clean and fireplace on the back deck, so I can use my TRX in the garage and I would love to see the inside of garage painted and clean, but I think that is my summer project. (too cold right now)

If you ask me about things I love, I would share that I love the snow globes I have collected for years and if you could find more from Neiman Marcus, that would make me be very appreciative of you knowing something I care about.  I may just leave them out all year and collect some from places I loved visiting.  I think we need to have things in our homes that we love to look at and that make us smile. When I had a scavenger for my granddaughter’s seventh birthday last week, I realized I have some pretty fun stuff that I have collected and loved over the years.

Mostly I would love to spend the holidays with all my sons and their families and that just does not seem to happen any more. Luckily one son lives fairly close, so I do get to see him more. So maybe I will just go have a facial or massage, take a trip, go to the movies I want to see, read more books and spend more time in my studio sewing or painting. We all just need to take the time to do the things we love.  Oh and of course I always find joy in cooking.  Now I just need to find more people that want to eat what I cook.

What makes you happiest at Christmas?  Is it the decorations, the food, the family or the camaraderie of friends getting together.  When I was younger, Christmas always made me so very happy, but as I grow older and my children have lives of their own I do not look forward to the holidays nearly as much.

 

The Christmas List

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

This article came on my newsfeed this morning and I thought it was very interesting.  While I agree with most, I do not agree with all. There are as many opinions about design as there are people with opinions. 

Drop the paint can, step away from the brick and read this remodeling advice from people who’ve been there

April 21, 2016
There are a million and one things to consider when taking on a remodeling project. Some of those decisions have the potential to significantly impact your home — and in turn your emotional well-being — for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional your new kitchen is, for example, if you hate the flooring material you chose. It’s going to eat away at you every single day.

In hopes of preventing these situations, we asked readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. But remember, the thing about advice is that you don’t have to take it. After all, the main takeaway message here should be that no matter what, it’s your home. And you should do whatever you want. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

Who Wants What

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There was an interesting article in the Kitsap Herald this week called: “Who Wants What?” and other things in flux. The article talked about a family trying to figure out who got what when their parent or relative died. It is something that with the events of the summer has been on my mind. I realized what may be of value to us, can be of very little value to someone else. Just because we either received something wonderful as a gift or saved and bought it with our own money, means nothing to many people.

From the days when I lived a more urbane lifestyle I have a collection of beautiful crystal, china and silver. I became aware in the last few years that some younger people not only do not think of it as valuable, they disdain that I have not sold it for the money it would now bring. It is of no value to them. Several years ago, a new family member randomly took a glass from the cabinet to the beach, then left it over night on the arm of the chair by the fire pit, no knowing and not asking if it was okay. I don’t usually take my Waterford to the beach or leave it outside over night. That same visit another new family member used a couple Waterford crystal bowls to put chips on the picnic table just going into the pantry and taking the first thing they saw. Those bowls were a gift from my late husband that he bought as a surprise from a jewelry store going out of business. They fit in the lifestyle we had at the time. They are a fond memory of someone I loved and I don’t take them outside. I was informed I should sell these things and no one should keep glasses or bowls worth so much.

I started looking in to selling as I discussed in another article, but find it is no longer worth what I paid for it. So do you sell or enjoy?

As I approach my sixty-eighth birthday next week I have been pondering what will happen to all the “stuff” I have collected all my adult life. It seems the older I get, the less I want. I love the look of a perfectly clean clutter free countertop, but I do love the feel of drinking wine from a beautiful stemmed Riedel wineglass. For some reason scotch takes better to me in a heavy leaded crystal glass, so I think I will keep these as long as I can enjoy a little glass of something in the evening.

For twenty-five years I’ve moved two big boxes of Lionel Trains to different houses. This last year I offered them to my sons, thinking they would want them. Only one son wanted any of them and he only wanted the four oldest ones; so I sold the rest and lightened my moving load. I started asking my sons this summer, what if anything they might want. My oldest plays chess and wanted the ivory chess set his father bought forty years ago when he was in the military. My youngest said he would like toys from his father’s youth and his fishing rods; so he can have them any time.

And so it goes as I look around my home and wonder if they will want any of it when I am gone? I am thinking of making an excel spreadsheet list with all the good stuff, send it to each of them and see if anyone wants anything, then put the outcome in my will. I do want my own sons and no one else to be left what they want to have. I don’t want to add stress to their already busy lives, by having them have to deal with “stuff”, so I think I will donate what they do not want to a charity of my choice. I don’t want them arguing about “who gets what” or who or how do we sell all this stuff. I would rather see it donated to a good cause, rather than sold at some creepy garage sale like my brother insisted that we do with my mother’s belongings when she went in full time care.

When I go, I want to leave behind good memories and happy thoughts for my family, a few things they can pass on to their families and nothing more.

Who Wants What

“Inadequacy equals hostility and/or superiority”

A friend of many years sent this quote to me and I have to admit it made me smile. My friend is a retired psychiatrist, so the meaning hit home.

The last guests left last night. It was hard to watch my granddaughter walk to the ferry.  She gave me lots of hugs, and kept waving and sending kisses. Moments like that make you know you are a good person.  If you are totally accepted and loved by a six year-old, then the world is good for now.

Now the cleaning must begin, as it seems even the fish tank is dirty.  The chickens are hungry and the cat hair is at all time high. My Dyson Animal vacuum will have be recharged another time to get everything.  The house is quiet and peaceful and I am just loving the day.

I have collected about ten books and I am going to enjoy reading out on my deck. We have a wonderful handyman working to make our decks more private.  (Photos to come)  Our design should let light in, but be hard to see through.  It is exciting, as our neighbor built a deck that looks right into our house.

Think about the quote. It may change how you see the world.

“Inadequacy equals hostility and/or superiority”

The Quiet Life Begins Again

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Summer is coming to an end and the  entourage of guests is coming to an end at the same time. Entertaining my six year-old granddaughter had highs and a few lows. With little people it is interesting how perfectly behaved they can be for about two to three weeks, then familiarity begins and you are no longer a “fun” person, you are just another boring adult.  You have not changed, but their perception of the environment takes a turn. You are no longer new and exciting.

Summer Camp at the Boys and Girls Club saved the day for most of the summer, as she made new friends, had lots of fun activities and great field trips.  I joined them bowling in Silverdale, but decided the bus ride was a bit unruly for me, so did not sign-up for any more field trips. It was joy to watch my granddaughter bowl for the first time ever.  Of the three busloads of children, the high score (using bumpers) and on my team was 99.

When my son recently came to pick her up, we decided to take her bowling. So my off we went.  We discovered a ramp you can use for littler people that lines up the bowling ball and they just push it off. The one in Silverdale is hand-made wood, but worked just as well.

It certainly improved her score. She came in with a score of 98, the best of the group. The rest of us came in with scores in the 80’s. Maybe they should have ramps for all ages, especially seniors. Guess we are not a family of bowlers. The last time I personally bowled you had to keep your own score, not a plasma screen up above the alley for all to see just how bad your were.  They have senior bowl three games for free on Wednesdays.  Maybe I should work on improving my score, and it my be good for my arthritis as my hands were pretty sore.

This should have been the best summer ever, as my granddaughter is a joy to be around. In reflection I think I will try to only remember the joy of sharing her summer and not the heartache of some other visitors. It was a summer where I learned maybe you just need to make yourself happy and not feel responsible for the happiness of others.

My three adult sons got to spend a weekend together. It was not without its events, but they did get to spend time talking and catching up. A couple of their friends they had not seen in a while came over and they all initiated our new beach side deck. Pavers are now under the fire pit, rather than warped boards.

My husbands children arrived for the next weekend. They spent time on the new deck and added a little more initiation rites to the deck as they stayed up and talked into the night. Maybe we need to think of a way to have “smaller” fires. I wish I could say that weekend went well, but it ended on a majorly sour note.

We all see the world through our own set of blinders. We see what we want to see, how we want to see it. We can all be in the same room at the same time and have a totally different experience. Our memory of what is said and done is biased by our view of life. The bias can be small or it can be extreme. I learned a little of the extreme before I had to start blocking emails.  I now know my view of the world is my view and only my view. People may understand how you see the world, but they do not see it the same way.

Next summer I think we just take a vacation. It would probably cost a lot less money than what we spent on toys, clothes, food and wine and for some reason I think it might a lot less stressful.

As our children grow into adults and become the people they are going to be our role changes and we are no longer the parent. Adapting to whatever role we have or don’t have in their lives is not as simple as one might think. We are no longer the person of knowledge that we were in their youth. As we become grayer in hair, we are perhaps grayer to them, not the lively over-active person they have always known.

One night I took my granddaughter to a local Mexican restaurant to dinner. We ordered guacamole with the chips, as they come with just salsa. I ordered two tacos and she had a quesadilla. Neither of us are big eaters, so I never order full blown meals there. When I the bill came I was charged for two orders of guacamole. I pointed it out to the waiter and realized by his expression he did not think I would notice.  Telling my older neighbor about this she shared that she thinks people see your gray or white hair and think you have less gray matter in your brain.

When I started getting gray hair, I did not start getting stupid. When I started getting gray hair I did not start to get meaner, but I do stand up for what I believe in. As I get more gray hair I am seeing people view you differently than they did when you were younger. I am finally okay with that, but I do think you need to look for the humor. The other day when I was out running errands I found a sign to put by my front door.  If I can match the paint, I may change the W in WITCH to a B.

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The Quiet Life Begins Again

“Blocking” in Today’s World

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This week “blocking” became the new “buzz” word for me.  I discovered you can block people from contacting you on gmail, if they have contacted you in the past.  Yippee!! Freedom from written insults! On Gmail, you open the email, go to the down arrow on the right of the sender’s and when the list appears just click on happiness or in this case block. Confirm the block and that person cannot contact via your email. Be sure to remove their email information from your contact list, which is very simple. Bring up the name in question on your contact list and click on the dots.  Block is a happy option.

Facebook is even easier to block when “unfriending” is not enough. Just click on the dots to the right of Message and block is a choice on the list. Don’t share your happiness with people that don’t like you.  They do not need to see what makes you happy in life.

LinkedIn will allow you to block someone and they will not know they are blocked. I found several of the group that turned on me had viewed my LinkedIn page and figured there was nothing good that could come out of it, so figured that block out too.  Go to their profile and to the far right of their name click on the three dots.  Block is one of the options.  I felt relieved, sad in a way, but satisfied there was one less way they could view me.

Hiding a Blog from unfriendly eyes is apparently impossible. I have been warned to be careful what I write or who you write about. Even if you do not name the individual, apparently you can be sued for slander if there is any indication that it refers to them.

Blocking people that are mean to you gives you the freedom not to have them in your life. There is enough negativity in the world, so any that you can eliminate makes your world a better place. We all live in our own piece of the world. Sometimes we just need to make it a smaller place.

PS: I never thought I would have to wait till I am almost 68 to learn how to block the unwanted. Do it earlier and enjoy life!

“Blocking” in Today’s World

The Bear Families Share

The Bear Family Left had just been joined by The Bear family Right. The Left Bear Family didn’t understand The Bear Family Right but thought they were right. The Right Bear Family didn’t understand The Bear Family Left but thought they were Right. The boys in the Bear Family Left made a very long list of complaints about the Bear Family Right and sent it to them after an event at house the bear parents shared.

The sons of The Bear Family Left complained about how they were treated, why the house they now visited that was originally owned by The Bear Family Right had rules. They had rules growing up, but for some reasons those rules should not apply in the Bear Family Right home.

bears81-1024x716The same sons thought they should be served only on the best crystal, china and silver, but could not understand why they had to help clean up anything. They thought it was now their house, but with that came none of the responsibility of the home where they grew up and were expected to help clean up after meals. They wanted to be able do anything they desired in the house, but none of the responsibility of helping to maintain the house.

The Bear Family Right suggested maybe paper plates might be fine for a picnic since there were so many people in attendance, then there would be no argument about who was to clean up the mess. The sons of The Bear Family Left were insulted with the idea of paper plates for an outdoor barbecue, and felt they were being treated unfairly when they were not free to use all the things in the house that The Bear Family Right had collected for many years, treasured and did not want broken.

The Bear Family Right did not ever have the chance to explain any of the significance of the cherished pieces because it did not matter to The Bear Family Left. The Bear Family Left felt that if it was in the house it should be used in whatever matter they desired. If they wanted to take crystal to the beach that had been a gift from a dear friend, now departed; they felt they had the right. It was okay with them to put beautiful cut crystal bowls on the rickety outdoor table, They did not know or apparently care that it was last gift from The Bear Family Right’s late husband. They told The Bear Family Right that if anything was worth it should be sold, not cherished.

Because The Bear Family Right asked to be careful of some of these things, The sons of The Bear Family Left became extremely angry. They huffed and they puffed, they sent degrading emails to their father, telling him how totally horrible this person that he loved and married treated them. The mother of The Bear Family Right never once had the opportunity to explain any of it.

The sons of The Bear Family Left felt the Bear Family Right had forced their father to sell his home and move into her beautiful beach front cottage. What they did not realize is that the beach cottage was worth a lot more money and would be a better investment after the retirement of the father.

The father of The Bear Family Left had two rather exotic cars when he married the mother of The Bear Family Right and bought one more after they met. The sons did not know the story behind the new red Porsche, they just thought the new bear wife had forced him to sell his favorite toys. The new bear wife thought the toys were very pretty, especially the Mustang and did not want him to sell his toys. One by one he sold them, as he felt that part of his life was in the past and he wanted simple nice/functional cars to drive going forward. Maybe his sons did not know that the Porsche he traded in caught on fire spontaneously the day after he traded it in. That could have happened in the garage. His sons never knew that his new wife had always driven Porsches and sold the last one shortly before they met. The sons knew so very little about her history and never asked.

The sons described the new bear wife as being cold, self-serving, constantly negative, extremely rude, extremely disrespectful, confrontation, condescending, short (true as she is not very tall), ridiculous and insulting. They felt they were not welcome in the home their father shared with her and that she treated them with desrespect. The father has yet to figure out why they feel this way because she is the happy and positive person in their personal relationship. It should make one stop and wonder how the bear wife felt whenever they came to visit?

The sons of The Bear Family Left were troubled by how they felt she treated their father and that she somehow wanted to change and control him in every way. They felt she had taken his retirement, (which he lost when he was let go) his house, his cars and his money.  They did kind of forget that she might have brought equal or more to the marriage, but had never bothered to ask. The Bear Family Left sons knew very little about The Bear Family Right or what their history was or what they had accomplished.

One day the oldest son of The Bear Family Left thought he had enough of it when the bear wife asked if he would mind staying with his dog in the fully furnished art studio above the garage, as new carpet had just been installed in the house and the wife had asthma. She asked him very nicely with the bear father standing at the front door, unbeknownst to the son.

The son grabbed his dog, went out the back door, coming in swearing a couple of minutes later.  He seemed to forget there was a six year-old baby bear in the room and a son of The Bear Family Right.  He called the bear wife many bad names and shouted he was going to find her and tell her off.  She had been sitting in her adjacent office and heard it all.  She calmly told him she was there and that she would like his father to be there to hear what all he had to say.

She walked to the front of house looking for his father and he followed yelling at her. By the time the father was found too many false accusations to mention had been screamed at the wife.  She finally yelled “No one can talk to me like that in this house”.

He left and the older bear couple went for a walk with the baby bear.  Everyone was unhappy. When they returned, the older sister on The Bear Family Left came in the house in tears. She and her father talked and she left in a huff. Nothing good was going to happen in this situation. The rest of the day she would not let her bear daughters play with the other baby bear.  No one was happy and the bear wife never ever got to try to talk to anyone.  She was now a “fucking bitch”, according to son and treated everyone horribly. I guess they did not know that was one more thing finally accomplished on her bucket list.  Next year she would volunteer to be the horse poop picker upper.  She figured that had equal stature on the list.

The Bear Family Right was very upset as she had always tried to be as nice as possible. She had helped The Bear Family’s youngest son get into architecture school, spending hours redoing his portfolio, rewriting his entry letter and helping more than once redo his resume. His portfolio had been selected as one of the best at the architecture school and was on display.  She had taken a month to plan a wedding shower and later a rehearsal dinner for the youngest son and his finance, doing all the cooking herself, designing invitations and inviting a lot of young people she did not know into the beach cottage. She had spent time talking to the oldest bear son when he was having marital problems and spent several hours rewriting a resume for a girl he met. She was the one that sent cards, gifts and always remembered important events. Yet, here she was a terribly horrible person that they all had hated since they met her.

The children of The Bear Family Right and the father of The Bear Family Left do not understand why they think she is bad. They had never seen her treat the other family badly as they say, or be negative or rude. They never heard her insult them, confront them or be condescending. They do not feel she treated them like children, unless trying to get their attention to come to dinner is a childish way to say dinner is ready. The bear father is still trying to figure out what she said that was hurtful or traumatizing as they say it was. She is trying to figure out the same.

The Bear Family Right said every visit was overshadowed by constant tension. If they felt that way and the rest of the family did not know it, how do you change it? If you can’t talk about things and feel you can only express yourself via explosive behavior or very nasty emails, how do you solve anything? This is not intellectual thinking, this boorish childlike behavior.

Moral of the bear story: Don’t hold negative feelings  inside and blame how you personally feel on everyone around you.  As in most situations there is more than is seen at the surface, but if you do not have the conscience to delve a little deeper, then you deserve the consequences.

Aftermath: The mama bear got to go to Urgent care with an asthma attack brought on by dog hair and bad air. The family is now split due to where a dog slept and life goes happily along.

 

The Bear Families Share

Big Families

Forty people eating and talking around picnic tables under the walnut trees in a family orchard. The aunts named Gertrude, Elsie and Helen, the uncles Chet, Ralph and Jim, and all the rest of the family bringing together food and laughter.  No liquor needed to added to have a great time in the 1950’s. I still remember great music, fun games and running free on the farm when everyone decided it was time for a Sunday picnic. There was no drama and no one really expected much from the other people there.  The host provided a house and everyone else brought the food and merriment.

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For some reason family get-togethers are no longer a picnic.  Families live all over the world and when they come together or try to come together there are underground stresses and tension is in the air.  Maybe it was better that no one was allowed to use the house, outhouses were common and you drank water out of the hose when you got thirsty. The host or hostess was not expected to provide everything and if there was anything to alcoholic to drink it was cheap beer, not the $10 for six you have to buy now or fresh made lemonade.

It was post-war and everyone was just happy to be alive. Bring that forward some fifty years and it is a different world. There not lots of aunts and uncles around, there are combined families that really don’t know each other and don’t seem to want to try to know each other. Everyone has their own agenda.  They arrive at the host house with nothing in hand, as they are family and you as patriarch should take care of everyone, even if they are grown adults.

This summer has been interesting.  I have my six year-old granddaughter for the summer, which is lovely, but a little tiring at my age.  Thank Heavens for Summer Camp, where she goes weekdays and has a wonderful time.

My three sons and one wife came to visit the same weekend for the first time in many years and it was great to catch up. We went to bed early and they spent the night by our new beach side fire pit. I discovered in the morning, that our fire pit can get too hot and melted the boards directly under it, so I placed concrete pavers to alleviate the problem and cleaned up the mess left behind.

The next weekend, my husband’s two sons, one wife, his daughter and husband with two daughters arrived. Once again, we did a big barbecue and provided lots beer and wine. The girls and my husband and I retired early while the group stayed up most the night around the fire pit. Once again in the morning, I cleaned up the mess discovering a few more burn marks and said nothing to any of the group.

I am discovering at a rather old age that family get-togethers do not often go as well as one might think. It certainly is not the 1950’s, when even adult children respected their parents. They seem to think house rules are not meant for family members, and a couple think the house belongs to them too, even though none of them were raised in this house that I designed and built while single after my own sons had lives of their own.

It is a concept I am having a hard time wrapping my head around. And now at the age of almost sixty-eight I have been called a “Fucking Bitch” for the first time in my life because I would ask you take you shoes off in the house, please don’t take good crystal to the beach, please only eat in the kitchen, dining room or outdoors and dogs are okay to sleep above in my studio, but not on our new carpet. My sons have no problem with this; and I guess the bonus is, I can take one thing off my Bucket List, being called a Fucking Bitch before I die.  Got to find humor in life.

It is so easy to write a quick email when you are angry and send it. Phone calls may actually give the party on the receiving end a chance to explain themselves before they are crucified via email. There is no turning back with email. Press that send button and it is history.  Letter writing and thank you notes are virtually a thing of the past. Social Media rules the day, and I am not sure it is such a good think.

Recently I blocked  a couple family members that told me how much, not just that they hated me, but how much they hated me, and they wonder why I blocked them on FB.  Really, do I need to share what makes me happy with someone that dislikes me that much.  I don’t think so. It is an interesting place to be in our culture, as never before could hate be so easily shared.  I am not sure blogging is the best venue either and maybe just writing in a journal and keeping it to yourself is better. There are consequences for everything we do, but what is funny is that there are consequences for what we don’t do and people think we did.

Big Families

Pianos are not “IN” anymore

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In my attempt to get rid of everything now, instead of waiting mode, I am finding the things I treasure are not even worth anywhere what I thought they might be.  I have a beautiful 1907 Mahogany Etsey grand piano with ivory keys and a new soundboard.  I have not played it much since marrying six years ago, as my husband is much better than I am.  I am a little embarrassed to play if he is around.  I took lessons for several years, but my first love of music was the clarinet, so my left hand does not mind as well as my right. Trying to work them together doing different things with each hand is just not intuitive to me.

Growing up on a farm in Northern California, we were not poor, we were dirt poor.  I never realized just how poor we were till I was an adult. My father worked two jobs and my mother was an elementary teacher.  We lived in a house that had been passed down from my great grandmother.  It was a very old house with no central heat, a cesspool behind the garage and the only bathroom where remodeling was started, but was never finished, so we had plywood countertops for years. The kitchen counter was rotted linoleum by the sink, but we had many wonderful family meals in the kitchen on our 1950’s now retro table. My mother played the piano, but my family could not afford lessons for me, so I did not have the opportunity to learn.  My mother played for church and school as my grandparents had an old upright piano where she learned.  I often wondered why I was not allowed to take lessons and play their piano, as they lived next door.

When I married the father of my three sons he supported my wanting to learn the piano and bought me a very nice upright piano, where two of my sons took lessons in Del Mar. We left the piano behind moving to the Northwest, with the promise when our gorgeous new home was complete we would buy a new grand piano.  The house was designed with that in mind. For my fortieth birthday, and the year Fred died he bought me a beautiful black concert grand piano where all three boys and myself took private lessons. When I sold that house, as after he died, it was just too big (7000 square feet) I designed the next house with a separate area for that beautiful piano. It had been used by the Seattle Opera, so it was signed by the conductor of the orchestra and had “Lionel Hampton” casters.  We had to hire a crane to get the piano to the second story conservatory for the piano.  In hind sight it was not the best place for the piano, as it was in a very private space away from the main area of the house.  I did practice every day for the years that we lived there; but since I had to go back to work full time to support my sons and I no longer took lessons.  By then they were teenagers and could not be bothered with  piano lessons.

When my taxes grew and grew and grew and I decided it was time to make a change, I had to hire a bigger crane to move the piano.  At the time I was not sure where I was going to move, so I put the piano in storage. I knew I would most likely never have a house with enough space for my beautiful fortieth birthday gift, so when I moved to my beach house I traded it in for the one I have today.

When I called the piano store where I purchased the Etsey grand, the owner informed me he had closed the store and works out of his garage. He told me pianos no longer sell well. He suggested I look on Ebay and see how many thousand pianos were offered for sale. It is sad that so many of the beautiful elegantly crafted and perfectly designed objects that were loved in the past are dismissed in today’s world. Not only are they unwanted, but if you happen to have them, many in the younger generation do not understand the significance they might have had in your life and think it is sill that you have not sold them for the “money”?

Now I guess I am going to keep it and when all the company of summer leaves, I may find somewhere to take piano lessons once again, as it is so relaxing. Maybe when my day comes, I will just donate all my beautiful things to a good cause, as I truly to do not want to burden my family with the bother of selling them.  Ha Ha

 

 

Pianos are not “IN” anymore

Changing Lifestyle

As we grow older we realize the beautiful and expensive things we have collected over a lifetime are not important to anyone in our family but ourselves. It seems the times of collecting fine china, crystal and silver belong in their dark ages.  The time in life when we entertained more lavishly is gone.  Our family will not enjoy our collections and will sell them or donate them (not knowing the value) after we die.  I have found in my personal life that not only do my step-children not value or respect what I have, but they resent that I have it at all and cannot understand why I have not sold it.

So surprise to you all, I am not waiting to die, so they can have it.  I worked hard to earn the money to buy what I have and now, or received them as gifts from loved ones, and I am going to be listing it all on Ebay, Replacements ,Amazon or with an auction house and take a nice cruise with what I may earn. (maybe take two cruises)

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I bought these gorgeous, (no longer made) wine glasses when I worked at Macy’s, then The Bon Marche.  I would buy them two at a time when I had a good sales month in the Interior Design Studio I managed within the store. Back then they were $160.00 each on sale with my manager’s discount.  I used to love purple and now after it being my favorite color for twenty years I don’t really even like it.  So almost twenty years ago I was still entertaining and setting a beautiful table. Today, some nicely stemmed Reidel wine glasses take their place on the table. These ten perfect glasses will be on sale soon.

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These two beautiful Waterford Scotch Glasses were a gift from a good friend many years ago.  At the time they sold for over $250 as they were a special edition one year and never offered again.  My stepson took one of them to the beach and has never forgiven me for asking him not to take them for drinking booze on the beach.  He will never understand that they were a gift from someone special in my life. He never thought to ask why they were special to me. He didn’t think to ask if they friend were still alive or if they died. His older sister just thinks it is stupid to keep something this valuable.  Life memories that involve an object rather than a sailing trip do not register to her.  It is funny that neither of them asked why I only had two? So guess what guys, they will be on the market too!

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These four tiny cordial glasses made by Waterford were a wedding present to my late husband and I in 1976 from one of his partners and our good friends at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  I love the feel of them, the texture of them, the joy of putting something wonderful in them and enjoying every last sip.  The memory of receiving such a lovely wedding gift always made me smile in the past, but now knowing the resentment they brought me, just by keeping something I cherish I can’t look at them ever again, and they will be sold soon.

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These smaller Waterford Brandy glasses were another 1976 Wedding gift and have been lovingly cared for and used for over 45 years.  I am not really sure how I feel about someone coming into my home and my treasures and treating me badly because they do not believe in collecting anything.  My own son’s know the history and respect it, but my new family never asked. They assume I am a bad person because I have nice things and want to keep them nice.  Is that a crime? Is it a crime that I do not want them used at the beach or around the fire pit.  I have safely used them in the house for a very long time.

Now I do have a little Mesena Baccarat which is from a terrible marriage that last three months and for Heaven’s Sake I should have gotten rid of those many years ago.  It is soaking right now, as it is dusty from not being used in so long.

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In reality, this is what I would love to do to all the collections I have proudly collected, but I am realist.  These are no longer popular and damn it felt GREAT to throw them in the garbage and hear the glass shatter. I started laughing at what I had done and did not feel an iota of guilt. Looking at the shards of glass I had the passing thought, that life has harsh edges and we can hide it in a glass of wine, but it is still there.  It did my soul good.

No one in life should make you feel bad about what you have, what you like, what you nurture, what you care about and what you don’t want or need to share with them.

No one should ever think that what you have is automatically theirs or theirs to use. What happened to asking permission?

The home I live in now with my husband is not a “Family Home” although I was recently told it was.  No family grew up in this house, nor is it that “lake cabin” where you went every summer.  A family home is one where the family grew up in or went to every summer or winter. Ours is a home where I personally bought waterfront land, designed and built a home to live in, in any manner I chose. My sons family home was sold many years ago. It was a beautiful designed for my sons to grow up in and hopefully remember their father.

Grown children are welcome to come if they can abide by three or four rules.  If they cannot, they do not need to visit. It is sad to me that some grown children (not mine) think they have the right to come in to a house now shared with a wonderful man and think their rules (or lack thereof) apply to our house. It just isn’t so.

 

 

Changing Lifestyle