Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ode to Kelly B....

TOP THE TATER!
If you have never tried it, please do.  Or maybe not.  It's guaranteed to add a few pounds.  My BF Kelly introduced me to this devilishly delish sour cream a few years back but it was not available in my area.  Well, lookie lookie cookie cookie!  Walmart carries it now.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing.  I could eat it by the spoonfuls and it's the perfect chip dip.  You can even find Top the Tater on Facebook!

Trout Lake summer vacation is 6 week away and let me tell you friends, it cannot come soon enough.  This stinkin' rain constantly, my broken back light on the lap top (the back light replacement was broken when I took it out of the package..........grrrrrrr) all my previously downloaded photos being stuck on that laptop, this big 'ol computer that is slow as hell.......I gave up on downloading Easter photos.  Is the Universe trying to teach me something here?  Obstacles?  pushing through them.....blogging even when it's not "convenient"????

Somebody needs a glass of wine vs. this whining! 

This was my Easter Chandon champagne.....I just pour into a regular wine glass so I don't have to keep refilling every 10 minutes!  My best girls understand that completely!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts.....

December 2008
Terry (my mom), me before c-section with Evan, Kerstin (mother-in-law) and Lauren
A little showcase of two incredible woman on either side of me! 
And one in purple who will someday live up to their greatness!

Okay, I'm so out of the loop here.  I've thought about writing everyday.  Everyday since I last saw you on Wed., April 13.  But then some little 'ol things called life got in the way......hmmmm, my own thyroid surgery, Mom's first week of chemo, a little half-sickness after my surgery, and a broken back light on my lap-top. 

Jeesh, looks like if I can't write a blog post whilst sitting my arse on the couch with T.V. I am just not happy!  I did, however, just now, haul that same arse to the office to use the "big" computer : )  I am a creature of habit for sure! 

But writing is like working out for me.  I just have to do it to feel right and good with the world, or rather myself.  Sometimes the words for a blog post just rush into my head.  Now prior to the blog, I would simply write them down on paper.  So it's good to be back folks!

I have tons of photos and Easter doings, and lots of my mother-in-law's vintage clothing to show you.  I have thoughts bubbling up and over and I took to carrying a journal around last week to write in.  We have an iPad, but I just can't handle the "hunt and peck" method of typing for a whole blog post.  A Facebook update?  No problem.  Is it just me, or do you love a keyboard?  That tactile sense and auditory tap-tap-tap.  All the things I have realized about myself since we last chatted!!!!

Things are good.  I feel like I've been broken open (just not near the neck...hahahhah) and I'm filled with love for all things.  I have this connectedness feeling toward man-kind, the world, my life.  Is this a surgery side-effect?  Have I always been this way but as Shirley MacLaine said on Oprah, (just para-phrasing here) I have simply acknowledged the god (whoever, however that looks to you) residing inside me? 

That old saying  that goes something about "you are not your circumstances", well, it's true.  This life is gonna keep on life-ing away and how I choose to handle that is all me, myself and I.  Everybody has a ridiculous amount of stuff going on at any given time and why not embrace it and roll with the changes rather than lay on the couch with chips and cry?  (However, that's good to do sometimes too!)

My mom's stem-cell journey (which began with a week of chemo last week) has given me this little gem:  If people ask you how they can help, tell them.  I can't do it all.  But I can do quite a bit if I accept or ask for help.  Thank you life-lesson number 3, 425.  (I just made that number up.)  I know I am honored when people ask me for help.  I feel proud and glad to be of assistance in anyway I can.  So I get that when I ask or accept help from a friend, family member or neighbor, they feel the same way.  So I asked for help and accepted help last week and I'm better for it.

I also realized that all you ever really need to say in most situations is "thank you."  Thank you Northwestern Memorial Hospital for all your life-saving, life-giving, life-renewing abilities.  Thank you to the desk clerks, nurses, doctors, assistances, cleaning crew, and the guy who moved my mom's bed from day surgery to the woman's hospital.  That gentleman took his job as seriously as an FBI agent and for that I applaud him.  People like him make the world a better place.  He made me want to be a better person.  Thank you to all those research scientists who even figured out what a stem cell was and how to harvest it.  Thank you to all those medical students who take on huge medical school debt to do the work they were called to do. 

I am alive to life.  Guess I needed a little shake up.  A little reminder that my mom is really gutsy.  In the face of a disease to which she didn't know she had with no symptoms she decided to go big or go home.  To go all the way for the best chance at remission.  She shows me how to be a better person everyday.  She shows us all how to live today.

And now to lighten the mood, Lauren was playing LPS (Littlest Pet Shop for those of you not in "the-know"!!!!) on my mom's bed and found a cute little bird with a nice round head and said, "Grandma this is what you are gonna look like when you lose your hair!"  Rock on Lauren.  Bald Grandma's are cool cats!

(For the health update on Terry, she is doing GREAT!  I seriously thought she wouldn't have the strength to get up and down the stairs.  She is eating well (those steroids give you a good appetite) and she has mostly fatigue.  Anti-nausea pills have helped and home-health care nurses come every other day.  I have been given a tutorial on how to flush out her IV cath and give her shots.  Um, yeah....if not for my non-math ability I soooo could have rocked a nursing career!  I'm a natural!  Overall, I'm just amazed....her spirits remain high)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old School Promise...


This is hanging in Evan's room. It was Grandpa Mark's (he's 66 now and this is from his days as a "scout.") I love it!  This is what is says:


Cub Scout Promise
I promise...

To do my best to do my duty
To God and my Country
To be square, and 
To obey the Law of the Pack

How do you like that "be square" line?  And for those of you wondering, yes....pretty much every object in my house has some sort of meaning behind it.  There is no better place to find goodies to decorate with than your parents attic!  I love being surrounded my these meaningful treasures.  I will be devastated if the kids don't inherit this "love of old" from me!
Classic scout painting from Norman Rockwell...

Pretty in Pink....

I'm here with another vintage find that was gifted to me from my Great Aunt Ruth! (the owner of the red velvet dress!)  I can only imagine the other gems she has in the back of her closets!  My mom and aunt were helping her "purge" some items in her cedar chest and they rescued this for me.  It actually fits but is a bit short in the waist (as vintage usually is.....it was the style!) Vintage clothing and my body type don't usually work but by some miracle this one works!  I cannot wait to wear it!
Ging Loo "Hand trimmed in Hong Kong" vintage label.  Those vintage labels get me every time.

pink and beaded and beautiful!
Bead detail on the sleeve....
Check out the shoulder detail!  I mean really!
More of the front...It's hard to capture the true color...
Back detail as seen hanging up with the sun shining through it....
You can see the color better in this pic.

I could seriously look at this sweater every time I go into my closet!  And for the record, I adore the movie Pretty in Pink.   Who could rock vintage better than Andie Walsh?  I dreamed of being a smidgen as cool as her!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A See a Trend Here.....

I read the final title "Mockingjay" in the Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy a few months ago.  While finishing up this book while on a trip to my sister's house, I then purchased these earrings....
I told her they were my "mockingjay" earrings!
This picture just looks a little cooler, even though it does not add to actually seeing the earrings!
Then along came these Anthropologie sconces (with the tag still on them, alas, not the price tag!) for $3.00 a piece! (I splurged for both....ha, ha)
See that little mockingjay up on the top?  All the brass on this is either a bird or a leaf....
For lack of a better place, I just hung them on the windows in the dining room
Then I realized this was hanging in my closet.  I got this "Disney" necklace from Wal-Mart for $1.00!  Lauren got a similar one as well.  I guess it's kinda like when you buy a red car and all of a sudden every car you see is red!  So now that's it's on my radar I'll have to curb the birds!!!!  Lauren and I have a song.  You know, like when you and your boyfriend pick a song?  Yep.  Guess what it is?  Black Bird by Paul McCartney.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Velvet Monday....

Alfred Werber was a fashion designer who created designs from 1930-1970 based in St. Louis and created designs for many big-name women during the 1960s...
I wore this lovely little red velvet dress in high school. (circa 1988 or 1989!)  This dress was my Great Aunt Ruth's (she's one of the  coolest people I know and she's 78 years old)  Ruth wore this dress back in her day.  My boyfriend's name was Larry and we went to dinner.  I thought I was all that and more.  I was all ga-ga for this boy, this dress, this evening out.  
Here's the back of the dress...
While home a week ago, she relinquished the velvet wonder back to me.  I can still fit it into..........a-hem, all the way up to maybe 2 or 3 inches of the zipper.  Not bad for an almost 40 year old with two kids!  I was kinda delighted!  So although I won't be wearing this dress again, I dream of Lauren wearing it and sharing the story/tradition with her.  I am a sucker for a vintage label.
What I thought was funny about the dress was the inside seams.....they are all rough and raw edged material. (I'm sure there is a name for this but I'm not a seamstress!)  I love the history of this dress and it just makes me happy to look at it hanging in my closet.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vintage Goodness at it's Best....

I am obsessed with finding unique, weird and cool things from all my thrifting adventures.  I went to a favorite spot in Door County and found this delightful lobster for $3.00.  I walked away from it.  I tried to not see him.  I avoided eye contact with him.  I wanted to not want him.  But I did.  I am trying to learn to trust my instincts when I see these pieces that speak to me.  It gets a little muddled sometimes because I can easily become a hoarder of kitschy-vintage pieces.  But hubs happened to come into the store with me and when I said, "I am obsessed with this" he said, "well get it then."  Okay then.  DONE.  In the cart and we don't need to speak another word of this.
The front claws seem to have little holes for those lovely little lobster forks.
Here is the back view....

The main dish is for hot melted butter and the bottom is rounded so it doesn't sit perfectly straight.  I believe the whole lobster originally sat atop a tealight holder of some sort so the butter would stay warm and melted.  (which makes this all the more genius)  

It makes me feel like a white cotton sundress with espadrilles on a Cape Cod kinda Sunday.....maybe a balloon tire bicycle with a basket in front.  A complete movie scene ending with some romance over lobster dipped in butter.....Ah!  Can you feel it?  

I envision this little guy sitting on a coffee table with maybe candy in the dish?  (on second thought I have two children who would eat every lick of that said candy down in two seconds!)  but you get the idea right?  You have to look beyond the original use and think like Nate Berkus, or rather Tricia Kushman Anderson!  Someday I'll be on the Nate show dishing about my blog and funky little red lobsters as coffee table art.  
Just sayin'.

A New Addition to the Wall of Fame...

In my dreams I thought something this kitschy-cool might exist.  I happened upon this vintage coolness at my hometown Goodwill.  (Marinette, WI:  in a nutshell, 50 miles north of Green Bay, WI, home of the beloved Green Bay Packers.  Yep, they just won the super bowl and I'm pretty sure Wisconsinites are still celebrating!!!)  I have not typically found good treasures at the Marinette Goodwill, but I swear if I think of something that I covet, desire, long for or dream of, etc. it usually ends up in my hands.  Not kidding!  My sister has the same gift.
What I love about this plate are the things that someone chose to showcase Wisconsin:  Stand Rock in Wisconsin Dells, Devil's Lake State Park, muskie fishing, the state capitol in Madison, Yerkes Observatory in Lake Geneva (a fave of the husband's!) and the Auditorium in Milwaukee (which is now called Milwaukee Theatre)  It's vintage goodness at it's best!  My favorite way to decorate.
Would it look good here?
or here?
If you missed my "wall of fame" post, you can find it here.

Another sign of Spring...

This is the area right behind the condo where we stayed in Door County.  We believe it is technically considered Peninsula State Park.  Dad, in his usual outdoors man ways, took the kids on a hunt for finding all things cool.
BINGO!  Garter snake!  We believe this one to be the Butler's Garter snake commonly found in Wisconsin.  
This is Evan and Dad checking him out....
Lauren even touched the friendly fellow....
He became more relaxed once he realized Dad had warm hands!
He was in this particular area of the woods sunning himself.
We heart nature!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Snowman for Spring Break....

We headed to Door County, WI for Spring Break.  It's off-season and quiet, not crowded and rather lovely. I've been traveling to Door County since I was a young child.  Now I'm instilling this same love of DC in my children.  It's Northern Wisconsin, so of course there is still snow!
But our arrival on a Thursday afternoon was sunny and mild.  The perfect day to sit outside with wine and the paper.  And of course, build a snowman!
Getting there!
Pretty good said Dad!
Mom added some detail...
snack time...
Nothin' like a little hot chocolate, pickled herring and wine!
Mom got a short sassy haircut like mine : )
She will only have hair for a few more weeks so went balls-out and dared to "go big or go home go" with a short haircut.  About two weeks after chemo begins she will lose her hair.  Hair....sheesh, it's over-rated.  She'll still be my mom.  My bald and beautiful mom.  As Lauren said, "well, she'll still be my grandma so I don't care if she doesn't have hair."
Just tryin' to keep it real people!