Friday, March 18, 2011


To be a parent is to find yourself saying things you just never thought you'd say like, "You know you can't iron the tablecloth when it's already on the dining room table, right?" and to have one of your children look at you with that "duh" look but then say with not much conviction "Of course I know that!" only to later remove the tablecloth and find the very distinct imprint of an iron seared into the fine wood of your only piece of Ethan Allen furniture in the house.

It is also to come home from a nice dinner out with your husband to find strange things around the house like the above picture. You won't really know why that is there but you are pretty sure that one of your offspring constructed it for what seemed to be a very good reason at the time, not that it is a random piece of modern art. And perhaps when you go looking for your clipboard the next day you will find it inexplicably covered in aluminum foil.

Some how these things always crack me up although I know they are not always funny to everyone. My own mother would have had a heart-attack if she'd caught me ironing on the dining room table. For some reason, ruining wood (by spilling milk or not using a coaster or taping something to it) was about the most egregious act you could commit upon our house when I was a kid. I don't know why that was. Was wood more scarce then? Were people judged by the quality of their wood furniture? I don't know. I just know it was a crime in my home just shy of dripping candle wax on the bee-yoo-tiful red shag rug in the basement, the one that matched the Early American Bi-Centennial couch and lead to the now legendary story of my mother finding the said wax and pointing to it in horror saying in a tone of voice usually reserved for pedophiles, "CANDLE WAX!"

But I digress. I was talking about funny things you find around your house or find yourself saying like:

Me: Hey, who put an open can of garbanzo beans back in the pantry!
Child 1: What are garbanzo beans?
Child 2: I hate garbanzo beans.
Child 3: I don't even know how to use a can opener. You probably did it old lady!

All of which are salient points. Notice not one of them just said, "I didn't do that" (future lawyers?) and then you vaguely remember making a bean salad a few weeks before and deciding at the last minute to leave the garbanzo beans out of the recipe as Child 2 does indeed hate them and that quite possibly Child 3 is right and it was YOU who put an open can of garbanzo beans back in the pantry but you are also quite sure that before you had children you never did such things-- so really, it IS their fault.

The morning after you have discovered the nail file taped to the desk and your aluminum-foil-clad clipboard one of your children will show you the fabulous video she made of herself playing the piano and you will be pleased and proud but most of all you will be happy to figure out that the nail file contraption was built to prop the iPhone up while it filmed her (though you still to this day don't know why your clipboard was covered in aluminum foil).

And that is why it is fun to be a parent because even when they are teenagers they will still be doing wacky things that confound you and amuse you --if you are not overly fond of your wood furniture and you don't really need your clipboard.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I want to tell you about two new creative ventures launched this month. One is from my niece Layne who started a house-staging business (Chicago area) and has mastered the art of the total room transformation for well under $500. She also seeks and finds fun vintage housewares and sells them, like that cool glass bottle collection above.

Layne blogs about design here:

The Jones Fix

and sells stuff here

Jones Style Etsy

The other new amazing business is from my friend Coop (we've called her that since college because her maiden name is Cooper...isn't that incredibly creative of us?)She has launced a website showing her many talents as a water-color artist (sample above) and YES she can do a fabulous job of painting a picture of your house or your parents' house (think anniversary gift).

Check her out here:

Picture to Picture
Good luck to both you gals because the world can always use some more creative beauty in it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


(sorry, the first time I published this the end got cut off--here it is in it's entirety)

A week or so ago I was having martinis with my church group, the Mary Circle. We named ourselves after Mary in the bible story--not that Mary but the one whose sister is Martha. And it's such a great story I thought I'd tell it again for those of you who may have forgotten it or never heard it.

Here's how it goes:

Jesus was invited to a meet-and-greet at Mary and Martha's house to talk about his ideas and maybe do a little fund-raising. A bunch of neighbors had heard about this guy and his crazy ideas of loving everyone so they figured, what the hell, they'd stop by and see what it was about and everyone knew that Martha and Mary threw a great cocktail party so why not.

As the house filled up, Martha and Mary got a little nervous about entertaining so many people and they ran around the kitchen trying to make little appetizers for everyone. Martha especially liked those cubes of cream cheese wrapped in corned beef but Mary had forgotten to get toothpicks so she was having trouble with it. Finally, Mary got annoyed with the whole thing and figuring she would miss the party if she stayed there trying to help Matha make everything "perfect" she just left the kitchen and joined the crowd in the living room. She tried to get her sister to join her, "Hey Martha, ditch this and let's go see what this Jesus guy has to say." Martha was annoyed with her younger sister and said in a very sarcastic, martyr way, "Go right ahead, I can do this by myself." But she was pretty ticked about it.

Mary went into the living room and sat right down and Jesus's feet. She was fascinated by him. She loved every word he had to say and she stared up at him like he was George Clooney himself. She forgot all about the appetizers she was supposed to be passing and the cosmos she was supposed to be mixing and just listened to him talk about loving everyone.

After a while, Martha came in with the appetizers and finding Mary at Jesus's feet, just sitting there (she hadn't even passed out the cocktail napkins) she had had enough. Jesus could see she was agitated and said, "Martha, what's wrong, dear?" (he was like that, always calling people dear even though he was much younger ) and Martha blurted out in her best tattle-tale voice, "I have been in the kitchen for the past hour trying to make nice food for you and Mary is just sitting there listening to you and not even helping!" She was a little sorry she'd tattled but felt a little happy knowing she would soon be vindicated when Jesus told Mary to help her sister.

Much to her surprise (and that of Mary) Jesus did not chastise Mary. Instead he said, "Martha, come sit down with Mary. That's where you belong, here with your guests, not in the kitchen! Mary gets it."

I love that story and I love my Mary Circle friends and I love that we try to be more like Mary but mostly we are like Martha (hey someone has to make the food) and I love that even Jesus wants you to get out of the kitchen and just order takeout for dinner sometimes.