Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Zinger Challenged?

We all remember Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail.

I loved Kathleen and identified with her in two ways, a love of independent bookstores being one but also because she could never think of a sarcastic comeback to Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). 

Like Kathleen, I am zinger challenged, rarely can get one off.

Have you ever lain awake at night thinking of all the perfect zingers you could have made?

Are you as witty as a standup comic--hours after you need to be?

Are you a fellow member of the "staircase wit" club--that slow reaction comeback known as L'esprit de l'escalier

Are you a tortoise surrounded by hares when thrown into an argument, a brilliant answer or zinger popping into your brain at 2 a.m.?

Then again.............

Perhaps it's just as well if we haven't been given the gift of a quick comeback, piercing putdowns. 

Remember when Kathleen had enough and launched her own zingers at Joe?

It stunned him, which probably was a good thing. Kathleen felt vindicated at first but then her natural niceness prevailed and she  was ashamed of herself.

Maybe it's just as well not to have been given the gift of zingers, what do you think?

And maybe an even greater gift is having the gift of returning that zinger, but not unleashing it, even on FaceBook or other social media.

What do you think about this? 

And lest you worry that I'm writing this because I've been personally hurt by this recently, not at all. I just admit to being bothered at the general unkindness seen on social media, the zingers shot back and forth as tempers rise.

Just wondering what some of the kindest people I know think about!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ever Feel Like Eating Grass?

Our Mr. & Mrs. Smith do.

But do you ever feel like this?

"I feel like a sick dog that wants to go out and eat nothing but grass--only I would prefer asparagus, green peas, green string beans (small kind--no strings), green spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
in Bring Me a Unicorn

Spring does this to me, does it you?

I crave asparagus...

I crave Florida green beans
(with new potatoes)...

Most of all I crave broccoli,
and broccoli salad too...

Let's throw in some scallions, bell peppers,
and jalapenos with the broccoli florets.
Then add some dried cranberries, crisp bacon,
juicy little tomatoes,
and while we're at it saute pecans
with a little sea salt. 
Don't forget to stir a little dressing into it
of mayo, drizzle of olive oil, a little champagne wine 
vinegar, salt and pepper.

This recipe is from a favorite cookbook,
Nathalie Dupree's Matter of Taste.

What else did we have?

A simple recipe from my trusty
Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook,
that I made long ago as a newlywed.
A hamburger pie topped with mashed potatoes
cooked in a black iron skillet.

Man cannot live by greens alone,
at least my man can't.

Here's something else green we can make a meal on.

Do you love guacamole as much as we do?

I'm craving greens lately almost as much
as Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

How about you?

Anyone already have salad makings
growing in your garden yet?

Almost forgot to add this recent pic of me with my sister Teresa when we took a day of sister time.

We wore blue, not green.
And we talked and talked and talked.
Aren't sisters wonderful?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Glimpse of Lilac

A glimpse out the window on a rainy day
and there is lilac.

Can you see it?

Never having had a lilac,
we didn't know.

So that's what this bush was,
a lilac
that Gladys Taber believed
was loveliest of all.

All shrubbery here having been pruned
for the house to go on the market,
probably at the wrong time of year,
there were only three clusters this April.

I cut one sprig for the house.
And it was enough happiness for one woman.

You might not be able to stand me if I had armfuls.

"There is enough beauty in lilac for a lifetime." 
Gladys Taber

A Bountiful Easter to all of you--

from Dewena and RH

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dewena's List (Better than Angie's List)

1. My favorite artists-in-residence

2. My favorite tea party hostesses

3. My favorite great-grandson

4. My favorite person to watch The Wizard of Oz with

5. My favorite lawn service

Contact Mimi and Pawpaw for references.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blues In My Kitchen

When I first saw the real estate picture of the kitchen in this 1935 cottage, something about it whispered,

"You could be so content here."

It was narrow but I've always loved galley kitchens. 

Here is the listing photo:

My heart did sink at the black appliances, but they could be replaced with white ones eventually. 

I knew the first thing I would do would be to take down the curtains.

That done, the windows let in the morning sunshine, especially after RH and our son discovered hinges at the top of the big one outside that let them open it up to clean the inside section too.

Plants flourish in this window. Small pots of herbs can go there next winter.

We won't be doing any kitchen renovation here, had enough of that during the five month kitchen build at our old house.

But the cabinets in this small kitchen soon filled up, even with us bringing in two cabinets of our own.

I kept looking at that blank wall in the kitchen and turned to Pinterest for inspiration.

RH and his brother took it from there and built beautiful open shelves with plate grooves and a stainless steel rod to hold my pots and pans.

I don't mean they went out and bought shelving and corbels at Home Depot, not at those prices. They made every shelf and corbel themselves.

Instant space in my cupboards!

And a place to display the old pieces of Blue Willow my parents found for me in a church thrift store many decades ago.

Odds and ends of Blue Willow that I've ignored in recent years because blues were no longer in my kitchen or dining room color scheme. All brought out when unpacking and now I'm in love with Blue Willow again.

How does that happen? It's not as if Blue Willow is taking the blogging world by storm. Have you ever gone back to a first love?

We hung the heavy 1800s Staffordshire Blue Willow platter, our first good antique purchased as newlyweds, over the microwave.

Under it are treasured photos of my maternal grandfather in his butcher shop and my father, an excellent cook.

There were already two old blue and white flower pots at the sink.

A little blue near the coffee pot.

And blues in my wedding china, Copeland-Spode Blue Bird.

Now blues reign in my kitchen!

But kitchens are for cooking and what I like best to cook are the old Southern recipes.

I confess that I love fried chicken, potato salad, chicken salad, tomato aspic, poundcake, caramel cake, the food my mother and aunts used to make, the kind of food I saw women bring to countless Dinner on the Grounds at church in my youth.

Even though I have French cookbooks, Italian cookbooks, etc., it is the old ones from the USA that I turn to over and over again. Like Eugene Walter's American Cooking: Southern Style above and James Beard: Delights and Prejudices, below.

All of James Beard's cookbooks are favorites of mine. I believe he was one of the best cooking teachers there ever was. He had the heart of a teacher.

And like me, he preferred electric stoves to gas ranges, unusual for a chef.

Someday I hope to replace this black stove with a white one.

Our son installed a pretty white Bosc dishwasher before we moved in and this last week RH bought me a white fridge! Not an impulse buy, the old fridge had issues--for one thing, no water in the door and too small for a Britt pitcher inside so we were buying three or four cases of water bottles a week.

Two down, one to go!

That's my kitchen, folks. I love it so much! It is a cheerful place to cook.

Thank you so very much for visiting me!

Want to know what I think about you all? Just read the message on this sweet new tea towel my future daughter-in-law gave me...

That's you, and you, and you!

P.S. Now I can bring back in the ugly black electric can opener, the dish drainers, the Kleenex box, the calendar--those things that would never be caught dead in a blogger's camera lens.

I'm giving you fair warning as of now though, my friends, they'll probably show up in my kitchen posts from now on. You bloggers work way too hard! 

Friday, March 10, 2017

The _______________ Room

We don't know what to call this room.

It's our breakfast room....

It's our dining room....

It holds my cookbook collection and RH's Bible Commentary books....

My extensive collection of vintage women's magazines resides in this cabinet....

This room is where we play checkers and keep an eye on the new bluebird house outside the window that has already been claimed...

We watch television and read and talk here....

It's a breakfast room and dining room and living room and more.

But we don't know what to call it. It's more of a Gathering Room than anything else but I can't see myself asking RH to "please carry this to the Gathering Room." Great Room doesn't seem to fit either.

I don't know what the previous owners called it but I do know they must have eaten their meals here too because there is not room for that in the kitchen.

Here are two photos from the real estate listing that I studied for two months before we moved, mentally furnishing it over and over....

I knew that it was a large enough room that I could fit a lot of our furniture in different areas for different activities. And I knew instinctively that our stuff would look right at home here, maybe even better than in any house we'd ever lived in before.

I knew that the red sofa we had made at Ethan Allen in 2004, waiting six months for it, would be perfect here, and that the green dining table we'd had since 1965 could back up to the sofa and be pulled out for company all around it, and even extra leaves put in. 

I knew that the green china cabinet that RH "antiqued" when we were newlyweds, my parents' old china cabinet, would have the perfect niche.

And I knew that the bronze Basset hound that I had to have from my sister's shop (HERE) would sit in the front window of this house where five Basset hounds had previously lived. A fact I adored as it reminded me of our beloved Betsy. 

And I knew that my mother's old wristwatch needed to go around her neck...

I knew that the old sunburst clock I ordered from England years ago would look amazing on these knotty pine walls...

And I knew that the two ugly ceiling lights needed to vamoosh, soon...

I knew they both needed to be simple ones that matched--RH has already put one up and I have hopes of getting the other one put up this weekend....

I knew these would look perfect with our silver arc floor lamp that adds a contemporary touch to this 1935 knotty pine room....

I also knew that the brass ceiling fan would have to go but that may take a while. RH LOVES ceiling fans--is it a guy thing? But he's been so cooperative with my honey-do list for me to push that idea, yet.

What I don't know, what neither of us know, is what to call this everything room. Maybe you can think of something?

I hope to do a post soon of our kitchen. Don't be expecting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in it, my friends. It is a galley kitchen that was a little bit on the plain side, but it has a huge window over the sink that made my heart go pitter-pat. 

My goal in the kitchen has been to make it pretty, without the expense and bother of a renovation. And obviously to have it be an efficient place to cook.

RH and his brother spent three weekends and other odd hours building and installing a pretty and practical piece that transformed the kitchen for me. I smile every time I look at it. I hope you will too!

Here's a tiny piece of it to pique your curiosity...

"Our private house should be a reflection of ourselves,
our way of being in the world,
what makes us distinctly different from one another."

Rose Tarlow

Those of you who know me well, as I believe so many of you do, probably understand why I keep telling you how much I love this house.

For this time of my life, it is so very much me, so very much us.

I hope you don't get tired of me telling you how much I love this house here on Dewena's Window because I don't think I can help myself. I am foolishly head-over-heels in love with a house.

Isn't that a sublime feeling to have?