Friday, May 19, 2023

The Gifts of May, Including Celebrations



May is my favorite spring month, for many reasons. Partly because the view out of the living room window shows the porch covered in purple clematis, with the young Kousa dogwood across from it putting on more and more white bracts each year.


 Another gift of May is the gift of birthday cards arriving that I display on the kitchen shelf to enjoy all month long. Some of them are Mother's Day cards but even more birthday cards will be added when I celebrate it again when out of town and out of state children come in on Memorial Day weekend. 

I love stretching out a celebration, don't you? So don't feel sorry for me when I show you what I had for dinner on my actual birthday, frozen pizza. 

 That's right, I asked RH to pick up a frozen Screamin' Sicilian Pizza and fresh arugula because it's a favorite treat. I pile on the arugula as soon as the pizza comes out of the oven and drizzle it well with Greek olive oil and tons of freshly ground black pepper. And I think I had Cherry Garcia ice cream for dessert. 

It was a wonderful birthday full of cards in the mail, texts and phone calls and FaceTime visits, and one in person visit from my firstborn son who joined me for lunch. Didn't even think to get a picture then or when two grandsons dropped in on me that week

I had another birthday treat a few days later when my favorite way of entertaining occurred--when family brings the party to me! All I had to do was set the table.


Zack and Stacey brought my birthday dinner to me along with beautiful flowers for the table!

The dinner from Carne Mare in Nashville was fabulous, the Salt-Baked Florida Red Snapper for me (seafood lover) and various cuts of steak for the others. We had potatoes with rosemary and parmigiano and broccolini with garlic and oil and delicious salads.

And the signature bread along with birthday greetings from some of the restaurant staff. The bread is to die for!

And the most scrumptious 17-layer espresso cake with chocolate caramel mousse I've ever had, gilded cherry on top. I stole a picture of it from their website.

 I stretched out my piece for three nights and then RH gave me half of his. 

Even better than the dinner were the birthday hugs and conversation at the dinner table for hours. It was so much fun, something that even those of us in our eighth decade need. Maybe even more so, lest we forget. A big thank you to Stacey and Zack for a delightful evening!

 God willing, I'll soon be posting here in a couple of weeks about my second birthday dinner. Stacey, lucky girl, will be in Italy then so RH and I will be looking forward to seeing pictures of her trip when she gets home. Meanwhile, this mama is looking forward to having all her chicks come home to Nashville for another celebration. 

Because those are the best gifts of all, right?

Thank you, beautiful month of May!


Thursday, May 4, 2023

Old Fashioned

 Take my word for it, you can't find a synonym for old fashioned that makes it sound any better. I know, I tried. There's stodgy, musty, passé and worse. The best I could come up with was timeless.

I'm not talking about the cocktail but did find it interesting that the Old Fashioned remains the top selling classic cocktail internationally. No, I'm talking about myself.

Every year during high school Prom season I think about posting this picture of me before my senior prom. This is the year I do it.


Taken in 1961 in my parents' living room, here I am in the dress I begged my mother to make after not finding one I loved as much as I had loved the one bought for my junior prom. Prom dress styles were becoming less bouffant but I still wanted an old fashioned one. 

I asked Beth, a talented girlfriend, to draw the one I dreamed of and she nailed it.


My 23 inch waist (up an inch since my junior prom) didn't do justice to Beth's design but Mama did her best and combined two Vogue patterns and yards of material. My curly hair didn't do well in a french twist so Mama's hair stylist pulled it to the side in the best Southern Belle style she could. RH had the florist make up a pink rose wrist corsage and one for my hair.

I  adored it and thought Mama was a genius but it has to be said, none of my three younger sisters ever wore it to their proms.

If you need proof that I am even more old fashioned now, here's a picture that proves it.


That's right, I collect Vera Bradley purses. Hey, they used to be popular with women other than grandmothers. High school girls even carried them!

I bought the black and purple one on the bottom years ago in Dillard's because my shoulder was hurting and I couldn't take the weight of a leather handbag. And it wasn't cheap!

By the way, that's our dear Otis and Milo there beside the purses, in heaven since 2017.

Last year I found the green and black one, shown on top, at the Goodwill and decided it was just right for spring, and retired the black and purple one for winter's use. And then last summer I found the white and blue one at Goodwill and it became my summer purse. It has a few worn spots but then so do I.

Next came the purse that would complete my seasonal collection, an autumnal olive green and brown Vera Bradley, brand new and found at Goodwill.

Notice the pretty birds in the pattern and the cute tortoiseshell-like toggle?

 Life was complete. I now had a Vera Bradley purse for each season. There was no reason to go by the handbag section at Goodwill. Until they moved it right by the checkout lane.

And there she was, a like new gorgeous purse that surely had to be a Vera.

Oh, it was lined with red cherries and poppies!

But where was the Vera Bradley tag?


There it was, my July and August Vera Bradley purse! Just when I thought my search for Vera purses was over, it occurred to me that there could possibly be a MONTHLY collection out there waiting for me.

Yes, I'm old fashioned--stodgy, musty, and passé. But I still go weak-kneed when I look at pretty clothes and confess to following three or four YouTube fashion influencers.

Do you do that? It's not that I watch them for ideas of clothes to buy. I'm too stodgy for that but a girl can always dream.

Here's a dream dress I fell in love with last fall when it was shown in a Garden & Gun November issue (from Lela Rose in Dallas).


Who knows why a particular dress wins the heart of a woman just about to leave behind the seventh decade of her life, but this dress won mine.

Notice how the neckline falls just below the collar bone (clavicle)? Once upon a time, for my senior prom, I had a pretty collar bone, one you could see, and a 23 inch waist. 

I may be old fashioned and have misplaced my waist and collar bone but I still love a pretty dress.

Wear one for me, will you?