Friday, May 30, 2014

Ode to My Friends

Okay, yesterday and today - beautiful days.  Now I feel badly about what I wrote about the weather.  Sorry about that, Stratosphere.  Redeemed.

No, we're not moving anywhere. Got that?  Amazing how many of our friends seem to think that we might be bailing out.  For the record, we're not.  I may talk a lot about a dream of warmer winters and lament a bit about the fact that it looks like our kids are going to follow that dream but, we're not going anywhere any time soon.  Or may for-never.  Our parents may have "stuck" us here but, it's our friends who are, in the end, going to keep us here, in the Northeast.

Friends.  If there is one thing that I am most grateful for, it is you, and you and you.  Excuse me for a moment, I'm going to get down on my knees and say a thank you prayer to God Almighty for you.  Yeah, you.

Not "bragging here", just stating the facts.  Let's look at this week and you tell me.

Last weekend found us dining with B, and me hanging out with N and J, making plans to hang out with them some more.  Monday evening, it was an impromptu evening picnic with H.  Tuesday morning, coffee and chat at the lovely home of L, along with J (another J).  Tuesday afternoon, my volunteer time at the Cultural Center where I saw a few other pals. Wednesday, great time to chat and enjoy the company of K, my beloved hairdresser. Rained that afternoon, so I caught up with myself because the next day, I was off Thrift Shopping with L (a different one) and then, sitting on a porch, drinking a glass of wine or three with J (yet another one) while Joe was with his friends at the Cultural Center for their book group.  Today, it's lunch with I, meet up with long-lost J (yet, another one) for wine and oysters and tomorrow, Joe and I are lunching with (L, another one again and J, still a whole other one) and then dining out with B (not the same one from last Saturday's dine out) and P.  Plans are already in place for Monday because I just spoke on the phone with H (this one's a cousin who lives nearby).

And, what week would be complete without phone conversations from distant but very, very good friends C  from Ossining and J from Brooklyn?

Thank you and you and you and you.  It is you who makes me, me and thank you J with the porch, for reminding me that I am a New Yawker.  I'm not offending anybody here because we're all from somewhere else but it's Cape Cod that has captured us and held us together like fish in a big net.  Happy as clams!

Love you.  Oh, and you.  And you too.  Love you all.

Oh, and of course, I've probably gained five pounds this week. So worth it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shimmer Lights

Face it, there's so much wrong with the world.  Never mind politics, scandals and guns.  There's just something downright wrong and it's the weather that is trying to let us in on the secret. According to the world as it were, the month of May should be slowly and deftly leading us down the garden path, showing us the way towards the warmth of the summer, getting ready to turn over her reigns to the goddesses of the new season.  We should be shedding coats, shortening pant-lengths, flip-flopping into the supermarket and firing up the barbie.  By now, the first coat of summer color should be seen on our pale, pale skin and we should have had one jump-for-joy day in our most recent past. We should have shared at the minimum,  one sunset on a tourist-free beach by now.  At least one.

But no.  If you live here in the Northeast, you know what I mean when I say "enough" to the weather.  Pee, or get off the proverbial pot.  What's up?  Stop allowing Mr. Winter to bully you, Ms. Spring.  He's had quite enough time to be in the spotlight and now, it's time to leave.   We're experiencing a "blast of cold air" again. And again. And now, again. Was that a lilac flower I just saw flying by my window?  There are waves on the pond, waves, like at the beach. And I'm sick at the thought of what the end result will be in our lives.
Children, who have had it with snow and cold, and can still do something about it.  Warmer climates will take them away, won't they?  They will.

Last week, our oldest granddaughter requested that I remove my "Shimmer Lights" shampoo from the bathtub, lest she mistake it for hers while showering and her hair will turn white.  Small and simple request, easily fulfilled. An eight year old's perspective on life that could easily have slipped by into my book of treasured memories were it taken only at face value.  Shampoo that turns your hair white?  Oh, were it that easy. That, my dear, takes years and time and sometimes, it takes pain, lots of it.  And courage.  And sorrow. And hard work.  And worry. Worry, too.  Sleepless nights, tossing and turning-worry.  And grief.  Huge responsibilities.  Loss.  Loss turns the blackest of hair into the whitest of white.  Amazing, how quickly that happens, those years, that time, those winters.

I wear my white hair as my own badge of courage.  I never intend to cover it up.  I'm proud of the winters I've weathered, just as my own mother was.  She earned her stripes.  Pain, loss, worry and courage.  Beyond words.  I just came upon a  few photos, some of the last taken of her, with my father on his 90th birthday.  Two full heads of hair, white as snow, surrounding proud and valiant faces, smiling at each other.  It was in October of that year, the new season approaching.  One that would be harsh, followed by two more seasons, each not wanting to be the one that separated them from each other forever.  Summer claimed that dubious distinction. The warmth can also leave us cold and shivering.

I'm starting to brace myself.  Surely, the news will come any day now.  There's a house that is too small, there are children who are getting bigger, more space, a garage, less snow.  This extended cold season seems to be punishing me for what, I am not sure but I will survive and my lights will continue to shimmer and maybe tomorrow, we'll be back to where we should be.  Maybe?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back in the Day

Honestly, have you ever seen three prettier faces in a bakery, anywhere???

Leave it to me to decide that one of my fondest memories of our first visit to Savannah will be associated with cupcakes.  Oh, happy day, and please pardon my pun. (you'll soon see what I mean)  Ahem. Now, where do I begin?

It all started when we announced our travel plans.  Suddenly, two copies of the same article, one taken from a recent "Southern Living" magazine, came to us via friends who cared.  On the front page of the "how to spend the day" article was a large photo of the lovely young lady wearing green in my photo, same beautiful smile on her face. It was our first introduction to "Back in the Day", and we had to hunt it down shortly after our arrival. And we did. Finding the bakery wasn't hard because this little emporium sits only blocks away from our vacation rental, in a neighborhood that we just know is going to be very desirable very soon.  Funky. Hints of vintage-life and sidewalks.  For some reason, we can't seem to stop thinking about this stuff.

"Back in the Day", founded and operated by once only home-bakers, Cheryl and Griff Day,  is celebrating its tenth year of business.  Their motto? "Slow down and taste the sweet life".  It's an award winner, voted THE best bakery (and beyond) in Savannah.  Breakfast, great cappuccino and selections of pastries, not a vast selection, just a handful of perfect, perfect bites of savories and sweets.  Lunch, sandwiches with names like "Pimento and the Pig", "Jambon Royal" and "Farmwich", all filled with imaginative and hand-selected ingredients, home made of course, all from a collection of heirloom family recipes.  Sweets....."Pie Bars" and pies, cakes and cookies, all gone by early afternoon.

But you have to wait until eleven o'clock for the birth of the famous cupcakes, so we were told after we polished off the biggest cups of coffee we've ever had the pleasure of drinking.  Naturally, we made friends during our first visit.  Farm tables foster community-style seating and I'm no slacker in the making friends department. Community is one of those things emphasized by the owners.  Laptops allow the hard-core to work from "home"or wile away the hours in the company of the beautiful people who obviously love their jobs and think their employers fell from Heaven.  So, we waited the extra fifteen minutes that day and at precisely eleven the trays of "Old Fashioneds"  were carried from the kitchen and placed in the case. Delivery room nurses.  Infants in the nursery.  Viewing time. Fresh, young tender babies of white cake, topped with fluffy white frosting that bore the palest shade of pink, just a hint of color.  Below the racks was another, a smaller version. Miniature Old Fashioneds, called "Babies" or were they called "Newborns?" for smaller appetites perhaps. Or for real babies. We approached the showcase as if we were first-time grandparents.  Joined by other first-timers, we stared at the rows of babies and decided to adopt a half dozen.  We almost gave them names as the adorable "nurse" placed them in a special insert and then into a box.  Can't take home a baby without the proper car seat these days.

The next day, we drove our babies to their new home, a two hour trip to Amelia Island, Florida, and we placed them into the hands of the two people who we had selected for joint-custody, our friends Peter and Julie. Then, at the end of a lovely day, we did the right thing.....we christened our babies with a bottle of wine and validated their existence as good parents do.

For numerous reasons, we plan to return to Savannah as soon as we can but I have to be honest when I say that places like this one are influencing our thoughts and we plan to take home some more babies when we do get there.  If only to see the beautiful faces on the nurses again.

Apparently, I'm not alone:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Georgia, Still on My Mind

It took a few days.  It all seemed so "foreign" We are not experienced Southern visitors.

But then, all of a sudden, it happened.  We got it.  All we had heard, the promises of "you will love Savannah" came true.

A quick note from one of my best friends in New York....."Well?" was all it said.  I think that was on Monday.  We had only just arrived, Saturday late afternoon.  My response was also simple.  "It is beautiful but not edgy enough".  It was also very warm, in the nineties with a strong, unfiltered sun.

By the end of that very day, we already were well on our way to joining the chorus of those who sing joyful noises in praise of what is the prettiest place we've ever been. A perfect little city with all the elements that I have been craving.  Sidewalks, interesting sights, a waterfront, parks and nice, very, very nice, people.  So much about vintage.

Before our arrival, I was convinced that there were only three places, other than Cape Cod, where I could foresee us living when that day comes...the day that finds us free to choose and hopefully, healthy and young enough to enjoy a final phase in our lives.  New York City is at the top of that list but we are not totally stupid.  We would have to win a large sum of money and our luck runs in different directions.  We're only rich in friendships, good health and family.  Not money.  Santa Barbara comes next on that list.  We fell in love with that gem years ago and several visits have left us dreaming but only.  Two large lottery winnings for that lofty ambition.  And then there's Porstmouth, New Hampshire. Still on the list.  Downtown Portsmouth has so many of those bells and whistles that we crave.  Cold winters but moderate summers and again, waterfront.  And now, there's Savannah for reasons our hearts understand.

Mercer Williams House....Home of the "incident"
Savannah has a verve that is unique.  Its slow pace is punctuated by the sound of horse hooves hitting cobblestones as they slowly bring tourists through the heart of the city. It's easy to sit quietly and take it all in. Never, does it appear that anyone is in a rush to do anything and it's all perfectly fine.   No beeping of car horns, only those of huge container ships as they pass through the channel along River Street. Huge tankers seem to glide as if they were little sail boats.  It's River Street where the "night life" comes alive but this is not a city that requires much more on an evening than a stroll followed by a quiet conversation at a bench in one of the twenty two squares found in the historic downtown.  The aromas of magnolia and honeysuckle linger after sunset.  Intoxicating.  Around the squares, beautiful mansions.  What secrets do they hold?  The most famous perhaps is the Mercer House on the Southwest end of Montery Square, the one used in the book that put Savannah on the map....."Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".  Having knowledge of the story of Jim Williams and the "incident", does wonders for getting into the groove and feeling the vibe.  Thank you John Berendt.  He's the author who came and never left.  I know the feeling.

This little video captures just a bit of Savannah. It is not mine, I found it on YouTube.

And I also found this:  A nice summary.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stay Tuned

After a lovely, lovely week in BEEutiful Savannah, and a nice Mother's Day yesterday......

Downloading LOTS of photos, getting re-organized and not quite ready to sit down and write but I will soon.

Nice to see that Spring has finally arrived.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Down South

On vacay at the moment.

Come back next week and I'll tell you all about it ....or shall I say"I'll tell y'all about it"

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ordinary Days?

Stumped for what to write about today. I do know that I should be writing something.  Not just to "blog" or to be "newsy" but to produce written words lest I go into a slump.

We're prepping for a vacation, one that we started to plan months ago.  We're off to Savannah tomorrow and we're very, very excited.  We need the change in climate and entire atmosphere.  We rarely vacation in the states, having invested most of our time and money into European trips, many of them to Italy.  Fortunately, we both came to the same conclusion. We just don't want to do that so we looked at what it is we really like to do and it became so apparent - a small city, on the coast, with sidewalks, art, good restaurants and pretty, pretty, pretty.  We hope we've made the right choice.  When we tell people of our plans, we always get the same response......"you will love Savannah!".   Oy.

So, today, we're finishing up on details and it's raining (again), making this one of those lovely days when I personally don't feel the need to be outdoors. I love a rainy day once in a while just for that reason.

But yesterday, yesterday was one of those days that we're going to be talking about for a long time.  Lunch with three of my fabulous gal pals followed by a joint shopping adventure at our favorite place, the VNA Thrift Shop of course. This was no ordinary shopping adventure and we had so much fun in there.  Linda tried on a pink jacket which to me looked like pink ultra-suede. She thought it was real suede and found a label, written in German and then,of course, we found a real German woman who read us the label. Real pink pigskin.  After I told her that she might not like looking like a real German pig, she politely hung the jacket back on the rack.  Next, I found some white cups and saucers, turned them upside down to find that they were Wedgwood and the pattern was "Nantucket".
Does anybody want these?  No takers.  Like I really need another set of dish parts.  Friend Miriam comes around the bend and convinces me that I should not leave them there.  "Wedgewood!".  Okay.

Next stop was another round of poking into the pigskin area of little jackets and coats and wait, wait......lookout, what the heck is this?  "Linda, I found you another jacket, try this one on.  Cashmere"
So, she tries this gorgeous, very vintage, high fashioned black jacket that bears the label "Eskandar" and she's in love.  So was I......maybe it would have fit me?  Too late.  It's hers.

Just an ordinary day like today.  Nothing much to write about.

Except for 8 cups and saucers, for which I paid $15.00, are sold at Bloomingdale's for $400.00

And Linda's jacket?  It is valued anywhere in the range of $500.00 to $1200.00.

Not bad for an ordinary stupid day with extraordinary powers.