Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silk and Crystal Tie the Knot

As my house slowly returns to a semi-state of normalcy after a mini-reno, I find myself disinterested in re-hanging the old art or adding back the old accessories. I still like some of it, but I can't get excited about any of it. The trouble with a freshly painted space is, I want the rest to be fresh too and it's not. So I am procrastinating. I have leaned much of the art where I think it will hang. I have not unpacked the precious accessories or even the not so precious ones.
The new chandelier is the only thing I am excited about and it is presenting an installation problem. So it sits in the dining room bay window teasing me, taunting me, begging me to hang him. He knows how badly I want to see him dangling from the ceiling medallion in all his new glory. Each time I pass by him, I stare at him with longing. I yearn to see him all lit up, fresh shades attached to his tiny bulbs, glowing on a dark winter night above the old dining table. I find his presence there almost cruel now, as we try to figure out a way to get him mounted.
As I await the day he will hang, the dining table is cast aside so the moment the installation happens, the floor beneath will be open and available. Last night I used this wide open space to exercise. I laid my mat on the dining room carpet and stretched and crunched surrounded by the new open space. It added an air of formality to my routine that gave it a freshness I did not expect. It made me think that working out in a pretty room was not a bad idea and that it might even motivate me to work harder. It was enjoyable, but I'm not certain it made me work harder.
As I huffed and puffed, I studied the space and changed my mind about the new window treatments that I am about to introduce. So, in a way, you could say it did make me HAVE to work harder. Work harder at making more money that is. One of the things that has always surprised my clients over the years is the price tag on window treatments. There is no other way to say it - they are ridiculously expensive. Sure, you can go to Ikea and dress your window with whatever flimsy blind or curtain they have available at the moment, but to truly do a window justice, you really must reach deeper into your pocketbook. It doesn't matter if you do blinds, shutters, shades, drapes or something more elaborate, once you are doing anything custom - CHA-CHING!
With all of my connections in this business, even I cannot go cheap here. Well, I could, but it would not suit the rooms and as we all know, you get what you pay for. In this case, truer words were never spoken. Even keeping it simple is not cheap. An undressed window is just that. Naked. Exposed. It allows the sun to become an enemy to your furniture and carpets. There are instances where bare windows are desirable - but unless you gaze upon the Pacific Ocean, The Rockies or Central Park, I would not recommend it.
And the pairing of some silk panels with a handsome chandelier is a marriage made in decorating heaven that every house deserves.
If mine ever finally do walk down the aisle, you can pop over and see the new couple once the honeymoon is over. I want them all to myself for a couple of weeks.
Even if I have to do sit-ups in front of them while they get used to each other. Hope they don't mind me perving.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Totally "Ripped" or totally "ripped off" - time will tell

I hemmed and hawed a bit over whether or not I should fess up to this but two glasses of red wine with my next door neighbour tonight has left me feeling all open and a bit "throw caution to the wind-like" so I am going to say it. I succumbed to an info-mercial the other night and tonight when I got home from work, the box had arrived on my doorstep a solid 6 days before they promised me it would. It caught me a bit off guard actually. I didn't expect my box of goodies to arrive until late next week which would have given me more time to psyche myself up for it, but now that it is here, I have to dive right in - tomorrow I suspect. I watched this particular commercial 3 times over the last two months, each time mesmerized by the testimonials, yet still leery. The third time finally got me and I picked up the damn phone and pulled out my credit card and placed my order. The promise of change is alluring, tempting, downright compelling. As I sat and listened to the converts spill their tales of how it changed their lives, I couldn't help but imagine how it might change mine too. Who wouldn't want to be "totally ripped" in 90 days? It is February. I calculated that by the end of May - that could be me too! Just in time for bikini season. There was even one 45 year old women who had given birth to seven - yes SEVEN kids and her before and after abs looked so awesome, I just had to see for myself if this fitness system would work for me. I am now the proud owner of the P90X extreme home fitness program. There are 12 DVD's in the box. Each DVD focuses on a different body part. My favourite is number 12 - Ab Ripper X. I may just skip 1 through 11 and go right to that one. However, I will try to control my urge to do that and follow the instructions so that I don't end up with great abs and a flabby ass. I need to balance the various workouts so that my entire body will be "totally ripped", not just my abs. My plan here is to give weekly updates on my way to this promised new "ripped" body and in the end, I will make my recommendation on this system "created for those seeking a higher level of fitness". Can she do it? Can she cut it? Can Tony Horton motivate her to never seen before levels of core strength, cardio endurance and that sought after 6-pack? Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

May you all find your Love Match this weekend.

It's hard not to avoid thinking about love this weekend - everywhere you turn, red hearts jump out at you from shop windows, radio stations crank out love songs, boxes of chocolate in heart-shaped boxes are stacked to the rafters of every grocery and drug store. It's the Hallmark Holiday to end all Hallmark Holidays. This year in addition to the usual barrage of pink and red, the movie Valentine's Day was released yesterday. My daughter and I love nothing more than a box of buttery popcorn and a good sappy romantic comedy, so off we went to the matinee yesterday (she was off school) and tucked in for a couple of hours of escape. It did not disappoint. Cleverly pieced together, the various story-lines of the cast of characters kept you wondering and guessing and sometimes even though you could figure out where they might go, it was still fun and charming. I laughed. I cried. What more can one ask of a movie? AND.....some pretty decent eye-candy to boot - for both male, female, gay and heterosexual audiences. Director, Garry Marshall had it all covered with his all-star cast. With all that love ooozing off the big-screen, it got me to thinking about love and one partial Rumi quote that was used in the movie. "What you really want is love's confusing joy." I thought about that one, pondered it, and tucked it away in my mind until this morning. A strange thing happened to me recently. As most of you know, I play tennis. Over the years I have played with many club members, male, female, singles, doubles - truth be known, I'll play with just about anyone that can still hold a racquet, still see the lines and still connect with the ball. I have played with much younger players, much older players, and players my own age. It's all good. So when one of my winter club members started leaving phone messages to get together for a game, after ignoring his plea for several calls, I decided to call him back and set up a match. It started out innocently enough. He was someone I had played with once, and against once, in a friendly round robin. He was a decent player for an older gentleman and I knew he could give me a bit of a challenge, so I figured, "what the hell?" Much to my surprise, he apparently had more than tennis in mind. He not only wanted to play tennis with me, he told me he wanted to take me out for a drink after the match. When I told him (figuring he didn't know I was married) that my husband might not be too keen on that part, he says to me "What he doesn't know, won't hurt him." Well, I was quite taken aback by his cheeky response to say the least. It seemed he was not going to take no for an answer. To make a long story short, this man started to call me everyday. With call display, I could see who it was, so I stopped answering the phone. Eventually, he became so annoying that my husband finally had to answer one night at 10:30 (he obviously also had no phone etiquette) and tell him to stop calling. This man was not attractive. He was scrawny, hunched over, beady-eyed and apparently completely oblivious to his own appearance and yet he still managed to muster up the courage to pursue me, despite his obvious short-comings. I thought he must have figured he had nothing to lose. I had written him off as a sort of creepy old stalker until I digested that Rumi quote. After a little detective work of my own, I found out that this man was considered pretty harmless. Never married, known in tennis circles and not likely to be waiting for me in some dark alley one night. It was a relief to discover this information and I even spoke to him last Thursday at the weekly round robin, having told him the previous week, that his advances had been upsetting my husband. He seemed to have gotten the message. He may cherish the game of tennis, but what he is really craving as so succinctly put by Rumi, is "love's confusing joy." You can't really blame a guy for that. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you out there looking for love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All work and no play.......not my idea of living!

Over the years I have had friends and colleagues who have worked for American owned companies. It seemed to me they were always required to work harder and longer than those working for Canadian or other internationally known companies. One glaring difference has always been the American attitude toward vacation time. Vacation time is for wusses. The American "work ethic" shall prevail and ye shall work thyself to death for "the man" and your paltry pay cheque (or check, as they like to spell it). I know a C.E.O. who recently proudly exclaimed to a group of his minions that he did not take a vacation for the first ten years of his career with the company. He seemed proud of this fact and the group of listeners stood in awe of his proclamation. Was he for real? Did his audience think it was a good thing? Personally, I find that sort of dedication to work completely unbalanced. What about the rest of your life? Your other interests? Your family? Your health and well-being? Is any employer or any group of shareholders more important than those? The Europeans have it right. Plenty of holiday time there. Life is too god damn short to devote every waking minute to making money. Not for yourself or for the company. I'm fairly certain I will not want my headstone to read - she worked relentlessly for "the man" her entire life - what a trooper! Screw that. It better say, she worked hard, played harder and stopped to smell the roses....among other things. And where has this so-called "American work ethic" gotten them? They are viewed upon by the rest of the world as consumer driven, over-worked, over-fed capitalists who worship the almighty dollar - their precious green back - not so precious these days I might add. So I say unto you - my neighbours to the south, reconsider your motivations, do without that umpteenth pair of Manolo's, drive a less prestigious car, stop trying to keep up with the Jone's. Like I always say - this ain't no dress rehearsal. Life is for living and the time is now. Take a vacation. "The man" will still be there grinding away when you get back. Count on it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What constitutes surviving, thriving and being happy? Damned if I know.

There is nothing like being forced to empty a couple of rooms in your house to make way for repairs and painting to realize you have way too much STUFF. I had to pack up the contents of the china cabinet, a sideboard, an armoire and bookcases. I had to pack and wrap up decorative accessories, remove all the art, move out all the furniture, roll up the carpets and FINALLY get rid of the drapes that had been hanging in my windows since we bought the house that I have never liked. Now I have an opportunity to pare down the space after the painting is finished, weed out the art I no longer like, rotate the carpets between rooms and update the chandelier and window treatments. It would be nice to replace the furniture as well, but the budget will not allow for that, so I will have to live with it for a while yet. I help people do this for a living. I plan their new spaces, choose furniture, pick paint colours and try to stick to their budgets. It's easier doing it for them. I don't have any attachment to their old things. Banish them I can say. Not so easy with my own old things. I suffer from the "what if" syndrome. What if my daughter can use these old tea cups and saucers handed down from my great aunt and grandmother one day? How do I banish them? What if I decide I want to start polishing silver again - maybe I need to hang on to all these useless pieces of old silver. What if I start using that silver tea service when I'm 75? What if, what if, what if? I used to save old crap in case I bought a cottage one day. I stopped doing that when I realized if I ever did buy a cottage, I wouldn't want to fill it up with a bunch of old crap anyway. I would want to fill it up with fun new colourful stuff from Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. Screw all those mismatched plates and glasses - a new cottage would call for fun new stuff. We live in such a consumer-driven world. The work I do contributes to the hype. I struggle every day between wanting and needing. On one hand, I imagine myself living surrounded by all the beautiful things I see everyday and on the other, I crave simplicity. A minimalist existence with only the barest of necessities. Am I alone? Or does everyone share my struggle? Is it because of what I do for a living that creates my schizoid view of how I don't know how I want to live? I want to run away sometimes and leave it all behind me. Live like I did when I backpacked through Europe when I was young and unencumbered with "things". How did I get from there to here? I carried my entire life around on my back for almost four months. I survived. I thrived. I was happy. I did it again a couple of years later in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. I survived. I thrived. I was happy. Now I have a house full of stuff. I do still survive. I just don't know if I'm thriving.....or happy. And for the record, I am NOT turning my old silver tea pot into a lamp - the way I see it, that's a stretch for even the most avid of recyclers out there. (see photo above for what NOT to do.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I want Minnie Driver's necklace!!!!

MUST HAVE the necklace that Minnie Driver was wearing in last night's episode of Modern Family. Did any of you see it? It was an awesome statement piece - bold, chunky, citrusey, FABULOUS! I just googled around a bit to see if I could find a shot of it somewhere, but all I found was several other female bloggers saying the same thing. Guess I'm not the only one who noticed. If anyone can find it for me - I am offering a reward....I'll let you borrow it once. Keep me posted! (It's not the one in this photo above!) Decomama