Good morning and welcome to the premier posting of Midweek Mélange. According to Vocabulary.com, ‘A mélange is any combination of anything, but the word always heightens the glamour quotient…’. Glamour is certainly something I’m longing for these days. Well, that and travel. At least I am now scheduled for the coveted vaccine, allowing a glimmer of hope over the horizon.
Historically January was my least favorite month. That was until 2011. That was the year my first fabulous, amazing granddaughter was born. Happy birthday, my beautiful Olivia!
This year January, however, hasn’t felt all that different from every other month, but I am still pleased to see its end approaching. I always feel like I’m just treading water, waiting for Spring. While anticipating the thrill of seeing bulbs start to pop up through the earth, I’ll make do with my cheery tulips from the market.
If you are feeling the need to get away, I suggest Escape to the Chateau, a British documentary series that follows the story of Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree as they renovate and redecorate a 45-room, 19thcentury chateau in France. The scenery is evocative and the renovations are inspiring and entertaining. While they are working on a much grander scale, it brings back many memories of our work transforming the old Victorian we purchased in Indiana over thirty years ago. Mr. Smith sanded, stripped, painted and papered every square inch of the house, turning it into an inviting, cozy home. The creative, charismatic Angel provided one of my favorite quotes from Escape to the Chateau. While sweeping up a room full of dead flies she said, “Behind every romantic story is the reality.” Having lived through our own renovation, I can relate.
If the Pandemic has left you feeling uninspired, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to Nora Ephron’s 1996 Commencement Address to Wellesley College. Having graduated from there in 1962, she returned on a rainy, chilly day in 1996 to address the graduating class. Despite the audience being huddled under umbrellas, to say she was well received is an understatement. I listened to it again recently and was amazed at how well it has held up over the passage of decades.
Aware of my girl crush on Ms. Ephron, Mr. Smith recently passed along an article he read in New York Magazine, Mike Nichols’s Heartburn. Mike Nichols’s 1986 movie Heartburn was based on Ephron’s book by the same name chronicling her marriage to Carl Bernstein that ended in a messy divorce. We watched the movie this past weekend. One of the joys of getting old is while the movie felt familiar, we weren’t convinced we had seen it before. I particularly enjoyed the restaurant scene where they go around the table and everyone describes themselves in five words. Ephron talks about this game in her commencement speech and how those five words change over time.
Other activities that have helped me through these winter/COVID months are reading and embroidery. I am working on more pillowcases and a little Valentine treat for someone. There is something extremely satisfying in seeing your stitches come to life as a design on your fabric. It can be as seductive as reading. Just like telling myself I’ll just read one more chapter, I find myself thinking oh, just a few more stitches.
Along with travel, I still miss shopping but don’t have much need for new clothes. Or so I thought. Despite the onslaught of emails with amazing post-Christmas sales at many of my favorite clothing stores, I have managed to keep my buying to a minimum, but a recent inspection of my lingerie drawer indicated it might be time to dust off my credit card. I have been purchasing my knickers from Hanky Panky for several years. Every July they send me a 20 percent off coupon for my birthday and I weed out what is past its prime and refresh my inventory. Noticing some rather sad looking panties in my drawer, I realized I didn’t receive a coupon this past July! I was past due for an update. While online looking for undie inspiration, I Googled “How long should underwear last?” I was surprised that many gynecologists recommend replacing your unmentionables every 6-9 months. Armed with that information, I spent some time on Soma’s website, filling up my cart. When I saw the total, I hesitated and decided to sleep on it. And what should arrive in my email the next morning but a 25 percent off offer! I am happy to report all is once again well in lingerie land.
Do you also find it interesting how your perspective on something can change? The birth of my first granddaughter gave me a new appreciation for January. A vase of tulips on my dining table reminds me that Spring is coming. Not being able to travel and shop reminds me how much I take pleasure in those activities and how I need to appreciate them more in the future. Those things will happen again and, in the meantime, I have tulips and new knickers as promise of better days ahead. It’s all in your perspective…
C’est la vie.