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Going Dutch
Thursday, 9 March 2006
Casual Oriental
I keep waiting to find out who I am. It sometimes feels like I'm a dog, chasing it's tail. Every time I think I've almost gotten a hold of the understanding, the concept moves out of my reach.

I'm decorating again. I can't decide what style I like. I like everything. Sort of how I like food and music. I can't pick a favorite. A friend once described me as "very complicated and multifaceted". Must be true, when I can't even understand myself.

My living room is Victorian, with a burgandy and copper color scheme. Lots of dark brown, antique furniture. A bowl and pitcher set, my grandfather's handmade clocks, sepia framed photos of my family, now and past, my grandmother's powder boxes, a 1900's handpainted folding card table. Sunflowers in vases to brighten up the dark. Gold satin drapes. It's relaxing and calming. I love it. But only in one room.

My family room and adjoining kitchen were country inspired. Green and red plaid sofas with sheer green scarves for the windows. Medium brown accent tables with rattan storage bins, an old coffee grinder, glass Planter's peanut and jelly jars filled with tea, candy, pasta, dried beans. Dented metal pitchers, an antique ice bucket, an old black Singer sewing machine, a large Grandfather clock (also made by my grandfather). A framed 1960's calendar, of a young girl praying, from my family's prior business, Womelsdorf Products Company, that featured "Dru-Maid Kitchens". Pink and red peonies, color pics of my friends and family, Michele Byrne's "Art of Conversation" prints: "Coffee in the Garden" and the one signifying our Womelsdorf Trio that she gave me as a graduation gift, called "Forever Friends". (okay, they're not really country - but I love them so much that I had to hang them somewhere!), and of course, a variety of woven baskets.

I'm all about the storage. So, I couldn't give up the bins or the baskets. I also didn't want to spend alot of money and everything has to be kid-friendly. But I needed a change. I've been fascinated with Oriental decor. I don't like the little figurines, or the painted plates. I'm not into knickknacks. But I love the dark wooden pieces, the orchids, the black accents against a neutral background.

I decided to buy curvy, tan microfiber sofas to replace the green plaid. (Three pieces, 2 loveseats and a sofa, from Unclaimed Freight for $1200! Unbelievable! And they clean up like a dream. We already had a hot cocoa incident and it washed right out!) The carpet is tan, the walls are tan. I was so bored with tan, but this gave me a neutral palette to work with and I actually do love it!

I found red silk curtains at Walmart, with embroided flowers and fringes along the edges. Perfect. I scoured Goodwill, and came across some great finds. A large black vase that I filled with bright red gladiolas and canes of bamboo, a large carved ivory fan for the wall above the fireplace, 2 beautiful oriental lanterns, pillar candles included, in antique brass with intricately etched panes of glass. (Add to that 11 pairs of sandblasted jeans for my boys for the total cost of less than $80!!) I also bought black spray paint at Walmart, and painted all the bins and baskets in a black lacquer. While there, I also found some inexpensive silk orchids in white to arrange in an oriental vase (red and black), along with a potted bamboo plant in a low, black vase, and a pair of square lampshades to replace the more traditional ones. The coffee table now holds my son's oriental chess set, carved wood with black, white, and hand-painted scenes on ivory squares. At the moment, the chess pieces have been replaced by red and black checkers for the kids' checker tournament.

So, it's all coming together! I'm still decorating, waiting for the purchases I made from Home Interiors. A bonsai tree, two framed red poppy prints with black frames, Oriental coins in black and red shadow boxes. More candles. I'm suddenly enjoying candelight more than I ever have.

It's been alot of fun! I'm calling it "Casual Oriental".

Who knows? By the time I'm finished, I may have a different theme in each room! When the kids move out on their own, I could open a Bed and Breakfast! Or not.


Posted by going-dutch at 10:18 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006 11:18 AM EST
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Tuesday, 17 January 2006
Dan the Man
Well, you might as well hear the whole story. My love affair with Dan Fogelberg started when I was 14. I went to hang out with my friend, Shelly (now a talented artist. Check her out at www.michelebyrne.com). Just like I did almost every day after school. Her mother worked, so her house, absent a parental chaperone, was the place to go when you're a rebellious teenager looking for some trouble. We weren't too horrendous in our behavior. Just smoked a little and sang out loud to our favorite records. Jesus Christ Superstar. Aerosmith. The Beatles. Elton John. Neil Young. (we did try to bake a banana peel once and got caught when her mom came home a bit early. But that's another story....)

So, this particular day, she had a new album. Dan Fogelberg's Souvenirs. I said, "Fogel-what? Who is he?" I had never heard of him. Shelly said, "I don't know. He was cute. So I bought it."

The album cover portrayed a young, handsome man wearing blue jeans, with long, flowing dark hair. He was sitting slightly forward in his chair, holding a feather gently between his fingers. When I looked into his eyes, I was intrigued. When I heard his music, I was impressed. But when I read the lyrics, I was in awe. The man was, and is, brilliant, talented, and let's not forget, gorgeous. The next day, I bought a copy for myself.

So, herein began my infatuation. I felt like I knew him. I played Souvenirs (and subsequently his first album, Homefree) over and over (to my mother's chagrin) searching his face on the cardboard record jackets, trying to see within. I longed to know him. Although, I felt as though I already did. He was different than anyone else I knew. He felt kindred. Like a part of me. I imagined that our hearts were connected by some cosmic thread that traveled from Pennsylvania to wherever he was - California, Tennessee, Illinois, Colorado. I felt it so strongly, that it must be true. I felt less alone when Dan was playing in my head. I felt less different.

We went to see him in concert at Muhlenberg High School's auditorium in (I'm guessing) 1975. I was 15 and so infatuated with him, I couldn't pay attention to the music. He was playing songs I didn't recognize, new songs. I felt restless and panic striken. All I could think about was that I just HAD to talk to him. I had a ring I wanted to give him. Silver with turquoise and coral imbedded in it, worn on the first finger of my right hand. I wanted him to have it. I was the only person in the whole place who tried to reach him when he came onto the stage. My friends, Shelly and Nancy, tried to talk sense into me, to no avail. I was used to having my way, getting what I wanted. I would make it happen. I talked to whoever would listen, trying to convince them to let me backstage. (Today, I'm slightly embarrasssed that I didn't take their advice.) Finally, one of the road crew (I imagined) took me gently by the arm and led me back to my seat on the bleachers near the stage. He spoke very kindly to me. To this day, I can't remember much of what he said, except for "Enjoy the show." But I remember how he said it. He was reassuring and caring to this lovesick teenager, and I'll never forget it. He sat and spoke with me for a few moments, touching me tenderly on the arm now and then. Suddenly, he looked up and said, "I have to go. Take care." And he was off, and up onto the stage. It was Tim Weisberg. I had never seen him before, so I had no idea. I never did meet Dan. But I met Tim! And didn't even know it.

In 1977, at 17, I decided to write the outpouring of my feelings down on paper. I wanted to send it in a letter to Dan, but was afraid he would think I was a stalker or that I "wanted" something from him. So, I didn't sign my last name. And I told him I wasn't interested in a tee-shirt or an autographed photo, I just had to let him know how I felt. I showed the letter to my then boyfriend. His comment: "It sounds like you're in love with him." He wasn't all too happy about it either. I just smiled. And mailed the letter. I had this brainy idea to send it certified mail. Then he HAD to sign for it, therefore, would most definitely read it. Right? Well, some chick signed the receipt. Skunked again. I lived with the hope that he received it.

In 1978, my friend, Donna, and I decided we'd had enough of the closed-mindedness we experienced in our birthplace. We quit our jobs (as cabinet stainers - so, no big loss), sold our cars, bought a van (with a bed, refrigerator, toilet, and a really great 8-Track) and headed for parts unknown. I used my saved college money for this trip. (Later, to be regretted slightly. But I would do it all over again, given the chance.) The freedom was like nothing that I've ever known. (Okay, I'm quoting Dan again...but I mean it.) We called our vehicle The Dan Van. And nobody could enter unless they loved Dan and knew who he was. (Sometimes we made exceptions for really cute guys...but they had to, at least, pretend to like him.)

I was hospitalized for a lengthy period in 1979. His music, like none other, was strangely comforting throughout my trial. (I now owned Netherlands and Captured Angel.) His music was my therapy. Shelly, in a moment of inspiration, cut the arms from her iron-on Dan Fogelberg T-Shirt (that we had made on our last trip to Wildwood, New Jersey), stuffed it, and made it into a pillow for me to hold. I slept with it every single night. It was in sad shape, full of holes, the image completely gone, when I finally and tearfully discarded it, several years later.

In 2000-something, I took my son, Gabriel, to see Dan in concert in Baltimore, MD. I brought my album covers along, just in case the opportunity arose that I could get his autograph. The women behind me passed them all around, 6 rows back, oo-ing and ah-ing the whole time. When he took the stage, I felt a surge of sadness or pain or tiredness coming from him. I wanted to pull him aside and ask him what was wrong. Was he just tired? Or was there something else wrong? I wanted to comfort him. But, of course, I'm a stranger to him. I could only sit and wonder and wish I could reach out to him. He put on a great show, nonetheless.

So, now I hear that he has been diagnosed with cancer, and I'm heartbroken. If I could only have one wish, it would be to meet him and tell him how much he has meant to me. And now I can. At his website www.danfogelberg.com, there is a link to The Living Legacy (thelivinglegacy.net), where you can leave personal wishes for Dan and his recovery. If you share in my awe of the man, leave a post for Dan to read. And if you would, tell him Dru sent you!


Posted by going-dutch at 10:42 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006 12:15 PM EST
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Saturday, 14 January 2006
Walking Contradiction
Funny. I re-read the last two blog entries and had to laugh at myself. One was written pre-menstrually, within the window of 21-28 days. Can you tell which one?

Again, this falls under the category of "too much information", eh?


Posted by going-dutch at 10:23 AM EST
Friday, 13 January 2006
Scarecrow's Dream
Scarecrow's Dream by Dan Fogelberg. (Okay, I'm dedicating my blog to him.)

Seldom seen, a scarecrow's dream
I hang in the hopes of replacement
Castles tall, I built them all
But I dream that I'm trapped in the basement.

And if you ever hear them calling out
And if you've been by paupers crowned
Between the world of men and make-believe
I can be found.

Plans I've made, a masquerade
Fading in fear of the coming day
Heroe's tales, like nightingales
Wrestle the wind as they run away.

Garden gate, an empty plate
Waiting for someone to come and fill
Scarecrow's dreams, like frozen streams
Thirst for the thaw, but they're running still.

And if you ever hear me calling out
And if you've been by paupers crowned
Between the world of men and make-believe
I can be found.

I'm the scarecrow. My dreams are the castles tall, the hero's tales, the plans I've made that never come to fruition. Frozen plans, thirsting for the thaw.

You can find me between reality and make-believe, sitting and thinking and rarely acting, on any of them. Just keep making them, so they can fade away in the coming day. Waiting for someone to come and fill - ME - I'm the plate. Those who have tried, to fulfill me? Through the garden gate, which swings both ways - because it's impossible for someone else to fulfill me, or anyone else.

Making excuses for not following through - blaming the kids, the hubby, circumstances, whatever. Anything to keep from pursuing the dreams. I'm trapped in the basement of my life. Afraid to go and live it. Fear of success? Fear of failure? Either - both.

Well, dear old Dan shot me right between the friggin eyes with that one.


Posted by going-dutch at 1:43 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006 1:18 PM EST
Tuesday, 3 January 2006
Loose Ends
"Surrounding myself with possessions. I surely have more than I need. I don't know if this is justice hard earned, or simply a matter of greed."

"I've seen the bottom and I've been on top, but mostly I've lived in between. And where do you go when you get to the end of your dreams?"

Both quotes, Dan Fogelberg.

This issue has been on my mind lately. So where do you go when you have everything you ever wanted? Do you continue to fulfill every pleasure or start to give back? I think it's time to start focusing my attentions elsewhere.


Posted by going-dutch at 10:08 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006 10:09 AM EST
Sunday, 11 December 2005
Viva Las Vegas
Well, tomorrow we leave for Vegas for our "Second Honeymoon". I just spent the last hour packing, determined I am NOT going to stress about what I wear. Who am I kidding? Nothing fits, and I'm aggravated. This stupid foot is now my enemy, making me put off exercising for a few more weeks. And on top of that, it's still too swollen to wear anything but this one pair of wide sneakers. And they're white. If only they were black. No time (or energy) to shop (limp)around for new. I want to wear my new boots, my sandals, my heels. SIGH. Such is life. So I opted for 4 days worth of pants, in comfy cotton and spandex, mostly black, with shirts in various shades of pink, white, black and green. A few colorful sweaters, and one fabulous black jacket that I love to wear with everything. That'll get me through, I think. See you soon!


Posted by going-dutch at 5:31 PM EST
Saturday, 10 December 2005
Not a Square to Spare
Okay. So it's a line I stole from Seinfeld. My favorite episode where Elaine steals the toilet paper. Love it. But it also applies to my visit yesterday to the Heidelberg Family Restaurant in my hometown (or as the sign now reads with a few burned out bulbs, "The Heide Family Restaurant"). I ordered a California cheeseburger, medium rare, with fries and hot tea. The waitress (wait-person, no..."Server") asked me, "Cream or lemon?" Cream, of course. She brings me lemon. "Did you say cream or lemon?" ARGH! Cream, please. She finally brings it, and my tea is now cold. Okay, this is supposed to be an enjoyable spur of the moment lunch alone with the hubby. The food finally arrives. The California cheeseburger is well done, rather than medium rare, but nicely stacked with rounds of green pepper, onion, lettuce, fresh and juicy tomato. By now, I'm too weak from hunger to complain. We have pleasant conversation. The server returns to ask if I'd like more tea. YES! That would be so lovely. She fills my cup with hot water, and instructs me to use my old teabag. WHAT? I shot a wide-eyed glance at my husband and he tried to hold back his laughter, yet failed. Okay, I guess that's what I get for eating anywhere near the heart of Womelsdorf. However, you can't beat the price. Our entire meal came to $12.42. No way. Guess the old adage is sometimes true. You get what you pay for!


Posted by going-dutch at 9:48 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005 5:35 PM EST
Saturday, 3 December 2005

Okay. I spoke too soon. My foot is killing me! Something weird happened today. I was trying to put my pants on and lost my balance. (Of course, I was trying to pull them over my big blue velcro shoe - not too bright!) I lost my balance and fell right on the newly stitched incision. Holy Hell!! I almost went through the roof. And immediately became sick in my stomach, dizzy and lightheaded. I didn't know whether to throw up or pass out. After lounging on my sofa for a few minutes to catch my breath, I called my doctor. He said it's normal, during extreme pain, to feel that way. Well, that was a first for me. His other advice? "Don't do that again!!"


Posted by going-dutch at 12:12 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006 10:16 AM EST
Thursday, 1 December 2005
Excuses for absence
Sorry for the long absence, but I've been juggling too many balls. Let me list:

1. Foot surgery for my "electric toe", as my husband calls it. I had a nerve impingement that needed to be corrected. I sit, at this moment, with an attractive little blue velcro number attached to my left foot. How lovely. The pain is not too bad, since I have awesome pain killers. God bless Dr. D.!

2. I'm taking an online Chemistry course to meet the requirements for nursing school. I don't know how I missed this class throughout high school and 6 years of college, but I managed to avoid it until now! Crap. Thought I got away with it.

3. Cooking Turkey Day dinner for 8. All family, which was nice. Including my long lost 22 year old son! I was so happy! I haven't seen him since Mother's Day. He lives 3 hours away, and works all the time, so I savored every minute of his 3 day visit. I cried like a baby when he left. He's now disappeared back into the abyss. I realize it may be 6 months until I see him again. (tears are gathering as we speak. change subject....)

4. I joined Curves gym a few weeks ago. Yes, two weeks before foot surgery. I'm obviously not a rocket scientist. But I got some good workouts in before the cutting began! More motivation to fit my swollen apendage back into a sneaker as soon as possible!!

5. My husband and I just planned a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Las Vegas!!!! I'm so excited! I've never been. My husband has, and loves it there, so he will have the pleasure of showing me around. He so loves to be in charge! (He so rarely gets the opportunity...smile/wink). Of course, he'll be showing me around probably limping, since we leave in 12 days! (Again, no rocket scientist here!)

6. My husband's 45th birthday is this Saturday. (He can now only tease me about him being one year younger than me, instead of two!) Which coincides with giving his first sermonette at our church! He's very nervous, and refuses to practice on me. He wants me to "experience" it with everyone else and let him know the "effect" it has. Awesome. I love surprises. And I love him. He's quite the catch.

7. We're also planning a trip to Orlando, Florida, in January. It's actually a trip paid for my hubby's work at Universal Computer Systems. It's called the 100% Club, and if he makes his sales goal every year, he (and his "significant other" - that would be moi...)are awarded with an all-expense paid trip to somewhere. I must say, after the Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica last year, and Atlantis in the Bahamas the year before, I was a bit disappointed in Orlando. Not that I'm a diva. (I don't know a name brand from a cattle brand.) And not that Florida isn't nice, but it's January. Won't it be cold? Especially after I heard about the other possible choice - St. Thomas!! Dang. I'll take an island any day! Wish they would've asked me.

Well, I'm sure I have other excuses for not writing, but I've gotta go elevate my foot. It's starting to throb a bit! See you later.


Posted by going-dutch at 1:46 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005 4:30 PM EST
Tuesday, 15 November 2005

Yesterday, while eating the world's best pizza at P and Js, I saw the Amber Alert broadcast for our area. "SSSHHHH!", I told my kids, "Somebody got stolen". I ran over to the television in the corner and turned up the volume. An 18 year old from Lititz, PA, had taken off in a Volkswagon Jetta, with his 14 year old girlfriend, after allegedly killing both her parents. Lititz is a small, conservative village only a few miles from here. How this news must have rocked their world! My heart went out to all involved - wondering what had happened to set this horrific scene into motion. It only takes a moment to have your life take a completely different turn. The scary thing is, it could happen to any one of us. They will be in my prayers.


Posted by going-dutch at 9:16 AM EST

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