friendship, girlfriends, mother's day, mothers and daughters

Annie, my dear mom, happy Mother’s Day.

I discovered this beautiful picture of my mom which was taken when she was in her late 20’s. She is pictured with her mother, Bertie. Annie Mae Campbell was born in Tennessee in 1928, and this photo of her was taken on the farm where she grew up–You can see the fields behind her. I think her crisp cotton skirt and blouse give her a country sweetness and feminine quality all her own. Her kerchief hides those familiar pincurls I’m used to seeing her with ever since I was a kid.

My mom is now 80, and still going strong. She’s as feisty as ever. As I’ve grown up and become a woman, my relationship with her is different than it was when I was a girl. We are much closer now. She is my best friend, fierce defender and confidante. Even now, she would still go for the jugular of anyone who’d try to hurt me. I think that protective motherly instinct is something that never diminishes, no matter how old your children get. I know my mom will always be in my corner.

I want my mother to know I love her and am so glad she is mine. I want her to know how deeply grateful I am for all she’s done for me in my life, and for everything she is still doing for me. She sacrificed so much to get me where I am today. Thank you mom for loving me. Thank you for those Jello pies you make just for me. Thank you for our occasional Friday nite sleepovers at your house that make it possible for us to visit and talk and laugh just like girlfriends. It gives me a much needed break from my domestic life, and you, more than anyone, understand that I need that sometimes. There’s no mom like you. You are a precious jewel in my life. Happy Mother’s Day today and everyday.

bursitis, dieting, exercising, girlfriends, Sex and the City Movie

Just a few things….

First things first. Last Friday, I went with a friend to see Sex and the City the MOVIE. I don’t think I have enough positive adjectives in my vocabulary to describe it. Fantastic. Awesome. Amazing. Fabulous-you get it by now, I’m sure. If any of you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I thought it was perfect, and it exceeded my expectations of what I thought this movie would be like. It was, “Like butta,” as Linda Richmond on SNL’s Coffee Talk would say. I liked it so much, I’m going to take the girls in my family-my 16 year old daughter, and my 2 sons’ girlfriends to a Saturday matinee to see it. I can’t wait!

OMG…and before I forget, remember a few posts ago when I wrote about the ridiculous price of clothing worn by models for magazine fashion spreads? Do you recall the yellow sundress worn by Christie Brinkley that I love so much? THAT dress, is in the movie! There’s a scene towards the beginning where Carrie is in a Diane Von Furstenberg store shopping and she’s talking on the phone, standing by a mannequin that is wearing that exact sundress. Wow!

Today I was zinging old magazines in the garbage, but I first spent time paging through them in search of interesting blog fodder. I came upon a 12 year old women’s magazine called New Woman. Before I tossed it, I ripped out a little mini article titled “Friendship is Fattening.” The paragraph states that when women (girlfriends) gather, waistlines usually expand. Turns out when we chat we also chew-particularily sweets and other goodies high in calories. Seems women in pairs or groups consume around 700 calories-nearly twice the amount downed by women who ate alone. The research was conducted on college women at the University of Toronto. Despite the drawbacks of overconsuming, really, what’s better than food, friends and frivolities? To hell with research studies. I’m tired of denying myself!

Watch what you order girls, next time you do lunch with a friend. Stick to the salad.

Now this whole diet thing is really pissing me off. Sorry to sound so surley, but I’m beginning to feel self -defeated. I’ve had to stay off of exercise because I have a bad case of bursitis in my left hip. Wonderful. It seems like everytime I try to exercise to help myself, my body turns against me. When I finish, after a week or so my joints begin to crack, pop and hurt. Besides my throbbing hip, my left shoulder joint is really causing me some major discomfort when I workout, too. Despite my defeatest feelings (and the fact that while walking from my son’s graduation last Saturday, my husband told me my butt and my stomach were getting bigger-AACK!), I won’t give up. I am now going to focus more on the calories going in…and the bread factor. I need to give up bread. I described my level of bread-love most accurately to my daughter the other day. Here’s the order: God, family, bread & butter. There, you have it. Not one of the three would be easy to give up, hence my dilemma. I like bread more than cupcakes-and that’s saying something. I was a good girl today. I ate an Italian beef sandwich for lunch-open face an consumed only a tiny portion of the bread. I fed 3/4 of the roll to my salivating dalmation. After all, he doesn’t care about carbs, and he downs it so fast, I don’t have time to change my mind and take the bread back. I feel good watching him eat it because I know I did a good thing for myself by not swallowing that horrible, delicious bun, soggy with beef juice. What carb challenges will tomorrow bring?
To wrap this up, I have some thoughts on the Lunching With Friends Expanding Waistline Theory. Although being with my girlfriends may be bad in a sense that it will make me fatter, the trade off is that being with them is good for my heart. That, in itself is a benefit we can all stand to reap.
death, girlfriends, mothers and daughters, Mr. Big, Sex and the City

Girlfriends, cherish your time together

Mr. Big to Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte: “You’re the loves of her life and a guy’s just lucky to come in fourth.”

Big, of course, understood, (even if it was ficticious), that a woman’s friends are everything to her, especially as we get older and more independent. Sometimes, in some ways, more important than our love relationships with our men. We turn to our friends when things go wrong with our love relationships, our jobs or with other friends. Our girlfriends are our confidantes. Only a few friends of mine know EVERYTHING about me-secrets that I would faint over it they became public knowledge-Things I couldn’t hold in-but just had to get out. My truest friends are like living, breathing vaults. What I tell them gets stored safely and kept from being revealed. At my age, when I get stressed about things, and just can’t take them anymore, calling my mother is not what I prefer. Instead, I think about unloading on my girlfriends because I know they will always listen and won’t be parental. We encourage eachother to talk, divulge, and lend our shoulders to cry on and in some way, we kind of enjoy it. We are eachother’s therapist. I love my friends deeply and with all my heart. They know who they are. I look forward to being with them as much as I can, and treat my monthly gatherings like religious events-they’re not to be missed. Because being with the girls is important in keeping a woman’s soul content. It’s necessary for the health of my mind and my well being. Without them I’d be forever lost.

My mom called me in the middle of the day last Wednesday with a pleading tone in her voice. “Would you please pick me up today and take me to the hospital to see Dorothy-she’s taken a turn for the worse, and they don’t think she’ll make it through the night.” Dorothy is my mom’s friend of 30 years and she is dying of lung cancer. I knew my mom had no way to get to the hospital on her own, because she has a difficult time seeing when she drives. I had so much to do that day-a doll to make for a Mother’s Day order and I was dug in and on a roll and I didn’t want to leave because I had a strong desire to finish and get it mailed out. But, more than wanting to finish that doll, I had a knawing feeling that I was the only way my mom would get to see Dorothy while she was still alive and I didn’t want to be the reason why she was denied that right, particuliarly since I was basically available and able to do it. I knew this was important to her, so I agreed to take her to the hospital.

While in the car travelling to the hospital, my mom reflected on her years of friendship with Dorothy and, through tears, told me Dorothy is her only girlfriend and she will be so lost without her. My mom is going to be 80 in November and Dorothy just turned 71. My mom kept saying, “I never thought I’d be seeing this day-I thought she would be burying me. Why does God take the good ones?” I really didn’t know what to say, so instead, I just lent an ear to her painful memories.

We got to the hospital and didn’t know what to expect, because she hadn’t seen Dorothy since before she got diagnosed with cancer just before Easter. With trepidation, we entered the room and saw Dorothy lying in the bed, asleep with her mouth wide open and drawn in, and she was beginning the shallow type of breathing called ‘chain stoking, which is characteristic of impending death. I recognized it from going through this when my mother-in-law was dying of cancer. They can hear you, all you have to do is go up to them and say their name and they open their eyes for a few seconds and acknowledge you then go back into what seems a semi-coma.

The tears came quickly for my poor mom. She absolutely hated seeing her best friend lying there helpless and ready to die. She just kept saying, ”What am I going to do without her? She’s my only girlfriend.” It tore my heart out listening to her. I imagined the future and being in her shoes. What if it was one of my precious girlfriends lying there dying? I would be absolutely besides myself with grief. My friends are so important to me-now more than ever in my life, I have needed them like a daily dose of vitamins. What is my mom going to do?

I urged her to go by Dorothy’s side and talk to her-to let her know she’s there and that she should tell her the things she wants her to know before she passes. This was her only chance. She stood there, stunned, tears running down her wrinkled cheeks. All she could do was gently and lovingly rub her friend’s arm from elbow to wrist, incapable of saying a word. “Mom,” I encourged, “Talk to her. She can hear you.”

“Dorothy…it’s Ann. I’m here. I love you.” Dorothy very briefly awoke, nodded her head and told her, very weakly that she loved her, too. Oh, my God, it was so sad. Tears welled up in my eyes and it was all I could do to keep from crying, but I had to be strong for my mom.

We sat there for a few hours and watched her rest. I sat at the foot of her bed and watched Dorothy’s chest rise and fall, and I could see her heart beating through her hospital gown. Her poor heart was working as hard as it could, but soon, very soon, it would beat it’s last. Her breaths were distant and long, and I found myself breathing in time with her. I felt short of breath because her breathing rhythm wasn’t enough for me to sustain myself comfortably. I imagined if that’s what dying felt like. (Trust me. In a quiet room with a dying person, there’s not much to do and your imagination can run away with you.) Each breath was followed by the next in what seemed like an eternity. She appeared to be gasping for air because she was only breathing with one lung-the other was full of cancer and wasn’t functioning. As she lay there, I got fearful, and kept thinking she was going to die right in front of me. I watched her and thoughts flooded my mind of when she was healthy-she was so funny, and full of life. She and my mom were both career waitresses. Dorothy had just quit working less than a year ago. These women both worked hard their entire lives and had a real commonality. They understood eachother. They confided in eachother, cried together, and shared laughter and joys. It was all about to come to an end.

The nurse came in and asked Dorothy if she wanted her to call her daughter from Pennsylvania, and she slowly nodded her head yes, and said very stongly, “I love her!” I won’t ever forget that. I plan on telling her daughter Diana what she said. I know it will make her feel good.

My mom called me yesterday and told me Dorothy passed at 7am while her priest was praying over her. She died peacefully and with God. Now my mom is friendless and my heart truly aches for her. What is she to do? She’s almost 80, and it’s probably too late for her to make new friends, at least the the kind with deep bonds of trust that’s shared between two women that only comes after a long time of sharing and caring. After 45 years of life together, my mom and I have the same elements of a friendship, hewn from decades of familiarity, and from weathering difficult stages of life together, finally popping to the surface in one piece and still loving eachother. We see eachother as equals now. I’m still ‘the kid’ but in some ways, my mom is now seeing me as a confidante-a friend. I find myself turning to her at times of stress. I love her. I enjoy her company. It’s time for me to step up to the plate and take her under my wing. My mother needs a friend now and that friend is me.

body image, girlfriends, plus size, self-esteem, Sex and the City, women

I’m remodelling just a bit…

As you can see, I’m changing things again. This time, I’ve gone web shopping and found something that I think is the perfect ‘fit’ for this blog and has the feeling and essence I’m trying to evoke. It has a shabby chic vibe, and makes me feel put together for once. I love the vintagey pink with white polka dots-it reminds me of pretty pastel decorated cupcakes, and we all know I go weak in the knees at just the site of them.

If any of you know me by now, you realize that I can’t stand to have things stay the same. Once and a while, I even have to turn my living room upside down and rearrange it, or repurpose some element of my house with a new, more exciting line of work. I hope to keep this layout now. I will add fun, beautiful and interesting photos and promise some thought provoking posts every once in a while.

If you notice my banner, there within it is a quote from Carrie Bradshaw, that shoe loving single girl in Sex and the City. I thought it perfectly spelled out what my philosophy is very quickly becoming, and is what I’m trying to promote here at Blond & Blithe-be yourself and love you regardless of your size, or style. Find someone who loves you for your true self and surround yourself with people who love that genuine person you’ve worked so hard all your life to become. And if you do, well, that’s just fabulous. Don’t feel compelled to change anything to make yourself more acceptable or appealing to another person-let the real you shine through. I read a quote on one of Mary Engelbreit’s drawings recently, and it went like this: “Be yourself. Who else is more qualified?” Keep looking until you find someone who thinks you’re really groovy, despite your slightly annoying habits. It’s when you do, that will probably feel most comfortable in your life. That banner is meant to empower, and I hope everyone who reads it, gets positive meaning from it.

I have a couple friends who are attempting to change their entire body shape just to make themselves more appealing to the mainstream single males out there. It’s a lot of work to achieve those results, and there are no guarantees you will stay that way. In my opinion, it’s walking on fragile ground to make such drastic physical changes with the anticipation that everything we always wanted will suddenly fall in place by thinking, “if I could just…” Remember a while ago, I said make the mirror your friend? Find something you love about your body and focus on it. Who am I to tout this advise? I’m no professional, I’m just speaking from my heart and it just seems right. Don’t you agree?

I’m beginning to permeate gradual bits and pieces of myself through this blog. I just love it! It’s begining to feel like a perfect fit. This place gives me a place to channel my literary creativity, as well as be a pinboard where I can display photographs and other fun things that make my heart sing and excite me. Construction is almost over…then the real fun begins.

girlfriends, primitives, shopping, vintage decor

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History…

Click on any photo to enlarge…

A charming old lady doll mounted on a wooden spool
Primitive Rabbit, anyone?

Detail of the ‘ghostly dress’
This vintage bike is a lawn decoration.
Primitive rabbits
Iron stars
Two Sisters is so absolutely cool, it has iron stars embedded into its sidewalks.

A very textural berry wreath
Hanging candles. I particularily love the green/navy homspun which holds the white candles together.
A peek in the cupboard glass
A mantle repurposed for spring and positioned by the entryway to greet customers
A farmhouse apron sewn from yummy yellow/orange homespun

Primitive table set with irresistable yellowware and rabbits

The entrance to Two Sisters in Sandwich, Illinois

Three misbehaved bad girls–Myself, Rhonda and Cat

Basket of primitive dolls…

A charming sink with handmade soaps displayed
Standing in the candle room, looking into the dining room.
Look at this inviting window. I just love 9 over 9 divided light windows.

The steep staircase which leads to the upstairs. There are 4 bedrooms of merchandise to browse through.
Standing a few steps from the top, these airy, vintage gowns billow like ghosts as they hang from a peg rack in the narrow hallway.

A selection of snappy signage
My favorite!

Cupboards upon cupboards of delicious, and quite possibly the finest candles I’ve ever found.
I love the color of these Willow Creek candles and took a pint jar sized one home.
Only a window in a house like this could get away with tea stained cheesecloth window treatments.
A peek in the mirror
Basket of fat quarters for the taking…

Today I went on a primitive shopping trip to Sandwich, IL with my dear friend Cat and my other dear friend Rhonda. On the way up, we remembered our friend Terri who we haven’t seen in ages. I’m driving and dial her up. I say, “Hey Terri, how spontaneous are you? Want to meet us in Sandwich in an hour?” She was thrilled, and with a squeal, she said “YES!” and so we were on for an after noon of friendship and frivolities! We stopped at Two Sisters, the most divine shop situated in an old, brick house that is so primitive and houses the finest selection of vintage and primitive wares you can ever hope to find. This house is just dreamy to walk into, with it’s sweet scents emanating from ‘Farmhouse Candles’ burning. This along with the well worn and aged decor makes one feel really at home. I snapped photos of some really eye catching vignettes found throughout. My favorite sign of all, and I was tempted to buy it said, “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.” I will have to incorporate this into a folk art quilt or stitchery. I think it’s so true. Good for us bad girls!