Peonies & Penelopes

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Pam from Peonies & Possibilities and I have been doing outdoor antique faires together for several years now and we have so much fun and share similar tastes so our treasures really blend well.  We keep adding display components to our booth…layer upon layer to create a visual feast.

We recently did the Plucky Maiden Junkfest event at Oaks Park in Portland and we were very pleased with the show and the response to our booth.  We had worked hard at doing fabric fringe banners to go around the top of the booth and made more of the large paper flowers.  But best of all, I found an old screen door and old supermarket sign letters and Pam painted it and added the twine and old clothespins and we were thrilled with our new addition that stands behind our check-out desk!

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Scarlett and Fried Chicken

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IMAG0549Sometimes we just need a girlfriend moment.  With so much going on in our lives….just time to spend a few hours doing something fun and frivolous.  My friend Pam had just finished reading Gone With the Wind and had gotten a copy of the movie to watch because she had never seen it.  It’s one of my favorites, so we decided to spend Monday afternoon watching the movie and eating southern food.  It’s a long long movie so we needed plenty of fortification.  We had southern fried chicken, biscuits, coleslaw, deviled eggs and plenty of sweet iced tea,  with peach cobbler for dessert.  So much great food and so much to laugh about during the movie, even with it’s sobering themes.  We cheered when Aunt Pitty Pat came on the screen…we love going to the restaurant Pittypat’s Porch in Atlanta when we visit for AmericasMart in January. (the picture above is Pam at the restaurant.)  I always get teary-eyed during the scene where Scarlett walks through the acres of dead and wounded soldiers, and of course when Melanie dies.  I love the costumes and the gorgeous cinematography.  Pam remarked on how dark the movie is…and how the moments of humor helped lighten the mood.  She also noted how much older the actors appeared, compared to how old the characters are in the book.  After all, Scarlett is 16…when she has her grand appearance at 12 Oaks.  Vivien Leigh was 25 when she played the role.  I always notice new things every time I see the movie. (I was honing in on all the items on the shelves at Frank’s store this time around.)  I’ve also noticed that my reactions to the movie have changed throughout my life…perhaps because of my own life experiences.  And that is what keeps the movie fresh for me.  It’s always wonderful to watch….and extra fun to experience it with someone who hadn’t watched it before. It was a fun afternoon…and a needed escape.  And there was even enough peach cobbler left over for seconds!

 

Bravery Could Emerge in Tiny Doses

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etsy miss nobody0001“She didn’t want to be noticed.  It suddenly struck her what an advantage that might have given her, if, like Primo Levi, she’d been taken to Auschwitz.  It was good not to attract attention.  She had no skills that might have saved her, as his knowledge of chemistry saved him, and no beauty that might have preserved her life as a sexual slave, but maybe she had other qualities which she had never recognized.  Primo Levi, she read, said that years after he left Auschwitz he could still tell within the first five minutes of meeting someone new whether they would have survived in the camp.  He’d said this without needing to know what talents people had–it was all based on a reading of character.  Character was everything, character and personality, which had nothing to do with either physical strength or cleverness.  Did she have it?  Was there within her an innate toughness in spite of her reserve and shyness?  Would it have been a life-saver, looked at through Auschwitz eyes, that she was usually quiet and rarely spoke up for herself and avoided confrontation unless provoked?  Would all these traits she despised in herself actually have proved to be assets?

She read for another hour and then put the book aside.  Harry would be home soon.  When she’d brought the book home, he’d groaned and said couldn’t she have picked something more cheerful.  It’s bad for you, he’d said, reading this kind of depressing stuff.  But he was wrong.  On the contrary, she knew it was proving good for her.  Primo Levi’s survival consoled her.  It was making her more respectful of her own survival.  What she had had to survive was as nothing compared to Primo Levi’s prolonged ordeal, it was offensive to speak of her own ordeal in the same breath, but nevertheless she saw that by not collapsing or breaking down, but instead of carrying on as usual, she had shown some small measure of courage.  Bravery didn’t have to come in dramatic form, it could emerge in tiny doses  and be built upon.  She should give herself some credit.”

-Margaret Forster, Is There Anything You Want?

 

Lovely Dame

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pbk laugh at themselvesI LOVE terms of endearment.  It amuses me to no end to call my cat Coco “puppy”.  It’s one of my little loving names for her, as is Sweet Pumpkin Girl. I think loving and/or funny nicknames add a wonderful depth to a relationship…it’s part of the world you create together.

My brother David calls me Sissy, at first to tease me and now as a loving gesture, and his wife calls me Sassy.  My first major nickname, Lacy was given to me in college by Debbie, my college roommate and it became such a big part of my life….I used it as an artist name for many years and there are plenty of people who know me first by that name.  I even have an ex who had “Lacy” tattooed on his body…not once, but twice.

Debbie and I started calling each other Punkin and Sweetpea.  I call my dad Daddy-O.  He likes it.  I have friends I call Little Miss Sassy Pants, Miss Pink, Boo boo, and funny Donna.  One calls me Phoenix.  My boyfriend calls me Sunshine and I call him Handsome.  My mom and I have fun calling each other Mommy Dearest and Daughter Dearest.  I call myself a glitter girl and Miss Smarty Pants.

But my all-time favorite nickname is what my 8-year-old nephew Ty calls me.  Lovely Dame.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Our Brookhaven Spring Show is almost here!

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We worked hard on our displays today, and tomorrow we will be putting the finishing touches before opening our doors at 5pm for our Preview party…..we have several new vendors this show, including two fabulous furniture curators, handmade candles, upcycled fashion accessories from vintage zippers, and a locally made luscious fruit salsa!

Preview night Wednesday April 9, 5pm-8pm

Opening day Thursday April 10, 10am-7pm

Friday April 11 10am-7pm

Saturday April 12 10am-5pm

Last Day April 13 11am-4pm

Spring is in the air…and on the roof

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woodpeckerAh, Spring.  The daffodils are blooming in the front yard.  The air feels fresh and new.  A lucky mild sunny day here and there.  A Woodpecker has become enamored with our house.

It must be love….day after day….hour after hour…passionate pecking. Tap tap tap.  Tap tap tap.  He’s truly the Don Juan of woodpeckers.  His tenacity is admirable. Sounds charming, doesn’t it? It is amusing for ten minutes. Ten hours?  Not so much. How do you convince a woodpecker his choice of our house as the most desirable in our neighborhood is ill-advised?  How do you steer his amorous attentions elsewhere?  And as a true romantic, should we stop the knocking on the heart of our home?

A Chance to Undo the Damage

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“She told me that Henry showed signs of narcissistic personality disorder. For Cathy she suggested a possible diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.  Women with borderline personality disorder are emotionally unstable and intensely needy, and often resort to dramatic gestures to win love and attention.

My mouth hung open…..

Leslie explained that both diagnoses refer to the behavior of people with low self-esteem, usually the result of particular childhood emotional traumas.

“Henry often spoke about his difficult relationship with his mother,” Leslie said. “She idolized him and expected him to take on a lot of the responsibility for the happiness of the family.  That’s a classic situation.”

Leslie described how, as adults, people with NPD are charismatic extroverts, but inside, in private moments, they are aware of the false social persona.  In contrast to the confident personalities they project, they are filled with self-loathing.  People like this can’t tolerate solitude because it forces them to see the true self, hidden beneath the surface.  The false persona might, however, win them many friends, sexual partners, and career success.

“And, sadly, our culture often rewards such behavior,” Leslie said, sighing.  “Deceptive behavior is very common,” she continued.  “I have another patient in this situation.  Patients like this have affairs as a way of testing the people they really love, almost to prove they are unworthy of love.”

I remembered how charming Henry had been when we met, how polite.  I had been suspicious of it at first, but he had won me over.  This same strategy had obviously worked with Cathy and other women.

Henry’s childhood experiences do not justify him being an amoral asshole as an adult.  How much compassion am I supposed to have for him?  I had an unhappy adolescence but that doesn’t give me license to lie, cheat and steal.

Leslie continued.  ” Borderline or NPD adults are both very needy, given to extreme emotional fluctuations and distortions of reality.”

“You don’t pay enough attention to me.” Henry’s frequent complaint.  “You should spend more time paying time to me and less time worrying about Liza.”

Two really messed-up people had found each other, fed off each other. In Cathy, Henry had found a ready worshiper, and in him she had found a love object with an endless need for attention.

Leslie leaned towards me. “Julie, do you mind if I ask you—what would you have done if Henry had told you about Cathy?”

“I would have divorced him so fast his head would’ve been spinning,” I snapped back.  But those were just words. Really, I didn’t know what I would have done.

“I am sorry to hear that,” Leslie said.  She lowered her gaze for a moment.  I saw that she really was sorry.  She had been rooting for him, hoping that he could repair his life.

I wondered if his death had been not a random medical event but rather the direct consequences of his choices.  I left the office with a new feeling about Henry and Cathy.  I was not ready to forgive them—my rage was not burned out yet.  But to my surprise I felt sorrow for Henry.  He had died before he had a chance to undo the damage.”

–Julie Metz, Perfection

When I first read this passage a couple of years ago,  a bell went off in my head. Of course! Of course! There are things we read that help us make sense of things. Reading it again tonight I was struck anew. When you are around people with these disorders, you get sucked into their distorted view of the world. It helps to take a step back and see things how they truly are.

 

When A Friend Cheats On Her Husband

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Let me tell you a sad story of another marriage destroyed by Facebook. Of course, Facebook wasn’t the culprit, a selfish woman in mid-life crisis was, but it all started on Facebook all the same.  A friend of mine got married young and her husband was younger still. They had been married 28 years when I met them five years ago……and she was crazy about Facebook and spent hours on it every day, playing games, chatting with friends, posting pictures of what she had made for dinner. The usual stuff.  Her husband was a great guy, so supportive of her and very loving.  They were one of those couples that seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company and seemed quite content.

Three years ago she told me that an old college beau had contacted her through Facebook and wanted to be “friends”. They had dated briefly and she had dumped him when he got too serious.  All these years later he had looked her up on Facebook.  They started chatting and she was curious about him so they agreed to meet.  I remember well what she told me after they had met.  HE WAS SO ATTRACTIVE. SHE WAS SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO HIM. SHE WAS MENTALLY ATTRACTED TO HIM. He was new and different. I warned her not to pursue a friendship with him.  I had had much more dating experience than she had, since she had gotten married so young, and I knew.  I KNEW how challenging it would be to keep a relationship platonic when sparks are flying.  But of course she didn’t listen.  Everything she told me about him screamed “player” and “loser”…..but he told her he had never forgotten her…and how romantic is that?  I also knew that she didn’t put any effort into keeping romance alive in her marriage.  She and her husband didn’t even exchange birthday or Christmas presents.  I truly understand how flattering it would if someone came along from her past who still carried a torch for her.It was the stuff of romance novels, or the soap operas she loved to watch.

But isn’t your marriage worth fighting for? Her husband had nursed her through a long-term illness and had always been there for her.  He’s one of those guys, those stalwart good men, who believe actions speak louder than words.  She made him jump through hoops and each and every time he jumped. If she had been a good and loving wife, she would have stopped the friendship before it started. She would have valued her marriage enough not to take the risk, just for a little excitement.

I am sure you can guess what happened. She started feeling discontented with her husband. He was so boring. This new guy had lots to talk about and was so interesting. They had so much in common.  It was an emotional affair first, and then a sexual one. She blamed her husband for creating an emotional distance that gave her room for this affair.  Because in an affair, there needs to be a justification so you don’t feel like a horrible person for cheating on your partner.

Now they are separated and she has moved into an apartment, with a brand new king-size bed. You can imagine that the bed has raised a few eyebrows, since most of her friends don’t know about the affair, although some, like me, have had our suspicions. When asked why she is walking away from her marriage of 33 years her standard answer has been “my husband wasn’t willing to make the changes I needed, to make our marriage work.”  That comment alone, is enough to turn my stomach.

What she can’t or isn’t willing to face is that she and she alone destroyed their marriage.  She basically gave up on her marriage a couple of years ago when she entered into her affair with this Facebook guy from her past. And what really truly wrenches me, is that she was my friend when I was going through my agony with my ex when HE cheated on ME. She knows full well the pain cheating causes.  She has seen it.  And she turned around and did it to her husband a year later.  It is something that isn’t setting well with me.

I saw her Sunday and asked her to be honest with me about what was going on.  She told me.  She doesn’t seem to feel the affair was wrong.  She doesn’t seem to think her husband is hurt over the end of the marriage. She thinks her sons are dealing with their parent’s split just fine.  She is living in this incredible bubble of denial.

The honorable thing to do? She should stop the lying. She should tell her husband and her sons the truth.  The truth is that she has met someone that she would rather be with and that is why the marriage is over.  She should stop blaming her husband. But she won’t do any of this.  I know her very well and I know she will take the easy way out.  She will never really face what a horrible thing she has done.

And that is why I think I can no longer be friends with her.

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