Etsy Treasures

It is still fairly warm here in Connecticut so fall still feels far off, despite October starting later this week.  However, the supermarkets and nurseries are looking more like the season every day.  Here is a display I found the other day when I went grocery shopping:

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As I gathered my fall items to start decorating, I realized I did not have a lot of Halloween items.  I was just about to go out and hit some thrift stores when an Etsy order I placed several weeks ago arrived with this little beauty:

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Isn’t she just lovely?!  I love the neutral palette, the little cat and the fact that she looks like a good witch 🙂

The shop owner was also kind enough to send me a free gift with my purchase that will fit in with my natural & rustic way of decorating:

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I love it and cannot wait to frame it and add it to my decor.  But the piece I love the most is a custom order I placed for my mantra.  As I told you in my previous post, Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” is one of my all time favorite songs and contains a line I live my life by.  So, I finally made it a part of my home with this custom plaque:

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I cannot tell you how happy I am to see these words in front of me every day.  I am not sure where it will end up permanently, but for now it is in my bedroom so it is the first thing I see in the morning & the last thing I see at night.

I love how both pieces I ordered came out.  I want to give a very big thank you to the Etsy store that created these treasures for me, deSignsofExpressions.  This is a great shop to deal with.  The owner is kind, talented and very professional.  She is also a very good communicator and offered me a discount at the beginning for buying multiple items.  If you are in need of a rustic custom piece or gift, definitely check out this shop.  I have not been sponsored for this post and all opinions, including the Springsteen worship, are my own.

I will be back soon with some pictures of my home decorated for fall and Halloween.  In the meantime, I am really enjoying the tours of so many of the bloggers out there.  It is inspiring to see so much creativity!!!

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

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Fall Memories of & Happy Birthday Bruce Springsteen!!!

Like so many of you, fellow Vixens, fall is my favorite time of year.  It has been that way my whole life.  The cooler temperatures, the leaves changing colors, the crunch of the fallen ones underfoot or jumping in a freshly raked pile of them, pumpkins, Halloween, fall festivals, apple picking and the smell of wood burning in fireplaces…..need I go on?

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It started when I was a kid planning my costume and dreaming about how much yummy candy I would get on All Hallow’s Eve.  I would also wonder how big that year’s pumpkin would be and how sweet it would smell with a candle in it to light up the carved face.  Then when I was older I used to walk home from school in the fall after field hockey practice.  At the beginning of the season, it was still hot thanks to Indian Summer so the mile I had to walk home in the heat was excruciating.  But once October arrived, it not only got cooler but it would start to get dark by the time I was halfway home.  Then the walk was glorious.

I smelled the fireplaces that were needed to get the chill out of houses.  I listened to the leaves crunching under my feet.  I admired the many different carved pumpkins on display on front porches or in big picture windows.  I adored the way the cool crisp air touched my cheeks like sweet tender caresses.  I studied the changing hues of the sky as the sun set and the moon emerged. And I marveled at the beauty and wonder of this spectacular time of year.  

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As I walked towards the door of my house, I could see the warmth of the lights welcoming home.  As sad as I was that my evening reverie was over, I was happy to be home.  Things were far from perfect, but I could count on several things:  that a hearty plate of dinner was waiting for me in the oven, courtesy of my dear sweet  grandmother; that I would get to kiss, hug, cuddle and play with my little brother; that after I ate and did my chores, I could listen to my Bruce Springsteen records and that my dad would watch TV with us every night.

A lot of life has happened to me in the fall, some good, some bad and some heartbreaking.  But through all of it, autumn is simply astonishing in its loveliness year after year.

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The first day of fall is also special to me because it is Bruce Springsteen’s birthday.  The first time I bought one of his records  (Born To Run) was in the fall following the worst summer of my life-the one in which my mother died leaving her 12 year old daughter and the rest of her family behind.  The world had become so dark I forgot what light was like.  But one listen to Springsteen’s album and suddenly all that changed.

In that moment, fall had a new color.  It was so exquisite and bright I never quite saw things the same way again.  That color gave me back a glimpse of hope that maybe I could look forward to a future, one where happily ever after did not end in a horribly final way…..where I did not end up like my father and lose the love of my life at the age of 36.  

I love Bruce Springsteen for many things, but giving me back my hope is the biggest reason why.  It is a debt I will never be able to repay.  The mantra of my life, even after all these years, is from “Thunder Road”:  ” What else can we do now except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.”.  Those words carry me through my life.

Thank you, Boss Man.  Happy Birthday & Happy Fall.

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging and Happy Fall!!! 

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Picture it:  NBC, 8pm, 30 years ago.  We heard that now famous theme song, “Thank You For Being A Friend” for the first time when the pilot episode of “The Golden Girls” premiered on September 14, 1985.  History and legends-not to mention a strong craving for cheesecake-was born.

How do I love these women?  I cannot even count the ways.  Three decades later, they remain my surrogate mothers/grandmothers.  As the saying goes, nearly everything I needed to know about life I learned from the Golden Girls.

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They taught us all that life didn’t end at age 50 or older, or when your husband died and your kids left home.  That you stayed active, tried new things (remember Rose’s self-esteem class “You’re Special”, or performing in community theater, or when she took classes to learn Spanish, or when she finished high school in night class with Dorothy as the teacher), you always volunteered, you embraced gay rights (true, Blanche had a hard time when her brother came out, but it was when he was 45 years old & divorced, so it was understandable that she was a little thrown.  But she eventually accepted it) and you always practiced safe sex.

A few years ago, the Jelly Belly Candy Company launched a contest to the public to pick a new jelly bean flavor.  My suggestion?  Golden Girls Cheesecake, of course.  It did not win.  😦

The kitchen table or the couch from the set should be in the Smithsonian.  It is as important to television history as Archie’s chair or Fonzie’s jacket.  If it wasn’t, would Lego be “toying” with the idea of a Golden Girls set?  (Sorry, I had to!!!)

We must give props to Susan Harris, the creator of this iconic show.  Not to mention all the producers, writers, directors, guest stars (hello, George Clooney!) and everyone else who had a hand in the magic.  And can you picture someone else in the role of Dorothy?  Well, Elaine Stich was contacted first to audition for that part.  Picture that.

Recently one of my cousins, who is as insane about the Golden Girls as I am, sent me the following picture of a bumper sticker she spotted on someone’s car:

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If that is not a solid way of life, I do not know what is!!!

Their friendship was phenomenal.  It turned them into family which led them to fight over men (Sophia & Blanche over Fidel), dresses (Dorothy & Blanche, then Blanche & Sophia) sisters (Dorothy & Blanche telling Rose her sister was nice when all the while she was backstabbing Rose), kids (Dorothy & Rose when their children slept together after Blanche sent them on a date) and food (Rose’s chipped beef vs. Sophia’s marinara sauce).

I also loved how they reeled each other in when they each ran off the rails with comebacks delivered to perfection that have become classic comedy moments.

Dorothy to Blanche:  “Pull yourself together.  You’re in a psychiatrist’s office!”

Sophia:  “My heiny’s asleep.”  Dorothy:  “Fine.  We’ll keep our voices down.”

Sophia, in response to Dorothy’s threat to beat her mother at cards:  “Ooooh,  I’m so scared my dentures are chattering!”

Blanche’s date:  “Can you believe they gave us the same table?”  Blanche:  “Well why would they seat us separately?”

Rose via Dorothy to Blanche:  “You’ve been under more drunken sailors than a nautical toilet.”

Dorothy:  “I never heard of anyone named Mammy before.”  Rose:  “What about Mrs. Eisenhower?”  Dorothy:  “Mammy Eisenhower?  I think only the Nixon kids got to call her that.”

Blanche to her daughter Becky, who was in labor & wanted to stop pushing and hold the baby in:  “No, it’s a bad look.  Now you know I’ve never been real strict with you, Becky, but you have to.”

Blanche to her gentlemen caller in the wheelchair, who turned out to be married:  “I thought you were noble.  It never occurred to me you could be a jerk in a wheelchair!”

It was fitting Dorothy was a teacher because she mastered the art of tough love.

To Rose, who was scared to be intimate with her new boyfriend:  “If you take a chance in life sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen.  But if you don’t take a chance nothing happens.”

Her advice to Blanche about giving her grandson chores:  “You do what is best for David, not what is easiest for you.”

Dorothy to Blanche’s grandson who wants to leave because he has “all this crappy stuff to do,”

“Life is full of crappy stuff to do.  It’s everywhere so you better get used to it.  The President has crappy stuff to do.”   I learned a lot about life from my grandmother, but Dorothy’s words in this scene are probably the greatest definition of what life is all about in the history of ever, in my very humble opinion.

And when things get really bad for me, I take solace in the fact that I am not in Blanche’s shoes (“I lost Anderbo and her beau!”)  🙂

This was excruciatingly hard, but I narrowed down my top 10 shows from seven seasons and 180 episodes.

  1.  Room 7 (Season 7).  Why?  “I see London, I see France, I see Blanche’s underpants.”  And Sophia jumping off the roof.
  2. Mary Had A Little Lamb (Season 5).  Why?  I desperately wanted to be Mary-not pregnant-but taken in by those wonderful women when my life was falling apart.  In the unedited version of the episode, we learn Mary spent the nights with the GG’s after visiting her dying mother in the hospital.  What a haven that girl found.
  3. Beauty & The Beast (Season 7).  Why?  One line:  “What the hell goes on at night in this house?”  Runner up:  “I remember spending that quality wharf time with my Grandma.”
  4. Isn’t It Romantic (Season 2).  Why?  Blanche’s irate reaction upon learning that Dorothy’s lesbian friend Jean prefers Rose over Blanche.  Simply priceless.
  5. Goodbye, Mr. Gordon (Season 7).  Why?  Rose tells her co-workers and all of Miami on her morning TV show that Dorothy & Blanche are lesbians.  And Sophia asking mean questions from the audience to rub salt in the wound.
  6. Dorothy’s New Friend (Season 3).  Why?  Blanche & Rose resorting to childhood antics like giving Dorothy the silent treatment when they are jealous of her relationship with a snooty author.
  7. To Catch A Neighbor (Season 2).  Why?  George Clooney.  And Rose upset that they would miss watching the movie “In Cold Blood”, inciting Dorothy to hit Rose over the head with a TV Guide.
  8. Old Boyfriends (Season 7).  Why?  One, when Sophia refers to Dorothy as her lesbian lover.  Two, when Sophia refers to herself as an unsuspecting cutie being lured into a web of sex games.  Fantastic!!!
  9. Grab That Dough (Season 3).  Why?  Blanche’s description of herself (“An artist with an incredible body, runs her own museum, speaks Chinese…”) and Sophia telling Dorothy she was the biggest disappointment since the AMC Pacer.
  10. End Of The Curse (Season 2).  Why?  Rose:  “We had a pig on the farm who got pregnant, and we never knew who the father was.”  Dorothy:  “Oh my God, Rose, what did you do on Father’s Day?”  Plus the visit to the psychiatrist’s office.

As a Springsteen fan, the references to him were an added bonus and showed just how cool and current these ladies really were.  In “The Truth Will Out” (Season 1), Rose’s granddaughter, Charlie, is telling her grandmother about her boyfriend, who reminds her of Rose’s late husband.

Rose:  “Does he look like Grandpa?”  Charlie:  “No, he looks like Bruce Springsteen!”

In The Competition episode (Season 1), Dorothy said no to Sophia’s request for money to buy airline tickets.

Sophia:  “I can’t believe you’re denying your own mother!”  Rose:  “Denying her what?”  Dorothy:  “Springsteen tickets.”

The only episode I cannot watch over and over again is the final one.  Despite the fact that these women live on in repeats several times a day (thank you Hallmark, Logo and TV Land), it is still too painful for me to accept the fact that their story ended, even if it was in a wonderful way like Dorothy finally finding happiness in love.  The end of the Golden Girls was like leaving the gang in Oz all over again.  Sigh 😦

Four years ago, I was lucky & blessed to see Betty White in person at a book signing.  I had the chance to tell her that being introduced to her was like meeting one of the Beatles, and that she and the three other Golden Girls were my surrogate mothers.  She patted my hand and gave it a squeeze.  Life does not get much better than that…..unless I am watching an episode of the Golden Girls.

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COPYRIGHT 2011 BY Michele Antonio

Thank you, Ladies, for being so much more than my friends all these years.  You are beloved!!!

Just The Working Life…..

“Early in the morning factory whistle blows
Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes
Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning light
It’s the working, the working, just the working life”, Bruce Springsteen-Factory (1978).

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Happy Labor Day to all those who work-or worked-to make America what it is.

And farewell-unofficially-to the end of the summer of 2015.

Rhode Island, July 2011. Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio (North Kingston, RI)

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!