Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hello again.  Hope you all had a great summer.  Fall is almost here.  Yay!!!

Sorry for the unplanned/unannounced hiatus.  It has been a rough summer (year actually) for me personally & professionally, and it has all taken a toll on my creativity.  When I am in that place, I do a lot of reflecting.  The older I get, that seems more normal than looking ahead.  I am trying desperately to change that, but it is so very difficult.

I am looking forward to reawakening myself with the upcoming change of season we are about to begin.  Like the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald goes, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.  I feel reborn when the weather cools and the leaves change.  This year I need a fresh start more than ever.

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The summer was hot and humid which was to be expected.  It was also full of loss which was not.  Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain losing their battle with depression was not only heartbreaking, but terrifying to anyone who suffers from that same disease (read:  me, although I prefer not to discuss this battle publicly).  I always hoped with more love and more success in my life I would feel more stable in fighting this demon.  But their stories only prove how much I have been kidding myself about this illness.  A few years ago I lost a dear family friend to the same battle.  We grew up together and I never knew what he was going through.  It scared me so much I had to stop looking at my fear because I was afraid if I didn’t, I was going to get lost in it and never come back.  Spade & Bourdain’s deaths so close together has made it impossible to look away.  And that is incredibly scary, too.  That is my present.

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Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain (original sources unknown).

The reflecting started with the death of one of my childhood heroes, legendary disc jockey Dan Ingram.  One of the best things about growing up in New York was listening to music radio WABC-77.  All of the DJ’s were phenomenal (especially Harry Harrison & Ron Lundy), but Ingram’s time slot of 2PM-6PM was the one I could listen to almost all the way through, and I fell head over heels in love with his voice.  It was deep yet elegant, sharp yet comforting and funny and irreverent as hell.  He was the reason I fell in love with both voices and vocabulary.  One of his daily events featured a word of the day.  I always thought he was making them up until I was in sixth grade and one of my spelling words-eloquent-was one I heard on his show.  Then I learned the words were real but his definitions were the punch line.  It made me love Ingram even more and helped expand my vocabulary exponentially.

His show also featured an honor group of the day which ranged from those in certain professions, or hobbyists and club members to every other group in between, making anyone feel welcome in his world.  He referred to his audience as “the Ingramess” but kept it personal with his signature sign off  of “Bye now, Kemosabe” while big band music played him off.  Years later he moved to WCBS-FM where he did weekend shows and he was better than ever.  When he died on June 24 at the age of 83 it was like losing one of my dearest, oldest friends.   And for those of you not lucky enough to know who this man was, here’s a clip of his genius.

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Dan Ingram at WCBS-FM circa 1990’s (courtesy of the NY Times).

The friends we make in childhood we remember forever.  And I had some of the best.  Winnie the Pooh courtesy of A.A. Milne & Walt Disney, Mr. Rogers, the Peanuts courtesy of Charles M. Schulz and the disc jockeys at 77-WABC.  All of them held a special place in my heart, but Ingram had me holding on to every word.  His comments were as important to me as the lyrics of the songs he played every weekday afternoon.  He was one of the best teachers I ever had.  My childhood was briefer than most but he was a huge part of it.  And in those memories of when my life was whole, happy and full of color, he was one of the most vibrant ones.  I had the chance to interview him by phone many years ago when I was writing an article about CBS-FM’s yearly Thanksgiving countdown and it was one of the high points of my life.  Getting the chance to thank him for being such a hero of mine was one of the greatest gifts I was ever given.  His loss has me heartbroken in so many ways.  It is like losing the last piece of my childhood.

Then less than two months later, we lost the Queen:  Aretha Franklin.  For those of you who follow my blog, you know how much I love music, so this loss is ENORMOUS.  There will never EVER be a singer like Aretha.  Her voice, her soul, her passion, her songs……sublime.  The world is truly a darker place without her in it.  Yes, we will always have the music.  But her mere presence made our world a better place.  I am just devastated.

This is not as popular as some of her other songs, but it is one of my favorites:  “Angel“.

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                                                     Aretha Franklin at her concert at Jones Beach, NY July, 2011. 

Now we have lost Burt Reynolds.   If you saw my Instagram post about him yesterday, you know the first film I saw of his was “The Longest Yard”.  His infectious laugh hit me harder than his looks.  Who did not love him in the “Smokey & the Bandit” films?  Or with Goldie Hawn in “Best Friends”?  And how great was he on one of my favorite (and sorely underrated) shows, “Evening Shade”?  And how about him with my favorite ladies on “The Golden Girls”?  He was definitely a big part of my childhood, and now he is gone too.  Sigh.

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Burt Reynolds on “The Golden Girls” in 1986.  

I know full well that loss is a part of life, but this year has just brought so many that have forced me to revisit parts of my life I try to steer clear of.  Yes, avoidance works well for me.  Sometimes.

I tried writing about these losses as they occurred, but again, avoidance & the lack of creativity stopped that from happening.  But now that the summer is over but the losses continue, I am hoping that by finally writing about them will change my luck and the trajectory of the universe for a while.  One can hope, right?

The song I have been listening to almost non stop these last few months is one I have ADORED forever.  It is a sad song about the loss of a love but it is so achingly beautiful I find myself identifying with it while reflecting on the losses of my youth.  When I remember that this horribly underrated singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist wrote this song nearly 50 years ago before he turned 25 I am blown away.  If this was all he ever gave us, what a contribution it was on its own.  But he also blessed us with “For What It’s Worth”, “Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes”, “Love the One You’re With”, “Southern Cross” and many other songs which are enigmatic, timeless and beautiful.

“Stand by the stairway

You’ll see something certain to tell you

Confusion has its cost”

Stephen Stills (via Crosby, Stills & Nash):  “Helplessly Hoping“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & things I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

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Fall Kinds Of Fun: The Garlic & Harvest Festival

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you enjoying this beautiful fall season???  You know I am loving it which is why I have not had the time to blog.  But I indulged in a Connecticut fall tradition that was so fantastic I wanted to share it with you:  The Garlic & Harvest Festival.

Held every year in the scenic little town of Bethlehem, CT this autumnal feast celebrates all things garlic and more varieties of garlic than even an Italian American woman like me could imagine (Please forgive the quality of the pictures-they were taken on my iPhone and the weather was overcast, so some of the pictures are a little hazy).

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These pictures are only a taste (sorry, had to!) of the many different varieties of garlic that were showcased.  But there was so much more to do…and see…and buy…and  EAT!!!  Like…..

Wall climbing for the kiddos and some brave adults (i.e. not me!!!   🙂

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Seasonal ceramic shopping…..

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Country life shopping…..

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Time travel shopping back to the 1970’s courtesy of macrame crafts…..

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Or all natural hand-made soap shopping.

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If shopping for food was what you wanted, there was plenty to choose from like……

Smoked pork (the poor little thing…..it still has its curly Q tail!!!)…..

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Or cupcakes.  I asked if the whole truck was for sale.  For some reason, they looked at me funny…..

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or stuffed bread.  I sampled the potato & onion version because if you are a carb addict like me, two are ALWAYS better than one!!!  (Later in the day I had roasted corn on the cob followed by cider donuts.  I was so overloaded on carbs I forgot to take pictures but they were the best tasting part of my day!!!!!)

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And of course, you need something to was it all down with, right?  My choice……….

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This is mere glimpse of what this festival had to offer.  There was live music, food sampling galore, carnival rides, cooking demonstrations and so much more.  It was really a lot of fun.   I enjoyed it so much I was planning to go back on the second day, but the rain stopped me.  And if the festival was not enough of a joy in and of itself, I got to explore the charm of another adorable small town in CT while I indulged in the beauty of this season:

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And saw more pumpkins than even Linus, the Great Pumpkin believer himself, could imagine……

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Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a great New England fall festival.

And don’t forget, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” turns 50 this year (the first time we heard that pitiful sigh, “I got a rock” was on October 27, 1966) so don’t forget to wish this Peanuts classic a happy golden anniversary while watching Sally swoon over her Sweet Baboo, Linus!!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wanderings

Hello, Vixens!!!  Have my fellow East Coasters thawed yet from the sub-zero temperatures we had this weekend??? Brrrrrrrrrr!!!  But I must admit I do find the frigid air a little exhilarating (in very small doses), plus it is great cuddling weather so it is not all bad, right?!?!

Despite how cold it was, I went out and about.  Unfortunately, not to any estate sales as there still are not any in my area, so I checked out a few thrift stores and Goodwill.  Nothing really spoke to me, but I did enjoy looking.  I miss that.

Then I did my usual exploring around the back roads of CT.  During my travels, I came across what looked like an old airplane in a make shift hangar, sitting at the end of a farm. I thought it was a pretty neat discovery.

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I also went down a country road that has become one of my favorite routes.  In the fall, I came across this beautiful tree, and thought I would take a picture of it in winter to document the whole different seasons, different views thing.

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Kind of cool, right?  Got to love nature and the seasons 🙂

Saturday night I was introduced to a great place to eat, the White Horse Pub & Restaurant.  What a fantastic place with delicious food!!!  I had the Pear and Blue Cheese Salad and a heaping bowl of French Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese.  Sensational.  I took pictures but they barely came out do to the low lighting in the place (it was the night before Valentine’s Day, after all).  This is just my humble opinion and not a sponsored post.  I am just sharing a great find with you, since you may be new to the area like me so referrals are quite helpful!!!

Sunday was all about some chores, a few errands and a quick trip to the library.  A friend recommended a book to me:  “The Forgetting Time” by Sharon Guskin.  I picked that up and will begin reading that and my book club selection this week.  I love to snuggle under the covers and immerse myself in good reads when it is this cold.  And in great movies, too.  TCM showed “Adam’s Rib“*** and “Now, Voyager“*** yesterday-two of my all time favorites.  Tracy and Hepburn are my most beloved on screen pair EVER, and Bette Davis was so beautiful and glamorous in “Voyager” it is almost hard to believe she was the same actress who played Jane in another one of my most adored flicks, “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?“***

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Davis in a still from “Now, Voyager” (1942)
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Davis in a still from “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” (1962)

I also discovered two things that made me extremely happy, and I want to share them with you.  The first is I just heard (I know, where have I been???  LOL) that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is coming out next month with the original cast.  I watched the trailer and it looks as funny, if not more, than the original.  Yay!!!

The second is that Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is being released in September.  I do not know how the fact that he was writing a book got by me, but now that I know I have no idea how I will make it until the fall to read it!!!  Do you think he will finally reveal that his greatest sadness in life was not marrying me???  One can hope and be delusional, can’t one 🙂 ???

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Source:  BruceSpringsteen.net

Oh, and speaking of the Boss, I was supposed to see him in concert this week in Hartford, but I swapped tickets with one of my friends who lives in MD and had tickets for his show there in April.  She completely forgot she will be away on a cruise the night of the concert, so being the good friend I am I thought I would add MD to one of the states I travel to for my Boss obsession.  However, I must admit when she told me he sang “Because The Night”, “Cover Me”, “Loose Ends”, “Bobby Jean” AND “Rosalita”, all of which are in my top 10 favorite songs by him, my heart went into an arrhythmia it has yet to recover from.

I mean, I was glad to help her out and I will still get to see Bruce on “The River” tour, but if he does not perform those five songs the night I go I am afraid I might end up throwing myself on the stage kicking and screaming.  Maybe then he will rethink the set list???  LOL  But he will be singing “Fade Away” since that is from the album, and that may make up for everything since I ADORE that song, too!!!  I always thought it would make a great duet, especially if he sang it with me!!!  SAAAAAA-WOOOOON!!!  Here is Bruce meeting with some Veterans before his show in DC last month.  I love that he is such a staunch supporter of the men & women who served (and continue to serve) our country!!!

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Source:  BruceSpringsteen.net/Pete Souza/The River Tour in DC-Jan 2016

Please note that the starred links*** are my affiliate links. I only share what I love and am grateful for the support 🙂

So, how did you spend your weekend?  And if you are lucky enough to be off tomorrow (unlike me 😦 ), enjoy it!!!  Happy President’s Day!!!

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

 

“I’m So Glad I Live In A World Where There Are Octobers…..”

Do you spend this entire month quoting that wonderful line from “Anne of Green Gables” like I do?  🙂

Happy October, Vixens!!!  Thirty-one days to enjoy this glorious time of the season!!!  Fall finally feels official although it is still quite warm here on the east coast.  The most wonderful month of the year is here!!!

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I have broken out-rather, unpacked-my slow cooker in anticipation of the comfort foods it will hold this season:  soups, roasts, hot apple cider and my favorite, baked apples.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have several pumpkin bread recipes I want to try out, in addition to baking the pie of the season-apple.  Candy corn, apple cider donuts and hot chocolate are now my go to snacks whenever my sweet tooth gets a craving.  My sweaters, ankle boots and warm socks are all clean and ready to wear.  I am ready for the season-almost.

Where I am stuck is in my decorating.  I usually have a very natural approach this time of year thanks to the bounty of nature.  But the leaves have not started changing yet due to the warm climate, and the white pumpkins and gourds are in rare supply for now.  I try not to buy too many fake ones because one, I prefer the real ones and two, I would rather not store any more items than I have to.  But I do have a few ceramic ones.

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I am still figuring out my new place as this is the first time I am decorating it for a season.  I realized I have more orange pumpkins (fabric & ceramic) than I thought, and I really like them despite my desire for a neutral palette.  However, I have more pink than I expected thanks to a small trunk I am now using as a coffee table & a pink wash bin that I am turning into a buffet for my dining area.  I guess it is the pink and orange I am having a problem with.

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So as I still figure that out and where to pepper in the Halloween decorations as well, here are a few pictures of the progress I have made so far.  If we are spared the remnants of  Hurricane Joaquin (great name, right?!) this weekend, I will be hitting some local farm stands and pumpkin farms to start this month off right!!!

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

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!!! 

Some Seasonal Shopping

Last weekend I was rained out on Saturday (and there were no indoor sales that I was aware of) so Sunday was my only day to hit the local sales.  I went to five of them-yes, FIVE-and did not find ANYTHING!!!  It was not that any of them were junk, they just had things I was not in the market for:  newer items, toys, children’s items, clothes and large furniture (tables and chairs, etc).

It was nice to be at it again in the crisp weather-it was 70 degrees here on Sunday-so the outcome was by no means a complaint.  But the cooler air always puts me in the mood to hit some of my favorite stores to see what is new for the season.  I do not purchase a lot, maybe a few pieces here and there to mix in with my vintage items, and I shop at stores where I get the most bang for my buck.

While most of my decorating this time of year is with real pumpkins and other finds from nature (read:  acorns and leaves), a few store-bought items peppered in seem to complete the look I am going for.

Some of my favorite places to visit are the Christmas Tree Shops, the Dollar Tree and Michaels.

At the Christmas Tree Shop I found some burlap pumpkins and seasonal pot holders.

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At the Dollar Tree I found a witches sign (and some bungee cords for those big treasures I find that need to be secured in my car).

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At Michaels I found another seasonal sign and some burlap ribbon that I plan to use on my Christmas tree.

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I am still in the throes of organizing and decorating my apartment, but soon I will show you how I incorporate these purchases in my space.

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