hands down

24 06 2009

hands

We were at a friend’s house the other night, sipping wine and catching up with a couple that has moved to Morocco to started a custom, sustainable furniture business there.  At one point a half a dozen or so of us had landed in the livingroom and the subject of Shop Girl’s bump came up.  “So, how’s it going Grandma?”

I have to admit – I was in the middle of hugging the hostess when I almost continued the motion to put her in a full headlock till she cried “uncle”.  “No, I don’t think so…” I continued – she quickly got my point.  I can’t be Grandma.  Not because I’m not going to technically be that but names are everything.

So the discussion started.  GiGi, MiMi, Nana, Noni, Yaya…the list began and we were trying them on for size.  I like Monkee myself.  Got mixed reviews.  How about Queen Mother of the Universe?  Try as we’d like – sometimes we don’t get to choose.  Out of the mouths of babes come the best choices.

There was always a distinction between the two sides of my family.  There was no maternal grandmother alive so we only had the name for my mom’s dad – which was Grandpa Cummer.  The watchmaker.  Thick glasses, bushy squared off moustache, hearing aids with the little amplifier resting in his shirt pocket, honky-tonk piano player – and the one that would plaster his whole body in front of the TV if while babysitting a beer or cigarette commercial would come on.  Seriously.  Like Superman – arms firmly planted on his hips, inflating his tiny chest to do whatever he could to avert our innocent eyes from the evils of the world.

On the other side – was the Granddad – who died before I was 8 or so.  The black and white squares from a Brownie camera show us frequently gathered – separate shots of the grandkids (I was the youngest of 14), others of the siblings and wives/husbands.  I don’t remember the early years but I do remember after he had his stroke.

My dad would go various times a week to shave him.  He’d been left almost completely paralyzed and bound to a hospital bed that replaced a dining room table.  Having spent time working in a rehab hospital myself – I now wonder about a million more details of his situation and can’t for the life of me figure out how my grandmother and aunts’ hands managed his 24 hour care.

The hands of grandparents…the things they do and the memories they shape.  Soon enough someone will have a new perception of me.  The Mrs.’ hands that once stroked my eyebrows and traced the outlines of my face as I dozed away sleepy Sunday morning sermons…did the same for my kids.  The same hands that labored making my wedding dress made some of my kids’ favorite “dress-up” costumes.  Nothing beats her recipe for the best chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from her mother, Georgia’s hands to the Mrs.’ to mine to Shop Girl’s.

Maybe I’ll get to teach Baba Louie how to blog…

You can re-read some the history of the mix here.





channeling my domestic goddess

21 04 2009

cavalliJust a Tuesday with a bagazillion things to do before I go to the dentist this afternoon – then leave town tomorrow for at least an overnight.  Magically, a rather routine dreary, drippy day was transformed.  It started with getting to iron some hand-painted Roberto Cavalli artwork.

towelsSo inspired was I, that I took the time to fold my old towels the Martha Stewart way.  I feel so proud – so sophisticated.

DSC_0011I looked down after grabbing one rug to throw into the washer and replaced it with its almost twin and stopped just for a second to admire this little gem from Algeria that keeps my toes warm each morning.

DSC_0034It’s that time of year to give my pretty little perfume bottles from Egypt,  quietly perched atop the door frame, a bath.

DSC_0038

Then just because I could, I paused, turned out the light in the bathroom and lit the candles – the votive holder was a gift from Shop Girl when she was all of 13 I think and on a field trip to Chicago with her French Class.  It has always been a fav.  The pitcher behind it –  a little treasure from Morocco.

All I was doing was ironing and needed more water to fill the iron.  I walked into the bathroom and stopped long enough to admire things I look at more than once a day and never stop to “see”.

Our bathroom is on that never ending “Money Pit” wish list for a major makeover.  Who knows then my MegaMillions numbers will hit…till then I keep myself pacified with little trinkets that keep my mind off the general sad state of affairs when it comes to the desperate need for gorgeous white subway tiles to line the walls – along with having the tub (probably from the 1920’s because it is NOT a claw foot which would have been original to the house) re-surfaced in an attempt at being green and keeping it out of a landfill somewhere.

DSC_0042Amazing how much ambience can be added by low lighting…you can’t even see the mold!  What a great day this is turning out to be!!!