Saturday, February 25, 2012


Cherub pillow made from re-purposed blouse. White sheers and lace curtains, garage sale. Gold tassle pillows, garage sale. Black center pillow covered with material from old black skirt. Gold and black tapestry cover on the loveseat, a gift from Aunt Bebber.

I spent today working around my new little house. It's not something I cared for when I was younger. In fact, my mother would say housework on a Saturday morning, and I would vanish into the woods, or into a book, or into my bedroom, where I would pretend to organize things for five hours. In my eyes, nothing could be more mundane than spending half a day folding clothes, sweeping floors, and... dusting. I mean, dusting? Really? All you do, I thought (and still kind of think), is persuade the dust to settle in another place.

Since moving into our new house, though, I've changed. I find myself looking forward to my Saturday mornings, in which I sweep from bed at a quarter to seven, set up the coffee, and begin the list of the day's tasks. I'm up and moving dust from one place to another before anyone else is out of bed, and I'm somehow okay with that.

It's quiet, and peaceful, and calm, and I get it. Twenty-four years later, and I get it. My Mom takes pride in having a beautiful place to hold all of her treasures. And my Mom isn't just clean; she's fiendishly clean. All of her prized possessions -- her Waterford crystal, her Depression and Carnival glass, her Egyptian phials and perfume bottles -- they all gleam dust-free and gorgeous in her smartly decorated home.

I used to consider these trinkets nothing more than cups and plates and gravy boats. I once said as much, and I think it really hurt my Mom's feelings. Because I was missing the point. I saw dishes, when in fact, there is so much more to it than that. These collections have been handed down from great aunts and grandmothers, carefully passed from one curio hutch and buffet to another, and lovingly cared for by my Mom.

I tried to deny it for a long time, but I have collections, too. For instance, Aunt Avonne's cat collection, which I toted in cardboard boxes from one apartment to another since 1992, and have finally begun to unpack into my living room. I have Aunt Houstene's bamboo china, which mustn't be used in the microwave because the gold edging makes some pretty wicked sparks. Then there's the random knick-knack bric-a-brac: GiGi's paste-pendant sewn onto Aunt Winella's real mink stole. The polymer-gnome candle holder Papa found in a thrift shop in Beaumont. Aunt Debbie's gold and black tapestry that once hung on the wall in her dorm at Texas A&M. An odd assortment of glass and plaster giraffes... which makes me wonder two things: One, when did we start collecting giraffes? and Two, how did everyone else find out we were collecting giraffes?

So it turns out, I'm not so different from my Mom, though it is a surprise. This evening, I sat on my patio, drinking coffee, reading my Nora Roberts romance, and watching the sun set. My house was clean and all seemed right in my tiny world. If that's how my Mom has felt all this time, then I can see the appeal.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bluebird: A Short, Sweet Valentine's Story

Sometimes making the right choice is difficult, especially when a bright and shiny alternative presents itself. I know many couples who have endured great hardship - the loss of a job or loved one, a devastating turn in health- and it seems that in many cases, friends and family have counseled in favor of ending the relationship rather than sticking it out.

I wanted to write a story about a couple faced with a loss that would mean a change in their plans together. I wanted to show their struggle to come to terms with that loss and building new dreams.

Enter Sofie: gorgeous, ambitious, competent, and sharp. Mix in a pinch of chocolate, a dash of Paul McCartney, and a sprinkling of candles, and you get Bluebird, a contemporary romantic short just in time for Valentine's Day.