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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back To The Beach House!

Guess what?
Our beach house is getting new carpet . . . on Wednesday, as in today.

So, leaving Howard behind in New Jersey to hold down the fort, Doggy Dion and I have packed our tents once again, slung them into my mini-van, and we're on our way back out to eastern Long Island.

Oh poor, poor us.  We'll have to deal with this:
Such a hardship, to tolerate these views from the windows and decks!
 See you Sunday, which is when I think I'll be getting home;
I hope to have loads of terrific "after" pictures to show you.

Meanwhile, I hope for a few more still, magical mornings on the inlet, like this one from last week:
Just like a mirror, that water.
That's lovely in the morning.
When it gets that still on a summer evening, watch out -- gnats!

That will be my Outdoor for the next few days.
Join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts; click here.  

Have a great week, my friends; I will see you when I return,
loaded with pictures of our continuing beach house renewal.  -- Cass

Family Jewels

We have a bride in our family this year.  

That means we -- my sister Peggy and I --
take The Lavalier out of the safe deposit box. . .
. . . we look at it, remember which family brides wore it,
remember when we wore it on our own wedding days,
and hope our latest bride will wear it, too.

 It's not the most beautiful piece of jewelry in the world, although it is so very
evocative of its Edwardian origins.  It's not terribly valuable, except in sentimental coinage.
My daughter Alida would be the fourth generation to wear it.

She's never seen it, so she'll have to look at it and decide if it goes with her dress.
Do you see that it needs repair?
It's clearer in this picture:
The cross piece under the pearl has come detached.
I will bring it to a jeweler; this is not going to be one of my D-I-Y projects!

It needs a new chain.  This gold chain is very nice, but it's modern, and too thick for the pendant.
The original chain, which was as thin and delicate as a strand of hair,
and in the same pinkish-gold as the lavalier, is no longer with it.

Neither Peggy nor I know who last wore this on her wedding day.
Our Mom would know, but it's too late to ask her.
On this warm and sunny Wednesday, I think I'll have lunch with my sister-in-law Phyllis, and then go visit Peggy, where her grandson-twins are still in residence.  And because I love you, here are two pictures of The Boys:
Mr. Calvin, amongst his toys, rocking the preppy look.
Mr. Luke, also preppy in blue, chasing Cheerios on his tray.  Love the bare piggies.
 Yes, my grand-nephews are also Family Jewels, and far more precious than gold.

As for our family lavalier, and our family bride, I won't push Alida to wear it;
she needs to make up her own mind, wear what makes her feel good, feel happy, feel like a bride.  

As I recall, Peggy and I didn't get -- or expect -- any choice in the matter.
Our Mom said, "Here's your grandmother's lavalier; put it on."  And we did. 
Ah, the good old days of parenting!  -- Cass

PS ... There are other brides who have opted not to wear the lavalier -- it's okay.
And it's not bad luck to not wear it -- there are no superstitions attached.
That we know of . . . . (cue spooky music here.) 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beach House Metamorphosis: In the Beginning

On Thursday, I posted about the interior painting
at our beach house on eastern Long Island's North Fork.
View from upstairs deck.

You can find that post here:

We pretty much kept to sun, sand, sea and sky colors.

I've linked that post -- with many more pictures -- to Metamorphosis Monday
at Susan's Between Naps On The Porch blog.
for wonderful makeovers and changeovers.

Next to come in our beach house makeover:
first floor flooring, some deck work, some more cleaning and then:
Let the decorating begin!
Hope you join us for the fun stuff to come, once the nuts-and-bolts are taken care of. -- Cass

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Of Eggs and Matzoh

It's Sunday evening, and I'm late in wishing you a Happy Easter. 

He is Risen!

 After church, we had our traditional family lunch of Easter eggs and matzoh.
Don't knock it if you haven't tried it; they go together remarkably well.

Our Easter eggs won't win any prizes for beauty, but they taste good!
That's Howard's rabbi egg on the left, in orange, and my monk on the right in yellow. We hope the glitter isn't poisonous.

We had our evening dinner at my sister's house.  My niece Maggie is in from Michigan. . .
with her nearly-7-month old twin boys!
I'd have walked there to see them.

Luke and his Mommy:
 But wait!
There are two babies!
 Calvin and his toys!  And his cool boot cut jeans and argyle vest.

Are these little guys adorable, or what?  You don't have to answer that;
they are adorable!  And not identical, in looks or personality.  What fun!

Also adorable is Ernie, Peg and Bill's yellow Lab.  Can't leave him out:
Ernie's a little confused by the two hairless puppies cluttering
up the house, but he's being a very patient and tolerant doggy.
And that's it.  I hope you too had a lovely Easter Sunday.
The Bunny Family and I wish you a wonderful week to come!  -- Cass
Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

When my sister and I were little girls,
we thought that it was somehow not right
if the sun shone brightly on Good Friday

 On that day, we thought, it was supposed to be gray.
And we shouldn't play.  At least, not loudly.

Mother Nature's cooperating this year; it's overcast and chill here in northern New Jersey.   Our daughter Anne is coming home this afternoon for the weekend, and this evening she and I will be at the Service of Tenebrae at our church.

If you have never experienced a Tenebrae service, it is a moving and emotional experience.  Every congregation does it slightly differently; it is a very ancient service of Holy Week, now usually done on Good Friday but occasionally on Maundy Thursday.

Instead of the usual liturgy, there is a series of Scripture readings and prayers, bridged with the plaintive minor-keyed hymns of Lent.   Tenebrae is Latin for darkness, or shadow, and the Dark plays its part in this Good Friday service. 

After each reading, a single candle is extinguished from the seven in the triangular candleholder -- called a hearse -- and the lights in the church are slightly dimmed until, at the time of the last reading, the lights are turned off completely, and the last candle, representing Jesus after crucifixion, is removed from the altar.

The congregation waits in darkened silence, until a loud noise, like that of an earthquake, signals the time for the single candle to be brought back into the church, and take its place on the altar.  

The Light of the World has not been extinguished.

In our congregation, we greet this by singing "Beautiful Saviour."  There is no benediction to end the service; we will return on Easter morning for that, and we leave the church in total silence, until we are in our cars and off the church grounds.

The first time I brought my daughters to this service, they were 8 and 9 years old, and partway through I looked down, and tears were coursing down their cheeks.  It's a good thing mothers always have tissues in their handbags.

As I drove out of the parking lot that night, I started to say something to them, and was soundly shushed by the girls:  "Mom!  You're not supposed to talk!" they whispered, quite fiercely, shocked that Mom could be so crass.

As we enter this Easter weekend, with its roller-coaster ride of emotions from despair to celebration -- I wish you all great blessings and joy, and a right and goodly mix of tears and laughter.

And now I need to go boil eggs, another ancient symbol!  
Do you, like I, treasure these connections to the many generations gone before?  -- Cass

The Spencerian graphic at the top of the post
is courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.  Thank you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Beach House Gets Its Colors!

I'm back.
Back from 5 days at our family beach house,
on the eastern end of Long Island, where a most amazing
painting crew covered nearly every square inch of the
house's interior with wonderful summery color.
All paint colors by Benjamin Moore.

Howard and I arrived on Saturday, to very high winds and heavy rain.
I had trouble getting out of my car; the wind kept slamming the door shut on me!

But by the next morning, we had this:

From the upstairs deck.

 Watching professional painters is humbling, as I recall my own Slap-Happy Homeowner painting projects of the past.
The pros do real prep.  They even wrap the furniture and contents in plastic.  And they are so fast!
That's Kevin, the boss man, putting a first coat of Lemon Ice, in the twin bedroom upstairs.
At 7 on Sunday morning, the painters arrived, and by the time they left they had repaired
issues with the walls and ceilings, painted most of the ceilings, and
we had 3 freshly painted bedrooms upstairs, and two power washed decks.
And that was with only 2 guys working that day.
This pale blue is dreamy, wonderful to wake up to in the morning, especially with sparkling water right outside.
Colors are so hard to capture accurately; this one is slightly greener than in these shots.  Like the palest turquoise.
This room will need a 3rd coat; that goes on next week's work list.  Turns out Lemon Ice is a painter's nightmare color.  But it sure is purty.
 On Monday, it was a crew of 4.  More wall fixes, more ceilings, and the challenge of painting
the second and third floors, with their double-height ceilings.
I don't watch guys doing dangerous stuff on ladders, so there's no pictures of the work in action.  Just the results!
Come upstairs and take a look . . . .
On the second floor there's a big family room, and a hallway to the bedrooms and bath.
Our girls and their cousins used to take their sleeping bags up here, and wake to watch the sun rise over the water.  And then go back to sleep.
Also on Monday, the master bedroom and bath on the first floor were done
in Harbor Fog, a color that I thought would be more gray than it turned out to be.
Lesson:  Don't pick colors for a beach house when you
are in the hills of New Jersey; the light is so totally different.

 But it's a good color.  More blue than I'd planned.
The master bath IS the same Harbor Fog color, but with the light on it washes out a bit; looks pearl-y and lovely.
The oak vanity was painted in China White, and looks fab.  Old hardware will be replaced.
 On Tuesday, I woke to one of those breathless, calm mornings when
the air holds the very lightest veil of mist, and the water is still as a looking glass.

The painters took pictures with their phones to send to their wives.

I took this shot; the house looks so dark inside, because there is so much light outside.

Then it was time to work; Tuesday morning they began at six o'clock.
  Peggy and I chose Rich Cream for these walls;
it's a slightly lighter cream than Philadelphia Cream, but it actually looks about the same -- even a bit darker! --
because there is SO much light upstairs as compared to the first floor,
where an overhanging deck blocks full light.
 Whew!  If you are still with me, I salute you.
One more painting picture, the little powder room near the back entry.
My Mom called it her "frog room," because it was full of goofy frogs she had collected
or been gifted with, so we decided to go with green in their honor.
 Well now you know I'm a class act; I took these shots without even putting down the potty lid.
Again -- So hard to photograph colors!  And the light keeps changing each part of the wall to a different shade.  My sister is going to have to take my word for it that Pale Vista was indeed the right color for this room, until she can see for herself.
Oy.  Another potty shot.  Too much sharing?

I don't know why, but I seem to have missed taking a picture of the upstairs hall bath,
which is too bad as it's my favorite color of all of them!  It's called Icing On The Cake, and it's dreamy.
Although I'm not sure I'd eat cake with pale aqua icing . . . .

And one last transformation: the decks after powerwashing:
 I was astounded.  They need sanding and sealing, which we hope can be done next week.
 But Holy Smokes. . . what a change from the dark and mildewed state they were in.
Can't wait to park my carcass out here on a warm breezy summer afternoon, with some good
friends (or relatives!) and a tall cold beverage, and just feel any stress or tension ease away.

That's what water does, folks; it's eternal, and it puts things in perspective.
The painters put in a 12 hour day on Tuesday, and finished this 3-story, 4 bedroom, 3 bath house.  I salute them.  Plus they cleaned up after themselves!  I stayed until Wednesday morning, then reluctantly backed out of the driveway . . . 
 turned onto the dirt right-of-way. . .
 and headed for civilization.
 As Dion and I passed through Aquebogue, heading west toward Riverhead and the Long Island Expressway,
we passed this sign . . . which I'm pretty sure you won't see anywhere else but here:

In its 61st year, the Modern Snack Bar is a North Fork institution, and believe it or not, it is
renowned for its mashed turnips.  Turnips were a big crop out here, and people love 'em. Well, how can you not?

Howard missed out on most of this week's painting Lollapalooza, as he had to return to That Old House
on Sunday; work on Monday, after all.  Dion was my constant companion, and he did mostly this:

I was glad to get home yesterday, but I'm looking forward to getting new flooring on the first floor,
and then pulling furniture out of storage, painting pieces to suit our new colors, and
making the beach house, so full of wonderful memories from the past 42 years,
the happy and welcoming place it was born to be, and always was.

Spring is really beginning to burst out here in northern New Jersey -- how lucky!  -- Cass

Visit Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage
for more makeovers!
She's hosting Transformation Thursday.
Be there, or be square.

 Click here!

I'm also linking to Metamorphosis Monday,
at Susan's Between Naps On The Porch blog.

Visit!  You won't be sorry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


It's Saturday, and we're out at the beach house, prepping for the painters
who will be knocking on the door at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Yes, Sunday morning.  I wouldn't normally agree to a Palm Sunday start to the work, but we need the major beach house work done before the end of April, so we can devote May and June to That Old House, and our daughter's wedding. 
And there are churches out here, too.

Last weekend, when we were in Williamsburg visiting my brother and his wife,
the four of us stopped at a place called Charlie's Antiques, off Route 60.
I think my niece Emily of A Small House and a Large Garden blog
introduced them to it.  Well, it's worth the trip.  No, it is a trip.

I found some things I might like to use as we freshen up the exterior and yard at That Old House.

"Hey, has anyone seen the triplets?  I found their little overalls by the back door . . . . "
Bok-bok-bok-bok-bok-bok-bok . . . .
Who YOU lookin' at?

Hey, Boo-Boo!  Do you smell a pic-a-nic basket?

Okay, I did find something I would actually like to have in the yard.  No, not the statue.
This place was sensory overload.
There were zillions -- yes, ladies, zillions -- of great big heavy statues and benches and Buddha heads and
mermaids with unmaidenly attire and nymphs and cement tables and  piles of rocks & stones
and giant iron gates for $6500 and giraffes and fountains and planters and . . . these two lovely ladies.
If by "ladies," we mean "scary Victorian sphinx women."

If I had a pyramid to guard, they'd be my first choice, ja, you betcha.

I hope to be back from Long Island mid-week, and I also hope I can find a wi-fi location somewhere in the village so I can keep track of you all, and post some pictures of painting-in-progress.  I'm excited, and more than a little bit nervous.  Have a wonderful Saturday! -- Cass

PS  What exactly is "wi-fi" an abbreviation for?  Wireless ... what?  Fidelity?  Figs?  Fiduciary responsibility?  Fiddle music?