New Realities of Motherhood

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Color My World

Yesterday I attended my first vintage outdoor market. We used to call them 'flea markets' when I was younger. But the generation immediately behind me is starting to deem their parent's aging goods as 'vintage' so I guess the term 'flea' is passe. I definitely like the vintage term over antique too since anything over 20 years old, including me is considered vintage!

The market features 'better quality junk' for the most part. The market screams bring me your dented, worn and scuffed and I will show it new life. Some of the items have already found new purpose and usefulness in resale marketing directly to shoppers, while other items are marketed with their crafted counterparts to show potential to other artsy and decor-minded shoppers. Coupled with the advent of everything being 'eco -friendly' the term 're-purposing' has new meaning for the shoppers at the vintage markets too. Farmhouse glam and shabby chic and a new generation of country decor is being resurrected. I recently found a quiz on Pinterest and the quiz told me my decor interests fall in the farmhouse glam area. I was not entirely surprised with this analysis since I loved the comfy warm country look in the 80's. Currently my house is Transitional Tuscan. A term lovingly bestowed on me by my decorator several moves ago. I have been 're-purposing' my furniture after every move the past 20 years. So I am not sure I will be able to integrate my new vintage interest in my current decor scheme. 

I only wish my last month's closet and garage purging bug had not hit me until after seeing the vendor's wares at the market yesterday. Goodwill must have made a killing from vintage shoppers after my donation several weeks ago. I begrudgingly saw lots of similar donations re-purposed at the market. Frames repainted in pretty pastel colors, fashioned with chicken wire and decorated with little contrast-colored pastel clothespins for hanging photos or other mementos. Buttons made into bracelets, sliver trays covered in chalk paint for displaying messages, clothing scraps made into scarves and jewelry, cabinets and chairs repainted in lighter colors. My dad was right. Save everything, there will be a purpose for it. This market proved that theory.

I admittedly blame a bit of the 'vintage' popularity on Pinterest. Peoples posting of creative solutions is addicting. I profess exclamations of 'Why didn't I think of that?"and "That is so clever!" and "I gotta try that!" at every log in.

A nice irony of my attendance at the market yesterday was running into a friend I had not seen in years, since my divorce.  A vintage meeting at the market! We met when our kids were in Jr. High and we were planning some events for the school. She had a silver tray in tow and was going to take it home to chalkboard it. She was beaming when she asked what I was hunting for. I admitted I was looking for already re-purposed decor to bring home to add to my daughter's shabby chic bedroom. Gleaning on our past acquaintance of creative event planning and perusing membership - only decor stores for interesting holiday accessories, she seemed a bit disappointed I didn't have a craft in mind with my visit. I disclosed since the divorce I have had trouble connecting with my creative side and feel more encumbered with the survival side. She professed a wonderful perspective - "Honey", she said "You are just black and white right now. You have to add some color back". That statement has inspired me!

So, where does one find color? What are your colors? What colors are you living right now?

While I did not find anything tangible to take home from the market, I did take home a new perspective from a chance reunion with a friend.

Time to take the rocks out of my backpack. There must be some diamonds in there. I'm adding some pastels to my resume (..I'm aiming for the brighter colors I will find in a new success), and making a list of the things I enjoy that bring me color.

Time for me to be re-purposed.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Family Trees and Fences

Forgive me for feeling uninspired to post - doldrums from the same old have stifled me. I have not been able to see the proverbial forest through the trees. Routine is like a drain on the creative brain of late. But I had a remarkable moment of clarity with the foliage of my family tree one weekend in March.

I have enjoyed the social connections through Facebook since I joined years ago. Re-connections, reminiscing, reliving parts of the past I could not appreciate until I grew up. Connections with neighborhood children I played with, who are now grown up with children and careers - and who I see now as  grownups themselves.  Until our reconnection, the memory of them stalled at 8 year-olds playing flashlight tag and softball in the street and taking the bus to school.

But the one thing I did not expect to find on FB was connections to family.  The more distant family kind or as my brilliant second cousin calls them "once removed", etc. And then there are the not direct at all descendant kind, The relations through the marital lineage. My non- blood cousins. Or as I have lovingly now dubbed them 'cuz's. My direct family tree is very small, and while I have discovered new branches the past few years is it the unrelated new growth that has been surprising to find.

We all have them - family fences. Not picket fences, emotional ones. Who puts them up I am not sure, but they are the kind that keep you from finding your relatives. Feuds, misunderstandings, finances,  relocation, death... family fences.

For instance, I knew very little about my father's extended family until my daughter was born. In fact, I didn't know there even were extended family. To this day the reason for the fence in that family is unclear. But I was not about to let it stay up, especially considering the fact that no one could explain why it existed. So once I began connecting to my new extensions, my second cousin and I decided to ignore the fence's existence and began catching up. It was a nice meeting over 19 years ago. While sadly we have yet to enjoy another reunion, cyberspace has been providing a virtual union spot. Facebook more recently the venue and family tree growth catalyst.

Since my daughter is now attending a University known for their talent on the basketball court, March Madness has become a passion. The best part is it coincides with her Spring Break so she is home for most of the tournament. This year we spent the bulk of the games at a local grill which some of the University's alumni residing locally, call home base for viewing these sporting events. Its allows them to gather as if we they were indeed at a game.

Our first game invited us to 'share' the cheering space with another University who shares the grill as their school cheering space also. This required us to gather with our school's fans in the upper floor of the bar. So we asked to share a long table with another group of fans. Sports always bring people together and of course sharing cheers for a college team brings them together even faster.

While our team continued to advance in the Tournament, we continued to acknowledge our new friends in passing at each game. By the time we were down to the final four playoff, we looked forward to 'new friend' sightings! I even got to be friends with two of them on Facebook.

Katie had finally had to return to school,  so I elected not to go back for the championship game alone. Sadly our team lost and I was not able to see our new friends for the last time.

Taken the first day we met before we knew the connection.
A few weeks later I discovered a strange thing. My cousin had a female family connection who had a familiar town listed in her info page on Facebook. Her last name was strikingly similar to the last name of one of my March Madness friends - and so was the town he was from! I immediately contacted my cousin and my friend to find out how the women on both of their pages was connected, and more importantly, how was she related to my cousin. 

Turns out my new March Madness friend is a non-blood relative!  My cousin's mother and my friend's mother are sisters. So we are 'cuzs. Facebook even brings together family. Go figure!