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    Friday
    Aug052011

    let me eat cake

    I'm a pie girl. Fruit pies, not cream pies.  I love a good pie.  I make a good pie.  I'd rather have a pie than a cake any day.  Except one particular cake.

    When we were young, my Italian grandparents always had a lemon torte cake from the local bakery when we would visit them in Gary Indiana.  I wish I had a photo.  Really thin layers of vanilla sponge cake with lemon curd between the layers, buttercream, and chopped nuts around the side.  It was and still is my favorite cake in the world. 

    I grew up in a small town that has a huge flea market every week in the summer.  One lucky day my parents spotted a vehicle with an "Art's Bakery" sign amongst the glass vendors.  Art's Bakery in Gary Indiana made their wedding cake.  So they introduced themselves and became fast friends with the Angotti's.  Paul and Martha came to the flea market every week in the summer. They used our house as home base and became great family friends.  Often they would bring us baked goods as a thank you, and every year they would bring a lemon torte cake for my birthday.  Paul and Martha made my wedding cake, and luckily my husband agreed to let me have my favorite lemon torte.  I love that cake.  I make my own version, and it's pretty good – but not the same.  I think I should drive to Gary Indiana just to get one.

    Today is my birthday.  And Marietta – with all its fabulosity – does not have a real bakery.  The kind with strudel, pastries, cannoli, 100 versions of Italian cookies.  It's one of the reasons I learned to make my own cannoli.  I'd love to live in a place that has an Italian bakery, an ethnic market, a salumiere.

    I know you're wondering what this cake has to do with my 12 month plan.  The connection is really the birthday, not the cake.  Next year on my 50th birthday, my plan will be complete.  I will be celebrating my birthday in Italy with my 3 remarkable adult children.  Sitting in a piazza, or on a hillside, or in a tiny local trattoria with a glass of wine. It won't matter what kind of cake or pastry we celebrate with.  cin cin

    Tuesday
    Aug022011

    protective gear required

    My bedroom is beginning to look like a war zone.  In an effort to keep the rest of the house relatively tidy during this process, it’s become the staging area.  Last few weeks when Jan has come to clean, I've told her to just clean my bathroom and change the sheets on my bed.  There’s no way she could vacuum or dust with all this extra stuff everywhere. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The keepsake & photo boxes created when de-cluttering the office are in the corner.  They’re in my room so that they can be combined with the other keepsake boxes that are in my closet.  Before they can all be put in the attic.  I can’t just do this halfway and not take the time to go thru the other boxes, so it will all have to wait.  And I expect that will take a while – you know I’ll have to look at everything and reminisce before deciding what makes the cut and what doesn’t.

    On August’s schedule are the kitchen and pantry.

    Every drawer. 

    Every cupboard.

    Every cookbook.

    Every Crock Pot. (Don’t ask how many, just ask ‘Can I have one?’, but not the one shaped like a football.  That one I’m keeping.)

    I’ve been saving boxes so that I can pack up the extra dishes, cups, plates, serving pieces.   The empty boxes are stacked in my room just waiting to be used.  In another corner of my bedroom are a few small pieces of furniture that will be given away, and a stack of old comforters and bed pillows.  I’ve saved them for when people spend the night and I need extra pillows and blankets for those sleeping on a sofa.  The only thing is – I have more extra comforters and bed pillows than I have sofas. And with the kids in various states and countries, I actually have extra bedrooms for guests. 

    I don’t have any 12 month plan work on the schedule this weekend, as we’re taking my daughter's Swedish boyfriend to a Pirates game on Friday night and then to the airport on Saturday.  But you can bet that next week I’ll be trying to create some semblance of order in my bedroom.  If for no other reason than to eliminate the trip hazards I've created.  Yes, that’s where I got the bruise on my shin.  Ouch. 

    Sunday
    Jul312011

    buff & polish please

    This has been my motto the last few years.  It’s a copy of a poster produced by the British Government in 1939 in World War II. It hangs in my office.  Don’t you love it? When things don’t go my way, this is what I tell myself.  Like today when I realized something.  I’m doing all this work to prepare the house to be sold, but the window, baseboard and trim washing will need to be done again in these first rooms when the house is put on the market.  How could I not know that? It will all be dirty again. A woman's work is never done.  Keep calm and carry on. 

    Remember spring cleaning?  I doubt that my kids will even know what I’m talking about.  My mom did spring cleaning every year,  which basically involved cleaning everything in the house.  The walls were washed, top to bottom. The windows were washed, the trim and baseboards. Curtains were taken down and laundered.  Sigh.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It wasn’t just my mom, remember?  That’s what all women used to do! (I'm sure some still do, but I'm in denial about that) My mom is a really good housekeeper, and my dad likes everything in its place.  I wish I inherited more of these qualities from them. 

    This weekend I washed windows, baseboards & trim in the office, living room, & breakfast room. All of the windows in this part of the house except in the office are replacement Pella windows with the blinds inside.  Which means two things.

    1. I don’t need window treatments - my beautiful trim remains exposed  &

    2. I can tilt the windows in and wash both sides from inside the house. 

    This may sound easy, but it would only be easy if they were washed more than once every million years.  It is fun to see the windows clean, but I didn't love doing it.  Two rolls of paper towels and a 1/2 a bottle of windex and all is clean and shiny.

    So today is the last day of July.  The deadline for the office, family room & breakfast room.  And voila!  All organized, buffed and polished.  It does feel really good to be in the rooms as they get finished.  Kind of a Zen thing. Now I've got to keep them this way.

     

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