November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving...and THANK YOU!

Just a quick note to wish everyone who passes through here, whether just once or more frequently, a very happy Thanksgiving.  I'm so very thankful for my blessings and for the ability to share the things I love and care about here in blog-land. 

I wish for all of you a most happy holiday full of bountiful food and blessings to you and yours.  Thank you!

November 18, 2010

Betwixt, Between...and a New Tag Line

No sooner am I apologizing ad nauseam for not posting in recent weeks, and here I am with a second post in two days!  Never check a generous impulse, I've heard, so just go with it, gang.

One of the things I have been thinking about lately is the name of this blog.  I think Country Contemporary is still good to go here - I'm a contemporary person and I've been back living in the country, in a contemporary house, no less, for the better part of the year, so I think the title is a keeper.  The tag line - "Life and Style from the Urban Home from a Country Girl at Heart" isn't so accurate any longer, though.  I remain a country girl both at heart and, again now, in fact, but the urban home from which I originated the blog, and in which I actually "originated" in life from the age of about 4, is about to become someone else's urban home.  That meant the tag line needed, like some of the features of that wonderful midcentury urban home, to be updated to reflect the reality of these modern times.  So I changed it (the tag line, not the house, alas).

Here at Country Contemporary, the tag line is now "Life and Style from the Country Home of a Formerly Urban Girl."  It's still accurate, but more accurate and current now.  I've been back in the country since March and I was a bona fide urban girl, having been born and raised within city limits. 

In fact, I lived in the city until about age 36, when I bought my first country home.  I had been spending a lot of time in the country over the course of about eight preceding years.  I had renewed my childhood passion for horses and riding that was interrupted in my teens for all the usual reasons that derail horse crazy adolescent girls - school work, extra-curricular activities, boys, etc. - and because we lived in the city, the likelihood that we'd be keeping a horse in the backyard wasn't high.  I pleaded with my dad for that, but to no avail.

After an interruption of a few years, I resumed riding a bit during college, but, once again, the realities of life - working for a living and still residing in the city - interfered with the time I'd have to spend indulging in my long-held passion for equines or the ability to be near where horses needed to live. 

Fortunately, in my late 20s, a dear friend gave me a gift of riding lessons at a wonderful facility in the country near where I now sit typing this and, essentially, it changed my life.  More accurately, it returned me to my long-held passion and I took it from there.  After about two years, I purchased my first horse with an income tax refund I received one spring.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

Eventually, as my career progressed and my fortunes (read: bank account) grew, I made the executive decision to move closer to my passion and farther from the office after about six initial years of horse ownership.  I knew, after spending those intervening years learning the landscape and the culture of the community, that this was where I in horse country.  But for a period of about five years that reluctantly but necessarily brought me back to the city more recently, I lived, happily, here in the country for 15 years.

All the while, I kept my post office box in the country.  I knew I didn't want to give it up even though I'd later moved to another country home several miles away.   I've had that box for more than 20 years now and I've used it continuously for business and for less important mailings, like magazines and such, that I didn't need to receive instantly.  I'd come out to the country - only about 30 miles from the urban home - periodically to retrieve the mail.  The box kept me connected to the community, to my great friends of many years who are my real support system, and, most of all, to the horses.  Now, since returning to live here earlier this year, I use that box as my primary address again.

By choice, after 25 years, I don't own horses any longer, but they remain central to my existence, to my sense of my identity and to my sense of calm and happiness.  I know that wherever I live, I must be in or near where they are so I can see them, watch them, pat them and just be around them, and so this formerly urban girl can always remain a country girl at heart...and in reality. 

November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Teapot Redux

It's official.  I am a blogging delinquent.  I readily admit it.  That's supposed to be half the battle, isn't it?  Well, I'm 'fessing up.  Yup.  I'm not proud of it, but sometimes life just intervenes and demands that one pay attention elsewhere.  So that's what I've been doing.  I'm sorry to have neglected my duties here in blog-land.  I promise I will try to do better.

While I've been off the blog airwaves, I've been a busy girl.  I've spent the past six weeks (yes, more than a month) engaging in an array of activities.  All the while it has been autumn, which, as I might have mentioned previously, is my favorite time...and it's my time.  One of the things I did was celebrate another year's passage.  I don't feel a whole lot older than I did six weeks ago, but the calendar doesn't lie.  It wasn't a "big deal" birthday - no zeros in this one - so I spent it enjoying a lovely dinner at the home of a friend who kindly invited several other dear friends of mine whom I've known for 20-30 years.  I took it as an opportunity to celebrate our friendship more than I cared about acknowledgement of my birthday, and I think that's how I'll look to celebrate the occasion in the years ahead. 

There were no gifts (thank goodness - I have more than enough "stuff" and deaccessioning the excess has been my modus operandi lately), but one very dear friend brought along two bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne, which was an instant treat.  If you haven't had to good fortune to taste it, I highly recommend it.  I think it's just about the smoothest champagne I've ever had...totally, utterly lovely.

One of the things I've enjoyed about this particular autumn is decorating my country home.  Now, mind you, I'm not talking the kind of decorating that you'll see on the other blogs, with lovely tablescapes, and mantles and accessories that reflect the autumn colors - I've got some of that - but, more importantly, for me, this year, is bringing out my accumulated autumnal decorative items that I've acquired over a lifetime of house and homekeeping = the Halloween pumpkin candle holders, the little wooden Thanksgiving turkeys, the orange and red leaves, the leaf plates, etc.

A few years ago, in a fit of frustration I suspect, one of my cats had too close an encounter with a special autumn keepsake that my late mom gave me for my birthday some years earlier.  It was a sweet, ceramic pumpkin figural teapot and I treasured it, because my mom was not a big "stuff" person, but she knew I liked things to celebrate the seasons, so she found it, chose it, and gave it to me as a surprise.  She was like that.  One day, I hear a crash/smash and the next thing I knew, I was picking up broken pieces of ceramic teapot that had fallen off a shelf and onto the hard, cold stone of the slate dining room floor. 

My fond memories of my mom's sweet gift were shattered along with the teapot, but it was a risk I took in putting it out within reach of an errant, furry paw, so, this year, I decided to try to track down a replacement on eBay.  It didn't take very long before I found the exact replica of my teapot online in a fixed price (not auction) listing, so I could "buy it now."  I thought about it for a while, saved the listing to my watch list, and one day, as my birthday (and Halloween just prior) drew closer, I threw caution to the winds and bought it.

Even though it's not the actual teapot my mom purchased and gave me, it's my teapot's identical twin, so that's close enough.  I still love it, perhaps even more because my mom chose it.  Now I have it again in my home to remind me once a year of all the things I love about fall...and my mom.

Cheers...and thanks, mom.