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Love Padlocks in Spain

Monday, April 30, 2012

Attaching a padlock to a bridge and throwing the key into the river is seen as a symbol of enduring love and this rather romantic idea of love padlocks, otherwise known as love locks, is proving a popular craze in most cities across Europe after the publication of the 2007 cult best-seller Ho Voglia De Te (I Want You) which saw a young couple attach a padlock to the city's Milvian Bridge and throw away the key into the river, as a sign of their love.  

This trend has spread, but not of course without controversy. 

Whilst it is a lovely romantic idea, it does appear sadly that in some cities it has caused problems with the weight of thousands of padlocks threatening structures and historical monuments, the Rialto bridge in Italy is one such structure that has suffered, I guess due to it´s already popular romantic setting. 

The not so romantic authorities of many cities have been apparently dismantling the padlocks with cutters, but in Moscow they have built metal trees instead on Luzhkov Bridge, giving a designated area for friends and lovers to express their love and affection.

Wouldn´t it be fabulous to have these in Marbella!

I was quite intrigued by this idea though and found out there is a bridge in most of the Spanish cities where this latest craze has developed including Malaga and Sevilla and even now in Madrid.

Perhaps Spain should now build some romantic structures to attract what I think is rather a romantic idea but in the meantime this could be perhaps bought into your wedding day either in the ceremony, stationery or even in the props.

I do love an inspiration so thought I would share this with you!

Too Much Psychodrama!

Had to take down the last post for psychodramatic reasons, to which I am sympathetic, but ooh people. I have a FLIGHT to KRAKOW today....!!!!

Winter Is Back

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Wow, what a great surprise.  The Thursday night / Friday morning storm brought us 4".  Friday was cool and Friday night was downright cold, 14F.  While the Lower Mountain was still spring conditions, the Upper Mountain returned to winter.  Great skiing up there, particularly on the groomers.  Had very good runs on Cornice Run, Norway, Lenawee Face, and Falcon.  My suggestion for Sunday morning, arrive early, ski the Upper Mountain groomers then head for the Lower Mountain as the snow softens up.  Be sure and sneak in some BBQ at Black Mountain Lodge.

3" New

Friday, April 27, 2012
We had a few of those spring squalls blast through here the last 18 hours.  3" new at 5 AM and maybe another inch since then.  It is supposed to be fairly cold the next couple of nights.  That will actually improve the skiing by setting the snow up over night making things a little firm in the morning, but ideal in the afternoon.  Right now a few flakes are still falling.  I am expecting this to break up through the day and maybe a little sunshine by sweep time.

Eco Friendly Rice Butterfly Confetti

Traditionally rice is thrown at the bride and groom to bring them fertility and good luck and the word confetti comes from the Italians who traditionally threw sweets at the lucky couple, confetto.

All this, however, sounds painful and as we are always searching for eco friendly alternatives to our weddings, we were delighted to find this new product, rice butterflies which we will now be stocking in our shop.

These gorgeous butterflies are currently available in white, red, yellow, green and blue but shortly will be available in pink.  As they are so lightweight they stay in the air for longer ensuring your photographer will capture the magic and give your photos the wow factor.

We love them and with all the symbolic meanings behind throwing rice at the happy couple, we cannot think of a better way to start your married life than to be blessed by fluttering butterflies!

Retreat Registration Closed

The Majowka dla Kobiet (May retreat for women) in Krakow must be entirely booked up, for lo the registration is closed.

It is amazing to me that women would come from all over Poland to a retreat featuring four talks by English-speaking me, but there will be a translator and, as continental Europeans often tell me, continental Europeans are used to coping with English and each others' languages anyway. Meanwhile, I am terribly pleased, as you can imagine, as I have slaving away at my talks and also at basic Polish. Yesterday I sort of collapsed in a dinner party.

It was sad, really. Imagine a beautiful Georgian room with a 12 pane window with a view of a Scottish garden, and by this window a round dark wood table, mostly surrounded by men in tweed jackets, plus one girl of 22 in a very smart V-neck Laura Ashley frock and a women got up in Edwardian black. That was me. Incidentally, my lace shawl fell off at the table, revealing a vast expanse of strap-free shoulder. Sensation, not to say sweeping Marx Brothers-style hilarity, among the men.

British men.

Anyway, I was fine for the champagne, and the simply delicious, French restaurant quality soup, and the rich cassoulet, and even the fruitcake, but I was starting to flag when the '55 port made its second round and then my head began to hurt and sitting up seemed too much of a chore and I began sending silent distress signals to B.A., who (being a man) wasn't getting them, so I gave them voice and then almost fainted in the host's hallway.

I am not sure why my body suddenly decided to pack it in after the port came around. I don't think it was a protest against the modern habit of women sticking around for the port. It was very good port, a beautiful colour, and anyway there was no hostess. No hostess, no leaving the table. And actually as far as I know I am the last hostess in Edinburgh to segregate the sexes anyway.

Could it have been the strain of learning Polish on top of everything else? I use the word "learning" in the most general sense. I try to stuff Polish into my brain at odd moments during the day--especially during bus rides--and then it leaks out. I travel about with a fat stack of cue cards with Polish words on them, and stare at the English side like a psychic trying to get a mental glimpse of the underside of a playing card. It has taken me six months to manage to glue the names of the twelve months of the year into my inelastic brain, and I'm still shaky on June.

"Listopad" (November) is my favourite month-name, and it is the discovery of such amusing words that makes the effort worth it, although B.A. would point out it isn't worth collapsing during dinner parties. Not quite the thing. Darling.*

Another subtle reward is watching Polish men speak Polish at parties, and incidentally DON'T DO THAT if you're Single. It is very odd behaviour, and I am sure I only get away with it (if I do) because I am married. Anyway, it is like watching furry water creatures (i.e. the Poles) waddle along the shore (i.e. speak English) and then slip into the water where they glide with astonishing grace (i.e. speak Polish).

After six months of me listening very hard, normal spoken Polish no longer sounds like "blah-BLAH-blah-blah-BLAH-blah-PRAV-da?" but like "I am [something]-ty and kricky kricka smoosh living in Warsaw is kricka it smoosh my flat kricky kricka smoosh thirty-three smoosh kricka shishbit in my opinion krick smoosh kricka Glasgow szbit smoosh krikety twice as expensive."

One of the parish Poles, the one who didn't like school and came to Britain to work at 17, says he learned English by listening and watching people and eventually something happened in his brain and he could understand. It sounds like magic, although I remember a similar sensation when I decided to lose 20 pounds and after a year of thrice-weekly workouts plus strict calorie counting, I suddenly fit into a Club Monaco Size 2.

Anyway, poppets, I don't think this has much to do with being Single, except that I am so happy I am going to Poland to talk to Polish Singles that I work hard every day to learn a little Polish. And I suppose it is also evidence that I believe you can achieve some things, perhaps MOST things, by hard work. You can't stop being Single, if that's what you're after, by hard work.

That said, if your fundamental difficulty is that you are not rooted in reality or you have almost despaired of understanding men (never mind Polish), those are things you can work on. You can do this by paying strict attention to reality and forcing yourself not to confuse your own hopes and fears with the actual data before you. It might help you to read the work of Bernard Lonergan to this end, but let me tell you, THAT is certainly work.

*To be fair, B.A. hailed a cab and was all hand-holding and solicitude.

To China...or Not to China...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

   Many of my beautiful fall brides have registered, are registering, or are about to register and I got this question from 4 of them: "Do I have to register for China?" My answer, "This is a personal preference. Ask your self this: If  you could have very, very expensive shoes...say 30-50 times more than you would pay for regular shoes...that sat in your closet that you were only going to wear once or twice a year,... that may go out of style but may not, ... may not match anything in your wardrobe in 10 years but regardless will still look fabulous, ....and all in all are absolutely stunning, ....would you be ok with that?" One bride said "Hell Yes! Are they Christian Louboutin??" Haha, I love my brides, but the other 3 said "Nahh, Thanks, I get it".

   China is a personal preference. Your mother probably registered for it, your mother-in-law probably registered for it, but that doesn't mean you have to. My Mom and Mom-in-law both have gorgeous patterns of China that I see once a year, if that. However, when they come out to play on the table, it looks gorgeous.  When my husband and I registered, we discussed that I wasn't keen on the idea (well more like he said, "wait, we are taking about  designer…dishes??") and decided we would rather register for a very nice set of dinnerware and a lot of other stuff.  This was my personal preference and may not be not everyone's. Personally, at my shower I didn't want to open  a $75 gravy boat, after a $45 tea cup and saucer, after a $300 place setting that I'll put away and not be able to use.  I did like alot I saw, but it just wasn't me. Not to mention, I wanted to have fun!  I wanted to open up new wine glasses I could use that night... I wanted to awkwardly unwrap lingerie in front of my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law for their son/brother to see me in and laugh... and, of course, wanted to scan every thing Martha Stewart had out.

We chose a white, beaded edge pattern called Viva by Espana (by Eva Mendes) that would go with every color when I redecorate the house (which is often).  It has been over 2 years now since I received them (wow, my anniversary is coming up soon!) and I am 100% so happy we did. They are elegant enough for a dinner party, yet casual enough for everyday use.  I like elegant, yet plain dishes because I like to have table runners, print cloth napkins, cake stands,…if you are one of my brides,  you know I love a crowded table.

   With that said, of course, some of you may want to register for China.  If it is something you want, go ahead and register! Again, a personal preference. There are gorgeous patterns that will glam your table up like a magazine. Not to mention, something wonderful you can look forward to using. Look at the patterns in Bloomies and the patterns Kate Spade has out...I mean they are 'weak at the knees' gorgeous.  

Either way,  ladies, when registering for $3.00/plate or a $300 /plate dinnerware, one rule: Take your husband-to-be. It's a long day and it's a day he probably isn't looking forward to, but make sure he comes. So many couples have a ball! Take pictures, try on the baker's hats, have lunch at a cafe in between stores,  ask his opinion, kiss and hug…this is definitely a memory worth making together!

Vera Wang Spring 2013

Vera Wang Spring 2013

Images courtesy of Vera Wang.

Mulieris Dignitatem

Well, poppets, I cannot stick around and chat for I have to finish my lecture on Mulieris Dignitatem this morning. Next up is "How I Became a Completely Seraphic Single Something Like Six Months Before I Met B.A." How will that sound in Polish, I wonder.

Mulieris Dignitatem is an apostolic letter promulgated by John Paul II on the Feast of the Assumption, 1988. In English, it is 42 single-spaced pages long. It is all about the dignity of women, as you might have guessed from the title, which stems from being made (like men) in the image and likeness of God and (like men) being called to service although (being uniquely women) we tend to be a bit more naturally enthusiastic about this service stuff.

As does Saint Teresa Benedicta a Cruce (Edith Stein), John Paul holds up Mary as the great model for all humanity but also women in particular. He has a lot of cool things to say about this, especially the part about Mary's active dialogue during the Annunciation.

The striking thing about Mulieris Dignitatem is how repetitive it is. If you read it out loud to an audience, they would all fall asleep. Zzzz. And believe me I am thinking about this because I am terrified of boring the beautiful women of Poland (and Polonia) who are coming to my Majówka. Since I am to have a translator, there is of necessity going to be a lot of repetition.

Seraphic: John Paul asserts yet again that women are equal to men.

Women: Ah!

Translator: Jan Pawel powtarza, że kobiety są równe mężczyznom.

Kobiety: Zzzz.

But actually it is quite interesting that John Paul bangs on about how men and women are equal (and different) because he seems even more convinced of this than Saint Edith Stein and how come people told me my whole life that John Paul didn't like women? In the context of Mulieris Dignitatem, it is so BIZARRE that even Catholic women in the 1980s moped and complained and groused that the pope didn't like women and what did he know, he grew up without a mother, and blah blah blah. This attitude is so obviously unfair, I don't know where to begin except, obviously, with Mulieris Dignitatem.

I have three eeny weeny little niggling thoughts about Mulieris Dignitatem, which should not take away from the excellence of that document. The first is the dividing up of all women into Mothers and Virgins, by which John Paul means, specifically, wives and female religious. This leaves long-term Single women out in the cold, not to mention all females too young to make marriage or religious life commitments, which can mean females up to 25 in these immature days, up to 32 or so if they're me.

He mentions that remaining Single is not the same as consecrated virginity, for being unmarried, he believes, is a "No" whereas consecrated virginity is a "Yes." Now I agree that embracing consecrated virginity is a "Yes" but being Single might not be a "No." If no man is knocking on your door, you're not saying "No." You're just not saying anything. And meanwhile, there exist all kinds of women who cannot marry or take religious vows for all kinds of reasons, some which are our fault, okay, but others which simply are not. And then there is the "Yes" implicit in living as a Single person in a community like "L'Arche." One thinks of long-term Single Jean Vanier.

One also thinks, incidentally, of John Paul's great bachelor layman mentor, Jan Tyranowski.

My second niggle is about the definition of virginity. John Paul writes that Mary wanted to preserve her virginity. So do the women who choose consecrated life. Great! He doesn't explain, however, why Mary was betrothed to Joseph in that case. I am sure there is a good explanation, but he doesn't give it. Meanwhile, is virginity a physical thing (and, if so, in what way), or a spiritual thing, or both, or an orientation towards God-as-one-and-only-Husband? Mulieris Dignitatem does not sort this out although it does talk about motherhood in detail.

My third niggle is about Mary as a model for wives. Most wives do not spend our marriages as consecrated virgins. And since ordinary traditional married women feel a bit protective of virginity and innocence, there is a part of our lives that we might not want to share with Our Lady or believe she would understand. Since lack-of-virginity entails certain knowledge, I would tentatively posit that there is something the Blessed Virgin Mary doesn't and by definition can't know.

I can feel the perspiration breaking out on my forehead with that one. Oh well, maybe it's all in "Love and Responsibility." And I suppose one could always have a conversation with Saint Anne on topics that one feels are not suitable for Our Lady.

But I realize that I am in dangerous theological waters so I will now rush off and wash the dishes. And then it's back to Mulieris Dignitatem.

Of Course It Might Be Different When You're Older...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I have enjoyed the thoughts about men and money in yesterday's combox, particularly the ones that suggest that a man without ambition is kind of not very hot. I was reminded of a little old lady with little English who gave me the lowdown on her grandson. Now this was AGES ago, and I was vaguely sure I was going to marry her grandson. However, Granny didn't think so. Granny was said to be psychic, so we asked Granny if she thought we would get married and she looked very hesitant. Possibly Granny was psychic. Possibly Granny didn't like me very much, which would have been a minority report, though I say so myself.

But I'll tell you what Granny said to really louse things up. There I was with Granny, in her room at the top of the house, and chatting about this or that, and Granny said, "[My grandson] has no ambition. Just like his grandfather."

And I thought, "Holy cow. I think she is right!"

If I had been older, I might have just laughed. I might have pointed out all of her grandson's excellent characteristics, and then later told him what his grandmother said, complete with accent. Every time he showed laziness or timidity, I would have croaked "[Diminutive] has no ambition. Just like his grandfather."

But I wasn't older. I was young. Very young indeed. And when you are young, you are busily pondering choices for your life. Your life stretches out before you, a clean road, shiny, new, mysterious. You are aware that, being a faithful Catholic, if you get married you could end up with a lot of kids. You would love each and every one of those wonderful kids, and you would not want to have to work at some horrible drudge job to keep them alive and in state daycare. No. You would either want to stay at home with them or, better yet, put them in the university creche down the street as you gave your lectures on "Roman Poetry of the Augustan Age". In short, when you are young, you want it all: children, intellectual equal/husband, career, house, car, glory, fame, enough money to go on holiday, enough money to pay for Christmas. This means a man to fall in completely with your plans, neither to be an economic liability nor to be all sulky if your job is better than his. And so the choice of life partner, when you are very young, seems like less of a covenant, self-gift, all that stuff in "Love and Responsibility" and more of a Lifestyle Choice.

Dear me, it is tough to be young. So much PRESSURE.

Anyway, one of the joys of being older, when you are unmarried, is that you stand in the wreckage of your youth, and you survey the battle-scarred remains of life and wonder if there are any single men among the survivors. You are not so worried about potentiality because mostly what you and the men of your generation have now is actuality. You don't care who is ambitious. You care about who is nice and trustworthy, and if there is any chance that so-and-so's marriage, which ended umpteen years ago in acrimonious divorce, might be annulled by the Church.

I'm not saying you have to settle. No, no, no! Never, never, never! I'm saying your priorities change. Of course they do. You are older and, very significantly, there is no chance you're going to have twelve children. And if you ever entertained visions of being swooped away by a zillionaire who has fallen in love with your youthful beauty, they are gone now.

Conversations with men are quite different then they were when you were twenty. Instead of hearing a bit about goals to be achieved, you hear a bit about dreams that have died. Happily, you also hear about new dreams, which might not be as glittery, but certainly have more substance. And there is a lot less guesswork. A 20 year old will not be the same man at 30, but a 30 year old will probably be the same man at 40. And 50.

When I ponder my life at, ahem, 40+ and compare it to my vague plans when I was 20, I have a good laugh. It is a happy laugh, though, because I'm very happy.

Okay, the no-kids-yet-and-I'm-40 thing is kind of annoying, but I have nephews and a niece and friends with babies, so it's not terrible. And, yes, I'm furious that I couldn't, as an orthodox (and high-strung) Catholic, attempt a PhD in Theology at a certain soi-disant "Catholic" university without having a nervous breakdown. However, I do work that I love, and my husband is a hoot, and for the time being we have a 17th century roof over our heads.

I simply cannot remember how much he makes. When we started talking marriage, I said, "Could you support a wife and child on your salary?" and he said yes. So there you go. If he decides he want to become Minister for Culture, I will be very surprised, but if that's what he wants to do, okay. If he decides he wants to retire from the pressures of the Historical House and become a crofter, again I will be very surprised, but if that's what he wants to do, okay---as long as there is internet.

His granny, alas, died years ago, but if she ever came back to tell me she doesn't think B.A. has much ambition, I'd kick her ghost out of my kitchen with a cheerful "Awa' back to Purgatory and bile yer heid!"

Ahhhh. It's good to be older.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012
(L-R) Pinterst. J. Crew. J. Crew. Jenny Yoo.

Diamonds Direct Crabtree ~ Bridal Designer Extravaganza

Don't miss the Diamonds Direct fourth annual Bridal Designer Extravaganza at their Raleigh, NC location Friday, May 4th through Sunday, May 6th. Over a dozen top designers will showcase their jewelry collections with exclusive 20% savings. The event will feature wedding bands, engagement ring mountings, diamond jewelry, gemstones, pearls and much more! Enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres by Fleming's Steakhouse on Friday evening from 6pm until 8pm.

Diamonds Direct Crabtree Bridal Designer Extravaganza
4401 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27612

tuesday shoesday

As I was looking at these attempting to think of something clever and cute to say about them, I fell in love. They are now in my online shopping cart. Cheers!

The Money Thing

I never know what is going to touch off a blog post, let alone two. But this weekend it was definitely a five minute conversation in a grassy courtyard, between blossoming cherry trees, with two handsome men, one Polish, one Scottish, who didn't actually say that much. Our topic was this funny "How to Win Women" clip on Spotify, which I actually never saw, and I went smack into Auntie Seraphic mode. Dedicate an hour every day to something, and you become it. Believe ME. Let's just say they didn't have the chance to say much.

But one of them did say something, or maybe one or the other just thought it and I read his mind. I can't remember, and at any rate he didn't get very far, because although he said or thought it in the most general and polite way, the concept was "Money."

In a split second I thought about the hundreds of my readers, most working madly at school or at jobs or at careers, most paying their own bills, most longing for male company, for a man who would make them laugh and meet them at the airport at the end of a business trip.

"Women don't care about a man's money," I trumpeted. "We don't really care how much a man makes! We have our own money! We have our own jobs! We don't need men for money. We choose men for their looks. MEN ARE A LUXURY GOOD!"

That last sounded really great until I thought about how that might sound to someone like, you know, John Paul II.

"Don't tell anyone in Poland I said that," said I hastily to the Polish one.

Okay, so men are not a luxury good. They are our brothers, our spiritual spouses in "unity in two" (see Mulieris Dignitatem), our friends, our companions and co-creators of the future. And thus they are so much more to us than a source of income I do not even know where to begin.

"Of course women want men to work," I said. "Men need work for self-respect. But it is not about money."

Neither of them pointed out that my unusual and comfortable if simple lifestyle is not being supported by my meager Catholic writer's earnings but by my heritage sector husband, which was prudent of them. It's never a good idea to suggest to your hostess that she married for money although, actually, people constantly suggest that I married B.A. for the Historical House. I did not marry B.A. for the Historical House although I am awfully fond of the Historical House, which is a good thing, as the Historical House is the focus of my husband's career. It's like loving Christendom College when your husband is a professor there.

Career. Work. And, really, what adult Catholic Single woman really cares what work an attractive man does as long as he is doing it, he enjoys it, it isn't evil and it makes him independent? Yes, a young women who anticipates having a houseful of kids is going to ponder how she and a potential husband are going to best support those kids, but the majority of women are not thinking, "Oh wow. I just want a guy to pay for my Gucci handbags." I mean, hello?

Now, I admit there are probably some women out there who really do think of men as sources of Gucci handbags. My former housemate Jonathan swore up and down that women in the bars and clubs of Boston would crane their necks to have a look at his watch or go to some lengths to have a look at the label of his coat. He also claimed women sometimes ask complete strangers what kind of car they drive. It had never occurred to me in my life to do that, so eventually I asked a man what kind of car he drove, and he said "Whichever one is available", which I thought supremely clever.

I am trying to see life from the perspective of women who go to bars and try to figure out which men are earning a lot of money. For some reason, all I can think of is Margaret Thatcher supposedly saying that anyone who takes the bus after age 40 is a loser, or whatever she said that makes Scottish bus-takers and bicyclists so mad. I suppose these label-reading women might be trying to separate the men who have embraced what they think is adult life from the men who are content to coast through life as perpetual teenagers. And young men starting off in their careers tend to buy shiny toys like cars, watches and handsome overcoats. So I can well imagine a woman scanning a man trying to impress her in a bar and thinking "So where are your shiny toys, then?"

But, yes, I admit there are women who are looking for walking cash machines, although I don't think I know any personally. And I know a lot of single women. These are women who go to church. They have jobs. They don't usually go to bars, and if they do, they are surrounded by female friends. Most have put in a lot of time and work to get degrees or certification, and those who think they won't work after marriage think this will be because they have babies to tend. They have been told since they were old enough to grasp the concept that women SHOULD work outside the home, and that women SHOULD earn money, and it is actually very difficult for many contemporary educated women to grasp the concept that--as Saint Edith Stein wrote--women shouldn't HAVE to work outside the home. ("Family wage? Whaaaa-?") These are good women who are interested in men for themselves, not for their money.

In short, as long as a man has work, work he likes, or a job he doesn't like but he's willing to work at it until he can get work he likes better, then as far as money goes, he is marriage material. He is marriage material because getting and keeping a job, or working for himself, shows character,maturity and interest in life.

Conversely, a guy who sits around all day, not working, not studying, not doing something constructive (think the Hugh Grant character in About a Boy), is NOT marriage material, no matter how big his trust fund or personal wealth. But I suppose he will not go wanting for female companionship because he can always go and flash his watch at girls in bars, hopefully attracting only the ones he deserves.

As a favour to our brothers/spiritual spouses/co-creators of the future of the world, would you kindly write in the combox exactly WHAT it is you hope the right one will add to your life (if you do)? Anonymous comments will be, as usual, deleted.

Aktualizacja : To jest najnowszy wywiad ze mną: "Single nigdy nie są samotni".

My favorite diy ever!

Monday, April 23, 2012
An up-cycle experience...
      This has to be one of my fav diy projects I have ever done. Turning an old dresser from my old apartment, into a gorgeous, mirrored dresser. The gorgeous mirror-front dressers, tables, etc. that we all oogle at cost anywhere from $500-$10,000 and my heart reaches out to them. I love them.  I want 500 of them so when guests enter my house they feel like they are in one of those fun houses on the boardwalk.

   So, when I was looking at them in a store one day, it hit me. "I bet I could make this!"- elle said out loud!  What an amazing idea this would be...and I had just the piece of furniture at home experiment on. It was a dresser from Ikea from my 1st apartment. It has been moved from that apartment, to a storage unit, to our current house so it is beat up anyway,  perfect excuse. I covered the front in fabric to match the room, but it was time to transform this bad boy. If it didn't work, hey I could always scuff up the paint and make it look like a white washed masterpiece.

    My husband, who now closes his eyes, laughs, and says " Ok...I trust you" whenever I re-paint or do any diy project to the house (which is often), was working late that night. So, I emptied out the dresser and gathered my supplies that I bought that week for the project. 

·                     White Paint. I use Benjamin Moore Paint for everything in our house! Great quality & most 
                importantly it is Eco-friendly.
·                     Mirrors cut to size. I asked the dudes in the red vests at Lowes to cut me 3 mirrors: 3ft long/ 11 
                inches wide. Happy to help! Be sure to measure exact before going and not guess!
·                     Glue. I use Liquid Nails for a couple reasons. One, its eco friendly. And two, I could glue myself 
                to the wall and not fall!  Strong stuff!
·                     Ah-dorable drawer hardware!
·                     Drop cloth
·                     Paint brush

·                     Clean dresser with wash cloth and made sure it was dry.
·                     Removed hardware
·                     Painted a few coats of white paint. Let dry in between.
·                     Laid on back and glued on mirrors.
·                     Glued on adorable clear crystal knobs.

*Waited about 8 hours to stand back up.

Now, let's go make 499 more!!

J.Major's ~ Claire Pettibone Trunk Show

Don't miss the Claire Pettibone trunk show at J.Major's in Charlotte, NC May 4th and 5th. It's an amazing opportunity to see these gorgeous dresses! For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the J.Major's website or call 704.372.0082.

J. Major's
Claire Pettibone Trunk Show
May 4th-5th, 2012
2400 Park Rd. Suite G
Charlotte, NC 28203

What I Would Tell Men If They Asked

Women are busily signing up for the Majowka dla Kobiet (May retreat for women), as I boastfully informed a young Polish man yesterday. He seemed vaguely impressed, as I meant him to be.

“Are there going to be any men there?” he asked.

“Noooooooo,” I said. “Well, the priest.”

Then I went into a small lecture on how men and women are totally different and approach single life in different ways and have different responsibilities in courtship, and therefore not very much of my advice applies to men, exactly.

Then a Scotsman volunteered that he had found a very funny “How to” video on Spotify on how to win women, and he should look it up again.

One piece of amusing advice was to stare into a woman’s eyes while talking to her and never look anywhere else. This struck me as unwise, although in light of day, there is something to be said for showing paying strict attention to what a woman is saying. I, for one, am always flattered when I feel eyes, light or dark, boring into me when I am holding forth on some speech or other. Even if the stare is aggressive, which sadly it so often is, I feel flattered.

“But it’s so easy for men,” I wailed.

Both Pole and Scot looked as though they might disagree with this remark. However, lots of things are much, much easier for men than for women, like gaining muscle mass. The fact that more men aren’t in the gym busily building muscle mass used to drive me crazy in my sporty days when I was building muscle mass myself. It seemed like a waste of the gift of testosterone.

So having declared that courtship is so easy for men, I should elucidate. I will elucidate because there are lots of excellent guys going around thinking it is SO HARD to court women, when legions of women are complaining that there are no excellent guys left. Part of the problem, by the way, is that the excellent guys do not know that they are excellent guys. They had absolutely no luck with girls when they were 15, tiny and pimpled, and so they assume they will have no luck with girls even now when they are 30, tall (or taller) and as beautiful as the day.

What such men should do is talk to a happily married female pal and ask, “Do you think girls would like to go out with me?” She will either say, “A really special woman would appreciate your gifts”—which means you are a niche interest (and so many of us are)—or “Of course they would, you IDIOT!”—which is encouraging.

Okay, so having said that, I will tell you how I think men can court women. Keep in mind that this is advice for men, not for women, and this is a blog for women, so men probably won’t read it. However, I think it is worthwhile putting out on the blog so you girls can correct me where you think I am wrong, and we can take the assembled knowledge to our male friends when/if they humbly ask us what we think.

1. If you are male, Single and REALLY are tired of being Single and would prefer a noisier life of constantly having to get along with a woman, then you are going to have to go out and find your own woman. Don’t assume she will come up to you. That’s not her job.

2. To find your own woman, you have to go where women are. This is generally easy because women are just about everywhere these days, including the guesthouses of monasteries. By the way, if you are an acting-out priest or monk stop reading now. I’m not going to be complicit in your psychodramas.

3. Ask yourself the follow questions: “Who do I know is really pretty?”* “Who do I think is really nice?” If you can think of a girl whose name could appear under both headings, call her up on the phone and say, “Hey, [pretty and nice girl], I wonder if you would have tea with me at the [elegant] hotel on Saturday afternoon.”
Hotel teas are very classy and comfortable and generally free of the sexual associations of “a drink” and “dinner” and the job-interview quality of “coffee.”

4. Do not be completely alarmed if she blurts “Just as friends, right?” Despite what you have heard, many pretty, nice girls have a thick streak of awkward and are so shocked at the fact that they/we are being asked out on a Real Date that their/our brains seize up and they/we say the first thing that comes to mind. Also, our reptile brains hear “Tea with me?” and register “Marry me?” and so of course scream “Eeek! Viking rapist! Oh nooooooo! ”

So if the nice and pretty girl says, “Just as friends, right?” say, “Well, of course. But I will be paying all the same.” Fight for the right to pay. Point out it was your idea.

5. Have the lovely tea and then pay. Enjoy sitting in an elegant room with a nice and pretty girl for its own sake. It is one of the joys of bachelor living. Once you are married you no longer have a choice of girls; you can take only your wife to elegant teas or you will be in serious trouble.

6. Call the pretty, nice girl two days later and say, “I was wondering if you would come with me to X.” I don’t know what X is. X could be dinner at a specific restaurant. Or it could be to the opera. Or to a jazz bar. You’re paying, so you choose. If she really enjoyed the last date, she will say yes, and if she didn’t, she will probably say she is busy. Say you’re sorry about that, wait for two weeks, and if she doesn’t text you or call you or make an excuse to talk to you in her panic that she might have discouraged you, think of another nice, pretty girl to ask out for tea. Enjoy the fact that you can still go out to tea with a VARIETY of girls, because once you’re married…. Forget it.

7. If whichever pretty, nice girl starts telling you all kinds of personal stuff, this is a very good sign. If, however, it is about her ex-boyfriend, this is a bad sign, and it would be a good idea to tell her that you don’t want to hear about other men. This will help to keep you out of the Friendzone.

Girl (to friend on phone): And then he said, “I don’t want to hear about other men.”
Friend: Ooooooh. Respect.
Girl: Do you think so? I was kind of mad, actually.
Friend: No, it means he really likes you.
Girl: Really?
Friend: Yes.

By the way, be nice to any of her friends you meet, to the extent of buying their coffees when you are all out together, because she will be discussing you with her friends, and you will want them on your side.

8. Now, if you are lucky, one of the pretty, nice girls you’ve been taking to tea will start to show how much she likes you by emailing, texting, etc. Do not answer such messages right away. For some reason I have never been able to fathom, this makes women like men more. Maybe it is because we spend a lot of time wondering when you will text/email back and if we made asses of ourselves writing in the first place. I am sorry to say it, but it is true. And men who are too quick to answer emails and texts make women like them less, possibly because there is no suspense. This does not apply to married couples, however. Married men should get back to their wives ASAP or there will be trouble.

9. In general, don’t bring up the subject of commitment for three months. After three months or maybe two, you could delicately inquire as to whether she has been going to tea, opera, jazz, etc., with any other man and, if so, would she kindly stop so you can tell your friends you have a girlfriend. And if she agrees, you have to think hard for the next nine months if you want to marry this girl. Before the year is up, either propose or break up. Don’t waste her life, capisce?

10. If a woman asks you out and you don’t think she is either particularly pretty or nice, don’t go out with her just because you are lonely. She will complicate your life. So just say No, you’re busy/No, your heart belongs to another. Yes, she will be mad. Tough. Pre-empt such women by asking out girls on your Pretty & Nice list. And don’t forget what I said about waiting at least 2 weeks between asking out THIS pretty & nice girl (and her saying “no, I’m busy”) and THAT pretty & nice girl and, if you can, you might want to think about alternating between groups of friends.

Yes, you will probably be shot down in your dating career. Big fat deal. There are men your age and younger taking actual bullets in Afghanistan, so don’t come crying to me. If you think you are called to marriage (and most men are) it is your job to get a wife, so go and get one.

And that would be my advice to any man who asked me. They tend not to, however.

*By the way, ladies, "pretty" is in the eye of the beholder. No man should marry a woman he doesn't think is pretty. Thankfully, men are a lot more open-minded than women about what "pretty" is. They don't read our bloody awful fashion magazines. Unfortunately, a lot do look at porn, which totally messes up them and their own unique sense of "pretty", but that is not a problem I can solve.

happy earth day

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jelly Bean Bikes

The Grind

Saturday, April 21, 2012
The Grind went well today.  We had hard core racers and we had people smiling and laughing taking their lap around the mountain.  With this year's snow conditions we had to modify the race division course a bit, but it seemed to work.  I think we needed to make it harder for those guys.  Thanks to all the competitors, volunteers, and staff that made it happen.  All and all a very fun event and a very fun day.