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A ROSE IS A ROSE



















CATASTROPHE!






This new show by the same name on Amazon Prime is hilarious!  

Have you discovered yet the newest online Rom/Com sensation — “Catastrophe” starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney?  If not, you are missing some of the best "TV" out there.  These two also write the show.  I found out about it a couple of weeks ago on one of my favorite blogs VICTORIA ELIZABETH BARNES, written by a very funny lady of the same name who mostly writes about her never-ending  search for GFTs (Giant Fancy Things) on Craig’s List.  

At any rate, since she tickles my funny bone, I had a feeling if she thought the show was funny, then I would, too.  It is hysterical!  I binge-watched the first season, then waited impatiently for the next season which was about a week and a half away.  You could say I was kinda late to the party.

At any rate, I binge-watched the second series this weekend too, and Sweet Husband came in on one of the early episodes, and so he sat and watched the rest with me, laughing, too.  Each season is only six episodes of a little under 30 minutes, so it won’t take a lot of time to catch up.  I can't wait for the next go-round!

I have to warn youif you are a prude, you will probably find the show’s language and frank subject matter offensive to your delicate sensibilities.  If, however, you have lived awhile and been around the block a few times, you will probably just find it hysterically funny and more true to life than not.  Hint:  if you don’t want anyone to know you are watching it, just take your laptop and lock yourself in the bath.  Have a glass of wine, soak in some bubbles and giggle yourself silly.

The storyline of the show is what happens when an American businessman played by Rob Delaney visits London on business and hooks up with an Irish-born elementary school-teacher (Sharon Horgan) in a bar and they spend about a week together -- in bed.  He goes back to the States, and then she discovers she is pregnant.  He does the “right thing” — he comes back and gets a job in London, marries her, and they have the baby.  His mother is played by the unforgettable Carrie Fisher, so you already know it is going to be good.  

Season 2:  some time has passed, they are having another child, the first one being about three now, and her dad is showing signs of dementia.  Some of their friends are coming “uncoupled” and dealing with various other modern problems, but we see that these two are working hard to stay married.  You also see that they really love each other.  It is, shall we say, very real.

There is a lot of laughing — they laugh together, which I think is very important to staying married.  I mean, if we can’t laugh at our human foibles, we just won’t make it.  We will wind up in the nut house or divorce court if we can’t laugh at ourselves or with each other.  

I had never heard of either one of these actors, so I looked them up.  

Mr. Delaney is a comedian and a writer, and Ms. Horgan has also done a lot of writing and acting.  I really hope they don't wait too long for the next  series -- it's one of those you really want to know what happens to them next.  

Here are a couple of links I found when I started to write this post about it.  Since I began drafting, I have seen ads in a lot of magazines for the show, so I am guessing it is really a big hit.








STRIPPING THE KITCHEN TABLE




We have been a very busy pair for the last several days.  When there was finally a break in the rain, we decided to get the kitchen table stripped and the kitchen floor whitewashed again while the table was outside.  Sweet Husband was quite sure he could knock this out in a day.  I was skeptical, having refinished quite a few pieces on my own.



I gave him instructions since he had never done this before, then he got set up in the back yard and tackled the job.  Citristrip is my stripper of choice because it does not smell which was a good thing because we had to finish the project indoors after all.  
I checked on him periodically -- can’t resist the urge to supervise, you know -- he appeared to have a handle on it.  Six hours he worked, having to reapply the product every so often.  He worked the second day for three more hours.



You may remember that I acquired this table from an estate sale about a year ago, having left a bid on it, and I won it for $130 or so.  Empire style, it is a reproduction, and it contains no manufacturer stamp, although there was a tiny sticker on the underside which said Made in China.  Most of the furniture making got outsourced to China for some years, but it is re-emerging in our own country again.  I digress...  Therefore, I don’t think the piece is very old, slightly vintage at best, but it has good lines and it is nice and sturdy.  Most importantly, it fits our little space in the breakfast/lounge area.  This is about the 5th or 6th table we have tried in here, and the octagonal shape seems to work the best.  


The heavy distressing turned out to be a real bugaboo in the stripping process.  When Sweet Husband brought it back in at the end of the day, we turned the fan on it overnight to get the wood good and dry.  I knew it was going to need some fine-tuning before the tung oil went on.  


Sure enough, there was a lot of gunk still in grooves and all those man-made gouges.  I am pretty sure the top is veneer, but now you can actually see the design in the tabletop.  Before, the varnish was so heavily sprayed on at the factory that it was pretty well obliterated.  I did not want to paint this piece, although I guess it would have looked good that way, but I just wanted it down to the raw wood.  I knew if it was a mess or obviously several different kinds of wood, I could always paint.

It is NOT orange!

At any rate, I used a a tool I acquired long ago, which looks like a dental pick but it is meant for just this purpose.  I picked and scraped for a while, then tackled it again the next day.  Then Sweet Husband went over the whole thing in all the spots where it was now obvious that there was still that gunky varnish in the crevices and gouges.  


Finally it is clean.  I decided to let it acclimate, and then do a little fine-sanding here and there till it is smooth, at which point it will get some tung oil.  That may actually be a little while because there are other priorities.



While he was doing the table outside, I “Spring-cleaned” in the kitchen and gave the floor a fresh coat of whitewash.  This has to be done periodically to keep it looking like limestone the way I like it.  You may remember this is an ugly rough fake stone ceramic tile which the last homeowner put down herself, and in addition to being rough in texture, it is not level.  It is a ROYAL PAIN!  I hope to get it replaced one day, but there are other areas the flooring needs addressing first.  Life is always a priority list, isn’t it?


I think the table looks much better now, but unfortunately my photos are really not showing you the real color.  It is quite light in its bare state, which I really like, but I guess the wood really will need to be sealed at some point so it won’t split.


So there you have it -- the saga of our kitchen table redo.  Let me know in the comments how you like it.










































MERLE HAGGARD






I guess I am officially in mourning over this.  In fact, I think I might need to strap on my black arm band.  Merle Haggard has died today on his 79th birthday.  I was a major fan.  He was the unifying factor once upon a time between me and an impossible “boss,” a little twerp right out of law school, when I worked in what I lovingly refer to in hindsight as the “law factory” in Dallas in the last half of the 1980s.  We couldn't stand each other and had no other common ground, except we both loved Merle.


When Merle was young he was heart-stoppingly handsome, reminiscent of  a young Warren Beatty.  When he was old and wrinkled, he was still heart-stoppingly magnetic.  His voice retained most of the roundness, the vibrant timbre of his younger days -- the range, vibrato and richness of many years ago -- suggesting the mellow fullness of the taste of the very best old whiskey and wine which he was said to have enjoyed to the fullest.

He and Willie and Waylon and Kris -- they were the Outlaws of country music, along with Johnny Cash and Hank, Jr.   So many have tried to emulate his sound and his pathos, but he was the real deal.  He spent his childhood in a tricked-out railroad boxcar, having lost his father, a railroad worker who converted the boxcar into a home and who died when Merle was a young child.  He “turned 21 in prison” although “Mama tried.“

I can’t tell you how sad this makes me feel,  although I never saw him in concert, not that I am sure of, anyway.  Once long ago, I saw Willie Nelson in concert where Waylon and another guy came on stage and sang with him, but I don’t think it was Merle.  I am quite positive I would have remembered if it was Merle.  I think it was actually Jerry Jeff Walker, the guy who sang about trains.  I saw Willie again a few times over the years joined by other compadres, but I still cannot clearly recall if any one of them was Merle.  


At any rate, here are some links so you can make sure you can remember this legend known as The Mighty Merle.  He was deeply religious, although he finally arrived on his bended knees after great personal crises.  Married five times, including one marriage to the wife he stole from a friend, he was a magnet for women and men, too.  Men loved him because they wished that they had whatever it was that he had.  I had not realized he was not really so tall till I saw some photos of him standing along side other men.  Of course, Blake is taller than most guys...


http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2016/04/06/473260432/country-legend-merle-haggard-dies-at-79

http://www.biography.com/people/merle-haggard-9542118#imprisonment

"Think I'll just stay here and drink..."




A LITTLE ENGLISH WATERCOLOUR







Several weeks ago, I ran across an article on a blogpost  -- I forget whose -- about buying vintage art on Etsy.  I clicked over and got lost for a while.

She was right!  There are indeed infinite pieces for infinite tastes at all price points.  

I ran across this little piece and it just really spoke to me.  I loved the colors, I loved the subject matter, and I wanted to own it.  (I would love to own the house, but since that is not happening, I bought the art.)  Priced at $65 American money, I thought it was a reasonable price.  

It was painted around 1930 by someone who signed his work Roc or Rock, and the subject is a country house and gardens called Montecute, family name Phelips.  Ink and watercolor (or watercolour if you prefer), I thought it was just perfect for my breakfast nook area.  It came with the creme-color matte attached.  


I consulted my friend Terri, an artist and framer who lives in Texas, and she told me that the browning around the edges of the matte indicated acid damage.  She advised what to do, and so I took it to Michael’s where I have had various pieces framed over the years.  

Their resident expert told me exactly what Terri did, except that it seemed that the piece was completely glued together, the matte, the backing, and some brown paper behind that.  The paper also had the provenance written on it.  I wanted to preserve that, but they did not want to take responsibility for taking the piece apart, fearing to damage the watercolor paper itself.  

So, it was agreed that we would add a new acid-free matte on top, leaving only a small portion of the original matte showing plus the right glass which would also protect it.  There is also now acid free backing, nice and sturdy behind.  I provided the frame as my late father had once had a photograph framed in it, and it is a good one, solid wood.  It fit the painting perfectly.  I also thought the color of the frame enhanced the art.  The old glass had gotten stuck to the old photo which was so faded that it was indistinguishable.  I hope the new glass will prevent anything like that.

I chose this terracotta color matte because it picked up the roof tile color, and I thought it looked fantastic.  

the first attempt,
matte unevenly cut
I settled back to wait, and finally the call came -- it was ready.  Only one slight problem:  whoever cut the matte messed up.  There was not an equidistant area of the old matte showing -- it was very amateurish looking, and I wasn’t having it.  So I made them redo it.  Finally I got it back yesterday.  It looks like it should, now, and I am happy with it.

I found out that at this location, they do not do their own cutting of mattes, glass and frames.  Things are put together in their workroom, but not any of the actual cutting.  I do not know if this is true in all Michael’s stores, but the guy yesterday told me they do not have the space to do it.  I guess this snafu must have been a goof in measuring.  You’d think that a professional would never have sent it out looking like this, so I was a bit surprised that they tried to send it home with me the way it looked the first time.  


We hung it over the window in the breakfast nook lounge, and it works perfectly with our light fixture, the wall color and everything else.  I am a bit on the fence about it being up so high, but the husband likes it there.  I might live with it a while, then find a lower spot for it.  (You learn to pick your battles after 25 years!)

The total cost of the picture was about $85, the extra $20 being the shipping from England which I thought was quite reasonable.  The cost of the framing labor, glass and matte from Michael’s was $107.  For less than $200, I now have a nice piece of artwork that I am really crazy about to look at every day.

I would certainly recommend doing business with this dealer on Etsy.  She is located in the South of England, a bit west of London, and her name is Emily Taylor.  Here is a link to her page:

Shop Owner

Verwood, England, United Kingdom

















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