Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Occasionally, I do a weekend roundup for Coffee Jones (or she does one for me). We have such completely different lives: she's got two school-aged kids in a major metropolitan area, a full-time working husband, and her mother living with her. I'm childless, both Starman and I are pretty close to retired, and we live alone in a very rural part of Pennsylvania. Her weekends might involve a play date for one or both of the kids; mine might involve solving a cryptic crossword puzzle or two!

But, as we spent the weekend with the Joneses (mostly keeping up with them), I'll do the weekend roundup for you. There was family bridge (rubber bridge played with no goal other than having fun), computer bridge practice, some TV, some games with the kids, some games with the Joneses, and lots and lots of yummy food. Oh, and what's becoming almost an annual tradition: a trip to Newburyport, Massachusetts for Coffee J., Starman and me. This is a lovely seaport town that's good nice quirky shops and restaurants, an antiques mall called Oldies, and wonderful New England architecture.

Last year, the trip to Newburyport involved a conversation that changed CJ's life for the better; given how hard change can be, even for the better, this year we kept the topics real light! We got some good shopping done: the independent stationery shop had everything 50% off, so I was able to get absurdly overpriced Vera Wang place cards for the wedding reception, and something I think will do for wedding invitations, and a book by Angela Lansbury (?) on giving wedding toasts and speeches. Hey, at half-price, everything was only a little exorbitant!

We also bought a table at Oldie's for the Morning Room here (so called because its windows face east and south; in the afternoon, its robin's egg color scheme looks a bit cold and uninviting, but in the morning it's yummy). The Oldies table is handmade and pleasantly rustic -- it has a single slab of wood for the top (which isn't big -- maybe 18" x 24" ?) with nice breadboard edges. The table it replaced was bigger, but literally made of pressed cardboard; one corner of the top had started to delaminate to the point that you could strum the layers like a deck of playing cards! Hub 1.0 and I had bought it and two other tables for $15 from a sidewalk display in Philadelphia; they were to augment the meagre furnishings at my niece's college dorm suite. When she and her roommate graduated, two of the three pieces came back to us. We have been able to give one back, but the cardboard table mysteriously stayed here...

The interesting thing about this shopping experience was the negotiation between Starman and me about the table. I saw a beautiful rustic piece that's perfect for a 200+ year-old house. To me, the only drawback was the large knot on the table's surface. To Starman, the table lacked a cross-brace and therefore was potentially rickety. If it had to do anything other than hold magazines and a cup of tea, I'd worry, but it doesn't. Luckily, CJ was there to have an independent opinion. Clearly, she voted in favor of getting it, and her vote persuaded Starman. I'd have been fine if she'd persuaded me that it wasn't so special. I wasn't in love with it; I just liked it. And now that it's in place, I think Starman likes it too.

The thing I did regret not buying was an odd metal hoop, about four feet in diameter, that had two sturdy cross bars at the bottom to serve as feet. At the top of the hoop was a dangling hook, as if for a gong or bell or something. The hoop and its feet were painted fire engine red; the result was vaguely Asian. It would have looked great at CJ's house, which is mid-20th century modern. But we spotted it at the end of the tour of Oldies, and anyway, aesthetic touches like that are low down on the list of must-haves for that house, I gather. I had a teeny pang, though, when we got back to the house and I thought how perfect the red hoop would be just to the right of the door, where there's a bare stretch of wall and porch.

That observation may have been moot for CJ, whose purchase of powder blue Wellies (i.e., quintessential rain boots for the English garden/hunting/walking set) for the wedding was enough to put her in a VERY good mood for the rest of the evening. Color coordinated Wellies aren't a foreign concept at British weddings, we've learned. If everyone has appropriately rain-proof footgear, who cares if it rains? And, as CJ pointed out, having bought hers already, it won't rain for our April wedding! Now, I just have to find some in my size...

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