Valentine’s Day Haiku

I used to do a thing here I called “Haiku Thursday.” It was fun for a while, but I felt like maybe it got old. Then my muse took an extended vacation. But this week, two friends shared haiku on my Facebook page, and since it a holiday of sorts – and Thursday – I thought it would be appropriate to write my own haiku today.

My wish this Valentine’s Day is that we all may be the giver and the recipient of love, expressed in gestures both subtle and grand, today and every single day of the year.

 

 

O, the Cussedness of Winter

AS MENTIONED IN a recent post and in the eulogy my sister and I wrote, our mom put remarkable effort into hating everything about winter. Rosemary hated the cold and the dark. She hated snow and ice. She hated how the threat of bad weather might impact her ability to travel somewhere, so much so that she would start fretting a week in advance. If you said to her, “Yuck, it’s raining,” she would reply, with raised eyebrow, Yes, but you don’t have to shovel it.

Had Mom been engaged in leisure pursuits in Ft. Myers this week (where it is currently 65 degrees and cloudy, which means she’d have been padding around the condo in wool socks and a velour track suit), she would surely have been watching our weather and sending us emails and texts, calling us to ask if we were keeping warm, and did we plan on making soup or roasting a chicken.

Some years back, Mom had a new-agey past-life regression done, and while I don’t remember much about it, I do recall her saying something about how she had supposedly, in a previous life, been a young woman, trying to find her way through the dark woods. She said she had been cold to the bone, and was wearing a hooded cape. Or something like that. One wonders if the brain creates such constructs to help us process our intense emotions, but the possibility that she came by her hatred naturally seemed to satisfy her.

She offset this hatred somewhat with her love of the written word. She was a precise grammarian and a talented writer, and appreciated a clever turn of phrase. She was particularly proud of this poem, which she wrote and had copyrighted in 2009. It seems appropriate to share it here, given the Polar Vortex and subfreezing temperatures we’re having this week.

O, the Cussedness of Winter

Slipp’ry roads and frigid breezes,
heavy clothes and frequent sneezes,
cloudy days and longer nights
make me curse the frost that bites.

Three long months of winter’s blast
seem like six before they’re past.
Winter isn’t of my choosing
so I’ll have to turn to boozing

just to get me through the season
that deprives me of all reason
while I wait, with hope eternal,
for the equinox that’s vernal.

© 2009 Rosemary Beaver Fried

Those last two lines are just golden, aren’t they?? If you love it as much as I do, may I direct you to my sister’s Cafe Press shop, where you can have this gem printed on your choice of apparel, drinkware, a tote bag, and more. Makes a great gift for all those winter-hating people in your life.

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This one, I took through the back window of our house after a heavy, wet snow.

 

 

 

Before and after

IF YOU’VE GLANCED at Pinterest within the past couple of years, you may have noticed trend that involves chalk-painting old furniture to give it a fresh-yet-deliberately-distressed look. And if you’ve ventured down that particular rabbit hole, like I did, you may have learned that this stuff is not your mother’s paint. Mother used to strip and sand and varnish, in an area with adequate ventilation. But with chalk paint, there’s no need for that nonsense. It requires virtually no prep (no stripping, no primer, no all-over sanding), it dries fast, and it doesn’t stink.  They say you can even use it to paint right over upholstered fabric! And if you check out the paint manufacturers’ web pages, or search for blogs devoted to the rehabbing of furniture, you might become inspired to apply this magical substance to transform your own old, tired-looking pieces of furniture. Such as:

My mom refinished so much furniture in her day. She always had a project. The tall cabinet pictured above? She actually had that one custom-made to fit in the dining room, then painted it an antique blue… in the 1970s. “Antiquing” was a thing then. I’ve had it since 1995. The dark dresser above, she rescued from her brother’s barn and refinished, but I remember it exactly like that in my childhood bedroom, so it was way overdue for an update. The buffet and matching chest came from my grandma’s house in 2005, and I don’t know if they were ever refinished, because that’s exactly how I remember them looking when I was a kid.

So in 2017, when I got a wild hair to try out this chalk paint thing, naturally, I called my mom to get her thoughts. She was slightly skeptical of the paint’s many promises (“No sanding? Really??”), yet intrigued. I told her that my first project was to redo the blue hutch. Here’s how that ended up:

I used gray chalk paint with clear wax, spray-painted the hinges brushed nickel, and replaced the door pulls. I should have painted the shelves white, but I got lazy. The chalk paint completely covered the two knots that the antiquing could not.

I also told her that I wanted to repaint Grandma Sara’s dining room furniture. My vision for the dining room furniture was for the bottom parts to be a deep navy blue, but to keep the tops stained. She thought that sounded interesting. And a few weeks ago, I finally got around to it:

Two coats of Renaissance Chalk Paint in Black Indigo, one coat of Dover’s dark wax. On the top, I applied a couple of coats of Restor-a-finish,  and holy cow, that stuff is completely magical, too – it got rid of white water marks, without stripping or sanding! I had to repair a few areas with putty where the wood veneer was chipped, and re-glue some veneer. The hardware, I removed and sprayed with a coat of brushed-nickel Rustoleum.

Yesterday, buoyed by my success, I took on the dresser. I had been eyeing a taller version of this one from Ikea:

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“I wish I was the kind of person who had yellow furniture,” I said to Steve. He looked at me as if to say, who says you aren’t? Two coats of this golden chalk paint and a coat of dark wax later, I had this:

Oh, and the hardware! When said I was thinking of redoing this one, the first thing Mom said was, does it still have those hateful drawer pulls? YES!, I said.

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I have hated these pulls for literally my whole life. The nuts kept working their way off of the screws, and the handles would pop out of the holes and were inexplicably difficult to re-insert. So, I replaced the pulls with these. And if I said to you that this alone was life-changing, you might accuse me of hyperbole, but you would be so very wrong. I seriously don’t know why I didn’t do this decades ago.

Mom would have been pleased, I think, with the results. She was all about updating and repurposing furniture. The trend in her day was stripping and revarnishing. Now, it’s using chalk paint in classic colors or bold. Regardless, it’s nice to freshen up the decor and to have the satisfaction of having done it myself.

 

 

(I’m not being compensated by linking to products; just sharing to let you know what worked for me.)