Wednesday, March 16, 2016


What looked like a dream, a wish in waiting, maybe not to come true for weeks, suddenly it's real: Spring has arrived with all its sweetness, birdsong, the warmth of sunshine, a gentle breeze in the air, longer evenings with just enough chill to crave a fire and all the tiny blossoms, making the season so desirable. 

My daffodils look ready to bloom in a fortnight, tiny bluebells cover the still dormant grass, and the squirrels chase each other up and down the trees.

My impatience has given way to a a calmer joy, a mood elevation I can only blame the season for. My heart is filled with optimism and I feel energy rising again. 
Today I met my dear friend, Deirdre Verne, a fellow writer and mother, a woman I admire for her accomplishments. My own dwarf against hers I feel. You can find her fabulous books here and everywhere books are sold. We talked shop and how to build a story line, how to come up with credible characters and how to make it all work. It is always incredibly invigorating to exchange ideas and to brainstorm about writing with her. For weeks now I have struggled with a particular issue, something I have carried around for decades and how to deal with this in my writing. It had come to a point where I felt it crippled my abilities to tell the story and she simply said, do not worry so much, just write it all down, there is much time to change it and you can always edit it out. How little does she know how it has freed me. After we parted my head was spinning with ideas. Perhaps it was the sun, sending her rays over my keyboard, perhaps it was my friend's easy attitude to something which had loomed over me for weeks, but since that moment the inner blockage has disappeared and after I came home I sat down to prep-write. I dropped everything and typed away notes and sentences, which I did not want to loose until I would have time to properly write. When the phone rung, I did not expect anything unusual. But it was my teenage son, asking me where I was. I had overlooked the time and had forgotten to pick him up from school. 
Thankfully it takes just a few minutes to get him and I was only ten minutes late. I laughed to myself, this had, as far as I can remember, never happened. 
Shall I put an automated reminder in your phone, my son asked me slyly, but not unfriendly when he stepped into the car. Please do so I answered smilingly and he did. Now, if I happen to become entrenched in writing, some friendly reminder will pull me out of my reverie and bring me back to reality.

And now, as I write this, I see outside my window the old Magnolia tree with its long pink blossoms, leafless still, but ready to bloom. I am ready too. How I love spring.

Friday, March 4, 2016

March fever

March is the month of each year, when I am the most impatient. I feel spring fever, a restlessness of my body and sometimes my mind too. I have to hold the rains tight and bring myself back to the now. I want spring to burst forward, I want the temperatures to rise, I crave fresh green and the stir of milder air and sunshine in pale turquoise skies. 

Nothing can sooth that feeling and looking outside this morning and facing a sprinkling of fresh snow and an icy blow upon getting our son to school.... makes me impatient right again. So what's a summer loving girl to do? I redecorate. 

Our mantle in spring colors

Recent shell finds in Cancun

My treasured collection of spring colored books and old Easter bunny decorations.

I can't deny my love for birds and nests.

Glass, wood and green in a quiet way say spring to me.

And of course tulips too.

Anyway, yesterday, after almost two months of waiting I received decorator and inspiring blogger friend Anna Spiro's lovely book, named aptly after her blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things

Anna Spiro's captivating book.

After a first quick glimpse, I brewed fresh tea and sat down to enjoy a good long read. Her decorating skills have been long familiar and I had met her a few years back in New York. She is as lovely in person as her blog suggests. But what moved me so much more in her colorful book was her vivid description of her background, her warm recalling and recognizing of the women in her family, her mother, her grandmothers and aunts. It's a familiar thing. I owe so much as well to my mother and grandmother. In a subtler way perhaps then Anna, but I fully understand her gratefulness to the line of inspiring women, who all influenced and guided her to finally finding her own decorator voice and style. Her color/pattern preferences and design philosophy largely mirror mine and I smile every time I see her images. What separates us are our different backgrounds, the places we grew up and the climate we lived in as children and adults. This of course has a profound impact and surely shapes our understanding and inclinations when it comes to hues and light and how we might love brightness in everything or adore subtle shades of decorating or dressing. 
Looking back to my mostly grey looking childhood in East Germany in the 60's and 70's, I still mostly remember the faded colors of the windswept Baltic seashore, bleached sand, sun and skies and the pine forests. 

The dark, slow flowing river Elbe in my hometown Dresden and the fields of rye and hops growing at the surrounding hills. Muted colors. And yet I think back and I have also clear images of my grandmother's garden, filled with roses and summer flowers and the colorful paintings I saw at Dresden's famed museums and galleries. There was always color in my imagination. My grandmother had a lively way of describing her own childhood and her memories of Dresden and its splendors before the Second World War have made them somehow mine too. Just like Anna's mom, my own mother has a gift for arranging and from my earliest childhood I remember the joys of seeing her decorating for the holidays or bringing flowers and plants into the apartments we lived in. My mother's family handed down blue and white Meissen porcelain, they too had a love for beautiful things and I have inherited this love. My parents had bought in the late 50's a gorgeous chippendale dining set, at a time when most young couples bought 60's modern. They still live with it and whenever I visit them I adore it. 
After all these years, the scent and luster of the glass fronted vitrine is still the same and this is true for the large buffet, which holds all my mother's china treasures. Needless to say my parents never bought anything else after that. I have a deep appreciation for loved and collected furniture, some well made and valuable and some just fun and fabulous, worth no more then the paint it's been updated with.

Southern charm: Charleston, NC

But there is something else. I believe we all have a time, era, style, a climate we are most comfortable with, something which only reveals itself after we have lived for a while and for me it has always been the pleasures that come with what I call 'Southern living'. My mother told me the summer I was born was particularly hot and I guess the heat in the autumn after my birth has blessed me with a desire for warmer climates. Evidently, growing up in East Germany was very different,  nothing at all compared to the charms of 'Southern living', but once I had left East Germany behind my fascination with the South of France and Italy dominated my travel interests. Now, after having lived in America for more then twenty years, I dream of living somewhere near the shores of South Carolina or Georgia. It is impossible not to have been shaped by the culture, colors and patterns of the South in my style preference, just like Anna Spiro's heritage and love for vibrant colors and a wild mix of patterns has left its mark. She would fit into a antebellum mansion or a house by the beach with a wraparound porch covered with bougainvilleas and a garden with life oak trees, covered in moss. 

I wonder when my life will present the chance to live there. Maybe when our youngest is out of school? Maybe when I 'retire'? LOL! 
I have no idea. But I dream nevertheless and just like so many impossible things, which have happened in my life, things I could have never imagined, so this dream might come true sooner then later.

For now it's March in New York, snow, sunshine, cold winds and mild air chase each other around every corner and only the arrival of the robins and grackles make me hopeful its only a few short weeks until spring is finally here.

Happy spring, y'all! 


All images my own.
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