Sunday, March 20, 2005

I Don't have to Iron the Napkins --- Really I Don't

I was brought up to set a nice table for guests. You used a white or off white tablecloth. You used the good china. You used the good silver. The tablecloth and napkins were ironed -- if not by the French Laundry then by Mom. The china sparkled. The silver was polished and touched up if there was any tarnish discovered when the table was set.

So a couple of times I've had friends over for dinner in the dining room. I used a washable tablecloth that didn't need ironing -- boy was that hard to do. Breaking all that training. I did use napkins which had been ironed. I did use the silver and polished it/touched it up. I did use the good china.

In the modern world time flies so fast I don't have time to spot, wash, partially dry, and then iron a tablecloth. It means I would need to find 3-4 hours of time that I wasn't focused on other things. Once in a blue moon I do the whole bit, but if I want to do more entertaining I need to give myself permission to do it less formally.

I can use the placemats and napkins that just get thrown in the washing machine and dryer -- and don't need to be ironed. I can use the kitchen table (a very nice redwood table) and have friends in the kitchen for dinner. I can use the kitchen china - which is very nice vintage Spode and not get out the Minton or the Lenox. I can use the nice stainless or the silverplate - I don't need to get out the sterling silver. I can use fun glassware and it doesn't need to match. I DO need to set a nice table and be a good hostess by making my friends comfortable (and of course well fed).

I am not less by doing it differently. Times change and "casual" is just fine. Boy is that a hard lesson.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Looking Beyond Yourself

I know it has been awhile since I've blogged on this board, but sometimes life just happens. Sometimes we let it happen to us and sometimes we make it happen. Sometimes we just go along for the ride and sometimes we fight the whole way. And sometime we lose our direction.

In short I was so busy doing I lost sight of what was important - just being! We only travel here once (maybe more, but I'm not counting on it) and we need to make it count. At the very least make it count for yourself. Then you can reach out and make a difference for others. I thought I made a difference for others and I probably did. But in the confusion that reigned after, I lost sight of me. I reacted without thought. I let others define me. No more!

A friend said she thought this would be a water shed year for me. Maybe so. I'm letting my hair go gray/white. I'm doing more to get myself in shape. I am doing projects I've wanted to do for awhile. But the funny thing, is the more I do for me the easier it is to share - it and myself. I find myself reaching out to others to draw them in and share the fun and knowledge. I find I can be kind (see prior post) and it is real. I still will have my own style, but it need not be as defiant. I will go my way and if other want to come along - wonderful. If not, as least I will have done what I feel the need to do.

That is the other thing. Listen to your feelings. When life happens to us we lose our way when we don't listen to that inner voice. Mine is saying have fun - be happy. And so I'll work toward that. I hope you will too.