From the Kitchen Counter…

Home Design, Travel, Vintage, Antiques, Flea Markets, Home Renovation, Crockery and Dishes of any sort–writing, wandering and wondering…. I write about them all.

Deb and Di’s Fabulous, Frenzied, French, “Non we’re not sisters…” Tour Part II

View From Saint-Michel:

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Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (unfortunately back into my daily routine, all too soon)

We landed in Paris on Sunday afternoon – the two of us hauling roller bags,  bulging carry-ons and every electrical hair appliance ever invented. Between us we had to buy 2 electrical conversion kits and borrow several converter plugs just to accommodate our morning blonde ritual.  Never mind, land we did, prepared to take the city by storm.  Our strategy was to hit DSCN3475the ground running… no naps, not even 20 winks. Dump the bags in the hotel, grab a double espresso and keep moving to fend off the jet lag or we knew we’d be toast. For the most part, we were successful.  We checked in, scoped out the electrical sockets in the room, (we all have our priorities) and within an hour of arrival were strolling along St. Germaine in search of some much needed caffeine.  Read the rest of this entry »


Deb and Di’s Fabulous, Frenzied, French “Non, we’re not sisters…” Tour

View From the Left Bank (Paris):



Mood Reading:  ZZZ’s (have been sleeping okay considering it’s been a week–but I’m still experiencing occasional wakefulness at 2 am.  I’m hoping the added pounds aren’t as stubborn as the jet lag!)

*Note: This is the first in what could be several installments.  

I promise it won’t be your dry, average, Fodor-esque travel log – Rick Steve has seemingly cornered that market in Biblical proportions. But what his thoroughly researched travel guide lacks, we have made up for via this uniquely ‘blonde’ IMG_5190perspective of two otherwise demure (ahem) middle aged females blazing the continent with hairdryers, curling irons, an extensive array of requisite electrical converters, roller bags the weight of VW bugs,  carry-on’s the size of a small ottomans, and every cosmetic and beauty potion known to man in tow. If IMG_5189you’re looking for the no fuss, wash and wear, low maintenance guide to international travel, you’re definitely on the wrong page. This is the mega watt, hair vs humidity, “of-course-we-can-cram-it-all-in you-can-sleep-when-you’re-dead” version of FRANCE ON 100 EUROS A DAY (as long as we can hit the ATM 3 more times before sundown and the bank doesn’t freeze our account….) Read the rest of this entry »

Dinner Guests Are Welcome — Unless They Want Me As The First Course!

View From the Dining Room:

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Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (Slept much better than I did on Wednesday night!)

We’ve all had them — the unexpected visitor that suddenly appears just as you’re getting ready to prepare dinner, and seemingly wants to hang around.  My unwanted guest was all the moreimages-3 unwelcome (and creepy) when I realized he’d been silently lurking around the house for some time, retreating into the shadows so I couldn’t see him.  When I finally did notice him,  he tried to skirt the confrontation but alas, it was unavoidable.  When he made his presence known in the middle of my dining room late last Wednesday afternoon, all hell broke loose… Read the rest of this entry »

Little Prince George Conquers the World…(even before arriving in it!)

View from St. Mary’s hospital steps in London:


Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’S (woke at 4 am and contemplated the world for all of 23 seconds.  That is the last thing I remember until waking again a 6:15.)

So bonnie Prince George hadn’t even been born yet much less named, when he’d already made quite an impressive little spectacle of himself. For days before his ratherimages-1 ceremonious world wide debut, the press — hailing from far and wide — camped out on the steps to St. Mary’s Lindo wing like eager tech hungry teenagers lining up for Apple’s latest i-something, days and in some cases weeks before the eagerly awaited, highly anticipated and ridiculously over-hyped inaugural royal appearance. What better marketing opportunity for salivating tabloids than that of the little royal bum being escorted into a celebrity crazed world via Internet, twitter, and god forbid, the Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve Discovered Victoria’s Little Secret – (and no wonder she’s not telling!)

View from the Models Runway:


Mood reading:  ZZZZ’s (slept great, but admit that self esteem took a bit of a hit when viewing photos to use in blog…)

Now that I’ve got everyone’s attention, let’s talk.  I mean, if you’re a regular visitor to this sight, we’re friends…right?  We can be candid, we can be totally frank, we can be…what’s that?  This is your first visit? You just saw the above picture on my facebook link and had to click on it? (If you’re one of my male pole-vaulting fb buddies, you may be disappointed to learn that I’m not discussing a 510m/14.5 flex, but a 98 pound 42-DD instead.  Sorry to disappoint…wait, what? Well aren’t you nice, thanks for staying tuned, I know you’re sacraficing precious training time) Anyway, as I was saying, I feel I know you well enough to have an honest, intimate discussion and would appreciate some discretion and sensitivity here.

(And lest you be confused, no, that is not me in the above photo.  I know, a mistake anyone could make.) Read the rest of this entry »

When the Greatest Gifts in Life are the Unexpected Ones…a daughter in-law’s tribute.

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 Heather Chappell July 15, 1923 – May 30, 2013

Just 6 weeks before her 91st birthday, my mother in law succumbed last week to the disease she’d been fighting for several months.  It was with great sadness and sense of defeat that we watched as her fighting brave spirit was ground down by the only persistent foe with the stamina to keep up with and finally beat her – cancer.  She was a formidable woman; smart, quick witted, extremely energetic and determined.  She fought her disease the way she lived her life: with determined conviction, a strong sense of direction, and a stubborn streak as wide as the English Channel.  She had a feisty but charming personality that sometimes overshadowed her more caring Read the rest of this entry »

When Petunias Score Higher Ratings than CNN…

View from the basket at Home Depot:


Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (slept pretty well after gardening all day and staying up past my normal bedtime to watch the finale of “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS)

Okay, Okay! I know it’s been weeks since I posted my last blog and I am thrilled several of you have apparently noticed and told me so. I owe you an explanation – and I wish I had a good reason.  But I don’t.  The truth is…I have several.  For anyone following this space regularly, you know (or have figured out) that I’m normally a somewhat chirpy, sarcastic, sometimes witty (if it’s a good day,) mostly upbeat person with a wise ass streak that matches my girth. Several things contribute to what I like to call my “sassy” mood…namely the amount of sleep I’ve had the night before, morning caffeine, evening Sauvignon Blanc, or the reverse of those if it’s been a particularly rough week. Read the rest of this entry »

When You’re Not as Thick Skinned as You Think.

View from the dermatologist office…

Day Before:  Photo on 4-8-13 at 4.11 PM #3                     

Directly After:           


Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (slept okay last night considering)

I am going to take a moment here to whine (not wine, that comes later) about the minor surgery I had to remove skin cancer from my face yesterday.  For anyone raised in imagesSouthern California, with a passion for outdoor activities, or who was an enthusiastic former sun worshipper replete with baby oil, iodine and a reckless disregard for your mother’s overwrought nagging about same, you know what I’m talking about. My sister and I have often lamented the fact that just about all the things our mother warned us about which we thought at the time were alarmist, exaggerated and totally nonsensical, have without exception come true. Every thing from our own inevitable skin cancers, god-awful insect borne illnesses (can you say West Nile or Lyme Disease?), to the nations big banks going bust and if you believe the Republicans, the communists taking over the country – mom predicted it way back in the ‘60’s. Read the rest of this entry »

The Long (but not) Board Races.

View From the Longboard Races Johnsville, CA:

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Mood Reading:  ZZZ’s (had to get up early to meet tax accountant this morning UGH! —Not my idea of a proper reason to meet the sunrise.)

We took advantage of Spring while it popped it’s perky little head in briefly over two glorious days last weekend.  It has since gone back into hiding but nevermind, we managed to get most of the photo copy 4winter cleanup at the cabin done in all of one day and paid the requisite king’s ransom in Advil and aching (belly and otherwise.)  But on Sunday, sore as I was, I dragged my sorry backside out of bed to the smell of coffee and the promise of a day out at the unique and somewhat quirky annual Longboard Races up in Johnsville, located just a few miles up the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Is In The Air – (and it put me on my butt!)

View from the road in Johnsville, CA  (Mt. Elwell):

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Mood Reading:  ZZ’s (Too much caffeine yesterday – at 3 a.m. I was wide awake and worrying over everything from sequestration and the national debt to the dog’s vet appointment and the right fabric to choose for the spare bedroom window treatments!)

Spring decided to tease again this past weekend by showing up early – then skipped out on the job as quickly as it arrived — there is snow in the forecast this week but the hubby and I took advantage of the earlier warm temps and high tailed it up to the cabin for some much needed photo copy 4(ahem) R and R, which turned out to be anything but.  Got up Saturday morning to sunny clear skies, a mild 60ish degrees and a boisterous boxer begging for a walk that was happily obliged.  We set out on what is affectionately called the big loop – taking the back roads into one side of town, CIMG0942 10-01-52down by the old green bridge and back home through the other side of town, all together about a 2 to 3.5 mile trek depending on which one of us you ask.  (I being the storyteller in the family, usually opt for the more “interesting” version and live by the adage “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” ) Accordingly, it was a grueling 7 mile slog but we managed to make it back in one piece, despite the black bear attack and the mountain lion outrun along the way. Read the rest of this entry »