Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Secret Passion

It all started about 40 years ago.  I saw some antique table linens in a store and I fell in love with them.

The lace, the embroidery, the linen quality just inflamed me.  I had to have these napkin!  Some of them were very fragile and almost looked like they would fall apart in my hand.  Oddly, they were stronger than they looked and I still have them to this day.

I not only have them, I use them.  And, I hand launder them and wrap them in special paper to keep them safe.

I had a dinner party several weeks ago that included my 20 year old grandson, Cyrus, and his lovely girlfriend, Alex.  Alex commented on how wonderful the table looked and I pointed out the 100 year old napkins to her.

She said "I'm afraid to use them!" and I told her that was nonsense.  As long as you launder them carefully, they should be fine, I assured her.  Further I told her if she should marry Cyrus, I would give her these precious napkins.  Both Alex and Cyrus choked when I made that comment.  Oh well, she's a nice girl.  He could do a lot worse!

My daughter Sheila, Cyrus's Mother, raised a napkin to her red lipsticked lips and patted gently while grinning her evil grin at me.  I considered putting arsenic in her soup, but thought better of it.  She is my only daughter, so I guess I'm obligated to keep her.

Now, I know that none of you think of me as Hannah Homemaker, and in most cases I'm not.  But there is something about these wonderful old linens that just thrills me.  I think I have about 100 napkins at this point and about 10 tablecloths, all of which are very old.

I find romance in thinking these things adorned the table of other people from a bygone era.  I can't help but daydream about what the people talked about while sitting at the dinner table in the old days.  What did they eat?  Did they take care to rid the fabric of stains?  Did some woman wrap a linen tablecloth with lace on it around her nude body and wander out into the field to meet her lover?  (Well, it's an idea, isn't it?  I can think of worse uses for a tablecloth!)

After use, I carefully soak the linens in very hot water and Restoration (a product to clean antique fabrics) leaving them to soak overnight.   I rinse the cloth in white vinegar and hot water using a wooden spoon to swish the material around.  I only launder the linens when it's nice weather and I can dry them on a table in the back yard, keeping them shaded to keep from over-bleaching the material.

I sprinkle them with distilled water and use a little "sizing" before I iron them.  Ironing these 12" X 12" or 13" X 13" squares of cloth is oddly relaxing to me.  I get in a rhythm and spend hours on the task generally while I watch something really fascinating on television (like "Jersey Shore", or "The Real Housewives").  There is something almost hypnotic about the experience.

The 60" by 120" or 130" tablecloths are another story.  Those big pieces of fabric are torture to iron, particularly when I have to iron the linen with a hot iron and the lace with a cool iron.  But I figure it's punishment for my many sins. It's sort of the Pagan's idea of confession and forgiveness.

And, as you all know, I can be a bad, bad girl.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Remains of the Day

It's been almost a month since my last post.  I've been asking myself "why?". 

The only answer I have is a goofy one.  I've had a sense of foreboding.  Isn't "foreboding" and fabulous and underused word.  It would be simpler to say I've been in a state of anxiety that I may have brought on myself.

I've been worried about North Korea.  I've been worried about this new Asiatic flu that kills everything and everyone it touches and has no cure.  I've been worried about my son going to the Boston Marathon and running.  I've been worried about going to the dentist.   I've been worried about Alex turning 50.  I've been worried about his birthday party and if I could make it wonderful.  I've been worried about climate change.  I've been worried about gun violence.  I've been in a state of "foreboding".

I've made the horrible decision to watch the news in a compulsive and detrimental to my mental health way.  Train wreck after train wreck and I could not look away.  I got hooked on this stuff and it left me speechless, (or at least wordless).

It's over now.

My son ran in the Boston Marathon.  He reached the finish line about 40 minutes before the bombs went off.  I'm glad he's fast.  I'm glad he and his wife Kate were in transit back to their hotel when the explosions went off.  Finally, I'm glad the investigation of this event has been fruitful and that there is one perpetrator  dead and one who will face charges.

The new flu is really nothing for me to worry about.  The press leaves me in a state of anxiety.  If it's not killer bees, it's killer sink holes.  If it's not raging terrorists, it's raging lunatics.  If it's not deadly tsunami's, it's deadly earthquakes or avalanches.

My husband's birthday party went beautifully.  We entertained family and friends and it was a beautiful day!  We had a gorgeous array of Persian food catered and plenty of flowers, beer and wine!  Alex got some lovely cards and gifts from our family and friends.  He was delighted!  Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

I will try to remember that the life we have is the only one that we can control.  And I will try to post about the life I have and stop being such a news junkie!