Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation


We are just back from vacation. We traveled to Mr. Blandings's family's home in Colorado. The house, as near as we can tell, welcomed it first visitors ninety-eight years ago next month.


The boys love it there. We hike almost everyday and our middle son appears to be part mountain goat. The oldest, tentative as oldests tend to be, is more likely to stop and evaluate the best way to get around a prickly bush while his brother never pauses and comes back happily covered with bruises and scratches, badges of honor of a day well spent.

The house is beloved by Blandings. Well, the house is beloved by Blandings with a genetic link. I think I do a fine job of stiff upper lip but Mr. Blandings rarely lets a day go by without mentioning to some stranger that I would rather be somewhere else.

This is not exactly true. I love being there with my family, immediate and extended, and there are many things about the house that I think are pretty terrific.


The house holds remnants of a former matriarch whom I never met. I think we might have had a thing or two in common.



It was here that I first saw this pottery with this combination of brown and turquoise glaze. There are a few pieces in the house, none marked, but I stumbled into an antique store close by which had a pitcher marked "Redwing" and a collection was born.


We are just up the hill from a wonderful Rock Shop. It sits just at the base of the Pike's Peak Highway and contains treasures galore. Mr. Blandings said they never went there, though it has been open since the 30's; his grandmother called it the "gyp shop." But his oldest sister says she and her cousin went there, though it might be "better" now. She may be being kind as I adore the Rock Shop and extol its wonders to all who will listen.


The boys are completely on-board and agonize over the selection of geodes and crystals. As the world is typically unjust my Rock Shop budget is bigger than theirs. And I tend to go back. This time I picked up a malachite box and a silver spider.


The spider is a pin, but she is going to live on a table in the office. The woman who wrapped her up for me told me that spiders are strong symbols in Native American cultures and one myth credits the spider with creating the alphabet. That seemed fitting.


So, we hiked, we shopped, we ate and the boys planned a project. This was the first time in several years that Mr. Blandings and his sisters were in the house at the same time. After participating in a similar project earlier this summer the boys thought it would be fun for all of us to make tie-dyed shirts.


Just to give you a sense of the audience, other than the boys, I am the most likely to wear a tie-dyed shirt. I like them. I will wear mine. The boys will wear theirs. The others were incredibly good sports. We all thought our shirts were headed for disaster about half way through the dying. Mr. Blandings was convinced his would be solid brown.

But after the rubber bands came off and they were rinsed each shirt was as personal and distinct as its creator.


And, on this vacation, I decided to give Ernest Hemingway another try.


Hemingway and I go way back and For Whom the Bell Tolls has waited on the shelf since I was in high school. I am pretty sure I never made further than the first thirty pages or so. I like Fitzgerald and had sort of figured it was a Ginger or Mary Ann situation and it just wasn't meant to be with me and Papa.


This year I was determined. I guess it thought it was going to be about the glory of war with this little romance on the side and I'd prejudiced myself against the story before I started. I've been stunned by my ignorance so many times by this point that it no longer surprises me and sometimes pleases me.


I have a history of taking on wildly inappropriate vacation novels; I read The Prince of Tides on my honeymoon. This book. This book is still tumbling around in my head and firmly embedded in my literary DNA. It might have helped that I could smell the pine needles as Robert Jordan was crunching them with his rope soled sandals.


So it was relaxing. It was as relaxing as a vacation with three small boys could be. My sister-in-law said at one point, "You are going to need a vacation after your vacation."


And I do. But I am not taking a vacation from the boys, I am taking a blogging vacation. This week will mark two years of writing Mrs. Blandings. I asked Mr. B right before we left, "Why am I doing this?" He replied, "Because you love it." Oh, right.


But in order to keep loving it I am going to take a little time off. A week. Maybe two. Mr. Blandings does not think I will make it two weeks and he is likely right. But I'm not fighting fascists here. It's just a little design blog. I'll be right back. You'll barely know I'm gone.

43 comments:

Alexis Ceule said...

Oooohhhh the jealousy is setting in. Nice photos.

Style Court said...

Well, you know I'm worried about withdrawal. But you deserve a break.

Totally enjoyed the vacation recap. Happy to hear about the return to the rock shop and glad to learn about the Redwing pottery connection. So Mrs. Blandings with those two tones!

Blushing hostess said...

You will be missed. Enjoy it!

Toad said...

Enjoy your recuperation, knowing full well you are missed, and that we'll be here when you return.

the NEO-traditionalist said...

Enjoy your time off. Though your posts will be dearly missed, you deserve it! Bon voyage!

Pigtown-Design said...

Noooooooo! No! NO!!!! Please come back. Pleeeeeeze!

But enjoy your time off!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Have a glorious time!
And for someone who read Prince of Tides on her honeymoon, you might be interest to know that Pat Conroy, just today, released his first big, fat, fiction book in 14 years!! It's called South of Broad, and although it sounds a bit like an unflattering exercise book, it is supposedly about Charleston.

little augury said...

Long live tie dye and Mrs. B! We will see you soon! Vacations certainly require recuperative time. little augury

David said...

Enjoy the break!

Dianne said...

Enjoy!

Emma Ladoux said...

Thanks for the vaca pics. But do please some back, as soon as you can. We will miss you so while you are on the blogging vacation. P.S. I loved The Prince of Tides, too.

eaesthete said...

Mrs. Blandings,

Isn't life just like this. You are leaving for a bit (deservedly so) and moments ago, I accidentally hit HOBAC in my sidebar of bookmarks and there was a post for today, dated August 11, 2009.

Serendipitous, perhaps. But there's a touchingly sweet quality to the ebb and flow of it all.

Enjoy!

Annie said...

Wishing you a lovely and relaxing break. Would love to see pics of your Rock Shop treasures...

Mrs. Blandings said...

Thank you all for your well wishes. Courtney knows this is a little harder than I thought; I'm emailing her images instead of posting them.

And eaesthete - will wonders never cease?! I happily found him back today as well. Maybe blog breaks are a good thing.

Oh, and, yes, Annie - first thing when I get back.

pve design said...

Breaks are good, even if you do love it, blogging can sort of be like a bit of good and evil, like smoking or any addiction.
My dear refers to it as "blogatina" - so perhaps we need a blog "patch" during the breaks to help with the blog withdrawals...the blog shakes and the sweats and the desire to "sneek."
I hope your break does you good. I for one, shall miss you, because, I am a Mrs.Blandings devote.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Enjoy your break. We were gone for two weeks and no computer did wonders for me!

Anonymous said...

Very cool Barwa lounge chairs on the patio.

mary said...

I love the photos and the story (I have a big space in my heart for geodes, rocks, fossils, etc.) Have a wonderful vacation (you will be missed) and please more stories of adventures with the boys and Mr. Blandings when you get back.

Reggie said...

So the burning question I have is, how did you do with Hemingway? I too am more of a Fitzgerald reader, and have never been able to enjoy a Hemingway book; I occasionally tell people that "The Old Man And The Sea" was the longest book I've ever read, at least it seemed so to me. Oh yes, Beatles vs Rolling Stones, too.

home before dark said...

So wise to take time off for yourself. Even things we love drain us and we need solitude...or it it shopping? If we shop alone, is it solitude? I think so! Glad you are coming to peace with Hemingway. I never had those issues. But I was reading it in the midst of the Viet Nam war. And by the way, I love the tie-dye Manifestos! Will love beads not be far behind?

Karena said...

You deserve a break, your sharing of experiences is such a gift to all of us. This post is wonderful! I wear tie die and a guy down at city market used to have wonderful pieces.By the way, Prince of Tides is embedded in me as well. I have Hemingway's a Movable Feast...have you read it? Will gladly pass it along to you!

mo-zy said...

Loved viewing *Mr Blandings* home. I can understand why the boys would & do love it. Just heavenly. Have a great vacation. Look forward to your next article...Upon your return

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Mrs. Blandings-

I grew up in Denver Colorado, and so much of your trip was what filled my childhood summers...Thank you for the trip down memory lane!
Enjoy your time away... you deserve it!
Best,
David

Gwennie said...

I can relate to the innappropriate reading material... in my case it was viewing material. I watched Godfather 1 and 2 will in labor with my second son. Not exactly maternal material. I just found you, so I'll look forward to your return.

kenju said...

You are the 4th blogger I've read this week who is taking a hiatus. Must be something in the air! Come back soon.

Brillante Home Decor said...

Enjoy your break, well deserved and we'll be all right here ready for your next post. Ciao.

tarheel said...

ooh, I don't like it when you take a break, but enjoy!

Greet said...

Mrs Blandings,
I'm pleased to learn to know your blog! Fantastic!
Thank you so much for your reactions on my blog!
Enjoy your holidays!

Greet from Belgian Pearls
xx

ks said...

there's so much familiarity in this post--i collect red wing pottery, and love that glaze--there is a gorgeous book on red wing, the only one with complete pictures, from about 12 yrs ago--you will find all the info there you need.
that table!! does it have a marble top? a swimming pool where i spent my childhood has those, they are over 50 yrs old, and i want to steal one all the time.
it sounds like a fantastically perfect vacation.
enjoy!

beachbungalow8 said...

go for it. Get recharged. we'll be here waiting.

Renovation Therapy said...

Loved this post, love the colorful t-shirts...insanely jealous of the pottery. Have a wonderful blogging vacation.

pve design said...

I thought I would just come back to tell you how much you are missed. After all it was you that said, a blog was not a like a monkey on your back. You inspire me each day to be better. A better blogger and looker of the details in this life.
Enjoy your rest, and darnit, come back
with ammo.!
pve

The Consummate Hostess said...

Great post, enjoy your trip!

Things That Inspire said...

Happy 2 years! You often write things that resonate with me so much...I too make a yearly trek to Colorado, although as soon as I arrive in the airport I feel a distinct sense of discomfort. I am not a Colorado person. It is an incredibly beautiful state in so many ways, but it is not me - I like the stiff upper lip description. I try, but my upper lip trembles at times.

My husband's family has deep ties to Colorado; my oldest daughter is 4th generation to attend a wonderful camp at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park. I am not sure if your boys do summer camps, but it sounds like one or all would adore this camp...email me if you want more information.

Enjoy your break! School starts here next week, so I will be posting less, driving more, getting into the routine again...the beginning of the school year is like New Year's to me, a fresh start.

MaryBeth said...

Hope you recharge your tanks and come back soon. MB

Anonymous said...

Mrs B.-if my calendar is correct today is your blogging anniversary. Congrats! Also, happy early bday! Fondly, pam

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

Love the bits and pieces of the Colorado house. And the scenery... wow. Rough and rugged is not really my thing either but it's so good to know it's out there. Makes the tight spots of cities and suburbs feel a little less so.

Anonymous said...

married in 1962 I chose those exact Red Wing Pottery dishes for my everyday dishes - and I had all the accessory pieces - many years and 3 children later, and taste having changed, I took all the remainders to a local charity having first looked up what they might be worth via ebay - hopefully they made some decent money - I used the big bean pot (without the lid) as a cookie jar for many years or for a fall centerpiece with tall yellow coneflower looking flowers but which were actually wild - so fund to see the R.W. pottery in your post.

Suzanne on St. Simons

KATIE said...

I love seeing your vaation pictures.It gives me courage to show mine (at some point)! And I am glad you are back....sort of....already!!

balsamfir said...

Have a good break, but definitely come back, please. I think the Colorado house looks wonderful, but family vacations are always hardest on moms.

s. said...

We'll miss you and your gracious ways, but look forward to your return after a well-deserved break.

Millie said...

Mr. B's ancestral vacation home is a star & so is he for saying such a sweet thing about your blogging life. The tie-dye t-shirt project is most befitting, as it's the 40th anniversary of Woodstock this month. I was 13 when I saw the movie & one of my most vivid memories was the huge sea of tie-dye cotton - totally breathtaking. Your boys are ever so cool & so is their Mum. Enjoy your bloggy break.
Millie ^_^

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Well deserved Mrs. B., breathe deeply.

"The Sun Also Rises" is an annual read for me. I like to read between the lines with Hemingway, too. A lot going on there.