Sunday, April 25, 2010


This week, I have been on a mission to find an engraver--a hand engraver for a very special gift. Do you know how hard it is to find one? Of course, I had a wonderful hand engraver in the DC area that did work for the White House, so I was all set back there. He was wonderful. Here? I went through three in person or by phone, all machine engravers, before I was finally given the name of one Joseph S. Rosa in Nashville.

I found Mr. Rosa and his wife tucked away in an older building way off the road in Nashville. Up the stairs, down the end of the hall, right and then another right. Likened it to an old dentist office.

There I found this gentle man, thin and tanned. Sweet and precious. We talked about the tiny piece I needed done and my fascination of the art got the best of me, as it always does. I know it's a lost art. And I was talking to he and his wife about how wonderful it was to find them and how fascinated I am with the process, Mr. Rosa brought out a framed piece that his grandfather had done, sort of an engraving "final exam" if you will. How brilliant. Dating back to horology school in Philadelphia, dated 1902. Horology? Clock-making. His grandfather, Richard Rosa, came over from Italy. This was his livelihood. And, as in those days, his talent was passed on to his son and then on to the next generation, "my" Joseph Rosa.

Here is a piece that Joseph uses to practice on. Absolutely beautiful. There is no comparison between hand work and machine. Ever.

What a lovely couple. Through our conversation, I found out that Mr. Rosa has a terminal disease and is winding down yet enjoying life. He told me that just the other night, he and his wife couldn't sleep. "At midnight, as we lay in bed, I said, 'wouldn't an ice cream float be wonderful right about now?" He continued, "My wife got up, made us both a root beer float and we proceeded to eat them in bed, at midnight!" Mrs. Rosa piped in, "Ten years ago, we would have never done such a thing. Why? Life is short, enjoy it." Sniffle. Yes it is.


While I was in Fairhope a week or so back, I walked into a shop, looking for a specific piece to put on the front screened porch--a small door knocker, to be exact. As I walked in, the clerk was talking with a gentleman. The conversation was political, and I could tell by the gent's dress that he was European. He had a great camera criss-crossing his chest which of course caught my eye straight away. Well, being in the deep south, you know the conversation wasn't what I wanted to hear politically, so I was quite annoyed with overhearing the nonsense. But of course, as I put my find on the counter, she began to introduce me to this gentleman, Jacko, a professional photographer from Bulgaria. She was as sweet as could be and even apologized if she had offended me in her talk. I told her it was all fine, "We're in America--we can agree to disagree." One thing always leads to another with me, as you know; and Jacko and I began a conversation about photography and the such. The clerk and I were suggesting areas he should go to photograph and I mentioned how the mail was delivered in Magnolia Springs--one of the last places in America where the mail is still delivered by boat. Jacko brought out the above photo to show me how the mail is still delivered in Bulgaria. Precious. Beautiful. Priceless.

Haha, of course I was dressed riversorry, old sandals, cropped jeans, an old white t-shirt (probably dirty), hair pulled back, frizzed and wildly tucked under an old baseball cap. How American. Blech. So, he wants to take my photograph. EW. He did the best with what he had. lol Found a beautiful white linen apron which he covered my front with, gave me a lovely vase to hold, removed my hat, my glasses and moved me to the front of the store where he began to shoot. Oh my. The people walking by were probably thinking "If SHE'S a model, I CAN BE ONE TOO!!!" How hilarious.

Please take a look at Jacko Vassilev's site. Amazing stuff. No photoshop here, my friends. Again, another lost art which we spoke of.

Serendipity. I feel fortunate meeting up with both of these two marvelous human beings full of talent and doing what they love most. Beautiful and touching. How lucky am I.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Riverside has a fresh new look. The riverfront never looked so good. Schweeeeet!

Gone are the days of drab fatigue green. Hello world!

Look at me and my cheeriness! Darlene's radish red door! Love it!

And how soothing is the front porch? Verrrry. Can't wait to get back and watch the world go by.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Need of April Showers

It's been dry since arriving back into Nashville. But I'm not letting that stop me. I filled the window boxes with some lobelia I had found in Fairhope. Seems very difficult to find up here. No photos because they look pitiful. I'll give 'em a couple of weeks to grow along with the double inpatients planted right next to them.

I did, however, take pictures of my trimmings. Who doesn't love lilac? They so remind me of working at USA TODAY and my friend and colleague bringing them in each spring. Big ol' bunches. The smell, intoxicating, even at work! (And so of course, I had to have them in my wedding bouquet! Who knew white lilac doesn't smell, as I've told you so many times!)

These have a special meaning too. They are from my childhood home.

My mom had collected a few saplings from Glebe Road and they thrived at our house. And now they are thriving here.

But, we still need some rain! I also cut some sweet lily-of-the-valley. I love the outline of a heart in this.

Can you scratch and sniff?
Wish you could.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Playing catch up here. Have so much to share, but I need to go back to February first. This photo is from a little Catholic church in Bon Secour, AL. Mom wasn't Catholic but I love this shot.

On mom's birthday, February 16, I bought some pretty lilies and tied them to a palm from the yard and let them float down river in memory of her. Of course, when I tossed the bouquet in, the flowers went face down. I had to giggle. That's what mom would have done, probably with a choice word or two. I sat and watched them float until they were out of sight.

Miss her so much.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I believe this is the first time I have actually enjoyed and appreciated this little river house called Riverside. It's probably one of my longest stays here. Bonus that the boys are here with me this week and we celebrated the hub's 52nd birthday on the first of April. April Fool's baby.

The hub and I wandered over to Julwin's for breakfast one morning. Thought of you the entire time, Vallen.

Yes, we were gluttons. The only way to be in the south. Look at all the butter! lol

We have been chilling on the dock, watching the world go round.

The hub and I into some really fascinating conversation on the demise of the Great Lakes in the next thousands of years. No, he's not singing YMCA.

On Tuesday, I finally got around to painting the main bathroom! So happy to go from this . . .

to this. Twinkle.

As in Twinkle twinkle little star. Or, if you've had a couple of margarita's--tinkle tinkle.

The exterior painting is coming along. It is looking so pretty. Even Frankie approves. Bella? She hasn't been able to get out of the bedroom due to the cat-eating dog. Oy.

Today, we have a wonderful lazy day to look forward to.

Life is gud to all, except Bella.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter 2010

We were invited to have dinner with Dean, Darlene, and some of their friends on Sunday; and it was absolutely the best of times.

First of all Dean is one of the best cooks ever (and Darlene too for that matter), but their home is so perfectly wonderful. It is full of whimsy and happiness inside and out due to Darlene's absolute charm. Here is their river front. It's amazing how different their part of the river is so different than ours.

Love her bottle tree.

And the old boat hull covered in azaleas.

The meal was fit for a king. Leg of lamb, asparagus, deviled eggs, roasted new potatoes, tomato pie, couscous and squash.

The desserts were delish as well.

OMG'arsh. I, with the assistance of the kid and hub, FINALLY found the strawberry farm that had been eluding me earlier in the week. Look at these babies!!! They taste as good, if not better, than they look.

I took a batch over, some dipped in chocolate, and whipped some cream. Not that they needed anything, mind you! Oh my.

The day ended feeding the local turtles. This one posed for quite a bit until I got just the right shot. How sweet.

It was the best day ever. Thank you so much D&D for the perfect Easter celebration.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beautiful Dawling

(Wednesday) Today was the most beautiful day ever. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, a perfect 78˚ƒ and no humidity what-so-ever. The wisteria is just about ready to explode!

I did a little running around town and found a new antique shop. Don't ya love small-town America? I do.

Darlene was commissioned to make a sign for a new business in Magnolia Springs. She does absolutely beautiful work. Here, her and Linda (her partner in crime) are preparing to load the sign into the car and deliver it! Woooooot.

Let's see, I was on a mission to find this strawberry farm between Foley and Magnolia Springs. Did I find it? Nope. Memory challenged, for sure. But I did stop by Tin Top in Bon Secour and got me a 1/4 muffeletta to enjoy for dinner, with a side of their delicious lima beans with andouille. Yum. As good, if not better than the original at Central Grocery in New Orleans.

Best limas around!

I shot this of the house as I was pulling out. Half pretty yellow, half dull green. The yellow is beautiful! Can't wait to get the door painted and the awning back up.

Speaking of which, I took it apart (with a lot of work) and took it to one of those do-it-yourself car washes. It looks so much better getting all that pollen off. Achew!

Our azaleas are just about ready to pop too.

The hub and kid arrived Friday night! Yay. Life is gud.

Happy Easter!

Happy Birthday

To the hub.




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