Monday, January 11, 2010

New Things

As the years have marched on, Mr. Tide and I have decided that giving each other elaborate Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary gifts is not really necessary and certainly not very prudent with children going to college and renovations to be done. Even so, the gifts we do give one another are equally as wonderful and infinitely more meaningful because sometimes it's much harder to find something for $20, $50, or even $100, depending on the occasion that will stand the test of time and not be something that ends up on the donation pile the following year.

This past Christmas we settled on a budget of $100 for each of us and I think we did pretty well with our choices. He wanted some polo shirts and sweatshirts from the Navy's Test Pilot School, which he attended many years ago now...over 20 in how time pun intended! And I wasn't able to give him any ideas whatsoever.

I'm not very helpful when it comes to being the gift "recipient" I'm afraid. I love giving gifts and am adamant about searching for just the right thing for the person for which it's intended, but when asked what I want I become a wishy washy puddle of goo! This fact has not been lost on Mr. Tide over the last 24 years, and even my children have become acutely aware of this rather annoying trait of mine.

Sometimes I think it's because I like TOO many things and I just can't bear the idea of having to choose between so many wonderful things. Sometimes, I simply rationalize away the need for a particular item, saying that I don't really NEED it or I really should put that money toward something more useful instead of something frivolous.

Let's face it, my house is full of frivolous stuff, but is it really frivolous if we love and cherish it? Probably not, and my frivolity is inherited since my mother and father left their 4 children a houseful of crystal, silver and as my daughter would say "enough dishes to feed a third world country from". So I'm not really to blame am I? They did however also bless me with some measure of good sense and practicality which is actually a good thing, since Mr. Tide's standard answer when I'm out shopping and trying to decide if I want something is...BUY IT! He's practical in a "can we go eat now?" sort of way.

This past year I decided I would try to be more helpful to those around me about what I REALLY wanted for my birthday and Christmas, yes I only add to my family's delight by being a December baby. Though I fell short for my birthday, leaving everyone with little or no ideas, I am always delighted and surprised at how well they all know me and the wonderful things I end up with each year. They are always happy too that they can find something I will like, but then just a few weeks later it dawns on them that they've exhausted their one great gift idea on my birthday and now they are left flapping in the wind like a flag in a hurricane.

My father always believed that we should all buy our own presents throughout the year. He thought you should then wrap all of your own gifts and the big surprise would come from watching each person open up the gift "you" gave them to see what it was you bought! This was genius he thought, and his theory was that then everyone would get exactly what they wanted, and there would still be an element of surprise. As I'm getting older, I'm starting to see the merit in his way of thinking.

So this year, with only a few shopping days left before the big day I set out to do just that. I found the perfect mirror on Ebay. It was a bullseye refracting mirror I had admired from Williamsburg Marketplace nearly 5 or 6 years ago, but my practical side talked me out of it even when it was on clearance. I had kicked myself over the "one that got away" for all these years hoping they would magically carry it again. When I saw it on Ebay I could barely contain myself and woke Mr. Tide up at midnight to tell him about my find...or should I say "his" find for me! He said "did you bid on it" and I shook my head no, it just didn't seem right to buy my own gift, but the thought of letting it slip away again had me up bright and early the next morning putting in a bid and I won! It even made it here BEFORE Christmas!

Here is the mirror in our master bedroom.

I love the way the little refracting mirrors multiply the light reflected throughout the day.

Ok, so $60 down of my $100 what?! I'm sure Mr. Tide was happy to have at least one check in the block for Christmas morning, but he wasn't thrilled that "I" had picked it out, bid on it, and even paid via Paypal for my perfect gift. Then I was on a decorating forum and someone was asking about pillows for their living room. Always up for a challenge I started the hunt to help this woman find the perfect pillow for her chic and stylish living room when fate stepped in once again. While perusing the Williams Sonoma Home website I found the perfect pillow for our living room. White *check*, Nautical *check*, Inexpensive *check* Understated *check*, Elegant *check*...clearly it was THE one, it surpassed my original criteria which were White, Cheap, and Nautical, so the rest was a bonus! $29.99 AND it had FREE shipping...GO ME! Needless to say I was thrilled when it too arrived in time to be placed under the tree.

I hope to replace these couches someday or at the very least slip cover them in
cotton or linen white duck.

The fabric reminds me of old sealife engravings, it was just what I've been looking for.

Now this might not sound like the best way to handle gift giving, and I doubt we will ever embrace my father's unconventional shopping style but as I wandered around my house today and straightened my new pillow and caught a glimpse of myself in my new mirror, I decided two things. One, that frivolous things which bring beauty and joy to our lives aren't really frivolous so long and they aren't the ONLY things that bring joy and beauty to our lives and Two, that sometimes shopping for yourself isn't half bad!


  1. Great post! Enjoy your writing style and I too love being surrounded by things that I absolutely love, or that I at least find useful. Your father may have been on to something. That's a cool mirror. I can't say I've ever seen one before. And I absolutely love your pillow, it reminds me of toile.

  2. Thank you for stopping by and your lovely comments. I visited your blog yesterday and can I just say I LOVE those felted purses and your pottery!

    Kat :)

  3. I love the mirror! I've seen variations on this and have always admired them. And since you own one, I MUST have good taste! --An admirer in San Diego

  4. An admirer in San Diego eh? You can't hide from me "K"! If I find the mirror of your dreams I'll let you know!


    Kat :)

  5. Enjoyed reading your stories. My parents are both still doing well. My dad is 80 and mom is 77. Dad can outwork me anyday and mom to for that matter. My dad wants me to write a book of his life. (It is a story that needs to be told) I am trying to get started on it and the other thousands of things I need to do. I have been very ill lately and have an appt in Dallas on Monday. I am hoping I can get a few things done before I have to have surgery. I love the way you write.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.