One thing lead to another, and the next thing I knew I was saying, "No, come for the weekend. You must! And bring Dr. Pat with you!"

Stacey was delighted; she's a diligent and devoted blogger, as well as an extremely chic person, and we're going to do a shopping piece together for Quintessence about our lovely Tiverton Four Corners area--to coincide with an article I've written for the August issue of Travel and Leisure about Coastal Rhode Island. I can't wait to show Stacey all my favorite places: Nankeen and Amy's weaving studio and Nancy's Cottage and Tiffany Peay. (And I promise to cross post.)  But now it's turned into a party. Dr. Pat Allen delivered all Stacey's children, so they've been friends quite a while.

Readers of Slow Love might recognize Dr. Pat. I dedicated the book to her, and to my agent, Binky Urban. Both of them changed my life--both saved my life, each in her own way. I never had a big sister, but I've adopted them as big sisters, along with a select few other important women.

"But you hate houseguests!" said Abby (another sister). "You hate to cook!"

Well, no, actually, I love houseguests. I love fussing around people. I don't even mind cooking. My initial instinct is to invite people over. But as usual Abby's got her finger on something deeper. My second thought is to panic.

I mean, Stacey writes about "living well with style." She has Very High Standards. And I used to edit a magazine all about same. And Pat runs a blog called Women's Voices for Change, and seriously, I could use some changes. Oh dear. I began making lists. Haircut. Diet. Clean closets. I decided to replant the garden, which really was looking shabby. I thought I should reupholster the sofas, so someone came to take measurements. Not that the sofas will get done in time. It was just a small demonstration of the level of my panic.

I tackled the garden, and it is a mark of how far gone I am that I began to weed tiny threads of bittersweet and grass from between paving stones. As I weeded, I thought bitterly about how no one ever knows how much weeding you've done, unless you say things, grandly sweeping your arm across the garden, like: You should have seen what a wreck this place was three days ago. Of course one doesn't say such things, it is not comme il faut, it reflects poorly on you (because it was your wreck three days ago) and anyway, gardening is meant to look effortless. In this way, gardening is rather like editing. What's usually most important is what you take away, and one cannot show off the absence of things. Writers, though, often behave pas comme il faut, complaining to their friends that they should have read their article before the editors got their hands on it and took away the good bits. Editors do not remove the good bits, I can assure you, having just gone through this recently with a review for the Excellent Alida at the New York Times Book Review. "Don't you think one reference to Pooh will do?" I whined, secretly. I liked that little smackeral of honey. But she was right.

I did stop to admire the view, and sweep off the patio, and I remembered how one lawn mower years ago stopped his machine and said, "You always have pairs of chairs everywhere, but there's only you." And I told him the chairs were just waiting. And thought his concern, or confusion, was sweet. Anyway, he wasn't entirely right. Just because one isn't married doesn't mean one is always alone. Ahem. As I swept, I noticed the way a spider had knitted two chairs together. So much social networking goes on in nature, the original twitter kingdom. And that made me think happily about how, if I had never started this blog, I would have never known about The Spider Book, which is not called The Spider Book but Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging and Mating. It has given me new appreciation (not love, not even like, but admiration) for the little creatures. The big ones not so much. But congratulations to authors Leslie Brunetta and Catherine Craig. Leslie reports that they've recently been honored with three exciting awards, including being longlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Evidently they like science and spiders more in Britain than they do here. Brava, ladies.

Anyway, after pruning a few trees, and weeding bitterly, sweat pouring down and soaking my clothes, I decided to transplant a few things, and that necessitated a few runs to Peckham's to fill holes, where Rick was somewhat surprised to see me three times in the same day. But I stopped to admire someone's very groovy restored old Citroen 2cv (I think). I've noticed it around town, but there it was, parked, so I could really eyeball it. I am secretly a car nut.

In general I made myself crazy. And that was before I cleaned up inside. Again, one cannot display the absence of things, such as spider webs and dustballs. Thankfully. I managed to get done all the things I love to do for houseguests--I laid out light cotton bathrobes (no one ever travels with one), scented candles,  picked books off my shelves that each person might enjoy (Eudora Welty's letters for Pat, Horst's photographs of interiors for Stacey) and floated some daylilies in bowls. These are touches that others have taught me in welcoming me into their lives, and I thought about those visits as I prepared for my guests, my mind drifting back onto islands in Maine and modernist villas in New Orleans.

Then I had to confront the worst part, the issue of food. Now, you may recall that Dr Pat once put me on a very strict diet (which I most assuredly needed). But now, when I think of her, I think of that diet. It seared itself into my consciousness.
The contents of my refrigerator were not looking too Pat-friendly. There were a few bran muffins (replete with chocolate chips and raisins and all sorts of good things) left behind by my sons, who couldn't fit more into their suitcases. The best way to hide those, I figured, was to eat them, so I did.

I found my shopping list, in the refrigerator, mysteriously, written when my panic was full blown.

It was enormously helpful. It said: Buy food. Chicken. Lobster. Veg. Fruit. Dessert.

Then there was the pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. For a fleeting moment, I considered hiding it under the lid of the turkey stock my sister had given me. But that's only because my sister used to hide her shopping from her ex-Awful Angry Husband by switching her new dresses into dry cleaning bags to sneak them out of the car and into her closet. Even though she was the one with a job.

I decided not to hide the ice cream under the Turkey Stock. I decided not to eat it either.

I decided instead to examine why on earth I get into such a panic about houseguests? Pat and Stacey will have a marvelous time, and so will I. I can't wait to see them. But what is that voice, booming now, inside my head telling me that I will never measure up, that nothing I do is good enough, that no one will like me, and that everyone will have a miserable time!? SHUT UP!

And it did! It shut right up. So I went out to admire how pretty blue and red look together in the garden, the spiderwort having bloomed at the same time as the monarda. For a tiny second, I chastised myself for planting such tall things (well, they were little at first) right in front of my bench, but then...Shut Up! It worked again, and instead, I thought how lovely it will be to see the weekend through a haze of red and blue. If I ever have a moment to actually sit in the garden.

P.S. You may wonder what possesses a person in a panic to sit down and write? It made me feel much better to figure it all out.

P.P.S. Everything is done. I've even had time for a watercress and mayo sandwich. And my house is entirely clean--all at the same time--for the first time in months. I mean, my house is always clean, just not all at the same time. I'll do a room, get bored, move on. This is quite lovely. I'm going to walk up the lane and come back in so I can be surprised.


Barbara said...

You're not the only one. I think we all do it.

Karena said...

Oh Absolutely, I go into that panic mode, is everything going to be just right!

You will have so much fun with the ladies, Dominique!!

Art by Karena

Lines of Beauty said...

I hear ya girl! It's all wanting people to love us. And about loving ourselves.

VL said...

Dominique, you and I not only have similar backgrounds but similar Voices in Our Heads. Mine, however, persuades me to clean and organize not just when I have guests, but when _I_ am the one going away -- after all, what if the plane crashes? What if someone has to figure out how to close my accounts, donate my clothes, divide my books? The upside is that I've been able to turn this Voice into a strategy: have guests over (or visit others) frequently enough that things never get too far gone. :)

Actually, I do think it's more about showing love for our friends than self-condemnation. It makes _me_ so happy when my surroundings are beautiful, calm, and clear, when there is good food to eat and lovely aromas to take in, that to offer my friends that kind of environment is simply one way I can contribute to their happiness.

I will offer here a book recommendation to add to your list: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. In brief, the author is laid up by severe illness, and a friend digs up some violets from the woods, puts them in a pot, and brings them to her bedside -- along with a snail. At first nonplussed, the author wonders what on earth her friend was thinking, but as she gets to know this snail, observe its curiosity, its likes and dislikes, she reflects on the richness of its (and our) existence. The writing is lyrical, the meditation on the restorative connection with nature just up your alley. A wonderful gift-book.

Enjoy your garden this weekend, and your visitors, too.

Lines of Beautyww said...

Oops I forgot to a great quote:

Perfection is the highest form of self abuse!

Leslie Brunetta said...

Thank you so much again, Dominique, and have a great weekend with your friends in that gorgeous garden!


Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh Sister, I hear you.
Our daughter Alida was married two weeks ago.

In the 6 weeks before her wedding, I had our big old house painted from yellow to white, gardens worked on, new beds dug and mulched, fencing installed, we weeded like crazy people (to NO avail as rain and humidity the entire week before the wedding brought the vicious New Jersey weeds roaring back), house re-organized, curtains down and new curtains up, new needlepoint rugs in guest rooms . . . AND I baked a Norwegian wedding cake for the reception and arranged an After Party at the house, and a next-day Open House.

All this while planning the wedding, here, for a bride who lives in California.

Like you, I hit the point, a day or two beforehand, where I said, "Enough." The frenzy was over.

I accepted that the people supposed to clean the conservatory could not come in the rain and we'd have schmutz on the glass ceiling. Who looks up when drinking champagne anyway?

I accepted that no one could walk across the front porch to the new bright squash-yellow door, because the decking paint was still tacky in the heavy air, and so the porch furniture was parked like a Beverly Hillbillies kick line in the shrub border.

I accepted that EVERYTHING was not going to get done. And that was OK.

And it was. In fact, it was all pretty much perfect because we had a bride and groom brimming with love and laughter, and loads of family and friends to share their joy. Good food didn't hurt, either.

You will share joy with your friends, and no one will notice or even know about the things that don't get done. Unless, of course, they read your blog. But it is truly all -- OK.

Until we do this same thing the next time!
All best wishes, Cass

david terry said...

Oh, Ms. Browning.....

Your head really is in a whirl.

I just read: "Eudora Welty's letters for Pat"....and I'm wondering if you meant the recently published letters between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell, or the also-recently-published letters between Patrick Fermor and Deborah Cavendish? At this point, I've got a fairly good notion of what's on your bedside reading table....

Far be it from me to start giving you advice on how to SLOW DOWN....but I think you need to give yourself a bit of a break.

These impending folks are just house-guests. Presumably, they already like you and are there to see YOU...not to interview your house. Otherwise, they'd be paying, right?

I'm lucky in that, while we have "house guests" (many friends, and family...both French and Tennessean) for at least half the time we're actually here, I pack them all off to Herve's much-larger, much-newer, meticulously cleaned, and tastefully decorated house with three toilets that can ALWAYS be relied upon (which is not the case in this old house)....and Herve's house is a three minute walk from my own front porch afer folks have had their dinners here.

This old house looks like a museum shop/Episcopal Ladies' jumble-sale, is full of dogs... and I've arrived at the age at which I assume that, if you come here, you're here to see me, the garden (as it IS) , or the dogs.

Sometimes the paintings.

so, I send folks to stay down at Herve's house. He bought it seven years ago at my suggestion ("insistence" might be the more accurate term) and hasn't slept a single night in the joint.

In any case, things can't be soooo bad....your formidable "Dr. Pat" doesn't sound as though she's the type who, like any number of maiden or widowed great aunts in my family, shows up for a self-announced "house visit" and ends up staying for thirty years.

David Terry

P.S. As I've previously written, I'm a great fan of your books and have read all of them. I think that some of the two-or-three most striking, stick-in-your-mind passages you've ever written were about "Dr. Pat". I grew up in a family of doctors,am married to one, spend most of my days around them & their ways....but your concise, straightforward account of her and her ways is enough to indicate that she's a very special and rare sort of doctor. I mean that.....Herve and several friends to whom I gave copies of "slow Love Life" particularly commented on your account of your relationship with "Dr. Pat". Please give her our sincere compliments.

Sandy Donn said...

Seems we are all hatched from the same egg!

Heather Robinson said...

Hmm, I suppose that I haven't been reading your blog long enough because I certainly didn't see this one coming! Isn't it funny how we idealize people? Just because you did such an amazing job at H&G doesn't mean that you don't have the right to get the hosting jitters.

Buuut, it's Stacey! Well, I don't know Dr. Pat and I don't know Stacey in person but I know for a fact that she is one of the loveliest, most supportive and creative folks on the net. AND she is also living proof that you can create ORIGINAL material for a lifestyle blog instead of just picking something out of thin air. I have a little bug about that subject right now.

Living in France, where I messed up according to the "rules" for so long and so repeatedly, it finally clicked that those were the evenings where everyone let their hair down. There is no wrong as long as you are having a great time with your friends--that I am sure, you already know.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

"...weeding bitterly" pierced my soul. As one who also weeds bitterly, especially between paving stones, I will pass on THE VINEGAR TRICK: put some vinegar and some water (about 60/40) in a spray bottle. Shake. Spray on weeds. I did this on the small stuff growing between the paving stones and, while the little weeds didn't completely disappear, they sustained heavy damage. I just did a second application...the third may consist of pure vinegar.

Tru Dillon said...

loved this post and as usual the comment by david terry.
spider web photo is amazing!

Lisa Stockwell said...

Whether you were feeling panic or not, your writing felt like a wonderful piece of meditation, where you observed and let go in a perfect rhythm. I loved it!

Catherine Bitter said...

I am LOL at this post! I’ve been a devoted reader of yours starting with H&G, your books and now your blog. Though I subscribe to your blog and read each post, it seems I seldom have time to write a comment. I guess that makes me a “lurker” in the blogsphere, and someone who needs to slow down...

I had the pleasure of briefly meeting you last July at your lecture at the Botanical Gardens in DC. I had not yet had the opportunity to read Slow Love, and had hoped to purchase a book at the lecture, but of course there weren’t any because conducting commerce is not allowed on the US Capitol and surrounding grounds. You did, however, graciously sign my copy of Paths of Desire, and stood patiently for photos.

Finally, over this Fourth weekend, I treated myself to buying and reading Slow Love! I managed to finish it in 2 days while at the beach, and I enjoyed every word. I was sorry when I reached the end.

But back to this post - I, like so many others, so often see myself in what you’ve written, and this post was dead on. I’m not sure I would be doing anything differently if I had guests arriving this weekend. But I must thank you for spurring me to leave my paperwork, go cut some daylilies from the garden and float them in a bowl on my desk. It’s made my afternoon, especially after a very challenging week.

Thank you, Catherine

Dominique said...

Racing to buy the snail book, and what a fantastic idea to bring one inside. I think. Perhaps a terrarium?

David, you are so very very very right....but, I recall not so long ago you sat in a very polished house with chicken in oven and no one showing up....and my heart went out to you, until I suddenly realized what a lovely evening you would have.

Yes, I do mean Welty to Maxwell, who was one of my heroes--they both were, actually--when I was in college....

VL, my voice has a French accent for sure. But you are quite wise to turn the voice into a Strategy. That will from now on be my ruse. Having grown up with a doctor for a father, I am definitely on the neat side of things anyway--oddly, it was my mother who emphasized washing hands as we were not allowed to go near her piano without doing so...

But I do like a tidy house, it makes me feel serene (when it is done...)

THANK YOU so very very much for reading my books. That gives me a thrill, and your kind words have put a smile on my face.

And vinegar. Who knew. Right away....

Cass, if I had a conservatory, all I'd do is sit in it and drink champagne, never mind the Helpful Men not showing up! Bravo to you for saying Enough! And lifting a glass to that! congratulations on the wedding...

And yes, Stacey and Pat are two of the worlds great people....my anxiety is entirely self-induced, and I'm sure they'll assuage it soon enough! d

profA said...

A rich and beautiful post, Dominique. Your dear friends are blessed by your friendship and I'm sure they know it. I went on a retreat a few years back and we were instructed, as we bent to make up the bed for the next cell mate, to pray for that person. It has totally changed making beds for me from a chore to a holy moment.

Ahhh, weeds. I have decided only to pull the ones that are interfering with my the plants or my enjoyment of same. Another tack is to simply plant every square inch of soil, as Vita Sackville-West recommended in her Garden Book. I loved your picture of the spider web joining the chairs and more especially the bits of grass poking through the paving. Li'l eavedroppers! And then there is the voice of my mom saying, "weeds tell us something about the soil in which are gardens grow." They are balancing, especially when we turn them to compost. And another thing,(if you haven't logged off by now) can't believe you didn't see this, but here it is all the same from June 30 NYT's OPED: The Price of LIberty:Weeds by Richard Mabey http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/opinion/01mabey.html Fun and instructive.

We will have weeds forever, but our loved ones...

Have a wonderful weekend.
Linda B.

PS re-read all above, as per your wise editing comments and maybe I should leave out the following. The post may give the illusion that I am a calm old crone. Nothing could be further from the truth, as borne out by the Fourth of July when my eyes popped open at 5:30 am and it was a marathon of shopping, egg stuffing, cleaning, burger prepping, bathroom scouring, melon slicing until 3 pm when the guests arrived 45 minutes EARLY. (Surely you have logged out by now!) We had a grand old time. The unshucked corn is still in the basement refrigerator!

david terry said...

(P.S. for Mme. de la von Browning):

(1)you might envy my own weekend. My middle-aged tail just got (for about 20 bucks, total) the DVD's of both "Valmont" and "Dangerous Liasons" in the mail. Dinner is already cooked, and we'll spend the evening watching BOTH of these (which will be the first time we've watched any movie in about 6 months). Tomorrow morning, we have to rustle ourselves out of bed and go up into Virginia to fetch a new terrier puppy. My good guess is that it's going to set a Bad Example, and I will spend the next twelve months trying to convince it, Herve, and this household's other terriers to do their business OUTSIDE. As far as I can tell, nothing around here is completely housetrained. My work is never done, it seems. My Frenchie-academic mother-in-law is in complete agreement with me regarding her son's intractable ways.

(2) do, please, pass on our comments to "Dr. Pat". Quite aside from her professional training, she seems to be a remarkably intuitive person.

---david terry

pamela hunt said...

This is the most fabulous and funny piece I have read in a long time - maybe since the post on your sons coming home? What a wonderful and honest tribute to our neurotic selves. I behave exactly the same way with houseguests. Joy and then panic. I thought I was the only one, so thank yoU!


Anonymous said...

They love you with or without a clean house or garden. Relax and enjoy the things you will do with them instead of panic. Hope it goes well.

Max's Mom said...

I must remind myself to "Shut Up" every now and then also. Oh, how much happier and at piece my mind will be!

Darci said...

Whenever I have those "Shut Up!" moments, I also find it helpful to remind myself that my friends come to see ME, not my house. I'll do my best, but try not to make myself crazy with all the preparations. As long as the bathroom and kitchen are clean and things are picked up, nobody notices anyway.

Enjoy your comp'ny!

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Have a wonderful time and please give Stacey my best!! I love her and her wonderful blog Quintessence. I look forward to the Tiverton Four Corners post, and your Travel & Leisure article! Have a great weekend! ; )

pve design said...

House guests do inspire everything being in the proper place and all things at once.
Enjoy the time with your friends and please send my best regard to Stacey, she is a delight!

Anonymous said...

I have two hates. One when we have guests and one when we are guests. I hate my husband apologising for the state of our house. It has areas of chaos, but is clean, we use our house for our life. It is our house, after all.
The second is when I visit someone and they apologise for their house being a mess, and that mess is a newspaper sitting on chair in an immaculate house. Please.
People are far more important that people. The type of house we had won't be on our tomb stone!
Enjoy the moment.

Judith Ross said...

So wonderful to read this post from my perch in Paris -- a clean, but not so homey economy hotel, where I'm feeling a bit homesick. How can I be homesick when my husband and sons are here with me?

I miss my garden, where the monarda has probably burst into bloom during my absence. And I am sure the weeds have carried on nicely without me.

And I miss my puppy, who according to reports, is doing just fine without me, and is making new friends wherever she goes.

But I, too, am reading Eudora Welty this week -- The Optimist's Daughter -- so I feel as though I am right in there with the Slow Love Life club and not so very far from home after all.

Bonne journée!

david terry said...

Dear "Judith Ross",

Oh....give yourself a treat and, once you've returned to the states, lay your hands on a copy (I'm sure this is available in some new form) of the elderly Welty's slow&drawling reading of "The Optimist's Daughter".

I once was designated to pick her up at the Chattanooga airport and drive her to Sewanee (about an hour away). We passed one of those ubiquitous billboards for the amusement-park Rock City. As ever, it read "SEE SEVEN STATES!".

She was a very tired, old lady..leaning her head against the car window, and she murmured "That could mean ANYTHING........"

As for the consolations of Paris in July? If nothing else, you can make friends with the 50% of Tokyo's population who are also spending July in Paris. For a long while there, Paris was THE spot for conspicuous-consumption-minded Japanese who wanted to blow an obscene amount of money on their Summer wedding. Perhaps that's changed.

Oddly enough, we have a big, 1890's apartment in Paris (inherited from Grand Mama), and have spent exactly two nights in it over the last eight years. It stays full, though.

In any case, get the Welty recording of "The Optimist's Daughter". I was never particularly struck by the book until I heard Miss Welty read it aloud....which was wonderful.

Level best as Ever,

David Terry

Thea said...

i'm getting ready for a bbq this eve, so i hear ya. before even tackling the usual inside company ready chores, i cleaned up around the gardens and patio. slipped some fresh cut from the garden buds into jelly jars by each door. swept, popped the umbrella, got out the cushions, got the grill ready, watered all my containers,deadheaded the roses, plucked the obvious weeds...sigh, time for a nap! a dear friend of mine used to remind me, whenever i came up with some grandiose idea that living the Martha Stewart life was a heckofalot of work! lol confession: this year, hired the lawn mower guys to weed a mulch all the beds. serious bucks. but worth it because the weeds had gotten over me big time! have a splendid weekend!

Warren said...

Dominique, great writing. Sometimes reading you I feel like a character in a "New Yorker" cartoon, shown unlatching a woman's head and peering inside. While you reveal so much, in general you dames still remain a mystery...

Just before ignoring the pots that need watering in my garden to read you, I sat long and hard with the "New Yorker" article about Sheryl Sandberg and her TEDwomen speech..

"The No. 1 impediment to women succeeding in the workforce is now in the home... Most people assume that women are responsible for households and child care. Most couples operate that way -- not all."

If it's any consolation guys play the same lousy mind games on themselves. Just different topics.
And yes, I have benches with spiders on them, but presently I am stuck on a Hemingway quote from "A Movable Feast"

"There is not much future in men being friends with great women although it can be pleasant enough before it gets better or worse, and there is usually even less future with truly ambitious women writers."

Any advice from your vantage point?

Anonymous said...

Funny! And so relatable. I am trying, at the moment, to rent my house in East Hampton for August, so it must be entirely cobweb and dust bunny-free at all times, beds made, sink wiped, floors gleaming, styled and staged to the nines. And every time someone looks and it and decides "it won't work for us," I am flooded with shame, sure that they noticed dead bugs in a window sill or hair on the bathroom floor. Way to make yourself nuts! From now on, I adopt the Dominique approach -- a simple SHUT UP, Cara!

Cristina said...

I absolutely adored this post, what with having often pictured you like THE perfect host, coolly careless about who might arrive when, 'cause your home simply was always above even the smallest, harmless criticism.
not to speak of your gorgeous garden - as it is ! -.
(and now I find myself humming "don't go changing, to try and please me, you never let me down before...").

david terry said...

Dear "Cristina",

My good guess is that, in exchange for your humming Billy Joel's "Don't go Changing...", Ms. Browning might justifiably return the favor by humming a few bars of that other 1980's smash-hit, "I'm Only Human...."

Advisedly yours as Ever,

david Terry

Monica said...

Your very last comment about walking up the lane and coming back in so you can be surprised made me laugh ... I do that!! Dear Dominique, thank you for being so honest and funny. You are a delight.

Cristina said...

Mr. David Terry,
your (unexpected?!) deep knowledge of 1980's hits and your sense of humour end up in an enjoyable mix.

david terry said...

Oh, "Cristina"....

Thank you, I suppose for the compliment.

Perhaps you should know (and, yes I know that this comment will lower the "tone" of Ms. Browning's blog) that I just happen to be a homosexualist who turned 50 last month and who didn't have sex with anything whatosever until the final years of the Thatcher/Reagan regimes.

So?...of COURSE I thoroughly acquainted myself with and memorized all the lyrics to pretty much every sentimental song by Billy Joel or "The Human League" during that 80's era.

Trust me...Otherwise grown-up folks who talk a lot about sex or/and have memorized a lot of songs about sex/love are generally those who have not ever had or are having much sex at any particular moment.

That's just a simple fact of life on this planet. thus?....I happen to be able to recite all the lyrics to every song ever recorded by Rick Astley, et al....and, yes, I was one of those millions of celibates who, across this world, bought Madonnna's "SEX" book in 1992 or so.

the alternative would have been having a real life that involved contact of various sorts with other, actual people....which seemed a daunting prospect at that stage of my career.

"Don't go Changing" and " I'm Only Human" are both, of course, perfectly nice songs.... by the way and as you'll already know.

Avuncularly yours as ever,

David Terry

(also available, on a limited and first-come-first-served basis) at www.davidterryart,com

Project Girl said...

This post made me just laugh out loud - I positively loved it! It was as though I was looking in a mirror.... Thanks for writing.

Lynne Viti said...

I loved the image of you finding the shopping list in the fridge., That is actually a good place for it, now that I think about it...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful photo of the snake coiling around the hazelnuts.... Are those true colors?

Anyhow, thanks for the shut up reminder to everyone! Often, we get so obsessed listening to toxic voices and lose perspective. It's helpful to back off and ask whether any angst is warranted and if not drop it and move on to better thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Whupss, the almost albino snake must've been from a previous post. Still, that spider has spun such a giant web in between your outdoor lounge chairs.

Anonymous said...

Again your honesty strikes a note with your readers! A college roommate and her friend from a nearby town visited my home this past Spring. I lost sleep over this! She had not been to any of my homes since we were in our 20's and living in New York - what would she think??? I am a gardener and she is a new and wonderful devotee to the garden....it had to be just right! Totally totally enjoyed this post!!!

quintessence said...

Your fears were completely unfounded. You were the most divine hostess ever!! And your house and property are exquisite!! We did indeed have the most marvelous time - thank you!!

Anonymous said...

The weeds were gone, the house was spotless, the hostess was returning from her walk as we arrived. The houseguests had the most perfect weekend with a killer view and stimulating conversation.

Dr. Pat

david terry said...

Oh, Dr. Pat.....

Your comment is a striking contrast to a passage I was just reading (no kidding) from the diary of a friend's great-great-to-whatever-degree grandmother....who seems to have returned to New Hanover County (having snatched her children and fled Sherman's night-raiders in 1864) to find that the house was "gone", the weeds were "returning", and her hostess (her mother-in-law, who'd been through a raging housefire)was less than entirely "spotless".

As ever, I'm constantly reminded of the ways that various texts inform and amplify each other.

Bemusedly as ever,

David Terry

c said...

I have read, laughed, smirked, and recognized myself in your post and the comments that followed. No need to add anything, I thought.

But I feel compelled to chime in now that your guests clued us all in.

see? your worries were for naught!

will we ever learn to RELAX? nope! we are who we are, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Dominique said...

Warren, I am going to have to think about your question, and may write about it soonest, however, my off the top of the head answer? Oh Ernie, Shut Up! I mean, really. The same could be said about friendships with great men, friendships with mediocre people, friendship. No? Is this about E being scared of women? jealous of the time they spend on their work, rather than on him? so to speak....

We all make time for love.

Dominique said...

P.S. I don't mean to be rude in saying Oh Ernie, Shut Up! That was a fond shut up....!

Sharen said...

Such a pleasure to read! We all do it on impulse i.e. invite friends over. You strike just the right notes - the inner desire to have our homes feel serene as well as look lovely and tranquil, lots of flowers, great food prepared, etc. - and then - the panic!
You have such a wonderful way of writing that makes us all feel as if we know you. Appreciate your sense of humour and your candid comments, not to mention the idea about the bathrobes. For books, I'd have to put out a guest copy of Slow Love - having told everyone I know about it anyway, it would seem just right! Of course it would have to be a gift - and then buy another one for next time - if I could stand houseguest stress again!

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