Tuesday, December 16, 2008

green with envy

In the midst of a normal day of errands (sprinted, because it's so *%$#*! cold outside!) I had this invitation to an open house--a book club friend who must have a rotating holiday open house between her house and the homes of two neighbors. There were piles to be cleaned up, laundry, the plumber coming early the next morning, children to situate after school, a babysitter to brief, and a hot date with Mr. D and Toys R Us, but I thought, what the hell? My friend has missed the last couple book club meetings and it seemed like a good thing to do--besides, the party started at 2 and if I showed up right away I could stay for 40 minutes before driving back to retrieve my kids. After cleaning a bathroom, I changed from sweats to jeans, put a sweater over my turtleneck and combed my hair.

Walking up to the house, I recognized it as one I'd admired on a couple of drives through the neighborhood. A sign at the door said "Please come in" (appreciated in this frigid weather) so I let myself in the foyer and took off my snow boots. In my stocking feet, I gaped.

The house was exactly like stepping into a magazine house. Provincial French decor just laden with fresh greens--boughs up the staircase, boughs on every surface. I counted 3 Christmas trees total in the house. Oranges, pinecones, nuts, berries and even artichokes were nestled in among the fresh cut boughs. I guess the hostess had spent at least $500 on Christmas greenery--and in a conversation later I learned she'd done it all herself. It was gorgeous. No cheap plastic decorations for this house--it was all the real deal and artistically inspired. I never envy another person's decorations--even if I admire it, I never want it for my own house. Until yesterday afternoon. I coveted her greenery--all natural and fragrant and lush. Lusted after her tall glass jars filled with berries and pinecones. Yearned for a "just so" house unlittered by legos and action figures, accessorized by nature's bounty.


not the actual house--but a good representation

My friend greeted me with her trademark enthusiasm and I was met further in the house with the offer of a chocolate martini garnished with a fresh raspberry. There was a huge pitcher full of divine chocolate martinis--and a grand selection of wine and beer to boot. Christmas music wafted through speakers and silver trays held an abundance of cookies and dip, crackers and cheeses.


I was tacky enough in my jeans and socks--I was NOT taking out my camera in this woman's house--even though it was blogworthy beyond compare! But this give a good idea...

There I stood in my stocking feet agog at the lavish presentation and realizing that I stood in the midst of the Ladies Who Lunch crowd. Everyone wore high heels and make up and I was the only person wearing jeans. Get out much? I asked myself. But this crowd of ladies decked out in their holiday finery was gracious and hospitable and fascinating to chat up. Two looked frighteningly familiar--but we could not place one another's face. Spinning class? Not so much, sorry. First United Methodist Church? Nope, that's not it. Do your kids to go ANHS? Nope, mine are much younger--over at Happyland Elementary.

Forty minutes later I returned to my real life, in snow boots and slightly dented Momvan. But the warm glow of a chocolate martini and that dazzling house carried me along. Someday I might do it up right--have a fully lit tree (half our lights recently burnt out--there's a gaping hole of darkness in the middle) with a tree topper (Mr. B broke ours before we finished trimming it). Someday I might have a house neat as a pin, unmarred by the slovenly habits of my children. Someday I might set out things made of glass, breakable objects. But I'm not discontented. I'm inspired.

19 comments:

  1. I have a neighbor that decorates like that for the holidays. I gave up any attempts of having the "ooh-aah" house long ago. I just make sure I get over to her home during the holidays to enjoy the decor.

    Cold enough for ya? (ducks and runs)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am green with envy too. If only I could afford to use all-natural ornaments. I do buy a real garland for outside each year and that costs enough ($50+) so I can only imagine what her decorations must have run.

    At least it gives us something to aspire to.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd be super inspired too! But then I wouldn't do anything....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh you are more evolved and enlightened than I. Seriously. I envy, compare and contrast, then decide I will never amount to anything. (I'm working on it though!)

    My holiday greenery sucks (two brownish pine fronds in a jar of water), but I did the kids and husband part right. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You'll have that neat-as-a-pin house one day, but it will mean that your boys are grown up. Enjoy them while you can.

    (I say that as I survey the damage created in my own house by my 20 month old nephew.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. The kids are lucky you didn't decide to let them cool their heels while you soaked up the atmosphere in perfect-land for a while longer.

    It sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Isn't it wonderful to get to enjoy someone else's brilliant decorations?! I love soaking it up without having had to suck it up in order to create it--- or pay for it. And it definitely inspires dreams of Christmas Future when such loveliness might be ours to share with someone else.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You write so beautifully!! What a wonderful little story... and you created some great mental images in my head.
    Joni

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like a wonderful little bit of "me time" -- wish I was so talented to be like the people who just walk out in the yard, see the same leaves I have in mine.....and voila'....beautiful natural arrangements.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't know...can you relax in a home like that? Pretty to look at, but I'm not convinced it's worth the effort to keep up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If I could have one wish, it would be to be one of those super organized, together women with style for miles.

    Alas...I am just me. Oh well!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm sure her home was lovely but does she have small children?? If not then admire her house and she is probably admiring all the joy, smiles, laughing and fun in your home on Christmas morning.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pfft. Come by my place; it makes everyone feel better about the state of their home. And my babies ARE grown up!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have been painting and cleaning all week, and my house looks THE SAME. Bah, Humbug, Fiddlesticks. We have fudge though, AND great music, and plenty of smiles and giggles!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have given you an award, please stop by and accept it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I, too, envy this kind of holiday energy and creativity. Two words: camera phone!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Our home at Christmas never looked like the former home you described, always like yours. And it was great! We loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I grew up in a house with 9 kids and we had almost no money - we decorated our tree with popcorn and cranberries strung on thread - with homemade ornaments - and everyone always wanted to be at Mom's.

    It's fun to take a cyber peek on the other side of the fence :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just wrote a comment and it sounded so jealous that I deleted. Instead I will just say, Good for her! I like it when people actually go all out.

    ReplyDelete

Spill it, reader.