Oldest Living College Student to Graduate Next Week


I was 17 when I graduated high school and had not one plan.  My Dad, the Navy man turned career  Fire Marshall did what any man who was raised by the military would do…he took me to the Naval Recruiting Office with a promise that I could “probably” be a USO comic.  There was NO WAY I was listening, giving them my name or anything in fear that my folks would allow them to come rip me from my Holly Hobby bed and drag me to the Navy where they would yell me out of bed, make me belly crawl under barbed wire to a breakfast of mud and powdered milk and go for a 16 hour jog.  I sweetly told the Recruiter that I would certainly consider his lovely offer, faked my social security number and got the hell out of there and drove as fast as I could to the Community College.

At the Community College I wasted many semesters and dollars signing up for random-ass classes and withdrawing or failing because I spent most of the hour in class making plans for Friday night with the other 2 townies that were left behind when everyone else went to real college.  I swear to Joseph when Kirk Cameron put out that “Left Behind” movie that I was gonna be an extra in it.

I always worked 2 jobs and enjoyed being a Recreation Therapist in Long Term Care facilities and later became a consultant and parlayed that into helping a major firm merge to another chain.  I spent more than a dozen years selling Real Estate and being a Home Health Rep.  I have had a nice career but I always wished I had finished school.  Signing up for classes in my twenties made me feel the same way it does when I rejoin Weight Watchers for the gabillionth time.

Something happened when we moved, in 2006, to Hickory, NC from central Florida (my lifetime home).  I was renewed by the place and the people.  I decided to go back and finish just in time to move back home.  It took me 23  years to grasp algebra but I did, and all of a sudden I got it!  I was a straight A student !  I received my A.S. degree in 2008 and set about working 2 jobs, raising young boys and going to the University.  I have not taken a break, I have made A’s and I have paid for it with Real Estate commissions and painting furniture.  Lots and lots of furniture.  You could say that my Shabby Chic Addiction was my scholarship.  I am grateful that I learned how to learn,  I am glad for the abundant experience and I am proud to have set this example for my (now high school aged) sons.

So, if you see me at the Piggly Wiggly next month and I am still wearing my cap and gown, it’s because it took me 28 years to get it…that, and because I am insane.

Please like and share this and I’ll love ya more than cooked food!

Where you Find Your Inspiration

You find your inspiration in the oddest places.  This week I was inspired by a TV show:  American Horror Story-Coven.  The show started off this week in the swamps of Louisiana.  The scene involves a character in a floaty hippy dress and shawl with layers necklaces and smokey eyes.  Fleetwood Mac music haunts in the background.  Just a delicious episode riddled with reference to Stevie Nicks.

I grew up in the 70’s-80’s and I fondly recall coming home from school, a very happy latch-key kid, and laying in the dining room where the stereo was and wearing the grooves off of my parents Fleetwood Mac Rumors album.  I carried the band and Stevie with me from album to cassette to CD to iTunes right up until today as a favorite.  I love the haunting voice and poetic lyrics that Stevie  does as only she can.

There’s that vein in me that loves lace and funky boots, necklaces and the sweet remembrance of how people in the 70’s looked at love and intimacy that seems so far removed now.  When talk of the tall grass, mountains, mirror in the sky, and night birds were as tangible in song as they are in real life.  Before texts and blogs and face time we had sitting around a living room (or laying in a dining room)  and having soulful talks with great music.

This has inspired my painted piece this week.  Dusky lavender with gypsy print accent and gypsy gold.  Here are a few pics…it’s not done and I am breaking a cardinal rule by posting a pic of the (yuk) garage (AKA my Fancy Studio).  I’m still knocking it around with my “purty sticks” but you get the idea.

Gotta run, at some point I have to go in and cook dinner and let the dog (with the breath that’s worse than Satan’s skidmarks) out.

How it starts

How it starts

In Progress

In Progress

“Wait a minute baby, stay with me a while
Said you’d give me light but you never told me about the fire

Drowning in the sea of love where everyone would love to drown
But now it’s gone, it doesn’t matter what for
When you build your house then call me, ‘Home””

Lyrics from Fleetwood Mac’s    Sara

Cupcakes and The Women Who Lurve Them


This week had a theme…  CuPcAkEs!!    It started with a friend and I trying a new cupcake place in town (we are medical reps and we do a lot of goodie-giving so a new cupcake place sounded like a good thing to check out…for work…of course.)  We went.  The cakes were MEH but the icing was FAB! (Is it gross to order a pound of icing?  Okay, then a pound of icing, please.)

Fast forward to today.  That same friend and I are having lunch and discussing a  promotional item we could make from an idea on Pinterest  involving  cupcakes in a mason jar. (I know, who wouldn’t want to get an afternoon goodie with all THAT happiness in a toteable jar?!)  My friend told me at lunch that she had lab tests done this morning.  One of which was an A1C test, which if you don’t know, is a test for glucose (Diabetes).  My friend was offended that her doctor prescribed this test.  OFFENDED.  My friend is a nurse and ate cupcakes all week (and pasta, with me, right before a lab test) and was offended.  I said, “You are offended?”  She said, “Yes”.  I laughed and told her to throw her arm up on the table and I squeezed around the cupcakeyness of it and said, “Really, bitch…you’re offended?”  We laughed and laughed.  My friend told me that her doctor was super healthy and had offered to have my friend stay with her at her house for a month to embrace the healthy lifestyle and train with her and her  super-healthy husband.

I immediately tuned out my friend with a mental image of her hiding in the guestroom closet cranking out shameful looking and tasting cupcakes from an Easy Bake Oven hidden skillfully in the back of the closet.  I pictured my friend going batshit crazy when the sad little light bulb that actually does the cooking in the Easy Bake Oven poops out.  I can just see her busting through the shuttered closet doors like the Incredible Hulk looking for that good icing, or a mason jar full of cupcakes or even one of those Ho-Ho-Ring-Ding things.

I promised my friend that if she got bad news from her test and had to adopt a new lifestyle, and forced to wave goodbye to chocolate covered yum-yums that I would join her.  It’s what you do with friends.  That, and offer shovels and plastic sheeting and alibi assistance when needed…

Fugly Fraternal Twins

I have a problem.  I like chairs.  Chairs are so interesting and have so much personality.  Old chairs are the best, they come from a time when the wood was real and the people who made them were craftspeople and artisans…not some dude who staples presswood to other presswood wearing earbuds and waitng for the time clock to tick.  These two particular chairs were hideous and putrid green.  They were ornry too.  I tried stripping them and they fought back, sending me for a triage and tetnus party before I asked the upholsterer to strip them so I could pick them up again and paint them.  They sat in my garage a long time.  I just knew that the work and expense to make them lovely wasn’t what I was feeling in the spring, summer, fall…..

One day I started the painting and got my revenge on the twins with distressing and waxing and fauxing years of character onto their wooden bones as if punishment were the only thing these two knew.  Happy with the result,  I labored over the fabric and decided that I wanted a clean palette of french linen and a European look.  I think, aside from our toil and bloodshed, they turned out to be quite serene and civilized!  These have taken yet another ride- to the Vintage Warehouse Lakeland and are ready for their new forever home where they promise to behave.

Underwear Waist Bands

I am ashamed about how ‘home grown” I am. Today a lady came to look at a car I have for sale while I was sweating away in the garage over an old bookcase. We got to chatting and I told her that my Daddy spent his life having his retired underwear used as dust rags in our home all stained with Old English. We chatted a bit about our dogs as well and I shared that I had owned a dog once that ate the waist bands to ALL of the family’s underwear while we were out on a Saturday excursion once and how I had to go to the Walmart with underwear pinned into my jeans with safety pins to stock up on new drawers for the entire family.

I am glad, however, that I get to select my own underwear at this stage of the game.  I remember some of the underwear I got as a kid.  My mom would go to the flea market and buy (in bulk) underwear from the textile mills of North Carolina that I now understand were seconds.  Seconds, meaning there was SOMETHING wrong with them!  I grew into my teen years thinking that one of my ass cheeks was freakishly bigger than the other and that painful (front) wedgies were normal.  (I assume now that I was kissed by serendepity by getting undies with not enough crotch fabric.)  Imagine my delight when I wore my first undies that were proportionate and didnt have cartoon characters on them with grotesquely smeared images.

I wonder about my sanity. I now have to face that my country-ass oversharing must be a cry for help.

What It Weren’t

Sometimes I allow myself to get lost on the junk-route and make turns and twitsts all about. (I have a GPS, I can get home). One such day I went the back way behind the mines (phosphate) and started day dreaming. Before I knew it I was in the middle of these small clap board homes that were a hundred years old. The homes were oddly similar and although kept up, not much life showing around the area. I knew that these were heritage places, where milk cans were stools and chickens were pets and dinner.
Recently, I was told by a friend that I don’t wear enough makeup. I said, “Listen bitch, I wear a gob..it just gets rubbed off all damned day long!”. She didn’t buy it so lately I have really been trying to whore-it-up, make-up wise, and this was one of those days.
I digress… So, even though I was only like 40 minutes from my house I felt worlds away. I saw an old lady wearing one of those apron smock deals full of clothes pins hanging her laundry on a clothes line and in her yard, all growed up in weeds was an old iron bed. I pulled over.
I introduced myself to the lady who was about 70 and plump with wild ass hair and was wearing those turn of the century shoes with a heel and the apron and capris with martini glasses embroidered on them. My mind wandered as I wondered what motivated this old gal to get up and dress like”Deliverance Goes to Stein Mart” but in a skinny minute Wichitaw’s (her name, no lie) hubby rounded the corner all puffed up like a rooster just a gettin’ it with his cane and pointed index finger. He was all wanting to know who I was and where I was fromand why was I wearing more face paint than a street walker  and who sent me and did I have kin there and if’n my Daddy worked for the government and would I be staying overnight. I was like, “Hold on there, Poppi, I just wanted to ask about the bed frame you got all up in the weeds”. Wichitaw told the old man to go get him some chew and set a spell inside where the fan was cool. Turns out Wichitaw and the old guy are Common Law spouses. (Whatever that means). Evidently, he told her in 1960 that he had cancer and if she’d be his old lady (and take care of hom) she stood to get a lot of money when he died. So Wichitaw cooked and cleaned and sewed and gardened and ironed and scrubbed and toiled for now going on 52 years living in a house the size of a postage stamp. I asked Wichitaw if she loved him and if the amount of money (yes, I wanted to know how much) was going to be worth spending her whole life at the clothesline and if she minded cutting off chickens heads to eat for supper- you know, the general “getting-to-know-ya” run down of questions. She told me that he was worth “a quater million on paper and another 50 in land”. I thought to myself that 50 million plus was not a bad retirement plan. Then she said, “What it weren’t was cancer. He ain’t got no cancer. He is gonna outlive me.” I shuddered a little bit in the hot sun and wondered that if I stayed there too long would I get sucked in too. Wichitaw said I could have the bed she originally put it out there 30 years ago as a “flower bed”. She said ain’t been flower one it in ever since. Well I sure as hell didn’t want it and it’s bad JuJu. I got up out of there and haven’t made a rouge junk wander in weeks.

Mystery Disease

where good stuff lives..

Lots of cool stuff happening here at Shabby Chic Addiction!  Did I tell you I was asked for a radio interview about how I got started in the yummy decor and goodie business?  (Only a hundred times?!?!?) Well now, you must hear it for yourself!  You’ll find my interview segment starting at minute 20:10. Que it up so you won’t have to listen to people who have nothing to say about junk or shabby chicness or decorating. http://view.liveindexer.com/ViewIndexSessionSL.aspx?indexPointSKU=5L82bV9S4UfAZgwaEY0%2fmQ%3d%3d

That interview was fun and I learned something about myself un the process!  I had it in my head that I have always been a junker, a shabby magnet, if you will.  The interviewer said she had watched me over just the last year after I proclaimed to her that I was going to change my house to a romantic shabby chic look.  And it all started with my headboard!

Speaking of headboards…  look at the picture of one of our vignettes at the warehouse!  This is just a tiny corner of the joint!  I can’t share any more than this pic because we haven’t finished sorting, staging or preparing for our sale.  Our plan is to make it a monthly junk purge set to the tune of  the Sanford & Son’s TV theme song.  April 20, 21 and 22 will be the first. But enough of this shameless self-promotion!

And on to a more serious topic:  The MYSTERY Disease. First, let me tell you what it’s not:

Not Snookie-Preggers  (the kind of pregnant when you ALREADY feel sorry for the baby)

Not the Sundrop Dance disease (where you dress and dance like you never wish to get laid again…ever.)  www.sundrop.com  see the “Drop it like it’s hot commercial”  Hot, yes…hot mess!

Not Middle Aged Zumba-itis (Where you are 40+ and insist on going to zumba classes with full-on head to toe zumba logo embellished clothing.  It’s sad..Don’t.

These are the true symptoms of the MYSTERY disease:

1.  You wake up with an idea to find old shutters and paint them in a haphazard manner to use them as a corner accent in your home.

2.  You drive 46 miles around your town on the hunt for abandoned shutters to paint.

3.  You are excited for garbage day in the historic district in hopes to get good junk before the city hauls it away.

4.  You learn to breathe through your mouth so you don’t notice the musty smells of old things.

5.  You start calling dust and rust “patina” and consider everything with it much more attractive and valuable.

6.  The bright lights of the discount mega stores begin to hurt your eyes and sensibilities. (I call it Junk Vampirism).

7.  You happily trade your only day available to sleep in late for an early rise to go “pick” at yard sales and flea markets.

8.  You consider used layers of lace and denim with cowgirl boots as appropriate garb to wear to the grocery, a flea market or even an evening out.

Ladies:  If you have identified with any of the 8 symptoms above you may be at risk for the mystery disease.  Unfortunately there is no cure.  Victims with a severe case can expect to experience frustrated husbands who are constantly asked to move furniture, fix old junk and endure mismatched pillowcases and frilly bed linens.   This disease may alienate you from friends who are creeped out by patina.  The good news about your disease is that you will be very happy with your treasures, you will make new girlfriends who love patina and you will crave the thrill and adventure of a dumpster full of vintage furniture and finds.

Oh, and it’s contagious, and I have it..so with computer viruses and such..Get Well Soon!  🙂


The above video is the theme song to my drive-bys, pick ups and midnight junk runs.

This is a song we Zumba to. (Zumba:  a dance class for crazy people who think they look like Usher and Janet Jackson dancing when they really look like Cee Lo on meth.)

At any rate… This is the song I hear in my head when I am on a curbside furniture rescue. I prefer to call it rescue and NOT theft.

It’s sometimes a surprise as to what is lurking in the forgotten corners of abandoned or thrift purchased furniture. Just this week I came across these tidbits:

1.)  In a set of 1950’s french provincial night stands:  1 pair of tweezers and a pair of cuticle snips, a lace hanky and a picture of someones ass. Literally, a picture of someone’s ass~ circa 1960.

2.)  In a dresser:  A fake fingernail and  2 hits of acid on stamped paper.

3.)  In a roadside rescue dresser:  A crayon,  a nickel, a twenty-dollar bill, all wadded up and stuck between drawers… and  a tooth.

4.)  In a cabinet: A shoe lace,  cassette tape of David Bowie, a chicken foot and a  cowboy boot.

So, with these little details I have assumed that many people who I cosmically or financially transact my furniture from are an eclectic group of  highly groomed, drug addic,t voo doo enthusiasts with a flair for country western?  Also, I figure I am up $20.05 , two hits of acid and an ass picture.  Surely the street value of the latter two would be worth at least a ten spot.  (KIDDING…..I WOULD NEVER SELL THEM ON THE STREET!  That’s what Craigslist is for…)

It does take some doing to figure outl what all is left behind in a piece of furniture.  You see, it shifts in transit and things become visible again when once they were hidden.  The tooth and the fingernail, both gag-worthy items, came rolling out at me like marbles when I pulled out the drawers.  I handled them with tongs that I have rigged up with spongy grip so I don’t have to touch them.  The single tooth did help me understand the mystery of so many toothless people in my county.  (Evidently the tooth fairy is heinous and just yanks and stashes teeth in furniture so that her quota doesn’t go over… something like that.)  I imagine the press-on nail became a resident of the night stand on a drunken evening when lady and her man were having a squabble about which youngun pulled up all the onions she was growing in the yard and chucked them into the above ground pool.  I imagine that the argument grew hotter and in the midst of her finger-waving monologue about how there. “Won’t gonna be no damned onion rings at Skeeter Mae’s birfday party!” that the one nail flew off and hid in the drawer next to her Lucky Strikes and Vaseline.

So, I am replacing the song, “Pause” by Pitbull (Video attached) with a shout out to my boy David Bowie as I blare the cassette (turned MP3) song “Let’s Dance”  and deem it my new FAS (Furniture Acquisition Song).

Anybody want to buy a cowboy boot?  Size 10. Mens.

My pulls were once knotted telephone cords

Come On Down To “Carnie-Mart”!

My oldest son turned 15 and I was forced to take him to the DMV in Armpit,  Florida because I procrastinated and didn’t make an appointment at the “good” DMV where some of the people actually have teeth.  As we took the 20 mile drive through the cow pastures and the bait shops of central Florida, we chatted.  Well, I chatted, he sat with his “beats” (AKA= fancified headphones) on.  On the way there I spotted a semi trailer parked in an empty lot with a bunch of old furniture lined up on wood pallets.  A blue dresser stuck out to me like a turd in a punchbowl and I made a mental note to distract the teen on the way home and pull in.  We were just getting to a good clip on the way back from YEE-HAWville when I spotted the junk again.  Faster than a fat girl eats a ho-ho I whipped in to the lot.  Trying not to act overly eager, I meandered around,  purposely avoiding the blue dresser.  Finally, I made my way over to this filthy, chippy, old robin’s egg blue dresser that had no knobs left on it.  The holes where the knobs once belonged were rigged with old telephone cable that you could use to open the drawers…classy.  I was in love.  All of a sudden this tiny boy jumped out and said, “I am your salesman!”  I Suwanee, it scared me so bad that I clutched my chest and damned near fell over the pallet to my death!  There he stood, this little boy, all enthusiastic and certainly had to be older than his stature led on.  Someone (I hope not him) had pinned at least 8 old brooches onto his too-tight little granimals shirt.  I played along and asked the price on the blue dresser (now named Midway).  He said he didn’t know but he would take me to his PawDaddy.  WTH????  I was hoping that PawDaddy didn’t mean that it was his Grandpa AND his Daddy!  Little boy  showed me to an umbrellaed table where a huge toothless man, a skinny, hairless woman with the BIGGEST bugged eyes I have ever seen and a real nice looking strapping young man sat smoking cigarettes.  This nice looking guy stood up and, looking like a Hollister model, wiped his hand on his shirtless abs and flashed his cobalt blue eyes at me and grinned.  He had 3 teeth. TOTAL!  I know this for a fact because he told me.  He also told me that he, “Ain’t had a decent bath in a week.”  I’m like, “Hey smooth talker, you keep on like that and I just might have to hook you up with the girl at work that I hate”.  I asked if he would load the dresser in my car so he went to the semi trailer and pulled out a dude to help him that was wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt and the shortest cutoffs I have seen on a guy.  They loaded up Midway and I went on my way…back to town…to civilization.  On the way home my teen complained about the stop we had made…but I didn’t have to remind him to brush his teeth that night!