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Antiques, Me Included

Antique Dining SetThey say that the best way to start writing after a brain freeze is to just do it. They also say that you shouldn’t write if you have nothing worthwhile to share. And don’t ask me who “they” are because I haven’t an idea.

I go to all of these blogging conferences and I have about a million voices in my head telling me what I should and shouldn’t do. I have no idea who or what to believe in anymore and considering that I’m not even sure if I believe in myself, I’m feeling sort of lost as of late.

But I do believe I should be writing here, in this space that I’ve created. So if you could just stick with me while I sort all of this out, that would be great. Or if a post really sucks and you can’t relate, just come back for the next one.

I’ve got to start somewhere.

And I have to tell you, this past week I felt like the universe grabbed me by the throat and gave me full on mouth-to-mouth CPR. For a few days I felt so vibrant again. Like the me I’ve always been. But then it slipped away as fast as it came. Such is my life as of late. Up and down. Bright then gray.

So let’s start with just a simple post of something that made me happy this weekend.

Antiquing. You know how much I love it. Especially things that relate to cooking. My girlfriend Kim and I went antiquing in New Hampshire. A great place to find antiques because the prices are so much more reasonable there than down here in Massachusetts.

Of course I look for vintage Pyrex, but I have a sizable collection already. If it isn’t pink or blue, then I’m not really interested. And those of course are the harder colors to find.

Vintage PyrexBut it can’t be any pink or blue piece. Nope, it needs to be a mixing bowl or a casserole. The picture above is a shelf of divided dishes that I found at one particular shop.

And even though they were priced to sell, there’s not much I can do with a divided dish. Back in the day, dishes such as this were made for sides like peas and carrots. Have I ever shared with you that I abhor cooked peas and carrots? Yup, it’s true. I can’t stand either.

Also, back then the portion sizes were so much smaller than today. So a divided dish is even more impractical for my family of six. All that to say that I didn’t buy a single piece of Pyrex during my treasure hunting. Every single piece I encountered was divided. And that’s probably why they were languishing on the shelves.

Antique CabinetI did stumble across the most amazing cabinet to store my Pyrex collection in, but I had no way to get it home from New Hampshire. Not to mention I have no practical space to put said cabinet in my home. So I had to leave it behind. Such a pity as it was priced at $159 and with my persuasive skills I’m pretty sure I could’ve talked them down even further.

Antique Cast Iron PansBut I did not go home empty handed. I encountered some gorgeous antique cast iron pans that magically found their way to the trunk of my car. I especially love the big pot you see above that originally hung over an open fire. I have some serious food photography plans for that beauty. Of course I will be scrubbing pots for the next week, but I’m kind of looking forward to it.

There’s something therapeutic about taking a pot covered in grime and making it beautiful again. Even if it takes some serious elbow grease to get the job done. Sometimes it’s worth it to labor over something to make it what you know it can be. There’s a life lesson buried in there somewhere I just know it.

MelanieAnd while we are on the subject of antiques, I wanted to share with you this selfie I took the other day. It was after a night of little sleep and I was bone weary. You can see it in my eyes.

But I had had the most wonderful night the evening prior and even though I was tired, it was a satisfying kind of tired. Does that even make sense? Probably not.

At any rate, I took the selfie to see how haggard I actually looked. That morning I was out the door at 4:45am to catch a 6:00am train from NYC to Providence, RI. I hadn’t had the chance to do much with my face other than brush my teeth. I was on my way to meet my friend Kim a little later in the day and I wanted to assess the damage.

And when I looked at the image I was shocked to see the face of my great grandmother when she was about the same age as I am today. I wish I had the picture to share with you to show you the resemblance, but alas I do not. It’s uncanny.

I’ve never felt like I looked like either of my parents and I always joked that I must’ve been adopted. But when I saw my great grandmother where I expected my face to be on the screen of my cell phone, there was no doubting that I am my great grandmother’s descendent. Eery and very cool all at the same time. You cannot argue my Italian heritage even if it’s only part of my genetic makeup. (I’m also Russian Jewish)

And even though I didn’t get the chance to get to know my great grandmother, it was nice to feel that connection. Comforting even.

I’m not sure what any of this means. I’m also not sure why I even decided to share these things with you today.

But I’m sharing something. And it’s a start. Or a restart. Or something. Hell, you know what I mean.

Comments

  1. Well done. I don’t give a hoot about antiquing or Pyrex or cast-iron cookware … and yet I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Keep at it. :)

  2. Well, it dd pay to keep checking. Hey, welcome back, O Italian descendant clone of great-gmom. (That’s how I sign birthday cards/Emails for the g-son. As in “Love, G-Mom.”)

    I used to have a divided melamine veggie bowl. Talk about the pits.

    You might consider collecting the original Corel if you can find any. Or not, just a thought.

    I thought I would have to check for a lot longer time before I hit paydirt. Thanks for being back at the keyboard. I missed your voice.

    • We say gma in our family! :-D

      Enjoyed the post, Melanie!!

    • Lol, I told you I’d be back. I just needed to recharge my batteries. I love the old Corelle too. But at this point I have more vintage glass than space in my home. Not even sure where to put this cast iron!

  3. Welcome Back! My daily check in has paid off! Write when you can about what you want..there are lots of us here to read every word!

    • Thank you so much Olga. Sometimes I feel so much pressure to write that the quality suffers. I really want to write when moved, not when I feel like I have to. Thanks for supporting me. :)

  4. if it gave you that “Yipppeeee” response that is hard to find as an adult (and has to be said inside), then it is a stellar find!

    • It is funny how certain things illicit that kind of response in me. Who ever thought used pans or mixing bowls would turn a girl on? ;)

  5. You know this , but here I go anyway.

    Your space, your blog, do or don’t do as you wish Melanie. I think that this was a lovely chatty post, just the sort of thing that I like to read, I could hear your voice loud and clear in my head, just be you, whoever or whatever that happens to be on any particular day. I am always happy to see Pyrex pictures, but like you I wish there was more pink around, I only find a very deep pink over here.

    Take care and keep going. xx

    • Thank you so much Amy. After so many years of blogging, I think I burned out. I never thought that would happen. The winter isn’t helping things either. I feel so very lethargic lately. And I’d totally settle for the deep pink Pyrex. I think it’s lovely!

  6. Great post. I love the cast iron.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Welcome back Melanie! Good morning, I too really enjoyed this post about your antiquing finds and the life lesson of hard work resulting in visible results. Restorative and therapeutic all at the same time, plus you get to enjoy the results! I love the selfie revelation that you resemble your great-grandma. Way cool. I’m glad you’re writing and posting again.

  8. Cheryl L. says:

    I love reading WHATEVER you have to say. You have a wonderful way with words. And I LOVE cast iron! There’s nothing better. Use my frying pans ALL the time. Happy cleaning!

    • Thank you so much for that Cheryl. And I can’t wait to use my new pans. Cleaning them is not so much fun, but they are going to be awfully pretty when I’m finished with them. :)

  9. Great post and I am so glad you are back!!!

  10. Karen Rocha says:

    Welcome back! Love seeing the antiquing posts…and I don’t even like to antique. I think *because* I don’t enjoy it, I totally enjoy seeing it through the eyes of someone who does. If you feel like doing a “how-to” I would love to see how you turn those cast iron pans into something beautiful–I always feel so intiminated by the NO SOAP EVEH rule….

    • Hi Karen! I have a friend who is working on a cast iron cleaning post. As soon as she gets it up I will link to it. Good information to have! And as far as the no soap rule goes, I use stoneware that has the same requirement. No soap for cleaning. Just a scraper and hot water. I’ve been cooking with it for 20+ years and I haven’t died yet. :)

  11. LOVE the cast iron! Envious of the cast iron, a bit. :-)
    Seeing yourself in your own history is such a cool thing. Happy to have you back, too.

  12. I started my blog as a frugal one soon after I got married in ’08, so when I “met” you I was instantly drawn to you and your style. Since then I have found out that I am in an unfortunate classification known as “infertile”, but I’m active and still young. I have slowly stopped posting because I want to write about that… it is all that is on my mind… but the courage to do so squishes me, I can’t bring myself to do it, so when you write about your tenderness and heart on your “new” blog it encourages me to maybe do the same thing… To let people know I am hurting and enjoy their comments as prayers… Until I gain courage I’ll continue to boil but appreciate your words of wisdom and transparency.

    • Alyssa, I’m so sorry about your infertility. I can’t even imagine the pain you are going through. That said, I want to encourage you to write about it. It is so therapeutic to write when you are going through trials. Also, rebranding is not as scary as it seems. Especially if you explain to people why you are doing it. You will be surprised by how many of your readers will stick around. Being raw and transparent is scary, but in the end I think you’ll be surprised by the support you will receive. Hang in there.

      P.S. If you ever entertain the idea of adoption, email me. I have a lot to say about what a good thing that is to do.

  13. Lets talk about why my kitchen table is posted on your blog;) I luv antiques also and I inherited mine with a matching china cabinet from my beloved MIL.

    • Do you have a table like that??? I am so jealous! I thought that was the cat’s meow! You lucky girl.

      • TheresaEH says:

        my in-laws bought it in 1950-51, and it is PERFECT condition. It moved with them thru a dozen military postings. Just clean with stainless steel cleaner and it looks like the store just delivered it. The chairs survived but had to be recovered.

  14. Great post; you look pretty darn good in the selfie!
    Funny how it does not matter what you write about I can relate and enjoy!
    Have a wonderful day!

    • Thank you for the compliment Bev! And I’m so glad that you can relate to my posts. That makes me the happiest. :)

  15. Melanie, I think of you every time I’m at the Goodwill and see Pyrex!

    And don’t feel bad about the brain freeze, we all get them. :O)

  16. Elizabeth L says:

    Melanie,

    In life things come and go. Cycles come and go. How we feel often changes. It seems like everyone surrounding me (me included) lately feels as you do. I keep telling myself, “one step at a time, one day (one moment) at a time.” Eventually I have found that if I can focus on that one little thing I am doing I become contented to do that. I am not where I want to be in life. My life is upside down right now.. but, what I want to relate to you is that old saying, “This too shall pass!”

    On the other side of whatever it is that you’re going through you will be happier and more confident and contented. Hang in there, keep your chin up and know that your readers are here, have been here, will be here when you are. Take a break, a breath. Regroup, go in a different direction, run, skip, hop… do what makes you happy!! Then come back! We will be here!

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