One lump or two

I microwaved the tea bag, and it came out looking an old-fashioned brown color. You know, that maroonish-brown color that inhabits every surface at your Great Aunt Edna’s house… from the maroonish-brown couch, to the maroonish-brown carpet, to the brownish-maroon wall paneling.

Well, anyway, the tea bag was that color.

I read somewhere once that you shouldn’t microwave your tea water because it takes the oxygen out of it, and your tea tastes flat.

Lemon Zinger it was. I cradled the orange cone-shaped mug like a Californian conch shell and listened to the sparkling fizz of the Lemon Zinger bag.

Next, I pulled out a metal spoon to catch the honey which I was to squeeze in. Now I don’t use the spoon to measure the honey.  Just to catch the honey before it spills into the tea. I generally pour in immeasurable amounts of honey. Now that seems kind of silly.

The tea tasted like Fruit Loops.

That is all.

This has been Your Weekly Etiquette Remark.

Great Aunt Edna Revisited

It’s that time of year, you know. For traveling. Visiting relatives. Spending your whole Christmas vacation with family and friends. Whether you’ll celebrate close to home, or travel far away, you’ll stay at Great Aunt Edna’s. You know you will.

Let’s start in your sleeping quarters.

The first indication that you are at Great Aunt Edna’s is the inappropriately fuzzy cat on your bed.

Or the feline icon staring down at you while you sleep.

Perhaps your favorite piece of art, bringing you many hours of personal happiness, is the glittery, golden, sequined cat tapestry.

Great Aunt Edna has an affinity for cats, you see.

And monkeys?

Surprisingly, Great Aunt Edna affords several unique (random) holiday touches.

There’s also a china doll on your bed. One that you can’t wait to sell on ebay.

Anyone, though, can appreciate her anti-Barbie, genetically-appropriate body sizing.

Check out those gams.

The bedroom gallery includes a street chalk drawing of a vague ancestor.

There remains, though, several artifacts worth rummaging for…

Big Ben, West Clox. This clock is older than me. No batteries, no electricity, you wind it. Why don’t they make stuff like this today?

Found these in their original packaging in the closet. I probably wouldn’t pair them with a housecoat (as originally intentioned), but I LOVE THEM! (I am honest, though. I did not sneak them out of the house.)

Other random items include… decorated hangers…

“Hey, Edna, want to hang out this Friday night?”

“No, I’m decorating my closet hangers, and I just haven’t quite finished them all yet. Maybe another time?”


Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Great Aunt Edna

I’m sure most of you have heard of her: Great Aunt Edna. She’s very famous. A lot of you probably have your own Great Aunt Edna. If not, then you’ve surely visited someone else’s Great Aunt Edna and have therefore been inside her home. There are several things about Great Aunt Edna’s home that make her so memorable (and endearing?). While I would never want to pick on Great Aunt Edna (because she surely has more wisdom than I can imagine) (or personally hope for), there is something interesting about the “Great Aunt Edna’s” residences world-wide: they’re predictable. From the house cats to the rusty tub to dusty houseplants in yarn ceiling hangers, it’s been done before. In the kitchen, copper cookware is artfully arranged on the wall. There’s a plastic table-cloth in the dining room. Too-small calendars (flipped to the right month, of course) hang in prominent locations. The bedrooms have metal bed frames and crocheted bed covers and touch lamps that were hip in the 90s. And there’s a funny smell that only young children have enough courage to mention. On the windowsill is a collection of green bottles; two of them are in the shape of maple leaves, one smaller than the other. Probably from a bus tour to the New England states in 1983.

Here’s a little photo diary depicting “Great Aunt Edna”:

1. The Kitchen. Notice the mini-grill holding the ketchup and mustard. Kitsch.

2. “Great Aunt Edna” homes regularly have tacky conversation pieces. This particular little gem has hidden magnets in the spinner and the back of the plaque so that the spinner (normally) only stops on “Go Hunting.” Hilarious, right?

3. Right next to that tub is this bathroom joke book “for people on the go”… (?)

4. One of the best things about Great Aunt Edna’s is some of the amazing furniture pieces that seem to materialize straight out of the 50s. This particular chair I’ve entitled “the Man Chair.” By opening the seat, one discovers a place to store one’s shoes. A shirt and pair of pants can neatly be stored on the back, and the top is reserved for spare change and a billfold. Clearly this chair does not disappoint. (Unless you’re a girl.) Go to your local Sear’s store to make your special Father’s Day purchase today.

5. Were we talking about plant hangers?

6. Great Aunt Edna might even serve you some soup… curiously yellow soup. (Hotel Alpina, Murren, Switzerland)

7. Deceased vermin in Great Aunt Edna’s basement window wells.

8. Great Aunt Edna herself! (Woman, Luxembourg)

9. Or is this Great Aunt Edna?

10. The hallway. (forgivable, because it’s 400 years old, and in France)

11. My sister, Abigail, wondering how she got conned into staying at Great Aunt Edna’s house on yet another choir tour. Here the pictures are hung too high. And there are funny window clings. And a stuf-fed animal.

12. The most recent addition to the photo diary: legit antique earbuds (circa 1970s) found in an old drawer. We’re assuming that’s Uncle Humphrey’s ear wax.

So there you have Great Aunt Edna. She’s so predictable. Now that we’ve explored and labeled her domain, we must ask the question: is she inspiring today’s designers? Take a look and see!

13. The “Great Aunt Edna” inspired sitting room.

14. Would she have worn these shoes? Cuz I totally just bought them.

15. Notecards, [Series No. 4]. Evoke a mid-century minimalism, complemented by vintage envelopes reminiscent of Great Aunt Edna’s sheets. Ironically, the black-and-white Florida memory cards depict various locations in Sarasota.

Now you tell me: what is YOUR favorite Great Aunt Edna memory?