Chatter Creek Cottage: Lilacs




I can’t help thinking about poetry when I see these lovely lilacs that grow in our side garden. When I was a teenager I loved poetry, most particularly Victorian poets like Shelly, Byron and Robert and Elizabeth Browning. I can still sit and read poetry aloud until all hours of the night. I love poetry because it takes me to a place of solitude, a place of stillness, a place where images are vivid and my love for life is heightened. I remember standing at the top of a castle and looking down on London many years ago. All I could utter was: “Dear God, the very houses seem asleep and all that mighty heart is lying still.” I stole the words of a poet to express what I felt in that moment. The poem is by William Wordsworth.

I wish I could find the words and the metaphors to describe how much I love lilacs but not a crime to write bad poetry. The only way I can say it:

Lilac tree, your subtle scent, your regal reach

Oh, Where did you come from?

Was it a genie that brought you here or a fairy gnome?

Perhaps the earth beneath?


Your vibrant lilac flowers

are music to my soul

And every mile away I walk

Your colors I behold


I dare not touch your fragile song

that finds me in my sleep

and keeps me at your beck and call

where the days do linger deep


Now every sigh and tender kiss

Are carried in your breath

I will take you with me

Far beyond the day of death


My senses drink your endless air

Perfumed with taste so sweet.

I will do your bidding

As the lilac sky retreats




Chatter Creek Cottage: Now That’s a Farm Table!

IMG_20160515_083912831_HDRAnd I didn’t have to search up and down Sullivan County to find it! That’s because I have a very talented neighbor who offered to build one for me. Well, there are people who say they’re going to do things for you but they never do. That’s not Shawn, aside from being sweet, handsome, gifted, delightfully and gently sarcastic and humorously endearing. He can create, build, envision and amaze. He even offered to white wash our upstairs hall. He might even do our bedroom wide plank floors. Now that’s a good neighbor, a good friend and a very sweet man.


I could go on and on about my neighbors, Shawn and Kris in Hortonville. They are both so unique and so gifted and to think that at their young age they found each other in this crowded world, I’d say it was a gift and no doubt due to Kris’ spiritual radar.

Would love to have you all for dinner. You must see this table, aged and gloriously stained, made by an artisan and so perfect that I should have had him sign it. In a hundred years someone else will love it as we do, and a hundred years after that people we will never know will break bread, drink wine and laugh with friends, as we intend to do for a long, long time, on Shawn’s farm table.

Chatter Creek Cottage: Mother’s Day

IMG_20160508_095338605Oh, I remember my Mom, not just today but practically everyday. She was unforgettable. She gave me an outrageously silly sense of humor, her blue eyes, a love of dogs and music and long walks. My Mom survived a horrific child hood and learned to play the stock market.She became a millionaire by the time she was thirty. She was a Show Girl and loved money, diamonds and mink, very much a product of her generation. But she believed that women were smarter and wiser than men and taught me that independence is a saving grace, not a determent.


I am to this day very bonded with my mother, perhaps because I was an only child. I did not have a conventional childhood, it was rebellious and often painful but my mother was always my best friend, even when I didn’t know it. She supported me creatively and thought I was capable of attaining anything I wanted. I remember what made her smile – a good dinner, gay men and a very fast speedboat ride on a river. She also liked the Ferris Wheel, the trotters and Johnny Walker Black on the rocks. We both sang off key but nothing kept us from singing.

She died too young, she was fifty-six. I never think of her as very far away though. Every time I laugh, every time I ache, every time I see a beautiful woman with a baby I see my mother. I see her with those shinning eyes and that mischievous grin and I touch that place inside of me that taught me love. I miss you, Mom, as always

Chatter Creek Cottage: Eclectic, Sort of Like Me

IMG_20160501_084311476I don’t think you can really plan out exactly how you want to decorate your country house, I think it evolves the more time you spend there. I’ve never been one to be strictly contemporary; I find that could be cold, even stark and uninviting. Yet I have a contemporary end table in the library because it’s unique. It stands out with its three legged steel base and glass top, very striking, especially with a beautiful vase of flowers on it. I also don’t like everything to be old but I love the character of antiques, not necessarily very old antiques but if you look at the photograph of my living room you’ll see that what you’re looking at is Victorian, for the most part. The pastels are landscapes by a turn of the century artist whose name escapes me at the moment but he was pretty well known. The oval on the end is a Victorian watercolor. The couch is Victorian that I picked up at a great price from my friend Lee, who reminds me of the guy who owned the antique store in the novel, The Goldfinch. The chair is a modern wicker from Pier One, the masks are authentic African masks and the table is a nice distressed coffee table probably from the 70’s. Definitely eclectic but I really love it. We’ll be changing out the coffee table for one built by an artisan. This guy makes furniture from blue stone and white birch. His pieces are fabulous.

I like the eclectic feel, it’s country without being obvious, It’s old without being pretentious and it’s modern without being boring. We’ll be buying Jute rugs for the floor and upstairs we may just white wash. I never feel restricted at Chatter Creek; I’m not just one big splash of color. I’m a smorgasbord, a rainbow, a Jackson Pollack an Edward Hooper. I’m a little bit country but you can dress me up and take me to the Opera any old day. I’m just eclectic. If I see it and I like it and it speaks to me I’m going to take it home and give it room to breathe.