Coffee Notes: November Is My Favorite



Hello all,

November is my favorite month.  In Georgia, it's when we get our first tastes of really cooler weather and the month when frosts comes and leaves begin to change color.  Oh there are a few cooler nights in September and more in October, but it's more consistent in November.  A few leaves will jump the gun and change with the blooming of the golden rod but it is after the golden rod is mostly done and only a few fresh stems remain that the frost begins the annual color change in our area.  This week we had our first frosts and now we've got the most lovely colors all about us.  

The days are cooler, but warm up into the low 70's and the mornings are chilly.   We run both heat and AC most days and the blessing of the automatic thermostat is that no one has to get up and change from one to the other after sitting about shivering or standing around boiling hot as the house gets much warmer indoors than it is outdoors.

So why 'Coffee Notes'?   Well it's getting cool to be standing about in the yard chatting over a fence isn't it?   And coffee is most assuredly the drink wanted (or something else equally as warming) while one is having a chat.  And it seems to me that good old fashioned letters are much to be desired and if this isn't a real old fashioned letter it might at least somewhat resemble one, so change of title for a favorite old post.  And do feel free to take a cuppa of something warm and soothing and sit down for a refreshing moment in your day.

Right now, John is working out a new arrangement of an old song on his guitar and Caleb was hyper-focused on turning knobs and pulling strings and plucking at John's hands, so I asked if I might bring out the rugged old 'toy' guitar which isn't a toy at all but is a small guitar that every grandchild since Daniel has played about with.  If a string breaks we remove it and we don't bother to tune it.  The children have plucked and tugged and stood on the old thing for the longest time now so we figure no real harm is done.   It's keeping Caleb occupied.   He loves music and will go running if John is playing music on YouTube or his computer and stay to listen until the music is done.   He's been happy with harmonicas and kazoos and bells and maracas, has played with, but isn't inspired, by the toy xylophone.

And I am sitting here waiting for the eggs to reach hard boiled stage for making tuna salad and egg salad while little boy is more or less occupied...Here he comes now dragging the guitar behind him.

I am dealing with either a minor cold or a case of allergies.  I'll lean harder on the allergy side of things at present, but am not ruling out the minor cold entirely.  Little children have a way of surprising one with a slobbery item right out of their mouths and they pop it into yours and it's too late to do a thing about it after.   Both Caleb and Millie each managed this odd slight of hand Tuesday and I was the recipient both times.   Result was that by the time Millie went home my throat was burning slightly.  I've been taking Tylenol, drinking lots of fluids, gargling with salt water and taking vitamin C.  I've got some Shield oil as well.  Hopefully that will knock it out.  I'm following old fashioned advice with the rest, fluids and pain reliever.  I believe it was recommended with good reason ages upon ages ago and I think it's worthwhile to continue that practice.  

John on the other hand has always loved to say "Make like circus folk and walk it off..."  aka "The show must go on..."   Well, as I keep telling him I am not in a circus, though I'll be the first to admit that part is truly debatable,  and this is no show.  

One promise I made myself when I came home to be a homemaker was that when I was sick I would take time out to heal and I've made good on that promise at least.  I've let hundreds of other  ailments go simply because it didn't suit another or I was not taking care of myself as I ought but this one, I've kept.  Unlike my former paying positions, I'm losing nothing at all by resting and getting well.  I'm not missing pay.  I'm not using up time I haven't got to use for sick leave or vacation.  I'm not inconveniencing an entire office or ruining scheduling for anyone.  It's a small business here at home and the CFO can be sick now and then and no one fall apart.   Good heavens, 2015 proved that to be truth!  I was in the hospital for ten days and somehow dishes got done, beds got made, clothes got washed, food was eaten, children were kept, and bills got paid, all without my help.  

While John was at men's meeting, I kept a promise to myself to watch something I enjoy, eat something I enjoy and enjoy my time alone.  I had Chicken Pot stickers and egg rolls for supper.  I don't know just why I'm so fond of the things but I really like them a lot.  So that was supper.  

I'd planned to watch something from my collection of DVDs but I was looking at the autumn weather.  The skies were threatening rain almost all day long.  Some of the trees are bare.  Some have changed color....It's looking very autumnal and that made me think of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.   

Why does autumn put me in mind of that show?   Well the colors of the clothing worn by Midge are so heavily saturated and the combinations so vivid and lovely.  It makes me think of autumn.  Specifically though, I thought of the second episode of the second season.   The focus is only half on Midge Maisel  The other half is on her mother, Rose Weismann.

The story of Rose, a middle aged mom,  who has 'gotten lost' somewhere while her daughter's marriage falls apart, the grandchildren are left in her care, her husband listens about as well as most and is alternately distant or angry at the inroads the grandchildren and daughter are making in his formerly orderly life appeals to me....Well I sort of just described my own life.  But Rose is most definitely in the autumn of her own life and she's finding she isn't exactly fond of the season she's in.  Like most of us, she's always done as she 'ought to do' and been a good person and tried to smooth the ways of others but she's begun taking a long look at her life and she's not liking her role in it any longer.

When I first watched this, I couldn't identify at all with Rose, or at least, very little.  Grown children and troubled marriages, yes yes did that a few times.   But the grandchildren, distant and sometimes upset husband, that feeling of being not quite invisible but taken for granted like the chair you always plop into when you walk into a room... Yeah.

In most modern day versions, the wife would stray or take a younger lover.  Thankfully Rose does neither of those things.  She is wise enough to see that the problem is not going to be fixed with an interlude of lust.  No, the problem is deeper and it's rooted in her own way of responding to the needs of others.

Rose leaves.  She moves to Paris.

Honestly, now.  Have you ever just wanted to run away?   

I have.  Not to Paris, but to an isolated little home in the country, tucked away in the dips and valleys of hilly pastures, with a big old oak hanging over the house giving it shade.  Once upon a time, I had that little home all set up in my mind.  It was fitted out with comfortable and lovely pieces of furniture.  A couple of cozy rocking chairs, an ottoman all drawn near to a  fireplace with a low burning fire.   A big old feather bed with a pile of handmade quilts to snuggle under.  A bright and sunny kitchen with a window sill full of blooms.  Lace curtains at all the windows.     Oh yes, that was my house...

Rose moves to Paris.  She's become such a familiar object that no one even notices she's gone until she's been gone nearly a week.  Her husband vaguely recalls her saying she was going.  It is Midge who discovers that all her clothes are gone.   They find the maid in the kitchen packing up Rose's grandmother's china, the only one who knew Rose was leaving or where she was going.   That's part of what happens in Episode one of Season two.  

Rose moves to Paris and goes back to the little garret apartment she rented in her only independent year of life.   She does things she hasn't done in ages.  She cooks.  She eats.  She dines out. She truly enjoys food but in an effort to be perfectly thin and perfectly the way every magazine describes she's survived for years now on grapefruit half and toast and black coffee for breakfast, on a cottage cheese and hamburger plate for lunch, on scant mouthfuls of whatever dinner the maid prepared.  

But she does more than eat.   She visits museums and takes an art class.  She shops at the market and converses with her neighbors.   She lives sparely and a little sloppily compared to the perfection she exacted at home.  

But I said that it was episode two that was my favorite...

In episode two, Abe has gone to Paris to fetch Rose back and he's stayed with her.   The Paris that Rose knew as a girl, the Paris that defined who she was once upon a time, now is the the Paris that holds romantic memories for her and her husband.  They picnic in the park.  They dance on the bridge over the Seine.  They dine out.  They spoon on a narrow bed, snuggled together for warmth.   This is the Paris of her personal autumn, a shared season.  It is romantic and lovely and full of joy and she thrives in that atmosphere.

Yes, I've wanted to run away.  I have.  But more than that I long for this shared season of autumn where who I am is defined by the married me, the part of me that has always been grateful for such a good man in my life, with the same man who went out of his way to court me the last two years he was employed.   Not the frustrated man I so often hear just now.  And I suspect he'd like something other than the tired overlooked woman I've become as well.

No, we're not in a marital crisis.  But I think recognizing myself in Rose Weismann tonight was a reminder not to let this season be defined by the things that are happening about us.  Nor to lose sight of who we are as halves of a couple.  And maybe a reminder as well to make the time to be a couple of romantics.

Eventually, Rose and Abe say goodbye to Paris.  For Abe, it was a nice vacation, a time of refreshing for his marriage and perhaps a reawakening of what made him fall in love with the girl who became his wife.  Rose...Well Rose bids a sad and solemn goodbye to Paris.  She thinks she's leaving behind the woman she's only recently found herself to be.  She expects to go home and be that old comfy chair that no one misses until it's been moved away once more.  

In the scene where they are back at home, we see Rose with her tiny cup of black coffee, half a grapefruit before her being pushed about on her plate, a rack of dry toast and the family bustling away at their lives around her.   She is that comfortable bit of furniture, there but not seen once again.  But her husband finds he quite likes the woman she was in Paris.  He signs her up to audit art history classes at the university where he works.  He enrolls them in dance classes.  

 Of course, the story of their personal change  more or less continues through season 2.   And was meant to go on through a third season but that hasn't happened and may never...Production was a casualty of the last two years in this country.   And the show wasn't really about Rose's autumn.  No it was all about Midge's summer.   The story of Rose's autumn was just a nice little interlude they tossed in as a contrast to Midge's life.   But it was a lovely reminder of how autumn isn't a stagnant season, but one of change as much as any other.

And that's all I have to share this time.  I've so enjoyed chatting with you.  


Terri C.

(C) Terri Cheney

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