Re-Bonjour… Hello After Too Long Apart!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Greetings Diva Readers and apologies for the delay since my last posting.

Clotilde Dusoulier, the author of the uber-popular blog Chocolate & Zucchini, wrote upon writing her first book, “Maintaining a blog takes time, but the gratification went far beyond what I imagined. Not only did I feel that I was building something, but it also revealed myself to myself: how passionate I was about food & writing…”

Last week while in Paris, I picked up Clotilde’s book (I hate to call it a cookbook as it is so much more than mere recipes) at Shakespeare & Co and the first passage I read about blogging sent me spiraling into despair – I found that in my absence this past month from working on my blog on a regular basis that I missed you & I missed the process of writing as much as I missed antique shopping & keeping my finger on the pulse of the European antiques & brocante world.

With my nephew, Gabriel, visiting for 1 ½ months & trips planned to 5 countries (and 10 different destinations) during his stay, I simply didn’t have the time to write for my blog. Quite honestly, I didn’t have time for my own life either and found myself checking out of my ordinary existence – missing appointments, ignoring emails and canceling dates with regularity as I stepped into a world that revolved around someone other than my husband and myself. I had become a full time Aunty and as much I loved having Gabriel here, traveling & showing him the world (and now after he’s returned to the USA this week find myself downright maudlin in his departure), I found that I too missed my normal life as well and that life includes you, my dear readers.

Sometimes when I post a blog, I wonder as I’m sending my words into cyberspace if they are read and wonder why I spend so much time writing for little reward. But then I get another comment from a reader, or realize I’m nearing the 20,000 hits mark, or I receive another email from a stranger on the other side of the globe wanting travel shopping advice and I realize that you, my readers, are as much a part of my life as my neighbor next door. Sometimes my neighbor and I ignore one another across our terrace, giving each other the briefest of waves, but other times we stop one another for a long, convoluted chat catching up over a loaf of bread as we’re both in the bakery, or sit down for a cup of coffee in a café on the town square. But last week as I was lamenting the loss of contact with my readers, I realized that I write my blog as much for myself as I do for my readers. Through writing my blog & giving you antique shopping addresses, I prioritize my database, fine-tuning the information for the antique shopping tours I lead or the public speaking I enjoy. I review what I’ve done in a given week or plan what I’m going to do in the next and occasionally, every once in a while, I give you personal glimpses into my day to day life – the life I lead when I’m not The Antiques Diva ™.

When I’m not The Diva, I’m a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a sister, a friend, a volunteer, a club president, a tour guide, an expat, an American through and through, an international citizen, a conservative liberal, a democrat, an avid reader, a Christian, a teacher, an artist, a dreamer, an interior decorator and yes, a writer. I’m me.

This past month & a half my life has been turned on its tale as my nephew has visited me. Perhaps he’s the world’s greatest 16 year old, but he didn’t scream once, throw a tantrum or act like I would expect a 16 year old to act – and he sure as hell didn’t behave as I did at 16. He was grateful & appreciative of the fact that we’d turned our life upside down to show him the world.

On his 16th birthday we gave him a globe and said, “We want to give you the world”, and give him the world we did, taking him all across the UK showing him Leeds Castle, Stonehenge, Stratford upon Avon, London & Oxford. From Wittenberg, Germany to Berlin, from the Loire Valley – Amboise, Chenonceau and Chambord to Paris, Brussels & Beyond, as well as Amsterdam and all across the Netherlands we shared our life and our world with him, helping him to realize that he can do anything, go anywhere, preparing him for a future that involved being a man about town. Forget town, let’s say “a man about the world”. We read Hemingway together and talked about Paris (or all of Europe for that matter) being a “moveable feast” and that wherever he went this experience would go with him. Though to be honest, I don’t know that he needed our help, our feast, or our incentive, for my sister is doing an awfully good job.

My sister, Missy, & I couldn’t be any more different if we tried. While on the surface, I’m all champagne & pearls, gourmet recipes and shiny cars, Missy on the surface is baby food & diapers, paint brushes, and homeschooling, a bohemian pastors wife, and she is my best friend. The person I call when I am sad, when I need a helping hand, when I can’t figure out how to phrase a particular sentence in my blog or book (she too is a writer & artist). She’s who I call when I feel equally like taking a long hot bath, but not being alone, when my husband is out of town, or late home from work. And to know me, dear readers, is to know my sister, who lives a life that is a polar opposite of mine, and yet, we’re sisters. Born of the same bl
ood, birthed from the same womb, and we are so startlingly similar at times that both my husband (and my nephew on his recent visit) gasp aloud over our bizarre similarities in expressions and phrases of words especially when mad or in intense joy or giddy excitement.

To see each of our lives as an outsider, you might not catch it, that essence that makes us sisters – but today I thought that as I’m returning from a long time away that not only would I say “Re-Bonjour”, but that I would also introduce you to my sister. She writes a blog – Hancock Family Art – and while I’m leading tours & writing a book on this side of the Atlantic, she writes to you from her side of the pond… telling about her life in a decisively different way than I talk about mine and yet, if you read long enough, I suspect you too will laugh out loud over the similarities hidden beneath the surface.

“You can’t always judge a book by its cover,” I always say. And perhaps that is the type of phrase my sister would have written on one of her art pieces or jewelry for sale… I mentioned that my sister is an artist, but it is not just my sister. In fact, her entire family is a family of artists and they are selling their work in an e-store at Etsy. So, not only am I introducing you to my sister but I am , in true diva fashion, giving you yet another address to shop your heart out – toEY92AWcM/s1600-h/antiques+diva+pointing.jpg”>toEY92AWcM/s320/antiques+diva+pointing.jpg” border=”0″ />diva style! In the meantime, as you go about your art shopping, I must run. My battery is running low, both figuratively & literally, as I sit writing today’s blog from a brilliant pink lawn chair on my geranium & petunia filled terrace, with a glass of vin blanc resting on one side of the chair and my cat, Catpuccino, leisurely sunning his belly on the other.

Until Next Time,

The Antiques Diva ™