Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Winter Furniture and Mink Throws for the Rich!

With leisurely summer vacations and the autumn solstice now behind us, it's that time of year again to knuckle down and face the hectic Fall Social Season as well as the onslaught of holidays ahead. Except for the Pillsbury Dough Boy, I haven't seen any Christmas ads on TV yet. But as soon as Halloween is over you know very well that all hell is about to break loose. It's exciting to be sure, but scary as well with all the crazy work coming up!

Of course in major homes (like this one where I work) the house staff, secretaries, personal assistants and events planners get an early jump on all this, starting in mid-summer. We've already had our Christmas cards designed and printed, and they're going to the calligrapher in November as soon as we finalize the list - the usual fuss about who's in and who's out this year.

More importantly, we've already pinpointed the dates for a major fundraiser, two political cocktail buffets, and the annual Christmas gala for friends and family. All of which makes it easier for our events planner to schedule caterers, musicians, florists, house decorators, valet parkers and security, with plenty of time to design party invitations and save-the-date notices.

On my end, I have to keep up with all the gift shopping for the season and make sure that all goes smoothly and timely, especially for gifts that must be shipped overseas. Mercifully I have our personal shopper to lean on for most of the heavy lifting. But my other big task this month is to bring down all the winter furniture and trappings from the attic.

What? What's that you might ask?

I know, right! But it's true. While most of us have furnishings and accessories that suffice us year round in our comfy homes and apartments, not so for the super rich. There's such a thing as spring and summer furniture and fabrics, versus autumn and winter.

Lightweight breathable fabrics with airy light colors and floral prints are for spring and summer furnishings, of course. Heavier fabrics (such as wool, tweed, flannel and corduroy) with darker solid colors and plaids are for the autumn and winter months - providing a warm and inviting look on cold wintry evenings.This goes for bed clothes (sheets, pillow cases, bedspreads, duvets and shams) as well as draperies, curtains, furniture pillows and throw blankets. So we've got a lot of work to do in switching the house from summer to winter.

I have to tell you that in this house most of the throw blankets are made of genuine mink, although there's a big one in the Family Room made of Chinchilla. Which reminds me, I need to run get them out of cold storage where we send send them during hot summer months - along with the household furs. But in case you're curious, for more information about fur throws you might check out this website. They have many different furs from mink to rabbit to suit anyone's budget. Well, except for mine I guess. But I'm totally cool (which is to say warm) with my old-fashioned cotton quilts.

The whole subject of furs is intriguing and complicated. Certainly I'm aware of PETA's stance on animal rights and their objection to rich people wearing furs for the sake of glamour - and they have a point. Indeed, just this week California became the first US state to ban the manufacture and sale of clothing items made from furs. Prada has announced they'll eliminate furs in their future fashion lines. And a major world-famous department store, Selfridges in London, has announced limited sales of exotic skins.

But furs have been a part of human history since the dawn of time in keeping people warm - from cave dwellers in prehistoric days right up through British royalty and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The argument is strong that with modern fabrics and manufacturing techniques the need for furs to keep humans warm is no longer necessary. So it becomes a matter of personal conscience, asethetics, and the passion for beauty that keeps furs in the picture. If Regina ever stops wearing those exquisite ermine furs when she's holding court at Buckingham Palace, then perhaps we'll witness a sea change in this social delimna. We'll just have to wait and see where all this goes. 

Sorry for straying so far off topic, but it's a fascinating and confounding subject. All of this assumes we'll even have a winter this year anyway, but with climate change and all, who knows, right? I guess the most prudent thing to do is to keep going on with traditions as if all is well and nothing is wrong.

I hope your plans for autumn and the holidays are going smoothly and that you don't have to break your backs dragging winter furniture down from the attic. And by all means, don't forget to grab your furs out of cold storage before the winter chill sets in.

As always, thanks for stopping by this evening,

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lab Notes: National Dog Day 2019!

Hello dear ones,

My name is Nash. I'm Andrew's Yellow Lab. There's another canine fellow living  here too named Nick, a Golden Retriever. He's a real piece of work that one, and wouldn't retrieve anything if his life depended on it - but more about him later.

Technically we belong to Mr. Farber, the rich man who owns this house and three-acre property. But Andrew is our go-to guy for treats, walks in the park, and unpleasant visits to our vet. Basically we're outdoor dogs, mainly because the humans around here are afraid we'll shed or pee or poop inside the house - which is more Nick's fault than mine, but I get blamed for it too.

Anyhow, it's been really hot today so Andrew let us go upstairs to his garage apartment to chill and watch TV. While he's out running errands, I'm taking the opportunity to jump on his laptop (which he really doesn't like!) to remind you that National Dog Day is coming up on the 26th on this month. I thinks it's so cool how it corresponds with the Dog Days of Summer, which Nick and I have both enjoyed immensely.

The thing is, we've got it good here with our rich owners; plenty of food and treats, a really fun groomer coming once a week to tidy us up, and there's a huge infinity swimming pool in the back yard that's open all night. Rich people have a thing for pedigreed dogs like me and Nick, which I don't fully understand. But I can't help but worry about all the homeless dogs I see out there roaming around on the streets without pedigrees, and the desperate ones in shelters.

There's so much we can all do to help. Like when Andrew takes me to Petco (one of the few pitiful stores that lets my species come in) he always hits the "Donate" button to shelters when we get to the cash register. In fact, rich humans can add animal shelters to their charity list (especially the no-kill ones!) and many of them do already. They and we can also donate our time just to go to the shelters to pet and play with all the abandoned cats and dogs who need affection so badly.

Humans can also volunteer to be temporary foster parents until a permanent home can be found for lonely souls. Nick told me he had foster parents at one point in his life but they took him back and exchanged him for a cat, which wouldn't surprise me one bit! But I'm pretty sure he said that just to scare and intimidate me. I know for a fact (from his chart at the vet) that he's been here since he was a little pup.

It's not that Nick is a bad guy, but he really gets on my nerves. He got to this house first and claimed his territory. Ok, fine, I understand that. But then when I came along he was totally indignant and never lets me forget for one minute that this is his place. If someone dares to pet me on the head, he'll absolutely knock me over to get his own head petted. When it's time for treats, he gets his first or otherwise there's a scuffle.

Then if Andrew or anyone else is throwing tennis balls (which I LOVE to chase) Nick just lays there like  "Let that other fool run after it". Which makes me furious! Some retriever, huh?

His whole game is controlling the balls, not running after them. And he will spend his entire miserable day trying to get the ball away from me. Like if I go down to the pool to take or swim, or god forbid take a nap, then BOOM! the ball is gone! Seriously, the guy has issues which really drive me mad. (Well, not that kind of mad; I have all my rabies shots and can prove it!)

Uh oh! I just heard Andrew's car door slam! He'll be coming up the stairs any minute! Gotta close his laptop quick and curl up in a corner, like I'm sleeping!

Until next time...