ABBA, Dancing Queen
In 1989, the Sweetie and I bought my Aunt Normie’s house on Vashon. The house sat back from the road on a high-bank waterfront with a view of Quartermaster Harbor, the Yacht Club, and Mt. Rainier. The decorating style was true to the 1970s and featured a small, separate kitchen, avocado green appliances, formica in the kitchen and bathrooms, oak everywhere, a spindled room divider, and gold, shag wall-to-wall carpet. I had loved the house for years and was thrilled with every detail…except for the gold shag wall-to-wall carpet. As soon as we had a little stash saved up, we tore out the gold shag and installed quieter, sage green plush. It never occurred to us to replace it with hard wood floors, that was a trend yet to come.
Our current house, built in 2016, is also true to the decorating styles of its decade: open concept, stainless steel appliances, subway-tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, and…beige, wall-to-wall, contractor-grade carpet. As soon as we had a little stash saved up, we replaced the wall-to-wall with hard surface flooring, it never occurred to us to replace it with better carpet.
As I stopped following decorating trends years ago, I thought I would check in with Mr. Google to see what’s in and what’s out. I’ve been out for so long that the cycle has started over again: floral wallpaper is in; mixing Gramma’s wicker, ruffles, and chintz with modern touches (called “grandmillennial style”) is in; tapestries are back (time to pull your mother’s William Morris out from under the bed); “whimsical” bathrooms are in; black and white is in but all white is out, barn doors are out, word art is over, the Italian villa kitchen look is passé (Oh no, what to do with all that gold-veined marble), your futon is no longer relevant, and that zebra rug in front of the futon…out it goes. Don’t know what world these people live in, but no one I know would toss a perfectly good zebra rug.
There is one “in” trend that I consistently support: “layering new and old”, although my decor tends more toward the layering of old and old. Our furniture is piecemeal: a cabinet given to us in 1983 by LA apartment neighbors, Bob’s grandpa’s buffet and dining room chairs, an oak table Beth used for years and returned with the broken extensions fixed by her father, a funky, green chest built by Irvine Allen, a leather couch bought during one of Ted’s Eugene visits, the black bedroom dresser—a gift from our 501 neighbor Anne’s sister, and the yellow table lamp, brought along from another life. Ginny has been a big factor in our decorating style, both inside and out. In 1979 she recovered a rocker I bought at Grannie’s, one year she made me the cutest ever bark cloth foot stool, and this year she donated a stunning red leather chair and red metal table for the office—also a Grannie’s find, recovered a beautiful side chair she found on the sidewalk, and…lugged the stump of my dreams up from the beach.
Regardless of what the trends are, I will always love solid wood doors, hardwood floors, subway tiles, white kitchens, concrete counters and floors, glass brick walls, mosaic anything, rocking chairs, oriental rugs, stained glass windows, braided wool rugs, long dining room tables, kitchen slide-in booths, folding room dividers, and, last but not least, quilts everywhere.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled, long grain rice
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1 Tbl minced garlic
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 slices of bread, torn
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 23 ounce can condensed tomato soup
- 1 cup beef stock or water
- 8 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Make the Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a bowl, add all sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a small bowl add the bread and milk and gently press down. Allow to soak for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl add the rest of the meatball ingredients. Add the panade mixture (milk and bread) to the bowl. Without overworking the mixture, gently mix just to combine. The mixture should be wet but hold a shape when you form it into a ball.
- Scoop enough meat mixture to form a 2” round ball. Wet your hands and shape. Damp hands are a trick to keeping the mixture from sticking to your hands.
- Place the meatballs in a 3-4 quart baking dish or 9×13” baking pan. They can touch. Repeat until all of the meatballs are shaped and in a pan. If necessary, use 2 pans if you do not have a large enough pan. Assemble and bake
- Pour the mixture over top of the meatballs. Cover the meatballs with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165F.