From the Archive – 2007

From the Archive – 2007

12-31-2007

2007. What a year! I normally list things I want to accomplish during the year in my first blog of the year. I didn’t even bother this year because we were going through so much. I just wanted to survive it all. And we did, barely, but we did and continue to persevere. A few things come to mind.

I’m appreciative of the new friends I’ve made here on LJ and in Philly. I’m social but don’t make intimate friends easily. I’m polite and honest but I don’t let people into my inner sanctum easily. In moving here, I’ve learned that about myself. I am a wall flower, not a social butterfly. Live Journal is another matter. This format works so much better for me. It helps break the ice and allows for communication when I can find a few minutes and it keeps that communication brief. I do not have time for lengthy phone calls but I spend my lunch hour dutifully typing responses to anyone who emails me. Still, I’ve managed to be friendly with a few very kind people here and I’m thankful for their patience with me.

Quite a few years ago, I bought this chest of drawers from IKEA. It was cherry stained wood with black panels. It was actually very sharp looking, sophisticated, and seriously dark. Really grown up. But I stalled the assembly and the box sat in my room for weeks, taunting me. When I next returned to IKEA I found the perfect chest of drawers; basic and unfinished but a practical size, light-colored solid pine, and already built. I ended up returning the more snazzy piece which in the end didn’t really seem very like myself. My sister said she knew it was the wrong piece because I hadn’t stayed up all night assembling it with childlike glee like I had done with all my IKEA prior. In all the years in Brooklyn, we didn’t paint more than two rooms. It was a beautiful apartment with a stellar view, but there was a modern inside, which I never quite figured out how to deal with. We never each had our own space there either. Everything open. Alternately, in Philly, we’ve painted the entire house
within the first year. Our house feels like our home and as small as it is, we can be on different floors and therefore have more elbow space. And as much as I miss Brooklyn, I feel like our new (old) house reflects me more than our old apartment did.

So what do I hope for 2008? Again, it’s a big year for me. Besides just plugging along with my everyday pile of stuff, I hope to obtain my project management professional certification. Via my classes I hope to learn to be a more effective communicator and all around improve my professional self. This is the year I want to grow up. Because I can’t wait another eight years before people realize I’m capable. I need to be on target and there now. So my primary goal is this certification. Secondary, I want to start running again and keep the magazine going. But ultimately that cert. is priority number one and if that’s all I do this year so be it.

I also hope all stays well in my family. It’s funny – I am so hopeful about things but I spend a great deal of time worrying about the next impending doom. At the end of the day, the last thing I think about is that my family stay safe. Hopefully 2008 will be doom free.


12-26-2007

We had a lovely Christmas with the family in town. Some highlights include:

(1) The never-ending yule log, which Frank kept burning the entire weekend despite my constant worry about us buring down the house because the tree was right next to the fireplace. Everyone was making fun of me because I had to have the fire extinguisher right by the sofa.

(2) Going to a new church, St. Peters Episcopal, which is the one that George Washington used to attend, and having the service be nearly exactly like a Lutheran one and very pleasent indeed. We also attended in full colonial costume which was really fun. the Pumpkin had to potty during the service and I didn’t know where it was so I had to ask someone in the choir and it turned out to be right in front of the church so I had to walk the Pumpkin all the way through the church. Next time I know right where to sit so we’re close to the potty. You can always tell which places didn’t have plumbing in the original design because they do things like put the door to the bathroom right by the pulpit, in the front of the place so you can’t help but to be conspicuous. The costume didn’t help either or the echoing footsteps on the slate flooring. I’m going to try to go again really soon since they seemed so nice and welcoming. They have a parents group called SPPIT and also a knitting group. Seems like a fun place. I have to see how their philosophy differs from being Lutheran just to make sure I’m on the same page.

(3) Christmas dinner with just the adults since the Pumpkin passed out after our afternoon walk and didn’t wake up until 8 pm. I can’t remember the last time that happened. We dimmed the lights and lit the candelabra and had a very quiet dinner void of “don’t touch that,” “eat nicely,” “sit still,” and related profanity.

(4) My neice came down the stairs in her Christmas dress and the Pumpkin being quite the fashion critic said “Rose, you look so facist!” Much laughing over that.

Of course there were the presents – the Pumpkin likes anything and gets so excited so it’s fun to watch her open presents. We successfully funneled some non-used toys to her cousin. I want the Pumpkin to understand the giving part as well as the getting part so we sort of hold the new presents hostage until she parts with some old things. Plus we have to make room so we all have to purge. Frank and I got some goodies too. I sort of went shopping for myself because I needed practical things like bras and work attire which Frank isn’t going to know what fits or what to get. Practical but needed. Frank got the Simpson’s Movie and the Pirates of the Carribean movie which is all he wanted. Happiness all around.

It was not fun to get up this morning for work at 6 am. It’s back on schedule today.


12-14-2007

Office party went well. We had pizza lunch just in my department which was very cool. A few more hours and we were off to the swanky hotel. Even though I saw plenty of clevage, which I was told was ok for the holiday party, after the fact, I am still glad I wore my suit, which strangely feels like pajamas.

Things got off to a rocky start. I’m not really good at circulating and schmoozing and knowing when it’s ok to leave a conversation you’re not even participating in. And then there are the attorneys, most of whom chat amongst themselves. And I am getting really anti-social in my old age. Plus I didn’t drink a drop so I was nervous without being able to take the edge off. I was contemplating leaving when I saw all the IT techie guys hanging out on the other side of the room. Hooray for the techies!! I hung out with them for the rest of the party and had a lovely time. Apparently you can take the girl out of IT but not the IT out of the girl. Front end web people and web manager people are such strange ducks – techies and yet have to interact with people too. And marketing is the face of the firm so we have to make a good impression.

The more interaction I have with people here, the better it will be. I am still rather new. Over the next year, I will be working on some bigger projects, becoming more stylish and taking my PMP classes which will teach me how to communicate effectively.

I was very impressed with the chairman of the firm, who is sort of like the CEO. I found out later that he was in theater and is a big supporter of theater here in Philly. Explains his wonderful oration. Furthermore, he didn’t cut us in the bar line, even though the HR ladies tried to make him. It look three of them to carry him to the front of the line, finally.

The saddest part of the evening was watching the servers cart away a huge platter (36″ diameter) of hardly touched cheese, knowing that there were probably two pounds of havarti that they were just going to throw out, not to mentioned the smoked something or other that was also very tasty, that I would have loved to take home.


12-13-2007

Last night went well. I had a nice walk home with the Pumpkin. Frank is feeling a little better. I washed a whole lot of dishes and caught up with my client work. And I got to bed before 11 and no midnight wake-up call. Ahhhh.

Today I am wearing a pants suit which makes this respectable outfit number five. Tonight is our office holiday party and I want to look lawyer-ish. I really like this suit because it is lined with silky fabric and feels like pajamas, believe it or not. There was a small crisis regarding what shoes to wear because my ankles are still raw and blistered but my mary janes with the super high heel are surprisingly very comfy and I brought a whole selection of band-aids. I do have to run out and get a pair of trouser socks. While I’m at it, I should get some hand lotion too. My hands look horrible. The weather is sort of crappy but there’s a CVS only a block away and I’m wearing my clogs. I would have loved to get a haircut but that wasn’t happening mid-week.

Anyway, wish me luck. Thankfully it’s only two hours and I think for that long I can behave myself and not talk too much and say something I’ll regret later (foot in mouth).


12-12-2007

I have a headache. I didn’t sleep enough last night. I have not been exhibiting good time management skills all week. I’ve been taking the bus or having Frank drive me to work. So lazy. Baah.

I did something stupid last night. It started with me forgetting my clogs. Oh wait… I took the bus in the morning when I could have very well walked. And I need to walk these days so badly. But that decision prompted me to decide to not wear my clogs. BIG MISTAKE. I didn’t want to take the bus home but I couldn’t want the entire distance in my work shoes. Well, I could have but I like those shoes and don’t want to wear them out. I should not have gone to Payless for a pair of flats. Trying to make the purchase as reasonable as possible, I got a pair of pointy-toed flats that will look decent with my cropped trousers – very appropriate for work. They are actually very cute, aesthetically speaking. However, half-way into my two mile walk home, they didn’t feel so cute and sure enough, my ankles were just bleeding like nobody’s business. The left one was bleeding most but strangely didn’t hurt as much as the right one, which was a total loss so I tried to shuffle leaving the right ankle out of the shoe. Fast forward about 20 minutes and now the ball of my right foot is killing me. Five blocks from home, and Philly blocks are long, I decided to go barefoot. If it hadn’t been so cold and wet, it would have been ok. Philly, in my area, is very tidy. Anyway, I was not a happy camper when I got home and wasn’t motivated to do anything. Despite this, I still think the shoes are quite lovely and once I properly break them in, they’ll be a nice addition to my work attire.

I am still sleeping on the sofa because Frank still has the plague and everytime I tried to get comfy, my wounded ankles would rub against the sofa and wake me up. Then the Pumpkin had a midnight mommy call so it’s a wonder I am functioning at all.

In order to perk up, I have made myself a “complimentary office coffee” cocktail involving vanilla flavored coffee, sugar, hot cocoa mix with marshmallows, and coffee-mate. It ends up tasting like a mocha latte.

I will resume domestic duties and clean my house and make a lovely soup that hopefully will not make Frank barf.

I will also call on the neighbor and confirm that their son will watch the Pumpkin on Saturday so we can go to Frank’s work holiday party at the very posh country club. I am wearing the brown dress with the lace bolaro. I wish I had something cream colored and fuzzy instead but alas, I don’t. I hope this party will be worth what we’re going to have to pay for babysitting.


12-10

Party went well. House is still standing. At times we had to make sure for every person going into the kitchen, someone came out. Around 8ish, we were running low on firewood so the boys went out to forage for some and it was like a circus clown car with so many people coming out of our tiny house. The last of our guests left at 1:30 am, which I think is a good barometer of party success. Everyone seemed to have someone to talk to at least most of the time. No casualties noticed so far, although the kids got to Frank’s little cars and some will need some QT with superglue. I have to block off the upstairs next time, although the Pumpkin will be old enough to enforce the no kids in our bedroom rule.

Today is Frank’s birthday and tomorrow, the Pumpkin’s. I got cards and wrapping paper today so I can quickly wrap their gifts when I get home. It’s always hard on a weekday to get everything organized and we were in party mode but we’ll try to do something festive tomorrow for her. The worst thing is that they typically have little parties for them at her school and I can’t swing a party for 14 kids. By the time you add up the snacks, party favors, baloons, and paper goods, you’re looking at $100. I suppose I should get a cake, at least, though. We’d rather get her a digital camera, which she got enough birthday money to get. We’re going to take her ice skating this weekend with some kids from the neighborhood. I just think for a four year old, you don’t need to do anything huge. I never had big parties growing up. Poor Frank, tonight’s activities include food shopping which is just so celebratory.


12-06-2007

Apparently I dress provacative. Worse… this is going on my yearly review. This goes up there on the top ten most embarrassing things ever to have happen to me. I could understand needing to be more professional. Things were rather relaxed in NY and I was in a department that wasn’t front and center. Now that I’m in the marketing department, I have to be making a statement with my appearance. But provacative suggests that I’m running around the office in mini skirts and tank tops with my bra sticking out, which of course I’m not.

Specifically the issue is with my cleavage. The thing is that I am not wearing terribly low cut things. It’s just that I’m a little busty so unless I wear a hefty bag it’s sort of noticable. So I revised the clothing matrix and reviewed everything I have and I think I might have cut out all the offensive items (anything more than 3 inches below my collarbone) but also most of my clothing. Nothing can be tight fitted either. It leaves me about three outfits that really meet the criteria and only a handful more that are pushing it.

The real problem is that I do not have money to spend on a new wardrobe. I understand the need for a professional wardrobe. I know that unless I look like a capable person, they’re not going to treat me like one. I would love nothing more than to hop on over to Lohman’s or Daffy’s and outfit myself with some classic work items but who’d going to pay for it? At this point is when I scream about things being considerably easier for guys who do not have boobs.

The good news is that my mom is going to help me figure out what I have that’s ok and then take me shopping to fill in the blanks. I almost cried, I am so greatful. She will help me because I have no idea what to do. I like things that are a little interesting and then they end up not matching. I have a hard time focusing on sticking just to the basics.

I like my clothing. I am very sad because I can’t fit a whole lot into my closet which means some things will have to go. Probably to my sister who is the same size as me and who doesn’t have a law firm dress code to adhere to but needs clothing that is work-place appropriate.

A work wardrobe needs only 12 pieces – 4 skirts/pants, 4 shirts, and 4 jackets/cardigans. If they all coordinate nicely, you can get 64 outfits total. Who cares if I wear the same thing every day? Ok, I’m being snarky.

Reminds me a whole lot of catholic school actually and maybe it is time I grow up.


12-04-2007

Our house is getting appraised this week for the refinancing. I am not going to get excited until I see everything go through. Things look very promising though. Then again, the housing market is totally crashing. Hopefully we can sneak in a deal. We could really use this. It’s not that we overextended but we’re at the tippy top of our capabilities. It’s not like me to stretch things but I figured that the Pumpkin will be going to public school so it’s only two years of Ramen. Once she goes to public
school, we will be just fine. However, the refi would make things easier because it’s really hard. Getting rid of the car would also help (A LOT!!) but I’m not winning that battle.

I am wooing a new client. Another artist. They’re always fun to work with because they know exactly what they want things to look like. I only have to make it work. It will be nice to have a little extra for the holiday.


11-27-2007

We are not getting a fake tree. I thought about it but to get a remotely nice one, we’ll have to spend over $100. I’ll stick with the real one. Now, we just have to find the right small one.

Tis the season for fog. I love love love Philly when it’s foggy.

On the way home from the supermarket, we always pass this small street. I love to explore small streets and since I run during the day on Saturday and can go down small, dark streets without fearing for my life (ok maybe not fear but anxious paranoia), I decided to try to find it. It’s called Hancock Street.

Now, the special thing about Hancock Street (stop snickering) is that on it is the house that I first fell in love with, in Philadelphia. This is the house that sparked my interest in living here. I learned you can own history here. This is the house that sold before we could get down to see it. I know why – it’s fabulous. It’s an older, 18th century one with blue shutters, bigger than mine but really far off the beaten track. Because walking to work would have been a little more of a
challenge, it lacks our outdoor space, it was a chunk more expensive and I don’t know about the school thing, I think we made out ok comparitively speaking. Still, it’s a wonderful house.

I feel a warm, snuggly, sense of completion. Like finally meeting someone who changed your life for the better and getting to say thank you.


11-26-2007

It was nice to stay home for Thanksgiving. Without travel to do, we had extra time to do more tweaking on the domestic arrangement. I think we’ve just about gotten the cozy thing down.

We had a fabulous, and probably very bad for us, dinner provided by Boston Market. No cooking… ahhhh.

We put up our Christmas decorations, except for the tree. We’re in a debate about that.

I had a vision about Frank’s car collection and we were finally able to relocate, get rid of two cabinets which created tons of room in our living room. Hopefully someone will buy them.

We went to IKEA for coffee and little stands for the cars but ended up getting some artsy paper instead which we used to “wallpaper” the office nook. It’s such an improvement.

I’m all caught up with paperwork, holiday cards, the laundry and housework. I’m so relaxed I could be in a coma. Frank’s been lighting candles and smelly tarts like a fiend so the house is uber cozy and smells delicious.

Tomorrow back to work. Today we stayed home to take care of the Pumpkin who was feeling a little under the weather. I’m actually looking forward to making some serious progress with my projects.

Next on the radar – festivus – presents for the fam – winter rowhouse articles.


11-21-2007

I am in awe of the power of the spreadsheet. I put my running schedule into a spreadsheet and voila. I go running. Running in Philly is not quite the same thing as running in NY. For one, they leave a lot of streetlights off which means relatively dark streets. I don’t like dark streets. I realize my flaming hair might draw attention to myself due to some perverty comments (at least I still got it) last night so tomorrow I will wear a bandana. The idea is to be stealthy. The other issue is that
the parquet brick sidewalks here are like an obstacle course. Cobblestones are bad to run on too. So everytime I get to a cobbled street, I have to walk. I’m pretty sure no one was running for fitness in the 18th century.

Otherwise I did ok. By next week, I’ll be running the entire two miles. Then it’s slowly more more more until 13. I could have run the entire thing last night except about 5/8’s of the way through, my leg muscles were fighting me on it. But I didn’t feel fatigued. I am looking forward to meeting the South Philly Striders on Sunday. They’ll be my running group on Thursday nights and Sundays which means I only have to run one night by myself. Once I get speedy, I can run with the big Philly running
club on Saturdays too. I really hope to make a running buddy so I don’t have to run at night by myself although I like the alone time. It’s a little hard for me to take time away from the Pumpkin but I need to exercise because it keeps me sane. Anyway, it felt good to put a little red “X” on the spreadsheet.

We are staying home for Thanksgiving. Everyone feels bad and two of our neighbors invited us to their family’s places but Frank and I talked it over and we really don’t want to drive anywhere. We want to relax. I’ve never not done the family thing but I’m actually looking forward to some private time. There will be no cooking. We are getting Boston Market. I will serve it on real dishes though and probably light candles and maybe use a tablecloth. I am going to have a nice run (daytime yay!) and
then treat myself to two helpings of sweet potatoes. I am going to catch up on laundry, work on the magazine, finish local invites to our Festivus (it’s on the 8th, 3 – 8pm if I skipped someone here), and write out the Christmas cards. Believe me, I will not be missing the schlep and my family was just in town this week anyway. It would be nice to see Frank’s family though. If only they would come down and visit. We’re always going up. It was like this in Brooklyn too. I think aside from the wedding
and the Pumpkin’s christening, they had only been to the apartment once and my mom’s old house in Queens twice.

I just realized I forgot my lunch at home. Crud. On the up side, I had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast so I probably won’t be hungry any time soon anyway. Maybe it’s a good day for pumpkin soup.


11-20-2007

Today has reached a new level of nuts. I am on target for my projects but still, it’s hectic. Todays mantra is you can not do everything… do not be upset when something isn’t given to you when you don’t have time for it anyway. I have to emotionally cut my ties to the gritty work so that I can manage projects. It’s hard to change modes.

Mom did the marathon just fine… sort of. She got a shin split. Blech – but she is ok. No more marathons for mom since she thinks it is a sign. I have a training schedule and am starting to run, starting tonight. Frank will just have to cook twice a week going forward. Hopefully, if I can stay on the schedule, I will be able to run the half marathon. Of course I made an excel spreadsheet, because without things written down, I just can’t focus. Life will be broken down into work…
certification… running… magazine. That’s it. And it’s a full schedule, one I don’t know if I can handle or not yet. We’ll see. I’m not above admitting I bite off more than I can chew but let’s just see.

Otherwise we’re good. Turkey day will be nice and quiet. We need nice and quiet and I have so much work to do it’s just as well.


11-16-2007

This weekend I am getting the family invasion for the Philly marathon which my mom is running. Go Mom!!

I was doing some research and Philly’s rowhouses and it’s just nuts. In the seventies or eighties, Baltimore was faced with the same issues of dilapilated houses of historic value. Philly is chock full of early 20th century row-houses – the biggest collection of architecture of this type. It’s uber important to cultural history. Anyway, in Baltimore they did this program where you could buy a house for like 50$, no kidding and it might have been even less, but you had to agree to fix it up and
keep the historic facade. The idea was that even at that price it was still cheaper than knocking down the house, which in the case of rows, absolutely ruins the entire block. Vacant plots in the middle is like someone losing a tooth – blech, unless the adjoining resident takes control of the space and turns it into a yard. Still, a nice tidy row of well-kept homes just boosts neighborhood value and moral.

My thinking is that with the mortgage situation red-lining and so many people defaulting, this entire idea that you need 80,000 square feet to live in will die and people will look back to buying a house that’s cozy and within their budget. Hello row house! Plus there are a lot of benefits to living in the city – walking and community.

Arrggghhhhh – emergency at work…


11-15-2007

I’m a big supporter of wearing what you want to work and damning this work wardrobe thing. Put it this way – a casual outfit of mine costs maybe $100 total and is machine washable and therefore water-friendly. Therefore I do not care if I get a little soaked on the way in. I’m absolutely mortified that my $300, dry-clean only, pants suit got wet. So stupid to spend that much on anything really, although I did get it on sale. Still… Crap. I am wearing said suit because I have a presentation this
afternoon and I want to look capable and professional, otherwise I would have worn a wet suit and flippers. At least I didn’t get the worst of it. My manager said she got caught in a monsoon which totally drenched her.

No luck finding my wedding band. I did find a really nice replacement so we’ll see how that goes. I have to ask Frank if he thinks it’s ok. Meanwhile, my hands are so naked.

I’ve started to add a little blog to the magazine, once a week. Only updating it once every three months isn’t working but I can’t update it monthly so the blog thing should work out well. I am thinking about starting to interview people here in Philly, since this is such a rowhouse city, about their row houses and memories of living in them. People here love to talk about their houses.

I almost forgot. I got a new phone. It’s a pink Motorola Razor which was a very good deal because we’ve been AT&T’s b*tches for so long and it’s the end of the year so it’s out of style. I loath the ring tone but hopefully Frank will get us some new ones today. Otherwise it seems like a very nice phone with the capability to remember people’s birthdays and addresses which is nice.


11-14-2007

Horray! It’s Wednesday, the hump day. My current busy project is getting done. I have to leave early so that I can get the Pumpkin early so we can gracefully bow out of a pot-luck dinner at her school that I couldn’t possibly have gotten ready for because I am not walking two miles with a cassarole. Instead I get to get the Pumpkin almost an hour early and I can make it up to her with any number of goodies that can be procured on the way home. Truth be told, I do not have the energy to be all chatty-chatty
after a full day of being social at work.

I lost my wedding ring. It’s been years since Frank lost his so it’s not like I’m all distraut over it but now I am without ring and without it, my other ring, the “good” one, doesn’t fit snuggly enough and I really do not want to lose that one. So I am considering getting two matching rings for us for Christmas and maybe a little something extra for myself to go with the new ring so that I don’t have to wear the “good” one all the time because it makes me nervous.

Operation improve mortgage is going well. I have some homework to do this weekend. I really wish I had known my neighbor when we first bought the house. The refinancing process has made me a little more aware of the debaucle that the economy is in and the issues with all this crappy lending that has gone on. It’s not like I didn’t know, but now I’m reading anything that I trip over about mortgages and lending and it’s just dismal. And then the war is going to bankrupt America. Oh joy. I’m glad
we have the house, which is almost more than we can handle, but only for the next two years. After that we can cash in on the higher taxes we pay by taking advantage of the fabulous public school education.


11-08-2007

I completely worked through lunch so now I’m taking a much needed break from my database clean-up project.

I need to do something about my hair. I wish I could have instant hair. I think in the meanwhile, I have to layer the entire thing out because having a straight bob in the front and spikes in the back only works if you go all the way with the haircutting. As I am growing it out, I need something more forgiving. Please, as my dear friends, do not let me shave my hair off again. I miss my old hair-dresser in NY so badly. I am seriously contemplating going up to NY just to get my hair
cut. I could go up next Friday and hitch a ride back to Philly with the fam who’s coming down for the marathon. There may be one hope, The Chop Shop, which has been recommended by a neighbor and is in my price range.

Otherwise all is relatively well. Now that I’ve mastered getting dressed in 10 minutes or less in the morning, I am now focusing on the art of not saying dumb things or repeating myself, which requires thoughtful hesitation which I don’t want to be percieved as dumb silence so will take a little bit of work. This is part of the larger, “learn to relate in the workplace and be an effective communicator,” project which is part of the, “I’ve accepted growing up and am trying to
find my adult self,” project.

Part of my irritating tendency to repeat myself, comes from having to communicate with a pre-schooler. It’s become a habit that, unfortuately, I can’t turn off. These days I prefer to write to people although that will not help my project manager certification goals. So it’s a little goal to slow down a little bit and pause to make sure I really do want to say something and then only say it once.

I should also add that my firm just released a new document management system that they sneakily installed on our computers while we were at training for it. The new DMS has caused complete ruckus. No one can find their files. If you do find your files, you can’t organize them or save them in the way that files are normally saved. It allows you to make several documents, all with the same name which is lovely from a database perspective. I can’t insert files into my CMS program
without the DMS’s search window popping up and since none of my files are on the DMS because it doesn’t even use those programs, I can’t access anything. Who-hoo! Good times. I figured out how to disable it but it means I can’t use my email while I work because the two programs are connected. But at least I can work fairly decently. My poor coworkers are in a state of complete disorder, not to mention the language I’ve heard in the last few hours.


11-06-2007

I did not have a good lunch. I have to remember to keep conversation purely professional, as it pertains to specific projects, or purely superficial, like about the weather with some people. Damn, I had work to do too. I should have come back to my desk.


11-05-2007

Very quick… it’s going to be a busy week. Weekend was nice and calm, for a change. Frank had to work on Saturday but I got all the cleaning done anyway with time for a nap. Just what I needed. It’s all about committing to a regular schedule which works wonders. I recently read this article about sleep deprevation causing all sorts of problems and I believe it.

I did have time to post the new PhilaFleur with Halloween photos:

http://www.philafleur.com/personal/photo_halloween2007.html

http://www.philafleur.com/projects/sewing.html

Yes, I might be crazy for redesigning the site in such a short time but this way I can cancel the professional site and save a bit of money and get everything focused in one central place.


11-01-2007

Ok – I’ve finally gotten through my friend’s page because I took one day off. Everyone’s kids look very cute indeed! Glad everyone on the whole seems to be ok and had a nice Halloween. And I only have a few minutes of lunch left…

Ours was very cool. I survived thanks to DayQuil. I got the house tidied and costumes completed with time to spare. I let my costume out again and now I have to take it in again. Anyway, it worked out – didn’t fall off. Our neighbor was nice enough to snap some shots in front of the house which I’ll try to post in the near future.

Then we went to the park for the kiddie gathering. It’s not like Brooklyn – not nearly the same amount of people and most parents do not dress up but it was still fun. Then we moseyed about the neighborhood oogling houses and gathering candy. My favorite trespassing was this one place, which is like a courtyard deal with houses from the early 1700s. It’s gated so until yesterday I hadn’t seen inside but it’s just fabulous. I heard rumors that they people who live there try to
stick to a relatively historic lifestyle. I saw electric lights so I think for everyday people do have their limits regarding comfort. It was too dark to take photos.

Then we stopped for a little improve show in front of storefront. The subject was an egyptian exposition, in which a mummy had been found and of course there is a curse and things went amuck and there were spiders flying out of the upstairs windows. Just hysterical. Then it was up and down the pretty blocks, making our way through Society Hill where we not only got candy but also wine, beer, cider, cheese and crackers, not for the Pumpkin obviously. It’s very shwanky in Society Hill.

While the Pumpkin was trick or treating for candy, I was all about peeping into people’s houses to get a good look at moldings or mantles. It’s just amazing what people have done to their houses. With all the candlelight and people walking around, it was quite historic feeling. It would be nice to have a group of people in costume to hang out with but alas, it was just us. I would think with this being a particularily colonial town that there would have been a great deal more people
lurking about but it was just us. They might have been closer to Independence Hall, which we didn’t get to.

Later, there was a live band playing on South Street and all sorts of people heading to the bars but for the most part, it was quiet. I didn’t see any vandalism or terribly routy behavior. Certainly nothing worse than NY, at least in our neighborhood.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out on our block where neighbors had set up chairs and were sipping wine while handing out candy. Our outfits were a big hit although they don’t realize we will wear them throughout the year. We didn’t make it to Olde City for photo ops so we’ll have to do that.

Some memorable costumes included a jar a skippy made out of a pop-up laundry hamper which was accompanying a banana, a sandwich, birthday cake, a very creepy Deniro Taxi Driver, six pack of duff beer, … more but I can’t think now because I’m still rather sick. Oh, and Spider Pig.


10-30-2007

The weekend was good. As of today, the costumes are done. I am looking forward to having the day off tomorrow. We were all going to have a nice day of it, but as we are not doing anything until later in the day, Frank has offered to go in to work for the morning since things are busy there and he doesn’t want to lose a day of work.

I am a bit under the weather. I think I will feel better during the next few weeks when we don’t have anything too hectic planned. The trick is to be disciplined and go to bed at a reasonable time. This past few weeks have been nuts. I’m really, really tired. I’ve taken some DayQuill and am drinking coffee. It’s only a matter of time before I feel better.

At 5:30, I’m running out of here to get the pumpkin and then we’re going to rush home to get dressed, eat a quick dinner and head to the Aquarium for the spooky fish events they have going on there. the Pumpkin’s easy – it has a zipper. I have to be stuffed and tied into my costume. Altering besides, it’s going to be a tight fit. I think the corset’s days are numbered. It’s over ten years old and might be showing some wear and tear.

I’m glad for the JoAnn Fabrics store being close enough and yet far enough to prevent me from being too naughty. I am inspired to make things going forward. No more buying ready-made. Quilts, curtains, sofa cover… all gets made. I am adopting a comfy, 17th / 18th century style in the house, at least as much as we can, given all the IKEA.

And tomorrow it’s wandering around the neighborhood, taking photos, trick-or-treating, and a party for the kids at a nearby park. It should be fabulous. I think DayQuill will be sponsoring the day.


10-26-2007

Today’s temptation is bakery cookies with gooey filling and fancy chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles and Reese’s Pieces stuck to them. I am sticking to my end of day rule. So far the vultures eat everything up and there is nothing by the end of the day which saves me from having to cave-in. I’m really being very good. Speaking of pretzels, I had a nice big soft Philly-style one for lunch but only because the deli didn’t have anything else I could concievably spread Brie on and I had
Brie with me hoping to sneak out to get some Triskets which I didn’t have because Frank ate them all up on me. It’s downpouring so I couldn’t get the crackers, hence the pretzel even though I swore off of them. Before you laugh, it was actually not half bad.

This weekend I am going to finish the costumes and hopefully do some work on the personal site. I have decided to get rid of my freelance site and incorporate my portfolio into the main site. I’m going to do a little face lift to accommodate. I also am working on the link pages and presenting them in a sort of article format. I really need to trim down what I have because it’s completely out of hand. Time to simplify.

Otherwise it’s Friday. I’m cleaning up the database at work which is boring but needed. I can do other things while the computer is munching. October has been a strange month with many days off. It’s been sort of nice.

Ok, off to do personal webby work for the rest of my lunch.


10-24-2007

Lately, I have been making friends with people who also like to look like people who are, mostly likely, now dead. I don’t mean this in the morbid, night-of-the-living-dead sort of way, I mean this in the vintage inspired sort of way. Being stuck in a cubical for 9 hours, or more, a day, doesn’t exactly give me time to go and meet people. Thank God for Live Journal.

Anyway, it dawns on me that I don’t have any photos of myself in the various costumes over the years or the eight hundred hair colors and cuts I’ve had. Crap. I should go through the old books and see what I can gather up. It’s a lot to go through 30+ years and I don’t like having my picture taken. Crap. I’ve had garments from 1920, 1950, 1945, 1650, 1740(x4), 1860… long hair, short hair, red hair, orange hair, blonde hair, black hair, blue hair… Perhaps I should have taken a photo of the
1860 before I cut it up for the Pumpkin’s Robe a` l’Anglaise. Oh well. Once I wore the 1860 and it almost caused a car accident as I walked to the bus, back in 1994. Yeah… a hoop skirt on the public bus. Ah… The memories.

I have been denying myself all manners of dessert product but I worried that it was too late to do any good. Last night I dragged out the gowns to see if they fit and they do but it’s very tight. I need to alter so I can breathe. No surprise since these are dresses I made before I had the Pumpkin. I’m surprised I can get into them at all, although my weight gain has been in the gut and there’s nothing like a big skirt to deal with that. An added bonus is that I had initially taken in these dresses to
fit better and can now just let them out ever so slightly and voila, they should fit comfortably. If you’re curious, my dress looks like – http://dept.kent.edu/museum/costume/bonc/3timesearch/tseighteenth/1700-1799.html – the third (gold) or fourth (beige floral) dress on this page. I have one that is medium sized florals on a biege background and one that is a very narrow floral stripe on a dark green palette. Both the Pumpkin and I have coordinating mop-caps because we both have very short hair.

I am going to take pictures this Halloween. Even better. I am going to go find some architecture that matches the costumes and take pictures in front of that. I hope it doesn’t rain, because that will suck. I also hope it isn’t hot or we will smother. Ideally, we’d like it in the 70s with partly/mostly sunny. I’m sending an email to the weather channel making my request.

So, with a little more work this weekend, it looks like the three of us will be completely outfitted for the holiday and any subsequent outings we wish to make. In doing this flurry of creation over the past two weeks, I’ve remembered how much I like doing this.


10-23-2007

It was a very low tech weekend. I finally gave up my search for a frock coat for Frank after having seen the perfect coat with a most un-perfect price of $465 and being quite fed up with the entire thing.

So we headed to JoAnn Fabrics, north of the city. We got everything we needed for way less than $465. I got to work as soon as we got home and today, I only have the last few buttons to sew on, some minor finishing, and the hemming to do. Frank was skeptible but after seeing me whip up the Pumpkin’s costume, he was convinced I could do his jacket as well.

The result is a fully lined frock coat in the style of the early 18th century. The outside is made of a narrow gauge, I think 21 gale, navy corduroy. The inside is lined with a 100% cotton fabric which has verticle stripes in navy and several shades of gold/green. I am finishing the faux button holes with muted-gold braid. It looks very nice, not costumey at all, which is key because none our outfits look costumey. We can wear them all the time and will because this is Philly and everything
is quite colonial.

The pattern was a real steal at 99 cents. It’s not a reproduction but it’s close enough and it comes with pants, a shirt and two vest styles. The only obstacle we faced were the stupid buttons, it needing 28 and no one stocks that many. But Frank had the ingenious idea of using these beads that look like spirals of rope and they totally work and cost significantly less than actual buttons. Total cost? Less than $100 and it’s a real garment, not a costume.

You may be asking yourself why we drove 30 minutes out of the city, when we live around the corner from Fabric Row (oldest fabric district in the US). Well, you see, if I want imported silk from India at $50 a yard, then yes, local is best. But I just want basic fabric for cheapo so JoAnn’s is the way to go. Plus it’s a super store with everything right there. In the neighborhood, I have to go into several stores just to find buttons. Plus no one has patterns, really. And most of the stores
are not the best organized. I can’t shop in them with the Pumpkin, who climbs the shelves, and it takes hours to find something. Time I do not have.

Otherwise we cleaned the house and did the normal things. I totally rocked the shopping this weekend only to blow the budget on the jacket but I’ve been promising Frank for years and he was so heartbroken not to have an outfit to wear as well. My fingers are blistered but we will all match for Halloween. I’m going to take a photo of us in front of the house and include it with the Christmas cards, which I wanted to do for the moving announcements but didn’t get around to.

Hopefully I’ll fit into my dress. Yes, I wear a corset but it can only do so much. I would like to breathe too. I have isolated my time of weakness, morning. I eat a big breakfast but I still want to nosh during the AM hours. I’m not even hungry – I’m looking for energy because I am not awake yet. I think the snacks will give me energy but they never do. Once noon hits, I am perky, just fine, even into the late night hours. I have a picture of myself in one of my dresses by my desk which is
serving to inspire me. This morning went well, despite the chocolate covered pretzles and a box of misc pastry items probably including donuts. I didn’t eat any of it.


10-18-2007

Prompted by Frank having not smoked a cigarette for over a week, I am inspired, and sort of guilted, into giving up the sweet stuff. Today I resisted cake and jelly belly jelly beans. I do realize I go right for the junk when I feel stressed out or tired, which is a lot these days. At least at work, I am going to replace the snacking with green tea which a) is lower calorie and b) requires me to get off my arse and move around a bit. Actually not moving is probably not helping. It’s a baby step.

In order to reduce stress, I am taking one more annoyance out of my life. I spend too much time staring into the closet, hoping my outfit will just dance on out and throw itself onto me, like something out of the Jetsons. So I’ve been collecting work outfits daily for the past six months, in other words I write down what I wear. Today, I put all the outfits on little slips of paper. Now, all I have to do is look at the next slip and voila, I know what I’m wearing. I put today’s slip to the back of
the pile and don’t have to worry about wearing the same thing twice in one week. It’s almost as effective as laying things out the night before but this requires less effort. And if I come up with a new outfit, I have extra slips I can write it down on and if I don’t like an outfit, I can throw away the slip and skip the horror of realizing when I get to work that I look horrible which happens a lot because I am not totally awake in the morning. Oh and I hate wanting to wear something and find I
didn’t iron it. I look wrinkled a lot, which is pathetic because I like to iron. If I know the night before, with the help of my handy slips, I can iron.

It’s along the lines of the meal planning. I can not go to the supermarket without a list or I buy completely random things that later in the week I find don’t make anything. Or I forget I bought stuff and it goes bad. If I write meals down on the board I’ll make them. If I don’t, I just stare at the fridge hoping dinner will jump out at me.

Does this make me OCD? I have no idea. Frank likes to tease me. I see little funny notes written on my outfit spreadsheets. I am aware of my absentmindedness. Without structure I just fall apart. I do know that when we had our emergency trip to NY and I had to help him pack via the phone, when I could tell him where everything was, he was rather impressed. I actually can see the entire house just like a photo, at least how it’s supposed to be. So when things are disorderly it’s conflicting with
my head and I sort of get an error message which results in a headache.

On a completely other topic. I need to get Frank a pirate frockcoat and I’m having a devil of a time. I really should just make it but we’re getting to the wire. He doesn’t believe me that I can make one in time but I can…


10-15-2007

Ok – first things first. Black and gray christmas ornaments at IKEA. So totally cool I couldn’t even contain myself. We already have enough for eight trees so we abstained but I did pick up gnome wrapping paper because we’ll have at least a few presents to give out.

The weekend was nice. We accomplished a pie. The apples weren’t as good as they normally are because it was so hot this fall so making a pie was a little tricky. I still have so many but it’ll probably end up being a whole lotta sauce. Tonight we are having our neighbors over to share the pie. They are bringing ice cream because they’re so cool like that.

House got clean. Errands completed.

Yesterday we went to the Zoo. The Philly Zoo is very nice. Not quite as expansive as The Bronx Zoo but that’s a huge zoo. They had all the required animals and quite a few hands on exhibits which are really great for the Pumpkin who is not a passive zoo-goer. We got to see the Vampire Bat feeding which was really cool. If bats could give dirty looks, these would have as the keeper open the back door and let bright light into their little cave. But once she left they all started to gather around the
little dishes and slurp away. We were so close we could see their little feet. We were making funny jokes about the zoo locking the doors, dropping the glass, and us being the bat’s breakfast. They also had recently born tiger cubs who were very frisky. the Pumpkin just howled with laughter every time they would roll around and swat each other. She’s learning that big kitty behavior is not all that different from small kitty behavior.

We hadn’t planned on going out for dinner but our friend’s were going to Famous 4th so we couldn’t resist. They know the owner very well so we got VIP treatment and free cookies.

I started to cut out the very many rats for our halloween decorations last night as well. I had hoped to use oak-tag but that’s too much of a pain so I’m just going to use printed paper ones. We started to play around with the positions and they’re looking pretty snazzy.


10-11-2007

Ahhh.. Fall has finally arrived… I hope.

It’s wet and brisk here in Philly. To celebrate, I’ve gone and treated myself to a lovely Au Bon Pain soup. They were out of Harvest Pumpkin, of course, since it’s 2 pm and you have to get there before noon to even stand a chance, so I had to settle for Porteguese Kale something or other, and it’s very tasty. Just what I needed because they are still running the a/c in my office. Brrrr…

I spent the morning working out a modification to the firm’s web site. This project has me dealing with my first challenging attorney. I’m usually pretty persuasive and on target but in this situation, I’m not getting much give from the opposition and I can’t budge on certain things either, as per management. Tricky. Plus, I can’t compete with someone who makes arguments for a living. Very tricky. I have to figure out a strategy. I have to improve my communication skills and not taking
everything so damn personal skills. I have to be as unemotional as possible. The good news is that if I can work this out it will be very good experience since this particlar customer is very particular indeed.

That reminds me… I recently went to my old company’s web site and they’ve made changes. Nothing major but enought to create a sort of ick going on. My original design worked with the print work with had these lines on it. So the web site had lines too. Now, they’ve gone and removed the lines from one element and added white space. I like it… they have much better art than I ever had to work with. But they didn’t tweak the entire site so you have this weird thin black lines versus wide
white borders thing going on which looks off balance. I see how it could be fixed with just a little tweak here and there but it’s not my baby any more. Sniff…

This last night and tonight, Frank is off at training for his inspection license. It’s been very calm. the Pumpkin and I ate soup for dinner with crusty bread and listened to “Singers and Standards” on the cable music channel which always puts me in a good mood. Not to mention the fabulous weather. I think, if I don’t get any freelance tonight, I will work on sewing the bows onto her dress. I have to get pictures of both this and last year’s dress for PhilaFleur. Poor PhilaFleur… so neglected
with all this freelance and a full plate at work.


10-09-2007

It is raining… it is cold… we are happy. I just hope my cabbages survive the deluge. We have to do something about our gutter.

Friday we had to make an emergency trip to NY that started with a late Thursday night phone call from Frank’s sister. Frank’s dad is sick but will be ok providing he stops smoking (stage 2 emphazema) and eats well. This little event has brought on some changes in his family so that we can be more on top of what he’s up to. Hopefully things will look up going forward.

We stayed by my sister who was having family friends in town for a funeral. Although it was all sad reasons we all were in town, it was wonderful to see everyone and very rare since we all live in different states. We had some awesome family celebrating for my neice’s second birthday.

Sunday was apple picking. My step-brother and his family came. I can’t believe how huge my nephew is. The three kids are awesome together. I hope we can get together a lot more because I actually like my family. Pie will come and probably cake too.

Monday I made a new halloween costume for the Pumpkin. Last year’s dress didn’t fit right and this time I am making a costume that she can wear whenever she wants. It’s very cute… not historically accurate but just fine for a kiddo. I have to iron my dress and somehow make a frock jacket for Frank because every costume is super cheesy and I’m not paying for cheese. We just got invited to a special event at the aquarium the night before and since we took Halloween off, we’ll be trick-or-treating
with the fishes. So far the aquarium membership rocks!

And that brings me to today when all is well on the Philly front. I walked to Macy’s for Clinique Bonus days because it’s more prudent to buy good make-up once a year instead of the cheapo stuff monthly, except for mascara… Anyway it was muggy. Yuck! But I scored a fabulous stash. They’ve started to use better containers for their things. Much easier dispensing. I can’t wait to try out my new stuff tomorrow.

I am inspired by the LJ vintage hair group and am making a commitment to growing out my hair. Please, do not let me cut my hair off again.

Ok – off to watch “The Office” which is strangely amusing in many ways.


10-04-2007

Oh how lazy people can be. I was looking at my exposed walls and wondering why anyone would want to build a wall that way and Frank said, well, it’s probably a wall no one ever meant to have exposed. True…

The one thing about the exterior of my house, the facade really, is that we do not have a pronounced eave/cornice like other colonial houses. This irks me because that would really help in my quest. My house is actually very free of ornamentation considering the period. We were walking down the block yesterday and I looked at my neighbor’s house – he knows his house is from 1745 – and I noticed he has the same cornice as we do, which is basically a strip of bricks that jut out a little
bit at a diagonal. I don’t think his roofline is original since it’s flat and most colonial houses have a pointy roof (ha ha ha real technical term there). I have a funny feeling that since the moulding/cornice looks the same, that his addition was probably done very close to when my house was built. He is also obsessed with his house’s history, and area history in general, so he’s fabulous to ask.

I forgot to add this but the Pumpkin has learned how to draw stick figures, complete with limbs and hair. 🙂


10-03-2007

It was a good weekend. The house is clean, laundry done and the kitchen stocked. I have formulated a weekly menu that will ensure no eating out. We will be paying for last week’s eating out for months. Damn budget. We were going to cancel apple picking this weekend but my mom says she would rather pay for us than have us miss it. Thanks mom!!

We might be making a trip to NY in the near future but we’re not sure yet. We certainly can’t afford it but there is a whole lotta drama going on with Frank’s fam, which is making Frank nuts. My job is to keep him as sane and busy and let him vent as much as he needs to. Fortunately we’re both on the same side of this issue which helps. He’s upset but within our Philly phamily bubble we’re ok and that keeps him grounded, as long as I keep reminding him that we’re ok.

We went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. It is absolutely beautiful. The exibits are laid out nicely and they have a wide variety of aquatic creatures. The 4-D show was a little short for the price but it was included in our membership. I’d have been pissed if we’d paid additional. the Pumpkin looked hysterical in the glasses. We probably shouldn’t have become members but we did. That’s another thing we’re going to be paying for until February 2008, as I figure it. But now we can go
whenever we want, as often as we want, it’s mostly indoors, and only a short train trip away. We definitely need fun winter things for the Pumpkin to do and this is perfect. More so than the Zoo which is sort of seasonal and outdoors. If we go only one more time, it will have paid for itself. We’re going to try to go every other month. The sharks and the jelly fish in the petting area probably need as much time to recover anyway. the Pumpkin is a zealous petter.

I have climbed another rung on the techie ladder at work. I am going to get my development environment that I wanted so badly and now I can start doing web development to see if we keep the weird CMS we’re using or whether my developer and I should start to build something in house. I have a meeting in about an house with some other departments so we can figure out how to make all our CMSes and databases work together.

We also got some new flowers for the front of our house. I have this thing for decorative cabbage so we got some of those and some mums. We got a pumpkin, of course, and they had indian corn at the supermarket so we got a bunch of that too. Altogether it’s made our front very autumnal. I should post a photo. We’re working on cleaning up the back patio, squaring away the BBQ things, and wrapping everything up for winter storage.

On Sunday, they had a festival for the opening of the new community center at the playground around the corner. It’s going to be great for our neighborhood. I also found out about the architectual preservation group which I’m going to join. They had a moonbounce and balloon animals so the Pumpkin had a total blast. It was all fun until we inspected a map of our area from 1875 and didn’t see our house on it. I do have a repossession document from 1877 so I know the house is at least that old. Our
neighbor says our houses are from 1832. Our house is clearly not Victorian, Greek Revival or Second Empire. It might be a Colonial Revival but that was mostly done later than 1877. Revival is begining to sound like a four-letter word to me. The walls are also clearly old brick (looks like our neighbor’s 1745 house) and we have mortar joints not concrete. They would have used concrete after 1850. Besides, I used to live in a 1874 building and know what that looks like. Ours is not the same.
What I hypothesize is that our house might have been a back house for my neighbor behind us as our lot was no doubtedly part of her lot originally and might not have had it’s own identity until later. I should probably look up the history of her house too because I think it’s connected. I wish my house had come with a little history document like your house was built in blah blah by Mr Smith, who was a pirate and then bought by So and So. They added in the plumbing and electric in 1922. I do
know the HVAC was installed in 1969 because the one we replaced was the original. Before that, no central air. It’s sort of like a mystery to unravel.


2007-09-26

My husband is so cool! Who remembered our anniversary? Not me… because I am overworked these days. Nope… Frank did. With a big hug first thing in the am. Yay!!! I think next year we’ll take the day off and spend it doing something adult. Maybe a nice day trip to someplace with delicate, breakable objects. This year we had his hand surgery so we had to work. Anyway, when I got picked up, he had a card for me! Who-hoo!!! We were going to go have dinner on the Moshulu but they closed the deck restaurant so we ate at local Irish pub which was family friendly and had excellent food. Score! I will be taking lunch and going out to get a card today.

Note… I am a happy wife but unfortuately a little absentminded, especially with all the overtime for work and the freelance. But Frank has totally been picking up the slack… doing extra help with the Pumpkin. It’s just for the next two years. Once the Pumpkin is out of expensive, private pre-school, things will be a lot better. We just didn’t plan on buying a house before she was in elementary and we didn’t plan on buying such an expensive house, even though it really isn’t. Living in NY didn’t really allow us to prepare for this life change so we’re winging it.

Anyway, it’s been eight years (we’ve been together for eight and a half). I’ve heard it takes about that long to work out the quirks in a marriage and I believe it. I think one of the main reasons we’re still together is that we understood from the beginning that marriage takes hard work, tenacity and communication. We’re both pretty stubborn, have a good sense of humor and respect each other and our relationship.

Ok, enough of that. I am off to go put on a pair of ‘hose and prepare myself because there is an attorney coming into my department today and I have to look all smart and stuff… heh heh.


2007-09-24

It’s Monday. We woke up late. Frank and I think it was probably the mojitos. Damn those mojitos!!! the Pumpkin was a super trooper and really hustled so I made it to work on time.

Today’s tunafish snack does not look like cat food, which is a good thing. And they give you a breathmint so you can avoid tuna breath. Thumbs up to Starkist. After reading the ingredients, I think it might kill me so I think I am goint to start making my own tuna snacks with all natural ingredients. Still, it was an emergency lunch and is better than starving.

My weekend started on Thursday. On the way home from work, I spied a great chest of drawers that looked small enough to get up the stairs and would have been perfect in the Pumpkin’s room. It was solid wood with dovetail joins; an actual, real piece of furniture which I found on the curb. Finally, I had scored good garbage! Our neighbor watched the Pumpkin for an hour while Frank and I walked the chest home and tried to shove it up the stairs. After scratching the hell out of the stairway, we gave up. Next weekend we’ll be touching up the mess and the other areas around the house that are overdue for touch-up.

This was not a big piece so it is unlikely we will ever be able to have anything but IKEA, which is ok since IKEA does have some more traditional-looking things. I wonder what people did before IKEA? My house definitely pre-dates IKEA. I’m sure people had furniture on the second floor. What gives? It is clear that if I ever want real furniture, it will have to be built in the room which is probably what everyone else has done.

I got the magazine up and it’s off to be editorialized by family and friends who can spell much better than I can. Once again my sister provided steller photos. Once again I need to not procrastinate…

Sunday, we went to Frank’s service writer’s (sort of like a boss) birthday party. Traveling out to the country is so nice in PA. The roads are twisty and go over rolling hills covered with trees and quaint farms. It’s so easy to get away here because away is only about a 20 minute drive out of the city. They live in a lovely, new-ish home, built into the side of a hill. The view was fantastic. There were lots of kids for the Pumpkin to play with and they had a huge hottub so all the kids hopped in, like kid soup, and pretty much stayed in there for the entire party. Everyone I spoke with was just the nicest. There’s a huge comfort factor so you feel like you must have known these people from before somehow but that can’t be. There was a former New Yorker so it was nice to talk about the old ‘hood. They even had bats. I was trying to locate some fruit and see if I could get one to swoop down but there wasn’t any handy. I would totally have a bat house set up. I’m not sure the hosts were as enthused as they mentioned something about rabies…

It’s hard to look at what people have out in the ‘burbs, mainly the space, and remind yourself why you live in the city in a house that cost more, that’s half the size. Then someone said something about needing a car and there it is. I don’t have to drive anywhere to go to a museum, hang out with friends, go to a club, eat foreign food, or see an independent film. If something happens, I am a five minute dash to the Pumpkin’s school. If we had a bigger house, I might feel more inclined to buy things to fill it up. I don’t feel the budgetary pinch as much because our house is packed. Plus, if I was naturally skinny like Frank, it wouldn’t matter but I would get quite pudgy if I didn’t have to walk everywhere and go up and down stairs all the time.


2007-09-19

It’s hard to talk like a pirate at a law firm. That being said, I have refered to my boss as captian all day. And no one here knew it was Talk Like a Pirate day so I spread the good word about it.

I did a little comparitive analysis and found out it will save us between $150 – $300 to get rid of the car. Of course this doesn’t cover the emotional damage Frank will suffer even though driving on the Schulykill during rush hour makes him homicidal. It’s just a contigency plan.

My sister took fabulous photos so I am in good shape for getting the magazine out this weekend, early for a change. I think I am going to add her to the staff section after I add a staff section. I’ll have to figure out a boilerplate sort of thing. So far it looks like I don’t have any client work to do so I might just as well enjoy the night off. And I have a day-off from the firm on Friday so I can do the magazine then. I did my SEO and the magazine is no. 6 & no. 14 on Yahoo and no. 77 on Google. I think partially it’s because I’m always tweaking it and I followed good design principles but also because row houses are this incredibly untapped niche. Yay!!!

Otherwise all is well.


2007-09-17

I would have written from the Logan airport but I couldn’t find a plug. Birds yes, but no plug. Since I was able to move my flight up an hour I might call it even. Although I thought, at numerous times, that we were going to plummet into the Atlantic, my fellow travelers and I managed to make it back to Philly in one piece. It’s not fair when everyone looks calm while I fight the urge to freak out. It’s like that Twilight Zone when the guy sees the gremlin on the wing of the plane and no one else sees it.

However, my calm SEPTA (Philly’s LIRR) experience made up for it. 25 minutes to Suburban Station where it was a quick walk to get the Pumpkin and all for seven dollars. Who-hoo!!! I probably won’t ever take a cab to the airport since it’s at least as convient as the A-train was in Brooklyn to JFK.

By the time I got home Friday I had a full-blown case of respitory ick. Saturday, I muddled through some laundry and light cleaning. Frank did all the household chores because he had an alterior motive for wanting me rested. Didn’t matter – I hardly slept Saturday night.

Sunday we went to Hershey for Frank’s company’s picnic. They do it annually so no matter how crappy things are we are guarenteed a trip to an amusement park at least once a year. I wish it had been warmer because they have a really cool water park. I was feeling like death so it was a good thing Frank had work buddies to go off rollercoastering with. Having to hang out with the Pumpkin completely got me off the hook because I don’t care for the crazy rides anyway.

While Frank rode every rollercoaster, I took the Pumpkin on all the “kiss” rides. When you get into the park they have charts for height requirements. The attendent measured the Pumpkin, who is a “kiss,” and then gave her a couple of kisses to eat. On the map, they have all the rides numbered and marked with icons for what height can ride it. So we just looked for all the grey kiss rides and voila, no thinking. Plus I hate walking all the way to a ride only to find out she’s too small. Score one for Hershey! By the end of the day she was pointing to the big roller coasters and inquiring. She’s like me and needs to warm up on the small rides first. There was one coaster we both could have gone on but it was closed by the time we got to it. We’ll have to remember that for next year.

Her favorite rides were the carosels and this frog hopper thing. She made a wish in the wishing fountain. She wants a horse and thinks we can put it in our garden (backyard). The carosel will have to do for now.

It’s a long drive, almost two hours, but very beautiful. The Penn Turnpike cuts right through the farmland of Pennsylvania. We saw plenty of cows and horses and one flock of sheep. the Pumpkin was very excited so it kept her entertained for the trip there. She was passed out before we left the parking lot on the way home since we didn’t use a stroller and we walked the entire day with no nap. Such a trooper but this is a kid who walks all the time so she’s used to it.

The best part was that I didn’t once have to scold her and she didn’t beg for chocolate or toys and ate a decent lunch. Days like this remind me why I haven’t traded her to the gypsies yet.

I wasn’t leaving without chocolate so we bought each of us a bag of kisses.

We made it home with time to unwind. Last night I slept ok and today I feel decent, just a little tired. We don’t have anything on the horizon except home stuff. 🙂


2007-09-14

I’m at the conference right now. By now, I’m sort of drained. Today they’re reviewing the next version of this CMS that my company has, which I do not care for that much. I hate the current version but they promise all these cool things in the next version. So, because I get to have input about these things I have to figure out if we’re going to keep it or phase it out. Of course, all of the content of the conference is so positive. Most of the people I’ve met are having a horrible time with it. One guy says it’s working so I got his business card. I forgot to have my job make me up business cards so I’ve been writing out my contact info. It’s crappy. I should have asked for cards. Being that I work in the marketing department, I would have thought I’d get cards right away.

The hotel’s been fun. I will miss the view. Last night I got to go on a tour with my sister’s best friend Amanda who lives in the area. We drove by the usual sites. I actually covered a decent area with my rowhouse walk but we also went by the stadium and Cheers. Then we went through Charlestown which is just delightful. DROOL!!! And then back to her house for a BBQ. She has this charming New England farmhouse, used to be a peet farm, and it has the original kitchen and moulding and doors. It was a wonderful evening.

Now I just have to check out, go to a few more sessions and get to the airport. I really hope my flight isn’t delayed. At this point, I just want to get home.


2007-09-11

Ok, so this is turning into more of an adventure by the moment. I had to use the bathroom which is never easy when you have to manage your luggage. I don’t have a travel buddy this time so I had to drag everything in with me and that’s an ordeal in itself. While I’m powering down, this little tram/golf cart-thing, comes by loading with chicks that look like they’ve seen one too many episodes of Sex in the City. Who in their right mind wears stiletto, four-inch heels for traveling? Anyway, they thank the driver profusely (I smell intoxication) as the driver has definitely done them a service of saving them from having to walk all the way across the airport, which is a long walk I wouldn’t want to do in heels. And they’re all done up – must be ladies trip out somewhere. Scary, but then I never understood ladies night out anyway.

The bathroom thing went ok, in case anyone is wondering. I managed to not drop the laptop in the toilet. It’s going to be a good trip. I figured I still have a little time before my flight so I wanted to log back in. The thing is I didn’t want to go back to my old spot because it was in a psuedo telephone booth stall and the metal seat was not butt-friendly. So I began the odessey that is trying to find a plug near enough to a comfy seat so I can attach myself to a socket like a toaster. It’s funny how humans get when they’re focused on just one task because I was not the only one. I believe we all probably have that look of longing because a plug by a comfy seat is a real commodity. Fortunately it didn’t have to get ugly.

I’m sitting next to a cute Indian (India) couple who are snuggled together watching a Bollywood film. It must be funny because they keep snickering. I am saving my movies for the plane. I’ve brought Blade Runner, Amelie, and The Sound of Music. TSoM is for a desparate delay because it’s three hours long and puts me in a really good mood. If I don’t acquire earphones, it might even start a sing-along which would be awesome. Anyway, when the lady next to me laughs, it makes the entire bench shake and sort of makes me laugh too. I love that laughter is infectious. I just thought to myself that I have to laugh more often. Things really aren’t that bad.

From my new comfy vantage point, I can see out over the tarmac. I love all the little different colored lights. I could never be a pilot. I would be like – oooo pretty lights and spend hours driving around in circles. The movement of the planes is like a waltz which coincidentaly is what they’re playing (Strauss) over the audio-system.

I see my plane. It is definitely not a 737. It looks suspiciously like a smaller plane. It’s not even attached yet to the umbilical cord tunnel, which always reminded me of the dryer hose. Yay!! Time to board. Who-hoo!!!


2007-09-11

Well, this is a first. I am mobile. I conned my work into letting me have a laptop under the pretense that I was going to work when really I just wanted to make fabulous livejournal entries the entire time. Nah… I am going to work but not before the novelty of being able to sit in a airport and talk to the world out there wears off. Typing is a little strange, this keyboard having been designed for petite hands which I do not have, but I think I could get used to it.

So… my flight has been delayed. I was warned because apparently Logan is the worst airport in existance. I’ll be lucky if I get to Boston before the conference starts tomorrow. But it’s all good as I have my rent-a-work right here. Ahhhh technology. I’m such a dork… but before now I’ve always been attached. I wonder if it’s possible to get all my webby stuff onto a laptop. I would kiss my tower adious. But this is slow.

The Philadelphia Airport is really nice. It has new building smell and it’s so shiney. They also have rocking chairs all over the place but not at my gate. Not the worst place to be stranded for a few. Where Frank dropped me off was all the way on the other side so I had a nice walk. Hopefully this will be an uneventful and somewhat fun trip. I even brought movies to watch on the plane. Hopefully I can score some earphones, the only thing I forgot.

Ok – off to do research…


2007-09-10

I am really loving these at home weekends. We cleaned and did a great deal of chauk drawing outside. I’m almost ready to post the new PhilaFleur and I’m half way done with the new issue of RowHouse magazine. But I’m tired. I just can’t get a good nights sleep and it’s starting to turn me into a zombie. I am looking forward to my trip so I can sleep uninterrupted for three nights…


2007-09-04

It was a busy weekend even though we were grounded at home because of the budget and fleas.

We scrubbed the entire house and vacummed it to death, practically. The fleas do not stand a chance. Apparently the key is to vacumme daily, not a problem since we have only three things they could nest in, and treat the cats, which we also did. So we’re going to forgo the exterminator which I’ve never heard does a great job with fleas anyway. And when I last had fleas, about 20 years ago, we just vacummed them away.

We had to solve the linen storage issue since the open storage meant flea access to our sweaters and linens. So it was off to IKEA for Kassette boxes which are pretty inexpensive and make the storage area look even neater. I’ll have to post updated photos. Of course, anything being stored there had to be washed. But our Laundromat has a five-load machine suitable for 800 sheets at once. I love that washer. While we were at IKEA, we checked the Pumpkin into SmalLand. She had fun and we had a peaceful shopping experience. We got to check out mattresses and frames and picked a new one out so we’re all set for when the budget re-ups. We hung another poster up in the bedroom.

We rearranged the kitchen/dining room and hung up art. Frank has this automotive adhesive that works really well so we’ve been able to get things up without having to buy frames. We also hung the little star lights we used to have in our bedroom.

Then we decided to clean up the backyard. We fixed our listing fence and I must have killed 800 spiders. Now it’s quite nice back there. There is a even a little shelf for a fern since Frank is obsessed with having one. We actually had two BBQs. I think we might even have breakfast out there next weekend.

And we put up the first of many Halloween decorations. I picked up the new Martha Stewart Living magazine for Halloween because she has the best ideas and we want to really spook up the house. I have to get last year’s issue out and remember what I wanted to do from that one.


2007-08-31

Yeah… the vet is going to cost us a lot. Damn. We have fleas, worms and cavities. All of this needs meds and Chloe needs her tooth out. Crap Crap Crap. And in order to solve the problem, the house needs to be bombed. Crap Crap Crap. And all of this costs money we don’t have. I have no idea what we’re going to do. I suppose plod along as always. It sucks. Of course, it would have been nice to learn about the fleas before we painted. Then I wouldn’t be sweating this at all. Still… we’ll get by. I am just uber stressed out by all this and in a bad place. I need to formulate a plan. The thing that is most troublesome is the bombing. I don’t want to have to continually bomb. I want those fleas gone for good – first shot.


2007-08-29

I don’t feel like being here today. Most of the time I am an industrious little bunny but not today. Why? Well…

a) I’m tired. I didn’t get anything done over the weekend so I am behind in my housekeeping. Plus the cats, probably Baxter, has been missing the box so I need a day to do more than spot clean and get two little boxes set up. We had two but Frank wanted to get by with one and both I and the cats seem to disagree. Anyway, it’s gross at home and I just want to scrub.

b) I’m tired. Frank and the Pumpkin are at home sleeping in. He’s kept her home and they are having all this fun and I am stuck here.

c) I’m tired. I’m working on getting the work site to be more consistent and user friendly. It’s tedious CSS work. This web site was designed for print, not web and we all know how that turns out. It will be a good day when people realize print is not web. Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do and I’m so sleepy. I need a kick in the butt.

And to top it off my coworker found a mouse in a glue trap in her office. I am just horrified that people still use those. Either catch them live or let them be. It’s so sad for something to have to die slowly. I checked all my work snacks and everything seems to be intact, even the pop tarts and they love pop tarts. Frank’s snack stash at his job gets routinely raided so we got him a big tupperware to hold everything. The mousies have trouble with that so his snacks have been safe. If I had latex gloves, I would free the mousie from the trap and set it free outside.

I am so glad it’s Wednesday. Only two more days to go until a nice long weekend. I would love to take Friday off but then I lose my overtime which we need.


2007-08-27

Today I want to make a shout out to the Philly Soft Pretzle. For $1 you get three, rather large soft pretzles. And they’re actually tasty, not pastey. I actually eat them for breakfast quite often. The soft pretzle is definitely better here than in NY.

Speaking on NY we had an inpromptu trip back up this weekend. Frank’s aunt was having a BBQ/pool party and it was a great way to see all of our family members in one shot. We’re really trying to make sure we see everyone we can when we come up because it’s expensive. We were on the fence until Saturday morning. As an added bonus, my sister came too. So after the party I was able to head back to Queens and spend time with my fam while Frank got to stay on LI with his. I think
we saw everyone. The party was awesome… my aunt is a super host. I have to mention that her home is on the North Shore and like something out of House and Garden. Just amazing. Lots of antiques. I don’t know what it is but we seem to inherit furniture every time we go to NY. This time we scored an antique chandelier. I have no idea where we’re going to put it. It’s really huge. But Frank is in love with it so up it will have to go.

The rest of the weekend was spent just hanging around. We made excellent time back to the homestead. We passed the old apartment. I remember how the BQE made a very bad neighbor so perhaps I don’t miss it as much as I thought… I didn’t get weepy at least.


2007-08-22
I thought I majorly screwed up my meeting on Monday. By the time dinner came around, I was so stressed out that could hardly get down my pastromi. I knew I wasn’t going to be fired or anything but I don’t want to fail at this project management thing so I didn’t want the project to get taken away just because I said something stupid. I replayed everything over and over again in my head but couldn’t think of anything that would have been bad but you never know. I had the worst
time falling asleep last night and I did the dreaded snooze thing because I was afraid to come to work.
I decided to just walk into my boss’s office and get it over with. Turns out everything is fine. I was worried for no reason. I get to keep on with my project. I know I’m good at project mgmt but I’m not so experienced where I totally sure of myself and if someone says something, which they did, I am very susceptable to having my confidence shaken which happened and it resulted in me being completely out of sorts for two days. The funny thing is nothing directly was said, it’s
just this particular persons way of talking is so confusing and leaves you wondering if you haven’t f*cked up royally. Argh!!! I am going to have to figure out how to deal with this person because I can’t let their confusion confuse me.
Frank’s surgey went well. It only took 25 minutes but we had to wait for hours in assorted waiting rooms. He gets the next few days off to recover. Since the only thing that’s messed up is his hand and he feels ok, he’s going to do some touristy things. Today he’s going to walk to meet me here and then venture to the Museum of Natural Science. It appears to be like the Museum of Natural History in NY but smaller. He doesn’t want to do anything too fabulous without the Pumpkin, at least, but
this seems like a neat place for him to go to alone. He hasn’t really done too much walking around the city so this will be good for him.


2007-08-20
Ack… Mondays are always so hard.
Ever since we moved the bed to the other side of the room, I have been getting up at 5:30 without needing an alarm clock. I probably always got up pretty early but always went back to sleep. Then I heard, somewhere, about needing at least 90 minutes of sleep to make it worthwhile to hit the snooze and that if you don’t have the time, you’re better off just getting up. So I don’t go back to sleep unless I have at least an hour to doze off again. 5:30 doesn’t give me the time so I just get up. So
I’m working on less sleep but remarkably so, I feel less tired. I am perky and not even drinking coffee anymore. Perhaps I was getting too much sleep? It could also be that in the darker corner, I am getting better sleep. It was a little odd in the beginning but now we’re sleeping very well, despite the deteriorating mattress. And getting up early allows me private shower and get ready time.
It’s raining so we took the bus. I made up a little song about taking the bus and the Pumpkin liked it so much she sings it all the time. It makes me so happy to hear her sing. I wish I knew more songs to teach her. We’re having much better commutes with better listening. Slowly, she is evolving into a human. It’s still such a challenge because she is always going forward at rocket speed, into walls and oncoming traffic.
It was a quiet, home weekend. We took the Pumpkin to Franklin Square where they have mini-golf and a carosel. We skipped the mini-golf because it was packed but she got several rides on the carosel. It works out much better now that I don’t have to go on with her anymore. Then we hung out in the playground until she scraped her elbow. If she would just slow down, ever so slightly, we’d have so fewer boo-boos.
I like the rain. It’s much cooler. On Sunday, while I was working on the new Philafleur, Frank busied himself with home decor. He hung our ghost lights in the front window. It’s early for Halloween but I don’t care. We used to have them up permanently in our living room so the ghosts may stay in the front window indefinately. Then he lit all the lanterns which I always want to do but never get around to doing – very cozy. We are really looking forward to fall. I am already scoping decor
ideas for Halloween because now we have an entire house-front to decorate. On Saturday we went to this Halloween costume super-store, which reminds me of Halloween Adventure on 4th Avenue in NYC. Even though the Pumpkin’s costume will fit from last year, I’d like to make her an outfit she can wear all the time if she wants (machine washable). I have two cotton dresses I might repurpose.
Which brings me to today’s lunch. I got this little tuna kit, which has flavored tuna (sundried tomato) and crackers. But as I was opening up the little can, it reminded me of cat food, like Fancy Feast. But what else is a single serving of tuna going to come in? Thankfully, for myself and my co-workers, it didn’t smell like cat food. It was very tasty which counter-acted the aesthetic but still… it was a little too “here kitty kitty.”
Aside from that, it’s been a good morning. I am heading a new web project. I finished all my due dilligence this morning along with my meeting materials so I’m all set for this afternoon’s meeting. I know it’s because I’m new but I know how to run a meeting, especially for a web project. It’s just funny when people talk to me like I’m some newbie to project management, even though I said I was experienced. I could have embellished, I suppose, even though I do not do that on principle. And then,
when I cut them off and explain my materials and agenda already finished, as per the PEMBOK, they stand there in awe. But better to surprise people than to dissappoint them. If my projects go well, I won’t have to defend myself anymore. But first I have to succeed. I keep forgetting that I am new here. They don’t know how I work yet.


2007-08-19
Witness the fruits of our labor.
All else is quiet on the Eastern (PA) front… Just taking a break on a lazy, rainy Sunday. Going to work on the new website now. 🙂


Aug 13
We had a very nice weekend at home not doing much at all. I am so happy not to have had to go anywhere. We ended up not going anywhere because we are stupendously broke.
I did 800 loads of laundry but the laundromat by us has these stupid-large washers in which I can do the entire family’s sheets, towels, clothing, and rugs in one shot. I could actually fit inside without too much trouble. It’s huge. We let the Pumpkin run around the playground while it was swishing. Then during the dry cycle, we headed over to get some bagels. Mostly because a dozen bagels will be breakfast for the week and don’t cost much. Our neighbors have returned from summer outings so we got to hang out on the block. It’s nice. I miss them when they’re off. Two of our neighbors, who requested flag installation, were around so Frank helped put up their flags. It really pulls the block together to have all these flags. We always have tourists walking down the block and reading our “about our flag” note on the window. There’s just something about the block that attracts people. It is a really nice block considering we have mixed architecture.
I just found out that my flash video for work works, when I thought it didn’t. This is a major happy point for me because I don’t like losing to the technology and there was no logical reason why it wasn’t working. Getting it public ready will be my project for the rest of the day. Horray!!! Back flips for me! YYYYEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!
My project for Sunday was the food shopping. We decided to go to the closer but smaller and slightly more expensive super market. But we can walk there so it saves on gas. We had a $40 budget and you know something? We stuck to our list, looked for sale items, and voila! Three dinners and basics. I only get into trouble if I don’t think about what I’m doing. Without 80 things to do, I could sit down, make a meal plan for the week, inventory the pantry, form a shopping list and have successful budget friendly shopping.
Until recently, I’ve always shouldered the budget on my own. Now I write down the allowance on the dry-erase board to which we have to substract expenditures. We are all aware of the money we have now. Even the Pumpkin is involved because when she wants something we ask her if she’d rather have the toy or food. Food usually wins. Knowing that money doesn’t just magically appear out of the wall hopefully will set her up to be responsible later on. Anyway, it’s been helping us. We’d actually be doing pretty well if it wasn’t for our last trip to New York when we all had to buy new clothes. I think we spent about 800$ in all and for us that’s as astronomical amount to spend for something frivolous – not a washer and dryer, let’s say. Actually the washer and dryer I want is only a little more than that. Crazy.
the Pumpkin was napping on Sunday when Frank and I got restless. I did a lot of overtime for work last week so I don’t want to draw attention to myself by doing even more (I fear they’ll take it away!) so I opted not to bring home work with me. But it meant I was antsy by Sunday afternoon. We are still so happy with the living room and I get a sense of such calm when I go into the room, post-adjustment, so we’re inspired. Our bedroom has always bothered us. I hit my head on the dormer when I get dressed and the bed is under the skylight so no one sleeps well. So we adjusted. It didn’t take long and it’s quite lovely! There are two distinct zones – one for sleeping and one for dressing. Although the first thing you see is the bed, you now no longer see the exposed linen storage. All the “attic” boxes are now stowed away behind the bed and out of view. The result is cleaner and more open. The only casualty is that my bed, once a fabulous iron canopy, has now been reduced to a lowly, sparse
mattress, box spring and fframe. Nothing romantic about it. Sigh… However, a canopy bed has no place in a room like this and we love that we can lay in bed and look out the doors at the tree and our flowers on the balcony. Since we like the new layout so much, we’re probably going to sell the bed frame. I have my eyes set on a mattress from IKEA, since ours is starting to go, and a box spring frame with additional storage. My old mattress was from IKEA and has served me well for the past 10 years. So we’ll have even more storage when all is said and done. But it will be very boring. Frank said we can look for a nifty dust ruffle, perhaps, so you don’t see under the bed as you ascend the stairs. I might even have the old one from before. Even though we really organized under the bed we don’t want people to see it.
And now work calls. It’s going to be a busy day!


Aug 9
My mom informs me that they were swimming in NY the other day. I hope everyone is ok. Tornados in Brooklyn? Unbelievable. I could work from home so I would have just remotely dialed in. Strangely enough, my ex-workmates were all there. But they take the bus from NJ which was working. One of my ex-corworkers just walked since he lives in Harlem. We did get the same rain and lots of it too but Philly has very good drainage and we’re quite a bit above sea level so we don’t see too much flooding, despite being very close to the river.
My mom and step-dad got stuck in Queens. Their outgoing pipe backed up again… Mom tells me to keep an eye out at interesting real estate here. Honestly, I think they could relocate here with minimal trouble but they’re very New York and they own, not one, but two houses in NY. I mean, that’s half the struggle right there. My mom is selling her home in College Point and they’ll pay off my step-dad’s house in Middle Village. So they’ll be living mortgage free… in NY. Without that expense and they both make a very decent salary, why leave? The only problem with NY is the cost of housing and pre-school, neither they have to deal with. But I fear the flooding situation will only get worse. Perhaps it’s better to leave now why they still can sell their homes.
Meanwhile, there was something bothering me about our living room. At first I thought it was the color. I know, I know… not that again. But the yellow came out a great deal brighter than I expected. But no… it’s Frank’s car shrine – and the two large glass cabinets. Because they divided the wall, it made the room look so much smaller. So we moved all the cars into one cabinet and moved it to the back by the computer. Then we put the LACK table where the cabinets were. Now we have a nice table to put things on and a hidden place underneath for my amp and the shoes – since we do not wear shoes in the house. The best part is that the wall is almost uninterrupted which makes the room look twice as big. I no longer feel like it’s caving in. Of course, now we need to find a nice piece of art for over the sofa. I have my eyes set on something having to do with the brooklyn bridge. Then I can put the smaller photo from my mom on my dresser in the bedroom. It has to be
old looking. Anyway, it takes a while to feel out how the room needs to be organized and when you move into a small house, you often just have to shove your stuff in any old way. the Pumpkin’s room is next…


Aug 8
I really hate this required lunch thing. It’s gotten to the point that I work anyway. I’m bored, bored, bored. Of course, I could be working on the magazine and come September… that is what I will be doing.
Anyway. Not much going on. Trying to figure out what to do this weekend. We want to go to the beach but I’m afraid to attempt the trip because of the traffic. Maybe something on the Delaware. We should take the Pumpkin to a water park. No, she can’t swim but I’m not going to exactly let her go running about on her own anyway. She would simply flip her gourd because she likes water. And if they have a calm pool, we can teach her how to swim.
I made my new co-worker a very cute koi fish mail box label, in color. I predict that I am going to be the official label maker once everyone else sees it. Here, they either don’t know I am artistic, because I’ve played it down, or that they’re afraid. So that’s about it for the creative stuff to do here but that’s what I wanted – more project management work – less creative work. It’s certainly less taxing on my psyche. But I’m restless really. I know I should relax during my lunch but I just want to work. I’ve logged serious overtime which means I will be leaving and arriving on time for the rest of this week instead of my usual schedule. Not bad since I have to pick up my mom a birthday card/gift on the way home.
I suppose I can go downstairs and get a cannoli. Mmmmm cannoli. And something to drink too.


Aug 7
I finished the Potter book. I did four hours of overtime. We made 180$ at our stoop sale. It was a good weekend.
Frank is home with the Pumpkin, who is sick. I would be home except I have a meeting this afternoon I can’t miss. I will go home right after.
It is hot and humid.
I actually ironed my clothes this morning but it meant I didn’t do my make-up. I brought it with me and will put my face on later. I am wearing my pointy toed shoes today because Frank drove me to work and I don’t actually have to walk much in them.
I had my first I miss NY moment. I was trying to get some bus tokens and you have to use cash in the increments they want. The machine is from the 80s and I have to go into the subway station to get it. Blech – I miss the Metrocard and MTA which works much better than SEPTA. I miss Metrocard although Septa is cheaper at 1.30$ for one token. I only take the bus rarely though… I just need to make a special trip to the main building and buy lots of tokens in advance.
Frank misses New York drivers. He can’t stand the way people drive here. I try to remind him that we didn’t exactly drive in NY all that much. But he’s right. People can’t drive here at all. I wonder if it doesn’t make more sense to get him a motorcycle and use Philly Car Share for shopping. But then he’ll be less protected from the crazy drivers here. And no one wears a helmet which is unnerving.
It’s Tuesday… in August. The summer flew by. We want to go to the beach so we’ll probably try this Saturday. I think it means we need to go through New Jersey. I’ll need to do some research. I miss the convenience of Long Beach and the LIRR. At the very least, we need to do a neat local activity. Maybe back to the park to check out another mansion. Or maybe something on the river.


Aug 3
Ah Friday. I’m having a particularily productive day fueled by Starbucks. I made the fliers for the stoop sale we’re having on Sunday. It’s time to purge, purge, purge. After six months, I know what I will use and what I won’t in the new place. Otherwise, we’re having an outting to Frank’s job so he can do some maintenance on the Honda, while the Pumpkin and I check out King of Prussia mall. Not that I like malls, but it’s one of the few places with enough room for the Pumpkin to run around in and still be a.c. cooled.
I thought we were going to have a budget crisis but I keep forgetting about client invoices to be mailed and also this fabulous resevoir of funds from the pre-tax flex spending. Actually that has been a godsend since because they take out tbe money before taxes, I don’t ever get it. It just sits there until we have an emergency. Thanks to it, I have saved a big chunk without having to think about it. It didn’t help that we had to spend a great deal of money last week. Hopefully, we’ll make a little at the stoop sale.
Curbed by the aforementioned budget issues, we won’t be traveling up to NY for a variety of parties we’ve been invited too. Even if we try to be thrifty, we end up spending too much money when we visit. Of course I miss my family – we both do. I wish NY was a little closer. But we really like Philly and it’s very quiet around our neighborhood since people go away during this month. I am looking forward to a couple of peacefull weeks at home because I really do not travel well.
I’m almost done with the Potter book. I tried to finish it last night but couldn’t. Just as well. I cannot stay up late reading this stupid book when I have work the next day. But it’s like literary crack. I can’t help it. I don’t have much more to read. I think tonight I can finish. As soon as I am done with this book, I am going to get back onto a schedule.
Ok – I have lots of data migration and keyword frequency tabulation to get through before I go.


Jul 30
Ok – time to catch up before I dive into work stuff.
Our weekend went well. It was an adventure but the sort we like. Friday, Frank had the day off so he was able to settle the house up and come and get me at 4:30 when I got off (summer hours). Then he wanted something to drink. I was like, can we wait until Jersey? And he said no. So I said, well then we’re getting bubble tea since we practically have to go that way anyway. Ok. With bubble tea in hand we’re off to NY.
We would have had a quick trip but someone at work told me it wasn’t a good idea to go up on a Friday, even though we always do it without any problem but they had to say something and curse our trip and we got stuck in traffic due to an accident. Of course, I am still fighting this UTI so by exit 8 I had to pee something awful and then the Pumpkin had to go. So we get off the turnpike and stop at a hotel where I sneak the Pumpkin and I into the bathroom. They never stop a mom and kid. Then we got a quick bite at Wawa, admired the strange local folk and hopped back onto the turnpike. We finally get to New York. There was one small back up, as we turned onto 42nd because people from Ohio and Virginia are rude, but otherwise it went well. We drove past the Quickie Mart which looks just like the one in the show. Made mental note about the location for later and hurried onto Queens via the 59th St bridge and the LIE. Wham – we get dropped off and Frank
heads out to the middle of nowhere Long Island to meet his cousin and see The Simpson’s Movie. He loved the movie.
Saturday, Frank came home earlier than expected which turned out to be a good idea. We found out mid-afternoon that the event is not casual – it’s formal. Shoot – that means we do not have proper attire. So we put the Pumpkin down for a nap and headed to Target, Old Navy and TJ Maxx for emergency shopping. I have to say – we did great. Zero to fabulous in two hours and the only reason it took that long was because we couldn’t find a party dress for the Pumpkin anywhere. Even better, I found an Evan Piccone pants-suit (250$) for 59.99$ at TJ Maxx. Score one for grown up dressing. It’s lined so I’ll wear it in during the cooler months.
The party was a blast. They connected three backyards and got a tent to span the entire width which was really neat – totally Brooklyn style. I was very glad we did get dressed up because everyone was all festive looking. The nice thing was the bride got to wear her dress again because most people only get to wear it once. The food was amazing – and they do this all themselves – no caterer. My friend Kelvin’s family is no joke. They should go into the party business. the Pumpkin had fun too. In the beginning she was a little at odds, not knowing what to do with herself at a grown-up party but then she found other kids her own age and one little girl had Barbies to play with. And of course the dancing. I thought she was going to kill this one kid she was dancing with. For the Pumpkin, dancing to sped-up West Indian music is a full-on contact sport. But she loves it. We had planned to leave a whole lot earlier but ended up staying until after 11 pm.
Sunday was recovery day. Not that we had to really recover. My mom is selling her house so we got to “shop” from the things she isn’t taking to their other house. I scored a coffee table that she bought in our old neighborhood in Brooklyn that I always secretly lusted after. Also some neat old prints and I had to take home some of my costumes, my wedding dress, and also my boots. That’s it though – anything else left they can sell in a garage sale. We’re having ours next weekend I think. I tried on my wedding dress and it still fits – snuggly but still. To be honest, it is a corsetted dress so it’s adjustable. But the skirt wasn’t and that still closes, although the parts of me that have grown are below the waistline anyway. I gave the Pumpkin the veil to play with and the long skirt to my sister to cut up and craft with. I took the shirt, corset and shorter skirt which altogether is something I can actually wear again.
On the way home, in the pouring rain, we stopped at the Quickie Mart and visited the Hello Kitty store on 42nd as well. The turnpike was crowded again so we took Rt-130 home which was a whole lot more interesting anyway. I loath the I-95 and would rather take longer to avoid it. Our little house was waiting safe and sound and I haven’t seen one flea since we’ve returned. I borrowed the last Harry Potter book from my sister and already started to read it. I should have known better than to start it last night – stayed up a little too late but it’s really good so far.


Jul 25
It’s 9 pm. the Pumpkin is in bed. Frank is in bed. I am not tired. I would love to bang out some work. I did email myself the excell spreadsheet of keyword doom home for just this occassion. Of course they are sort of laying down the smack down with OT at work and I don’t want to take advantage of a good thing even though I don’t.
I could also flip on the telly for some undisturbed home and gardan watchage. I could watch said H&G goodness while purging and organizing my clippings. Haven’t done that in a while and I need to.
I tried on my Cache dress and it fits without the girdle. All this behaving, even with minor snacks here and there, has been working. It’s an inspiration to keep at it. Of course, I can’t wear the dress unless I can find a boob insert before Saturday. That, and I have no idea if this is that sort of party or not. I hate to be overdressed.
We’ve pounded out the schedule for the weekend. Both Frank and I feel crappy so we probably won’t push it. I have a UTI – charming aren’t they. Doesn’t make me want to party.
Ok – clipping organization palooza it is! See you all tomorrow. 🙂


Jul 25
I can’t believe it’s Wednesday. I have to give a big shout out to Fairmount Park. We visited Mount Pleasent where they were having an afternoon with a sea captian event. For absolutely no cost we got to see a domestic woodworking demonstration, wander around a huge 1760s house, see a tin smithing demonstration, do several arts and crafts activities, and be entertained by a re-enactor who told fabulous sea stories. Argh indeed! So far I am so impressed with Fairmount Park. Besides being a beautiful park, it houses several mansions. Actually this used to be the summer stomping ground of Philly’s gentry but over the years the park accummulated the houses and now you can tour them. So far we’ve toured Strawberry Mansion and drove by Lemon Hill. Mount Pleasent makes three. I’m collecting them like trading cards.
The neat thing about the event was that we never had to tell the Pumpkin to “not touch this” or “don’t go there.” We just let her go bananas. We did have a parental pride moment. The captian was demonstrating a pully and letting people try it out. Our little girl, dressed in a sailor dress no less, goes right up to the rope, pulls hand over hand just like a real sailor, and pulls a 30 pound sack of rocks right to the top in no time at all. Totally blew the pants off of the other kids, even the bigger ones. Such technique! Every now and then I get glimpses at her determination and problem solving skills. It’s hard not to get caught up in the struggle we have raising her and remember that she does listen and is very capable of following instructions. Still, we were so proud of her and once we teach her how to swim, we can take her on a sailboat. We have a few large boats by us, moored on the river and the Pumpkin is obsessed with them. At least once a week, we have to go
walking down by the riverfront to see the boats. She will really enjoy an naval outting I think.
She really enjoyed the reenactor, who was very entertaining and authentic. Although it was supposed to be Captian MacPherson, whose house it was, she kept calling him Captian Hook.
the Pumpkin fell asleep in the car and we drove a little bit around the Northern Liberties section of Philly which is also pretty nice. Then it was home for food shopping and a BBQ.


Jul 18
So apparently it is a bit of a liability to have your kiddo join you for late night working. So if I have to pull a few extra hours, I can’t have her with me. Crap… we have such a good time and I do have very good productivity despite her presence. My manager was astonished at what I put into her in box. Oh well… I will just have to get my at home access squared away and work at home. This is the kicker. My manager then tells me not to work late so I don’t get burned out. They know I work hard and are very happy with me and I should take it easy. The thing is this. I am German. Germans work hard. The Germanic sort of person is probably most happy when they are working a lot, especially on techie things. And I’m used to the NYC pace. If I work at the Philly pace, I feel lazy and that makes me gloomy and I’d probably fall asleep. I got so much work done yesterday and I feel all happy-like. Believe me, I take
breaks when I have to, yesterday’s little shopping spree for instance. I rarely feel overworked by work things, so far. But if the boss tells you to relax, I suppose you should. I will have to work on pacing myself as opposed to working until I drop – take a day off and repeating. I will have to work on this working relaxing thing. Otherwise all is well.
So about my shopping trip. For the past several years, probably about 15 now, I’ve been keeping a fashion scrapbook. I clip things I like and purge routinely, all to avoid bad purchases. When I can go shopping I have a trendy-free idea of what I should get. Anyway, I haven’t been finding too much in the usual places. So yesterday I saw this really nice retro-looking dress in the Dress Barn window and decided to stop in. I must be getting old because I liked a whole bunch of what I saw – in Dress Barn. Lots of really nice, not too stuffy, work appropriate clothing, nicely tailored and cut for an adult (post baby) woman’s figure. Oh dear. Boy do I feel old. Dress Barn – the most horrible name for a clothing store ever. You know what goes in barns? Cows… great. I’m a cow. Anyway, moo aside, I really liked this one suit and it’s been ages since I bought one and I imagine I will have to start wearing them more
in the fall. Not a problem. But I have to wait for the budget to re-up. I did walk off with two blouses and a pair of cropped trousers which are of a work safe length and three season appropriate. Not bad. One replaces a blouse that’s so ill fitting it has to go. And the other replaces the contraband camisole. Voila and all in 15 minutes. Applause, applause, applause…
I was going to spend my lunch putting together some Playmobile for the Pumpkin but I’ll do that tonight for her. Frank is changing the Honda’s oil so he’ll be late and we can do girl things. I’m making pasta salad tonight.
So I have this party to attend in two weeks. I am trying to behave myself because I only have one party dress and I need to fit into it. I do have a girdle so we’ll see what miracle that can work. According to my gyn I seem to be normal sized. I feel normal sized except for the spare bagel. She laughed and said it was a badge of motherhood, and a c-section. I think I will try on the dress to see if it’s hopeless or not. I love the dress but when I think about it, I should have gotten a different one. Especially since one of the major things I considered when buying it ended up being a non-issue.


Jul 16
We had a fabulous weekend. The grandmother visit went off without a hitch. My main concern was that she was going to fall down the stairs, because we all have, but thankfully she made it through ok. It was too hot to really drag her all over the city but we went on a nice walk through our area and up through Society Hill. I think she likes it and at the very least, she understands why we like it here so much. I wish she could stay longer. But she’s convinced me that we need to visit Florida so we’ll plan a trip for early October, I think. I just have to figure out vacation time.
Our block party was on Saturday. Everything went superb. Everyone chiped in with the work and no one felt overwhelmed. My neighbors are all fabulous cooks and we had plenty of food. My other neighbor is a great DJ so we had awesome music the entire night. I have pictures I need to post to the website. No interlopers stealing our beer. No drama. Just happy neighbors getting to know each other a little better. My next step is to gather some recipes because the food was that good and I would love to be able to cook some of the dishes again. I think you can make these really neat photo books at Kodak so maybe I’ll make jpgs of the recipes and combine them with photos and make a nice book. There is talk of wanting to do it again, sooner than next week. So perhaps we’ll work on something fun for Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, I need to make us costumes… at least Frank and the Pumpkin. Ialready have a dress. Of course if the block wants to do a theme then we’ll have to get creative. At least I have all those fabric stores by me.
It feels good to return to the land of the living and not have to paint. We actually all napped with the Pumpkin yesterday so I feel pretty decent today. We should have a quiet next two weeks and then it’s up to NY for a wedding party. Mom had brought down a little patio table last week and yesterday I actually sat in my backyard at the table and realized we have enough room to eat outside as soon as we return two tarps to our neighbor. It’s amazing, but our little house has all these little hidden nooks. It really is bigger than one would first think. There are all sorts of tricks one can use to make the space seem bigger but when you have a small space like ours, the best thing to do is to just go with it. We’ve decided to adopt a coffee table from my mom for this reason. Yes, it will take up the entire middle of the living room but it will bring everything together whereas now things are just lining the walls. This weekend I will try to take some pictures of the new look.


Jul 12
i am sick… stayed home yesterday… feel like i am being disemboweled today but i’m at work. i am tired of going to the bathroom… i am tired of sharing the bathroom. the weekend can’t come soon enough.
as an aside, i had a lovely dinner with my friend Alli on tuesday. it was very nice to catch up and she had lovely patience with zoe. i think if i had to pick two words to describe her, it would be refined and elegant. i think it’s the new england in her. anyway, although casual, it was a very nice dinner. zoe ran up the walls. today, though, she is nearly normal. poor little girl doesn’t handle home improvement well.


Jul 9
We are done painting! Well, except for a few touch up spots but we’re waiting for that because we need to recover. I do not suggest painting an entire house in one month without taking at least a few days off of work. Trying to fit it in over your schedule is crazy. Not to mention we really had to blow the Pumpkin off for the month and I feel horrible about that. It makes her insane for attention which makes her really act up. Right now she is just off-the-wall. I give her one week and she’ll calm down.
Philafluer transition is going well. The bulk of the content is now living here with the assets to follow shortly. I am really happy to be able to work on it once again. I am thinking about moving the magazine here too. I can now kiss unproductive lunch time good-bye.
The Juniper Valley magazine printed my letter instead of having someone talk to me about Middle Village history. Hopefully someone will read it and call me. I just want to know who the developers were. Someone had to build all those rowhouses. They didn’t just hatch from eggs. And why rowhouses? Why not other sorts of houses? And why tudor-esk? See? I have lots of questions.
The block party is Saturday. I am having a lassez-faire attitude about it. We will have beer, food, and music. Whatever else is up to everyone who shows up for set-up. This is the first party so we’ll just see how it goes, evaluate and make notes for next year. Mom my and step-dad, who were in town for the weekend, got to meet some of our neighbors which was nice. We had a lovely sit on the stoop – real city life. Visits used to be easier because we were in the same city but now people want to actually do things. I think I have to start a hostess folder with neat things to do and SEPTA info. We did take them past the art museum and we went to Fairmount Park and toured Strawberry Mansion. the Pumpkin played a 120 year old piano. I would have loved to play too but I am in such poor practice. I wonder if it isn’t time to stop worrying about writing music and just remember what it’s like to play for fun. First, I need to unload about 200 books and find a very small
piano. I have my eyes set on the Melodygrand portable piano, which is a bonafide acoustic instrument with only five-and-a-half octaves. My grandmother has one. It sounds amazing for such a small piano. However, it is rare. I have my local dealer trying to find me one around here.
I’m working on streaming a video through Flash and I need some control buttons so I went to CNN for ideas and PA is on the front page – blech. Budget problems. I don’t think the Governor is terribly good. Man it’s embarrassing when your state is screwing up and it’s on the front page. But on the bright side, I love CNN’s new web design. Very clean. No more headache – I hated their old site. Bravo! Btw – it might just be the video clip but the CEO of Airbus looks like an elf. I think I am inspired to perhaps work on a new PhilaFluer since I am already moving the copy over.


Jul 6
I’m in the process of moving my zansite/philafleur website to the work computer so I can update that here. I figure I can work on the magazine at home but it’s nice to be able to at least update my journal here. And I have this blasted lunch to deal with. I can’t exactly view the site from my local so the personal site, since it doesn’t have relevant photos is ok and wing-it-able.
Everyone seems to be cranky these days. Bush and his cohorts have really made everyone hate America. It’s really too bad. I’m reading a book called “The Nighty and The Almightly.” I think a few things, in cocurrance with Ms. Albright. One – America is not a bad idea. Democracy is not a bad thing. Capitalism is not a bad thing. These ideas are great. However ideas are one thing. Practice is another. It’s not like people won’t make mistakes. The average person is not the smartest or the strongest or the “est” of anything. Hence average. Mistakes will happen. Things will fall through the cracks. Fortunately the system is set up so you can change it.
During those pergatorial trips on the ChinaTown Bus, with the swishing fish in the trunk, surrounded by the aroma of nasty, I thought a lot about what I would do if I was president. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is not an easy job. There is no way one person can be on top of everything so you have to trust your advisors. It’s unlikely everyone working for you is going to be simultaneously the smartest and most ethical group of people in existance. And you can’t predict the future. You can’t know what reprocusions your decisions are going to have ten years down the road. Actually I think being the president of the number one country is probably a really sucky job.
In the end you have to hope for the best of times, most of the time. I do feel like I am pursuiting life, liberty, and whatnot so I suppose for me and probably many people it’s working. Not that it’s perfect or there aren’t a million issues, things I don’t like but it’s ok. Ok is a fragile thread anyway.


Jul 5
I just realized my poor website is so outdated. I want to make changes pronto but it’s tricky since I lost my beloved FTP. I will try something and see what happens because it really needs some love.


Jul 2
finally the magazine is out…
http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/index.html
man am i tired. the good news is once things are settled with this painting, i should have a lot more time to work on this. meanwhile, the people of middle village never got back to me about their neighborhood so i had to resurrect an old article. with everything going on, new job and painting, this will probably be the worst of it.
on the up side, i am actually getting serious offers for advertising…
on the down side, there is a magazine called philadelphia row house – but they cater to this area only and i like to think my mag is a little more broad in scope.
i discovered a really neat row house neighborhood in england and can’t wait to find out more about that. and i’m getting picked up by the spiders… now off to bed for me.


Jul 1
I am so tired. And it’s official – we’re broke again. Sigh… but this time we accomplished home improvement. Way too much went to eating out. I can’t believe how that adds up. But with all this painting we didn’t have much time to cook. I suppose we could have eaten cereal. the Pumpkin needs real food though. I am actually looking forward to cooking this week. I have discovered that if I write the meals down the on board, I cook. If not, I don’t have any idea what to make even though there is food. It felt good to actually plan the week’s meals.
Even though we didn’t have to paint, Sunday wasn’t all that relaxing. The Honda got towed. I told Frank to go and move it and not park it in the Rite Aide parking lot but he didn’t listen. Sunday morning I go out and voila – no car. I figure you’re not a real resident of a city until your car gets towed. Thankfully it’s cheaper here. So I went back home, got Frank up and we had a nice family outing to West Philly. The tow guy was very nice and took good car of the car, which got to spend the night in an indoor garage. Not bad. I figure all the times Frank didn’t get towed probably works out to the same as if he put the car in a garage for those nights anyway.
Then we went food shopping, only to return home to realize that the night game we thought we were seeing was actually a day game. We got ready super fast and headed to the subway. The SEPTA stations smell a whole lot better than the MTA. It was the Pumpkin’s first baseball game. She did ok. I tried to talk her through it only to realize how boring baseball is, especially for a three year old who can’t see the ball. Fortunately, they had a huge hamster tube gym thing for the kids so we spent four innings down there together. We got her a little pink Phillies hat to celebrate although I think she likes hockey better. She loves the hat.
Now that we’ve finished the living room, we’re going to sell quite a bit of gear on Craigslist if anyone in the area wants our perfectly decent stuff. This week we’re going to plod along on the stairwells and the kitchen and dining room. Then a little touch up here and there and then we’re done. No more painting.
Aside from the vanity and bathroom items, we also got a small speaker set up. Frank’s old speakers are great for a room maybe ten times the size but our living room is so tiny. And they take up valuable floor space. Now we have very small speakers that hang off the wall. It was a small thing but it really opened up the place. We’re also stashing quite a bit in the upstairs closet. So much to get rid of. Hopefully we’ll recap a bit of what we’ve spent over the past few weeks.
I’m looking forward to sleeping mostly.


Jun 26
Philly is hot and humid. I had to use all my effort to not walk too fast and yet get to work ok. I don’t remember NY being quite this humid but this is what we get for having had such a nice weekend.
We woke up this morning and expected to see the bedroom and only have to paint just a little more but no, it needs another full coat. Frank is on strike so he will play with the Pumpkin while I get back to work because I am not giving up quite yet. It’s good because I can work better when I’m not feeling guilty about the Pumpkin having to entertain herself. We apologize all the time. We let her help with the primer, being only one color and not needing to watch the edges. Completing the bedroom will mark the halfway point. Three rooms done, three rooms to go. The dining room doesn’t count because we don’t have to prime so maybe two and a half to go. I really wish I could just photoShop the color into being there. Plus, I haven’t even gotten the living room paint yet. Such an ordeal. But with every stroke, we get closer to a peaceful home, free of visual cacaphony. We’re going to celebrate the completion of the painting with a nice family outing to the Zoo.
The redesign at work is going well. Actually the painting is going well too. It’s just a big project. My life is full of perpetual projects right now. I need to remove the month old nailpolish from my nails which are incredibly long and consistantly so. All but one, which just broke yesterday. They’re too long to type or write comfortably but do look nice. I need to cut, file and shape. Perhaps while I am waiting in between moulding painting? My life is punctuated by painting. Paint room, go to work, paint, shower, paint, the Pumpkin time, paint, sleep, paint, eat…
I have a delemma… I am still struggling with this lunch thing. I would like to start up running again. I could run during my lunch if I only had a place to take a shower. 5 minutes to get ready… 30 minutes run… 15 minutes to shower… 10 minutes to get back to work… Now, do I join a gym just to shower? Phila Sports Club has family fitness programs. They fail to list the price online. I could go after work with the Pumpkin. We could take mommy and me pilates. Maybe if she was a little older. Or, do I move the magazine here and start working on it during my lunch which would get me back on track with that and just say to heck with my waistline. Coincidentally, all this painting leaves me little time to snack and I am making good food choices like no donuts… no cookies… no italian ice… I can’t imagine I am not losing some of this pesky jiggle.
Today is not a good day to think. I am so tired.


Jun 25
Of course I just don’t have time for anything more than a quick note. Weekend was nice. I am digging this awesome weather. Saturday my best friend from NY came down for a little visit. We let the Pumpkin lead the tour of the neighborhood. That means covering five blocks in five hours. Then, since the man went out with the boys, we had cheesesteak. In retrospect, I should have done a little more work on the bedroom.
Sunday we got a somewhat late start with the room because we slept in. I made chocolate chip pancakes – saw my friend off and yanked a recovering Frank out of bed to get crackin on the bedroom. We only go to the second coat of primer before our dinner guests arrived. More New York buddies. Had a wonderful dinner. I love people who are interesting to talk too, understand kids and have a kid for the Pumpkin to hang with, and who don’t mind if we go out to dinner covered in primer. Good eats and good times for all of us.
So this morning, I can only access the closet and my dainties and socks. Four of my drawers are off limits. I am ok but I don’t know for how long. Tonight we will get pizza and try to get as much of the room done as possible. And it’s raining and the Honda’s window won’t roll down so Frank has to try to fix it. I’m tired too. The mattress on the sofa bed needs to be replaced. I wonder if we should just go to IKEA tonight and get a new mattress instead painting because another night on the sofa will be hard. Or do we try to paint… even though we cannot get the room back to normal tonight. I have no idea. Oh… I just got an idea for the remodel when we do the big project for our bedroom. Something with the closets and the dormer. I have to jot that down.
Work is nice and busy so I can divert myself for the time being from the paint. And my sister got my photos from Washinton Mews so I am that much closer to getting the summer issue of the magazine out.


Jun 18
No more pumpkin pie room for the pumpkin – her room is pink. 🙂 It’s very pink. Sort of looks like dessert. Very girly. She loves it. The brown mantel, brick wall and green linens keep it from looking rediculous. We are exhausted. I also hemmed all the curtians. Much, much better. Still need to do a little touch up. It’s hard to paint when the sun goes down – the strange light makes you miss spots. We moved Kaizocu into the bathroom. the Pumpkin’s wall is plaster and we didn’t want to make a new hole. Besides, now he will have attention every time we use the bathroom and we thought he might be feeling lonely in the Pumpkin’s room.
I’ve killed several pairs of shoes with my four mile daily walk, not to mention the back pain from wearing flat soled shoes. So, I caved in and bought a pair of Dansko clogs. All those years in Brooklyn, I wanted a pair of Danskos ever since I moved there. Danskos, you see, are the unofficial shoe of Brooklyn Heights and actually popular with people who have to work on their feet all day long. Anyway, I used to drool in the shop windows at the cute styles just wishing… and finally I move to Philly and voila! I get the Danskos. They are cute mary jane ones. And they are superiourily comfortable. My arhces are supported. No more shin cramps and back ache. Ahhhhh…


Jun 12
The house is taking over my life. But it needs my love for a little while.
We decided to get all the paint for the entire house this weekend. The good news is that it was very reasonable for everything, except the living room paint. We can’t get that color except for one brand of paint and it’s a little expensive for the quality so I am going to try to see if Benjamin Moore has something nearly the same.
The first thing we did was the front door. Frank picked out the lovely navy blue color that is a approved by the National Historic Trust. We used “Kilz” primer which worked amazingly well. I had heard of Kilz on “This Old House” and figured if it works for them, it will work for us too. Sure enough, fabulous coverage. The blue works well with the existing trim color so we’re pleased about not having to redo the entire facade. We’ll put one more coat on before we add our new black house numbers in a classic, non-funky, font.
Our neighbor bought us a flag, the “Grand Union.” The overall effect is so Americana it’s rediculous. Since everyone else will have an American flag, we’re thinking about a German flag to add variety, or maybe Swedish because the neighborhood was originallly Swedish and I like IKEA. There’s also Frank’s coat of arms we could probably procure.
Because we’re crazy, we decided to tackle the bathroom yesterday. We were just going to paint but the vanity and sink were in such crappy condition, we decided to replace them with a Home Depot special. The home depot special worked out very well – especially since it was a cheaper one. We figure why go all out when this is only a minor makeover because the big remodel will come in a few years and involve a claw-foot bathtub and beadboard. We choose a muted sage green wall color with cream colored trim. I love the paint and I’m always nervous because I can’t just photoshop it out.
Unfortunately our pipes didn’t make it when Frank tightened the trap pipe. Whoops – back to the Depot but only for a little pipe. Then he tried to change out the light switches and we discovered somehow there is a several outlet and switch circuit and if you don’t have it all hooked up just right you lose your lights. So we have lights in the bathroom but not over the one stairwell and in the downstairs computer station/closet. It’s very strange and we have to do some detective work and we need four contact point switches, not the normal three. There are actually over 10 wires in each switch box – four live and no ground… very weird but we discovered long ago that the electrical arrangement is really bizaar in our house – half from the early 1900s and half from the 1970s. I have an idea though, that instead of wiring each outlet individually, they ran all the wires at once and just connected the relative ones and passed the bunch of wires along. Sort of lazy, but maybe it saves a lot of work too… Hopefully, Frank will not get electricuted.
I still have to put another coat of paint on the door but I have to work so it’ll have to wait. Still, it looks very nice and I am inspired to get a move on on the rest of the house. Stay tuned for before and after shots.


Jun 7
Ok – quickly… The classes went well. We do not have to throw away our content management system (CMS). Yay!!! I do have to re-architect the site and amend all the stylesheets because calling a class “.33ba3848sj_stupidDeveloper_0wndsaafeafwefefaefaefaefaefaef7″ is not good CSS practice. Likewise, creating a separate page for each damn thing when pages should be dynamically generated defeats the purpose of a dynamic website. I learned that the CMS can do amazing things and I can do almost all the development work all by myself. Score! I also got to play with the backend. I now know my VB from my CFM. I left the class feeling very smart.
Geek statement — I now understand the mess that’s here. You cannot have Csharp developers develop a website that’s supposed to be vb. They wrote cSharp code for a vb product. Non-techie translation – it’s like having a Spanish person who doesn’t speak a work of French try to write an instruction manual in French with the help of a Berlitz dictionary and then writing it in Spanish anyway – sort of. How good do you think it’s going to be? I mean they’re both latin languages and some structure is similar but it’s not going to be very good. All to the mix that no one at the development company had ever worked with the CMS before and you get the mess.
The best part is that I can fix it. I will earn boku smarty pants points. I need to collect smarty pants points so that they give me enough privileges so I can actually do my job. Also, this site will grow and there will be other people brought in and possibly integrations and I want to make sure I am on top of it and in charge. I will need to collect many smarty pants points to redeem to enter a new colleague respect level.
Onto the logistics. The departing flight was late. I really wish I had had the lap top I requested because then I could have been productive. But no… bored bored bored. I really wished I had brought my crochet and we got to NH so late. On to the rental car. I suppose when they saw my workmate, who is 6’2”, they figured the Chevy Aveo might be too small so we got a free upgrade. On to the hotel, which was lovely. Very swanky. My little room was the epitome of comfort – very nice bed with sleep package including linen spray and in the bathroom… fleur wall paper. Oh joy!!!
I wake up in the am at 6 – five hours of sleep – to go swimming which I have been looking forward to for week and what do I get? Aqua-cizers. Big aqua-cizers. I tried it out but the motion of the water caused by the displacement of large bodies kept me from being able to keep my balance. The only free lap times were when I was in class.
Class was good and the trip home very nice with no delay, except for the TSA screening. They thought my lip gloss was suspicious. I would have emptied my bag but they insisted on running the box through the machine over and over instead. I was so proud of myself that I remained mostly calm on the flight. The plane was half empty so I got a whole row to myself.
Oh – I got a new organizer. I finally caved because the other one is too heavy for my mobile lifestyle. I need to hit up the FiloFax store to get inserts. I don’t mind getting a dayRunner, especially since this one has fleurs embossed on it (bonus!!) and a beautiful gold satin lining, but the papers they use are too thick. FileFax uses thinner paper and they have fabulous accessories like business card holders and the like. I am thinking I can sell the old one at our yard sale. It still is in great condition and has much of the original inserts untouched.


Jun 4
We got our tax money… we are going to paint as soon as I can work out the logistics. I will have to take some days off or work from home while the paint dries. Do I just take a week off? Or do it peacemeal?
The money came just in time as we were needing a little to support our respective training field trips and we worried about food.
Saturday we went to New Jersey. Got detoured a little bit because we didn’t believe the GPS navigation…. Let me rewind a bit. Last week, Frank was informed that he would be going to north Jersey for class. His work let him borrow the “War Wagon” which you must pronouce “Var Vah-gon” because it is German. By the way, you must never call a BMW station wagon a station wagon – eet ees a touring vagon. Frank’s former instructor Hans Kruger yelled at him last time.
So we got to drive the war wagon to Jersey. It has a GSP thing. It was telling us to make all these right turns so we figured it was on the fritz. Lesson one, never doubt German technology. Lesson two, New Jersey is full of right turns you need to make in order to go left.
The family party was very nice. Lots of chatting with the relatives. Got to hear my cousin’s band play – very cool. They’re so cute – all girl punk band. Girl punks are so clean. Actually modern punks are so clean in general. None of the spitting and whatnot. the Pumpkin had a blast. She was jumping up and down all ready to start a little mosh pit. Then she wanted to play the instruments too. It did make me miss playing but when can I do it?
Frank and I headed back to Philly, while the Pumpkin headed to NY with her grandparents. It’s so quiet without her. As I was getting ready to hit the club, I realized I am missing my super boots. I hope my sister has them and they aren’t another casualty of the move. The club was very nice. Small but the DJ played everything we asked for. The problem is that everything closes at 2. On the up side, I can’t stay up later than that anymore anyway. Lots of fun overall and I would go back if I can score inexpensive baby-sitting.
Sunday was very quiet. Frank and I walked around the city. It was nice to be able to not have to say “don’t touch that,” “come back here,” “hold hands,” every two minutes. We went to this incredible open house in Society Hill for this 1.4 million dollar home. It was absolutely stunning. I have collected ideas for our little house. Frank thinks it’s invasive to just go in but I feel that as long as you don’t bother the owner or the realtor, what harm does it do? And we really need to see some ideas for our own little place. We had a nice breakfast and dinner out – nothing fancy but we wanted to completely relax. He headed out by 6 and then I attacked the housework.
Today I am just waiting for the day to end so I can go on my business trip. The sooner I go, the sooner I can come back. It should be an adventure. The hotel is beautiful and I can’t wait to go swimming. I bet downtown Nashua is just hopping… hahahaha. I brought my PEMBOK and expect to get some good reading in.
Ok – I am off to have lunch because they make me do it…


May 30
I just lounged around my house over the weekend. Frank and I did super cleaning. the Pumpkin watched movies. We took her to Franklin Square which was fun. The family mini golf didn’t go quite as well as expected since half way through she decided it was more fun to run around and not wait her turn. We had a nice BBQ, our third since we moved. Frank has the mini-BBQ all figured out now. Something about the correct ratio of charcol to size of BBQ. Anyway, he has it all figured out.
The plans for the block party are moving along. I think we might have a date. I have to organize responses, get some helpers and move ahead. Block party organization has taken over magazine duties… crap… how life takes over.
Work is nuts. I have formulated a plan to work around the CMS limitations. We are going to have to rebuild the back-end of the site which is what we want to do anyway. The current system does not work at all. There will be lots of project management going on. I finally picked up my project management book from the post office. So far it’s not surprising. Next week I go to New Hampshire for training.
A big thank you to Carly for sending me hair dye. I now look like myself. Strange thing is… I was growing my hair out. I really love the 1940s look with the rolled sides and whatnot and had this idea that I would grow my hair out. Then, when I dyed it orange, it didn’t look quite right. So I went to the stylist and chopped it all off. I now have a pixie again but this time it looks pretty ok. The bangs are much shorter… hair isn’t blond. Somehow it’s working. The firm doesn’t seem to care about the bright color. I just can’t seem to commit to growing it out. Oh well. the Pumpkin needs a haircut.
It’s been a little toasty here in Philly. The A/C works well so we hardly feel it. Actually, the first two floors stay very cool without it. Just our bedrooms that get warm.
I have to take neighborhood photos. Everyone has their flags out. It’s so pretty here.
And finally, we have to have a stoop sale. We have a surplus of things that we’ll never use and I would like to get a china cabinet and a new turtle tank so it’d be nice to make a little money off of our stuff that is still totally in like-new condition. The last one we did didn’t bring in as much as I would have liked so this time I am going to read “yard sale for dummies” and get some pointers.


May 22
I started to write this 45 minutes ago. They make me take lunch here but that just never happens. I am now on lunch – bah.
Frank had to work on Saturday so I took the pumpkin to Longwood Gardens. I think I remember seeing it featured on “America’s Castles” or some other show on A&E. It’s absolutely fabulous. Miles of greenhouses. I have never seen flowers like these ever. Blows away anything I’ve seen so far. I think what she liked the best were the tadpoles she found in a shallow stream. They were sunning themselves on a rock in shallow water and you’d move your finger over the water and they’d scatter. She calls them “tadfishies.”
We walked through the house. I got kitchen ideas. I have to collect ideas where I can – mainly in other old houses, even if my entire house could fit in their living room. There was an exhibit of the pipe organ they have there and you got to here Bach’s Fugue Toccata if you pushed the button. Well, guess who had to push the button 1000 times. It would be like “da da daaaa…. da da da da da dum da” giggle giggle giggle. I’m sure that’s just what Bach intended.
I meant to take her to an indoor activity because we were supposed to get rain so I didn’t use enough SPF… we’re both a little pink but not horrible. I am going to store a spare can in the car from now on. Regardless, we had a wonderful time. Score one more for fabulous PA.
Operation Block Party is underway! I’ve gotten responses from almost all my neighbors. We have our required 75% approval rating. I’ve created a yahoo group so we can plan as well as keep in touch about other things. the Pumpkin really get’s along with the other kids so it’d be nice to go on outings together instead of just the two or three of us. I love that she’s our only child but it means we owe it to her to make sure she has kids her own age to play with as much as possible. There are several her age on the block and two others with Z names as well. Just another kookie thing we love about our block.
I have to take some neighborhood pictures and post them. I have to update my website – I have to work on the magazine. Blech… busy.


May 17
I cannot find a single place to buy clairol dye… I am going to have to back to NY just to buy hair color. This is the stupest thing ever! I can’t find copper hair dye and the stupid hair magazine I just bought says it’s the new in-est thing ever. So why can’t I find it anywhere? And it’s not like thousands of Philadelphians have the color. I do not feel like paying $200 for a color I could do myself. Damn you Garnier for discontinuing the color.. damn you! Let’s not talk about the cut. I have no idea what to do with that either. I do not like my cut… I do not like my color. I might not like the cut because the color is wrong for this style. This is my blonde style. Blech. I’m on a budget so I can’t have a salon fix this for me. I am so tempted to go back to blonde just so I can feel normal, until I can get to a supply store somewhere for the copper. If anyone knows where I can score some “Miss Clairol Maximum Intensity Real Reds #208RR, Reddest Sunset Red – Level 8 Base Red,” and some 40 level developer, please let me know. I am desparate for my copper hair again.
Otherwise all is well. Frank is working on his first engine swap today so we’re all very excited about that. They have a nice way of doing it here which should make his life easier. 🙂


May 16
It’s nice to have a breather. The techie people, who will soon be removed from the process, took away my database for a week so my super project has been put on hold. In the meanwhile it’s nice to catch up.
I am relishing in being a homebody. No more trips to NY. I love it. Unexpectedly, we are eating really late these days because we chat with the neighbors outside every evening. Our block rocks! I have become the organizer for a block party. Tonight I will pass around the questionnaire and find out a date and who wants to help out. I am so not the party person but I can organize and delegate. At least I won’t have to deal with any party nazis with this event.
I have to make getting the new issue of the magazine posted a priority. Tonight I have to look it over and find out what interviews I need to conduct and get it rolling. I never anticipated this job being so nuts so I have to make the magazine a seasonal thing instead. It’s ok. I’ve always been the sort of person who puts responsibility first. I am pleased and very surprised that I got an offer for advertising. I had to tell them no because I’m just not ready for that yet. But I was still tickled pink about it. I am getting compensated very nicely for my time here and everyone is so nice. I really like my job with all the attorneys.
I have made a decision about one thing though. I really like my job and I think there will be a lot of growth for me in the area of project management. I do not see myself going forward as a designer but as a PM. So it is time to say so long to bklyndesign… The cost does add up and it’s just not getting the exposure I’d like. And with my workload here I just can’t take on any freelance anyway, especially when I’d rather put the energy into the magazine and my actual job. I am going to keep PhilaFluer even though I hardly update it. That may change when my schedule here opens up a little bit. Again, though, I’d rather put my energy into the magazine.
It’s nice to be able to be ok. I’m not worried about work… the house… the Pumpkin or Frank. We’re ok. Actually, we’re very good. It’s a relief. In the past six months we’ve bought a house, moved to a new city, gotten two new jobs, I’ve changed my career sort of, the Pumpkin’s started pre-school, we replaced our heating system, and bought a new-ish car. Wow!!! It’s a lot.
In other news, these jerks are trying to build a casino in our neighborhood. No one wants it there so we’re trying to fight it. Unfortunately, America is the sort of place you can buy property and do with it what you want. So it might just come into being. What they should have done is changed the zoning laws but it’s too late. There was a question on the ballot in yesterday’s election but at the last minute they removed it – something about an order from the supreme court. Sigh… it’s a case of an ounce of prevention, saving you pounds of trouble later on. The good news is that the casino isn’t that close to our house in particular. I’m not terribly fond of the gambling thing. I think it prays on people who should not be spending their money. Ever go to Atlantic City? Come 2 am, all you see are little old ladies spending their social security checks, one quarter at a time. They sit there like zombies… it’s just horrific.
I don’t like to leave on a gloomy note so I am happy to announce that we have picked out paint colors for the house. Operation de-circus-fy will commence as soon as we get our tax refund checks! Yay!!!


May 9
my new job has taken over my life. i have no time for capital letters. i have no time for freelance which is ok because i get overtime. heh, i had to ask if they were joking because that is going to bite them in the toochas. i love my new job. i love philly. i love walking my commute with the pumpkin.
i went back to new york for a bridal shower. it was supposed to be a tea party. it went ok. i was supposed to schmooze which i suck at. i am a good server and setter up type. which the host didn’t let me do. i didn’t figure out what to say to people until i was laying in bed trying to sleep sunday night. so typical, which is why i don’t like parties. i hope everyone had a good time. traveling to ny pretty much zapped my energy. we got told off by a mta bus driver in the toll plaza of the tri-borough bridge. he was in the wrong lane and was pissed we didn’t let him cut us off even though he was behind us and in a bus. it’s the pennsylvania plate. i didn’t feel like a foreigner until that point. it wasn’t a good trip to begin with because the 5-borough bike tour was going on and we needed to find alternative routes every five minutes. it took us over two hours to get from college point to the lincoln tunnel. i’ve never

been so happy to get onto the nj turnpike before in my entire life.
i can’t wait to just relax. i know i should write more but when? i’m actually working all my 8 hours at work. there is no down time at all. no personal site, no magazine, nothing. i don’t have time during my commute because i walk. and my evening time is spent making dinner, doing laundry and hanging out with zoe. as soon as she’s in bed, so are we. we have spiders in our house. i’ve seen three different types, all relatively harmless. we’re catching and releasing when we can. we also have a few grain beatles. last night I had to put everything i could into tupperware and otherwise double bag with ziplocs. according to the penn state department of bugs, this should do it. neither insect or aracnoid is terribly dangerous and mostly i’m ok with the spiders, although frank is aracnaphobic. he was very brave though and told me all about our little friend while i googled.
i have to mention that our kitchen is in the basement, which is why the spiders like it. in my research i have found some beautiful spiders in PA. we only get the brown ones. one spider we had, vibrates when it’s alarmed. that was really fun.
desipte having to reorganize my hobbies a little bit, i am happy. i made the cutest curtians for our bedroom. I took new york skyline towels from fishs eddy and made a valance for our plain curtians. i could have used another towel and probably will pick one up when i visit next.
work calls…


30th April 2007
It is hard to be orientated to your new job. I don’t like to space out – it makes the day drag. I really want to work but I have to be assimilated first. So far assimilation is going well. My coworkers are awesome. I really like this place – they feed you free food and I think we get summer hours. I got two new squwisy toys too. From my perspective it doesn’t really feel like a law firm. Indeed I think they are going for the more fresh and modern approach, neither which I associate with the legal profession.
My old job is keeping me on as a freelancer. I am so happy because I need the moolah… I’ll do my first assignment for them tonight.
Otherwise all is well. I had a really nice weekend. Laura and her dance partner, whose name I can’t remember because I’m bad like that, stopped by in the neighborhood for lunch. She made me take a bite of her dessert which I cannot believe was vegan. It was so good. It can’t have fat in it so how bad could it be? I might have to go back to the place just so that I can have guilt free dessert. We also hit up some stores. So many cute things and very reasonable. I am so used to not being able to go into small shops because in Brooklyn you could find cotton sweaters priced at $300. Here, I found this really cute gingham dress with embroidery – $30. My love Philly meter just went up more.
Finally, I said I wasn’t going to do it, but it happened. Raw meat came into the house. Frank wanted to do BBQ so we got some chicken. BBQ went pretty well, our first one in the new house. Our grill is not so good. I added a new one to the list. Afterwards, the pumpkin and I roasted marshmallows. Mmmmm…
I’m a little tired… I might have to start drinking coffee.


Apr 23
Had a lovely weekend. Spent most of it hanging around in front of the house. I had hoped Frank would get to fix our gutter but we still need to locate an extension ladder. That neighbor was out for the day. It’s not exactly broken but we need to clean it out and cover it with some mesh so that these little brown spikey balls that fall from the tree in front won’t be able to block the main spout. Once that’s done, my pansies, which are hanging on for dear life, will be safe from the deluge. They’re just such pansies! I should have gotten a more sturdy flower like marigolds, which I really like, but the area only gets partial shade.
It was so nice to air out the house. The nasty dog smell is almost gone. I’ve discovered that our kitchen and living room will stay nice and cool for the summer. It’s only our bedroom which gets warm. We’ll probably close all the vents and only have the AC pump through that room for the summer. Although we’re still feeling out the energy usage, I have a feeling this summer will be cheaper than last winter.
My sister visited for an overnight. She wanted to see the city so I took her for a nice walk. She was lucky with parking and didn’t have to pay. When she asked about how long it would take to get to the historic stuff, and therefore amend her parking choice accordingly, I kept telling her like 10 minutes. I don’t think she realized until we actually walked up that it is indeed a 10 minute walk to the historic stuff. Kelvin (the godfather) and Shawnda (fiance of the godfather joined us later for dinner. I love having family visit.
Another neighbor has been renovating their house. Frank has been helping them, being all neighborly. He actually helps out several neighbors. Anyway, I am so happy because he has really clicked with the homeowner and I was worried he was going to feel so isolated here. This particular homeowner happens to have vintage freaky music on vinyl and is therefore one of “us”. As we hang out on the block and let the kids play, we get to know our other neighbors as well. They are all so cool – we hit the neighborhood jackpot.
I got to tour another neighbor’s house. I can’t believe what goes on in these homes. This one had amazing 20 foot ceiling… so beautiful. You can’t even tell from the outside. Another neighbor was having an open house so we stopped in as well. Their place was enormous although it looks sort of like ours from the front. Horray for the little highly adaptive 18th century rowhouse! People in our area in Philly really love their homes and like to open their doors. Everyone is very neat. Score one more point for Philly and how well I fit in there.
While we were at Home Depot I picked up some paint chips. Now when I look at my circus house, I see what will be in a few months and get very happy. I just have to figure out how to paint plaster walls, because we have original, historic plaster walls and not just anything sticks to them. The previous owner obviously didn’t check because quite a bit of the paint is peeling. We do get to see which walls are plaster and which are drywall though. I feel like we should be stock piling primer as well. We are going to need a lot of primer.


Apr 17
Yay!!!! I got the job. I will be working at a nice law firm managing their website. It’s project management so I can really start making a dent towards my PMP certification. It’s just about the most perfect fit I could have career-wise and it’s three blocks away from the pumpkin’s preschool. Thanks for everyones wishes! Btw, project management was a much easier transitional career choice than having to start completely over with the professional organization. On some degree I am actually lazy.
The strange thing is this: I have the house I want, the job I want, I love my new city, family is good, everything is just ducky. However, I have this strange feeling like I’m dreaming. I mean really – like there is this literal haze around my eyes. It just doesn’t feel real so I’m afraid to get emotional and have been wandering around for weeks just feeling rather numb.
Now psychologically it could be some sort of issue with having moved and yet not having left my job… so unresolved location issues. I also never really got upset at moving out of Brooklyn and perhaps my psyche is waiting for the inevitable emotional waterfall that should be coming any day now because I really did love Brooklyn and thought I would be much more upset at leaving.
I could also be in preservation mode due to the car and heating system problems. Sort of a reserve emotional shut-down so I don’t have a nervous breakdown when more things go wrong, like the car hemmoraging oil today which thankfully turned out to be a faulty oil filter which cost 8$ to replace. I love repairs like that! And the car dealer is going to give us a free tank of gas to make up for the snafu. Then there was the little waterfall in our dining room which turned out to be a small hole in the concrete floor of the passageway above and easily fixable once we dry out.
My mom says it can also be the paint in the house. You’ve all seen it – it’s completely inappropriate for actually living in. Once I get my tax refund, I have a date with Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. I’m peeved because we’re going to have to buy so much primer to get rid of those saturated colors – grrrr.
I can’t really sleep well in my bedroom because the skylight makes our room very bright, even at night. Frank is going to make me a nice shade for it which should help or I can wear one of those mask things which is what a neighbor does. Someone told me cardboard in a pinch and I still have a few of the last remaining moving boxes I could cut up. Note to readers… bedroom skylights sort of suck. So it could also be sleep deprevation too.


Apr 10
Ok – two things…
1 – “we are very interested in you” during interview on Thursday
2 – email today asking for references and sending an application to fill out and fax back…
Does this smell like a job offer? I’m trying not to get excited but this sounds rather promising. I haven’t had to get a new job in nine years so I’m rusty in this sort of thing.
I really want this job. It’s perfect for me… web master with project management potential and they promote career development so I can get my PMP cert. Also it’s three blocks away from the Pumpkin’s school and a 45 minute walk from home. It’s simply perfect as perfect can be. I will have to dust off the cobwebs in my brain that have been forming ever since I had to refrain from thinking because that was making me too angry.


Apr 9
Yup – seems we can’t just have a nice calm weekend. We were supposed to go to Frank’s sister’s place but they called when we were 20 minutes away to cancel. I felt so bad since she has such a hard time with everything. We offered to come early to help but she was already feeling poorly in the morning. Never, never take good health for granted. the Pumpkin was so looking forward to playing with her cousins.
Instead we stopped in by Frank’s dad’s place for a little while. I fell asleep because I have been so run down lately. But Frank and the Pumpkin had a nice visit without me. Then back into the car and off to Port Jefferson to visit Frank’s cousin. Everything was going well. We were going to get some food and wham! Battery light goes on… Crap Crap Crap! I should add that the battery light went on right when I got behind the wheel. Total time I have actually driven the car… 15 minutes.
The good news is we caught it before getting stranded somewhere. The better news is that the very nice people at Pep Boys stayed late to fix it. The bad news is that our alternator blew up and that’s not fair to happen a week after you buy a car, although alternators do go… Again, not a surprise but just crappy. Our battery is remarkably in good condition and the alternator is now guarenteed for life. Could have been worse by far. I really need to figure out how to shake this little black auto cloud hanging over me.
The thing I did on Thursday went very well. I hope, a whole lot, to hear something good this week. I sent out the obligatory thank you notes today. I figure with the car breaking and all, that the karma wheel is tipped back on the good side now.
Sunday morning we headed to church with my mom and step dad. All was well there. the Pumpkin behaved very nicely. She sang and clapped (perhaps she is a Baptist?) During coffee hour she didn’t even get cake on her dress. Mom and Dad kidnapped her off to Middle Village while I went back to College Point and helped Frank pack up the car. Actually I vegged on the sofa and he did it. Although we were short some family members, my step Dad’s son and family had to bail, it was a very nice dinner with peeps and a big chocolate bunnie. We’re actually seven altogether which is a nice bunch.
The traffic was bad getting back home. But there was our little house waiting for us. All the animals were happy to see us. The next few months should be quiet which is nice. I am so tired. I just want to have a normal schedule with minimal running around. I don’t want to buy anything extra for six months. I’ve already laid down the budget smack down.


Apr 4
We love the new car. Frank has some Honda buddies at work and they know where to get cheapo parts for the Civic. They also know how to make it into some sort of crazy racing machine. The good news is that when it is time for us to change the timing belt, sometime in June, the entire thing will cost us about $50. Can’t beat that. His buddies also know how to basically rebuild the car from the ground up and are going to teach Frank everything Honda. No more being let down by a vehicle ever again. I love Hondas.
Because we no longer have to worry about being stranded, we are traveling up to NY for Easter with the family. I am demanding to drive the car since Frank gets to drive it all the time and I’ve only driven it twice – both times for less than five minutes. It should be a blast with all three grandchildren in tow. Easter is one of my favorite holidays. For one, I love the sweets. But like Halloween, it’s not about presents and more just about hanging with the family, religious significance aside. I think I might make Frank come with me to church though since we have a lot to be thankful for. My mom’s church sort of scares me so maybe we can go someplace local.
Tomorrow is a very important day for me. I’ll explain later but it could dramatically help us if something goes well tomorrow.
Otherwise I am working on stories for the magazine and debating paint schemes for the house. Oh yes, I am on the paint thing again. Frank has flat out forbidden me from talking about paint to him. He’s had it. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s just that I debate out loud and he doesn’t want to be privy to the inner workings of my thought process. I am supposed to tell him when I am down to two choices for each room.
The issue is this. We have an old house. It’s at least 175 years old. I found some wonderful magazines and know exactly how I should paint it to look authentic. It’s actually easy to make it authentic. However, we have all this IKEA furniture which is not authentic. So I wonder, should I wait until we have more authentic furniture to paint authentically? Do I paint authentically now? Do I pick colors I just like now? Is it the lack of authenticy that is bothering me? Or is it the million colors in each room? Is it a crime to paint your historic house with a nice but not historic color palette?


Mar 31
Sorry in advance if this is disjoined… Frank is subjecting me to hours upon hours of Skinny Puppy this evening. He has made a buddy at work, a bonafide fan which means we’re listened to a lot of Puppy lately. I normally don’t mind but it’s hard to concentrate.
So, there is bad luck. And then there is the inevitable doom that comes from trying to cut corners. One, our heating unit. Yeah, I knew it wasn’t new. It was supposed to be functioning but not new. When I found out it was from 1968 and thus older than me (dirt) and that furthermore, heating units do not last forever I had to admit, I was peeved but not altogether surprised. Problem averted due to family support.
That brings me to the number two crappy thing to happen to us. It involves a certian 20 year old car. No matter what. No matter how well you take care of a car, there is the slim chance that by the time it gets over 100K miles on it and reaches a mature age, that the transmission will kaputt on you. And yet, we thought perhaps the car was just being tempermental. Frank is telling me daily that the trannie is going and I am getting irritated because I don’t want to hear this let alone have to come up with a shining plan on how to deal with the situation. You see, we need a car. Frank can’t get to work in a reasonable amount of time on the two days I need to be in NY if he can’t drive. You see, we planned on me getting work by now. That’s not happening so I am planning to stay in NY and get my project management certification. I am very excited about this but more about the 20 year old trannie.
Last night, we went to a hockey game. Mine and the Pumpkin’s first. It was awesome. I had no idea they just let them fight. It was weird and almost staged. Then there was this neon orange puck throwing thing. And it just moves very quickly because it’s American League. Anyway it was a blast and the entire time I am telling myself that I love Philly and all the neat things we do here. But on the way home the car was acting very strange (loud clunking noises) and by the time we got home it was hardly shifting at all.
I end up staying up late and doing the budget which I discover is not as dismal as I thought. We’re in the black! I go to bed fairly happy. In the AM we figure it’s time to start shopping for a new car. Frank slept in… I cleaned… We’re in a good mood. We figure we can get a remotely new Hyundai for cheap. Just before we leave though, I slip down the stairs and jam my toe into the wall. Not good. But not swollen. Still hurts and now I’m off running for a bit. Anyway, we continue, me in sneakers, hobbling along, to the Hyundai dealer. Along the way the car refuses to go into first, just skipping that. Then it refuses to go into third. Right before our eyes, going down Passyunk Ave, we realize we cannot go over 40 mpg no matter what the gas pedel is doing. Engine is racing… no gears are changing. Oh dear. Trip to Hyudia is not a moment too soon.
Poor the Pumpkin… she loved jumping in and out of the cars and the people at the dealer were so nice to her but we were there for four hours. It was the longest four hours of my life. First we tried two cars. The first was an Accent which had been obviously owned by a smoker. Blech!!! Frank did ok but I couldn’t shift gears well and every time I clutched, my knee hit the steering wheel and I had to rest my left leg up by my chin. I can tell the salesman is thinking to himself that I lied about being able to drive stick. A total no go. Next we tried a Civic. Now I know Honda. I love Honda. Sure enough vroom!!! I’m able to drive very nicely because back in the day I had a CRX and they haven’t changed their ergonomic shift arrangement since then.
So after three hours of sitting around and paperwork and trying to keep the Pumpkin occupied, we drove away with yet another debt and one silver 2000 Honda Civic coupe with sun roof. We love our new car. And because it is younger than Jesus and a Honda and a manual, we should have a much longer relationship.
Now you may ask how come Frank can fix the BMW and not the Mazda. Well, first BMW ingeniously created transmissions that pop in and out. Two, automatic transmission is something that only a few select crazy people try to fix because there’re something like 4,000 moving parts. Frank can rebuild manual trannies no problem… and of course switch them on BMWs but not a 20 year old Mazda automatic. So after less than two months, we bid adeui to the Mazda. We never even changed the plates.
Now the heating unit has been replaced and the car has been replaced so we should be good for a while. Frank mentioned that together everything has come to a pretty hefty amount. I reminded him that it’s still less than our neighbor across the street paid for his house. We’re still ahead. Besides due to the aforementioned balanced budget we can use our extra money towards the car and pay it off in two years.
I had to be honest. I have been avoiding all social visits because I just want to sit around in my house and think about paint chips and the millions of white shades I can choose from and curtians. Not to mention bridal showers, the magazine, freelancing, cirtification classes, strange trips on the Chinatown bus, and my new city which is pretty darn awesome.


Mar 22
In my old life I never really heard birds chirping while I worked. Now I can not only hear the birdies but I can see them too. They like the tree in our backyard. Today is the day I am posting photos of the new house. I am putting my foot down and committing myself to the camara during my lunch break. In my old life, I would have just sat at my computer in my cube all day and not done anything fun. Now I can do fun things like music or pictures or laundry.
I have decided to start running again. Nothing hardcore but to save even more bits of money, I will now forgo several bus trips with the Pumpkin and instead run/walk home from pre-school and walk/run back to pre-school and walk back home with her. Once I get the baby-jogger it’ll be even more speedy since it handles the fabulous historic parquet brick sidewalks they have here better than the Combi. The walk is about 35 mins. That means I save $50 a month and I’m getting exercise which I hear is good for you and boosts brain power. I will need this surplus of brain power to pursue my project manager certification which I am now committed to since there is no other way I am getting a job here.
Another benefit of traveling by foot is that I get to explore all the little nooks and crannies of the city. Philly has all these little narrow streets with the most charming historic homes. I can pause to read the many “historic things worth noting” and “this house was built in 17xx by who in this style” signs.
On my way home from NY on Tuesday the ChinaTown bus decided to take a three-borough detour. I freaked out because I thought I had gotten on the Boston one instead but no, it was just going through Staten Island. We had to pass right by the old apartment, which overlooks the BQE. I got a funny thought in my head of those billboards that would say “if you lived here you’d be home by now.” I also didn’t get the feeling of awe that I used to get when I passed that building growing up, of wanting to live there. I feel I should have been upset, that being the old home and so much happened there, but I’m not.
I thought to myself that life was easier then in that place. But I undeniably feel my future is here. I feel like we’ve upgraded in our lifestyle quite a bit. Here is where I have time to work on music. Here is my house, not just a transient place to dwell that I borrow from someone else, but a real home that belongs to us. Here is my family.
Brooklyn and New York are hard. The words themselves are hard. It was hard for us there. Philadelphia is smooth, feels good rolling off the tongue and sounds like something tasty to eat. New York is cheddar, sharp and hard. Philadelphia is cream cheese, soft and smooth.


Mar 20
I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month. Our home is settled now. We are actually able to sit down and relax. On the warmer days we’ve brought the Pumpkin to the playground around the corner. It feels really good to get our lives back from the moving monster.
There is so much to say. I have hours to think on the bus ride from Philly and back again and I could write but I don’t want to have to retype it. I really wish I had a laptop and indeed, I have been thinking about asking for one from the company so I can not only be productive with work things but also write a little for myself. Thankfully I can read on the bus and I’m motivated to brush up on my colonial American history, specifically info about my new city.
Everyone is quite mellow in Philly and nice. People are mostly smiling, which, considering the murder rate you’d think people would be a little more on edge but no. I like this emensely being a rather happy person myself. People at work are commenting on how relaxed I seem and really, I feel rather at peace with myself.
The commute is not so bad. I miss the Pumpkin so much and it’s a lot on Frank to have to deal with her solo two days a week. I decided to take the later bus so we’re all together Monday morning which helps. She’s wonderful but a handful and for some reason likes to be extra strong willed for him. She’s definitely a two parent child. I swear, she is going to grow up to be president of the world. She has that much energy and tenacity. I got two very nice decently intelligible conversations on the phone which is very nice.
The job hunt is non-existent. I have an agency now trying to find me work but it’s slow going. Everyone wants to work in the city and there isn’t enough to go around. So I stay in NY. I’ve decided that now it’s my turn to further myself so I am signing up for Project Management classes and want to work towards my certification. I am absolutely not going to get a job without the classes and honestly, I want to make more money and I like to be in charge so the time is right for me to go to the next level. Thankfully the classes are in Philly. I think by the end of summer I will have enough going on to start the hunt again. Meanwhile, I will get to take advantage of my five weeks of vacation and half day Fridays.
I thought Philly was going to be less diverse. Not so. We have every sort of person there, accompanied by every sort of food. I thought Philly was going to be more calm. Not so. We have lovely drunken people roaming our streets at all hours, well until 1 am when most of the bars close anyway. The many tattoo parlors should have been a hint but apparently we’ve moved into Philly’s version the Village. And here I was thinking it was going to be a sleepy little historic neighborhood. It will keep us young and punky and our particular street is very quiet so we’re ok with the lurking nightlife. Anything is better than the BQE.
Bottom line, I love Philly. We went to see the Liberty Bell and I wanted to wear my historic outfit but the stupid snow foiled my plans. I can’t wait to wander around. There are these beautiful gardens. I need to make Frank and the Pumpkin an outfits as well. I could match the house and go with something from 1832 but that’s not as much fun as 1790, especially for Frank who doesn’t want to look like a Bronte novel character. Our neighbor’s house is from 1745 so at one point every house must have been that old. There is such a small difference between the two… shhhh… no one say anything. I think the Pumpkin would be so cute in a little sacque dress and we have so many fabric stores. If I wasn’t on such a tight budget I would have gone bananas already since I finally unpacked my sewing maching.
Finally, I think we are going to paint the house sooner rather than later. Especially our bedroom. I can’t stand the way it’s painted. The rest of the house is ok – a little dark but ok but our bedroom is just too bright. I think we’ll go with the same color my mom used in her bathroom. Ooo – the new issue of RowHouse Magazine came out – http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/ Anyway the dark colors are ok if you house gets a lot of light. Ours doesn’t. I don’t get why a north/south facing home is preferable because it’s dark. It’s a 180 degree difference from Brooklyn and I miss that sun. And the color scheme only emphasizes the many nooks and crannies and the small size of the rooms. It isn’t working. I think we’ll pick a nice off white cream for the living room, chocolate brown for the stairwells, a nice soft pink for the Pumpkin’s room, and a nice grayish blue color for our room. The stairwells have to work with each color because you see them. It’s hard to describe so I have to get some photos up.
I’m also pretty sure my personal site is going to be closed. I need to save money wherever I can and I can make it a part of the professional site. At this point I want to focus on the magazine.


Feb 27
Our closing got delayed three days. Longest days of my life. Then we move, almost by ourselves since I cancelled the movers because I wasn’t sure we were really going to move. Then Frank found these three Russian guys who kicked moving touchas. Everything in the truck. Took us over 11 hours. We get to Philly. Frank was driving the left lane on the turnpike and got a ticket. It’s not like he’s a professional or anything. He was in a U-Haul. They could have let it slide. Bastards.
Anyway, we unpack in an hour and a half. Amazing how much time a six floor walk up adds to your move. The house is pretty cold since we had the door open so we crank the heat. Come the next morning, the house is still chilly so we call the thermostat people for directions. No luck. Then we call the previous owner and she says the unit doesn’t really work when there’s ice on it. Um, lady, ice on your heating unit means it’s busted. And guess what? We certianly didn’t buy a house with a broken heating unit, nor did she disclose that it was broken on the agreement.
We have to pay up front for the new heater. The service person is absolutely wonderful – best in Philly. Next week, I will get a lawyer and we will see about having her pay for the heater, at least in part. No where can you sell people a house without a heater without letting them know.
Otherwise we’re settling in. The house is looking like a home. Frank has some time before he starts his new job and he’s been going around the house fixing things. Apparently none of the electrical work is grounded either. Thankfully nothing else big seems to be out of order, just little things Frank can fix. We’re slightly concerned that we haven’t made visual contact with our water heater. We know it works since we’ve all taken nice steamy baths but we haven’t actually seen it yet. We’re guessing it’s behind our kitchen sink. When we get some more time, we can explore behind there. I am thinking that if there’s a dead space behind the cabinates, that I might have the kitchen extended back a few feet.
I’m rather stressed out. I’m sure everything will be all ok come six months from now. Our employment situation will be settled and we’ll be comfortable in our new position. But for now, to have to face the heater issue which is going to cost us a fortune up front, a pending lawsuit, and my stupid job has reached a new level of dissatisfaction, it’s just got me a little down. I miss my family and can’t wait to go home.


Feb 7
I have to share the supreame happiness I just found. As you know, I am wishfully decorating the new house which I haven’t quite yet bought but as of today, am closer to calling mine. I understand the insanity of designing space you don’t yet have. No snarky comments about my insanity.
Our new old home is circa 1780 – 1820. It’s definitely not Colonial and is probably late Federal or Adams style. The problem with an average person home is that they don’t design them with every bell and whistle. You get a basic look which could fit in with any old period. The neighborhood has homes from the early 1700s all the way to brand spanky new. It’s reasonalble to think the little house is from the Adam period due to certian exterior moldings and stone foundation. I have to consult survey reports. If it’s not in the 1805 report but in the 1810 report, at least I have an idea. Anyway, I want to pick a style which is contemporary but true to it’s time frame. Because it’s an old, farty, po’ people’s house, the look can be rustic instead of, let’s say, Rococo. No brocade for us. Also nothing modern. Either would just be silly. So my palette is rustic, historic, and artistic. Yay.
I’m not sure what the heck that is supposed to look like so I went and got myself the latest issue of Old House Interiors. Besides having a review of The American Townhouse, whose author I am calling this morning to chat with about rowhouses for the magazine, they also had an advertisement for salvaged historic wooden flooring. I would love historic wide plank wooden flooring in my kitchen, but the best part was the kitchen itself. Perfectly old looking yet with modern appliances. So now I have an idea of how to do that. Plus the magazine puts out a colonial style issue four times a year. Jackpot for Suzanne! Not that I want the place to look like a museum but I want to bring in period flavor through textiles and colors. Somehow I am going to make this work with my IKEA. Don’t laugh. One day we’ll have real furniture.
Meanwhile, I am trying not to get nervous about my interview. I have to remember not to talk too much.


Feb 2
I figured out that my resume sucked. It is now fixed. That, and the good mojo from my new organizer should get me some more bites. I cannot let the lack of what they let me do here at Company X hold me back from presenting what I am in fact capable of doing which is pretty much running my own show. The new resume paints a much more accurate picture.
I spent money, I shouldn’t have had done, on books for my careers. One is the Layout Index. I’m not impressed and it’s going back. The other is a dictionary of architectural terms. That’s a keeper. I need to brush up on the difference between an eave and a portico. I also got A Field Guide to American Houses. Also a keeper. I need to figure out if my apartment building is a refined Queen Anne or a restrained Romanesque revival. It’s not quite as ornate as either but has characteristics of both. Damn architectects for not following design to the letter. Never mind about the new old house, which still isn’t fully ours yet. That’s a whole other thing I can’t even talk about these days. Anyway, I still can’t figure it out if it’s a 1700s house or 1800s house. Since it’s a city home for the working class, they wouldn’t have gone full tilt on style but rather kept it simple. The problem is, fancy details are what differentiates a 1780s home from a 1820s home and who knows what’s been removed. The windows and roof are not original. I think I’m going to add a “how old is my house” section to the magazine. If I’m going to go through all this trouble, I might as well share my detective methods.
Finally, I got an Indian cookbook. I have to eliminate all eating out for us and since we have Indian food fairly frequently, I decided to learn how to cook it. Hopefully it’s not that complicated and I can find the ingredients locally.


Jan 30
My two teeth are out. I’m sore but better off than before. I really like the sleeping process. It was totally worth the money to have much less pain and stress. My efforts to eat real food have been slow going. But at least today the swelling is down enough so that I could brush my teeth decently. I took yesterday off because I was not going into work without brushing my teeth. Besides it still hurts and I’m sort of cranky. We’ll see how today goes. I’m getting a cold and it hurts to blow my nose. Lovely.
No word about Frank job offers so we remain in limbo. We booked our tickets to Florida so we can pick up the vehicle. I wish we could bring the Pumpkin with us. I am going to miss her terribly. On the other hand, it’ll be a nice weekend for Frank and I. Only the second time we’ve had a overnight without her. My mom is staying at our place so at least she’ll be home in a familiar environment while we’re away. And hopefully by Saturday night we’ll be back.
It’s just rediculous but I’m already planning a kitchen and bathroom remodel even though we haven’t gotten the house yet. I just love this sort of thing and figure I better start planning now if I want to be able to make a decision within the next five years. Besides, I am pretty sure we’re getting a Trinity and once you’re seen one, you’ve seen them all. So far I’m almost sure of the style. What I really hate is that everyone always breaks down a wall when they need more space and no one seems to have ideas for when you can’t break down a wall. I mean our house is that big and that’s it. I have ideas though to outsmart the space though. We might have to sacrifice the fireplace but in a room that small it might not be something we use anyway. Not as much as we’d use a dishwasher or laundry center. If we get the laundry out of the bathroom, we gain more storage possbilities and probably an additional foot of width in the Pumpkin’s room. The nice thing about a Trinity is that each floor is completely open. There aren’t any beams or columns. It’s very flexible.


Jan 25
a job called me… it’s in princeton so I can’t take it but it was a call. behold the power of the organizer!
my tooth has reached the point of no more mercy… tomorrow they go.
I’ve been hiding. Not intentionally. I decided to publish an online magazine which hopefully will go print. Right now it’s a pain doing everything myself but I have a plan in which by the end of five years I hope to have enough revenue to go paper and eventually be self sustaining with a small staff. Mainly someone who can actually spell and handle editorial. So far interest is good and people are very happy to be interviewed. Anyway, this is my sanity project. This is so that I don’t cry every day on the way home because I work for a company I cannot hope to advance in. A company that outsources design work while I do lame tasks. I can’t do the projects because I’m too busy doing dumb things that an intern could be doing.
The job hunt goes slowly. I send resumes. I fill out applications. I’m a little despodant about things so I went out and bought a new organizer. I’ve had my Filofax for four years now. I love it since it is bright orange with black trim. However, the fabric got very dirty, very quickly and there was no way to clean it so it looked messy. I’ve given it to the Pumpkin who always wants to play with it anyway. I left all the paper in it so she can color in it. She loves it. My new DayRunner is ok. It’s black nylon, tone on tone stripes. Very professional. Not nearly as much fun as orange. But it’s a 8×5 in stead of a 3×5 which I need. If things go well, I will treat myself to another Filofax one day since they really are the pinicle of organizer happiness. Even the inserts are cool and the paper they use is very thin so you can have more features in your organizer. Mine has to hold the usual addresses and calendar but I also need to keep track of business expenses, client invoices, my eight million passwords, the Pumpkin’s schedule, and article ideas. Anyway, a new organizer always lifts my spirits.
I should be excited but I’m not. I’m just tired. My apartment is a mess which is emotionally draining. Commuting to NY is going to suck. Being away from my family for two days a week is going to suck. Suck Suck Suck. Oh, and I have to get two wisdom teeth extracted. That is going to cost 1600$. More suckness. I’m just in a royally sucky mood which is why I don’t write.


Jan 16
I’m tired and drained.
I am working on acceptance and patience. If things are meant to be then they will happen.
I tell myself just waiting and not doing anything is a nice change, like coasting after peddling up-hill for miles or catching your breath to prepare for a marathon.
Regardless of whatever is going on around me, I have become sure of a few things.
1) I do not want to be a web designer for the rest of my life. Having to earn a decent salary is marrying me to a real job position instead of just going back to school but I’m working out two strategies to morph into something else.
2) I talked it over with Frank. No matter what happens, we are moving to Philly this year. We really want the house. If it doesn’t work out, we’re already looking at apartments. On an aside, we can rent a house just like the house we want for only a few hundred more than we pay for rent now. He looked up a few rentals last night and we found a place near the house we want for 1400$ and the owner wants to sell. It might be a nice option for a rent to own situation.
3) Living in Philly and working in New York is going to be a very temporary situation.
I could whine about so much not being fair or things not working out but I don’t even have the energy for that.


Jan 4
I just found out my company outsourced something and it’s hideous. I don’t like my job being outsourced but it’s ok if the freelancer brings some value to the table and even fun if I get to work with them. It’s absolutely unacceptable when it looks like something you could have done five years ago. Just horrific.
I have to get this job in Philly or I’ll just cry.


Jan 3
We packed Frank’s clothes up last night – all but the essentials. I know I have twice the clothing Frank has. Because Frank doesn’t wear skirts or dresses and also because Frank wears a uniform. Still we both have to purge and I did purge an entire dresser full of clothes so far so I was hoping to remove a few hoodies and sweaters from Frank’s reluctant to part with them clutches. The boy has twelve hoodies. As an aside, I am parting with one 18th century day gown and one Victorian day dress, complete with hoop skirt, if anyone wants to make an offer. Anyway I managed to argue two hoodies and two very ill fitting sweaters away from Frank. Score one for Suzanne. I did barter the return of one item for a pair of floral pants that Frank hates on me that I love. Slowly we move forward.
I got a call from the Philly job person. No decision yet. It’s ok. I am trying to remain calm which takes a lot of effort. I sent another resume out today and am plotting my NY to Philly commute schedule. No word on Frank yet but we won’t get that squared away until closer to our closing date. Everything will be ok is our new mantra.
My initial idea for a dining room table/pantry isn’t going to work. Back to idea one with traditional shelving and a normal table.
I can’t believe how cranky I’ve been until yesterday when I lost my temper at the garbage can. So I am making a conscience effort, by repeating positive thoughts to myself, to be more relaxed and happy. I know I’ll feel better once we move. It’s almost as if being in NY is now making me cranky. The crowds get to me… things that used to not bother me, annoy me now. My mind has already left and now is annoyed that the body cannot follow for another six weeks. I have a sick fear that something will fall through somehow even though the seller up and bought a new house of her own so she has to part with the house now. Makes me feel better since now I don’t feel like we’re kicking her out of her home. And here I was, wondering how I was ever going to survive outside of NY.
I am trying to absorb my view as much as possible. Every morning, just before the sun rises, the sky is every color and the buildings, water tanks, and trees are all like black stencils against the sky and it is the most beautiful thing. I wish I could capture it in film but I am a trully sucky photographer. The skyline on a clear night like last night is awesome too and when our neighbor has their bedroom light on, the light shines out onto the adjancent brick wall and over the darkened, black window of their closet which I love too. My three favorite images. I think I’ll try to capture at least something before we leave.


Jan 2
Happy New Year!
My goals for 2006 were:
1 – Pay off our huge credit card bill. – We almost did it. It’ll be another month or two.
2 – Join the gym. – Nope but I did run more often this year and will start up again once we move.
3 – Paint the apartment. – We did the bathroom and decided we’re moving so why bother. We love the new house as is and won’t paint it, except maybe the bathroom and master bedroom. I have two weeks where I can possible paint the walls quickly but this depends on vacation time available.
4 – Get a new website done. – Done and another new one is coming very soon.
5 – Relax and enjoy what’s already around. – Well buying a house just ruined that one because I am stressed out entirely.
I can’t even begin to make goals for 2007. I just want to survive this move. Having to change one’s entire life, more or less, within three months is accomplishment enough. Having to wait until February to close is a lesson in patience. I cannot rush this. I am not patient. It takes more energy for me to sit and wait than it does for me to prepare. We’ve started to pack. All non-essential items and clothing, for me, are packed. I still feel like I am bringing too much. We’ll both feel more comfortable when we know about the job situation. Not that I have to worry. My future either involves a very long commute once a week or a short commute five days. We need to know about Frank. Our fingers are crossed.
I spent the holiday with the Pumpkin, sans Frank who went out to see his cousin. We did arts and crafts, stomped in puddles, and saw Charlotte’s Web in the movie theater. Where is the snow? I did get to lay out floor plans and the closet organizer system after she went to bed. I keep looking through the IKEA catalog hoping it will someone enlighten me by osmosis on how I can make my closets in the new house bigger and more efficient. I need to visit the house in a few weeks to take measurements because I know it’s bigger than my apartment but it’s not an open layout so it feels smaller but I know it’s bigger because it’s stated as such so I need confirmation from a measuring device of some sort. I kick myself because I could/should have done it while I was getting the place inspected. Ah-ha!! I just got an idea for my dining room – who-hoo! Because I stopped thinking about it for a second.
2007… strange. Either this year will turn out wonderfully or it will be a disaster. We’ll see. No sense worrying too much because I can’t do a thing besides sitting and waiting. It is back to work for me.


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