From the Archive – 2008

Dec. 30th, 2008 at 1:05 PM
I hear it… I cannot pinpoint its location, but I hear it. Flash being used for something silly.

Suzanne Dreitlein, row house advocate extrodinaire, lived here…
Dec. 28th, 2008 at 12:23 AM
I realize it’s been a week and it’s 12:30am. My sleeping schedule has been all messed up because I stayed up until 3am with my sister the other night and she will think this is funny. So in brief…

Christmas was almost ruined by stupid budgetary issues. I am so tired of the numbers being out to get me accompanied by stupid bank fees and dumm policies that rape the customer. Frank and I are committed to getting back on track which involves cooking creatively with beans and writing down every expenditure.

It’s lame but I ran of of money before being able to finish the Christmas cards… so I apologize for anyone who I didn’t get to. Next year I am going to make an electronic one. This way I can customize it and distribute it more smoothly. Or maybe next year I will plan better in advance.

Meanwhile, we went to NY anyway. Had a wonderful time with the Fam. Spent a few hours in Jersey with the step-brother and his fam all together. There are four grandkids in all so it’s really fun. We managed to take a very decent family portrait of the entire clan. I have never been in a big family before and now it seems mine is rather large. It’s very good for the Pumpkin, something I didn’t have. My step-sister-in-law made delicious vittles. I got to hold my relatively new nephew for a bit. Although he’s very cute, no, I still do not want another baby.

Then off to NY, where we got lost getting off the Manhattan Bridge. Has it really been so long? Apparently long enough to forget how to get onto the BQE from the Man. Bridge but not too long where I don’t know that Myrtle Ave is an ok local route. Got extra directions from Dad and voila. My sister, who forgot her glasses, apparently took NJ Turnpike exit no. 11 by accident because she was following the wrong car. Neither of us drank egg nog so it must have been something in the wind, sibling oriented.

This Christmas seemed a little more relaxed. I thank my lucky stars for the various contributions to the Row House Preservation fund… as well as a generous donation to the food/gas budget. I have no idea why I am so blessed but I am sure there is a special place in heaven for my mother.

Coming back on Friday, we cut through Chinatown. It seemed more crowded than usual… oh God. I wonder. Am I de-NYC-ing? Has it happened? Going through Brooklyn still makes me upset, a little bit. It’s not like I can’t visit. But I don’t feel like I’m there or here really. Like I’m in between places. We visited our old building last visit and I felt like a stranger, somewhat. There is nothing there to say I was ever there. No permanent relic. Although, I will never forget time spent standing on my balcony watching the harbor and skyline, walking the promonade, trips to Fairway… In contrast, here my name is recorded as a property owner. In 100 years, someone will know I was exactly right here. I’m getting a little reputation as the row house fanatic – word travels fast in a small city. If I ever do something really amazing, I can get a little blue sign, like they like to put up all over the place in PA. Suzanne Dreitlein, row house advocate extrodinaire lived here…

Gingerbread Row Houses
Dec. 20th, 2008 at 9:50 PM
Thank you Shadowborne for hosting the construction party and subsequent moral support. We had a wonderful time!!!

Without further ado… my obsession… in gingerbread.

I thinks it came out ok for a first attempt. Frank and I are already plotting as to improved construction and windows. Next year we will make bread from scratch and make it much bigger which should hopefully let us add more detail. I showed Frank the feature on This Old House and he really liked the log cabin made out of pretzle logs so maybe we’ll get creative… it’s a shame gingerbread time only comes once a year.

I know what I am doing next year…
Dec. 17th, 2008 at 9:31 AM
Apparently I missed this…

https://youroldhouse.thisoldhouse.com/gingerbreadhouse/index.jsp?xid=cnn-1208-gingerbread-houses&partner=yes

Ahhh… the inspiration. Just wait until next year when my gingerbread row houses astonish and amaze!!!

and the beat goes on…
Dec. 13th, 2008 at 12:04 AM
I have “Say Yes to the Dress” on in the background while I finish up the blue-prints and templates for my gingerbread house. I might have bitten off more than I can chew, or reasonably cook. We’ll see whether I’ve gone overboard. I can cut back to either just two houses or three of the same size rather than making a close-to-life version of my very own row which has two alike and one different. Anyway, I wish I would have gone actual dress shopping instead of just skipping that part, aside from trying on samples at Saks with the terribly rude people who work there. This is what happens when you sew… you skip stuff.

We were going to take Zoë to IKEA for dinner but they were having a private party… one I was not invited too – Imagine that! I’m sure the invitation just got lost in the mail ;)… Anyway, instead we went to Jonny Rockets. On the way, we stopped to plunder and pillage, recession style, the going out of business Linens N Things and we scored… flannel sheets for boths beds, a beautiful big-girl quilt set for Zoë, and a round table cloth that will make a lovely tree skirt. Normally I wouldn’t have splurged but our sheets have holes, Zoë ruined a few things with a monster nose bleed and one just can’t pass up certain things for so cheap.

Tomorrow I need to clean the house, get things in order, buy a birthday present, pass some of Zoë’s old toys to a neighbor, pay a few more bills, take the Pumpkin shopping for the last of her birthday items – mainly one more toy, a pair of pants, and some pajamas. We’ll be walking to Target with the shopping cart since Frank is working with the car.

Catching up with suzanne! 🙂
Dec. 12th, 2008 at 11:58 AM
Let’s see. I’ve been quiet lately, mostly distracted quite a bit by FaceBook – addictive it is. But onwards to a nice update, if a little long.

I’ve decided to give up news for December. I just need a break and it just seems like nothing good is happening anywhere. I need some positive influence and if that has to come from within, so be it.

God and the U.S. Postal Service have answered my prayers – proof that prayer works. Freelance check No. 1 came in the mail. I also got my work holiday bonus. I think it’s funny that I will spend my bonus check, obtained from a predominantly Jewish law firm, on a Christmas tree. The best Christmas present I can think of is a reduction in my stress level and a tree. Yay on both accounts.

Frank’s co-worker recently went to an ugly holiday sweater party which is the funniest thing ever. Beats the toga party. Speaking of parties, we will try to have a post holiday party when things calm down.

Wednesday was Frank’s birthday. Poor guy – we couldn’t do formal presents this year. Fortunately our friends gave him one, so he had something to open and it was a little model Lotus!! Just perfect and it made his entire day. Yesterday we took off work to spend the day with Zoë. Thankfully she got lots of birthday money so we were able to make her day very special. We spent a good five hours at the Franklin Institute which is this awesome science-based museum. The mechanics exhibit is a steampunkers dream. Anyway, it was a good visit with us not having to say “don’t touch that” at all because you can touch everything. I regret that I didn’t make it more educational but we did talk about how wind can make things move and how springs work. A tighter wound spring has more energy and looser wound spring has less. She was absolutely obsessed with this pendulum that dropped sand, although not in the way they intended – Zoë liked to control it and make little piles instead . I think next year we will become members because it is the sort of place where we can show her how things work. Part of the thing is that we’ve never been and wanted to see everything. I think next time, we’ll be able to really take our time a little more and spend more time on some of the cool build-it-yourself features. I really wish Philly had this super fam yearly membership package that would get you into all the museums and zoo and whatnot for one convienient price. Anyway – a very cool day. It was too bad the weather was so icky because I would have liked to take her to some of the other things going on in the city but alas, that will have to come on another day.

It has been a bad week for running. The weather isn’t helping. I won’t run in cold rain. However, I did miss one beautiful evening. Slacking off ends tomorrow.

I’m annoyed because everyone else, even people in New Orleans, are getting snow. WTF? We live in the Northeast. Where is our snow? Instead we’re getting very cold rain. Mother nature is so fired… now watch, we get a blizzard…

I had a free Starbucks coffee today, compliments of a gift card they handed out a few weeks past. Thanks Starbuckers!!! Just what I needed since we stayed up late last night to attempt to catch up on some Dexter. We are debating inviting a workmate of Frank’s over for a season finale get-to-gether on Sunday… love love love Dexter.

My nephew has ADHD. My sister-in-law says Omega fish oil has really helped him focus. She’s very into natural therapies for these things. So guess what? Zoë’s getting Omega fish oil. Actually we’re all going to take it. The more I think about it, the more I see some of these behaviours in myself. I mean I need to be able to multi-task and hop around quickly but sometimes my mind just wanders or refuses to enage and never mind about how my mouth sometimes works without checking with the brain. Talk about a lack of self-control. Besides, they were in my prenatel vitamins and I never functioned so well as when I was on those, even on four hours sleep.

Anyway, that’s about it. I saw a snibbit preview on HGTV where someone was building a row of rowhouses in gingerbread… I absolutely must do this. I absolutely must get a hold of the directions. Then I am absolutely going to put it on the web site. I think this weekend I will make architecural plans in oaktag. Aside from the dormers, how complicated could one little row-house be? Ok, stairs are tricky. Maybe I can leave those out? But stoops are so row house… Actually I think I need to make our house and the two next to ours to really get the total effect. One neighbor doesn’t have a dormer which should simplify things. Crap, I should have done this after Thanksgiving and used it as the Christmas card. Hmmm… next year. Now, for materials… it really makes one look at food in a whole new light.

Dec. 9th, 2008
10:48 PM
I realize I just haven’t written a whole lot lately. Let’s see… crap 11pm already. Must sleep…

Dec. 5th, 2008 at 5:19 PM
i am tired…
i am broke…
i wish christmas was about two months away…
we are so close to being ok but yet are not…
damn…

of course, there are other people much worse off, by far…

please freelance check… please oh postal god… please please please be in the mail today…

i wonder if i am eligible to rent my uterous out? for $30,000 i would rent my uterous out no problem. in PA it’s legal. and pregnancy is not so bad when you can get a nice sleep afterwards.

Dec. 4th, 2008
8:33 PM
One:

Ganked from Mystress.

Post a picture in my comments of what you think describes me when you think about what/who I am.

Give no written explanation. Just an image.

Two:

To the saint who returned my phone before I even realized I had lost it. Thank you. You are a wonderful person who just earned 8,000 phone karma points. May you never find yourself in bad reception.

There is more going on… just can’t get a moment to write about it though.

Dec. 1st, 2008
10:24 PM
In brief… both Thanksgivings were quite lovely. We just finished the leftovers. Today an ex contacted me on FaceBook… it’s sort of nice to get an apology after 13 years… it’s also surreal.
5 comments Row House
Nov. 26th, 2008 at 2:39 PM
My latest victims, I mean interview subjects, are Richard and Michael in Jersey City who own a minty-mint 1833 Georgian/Greek Revival row house. Fortunately much of the original details of the home were covered with strange things like paneling, thus effectively preserving nearly everything. It’s just beautiful and so elegant. Michael wrote a wonderful book about the Zen of House Cleaning. We also talked about the joys of having random “dead guys” hanging in your house.

http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/featuredHomes/index.html
Nov. 25th, 2008
10:23 PM
I don’t want to jinx it but what the hey… this week Zoë has taken to listening the first time around. That’s right. I haven’t had to repeat myself 800 times in order to get her to do something. Zoë pick your things up… she does it. Zoë put that down… she does it. Zoë… no running off… and there she is. Right where I left her, holding my hand like she’s supposed to. I am so surprised. Thank goodness. Things are hard enough without having to fight more uphill battles.

Frank and I are cancelling our annual festivus this year. Just not enough fundage. Not to worry, we have a few very nice things to do and will hardly be suffering. We are really batting down the hatches… the news just doesn’t look good. While I should be ok, we’re a little worried about Frank. But of all the BMW dealerships in Eastern PA, his is in the old-money area. People who are least likely to worry. I keep my fingers crossed because BMW is a luxury.

Otherwise I think… our mantra is one more year… one more year of private school… one more year… if we can just squeek by…

Anyway, to make matters worse, I’ve caught some nasty bug. Probably got it from someone on Sunday. The race went well – I finished in 52:50 which is a near miracle. Mom literally pushed me across the finish line. Never ran that far before but now I am committed. It would be very nice to do the half. The thing is, we walked home from the finish which is another three miles, so really it was 8 miles altogether. What’s another four? I figure if I can get to nine miles, hard to do here. But if I can get to nine, then I can just walk the rest of the 13.5 next year. We’ll see. But it’s a fine balance between staying in shape and I’ll need to up my normal run to 5 miles, and adding stress to my already stressed out life.
8 comments Nov. 24th, 2008
5:24 PM
Today is fired… for a number of reasons.
Reading the NY Times again…
Nov. 18th, 2008 at 10:08 PM
I don’t want to just be introspective. After all there is a world going on out there. Plus, I just have this feeling like society is undergoing this change, like an ooz-ee blob absorbing everything.

So I read this:
November 16, 2008 – In Hard Times, No More Fancy Pants – By ALEX WILLIAMS

Mr. Williams is chatting about how it is no longer in vogue to flaunt your wealth. Alleluia! With everyone having to cut back, showing off is now just tacky and cruel.

Sales at Neiman Marcus (for the record, they did let me try on the Louboutin shoes) dropped nearly 30 percent in October from last year. Meanwhile WalMart is up. I understand how horrible it is, but I needed cold weather running gear since I didn’t want to give up like I usually do when it gets cold, especially with an 8K coming up.

“The era of conspicuous consumption, at least for the foreseeable future, has come to a close,” said Paco Underhill, the author of “Why We Buy,” which explores the science of retail. “Consumption will still happen. It’s just not going to be as public.” He cited a story from an Audi dealer: a buyer of an S4 high-performance sedan requested the nameplate be removed, “so only the person who really knew what they were looking at,” he said, “would know what it is.”

Bud Konheim, the chief executive of Nicole Miller says, “You don’t brag about paying $10,000 for a dress for a party. The feeling now is, so what are you telling us? You’re either a sucker or showing off when people have lost jobs.”

Williams continues with a little history lesson, “for a precedent for such a complete about-face in people’s attitudes toward luxury, you would have to look to the Great Depression.”

Here is the silver lining, the part I like best, “the economic collapse was also seen as a chance, after the 1920s bacchanalia, for moral cleansing. The industrialist Andrew W. Mellon said it would ‘purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, live a more moral life.'”

And I’m totally ecstatic to read that, “it’s now chic to cut back…” It’s nice to know that being broke is the thing to be and that we’re not alone in our struggles with money. One doesn’t feel so bad if everyone is on the same level. Not that one wants people to come on hard times but there is a certain comfort in being all in it together.

My favorite story is about Harry Slatkin, the founder of Slatkin & Co., a home fragrances company. He recently changed plans for his wife’s birthday party from a lavish affair to a small party at home. “It’s not time to have splashy birthday parties,” he says. “It’s a time to stay home, spend time with friends and connect.” He’s right, I think. Without all the distractions we will all be forced to get to know our families and learn how to be families… dealing with difficult personalities. In the end, we’ll be better for it. A strong family bond takes work, and now without all this stuff, people will have more time to work on it. Instead of throwing toys at their kids, parents will now find they’re spending more time looking at clouds and imagining animals in the sky and really listening to their kids – becoming closer.

“The definition of living well is changing,” said Jim Taylor, a Harrison vice chairman. Ooh, I like this. Please tell me this involves more cups of tea and books from the library and less Coach handbags and $6 lattes.

I definitely hope that style goes from less the next big thing, to people being able to define their own style, where signature is more important than quantity of trendy-items. For heaven sakes, Channel wore the same thing every day, nearly. You just can’t get away with that… but times are changing. That’s one of the great things about being Gothy – it hasn’t changed in years – Goth beauty standards are eternal and timeless.

Williams continues, “The rich were not the only ones consuming conspicuously in recent years, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD Group. The middle class, bingeing on cheap credit, also treated itself. Sub-Zero refrigerators, $300 jeans and Cadillac Escalades seemed within reach, even in average homes. ‘Those consumers were beneficiaries of false wealth, and they were living, literally, like millionaires,’ Mr. Cohen said.”

And there is it in a nutshell. The party is over… hopefully we will all survive. Hopefully all this consumer energy will get put towards something else… like using less energy.

Has anyone else noticed the price of oil? Strange thing that is… I have my suspicions. But I am glad, we were really in a bind.
Another week bites the dust…
Nov. 14th, 2008 at 1:47 PM
Where is autumn going?

One client is just going email crazy… so it’s been insane to keep up with the frenzy. But it’s great for me to have the work.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, we’ve been trying to teach Zoë how to sound out words so she can learn to read. We had a breakthrough last night. I’m trying to present it like a puzzle. It’s slowgoing and a real test of my patience. Not only do I have to teach her things but I have to teach her how to learn which means I have to learn how she learns, which is clearly not typical. I am wracking my brain to try to figure out how I learned these things and if there’re similarities. This on top of behaviour issues like listening and cooperating. It’s completely nuts.

Nearly every morning, Zoë and I walk to work/school. Often, we walk through Washington Square park, where lots of squirrels live. Over the past year or so, we’ve developed a repetoire with the critters and today we have a breakthrough. Some of the more intrepid squirrels decided, after months of complementary snacks, that they would finally take right from our hands. The little guy who took a cracker from me actually put his little paw on my finger. Another one would have grabbed the cracker from the Pumpkin but she moved and sort of spooked him. It was very cute… and no, they aren’t rabid. By the time we left, we had close to 10 squirrels following us. Word is getting around.

I am not ready for the holidays… I need an extra month between now and December.
1 comment Meme from lady_mishegas
Nov. 13th, 2008 at 8:39 AM
If you saw ME in a police car, what would you think I got arrested for?

Answer me, then if you want, post to your own journal and see how many crimes you get accused of…
9 comments Nov. 11th, 2008
9:55 PM
I decided too late to create a picture of my house on the row house website to link to the HGTV website… I will add later. Any linkage is good linkage. Meanwhile, I already got an article nibble from someone who owns a stunning 1830s row house as well. I can tell from the high ceilings that theirs is most likely Greek revival… it’s a very beautiful home.

So far about 400 people have peeped our house and nothing but positive comments, which is nice. Part of me thinks it’s not nearly finished enough and will people get it?… but apparently they do.

Otherwise I paid bills… the highlight of my evening. Maybe a spot of crochet and off to bed at a reasonable time for a change…
I’m on HGTV… ok well not really.
Nov. 10th, 2008 at 11:04 PM
At least it’s a start. I posted a few pictures to the Rate My Space feature and already 100 people have looked at our house. I only did the kitchen, living and our bedroom. the Pumpkin’s room is perpetually messy and the bathroom is impossible to photograph. So far I have a four star rating out of five. I’m just so tired of seeing big houses. Someone has to stand up for the little guy. I know they do a small space show but they still have more space than we do… and always modern. There are so many small, old houses that need brave souls who don’t purging nearly everything to love them… especially here in Philly.

If anyone is curious, the rooms are:
Federal row house attic master bedroom.
Small living room / home office in a Federal row house.
A Philly Federal row house basement eat-in kitchen.

I…
Nov. 5th, 2008 at 1:06 PM
Yanked from mystress for some lunch time fun…

i am: organized.
i think: there is always a way.
i want: to be completely debt free.
i wish: my teeth were perfect.
i hate: pessimism.
i miss: my figure in high school.
i fear: disease and dismemberment.
i hear: office chatter and keyboard clicking.
i smell: Frank’s enchurrittos.
i wonder: what the Pumpkin will be like.
i regret: not sticking with interior design as a career option.
i love: my family.
i accept: that I will never be wealthy.
i always: put things in order.
i dance: because it’s how I touch music.
i sing: when no one else is around.
i cry: when I am wounded.
i write: constantly, especially about row houses.
i never: say never.
i have: a good balance.
i can usually be found: in Philly.
i need: projects to work on.
i waste: when I buy things I don’t really need and later decide they weren’t worth buying at all.
i expect: to have to work for things.
i should: say no to sweets more often.
i know: that I can always learn more about anything.
i obsess: about my budget.
i am not always: consistant.
i believe: in the end, everything happens for a reason.
i am not: giving up.
i want to be: comforable in my own skin and place in life but still ambitious.
Apparently procrastination is good for something.
Nov. 5th, 2008 at 10:01 AM
Oh, btw… be jealous now. Frank and I had the entire polling place to ourselves. That’s right, just us and the Pumpkin. It took exactly four minutes to vote. We didn’t need to picnic with chicken, although that might have been nice. Better off, we have no money for chicken. They said there was a three hour wait in the morning but because we waited, everyone was gone. Probably eating chicken at home.

I realized too late that I really could have gotten a run in. Crap. I have three weeks to get to an 8K. Can I do it? Heaven help me!
1 comment Nov. 5th, 2008
8:16 AM
McCain wasn’t really that bad. He made a wonderful concession speach. Unfortunately picking Ms. Botox Insane Hockey Mom as a running mate proved to be disasterous. I think the biggest problem is that in his audience, there were only white people. America has always been a place of great diversity. In the beginning it just wasn’t as obvious since everyone was white-ish from Europe but still, different Europeans are culturally different too. Nowadays you can simply see the differences better and we need a president who can speak to different people and make them feel good about being American, and work with different countries with an open mind and no cowboy yahoo ego because things work on a Global level now.

I also like the idea that it’s all about working together and chipping in to make things better for everyone. The age of “what’s in it for me” is over, thank God. Of course, I am not a selfish person so I don’t think there is anything wrong with people contributing to the better welfare of the country. I border on Socialist so there you go — the together we succeed, divided we fall sort of thing. But there are definitely two types of people in America, those who care about the whole, care about others, and those who only care about themselves. That’s the real divide, not race or religion or economic status.

I do know plenty of people who are really pissed off today. I’ve heard random things from people worried about being taxed, although my mom falls into that higher bracket and she says it’s not that bad, to people saying that we’re headed for a socialist state and that Obama is the antiChrist. It’s rather quiet in the office so maybe more people here were republican than I thought, or they simply stayed up really late to watch the speeches like I did – so tired.

Anyway, I hope this is the beginning of a general improvement to things. Not an overnight solution but something at least going in the right direction.
2 comments Nov. 4th, 2008
2:23 PM
Anyone like weathervanes? Look what I found – http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/greatGear/index.html

Anyway we had a lovely weekend. Halloween was nice – walking around the hood. Our block has upper yet another notch on the coolness meter as one of our neighbors was serving wine and cheese. Frank made small children cry and adults uncomfortable. the Pumpkin and I got lots of candy. And we didn’t get killed by rabid phillies fans.

I met a lovely developer here who is working on this twin near the park. Just amazing home with plenty of original details. He’s spliting it into apartments. Really nice apartments with a wonderful view of the park. I think I am going to depart from the totally attached angle for a couple of stories so that I can include this. I think sometimes the only way to preserve these really huge row homes is to apartmentize them. Still, it’s preservation and we like that. Mostly I need a good few hours to write some stories out that are lurking in the notebook.

Otherwise all is good.
Oct. 30th, 2008
1:36 PM
Ok, go here – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/garden/30charles.html?ei=5070

I have this hyposthesis that tiny homes can fit into vacant plots in urban areas. I thought I was nuts. Evidently, it’s been done before and in Manhattan no less.

Man, what I wouldn’t do to be able to spend my time promoting row houses or tiny dwellings in urban areas for reasonable prices.

Imagine a cute little cottage with a garden in the city? Just heaven.
I am a bad girl…
Oct. 30th, 2008 at 1:19 PM
So tired. My own fault. Must be more disciplined about bedtime. But right about now I can hardly function.
Facebook…
Oct. 29th, 2008 at 8:43 AM
Anyone here on Facebook and not my friend? I finally got around to getting it in order…
2 comments A little heartbroken…
Oct. 28th, 2008 at 1:43 PM
Weekend plans fell through in the house guest catagory. Men never do follow through. No surprise although I would have liked not to have to rush to get the housework done on a week night.

Sunday’s pumpkin carving party very ampely made up for it. We had a blast. My friends are too cool for words. Definitely kindred spirits.

As Tuesday progresses, all is well, more or less.

What I’m upset about is that a producer from CNN dropped me an email about pictures I had posted about our row house seeking to interview me about living in a small space. But sniff… alas no reply. Such is the life of CNN, story idea today… story bumped tomorrow. However, to date, about 2,300 people have viewed our little row house on iReport so that in itself is a wonderful thing. Quite a few people clicked back to the row house web site as well. So it’s good. However, for a moment, I was entertaining ideas of becoming the row house goddess on a national level and whatnot. But my mission is young…

Halloween in three days. I have budget remorse and secretly wish I did have something new to wear. I can just picture the sort of new outfit I would love to make. It would take both money and crack to realize as I would have to forgo sleep… I have neither so it’s the good old 18th century fall-back for me. I did get this idea to be “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” you know with fabric turban and wrap and walking around with a frame. Fabric would be cheap enough and I can get a cheap frame in the basement of the antique store on 6th and Bainbridge. However… I’m too tired to even deal with that.

I’m feeling rather drained. Tired… my own fault. I must get back on schedule. It isn’t helping that the weather is twarting my attemps to run.

Also what doesn’t help is that I got these professional photos done for work and they came out God-awful. In most of the body shots, it looks like I’m Dolly Parton because of the angle. And in the headshots, he didn’t figure out that my nose looks huge from one side and he only got the huge side. My face is absolutely not symetrical, so angle counts a lot and a dead on shot is gastly because my eyes aren’t even either. My hair looks horrible and my eye brows really need to be shaped so they’re too bushy. So they just put me into a foul mood altogether. It does renue my efforts to grow my hair out though because I really do think more hair on top and less on the sides is definitely the way to go. Yes, it is vanity… I know. But still… you’d think a professional could figure something out. Anyway, I return to hating having my picture taken…
5 comments Oct. 24th, 2008
4:10 PM
All of the sudden, we’re having a pretty filled weekend. Tonight, we’re hosting one of Frank’s friends overnight who is helping a friend move from New York. Hello pancakes! Saturday, Frank’s off to Virginia to help a friend car shop, comes from being the resident mechanic. Sunday we have a pumpkin carving party to go to. I’ve got my templates ready to go and can’t wait!

Last night we did super speed cleaning which is always fun on a Thursday night. Right about now I am really dragging my butt. However, since it coincides with garbage night, it’s nice because we make most of the garbage when we clean and now it’s all gone. No smelly garbage sitting around for the entire week.

I was going to make a huge paper mache spider for the front of the house but I’m not sure how that’s going to pan out. It’s just been a really busy few weeks for me. Thankfully so but still would be nice to have a huge spider on the house.

Today I am giving a pair of pergatorial shoes a second change. I really thought about said shoes for several weeks, then tried on said shoes, not buying so that I could pass the obligatory sleep-on-it phase, and then going back to buy said shoes. The problem is, I love them but they do not love me back. About three hours, that’s right, three hours into wearing said shoes, I start to feel something like razor blades dig into my big toes. How am I supposed to know that shoes that feel fine when I first put them on and fine for about two and a half hours, are going to hurt three hours later? Is that the magic shoe gobblin hour? And yet, since my work day is about 9 hours long, what can I do? Fortunately, no one sees my feet so right now, the toes are just hanging out. I think I have to take a total loss on these. Not what I feel like doing these days. Damn my fat feet. However, I think I am now perhaps totally done with my addiction to cute, impractical things which provoke impulse purchases. I’ve been miraculously cured and can put this rediculousness behind me for good. Freed from the shackles of cute, I am now free to devote myself to elegant, timeless things that reflect the darker and historic sensabilities.

I could vent about another story of home forclosure woe but I won’t. I keep getting suckered into these articles when I look for ways to cope with economically trying times. I need advice on how to make tasty meals with chickpeas and ramen or how to repurpose old sheets into nightgowns and play clothes. Sorry but I just won’t feel bad for people who should have known that doubling their debt was a bad idea. Unless the need for the money outweighs the risk like if you needed heart surgery and it was life threatening. But in almost all these cases I read about, the need no way balanced the risk people took.

The only common sense I’ve seen lately is from the people who are living happily in 300 square feet…
2 comments Typeface?
Oct. 24th, 2008 at 2:11 PM
Prompted by mystress’s mention of a movie about the Helvetica typeface, I wonder what sort of typeface would you be if you could be one? Or maybe which one best seems like you?

For me, the one I find I use all the time is Century Gothic which is a nice sans-serif. Very clean.
1 comment The joy of reciplrical links…
Oct. 24th, 2008 at 12:26 PM
Well, 3,087 people looked at our little house on CNN. Of those, 788 clicked through to the row house web site. Who-hoo!!
Small House? Not compared to some…
Oct. 22nd, 2008 at 1:31 PM
My mom sends me this today: http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/10/22/tiny.houses/index.html#cnnSTCText. She is so funny, always sending me little things to remind me I’m not crazy. I submitted our house photos to the article because it’s iReport and I included the row house link because getting a url on CNN is always a good idea.

I am really becoming a great fan of these really cute little houses. Check out the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, although not today since their web site maxed out. No wonder, they’ve been getting so much press lately. I don’t know if I could go down to 100 square feet and I’m not sure about separate houses for spouses although it redefines personal space. Heck, all three of us could each have our own houses… ah maybe not. I do wonder about an urban application. Mostly to replace gaping holes in row house rows where houses have collapsed. Wouldn’t it be nice to replace the lots with gardens and these cute little houses? It’d be a really neat way to get a stand alone house in an urban area…

It’s all so nice to promote small houses but let’s see more focus on small houses that already exist and need people to love them, like all the worker’s rows here in Philly which are really neat and adaptable. Most urban row houses are small – 2BR and about 1,000 square feet. My mom’s in Middle Village – 2BR. Ours too…
2 comments Oct. 21st, 2008
9:16 AM
I have to take holiday photos of the house. Frank did a really nice job on the windows. There are all these competitions for decorating to enter, however, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Although for a space our size, I think we do very well indeed. I have this idea to make a 4ft diameter spider, note to self – download instructions, for the front of the house and use some cobweb stuff and we’ll see how it turns out. A 4ft spider on a house our size is really big. Frank said the scariest thing about our house is that three people and three cats live in it despite it’s petite size. I told him to be quiet or else I would start going on about my fictious, 1830s family of five or six who probably lived in the house originally. Nothing shuts Frank up faster than threats of me droning on and on about domestic history.

Our weekend was very calm. Just the normal domestic things. We had company for Sunday lunch, a work mate of Frank’s, which was nice. I am always happy to see Frank socializing because I have the web to chat to and he is much more isolated.

Sunday morning I had every intention on going on a nice long run. I have started a four-mile route now and am very close to being acclimated to the new distance. However, I was distracted by an open house for a house I’ve been stalking for months. It’s a beautiful period home, circa 1770. Wonderful built-in cabinatry and shelving, a kitchen fireplace with a swing out pot holder – original iron. Also a beautiful back patio. Lots of light and at least four bedrooms. Lovely original wide plank flooring. Drool! I had a lovely chat with the realtor who knows this developer who specializes in renovations and works on other parts of the city. She was so excited about the web site that hopefully she will connect us and it will pan out into some great material. If I could swing $830K I would buy this house in a heartbeat. But it was kind of big. Oh, and it had arches in the basement. I’ve never seen catacomb-like arches in a residential basement before. But unlike my house, this house’s basement has always been a basement so it can be cryptlike. Nice to know the owners left the spiderwebs for effect. I think the arches support the horse walk… Anyway, then I was on my way to the supermarket and voila! Another open house. This time it was for a two bedroom rowhouse around the corner from my house. From the outside it just looks tiny but once you get inside, it was spacious, open and very bright. just lovely. Had a wonderful backyard as well. That one is listed for $364K for about 1100 square feet. It’s probably newer than ours, guessing late 1800s, being that the layout is a little more open and the ceilings are higher although the footprint of the house is the same. Not bad really and it had nice big stairs you can actually get furniture up. Actually both places had nice stairs. Both houses were decorated beautifully and I hope I can show them on the site.

It really is amazing to see other people’s homes. I am endlessly facinated about how people related to their space. I read, of course I can’t remember it now, this article in CNN, yesterday, about the relationship between architecture and happiness. It asks, can a building really make you happy? I think yes. God knows, ugly architecture can really make people cranky so why not the opposite? When a house is a good fit for the people inside, I think there is a happy aura created. Of course, maybe it takes a certain sort of person too. Someone who can feel connected. I know I’ve always been emotionally connected to the places I’ve lived in as an adult. I mean, well, there have only been two, but my apartment in Brooklyn and my little house here in Philly are both very reflective of my personality – appreciative of history, decorative but not too ornate, and solid brick.
Delft School Renaissance wasn’t an option…
Oct. 21st, 2008 at 8:57 AM
Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test…

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful
18 Islamic, 17 Impressionist, 15 Ukiyo-e, -26 Cubist, -31 Abstract and 11 Renaissance!

Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences . Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque. It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.

People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past. It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots. They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others. Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence. These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful. They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Days go by like a quick bunny – hop hop hop
Oct. 15th, 2008 at 2:25 PM
Let’s see…

Went to the Betsy Ross house. Realized too late that we probably should have asked if a neighbor’s kid wanted to come too. I swear I need to remember to do these things and stop being so insular. the Pumpkin would have loved to have a buddy along. The house itself was slightly dissappointing and didn’t have nearly enough on display.

The weekend was very relaxing. Really just took it easy. I did buy some yarn, on sale, so I can finish up these two pillows I have remaining. I need to find a good stitch.

Got my pre-review at work. All is well. For kicks, I looked up what exactly a web master is and what the median for salary is here in Philly. It’s actually a pretty good fit as to what I am doing, as based on the career builder definition. The good news, is there is room to grow salary-wise and it’s a good transition into a web manager-ish position. I can stop being embarrassed to tell people what I do now.

Frank has made great progress with fixing the hole in our bedroom ceiling.

We really stuck within budget this week.

I read this article about teenagers having to learn to budget and how they’ve been little money hoovers… and you know what? Spoiled they are. Greedy and spoiled. I’m happy I grew up broke. It’s made me a better adult. What I think they need to do is bring back home economics. There is no way there shouldn’t be a class in high school for personal finances and basic domestic skills so at the very least you can take care of yourself. How can we expect anyone to know anything when there isn’t any chance to learn anything? I mean if your parents didn’t tell you anything, you’re completely on your own. Some people are smart enough to self-teach, but the majority? Clueless.
8 comments Yom Kipper ate my work week.
Oct. 10th, 2008 at 2:37 PM
It is nearly insane the pace I’m keeping these days.

I managed to squeeze in an article about throwing a block party on the rowhouse website. http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/index.html. Over the weekend I hope I can find some photos to add to recent articles and I have a wonderful story I did with an interview of the food critic for The Inquirer… no not that one, the Philadelphia Inquirer, also know as The Inky. He was really fun to talk to and he liked the article – I love fellow journalist compliment. That one will come out next week.

Otherwise we’re just podding away at life. Treading… waiting for checks to come in the mail. Squeeking by. I hate this but this is our year of tightness… there is a light at the end of the tunnel, hoping our teeth hold up.

Frank made a comment, last night, sort of about staying in the house and if we did, what we need to do. Mainly walling off the Pumpkin’s room and adding the second bath and redoing the kitchen. Thank god for a small place – improvements are cheaper. I imagine we will do a good deal of dumpster diving and clearance shopping.

I can’t remember anything else right now… my coffee has just worn off. I waited up late for Frank, who passed his PA inspector’s license test last night!! Yay!!! This is going to be very good for us, hopefully. Did you know he had to know all about horse and buggies? PA is a funny state/commonwealth. Anyway, not enough sleep. Looking forward to my three-day weekend.
6 comments I wasn’t going to read the news but….
Oct. 6th, 2008 at 5:20 PM
Look what I found in The Economist – a chart!!!

http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?source=hptextfeature&story_id=12342127

I should have become an economist. I like numbers and charts and being organized and making theories and writing reports.

Our weekend went well. The block party rocked. Going out dancing rocked… although Frank got a tummy bug and had to stay home. Otherwise I had a great time. Breakfast with our good friend Thomas rocked. Going to an open house (1700s) rocked.

More will come later or another time… gotto go!
Debate-ty blah blah blah
Oct. 3rd, 2008 at 2:09 PM
Frank and I were really looking forward to the debate because we thought there would be much entertainment value to it. Sort of like “The Office” where you have these intensely uncomfortable moments. Alas, it was a let down.

I didn’t like how they were blowing their running mates’ tooters. I mean, I already know their opinions… I want to know yours.

She’s a total hypocrite. It’s ok to chat about Obama’s past record but not McCains. She can dish it out but gets pissy when the tables are turned. Plus she kept going on about how she has a diverse group of friends and is so open minded but it’s clear she isn’t. And it was weird how she did it because she was like, I agree with Biden… and then, I do not support gay marriage, and he clearly is in favor for it but he couldn’t retort. Totally put words in his mouth.

Apprently she has her kids in public school so she probably has a stake in the state of the public education system. However, I’m sure public school in Alaska is not the same as public school in Philly and therefore she’s probably out of touch with and majority of public schools which are in cities.

Cutesy language has no place in a professional setting. If she becomes VP, America will lose all credibility has a well educated country.

She kept changing the subject because I think she still really doesn’t know very much at all. I kept wondering if she really knows where the countries she was talking about are located.

I’m tired of her throwing the “I’m just like you” thing out there. Most candidates are wealthy, it’s ok. But at least be honest. I can guarentee that she probably makes several times what I do as govenor. And why is she upset about taxes going up for people who make more than $250K a year? Because she makes more than $250K a year. She doesn’t give a hoot about small business owners. So transparent.

I hate when people talk about winning the war. I don’t get it. What’s winning? Like Iraq becomes the 51th state? Our entire point should be to help the people, help themselves. Military can’t do that. If we spent the money that we’re spending on the military and instead started schools and desert-friendly farms and industry, in exchange for open trade and a discount on their exports, it would actually be making us money instead. Stop trying to force America down people’s throats. It’s horrible. The sooner we get out of there the better.

She smiled too much… weird. Like her face was stuck that way. Botox maybe? Oh yes… now that I think about it, she’s definitely had Botox.

I don’t know… she’s like a PTA president on crack.
2 comments I love cabbage!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 at 2:57 PM
Ok, no more economic melaise. I’m reading enough articles. The word is out there. Hopefully the right people are listening.

Anyway, I’m going to wax poetic today about decorative cabbages!

http://www.gardensablaze.com/Annuals/AnnualsOrnCabbage.htm

I’m not even joking. I love these. I have one in my window box, a big purple one. They last through frost and seem to tollerate being moderately ignored. And they look like big whopping roses. Huge roses. And in my office’s weekly flower arrangement, there is a little green one. They’re as beautiful as roses but much more sturdy.

Our current stoop garden includes random greenery, some white stuff, red mums, an orange pumpkin, and my purple cabbage. Yay!!! Total garden happiness. Just in time as everything else is dying… including our fish. Yup, Kaizoku’s time has come. We are going to take him to the Schulykill and plop. He was a great little fish and we were on borrowed time as it is.

I am rather sleepy – annoying since I really did get a lot of sleep last night. Argh! A lot has to do with how hot it is in my office – just sauna-like. Ok… back to the grindstone. Today is fancy menu creating day. Almost done…
1 comment Oct. 1st, 2008
2:46 PM
I don’t know if anyone here wants to go out to a gothy clubish sort of place in Philly. Frank and I are going out on Saturday to a place near us.
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Meme from lady_mishegas
Oct. 1st, 2008 at 1:04 PM
Ah, I am relaxing since the afternoon will be hainous.

1. Do you like blue cheese?
Oh yes. I wouldn’t eat a brick of it plain, but I like it on salad with other things.

2. Have you ever smoked?
Yup. Socially.

3. Do you own a gun?
Not any more.

4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite?
We actually never drank this at home. I went through a brief Tang period much later on.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Doctor no, dentist – yes.

6. What do you think of hot-dogs?
Well, I’m German. German people eat wurst. I do try to get the all meat sorts with no perservatives. A hot dog is nowhere nearly as gross as Blutwurst and I’ve eaten that.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Gremlins… Better Off Dead

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
A Jamba Juice smoothie… but alas, now I drink coffee.

9. Can you do push-ups?
Yes, a few.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
Not sure. I wear my wedding ring all the time.

11. Favorite hobby?
Um… I can’t pick a favorite.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?
Maybe.

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
Nope.

14. Middle name?
I have two.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1) I have got to stop eating pop tarts.
2) I wish I didn’t have a publication waiting for me because I’d rather be working on the new site.
3) I hope my nectarine hasn’t gone south.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
water, coffee, tea

17. Current worry?
Money

18. Current hate right now?
Stupid greedy flippers

19. Favorite place to be?
Anywhere with the fam relaxing

20. How did you bring in the New Year?
we were at our neighbor’s house

21. Where would you like to go?
paris.

22. Do you own slippers?
Yes.

23. What shirt are you wearing?
Something red and sheer with florals and beads.

24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
It sounds great until you realize it’s impossible to keep you top sheet from slipping off.

25. Can you whistle?
No.

26. Favorite color?
Blue

27. Would you be a pirate?
Nowhere near violent enough.

28. What songs do you sing in the shower?
None

29. Favorite Girl’s Name?
Allegra

30. Favorite boy’s name?
Alistair

31. What’s in your pocket right now?
Nothing

32. Last person that made you laugh?
Frank and the Pumpkin… they both do.

33. What vehicle do you drive?
Honda Civic… a silver one… one of three on my block.

34. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I broke a finger once.

35. Do you love where you live?
Love is a strong word. I do not love Philly, yet. I do love my house a lot.
1 comment It’s nice not to be crazy…
Oct. 1st, 2008 at 8:15 AM
I couldn’t agree more…

Deleveraging Society

By David Paul, The Huffington Post

“…We are no longer a nation that is paying our own way and in control of our financial destiny, but rather have become addicted to increasing uses of debt to financing our way of life. These are not the characteristics of a great nation or a great people.

The obvious question for the next president will be how to change course. The crisis we face is not how to fix a banking crisis, but rather how to deleverage a society that has become increasingly dependent on debt and imported capital…”

Read the entire thing at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-paul/deleveraging-society_b_130628.html – the article even has some really awesome charts.

Happy people don’t have more, they’re just more ok with what they do have. It’s going to get to the point where people are going to be embarrassed if they live extravegently because everyone will look down at them for being showy. It’s not likely, but wouldn’t it be nice if instead of buying that 10th car, people donated the money to charity or investing in alternative energy options or took time to give back. Sort of look to make a better world instead of having excess. Something more lasting.

Of course, I am guilty. I don’t use credit but I have been known to get suckered into something because it’s pretty. I don’t see anything wrong with $900 shoes. I really only need one pair of shoes… and I have several. There must be a happy medium with treating yourself to nice things, taking care of your fellow man, ensuring the next generation’s stability, and being gentle on the environment.
Sep. 30th, 2008
10:15 PM
Crap, I lost an article about a new wave of “it’s ok to be middle class” and “greed is bad” and “screw the joneses” feelings going around. I think once people stop trying to be perfect, they can start being themselves, however they think that is. Will it be bad? I don’t know. Because we are all different. I am wondering about all this political red in the middle of the country. Why is this country a political doughnut? What if people are generally really jerky? What if they’re not? Will people wake up and smell the thrifty? Or are we doomed?

Has anyone seen the Sham-Wow commercial? It’s hysterical. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Le9AmPM-as

I am feeling generally betrayed by a recipe for gazpacho that came out so God-awful. It tasted bad and looked like puke. Poor Frank… I managed to scrounge up a salad but I think he ate potato chips for dinner. I’ll have to try something else. Crap… it’s not like we can just throw away food but it really was just horrible.

And I spent a good deal of time fighting with my CMS, trying to get the stupid thing to cooperate.

And now the monsoon comes.
4 comments Sep. 30th, 2008
11:13 AM
It feels like the sky is falling. I shouldn’t watch the news any more.

We had a lovely weekend of doing nearly nothing. We were really going to be lazy and not clean the house because we’re doing a super clean on Friday but at the last minute we caved and scrubbed away and threw every curtain in the laundry on Sunday. Allow me to compose an ode of joy about the uber-washer at the laundromat – oh Uber Washer, how I love thee, let me count the 8,000 things you can wash at once. Oh tidy and fresh clean slipcover and curtains, how you make my house smell so nice!

I feel that it is just a matter of time before our vacuum cleaner starts to do the appliance dance of death. I have this really cute, inexpensive, one all picked out — http://www.hoover.com/product.aspx?model=S1361&ds=false — or maybe this one — http://www.hoover.com/product.aspx?model=S3670&ds=false — which is not nearly as cute but comes with the super cat hair sucker attachment which is non negotiable. We already have one for our existing Hoover, a predececor to choice B, so if we can use it with the smaller one, we can get that instead. The funny thing about our vaccum now, which really does a great job but is sort of falling apart after almost 10 years (Frank had to get creative with duct tape and some screws), is that we can plug it into one outlet and do the entire house without having to move the plug. Oh yes, the joys of a small house. Now, it does have to be heavy duty and I don’t know if the smaller one can do the work, however I plan on getting a Swiffer sweeper-vac to handle the kitchen and bathroom because of the kitty litter and we don’t want to use the same vacuum for the rest of the house. I wonder… It’s only 700 square feet and three rugs that we vaccume once a week. I wonder if the little one will be ok. I need to speak to a vacuum sales person. Maybe I can send Hoover an email with my requirements and they can point me in the right direction. I am just in love with the cute orange one and the idea of not having to lug around a full size canister sounds awfully appealing, not to mention the lower price, but I don’t want it if it’s going to die in a few years.

I am also debating creating “I love my row house!” t-shirts. I am thinking something maybe with different tops in a row in a sort of architectural blue-print drawing, with the words underneath and with the magazine logo on it, maybe on the back. Megan, do you use cafepress and how is it working? Anyone with any sort of artistic ability want to help?
4 comments Sep. 26th, 2008
8:24 AM
Ok, no more economy talk. I do like to write what I’m thinking and then look back and see if I was right or wrong. In ten years hopefully it’ll be good to look back and laugh and say how far I’ve come. For the record, I like to be wrong about horrible things. I like happy endings. I like when everything works out.

This weekend should be nice and quiet. I have a block party meeting tonight. The permit came and we’re all ready to party party party. On Saturday it’s the Philly Steuben parade. Nice chance to get down with my bad German self. the Pumpkin loves a parade.

Otherwise I am going to organize and clean the little house. Oh, and decorate for Halloween. 🙂
3 comments Why our economy shouldn’t go back to business as normal.
Sep. 26th, 2008 at 7:38 AM
In short, because an economy based on something that doesn’t exist yet, is not as strong as one that is based on what is there.

I really hope that the big-wigs out there in government and economic land aren’t trying to get things back to the way they were because this is a big wake up call that what we were is not sustainable. You can’t build an economy on debt. To some degree, you need to be able to get loans… but to the degree that people buy now and pay for it later is really out of control. For example, taking out a loan to redo your kitchen is a good idea. It’ll add to the value of your house. Taking out a business loan so that you can upgrade your equipment and attract more customers is also a good idea. This sort of credit promotes growth. Also when something goes wrong, like your teeth all decide to hold mutiny at once and you need 10 grand of dental work. That’s ok too. However, putting a TV on your credit card instead of saving the money and buying it in cash is stupid. And yet people just do it. They charge everything. Buying something outright has become something of an annomally although it really should be the norm.

I just don’t think we should go back to the way we were. The government should stabilize and invest in business but in a smart way so that it yields a return for the taxpayer. It absolutely can be done – Sweden did it 15 years ago and made their citizens a profit. Meanwhile, there needs to be a hard look at the way we live. The needless excess we’ve become accustomed to and the laziness of thinking immediate gratification is a right, instead of a priviledge, not to be abused.

I think the best thing we ever did was to get rid of our credit cards. Our only debt is specific – like the mortgage and the finacing we got for our teeth. Nothing random or small ticket. For anything everyday and for luxury items, meaning anything we don’t essentially need, we pay cash. Don’t have the money? We don’t get it. End of story.

Of course not buying things doesn’t help… but eventually I think production will slow down enough to balance everything out. But will we all survive this? That’s the problem…
2 comments The goddess is pleased…
Sep. 25th, 2008 at 12:52 PM
This morning my department at work got a scrumptious bagel platter from the new bagel place across the street. It was compliments of a very thoughtful attorney.

Now, apparently the attorney contacted someone who had first contacted us via the web site (I pass the inquiries along) and it looks like it might be a potential client matter to be. It’s very exciting when anything comes of the web because it means I am doing a good job. Yay!!

Now, the rest of my deparment can think what they want but I know that the bagels are really an offering to the almightly web and, as representative web goddess in particular, to me. I am allowing myself to have delusions of grandure for the next hour or so.

In between the delusions, I am also thinking about my nine-year anniversary and also about my hair in this icon which I think looks very nice, as I am really thinking my current do looks pretty bad indeed, reinforced by my receipt of some professional photos I got done at work in which I look God-awful. I should have asked the photographer to take from both sides of my face since my nose is crooked and also looking up instead of down, which tends to make my face look much fatter. Just once, I would love a decent photo of myself that looks close to what I think I look like. Haven’t seen one since Megan took my photos pre-the Pumpkin.

Anyway, I am going to try to do pin curls and rolls one more time. If it comes out bad, I just might chop chop chop… because I do not have the patience to look bad for months on end.
2 comments Can I smack you now?
Sep. 24th, 2008 at 12:46 PM
As you all might know, I am more or less a freaky type person of the gothic persuasion. I’ve always been fairly weird and right about the ripe age of 13, coinciding with Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses, I found my place in the world as a Goth-oriented freak. I have been happy ever since.

Now, in my later years I’ve calmed down a bit, aesthetically speaking. However, I still have a few togs which are decidedly gothy. One is this long cardigan sweater with a shaggy faux fur collar. It’s totally gothy. Yesterday I paired it with a black shirt and my embroidered black, full length skirt. It was all very gothy indeed.

A certain coworker complimented me on the sweater yesterday to which I said thanks and that I felt like being particularily gothy that day, it being very autumnal. She goes on to tell me that I don’t look gothy at all. Let’s see – head to toe, full length black, black and white striped socks, black sweater with faux shaggy fur collar… Huh? Now mind you, this person’s entire exposure to goth is what she probably sees in Vogue being the fashionista that she is, so of course she knows everything about looking gothy (NOT!). Maybe the Dansko clogs threw her off?

On the one hand I’m fairly insulted that she attempted to argue with me about it – I just shrugged and walked away although I wish I had had something clever to retort with. It’s even more rediculous because she knows I’m a freak. It’s like argueing about food with a four-star chef and all you can make is Kraft mac and cheese. On the other, it cements my already faultering opinion about her, that she is a tackless know-it-all who probably talks out of her arse most of the time, in which case I’d rather not engage – especially since she compliments everyone about everything to the point that I do believe she is most insincere. Smack smack smack!
7 comments One more reason I like Sweden
Sep. 22nd, 2008 at 8:28 PM
Apparently in the early 1990s Sweden was faced with a similar economic debacle and somehow they cleverly solved the problem. Apparently Swedish VIPs are over here trying to explain what they did so we can solve our economic woes as well. I think the article was in the Times. Sticky buns, IKEA, good economics… I really love Sweden. A little too far away to relocate and I don’t even want to try to figure out Swedish.

Otherwise a quiet night.
2 comments Sep. 22nd, 2008
2:03 PM
See new row house, if you’re bored.

http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/
Sep. 22nd, 2008
9:18 AM
Frank and I were chatting. If we were vampires who could all of a sudden be out in the open, we decided we would be history teachers. If my students acted up, I could just eat them.
2 comments Sep. 21st, 2008
9:03 PM
Sunday evening and all’s well.

Had a lovely Saturday running around the seaport with our friends, acting like pirates, wearing costumes. Score one for the seaport which is a really fun place to go. Later Frank headed out to the burbs for a party. I stayed home, ate pudding and watched 27 Dresses. Is that pathetic?

Today I got housework done. Got laundry done. Who-hoo! I’m totally pooped. Stupid Claritin kept me up and I only got a few hours of sleep – blech.

Watched first episode of True Blood on HBO – whoa! Now whether or not I can keep up with an hour program I don’t know. Weeds is ending so maybe. Bad TV…

The weekend is over too soon.
1 comment Sep. 19th, 2008
2:38 PM
I have solved a dilemma that’s been bothering me for a few weeks now. Next year the Pumpkin starts real school which opens at 8:30 am, completely rediculous with working parents these days, especially for a public school. Anywa, since I need to be at work at 8:30 we were going to have a big problem. While I can change my start to 9:00 am, half an hour is not enough time to walk to my office from her school. I didn’t want to start taking the bus because it’s expensive. Then I thought a bike would be great but were to put it? Then I remembered the fabulous folding bike! I had a folding bike from the 1950s and I loved it, even though it would fold while I was riding it. The folding bikes of today have more secure latches and are really small and relatively lightweight. They have a low bar so it works with a skirt. Problem solved! When folded, it fits under my desk. I do have to start saving now because one strudy enough for every day use on our charming pot-hole ridden, Philadelphia streets is a little expensive. But it’s a great idea for someone who needs to store it in a small house or under a desk at work. So excited!

The April Cornell store near my office is going out of business and they’re unloading things at 70% off, even the furniture. I lust for several things in there like no one’s business. Not a good time to be broke. There is one piece, a corner cabinate, that is just lovely and also a small table for Zoë, not to mention the clothing and linens. Sigh…

At work things are going well. My fabulous developer buddy has solved a problem for me so now I can work on the next stage of the web site. Getting closer to getting things working. If it was a puzzle, you’d be able to clearly see the picture now. Pretty close.

I feel like the worst pirate ever – no way I can talk like a pirate at work. We will be making it to the Seaport Museum for related festivities though. Thankfully the weather is cool enough to go in costume. Yay!

Ok, off to update the row house blog.
It’s all about strength of strategy… not strength of reaction.
Sep. 18th, 2008 at 1:29 PM
Frank lit the first real fire of the season the night before last. He tried last week but it just didn’t work. He says the Fire Gods of Fall denied him flame-age because it really wasn’t cold enough for a fire. I thought it was too warm too. But the other night was really chilly so voila – roaring fire.

I’ve been reading the Economist and CNN/the NY Times business sections about this entire economy debacle. I shouldn’t. It makes me sad. But I do anyway. Sort of like watching a trainwreck. It is absolutely no surprise to me that things are this screwed up and I have no doubts that it will get a great deal worse yet.

At my old job they really did a lot to promote corporate responsibility and risk management. I guess no one was listening in the finance sector. Too busy making lots of money in shady ways I suppose.

No one seems to have been listening to their grandparents. Advice like setting aside savings every month – no matter how small, not overspending, and that credit is for emergencies only.

I have no idea why people don’t read before signing a mortgage. Even Mortgages for Dummies says you should make sure your mortgage payment isn’t more than one third of your net monthly take-home. Maybe people can’t do simple division. No wonder since the schools are so bad.

Not that the government should butt in but I do think it’s in everyone’s best intrest if they take a more active role of educating people. You should, at least, be given some literature when making big decisions like buying a house or getting married. Like “Your ARM and You: It Will Go Up Sooner Than You Think” or “Marriage: Fighting is Normal… Making Up Is Fun.”

What to do about this mess? I think it can be boiled down to the idea that change needs to start with yourself. You have to be responsible for at least yourself and all the people who rely on you and the environment in which you live. You know, ask not what your country can do for you and that sort of thing.

But you know how popular having to do the work yourself is in this day and age? Allow me a cruel chuckle. I feel like everyone wants an immeadiate change but they want someone else to do it for them – hence the government incentive tax relief package. It’s in the news… all about who can change things. You know who can change things? You. Change things at home. Change things in your community. Change things in society. It’s a process. The funny thing is that this country was built on the idea that one can change one’s situation. The catch? You have to work for it and it might take a while.

I think anyone who is preaching that change can happen right away is just full of it. Sorry Obama but no one can make change by themselves. Tell me who’s going to help you because big changes need more people and in a democracy you need at least half of the people to want the same change in order for it to work. It’s bigger than one candidate. It’s even bigger than one generation. Maybe my grandchildren will know the kind of world I imagine that should be. I will have to do the work for them. And it’s not a very popular idea to work really hard and not be able to reap the rewards. I remember that it used to be a desire that your children would have a better life than you. It’s not a bad idea really but somewhere that idea went out the window. Even if you don’t have kids, you have to realize that today’s kids are going to be contributing to your care later on. They’ll be your doctors, financial advisors, lawyers, and at least make stuff you need. Have to put some investment into that – economically and socially.

It’s going to be a horrible decade or two.
Sep. 15th, 2008
1:56 PM
New article on row house – http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/index.html – go see!! There is a link to see a portrait of an actual resident. How cool is that?!

Ok – everything else in summary:

1 – Had a lovely dinner with a friend from back in the day, NYC. He actually lived in Philly for a while so it’s fun to see how paths have crossed. Realized it had been a wicked long time since we last saw each other. Nice to catch up and just be. Thank goodness for live journal because it really does make it easy to stay in touch.

2 – Our neighbors, right next door, invited us over for a lovely dinner on Saturday. Thankfully just in time as our kitchen is empty, empty, empty. We were late – how that can be when we live next door, I don’t know. Takes talent to be late only one door down.

3 – This heat is horrible.

4 – Hershey Park, for Frank’s work picnic, was oodles of fun. Too hot to have the waterpark closed. the Pumpkin did the Comet and Trailblazer roller coasters. She is just the bravest. I realized too late that I could have gone on the Trailblazer as it’s really tame. I have to remember to look up all coasters on the database before I go so I know which ones are ok. There are two at Hershey I will go on. I basically go by ones I’ve been on and compare. And you can get POV clips on you tube to see ahead of time what it’s going to be like. I love that – I don’t like surprises. Now, if they can just get rid of that clicking sound, I would be very happy. Both the himalaya and Kissing Tower were closed which sucked as those are two of the few rides I will go on. Yes, I am a wimp. On the way home, I scored some Moonpies. I love love love Moonpies. Such supreme happiness!

5 – House is clean and tidy. Laundry all done. Everything in order. We are getting everything in order so we can weather the next few very rough months. I apologize ahead of time for missing anything that’s going to cost money. Let’s all hope Frank passes his inspection license because it’s going to make a difference, hopefully. We’re keeping our chins up and looking for other things to do. 🙂

6 – I noticed that this weekend, the Pumpkin really looks like a girl. Not a bit of pre-schooler left. She starts kindergarten today.
6 comments Sep. 8th, 2008
1:53 PM
We certainly have fun adventures.

Friday I promptly forgot about my block party meeting, which I called but failed to write down in my organizer. Blech. We had a lovely dinner at IKEA because I was jonesing for meatballs.

Saturday, we took the bus to Manayunk for the Red Bell Soap Box Race, despite the weather warnings. We managed to see all the cars in their pits and find a great spot to watch the running of the crafts before the rain started. Four cars going down and one bloody body coming up, we decided that it was probably wise to head back home. the Pumpkin got soaked to the bone because she didn’t keep her hood on her poncho up. Frank was pretty soaked too because he is too cool and manly to wear a poncho. I stayed fairly dry. I would have loved to venture around Manayunk a little bit since we are semi-contemplating relocating there, maybe. I don’t know – idea bubbles in the wind. Should our situation change, we might have to be more flexible as to our housing arrangement meaning a lower mortgage and an additional bedroom. For the record, I do not want our situation to change. I need a few years just to catch up. Not to mention the nearly 10,000$ in dentals bills which sort of ends discussion. One has to have a lot of resolve to fight an uphill battle and I don’t have it in me. Besides, deep inside I feel like we’re just on the edge of losing it. Anyway, thankfully it was warm because rain on a warm day is actually pleasent… until the bus ride home.

Sunday we were so lazy. We should have cleaned the house. Not that it’s dirty but it’s the weekly thing to do. But we didn’t. We did check out the green-fair that was going on on 2nd Street by Head House Market. They were having a sale at our local stained-glass store so we bought a witch’s ball. We suspended it from our skylight. It’s neat but as it’s new, it sort of freaked us out at first. With the spiders we have, things dangling always cause alarm. On the way home I saw these most perfectly wonderful shoes. I tried the shoes on… love love love them. However, I must mull it over as with any purchases.

As usual, this week is insane. I had a wonderful breakthrough at work just before I left on Friday so I am pleased about that. I have another preservation workshop on Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll also have a buy-this-rowhouse interview as well. Frank has to work this Saturday and Sunday we’re off to Hershey Park.
4 comments Sep. 5th, 2008
1:59 PM
I forgot to mention that last week we had a visit from my mom and stepdad – very nice and mellow.

This weekend we’re off to the Red Bull Soap Box Derby.

I went to a fabulous home improvement workshop about flat roofs. I have no idea why the place wasn’t more packed. Imagine free advice from a seasoned roofer with lots of tips for do-it-yourself. I think the Preservation Alliance needs to do a little better marketing. Story to come soon.

I can’t even think about politics. Either we will all lose our money or rights. Either way it’s fairly doomy.

Otherwise all is well, for now.
Republican VP Rant… preaching to the choir…
Sep. 2nd, 2008 at 1:24 PM
The more I read, the more I want to smack anyone who would support Palin as a VP in the face.

Being a working mother of one is hard. There is no way, no way, a mother can be a successful politician and a mother of five, unless the husband is staying home and watching the kids, which he is not. Or there is serious money involved but then someone else is raising the kids… Something will suffer – I can promise you that.

The entire platform of Republican family planning is based on abstinence until marriage and having sex as a means to reproduction only. Because if you take away family planning, even married people won’t be able to risk unprotected sex and possible pregnancy. Well, looks like someone isn’t practicing what they preach. Maybe if you were more involved in your home affairs, your teenager wouldn’t be pregnant. Obviously it doesn’t work – case in point. If you can’t manage your family, you can’t manage the country. And shame on a near adult, 17 year old young woman, who wasn’t smart or mature enough to behave well enough to not bring controvercy to her mother’s campaign, VP or Governor or whatever. If you have a parent in politics, you need to watch what you do. Looks like someone wasn’t brought up very well.

Ok, let’s say the baby is crying at 3am and the secretary of state is on the phone with an emergency. What’s Ms Beauty Pagent going to do? Ignore the baby? Bad bad bad mommy. How horribly non-family values of you. Ignore the country? Bad bad bad VP. Either way, someone suffers.

Trying to whoo Hillary supporters? No way there… I am so insulted. If this is what the GOP thinks is the woman to represent the American woman… I am so disguested I could barf my poptart up.

I am so glad McCain picked this woman to be VP. Hopefully it will kill his chances of getting elected. Do not want McCain in the white house no matter what.

I’m so upset that there are people going along with this just because she is pro-life. So angry… the entire welfare of the nation put into jeopardy over reproductive rights. Mad mad mad – obviously the country hasn’t fallen apart since abortion was legalized. Population is still growing. People who have kids – love them. Life isn’t any less valuable because of it.

If McCain gets elected, I really don’t want to live in this country any more because it will mean that there really aren’t enough sensible people remaining. I really don’t want to leave my little house and my family…
7 comments Aug. 29th, 2008
11:07 PM
In the car on the way home, the Pumpkin was dancing to Funker Vogt. She absolutely loves it.
2 comments Republican VP Choice…
Aug. 29th, 2008 at 10:00 PM
Huh? Anyone else baffled?

The good news is that I think it’ll kill McCain’s chances. Also, either way things move forward – woman in the white house, sort of or an african american in the white house. Of course, if she gets in a screws it up, then no one will ever vote for a woman again.

I am really hateing the pro-life thing. Are republicans really that stupid to base an entire candidates worthiness and capability on this one stupid issue?

I am absolutely pro-choice. I am very tired of people thinking that’s an easy thing to do, abortion. These pro-life-ers just think you go to the store and drink something and voila. I have news for you – terminating a pregnancy at any stage, even with the morning after is no joke. Let’s talk about nausua and vomiting. Let’s chat about getting your cervix scraped. I think people could hear my screams on other floors when I had to get my D&C after my miscarriage. And then you feel the guilt for the rest of your life. It’s a sucky thing to do but not everyone can have a kid.
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Aug. 27th, 2008
8:26 AM
I’ve been listening to music on my earphones at work. It has made a phemomenal difference in my work day. The day just flies by. I am getting an incredible amount of work done. And I am happy… very happy and content. I’d purr if I was a kitten.

My worky-work playlist, to accompany much data-entry and VB coding is VNV Nation – assorted, Seabound (addicted to this lately) – assorted, Circ du Solei – La Nouba, Souixie – Rapture, Apop – assorted, And One – best of, Brian Ferry – Bete Noir, and the soundtracks to Once Upon a Time in America and Blade Runner, for when I need a down moment.

Anyway it’s awesome.

On the way in this morning, I saw a copy of Philadelphia Row Home magazine on the newsstand. No… this is not my publication, which is online only at this point. It’s a magazine that focuses on South Philly. The problem is that it has very little to do with row homes. It also has very little content for what I think is a high price. And it’s sort of confusing to the locals who think my site, and their magazine are the same. In fact, it’s giving me a bad reputation because they’ve stiffed a few people on subscriptions for which I get emails, and they have a lot of ads and very little content having to do with row houses, regardless of the name. The good news is that if you google row house magazine, I come up pronto, several times. So at least I am dominating the web.

I splurged on a little aroma-goodness at Bath & Body Works. A very small $3.50 spray of Japanese Cherry Blossum and I got a freebie of something called Black Amethest. I have it on today and it’s wonderful. Will have to run it by Frank for final approval and then wait until I have a little extra fundage to re-up on my favorite scents. I really miss my signature fragrance but I can get three perfumes at B&B Works for the price of one small bottle of Christian Dior.
Aug. 26th, 2008
2:13 PM
Thank you everyone for the nice comments about yesterday’s post. I’m ok now.

We’re stressed out. We’re tired of fighting this luck we have that always seems to cost something. We feel rather overwhelmed. Naturally we’re going to fight. After nearly 10 years, we know how to fight. But thankfully, it passes. Quite a few people we know have thrown the towel in. We’re too stubborn for that.

Frank did surprise me. I have to stop thinking negative.
2 comments Aug. 25th, 2008
2:21 PM
I understand life is not fair. But today life is really not fair. It really stinks when you work very hard, only to have someone else get the perks. And all this I could deal with, I could, although on some level, I feel taken advantage of and buddied by a bad attitude into complying. Anyway, I could deal except that the one thing… the one stupid thing I ask for, is to be able to go running nearly every day. And lo and behold – that is falling away and I am miserable.

I am so mad I could just scream… which I can’t do at work. I can’t exactly cry either.
4 comments Aug. 19th, 2008
8:19 PM
I am still living. Weekend was good. Frank fixed, or we hope he fixed, the kitchen skylight. Otherwise we are hiding at home. Block party will be rescheduled.

I wrote a response to HGTV’s 25 biggest decorating mistakes for rowhouse-magazine. I don’t agree with the designers on a few points and yelling at my tv wasn’t satisfying enough. Stay tuned for a neat story from Carolyn from Pennsport who made fabulous rowhouse decoupage.

Development at work is insane. Mostly I do not have time to breath… never mind freelance. My CMO quit… I am very nervous about how things will play out. Not doing anything hasty but resume is updated and out there. I don’t want to get a new job but I don’t want to be left in a lurk if I get laid-off. I just don’t feel terribly secure although they need someone to man the website and it might as well be me. I’ve been reading about Masters of Scrum and Agile Project Management. I like both and need to figure out how to incorporate that into other aspects of IT project management instead of just software management.

Everything is ok but terribly hectic. I have a full schedule just juggling the basics. I do feel like moments are slipping away into oblivion because I can’t get to the blog to write but alas… that’s life.

Today we went with the Pumpkin on a school field trip to the aquarium. It was really fun and we didn’t lose or kill any of the kids that we were entrusted with. Spending a day with kids… I really see that the Pumpkin is very ok for her age which is reassuring. I am making a conscience effort to relax.
Meme from Madamoiselle Megan
Aug. 13th, 2008 at 8:04 AM
Yay Wednesday!

1. You must answer yes or no.
2. You may not explain unless someone asks you to.

Have you ever….

Taken a picture naked? Yes
Made money illegally? Yes
Had a one-night stand? Yes
Been in a fistfight? No
Slept with your best friend? No
Had sex in a public place? Yes
Ditched work to have sex? No
Slept with a member of the same sex? No
Seen someone die? Yes
Run from the police? No
Woke up somewhere and not remember how you got there? No
Worn your partner’s unmentionables? Yes
Fallen asleep at work? Yes
Used toys in the bedroom? Yes
Run a red light? Yes
Been fired? Yes
Been in a car accident? Yes
Pole danced or done a striptease? No
Loved someone you shouldn’t? Yes
Sung karaoke? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes
Laughed so hard you peed your pants? Yes
Caught someone having sex? Yes
Kissed a perfect stranger? No
Shaved your partner? Yes
Given your private parts a nickname? No
Gone in public without underwear? Yes
Had sex on a rooftop? Yes
Played chicken? No
Mooned/flashed someone? Yes
Slept naked? Yes
Blacked out from drinking? No
Felt like killing someone? Yes
Had sex more than 5 times in one day? Yes
Been with someone because they were in a band? Yes
Taken 10 shots of liquor in a day? No
Shot a gun? Yes
Gone outside naked? Yes
Announcement to the world…
Aug. 12th, 2008 at 1:40 PM
Certain people need to shut up. Really.

My fingers only go so fast. I am not a robot.

Yes, I think after a year and a half I know how to do the most menial of the tasks that are my responsibility.

Your comments are annoying, aggrevating, and insulting.

My sense of humor has officially left the building.
Aug. 11th, 2008
9:51 PM
I have mapped my training run for the 8K (4 miles) and it’s all good. There is a feature on the Philly Marathon website where you can plot your running route in Philly and it tells you how far you’re going. Mom is going to run the 8K with me, although she will probably lose me. However, since I’m not bothering with the 12 miles perhaps I can work on getting faster rather than going longer.

The weekend was awesome. We camped out at our friend’s house, coincidentally a Federal-style rowhouse in Collegeville, PA. They had a lovely home theater room in the basement where we saw Hostel and Transformers which was just like being in a movie theater. They fed us very tasty BBQ. Score another bonus point for our new PA friends and not being lonely again.

Ok, I am turning in. So tired and so many zzzzs to catch up. But not before finish watching Top Gear on BBC America. I love this show!!! Today they’re having their mums test drive these hatchbacks… too funny.
4 comments Aug. 8th, 2008
10:18 AM
Frank and I were chatting last night about the stupid dental work. We could have bought a Yaris with the money we’re putting into our mouths. There is something very wrong with that. I wonder if it’s too late to go to dental school?

Frank wanted to visit friends this weekend. I said no because I am still trying to catch up on sleep. He suggested that we switch the morning run. So now, he picks us up and starts dinner while I go running. This is really working out because I am no longer running by myself. There are people everywhere which makes me run faster because I can’t get lazy with people watching me. I ran a great run last night. In the new schedule, we’re eating by 6:45/7:00 which is much better. Our evenings are actually more relaxed and I get 45 minutes more of sleep in the morning. Dante is getting the hang of the new schedule. This morning he hardly meowed at all.

I have decided that I’m going to run in the Philly Marathon… no not the 26 miles. That’s nuts. No… they have a half and an 8K. I am aiming for the 8K which is only a little more than I’m running now. We’ll see how this afternoon running works out. Frank is a better cook than me anyway.

Another added bonus is that I am taking a shower at night so I’ve been trying setting my hair in pincurls. So far I haven’t quite gotten it. It’s tricky because my hair is so badly cut and it’s still rather short. I think I am getting closer. I probably need to use traditional curlers.

I’m trying to keep up with LJ but things are out of control.
More of the same…
Aug. 5th, 2008 at 12:46 PM
Weekend was good – excellent actually for a salvaged stay at home weekend. Our neighbor babysat the Pumpkin for free so we could go out with our new Philly friends. I was a little sulky I missed a friend’s wedding but it helped to not be sitting at home moping.

And it just keeps coming. Freelance is up, which is good because Frank’s dental bills will be close to $8,000 when all is said and done. Not including the work already done. I think the original quote was around $10,000 – just for him. I’m another $3,000. Just brilliant for a family where no one makes six-figures and where we have a mortgage and private pre-school to pay. I swear, it just sucks that our extire financial existance is hinged on stupid dental work. I’m so upset because this is how people lose their homes. Dumb dental work. I should have become a dentist. Before I get too upset, let me thank God that the perpetually crumbling tooth hasn’t gotten to a point where it needs to be extracted. That will be next year’s problem and hopefully not until the Pumpkin is in regular school. Stupid dental insurance doesn’t even cover half.

The rowhouse web site has really picked up. I have several stories in the works.

Work is plain insane. The quantity of work is baffling. I forgot my music so I can’t escape although it is strangely quiet right now.
Still too busy to write.
Jul. 31st, 2008 at 8:35 PM
Last night we needed to go out and get fish/turtle food and we didn’t want to take the BMW Frank brought home from his work because he had already parked it in the garage so we borrowed a Mini from PhillyCarShare. I was debating because it costs $10.00 for one hour but it was totally worth it. What a cool car, except that my feet don’t quite work the brake because if I rest my foot against the floor, it doesn’t reach the petal. It could be that I needed to wear shoes. Nevertheless, I really want one. Frank wants one. It fits everywhere. Drives like a BMW because it is one and it gets decent gas milage. Perhaps something to add to the long-long term plan.

The only reason I even have a moment now is because my client work fell through this evening. I will have more tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I need to go make a baby sweater.

I am so excited about going out Saturday… but what to wear?
2 comments I have no idea where to start.
Jul. 29th, 2008 at 10:31 PM
We’ve made some new friends who are just awesome.

We got a sitter for Saturday and are going out dancing.

I have bonded with the only, truly kindred spirit at my office. There will be lunch and mayhem on Friday.

I am not homesick for the first time in over a year. I am starting to feel like my old self again.

I have so much work to do I can hardly contain myself.

I also have to give fair attention to the row house magazine because I have just set out a net for more leads and contacts and have to be ready to write and write and write some more.

I am in the middle of planning our block’s block party. The mayor of Philly might show up.

I’m still running – getting bigger, not sure why. I’m certainly moving a lot more since we moved here but I’ve gotten a size larger since Brooklyn. I am in earnest going on a diet. I don’t have time to randomly eat junk food any more anyway.

So not much personal blogging going on. Sorry. All is well though, better than well actually.
8 comments Jul. 25th, 2008
1:44 PM
So many people are coming to Philly this weekend. And I didn’t find out in time to hang out with anyone. Blech…

Ok, back to work.
4 comments new icon
Jul. 23rd, 2008 at 3:15 PM
Just because… I need something when I have a bad day. I saw the eggs on the yahoo and just had to have them.

Mmmm eggs.

All is going well.

Very busy.
Jul. 17th, 2008
7:34 PM
I AM VICTORIOUS!!!!

That’s right. After fighting, on and off, with the stupid CMS at my work, I finally got it to work. Thank goodness. Of course it wasn’t all that complicated. You just have to devote a certain amount of time to trial and error. There’s more to be done but I think I’m making progress. And one of my managers just gushed to someone else about the new site so I am feeling pretty good now. It really is shaping up nicely. And, I made a lawyer happy. I love when I do that. Happy lawyers mean we’re all happy.

My poor little magazine has been lonely. Will be working on that shortly. Otherwise all is well.
1 comment Jul. 14th, 2008
9:06 PM
All done with the dentist. Who-hoo!!! Today’s dentist, a very nice lady, has some sort of dental mojo and hardly hurt me at all. That big whopping, in the roof of the mouth shot? Pahshaw! No big deal. I only had to take a little Advil afterwards and now I feel great – a little sore but mostly nearly fine and I can chew! Yay!!!

Of course, the pain of the bill will be long lurking. I’m not sure what to do about that. It’s ok… for now, barely. Sometimes I feel like it’s too much, all these things to worry about. All these things to lose. Life was easier so many years ago before the risk of having it all fall apart was very big and terrifying. There was only me to worry about.

Anyway, we had a nice weekend. Spent lots of down time just vegging out. Our neighbor gave/lent us this little 17″ LCD he had lying around so now Frank has his own little screen to play PS3 on, freeing up the TV for me. Of course, nothing is on. Just as well. I have work to do. Speaking of work, I have nearly completed a project. Everything is purring along. It’s 9:08 pm and here I am, blogging away. Rather relaxed, for a change. Part of it, no doubt, comes from the new living room arrangement – http://www.philafleur.com/projects/fixHouse.html – in which I have my own little office space. There are several new photos as our little house is progressing. It’s so hard when you can’t just go bananas and buy whatever you want all at once. We’re absolutely lusting after the ALVE secretary desk with hutch and coordinating bench seat with storage. I also have caught up entirely with the chores which does make me ever so happy and it looks like I’ll being getting to bed at a reasonable time.

I also took the Pumpkin to the aquarium. Frank has been stuck in PS3 land so it was just us ladies. It’s a really nice aquarium but it lacks otters. They should get some… really.

Ok, off to bed. At this rate I will get a very nice sleep and be able to get out running nice and early. It’s already starting to stay dark longer. I really hate that part, the dark. I am debating, if it’s at all possible, to see if I can join a gym… just to have a safe place to workout. An added bonus would be if someone could help me get rid of the rediculous belly that I’ve acquired over the last year. It’s getting to the point where I look pregnant and, no, I am definitely not pregnant. Talk about blech!
8 comments Jul. 11th, 2008
6:33 PM
Got financing for pesky tooth. Can you imagine? Yet more debt. However, we refinanced our car loan and will be saving $75 a month from that. You win some… you lose some. All in all ok. We will be spending the next few months local, being very, very careful about money.

Today the tooth no longer hurts, exactly. Now, it’s like numb and itchy, but in a way that only feels better if I stretch my jaw out so that I look like a snack struggling to eat a really oversized rat. It’s trully attractive… not!

I stayed up late… bad on so many levels… and watched The Black Dahlia. Just nasty. They just don’t make leading men like they did in the 1940s.
1 comment Jul. 8th, 2008
9:25 PM
Um… 4th was ok. Stayed home. Watched fireworks in a monsoon that only lasted as long as the fireworks. The more booms, the more rain. Boom over, rain over. Weird. We were feeling sort of anti-social so we stuck to ourselves.

I am rotten company these days. That tooth… the one that’s been bothering me for weeks now finally decided to get a root infection which needs a root canal. The problem is that it costs $2,600. Where I am going to get that? I have no idea. But there is something wrong with the world when you have to worry about taking care of your teeth because your insurance only pays about 30% of the total cost of these things and you can’t postpone. Haven’t well slept in days which is making me loopy and cranky.

Otherwise all else is ok. I am slowly catching up with everything I need to be caught up with.

I’m off to eat ice cream because it feels good.
4 comments Jul. 2nd, 2008
9:53 PM
So… I do the web tracking at work and found out my LJ shows up. Okie-dokie. No more posting at work. Not that anyone will probably notice but I’d rather not make it easy for them.

I am caught up with all chores except for laundry – which keeps getting thwarted. Tonight I got freelance to do.

I couldn’t help but notice in the bathroom mirror that I look rather plump. Not cool. I have no idea how, after two months of running at least two miles, at least four days a week I can actually be bigger. I’m going to have to be a little more careful with the dessert and maybe push myself just a little more in the morning. And definitely not take any days off.

And I think my tooth root is infected, again.

I’d write more, but I have to find some running clothes for tomorrow.
1 comment Jul. 1st, 2008
8:30 AM
Ok, back to the normal reporting of activities. It seems no one is bothered by the laughing swordfish tattoo so if the budget allows, I think I will go ahead and get it. I’m all excited! I just have to think of where it will live. Of course there is still the chance I will be a grown-up about this and use the money for something practical/responsible like bills. When did I get so old?

The chimney sweeping went well. Ours are in good shape. Nothing like a solid little house. They just don’t build them like this anymore. Unfortunately the cap to the chimney is going to cost a small fortune so forget that. We only use one flue anyway and it’s unlikely anything is going to get stuck in it since it’s 16″ wide. We always check before we light a fire anyway. The chimney expert said because of the way it’s set up, we can probably go without it. Anyway, if anyone needs a chimney sweep in the Philly area, I have a wonderful one I can recommend.

Sunday was my cousin’s graduation party in Jersey. I suppose we should have gotten an earlier start but we decided to hit Lowe’s in the morning for some more flowers. We have quite a nice container garden going on. Anyway, all was going well until we got to the turnpike and ran into the worst storm ever – flooding and hail. After a long swim in the Honda, we finally made it and had a nice visit with the fam. Wish it could have been longer but it was a Sunday and we had to get back before Zoë’s bedtime. Sunday is the worst for traveling.

Hopefully we’ll get some of the fam to come and visit us in Philly. Reminds me that I have to get back on the Annual Fulton Street Block Party planning thing. This year I think it will be late summer instead of early summer. Mostly because there was another party in June and I didn’t want to conflict.

This week should be another nice calm week. I have a nice even flow of work to do. The house work is in check. All is good with Zoë and Frank.
1 comment Laughing Swordfish
Jul. 1st, 2008 at 8:15 AM
Looks like I’m getting the laughing swordfish tattoo. 🙂

You can see it in all it’s fishy goodness at – http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/2106/u96/sfish.htm
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Fish Tattoo or Instant Doom – Comments please.
Jun. 30th, 2008

Before I go ahead with this, I want to make sure I’m not going to offend anyone in particular. So I’m using LJ as a beta…

It goes back quite a ways to my early childhood. I couldn’t have been older than 7 the first time I saw Das Boot. Fabulous film. I couldn’t watch anything not rated G but for some reason I got to see this film.

Germans have always been very proud of their naval history. My family has a pretty long history of being water-oriented. Our roots are in Stettin, one of the biggest German seaports on the Baltic Sea for a long time (not anymore). My grandfather was in the Navy. Boats are in my family. My uncles all have one and have served in the American coast guard.

Which brings me to the fish.

Das Boot, U-96, is a pretty famous u-boat. The movie is based on a book that a correspondant wrote while stationed on the U-96. You know how pilots used to paint pictures of things on their planes? Well the u-boat sailors did the same thing. In the beginning, the government forbid it, but as things turned sour, they sort of let it slide to keep the moral of the sailors up. Anyway, on the tower of the U-96, there is this little laughing swordfish. You can see it really good if you watch the scene where they are leaving the docks.

The thing is, I love the little laughing swordfish. It’s really cute and yet it’s bad-ass – ok, it’s not bas-ass at all except that it’s on a u-boat. It’s original to the U-96, although I like the one in the movie better – it has a better nose.

Now, the problem is… is the fact that the little laughing swordfish was on a Nazi submarine make it a taboo tattoo? The captian who painted it pre-dated Nazi control of the Navy and was anti-Nazi according to the correspondent. It is not a Nazi fish.. it’s smiling for one thing.

To me, the fish sort of represents the little, tenacious warrior right under the smooth surface. I have all deese pahnsy, girly-maaahn tattoos and it would be neat to have something a little more… grrrr.

Regardless of me mentioning it just now, it’s something I’ve been thinging about for several years. The guys at the Tiki-Tattoo parlor quoted me a nice price for it. I haven’t gotten a tattoo in over 10 years and I made a huge freelance check this month.

So do you think the fish will offend anyone?

I’m too old to be controvercial.

I could just go ahead and make myself something pretty to wear. I should be responsible/boring, as always, and save the entire check but I like the feisty fish.


<!–

Shhh… off the record.
Jun. 27th, 2008

It’s ok to chat endlessly on the phone about personal things, loudly. It’s ok to watch/listen to a baseball game and report it back to your cubical mates outloud. It’s ok to chat with coworkers several times a day about personal things like weekend plans and dinners and going out and dating and shoe sales. It’s ok to watch politicians on CNN. That’s all ok apparently.

However, having one, two-hour meeting during which you explain how the CMS and web site work to the IS developer guys who are your backup, and which happens to go off topic here and there but only to talk about other aspects of the firm’s web site development and the occassional IS issue and then to also chat briefly about another development problem for the internal site with that developer, all firm-related, of course, even though you don’t talk to anyone for more than five minutes total during the entire week apparently raises eye brows. It’s not ok to chat about future ideas for the website and ways to improve functionality and bring some expensive out-sourced things, in-house. It doesn’t appear to be understandable how anyone can understand the very simple processes of my administrative work in just one sit down. Or how anyone could have enough mental capacity to endure more than an hour of instruction. So therefore I get subjected to the third degree before I even get a chance to write a meeting report just because no one can follow what we’re talking about and thinks I’m up to something.

I am just so happy to share my activities with someone who actually understands what I am doing. I yearn to brainstorm with other techies to make sure my development isn’t flawed. I long to explain my work to people who “get it” the first time around.

I’m normally so alone but for two hours today, I left like a designer on a team again.

And it’s not like I do this reckless chatting thing all the time. I think the last time I had any sort of conversation at all was when I told a co-worker about the Florida incident, two weeks ago. I’m in super coder mode and pretty much keeping to myself which is ok but on the rare chance that I get to chat with people, and about firm stuff at that, I really wish I didn’t get a hard time like I had broken the rules.

–>

Jun. 25th, 2008

Frank exploded yesterday on the way to work. I took the lovely R5 through scenic Main Line to collect the barfing husband. Then I enjoyed a ride home and a calm afternoon, watched Immortal Beloved. Nice.

Frank is feeling better.


Jun. 23rd, 2008

I have figured out that we have a one event limit to the weekend. Otherwise I simply cannot get the housework done.

On Saturday, I scrubbed the house since we haven’t been home and there was dust and cat hair all over everything. Next weekend we have the chimney sweeps coming. I also have to wash curtains next week. I really want to make new living room curtains. I love the toile but I think it works better in a bedroom and I only have one window panel so it’s sort of silly. I would like to have everything matching, window, closet, and sliding door. I was thinking about a nice gingham, 1 inch squares – maybe black or dark brown. But so far, I can’t find reasonable fabric anywhere. I was hoping for something homespun weight rather than cotton broadcloth but alas… no luck.

Then the Pumpkin and I ventured to the mall to get a birthday present for our friend’s daughter before heading to their house for a party. We had perfect timing as we were able to get the present, a snack, and meet Frank very conveniently on route to Jersey.

Our friends recently bought a home in Merchantville, New Jersey. I love this town. Beautiful victorian houses. Very quaint. Tall, old trees. It’s like this ideal American town. They bought half of a converted home that is now a semi-attached. It’s huge, to us, and has a big back yard. And, because of the market being so bad, they got it for half what our house cost. I know, in the back of Frank’s mind, the gears are turning and he is asking himself why we are in mini-sized house for twice as much in a city where people get murdered more often than in a bad slasher flick. Plus… he likes the whole lawn and garage thing. I, of course, hear that they have 12 windows that need to be replaced and I think to myself… 12 is a great deal more than (not even really) 5. I hear 1,200 square feet and think, damn that’s a lot of cleaning. I hear lawn and think, weekends spent mowing and weeding instead of going out and doing stuff. I don’t even want to know what they pay for heat/ac. Besides, how can I promote row house living if I don’t live in one?

My brief mental journey into the world of detached homes in the suburbs with lawn and garage was shoved out as we got back into the neighborhood, which was packed with people wandering around at 11:30 pm. It was just like being back in NY and as Frank blasted the oGhr, I remembered why we live here. I think Frank did too since he got sort of happy and didn’t even complain about having to drive around looking for parking.

Sunday morning I had a lovely interview with someone in South Philly who had just sold his row house. It’s a lovely 2BR, workingmans row house, which makes up most of South Philly’s row houses. It had been previously owned by a famous artist who had done a beautiful mosaic in the foyer. It also had these beautiful floors with these unique round registers. Just gorgeous. I’ll probably get the story in next week. It’s amazing what people do with these little homes, about 1,000 square feet. But on the up side, it fources you out of your house and strengthens the community. Anyway, how’s this for a small world? The previous owner, the artist’s wife, had this rat rescue. She was pretty famous in Philly. The previous owner of my house was a photographer and probably involved with the art scene. We had rats painted on our kitchen wall she said were done by someone who did rat rescue. I figure it’s the same person since how many people do rat rescue? Very often, it seems like everything is connected here, somehow.

I was a little worried about walking through some more sketchy areas but actually, the area I went through was pretty nice. Lots of families walking around and people going to brunch and church. I found the public library, which I’ve been missing. And I got to pass the cheesesteak place which has this Vietnamese sandwich shop next to it that serves bubble tea. Of course I got one. Once the Pumpkin is out of the elementary school, it might be nice to look in this area where we might be able to score a semi-industrial rowhouse/building with a garage. If I can get a place with a roofdeck and a garage, I might be able to keep us out of the suburbs indefinitely.

We had planned to go to the Pennsylvania Steamers event in Collegeville but when I got back from the interview, it looked like it was going to rain so we just hung out and by the time we discussed it, it was too late. Plus I had 1,000 pounds of laundry to wash and we had to return the surplus IVAR to IKEA. So we opted for a nice trip to IKEA and had a quiet lunch while the Pumpkin played in Smalland. We rearranged out living room once more, this time we decided to take the computer out of the closet and put the filing cabinet and the small chest of drawers in there instead. I was very skeptical about using our IVAR as a room divider because the room is so small. But it came out really nice and seems somehow bigger, if you can imagine. I just need to make curtains now.


Jun. 20th, 2008

Frank is sitting in the backyard again, smoking the hookha and blowing smoke rings for Zoë who is totally mezmerized. She’s jumping around in her new sneakers with the lights that go off when she steps. Which look like fireflies which we have flying around in the backyard too. I am about ready to call a client to get some web site squared away and we are listening to Slowdive. Ahhhh… peaceful.

We’re in for a busy weekend. Tomorrow I have to clean the house. Frank is working. It’s going to take coffee but I can get everything done, including laundry. Our washer finally died, which is just as well. I am debating just taking out the set and creating shelves for now with spare IVAR we have lying around. Then we’re off to a birthday party.

Sunday morning I have that interview and in the afternoon we’re heading out to a steam engine thing out in the country somewhere. I figure Zoë will love the locomotives in different sizes. I also have IKEA to return. I am debating perhaps getting a Philly Car Share to run errands…


Jun. 19th, 2008

Ah, day four of relaxing home schedule. I’m actually going to turn in fairly early tonight. Feeling good. Getting relaxed.

Anyway, Frank is in our backyard sitting at our little cafe table drinking a Bud Light with Lime, which is actually very tasty believe it or not, and smoking the hookha. Yes, he did quit smoking but our poor hookha is just collecting dust so we made an exception. Besides, we have a wonderful smoke shop near the house where we bought the cigar boxes for our steampunk craft project and there was all the hookha stuff just asking to be bought.

Our backyard is pretty small. Just enough room for his shed thingy, the table, the garbage cans, and the BBQ which is really all you need anyway. Technically, half of the space belongs to our neighbor but she has a decent space without it and isn’t banging our fence down reclaiming the space. So until we decide to formally wall up the space, we’re enjoying the extra room. During the weekends we eat outside which is really nice. We even got these cute little globe lights at Target last year for 1/2 off because it was fall.

I posted my interview with the 1908 Ridgewood, Queens row house people yesterday. (www.rowhouse-magazine.com) I have an interview on Sunday with a guy here in Philly who owns a house that was previously owned by a local artist. It has a really neat tile mosaic on the fouyer floor. He sent me a few photos. Can’t wait to see more. People here in Philly certainly love their mosaics.

And of course we’ve made some changes in our own little house. Tweaking the furniture arrangement and whatnot. It’s funny how a house evolves over time. I’m glad we’ve been taking photos. I think it’s best when things evolve organically and the design collects over time. It’s just hard because my nature is all about attacking a project and completing it in some sort of shortish time frame and I like things all organized and coordinated like a picture in the IKEA catalog. Disturbing, I know.

However, walking down the narrow little streets and looking in people’s houses, I see such wonderful and inspirational interiors and think, hmmm… I could totally pull off something antiquey, sort of, at least on the main floor. So it makes me patient because that is something you have to stalk like prey…. the elusive antique sofa… a low, claw foot, Chippendale chair… the petite secretary… the victorian mirrored coat rack, umbrella holder thingy that’s small enough to fit by the door…

Oh, and the Pumpkin is staying with the group and has gone to more field trips without any trouble. I am so greatful that they are so patient with her and understand that she is not like the other kids and they are really good at not making her like the other kids and working with her.


Jun. 18th, 2008

I have been back to my regular schedule for only three days and I feel more exhausted than ever.

Ok, about our vacation. Tension factor number 1 – my sister was cranky because she went to the beach without SPF and got the worst sunburn ever. Tension factor number 2 – Frank and I always fight on vacation and we had a whopper. Tension factor number 3 – Two pre-schoolers. By Thursday we were all in better spirits but our day at the waterpark got rained out. Friday was a family altogether day at Busch Gardens which was very nice. the Pumpkin went on her first roller coaster (upsidedown even). Frank said I couldn’t sit it out because it’s family altogether so I suffered anxiety over that. Then we all went on it again because it really wasn’t that bad. Note – I fully own up to being a wimp for no reason.

The crowning thing was on the way back to the airport, some old fart bumped into my grandmother’s new car. We tried to get him to pull over with maniacal motions and flashing brights and beeping and what not but he just wouldn’t stop. At the next light Frank gets out to knock on his window and he tries to run over Frank. Frank’s flipping out, understandably, by this point. Back into the car. More driving with us waving and beeping and then the guy decides to plow right into the driver-side door. Lovely. And with my grandmother and the Pumpkin in the car. Just lovely. Fortunately we have two witnesses. The other guy is totally screwed – hit and run… vehicular assalt with intent. Frank only attacked his truck so not much there and what does one expect when you try to run someone over? An invitation to tea? The three-plus hours we waited around to deal with the police left me with a horrible sun burn because I only prepared for a trip to the airport… not a three-hour tour. (la la la)

Anyway, it’s left me just pooped out. I’m worried about how it’s going to play out for us although I don’t think one can just go around bashing into other people’s cars no matter what. My grandmother’s car will be good as new by Friday. The damage is miraculously all on parts you can just replace and there is no front end damage.

So that was my vacation. I am trying to make things as relaxing as possible. At work I am happily coding away, trying not to think too much. At home, I’m trying to not do anything that isn’t essential to daily operations. Of course, the Pumpkin started camp this week so there’s extra preparation for that. She isn’t behaving… well not misbehaving, but not cooperating. She wanders off during the field trips and naturally they can’t have that because it’s dangerous. So today is a Zoo trip and if she can stay together, she’s get to keep going. If she can’t, she’ll have to miss the trips next week and stay behind in the center with the younger kids. We went over the stay together rule over and over all night and this morning. I have no idea why it’s so hard for her to follow the rules. Any ideas for how to teach a kid how to control themselves is welcome. the Pumpkin is fabulous but so implusive.

Plus with summer camp, they don’t nap and the Pumpkin really needs it so we’ve moved her bedtime to an hour earlier. We had to sneak it because otherwise she’ll fight us on it. That means I have to get her dinner way before ours and a bath. It’s pretty hard as it is and now we lose an hour. If money wasn’t such as issue, we would eat out during the week. We don’t get home until 6:30… and she needs to be in bed by 8:00. Do the math. It’s insane. Last night we ate after she went to bed which worked out fairly well. It’s just a new system we have to get used to.

Oh, and yesterday I went to the doctor where I weigh 150 pounds which is just insane. My clothes all still fit though. I know where I’ve been naughty.

Anyway, I’m pretty good at calming myself down and getting into a happy place. It’s hard when I’m so tired. I did go running this morning which felt ok but I’m still so lathargic. Actually, that’s the problem. So tired. If only I could get rid of the cooking thing, I would totally have everything else under control.


Jun. 16th, 2008

It was an interesting vacation.

The worst of it… car accident (everyone is ok).

The highlight… seeing the Pumpkin enjoying herself.


a week’s worth
Jun. 6th, 2008

I realize that it’s been over a week… or maybe just a week. Sigh… it’s all I can do to pound out code at work. I’m nearly on my own and it’s a big site with 450 (no exageration) attorneys who all get their own page as well as the 300 plus pages of practice area stuff. It’s an enormous undertaking… so alas… poor LJ nearly abandoned. I am reading and commenting. I am lurking.

I am on vacation. Ahhhh. The knowledge handoff didn’t go as well as I would have hoped but they have my contact information. At least my manager knows first hand my motivation for redeveloping the website because she will have to stand in for me during the next week and she seemed very overwhelmed by the process of mearly adding press releases to the CMS. As I was explaining it… it just seemed daunting to me as well. Long vacations are a double-edged sword and almost more trouble than they’re worth.

My tooth is killing me. Got no sleep last night. Crappy sleep means no running. I haven’t gone running in three days. Yuck. I was going to go tomorrow am but it’ll be cutting it too close. I told Frank that the only way I would conceed to not running is if we walk to the train station and I carry all the luggage as an alternative workout.

I did get an emergency appointment at the dentist and was diagnosed with a tempermental nerve that needs antibiotics. So I’m now armed with pain killers of perscription strength and penicillin, which could kill Frank and renders my birth control useless. Oh joy. But at least I remembered in time to take preventive measures because that is not in the plan.

I finished the interview with the Ridgewood people for the rowhouse magazine. It’s completely awesome and they are two really great people who, besides a good subject, also have a design business and specialize in small spaces. If anyone needs interior design work in New York City, these people are great with taking an old place, keeping the character and yet moderizing it for practical living. Their home is just beautiful. Meanwhile, the Queen Village article is there so now people can see where I live. I will be doing some nice writing during my vacation about the open house event last month and the Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual. Also, maybe a book review. http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com if anyone is curious.

Finally, I have been making fabulous steampunk friends with local Philly people. Coincidentally, they like doing things I like – wearing corsets, drinking tea, putting spices into test tubes, playing with gears, visiting the Mutter museum… Frank is really excited. We’ve felt so removed from our roots. We’re going to work on Steampunk outfits… for the Pumpkin too. It’s time… I haven’t made something fun for myself in years really. And this is more practical than the 18th Century. I really miss getting dressed up.


May. 30th, 2008

I am looking forward to having a nice home weekend. I have so much laundry to do – thank goodness for the uber loader (four loads) at the laundromat. the Pumpkin has a birthday party for a neighbor – bowling – which should be a blast. I got my PhillyCarShare membership all taken care of and since Frank is working on Saturday, perhaps the Pumpkin and I will take a CarShare to the party. They have SMART cars to borrow and since it’s just the two of us, maybe we’ll take one. It’s just the sort of thing that I don’t want to own but seems like a blast to borrow for an hour or two. It will be divine not to have to shift the gears and just enjoy driving. I do love manual but in Philly, the land of stop signs/lights on every corner, it’s just annoying and tiring. Plus, I don’t drive enough for shifting to be second nature anymore.

I ran into a neighbor on the way back from my run. She goes to a transcendental church just outside of Philly. I am perfectly happy with my faith but Frank needs some way of finding happiness and fulfillment in his life. He’s so pessimistic and quick to anger. Sometimes it seems like every thing that comes out of his mouth is a complaint about something/everything. It’s just so much negativity – I am worried that it’s just overwhelming him. He gets so worked up that it makes him physically ill. And it’s no good for me either really – so draining and tiring. Anyway, it’d be nice if there was a way for him to learn how to look on the bright side of things.

<!–

I have always known somehow but never really had a chance to observe it but I notice, having a front row seat to it now, that it’s strange how people who are clearly fake can be uber-popular. It’s strange how someone who is so intrusive and butts into everyone’s business and has an opinion about everything that is inferred as fact or wisdom seems to be the token goddess of all that is. Being a goddess of the workplace entitles one to spend a good part of the day blabbering with co-workers. In fact, such blabbering seems to be instrumental to being popular.

It’s all about giving oneself aires. Apparently being hard-working, honest, and non-judgemental doesn’t win you brownie points, socially speaking. I often miss my old job with the crochety economists and corporate do-gooders. This world of law is really much to high-class for me. I am clearly not sophisticated enough.

–>

However, I am making good progess with the development of the web site and learning visual basic and xslt stuff so that is keeping me very happy indeed. My strength has always been my work… not my social graces, or lack thereof. I would gladly put on a pair of earphones and tune out the entire office if I could.


May. 23rd, 2008

I’ve made it to Friday. We’re off to NY this weekend for a birthday party for my step-dad and a little relaxation. I realize I do not have enough socks for running this weekend so I had to pack dirty laundry.

I got the responses to my interview with the Ridgewood row house owners and they’re just awesome. I’ll probably post next week sometime. I’m waiting on an exterior shot of the house. Thank goodness. I was really hurting for a new renovation story.


Embroidery Fun
May. 22nd, 2008

All I can say is hahahahahaha

http://historically-inaccurate.blogspot.com/

I love toile. I have one toile curtain. I would have more but it’s expensive. I don’t think I would do a sofa. I like combining toile with a nice gingham.

I wish I would have thought of this. I embroider… damn.


Monday Recap
May. 19th, 2008

Since we last chat, I’ve been up to quite a lot.

I am making headway with work coding. I wonder, just because I’ve simplyfied the code, does that mean it’s bad? Or am I just efficient? It’s working ok. I can always adapt and embellish it later on but I don’t need this web site to launch rockets into space or sell anything. I am getting pretty good at the XML/xslt thing.

I managed to get some great photos for the Queen Village article. I hope to post those this week sometime. I do have a slight diversion though, see IKEA naughtiness below. Besides photos, I got everything else done on Saturday I was supposed to, including cleaning my fridge which now looks new on the inside. If anyone has had success with appliance paint, let me know. It needs some work on the outside but since it works well, I don’t want a new one when it just needs a little paint touch up. I only want the standard white since my kitchen is white. I think an upcoming project will be to pull it out and vacumme the coils.

Then yesterday we went to IKEA (bad idea) to get a new mattress. Yes, another new one since the one we got before isn’t working. They let you exchange them within 90 days which is nice. Thanks to Frank’s manly muscles and my bulk, we managed to hoist the thing up to our bedroom on the third floor. Last night’s sleep was much improved. Now, every time we go to IKEA something always hops in the cart. Crap… this time it was a china cabinet. Bad bad bad Suzanne. But it’s going to look so beautiful. Bad bad bad bad decorative arts weakness. Tomorrow, I will drop off the items that don’t fit into it to the local Aids Thrift Shop. Of course, I don’t budget in my freelance so it’s the sort of thing we can use for special (sad arse, weak, no willpower) purchases. At least my lack of will power will help people in a round-about way. I am not allowed in IKEA for at least the next six months.

I got a haircut. Nothing stellar, only a clean up in the back. The hairdresser said it will take a good long time to grow out the short layers. Lovely… It looks like I am going to be married to that headband for a while. Might want to get a few more. I wish I could afford extensions but I can’t justify something just for me like that. At least the china cabinate is for the house. See? Selective willpower.

We got invited to our neighbor’s house for a little BBQ which was very nice. I love being able to socialize without going too far from home. I had a glass of wine which was a mistake because I felt woozy the next morning. Thank goodness for Aleve. I had time to have a nice breakfast before heading out for my Philadelphia Bar Association 5K. Frank was sleeping so soundly I didn’t have the heart to wake him up to drive me. I set up the Pumpkin with LotR and off I went. I was hoping for a bus but no… Sunday morning in Philly? Who am I kidding? I ended up taking a cab. Blech. Made it to the race ok.

Races in Philly are not like the ones in NY. Not quite so well organized and they don’t cut off the route to bicycles and they let people run with baby joggers which trips people when they’re starting. Personally, I don’t think there should be joggers or rollerblades with a crowded race. It’s dangerous. I did well – less than 38 minutes. I probably could have done a little better but since I was walking home I figured I should save my strength. So between the race and the walk home, six miles. And then we went to IKEA and lugged up a mattress and put together most of a china cabinet. And today? I treated myself to a little sleep in and no running even though I feel ok. I did stay up a little late to watch The Devil Wears Prada. Throws my whole schedule off. Back on track tomorrow.


May. 15th, 2008

I feel like I’m some physics principal, personified. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. I can’t stop or it’ll bring an end to the universe as we know it. That sort of thing.

At work, I am embarking on a journey into uncharted and previously unknown, at least to me, XML and XSLT territory. It’s going ok. In my true fashion, I really want to dive into the coding of the new site. I wish I could spend days coding away happily in web development land. Instead, I’m fitting it in where I can, being constantly interrupted with content updates. And being constantly interrupted when I’m in my code mode groove is so annoying. On the bright side, I’m giving myself personal cookies, in a metephorical sense, for being super multi-task girl. And I will be able to add XML/VB development to my resume, making myself a developer type for the first time. Who-hoo!

I wasn’t planning on taking a vacation until after the new site went live sometime in September. It’s like my self imposed carrot of inspiration to get it done. However, my grandmother is demanding some family time so we’ll all go down together in June. I can’t remember the last time we all did that so it’s going to be really special. The only reason I’m even going along with this is because the development is going fairly well and multi-task girl needs some down time.

Never mind all this. There was this article in the NY Times about a family who had done really neat things with their row house in Ridgewood so I contacted them for an interview and they totally agreed and they’re like the nicest people ever! They do interior design so they had some great photos already available. I am so excited. I still have to write about my house sitting experience and I just posted an article about my neighborhood here in Philly but I haven’t gotten photos yet so it’s just sort of sitting there on the downlow. I should be able to get some photos this weekend with the Pumpkin. I’ll bribe her with ice cream so she’ll come with me. Frank’s working so I can’t leave her at home alone and she doesn’t always want to walk around aimlessly and gather house photos. I think I might let her take a few and see what happens.

Still doing ok with the running every morning. I’m really sticking to the schedule although last night Frank kept me up a little late since he was online playing some video game and yelling at the TV. I’m really nervous going to Florida so soon where I will be tempted to fall off the schedule but I must not. Of course, running that early is the only time I can without getting heat stroke, so it’ll be good motivation to get into bed early.


Happy Mother’s Day!!!
May. 12th, 2008

First, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms on my list.

Sunday, we had a really lovely day. In the morning, we headed out to Devon, PA to check out this little 1750s farm house for rent about a mile away from Frank’s job. We entertained the idea of putting our house up for rent and moving out to the country for a little while. However, it’s got oil heat… the area is very affluent and I don’t know about subjecting the Pumpkin to snotty/wealthy classmates. I’ve been there and am still recovering. Anyway, the house was just darling. Twice the size of ours. And very authentic – not updated any more than neccessary with original floors and doors… beautiful. And, there were sheep. Ah… the idea of living in a place with sheep grazing in the front yard and plenty of room for the Pumpkin to run around. I don’t know… perhaps if it is was for sale rather than renting… who knows. But then how am I going to promote row houses, when I don’t live in one? Besides, whether Frank likes it or not, we’re too urban to live in the country. And then I think of the cost of heating it with oil and how long it would take to clean it… never mind.

Then we headed to our favorite Indian restaurant in that area. In the shopping plaza/suburban strip mall where the restaurant is, there are very bad stores for me to be around.

One… JoAnn Fabrics. I managed to leave without buying any fabric… but it was hard because my sofa needs to be refinished and I am dying to make some curtains for the living room but I haven’t pin pointed what fabric I want to use.

Two… Trader Joes. We got lots of stuff but we needed to go food shopping anyway.

Three… Famous Footwear. My beloved Danskos have gotten injured so I was hoping for a replacement but no Danskos in the store. I think a decent cobbler can fix the Danskos so no worries.

And four… Dress Barn. Oh… Dress Barn, you evil place where you are having a sale on dresses. Oh evil dresses that fit perfectly and look so nice. Oh evil dresses that are also comfortable and work appropriate. Oh stupid name… that makes me feel so like a cow. Even Frank doesn’t get why anyone would name their store after a barn… where livestock lives.

Then we came home and had a packed afternoon. We put the laundry in and walked over to the antique stores. Almost bought a mirror but it’s not what I really want. I want one of those mirror, coat rack, console table combos… entry things that you always see in Victorian homes. I can’t remember what it’s called. I know what I want… I’m going to wait until I find the perfect one. I did see one in one of the stores but it didn’t look like it was for sale. Frank’s dad has one that would be perfect but I don’t think he’ll let us have it. I told Frank about this carpenter one of the other house sitters told me about who can dismantle antiques so you can get then into the house but he said there was no way he was risking not being able to get it back together with a $500 piece. Actually, we can hoist things to our room – and I wouldn’t get antiques for the Pumpkin’s room anyway. He said he’d rather stick with IKEA which never lets you down and antiques often don’t have enough space to store all of our stuff. We still have so much stuff.

Then I went for a nice run/walk along the river before collecting the dry clothes. There is something to be said for the laundromat. Everything done within two hours. You just can’t beat that. We’re thinking about getting rid of our current washer and dryer and using the space for storage until we get a new set. Might be next weekend’s project.

Then Frank made BBQ with our lovely Trader Joe vittles.


On Saturday…
May. 12th, 2008

I had my house tour. It was so super cool and awesome. I saw many homes, near our size, except for one trinity that was smaller than ours. All of them were just lovely. I envy people who can afford nice furniture — real furniture. I got assigned to house sit this very modern house… a double plot home of about 3,000 square feet built in the 1980s. Such a departure from my usual fare. It had been owned by several professional athletes and semi-famous Philly people, although I didn’t know any of them since I don’t follow sports. The owner was really nice and had a fascinating background he told us about over a nice glass of wine.

Anyway, I made many contacts for the magazine and I hope I can score a few interviews out of it. One woman knew about the web site already which was totally awesome. Meanwhile, I have proof that one can fit regular sized furniture into a house like ours. Stay tuned for the updates about the kitchen remodeling. First, we have to seal off the area behind my kitchen sink because we’re getting critters, slimey ones, along with the spiders and they’re not paying rent so they have to go.

I was nice to meet people who love their row houses. I can’t begin to describe the creative things people have done with their houses. It’s just amazing. I am inspired.


Outfit delemmas… Running… and Steampunk!
May. 8th, 2008

I was supposed to go to jury duty but they didn’t want me so here I am at work. I think most people just consider it a day off but they’re so particular about attendance at the firm and I really wanted to get a jump on some developmenty things so here I am. Good thing too because it’s a fairly slow day and I am kicking web development booty. So much so that I almost forgot to take lunch in the small time-frame that we’re allowed to lunch.

I almost stayed up too late last night because I had a major fashion dilemma. I have this after work party to go to. It’s sort of this happy hour/mixer for law firm marketing people. In my previous life, I would have shyed away completely from this sort of thing, being a techie and all. However, it’s part of the law firm professional environment that one should schmooze and I need to practice being social in a professional setting, so, off I go. But what to wear? I certainly can’t wear anything gothy, my usual party attire. I don’t want to just wear work clothes because it’s a little casual and my colleagues are wearing jeans. I do have a nice pair of jeans to wear but what on top? It took a while to narrow it down and figure out bag logistics and pick out a pair of shoes to go with everything. But I did and I managed to still get into bed at a respectable time.

This morning I bounced out of bed at 5:45 am, ready to go. This morning I wasn’t even the only runner out there. Very encouraging. I just hope I can find a running buddy for the darker winter months. I’ve noticed that most people here run in the evening, like after work hours, but my evening schedule is completely packed.

And finally, in today’s New York Times was an article about Steampunk. I am just in love with this aesthetic! The article had some links to scene websites and they list movies and books that are inspirational and I’ve read and seen quite a few. It’s a gothy offshoot — think Jules Verne meets City of Lost Children and throw in some Victorian clothing with old fashioned brass gears. Musically there isn’t much out there but I can imagine a sound for this… Crap. Wish I had more time in the day.


May. 6th, 2008

Discipline begets discipline. I’m at my best when I’m sticking to the routine. It may seem odd and unrealistic to try to attack everything at once – like more attention to the teeth and running and eating better and getting paperwork done and making phone calls and not procrastinating but it all works together with me. The more I stick with the routine, even though it’s packed with more to do, the better I do.

I’ve signed myself up for a 5K in two weeks. It’s a mellow race/walk so it should be a good first race. I’ll be ready. Unlike the other times I started to run, this time I’m going out every day. Even if I don’t run and just walk, I still have to get my stuff on and go outside for 30 minutes.

Ok, so really quick because the dirty kitty litter is calling for me to change it. Yesterday, I decided that I really need new running shoes. My old ones are about five years old and have lost that bouncing feeling. So I headed to the fabulous Philadelphia Runner store to check out some shoes that I picked out from the Saucony web site. Well, I tried on two pairs, one $164 pair and one $119 pair. The sales guy said that since they’re getting the new model in, that I could have the $164 pair for $119. How cool is that! And my firm reimburses athletic gear up to $100. So, I have a really nice pair of trainers for $19! Who-hoo!! With my leftover allowance I bought myself some sports-bras. Yeah… mine are kind of old too. You can make everything last or deal except for with shoes and sports bras. Gotta keep the spring and bounce in the right places.

So I’m all set. Wish me luck keeping up with this insanity.


May. 5th, 2008

I had a visit from my sister on Saturday. Didn’t have any plans but just was nice to have a mellow visit. The kids were playing together so nicely that when we decided to go out for a snack, we had to pry them out of the Pumpkin’s room. Then we headed up to Chinatown for some bubble tea and goodies and decided to have an improptu picnic in front of Independence Hall. We ended the very mellow day with dinner at Beau Monde during which I had the most fabulous crepe to date – Coq au Vin. So scrumptious. We came to the conclusion that it’s best if the family comes down in stages rather than everyone all together. Otherwise the kids get overwhelmed and act crazy.

Sunday was the usual laundry and food shopping. I notice that as long as I don’t get lazy and sit and watch tv, things go well. I have plenty of time for everything, including laying out my clothes the night before.

So I thought I would try running. I laid my running stuff out the night before so all I had to do was get it on and go out. I almost wimped out but I managed to stick to it. I went for a nice 25 minute run/walk – not far but ok for a first attempt. I got back to the house, showered and got dressed and even had time to eat breakfast. I had packed breakfast the night before to eat at work but I ended up having time. And I even left early enough so that the Pumpkin and I could walk, which I hadn’t planned on doing. How is this possible? A, I need to make sure everything is laid out the night before. B, I have to be in bed by 10. If I have those two things in order, I have 30 minutes of time to run in the morning. The old me would do things every other day. The new me knows I need to try to go it every day to get into the habit. And, I will have longer to run during the weekend.

For inspiration, I have signed up for the Philadelphia Bar Association 5K run in two weeks and I am going to buy a new pair of trainers after work. My firm reimburses $100 so I can actually get nice ones. 🙂


May. 2nd, 2008

And the ball is rolling… and rolling. Don’t expect much – I am going to be insanely busy.

Work is busy. The client’s are frisky. But never mind all that.

Instead, I’ve made a new friend in Washington DC, who is renovating her very cute 1920s row house. She’s pissed that someone told her she couldn’t cook a decent meal without a Viking range and that all the kitchen remodels she sees are bigger than her entire house. She loves the web site. I told her, coincidentally, that I was currently working on a kitchen article. She sent me a lovely piece about someone who decided to get creative with their row house and now the block looks funny. I am formulating my article on unique row houses, friend or foe…

My architect contact got back to me and has informed me that the Row House Manual has been released and a copy is on it’s way.

And, finally, because it’s been a great week, my request for an interview with a person who is selling their colonial row house on Elfreth’s Alley has been accepted and the questions have been emailed.

And work is insane. The cat is out of the bag and the attorneys now know I can make updates almost on demand so guess what? Lots of updates.

But all this is very good. I’d rather be busy than bored. And, I am preparing for next week’s house tour. I’ve gotten my assignment, a modern row house. I don’t get to see the modern ones very much so it’ll be really neat to see a brand new one. Also, I get to go on the tour so I’ll see more that way. I am hoping to make contacts for future stories. Philly is the sort of place where work spreads around quickly and if people like what you do, they’ll support you.

Oh, and it was my birthday yesterday. The best present is that I don’t have all that much dental work to do. I was so worried because Frank has tons of work to be done and we can’t afford for both of us to have bad teeth. the Pumpkin has an appointment next week as well. We are renued with our attention to our dental work. It’s just the sort of the thing that bites you in the butt if you’re not totally on top of it.


Apr. 28th, 2008

That’s right. I’ve caught up with all my favorite shows. I can now return to being a mature and responsible adult who doesn’t procrastinate freelance work or forgo sleep so that she can watch one more episode…

I have no idea why I am sad that John Adams died. I mean I knew it was going to happen. Maybe I’m just sorry the series is over. I wish I could print out screenshots of the rooms in the series. Although, all the homes were bigger and mine remains to be a scalability issue. In seeing a show in which there has been such attention to detail, you really sense how things were. What strikes me is the change in fashion. Now, there is hardly any real changes. I mean little things here and there and the retro fashion du jour. But nothing like the dramatic changes from the 1750s to the 1850s. Wonderful series.

Not one, but two houses went up for sale on Elfreth’s Alley… actually I just found out one just went into contract. No, I’m not planning on moving. I am planning on adding a new feature to the web site where I profile available or recently available row houses. I’m actually working with a local realtor who will hopefully help out with the section – offer insight and access to the houses. I will find out next week if I can profile the remaining house.

The weekend was good. Did the normal weekend things. the Pumpkin’s art corner in the kitchen was absolutely… well it looked like a tornado hit it. So we went to IKEA and got a storage system which fortunately holds the turtle tank as well as all the art. We also got her an easel. She loves drawing and it has a chalkboard – means the art is transitional. I am tired of having to throw away little drawlings because there are just so many and I feel guilty. Never mind the fridge. This way she just erases and works things out without killing forests worth of trees. This morning we worked on butterflies and fish.

That side of the kitchen/dining room looks a little like a classroom, which is a nice vibe. The turtle is low enough that she can feed him herself. Feeding the animals is the Pumpkin’s responsibility, more or less. We don’t hold her to it but if she does it, she gets a star on her weekly task list. Plus, in feeding the cats, she is now their best friend. All three will sleep on her bed with her.

Oh, and I made the family walk around the take pictures of row houses again. This time we headed up to Elfreth’s Alley to get some shots that I didn’t capture last time. Poor Frank, next stop is going to be some lovely Greek Revivals on Spruce. He never gets a break.


Apr. 23rd, 2008

I have discovered than the bricks in my house are hand made and were set using English Bond. No, that’s not glue but rather refers to the way the bricks were laid. It means that there are rows that are wide with the occasional narrow brick layer. The standard at that time was to make a wall about 8″ thick. So to alternate the way the bricks sit, sort of basketweaving them, made a very strong wall. It indicates that means my house is reasonably pre-1850. Also, I saw a map at my local community center in which my plot was occupied, dated 1866. Good stuff – I am getting closer to finding out the age of my house. My neighbor has a deed for their house from 1850… man. I wish people held on to stuff better, or wrote things down. I tell you, I’m compiling a little folder of stuff and the next person who owns my house will have an entire little history of the place.


Apr. 22nd, 2008

So far, a good day. I made a breakthrough with this flash web site I’ve been fighting with. I hate third party products in which they have to accommodate every possible request and also in which they name everything layer 1, layer 2, layer 3 and so forth. It takes forever to decipher what goes where. Stupid flash. Everyone wants it and it’s so annoying.

I am starting an article about Federal row houses in NY. My sister took some fabulous photos which I can’t wait to use. I just wanted enough time for the Queen Anne houses in Chicago piece to have been up for a little while. I get so many ideas for historic stuff and neighborhoods but trying to do renovation and DIY is trickier. I got selected to be a house-sitter for the Queen Village House Tour in May so I’m hoping to make some friends who don’t mind talking to me for an article or two. I wish I could spend more time doing the site. I have dreams… we shall see where things go.

I watched “I Am Legend” last night. Decent film. Creepy. I have one more John Adams episode to see and I’m trying to catch up with Dexter. I realize there are better things to do but sometimes I need to turn off the brain and veg out.


Apr. 21st, 2008

I need to stop reading sob stories on CNN about people who are complaining about having to economize down from their luxurious lifestyles. I just want to yell – but you were living the high life! you don’t need all that! your economy is still more than my wildest dreams! – at the computer. Actually I don’t dream for much, except a dishwasher. I would love a dishwasher and a house full of Lesvick.

Of course, thanks to the Inner French Girl book, I know what my actual ideal lifestyle is like. And it doesn’t involved anything most people consider requirements. It does involve small pieces of well made, all-natural, dessert and a good bottle of wine, now and then.

We’re going vegetarian again, as soon as we eat all the meat in the house. No more meat. I also gave up cows milk. I figure a little at a time and we’ll see how it goes. The stomach is not amused. But it could have been this weekend’s BBQ too. Won’t miss red meat really.

Domestic arts, such as architecture, furniture, folk-crafts and whatnot, have always been my favorite past-time for study and acquisition. I simply can’t help myself and it’s lucky for me that I have a small house that can’t hold much or I would be in a lot of trouble. The very first piece of furniture I ever bought was my four poster, iron canopy bed, when I was 17. Boy, did I love that bed. As the years passed, I steadily collected/adopted one IKEA after another. Some have stayed, and some have been passed along. But my bed was always that one piece that wasn’t IKEA. Well, the era of the iron bed has passed. Our mattress was slowly becoming a vortex, one that would suck us in as Baxter settled himself between us, everyone ending up in a big heap. After months of waking up stiff, we have embarked on mission new bed. The first strike against the iron bed is my bedroom’s dormer ceiling. No canopy happening in there. Next, it requires a boxspring and I am not paying for one. So out it goes. But what to get? Well, we tried them all out and decided on Lesvik. I already have a Lesvik media stand. I love that. I would have more Lesvik if it wasn’t so expensive. Apparently, it’s solid wood. Then I was reading the little description and apparently Lesvik is modeled after 18th century Swedish antiques. Who-hoo!!! Perfect – I can get a streamlined, antiquey look that can be built in the rooms because it’s flatpack. And it’s cheaper than actual antiques but I could mix antiques in without having everything look horrible just in case I find very small pieces somewhere. IKEA doesn’t have to mean modern.


Apr. 16th, 2008

If anyone wants to check it out, I’ve added some new photos to RowHouse Magazine. (http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/) Sunday, the Pumpkin had her first playdate and Frank and I got some quality alone time during which I made him go around and take pictures of row houses. What a good sport! But now my article on the Philadelphia Row House is complete. Philly is cool in that it has an entire architectural history of row houses right here, at least in America.

This week is Clinique bonus at Macy’s. Over the years I’ve honed my make-up down to what can fit into one medium bag. I use Oil of Olay and Clinique, pretty much exclusively. I figure, since I don’t splurge on anything else, I can treat myself and they have the best bonuses. This time I got a really nice compact with two shadows and a blush, which I will have to use sparingly or else I look clowny, and a mascara, lotion, cleanser, and two lip sticks. Really nice spring colors. And a really cute little bag. I have Clinique bonus bags going back years now. But by the time I figure in what you get for free, it works out to the same as a drug store brand so why not? And I get to feel all fancy and pampered.

The Macy’s here in Philly has quite a history. It used to be called Wannamakers which was one of the grandest department stores in Philly. Anyway, it is very swanky for a Macy’s because it has the feel of a Fith Avenue store and bonus – a huge pipe organ in the shoe and accessories department, which is located in an open area about four stories high. Last evening they were having a concert and of course the Pumpkin wanted to see the organist so we hung out on the balcony for a little while. I have never seen an organ like this one in my life. Brings shopping for shoes to an entirely new level.


Apr. 15th, 2008

Sometimes the allergies get the better of me. I’ve spent most recent days feeling crappy. I really feel horrible and usually do right around seasons change. Now, do I deal with the ick and take the occassional day off to release tons of snot and snort uncontrollably in front of the TV and stay relatively drug free or do I pump my system full of drugs? I’m fairly susceptable to nasal and bronchial issues although it’s been better since I moved away from the BQE. Not sure what to do. Meanwhile, I’m here at work being a good sport and trying not to breathe on anyone and also make some cohearent sense of things. This might be the end of the ick… a sore throat, like razor blades and that really tender skin thing where everything just hurts, even if someone breathes on you seems like ick, not allergies, and I already dealt with that this weekend. Who knows. I don’t like not feeling well.

Otherwise all is well. In my sickness I’ve been watching the John Adams special on HBO. I wish I would have seen it before I painted my house. I wish I could get still-shots of all the house interiors. I wish I could afford antiques and could fit furniture up my stairs. I wish that stupid 1790s house hadn’t sold so fast and cost so much and wasn’t an end house.


Apr. 8th, 2008

Went to NY again this weekend. It will be our last trip for a while. Frank has got at least two more weeks on disability so we have to really watch it.

This visit, I got to spend the entire time with my fam – Frank went to Long Island solo for guy stuff – video games and car repair. Instead, I got to go to the mall, got treated to a sweater, splurged on a perfect dress for work, and took the Pumpkin to the Queens Farm Museum.

My mom made me get the sweater – a nice green, shortsleeved with drapey neckline, sweater made out of silk and cotton, which suspiciously feels like cashmere. She said, “You absolutely must get it.” Who am I to argue with Mom? I love cashmere and would wear it all the time if I could. My brown sweater also feels like cashmere too but strangely isn’t. Anyway, it’s a beautiful sweater and something I normally couldn’t have gotten because it’s from Banana Republic and that’s normally way over the budget. Then we headed to H&M where I was getting the Pumpkin some items and voila! An awesome green dress I can wear to work. Fits perfect and has a definite vintage vibe to it and it was reasonably priced. I have such a hard time finding things so no way I am passing said dress up, especially since I had to purge several dresses which were not work appropriate and I don’t need casual clothes that aren’t really that casual.

Then we took the Pumpkin and her cousin to the Queens Farm Museum which is the best thing ever. The animals all look very well kept – like pets more than livestock. Strangely, there was a streetfair-type gyro truck in the sheep pasture. The sheep didn’t seem to mind it but we thought it was ironic, since lamb is a main ingredient in many Greek dishes.

The farm is a wonderful place, the sort where you can just let your kid run free in, sort of. the Pumpkin loves feeding the animals, and was very eager to help anyone working. It’s the last working farm in New York City. They even have a vineyard but alas, the store was closed so we couldn’t get any wine.

The farm was first established in 1670-something. I would have loved to see the house from that time but alas, it’s gone. In it’s place, they have a house that was first built in 1730-something with additions from the mid 1800s. Of course, I had to go in and peep the surroundings, check out molding, floor boards, and mantles. I am still on the hunt for ideas. The guide had a whole bunch of period toys to play with and entertained the Pumpkin and her cousin nicely so I could check out architectural things. Sometimes I worry that it’s not a good idea but I do enjoy not having to keep my eye on her constantly. She is getting older and can be given a little more leash these days, sort of.

This past month has just been insane. We are still not back to our routine and it’s driving me nuts. I am on routine focus this week and hopefully by next week everything will be back in order. Staying put for a few weeks will also help. Traveling is no good for keeping up with things like laundry and shopping.

Frank’s hand is getting better but the doctor says two more weeks before he can go back to work. He needs surgery again but we’ll see how it goes – maybe we can put it off until next year.

Aside from that, I am learning more about how to relate to the attorneys here at work. It’s hard for me – I am so awkward. Ok, off to a meeting. 🙂


Apr. 3rd, 2008

Frank and I caved in to our guilty desires and got Showtime. So, we’ve been catching up on our Weeds… to be followed by Dexter. I love3 On-demand. We also get HBO (comes in a package) so I’m looking forward to maybe catching some Tudors… but only if it doesn’t suck because I don’t have time to be watching shows that suck. I’ve noticed that if you have a fight with your spouse over something stupid and are peeved at each other, you can sit together and watch TV in silence for a few hours and by the end, totally have moved on from said dumb thing. Horray for easy distraction.

Otherwise all is well and quiet and typical. This week we’re being so lazy… but it’s recovery week so I’m trying not to think about it.

the Pumpkin is behaving at school. Apparently LotR hasn’t corrupted her. I don’t want to speak too soon and ruin the week. I suppose a big update is that she is learning to read. She has been spelling things for ages but now they’re working on small words. Also, thankfully, she’s moved on from hugging random strangers to shaking hands only after she’s exchanged names. She informed me that she’s “done with talking to strangers.” It’s hard because people are so friendly here, they just talk to you. It was easier to be anti-social in NY. And it’s very hard to have a child that is very outgoing when there are creepy perverts lurking behind every corner.

Which brings me to today’s superficial dilemma. I have been really good and haven’t cut my hair. By now, it’s grown in quite a bit and looks tremendously shaggy. There is no way at all it resembles a style in the slightest and my bangs are to the point where they poke me in the eyes and get stuck in my eyelashes. A weaker me would have marched to the hair salon and asked for my beloved No. 0 and No. 3 clipper but alas, no. I’m finding the Vintage Hair group on LJ is really inspirational, even in my darkest hour. Meanwhile, it looks horrible. I am wondering are headbands really horrible? It would solve the hair in face issue, reduce my desire to snip snip, and keep getting ready down to a reasonable time but can I get away with them at a law firm? I’ve just sort of gotten the law firm outfit thing under control so I don’t want to mess it up with a headband. I was thinking maybe a nice tortoise shell one maybe. Something sophisticated. Any advice?


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