Friday, February 27, 2009
There's one stretch of road on my commute that always clogs up. One street downtown, and it makes me crazy. Like telling your sister you think she's wrong crazy. Like eating an entire box of hostess cupcakes before trying on a bridesmaid dress crazy. Like owing the federal government the exact amount of taxes that you'll be receiving back from the state crazy. Yeah... super crazy.
So yesterday as I watched traffic stack up ahead of me, I felt a familiar tightening in my chest. I felt my breath quicken, my hands clench the steering wheel. And it was quickly apparent that I needed a diversion. I needed a distraction to keep from abandoning my car, running through traffic and yelling, "CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? I COULD WALK HOME FASTER!" So I grabbed my camera.
There's something very soothing about the click click click sound it makes. It calms the savage beast within my brain that keeps yelling, "You'll be commuting until you're too old to drive, hahahaha."
And as I inched forward, I noticed a mammoth structure with pillars and phoenix sculptures.
The Freemason headquarters. How have I never noticed this before? Now I'm not sure what the rules are about photographing this building. I halfway suspected a security guard to emerge from the huge dark doors, point his finger through my car window and say, "Maam, no photos here." You know, kind of like the way the Tiffany's security guard pointed his finger at me in New York.
About this time the gold minivan behind me switched lanes in frustration, crept a few feet ahead, and then decided to merge back in front of me. I momentarily forgot the soothing presence of my camera and refused to let her in, which resulted in her screaming and pummeling the steering wheel with her fists. Should I have let her in? Probably. But lane hopping violates a rule in the rush-hour traffic manual. Or at least it would if there was a manual. And I wrote it.
I zoomed in to catch a fleeting glimpse of chandeliers before traffic began to move and the cars behind me honked. Goodness knows I had to move quickly, gold minivan lady was still trying to cut me off.
I crept along, nearing my destination, clicking and suddenly feeling much better about life. Sure, my commute home ended up being a whopping 50 minutes long, but you cant put a price tag on a soothing picture session.
You also cant put a price tag on a homeless man with a bright orange hat and a button that reads, "I'm a Legend in My Own Mind" rapping on your window for spare change.
But somehow, no matter how awful my day or how nightmarish the traffic, I get to come home to this.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Remember when I bought this little window way back when?
Well, months later if finally found a home. This is so symbolic of the way I shop, and the problems that result from it.
When I see an item that I just love I buy it. I don't think "where will I put this?" or "do I have room to store this anywhere?" I just buy it and deal with the consequences later. And the consequences are that these cute finds end up stuffed beneath the bed and relegated to the shelf in the coat closet.
But there's nothing more satisfying than finally finding that 'perfect' spot for something. It also justifies the purchase, which is the most important part. Especially these days when I'm on a veritable flea market/antique mall lock down. All the cute windows and retro kitchen canisters in the world will not comfort me if one of us has to take a pay cute. Darn recession.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I find myself simplifying the house. It happens the same way every season (I call it my midwinter slump). Along with light deprivation and growing plants inside, I get overwhelmed with a longing to simplify the house. The shelves, tables and knick-knacks that were once cozy and warm during the holiday season now feel a bit oppressive (and not to mention in great need of dusting). So, like the creature of habit that I am, every year around this time I start taking down the wall art, putting away the mounds of musty books, clearing up candy bowls and candlesticks.
She gave me her usual glare.
But she eventually realized it's fruitless to fight me and did the cutest little stretch so I could take more pictures. Or at least that's what I choose to believe. Never mind the fact that she mouthed and complained afterward, "Weeowowowowow," as she jumped down and marched out of the room to find a darker, less disturbed corner to sleep in. Mabel doesn't understand simplifying.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The biggest obstacle for me (and for most people) when it comes to decorating is 'seeing' what we want. It's one thing to say, "I think I want to paint that cabinet red." But when you start trying to see it in your mind, the details get blurry, you worry whether or not it will match the rug and before you know it, you give up. That's what I do.
So years ago I started pulling out the colored pencils and sketching my ideas. Now when I say sketching... I mean kindergarten art. I'm no talented artist, but I can draw a straight line and shade colors. And that's really all it takes to do something like this.
So I began to play with different options and different paint colors.
Option #1 is to paint it black (to match the table and chairs). I could incorporate the kelly green in a mirror and ad another large turquoise lamp to match the two I already have.
Option #2 is a little more complicated. This option has a mid century buffet (which could likely be a pricey nightmare to track down). I love the lines of mid century furniture (which go so well with the style of our house), and it would be one option I wouldn't paint.
Option #3 is a dresser instead of a buffet, and painted the same green as the shutters. I really love this option, but fear a color overload. All these primary bright colors in one spot (the spot that you first see when you enter the house) might be a big pre-schoolish.
Option #4 has the same dilemma. As much as I love the idea of painting every stick of furniture turquoise, this might be a bit much considering that I already have so much of that color already in the house. But I love it all the same.
So that's my way of dealing with design dilemmas. These drawings aren't winning any awards, and in all honesty will probably find their way to the bottom of the trash bin when I get a new batch of ideas. But it really helps me focus and narrow down the direction I want to take, which really helps in flea markets and antique malls where I get barraged with tons of options. The next time you park in front of HGTV for an hour or so, try sketching out some of your ideas. Use magazine pictures for reference if you need inspiration. After all, you don't have to hang these drawings on the wall or even let anyone see them. Cause I dont. Except for this post, which has been oddly freeing.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
When we started these little guys over a week ago, I had a nagging suspicion that nothing would happen. That we'd put all the work in, park them in front of the window and.. nada. I always have a nagging suspicion of personal failure when it comes to trying new things. Like in college when I went on my first diet, only to get caught wolfing down strawberry cake by my roommate, after which I ran from the room screeching, "Don't judge me!" while trying to wipe pink icing off my chin.
Wait, what am I posting about? Oh yeah, the seedlings.
I've been amazed at how quickly these little plants have sprouted. One day brown dirt, and the next, poof, little tiny plants. Basil, Oregano, Tomato plants, Peppers, and Tarragon; bright green and growing.
We're also starting to doubt the instructions on the seed packets that told us to start 8 to 10 weeks before planting in the ground. Um... maybe not. These little green bean plants remind us of a certain play where a scary plant yells, "FEED ME SEYMOUR." They're probably going to have to make a second home in styrofoam cups before they go into the garden in April. Cause you know, I have SO much extra room in my house for tons of styrofoam cups full of light needy plants.
Monday, February 16, 2009
1. On the way to work this morning, the Oak Ridge Boys song "Ya'll Come Back Saloon" came on the radio as I was flipping past. By some mystical redneck magic, I began to sing along. Every word. I had no idea I knew it. Must be some instant childhood memory recall (Dad was a fan).
2. Beanie Weanies without ketchup are not good, no matter how much brown sugar and mustard you use.
3. One of my friends has a bumper sticker that says, "My Yorkie Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student." Now, I'm a dog lover with a capitol D. But come on.
4. I am the only member of my family NOT doing something fabulous for spring break. No foreign mission trips for me. I'll be here, staining my teeth with coffee and wondering why one piece of hair on my head flips out and refuses to submit to a flat iron.
5. One of my favorite movies of all time is Murphy's Romance. When James Garner chews out her ex-husband and informs him that he's going to kick a certain part of his anatomy and ads, "I'm wearin the boots that can do it," my hear goes pitter patter. Must order on Netflix.
6. The highlight of my day is when I go home after work and pass by a crazy man who lives in an old storefront. He has a long woolly beard and no shirt... the spitting image of Walt Whitman. He stands beneath the flickering florescent light out front with his back facing the road and waves at me. Backwards. I always smile and wave back, even though he cant see me. And lest anyone encourage me to stop and take Walt some food; there are days when he's screaming instead of waving.
7. Ok... I was going to try to make it to ten but ran out of steam. And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to begin my workday, all the while leaning closer to the daylight bulb in the lamp on my desk. My plants have started to grow in it's direction, and so have I. Hurry up spring.
Remember how I've fussed and thrown away and rearranged this little room? There were many pulled hairs and strained back muscles and tearful trips to Pottery Barn (mostly because I could only afford their salt and pepper shakers). But finally, the office is done.
In the end, the simplicity of the office solution made me want to hit something. We moved the bookshelves out of the living room and into the office. Duh. After that, it all came together.
There was a lot of furniture moving and a major parring down of the library. It was painful. Getting rid of books is not something that comes easily for me. But I did it. I scaled down my books to two shelves.
Oh. And these that I stuffed in the closet. Shhh, don't tell.
There's finally a place to put all my knick knacks; a drawing from my sister, my favorite picture from Oregon, a bowl full of travel treasures. My sister in law brought the hand carved bowl back from Africa, and it's filled with postcards from Italy, beach shells, hand painted egg from Ukraine, a rock from Denmark, crystals from my grandfather, a subway ticket from NY. So many happy things in one little bowl.
I did make a trip to Target where I nabbed the new shades for $8 a piece, along with a pair of curtain rods for $10. Window treatments, even at their most simple, make such a huge difference.
I didn't do any of the things I thought I'd do. I thought I'd paint the walls, paint the desk, sew curtains, build in a wall of bookshelves. And in the end all it took was a little furniture shuffling and throwing away.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
I'll say one thing; you ladies surely do make a girl feel good. Seriously. You've given a me a (as my grandmother would say) 'big head.' Thank you for all your sweet compliments. And I feel much better that I'm not alone battling Big Betty.
OK, from what I've heard, these were your key suggestions to treating wrinkles:
1. Eat Twinkies. 'Fuller' faces have less wrinkles. On it. I just ate two Hostess Cupcakes for breakfast.
2. Stop worrying. Who cares. Best advice I've had in a long time.
3. Frown less, don't use so many expressions. Yeah right. Less expressions. Snicker. I use my hands when I talk on the phone. This one is impossible.
4. NO BOTOX!
5. TRY BOTOX! Mixed signals on this one. But I have to agree that botulism spores under my skin freaks me out more than Big Betty.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, better than thrifting on a rare spring-like day in February. I'm beginning to think those folks that migrate to Florida in the winter have the right idea.