Monday, October 31, 2011


This past Sunday we went with some new friends (a trio of Glamazon sisters that have befriended our oldest) to our local mountains for some fresh air and apple picking. It was a perfect day, in that way that perfect days can only spontaneously occur. The kind that no amount of planning can replicate.

And there was pie. Glorious, apple-berry, crumb-topped pie.

How was your weekend?

in miniature

Snow White


killer apples

beating the system

Renaissance girl

orchard worker


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The trouble with Morgan Satterfield

is that she will ask to use your bathroom and take her camera with her (and not come back for 20 minutes). The good thing is that she will take pictures of the very tiny spaces in your house NOT covered in laundry.
Thanks for using your artsy editing skills to show the ten square feet of my house that look good!

You left out my favorite rug:

The granny hoarder crap on my honky tonk pianee:

More rugishness, featuring the backyard tulip table and $20 bentwood cafe chairs:

The Moroccan artifact wing of the house:

Libations (I don't know what Red Stag was a gift, it stays!):

Signs of the times (these were being used to patch holes in our garage walls...actually carriage house walls since it's pre-automotive era...but we DO have iron rings in our sidewalk where you can tie up your horses, before coming inside to drink Jameson and listen to me play the honky tonk pianee...also those old bentwood chairs are perfect for smashing over someone's head in a barfight since they won't hurt much...OMG it's pretty much the Old West over here)

A tipsy, leaning tower of Pisa-esque view of my new Danish cabinetry:

Aaaaaand finally, my husband's favorite piece of art, the He/She. I like to make up stories about her when people come over. Tons of fun.

You may have noticed that there are not pictures of bathrooms or kids' rooms in these or Brick House photos...and that is because this house was built before kids or digestion had been invented, sooooo.

No, actually my kids probably have the best rooms in the house and I'll have to get to that. The bathrooms are what you would expect; various holes and levers, implements of self-loathing (scale), a fancy "makeup area" containing (one) one-inch long brown eyeliner , some Daddy Longlegs in the corner. Can you picture it??

Monday, October 10, 2011

(Watch someone else) make a DIY Lindsey Adelman Chandelier!

Believe! It's true. I finally got rid of the neo-Colonial Restoration Hardware chandelier monstrosity in my dining room. Tall people, you can once again roam free and upright in my house without fear of getting clocked in the head by an oversized fixture with delusions of grandeur (I am grand! I hold 20 lightbulbs! People who buy me also buy fake topiaries! I am from the mall!)

I looked for a brass sputnik forever. I would have paid real money, maybe even more than $20, had the right one shown itself. But only the dented, cheapy faux brass, overpriced variety surfaced. Lots of "these sell for $5000 and I am only asking $1500 cash no haggling no dealers firm don't even try to talk me down!" Craigslist ads. Speaking of delusions of grandeur...

Well, no big thang. I wanted a Lindsey Adelman anyways. Trendy? Yeah, I guess in certain (blogger) circles it is. But more interpretive than a sputnik. Sculptural. Branch-like. Able to be repositioned with a single impatient hand.

I bought the approximately $120 worth of parts from Adelman's online list (this included ten Edison bulbs) and handed my husband the plans. It only took ten minutes to put it together, but another few hours to work out the wiring. It's not that the instructions were unclear, it's just that jamming six wires through a tiny pipe was like trying to fit a Costco shopping trip into a NYC apartment kitchen.

I bought an old brass ceiling canopy and had the talented husband hardwire it into our existing junction box. The plans call for using it as a swag fixture, but I said no gracias to twenty feet of chains draped all over my dining room. La Boeuf plastered the hanging rod straight into his ceiling, which I've never seen done:

M'lady Morgan made a beautiful version:

My hanging rod is shorter, since we walk under part of the fixture and we're not headbangers (anymore!)

I'm really happy with the look. It has sort of an industrial-classic look. The best thing is that all the parts are solid brass. I thought I would have to apply some vinegar to age it, but my husband assured me that it would oxidize just from being handled while he built it, and he was totally right. Within a couple of days the brass had a nice aged look. This is a good job for your greasy, sweaty teenagers. If you need your brass aged, send it over here. We have sweaty palms and greasy fingers to spare!

Yep, Thomas Jefferson's dining set is no more. Someday that will be an oval marble tulip table, instead of the one I rescued from my neighbor's back yard.

Someday when people ask where I found a piece, I won't have to give them geographical coordinates but actual store names. Not that I mind.

So, what's the consensus? Love or loathe?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You're Probably a Hipster If...Jokes

How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

I don't know, it's kind of an obscure number. You've probably never heard of it.

(courtesy of the 9th graders at High Tech High Media Arts...hipsters-in-training the lot of 'em)

The Trouble with Reading

I've fallen down a rabbit hole but it's ok, I've been here before.

As a kid I spent entire years of my life here, reading book after book, walking around with barely one foot in this world. Having kids meant I had to choose the Now, although I could have easily become one of those professors that bumps into things and wears the same clothes three days in a row.

I could have been even weirder than I am now. Imagine.

I watch my son, coming late to the experience of really reading, doing the same. He comes home late from school and immediately excuses himself, apple in hand, to his room. He lays on his bed sideways, propped on an elbow, facing the wall and curled around his book.

I make no sound when I see him there-the large, messy pile of books next to his bed a small version of my own. I know that he's not really there, and that if I speak to him the voice that answers me won't be his.

Inside the books he is finding the things that I want him to find, and the things that I'm afraid he'll find. He reads about the Chumash, the Maus graphic novels that make their ugly but necessary mark on him, John Muir's memoirs.

At this age I know that each book will somehow be about him, while the books I read are less clear to me; a Chinese scholar swatting flies under Chairman Mao's rule, a plain slave marrying a farmer and living through cycles of want and prosperity, a Black Atlanta teenager navigating a complicated family, Indian immigrants and the seductively academic world they inhabit. I recognize the universal problems of "being", the work of becoming oneself among the complications of community and family, the blurry line that context makes between right and wrong.

And when I get up from my books, I have that old familiar feeling of being a little tender and lost in the world. I look at a lamp and try to force myself to think "lamp," but I can't.

Today my mind is curled around its books. I am turned towards a wall, but I see everything.

What I'm reading this week:

The Bitter Sea, Charles N. Li
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck (again)
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri (run, run, run to buy this)
Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
Swim Back to Me, Ann Packer
The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv


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