Monday, May 30, 2011

The Steps

Long weekend: pretty much over.

H. and I have been busy bees this hot & sticky weekend. Just like little social butterflies. Usually our weekends are spent staring at each other and taking photos of the cat. But this one was a bit different. Yet in some ways, not at all different.

Anyway, in between social occasions, H. tried to lure me to a flea market. Usually I don't resist. Looking at dusty old junk is among my favorite activities, even if I don't buy anything. Looking at junk is just so satisfying. But, I was feeling poor, and therefore feeling sorry for myself. Also, after the heartbreak of last weekend's china cabinet, I didn't want to get hurt again. I love you, china cabinet.

I tried to resist going to the flea market, and tried to find excuses for us not to go - including that it was too hot, I was too poor, it's such a long way away. But, H. reminded me of my love of junk, and I gave in.

For the most part, it was mostly junk - but nonetheless interesting junk. If I was better at DIY, it would be a veritable treasure trove of inspiration. But mostly, nothing. Until! I came across a pair of wood etageres. I have no photo, and the picture I drew looked bad, so I can only describe them. Dark wood, spindly, knobby posts - very delicate looking, and not too wide or too tall. H. liked them too, but being the Debbie Downer he is, he thought they were too pricey, and also didn't think we had anywhere to put them. I know what you're thinking - and yes, this is unfair commentary from the person who convinced me to go looking at junk in the first place. Now you understand that I married a cruel man.

Well, I suppose I wasn't heartbroken about saying good-bye to them anyway, and we left empty handed. But since yesterday, those etageres have haunted me! And I know exactly where I would put them. I think.

This is my uninspiring living room wall. As you can see, my beloved credenza is piled high with the goodies of the modern age - cable box, DVD player, Wii - and even the modem hidden behind the TV. However, I'm not keen on that corner shelf business there, and I hate the outlet on the left. But maybe if I had a lovely vintage etagere on either side, I could prettify this space? Yes? No? Yes. Yes. Yes. It is my thinking that I could unburden the credenza of some of the electronics, show off some interesting books or tchotchkes, and also hide the electrical outlet. But then again, I feel like a couple of wood etageres might make this room a little woodier and heavier than I already feel it is. Thoughts?

Anyway, in browsing the world of etageres, I came across this beauty from Revival Home & Garden in Seattle. It's lovely!

The etageres I saw yesterday were very similar, but without the fancy drawer. But they would look equally as fabulous in a shiny coat of black. But if they were black, I'm not sure they would look good next to my credenza. Thoughts? (Incidentally, the website for Revival Home & Garden has very many beautiful pieces, and makes my already upholstery-admiring self go a little crazy with inspiration)

Well, for now those etageres are not mine, and most likely will never be, but it certainly has me rethinking that wall. If you're also wondering about the odd picture hanging business going on in that photo - we were going to put up a gallery wall of old photos we liked, but were stifled by overwhelming framing. Also, H. isn't keen on the Weegee photo in the middle, although I have a soft spot for it. Anyway, I've sort of become used to it, so I'm not really in a hurry to change the lineup.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Things that got did while my husband watched soccer

Call me a liar. I know a few weeks ago (months) I said I'd have a bedroom update.  I bought new sheets and a duvet cover, which look awesome. I then planned to buy some throw cushions for the bed - a detail I usually disapprove of, simply because it's so impractical. I had even managed to convince H. on a new bed frame.Things changed, priorities shifted. We decided that we don't really need an immediate bedroom makeover right now, while we're trying to save. I'd still like to slowly evolve my bedroom into something a little more put-together, but it doesn't need to happen overnight. So, the bedroom has been put on the back-burner, for now.

So, now what?

Well, I woke up this morning looking down the good side of a long weekend. Yay! Unfortunately there was some nonsense soccer (or "football") game of much importance that had to be watched by H. At a bar. With his buddy. Boo.

Well, first things first. Photoshoot with the cat.

The camera loves him!

He loves to stick his arm into the camera. Here's a montage of foot-forward Izzy shots.

I am only one cat-stroller away from being a crazy cat lady.

While H. watched his football, I enjoyed the sunshine in Ditmas Park, and looked at the beautiful houses while also suffering from extreme allergies. This neighborhood has waaaaay more trees and flowers than mine!

This house has my ideal porch-on-porch set-up (look closely and see the hammock on the upper porch).

This is just a little tudor-style cottage - nothing fancy!

This is a pretty uninteresting photo - but I like the color of this house:

I often wonder what neighborhood I'll buy my awesome house in, when I win a Mega-Millions lottery. Usually I think Brooklyn Heights, but Ditmas Park is so beautiful as well - and I'm a sucker for Victorian houses. But, the weird thing about Ditmas Park is there are never any people on the streets.

It's a bit lonely. I guess all the kids are in their backyards? I don't know.

After my walk, I decided to get a manicure. I went into a random nail salon, where my nails were done by Frank. Yes, a dude named Frank. He was kind of short with me - he *did not* want me to carry my own purse. Anyway. I decided to get a color that I'll call "Dental Assistant".

They match my grandma's old wool blanket nicely, don't they? Yes, I know this color is fugly. This is a long weekend kind of color - it will be gone by Tuesday 9am (don't worry, mom).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Somewhere along the line, I forgot how to count

Yes, I'm still reading my GG books. I just haven't mentioned it, for now good reason. But looking back, I last said I was at #35. But this can't be right. Somewhere along the lines, I screwed up.

Since I last mentioned it, I have completed Alice Munro's The Progress of Love (1986), and The Pied Piper of Dipper Creek (1943) by Thomas H. Raddall. I'm now working through Little Man (1942) by G. Herbert Sallans. So, according to my claim earlier of being done #35, I would have been now at #38. BUT, according to this list of completed books, I'm actually at #40:

1939: Franklin D. McDowell, The Champlain Road

1941: Alan Sullivan, Three Came to Ville Marie

1942: G. Hervert Sallan, Little Man (current)

1943: Thomas H. Raddall, The Pied Piper of Dipper Creek

1944: Gwethalyn Graham, Earth and High Heaven

1945: Hugh MacLennan, Two Solitudes

1947: Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute

1949: Philip Child, Mr. Ames Against Time

1960: Brian Moore, The Luck of Ginger Coffey

1962: Kildare Dobbs, Running to Paradise

1966: Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God

1971: Mordecai Richler, St. Urbain's Horseman

1972: Robertson Davies, The Manticore

1974: Margaret Laurence, The Diviners

1976: Marian Engel, Bear

1977: Timothy Findley, The Wars

1980: George Bowering, Burning Water

1981: Mavis Gallant, Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories

1982: Guy Vanderhaeghe, Man Descending

1986: Alice Munro, The Progress of Love

1988: David Adams Richards, Nights Below Station Street

1989: Paul Quarrington, Whale Music

1990: Nino Ricci, Lives of the Saints

1991: Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey

1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

1993: Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries

1985: Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

1995: Greg Hollingshead, The Roaring Girl

1997: Jane Urquhart, The Underpainter

1998: Diane Schoemperlen, Forms of Devotion

1999: Matt Cohen, Elizabeth and After

2000: Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost

2001: Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan

2003: Douglas Glover, Elle

2004: Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness

2006: Peter Behrens, The Law of Dreams

2007: Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero

2008: Nino Ricci, The Origin of Species

2009: Kate Pullinger, The Mistress of Nothing

2010: Dianne Warren, Cool Water

I hope you don't mind this error. I'm sure you don't. So, let it be known that I am on 40/73. Getting there...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The deal-finder.

I like to remind H. how full of good ideas I am.

Last week, I made an amazing discovery. I think I mentioned before the possibility of Newburgh, NY as a place full of lovely cheap houses for the buying. Problem is, it's a bit far. As far as I knew at the time, the commute to the city would have involved a boat, a train and the the subway. That's a bit much. But last week I discovered that there is a commuter bus from Newburgh that drops off right across the street from my office. It's still a long journey, but one bus! So, I reopened the file on Newburgh houses.

We both love this house.

It's pretty run down, but for the past week my head has been dancing with the idea of fixing it up. I am usually drawn to Victorian houses, but I'm completely charmed by this 1920s style. The idea of renovating, and especially DIY, puts the chills in H. We've been wondering why this guy is so cheap. No roof? No heat (my mother's suggestion), maybe. But it's so inexpensive that I could build in some major rehab, and it would still be affordable. I love you, white house.

Today I tried to plant another seed in H's mind, when I found this little house.

Cute, eh? I mean, it's not the glorious creature the other white house is. This guy is pretty small - just a touch larger than our apartment now. But 3 bedrooms, enough for us and Iz for a few years. A starter home, and it's in good shape. AND IT COSTS $49,000. Holy moly. We could put a downpayment on this baby, and be paying less than $300/month mortgage. Mind-boggling! I'm not sure H. is sold. One of his criteria is that we should be able to walk to our commuter bus or train, which is reasonable. You couldn't really walk to my special bus from this, but with all the money we could be saving, we could get a Vespa. We could VESPA TO THE BUS. How crazy is that? Just zip up and down the road, to the bus. Here is me and H. on our way to work:

How fun! Maybe not in the snow, but most of the year: how fun!

I believe myself to be a genius. A genius plotter and schemer. H. is a lucky man.
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