Monday, August 31, 2015

In the market for: dining chairs

Last summer (a whole year ago!) we arranged the apartment to make better use of our "guest room" (now playroom), add more counter and storage space in the kitchen with an island, and create a "dining room". They were big changes which I didn't document in any way.

We bought a small dining table from West Elm - the tiny Mid-Century Bistro Table.

It is teeny-tiny, and those of you with dining rooms fit for 12 are laughing - I can hear you! But it fits us, and we can even shove 4 adults on it when needed. Though, truth be told, we don't entertain all that much.

A few comments on this table. It is handsome, certainly, but it is delicate. Somehow we managed to scratch it before ever even putting a plate on it, and now with a year of use it's looking increasingly worn. Bummer.

Anyway, in the year that we've had the table, we've been using the crappy Ikea chairs that I bought off Craigslist 7 years ago. They are as ugly as they are uncomfortable.

Yuck. And if you're wondering why none of these chairs are pushed in, it's because the legs of the table are so narrowly spaced that you can't!

It doesn't fit!

Stupid chairs! Or stupid table! I'm not sure who is at fault here.

I've been looking for better chairs for the table for the last 12 months. Preferably something mid-century and not very expensive, but I would also consider something new that suits the table and the apartment. I've found nothing, though. Chairs are expensive, and I don't feel like dropping a grand on chairs.

Further complicating matters is that I have expensive taste. I've known this for a long time. This is my ideal dining chair:

Yeah, those are Moller chairs, this particular set was sold online for about $2,400 apparently.

Also, you'll notice, they probably wouldn't fit in the 13" between legs on my table.

I'm beginning to suspect that I will never buy chairs for this table, and that at some point - if/when we finally move - we will buy a real dining table and chairs. Then we will have a dinner party for 6 people and you're all invited!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A trip to Maine

I should move to Maine. I've thought this ever since I was an adolescent Stephen King fan, and I had never even been to Maine. But now I've got a few trips under my belt, and I'm thinking yes, I should move to Maine.

Anyway, we spent a week in Maine. A trip with my parents, my oldest friend (since age 3), her husband, child and her mother. A motley crew, indeed. We rented a huge house, booked over a year ago.

But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. One Friday evening, after work, we set out to drive halfway to Friendship, Maine, where this blue house is.

On Friday night we drove up to Sturbridge, MA, and checked into the Old Sturbridge Inn & Reeder Family Lodges. I had chosen this hotel and location randomly, but it was great. Not only was it roomy, clean and inexpensive, it was fun and friendly and had a playground for our Saturday morning playground ritual.

We also visited the Old Sturbridge Village while there, which was fun for L. before another long drive.

How we roll
Day 2, Saturday, we drove up to Brunswick, ME. Nothing tremendous to say about this play, though there is a fine Target nearby, and we spent some time in Freeport - an outlet town and L.L. Bean HQ. Again, not much to report, but that the L.L. Bean store is a surprisingly good attraction for a 2 year old.

Day 3, we finally get the house. We had a Sunday to Sunday rental. The house is located near Friendship, ME, which is near Waldoboro, which is near Damariscotta, and you should just get a map.

The location was a good start for visiting Damariscotta, Boothbay, Rockland and Belfast - all of which were haunted by us and out merry gang of misfits. Some photo highlights.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Our little beach

Beach, more like snail graveyard


Hermit crab hunting

I ordered lobster!

Needless to say, we had an amazing time. L. was in heaven - Granny, Grandpa, friends, dogs and lots of outdoors to run around in. We also fit in a couple kid-friendly visits on the trip, so if you're planning a trip to mid-coast Maine with friends, let me recommend:

Boothbay Railway Village:

If you have, or are, a train-enthusiast, this is the place for you. Lots to see, a train to ride, and a vintage car exhibit that was, even for me, kind of cool

Weirdly, L's favorite part of the whole thing was the model train.

The Mid-coast Children's Museum:

A fun, cheap, morning for a little one. L. liked it, being 2, but probably not a ton of fun for the over 6 set. Also, "museum" is a bit of a stretch. A fun activity center, for sure, though.

But, most of all, L. love just playing in the water and catching hermit crabs (catch and release!). Every morning and every evening when the tide was out, we'd go out and play.

One night we even had lobster, prepared by H. and A. Avert your eyes if you don't like lobster murder.

All in all, a wonderful week. Coming back to the city was depressing, to say the least. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

These are the doors I know, I know, I know

This morning my kid woke up at 5, and my cat barfed all over the place. It was not a great start. At 7 we decided to take advantage of the early riser and head over to the nice playground at Owl's Head Park. Sometimes we go early and we're the only kids at the playground. It's pretty great.

It also gave me a chance to take some sneaky photos of some of the doors on our street that I like, without looking like a creep. Like this one, my personal fave.

My neighborhood, which is largely Hispanic and Chinese people now, was once filled with Scandinavian immigrants, and in certain doorways you can still find traces of them

It makes me sad that some of the original building names have been removed. Oh well.

Then there's these.

Looks secure.
These doors are all on my street, in the direction of the river and a more industrial area. If you go east you pass the swankier doors n the brownstones.

I only took one pic of a brownstone door, because people were starting to wake up and, as I said, I didn't want to look like a creep.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Uneasy Reads

I spent a good chunk of the early summer plowing through the first four Anne of Green Gables books. Can you believe I had never read them? I'm sure my Canadian citizenship could be taken away for this. But I jumped in, read the first, and then had to read the next three because I absolutely had to see the union of Anne and Gilbert.

Side note - if you've read Anne's House of Dreams - um, how dark did that go? I mean, there is a lot of death in there.

Anyhou, with our Maine vacation coming up in precisely 8 days, I started looking for a good book to bring with me (haha, joke's on me because there's no vacation reading with a toddler around). I downloaded All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and then I couldn't wait for vacation and started reading it. I haven't finished it yet, but, well... I'm glad I didn't choose this as my vacation read.

Let me clarify - this is a really good book. It is a page-turner, as the luddites with paper books say. But man, it is tense. There have been several times where I've had to put the book down, take a breather, and play some Candy Crush, just to center myself and reassure myself that everything is ok.

I didn't go into reading a book about occupied France in WWII expecting a happy, uplifting read. But, I didn't quite expect the heart palpitations, either.

This is the second book I've read recently that has made me so uneasy. A few months ago I read Sweetland by Michael Crummey.

I love Michael Crummey's books. Galore is suuuuch a great book. And so is Sweetland! But Sweetland  is also scary, sad, and tense - for completely different reasons than All the Light We Cannot See (ghosts!). But like All the Light We Cannot See, I had to take breaks to compose myself.

Anyway, if you're looking to be shaken to the core, I recommend both these books. But back to my Maine vacation: anyone have any recommendations for happy, fun reads? Bearing in mind that I love Canadian books & authors, but they can be hard to find down here on short notice!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nice little Saturday

Ah, my once monthly blog post.

I said a few months ago that I was having a crisis of conscience about showing L's cute face publicly on the internet. Oh well, that's all out the window because I can't resist showing his cute face.

We have such a lovely summer weekend, that I wanted to share. It was gorgeous summer weather - hot but not humid, and perfect for lots of outdoor time.

L. has been admiring bikes for months, but living in a fourth-floor walk-up, with no storage and no outdoor space, we weren't planning on getting him one. Recently, he looked at another child's bike and said "L. want bike". Obviously we melted and died inside. So, I did a little research and found foldable trikes for toddlers which looked like just what he needs. I settled on the Bugatrike and it is perfect.

As you can see, it has no pedals - and he doesn't miss them. He scoots around on this thing like nobody's business, and it makes me so happy to see how much he enjoys it. It folds up super small, and it's lightweight, so easily carried and stored (it even fits underneath the stroller when folded).

As you can imagine, this weekend we spent a lot of time outside on his bike. We went to the playground and the park and the playground again and the park again.

On Saturday there was a block party - which I guess we kinda crashed because it was not our block but the next one up. We took L. there to ride his bike on the closed street, and lo' and behold, there was an open fire hydrant.

We have tried to entice L. into jumping into open hydrants on hot days, or sprinklers, or the splash pad at the park - all to no avail. He is seriously suspicious. But the mix of other kids, a big puddle to jump in (and probably a certain episode of Thomas & Friends that involves puddles), and the excitement of the new bike: and he jumped right in!

After changing into dry clothes and shoes, we headed back out to the park to enjoy an evening picnic with a view.

View from Sunset Park
This is the second Saturday in a row we've had dinner in the park - which is just about the best summer evening tradition you can ask for, if you don't have a yard of your own. This particular park is hopping on a Saturday night, too - as you can see.

Tacos with a view.

Anyhou, an all-around lovely weekend. And bonus, H. took these lovely pics from our roof on Thursday night. Sometimes, living in this city has its perks.

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