Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bathroom - check

Last night I putzed in the studio for a bit until all of the ideas I had were too overwhelming.
I moved the molding upstairs for the bedroom - that's ready to go.
And then I decided the smallest job to finish was the bathroom, and I should just take care of it. So there it is, the cabinet is up in a safe place. Jacques has lost his window ledge - but he'll get over it. And I am finally not searching through a box everytime I'm looking for something needed for fine grooming. Oh, and by the way, this is my toilet seat and cover . . . because it's my house and I can do what I want! I'm also having babies - baby zinnias. Once they're a bit stronger, I'll transplant them next to the newly revealed walkway.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I can't figure out which order they should be in but they are:
Should I choose easiest to finish? Should I choose most needed? (sigh)

Let's start with the bathroom . . . which is useless! Well, except for the main priorities of course. But for storing any toiletries it's useless. There are no cabinets! And you would think that by now I would have mounted one of my old cabinets to the wall and therefore wouldn't have this complaint. If only it were so easy. The room is so narrow that you can't just slap a cabinet up. Next thing you know you will be whacking you shoulder against the corner as you walk past, or hitting your head on it as you try to get up from the toilet. The room is very narrow - there is only about a foot of space between the shower curtain and the sink. This is a room slated for reconstruction whenever that finally starts.

The studio. . . which has just become a major priority (rather than just a priority) because I found out yesterday that my CFEVA (Center for Emerging Visual Artists) spotlight show (two person) is in November . Oh boy. After the Book Arts Fair in Korea I've been dying to get into the studio, but of course that was all but impossible. So here is the view of what will become the studio. And after three hours of unpacking boxes, moving things around, trying to decide what needed to be unpacked and what didn't, this is the best I could come up with: At least there is an empty table that believe it or not I can put a chair in front of and get some work done.

Last priority; finishing the bedroom. It's really only a priority because I really want something in this house to really be finished! All I need to do is put the molding around the room on the bottom of the baseboards. When my dad and Ann were here, they took me for a shopping spree to Home Depot - and oh, they bought me lots of goodies! I got yards of molding to finish this job, a miter saw, a hack saw, a vacuum, . . . all the stuff a girl dreams of having.
So while I was rearranging the boxes in studio 1 - I set up other boxes in studio 2 to paint the molding. How's that for multitasking? Studio 1 and studio 2 are separated by a wall at the moment - which will come down when construction starts. Just in case you were curious about the rest of the bedroom - here it is. And YES! I picked those colors and YES! I like them. You should have seen it (and smelled it) before. Eew.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I am not a good speller.
There it is - the whole truth.
"I" be for "E" except after "C" and all of the thousands of exceptions is no help when one is bilingual and the i and the e issue are reversed in that language.
Someone told me "Eisenhower's Niece" - does that work in English too?
But the worst part is - the bricks should be revealed, not revieled - because that's not even a word.
Please forgive my bad spelling and my mixed up grammar as you read my posts. Thanks.
Now. . . which box is that dictionary in. . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Good Morning -
This is Jacques. Although this is not how mornings start around here. A normal morning starts about 5am with a shrieking meow to awake the dead, pounce on the sleeping mommy, bring at least one or two toys to bed to play with, race around on the bed "catching" said toy, repeat every ten minutes until the snooze alarm goes off. Then as if to say, "my work here is done," he will sit on the corner of the bed and look at me disdainfully as I while away the day at 6:30am - still in bed. The above image is the mid-morning snooze now taken in the new favorite basket.
Jacques is a Craig's List Kitty. A few months before I got him, my bicycle had a flat tire on Kelly Dr. out by Falls Bridge - a three/four mile walk back home. So I started walking. I hadn't gone very far when two nice cyclists stopped and asked if I needed help. I did - I can't remember now what I was missing, tube, wrench, air - something, anyway. . . they had it. One of them very kindly fixed the tire (oh, right it was a tube) and I asked if I could get him a new tube, how could I repay him? He said, "just don't get your pets in a pet store." Okay. Jacques got his name because he is a foodie. Favorites include, green onion stalks, dal makani, Naan bread, dill stalks, boiled ham, and any fish. Because he was forever crawling into the fridge and sitting on the ledge overlooking the stove at my old apartment, he became Jacques in honor of Jacques Pepin (chef with Julia Child) and Jacques Torres, chef on Dessert Circus - a really fun cooking show.
Jacques has turned into quite a character. He seems to be very bright. We play fetch and he has favorite toys. A few weeks before I moved out the old apartment, I decided to get a jump on cleaning. Since several of his toys had been missing for months, I thought I should take a look at what might have landed under the stove. Sure enough, four of his favorite little mousies were under there. As I tried to maneuver the cook spoon into a position to be able to whack them out from under the stove, Jacques came and crouched next to me, investigating what I was doing. As the first toy came out I threw it behind me and he ran off to catch it. Three more toys followed, all dutifully chased down by the kitty. I thought he would be thrilled to have some of his toys back, but I still hadn't found all of them. I continued to clean for the rest of the afternoon, and started to notice that about every hour, another missing toy would appear on the living room carpet. Jacques had gone into the closet and behind my bed to pull out three other toys and brought them to me. It's nice to have someone help you out with the housework.
He is a good sport too. After spending time on, I had to. . . put stuff on Jacques. So here he is with a cowboy hat that is attached with an elastic. I had already put the Harry Potter glasses and scarf on him, and tried to put the cowboy hat on him without elastic. But he would just lean his head to the side and the hat would fall off. That explains why he's leaning here, looking confused as to why he still has the hat on his head. Oh, and he was purring the entire photo shoot.
Jacques is adjusting slowly to his new house. The first week we were here he kept looking at me with this funny look as if to say, "Can we go home now?" The house is so big compared with what he was used to, and because he has three flights of stairs to run up and down he has actually lost a few lbs. There are three big German Shepard's next door that scare the heck out of him. I think he has decided that if he ignores them, they don't exist. He has many wonderful window sills to leave dirty little footprints on and because the back meadow is so overgrown there are birds to watch. It's still really scary when people come over. He has lots of places to hide and is more reluctant to come out when they are here. All in all I think he is getting used to the place. He did a good job last week and caught a mouse, brought me the mouse and I didn't get to it in time, so the mouse got away and ran under the fridge. He'll have to be better about rounding the mouse up so that I can catch it.

Magic in the back Meadow

There are fireflies in the back meadow. I don't care how old you are, the little flashes of light in the twilight are magical.

(the back meadow as seen from my bedroom window in daylight)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The bricks revieled

Before:After:I'm finished! Both of my neighbors who've lived next door for 30 years, peeked over the fence and hedge and shouted, "You found it!" Boy did I. There it is, the beautiful walkway. It really makes such a difference visually and also just getting around in the yard. It's so much easier to push one's bike over the bricks than the lumpy grass.
I don't know how coherent this blog will be because I'm super tired. I finished the hard part of pulling up the weeds today. I've got some plant that has firmly rooted itself beneath the bricks. I ended up pulling some of the bricks up to get at it. I also got a fantastic sunburn for my troubles. The best part is I didn't realize my shirt had crawled up my back so I have a nice two inch wedge of burnt skin across my lower back. Fun. The next faze of this job will be to add dirt between the loose bricks and replace missing bricks. I also need to reconstruct part of the walkway next to the house. This shouldn't be a problem since there is a pile of bricks in the back corner of my yard.
It was another beautiful day in Philadelphia. Warm, but not so humid and a nice breeze. One of the best features of my house is that I have windows on three sides. The ventilation is great. I haven't needed air conditioning for the past three days. One of the other great features of occupying a tri-plex by oneself? The spiced plum pie I'm baking is on a different floor and not heating up my kitchen.
Here are a few more images of the walkway. The first one shows more of the bricks in front of the back of the porch steps.

This one shows the front of the house as seen from the side. There is a before picture in the previous post.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Oh Golly.
Did Y'all know that the human body has special muscles used only for weeding? Well, I found that out when I was trying to get out of bed this morning. Oh boy.
Worked all day on the 97th Pennsylvania Regiment of something, (boring) and a group of pamphlets put together about the Masons ca. 1835 with a very cryptic dedication letter to the rest of the "brethren." Much more interesting. But I really wanted to be home yanking up more of the meadow that is covering my walkway!
We are having a reprieve from usual hot and humid Philadelphia summer and I wanted to take advantage of the "low" humidity. So I've been out there for yet another hour plus, yanking at the weeds. It's coming along. It's kind of like excavating though. I can't believe how much stuff I'm finding, living things and inanimate objects. So far I've got: a button, several bottle caps
my neighbor, Mr. El's whatchamacallems, the things you put cigarettes in to smoke, several glass bottles, all of the garbage under the porch - ugh, clothes pins, string, a metal bar, plastic clothes hanger, cans, and I can't remember the rest.
In the living things department the spiders are definitely winning. Apparently it's egg laying season in my neighborhood because I've seen dozens of mommy spiders zipping away from me with their egg sacks. As long as they stay out of my house they are welcome to the garden. Now that doesn't count the ants because I think I've got an ant nest about every foot along the path. Hmm. There are dozens of beautiful little golden beetles - I've seen them in CA too. I've unearthed a couple of worms, some other grubs, a bunch of pill bugs (as we used to call them, but I think they have another name), ants with wings? or are they termites? One big ugly black beetle and like I said, more spiders - different species too - than I really would like to spend a lot of time on.
When my hands hurt too much and my knees didn't want to be on the grass any more I came inside. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! After four years of no yard - this is glorious! I love it! Fresh air, a breeze, dirty fingernails, the three German shepards next door watching and snapping at the flies, birds chirping. . . it's the best.
Sorry no pictures with this post - but if you need images visit one of my favorite websites: I put it on a link for you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Later that same day . . .

The day was very productive.
At 9:30, Eric from Goffredo Plumbing came and was very kind and answered all of my questions about what I wanted done and what I needed done. This included deciding about a washer and dryer on the first floor, and renovating the bathroom on the second floor - as well as general leaks, questions, planning etc. I must say - he was great! and then he gave me a list of names of people he works with. I'll keep you posted about them!
At 2:00 Bud's Drain Cleaning came and snaked the drain in the 2nd floor bathroom. Bud needed entertainment while he worked, but it got the job done. I think my drain is now cleared of "yuckies" (his technical term), and I think I can take a shower now with out standing in 4 inches of water.
At 3:00 Generation 3 Electric came and took care of all of the madness in the basement. (Sorry - no pictures at the moment.) There were exposed wires and open junction boxes which had prompted a nasty letter from my insurance company which stated that they would cancel my insurance because of said issues if I didn't take care of them by August 7. I took care of them. Now Tony - my fabulous insurance agent from Nation Wide Insurance - just needs to come take pictures of the whole thing and I can cancel the check they already sent me as a refund. Sheesh!
While the Marx Brothers were in the basement whoopin' and hollerin' - yours truly was out in the yard working on my discovery from Saturday. My empty lot? - is really a meadow. And actually, I have two meadows; one in the front/side and one in the back. The rest of this post concerns itself with the front/side.
I decided last Saturday (in the 85-degrees-by-9am-as-only-Philadelphia-can-produce-it-heat) that I should mow my front/side meadow. I had bought a push mower (Scotty) which my dad (the best dad in the whole world) put together last week while he and Ann were visiting. I wasn't very successful because I have some weird plant that has long stalks which evade the mower blades. But that's another blog entry. At any rate, I had heard from my neighbors and the structural engineer that there should be a brick side walk next to the house. So. . . once I was done mowing, I went in search of the brick walkway. I found it.
Today, I spent two hours clearing it. I only got through half of it. Not because of time, but because of garbage can space - another blog entry for another time. Front side view - please note the bottom right corner. View of the back of the wrap-around porch.The meadow which conceals a treasure!Ta- Da! There is a brick walkway! Stay tuned for the unveiling of the entire walkway.

The Life of a House

Okay - so the less formal - more diary type entry about this blog, my house, and what I want to do with all of this starts here. Here's my house! Mine, mine mine! Yippee! It's so wonderful!
I started last September really seriously looking with the most fabulous real estate agents in the world, O'Donnell Real Estate, We must have looked at every house that came on the market and it just wasn't right. Just when I was really starting to despair, this little gem came on the market, we went and looked, there were five owl prints in the bathroom, and I knew it was my house.
It is a triplex right now. I want to make it a duplex, live on the first two floors and rent out the third. It is on a double lot, which means I have an enormous yard! This is relative, of course, because it's pretty tiny compared with yards in CA. HOWEVER, it's wonderful and it's all mine mine mine!
After I had complete possession - owner and two tenants moved out at the end of May - I did a lot of work to make the place bearable to move in by June 1st. I was so excited about moving in, I didn't think to document the horrible army green walls on the first floor, or the nasty nasty carpet on the stairs in the second floor. I just wanted the color changed and the carpets out! But now that I live here, and am watching the transformation I'd like to document everything. I hope you might find it interesting too.