Sunday, September 28, 2008

A gift from the Neighborhood, and the first Ding Dong Award

Last night at 2am my "security system" went crazy. I woke up and heard voices in my yard. Young voices, telling the dogs they were "good dogs" but to "shhhhhh". I looked but couldn't see anything. A few moments later I heard the front gate latch and just figured then had come through the lot behind me. I went back to sleep.
In the morning I putzed, cleaned, and finally opened the shades of my bedroom and saw something very red in the back meadow, tucked under the "trees" (these are actually weeds). It wasn't moving. I continued to clean, the worst case scenarios running through my head.
Finally deciding there was nothing for it, I went out side with treats for the security system - who I know had tried valiantly to scare away the intruders - and spied this under the weeds:On closer inspection I found that it contained:
!!?? What…??? Really - I can't begin to imagine why this keg had to be brought all the way to the BACK of my yard, covered with a RED towel, and left there? - is it for later? - were they dumping it? how drunk were they really? Did they think I wouldn't notice? I discussed the matter with the El's and Mr. El said he'd take care of it. Then I started wondering, is there a refund for the keg? If so - hey thanks! And I also got a new trashcan out of the deal.

And the first Ding Dong Ward goes to…

A little background: My mother always referred to the students she really liked but who did dumb things as "ding dongs." After she died my sister and I picked this up fondly, as we were also working with teenagers and could understand our mother's sentiments. It finally came down to my giving out "Ding Dong Awards" in class - not often - but which came with the actual artifact. I had to give myself one; for writing on my brand new dry-erase board with a permanent marker. My students were thrilled.
Well - I'm ready to start handing them out for the work I'm doing on my house.
The first one is for the windows in my studio:
I painted them open.
Yep - I can't shut 'em - I've tried the knife etc. etc. but its not budging. Plan B is to get the ladder back out and try to lean on it from the top. Congratualtions to me!

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain cannot be my President

We "watched" the debates tonight. Yesterday I sent out this email:
On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 3:15 PM, Tara O'Brien <> wrote:
Hello All -

I've been moved to write my testimony about why I cannot support John McCain. Feel free to share this with any of your friends and family, especially those on the fence about who to vote for.

I've just finished watching the documentary "Broken Rainbow" (available on Netflix - and other places surely), 1985. The blurb on the sleeve reads:
"This Oscar-winning documentary tells the story of the forced relocation of 12,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona that took place after Interior Secretary James Watts sold inexpensive leases to developers in 1983. Claiming the land rightfully belonged to the Hopi, the US government move the Navajo residents to tract homes in other areas. Both Navajo and Hopi Indians describe how a century of bureaucratic racism has affected their lives. "

The documentary is heartbreaking - footage of people who have lived peaceful lives, doing nothing to damage the environment are forced off of their land to create room for Black Mesa strip mining - complete destruction of the landscape. How was this done? Barbed wire fences were put up over night. Systematic bulldozing of the plants and trees the Navajo and Hopi depended on for their livelihood and forced destruction of herds of sheep. Once relocated (without compensation) these people are forced to pay land taxes, water bills, electric bills etc. The narrator speaks about the religion of the Navajo and Hopi - it almost sounds too new-age to be real. It is a beautiful, respectful, symbiotic relationship between people and the earth. And the people are being destroyed. For the greed of coal mining and uranium mining.

What does John McCain have to do with this? One of the extras on the dvd is "2006: The Struggle Continues." The opening credits read:
Senate Bill 1003
Legislation in the US Senate sets a new timetable for the forced relocation of a number of Navajo families on Black Mesa. Sponsored by Arizona Senator John McCain,
The purpose of this legislation is to amend the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-531,) and "to bring the relocation process to an orderly and certain conclusion."
Senate Bill 1003, which is on the Senate calendar for 2006, calls for the mandatory eviction of those families on Black Mesa who have thus far resisted efforts to relocate them. It also closes the Relocation Office and terminates the federal government's responsibilities toward those who have "lived through the nightmare of relocation." There will be no acknowledgement of the long lasting damage to the community and the current need for rehabilitation and support. The bill comes at a time when Peabody Coal Company prepares to expand its strip mining operation on Black Mesa. The company plans on drawing down yet another high quality aquifer, using the water that the native people of the region depend upon. Standing in the Peabody's way are the native people who remain on the land, depending upon it for their cultural traditions, their spirituality and their livelihood.

In this portion of the documentary the links to the big picture emerge; The mining on Black Mesa was linked with Enron and Senator Tom DeLay. I don't know what has happened to this bill, whether it was passed or not. I just finished watching the dvd and wanted to write immediately

I cannot believe I live in a country that supports this kind of war against people it calls it's own. They call them their own when we need them to fight in far off places like Vietnam and Iraq. In WWII they saved our butts in Asia because they used their own language as communication code and the Japanese couldn't break it. This is how we repay them? Destruction of their own homes? Enough!! I cannot support a man who is waging war against people he represents!!

Rent the dvd today and watch it for yourself.

Wishing you peace,

My good friend Mike replied:

Nice. Did you blog this? If not, you need to. When I was in Utah, I gained respect for Native Americans. Living in Oklahoma, I think about the fact that our country did what it did to so many of these tribes. At the same time, I think it is amazing how we let them suffer huge amounts of alcoholism, crime and poverty. I am thinking of sending this t-shirt to Evan. I thought I would send you a picture of it. It brings a smile to my face every time.
homeland security
It reads: Original Homeland Security, fighting terrorism since 1492.
There is another site that has another shirt that says- don't feed the pilgrims.
Anyway. I think many congressman makes bad choices in bills. It is honestly one of the things that scares me the most about Obama, I can't see his mistakes. I am curious though, if this was really that bad, why haven't the Democrats made a bigger story of issue?
Well at least you are taking a stand. I can't back either yet.

So… yes - we "watched" the debates. The "watched" is in quotes because it was amazing (by the way - for those of you who don't know, I don't have a TV. - long story - at any rate), I was trying to watch online, the only place I could find was on CSPAN - and every time Obama spoke, it would break up. Amazing! Totally believable, and yet - completely unbelievable. I finally turned on NPR and listened to the total debate. I know what they both look like anyway and besides, their words are more important.

I don't know who won. It seems as if it was a draw. Obama needs to be stronger, but unfortunately, the Democrats don't use enough inflammatory language - I felt this with Kerry as well. McCain must have repeated 10 times that "Obama doesn't understand" - And what really irritates me is that Obama doesn't just say - "I understand just fine - I just have a different opinion!" McCain and the republicans have SUCH faith in the stupidity of the American People - that this sort of personal slight will actually work. Ugh. Unfortunately - they are right. I had so much to say -

I guess the question that irritated me the most was, "Are we more secure now, than we were at 9/11" stupid, inflammatory question. The realistic, unemotional answer is: of course we were safer on 9/12 than now. On 9/12 the terrorists (Osama Bin Ladin- who is NOT in Iraq by the way) were sitting back and watching the madness that over took us, and laughing! That would have been the safest time to fly. As we move further away from 9/11 the risk that Bin Laden will strike again increases, and that is scary. But no one wants to admit this.

The whole war situation also really irritates me as well. Those of us who were pacifists to begin with, who didn't want to go to Iraq in the first place because we all knew that the Bush Administration was smearing the truth. That weapons of mass-destruction a) didn't exist or b) existed only because the US sold them to Saddam Hussein, know now; because we can see the whole situation objectively, that we cannot leave Iraq. Can you believe I'm saying that? You know, this is the history of the US -we go barging in, yelling "we're here to help you!" to people who don't want to be helped. And then when we've had enough abuse from the people we are supposedly there to help (with no ulterior motive whatsoever - she said sarcastically) we bail. It would be nice if for once we would clean up our mess.

I guess I could go on all night - I think I don't have a party that represents me. I am so worried about our economic mess - and I really hope that somehow we instate a flat tax. It is really not fair that I make $33,000/year and I pay my $11,000 in taxes/year to help that $700billion madness, and I KNOW that the upper end of the middle class (she again said sarcastically), with their $5million/year is not paying their $1.5million in taxes. THIS IS SO UNFAIR!!! We are all Americans - why is the burden falling to me? Let me tell you rich people, it's a little bit harder to live on $22,000/year than $3.5million/year! Pay your share - congrats on making so much, PAY YOUR SHARE! I have an education - in fact I have an advanced degree, I was a straight A student in honors classes, I have many talents, I just decided my life is more fulfilled by being the Shepard of our American History. Here it is: I am the Director of Conservation at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Under my care are 20 million manuscripts, and 140,000 books. We are the repository for the second largest deposit of documents relevant to the history of the United States (Library of Congress is first). Makes sense since the United States started in Philadelphia. No, I'm not a doctor, no, I'm not an investor, I used to teach high school, which was also severely undervalued, since I held the future of our country in my hands. I just really care about preserving the documents of our history - which is not monetarily compensated by anybody. Least of all the state or the country.

I could continue for the rest of the night on this subject - but I think I should stop. I ask you to think about morals. If you are religious, think about the lessons your were taught - because I have news for you - all of the mainstream religions have the same morals, the same lessons. Doesn't matter if you are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, whether you practice Hinduism, Jainism, or whether you believe in the Great Spirit - all of their prophets said the same thing, (I paraphrase), "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."

May we all live to find peace in our time - Love, Tara

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall has come

I know it's fall when Jacques starts to snuggle. In the evenings he sits on my lap, especially when I'm watching something and knitting. He helps with that too. He comes to bed with me and sleeps against my legs. This is after he has wrestled the sheets into submission. I love fall.
This morning, it was chilly enough for me to put on my snugly slippers from Rachael, a sweater, and shut all of the windows. I also decided it was time to take out the air conditioning units. They are so ugly and now I have my beautiful views back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What happened on Sunday

Remember the Home Depot Delivery Guy who wanted to marry me? - Here's the other part of what he brought: Jacques and I had such a nice day outside on Saturday, so after I mowed my lawn on Sunday I just kept ripping things out of the ground that didn't belong there. Before I knew it, I had cleared all the weeds from behind the bbq and around the water spigot. During my home inspection we discovered a leak in the basement - well - actually it was pretty obvious since the back of the basement was damp and there was a water vac. in that corner. At any rate - The home inspector and my real estate agent told me I could solve the problem by grading the land around that corner. One is supposed to put dirt on the ground starting from the house and grade it down one inch per foot from the house. The the water runs away from the house rather than straight down the walls into the basement. Makes sense, right? I still have the nagging feeling that I didn't do it correctly. Well, I gave it the first shot - I took the rest of the barley grass seeds I had for my "Documentation" Book (the one made of plexiglass pages where I grow the grass in the pages), and spread them over the soil. Hopefully I will have little green spikes by this coming weekend. Next summer I will replace the bricks the previous owner pulled up trying to fix the leak from the foundation of the house.
In other news - update on my Zinnias:

Yep - they bloomed. Not all of the little plants made it, but about 1/2 of them did. It's very exciting, this little bit of success in the garden. I bought tulip and daffodil bulbs, and some iris bulbs? doesn't sound right. Will plant those in October.
Here are my petunias - still perkin' along, making us all happy with their bright color.

And, if all of the reports are true, we are supposed to have a very cold and snowy winter. I'm all for it. I found this guy on a branch, I hope that he is doing something about that and not planning on mooching off of the ants.
He's pretty neat, eh?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Big Day

Thursday revisited:
Thursday after Fred was released my Quaker electrician came again. He's a great guy. He fixed a bunch of stuff including; rewiring the third and second floors, consolidating the first and second floors, he added a light sensor to the light on the porch on the side of the house, brought the third floor kitchen up to code so that hopefully the third floor circuits will not be over loaded and the tenant will not trip the circuit, and lastly he fixed the vestibule light: Yippee! This is the same light that the dorks from Generation 3 electric told me they could not replace, nor could they rewire, and they were ready to ruin the original roundel in order to install the ugly IKEA light. Lee came in and said, "What? - this is original to the house!" I said "I know! Can you fix it?" he said, "of course!" - bada bing - bada boom - light fixed. Oh, and the doorbells work now too. Hot digity.
Lee did, however, put a few nasty vibes in the air - by mentioning them to me. Now, I do appreciate this but, sometimes when things are not actually uttered, they don't exist. Case in point: On Thursday he told me that squirrels could get into the third floor. This had never occurred to me or, as far as I know, actually happened. Last night at 3am, what did Jacques and I wake up to? ka-thunk, ka-thunk and clakity clak, of something that sounded and awful lot like a squirrel running across the third floor kitchen which is right above my bed. Thanks Lee.
While Lee and his assistant were working like crazy to get everything done, I was working in the studio. The usual report: slowly things are getting to where they should be. I put two more shelves up, and unpacked about 7 boxes of books; about half. I'm in complete disbelief that I had all of this stuff(!) in my tiny apartment. Here I have six rooms at my disposal and I can't put everything away. This helped, and I have two more shelves I need to put up so that I can put artist books away.
So today - Saturday - we had a big day. It was a beautiful day, cool temperatures, no sweating, and the Philly Blues Festival was a block away - I could hear the whole thing. What a great day to be outside so - Jacques went outside for the first time…

and loved it. You can possibly see all of the dirt and cobwebs on him in the photo? It was very exciting. So much to sniff and smell. And to calm the fearful me - he stayed in the yard and only in the back. When dogs next door spotted him and went crazy, he hid. :)
I had a nice long conversation with my cousin and I was working on some more artwork. This morning I listened to Mike McGrath on the NPR program "You bet your Garden". If you have a garden, and you get NPR - this is such a great show. Mike is a super dork, but soOo knowledgeable, I can't WAIT to have my own garden. He was talking about winter gardens today and I was very tempted to go to Home Depot to start making plots. But I decided not to support the economy this weekend. It hasn't done much good lately, and I got my credit card statement on Friday. I'd like the FederalGov't to give me $700 billion to bail me out. I could be quite comfy thank you very much! - Oh - I digressed - the artwork - well, the NPR show inspired me to at least go outside and attack some more weeds. Which I did. And while Jacques was exploring I washed off some of the more interesting roots. They make a nice metaphor for my life at the moment. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, we'll see. Mr. El stuck his head out of his door as I was hanging them on the laundry line - I'm sure he thinks I'm crazy.
I was waiting for Jacques to discover the Juniper tree - he got about three feet up, and decided this was not for him. Then he was confused about how to get out of the tree. He finally made it down, and tried to shake the pitch off of his paws. He didn't like that.
After having stuffed bell peppers and a plate of collard greens (from my Amish Farmer) I went to scan some of the roots. Not sure what I think of them yet. While I was doing that, Jacques decided he could fit into this shoe box. Well - we can all fantasize, can't we?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fred Released

I don't know when he re-emerged. I went to look at the jar and there he was, flapping a the top of the stick. And he was beautiful. Really beautiful. I didn't want to let him go at 11 o'clock at night and decided to wait for morning.

Jacques discovered him this morning, fluttering desperately in the jar. I tried taking more pictures but was distressed at his agitation. I knew I needed to let him go soon.

I took him outside to the grass, sat, opened the top, and waited for him to fly out. Perhaps he was confused by the glass walls because he continued to struggle at the bottom of the jar. Finally, I put my fingers in the jar and let him crawl on them, then I carefully lifted him out. He was so light and delicate, his wings searched slightly for balance. The instant he was free of the rim, he left. He soared up, a black shape against the morning sky. I watched him totter on the breeze. He wheeled and headed towards the juniper, circled behind it, and was gone.

In the jar are the remains of the cocoon, thin and brittle, turning yellow underneath.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Fred is done. Isn't he beautiful?

I hope I looked in his jar last night, but it could be that I didn't, so I don't actually know when he was re-born. But I looked tonight and there he was flapping a bit. He is so beautiful. Hopefully I will be able to get better pictures of him in day-light. I will release him tomorrow. For now he has a saucer of sugar water in his cage.
Just in case you are looking for something, ah, unusual, check out this site: I don't know if I should snort with laughter, or file this away in the "oh, a good possiblity" category.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Keepin' on - keepin' on

Summer seems to only come in small increments this year. A typical Philadelphia summer is nothing short of sweltering heat and humidity. How can it not be with only 30 city blocks between rivers? Usually it's 95° and about 95% humidity for weeks. But this summer has been mild; 80° average and not too humid. Not that I'm complaining mind you… we've had an incredibly beautiful and comfortable summer! But today was a little warm. And it wasn't even really that hot - just muggy. Whew! From about noon on, I was just dripping. Tomorrow it's supposed to be less muggy, and I'll be in air conditioning anyway so I decided to tough it out without air conditioning today.
First I went out and ran errands. Found out my beautiful, WPA architecture, 24-hour post office will close at the end of the month (moving actually)- no idea what will happen to the building after that. It's a real shame, the building and fixtures are absolutely beautiful. Real wood paneling on the ceilings … sigh… perhaps a post is in order.
Paid storage rent - where all my stuff is until my house is completely the way I want it. Forgot the key so I couldn't see what was there that I wanted. Off to Home Depot to help the economy as usual, and The Bread Co. in Chestnut Hill for my weekly stipend. They make the best multi-grain you've ever had in your life. Plus it was free because they have one of those baker's dozens card where the 13th loaf is free! :) Hot diggity!
I got home, parked and met Mr. El coming out of his front door. I told him I'd been out doing my part for the economy, he said, "What, burning fuel?" Well, yeah - then he ranted about those poor folks in Texas who are paying $5/gallon in Texas. For shame on those oil companies. Those people should be paying the least in the country right now!
Well, I moved all of my consumeristic expenditures into the house and got to work on gettin' to gettin'.
I did some work in the studio, which means making artwork, and while I was taking mental breaks from that, I'm still trying to unpack and organize. I managed to put up three shelves today.
One over the desk where I'm currently working and two in the corner behind the book shelves. Things are coming together in the studio, but very s l o w l y. It's really frustrating that I don't have time to spend a whole weekend just organizing. Sometimes I just feel like I'm moving things around because it doesn't actually look like I did anything. I got papers put away in the flat file drawer, shelves up to move necessary tools closer to the desk, a shelf to put tools on so that I can keep the table clear (we'll see how long that lasts), and created new space so that I can unpack more books. I should feel like I accomplished something - however - being the visual person that I am, it doesn't look like I did anything, so I fool myself.
I also put a chartreuse shelf up in the bathroom.
Yippee! Now I can keep things up on a sturdy shelf instead of balanced precariously on the edges of this ridiculous sink.
And now it's 10pm and I'm pooped. It's very hard to slog through a humid day. I think it makes one more tired, trying to get oxygen for all the water in the air. I will try to wake up early tomorrow morning and conduct some business. Hopefully Jacques will be a good alarm clock. He's been the best lately because…
he took over my chive plant.
Yep, I went to a nursery and they were have a super saver sale on herbs - something like two for one and 50% off to boot. I bought some parsley for Fred (who's fine by the way, just perkin' along), some chamomile grass, and chives. I put the herbs on the kitchen floor until I could deal with them and Jacques went after the chives like it was manna from heaven. Since he's an indoor kitty, and I don't want him eating the other plants, I let him have the chives.
Yes that's nice Tara, but how does this help Jacques be a better alarm clock you are asking?
Well, when he's hungry in the morning, before I'm up, he chomps on the chives. When he decides I've had enough of a lie-in, he jumps into bed and meows in my face with the chive-breath. Lovely.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


There are a pair of cardinals in the back yard! Oh Joy!
I thought I saw one a few days ago, but I didn't get a good look. But on Thursday I really saw them. I've seen lots of cardinals in this area and I was hoping a pair might live in my yard. Not only because they are beautiful birds, but because they were my high school mascot, so there is this special sentimental feeling about them. Now I will have to do some research about how to keep them around, what to feed them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The thrid electricain

My third (or second - depending on how you look at it) electrician is a Quaker. This is his truck. Click on the image to read all of the bumper stickers.
I have lots of thoughts about this, but I'll start with why I called him.
It turns out that the meters for the second and third floors were reversed. I received a bill for the third floor (which has nothing plugged in - not even the fridge) for $43. I received a bill for the second floor (where I've been living for two months) for $5. Hmm…
I actually had to call PECO (Philly Electric) twice about this. The second time I insisted on getting the story straight with them; it took some convincing. They did not believe me when I said that I was living on the second floor and only using $5.- of power while the third floor which had nothing plugged in was worth $43/month. The representative insisted that I must have something plugged in up there. I think I repeated three times that I knew I had nothing plugged in, that I knew I had plenty plugged in on the second floor, and could she please explain WHY it was therefore so cheap to live on the second floor???
We finally resolved that the meters were switched, which was of course, not PECO's problem and that I needed to have an electrician come out and deal with it.
Fine. Julianna had given me Lee's number, with rave reviews and I already concur. What a great guy, patiently explained everything to me, showed me (once again) how wrong everything was - fixed tons of stuff and was just generally a great guy. He knew the plumber and the contractor guy (who will redo my bathroom) with whom I've met - and he even knew Mr.El. When I said, "Oh, Mr. El, my neighbor…" he said, "Mr. El, the roofer? He's your neighbor?!" I said, Yeah! - apparently they had done another job a few years ago in south Philly. I tell ya - Philadelphia is a small town. :)
And here are my other thoughts about "this" - Good people gravitate towards other good people. The crummy people gravitate towards other crummy people. I'm really glad I've landed in the good people circle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My cat is a ham

I had a meeting last night with one of my fabulous students. Tracey came over to show me how to set up images for a flexagon in photoshop. I learned a lot, and even though we have a little media hiccup, I think that my book for my book group and Pyramid Atlantic will work out in the end.
We were working in the studio and Jacques, who I have to say took to Tracey quicker than most people, was really trying to be the center of attention; jumping on chairs, in laps, on window sills, talking talking talking etc. After a while he disappeared for a while, which was not even noticed. Then we hear loud clattering on the staircase. We look at each other, puzzled, what on earth could this be??? I went to investigate and found my cat half way down the stairs with his momentarily-favorite toy in tow. The toy is an orange fish with bug-eyes and a bell, attached to an elastic with a wand. This is how he functions - if just being cute doesn't work, bring a toy so we can both play with it. I didn't get pictures of him last night, crouching on the stairs where I found him, pulling the toy behind him, with that specific cat-look of, what?!
But it wasn't hard to get him to model for me tonight, purring the entire time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A party, new stairs, workin' in the studio

This was how I had to function today: with my Omi's (grandmother's) Ohropax (really great German earplugs).
The people who run the hair salon next door were having a birthday party. Now this apparently involves; a) listening to the Eagles game at 1pm out of a car - as loud as possible, (the Eagles won - thank goodness), b) setting up two four foot speakers on the sidewalk, and c) stomping through my yard with the intention of setting up a generator in my garden. My "security" system went off while Mary was here having pie, and I looked out the window to see this in progress. I've had enough of the entire neighborhood thinking the yard is opening to any one's whims, so I leaned out and demanded to know what they were doing in my yard!? Absolutely non-plussed the young man holding the two-inch-thick cable just looked at me and said, "we're looking for Mr. El, we need to plug in a generator." I said, "Well go knock on his front door, why are you in my yard?" So this young man called his dad over to explain things to me, and the dad explained that they were going to plug in a generator "right here" indicating a spot right in the middle of my yard over the fence from Mr. El's back door. I said, "no you're not that's my yard!" He couldn't understand what the problem was, "I'm here all the time!" I said, "really? - then why didn't you stop by yesterday and ask me if it was okay for you to set up in my yard? I was here all day, I've been here all morning too!" Well, they gave up, took their sweet time leaving my yard, smashed my hedges in the process - and poor Mary, I just couldn't get over it! How can you think it's perfectly okay to wander into someones yard!??? Crazy.
They waited until Mr. El got home, and he somehow let them plug it in somewhere else - :( - and then we were regaled with music so loud I couldn't hear myself yelling at my computer while I was trying to install the new software for my scanner.That's when I grabbed the Ohropax. I don't mind hearing music, I really don't - it's feeling it that is the problem. Because you can't get away from that. This started at about 4:30 and was finally turned down around 9:30. Must add new item to my list of things to do to the house: get a better front fence and gate.
By the way, the age of the person who's birthday it was?… 4.

These images are just for Miss Melly, who called yesterday to yell at me for not posting!!! She wanted to see what my floors looked like finished!!!

Henry let me down this time though - he left the paint between the spindles (?) on the second floor landing. I just don't have the energy to call him and fight him over this. He got them on the stairs, but not on the second floor landing. I'll either wait until he comes back to do the living room/kitchen, or I'll do it myself. And I guess there are no excuses anymore, I've got to rent out the third floor. :(, I really like having the place to myself.
The good new is that I finally got into my studio this week.
It is by no means finished, but I actually got to work in it for about 8 hours on Thursday, and several hours today. I should have worked in it yesterday - but we had monsoon weather and all I wanted to do was curl up in a chair, watch movies, and knit. So I did.
I did pamper my house this morning - I cleaned. There is something great about letting the house get really messy and dirty - you have so much to show for all of your work when you actually do clean it. The painted floors in the living room go a long way to hiding all of the dirt. I will have to make a separate entry for the fabulous vacuum my dad and Ann gave me. :)
The music is off, I believe I will open all the windows again, find the cat, and go to bed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

stairwell in progress

I came home to find this! :)
oooo - aaaah

ooohhh!It looks like even inspector Jacques approves. I will now have to paint the back of the stairs, but not anytime soon. They will get a lot shinier over the next few days. Today I will be relegated to my studio (won't that be sad), and then tomorrow I won't be able to get upstairs at all until Saturday morning. But then they will be done and beautiful!
It will finally be hot today; 93° and probably about the same amount of humidity. Yippee :(.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Studio and the Stairwell

Slowly, I am moving into my studio. Slowly. The only things I've added (of all of the junk you see) that did not come from my apartment are the guillotine and the bulletin board. Nothing else is new. The rest of it all came from my two room apartment which was probably the size of the entire studio. I'm not really sure how I fit everything in, especially since now I'm considering getting more cabinets. This is definitely not necessary because I have about a billion cabinets in storage. I just don't want to move everything one at a time. I have to remind myself of this before visiting Ikea again.

Henry Sanding Floor is coming again tomorrow. He's doing the stairwell and I finally got my act in gear and took some good 'before' shots. As I mentioned before, Jessica, Mario, Ansley and Anni yanked out the carpet on the stairs. I am very grateful to them for this because I didn't have to do it. :) Henry is doing the whole stairwell which will only take three days.
I kind of wish I had thought this through a little bit more. I desperately want an upside-down refrigerator. Makes more sense! However, getting the one I have downstairs , and new one upstairs, is not exactly going to be a piece of cake. If the stairs wouldn't be finished it wouldn't be a big deal, but with the stairs done, I'd like them (whoever they will be) to be a bit careful in throwing the thing down the stairs. But I guess I will have to worry about that in the future. A new fridge will not be in until 1. after my show, 2. the wall has been knocked down, so that 3. Henry can come and sand the last of the second floor floors. Everybody clear the plan? Good.

Here's the start of the stairwell, with "beautiful" red linoleum:There is also a fabulous view of my beautiful banister. I've still got plenty to strip off of it. I was working under the illusion that I am wonder woman last month. I thought I could get everything done in time. That finally caught up with me over the weekend, I was exhausted!
The red linoleum changes to black on the second floor landing. Why??
Hmm, lovely!And the stairs to the third floor.
That should be plenty of an idea of the stairwell. I'm really excited to see what it looks like after Henry tackles it. :)

In other news, I finally finished my syllabus.
And none too soon. I don't really know why I was dragging my feet on this, it was not that big of a deal. I've taught the class for three years, all the instructions are pretty solid, and I just needed to add this year's syllabus and change a few dates. I went to school last night at 9:30 and xeroxed it all. My students sew their course book together on the first night. This accomplishes a few things: 1. They have ownership of their coursebook. It will never be thrown away because it's the first book they've every made. 2. It sends the message, "you will work your butt off in this class." and 3. I don't have to do any more xeroxing for the rest of the semester, it's all there, in the book. Yahoo!