Homage to Shel Silverstein

September 30, 2007

I’m not sure if this is what Shel had in mind when he wrote Where The Sidewalk Ends, but I’m pretty happy about it. In my ongoing effort to “soften” the front of my house, Pierre took a sledgehammer to the cement paths outlining the front porch. I’m hoping that this will allow me to get in there and get creative with shrubs and perennials. Someone should let my poor hastas know that their days of solitary soldier lines are numbered.


I’m thinking dogwood, rhododenden (spelling?), spirea, cedum, lady’s mantle, and maybe some shiny holly. Less lawn, baby!

Now, what to do with huge chunks of old sidewalk?



Clean windows, clean world

September 28, 2007

I never realized how much clean windows matter.  Pierre spent a whole day cleaning the windows in my study and it’s like a new room.  Instead of having a thin film of grease and grime between me and my view, all I have is clean sparkling glass.  I can see the lawn!

Inspired by his effort and this new clean vision, I got to work on the downstairs windows.  Windex in one hand and paper towels in another, I rubbed and wiped away years of dirt (and grease?).  Of course, in my version of window cleaning only the bottom halves needed cleaning. Who has time to deal with the ladder? And really, who looks out the top half of a window? Well, as I survey my handiwork, I now realize that a crystal clear bottom half makes the top half look even worse. My solution? I’m hanging some lace.

Then I’ll get to see the world through the muted and misty lens of Victorian romance.  Which will do a nice job of blocking my view of the hairy naked man on one side and the beige vinyl siding on the other.

Mama the Wallpaper Queen

September 22, 2007

So my mom is here this week-end and she’s been busy. Yup, she’s wallpapering that tiny foyer.  As long as she’s got her shuffle on, she’s fine. I check on her once and a while, but she doesn’t notice me. She’s too busy measuring and swearing. I owe her big!

Local Food Festival

September 16, 2007

We could have cleaned the windows today. We could have rehung the bedroom closet door or at least painted it. We could have done a lot of things house related, but instead we piled into the VW and headed out to Altamont to check out Indian Ladder Farms and the celebration of local foods.

Twenty minutes later and we’d left the city behind us. We were deep in farm country and apple orchards in the valley beneath the Helderberg Escarpment. We parked our car, grabbed the camera, and bundled up in fleece. It was hard to know where to start: With the apple cider and cinnamon cider donuts? The spicy BBQ sauce? Maple cotton candy? The goat cheese? The goats themselves? The place was packed and there was a seriously sad moment when we thought we’d have to forgo the cider due to the insanely long line inside. But then, thank god, we found the secret outside take-out window around back.  Pretty soon we were munching warm donuts and drinking steaming cider out of paper cups. Sitting at a picnic table in a spot of sunshine, it felt like a pretty great way to start the fall.

We polished off a few donuts, brushed ourselves free of sugar crumbs and the friendly swarm of bees, and made new friends with Bob the woodworker and the woman at River Street Pottery. I began to have daydreams about alternate career paths involving fiber arts and craft festivals.

I even confronted my childhood fear of goats and petting zoos.

On the way home, we tried some other local food…at the Tastee Treat.


Soggy basements

September 12, 2007

Here in the Northeast, we’ve been getting mucho rain. Pouring, dripping, sluicing. It’s made me aware of many rain-related things such as poor gutters, damp windowsills, and basement puddling. I got home late yesterday and visited the basement for something (who knows, who remembers?) when I saw the water-stained carpet runners. In an effort to make the basement prettier, I bought those cheap rubber backed runners at Home Depot to throw down over the crumbly cement. And now they were wet. Really wet.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on Candid Camera for Homeowners. Seriously, someone should have video taped my efforts to drape the soggy carpets over my skinny rickety clothes rack from Ames. Hilarious. Except it wasn’t. I’m not sure where the water was coming from–possibly the windows, more likely the floor? What’s underneath the basement? I peered into the crusty drain hole (which could be a likely reason for pooling water, now that I think about it) and saw that it dropped a few…inches or feet into darkness. What lies beneath? What creatures slither and slide while we sleep? To be honest, I don’t want to know. I just want things dry.

I cranked the dehumidifer and jerry-rigged some old planking as a kind of prop to put the wet carpeting on. It ain’t pretty, but it’ll do.

Good Things

September 7, 2007


Wallpaper, anyone?

September 4, 2007

My mom is coming down in a few weeks to wallpaper my tiny foyer. Even though I swore I’d never use the stuff after the time I spent scraping it, I find myself oddly fascinated by it now. I’m thinking of a William Morris -type print but without the William Morris price tag.

Sherwin Williams has this one that I’m considering.