Bound for the Big Easy

March 30, 2008

So, here’s a problem for you. I’m heading down to New Orleans on Tuesday for a conference where I’m giving a paper with two of my intrepid colleagues. We’re each exploring an aspect of writing pedagogy where old and new media collide (a la Henry Jenkins).


My real issue is this: what to wear.

Instead of finishing my paper or re-reading Jenkins, I’m crusing the internet checking out weather, possible restaurants, and the music scene. According to, it’s supposed to be 79 degrees. Yet I’m always suspicous of forecasts. For one thing, just because the weather’ s warm doesn’t mean that I’ll be. I’m cold blooded, plus I’ve got those winter white legs permanently lined from my Smart Wools. Don’t even get me started on my toenails.

Can I wear clogs in the south? Will they laugh at me?


A Summer to Thrift

March 28, 2008

Some kids grew up playing tennis or sailing sunfishes on Lake Champlain, but we grew up garage saling with our mother. We spent Friday nights circling classified ads with a red Sharpie. Saturday mornings my sister and I crammed into the front seat of the old Toyota pick-up truck, sleepy-eyed and cranky. And our mother, fresh-faced and chipper, eyes glinting with the images of other people’s castoffs, filled up the travel thermos with coffee and made sure we wore our running shoes.

So as April approaches, I can’t help but feel the old stirring in my blood. Come spring, I begin to behave diffently. I drive with one eye on the road and one eye peeled for hand scrawled “Garage Sale today!” signs. I make sure I always have a wad of ones in my wallet. I wear comfortable shoes and travel the side streets on foot.

With this inherited trait, it’s not surprising then that I have a soft spot for flea markets. It’s like a centralized clearing house of castoffs without all the driving around with a map. I’m completely in love with this recent list I found over at decor8–a great blog for crafty finds.
How great is that?!

My Tag Team

March 24, 2008

My folks came to visit this weekend and I’m amazed at what we were able to accomplish in bascially twelve hours. They may be retired, but boy they have energy!

Those curtains I’d hung but hadn’t hemmed? Done. Cooking under that string of Christmas lights? Pretty but impractical. Lo and behold the simple beauty of track lighting! Installed and delightful. The front door that needed planing? Planed and working smoothly. That cheesy outdoor light I’d been living with? Replaced with a garage sale find.

It’s amazing what having your own personal team of whirling dervishes can accomplish. Plus, I loved finally hosting my parents in my own home after all the homes they’ve made for me.


Smalls Part II

March 21, 2008

In the daily stress of teaching, writing, cooking, cleaning, I sometimes forget that small things can make a huge difference in my day. On some level, we all know this. But what I’m continually amazed at is how easy I forget this simple fact. It’s like how I have to keep re-reading The Power of Now because it’s erased from my mind as soon as I put the book down. I guess that’s just a great example of how practice works and why it’s called “practice.” So here’s a list of smalls that I’ve recently remembered I’d forgotten:

  • The physical bliss of a new pair of running shoes
  • A fresh bar of Dove soap
  • An issue of Real Simple in the mailbox
  • The first sip of coffee in the morning
  • Morning
  • Clean sheets
  • Socks knit for me by my mom
  • Starbucks chai latte with soy milk
  • Noodles
  • Having an upstairs and a downstairs
  • John Prine
  • Those daycare buggies carrying a six-pack of small children
  • The color pink

Here’s to keeping our eyes open for the smalls that make us smile.

From my “Daily Om” to yours

March 20, 2008
All’s quiet on the housegirrl front these days (except for looming writing deadlines). But I thought I’d share with y’all a little bit of wisdom from my email inbox:
Your Wellspring Of Energy
A Stress-Free Home

“Sometimes our lives are so busy that we treat our homes as if they were impersonal places that we merely pass through. But we can make certain that our homes truly feel like our sanctuaries by taking the time to tend to them like gardens, which need care in order to offer us the beauty of their blooms. When we take the time to treat our homes like beloved treasures, we can shift their energy from being merely places to being wellsprings for the replenishment of our energy.

Consider that homes are the outer reflections of those who live within. If we feel that the current appearance clashes with how we’d like to see ourselves, it can keep us from fully allowing our light to shine. Updating our homes to reflect our inner landscape need not involve massive redecorating or a large outlay of money. Small things can make a big difference, like simply moving items so that we constantly gaze upon the things we love the most, liberating the treasures we’ve hidden in our closets, using our best dishes and making small repairs. Organizing and cleaning is a no-cost way to remove chaos from our homes and introduce more calm. Lovingly rejuvenating our personal space can become a creative project that increases the flow of good throughout all aspects of our lives and increases our feeling of connection. We can give old things new life by donating them to charity, opening space for newness to enter. Removing stress from our homes can be as simple as putting our bills into pretty boxes and choosing a specific time to deal with them, or removing clutter so that we and our energy can move freely throughout our space.

Simplifying our space lets our imagination and energy roam free. We can choose to prioritize our homes, making them the true heart of our family’s activities. Then we are free to focus on what really matters-time to ourselves, to share with loved ones, and to replenish our energy so that we have more to share with each other and with the world. “

Summer plan!

March 15, 2008

I know it’s only March, but I’m planning ahead and looking for interested folks to join me. Check out the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn scheduled for June 14th and 15th.  What’s better than cool homemade stuff? Maybe I’ll finally find the lamp I’ve been looking for or some version of postmodern antimacassers.

My Liminal State

March 13, 2008

Here in upstate New York we are hovering between two seasons. We’ve got a Sorrell boot still firmly planted in deep winter while our other foot (shod in a purple skimmer flat) is poised to step lightly into the fresh world of spring. For the moment, however, we are stuck in between.

There’s a stubborn patch of old snow in the corner of my yard that won’t seem to melt. It’s beginning to look permanent.

Half of my front yard is dead–yellow, parched, and crispy, but at least the other half looks perky.

I went searching for the first signs of daffodil tendrils, but they’re still waiting for sun.

I tried to order a pair of smart cropped jeans, but they’re on back order for 10 weeks, at which time, it will almost be fall again.

I discovered that my bran cereal has high fructose corn syrup listed as the third ingredient.  So much for old favorite bran muffin recipes. Here’s the new one I’m trying.

It’s the waiting game, I guess. Waiting for spring, open-toed shoes, the first asparagus spear, and robins on my lawn.