Channeling Crocket?

June 30, 2009

It’s the end of June, which means it’s the beginning of my annual painting frenzy.  On the docket for the summer:finish upstairs bathroom and kitchen.  Pronto!

So, I thought I was being all smart and professional this time. I spent a lot of time with paint chips. I even practiced great restraint and bought only a small sample of the color I thought I wanted. I even tried painting a sample section of the wall. But now, well, now I just don’t know. It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but is it worth spending another day to make it right? I’d wanted something a bit quieter, I think.  But this is kinda Key West.  Or maybe Miami.  Do I just live with it, roll up my sleeves and wear a lot of white linen?

Here’s the before and the now (with Fountain Blue):



Spring Musings

April 7, 2009

It turns out that I’m actually a morning person. I had my suspicions that the wee hours of the day might be for me, though I fought it for a long time. But there’s nothing like house-breaking a dog and a few writing deadlines to make you jump out of bed before the alarm goes off. So now that the deadlines are finished and I’ve trained Daisy to go outside and come back in for a morning nap from 5:30-7:00, I find I have a delicious window of free time. It’s enough time to make coffee, put away dishes, turn on the MacBook and do some writing. Granted, it’s a small window of time, but I’m finding that I’m actually more productive in short limited bursts than long infreqent blocks of time.  Duh. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

Speaking of short bursts, I went to stay with a friend in NYC for one night and two whirlwind days of eating, shopping, and getting lost. We discovered a mighty fine vegetarian kosher Indian restaurant in Murray Hill called Pongal where we ate crispy spinach fritters and dosas. Who knew? I’d spent time in mid-town before, but I didn’t realize that there were cute little neighborhood cafes tucked away. Like Penelope, for instance. Did I mention the Nutella french toast and the egg and cheese and pesto on a croissant? Delish. Plus, a great place to see the up-and-coming next generation of financiers in their Burberry coats and Tods.

So now I’m home and my crocuses are up and my tulips appear poised for action.  Fingers crossed that we don’t get any of that snow because I refuse to shovel anything that’s not dirt.

California Dreamin’

March 17, 2009

I’m back from six days in San Francisco and still adjusting to life on the east coast. Or rather, I should say I’m adjusting to my own house again after a glorious hotel, my own kitchen after restaurant delicacies, and teaching my students instead of hitting unknown streets in search of urban adventures.  What does all of this mean? It means I’m back to making my own coffee and my own bed.  I’m back to writing on the board and reading drafts and attending department meetings and answering emails.

Needless to say, my head is not back quite yet and I find myself dreaming about Vietnamese coffee (slow brewed over an inch of sweetened condensed milk), Chez Panisse (my own personal pilgrimage to the foodie mecca), steep hills bustling with people from all over the world, the sounds of sea lions in the early morning down at the pier past Fisherman’s Wharf, the chocolate cupcake from Miette bakery, the crispy shredded papaya salad at The Slanted Door, the mango crab wonder at The Naked Fish, the dry martinis at Tosca, I could go on, but it’s making me too hungry and nostalgic for a city that isn’t mine.

But the best part was re-connecting with old friends from both high school and college and the comforting fact that everyone–to the person–looked exactly the way I remembered them. It’s nice to know that even though we’re getting older (and wiser?), we’re still the same and we’re still friends and I can still handle my gin.

So it’s back to the grind for a bit now. And probably time to check in on my house trap and figure out the paint color I want for the bathroom and maybe even clean out the garage so I can find the garden rake.  But until then, I’m going to think about fresh spring rolls and the shumai place in Chinatown and the French cafe on Bush Street with the strong dark coffee and buttery croissants served warm in a basket lined with linen.


House and Other Resolutions

December 30, 2008

With 2008 drawing to a close, it’s time I drafted a list of resolutions. Usually, these lists remain just lists without actual actions, but as I get older, I find that changing. Case in point: flossing and running have been on my New Year’s Resolutions since my freshman year in college and now I finally do both. So here’s to resolutions that begin as ink marks on a page and (eventually) come to fruition:

  • Look into seamless gutters
  • Finish painting the kitchen, hallway, and upstairs bathroom
  • Wallpaper the downstairs bathroom
  • Fix stereo receiver or get an iPod
  • Take Daisy to the golf course more often
  • Learn how to  cook Indian and Thai food
  • Practice yoga at home
  • Stick to a meditation schedule (or at least make one)
  • Spend more time with friends

Happy New Year and a peaceful 2009!

The Weed/Rake Connection

October 5, 2008

It’s been a cold indoor work day down here. I’ve got a stack of student papers in front of me, a pot of chili on the stove, and a sleeping dog at my feet. I could finish the papers, I could make the cornbread, I could let sleeping dogs lie. But the sun is out and I do believe it’s warmer outside than in. I say it’s time to rally and go attack my dead flower beds and leaf-speckled lawn.

Sundays usually means work for those of us in the teaching profession: reading, prepping, grading.  But sometimes you gotta let Sundays be true to their nature.

And today is one of those rare and beautiful Sundays. I’m calling it and heading out!


September 21, 2008

It’s a full on workin’ Sunday–complete with official letter writing (for tenure), 3 loads of laundry, and cleaning-out-the-fridge meals. None of this bodes well for Daisy, who is outside on her tethered cable as I write. She’s contemplating grass blades, neighbor kids on trikes, and has pretty much decimated the sorry remains of my tomatoes. They didn’t yield tremendous results, so I suppose it’s easier to relinquish them. But damnit, I’m still fighting the good fight to keep her digging paws out of my perennial bed.

It’s hard to juggle dog care with all the other demands, but she’s got to learn to keep herself busy. So far, so good. A little bit of freeze-dried liver stuffed into the cavity of a Kong doesn’t hurt.  Life will definitely get more exciting when we go to our pre-arranged playdate with Winston, the white Terrier who lives behind us. Until that happens, the best part of her day was discovering a dead mole under the pine tree. Funny how we don’t share the same idea of a good time.

On Healing

September 12, 2008

The past four weeks have been challenging. Between Daisy’s splint and bladder infection and my own mystery illnesses, we’ve been limping along. That’s all about to change, however, because yesterday the vet declared her fracture healed! So now we’ve just got 4 more days of bandages and plastic booties. This means the end of carrying her up and down the stairs! It means the end of the heavy metal splint! It means a return to puppy playgroup! Hoorray for both of us:)

We’ve been putting the recuperative time to good use and she’s learning how to heel on our walks. There’s still plenty of meandering and sniffing and grub-digging, but now we’re actully covering some ground and making time. I’ve learned to read the landscape in an entirely new way and can spot a chicken bone from three feet away, a wad of tinfoil from a yard, and can circumvent soggy tube socks on the sidewalk in under two seconds. I’d say we’re on our way!