Saturday, February 27, 2010

The junking, it is good!

Sometimes I like to sneak away from my family on a Saturday morning and go to the junk store. This time I kidnapped my friend Amy to come along.

We had a lovely time discussing husbands, children, boils, cupcakes and the lack of civility in the world.

Most importantly, we junked!

My favorite score is this awesome pair of cowboy boots. I love them with my whole entire being.

They are real leather and feel amazing. I just need a cowboy. Maybe I can get some chaps at the junk store for David.

I also found this little house.

I am going to paint it yellow and put little curtains in the windows. I'll make some window boxes and fill them with tiny red geraniums.

I found a completely amazing teal dress from the seventies. I need to wash it, but once it's all clean I'll model it for you. It has a very Anthropologie/Mad Men feel to it. White go-go boots would make it perfect.

On a more somber note, I have to let you know that there has been a death in the Shiny Red Houses Family. Back when Tibbles found a new home with the long suffering Christine, I bought Rebecca some new replacement pets. Two African Dwarf frogs. Useless pets, but they don't pee on the couch so they were an improvement over Piddles. Rebecca named them Kirk and Spock and promptly started ignoring them.


Over the last month we've noticed that one of the frogs was thriving and that the other one....not so much.

Today, the circle of life was completed as young Spock, dear sweet Spock, was found at the bottom of the tank looking extremely dead. Further inspection revealed that he had in fact left this world and that it was time for him to make the journey into the next, a journey which so many small aquatic pets have traveled, namely the journey from toilet to water treatment plant.

I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I silently cheered Spock's death. It's possible that with two kids, two dogs, three cats, two frogs and two hermit crabs I was feeling a bit overburdened in the pet department.

Meanwhile, Lily is complaining of a stomach ache and I am praying that my punishment for welcoming amphibian death is not a Padrusch Family stomach flu.

Please pray for us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hobo day...

You know how sometimes you pop over to Shiny Red Houses hoping to get a glimpse of some good junk or maybe some poignant insight into life and love?

There is none of that here today people. Today there is nothing more than a boat load of crazy time.

Remember that virus I had last week which made me really achy? And then Lily got it and she was really achy? Well now Rebecca has it and it has led to a complete family breakdown of anything resembling normal.

Since Rebecca is sick she is getting extra attention and privileges, like being allowed to watch sixteen hours of crappy cartoons in her bed.

Lily does not like this. She prefers to be the center of the universe and does not appreciate being shuttled to the side like some sibling. I tried to placate her with cheeseburgers for dinner last night, cheeseburgers for breakfast and cheeseburgers for lunch, but that is just not the same as having the planets revolve around your squishy little butt.

This morning we woke to rain, a steady cold rain in which I had no interest in walking with the dogs. Feeling extra guilty for not taking a proper walk, I tried to do my Wii fit workout but my foot keeps breaking and then healing and then breaking again. It's possible that it is just strained, but really, it might as well be broken. I did the chicken arm flapping exercise to try to get some work out, but really, the fact that there is no chicken flapping event in the Olympics should tell you how effective it is for getting in shape.

After my non work out I tossed Lily another cheeseburger, took a shower and tried to resist crawling back into bed.

I managed to teach Lily, but by 11:00 we succumbed to the pull of the bed, dressed like hobos and watched Little House on the Prairie for three hours. For a while I took a break and laid in front of the fire, but that is even more hobo like than lying in bed, which I have always felt has more of a wino connotation.

Every once in a while I'd get out of bed, make another cheeseburger for Lily and some broth for Rebecca and then return to bed, waiting for my online Scrabble opponents to take their turns already. Since they have actual jobs it took forever for them to play and about this I was deeply annoyed.

Then on hour 3 3/4 of Little House on the Prairie, Sophie showed up with poop breath.

That's been my day today. One child moaning in pain, the other whining from injustice and me aggravated that I keep losing at Scrabble while playing games that are taking too long, followed by trying to avoid being licked by a dog who eats poop.

We have all gone mad. Send chocolate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A dream come true!

Have you ever had the dream where you discover a new room in your house that you had never noticed before? This is my absolute most favorite dream in the world.

I see the door, open it and suddenly there is a new room to explore and decorate.

Today that dream became real when David and I realized that he no longer needed all of the room in his studio. David's studio is a detached garage that we converted into office space a few years ago. At times he's needed all of the space for his work, but now quite a bit of that space has opened up and people, I pounced on it!

I asked David if I could have some space for a workshop and he readily agreed.

He cleared an entire desk and some shelves for me and even added something special to the space to make it my own.

See that poster? It is Irises in a Vase by VanGogh. I gave it to David on the night we eloped. The first flower that he ever gave me was an iris and iris's have always been special for us.

Look at all that space!

I brought out my paints and supplies.

Now I can work on projects and leave them out until they are finished. I also now have space to start a little business that I've been thinking about. I'll give you a involves fairy houses!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why yes, I have been junking!

I haven't posted a junk update in ages, but not because I haven't been junking. I have been junking for the past month with a plan. A small plan, but a persistent plan to open a little Etsy shop so that I can share some of my vintage finds with you!

Would you like to visit my shop?

Junking is even more fun now because even though my house really can't accommodate any more treasures I can still pick up vintages pretties to sell in my shop.

I hope that you enjoy my latest endeavor!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


When David and I first married is was part of a very perfect romance. We met, fell madly in love, ran away to Maine together and began our new life.

We had no idea how young we were, just as I suppose we have no idea how young we are now. I do know that in the early days of our marriage our worries were fairly one dimensional.

Would we have ever have enough money to buy a house?

When should we have children?

As time went on some of our struggles became more nuanced. Trouble with the business, a friend suddenly dropping us, illnesses and fears for our children. There have been heartbreaks along this road and through it all David and I have emerged, hands clasped.

The part of this experience which surprised me the most is how much better and stronger each heartbreak has made us. Not only that, but the opportunities that each of us has had over the years to lift each other up and carry the load has added a layer of texture to this marriage which I never anticipated.

It makes the victories sweeter, but more importantly, the choosing to support each other again and again adds another knot in the rope that binds our marriage. I can look back at our life together and see the crossroads where we might have chosen to fight or dig in our heels and I can see how differently this story might have gone.

So this is what I have learned about marriage. It's love, it's luck and it's choosing to write your happy ending. It's choosing to take the path of the happy marriage and to hold on tight when things get dark. Hold on tight until you reach the light.

Monday, February 15, 2010


On Saturday David and the girls had a plan to go to the movies, but by mid-Saturday morning it was obvious that Lily was sick with the achy breaky fever virus. Rebecca suggested that since they couldn't go to the movies, it would be fun to watch a movie at home in bed. She then excitedly asked if they could have some treats from their Halloween bags while they watched the movie.

No, my children haven't eaten their Halloween candy. Maybe this makes them weird children, but they forget all about it fairly soon after the holiday. We use some for gingerbread houses and the advent calendar but most of it get saved for special occasions.

As soon as Rebecca dashed downstairs to retrieve the bags and I saw the look on David's face I knew we had a problem.

She ran back upstairs clutching two nearly empty treat bags.

"Lily, Daddy ate all of your KitKats!!" Rebecca yelled.

And thus began the wailing and the gnashing and the indigence. It's not often that Lily is the aggrieved party and she relished the opportunity to demand justice.

"I worked so hard collecting KitKats and you ruined everything!" Lily cried.

I wish that this were David's first offense, but he is a repeat offender and serial candy stealer. Reform does not seem likely. Luckily he is willing to make restitution, head hung low.

Finally a settlement was reached and a trip to the candy store was made.

Lily accepted the giant KitKat bar with a scowl. She ate a few pieces and asked that the rest be saved because she is a serial candy saver.

How do you think this story is going to end?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Achy Breaky...

This was the week in which I fell deep into my real life and could not emerge sufficiently to blog.

On Tuesday I felt achy which I dismissed as work out fatigue, but by Wednesday afternoon I could not deny that my entire body hurt. A fever confirmed it- I was sick. Thursday I was a bit less achy as long as I remembered to keep up with my motrin.

Friday I felt quite a bit better, no fever, which is why I found myself being dragged out of my house at 9pm on a Friday night by my friend Marisol. A musician friend of ours from high school was in town playing at a local bar and Marisol informed me that I was going with her to hear him play and that I had to leave my flannel nightgown at home.

Notice the lack of flannel?

We went and had a very fun time. I enjoyed the music of course, but I also enjoyed seeing what all the young hipsters are wearing these days.

In turns out that they are wearing virtually the same uniform that they wore twenty years ago.

Jeans rolled up? Check.
Doc Marten boots? Check.
Ironic sideburns? Check.

You want to know what I promise you they do not wear?

This dress. There is nothing ironic or hip about this crazy dress that I found at the junk store. It is fifteen pounds of yellow sparkly, feathery crazy twirliness and I bought it to wear to the La Leche League Silent Action.

My friend Heather and I run this auction every year, and each year we appoint ourselves auction queens. It started out as an excuse to wear ball gowns and tiaras, but now it's become a tradition. This is my last year doing it so I felt I should go out with a bang.

Once it gets a bit closer to the auction and I have edged closer to my weight loss goal (eighteen pounds down, twenty-five to go!) I'll post a picture. In the meantime I am devoting my energies to finding silvery sparkly shoes.

Now I must go tend to Lily, who has caught my virus and I can promise you that there are few things as pathetic as an achy and feverish Lily.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The origin of mooo...

When David and I first ran away to Maine together I had a cat. She was the most magnificent cat ever and I loved her so.

After a few weeks of living with The Baby Marmie Kitty as she was known to us, we decided that it was time to grow our little family and adopt more cats.

We adopted two cats, Penelope and Phineas. They were fine grey cats. One died about seven years ago and the other, Phineas is still alive and quite fat.

Since we did not yet have children to worry about, we poured all of our paternal angst into the cats. One day, when Phineas was still a young cat, he ate a wad of plastic from a plastic bag.

Oh no! Would he live?

I was at work so David rushed Phineas to the vet so that he could be watched and saved from certain death or at the very least, a belly ache.

As David put young Phineas in the car he heard a very pitiful sound indeed.

"MoooooooooooooMoooooooooMoooooooooooo" Phineas wailed from his cat carrier.

Oh, the grief that poured from that cat's mouth. David called me after he dropped Phineas off and imitated the sound.

Very quickly "mooooooo" became part of our strange lexicon of love. It has many meanings. Some days it means, "Oh, the agony of this life." Other days it means, "I love you." As a matter of fact David and I rarely say, "I love you."

Our conversations most often end with, "Moo Moo" and that my friends is true love.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7, 1997

Thirteen years ago.

On a cold Friday night in Portland, Maine at the Courthouse.

I wasn't nervous.

Only elated.

We had known each other a little less than a year...

and we secretly eloped.

We were planning a wedding which was beautiful and perfect, but this wedding, our secret wedding is a small gem of joy which I always hold close to my heart.

Happy Anniversary David! Thank you for everything you do and everything you are.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Daddy Daughter antics...

Tonight was the Daddy Daughter Valentine's Day Dance in our town.

Rebecca didn't want to go because that level of noise often gives her a headache. She went to her usual dance class instead.

Earlier in the week Lily announced that she did not wish to go to the dance, she wanted to go to gymnastics. She would not be dissuaded.

She would not be dissuaded that is, until this afternoon when she issued a new proclamation:

"Even though I have been very crabby with Daddy all morning, I would like to go to the Daddy Daughter Dance with him."

I sprang into action. David was alerted that his presence would be required. Lily was bathed, her hair was washed and curled and a Valentine dress was put on.

She was so lovely and happy.

I should have paid more attention to these pictures though.

Had I paid closer attention to these pictures I might have been able to warn David.

I was too distracted by her cuteness to notice that perhaps something was brewing...

I took some pictures of David and Lily...

And sent them on their way.

All was lovely at home. Just me, the dogs and some chicken tikka masala for dinner. Bliss...which lasted thirty minutes.

And then the phone rang.

"Will you please convince your daughter not to leave the dance?" David asked.

He put Lily on the phone and she cried and cried. She didn't want to dance, none of her friends were there and she wanted to come home.

"But Lily," I said, "There will be cake!"

"I don't care!" she sobbed. "I want to come home!"

And so they came home. Lily cried and then she had a bath and some snacks and cried some more.

Meanwhile, as David was getting ready to leave to go pick up Rebecca I said, "Why don't you take Rebecca to the dance?"

Such brilliance! David grabbed Rebecca's fancy dance frock and fetched her from class and asked her to the dance. She was happy to oblige.

They had a lovely time. They danced. They had cake. No one cried.

And so the night ended, one daughter happy and one crazy, both loved.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Sometimes aliens inhabit the bodies of my children.


There is no other explanation for what happened today at Shiny Red Houses.

While I was otherwise occupied, my children decided that it was Sister Day.

This meant that Rebecca sat with Lily and helped her do her schoolwork. I was shocked when they informed me that Lily was almost done with her work. The shock continued when I walked up the stairs and found them both completely naked preparing to take a bath together so that Rebecca could wash Lily's hair. They chatted and giggled and folks, the fun did not stop there.

After the bath they decided that they wanted to dress alike for our trip to the library.

They were focusing on trying to synchronize their steps.

At the library I could tell that the aliens were preparing to depart. A certain level of irritability was emerging as the hosts regained control of their bodies.

By the time we got home the aliens had abandoned their hosts and the girls were back to bickering. Rebecca had a headache. Lily was hungry.

We all have the memory though, of three perfect hours on Sister Day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Victories small and otherwise...

Do you guys ever get tired of hearing how awful my basement is? I actually considered taking some pictures of it today, but then I realized what a horrible mistake that would be.

The reason that I even considered it was because I tidied it up so that now you can walk through it freely and for a brief moment I was proud. Then I imagined the picture that I would take of all 157 of my pitchers, my decorative items arranged by season and the three groaning shelves of spray paint and realized that my basement looks like it is owned by a lunatic hoarder of home decor.

So let me just say that my basement is a rat hole, but a rat hole in which you are slightly less likely to trip over a vintage croquet set than before I cleaned it.

It took me all day long to work up the energy to go down there because I was so cold. It used to be that I never got cold. Since my new life as an athlete I have lost about sixteen pounds and I think I may have lost an important layer of insulating blubber. I sat in front of the fireplace like a lizard trying to warm itself for about forty-five minutes before I felt warm enough to deal with the basement.

David made it off to his conference, though not before asking me to iron his clothes at 10pm last night. I did it, but I actually like to be asleep at 10pm, not wandering around my house trying to remember where we keep the iron. After my little mishap with the dry cleaning however, I thought it best to be helpful and not complain.

Before I sign off to an evening with my old lady nightgown and a cup of tea, I wanted to let you know that I am now world famous in Poland. One of my blog posts was published in this month's issue of Bay State Parent. It is such a thrill to find that my hapless musings have made it into actual print. Special thanks to Carrie and Jenn for making it happen!