Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A day at the beauty shop...

I have been growing out my hair for about nine long months and not once in all of that time did I go see the goddess of hairdressers, Toni. My reasons were two fold. Firstly, the cut grew out so well that I didn't really need a haircut. Secondly, I was afraid I'd end up cutting it.

Growing out hair is a long process and requires constant vigilance. The good news in that the vigilance against cutting it paid off. My hair is now grown out. The bad news is that I was so focused on not cutting it that I dove into the world of at home hair dying without really thinking it through.

That is how I ended up with hair that was orange had a reddish glow.

Today the girls and I booked two and half hours with Toni so that we could get cleaned up and made pretty.

First Toni was kind and did not scold me for ruining my hair dying my hair. She painted my hair with lots of goop and then as I waited, Lily got a hair cut. Lily is a mercurial creature. For months she has been growing out her hair and then yesterday she announced: "I want short hair!"

She would not be dissuaded. The result is very, very cute.

Once Lily's hair was done, mine was rinsed and cut and more goop was put on it. While my hair absorbed chemicals, it was Rebecca's turn.

Rebecca only wanted a trim so her result was not quite as dramatic.

I could not get that child to sit still for a proper picture.

Finally, my hair was rinsed and styled.

No more red!

I have now grown out my hair, am within five pounds of my goal weight and have home schooled my kids. I still suck at Scrabble though, so there is always room for improvement.

Monday, June 28, 2010


What have I been doing this week which has taken me away from blogging?

Well, since you've asked, I'll tell you. I have been applying sunscreen and sweeping sand. Other times I've been changing my sheets which are full of sand. When I am done doing that, I sweep some more sand and apply some more sunscreen.

It is summer and I am cranky.

Of course you know what I like to do when the heat of summer gets me down...

Go junking!

It was quite a haul!

Why yes! That is Fiestaware. You do not want to know how cheap it was.

I love this blanket. It is on my chair and is very snugly. It helps me pretend that fall is right around the corner.

Remember the dressmaking dummy? She's right at home.

Now that we are back from the cape I am trying to establish a routine. It's strange that our days feel so different in the summer. The kids have been home for the past nine months, but those days felt very structured. Summer days just seem to go on and on.

How are you managing? What do your summer days look like?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best part of vacation...

The girls and I arrived at my folks place on the cape on Tuesday and it has been fun and sun ever since.

We have been alternating between bay swimming and ocean swimming. Bay swimming means the water is warmer but the waves are small. Ocean swimming brings bigger waves but has water which is so cold, so cold that I want to weep just remembering the cold. Painful cold. Ice cube cold. The cold that gets into your soul and makes you beg for your mommy. But once you have sustained permanent nerve damage in your extremities it's not so bad!

The girls and I have settled into a routine of taking the dogs up to the land where dogs are worshiped Provincetown for a walk and beach romp every morning. You can take the dogs into every store and most shop owners even have treats for the dogs. It's quite interesting to see how uneventful it is to have the dogs everywhere, not bothering anyone with their dogginess, everyone just going about their business and loving life.

This is the handle on one of the benches. I wanted the whole bench, but settled for a picture.

In addition to beach love and dog love, the other truly magical thing about being here is that my dad does all the laundry.

Let me say that again.

My dad does ALL the laundry. And quickly! And he uses fabric softener! And he folds it!

It is perhaps the greatest luxury of my adult life and the best part of vacation. Go ahead and envy me.

I know you do. (Karen, I'm talking to you.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Granny Apple Green!

Remember when I went junking last week and everything I found was yellow? Well yesterday I hit Global Thrift and it was a day of granny apple green.

I have been looking for a dressmakers dummy for years. I almost missed this one, but lucky for me, Rebecca spotted it. It was 7.99 and already painted my favorite shade of green. I have vintage handbags in yellow, green, red, and black scattered throughout my house. I love the punch of color they can give to an unexpected place and the sweet vintage styles always make me happy. That green basket thing is going to hold all sorts of important items! I'm thinking about using it to hold cloth napkins. In my imagination each napkin is tied with a ribbon, but I know that my children would not be able to stop themselves from untying each and every ribbon and attaching them to stuffed animals.

I found this bag and dress at Global Thrift too.

Please pretend that the dress is ironed, okay?

Last week my pal Amy and I went out for a bit of junking and she spotted this dollhouse.

It's huge- about two feet wide and a foot deep. At first I passed this up- we already have a few dollhouses that the kids play with.  But then I remembered something I had seen in a magazine- someone had taken a dollhouse, decorated the interior and exterior and then used it to store office supplies. I am going to use it to store school supplies. Lily has filled it with toys for now and told me that she wants it. It's an illusion I'll let her live with for now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My heart...

I have two children.

This one...

She's my heart.

I have understood her completely every day of her life. I gave birth to her, looked at her and knew her.

Sometimes she looks like this.

She's my worrier. She's probably thinking that right now, somewhere in the world is a kitty who needs help. Or a flower which needs to be watered. Or an ant that is about to be stepped on.

She's like this a lot too. Her sister, who is my soul, makes Rebecca laugh and smile like this every single day. They are quite a team.

You all need to know that I have no idea where that hair came from. Rebecca's bad hair days look a lot like my good hair days. It boggles my brains.

If it's wrong to envy your eleven year old daughters hair then DON'T TELL ME. I don't want to know.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I junk therefore I am...

I needed to junk today. It was an honest to god need I tell you, because the people who live here my family were driving me insane. Maybe it was me. Whatever. I had a disease for which junk was the cure.

Today I was very attracted to things of yellow.

Sometimes junking is like that.

I love this cardinal. He's perched in the yellow goblet. I think that the lion once held a ring, but now the ring is broken and he looks like he's got really blunt fangs.

That pillow in the background was a total score. It has those pom pom doohickeys which I am insane for.

Two thing you need to know. I love these bowls and will forbid Lily from taking them into the sandpit and mixing potions in them. There, I said it. The other thing you need to know is that the bowls are sitting on a rattan place mat which has blue and white polka dottie edging. Polka dots make me very very happy.

This yellow woven piece was made in Italy. It's fancy, because Italy is a very sophisticated place.

I know that some of you are concerned about Pugsley and his blistery belly. He is so much better. He got another bath today and then I combed out his scabs. You're welcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dear Daisy Cottage, you inspire me again...

Dear Daisy Cottage is one of those blogs that I revisit every day. At least once a week I look through all of Kim's pictures because they are gorgeous and give me so many ideas.

Kim loves color. It's everywhere in her house, a glorious riot of color and cheer. Thank god Kim is as sweet and lovely as her home because she doesn't get mad when you blatantly copy her look borrow some of her ideas.

One of my favorite things about her home is her collection of mirrors, each frame painted a shiny red. You can see why I love this. I have been picking up cheap mirrors and frames in my junk travels so I can do something similar in my own home.

First, I covered my table with a vinyl tablecloth so it would not end up covered in paint. People, as my mother will happily confirm, this shows incredible growth. My far more typical strategy is to be so impatient to start a project that I end up making a colossal mess which takes longer to clean up then the actual project did to complete.

Then I got to work. I could have spray painted these and it would have taken half as long, but it was raining outside. Apparently my growth in developing patience does not extend to actually waiting a day to paint.

So shiny! So red!

Once these are completely dry I will put the glass back in and find some places for them. I have one frame which was once a mirror. The glass broke last year, but I love the frame. I decided to try it on a door.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Kim at Dear Daisy Cottage for giving me the courage to go bright!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sale meat, pustules and poison ivy...

When I started this blog just a little over a year ago I imagined that I would blog a lot about home decorating and thrift stores. I had no idea how much of this blog would be about pus and misery.

First the good news:

I haven't used the dryer in over a week! Take that NStar! My umbrella clothes line has completely revolutionized my life. I can now do all of the wash in one day. I just wait for a day of sun and start washing and hanging. By the end of the day everything is dry. The children have been complaining about stiff towels, but I am teaching them to appreciate the exfoliating benefits of towels which have a faintly cardboard consistency to them.

In other news I have become a little old lady in my grocery shopping habits. Each week I scour the grocery ads for which store has the best sales on meat and produce. Lately I have been going to the Stop and Shop, which is generally a store I hate because the employees all seem to be suffering from major depression. I avoided the store for years, but have recently returned because they have personal scanner guns. I love these little machines. You scan each item and bag it right in your cart. Easy peasy and no getting sucked into a conversion with the grocery checker about why life is futile. Anyway, the Stop and Shop also puts $2 off coupons on meat the day before the "sell by" date. That is how I bought six chickens for $12 and twelve pork chops for $8. That's right recession! Who's laughing now?

The bad news:

David spent about a week in complete poison ivy induced misery. He was nearly completely covered. I say nearly, because I know that you are all wondering if the poison ivy affected his other injury. It did not, thank you gods of scrotal sanctity. David's poison ivy did provide us with some entertainment in the form of a rousing game of "Would You Rather?"

"Would you rather lose a testicle or have poison ivy for a month?"
"Would you rather have poison ivy for year or be impotent?"
"Would you agree to a year of poison ivy in exchange for one million dollars?"

Once he started a prescription for steroids we had to stop playing "Would You Rather?" because the roid rage set in and we just avoided him until it wore off.

Now that you know all about David's agony, we can play "Who's Got Pus?" Usually you can bet on Lily because she likes to play in dirt, however this time the bad boy of bacteria is Pugsley who has acute dermatitis. His little arms, legs and belly are covered in weepy pus filled blisters. Bless his sweet pug heart, he is now getting daily baths and an antibiotic. No roid rage though, and so for that I am grateful.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Country Living, you complete me...

A few weeks ago David was in New York filming something. I say "something" because I'll be perfectly honest with you. I do not always pay attention to the details of where David is going and when he will be there. I have learned a few things about David's job over the past decade. Plans change all the time- until he's on a train or a plane I don't consider them real plans.

When he told me that he was going to New York City to shoot New World Home constructing a modular "green" house at the World Financial Center, I listened with half an ear.

"That's nice sweetie. Will you take care of the dead bird in the air vent before you go?" I asked.

Then I checked Facebook on the day of his trip and read this:

Country Living Magazine Our 2010 House of the Year is being put together in NYC right now!! Are you going to come check it out, June 4 to 17?

I immediately called David. "You didn't tell me that this was with Country Living!!!! I love Country Living- how could you not mention this to me??!!!"

"I didn't tell you?" he replied, "I thought you knew."

"If I had known it involved Country Living, I would have come with you!" I answered.

Sheesh. Anyway, ever since I missed my opportunity to rub elbows with the magazine which inspires me every single month and whose ideas can be seen in every room of my house the shoot, I have been following the progress of the brilliant marriage between Country Living Magazine and New World Home.

New World Home is an amazing company. They have created a series of modular homes based on a green model, but which also maintain historical and architectural beauty and integrity. You know how sometimes in magazines there are pictures of green homes which are ultra modern and mega sleek? I love the energy savings, but hate the steel and cold angles. The Country Living New World Home is completely different.

It arrived on a truck and was positioned with a crane. A  crane!
A week later David went back to film the finished product.
Look at that! It is completely built in a warehouse- everything including the plumbing, electricity- even the cabinets are installed before the house is shipped. Once it arrives in its location the house is reassembled and the finish work is done in just a few weeks.
Over at the New World Home website I have found my new dream home. It's the Portland design and would be quite perfect for our family.  It has a huge porch, plenty of space and no dead birds in the exhaust vents.
Something else I need to confess to you, my patient readers, is that I keep getting distracted while writing this post. Whenever I go over to Country Living website to find links about the house, I find myself clicking over to Sears to look at the Country Living bedding. I think I may have fallen in love with the Joylyn quilt, though I also find the Capitola quilt captivating.

So there you have it. While I was hanging out of the window trying to extract a dead bird from the air vent, David was hanging out with Country Living and watching my dream house get built.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I have restarted this post about fourteen times. I want to write about my wonderful stepmother Andrea and why we love her and how very, very grateful I am that my dad married her.

How do I sum up a woman like Andrea? Impossible. She's the kind of stepmother everyone should  be lucky enough to have. She listens, but does not preach. She likes junk and murder mysteries.  She laughs at my jokes.

Her best quality, the quality that lets me know that I hit the jackpot of stepmothers is her Nana-ness. From the moment that she met my kids, each as babies, she has loved them and nurtured them.

Every day Rebecca calls Nana on the phone.

"Hi Nana! How are you? Whatcha doing?" Rebecca begins, and before long they are chatting away.

Rebecca and Andrea tell each other long stories about Rebecca's bad monkey named Fred and a set of bear siblings who live at Nana's house. Rebecca likes to plan punishments for the bad animals and concocts elaborate reward schemes to promote good animal behavior. Nana provides the voices for most of the troubled beasts and my dad suggests new high jinks for the animals to engage in.

When the kids were little Andrea and my dad would come visit us and spend hours on the floor with the girls. They would hold them as babies, play peek-a-boo and do arts and craft projects. When the girls were babies Andrea would come and stay with us whenever David would travel. She'd walk Lily around in the sling until she fell asleep and then hold her, giving me a chance to catch my breath and paint the woodwork.

She's our go-to baby sitter, our story teller and soon, our dog sitter. Our family got brighter the day she came into our lives and her presence has made us all better people.

Today is the wedding anniversary of my Dad and Andrea, and the anniversary of the best fairy stepmother the world has ever seen.

Happy Anniversary Nana and Pepere- we love you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The truth about cement...

You will not be surprised to learn that I gave into my longing.

I could not withstand the siren call of the laundry umbrella a moment longer and that is why after I dropped Rebecca off at school for a field trip, Lily and I made our way to The Home Depot in search of an umbrella and a bag of cement. The umbrella was only 39.99, which was ten dollars less than I had planned on spending and so, like a good housewife, I was pleased.

I brought home my supplies and with Lily by my side, we unwrapped my new toy. The reason for the low price became obvious. The clothesline was completely tangled and needed to be restrung. I don't know why, but this didn't bother me. I untied it and unstrung it and then began to restring it.

Lily wanted to help and it was so lovely to work with her. She was truly useful and thoughtful and I enjoyed the moments of our work. It sounds goofy and overly sentimental, but there it is. She was charming and sweet and I loved her more tenderly than ever as she carefully pushed the plastic coated string through the holes and pulled it through to the other side.

Once the lines were restrung and the unit was assembled, it was time to dig a hole. Lily hopped into the pool and chattered happily about rocks and dirt and shovels and bugs and dogs and, and, and. Her monologue went on in that way that children have when they are happy and they want to tell you things, but more than that, they want to be connected with you, and their words are an endless stream linking them to you and it pleases them. It pleased me too.

Before long it was time to mix the cement. This is what I learned about cement: It is dirty and it is heavy. You should not mix it with your bare hands. I did anyway and ended up with cement rocks underneath my wedding ring, which got me thinking about my wedding ring in general and messes in particular.

Over the past 13 years I have embarked on all sorts of messy projects. My ring has been muddy, wet, paint splattered and dust covered. It has not complained.

It is quite something to go through each of these projects, these messes, with such a constant symbol of my life's companion. Some husbands are fussy about things. They don't let their wives paint the woodwork white, or rearrange the furniture or write blog posts about their scrotal injuries. They want the mixing of cement to be well ordered and precise. My technique is messy, but it holds tight. My ring bears the marks of my work and the mark of a husband who has never, not ever, given me a moment of regret.

The line is up. The cement is solid. The laundry was hung. My family is my treasure. There is nothing more that I can ask for in this day.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm back and obsessed!

Well, hello there! I have returned from the land of fun, which as you know, makes me twitchy.

My mom and her beau were here for the week and it was chock full of Fun! Fun! Fun!

There was junking and food, and the American Girl store and food, and then visiting Cheryl and food, and finally the beach and yes, you guessed it- food! Was a delicious and wonderful visit, but you know I find it difficult to stop being a hermit disrupt my routine of housework and home school.

One thing that did find its way into my mind and dig its little claws into my heart is possibly the most pathetic thing which I have ever coveted.

A laundry umbrella.


My mom had one of these when I was growing up. The reason I find myself wanting one of these sleek babies is that it currently takes about three dryer cycles for my towels to dry. Not only is it costing a fortune in electricity, it also slows down my laundry washing output. Everything backs up and I get crabby.

When we got home from the beach yesterday with a trunk full of damp and sandy towels, I could picture myself hanging the towels on the line. An apron full of clothes pegs, puppies playing at my feet, the birds happily tweeting... The warm breeze drying the towels and shaking the sand out of them... If any of you have experience with this sort of product can you tell which one you have and whether is made all of your laundry dreams come true?

So there you have it. I leave the internet for a week and when I return I tell you my laundry fantasies.

I do feel that I would be remiss, even negligent, if I did not update you on a few things.

The birds are rebuilding their nest in the bathroom vent. I hate them.

David's injury has healed, though now he has poison ivy. Based upon his current level of misery I think that I can tell you that a lacerated scrotum is better than poison ivy. Who knew?