Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."

So a few years back, maybe it was somewhere around 2003-2004, I ordered this bookcase through a catalog. I'd bought other small pieces of furniture through this particular catalog and had been very happy.

But this was supposed to be one of those barrister type bookcases and although it looked good, it really couldn't be used or even touched much. Rather than one solid piece of furniture, it was pieces, all supposedly securely attached to each other.

My movers, the last time I moved, did an amazing thing transporting it, they wound all kinds of those elastic straps around it and plastic-wrapped it all up and it made it to the new house. I was shocked, I was sure it would be trash.

Finally I ordered a real bookcase to replace it and it came the other day. This one is nice and solid, although the back of it and the top appear to not be wood, but that flimsy stuff you always find at the back of furniture nowadays. What's so hard about finding a piece of solid wood furniture? That doesn't cost like $10000 of course...that must be the hard part, huh?

I could get on a tirade about now on how cheaply everything is made, like the desk that this computer is sitting on right now...I keep the monitor to one side because I'm afraid the middle will bow if I keep it in the middle....and how the sides are cracked because they are even real wood, but the fake stuff. And it wasn't cheap either!!!

I'm thinking that from now on I should only buy furniture from estate sales or antique stores because at least it would be solidly made. You young whipper-snappers today don't know how to make things that last more than 5 years.

Of course there is the slight problem in that I really don't need any more furniture in my house, soon it will start looking like a flea market stall if I don't reign myself in. Might be time for a nice clean-out.
Oh wait, I do need a bed for the loft so it can be a guest bedroom as well...whew, I thought I was in trouble there for a moment...and I will need a desk chair soon, the one I am sitting on now I've had for about 10 years. It's one of those cheap cloth covered one's from Office Depot or Staples, and I bought it when I was in my pine-pier-one phase, so it totally doesn't match anything I have anymore. I hate to give it up though because my one cat LOVES it, and when I say LOVES it, I mean she likes to use her claws to climb up the back of it and perch on one of the little arm rests while I'm working here. And the fabric is some sort of magic anti-cat-claw fabric that they would never make a sofa out of, no, never, so it doesn't look like anythings wrong with it. How is that possible? And that's why I hate to give it up. But the one arm rest is totally broken now and sticks up at a 45 degree angle (making it difficult to perch upon) and it makes scary I'm-just-about-ready-to-collapse noises when I lean back to thoughfully ponder some bon mot I'm about to dazzle the world or my co-workers with....

Anyway, here are the before and after pics of the bookcase, plus one of the chair before I sat it in so much it wore out (like from about 8 years ago):

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh!"

Yesterday I took the train. It's kind of like going back to another era. I had to travel from Philadelphia to Boston for a work conference and there was just no way I was going to get on a flight, the domestic airlines are horrible. So I took the train, and it was just lovely. I had a seat in business class, the seats were roomy, there was a TON of legroom, I was able to sit right below my luggage, and it left and arrived on time.

What more could you ask? It did take me 6 1/2 hours, I didn't take an acela because there wasn't one when I wanted to leave, but hey, I didn't have to get to the station 2 hours ahead of time just to be delayed.

I was excited to see what Connecticut would look like since I had never seen it and I have so much family history there. It pretty much looked like pennsylvania, except up here in new england, they do still have the little towns with the church steeple sticking up through the trees. Amazing. Plus, I also saw crazy people going into the freezing cold atlantic ocean. All I could think of as we zipped by the beaches was "you're gonna need a bigger boat". The scene from the train window looked just like the movie.

When I arrived at the station here I went to get a cab to the hotel and the guy out front pauses for a second and then tells me my hotel is really in walking distance, just over the bridge and he points down the street. I was so pleased and thanked him. So I started walking.....

and walking....

and walking....

up hill,

through the snow storm

and the hurricane

but eventually I made it.

Okay okay, so it was only .71 miles (yes, I mapquested it), but you roll your suitcase behind you for .71 miles and trust me, it feels like a lot more.

But it's a Westin hotel and they have nice rooms and nice bedding. Just missing a safe. What happened to in-room safes? Am I supposed to carry my jewels and furs with me wherever I go? Come on hotels, but back the laptop sized in-room safes, what's wrong with you?

Had a wonderful dinner with everyone last night at Rabia's in North Boston, and then some of us walked a bit and saw Paul Revere's house. It was really green. I somehow don't think that it was an authentic 18th century green. I mean, the whole house was green. What's up with that? But it was on an authentic cobblestone street, so it looked old and history-ish. Below is a picture, you will have to trust me when I tell you it really is green....

There was also this guy going on loudly to his disinterested friends about the history here, and isn't it great to see the history and this is real history and blah blah blah.

Then we made the interesting decision to walk from Paul Revere's house in North Boston back to our South Boston.

So we walked, and walked, and then for good measure, we walked a little bit longer. Eventually we saw a giant milk bottle, and knew we were near home. Yay Westin bedding!

And no I'm not kidding about the giant milk bottle...if I weren't so tired, I would have checked out exactly what it was. Was it a milk bar? Some post-apocalyptic watering hole where I meet up with some friends to get ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence oh my brothers.

Okay time to sign off!!

and by the way, here's the milk bottle, no I wasn't hallucinating:

Congratulations graduates!

How did I miss seeing this before????

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

Summer is wasted on the young. I love this time of year, especially the evening. It always makes me think of the summers I would spend out at my grandparents house. No air conditioning, but I didn't seem to mind. When it got too hot, you just kept the lights off and hung out more in front of the fans in the windows. I remember a particularly hot night when I laid on the bare wood floor of my grandparents room with an old window fan, a green metal one, blowing at full speed at me. I didn't even want a sheets or anything to lay on, just a pillow. And I slept like a log.

I remember laying on the bed in the front bedroom, with my grandmother, the windows open with a breeze coming in, and we would just talk and laugh. That was were I learned what the word "buttocks" was. I must have laughed for 10 minutes at that, I couldn't believe such a dumb sounding word existed. My grandmother laughed along with me.

They had a couch which was truly one of the hardest, flattest, itchiest couches in the world, next to the one my parents had when I was little which was all that, and yellow. What was wrong with the late 60s/early 70s to produce that kind of furniture? Did furniture makers hate us?

Going to Weis for grocery shopping was a big day, so were the days we took the walk through town to go to the park where there were swingsets and stuff like that. Sometimes we would walk down to the river. Or we would walk through the cemetery down the road from their house. I loved walking through the cemetery, I don't think it ever occurred to me then that it was actually full of dead people. I liked it because there were lots of trees and it was never crowded and there was lots to look at.

Also it was exciting when we'd take a trip to see my cousins, or when they came to visit us. I miss the big group of family, we've all grown up and gone our separate ways now.

My grandfather had a white van that had a ladder on the top, he did construction and carpentry. I remember every day, packing his big styrofoam cooler with sandwiches and pieces of pie. Their basement is full of manly tools and it has a cool basement smell, along with the wood smell that comes with saws and such.

Speaking of the basement, there were rows and rows of food in clear glass jars - from the old days when we did our own canning. We would go to a strawberry farm and pick strawberries and then make jam. Or rather I would watch while jam was made... One time we went to a factory that I guess canned it's own peas, we were getting peas to can on our own. Truly, I never smelled anything as bad as that pea smell in that factory, to this day pea soup does NOT smell good to me....

I loved the idea of canning food and putting it away for winter, having your own little grocery store in your basement.

I remember the best blackberries I ever ate, on a dirt road by my aunt's house. And I remember eating fresh green peas right out of a pod in her garden - that's what peas are supposed to taste like...

All right, all right, enough reminiscing for tonight!! Suffice to say, everyone should have a chance to spend summers with their grandparents I think.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"He who angers you conquers you."

What is up with angry old men drivers? People joke about women drivers being bad, but really it's those angry old men that are dangerous....I watched this guy come to a screeching halt in the right lane of traffic because he wanted to be over in the left hand turning lane....the person in front of me was nice enough to hang back and let him in. After the turn, she pulls off and I'm behind him, he starts driving like 30 miles an hour and is honking at me that I'm too close! And I swear, I SWEAR I was not, I have been making an HONEST effort to not be an impatient driver for the past few months. So then getting onto Route 202, he slows almost to a halt, and meanwhile traffic is backed up behind us, and we can barely get on the main road because they are going too fast for us to merge.

Then when I get in the fast lane to finally go around him, he's honking and gesturing at me like I was the bad guy! If only I had been in a video game, I would have slammed my car over into his and driven him off into the bushes. How you like me NOW!?!?!?!?

I think that cops should stop with the speeders and start focusing on these people who drive FAR under the speed limit and should put them in jail for the rest of their lives. Okay, not jail, that's harsh and costs taxpayers too much money. Take away their licenses for the rest of my life. How's that?

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves."

So I work in an office building with three floors, and I'm on the third. My company is just on part of the third floor here, the rest of the people are across the street in another building. Apparently the companies on the second floor of this building moved out, and the new company is, as we say in the corporate world, "re-configuring" the space.

What this means to me is that, from what I can tell after many days of pondering this, is that the workers stand below my office, specifically my chair, and repeatedly bang on metal objects hanging from their ceiling with other metal objects AS HARD AS THEY CAN.

And it's not like the banging is a soothing rhythmic banging that you can get used's BANG.....silence silence....BANG......BANGBANG.........silence silence silence.....BANG..silence.....BANGBANGBANG

I've considered my options should I actually fall through the floor, like will I leap to the left into my door, or to the right into my desk. It would be tough to leap backwards while falling. I've also thought I could hold onto my chair while falling, and probably just land safely in the middle of the workers down there.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go."

I decided that today was the day I would finally take down the offensive wallpaper in my powder room. I've looked at it for two years now, but was so busy with school, didn't want to take on any projects. I've stripped wallpaper before so I'm not the biggest fan of it, I'll probably never put it up in any house I live it. It's like a way of being mean to a future owner of your house.

Plus, it's grapey. Not that there's anything wrong with grapes, but all over the wall of a powder room? It kind of makes me anxious...

Judge for yourself:

Little did I know that this is in fact some sort of super-duper wallpaper and won't come off in nice strips like other wallpaper that's been steamed, but in fact needs a two-step process, where I steam it, yank off the top layer, and then steam the gluey layer off.

I also decided to do this during a heat wave. It occurs to me that the last time I stripped wallpaper was in July several years ago so I guess I only like doing home fix-its in summer. It was like my own little steam room in the powder room, especially when I stood on the step-stool to get to the top layers and stood up high where all the steam gathered.

Here is the gorgeous after picture:

I know it doesn't look better yet, especially where the builders paint stripped off with the gluey layer of wallpaper exposing the wallboard, but hey, at least it isn't grapes!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Flattery will get you nowhere... but don't stop trying."

Everything is all fixed, I have my replacement debit cards and shopped like crazy tonight. It was very difficult knowing I couldn't buy anything while I waited for the cards. Maybe I am addicted to shopping. Or maybe not.'s a couple pics from Jamaica to show it wasn't an all bad experience. I was talking to one of my co-workers who happens to be from Jamaica and I missed it already. I guess I will go back even though I was storming around over the weekend making absolute statements about never going back.

My hair already misses the water down there. For some reason caribbean water and my hair interact really well together. Maybe it's hard water, or soft water, I can't ever remember the difference. Whatever it is, it's the opposite of what I live with here in lovely PA.

And one last thing which has nothing to do with any of my car earlier, I swore there was some little bug because I kept feeling like little tickles against my skin, first on my hand, then on my ankle, but it's hours later and I'm still feeling it. What do you suppose it is? I know, I have hypochondriac tendencies, but I like to think of it as being hyper-aware of my bodies feelings. After all, I am an INFP (formerly INFJ).

Okay, back to beautiful Negril Jamaica....below is where we sat all week, under the sea-grape trees. Occasionally a sea-grape would fall and hit me on the head. Also, the leaves are quite large and heavy and I nearly paper cuts at least twiced when a leaf plopped down on me. But it was nice being in the shade. The stump was a huge pine tree that we used to sit under, but fell victim to Hurricane Ivan. I think it was Ivan...

Check it out, a real life Lime just hanging out on a Lime Tree. I wonder if they used it in my gin and tonic? I didn't drink a lot of gin and tonic, I was trying to maintain being happy, not drunk. So I drank champange, mimosas, Lido Prides (a rum cream drink) and port. You can see how gin would have just sent me over the edge.

Here's what I looked at all week. It was just so horrible down there, nothing to do but lay in a comatose state between meals....

And not only is the water clear and clean, but it's warm too. Why would anyone go into a cold ocean? I just don't get it. I don't want to "get used" to the temperature of the water, I want it already to be perfect. There were even little fishies that would swim around close to the beach. Except once we did witness the circle of life in that a sea gull (the only one we saw) swooped down and grabbed up one of our little fishie friends one day. But then what could only be described as a pterodactyl chased the little white sea gull around for like ten minutes. Okay, maybe it wasn't a pterodactyl, but it was clearly related. Remember, as I've stated before, birds are just dinosaurs in disguise...

See how everything comes full circle? Even my conversations....