Archive | opinion

self sabotage

2015-11-22 10.55.48Martha enjoys the bedroom window view..which will be an interesting experience this coming winter, last year I was still sleeping in a corner of the living room on the couch and the dead branches went down to the ground.  So now I have this view from my desk…when  i get around to sitting there.

I opened this blog post 10 hours ago on one computer and moved to another computer 4 hours ago…and it has remained blank. It is difficult for me to write about things and not complain. I don’t know why i figured my life would be financially better now than it was before i moved, but it’s not and in a few ways wore. My life is better way way better, but that’s cause i have basically not thought any further than the next paycheck. Just remembered today that the company i am working at part time is closed two days this week but because i am owned by the temp agency i am shitout of luck…i am gonna have to put in all my hours in just three days. 1st world problem i know but i’m glad i remembered in time. I tried selling the company, i tried getting some outside work all to naught… so now i have all my eggs in a basket that keeps moving like migratory goalposts.

4b158010-438b-4b3d-b07d-c4c89f5777cbSo, I’m writing a book…I’ve been writing this book for quite a while now…what i thought i could finish by the end of the summer has become a larger project than i had planned. But it’s my 1st unique text I have felt like seeing in print, so it’s still demanding to see the light of day. And I am hoping that it will bring me in some pocket change. fingers crossed.

And this book…which i do manage to talk about to nearly everyone i meet in the real world, i haven’t mentioned much on this page. I didn’t want to jinx myself. It is a culmination..a distillation of all the crap i have learned in the last 50 years. It’s a how to manual for people who live alone, all the crap most people have to deal with, household, cooking, recreation, everything soup to nuts, like i said the damn thing is getting more involved the longer i go on with it. Consider it a mile wide and a foot deep, I hope. I’m at the point where i am putting the meat on all the bones, and if i SAT at my desk and worked i’d have a good chance of finishing it. Instead i waste hours ‘researching’ surfing the net, avoiding writing at all costs…what is UP with that? If i finish the book, i have a shot at making a little money? i swear there is a suicidal asshole up inside my head.

leafy greens

leafparty1 As always I sat down to write this two or three times already and only now have a chance to finish it. I still try to stay away from the computer as much as possible, whenever i sit here i lose hours of time just consuming internet content. I sat down 4 hours ago to work on the new book and have as yet not written a word. I have had to drive cats down to the vet in Massachusetts three times now… I just can’t afford to use one up here, even running it through the rescue group I am creating a deficit i will need to make a sizable donation to cover, with what i don’t know…if i finished writing this fucking book i’d have a better idea. But like all things I really enjoy the research way way better than the actual writing part. I just can’t be trusted with grownup shit.  < i just typed an entire paragraph about how i can’t get ahead of the curve and then deleted…even i don’t want to hear my crap >

raisedbed1The woman next door gave me two of these unused raised bed frames..they are enormous..more along the lines of what you are supposed to build.   I couldn’t lift them so i attached casters to them and wheeled them over.  Looks like I am going to be buy a shit ton of top soil and compost from the city recycling center next spring… first off I am going to rake all the leaves into the boxes… i’m lazy that way.  if nature wanted them in bags, she’d put them in bags herself.

I decided to double down on the herb garden next year… i dug up a few and brought them inside for the winter…though i don’t see them surviving – the Lavender and rosemary are doing okay, fingers crossed on the sage and chives.   I need to move last years raised beds closer to the house to use every inch of sunny space properly.


a lot of asses

catonchairA The blog has turned into a record of my furniture these days…. i had to drive all the way to mass on Friday just to get vet care for one of my cats…i haven’t paid retail for a vet for decades, so it was pretty disturbing to get a quote of $600 for an ear hematoma with a straight face no less. It was worth the drive to mass to get helped out by the vets down there. I had sworn off driving back and forth on the same day, but i do seem to be doing it more often than not and in between i drive around visiting friends who just happen to be home… but while i was down there I bought a chair i didn’t need…$9…and it turns out most of it is 200 years old.

IMG_6265AIMG_6256AWhen I saw it at the ReStore i knew it was ‘something’, it spoke to me and said take me home, hang your semi dirty clothes from my thumbs. So I did. It has character, it has wabi sabi…or it IS wabi sabi…i am not sure if it’s a noun or an adjective…or can it be a verb?

I love a puzzle. a long long time ago it seems, I was an antique dealer for a few years…back when i was married and broke and selling my personal belongings, i spent a little extra and trolled thriftshops and find stuff to resell. I can’t say it was fun..i was married. unhappy and broke, but it kept me busy and I learned a shit ton about a LOT of things. I can usually tell at a glance that something is ‘good’, if i am in an upscale shop i know i can’t afford it, but once in a while a blind pig finds a truffle in a thrift store. Considering how much furniture i have divested I don’t really NEED anything else until the 2nd floor is open but i can always find room for a dainty little chair. Besides MY other spindle back side chair didn’t make the move, it got damaged and I didn’t want to look the damage everyday so i curbed it before i moved. IMG_6270A This chair has been professionally repaired at one time…but it seems from the wear on the overcoat of varnish, it was a long long time ago. I love things that tell a story…this says that someone loved this chair…or at least valued it a la Lovejoy and thought it was worth fixing…well three of the legs seem to be from a much later vintage but they are still pretty old too.char1820s

I spent practically an entire day, taking close up photos and researching it online…that sort of entertainment alone was worth $9 to me. once I finally found other examples I was a little freaked to date the chair to the 1820s…i had figured it was 1850s, but all my micro examinations tells me it’s older..way older… while i was happily google searching images, I actually found a cache of well researched magazine articles about American Furniture over at Chipstone…thanks fellas… Nancy Goyne Evans seems to be the big brain when it comes to American Chairs these days..especially these Windsor styles.. her article Frog Backs and Turkey Legs: The NomenClature of Vernacular Seating Furniture 1740-1850  is pretty extensive and fascinating.  According to Evans, 1820 saw a change from 7 spindles down to 4 or 5 spindles in these white pine side chairs, and after 1830 there seems to be a drift towards multiple crest and ladder backs.

IMG_6283AhookwitubeLike I said I had all kinds of fun researching this puppy.  Something that occurred to me while i was doing all this crazy highway driving, that my brain seems to be WORKING these days… I confess I am getting a little hyper stimulated by straight caffeine pills in the morning, but while I am awake I can actually THINK, it’s been a long time since that was both true.  In the end I decided to just hanging the chair on the newly painted wall in the kitchen.   I hadn’t found anything I owned worth the space, the Transmetro poster migrated to the bedroom so the wall was just hanging out looking lonely.   It took me a couple of hours to cut a rail and find the appropriate iron hooks and get everything painted so the chair would be secure and safe.  I didn’t have any shaker pegs, just cast iron hooks…but i had some plastic tubing from the fish tank, so in the end the chair is quite safe and can hold apparently at least one 15 lb cat.  In another home I supposed it would hold silk flowers or old books…in my house…it’s cat asses… but then this little old white pine seat has already seen 200 years of ass, what’s a few more?

escape pods

icon-podcastMy Kindle Fire HD has been acting all wonky lately, still is….. it just doesn’t want to cooperate somedays.  Yesterday it in fact, it just sat there imitating a winking brick for the entire day.  I gave up on it, thinking it was in league with the Laptop which did not survive being used as a launching pad by one of the elderly cats, and started looking for a replacement.   The Kindle Fire…which is  my constant companion,  feeds me a steady diet of audiobooks and podcasts.  Turns out that if I wait until the end of October..the non-HD Kindle Fire goes on sale for $50,  (I may actually buy another one at that price…just in case.)   My Kindle must have heard me, as soon as I got home from work, it allowed me get to settings and set off a factory reset bomb.  Like the deceased Laptop I don’t keep anything on it I can’t wipe by accident… in fact same thing with the PC,  cloud backup means a crash I wouldn’t send me into a fetal curl; it would be an expensive event, but not dire.  Long story short, the Kindle is once again purring away nicely playing a podcast, though I have my eye on it.

I had been at the day job for a few months before it occurred to me to bring the Kindle.  If it wasn’t for audiobooks from the library and audible, I wouldn’t get any books read these days.

There are some podcasts which I have been listening to for years:  WTF with Marc Maron,  Greg Proops Smartest Man in the World, NerdistAisha Tyler’s Girl On Guy, Doug Loves Movies.  Not to forget: Slate’s Culture Gabfest and Double X Gabfest, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, though all of NPRs programs can be downloaded as Podcasts, like Radiolab, How to Do Everything, Planet Money,  Fresh Air  and This American Life.  And if I still have any time after that, there some performed podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

Reprogramming the podcast app on the Kindle by hand is actually a good memory aid, like cleaning out the junk drawer….I know there were probably about 15 other podcasts on there, which didn’t jumped readily to mind, meaning I probably don’t really care if I hear their newest upload.  Meanwhile there are a half dozen that I have not only fallen in love with, and I am working my way through their entire backlist: Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible…  IMHO is the BEST podcast ever, each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes and I am sad when it ends – sending me down the Radiotopia rabbit hole, where I am trying all sister shows, including the Allusionist podcast about the English language…another favorite podcast of all time, leading me to the embarrassment of riches that is Answer Me This. which made it into Episode 300 before I discovered it even existed (hangs head in shame). . . eventually landing me at the podcast produced by the QI elves: No Such Thing as a Fish, another show which is much too short.

I suppose I should not be surprised at the glut of listening available these days….podcasts have grown like topsy, ….both in quantity and quality, since people have been manage to monetize them. but I am seriously tickled to death that there are NOW this many that I actually LIKE, this many that I actually look forward to putting them into my brain.  I would have EASILY bought another Kindle if this one had shit the bed, I doubt I could get through a day at work without a podcast providing me an escape route.



Summer’s over… for some reason the other day i felt good enough to go after the backyard with the lopping shears and the reciprocating saw… WUV my reciprocating saw, every girl should have one. I had my eye on a bunch of brush, mostly vines and barberry bushes (still have about 5 more in the yard to kill) but it really opened up the back of the yard. It looks bigger in this pano, that’s just the back left corner, i still have to continue clearing brush up the left hand side between the houses.. Seems the last owner was TRYING to create an enclosed space using what are basically tall weeds. Personally I’m just gonna put in a fence. There’s an old wire fence buried in there now.. but when all the brush is pulled back, i will think about putting in a 4 footer..something yours truly can put in one section at a time. that’s basically how I have been dealing with everything around here: in bite sized chunks.

I think i got very depressed after I moved in. I just didn’t have all the money in the world to do EVERYTHING i wanted or needed to have done. The house, like everything else in life is just one life sized game of whackamole. There was nothing PRESSING the issue of working on the yard..but I figured if i DIDN’T do it on the last warm day of the season, then i would have to spend another winter looking at it covered in 6 feet of snow drifts and KNOW it’s underneath. pond72
Speaking of underneath, note to self, must construct new LID for the pond. The pond came out nicely this year..once i figured out how to deal with it. Step 1: toss in Mosquito controlling donuts very important step. Once all the bad bugs were gone, I didn’t see it as a nasty puddle anymore. I spent about 20 bucks at the Nursery for 2 water hyacinth and 2 water ‘lettuce’ both of which grew like topsy. And another few bucks for small vegetation from the aquarium store, which I intermittently feed to the fish in the house. Heavenforfend, i can’t put them back outside…they have names now…
fishhotel So in the end the pond was just another part of the garden..score. too bad it isn’t deep enough for something to overwinter. The damn plants will all have to be rebought next season because i am too cheap to set up a fish tank for them in the basement….or am i? hmmm…

Yesterday i finally dragged all the trimmings and branches to the dump…i was fighting a massive migraine and probably shouldn’t have been driving, but i couldn’t stand looking at the piles…i knew if i didn’t do it on my off day, they would be there through the winter…like last year. The portland dump…scuse me…recycling center..doesn’t suck…. the minimum for a load so far is $7, so it behooves me to really load the truck if i can. But they have a category for nearly everything i want to get rid of…and they also SELL stuff like mulch, soil and rocks of all sizes… i have my eye on some more topsoil and mulch next year. For a tiny ass yard it seems to have a lot of room for improvement. Still fighting off mister migraine and dizziness like I have never experienced. So today I am just gonna LOOK at the yard…even though all i see are the things that still need doing.


my many vices

tools2 One of the sideprojects I had going on this summer..while I was fixing stuff around the house, I was slowly bringing all my tools and some of the tool bench UP from the basement. The basement isn’t ‘ready’ for any sort of a workshop…neither is the porch, but the porch won’t spontaneously flood every spring…I have my eye on a sump pump to deal with that little problem… aside from that, it’s generally very cool down there and damp, neither are my favorite environments for working.   I have had a poor little box fan running down there since last March. There’s also no boiler or  water heater to keep the place warm and dry…and like the rest of the house, the basement needs to be insulated.  So I dragged everything upstairs a little at a time…including all the as yet still packed Roughneck tubs o’tools…one aspect of my life that never gets decluttered….it just grows and unless something breaks, everything gets kept..because ‘one day i could need it.’


NEARLY all the plans I had made for the house have been changed since day one. My workshop is now on the porch, the bed is in the office, the office is well..nowhere right now.. and i still have nearly all my lot of boxes of books and dvds in storage on the second floor. I don’t see any more room for bookcases on the 1st floor..not without sacrificing open walls and floor space, anyway. I had envisioned more bookcases space on the 2nd floor when it finally gets paneled..fingers are still crossed for that.

Today I finally mounted a couple of pieces of pegboard on the side of the house on the porch..I will still keep my most used tools in their bucket for portability,  but it gives me a place to put the lesser used the giant pipe wrench….and the really big rubber convincer….I have moved all the ‘fixit’ stuff out there too…all the adhesives, sandpaper and steelwool and screws and nails… and paint.. a seasonal chore will be to move all the things that would not enjoy the deep freeze into the cellar stairwell..wait a minute..i think that’s where i was supposed to put the smaller piece of pegboard…oh damn…


To be honest the porch is where I make all my messes….where I sloshed paint around and make big piles of saw dust, the cats make their messes out there too.   If the porch is going to be a work area than its insulation just moved from the bottom of the to do list to the middle. It gets a little COLD out there, last winter I measured it below zero…basically it is the same temperature as whatever it is outside.   Adding more insulation to the second floor is higher up on the list that the porch since the porch isn’t a heated area, unlike the house itself..i also need to insulation to the places in the basement where the snow ACTUALLY comes inside.

I decided priority of tasks depends on how much money it costs to delay doing it. While fucking around organizing all the tools on the porch was important… fixing the loose grout in the shower is the thing at the top. When there’s something on the top of my list that I dread doing, I suddenly find myself organizing tools and washing window sills, trying to avoid tackling it. The makework i have ahead of the grout right now are organizing the attic, and reorganizing all the crap in the living room because the cat door to the porch is blocked by the new tall hutch and i need to move it. If it wasn’t such a pressing issue, i could find a hundred things to do to avoid anyone ONE thing on my list..i am a champion rationalizer..and procrastinator…i’m good at that too.


2015-09-21 16.20.18 I have lists of shit that i’d like to fix in the house… the way i see it, the list is my servant, i put things on, i take things off, i move them around, i do the ones i want to do, the ones i can afford to do, the ones i can’t afford to do, I either work up to them a little at a time, acquiring the materials a little at a time…or i ignore it completely and just do all the other things on the lists…then things jump onto the list of their own accord…the shower head is pretty old, probably predating the last home owner…fair enough i’m not picky…but as much super glue as i tried i couldn’t get the little part in the middle to stay put and THAT’s the most important part… so alas I had to replace this with the NOT the cheapest one off Amazon, i figured i could go a couple of days without a shower…..It actually came out rather well, i think…at least after I did it three times I figured out how to get it to stop spraying me in the face… basically use as much pipe thread tape as you can get away with… and that sort of fixed it. and bonus, i had parts left over… 2015-09-23 17.00.19i used the old hose and bough the hooky part that matched the wall way in hell was I gonna go down that road..that’s the part that’s attached to the damn wall…..the wall..the fucking wall…you can’t see it in this pictures, but the tiles are starting to come loose against the wall and there are definitely spots where the grout wasn’t perfect to begin with… that’s another project that i have been avoiding… it’s not THAT expensive, it will just be tedious…i will have to remove every tile  in the bad zone and then another course or two outside of that area….and then..clean off all the grout and th2015-09-23 16.41.08en put them all back…  the biggest fear when DOING or rather STARTING any project like this is being prepared for it to go SIDEWAYS… what happens when i pull down all the tile and find the wall behind it has failed? how to i fix THAT?  well then i rebuild the wall… and so on..once you start going down that road, then you talk yourself out of even starting projects. yes i am a little drunk…not much..just enough… I forgot how much more writing i could get done this way.    hey…i fixed the shower.

curb furniture

smallhutch1In the end I think my house will be furnished half with Ikea and half from the curb. You’ve seen the small chest of drawers… that I paired with a small bookcase, both acquired as freebies… I DID have to buy the bin pulls from ebay and then enamel them…but it was a batch of 18 bin pulls and I am rather smug about how well they came out. I prefer pulls because they are easier than knobs and if you smack up against them, you don’t get those little black and blue marks.

The more pieces I painted white, the more please I became with the results. All the pieces blended together and it has certainly made the rooms feel less FULL of crap.

lghutch1I also did the same thing to a larger chest of drawers….. I know I DID buy it someplace…but I don’t think I paid more than 30 dollars for it… It weighs a ton so I guessed it was REAL wood under it’s terrible coat of paint, and it was…..and another coat of paint healed all its wounds and another call for more bin pulls. The bookcase on top of this one was definitely a curb rescue but about 20 years ago. It had been needing a good paint for a long time. don’t judge me by the books on that particular bookcase..nearly everything on it is for research…basically this is the read and dump pile…books go from there to my desk and then to the donation bin.

They are all solid pieces of wood, no particle board furniture allowed anymore…no cheap furniture of any kind.. ..I am finding that the pieces I am keeping for myself all seem to be a little smaller than normal, probably all from children’s bedroom sets.  tallhutch1

A few weeks ago I spied this tall cabinet next to a dumpster behind a thrift shop….one of the finials at the top had snapped off…so I snapped the other one off and chucked it in the truckbed. The veneer was a little worse for wear but it was still solid….AND it was tiny barely taller than myself.  On went another coat of white rustoleum, with all the shelves installed and a new glass knob it’s actually quite charming…..mind you my ceilings are 80 inches…the Ikea Billy’s just BARELY fit with about an inch to spare.

ConantBallbedsideToday’s curb coup turns out to be a dilemma…. not that there is anything wrong with fact i was quite tickled….a SOLID wood night stand, already white, I figured it just needed to be introduced to Mr. Rustoleum.

conant-ball-furniture-makers-1852Alas…turns out it is a mid century modern named piece… made by Conant Ball probably in the 60s, it was part of the Modernmates set designed by Leslie its natural form worth about $250…The damn thing is TOO valuable for my little hovel.

And I certainly can’t put a coat of paint on it, that would be a sin and a shame. I’m going to have to strip it and refinish it. Damn it..i haven’t done that in a long time…. i will need to do it quick before the winter sets in, otherwise it will be out on the porch all winter.

setee_edited-1At this point there is no more room for furniture downstairs…and the second floor needs to be finished before I can haul any upstairs.  I really really miss all the hiding places I used to have… no barn, no garage… either it fits or it goes… I really really need to get to work on the second floor…i am just imaging all my little curb pieces upstairs under the short walls making the place seem bigger.  The green settee has survived several threats to donate it.  i loathe the color and fabric..but it is sooo tiny, maybe it just needs  a slip cover. 


Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

“I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations.”
Both of those quotes are from the Big Chill, which shockingly have stuck with me since 1983. I pulled off a rationalization, a small victory against my frugal life, it made me feel very guilty…well not so very.
IMG_6019 A few weeks ago I was losing my mind trying to find an oblong baking dish that would fit in my compact oven. In the end I used a couple of aluminum pans cut and taped together with aluminum plumbing tape. When you buy baking dishes they are usually sized by the inside, so a 12″ pan may come with an inch extra for handles. Thus my dilemma. Usually when I want or need something I fuss around on Ebay, looking at vintage items stacked along the new designs and I figure out what would suite me best.

rsz_img_6020In this particular case all I wanted was an oblong that held 6 cups or more for casseroles which could also go in the microwave. Since I tweak my recipes, I nearly never make anything bigger. I would have really preferred a vintage Pyrex container, since i have a couple of very old covered Pyrex, that i use all the time…but they are round and oval. I saw some listings for an 8″x 6″ Pyrex without a handle, and it turned out that it came from the storage set and was NOT sold new independently. And strangely the storage set was barely more than what people on eBay were selling the casserole for alone.

So the storage set went on my Amazon wish list…and it sat there for a few weeks. I throw things on the wish list and take them off all the time. I always put things on the list before I buy them….just to make SURE I need it and not just want it. So things languish on the wish list waiting for me to find a rationalization to spend the money.

rsz_img_6021I’m on a half-assed diet right now… basically i’m not allowed to eat anything ‘bad’ read: sugary or starchy, which I didn’t make… no fast food, no snacks, etc… the storage containers and overs aren’t a bad size to take to work. needless to say I don’t do much plastic, I dumped all my plastic storage containers when I moved. So that’s was my rationalization…i NEEDED it for baking, i NEEDED it for portability… sheesh all that fuss for an $15 expenditure. But hey $15 is half a water know?

I am actually quite pleased with the size of the containers..i am not shitting you…i have been looking for years for an oblong to add to my ‘small-sized’ batterie d’cuisine. I once had a really nice little vintage Hall casserole…but it may have been a shallow refrigerator dish, alas it got broke and I hadn’t been able to replace it. Now I wouldn’t be able to afford to, so the little box of Pyrex is a bit of treat.

…this is just a little story since I can’t wrap my head around anything big anymore. Other people have worse problems than me.

change of seasons

11990687_10153738296870312_3880939101987852177_n Summer has been a mixed bag…..I got fed up with the place the way it has been and put my shoulder into making it livable… I got most of the kitchen painted, and the ENTIRE bedroom painted, and a closet installed….basically everything in the office but the computer has been vomited into the rest of the house, I played musical rooms with much of what I own, things in the basement went into the attic, many things  that made the trip and haven’t found a use have gotten donated, lots and lots of things have gotten painted, even things that aren’t supposed to be painted (faucet handles)….I decided to PUSH the whole cottage aspect of the joint. I painted every piece of curb furniture white so it all blends together.  I will go into more detail about specific things I accomplished that I am pleased with.

Most of the work I did on the house was low expense,  painting and spackle, hooks and hardware, so cumulatively I got a lot of bang for my sweat. 11954592_10153743051695312_2296999009024772868_nI love having a bedroom it has really moved me from ‘did i make the right decision?’ to ‘i love my house!’   I have cut the furniture down just pieces which I had been holding on to, and oddly a lot of curb pieces I have adapted.  (btw the wicker chair came from the dump, it’s  coming inside as soon as I fix the little wiggle on the arm)  What I am ending up with, are pieces which are slightly smaller than the normal size, and painted all white they make the rooms seem bigger….well.. painting the rooms properly makes them feel bigger. The ‘office/bedroom  had NEVER been painted and was just drywall with a skim coat..go figure.    The Ikea bed is OH SO COMFORTABLE and I am not sure if that can be attributed to sleeping on the hard futon for a year.  And the lounge futon thing has grown on me as a tv slash laptop chair, with room for the dog and a few cats without having to give up laptop space.


However this is the first September in years were customer orders on the website haven’t picked up, so essentially I am living off the tiny part time paycheck and I am entertaining offers to sell of the business that isn’t pulling its weight.   As dramatic as that sounds, it would free me up to find other sources of income, like finishing a few books.

I live in a very beautiful state and I haven’t traveled outside of a 5 mile area once this summer and that’s a sin. Clearing up the work area has freed up my brain to get some work done.   Staying off the computer has certainly freed up my brain to get some housework done, but I’d like a nice balance between online and real life work.

more later.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes