Category Archives: just for fun

home after the holidays

Happy New Year all!  As usual, one of my resolutions is to blog more.  My mom said she’s sick of seeing the same post every time she comes to the site, so I’d better get my tail in gear and shake the dust off this old thing.

We had a pretty respectable holiday season around here.  After a rocky start to the season, involving my car dying two hours away with the Christmas tree on top and my wonderful brother having to drive us back to Philly (and the following weekend mainly consisting of driving many hours to pick it up) things went smoothly from there on out.  My sister and her husband came in from California and were able to take advantage of the newly done-up guest room (related entry soon to follow, I promise!).  It was really nice having visitors around over the holidays, it made the house feel a little warmer and more festive.  Christmas Eve was our tradition of having Greg’s family over for dinner and merriment, and Christmas day we drove up to my brother’s house in Connecticut for a delicious dinner. 

The new year for me is usually filled with grandiose plans and resolutions for the upcoming year, but I feel a little differently this time around.  Aside from the obligatory “get down to my goal weight” and “finish fixing up the house”, I don’t really have any big plans for 2011.  I’m realizing that actually I feel pretty content these days, and my life doesn’t really feel like a fixer-upper at the moment.  In the past few months I’ve changed jobs, which resulted in everyone at my old job finally really showing their appreciation for me, and a new position that will hopefully be less stressful and allow for a little more enjoyment of my free time.  The house is coming along, I love my husband, I get endless entertainment out of the animals, and I have a Kindle full of good books I can’t wait to read.  Life is good.

If I have any resolutions this year, it’s to focus on the small things and don’t let the big things overwhelm me.  Break scary things up into small 20-minute chunks. Take time to do some craft projects, hang artwork, knit a scarf, take pictures, tend my houseplants, cook good meals.  I tend to put off the little things because sometimes the bigger projects overshadow everything else, and especially where the house is concerned, it feels like putting lipstick on a pig.  Just because the hallway isn’t painted yet doesn’t mean that the guest room doesn’t deserve to have some artwork and nice curtains.  And just because the bedroom doors are ugly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make a terrarium to put on a shelf somewhere.  Maybe the little things will really be what transform the Passyunk Palace from a house to a comfortable home.

Without further ado, here is a brief pictorial summary of our holiday season (which makes me think that my other resolution needs to be practicing with my SLR):

Selecting that most important of Christmas symbols:

Despite freezing our arses off, we had a great day in New York visiting Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park:


Santa brought Greg and his brother these horse head masks, which were the hit of the evening:
Mom & Dad B


Porter wonders who this new family member is

Matt is a dapper horse

a little known fact that horses enjoy beer

brother horses

the lovely equine couple

Porter decides he likes squirrels more than horses

Christmas dinner with the Lynch family


Santa also brought my nieces some mustaches, which everyone proceeded to steal:







the world is your snowball

As pretty much everyone in the world knows, this weekend was a humdinger of a blizzard in the Philadelphia area. Amazingly, I’m finally posting now, despite being snowed in for two days and having absolutely no excuse for not writing on this here blog.

Friday Greg and I took the day off and went up to New York for the day, which turned out to be incredibly fortuitous considering we were housebound for the rest of the weekend. I don’t even think I knew that it was supposed to snow until we got home that night. I don’t pay much attention to the weather anymore, since stupid Hurricane Schwartz is wrong almost every time, so why worry?

So anyway, we braved the icy wind of the big city to get some Christmas enjoyment in. We walked around and ate lunch in the village, headed up to midtown to check out Macy’s and drink cider and watch the skaters in Bryant Park, met up with a friend of mine for a drink, walked past Rockefeller Center, breezed through FAO Schwartz, and got pizza at my old favorite, Famous Original Ray’s (not to be confused with Famous Ray’s or Original Ray’s). We picked up Porter at Gregs’ parents’ house *just* as it was starting to snow.





Saturday and Sunday were perfect snow days. We slept really late, laid around the house and read, took Porter out to frolic, watched movies, and trekked over to our local for a few beers. It felt like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy goes to Marion’s bar in Nepal, but luckily we didn’t have any creepy Chinese guys threatening us with a hot poker and trying to steal that amulet I wear around my neck. I wish I had take more pictures outside, but alas, I just wasn’t feeling photographically inspired.

Greg and I enjoy the snow, but I don’t think anyone could enjoy it as much as Porter, who would probably live out in it if it weren’t for his thin coat and hurty paw. We broke the rules (because there’s no rules during a snowstorm anyway) and brought him into the soccer field, which is off-limits for doggies. I put together the following video, which probably everyone who reads this has seen, but that I’ll post anyway.

Tagged , , , ,

what have I gotten myself into?

the dreaded seasonal clothes switch

I’m in the middle of the dreaded biannual seasonal clothes switch. It has to get worse before it gets better, right???


mash good

Boy do I love Halloween. It’s the perfect holiday – fun, silly, and full of unhealthy food. I have such fond memories of swishing through leaves up to neighbors’ houses, bringing home a huge haul, and watching Halloween specials with a lap full of baby Snickers and Milky Ways. As an adult it’s a little difficult for me to get all that into it. I don’t really have any friends that have parties, my husband is a Halloween curmudgeon, and it always sneaks up on my and catches me unprepared. This year hasn’t been much different, although in the past few days I’ve gotten more into the spirit – I carved a pumpkin (which has already disintegrated), hung some lights, and made a ghost cake. Tonight we’re going to see Haunted Poe and maybe we’ll squeeze in a horror movie or two.

halloween 003

halloween 005

halloween 009

I brought Porter to work yesterday and thoroughly embarrassed him by parading him around in his chicken costume. It was quite the hit, only magnified by the fact that he looked so miserable in it. My favorite quote of the day was from Meredith, who said, “You already have the world’s most emo dog, and now you’re making him dress up like a chicken? What did you expect?”

halloween 015

halloween 016

I know that “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” gets most of the Halloween cartoon limelight these days, and I understand, because it holds a special place in my heart, too. There’s also “Mr. Boogedy”, which only my mom and I appreciate. But since Mr. Boogedy will sadly never be released on DVD, I’d like to introduce you to another oft-overlooked spooky gem that they never seem to show on TV anymore – Garfield’s Halloween Adventure:

And last but not least, a song I wish could be played all year long…


sew what

Not surprisingly, we didn’t make any house-related progress this weekend, but I *did* finish the dress I was making, which I’m really excited about. No pictures of me modeling it yet, as I’m feeling sort of gross and unphotogenic lately, but I wanted to share the dress anyway. It’s my first major sewing project, not counting the half-finished skirt I started with my sister a few years ago. I made it from a Betsy Ross pattern and it was pretty simple, despite a few glaring omissions from the pattern that I had to figure out. I have one more sort of complicated project I’m working on, and once that’s done I think I’ll be able to check off my goal of “learn to sew.”

Also, yesterday marked one year since we brought Porter home from the shelter! Unfortunately it was a rainy day, so we didn’t get a lot of good outdoor celebrating in, but we did go to his favorite place, Greg’s parents house, where he ate hoagies and cake, and he also got to go to the pet store and pick out a few new toys. Greg and I always say how we just can’t believe we’ve only had him for a year, it feels like he’s been part of our family for ages. Despite all of our debating on whether to get a dog because it would destroy our freedom, Porter has managed to fit into our life pretty effortlessly, probably mostly because he’s such a good boy. And it doesn’t hurt that Greg’s parents are always so nice about dogsitting. So anyway, Happy Adoption Day, PorterPie!!

Tagged ,


Our little guy graduated last night!! Admittedly he didn’t do too well on his final exams, but a good time was had by all. The dogs all got mortarboards, the teacher played “Pomp and Circumstance” on a little boombox, we all did a little procession around the store, and then we celebrated with burgers from Checkers on the way home, which Porter seemed to enjoy. We still have some work to do, but overall I think the class has been really good for us and the little man is way less stubborn than he used to be, and seems to generally be more attentive to us.

As for the office, we finished installing the trim around the floor and bought this rug from CB2. I’m hoping to at least finish priming the trim this weekend. Here’s the updated office list:

finish installing quarter round
– prime trim
– paint trim and doors
– touch up paint mistakes
– re-hang door
– wallpaper closet
buy rug
– put other computer in there
– hang artwork
– clean and rearrange bookshelves
– new curtains

These little town blues

This weekend, instead of working on the house, we opted instead to go to New York to use our free hotel night that we got as part of our mortgage. We stayed in a very fancy hotel across the river from Manhattan in Jersey City, went to see Mike Birbiglia’s “one man show”, which is a fancy $50-per-ticket way of saying “his normal standup routine that anyone who knows him has seen before,” ate some mexican food, drank enormous margaritas, went record shopping, walked around, Guggenheimed, and ate very delicious pizza. A good time was had by all, including Porter who got to spend the weekend with his grandpa Ken and eat Chick-Fil-A.

I had never been to the Guggenheim before, and I have to say it was….a little disappointing. Yes, it’s definitely a very interesting building, but let’s face it, Frank Lloyd Wright was a bit of a bastard, and didn’t exactly have the museum’s best interest in mind when he designed it. I felt like the building is definitely the thing that you are supposed to experience, and the art installed there seems more like an afterthought. And even more of an afterthought are the restrooms – single room affairs which seem to be scattered haphazardly throughout the building, with a convex wall in front of the toilet where your legs should go. I paid $18 to get in and still had to sit sidesaddle on the toilet. So I wouldn’t say that I regret going, but for any of you who haven’t been, walking into the atrium for free is probably sufficient. The Met is still easily my favorite museum, by far.

I do love New York though. Whenever I go, I regret never having lived there. It’s just so different from Philadelphia. There is always something going on, you can take public transportation pretty much any time of the day or night and not worry, you can see your favorite bands, amazing comedians, old movies, some of the best art in the world, and eat the most delicious food ever. Of course, you also have to live in the tiniest apartment imaginable, which is really what has kept me from living there – the claustrophobia of it, of living in 400 square feet and having to take a long subway ride to see any significant amount of grass and trees. But still, I think I could handle a year or so.

I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired this weekend, photographically speaking. But I took a few…


That place where all those awful people work…

The view from our room. We couldn’t technically see Manhattan from our room, but it was still a nice view…

Greg taking it easy at the hotel…

The sign on the back of the door. Yikes.

you win some, you lose some

Well, unfortunately the ten storage boxes we bought at Ikea last night didn’t fit in the office closet. I did measure, I swear. I must have just mis-read the label in the store. As a result, there’s been no progress on the office in the past day or so.

However, I did use my free evening to make a nice little tote for a craft swap that I’m participating in. It was good practice AND it gave me an excuse to finally go to Spool, which I now plan to visit frequently.

Tagged , ,

pointless pictures of a still-messy room

**I thought I posted this yesterday but apparently in the time since my last post, I’ve forgotten how to blog correctly**

We are *finally* starting to take an interest in the house again, after months of ignoring it to spend most of our time under blankets on the couch. The trick is going to be to take things one step at a time and avoid thinking of the enormous laundry list of things we need to get done.

We’ve put some focus back into the office. We have this very bad habit of getting about 80% done with a room and then moving onto another project. As a result, we don’t have one single “completed” room in the house, which is making me a little crazy. A few months ago we had bought a desk on Craigslist that, although attractive and full of nice drawers for much needed storage, just wasn’t cutting it for Greg. It turned out to be more of a writing desk than a computer desk. Greg couldn’t even get his chair under it, and it was entirely too shallow to be effective. I think initially I thought we’d try a smaller desk to make ourselves be disciplined and avoid collecting a lot of crap on it, but the crap then just winds up spilling over into the rest of the room. We decided to put it back on Craigslist and replace it with a bigger one so Greg can feel like an executive with an enormous desk in front of him. The one problem of course is that the new one has no storage, so we’ll need to figure out an alternative.

The office as of yesterday morning…

And as of Sunday night, still very far from done…

And here is Porter probably thinking, “Mommy, why are you taking pictures? This place looks like crap!”

We need to make another trip to Ikea for some boxes to organize the closet so we can get some more effective storage going in there. We also need a rug to pull the room together, but that will have to wait a bit.

During our cleaning efforts, one problem kept arising, which is that we have a ridiculous amount of framed artwork and photos with nowhere to go. To be honest, we’re downright scared of these walls. They’re mysterious and crumbly and the idea of trying to hang anything in them is incredibly daunting. So every time we try to clean anything, we wind up just shuffling around frames and ultimately just leaning everything up against the wall. I guess we just need to bite the bullet and get rid of everything we’re sick of and just dive in and start hanging things. All of you lucky people with nice sturdy studs behind firm drywall should count your blessings.

Yesterday I did some Valentines baking for Greg – peanut butter & jelly bars from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa at Home” book. I’m making him take them to work because I could definitely see myself packing on the pounds very quickly with these.

his and hers

Greg was unfortunately sick on New Years Eve, so the festivities were cut short and we wound up just watching the ball drop. In the hopes of avoiding his germs, I’ve been sleeping in the guest room, which is actually really nice. It’s very cozy in there, not nearly as messy as my actual bedroom. We hung our huge world map mural (albeit a little sloppily), set up the futon and bought a rug, so it’s very snuggly. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve now reassured myself that it’s perfectly fine for guests. I told Greg it feels like we’re royalty, or I’m the first lady or something, having separate bedrooms. I think I need to make use of that room more often.




A decision still needs to be made about this bookshelf. They worked great in our old apartment, and I do love them, but they’re a little too big for any of the rooms in our house, I feel like they will easily overwhelm any of the rooms. They do hold a lot of crap though, as you can see…


I also thought I would mention what a sweet husband I have. In order to ensure I don’t get sick, he took it upon himself to remove our normal bathroom cup and replace it with two labeled plastic cups. He even took his toothbrush out of the holder to avoid any co-mingling of germs.


I can’t decide what our first project of the new year should be, although we’d better get a move on because we still have miles and miles to go. The problem is that the house is in a livable state right now, which has been nice over the holidays, but is not very conducive to making ourselves do anything. Still, I walk around and all I do is notice litle irritations, like homeless junk all over, peeling paint, piles of clothes with nowhere to go. We’re still not really at a point of actual decorating yet, because nothing is really settled enough to decide on knicknacks or artwork, which is the fun part. I think we need to do a few small projects that will boost our home improvement egos and get us excited to do more. Maybe we’ll paint the stairs, or wallpaper the vestibule or something simple like that. Hah, simple. I don’t quite know what I’m thinking saying that, because nothing has been simple in this house. I think that’s why I’m afraid to hang a picture, because I have a feeling that trying to put a screw in the wall will result in fifteen trips to Home Depot.