Saturday, August 23, 2008

There is No Slurring Allowed in Scrabble

Quick, list all the words you know that include the letters q, c and d. Not easy right? Welcome to the dilemma of the moment: how do I use letters to my best advantage, maximizing points, and kicking the butt of anyone willing to take me on? I grew up with Scrabble; my grandparents, mom and various other family members were seemingly addicted to it. I would try to create interesting words with my second grade vocabulary and sometimes I would even do alright. As I grew up words began to have an even deeper meaning for the writer trapped inside but a tiny three letter word seemed to hold more weight than working towards becoming that writer: fun.

When I was twenty three years old it was common to find me in the clubs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday on some not so rare occasions. I paid my cover charge and extended an arm to receive the ink stamp that would take three days to scrub off. The motion was instinctual; I needed no prompting to remind me how it was done because I had done it a million times. As a club hopper many interesting, diverse and crazy people come in and out of your life because, at that moment, your worlds share so many common bonds: a love of being half deaf, drinking enough until everyone looks good with running mascara, cigarette burn holes in all your clothing and so much love for each other you have no other way of expressing it but to rub their back and hold their hair while they slump down beside the bathroom toilet, vomiting as they fall.

All those years in the club scene gave me some of my favorite Scrabble words; take, for example, excess. Land that one on a triple word score and you are sure to take the game. Not only are the letters worth fifteen points, it is an excellent word describing a state of mind. It is a word used to define what happens when drinks continue to flow down your throat regardless of the little voice that is attempting to scream 'knock it off you idiot or you are going to die from alcohol poisoning'. Instead of listening to the voice it is far easier to splash some whiskey in its face to shut it up and send it home crying. This is not a problem though, you won't remember having done it by the next morning and all you have to do is say sorry, that you will never do it again, and the little voice miraculously forgives you.

After so many nights of stale drinks, cigarettes and conversation, I reached my low when I woke up one morning to a person who I called a friend handing me a glass of water, two aspirin, a joint and the nose tube attached to an oxygen tank saying 'trust me, you are definitely going to need these'. I glanced around and realized I was in the bed of another friend who was nowhere to be found but the guy I was interested in was laying next to me fully clothed. I took it all and started to inhale, maybe a little too fast, and began to put together the pieces of what had happened the night before over a greasy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and a grilled bagel. Recalling even the smallest detail after my third Alabama Slammer is something I am still working on.

I learned my lesson after that night. That was the first and last time I have ever drank to an excess where I blacked out without cognizant memory of what happened. Scary. Not to say that I have not been drunk since then because there have been plenty of nights filled with Merlot or Cape Codders that should never be discussed but nights at the club are so few and far between these days that paying more than five dollars for a cover charge is shocking to me. Now I am much more likely to have a couple beers at home with Matt during a Friday night Scrabble game and call my sister to ask if she has a dictionary. I ask if she could please look up how to spell aqueduct because if I spelled it correctly I will have scored ninety points (forty for the placement and an additional fifty for using all seven letters, score!). I feel her rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me through the phone as she tells me it is spelled with an e and not an i, so I take my seven points for the simple word duct instead and go to bed with all memory of the eighty three points that could have been.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Are Allowed To Pop Out Anytime Now

The nursery is complete. Furniture has been constructed. The shower is over. S is growing increasingly more uncomfortable by the day. Names have been chosen. Well, OK, in all fairness no real names have been chosen but for the last month the babies have been referred to as Hammer and Anvil by B and just the other day I heard S use the names too so I guess its official. Believe me, this is far better than Helmüt and Thor which were circulating for a while. Yeah, those never really caught on with S. I wonder why?

With the nursery walls complete they will need to accessorize. I am thinking of buying them this lino block print by beeczarcardsandgifts:

Guess Rock Band will be out for roughly the next year. I have no idea where we will store all those components but it looks like we are going to have to break down and buy it. I swore there would never be a gaming system in my house but as with so many other things in life it is important never to say never since most of the time that is exactly when it will happen.

The culmination of many projects came to a close this past week and the start of two more begin this week. Man I love being busy!

First are the two bags I was commissioned to design and create for my Mom’s friend. She is giving them to her sisters; one is in New Jersey and the other is in San Diego. I would be more than happy to drop off the latter in person so feel free to fly me on out there. Respectively, the bags are named City Girl and Casual Coast. There is one center section, six outside pockets and four inside pockets which include a cell phone and pen pocket to hold three pens. They take a while to construct but I really love how well these turned out. Perhaps I will make some to put in my Etsy shop once I have wrapped up the next two jobs.

Speaking of the next two jobs, here is the sample board for the strie next week. It is a blue over a yellow-orange so the glaze will show as teal. The base color is called Gingerbread Man and I just love it as a warm and cozy feeling hue. The board looks angelic because it was scanned in so pay no mind to the aura surrounding it. This job will begin Wednesday after I get my car back from the dealer to determine why my pesky check engine light came on a couple weeks ago. I choose to blame it on the rain.

The other sample board will be laid out a little later this morning so no photo yet but it is going to be two adjacent walls of faux brick. I convinced her not to put actual spackle on the walls since she has small children and one out of control matchbox car or toy box lid could be the end of that finish. Instead it will be a multi tone glaze application and some highlight and shading to give the feeling of real bricks.

Now for the big guns: the nursery!

Before with gray rag faux treatment & damaged ceiling

Bye-bye gray!

Yes, measuring out little tick marks, lining up the laser level and taping took an entire day

Voila! Ceiling, trim and strie stripes complete! Just one last step to go…

A cozy nursery for Hammer and Anvil, my soon to be born “nephews”

Sorry S, I had to post the “illegal” picture.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


That’s right. Awesome is just too weak a word to describe all the fantastic things going on lately and the addition of the ness is completely warranted. I am physically beat but so energized and feeling creative again for the first time in a long time!

First and foremost I am working a few faux jobs again which I completely forgot how much I enjoy doing. There is frustration, sweat, dust and spackle in my eyes sometimes not to mention glaze on my bare knees and falling asleep on the sofa in front of the Red Sox game at nine o’clock, only to wake up at eleven asking Matt “Did we win?” but when it all comes together and I see the ridiculous look of excitement on the face of my clients it is all worth it in the end.

So I started the nursery for S&B this week. Wait, let me back up a little bit. S, as many of you know, is pregnant with twins and was sent home on bed rest a month ago after a quick but scary stay in the hospital. Her baby shower is this weekend but I have very superstitious beliefs about baby showers. I almost never go to them but if I do I will only get a gift for the parents and never anything baby related. For example when M was pregnant years ago I gave my Hospital Survival Kit gift including books she & J would enjoy and a few other time passing activity type items like a board game and some mad libs. The second those boys were born I was shopping for them but not a moment before. With all that in mind, and the fact that S is like another sister, their gift had to be really special. Once they started talking about moving B’s office out of that room I knew exactly what it would be.

We worked together on colors and a finish that would be elegant but still kid, good for boys but not baby blue and something I could get done quick just in case she popped really early. We finally settled on nine inch strie stripes in alternating milk chocolate brown and cornflower blue. Today I spent 5 hours measuring out, tick marking and running the tape lines on all the walls, tomorrow will be the brown stripe and Thursday the blue goes up. It is going to be so killer I wish I was still there painting right now.

Next week begins another strie job in conjunction with some repair work at a client I acquired through my Interior Designer contact I have worked with a few times now. Time to buy a radio as that job will be just me and the walls. Massachusetts is having their “tax free holiday” this weekend so score for saving five percent on everything!

Earlier this week I was humbled and honored to receive this:

Sandra Ree is one of my very favorite new blogs I now try to read every day because she is a sweetie and her photography is a-ma-zing. I could not believe she chose me as a recipient of this blog award and seriously I was touched. Thanks girl! The basic premise is I pay it forward and pass the award on to seven bloggers. I would like to pass this pretty prismatic crystal statue on to: Bridgete, Ginger, Judi, Jim, Kate and Trayce. You all rock bloglandia in your own special ways and I applaud all of you for it!

The dreaded tag occurred this week as well but instead of being bummed about it I welcome the challenge from David! If none of you have ever read his blog be warned that there is a lot of straight shooting and cursing from an amazingly talented writer. I love it. Hope you do too.

And now, seven random facts about me? Bring it on baby!

1. I reinvent myself just about every day. Seriously I have more than enough personalities on reserve for everyone to enjoy.

2. I started smoking again when my sister was in town. No judgment. Someday quitting will stick.

3. Red meat left my diet about 6 months ago and I barely miss it.

4. I love to feel the personal victory that comes with talking to a man about football and knowing more than he does. There was a commercial on for Direct TV a long time ago when the installer was talking about the channels a couple would get and the woman started asking about all the sports she could watch. At the end the man looked bewildered but the woman and the installer bumped fists. I like to think of myself as being that girl.

5. My favorite movie of all time is The Goonies.

6. I really miss having a dishwasher. Unless you count Matt.

7. I always struggle with the seventh random fact because I want it to be one of those heavy hitters that makes people laugh or cry. Yeah, I got nothin’.

So as is my rule I am not going to tag anyone back. If you feel like participating though by all means go for it because random facts are always a fun read.

My final bo-bickety happy dance moment happened last night when I opened my yahoo mail and discovered that a fairly prominent musician I had requested to interview for The Organic Mechanic not only said yes but sent back her responses. I am so excited to post this interview on Friday I could burst right out of this chair. I hope you all get a chance to stop by and read it because she is amazing and so sweet to take the time out of a very busy tour schedule to answer my questions. I hope it helps both her and our blog with a boost!

So that is about it. Time to go fall asleep on the sofa in front of the Sox game.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We Hate the Environment Here?

A few years ago for Christmas, Matt and I decided to spend the holiday with my sister in Arizona for the first time since she moved there. Seeing her at the holidays is always nice but doing so in the place she calls home was especially wonderful. All week long, even as the calendar rolled over to January, we commented how odd the weather was, noting the fact that it hit about eighty five on Christmas day. That was particularly strange since generally they are in the sixties. As a lover of all things warm I thought it was great to sit out on the front balcony and get a tan while everyone back home bundled up in winter gear, but at the same time I knew there had to be a reason for the phenomenon.

One evening out at the house of a friend we were all drinking beers and having a great time. I went to bring some empty bottles into the kitchen and aimlessly looked around for the recycling bin. When I did not find one immediately visible I poked my head back in the living room and asked if it was in the garage. My sister looked down at the ground, sighed and said:

Yeah, we hate the environment here. There is no recycling pick up so just throw them away.”

Just throw them away. With a very heavy conscience I had no choice but to do just that.

To those of us who come from an area where recycling can be a regular part of our daily routine, it might seem strange that a city the size of Tucson would not have a pick up. Sadly not having one is more common than having one in many areas of our nation. It got me thinking about how fortunate we are in Boston, and my town in particular, that we have a separate pick up for all recyclables. Just put the blue bin out at the curb every other week and the work is done; easy. Why then do I hear things like:

No I never recycle the cans because the cats get at them in the bins and then I forget to bring the bin out so it is easier to just throw them away.”

Just throw them away. We display blatant disregard for the planet by deliberately ignoring one of the most simple and available solutions to help it by adding to the landfills.

Then we complain about the weather. We marvel over the fact that we have already had two inches of rain in August and it is only one week into the month. We sound shocked as we discuss that in the north east we have already had over double the usual number of thunderstorms in an entire season and the season is only two thirds over. The words “climate change” come flying out of my mouth and we all nod but what are we really doing to help prevent it?

Companies that many of us would have never thought of as being environmentally conscious are starting to see that jumping on this trend is not such a bad idea. Hopefully as more of them move in that direction the trend will turn into the norm. Yes that does mean we all have to keep an extra special eye out for imposters who are just trying to make a quick buck on a product that is not environmentally conscious at all but there are some instances where the positive impact is indisputable.

For example, this morning I read about Ikea beginning manufacture of solar panels and other cleantech products. They plan to work with a limited number of cleantech startups in order to keep costs low and hope to begin distribution of the subsequent technologies into their stores by 2011. Not bad considering there are 283 stores spanning thirty nations worldwide (Nineteen US states have one or more locations and by 2009 they will add the twentieth state to the store locator list). Could Ikea be blazing a path toward a new and even better trend such as the potential to purchase an eco-friendly house and all the green solutions needed to furnish, light and accessorize it in a one stop shopping experience? Do not laugh, they are already providing pre-fab, low cost housing in Sweden and expanding their reach with this product to the United Kingdom. It is just a matter of time before the Boklok reaches the United States and we can surround our assemble-it-yourself furniture with a home of the same persuasion.

I own Ikea furniture, lots of it in fact. My mattress & bed frame, sewing cart, sofa and living room chair, bedroom bureaus and two bookshelves are all from this big box retailer. At the time I purchased all of this (about four years ago), admittedly, the reasons were not so much how environmentally friendly they were but rather the fact that they were right down the street in Long Island and I could acquire modern style furnishings for our tiny apartment and do it on a tight budget. Despite what people might think their furniture is not “disposable”. Just like anything in this world it will last as long as it is properly taken care of. Kind of like the world itself.

Arizona has an Ikea in Tempe. Perhaps once these eco-friendly solutions are distributed world wide Tucson can take advantage of their hot and constant sun and pick up truckloads of the panels to install in as many locations as possible in an effort to harness their resources instead of simply throwing things away.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Know When To Hold ‘Em but Definitely Know When to Fold ‘Em

“You know what I think is the saddest thing about sports? People who stay too long at the party.”

This quote is from one of my favorite cheesy chic flicks, The Cutting Edge and partially sums up how I feel about this whole Brett Favre debacle. Anyone who knows me understands that I am pretty much a walking billboard for Favre; I even posted how sad I was about his retirement back in March. Regardless of my personal, selfish feelings about wanting Favre to stay on the field forever however, there also comes a point in every sport where even the most renowned stars must admit that it is time for them to leave. Admit it to the world but most importantly, admit it to his or herself and bow out, hopefully gracefully. I had incorrectly assumed this is what happened with Favre this past spring when he officially got on television and cried for about six minutes of a ten minute press conference explaining how he had made the decision to retire.

His lifetime stats are impressive with about 260 games started in his seventeen year career he has 5,377 completions for 61,655 passing yards, and 442 touchdowns. Sure he threw a lot of interceptions and got sacked a lot as well but in a lifetime career there are few who could touch his level. Consider how Favre compares to another top rated QB, one of the top ten of all time who played eighteen seasons in the NFL, Johnny Unitas.

Unitas, just like Favre, played his career years split between two teams, the Baltimore Colts (for those of you under 25 the Colts were moved to Indianapolis in 1984) and the San Diego Chargers. Unitas spent 17 seasons with the Colts and finished his career in California for just one season the year I was born. He started 211 games, threw 2,830 completions for a total of 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns. His overall rating? 78.2. His interceptions? 253. His sacks? 230.

Favre is rated at 85.7 although in his lifetime he threw 288 interceptions and was sacked 439 times. Obviously that is a huge jump from the numbers put up by Unitas but Favre’s rating was achieved with one less year in and throwing for 21,416 more yards than Johnny. Divide Unitas’ total yards in half and Favre’s difference between their totals is more. See, impressive.

Lots of people far less publicly renowned than him have retired in this country; many of them were likely on the same day that Favre handed in his televised resignation. Those people may have received a nice cake, maybe some cards of encouragement and possibly a few tears from co-workers who had known them for years. I find it difficult to imagine that any of these people would come back to their place of employment just over three months later and express their interest in having their old job back, telling the employer they changed their mind and explaining they would have gone somewhere else if it was not for that pesky non-compete agreement (read: contract). On the overview of the past few weeks this is essentially exactly what Favre did and it is really time to pin down why.

Here we are. We are all waiting with bated breath to see what will happen to our favorite right arm from Mississippi. Will number 4 start with the Packers or be traded to a rival team? If traded what are the chances he will start there? When Favre went to Green Bay from Atlanta in the 1992 season he was about to turn 23, now at 38 I have to wonder, is this going to be his banner year or simply a publicity stunt by the Packers for reasons unknown. Regardless of what all this is about, it sure will be fun to watch it unfold on Sports Center where there has been a separate ticker category created just for Favre.

EDIT: Its the Jets. Now what? I am a Pats fan. I am a Favre fan. At least Green Bay was neutral. How can I possibly watch the JETS as a fan of New England. Fuck.