Friday, September 25, 2009

Peace, Love, and Cleanliness

I love the sound of a pressure-sprayer in the morning!

To know Haight-Ashbury is to know filth. I could not have been happier this morning to see this crew of upstanding gentlemen armed with hydraulic lifts and high pressure hoses giving our building on the infamous intersection a well-deserved scrub. Since we moved in last October, I have routinely lamented the quarter inch thick layer of yuck on our front windows, mostly composed of the exhaust from the six or so bus lines that run by and goodness knows what else that floats up from the nether. I have often pondered devising some ingenious contraption to clean the outside of the windows, or pulling out some monkey-like moves to crane around the bay window openings, but usually the intimidation factor of the eighteen foot drop gets the best of me.

Lately I have been on an absolute cleaning tear with the goal not just to have the house clean on the surface, but really deep, feng shui clean; in other words, underbed storage boxes have been banned, kitchen cupboards have been wiped out and reorganized, and possessions mercilessly reassessed. Now the apartment will truly be clean inside and out, and I can ditch a pet peeve. Most excellent.

I cannot wait to go home and see the windows! Now if only people would stop using the planters out front as urinals, I'd really be thrilled ....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Couch Coup

Recently, I accomplished the greatest feat in my young career as a consumer: the Couch Coup.

Flashback to October 2008: Will and I had just moved into our new apartment and were bewilderedly wandering through the Macy's furniture department on a desperate quest to find the perfect couch. Having already been, well, pretty much everywhere, we had discovered that there is no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to couch shopping. Apparently, we had our assumptions incorrect: find apartment, then find couch. Not so. Word of advice: go into Crate & Barrel six months before you plan to move, then maybe - maybe - your couch would be ready by the time you moved in. Horse-hockey. Exasperated, down-trodden, tailbones aching, it began to feel like we'd be sitting on the hardwood floors forever, and we were at the point where we'd be happy to take any darn couch in stock. And so we did ...

Flashforward to circa now: the couch sucks! There are few days that go by without me verbally expressing my hatred for the boxy boat anchor. I felt it was time for action. My new couch longings were largely catalysed by an overwhelming desire to organize our living room furniture, which is challenging in our awkwardly shaped, narrow rectangle of a room. Furthermore, the genuine issue was also the rapidly sinking cushions, slovenly appearance, and my inability to sit on it without back troubles. Dilemma: all back comforts aside, how does one justify obtaining a brand-new, preferably significantly smaller couch when you pretty much just paid off the old one? In other words: WWRD? What Would a Recessionista Do? Exchange it! After two weeks of daily phone calls to the their store (and sometimes their India-based call center), one visit from a technician who wanted to open the cushions and stuff them (like reverse lipo for a couch), and one very impassioned, logically-fallacious appeal to Macy's sense of tradition and quality, I made it happen.

Zip! Out with the old and in with the new this Saturday. Goodbye boat anchor, hello gorgeous! Full refund on the old couch and money to spare on our exchange credit. Who needs a new cake tip set? You guessed it.

P.S. Is it a bad sign that this is the most exciting thing that's happened in recent memory? :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bizarre Obsessions OR… These are a Few of My Favorite [D├ęcor] Things

You may not have aspirations to own a taxidermied bat pinned onto silk damask gracefully framed in a shadow box, and for that, I applaud you. If, on the other hand, you are like me, you may be wishing you had the one available at Nena’s Flowers and Gifts on Haight Street, a really strange little curiosity shop specializing in the unique, macabre, and antique. Given that said taxidermied bat is a) $120 and b) utterly distasteful to Will, it doesn’t look like I’ll be picking it up anytime soon.

Here are a few other oddities and knick-knacks I just keep inexplicably loving:
Deer – really, I LOVE them; Ravens and other black birds; Sparrows; Birds in general; Trendy wallpaper; Matroyska dolls; Yellow; Woodland touches (e.g. a waxed tree stump for an end table); Anything even slightly reminding me of Alice in Wonderland; Teacups (see previous); Bees; Seahorses and starfish; Bell jars; Silhouettes; Blue; All things vintage and retro, especially if given a modern twist; Melamine, particularly if any of the above is on it.

Seeming as though they set out to accommodate my odd tastes, the designer Thomas Paul and the L.A. home store Show have made about 1,000 things among them that I would love to own. Here is a montage of images from their online stores that are a few of my favorite things…

THOMAS PAUL :: designer of the most incredible pillows I’ve ever seen, not to mention awesome melamine plate sets (I actually bought the Matroyska doll set on eBay awhile back and love, LOVE them – Will even does, too!)

SHOW :: I love pretty much everything they sell. The alabaster stage in large is the first thing on my list!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Posting for Posting's Sake

I'm still here! But, phew, what a whirlwind past couple of weeks. I got pulled into a project at work that was a) not remotely part of my job and b) super time-consuming. Long story short, this past weekend I ended up renting a minivan, driving 5 kids to a youth training in Santa Barbara, and staying at a camp where I had to kill spiders in my plywood bunk. Now it's back to a comfortable bed and hot showers with water pressure - hooray! (Though I do miss Bambi and Deerkins, my new deer friends).

The best part of the trip was the peaceful drive through Salinas on 101 while all the kids slept. I never knew how gorgeous that area is! Makes me want to read some John Steinbeck or Jack Kerouac and eat produce. TTFN.