Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Driving out to Rochester on Thursday evening, I was very nostalgic for the ancient days of college. I went to school with some amazing people. And nothing said more about our campus than the annual, nay, ritualistic, Homecoming gathering. Although some of the traditions have faded with time, my memories keep them bright and alive. There was this incredible myth that the Student Association (our student government organization) was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the large festival style tent that the alumni office set up each year for the events. The night before Homecoming, the male SA leaders historically staid up and kept watch to keep out vandals.

Whether or not there ever was a defacing of the tent is the stuff of legend. Well, the year that S and I comprised the executive team, we were determined to keep the tradition going. So, despite our lack of male sturdiness (our likely death is by consumption), we found some sleeping bags and settled in for the night. Perhaps needless to say, October nights in upstate NY are not warm. Sometime after midnight we curled into our cocoons and drifted off to sleep, partly out of a need to keep warm, and partly because we, as usual, had worked for umpteen nights without much sleep, getting the senior float ready, settling into our new student offices, etc. Oh yeah, and homework, lots and lots of studying between the two of us. S was getting grad school applications together and I was thinking about jobs. We barely slept that year no matter what week it was.

No, the tent did not get vandalized, nor did we get accosted there on the lawn by the tent. Rather, a few of our male friends came out to check on us, draped our huddled forms in additional blankets and took photos. Nice of them and then not so nice. All you can see in these middle of the night pics is our way curly hair piling out of the top of what looks like a bed made on the wet grass. Two women. In one bed. Need I say more? Not the racy photos gracing the MySpace pages of nearly every one of today's adolescents, but amusing to them and a little less than amusing to us. The photos have reemerged almost annually since then when someone wonders out loud about our friendship. Yes, it was forged on nights like that. And in dance class with Miss Jean tapping out the rhythm to Madonna's "True Blue" at the age of seven, in the art studio for endless hours, and in a few grand schemes of breaking and entering to advance our artistic careers (who needs to break into their own college art studio to do work because it is closed on the Sabbath and at 2AM on a Tuesday?--probably not those who went to art school in Manhattan).

Anyway, as might be imagined, we awoke that Saturday morning with scratchy throats and icky heads and I managed to get bronchitis later that week to show for my "security" detail. Supposedly that year, the Homecoming of 1999, was the last night that anyone sat watch. Maybe because we had fallen asleep on the job, or because that next year they found the budget money to add some security guards to the yearly payroll. Checking the boilers is a full time job.

This year, was much less dramatic, but still fun. There is the early morning 5K, the soccer games, the parade, the afternoon reunions, and a tent where all the student clubs sell items to sustain their meager budgets for the year. Lately, they have added tables for alumni and others who want to share their wares and be a part of a growing roster of socially conscious handicrafts. S and I sold our own handmade items, many of them created from repurposed and vintage materials. Another alum, M, joined us and we shared a great day in the tent!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I did it! Went to workout at the gym, took the bus home from work, and updated the blog header before 6PM. Guess that might not always be the case, since I did head to work around 6AM and worked much of the weekend, but still pleased with myself. Ah, the little things.

sedaris and company

First of all, I know that it is not summer. Not even close. Glorious autumn in fact. But, I'm still hopelessly mired under boxes and piles and basically a huge mess of stuff at my new apartment, which means that changing my blog header is way, way down at the bottom of the list. Maybe for October!

Second, I had a wonderful time in Rochester on Saturday for the RWC Homecoming. What fun to see old friends and catch up. S and I and another alum sold a modest amount of our handcrafted items. With what is left over, I'm planning to inject Five40B with some energy by placing items on consignment in a Troy gallery.

Third, I have been enjoying being this geographically close to the boyfriend. No, not the Troy move, but being in the Capital District vs. being in Philadelphia. Going on six months up here and nearly 2 years back together so maybe I'm reflective. One of the things we love to do is see shows, travel locally, and enjoy each others company. Much easier to do 60 miles apart rather than 360. Last night we did some necessary clothes shopping and then grabbed a light dinner before heading over to downtown Albany for a drink. The bar filled up with NPR types and we tried to determine who we might see shortly over at The Palace where award winning writer David Sedaris was speaking, on tour for his new book.

Sure enough, many did migrate over. Girls in dresses over pants and guys in rugged jeans with corduroy jackets and beards, plenty of bearded hipsters. This audience was clearly enthusiastic to hear Sedaris. Seriously, what kind of audience pays good money to hear a small man with glasses read out loud?!

We managed to sit in front of a row of big laughers. Big, raucous laughs that made you lean forward a bit so as not to lose what little hearing you have left after going to your share of My Morning Jacket and MGMT shows. In front of us was one of those women who massaged her date like it was her full time job. Maybe it was her job before they started dating. I don't know. But it was really uncomfortable, hand stretched down his shirt, across his shoulders, ugh.

Yet, between the big laughs and the visual assault, we were able to appreciate Sedaris' humor. My favorite stories are about his family. Least favorite are cheap humor that is self indulgent. Self-deprecation works when it brings the larger group in, starts to push you away when it is so specific to your own personal experience that others cannot relate. Glad to be part of this last bit of verbal culture--long live the book tours.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

muji madness in manhattan

Yesterday I was in Manhattan for a lunch meeting and made a point to get over to the new Muji store on 8th Ave. Wow. What a place. I've read the reviews online and realized that the small notebooks would be a perfect base for 540B materials. For anyone who is obsessed with office supplies, good industrial design, and recycling, this is your place. If you make it to the city, there are two locations, one in Soho and the other in the New York Times building on 8th. I came home with nine notebooks (some for sale at RWC Homecoming this weekend!), colored pencils, and five pairs of socks made from recycled yarn. So cool.

A few Muji adaptation pics. Come by the art + craft tent at RWC on Saturday and take your own home.

And no, I haven't posted pictures of the apartment yet because it is still very much in the move in stage. Need a good long weekend to put it all together. On the road again this week so it will be a few more days to come.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

nine moves and five cities

If it weren't for my love of cities and place-making, this weekend's move would be odious. Seriously. Nine moves in ten years. Ugh. Yeah, some of this is my own fault. I get that.

Tomorrow the family arrives to help move my worldly possessions from Albany to over the Hudson River into downtown Troy, NY. This fantastic urban community is becoming increasingly attractive to Capital District residents who want to be able to walk to restaurants, multiple farmers markets, church, community gardens, the river front, and more. There is a new co-op in the works and two great natural food stores. And, my favorite, a huge artisan community that gets together at the end of every month for Troy Night Out. You've already heard me talk about the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market. There is a great park on the next block over from my new apartment with a vibrant business association. Found an all organic salon too that didn't try to straighten my hair or die away the new gray strands when I went in for a cut a few weeks back.

The apartment has something of a similar set up as my Albany space, but with the addition of four small side rooms and a dining room. The largest of those smaller rooms faces a historic warehouse district and from its third floor perch you can just see the Hudson River. This room will soon become my very own studio for creating. The extra rent $ is almost entirely so that I could get that space. So looking forward to being able to spread out and not have to clean up, just close the door! Another of the small rooms will be a walk in closet and yet another a chapel/prayer/meditation space. There is guest room space too so I'm looking forward to hosting more overnight guests and visitors!

What I really need to do is get more furniture now! The boyfriend is loaning me a few pieces that have been in storage (getting the Danish Modern settee!) while his house is being renovated, but I still need to hunt up a dresser, a few arm chairs, and some studio tables/tables/sewing table. Huh, good thing I live a few blocks from the antiques district. One store in particular, Living Room, has some lovely finds.

RJR has a new/old pick up truck to haul the stuff. My parents and K come in tomorrow. I have boxes piled higher than my head. And, I've been on a mission to not buy any food to be sure to eat what is left in my fridge and freezer. Down to an egg, some condiments, and a few scallions. Sounds like tonight's omelet dinner will fulfill that challenge.

A few pics of the new space:

Bring on the new adventure...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Can be too much sometimes. Taking another break until after I've found a new place to live and get settled in. This week, another chunk of plaster fell out of the ceiling in my living room, probably a good sign it is time to move on!? Looking forward to a new neighborhood, maybe even a new city, will share more when I've got the details determined. Until then, hope your day is bright.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

from the ADK

Not going to suffer from blog guilt...more pictures less writing today. From our hike to Good Luck Lake on Labor Day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

porch life

Spent much of the holiday weekend inside working on a report for the job, but made up for those hours by enjoying a leisurely night on the porch Sunday evening, complete with Mason Jennings tunes floating by and my new mock sangria. Hung up lanterns and soaked in the last bits of summer on the porch that I will soon say goodbye to.

Monday was all good fun with favorite people and places, including an Adirondack hike and more of the boyfriend's crazy adorable godson Gavin. I'll post some photos soon! In the meantime, find yourself a warm night to try this quick version of summer in a glass: Cut nectarine into small chunks, place in glass. Pour mango juice (Goya works well) or OJ over the fruit. Toss in a shot of Coconut Rum, fill the remainder of the glass with a dry red wine. Add ice if you like.