Friday, October 30, 2015


I enlisted the help of my mother when searching for a house this fall. I gave her three guidelines: a maximum price, a sunny yard for gardening, and a three-mile radius from my workplace. Everything else was pretty much moot – I was willing to deal with almost any kind of d├ęcor, appliances, and so on. The location was important because I have loved, loved, LOVED my commute from the Pink House. I could bike in ten minutes, walk in 25, and drive when necessary. I wanted to stay close enough that I could still bike, and I figured three miles was my maximum for regular biking in work clothes.

I’ve tried out the bike commute from the new house, and it only three miles, but it’s a lot tougher. I have to cross big roads with lots of traffic and there are a lot of hills, which I have to walk up because I’m not fit enough to bike up them. On my first day, it took 45 minutes, even though Google Maps thought it would take me 15. (To be honest, that’s about what I expected. Google Maps always thinks that I bike about two or three times as fast as I actually do.)

There’s a second route, though, that’s much nicer. It’s on trails that follow a river almost the entire way, and when I encounter big roads there are well-marked crossings with traffic lights. There are many fewer hills, and I don’t feel like I’m going to get smushed by a car. The down side is that it’s five miles each way, and that’s a LOT more than I’m used to biking in a day. I’ve tried it once, and I loved the trip, but it’s a big time commitment. I may need to give up the idea of biking every day, and instead have a goal of a few times a week. The good news is that there are many ways to get to my workplace – besides biking, it’s a 15-minute drive, and there are two different public transportation options, bus and Metro train. So I’m sure I’ll figure this out, and I’ll probably be more fit in the long run.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I really do have a good excuse for not posting for a while; I've been moving. Since I'm still in the throes of unpacking, I was hoping to make do with these photos.
 Ada walked around looking distinctly worried for about three days. Once the furniture was taken apart, she knew something was up. Maybe she was worried that she'd be left behind.
One of my friends told me it was the most organized move he's been part of, an accolade I'm particularly proud of. I could pack and organize on my own, but I couldn't possibly lift all the furniture on my own.  I am so lucky that people turned out en masse.
 N and K played Tetris until everything fit, even the 9-foot-tall trellis that Andrew built for me.
 The kids entertained themselves by running around the empty house laughing and screaming. Wow, an empty house really lets the noise travel.

I've only unpacked one room completely, but the end is in sight. I'm glad I have minimalist tendencies, so that moves are easier, but I know I'll have to work hard to not collect a million things now that I have a house.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I recently noted that I haven't had a dishwasher since I moved out of my parents' house. I just turned 40, so that means that I've been washing dishes by hand for more than 20 years. Some people tell me that they don't use their dishwashers much, or that it doesn't save much time, but I can't believe this is true, particularly with the amount I cook and entertain.

Thus, I've decided it's time to buy a dishwasher. And it comes with a house! Here are enough pictures to make your eyes glaze over. Note, please, the shag carpet - the previous owners took exquisite care of the house, so the shag carpet, which must be decades old, is still pristine. I'm toying with the idea of buying a bunch of 60's era furniture and embracing the look. After all, it's retro.

The packing is well under way, and Phi is helping by inspecting all the boxes.

Monday, October 12, 2015


As I was waking up this morning, a cricket hopped across my bed. Let me tell you, that got me out of bed FAST. I have a vivid memory of taking a bath at my grandma's house as a kid, and after I got out, she found two crickets swimming around in the water. My grandmother played it cool and said they were taking a swim with me, but as a kid I was terrified of bugs, and it scared me silly. I've since become a lot more tolerant of creepy crawly things, and will now catch crickets and spiders and send them to their freedom outside, but I'm still not that keen on them sharing my bed.

I wonder if the cricket hitched a ride in on the last of the garden produce. Once again, I had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, harvesting more than I could carry at once - so maybe 40 pounds? They'll now sit quietly and age for a couple of months, and then they'll be sweet enough for Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, I expect that sweet potato nachos will be a staple until next March.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

This and that

It's been a lot of radio silence over here. Although I've been working on projects, they're not done, so there's nothing to show here.
It's fall, so I've been focused on sewing. Since starting the 333 Project, I love having only the clothes that I need in my closet. But since I only have about 8 outfits, that also means my clothes wear out faster. Thus, I'm sewing two new skirts for my fall wardrobe. I've found two "growth areas" (as they phrase it during your annual review): zippers and pockets. I spent three hours putting in a zipper one day. How does one take that long, you might ask? By continually sewing it in wrong, and then ripping it out, alas. I'm hoping and praying that eventually I'm learning, but I'm still dreading the zipper in the second skirt.
My parents came for a visit last weekend. There was no particular agenda, but still we managed to pack our days full. We visited an interesting museum in Salisbury, Maryland, a town two hours east, across the Chesapeake Bay. I wouldn't have thought to go see a museum of wood bird carvings, but they were very good. I do appreciate it when tourists help me see new things in my old stomping grounds.
I'm really appreciating all the hurricane-induced rain we've been getting. I still have things growing in the garden, but as the season has progressed I'm spending less time tending the plants, which means they haven't gotten enough water. You can also see the effect of my minimal-gardening efforts in the fact that I left the green beans and soybeans on the plants to dry, and now I'm harvesting the seeds as dried beans. Of course, fresh edamame is tastier than dried, cooked soybeans, but i came to a point where I just couldn't bear to pick and freeze any more produce.