Thursday, October 31, 2013
Happy Halloween! I can't believe it is Halloween already; we never made it to the pumpkin patch despite the beautiful weather we have been having (i am a terrible person). However, I may be able to blame the gorgeous weather for just feeling a little less in the Halloween spirit than normal. I was pretty convinced I may not have a costume for M+L this year, the pressure was just too much and I couldn't come up with anything good. Or anything at all for that matter. Then at the last minute I thought they could be the old man and the house from the movie Up. They seemed to like the Up idea. However, when I asked who wanted to be the old man and they both broke into sobs saying "I don't want to be old, mama! I don't want to be an old man!" I realized I had just failed as parent (worse than not going to the pumpkin patch) and earned myself my 'most insensitive parenting moment of the year.' After my grandfather passed, they had rightfully been asking a lot about dying and my response was always "he was so old. you will be very old when you die too. it's wonderful to live so long and be old when you die." And, so, at 5 years old the thought of being an old man for halloween pretty much mortified them. So obviously that plan was out straight away. And I scrambled for a plan B. I spent the next two hours digging through my closets and storage until I found a knight outfit I had bought them for play clothes - Milo claimed that and Luca declared he would be a dragon. Perfect. No emotional scarring there and it's still satisfies my whole (compulsive) need to couple-costume my twins (i have no guilt about that). There may be a little emotional scarring however when we bring the candy home and have to root out all the not-gluten-free booty. Fun times. Are you dressing up this year? Or dressing anyone else up?
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
If you have read my about page you will know that I happen to believe in ghosts, I think it's just in my nature. Though I am not sure that this story truly qualifies as a "ghost story;" it might be more along the lines of Long Island Medium than Ghost Hunters (sorry I watch a lot of tv.). I am sure people could discount it as coincidence, and in my mind I do that too, sometimes. But most of the time I know it wasn't a coincidence at all.
To tell the story I have to go back a little - growing up I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents and lived with them on more than one occasion. They lived in a huge old house. I loved this house not only because it harbored the normalcy I longed for like dinners at 5 o'clock sharp every night, two parents, weekend getaways to the beach and family vacations to disneyland, homework done at the kitchen table, etc., but also because it was beautiful and mysterious. It had a stage in the living room where the hooks for the curtains remained. There were beautiful inlaid wood floors, a fireplace in both the sitting room and the dining room, wood carvings in the stair banisters, sun porches and a dark old basement, lots of rooms to curl up in and explore. And other lovely things like vintage damask wallpaper in the entry and crystal chandeliers. Despite my grandparents lack in decorating skills, the house was gorgeous. And I know that house is a direct reflection on my love of homes today, and maybe without it I wouldn't have this blog at all. Sadly my grandparents (badly) remodeled the kitchen in the late 80's in which I helped with. When we did we found old bottles and tins in the walls; when we put the walls back up I insisted on replacing items with things from the current day: pepsi cans, coins, notes written by me. My grandfather happily obliged (as always).
For most of my childhood I reminded my grandparents that when they died they had to leave the house to me because no one would ever love it like I did. I felt like the house belonged to me, like the spirit of the house and I were friends. I can't tell you how much time I spent imagining the lives of the people that lived there before and even talking to the house in case they were listening (i may have been a little eccentric). Of course I imagined this estate to be passed down to me when I was much older because they were young too. But sadly it didn't turn out that way. My grandfather died within a few months of being diagnosed with cancer, on January 1st 2000, I was a mere 23, and him, a mere 62 otherwise healthy bike riding vegetarian. It was like watching a wrecking ball come at you in slow motion destined to tear down everything you ever thought you knew and had known. It was a mess after that. My grandmother struggled for 5 years until she died, also at 62. The house was sold in the time in between. I felt so betrayed by everything: life, death, human weakness, my own naivety. The people that bought the house were not the nicest, but they told me they planned to restore it (spoiler alert: they have not, it just looks like a house with a thousand abandoned projects. boo!). So I tried to put on a brave face about all these changes that I absolutely hated, and focus on their plans for restoring the house. I asked if sometime I could visit it, you know, someday, thinking that the knowledge that I could at some point down the road would ease saying goodbye. And as we handed over the keys I said "oh, and my grandfather and i placed things in the walls, if you ever tear them down i would love it if you could call me so i can see them." She let me know she would not call me and gave me back my phone number.
For years, this was back in 2001 that the house was sold, I would have dreams of being inside the house and touching the floors and banisters, sneaking in each room to take another peek, sitting at the kitchen table. Dreams of simply placing my cheek up against the rough plaster walls or retainer wall around the property, propelling myself off the stairs from the banisters, smelling the old musty lace curtains that hung on the front door. It always made me feel terribly sad, unable to let go of it all which I desperately wanted to do. Once in awhile I would trek back into St. Johns and drive by the house, but it always just ended up with me in tears and feeling like a crazy stalker, so I stopped. I found I was just ready to let go of that sadness, I needed to move on, for good.
Then one night a few years ago I had a dream about the house, but this time it was different. I dreamed the backdoor was removed (the door that was always unlocked for family to come and go from and made a lovely rattle and humming sound when you closed it behind you), the garage was torn down (which was an amazingly original one with barn doors for the front), the retainer wall around the house was pulled up, the bathroom tiles were falling off the walls. I woke up shaken and then headed out to take my older son, Fisher, to school. I had this feeling that I had to drive by, just this once. I believed this all might be true. Truth be told I believed the house was calling me. But I had stopped torturing myself with this painful stalking down memory lane years before hand so I was really torn with my seeming craziness about it all. But at the last minute I turned onto the freeway and made my way back to my old part of town. When I got there I drove by fully intending not to stop, just to, you know, validate I might have a "few unresolved issues" and then try to go back home to my ghost-free part of town to put them to rest once again. But when I slinked by I saw the garage, gone. I saw the backdoor, replaced. I saw part of the retainer wall, torn up. So I had a mental battle with myself about stopping (again, the new owners made it really clear this was their house now, and I was not welcome to visit.), but I parked a block away loaded up my babies in the stroller and walked by the house. I didn't see anyone but I saw a lot of construction trucks so I kept going (thinking they would at least provide me a cover), then I waited a minute by the neighbors and just as I was turning to leave a guy came out of the house (not one of the new owners, phew.).
I was all shaky trying to act normal when I felt totally whacked out. I blurted out my story, I used to live here, the owners don't like me, i know this is really weird, i sound insane, i swear i'm am not but . . . i had this dream last night . . . I could tell the guy was indulging me and maybe a little more than uncomfortable, probably in a hurry, and most definitely confused. But as I got to the part of the bathroom tiles his eyes got big and he said "...the tiles in the bathroom are falling off the wall," (of course everything else was obvious from the outside.). Then I got to the part of the things we had placed in the wall and he turned away from me and ran off. But he stopped half way to the house, looked back and said "Hold on, hold on, don't go anywhere!" He came back with some coins that were wrapped in paper and had my twelve year old writing on them with year 1988, smily faces, and Hi's. As he placed them into my trembling hands he looked like me like I wasn't in fact a total lunatic. And so I told him "I have to keep these, I don't know if they would want me to have them . . ." He said, "Well, they are yours, and I can't believe I am saying this but I think the house must have wanted you to have them back." I said, "Yeah, me too."
The top photo is the front stairs of the house, with its old address before it St. John's was incorporated into Portland. The second photo is of the turret, where my bedroom was and the magnolia tree outside of it. The bottom photos are of the coins that I got back from the walls. Apparently at 12 years old I was really into pointing out the obvious. What about you? Any ghost stories?
Video | Alone Time |
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Being as Halloween is this week and camping season is behind us (unless of course you are one of those all-season campers, in which case I won't worry because you obviously have no fear, of anything), I think I can post this. But if you are easily spooked you might want to skip it and go watch this instead.
Photo Diary | Mosier and Marla |
Monday, October 28, 2013
Happy Monday! Phew we had an action pack weekend! Saturday we headed out to the gorge area, Mosier to be exact, which is a super cute tiny town along the Columbia River. It's very near Hood River which is the main tourist town around those parts (about 45 minutes outside of Portland). We went to our dear friend Una's 9th birthday party. It was a rollerskating party as you can see. This was a first for M+L and my back still hurts from trying to keep them in the upright position on their skates. It was a fun day and such a gorgeous day as you can see from the photos. We took our time driving back home as the sun was setting to take a little walk along the river, watch the trains and snap a few pictures. And that sweet adorable pooch you see there is Marla, she looks like a little puppy dog but she's actually a year old. She's going to be staying with us for awhile and oh my goodness she is such a little love bug. How was your weekend?
Friday, October 25, 2013
The weekend is upon us again. This Saturday we will be heading to that pretty place above for a birthday party - not that exact spot, but to the gorge (hood river), so pretty. And considering it's been so gorgeous lately and we are in the thick of fall I am pretty excited.
Good news about my couch, I spoke with dania and they are going to send someone to look it. The bad news is I was told to call them back if I didn't hear from said person in 10 days. As much as I want a shiny new couch, and do have great plans on buying one in the future I hope mine can get fixed. I have other things on my mind and other plans on the horizon, and if I remember correctly finding my current sofa sucked about a month out of my life. I don't think I am ready to go through all that again.
In other news I found this little guy this week and I am in the throes of a bigger decision, one in which a new couch would probably be a bad idea. I have been a dog-person without a dog for most of my life. It's a big decision. One I don't take lightly. It's like deciding to have another child, that's what it is for me at least, and, really, what I think it should be for everyone. When pups are begotten based on impulse or cuteness overload, well, that's how a lot of doggies like this one end up in shelters. My heart is ready and I am pretty sure he is the best fit for us. I was convinced today and when I called to find out the process of adoption I was informed has a medical condition - so I need to figure out if we'd be the best fit for him and talk to a vet.
I can't believe Halloween is almost here and I have not one single costume idea for M+L! And wherever I asked them what they want to be they just say the first thing they see like "a remote" or "a car" or "a table." Um, no. I take costumes pretty seriously and the fact I have twins adds to that craziness exponentially. I really like the whole "pair" idea and considering their suggestions I feel I can take the lead. But I am stumped. If any of you have any ideas of paired customs that are awesome (and 5 year old would think were awesome too) do let me know! If anyone has just one little guy I am head over heels for this one here.
Last but not least Wednesday I finally got someone to come out and look at my cable/internet connection. Not only did the guy finally fix but he was all "hey i love your chairs. i just bought an eames-style rocker last night." and "i love your light fixture" and "wow, that's contact paper. i thought it was wallpaper!" (full disclosure i pointed that last one out to him). We spent the whole time he was souping up my cable talking design - how fun is that?! He showed me some photos on his phone of some projects he has been working on, like this one here that I totally want to try (in which he also introduced to that lovely new blog. how did i not know about almost makes perfect before?). I am just hoping he doesn't out me on all the dust bunnies I have behind my cable boxes.
Any weekend plans for you?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Last night as Fisher and I were sitting on the sofa watching a movie, he moved his leg ever so slightly and we heard a crack. A very loud crack. I looked at him and said "what was that?" and then I groaned because I knew what it was - the couch. He immediately said "I didn't do! It wasn't me!" It seems our sofa is broken. First I called Dania to check on the warranty - there has to be a warranty, right (right, dania?!)? It's only four years old! Well, they are going to call me back tomorrow, so we shall see. After that I of course started looking at new sofas. I have been wanting a new one for the last couple years (twin toddlers and cream colored sofa equals not good), but like these ones I have rounded up, all the ones I love are out of my budget. My budget which is zero dollars because I wasn't planning on getting a new sofa for awhile (remember the toddlers I mentioned, yup, they are still here), and I have been really wanting and looking for a credenza.
I am hoping it's fixable, but, as is currently, our sofa is broken - when you sit in it on the left side you sink right into and it's awkward and uncomfortable. And the idea of having (not to be confused with buying) a brand new couch is quite appealing. If you looked at me right now you could probably see the dreamy twinkle in my eye - especially when I look at the top four sofas in this round-up. But like I said I have been thinking about it for the last couple years, knowing the day would come . . . someday. However, even with all that time thinking about it I still don't know what I would want! I am a more neutral/monochromatic person, at least for the most part, and my current sofa fits that and it literally fits my space really well. But a sofa that is a lovely color with nice clean lines, I think I could really love that, but man, that is a commitment.
House Tour | Lee Mathews |
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Here is another fabulous Australian home I found via The Design Files, this one belongs to fashion designer, Lee Mathews. I have to preface this one by saying it's not exactly my style. Not because I don't love it, I do, in fact in my dreams I live in a book/antique store and this pretty much fits that daydream bill. But I am sure in my inability to keep an empty room de-cluttered this would be a difficult house for me to live in and it would never look like this again after I stepped foot in it.
But there are so many things I love in each space pictured (and obviously the space itself is amazing).
First the bookshelves, books are the one form of "clutter" that I like - toss 'em around (not literally of course), stack them up, plaster my walls with books and bookshelves, I will be happy. Also the ladder for the bookshelves, I have always wanted one of those too. There are so many beautiful rugs and throws and lovely textures. And of course all the gorgeous vintage pieces throughout the home, the beautiful vintage paintings, the industrial metal floor lamp, the desk and cabinets . . .
Crush | HARTÔ |
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I don't know about you but I get a lot of email inquiries for posting on my blog. I really don't mind doing this in fact I like to, but many I pass over because they don't fit my blog. But last week I received an email from a company who thought I might be interested in sharing their brand that piqued my interest. Okay, sure the fact that it was prefaced with it is a "french design company" might have had something to do with (i have to take "france" where i can get it until i make it there someday!). Then when I read this sentence: I like your blog and it's universe, I was hooked (even english sounds better through French translation). But of course I had to check it out to make sure I loved it. Love it I did. Love it I do.
A few things led me to know this post would promptly be placed in my "crush" series. When I was sent the file of images, Jean-Côme, of HARTÔ, let me know that each collection of pieces within the entire collection is named after old-fashioned french first names, such as: Honoré (the desk), Linette (the wall shelves), and Earnest (the rocking chair). And, also, that I may be particularly interested in the file named "decor" because in french it means 'scenery.' I love that (and if you look up the translation of decor in French, it simply says 'decor.' So I even learned something lovely and new). Jean-Côme was also nice enough to let me know that the interior shots were taken inside a Haussamanian Flat in Saint-Germain-de-Prés which he knows "americans love this district in Paris."
Personally, I am fawning over that lovely desk (there is even a secret box in which to stash all your unsightly cords!). I love the floor lamp as well with its long thin limbs. Really, I'd take one of each. How about you, are you as smitten with this fabulous new design company as I am?
Photo Diary | St. Johns |
Monday, October 21, 2013
This is actually from a visit to St. John's from last weekend, this weekend happily turned out to be quite a lazy one. St. John's is where I grew up and we go way, way back as evidenced by this photo. It's a district/neighborhood in Portland, but until 1915, was its own city. It still feels like its own city which is what I love so much about it. There is a lot of history here and a lot of my history here. It was the place you didn't want to say you were from, but that you loved anyway in a sort of Bruce Springsteen My Hometown sort of way; right down to the buick, the high school fights and vacant signs in shop windows for years. It's a place where if you weren't born there, locals will always consider you an outsider (sorry new folks of st. johns, but this is a fact). Much of my family was from this area but the roots of that family have all passed away or moved away, and I find it a place that makes me equally really happy and really sad to visit. And even though it's only a 20 minute drive from me it feels like I am time traveling when I go back there. It can feel a little exhausting.
When I was a kid I wished it was a cooler place because it was just so beautiful to me. And it is. Those top photos are of the "bluff" where you have a gorgeous view of downtown portland and the hills, which I might add are lovely this time of year. It's right on the river and in my opinion has one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. I used to look at photos of the Golden Gate bridge and think what's the big deal? Why don't people hang pictures of the St. Johns bridge in their offices? Now all the dreams I had for it being "cool" have started to happen (or have been happening for awhile), which leaves me both excited and resentful (i always temper that resentment with the fact i could move back to that area, which is always met with a nah.). But underneath all the mixed feelings one can have about hometowns, I love this place and I miss it, and I don't miss it, and then I miss it again.
So last weekend we walked around and checked out all the new hot spots, which I have been avoiding for the last, oh, 15 years. But in my quest for a credenza I caved in to discover the new (and old) haunts. There has been a lot of updating going on around there and there are a few really great vintage shops like St. Johns Vintage and Hound and Hare Vintage (both pictured). And despite the whiny child inside me that wants to sulk in the corner like I was picked last for the team and so now I just don't want to play anymore, it's exactly as I had always hoped it would be. It still has that old vintage charm about it. In fact I can see that people who have moved in and opened shop, have done so with the intention of keeping and augmenting exactly that charm that is so innate to it, and that fact just makes me so happy. How about do you live in your hometown or visit it?
House Tour | 4th 3A Malmö |
Friday, October 18, 2013
Happy Friday! I felt like friday was never going to get here this week, maybe it was because all of Tuesday I actually thought it was Thursday, oops. I don't know what my rush was. Well, it could be that I had a cortisone injection in my shoulder yesterday which I was a bit anxious about. I had high hope for a miracle but unfortunately it didn't work, in fact it feels a bit worse, but we shall see. With that I am going to keep this short and go reposition my ice pack. I will leave you admire this lovely Malmö apartment, and I am sure you can imagine all the things I love about it . . . the windows, floors and fireplace . . .
Have a happy weekend!