Decorating

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Marvelous light of spring and new wingback chairs, I love their acid green, tall backed comfort, perfect for reading and nodding off. There’s a new lamp on the way, a replacement for the one on the right, which will be quite at home in the T.V. room. Then, and only then, will it be ready for your eyes. The dining room fixture is new and  already well loved. The table, our first piece of grown-up newlywed furniture, and thusly clocking in at more than twenty years old, was a desk for ages but is a table once again. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. Let’s make the most of what we have, shall we? One fine breezy day, we will open the windows and paint the walls that perfect shade of white.

 

Spring is on the verge, with budding trees and blossoming crocus and snowdrops, too. Our first Pittsburgh spring! So often, I think of how improbable this all was one year ago. Pittsburgh and a 109 year old house, my Grandmother gone, the cats too, how quickly a life can change!

Strolling the South Side Flats yesterday afternoon. A precocious teen, spying the hubster’s rather fashionable spectacles, asked, “Are you a hipster?” We laughed, and I said that we’re probably far too old and nerdy for such declarations, before discussing cameras and skateboards and money, and he wished us a blessed day. These are the moments that enrich our lives.

The bright sun belies a bitterly cold wind. We walked quickly, hands deep in our pockets, wishing for warmth in between a fabulous lunch at La Palapa and treats at The Milkshake Factory. Zooming off to our next destination, we played what the hubster and I not-so-fondly call the Pittsburgh Slalom, a.k.a. dodging pot holes. Jeepers!

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My Grandma Frances lived in Pittsburgh as a girl and relayed such fantastical tales of the funicular and uber-super steep hills that they screamed fiction. Even these photos do such little justice to the city’s rolling and rollicking hills. Alas, you truly have to visit to believe it (our guest room will be ready soon!). Grandma lived somewhere near the Duquesne (dew-cane) Incline, and I cannot help but look for traces of her as I wander the nearby streets, decades and decades after her departure. Was this her church? Did she live in this house? Did she scramble, bare-legged and laughing, up this old tree? I don’t suppose I will ever know. Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge on the photo above. And in the photo just above that, on the left, is the PPG Building (Philip Johnson, Architect), my favorite in the Pittsburgh skyline, just in case you were wondering.

More marvelous murals to add to my collection and a sharp-edged building, too, circa 1893. The history in this town!

See you later, alligator. Don’t be an April fool…

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Our bedroom looks east, and when there is sunshine, either blessedly clear or like the photo, striving to burn a frothy layer of clouds, it fills our eyes upon waking. We are enjoying having a very pared down space, with precious little art (my favorite Goodwill find of the sea!), a few trinkets, and all new furniture from Room & Board. It’s called Calvin and was made in Oregon, of all places. The ties that bind. The wall color is a pale and icy blue, and while we are most definitely in need of a new layer of paint, the shade will remain the same.

The heavens had a riotous pillow fight and the feathers fell as snow. We bundled and braved below zero wind chill to walk to the library and market in the bright white of it, dropping off movies that were too terrible to mention, buying an onion, a jar of pickles, and a 9-volt battery. It is a bummer to be awakened by a chirping fire alarm. It really is.

The onion was for green chile (recipe here – it’s been a while, Paris in the sweet hereafter, me a Pittsburgher, and the Powell Food 4 Less long gone!). This was definitely one of the best batches EVER. I made pinto beans and margaritas, too. The hubster made guacamole. Everything was marvelous and gave our cheeks a rosy-pink glow.

Progression

Saturday night’s supper, beginning to end: super soft sharp cheddar polenta and roasted green beans with almonds and orange balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty.

The living room, entirely unpacked and cozy, though not entirely finished. The walls need fresh paint, some shade of white, and the foot stool needs to be recovered, maybe the chairs, too? The jury, for the time being, is still out.

The local laundromat, the nicest we’ve ever seen, our every other week hangout until our washer and dryer arrive in mid-January. Who knew there would be such a run on them at holiday time.

I am reminded of how life is a progression – idea or thought, need or desire, the steps to attainment, so very many beginnings. I am hoping to have more endings soon, the end of boxes and disorder, the end of being in transition. Which brings me to this last photo, the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, my beautiful local branch. I am pleased as punch to announce that I got my library card today. And, wonder of wonders, they had a copy of A Christmas Story, the holy grail of holiday films. Beginner’s luck, maybe, but I’ll take it!

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Hey there! Just in case you were wondering what happened to me, this is it! We redecorated the office and guest room, and it occupied much of our waking (and my sleeping) hours for the last month. We’d been meaning to do it for ages, but you know how it goes: time; money better spent on food, shoes, an evening out; no real desire to spend weekends attached to paint brushes and rollers. Yadda, yadda, yadda, a few years go by.

A fire was finally lit under our arses and here we are, pretty snazzy! I should also mention that we cleaned out the house, top to bottom, in the process. Furniture, books, knick-knacks, clothes, the random and sundry, all in neat piles in the basement waiting for a sale and trips to the thrift store and Powell’s.  My pocketbook is also happy to report that the only new items in the office are the desk lamps (from IKEA) and the curtains, which I made because no one had the color I wanted. I shopped the house for the rest. Hoot and holler!

And then there’s the color! We’d had a peachy-orange before and really liked it for a time. As soon as we started rolling this on, we decided it was kind of psycho and felt an enormous sense of relief and calm at the new color, winter wheat by Benjamin Moore, if that’s your thing. Cream fleece is the trim color, just a shade darker.

We spent a bit more in the guest room, and mostly at IKEA (that place!), chest, organizers, tray, picture frames (filled with my photos!), curtain, lamp, bedding. Though that toss pillow is from Target, and the bedside table was $1 at a yard sale eons ago. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it all turned out!

And now, a break for fine art: The big painting above my desk and the small square on top of the bookshelf are by our super talented friend Jamee Linton. The three mountain paintings in the assemblage are by Tim Deibler. The wide landscape and the center painting are by Ann Hutchinson. The cicada was purchased on vacation, somewhere in the south of France, artist unknown.

But wait, there’s more! Imma break it down…

Which I got from this fab song of my youth. Bub, are you reading? You know you are the reason for my love of Eazy-E!

The salad: farro, shaved fennel, green onion, dried tart cherries, toasted walnuts, feta cheese, orange & sherry vinaigrette.

The cocktail: Ransom’s Old Tom Gin and Galliano. Heavy on the gin…

The sound: Jack White. That voice, guitar, look, the man captivates me. Turn it up.

The love: two of my favorite people are getting married! Congratulations Matt & Kelly!

friend

Ever grateful to be surrounded by kind, generous, loving, fun, and funny people I so admire. We fill our time immersed in the beautifully mundane, like sipping hot cider and smoothies, dreaming, shopping, and texting. We spend mornings together in sunlit offices, some thousand miles apart. We walk and ride and chat, on bikes and in cars. We eat, gape, and sigh. But, best of all, we share the finest, most vulnerable and tender parts of ourselves. It’s not just friendship, it’s love.

birds

table

Thanksgiving feast for two, complete with our first successful batch of home made hard cider from our own apples. Woot!!

Awaiting “breakfast for dinner” with friends. The fabulous cloth is vintage and from my Grandma, and the tall crystal glasses (used for smoothies!) inherited from the hubster’s family.

basement

out and about

The bottom photo was taken at Stickers, one of our long-time favorite restaurants. They have, hands down, the best scallion cakes, kung pao chicken, and bulgogi beef the hubster and I have ever tasted, and believe me, we’ve tried plenty. It’s cozy and fantastically decorated, too, with a friendly staff and quick kitchen. Since it is neither new nor trendy, we’ve never had to wait for a table — in other words, the best of the best!

L I G H T !

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