Friday, July 24, 2009


It's been an exhausting but incredibly productive few days. Deb and I have buckled down and started to finally paint, arrange, clean and otherwise make this apartment into a beautiful home. Because of our crazy move and insane end-of-the-season show schedules, we were barely unpacked. But now things are shaping up beautifully.

We started with the living room. Since of course we're both unemployed and (as always) poor as church mice, we were forced to do our renovations in the cheapest way possible. So we scoured our local paint shop for a bright color for the living room, finding the perfect color in their "oops" section. We bought a $35 gallon of paint for only $5 because someone had the color mixed but then didn't like it. Score! To compliment our fabulous new curtains, we painted the walls a deeply saturated orangey-red.

Here's Deb, hard at work:

The hallway was next. We decided on a soft, saturated "organic green" for one wall. (We're leaving the other white, for monetary and aesthetic reasons) As Deb was busy putting together our new Ikea bookshelf and getting the living room back in order, I ended up painting the whole hallway myself:

Next we outfitted the living room. We needed a major furniture overhaul. We had an old pub table and two stools that was just taking up space. The futon that was passed down to us from the previous tenant was disgusting and old-- it needed to go away. It was too big to haul in our car, so we gave Uhuru Furniture a call. Uhuru is an amazing local organization that you can donate your used furniture to and all of the proceeds go to African relief. Plus you can buy furniture from them too-- great stuff for cheap! And the best part of the deal? If you're making a donation, they come to your house and pick it up for you! Check them out, they are really awesome.

Uhuru came yesterday and took away the table and stools, but unfortunately they rejected the futon because the mattress had stains on it. (From the previous tenant) So we hauled it outside, set it on the curb and wrote a blurb on craigslist advertising a FREE futon frame and mattress, available for curbside pickup. We worried that it might rain overnight and no one would want it, but we shouldn't have. Literally within 10 minutes of posting on craigslist we spotted a minivan hauling both the frame and the mattress away. Amazing!

Our purple loveseat had to go as well. We needed a bigger couch to fit the two of us, and it really didn't fit in the living room. Hoping to recover some money from this venture, we posted another ad on craigslist, offering it for $100. We got an immediate response from a very nice woman who came and checked it out yesterday. She hauls it away tomorrow.

Now our living room was clean and painted, but empty. Back to craigslist we went, looking for a nice sectional couch for cheap. And after one disappointing venture with a stuck-up snob in Rittenhouse Square, we found the PERFECT sectional being sold by a lawyer who was closing up his office. The color is perfect, the size is perfect, and because it was in an office rather than a home it has very little wear & tear. Deb used her amazing bargaining skills on the lawyer and got it to a price we could afford. It took two trips to haul the whole thing home, but we finally made it:

(Sorry about the blurry pic, still taking pictures on my phone while I save up for that new camera!)

Today we plan to hang up all of our artwork and photos in the hallway and maybe get around to waxing the kitchen floor. We're going to spend the weekend cleaning and arranging the bedroom and spare room.

So our house is really shaping up into something pretty amazing! I can't believe how much work it's taking, but it feels really good to see things coming together. It's nice to work together on this project-- for the first time in my adult life, I really feel like I have a home, instead of just an apartment.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

C'mon, folks....

It's absolutely within your rights to disagree with Obama politically. But this nonsense about where he was born? So stupid. Guess people are just really stretching for a reason to complain...

How about getting back to the real issues? The economy, the state of healthcare, our educational system... instead of wasting time with this nonsense, let's do some real work.

Hilarious Daily Show clip about this issue here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Well, summer is finally officially upon us as Deb closes up her season and we prepare for some hard-core fun in the sun. To that end, since things were so crazy during our move, we have decided to finally start some renovations around the house. We began with curtains in the living room, sewn by me:

The picture doesn't really do them justice-- they are this beautiful embroidered Mexican-folk pattern. We also have plans to paint the living room and hallway (we've picked out great colors... can't wait for some color in this house!) and to, you know, finish unpacking.

But the renovations are more than just about the apartment... I've decided to revamp and refresh my body and soul a little as well. Things are getting a little stagnant, it's time to shake them up.

To that end, I've taken up yoga pretty hard-core. I've been wanting to do this for a while, but my yoga DVDs just weren't inspiring, and when I was working I was too busy for yoga classes and when I was unemployed too poor.

All of that changed the other day when I was walking the dog down 11th Street and noticed a flyer for pay-what-you-can yoga classes. Surely this is too good to be true, I thought. I went home, checked out the website, and amazingly enough, it's just that simple. Plus the studio is only 3 blocks from my house and they offer 24 different classes all through the week. Totally incredible. I've been going every day, squeezing out my last few dollars before the unemployment check comes in, and totally feeling a difference in my body and energy levels already.

The studio is small, and the class size generally is as well-- in fact, I had one yoga session that was just me and the instructor. It was really cool to have my own personal class!

The studio is called Hawthorne Yoga and it's located on 1241 Carpenter Street. Their class schedule is here. I hope all of you Philadelphians will join me for some yoga! All of the instructors I have encountered are really great, and I've been experimenting with many different types of yoga this week. (My current favorite: Hatha. Love all that breathing!)

Another personal renovation I'm undertaking is trying to get comfortable with my body. I've always been a terrible dancer, and dance class brings me back to all of those uncomfortable hours in studios and rehearsal halls trying desperately not to look stupid.

So I signed up for a dance class. But this one's going to be different. For one, it's a burlesque dance class. Oh, yeah. I think this type of dancing is going to be right up my alley. Now don't worry, Mom, there is no nudity involved in this class. It's all about learning how to tap into our feminine powers, using heels and boas and strutting walks to become super confident in our own sexy skins.

Our first class was last Thursday and we spent most of the class talking about what we found sexy in the world, what we found sexy about ourselves and coming up with a burlesque alter-ego. I'm still working on a name. I've got several floating around in my head, but I would welcome suggestions from anyone! It's a four week class and at the end we have a little cabaret to show off our new struts. I can't wait! Information about the class and the teacher here.

So slowly but surely I'm renovating, physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I'm already starting to feel the results of the yoga and the burlesque. I can't wait to see where the rest of this journey takes me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pool Party, South Philly Style

Melanie and AJ have recently added an inflatable kiddie pool to their fabulous backyard, and we have taken full advantage. Please note the floating beer cans in the above picture of Alison and Melanie relaxing.

Seriously, I spent two full days this week in that pool, getting out only for bathroom and beer breaks. Heaven. I worked hard on my tan... er... freckles and generally baked my brain into that pleasant summer jelly that comes from lots of sun and beer and friends and splashing about.

The day after the above picture was taken Deb and AJ joined in the fun, and I have lots of pictures of that once I figure out how to get them off of my camera. (Yes, I'm still having camera woes...)

The rest of my time is spent with my other obsession: I've recently gotten into NBC's Heroes. I know, I know, I'm way behind the bandwagon on this one, and everyone tells me that it kinda sucks after the first season, but stil, the first season was SO GOOD. I just finished the last episode of Season 1 today.

Here's a trailer, for those of you as far behind as I am:

And this is what I've been doing with my summer vacation. Next week Deb is off of work (FINALLY) and we are doing some major house repairs and cleaning and generally fixing up, as well as relaxing into this beautiful summer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Philadelphia Summers

Man, there's nothing like summer in Philly. The rainy season is finally over, and the days are blooming perfect and hot and sunny. I love it.

Ice cream trucks roar down the street all day, the twinkling music luring children of all ages to run towards the siren song.

Clean laundry snaps and twists on the line, stiffening as it dries.

My garden grows green and lush and fragrant, offering up peppers and tomatoes and green beans and eggplant and basil leaves for our summer culinary adventures.

Once a week I troll the farmer's market, stuffing my bag full of fresh produce and homemade breads and new plants for the garden.

We go to friend's houses and drink beers and watch baseball and leave all the windows open for the cool night breezes while kitties prowl the windowsills and doggies nap contentedly.

We drink ginger beer & rum with lime in the sun, play Scrabble in the park and set up cornhole games on the sidewalk.

I dry herbs and set out pitchers of sun tea in the kitchen windows.

We sleep with the windows open, enjoying the night air gently blowing the curtains and the slow stir of the ceiling fan.

We have picnics in the park with our friends, eating and drinking and laughing under the shade of giant trees.

We go out at night, sipping margaritas at sidewalk tables, people-watching and getting slowly warm and fuzzy from the tequila.

We get up early in the morning to take the dog to the dog park before the heat of the day. We sit and watch him frolic with other dogs, panting and sniffing and generally being exuberant before he settles in for his 12 hour daily nap.

So far this summer has been pretty much perfect. And it's only going to get better once Deb is done with her show...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Two Hundred and Thirty-Three Years Ago Today...


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Picnic in the Park

The best way to spend a summer day? With a picnic, of course!

AJ, such a good boyfriend, kept an absent Melanie up to speed with text messages:
Hyde placed a few calls as well:

Splendor in the grass:

Steve and Sara are happy to be here:

Hyde got ahold of a roll of paper towels and made doggie snowflakes:

It was a very Zen experience.

Lots of snuggling was involved:

All of that food (and drink!) made everyone very content and very sleepy: