Post mortem

A number of us read many of the same things, and I think most everyone is aware of a couple dust-ups that took place on a pair of popular blogs earlier this week. I'm not about to open either of those cans (you're welcome) so I won't name any names, but I do think that the first case especially gives us something we can all talk about. It was something I hoped the author herself was going to give us her views on, but then she, uh...didn't.

The post began with a discussion of that 13 year-old girl (Style Rookie) who was seated in the front row at some fashion shows because she blogs about fashion. I think that asks some interesting questions:

Does a blog, no matter how well written, entitle a child to sit in the front row when said front row is a place normally reserved for editors and the like?

Further, does writing well about anything make one an expert? Is the “expert” label even relevant any more?

I could probably argue any of those questions either way. For myself, I’m not taking fashion tips from kids.

What I’m more interested in was who’s idea was it to put her in the front row, and why? It feels a bit desperate, and a lot like a stunt, a stunt the kid isn’t in on.

I'd love to hear your opinion.

Made in China

I've been trying to figure out where to use this, but the coloration is a bit strong for either the living room or our master bedroom. Then it hit me, it's perfectly sized for the family room wall we're planning to mount the tv on, and we'll need a place to stow components. Brett's onboard, I'll be sure to let you know if it comes home with us. It's at a local antique shop that specializes in gorgeous asian things.


It kept snowing yesterday, not as hard as it had, but pretty steadily throughout the day. I'm praying for a chinook.
I hate snow, but the dogs have been good about doing their thing in the driveway rather than dragging us through drifts taller than they are.

We've also gotten around just fine in the Rover. First thing yesterday we ran by Aristocrat to see if I could pick up a new windshield wiper to replace the one I broke off (further inspection revealed it was just the blade, thank God). There were no signs or anything but the parts department was closed. I drove around to the showroom. The first guy suggested an auto parts store. Just as I said that the full-service service station by my home didn't have one another salesman said "oh no they won't, those are dealer items." If I knew that why wouldn't Salesman 1? But then the second guy said "is it for your LR3? Pull down there and I'll take one off one of ours." The day was saved, and I'll bitch slightly less about Aristocrat's service until the next time they piss me off.

While we were out we ran by the mall to put up my 50% off booth closing signs, picked up a couple things Brett needed from the office, and bought a Wii. Yes, we bought a Wii. We've been thinking about it for a long time, and since we hadn't done anything for Christmas we finally pulled the trigger. My Mii is wearing a black shirt and a black stocking cap and has a little soul patch, he's adorable.

We got Wii Fit Plus as well. After completing the diagnostics, I'm proud to report that my Wii Fit age is 35! The games you play on the balance board are surprisingly active. We're hoping to each do about 30 minutes a day in an effort to lose some weight. I'm calling it The Wii Hour.

White Out

I stuck my hand and camera out the front door for a shot of what's going on here this evening. Rain all day followed by snow all night, accompanied by an insane wind. You can barely see the street between us and the house across the street. This is why I'm retiring to Palm Springs at the first available opportunity.

Yes, I know some people like snow for Christmas. I am not one of them. Plus it's enough ice and snow and wind that if you're not already out of here, you're not going. So much for your white Christmas.

Also, a tip for you: Do not reach out and around to your windshield and try to grab your wiper. Yes, you can pull it up and let it slam back and that will get rid of some of the ice. You can also just break the whole blade off, then you get to drive home from across town without it.

Cute boys singing

Christmas (sort of) comes to Chez Malaise

I'm not so much in the holiday spirit, but that's no excuse for passing on a good buy for a little something pretty for the house - call it a present if you must. There's always something new on the floor at Nell Hills, and last time I stopped in to see Rich, white ceramics were everywhere. My favorite was this lidded jar, available in 12 and almost 24 inches. On the way back from running Tom to the airport today I stopped in and got one of the big ones. I shouldn't be buying accessories, but things are never there for long and at 44 bucks it's a lot of look for not much cash. I'm wishing I'd bought a pair so I may have to make another trip.

Theres a large framed drawing I've had my eye on there as well (in the upstairs "Family" restroom of all places). It is distinctly not a deal at 715, which combined with it's display spot in the lavatory means it's been there quite a while, a rarity at Nell Hills. I told Rich that should Mary Carol ask, I'd buy it if she'd mark it down by half. If that ever works I'll be sure to let you know.

I mentioned taking Tom to the airport, and that means it's time for another holiday tradition, Prada the Extra Schnauzer is back to stay for 10 days! Here she is on our heinously tattered vinyl sheet linoleum in the kitchen shortly after enjoying a pig ear. Yes, she's just as hairy as ever.

We dropped her off here before Tom and I headed out to KCI, and she was not happy. Brett texted later that she'd thrown up twice, but she seems more at ease now and has been chasing Alex around the living room. Neither of them can get any traction on the old wood floor so it's been entertaining to watch.

One other thing to mention, drink prices at the airport are insane. Tom and the little baby Jesus share the same birthday, and I'm still self-medicating my back, so we thought we'd have a cocktail before he got in the security line. My bloody mary was perfectly fine and certainly strong, but $10.50 per is obscene.


I bowl every other Friday night in one of the gay leagues here in town, and tonight was bowling night. Gay leagues are like regular leagues, only not very many girls and thumping hi-NRG dance music specially mixed for each session by one of our league members. Oh, and the team names can be a bit risque. We used to be "Up Your Average", then "I cant believe it's not gutter." For some reason this year we're "Bowlwinkle." But I digress. On the way to the lanes I stopped for a coffee and a cookie, got there and was feeling good, and had a 213 first game. We won!

Mike and I went out for a smoke before the second game started. On the way back I stopped at the bar and got a cocktail, changed back into my bowling shoes, and began the second game with a spare.

Second frame I begin my approach, get to the line, release and...BAM. Shooting pain on the right side of my lower back, down my right butt cheek and into the back of my thigh. Dropped the ball badly and left a split. The good news was that I stayed upright. I hobbled back to a crowd of bewildered faces, offers of pain relievers, and the suggestion to take a moment and relax because nobody was in a hurry.

That was it. I couldn't pick up my ball without more shooting pain. I sat out while the opposing team proceeded to kick our ass, hoping that it was a temporary thing. It wasn't. I tried to stretch out and walk it off, even bending to mimic my approach to see how it felt. It was fine, until I had my 16 pound ball in my hand, and I couldn't do it.

Everyone enjoy your weekend, I'll be here with the heating pad!

***Update*** For self-medicating or serving to friends I recommend Cupcake Vineyards' Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect with some hummus and pita chips while wrapping presents and avoiding anything that requires bending forward.

12 years ago tonight

Brett had a blind date. They didn't hit it off, so he made a graceful exit and dropped by a bar in midtown where I was attending a party. It was our first official date.

To celebrate this evening we cleaned up and headed down to Capital Grille for dinner. We were so stuffed we had to get our dessert to go. Coconut cream pie on the sofa with my sweetie here soon.

Happy anniversary baby!

For the ladies

Look what I found.

You didn't know I took requests?

Raina and Mrs. B. mentioned liking the bit of wallpaper I found during thermostat installation, so I thought I'd see what I could uncover.

The flocked paper, a sort of 'spanish tile' design in white and gold came off the walls in sheets with almost no effort at all. And you know, what's underneath is way better. It's ruined, not to mention on the west and south walls only, so theres nothing to save, but as patterns go its pretty interesting. The coloration is nice and neutral as well which I think makes a lot of pattern easier to handle.

After reading their comments I got curious, and managed to strip both walls in five minutes. Now THIS paper is stuck, so if it needs to be stripped we won't get off anywhere near as easily. The dining room remember has very little wall, and I'm thinking about going dark dark. I'd planned to paint, but I'm also thinking about an off-black textured paper in here as well, which would just make things that much easier.

Also let me clarify something. The only reason there are pictures on the wall is so there aren't pictures on the floor.

Layers of crazy

Right here, this little 18 inch square spot of wall neatly sums up our house. The square hole was the original thermostat for the east half of the house. About 18 years ago they got new furnaces, and I guess it was just easier to mount the new thermostat and unhook the old one. And of course leave it there. And while we're at it lets just paper over the first wallcovering. Oddly the colorations are similar, if only reversed. Oh, and the top layer is flocked.

We haven't been able to tell if the thermostats were even working, so it was time for new programmable ones. I started by removing the older of the two, and luckily since I just started right in with my screwdriver, it wasn't hot. The wires got wrapped with electrical tape just in case, and shoved back into the wall. The odd discovery was....drywall. Every wall here, painted or papered, seems to be lined, so I just assumed we had plaster. Maybe we do in places, but this wall is sheetrock, two layers from the looks of it.

The new thermostat was simple to install, and seems to be working. Brett programed it and I hear a click every so often, and I'm not freezing, so all is well.

The double switch there remains a mystery. It's uncovered because it had an enormous switchplate with a sort of shield shape on it that was going to interfere with the thermostat. We haven't a clue what either of these switches control. The overhead fixture and cove lighting in the dining room are on a double switch on the other side of the doorway. They don't appear to control outlets either, we tested. They could be for the couple of floodlights outside, but the dining room seems to be an odd spot for the switch. The bulbs out there could be burnt out as well, so we'll probably get a new bulb and see if that does anything. Otherwise it's up to the electricians when next they're out. My hope is that they can just go away.

So I was looking at Lonny

I don't like the name, and with the exception of photos linking to manufacturers websites I generally don't like online magazines, but I did like this:

It's the regency credenza from MasonGray. Designed in New York and built just over in Connecticut, from sustainable hardwoods in non-toxic, water-based finishes. A huge range of finishes are available. I can't decide if I'd order this in their worn lacquer, pewter over onyx, or the washed walnut. They also have an interesting blog, you can link from the website.

Time to give

I work for a commercial insurance brokerage. We're the go-between, between your agent and the insurance carriers, and we're most often called upon when you've got something out of the ordinary to insure. Need wind coverage for your hi-rise in Florida? No problem. Product recall for your amazing new diet pill? Consider it done. Want to insure that special part of your exclusive new adult film actor? Actually, yes, we can find someone to do that.

We're a sales organization selling something that everyone needs, and as such the company does fairly well. Some years are better than others obviously, but overall business is good and everyone is fairly comfortable. We make good money, and then at Christmas, we spend. Its when we turn our attention to adopting families for the holidays.

We partner with the social workers at an area grade school, find out what their needs are, and go to work. Families get filled into spreadsheets with ages and sizes and interests. Spreadsheets are distributed to those who want to participate. You can shop yourself, or you can write a check and someone will shop for you, whichever you prefer. Emails are sent back and forth so that all the kids get even and equitable coverage. A couple of outfits and a toy or two are the baseline. Watching everyone blow right past that minimum is the best part.

It never seems to me that the families ask for much. It's often basics like socks or a sweatshirt. We make sure they get that and then some.

My adoptee, or I should say "our" adoptee as Brett always goes in with me, is seven years old. He likes Bakugan, which I was unfamiliar with, until we got to Target. I asked a mom in the boys department about sizes and we got to talking. When it came to toys I said "I can't remember what it was, it sounded japanese." "Oh Bakugan," she said, "It has its own aisle, you'll see the sign."

We got a starter pack, a special attack, and two traps. Paula at work evened things up by providing a Bakugan hat and glove set, some Bakugan bath gel, two collector figures and a book.

Off work today, I went back to Target and took care of the clothing. The bootcut jeans and layered tee I would totally wear myself. The cargo pants as well, with the navy buttondown and long sleeve white tee. It's hard to see but there's also a black hooded rugby there that goes with both pants, the white tee works under that as well. Oh, and a black belt. (With an antiqued silver buckle!)

So I'm heading off to wrap packages as tomorrow is delivery day. And just like every year, it's one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I hope he likes his stuff.

In the garage...and back out

I was SO proud that we got the garage sorted and our cars in. And then I started moving out of the workshop. I'm back in the driveway, but because I'm a good boyfriend, there's still room for Brett to get his car in.

Why did I move out of the workshop? This is my last month at the antique mall. Have I mentioned that? It seems like I did, but I can't remember. Anyway, with the new place I decided to take a break. Any painting I start should be walls and trim here rather than furniture for someone else's place. It's not forever, it's just until I feel like things are under control here.

It also will be an opportunity for me to concentrate on selling online, which I've done, but only half-heartedly. eBay has gotten so big, I'm thinking about giving Etsy a try, concentrating on vintage lighting and tabletop. Etsy would also be a good place for smaller painted things, like the old silver chests and humidors I've picked up at auctions and estate sales thinking they could be made into something good.

The nice thing about this house is that the basement is huge, dry, well-lit and not scary at all. (the crawl space under the bedrooms? totally different story!) I had furniture at the workshop waiting for paint, and for the pieces I wanted to keep there's more than enough storage space. There's also plenty of room for a little workspace and still much of the basement remains empty and clear.

Gary Lezak was on the six pm news totally boned for the impending snow, so I'm heading out to the garage in a bit to see if I can't squeeze, fit, and stack things in an effort to get the rover back inside for the night. It won't be a permanent fix, but it'll keep me from having to get up earlier to scrape the windshield. Everybody stay warm!

MidMal Recommends: C&B Gala Stemware

We don't entertain often at Chez Malaise (and certainly won't be doing so anytime soon), but we like to have the necessary basics so that we're ready when the urge hits. Brett and I are liquor drinkers mostly, and we have great glasses in singles, doubles, and talls that fill most any need. What we've never had is good wine glasses.

I picked some up a long time ago at Tuesday Morning, mostly because I liked the design of the stem. It wasn't until the first time I went to pour someone some wine that I realized the glasses I brought home were ridiculously large. Way too tall, holding way too much, we never used them. On moving day I gave them to the cleaning lady and was thrilled to be rid of them.

We've had a Crate & Barrel gift card in our wallet since last Christmas, when the print we liked disappeared from the store/catalog/website. Tonight we went out to see if we couldn't find a simple, serviceable wine glass.

Tons to choose from, from way-too-big to why bother, the 12-ounce Gala was just right. Thin but not too, substantial without being heavy, and at $3.95 a piece not a big expense at all. We picked up a dozen for all-purpose wine drinking, and might add some balloon goblets for reds somewhere down the road.

I love Twitter

After my cousin's interview on Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz I started following Afentra herself. I don't know when or where this was, but I love little dude there.