Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving.


Rent movies
Prepare feast
Watch movies while feast is cooking
Eat in bed
Watch more movies

Serves 2.

Delicious on many levels!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Fourth Floor

I'm all about the pictures. Nina, these are for you sweetie since you keep checking this blog! I'm still in NYC, but these are the last photos I took before I left. Hopefully Jodi will add a few more from our rafter project, which she finished up without me, to changes she's made that I haven't even seen. These photos are the beginning of Jordan, Chris & Hil's rooms...AKA guest rooms when the kids aren't around.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A long belated post...

Hello, all of you missed friends. Despite all good intentions, this blog has sat in a state of neglect for some time. I assure you, it is not due to a lack of thoughts, well-wishes, or missing going out in your direction. Those have all remained constant. It is purely out of necessary, indescribable busyness balanced by the need to have SOME moments of rest to recuperate.

The attic is partially framed and structurally reinforced. We look forward to having the insulation blown in to the attic within the next two weeks. This is solely dependent on my efforts to complete massive brick reconstruction, as usual. Insulating our attic should help reduce global warming and save much money on our heating bills!

Plague update: one bat and two more birds in the boiler vent.

Hopefully, you are aware that Alicia has been in film school and temporarily living in NYC since early September. She has found her metier and is a great film maker in every facet: screenwriter, director, editor. I am very honored and excited to be working on the film's theme song with the help of Amy, Betsy and Tara in Seattle!! Check out Alicia's Facebook page and website ( for some beautiful stills from the shoot.

I continue to model almost full-time, take painting jobs on the side and work on the house as time allows.

I hope you are all well, happy and warm and urge you to keep in touch as time allows!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two Main Floors

It just occurred to me that we've never put the floor plans on the blog, so here they are. These aren't the final plans, but they're close. Each floor is about 750 square feet and this doesn't include the guest room floor (2 bedrooms, a landing and bath) or the basement - which is just one big open room. I'll post those plans in the future. Some changes to this set of plans include: the laundry room - which will be located next to the toilet with doors facing the landing and there will also be a door off of the dining room leading to a back deck.

Main Floor

Master Bedroom Suite
The oval in the middle of the room is a freestanding bathtub. The room with the shower will be a wet room, completely tiled and ready for water.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Metal for Electrical

We recently visited the salvage yard in a 14-foot U-Haul with all of the metal from the demolition of our house. This was a day that had been discussed with much anticipation for a very long time.
 Jodi painstakingly separated aluminum and steel from copper -- (Jodi's note: pulling literally thousands of fins from old radiator pipes and then cutting out . . . every . . . single . . . joint, totalling hundreds and hundreds of pieces of metal)
-- and when all was said and done, we walked away with a big wad of cash in hand. Twenty dollars shy of what we needed to pay the electrician today to install our new electrical panel. 

From this...

 To this!

A nice trade.

We laugh at how many times a MAN has offered to "take our metal to the dump for us".  Boys, boys, boys!

This house was a conglomeration of ancient wiring meets even more ancient wiring. Sometimes a breaker in the off position still meant power at the site of our work. Needless to say, the threat of a good jolt of electricity is a little off-putting even when your feet are touching the ground, but when standing on a ladder, well, it's downright scary.  One of our first acts of business  was removing all unnecessary electrical from this house. What this means is that if you want a piece of toast, you must unplug the microwave, plug in the toaster, toast the bread and then eat your toast in a dimly lit house.  This box marks a new era. One I used to take for granted. 

Let the stringing of new wires begin!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Well, we're in the midst (hopefully tail-end) of a heat wave, if you haven't heard. It's been scorchin'! 103 yesterday, 100 today on the Jeep thermometer. Phew. I am sorry to say we've been pushing 90 inside the house... Gee, is that what attic insulation does?? We'll have to get some!

Alicia is in Washington state (3rd time in two months!) on an artist's residency -- writing her screenplay, well, two of them actually. It is about 40 degrees cooler where she is.

I've been crazy busy, working an exterior staining job (lots), modeling and keeping things up at home. Oh, yeah, AND moving (literally) every-single-item-that-we-own from two storage units into one. To anyone who has ever helped me move my green couch, that remains to be moved with a helper.

Today was catching up with the garden, which is looking gorgeous and lush in this jungly humidity and heat. 
I picked four bags of delicious mixed greens, herbs and arugula and thought of all of you, to whom I used to give garden produce in Seattle. There are already 1" tomatoes out there...quite a bit ahead of the season in the Northwest. 

Had my first taste (no, not literally, although I read that they are quite delicious!) of stinging nettles whilst cutting the grass yesterday. 
I can adamantly say, that stinging nettle does, in fact, REALLY sting. Youch. It looks much better today -- about half as big.

Oh, I must include these photos for Amy V. and my mom, who never got to see my flowing tresses 
before they got chopped off. (I NEVER wore it down). 
Please note, for your amusement the pseudo bun that I sported during many a modeling gig... Tee-hee! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time flying

Yikes, it is already June, and I don't know where I am -- torn in every direction. More so than ever, there are never enough hours in a day, and there is never enough money.

Alicia and I had a lovely weekend, which included her getting a motorcycle riding lesson, finally. And so, it begins. She likes it!

One of my recent thrills is wearing my new glasses that make me look like a male euro-model-nerd-spy. 

 Seeing clearly is a good thing. They are JUST READING GLASSES. Alicia says I'm in denial...

She will soon be leaving for her residency on the Washington peninsula. I will be doing things. We are having several visitors in the next month, so I have a lot to do.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Hello, all. I hope that amidst all of our lazy or celebratory activities this weekend that we stop for at least a moment to consider the gravity of those throughout history that this day honors...

Alicia and I returned from our Seattle trip with momentum. I worked in the basement digging out mortar for repointing this week. Alicia did some major spring cleaning and removed most of the clutter from our first floor living area -- clutter in the form of those huge bales of insulation stacked everywhere. They've been banished to the garage until installation time. Of course, this required making room in the garage...

Our architect invited us to a bbq later today, so we are rescued briefly from our social isolation. YAY! Mmmm.... smoked brisket and pork butt..... Can't wait.

Alicia will return to Jersey tomorrow, sigh. So far away. She got two pairs of super cool new glasses.
We played tennis yesterday and this morning. I do so love tennis. The weather is gorgeous, though windy. It's supposed to hit 83 today.

Newest addition to the bird family at the feeder: gold finches. I am thrilled! We got our sweet little garden planted before we left town.
For the moment, we're winning against the ground hog(s).

So good to visit Seattle and see those I miss, well, at least some of them. I got a cute new haircut the day we left. No more ponytail!

Happy day!

Friday, May 9, 2008


This will not satisfy, I know. Suffice it to say, for now, that there's been too much, that's TOO MUCH going on to keep up. I sincerely apologize for the blatant abuse of my word...every day, HA! Lies, all lies.

I will give you the update of all tomorrow.

Regarding the poison ivy...I believe that I'm winning. I've only suffered singular rash dots thus far for the most part. I have discovered an AMAZING product (thanks, Mom) called Tecnu. It actually pulls the poison oils out of your skin.

More later,

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I began my day early as my new alter-ego. I started by giving life, well, sustenance to the birds in the 'hood. I'm a geek, I love them, binoculars and bird book in hand. I am riveted by them.

Then I switched to destroy mode and kill-kill-killed things. Well, really, I only killed one thing many times over: poison ivy. Yes, 'tis the season. I am a geek in this regard, as well. As I was telling Alicia this morning, it is as though I have developed a symbiotic relationship with my arch nemesis (me being the super-hero). Yesterday, I was COMPELLED to do yard work. I'd been thinking about it all week, but I suddenly jumped up from my transcribing and started chopping things down and ripping them out. It is as though I am now intuitively linked in some way to my daunting enemy...The poison ivy had JUST THAT DAY leafed out. It was eerie, truly. My hands and knees were literally shaking as I went into the netherworld on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GARAGE. This was a frightening jungle -- totally uncharted territory filled solid with vines and lots of scary things. Then there is the jungle edge of the yard that has not only poison ivy, but what I believe they call around here: mile-a-minute. That says it all. Blink, and it's a yard further AND the leaf buds are sticky....INSIDIOUS!

By the time I was done, it was quite windy and I was terrified that I had doomed myself. I am so allergic that I have gotten bad cases of poison ivy from the wind several times. I scrubbed myself down and applied Super Ivy Dry from my face down....OW, it stings.

No bumps or swollen eyes this the clear. So, of course, I had to temp fate again this afternoon and continue. Funny, how yard work -- you know, getting your hands in the dirt and all that just isn't quite the same wearing elbow-length industrial rubber gloves. Sigh.

Life and death all in one day.

In true bachelor style, I have eaten the same dinner three days in a row (while pining for my love to return). I ate an entire box of Annie's mac & cheese for lunch... Alicia comes home tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No house work

Sorry, y'all. All this transcribing makes for a dull blog -- nothing to take photos of and no info to share. I am on a deadline that falls on the eve of our Dolly Parton in Boston weekend, thanks to dear Lakey!

I admit, that spring also has had something to do with my blog-writing flakiness. We're experiencing a warm spell, which means that -- despite daily sunscreen use -- my forehead is a little pink. (I feel your disapproval, Amy). I've taken to transcribing out on the porch in the sun... Oh, how I have forgotten the bliss of a real spring. No wonder it is such a season of anticipation and yearning, with the way it tickles and teases one's craving for sun, warmth, life. The season's are so drawn out here, it is delicious. Our single daffodil promises to bloom today (it is comparably late). The magnolia trees are so shockingly old and tall here -- just gorgeous. They always tended to be more underdeveloped in Seattle. More blooms explode daily everywhere and sadly, the grass threatens a need for cutting soon! Sigh.

It's a very busy modeling month, especially this week and next, when I have several days of doing two gigs in one day.

Well, just wanted to send out a good morning.  I wish you a satisfying and productive 13 hours and 7 minutes of daylight. We are headed for 75, 78 and 79 degrees today, Friday and Saturday!

p.s. 43-years young feels great!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Zero comments.

I'm just sayin'....

Add one more...

No sooner had I tallied up the plagues of pestilence, than I discovered yet another. Nebbie had her first tick yesterday. If you are unaware, I will tell you that this area is a bit hellish for such things. Lyme disease occurrences are very high, and fleas and mosquitoes thrive here like crazy as well (a little hellish).

I'd hoped that ticks would only be a concern on hikes (which we haven't had any time for, thus far), but the dogs do spend a lot of time in our yard. We actually did see a deer in our yard at the end of February... We have a surprising amount of wildlife in our yard, considering that we live in a city (albeit a small one): deer, groundhogs, skunks... Skunks really thrive around here, too. We've been quite fortunate so far on that one. I'm the only one who's come close to running in to one... Sorry, no close-up photos of skunks.

More brick work yesterday. I wanted Alicia to take action photos (ha, ha), but she thinks that you're all bored of bricks by now. Gee, you can imagine how I feel...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Why don't I listen to my dog??! The birds ARE IN THE WALL of our bedroom. Nebbie was trying to tell me... It turns out that there's a brick missing under our bedroom window, and I saw them flying in to the hole this morning. Wah.

In sync with baby bird season, spring has really sprung, now. Things are abloom, abud (?), aleaf (?) and the grass is green. It's supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow! I am so busy that I can't see straight. Oh, yes, I did get the job as the author/journalist's assistant/research assistant. Between that, modeling and working on the house, yikes!

Alicia is trying hard not to get sick. We went to the city on the train yesterday and had a lovely time (working on the way).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Alicia's Drudgery

After fearfully and carefully removing what precarious bricks remained intact under the south basement window, I was set to rebed the bricks.
 Scary gaping holes 

Although she had much more pressing and infinitely more enjoyable things to do, Alicia insisted on assisting me with the brick laying.

I can't even guess how many bricks we laid, since it was two wythes worth. I mixed about 15 batches of mortar, though....phew-- a good workout.

Alicia really, really hates laying bricks. She had a bad attitude, but I loved having her there. I don't mind it, but enjoy tuckpointing more. It goes MUCH faster with two people. I only have a little more to do on this wall!

 Gorgeous and almost done!

I am starting on a trial basis as an interview transcriptionist and potentially a research assistant for a journalist/author tomorrow. I am hoping it works out! April will be a busy month for modeling, too, so that is going well.

What weekend??

Friday, April 4, 2008

Happy Friday!

Hello! One last yummy hardware photo: it's a crowd pleaser!
Now, on to the helical ties, finally. I know you've been dying to know all about them...
I drill a hole in the brick with my new beloved tool, a rotary hammer.
The hole goes all the way into the next wythe of brick. It goes fast and is painless.
Then I switch to the bit that installs the helical tie. Pow, pow, pow, it's in, again -- painless -- except for the two out of 60 or so that wouldn't go in all the way.

So basically, it just ties the layers of bricks together and makes things more structurally sound in the big picture.

But today, I was rebedding bricks. Wow, twenty-two bricks in an entire work day -- that's hauling ass all day. Oh, and I had to knock out all of the rotten ones first. Several double batches of mortar. I really want an electric mortar mixer, but alas, not now. (I really want another tattoo, also, but that's not going to happen either, sigh).

More bricks tomorrow, although I am dying to play my guitar!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Very Long Day

Jodi is modeling for a class at the moment - 6-10 tonight. I thought I would keep her promise and blog something. Let's see...we started the day by driving to the edge of town and loading the car with free wood from a dead, downed tree. The days are getting warm, but the nights are still hitting the 20s and that makes for a cold house. We're trying not to use the heating system until we get the insulation in the attic, which won't happen until summer. After a $1500 heating bill we decided that building fires was a fun and useful project.  
With the rest of her day Jodi drilled and hammered special rods into the bricks to help support the structure of our walls. This is a project that starts in the basement and will continue up all four of the floors. Hundreds of these guys. She also re-bed bricks, went to the gym and now she has a modeling job. Whew! For anyone that knows Jodi well, this is just a typical day.

I'm in the studio where I've been since early this morning, working hard to sculpt and cast a good handful of figures for the Romeo Project. As soon as I get enough I will photograph them and start asking for grants. I priced the cost of having an art caster do the casting for me since the sculpting takes so long and there are so many figures to deal with. Uh-hem. Let's just say that I can do it for a lot less than $100,000 and that's if I only do one cast of 100 figures. So I'm making molds. I'm also trying to make something new for an art fair that happens in May and I'm trying to get everything together for a video I'll be producing in Seattle in a couple of weeks. It's hard to sit down and sculpt with so much to do, but in the end I have to tell myself that this IS my job. I'll leave you with a photo of Elizabeth. She will be one of Juliet's love interests in this installation. Yes, this will be Queen Elizabeth. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and since Romeo & Juliet was written in the Elizabethan Era and since Elizabeth is famous for never marrying, I thought I would add my own twist to the story. She (Elizabeth) will be dressed to the hilt from head to toe, but she's still a little naked after today's sculpting.
If you don't know anything about the Romeo Project, click on the underlined words above to go to the description.  


...and this is me in my f'ing 40s wearing stupid readers to sculpt, read, work on my computer and actually see my own face in a mirror. Thought my oldest sister would enjoy this!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just keeping my promise

The day was spent almost from the beginning. I had to put off drilling until tomorrow, as it was time to go to work.

That's it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Not a hugely productive day, again. But it was actually WARM and lovely, and frankly, that's all that counts. It hit 68 degrees -- our warmest day yet AND a rainbow! (barely double).

It was our first beer-thirty of the year on the front porch.

I knocked out some bricks and relaid them (like yesterday). The offending washing machine went away today, and we have $80 to spend on groceries!

Modeling tomorrow, after drilling helical ties (no, I'm not going to tell you about them today). I always laugh when I take off my dirty work clothes to take a bath before going to model... 

 It is a pretty funny contrast. They would all be so surprised if they knew what I was doing before I went there! Sadly, the bruises will show tomorrow.

Tomorrow, one last photo of yummy hardware!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday, Monday

A dumb day, as Mondays tend to be for me. Rain, hail, and well, more rain. Spring smring. It is a cold dark wintry day.

Instead of ripping through the installation of helical ties (I'll tell you about them tomorrow), I was stymied. Wah. Awaiting instructions from the architects = a pacing, restless day. The mortar has suffered badly from years of neglect, making these walls a bit dicey to reconstruct. I want to go fast, but -- as always -- it's going to go slowly. I knocked out some rotting bricks and bedded new ones. One wall has about 60 bricks to rebed. Sigh.

I've done five scare-free loads of laundry. The dogs nap peacefully today, whilst the offending former laundering pair are sitting on the front porch, tarp-covered and awaiting their sale.

On a happy note, I present my beautiful section of tuckpointing. I FINALLY got the color right (I hope, I hope). 

And, as an extra treat: an encore of delicious hardware.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

A new leaf...

will now be turned over, as I vow to blog daily -- until you are sick of reading the ad infinitum details of our "project", i.e. my work/my life/our work/our lives. Profuse apologies to those of you who have continued to check the blog regularly, only to find NOTHING NEW.

So, my (me: Jodi) brother, Jeff, flew out from Illinois AGAIN last week to help us raise the first beam. His method was ingenious and (from our ends) painless. I think he was picking up our slack. It is bolted and shimmed and being temporarily supported by two 12-ton jacks. I am dying to post photos, but Jeff won't let me, so if you want to see any, just email me and I'll send them to you individually.

I also installed some gorgeous, honkin' hardware that I know you lesbians will love. These reinforcing angles are big and heavy and the bolts are 3/4" x 4-1/2"!

Alicia got to play at length with my new mini palm nailer 
which I highly recommend. Even Jeff was impressed by it! Alicia was adding (psychological) reinforcements to the attic rafters. We all got a lot done in three days!! Jeff also helped me get the horrible, scary old washer and dryer down from upstairs (remember our old "headboard"?...good riddance!).

I must give a plug to Oscar, our favorite bar/restaurant/pool haunt around. I'll have to include a photo of it next time we drive out there. It is in the mountains and spectacular. We spent many, many hours there on Jeff's last night. It was a joy to treat him to a wonderful night out after all of his hard, hard work.

 On the day of his departure: breakfast at our other favorite eatery that is only about three minutes from our house: the Palace Diner. (Lakey was immediately smitten with this quality establishment). We frequent there often, especially for a delicious breakfast. We are now considered regulars by the hostess. These diners are standard sighting in this area, but the Palace is THE diner. Oh, we love it so! The sweet potato pancakes...!

I must say, that there is a definite deflation of momentum when Jeff leaves. Things happen much more quickly and intensely when he is here directing us and helping. There is so much to do!! I am quite content to do it all. I just wish that a.) I was being paid b.) there were more hours in a day.

Yesterday, for instance, I spent an entire work day scraping old white tile adhesive off the bricks on two basement walls. Wow, does that feel satisfying. Yeah, right. A whole day!? Next to remove the mortar (tomorrow) and then tuckpointing pretty much all around that entire room. I will have to post a photo tomorrow of my last wall down there. It is really quite lovely. I actually love tuckpointing, it is just so damn SLOW!

Today, we rented a U-Haul and picked up my ASKO washer and dryer from storage. You see, the old washer they'd left in our house seemed a bit possessed during its spin cycles. The dogs were absolutely terrified, as the entire house would shake violently. They would cringe on wash days.  So, now we are doing a load upstairs right at this very moment in the ASKO front-loader (yay!) and I can barely hear it, let alone feel it.

 No more scary laundry!

We also picked up a whole bunch of sheets of 1/2" plywood (more psychological reinforcement) as long as we had a truck. Fun, fun, fun.

Happy. Oh, how I love my brother.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The first sign of spring!

Hello, all.

Sorry, no pictures today for you. I've been feeling remiss about posting and just wanted to give you a quick update.

I saw the first robins today (everywhere!) -- a sure sign that spring is near. After so many years in Seattle, where the robins live year-round, I had to inform Alicia about the great significance of the first robin sighting of the year. This came on a day of chilly temperatures, torrential downpours and emergency alerts of flash flood warnings. It is a mess here, really: rapidly melting snows, heavy rains, and cold nighttime temps = a solid ice-covered world that exposes plenty of mud and (!!) a little green grass.

Cruelly and inexplicably, has erroneously reported the morning temperatures as 60 and 64 degrees yesterday and today. (Perhaps 30 and 34 degrees in reality??) I rushed out of the house for the gym in shorts yesterday... ouch!

We have temporarily resorted to painting houses on the side to refill the monetary coffers and landed a dream job for a wonderful, kind and generous couple. We are painting most of their house, sans trim and the husband does all of the prep work. Easy. Funny it is that as soon as we took a job Alicia sold a painting in her show and I have been turning down modelling gigs. Oops. Well, a temporary  and short detour and then back to what we REALLY want to be doing with our time and energy. (Did I mention our $1500 heating bill??).

Life is good. I am very, very happy -- but missing my friends.

Happy pre-spring.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Snow and Holes in the Wall

For my friends and family who grew up with me in Arizona, can you believe this is where I live?! It's interesting how the 30s feel almost warm if it's sunny. Never having lived in a place with an actual change of seasons, I thought winter would feel much colder than it does. Instead, it feels like this is how it's supposed to work somehow. I guess by that I mean that each season is long and so when you move from one into the next you're ready for it. I am feeling ready for spring though, just a little. My kids told me it was 60˚ in Seattle and I was a little jealous. You certainly do deserve the nice weather though after the multitude of rain you've had this winter. I'm not missing the rain, just the people. 

On to the holes - Jodi's brother Jeff came to Poughkeepsie this weekend with the sole purpose of helping us with a project that has had our work on this house at a stand-still. Since we're opening everything up and replacing walls with post & beam construction we needed to build specially designed footings that were the brainchild of our architects. Instead of pouring footings in our concrete slab and putting posts in the middle of our room, we're essentially building footings into the existing brick walls, fondly referred to as bearing blocks. Ingenious, but a little scary as Jodi and I have stood many times staring up at the walls and talking through this project that will ultimately carry the weight of this house. Each time we've dressed in work clothes, made our way to the basement, plans in hand, and then talked ourselves out of doing it. Each block posed it's own set of unique problems and there are six in all. Jeff spent a day pouring over the plans and then we dug in, quite literally. By the end of the weekend we poured concrete in our first block and removed the bricks from our second. We hope to pour the next one by the end of the week and then after the blocks cure we will hang our first beautiful beam. Jeff is safely back in Illinois tonight and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. Now we can proceed with confidence. After these blocks are completed, the rest of the rebuild can move forward more quickly.

 Hole #1

We poured the concrete through a hole in the floor above. 
This perplexes the little white dog.