Blue Moon

A "blue moon" - when there are 13 full moons in one calendar year - is considered an astronomical rarity. Tonight marks the first blue moon since 1990.

The next one is due to occur in 2028. Hence the saying, "once in a blue moon."

Get outside and toast a glass of your champagne to this lunar exception. Maybe it's a sign of a new year full of special and rare happenings. I hope so.

Bring it on, 2010.

Right. I just remembered that 2010 is bringing the '30' on. That's another kind of special altogether.

Feliz Nuevo Ano . . . Eve!

Today also marks our 7 year "anniversary." I guess the dating anniversary goes out the window once you get married. Frankly, I don't need to be remembering any extra dates. But I'm always game for extra presents! Hah!

Have a healthy and safe New Year's Eve! We'll be partying it up in suburban Wis with beer, food and apparently a hot tub. The invite said 'bring your bathing suits.'

I will not.

2010 Resolution 1: Do NOT wear bathing suits when there is snow on the ground, your skin is the same color of said snow, and your elastic waistband leggings are so tight they're starting to resemble those medical stockings made for older folks with varicose veins.

I think that's a good start to the year.


The Computer Works! Thank God.

And we're back from the East Coast. Here's a snapshot of the trip:

Tuesday night: Run to the airport immediately after work to discover our flight to Boston has just been delayed two additional hours. Have completed full day at florist shop in new position: packager. While the two floral designers and my fellow newbie-slash-23 year old superior (oh, the humiliations never end) made arrangements for 8.5 hours straight, I wrapped eggplant-colored tissue paper around one ornament flower arrangement after the next. And passed them off to our drivers. Who I now also consider my superiors, due to the fact that I can't apply for their positions even if I wanted to as I don't know the city of Milwaukee from the town of Hoboken, New Jersey. My status as lowly bucket cleaner and packager continues.

Later that evening: 12:45 AM, Logan International Airport.

Abbey: Hi Dad, we've just landed in Boston. Where are you guys?
Dad: What? You're on the plane! You didn't leave yet!
Abbey: Is this a joke? I'm standing next to the baggage claim and our suitcase is the size of a Saint Bernard. Where are you?
Dad: I'm at home. The computer said you were still on the plane!
Abbey: That's a hilarious joke, Dad. [Pause] Where are you?
Dad: I'm at home.
Abbey: I know you're joking.
Dad: I'm not joking.
Abbey: This isn't funny.
Dad: It's not a joke.
Abbey: Yes it is!
Dad: Nope.
Abbey: Where are you?
Dad: Abbey, I am lying in my bed.
Silence some more.
And some more.
Dad: We're getting in the car now.

Jon and I get in a taxi with a lovely older gentleman who drives us to the Route 118 Amtrak station, where my parents meet us. Outside? 2 feet of snow. It's the latest night all four of us have probably had in years. Bedtime is 2:00 AM in Rehoboth.

Wednesday: Visit with family and dear friends, including a way-out-of-towner visiting from Cambodia! Wrap presents. 15 high school friends show up at the house and we eat spaghetti dinner and drink too much wine.

Christmas Eve: Buy last minute present and make homemade eggnog (with Aunt Ida's recipe, courtesy of my old boss at Van Wyck) in preparation for Taboo challenge later that evening. See more family and my 92 year old grandfather in the hospital (got the pneumonia, but thankfully feeling better; I offered to open his presents for him). Return to fierce competition of Taboo and Apples to Apples. The Non-Barretts (of which I am told I am now a part - me, Jon, James and Joiners) beat the Barretts. Burn!

Christmas: Presents and brunch, including wedding cake, which Jon and I did not get to eat back in May. Tastes like a real Reese's peanut butter cup! Pack up and train it after lunch to N-Y-C to see Jon's mother and sister. More presents and sushi!

Saturday: Off to Jon's hometown of Monticello to visit expectant parent friends. Discover pregnant mother-to-be is approximately 42 pounds lighter than me with thighs the size of number 2 pencils. Stomach appears to be a basketball placed under a tee shirt. Touch belly to confirm baby Charlotte is under there. Yes, she is. Inform Jon the supermodel pregnancy will not be occurring at our house, as the laws of gravity and too-much-buttered-popcorn make it impossible. He laughs in ignorant bliss. I shudder, imagining his future (parents, re-read that word) moment of realization: me, 9 months pregnant in the bathroom, dressed in hippo-sized elastic granny undies with a rear end the size of a 32" widescreen television and a stomach harboring a raft of gaseous Cuban fugitives. Not good.
Dinner and much laughter ensues. Baby does not arrive during our tenure, sadly.

Sunday: Go Giants! Oh, wait. Suck it, Giants! Worst showing ever. Last game in the old Giants stadium and the fans spend the majority of it booing. Almost get in pre-game fistfight with parking lot neighbors over illegally saved parking space. Offer Coronas as peace offering. Invited to their post-game barbecue as an apology. Leave at third quarter and sprint out to sushi dinner. Jon's dad consumes 39 pieces of sushi as part of the "all you can eat" sushi package at Ozen. Restaurant quietly puts his photo on a do-not-serve list. Head downtown to Beauty Bar to see friends and family one last time, including sister who surprises us from Massachusetts!

Monday: Pain. Exhaustion. Arise at 4:00 AM to get to airport in anticipation of full body cavity search thanks to firework terrorist. Instead, find a taped piece of paper to the ticket counter stating fireworks are no longer allowed on plane. I feel safe.
Take plane ride seated two rows ahead of obnoxious 17 month old child who yells (not cries) repeatedly throughout the entire flight for no reason other than to show off her baby teeth. Mother placates child by giving her soda at 7:30 AM. Woman, please do not procreate again.
Arrive, collect suitcase which is now the size of a SmartCar, and get dropped off immediately at work. Stand on feet for next 8.5 hours, eat dinner and commence sleep at 8:30 PM.

And welcome back.

P.S. PC's past the 100 post mark! Woo hoo!


Malfunction = AWOL

The malfunction was me, tripping on Jon's "home phone line" cord that connects to our computer, thereby allowing us to have a phone line via cheap internet company.

Somehow, the computer battery and/charger chose to use this upheaval as reason to go AWOL. Posting is on hiatus until we can get the new pieces from a Dell.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Make sure to have a glass of wine for me and give the dogs an extra treat.



Santa, take note. Size 8.


Stupid Tear

Found the tear in my jeans.

Immediately threw evidence in the trash so as to forget the entire incident completely. Must not dwell on the negative! Especially in this holiday season.

Am now wearing comfortable and loose-fitting jeans. Also known as the diet devil's best friend.

Two Down

We have a fellow injured soul at 1528 North Franklin Place.

Rita has lost an eye. Her front left one, to be exact. Jon and I woke up the other day to find the headlight dangling like a booger off the front of the car.

Our current fix includes masking tape and a boatload of prayers to the car gods.

Vehicles are expensive. Especially old ones. 

P.S. We pronounce booger "boo-zhay" - a la, French Target - in this house. Love it.


Florist, Week 8

Due to my back condition getting worse (we are enemies right now, spine), I managed to work a half day on Monday before limping home like a scurvied pirate with two wooden legs. I promptly phoned my doctor to obtain pharmaceutical assistance, and with my newly acquired painkillers in hand, I spent the rest of Monday, yesterday and all of today on our fur-covered floor, "resting." Resting = bored out of my brain. On the plus side, I feel Houston and I have reached a new comfort level in our relationship, what with us napping face to face on the expensive Turkish rug that she considers her personal bed and shedding station.

Having her rear end at the same height as my nose, however, has not been a bonus. Cheddar-bacon Beggin' Strips are no more. Just. sick.

To add insult to back injury, I put on a pair of jeans that fit me superbly last week . . . only to discover the suckers barely made it over my love handles! Never mind that it takes me 20 minutes to put on a dang sock - I haven't even touched a shin since late November - putting on the shrinking pants took nearly half the morning! I was exhausted.

Oh, and the loud ripping sound that followed? Yet to be identified. As far as I'm concerned, if I can't see the tear, it doesn't exist and the pants still fit.

Just plain offensive.

Clearly my metabolism, due to this extreme inactivity, has chosen to hibernate like a bear in winter. Another super surprise? The doctor's office informed me I have gained 9 pounds since September. Excuse me - 9 pounds? 9 pounds! NINE POUNDS?!

That was like taking a bullet straight to the face.

So my new job is lying on the ground, attempting to breathe while not gaining weight from high-caloric oxygen, stewing furiously over rude and unwanted pounds, and hoping that I will not get fired from my part-time florist job due to inability to sit or stand for any length of time, otherwise known as: being able to WORK.

I have really done it to myself this time.


Booze City

Okay, Milwaukee's nickname is actually Brew City, but during our tour of the Lakefront Brewery on Saturday with the Kiffers, I misheard our guide. You could probably blame it on the Holiday Spice beer I was drinking at the time (alcohol content: 9.2%), but having witnessed firsthand the affinity for hard booze by 'Sconsinites, I felt this was an understandable mistake.  [When the bartender - who was the spitting image of Principal Anderson in "Billy Madison," only in suspenders and dirty jeans - gave me the beer before the tour, he warned me that "every employee has a Holiday Spice story." Sign me up!]

Caleb and Lisa joined us Friday night and began the Bloom Signature Heart Attack Tour of Milwaukee, courtesy of midwest food portions. This was only after they experienced, in their pilot's own words, a "steering failure" during landing. Obviously, margaritas were necessary after such a traumatic experience. We headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Riviera Maya, and stuffed our faces with three meat nachos and specialty mole enchiladas. I believe both Kiffers skipped breakfast the next day due to "still being full." What newbies. I totally powered through.

On Saturday we ventured (for my third time) to Lakefront Brewery to give the Kiffers a taste of Wisconsin beer. Yes, I know the answers to all of the questions. (What is the 16th century German beer law that Lakefront adheres to? The Purity Law. What are the only ingredients allowed in the Purity Law? Barley, Water, Yeast, Hops. How many barrels of beer does Miller Brewery spill in one 8-hour shift? 8,000. How many barrels does Lakefront produce a year? Less than the amount Miller spills in one day. It's a small operation, and also the first certified organic brewery in the country.)

Anywho, the tour is a hoot, probably because all of the guides are drunk and openly admit it. Here we are standing in front of Bernie the Brewer's (the baseball mascot) beer stein from the previous baseball stadium.

When you first arrive and get your tour bracelet, you are also given 4 beer tokens. All this for 6 bucks! I traded in my 4 tokens for two of the Holiday Spice (they're more because they're in a bottle, see). Jon managed to get a bottle of their newest brew, Local Acre, made from specialty hops that can only be found in Wisconsin. It was slightly larger than both the cups and my bottle of Holiday Spice.

Complimentary cup, beer token, Holiday Spice and Local Acre.

At the end of the tour, you can exchange the cups (made of a corn polymer) for free pint glasses. Pretty sure there isn't a better value for 6 bucks anywhere.


I Don't Think They're Getting Back Together

Spied on the back of a Kia Sportage Saturday night in the parking lot of Buca di Beppo in Milwaukee (click on image to enlarge):

Oh, the womanly rage.


A present from Lonny!

Lonny, the only subsitute for my beloved and departed Domino magazine, is out with its December online issue! Read up!

Forecast: Rude

December 10: 1 degree. 1. I thought temperatures only came in double digits?

December 11: Low of -1. Just rude.

This weekend is supposed to go up to 22 degrees - I've never been so excited to have tears freeze to my own face!

Tears of happiness - our dear, dear friends the Kiffers are coming all the way from New York City to visit us. Woo hoo!

P.S. Happy birthday, Lisa!


Florist, Week 7

I'm embarassed to admit that not much has changed in the skill department of my florist position. I would like to note, however, that as of Tuesday, I have made bouquets only 4 times, and made a vase arrangement only once. My days are filled with flower processing, cleaning, assisting customers, prepping containers and items for weekend weddings, packaging and completing phone orders . . . sadly, little time is left over to learn the actual art of flowermaking. When you're at the bottom of the floral bucket, all the grunt work is yours.

So I can't feel too bad about the fact that I know little more about floral design than the woman who runs the flower counter at Pick 'n Save or the lovely hombre who sells bouquets at the corner of 94th and Broadway on the UWS. Oh, let's be real - they probably know more than me.

Hoping that over the next few weeks I can ask for more opportunities to actually learn about floral arranging, as opposed to the intricacies of running a flower shop, of which I am now a connoisseur.

Keeping the claws crossed!


Forecast: December 8 Revised

Right. So I woke up to a dusting of snow and brown slush on the streets. What happened to 12 inches?

Today's revised forecast reads:

3 - 6 inches of snow
Low of 7 degrees
15-20 MPH wind

Yeah right! At one point this fall, the "weather teams" had predicted an early Saturday snowfall - and instead we had the most beautiful sunshine I've ever seen in my entire life!

I'm pretty sure the news staff are just drawing slips of paper out of a Packers hat and throwing them out as official predictions.

I'll be wearing a skirt and flip flops today.


The Next Wave

Sara Gilbane, my oldest friend (in years, not age), was chosen as one of House Beautiful's 'Next Wave of Designers to Watch for 2010'! The New Wave list is released every 5 years. Wow!

Holy Christmas, I know someone in a magazine!

Okay, aside from that, it is so thrilling when someone who you know works so very hard, is recognized for their efforts. Plus, her taste is spectacular. I think we will see a lot of Sara in our homes in the future.

I know I will! (Yup, it's happening, Jon.)

From House Beautiful's December issue:

I don't claim to be reinventing the sofa, but I do try to put a spin on traditional pieces. Many people think modern is hard, clean lines, or that it's cold. Modern is taking pieces from all periods and rearranging them, reupholstering them, refinishing them in a modern way.

Ruthie Sommers, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Miles Redd. 

The High Line in New York City is pretty darn inspiring.

TELL US ONE OF YOUR SECRET DESIGN RESOURCES. satisfies my cravings for Chinoiserie. Sentimento Antiques, in New York, for delicious shagreen and breathtaking colored accessories. 

People will cling to what makes them comfortable and happy. Reupholstering your grandmother's wing chair in a fun new fabric saves money, keeps a beautiful piece of furniture in your family, and lets you bring your personality into your home.

Go out and get a copy asap! And get even more from Sara's 5Basics post here at Providence Classic.

Congrats, Sass! Heck, congrats to me for knowing someone famous!* 

*Yes, I wrote that. And no, I'm not embarrassed.

Forecast: December 8

Woke up to 1/2 inch of snow on the ground and flakes coming down. It has snowed every day since last Friday. Apparently winter broke the seal and can't stop going.

Forecast for today? 8 - 12 inches.

That's a foot, people. No one seems to bat an eye about this. Jon had me driving 15 miles per hour at 7:45 AM with no visible snow on the streets. I would like to go out on a limb and say we are unprepared for this.

Welcome to Wisconsin!


Loving these "Jolly" side tables by Paolo Rizzatto for Kartell.

Adorable in a kid's room or as a spot of bright color in a living room or bathroom. Awesome for a small home or apartment, as well, as the acrylic* does not take up any visual space. From here.

*Actually made of shatterproof plastic. Definitely good for a kid's room!



Sunday brunch at Ma HeartAttack's. I ate 1.5 eggs on wheat toast with 2 slices of bacon (okay, and 1/2 of a pancake). This is what Jon had:

AKA, the "Meat Skillet." Wrong on so many levels. And yes, it was as large in person as it appears in the photo.

Went searching for a Christmas tree at a local greenhouse, which had an awesome selection.

Clearly we first had to conduct our due diligence, visiting one other greenhouse AND Home Depot to determine the best combination of fluffiness/cost. Alas, left HD, which was the cheapest, with only 2 wreaths and a much-needed snow-scraper for the car (snow on the ground again today!). Our schedule is very full!

Meet Treeta! (What?)
Note snow has already melted.

I'd love to show you a picture of Treeta in our living room, but the camera lens broke this weekend, too. Stellar happenings around here!
P.S. Totally stole my paper placemat from Ma HeartAttack's as I plan to stencil that exact Greek Key design in coral on our TV table. Once I paint it navy.


Hunched Like a Granny and Crying

Friday - awake at 7:00 AM. Pack up car and Houston and proceed to fall over in the snowy driveway with her in my arms as my back gives out. (The snow has arrived!) Somehow get her in the car and waddle to the front seat. Drive 2 hours in traffic to Chicago where Jon's CFA exam will be held, alternately crying/cursing/making necessary and obscene hand gestures to any and all neighboring vehicles due to insane back pain. Arrive at 9:45 AM in Chicago and proceed to limp into apartment, crawl into guest bedroom bed, and groan a la "When Harry Met Sally" for the next 5 hours. Attempted glass of wine does nothing for what I officially determine is a pinched nerve. Go nowhere and bedtime is 9 PM in anticipation of Jon's early morning test. Chicago is fun!

Saturday - pain. Spend 4 hours snailing one small bag/dog accessory at a time to the parked car in anticipation of leaving Chicago in time to attend Jon's work holiday party at 7 PM. Pick Jon up after test and drive hour and a half to Milwaukee. Am told ruined a lovely surprise baby shower from halfway across the continental United States by sending gifts too early. Super! Now mortified and hunched like a granny. Drop Houston off at home, change out of toxic pajamas (clothing has not been changed for 2 days) into dress and life-endangering heels. Promptly leave party after dinner is finished to sulk and sleep. Bedtime doesn't really involve sleep, as it is impossible to get comfortable.

Sunday - pain! Yes! Jon forces me to eat at a highly unhealthy joint called Ma HeartAttack's (fine, forgot Ma's real name), get a Christmas tree, watch the Giants win and decide to go to Twilight Saga: New Moon, as a concession for my stupid, rebellious back. (Suck on that, spine!) Have no idea how I will stand for 8.5 hours at work tomorrow. But I'm pumped! (Update - was put back on bouquet duty last Thursday - woo hoo!)

Low Point: Crying while using restroom.
Highlight: Christmas tree! Edward Cullen and Jacob. Wine. Christmas tree!

P.S. Yep, so I am still super bad at the posting. I promise to get back into the swing of things!


There It Goes Again

Finally! My first day off where I can get to work on the chores and posts that have been sitting idle for the past 8 days. I pick Houston up to put her in the back seat of Rita to take her to meet Jon in Chicago, where he will take the CFA test tomorrow (!) and . . . I threw out my back. Again. For the fourth time since July.

It's pretty awesome that I'm shacked up in my friend Laura's apartment, which is nothing short of completely sick. It'd be awesomer if I could move and had seen anything other than the guest bedroom ceiling.


We did it again.

I blame Jeb.

The Akimbo, Part 2.

Followed by the Brew City Hot Brown:

Turkey on rye bread with mashed potatoes, bacon, tomato and topped with beer gravy and Swiss cheese. Bacon? Check. Beer? Check.

Kill me now.