May 01, 2006

Great Butt Shots & More!

Apparently, in these photos, we have defied all odds and reconstructed the maxim -

white is slimming...

and black... not so much.

White also makes it look like you've been working harder. Or, at least, that you don't give a crap what you look like.

We finally got to get a picture of the inside of mom's gallery without anyone in it - though, strangely enough, some random woman stopped by with a tripod and camera and asked if she could take pictures in there, and spent a good part of the morning taking pictures. I hope hers are a little better.

And the peonies in front of the door are in full bloom:

Aren't they amazing? And they smelled so good. I'm usually not as much of a fan of big, showy flowers with nothing but very explicit ulterior motives (roping in the bee with the bright colors, the big anthers) but I sure do love peonies. They're like those old southern ladies with big hats and big hair who you can't help liking because they're so crazy over-the-top.

We had a visit from Wheatie and his gal, Kelly, who were on the hunt for some good wedding presents. We have found that mom's pottery really comes in handy when looking for wedding presents. I hate to buy off a registry (even though, I know, people probably prefer it) - but after having to buy the dregs for Sam and Marilyn (all that was left were some potholder mitts and a cookie sheet) I decided no more! And have since been spreading the word to innocents like these:

This was the first time I met Kelly, but she seems like a nice girl. And look how happy these guys are! Probably because now they don't have to buy anything off of a stupid registry.

And so the cult begins...

Matthew didn't mention that we also spent a bit of time trying to figure out where outlets and phone jacks etc were going to go. After much hemming and hawing and measuring, we decided that an 8'x8' bedroom will be just fine - cozy and easy to air condition. Funny that it will be higher than it is wide or long, but that's okay - we're ready to nest.

The talk of the town, though, was that C-town was written up in the New York Times last week - the article will likely drive up real estate so that our one bedroom barn loft is worth a cool half mil. We won't tell anyone about the fumes from the kiln or the lack of running water upstairs. I mean, what do you think this is, the big city???

Posted by ribbu at 08:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2006


So, in part, because of Steve, we have been shamed into considering a different scenario for our space. We are thinking that maybe we'll insulate the whole area with the bedroom closed off. Mom has to access the Florabana storage space every now and then, the door of which is right next to the "kitchen" space on the plans below. I don't think she liked the idea of having to walk through our bedroom, where matthew might be walking around naked or something (really, the horror). Or me, for that matter. Closing off the bedroom also makes it easier to keep cool in the summer. Matthew can't sleep unless conditions are absolutely perfect: not too hot, not too clammy, not too light, not too loud (not loud at all, actually), not too cramped, not too close to me, not without 5 pillows (ideally, 7). Having the air conditioner two feet away from his face ought to help. We will have to invest in more earplugs, though.

Posted by ribbu at 09:33 PM | Comments (9)

April 16, 2006


Boy, did we have a busy weekend. We had the good fortune to have Good Friday off (this makes it Especially Good Friday), so headed over to C-town to get some good work in. We spent pretty much all of Friday cleaning up - a good deal of time pulling nails out of old boards (that we will cut down and use for firewood) and the walls (someone went crazy with the old hammer in this joint!), and some shuffling around of things. I spent some time boxing up some of mom's vintage pottery she's held onto from the early years. As much as what she does involves a lot of repetition - reworking the same forms again and again, creating smaller or bigger versions of a successful form - it's amazing to see that progress is nevertheless made. A lot of these earlier versions of things look stiff and unsure compared to their more organic progeny. It was like looking through an old yearbook. While I skipped down memory lane, Matthew swept and cleaned and pulled nails like a champ.

Friday night we went to see a free movie up at the college (a definite perk of living in c-town that we will take full advantage of) - a german movie called The Edukators. It was quite good, though I disagree with the imdb reviewer inasmuch as I think that there really was quite a bit of idealistic dogma being bandied about. But I guess that's what idealists do. I really enjoyed it in spite of that, though, but that might in part be due to the fact that I haven't seen a movie in about 6 months.

Saturday there was more pugging to be done while I tinkered around upstairs. There was an old set of built-in shelves that dad had been using to store all kinds of jars of old nails and screws and bolts and miscellaneous hardware, and even though I was so tempted to throw everything out in a big garbage bag and pretend I had never seen it all, I went through and consolidated and only threw out the rusty and bent ones (which ended up being quite a lot). That actually took a lot of time, and when I was done, Matthew was delighted to be able to go up and smash the shelves all to bits. He's the big picture guy.

In the end, we were able to separate the remaining detritus into two piles: one for items headed to the auction, the other for things that mom and dad still need to sort through. This left a nice patch of floor open for us to delight over.

Matthew pulling nails. They are sticking out of everywhere.

Matthew contemplating his next bold move.

Not the next bold move, but the one after that. It involved a moth-eaten overcoat and some badass rapping.

Ah. The floor.

Matthew made dinner for us all (mm, lasagna) and we actually had time for one of our old run/bike rides (Matthew runs while I bike ride) - I hadn't come prepared for good clean exercise, so had to borrow one of mom's (way too small) tank tops and her teeny tennis shoes (blue), a pair of Roji's old shorts (green drawstring long shorts), and mom's bike, which is a ridiculous kid's bike (black, with red flames) because she was too small for the nice cruiser we tried to get her. I felt like a clown riding it, partly because my knees came up to my ears when I pedaled, and partly because of aforementioned getup. I didn't feel so bad, though, because Matthew was wearing a pair of Roji's old lacrosse shorts (so old and nylony they were pretty much see-through and eep! too tight!) over a pair of his old boxers (light blue with little surfing penguins or something on them). Lucky for us, we have only each other to impress.

Posted by ribbu at 06:21 PM | Comments (1)

Orientation Schematics

After receiving various messages/comments regarding the actual nature of THE BARN, I have decided that it has become neccessary to include a basic breakdown of things for those of you who have never actually seen the barn (or heard of it before reading this here blog). And thusly:

Now, I understand that all of these exploding rooms might not really make anything that much clearer, but at least you see what sorts of rooms we are dealing with. For some photographic reference:

the CLAY ROOM for drying greenware

the KILN ROOM (with some extra junk in the foreground that is going to auction this week)

Seiko's GALLERY (from the outside, because she actually had some customers on the inside when we were trying to take pictures)(damn them, customers!)

FLORABANA, the booth that we have at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Look at all that stuff. We sell some of mom's pottery, but then a whole bunch of other stuff - if you look closely, you can see the glazed looks in Roji's and Dad's eyes. That's from trying to keep track of too much stuff.

Seiko's STUDIO, though this is really only half of it.
A. slabroller, to roll out pieces of clay at the push of a button
B. electric extruder, to extrude tubes of clay at the push of a button
C. hand extruder, to extrude tubes of clay at the crack of a whip (read: Dad-powered)
D. air filter, to keep us from having dusty boogers
E. windows to gallery area
F. tubs full of recently pugged clay
G. big doofus
H. little doofus

Posted by ribbu at 05:44 PM

April 10, 2006

Stage #2

After having heard again and again from Dad about how he had "messed up all of our work cleaning up last week" we were expecting disaster. In fact, it didn't look much messier, and a lot of stuff had gotten sorted out. We were pleased. Though, not entirely optimistic:

We used one end of the room as our staging/triage area for items to go off to auction:

(Dog not included)

It ended up leaving a healthy bit of open space in the middle of the room, and suddenly progress had been made.

One of the coolest things we found this week were a bunch of old comic books of Dad's. They are mostly from the "Illustrated Classics" series (I would say mid '40s or so) - a bunch of novels rewritten in comic book cliff's notes form. We were never allowed to read them as kids (since we hadn't read the real books), so they've always held a great mystique. Now that I've got Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, Oliver Twist and Treasure Island under my belt, I'm reading those suckers with a vengeance. The rest, apparently, Dad is going to keep under lock and key until I do my homework.

Posted by ribbu at 09:18 PM | Comments (2)

Great Plans!

Well, the plans for our future home are constantly evolving - we've made a list of our most crucial pieces of furniture and have tried to cram them all into the space. Below you'll find one of many iterations. We have followed quite a progression of ideas:

1. Have one study, insulated, for Robbi to make tons of freelance money in under ideal temperature conditions, along with a large living /sleeping area that is uninsulated, and thus only inhabitable for approximately 6 months of the year.

2. Have two studies, insulated, for Robbi to make tons of freelance money in and for Matthew to while away his hours in making his weekly allowance of 21 cents (courtesy of Robbi) under ideal temperature conditions, along with a large living/sleeping area that is uninsulated, and thus only inhabitable for approximately 6 months of the year.

3. Have one study, insulated, for Robbi to make tons of freelance money in, and another study/bedroom, insulated, for Matthew to while away his hours in making his weekly allowance of 21 cents (courtesy of Robbi) and sleep his days away under ideal temperature conditions, along with a smaller living area that is uninsulated, and thus only inhabitable for approximately 6 months of the year.

4. Have one big insulated room for everything, that is inhabitable year-round, with high heating bills.

5. Have one study and one big insulated room for variable temperature control.

6. Any combination of the above, for any reason whatsoever.

Below is the most recent floorplan, which isn't recent enough for the most recent decision of how to set it up - I think we've decided to insulate the whole thing, but save on heating and construction by putting in the dreaded drop ceiling. We'll see if it sticks. But, we liked this plan for a while, anyway:

Posted by ribbu at 08:27 PM | Comments (2)

April 08, 2006

Stage #1

These are a little late in coming, but need to be posted nonetheless. Weekend 1 of theBarnstorming involved a good deal of cardboard and packing peanut corraling. You wouldn't believe how many boxes Bob and Seiko had up there, just in case. Just in case Godzilla came to destroy c-town and we had to build a gigantic cardboard robot to defeat him.

(THIS alone is a van full of packing peanuts!)

Anyway, the conquest started out with great hooplah - Bob, Robbi and Matthew preparing for the attack:


*It kind of looks like I'm preggers in this picture. I've got that sort of big preggers head. But, I'm not. No mistaking it, it's just my regular chubby cheeks. Matthew, on the other hand...

I also love Dad's heroic faraway look.

A big part of the cleanup revolved around creating a storage space above the other half of the unfinished upstairs of the barn - the part where the booth for the flower show is kept, where all out extra merchandise is stored, and where any useable stuff needs to go. Dad brilliantly came up with the idea of using the old house shutters (which we don't want to get rid of) to run across the beams and create a little attic floor up there for storage space. Matthew's job was to crawl around like a little monkey up there, arranging shutters and nailing down boards. I think, when he's really bad, we should just leave him up there.

After all that crawling around, he sure was dirty, and sweaty, and gross.

Welcome to my world.

Posted by ribbu at 09:39 PM

April 06, 2006

Stage #0

So this is where we're starting from. A beautiful big grey barn right in the middle of historic C-town. We plan to inhabit the top bunch of windows on the left - the rest is the domain of seiko: gallery, studio, kiln, drying racks, storage, etc.

And this is the inside of our future home:

Full of 25 years of flotsam and jetsam, or, more correctly, ligan, it will take some heroics just to get the space cleared out. The difficulty lies in deciding what can stay (childhood drawings and building block set) and what can go (tottering heaps of very spiky branch material (I think all that japanese boils down to "look out! this shit hurts!!") - perhaps?). There are some ambiguous items, that will surely not go without a fight.

Posted by ribbu at 08:16 PM