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Farm time has been sparse this month.  More busy-away-things have been crammed into the days than the days can well hold.  Maybe more on that later. Or maybe not.

For now one must settle for fleeting glimpses of seasonal delights…

…like caterpillars in their Halloween costumes feasting on parsley,

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black pods scattered among vibrant blooms,

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scarecrows, mums and pumpkins,

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a glowing apparition,

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and a mix of things dead, dying, and holding the seeds for new life

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Hello!  Welcome to part two of your virtual tour of the new office.  We have finally completed rennovations to another room of the practice, which by the way is officially up and running!kitchen

It took six months of cleaning, painting, tiling, shopping, moving, arranging, rearranging, nitpicking, and tweaking to get it just right.

Groovy light fixtures

Groovy light fixtures

As I mentioned in my first post on the topic, Space to Work: Office Design, the “Man Cave” had a lot of potential, but it was a mess.  The linoleum tiles in the ‘before’ picture were stuck directly to the concrete. There was a mysterious brown, sticky substance embedded in the spaces between them and they were stained, torn, and in some places missing. We pulled those grimey things up and the Angry Russian laid new porcelain tiles at a jaunty 45-degree angle.  He chose Navajo White grout to make the tiles “pop.”  He also hung a new smooth ceiling to get rid of the old one sporting nicotine-encrusted stalactites. We hung new fixtures for a finishing touch.

El Diablo painted the cabinets white and the hardware gold with an overcoat of clear gloss. The whole room was painted a softer, creamy shade of yellow.  We added a couple of new light fixtures. And Voila! The Man Cave disappeared and the “Princess Playhouse” (as El Diablo refers to it) emerged.

Skattur provided the plate beneath the cabinet (a find she scored at the Goodwill) to dress up the wall.  And see the little guy in the windowsill up there?  Another of Skattur’s Goodwill finds.  Here’s a close up:

owl with succulent ears

owl with succulent ears

How ridiculously cute is he? His name is Owlfred E. Jennings.

I decided to go for a 1940’s vibe with the decor. Several years ago I inherited a massive stereo console from my grandparents.

the stereo console

the stereo console

It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and though I have never had the space for it, it’s a relic I had to keep. It gives me warm, fuzzy memories of a childhood spent sneaking into the forbidden living room to bother the big kids while they listened to records…

sitting area

sitting area

There I would find them inclined on the orange corduroy speaker pillow (which I also still have) staring into the depths of an album cover as if it contained the answers to life’s mysteries.  Around the holidays, Elvis crooned Christmas songs from the speakers accompanied by the snaps and crackles of needle to vinyl.  In short, the console has good mojo. It served as the foundation piece for the room and inspired me to go retro with the furniture for the waiting area.

I got a great deal on two reupholstered vintage chairs from an antique mall. They are comfy and they have wheels! Then I paid too much (even with the 40% off coupon) for the table and lamp from Hobby Lobby.   Nanook gave me the picture above the lamp.  It belonged to my grandmother. The two sconces belonged to Skattur.  She donated them to the cause because they were scrolly and yellow. And because she’s awesome.  I picked up the rug from Target.

And finally, you might wonder what’s up with that little picture to the right that looks a bit out of place.  It  hangs right near the doorway to the therapy room and serves as a daily reminder to get my brain on straight before going to work:

note to self

note to self

I hope you enjoyed today’s virtual tour. There are two rooms  left – the bathroom and the therapy room.  I  will get pictures of those posted eventually.

Our First Christmas at Peace. Love. Home.

We put up a Christmas tree this year, which is noteworthy because it is only the second time we have done this in 19 years. Nanook was completely beside herself over this new development. Nearly every other day she burst in here like a bandit, brandishing her glue gun. I threw my hands up in the air in surrender while she added more bling to the tree or embellished this and that with some sort of glitzy thing.   She bedazzled the banister with poinsettas, ornaments, tinsel, lights, and sprigs of unidentified festive objects. She hung bells, tied up mistletoe, and spangled stars around my light fixtures. She decked the halls with bows galore. Seriously. There are bows on every available surface of the entry hall. There are bows on surfaces that aren’t so available.

Christmas Pup

Moo-Moo’s confused expression over Nanook’s exploits

 ~*~

Xmas 2012 009

With so much tragedy and violence to face this month in the community and arugula, spinach, strawberry, walnut & mandarin orange saladnation, we opted for a Christmas without the slaughter. It is a small thing, but I believe in the good of doing small things. We hosted vegetarian dinners on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The menu included chili; cornbread; arugula, spinach, walnut, strawberry, and mandarin orange salad; a vegetarian version of Hiram’s cheesy macaroni; potato salad; green bean casserole; sweet potato cookies; sugar cream pie; and German chocolate cake.  Thank you family for being so sweet and accommodating!

Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. We nourish all those things when we eat well…In your choices about food, you express what matters to you.

— Michael Pollan

We are nearly done with the renovations to the building that will house my new practice.  We set up the office last week and I moved in.  Hassan Osman’s fabulous blog, The Couch Manager, was highly influential in the design of the new office.  His blog introduced me to authors who inspired taking a zen-like approach to work, which ultimately led to my decision to quit my chaotic bi-state academic career and start my own business.  Thank you Hassan. 🙂

The building had a lot of potential, but in its original state, it screamed “man-cave.” The previous tenants were heavy smokers with pets, a combination resulting in an odor that defied a wide range of cleaning products and air fresheners. The popcorn ceiling was brown with an amalgamation of nicotine, dust, and pet dander hanging off in stalactite-like spikes. I was worried that one would fall and impale me with the vile concoction. The ceiling fans were an abomination with a layer of gunk atop the blades nearly an inch thick. There were linoleum tiles applied to concrete in three of the rooms and some strange sticky paper-like faux wood flooring in what is now my office.  It all had to go.

As you can see in the “before” picture below, a lot needed to be changed.

We set to work cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, sponging the nicotine off the walls, pulling up flooring, etc.  Then the Angry Russian, who is a lot less angry these days, set to work pulling down light fixtures, hanging a new ceiling, knocking out a wall for a window, laying tile, painting and hanging fixtures and pictures.

The Angry Russian Draws a Window on the Wall

We saved over $100 on the window by shopping at a discount building supply store (Building Materials on Jackson, Inc) that sells overstocked and used supplies instead of ordering it from a glass store or one of those DIY home improvement stores.

Voila a window!

The window provides an awesome view of the vegetable garden as you’ll see in a bit.

The paint color is Ferrel Calhoun’s Slate Stone, but the paint was Benjamin Moore.  The flooring is ceramic tile from Flooring Solutions. The picture above as well as the two below are by Albert Koetsier  and were a gift from a friend.

My desktop was a work of The Devil.  He salvaged the top of my former desk, wrapped the top in a groovy fabric, then painted and clear coated it to a glossy finish.  It sits atop two filing cabinets that I purchased for 60% off from a Big Lots store that was going out of business.

My desk – The Devil’s handiwork

As you  can see, it’s very reflective! Beneath that shine is a pretty lavender and white print.

Desktop Detail

And then we embellished with little details….

Framed postcards from the Berliner Dom

Please take a moment to appreciate those perfectly plumb, mathematically proportionate pictures that were hung by The Angry Russian, who is a perfectionist to the extreme.  When I hang a picture, I use a hammer and a nail. I would think that’s the way most normal humans would do it. The Angry Russian requires measurements, pencils, math, and a high-tech floor-to-ceiling laser machine. Watching his process was like watching an episode of Big Bang Theory.

How the Angry Russian Hangs a Picture

A few more finishing touches…

two cherished gifts

The picture of me and Nilla Bean was hand drawn by a former student and artist.  “Believe” was a gift from another friend.

A new light fixture…

…and to complete the ensemble…

This is the first time I’ve ever displayed my degrees on the wall.  They make me feel all official. 🙂

And kitty is just visiting.

So….that completes your virtual tour of the office.  Come back in a couple weeks I’ll show you the rest of the place.

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