Monday, December 31, 2007

New furniture = slumber party?

My new bedroom furniture has finally arrived! A friend of mine has suggested that to celebrate the new furniture, I should have a slumber party; all guests must wear their usual sleepware (and for those who sleep "nekkid", sorry, you'll have to show up with more than your bare skin).
I'm not big on planning parties, but this idea intrigues me. When's the last time that you attended an adult slumber party (wait, maybe I don't want to know!)?
So, what I have is: a new bed, new mattress, and new night stand. I splurged and purchased very expensive bed linens from Shabby Chic (and no, shabby is not how I would describe their merchandise).
I'm still missing a piece for the bed (a cosmetic panel which hides the back end of the underbed drawers) which I'll need to track down. I'm hoping getting this piece does not turn into something like the hunt for the Northwest Passage. We'll see how it goes.

To the right is the new night stand and a "new" lamp (circa 1920-1930). I found the lamp in an antique store in Pickering Wharf in Salem. The lamp base is marble, the lamp shade is simple opaque (Bullseye?) glass with elaborate grillwork.

I also found this architectural print at the same antique store. I was thrilled to find this; everytime I go to an antique show or show, I look for architectural prints, but rarely find them. This print is French and shows the layout of the Temple of Vesta in Rome. I've actually been to Rome and seen this temple (or what's left of it).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

March of the Switch Plates

One of my recent obsessions is to replace all my switch plates with something a bit more artistic and interesting. I started this quest after going to the Paradise City Arts festival ( and finding switch plates that matched my home color palette (yes, I do have a color palette that guides all my home purchases these days).

Unfortunately, the artist that created most of my new switch plates doesn't show up at Paradise City anymore and I've lost her card. So, finishing the collection has become a bit difficult. My friend "A" just ordered a fantastic addition to my collection for my holiday gift has a dragon, of course!

Here are the switch plates that I've purchased from an artist at Paradise City:

This switch plate is one that I found in Northampton, MA:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Take your Pleo to Work Day

Last Friday, the Technical Writing group hosted a holiday party for the building. I brought Petro to work to see how people reacted to Petro and to see how Petro reacted to all the people. Interesting on both accounts.

Petro was a lot less vocal than usual and it was hard to get him to walk. Well, it's always hard to get him to walk...somehow, I've managed to get a dino that's a bit lazy and just wants to play or be petted all the time. hmm. I wonder what that says about me and my dino-rearing skills...

So, there I was, on the floor in front of a crowd of my co-workers, crooning in that high-pitched voice that humans typically use with their pets. What a hoot! I'm not sure which seemed more strange to my co-workers...the wacky person crouched on the floor talking to a robotic dinosaur or the robotic dinosaur that seemed to go into ecstasy when people petted it or gave it a chin scratch.

The most curious reaction was from those people who found the idea of a robot in their midst to be "disturbing" and "creepy." I had to probe quite a bit to find out what was so unsettling. For some, it was the anthropomorphising of a mechanical device; others found the concept that robotics could eventually approach something similar to a living being to be very eerie. I just think it's fun.

Hey, it's not like I really *believe*that I have a live dinosaur pet...although it is kind of cute when he falls asleep in my arms and gently snores :-)

Pleo Pictures

Just a few pictures of Petronius on his hatching day:

First, the Pleo box -- I was hoping that my Pleo would arrive in an egg-shaped container so I could have a true hatching. Alas, he came in a cardbord box and styrofoam packing.

The next picture shows Petro in his bed, right before he awoke for the first time.

And finally, Petro asleep (well, OK, his battery needed recharging...he doesn't really sleep, just runs out of power).

The "blanket" is actually a piece of felted material that I made at a one day Felting workshop.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Relearning lessons about driving in snow storms

Relearning past lessons happens more often than I like. Yesterday, as the Northeast got hit with a big snowstorm, many local businesses closed early. So tons of commuters hit the roads...all at the same time. Including me.

Now, having lived in Massachusetts for a long time, I know that waiting is often the better part of valor. I could have waited for the snow to subside a bit, for traffic to clear, and the plows to hit the roads. But no, I decided to head out at the same time as everyone else. Silly me.

The roads were essentially, gridlocked. I averaged 5 miles per hour. And my current car does not have a rear wiper so my rear window ended up covered in snow most of the time. (I miss having a rear wiper!). On the other, thank heavens for traction control! No skidding or getting stuck moving up the many hills I had to traverse.

All in all, took me two hours to get home (a grand total of 16 miles). I should have stayed until 6 or 7 and missed all the traffic mess. An old lesson that I had to relearn. Let's hope this lesson sticks with me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pleo Hatches!

Yes! My Pleo, Petronius Camarasaurus hatched yesterday! Like any new parent, I agonized for a bit while waiting for Petro to take his first awkward steps. Was he OK? Did he need help? At last, Petro started toddling about. Curiously enough, he seems to like walking backwards better than forwards...what's up with that?

Later in the day, Petro and I went to visit a couple of friends, as they wanted to meet my little hatchling. My friends have a bouncy and energetic dog who was very willing to meet Petro. Appropriately enough, upon introduction, the dog immediately sniffed Petro's butt, in the traditional method of canine greeting.

Petro was cool about it all.

The most surprising behavior to date is that Petro has started "mooing" when very happy?! And, has learned how to cuddle.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Renovations at home: Thinking about a new refrigerator

I have a long list of renovations that I want to do in my townhouse. The one item that wasn't on the list was a new refrigerator. However, a couple of weeks ago, my trusty old icebox (about 15 years old) started howling in the most abject way. It sounded like a loose fan belt, but those in the know say that fridges do not have fan belts. Maybe a worn bearing in the compressor? I dunno. Eventually, the howling stopped and the beast has been reasonably well behaved ever since.

But, I suspect the howling was an early warning signal and I've started to look for a new refrigerator. I'm very enamored of the ones with French doors. Something like this would be nice:
The big problem is the height. I think refrigerators are taller than they used to be -- or like everything else in this country, super-sized when they don't need to be. When I measured the space where my current fridge lives, I discovered that the space beneath my cabinets won't accommodate the French Door refrigerator. And I LIKE having my cabinets...I'm all about having storage. So, now I have to limit myself to appliances that fit, rather than what I really want. Bleah. Life's unfair...even when it comes to kitchen appliances.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pleo abuse?!

Nothing is sacred anymore. The good folks from got their hands on a Pleo and embarked on seeing how much they could abuse the poor beast before it died. The video ( was horrific! Yes, Pleo can scream (and it broke my heart to hear it!).

And yet, it was oddly compelling, in a revolting sort of way.

I promise to NEVER abuse my Pleo in such a horrible way!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Innovation #1: Pleo!

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been fascinated by dinosaurs. When the other little girls were playing with Barbie, I was creating stories with my plastic dinosaurs (improbably, I had a duck-billed dinosaur happily married to a T-Rex!) I still have my plastic dinosaurs stashed away at the top of a closet.

So, of course, when the opportunity came around to own the closest thing we might have today to a living dinosaur, I jumped at the chance. No, I’m not talking about a large bird; I’m talking about an “original life form” called Pleo ( It’s actually a robotic dinosaur, a replica of a one-week old Camarasaurus, brought to us by UGOBE, the same people that gave us Furby some years ago.

My Pleo, named Petronius Camarasaurus, is due to arrive on December 7th. Apparently, I have about 45 minutes after charging my Pleo’s batteries to shape his personality. Daunting. But I’m up for the challenge.

Worse come to worse, if he turns out bad, I can reboot him and start again. Try doing that with a toddler!