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Name: La Nina
  New Jersey

I'm a Jersey girl without the big hair or the accent (well, most of the time anyway), but with all of the bad driving and the penchant for weekly manicures.
Oh, and I'm an interior design student. That's how all of the weird terminology comes into play.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004
PUCKER - wrinkled fabric finish created by an uneven weave, different yarn sizes or shrinkage. (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

This is likely to be my last entry of 2004.

The more I hear that in my head and the more I see it on my screen, the stranger it seems. To think that soon, we'll be going through all of the traditions: the champagne, the countdown, and the kissing. The reflections and the resolutions.

This is the first year that I've felt like the night was more than just a big party. This is the first year that I've been excited about the future.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons not to feel positive at the moment: hearing about the tsunami victims leaves me with a sense of helplessness (donating time and money just doesn't seem to be enough in my estimation), the war in Iraq still rages, Osama bin Laden still runs free (run like hell while you can, you worthless, evil demon), and the extension of the current administration doesn't indicate that change is in the air.

I, however, feel liberated today. I'm in the process of submitting applications to Masters programs in interior design (the courses I've been taking until now have been continuing education). I have a boyfriend I'm crazy about, and since I'm not in Spain at the moment, I'm on my way to see him today. I'm feeling close to my family after spending the last 5 days with them. My job is treating me well. I like my blog and my new blog friends. I'm in a good place in life.

I have no idea how long this will last, but I'm determined to enjoy it while it does. Otherwise, there's no purpose to good fortune.

I wish good fortune to the world as 2005 begins.

    posted by La Nina @ 12:17 PM   18 Comments

Saturday, December 25, 2004
TRADITIONAL - (Home Style) These homes usually do not have porches, but several will have covered entryways. They usually have hip main roofs and bold, front facing gables. There will be several main ridge lines running both parallel and perpendicular to the street. The exterior material could be clapboard or masonry (brick, stucco, stone). These homes strive for a grand appearance. (from the Sater Design Glossary)

Spain isn't happening. That's okay though.

My brother is upstairs playing with a remote control Mini Cooper (yes, he's 26, but who cares?). Mom's making crabcakes and plying us with shrimp cocktail and mozzarella sticks (her sense of humor is never this obvious). My dad is putting on a good face, but he obviously feels bad that we're not going. I'm here at my brother's computer thinking "Who cares?"

Christmas dinner with family is what it's all about. We're all here, we're all (marginally) well. That's all that matters.

Happy holidays to all of the families. The families are all very fortunate.

    posted by La Nina @ 3:11 PM   5 Comments

Friday, December 24, 2004
High Low
HIGH LOW - multi-level pile heights (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

Dad's sick. It's not serious but it's likely bad enough that we won't be going on our trip.

Sure, I'm disappointed that we probably won't be going. I'm more disappointed that Dad isn't well. I worry about his health a lot.

It will likely be a roller coaster for my family until the final decision is made tomorrow. Until then, we'll indulge in our tea and cookie tradition, watch Merry Christmas Mr. Bean, and enjoy each other.

    posted by La Nina @ 9:53 PM   2 Comments

Thursday, December 23, 2004
Art Deco
ART DECO - A decorative and architectural style of the period 1925-1940, characterized by geometric designs, bold colors, and the use of plastic and glass. (From the American Heritage Dictionary)

So welcome to my new digs at Deco by Design! (I know that I'm the only one who will find that amusing. That's okay.) A big welcome to those coming here from the Tall Poppy Diaries at Pink Poppy's recommendation. Thanks to Haemi at Web Divas for making the new design possible - their link's on my sidebar.

I'm currently staying with my parents and so creating this entry has been a very interesting experience with Blogger. Macs don't like me to type it seems. At least it's better than my computer situation at home. I eventually discovered that Cow Tech #1 was correct all this time and I have a hard drive component being sent to me as we speak. I guess one should never underestimate a laughing man. He could be Santa Claus in disguise.

So why an art deco theme? I'm not sure really. I do love the glamour of that time period, which would have been my grandparents' heyday, and I've mentioned how much I admire them. Glamour makes life seem so simple, doesn't it? Everything looks beautiful, and you are completely unflappable. Cool. I realize that the whole prospect of glamour is a facade, a dream, but for me the escapism is great when I have prescriptions to pick up and college appications to submit and a work project to complete and a budget to balance. Glamour is a wonderful thing to look to when one is overwhelmed - in movies, in magazines, and for me in really well made furniture and fabrics.

I hope you enjoy viewing my site as much as I do now, and I hope that you and your families have a wonderful and safe holiday.

    posted by La Nina @ 5:55 PM   7 Comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
TICKING - heavy twill with a colored yarn stripe in the warp (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

At any given moment, the look of this site may change. I'm not sure when it will happen. I just know that it will be sometime soon.

If this occurs, please do not adjust your monitor. Thank you.


    posted by La Nina @ 5:33 PM   9 Comments

ALBATROSS - woven fabric of wool or blends having a napped fleece surface (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

My home computer is dead. Dead, dead, deadsky. And if it weren't dead I think I would have to kill it.

I've been having problems with it for a few days. The screen would freeze up frequently and I'd have to reboot, blah, blah, blah. Then the dang thing just up and refused to turn on. I've had better luck getting Barbie to pick up my dry cleaning.

All of this led me to my 12 hours and counting ordeal involving a series of negotiations with a computer company I will simply dub "The Cow" based on its packaging. This is also because the conversations that I've had with six of its tech support staff have proved to be as worthwhile as chewing cud. Mmmmm.... cuuuuuud.

Here's a rundown of what I've been through so far:

Cow Tech #1 - Mr. Jovial
"Oh, hahaha," he says. "It is the hard drive. You will be needing a new one, hahaha. Please do call this other number and they will be sending you one and you will install it and send us back the bad one. Have a nice day, hahaha." I sense somehow that The Cow is a fan of global outsourcing.

Cow Tech #2 - The "What, Are You Crazy?" Guy
He insists that Cow Tech #1's recommendation is ludicrous and simply cannot be done. Instead, he recommends that I put my computer through an extended test. I recommend giving it my History of Design midterm but I'm informed that that's not necessary. He then tells me to call back when the test is completed. I'll be damned if the bugger doesn't freeze up less than two minutes after I hang up the phone.

Cow Tech #3 - The Mumbler
"Try rembootun the compermter frbnmehplz and then run agn," he says ("says" - a euphemism if I ever heard one). WTF? I'm pretty sure that I caught the guy talking in his sleep as it sounds like the phone dropped to the floor. He even puts me on hold for a little bit as a more authentic version of "Bombay Dreams" mumbles in the same manner as the techie I'm speaking to. I do feel slightly self-important as I know that my problems are now spanning the globe. The test doesn't identify any problems so I'm now told that I need to rewrite over my entire system with zeros. I guess that India is so proud of the fact that they came up with the concept of zero first that The Cow's international office is offloading one really big tchotchke on me, at the expense of wiping my system. Thanks guys.

Cow Tech #4 - Just Call Me Frank
After my binaries are all cleaned out (That sounds very much like something from a British farce. I feel an "Ooh, vicar!" is appropriate here.), I now have to reinstall Windows, though I'm told under no uncertain terms that Windows ME is far from an ideal system. Bleh. Like any of this is ideal.

Cow Tech #5 - Home Ec
Windows freezes up within something like two minutes during installation. After checking the reinstallation CD for scratches/fingerprints and confirming the pristine nature of said reinstallation CD, Mr. Clean on the phone tells me to clean it using some dishwashing liquid and a T-shirt. And Holy Macgyver it works! That's the good news. The bad news is that the Windows reinstallation won't be finished for another two and a half hours. Screw this, I'm going to bed.

Cow Tech #6 - Mr. Rational
Up at the crack of dawn, which lately means 7:45 AM. Installation is complete, so I reboot for the 417th time, and the friggin' screen freezes on the $#!$@!! Windows ME logo. Anyway, the techie sounds as jaded as I now am to this cruel system as he explains in a Vulcanesque tone that I now have to send the entire stupid ass hard drive to Texas with all the rest of the steer in order to get it fixed which will take 3-5 weeks. *sigh* At least I still have 129 days left on my warranty so all I have to pay for is one way shipping. ("Oh, that's all, is it?" she cries.)

So it appears that the final conclusion after all of this is that the Compy just peed my carpet. NOOOOO!!! My carpet!!! Oh wait, I have Pergo. No carpet.

Moo. I mean, Phew.

    posted by La Nina @ 1:16 PM   2 Comments

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
SPAN - The distance between vertical supports for horizontal framing members, such as joists or beams. For rafters or trusses, the span is the distance between the two opposite walls that support them. (From the Creative Homeowner glossary)

So did I mention that I'm going to Spain for two weeks starting Christmas Day? No? Well I am. My parents thought it would be nice for the family to go on a "road trip" to the place where they met. Awwww... and yay! Free vacation!

What cities am I going to? Um, Madrid and, um, some other places.

What sites are we going to see? Beats the heck out of me.

Do we have an itinerary? I guess so. Never bothered to ask.

Will I have an awesome time? By Goya I will! After all, I'm going to FRICKIN' SPAIN!

When I go to Spain I wanna go to bullfights and wear a hat that doesn't fit without the assistance of bobby pins.

Okay, maybe I'll just stick to the hat.

I am so ill-prepared for this trip. First of all, I don't speak any Spanish. I'd gotten some of those "Learn Spanish" CDs and got frustrated with saying sentences like "El mono está en el árbol" ("The monkey is in the tree" - tm Eddie Izzard) so I took up listening to "La Isla Bonita" off of Madonna's True Blue album on loop. Works for me.

Luckily, my mom is a retired high school Spanish teacher. So that area's covered. Groovy.

As far as the itinerary is concerned, I'm more than willing to let somebody else do the planning. As long as I get to go to a couple of good art museums, I'm as happy as a clam (mmmm.... paella).

As far as keeping up this site is concerned, that's another matter entirely. I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have while I'm there. I'm working out some options so that I or someone will be able to possibly post stuff a couple of times while I'm away. We'll see what happens.

Either way, there's no blog if there's no life, I say, and I hope that I'll have the time of my life while I'm there. (Aww yeah, I'm gonna do the leap too, because nobody puts Nina in a corner)


I'm pretty sure I got a B on my exam. I knew a lot of it, but still had to make some guesses. I'm okay with that.

I also originally got a B on my project, for the mere reason that the pages in my book were out of order. I thought that was a bit unfair because that was the only problem they had with it (after all, I used the right objects and offered up good tracings) and there were people who had incorrect furniture that got better grades. I managed to talk the professor up to a B+. Still a bit annoyed but I know how I really did so I'll survive.

Thanks for the support from everyone!

    posted by La Nina @ 11:51 AM   3 Comments

Monday, December 20, 2004
VOCABULARY - 1) The sum of words used by, understood by, or at the command of a particular person or group. (e.g. vocabulary of interior design) 2) A supply of expressive means; a repertoire of communication: a dancer's vocabulary of movement. (From

My final is in a little less than three hours. I've been studying like mad for a week now. Barbie's ready to up and quit because I can tell I've been driving her crazy. Right now I think she's pouting or rebelling or something because the only things she's done in forever is a) not move and b) not make a sound. I'm sure all will be forgiven when she sees the new desktop computer I got her for Christmas. At least she can't re-gift this one to Skipper like she did the pony I got her last year. Boy, that got me steamed. But I digress.

I know that a fauteuil is an upholstered armchair with open arms. I know that Duncan Phyfe was a key designer during the American Empire period and is most famous for his work at Winterthur. I know how to recognize on sight the differences between a Queen Anne and a Chippendale chair. I just hope I remember them tonight and not completely blank like I did last time.

Wish me luck.

    posted by La Nina @ 3:29 PM   4 Comments

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

SECRETARY - writing desk with a drop front and bookcase above, often with glass front doors (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

Can't talk. I'm creating Nina's astrology chart which she needs NOW.

Dear Difficult by Design readers,

La Nina wishes to inform you that she is currently attempting to study for her History of Design final and is unable to spend any time pouring out her soul onto a keyboard for you to read. In addition, her hands are covered with glue stick remnants incurred while creating flash cards and cannot operate keys at this moment.

She sends her deepest regrets for this inconvenience as she is certain that there are hordes of you taking precious time out of your busy day in order to admire her words. However, she assures me that she will leave posts when the opportunity arises and that she will have magnificent stories to tell when she returns.

In the meantime, please take a few moments to enjoy some of the links on her blogroll. Recommended today is Veiled Conceit, a snarky take on the New York Times wedding announcements.

Thank you for being patient during this time and, as always, Difficult by Design is proud to receive your patronage.


Personal Assistant to La Nina

    posted by La Nina @ 9:44 PM   11 Comments

Monday, December 13, 2004
SAGE - Of the gray-green color of sage leaves (from Hyperdictionary - also, this might be useful)

It's done. The dang thing is finally frigging done.

I'm talking about my project, and I have to say I'm pretty proud of it. I mean, I now have my very own, one-of-a-kind tracing of a French Neoclassical commode, and hey, we all need one of those, right?

(Just so you know before we break out the potty humor and this blog goes to hell on a snowmobile, a commode in this case is not a toilet, it's a low chest of drawers. Phew! Glad that's settled.)

I'm also glad that the experience has made me much wiser. We're talking Yoda wise, here. In fact, I will gladly impart with you the wisdom one needs when doing a project involving tracing pictures of period furniture while simultaneously working and making weekend trips to Boston. So while it may sound like me giving advice to, well, um, me, I'm sure that there's some universality to the whole thing and that all of you nice folks will be able to glean a little something from it.

He's sage and he's a sage - bonus!

Things to Keep in Mind While Doing All of that Stuff I Mentioned Above

1. Start early. 30 year-olds are not meant to pull all-nighters.

2. You know that start date you had in mind while reading item #1? Start two weeks earlier than that. You will always underestimate how long it takes to do pretty much anything.

3. Quit trying to draw stuff while in a moving vehicle. Instead, swap time slots and do something practical that you would have had to do at home anyway, such as folding laundry or Pilates. Problem solved.

4. Keep your project away from all instances of baked ziti. Though your project will look yummy with all of those meat sauce stains, I think you get docked points from it because professors don't like food. Oh, well. Their loss.

Looks great on your plate - not on your project.

5. Should the incident in item #4 ever happen to you, white-out is good, but placing a sticker label on top of it is better.

6. When you get to the Italian baroque section, stop giggling every time you find yourself tracing a butt. You are so immature.

7. Shower. I think you forgot to do that a couple of times.

8. After you finish your opus, turn it in, and enjoy a moment's satisfaction of a job well done, I suggest you go to bed since you've only had three hours of sleep in the last 36, and why are you still sitting here blogging?

Good point, me. Um, thanks.

G'night all.

    posted by La Nina @ 10:29 PM   9 Comments

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Blue(s) Resist
BLUE RESIST - A type of fabric using a resist dyeing technique and blue dye. Popular in Eighteenth-century England and the United States. (From Whitton, Interior Design and Decorating 5e, Prentice Hall, 2002)

Congrats to Aussie Mama (my newest link and a very funny site!) for her entry in my blues contest so an ecard is coming her way!

At the time that I thought this entry up, I thought that my contest had completely gone over like a lead balloon so I got my mind going to do it myself. (Note: I didn't seem to mention yesterday that you can indeed write about yourself. I know we all feel this pain. Heck, I'll keep the contest open until Monday for you multitaskers needing more time.....) With harmonica at the ready, here we go!

Does ANYBODY remember this movie?

The Multitasking Blues

I'm a blogger called La Nina,
I have no freakin' time
For life, for love, for work, for school
Or Difficult by Design

I've got the multitasking blues
Yeah, the multitasking blues
Caffeine is my only muse
How I'd love to take a snooze
But baby, I'll tell ya, I've got the multitasking blues

So I study on the subway
And I'm blogging in my sleep
I do my Christmas shopping during lunch
It's enough to make you weep


My man is up in Boston
I'm off to see him tonight
I'll do my project on the bus
Since I can't afford a flight

Oh kids, I've got the multitasking blues
Yeah, the multitasking blues
I ain't got time to lose, but

I'm gonna blow my fuse
Dang baby, I'll tell ya, I've got the multitasking blues

That's right the muuuuuuullllll, titaaaaaaaaaasking---- bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuues....


I'll be back on Monday, ladies and gentlemen! Don't forget to tip your waitress.

    posted by La Nina @ 7:40 AM   7 Comments

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Colossal Order
COLOSSAL ORDER - In architecture, an order rising to the height of two or more floors (from Whitton, Interior Design & Decoration 5e, Prentice Hall, 2002)

Things Keeping Me Busy This Week

1. Some job type thingie that helps me pay my mortgage. Received set of Tiffany's champagne flutes from my boss for Christmas, so I think I'll keep it. The job too.
2. Major History of Design project involving finding photos of 30 pieces of period furniture, tracing them using tracing paper, labeling them, and putting them into a book. Sorry, that's the best explanation I can give you without cursing Hepplewhite. Due next Monday.
3. History of Design Final. To be taken the following Monday. Must do better than midterm. Okay, that's actually not too hard considering how badly I bombed said midterm.
4. Christmas shopping. Man, I hate Times Square. Right now I'm a little annoyed with Amazon too. "Usually ships within 24 hours" my foot.
5. Last trip to Boston for the year, complete with Boston party circuit, natch.
6. New kickboxing regimen, which due to the amount of time everything else is taking, is forcing me to get up at 5:30 in the effin' morning.

I'd like a hot fudge sundae, hold the walnuts, and 10 extra hours in my day, please!

I'm pretty confident that I can get all of this done, but I'll admit it's making me grouchy. And covered in graphite. Pencil on my hands, pencil on my face, eraser flakes on my sweater, paper cuts a little too close to my manicure for my liking, all of it adding up to one neato looking project if I do say so myself. Though I believe that I will need a bit of extra self-pampering when this is all over. Reese seems to have the right idea.

When that dog's done, I want it with mustard and relish.

So, if you find my blog to be slightly lacking this week, hey that's fine. My thoughts are obviously elsewhere. Heck, I've just noticed by my captions that I'm hungry too, so I'm off.

For your amusement (well, mine really), please take a break from your work-a-day woes and come up with some lyrics for me so I can sing to myself as I run frantically from one list item to the next. Proposed title is "The Multitasking Blues." To take a cue from Michele, best lyrics gets an ecard.

Can't wait to see what you folks come up with.

    posted by La Nina @ 7:02 AM   4 Comments

Monday, December 06, 2004
Counter December 2004
COUNTER: [1] a piece of furniture that stands at the side of a dining room – has shelves and drawers; [2] table consisting of a horizontal surface over which business is transacted (from Hyperdictionary)


Manicures: 6

Times caught using Jersey accent by myself or others: 2 (I never realized that "spa" could have a w at the end of it)

Gettin' a mud bay-th at the spaw

Lectures: 9
Homework assignments: 3 - and working on a really big project now.
Trips to the Met: 3

This is where I live... at least until security finds me.

Trips to Boston: 4

Visits from Boston: 2
Chapters read from Whitton, Interior Design & Decoration 5e: 20 (not in order)
Episodes of Designer Finals: 8
Episodes of Changing Rooms: 28 - No time for telly!
Episodes of Trading Spaces: 0 (Still hate!)
Movies watched at the theatre: 3

If you like laughing, please go see Sideways now.

People in my apartment: 15 (No different from last month, but I've barely been home)
Blogger breakdowns: I've lost count. Let's just say..... 53.

    posted by La Nina @ 7:21 AM   2 Comments

Saturday, December 04, 2004
Under Lament
UNDER LAMENT - smooth undersurface to help prevent expansion and contraction of wood sub-floors (from the Dezignare Interior Design Glossary)

I am usually so painfully aware of my integrity that I'm shocked at the level to which I feel I've compromised it.

Those photos of myself from yesterday? Never should have put them up. I realized that the second that I did. What on earth was a shrine to myself supposed to accomplish? It certainly didn't accomplish anything I wanted to accomplish anyway. All it did was make me seem like I wanted to flaunt my good genes, and while I have been blessed by all of the things my parents gave me I've never thought that my looks were the most important thing on the list.

I'm more upset with myself because I didn't take them down the second I realized that the whole thing really displeased me. I'm sure that there are a lot of complicated reasons why that was, but a simple one is that I've been taught to stick with my decisions and to follow them through. A good way of doing things generally, but there are always exceptions to the rules. I tend to take everything so literally that in my mind, the rules are not meant to be broken. Goodness knows how long I've stuck out some major bad decisions in the past. That's certainly something I need to work on, I guess.

Not sure how this is going to affect the direction of the blog from here on in. I'm going to have a pretty busy week working on a big project for History of Design which is due a week from Monday. I suppose I'm actually a bit relieved to step back from this a little bit. I don't think I'll stop writing altogether during this time because overall, I'm enjoying the whole blogging process. And because I'm enjoying it I want to be sure that I come out with entries that I'm happy with.

For now, I think I just need some sleep.

    posted by La Nina @ 10:26 PM   7 Comments

Friday, December 03, 2004
Collage, Part Three
COLLAGE - A technique in which pictorial images or patterns and pieces of colored, textured material are superimposed onto each other. (from the DIY Residential Wallpaper Guide glossary) - Last time, I promise!

UPDATE: I'll be honest. Looking at those pics of myself was making me sick to the stomach, and the joke that I'd written around it fell flat in my opinion. So, they've come down. I'll continue with the stuff about my parents.

Turns out I hit a little snafu in this well-intentioned series. The rest of my wall actually involves my parents: their wedding photo and a couple of shots with each of them with me as a baby. However, my parents don't know I write a blog. (Heard somewhere that the first rule of Weblog is that you don't talk about the Weblog. Or maybe that was Fight Club. Oh, shoot. I talked about Fight Club!) I also don't feel comfortable putting up pics of the 'rents without their permission. Not that they'd ever stumble across this accidentally, but I got ethics. Yeah, ethics.

I can talk a little about them though.

Mom doesn't think she's beautiful. If my pesky ethics didn't get in the way I'd have hordes (well, maybe a handful according to my Sitemeter) of Difficult by Design steady readers begging to differ. The most beautiful thing about her is that she seems to have inheirited my grandfather's heart. She's always off doing something to better the community: church elder one day, condo board the next day, Boy Scout committee another (and she doesn't even have any kids currently enrolled). And everything she gets involved with is something she truly loves, including her part time library job which she never misses even though she recently broke her foot and is currently hobbling around with a walker. The spark that I see in her eyes as she goes off to work (or is it play?) I find truly inspiring.

Dad's quite dedicated too. He loves the arts, and he loves working with his hands. His passion is fixing old Fords: Model Ts, Model As, Mustangs. He'll spend hours in his makeshift auto body shop whistling to Vivaldi and playing grease monkey. He's a gentle soul, and the member of my family I relate to the most. His sense of empathy astounds me. And the most honest thing I can say about my dad is that there's nothing really to say. He's my dad, and he's just great.

Enjoy your weekend, and don't get crushed by holiday shoppers!

    posted by La Nina @ 11:58 AM   5 Comments

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Collage, Part Two
COLLAGE - A technique in which pictorial images or patterns and pieces of colored, textured material are superimposed onto each other. (from the DIY Residential Wallpaper Guide glossary) - BTW, yes, I'm going to keep using this definition until I finish the series.

Mom and Dad's moms and dads

Today's discussion of the wall deals with my grandparents on both sides. None of them are alive anymore. Some I was intensely close to, some I had never met. I love them each in different ways.

The Maternal Side - Grandma and Pop-Pop

Mom's mom and dad

I felt like the luckiest kid in the world having these two as my grandparents, and in all fairness, I still do. They were incredibly, smart, accomplished, active, funny, well-loved people. And they spoiled their grandkids rotten. That doesn't hurt matters at all. What matters to me the most, however, is what they've left with me now that they're gone.

Pop-Pop encouraged my altruistic side (Which is appropriate since somebody mentioned that he looks like Jimmy Carter in that photo - I mean, check out the link. Separated at birth? Who knows?). A former mayor, entrepreneur, and civic leader within the county where I grew up, he encouraged us to get involved and do good works. I volunteered at the hospital where he was board chairman. My brother became an Eagle Scout in the district where Pop-Pop won the Distinguished Citizen Award for his mentoring work with boys both in the Scouts and in juvenile hall. The man had a big heart, and he encouraged everyone around him to put theirs to good use.

Grandma encouraged my artistic side, which is where I found my soul. She was the chair of the local art museum, and was thrilled to see all of my ballet recitals and theatrical performances (poor woman broke her toe when leaving one of them). My first job was working in that art museum. To me she was the most glamorous woman I'd ever seen - on a par with Lauren Bacall - and worked as a New York model in the 30s before her doctor mother tried to force her into pharmacy school and she rebelled by getting married to my grandfather (yeah, work that one out all you feminist historians out there). I only hope to have a tiny bit of the confidence and charisma she possessed, though I did follow in her footsteps as a model for a little while.

Runs in the family, I guess.

She would be thrilled to pieces that I've decided to pursue interior design. I still miss her terribly in the ten years I've lived since she died, and wish desperately that I could share this time of my life with her, though I know I'm ever so fortunate to have been touched by her at all.

The Paternal Side

Dad's mom and dad

I never knew my dad's parents. Heck, my mother never even had to have that dreaded meeting with the in-laws, since they both died before my father turned 20. I don't know that much about them, to the point where I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know my grandfather's first name until a few years ago.

I know they worked very hard to provide for my dad and his two older brothers. I know that they both died of heart attacks before turning 55. I know that they had a hand in making my dad the wonderful man that he is.

Sometimes that's all that I need to know.

So I'm pretty sure that I'll be tying up this series tomorrow, if the workload doesn't get to me first. See you then.

    posted by La Nina @ 3:03 PM   5 Comments

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Collage, Part One
COLLAGE - A technique in which pictorial images or patterns and pieces of colored, textured material are superimposed onto each other. (from the DIY Residential Wallpaper Guide glossary)

For the next few days, I feel like talking about the family pictures that I've put up on the wall near my bedroom door. They span generations, and each one of them make me happy when looking at it. After all, I think that the things in your home should make you roughly as happy as the people you invite into it, but perhaps that's because I'm an interior design student. :)

This might take a few days, but I'd be thrilled if you could bear with me as I start off with the pics that involve me as a kid.

The First Day of School Photo

I wish I could put an outfit like this together today...

On the slight chance that you don't know which one I am, I'm the girl. On the left. Good. Glad that one's out of the way. On the right is my "sharing mozzarella sticks on Thanksgiving" brother.

This photo to me rocks for so many reasons. First of all, I am so stylin'. The pic is circa 1982, but I could totally see a kid wearing a similar outfit today. And everything is coordinated and trendy, from the pink Osh Kosh B'Gosh dress to the pink Zips to the pom-pom socks. And I adore the rainbow tote bag. I gotta get me another one of those.

The second is that I remember that rose garden so fondly. Growing rose bushes has been a family tradition on my mother's side, and our backyard always looked and smelled so amazing. It almost makes me look to the future a bit to the day when I'll have a yard and a place to grow roses.

And lastly, it is so very cute the way my brother is obviously looking to me to figure out what to do on his first day of kindergarten as he holds his bag the same way I do. In that moment nobody can see us the way we were the other 364 days a year: chasing each other around, screaming, slamming doors, kicking, and pulling hair (I felt so bad for our babysitters and our poor parents). On that day he wanted to be just like me, and seeing that always gives me a boost.

The "I will love him and pet him and squeeze him and call him George" Photo

My hair matches the dog!

Jack was a miniature poodle. Nobody could tell that because we would let him get all shaggy instead of shaving him in ridiculous patterns like Jennifer Coolidge's poodle in Best in Show. I was his "mommy" because I showed him the most attention, I often cuddled him like a baby (like, see above) and let him sleep on my bed. He would sit on that bed, watching the driveway, and howl occasionally as he waited for me to come home from school from I've been told. Hearing that would always break my heart.

In the same way that my brother looked to me, I seem to be looking to Jack -- for hair styling tips. Actually, my mom decided that perms were the greatest thing since Barry Gibb and so I went to the beauty pahlah once every two months in order to get curly. Otherwise, I'm still stylin': I've got Izod. I've got Swatch. I've got a matching ribbon in my hair (took me ages to figure out what that bump behind my ear was). I've got, erm, a retainer. Okay, sorta somewhat stylin'. That's what happens when you're twelve.

But the photo isn't about me, well not entirely anyway. It's there to remind me of the things I loved about that dog: his cold, wet, smelly nose in the morning; the joy he took in running around our three acres of property, the way his tiny body managed to hog the entire bed because he wanted to snuggle with me so much. That manages to keep me warm at times even though he isn't with us anymore.

So tomorrow, I'll talk some more about the wall. In the meantime, I'd love to hear some of your favorite kid memories. :)

    posted by La Nina @ 11:57 AM   3 Comments