Meet our old pals Mike and Harlene. After raising three kids in the Chicago suburbs, they sold their house, donated their kids’ old toys, divested themselves of lawnmowers and snow shovels, and moved to a sixth-story loft in Printer’s Row a few blocks from Mike’s office. They rent a car when they need one. They carry up their groceries via a creaky old double-doored elevator. They pay closer attention to the forecast because they walk everywhere. It’s a fresh start, this urban adventure.Read More
Lots of people in the Milwaukee area know our farm well. It was a thriving business and a popular destination for over forty years. When folks learn that we are the new owners, the first question they ask is, “What about the chickens?”
The chickens are staying. As of Monday, we are in charge of their welfare. All thirty-nine of them. Scott and his staff are done renting and we are keepers of the coop.Read More
I’ve written about how to shop an estate sale before, guaranteeing that you will net high quality furniture, art, and household items at bargain basement prices. I don’t understand why, when I attend an estate sale, it’s not like Back Friday. Perhaps people don’t have the time. Perhaps there is the stigma of buying something used something once owned by a person who now might be dead.
Or maybe people are intimidated by the rules. My husband being one. Here’s a funny story:Read More
I have a friend who always asks me, "Did you get the Halloween invite from blah blah blah?" or "Are you going to blah blah blah's 40th birthday party?" The first few times it happened and I responded that no, actually, I did not get that invite, she was always shocked. Which made it so much worse. "Huh!" she would say, like this was a puzzle. Like maybe I’d been on the original invite list but somehow something changed.
After this happened a number of times, my friend learned to be more discrete. Now she simply asks, "Did you get an invite in the mail yesterday?" This question is much less specific but not necessarily less stressful.Read More
Ah yes, here I am, staring into space, contemplating what comes next and how to like it. (One of the best books I read in 2018, by the way: “What Comes Next and How to Like It.”)
This week, The Bubble Joy is turning five. I’d rather not dwell on the bizarro fact that I’m entering my sixth year as a blogger because what is there to say? We all know that the subject of time flying is so dull.
You know what subject is not dull? Syphilis.Read More
That’s me in the photo above, happily-not happily sipping my favorite non-alcoholic cocktail, the Moscow Maiden. Recipe will follow at the bottom of the page. But really, today’s post is about living without alcohol. It has been 19 months since I’ve felt tipsy.
Maybe you want to try “Dry January.” Maybe you and alcohol just don’t get along very well. Maybe my experience will be of interest to you.Read More
This post is not about politics! It has nothing to do with a divided nation or anything like that. This is about you and me and how we can better talk with each other. Recently I’ve received a few notes from you, my dear readers that leaving comments can be a bit confusing. And sometimes you can’t find my newsletter in your inbox. I love reading what you have to say, and I definitely want you to enjoy the newsletter eachRead More
Yes! My husband’s lifelong dream of farming has become a reality. My lifelong dream of writing high humor about chickens is on the verge of happening. We just purchased the prettiest farm you can imagine!
The excitement has nearly killed us. We can’t sleep for our anticipation. We wake up every day, look at each other and giggle, like we are seven and it’s Christmas morning. The last time I felt this way was when we first met. So I guess I’ve fallen in love!Read More
I thought I'd share some outtakes from a recent photo shoot. This one involved a borrowed wading pool (thank you Stacey, as always), a pig trough's worth of milk, lots of paint, and an artist willing to subject herself to this crazy scheme. Linda Bleck, the children's book illustrator is the subject of a feature profile coming soon to the blog. But I am not giving anything away by stating how grateful I was for her trust. Perhaps because she is herself so utterly creative, she was open to all ideas, God bless her, including full milk submersion.Read More
This is an all points bulletin. My finger puppets, last seen above in front of Cinderella's Castle in Orlando Florida, are AWOL.
Somewhere in the Magic Kingdom, I left them, careless mother that I am. And not the first time either. Once, years ago, I lost a human child in Disney World. Every staff member within a 2-mile radius sprang into action and George was found quicker than you could say bob's your uncle.
Not quite that reaction from the staff this time.
This is a huge issue for me but maybe you're with the staff on this one. Do you care? Have you ever cared? Have you just tolerated these puppets this whole time and now you're secretly relieved?Read More
I was out to lunch with someone I hadn't seen in a couple years. I asked her, "How's your nephew? The one who lived with you for a while?"
She made a face. "He's shacking up with a woman of questionable character," she said.
"Drugs?" I asked.
"No, she's an exotic dancer." And then she leaned in and said, "But please don't think I'm judging you."Read More
It is time for a new profile pic. I'll tell you the reason in a moment. I saw the photo on the left and decided that this was the look I needed.
Renn, my most trusted photographer, said, "No, I don't think this is going to work."
"But I'm a sexy laaady," I said.Read More
One afternoon last summer, I fell asleep on the patio and dreamt that a deer walked up and licked me. I awoke with a start and there in the distance stood a doe, gazing at me, and — I am not making this up —her eyes were filled with longing.
No surprise, really, when one considers that I am perpetually covered in a thin sheen of salt, a side-effect of hot flashes. That day was no different. To the doe, I must have appeared a rounded-off salt lick.Read More
This week's post is nothing at all about antiques or design. But you guys like it when I veer off topic. I know this because Mailchimp tells me so.
Mailchimp is the platform I use for sending my newsletter every Friday. I love Mailchimp, and I'll tell you why in a moment. But first, let's talk about the worst email I ever sent you, performance-wise.Read More
You did not misread that headline. I'm not writing about a "cold snap." In my Wisconsin world, this is "cold crack" season and I dread it like I dread a pile of unfolded fitted sheets.
To be honest, it's not exactly the crack that's cold. It's the upper jowls of the buttocks that retain coldness with an awful tenacity.
But "cold crack" has a nice ring to it. It's an anatomical alliteration that was invented by my friend Mike. He talks in rapid fire double entendres and makes puns in his sleep.Read More
No photoshop here. This is an actual snapshot of my high school classmate, circa 1980. (To protect his identity, we can call him "Ken Nelson.") On the eve of another New Year's, let's talk about that cliché of all clichés: high school parties. If you hate reading about stupidity in action, skip to the end of this post. You'll see an odd little party accessory from 1941 that I am selling. The proceeds will go towards an old debt incurred during the most epic high school party I ever had the good fortune to attend. However, if you got a thrill out of the cracked Steuben egg in Risky Business, then read on.Read More
This post is all about Instagram. If you have no interest, I understand. Feel free to click off the page. If you're leaving me, you might as well go somewhere fun. Check out this post of boudoir photos featuring one of my fellow bloggers, Shannon. Doesn't she look so sexy?
For those who are still in the room and want to talk Instagram, thank you! I'll be sharing a few tips that I have been using for all of twelve hours (because I'm a bozo), and then, at the bottom, I'll share a few of my favorite Instagram accounts.Read More
Good design begins by breaking rules. It challenges the suppositions that society places on an object's use and look.
This set of built-in bunks (above) is a fine example of good design. The designers, Tim Barber Ltd., take a kid's furniture staple, the old rickety bunk bed, and beef it up by enclosing it, painting it an interesting non-kid color, and basically turning it into an architectural element in its own right.Read More
Have you gone back to school as an adult? Do you think that the first day jitters are worse than when you were young?
Last winter I took a class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. On my first day, I was nervously digging out coins for the parking meter when a skateboarder came rolling towards me. “It’s free parking on Saturdays, you know,” he said. “Really? That’s not what the sign says,” I responded. He was already halfway down the block and over his shoulder he hollered, “Guess you’ll have to follow your heart.”Read More
It's October, baby! My favorite time of year! This collection is twisted and twee. (Great word, 'twee', which means sweet to the point of sickening.) While I was dismembering dolls for this vignette and holding plastic baby arms over the open flame on my stove, careful not to burn myself with molten doll flesh, I had to stop and count my lucky stars. It doesn't get better than this!
My vocation requires hunting things down and then matching things together in unexpected ways. Once the objects are assembled, a new thing is created which has a little of 'me' in it.Read More