Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolution

Decision made, based on last year's resolutions - 2011 will be a return to art. I promise not to put unrealistic expectations on myself regarding what I think is a good shot or good photography and just bring a camera and shoot. I will do this for myself and for the memory of process film since as of earlier this week Kodak shut down it's processor and last lab. Ever.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Much To Say

He's saying so much lately, I have to jot things down as he says them so I don't forget:

I gotta be CAREFUL!
How about?
Mommy, I gotta come?

New things he's doing:
Let's the dog in each morning
Knows to moves his fingers and hands to play guitar
Sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Start and Itsy Bitsy Spider
Knows how to use the iPad and a phone is a camera

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Crime Scene

For your viewing pleasure...

The Lipstick Crime Scene

The Lipstick Experiment

Tuesday morning Vince woke to find Mitch covered in my red lipstick from head to toe. Quite literally - he had chunks of red goo in his hair, in his fingers and all over his jammies.

It would seem as though a certain mother left her Halloween makeup on his dresser one night after tucking him into bed. Despite being pushed to the back of the dresser, the bright red and gold packaging caught the little fella's eye and screamed - COLOR!

And color he did. All over the wall, the door, his toys and YIKES, the white carpet. Let's leave the topic of white carpet in a toddler's room for another day. The bottom line is - it's there and with the house going on the market next spring, the gunk had to come out.

One by one, the toys got wiped off and into the dishwasher for a massive cleaning and sanitizing bath. With lots of soap suds, the makeup came off the walls and door. Finally what remained was the biggest task - saving the carpet. After using a natural cleaner to lift a good amount of the stain, I wound up losing a few brain cells to Goof Off. Hey, I didn't need those cells. Because it was worth sniffing some fumes for 30 minutes to watch the red disappear like magic. There I was hollering at the carpet, "THAT'S RIGHT B*TCH!" Take that!

So while I can't say it looks like it never happened, it does look pretty damn good. It's back to ivory. And by the time the holidays are over and Stanley Steamer returns, it'll be looking mighty fine.

In the meantime, all makeup is far far away from a 2 and half year old.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Big Boy Bed

Last Tuesday night - August 17, 2010 - was the last night I tucked Mitch into his crib. The following morning before I left bright and early for my volunteer site, I crept into his room to peek, pat his head and wish him a happy day. Mitch almost never wakes up but that morning, he rolled over and said, "Hi Mommy." He attempted to get up but I told him to put his head down again and go back to sleep. I covered him up, kissed his head and left for the day.

Mom and dad would have him that night into Thursday. Thursday night, after a long day of service learning with middle schoolers, I get Mitch ready for bed and we sit on the day bed in his room reading stories. He pulls the covers back, slides under and rests his head on the pillow, sticks his thumb in his mouth and mutters, "Night Night." Just like that. The kid tells me, no more crib mommy. I'm ready for a big boy bed. I was surprised but I went with it. I asked him if that was what he wanted...if he was ready. No resistance.

So out came the trundle and we did a little makeshift bed with some sheets and a king size comforter and a few pillows. I tucked him in and about an hour later, he was still there, in the same spot, sleeping soundly with his blankets and frogs on the big boy bed.

We haven't looked back. The crib came down Sunday night and Vince and I both stared at it, in pieces, and remembered the day we picked it out and set it up. How excited we we tried a few spots in the room before settling on it's home on the right side of the room. The receipt taped to the bottom read May 9, 2008, exactly 3 weeks before he was born. Sans that in the room, it feels a little bigger. We rearranged some furniture and look forward to hanging up some of his artwork.

A crib symbolizes baby...smallness...nursery. I remember when he really started spending naptime and bedtime in there vs. the cradle and the bassinet, about 3 months old. I remember when we dropped the mattress in it from the highest setting...I think he was about 8-9 months and standing up in it! All these little milestones. I love how he moves forward, growing up, loving it, loving life, and while I'm a little teary eyed that his chubby infant/baby days are gone, I'm also loving every second of him at 2.

Somedays I do miss them that small and I want another...but then I stare at him sleeping soundly and I see a bit of myself in his face and I wonder how I can possibility love anyone as much?

The crib is in the basement right now...It'll hang out with us for a while longer. You never know.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

10 years later...service learning

I'm about to head up to Lawrenceville, NJ - home of The Center for Faith Justice - for a week of facilitating service learning. It has been a long time since I stepped outside of familiar places in terms of serving others. I can't help but think though that this opportunity presented itself at an important moment - or maybe intersection of several important moments: Having a little more free time now that Mitch is two, having the ability to carve out the time to do this since I'm working for myself, and since the mission of Piccadilly Arts is always a work in progress, having the chance to let the words I heard every day for 4 years - men and women with and for others - shape me again now and shape the vision/mission of my company.

It also comes at a time when I think I may need some help reflecting.

I'm a little disappointed at the moment. I didn't go into a recent situation expecting much, but I thought there would be some excitement from my friend and mentor when I told him what I'd been up to these past 3 months. I mean, there is a lot going on. I think I've done a damn good job at keeping things moving, keeping things interesting, and keeping things tied to a common ideal. I know I'm doing a bang up job for someone that was laid off 6-7 months ago. I know I'm smart and driven and will persevere. It just would have been nice to hear something more than "Your new, things take time" from this person.

Something more, even a suggestion...I like the good, the bad, the ugly. Not the safe well traveled road full of cliches.

Perhaps I'll find a sense of peace this week as I guide middle schoolers in their faith. I've come a long way since spring break in March 2000 when I engaged in a similar service learning experience. I'm pretty rooted and a lot wiser and calmer at 32 than I was at 22. I hope I can give some of that to a 12 year old. And I hope I'm open to hear the messages of the week and apply them to my own life.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


A few weeks ago I had a complete breakdown - in my efforts to rearrange and create space in our small twin home, I just lost it. Furniture, clothing, toys and more were scattered all about the living room and I screamed at Vince how there is just NO MORE ROOM. Period. The end.

I left everything where it was that evening and despite knowing it was more or less my PMSed induced state, I realized I have never abandoned anything, never thrown anything, and never felt that lost in the house.

We bought 5.5 years ago - in the winter of 2005. Pre-wedding and pre-baby. We've done a ton of work to the place - new bath, new hardwood floors, fresh paint, new deck, and most recently, a new kitchen. This is only 1/8 of the list of upgrades. However, I think even with all the improvements, it becomes clear at some point that we've outgrown the place. We've reached that point.

I thought there was a way for me to carve out a section of the basement and make it a home office but I simply cannot work in the dungeon...and it really is. It's an old, cold, dark 1950s basement. Unless we dropped $10K to finish the basement, I would need to find another location in the house. We contemplated the remodel but since there is no exit, it wouldn't add to the square footage of our home. Moreover, in our community, homes top out at a certain point. No way would we get back what we put in.

so here I am, making an effort to do what I can with what I have because I know sometime in the next year we will be moving. We've already started the process. Meeting with Realtors, talking to mortgage brokers, driving around areas we like. I'm a little sad. I love this home. We have done a ton to make it awesome. I will miss that.

I'm also anxious because of the economy. Worried about how the financials will play out and hoping we can sell and get a fair price...hoping we get whatever cute charming home we'll eventually adore and want in our price range. So many variables though.

And then the actual agony of moving. MOVING SUCKS and there simply isn't anything exciting about it. Even when you get to your destination, you stare at mounds of boxes and live in a state of disarray for a good while. I hate that feeling.

I'm a bundle of mixed emotions. Maybe the one little ray of light is the thought of the real home office I can create. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

In the 'Burgh

We hauled ass across the state this Fourth to celebrate the nation's birthday and to catch the Phillies vs. the Pirates at PNC Bank Park. Fireworks and catching up with family and an old friend made it a terrific weekend.

Back in the day when Vince did his thing and schlepped there for a year I was a bitter and angst filled 22 year old. Never one to say, "No! Stay!" and know we'd both regret that, I said, "Go, you have to do what you need to do." Of course, I wasn't happy with it. Particularly on the heels of the 'rents separation, their issues, my overall struggles of figuring out who I was at that time. So Pittsburgh and I had a touch and go relationship. I never hated it...I just was never quite sold on it.

Fast forward to 2007 when I started at PennPAT. Since the program was statewide, I would spend the next two years traveling to/from the cities a few times a year and making friends with all my artists and managers who live there. I got to really see the city part of the city.

I can't say enough about that city. It's just so stinkin cool. Do the Pittsburgh folk know what a gem they have? Rivers, culture, hidden old neighborhoods, college life, festivals...they even have a corporate crew team. I kid you not. What I love most is nothing is overdone. You would think living in the Philly metro region that artists for example would get swallowed up but alas, everywhere I go, there is yet another lame ass modern dance company. Recreating the wheel. Yet another lame ass japanime graphic artist with his bobble head or bird image scribbled on a tee shirt or a piece of paper and hocking it as art. Everywhere I turn.

No doubt those types exist everywhere and in every industry but the Burgh is too small to keep them. Good. Because I like going to a place where I see fresh, decent talent. And I like the idea that should we ever move there, it's small enough that collaboration is already embraced...connections are already in existence and are meaningful. One might actually make a difference.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


A quick post to say my little guy is two today. I can't believe two years ago at this time I was pumped with petocin and an epidural not feeling a damn thing waiting for the staff at Crozer to tell me it was time (that would be around 7:30pm). Mitch came into this world at 8:19pm. Deadliest Catch played on Discovery Channel and it appropriately aired today ;)

Two whole years. Time really does flies. I miss that first summer sometimes - swaddling the little guy, letting him hang out in onsies all day, his adorable cradle, swing and boppy (and ALL his gear). Nothing quite compares to the first months of mommyhood.

Now our favorite things to do are arts and crafts, playing with trains, balls and anything outside. He talks up a storm and definitely loves hanging out with his mommy ;) His special day started with his favorite breakfast (Apple Jack, mana), included a trip to Brandywine Zoo, a lollipop, Mexican lunch, a 3 hour nap, pressies from Nana and Grandpop, Happy Birthday and a cupcake, wound down by Star Wars and popcorn. A great day.

Mitch, my best gift ever, happy 2nd birthday little boy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The King Is Dead

If you've ever known my husband - ever - you've known a complete computer geek. Always the gamer, the network admin, my basement is littered with cables, wires, motherboards, bits and pieces of PC equipment and a ton of outdated software. It's possible somewhere down there is a floppy.

Vince could troubleshoot anything.

Until now.

His title as computer geek has officially ended. We both have new laptops with Windows 7 installed. We've had these laptops for some time now. His is older than mine. Once upon a time he'd have figured out that for whatever reason they could not connect to the server. He would have actually tried to do so. Instead, I'm moving thousands of music files off my old laptop and onto the server, now trying to upload them to the new laptop and into iTunes - with no luck.

He is clueless. The best I can do is access the information via the web IP. WHAT? That doesn't help me import the music.

A long time ago, before the world of License Restoration and SEO dominated his life (and baseball and Flyers), this would have been realized, addressed, and fixed - albeit with a few dollars spent at CompUSA - in one night.

I had computers built for me, issues troubleshooted, and yes, I was spoiled. Now, I must join the ranks of all the other folks in the world who have average nontechie partners and go at it alone. Or worse - call in reinforcements. This sucks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Soon to be Two

I'm planning Mitch's two year old party and I just cannot believe how fast the time has gone. I've been very much aware of this passing of time in recent weeks and I'm doing my best to be here now, in the present moment. We are enjoying the lovely spring weather - complete with running, kicking the ball (kick da ball!), proclaiming every basketball net in sight, slides at the playground, riding trains at Linvilla and more. I suppose my most favorite has been, "Mommy, take a turn." Or, he'll take my hand as he says, "Mommy, blah blah hand." There really is this jumble of sounds in the middle of most of his sentences...I think it's just that...he's trying to formulate sentences based off of what he's hearing. He doesn't quite grasp each word in the middle, just the beginning and end. And a lot of associations. It's really amazing.

Oh, and Be Pa Pa is a melody. We discovered Bitty Bitty Bop is the real meaning behind it and stems from Thursday's Makin Music class. There ya go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More words

I love that every baby has his or her own language or set of words. Mitch has a few phrases that would seem like random jibberish except that he has said them over and over for months now that I'm convinced they do in fact mean something to him:

Be Pa Pa (add in clasped hands shaking in the air) - maybe this is his interpretation of a melody?

Pina ma - Usually expressing excitement/happiness in a moment.

Ju Ma Ma or Ju Pa Pa - Now that I'm writing this, I wonder if it has something to do with mom vs. dad?

Mina or Pino or Bears - the distress calls, coupled with squinted eyes and lines in the forehead.

He's also progressed from "choo choo" to "choo choo chain!" and his voice rises as he insists on watching it on the TV.

He mimics everything now and I damn near died laughing when after he pointed and declared "choo choo chain" at yet another Tommy train, I said, "I know!" (with excitement) and he repeated "I know." Very matter of factly.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Mitch's vocab has blown up in the past few months. Since I am terrible in keeping up with his little baby book, I wanted to jot down a few of the great words and phrases that I hear daily.

His first words were ball, dog (doe-awg), uh-oh (at-oh), hi, bye. Those I heard last spring and early summer.

Since then we've heard apple, cookie (spoken in a low sinister voice), juice, chair, frog (rut rut then fwra), bear, cars, Apple Jacks, pizza, color, Elmo, snow (knowing), night night, and of course Mommy and Daddy. He had been saying mommy for a little while this past fall but chose Christmas morning to call for me from his crib. Since I have been laid off, I now hear "mommy home."

He also will now call for the dog, Jules. "Juuuuueeeessss" sounds more like Jews. We went through all the colors and then some the other day and he is repeating everything...pointing at everything...I finally came to understand that "a bears" is code for help or distress.

It is so fun to experience everything through him.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Brand Vision

I've had a ton of calls and emails...many I've initiated, some from my connections. Everyone wants to talk. Initially, this excited me. In a matter of six weeks though I'm a little burnt out from talking...more burnt out from the realization that I have my own vision, my own brand (whether I knew it or not) and bottom line - there aren't that many people, places, or things (thus far) that are truly in line with who I am and what I want this company to be.

I'm doing an exercise right now that's helping me clarify via messaging what my values are, what my mission is, how that translates into my brand vision and ultimately, the markets I'll serve and how I'll go about doing so. It's the back end of my marketing plan. It's a PAIN IN THE ASS. But I love it.

As annoyed as I am, I'm also happy that I'm getting clarity. You realize what you want by knowing what you don't want. I have to turn down a lot of offers (or potential offers) - some I've even thought long and hard on - for the sake of maintaining who I am and not diluting my brand and wasting time and resources.

I have come back to the following values: Experience, Sustainability, Social Change & Community. I want to work with people and organizations that are just as passionate about these values as I am. I'm not sure if there's a crazy amount of money to be made here...most small or independently owned businesses tend to do a ton themselves because they can't afford consulting services (I'm also thinking back to my days at American Pie). I need to get past the concept that that small business = the indie craft shop. They are only one part of the pie. There are still other meaningful industries out there doing great work.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The First Day

Yesterday was my last day at PennPAT, the organization where I had worked for over two years. Due to budget cuts and a restructuring of the program, many marketing initiatives have been suspended and there wasn't a need for a Program Associate. So after two terrific years of being a face of the organization, meeting inspiring artists and programming folks, I packed my duds and headed home.

I've been through several lay offs in my ten year career and I'm grateful for the time I was given at PennPAT - time to let the constituency know, time to plan, time to think, time to let it digest. Usually the "first day" of the rest of my life - the day after it takes effect - is filled with shock. But here I am, at home, cleaning my house, confident that good projects will soon be knocking.

I'm reminded of a poem my high school senior lit class read on our last day of class - I cannot recall the name of it but it started with, "This is the first day of the rest of your life..."

I'm an adaptable person and I'm excited for the good change on the horizon.

Friday, January 08, 2010


I'm at the Sheraton in Midtown for APAP and so much for my excitement for being in this hotel (instead of the Hilton). The lesson learned here is if you want space in NYC you must pay, handsomely, for it. Note to self.

I'm PMSed and moody...It's the sort of state of mind where you just need that friend that knows you well enough to hang out with you but leave you alone in your funk...drop into some hole in the wall bookstore and wander around with your coffee.

I had to do the whole makeshift business cards since payment didn't reach my designer in time. I think I'd feel a little better if I were doling out the good version of my brand identity.

But who am I kidding? It's a tough mental place when you've been laid off and people are sorry but not sure what to do or say and everyone wonders, including yourself, where you'll be next...where you belong. And the only ones who get it are the entrepreneurs or those who have stood in your exact shoes.

I have something in my back pocket and I'm sure there's a part of him that's wishing I was on his staff at this very moment and part of me wishes that too.

I'm trying not to beat myself up right now. I do a lot and manage a lot and balance a lot and I think overall I do a pretty decent job. It's more than most people would be able to handle.

So I envision the cover of Oasis' 97 album - BE HERE NOW. Just be.