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I am going to have dinner with one of my heroes!

Well… not just me. There will be lots and lots of other people there too, but I will be one of the other people!

The person I am going to dine with is an acclaimed architect and author of a series of beautifully photographed books that changed the way America looks at home building. I spent hours of my life mesmerized by the content, the photos and the house plans in each of these books and I drew immeasurable inspiration from them as I planned my own house. The author of these books popularized the phrase ‘McMansion’ pointing out that instead of building bigger and bigger and bigger houses, wouldn’t it be far more intelligent to build smarter? The books show you how to design a house that maximizes every square inch. It shows you how to design rooms that have more than one use and to avoid ‘museum rooms’. This author created the ‘away room’ the place that every house needs to escape the general bedlam. This author insists on the proper siting of your home for the best natural light, on interior views that make small spaces seem larger, and on built-ins that are not only charming, but functional as well.

These books forced me to trim, cut, smoosh, and do away with things I didn’t really need when I designed our home. This author changed how I thought about houses and I built a much better home as a result.

If you can name the author of whom I write, I will enter your name into a drawing for a special autographed copy of one of her… I mean… uh… the author’s books.

I will have a few more autographed copies of ‘this author’s books’ to give away later, but this particular giveaway is for the architecture junkies… or at least for the ones that are capable of a good google search.

Comments will be not be published until the contest is over so no cheating can take place.

Not that anyone would of course.

Contest ends Friday June 5th 2009, at 10:00 PM

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

53 - Naomi B. 

ohhh, wedding stuff….
And Books! Yes, please!
And a boy camp out at your house? May you recover quickly.

44 - MamaHen 

All these sound fun. Good summer reading!

75 - becky up the hill 

I just celebrated my 30th! You guys are babies! We went to romatic Monterey, Ca. My husband got the flu and a parking ticket. Please throw my name in the ring/hat? Thanks!


Congratulations to the winners.  Summer reading on it’s way as soon as you send me your mailing addresses via


Thanks to all who entered and everyone who made it through that exceptionally long post.

I was in the basement looking for some ‘summer decorative items’ when I stumbled across this box of stuff from our wedding.

I can’t really call it a ‘box o’ crap’ can I?  I mean, it’s wedding stuff!




Rick Mitchell, a Lawrence KS photographer and a co-worker of mine at the time at the Lawrence Arts Center took our wedding photos.  I wanted all of our wedding photos to be taken in black and white.  My mom wanted color photos.  So Rick ended up hauling around three cameras on that day, one for black and whites, one for color and one for candids.  I wonder if he ever photographed another wedding after mine?




As hard as I fought my mom on the color photos, I am glad we finally compromised.  







Here is the Oracle Known as Steve helping the Country School Teacher get ready.

Did you know that the Country Doctor was a high school physics and chemistry teacher when I married him?  

The Oracle however, has always been an Oracle.





Here is a note that I found in that box.  Evidently, I borrowed my fiance’s car, it got a flat tire, and I abandoned it somewhere with a note to explain. I have always been extremely good at illustrating my points.  






This is one of the paper bells that my mom insisted on using to decorate the outside of the old barn where we had our reception.  I did not want to use the paper bells.  I thought we should just keep the barn unadorned.  Let the barn be a barn.  Let the barn speak for barnyness and barnyness alone!   Leave the barn alone MOM!






But when my back was turned, my mom hung the paper bells over the entrance to the barn.  

At the time I thought she was insane.  

Now I think that perhaps it was I who was insane.  

But my mom was also insane.  

And so was I.  


Okay, we were BOTH insane.  

But mostly HER!







Wasn’t this post supposed to be about a book giveaway?



By the way, those are my wedding shoes and my wedding head piece.  I found them both in that box o’ wedding stuff.

I only wore those shoes once, yet they look like I walked a million miles in them.





Today, I am giving away three books that have nothing to do with weddings.  Instead they have to do with Tiffanys, the shop famous for wedding rings, and other fabulous jewelry, except for one of the books which has nothing to do with Tiffanys at all, but I threw it in just because I felt like it.  GAW!  I love having a blog and being totally in charge and able to make completely nonsensical decisions whenever I want!






The first book is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.  I read this book today.  I had not ever read the story before and though I briefly considered giving a book away that I had never read, I quickly came to my senses.  How can I give a book away I have never read?  What am I going to do next?  Start having opinions on things I know nothing about?  Start writing posts that rely only on Wikipedia for my information?  Start making up conversations I have with customers at work?  Start hosting pretend interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Katie Couric?


So I finished the novella just a few minutes ago.  The book is very much like the movie.  There are a few differences, but they do not change the ‘character’ of the book, which is really a book of characters, and one character in particular that being Holly Golightly played brilliantly by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffanys.  Holly is described in many ways in the book.  She is called a ‘starlet’ a ‘call girl’ a ‘socialite’ and a ‘girl about town’.  She is also called a few other things, but for the more genteel readers of this blog, we must put on our massive dark glasses and politely pretend not to notice.  Holly is befriended by a struggling writer who eventually falls in love with her, as does everyone that she meets.  The writer’s experiences with Holly knit together her haphazard life in a brilliant and highly entertaining manner.  The main difference between the book and the movie for me was the scene when Holly’s husband appears.  Capote’s version of this event struck me as hysterically funny.  Suddenly out of nowhere ‘Doc Golightly shows up and what a stark contrast he is to the life that his estranged wife is leading. In the movie, this scene is dark, melancholy and full of rain.  In the book, it is goofy, shocking and weird.  I imagine that old Truman Capote had himself a high old time sticking Doc Golightly in the middle of the storm of Manhattan night life.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a quick, interesting and captivating character study of one very quirky girl and her odd assortment of criminals and friends.  There are a few other short stories in this book as well and I am sorry to tell you that I have not read them.   




Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart is the wonderful story of a young woman’s experience working at Tiffanys in 1945.  Set amidst WWII, this book is the autobiographical account of one young woman and her best friend Marty departing the University of Iowa for a summer in New York City.  Attempting to find jobs as ‘shop girls’ in one of the many downtown department store, the girls instead get hired as pages for Tiffanys and become the first women ever to work on the sales floor.  Their summer is filled with stories of encountering New York’s uber wealthy, and celebrities while scrounging for enough coins to buy lunch at the automat.  The girls meet and fall in love with a variety of midshipmen while just over their heads, the realities of war and big city life cast long shadows over a summer of youthful adventure.  





Oh dear!  

Now here is a steamy novel for you!

The Valley of the Dolls was written in 1966 by Jacqueline Susann.  Susann was a very interesting character herself.  As a very bright young girl, her mother hoped she would become a writer, but Susann instead longed for fame and left her hometown of Philadelphia to become an actress in New York City.  She had some modest success in acting and modelling, and married a newspaper man who used his articles to propel her career further, but it wasn’t until she turned her experiences into pulp fiction that she gained the fame and fortune for which she had always longed.  Valley of the Dolls is the story of three young women all attempting to work their way up the theatrical food chain of Broadway.  Neely is truly talented, Jennifer is the bombshell, and Anne is the small town girl who attempts keep her head a little above the grimy fray.  Sometimes she succeeds, but all too often she fails as well.  I don’t think anyone would call this book classic fiction or high art, but it is an interesting story of the rise and ruin of three women who give up too much for a chance at stardom.

Interestingly, the writers Truman Capote and Jacqueline Susann were contemporaries of one another and both frequently appeared on the talk show circuit.  Capote could find no intrinsic merit in the writing of Jacqueline Susann and once while on the Tonight Show, he referred to Susann as a ‘truck driver in drag’.  Jacqueline Susann threatened to sue NBC over Capote’s comments to which Truman apologized to truck drivers everywhere.  A few months later, Johnny Carson gave Susann the opportunity to get even with Capote by asking her during an appearance on the Tonight Show what she thought of Truman.  She responed, “Truman?  I think history will prove he’s one of the best presidents we’ve ever had.”

Valley of the Dolls is often reported as one of the best selling books of all time.  It has sold over 30 million copies since it’s release.  Capote’s childhood friend, Harper Lee is just ahead of Valley of the Dolls with her book, To Kill a Mocking Bird.  None of Capote’s books appear anywhere on the best selling books of all time, but the image of Audrey Hepburn with dark glasses and head scarf holding a croissant and a coffee is burned into the brains of every man, woman and child who has ever bothered to take a walk past any strip of retail stores at any point in their lives.    

For a chance to win one of these books, just leave a comment.  The contest will end Friday May 29th around 8 PM.  By then perhaps I will have recovered from a huge camp-out of boys that is just about to begin in my front yard.