O, I Am a Lonely Painter

I live in a can of paint, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell.

I’ve been painting the dining room for forever. So many different sections of wall, so many little issues to resolve, so much trim to tape off. But it’s getting close to done. The color scheme is Wind Chill (Behr) above the chair rail, China White (Benjamin Moore) below the rail, and probably just plain white trim. However, it’s been hot and humid, not good painting weather, so sometimes I work on taking down wallpaper in the bathroom or foyer instead. Just the Wind Chill is on the wall in this photo. Eh, it’s basically just very neutral. Sorry, my camera has spots on the lens now.


In addition to painting/scraping/sanding/buying more paint every day, I’ve been running the book fair at school this week. I’ve also had to make some purchases, like new bras, soccer socks, and one pair of shin guards. With coupons and poking around for cheaper items, it wasn’t too much money. I contemplated driving further away to the used sporting goods store, but wasn’t sure if it would be worth it for shin guards — i.e., do people really resell them or do they just toss them. I guess I could have called. I need new undies too but going to try to get them from Pact, I think.

I was thrifty with back-to-school shopping. Most of our supplies came from right here. We had plenty of notebooks with only a few pages used, lots of pencils. For the crayons, I went through alllll our crayons and picked out the ones in the best condition to send in. This worked well for all but red. Red crayons are a hot commodity. I also ordered almost everything from Office Max online, so that I got eBates money back and I didn’t have to take the kids to the store. (Eventually I did need to take them, but only for like 3 things.) In total, I spent $50 on school supplies for the three kids. Nobody needed a new book bag; later I did have to get a new lunch bag for Sebastian, so that was another $12. Oh phooey, I forgot about the Clorox wipes and tissues. I bought them at Wegmans. So another couple bucks for them.

Overall, I earned $18.67 from eBates in July and August from shopping for school supplies, items needed for the beach, a wedding present for my brother and sister-in-law, and new sneakers from New Balance for Sebastian and Gemma.

I also returned $20 worth of unused birthday party supplies to Target, and while there I picked up a few new reusable lunch containers, so my green lunch-packing game has been on point.

What with all the soccer games, I didn’t make it to the farmers’ market last Saturday or yesterday. My most recent preservation effort was turning some garden tomatoes and market tomatoes into tomato sauce and freezing it.


Actually, judging by the dates on the bags, my most most recent effort was these market beans and runner beans.


I’ve got more runner beans about to be picked. My second round of tomato plants are looking good. I think they are a different kind, not paste tomatoes. They are enjoying the 80+ temps we’ve been having, as is the basil. I’m not enjoying them, although I appreciate the basil and the ability to continue hanging wash on the line.


This morning I picked the last good watermelon — I had forgotten about them, and two others rotted out there 😦 The pumpkin plant in the back died, so its little green pumpkin is now my decorative gourd.


The front garden is looking quite curious these days. My two random sunflowers that grew, some zinnias, two pumpkins still struggling along, and some new additions.


Dinners: a mix of earnest efforts and total blow-offs. One night we had an all-farmers’-market meal of pork chops, green beans and mashed potatoes. Another night was a salad with market lettuce and carrots and backyard arugula, with some chicken nuggets thrown in. Homemade pancakes with milk+vinegar subbed in for buttermilk — big hit.  I also made gravy using some of the frozen tomato sauce and it was great. I put basil from the garden in it, and I’m still eating mozzarella and basil sandwiches like every damn day. But last night was Pizza Hut.

I want to say thanks to my mom to bringing over a leftover chocolate pie last Monday. Every Monday needs chocolate pie.

A few times, we walked to CVS to pick up some items. Once, I stopped at the small non-chain drugstore that’s on the way, but it only had one of the three things I needed.

Every time I’m walking through my neighborhood, I get to pondering about what might improve it. For a while, there was a large old church for sale, and I would daydream about buying it and turning it into a food co-op/community center/roller rink. (OK that last one was A.S.’s idea.) Our former deli (owner was arrested for murdering his wife) seems to be under renovation, but I haven’t heard what is going on with it. As of right now we have a new, smaller convenience store (candy, drinks, milk, etc.), a nail salon, a large beauty salon, a Chinese restaurant, the aforementioned small drugstore, a barber, and two upscale restaurants, Italian and Indian (neither of which have I been to yet). There’s at least one empty small storefront.  And there is one operating church. There’s also another building, a two-story former bank, that I think might be empty? Not sure. So, a little bit of room for new business exists, but not much. Our business district is small. (This is the downtown of “west” Collingswood, separate from the main downtowns of Collingswood and Oaklyn that I’ve written about before.)

If I could walk a few blocks from home and be able to buy some quality groceries, I’d be happy.

Then sometimes I look at the big parking lots, one for the Scottish Rite Theater and one for a Catholic Church, and wonder if they could be the setting of some kind of market or festival, sometime. On a smaller scale, I was even thinking of organizing a block party for our block. Just something to encourage West Side Pride!

Ideas, neighbors?


View on the way to CVS

Today is Sunday. I could go to today’s farmers’ market, the small-ish one. Definitely want some more local apples like I’ve been buying at the Saturday market. It’s supposed to be so hot though. Yesterday I went on a cleaning tear, and I’d like to continue that today. Gemma helped me, of her own accord, washing dishes and cleaning windows 🙂 I have stuff to drop off to Goodwill also.

Sebastian has been driving me crazy re: Halloween. All he wants to do is buy Halloween decorations. He has already pretty much spent all his own money on decorations and it’s not even October. We’ve been humoring him, because on the one hand it’s fun. We all went to the Spirit store last Saturday night and had a good time.

But it’s getting annoying. I guess we’ve hit the wall, though, now that he is out of money. I just have to keep my husband from giving in to him. Last Sunday, we were at Home Depot for paint and they had Halloween decor too. I said he couldn’t buy anything, not even with his own money, that he needed to take a break. He then gave me the silent treatment for a good hour. I didn’t think he was capable of not talking for that long. (I kind of enjoyed it.)


I’m almost done my latest book, A Free Life by Ha Jin. Took it out from the library on a whim and I’m enjoying it. Publication date seems to be 2004 but I’m finding it relevant to 2017 and questions of socialism vs. capitalism.

I was at the library to attend a meeting of the Tri-County Sustainability Alliance. It was interesting and I would definitely go to their next one. Just a way to find out about things that are going on and network with other like-minded people. I was feeling kind of shy but next time I think I would talk with people more.

As a public service, here’s an abridged form of a handout from the meeting:

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today

  1. Switch to CFL Light Bulbs
  2. Stop Using Plastic Bags
  3. Stop Using Plastic Water Bottles
  4. Don’t Idle Your Car
  5. Install Programmable Thermostats
  6. Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
  7. Eat One Less Red Meat Meal Per Week
  8. Bring Your Own Cup to Starbucks or DD
  9. Use Paper Products Made from Recycled Paper
  10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. “Recycling is great, but did you know that for every one can of trash or recycling we out out by the curb, that over 70 cans of waste were produced in the manufacturing and transportation process for all the stuff we buy?” 

This weekend has been relaxing. Not much going on besides soccer, cleaning, and laundry. This coming week is pretty slow as well, so I should be able to get a lot of painting done, but only if the humidity cooperates. My challenge since school started has been treating the painting like a real job. It has to take priority, even if that means I do other things later, with the kids (like food shopping). If painting isn’t possible, the next priority is things that are hard to do with the kids around, like phone calls, bra-shopping, and appointments. I have so much painting and updating to do, I need to make extremely good use of my time.



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