Monday, June 8, 2009

wanted: picture of you

Interesting things today. Manolo for the Big Girl, which I have previously noted that I enjoy, has started a fascinating project among its readers: "finding and creating an authentic personal style." While I lack the qualifications to superintend the discovery of a personal style by others, I think the first assignment in this project is intriguing on many levels. It's creating an "inspiration board" using Mr. Internet.

Here's how (I've streamlined Plumcake's instructions slightly): go to the mosaic maker and make a 4x4 mosaic. Then, go to google images and find images that you like. (You do this already for your blog but) open the full-sized image, right-click and select "Properties," then copy the URL in the Properties window (usually ends in .jpg) and paste it into one of the sixteen blanks in the mosaic maker. Repeat until you have sixteen. Then check to make sure all the pictures loaded, and save the mosaic to your computer.

If you have strong opinions and decent google skills, this will sincerely go very fast. After I looked at the boards readers posted in Plumcake's comments and realized how clearly I could tell whether I shared ideas and temperament with the inspiration board's creator just by looking at the images, I had to make one of my own.


I think the things I like have a certain quality of old-world loveliness. I chose each picture on a specific impulse to include that thing (several have stories) - and I think the overall effect is a very accurate impression of what I like in the aggregate.

Now, one of my life lessons is that nobody has to do what I say, but if anybody else wanted to do this too (it's fun! Really!) and tell me in the comments where I could find their inspiration boards, I would just love that.

In chatting with my house-shopping buddy, I also discovered this ridiculous house.

"My" house, if you recall, is a 1907 white clapboard Victorian in lousy repair with 4 bedrooms and 1 bath and, you know, some of the siding falling off, just .2 acres, great neighborhood, a two-story back porch that I like, not even a driveway. And then there is this house. It has been on the market over 400 days (so, less long than my house!). Its sticker price is substantially less than that of my house (though mine is priced well above what the market will bear). It really is as big as it looks. It has 5BRs and 3.5 baths. More than four fireplaces. Hardwood floors. An outdoor pool and hot tub. A two-car garage. A library. Built-in bookcases. A sauna. A second master. A gazebo. That's really red brick, and it's really a Victorian - built in 1900. And it's on an acre of land. It's about 10-15 miles from downtown DC (just outside the beltway, though) and I think we could actually pay the mortgage. What's more, my DH is adamant about brick houses (I like siding just as much), and a huge yard (I like them but I try to be realistic). And he's nuts over pools. And bookshelves (our home is overrun with books).

I swooned. I rubbed my eyes. I considered seeking professional help, for my delusions. Then I started looking up the local churches and finding the metro and bus routes. Looked at aerial photographs of neighboring houses.

And found some locality's in the ghetto. In DC, where everything is obscenely expensive (obscenely), more households in the town make under $30,000 than over $75,000. It's less than 10% white - not that my neighbors have to be my clones, but in the US, a white minority is a socioeconomic indication. The house is a mirage, and I can't have it, because it's not in a safe place to live. Even looking at it, I was thinking, five bedrooms isn't insanely huge. But I see that picture. That house has wings. I don't need a house with wings, and I never will. I knew it wasn't reasonable for me to have this house. But how I would have loved it!

Finding those statistics felt like a revelation too. In an instant, I looked back on my feverish research, and saw my silly delusion. I know better than to think that magnificent things can be had for affordable prices in high-demand areas. I have a lot of natural common sense about matters microeconomic, and I knew that there would be a catch. I was just enjoying not having found it yet.

Maybe because I have an almost preternatural obsession with home, this struck me very strongly. It was, I don't know, a something.

Last revelation for the day: I can feel my cervix! Not just when it's crampy, which is an easy one. And I can actually feel the CM, not just when it puts in an exterior appearance. I bet this is standard stuff for everyone else who's charting, but I never connected the dots before. So, anyway, I know now that in an hour or two, there will be the CM, and then, after that, the BD. By which we begin Sex Week. (I called and cancelled the SA today.) Wish us luck...

A day of epiphanies, I tell you.


  1. I love Amelie. :)

    Yep, a house that great must have a catch. Too bad - it's stunning. Our downtown core has gorgeous brick Victorians, but the area is low on the socioeconomic ladder, so no one wants to live in them.

    Congrats on the CM and CP charting. It was a huge deal for me to learn the awareness method. I couldn't believe that no one had taught it to us girls in school or at home: it's so important! The knowledge of my fertility signs made me feel connected to my body in a whole new way.

  2. Hey! I tried that mosaic! Stay tuned to my blog for the result!! Sorry about that house in does look stately and beautiful! I am bummed that it's not in a good area :(

    Wishing you lots of luck on sex week! HA! Maybe you could make tshirts for the occasion: Sex Week 2009!! Hehe!