Sunday, January 15, 2012

I have not posted anything for FOREVER...I know...

I mean to get back into this.  First on the list of things to post is this...I have been working on this for a while.  I graduated with my Masters Degree on Friday (YAY!) and since I still don't have a full time job, and I still am not living with my wonderful boyfriend, I have taken on a project.  I am writing.  Please excuse grammar mishaps.  This is my first actual attempt at my long time goal of writing historical fiction:

Chapter 1
I awoke to a light tapping upon my door.  Though my eyes were still closed I could feel the sun pour throughout the room as my lady’s maid tied back the velvet curtains that adorned the windows. 
“Good morning, Miss Cordelia,” Estelle quietly spoke.  Estelle gracefully placed a breakfast tray above my legs as I lifted myself out of the covers. 
Though the fire was burning within its place, and had been since one of the maids had silently lit it an hour before, I felt a rush of cold air as I rose.  I quickly pulled my blanket up over myself and reached for my cup of coffee. “It is quite cold this morning, is it not?” I inquired of Estelle. Silence often made me uncomfortable, especially at times when I sat idly as a servant worked next to me.  Estelle had busied herself pulling back the curtains belonging to the additional windows in the room.  She did this silently and quickly.
“Yes, miss. I apologize that the fire has not warmed the room yet.  Shall I speak to NAME concerning lighting the fire earlier in the morning?”
“No, please, not at all.  I am sure that the room will be warm within a few moments. I was only expressing my surprise at the exceptionally cold weather for this time of year!”  Though I knew that a lady’s maid was meant to simplify the life of a woman, Estelle seemed to frequently make me uncomfortable and confused instead.  Rose, the lady’s maid that had left me a month ago to marry, had effortlessly put me at ease.  Perhaps, I thought, it was the natural conversation that had often flowed between us. 
Estelle seemed overly concerned with respect and rules of etiquette rather than offering her companionship.  I hoped that Estelle would soon warm up, as the room was beginning to, as I would enjoy the frequent company of a woman that I often yearned for.  My mother’s death three years and some months ago had left me as the mistress of the household and though I did enjoy the company of my father and younger brother, I still often felt a void that could only be filled by a woman’s warmth.  It would be especially important, I considered, to have developed a friendship with Estelle, improper as it may be, for the coming winter months, which I hypothesized would be filled with terrible weather based upon the conditions of late.
I watched as Estelle slipped into the bathroom to draw my bath.  I heard the water begin to fill the claw foot tub, a sign that I should finish my toast and rise to begin the day.  I looked around my bedroom and examined the wallpaper I had chosen to adorn my room a few months before.  I had selected it because the blue striped fleur-de-lys felt light, like summer.  On this particular day, however, it seemed to do little to brighten the room, or my mood. 
The last of the autumn leaves swirled outside of my window, as the wind blew them here and there.  The sky looked threatening, as if it was counting the minutes until it could unleash its frozen rain upon the city. 
I yearned to stay in bed and underneath my covers for the remainder of the day.  Such isolation from the day would prove worrisome to my father, I knew, and I did not wish to trouble him.  Father could not easily understand the value of cocooning oneself away from the world for a time.  He instead, would assume that I was ill, as that is the only reason that he would ever remain in bed and away from his daily business.  Besides, I knew that I must tend to my daily duties.
I drew myself out of bed and shivered as my feet hit the cold mahogany floor.  I slipped my feet into my boudoir slippers and headed to the bathroom.  The warm water did look inviting.  As I slipped out of my night dress and let it drop to the floor, Estelle appeared next to me to take it away and put it in its place for the day.  If I could wear my night dress around the house for the day, I would be very pleased.  For obvious reasons, that would not be acceptable.  So, I would settle for my most comfortable morning dress, a Watteau gown that allowed my corset to be loose and my breath to be deep and steady.  I would gladly remain in that gown throughout the day.  Based upon the sky it did not look as I would be venturing outdoors.
The warm water relaxed by frigid body as it entered the bath.  I submerged myself up to my chin and waited for my blue fingers and toes to thaw.  I leaned back, closed my eyes, and imagined a bright spring day in the country.  I wished to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and the sound of a light breeze rustling the new, bright, green leaves.  Those days of past would not be reencountered for some time.  Knowing this, I opened my eyes and searched for a bar of soap with which to wash myself.  Estelle had placed one on the stand next to the tub.  I grabbed it and began to scrub my now warm body.  It would not due to wait until the water got cold to take this action.
I could hear drawers opening and closing in my bedroom as Estelle gathered my clothing for the day.  I hoped that she had taken out my warmest morning dress.  Up until this point I had used a lighter weight morning gown.  The weather required a change in attire. I had my gray cashmere Watteau in mind.  It had a lovely black satin sash and trim.  More importantly, it was fully lined with white flannel.  I was about to shout to Estelle and enquire about her selection, but I thought better of it.  Had she chosen the incorrect gown, she would most likely shower me with apologies that would, without doubt, make me unduly uncomfortable.
Instead I called to her and asked her to bring me the morning newspaper from my breakfast tray.  I had neglected to read it while I ate my toast.  “Would you mind reading it to me?” I inquired as Estelle entered the bathroom with the requested item, “I would enjoy the company.” Estelle took her seat at a chair next to the tub and unfolded the paper.  She began to read and I listened intently.  I had always been one to have a great deal of interest in the events of the world.  It pleased me to have insight into the important news of the day.  Aside from my own personal interest, it seemed to please father to discuss the day’s news with me at breakfast every morning.  I was happy to entertain him in this way. 
Estelle fluidly read the first page and turned to the next.  She paused.  I looked up to see what had caused the break.  Estelle silently read for a second and then looked up. “I am sorry Miss Cordelia.” She began to read again:
Queer Labor Unions: We wonder what is the real standard of public honesty in the labor unions of Philadelphia. Their Central Union, with 124 affiliated organizations, met on Sunday, withdrew a ticket previously placed in nomination, indorsed the Republican ticket, voted thanks to Senator Penrose for his services to union labor, and started a campaign against the City Party, led by Mayor Weaver.  The substance of the argument by which this extraordinary course was sustained was that the Republican organization had favored the union policies, putting only union men on public works in the organized trades, enforcing eight-hour laws in State and Federal legislation.  “If we stand by the party, the party will stand by us,” was in effect the sole plea.  It is not at all certain that the reform party would not be just as favorable to union policies as the Republicans have been, though in the nature of the case it is not under the control of a few men who could make a bargain with the union leaders.  But the avowed basis of the Republicans is the assumption that the unions will forgive and aid rascality in order advance their own selfish interests.  That is an atrocious doctrine.  The leaders of the Republican machine in Philadelphia have been exposed in cheating the city, in diverting public funds, in debauching public offers, in procuring fraudulent elections, and in corruptly delaying and preventing public improvements needed for the health and security of the people.  With the labor leaders all this counts for nothing as long as the guilty men will help the labor unions.  Nothing could more tend to undermine the public conscience and bring upon the city evils from which the laboring class must suffer most than such an unprincipled line of conduct as this.  And it ought to tend to the weakening of the union themselves.
            Estelle paused after finishing the article.  “Is something wrong Estelle?”
            “No Miss Cordelia,” She gave me a quick smile and was about to go on to read the next article.
            “Do you have family in Philadelphia?”  It seemed as if she must have some personal interest in the article.  Perhaps she had relatives in the city that were involved in the labor union.  Perhaps she was worried or offended by what the article had said.
            “No, I don’t Miss Cordelia,”
            “You surely know someone who is involved in a union then.  Is that not why you considered the article so?”  Estelle gazed at me for a moment.  I guessed that she was deciding if it was alright to share personal information with me.  She was gazing fixedly at the marble floor.
            “My family, my mother, sisters, and brothers live in New Jersey.  They work in your father’s factory,” she looked up at me to gauge my reaction.
            “In Paterson? I was not aware of that. Does Mr. Ellwood know?”
            “Yes, miss. Mr. Ellwood knows.  It was through the factory that I became aware of the opening for a lady’s maid.  I previously worked as a house maid in Paterson, for a smaller household.  But they fell on hard times.  They had to let a few of the servants go.  And since I was the newest hire…I was glad to have the opportunity to work as a servant here.  I did not want to go back to the factory.  I worked there when I was a young girl.  I was glad to get out of it.”
            “You worked in my father’s factory also. Was it hard work? Are the conditions as bad as the unions say they are in most factories?”  Estelle looked hesitant to answer.
            “Please, it is alright.” I encouraged her.
            “The hours are long Miss Cordelia.  The work is physically demanding, and the wage is low.  Many of the workers are immigrants.  They are happy to find work at all.  Factories are better than what they left in their homeland.  My mother came to this country from Scotland.  She was lucky to find work in a factory in this city.  She was even luckier to be able to move to your father’s factory.  But still, the work was difficult, and it has taken its toll on her.  And my sister…”
“Please continue,” I urged her. 
“I had a sister, she would be twelve years old now.  She became ill, from too much work.  She took a few days to recover, but could spare no more.  My father had recently passed away, and my family needed her wages.  She returned to work in the factory, but she was too weak.  The doctor said she developed pneumonia.  There was nothing he could do to correct it.  She passed away two years ago,” For a moment I was speechless.  I had never encountered one of my father’s employees, much less heard their opinion concerning my father’s business.  It was somewhat of a shock.  I heard my father complain now and again, usually to one of his business partners, about his workers agitating him by asking for a higher wage, or a shorter day.  Ordinarily, a minute or two into a conversation based in business, I took my leave, either mentally or physically.  This felt different.  This felt real.
            “I apologize. I don’t know what to say.  I had never much considered the lives of those working in my father’s factory.  It seems selfish now, and conceited, to live off of the work of those in my father’s factories, yet never consider their plight.”  Estelle looked at me, directly in my eyes, as she never did.  I know it was a rule.  Never look those you serve directly in the eye.  Show respect.  But in this instance, I felt as if we both knew that I was not asking for, nor did I deserve Estelle’s respect, “Of course, I read articles in the newspaper concerning working conditions.  And I have heard many women speak of their organizations, meant to improve the quality of factory workers’ lives, but for some reason, the entire ordeal seemed far away.  Too far off for me to consider, or distress myself with.  As if the factory my father owns in New Jersey, is actually across an ocean.  I suppose sometimes it takes a direct contact, to open one’s eyes.  And I am sorry, I truly am, for a hardship that my father’s factory has placed upon you and your family,” I concluded.
            Estelle lowered her eyes.  “It is not your fault, Miss Cordelia. But thank you.  Thank you for your kind words,” she almost whispered.  I looked at my lady’s maid.  It occurred to me that perhaps her lack of exchange with me…her hesitation regarding speaking to me was not only respect, but also resentment, dislike, or even hatred.  The rules that my father strictly enforced, the rules that most likely permitted me to live the privileged life that I did, caused the death of her sister and the illness of her mother.  I felt a new connection to Estelle, and not simply because I knew the feeling of losing a loved one, as she also did….but because she had shared this story with me.  And for the first time, I was able to remove myself from my own small, privileged world, and consider others’.  Her story had deeply affected me.  I could detect a change within myself.  I would do something to help.  Who better than I?  What better cause might I involve myself in?  I decided to speak to my father.  I would not tell Estelle, as she would object.  I looked at Estelle.  She was handsome, tall and graceful, her hair swept up underneath her cap.  Her green eyes complemented her light brown hair.  My gaze lingered upon her eyes. For the first time I noticed their weary look…the look of worry and heartache beyond her years.  It felt unfair.
            “I am glad that you have confided in me,” I rose out of the bathtub.  The water had grown cold.  Estelle handed me my dressing gown.  I walked into my bedroom to begin the ritual of dressing for breakfast.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Hair Colors 2011

Hey guys, I am back! Life has been a little bit hectic lately...end of the school year for my students, grades are do, lots of summer garden planting, and working on my grad classes! Yes...crazy :) Anyway, something I have been looking into is summer hair color.  I most always feel dissatisfied by my own hair color...light brownish. I am always looking for some color change, though I have not colored my hair in years.  Maybe it is time again? I really want to brighten up my look, but at the same time, I don't want to damage my silky hair like I have in the past.  Perhaps a few lighter highlights on the top layer of my hair for summer?  I want that sun kissed look.  It seems that people in Hollywood are brightening up a bit for summer.


I ordinarily love dark hair and don't understand WHY anyone with dark locks would go lighter, but in the case of Ashley Greene, I feel differently. Her color change in brilliant! It has inspired me to take a little color to my hair perhaps....does anyone else change up their hair color for summer?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quest for Perfection

I am always on a quest for perfection.  Perfection of my looks first of all, and secondly of my relationship, third of my life in general...and my severe, severe lack of organization.  I honestly don't know how some women do it. They are incredibly organized and always well put together.  Me on the other hand, I go off half cocked most of the time. For example, I can never manage to get myself ready in the morning on time. My hair is NEVER perfect (with the weather we have been having on the east coast lately it has been a frizz ball).  My makeup is usually okay, but I never ever apply powder or lipstick before I get to work.  I am always doing it in the bathroom or in my classroom.  I NEVER take my clothes out the night before, so I am always rushing around looking for a matching outfit.  Half of the time I don't wash my clothes often enough so I don't have much of a selection. So my question to those amazing women who are put together and organized is...HOW do you do it? Please give me a step by step list of how to become organized and put together!!! I really, really need it! It is not possible to have my perfect life if I look like a bag lady :)

She always looks so put together!
So does Penelope!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Long Distance Relationships

Today is my boyfriend and I's 2 year anniversary! For both of us, it is the longest relationship that we have ever had! Very exciting. We have been long distance for over a year now, since last March when his job with the government took him two and a half hours south from me. :( While it hasn't been easy, (I am sure more difficult for me, as I am significantly  more emotional) we have gotten used to the distance, and have learned to make up for it, mostly in a ridiculous amount of daily emails and text messages (talking to him on the phone is rare because I feel like I am talking to a wall).  Today the boy surprised me with a webcam...he doesn't have one on his old school laptop. I am incredibly excited to be able to SEE him everyday now. Tonight will be our first skype date :) So, in case anyone else is in a long distance relationship here is some advice.   So these are my ideas/ experience with a little help from the amazing website,

1. Keeping in contact as much as is possible is essential! What I have found is that oftentimes when my man and I are busy and don't speak frequently for a day or two, I go into insane crazy girlfriend mode. (This also happens when I become hormonal.)  It is pretty easy nowadays to keep in contact through email and cell phones.  Again, this is a must.  I know what the boy is doing pretty much every minute of the day, because he is regimented and pretty OCD, but also because we have constant texts and emails going.  I mean all the time. I don't know what we would do without unlimited text messaging!
2. Keep your hormones in check. I have a lot of difficulty doing this myself. The problem with long distance relationships are that you don't often have the chance to see eachother to "make things better" if you have hit a rough patch.  So you have to try extra hard to stay positive and not go completely psycho.  About a month ago my man told me, "I have figured it out. It is the same time every month that I really want to break up with you,"...the moral of the story, I need to control my hormonal outbursts.
3. Do things in common. My man and I don't watch many of the same television shows, but there are a few...currently Game of Thrones on HBO, I love the history(ish) aspect of the show, and the boyfriend likes the gore and naked women.  The same goes for True Blood and Boardwalk Empire.  Also, we read the same book once, at the same time, but that hasn't happened again since I am in graduate school and am pretty busy with reading for that.  I did enjoy that one time though, and maybe soon we will do it again.
4. Do little things for each other.  Every time my boy leave my house, or almost anyway, I create a tiny little note and put it somewhere in his bag, wallet, etc.  My favorite note was last summer. I took a post it and stuck it on his debit card.  A few days after he got back home he texted me and told me that he had handed his card to someone to pay for something and she had handed it back to him and told me he had a note. Though he didn't make a huge deal of it I know that it made him happy. He always looks for notes now when he goes home.
5. See each other as much as you can.  This is pretty obvious but  it is also pretty difficult to do.  Each party has their own responsibilities and when working, most of this needs to be taken care of on the weekend. So it is hard to spend entire weekends together.  Nonetheless, it is very important to see each other as much as is possible.  I would compare it to drugs...perhaps not the best analogy, but the only one I can think of at the moment.  You can only go so long before you need a fix...or else things get ugly!

These are just some things that I have figure out over the past year+.  I am by no means an expert.  My boyfriend would tell you that.  But I think the fact that we have made it work for a year now, and we still actually LIKE each other (most of the time) says something!
Summer '09
Summer '09
Summer '10
Fall '10

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My new (not so new really) favorite thing

Orchids in interior design!

I absolutely adore orchids.  They are exotic, colorful, and eye-catching. Granted, they are very, very difficult to keep alive.  I have only tried once, and lets just say that it failed miserably. I have been looking to get another orchid, but I honestly just haven't gotten around to it yet.

So for those of you who don't know, here are some quick facts on orchids.  They thrive in tropical weather, which is warm during the day (75 F) and a bit cooler at night (65 F).  This change in temperature is what allows them to flower. They do not like direct sunlight as it will burn their leaves. The "top" of the leaves that we see when an orchid is sitting upright in a pot is actually the underside of their leaves in nature.  So obviously, the underside of the leaves are not accustomed to a great deal of direct light. Orchids like a gentle breeze to keep them dry.  The reason why orchids are so difficult to keep alive is because their roots often remain to moist between waterings which leads to root rot.  Any sitting water, anywhere, on an orchid is a recipe for disaster. I found this out the hard way. In nature orchids do not grow in the ground, instead they attach to the trunks of trees, rocks, etc.  Because of this they do NOT like a lot of water. Water usually drains off of them relatively quickly in nature.  When we domesticate them and put them in pots, oftentimes they end up sitting in water.  The best medium for orchids is bark...some people say a mixture of bark and moss, I disagree. Orchids should be watered about once every two weeks.  They should dry out completely between waterings.  They should never sit in water.  So, are you seeing why orchids are so difficult to keep? As I said, I found out the hard way. Back when I had my orchid, I did not yet have Sofie and I treated that plant like a pet.  Needless to say, I was very, very upset when it turned yellow and died.  My mistake, in this endeavor, was not properly educating myself prior to the purchase of my not cheap plant. This is just some information that I would have liked someone to have told me before my disaster! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Precious Pups

I post this knowing that:

a. I need to get a life and
b. I have entirely too much time on my hands...

but I can't help it! These are so cute!
Dog Jacket Plush Parka Silver Dog Clothes
Yes it is a parka...for your dog!!!
Designer Pet Carrier London Brown/Pink
Doggie Traveler...airline approved

Pet Pajama Pink Skulls Thermal Jammies
Puppy Skull Flannel PJs!!!
Way to much money I know! But I love the idea of accessories for my little poodle! (I don't know how she would feel about this. As we speak she is throwing herself on the floor trying to get her ID tag in her mouth. I am hoping this is a stage.) Go to to see more!

Here is an updated picture of shave. She looks like a cute, over-sized rat!

Do you dress up your precious pups!?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blue & Beige

My favorite combination of colors is blue and beige.  There is something so relaxing about baby blue.  It reminds me of a New England  cottage.  If it were up to me, every room would be combination of those colors with a pop here and there of others just to break up the monotony.  While I still live at home, (and boy that sounds pathetic) my wonderful boyfriend built a brand new townhouse about a year ago and of course I have a say in the decorating! Both because my man knows that I have good taste, and because I demand a say. Luckily for him, we agree on general color schemes.  He is a fan of blue also. So I am looking for inspiration for a blue and beige living room.  Of course I am not going to try to apply high fashion to his bachelor pad, at least not yet, but a little hint here and there that tells people that walk into his house that he has a girlfriend would be nice.  As of now, he has white walls and furniture that he bought off of his parents.  Oh yes, it is bad.  So here are some pictures that inspire me...and hopefully him.  I fully plan on decorating his house and the biggest plus...I can use his money to do it! :)

My favorite!