Green Rascal Design

Ahhh, the clogging of my sinuses from my floor refinishing project is glorious. Well, okay that part isn't so glorious.

I haven't felt the need to eat eggs in a long time. But since becoming my own design/build and taking on this huge project my legs are killing me! Perhaps this is why polyurethane became so popular? I don't know how many coats that requires, but we're putting four coats of shellac on our floors here and it is a beast of a project! BEAST! I am currently doing a simple majority of the dining room, and it took me about 45 minutes to apply a coat this morning. How on earth am I ever going to get any BUSINESS done? haha. Already I had to postpone a business conversation because I was in no position to conduct it when a new acquaintance called earlier. See, when applying shellac you have to move fast lest you get brush marks from trying to touch up what has become tacky. And it gets tacky fast! The alcohol which keeps it in liquid form evaporates quickly. This makes it hard to do right. Why did we pick this stuff again? Oh yeah, something about historical accuracy or something.

So there I am shellac-ing it up when the phone rings, and the hens start making all kinds of fuss over egg time. And in a couple hours I gotta get spiffed up and go networking in Princeton and learn a little something from Bob Hillier about "growing your business" or something. After that I don't get to crash either because in Advanced Modeling we're doing a sort of pin up kind of thing tomorrow, and I'd like to be able to get the students into 3ds Max before class is over. Then I can start to think about networking lunches or whatever.

Oh yes, I would like to get into The Power Lunch Project more. I went to one event and it was fun. I've been waiting for some profit before officially joining because they have a monthly fee that covers all kinds of services. But now that somebody has actually CALLED me from that one event (see above), now I suppose it's time to get on that ball.

Anyway, that's what has been going on here. This week should be more quiet after tomorrow though, because I don't have class on Thursday. Instead the university is having a Day of Service. We all get off of school one day in order to do some community service activity. I'll be helping out in a park for a few hours, but I don't need to come up with a tutorial and think about a lecture for that day. There aren't any other networking events until next week either. So perhaps I'll think about doing some designing, haha. For now, its back to my shellac.
see where somebody had a rug for about 50 years?
When I was considering moving to Philadelphia from the Twin Cities in late 2004, I joined a networking site called It wasn't technically a social networking site, but it was a way for me to meet people in Philly who were interested in one thing I am interested in; it worked like a social networking site for me. That is where I met my first non-roommate, non-classmate friends in my new city! PhillyTechno people were very nice to me - a welcome change from TranceAddict! They were real. They shared their music and announced raves. It is where I learned about Hang Free, which I went to and met three very high-quality friends (and their families).  Without that internet forum, I would never have done so many things...

At the same time I was developing relationships with friends from all over the world on WorldDJ. The Chill Zone there has a steady (though declining) post rate by really great djs and electronic music lovers from all over the world. [duh] Most of my good friends on that internet forum are from New York, New Zealand and Australia, living in the UK and China and traveling all over doing music festivals. I met two of my new best friends on WorldDJ and brought them to raves I found out about on PhillyTechno. I talked to one of my WorldDJ friends on the phone and hope to visit her in New York someday. Another of my friends from New Zealand happened to be in London when I was studying abroad, and we got to hang out on a few glorious occasions. These friends encouraged me to grow and learn and become who I am now. Though WorldDJ isn't as big as Facebook, it is very dear to my heart and connects people on a fairly deep level on at least one forum which I wish I could spend more time on.

I like Facebook. It connects me to a lot of people from my past and my current life. My friends from Tai Chi talk to me on Facebook. My families are on facebook. I can share pictures of the fabulous garden and all the work we do on the house as well as my small office projects. I have a page for Green Rascal Design on facebook. Facebook also connected me to Architizer, which is like Facebook for Architects and Architecture companies. These are useful to me. Together with LinkedIn they help me network and keep in touch with interesting people.

Myspace is useful to some. But my experience with it is of a lot of coworkers wasting company time perfecting their Myspace pages. I don't really approve of such things. Plus, bands started to spam me on Myspace. And I got caught up with "friends" who weren't very high-quality people on Myspace. What a waste of energy! Then there was MyDJspace... I only got sucked into that for a short time.

I hear that social networking sites are havens for narcissistic people, and it doesn't really ring true for me. Perhaps many individuals on these sites are so, but I'm not friends with any of them that I know. My experience has been so positive!

This post is part of Lets BlogOff where the subject today is social media and whether it isolates people from each other. I say it does not in most cases, but read the other blogs and have fun deciding for yourself!
It's Friday!

It has been almost exactly one year since we got our chickens (chicks at the time). They were living in a large cardboard box at the time. Now they have their very own wood and metal palace out back, and we're planning the next stages.

I've been bringing the rooster inside at night for a few weeks now. His crowing at 5am is just not acceptable, and if I keep him in his carrier inside a closet it is dark enough to keep him from crowing until at least 7am. But I think we found something to help with that called Green Glue. In the next couple of months we'll build a new, slightly larger house for the fluff balls with this and some insulation (even though they're hardy and don't really need it) to keep them comfy in the winter. And they need more separation between roosts and nest boxes because they're getting in fights at egg time now.

So here I am, thinking about drawing yet another chicken coop. Will it be fancier now that it is not a rush? Perhaps.

Stuff to Share


I read a few blogs, and I felt like sharing one post in particular with the class. But these lessons are for a wider audience - so check out 81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect. The related articles are also valuable and fun reads.

We need uplifting messages like that because it seems like we all are doing more and getting less, and it is depressing or frustrating, or however you prefer to describe it. I take heart when my more experienced architect friends make the time to send a note saying "its okay, we're all having a hard time." And teaching the next gen of designers is helpful because they are so optimistic and enthusiastic. Anyway, thanks go to Randy Deutsch for his words.

In a Name...


Did I ever tell you how I came up with the name Green Rascal Design? It all started with the six chicks we got about a year ago. We were hoping they'd all be girls, but two of them turned out to be boys. So one of the roosters was behaving very badly, and I made him start living in the house to keep him from killing my hens. He became my little buddy for a while, and I made him my mascot. When I wanted to create a brand for myself it had to be GREEN. I spent some time thinking about other words for GREEN, but they were too intellectual I felt. I wanted to use ROOSTER, but somebody already used Green Rooster Design. Well, that just stank. And I wanted to use DESIGN instead of Architecture or some other highfalutin term. So then one day when my rooster was behaving badly I called him a little rascal, and it stuck. Before I knew it he was rascal-ing all over the place and Green Rascal Design was hatched.

Now a while back I read a friend's blog about his name. I bet nobody ever spells it wrong though! I rather like his name, too. It has great alliteration.

I have a grudge against the letter Y. Everybody in the world starts out spelling my name with a y, even my really good online friends! (where there are no verbal interactions, only type-written ones) It makes me disappointed that people don't pay attention enough to properly address me. Am I chopped liver? I bet nobody ever spelled Mies wrong! And what about Le Corbusier? Forget about Frank Ghery! Those difficult names are always spelled correctly, but HOLLIE? Can't be bothered to spell Hollie correctly! This is very frustrating because compared to Hollie, Holly does not fit me at all! The letter Y (actually the lower case y) has bothersome geometry. Y is irregular and unruly. Its defining points are all over the place. I and E are much more stately, tall, regular, orthogonal... Y just cannot compare.

{ Thank goodness for my new last name also. I loved my old name because it was unique, but nobody could spell it and it was hard to say quickly as in introductions. Now I too have great alliteration! }
Atop the Duomo in Florence is the best place ever!

I went to Italy for 2 and a half days in the fall one year. (when I was supposed to be working diligently in my London Flat for my study abroad program) I flew in to Pisa on Friday night, and on Saturday morning I took a cheap bus ride to Florence. The countryside on the trip was amazingly beautiful, and even more awesome because of the contrast with the weather I'd been having in London. It was cold and drizzly in London all that week. Italy was warm and sunny with a slight breeze - just enough to be able to wear jeans. I got in a fabulous walk through the city of Florence that day, and somewhere in the middle I decided to climb the stairs to the top of the dome.

This was no easy task because I had brought along my monster laptop which was heavy and caused me to stoop and squeeze more than I expected. People couldn't get by me. The going was slow. The stairs wound around and around and around. I thought I would get dizzy on the balcony inside the dome. The people on the floor looked so small. And then eventually I crept up the last bit of that historic stairway, and the sun shone on me for the first time in what seemed like hours.

The view was incredible. breathtaking. awe-inspiring. I sat against the columns and helped other tourists get great pictures of themselves. A very nice couple helped me get a couple super pictures of myself against the architecture and then by the view of the distant hills. I must have taken a hundred pictures from up there. It was the BEST afternoon of the whole study abroad experience.

I stayed up there for at least an hour. I'm not sure how long it was. But nobody complained. When I finally went back down the well-worn stairs I made friends of some other random tourists. It was fun. And then I went to get a glass of wine and a sandwich, and I opened up my laptop and did some homework. haha!

In the evening my bus came very late, and while waiting I had the opportunity to get fairly inebriated with some locals who were really up to no good at the train station. (the buses stop at the train station. whodathunkit?) They were harmless and fun to watch goof off with each other. There were only two other (Spanish) customers on the bus ride, so we got a nice chance to chat despite the language barrier. And luckily for me, all the cab drivers in Pisa knew enough English to get me to my hotel safely in the middle of the night. Good times!

This little detour is for the blog off: Where's Your Slice of Heaven? Thank you, come again.
look, a dork!

Floor Finishes


We decided on a floor finish! It is very old school. Considering our house is 110 years old, I think old school is appropriate. And we have the added benefit of it being GREEN. No polyurethane for this floor! (well, not this floor in here)

I think mom will be proud. She used to wax the floors when I was a kid. I'm not sure it was the same stuff we'll be using, but I like waxing floors. hahaha. I used to try to jump from the safety of the carpeted hallway to the linoleum tiled kitchen. It was quite a feat! Anyway, here's my shout out to mom.

Alternately, we're not sharing this info with the hubby's folks because we'll never hear the end of it! "That's too much work!" They'll scream, "what a waste of time," and "don't you have to redo it often to maintain it?" Sigh! Oh well. Can't please everybody.

I'm just happy we'll have a nice sustainable finish on the scary old wood floors sometime. Just waiting for the sandpaper for now.