Green Rascal Design


We've Landed!


Hubby and I are now successfully relocated just south of San Jose, California. People think this is the middle of nowhere because it takes us 20 minutes to reach anything. But we like it.

We brought the chickens with us, and they have a nice big fenced-in yard to scratch around in. There are lots of new things for them to interact with: pocket gophers, giant jerusalem beetles or whatever they're called, blue-bellied lizards... turkeys, peacocks... cows across the street.

The cat made it more or less unscathed. He continues to freak out about certain things. This cottage is a lot smaller than our old house, so he's bummed out about the lack of hiding places. However, that is a small price to pay for all the fun wildlife he gets to now look at.

Our tiny dove, Peet, did not make it. He sadly died the second night here. :( We miss him.

We have been working on a garden here. The landlord said make use of whatever is available, so we have been. Unfortunately I don't have pictures on this computer to share right now. We're learning about things that grow in California. Lots of things are different here, so the learning curve is kinda steep right now. But most things that haven't been eaten by the pocket gophers are doing well. There's a raspberry, strawberry patch, herb garden, vegetable garden (mostly lettuce so far), a small fig, various potted citrus trees, and a pomegranate that's doing really well. I have also prepared a long line of "pots" to plant things in, and a long skinny bed for future tomatoes and hot peppers. In addition, we have partially buried two toilets that we found in the junk pile out back, and put some flower seeds in there.

There was a pretty big junk pile behind the shed where mice had made nests inside an old gas grill, etc. Amongst the true garbage was a small pile of decorative concrete blocks which we will use as a border around something. Not sure what yet. The neighbors took the "dog igloo" to a local shelter that may be able to use it. There were three small dish network satellite dishes, a full table, two partial tables, lots of wood, three task chairs, one folding chair and a poster that says "red elvises." There are also two metal trash cans full of garbage, which we plan to empty over time and then use to grow sweet potatoes.

I'm finishing up one house I've been working on (off and on) for ten years. Hopefully it will get built this year!

There is a logo in the near future for some old friends. That will be fun.

Other than that, I'm not continuing work under Green Rascal Design. This website will probably just get a large overhaul at some point so that the blog can live on. I'm excited about making new connections here around San Jose, and possibly building something else new depending on finding funding for it. So stay tuned. ;)
This is the story of the end of my recent trip to NYC. I was there for RHHLive, which I'll likely talk about very soon. But after the event ended and everyone rushed off to escape before Hurricane Sandy hit, this is what I went and did. ugh!

I had been staying on the lovely historic ferry Yankee in Hoboken NJ. This was an awesome place for me to stay because it was a) lovely, b) historic and c) QUIET. Plus, the host was amazing. So she let me leave my huge bags there on the boat after I officially "checked out" before heading out for the last day of RHHLive. It was much preferred to storing my bags in some nasty place by Penn Station or lugging them to the Urban Zen Center, where they told us repeatedly not to bring our stuff. So that Sunday morning I ran off the boat telling the host I'd see her again in 12 hours.

Skip to coming back to Hoboken from Manhattan. I got off the PATH train and briefly considered just getting a cab there at the station. But my stupid head said, oh no you should walk back to the ferry because you'll be too early and will miss saying goodbye to the host. And I called the concierge to arrange a taxi pick up from the ferry at 7pm. The walk was very brisk because of the impending hurricane. But of course I stayed walking along the river for some stupid reason.

I got to the ferry, and all was dark. I went in and grabbed my baggage, and went back out to wait by the road for the taxi. I waited half an hour for that damn taxi. When they were late enough I called, and the jerk said he wasn't coming because the police told him to shut down for the night.

Crying, I started walking back down to the Hoboken train station. I had no idea if the trains were even still running to Secaucus, where I'd left my car for the weekend. like an idiot - trying to save 10$. I went onto the main road for this walk because the weather was getting ever more violent during this whole time. And then briefly considered waiting at a bus stop to see if I could catch a bus to the train station. But my stupid head told me the buses weren't running. Once again, on the phone with the concierge, crying, I tried to find out if buses were running, if the trains were running, if I was going to be stranded in Hoboken for the hurricane. Luckily while waiting on hold I did something intelligent and waved at a passing taxi.

To my amazement he actually stopped. Here I'd been thinking, idiotically, that all the taxis had been told to stop and none would pick me up. So I walked up to the window and asked, tears on my face because the whole day had been so emotional I couldn't control it anymore, "can you take me to Secaucus?" Naturally he said yes. lol

Thank goodness I found a nice calm driver who managed to get me to chill the heck out. It was a quick drive to my car, and we blessed each other as I handed him the cash. The rest of my journey back to Philly was quite literally smooth sailing. It was like being surrounded by a bubble of calm by God/The Universe. I felt no wind, and saw no rain. I got home astonishingly fast. just in time to put our five chickens in carriers and get them to safety in the basement.

While it's true I would have saved myself over an hour in time and lots of tears and aggravation if I'd just listened to my gut... could it be that I was being delayed intentionally so as to avoid whatever rain was on the highway? I'll never know. But I probably should have listened to my gut anyway. Not sure what I was thinking!

But I wish I knew how the Yankee fared through the storm.
Where oh where have I been? It seems as though I haven't been up to writing much lately, and instead just check in every once in a while with updates. Sad, I know. Not that I ever claimed to be super professional here, but this degeneration was unexpected.

I was rear-ended on October 13th. It was a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon, and I was minding my own business on the way to the mall for a sale at Soma. There was a lot of traffic, and there are a number of traffic lights on on the road from Norristown to King of Prussia. At one of these lights the person in front of me stopped more suddenly than I expected. So I stopped more suddenly than the person behind me had expected, so she stopped pretty darn suddenly as well. And the person behind her didn't even have a clue what was going on. So viola, a 4 car accident.

I've been going through it in my mind a lot. I've been having nightmares. Bad dreams of being hit from behind keep waking me up at 3am, and then preventing me from returning to sleep. What a mess.

If I'd stopped at any of the the places I briefly considered stopping, this would not have happened. First I thought it might be good to stop at the thrift store. Then some girl pulled out onto the road right in front of me, and I narrowly missed hitting her. Then I thought maybe I should stop by my mentor's office and see how hubby was doing with the computer repair project there. Then I thought about getting gas. Then I considered stopping by the chiropractor's office to pay a bill. Then I pondered getting coffee. All these stops were RIGHT THERE on the way, and instead of listening to my intuition I charged on ahead to get that ever-important panty-line-free underwear. And then BANG!

So my alty is in the shop again, little less than 2 years after the first time I was rear-ended. I swear if I can ever get a new car it's going to be BRIGHT GREEN so people are always watching out for me, instead of being lulled into driving slumber by a silver car.

The alty should be back in a week or so, according to the nifty pictures the shop sends me. I'll be glad to be rid of the rental car. It's nice, but the lights are not automatic, and it doesn't have posh heated seats like the alty.

So that's where I've been since the ides of October. The moral of the story is I need to listen to my intuition/inner guide/internal guidance system more! much much more. What on Earth was I thinking to not listen to my gut?

What on Earth are you thinking not listening to your gut?

More Work Please!


Not that I'm excited. On the contrary, I need more work. I haven't been around for the last month because I've been busy with house stuff and picking fruits off of every kind of plant we have, and also my own ennui.

So I have been thinking about writing more. Yes, I said THINKING about writing more. Turns out writing books is difficult. haha. The thought of rejection letters... ugh. I have all these stories I came up with titles for, and not one of them has been written. It's sad. Looking into a cool organization my wonderful psychic friend suggested didn't help much either. Hopefully I can find that creative place again and get moving.

And my photo card reader does not work anymore. I need a new one because the USB cable that linked my (newly re-installed everything) computer and my all-in-one device is crap. Most of my USB ports are crap. So we put the printer on the network, and now I'm unable to share photos with you. You'll just have to take my word for it that we've gotten 50lbs of tomatoes this summer. And how overgrown everything has gotten... it forced me to take a whole day to slash paths through between the chicken cage and the compost bins. And I can't show you how I staked up the blackberries - that took a whole day also.

I also can't show you how Pepper has grown all her feathers back and is lookin' stylish in her new blacker ensemble. All the fluffies are doing really well. We're only getting about 2 eggs a day, but it has been super rainy and the days are shorter. Suprisingly, demand for eggs hasn't gone down. But I feel weird raising the price of a dozen to $5 to cover the costs of their fancy organic feed.

At my CSA I volunteered to help run a pie bake-off. You might see my pleas for pie donations in a couple weeks. We also need to cobble together 6 judges to judge two categories of pies. 3 judges for fruit pies, and 3 judges for "other" such as banana cream or key lime. I think it shouldn't be too hard to find volunteers to eat pie for an afternoon.

We've had a couple guests here at the Green Rascal Roost recently. I enjoyed having them here tremendously, and hope to see them again soon as they've moved into a nice apartment just across the border of Philadelphia from here. We have another guest coming in a couple days, and he'll be here for about 4 nights. And we had an inquiry for the first week in October! Hosting people on air bnb has been a lot of fun, and I'd really love to have more guests. (hint hint)

I've been working on more logos for some small businesses. Those are fun because I like helping people with great business ideas. I'll have to upload one new logo to the site later.

And I recently found A Course in Miracles at my local bookstore, and started reading that. My spirituality practice has gained strength and momentum, and I'm really grateful to be growing and living more in tune with the universe. It's almost as awesome as my tai chi practice, which I'd really love to focus more on.

The thing is, hubby needs a newer car. It's stressing us the heck out. I'm trying my best to tap on the stress and have confidence that the universe will provide... but my dear wonderful husband doesn't share my optimism. His mood of lack is seriously dragging me down. So I'm writing today to ask for more work. Please help me find more paying projects and more airbnb guests. I'm not desperate, but I don't have any better ideas than to simply throw it out there. I am doing the best I can, and right now we simply don't have enough to cover our bills. I need a miracle.

With gratitude,
I'm going to be making some changes to the site, hopefully before my computer dies and I can't access it anymore. This is because I feel things are just not right.

Something is going away. Not any of the neat things that I've been talking about here... just some services. After I'm done with a couple beloved projects that have been started I won't be putting any more energy into finding that type of work in the near future. I will still be writing about sustainability, gardens and design, and of course the chickens aren't going anywhere.

I do reserve the right to continue writing reviews of networking event venues because they're fun, and I believe I can provide a unique perspective on those spaces.

However, I'm not interested in practicing architecture as we know it. It's very difficult for me to admit that my attachment to architecture as a business has been hurting me. a lot. It's time to stop hurting myself. I believe I can be of higher service to the world in other ways, and once I stop clinging to what's not working I'm certain that things which will work will find me.

Just last year I had planned to go into business with a couple other architects 'someday.' I was stunned to hear recently that one of them took me seriously. And even as late as February I was diligently studying for the ARE. But that credential holds no value for me anymore. I can continue to hang onto my childhood wishes, or I can grow up and find my true path.

Exuberance must be present in what I fill my time with from now on. I'm not making any money by trudging through this life as an architect. So instead of being poor and miserable, I intend to be joyful - for poorer or richer. (planning on richer)

True gratitude goes to my mentor and networking friends who have tried countless times to provide me with quality referrals and projects to work on. Your actions have been very kind and valued. I won't be needing that assistance anymore. Instead, your support for my random ventures will be a big help.

Someday I might design buildings again. Just not anytime soon.

Email me with questions or encouragement. :)
Things have been SO BEAUTIFUL out, that it has been difficult to focus on work.

It's now too hot for the chickens. They're being very demanding, and want to be out in the grass nearly all the time. But they continue to lay about 4 eggs a day, and we have way too many eggs now.

All the plants are putting out their leaves. Our trellis is almost looking happy again! I tied the blackberry and raspberry canes in interesting shapes so they look less messy, and hopefully will be easier when it's time to pick berries. Hubby threw down a seed mixture he'd concocted after reading several examples of other people doing so, with mixed results. The plants are all clumped together, so I'm worried about over-crowding.

Plenty to do...


Where do even begin? There are tons of things to do, but not a lot of $$$ attached to the items on the list. I feel like its mostly okay because the projects I'm working on now will help in the future. Of course, that's not going to pay the mortgage in January!

Anywhoo, it's Friday. I built a little shelf for the cat to sit on in the window this morning. And he ignores it. It's just a little bit of wood with some brackets, and carpet is stapled to the whole thing. I think the cat got so freaked out by the stapling procedure that he won't go near the thing for days. sigh! Guess I should not have used the hammer type stapler, haha.

I stopped by a local CSA today. (It's the one on my route home from PhilaU) Now I'm all excited for spring. I can just imagine coming up with a little drawing for their future farm stand out on Henry Ave. They really need one, too. And it's not like it would be difficult to build... Whatever the case is, I hope they stay there for a good long time since they just got started.

And I was looking into the No Impact Project. I think it'd be really great to go and try to be even more of an environmental nut than we currently are. Seriously! I was looking at filling out the application earlier. The only thing I think we'd have a problem with is the transportation. It is very hilly around here, and I couldn't possibly bike my groceries home!

And of course there are more competitions to enter. Seems like I need somebody to go do all my networking for me, because I haven't gotten a single competition started! sad :( If I had any money to pay somebody to do it I would.

Oh, and I had a nice chat with an artist friend about websites the other day. I really hope she gets hers up and running so I can share her work with everyone. She really got the message of what I'm trying to accomplish with this little thing. Thank the Universe! Somebody understands! Although I'm still afraid to show her my painting I did for the living room. For some reason criticism on my architecture is fine, but on my art not so much. I guess its because I'm not really an artist.

When I get a little device to plug my camera's memory card into the new beast computer, I'll put a picture up so everybody can rip my painting to shreds. That'll make me feel better. hahaha.

For the rest of the evening though, we're going to a swanky party. So THERE!
So on Tuesday evening I was at Reading Terminal Market grabbing a pop before the Philadelphia Business Journal's Cocktails and Networking event across the street at the Field House. I had arrived really early, and it's always good to grab a snack before a networking event. There is a big seating area in the middle of the market, and my super high heels were killing my feet already. (the price of looking good?) There I was sitting at a table munching fries and guzzling a Pepsi and playing spider solitaire on my phone, when this homeless man sat down at the table next to me. I thought nothing of it, naturally, because there are lots of homeless in the area. He didn't have a foul odor, and looked pleasant enough, so I smiled politely at him and continued with my spider solitaire. I could tell he was sketching something, but didn't really think about it. Then when I started to pack up to go over to the Field House, the man ripped out the sketch and handed it to me. It's a pretty good drawing, so I decided to share it here. He said his name is Conrad, I think. And he told me how he's there all the time sketching families and people with a certain light about them, how he can see beauty in everybody. I gave him a donation of all the quarters I had in my coin purse without feeling too bad about not having a dollar because he said at the end of the day he will always have enough to live off. He had a good way of looking at his life, and I felt good about talking to him.

Later, at the networking event, I was talking to a wonderful lady from Smith-Felver & Prime, Ltd. advertising, and she was just a joy to meet. She said some really nice things about me. We discussed the homeless man at the market, and she said something about how I'd always remember him when it came time for me to help somebody else. She's probably right. She seemed to have a lot of knowledge.I got a feeling like business would turn out alright for me after talking to her.

Last week I had another encounter with an angel of sorts as I was leaving PhilaU to go to the business etiquette course. She was an older professor, and on the way down the stairs in the parking garage she said I should be in the modeling business. Not too many people say that, but it's something I've heard before. I just think I'm way too old and plain for that now. But then she asked me what I teach, and I had to laugh because I said Advanced Modeling actually. I never thought about it that way, haha. Maybe that discussion was a way for the universe to say I'm right where I need to be. That's what I think anyway.

I'm so glad to have met these angels. It makes a lack of work easier to bear. At times like these, when my biggest project is just finished and I don't have anything waiting for me, thinking about these people helps a lot. I'm reminded of the handwriting analyst who said I was surrounded by angels many years ago. This is my shout out to the Universe today. Thanks.

I hope you enjoy the sketch of me that Conrad made. If you're ever at the market and you see him, go say hi.