Purple Myrtle, After All

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I read some of my posts from June 2006. It was shortly before my Aliyah, so it was interesting to remember my frame of mind of the time. It also reminded me of where I was, physically, when I wrote these posts. My old playroom!

I lived with my parents in a big duplex, originally divided into three separate units – the top one, that we rented out to different tenants every year; the one on the ground floor where we lived; and the basement apartment that we decided to keep for ourselves and not rent out. And so it was that I, being an only child, had two rooms for myself – one on the ground floor that was my bedroom, and the second, my playroom, in the basement.

My playroom was my favorite. It contained all my favorite stuff and I could spend endless hours there doing anything I wanted. This was where I kept my laptop, my TV, my stereo, my CDs, my guitars, my amps, my posters, some of my books and magazines, and a bunch of art materials. It also had a sofabed, so technically it also doubled as a guest-room.

At some point, I decided to paint it purple. The new color, coupled with the fact that I always turned the heater up to 30 degrees, made any visitor feel sleepy. Anytime I had friends over, they would go into that room, plop onto the sofabed and start dozing.

Thinking back on it now, I’m pretty sure that this playroom would have been the perfect studio for a zinester. If I had been a zinester during my years in Canada, my playroom would have also included a small desk with my typewriter, a stack of papers and construction paper, a collection of magazines, my scissors, my gluestick, a pen and a sharpie. On the wall above that desk, I would hang all my favorite zines. I would also keep there my DIY bookshelf with all my traded zines and copies of my past issues. Inspiration in such a room would not be difficult to come by. Add some scented candles or incense, and I’m good to go.

This is what I had in mind for the extra room in our current apartment. But since we moved in, I got pregnant, gave birth, and this room became my daughter’s bedroom.

Maybe one day, with less maternal responsibilities and with more space in the house, I could recreate my pretty purple playroom, and include a zine-work space, and actually put it to good constant use.

To any zinesters reading this, what does your workspace look like?

Peace, love and totally spacing

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All Order the Place

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A few posts back (right here) I described how annoyed I am with the lack of order in my daughter’s room, which doubled as a guest room, tripled as my work room, and quadrupled as a storage room. I realized that the reason I was so annoyed by it was because of who I am as a person. I like order in my house. Order in my house breeds order in my mind. Disorder and clutter irritate me and cause chaos instead of peace of mind.

There is this post where I describe how thorough I am with Passover cleaning (usually). And there is this post where organizing the house (or rather a room) is the stuff of daydreams for me. Also, whenever my mom comes over for a day or two, she always leaves things where they shouldn’t be. In fact, it happened more than once that I had to call up my mom and ask her “Where did you put this and that? I can’t find it anywhere!” I can’t go to sleep unless I reorganize all the stuff that my mom misplaced.

And yes, I also kept going into my daughter’s room trying to dream up a solution for the clutter and see if there is any hope for order in there.

So it is no wonder that today, as we finally got a new closet for my daughter, I finally feel at peace again. We managed to clear out some of the furniture in my daughter’s room after all, to make room for the closet which is much bigger than I imagined (and it’s awesome!). And I know that once I clear out the clothes from the drawers of the chest and organize it in the closet, that means we can clear out even more furniture. Clutter will be a thing of the past and my daughter’s room will look more like a little baby’s room rather than a garage.

Although dirt, dust, hair and fur doesn’t bother me so much, clutter does. And when everything is back in order, the only natural thing to do is to clean up. Otherwise, the order doesn’t look complete. So once the closet was delivered and set up, I spent the rest of my morning cleaning up. And then everything fell into place. Everything is organized and clean and my peace of mind is reclaimed.

Besides all that, last Friday, we had some workers over. They spent the whole day painting our living room and kitchen, cleaning up the mold that turned coal black due to what seems to be years of neglect, throwing out the old and rusty dishwasher that we never use and replacing it with a new cupboard. Convenient, organized, decluttered, cleaned, Tetris’d the fuck out of the place.

Next up, getting a new laundry machine! I do so much laundry, I am not surprised that our machine is starting to show the initial signs of a nervous breakdown. It leaks, it quite literally crumbles at the edges, it causes power surges without fail, it makes a fuckload of noise and dances around to the beat. Not to mention the countless times our house was flooded because the tube that drains the water from the machine fell out of the hole that leads to the sewer. If that is not a reasonable cause for lack of peace of mind, I don’t know what is.

Peace, love and Saw and Order (just because)

Room 101

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Hello EdenToday, I struggled to organize my daughter’s room but got frustrated because no matter how many things I put away, it always seems so cluttered.

So I sat on a chair looking around the room, pondering on the evolution of this room.

We moved to this apartment when I was two months pregnant. We haven’t even started considering a nursery, much less how to set one up. At the beginning, we used that room as a storage room until we found a place for all the stuff we had. Soon thereafter, it became my work room as well as a guest room.

We kept postponing setting up a nursery. My husband finally suggested we wait until two weeks before my due date. But then two weeks before my due date was when I finally gave birth. And so it was that we had a baby and nothing else – no diapers, no bottles, no clothes, no toys… we had a broken crib and a used car seat. Of course, even before we brought her home, we got a bunch of gifts and my husband went shopping with his sister for a whole stack of things we would need.

So as it stands, my daughter’s room is now a cross between a child’s room and a guest room, with a touch of a zinester’s work room and a goddamn storage space.

And we can’t unclutter it.

  1. We need the guest bed because my mom sleeps there when she comes to visit (plus there is a large compartment under the bed for storing more things).
  2. We can’t get rid of my work station because where else would I lament my lack of time to get any zinestering done? Plus it’s a kickass desk which my daughter could also use later on.
  3. We can’t get rid of any chest because my daughter has no closet and that’s the only place where we can keep her clothes and bedsheets.
  4. And as broken as the crib is, we still use it, even if my husband is so annoyed by it he said we should burn it once our kid graduates to an actual bed.

Above all that is a small bedside table under the desk, two guitars, three radiators and a laundry basket.

So feeling completely hopeless by this room being on the verge of explosion, I closed the door and am now planning a door sign with a nice frame.

Peace, love and only a metalhead would understand that title

Kosher Enough for Me

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I read a couple of my previous posts about Passover in past years and was amazed at how clean and organized I was and how not tired I was to clean the holy hell out of my apartment.

This year, I went Kosher Lite. Taking care of an infant involves not being able to clean your house for a wide variety of reasons:

  1. You’re tired as fuck.
  2. Your entire body aches from handling said infant for hours on end (that is an aching back, hips, legs, arms, neck…)
  3. You’re taking care of an infant and don’t have time for things like living your life, much less cleaning your house.
  4. Cleaning products produce toxic fumes that are dangerous to the baby and to nursing mothers.
  5. Your house gets dirty again within a couple of hours by which time you really couldn’t give a flying fuck.

And so it was that this year, my mom helped me out by cleaning the cupboards and the home appliances I NEVER clean, like the oven and the fridge.

My husband also did a bunch of cleaning. In fact, with his rubber gloves, a bucket in one hand and a sponge in the other, he would have made a perfect model for one of those “female porn” calendars. Such a cutie!

I still tried to do my part – washing the dishes and replacing them with kosher for Passover ones. But then I went back to the couch and resumed nursing my kid. I don’t really do much else. Frankly, I love nursing my kid so much that I prefer doing that more than anything else – writing, reading, watching TV, and definitely more than cleaning my house.

Anyway, the holiday provides no rest. Going back and forth from here to Be’er Sheva is a drag for my kid and her parents who would rather stay home where it’s quiet and comfy and dirty.

Peace, love and I’m at the office, missing my kid

I Like to Move It

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At long last, Elad and I finally moved into our new place. It was supposed to happen in January (if you remember this post), but kept getting postponed for reasons beyond our control (if you remember the last paragraph of this post).

We spent all of Friday and Saturday settling in. So now, instead of having a single bedroom, a tiny living room, a tiny dining room, a minuscule and claustrophobic computer room, a small bathroom with a stand-up shower and a laundry corner, we now have one big bedroom, one guestroom which doubles as a work room for me and my zines, a rather large computer room (which fits all of mine and Elad’s guitars, all our amps, a double-tower of CDs, the computer and all its equipment, including a sound system and an effects box), an enormous living room with a nearby dining room, the cutest most adorable kitchen you’ll ever see, and a nice little laundry space. Plus our bathroom, though still pretty small, has an actual bathtub! Showering is so much more fun and I no longer hit my elbows and knees on walls and shower doors when I shower. All that, with the added bonus of a boidem. We have a STORAGE SPACE dudes! So necessary for hoarders like ourselves.

All we need now is a bigass closet (which we already ordered and are supposed to have it delivered on Wednesday), a decent desk for my work room and matching chair, and a bigass bookshelf for all of my Stephen King books (all 50+ of them!) and all my feminist literature and other random fiction. Then we can put the finishing touches (i.e. our posters, art and photos) and we’ll be as snug as a bug.

My favorite things about our new place:

  1. We have had a record player forever but never used it because we didn’t exactly have much space for it and also didn’t really know how to plug it. But in our new place, we put the record player in our ginormous living room and Elad, being the tech wiz that he is, plugged it into his elaborate sound system, and we listened to old records during all of Friday while organizing the house.
  2. Our kitchen has just doubled in size. We got much more work space available, a bunch of spacious cupboards, and a window. WE HAVE A FUCKING WINDOW IN OUR KITCHEN! We NEVER had that in our other one! I love the hell out of it.
  3. Our bathtub is the shiznit. Bathtubs kick ass and after moving all the stuff and sweating my ass off and getting dust all over me, I took the best shower ever.
  4. My work room features the Riot Grrrl bookshelf I found a while back and I spent all of yesterday and this morning setting it up with all of my zines, all of other people’s traded zines, all of my High School agendas, notebooks and diaries, and all of my folders with bills and statements and other boring stuff.
  5. Our windows are much bigger, or at least seem so because the house is so well-lit, so much better lit than our previous place. We also have light switches and lamps all over the place so even at night, we bathe in bright lights.

The actual move may have been a hassle (and wasn’t without its mishaps, to put it mildly) but the best thing about it was finding things that we thought were lost forever and actually managing to put our hoarding aside for a while to get rid of shit that we really don’t need. Like, I own not one but two broken laptops. I kept them for years for God knows what reason. On Friday I told Elad “Fuck it. Just toss them.” It feels so good to get rid of shit!! Oh my God!

Our dog, Diamond, is a little disoriented. On the day of the move, she kept trying to go out the door and go to the old apartment (which happens to be right across the hall from us).

“This is home now, Diamond,” I tried to explain. “Here is your bed and your food bowl.”

And yes, this is our home now. We’ll have a housewarming party, invite friends, install mezuzot, blast our record player, and look forward to much happiness in our beautiful new crib.

Peace, love and home supersweet home.

Shack it Up!

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I’m all snug. Moved in with my boyfriend this past weekend. It’s so much more convenient. All the back and forth between my apartment and his was enough of a drag since February 2011. My former apartment served its purpose for 4.5 years and it was a great ride, until it became horrible due to problematic roommates and increasing rent.

So the Chocolate Residence has disbanded. But me and my chocolate grrrl roommate have moved on to new places to form new memories. She moved to a studio apartment with a huge backyard where she will no doubt organize more art nights. And I moved in with my boyfriend. It was a difficult process because I have a lot of stuff and my boyfriend had to make space. But now, everything fell into place.

The small space we call the dining room got a Technicolor bitchslap when I placed my grrrlVIRUS display library in the corner and replaced the beige tablecloth with a black and purple curtain with a star pattern.

The bedroom got an extra nighttable. With a rainbow bandana, a green teddy dog and a Kurt Cobain statuette, you can clearly tell which side of the bed is mine. We also hung up a few more pictures around the house including the big Dali painting over the bed, and the enormous Kurt Cobain poster in the little storage space next to the bathroom.

His relatively empty kitchen cupboards are now overflowing with dishes, pots, pans, plastic boxes, cutlery, spices, chocolate, canned food… and his bookshelf had to be cleared to accommodate my Stephen King collection, feminist literature, art books, notebooks, diaries and my old school agendas.

The computer corner became a computer/typewriter corner.

The closet in the bedroom had to be reorganized – clothes and sheets had to be refolded neatly to make space for my stuff. My boyfriend had to get rid of much of his hanging clothes and clear two drawers. I got rid of many of the clothes I don’t wear – something I’ve been unable to do with my pajamas.

“I challenge you to find another person in this country who has more pajamas than me,” I told my boyfriend as I stuffed two drawers full of winter and summer PJs.  

As two avid metal fans, our musical instruments and CDs are things that we cannot throw out or put in storage.

As a result, the living room now looks like a mini home recording studio with our combined six guitars (two electric, two bass, one acoustic and one classical) mounted on stands, a couple of amps, a foot switch, an effects board, and a computer recording system. Plus, my boyfriend’s pile of CDs reached monumental proportions after I stacked it up with my own collection of CDs and audio cassettes. My record player and a couple of vinyl records are stacked up there too.

We’re pretty happy so far. I’ve managed to find my way around the neighborhood and the new bus lines I need to get to work.

Also, living with a dude who likes to keep the house neat and tidy is definitely a major plus, and a rare thing to find among the straight male population. 

Not having to haul my ass out of bed and get dressed after a romantic night with my boyfriend, and not having to haul his ass out of bed so he can drive me home, is particularly awesome.

There’s also the little extras that make this place much better: a large backyard, an oven, a (working) washing machine, and having my boyfriend’s parents as neighbors and landlords means having home-cooked meals a few times a week! Plus, much of our monthly expenses (i.e. rent and bills) are already covered.

But besides that, there are things that both my boyfriend and I need to get used to. I need to get used to sharing the bed at night, and getting a double portion while shopping for groceries. My boyfriend needs to get used to a reveille at 6:00 a.m., courtesy of my annoying alarm clock, on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He got his first taste of it this morning. I doubt he liked it very much. And I need to get used to a reveille on Mondays and Wednesdays, around 7:00 a.m., courtesy of my boyfriend’s annoying cellphone alarm, as I am used to sleeping in on those days until around 11:00. 

Sharing a house and a life together is also a major change for both of us, but I’m quite optimistic about it. We get along really well and I’m very excited about it.

Peace, love and welcome to our Metal Residence.