Monday, December 17, 2007

One of the things we want to do when we’re finally in the house, even if it’s not completely finished but after all the essential systems are working, is host a series of open house receptions for friends, colleagues, family, and a special one for all the major players in its development and construction. Aside from Fritz and me, the person who has been most involved in the project is M, the architectural designer who took my groundplans and concept sketches and turned them into a buildable house.

It was important that I find someone who was with me aesthetically as well as skilled in the realization of the whole sustainable “green” house technology. It was A, the potter and ceramicist, who introduced me to M, who had designed or consulted on several “green” houses, including building his own home, and who was deeply involved in the sustainability ethic.

As Fritz and I went through M’s house, I saw use of materials, handsome proportions, an elegant simplicity throughout that seemed very right to me. It was when we went into his kitchen that I got a pleasant surprise. I had an antique soapstone double sink in the basement of my house in Roslindale and wanted it to be the sink in the new house. Right there in M’s kitchen was an identical soapstone sink—I turned to Fritz and quietly said, “I can work with this man.”

As the house passed from the development and design phase into construction, M has been less involved but has still kept his finger on the pulse of the project, checking to make sure that important finishing details and other “grace notes” are being done properly and calling quick conferences on site when he finds problems. Throughout, we’ve found that our design and aesthetic senses are very well aligned; I decided that in addition to paying him (rather handsomely), I wanted to give him some gift that was both very personal to him and that would have a connection to this particular project.

I spent a day going through my mind for all sorts of things an architect might like and then remembered that A, the potter/ceramicist, had been the original contact who brought us together. As it happens, the ¾ of a mile drive through the woods to A’s home, garden, studio and kiln is lined by pieces he’s made and fired, many of them astonishingly beautiful or fanciful three-dimensional miniature terra cotta houses. And I said, of course!—I want to commission A to do the house in clay as a piece of wall art.

I called him and proposed the commission, which he enthusiastically accepted, telling me that M had already bought an abstract piece from him, so I’m assured that M knows and appreciates A’s work.

I sent A a copy of M’s original elevation drawing of the south façade, and here is the finished piece, which I’m looking forward to giving him over good food and good wine in the house when it’s finished:


Fritz and I drove the 14 miles between Raymond and Londonderry today to get to a Home Goods store that had a stock of Christmas stollen ad decent prices. Stollen is a big Christmas tradition with him, one I was very happy to buy into the first Christmas we were together and then ever since.

On the way back, I began to check out the big lawn signs we passed for the various presidential candidates—the New Hampshire primary is coming up fast on January 8th.

The results didn’t warm the heart of a liberal, at least not this particular liberal. Of all the signs we passed on route 102 between Londonderry and Raymond, only two were for a Democratic candidate—both were for John Edwards. No Hilary, no Barack.

There were perhaps sixteen signs for Republican candidates—one for Giuliani (a striking bright red sign with RUDY! in big block capitals), two for Ron Paul (you have to keep your eyes open, they’re about 1/6 the size of everybody else’s signs), two or three for Mike Huckabee (his name in candy-stripe colors of_surprise!-red, white and blue). Overwhelmingly, the signs were for Mitt Romney--lots of them.

So, that’s an unofficial, unscientific—and unwelcome—impression of the preferences of the Body Politic along one road in southern New Hampshire.


Another one of these little quizzes comes to me via Scott of Bill in Exile. As I love making paella, I think my spice is quite appropriate:

Which Spice Are You?
Your Score: Saffron
You scored 75% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 25% craziness!
You are Saffron!

Those other spices have nothing on you! You're warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you're so totally worth it. *Sigh*

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I'm not sure if the test results will show up here or not...but let's try:

I am:
Chiltepin Pepper
(You scored 25% intoxication, 75% hotness, 50% complexity, and 25% craziness!)

"You are Chiltepin!

You are extremely hot. You're so hot, you're the mother of all hotness. Although your heat is great, it diminishes quickly, so don't worry, you can't cause that much harm... or can you? Please just make sure people wear gloves when they handle you."
I can't wait to see your house someday! Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties, both bedroom community-heavy, are the reddest parts of the Granite State. The rural areas vote Democratic more than Republican, believe it or not. I think Coos County, which has about six people living there is an exception.
i think saffron is very proper for you and your traits!
Me saffron too. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
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