Bad, bad Fluffy Brown.

There were five in one night, one rat, two mice and two birds.

The rat Fluffy tucked under my desk, near my feet, and ate whole as I typed. It was a quiet night and I could hear the crunch of small bones being chewed over the quick, light tapping of my fingers on the keyboard. I tuned it out, my capacity for denial never greater than when a rat is being consumed at my feet.

He came in a while later with a little mouse, a tiny thing, not yet dead, in fact, still squeaking as he batted it behind the curtains. He eventually tired of it, and Rudy, who has never killed anything, never eaten anything but dry food, is suspicious even of treats, eyed it curiously, and gave it a good licking.

In the living room, there were the remnants of a bird, de-feathered and bloody, a real mess, but easy to clean since most of it had already been eaten. I vaccuumed the feathers and sprayed Folex on the stain, and as I blotted the damp carpet, he came in and gently placed another bird by my knees. Just set it there, stepped back admiringly, and casually flicked his tail and purred.

Really Fluffy?

I went for a shoe box, scooping it up and walking toward the back door, where there on the doormat was a mouse skin butt--just the back legs, the tail and a flap of fur holding it all together. I left it there, subconsciously worried that the other half would sneak up on me in the middle of the night seeking revenge, but knowing that dead rodents left on the doormat are usually gone by morning.

I flung bird number two over the fence and when I came back in, I noticed the mouse number one, the squeaky little guy that Rudy was licking, was missing. His absence barely registered, so tired was I by the evening's death and denial and inevitable cleaning up of carcasses. And the next day, when I remarked on it to my sister, she assured me that if it hadn't been eaten, I would find it. It would, Erin advised, eventually start to smell.

Erin was right on both counts. I found the missing mouse, made known again to me by its smell.

It was in the closet under the stairs, a place known to my Swedish nephews as "the Harry Potter cupboard," and to my somewhat more avant garde seven-year old niece as Artopia, a gallery and light show where she is, apparently, the artist-in-residence. To me, it's just the place where I've stored my microwave, new and unopened in its original box, for two years and three months.

Poor little guy must have dragged itself there in an effort to escape the ignominy of death-by-licking. I screamed when I found him, shuddered in spite of myself, although he appeared wholey unmolested, looking perhaps as though he expired while taking a nap.

Cat will hunt.

I'm getting a dog.

Somebody, please install my microwave.


A liver, a kidney and Ewan McGregor.

Back in January, I wrote this post about my college roommate Laurel (who, despite the title of my last post, has never owned a papasan chair but did once bring home a Heywood Wakefield coffee table) and her unsuccessful attempt to unburden herself of a kidney.

Our friend Robert's liver suddenly failed due to Wilson's Disease, and while he was the successful and grateful recipient of a donor liver, (thank you donor's family from the bottom of my heart), his kidney function never came back. And that's where Laurel came in, offering him one of hers.

Despite Laurel's altruistic motives, the kidney gods were reluctant to cooperate. Three surgery dates were scheduled, and three planned surgeries were wisely but disappointingly called off, sometimes as late as the day before, each because the various organs' antibodies couldn't get along. Three trips from Nevada to California for pre-op tests. Three trips from Iowa to California for Laurels' parents. Plasmapharesis. Chemo. And of course, dialysis. Endless hours of dialysis.

(So what I'm saying here is, if you were planning to sell a kidney on eBay to buy, say, a George Smith sofa or some de Gournay wallpaper, you might want to rethink that plan. It's just not that easy.)

I'm happy to report that Laurel finally divested herself of her not-absolutely-necessary and yet not-exactly-extraneous organ Friday morning, and now the kidney of my very small friend with a very large heart and excellent taste in furniture, even in college, is cleansing the blood of my very tall and equally big-hearted friend, Robert.

In other life-affirming news, Ewan McGregor continues to be hot.

I can't wait to see Beginners.


Rattan. It's not just your college roommate's papasan chair.

Photo: Elle Decor

Like everyone who read the April issue of Elle Decor, I fell completely in love with Sid Bergamin's covered patio filled with vintage rattan. The curved back on the sofa and the striped upholstery kill me. They are stunning. For my own patio, I'd like something like this but with black and white ticking and a hot pink coffee table.

Photo: Sunset

The orange cushions on this give it a completely different feel--much funkier and modern.

Photo: House Beautiful

The clean, simple lines, white paint and neutral upholstery make this set feel very traditional.

Photo: Lonny

And the white upholstery on this is completely serene. I love it, but I don't think I could ever exercise this kind of restraint in my own home.

Maine Cottage Furniture does a great job of reinterpreting vintage styles, and it comes in tons of crazy, beautiful paint colors with coordinating upholstery fabrics. Their new site is scheduled to go live on July 1st and I can't wait. In the meantime, they have a great online catalog you can browse through.

Maybe it's because rattan screams beach house and San Diego is a coastal town, but CraigList San Diego has tons of great project pieces--everything from full vintage living room sets to an amazing McGuire mirror and Palecek side chair.

This sofa and matching arm chair are $35o. I'd ask them to throw in the coffee table.

This loveseat and chair have much simpler lines, but for $59, who really cares? $59. I double-checked.

One spectacular side chair to make any home feel like a summer home. This one just sold, but I'm including the pic anyway so you can see what you missed out on.

Four funky dining chairs pulled up to an outdoor table will set you back $125. These are crying out for upholstery in a China Seas print.

A McGuire mirror for $100 and a Palecek side chair, also for for $100 and you have a fabulous entry.

As usual, it's Craigslist for the win.

(Search vintage bamboo, rattan and wicker. There's a ton more where this came from.)


West Elm has a Hitchcock moment.

Since I find real birds kind of creepy and it depresses me when they crap on my windshield, I don't usually go in for bird motifs on my home furnishings. All that changed with a quick trip through West Elm yesterday where they are wildly merchandising their Fall Preview collection, apparently in an effort to get it out before the summer solstice.

While the images online don't really do it justice, I assure you that in person, it's a stunner.

I'll admit the duvet cover has a bit of a "The Birds" vibe. For a second, I thought Tippi Hedren was running around the shop, but it turned out is was just that one high strung sales guy, clutching his binder full of merchandising plans and mumbling frantically into a Walkie Talkie.

Hey, wouldn't it be hilarious if a single silhouette of Alfred Hitchcock was mixed in with all the birds?

Just sayin'.

Check out the West Elm Fall Preview and tell me what you think.


Urban Outfitters. Where worlds collide.

There's a little shopping center down the hill from me, and while it's not quite grand enough to be called a mall, it does have an Anthropologie and a Paper Source, and it's thankfully Restoration Hardware- and Pottery Barn-free, so I like it.

I swung by Sunday morning to cruise Anthro but was caught off guard by a sea of white Ray Ban- and gladiator sandal-wearing girls elbowing their way in... could it be? Urban Outfitters! It just opened right across the parking lot from Anthro.

I made my way past the mob, thinking, perhaps, I had slipped down Judd Nelson's coke-widened nostrils into some weird eighties shadow world where girls wore Molly Ringwald's sunglasses with Ally Sheedy's sandals. Just inside the front door was a large table filled with long, feathered hair clips, which only added to the sense that I had inadvertently stepped through a portal into the past and landed in a place I would not have fit in in, even back then.

Back in the day, yes, back in the day, feathered hair accessories were always attached to roach clips which were then attached to the feathered hair of stoner girls hanging out in the Indio High School smoking area with my brother, whose existence I did not quite deny, but I certainly did not advertise.

No home furnishings to speak of, save the ubiquitous button-tufted headboard and a bunch of quilts that look like they wouldn't wash well. I went online to check out what I was missing, and it turns out, not much. I do like these folksy little poufs, though. Given the way the similarly priced Calypso-for-Target poufs flew off the shelves, these should have been stacked all over the store. Stoners love a good pouf. It's a a fact.

Oh, and I also saw this online:

Perhaps I was in the smoking area.


All the best beds have benches.

Photo: Lonny

Every bed needs a good bench at the end of it. A place to sit while you put on your shoes. A place to discard damp towels. A place to stack decorating magazines and half-finished Sunday Sudokus.

Craigs List. He's back in my good graces and we've been spending some quality time together. $275.

Go forth and bench-ify.

(I was going to title this post "bench press," but that pretty lame. Even for me. I might be able to bench press Fluffy, but not if he had a mouse in his mouth. And he usually does.)


Lust for lights.

I'm pretty sure Rainman installed the light switches in my house. There's a dimmer on every single one. The the hallways, the stairs, the bathrooms--I have mood lighting in all these places. And mood lighting is pretty important when you're in transit. Or taking a dump.

Unfortunately, none of these dimmers are attached to light fixtures, save one lone contractor's flush-mount nipple light in the entry. It's sort of a mediterranean looking, uni-boob kind of thing. Like Tara Reid when she's spent too much time in the tanning booth.

I love this shell chandelier from Jayson Home and Garden, but I'm still pretty miffed with him for stepping out on me with Lana from Los Angeles.

I've was kickin' it with my home girlz Serena and Lily last night and I came across these two beauties. I think they're hot but not tweet-them-pictures-of-my-wiener hot.

My living room is open to the entry and dining area, the breakfast nook is just around the corner, and all these spaces need ceiling-mounted fixtures--sort of a great room siutation. What's the deal, design people? Is all the lighting supposed to relate visually?

(I don't know what so great about great rooms. They're kind of a hassle to decorate. There's been half a mouse under a side chair in mine since last night. I thought if I left it there, Fluffy might finish it off during the night. He did not. Nothing great about that.)


Forget Craig. I'm with Jayson now.

Despite several trips to Chicago for both work and fun, I've never actually made it to Jayson Home and Garden. I've always wanted to go, but there's only so much schlepping around Chicago in search of home furnishing stores one can do before one's coworkers start resentfully calling one P.O.S.H., not after the Spice Girl, but after the tabletop shop on State Street that one may have blown the entire work group's only free afternoon searching for.

So when Jayson anounced a $1,000 shopping spree giveaway, I entered right away, and for the entire month of May, I entertained the irrational fantasy that I would actually win. I completely neglected Craig while I shopped the hell out of the Jayson site, decorating and re-decorating this room and that. You can imagine my disappointment when Jayson announced Lana from Los Angeles as the winner. What about Eileen from Encinitas?

And what would I have done with a $1,000 shopping spree to Jayson Home and Garden? In all honesty, $1,000 isn't much of a spree at Jayson, it's more of a semi-spree or a spree-lette, so my shopping would have begun with the Dev side table and ended with a Kantha throw pillow-- $1,039.81 out the door, including shipping.

And my sofa? My not-so-great-for-making-out but excellent-for-watching-Investigation-Discovery sofa? Well, it's extremely disappointed. It would have rocked the shit out of both table and pillow. It would have been HOT.

Congratulations to Jayson and Lana! I hope you two are very happy together.

(I hope Jayson gambles away the rent money and Lana disinterestedly sleeps with the mobile home park manager to buy them another month of space rental.)


I survived Ikea and all I got was this Billy bookcase.

For years, every trip to Ikea was the same.

Risk life and limb navigating past the loading zone and in the front door, race by the ball room and up the stairs, and join the masses plodding through the living, bedroom, kitchen and office displays, like herds of joyless Billys from the Family Circus, late for dinner and sure to get an eyeroll from Dolly and a finger wagging from Grandpa's ghost.

In short order I'd be completely overwhelmed. Ektorp and Blanda and Klippan and Lack. It all sounded familiar, but I didn't know what any of it meant. Where the hell was I, really? What if there was an earthquake? How would I get out with no natural light to guide me? This is California, people! And why, why, why did the whole fucking place smell like meatballs?

By the time I'd make it through the warehouse and caught sight of the long checkout lines, I would have completely lost my sense of direction and be well on my way to losing my mind. At the first glimpse of the exit sign, I'd make a run for it, abondoning my cart and leaving empty handed.

It's a system that has served me well and kept my home free of flat-packed furniture for years.

Eventually I developed a coping strategy, though. If there's something I really have to have, I go in the exit, cut through the warehouse, and walk against traffic directly to whatever it is I want. Then I grab it and get the hell out of there before I change my mind.

This Sunday I bought 12 yards of fabric that will eventually become drapes for my bedroom. My mom came with me--we made it to the rugs before she realized we were going the wrong direction--but she bought me the little black and pink vases to go with the fabric.

I'm thinking about getting the reverse print to upholster a headboard and some seat cushions. I'll show ya pictures when it's done!