A Legacy of Things

close-up detail of vase

When I was a little girl, my parents owned The Catskill Valley Hobby Shop in Kingston, New York, which is located just 90 miles north of New York City. It was a boutique shop before boutique shops were even a thing.  The toys ranged from Matchbox cars and Legos to Steiff stuffed animals and Barbies.

The hobbies reflected my parents’ interests — for my father HO, N and TT gauge train sets and radio control airplanes. For my mother knitting, sewing, copper enameling, painting, and ceramics. There was even a kiln in the basement of the shop. I was 7 or 8 and I learned everything from how to clean greenware to prep and decorate copper pieces. I also learned to sew and knit, not well, but learned the basics nonetheless.

Now, as an adult, I have a legacy of things throughout my house, which I’ve decided to chronicle along with the memories I have with their development. As I age, I’m not sure where these will end up — most do not fit in with the modern open-concept most people aspire to now. They hearken back to the age of the arts and crafts movement and a time before free time was spent traveling in cyberspace. Continue reading “A Legacy of Things”


5 tips to successfully work from home

Whether occasionally telecommuting or full-time freelancer, these tips will help keep you on track.

  1. Go to work. You should have a dedicated space in your home for your work. It might be a formal office set up, with a desk, files etc. or it might be a place at the kitchen table or a nook in your bedroom, wherever this space is — it is where you go when you go work.
  2. Establish a routine. It’s really easy when working from home to tell yourself you’ll tackle that report or article as soon as the bathroom is clean, the closets are organized, the laundry is done and the kitchen is sparkling. Don’t go there. Get up, do what you can do in household chores, but set a time to be at your desk.  You can build chores into your schedule, but that’s the ticket — schedule them. For instance, I decide each day when I’ll exercise.
  3. If your job requires a lot of sitting — invest in a stand-up/standing desk. I invested in the Ergotron desk and I absolutely love it. It’s easily adjustable. Very sturdy and looks really nice.
  4. Shower and dress and if it suits you, put on some make up. Sure it’s easy to simply grab a cup of coffee, stumble to your desk and start wading through that pile of work, but don’t do that unless you’re fighting the flu and on deadline. This comes under “go to work.” Anna Quindlen in a long-ago column once noted that people can sense the sound of terry cloth through the phone.  While my work-at-home clothes are sweats and yoga pants, they’re nice enough that if someone arrived at the door, I wouldn’t feel like running and hiding. I also do my hair  (even if just a quick comb)and put on a bit of makeup.
  5. Invest in comfortable clothes. This is seriously the biggest plus of working from home — comfort. Again, don’t schlep around in your jammies, but dress in a way that makes you feel good. If you occasionally also need to visit with clients or attend conferences in the real, have some go-to meeting/travel clothes that are at the ready.