Hello! Welcome to a new segment called "Lady Mildred." In these posts we will be exploring the super fun world of home ownership. Specifically, home ownership of a 100-year-old 750 square foot house with a whole lot of charm and a whole lot of challenge.
As you may know, Rachel and i bought this adorable little house in Philadelphia earlier this summer. It's on Mildred Street, so we're calling it Lady Mildred (which was Ally Walker's idea). It's a type of house rather particular to Philadelphia: a Trinity! These types of houses are called Trinities because they have three floors above ground, and each floor has one room. Trinities tend to date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries when Philadelphia's large land parcels were being cut up into smaller segments and developers were trying to fit as many houses as possible into the plots they owned. New York had tenement buildings, Philadelphia had trinities. Our house dates from a little later - 1915. Our whole neighborhood was built...
When I lived in France I was completely charmed by the ever-present stores that sold one very specific thing or performed one very specific service. It is a trope that is totally true. French people really do buy their meat from the butcher, their bread from the baker, their flowers from the florist, and their medicine from a pharmacy that actually only sells medicine (You can't get cigarettes, greeting cards, or candy at French pharmacies it turns out.). Not every French person shops like this - going from store to store to check items off their list. Many, many (most?) people go straight for the supermarket. My host mother in high school took us to E.Leclerc pretty much exclusively, and when I lived in Paris I would do most of my shopping at Monoprix (because i'm fancy) or FranPrix (because Monoprix is not sustainable for your budget). Those are all supermarkets that would be very familiar to Americans, and they are definitely a part of life in France. Nevertheless, the idea of...
Let me start by saying this: Philadelphia is a magical city. When John Adams came to Philadelphia from Boston back in the fall of 1774, he wroteto his wife Abigail that, "the Regularity and Elegance of this City are very striking. It is situated upon a Neck of Land, about two Miles wide between the River Delaware and the River Schuilkill. The Streets are all exactly straight and parrallell to the River. Front Street is near the River, then 2 street, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th. The cross Streets which intersect these are all equally wide, straight and parallell to each other, and are named from forrest and fruit Trees, Pear Street, Apple Street, Walnut street, Chestnut Street, &c."
If John Adams thinks that the Philadelphia street grid is elegant and striking, then you know it has to be true.
Nevertheless, some of Philly's most astounding magic happens off the grid. Every so often a weirdo alley will jut out midblock from an otherwise respectable street. Once in a while wacky zo...
We all know that the tree is the pièce de résistance of the Christmas decorations, but let us not forget the ever-important second in command: the Christmas Wreath. The wreath is the first thing people see when they come to your home. It represents your Christmas spirit. Really, it represents your very soul.
So, I'm in this wine club. I know what you are thinking. You think that wine clubs are just excuses to get drunk on a week night. Maybe that is true. But this is not any wine club. No, this is The Wine Club. We have Powerpoints, ok? And we take notes. Sure, the notes get less and less comprehensible as the night goes on, but there is a record of our meetings. Not anyone can just join The Wine Club. You will be mailed one of our letterpressed invitations with our motto on it:
C'est ici que tout commence, c'est ici que tout continue, que tout évolue.
Yeah, we are not messing around.
Our invitations drying after being letterpressed
Our most recent Wine Club session was about the Gamay grape, a grape that grows primarily in the Beaujolais region of France. If you want to learn about it, too, check out the amazing Powerpoint I made here. There is some intense, earth-shattering animation in that presentation, so make sure to experience it in slideshow mode.