Nov 10, 2005

Watch the NBC National News on Friday!

Pending hurricane or some awful disaster happening to pre-empt it…My mom and some women from her study will be featured on the NBC Nightly News this Friday evening (6:30-7:00 p.m., National News).

Her study is about the challenges executive and professional women face when they leave they leave work or a career to “take a break” or to have children and then try to re-enter the workforce after some time has passed and how difficult it can be to explain the gap on their resume or convince employers to take a chance on someone who has been out of the workforce for so long. The study offers ways that women can proactively plan for those breaks and also outlines ways that companies and even business school programs can support women in planning for, taking and coming back from those breaks so that all of the wonderful woman talent is not lost!

This study really made me think about if how I could “step out” to have children and the need to proactively plan for it before I do it so that getting back to work (in some form or fashion or even in a new career) wasn’t as much of a challenge 2,5,10 years down the road. It also underscores the need to continuously keep up with business relationships and business events (and technology) when you step out so that you aren’t seen as hopelessly out of date later when you try to re-enter the working world….all things I never even thought about.

In case you want to know more, here are some articles about her study:


Obviously, I am so proud of her so I wanted to share the news. Hope you will watch and pass this study on to women who might be facing some questions about taking a hiatus or returning to work after a hiatus.


Oct 31, 2005

Halloween is more fun in South Philly!

I can’t believe how many trick-or-treaters we had. I bought like 60 bucks worth of candy and I still ran out and had to turn the lights off at 6:50! There were lots of little kids and lots of really great homemade costumes. Bella who is 2 and lives a few doors down was a very cute little Elmo. There was also an incredible King Friday with an amazing costume that his mom made. My mom came over and we sat on the stoop and handed out candy. It was really fun. One thing I love is how diverse and into holidays this neighborhood is. I missed that in Charlottesville

Oct 24, 2005

Spooky South Philly

Read this about Philly being the next great city....

The windows in our neighborhood have been filling up with scenes of spooky skeletons, flaming cauldrons and jack-o-lanterns, and I absolutely love how many of our neighbors have decorated their windows. Its really fun and on occasion I have heard the kids coming home from school, stopping at windows saying "Wow, look at that one!" and getting excited for trick or treating next week. It is good to live in a place where people get into the fun of the holidays. I know we are going to get a lot of trick or treaters this year, and I am so excited for it! I cant wait to see what people do to their windows for christmas!

It has been a somewhat expensive week here on South 13th Street. Last Monday we the chimney cleaned and lined. Then we replaced a sink and faucet set in the "hair salon bathroom" (which, I am pleased to report, no longer looks like a hair salon). Last Wednesday, our iron railing was hit by some kids wrestling out front, and it got bent enough that we had to remove it. Then this morning, I opened the door to find that my pretty, happy pots of mums had been adopted by someone else. They were obviously so appealing that someone else decided to decorate their home with them. Alas. I know I can afford to share the mums...but geez they looked so good on our steps! bummer!

On the food scene: Last week, we tried a neighborhood restaurant, Kristian's, on 11th street. It was a good (not great) meal and the atmosphere was "all frank sinatra, all the time". The company (some new friends) was terrific though. We're slowly getting around and slowly getting to be South Philly food experts but its taking us a while since we've got limited together-time with the DC/Philly commute. We're going to walk on the other side of South Philly, and hit the dive bar scene this week for a halloween party at the Dolphin Tavern on Thursday.

Click here to read about South Philly restaurants....

Oct 2, 2005

The Pixies Show, in Charlottesville, Va. Our first time back in Charlottesville since we moved. It was so much fun! We got to visit with lots of friends and the show was great - we got to hang out at the new outdoor concert Pavillion on a gorgeous and crisp autumn evening. After the concert we went to get drinks and who should we find there but the Pixies, all drinking and hanging out at the tabel behind us. Mike could not stop staring. (To Mike, the Pixies rank only second to Pavement for his all-time-favorite band). Here's a photo of (left to right) Kirt, Karin, Mike, Millie Ann and Nicky, just after the show. Posted by Picasa

Sep 26, 2005

Our friends Brendan, Paul and Tiare joined us at our house for dinner on Friday night. Lucky us, Paul and Brendan did all the cooking. It was delicious! Lima Bean puree, Stuffed Pork Chops, Roasted Beet Salad, and Fresh Corn Polenta. For desert, vanilla ice cream and fresh plum compote. YUM!  Posted by Picasa
"Uncle Mike" with our favorite niece, Margaret (aka Maggie) at a recent Dunn family gathering. Isn't she just the cutest? Posted by Picasa

Sep 22, 2005

sidewalk cleaning

Here is something that is so neat about our South Philadelphia neighborhood, and our group of neighbors. A sidewalk cleaning guy happens to live on our block, so when he goes on his tour of the neighborhood on his cleaning machine, he runs the machine down our sidewalks, so basically they get cleaned of debris every Monday and Thursday. On other days, neighbors are out sweeping. How cool is that? Such a change from Belmont (our Charlottesville Virginia neighborhood), where no one seemed to pick up trash, ever.

Sep 21, 2005

The latest "Before" and "After photos

Check out the Before and After Photos of the first floor of our South Philly homestead.

Before and After of Living Room

"BEFORE" (top photos) and "AFTER" (bottom photos) in the new Living Room. We took down the wallpaper and border, ripped up carpets and refinished the floors, moved the fireplace (its an electric, plug in) and replaced the vertical blind with a top down bottom up pleated shade. And of course, stuck our own furniture in there. Doesn't it look so different? Posted by Picasa

Living Room Furniture

So if I were to sum up our overall taste, I'd say it is based on a bunch of hand-me-down danish mid-century modern furniture that my parents gave me. I have always loved this teak modern furniture, and especially its low profile. Two years ago, we added to our "grown up" furniture the Modernica Case Study DayBed. I love the daybed - its very practical and streamlined, and it was great for our very small living room at our house in Charlottesville, although I now question as to why we chose an off-white fabric for it, because that's obviously totally impractical. Last year we added a danish, teak modern buffet to our growing bunch of "grown up" furniture, - I found that at a junk shop in Charlottesville and we both love it. This year, now that our living room feels cavernous, we decided that it was time for some chairs to go with the daybed...and so here they are...we bought these vintage chairs and one other similar one on Ebay a few weeks ago. So for now, this crazy set of chairs will be sitting in the living room. But we plan to recover them in a dark grey or chocolate wool as soon as we can afford it! Posted by Picasa

Sep 16, 2005

We painted our front door a very dark dark purple color, and painted the number placard to match. Our friends Molly and Rolando gave us this adorable doormat to go with the house. Its a contemporary image of a walrus kind of waiving. Its awesome and it totally finishes the entrance off. last week I added a small fir tree to the corner of the sidewalk that's next to our railing. Now it looks "loved" and as cute as the nieghbors' houses! Posted by Picasa
"Before" and "After" photos of the foyer/ entry way. We peeled all the paper, and replaced the light fixture and switchplate. What a huge difference! It feels like a new room!! Posted by Picasa
This is what a lot of the wood floors in the living room looked like. Old linoleum tar or something all over them. Couldn't wait to get them refinished!!! Posted by Picasa
Our dining room "Before" and "After". We peeled the wallpaper borders, and painted. Yes - we like orange, and yes it is the same exact shade of orange from our last dining room wall in our house in Charlottesville... once we painted it, we felt like we were home again! We also replaced the light fixture with something a little more streamlined from Ikea.  Posted by Picasa
This is Mike and my mom helping to rip out the green carpet. We peeled all the wallpaper (finally) and were delighted to find the walls in very good shape. We gave the whole room a coat of paint, a very calm greyish color, called "Navaho Smoke" or something like that. Next on the list was to get the floors refinished, and that happened this week. Photos to come! Posted by Picasa
"before" of the Living room. Note the wallpaper, and border which is also all throughout the second floor hallway. The wallpaper and green carpets and tinfoil vertical blinds made it very very dark in the room. The fireplace is one of those pug-in electric jobbies, so it is moveable! Posted by Picasa
"before" photo of the foyer/entry - This is a close up of the foyer wallpaper and light fixture Posted by Picasa

Sep 8, 2005

mmmmmm. cheesesteaks. Posted by Picasa
Welcome to South Philadelphia. Home of the Cheesesteak. Posted by Picasa

Aug 31, 2005

September 1 update

Okay so we have been busy and remiss in our blogging and photo updates. So sorry.

Here is a quick and dirty update (photos to follow as soon as we find the camera cord):

  1. HOUSE: The new house is looking better. Furniture came (via mambo movers) and we pretty much finished the downstairs (or round 1 of the downstairs) renovations. The carpet is gone, wallpaper is gone and we are awaiting the floor refinishers (week of Sept 12) and new blinds and then the first floor will be pretty well complete. The second floor looks the same, still has wallpaper and everything. On third floor we took out carpets and painted the paneling in one of the rooms. Its quite a transformation. We painted our front door a dark purple and got a really cute doormat. Our neighborhood is terrific. One thing I particularly love is the trees on our block. I also love the proximity to things. We have Faragelli’s bakery on one corner, Ippalito’s fish market on the other corner, and a grocry store, pharmacy and all that jazz three blocks away. We are also located near the Italian Market, which is really an amazing place to discover. All these cheese shops and butcher shops and all this fresh produce and stuff. Pretty cool.
  2. WORK: Mike started his job at the EPA last week. Mike got a teeny weeny studio in Capital hill/ Eastern Market area of Washington DC, and he started on the 22nd of August. So far, the commute and the job have been a tough adjustment (Well who wouldn’t have a hard time adjusting to a desk job after 4 years of non-desk-job jobs and 2 years of school and 3 months of traveling footloose and fancy free?) but we are looking forward to a reunion in Philly this labor day weekend! As for my work (Karin) I am using this opportunity and move to shift my career and get out of the Instructional Design business for a while. I have realized over the last few years that I seriously miss working with others - I have felt rather isolated working on my own without co-workers, and frankly, Instructional Design has not been fun and creative enough for me lately and so, I can just tell that I am ready for a change. So the gist of it is that I have decided to embark on a search for “what’s next” -  I will continue to work, but for the next year, I will work only on a part-time basis so that I can have some time to explore some new directions by meeting with friends and community leaders about new possibilities and maybe even volunteering in the community.  
  3. FAMILY: Our families are doing good. We have nothing much to report!

Aug 12, 2005

Family in the News

So my mom released a research study back in late July, and I am a very proud daughter!
It is all about women who step out of the workforce, and how hard it is for them to re-enter the corporate world. The bottom line is that if you step out and even if you don't intend to go back, you need to stay connected to the business world in one way or another -- It is a very noteworthy and timely topic for many of my friends who have left the workforce to be full-time moms. Here are a few of the articles I have seen about her study:

Aug 9, 2005

Work work work

After a weekend of guests, family events and all kinds of distractions we've gotten back to work.
We've primed the Living room walls (almost entirely) and everything is half painted right now. Last night, we put up our new foyer light and dining room lights from Ikea. We made yet another trip to lowe's. We painted and cleaned some more. And last night for the first night in two weeks, we slept on a bed! What a delight to get a full night's sleep.

Today, we have a lot of the big work still ahead of us that we’d like to get done before Thursday morning, when our movers come to bring all of the rest of our furniture and stuff.

  • Finish painting the living room (its primed, but now the pain needs to go on, 2 coats)
  • Finish touching up the orange in the dining room (Needs another two coats at least but I like how it looks)
  • Paint the dining room walls and windowsills
  • Touch up the foyer paint and trim
  • Touch up kitchen paint at top
  • Take up the carpets on the third floor and on the staircase and bind and put out for tomorrow’s garbage
  • Scrape rest of black tar stuff off the living room floor, pull more staples
  • Clean living room floor up with some Murphy’s Oil
  • Take up all the kraft paper, clean floors up in the first floor
  • Peel paper in our bedroom (Might not happen today)

Aug 3, 2005

Living room today. All the wallpaper is gone and the staples are almost out of the floor. Now we have to prime and clean the floors up before we paint it.  Posted by Picasa
Our living room after we took up the carpet yesterday. That's my mom helping Mike. Both of our moms have been really helpful. Posted by Picasa
Here's our new living room on the first day we moved in. Posted by Picasa

Aug 1, 2005

Back in Philly

So we are home at last!

We arrived on Friday, around 12 noon, and got into our house. At first, I was so stunned by how much dirtier and trashier our neighborhood is than the one in Charlottesville. Both mike and I noticed that right away - how dirty some of the city streets are. Our street, thank goodness is very clean and very filled with trees.

Anyway, we went in the house and at first, it wasn’t as big as we had been imagining, which was really good! The house itself is in great shape, really clean. We can live in it right away, and work on it as we go, so first thing we did was unpack the car and set up camp in our upstairs bedroom. Then my parents came over with steaks and chicken and we went to the storage unit and got out our grill and patio furniture and set it up on the new back patio. Mike’s parents stopped by on their way home from the airport and then my brother Patrick and our friend Steve stopped by too. It was fun. We all ate on the patio sitting on boxes and stuff, and shared some wine. They all loved the house, and it was a great way to celebrate the end of our journey and the beginning of our new journey.

As we have been here, more folks have stopped in and we've gotten started on the wallpaper removal in the downstairs. The great thing is that, unlike the last house, there are no dark and scary places, nothing that worries me and nothing that I cant live with for a few weeks. There are no spider colonies hiding in the closets. The difference I feel in the karma of this house against the other one is pretty dramatic. It feels so much better, more positive. Everything went very smoothly with the purchase and with all the neighbors have been stopping to introduce themselves, which is really different than Charlottesville (Only one neighbor came over to say hello when we moved in and many never ever introduced themselves). It also helps that Mike's brother lives across the street with his partner, Robin...that will be fun! So for many reasons, it already feels so much more like a home than our other street in Charlottesville ever did.

The floors that were under the carpet are not too great and the wallpaper is coming off very slowly. We're about halfway through the living room. Basically, wallpaper removal goes like this:

  1. Score the walls
  2. Spray the walls with Dif
  3. Peel layer 1 of paper off
  4. repeat the process for layer 2 and then try to get all the little pieces off.
  5. Wash the glue off
  6. Sand the wierd spots
  7. Prime it

So needless to say, things are going slowly here -- the foyer wallpaper is all off, and all of the border in the kitchen and dining room. Mike is taking the popcorn ceiling off in the foyer in the morning and then it will all be ready to paint in the foyer. We started peeling the living room paper and I expect that 2 more full days of it and we should have all the downstairs walls ready for painting too. So it is coming slowly, but to be honest, we are doing it somewhat slowly. We are also exploring the nieghborhood and trying to get out at night. My mom and Dave's partner Robin both stopped by yesterday to help which was a HUGE help so we got more done than we would have alone. Today Mike's mom and Aunt Bette came by and dropped off all these tools, rags, ladders and Jersey fresh produce for us.

Otherwise I love the neighborhood and so does Mike. He's happy with the house - and the location and I know he feels that I will be safe here and happy while he is gone all week. And in general both of us feel a lot better about this house than we did about the last spider colonies, no surprises really and lots of good energy. So many neighbors have stopped to say hello and introduce themselves, and our local democratic committee person came over to welcome us and give us voter registration cards. Yesterday morning we walked done to Christian Street for brunch at Sabrins's (Yum it was fantastic!) and as we walked, we ambled through the Italian Market and I could tell that Mike felt excited about having all of that fresh food and gourmet cheeses, meats, his fingertips, which makes me glad.

Okay so in a burst, that’s the scoop. Its great to be here!
p.s. The blogs are going to continue, but in a less frequent (like once a week) way.

Jul 28, 2005

Kansas City, Mo

Bernadette Dunn trying out the Segway in Kansas City, Mo Posted by Picasa

Okay, yes we were singing "goin to Kansas City, Kansas City here we come..."

We arrived in KCMO Wednesday, earlier than planned on Wednesday so we headed to 18th & Brooklyn for some Barbeque at Arthur Bryant's. Those were some tasty ribs!!!! MMMM. The atmosphere reminded us of Tony Luke's in Philadelphia and the food was delicious. Next we headed over to the Plaza which is this amazing outdoor shopping mall and living space community that was built in the 1920s. The tile work on the buildings is amazing, and the weather was great but nicest of all was the company because that is where we met up with Mike's mom, Bernadette who was visiting with her friend Sue, who is a friend from when Mike's parents lived in Kansas City back in the 70's. Sue's daughter Amy, who is our age, and her sons Grant and Nick were also there - the kids were totally adorable and it was fun to watch Mike and Amy catch up. They hadn't seen eachother since a visit during their sophomore year of High School! Anyhow, after walking through the plaza for a while, Bernadette, Mike and I decided to test drive some Segways and I can now tell you from experience, that is a pretty cool toy. Too bad it is $4000 and we live on a street with brick sidewalks!

Later we had a cocktail at Skies, which is a rotating bar on top of the Hyatt hotel with a great view of the city, and then went for a terrific steak (kansas city strip of course) dinner with everyone - Mike's parents, Sue and her partner Bob, Amy and her husband Brian - and that is where really got a chance to visit. KCMO was a great, if brief stop. Perfect ending to a really neat trip full of visits with new and old friends. Photos are forthcoming (because we lost our darn camera cord)!

Today, we're off early and headed back to Philadelphia. Its an 18 hour drive to Philly and so we are probably going to go as far as we can and will plan to stop around 10pm tonight wherever we are and then carry on with the remainder of the drive tomorrow. As we are traveling today, our house settlement is taking place without us there (the miracle of modern technology and a great lawyer has made that possible) so all we will have to do when we get to Philadelphia is pick up our house keys and unload our car into our new home. We can hardly wait. It's been so much fun traveling, and we are sad to see this trip end, but we are also really ready to be home so that we can get moved in and get Mike ready for his new job at the EPA, which begins in mid-August. We're also really excited to see the rest of our clothes... We're kind of tired of wearing the same five outfits!

The Taos Country Inn, our home away from home. Posted by Picasa
Fiestas de Taos - A street festival in Taos, NM Posted by Picasa
That's Mike, Bret and Sarah in front of Bret and Sarah's home in Denver, Colorado Posted by Picasa

Jul 26, 2005

Denver, Co to Taos, NM

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


We seem to have lost our camera cord, so we will be posting the rest of our photos when we get home and can get a new cord!


Denver was a brief but wonderful stop on our trip back East. We stayed with friends Bret and Sarah who hosted a wine tasting at their home the night we arrived. Their home is an adorable 1950 s ranch style house near the cherry creek area of Denver. They have done a great job decorating and as we are soon to be in our new house it was fun to see their before an after photos and think about how the colors they chose would look in our new place.  The wine tasting was a blast. We tasted a Rose, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir and three courses of fondue. We completely overdid it on both fondue and wine which made our Saturday in Denver rather slow moving. We went to a late breakfast and then hung out and caught a late movie – Willy Wonka at the IMAX Theater…our first movie in two months.


The only thing we really didn’t love about Denver was the challenge of driving around Denver and finding our way. The traffic lights are super long there, and the streets very wide boulevards. This makes for massive traffic and congestion. It isn’t exactly an easy place for an outsider to figure out. But the skies were blue and the mountains surrounding the area are really incredible and the company was great.


So we left Denver on Sunday and made our way South to Taos, New Mexico taking a smaller highway to get there. Between Denver and Taos, the landscape really changed dramatically.  We started to see the Sangre de Christo mountains which are red and beautifully different than the Rockies. The sky was cloudy in a really magnificent and dramatic way the whole drive South. When we arrived in Taos, we checked in to the Taos Bed & Breakfast, which is an Inn my family has been visiting for many years, and then we headed out for food and arrived in town just in time for the finale of the Fiestas de Taos, which included a massive crowd and music and lots of partying in the town square. Everyone looked like they were having a great time so we figured we should get caught up and so we went over to the Taos Inn and had a few Margaritas and watched a terrific Latin guitar trio.


Taos is a neat town. Mike commented on how amazing it is that the Spanish/ Mexican influence still  seems to be so strong and untouched here. The place feels like the west, but not the “wild west” – instead it feels like an old Mexican village in many ways and there is a mixture of both English and Spanish language used here. Everything is small scale, and almost all the building are adobe. Adding to the cultural feel is the closeness of Taos Pueblo which is just outside of the main street, and which is still inhabited by Pueblo Indians who live in the traditional way of their ancestors.  Taos families have been here for generations upon generations and then there are zillions of artists who also reside here. Georgia O’Keefe often came to Taos valley to paint and work. Mike thought it was so interesting that they are still building in the vernacular style instead of switching to the standard tract housing that seems to have taken over the rest of America. The new architecture and the new housing developments are not the standard Toll brothers stuff we have seen everywhere else. Instead it is almost all adobe housing here, with traditional details and ornately carved doors and posts. There are also lots of “off the grid” earthships, straw bale houses and rammed earth houses. This is a funky community of artists, old timers, skiers and it is just neat. Everyone should visit Taos at least once.  


So after some hiking, exploring, sight seeing and a fabulous dinner at Lamberts, we will leave Taos today and head East again. For the ride home, we bought the new Harry Potter book on CD. Its 19 hours and we are 4 hours in, trying to savor it and stretch it out for the long stretches of road between Taos and Philadelphia. So far, it is very captivating!  We plan to make three more stops…Kansas, Missouri and West Virginia, and then we hope to return to Philadelphia by the weekend.




Jul 22, 2005

The Swing Shot

Yesterday's thrill in Glenwood Springs, Colorado was an unexpected one. We boarded the Swing Shot at Glenwood Caverns -- the swing is 1,300 feet above the Colorado River, and after they strap you in, they pull you pack with a giant rubber band until you are almost laying down. Then the slinshot is released and you launch into the Glenwood Canyon. They say you reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour, as you swing out backwards over the canyon. I will tell you from personal experience that this is the scariest freaking ride. Posted by Picasa

We also rode the canyon flyer, where you race 3,400 down the mountainside, between the trees, and fly around the curves. Using levers, you control your own speed as you race down the steel tracks. This alpine coaster is apparently the first in the United States, and it was way way less scary!

Jul 21, 2005

Grand Junction, Colorado

After our GRUELING and sweaty 6 mile round trip hike and swim at the waterfall in Utah, we found a delightful coffeshop called Kiva Koffehouse, along Byway 12. We stopped for some raspberry iced tea and a blackberry bucke dessert. It was a great break in a gorgous stone coffehouse built on the top and into the side of a mountain in the middle of a huge canyon. The man who built it designed it and built it himself and it was like a calm, southwestern oasis after the hike, and I didnt want to leave!! It was so civilized. So after that nice break, we changed out of sweaty clothing and continued on Scenic Byway 12, through Utah. Then we took 24 north til we hit interstate 70. It was the first big interstate we had seen since the beginning of July. Now we are headed East, officially.

We will go to Denver by way of Vail today and tomorrow we will have a visit with our good friends Bret and Sarah before we head to New Mexico. Some of you have called asking about forest fires. We haven't seen any, except one "prescribed burn" area yesterday in Utah. The heat is unbelievable though. Our car is faring well and we are feeling excited to be on the last leg, heading into the last full weekend of our journey. I can't believe it but it will have been 45 days on the road when all is said and done.
Yesterday we hiked 3 miles into Calf Creek Canyon at 104 degrees in full sun. When we got there, we encountered this lovely Pool and waterfall. We went swimming. It was freezing!!! Posted by Picasa
Bryce at Sunset. Temperature was 104. Posted by Picasa
Bryce Canyon National Park. We had a really long day of driving through Nevada. It was not one of my best days, but once we saw Bryce, the bad day was forgotten. Posted by Picasa