Aside from the usual, not much is going on at Casa West this week. But I did want to share something that’s making me happy lately:

Bicknell Avenue

I’ve run hundreds of miles, back and forth, on this path. It’s where I trained for my marathon in 2006 and where I developed the chronic achilles tendonitis a few years later that plagues me to this day. For a few years, Mick and I ran this path together (well, separately, because he runs much faster than I do, but together because we were on the path at the same time). But when we moved to Venice we got out of the habit. The distance to the path, though not far, required a car or a bike ride, and instead I joined a gym nearby. Mick pretty much stopped exercising altogether.

But our trip to Peru and our Wayna Picchu climb were good reminders for both of us that it’s incredibly important that we do what we can to stay in shape. I want to be skiing down mountains when I’m 80, after all. Though by nature I tend toward laziness and inertia, I can’t imagine not being able to do the things I want to do because I’ve allowed myself to become too sedentary. It’s no longer solely about my weight or appearance, it’s about enjoying life as much as I can, for as long as I can.

I’m happy to say that in recent weeks, Mick and I have begun running this path again. It’s great to have regular access to a gym and its equipment, but running outdoors is something that just can’t be duplicated on a treadmill. It’s harder, but it’s so much more rewarding. I’m getting close to running 3 miles without stopping to walk, which is my first benchmark for being in some sort of shape. Mick, of course, can already do it, and is working on his speed at the moment.

Mick and Holly Run
We earned that sweat, yo

So that’s what we’re up to. Do you have any plans, big or small, for this summer?

Any writer whose honest about the subject will tell you that the real secret to getting the job done is simple: Get your butt in the chair and keep it there until you’ve got something written. But what if that chair is uncomfortable and not worthy of cradling your precious bootie? Such was the case for me until this past Wednesday, when I got a lovely new desk chair.

Knoll Pollock Executive Chair

What we have here, folks, is a vintage Knoll Pollock Executive Chair. Designed by Charles Pollock for Florence Knoll in 1963, it was an “instant success” and has become one of the “best-selling office chairs in history.”

The thing is, I’m not as much of a modern design buff as I pretend to be, and the Pollock chair wasn’t on my radar at all until this past Wednesday. I’m sure I’d seen versions of it in the past, but it never really caught my eye. My goal was to someday get a vintage Herman Miller Time-Life Executive chair, which is much more recognizable.

Vintage Time-Life Executive Chair

The thing is, even a vintage version of this chair is in the $1000+ dollar range. A brand-new model is over $3000. Mama doesn’t have that kind of cash to throw around on chairs, people.

For the past two years I’ve been sitting in a relatively stylish but cheap knock-off I bought for less than $200 at Office Depot:


The problem is that the chair looked good, but in less than 2 years of full-time use, I had metal poles poking up at me through the seat. This was a very sad-making situation. I didn’t want to buy a cheap new chair that was in my budget because I knew in two years I’d just be doing it again. And yet I didn’t want to invest in a super-spendy dream chair either. My solution was to keep my crappy-ass chair and troll Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy for an affordable vintage Time-Life Executive chair (or something similar). Alas, the search was fruitless for many months. Until…

On Wednesday, I happened upon a website called that sells vintage furniture via independent vendors. I had little hope I’d find an affordable chair, as most of what they sell is out of my price range even if it is vintage. But I found a listing for a Pollock Executive chair. It was $375 but located in Texas, which would’ve added to the cost if you factored in shipping. There were a few more listings for the chair, all of which were around the same price. Further research showed that a vintage model of the chair, which retails new for about $2000, is generally available in the $200-$600 range, depending on the condition and the materials. As it turns out, the Pollock chair, while well-designed and iconic, isn’t nearly as popular as similar chairs designed during that period, and thus, it’s less in demand, meaning that I might be able to find one I could afford.

“I can work with this,” I thought.

That very day I found a listing on Craigslist for a black leather version of the chair and it was a STEAL at $275. I convinced Mick it would be worth his while to trek down to Orange County that evening to check it out, and lo and behold, we came back with my beautiful, new-to-me, chair.

It’s black leather, with a blessedly plump seat and no metal bars to poke me. And it’s in fantastic condition, with (hopefully) many more years of use to go.