Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Lovely Visit

B and I took a little trip to see some old friends yesterday. Ryan, one of maybe 5 people from high school I genuinely prize, came up from LA, and we met him at his parents gorgeous Camano Island home. I had big plans to snap many a-photo of my son in the arms of these much beloved (and rarely seen) people. Somehow I managed to take a grand total of 2 pictures featuring just one much beloved (and perpetually seen) person. B was in a veritable wonderland. Give the child rocks and water and he's golden, add a partner in crime, and it's rapture. Ryan, who may be a distant descendant of Peter Pan, not only skipped stones and heaved boulders into the Sound to the glee of his audience, but proved himself expert in the areas of Duplo building, wrestling, pillow fighting and slapstick pratfalls. The squeals and guffaws coming from my serious, shy son were such a rare delight I couldn't bring myself to mind my chopped liver status.

Lynn and Jim treated us to a toothsome salmon dinner with green beans and this ridiculous caramelized onion and sweet potato thing that I went all wild rumpus on. Oh god, so delicious. I conversed, consumed, imbibed, beheld, conversed some more, and treated myself to a general sense of anachronism. It's been nearly a calendar decade (and psychological lifetimes) since I became a regular at their house, but it could have been last week judging by the warmth and ease of the visit. It was wonderful. They are wonderful. Of course I'm hoping not quite so much time passes between this visit and the next, but there's a great levity in knowing that, should it be years, we will pick up right where the Taco Sunday era left off.

If you guys are reading this, thanks for such a fantastic evening, not that I've ever had anything but fantastic with you. I have all the love in the world for you, and now so does B. In fact he pointed to my car out the window and asked if we could "go to Ryan and his mom's and his dad's house right now. No Mama! Right Now!" Maybe not right now, but I hope soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Because Laughter is the Best Medicine...

...and because mustachioed monster heads are a whole lot funnier than a peptic ulcer (which I have) or prescription antacids (which I have to take,) these little guys , and the sketches that led to their creation, came to pull me from my gastrointestinal gloom.What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. B had a lot of input on these drawings, hence the mustaches, and enjoyed the sketching phase as much as the final product. And for icing, the results of our little photo shoot had us both in stitches, particularly the photos starring Jasper Cat (who handled the indignity with aplomb, what can I say? he's a pro.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grandpa goes Van Gogh

My incredible, over the top family threw a costume Oscar party, which we had to miss due to geographical complications. My cousin just sent a few photos from the affair and this one is BY FAR my favorite. That's my Grandpa as Van Gogh post ear-event. My Grandpa? the viking? the wallflower? the quiet genius? the behind the scenes (and ALWAYS behind the scenes) supporter of all the wackiness that ensues around him? I'm not saying he's not a good sport, he's a most excellent sport, but I've never seen him do anything to draw attention to himself. And I've never ever seen him in costume. I'm a little miserable that we missed this, it appears to have been an amazing evening, but if anything can cheer me up it's this picture.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Holy Cable Knit Owl Pocket, Batman!

So, I've embraced my knitter novice status and decided to postpone the full owl sweater until I have a few more skeins under my belt. Instead I'm working on a sweater vest with this little pocket. It's made from a fairly simple cable pattern that I put together from a few different online patterns. Mostly here and here. I finished it a week ago and was waiting to post until I had more of the body to show as well, but here we are and the body is simply a wide swath of green freckled with bungles and bloopers. I just figured I may as well celebrate small victories. It didn't photograph very well, daylight would've helped, and the features of the cable owl will be more pronounced once I add some detail work. I'll post more as this progresses. And thanks to the finger puppets for their modeling work and for doubling the meaning of "owl pocket."
And in other happy knitting news, The Great Catsby approves of my new hobby, and his is the final word in household goings on.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In which the Roof becomes a Terrace

Our real Valentine gift/project was this little sitting area on our roof. At first I had fantasies about sharing my little rooftop planters and my gardening duties with my son, but upon realistic reflection I had to admit just how NOT childproofed it is out there. After I got over my disappointment I realized the potential of having an adult-only space, a Lego free zone trimmed with inspiring breakable things in which to write and knit and drink wine and watch the sky, which looked like this today.
This roof is a huge part of why we rented this place, the view another huge part. We both appreciate the beauty of the crumbling smokestacks juxtaposed with the San Juan Islands. Somewhere along the way we've come to take it for granted, but $12.50 at the Bakerview Nursery and a few bucks at the Re-Store has rekindled our affection.
I planted primroses, pansies, an azalea, English daisies, ranunculus and a prairie fire grass. I adore them all and love the life and color they brought to the brick and blacktop. Though I have to say my current favorite part of my haven are my moss planters. I've been so inspired by the moss terrariums that have been popping up all over BlogLand, so I harvested some of the pest mosses thriving without invite on an amalgam of industrial and organic debris on the roof. They're now living in old birdfeeders, ice cream glasses and jars I've been collecting, and are adorned with various hardware, lightbulbs etc. I'm hoping to have a little chat with my favorite horticulturist this week to figure out what I can do to keep these guys happy in this relatively extreme environment, and to see about the addition of some climbing plants (my favorites- and Darwin's.) I'm so happy, so inspired, so looking forward to spending time out there as they days get longer and warmer.

A RickRollin' Good Valentine

Last night, after I had tucked B in, I settled in to my night-night routine of putzing around online just outside the bedroom door while he squirms and murmurs himself to sleep. Sitting in the dark with my headphones becomes like a sensory deprivation unit, or maybe more like a sensory elevation unit that heightens my responses to the audio visual input from my computer (hence Roswell.) On this particular evening, after a simply splendid mellow day with my family, when all was calm and quiet, I went to check this here blog and found myself instead enjoying the sweet sounds (and sweeter moves) of Rick Astley. I was in tears in seconds, trying to keep my laughter silent. I've never been so expertly pranked. It was brilliantly executed by my brilliant Zion who knows exactly what to get the girl who openly scoffs at roses and jewelry. It's my favorite Valentine to date. Never gonna give you up, ZB.

the Morning After

We had a wonderfully relaxing Valentine's day (details to come soon) and are still feeling the love this morning. B and I were treated to fluffy heart shaped "Daddus"-style pancakes topped with raspberries and blackberries. Are we spoiled or what?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Funny Valentine

Check out this amazing Valentine gnome hat hand made for the Manster by his beloved Shirley Bear. It's one of the sweetest things I've encountered. And though he was all Valentine giggles with Ella Bear last night, apparently his Walrus love is no laughing matter. So Happy Emo Valentines Day from us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Digital

A few months ago Zion woke up in the middle of the night, looked right at me and said "it's digital!" I laughed. My husband, despite his size and strength, his aggressive protector/provider instinct, his intimidating scowl and his Gregory Peck meets Robert Taylor face, is a HUGE NERD right down to his very id. It's been one of our favorite jokes, but recently I've begun to suspect that those two words were more sensible than somnolent.

Last September I fell, hard, for pen on vellum with dry pastels on the back. The color comes through the transparent vellum like aether without compromising the orderly pen lines. Since, however, I've felt a certain disconnect between the images in my head and my output. The drawings lack luminosity, my personal holy grail. Adding dark sacrifices the transparency, keeping it light sacrifices the depth, other media sacrifices the surface texture. What's the answer? It's digital!

It turns out ink jet printer ink is almost completely transparent, and after I got over the feeling that I was cheating (I didn't just photocopy my art, did I?) I was floored. Scanning the original vellum drawing, printing it onto vellum and then adding more pastel to the back yielded such a gorgeous result. After working with watercolor, inks, dye on cottons and silks, I've found the next weapon in my luminous crusade is stored in angular black plastic cartridges. It's almost unfathomable, but it is digital. Next time he talks in his sleep I'm taking notes.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Today was lovely and I live in a lovely place.

Abducted by Aliens

On Sunday February 2, the day when the football widows of the world were celebrating the end of the season, Zion was experiencing a whole new form of spousal absenteeism. It involves Hulu, headphones and high school aliens.

Sorry, dear blog, for not tending to you, but it I've spent the last 7 evenings in Roswell, New Mexico. Amelia sums it all up here. Thanks Tia, for being the words in my useless tightened throat.