Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blood Splattered Vampire and Wingless Garden Fairy

I like to think that I'm a realist.  That I'm grounded.  That I'm easy going.  That I make the most of any situation.  With the exception of every holiday of the year.  On holidays, I turn into a drill sergeant marching my family through a SUPER FUN day.  I caught myself, reeled myself in, made peace with Marguerite's refusal to wear her fairy wings and Genevieve's selective approach to trick-or-treating.  My vampire princess and wingless fairy rode the highs and lows of a sugar filled day like champions. 


Sorry, Genevieve, that of the hundreds of parents of kids from your school, your mom was the only one who assumed you should wear your costume to school. Steep learning curve. Your fake blood and liquid eyeliner look awesome, though.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

House Project: Sparkie

When we first started renovating our building and turning it in to a home we ran out of money right as we were choosing lighting.  A few can lights and one monstrosity of a fan/light have seen us through for the last seven years.  Lighting.  The time is now.

Our house can be a shape changer, from comfort to construction zone in thirty seconds.  

We live in a schoolhouse, therefore we must have a schoolhouse pendant light.  It would be rude not to:

We no longer have a darkened doorway:

Next up:  four schoolhouse sconces, a new front door and a partridge in a pear tree.

Blanchard, Fake Blood and Glitter

Note to self:  Don't do the dress rehearsal for Genevieve's Halloween makeup the day before school pictures, especially if it involves liquid eyeliner.

Here we are getting ready to go to the Halloween Party at Blanchard Community Hall. 

It was our first time there and made me want to learn more about the history of Blanchard, our neighboring tiny town with a past as colorful as Edison's.

Photo Credit: Blanchard Community Club

Drew and his assertive helpers carved pumpkins, gearing up for our spookiest Halloween yet. 

Wait til you see all of the fake blood Genevieve is planning on incorporating into her vampire outfit.  I had to talk her down from buying the gallon size jug of it at Party City.  Marguerite is sticking with glittery hairspray and her fairy wand, periodically peering at her sister with her slightly worried big brown eyes and saying, "your blood is disgusting to me." 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


We met Grandma Margaret and Grandpa Bob for ice cream in Oak Harbor and made a lovely discovery.  City Beach!  I've never really taken in what Oak Harbor has to offer until today.  Ancient and beautiful oak trees.  A renovated and pedestrian friendly historic downtown.  Expansive beaches.  The girls played at a playground a stones throw from the beach while Drew and I beach combed and took it all in.

I can't leave a beach without a pocket full of something to take back to my garden. 

Salty me,

always happiest by the sea.

Sharpie Genius

It's never happened before.  Me, handing G a sharpie marker, then turning my back and moving on to something else.  Nothing good happens with five-year-olds and permanent markers.  Until today.  Today, she grabbed two pumpkins, studied them, and came up with happy/sad/ghost faces. 

(I know I'm her mom, but.....) Brilliant!

Friday, October 18, 2013

One Word


Old Fir Floors and New Wool Slippers

Eight years ago, when we first bought our building, there were many mysteries to be solved about this old place.  One of them was determining if the floors that looked like this:

Could be resurrected into something beautiful....and liveable.

A truck load of sawdust and a few brain rattles from endless sanding later,  and here's where we landed.

Beautiful?  Yes.  Livable?  Mostly....

You see, there are big splinter making cracks here and there.  And a general chill.

It's taken me until today to do the practical thing, the simple thing, the logical thing, the common sense approach...and buy slippers!

I am now 100% more comfortable in my home.  If you have a similar disconnect with comfort, take your toes to Stowe's, support a local business, and buy some wool slippers.  Stat.

Dirty Socks and Chardonnay

Some days start off looking like this:

Which causes me to want to indulge in this:

Which I never do, because a bottle of chardonnay at 7 a.m. is never a good idea.  

I recognize bitching about endless laundry to be a played out mom cliche.  The missed hamper, though, is a real tipping point.  Thank you, mom blog, for this platform of public shaming.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Searching for Eyes in the Dark

G asked for days to go searching for wild animals in the dark.  I ducked and weaved, avoided and distracted, deferred, ignored.  Meeting wild animals in the dark, you see, is really not my thing.  Finally, on a foggy, rainy, extra dark evening, I folded.  We put on our raincoats and boots, grabbed our flashlights with perpetually dim-to-almost-dead batteries, and trekked off into the wilds of the neighboring industrial forest.  Duluth Timber is on the grounds of a former slaughter house.  Full of stories of fermenting blood pools waiting to seep out into the slough, creepy abandoned trailers and cars, windowless gray buildings, and stack upon stack of beautiful old beams, waiting to be resurrected. 

I was conflicted the whole time.  I wanted to spot a "wild animal" for Genevieve's sake.  She brought a book home for the library full of googly glowing eyes in the dark jungle of Madagascar and was compelled to see glowing eyes for herself.  Yet, I didn't want to spot a wild animal, because it most likely would have been a startled skunk or scurrying rat - and both of those things are on the top of my list of undesirable encounters.

As we looped our way back through the last row of the lumber yard Genevieve's rapidly wilting dreams came true.  I WILD rabbit darted and jumped, made eyes with our flashlights and fled to the cover of a blackberry bush. 

My best wild animal counter to date.

Bulbs In

I had a couple of rare daylight hours to myself and spent it well in the garden.  I was tucked in behind the mammoth buddleia weeding, hidden from Edison visitors strolling by now that my front bed has really become dense and established.  I enjoy watching people look up at the gallery from the street, debate whether or not to go in, hesitant and skeptical they pull open the heavy front door.  Twenty minutes later they emerge, and I get to hear their reactions as they download to each other what they experienced.  It makes me proud of Wes and Drew, hearing people talk about how beautiful their work is, what an amazing space for an art gallery we have, and all in this little town?  Who knew! 

I planted forty crocus bulbs.  Planting bulbs is something I've never done, but every February when crocus pop up in other people's gardens I'm regretful of my lack of early spring interest. 

I poured myself a glass of wine and settled in to blog this evening, but first finally remembering to read my Mom's latest gardening column.  A lovely coincidence to round out my day, reading about her planting bulbs in her own garden.  You should read it too, here

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Serendipitous Bounty

We went back to Gordon Skagit Farms to pick apples to send to my parents.  Alaska doesn't have an apple growing climate, and the sweet crisp apples of my parents' New York childhoods are missed this time of year.  My friend Stacey works at the farm and asked if I had a minute, that the pears were just now ready and she'd go pick a few from the orchard.  While she zipped off on a four wheeler the girls and I relived the pumpkin patch:

G carefully wrapped each piece of fruit and put this picture of our family pictures on top so it would be the very first thing they saw when they opened their package:

The post office has a way of making us feel not so far away.

Drew came home from work carrying a bucket full of dungeness crab.  "I fixed the stock on an oldtimer's gun at the shop, and he stopped by with crab in return."

Just ripe pears and fresh crab = a serendipitous day.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

House Project: Heavy Lifting

Sometimes I'm indecisive.  Sometimes  I change my mind about where extremely heavy things should go.  Sometimes said extremely heavy things can't be reached by the forklift.  So, Drew and Peter, like two Egyptian slaves using pyramid building technology, move huge ass chunks of concrete for me.  Just sometimes.

Here is where the concrete Union High School sign and concrete corner have landed.  Hopefully forever.  No promises.


Wearing Orange at Gordon Skagit Farms

Uh-oh, some dork wore an orange shirt to the pumpkin patch.  Bad coincidence.

It was the Festival of Family Farms in the valley this weekend, so we visited Gordon Skagit Farms' pumpkin patch.  What an amazing place!  Once we grappled with and accepted the reality of picking out pumpkins with an EXTREMELY tired Marguerite in tow, we had a lovely afternoon.  Thank goodness for my ergo pack for lose-your-shit-meltdown times like this.

Drew gallantly pushed the wheelbarrow with two flat tires into the fields.  Is there a wheelbarrow anywhere in the world that doesn't have a flat tire?  Because I'd like to use it.

Marguerite and I had fun arranging them when we got home.

And speaking of orange things, look at this pot roast I made with vegetables from the garden. 

Fall.  Pumpkins.  Comfort food.  Temper tantrums.  Extreme autumnal outfits.  We've got our seasonal bases covered.