Sunday, December 31, 2006

Buy a Banana From a Beatnik

I love this photo even though it was taken with a cell phone.

Mom and I drove down to Portland on Thursday morning to visit with her girlfriends, Ross and Margie. Mom, Ross and Margie all lived together in San Francisco in their twenties, so I was hoping for some good stories, like the one about the catch phrase that appears as the title here.

I'll admit I was a little disappointed that several decades later, they are still the best keepers of each others secrets... maybe there was one little story about a motorcycle trip with a guy named Bill, and some stuff about using tissue paper for curtains because they were too poor to buy any, but I know there was a lot more they didn't give up. Especially since from my bed on the couch in the living room, I listened in on the gossip that happened in the kitchen the next morning and the phrase "love child" was used more than once, and there was also something about the police, a mental breakdown and a peignor. Don't worry, none of the ladies in the photo above were the protagonists of those stories.
Mom had already told me that the blog reminds them of their adventures in SF, so I knew that mom had (surprise!) passed along the blog address to Ross. I have to tell you, she is a very high quality fan to have. Before we arrived at her pretty Portland home for a fantastic dinner, I was told that she reads the blog every morning - sits down with coffee, the New York Times and Shameless Self Promoters. She's one of those people who does the NY Times crossword puzzle in pen, and can sit down and read a novel in a day. She was charming, as was her husband, who held his own at dinner with these, um, exuberant girlfriends. And since I have, for some reason, been having a hard time with the blogging since I got back from CO, it was nice to have the encouragement. Ross, I'll try not to let you down!

Margie is her own fabulous story. I confess that one of the things I loved most about her was that she swears like a sailor, always to maximum comic effect. She's a knitter too, and I suspect that she could teach this Stitch and Bitch generation the meaning of the phrase. I mean that in the best possible way, of course. Every year Margie makes herself a sweater for her birthday. I love that tradition. She also took us to the best french bakery and to a yarn store that I would never have found without her. You know how that will endear me to a person. And then there was her little Lola. Oh Lola! Here's more Lola. There's no such thing as too much Lola.

I Fell in Love. I Fell Hard.

With Lola, Margie's three month old puppy. It was like being on Cute Overload all day long. There was scampering, and frolicking, not to mention snorgling. Now there's just that small matter of the piddling... It's always gotta be something, doesn't it?

More tomorrow on my adventures with Mom in Portland, when I've had just a wee bit more sleep and some coffee. And recovered a little from the heartbreak of separation.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fun with Fake Food

Mmmm... fakey

So, in my new life of no sugar and no carbs and no coffee and TOTAL virtuousness, I have come to realize that there was just one thing that I was really, reeeeeaaaallllly missing.

Spaghetti and meatballs.

See, I could have the sauce and the meatballs (organic, non-hormone fed turkey meatballs but still!) However, the spaghetti part of it was out of the question. Even whole wheat spaghetti which - lets just admit it - isn't really the same thing or nearly as good anyways, is beyond me.

I also can't really have the glass of deliciously succulent tangy red wine that should go with the spaghetti and meatballs. Egh.

Suffer suffer suffer

In the sugar free non-sweets eating thing I have been fine. I don't even eat the fake sweet things because a) I don't usually like the fake taste and b) the last thing my body needs is more chemicals.

But in the lack of pasta thing I am suffering. Okay, the lack of bread sucks too.

So last night, in a desperate attempt to quell the craving, I made spaghetti squash with meatballs and I have to say, it worked. Spaghetti squash tastes nothing like actual spaghetti, but it worked.

And spaghetti squash is surprisingly fun food too. Fun to make that is. But that's because it is really so weird. I mean, squash that comes out looking like spaghetti?

And I had a nice glass of seltzer with tri-berry juice as my fake wine. Mmmm... tangy.

Mmmm... purty

Then this morning I had some delicious tea with a fake flower floating in it and that was good too! Not only was it delicious and entertaining for me, but people kept stopping by and asking me what I was drinking. It was the Heaven Blossom.

It was fun food too! I mean, it was fun to watch it blossom. Thank you for such a cool gift!

So it seems that I will live, despite the dire dietary restrictions.

I even had the energy to brave the Saks After Christmas Sale... which is another story.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So this is Christmas...

So I feel as though I have evaporated into this haze of regular work, book design work, holiday shopping and doctors appointments. I don't even know where the time goes, but I am shocked at how long it's been since I was here!

Christmas in Vermont was fun. We had Christmas Eve in Connecticut with Euge's Aunt and Uncle and their kids and Carolyn and Ernie. They do an epic italian dinner with frutta di mare, antipasti, linguini with clam sauce, lobster, baby artichokes and tenderloin. Accompanied by vats of red wine. Followed by all the Christmas cookies you could conceive of consuming.

It was fun, but I have to imagine that the entertainment of watching a two-year-old slosh around in mary jane galoshes outstrips the semi-drunken antics of Euge's younger cousin.

And, of course, I couldn't have the linguini or the cookies, but man did I destroy the frutta di mare, lobster and tenderloin.

Then we drove up to Vermont with Ernie and Carolyn. We got in super late and I didn't get up Christmas morning until alomost ten AM.

Can you imagine that EVER happening when we were kids?

So, Euge mucked around all day on his woodshop that he's building, see above. He's got the roof on now. I mucked around in the house - and decorated our tree with the ornaments Mom sent!

And shockingly, none of us opened any presents until dinner time.

And then I got all sorts of good stuff. And that was just like Christmas! I got gold bangles from Carolyn and a beautiful ring that could knock your eye out from Euge. I got earrings and socks and lip stuff and a wine stopper and a gift certificate for books from Mom... and apparently I have more goodies arriving this week!

Christmas all week long!

I got your package with the blooming teas, which I can't wait to try - but I needed to ask you if they were decaf or not... and I got about 15 pounds of South Dakota snack foods from Grandma Ellen - lots of cheese and moose sausage! You know how I lurve me some sausage!

And soon, fingers crossed, my vacuum cleaner - just like Dakota's thankyouverrrymuch - will arrive from Grandma Lois.

Hee! A vacuum cleaner!

Anyhoo, I am very happy with my Christmas. Even if there wasn't any snow.

Hopefully there will be some for New Years, and I will watch it fall as I sit in front of the fire, snacking on some moose. Posted by Picasa

Blogging is the secret to cleaning

I know, it's blurry but it's late, I needed a photo and am too lazy to take any more

It's true - try it some time. Once you start blogging, then you want to take nice pretty photos of things. But before you can take nice pretty photos of things, you might, if you are like me, have to clean up a little. Today I did some cleaning, including (you won't believe this) organizing my wrapping paper. Seriously. I've got some good wrapping paper, but before today it was strewn across both the living room and the kitchen floors, and as pretty as it is, it really didn't look good there. I also did dishes, and knit a little on a sock (which I am starting to suspect I might be knitting for myself, since I cast on for it without knowing whose it was and I still don't know... maybe it belongs to someone out there reading... it's green and brown and yellow, self-patterning, and honestly, I don't know why it's the sock I'm knitting now, I have other more important socks to knit... anyway, let me know if you read this and think "maybe that's MY sock she's knitting!") and did some shredding which was just too too dull and then thank god my writing friend Lillian called me and so I went and met her for some truffle gratin potatoes and rhubarb soda.

Have I told you before about how I love love Lillian? She had a clip in her hair that was so so cute, and I found myself looking at it and wondering "when she cut her hair like that, did she KNOW that she was going to be able to put a cute clip in it like that? how did she figure out to put the clip in that way?" and she had hand warmers with red buttons on them that she knew I would like, and she was right, and she said very sensible things about jinxes and how we are going to make bad choices, but it's how we handle our bad choices, yes, she's right, and we talked about how blogging is weird because it's not the kind of writing you revise a lot, or it seems too precious, but then again, maybe you don't want to just write completely off the top of your head... and then my head hurt and I decided to just not worry about that too much, since usually what I do is just revise the stuff that I liked writing and let the rest of it be what it is. It's hard to be inspired every day.

Then I got to drive her home and see her very cute new house, which she and John painted excellent colors inside, like chocolate brown for their cozy bedroom, and I admired her collection of juice glasses with the old-fashioned flowers on them and I especially enjoyed seeing the wall that John covered with framed James Bond album covers. That wall looked so good. Have I told you before about how I love John too? He told me it was a nice party the other night and I think he meant it. I hope so, because I want them to come back next time. They made the party look more fun by eating all the cheese. You need guests like that if you are going to have a party. I mean it. If you go to a party, be sure to eat stuff. It makes it look like everything was really good, and the hostess will appreciate that.

And yes, this morning I did go to the coffee shop, where I learned that single tall lattes have been ruined for me due to the fact that Bobby and Andy decided they were going to gang up on me and start serving me doubles without my permission. Katrina is much more gentle with me, so she actually ASKED me what I wanted to drink before that bully Andy could change it. So I had her make me a single and then found myself thinking "hmm... this really is a bit anemic..." and then when I realized that I had finished the single and still hadn't made much progress on the story I was writing, I ordered a second latte and went for the double. Andy's eyes got real big when I told him what I wanted, and I think maybe he was considering whether he was really authorized to put that much caffeine into my little body, but he made it anyway.

And maybe that's why I'm up at 1:00 in the morning writing on the blog. It's either that, or I've gone back to Tasmania time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What's In Store For Tomorrow

Oh, I miss the blog. I pledge to devote more time and attention to the blog now that my first two weeks at home are over. The blog must be fed. I missed some good stuff through my laziness, but I won't go into that in case I get inspired to catch you all up.
Tomorrow is the day when I will catch up with myself. I'm off work all week, so I'll actually have time to dig out from underneath all the scraps of wrapping paper, the laundry that is currently piled on my bed and the boxes of yarn that have not found a permanent home since returning from Colorado. I haven't touched the book since I've been home, and in spite of my neglect, I am grateful to report that it is still calling my name. Tomorrow morning, I'll call back to it by packing up my notebooks, along with some of the manuscripts that have come back to me in the last week, then head down to Fiore to see Andy about a latte and some raisin toast.
The wrapping paper can wait!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Presence

Hey readers, have you all met Camryn before? She's an important person in the Malcolm Sisters' world - she's our niece, the daughter of our step-sister, Crista. Here's a shot of her in the new wellies I gave her. I think these boots might be the best Christmas present I gave this year, mostly because it was really entertaining for me to watch her pull them on as soon as she opened them, and then clomp around looking silly. You all should know by now how much I love the silly. I bought the boots a size too big so that added to the effect. Camryn's at that great age where she doesn't completely get the full extent of the Christmas thing. What this means is that when she opened a present and got a baby doll, she was just totally into the baby doll, absorbed by playing with it, and unaware that there was a whole pile of gifts behind it, waiting for her to open them. I loved being witness to that - may we all be so easily satisfied with our gifts. This year, I have to say, I was.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve

Look, I'm grinning so hard it's silly. This must have been when we were still up by 4. Sigh...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Bad Blogger

I'm at work too. Actually, no, I'm not, it's 10:30 and I'm home for the day, but I was at work earlier. I was. Here's the proof. My lunch. I really missed sashimi while I was in Colorado.

That's it. Yep. That's all I have to say tonight. I like your Katie Holmes impression, Ali. Oh, no, wait, I do have something else to say. No, I didn't feel like a bad babysitter at Pam's house. Actually, that was one of the funny things about it, I've never felt that comfortable in someone else's home. You should feel strange in my apartment though, that's what happens when you snoop around and read people's journals and look at their lingerie pillow fight polaroids. Those were under the bed for a reason, Ali. Not to look at, to be HIDDEN!

You better not have scanned anything.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Bad Babysitter

This is my imitation of Katio Holmes shopping. Does she ever do anthing but look at shoes at Barneys?

Anyhoo, I am at work right now, or rather at my freelance work.

My clients are out seeing Alvin Ailey and they left me home alone at their studio to work on the new book. I was just sitting here eating my dinner (seared tuna with salad and a light ponzu sauce - they feed me well at this job!) when suddenly I had this overwhelming memory of what it felt like when I was a teenaged babysitter.

After the kids would be in bed, I would be watching TV and eating ice cream or something, and I would get this sensation of how weird it was inhabiting someone else's house when they weren't there.

I felt that a bit in your apartment, though it seemed so familiar to me. I wonder, did you feel that at Pam's?

Um, I should get back to work now.


ps. Sent your prezzies to Mom's, she should get them tomorrow. I know which one you will like best! Hee!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Few More Entries For The Wall of Fame

Where did all the bloggers go? It was a busy weekend here, so busy that I still have wine glasses to wash from Saturday night, even though I also hosted book club on Sunday. All the photos from the weekend were Polaroids, which didn't lend themselves to a blog entry when I considered writing one yesterday afternoon.

You can see that these Polaroids are not the Polaroids you would have seen from a cocktail party thrown by the Malcolm Sisters ten years ago in NYC. No one really looks loaded, or half-naked, or salacious. And the kids, there were so many kids! I especially enjoyed Todd saying "want to see Miles' new baby trick?" and then using Miles as a percussive instrument. Todd's and Suzanne's daughter Nadine enjoyed the chaise longue and went back for more sweets and more sweets until finally Suzanne said "Oh, what the hell, I don't care," and laughed her infectious laugh. Nichole and Bryan's daughter Sophia petted Miles, and chatted up Lillian, and best of all, my birthday baby smiled at his mom, Jenn.
And no one called anyone a jackass, or said "In my country, they'd cut your throat for a gun like that!" or "You'll wake up dead!". I'm just sayin'. Some things have changed.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't Panic!!

I am not dead under a tree. The Queenview was dark and cold this morning though, and last night was a bit of an adventure. In general, I have gotten very little sleep this week as a result of the wind that I keep describing as the sound of a vacuum cleaner being run all night long outside my windows and... other things. The ways that I have personally suffered in the last 24 hours include:

- 2 hour drive home in torrential, windshield wipers on high still can't keep up kind-of rains
- watching the Seahawks, oh, it was shameful, oh the misery!
- taking a cold cold shower this morning
- no Fiore! power out! no coffee! how am I even alive right now?
- utter exhaustion today
- migraine most of the last 3 days

Oh, that's all true, but of course you all realize that I realize how little suffering my life includes. I am sorry that there have been deaths and lots of property loss in this storm, and that lots of people will be out of power for an estimated 3-4 more days. Still, I couldn't help but be in in an excellent mood today, in spite of the my minor suffering. In fact, today it's almost as though I ran across a carnival on a back road and stopped to ride the ferris wheel. You know I love the ferris wheel. Almost as much as lattes.

This is Tom

See! He's cracking me up!

Geez, I look fat.

Ali Posted by Picasa

Bad Blogger

Look! It's Joseph with a butterfly at the Pacific Science Center! We went and saw the butterfly house there and it was pretty cool. Almost as cool as the boys' hair at Cafe Fiorre.

Things are soooo quiet here! I have been working on a new book project so I haven't been home to write anything. The book is all underwater photographs - mostly of women. It's going to be quite beautiful - I think. The images make me think of when I was little and would dive to the bottom of the pool and sit there - imagining that I was a mermaid. All the ladies are so pretty with their hair flowing around them and the other worldly light. It's really a pleasure to work with such gorgeous images.

But, it's a lot of late nights and between being sick last week and everything else, that part of it isn't so great.

I took a night off for Eugene's office holiday party last night. They get to invite spouses so, lucky me, I got to go! They had a magician who did all sorts of mind blowing tricks.

I have always liked magicians about as much as I like clowns. Which is to say, not at all. But the guy last night was actually really amazing. He did sleight of hand and mind reading tricks and, seriously, he freaked us all out.

Monday we have my party - no spouses. This year it's at the United Nations! That should be pretty cool. And we have a live band, the Nerds.

Not too tragic. Everybody drinks too much and acts foolish. It provides weeks of office gossip. I can hardly wait.

Actually, something I don't understand is when people are all bitter about going to a holiday party. It's free food and drink with people you, hopefully, like. I mean, I don't love everyone at my company, but I have the friends I hang out with and we'll make our own fun - right?

Buck up people, I say!

Somehow this year I got roped into helping to organize the after party. I tried really hard to find a place that is open on a monday night, but the only club that we could come up with is the China Club. That relic of the eighties is the only act in town on mondays, so I am getting everybody on the list and there we'll be.

It's hysterical, the epitome of bridge and tunnel cheese, but since we're just going to be a bunch of drunken office people, I suppose it doesn't matter how cool the place is. Some people wanted us to just go to a bar after the party, but that never seems to go over well. People are usually already drunk and they want to go dance and party, even if the place they're going to is a b&t breeding ground.

This weekend we're going up to VT and I will attempt to finish both my holiday cards and my Christmas shopping. I already got your prezzies! And Mom's and Dad's. But I have to get something for Eugene. Arrggghhh!

Ernie's grandson is coming up to the house with us - you may remember him from the cruise photos. He was the bearded guy with the I Heart Hot Moms T-shirt. He's a sweetheart and he cracks me up. So we'll be playing Crazy Eights all weekend, when we're not helping Euge with his building project.

Anyways, that's all that's going on here. Miss you!

Ali Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things I Never Took A Picture Of At The Ranch

The dirt hole dug by the dugs in the front yard
The elk leg in the garbage room
The garbage room
Dinners I made myself
The dogs' dinner
My bed with the sleeping bag that I slept in every night
My black fleece with all the wolfhound hair on it
The trailers on the way into town
See? It wasn't all pretty. But it sure feels like it was.

Comfort and Joy

This is without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world. That's right, my own bed. Isn't that what coming home is all about? Sleeping in your own bed. This week, all two days of it, has been all about comfort. Getting joy from comfort. Here are some of the things facilitating the conversion of comfort to joy this week: the Seattle Public Library and recommendations for books on CD from Katherine, the smell of the Christmas wreath I have hanging over my kitchen sink, art made by bloggers I love (like the log cabin pillow Lisa made for me, in the photo above and my birds by Amy), reading in bed, changing into PJs and handknit socks the minute I get home, eating roast chicken for dinner, drinking a hot cup of tea in the bath, knitting socks, yes, that again and while I'm at it, I know I'm getting redundant but even so, I will add lattes. Of course I'm adding those on the day when the pretty girl in line behind me looked at the dragonfly Bobby was pouring into my cup and said "There's a whole lotta love in that little cup."

And lastly, what I'm up to tonight, watching the yeah, okay, corny but STILL! underrated holiday classic "Home For the Holidays" (come on, Clare Danes in handknit hat and mittens, on the curb at the airport, telling her mom Holly Hunter that by the way while Holly is out of town she Clare is going to have sex for the first time? or Robert Downey Jr with the Polaroid, or the scene in the place where Leo Fish is trying to get the coffee, or Holly Hunter smoking a joint in the bathroom while she sings to herself, and Anne Bancroft, people, I love Anne Bancroft. Really, the scene where he's getting the coffee. Seriously. Should be required viewing for all men under 30. Should have been required viewing for them when I was under 30. It could have made all the difference. But any man who still needs that speech after 30 should be abandoned. There are a few.

As far as holiday movies go, yeah, sign me up for that one. Let me just get comfortable on the couch here with my knitting. Maybe I'll even watch it twice. Hell, that's good for almost half a sock.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What I Brought Home

Being home is... different. It's amazing how long a day is when you don't have to spend any of it in transit, and how short it is when you spend an hour and a half driving. To counteract this, in a few moments I will be investing some time in searching the Seattle Public Library web site for books on CD that will redeem that drive time for me.
Sadly, I did not bring the sunshine from the photo above home with me. I did, however, bring the yarn. But more to the point, I brought the knitting home with me. I haven't worked on the book, and I've been wondering what I will end up writing on the blog, but I have kept up with the knitting. So, there's still hope for the sock list. There are only three Pamfas left, then I move on to civilians. See anything you like?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Official, I'm Home

I think the Bobby-made latte above confirms it. Back to rain, my view of the Puget Sound, watching the Seahawks while the chicken roasts with new potatoes, red pearl onions, carrots (they're not just for horses) and sweet onions from Ballard Market and evening walks on Queen Anne.

Shack's socks in progress at the ranch

Yesterday I felt blue about being home, but in retrospect the past few days of settling in have been really nice. Steven and I had sushi dinner my first night back, which was perfect because whenever I thought of my first night back in Seattle I thought about how happy I would be to be back in my neighborhood, where sushi is just down the street at Ototo. Then Shack and Andy made my latte in the morning. After two months they even remembered to add the sugar to my single shot of espresso (okay, Shack remembered, Andy didn't, but that's pretty much what you expected, isn't it?). I gave Shack the socks I made for her, and Andy's eyes got real big as he told me "I met your sister... she kind-of freaked me out!" His hair looked very fancy and made you want to touch it. I think he might be, like, the 2006 Queen Anne Hill version of Shaun Cassidy, what do you think? I wonder if he even knows who Shaun Cassidy is.

Ballard Art

Then Susan and I spent a day together, wandering around Ballard, having sushi for lunch (of course) and going into Lucca (for sparkly apartment decorations), Sonic Boom and Velouria. (which reminds me, what do you want for Christmas, Ali?) Oh, and we also yelled at the TV for a while. This is a tradition we have. Okay, I have. Susan doesn't really yell at the TV, but I'm sorry, those bitches on America's Next Top Model - are you kidding me? We also went to Ken's Market for hot chocolate.

Hmm... what else? I got to go to Mirah's baby shower, and see Rachel and Madelyn and my baby Rhone. Kirstin hosted, so of course it was a sparkling candlelit affair even though it was held in the middle of the afternoon. Rhone is getting really big. He smiled at me and held my hand and I took oodles of photos of him. I think he, Joseph and Jenn's little man are going to make Garfield High School class of 2024 (or whatever) a devastating year for the ladies. Hee hee!

I also went in to the book store and saw Lillian, who made me smile and convinced me to buy a lemur. Her powers of persuasion are formidable. And, ooh, I got to surprise Gena, Pam and Erin at Erin's holiday/birthday party last night, while also accomplishing my Ballard Market shopping trip. Every year Erin and her hunky husband Bob have a party where their friends (who absolutely PACK their little Ballard home) bring toys to donate to Treehouse, an organization that works to improve the lives of foster kids in Seattle.

In between all of these activities, I did some unpacking and fiddling around with my things, including my lovely gifts, thank you so very much Ali! You know what I love. There's more, but I'm going to call it a night here. I have to figure out what exactly to wear to work tomorrow... I don't think deerskin gloves and dirty hair is going to work anymore.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Home Alone

Above is the logo from my Mean Eyed Hello Kitty tank top.

Eugene has the camera, so I am reduced to using clips of old photos - sorry.

I don't know where you are! Maybe you are in Portland. Maybe you are home already.

How's the pet carpet? How are the lads at Cafe Fiorre? Do you like your prezzies?

I liked your prezzies.

Any hoo, I am here in the city this weekend because I had to stay for some blood tests.


It's amazing I have any blood left. I thought it only took a little blood to do tests - that's what it looks like on CSI anyways. From me they need gallons of the stuff apparently.

In the office at the lab they had a sign about restraing patients who are 'squirmy around needles.' Good thing I'm not squirmy, right?

Eugene had to go up to Vermont to work on his building project - hopefully he will have it all closed in before the heavy snows start but... it's pretty frikkin' cold in the Northeast right now.

I just hope he doesn't freeze off any important appendages.

I was v. impressed by myself today. Did my blood drawing. Went to brunch with my girlfriend HK and her friend Alex at the extremely delicious Cookshop.

You may be surprised to find out that duck confit with salad and walnuts is within the parameters of my new diet. And some delish mint tea. It's not so tragic!

Motivated to go to the gym afterwards. Got driven home by HK in her very neat Prius. Wrote some Christmas cards. Put some clothes away and did some dishes.

Okay, perhaps not so impressive really, but an improvement over my sitting around on my ass because I have been sick all week, no?

Tomorrow morening I have a pilates class at 10:15, then I may commence with some Christmas shopping. And maybe I will go up to the Met - I love the Met at Christmas.

Mostly though I am just planning to piiiiiiiiiiiiine for Eugene.

And sweet Joseph's baby lips. I pine for those too.

And you! I pine for you!

Ali Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On Our Way

Portland today, yay! More soon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Something for Dakota

A little bird told me that I am not the only one who is sick today - apparently Dakota isn't feeling too hot either. So here's a super cute picture of her in her super cute Mean Eyed Cat T-Shirt.

I promised I would show it to her ages ago. Isn't she cute? Not as cute as Joseph but... I digress...

By the way - we still haven't seen your Mean Eyed Cat Sweatshirt - what's up with that?

Don't you like it? Don't you think we deserve to see it?

Put that tripod to use lady! Posted by Picasa

Too Pretty For Words

... and more to the point, I'm too tired for words! Nighty night, more tomorrow or Thursday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hi Ho Durango!

Well, it's the end of the first long day of my road trip! I made it all the way to.... Durango! Yes, Durango. Those of you who have been following my Colorado adventures might now think to yourselves "but isn't Durango, like, 3 hours away from the ranch?" Yes, that's right I drove a whopping three hours today.

After staying up until four in the morning "packing" (a.k.a. looking at photos from Pam's and Gary's Tasmania trip), I was still not packed last night. So I got up in the morning and kept "packing" (a.k.a. admiring how handsome Fenton looked in his new dog bed that is like the La-Z Boy of dog beds) until about 12:30. Then Pam and I looked at the clock and she said "You know, you might consider just spending the night in Durango tonight..." Yeah. Then she made it even more appealing by reminding me that staying in Durango would mean sushi for dinner, and the deal was sealed when we called the hotel she recommended in Durango, the Rochester, and the nice woman on the phone (who asked me "Do you know us?" and when I said "No", said "Oh, you just sounded so friendly I thought you must know us.") told me that they had the "Maverick Queen" room available for me. Perfect.

And guess who the Maverick Queen turned out to be? Barbara Stanwyck, star of the Lady Eve and all around Fast-Talking, Wise-Cracking Dame. I love her, and there she is in all her glory on the poster outside my door. All the rooms in this hotel are named after movies filmed in or around Durango, which sort-of makes it the Wild West movie version of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. The music playing in the lobby when I walked in featured a whistling cowboy. I love whistling cowboys songs!

Clearly this road trip is starting out on a good note. The drive over Wolf Creek Pass was gorgeous, check out the view from the top:

But as gorgeous as that view was, the sushi dinner at East by Southwest might have been even more gorgeous. I realize it seems unlikely that Durango, Colorado would be the home of one of the best sushi restaurants I've ever enjoyed a meal at, but it is.

On the far left is a plate of Kumamoto oyster shells. The oysters, which were prepared with ponzu sauce and wasabi tobiko, were devoured seconds after arriving at the table. And that was just the beginning. Perhaps you are looking at this photo and thinking, damn, that's a lot of sushi for just one person. Well, the best part of this dinner was that Pam and Gary drove over from the ranch to share it with me. I'm going to miss those two. And I'm never going to think twice about driving to Portland again!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Something to Look Forward To

You get to meet this sweet boy and give him kisses and smell his sweet head!

I love Joseph
I love Joseph
I love Joseph, Joseph all the time

I love Joseph on his nose
I love Joseph on his toes
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph on his rear
I love Joseph when he's near
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph on his butt
I love Joseph, he's a nut
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph on his eye
I love Joseph he's my guy
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph on his knee
I love Joseph cuz he's wee
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph on his cheek
I love Joseph he's not weak
I love Joseph all the time, all the time

I love Joseph when he laughs
Though I think it might be gas
I love Joseph all the time all the time!

That's my song to Joseph. Posted by Picasa

Oh No! You've Gone!

I don't know why I had it in my head that you were leaving Tuesday and not Monday.

I thought I could come home tonight and right you some pithy thing about how great your trip has been to read about (all the dogs and horses and sky and snow!), how great your apartment in Seattle is (all the views and art and YARN!) and how you will love it when you get home and - of course - Cafe Fiorre is just waiting for you.

See the photo above? There's an empty spot in a pool of sunshine, right in the window. Waiting for you! For real!

Personally I liked the barstool area, but that couldn't possibly be a surprise to you.

Any hoo, I had to freelance after work today and I have a tewwible head code that WILL. NOT. GO. AWAY! And I had to completely rehaul my diet to no caffine, no processed sugar and no 'white' carbohydrates. Oh and no alcohol.

No lattes and no wine. And no pasta. And no sushi rice.

So I am fresh out of pithy thoughts.

But I hope that you have a nice trip!

Where are you now???? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Last Day

This is it. I just went out to feed the horses (they get hay now that snow is covering the ground) and the sun is starting to set. It's been really hard to pack today. Not that packing is so complicated, it's convincing myself to pack that's difficult. I think I can safely say that these have been two of the best months of my life. It's a good thing I miss you Seattleites so much, otherwise... oh, and the lattes, let's not underestimate the seductive power of a latte. Next Monday morning, I'll be at Fiorre, on my way to work, and everything will be back to normal. Well, everything except me, that is. I don't think I'm going to be normal after this. I think something else entirely is going on. We'll just see what it turns out to be.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ranch Report - day 63

Today was an eventful day at the ranch. Tomorrow is my last day here, but today was my last day with Pam and Gary, since they drive to Denver and back tomorrow for the Broncos game. This tells you something about Pam and Gary - a five-hour drive to Denver to watch a football game in fifteen-degree weather, and a five-hour drive back that will get them home at 2 or 3AM, but it also tells you something about what it's like to live in Colorado. I've been surprised at some of the things I've been willing to do, like the Durango drives, almost 3 hours for a cup of coffee, handling elk legs, or driving myself, Pam and Gary into town today in the snow. Okay, once we got out of the driveway and onto the road it was mostly plowed and clear, but still, it was a drive I would never have done in Seattle. Our bravery was rewarded when a herd of 13 elk crossed the road right in front of the car just after our driveway. That was the point in the drive where I realized I had forgotten my camera. Damn!

R.I.P Journeys

Our drive into town was a bit more eventful than we would have liked it to be. Our plan was to go to the post office, the bank, the hardware store, and have coffee at Journeys. Instead, we ended up standing there on the street in disbelief, looking at the burnt-out shells of the storefronts where the bank and Journeys used to be. You could see the sky right through the roof. Both places were completely destroyed by fire in the middle of the night last night. It was too early for them to say what caused the fire. Even though I've only been here two months, I felt heartbroken that we lost those coffee pot chandeliers, and the tile counter, and the funny loft with the bowling pin sculpture at the top of the stairs and the egg sandwiches and the lattes about which you are asked "would you like whipped cream?"

I would follow Pam almost anywhere, even when she's wearing death pants

When we got back from that sad trip to town (where at least I got Susan's socks in the mail, and bought my official Creede souvenir sweatshirt at San Juan sports), I made us lattes and then Pam and I set out for a walk in the snow so that neither the dogs nor we would have cabin fever tonight. Amazingly, I wasn't cold even though I sincerely doubt that I have ever in my life taken a walk when it was 16 degrees out before, much less a walk that lasted more than an hour, and came to a close with blowing wind and ice crystals visible on Pam's face.

MaryEllen enjoys the first part of the walk, before it started blowing snow

When Pam said she was going to take the dogs for a walk, I wasn't so sure I wanted to go. I've gotten so used to (dumb about) the cold here that I went to town in just a fleece over a long-sleeve t-shirt, so when I got home I was a little cold. I'm glad I brought out the gigantic marshmallow parka and went for the walk, though, since Pam was right when she said that I would warm up as soon as I got moving. We crossed over to the forest service land and I got to see some views that I hadn't seen before, plus an osprey and bald eagle.

After our walk, Pam took me out for a snow driving lesson, which I'm sure wasn't necessarily meant to be fun, but was. For those of you who might be concerned that I am planning to drive in the snow, let me assure you that I am plotting the least treacherous route possible, so this was really only a precaution.

On our way back home, we drove past a ranch where there were three very shaggy horses who took the occasion of our driving by to run and cavort and whinny as though we were bringing them hay. You can also tell from this photo what the weather had changed to towards the end of our walk.

Now we're tucked into the warm ranch house again, with a fire in the wood stove and mojitos coming up for my three-person farewell party. Pam is blasting old U2 and Gary is cutting up garlic for the buffalo steaks. I guess you know what I'm doing. Tomorrow this scene will change, and I'll be packing up all my gear and getting ready to hit the road Monday morning. Sigh.