Friday, September 28, 2007

All hail the bump - cuz it's my birthday and I said so!

Isn't black slimming? Thanks for the cute top, Mom!
I really should have worn a scarf. I look V. under-accessorized..

So it's my birthday, yay me!

I have had a lovely day so far - I got pain au chocolate and a decaf latte at the 13th street espresso place. Oh, so very yummy! For lunch I am having leftover mac and cheese that I made with sauteed mushrooms and pancetta - also yum, if I do say so myself. It's my birthday - so I can do that!

I got lovely birthday cards from all the usual suspects, and weeks ago I got packages of maternity clothes from mom (see shirt in photo above!).

Of course, we already know that what I really want won't be here for months yet.

Tonight, Eugene's mom, Carolyn, and her husband, Ernie, are passing through town on their way to a wedding. So they are taking us to Il Buco for dinner, which will be deelisheeous.

After, we are meeting with friends at Tokyo Bar - taking advantage of my current mobility and the limited months of freedom that I have left. Can there be a better place to celebrate than a bar with cartoons on the walls and rebel bartenders from Angel Share?

Any hoo, I wish you were here, because I think we'd have such a fun time, but I will try to carry on without you.

I'm really looking forward to the Safe Sex on the Beach. Hee!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm Just Not Even Ready

Josie and Rachel, quite possibly dancing to "Let's hear it for the boy"

Yeah, I know there are some folks eagerly waiting the Josie birthday party report, but this is gonna take a minute here. Photos are all polaroids or on someone else's camera and there was kind of a lot to process, really. I'll just tell you that it was great fun and leave you with this:

The funniest moment of the evening? When a certain young man told me that Seattle has not been good to his penis.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Ab Hobe Wid A Code

The view from my horizontal perch on the couch... liquids and more liquids...

Ugh, while you are off having fun - tra-la-la! - I am home with the craptastic mother of all colds. The sinus headaches alone have been crippling me for the last two days, not to mention the chills, aches and sneezing.

I really hope the sneezing isn't freaking the twins out. You don't realize how much a sneeze causes your abs to contract until they are contracting around two wee babies...

And, of course, because of the babies, my medication options are a wee bit limited. Hot steam in the face? Check! Worked like a charm for 5 minutes. Liquids? Check! I'm peeing more than ever! Hot and sour soup? Check! Mmmm not so appealing to the tummy, sadly.

I have stayed home from work the last two days - which is strange for me. Usually I try to suffer through, but with the babies I'm pansy-ing out. And I'm okay with that.

Hopefully, I will be well in time for my birthday. We're spending friday night in the city and, theoretically, going out to dinner with my mother-in-law and Ernie and then out with other friends.

I had energy back for like four days before I got sick and, now that I remember what it feels like, I want to take advantage!

Partay! Haha.

Just kidding.

Wish you were here!

Monday, September 24, 2007

In Which I Reveal The Secrets of Kate

Kate with her Godfather

As I was leaving the benefit party for Richard Hugo House last Thursday, I told Brian I would come back from my weekend away with Kate ready to reveal all her secrets. Would I go back on my word to Brian? Of course not.

So here we go:

  • She didn't know the difference between landjaeger and lanyards before this weekend. She kinda still doesn't. But that won't stop her from eating landjaeger for breakfast.
  • She once took a decoration off the wall of the bathroom at a certain Georgetown bar to examine it's prettiness, then panicked when she couldn't get it back on the wall. She did not, however, put it in her purse and take it home, though some people would have. Not our Kate.
  • She is ready for some new pajamas.
  • If you want to buy her a drink, try a Dark and Stormy, or a Godfather (scotch with a splash of amaretto).
  • She's one of those people who actually genuinely likes her job. It's probably because she works at Hugo House with Brian, huh?
  • She loves her poncho.
  • She loves the Maldives. Somethin fierce. Keep that in mind if you're thinking about the drink buyin thing.
  • She's an old soul in a pretty young package. The only thing that gives away her extreme youth is her lack of knowledge of the Willie Nelson albums of the 1970s.
  • She is so charming that people find themselves wanting to give her things. All the time. Like free belts and bath fizzies.
  • She's jonesin for some bath fizzies. Right now, probably.
Mmkay, that's all I'm gonna tell you. Though I might know some other things.

We bought Jessica an apple as big as her head, for a present. Cause we're nice like that.

Kate and I had a great time in the Skagit Valley this weekend. We made a new friend, Jessica, of Lucky Dumpster fame. Cause Kate's like that, she makes friends easily, which is apparent if you go anywhere with her, because she knows everyone. Sometimes I think I know a lot of people, but not like Kate. I think I just know a lot of people who know a lot of people. Like Kate, and Jay and the baristas.

Kate, me, Jess

Damn, I've had some good girl time lately. Road trip with Katherine, week with the writing women, Tami as my roommate and now Kate's Great Vacation. Good good stuff.

Remember Beer Beer? We were so excited about this find at the LaConner Pub.

Wish I was gonna get to see my seester for her birthday later this week. Whatcha got planned, Ali? I think you should get Euge to bring you some extra special takeout, then chill on the couch wearing a crown and watching girly stuff he wouldn't watch on any day other than your birthday. While he rubs your feet.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What To Do For Fun in the Eddy

Go in to shops, and offer people a dollar to eat a pickled egg. Charles suggested that these particular eggs would be quite lovely sliced and put on a cracker with some chevre.

Kate wasn't so sure the chevre would help. But she still earned her dollar.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Not Knowing Where To Start

I've been home a few days now, working on getting things in order a little, doing some minor edits to the story I workshopped with the writing group, catching up on laundry, latte drinking and trying to see all my lovely friends here in Seattle. As sad as I was to leave the ranch, I have to say, I am feeling the love now that I'm back in Seattle. Seattle seems to have almost as much love for me as I have for it.

And that's all good, but I have this funny feeling right now, like I'm behind on my homework. I have all these ranch photos, and I had this excellent couple of weeks, both on the road with Katherine, and then at the ranch with the writing group, and I have done so very little blogging, even though all of the things that I have experienced and enjoyed are exactly the kinds of things I love to write about here.

Pam works her magic

I keep putting it off because I have this feeling of not being able to do justice to all the great thing, like how the road trip to Creede just flew with Katherine in the car, and how ridiculously hilarious Tami was as a roommate, how good Pam's food was, as always, and how thoroughly she outdid herself with this year's entertainment - a private living room concert with Bucky Baxter and his young buck, Rayland, plus the readings by Greg Glazner and Summer Wood (I am not making these names up, click the links to see for yourself!), how great it was to sit in the hot springs in Pagosa, and how very satisfied I felt sitting under the night sky and eating buffalo burgers and stuffed green chiles at Kips again. . Colorado was spectacularly beautiful, as always.

Lucky Bucky - dinner with ten of the least bitter women you've ever met

And that's not even saying anything about the real purpose of the trip - all the great stories we worked on and all the thoughtful comments and help I received from the women in my writing group. I don't have words for how inspiring that was.

Best bloody mary ever, courtesy of Kip's

Which is why I'm going to stop here. I'm a little out of words right now, but I just needed to give you something, a few snapshots, a couple things to picture, to break this bloggers block I've got. There are too many good things coming up to stay away from here too long.
Dex Decker and the blue truck, moving a winter's worth of hay

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Couple of Things You Should Know...

Do you think I need new panties? Make it work!

1) I had a dream last night that we took Milla Jovovitch shopping at Century 21 for Calvin Klein underwear. I blame this dream on the confluence of having watched 'Tim Gunn's Guide to Style' (LOVE IT!) and about a billion commercials for 'Resident Evil; Extinction'.

2) I saw a dog on the subway this morning. The poor creature was wearing a diaper. And a pink t-shirt. Wrong in so many ways.

This was quite a bit more disturbing to me than the underwear shopping dream - thoughCentury 21 can be a nightmare.

In less, umm, esoteric news, we had our 15 week check-ups yesterday and everybody is doing fine! Apparently I measure the same as a 'normal' 22 week pregnancy!

I just get bigger and bigger.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Before & After

Me & Liam - end of June

Me & Liam, yesterday

There were a lot of pleasures involved in the writing group week. There was the company, the food, the music, the reading, the scenery... and you'll hear about most of that later, of course, but for now, from the road home, I just want to give you a little report on the pleasure of seeing little Liam.

Make that big Liam. Can you believe the size of him? He's still the lickiest, sweetest puppy ever. I love him so.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Scrumptious!

Aargh... I could live off those cheeks!

I just want to give a special shout out to my little man - the wee pirate Joseph - who is one whole year old today!

Let's all sing a round of 'I love Joseph!'

And I want to give props to Dakota who, a year ago today, was the amazing woman who brought Joseph into this world. You are my hero!

What I'm up to

Watching lots of really good television! Honestly, I don't know how Dakota made it through her pregnancy without the boob tube. When you are too tired to even read, the TV is your very best friend...

Unless, of course, you have a snoogle - in which case the TV becomes your second-best-friend. I've been having really unpleasant hip pain, and a really hard time just getting comfortable (even given the extremely broken-in butt groove on our couch) but the snoogle has saved me and I am in bliss.

Eugene loves it somewhat less than I do, since it's basically like a third person in our bed... but between it and earplugs, I am finally getting some real sleep! Oh happy day!

This weekend we go to Vermont and have some houseguests.... and, if this whole sleeping thing goes as well as it's been going, I may actually have some pictures of something other than me to put up!

What We're Up To

Last workshop day tomorrow, then road trip to Pagosa Springs for a soak and dinner at Kip's while Bucky Baxter serenades us.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Manuscripts, Peach Pie and Wolfhounds

I had grand ideas for blogging while I was here. Since Barb, one of our longstanding writing group members, couldn't be with us this time, I really wanted to write updates for her and post a lot of photos showing you all how beautiful it is here every single day.

But the reality is that we are up to our ears here in serious reading, great conversations and meal prep. So, you'll have to forgive me if my blog participation is a little spotty over the next week. I'll try to get some photos slapped up on the Flickr site, and of course this is such an inspiring time that I'm sure the posts when I get back will come fast and furious.

In the mean time you all should be drinking a lot of good lattes for me, and Ali, feed those babies some pie, I'm serious.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Made It!

That's all I got for now, my photos are on my camera in the cabin and I'm sitting outside in the cold night air (where the internet is) getting bit by mosquitoes, so later on I'll tell you all about the magical oasis that is Moab, and the burgers with stuffed green chiles from Kips.

Ah, there is so very much of me to miss...

No, I am not sticking my tummy out.

I am getting larger by the day. It's actually kind of shocking when I catch a glimpse of myself or see a picture like this. I just think 'when did this happen?'

And then I try to imagine how huge I'm going to be when we get to like week 36. I mean, This is only week 13! At least now I look more pregnant than 'wow, Allison has really let herself go lately!' And I also seem to be growing forwards rather than, umm, backwards or sideways.

If you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, it's exhausting growing a gut like this, which is why I continue to be a lame poster. Plus, I'm not sure how interested anyone is in hearing about my journey into the land of the rotund. Napping and eating are a lot less exciting than, say, learning the oyster dance from one of the Gourds. Which I guarantee I could not do at this point anyways.

I've also been helping Dad assemble his portfolio, which has been really interesting. I always wanted to know where the buildings were that he has designed and what they look like and now I absolutely know all of his projects backwards and forwards!

In gratitude, he faxed me some of my early writing samples - which I thought appropriateto share since you are at a writing workshop. We'll just ignore the fact that I qualified these poems as 'Hycoo Poems. M'kay?


Red and fluffy, sweet
Soft petals, dewdrops, pretty
Beautiful, sweet smelling
- Roses

And another take on the same subject....

Castles of splendor
looming over the dewdrops
Silent and splendid

In case you were overly impressed by my early use of the strong visual imagery implied by 'looming', it seems to have been an ongoing theme...

Dark and hovering
Shadows dancing at night
looming nightfall lonely

Now, if you can just stop laughing for a moment, lets all say a prayer that my unborn children inherit better writing skills than I exhibited here. Though I would like to point out that everything was at least spelled properly.

Except Haiku, of course.

ps. If you get a chance, please watch 'Crazy Sexy Cancer' on TLC - one of Eugene's friends from growing up made the documentary and it is really really good. I think he may have had a crush on this girl and, darn it, after seeing the show I can't blame him.

Do You Miss Me?

Yeah, I miss you. Today's hours spent on the road sort-of dragged on, in spite of the excellent company. There just isn't a lot you can do about the that stretch between Boise and Salt Lake City except power through. It's gonna get better now, though. We're in Green River Utah and will set out for Moab and breakfast around 9 tomorrow morning, then Durango for an afternoon meal.

I'm hoping none of the places we eat tomorrow will smell like a dog who fell into an aquarium. That's what the restaurant in Salt Lake smelled like once they turned on the AC. Luckily they turned it off almost immediately, once the girl who had "VEGAN" tattooed across her chest complained. It smelled better once the guy with the t-shirt that said "I support violent methods for animal liberation" left too. This is the adversity Katherine and I faced today, but we are sticking together, Katherine reading manuscripts to me from the passenger seat and feeding me carrot sticks. We listened to a CD of the Best American Short Stories of the Century, Sherwood Anderson, Katherine Anne Porter, F Scott Fitzgerald. Good stuff, but the Katherine Anne Porter story, "Theft" took the prize for us. There is one devastatingly beautiful passage about loss, and some great dialogue as well. Check it out some time.

Can't wait to see Durango and the ranch tomorrow. I'm thinking we should listen to The Best Girlfriend You Never Had, which is the last story on the CD, during the trip over Wolf Creek pass and the last miles to the ranch. I'm kinda corny that way.

Hope all you readers are happy out there. Road trips always make me think of all the people I know and love, and I swear Katherine and I have talked about each and every one of you at some point during the drive. Lovingly, believe me! Why would we waste such a happy time n anything else?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This'll Be Just Fine

The Boise equivalent of Hotel Monaco

I'm sorry I left without saying goodbye. I didn't mean to. But the last bits of the first draft of the story for the writing workshop didn't come together until 8:30 this morning, and we were supposed to be on the road at 9, and well, you know I wasn't leaving without a latte for me, and beans for Pam.

So anyway, what all this means is that yes I did get on the road, after taking a detour to the FedEx down on Alaska Way S, where Portland's White Eagle Hotel had so very kindly shipped the big fat book of CDs I left there over that Wilco weekend. They arrived just in time.

Katherine is with me, and I can't tell you how much quicker that made the drive seem. She knows almost all my secrets now, so I sure hope she still likes me at the end of the drive. We talked non-stop for the first five hours of the trip, so the CDs sat neglected in their case anyway. She gets extra bonus points for the culinary delights she supplied us with - that wild rice salad was so much better than the corn nuts and red licorice I would have eaten had I been left to my own devices.

Just kidding, pumpkin seeds and dried mango are my road food of choice. But you probably knew that already, right?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Maybe This Is Why Dialogue Is Not My Strong Suit

Gourds at the Tractor Tavern 9-2-07
Happy Birthday and thanks Dan and Earl!
Photo by Pete from Kozy Shack

Here's how a lot of conversations with me go:

Bill Frisell comes on stage with Wilco at Marymoor.
Elvis: Oh, we saw him at the Tractor!
Me: Sigh. I love the Tractor.

At the coffee shop with Kevin, of Widower fame.
Kevin: My band's playing the Tractor on October 3rd*.
Me: I love the Tractor!

With Pam at the Shannon McNally show.
Pam: Oh, we played here when I toured with the Nields.
Me: Oh, I love the Tractor.

Which is just about all I want to say this morning too, after last night's Gourds show. They were fantastic as always, those boys are true professionals who deliver every time. They killed at the Mural Amphitheater at Bumbershoot, you should have seen everyone dancing on the lawn to their wacked out mix-up of Gin and Juice. You know I was in heaven! And look at Kevin Russell, how nice does he look? I love his crinkly-eyed smile and all the silliness he brings to stage. Last night, he taught us to do a dance he calls The Oyster, and now I'm going to teach it to you. Ready?

Okay, first thing you do is you stand up. Are you standing? Kevin said that all you need to do this dance is a pair of shoes, so if you aren't wearing your shoes, just go put them on real quick.

Okay, now. Put the back of your heels together, touching, and then try to put your feet in a straight line, so it's like this, 8 is your toes, the >>> is one foot, and then ) is your heel.

8>>>) (<<<8

Now just try and stand there. Pretty soon you'll find that you are waving your arms and "dancing". Isn't that good? I thought so. Other things I thought were super good include meeting Pete (who took the photo above) for the first time and getting to take Camille and Erik, who were having an anniversary that very night. Camille got Erik the new Gourds album as an anniversary present, before she even knew that we were taking them as our plus ones. How perfect is that? Now I know relationships are never quite what they look like from the outside, but I have to tell you, from what I can tell, Pete & Carrie and Camille & Erik are two fine arguments for True Love. I hope there is never cause for me to be disabused of those notions. Carrie is in Taiwan right now, and you should have seen how Pete's eyes lit up when he told me that he's going to go meet her there soon. "It's gonna' be good to see her," he said, and you just know that was the understatement of the night. So, I was sorry I didn't get to meet Carrie (or Rabbit, dogs not invited) at the show, but that gives me something to look forward to in life, right? I'm liking the new Gourds album so far, even though I am completely serious when I tell you that the first time I heard one of the songs, I actually cried. How often does that happen? But that Kevin, he just gets to me. I hope that song is fiction, cause I would hate to see such a seemingly nice man suffer like that. I'll just let you figure out for yourself which song I'm talking about. I don't think it'll be hard.

Which reminds me, those CDs are almost done, and on their way to you commenting folks. I am loving this mix, and I hope Katherine does too, because I'm sure I'll make her listen to it a time or two when we take off for Brighthound Crest on Wednesday morning. It's a pretty twangy mix, definitely inspired by Regan and Pete, and I left most of the mopey songs off it, and people, it is hard to make a non-mopey mix that is also twangy. The hardest thing to leave off was probably Laura Cantrell's outstanding The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter, and I suppose that's appropriate in more ways than we will talk about here. If you don't know what I'm talking about with all this CD making stuff, take a look here. One last chance to put your order in. Cause I love you. You know I do.

* I'm going, you should too.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Last of Lillydale

Holly on the left, Josie on the right. Last Lillydale show, Bumbershoot.
Kate and I decided that the background at the Sky Church looks like a Windows screen saver. Coincidence? I think not.

A while ago, I promised to tell you all what Josie told me about the secret to love, and then I forgot exactly what it was. He had a neat little sentence for it, and it went something like this:

It's when a person sees the things you hate about yourself and loves those things about you.

I think he said it more elegantly, he really has a way with a phrase, but that's as close as I can get. I'm not going to weigh in on the truth of that sentence, I'm just going to tell you that I really like it as something Josie said. Josie is always saying something good.

Like when he handed me my latte the other day, and it had two of those pretty feathery designs poured into the milk, he said "Your latte is a sycamore tree dreaming of a hazelnut."

For the longest time, I didn't even realize that Josie was in a band, but every time I saw him he was doing some entertaining. He's just one of those people who, every day, puts things together in an interesting way, phrases, thoughts, pieces of clothing, even the way he arranges his features in an expression of confusion, delight or inquiry is entertaining.

And that's what I thought as I stood there watching him sing in EMP's Sky Church at Bumbershoot today. The Josie onstage was the same Josie we see in everyday life, though I wonder if there is such a thing as everyday life for Josie. I like to imagine that his version of everyday life is an adventure, the kind of adventure that you pack treats for, get lost on, go all starry-eyed over. What I'm really trying to say about Josie on stage is, It Worked. This was Lillydale's last show, but this performing thing he's got going, I'm pretty damn sure that's going to go on. Anyway, that's what I'll be hoping for it, the way I hope for good stuff from that new Wes Anderson flick, or Pam's new novel, or anything else that I think will make the world a little more beautiful and charmed.