Monday, August 30, 2010

We have the nicest sunsets at the mini-farm

We also have nice pancakes, a nice dog who puts her head in my lap when we drive to Seattle for nephew birthday parties, good knitting, and clean gutters.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It Used To Be A Mix Tape

Susan and I have been separated lately. The mini-farm, different sleep/wake hours, my NY trip, etc etc. I've been missing her and our get-togethers, trips to Moshi for sushi, going to Ballard Market for TV watching supplies, hanging out in her TV room, cupcakes, coffee. Finally tonight I'm staying in town to have dinner with her, no idea where we'll go, but it doesn't really matter. She's the only person who can get me to willingly eat at a restaurant with the word Factory in the name and be happy about it. 

Susan was one of the first people to make me a mix tape, back in the day when we did those. She's kept at it through the years, though now they're CDs. Yesterday I read this great article about mix tapes, and thought of her. Perfectly timed to remind me I need a new mix for all the driving I'm doing these days. Not quite as good as hanging out, but a whole lot better than nothing. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Something Else We Do

We have a lot of kites at the mini-farm. Kathleen and Lisa came out last Sunday, and we sat in the grass and Kathleen tried to teach us how to make a blade of grass whistle and mostly Lisa and I just laughed and documented her. Tom brought us fudgesicles and popsicles and everyone got the flavor she or he wanted. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What I Did Instead

On Saturday it was too hot to ride in the little red truck for long, so the yard sale shopping didn't last too long. I wilted on the couch once we got back to the mini-farm, my arm hanging over the side and Emmy kept bumping my hand with her nose, trying to get me to pet her. I just stayed there, drifting in and out of a nap. I might have eaten a popsicle, and arranged some yarn in the spare bedroom downstairs.

Later, I put on the gingham dress that looks like a picnic tablecloth and we all piled into my air-conditioned car to go to the fair. Even though the cows and kitties and cavies weren't lucky enough to have AC, I loved our night. It was all about the company. And hand-dipped corn-dogs. And soft serve ice cream. And the Skagit Rein Riders. And air-brushed t-shirts and allowances and county fair romances between teenagers and the farmboy who milked his goat with one hand and ate a cone with the other, and the bright colors the rides gave us for photos, and the kid who asked us "Hey, do you wanna know what it feels like in a rain forest?" There was a lot to love, but mostly the company. Definitely that. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I had to ask Jessica's permission before I posted this photo of her sweet kitchen. It just feels so private in there, cozy and secret and warm. She gave me permission and then for two days I let the photo sit, having no idea what the post was about. All I have is the photo. 

That's still all I have. The photo itself, the negative, is too faint to really get a good print in the color darkroom. You can tell that by the haze over the digital scan above. I still don't have a light meter other than the ones in my other cameras, so when I use the Bronica, I kind of eyeball it. Some of the negatives are dense and beautiful, others barely color the film enough for me to tell the difference between frames. Next week I have to turn in a final project for my Intro to Color class, and I'm at a loss. Not enough final prints, and the ones I have don't hang together as a set, to me. Some are medium format, some are 35mm. I wish I had done more portraits with the Bronica, wish I had gotten some good shots of the big curtain-like structures that hang over the berry fields on T Loop, can't quite bear to spend time on a print of that broken down old home I got chewed out for photographing. 

It hasn't been the best week here, really. It's headache season, and that's leaving me melancholy most days. I finished reading A River Runs Through It the other day, and that was a book that matched my mood, quiet and lovely, somewhat plain. It had a calmness to it that I needed, and a mournfulness that fit.  In the car, I've been trying to listen to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and sometimes that's just right, so clever and funny, but more often than not I find my mind wandering a bit, and end up just flipping back to an NPR station. I go through three of them on the ride home, sometimes clinging to the Seattle-based station that broadcasts Selected Shorts and This American Life longer than the reception really merits. 

Last Saturday Tom and I found a little bookstore we liked in Burlington, lured in by a copy of The Great International Airplane Book on the sidewalk shelf, marked just $2. I bought it, and a copy of This Is Washington and Tom bought The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The next day he read it to me as we drove through the valley, and then at the dinner table, another paragraph or two, and to the end of the chapter Monday before bed. Huckleberry Finn keeps my full attention with Tom delivering it. 

So I guess that's what this post is about. Just, where I am. In the car, in the color darkroom, at the dinner table with Tom, off with Huckleberry Finn, Some of the nicest times lately are in Jessica's and James' kitchen. James makes tea and I drink it whether I want tea just then or not, because I like it so much when he makes it. Jessica and James came home with a whole basket full of sweet blackberries the other night, and Jess and I sat in the store talking while the boys were in the kitchen, dishing up big plates of shortcake from the Bread Farm, berries from the basket, vanilla ice cream from our house. I have no idea where the headache was that night. I wouldn't remember it even if it had been there, that's how nice it was. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not Going

All week I struggled over whether or not to go to Doe Bay Fest this weekend. Saturday night campfires, bands we know and love, a long ferry ride, tall trees over the ocean, photo opportunities galore and several sweet friends who wanted very much to make the whole thing easy for me so I'd go. Why not?

NOT, though, that's where I landed. I had to feel my way through it, and clumsily, bumping into things as I went, making a chaotic mess of the last hours of the day yesterday. I guess it's about unpacking, and hanging art on the walls, and knowing where my clothes are, and why there isn't anything to speak of in the laundry pile, but even less in the drawers these days. Where did all my extra pillows go, and do I have fingernail clippers somewhere? Hair clips? Plastic sleeves for 35 mm film, where are those? 

Also, it's about sitting on the lawn, or watching our kites lift off from the back field, higher than the trees that surround the farmhouse, all bright colors and optimism. That's the only place the weekend needs to go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just One Thing

Tonight after work, I get to go straight home. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

Here's Hoping

chicken & potatoes by Kate Lebo

These days, I'm always happy to go home. If Tom has some idea when I'll be home, at least roughly, he'll open the gate and keep a closer eye on Emmy so I can sail right in. She goes mad with happy barking and wants to chase my car so my first sight is usually Tom kneeled down, dog-height, two arms around her, grinning. Then there's work to scan the yard for, did he build more on the little rock wall that's going in to protect the septic field from renegade parkers, or  mow the area we've started to call the Green Field, or fill the hot tub to check for leaks? Something like that, most days. 

There have been a few times when I've come home in the evening with grocery bags, but now that the moving is over, mostly I rush straight from wherever I've come from, empty lunch sack, empty travel mug, no idea what to eat for dinner. Last night we ended up frying up the leftovers from our dinner at the Trumpeter, reuben sandwich for me, smoked chicken pasta for Tom. The night before it was, well, dinner at the Trumpeter. We've had breakfast for dinner a few times, and one night Tom had grilled cheese and I ate cracked pepper potato chips with cottage cheese as dip. It's a good thing there's always fruit in the house. Tom, I've discovered, can't resist ice cream. "Just remind yourself that it's MY ice cream," I tell him, when he complains about the 5 tubs that are in there now. "But I KNOW you don't care!" he says, "You buy it, but you don't eat it!" He's right. But I will request slices of watermelon the minute I come home, and Tom slices them up for me. Also, for the first time since I started at Alder a few years ago, I've actually been bringing my lunch, most days. 

Now I'm determined to reform where it comes to dinner. I roasted a chicken for Tom once back in my old apartment, before I knew that he likes all meat well done, chicken included. That didn't go so well, even by my more pink-tolerant standards. I did make him a good salad though, and we have now served each other many many hot beverages. I used to make him tea at my apartment, and at the mini-farm he wakes up every morning and puts the little espresso maker on the stovetop for me. He's got the sugar amount just right, and the coffee is good even when we run out of whole milk and have to use 2%. 

I bought burger patties about a week ago, but they've been sitting in the freezer because getting the grill going for just two people seems like a hassle. Tom's little nephews are coming for a visit this weekend, so maybe hot dogs for them, burgers for us, some salmon, some corn? The corn is getting tall in the fields now, but at the Co-op it's all from California still. Maybe Sunday I'll roast a chicken, or maybe we'll just keep eating those good empanadas from the co-op deli? Either way, I'm happy.