Friday, February 25, 2011

Not So Bad

The ferry photos didn't turn out so bad after all. Neither did the predicted snow storms this week. Even when it was bad, so bad that you couldn't see lane markers on 405, so bad that sitting at a stop light meant that the side windows on my car, which a co-worker had JUST cleared off for me, were covered in snow by the time the light turned green again, even then it wasn't that bad. I rolled the windows down and back up again to try to shake some of it loose, and that worked but resulted in snow in the back seat. Oh well! I made it home fine and Kate had a slice of pie saved for me, cherry cranberry, which I recommend, and I've been remembering to bring my gloves everywhere more so even my hands were warm when I got there. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Field Trip

Yet another photo from our great weekend at Festival of Family Farms back in October. This was the farm where we got a free jug of the most delicious apple cider I had ever had up to that point. Since then, we've become ardent cider fans at the mini-farm and often have a fresh half gallon from the co-op in our fridge. 

There are more photos, finally - one lonely roll waiting to be picked up at Kenmore Camera. I confess that I don't have high hopes for that roll, having taken many of the first photos without regard to a little thing called shutter speed. The good (?) news is that the shutter speed setting I had it on was way too slow, so there will be something on the roll, something blurry and overexposed, but There, nonetheless. We'll see. The photos were from a disorienting weekend a few weeks ago, when I was supposed to be at both a 40th birthday celebration and a memorial service in the same weekend, and instead found myself curled up in bed in a little cabin at Doe Bay, completely sick with a migraine. Who wouldn't get the shutter speed wrong on a weekend like that?

This morning I woke to a car that had been turned into a giant metal popsicle by the clear frosty Ballard morning. How I made it through this particular winter with nothing to scrape my windows other than a plastic co-op membership card, I can't say. It was too pretty for me to mind this morning, and maybe that's how the other mornings of car scraping have been this year too. Too happy to care about the wrong tool - maybe my thought each morning has been "Got the job done, didn't I?" I was on my way to pastries and cafe bon bon from Honore, and a day full of pretty fruitful meetings at work. I guess that's how you survive without an ice scraper. Some things only need to be Good Enough.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Habits. Coffee for the long drive in the morning, Bird Note at 9AM. Fresh Air or a novel for the drive home. The co-op on Friday nights for the weekend's food. Lately I've been reading Antonia Fraser's Must You Go? a few nights a week just before bed. It's an account of her life with Harold Pinter, told mostly through the vehicle of what I assume are snippets from the diary she kept for years. Some days are just a few lines, but it makes me think how precious those little written lines must have seemed years later, after his death especially. It made me miss my own journal-writing, but only mildly, having just the other night had Tom pluck a little green book off our new bookshelf, my mortifying journal from 1989. 

Bookshelves! We bought three over the weekend, from Midway House Antiques, the little place on Chuckanut drive that I sometimes wander into on a Saturday or Sunday, looking for new additions to the stacks of sweet smelling handknit sweaters that the woman there cleans and repairs so beautifully.  It was so windy on Saturday that it felt like the tallest bookcase was going to take flight as we lifted it into the van, and every time we opened a car door, some little piece of tissue or receipt got away from us and had to be chased across the lot. The bookshelves are safe at home now, plants on top of the two biggest, making them look like they've always been there. Last night I remarked to Tom that in four and a half months we will have been there a year. It's hard to believe that the seasons will have come all the way around then, but I'm happy with all the little things we've done, the good way Tom finds places for things, the cozy yellow couch, the blanket I've been knitting for it, almost done. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I don't know (yet) what that title or this photo has to do with anything. I've been slow with the photos lately, having misplaced the cord that connects my external hard drive and blah blah blah a lot of boring technical stuff that keeps me from using my digital SLR. I'm still picking up the Bronica from time to time, but am slower than usual getting those little rolls of film into the shop for developing. I've got a good roll in my bag that has been there for over a week! Maybe that will change soon, maybe it won't. So yesterday I was clearing out the jumbled drawers of my desk and going through old CDs of scanned photos, labeling them and matching them up with their cases (I'm so guilty of CD abuse) and looking for little unpublished photos that might inspire a bit of writing.

I took this one last fall when Tom and I went on the Festival of Family Farms tour. That is still, for me, one of the highlights of having lived at the mini-farm these past seven months. I loved being out on a field trip with him, visiting farms that I now think of as neighbors, thinking about all the possible things. This little corner of an outbuilding was so interesting to me as a record of what people were up to there, the business of the place. All the ugly plugs and weird little tools and rusted metal panels remind me now of our basement, the garage, the hard parts of the house, and the things that make things go. Having a house is a constant act of care, a practice in patience and in both vigilance and a certain blindness, the kind of blindness that keeps you from being overwhelmed by the piles of things to be taken to the dump, the pails of old paint left by former owners, the light fixtures in the bathroom that have to fall to the bottom of the to-do list, being functional and harmless, if unpleasant to look at. I keep thinking about, longing for, a way to keep track of it all without overwhelming myself. I keep longing for better systems, more routine, and being grateful for what we have established. 

One thing I  love is the weekly yard walk we do. Most every weekend, I pull on wellies and a warm coat and follow Tom around the property as he points out things he's been working on or thinking about. I almost always forget to take the camera and have to run back to the house to get it. Same thing with mittens. Once I'm outside, I'm loathe to go back in until I'm well and truly frozen, because that's when the convocation of eagles shows up, or the vine around the bench swing begs to be pruned, or the frogs start chirping, or some other thing presents itself for my attention. There's nothing more satisfying in that moment than giving it. There is a use to all that beauty - it's the way it woos me into wanting to keep working at it, to tend and trim and take great care with that little patch of land and the house on it that serves us so well. 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Upside Down Moustache Time

Kate and I went to Sambar the other night, the first time I had been there in a long time. We knew Michael the bartender (of course), and the exceedingly pretty waitress, and the sommelier is an old friend of Clay's from their Campagne days. At one of the six tables, there was a couple I know, eating frites and drinking champagne and looking happy and talking about moving in together. One of the women sitting at the bar was someone Kate had met at one of her many pie events, and who I swear I've met before. That's one of many things I love about that place. I've been away from Seattle enough lately that Ballard is full of new restaurants and shops I've never been in, but Sambar stays both familiar and shiny new. 

I have two days of my alternate universe this week. Sushi and salons and coffee shops and french food and sleeping in my loaned bed at Kate's house. Maybe I shouldn't be taking a break from shopping for 25x15x1 inch furnace filters, but I am. The distance from the mini-farm might be good for now, I find myself rambling to Kate about how I need to get my act together, prioritize, organize, quit feeling like I'm wasting time. I realize I need a dose of humor and comfort, some way to forgive my own shortcomings, which include failure to unpack, poor spacial organization skills, procrastination and a tendency to wear sweaters one time too many before washing them.