Tuesday, May 31, 2016

they didn't trust me with the lawn mower

Over the weekend Robert and I (attempted) to mow his grandmother's giant yard with a broken riding lawn mower.  As I made the laps around the field the dogs followed me, a little bemused and begrudgingly, but always just a few feet away.    

Robert took a turn so I could sit in the shade and read.  

And the dogs didn't follow him.  In fact they flopped down next to me and took a nap while I read.  Perhaps they love me more (doubtful) or they didn't trust me with the broken riding lawn mower (more likely), but I think that no matter what they did it out of love, and I am filled lots of warm fuzzy feelings about this.  

Before we mowed over all the flowers I did take a few pictures of them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

sappy ipe and the futuristic doorbell

Lots of updates with the remodel!

We have yet to pick out the tile for the bathrooms, but we decided to go with the sappy ipe for the rest of the house.  It was just about the easiest decision ever.  When we walked into the hardwood flooring sales room Robert and I took one look at the desk and knew it was exactly what we wanted our floors to look like.  Turns out that not only did they have it in stock, but it was also on sale.

We also have an ominous new doorbell.  Because Robert is doing the smart house thing we will have a camera at the front door and can see who is ringing our doorbell from our phones no matter where we are. 

Our front porch has also been primed!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kill Creek Park

Over the weekend Robert's cousin, Rachel stayed with us, and when we asked her what she wanted to do she picked hiking.  So we picked Kill Creek Park, a place we have never explored.

Before heading out Rachel wisely picked T Loft for breakfast where she had a smoothie and I had an amazing juice and a bowl of quinoa, bananas, chocolate chips and cashews.  And also Robert's smoothie, which he didn't drink and politely called 'chew juice.'  

Because I'm incredibly rude I snuck in some Ms. Marvel reading as well.  

Kill Creek Park was a little confusing at first.  It took some time to find the hiking trail that went through the woods, but once we found it, the trail immediately blossomed into magic.  Our first thrilling find was a bit of scarlet elf cap fungus, which became one of many fungi that we found:  

One fungus looked startlingly like a rose-shaped mucus burger, but it refused to let me take a picture worthy of its divine ugliness.  

The dogs found and delighted in the creek each time we crossed it.  Even if there was only a mere trickle of water the girls lounged gratefully in it:

In addition to the fungi, we found many treasures:

This ringneck tolerated me picking it up but was quite happy when I put him back down.  He had a magnificent orange belly but of course he had already been coddled and was quite wiggly and unhappy with us at that point so no orange belly pictures.  

I would not advise you to wear this friendship rock around your neck as it weighed at least ten pounds: 

I saw this bobbing between two rocks at the top of a waterfall.  As it was leathery, putrescent smelling and a little moldy I do believe it was an expired turtle egg: 

At some point we popped out of the woods:

And after finding a bench we decided to rest for a bit:

I took the opportunity to finish up volume four of Ms. Marvel.  This page is my favorite from the book.  

Carol Danvers, talking to Kamala Khan: "Wow that's a neat trick.  You seem very... at home in your powers."
Kamala Khan: "It took me a long time to get here.  For awhile I just kind of felt weird and gross."
Carol Danvers: "And now?"
Kamala Khan: "Now I feel weird and awesome."

Friday, May 20, 2016

rainy stroll

Yesterday we took the dogs on a very peaceful and rather rainy stroll.  Just a block from the hubbub of Starbucks we saw a heron doing its tippy-toe strut through the creek.

We also saw plenty of gorgeous flowers, mostly clematis and roses doing their thing, acting all radiant like, petals embracing the rain much better than the humans.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

lucky coins

Yesterday a patron approached the desk and declared I love the library.  I love this library!

After helping him find a few dvds and checking them out for him he pulled out a huge handful of coins.  Foreign coins.

Pick one, he said.  These coins are lucky.  

Oh no thank you, I said.

What about this one? he asked while pushing it closer.  It's from Singapore.

That's very kind of you but no thanks.  

I like to give coins away.  Come on take one.  Take this one.  It's in Hebrew.  

Admitting defeat, I said thanks and hoped that was the end of it.  

Nope, he took another coin, flicked it far away and said, that's a bit of luck for someone else.

I gave the Hebrew coin to a coworker to put in our display collection and told her about the eccentric gentleman, finishing with an unsure, how are we ever going to find the other one? 

My coworker, who's worked at the library much longer than me, didn't even marvel at this particular eccentric gentleman.  She just sighed and started searching the floor for the coin that we were both sure a small child was going to find.  

Thankfully, after a few minutes, my coworker found it and tossed it into our ever-growing display collection, where the two coins will collect dust and radiate dim luck to the hands that briefly consider implementing two small coins into a display before realizing the work involved and dropping them back in the box.  

Interestingly enough, the gentleman was right about the lucky coins, because I took a bit of that luck with me and had a most wonderful evening...


Yep, I met the wonderful Susan Branch during a book talk last night, and she is every bit as vivacious as her words and paintings imply.  And her husband, Joe, was there too, and I wasn't the only one who squealed when he was first spotted taking pictures before Susan came out.

When Susan signed my book I thanked her for commenting on my review and told her how much it meant to me.  Her husband, who was taking our picture, stopped what he was doing and told me how much he liked my review (Susan liked it too), and that it nearly made him cry.  

I was so elated that my heart nearly flew out of my chest.  

To top the whole night off I worked up the courage to invite Nan, a retired librarian who now volunteers at a branch I used to work at.  I knew Nan loved Susan Branch because she had a couple of her books on hold.  So I invited Nan and she said yes and we had lots of great conversation and library talk, and when I dropped her off her husband came out to say hi and he was the guy I see all the time walking his dogs but never had the courage to say hi to!  It was like meeting many celebrities in one evening.  As we stood outside talking a neighborhood cat started weaving through my legs, and I just stood there thinking, this is one of the best days of my life.  

This is me and Susan Branch!  I know I look a little crazy with excitement here, and it's true.  I totally understand now why some people get a little weirded out when I get excited.  But I will cherish last night and this picture forever. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

an eggcellent ride

I had a little extra time so I decided to bike a different way.

And I was rewarded with this:

Friday, May 13, 2016


Earlier this week I came home to a stack of goodies that arrived all on the same day:

Since then I have been in a constant state of mega joy overload. 

Robert's sister, Jennifer, got me jazzed up about Birchbox, and I love it.  For $10 a month you get a box of samples.  Last month I got chapstick and mascara and lotion and a couple other things that I don't understand but are still super pretty.

I am a huge fan of All Trap Music.  I've slowly acquired all four cds, and I can say with certainty that Uppers is my favorite jam.  Today, that is. Itunes has informed me that I've played Uppers an astonishing 38 times so far.  Good stuff.

I also got Dean Morrissey's The Monster Trap.  
Once a month I go to a local used bookstore and usually find a book on my never-ending list.  I also buy one online that's hard to find.  I am very very happy to have secured my very own copy of The Monster Trap.  Unfortunately the first human who reacts the same way I did when I read it the first time will probably end up with my copy.  But sharing is at the top of the joy-of-books list.

The thing I'm most excited about right now, out of all of the goodies and all of the bestest most awesomest things that have happened this past week, was getting my very own copy of Susan Branch's new book, Martha Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.  I adore Susan Branch.  How much do I adore her?  Well, I've been lugging around her book, which weighs about as much as 5 hardback books, in my bike bag the past couple days.  I also love her enough to pause the Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) comic book series I've been reading and have been absolutely immersed in for the past week.  

Susan Branch's newest book starts out where her last book, The Fairytale Girl, left off, which was after her crushing divorce.  Susan is equal parts devastated and blossoming into her own person, and so for the past couple days I've been alternating between feeling like an awkward Muslim girl who has superhero powers, and having a simultaneous making-my-own-path breakdown/awakening.  

Needless to say that even though my legs are cramped from biking Susan's book all over town, I have felt very badass and eager to help.  After a lady gave me too much change at the library I leapt over a small box of books to get her dollar back before it was too late and she had driven away.  It's possible I'm part inhuman or drunk on life.  Or forever finding my way.  Or forever finding my way through the perspective of the protagonist(s) of the book(s) I'm currently reading.

But I'm certainly ok with putting Ms. Marvel on the shelf for the moment because Susan Branch's book is turning out to be everything I hoped for and more.

I am going to spend my Friday evening playing with whatever's in the pink box this month, listening to some All Trap Music and reading until my dogs make me stop.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

golden mud pies are the sweetest kind

Today was bath day for the goldens.

Bath is a four letter word.  

So we hit the trail to get as stinky, muddy and disgusting as we possibly could before the dreaded bath.  

My poor shoes were completely caked with mud, and I could even feel all of my toes gummed together, so I did a little playing in the creek too.

I don't know if it was because it was raining, or if the mud was the deterrent but we didn't see a single soul while we were out - no humans or wildlife.  And the only flowers we saw - a bedraggled clump of phlox - were promptly trampled by the goldens. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gotcha... Almost!

Yesterday at the library an older gentleman approached the desk and whispered something while pushing a pile of dvds towards me.  It was clear he wasn't all there so to speak, and after a few minutes I eventually found out that he wanted to check out the dvds on his mom's account.  

I told him he needed her card or pin number since he wasn't an authorized user on the account.  He looked flummoxed so I told him I would call her.  I called the number listed on her account and while I waited for her to pick up the gentleman walked over to our new books shelf.  At first I thought he was just browsing the new books.  


The phone stopped ringing.  The gentleman, his back facing me, pulled a cell phone out of his pocket, quickly looked at me before turning back around, and in a falsetto whisper, said, hello.

I had about one second to figure out to handle the situation so I walked over to the new books and tapped him on the shoulder.  With his phone still in his hand he turned around, a smile as wide as Texas on his face.  

Nice try! I said, with as much humor as I could cobble together in two seconds.  But I still need to talk to your mom.  Can you try calling her cell phone?  

But it was my number on the account, he sputtered, confused.  

Yes, but I need to talk to your mom.  

So he called her and handed me his phone and I explained that if she added him to her account he could check out stuff with an ID.  She was very much surprised that having his phone number on the account wasn't enough.  Thankfully she was more than happy to have him added to her account and he left with the dvds, his face lit up with another giant smile.  

Thankfully this time it was a genuine smile and not a ha-ha, I almost fooled you into thinking you were talking to my 80 year-old mother and not me smile.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

remodel update

Lots happening with the remodel!

The porch is coming along nicely.

HVAC is in.  

I know, super duper exciting picture, right?

And most importantly this is the tub structure, future home of bubble baths galore.

Monday, May 2, 2016

ABCs and Alcohol Inks

There are only two amazing books that I read last month. I read several good books, but they just weren't spectacular.

Pigments of Your Imagination: Creating with Alcohol Inks by Cathy Taylor

- in addition to having easy-to-understand instructions, this book is nicely organized - I loved the section on finding your muse and filling your workspace with inspiring objects - there are so many tools, methods and ideas in this book you will be entertained for at least a year - there is so much to learn and try, like creating texture with glue, purell and tar gel, reserving shapes with laminate to make images and a whole section filled with mega exciting tips from alcohol ink artists

ABC Dream by Kim Krans

- looking at the pictures and trying to figure out what they have to do with each letter is a little like finding Waldo or reading I Spy - in the back is a glossary of letters and the words they begin, which puts a whole new spin on the book: spelling! - the illustrations are super fun and though they often have little to do with neighboring illustrations, Krans magically makes it seem like hedgehogs should be wearing hats and chickens and cupcakes definitely belong together