Colors of the Night

Had a semi-late-night climbing session with the bros, and afterwards I came across this:

This church has the loveliest noontime bells.


Ships and Shoes

I love ink so very, very much.  I love all the things you can do with ink, and all the tools you can use to wield it.  Recently a dear friend of mine gave me some excellent new dip pen nibs, and I sat down this evening to see how they handled.
...and sealing wax...

She also gave me a lovely stick of bronze-y sealing wax, and a pair of seals, and it's taking quite a bit of will power not to use up the entire thing right now.

I do so love loveliness.


The Taste of Love

It has not been the best of times in the O household, lately.  Nathan's been suffering from a variety of afflictions and I... I have been dealing with my old frenemy, Depression, and all it's accompanying quirks.  The result of this particular melange of unhappiness has been a certain amount of Unhealthy Eating for everyone.  Because not caring about anything includes not caring about taking proper care of your body.

Fortunately for the both of us, things started to turn around for me last night, which led to me actually talking to my husband, which in turn led to things turning even more towards Better.  Nathan is very very good at giving me what I need, if I can only bring myself to let him know that I need it.  Or not even "it" in specific- most times it's enough just for him to know that I need help- he can generally figure the rest out on his own.

So tonight, when I got home from the gym, I was determined to make us a dinner that would nourish our bodies instead of just filling our bellies.  And my husband, who was determined that I not feel alone in the world, stepped into the kitchen to help.  Between the two of us, we turned out a fragrant dish of apples, shallots, and pork chops in less than half a hour.
Sweet and Savory
Cooking all of your meals from (healthy) scratch is an enormous pain in the ass.  Unless, of course, you're doing it together, in which case it's a fun bonding activity.  For me, anyway.  I feel very loved and cared for when Nathan chops and I cook (or I chop and he cooks).  We're a team, doing something for us.  The fact that we get to eat a delicious meal at the end of it is almost a bonus...


Requiring A Reasonable Sum

(not that Diana Villiers would be caught dead with such common hair pins...)


Dissection of Memory

I got a text this morning from my friend Crystal, asking if I'd be willing to help her move a bookcase (she's a perfectly competent woman who just so happens to be pregnant and therefore taking appropriate precautions re: moving heavy objects).  I said "Of course!" and that is how I ended up at her house as heavy afternoon light slanted across this unintentionally beautiful little tableau:
There are always lovely things at Crystal's house



Tonight we celebrate Janurismas, so I've adorned myself in black and silver with pops of red for festive flair.
Ring it in.



Blue Skies, Red Fruit

Beautiful day in the neighborhood...



My husband is sick.



Tonight I learned about "the cup song".

I learned about it when my Katie and Crystal and Kara all started shrieking excitedly about it, and more specifically when my Katie and Crystal breathlessly volunteered to demonstrate it.

Now, these two ladies are quite naturally exuberant people, so they were thumping and banging their glasses with such force that Kara kept repeating, in a slightly strangled tone, "Maybe more gentle?"

So they attempted to be "more gentle" about it and... well...


The glasses came together with a thoroughly satisfying crash, shattering in the way that only your inner five-year-old dares to hope for, and after a heartbeat of shock we all burst into hysterical laughter... before corralling the dogs and cleaning up the mess.


Well Come

It's nice to see a warm light at the end of a cold ride.



It was pretty outside today, so I got out and did a little yard work.





Humblebug in the Wild



It was a rage-y sort of day, and for no good reason.

I was in a good mood this morning, but sometime around eleven it all came crashing down, down, down.  Actually the emphasis should be on crashing, because that's the sort of rage it was.  Violent rage.  And again- for no particular reason, let alone a good one.

The mood was not helped by my lunch break, which was spent dashing home to let the dog out (because Nathan, who typically works from home, is out of town).  Letting the dog out (and feeding her lunch) wasn't so bad- no, what kicked me into "I'm going to strangle this stupid animal" mode was that she finally got wise to the liverwurst trick.  So rather than take her flea medicine (which I really need her to do, because I found fleas on the cat last night) she just ate all the liverwurst and spat the pill back out.

Multiple times.

(Please don't give me any tips on how to get her to take her pill- as I told multiple people today, "Let's just assumed I've already tried everything and am still really pissed off.")

So.  My mood worsened, and I returned to work, and continued to feel general hatred towards humanity, the world, and just everything for the next two or three hours, at which point I just felt exhausted.  I'd already decided that I wasn't going to go climbing, since I was pretty sure that the only thing that would accomplish was me being bitchy towards people who love me.

...buuuuut I ended up going anyway, because Nathan mentioned I might feel better if I had chocolate, and I thought, "...maybe," and then I thought, "I can get a gluten-free cookie on the way to the gym, and if I don't feel any better I can just say hello and then leave.  And even if I don't leave, I'll only climb easy routes, so that I won't get frustrated."

(There is a kind of rage that can be constructively channeled into a challenge: this was not that.  This was the kind of rage that just gets further inflamed by a challenge.)

So I walked to the gym and got my cookie (and was grudgingly pleased that the cafe owner remembered me), and had a nice chat with a fellow climber who was also in a Pissed Off Mood, and we decided maybe it was a combination of last week's solar flare and tomorrow's full moon, because why not?

And then I found Bridge, and I'm pretty sure it's because he's a cat owner that he knows how to handle bitchy females by giving them their space and letting them be pissy, because he did that.  And I climbed my easy warm-up route, and then, because I was like, "I don't even efifn' care," I tried my current project.

I fell on the first attempt, in the exact same spot I've been falling in for the past week or so, but Bridge didn't try to give me any advice: he just let me swing back and forth, finding my breath and contemplating my movements.  And then I just... did it.  Very calmly, very smoothly.  I reached the top and he lowered me down, and there was this beautiful techno music playing so I closed my eyes and let myself be lost in the smell of chalk and the feel of the rope, and I felt infinitely better about life.

("You always feel better when you climb," says my husband, and he's right.)

So yeah.  It was a good climbing session.

I came home and did some cleaning (which also helps me feel better about life), and then I settled down to work on some embroidery,

It's not what you think it is... or is it?
I feel like the alone time helped as much as anything else... and now it's time for bed.



A girlfriend of mine makes the loveliest jewelry.  She also takes the time to hand-embellish all the boxes in which she packages the jewelry.  This evening she had many boxes to make, so she recruited some of us to help her with the stamping portion, whilst she concentrated on the penmanship.

She has such lovely handwriting


A Good Choice

As I was walking back to the office from the climbing gym, I decided to finally stop in at the cafe I've been eying for over a year (ever since they put a sign in their window advertising "gluten free goodies").

It was a good choice.


Adventures in Futility

I recently joined a group devoted to, well, "Lazy People Who Occasionally Declutter Things".  Every day a decluttering tip is posted, and you can follow it, or not.  And we swap tips and before/after photos and are generally very supportive and awesome.  I'd gotten a bit behind on the whole "decluttering" part of it, so today I did a bit of catch-up, including "the left side of the sink".

Well I got it all decluttered and cleaned (I even wiped down the walls), and then walked away... and when I came back, what should I find but dirty kitty pawprints all over my nice clean counter!  Plus the maughty kitty who made them!

I just had to laugh because really... owning animals is like accepting you will never again have a truly clean house.  (At least, if you want to retain your sanity you ought to be accepting that...)


Ripped Apart

Back in my Borders days, there was, in our break room, a white board.  I'm not sure how it started, or who started it (although I suspect it was Mattseph), but we got to writing questions up on that board.  And, of course, answers.

Someone would write,

Which literary character do you most admire?


What is your favorite word?


What is the flight speed of an unladen swallow?

and then the rest of us would write our answers.  It was fun, and it was a fun way to learn more about one another (especially once you got good at recognizing handwriting).  One day, someone wrote

If you were a fruit, what would you be?  Why?

(Needless to say, "banana" went up more than once.)  (as it were.)

I thought long and hard about that question, and at last I answered:

Pomegranate.  It's a pain in the ass to get to the good stuff, but totally worth the effort.
bloody good fun
what's not to love?



Goofing Off: just one more in a long list of Adult Privileges...


The Good, the Bad, and the Best

Happily for me, it was once again raining today, so I set out to recreate the shot that I thought was going to be yesterday's shot.  The good news?  I like this version even better:

Oh THAT'S how you add alt text!
Who needs roses?

The bad news?  I took another shot that I really liked, and when the time came to process, I found that I could not choose between them.

Implied Narrative!
The best news?  It's my project, and my blog, and I'll post two photos if I want to.

(I'm an adult!)


Happy Accident

It was raining again today (not super shocking in the PNW, although you wouldn't know it from the freakish winter we've been having), and one of the nice things about rain is how absolutely lovely it makes everything, both before, during, and after.  Light, especially, seems to do well with a good rain bath.

'Round about sunset, maybe an hour after the rain had stopped, I was walking towards the rock gym and admiring the gorgeous play of pale gold and paler blue in the sky above me.  Although I'd already taken "today's photo", I whipped out my phone in an attempt to capture the clouds.  And by whipped out, I mean fumbled around with it because I was wearing gloves and waiting to cross at the crosswalk.  To my frustration, however, through the screen the whole scene appeared so blown out I couldn't see any color at all.  I'd have tried again, but in that moment the cross light turned green, so I tucked my phone away and chalked it up to, "You can't get good sunrise/set shots with your phone."

As it turns out, somewhere in my fumbling I must have hit a setting, because the reason I didn't capture any color was because I'd taken a black and white photo.  Which I discovered when I finally looked at it, three hours later.

And damned if I didn't like it just exactly the way it was.

Unprocessed, for a change.


The Traitor

Which came first, the betrayed or the betrayer?
Delilah the Dane

The world may never know.



The sunrise this morning was gorgeous, but unfortunately iPhones simply were not meant to capture the glory of sunrises.  So rather than the beginning of my day, you get the end of it:

What we have here is a distinct lack of calluses.
My hands are in agony right now, because after six weeks off from climbing, you pretty much lose all your calluses.  And until you get them back, your hands are pretty unhappy with you.

(My hands are pretty unhappy with me; I'm dreading the shower.)


Isis, Ice Baby

Turns out Isis delights in the snap of puddles every bit as much as I do.


Beautiful Things

I was browsing a little shop today with some friends of mine when I saw an absolutely gorgeous tray.  It was a heavy rectangular slab of warm wood, with handles made of pewter in the shape of flowering branches adorned with birds.  It made my heart sing just to look at it, and I thought to myself, Well, just the other day Nathan and I were saying that we need breakfast-in-bed trays; why shouldn't they be lovely?  After all, I'm an adult now, and I can spend a little more money on something that is both functional and beautiful.  No need to limit myself to the utilitarian when I'm putting together a household that will last me for decades.

With this cheerful thought in mind I began dismantling the display, so that I could turn the tray over and see the price.  This took me a while, as there were an indecent amount of candles stacked upon it, but at last it was unencumbered, and I turned it over...


Four.  Hundred.  Dollars.

I felt a sick lurch in my heart and began to re-assemble the candle-pyramid.  My friends and I joked that I'd probably have to pay the shop $20 just for touching it, but inside I was feeling very small, and very sad.  I felt as though I was being told that because we aren't wealthy, we don't deserve beautiful things.  I know that's not true, of course- the only person making me feel that way was me and my rare-but-tenacious insecurities- but the little kernel of sadness remained.  I tend towards the miserly, pragmatic side of things in general, so the decision to spend extra on something for the sake of beauty was sort of a big deal.  To be unable to afford the beauty was just sort of... well, sad.

It was with that experience fresh in my mind that I decided to visit Pier One on our way home.  Surely, I thought, surely they have pretty trays that I can actually afford.

And they did... but none that made my heart happy.  And what's the point of spending extra if it's not going to make your heart happy?  So I browsed around the store, with the vague notion that I'd look at dishes, since Nathan's been saying for about three years now that he really, really wants better dishes than my old Ikea ware.

Nothing was appealing to me, until I happened to glance at a clearance rack.  And there it was- a beautiful little plate, just calling my name!  White with a spray of yellow branches, and dinner plates to match!  So pretty!  And so affordable!

Nathan was equally charmed, and so we brought a set of sixteen white-and-yellow plates home to our little yellow house, and paid less than 1/7 of what I'd have paid for just one tray (and I wanted two).  Now that's beautiful.

...with a side of yellow sunshine...

(As for the still-needed breakfast trays, we decided that we will buy a pair of plain trays and them stencil on our own design.  Now if only I knew a pewter-worker...)


Nervous Laughter

"Are you using any birth control?"
"Just my own natural resistance to pregnancy!"



I was sitting at the podiatrist today, my feet up at a ridiculous angle, wondering if they make you wait as long as they do in an attempt to let your feet "air out", when I glanced down at myself and saw this:

It's possible that I like bright colors.
which made me think of nothing so much as beautifully layered kimonos, and I was sad that you don't see much in the way of bright layering in the West, and so I took a photo to commemorate the occasion.

(I would gladly wear kimonos/yukatas as everyday wear.  Saris, too.  In fact, once a friend brought me a sari [and choli and lehenga] and I sure the hell did wear it around town on a semi-regular basis.  Got a lot of looks, but I'd long ago resigned myself to a lifetime of that experience...)



2013 was not the best of years.  Sure, it had its moments- but for the most part, it will not make my top ten list of Best Years Ever.

But now 2014 is here, and I've every intention of filling it to the brim with wonderful moments, until there's no room left for the bad...

One such lovely moment occurred this morning, when Nathan and I shared bacon, and pomegranates, and sweet vanilla tea (from our Irish mugs) for breakfast, after an unexpected night out.  We've been married for almost five years now, and we still take such delight in one another's company.

The finer things in life.