Walk a Mile in My Shadow

My Katie is getting married in less than two months, and the dress I'm wearing to that is even sharper than the dress I wore to Bridge's wedding back in May (although my boobs are not so impressive now, but oh well).  As such, I got had to get a pair of correspondingly sharp shoes:
no choice in the matter, really

...and I had to get them well in advance, because shoes like these require practice when a doc-marten-wearing-girl like me decides to don them.



Lately I've been feeling kind of bad about my bike riding performance, like I've just really lost a lot of strength.  It always feels so hard to pedal, especially when I have my (admittedly pretty weighty) paniers strapped on.  The final insult came the other morning when I got passed by someone who was obviously less fit than me, on an inferior bike- on the uphill!

That was depressing, and a little voice in my head said surely, surely something must be wrong with my bike, but then another righteous voice told me not to make excuses for my own lack of fitness and moreover not to be so judgmental over someone else's perceived fitness.  Suck it up, O- you're just a wuss these days!

But then this morning I suddenly realized that, no, I am not a wuss- my stupid back tire is mostly flat.  And I immediately felt a million times better about myself, and after work I went over to Bad Monkey and remedied the problem.
Ego repaired!

And sure enough- I'm having a much easier time pedaling now.



Dragon Scale Gold

We went and got pedicures today... so nice.  All climbers should get pedicures, for real.  You don't have to get color (although how could anyone resist such sparkle?!) but you should definitely let them pamper your much-abused feet.
Behold the calluses left by my climbing shoes! (I need new climbing shoes!)

We renamed the color I chose, because it was something more boring than "Dragon Scale Gold", and it got me to thinking about dragons and nesting on gold hordes and how wouldn't it be interesting if dragons weren't born with scales but had to go out and get them like a hermit crab does his shell?  And they nest in gold because it's the softest metal, so their babies get a sort of "down" before they begin adding stronger scales of iron or steel... yup, it could totally be an element of a short story.


Their Sins Were Writ Upon Our Hands

Guess what we did today!

...blackberry murder, that is...


The Specialness of the Mundane

I was twelve years old when we moved to a small Southern town.  Prior to that point I had spent my young life living on or near military bases, surrounded by and going to school with kids just like me- kids who moved every one-to-three years, and who lived far away from their extended families.

But that's not how things work in a small town.

We moved to this small town, and I suddenly found myself surrounded by kids who had spent their entire lives in one place.  In fact, their parents had also spent their entire lives in that same place, and so had their grandparents before them.  Generally speaking, these generations all lived within five miles of each other, a concept utterly foreign to me.  The native kids and I each pitied the other for our respective inferior life experiences, and they seemed especially horrified by the idea of me only seeing my grandparents once a year, if that.  I told them loftily that I didn't mind, because it meant when I did see my grandparents it was special.  And it was.  There were presents and outings and events.  Cookie-baking and quilt-making and swimming in lakes and oceans.  Very special whirlwinds of time, and I cherish those memories.

I currently live about three-thousand miles away from that small Southern town, and consequently my mother.  This obviously means that I don't get to see her as often as I might like, which in turn means that when she does visit it is, as I always insisted, special.  Because that's what rare and valuable things are.

But here's the other thing about special- your concept of it changes.  So yes, when we got up somewhat early this morning and had an outing to the Farmer's Market to find Rainier cherries, only it turned out that the Hawaiian Cultural Festival was going on so we got to experience the fun and excitement of that, and my mom flitted from booth to booth buying presents for everyone including myself... it was something out of the ordinary, something special.  But more special, to me, was me standing in the kitchen making ice cream, being able to glance up and see my mom sitting out back with the dog, reading.  More special, to me, was the moment I myself sat in the sunshine, calm and at peace knowing my mom was napping and my husband working on the new fence.  Special no longer means spending every possible moment Doing Something Together, but rather savoring the knowledge that if I wanted to, all I have to do is walk into the living room.

the ring Mom bought me



golden waves


Rosa Pungens

Hooray, my mom got into town today!

We celebrated by having dinner with my uncle and aunt, followed by a dice game (I like this game because although I like it when I win- which I did in the second round- I honestly don't mind not winning, because it's just that much fun.)

The sun was going down as we left, and we happened to notice a conifer sporting some unusual blooms...
What the What?


The Cliche

I was out for my afternoon walk today, sheltered by an umbrella and thinking smugly to myself that the nice thing about not being native to anywhere is not having to worry about keeping up "native" appearances, when I walked past a rosebush and realized that I really ought to snap a shot of one of my favorite things:
also i got a brown paper package in the mail so it was a super awesome day
I went climbing after work and had a really excellent session.  I jumped right into leading an easy 5.7 for my warmup, then a 10- cleanly for the first time since I've been back, followed by a trickily-bolted 8, and then tackled a really tough 10 (on top rope, at my partner's suggestion).  I took three falls on my first attempt (partner is very insightful, apparently), but nevertheless thought it was a great route.  Of course, my pride protested that there was some sandbagging going on there... and my partner agreed (so like I said- insightful.)  And then I cooled down with an 8 that felt smooth like butter after the 10-  All that climbing in under two hours, and me covered in sweat by the end.  Good, good day.  I'm starting to feel strong (and therefore sexy) again, and I can't tell you what a relief that is.


Milk Drunk

It's Boozeday Tuesday, or as we are now occasionally referring to it, Boobsday Tuesday.  Some people cannot hold their beverage of choice, it seems.
Go home, baby: you're drunk.



Up on Top

Got to go out climbing today with a handful of friends, up at French's Dome.  It was lovely weather, and the mountain came out to play just as we topped out on our little two-pitch:

Who dat, who dat?
Later on in the day (on top of a 5.10) we got even better views:


Proof that I was there.

 And here's the official Picture of the Day- can you guess which rope is mine?

These colors always remind me of KB
Oh, look at me all about to rappel down with everyone else's gear (no, I don't normally carry anywhere near that much):

99 Problems but a lack of quickdraws ain't one.
I look so saucy and confident in this photo- strange to remember how much rappelling freaked me out the first time!


Elemental Stars

So this is how they turned out:
water and fire

(I'll do a full process entry about them later this week)


A Proliferation

My oh my, I never expected my clematis to make such an amazing comeback!  They bring me great joy each and every time I walk into the backyard.
they smell a bit like wild sweet grapes


Nights of Wine and Strawberries

I hung out with a friend tonight, and we ate pizza, drank wine, and painted shoes.  All in all, a damn good night.
Sweet Pea!


These Tools Will Move You

I walked out of the gym and it hit me- the lovely smell of too-hot metal.  I inhaled deeply, letting myself travel back to a time in my life when welding was a near-daily occurrence.  It was in college- specifically junior year- and working with metal made me feel like a powerful, fiery goddess.  It was a good time in my life, a very good time, and the smell inevitably fills me with a sort of giddiness.
tool of the trade

I knew the source (forgive the pun) of today's smell, of course- Michael and Brian had earlier asked if I minded moving my bike inside, as they were on a mission to move the bike racks.  So I came around the corner and watched them work for a bit before pedaling home, brain still dancing with memories.


We Shall Bear It No More

Rotten, miserable mood all day today.  Not even bubble wrap could help.
so sad



I had a business lunch today, so we met up at Mint Tea and I popped a pill so I could have a gyro.  The waitress brought it out to me and it was beautifully presented:
But I had no idea what the purple stuff could possibly be.  Me being me, however, I took a brave bite and discovered...

Potato salad.

Heh.  Yeah, it made me laugh.  And then eat more, because it was really freaking good.


Rest and Recovery

I sat with Isis this morning for a while, reading my book and just generally Being There for her.  We're over five weeks into her recovery, which means there's less than three weeks to go of this intense confinement, and then only one month of the slightly-less-limited confinement.  I think we're all looking forward to that.
...but are they barking?

This summer has been very much Not As Planned.  I'm thinking of asking for a do-over, if there's anyone who'll grant it...


Few Things Finer...

...than a leisurely ice cream on a hot day.

Nathan wanted to go to the camera store this afternoon, so I had him drop me off at REI while he did that.  I was on the hunt for a new pair climbing shoes, but didn't have any luck, and so I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and strolled down to Cool Moon for a tasty treat.

They had kulfi flavor, which made me realize that I'd been craving it without even knowing it- and that I need to get back in the kitchen and whip some up stat, because we're almost halfway through July and I haven't made a single pint of ice cream yet!  Criminal!


A Bloody Mess

My husband recently invented the best damn drink we've had in a long time.  And so simple!  Just toss some frozen cherries into a blender with some coconut water and tada!  A drink that's delicious and stupid good-for-you.  (Cherries are anti-inflammatory, and coconut water is full of potassium)
Tastes even better from a fancy glass.

Of course, the drink is slightly less good for you if you, like I, happen to also add raspberry wine to the mix.

(Don't judge me.)(It was delicious.)(I regret nothing.)



Tonight I did something that I have not done in a long, long time: ten years, minimum.

oh hello nudity

Yep, I attended a life drawing session (as an artist, not a model- although it's been at least seven years since the latter, come to think of it).  And it was fabulous.

I felt nervous as I walked up to the studio- honestly I felt a little bit like a poser (pun entirely unintended).  My only comfort was my drawing board twisting in my hand as it flapped about in the evening wind- old smears of paint proved that I had some experience, at least.  But I was afraid I'd have lost it all.  I don't do much in the way of drawing-from-life these days, for multiple reasons.  For example, it's harder to get people to get naked for you once you're married- and my husband isn't much interested in posing for me.  Which leaves me with inanimate objects and just pfffffft to that.

(Seriously, why draw fruit when there are people in the world?)

But tonight's adventure was all about remedying that little problem.

The model walked in and for a moment I felt a blink of surprise- I'd spent all day envisioning a woman, and yet what was in front of me was a tall, lanky male model.  And then I laughed at myself because oh yeah duh, dudes hire out as models, too, not just long-haired females.

Fortunately for me and my tremulous return to life-drawing, this guy was fantastic.  His warm-up poses were so dynamic and beautiful.  He was just beautiful, all the long, clean lines of his body.  I could have spent hours drawing the sharp edges of his ribcage and hip bones.  I guess I did, technically...  I kept finding myself shivering with the raw pleasure of the experience, of looking at a nude body and moving my pen across paper and having a figure appear.  I'd forgotten how viscerally satisfying it is, the sweep and flow of the human form when viewed as art.

It took a while, but it did come back to me.  I lost myself to that special meditative state that psychologists call "flow", and my body remembered the things my brain was afraid it had forgotten.  I was pleased enough with my final 35 minute drawing (the pencil).  Pleased enough that I was irritated that I wasn't going to get a chance to finish it.

Guess I'll have to go back.  Maybe with charcoal, next time, or conte crayon...


Old Habits Die Hard

Many of you are probably aware that today was the day that the first (legal) recreational marijuana shops opened in Washington State.  Well we here in Vancouver (aka Vansterdam) are lucky enough to have one of the (very few) shops (Main Street Marijuana) in our uptown district.  The shop didn't open until 1100, but I heard from one of my clients that there was already a long line at 0800.

I'm amused by the whole thing, but also admittedly interested in this little bit of history, so during my afternoon walk I went ahead and mosied on by, just to see if the line was persisting throughout the day.  Sure enough, even by 3pm there was still a line to get in:
Whatchoo Lookin' At?
I was tickled by this, and decided to take a photo- but knowing that people might still be a little twitchy about their faces being photographed in front of a store that sells (only recently legalized) drugs, I moved around to the back of the line to get the impression rather than the individuals.

As you can see, however, one guy did not trust the redhead with the camera phone, and chose to keep an eye on me, regardless.


Glory Glory Glory

Fun with filters.
I always have to pause a moment and remember that these are called clematis and not chlamydia...



Yes, yes- Rainier cherries again.  What can I say?  They're in season and I friggin' love them.  Bought these at yesterday's farmer's market, and it's miracle that I even have this many left for my lady-date.
Tiny bowls for pits.

We're going to sit and sip fancy drinks and talk and talk and talk.  I do so love my back porch in the summer time!


Game Night

Probably I'm winning.  But maybe that's just the cherry-infused whiskey talking.



Today was a wonderful day- in the morning Lara and I got out for a hike (my first since Lake Tahoe) at one of my absolute favorite places, and when we came home Nathan had made us up a fabulous Argentinian-style tri-tip, which he dressed with a chimichurri sauce made with oregano from our very own garden!
Taste buds blown.
That evening we headed over to Momma and Papa Trout's house, where we ate still more delicious food, plus pie, and watched their apparently-wealthy neighbors shoot off some pretty spectacular fireworks.

Happy Independence Day!



It's like the gods literally don't want me to have just one...

As if being Super Delicious weren't reason enough.


Not From Grace, But With It

I was on my afternoon walk when something bright on the sidewalk caught my eye.
a flutter of fallen wings
At first I was delighted- a big, beautiful butterfly!  But then I realized the movement came from the wind rather than any animating life force, and after a moment's mourning I was delighted for a different reason: a big, beautiful, dead butterfly!  I knew just the person who could use such a spectacularly lucky find, so I carefully scooped it up in my hand and carried it back to the office, where I proceeded to creep out my boss with it.  Everyone wins!


Slice of Life

(not every photo is a winner)