November 30th, 2014
The ways, the people and the creatures that Charlie Weigle loved.   Photo by Damon Sicore   ICE CREAM In one of the last visits to Kaiser, a physical therapist came by on her rounds.  She asked the usual series of patient questions: PT: Sir can you tell me your name? Dad: Charlie Weigle PT: Ok Charlie, what is the date of your birth? Dad: May 24th, 1940 PT: Charlie do you know where you are? In response dad looked resignedly around and said, “Kaiser”.  The PT sensed his confusion and asked again, “Charlie do you know which Kaiser you are in?” There was a long pause and nothing, as if it were simply too much effort for dad to figure this out.  I leaned over and whispered to the PT, “Ask him what his favorite flavor of ice cream is.”  So she asked, “Charlie what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?”  Dad perked right up and exclaimed,  “Peppermint” – to which the PT replied, “Well Mr. Weigle, it looks like you are ready for Physical Therapy today!” Sometimes Cary and I would find ourselves spending Saturdays with dad, presumably so that mom could have some personal time and we ragamuffins could have some quality time with dad.  Quality time usually involved a gleeful joy ride to the Palo Alto dump, nature time poking bird poop and dead stuff at the Bay Lands followed by a stealth visit to the A& W on El Camino Way.  Here we would get hamburgers and root beer floats – foods that Mama Belle did not approve of.  With a glint in his eye and a you-know-what eatin’ grin dad would say, “now don’t tell your mother”.  Cary and I would somberly agree to keep the secret.  Later on we figured out that “don’t tell you mother” really meant “do tell your mother” – l loved her mock shock, and inability to suppress a smile, saying “Charles did you feed these children junk food again just to get my goat?”  For which giggly Charlie would be rewarded with a poke in the ribs and a knowing wink. Consumption of ice cream was a joyful thread throughout Charlie’s life.  Whether it was a trip to Peninsula Creamery for milkshakes with friends, Edys to celebrate the opening night of a children’s theatre play, Rick’s Rather Rich to reward his son for a paper well written, or towards the end – Fenton’s for a drippy cone of peppermint with Jasper and Violet, the life of Charlie was marked by ice cream shared with loved ones.  Seth’s little life revolved around the weekly expedition to the ice cream store in Mountain View with his beloved “Gwamps”.  Of course, on the surface it was the ice cream, but really it was so much more.  The expedition provided undivided time, the feelings expressed, the scraps of nature discovered along the way on the sidewalk, and the connection that the two of them will always have.  It sometimes took a whole afternoon just to traverse the 8 blocks to and from the ice cream store, but it was worth it for a cone of “Bwfday Cake” a flavor that only a grandparent could love.   THE GREAT OUTDOORS Charlie was born into a fine lineage of “outdoorsy people”.  On his mother’s side there was the McGilvary Sturrock clan with their Sierra foothill granite quarrying business, and summer visits to the Yosemite camp.  On his father’s side there was Dada and Grandmother Alice, the Episcopal Socialists who fed the whole extended family from their home farm during WWII.  Near and dear to his heart, were Marge and Cliff his beloved parents and life-long members of the Sierra Club, who faithfully camped with, scouted with and taught Charlie to love the nature around him. life with charlie-1 Two summers ago Charlie came on the neighborhood reunion camping trip to Toulome Meadows.  Dennis and Cary lead us on a lovely hike across the main meadow past Lembert Dome.  At one point Charlie and I had taken a rest, and it was just the two of us sitting on a log looking back over the peaceful dry meadow.  Out of nowhere Charlie told me this lovely story.  In his 14th summer he was camping with Marge and Cliff in the meadow (because there was no campground then).  He asked them if he could bivouac on Johnson Peak overnight.  Apparently they said yes, so being a good boy scout, he set off in the evening with just his bed roll, hiked up, enjoyed the stars and carefully made his way down early in the morning so that his mother would not worry needlessly.  Charlie described this sweet Weigle interaction as being a sort of “coming of age”.  His parents were proud that Charlie had reached the age where he could be trusted to take care of himself.  With fondness in his eyes we sat a moment longer, then Charlie suggested that we carry on, because he did not want to miss any grand kid action at the creek. life with charlie-3 I am sure Charlie took other solo expeditions, but his ideal outdoor experience, was shared with friends and family.  Charlie spent multiple summers on the Camp Oljato staff, as a scout master he always made time in his work schedule to take the boys to camp for the full two week session.  Charlie spent one of his Stanford summers on the Juneau Glacier in Alaska.  Although his friends teased him about his beard upon his return to school in the fall, Charlie was in no rush to shave it off.  The beard was lovingly cultivated during the 3 months he spent camping on a glacier, happily core drilling ice samples alongside his fellow enthusiastic geology nuts.  Later that decade, Charlie wooed Belle by taking her on glamorous camping trips to Nova Scotia and Europe.  Dazzling her with his nifty equipment that all folded neatly into the trunk of his sporty red Volvo.  Charlie pledged his love to Belle by building her the beloved “Camping Cabinet” that we still camp with today.  Having a family of his own gave Charlie all the reason he needed to pack in as much hiking, biking, camping and skiing with as many friends as possible; our neighborhood, Y Small World, Y Westerners, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts – just to name a few.  Upon his Death, Seth and I decided we would keep Gramps in our hearts by continuing the tradition of taking hikes with loved ones, and giving thanks for the blessing of nature enjoyed together.   BELLE & CHARLIE life with charlie-12 Belle and Charlie loved a good project.  In their pre-kid years together they remodeled two historic homes in DC and Arlington Mass.  Charlie would do the carpentry and Belle would work her magic on the interior.  Charlie loved to retell the story of mom, 8 months pregnant with baby Alis, 6 feet up a ladder placed precariously on a stairway, painting the wall of our vintage Boston home a warm 70’s mustard yellow, because, well, it needed to get done – the baby was coming. life with charlie-16 The theatre was a love that Belle and Charlie shared.  Their theater happy place was at All Saints.  The Pew Players were fun, nothing too serious.  Doing a play could be managed and enjoyed without compromising time with the kids.  Belle was a wiz at making costumes and sets.  For the Noah’s Ark play she figured out how to make construction paper masks for elephants, rats, horses, in fact the whole menagerie of All Saints little ones paraded around in full animal likeness on a budget of probably $10.  Charlie was the comic ham in the family.  Dad was always enthusiastic about his roles in church plays, he enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow humorists and relished delivering the silly punch line.  His crowing roll was as Maude, a 50 something happy drunk.  For this role he dressed in drag, not just willingly but with aplomb. In retrospect, what seemed like a normal vacation to me as a child, now seems like a crazy reminiscence/what were my parents thinking?  My parents planned elaborate trips on shoestring budgets with all sorts of moving parts – just the way they liked their adventures.  Our first trip to Europe involved ordering a new Volvo, flying into Amsterdam, somehow making our way to Sweden, taking a choppy ferry ride from Sweden to England – you get the idea.  This logistical feat was a Charlie Weigle special.  Just to complicate matters we had to camp out each night because hotels were too expensive.  Most nights we camped in a charming farm field, or cheeky British campsite, but not always.  In one industrial English city Cary and I found ourselves camping in a narrow strip of land between a horse race track and a busy road.  Belle and Charlie acted like this was totally normal blithely ignoring the headlights that illuminated the tent every few minutes, and the smell of diesel exhaust.  Mom had her  classic benevolent smile plastered on her face, and Dad was busy distracting us with some card game or other Charlie Weigle smoke an’ mirrors special.  Our second trip involved narrow boats, locks and aqueducts, camping out of a damp Ford Fiesta, a battle axe, endless rain and Dad encouraging us to try and recognize different breeds of sheep for entertainment - a story for another day. life with charlie-13 Belle and Charlie genuinely enjoyed being parents.  I of course, recall overhearing many an exchange between the two of them about Cary and his friends.  Now that I have been the parent of a little boy, I understand how much joy they found in the 2 year old Cary and Eric.  I remember the two of them watching the boys playing outside, remarking on Cary’s “Gift of the Gab” and Eric’s infectious giggle.  Charlie took particular notice of things that kids were doing.  He was very observant and managed to find humor in most situations.  I remember aside comments to my mom such as, “Honey, go peek in on the boys, Cary has got them in stitches, it’s too precious to miss.” life with charlie-7 Belle and Charlie loved the day to day flow of kids and weekend adventures with our neighborhood.  There was the Toulome camp out when Tim Franey masterfully captivated us with the fire circle ghost story, while Charlie snuck up from behind and scared the living day lights out of us.  Or the New Years Eve when the boys got the car stuck in the snow drift and had to dig it out with socks on because although they had drivers licenses, they apparently did not have enough sense to wear shoes when they drove.  The gaggle of neighborhood boys were an endless source of belly laughs.  What is a good laugh if not shared with friends?  Belle and Charlie were fortunate to have the company of parents who found the antics of child rearing equally as entertaining.  The neighborhood parents were like minded, allowing their kids the freedom to figure it out on their own, but still enforced loving “boundaries” at each household.  Mom used to always say, when you are at so and so’s house they make the rules.  Life is full of different people with different rules and you are just going to have to learn how to adapt.  It takes a village right? Charlie loved the 1950’s.  He had had a great time as a teenager and was thrilled to relive it with his own teenagers in the 1980’s.  Like most 15 year old girls my friends and I were all boys and talking on the phone.  Charlie was never annoyed with us, in fact he found us amusing.  Charlie took delight in constantly humoring us about being “teeny boppers”, good naturedly mimicking our complaints with a dramatic eye roll and his patented pretend sigh.  Much to Mom’s protest about the cost, Dad installed a second phone line in my room.  Ostensibly so that the house line would be “free”, but really I think he relished the cadence of giggly teen age conversations – Charlie was always a teenager at heart.   THE LITERATURE OF LIFE life with charlie-2 Charlie lived for the “literature” of life.  Those moments when the everyday word meant something more, those little bits around the edges that touched on meaning.  Charlie was endlessly clever, and infused humor in everything.  He made room for wit in every conversation, and if you were lucky he would slip in a pun or two, maybe even one in Latin. One day mom and I were crossing Arastradero to go to Ruth Woods preschool.  We were standing on the curb looking right and left for cars.  Since this was the 1970s in Palo Alto there was not a car in sight.  It was a lovely winter day, and the first time in my memory that I can recall noticing that it was raining, but the sun was shining.  Because I am Belle’s child I noticed the breath-taking aesthetics of the landscape before me.  The glinting edge of a steel blue cloud, the bright pricks of raindrops caught in sun light, and the black shimmer of water on asphalt.  However, because I am Charlie’s child I realized that this vignette of light and water could be a poem, or a story.  This sunshine in the rain moment might have a deeper hidden meaning.  A hidden meaning beyond the physical that was magical, perhaps even spiritual.   That moment was my first understanding of allegory – a concept that Charlie loved to teach, discuss. life with charlie-14 Literary themes were just one of the plethora of subjects Charlie liked to teach.  Charlie had a knack for communicating the essence of what should be learned in all situations.  Be it math concepts, merit badge projects, or even just making waffles – Charlie “owned” the teaching moment.  I have since run into many students from Charlie’s San Jose State days who took his infamous Finance 101 course.  I always have to be prepared because these people gush.  Apparently Charlie was a fantastic teacher, even good enough to change people’s lives and make them corporate finance evangelists! life with charlie-8 Charlie believed that every student had potential.  He looked for the way in which that person learned, he could easily adapt, and simply walked that path with them till they got the hang of the subject.  The fourth grade me was pretty much mentally absent from the classroom, and in hind sight probably caused my parents a world of worry.  However, in the spring we did our big 7 page book report on the Gold Rush.  There was a month of Belle and Charlie trying to get me interested in one angle or another.  In the last week, Dad finally struck on something.  He showed me books on geology, and started teaching me about how the gold was deposited and how the mining process worked.  Well – that got my attention.  I was fascinated, I learned the material and wrote a pretty decent report for a kid who was on track to be a “4th grade nothing”.  Dad was proud of my report, and I felt really good about myself. However, the tables turned when we got our reports back and mine got an F.  This teacher did not grade on content, only spelling and grammar – “Palo Alto Unified’s finest”.  Despite the piles of liquid paper smeared all over the report I had managed to spell more than 10 words incorrectly – an automatic F.  Dad was livid!  I had never seen my father so upset.  Charlie was all about content, and there was no way this “lady” was going to undermine his daughter’s new found confidence in expository writing.  Needless to say, the papers were “re-graded”, although I would like to have been a fly on the wall at that parent teacher conference.   LITTLE GIRLS Violet Belle – I am not sure that God in all her wisdom could have sent a granddaughter better suited for Charlie.  In her baby year Charlie and Violet would sit and bat eyelashes, stick their tongues out and simply bask in each other’s mutual affection.  Charlie would melt into sweetness, regardless of his mood when Violet was around.  Then when Violet began to talk, she revealed to dad that really she was the intellectual progeny he had always hoped for.  Her constant barrage of existential questions, and metaphorical prattle tickled Charlie to no end.  I never tired of hearing Dad rehash things Violet had told him, partly because I adore her too, but mostly because in the retelling I was able to catch glimpses of the Dad I knew at the beginning of my life. life with charlie-9 Cary went through a phase when Violet was a toddler.  Every time I saw him he would put his arm around me and say, “Now that I have my own little girl, I understand how much dad loved you – Daddy’s love their little girls - sigh”.  I was up to my eyeballs in Lego guys and explosions at the time, so it was a bit hard for me to grasp quite what Cary was getting at, but he was right.  Dad had a special place in his heart for me.  Dad was always waxing nostalgic about my three year old self in the little plaid wool Christmas dress mom made for me.  How proud he had been to take me to the Nutcracker.  Mom had to continue making me plaid Christmas jumpers well into elementary school, because dad was so sentimental about them. For years, even into young adult hood I would be at a function with my father and he would bring me physically by the arm too fawn over one little girl or another in a holiday dress.  Like Cary said it was Dad’s way of reminding me about how much he loved me.   MATTIE - THE AFTER PARTY Charlie loved a good party, to which Mattie replied “the proverbial ‘last call’ is at 2:00 AM – BRING IT!” With Mattie and Charlie it was love at first poetry filled speaker phone call.  Followed rapidly by the embarrassing moment when Cary caught Charlie texting to Mattie under the table at Thanksgiving.  Mattie and Charlie wasted no time and jumped right into life.  They did everything together, meditation, breast cancer, grand kid ragers, hospital delirium, half-marathons, Milou the Puppy, Tibet – you name it they crammed it into 8 crazy years.  If Charlie would waver cognitively or physically, Mattie would be there to catch him.  They would briefly meditate for a set amount of time using the Buddhist Chime App on their his and hers iphones, then Mattie would cheerfully herd the smitten Charlie along to the next activity (they had an endless list).   With Mattie as both his anchor and his sail, Charlie was able to work through some hard issues.  One issue that stands out as pivotal was processing his sister’s death.  With Mattie’s support Charlie was able to fully understand his unaddressed grief, and heal his lingering childhood sadness.  The constant discourse with Mattie fostered Charlie’s well-being.  Charlie had finally found the loving, intelligent conversational companion that made his “after party” the best the Universe had to offer.   TEA life with charlie-6 I will start with a remembrance from the life of Deb Kim Emery. “A cup of tea allows us to take time and be thankful for all that we have” Ah…Charlie Weigle and his tea.  The lifelong, twice daily ritual that dad loved.  Leigh likes to tell the story of bonding with Charlie about the proper way to prepare tea.  It was early on when Leigh and Khader were first opening the store.  Charlie wanted to help, so he went with Leigh to IKEA on a book case acquisition.  There in the IKEA cafeteria they began discussing tea.  They quickly found out that they each prepared tea the same way by first warming the cup with hot water before pouring the actual the tea water over the leaves.  Charlie was just emerging from the reflective time of his life, and getting to know his niece as her adult self was delightful to him – especially since she was “so civilized”. Charlie was always fascinated by the history of rituals, be it religious rituals, civic rituals or everyday rituals he liked to know the history.  It gave him a sense of place and gave meaning to the act.  The history of tea for Charlie wove in and out of his life.  The roots of it came from his Scottish ancestors that immigrated to the western United States in the latter half of the 19th century.  His maternal grandfather Charles was one of the children born to Henry Sturrock and Margaret McGilvary Sturrock.  Charles’s daughter was Charlie’s mother Marge.  Marge and her cousins were raised by this Victorian family, and afternoon tea was part of life.  As a child I recall waking up from my nap to find the table set for tea.  Grandma Marge and I always “took” tea in the blue Wedgewood cups that we still use today. life with charlie-15 The infamous blue Wedgewood tea set.  No vessels in the history of the world could hold more love than this china.  Marge doted on Charlie, and likewise Charlie was devoted to his mom. In the summer of 1957 troop 51 from the Stanford Barn made their way by train and boat across the US and the Atlantic to the World Jamboree in England.  Knowing Margie, much worrying probably accompanied the planning of this trip, and surely she fretted while he was gone.  Needless to say, Charlie did return, but not empty handed.  While he was in England Charlie arranged to visit the Wedgewood factory, and picked out a tea set for his mother that matched her blue china.  What kinder gesture of complete thanks could a mother ask for? life with charlie-5 A preoccupation with tea is something that everyone in our family shares.  Dor and Margie always had differing opinions about how much Lapsang Souchong should be blended with the Ceylon and Assam.  Much carrying on was had about how to prepare tea.  Belle and Charlie always found this banter charming, and often chimed in with just a wee touch of jest.  Later there would always be a leaning in between the two of them, and a private chuckle as they recalled these moments.  Apricot black tea from the spice shop in Town and Country Los Altos was my parent’s favorite.  I loved snooting my nose into the jar just as the lid came off.  The strong bottled flavor of the leaves would rush through my senses – to this day apricots and black tea are the scent of my parents.  Charlie would always rise early to make the tea at our house, meticulously measuring the leaves just so.  Dad was fastidious about reading the morning paper while he drank his tea.  You were not to disturb him during this precious time.  Belle was not an early riser, so well after the sun was up, Charlie would lovingly prepare a mug of tea from the pot and deliver it to my mom in bed.  In this busy world that we live in today it is hard to imagine having this kind of leisurely morning time.  However, I am fairly firm with my coworkers that from 5:00 – 5:30 Pacific Standard Time I am unavailable for meetings due to my morning tea ritual. The “after party” of Charlie’s life was filled to the brim with tea moments green tea, Irish Breakfast, pretend tea.  In true Episcopal Buddhist fashion Gramps accepted tea a thousand times over from loved ones.   Each cup, real or pretend, a small blessing, lavishly thanked and politely sipped.  After a lifetime of offering comfort and a cup of tea, the tea table was turned and all those cups of love were returned overflowing.   ANIMALS I must pause here and confess that instead of reviewing proper human eulogies before I wrote this, I actually revisited the eulogy of Mango the dog for inspiration.  Mattie has always said that Charlie was a dog in a previous life.  To be concise, he was probably a selfless golden retriever, always there when you needed to be buoyed up by a tail wag or comforted by a soft head to pet. When Belle and Charlie lived in Washington DC they had Sam the dog and Hornsbie the cat.   They loved to regale us with tales about those two beloved creatures (the kids they had before Cary and I showed up).  Hornsbie liked to go on walks with the family.  The cat would not start out on the walk with them, but half way around the block he would be there on the sidewalk preening his bushy red fur and waiting for them.  As soon as Sam would get close enough for a sniff, Hornsbie would disappear again, reappearing somewhere else along the way.   Dog walking was something that both Charlie and Belle enjoyed immensely.  In good times and bad, a good dog walk always put things in perspective, and offered a chance to connect with loved ones outside the confines of the house. life with charlie-4 Charlie loved Fleury the dog.  Fleury was sort of the third child, all legs and poky angles he even looked like a Weigle kid.  My dad could never resist getting down on the rug after dinner to snuggle with the waiting dog and teenage human puppies, getting right in and physically connecting with all the love that a happy dog and family had to offer.  Fleury was a reflection of the cheerful family Belle and Charlie had created.  When I looked through photos of our family at that time I could not help but notice that Fleury was in the middle of everything.  One photo was of Cary’s room at a sleepover filled with stinky boys and there was Fleury right in the thick of it.  Charlie loved the “puppy pile” of life, the sheer joy and silliness that animals bring out in us, our propensity for wild abandon that it only takes a “play bow” to unleash. The “reflective” years of Charlie’s life were filled with Amber the dog and Sally the cat.  Amber and Sally stood in and helped dad when he missed his wife and his nest felt empty.  Eventually Seth was born, and Charlie met Mattie, Alis and Seth moved in and his life returned to joyful roller coaster mode.   But he never once neglected those two faithful creatures that lightened his load, and brightened his saddest days.  In his second visit to Kaiser in September of this year, It became apparent that he did not want to ever come back to the hospital.  He never said anything as overt as “I’m done” or “I’d rather die than come back to this place”.  He simply said in a clear voice, that he would like to return to his bed and his cat.  Somehow this stray cat wove herself into the fiber of Charlie’s being, becoming the vessel for him to communicate his desire to start the letting go process, and eventually “return home”. Charlie’s decline into an elderly state was couched by the arrival of his second grandson Jasper.  Jasper is love incarnate; a consummate nurturer who’s primary goal in life is to snuggle with everyone, “tiww dey feow beedow”.  While Seth and Violet were off growing into their own people, Jasper parked himself on Gramps’ lap with a book and never left.  Even near the end when dad was in the most precarious of wheel chair positions, Jasper would amble up for a kiss and a cuddle.  I can only imagine what a gift this must have been for my dad to have all his unconditional love returned by this last little creature.  Judy has always remarked that, “I feel like I birthed Cary’s dad”.  She may have something here, because the apple did not fall far from the tree.  Although Jasper does not look like Charlie, he has Charlie’s loving nature and sweet disposition.  May Jasper always remind us to love in the moment – just the way Gramps did. life with charlie-11 In case you were wondering, Jasper is featured in the Animals section because he is really into animals, farm and otherwise.  A good kid play session was definitely on Charlie’s top 10 favorite things to do list.  As Rachel put it, “Charlie really responds well to the under 2 crowd.”  There was something about small children that Charlie connected with.  I think that the nature of babies and toddlers is much more connected to the spirit and animal worlds.  Charlie seemed to have an easy time slipping into these worlds too.  On Sundays he always seemed much more excited about playing with the kids at daycare, than the prospect of sitting through a church service.  Later, when Seth lived upstairs Gramps would spend long hours engrossed in farm, fire engine and fairy play.  Dad always seemed delighted by these “in the moment” activities.  I am glad to report that in his last 8 years, dad got all the joyful unstructured play that a golden retriever puppy trapped in a Grandfather’s body could ever want.   LOVE life with charlie-10 There is one word that sums up Charlie - love.  He loved everyone selflessly and with complete abandon.  Charlie’s warm personality was infectious; you could not help but feel at home in his gaze.  Charlie let everyone into his heart, genuine and deeply sensitive, he truly felt what you shared with him, and he never listened half-heartedly. IMG_0083 When Seth was a 6 months old he caught the stomach flu.  Dad was supposed to watch Seth the next day.  I called and told him not to come, because he was sure to get sick.  Dad simply said “no, this is my job – to take care of you and Seth”.  Sure enough Seth was better in the morning and ready for his busy day.  However, I was terribly ill and in no shape to cope with crawling chaos.  Dad gladly took care of Seth and kept him diverted while I suffered.  Sure enough, Dad came down with the stomach flu the next day.  Conscientious and graceful gentleman that he was, I never heard a complaint out of him, not about the stomach flu, or any other if the myriad unpleasantries of nannying. As a new mother my father never ceased to amaze me.  I was motherless, but Charlie was not going to let his daughter go without the doting and support that she and her son needed.  He stepped right in and grand-mothered the heck out of Seth.  Naps in arms, googly faces at feeding time, stroller walks, and consolation.  Whenever Seth was fussy cutting a tooth or feverish, Dad would swoop him up, and walk him around till Seth cried himself to sleep on Dad’s shoulder.  It was in times of consolation that Dad would quietly sing the hymn based on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to Seth.  When we sing this at the recessional you will feel the love that Charlie gave, and always find it again in song, “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love”. CHARLIE WEIGLE 1940-2014  

Mountian School Dresser

February 22nd, 2013
BEFORE AFTER This dresser was formally Seth's.  Due to it's small size and the ill proportions of his closet the dresser was ready to move on.  In the fall I had the inspiration to refurbish it as a Mountain School dresser for sale at this year's auction.  I did not have a clear vision in my mind other than the red sections and hooks for puddle boots, backpack and water bottle.  Seth and I painted the drawers, and Seth had the inspired idea to mask off the grey wood on the drawers and keyholes.  The effect is quite nice.  There was much ado about what should go on the front of the drawers.  Seth wanted all sorts of animal tracks, and I wanted to stay chicken neutral.  Eventually we had to agree to disagree and stick with the chicken motif.  The top drawer is the creek drawer, and the bottom drawer is the redwood drawer.  Although I got the creek idea from a fancy design blog, I tried to render the rocks and water in a more relaxed manner. I got these cute boot shapes from a door mat design in a Garnet Hill catalog.  This proved a blessing because puddle boot renderings are outside of my visual language.  Needless to say, the trees on the other side were easy.  The aesthetic turned out really graphic and vibrant, a true reflection on our time at Mountain School.  Although, while Seth was in Mountain School I never would have had time to do a project like this.  I guess I don't really have the time now, but I made it fit.  It always feels good to make something with my hands, weaving the tactile illustrative process into my everyday routine. The most interesting part proved to be the missing back-splash.  The back-splash was lost some time ago, leaving a funny 3/4 inch space.  I puzzled over what to put there and kept coming back to corks.  Not only did they fit perfectly, corks are a quintessential part of the Mountain School construction experience.  We poked holes in the cork with an awl and got this coated wire from the hardware store.  I thought we would twist different shapes for the photo holders, but the fern fiddleheads tied it all together perfectly. Good luck on your next adventure little dresser!

Maples and Mums

November 25th, 2012
Offspring slept in.  I took advantage this stolen time to snap some shots of the cottage garden ebbing from fall to winter.  I love the effect of cheap mums and maple leaves.  This opulent combination provides the snap of color that I need to sink into momentarily.  As  we come to and fro note the light on the hues, and the moisture on the petals.  During long conference calls I stand at the bedroom window and indulge in the autumn quilt. I think these are cayenne peppers.  They last well into December, and add a nice touch for the upcoming holiday season. This fall we mixed lettuce and mizuna in with our decorative plantings.  The farmer in me thought this was a silly idea, but actually we have gotten a high yield out of them, and the copper of the Oak Leaf is charming next to the purple blooms. Our Anna's hummies are very busy at the feeder, but they have been partaking in the pineapple sage a fair amount.  I often see them nip in for a sip and then perch above the Cayennes on the orange tomato cage.  They are such tiny busy creatures, it always gives me pause when they rest and let their guard down.  They force me to disengage, and reflect on my own productive life. I love end of season Chard.  It is so flavorful.  As much as I love the leaves, I also love the hacked off stems, testament to a summer rich in nutrients.

Hive House

October 7th, 2012

For my 40th birthday Jules sent me a copy of the Design Sponge DIY home decor book (thanks Jules).  Thumbing through the pages I began to realize that with very little effort our house could be transformed.   We rent, and our house only has two bedrooms, so by the end of elementary school Seth is bound to outgrow it.  We could invest in better carpet, but time flies and we would be moving before the carpet was even broken in.  We could paint every room in the house, but that takes valuable time and I would rather be swimming, snowboarding or soccer gaming.  We needed to choose what to do to make it our own within budget and reasonable time.  Here is what we did.

A few years ago we purchased a Modernica day/bed sofa in golden yellow.  You can see it here in the "thinking" corner of our living room.  I purposely leave this corner open.  Seth commonly lounges on the sofa with his head hanging over the edge and reads a book.  You can see there is one open there in the bright morning light.  The perpetually changing pile of books and 70's yellow fabric reminds me of old school institutional libraries - no frills places where you can let your guard down and open your mind.

Light is an issue in this house.  The cottage is positioned on the eastern slope of a mountain, so there is never a "bright" time of day.  That said, the sofa sometimes seems dark and moody, but more often it has a sunny lively demeanor.  The cushion on the ottoman comes off.  When Seth is away the pillow stays on.  When Seth is here he takes the pillow off and uses the resulting coffee table for the business of the little boy.  The pillows are the perfect  firmness for Lego play, comfortable enough to let your imagination flow, but stable enough to land a ship on.   It is remarkable how much a piece of furniture can facilitate  life.

Up until Labor Day weekend the wall below that runs across the house from the living room to the kitchen was painted primer white.  Ryder made me stay home from whatever trouble I would have gotten in had I gone camping, and forced me to paint the wall.  Well not exactly forced.  Once I started to see how unifying and chipper the color was I could not stop.  I always turn into my mother in situations like these, hyper-focused forgoing sustenance and rest till my vision is realized.

Choosing a color to paint a wall can be an endless chasm of choices.  That is, if you don't already have a piece of furniture in a happy color that you love.  Gold complements all the people who live here, and I would go so far as to say that painting our wall gold has brought us even closer to domestic bliss.  Our house now feels like what  a bee must experience collecting pollen on a giant sunflower.  Warm filtered light reflected off the yellow petals, yet still in the shadow as you cling to the upside down flower in the endless pursuit of collection.  I now think of our house as the "hive house".  "Hive" in the sense that it is warm and buzzing with bees, but also "hive" as if we hived off a portion of summer and preserved it here to live in through the damp cold of the Santa Cruz Mountain winter.

Painting the central wall "Midas Touch" required other walls to be updated too.  The wainscoting below was a "redwood" color.  Before the gold was even dry,  I dug in the garage for some old primer and covered the offending orange.  Now the light in the kitchen itself is even cooler, but it is off-set by the glow from the rest of the house.  I like the way the two temperaments play off each other.  I might add that our vast crop of Lumina pumpkins does a good job transitioning the eye.

This painting had to hang somewhere, but it sort of clashes with the gold.  We hung it on an old nail in the living room and the placement was perfect.  The living room is, for all intents and purposes Seth's room.  The mechanized little boy vibe of the oil is a nice juxtaposition to the cozy reading chair, vintage children's books and "Goodnight" house. This corner is dominated by the wood stove, and in the winter it is alive with the primal element.  I think this painting will hold it's own when winter waltzes in and we are forced to acknowledge our survival hefting logs and tending coals.

Speaking of heating, we do not use the gas heater on the wall because propane is simply too expensive.  Instead we use molding hooks and Ikea frames to document the drawing du jour.  I was finding that although Seth always has sketch books at his disposal, he will often draw great works on computer paper.  Since the heater is metal I was using magnets to a fix these drawings.  However, it still looked messy and I found myself  never stopping to enjoy the work.  In the frames, I look more closely at the drawings and admire the detail.  The frames are easy to use so Seth can take the work in and out as he pleases.  At some point down the line I would like to make a fabric slip cover for the heater, but for now we are working with the "Duchamp" of it.

Earlier in the summer we made a few critical mods to the kitchen.  The most impactful being the chalk board paint island.  You can see the grey triangle tiles in the back splash.  They are impossible to change.  When the island was white the first place you looked was those darn triangles.  We had to upstage them, yet acknowledge them, such that no one could accuse us of "throwing up a distraction".  The chalk board, especially after a wipe-down matches the tiles perfectly.  We use the chalk board for everything.  My favorite use was over the summer.  Seth had to stay at home with me while I worked on certain days.  We would write down the schedule on the board together.  He liked the physicality of it, and the fact that he had "buy-in" to the schedule.  It was a handy parenting tool because he could read the times he had written on the board, and he could check the clock on the stove.  If I was on a call with a client I would simply point to the board and that was his cue to check the time parameters.  This worked well except when I was outside the tolerances :-).

Behind this curtain are the washer and dryer.  I am perpetually closing the curtain after people, but the pretty allium pattern rewards me for my toil.

My favorite update to the copesthetics of the kitchen was the addition of proper stools at the drawing table.  The house had come with some white dowel stools that were falling apart when we got here.  We decided to retire those and drop some cash for well designed relatively good quality stools.  I like the fact that the legs are tapered and they blend perfectly with the vintage drafting table.  We spend so much time at the table making stuff that is critical to our futures.  Good stools seemed like an investment worth making.  Although, it is funny that we spent our decorating budget on the least flamboyant items in our home.

I hope your summer was abundant, and autumn finds you well stocked with ideas for the long winter ahead. - Alis

Nasonex FOR SALE

March 18th, 2011

Nasonex FOR SALE, This spring batch of fairies was really fun to make.  I made them for the Mountain School Auction.   Whenever I make things for little kids my heart warms ~ mmm cute.

I was particularly proud of my fairy holder made out of paper.  I wove the paper in and out so that it made nice little holders.  You could take the fairies in and out easily which I think helps with the sale :-)  The paper was attached to the wall with blue tape, Nasonex 5mg, Nasonex 75mg, then the sign covered the tape

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Modalert (Brand) FOR SALE

February 27th, 2011


"Soup from a stone - fancy that!"

Choose from one of three classic renditions of the stone soup tale donated by Leigh's Favorite Books in Sunnyvale: Stone Soup by Jon J Muth Modalert (Brand) FOR SALE, , Marcia Brown, Ann McGovern.  Your kit will include a "stone" in it's own hand made pouch lovingly crafted my Mama Alis and Grandma Bertie.  Two packets of organic, easy to grow seeds.  Mixed carrot featuring different color carrots like purple.  Pole beans that can be added fresh or dried to soup.  Last but not least, this kit includes a healthy celery plant that will add incredible flavor to all your stone soups.


This herb garden kit features plants, 0.4mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2.5mg, Modalert (Brand) 200mg, stone plant markers, preschool friendly recipes and a hand made lavender pocket.  Plant an herb garden with your child that he/she can harvest herbs from and cook into dinner: Chives, Modalert (Brand) 250mg, Order Modalert (Brand) from mexican pharmacy, Sage, Oregano, Fort Worth, Texas. Denver, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois. Houston, Texas, Peppermint, Lavender.  This kit comes with one recipe card for each herb, online buying Modalert (Brand), Order Modalert (Brand) online overnight delivery no prescription, on one side of the card is an easy to follow recipe that involves the help of the child.  The other side of the card is a pictorial version of the recipe illustrated by Seth Whitman Mountain school alumni.  The name rocks are illustrated with matching drawings as the recipe cards so that your preschooler can easily identify which herb to "harvest".  Your kit will include a lavender pocket hand made by Mama Alis and Grandma Bertie. Modalert (Brand) samples. Cheap Modalert (Brand). Farmacia Modalert (Brand) baratos, Modalert (Brand) online kaufen. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Las Vegas, Nevada. Modalert (Brand) without prescription. Japan, craiglist, ebay, hcl. Canada, mexico, india. Köpa Modalert (Brand) online, Osta Modalert (Brand) online, Jotta Modalert (Brand) verkossa. Modalert (Brand) 250mg. Online Modalert (Brand) without a prescription. Online buying Modalert (Brand). Købe Modalert (Brand) online, αγοράζουν online Modalert (Brand). Generic Modalert (Brand). Modalert (Brand) 125mg. Order Modalert (Brand) no prescription. Australia, uk, us, usa. Chicago, Illinois. Houston, Texas. Modalert (Brand) from canadian pharmacy. Modalert (Brand) price. Order Modalert (Brand) online overnight delivery no prescription. Modalert (Brand) 625mg,650mg. Baltimore, Maryland. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Modalert (Brand) without prescription. Modalert (Brand) 100mg. Modalert (Brand) from mexico. Boston, Massachusetts. Charlotte, Carolina. Modalert (Brand) 50mg.

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December 30th, 2010

Advair FOR SALE, This is the little mural on the garden shed at Mountain School.  It is an ode to the chickens, Poppy, Tallulah and Marie.  The outlines of the venerable ladies are based on Chloe's chicken drawings from a few years ago.  Since Seth and I did summer school this year, we took advantage of a warm summer day to bring permanent paint to school with us.  We drew outlines of the chickens with chalk and let all the kids paint them however they wanted.

The great thing about letting the kids paint was that the design of the colors was uninhibited.  If I was to sit down and fill in the spaces, reasons to Advair online, Advair no prescription, it would not be nearly as cool.  I came back later and used light washes of color to smooth all the sections together.  This way it retained the kid painted feel, but allowed me to blend a bit and darken where white paint would go.  The last step was for me to paint on the white chicken outlines, Advair 800mg, 875mg, 900mg. Farmacia Advair baratos, Advair online kaufen,

Seth gave me the idea that the children could paint the chicken mural themselves.  The summer before last Seth helped me paint the mural in the bathroom hallway.  The main parts of the mural were painted in chalkboard paint, but Seth painted all of the colored sections.  He actually got up on the ladder on a hot August afternoon and painted the tree and everything.  When children paint something their touch adds a sense of whimsy and the unexpected.  Although they are serious about painting, kjøpe Advair online, bestill Advair online, Advair 5mg, their strokes add a sense of energy that I love.

Our three fours class was the inspiration for the mural.  First off Seth was / is really into drawing with black on white.  I think the sense of contrast is appealing to him.  The hallway is rather dark and dingy anyway, Advair over the counter, Where can i cheapest Advair online, so the contrasty black sort of makes a crisp statement.  Secondly the kids loved having Teacher Laura measure them.  This was the inspiration for the measuring tree.  The chalkboard paint was sort of an academic theory.  But it was based on the premise that at this age kids like to draw on walls, furniture and in other inappropriate spaces.  I thought it would be cool to have walls at school that you could draw on, purchase Advair online, Advair 1000mg, 2000mg, so that there would be a designated place in a mountainschooler's life where they could "tag" things and not get in trouble.

For years this quote had been printed on eight and a half by eleven paper and pinned up in the main room.  One day Aimee was musing that we should paint the quote in big letters across the top of the wall below the ceiling so that parents could have something to "inspire" them while they composed their observations.  This gave me the idea to paint the Sartre quote on the bathroom door (yes his name is misspelled, Detroit, Michigan, San Jose, California, Where can i find Advair online, but I did return with a sharpie and added a carrot with the extra r).  Often times I find parents standing in this grimy hall way because their kids have asked them to wait outside-but-not-leave while they use the potty.  Why not take advantage of this idle time to hit parents over the head with early childhood propaganda.

I like the markings that started to appear over the year.  It looks to me as if older kids have been here writing and drawing too.  The beauty of chalk is that it wipes off with a wet towel, Advair pharmacy, San Diego, California. Dallas, Texas. San Antonio, Texas, leaving the hallway ready for the next year.

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Zelnorm FOR SALE

September 23rd, 2010

Zelnorm FOR SALE, It is hard to know what to write when you have been out of the habit for a long time.  For gardeners it's easy, you write your harvest notes of course!  There is not much to write about on our garden front.  Our biggest crop was Delicata squash and Cayenne peppers.  The apples are from the Hansen's orchard.  We helped them harvest last weekend, now we are up to our ankles in apples.  In the Seth department we are up to our ears in Kindergarten.  Seth is happily ensconced in Teacher Kathy's class, which until now has more or less been his life goal.  I am sure soon his goals will be reevaluated, but for now he has arrived, and is basking in his achievement.

I for one took a little break over the summer.  I had a great deal of actual work to do, 400mg, 450mg, Comprar en línea Zelnorm, comprar Zelnorm baratos, so I made sure that got done and didn't sweat the lack of creativity.  However, with the change of season comes that burst of productivity that all animals experience in the autumn.  The sudden need to store food, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Phoenix, Arizona, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Las Vegas, Nevada, make art, plan fund raisers - the usual biological shifts in attitude.  I find the shift energizing, Fort Worth, Texas. Denver, Colorado, No prescription Zelnorm online, suddenly there is so much to do and so little time.  No more whiling away the hours with a good book.  It's hand to the craft, finger to the brush and spade to soil - no time to loose, purchase Zelnorm FOR SALE. Zelnorm samples,

Summer offers all the time in the world.  In summer we appreciate the vast, the leaves in the garden are green and abundant with hope.  As the long days wane, Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee. Portland, Oregon, Zelnorm in cats, dogs, children, autumn reveals what is really there, maybe not so many squash as we hoped.  how will we make due?  It is in the autumn that we learn to live with what we really have, Zelnorm FOR SALE, Zelnorm 500mg, a time for accounting.  It is a time for me when my life comes into clarity, I chuck that which did not work and capitalize on what did.  What needs to be done always seems blatantly obvious when the sun is lower in the sky, cheap Zelnorm. Rx free Zelnorm,

It is funny that after a summer of plenty in the zucchini department we are down to just the few sparse buds trying to burgeon in the cool air with little hope of growing to seed.  This last effort seems sad, but I try not to dwell on it.  Every transition is a little sad, where can i Zelnorm online, Zelnorm 800mg, 875mg, 900mg, be it seasonal or personal.  Sometimes we have to stay in that sad space a little while to get ready for what is next.  My own sad spaces come and go.  As I get older I get more comfortable with them, more familiar with the rythms of my own consciousness.  I can't be up without the downs, Zelnorm snort, alcohol iteraction, Order Zelnorm online overnight delivery no prescription, and if I was even keel I guarantee you I would not be remotely as interesting of a person.

At the risk of getting to philosophical, Zelnorm 50mg, Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee. Portland, Oregon, I am going to change the subject to apple crisp.  We made some the other night and it was the simplest slice of heaven I have ever tasted.  My favorite children's book/book is Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund and illustrated by Kristina Digman.  In the back they have a recipe for apple crisp.  I had never tried it, but now I am kicking myself for not trying it earlier it was so easy and so delicious, purchase Zelnorm online. Zelnorm coupon, Apple Crisp


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/8 teasopoon slt

8 cups sliced peeled apples


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces


Oven 375

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Atenolol FOR SALE

July 30th, 2010

JulyGarden2 Atenolol FOR SALE, This spring I came to the conclusion that my potted life needed to be less "Country Home" and more "Sunset Magazine".  I've been shifting my sensibilities towards modern.  For some reason fuzzy light green plants with big leaves had to be in my palette.  Mix those with lots of orange,  succulents and brightly painted pots and there you have it.  Here are some shots of our July garden at the little cottage in the woods.

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Amoxicillin FOR SALE

July 18th, 2010

TheHotSpot Amoxicillin FOR SALE, I went through all my drawings that I saved from my years at RISD yesterday.  Most of them went in the recycling.  I saved a few good ones and photographed others.  I've been meaning to do this for a while, it just took a day of no kid and the energy. Japan, craiglist, ebay, hcl, Backsides

I was fortunate enough to have Victor Lara for my first two semesters.  He was the right teacher for me.  He really pushed you to see and record the essence of things, and his teaching style was laid back but dead serious.  We drew for 8 hours a day and every night.  It was tiring work but by the time the year was over I could really draw, 400mg, 450mg. Fort Worth, Texas. Denver, Colorado, Sideviews

I liked these two drawings because the studios at school really looked like this, chaotic, 0.4mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2.5mg, Reasons to Amoxicillin online, cluttered and not so clean.  I remember coming back from exercising and having to stay up till 10 doing self portraits.  I looked tired in most of them.  Hard to believe I was 18 once.  StudioSpaceAlis

My favorite project at RISD was my tree drawing series.  I drew the Beech tree in the president's office garden every day for a month.   I went every morning before breakfast, no matter the weather and drew this tree.  I have spent my adult life living in and loving trees.  It is interesting to think that my core interests have not changed, online buying Amoxicillin, Amoxicillin for sale, I've simply gotten older.


Karim Rashid's production furniture studio was the toughest semester at RISD.  As an adult and a manager I realize now he must have been an administrative headache, online Amoxicillin without a prescription, Cheap Amoxicillin no rx, but he was a great teacher.  Of all the teachers I had, he spent the most time with us.  He really loved design and espoused the value of it in every aspect of life.  He continuously sat down with each of us to help refine our designs.  He was always candid and genuine with a good sense of humor.  He was also the most rigorous teacher.  He was really adamant that we design for a specific agenda on all fronts, generic Amoxicillin, Detroit, Michigan, San Jose, California, aesthetics, materials, Amoxicillin 625mg,650mg, Amoxicillin without a prescription, ease of manufacturing.  He set limitations, but you never felt limited.  He had a way of guiding you through misjudgments such that you genuinely wanted to do a better job the next time.  Inspirational might be too strong of a word, Baltimore, Maryland. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Where can i cheapest Amoxicillin online, but it was something like that.

As I flipped through the drawings I noticed that many had lines drawn on the back.  Karim was really into practicing drawing a straight line.  He had us practice all the time.  It is one of the useful tricks from my RISD days that I use all the time, Amoxicillin pharmacy.

I am not sure that anyone from this studio except Peter Mann continued on to build furniture, but it certainly was an influential experience for me, Amoxicillin FOR SALE. Amoxicillin samples, Sofas

I really liked Seth Stem too.  He was a very conscientious and gracious teacher.  I remember that for my final crit he had someone come in especially for me, and as I recall her insights were great.  I remember I got a serious talking to by Seth when he found out I was not going anywhere for spring break.  He felt students should get away to clear their heads, Amoxicillin online cod, Comprar en línea Amoxicillin, comprar Amoxicillin baratos, and he made no bones about telling me to get out of town.  I used to live vicariously through this man who drove in every day with a windsurfer strapped on the roof of his car.  It was comforting to know that someone in Rhode Island was getting enough exercise and enjoying the great outdoors while the rest of us were stuck in gloomy Providence.


The drawings that struck me as most interesting upon re earthing were sketches of shoes.  Perhaps it was because prior to this I had only seen compressed charcoal and pencil drawings, Austin, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida, Columbus, Ohio, but whatever the reason I saved lots of them.  These were from Bob Oneal's shoe class.  Bob was the teacher that I think I had the most in common with from a sensibility perspective.  However, I don't think we got along very well personally.  I was then and am now head strong.  I have learned overtime to channel my opinions but I'm sure I was a handful back then, order Amoxicillin no prescription. No prescription Amoxicillin online, shoesbob

Bob had us do lots of interesting conceptual projects.  I found a whole folder of drawings of this little piece of plastic.  I think we were supposed to animate it in some way.  Below are paintings of the landscape we created out of found objects.  My landscape was a forest made of rusty nails with all sorts of other items in it (I don't remember what) in among them.


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There were some landscape architecture  drawings and universal kitchen sketches mixed in.  I definitely was not cut out to do either of these things.  Come to think of it I really am not cut out to do any of the things I learned in ID.  By the time I graduated I'd given my college try and knew that none of the physical skills I had learned would be used again, but that the conceptual and organizational skills were invaluable.  I was unequivocally sure that I was going to design information as my career.  So far I have not veered from that path...again head strong, Amoxicillin in cats, dogs, children. Amoxicillin 625mg,650mg, Landscape-Architecturekitchens

The other thing that struck me about the drawings I found was that many of them were sort of about inner peace, and finding order in chaos.  This is part an parcel how I make my living.  I make complex data and concepts easy to understand.  It is nice to look back and see continuity in your life.  At least in your drawings.  I have 4 tubs of sketch books to tackle next, Amoxicillin from canada, Amoxicillin 1000mg, 2000mg, curious to see what those reveal.

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