Archive for July, 2008

Running With Sticks

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The best place to start a state park visit is in the crapper. We were not at Big Basin State Park for more than 10 minutes today, when Ford announced he had to go #2. Of course, Seth and Chas had to do this too because, well because Ford was doing it. Although half way in to the session Seth announced, “Mom, I’m going #3″. I barely had time to giggle when Ford in his stall announced, “#3 is my infinite poo number”. I’m not sure exactly what this meant but I think there was some quantum physics involved in this potty talk.

Steph is covering her ears because the kids were making this shrill combo of screams. The echo of this siren song was so unbearable that I think I have permanent damage in my right ear from taking this shot.

The kids then proceeded to scare the “crap” he he out of Steph by climbing up this ginormous log. Chas in true form would not give up his sticks for anything, even balance. Which is sort of when we surrendered the day to sticks.

It’s pretty amazing how many times you can twist a stick in your shirt. I’m pretty sure that Seth was a model in the early 80’s – oh wait that was his daddy Jim.

Ford was really precise about how his sticks were placed in his clothing. He really reminded me of those exterminate robots from Dr. Who he is so fond of.

And the dust storm. Aside from fascinating the boys no end, the patterns of the dust in the light were riveting. Eventually Seth suffered a stick wound to the knee and had to be molly coddled for a bit, but that was soon forgot and they were back to harassing redwood trees.

For the first hour I worried dreadfully about the sticks, but then I came to an understanding with my inner eye poker outer. I realized that the kids were in some sort of zen dance, because really the sticks never came close to their comrades. They seemed to be intouch with some higher spacial awareness. Either that or the trees were looking out for the little buggers.

The Day had some humor.

And some art.

And somewhere on the outskirts of the mayhem the fairies were watching us. Although the noise of our boys was deafening I can’t imagine that anything with magic would hang around.

All in all it was a boy’s kind day, in and out of trunks. Up and down logs. Banging on fence posts until ~~~~ the dreaded splinter! Chas got a splinter under his fingernail that (no joke) was the size of the log in the third photo!

Chas’ screaming was so loud that the park was emptying of tourists before our eyes. He was so brave, and teetered in agony to the ranger hut where – thank god, they were able to produce some tweezers. It was funny they kind of looked at us like why would you want tweezers, and why is that kid screaming? You’d think we were not the first visitors to suffer an splinter?

“You know mom, this post is getting long. Why don’t you give it a rest and come play shooters with us! Don’t worry mommy they’re just pretend – look it’s really a stick!”

Autumn in July

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Last night I walked over to our old house to do some plein air painting. I sat under the old Madrone tree in the crook of who’s roots I lived, and cooked and nursed a baby, only to find that it is now dead. I loved living under it in July because the bark would peel and the leaves would fall all night. Such a magical experience.

~ Anyway I did a nice sketch of it which looked fine with a first light layer of gouache, but as I laid in color it got worse.

After that I meandered home. As I came to the gate I kicked this cool archetypal acorn, and when I crossed the road there in the grass was this monster owl feather (complete with lots of feather fuzz for the silent glide). I painted those when I got home. Nothing like loosing yourself in a gouache mosh!

A Patch of Madison

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Dear Chris and MZ,

It’s so lovely to have a green “patch of Madison” in the arid Santa Cruz mountains.  It always reminds me that somewhere in the heartland of the continent I have a home.  It’s been fun over the years to see how your gardens spring up no matter where you move.  I’ve drawn inspiration from your successes, and learned a bit along the way (yes I made note in Denver, and only plant one tomatillo per year). I’m tickled by the fact that we have our own little seed exchange going. It’s so charmingly old fashioned, yet at the same time such a deep gift of nourishment.

Enjoy the garden.

Love + A

This color is so MZ I can’t get over it!

Bells of Ireland ~ A memorial of multiple sorts

Every eggplant and squash has to be a baby sometime.

Our “Provonce” shot

Always a pension for texture

Pelargoniums ~ Carefully propagated, wintered over on Seth’s Rubbermaid diaper changing cart and wheeled out for sunshine on the upper deck of doom on warm February days.

Gramps and Mattie’s Garden ~ The sunflowers and pumpkins were planted by Seth and Francis. I had to edit a little because the boys wanted the seeds all in one big pile. I did my best to spread them out. The tomatoes are simply in full glory. some stems have a dozen to a vine, hanging perilously close to the ground.

How to Make Soup

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

First you get the spoon to stir the soup – oh it was upstairs in the bathtub – Right.

Then you add the ingredients: Carrots, Red Turnips, Raw Egg, “Oil from Daddy’s Jetta”.

Then you set the timer so you know when the soup is done.

Here mommy you try it!

The first harvest of the summer. Real summer squash. Boy was it sweet!

Direction Alliteration

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

S: Mommy which way is the road to Grandpa’s?

M: We take a left here at Alma Street.

S: Elmo Street?

M: Alma Street.

S: Oh. Does Anya live on this street?

M: No she lives in Los Gatos.

S: Who is that person who lives with Anya?

M: Eva?

S: Yes, Eva.

The Talented Seth and Princess Anya

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Dear Seth,

Well you have run into some interesting developmental problems that are close to the bone for me. We had a couple false starts with the paints this week. At one point you did this great green scrawl, then flew into full bore tantrum, paint brush skidding on the floor. Without even giving me a chance to ask what was wrong you shouted, “I can’t do it, it doesn’t look like a dragon! I can’t draw a dragon…”

In my opinion it actually looked a lot like a dragon. At least you certainly got the “jist” of it. I worried about your anxiety over realism, and empathized with your frustration. I worried that the days of blissful abstractions and long confident painting orations were over. On Saturday we went for breakfast at Zachary’s in Santa Cruz. It was a drizzly cool morning, and as we walked over you complained about the drips. While we waited for the food we did a little sketch on the placemat. The prerequisite hand trace, and mommy commentary. Then you took the pen and started gently and meticulously drawing dots all over the placemat. Eventually I asked you what you were doing. You told me, “mommy, I’m drawing the drips”. Well my dear, you are well on your way to capturing any nuance your heart desires, because man you sure can draw fog!

After an hour of intense play in the back of the car we hit Seabright for Anya’s big 3 bash. Now Anya is perhaps the most no nonsense, take no prisoners princess around. She rules her subjects with an iron fist, gentle but firm because it’s her way or the highway. Yet she is full of great ideas, and gravely, lispy statements/observations that leave you wondering exactly how high her IQ actually is. Being a princess is innate to Anya. It’s in her very fiber, in fact I have never met a kid more comfortable in prêt a porter fluffy pink dress-ups then Anya. It felt so grounding to arrive at the beach to find Anya busy in the sand in pink flowered tights. She looked up briefly and confidently to welcome us (of course you had your head buried in my leg at the site of her), then returned to the task at hand ~ sand cakes.

Speaking of cakes. Get a load of that cake! It was lemon, zucchini rice flour yummyness. Vilma passed it off as, “Oh I got the idea from a magazine”. Well I don’t care that’s the most creative production I’ve seen in a while. And of course like her daughter, Vilma unveiled this masterpiece with the careless grace of a seasoned hostess.

You can only take so much girlyness before you just have to get your boy on.

You were quite the lost boy with your not quite washed off kitty face paint from the day before. I guess every Santa Cruz birthday party needs a wistful vampire.

Love + Mommy

Jack Rabbit

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Brazen little fella, and look at those ears!

Midsummer Garden

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008


Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Before becoming mine, this chair lived in my grandmother’s basement on the Stanford Campus. No one seemed to know where it came from, and no one seemed to want it. The fact that it had no history makes it ideal for my vintage mint green mission!

I stripped the paint off this chair when I was 18. At the time I thought I would either paint it shiny black or cherry red. Those were the Axel Rose years. And frankly it is probably better that I didn’t paint the chair then, because it’s not a good idea to commit to anything when you are 18. The chair actually looked great for exactly 18 years after it was stripped. The bare wood kinda’ meshed with my previous driftwood and lavender aesthetic. However, after many a wax puddle and the general wear and tear of non varnished living the chair just looked and felt dingy. Every Martha Steward knock off mag on the shelf will tell you that the best way to reclaim not so high quality furniture is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Well my life needed a fresh coat of paint.

I was initially going for whimsy, but then I spent all of last summer agonizing over the paint color. Then the winter passed with the unopened can of paint on my seed sideboard. This really took the whimsy out of it. Mint green you might ask? Well, it’s complicated…I’d been obsessing about the colors of late summer, spent hydrangea, water starved lavender, iris stem. But really the driving force was the house. This house/the ghost that resides here is really bossy about colors (and chintz, and four o’ clocks, and climbing roses). Granted she is usually right, it’s just weird to crave mint green, and wintergreen blue, only to notice that every chipped door frame, and missed cabinet interior reflects this palette!

I have to confess spending a lazy summer afternoon paining an old chair in the shade of rustling poplars is heavenly. It’s days like these when I miss my mom. There was always time in summer to spend an afternoon just the two of us doing something nonessential and crafty. We would visit thrift shops looking for the ideal chair to recover. This was the 80’s and grandparents were dying left and right. As a result the thrift shops were filled with 1950’s and 60’s wardrobes. My mom couldn’t really understand why anyone would want to revisit a fashion era that included crinolines, but I understand now that those were stolen moments with a relaxed teenager. It was a way to communicate that did not involve team sports, over achieving, or malls. It was probably a time to watch and nurture self discovery. Perhaps I romanticize the past, but she was so real then. I can almost taste her warm remarks about personal style, and a confident posture.

Speaking of confidence, I can definitely thank my mom for encouraging me to take risks. Not many people would paint anything mint green. It’s nice to have the inner gumption to follow your taste instead of bending to the e Crate and Barrel of it all. Although art school did a pretty good job of bauhausing the kitsch out of me, I still follow my heart when it comes to my personal space. I really respect the personal space that my mom carved out of a 1950’s track house on the not so artsy side of town. The inside of our house was so interesting, full of inquisitive comforts and carefully selected rituals. My mom gave such great care to her interior choices, and put such hard work into restoring, recovering, polishing, placing and preparing that the minute you walked in the door you felt instantly graceful in your own skin.

On that note, it’s time for me to stop taking risks and start ironing my wintergreen hydrangea sheets.

Yes I am that Girly

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

that I had to stop editing software, run outside and blog this butterfly.  Well really, how could I resist!