Words of Wisdom

My friend Kimiora posted this on Facebook:

1. the path is not straight.
2. mistakes need not be fatal.
3. people are more important than achievements or possessions.
4. be gentle with your parents.
5. never stop doing what you care most about.
…6. learn to use a semicolon.
7. you will find love.
-marion winik

I made a mistake today.  Two actually.  But life goes on.  Overall it wasn’t a bad day.  A T.A. brought homemade sea salt caramel chocolates to our weekly meeting.  I made pizza from scratch without the aid of the bread machine.  Henry helped me.  When I figure out a daycare arrangement that makes me happy life will be just about perfect.

Improvement: I fixed the printer.  I know.  Leave me alone.



I’m in a good mood after coming home from a dinner with friends.  Red quinoa, red wine, red pepper pecan garlic puree on rice crackers, yes, arugula (sorry to get political), smoky, spicy squash soup, multigrain bread with butter, almond fudge coconut ice cream.  Three biologists and a meteorologist mostly talking about rats and roaches and spiders and scorpions and birds.  Swapping stories about our field work.  The poor meteorologist.  I was happy to have stories- a lifetime of stories I once thought.  But I also felt sad that I don’t have any new ones.  My scorpion story is wearing thin.  I made a silent vow to do more field work somehow somewhere sometime before I die.

Accomplishment: I cleaned the upstairs today while the Whiz took Goobie for a photo shoot and romp in the grass.  I love climbing the vacuumed stairs and smelling Murphy’s oil soap.  I also like wearing myself out in a full boar cleaning frenzy and then collapsing on the Whiz on the couch while Goobs climbs my back.  None of that counts as improvement though.  The improvement was that I had the Whiz buy a new cover and light bulb for our upstairs bathroom fish tank.  Water was evaporating out the old broken top and condensing on all the surfaces in a slimy mess.  Problem now fixed.  Plus the newly functional light gives it back a little magic.  The whole tank’s been neglected for months.  Improvements feel good.

I brought my camera to dinner planning to get an artsy photo of our wine glasses or something, but was too self-conscious to try.  I did get it out and fiddle with it a little at one point though and took the above photo by accident.  The contrast between concept and execution makes me laugh.  I hope you all had a nice weekend too.

Estate Sale!

For the first few years after Whiz and I moved to Seattle we’d start most Saturday mornings in the winter at Larry’s, buying hot drinks and the paper- plus sometimes a pastry or two.  Then we’d stand in line in the drizzle outside an estate sale somewhere.  When I look back on our “early years” those mornings disproportionately define the era.  We’d eavesdrop and whisper to each other and make jokes in line.  Then go paw through crazy piles of random stuff.  Never any strategy.  We’d leave with whatever struck our fancy.  I developed a modest clock collection.  But neither of us are true collectors.  More like anthropologists.  Anyway.  I saw an ad for an estate sale last night that looked fun, so this morning we went to an early breakfast at Cyndy’s and then got in line.  This will come as no surprise, but it’s really not the same when you have a toddler.  I had fun, but I also felt guilty to as I stood in line and Whiz circled the vicinity trying to entertain the Goobs.

Although I’m not as in to Stuff as I used to be, I’m still no minimalist.  I actually paid $8 for the wacky set of owl ashtrays pictured above.  Weirdly enough though I do have a plan for them which I devised before seeing them and for which they are perfect.  Whiz thought I was crazy.  $8?!?  Please, we spend more than that on a six pack of beer, I told him.  Meanwhile his selection was much more tasteful and understated: this awesome little set of black and white photos from Banff, for which he paid exactly nothing.  They’re nice quality and look like they may have been printed straight from a negative without enlargement.  One of these days I definitely need to get out the mat cutter.

Oh and I couldn’t help but adopt this cut glass beauty from the free pile even though the seasoned veterans in line were scornful.  “Oh it’s ‘free’ said the guy in front of me- but nothing’s ever really free because you have to take it home and find a place for it and give it some of your energy.”  Done, done and done.

Sunbeam mixmaster

Check out that gleaming chrome.  I’m no Morgan, but I did score a gorgeous vintage stand mixer at Goodwill today.  It works perfectly and has amusing descriptive settings (like white sauce and puddings).  The bowl is missing, but I’m sure one can be obtained.  For now I just love looking at it.

I also got Goobster some boots for $4.99.  VERY exciting.  Toddler boots have been on my list forever.  In fact the idealized image of parenthood that used to torment me was of a solemn toddler in a yellow rain slicker and rubber boots that came into Third Place Books with his dad.  For some reason the boots were what got me.

UPDATE: after initial skepticism boots were a huge hit on our walk today in the rain.

Kitten cardage

Inspired by the wild success of the birthday card that my brother and I made for my mom, I made some more.  These ones are more minimalist.  If you ever feel like making your own cards I recommend the kids book section at Goodwill.  All kids books are 79 cents and most of them are trashed enough that you won’t feel guilty about cutting them up.  Plus, I’m telling you, there are TREASURES in there.  I’m quite partial to the vintage Golden Books. 

BTW, I’ve been refining my thinking on the improvements as I go.  I’ve decided the projects have to still make me happy a month out in order to count.  Obvious categories are home improvements, crafts and “adult responsibilities” (getting a will!)  But I decided there should also be a “relationship” category which can include time spent with or things made/ obtained for people that I care about.  Handmade cards for example.  How convenient.

Bathroom gallery

The Whiz gave me this portrait of the 6 mo old Goobernator for Christmas.  I love it more than I can explain.  It took me a long time to decide where to put it and I finally settled on the bathroom.  Because 1. it is the right size for our growing gallery in there and 2. I’ll get to see it all the time (as opposed to the family photos in our upstairs gallery which I never look at on my way past).  I just hope the moisture doesn’t damage it.  As a precautionary measure I glued paper over the back before hanging it today.

There’s something not perfect about this arrangement of four.  I plan to add more art and hopefully improve in things a little in there with time.


Once I started cleaning the oven I couldn’t stop.  I took out all the drip plates and cleaned under their edges.  I removed and  scoured all the knobs.  I scrubbed the backsplash.  I complained to Whiz about not being able to get under the stove top to clean spills that had crusted and burned in the holes under the drip pans.  Lo and behold, Whiz just lifted and the whole stove top opened up to reveal deposits of filth never before exposed in our house.  Once Gooby was in bed I got to work and entered some weird time warp.  Hours passed.  Who knows how long I would have scrubbed if I hadn’t happened to glance at the clock and realize it was midnight.  Not perfect but it will do.  Goodnight.