Saturday, March 19, 2011

Like mother, like daughter...

Let me start this by saying that I am not much of a shopper. Now I admit, that back in the olden days, when I actually thin, I did enjoy a bit of clothing shopping from time to time. But now that I've come to hate the the dressing room mirror, clothes shopping is more of a depressing thing that I mostly only do when I have an event to go to, or a vacation planned, or I realize that my clothes are literally falling apart. And shopping for other things, like household items? I don't do much of that either. At this point in my life I mostly need to declutter and rid myself of things, not add to the mess. So no, I'm not much of a shopper.

But.... every now and then I have what I call "shopping savant" moments. Moments like driving down the street and passing TJ Maxx and thinking "I think I need to shop" and low and behold they just got in ski clothes, and I scored the perfect pair or ski pants for $40. Or when Ross beckoned me in and I found those great leather boots for $20. There have been many such instances in my life. I love these moments, moments when I'm not even thinking of shopping and some how get compelled to stop and shop anyway, and stumble upon the perfect item or better yet a perfect bargain.

Apparently, my daughter has my gift. Sarah has always been a girl of original style, enjoys having things that aren't the same as everyone else, therefore she's always been drawn to seeking the "one of a kind" at thrift stores. She's home for spring break this week and yesterday after work I found her and a friend in the kitchen busily baking. We are all chatting and suddenly she blurts out "OMG mom, you need to see what I got today. I was driving down 33rd to the bead store and suddenly thought "I need to go to Thrifttown" and so I did". Then she shows me the jean jacket and perfect (for her) funky shirt she found. "and they were even having a 1/2 off sale." Clearly she was pleased to have been drawn into the store on the "good day".

Then she pulls out the real prize for the day... a purse. She LOVES purses. But this purse is not any purse, but a handmade purse made from an old psychology book: "Psychology and Life". She LOVES handmade and she LOVES funky, and more importantly, she LOVES psychology. She is majoring in psychology in college, and is quite passionate about it. She is also quite enamored with concept of "life", embracing it, enjoying and making the best of it. I can not over-emphasize how much this highly unusual find is so perfect for my girl. And... even on sale.... for a whopping dollar. So yeah, I think she got the shopping savant gift too. Like mother like daughter!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I admit it I'm not Irish, or if I am, I am only a tiny bit Irish. The family lore is that my great, great, grandfather, who immigrated the the states just in time to get conscripted into an immigrant battalion fighting for the north in the civil war, came from a well-to-do family. Well-to-do enough that the there was supposedly a family castle somewhere along the Rhine river in Germany. No one seems to know exactly where, except that it might be in what was once East Germany, and that the castle was supposed to have had 365 windows and 52 doors. The story is that my great-great-grandfather fell in love with and wanted to marry the Irish parlor maid, and since marrying beneath your station was frowned upon at that time, he immigrated to the United States.

The part about my great-great-grandfather coming here and fighting in the civil is well documented, but the rest of the story? Who really knows. But if I'm at all Irish, this where my little bit of Irish comes from. But does it matter? They say that everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Patty's day. But since my history includes a castle, and since I became enamored with the princess gig on my birthday, I think I will be and Irish Princess for St. Patty's day this year.

St. Patrick's Day is shaping up to be quite the holiday. The party started last Saturday night when my social group went to see the Young Dubliner's in concert. I'd tell you all about that, except my friend Susi already posted pictures and wrote up a great review of the festivities in her blog. And this year I have my choice of parties to attend, and even more importantly, my (by virtue of her father's side) "more Irish than me" daughter is home for spring break. Should be a great green day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To be young again...

Yeah it would be great to be young again.... really young! I get to be involved in lots of interesting projects at work, and for one of them we are studying Rhinovirus (the common cold), so one of my jobs is to pick up snot samples at daycare centers that are participating in the study. Today I had to wait a minute for the director to fetch the samples so I stood and read what was written on the white board in the centers entryway. It was a note to parents talking about the kids day. I know it's hard to read in the picture so I'll type out what it said:

Today we explored the bottom of the ocean in our submarines. Then we flew through the sky with our magic wings. At the end we were alligators and made waves with the parachute!

Doesn't that sound like a totally stupendous day? Reading that just made me smile... and it makes me think I wouldn't mind being a preschooler once more!

Fun Food...

Or small things that make me smile...
My daughter is home from college for spring break. In an attempt to be a good mom I asked her what she wanted me to cook for her when she was home, and one of the things on her list was black bean chili. Monday nights are my normal pottery studio night, and after Saturdays "Bowl-a-thon" for Empty Bowls I have plenty (13!! new bowls) to be working on. So I figured tonight would be a good chili night, as I could cook it in the crockpot all day, come home to a ready to eat dinner, and scurry off to the studio. But as they say, the best laid plans..... I came home to find that I didn't turn the crockpot knob quite to "low", so instead of cooking, my chili just sat all day. Sigh.

So rather than have a quick chili dinner we headed off to Cafe Med as that is another favorite that Sarah wanted when she was home. We ordered the spicy green curry, and a cup of soup. Spinach lentil soup, a favorite, guaranteed to be totally yummy. I was surprised when it came to the table and it was beautiful too, all artistically decorated with yogurt sauce. Such a small thing, but it really made me smile!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Another gorgeous SUNday-Funday on the slopes. Could not have asked for a nicer day, sunny warm spring skiing weather. I have the sunburn to prove it. Weird thing, despite all the abundant sunshine and no storms on the horizon, a weird foggy cloud crept over the ridge at the Snake Creek lift, and stayed for quite some time.It was kind of eerie at the top of the lift, but a handful of turns down the hill it was the most amazing blue sky day.

Took a lift ride with a ski instructor... who gave me the complete meteorologic explanation for the funny cloud. Not that I could repeat any of it except that if had to do with temperature and dewpoint and condensation. I asked how he knew all that, and it turned out he was an ex-commercial pilot. I'm still not sure why that particular ridge was the only ridge with the weird cloud phenomena, but it was fun watching the cloud.

Video taken from the top of Great Western. Can you tell by the audio that I rode up with a ski school class?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pot Parties...

Oops, make that pottery parties!! I'm not sure I've mentioned it here, but I took up a new hobby last year - pottery. Now the cool thing about my new pottery obsession, is that I get to take classes and do all my work at the Red Kiln Pottery Studio. So not only is pottery another marvelous outlet, but it is a social one as well. The studio is home to many really awesome artists, who are helpful, friendly and fun. Some of the fun includes pottery exchange parties and last weekend they had a mug exchange. For me these exchanges are both challenging an intimidating. Challenging because being relatively new to the art my skills aren't quite "there" yet. Improving all the time, but far from professional. Intimidating because really awesome potters also attend these parties, so I really want to bring something that doesn't scream novice mud musher.

When I first started pottery my goal was to make the perfect coffee mug... right size, right weight, right feel to the handle. Well this turned out to be a difficult goal. Coffee mugs are hard! Clay shrinks, so what seems like an ample mug when thrown often ends up more like a tea cup. Handles are not easy to "pull", shape and attach. So after 3 classes, a year of classes, and about 40 practice mugs, I was still worried about creating anything "good enough".

Pottery is kind of slow... to make a mug you throw it on the wheel, allow it dry for a period of days, them trim it and add handles. I usually allow mine to dry slowly (more days) then it gets fired in the bisque kiln. Then I get to glaze, after which the piece gets set on the shelf awaiting the final firing in the big gas reduction kiln, which only gets fired once every week or two. The big kiln takes a day to fire, and at least a day to cool.

My entries for the mug exchange came down to the wire... my six mugs came out of the kiln the day before the party. Lucky for me, for the first time in my year of pottery, I was pretty happy with what came out of the kiln, I actually had a hard time deciding which two to the party. With a little help from friends I picked the green floral mug and the fish mug. And, thankfully for my fragile ego, my mugs were not the last picked.

Now the cool thing about the party is I got to bring home other artists mugs! I am know the proud owner of one of Susan's Teli-kokopelli mugs. Teli = telemark = skiing. Kokopelli, the flute player of ancient indian rock art. A skiing Kokopelli! Totally cool. My other choice was Lara's computer mug. She took all sorts of computer parts and made stamps to texture the clay for her decorations. Totally unique and totally cool.

Next up on the pottery party circuit is a stein party... a stein is just a big mug... right?

Flip flop

Flip flip of the weather that is.... to nearly flip flop weather. So you saw all that snow on Tuesday... well 3 days later ***poof***, aside from a few patches here and there, it's gone. The weather was in the 50's today, sunny and spring like. And look what I found in my front yard when I came home from work this afternoon! My first crocus!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mother nature came to visit..

A quick drive by post this morning mostly to share with my far away kids (and anyone else who's interested) what mother nature bestowed upon us last night. Between living in Paris (Matt) and coastal northern California (Sarah) neither get to see much fluffy white stuff... and I know they miss it, since they are snow lovers like their momma. So here are a few shots from home for my kiddos....

About 10 PM last night... my tree doesn't normally block my sidewalk...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fishy Stuff...

I did a dreaded chore this week. I cleaned the fish tank. I am not a great fish mama. My intentions are always good when I set up the tank, but over time something happens, and next thing you know the algae is overtaking the tank and the fish start dying and I feel like an aquarium failure.

Needless to say I don't purchase expensive fish, mostly things like tetras and mollies and of course a beta. Before you say "You can't put a beta in a tank with other fish", I will assure you that "yes you can!". I always put a beta in my tank, and he's always happy, and clearly enjoys having the freedom to cruise the whole tank rather than a cup or little beta bowl.

Anyway I posted something on facebook about cleaning my tank, and a friend posted this link to a scene from Finding Nemo... a funny scene where the fish are suffering in a scummy fish tank. I have never seen the movie, but the movie sure depicted my tank prior to it's recent cleaning... right down to treasure chest!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The love theme continues.....

Yeah, more love, more French love. Because even in Paris, the city of romance, some folks must need to buy love. And this is the place to buy it... the Love Store!

If you need to find the love store it is not to far from Moulin Rouge, in the Place Pigalle, the red light district located at the base of Montmartre. Monmartre is the artistic center of Paris, home of the famous french artists we've all heard of. I have to wonder if it's a coincidence the artist district and red light district are in the same place...