Friday, December 31, 2010

the eve of a new year

A coast to coast adventure, from the Pacific one night home and then out by 10 a.m. to head to the Atlantic...

I'd been talking with friends about what to do for New Years Eve and we wanted to get away but to be low key and hang out. I found the Inn By the Sea, just South of Portland Maine with 'garden cottages' that have room for 6 and are pet friendly. Just what we were looking for!

We were able to enjoy a little of everything with one of our favorite puppies!
Dogs were welcome in the lounge area, so we spent some time there by the fire and the tree and then cooked dinner in our cottage, got our glowing jewelry on and counted down to 2011.

We didn't talk about resolutions, hopes and dreams for the coming year, or what we were glad to be leaving in the past from the last year, no sloppy kisses or drunken cheers but the reminder was there that the family you are given is important but so is the family you choose, and we are all stronger with the love and support from each other than we are alone.

May each year be better than the last!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

homeward bound

It has been a long day... after about 4 hours of sleep I rolled out of bed to drive everyone to the airport, dropped my sister off at her terminal and drove back around to mine and passed over driving duties and headed to my gate, with a stop at Peet's for a coffee...

I had some time to reflect as I waited to board. My parents continue to get older and less able and both their children live across the country... should we be thinking about moving closer to help with their care? They've given so much to us, shouldn't we be giving back to them now? Now that I'm married what does home mean? Can you have many places you call home? With my family & with my husband? I've missed him but am thankful that we had the time just the four of us...

I was thrilled to see my husband when I got to Boston. He picked me up in a Zipcar, we dropped my bags at home, parked the car back in its spot and headed to meet friends for dinner at one of our local favorites, Redbones. It was nice to be greeted with friendly faces and good conversation over 'comfort food' being back 'home'.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

hard to say goodbye

but we've got to give it away.
There are piles of piles under piles.... so the other project I've been working on while home is going through some of the things I still have stored at my parent's house.
There are lots of things we held on to when our grandparents passed away on top of stuffed animals, journals, photo albums... so there were tough decisions and trips to the goodwill. If I had more time or the capacity to bring some things back to Boston with me I would make some attempts at craigslist and ebay with some items. Chances are if I've left things behind already I haven't been missing them so it's probably time to let go.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Today was a good reminder about self care.

As nice as it is to have a few extra days at home, we're all so used to our own space and our own ways of doing things that unexpected extensions can be stressful. I've gone for a few runs while I've been home since my gym is not nationwide but today I gave in and went to the Equinox gym with my sister.

The day use fee was well worth it. After some cardio we went and used the lap pool (outside, one flight up), nobody else was using it, just us, swimming in the rain to the sound of the drops hitting the water.

It's always hard to remind myself when I'm feeling worn out that getting some exercise will wake me back up so I was thankful I had my sister to kick my butt a little and get me to the gym while I continue to work on remembering on my own.

Monday, December 27, 2010

snowed out

Of the many years I've been flying from Boston to San Francisco for Christmas this is the first I've had a flight cancelled. On the plus side it gave time to have kale salad with beautiful purple kale.

Friday, December 24, 2010

local flavors

It was not the fanciest of dinners but it was delicious. I have been trying to take advantage of the fresh local produce available in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have been eating a lot of kale salad, avocados and delicious locally made tamales!

Also, a friend who knows how much we love petit fours from a bakery in Oakland (formerly Neldam's, now Taste of Denmark) had bought us some so we also get to enjoy those too...

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I was early for my dentist appointment and instead of waiting in the waiting room decided to go for a walk first. I was reminded of the importance of being present in the moment as I walked toward a redwood tree and heard a noise I recognized. I stopped to listen and see if I could figure out where it was coming from and I discovered the source... a small woodpecker who I was able to sneak a bit of a closer look at. How neat to be so close to this little hard worker who I could just have easily walked right past.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

early present

Christmas came early, I made a trip to Keeble and Shuchat this morning and got a new camera. Since my sister had a haircut in San Francisco it seemed silly not to take advantage of the time in the city to start trying out the new camera. So, I drove her up and wandered around the Legion of Honor and Lands End.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Solstice made quite the entrance. Tonight I took advantage of some of the universe's natural beauty and stayed up to watch the eclipse. It was made more dramatic by clouds that kept obscuring my view and covering and uncovering the whole event. After the moon was fully eclipsed and began to be revealed again it was covered in a deep red haze. I'll have to look up what it all means when I get up but I am glad I was able to bear witness and feel a bit more connected to the universe. What a great way to celebrate solstice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

airport adventures

of course, the first real snow of the season and I have a flight to catch... and I'm not the only one... it was a two-for-one airport trip, getting my friend who is moving to Germany all checked in and then cutting through the parking lot to get to myself checked in...

My first Christmas with a husband and us spending Christmas with our respective families, so he came with to the airport and sent me off in style... oysters and beer.

Hooray for every day celebrations! And absence making the heart grow fonder.

Friday, December 17, 2010

going away gift

A dear friend is moving to Germany on Monday. I'll admit I'm a bit jealous of her new adventure. Our lives have crissed and crossed over the years living near and far but it's one of those friendships where even if it's been a year since we'd seen each other (although I don't think we've ever gone that long) it felt like it had just been a few days. I've enjoyed living close to each other again but as is our history figured we would live away from each other again too. Tomorrow night is her good-bye party and I wanted to give her something to keep California and Massachusetts close during her travels so I made her a two sided necklace with an image from each state to hold close to her. I also wanted to be sure it would be a gift that would be easy to stick in to her bags and not add more burden to her travels.

I also thought the party may be a good venue for some market research so I made a necklace for myself as well to wear to the party and see what kind of response I get.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

tomatoes and the last coat

Why just put 3 coats of poly when you can put 4?
The floors are done! 4 coats of poly down. The stairs, however, need some attention but we'll get to those later...

After I put the 4th coat down in the 3 rooms and was waiting to finish the landing (which got 3 coats today) I remembered some farm share treats...

We've gotten tomatoes the last 3 weeks, grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and this week two large tomatoes. We hadn't used any of them yet. The two that came yesterday were pretty bruised and the others were threatening to turn so I decided to cook them so that I can either make pasta for dinner tonight or freeze them for later use.
Here's how I did it:
put a little olive oil in a pot, add garlic and chopped tomatoes let simmer until tomatoes break down, part way through I added some salt and pepper. When they looked about done I threw in basil that I'd harvested, food processed and frozen early this year. Now I have a tomato basil sauce.

It worked out well because the sauce got to simmer and cook down for a few hours while I finished the floors.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

poly, sand, repeat

The instructions on the Aqua ZAR say the floors need 3 coats of poly and that they need to be sanded in between applications... and then to wait 2 days before putting furniture on the floors, so I spent 8 hours today, determined to get the floors done so we could move furniture this weekend... sanding all the floors down be hand, vacuuming up the dust and putting down poly... I got 3 coats on 2 rooms, 2 coats on the third room and one coat on the landing at the top of the stairs. I then had to quit or I would miss picking up the farm share for today, then came home and collapsed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

more on the floor...

...getting closer... today on two of the three rooms I went back over the floors with 100 grit on the palm sander and some sandpaper by hand to catch any stray floor hairs, then vacuumed all the dust up and wiped down the windows and trim with TSP (even though they were covered by plastic and duct tape) and put down the first coat of poly.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Floor Sanding

Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to take a break... we worked hard over the weekend and made our second attempt at sanding the floors. So, today will be a day for rest and recovery because we're closer but we're not done yet...

Here's what we did... we rented a rotary sander and an edging sander from Home Depot and spent 10 hours sanding. Since we are not looking for perfection and as are bodies became tired and sore we did things a bit differently than we had initially anticipated.

Safety First!
We suited up. And the windows, doors and heat vents were all covered in plastic and duct tape sealed. We also turned the heat off.

We sanded everything with 24 grit paper and the paint came off... we sanded it pretty clean although there are still a few spots which I actually kind of like as a reminder of what the house had been through and of our hard work. Then we went over everything again with 100 grit paper.

We discovered - as we suspected - we have some beautiful wood! The house was built about 1890 but we're not sure when the floors were put in on the third floor, the latest they were put in is in the 1940's but we suspect they are much older than that, especially since there were so many layers of paint which when we moved in was all under carpeting...
We have some areas to touch up with a palm sander and we need to get in to the corners, then wipe everything down and start with the poly...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Cards

I've been trying to think about holiday cards for other people but haven't thought about what we will send out this year. It's been a big year for us so I didn't think one image could sum it all up. I started by going through my photographs from the last year and pulled out a bunch of them and made a collage with them for our card this year. To save paper I'm going to do single sheet cards this year printed on the front and back. Since I still couldn't fit everything I wanted on the front I stuck 3 photos on the back of the card too.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Manhattan Bridge Cards

I took a lot of photos in New York the other weekend. When I go my sister and I usually spend the day walking around the city. We were walking around the lower east side along the river and I go some interesting shots of the Manhattan Bridge and winter berries so I am going to make her some cards.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shadow Boxing Cranes

I've had this image in my head of a shadow box with cranes flying in a blue sky and using a blue sky photo I've taken so today I tried to execute it and tried out two styles. My initial thought was to have small cranes lining the bottom of the box and one crane soaring high above them but as I tested a few different things my vision changed.

I had a black shadow box so I decided in order to help the cranes stand out I would make them silver and folded 3 silver cranes getting progressively smaller and they get higher in the sky. I also wrote the word soar on a black piece of paper and printed out a photo of the sky I had taken to be the background. I hung the cranes on fishing line and used a glue gun to secure the line to the top of the box and suspend the cranes.
I also had a white shadow box. For this one I had one crane soaring about a landscape, the landscape was made up of a bunch of photos I have taken that I printed out and cut down to scale them in the box. I wanted them to be 3-dimensional which is why I cut them out instead of editing them together. I used a glue gun to make mounds of glue to mount the cut-out photos to so they would have depth.

I have listed them in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last of the Harvest

It is cold at night now, there are talks of flurries, so I decided to pick what was left in our garden.

The brussel sprouts and cauliflower produced a lot of leaves but did not have enough time to produce more than that so we'll see if we can cook the leaves.
Some of the Kohlrabi did fairly well.

The parsnips, carrots, and beets were the tiniest I have ever seen but will probably be sweet and tender.