Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Slip 'n slide

I am that girl who when playing the "If I lived here" game at peoples' homes always first scopes out where the slip 'n slide would go. I'm lucky to have sweet childhood memories of our slip 'n slide out on the front lawn of the 24th avenue house with my sister and I going hogwild over it. And I know it's atypical in Florida but I want some kind of high-to-low elevation change on our future pie-in-the-sky property...just to help pick up speed as one is careening down the slide. It will be like slip 'n slide on steroids.

Speaking of beefed-up slip 'n slides, look at how far they've come since I grew up in the 80's. Thanks to ohdeedoh for reminding me.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Baby steps

I finally did it. I got tough and moved past the fact that my new camera is heavy to the point that I feel I don't need to go to 'power pump' at the gym on Thursdays anymore because of the workout just holding the freaking thing gives me, and got over the nagging rationale that I don't know what the hell I'm doing, and just started taking pictures. My sister gave me that advice, so these are for you, Lamb. Some of the first photos ever with our Markie. Now don't be expecting anything grand; showing these pictures are just for posterity's sake. In a few months I hope to have come a long(ish) way.

p.s. as you can see this all went down in a little third floor hospital room. Welcome back home Steve!

Steve hates this one because, "I look like I'm dying." Honestly, I see where he's coming from although when I shot this I was doing it for the wedding ring aspect. Anyhow. I'm posting it because it illustrates one of my favorite photography techniques in the whole wide world, bokeh.

More bokeh, although the carnation at the forefront isn't as sharp as I would like.
I know these next ones are blurred, but I quite like them anyways. Little bits of my heart are saved for blurry shots.

Friday, 24 July 2009


guess who's back home?

finally! (as she does cartwheels and somersaults sending cats fleeing in every direction)

happy weekend of lounging around, getting rest, and getting better.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Throne Room

(because I'm no tease.)

It took a long-ish hike from the river to Deer Creek, then a nice little stairclimb under the finest caliber of Arizona desert heat to get there...but seriously, no brainer here...completely worth it.

& just what are this king & queen looking at?

and look, a mini chair. whoever made this one is my imagination soul mate.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Grand Canyon

For the past two years July was the month for rafting down the Colorado River. We were guided by Canyon Explorations/Expeditions which I would recommend a hundred times a day, 365 days a year.

A few weeks ago I asked Steve what he thinks are the most beautiful places we've traveled to and in a heartbeat he said, 1) kayaking in Alaska, and 2) the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Here you have this river flowing through layers upon layers of time, basically--since each layer of rock represents different geologic periods. As the days on a river trip pass you see the canyon walls become higher and higher, more and more layered. And beyond the walls are hidden little magical places--maybe a side canyon, maybe a hike to a lookout, maybe a series of cascading pools of water, maybe a spring, maybe a place called The Throne Room
(p.s. these next two pictures are not The Throne Room, but they're nirvana nonetheless).

And then the pure
fun you have, the camradarie you share--moments spent alternating between the adrenaline rush of a rapid, to playing that's what she said or would you rather in the calmer water. Watergun fights against other rafts. Shrieking with joy while sliding down the turquoise Little Colorado River's smooth rocks. Pushing each other out of the raft and into the frigid water that will leave you gasping for breath. Playing rodeo girl; that's when you stand at the helm of the raft and your buds paddle in circles until, drunk with dizziness, you fall into the water. Drinking too much of my boxed wine at the end of every beautiful day. Needing liquid courage to get into the river and bathe yourself because damn, I'm starting to stink.

Seeing these pictures is a little bittersweet. Sweet because I already know those were some of the best moments of my life. When my life is coming to an end and I start having the quick-time flashbacks of wonderful moments like you see in the movies, I know the summer of 2007 and 2008 will be there. Bitter because these pictures depict a very different July than the one we're presently having, spent in room 3106, watching my love not be able to so much as cough without having excruciating head pain. But I know this too shall pass. One day we'll be back on the Colorado, showing our little childrensies the awesomeness of sleeping tent-less (you'll see the stars, plus it's way too hot) and watching them get wide-eyed the first time they scout Hance Rapid. I won't even mention Lava Falls, they'll have to find out for themselves.

Monday, 20 July 2009

How to pass the time.

Or, what I'm doing when I'm not trying to put a smile on husband's face as he fights off demon nausea and Satan headache (for this I resort to dancing Irish jigs).

-Finished another baby hat, Waltzer, in a soft mauve cotton yarn (from this awesome pdf file)
-Made a lavender fabric dahlia, tute in this month's MS Weddings (link here). Besides the hairpin idea I think these would be way purdy for gift wrapping, pinned to shoes, dress straps...I think I'll make a dark purple one today. Scary how girly my 30's are starting out to be.
-reading the manual on my new camera (this one usually puts me to sleep)
-working on a little somethin' somethin' for my better half, to be revealed on his birthday
-watch SATC reruns on TNT
-movies on the laptop (Coraline is released on Tuesday!)

Photo from Martha Stewart.

And family I love you but no, Steve does not have malaria.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

back at square one.

The best thing that ever happened to me is back in the hospital. So far, so (relatively) good: all the scary stuff is once again coming back negative.

Babe, I wish I could take the pain away from you and put it in me. I would, in a heartbeat.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

In Italy


My parents land in Sardegna today, where Marmee will be until Lamb's wedding.

They took a single-engine airplane to get there, and crossed the Atlantic the old-fashioned way: Florida to Maine to Greenland to Iceland to Scotland to France to Italy. My dad's done this at least a dozen times and marmee's quickly catching up. Someday I would love to tag along, maybe they could stick me in the baggage compartment? (hint hint)

I had to laugh reading part of the information bulletin my dad sent out to the rest of the people going in their group. If you know him you know this is classic Paps.

When in Italy (especially large cities, if you will visit them during our stay), stay alert in public places with large crowds. Beware especially of beggars (especially gypsies, even if they are women with babies) and DO NOT let
them come close to you. They are professional thieves, and they are very good at their trade. Never lose sight or control of your luggage, even for a few seconds.
Beware also of motorcycles or mopeds approaching you in a busy street. This is the most common MO of purse snatchers.
Do not carry jewelry or your passport/important papers (the hotel safe is a better place). For guys, a simple way of making your wallet harder to pick from your pocket is to slip a couple of wide rubber bands around it. For ladies, carry a small purse (with a zipper) or no purse at all. Remember, any purse, backpack, or fanny pack can be cut (and the contents removed) without you even realizing it.
Make a paper copy of your passport and all your credit cards (front and back) with a number to call in case they are stolen.
This is not meant to scare you in any way, just to prepare you for the reality out there and to prevent ruining an exciting trip.
Notwithstanding all this, Italy is by far the most beautiful country in Europe. I am not saying this because I was born there, but because I have been all over Europe, and nothing else compares.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Naomi's shower

Tomorrow night some friends and I are throwing Naomi a bridal shower. It's a homemade dessert-and-drinks thing. This is what I am making (for what it's worth I already know I'm a lunatic and suffer from itakeontoomuchitis, common in women):

Strawberry-orange blossom marshmallows
Vanilla marshmallows
French-style yogurt cake with lemon
Fresh peach ice cream
Peaches in honey lemon syrup (Naomi's southern, hence the peaches)
This pie
Coconut cupcakes
& I'm trying to talk myself down from the ledge to not order the red velvet cupcakes from my favorite Napan cupcakery (isn't it awesome that such a word as cupcakery exists?!), Sift.

But looking this over, I'm thinking something is missing.
That's right.

Must remedy.

He knows me.

I try to act like a super chill wife but my husband sees right through this facade. Last night around 2:30, in a moment of panic, I reached out and touched Steve's arm--nothing. I propped myself up on one elbow and tried to make out the silhouette of his chest rising and falling--nothing. I put my ear to his face and that's when I hear him whisper,

I'm alive.

just checking, love.

photo by Aubrey Trinnaman. more on her brilliant skillz soon.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

there are different kinds of camping.

& I don't mean the camper or RV kind vs. the tent kind.

Well. Us + Lassen wasn't meant to be for us last weekend. No, no--instead of thermarest and down-y sleeping bag looking up at the stars, it was a straight-backed chair with my head crookedly resting on an ER gurney. Or two chairs pushed together with knees forcibly in the fetal position to nap. Or the two of us huddled in Steve's hospital bed, waking up to the sight of his bewildered doctor staring down at us as he said, "Good morning?" as if it were a question. Yup, a different kind of camping. Funny how this kind makes me feel more gross than the typical dirt-and-sweat kind.

But thankfully Steve is past the worst of it and we are back home now, strong drugs on board. Pain is under control more and more. All the scary stuff was ruled out. Nurses are funny. I love their crooked, kind of offbeat humor--that's probably why I get along so well with a certain handsome one in particular.

& that thing about nurses not being good patients? Really not true in this case. Steve rocked the casbah as always. My rock. In no time he'll be running circles around me like he usually does.

Friday, 10 July 2009

going camping.

there's a place in northern California where all four types of volcanoes found on this Earth co-exist, and that's where we are headed. Happy weekend & I heart camping!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

trip planning is eustressful.

Eustress is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye, which is defined, in the model of Richard Lazarus (1974), as stress that is healthy, or gives one a feeling of fulfillment or other positive feelings. Eustress is a process of exploring potential gains.

Going from California to Florida (by car with three cats) to (mainland) Italy to (an island off the coast of) Italy to Kenya to Zambia to Rwanda back to Italy back to Florida is--but of course--a logistical nightmare. Not that I'm crying out poor me but this has been filling our days lately and someday I'll look back on it all and just have to smile.

A few things worth mentioning--

in Tofino, seated to my left at the winemaker's dinner, we met a couple who had just gotten back from Africa last year. And, get this--Elizabeth had lived and backpacked all over Africa for over a year. Talk about karma. Honestly, on account of the wine flowing that night I didn't think anything would come to light after we exchanged email addresses. But they have been AMAZING. Writing mini-novels outlining their itinerary and suggestions, sending us links to their incredible photos (Steve and I looked at each other and almost in unison said
like let's plagiarize this trip), giving us an honest, straightforward perspective on, well, everything Africa. Everything we want to know, we have someone to ask. It just goes to show how incredibly generous people can be, and how life is full of little connections like these that make it deeply meaningful.


What we are hoping to do in Africa (Italy is all about family and celebrating Lambert):

go on safari. I don't have a check-off list of Animals To See (again I left that crap to my 20's)--I just want to see what happens.
& ahem a hippo would be way cool. But whatever animal(s) we see, I promise to be thrilled.

see the wildebeest migration as they cross from the Maasai Mara into the Serengeti.
note that wildebeests don't fall under the whole 'animals to see' thing--I would love to see gobs and gobs of them like on Planet Earth. I want to get to a point where I say, "I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't see wildebeests everywhere."

see Victoria Falls

swim at Devil's Bathtub, atop Vic Falls

see gorillas in the wild (note to self:
watch read Gorillas in the Mist before we leave).

... & just take it all in. Really see it all unfold. Try not to only see it all through the viewfinder of a camera. Try not to have lens envy, which must be something like penis envy but I really wouldn't know.

After all, we'll be in Africa. Who knows when we'll be there again?

...sorry for the blurry pics. I still haven't grown a set big enough to actually pick up my new camera and learn how the hell to use it. I'm much too good at procrastinating.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Deep breaths

I have lots and lots of things on my mind lately, a million "projects" going on at once, and looking at this will help ground me. Or at least that's my hope.

It's the most beautiful place I've ever had the honor to kayak in, an iceberg maze. Three years and a week ago.

Valdez, Alaska, Columbia Glacier

Monday, 6 July 2009

life, liberty, and that whole pursuit of happiness thing.

taking in the San Francisco symphony at Stern Grove...for some that means knitting, for others, napping.

turns out the brisket and blue cheese coleslaw was the epitome of our 4th much so that we're having friends over tonight to help polish off the leftovers. (p.s. the recipe is from the September '08 issue of Bon Appetit, their restaurant issue. I bought it for the buttermilk fried chicken recipe from Ad Hoc but am happy to be branching out. )

Get ready neighbors, we're going to be eating on the front landing again. Ghetto style.

Friday, 3 July 2009

My most fun 4th of July

was in 2001. My friends and I ended up swimming in the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial.
I am proud to say that I was the first girl in the water.
Beneath the rain.
And the fireworks.
It was magic.

Happy Independence Day kids.

Thursday, 2 July 2009