Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top Ten Portraits of 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Resolutions for 2014- How'd We Do?

1. Start a new chapter of our life with enthusiasm and purpose-Well, we turned the page WAY more than I even expected. We found out I was pregnant a week to the day after we moved into our new house, so mostly I am proud of us for getting through (so far, at least)! I was feeling like we didn't do well enough at keeping things fun, especially with the house which has been a challenge at every turn, but the beauty of year-end reflection is noticing we actually had lots of fun and great days between the roof leaking and the appliances giving up. I feel good that even at those moments we were often having fun (and Arby's)! So between the two of us and setting up a new home, I feel like we achieved this goal.

The baby stuff was all kinds of scary, but especially now that he is here, I feel like we are learning and enjoying it. But all in all, this was a perfect start to the goal list, because basically everything this year is new.

2. Get back to reading more difficult material, going to galleries more often, sharpening my critical thinking- I got a job at a gallery and another working remotely on artsy, so I feel like I have been thinking critically (and practically!) in ways I didn't expect, but am grateful for. I still wish I read more theoretical and dense material, so I will work on that more that this year as I continue to push my way into the art scene here.

3. Visit at least one new state-Done! We ate our way through New Orleans, a city I would happily return to. Only 9 states left to go for me.

4. Take more photographs with a good sense of depth/ play with my aperture more-I actually worked pretty hard on this before the baby came with the hope I could take good pictures of him. I don't know if I got any better, and as a whole it was not my best year for pictures, but I still made some progress in developing my style.

5. Write more honest and substantive blogs-Eh, maybe? I kind of doubt it, but I am still writing consistently, so that is something, right?

6. 500 Stickers, 5 million steps- Haahahaha oh golly. Not the year of banner fitness, I'm afraid. I am glad I kept at it before, and I try to step up (oh puns) my walking every day now, but that precious 6 week mark is still 10 days away.

7. Figure out how to teach conceptual art to children-I did this! I kicked off the new year teaching underserved 3rd graders to do critiques and talk about their choices. I am really proud of the work I did there, and I have mourned moving away from my California jobs all year. Trying to have faith that I will be teaching again soon in some capacity.

8. Take more leadership roles in my volunteering-Eh, this is another goal that suffered from moving early in the year. I have been doing a few volunteering things in Seattle (though not much now), but I am back to wiggling my way into various communities. If anything, my work at CoCA moved me from a pure volunteer to a leader. That's pretty cool!

9. Defrost the Seattle Freeze-This feels like my biggest failure this year, though I can ride the coattails of The Boy's success. I have tried quite a bit, but I haven't really connected with anyone in a big way here yet. Lots of pleasant acquaintances, which is the definition of a Seattle social life. I hope to make some better friends in the coming year.

10. Make at least one thing a week (the blog no longer counts!)- Fail! I HATED the art class (I am not an online learner, it turns out. I have been making things and writing project ideas all year, but the work I got has changed so I wasn't making things as much as part of everyday life. I am not sure this one will improve in the coming year, but maybe I will be happily surprised.

100 Things I am Grateful For- Baby Edition- Part 2

51. Sleeping Shifts- Ohhh the good old days.

52. Our New Stocking and Advent Calendar- MIL made us a really beautiful advent calendar and a stocking for BBG (it even says Bumbo Baby on it. If that isn't Grandma love, what is?)
53. Care from other women- I read before our spawn was born that other cultures still maintain a period of care for new moms from the other women in their lives, where in the US, new moms are mostly on their own. The help and love I got from my Mom and Mother in Law that first week is what I am most grateful for (next to having a healthy baby). I really needed that help even just to get in the shower or stay hydrated or to pick up the baby, but I also think I would have just been an emotional mess without them. But with their help and humor and generally laid-back, well-seasoned Grandma attitudes, it is probably one of my favorite weeks of my adult life (definitely my favorite this year). We didn't do anything that special, but I just loved having so much noise and love in the house, and I am really happy for BBG that he could feel that love right from the start. Plus, I think it was a huge help to The Boy in so many ways we may not even be able to appreciate.
54. Waking up right before someone would come get me to feed the baby- My boobs and my spawn have a special bond. They really get each other. I did not know my breasts have ears until I became a mom.

55. That The Boy finally has someone to watch Cosmos with- And that said person is not me.
56. Furrowed brows- BBG almost always looks like he is thinking of something very serious. Perhaps my boobs are telling him some perplexing news?

57. BBG's First Harry Potter Movie Marathon- It's a birthday tradition, and something we knew all our visitors could agree on. BBG did not seem particularly impressed, but it fueled lots of discussion and debate. Also, did you know there are people in the world who don't think the girl who plays Ginny is just the worst? Apparently there are, and we are related to them.
58. Daniel Radcliffe's Tragic Hair Phases- You could rank the movies by pubescent awkward horror. The fourth film is really just about Harry and Ron's hair and the many ways it can look ridiculous.
59. Safeway cookies- They snuck into our lives and became the number one staple of our diet. Not exactly what I was planning for getting back in shape (though the c-section doesn't particularly help with that either)

60. Elephant Steam Machine- Every so often, it makes enough noise that I think some man with stuffy sinuses is hiding in the house to kill us. Also, it helps our poor parched lips.

61. Grandma Help- Not only did they help care for the baby, do more laundry than I knew was possible, and kept us fed on cookies, they also hemmed all the curtains in our house. The windows look so nice! Yay adults with actual adult skills. And they assembled our swing!
62. Baby Pants- Carter's really anticipates massive things and Grandpa style. I appreciate the effort, because it enhances the baby's cute old man look.

63. Making handprint ornaments with the grandmas- When they look at the ornaments, may they hear their grandsons angry screams. Merry Christmas, everyone.
64. Panera conspiracies- they stiffed us once, so my mom remained suspicious of them the rest of the trip. Don't keep that woman from her soup!

65. Laura Linney- The true star of Downton Abbey.

66. Screaming at everyone on Downton Abbey (except for Laura Linney, who is perfect)-My FIL got totally sucked into the show and yelled at the characters. We have carried on the tradition and try to tell them what to do through the television. They nearly never listen. Except for Edith, who we usually tell to keep whining.

67. Babies effects on grown-ups- This is BBG and his Nonno meeting for the first time. I like how happy he makes people. He's generally very friendly to meet.
68. Infant Necks-Everyday it looks more and more like a droopy sock on an ankle or the eating guy on Monty Python meaning of Life. He is supposed to have a really weak neck, but BBG has been killing it on tummy time.
69. Petey and Aubrey's Gifts- An action figure and  plastic diamond. I love it.

70. Learning how to Wrap- This whole trend is genius, though it's still hard for me to hold the weight very long. But the Boy has been enjoying the free hands, and he looks really cute with a baby belly of his own.

71. A Totally Calm Thanksgiving- Usually we are running house to house to see all these people (and more!), but this year, they all came to us! It made it special to have a holiday in our house and not have to run from place to place (we usually have 3 or 4 on the day). It was also great to see our moms and The Boy all cooking together in the kitchen. I wish I had felt a little more 100% to make some fun details or plan a fun game, but it was still really nice.
72. Leonardo's Bread in Seattle- Ahh, Leonardo's bread. This stretch is the longest I have ever been away from Franklin (by the end, it will be longer than Vienna), and I missed Leonardo's so much. I love that they brought bread with them when they came to visit. I love even more that we had Leonardo's bread for our stuffing! Be jealous!
73. Texts from my cousins when I am missing holidays- I am so used to spending these holidays with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, so it really made me feel good that I woke with a text from my cousin Zach saying everyone missed me, then my Uncle Mark sent me pictures of the crescent rolls. I am sure it sounds selfish and narcissistic to say this, but it felt good to be missed, because I really missed them a lot.
74. Having a husband who helps-  Every couple works in their own way, and that's cool for them, but I do love that The Boy is one to be in the kitchen cooking and cleaning or with the group playing whatever game we are playing, not off somewhere else choosing not to participate. I feel that even more now, because even though I have to live as a cow for a few months, he wants to be in there helping whenever and wherever he can. I like being a part of a team, and I like that on holidays, we celebrate mostly together from start to finish.

75. Stuffing and Crescent Rolls- Forget Pilgrims, America, or gratefulness. Thanksgiving is all about carbohydrates.

76. Fashion only appropriate for infants and college girls- The Boy and I may have a plan for sweatpants for grown men with things written on the butt. Don't steal the idea, as obviously it will make us millions.
77. Randomonium-New game. I think with a little more sleep and strategy (maybe one little tweek to the rules), we could make it really fun.
78. Skyping with the girls in Tennessee- So happy to see those beautiful faces (including one very little beauty!) for the holiday. How did people live without skype? I miss them so much, but I do love to hear from them however we can!

79.Snow at dawn- BBG does not much enjoy sleeping at night, but he does love long walks around our house. This was one night it really paid off, because it started to snow after Thanksgiving. It looked so fresh and beautiful about 4 or 5, but it was already gone by the time we would have usually been up. Also, who doesn't love a fresh first snow?
80. Walking laps- Between breastfeeding and walking laps, BBG and I are really working off that baby weight. The cookies on the other hand, have not helped with that mission.

81. Putting up Christmas decorations with family-We have never gotten to do this before! Usually, it's just us, jet-lagged from our trip back from Thanksgiving, too tired to finish the whole job at once. The strangest part of the job this year is trying to fit the old apartment's decorations to our new spaces! I can't figure out how to hang all the lights yet, but I will.
82. The moving epic Greek- We watched this ABC family show from start to finish, and it didn't exactly make me pine to join a sorority (these people need to go to class!). On the other hand, it caught the heart of my father in law, who told us he cried at the ending. Cappy wore a lot of jewelry, sister lived  in a massive pottery barn kids display, and the brother whined every single episode. But I did love Beaver and Dale.

83. Ham and scalloped potatoes- This makes my mouth water to look at it. One of the best parts of parents coming is when they cook, and it is amazing.
84. Noob, Hoob, and Elboob- BBG loves boobs. He could care less about me, but he does love boobs. I have never felt more objectified, yet been more ok with it. In the first few weeks, he couldn't tell the difference between a nose or elbow and his beloved boobs, so he would just suck on whatever he could find, then get very annoyed that he wasn't any less hungry. And it really makes you reflect- the nose is the nipple of the face.

85. This picture- So cute! Yay family!
86. The green velour jumpsuit- BBG is also modeling his favorite outfit, a green velvety sleeper my wonderful friend Mindy gave us. He looks a bit like a baby Hugh Hener, which makes the whole boob thing make more sense.

87. Four out of Four grandparents in the first month of life- How lucky are we? I am so worried about raising the baby on an island, because I don't want him to feel alone in the world if something happens to us. I am happy he has 4 people who love and know him already.
88. Baby fingers- they are so cute and little, and God is pretty genius for designing in the reflex that from the very beginning they will hold your finger. We associate love with sight (my life is about that in many ways), but bringing a person into the world has convinced me that touch is our first language of love. It's certainly the first one we understand.

89. Ewokking- Just my favorite ever. How cute is this!? Favorite if them together so far.
90. Blanche- Once Paggy showed up, we switched our binge watching to his pick, Hotel Impossible, which is like Restaurant Impossible, except that the main guy is smart, kind, and from what we can tell, genuinely helpful. It's on Netflix, and it really was a fun watch. He has a very collegial and funny relationship with his designer (as opposed to Irvine, who comes off as condescending and paternalistic) Blanche, who is a total badass. Sadly, they have ither designers at times, and then you spend the whole episode talking about how much we missed Blanche and how she could have done it better.
91. Not Going Anywhere- The only guest we ever really did nothing with before was my Mom, because she came so much more than anyone else and was often passing through. It really was nice to have lower pressure visits because we couldn't do much yet, and I think everybody may have had a better time in some ways.

92. Pag Seafood Amazingness- Gah, what I said before about having parents come and cook for you.

93. Putting Christmas Ornaments up- Our skinny tree is getting pretty darn full. I love it.
94. The soundtrack of Elf- That thing is just perfect for the movie it is in. And Brian Setzer's swinging Nutcracker suite has to be on my top ten Christmas songs list. 

95. Getting Out this Year's Ornaments- When we travel, we buy Christmas ornaments as souvenirs, because magnets can really take over if you travel a lot. This adds another layer of joy to putting up the tree, because we can reminisce about our year while we decorate. Also, watch Santa ride every animal known to man. Damn, Santa loves to ride.
96. Meeting more neighbors- One of our neighbors hired a nanny who then locked herself (and the baby once and without the baby the next time) out of their house. She stayed with us until help came the first time, and the second time I kept her company trying to see the toddler while help came. Not the best situation, but we finally met one of our next door neighbors!

97.Red Lobster Trips-Pag took us there after running what turned out to be a very short errand. So far, BBG has been on his best, sleepiest behavior in restaurants. Plus, Felix could at least smell some delicious cheddar bisquits.
98. Chocolate Chip Cookies- Official cookie of baby nesting. Just when we thought we ate them all, another set of cookies would appear.
99.Baby Cuddling- He is a super wonderful cuddler (though he only likes me for my boobs). I am hoping his wonderful sweetness tempts his grandparents to come back asap!
100. Genuinely great visits that made what should have been one of our hardest months fun and memorable and lovely- I loved these past few weeks. Loved them. It was probably the best visit we have had with my dad so far in a lot of ways, and the time with our moms was absolutely awesome. I feel happy and grateful to love and be loved by such wonderful people, and I am happy we will have such good memories of the beginning of BBG's life. I know he won't actually remember this time, but I feel like our baby is so blessed to have a happy and loved start, and that he is so claimed by all of our parents. If the first half could be summed up with being happy to have a healthy. wonderful baby, than the second half is that he had wonderful people to greet him.

3 Things- Rio Bravo, "All Oppression Shall Cease," and George C Scott Glasses

1. Rio Bravo on the National Film Registry- This time every year, they add 20 new films to the NFR list, which is now 600 films long. I then add them to my long "to watch" list which is around 800 films, with around 300 completed. This year, I was psyched that Rio Bravo made it because it is my absolute favorite John Wayne film (not to mention the amazingness of Walter Brennan as Stumpy). Yay NFR for putting it right in the canon where it belongs!

2. The third verse of Oh holy night- 
"Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name"

3. George C Scott in Hipster glasses- I watched The Hustler yesterday afternoon, and I mostly didn't care for it (he's a man with a special talent and flaws! A lady friend magically appears, gives him lots of sex, and becomes a pawn!), but I thought George C Scott gave a great performance (Patton was too much) and he looked great with some thick-rimmed mid-century glasses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Things for Yesterday- #illridewithyou, Michael Kenna, and Monthiversaries

1. #illridewithyou- It  is so easy and quick and flashy to do wrong, to tear things down. Building things and being positive is slower, harder, and will generally get you less attention. So it always feels miraculous when someone does something good and it catches on. After a lone terrorist took hostaes in Australia, he hung an Islamic flag in the window, potentially setting off another wave of Islamophobia. Instead, one person, Rachael Jacobs, offered to ride with a woman so afraid that she was taking off her hijab, and this simple act of kindness caught on through that twitter, so Australians all over were offering to ride with Muslims on public transit. How beautiful is that? It makes me feel better about the universe, and it sets a good example of how to be allies.

Twenty Four Trees, Michael Kenna - Hokkaido, Japan, 2005 from

2. Michael Kenna- Looking for photobook Christmas gift for a friend, and Michael Kenna in China wins. Just a gorgeous collection of landscape photography!

3. Somebody is one month old- He celebrated by kicking our asses. He can't lift his head, but he is the badass boss of this house.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

3 Things for Yesterday- Sandwiches, Walks, and a Rocking Cat

1. The Chairman sandwiches- We made the main event earlier in the weekend, but I got to have the leftovers yesterday for lunch, and they were still amazing on regular wheat toast (though it is much much harder to keep it all holding together. How amazing were they to send this to us? Will write the whole story tomorrow, probably ;o)

2. Going out for Walks- Thank goodness. Even if we are only getting around the neighborhood, I am happy to be starting this forward momentum. It can be tricky to do when the sun sets at like 4!

3. Sir Kittyface by Richie Pantaleo- The Boy's friend and college room mate made the baby this beautiful and incredibly cute rocking cat. He made us a lamp for our wedding too, so we have been very spoiled by his engineer-y Renaissance man creativity. It is really so cute and I am sure BBG will love it once he is capable of loving anything that isn't a boob.