Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 82 (Or: What's That Chicken Doing?)

Maybe you don't remember this, but earlier this year (day 65, if we're counting, and we are) I pledged to do some things in the garden this year. Several things. Things like: Build raised beds to grow veggies in; plant fruit trees; raise chickens; raise BEES; and several other home-steadish things.

What actually happened:

I bought 5 fruit trees (two apples - a yellow and a red - a pear tree, a cherry tree and a plum tree) and planted them in order that the poor, pathetic, mangy neighborhood deer herd (yep, it's a whole fuzzy Bambi family) might have a nice midnight snack. And they did. Repeatedly.

I bought tomatoes (the deer ate them), and basil, pumpkin, cucumber, lettuces, and strawberries (the slugs ate them) and didn't plant them at all. By this point, the deer had decimated the fruit trees, and I'd basically given up on life.

We adopted a murdering chicken. Yes. There's a henicidal maniac bird living in my yard. And she's old, so there aren't any eggs, if you're thinking that there might be a marginal pay-off for adopting said bird. Henrietta (isn't that a sweet name for a killer chicken?) was banished from her hen-house after taking the Top Hen status one step too far. She killed a fellow chicken, and now she lives in our yard. Alone. And she crows (yep, she's top hen) every morning, and doesn't give us eggs, and poops everywhere. But she IS very pretty. So we sort of like her.

Also, GOOD NEWS! The quack grass has now invaded every last tiny corner of my life.

On the UP side, my new neighbors planted the MOST productive, verdant, healthy and incredible front lawn. Boy-child says the neighbors lawn makes him angry. I caught him lying in it the other morning.

I'm really glad Fall's upon us. I don't think I can take much more of this.

Day 82 down, which means that I have 918 more days to put up some deer fencing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 81 (Or: An Antiques Roadshow Roadtrip)

First of all, an update regarding the state of affairs in Leckenby-Ville: You should know that there's a mollusk on the loose in the house. That is to say, there's a snail, and he's been wandering about for several weeks leaving his...leavings...and then evading all attempts at capture. I'm seriously considering letting the chicken loose in the house to see if she can find him. And eat him.

This should be a pretty decent indication of the kind of mood I'm in today: Exasperated, with a hint of hilarious.

And I've got a confession to make: I actually enjoy these moods. I think these moods are some of my best (even though there are occasional exclamations of words containing the hard K sound), and are not to be wasted. I might need to find some outlet for this mood other than blogging. Perhaps a nice rant directed toward one of my many pet-peeve-people? And there are MANY, I'm happy to say.

All of this being said, let me tell you how totally fabulous Day 81 of One Thousand Days was.

So fabulous. There. I told you.

More? Oh, okay...

Day 81 of One Thousand Days was spent with 6,000 other people on the set of the Antiques Roadshow at the Convention Center in Seattle!

Pause for effect.

When one is at the Roadshow, One MIGHT see Mark Walberg!
Here's what happened:

1. We forgot the tickets, and turned around about 20 minutes into our road trip in order to retrieve them. HOWEVER, we made it STRAIGHT onto the ferry, and arrived in Seattle 50 minutes before our 11 o'clock entry time. We were rather pleased with ourselves, but perhaps too pleased, because...

2. We promptly got lost. Twice. Our excuse: Downtown Seattle is engulfed by a series of "detours" which are designed to make the country bumpkins lose their minds, and their way.

This is what one of the four lines looks like
3. Missing our original ferry and getting lost were EXACTLY the right thing to do. Arriving at the Convention Center four minutes AFTER our check-in time, meant that we parked about 2 feet from the entrance, avoided one of 4 horrendously huge entrance lines, and were that much fresher than all the other roobs who had been waiting an hour and a half to get in.

4. We then waited an hour to get in.

5. We then waited another hour to get in.

When you get into an event like this, please be aware that (None of the literature will tell you this, so take notes):

1. The crowd, and each individual comprising the crowd holding precious tickets (which, for some reason felt like the Golden Ticket into the Charlies Chocolate Factory), is PRIME people watching fodder. I was a little bit stunned to find that about 40% of people were in wheel chairs, but the remainder were people toting precious possessions ranging from a $50 pistol lamp, to a $45,000 bell. And by god, spend as MUCH of the 2 hours that you'll spend in line waiting to speak to an appraiser getting to know as many of the fabulous people around you as possible. They just might be holding a $7,000 Stieff Teddy Bear, or a worthless Japanese battery operated barking dog. Fun stuff.

2. Know that someone in the room has a $100,000 something they found in the attic, but that someone is not you.

Someone Hit it BIG!
3. Yes. The appraisers are wearing fabulously tailored suits, wild ties, and some of them may or may not even be wearing a pink satin vest. Maybe. If you spot any of these appraisers, stop, stare, and make sure your mouth is a little bit open, and that you look appropriately awed.

4. Know that your big butt will appear several times on film when the show is aired. Because you're in the crowd, and you've been waiting in that line for 2 hours, and while you're standing there, some lucky lady with a series of 1950's mall advertisements is being filmed RIGHT BEHIND YOU for her tearful reactions - and you're standing there looking gormless. But that's okay.

5. That photograph that you had hanging casually in your bedroom? It's an Orotone (a photograph beautifully processed on glass), by one of the pioneers of the Orotone process. And it's worth upwards of $1,000. And you'll meet the collector of the photographers work, because he's spotted your photograph from across the room, through the masses of people, and will leave you with his card in case you ever want to sell. Charlie McCarthy may give your 14 year old son the creeps, but he's in really good condition, and he's worth about $100.

Creepy, but oh so worth it!

81 down, 919 to go.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 80 (Or: How Do you DO This?)

This is the garden I strive for

"I'm in a garden. My own. It started as nothing - in fact LESS than nothing - a barren, compacted, dust-bowl of a yard, with drainage issues..."

If we're going to describe what it's like to live a creative life (and we are - blame it on Kiera, she started it), this is where we begin. A creative life, for better or worse, is like tending an unruly garden...

This barren patch of nothing is, I realize, where every other yard-owning-wanna-be-master-gardener starts, but MAN is it tempting to move to another house, one with a garden already installed, one where there's security in knowing that all you have to do is show up, pull weeds, and reap the harvest of other people's work. And then you get to go back to "life" - whatever "life" is...but importantly, you're not tarrying in the dust-bowl that's a stand in for a yard.

I move piles of dirt around, I break my back, I spend hours imagining a French country garden, or a formal English garden, or a wild-flower garden. And I battle slugs, and I wrestle bushes, and I hack away at that persistent, thorny and invasive blackberry. And I try to keep myself from looking over the fence at the neighbors garden, where the grass is inevitably (and so cliche!) greener, and the hedges are preposterously polished, and even though I know they've taken all the shortcuts, hired big earth moving machinery, had the professionals in, planted the "easy" plants, used copious amounts of Round-Up and Sluggo, I want what they have.

My meager patch of weeds will NEVER be the glory of the neighbors yards. Never. What the hell was I thinking, imagining that you can be a...gardener... I notice the sideways glances from people driving up the street, and I think "if I could JUST manage to move that weed pile, and at LEAST have the boulevard in shape, maybe they'd all approve."

And then it happens. The worst thing imaginable. I'm tending a bed, doing as I should, and I kneel on a slug. Slime's everywhere, and trying to remove it just makes it MORE everywhere. I hobble around a corner, heading for the house and BAM straight through a spider web, and now there's spider and slug everywhere, and those little spiky seeds have invaded my socks, and I'm slimy, and itchy and completely discombobulate by nature's attack on me.

That's it! I can't stand it. I give up! Must-have-chocolate-and-Hulu! NOW! Ignoring is a management technique, right? And what horrible-slug-infested-thing isn't just a little bit more tolerable with chocolate? And if I'm watching re-runs of the x-files, I can't actually see the impending-doom-in-dandelion-form.

And then, two things happen:

(1) That rose bush? The one that's given me fits since I planted it two years ago? The one that I've shaped, coddled, clipped, de-mildewed and de-spotted (who knew plants mildew)? The one which causes me daily to wonder "what was I thinking, planting this fuss-pot of a plant?" It blooms. It's a delicate white, multi-blossomed glory. It's EVERYTHING I've ever wanted in a flower. And more.


(2) Unbidden, un-noticed, a little pineapple strawberry plant has made inroads, and is producing the most divine, soft white ripe and delicate strawberries. I didn't even know it was there, and I did nothing to specifically love this particular plant, it's a gimme. It came about, simply because I was caring for the plants around it.

The garden: Blank canvas, work-work-work, doubt, judgement, work-work-work, frustration, envy, work-work-work, nature fights back, work-work-work, procrastinate and dally and indulge in chocolate, work-work-work, produce something incredible, work-work-work...and back to the beginning, work-work-work.

80 down, 920 to go.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 79 (Or: Creating Zoe's Space)

Zoe's room, or the room that Zoe wanted, was just JUST out of reach...She had the room (and oh how lovely it was!  gorgeous light, skylights and windows)...but it wasn't yet filled with the things that she wanted.  It didn't yet inspire the things she wanted to be inspired to do.  

Zoe's room, like many of our rooms, contained some very useful things (exercise equipment, great shelving and storage, the wrapping paper), and some beautiful things (gorgeous vintage pieces, a closet full of art - art is often found in closets!), and just...wasn't satisfying.

She wanted to be inspired to create!  She wanted to be soothed and feel nurtured!  She wanted to meditate and write and read and be in a space which was her own.  We worked together (I asked a MILLION questions), and slowly, she identified a color scheme (neutrals and woods, accented with blue, yellow and a splash of red), and her favorite art pieces, and then I set to work, shaping a space which would contain FOUR different areas:  A reading nook, a craft and writing space, a meditation space AND the exercise equipment.  That last one threw me for a loop, but I solved it!

Decisions:  Zoe should have a seating area, where she could be alone, or with a friend, and be able to look at and be inspired by her creative/writing space, and her meditation area.  And she should NOT know that the exercise equipment was there until she was using it.  

Solution:  Screen that exercise equipment!  A row of really fabulous, built in cabinets, was re-arranged to create a screen, and Zoe and I spent an hour or so Shopping in her own home for loved art, decorative items and fabrics in the spirit of her nurturing and meditative space.  That's my FAVORITE part!  

Conclusion:  Gorgeous!  But don't take my word for it...

Zoe's reading nook - An owl pillow, made for her by a friend, blue pillows pulled from an unused sunroom, art hung, and lighting pulled from other un-used areas of the house.

Zoe's writing desk - a family heirloom, a drawing of the family castle, paintings of mother and father.

Creative spaces, a tall table (with Zoe's vision board) and her writing area.

What to do with that exercise equipment?  Swing the bookshelves out to screen it!  Bottom left is the view from Zoe's reading chair - you can't even see the equipment!  Mission accomplished.

 79 down, 921 to go!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 78 (Or: No Calorie Chocolate? Yes, Please!)

Did you know that there's such thing as CHOCOLATE COSMOS? It's a flower. And it smells like chocolate. Really!

This is what it looks like:

It looks like chocolate, too! Lovely! And I happen to know that Cosmos are silly-easy to grow.

So, anybody who knows me and has followed my blogginess, knows that I adore chocolate (and wine, and brie). That same person (there may or may not be more than one of you) has probably wondered if there's a better decision to be made, when one is in a kerfuffle, than burying ones-self in chocolate. And, although I'm being coy, here, what I'm really trying to say, is that I've got a chocolate problem. A big one.

Well! Not any more! Day 78 of One Thousand Days, over-indulging in SMELLING chocolate, and LOOKING at chocolate can't be all that bad, can it? No. No it's not. I've decided, and I'm not running this one by Holly for approval.

And to top it off, as I was rabbiting down the rabbit hole of the internet, I discovered THE most delightful gardening site, Heavy Petal, with an amazing post about all kinds of chocolate flowers. Weeee!!

Andrea Bellamy, the genius behind Heavy Petal, posts about the West Coast garden, and lovingly highlights foodses, decor and other gardening delights (such as CHOCOLATE FLOWERS!) Take a peek. You'll like it!

78 down, 922 to go.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 77 (Or: Earth Without Art is Just "EH")

I'm an artist. Sort of. I'm an aspiring artist? A wanna-be artist? A pseudo artist? Hmmm...

Okay. Maybe it's not fine art, but I do occasionally produce drawings/paintings/design/collage. Never sold any of it (other than monkeys). I do sell my design capabilities (as in...interior design, web design, graphic design - at Leckenby Co.), but never art. Yet.

I don't exactly have plans to become a visual artist, although I definitely have plans to continue artistically living my life - viewing, creating, appreciating, befriending... BUT! I live in this delightful artists community, where you can't swing a dead sable without hitting an artist or an aspiring artist, and as it happens, one of my besties runs a cooperative gallery.

THAT means that I get to shmooze with local artist appreciators, rub elbows with several seriously talented fine artists, and help disseminate art in the world. Generally.

Last month I started helping my friends on Gallery Walk night (the first Saturday of the month, new shows debut, artists are available for discussion, and generally, art is celebrated with food, wine and good company), and now, on the first Saturday of each month, and in particular, Day 77 of One Thousand Days, you can find me at The Red Raven Gallery, helping my friends Laurie McClave, and Sarah Fitch to make the world more beautiful and interesting.

Hints, should you wish to enjoy/partake of/or serve at a gallery walk:

1. Although gallery walk is known as a bit of a walking booze fest, never serve more than two fingers of wine, as you want people to be precisely smashed (not overly, and not underly) in order to effectively help them to appreciate/buy art.

2. By god, you'd better know what you're talking about, or believe that you know what you're talking about, or have an intention to know what you're talking about, if you want to talk about art.

3. Take that last little hint and stuff it in the toilet, because EVERYONE, and I do mean everyone, has something important to say about art. That's why there IS art. To get us thinking. And even if all you have to say is: "That looks like my cat!", it's a valuable assessment, in my book.

4. Do not - DO NOT - be a snob. Damnit. Yuck.

77 down, 923 to go.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 76 (Or: Moving On UP)

Moving is hard. Disgusting, overwhelming, dust-riddled, hard. There are things to be put IN to boxes. Things to be moved to places. Things to be taken OUT of boxes. And then there are all those things that won't fit in boxes.

Exhausting. My head hurts after writing that paragraph, and I have an urge to crawl into bed and never come out again.

Just packing a box to take to the Goodwill gives me PTSD. And surprisingly, it seems that this is my lot in life these days. That is, boxes. Boxes being packed. Boxes being unpacked. Stuff being moved from one place to another. Sorting. Packing. Moving.

Well, who am I to question? Yesterday, Day 76 of One Thousand Days, I did one of my favorite things: I helped someone else (helping other people is like my bottle of wine - it's soothing) with their boxes of loot. Spur of the moment, I put on my Moving Outfit (which closely resembles my every-other-kind-of-thing-outfit) and helped a besty move her boxes to a new house.


76 down, 924 to go.
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