Archive for September, 2009

I didn’t quite know what I was getting into when I picked up this book, and I raised my eyebrows when I discovered it was all about vampires and the legend of Dracula, but I’m glad I stuck through it.  Turned out to be a totally enthralling mystery/suspense/thriller, laced with romance and lots of lovely imagery of Eastern Europe.  The descriptions of Budapest have placed Hungary near the top of my ‘places to see’ list, with a quick pop over to Istanbul to check out the Hagia Sophia and wander the street markets.  This novel was rich with historical lessons, too, about the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople and the major figures of power that ruled in Eastern Europe in the 1400’s.  I had no idea that Stoker’s Dracula was inspired by a real person, and was surprised to find that the horrific crimes committed by Vlad Tepes, as listed in this book, seem to be true.  Dark, interesting stuff.  My book club rates our reads on a 5-star scale, and I’m giving this one a solid 4.  Well worth all 675 pages.

This was one of those nothing-special but oh-so-good kind of  weekends.  No big happenings at the Schnell household, but I enjoyed the chance to hang out with friends yesterday and have a ‘me’-day today.  Shane had a late night/early morning at the office last night, so I decided to spend the morning being out-and-about, soaking in the beautiful day and letting him rest.  After church, I stopped by the Fremont Sunday market to do some wandering.  It had been awhile since I’d been to Fremont, and their Sunday street market is one of my favorites in Seattle.  I was tempted by all the home-baked and hand-stitched goodies, but I practiced restraint and walked out of there with nothing but a beautiful bouquet of fresh sunflowers.  Then I practiced indulgence when I came home and baked a batch of chocolate-dipped almond-cherry biscotti.  The rest of the day was pretty mundane, but productive – went for a run, cooked dinner, did laundry, savored a piece of the afore-mentioned biscotti…  Settling into the couch now for a little tea-time, and am going to keep my spirits high by pretending that tomorrow is NOT Monday.  How fleeting a good weekend can be…

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I had my first printmaking class at a local art school on Thursday and loooooved it.  We will be learning several different printmaking methods over the next 8 weeks, and we started this week with monotype printing.  Paint is rolled onto a plate of plexiglass and overlaid with any stencils, and the image is then rolled onto a sheet of paper using the printing press.  I love the little imperfections that result from the process – it’s good for me to have to relinquish some control with my art.  And the fact that I showed up to class without the faintest idea of what we’d be doing and walked out of there with several prints four hours later made me quite happy – below are my faves.

faux bois:

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branches and lace:

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drippy silhouette:

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I’m on the lookout now for fabrics/objects/textures that I can bring to class with me next week.  Feels good to be back in the creative saddle!

So hard to believe that today was the last official day of summer…  The afternoon nearly slipped by us in a lazy haze of post-brunch football and naps, but around 4:00, I peeled myself from the couch, laced up my sneakers, and convinced Shane to join me on a short Sunday mini-adventure (yes, I use the word ‘adventure’ lightly).  I was itching to get out to enjoy the sun and see something new, so we headed toward Lake Washington in hopes of finding some kind of close-to-home new discovery.  There is a large community garden in Colman Park that I’d driven past a couple of times but never ventured into, so we decided to make that our destination.  And WOW.  The garden is tucked into the side of a hill, hidden from view of the lake by a large grove of trees, and as we came upon it, with the late sun just barely skimming the tops of the tallest stalks of flowers, I was enamored.  We spent nearly an hour wandering among the rows of bright pink and yellow dahlias, leafy lettuce, and hearty squash plants.  So many lovely colors and shapes and signs of life.  And it was nice to get out of the house to enjoy a leisurely stroll with Shane – it seems that lately, all of our time and energy for outdoor activities has been funneled toward jogging (with Shane training for the marathon and me trying to work off those lattes and scones that I love so much), and so I’d forgotten just how nice it feels to be able to go outside and stop to smell the roses – literally.  It’s too bad that we only just discovered this place, as things are starting to die down for the Fall and Winter, but I’ll look forward to seeing what kinds of new growth and colors Spring will bring to the garden.

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We ended our day-date by sitting for awhile down near the lake, enjoying the sound of the water lapping over the rocks at the shore and the view of Mount Rainier in the distance.  It was one of those very perfect Seattle kind of afternoons – a lovely way to bid farewell to what has been an amazing summer.

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Been working on drawing people lately, with an abstract doodle here and there.

domino girl (2009.08.09):

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page 49 (2009.08.10):

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coffee in the pearl (2009.08.14):

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power suit (2009.08.23):

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tree trunk (2009.09.03):

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Yes, it has been noted that this blog has suffered from neglect over the past couple of weeks.  My quietness on the blog front has occurred for a couple of justafiable reasons – 1) work has been super-busy lately, consuming much of my weekend and evening time, and 2) for the aforementioned reason, life just hasn’t been that interesting…

But still, blog-worthy or not, an update is in order, so here’s the happenin’ highlights:

Like I said, work is busy.  But it’s good.  The hours are longer than I’d prefer, but the work is challenging, I’m learning a lot, and I’m being trusted with a lot.  Yes, I certainly have those ‘work sucks’ kind of days, but I also have those ‘Man, I was ON today!’ kind of days, and they seem to make it all worth it.

After over a year of scheming and planning and budgeting with our neighbors for our big backyard renovation, construction is finally underway, as of today.  Photos and plans to come, but for now, I will just say that I can’t wait to set up a few chairs in our new yard and share some burgers and beer with friends.  We’ve been dealing with a pretty inhospitable outdoor space for the last couple of years, but all of that is about to change!

I am getting a major vacation itch.  Some of our friends are trying to pull together a winter trip to Hawaii, which sounds amazing.  Shane keeps talking about his desire to visit New Zealand, which also sounds amazing.  But the un-amazing fact is that vacations require both time and money, so nothing is on the books just yet.   For now, I will have to content myself with our little weekend stay-cations (mornings spent in cafes and afternoons spent napping on the couch).  This is not so bad, come to think of it…

Shane will run his marathon in Portland in T minus 15 days.  He has been training like a mad-man, running for hours at a time on Saturday mornings, then hobbling around the house for the following two days.  I am amazed by his driven-ness.  Seriously.

And with that, I’m fresh out of new content.  Tired, too, so I’m signing off for now, hoping I’ll have some kind of adventure or new experience or something to report about in the next few days.

Today was a good great day – a totally open bonus day to spend however I chose.  Being that cafe-sitting is one of my most favorite pastimes, I started my day with a latte at a new cafe I’ve been wanting to check out – Citizen in Lower Queen Anne.  Good coffee, cool space, but a little too restaurant-y for someone like me, who likes to feel free to linger over a latte for an hour+ without any pressure to buy something else.  I cut my stay a little short to give my table up to the breakfast-ers who were filing in.  They did have a pretty amazing-looking crepe menu, though, so I’ll head back next time I’m in the mood for a solid brunch.

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Post-coffee, I headed home and picked up Shane for an 11:10 showing of 500 Days of Summer.  Did you know that movie tickets are 6 bucks before noon?  Score!  Plus, I showed up to the theater with snacks in my purse, so I was an exceptionally cheap date this morning.  The movie was really good – smartly written and well-acted with a quirky/artsy vibe to it.  Loved it.  A post-movie lunch at Panera, a round of shoe shopping to find a much-needed new pair of running shoes, and I was somehow tuckered out from this wonderfully mellow morning.  And Lord knows that my ‘perfect’ day absolutely includes a nap, and so I spent an hour on the couch dozing while Shane watched the Giants game, waking briefly for each of Uribe’s home runs (Shane just couldn’t silence his excitement).  Refreshed, I took advantage of a momentary break in the rain to get out for short run to break in my new running shoes.  An impressively good dinner of miscellaneous items we needed to use up from the fridge, a home pedicure (on the off chance that I get to bare my feet in sandals at least one more time before the chill of Fall sets in), and I’m now settling into the couch for the evening with my cup of ginger peach tea and my book.  Perfection.

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I had a lovely last couple of days in San Francisco.  I cafe-hopped while Shane attended his conference, I caught up with a few more old friends, and I took in the sights, smells, and tastes of this city that I am loving more and more with each new visit.  The highlights:

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A stroll through Chinatown, in all its vibrancy:

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Happy hour at ‘B’ in Yerba Buena.  So good to sit in the sunshine, sip Persecco, and slurp up dollar oysters.  Heaven:

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Morning coffee at Four Barrell in the Mission.  The best latte I had all week:

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And a quick whirl through the SF MOMA, to take in Dubuffet, Motherwell, and Giacometti:

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Again, Lovely.