Archive for November, 2010

After an early-morning spin through the mall with Shane’s mom, and a hearty breakfast with the rest of the family, Shane and I said our good-byes, hopped back in the car, cranked up the heater, and headed to Minneapolis for a quick city-fix before our flight back to Seattle on Saturday.

After checking into our lovely room at Graves 601, we made our way to the Walker Art Center – a museum designed by Herzog and de Meuron and filled with all kinds of contemporary art.  Much of the art was a bit too…’conceptually abstract’ for my taste (a continuous video loop of a tongue rolling marbles around inside of a mouth, for example), but the current exhibit on Yves Klein is crazy, crazy good.  I first became familiar with his work at the Pompidou in Paris and fell in love with his cobalt blue paintings and his innovative use of the human body as a paintbrush.  But this exhibit also contained several of his fire paintings, which were new to me and absolutely beautiful.

The museum itself was also a work of art, with its unique materiality and bold, cube-like forms.  Not my most favorite H&dM building of all-time, but still an interesting place to experience.

Post-museum, we spent some time strolling through the shopping district near our hotel.  We noticed that a crowd had begun to line both sides of the street outside of Macy’s, and decided to hang around for a bit when we heard that the big Christmas parade would be coming through downtown in just a couple of minutes.  As we stood there, shivering and cringing from the cold, we began to question whether the parade would be worth losing feeling in all of our limbs.  After the first rinky-dink float rolled past, we decided it wasn’t.  We took refuge from the cold in a nearby store – I don’t think I have ever seen Shane so willingly agree to shoe shopping.   Once we’d thawed out, we made our way back to the hotel (via an impressive series of inter-connected sky-walks, since it turns out you can traverse a good portion of downtown without ever having to go outside – Score!), and wined and dined ourselves at Cosmos, the super-chic restaurant inside our hotel.  With our bellies full of duck breast, crab cakes, and pork belly, we headed downstairs to the bar at Bradstreet Crafthouse for a couple of late-night cocktails.  We were given a cozy little table in the corner and enjoyed the chance to catch up with each other – we reflected on our time spent with Shane’s family, talked about the people and places we looked forward to seeing back in Seattle, and enjoyed the chance to be in our own little Kelly and Shane ‘bubble’ for awhile, where nothing mattered other than each other.

We had just a couple of hours to enjoy the city the next morning, and I had a grand ambitions of a photographic tour of Minneapolis, but instead decided it would be nicer (read: warmer) to linger over our breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, and then sit for awhile in a nearby coffee shop and sip hot tea.  Nothin’ wrong with that…

And so, our short-but-sweet 24 hours in Minneapolis came to an end.  I feel like I got just a taste of the city’s offerings and we look forward to getting back there sometime soon (but hopefully in the summer…).

Apparently time flies when you’re dozing on the couch – hard to believe that our few days with Shane’s family are nearly over.  Tomorrow we head down to Minneapolis for a night out on the town, and Saturday we return to Seattle.  We’ve had a perfectly relaxing week, catching up with family, catching up on our sleep, catching up on our caloric intake…  Shane logged some serious Lego-building hours with his nieces and nephew, I made progress in my quest through Harry Potter, and we saw plenty of lovely, freshly-fallen, puffy white SNOW.  Such a treat…  Our stay in Alexandria, in photos:

We celebrated Thanksgiving day with food and gifts and a little Thanksgiving play (complete with cat-masks), written and directed by Shane’s fabulously creative little niece.  It was a good day, the perfect culmination of a week that went by far too quickly.  Shane and I have much to be thankful for in the generosity, love, and hospitality of his family.  Shane’s dad remarked tonight how nice it was to see me feel at home here, and I really do – this cozy little house in rural Minnesota has become my home away from home.

And with that, I must sign off – my mother-in-law and I have a 5 a.m. shopping date in the morning, so I better get some shut-eye.  God’s blessings to you and yours.

Indeed, we are sitting at the airport as I type, waiting to board our plane to cold, snowy, cold (did I already say that?) Minnesota for a week with Shane’s family. This trip has become an annual tradition for us, and I’ve come to look forward it more and more each year. I love being in a house full of family, watching Shane play Legos with his nieces and nephew while the smell of roasted turkey wafts in from the kitchen. I love taking a ride down memory lane with Shane, as he takes me past all the places he used to get into trouble as a kid (yes, my gentle, law-abiding husband used to be the king of car crashes, stolen road signs, and toilet papered front yards). I love getting up pre-dawn with with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to hit the Door-Buster sales the day after Thanksgiving. And I especially love waking up to the sight of a freshly fallen blanket of snow, knowing that if I so please, I don’t have to do anything that day other than curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Cheers to time with family, to relaxation, and to my new fuzzy, warm hat. It’s going to be a very, very good week.

Still loving the mix of painting, collage, and drawing.  Inspired by architecture these days – planes, angles, corners, set against a backdrop of color…

pepto sky (2010.10.17):

green glass (2010.10.22):

rambler (2010.11.15):

mod house (2010.11.17):

I volunteered on Saturday to lead a little art workshop for kids at the cafe connected to our church, as a way to reach out to the community and give parents a chance to enjoy a latte on their own while their little ones made a mess under my supervision.  I settled on Cubism as the subject matter, thinking that would lend itself to a good one-style-fits-all project, and I didn’t know whether I’d be working with 3 year-olds or 12 year-olds.  I showed the kids several examples of Picasso’s portraits, with their offset eyes, bright colors, and angular features.  I then encouraged them to paint their own portraits, taking advantage of the freedom that Cubism allows, without having to focus on exact proportion or shape.  I had eight little artists under my watch, and all of them exceeded my expectations.  It was inspiring to see kids in the act of art-making – some focused on coloring inside the lines, while some splattered paint with total abandon, but all of them walked away with a masterpiece of their own.

t.g.i.F!!! This week has felt exceptionally long, even though it was about the same as any other week, with work and work-outs and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, since we haven’t grocery shopped for nearly two weeks. I’ve definitely been battling a case of the day-in, day-out doldrums, and am seeing how routine can be so exhausting… But enough of the pits – my weekend has begun and I am looking forward to an evening with the ladies tonight, a some time set aside for art-ing with a few kids from our church tomorrow morning, perhaps delving into Harry Potter book #2 tomorrow afternoon, and then a living room dance party or two with Shane and our brand-new X-Box Kinect. Oh, and pie. Sometime, somehow, there will be homemade apple pie. T.G.I.F. indeed.  (In fact, I was so happy to get off lightrail and wave goodbye to the work week that I had to snap a pic…)

I am often on the look-out for a reason to gather our friends for a little par-tay, and when I realized that my birthday, Shane’s birthday, and our good friend La Verne’s birthday all fell within just a couple of weeks of each other, the scheming began.  Shane and I were into the idea of a little celebratory getaway with the gang, and when we casually mentioned the idea to Jack and La V, they nodded their heads, their eyes got bright, and I knew:  this would be good.  Very good.

We all started scouring the internet for ideal party-house rentals, and Jack stumbled upon a sweeeeet water-front home on Whidbey Island with ample room for all of us.  Thus, Schnell-La-Palooza was officially booked!  And after much anticipation, we all boarded the ferry on Friday afternoon, ready for a weekend of eating, game-playing, hot-tubbing, and generally livin’ it up.  I will admit, I feared that the house might not live up to our high expectations, but I was wrong to worry – nestled into the woods, perched just above what felt like a private stretch of beach, it was perfect.

The entire weekend was fabulously chill, as we strolled on the beach, soaked in the hot tub, and got some serious mileage out of La Verne’s new X-Box Kinect (imagine Dance Dance Revolution meets Nintendo Wii, then triple the awesome-ness).  There were times when I enjoyed the quiet of curling up in the sun-room and reading Harry Potter, and there were times when all 14 of us sat around the dining room table together and laughed hysterically.  It felt very much like being on a family vacation – we were all free to do our own thing (a tree pose on the beach, in Shane’s instance), but at the end of the day, we all really wanted to share a meal together and just enjoy each other’s company.

Shane, Jordan, and Bees did a little beach-combing, and came back to the house with a dead jellyfish and a piece of driftwood shaped like a Moses staff.  One ocean’s trash is another man’s treasure, I guess…

The hot tub was a favorite hang-out for a few of us.  102-degree water with a view of the ocean and a beer in hand – life does not get much better…

I think La Verne took the X-box prize as dancer with the most style.  Jason took the prize for ‘most animated’.

When Jack mentioned that he had something special in mind for our birthday dinner, he wasn’t joking – hand-made pasta, topped with a perfect ragu (imagine little strands of heaven wrapped around a fork…).

After our perfect meal on Saturday night, we sat at the table for another couple of hours, playing a rousing game of True Colors, where we pinned people with title’s such as ‘best character for a scorchy romance novel’.  It’s been awhile since I’ve laughed so hard for so long.

We awoke to rainy skies on Sunday morning, which I suppose was appropriate, as I was seriously bummed to be packing up our things and bidding farewell to our cabin in the woods.  **Sigh.**

And so…Schnell-La-Palooza (dare I call it the first annual???) came to a close…  As if the weather gods knew I needed cheering up, the clouds parted as we crossed Deception Pass, giving us one final, beautiful view of the island.

I’ve been in a bit of reading slump for the past couple of months – it’s been awhile since I’ve had something in my hands that I couldn’t put down.  A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee was beautifully written, but I found it hard to truly invest in any of its characters.  Little Bee by Chris Cleave was intriguing, but its ending left me feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.   And so, after years and years of somehow missing the boat, I am embarking on a new literary journey – all seven Harry Potter books, read start to finish, back-to-back.  My dear friend (and book club confidante) Nancy has lent me her well-loved set and has assured me that I will not be disappointed.  I have just started digging into book one and am already reveling in the vision of rainy Sunday afternoons spent curled up on the couch with Harry and Hermione, being whisked off to faraway lands full of wizards and witches, where reality is temporarily forgotten and my imagination runs wild and free.  Yes, I suspect this may be just what I’m looking for…