Archive for June, 2011

We’ve been enjoying some quality time with family lately, with a visit from my mom and dad last weekend, and a quick trip down to Portland this weekend to see my brother, his wife, and the girls.  Although these trips always end up feeling much more brief than I’d like, I’m thankful for these short-but-sweet chances to reconnect with one another.

My parents were here on a typical rainy June weekend, and so my hopes of enjoying Seattle’s great outdoors didn’t quite pan out.  But we passed mornings hunkered down in cafes to enjoy a latte, followed by afternoons spent lounging at home to watch the Giants, and evenings gathered around the dining room table for a home-cooked meal and a game of cards.  And so my bitterness over the rain subsided as I realized how nice it was to spend a simple, cozy weekend at home with my mom and dad.

Our trip to Portland was equally mellow, but substantially sunnier, and so we did our relaxing in the backyard.  Lots of good eating, lots playing with Elise and Morgan, and a quick trip downtown to do a little shopping at Powell’s and West Elm, for good measure.  Shane continues to be Elise’s favorite, and I suspect he is trying to sneak his way into Morgan’s good graces as well…

I really don’t mind being runner-up, though.  I can’t hold a grudge against a gril with a smile like this one.

Finding ourselves with a little time to kill in the Pearl District before the stores opened, I subjected the family to a little photo shoot.  It is amazingly difficult to get two adults and two small children to look at a camera all at the same time.  But…success!

And this is the point where I lament the end of a beautiful weekend.  Sigh.

Shane and I have been feeling like a Californian weekend was overdue for some time now – we’ve been missing our friends, the sunshine, Saturday afternoons with the Giants…  And so we booked our tickets and headed down to the Central Valley last weekend.  It had been nearly two years since our last visit to our former home, and so I had a list of things to do and people to see.  My ‘girls’ were at the top of that list – Francine, Kelly, Amanda and I have been friends since high school, and it’s been far too long since we were all together.  We spent Friday at the nail salon, followed by a perfect lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants.  There are times when I worry that I’ve changed so much since living in Seattle that it will be tough for us to connect like we used to, but after 10 minutes of sitting around a table together, shrieking with laughter about long-ago memories, I realize that our bond is not that easily broken.

After our lunch-induced caloric overload, we decided to burn off those burritos with one of our favorite pastimes:  shoe shopping.  Amanda and I have a favorite store in Modesto that we visit every time I’m home, and we can easily spend hours wandering up and down the aisles, trying on heels that we know we’ll never be able to walk in or bright pink wedge sandals that won’t match anything in our closets.  What I love most about these little shopping excursions is our ability to pinpoint exactly what the other person would like (“theses polka dot wedges are so completely you!”).  I was talking about this with Nancy the other night and she summed it up perfectly:  she said it feels really good to be known, which is what’s so special about these times with the girls – they know me in a particular way that no one in Seattle does or ever will.  Of course, there are also times when I surprise Amanda with my apparently poor taste (“oh, no, Kel, you’ve got to be joking with those”), but I love those moments, too – brutal honesty without the risk of hurt feelings is a pretty unique thing.

The rest of Friday was pretty mellow – burgers for dinner, more catching up with old friends, watching movies as I crashed out on the couch…  Saturday morning, it was time to bid farewell to Turlock and head to San Francisco for the rest of the weekend.  We were intent on catching a game, and thought it would be fun to end our trip with a night out on the town.  After checking into our hotel, we jetted over to AT&T park, stocked with peanuts and sporting our Giants gear.  It was a beautiful day to be at the ballpark, and the buzz of excitement in the air told me that I better get ready to do some serious cheering and high-fiving.  I was wrong.  Horribly wrong.  Lincecum pitched the worst game of his career, and we left the park in the middle of 8th, as the Giants were down 8 to nothing.  Ouch.  At least the sunshine was there to buoy our spirits.

He’s only smiling because he got a new hat to replace his crusty old faded one…

A short nap back at the room, and then we were ready to paint the town red.  Saturday was the 12th anniversary of our very first date, so we were in the mood to celebrate.  Shane had made reservations at Delfina, a cozy-but-hip Italian restaurant in the Mission.  We slurped up perfectly prepared spaghetti and oohed and ahhed over our tagliatelle.  I like to think that Shane will look back on that night and remember the dress I wore and conversation we had, but he has already confessed that what made the biggest impression on him was the fact that Ellen Page was sitting at a table just five feet away from us.  We didn’t approach her, but I still had to listen to his dorky one-liners from Juno all night, about his ‘hamburger phone’ and ‘food baby’.  I’ll admit, as we don’t experience too many celebrity sightings in Seattle, it was kind of a big deal.

Dinner was followed by cocktails at Wilson and Wilson, a tiny little speak-easy known for it’s intimate bar and finely crafted drinks.  The theatrics of getting to our table were a bit much (having to give a password to the fedora-wearing man at the door, and then being led through a dark bar to a door that had to be unlocked with an old key, beyond which we finally found our seats), but still, it was a fun night.  The cocktails were good, the conversation was good, and I was toasting to 12 fabulous years with a pretty incredible man.

We started Sunday with a coffee date with Brieanne, my college roommate and fellow Francophile (we were in Paris together for our fourth year of college).  It was fun to catch up, to hear about the exciting things in store for her as she expecting her first little bebe in November.  Post-coffee, Shane and I headed over to Hayes for our brunch reservations at Absinthe.  I’m not sure how Shane found this place, but O.M.G.  My french toast was the best I’ve ever had – slightly crispy around the edges, but unbelievably light and fluffy on the inside.  Sinfully good.  Shane took a bite and his eyes got really big as he exclaimed, “It’s like a taste of heaven!”

Yum-my.  But also super-filling, so after brunch, we were ready to do a little walking.  We wandered around the neighborhood, and then made our way toward the new federal building, designed by Morhposis.

I think I was so high on sunshine and french toast that I wasn’t much in the mood for architecture-gazing, so after a quick spin around the block, we headed back toward the park in front of City Hall to find a patch of grass with our name on it.  My college friend Chris came to meet us there, and the three of us camped out on the lawn for a couple of hours, chatting and soaking in the beautiful day.  It was nice to put away the busy-body, sight-seeing side of myself, and just focus on good conversation and quality relaxation.  I should try that more often.

One last stop for more sunshine-soaking at Yerba Buena, and it was time to head for home…

Au revoir, California.  Hope to see you again soon.

It’s Sunday night, and I am simultaneously mourning the end of the weekend and smiling over just how fabulous the past couple of days have been.  Yesterday will go down in the books as a life-is-good really perfect kind of day.  It started with my art opening at the cafe – I had my anxieties about putting my art ‘out there’ for friends and strangers to see, but the morning turned out to be wonderfully chill, full of chatter and compliments and plenty of laughs.  After pouring so much time and energy into this show, it was good to share it with friends, and to hear them say that the effort was worth it.  The event ended with a bang, as my brother and his family arrived from Portland just in time to catch us before we left the cafe – I was thrilled to be able to show my work to Mitch and Kathryn (and of course get my arms around precious little baby Morgan).

Erica and Michelle chatting about…art?  or the mini-muffins I brought for people to snack on?  Hard to say…:

I like to think Jack and Jason were debating over which print was their favorite, but my guess is that they are actually discussing the merits of a well-crafted Sazerac:

La V with Justin and Jeannie’s little baby L – he’s going to be one cool little kid, with that rockin’ hair and a dad with a weakness for designer sneakers:

Post-show, Shane and I invited everyone back to our place for a little grill action – the sun was shining and we had a fridge packed with beer and bratwursts.  We all crowded onto our backyard patio, for more chatter, more laughter, and sheer giddiness over the fact that it feels like summer has arrived in Seattle (fingers crossed).  In addition to the art show and the sunshine, we celebrated the return of our dear friends Brian and Nicole from their year in Tanzania – after months of seeing their faces only via Skype, it was super-special to have them back with us.  Such a blessing to sit in the sunshine and be surrounded by so many friends and family – I expect that this will be the first barbecue of many to come over the next couple of months…

Friends reunited (photo from Jack):

The evening was mellow – we took Elise to the playground, then ate dinner and drank white wine out on the patio (this whole outdoor warmth thing really is a game-changer, in terms of meals…).  It was fun to spend some quality time with the girlies, to see how they’ve changed over the past couple of months.  Morgan is sweeter than ever (heart-breakingly so), and Elise is still stubborn but hard-to-refuse, full of questions and opinions that often have us laughing.  And they’re both getting so big!  *Sigh*

We were up early this morning (Elise wouldn’t have it any other way) to hit the bakery and then spend a couple of hours at Seward Park.  Elise takes after her Uncle Shane, in that she can stand at the edge of a lake and throw rocks for hours.

Mitch and Kathryn left around lunchtime and Shane was at the office doing some work, which left me with a blissfully open afternoon.  I napped, I watched a couple episodes of Friday night lights, I browsed Zappos’ latest offerings, and I reveled in the joy of free time.  This weekend felt like the kick-off to a new season – and I’m thinking it’s going to be one heck of a summer.

Wowzers…it’s been an intense week, but the finishing touches have been put on the very last piece and it’s all up on the walls – this collection is d-o-n-e!  I had my doubts about how it would all come together, and I may have had a late-night freak-out or two (thank God for Sex and the City reruns and that freezer stash of mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches), but seeing it all in front of me tonight, I gave myself a mental high-five – it actually looks pretty good.  I don’t want to toot my own horn, but…toot toot!  Come hang out with me on Saturday morning for the opening – we’ll be at Q Cafe from 10:30 to noon, and I’d love for people to come have a latte and see what I’ve been up to.  Hasta!