Archive for October, 2009

No great photos or artwork or momentous events to share from the past couple of days, but I am trying to get in the habit of using my Sunday evenings as a time to reflect on the good/fun/productive stuff that took place over the weekend (rather than as a time to dread the inevitable arrival of Monday).  These were the highlights:

Mall madness on Friday night with a girlfriend.  We both had some decent discount coupons that were about to expire, so we hopped in the car at 7:30 pm, were walking into the mall by 8:00, and scored several amazing deals by the time they locked the doors behind us at 9:00.  I tallied up my purchases, and all in all, I averaged a savings of over 50%!  Shane rained on my parade when he reminded me that you still have to spend money to save money, but still, I think I did well.

Saturday morning we were up early to head over to Seward Park to run in the 5k Pumpkin Push race.  We ran this race together last year and have decided to make a bit of a tradition out of it.  I was thrilled to find that I had shaved over 2 minutes off of last year’s time, and Shane was an absolute super-hero, taking a whole 4 minutes off of last year’s time.  It was a beautiful day to be out for a run along the lake – clear, crisp, and full of beautiful fall colors.

Saturday afternoon was spent picking out plants at the local nursery and then planting them out back – we still have some work to do in our new yard, but it’s coming together really nicely.  I can’t wait for the day when the planting is done, the patio chairs are purchased, the weather is good, and we are able to enjoy a glass of wine on our new patio.

We spent this evening with the neighbors, making more dumplings (soooooo good) and carving the pumpkins we picked up at the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago.  Our little jack-o-lantern is flickering on our front porch as I type, signaling the approach of Halloween, which means November is right around the corner.  Hard to believe…

We are closing the weekend with some quality veg-time, watching an episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, sipping a cup of tea, and enjoying the warmth of our cozy living room while the rain falls outside.  Ahhh, Sundays…

Good stuff happening in the print studio!  The last two weeks have been focused on relief printing and lithography.  So many possibilities!  Here’s what I came up with:

block print (a block of linoleum or rubber is carved, then used as a stamp):

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20091024 block print small

paper lithographs (a fancy kind of xerox transfer process):

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Burgers and beer and Quinn’s; lots and lots of rain; a quick trip to Snoqualmie Falls with my parents to enjoy the (wet) fall colors; a visit to Swanson’s Nursery to pick out a tree for our new backyard (backyard reveal coming soon!); and many hours spent at home enjoying the comforts of home-cooked food, time with family, and steaming mugs of tea.  Fall is good.

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We took advantage of the lovely Fall weather today to get out and make the annual Schnell family trip to the pumpkin patch out in North Bend.  (This was visit #2 to this particular pumpkin patch, so I am now officially calling this an annual family tradition.)  This time, we invited several of our friends (our ‘Seattle family’), which made for an even better time.  We spent awhile wandering among the pumpkins, all in search of that one perfectly round, perfectly colored pumpkin – I told myself as we were heading to the patch that we really didn’t need more than that one perfect pumpkin.  But then again, what is a ‘perfect’ pumpkin?  Is it small or big?  Orange or white or green?  Tall and skinny or short and squat?  We couldn’t decide, and far be it from us to discriminate, so we walked away with a wagon full of ‘perfect’ pumpkins.  A nice little multi-ethnic pumpkin family.  It was such a beautiful day out there, with the sun shining and Mount Si rising up in it’s rocky glory right beside us.  Good times.

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Post-pumpkin patch, we found ourselves hungry and ready to cozy up indoors, so we all headed to Brian and Nicole’s for a dumpling making party.  I had never made dumplings before, but I have never enjoyed food prep so much – it was fun to sit around the table with friends, folding yummy fillings of pork and vegetables into delicate little pot-sticker wrappers, then passing them to the men at duty by the stove.  And mmm mmm, they were delicious.  The perfect way to ‘wrap up’ a perfect fall day (pun intended).

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20091010 dumplings

Still loving my printmaking class – these are the latest monotypes, made with bits of lace, hand-cut stencils, and baking powder.


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ghost tree:

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Next up: relief prints.

Just a few randoms…

circles (2009.09.06):

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cubes (2009.09.13):

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lacy lady (2009.09.27):

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orsay (2009.10.06):

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It was almost exactly a year ago that Shane came home one night and told me that he thought he wanted to run in a 5k race that would be taking place near our house in late October.  I raised my eyebrows when he told me this – I hadn’t seen Shane run for at least a couple of years.  He was in good shape from biking a lot that summer, but whenever I asked him to join me on jogs, he always told me that running ‘wasn’t really his thing’.  But he continued to talk about the 5k, and when he headed out the door for a training run, I thought he might be serious.  Then he came home and told me he couldn’t finish the 3-mile jog, and I began to have my doubts about whether or not he’d really follow through with this out-of-the-blue-interest.  Shame on me – my skepticism was put to rest when he finished the 5k Pumpkin Push race in late October with impressive speed.  Then he ran the 5k Turkey Trot in November.  And the Mercer Island 10k in March.  And the Kirkland Half Marathon in June.  Holy cow – this guy could run!  And then the marathon talk started.  I tried to be supportive, but I inwardly cringed at the pain I knew he would have to endure to train for and complete a 26.2-mile run.  I admit that I secretly hoped he would decide not to go through with it – I loved that he was dreaming big and aiming high, but I was also envisioning shin splints, sore muscles, and lost toenails.  Then in August he registered for the Portland Marathon, and he was officially committed.  So he ran.  And ran.  And I watched him hobble around the house after his 16-mile Saturday training runs, feeling sorry for his hurting body, but eventually letting my pride in him outweigh my concern.  Yes, this would be hard, but he was strong and driven and dead-set on finishing this thing.

This weekend was the weekend that all those months of training would pay off.  We arrived in Portland yesterday afternoon and enjoyed hanging around downtown with friends and family that had come in for the race.  The day ended with a carbo-loading session at a small Italian place in Northwest Portland.

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We were up bright dark and early this morning to get Shane to the starting line before his 7 a.m. race time.  My mom and I dropped him off, I gave him a quick kiss for good luck, and then my man disappeared into a sea of runners.  He was on his way.  (I was on my way, too, to Stumptown Coffee for a latte and a scone.)  I had some anxiety about whether or not we’d be able to catch sight of him along the course, but we headed down toward the waterfront in hopes of finding him somewhere around mile 2.  And voila, a few minutes after claiming our spot on the sidewalk, there he was, running fast, smiling, hardly breaking a sweat.  He was off to an amazing start.  Then we saw him again as he looped back for mile 6, and he was slightly sweaty, maybe breathing a little harder, but he was still bookin’ it, and he still had that same happy look on his face.  I was relieved to see him doing so well.  But I also knew that he was facing a major hill right around mile 17, and that a lot of people had told him that mile 17 is also the same point in a marathon when your body really starts to give out, so we jumped in the car and headed across the river so that we could be there to cheer him on right at mile 17.5, as he was coming off the St. John’s Bridge.  We found a good vantage point to watch him approach, and I was ecstatic to see him still bookin’ it and still smiling when he came off that bridge less than three hours after his race had begun.  We cheered like crazy, I snapped photos like I was the paparazzi, and Brian jumped right in to run with him for a few minutes to offer some support.  I tried to run with him for a little while too, but even at mile 17.5, he was still too fast for me to keep up.

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From there, we hopped back in the car and headed back across the river to catch Shane at the finish line.  We found a spot on a ledge where we could stand and watch the runners come in, we unrolled our ‘Run Shane Run’ signs, and held our breath.  Would he meet his time goal?

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Of course he would.  Shane crossed the finish line with a stellar time of 3:58:44.  One minute less than the 4 hour time he was hoping for, and many minutes less than the 4 hour-15 minute time he was actually expecting.  He was beat, to say the least, but he was also so proud of himself and so thrilled with how the entire experience played out.  I am also quite proud, and sorry that I ever doubted that his body or mind could handle the challenge.  This man is a rock star!

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The persistent rain, the changing color of the leaves, the darker mornings, and the fact that I’ve had to dig out the sweaters and shove the tank tops to back of my closet leave me with the feeling that summer is officially, officially OVER.  It was such a good summer, full of sunshine and margaritas and long runs along Lake Washington.  Sad to see it end, but I’m ready to see what this next season holds.  I look forward to fall as a time to enjoy the warmth of our home, to curl up on the couch with Shane on a rainy Sunday afternoon, to pull out my knitting needles and search for inspiration in my basket full of yarn.  The changing of seasons can have such an impact on my daily routine, on my interests and activities.  And so as I’m entering this period of transition, I’m trying to be intentional about change in asking myself, “What do I really want my day-to-day to look like?”  Shane and I have often talked about what kind of rhythms we want our lives to have – what are the things that we want to ingrain into our schedule and routine?  And we’ve often (always) fallen short of setting these rhythms into place.  But as I mentioned, I’m in the mood for change, and so now is as good a time as any to implement these hopes and goals.  I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that in fall of 2009, I will:

*Share a home-cooked meal with Shane at the dinner table at least four nights a week (this one is a double-bonus – improve my cooking skills and get some much needed regular ‘how-you-doin’ time with my husband).  This one has proven to be incredibly difficult, with work and work-outs and weekly commitments, but if we really try, we can make this happen.  And yes, I have come to terms with the fact that pouring milk over a bowl of cereal does not count as a ‘home-cooked meal’.

*Get together with the amazing girlfriends I’ve been blessed with in Seattle much more regularly.  Schedules are busy, so get-togethers are tricky, but I’d love to connect with at least a couple ladies every week.

*Dedicate time every day (could be five minutes, could be an hour) to conversing with God.  Might be in the form of prayer, might be in the form of study, but whatever it is, it will be time that I spend specifically focused on growing in my relationship with Him.

The list could go on, but I’m going to limit myself to focusing on these three vitally important things.  Change is hard, but it can be so good.

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