Archive for February, 2013

I’m a sucker for a good deal, so when Jack sent us a link a few months ago to a voucher for a discounted stay in Friday Harbor, we jumped on it right away.  I was so looking forward to a chance to get out of town with the Chens, to explore San Juan Island, to cozy up in a beautiful room and unwind – I had high, high hopes for the weekend.  And they were met on all fronts.  Plus some.

We picked up Jack and La Verne yesterday morning and headed north to catch the afternoon ferry to Friday Harbor.  We wound our way through the islands, excited by the sight of sunshine glistening off the water – the forecast had called for wind and rain, but it looked like Mr. Weatherman was mistaken.

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We checked into our rooms at the Friday Harbor House and all said a little “wow!” when we opened our doors.  A fireplace, a jacuzzi tub, and a deck with this view.  Oh, this view!

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We dropped off our bags, picked up a few snacks from the corner market, and got back in the car to make the short drive to San Juan Vineyards. Shane and Jack picked out a bottle of Sangiovese while La Verne and I spread out a little picnic lunch on top of a wine barrel in the corner of the shop.  We ate and drank and chatted, thankful for a little fuel after our three-hour journey.  Once the bottle was dry and the cheese devoured, we headed back out to do some exploring, stopping for a minute of sun-soaking on the winery’s porch.

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Our Tour de Island brought us to quaint Roche Harbor, which was something of a ghost town on a chilly February afternoon.  But we’ll be back for spot prawns come summer!

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The cloudy sky showed promise for a beautiful sunset, so we drove south along the west edge of the island in search of a good lookout.  Our hunt landed us at Smallpox Bay, which sounded less-than-inviting on the map but turned out to be the perfect place to watch the sun drop below the horizon.

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Shane was pretty pleased with his front-row seat.

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But was willing to give it up when Jack challenged him with, “Dude, jump!”.

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Post-sunset, we made our way back to the hotel to crank up our fireplaces and grab a catnap before dinner.  The rest of the evening was perfectly mellow – a two-hour dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, a game of cards in Jack and La Verne’s room, and lots of laughter.  Gosh, so much laughter.  We reminisced about our romp through Portugal four years ago, we talked about adventures to come, we reveled in that happy, easy comfort that comes with spending time with people who know you inside and out.  I like to think we’ll be having these same conversations in some other island lodge 20 years from now.

We woke up good and late today, stuffed ourselves at the hotel’s breakfast bar and then, far too soon, it was time to get in line for the east-bound ferry.  One final stop at the Tulalip outlet mall for a few things, and we were putting a bow on our short-but-epic getaway.  It was fun while it lasted…

I am two classes into my screenprinting workshop at Pratt, and hot dang, it feels good to be in the studio!  I am already hooked on the feel of pulling that ink-filled squeegee across my silkscreens.  And my eyes are open again – I’m looking for inspiration everywhere, picking up dead leaves, combing through old photos to see if anything deserves a second go-around, poring over art books I haven’t cracked open in years.  It’s exciting and fun to watch my fuzzy ideas translate into actual colors on paper, to see my myriad of interests and talents come together into something new.  I’m not a master painter, or a rockstar photographer, or an accomplished graphic designer, but printmaking doesn’t demand perfection – a creative spark and a little bit of elbow grease is all it takes to pull a beautiful print.

I collected a few decomposing leaves when we were playing at the park with Morgan and Elise last weekend, knowing there was a seed of something good in there.

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A photo I took of a foggy walk in the woods at the Oregon Coast a couple of years ago has new perspective.

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And finally, after a looooong artistic dry spell, I am back in the game.  Feels good to have ink under my fingernails again!

We’re back from a quick trip to Portland to spend some time with my brother and his family – 24 hours is never enough time to fully love on my nieces, but the cuddles and the games and the Sunday playground time still do a world of good for my soul.  Oh, those girls…

Morgan is asserting her independence more and more, wanting to pour her own milk and zip her own coat and put on her own diaper (all of which eventually necessitate adult intervention, but she’s trying).  She adores Elmo with every fiber of her being and her cuteness will bust your heart open when she dances to the sound of her dad strumming his guitar.  The girl’s got moves.  Thankfully, she’s still got plenty of that sweet little baby-ness left in her, too – she crawled into my lap with her blankey this morning and let me rock her for awhile while she nuzzled into my chest. I soaked in every last second of it, knowing these days of quiet, precious snuggles are numbered.

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Elise is all big girl these days.  She’s on a superhero kick lately – she and Uncle Shane spent much of the weekend playing Batman and Robin.  And gosh, she’s smart – she gave me a run for my money during our big memory game tournament yesterday afternoon.  She flies like the wind on her green Glider bike and wants a ukelele for her birthday next month (actually, she wants a purple Tinkerbell guitar, but my brother, the musician, has decided that a nice ukelele is much more dignified).  She’s a little mischievous, and a lot stubborn, but what four-year old isn’t?

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So long, kiddos.  Auntie Kelly loves you mucho and misses you already.

February continues to kick January’s butt with a vengeance.  Sure, last month had its nice, quiet moments at home, but I’m fully reveling in the joy of weekends spent spreading my wings and getting out on the town.

We’re trying not to over-indulge this month as we have in Februarys past, but we did allow ourselves a few small luxuries this weekend, starting with ramen at Kukai on Friday night with some new friends.  Shane loooooves him some noodles, and since the only ramen I know how to prepare is of the “Top” variety (a college staple at 18 cents a serving), this was money well spent.

I made a bakery/West Elm run with La Verne yesterday morning and then set out on my own to do a little shopping in Southcenter.  Gosh, I love picking up a tall Orange Dream Machine smoothie from Jamba Juice and wandering the aisles of DSW.  I know, it’s shallow and silly, but I got a special little buzz when I walked out with that pair of boots I’ve been eyeing since October.  My name is Kelly and I have a shoe problem.

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I spent the better of this afternoon hunkered down at my favorite table at Columbia City Bakery.  Latte, scone, journal, book, happiness.  This is what I missed most last month.

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Of course, I also appreciate that lots of life’s joys are free: a walk in the peaceful morning fog at Jefferson Park, an evening spent watching the Grammys with Shane while I sip my mint tea and he swigs his home-mixed Manhattan, a moment of much-needed quiet as I turn everything off and reflect on God’s abundant goodness.  And that’s really what our practice of January frugality is meant to show us – our lives are undeservedly rich, in both intangible and material blessings.  The friendships, the food, even the new shoes – they’re all gifts.

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February is here and I am funk-free! It’s been a pretty great weekend, spent in the company of our favorite Seattle peeps. We rang in the new month in style on Friday night – dinner and drinks at Tavern Law with our fellow frugal-ites (Jack and La Verne have started something of a movement with this no-spend thing…), followed by dessert at Capitol Hill’s best gelato shop. Felt so good to be out.

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The hoped-for sunshine never made its way from behind the clouds on Saturday, but that was alright – it was a perfect day for brunching with my book club ladies. We ate quiche and drank tea and then cozied up by Angela’s fireplace. And I still made it out for an afternoon walk around Seward Park with Shane – this felt like the first time in months that I was able to find a quiet kind of beauty in the the gray skies and bare limbs.

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Plus, there’s plenty to be said for cafe weather! Post-walk, we warmed ourselves with coffee and scones at our favorite neighborhood bakery.  We sat across from each other and talked about books and batting averages and ERAs (I’m reading The Brothers K and needed schooling on a few baseball specifics).  Shane is much relieved to find that the Ice Queen has left the building – we were due for a good all-in catch-up session.  We capped off the day with dinner and a movie at Jason and Nance’s, which has come to feel like our second home in Seattle.  We have eaten dozens of meals, shared hundreds of laughs, and shed a number of tears at their dining room table over the past couple of years.  They feed us so well, in more ways than one.

This morning wall full of church and grocery shopping and the usual stuff of Sundays.  The afternoon was dedicated solely to football as we made our way to Jack and La Verne’s (our third home in Seattle) for their Superbowl party.  We pigged out on pork sliders and fried chicken and every variety of chip until it was all I could do to keep my eyes open as I sprawled out on the couch and waited for the power to come back on in New Orleans.  It was a little hard to see the Niners take a loss, seeing as how Kaepernick hails from my California hometown, but I’m thrilled for my family in Baltimore – there is much celebrating going on among the East Coast Jarrells tonight.

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Cheers to a killer kick-off to a happy new month…