Three Weeks Down – Summer Solstice Edition

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Today found us on our newly named Sky Deck watching the sun come up over the Cascades and Lake Washington. Buster loves it up there as now he can make sure there are no kitties lurking around the neighborhood, and he has a view of all the neighbor dogs. Coffee on the deck on a gorgeous day is sublime.

It’s week three and we’re trying to mitigate the dust and debris. We finally gave up on our contractor managing our site and spent 4 hours yesterday cleaning up the yard and vacuuming areas in the house to remove the debris left behind by Ivan who is working on repairing the dry rot. His brother, Eddie, has come in from Chihuaha, Mexico to help, and is doing what he can, but he’s not really into construction as much as Ivan, who has been doing a great job with very little support. But Eddie and I worked together to remove the kitchen tile and fireplace landing. We also worked to remove debris from the house. Both brothers are great guys and hard workers.

John is at the end of his rope with the debris falling into the basement through the vent holes created when we removed all of the ductwork. While we asked that the holes be plugged, they were not, and both of us have spent a lot of time cleaning that up. John is going to Florida and will have a break from the mess for a week, which I’m sure he’ll enjoy. Buster and myself will hold down the fort. 

We’ve made lots of decisions this week on bathroom fixtures and some lighting, doors and tile, but we still have many more to go. The Airstream is performing like a trooper, but there is one major design flaw to them and this is the horizontal blinds, particularly the one over the bed, which keeps popping out of the pins that hold them to the wall. The pull down blinds on other models are far superior as they lock in place, and I think we are close to replacing some of the key blinds with those so we don’t have to keep putting them back in their pins. John made delicious breakfast biscuits today from the biscuits we bought at Biscuit Bitch in Belltown (they are wonderful biscuits) on our way back from Le Pichet where we always go after the Symphony for Chocolate Chaud. Last night, the Seattle Symphony performed an extraordinary version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite for the Untuxed crowd. It was quite moving.

Buster is doing great, though he’s a bit tired from making sure everyone is doing their thing. He’s constantly on alert for changes. We’ve been giving a bunch of tours to the neighbors, but those will end this week when the roof structure is removed and we can no longer get up on the sky deck until all is re-framed.

Today is a beautiful day for Solstice, and as we head into the next week, we’ll be curious to see if our contractors reappear, and if the roof removal and reframing goes smoothly without the threat of rain.

We are beginning to believe that the demo process is nothing like you see on HGTV. You have to live it to believe it. Their remodels are done in an hour.  : )

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Mountains

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I always draw inspiration for writing and solitude from the mountains. My work is rife with mountain imagery and water.

Today’s excursion to Twin Falls in the Central Cascades was no different. A glorious day and abundant water made the falls spectacular. Lucky I brought the big camera to take some photos.

The Marsh

Round Lake is more of a marsh this time of year, which is just east of Seattle and is a heavily traveled area, but you can find solace on days that aren’t overtly beautiful which tames the crowds.

This image, to me, is calming, but also denotes change, from the colors of the grass and water to how the sun was intermittently scattering itself across the landscape. From one moment to the next, this marsh looked utterly different. It’s a bit like writing a sentence, really, you keep changing it until it shines, each word folding into the next to evoke meaning.

Here, in the marsh, the small ponds will become a lake over the next few months, and then in the summer, the marsh slowly returns, bringing its ochres, deep greens and blues until fall lets everything rest, if only for a while.
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Ben Howard Live in Seattle

 

 

 

 

It’s not often you discover a great new artist. And it’s not often that said artist transcends the record they’ve made that increases the experience of seeing them live versus listening to studio music. Last night at The Neptune, Ben Howard took his cd Every Kingdom as simply a departure and created a live experience that was quite simply amazing, and at times, moving. The arrangements to the songs have changed, the quartet sometimes sounded like an orchestra, and Howard’s guitar playing seemed to stretch the boundaries of what an acoustic guitar can produce.

The cellist played drums, percussion, guitar and several other things, the drummer played several guitars and Mr. Howard, himself, played a variety of guitars seemingly tuned to whatever wondrous place he was in his head. All to great effect. My only quibble was that Mr. Howard’s bendable voice was relatively low in the mix and sometimes hard to hear. To really hear the lyrics, one needs to listen to his Mercury Prize Finalist cd.

Currently traveling in America, I do hope that he and his band return to the States soon.

Check out his music here: http://www.benhowardmusic.co.uk

A beautiful song, Further Awayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wECFbtq1h-E#!

Oh, and The Neptune turns out to be a very fine place to see live acts. See the photo above as proof of their terrific transformation from cinema to performance space.

Charlotte

I had the pleasure of photographing Charlotte over the course of a couple of days. I’ve not been lucky enough to have my own children, but I do enjoy being with them enormously. They are really soulful creatures – full of their own complexities – and what goes on in their little noggins is a wonder to behold. We worked hard to shape and cajole Charlotte to smile and pose for the camera, but some of the shots I ended up liking the best was when I told her to just do what she wanted – and she did. I just snapped away as she wondered about the tree above her – or the sky, or the ocean, or just about everything. What a pleasure it is to witness innocence. It’s such a fleeting time of life.

Thanks Judy and Todd for letting me spend some time with her!