I always miss the good stuff!

It seems like I’m always missing the action in our little city and I arrive a day late and a dollar short, to use an overused cliché. Sometimes it’s a good thing like when we were out trick or treating this Halloween with a group of friends and a lot of kids. We came home after gathering inappropriate amounts of candy and put the kids to bed only to read in the news that there were kids stealing candy from other kids that night using a gun. It was on our street. Hurray for an early bedtime!


Today I took a bit of a stroll on our small high street and decided to hit the local pawn shop just to see if there was anything interesting. I browsed around. Looked at the dusty power tools and the well-played instruments. I saw some nice jewelry, said hello to the two dudes that work there and then left.


I went over to our new coffee shop/bike shop/bar where I saw an old acquaintance that I knew quite well in high school. I looked over at him and pretended like I didn’t recognize him. Yep, I have those days. In all fairness he probably thinks he recognizes me but is not quite sure from where. Then I sat and read my Stephen King book about writing, which is REALLY good. I heard a few sirens after I sat down but, whatever.


I was only there about half an hour before I sipped my last bit of hot chocolate, ignored the old high school acquaintance again and headed home. I passed the pawn shop four windows down and saw two cop cars and two ambulances outside and all the crew surrounding a guy lying on the ground. I asked a man what happened and apparently the guy on the ground stole stuff from the shop yesterday and came back again to do likewise. They weren’t having it this time so they scuffled with him and he tried to leave but tripped on his way out and didn’t get up. The poor soul was looking pretty worse for wear, to use another cliché, and sort of gave off that junkie vibe.


I probably missed that whole event by about five minutes, maybe ten. It’s funny how time works; the whole butterfly theory. One minute can change an entire encounter which can change someone’s life. If I had been in there during the incident my life wouldn’t have really been changed much except I’d have seen a scrappy lad get a bit roughed up trying to steal loot from a pawn shop. But then again, if I had been just a minute late on my jog last week, I wouldn’t have had a run in with a crazy lady.


I don’t want to think about it too hard or my eye will start twitching but I’m amazed at the difference that just a minute or two can make. That minute or two can make a difference of life as we know it or chaos and basket balls being thrown at your face.  Hmm….I sounded a bit like Jack Handy just then.


Well, no matter, I still dig my neighborhood. It’s still shocking and friendly all at the same time. At least I was on time enough to walk up my street after the pawn shop event and see a man dumping half of the crap from his home (dirty mattress, popped air mattress, broken TV and scads of straight up trash) just outside Le Donut right next to a charity box that reads, “Clothes, shoes, cell phones”. See what a difference walking by at the right moment can make?



Birthday fever

One of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a pretty substantial gift card for my birthday in February and this past week….wait for it….I finally spent it! Well, most of it. It was a whack load of a gift card for World Market, yo! I bought myself stuff I never do; Caviar, sparkling white wine, pumpernickel bread (besides the Germans, who buys that stuff?).

The kids ran amuck and kept asking for things like the blow up shark or the metal kazoo but I was determined to just get stuff for me. Then I came home today to find my husband dipping into my stash and I had to pinch him by the ear.

But two nights ago, after taking home my booty from World Market,  Matt and I busted out the color-embellished caviar that was supposed to look like black fish eggs and we rocked the night away. Cheers to living the high life, on a sweet gift card. BAM!

My night with Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott in Tacoma


A little disclaimer: I did not spend the night with this woman, not really. I didn’t even say much to her. Apart from shaking her hand, asking to get a photo with her and telling her that I’d let her get back to sifting through her Q and A cards, I didn’t really spend one on one time with this woman….at all.

She was in town lecturing at our church FOR FREE so I just had to go. I’ve been reading her books for years and simply adore her candid, humorous writing style. Her lecture was superb as she spoke about writing, faith in God, raising a son and her woes through the Bush administration. I rushed home and wrote down some of her anecdotes so I wouldn’t forget them. Then I posted the picture taken with her and I on the almighty Facebook and I called it a night. Quite a night!

There was a Q and A time and I couldn’t think of one thing to ask her on my piece of paper. All I really wanted to do was take her home with me and have her as my surrogate mother. Instead I got to put my arm around her like a silly fan and walk away totally forgotten in the abyss of other silly fans. She’s really soft and fluffy though, and delightful to listen to. Twas a stellar night indeed.


We’ve been experiencing this crazy ice storm out here in the PNW and due to the fact that our city doesn’t invest into ploughs or salt (that due to the fact that this freak-weather only happens once every 15 years or so) we’ve been hulled up in our home for three days now. Yesterday was mental! Not only was I going crazy because my son was bouncing off the walls with cabin fever, but there was really nowhere to go. Everything was closed. If you were brave enough to walk about you risked a twisted limb or getting impaled by falling icicles.

Now that it’s warmer and beginning to thaw all you hear outside is the cracking of breaking branches under the weight of all that ice and the slide and crunch of sheets of ice skidding off the roofs. Happy ice storm of 2012.

When the kids get bored….throw them outside!

When my kids start to climb the walls inside the house, these days I have to tell them to get their shoes on and go outside before I tear my heart out. Obviously they have to get some wiggles out and they also really start to bug me when they jump on furniture and run around the house, clomping on our hardwood floors like a couple of Clydesdales.

They winge and moan being told to leave the house but I always know throwing them outside will produce something of beauty once they just engage with being out there. You have to make extra effort to get outside when you live in an urban setting, even in the lush beauty of the Pacific Northwest. So out they go….then this is usually the sort of thing that I find them making:

It's a pirate ship! Complete with oars and a flag

Apparently it's a Swiss Pirate Ship

My First Pottery Class

Before you conjure up images of scenes from Ghost where Patrick and Demi throw a pot linking fingers with Unchained Melody in the background, let me say my first pottery class wasn’t like this, although the young instructor did place his hands over mine in order to show me how to guide the clay. But he was a mere 22 so it was more like my son or very young kid brother helping me navigate.

It was rad though. One reason I’ve always wanted to do pottery is because I love to watch the clay grow and shrink as it’s being formed and I LOVE to watch the swirls bending in and out. It’s hypnotic. This is my first time ever making pots and cups and my instructor said I caught on very quickly. They have yet to be glazed.

The bottom of the pots will be cleaned up before glazing

A new studio space

Chloe's creations

There are weeks that go by where I deeply miss my friends back in Madison; I even miss a bit of the snow….just a bit. Really. If it snowed a bit then melted, then snowed again but remained above -12 six months out of the year, I really would want to be in that snow. Lately, though, I’ve been very stoked to be back in T-town.

Today Lori and I took our kids to a space that is screaming for a new name: The Tacoma Art Place. It was more of a studio than a ‘place’. It’s Art Month in Tacoma and this means that there are tons of events and workshops going on all over town, all month long. I may just have to check out a dress rehearsal of A Christmas Story this year at the little theatre. I swear, some year I’m going to audition for the mom in that production.

Potter's wheel and kiln

This particular studio was opened all day and it turns out that it’s just down the street from  us. I have passed by this space several times since we moved here and haven’t thought much of it since I usually see really old women in there selling their crafts. Isn’t it funny how pompous one can be when trying to delve into their artsy side? Anyway….

Turns out these women are pretty much rock stars. They volunteer their time and they loved interacting with my kids who were able to throw a few pots today on the potter’s wheel, along with making a few pieces of jewelry and copious amounts of glitter-invested pictures. It’s a studio space that is all volunteer run, resources are donated (good quality resources, I might add- dang! Impressive!). They have totally reasonable annual fees to rent the space and…wait for it….whatever you decide to make, you can keep or sell for profit in the shop. Unreal! So they have a potter’s wheel, two kilns, a plethora of glass beads for jewelry making, canvas stretchers along with canvas material, paints and what-have-you, sewing machines and a serger and endless amounts of materials to use. I was blown away. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to tap into but we’re on a tight budget so unless a studio is willing to take payments in pine cones, we’re pretty much left to our own creative devices around here.

Olivier's creations-not bad!

Well, it’s very reasonable to get a membership (in the end it’s about $12 a month- WHAT?) and I get to hang out with these amazing, old ladies who are super creative and who are aged like a fine Bordeaux. Today, I feel blessed and well taken care of. Today, it’s good to live on the Hill!!!