Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Casa Crustante used to be Casa Cute-ante

I've been stalking Casa Crustante on Snohomish County's website. I found the parcel information on our future home, and along with that information was photographic gold- an image of what our house used to look like in its prime.

So let me introduce to you what my house used to be, Casa Cute-ante.

Doesn't that make your heart soar, just a little? I'm personally loving the blue and white- it's even more like the house I grew up in. Should we go back to this color scheme? Click here to see what it looks like right now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Damn Reflections, Getting in the Way

I promise I won't flood this blog with baby photos. Cross my heart. As I was going through them I discovered something.

Wait... what's that?

I try not to mar family photos with my presence. But, as it turns out, I'm not a vampire, and my reflection still can get in the way.

I guess I really was there.

This Is For My Brother

You probably shouldn't try this at home.

Or this.

Best invention ever, or best invention ever?

BTW, I'm adding a new label to my blog: Burtspiration - Things that would have inspired the character Burt off of Tremors. Don't know who he is? Check this out.

It Actually Feels Like Spring

I think we're all ready for a yard.

And we're going to have one. In two weeks or less.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Welcome, Nephew

Meet my nephew, now 6 days old. More images here.

Round Trip Flight to California: $800
Hotel: $110
Heatstroke: 3 hours of husband's projectile vomit.
Meeting Grant: Priceless.

Hello, Universe. Let's Talk.

Today we are supposed to find out the appraised value of our home.
It's the last step in this home buying adventure.

I'm so nervous and anxious and excited.

Do you know what dream is tied intrinsically with this purchase? A garden.

A real food growing, vitamin-rich, life-sustaining garden. And what goes hand-in-hand with such a thing? Preservation. Preservation of the back-to-basics knowledge of cultivating our own food, preserving it for the winter, and the preservation of different varieties of fruits and vegetables that you wouldn't be able to find in a grocery store.

On the flight down to California on Saturday, I had a chance to finish the book 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver and her family. The book describes her family's journey of attempting to live on a local-based diet, and to produce the majority of their food on their own farm. As I turned off my kindle, having finished the last of the book, I looked out the window to peer down at the gorgeous farmland below us. I struck up a conversation with my neighbor, who turned out to be involved with Alaska Grown, an organization that helps people find and grow local foods in Alaska. My mind was blown. Small world, huh?

So now I'm completely inspired, and so eager to start building my raised gardens and planning and planting our garden. And while I'm not keen on the concept of destiny, I do feel like the universe has been giving me the perfect amount of encouragement to make this happen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Cutest Spider You'll Ever See

I kind of like spiders. I do find them a little creepy admittedly, but as long as they're not crawling over me or threatening me, I'm okay with them. I know they serve a very good biological function, and they've crafted a nice niche for themselves.

The biggest spider I have ever seen was a huntsman spider in Guilin, China. Guilin is a beautiful city located in south China in the Guangxi province. It has a humid, subtropical climate, a lovely change from the grey of the Pacific Northwest, which resulted in a gigantic, 20 foot tall poinsettia tree outside of my apartment.

It also resulted in larger-than-anticipated arachnids. One spider we saw was larger than a roll of toilet paper. It was aggressive, though, so it fell into the "terrifying" category of my spider appreciation.

But there's more to spiders than just terrifying. I never thought I'd use the adjective "cute" to describe one.

Behold, the peacock spider. This little gem is found in Australia, a teeny tiny, vividly bright spider... that dances. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I love to hate Facebook.

I love that it allows me to keep in touch with a lot of people I would not normally keep in touch with. And I'm so socially awkward anyway that it truly provides me 95% of my daily dose of human interaction.

But I really don't like it when people get political, and/or spam my walls with "repost if you agree.." updates.

There is a lighter side to it though, and that's getting to read some of the silly and hilarious posts that people come up with. There's a site that is dedicated to such goofiness- it's called failbook (which isn't entirely fitting, as some of the posts are filled with win).

For example:

And my own wall is subject to questionable fun as well:

And so you have it. My quest for off-the-wall comments and their originating posts have become the highlight of my facebooking. I guess I'll keep my account after all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing for a Baby

I'm going to become an aunt today.

We don't know if it's going to be a boy or a girl.

These are the last few moments before meeting the new generation of our family.

I'm nervous, but more than anything I am so excited.

And I can't think of much else, except for "is the baby here yet? Is the mother okay? Is it a boy or a girl?"

So here. Have some pictures of the baby blankets I've made.

================= Update ================

It's a boy!!! 7.5 pounds.
Mom + baby are doing great!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Guess the Purse Gene Still Lingers

Guess what followed me home today?

Behold, my new kristin spectator willow bag.

It's been a loooong time since I've cared for anything that has come out of Coach. Most of their designs the last few years have been on the same level as Juicy Couture. And I don't meant that as a compliment.

But lately they've been really updating their look. Clean lines, simpler colors, more classic details. Fewer logos splashed everywhere. My love affair may have just been lying dormant.

The craftsmanship is remarkable on this one. The zippers are solid and it hangs perfectly, it tucks in right below the ribcage. The bag heft is perfect- it's not going to roam off your shoulders while you're shopping, and if you need to wear it lower, a simple pull on the straps will allow you to do just that. And it has just enough room to organize exactly what I need.

Perfectly spaced compartments for keys and my HTC G2. And my fat wallet. I'll be upgrading my wallet soon, though.

And on the other side, there's enough room to pocket my little 35mm Diana Mini.

I love this bag. So much. In fact, haiku!

Sweet little grey bag
Holds just what I need and love
Brings joy to routine.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Six Pounds of Bees

Want to know what six pounds of 3-banded Italian honey bees look like?

Now you know.

And because my brother is a machine with no capacity to feel fear (or pain), he put each box into its respective hive. With his bare hands. Did I mention he's allergic?

He plays it safe, he has an EpiPen on hand. He's fearless, not stupid.

I'm so proud right now.

Friday, April 15, 2011


We had a chance to adventure north to the Mount Vernon tulip festival today. I armed myself with my standard fare, a Canon DSLR with a 100mm macro lens, and a 50mm, and a simple 35mm film camera.

What really surprised me was how much I enjoyed using my phone with the vignette application. It's grainy, imperfect, unpredictable, and.. lovely. I have a slew of more visually accurate photos that I'm proud of. But the ones that I truly love were taken with this application.

And while the pictures are nowhere near perfect, I feel like the mood of the adventure was captured better with a gritty and grainy picture than with a perfectly color balanced panorama.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The last few days of my life as a 20 something will officially be spent in Maui. Tickets are booked!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Hunt for Terry Bailey

Terry Bailey - if you're out there, let's talk.

Some ten or eleven years ago, I ventured to Victoria, B.C. by ferry. One of the artists on the waterfront was Terry Bailey, and his work was so stunning that I did something I simply do not do- I actually bought a piece of art. To this day, his work is the only piece of art I have paid for.

I'm not a art fiend. I know next to nothing about art. But there's something that spoke to me about his work. And so I've packed the print from my home in Blyn, to Guilin, China, to my room at the University of Washington, and to Tianjin, China. It followed me when I moved to Redmond. And the glass broke on the print, and it survived a brutal attack from our cat, and then the edge was torn... I slipped it into the front of the binder I used most to protect it. I have hauled it from every living location since its purchase.

Two weekends ago I went back out to Blyn to sort through my family's stuff. When my father died, everything that was in our home was pushed into the wood shop and locked up. We all met up with the sole purpose of weeding through all of our treasures. I found something super exciting that day: the pamphlet that came with my favorite watercolor.

That pamphlet describes the symbolism in the painting, as well as the history behind the artist. And it has his full name.

It smells musty. And the pages have started to tan. But there it is, the contact information to my favorite artist. So I googled his name, found nothing. But when I imaged searched his name, this is what showed up:

The image was found at Radaris. But I believe it was taken by this person.

And there he is, the person I bought my sole piece of art from. And to his left? The blue picture? That's the piece I've been hauling around.

So now I know his full name. And I know he was still selling pictures as of 2010. I'm hoping that he's still doing well, and that business has been good to him. And I'm hoping that the next time I'm in Victoria, he's there.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dreaming of a Garden

Over the weekend I had a chance to visit Molbak's in Woodinville, one of my most favorite places on earth. It's a garden center, a cafe, a forum. It's such a resource, I simply cannot sing its praises loud enough.

On Saturday, we had a chance to listen to a seminar about urban farming from author Lisa Taylor. She was a great lecturer, and the hubs and I walked away with a lot more gardening know-how than we walked in with, and now we are even more inspired to get a garden growing.

But we need land. And land is associated with that little house. And sadly, the house purchase has stalled. What seemed to be a normal lead based paint report has come up with some serious issues, and until we figure out what those issues are (we don't yet have the report in hand- it has nearly been 3 weeks!) and an idea of what the cost would be to fix it (let's hope it's less than $4k!), our hopes of having a home are frozen.

It's frustrating to think that one report could potentially kill all the work we've done thus far... All those hours of research and harassing people and trips to various suppliers and all of the time our agent has spent being our advocate... I'm trying to be positive, but at the same time realistic about the possibility of it all falling through.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Big 3-0.

As usual, the impending date of my birthday causes panic and mild depression. It usually hits just after my mother's birthday. This year is no different.

And, as usual, I have to constantly and persistently discuss my life achievements with my husband, constantly buffering my aging identity with a sense of accomplishment. If-I-were-to-die-tomorrow type discussions are such great mood setters. What can I say, I'm the kind of girl who knows exactly where her ashes should be stored (see, room for two in this one- who says I'm not a romantic?). And I know exactly where I should be buried, because that's how I role.

But instead of going down the road of the dying, this year I'm trying to be a bit more positive. What could be more positive than a trip to Hawai'i? If I'm going to be three decades old, I might as well wake up on the sunny side of life.

So, here's our tentative birthday bash plan: Seven days in Maui. The husband has never been to Hawai'i. And I have only been there once on a layover from Japan. We could both use some sun, and I know our camera lenses would love to get some sand in them.

We've already picked our hotel: Let me present to you Outrigger's Aina Nalu.

So instead of this...

I'm going to try thinking of this:

Photo From Here

Here's to hoping that the new decade will bring a greater sense of positivity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I thought about using the 100th post to announce something awesome. But I've decided that announcing something awesome could make that said something awesome no longer be awesome, so I've revoked that idea.

So here it is, the 100th post. I'm not using it to say anything important, except this:

Happy 100th, my sweet little blog. If you were a person, I'd buy you a vanilla cupcake with lavender frosting from Cupcake Royale. And I'd fix you a cup of earl grey tea.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Dog's Day

My brother and his wife have a pug named Dexter.

He just turned one.

He's a doll. In a wrinkly pug-ish sort of way.

He loves our toy fox terrier, Abby. However, I'm not sure she feels the same way.