Tuesday, September 24, 2013

travels with charlie

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my muse.

I am e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d. So is Kevin – in fact, he’s upstairs napping. Please to note: it’s Tuesday afternoon. He came home sick at lunch today, which was shortly after I wrapped up my GAZILLION errands this morning. Which I did in old-lady-slow-motion, because like I said – man, I’m tired. I think I am just catching up to myself, or something. Life’s been great, and all - it’s just been intense, and I’ve needed some down time. I didn’t catch up to this fact til I started to get a cold last night, which meant that I had to cancel my morning shadowing at the local hospital where I’ll be a Reiki volunteer.

So, this morning, the errands, which could not be avoided, and this afternoon, I got the first coat of paint up in the master bedroom. And then, with nothing to do but give in and relax, I headed out with the camera.

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We are surrounded by trees here, and guarded by sunflowers. They’ve long since withered.

Some unknown (as yet) to me perennial outside the kitchen has long stalks bedecked with brilliant hot pink bobbles. The Nikon turned up its nose and refused to focus on them:

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This one looks like a painting to me:

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What do you think?

A Charlie and a brown-eyed susan loom menacingly over some hapless victim, out of sight:

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(cue theme to ‘Jaws’)

I decided to investigate those pink bobbles more closely.

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The Nikon was happy to oblige. My theory is that something crisp, surrounded by blurry, is “art”.

In which case, this one wouldn’t qualify:

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...except the more I look at it, the more I like it. Nice composition, nice colors.

I was playing around in the driveway circle with the Panasonic (the point-and-click), framing shots of (who are these berries?) -- when who should drop by?


The Charles.

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This kept happening.

I proceeded to the hostas and took one MILLION gorgeous shots, NONE of which worked out, because the Panasonic hates light purple and I’m too lazy to learn how to manhandle the settings into submission.


This one was the crispest of the lot.

I finally conceded, put the Nikon into manual mode, and left things blurry.

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I guess this is how I photograph hostas.

Onward to the ROSES! Did I mention we have a rosebush? It is so lovely that I already promised it I would feed it fishheads if it wants (and if you know my feelings about fish (as in, to eat) you know that’s a BIG DEAL.)

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How can something so blatantly gorgeous be so coy?

I watched an insect toil up and down the canyons.

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I recalled the moment, many years ago when I was a Park Ranger and goofing off one day, that I discovered rose hips. My grandmother grew roses but somehow I’d never noticed the hips.

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They’re not be trifled with, apparently.

More gratuitous beauty.

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...and now, for the same shot, focused elsewhere:



All this will fade. All this will pass.


So says the crone.

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You sexy thing, you.

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“I will draw you in...”

Then I got interested in compositions. Well, first, there was the bug sex.

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THEN there were the compositions.

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No one’s in focus in this one, but I like the composition.


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Which is more interesting? The all-blurry, or this one?


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Ahhhhh...not a bad afternoon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

dave deux: the first of the before and after.

Ahhh, an evening with enough time to s.i.t. d.o.w.n. Kevin is at his computer, across the room from me – one of the things we like about this house is, it has a room just the right dimensions for a shared office, the same as we had in Vermont.

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Hey, honey!  This is the view from my desk. Cool fireplace, no?

Backing up: we moved here a few weeks ago. I can’t believe we bought a house so soon, but to be honest? That pain in the ass landlord kinda lit a fire under us. One thing led to another. We closed the third week of August and moved immediately, plunging into a swirl of can’t-happen-fast-enough projects: the removal of wall-to-wall in three rooms, and numerous wallpaper transgressions.

I have a bunch of before-during-and-after pictures of what we’ve done so far – not many, and generally of crappy cellphone quality – and I’ve been meaning to post...but I’ve just had other priorities. TONIGHT has been the first time my desk has been sufficiently uncleared, and my evening free enough, to even contemplate getting it all down here.

So the other priorities: all last week, my best friend Michele was visiting, helping paint and deal with carpet issues. She worked her ass off. I somehow managed to spend the whole week not even helping, or not in the way I has assumed I would be. Instead, I played housewife – keeping things running, laundry going, food prepped, hubsband loved on (that’s not a typo). I had painted the kitchen, the downstairs bath, and one wall of the living room before she got here, and SHE painted the two spare bedrooms, the rest of the living room, AND the dining area, PLUS she fixed all kinds of typos from the stuff I’d done. And, in a special bonus feature, she did battle with evil carpet remnant holdouts. There will be action-packed photos to come of that hilarity.

It was a great visit. Michele is my wife; we share a liver, but we hardly ever see each other, so this was a rare treat. We spent some quality time hanging out on our awesome deck. By awesome I mean, its vibe, as in technical terms, it’s a little run down. But, presided over as it is by gigantic rhododendrons, it has a certain magic. Michele, who’s from Utah, was enchanted by all the east coast greenery I take for granted. She collected a full gallon of shagbark hickory nuts, which she plans to sell at a farmer’s market in Idaho where she lives. Knowing her, she most certainly will sell them.

My OTHER other priority has been Reiki, about which more soon. It involves getting set up to do Reiki at two different area hospitals.

So all that by way of saying, welcome to just the first of several posts on creating dave II, our home away from home.

episode one: the living room

I actually think of this as the “common room” because from a layout point of view, the second floor reminds me of college dorm rooms, or at least my freshman suite: a big common room with bedrooms coming off it. In this case, two bedrooms off one side, and the master bedroom off the other side. This room is more like a playroom, come to think of it. Hello, 1965!

Anyhoo. This room started off like this:


Hey hey, skylights! This is as you’re climbing the stairs from the front door – it’s a split-level. I took this the day we visited for the first time with our realtor.

Here’s the right side of the common room, the side with the two bedrooms:


mmm...red....and is that wallpaper? On the bright side, isn’t that a great chalet-type view out of the bedroom window?

Now here’s the left side – check out that fireplace!


Still red. ....annnddd yes, thanks for asking, that’s live ivy – this house has a history of plant lovers and horticulturalists as its caretakers, so this must be one of the tenant’s pets.

So. The first thing. The carpet. We’re all clear about that, right?

Moving on, the wallpaper: it’s a beaut, textured, and it’s on two walls.

Here’s the “during” picture:


On the right: the original, textured, wallpaper, untouched. (Vintage dentist office?) The seam in the picture is the seam between sheets of wallpaper. On the left, what it looks like after just the top layer of the wallpaper has been peeled off. I love the base-layer only look – I’d go with a whole wall, or at least a section, of this if the paper had cooperated.  It reminded me of that cool espalier mural I ran by in Paris this summer.

Incidentally, Charlie LOVED this part of the process – I had been scraping away for a while before I even realized he was sitting at my feet.


Hello, sweetie! Yeah, he’s covered with paper I’ve dropped on him.


His enthusiasm delayed my cleaning progress.


Here’s another “during” shot of the living room - Kevin just went to TOWN on this when I turned my back one day. I hardly had a chance to even help him – he moved through here like a tornado.

Then I painted the wall that the two guest bedrooms start at – the wall you see as you come up the stairs. We went with the same deep orange (“butterscotch”, Benjamin Moore) that we have in in our shared office in VT. I should note, Kevin and I are possibly unusual in that we both find orange soothing. At least it’s in keeping with the whole 70’s vibe.

And then Michele arrived, and SHE painted all the other walls, in shades just downstream on the same paint chip as butterscotch (so it all harmonizes and whatnot). And THEN, right before she left, Kevin put down the can’t-beat-the-price flooring and...brace yourself...


Ta-Dahhh! The right side – the butterscotch on the right, with a shade-or-two down on the left by the windows. The lighting’s not great because it’s at night.


Here’s the left side. Not bad, huh?  I grant you, it’s probably helpful to be open to the whole orange thing. (when I told my mom I was starting to paint the kitchen – the first room to get any updating –  she said, “not too much orange, I hope?” I had to laugh, because at the time, I was painting the wall you first see when you walk into the house in the kitchen – and it’s the butterscotch. Heh heh.)

so that was episode one. I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, September 13, 2013

wacking at nuts. no, really.

So you know my best friend Michele, right? I refer to her as “my wife”? She’s visiting for the week. More on that later.

Here’s what Michele was doing after dinner tonight:


Going after shagbark hickory nuts with random tools.


Positioning the victim...




Pieces went flying; the cats kept watch in case it turned out to be tasty.


She amassed quite a pile.


Hm, Little hearts! All over our lawn! I’d say we picked a good place to land! No idea if they’re edible or, rather, how to get ‘em edible if they need help. I’ll bet Michele’s already figured all that out.

(So I did mention we bought a house down here and just moved into it, right? Yeah. It’s been busy.)

it’s been a while // do the math


settling into new house + wrapping up one job + starting two new gigs (Reiki stuff) = too many things to focus on simultaneously

bottom line? nothing’s particularly in focus.

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but I did charge up the Nikon’s dormant battery yesterday.