Tuesday, December 25, 2007

squeaky toys

This is a little something I like to call

Christmas Carnage...

video

-k8-

Monday, December 24, 2007

blades of glory

We had our annual holiday rendezvous with Sarah's family yesterday, which is always the quintessential Seattle Experience. We meet at the Seattle Center, which is a giant park and cultural mecca built for the 1962 Worlds Fair. It includes such icons as the Space Needle, Monorail station, and EMP, as well as the opera, ballet, theaters, museums, sports arenas...I could go on and on. But for one magical month every Christmas, it also features a semi-outdoor skating rink. Seattle doesn't come close to achieving the temperatures necessary to sustain an outdoor rink, making this one extra special.


We started the morning in the Center House enjoying assorted Starbuck beverages and baked goods, followed by a gift exchange. The coolest present had to be the ducks and honey bees their family gave us. We really appreciated that gift because it will keep giving in a meaningful way for a long time.


We also feasted our eyes on the extensive, tiny Victorian village that is set up each year. Rowan stood in line to be first when the conductor started allowing kids to help him operate the electric trains that wind through the village. He even scored a wooden train whistle from the conductor.

With those festivities concluded, we all headed for the rink where we paid a dour man in a little booth for entry and skate rentals. Each year, I'm reminded of when I was a kid and ALWAYS owned my own skates. Being raised in the east and midwest, I could always count on months of good skating. My favorite pond was in Fredonia, NY. There was an old shack next to it where you could warm up by a stone fireplace, and buy bad hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup for a quarter. It was the best bad hot chocolate ever. I always burnt my tongue.


From about 4th grade on, the day after Christmas usually meant hopping a Greyhound bus for the 8-13 hour trip to spend the rest of winter break with me dear ol' da in Ottawa, Canada. Upon arrival, there was always the initial visit to the skate-swap place to trade in our outgrown skates for "new" ones. It was essential to have skates there, as Ottawa boasts the longest skating canal in the world, winding for 8k through the city. Throughout the long winters, the canal is dotted with hot chocolate huts and chip shacks, and intricate ice sculptures that are judged in an annual contest.


And every winter, right up to yesterday, there's that ache I get in my ankles after I've been at it for awhile. But like all the years before, I ignore it and keep skating. One of the beauties of the outdoor rink is the way your feet eventually go numb. I find this to be a key endurance factor. I just plain love to skate. I can still do simple spins, but I'd need less of a crowd to attempt anything more adventurous. This short-timer rink was packed in no time, with a large number of the skaters being Rowan-sized or less and using little "walkers" to stay upright.


Larkin impressed everyone by boldly skating alone for the first time this year, and with enthusiasm to boot. She took a couple of spills, but just kept on going. In fact, she was the last one off the ice and could have gone longer. That was enough to thaw my frozen feet right there!


As tradition dictates, we finished off the rendezvous with an all-family spin on the old carousel outside the rink. I love that thing. Each horse has unique decorations that tell a story about its life before it was captured and rooted to a pole. Some are madly gnashing at their bits, some look like they're prancing happily. I saw one with tears in its eyes, and one armed for battle. The one must have known something about the other.


It's Christmas Eve now, and as I write, I think of the different family and friends near and far who may read this. I wish for each of you a moment of pure, childlike joy that allows you to access that feeling of unfettered freedom and limitless possibilities.


Merry Christmas to all! -k8-

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

hug-a-teacher day

He makes a real difference to a lot of young people on a daily basis.

My hero. -k8-

Saturday, December 15, 2007

snow dogg

Lest you think we're nothing but sunshine and granola over here, I have proof that we occasionally experience actual "weather."
Behold, Leo's first snow!


Tim took this one in our front yard, under my favorite birch tree. A very unusual Seattle scene. -k8-

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

thanks were given

This Thanksgiving we declined all offers (no matter how tempting), loaded backpacks, and hiked all over Discovery Park with the kids and dogs. We walked for hours, looking for shells and pretty stones, discovering gnome trails and hobbit holes. The day was cold and clear.

As the sun dipped over Puget Sound, we sat on a scenic overlook to enjoy a deluxe picnic, complete with turkey sandwiches and mashed potato chips.

For all of this, I am truly thankful. -k8-

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

morning fire

Did anyone in Seattle catch yesterday's truly magnificent sunrise? I took this picture out our bedroom window, and while a bit blurry, it wasn't altered in any way. The sky was on fire! -k8-

Monday, November 12, 2007

rowan double feature

I know that I just blogged about the little guy, but it happened to be Rowan's 8th birthday last weekend. He had a party on Saturday with 8 of his school chums. We decked the double-doored garage out fiesta-style, leaving one door open to courtside.

In between showings of old cartoons like Fat Albert and Tom & Jerry, the kids played out on the court. Soccer, basketball, scooter & bike riding, and a lot of chalk art. Even Rita got in on the action.


Rowan received a nice collection of gifts from his friends, but none has been more highly prized than this Naruto headband. He has barely taken it off since.
-k8-

Friday, November 9, 2007

eye of the tiger

Another autumn and the Ballard Youth Soccer Club comes to a close with the mighty Wallabies enjoying a respectable, though at times humbling, season. Here they are immediately following their final game, with Rowan front & center, and Coach Trish in the background.

Ahhh, it takes me back to days of yore and my happy times with the Orange team of Fredonia, NY. Perhaps you've heard of us?
Dig the cutoffs and turquoise necklace...love those '70s!
-k8-

Thursday, November 8, 2007

shower mixed with sunshine

Last weekend, we attended the baby shower of friends I married in Mexico last January. Yes, they wasted no time.

Fortune tellers Jaime & Larkin are reading Tamara's rune stones...can you guess what her near future holds?




And Gus was kind enough to model Baby H's new hat. Originally knit for Rowan by his big sister, it
was their special gift to the new parents. -k8-

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

k9 unit

I had a request for a puppy progress report, which I'll answer more fully by email, but here's a picture taken last weekend. Leo is about 4 months old now and maybe 10 pounds. Rita is a gentle and tolerant big sister. -k8-

use of force

Despite the heavy, damp fog sitting over Seattle this morning, the weather during the last 2 weeks has been spectacular. Yesterday I snapped this picture of narcissus bulbs sitting in our sun drenched dining room. They are just poised to bloom...



















-k8-

Monday, November 5, 2007

hello, my name is kate

I'm afraid I fell off the blog wagon again. Thank you to my sponsor, Emilie, who pulled me out of the gutter by suggesting I post pictures of the kids' Halloween costumes.

Taking it one day at a time...



Larkin was the goddess Athena, but was way too busy to stop for the camera. She did email me this self-portrait from her cell phone, however. You'll have to imagine a gold & brown goddessy looking costume, but aren't her hair & makeup fab?!





Rowan was a skeleton. I decided not to fix the red-eye in this picture since it adds nicely to the overall look. He had a great time trick-or-treating and came back with a major haul. The best part? He's very generous with his candy! -k8-

Friday, September 7, 2007

if only, just once

I had been telling everyone I could that they should see an exceptional Irish film, Once. The male lead from that movie is also the frontman for The Frames, who were performing in Seattle recently. Watch Glen pull an adoring fan up on stage to accompany him...I only wish it could have been me! -k8-

Monday, September 3, 2007

it's a boy!

Yes, we have been truly blessed with a sweet little bundle of joy...and hair!


We adopted Leo yesterday after multiple visits with him at his foster home, making sure everyone had good chemistry. He's a terrier mix shelter puppy, about 10wks old now, with the oddest combination hair. He should grow to be smaller than Rita, but probably not really small.
They called him Moose, but since he doesn't answer to it yet, we've changed his name to Leo. I think.

The family has been wavering on names. Here are some of the other top contenders...feel free to place your votes!

Leon
Louie
Diego
Seamus
KC (Kid Canine)

-k8-

Saturday, September 1, 2007

moose


Friday, August 24, 2007

chicago spit-n-bean

After our triumphant return from Eastern Washington in mid-July, Tim took a weekend to go watch soccer in Vancouver, mirroring much of my recent trip there, including his accommodations and means of transportation. It was a nice hurrah for him before he plunged headfirst into 40...ouch!


We celebrated that milestone with a family trip to Chicago. Kathleen flew in from San Diego, so we were able to spend some quality time with her, Tim's brother & his sigO, and the dads.

And check out all the wacky art in Chicago! These are all located in the Millennium Park. As if a giant silver bean isn't enough, they have these spitting fountains with giant video closeups of people's faces. Most awesome!


Then there's the Gehry-designed Pavilion where we watched some hip hop and spoken word performances. Fellow Seattleites will see the family resemblance with EMP. I highly recommend a visit to this impressive park next time you're in the Windy City. -k8-

Monday, August 13, 2007

ketchup

Ok, let's take a few steps back in time and try to relive those glory days of July. They included, but were not limited to, camping on Lake Wenatchee, followed immediately by a further trip east to visit friends in Spokane.

This was probably the first camping trip I really didn't enjoy much, though I'm kind of embarrassed to say why. We're experienced campers, but this particular time and location it was so incredibly dusty and dirty and buggy and HOT, that it was really difficult to be comfortable. And these weren't normal bugs; these bugs were prehistoric. They ALL flew and many had long tentacles, and long pointy teeth, and made ominous clicking noises as they flew, taunting us. Mainly Larkin; she's still traumatized.

Here's one bug who at least had her looks going for her.




You'd think that camping by a lake, even during an intense heat wave, would be ok since one can simply jump in the water regularly to refresh and escape the mosquitadactyls. In case anyone else was not aware of this, I can tell you most assuredly that when the State Park boasts a "glacier fed" lake, they actually do mean that it's melted ice. Very clean, very clear ice water.




The first day none of us could really even get in, not even Rowan, and he'll do just about anything in the quest for adventure. Eventually I developed a technique of entering very slowly, allowing for the pain to dissipate into numbness before submerging a little more. Once my whole body had gone numb, it was possible to stay in. Rowan is still a little blue, though. And we got home over a month ago.

One highlight though was renting a pedal boat and going out for a couple of hours with Tim and the kids. We went ashore little Emerald Island and found a giant eagle's nest and saw all manner of water fowl.
After returning to the boat, things started turning all Gilligan when the rudder intermittently stopped functioning, and the boat started taking on water. We worked so hard to get back to shore, and were so hot and spent, that Tim forgot about the water's temp. In order to pull us in, he leaped out of the boat when it was about chest deep. I thought I was going to have to perform CPR; it was like someone had stomped him hard in the gut. Not pretty.

It was with much relief that we broke camp and descended upon the de.lite.ful home of Mark and Maggie in (who knew?!) Beautiful Spokane, WA. They were gracious hosts, providing us all deluxe accommodations, even Rita Dogg. It was Hot there, too, but the shady patio and icy beverages helped negate the effects. Plus Mark did all the grill slaving.

Oh, and we got to spend the day at a pleasant body of water...in your face, Lake Wenatchee! Fish Lake was definitely not glacier fed, so I was able to get in and out pain-free. But it was still very clean, such that I not only felt but could actually see the little trout nibbling at my toes. There was much frolicking and sand play and relaxed revelry. Here's Tim, hard at work deflating rafts (pre-haircut!).






Having moved there from Seattle a year ago, Mark and Maggie managed to find a home in the loveliest neighborhood near amazing Manito Park. With 90 acres of varietal gardens, a conservatory, fields, and playgrounds, it's a regular destination for their family. I was most captivated by the Japanese gardens, which were so graceful.

My favorite part of the visit were the extensive evening walks we took that meandered through different parts of the park and neighborhoods, somehow always managing to swing by the corner ice cream joint, The Scoop. Mmm...coffee flavor the first time, then coconut.




I look forward to my next opportunity to see more of Spokane. And it wasn't just the ice cream or the sterling company. Really, I had no idea. For instance, did you know there's a giant waterfall smack dab in the middle of downtown? Yeah, well I didn't. Mark took us on a quick tour of their downtown library and I was able to take this shot from one of the many large windows.




The departure was bittersweet. Sad to say goodbye to our far away friends, but glad to know we were heading home to our own beds and the cool of Seattle. Temperature and otherwise. -k8-

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

better than the mr. tea!

Somehow all this free time I have is eating up every spare minute, such that I have become Blog Challenged.

So as not to shock my system by posting too heavily after a month away, I'll start with something light. And what's lighter than cereal? Mmmmm...cereal.

I spied this in the SkyMall catalog that lives in the airplane seat pockets of every flight. It was such an exceptional product that I had to tear it out & scan it into this blog. Otherwise, you might not believe me that for only $79.99 (+ tax and shipping) you can have your very own Breakfix® Cereal Dispenser! That's right, no longer will you be bothered with that pesky opening and closing of the cereal box every morning. Now you can open it just the one time, pour it into the BCD, and away you go! -k8-

Sunday, July 1, 2007

suite 16

What, another posting so soon? There's some sort of blinge and plurge thing happening here...

Naw, I just couldn't wait to write about the fabulous time I had in Portland for Larkin's Sweet Sixteen Extravaganza o' Fun. Two of her friends joined us for a stay downtown at the always impressive Multnomah Hotel. We had a suite and a sweet time!




Highlights:
--walking every inch of the Saturday Market
--palm readings
--shooting pool
--primo sushi
--swimming
--4am reminder that it might be time for sleep
--shopping the Hawthorne District
--crepes with the nice French lady
--hats!


















Adrienne and Serena were excellent company. I'd road trip with those gals anytime!












We all slept the whole way home. I had to drive, so I slept fitfully.















Larkin on her actual birthday, unable to decide on just the Right Wish. -k8-

Saturday, June 30, 2007

relativity

How kind of you to return, with the scant hope that perhaps I've posted even a scrap of a morsel of some news, happy for the most fleeting of pictures...even one of Fish would do. (Larkin has a red angel fish. I think its name is Fish, but I'm not entirely sure.) I have no pictures of Fish.

Speaking of Larkin, she and her cousins are in the other room alternating between gasping and screaming and laughing and maybe crying, as they watch a horror film called The Messengers. I know it involves farm tools, which can be extremely terrifying. Last I checked, they were all clinging to each other under 3 blankets. I declined to watch it as T is away in Vancouver (Doing what I did--see previous post--but with more soccer and jazz. And beer.) and I can become a big baby after watching a horror movie. The kids have each other, and I don't think they want me squeezing into bed with them tonight, afraid to sleep alone.

But back to the subject of me not blogging since before going on a leave of absence over 2 weeks ago. I have nothing to offer as an excuse. Wait, let me think for a minute if that's true. Hmmm. Yup, I really couldn't tell you why I dropped the blall right when it would seem I finally have time for more creative endeavors. Maybe it was my semi-shell shocked state for the first week or so of freedom. It was more than a little unsettling how quickly and easily I could disappear from a world I'd so heavily invested in. It's a reality check, an ego check. Everyone is replaceable. I've got to find my own place. But enough about that.

Had a great time today at the zoo with Max, Maya and Rowan. Played in the park after and the kids climbed trees.





We met up with Emilie and Malcolm and their little guy, Owen. He's super cute and I got to hold him a bunch. That's just good for the soul, holding a baby. It's like you absorb a little of their life essence or something. (Dark Crystal anyone? Gelflings?)





Uncle Em rode by on Big Bird for a little visit. Played some frisbee with the kids, chatted up Owen's visiting grandma. -k8-

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

sabbatical survey

What should I do during my 3 months off?
All suggestions will be considered.
Please comment below.

Meanwhile, here's some shots from the recent past...

Rowan mid-flight at the Green Lake playground. I know it's blurry, but man, what an action shot!














Here's Pat showing me around Chihuly's boathouse studio, where she occasionally gets asked back to work for special events, though she left Dale's employ a few years ago. The table is over 80 feet long, cut from an old growth doug fir he found in Alaska.



















I love this shot of my city kids waiting for the Metro.



















-k8-