Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Magic Birches

 There is something magic about our birch trees,
all three boys want to climb them regularly.
It may be the smooth trunks that Mark has limbed up.
 Up close they are lichen-covered...

With plenty of wood-pecker holes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Glitter Everything

 Uschi is the softest and most glittery a cat can be.
Every piece of fluff has prismatic color under the light.
 And somehow Uschi always seems to find just the right light.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh, I Really Hate Him...

 Tanji is doing one of his favorite things: glaring at Vladi,
with an occasional growl and hiss.

 This has been going on and off for six years, luckily Vladi is
such an optimist he seems to think this is an invitation to play.

 Tanji can be distracted with a bit of mushing, but as soon
as the reassuring petting (that he's not being replaced
by his younger spotted brother) is finished...

...He's right back at it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cuddle Puddle

Its really hot and we're all a bit sweaty and blah,
the best thing to do is huddle up for a Sunday nap
with the fan blowing on high.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All Hands on Deck

We are about six weeks into house planning, coincidentally also our busiest time teaching. We've made a lot of progress and an "L-shaped" design we love, but still have some big questions to answer, the most significant being whether we are going with pre-fab (the house magically appears in two months, with some design and materials limitations) or doing much of the building ourselves (longer term project with fewer design and materials limitations).  We've enlisted the input of our friends...

Hey, how did the "L" become a "T" that is 120 feet wide?
We're not the only big-dreaming people we know.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cake to Celebrate

Every day is worth celebrating, so here is a close-up
of a coconut "Vladi-cake" (this was his kitten color)
and a wish for the happiest of days.

Did today start out poorly?  Slather some cherry sauce on it
and make it yours.  That's the philosophy we've picked up
from years of living with Bengal cats (although they'd
prefer Fancy Feast gravy).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creative New Year

For many years, mid-July has been a creative benchmark for me.
Its the perfect time to reflect on the accomplishments of the
school year that is winding down with summer classes,
and time to gear up projects for the next year's fall
course that is barreling towards us.

Some of my biggest and best art projects went into full swing
during the dog days of summer.

Coincidentally, last year and this year I finished up a journal
(I complete one every few months) on the same day: July 24.
The outgoing journal is so much "fluffier" than the new one.

This seems like the perfect start to an annual event.
We already celebrate New year's Eve, New Year's Day, and
Chinese New Year, just add "Creative New Year" in July.

So from now on, every July 24, I plan on celebrating
by breaking out the paints...

Starting a new journal...

Reflecting on all the good (and great) work of the past year..

...and planning pie-in-the-sky projects for the new year to come.

Happy Creative New Year!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Smooth Stones

In our dream (and heading towards "real") home, we'd have a
rock TV wall covered with something like these colorful,
water- weathered stones.

And a separate fireplace wall with similar pebbles standing
on end for added texture.  I can't keep my hands off them and
wonder if the boys would use them as a scratching post.

The stones are perfect with our carpet choice, a bit of color
mixed with neutral tones.

Outside, we hope to have gardens close by the windows with
less polished rock (we already have this pile of rocks to use).

The boys regularly explore this mini-hill by the east pond,
soon we may be enjoying bits of it from our windows.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Settle Down, Please

 Today we had a full day at work, visited more manufactured homes,
and arrived home all riled up and eager to pounce on the boys.

 Vladi is not quite ready to join the fun.

C'mon people, I'm trying to sleep here.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Our trees give us weekly reminders that the seasons are marching
along.  This week the Shiro plums are ripening, when they turn
from chartreuse to gold, they are dripping with flavor.

That means the apples are not far behind.  By far the best tasting
apple trees we have are not the ones we, or the previous owner
planted, they're the ones sprouted by chance from the wildly
cross-pollinated seeds in our scattered apple cores.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tile Samples

We're been reveling in house design, and are keeping the boys
involved in as much of the process as possible.

Today its tile samples, and Vladi LOVES rubbing the cool,
hard edges.  This is Cambria quartz in a neutral color,
we like the feel and 3D look better than granite.

Plus it has some flashy choices like this silver-flecked gray.

Our favorite sample so far is a glass composite from Vetrazzo.

Even if we don't end up with a kitchen island, I'd be happy
to have a small slab of this sitting somewhere.

For my bathroom (it sounds funny to say, "My Bathroom" we'll
share, we're just taking separate design leads on different spaces), I
can't get enough of this Hi-Macs nougat-like solid surface material.
Its almost as sparkly as Vladi's paws.

 Mark is looking at a warm caramel and honey-toned Hi-Macs
color for his bathroom counter.

Whatever we get, I'm pretty sure Vladi is going to enjoy rolling
around on it about as much as we'll enjoy looking at it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Hues

 Its summer bliss when you can have a dinner dessert of orange
creamsickle cake with maple ice cream and walk outside to see... indigo and salmon pink sunset.  Tanji and Vladi were
already out in the kennel enjoying the sights and sounds.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Home Touring

Today we are touring the homes and factory of one of our local
manufactured home companies.  Its an experience to sit in "real"
rooms with conventional furniture, cabinetry, and bedrooms.

Of course they are not showing key things like placement
possibilities for an exercise wheel and three jumbo litterboxes :).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grading Final Exams

Its the final exam day for the first of the three summer courses
we teach, and after a zillion years of grading, we finally came
up with the idea of grading in a cafe with a comfy booth.

Good food and a bit of coffee is making this go much easier.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Too Windy

Its a really windy day, and our slightly longer-furred Bengal Bros,
Vladi and Uschi, don't like to be ruffled up.  So their "walk"
today largely involves chair-sitting under the eaves.

Don't judge me, I'm delicate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bees-Eye View

 Its hot, hot, hot in the valley, and on those few days with
cloud cover, there is a lot on energy in the atmosphere.

 The fields have turned brown, with little patches of wildflower color
between the various crops.  We're traveling to McMinnville for a bit
of Goodwill scavenging and the best Dairy Queen blizzards around.

The grasses are already being harvested, and the dry soil is
kicking up all over.

 Back home we have more moisture with the ponds, oak grove,
various stands of conifers, and nearby river.  Its brown at human-
eye level, but the bees (and the boys) enjoy a summer wonderland.

 There are native wildflowers sprinkled with a few species we
added back when this was a fairly lifeless post-agriculture plot.
The clovers and lupines added nitrogen to the soil, and
each year new species arrive and stay.

 This year we have the most diverse group of bees and wasps
yet, so when you lay down to take a ground-level photo, you
are surrounded by a haze of buzzing noises.