Monthly Archives

March 2014

Four Favorite Books for March ’14

By | Four Favorite Books

Oh good grief! Another month has flown by and I have barely had time to read the “Suggestions for You” on my Netflix account, much less entire books.

As a result, this month I’ve chosen 3 old favorites and only 1 new book — the cookbook — which simplifies the time I spend dealing with meals and thus gives me more time to get to those sanity preserving Netflix marathons.

I’ve chosen A Big Storm Knocked it Over by Laurie Colwin as my novel, and yes, the title is a nod to the main distraction of my month.

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Laurie Colwin, as you know, is my favorite author and after my little rant in last month’s Four Favorite Books for February the choice of this book should come as no surprise. In fact, the New York Times review of this novel said “Laurie Colwin was utterly fearless in writing about happiness….The novel makes the idea of happy endings for decent people seem entirely plausible, almost inevitable — no small feat for a writer these days and no small pleasure for a reader.”

This novel is about Jane Louise and her marriage to Teddy Parker, her becoming a mother to Miranda, her best-friendship with Edie and her partner Mokie, and the intertwining of their families and lives in Manhattan, and in Marshallville in the Parker family home on Cabbage Hill Road. It’s about belonging, even when you feel like a total outsider, and about the family we build with our hearts, not simply our bloodlines.

For my book of interior design I chose RENOVATE — What the Pros Know About Giving New Life to Your House, Loft, Condo or Apartment, edited by Fred A. Bernstein, and published by Barnes & Noble, 2004.

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Remaking less than perfect spaces into ones which suit me and my family must be considered, after 9 houses, as one of my main focuses in life. I am always interested in what other people do to their homes and often find inspiration in their solutions. This book has one renovation in particular which I absolutely love.

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It is Leo Adam’s home which started out as a small cabin on the edge of the Yakima Indian reservation and is now an expansive space graciously transitioning the outdoors in while expanding the inside out. Leo is a painter, but he has the ability to take the most humble of materials and transform them into art. In the photo above, the base of the table is an old washtub resting on a wheel hub. The cross shaped wall-hanging is the outside of an old refrigerator, which Leo found, rusted and shot at in the desert. Like me, he doesn’t like carpet so his floors are OSB, with “rugs” of masonite painted like oriental carpets in his earth-toned palette. And yes — those rugs were the original inspiration which led me to paint rugs directly on my floors. Genius.

The art book I selected this time is Fantasy Worlds published by Taschen, 1999. My friend Allison gave it to me a few years ago before I ever produced any public art but it was prescient nonetheless because in spite of the fact most of the examples in this book at least started out as private art, they are public art now, and an odd comfort to me as I struggle with familiar materials on an unfamiliar scale.

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The book shows many examples which you may have seen before like the Watts Towers in LA, and the work of Niki de Saint Phalle — mosaic works works apparently hold up better in windstorms!

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There are also many examples of surface pattern design which I find particularly inspiring.

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My last choice this month is a brand new cookbook from one of my favorite bloggers – Michelle Tam, and her husband Henry Fong. It’s called nom nom paleo — FOOD FOR HUMANS and is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013.

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Over the past 15 years I have transitioned from low-carb to Primal to essentially Paleo, and Michelle’s take on the Paleo paradigm is perfectly aligned with my current understanding of how best to meet our nutritional needs — while eating like gourmets.

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All the recipes are made with whole foods using unprocessed ingredients. She even provides recipes for foods we are used to buying processed like mayonnaise and sriracha, and the right ingredients to replace those we no longer eat like using coconut or almond flour in place of wheat flour.

And of course there’s plenty of bacon.

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So on that note, as Porky Pig would say… “Th-th-th-that’s All Folks!”

Anticipating Memory

By | Treefort Tarps

It’s taken a while but I am finally relaxing about my tarps picadas and getting back to my normal routine. Since getting them rehung just in time for their debut on the cover of the March 19th Weekly,

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and having the weather thankfully cooperate for the entire run of Treefort, all we’ve had to contend with is cold and rain — neither of which seem to have much affect on the tarps — though they do make me long for warm weather and sunshine!

This Tuesday evening I’ll be spending a few minutes along with Mike Landa and Bobby Gaytan talking to this year’s Public Art Academy about our experiences with our temporary public art projects.

Bobby painted a mural on the side of the Alaska building. I’m guessing wind and rain have been added to Bobby’s list of 4-letter expletives just like they have mine.

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Mike created a sculpture which is in front of The Flicks and though he didn’t install it until after the windstorm, I imagine he will have an interesting tale to share as well.

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Last Tuesday I sat in on the Public Art Academy’s talk with Deborah Paine, the curator and collections manager for the public art program of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. She brought everyone copies of the catalog Seattle as Collector which features a selective sample from 40 years of commissioning and purchasing portable artworks. Deborah Paine both curated the exhibit, and edited the catalog.

In the introduction to the catalog there is an essay about public art and the nature of temporary works like Bobby’s, Mike’s and mine. It says in part “Temporary public art is often defined by the way people experience it. The inherent impermanence of these projects gives them urgency; they are ultimately reduced to memory or a remnant.”

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Now all that remains to be done is for my tarps picadas to be reduced to remnants and pass into memory. I’m good with that.

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again!

By | Treefort Tarps

…and we are back in business!

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I’ve spent the last 48 hours re-taping tarps and brushing off sympathy and kind, but unnecessary, words of comfort and consolation.

It’s true that windstorm did a number on these tarps, but it just pissed ME off. Really, Wind?

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Sue met me just after sunrise this morning and though I wouldn’t exactly call it easy — she had to drill new holes in a few places and contort around parked cars — we had the 5 tarps back up in about 90 minutes.

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Unfortunately, “Granny Squares” took it in the chops after we left it up thinking the worst of the windstorm had passed. I’ll go back this evening and cheer it up with some more hot pink duck tape.

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Meanwhile check out “Treefort Blues” (the blue tarp, second from the left) on the cover of the Weekly which comes out today, and go see the tarps while they are up!

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And don’t worry about me…I get knocked down, but I get up again!

I hope the Wind is listening!

…and they’re DOWN!

By | Treefort Tarps

Yesterday was a stormy day and as I was sitting on my sofa, cosy in my jammies having a cup of joe and feeling pretty good about life in general, I heard the familiar ping of a new email and I opened my inbox to read this:

“…we need to let Melissa know several of the tarps were shredded by the wind. So sad!”

My entire world went silent except for one four letter word that screamed through me….WIND!

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If I were a gambling girl I would have lost serious bank betting against 35 – 50 mph winds ripping through my tarps 24 hours after we installed them. But that’s exactly what happened.

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Luckily Mike had an hour long window between meetings, and mom and dad had a power drill and extension cords to augment the Record Exchange’s, so our impromptu team was able to take down in 30 minutes what it had taken us 4 hours to put up.

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One of the tarps, “Granny Squares,” is still on the wall, but the other six are now down and in various stages of restoration — except “Night and Day.”

Um, duh….

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The plan is to finish restoring as I’m able today, and reinstall tomorrow so when the Weekly comes out they are back where I said they would be. Maybe a bit worse for wear, but there.

…and they are UP!

By | Ordinary Days, Treefort Tarps

It is DONE!

All seven Tarps Picadas are hung — and I — and all who helped me, have lived to tell the tale!

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We got it done today, and it went like this…

Mike and I met Sue Latta at 9:00 at the Record Exchange, and after taking in the fact that the parking lot was full of parked cars (Duh!) — including down the length of the wall on which we planned to hang the tarps — we got to work.

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Sue would drill a hole about 13ft from the ground, sink the anchor, then screw in the screw and washer while Mike steadied the ladder and handed up the hammer and drills as she needed them.

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I would get the next tarp ready for hanging then flit around reminding them to be careful, and mixing up whose coffee was whose.

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Finally after about 3 hours people started to move their cars — and say nice things about the tarps, which of course made me feel bad about being mad that their cars had been parked 6 inches from the wall for most of the installation — and so I steadied the ladder while Mike worked on securing our final tarp.

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I think they look great!

I could not have survived this project without all my helpers putting the tarps together: mom, Barb Bowling, Marilyn Frazier and Terry Burkes. Getting them photographed: Jake Soper and Moriah Christiansen. And today getting them hung: Mike, and Sue Latta.

We do look pleased with ourselves don’t we? Well, we earned it!

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The blue tarp to the left of Mike and Sue in those photos will be on the cover of the Weekly next Wednesday the 19th. It will be auctioned at the Weekly’s annual charity art auction in November. The fates of the other six tarps is a little foggier at this point.

Go see them while they are looking good, and let me know what you think!