A box of sunshine

Today, on a grey and lowering spring day, a box of sunshine arrived from the Florida keys.

My dear friend knew exactly how to brighten my day.

Sometimes there is nothing like a friend who understands.

How's that for a ray of sunshine?


Nursery painting as meditation

In retrospect, I think it was a very wise move to take on the nursery project now, even though I know we have months and months to go before it will be occupied. I like the physicality of painting rooms, after the minutia of my illustration projects. I like the trappings...the tape rolls and buckets and paint keys and rollers. And I love the movement. It's tiring, once you start rolling - but you can feel it in all of your body, and there's something heartening about that...like work in the field.

There's also a meditative quality about it, the solitude and the hard work, and the change of the color and mood of light in the room as you add color and it absorbs the light, as the day wears on and the slant of sun moves around the room. There's also something about doing this for Flynn's room, for the room she will live in and come to know, the room that will be the secret heart of her world as she comes to know this new country and her new family, and to watch her life stretching out ahead of her into the future. I think that's good for me now...to imagine her in it, to imagine her coming to terms with this new environment, how it will shape her and how she will shape it, and where she will go as her universe expands beyond this room and this house. I even like to think of how she will remember this room in her adulthood, long after she has moved out of this house and on through the phases of her life and developed a world of her own.

Sam comes in every now and then to check on my progress, make sure I've got all the corners covered and that I'm not tracking any paint on the hardwood floor. Sam's my detail man. He keeps me honest.

It's hard to take a photo, and then put it on the web, and actually have the colors resemble the way they look in real life. The color I chose is the color of new terracotta. The actual Behr paint shade is called "Grounded", which I also like. I'm very picky about color, and I spend a long time looking at photos and mulling over paint chips and pacing from one room to the next before I actually choose a pigment. It's probably my Mediterranean blood, but I like warm colors. Even the blue in our bedroom has more red in it than your average blue. While I was working on that room, we went to see a wonderful play called "1001", which was a riff on the Tales of the Arabian Nights. There was a blue silk scarf that had various metaphoric meanings in the play, and at one point it was described as holding the color of the sky at twilight. That was how I picked the blue for our bedroom. The sky at twilight, just when it's still holding on to the last of the sunset.
I also like colors that I don't see everywhere else. I like uniqueness. When it comes to my home, I want it to be identifiable as mine, and not resemble anyone else's. I am sometimes tempted by particularly attractive trends, or by the style of others that I admire. But in the end I always have to come back to my own temperament and put that stamp on it.

In this picture, I'm really liking the color. It looks right as it begins to fill the wall. I also thought very carefully about how it would look from the interior of our blue bedroom, and vice-versa, since the bedroom and the nursery open out on one another, and you can't really consider them seperately.

I always feel a bit like I've been fighting a war at the end of a solid day of painting. My arms hurt and my back feels like I've been doing heavy lifting. But, like running, it's a good sort of tired. There's a real feeling of accomplishment to this kind of work.

I also like to see the room "coming into its own". A room really does have a life of its own, and if you do it right, it begins to take on that life as you work, until eventually it tells you what it needs. I can feel that happening to this room, and as it does, I can feel it "becoming" the room that will be Flynn's. Of course, I don't know her yet. I don't know who she herself will become. I can only hope I'm doing right by her, and creating an environment she will feel good in.

Finally (and unrelatedly), this is my new necklace that came from Singapore, and which the post office here in Berkeley most definitely DID NOT want to surrender to me. It took me four days of going in, calling, and presenting my registered package slip before they finally turned it over to me. Sheesh! But it was worth it in the end. It's a snippet of a vintage Chinese/English dictionary which contains the word "earth" and "globe". The brass setting combined with the yellowed paper gives it a wonderful antique feel. It's from the Etsy shop of Doris Tian, called DorisWorks.

Three-word Sunday


Refinishing the nursery: the beginning

This afternoon, I decided it was time to start a new project....one that involves ladders and latex gloves and buckets of paint. I need something labor-intensive and hands-on to keep my mind off the relative state of the international adoption community at this particular juncture. Drawing is just not doing it for me at this stage of the game. It's much too easy to fret while drawing.
With the exception of the garage/workshop (which needs A LOT of work), the nursery is the one really unfinished room in the house, and so I decided to take it on. Here it is after I moved out all the STUFF. And, really, that was the most difficult part. Not just clearing and lifting the crib, changing table, storage bins, entertainment devices, books and bags of hand-me-down clothing, but actually finding somewhere else in the house to store all these items. Even temporarily, this is no mean task. Our house, while adequate, is not large by any means, and we tend to fill what space we do have pretty quickly.

Here's me taking down the last of the temporary decor. And look, don't give me any crap for my "work clothes". I've been a professional faux-painter and furniture-restorer (and — little-known fact — I actually have a graduate degree in interior design from the NYSID), so when it comes to projects of this kind, I can get up on the porch with the big dogs. I think that gives me the right to wear whatever the heck I want while prepping a room for painting!

Stage one: taping. Yes, I tape. I know there are plenty of people out there who pride themselves on their edging prowess, and can boast the ability to paint without ever cracking open a roll of blue tape. That's fine for them, and I admire their precision and skill. I, however, am not a neat person by nature, and if there's one thing I learned from working in bazillion-dollar mansions in Vail, it's "better safe than sorry". I like to fling paint around. I like to relax while I'm working. I like to let my mind (and my hands) wander. Therefore: I tape.

...and tape. And...tape.

Then, I put up drop sheets. We have nice wood shutters in our house, and I have no intention of taking them down and then putting them back up again.

No, I didn't change outfits mid-prepping. This is later in the evening after making a H@me Dep*t run for more tape, plastic, and a couple gallons of flat latex. I managed (by some miracle) to come away without a single plant this time, although I do admit to coveting a curly weeping willow that was flaunting itself outside the nursery. Fortunately, I couldn't lift it, so it remained where it was.

Stay tuned for the scintillating drama of tarping and edging, same time tomorrow.
(btw, yes, I'm wearing an iPod. I can't do anything without audio books. I work alone 99.9 percent of the time, and I would probably lose my mind without someone "telling me stories". Can you say "cabin fever"?)


...and another.

This is me at Bandelier. You can see the Indian dwellings in the background. This is one of my mum's favorite spots.

Another memory for the books

Here's another photo I love. This was on the tail end of one of our camping trips, wandering through Little Wildhorse Canyon on a hot Utah spring day.

Beginning a lifebook

Tonight I was using my nervous energy to start working on collages for Flynn's lifebook. In the process I came across this wonderful photo from our wedding. Just had to revisit it for a minute.

another random illustration


First bloom of spring

Topsy turvy

Well, it seems like our worst trepidations have come true and the CC@@ has changed the policies in the special needs program JUST as we were coming up on a referral. We have no idea what this means for our potential for another referral, how it will change the timeframe or how it will affect our agency. We don't yet have any idea of what the good side and bad side of these changes will be. For the time being, I have a very strong urge to put my head in the sand, so I'm going to refrain from blogging about the adoption for a while. I just have no desire to talk about it right now. Instead, I'm going to content myself with posting photos.


So, I promised to try to get better picture of Alana's adorable reversible dresses...this is the best I could do. Still doesn't do it justice...I think it needs a little girl in it to really show it off to full effect! They're really so beautifully made. This one has abstract dots in complimentary colors on the reverse side. She's thinking about doing an Etsy shop and I'm really encouraging her, because these are SO cute and each is like two dresses in one.

Kris' photo magic

The wonderful and talented Kris was sweet enough to work her photo magic on a few of my photos from Easter, and I just had to show them off....so pretty! Kris really has "the eye" when it comes to creating a photo mood. Thanks my friend!


Easter Sunday

Well, my easter Sunday was abbreviated a little bit due to Sam suffering another bloody nose. But since I now know that his nosebleeds are due to allergies, and not to anything worse, I was able to relax and hang out long enough to spend some much-needed family time. Sadly, M. had to work and missed the whole event, and our niece V was with her dad for the weekend, but L&J made it with the twins, who have grown to about twice their previous size (and about three times the hair they had) since last I saw them. Here are some pictures to enjoy!

Gramma and Opa with the twins.

Me and one of the G's.

Proud grandfather.

A scene from the ongoing war between M's dog Max and his small white nemesis. Based on the fierceness of that baleful glare, and the sheepish lok on Max's face, I think the cat is winning.

The twins are aaaaaaaalllllmosssstttt walking on their own!

My sister-in-law and one of her progeny. Yes, these blond, green-eyed twins are the product of two dark-haired parents!