Wednesday, September 30, 2009

drawing almost done

My picture is getting pretty close to done now. I've spent too long on it and have been going in circles half the time I think. My background hills got kind of dark when I wasn't looking, so I need to lighten them up I think, and I'd like to add some final brights on my trees and stuff.

I'm open to critical thoughts or suggestions of what might help it be better...though I don't promise to do what you think I ought to. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the Canning, continued

It looks like I may finally start my pear canning tomorrow. Before I forget, here's the link to the oh-so-inspiring canning video from Portland Preserve:


I looked around town for some of the supplies I would need to can this way (basically the same as what mom does), but I didn't find them. I called some capable American ladies I know, who all said, uhm....we don't think people do it like that here. Finally, I talked to Dom and Raph's mom who told me how she does pears ohne fancy-pants equipment, and she even lent me some jars. How nice is that. :) Lukas helped me purchase and haul pears home from across town this evening, so I'm set to go.

In other things creative and inspiring, yesterday I had a very nice Stephanie day. I started by sleeping in a bit--an important part of any Stephanie day. Then I had a schoggiweggli (bread with chocolate in it) and coffee on my way to the art museum to see 70 of Van Gogh's landscapes in the "Between Earth and Heaven" exhibition. (Each ticket was linked to an hour long entry-time window, and my window was 10-11. I figured if I got there at 10, I'd probably have to wait in line and would be stuck the whole way through with a crowd of old people who had probably all shown up at 9.15. So I got a bus at 10, got there at half past, and wouldn't you know there was already a long line of older folks waiting for the 11-12 window?! And I could walk right in. Silly people.). But anyway. Back to the paintings. I'd seen a couple of them before, but most were new to me. The roughly chronological display of the pieces made it easy to see the growth in his sense of composition and technical ability, as well as his shifting style over the years and the influences he was reflecting. After that, I browsed a few stores, and enjoyed a falafel lunch by the Tingely Fountain (This one), and considered as I watched the birds and the fountain that if I ever had a restaurant like that one, I'd list that Falafel as "Full Awful," just for my own amusement. After that I went home, where I had a little visit with M1 and M2, took care of some chores and listened to more of Leo Tolstoy's The Cossacks (a book near the top of my list for favorites at the moment), and stared at my drawing. It's been living on probation, taped to the front of my closet with blue scotch tape. I'm not very content with it yet, but I have a couple ideas of what might help.

And...that was more or less my Saturday. Talked to some of my favorite people too. That was great, and Grandma told me how to make applesauce. mmmm. :) It was a good day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Canning Pears

Look what I found!

Portland Preserve.

I went poking around the Internet this evening to determine how hard it would be to can the bag of pears I have sitting in my drawer, and it looks like it's hardly any trouble at all. Tomorrow I plan to locate me a jar gripper, a few jars, and a big pot, and presto! I'm going to have some fantastic pears this winter for fairly cheap.

Now, I've watched and helped mom can lots of times, but my start to finish concept of the project was a little fuzzy, so I watched a very helpful five minute demonstration which just so happened to be from Portland Preserve. It's very pleasing when the best (or most readily available) solution to my problem originates in my very own stomping grounds.

I'm going to go investigate what else I could can that's also for sale at my local farm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sleeping in for the cure

In 2006 I participated in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation "Race for the Cure" in Portland. Some of you kindly supported me with donations. This Sunday, September 20th, I'm participating through their "sleep in for the cure" option for people who can't be there in person. It'll probably be more like "Have an Afternoon Coffee for the Cure," considering the time zone thing, but you get the idea. Even though I'm not running this year, I'm raising money for research and screening in the Pacific Northwest, which is not only home to me, but also to the highest rates of breast cancer in the nation. Most of the money will be used in Oregon and Washington. 25% of the money raised goes to support screening and research nationwide.

My lovely mama, post-cancer and making things happen! :)

Breast Cancer research has become more important to me in the last two years since Mom's cancer and treatment in 2007/2008. She is doing well now. Let's support research and screenings that can save our favorite ladies!

The event is THIS Sunday, so if you wish to donate, please do so today. Stephanie's Komen fundraiser page. (I have to say, I'm not very impressed with their website, so I'm sorry if it gives you trouble! I'm also really sorry if there is a scrolling tally announcing how much you gave. I am trying to figure out if I can turn that off so that donations are private).

And now, some deep thoughts about boobs:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Thought I'd share a picture I've been working on the last few days as a gift for some friends (who I hope don't read this blog...I think they don't). It's based on the photo in the heading, which I took last fall in the Wallis.

I don't have the patience to properly photograph my drawings (or maybe I just don't know how), so this photo is a bit washed out and blury, but not bad. I still have about a million things to do on the drawing, including: fix the shape of the barn, sharpen it up, and fix the light on it, fix the light on the happy little bush in front of the barn, finish my distant trees, draw the cow in (oh yes! there's a cow!), fix the color/detail level in the distant hills, add fences, add detail grasses, etc.'s on it's way, and I'm pretty pleased with how it's going. I wasn't sure the composition would work with so much space between the yellow tree and the barn, but I think when I finish my cow and trees and mess with the light it'll be ok.
I hope they like it.

What's that you say? Why yes, I do have a dissertation to be writing! Why do you ask?


If you haven't seen Brian's new blog, you should be sure to check it out: Alexander Guitars

Monday, September 7, 2009

21k is a long, long way...

Howdy! I'm back from my triathlon relay in France. Team "Faster Than You Can Say Jack Robinson" finished in 6:52:31, position 816 overall, and 34 of the mixed relay teams (not sure how many mixed teams there were...very possibly only 34). The runner was definitely the slow poke. John finished the swim in 36:21, which is fast. Although Cedric cycled past us on his first loop looking relaxed and chatting with his neighbor on the next bike, he finished his 94k in 3:59:52, which is also pretty quick. I ran my 21k in 2:13:02, which is not like lightening, but also isn't terrible for a first half marathon, despite what some people may think. Gina heard my time and said, "ok, so high speed walking. Not running." It sure felt like running to me! Here's how the race started on Saturday morning:

I'll post some pictures of our teams when I have some. I'm surprisingly motivated to do another 1/2 marathon and try to improve my time considerably. On this one I learned that I need to be running longer distances more often. I was on track for the first 8 or 9 Kilometers to finish in closer to 2 hours, but slowed down a LOT during my last 7K particularly. The furthest I'd run before Saturday was around 8 or 9 miles I think, so that extra 4 or 5 miles was tough. I also learned that no matter how many times I go to the bathroom before I start, I'm probably going to have to stop along the way, so I'd better figure that into future running time estimates.

Our team name turned out to be literally more fitting than we anticipated. People along the course often read the team name off the people around me and called out specific encouragement to them. I could see them trying to read mine, but I was indeed faster than they could say Jack Robinson, and so they resorted to "Allez la Fille!" and "Bon Courage la fille!" There were so many more men competing that the women got lots of enthusiastic support anyway.

Our group stayed in a chalet up on the hill, with a great view of the lake and the hills. Raph came out Saturday night and did massages for people at the house (much appreciated!) and when we were driving home Sunday he noted that the landscape reminded him of Oregon. I had thought the exact same thing. I hope to have some pictures for you in a couple days. Bye!