Yesterday afternoon I took Roux for a "hike" on Table Mountain, the open space near our house. Mostly we just walked a little ways in and then played in the tall grass for some photos. Roux does this especially adorable thing in tall grass where she literally bounces:

In an effort to encourage more bouncing, I tried throwing various object away from me in hopes she'd chase them. She didn't. The light was so beautiful and it was so warm and in a moment of abandonment, I started bouncing around in the field with her, running and jumping. It was really liberating. Until I realized that I'd been frolicking with my camera bag open and my lens cap had fallen out. At first I started berating myself, like why why why did I just start running around a field with impossibly tall grass withouth THINKING about the fact that my camera bag was open? Stupid, stupid. Then while I was trying to retrace my steps (retracing frolicking steps is especially hard because they go in no particular order or direction), I realized I should actually maybe be a little happy I'd lost my lens cap the way I had. What a sad day it will be when I don't momentarily forget myself and go running through a field of grass with a puppy.

All in all it was a good day. I never cease to be impressed with how much joy Roux brings me on a daily basis. It may sound like a Hallmark card, but it's the truth. She is a good dog. And a good friend.

love, love.


Later today I'll post some photos from yesterday. But for now:


A Pretty Wild Upcoming Thursday Night

A leaves this afternoon for three days in Chicago. Of course I will miss him. But I must admit, I am also looking forward to some quality alone time (where alone time = time with Roux). Also, while A is gone I can leave dirty dishes wherever I want, not make the bed if I don't want to, leave my clothes on the bedroom floor and watch girly movies. Which sort of summarizes my plan for tonight.

I've been in the mood to cook lately, so I'm thinking about making something like this:

Onion Galettes from Unique Eggbeater. I want to make pretty much everything from her site (http://www.uniqueeggbeater.blogspot.com/)

And maybe I will watch this:

I read the book, which I actually didn't like, but who doesn't like James McAvoy?


The Underbelly

I was doing some good old fashioned journaling today and realized some of what I was writing I should write on this blog. Then I realized I could save myself the trouble by just scanning my journal in.

...unhappy (is how that last line ends)
I really am not a miserable person. But I do have a tendency to try to mask all my negative feelings about things that I am not happy about (ie my JOB), and sometimes I think that does more harm than good.
On the upside, work is almost over and in 30 minutes I'll be on my way for a run or a hike with the dog.

one of those folks

yesterday i had a studio visit with sherry markovitz. she has a retrospective show up in our museum here at school. i love her work for obvious reasons, but she is also an amazing person, one of those folks whose words will ring in your ears for a long long time.



I try not to be a whiner, and I rarely go on rants, but can I just say that I AM SICK AND TIRED OF OUTDOOR STUFF FOR WOMEN LOOKING GIRLY. Just because I am a female does NOT mean I want an explosion of flowers and pink on ANY of my gear.

Here's a good example. These gloves would be perfectly suitable WITH NO FLOWER.

Nobody feels the need to put little manly designs on stuff made for guys, do they? We don't see little soccer balls and trucks on their stuff.

These skis further illustrate the point.

That's all.


Just came across this site. I like it.


Also, I know I posted a Vampire Weekend video already once before, but seriouly, I'm obsessed with this one, too.


miso soooops

I've had nothing but trouble with this thing today....here is the image of the miso.

wolves and washing

Here is a sneak peak into the recent happenings in my studio. Do you recognize old Cut Ear and the Pack?

And also a glimpse of the Miso soup I ate Saturday in Portland. With every sip I felt a little bit of the Pullman winter wash away from my insides.


yogurt monger

Let it be known that Roux values food - of any sort - above all else in life. I think she'd run in front of a bus for it, jump off a cliff.. I'm not even kidding. So when I am desperate to quiet her down that's my best bet. There was an afternoon last week sometime when she was just going bonkers, running laps around the living room, barking at me, demanding attention. And I was working on... can't remember what, but must've been important. So I gave Roux this little treat we give her on occasion, a rubber toy (Baby Kong) filled with frozen plain yogurt. She finished it in about 5 minutes and we were back to square one. So I did what any terrible mother would do and just gave her the whole yogurt container, which was basically empty. To my credit, I did watch her to make sure she didn't actually eat any plastic. Hilarity ensued. At least for someone who is endlessly amused by their dog.

She has no idea her face is covered in crusty yogurt. And that is precisely why it's so funny. Ahh, slapstick dog humor.

In other, slightly less ridiculous news, my drive up to and back from Evergreen to see the lovely Annick was really sort of breathtaking.

The way up:

The way back down:

love, love.


renegade ponies

Keeping on the them e of horse related photography, here is something both nice to look at and relevant to my upcoming weekend. Someone mentioned this project to me a while back, but I just now got around to looking in to it. You should really go to the website (it's quite informative) but I will give you a brief overview. Basically, this man who lives in Portland started noticing these steel loops around the city that people use d to hitch their horse s to back in the day when people need ed to hitch their horses to things . He had one of those moments where in which you notice something and proceed to see it everywhere thereafter . He thought it would be a good idea to attach real (toy) horse s to them to get other people paying closer attention to the hidden things surrounding us everyday and often going unnoticed. It's become somewhat of a movement where people are adding horses and documenting with photos all over the city. There are even maps to different pony locations. Anyway, I love this idea. And , I love how those little ponies look in the midst of the city structures and going ons. I'm headed to Portland tomorrow (io see one of my professors give a lecture at Reed college), with ponies in hand...

love love

the importance of soap

A couple days ago I was buying a birthday present for Alex at an undisclosed location when I came across some really beautiful dish soap. Usually they cost an arm and a leg, but this was 50% off (and still over priced) but I thought hey, what the heck. After all, a big ugly bottle of Palmolive next to the sink on the kitchen counter really does bug me on a daily basis. Here's the one I got, along with their other patterns:

Good work, dish detergent designers.



Yesterday I got a random email forward of a girl doing freestyle reining. (If I knew how to post videos, I would). It wasn't even a particularly good video, the place looked pretty shabby, and it was to a super cheesy Tim McGraw song that I don't even like. But I cried the whole way through it. A lot like how I cried when the Stock Show parade came by the front of my office a month ago.
I really don't understand why horses make me cry. Such a bizarre + intense reaction.
So I am going to pack Roux up after work today and head up to Evergreen to see Annick. Hopefully I can keep the tears in check.

(photo by Michael Eastman)


cookies and refreshments

I haven't checked the website yet, but I can tell already that I will also be a big fan of the artist you last posted. I'm growing ever more fond of artists who seem to be speaking honestly about their work and their life, not just spouting out answers that are traditionally spouted when it comes to art. So, I appreciated and related to what he said about his methods of work, sometimes coming quickly and in full, and sometimes seeming impossible to grasp. I think being so involved in academia is almost equally positive and negative. It's a great avenue to meet people, have interesting conversations, have your eyes opened to new ideas, etc., but it also has a great way of stifling individuality. Recently , I have felt refreshed by coming to the realization that if I really pursue making things that are honest and personal to me, then I do not have to worry . The trouble comes when I find myself trying to make things that hoping they will "fit in" or "impress."

I also read this great quote last night from a little book called Letter s to a Young Artist:

"A lot of stuff I learned about art and being an artist did not come from visual artists: it came from writers like Keats (in his letters) and composers like Ned Rorem (in his diaries ) and outdoorsmen like Ray Bergman (who wrote aobut fly fishing for trout). So read as mush as you can and get into the thick of ilfe whenever you can-learn a foreign language, learn things about other people, go places and do things that have nothing to do with art-because it's the stuff that has nothing to do with art that has everything to do with art." - Joseph Grigely

I couldn't agree more. Saturday I took a spontaneous road trip through northern Idaho, today I went to church and later a run outside in the sun, and my motivation to work is far greater than it is on days when I spend all day locked in my studio or in classes. You've got to have both, and you can't forget either.

*photos are from a series of really interesting photography Tyler sent to me via the facebook. you should go to the link, you will enjoy them.

Love, love


Paul Mendelsund, I love you.

Just discovered Paul Mendelsund, via an interview posted on Kottke. (www.kottke.org)

My favorite part:

Talk a little bit about your work process. Do you start with a pencil and paper, or do you go straight to the mouse?
PM: Every project is completely different. Today for instance, I just pencil sketched one project, (I just had a clear vision of it). On another, I futzed around on my computer till something emerged. There’s one project I’m working on now where the process seems to be: stare at the ceiling, cruise the web till I get carpal tunnel syndrome, bother every coworker I can find, bang my forehead on my monitor, then walk home dejectedly.

The rest of the interview:

And Mendelsund's website here:

Happy Friday.


valentine type deal

Happy Valentines Day!


a little history

A & I just got back from visiting my (little) Grandma & great aunt Joyce for the weekend in upstate New York. The weather was insane, bouts of sunshine followed by blizzards, and then more sun again. And it was COLD; 5 degrees, but with the windchill it was even colder. It was a really, really nice weekend though. A good deviation from the rigors of every day life. We spent all of our time reading by the fire, playing with the cats (I discovered that Alex has a secret affinity and magneticism for cats, they adore him meanwhile they won't even look my direction), and going on driving tours of family history. We saw the farm my grandma lived on until she was a teenager, my grandfather's elementary school, the church my aunt & uncle were married at, and much, much more. We got our fair share of stories of days past from both little ladies, and ate well enough that we probably gained a good five pounds each. It was a quiet weekend, but one that I'll treasure for a long time. There's a lot to be said for knowing your history, and remembering the stories of your grandparents. They won't be there forever - something we all know and yet all act like we forget - and I'm thankful that I got the chance to spend a weekend at least with them, soaking up all of their stories. I hope I'll retain the good ones to tell to my own kids one day.

The town is small and run down in places, but parts of it are just really beautiful. I love this old building, which is not an elementary school anymore, but it's where my grandfather went to elementary school in the 1920's. I wish they still made 'em like this.

The farm where my grandma & her sister grew up:

Hunt country, where my grandfather hunted for the better part (and happiest) of his life. This is near the spot where his ashes are scattered.

(I'm not referring to hunting as in hicks with shotguns, I'm referring to the traditional hunts with hounds and horses and red jackets).

The house my grandma & great aunt live in now is in part a product of my aunt (a designer in her own right) and a fraction of the clutter that these two old ladies' have collected during their lifetimes. I really, really love it. My experiences in upstate New York, from now back as far as I can remember, are probably mostly to blame for me wanting to live in an old farmhouse. How can you not love things that have aged so beautifully? I'd take the scars in the wood over a blank slate any day. I love thinking about all the people that have been there before, have laughed and cried and watched their children grow in these houses.

Here is where my grandmother & great aunt live now:

The cat that makes me want a cat:

And, finally, maybe my favorite photo of the trip. (the trip in its entirely is here: http://flickr.com/photos/clairevb/sets/72157603894726502/)

love, love.


nights like this

As promised, here is your first glimpse into my new and improved studio, my new space for "making." So far, the new larger space has been very good for my brain, and I spent most of the day there today painting giant wolves and bears.

I feel inspired to write about another wonderful event I attended last night in Palouse. Apparently, they have a Variety Show every year as a fund raiser where members of the town and surrounding area come to show off their talents. It takes place in the Grange which is a charming little place. You know that type, large wooden floor, little stage, kitchen area, etc. I kept imagining how nice it would be if they had one of those Raton style rodeo dances there.

There were some talented and not so talented people who hit the stage. I fell immediately in love with an old gray haired cowboy named Milton, who happened to be telling poetry made all the better due to his ridiculously handsome Australian accent. His appearance and demeanor was reminiscent of my other gray haired love, Cormac McCarthy. First he performed a poem about a woman he loves but has never met. Then he performed a poem about a black belly snake with the assistance of two little kids from the audience. Of course, the kids were hilarious. The boy who was the snake was a ham, overacting much to the delight of the audience. And the little girl who played the role of Grandmother was dressed in a jeans, boots, and a suit jacket that looked to belong to her older brother. Quite odd attire for a little girl, but something I could see my own little girl wearing someday.
Also in the mix were a painfully awkward little girl singing one of those songs from the Sound of Music (I hope someone tells her she doesn't sing well before she goes on American Idol and embarrasses herself someday), a crazy talented 13 year old named Shiloh who is already on the road to fame, and a bizzare Christian rock band from Idaho, who's lead singer was the father of one of the kids in the band.
But the BEST part was a performance by the Vienna Sausages (as they like to be called). This is a group made up of the town mayor, two council men, the town pastor, and the town police chief. They performed a dance routine to "One Singular Sensation" dressed in inappropriately short jean cutoffs and sleeveless flannel shirts. At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and then I just couldn't stop laughing. They were chanted back on stage to perform an encore which began with them posing one by one on stage to "Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting" and exploding off the stage into the audience with kung-fu moves of their own. It was absolutely brilliant. There is something so refreshing about seeing adults acting like 8 year olds.

I am so thankful that nights like this still happen in the world.

Before I go, I want to share a photo of the cake Mary and I made for Kristy this week. My kids are totally getting animals on sticks for their cakes every year.


the rhodesian ridgeback fan club.

Before A & I even got Roux we were so excited we actually went to a Rhodesian Ridgeback club event dogless. AND we drove two hours just to get there. It's a little like a relationship, the beginning is so exciting, and then the novelty wears off. Just like a good-for-nothing husband, Roux just sits on our couch now getting fat. Anyway, at this club event we encountered Brian, a fellow Ridgeback owner who lives nearby. He has an older dog and then a puppy who is just about exactly the same age as Roux so we meet up for puppy play dates. I know it sounds incredibly dorky, but Roux goes ballistic for puppy play dates and it makes her sleep for the next 24 hours, so that alone is worth it.

Yesterday was one such play date, and I took my first shot at photographing it. Unfortunately it was about -50 degrees with windchill (my estimation anyway) and my fingers weren't really functioning properly, so they weren't as good as I'd hoped. Nonetheless, there are some funny ones, like this one of Roux getting the beat down:

A few of my other favorites:

...And then here is how we finished the evening out, with a little Spanish wine & GOULASH (I know you're going to be super excited about that, Lauren).

I have to say, the GOULASH was actually pretty successful. I just had to learn what chuck was. (Recipe from Smitten Kitchen).


Me & The Hygenist.

It's been a rough couple of weeks over here in Work 40 Hours a Week at a Real Job Land. I am, as you know, also trying to apply to graduate school at the same time, which aside from the fact that trying to do two very consuming things at once is virtually impossible, is difficult because the more I hate my job, the more I care about going to graduate school. Pretty soon my personal statements are going to be less about why I'd be a valuable asset to their program and more about how I need them to please save me from the desperation of my current position. It's not always that bad, and I'm not always a whiner. Except lately it is that bad and lately I am a big whiner.

Yesterday I had to leave work early to go to the dentist for a cleaning and check up. A little background for those who don't know: I broke my two front teeth pretty much in half a little over two years ago, after which ensued a solid year and a half of numerous root canals (each front tooth was root canaled twice), gum surgery, crowns, etc, etc, etc... An interesting tidbit about me is that I have had over 7 pairs of front teeth. Anyway, now that I've come out on the other side of that ridiculously long and painful ordeal, I am a tad bit wary of what people do to my mouth.

I arrived at the dentists' office a little tense, trying to figure out the best way to explain to the hygenist just HOW careful I wanted her to be. She sat me down in the chair and I gave her a little summary of what I've had done and asked EXACTLY what she was planning to do to my front teeth, to which she replied, irritated, "I'm going to clean them." I persisted, asking her exactly how she was going to clean them, and when she whipped out a long pokey metal tool I flinched and said maybe the head dentist should clean them. That turned out to be the wrong thing to say, because then I got a speech from her about how she's been a hygenist for 26 years and she's far better at cleaning teeth than the dentist. And then I started feeling like I was going to cry and told her I've been through a lot and I just don't trust random people with weapons working on my very sensitive mouth and there's nothing I can do about being worried about that. And then we were both silent while she started working on the other teeth. After a while, she admitted she could see where I was coming from and why she had to earn my trust. So she started off really gentle with the front teeth, and I started relaxing and before you knew it we were all chummy and chatting about the elections and getting your hair highlighted.

All in all, it was by far the most bizarre and emotionally charged encounter I've ever had with a dental hygenist. By the end though, I really felt good about standing my ground, and proud that we'd come to terms over this little argument. Like, maybe if I can get over my problems with my hygenist, I can figure out a way to get over my problems with the various people at my job that drive me nuts.

Also, I drove right home and bought this on Amazon:

I'm convinced it's worth every penny.
In other news, I will get a brief respite from the chaos of work when A & I go to upstate New York to visit my little (she is literally little at 4'10") grandma. I'm hoping to come away with some good photos of her farmhouse and the surrounding countryside.
Love, love.


as of late

The snow has stopped. Until tomorrow. When we are supposed to get 5 more inches. Ugh. I realized how hard this winter has been the other day when I get extremely excited to see 38-41 degree days by the end of the week. That seems tropical right now!

My friend's James and Jeneve came to the rescue Friday afternoon with a shovel, so I was finally able to get out and spent yesterday afternoon taking a much needed walk around Palouse.

This is one of my new favorite buildings there. I am always amazed how much beauty can be found in forgotten places like this one.
I spent a good portion of today and yesterday moving from the 5th floor to my new studio on the 6th floor. Although, moving all my crap is a drag, it's funny how just being in a new space has provided a new spark and itch to really delve into working again. Not that I haven't been working, it's just been more forced than I prefer it to be. My plan of attack is to tell all the faculty members, that unfortunately, after this week, I will not be signing up for any individual meetings for one month. Reason being, I need time to just create without having to talk about it with anyone. I have found myself in a really terrible pattern of developing and idea, having a meeting, getting extremely frustrated trying to talk about something I don't fully understand yet, ultimately being overwhelmed by discouragement and abandoning ship.

So I'm on a meeting strike!!! I hope this strategy works, and I get on a roll seeing as though I have my 1st year review show in only 2 short months.....

Finally, I am getting quite addicted to the recent Presidential election, and can't wait to see what the polls bring in tomorrow on Super Tuesday. The line up of television I have watched today is as follows: Michelle Obama being interviewed on Good Morning America, Charlie Rose interviewing some important Democrat about Obama and Clinton, The Daily Show, and the Colbert Report. And, it's like that most nights lately it seems. I am more and more convinced that this country really needs someone like Obama as our President, and I feel so lucky to be at an age to appreciate and understand that we are in the midst of something and someone truly great. I'm actually really nervous for tomorrow, and I hope America has their eyes set on the same potential that I see.

I miss you so incredibly much.

love love