wouldn't it be nice

...to be a professional dog photographer? I'm working on it.


and another one

Nothing major to report. Here's another image from my mini photo shoot yesterday in the studio.

a sunday well spent

Sunday was glorious. Saturday, not so much. But Sunday was money. We woke up super early and drove to Loveland Pass with the dog and friends Eric + Lara to climb Sniktau, an easy 13er with good views. It was gorgeous up there, and worth the waking up early and the drive.

In the end we didn't make it all the way to the top (although I think we were darn close) because apparently our African dog can't hack it 10 degree weather with gale force winds. She got cold and miserable, and there was only one immediate solution...

...to dress her in my North Face fleece. She wore it surprisingly well, prancing around like it was perfectly acceptable for a dog to be wearing an outfit. Our fellow hikers and her fellow canine climbers turned down their noses I'm sure. Something about a Malamute totally in his element in the snow and wind really overshadows a little dog in a sweater. Yes, I said SWEATER. Mostly because one time A told me about how this girl in a sub shop told him she liked his SWEATER when he was wearing a fleece, and for some reason it really struck my funny bone at the time, and still I think it's hilarious.

Back to the story. Originally we'd considered skiing after the climb, but decided instead to spend the afternoon doing this:

And this:

Yes indeed, a Sunday well spent.


new perspectives

Today, I had a much needed cleaning and organizing session in my studio. It's hard for me to stay consistently tidy, but I always thoroughly enjoy the act of "tidying" every now and then. As I worked and rearranged I kept getting glimpses of really interesting situations and compositions that were somewhat haphazardly arising. This is one of my favorites...

blue skies

I had so many hopes and dreams for my post today, but I am short on time.
So I will just leave you with this:

You know what that is? The sky. With no clouds. That's what yesterday was like.


may 6, 1992

It's almost impossible to resist going through all my old photos and letters every time I rearrange things, or , in this case, move. This time around I came across a few loose old diary entries from when we were nine. I love that I felt the most important thing to document about the day was that we ate ice cream and buried our feet in the gravel...

Julie Grimm, our hero

Lauren and I both idolized Julie Grimm from the first time we saw her ride. We were probably about 16 years old and utterly obsessed with the world of horse showing and Julie was a champion. She won Medal Finals, which was basically equivalent to the Olympics from our idyllic perspectives. I still remember the round that won her the competition. It was the kind of ride that looked completely effortless, made you feel as if you could do it, too. Deceptively, it made it look easy when it wasn't - perfection in the world of horse showing.
Later we would get to know Julie as adults. We would drink beer with her, play with her kids, jump off the roof of the pool house into the water below at midnight, and go to her off-the-hook Christmas parties.
Mostly, Julie is my friend, but in some ways she's still a hero too. I still think she's a superb rider, but I also have always appreciated her zest. She still knows how to kick it, even if she is married with two kids. She still skinny dips in her neighbors' hot tub at 3am and is a firm believer in the power of tequila shots.
And yet she pours her heart into her kids and her horse and her dogs. And it shows. Her kids are the kind of kids that make you want to have your own someday - incredibly smart, downright funny, and really beautiful.
So when I heard from a mutual friend that Julie recently had a double masectomy and was facing chemo, my heart sank. I think because I watched my mom go through it and watched my family deal it from their many perspectives, I often have an urge to protect people I care about from going through it, too. I wish I could somehow suck up everyone else's experiences because I've been through it already. I already know what it's like to watch your mom go through that, but Julie's kids don't. I was wishing I could do it for them.

Then I got some photos from Julie of her Head Shaving Ceremony. I prepared myself for a flood of unpleasant memories before I looked at them, but when I did look at them the reaction I had was totally unexpected and opposite. Everyone in the photos looked happy, not miserable. Sam especially looks delighted at having the opportunity to shave her mom's head. Julie is somehow radiant without hair. It's like her inner strength is shining right back out. And the memories it brought back for me weren't terrible, either.
I remembered one photo I'd taken of my parents together while my mom was going through the same thing. I was in a photo class at school and getting pretty into shooting black and white film. My mom used to wear a wig while she was out and about, but while she was lounging around the house that summer she'd take it off for a little relief from the heat and the itching it caused. This particular afternoon, my dad and mom were lying on the couch together, embracing. My dad is pretty bald, too, so they matched. It was oddly beautiful. That moment alone taught me more about love than any other ever had.

With that, here are Julie's photos.

I'm still inspired.


typography, cold beer & cuban movie posters

Recently stumbled upon this site and really, really love it. Basically since the advent of the PC I've been obsessed with fonts. I have a graphic/interior designer/artist aunt who is a font maniac too, and she recently wrote me an email saying this about going back to school:

Ironically, although I had an uneasy relationship with highschool and my first time round in college (I don't think we can count Oxford as I mostly studied Englishmen there), I have really loved the degrees I've taken since. Hard work isn't the deciding factor, as both the Graphic Design degree from St Martins and the Diploma from Inchbald were incredibly demanding. It isn't that I liked every aspect of the courses either, because I didn't. A lot of it was mixing with people who shared my perspective - just like our conversation on fonts - you either get them, or you don't. Mixing with a whole college of people who got it was a heady sensation.

She's right. You either get them - and love them - or you think they're absolutely inane. If you belong to the first group, you just might enjoy the Rather Difficult Font Game, found here.

My sister's birthday is next week and I've been agonizing over what to get her for weeks. Despite hours of browsing online I couldn't make up my mind. Then I decided to design a t-shirt, using uberprints.com. The downside is that you don't have much control over where the design actually goes (I wanted the letters to wrap around the sides). The upside is that it'll still be unique and personal. The plan is to celebrate her birthday (the big 2-1) at a little bar in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico called Cold Beer. It's basically exactly what you'd imagine it'd be, a falling-down sort of place with live country music and all sorts of rough types. Including my grandma, who will be there to dance the night away. Here's the front of the shirt:

So it's a little pro-drinking-woo-hoo-you're-21, but it's a long time coming. She's earned it, just by being alive for two decades + 1. Besides, I don't think she's in danger of going of the deep end, drinking-wise. Although maybe wearing this shirt she'll be more inclined.

Last link of the day: a fad I can feel myself falling in love with.


photo magic

Mary turned me onto this blog (it's somebody she used to know.) I don't think I have ever seen such amazing wedding/engagement photography. He must have a little bit of magic in his camera...
I mean really, some of them are unbelievable. This one looks like he plopped this bride right into the setting of National Velvet.

You will be a big fan, I can feel it. Enjoy!



I'm digging it.

Check out this song.
More on them at www.gangstagrass.com

Totally gonna burn some cd's of this stuff for my country folk family.



With each day, since taking down my show I feel like I have just walked out of a long narrow tunnel. Such is grad school I suppose. The other day somebody said that grad school is one of the only times where you are encouraged to concentrate so fully on yourself. I agree to an extent. I don't think I have ever been this self aware and focused on...well....me. One of the prose to all this "me time" is that I think I am getting to know a lot about what really drives me and where I see myself within this giant world. I haven't reached any concrete decisions or anything, but I do realize that how I feel and think about things during these two years will be a huge guide in my future.
Lately, I have felt really empty with the whole idea of making "art" to put in a gallery, to be examined and dissected by people who have such different agendas than I do. Some artists become artists because they are in love with the "art world" with knowing all the big names, all the big galleries, all the history. But that is not necessarily what inspires me to be an artist. I like all those things, but I don't soak it up the way I soak up breeds of horses for lack of a better example. Do you get what I'm saying here? I think when you really love something you should almost absorb and it should feel effortless even if it isn't.
But, I do love creativity. I love making things. I love imagination. And, at the same time, I love helping people, and being in nature.... I just have to figure out a way to combine it all. I know that for certain. What the disconnect means between me and the "art world" means I don't know. Maybe that's just a phase. Like I said, I haven't concretely decided "i am not going to be a professional artist (whatever that means)" but I am just trying to stay really in-tune with my real driving factors, and the possible paths those could take me on.

I spent this morning looking through my binoculars at this crazy ocean of hills I live in from the top of Steptoe Butte. I saw some exciting new birds, and some marmots. Unfortunately, no pictures.

So...I will just post another nice Costa Rica scene.


weekend past and weekend future

Last night A and I deviated from our Sunday night bum around the house and go to bed by 8pm routine and went to see Yeasayer. It was a good show and I'm glad we went, but no doubt it bordered on too weird. They are a bunch of crazies, and we sort of felt like we forgot to smoke a joint before we came. It looked like this:

But still a bunch of talented guys, and I'm still a Yeasayer fan. So much so that I'm wearing the t-shirt today.

A and I decided we're going to Moab next weekend. We may or may not be accompanied by another couple, but either way we will go. With the dog. Which means we can't even mountain bike. But we'll still get to see the sights. Plus I've been feeling antsy about getting out sometime soon, so it'll be a welcome change of pace.

It's gonna look like this:

(photo thanks to this guy on flickr)


A Friday Present from Alex

A just sent me this video and I CANNOT STOP WATCHING IT. Go to that link now, watch, fall in love.

Can't wait for their new album this fall.
Seabear, I am very fond of you new friend.

3 items

1. I'm pretty thrilled at your discovery of the satellite list of blogs and photo albums from Puerto Viejo (CR). Good work. I love seeing other people's photos and memories of a place we're going. We are so going to love it. We are going to do a lot of sitting in hammocks and eating of lettuce and spotting of wild horses. And pigs.
A few of my favorite photos:

(photos found at http://www.pbase.com/rskaltsc/costa_rica&page=all)

2. On Fridays I work later than usual, but usually still get up as early as every other day. Today I took Roux to downtown Golden for a little coffee and a general soaking up of the town and sunshine. It was a really lovely morning and it felt good to just be alone with the dog and the town.

3. Really love this shirt.


I just spent a good hour doing a little Puerto Viejo research. Found an insightful site called puertoviejosatellite.com, have you been yet? What I'm most excited about was finding a link to all the food we are going to be able to eat. It looks delicious....do you think we can eat lettuce there? I don't know if I will be able to resist. (I'm going to jot down notes and names in a notebook so we will know exactly where to go for the good stuff.)



the light at the end

As you know, part of my job here is working for one of the Art History professors, which I learned means hours and hours of grading. So, for fun I decided to calculate an approximate number of pages I will have graded by the end of the last quiz next week. The grand total came out to be 8,400 pages of pure art history fun. Needless to say, I am thankful to be at the end of that tunnel.

spring snow

Sorry about the lack of blogging yesterday. I was home sick with an upset stomach. I am feeling a heck of a lot better today.
It snowed all afternoon yesterday and all of last night. I'm all for 80 degree weather, but waking up a world covered in white is just so undeniably beautiful. Especially if you know in two days it'll be 80 again.




Here's my sunny day....

dreaming of g.c.


It's my first check, as a designer, all on my own. A check made out to me, referenced to Invoice #23, because I thought it would seem slightly amateur to send Invoice #1. I feel so attached it, I almost don't want to deposit. Almost.

In other news, it's supposed to be EIGHTY DEGREES today. I tried long and hard to think of a way not to be at work, but there was really no getting out of it. However, I am planning on going for a run the minute I'm done with obligations and spending the entire evening outside. Until then, I will be wishing I was at this little brewery in downtown Golden...



As you know, every year we anxiously anticipate the coming of warm weather, but I think this year takes the cake for anticipation. In Colorado, we tend to get little gems of sunny and 60 scattered throughout winter time. That has not been the case here in Eastern Washington this year. So, when we hit 70 degrees yesterday I thought I was going to explode with delight. I took full advantage wearing flip flops AND shorts. Spent most of the day relaxing in the park, and took a good long walk. Even though the weather is traditionally unstable, Spring is definitely my favorite time of year. It's sort of sappy to say so, but I never get tired of seeing things come to life. On the walk we spotted three turtles who probably just came out of hibernation that day. They seemed to be enjoying the river and the warm air as much as I was.

Today is rainy, gloomy, and cold.  Yesterday seems like a dream.

(I've tried countless times today to add a picture of me sunning in the park. Alas, I have become too frustrated and given up. Maybe tomorrow...)

old man

There's this very old horse that lives near Annick in a dilapidated shed with a little chunk of land surrounded by falling down barbed wire. I don't know who owns him, but I feel so sorry for him every time I drive by. It's clear he hasn't been brushed in ages, years probably, and he always looks so lonely. And old. And a little sad. I tried to imagine who owned him and why they just left him there like that, and I thought, well maybe they live in the city and it's a far drive so they can't get up here all the time. And then I thought that's no excuse. Instead of watching tv at night, they oughta be driving up and least giving this guy a pat on the nose and a carrot. And then I decided, if they won't do it, then I will. So I've started making it a point to bring treats for him and stop by on my way to see Annick to give him a little treat and a pat. He is a sweet character, and I like his scruffy little face.

I know I am sometimes ridiculous about my animals, that I worry about them more than I should and that I have unusually high expectations of myself for how I treat them. I think I get that from my grandfather, a guy who would drop his entire life to take care of his animals. But however impractical this tendency can be, I hope I never forget that time with my animals is more important than watching tv, or getting the laundry done, or making a phone call.



Really intended to write a long post today, but work had other plans.

I'll just leave you with a photo of Roux's infinite patience at the barn.


spider tree

It's been a while since I have shared any of my assignments from creative writing class. Lately, we have been working on sort non-fiction, which I actually really enjoy. The routine is that a few people a week email their story to everybody, and then we "workshop" them all together in class. And, this week I finally got the balls to submit my story. It wasn't as terrible as I expected to feel having the whole class talk about my writing. I am used to people talking about my art, but this is a whole new breed of feeling exposed. The author of the writing isn't allowed to speak until the end of the discussion, so it's hard to restrain the urge to jump in and defend or correct things. As discussion ensued on my story it appeared that most of the class, including the teacher read it as an account from my childhood, which I thought was fascinating because it was an event that took place only two years ago. Eventually, one boy declared his opinion that I was not a child in the story, so a debate arose over the subject (making the "remain silent" rule really challenging). My professor claimed he must have assumed it was a childhood experience because of the wonder and fascination I had expressed in my encounters with my surroundings, which is not often the way an adult sees the world. It was an unexpected observation, but it made me really happy.

The Spider Tree

I am consumed with exhilaration as I unhitch the gate and step out onto the orange street. My eyes are filled with the meandering "escape goats" (always a rope around their neck, the other end just dragging in the dirt), scrawny chickens, old men on even older bikes, and colorfully distressed colonial homes that speak of a very different time in this rural African town.

Two ancient trees mark the end of the block. Arriving under their limbs my chest tightens when i see an uncomfortably large spider dangling at just the right height to make me curve around it. I almost run, but can't help the urge to stop and look closer. As I trace my way up it 's web, my eyes, again, are filled. This time with countless amounts of spiders inhabiting every limb, and every space between limbs. I am surprised to find beauty. After a few moments my initial fear evaporates into pure wonder of the Spider Tree.

The brightly colored busyness of the shop street continues on by. But I am frozen, unable to stop staring at this spider metropolis, this tapestry of webs against the sky. Standing still and standing out in my bright green shirt, my head tilted upward, my blonde hair sticking to my back.

Finally returning my attention to the bustle of the street I notice two boys, the younger of which only wears one shoe. The inquisitive stare I receive from them is a stare i have grown used to in my time here, as well as the frequent shout of "Mazunga!" ("white girl.") I return the stare with a similar inquisitiveness. When these boys and I see each other I know we are fighting similar preconceived notions, fears, questions, so many things. And then we pause to look further. Further into our uniqueness. Further into our beautiful tapestry of differences. And we are mesmerized. We are just like the Spider Tree.

rock star

Did I forget to mention that I played guitar and sang a song in front of a crowd of people last week? It's true...the long anticipated performance of Buckin' Horse Rider actually happened. Of course, it was the most crowded open mic I had been to, and we had no idea how people would respond. So , after David played two of his new songs (and mesmerized the crowd), Mary and I joined him on stage for our song. Turns out people loved it. Much of that was thanks to David and Mary's comical facial expressions and guitar kisses. People laughed, clapped, and I think even played the tambourine. Mary followed up with two of her own songs (and also mesmerized the crowd.) Now, I can check that life goal off the list...

Also, I am about to start the moving process again. I picked up the lease papers the other day, and in about a month I will officially be living in this quirky little apartment.

upside down cake

The update:

Animals are still sick. (Although Roux appears to be on the speedy track to recovery).

Work was awful yesterday: the sort of day where I feel claustrophobic for the entire 8 hours and my coworkers are so petty that they take cheap, personal shots when it's completely uncalled for. Hard to brush it off, even if I do know I won't have to be here forever.

Then last night I decided to make this recipe. Her description totally won me over, and I love things with yogurt in them, so I'd been meaning to make it anyway when I was asked to bring something baked to a meeting I have tonight. Last night I toiled away in the kitchen, actually making two loafs thinking it would be nice to have one at home. After all, A has his huge test today and tomorrow, so wouldn't a little lemon blueberry cake ease the stress? I finished one successfully, but I was getting impatient waiting for the other one to cook (it was 10pm and I'm usually in bed by about 8:30), so I kept taking it out of the oven to check and see if it was done yet. I was sidling it back into the oven when the towel I was using to hold on to it slipped. For a split second I tried to catch it with my other hand, the way you do without really thinking about how touching the thing'll burn your skin off, but then it DID burn me, so I dropped it. And it landed face down all over the kitchen floor. Hot sticky dough flew everywhere. Cursing under my breath, I salvaged what I could and finished cooking it. This morning I actually heated it back up in the oven, because A isn't a believer in the microwave. It didn't look pretty, but I sort of thought it'd still taste alright. So there I am, being the lovely little supporter, heating up home made lemon cake (forget for a moment that I also smeared it across the kitchen floor), and I take it in to him, so sure that all the pain and suffering I endured making the damn thing would be worth the satisfaction of feeding it to someone else.
But he didn't like it and didn't want to eat it.
And I actually left the house in tears.
What on earth is wrong with me? What am I, a housewife from 1952? I don't know why I cared so much, but I did, and still sort of do, and must now heal my wounds with lots of espresso and the indulgence of foreign magazines at the nearby bookstore.


i'm going for it

I sort of wanted to wait for this post #100 until I had something really exciting to write about, or some brilliant photo I could post.
But I have neither of those, instead I have an SOB story about a sick dog and a sick horse, and this miserable photo to accompany it:

Annick has not been herself lately - too thin, too mopey, too dull, too snotty in the right nostril. I kept taking her temperature, which is no small thing, having to be done in a horse bum, but she never had one so as per the advice of everyone I asked, I delayed calling the vet. Finally this weekend I decided I had to call him, temperature or no, Annick looked so terrible. He came yesterday afternoon, took x-rays of her sinus and did bloodwork. Still don't have the bloodwork back, but he did say she has a big ol' sinus infection. What do they do for equine sinus infections you might ask? They drill a hole in their heads. And then they insert little plastic tubes, and then you flush those tubes out twice a day. He said most horses this happens to are head shy forever after, and no wonder. I feel TERRIBLE I didn't call the vet earlier when maybe such drastic measures could be avoided. And I feel terrible that Annick has to go through so much pain and she will never understand why. I usually don't mind that animals can't speak english, but boy if they could just have the magical ability to understand what you were saying every now and then that'd really be helpful.

As if all the drama with Annick's illness wasn't enough, Roux is sick as well. Her little GI tract has been off lately, but yesterday she had the runs so bad I had to take her to the vet, too. She has a bacterial infection and will be on special food and antibiotics for the next week.




This weekend I gave birth to a show. It took 20 hours and a lot of pizza, but it's alive now. At this very moment I don't have the best feeling about it, and I'm still shifting through the reasons. Either I just need some space from it to appreciate it again, or else it really just didn't come together as well as I had hoped. Doing installation work is as stressful and frustrating as it is exhilarating. In one of my last studio visits, one of the faculty told me that I walk a dangerous line in the way I work because it is so reliant on intuition and sometimes final decisions are only determined by having to put things in a show and call them "done." He compared me to a jazz musician, which is definitely a remark I can handle. But, after this whole time of experimenting and large scale installation, I think I am going to take some time just doing some drawing and painting for a little while.

From this view you can see the video I have projecting onto one of the walls. One day I took one of my little paper cut birds and squished it around in a slide projector. The movement that resulted was exciting, so I filmed it, burned it to a disc and play it on a six minute loop. I wish you could see it actually moving, and pecking at the pecking objects. This little video is my favorite thing in the show.
There are all sorts of little blue painted animal surprises traveling through the piece such as this noble cow peering across the gallery from his platform.
I've got tons more pictures, but these few give a pretty good feel. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Good or bad.

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel brave enough to venture out of my studio and get over the fear of seeing peoples' reactions.

(The next post will be number 100! What should we do to celebrate? It seems like just yesterday little WonderNet was only a couple posts old.)

love, love

run with a little muxtape

The weekend wasn't terribly exciting, certainly not as exciting as yours with YOUR SHOW. (Photos had better be forthcoming).
Nevertheless, a few good things did come out of the weekend:
1. A and I ran together for the first time in the history of our relationship. It does seem strange that I would date an actual runner, and enjoy running, and that we would never run together. But I was always intimidated. And for a while I felt like he should run by himself, because after all, I like going to see my horse by myself. And running is sort of like his horse. But Saturday morning it occured to me that that was just stupid. If we would both enjoy it, why not? So we ran together. And I really, really liked it. I should've realized a long time ago what a great resource I had right at my fingertips. It's like a live in personal trainer AND a way to spend quality time together at the same time.

2. I ordered new running shoes. This was about, oh two years overdue. I'm pretty psyched and am really hoping they'll work out. A helped me order these as well, now that he knows my running style. And I think he should know a thing or two about running shoes, because look at all the shoes he has:

And actually, that's just a fraction of the total number.

3. A made a Muxtape. And we listened to everyone else's Muxtapes nonstop. While I liked it immediately, now I REALLY like it. Such a fabulous concept: it's a site where any old person can just upload their favorite mix. It's genius. Because how many mix cds do you have in your cd collection that you really love? They're awesome because they're combinations you'd never think of, and actually a really great way to discover new music.

A's Muxtape.

The main Muxtape site.


spring's a-comin

It's true. Spring really is fast approaching. Here's proof:


I also wanted to post these photos of Roux. I know you're rolling your eyes for fear of something along the lines of Roux's favorite stuffed animals expose. This is different, if only because it's something I keep meaning to document.

Roux usually musters at least a forlorn look in my direction when I leave her - be it in the morning before work or to run errands in the afternoon - but she usually doesn't really care much. Sometimes though, she acts like I'm condemning her to spend eternity in a fiery hell when I don't bring her along. In these circumstances when I shut the door behind me she literally throws her entire body against the closed door. It's not just jumping. It's actually throwing herself against the thick wood in a last-ditch effort to convince me just how serious she is about coming along. It's such a despairing act, it makes it virtually impossible for me to leave. Very effective manipulation on her part. Despite the fact that I feel terrible when this happens in real life, I set her up to do it so I could take pictures. And then I didn't have my aperture set correctly, so I did it again. For a solid 10-15 minutes, I not only endured her tortured attempts to be included in whatever I was doing - I encouraged them. The result? Photos that are actually kind of creepy. But I do think they accurately capture her angst.

But don't worry - right after I subjected her to the torture, I opened the door, fed her cookies and took her on a lengthy morning stroll, which in a dog's life cancels out any previous discomfort. All's well and good, and by now it's long forgotten.