Back from vacation, and injured twice already


I broke a toe within the first 10 minutes of being home (trying to change into comfy pants, in the closet, stubbed it on the edge of the floor on my way out), and then! I burned myself! ON THE STOMACH! on a hot baking sheet (fresh out of the oven, covered with shortcake for the strawberries, putting away the damned hotpad that I was using, to, yes, not burn myself.  Classy.

The trip east was wonderful, other than the heat.  I’m a mess at anything over 70, and it was in the high 90s the entire time we were there.  (that’s the mid-30s for those of you in the civilized world).

There were house finches, goldfinches, cardinals, grackles, blue jays, robins, mourning doves, red-wing blackbirds, and chipmunks at the bird feeders out back, bats and swallows over the pond in the evenings, along with the first fireflies I’ve ever seen.  Also the craziest sunset I’ve seen in a long time:

We took the train to Chicago one day and went to the Shedd Aquarium.  Much fun was had.  Jellies are amazing.

We also went up to Kenosha, so I got to see the town my dad was born in.  It was insanely windy, on top of being stupid hot, and the sand on the beach was blowing out over the water in huge clouds (didn’t seem to deter the sunbathers, though)

It was a wonderful trip, but it’s really, really good to be home.

Covered in bees

There are very few lawns in our neighborhood – almost everyone has replaced them with flower or vegetable gardens.  There isn’t much grass, much to the dog’s disappointment, but there are lots, and lots of bees.  On an average evening walk we will see at least three different kinds of bumblebees, tons of honey bees (pretty sure there are at least a couple of people who have hives within a couple blocks of us), mason bees, and assorted other little winged pollinators.

Note to self: getting up close and personal with a giant lavender bush covered in bees to take pictures will result in me being covered in bees.

Bonus funky plant:

Discovery Bay

On the recommendation of a friend from work, Matt and I headed up to Discovery Bay with the dog for the weekend.  The recommended destination was the Chevy Chase Beach Cabins, and they fully lived up to the hype.  Truly wonderful dog-friendly place to get away and stay for a weekend.  Everything you’d ever want in a vacation rental, including a private beach where the dogs can run free.

This was Stella’s first trip to the beach, and one of the extremely rare times she’s been off leash (her recall is less than stellar), and ZOMG! the running! the slobber!  the eating god-knows-what off the tide line!  At least she didn’t find some dreadful rotting thing on the beach and roll in it.

She ran towards us:

She ran away from us:

She chased seagulls into the water and discovered that it is a)cold and b)wet:

There was a LOT of running back and forth down the length of the beach. A tired dog is a good dog. Unfortunately, a wet hound is a STINKY hound. The tiredness totally made up for that stink, though.

The cabins are all painted different colors, and are awfully pretty in the afternoon light.

I had lots and lots of really good pictures, and then my SD card DIED.  Died so very hard I couldn’t recover anything off of it, nor could any of my minions.  It was very, very sadmaking.  We went up to Sequim and got another card, but the weather the next day wasn’t nearly as good, and the tides weren’t as low, so I couldn’t get any more pictures of the amazing beds of living sand dollars.  I hadn’t seen sand dollars around here since I was a kid, so that was extra cool.

I’ll throw a couple more pics at you here, and if you want to see the rest, go check the out in my Port Townsend flickr set.

the hinges on the front door of the main house on the site – SO pretty!


Stella with her backpack

The dogmonster turned 1 this past weekend, and finally got the backpack we’ve been wanting to get her all year. The day was spent hiking, foraging for mushrooms, and enjoying the company of some good friends from work (and enjoying the first real day off I’ve had for three long months). It was glorious.


The ferns were all white in one area.


The first visible snow of the year for me, against an amazingly blue sky.


I loved the way the bright yellow trees reflected on the lake.


Jennifer Billig is an absolutely amazing artist.  Amazing.  Seriously.  Anyone who can take a vague description and a call-phone photo of a headstone, and turn it into *exactly* what I had in my head is exactly that: amazing.

Stage one of The Big-Ass Tattoo is done.  I’m due to go back in September for part of the shading and color, and then again in December for the rest of it.  Hopefully it will all be finished before the end of the year, but we shall see how that goes.

Roughly one hour into the actual inky bit we were up to the elbow, and I was feelin’ fine.  Just fine.

Dogwood tattoo at the first break

Dogwood tattoo at the first break

At hour 3 or so we had the whole arm done, and I was still feeling pretty chipper, although freezing my arse off:

Dogwood tattoo, second break

Dogwood tattoo, second break

Then we did the shoulders and the upper back, and that was pretty much when my body decided it had definitely had enough:

Dogwood tatto, the final hour

Dogwood tatto, the final hour

That last bit was absolutely brutal, which really surprised me, but the entire outline is done, which should be the worst of it, right?

I love it.  Looooooove it.  Love.   Also?  I’m now covered in beeeees!