20 April 2015

10-Month Anniversary

Yesterday was 10 months since we broke ground! 
We're still pretty happy about our house and where we are. Yup. 

14 April 2015

Grammy and Grumpy Come to Visit

We had a great walk, all five of us, from the new house up the 1/2 mile to the Copse, and all the way back again. We got the 4-Runner stuck in the mud trying to drive this route in June a few years back, and we are well aware that the ground is still a soggy mess now in early April. It does, mostly, support human weight and dog weight. 

My parents came to visit for a couple nights this weekend (they stayed at the Blue Heron 3 doors down, which is for sale, by the way, if you'd like to run an Orcas B&B), and my mother, true to form, loaded the Corolla to the rafters with soups and pastries for the freezer, and three big porch pots of flowers, tomatoes, herbs and greens. I love my mother very much indeed, but too much interaction between the two of us in small Hogan--for instance, if she were to stay for several nights to help with the dishes and the ancient dog--would end with tears and frustration on both sides. Several delicious meals that she's prepared--loving me all the time she's been slaving over her chopping block--that we can heat up at a moment's notice, saving ourselves hours of labor, is the perfect thoughtful and nurturing gift. Particularly when they're delivered by Mom and Marsh together, who are a delight.

Small sign of life in the prairie.

What a handsome guy. 


Two handsome guys.

We didn't all have quite the same stamina for the long circuit through wet fields.

Mom and Dog. 

09 April 2015


This is not, alas, how Ian will always get to travel between Orcas and his office at Montlake, but it was a perfect day for it on Monday. These photos were taken from the front yard of Hogan, so you can see that I'm not suffering by being left behind. Ian got to sit in the co-pilot seat, also, lucky man. Fortunately, an actual co-pilot isn't needed on these flights.

Banking for the descent. Ian has already walked over to the West Sound Marina, where Kenmore Air comes in. 

Heading in to port. 

Almost to the dock. 

Away they go! 

Getting up speed!

And they're off!

04 April 2015


Ian and I were finishing lunch outside the Dacha today when a bald eagle flew leisurely overhead and began slowly circling above us.

We stood, eyes on the skies, and watched, enraptured, as it wheeled around against the deep blue and fluffy white of April on Orcas.

"The moment you step away from the computer and outside, there's this beauty," said Ian with a touch of awe. I agreed, damp-eyed with patriotism at the noble vision.

We watched in silence for a bit more, then I mused "You know, it's interesting that our national symbol of pride . . ." and Ian cut in, " . . . is a scavenger? Sure," he went on, "it can grab a live fish out of the waves, but it's just as happy pecking at a dead spawning salmon, rotting on the riverbank."

God Bless America.

one-fingered on my phone

03 April 2015

The Inconveniences of Living in Paradise

This is Paradise, Orcas, no doubt about it. But that doesn't, alas, translate into uninterrupted bliss. I had high hopes, in the dark of winter, deep in the trenches of leaving Seattle, of having wide swaths of uninterrupted time to myself, to do what I wished.

I brought my sewing machine to Hogan House; my several in-progress knitting projects; my watercolor supplies; my camera, new monitor, and new software; my piano; and many pounds of books, both old favorites and unread anticipations.

I have read some books. Yesterday I had my first piano lesson, and pulled out an old knitting project. But mostly I cajole the ancient dog into eating something good for him (usually by feeding him by hand), or listen, with varying degrees of emotion--from extreme irritation to tender sympathy--to his endless font of squeaks, snores, and farts. It's snores and farts right now, which is why I can take a moment to write.

Most of my time the dog doesn't occupy is taken up with housekeeping. Theoretically, Ian helps with this. In actuality so far this year, he has been in Seattle for two days every week--or, almost every other week, on a work trip for the entire five days. I have done a lot of cooking from our tiny fridge on our small electric range. And a Sisyphean amount of dishes. IT NEVER ENDS.

Don't get me wrong--the quiet; the views of sea, wooded island, sky; the fresh, salt-scented air; the small interactions with people who are already friends--at the farm stand, the bookstore, the post office--I would not give these up for a thousand dishwashers. But they're not going to facilitate a thousand creative projects, either.

So, I'm turning down the volume on my expectations of production. It takes several hours more per week to simply complete the minimum tasks of day-to-day living--and I have regretfully accepted that I am constitutionally unable to leave the dishes unwashed for more than 24 hours. Even with cupboards full of clean ones.

I'd really love to have staff.

one-fingered on my phone