A Stage!

foundationWhat should we perform here?

Nothing to See Here

There really is nothing to see with our new construction.  The rain has put a damp halt to the work and now our hole is slowly filling with water.  The relatively dry day today did little to reduce the size of our own swimming pool.

In other news, I broke the camera by taking it on the beach on Monday and trying to photograph our brie roast.  It was wonderful (the roasting cheese, not breaking the camera), but now I have nothing to show for it nor any way to show you what is happening on our house.  You are just going to have to imagine a huge hole slowly filling with water…….


No Cohesion Here


I only prepare food if there is a lovely bouquet on the table…. one must have standards.

There is no cohesive theme to be made out of today’s post.  I’m not in a particularly cohesive mood truly.  I take off with the kids for Spring break today, so I am just sort of racing around doing those dumb things that shouldn’t be pressing tasks but become so when you are out of your home for 6 days.  I HAD to make sauerkraut.  Either make it or face rotten cabbage upon our return.  I tossed in some golden beets, so I am excited about what that might be like.

I also had to clean out the refrigerator.  Or rather, I didn’t have to, but if I didn’t leave it wiped down now, I would surely regret things later.

Other news besides kitchen regrets to avoid:  the foundation is looking, well, like you could actually build something on it.  It is nice to see the footprint of our studio.  My first concern when Dad first started designs was that the addition not look weirdly out of scale with the house.  I didn’t want it too large.  Our house is super big in terms of square feet, but many of those square feet go up (or down), so the house retains a “small farmhouse” charm.  I should have trusted him more.  It is most likely going to be perfect.  Of course, now I have moved on to worrying that it might be too small!  Where will I put all my shit?

IMG_8178And this lovely little thing?  It’s our SAUNA!  Isn’t our house going to be awesome?IMG_8177I’m pretty pleased with the work getting done around here.  I DO wonder why dudes working on the foundation can’t seem to pick up their own nails?  Here is what Zephyr gathered up for me for the very economical wage of $2.  I should suggest that they pick up their own nails or pay my minion!

Where is all this dirt coming from?

This might be boring to many of you.  Who really wants to see a blow-by-blow construction project?  Unless it is your blow-by-blow project of course.  This one is mine (all mine!), and as I want to keep my Dad well in the loop and able to correct anything that the contractor might get wrong, I have got to post all these up-to-the-minute pictures.  Those of you who are not construction-minded, forgive me.  This is fun to me.

Old houses.  Old foundations.  This house has a character that I love to interact with.  As things are worked on, her bones are exposed.   Not often are there clues for what life was like 108 years ago, but one can sometimes guess at little things.  I guess this foundation would have been dug with a horse (or mule) and by hand.  The walls were poured on top of gravel.  The whole street sat much lower than it does now and there was a drive way that was very steep and wound around the back of the house (so a very low grade).  Maybe the drive way went to the barn that I saw on historical records.  That would be cool.

But yes, there is dirt all over the house.  I HAVE identified where it is coming from.
IMG_8159It is really hard to keep the kids out of the pit.  You never know how much you use your little chunk of land until it is gone (or at least covered in dirt and piles of construction supplies).  It is nearly impossible to get our bikes out these days, and what with Inez being all on fire for biking constantly, we need better access.

And the number of shoes that I have washed over and over and over again.  I took these pictures during a rare dry moment, but largely this week has been pouring down rain on our mud pit.  The dirt is everywhere.  Really.

IMG_8163 IMG_8165But I am not really complaining.  My feeling is that things are really going to speed up when we are out of excavation mode and into framing.  Then every day will be truly exciting.  We’ll come home and say, “What happened here today?”, and the answer will be something more than “a bunch of mud was moved around, but don’t worry, you’ll see it again in your house!”.

On the Bike!

After a year of scooting (on her SKUUT), I begged Inez to try the bike with pedals again.  She didn’t want to, but I had thought she was pretty dang close to learning to ride it last year.  And now her legs are far too long for the Skuut.  Two minutes and she was off and rolling (pretty fast really) down the street.  It was so awesome!  And her big sister was fabulously supportive.

Madina is obviously next.



Lewis Got Purple Hair

Francis’ 5th grade class wrote and performed an amazing play about the Lewis and Clark Exposition.  It was truly impressive; funny, informative and engaging.  Francis had fought for the part of Lewis, standing in front of her peers and giving a speech that she worked hard on.  Her classmates were unanimous about giving her the part.

IMG_8140Sometime around here, Francis identified that now that she was a soon-to-be middle schooler, she really wanted to dye her hair some bright unnatural color.  Remembering my days of wild appearances, I said, “Of course you do!” and “let’s get you an electric guitar too!”.  Actually I asked her to finish being Lewis first.  The day after her performance, we picked up a box of Splat hair dye and began the long process of making her a purple head.


Of course I am biased, but I think she looks awesome.



Construction Start!

As many of you close to us know, it has been about 3 years that we have talked about building some sort of structure onto our house.  The plan started simply; we needed somewhere to store bikes.  Our wretchedly ugly shed out back of our house has degraded in the weather to the point of being both ugly and non-functioning.  That won’t do.  My very expensive, high tech bike panniers are often full of water in the morning, even though they are technically under cover.  My parents bought a larger kiln for me, but I don’t have the proper amperage to plug it in.  Our basement work space, (if 4 people were not currently living there), is great for fabric, but questionable for the other art that we do—- glass and ceramics.  We have tools in multiple places in the house.  In general, we need some storage around here!

My dad made great plans for us: a studio art space with a small sink, tool storage, and room for the 7 bikes of the household.  There is access to the studio off the back deck, so there will be a quiet (I imagine), covered place to sit during the rain for meditation or “mommy’s little time-outs”.  Also on the back deck is a sauna that will help us get through the winter without running away to Mexico every February.  Alongside the back kitchen door will be stairs going up to a sun deck on the top of the studio.  This is so that we will have somewhere to sit and drink beer while looking down on all the neighbors.  No, I’m kidding.  The neighbors will come up and drink beer with me (I hope).

I am going to skip talking about the City of Portland Development Services.  I have this photo somewhere of a clock on the wall of the permits building.  It represents all the frustrating HOURS that I spent trying to get permits, sitting, waiting, trying to figure out how to please these people and being asked to do I’m not sure what.  Then I paid for it all too.  I don’t want to sound like a libertarian.  I believe in doing my part for my community, which includes building proper structures that don’t fall down or kill people or pollute the neighborhood.  One has only to look at pictures of Haiti after an earthquake to see the sense in having some sort of building oversight.  And when it is time to pay my taxes for the privileges that I reap being an Oregonian and American, I am happy to do that.  But the whole process is set up for contractors and builders instead of for normal citizens.  Even though it is a service for us, the citizens, there has been little effort on the part of the bureaucrats to speak our language and help us do the things that the city requires of us.  “Sheer wall”, my ass.  Is that a wall you can look through?

My point is, that after two years of back and forth and struggle, I hired an engineer and finally got the permits.  Okay, enough of that.

Construction actually started today.  First off, I cut the branches off what I affectionately call the “Mugwump”.  It is a sort of ugly shrub willow that has grown slightly tree-like.  It is constantly branching off into the sidewalk and requiring trimming which makes it uglier rather than more attractive.  I’m sad to see it go because it was a good shady place for kids to play, but besides that, it was just a nuisance.



Oh, goodbye Mugwump!  One fell scoop of the excavator and the mugwump came out by the roots.IMG_8041

Here is a view of the side yard before the excavator tore in.


Ahhh bamboo!  This damn bamboo was pretty and made a great screen between our somewhat obnoxiously messy neighbors and us, but it was constantly encroaching on the walkway.  The stuff really does grow amazingly.  I wish that the guy ripped more though as I suspect there are a lot of roots in there and I will see the bamboo again.IMG_8047

It is freaky to see a machine rip part of your house away, but wow— effective.  The guy driving this thing is not much for communication.  It is hard to get a spark out of him (maybe he is a zombie?), but he is really very good with the arm of this machine.  I was impressed.

IMG_8059No more porch.

IMG_8070And a huge hole in the backyard.  Actually, my whole backyard is a mud pit now.  Oh well.  The lawn was sort of uneven anyway.  Maybe we can make some improvements when this is all done.

I will continue to update all this week.  The dirt is definitely the most exciting thing going on around here.

Oh, I need to add another category.  Construction.  Destruction?


6 Year Old Plants Vs Zombies Party

I really hope my 6 year old nephew KNOWS how cool I am.

(And how much I love him, of course).


photo 1

photo 2

Every family does this, right?



Okay, Last One

IMG_8033First Graders

Okay, now I won’t make you look at any more kid art for awhile.



2 Days to Go!

Auction is in 2 days and I am (almost) officially done.  I need to deliver the pieces now, but they are all in my living room, so I should be able to find them.

I keep doing double-takes, wondering if I forgot something.  I don’t think I did.

Here are the last few that I had not shown yet: another Klee Cats variation (3rd), a collage piece commemorating the 50 year anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington, and a Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1st) out of tissue paper.  Oh yes, and the ACTUAL ART POLE (6th) from previous pictures!



Yes, I snuck my work in here….. they needed another fall tile and the numbers were off. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!