Anatomy of a Morning

Morning Light on Bed - Valeria Heine

It’s stupid hot and humid here. Were it not for the cool whirring of the fan placed squarely in my direction from the foot of the bed, I would certainly have devolved into a goop-y, gelatinous blob during the night.

Ennis needs to be let out; he’s asking me politely, but I ignore him. Every so often I’m startled back awake with the help of a little wet-nose poke on my arm. It’s five o’clock and I want to be a good mom. But I’m not a good mom. I roll over one, two, three times more, and each time the fan hits me somewhere different on my body. It’s so nice. I forget about Ennis.

Six o’clock, I hear his whines again. Maybe I’m a better mom than I was an hour ago? Yep, turns out I am. I roll out of bed the way little kids barrel roll down a grassy hill. Somehow I find yesterday’s dress and something for my feet, then I walk outside. I don’t open my eyes once.

Back inside, Fry is crying for food, but his cries do not distract me from my mission: back to bed, back to the soothing breeze of my fan. Ennis is satisfied, for the moment, and curls up between my feet. Fry joins us, pressing his furry orange face against mine and curling up to share my pillow with me. I kiss his little nose and then remember the giant cockroach he picked up and carried around in his mouth last night. It’s the first time I’ve seen a cockroach anywhere I’ve ever lived. I am disgusted that it won’t be the last. (Humidity and heat, and we just can’t do anything about our dog bowl full of fresh water. Lovely.)

Fry grabs my arm with his paws and licks my hand. I remember how he spent the entire evening prowling, saddened and confused as to why we took his new friend/meal away from him.

I hate him for eating bugs. I love him for hunting them down and killing them.

I forgive him. He’s so cute. We cuddle.

7 o’clock. It’s time for work, but I’m haggard and drowsy. Fry has moved to his dreary-eyed daddy now; Ennis is gone. I pull my computer out from under my night stand and get started, eyes barely open. I hurriedly finish two projects, sending out emails one, two, three, ticking them off my mental check-list, and then place my head back on my pillow.

I’m suddenly mad at Jon for not having prepped coffee the night before. I’m terrible at making it, and he knows it. I roll over again, accepting that without a pot of coffee waiting, there’s no reason to get up.

I sleep. I am fanned by a cool manufactured breeze. I need much, much more time.

9 o’clock. I am forcing myself awake.

It’s Jonathan’s first day of school. I kiss him good morning. I ask if he’d like me to take a picture of him with his fancy, graduate school book bag. He says maybe later.

I tell him to make me coffee, since he knows I’m awful at it. Turns out, he did prep it the night before. I count my blessings, congratulate him on being a jerk, and begin my day.

I think it’s going to be a beautiful day.

(Image: Morning Light on Bed by photographer Valeria Heine)


Peekay Australian Shepherd 02

I want to avoid this sounding or looking like a eulogy of some kind, so I’ll start by saying this: Peekay, our Australian Shepherd, is not dead or gone or anything close to that sort of thing. He is alive and wonderfully cute, healthy, and sheddy.

That being said, with Jonathan, Ennis, Fry, and myself moving down to Orange last week, we were noticeably short one member of our family in the form of Peekay da Dog…

Pollock Pines: 4 Girls, 2 Ukuleles, 1 Lake

Pollack Pines Girls Weekend Trees

Last weekend I had a wonderful (and necessary) girls getaway in Pollock Pines, CA — about halfway between my home in Livermore and South Lake Tahoe, surrounded by woods and lakes — with a couple friends.

I didn’t take any pictures of the delicious food Cassie prepared, or the whiskey sours I made, or the heavenly hot tub, or our nail-painting session during a laugh-filled screening of Julie & Julia but I did manage to bust out my camera during a silly and boozy trek to nearby Jenkinson Lake…

An Event-Filled Las Vegas Thanksgiving

Minus5 Ice Bar Las Vegas Cocktails

A few days ago I returned from my very first trip to Las Vegas where we celebrated Thanksgiving with Jonathan’s mother and stepfather. It was so much fun and exhausting. Is Vegas always so tiring? (Jonathan, a seasoned Las Vegas pro, says “YES.”) Though, it could also have had something to do with the 28-hours in the car we spent to get there and back!

I committed a good portion of the trip to playing with the settings on my new DSLR camera — a Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Nothing particularly fancy if you’re into cameras, but given a past dependency on my Android phone’s Vignette app, this is a significant upgrade.

The vast majority of pictures I snapped were a blurry mess, but a few didn’t turn out half bad! Here’s a little peak…

My Classic Movie Childhood


With Jonathan deep in film school applications, the process of talking through essay topics, master thesis options, and personal statement talking points has gotten my heart going pitter-pat for old movies — my old mainstay…

Returning Home: A Golden State of Mind


In one month, Jonathan and I will load the dogs and last of our belongings into his car and begin the drive back to California. For good.

Our Hawai’i Vacation w/ a Vintage Twist

Hanapepe Valley Watercolor by Marionette Taboniar

Jonathan and I have returned to the land of rain and clouds and cold after a lovely and relaxing vacation on the island of Kauaʻi. And you know what? We deserved it. Our trip couldn’t have come at a better time. You see, the Pacific Northwest has been stricken with the longest winter and coldest April in recorded history. The fewest days over 50ºF between the months of January and April ever. Plus, the current forecast is making the remainder of May look very grim indeed. Lucky us!

The combination of this cold and wet has made us very unhappy campers, and coming back from warmth and sunshine has turned out to be pretty demoralizing, to be frank. Sharing a few highlights from our trip with you is the best way I know how of getting a little bit of sunshine back in my life.

I took a lot of random phone pictures, but I ended up having an especially good time using the “Polaroid” filter on one of my new apps. I admit it is somewhat juvenile, but I’m actually loving the casual, vintage vibe it gives our trip. Reminds me of something I might find in my grandparent’s attic under a pile of old photographs…

The Bread and the Knife

Robert Chailloux still life Bread, bracken, apple and eggs

I’ve been thinking about poetry quite a bit lately. After a conversation with my friend Killian, I realized that the majority of poems I love are because I heard it read by someone else first, and thus reading it myself brings out the same intonation and musicality created by the person whose voice spoke the same words.

Poems like this stick with me, ones like John Keating reading “O Captain, My Captain” in The Dead Poet’s Society or Posner reading “Drummer Hodge” in The History Boys.

Or 3-year-old Samuel Chelpka reciting this poem, one of my new favorites, from memory:

“Litany” by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.


However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.


It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.


And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.


It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.


I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.


I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and — somehow — the wine.

Isn’t Samuel incredible? (You can watch him reciting Collins’ “Walking Across the Atlantic” too!)

What’s interesting to me is I’m not entirely sure I would have stopped and noticed this poem if I had simply read it somewhere. This is what makes me a bit sad, more than anything. Can I only be drawn to poems if I’ve heard it read in a movie, or by an adorable 3-year-old? Admittedly my exposure to poetry has been minimal compared to other friends of mine who not only studied it consistently in school but also write it themselves, but I wish I had the ability to read poetry and connect simply because the words or passages speak to me, to discover the flow and rhythm of the language on my own.

I’d like to start reading more poetry, so to help get me started: what is your favorite poem? I’d love to know! Please feel free to share in the comments.

(Image: oil painting by Robert Chailloux, “Still life — Bread, bracken, apple, and eggs”)

The Sun, My Old Friend

Sunny rainy city by Blanca Gomez

I am certain I can count on one hand the sunny days Seattle’s had in the last five months. What’s crazy is I had no issue with the past two Pacific Northwest winters I’ve experienced, but this one is a real doozy, friends, and my vitamin D pills aren’t cutting it anymore…