Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And besides, they are DISTINCT!

An email just in from my good friend Monica about a conversation between Sophie (6) and Annabel (3) that she overheard.


On the way home from camp today, I heard the following conversation in the backseat:

Sophie: “Now I REALLY want a pet, Mommy!” (after seeing a Jasper look-a-like poking his head out of a distant car window)
Annabel: “Me too!  I want a pet baby Unicorn.”
Sophie: “There’s no such thing as a real baby Unicorn.  They are a mythological creature.  And besides, they are DISTINCT.  They don’t exist anymore.”
Annabel: “Yes they do exist!  Playmobil makes them!”
Sophie: “No, they’re distinct!”
Annabel: “Yes, I WANT A BABY UNICORN!!!!”
Sophie: “No!!!!!!”
Annabel: “Yes!!”
Sophie: “No!!”
Annabel: “Waaaahhhhh!!”

This seems to capture our life right now, from fairies and unicorns, to the tug of war and ultimate tears.  At least I can laugh about it, right?

Love, M.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How we ended up in theSmith Tower lighthouse?

One beautiful Seattle day, I looked up at the Smith Tower and was hypnotized by the pointy triangle on top.  I contacted the owners, the Samis Foundation, about taking a look at the upper floors of their massive inventory of downtown buildings and warehouses for a long term lease....but it was the Smith Tower "belfry" I was clamoring after.  A year went by negotiating for the Tower space and navigating Seattle's zoning regulations regarding multi-use buildings.  Many people jumped in and without which I doubt this project would have been successful.  Sally Patterson, Jim Castanes, Dale Chihuly and William Justen, to name a few.  It could not have happened without the village.

The pyramid evolved from a series of dark creepy spaces into a bright open dwelling.  A water tank was removed, giant concrete lumps left on the floors were jack-hammered out, heated maple floors put in, some of the ladders between the floors were replaced with stairs, a make-shift kitchen and two bathrooms were created and most important of all, the gothic windows were made operable.  The resulting triangle has been my residence for thirteen years and it now houses four of us, my husband David, and our daughters, Simone (6) and Naomi (3).  

I had no idea when moving in just how marvelous Pioneer Square would be to live in. It is a unique community of intelligent, fun, authentic and visionary people.  Children are warmly welcomed into galleries, stores, restaurants and the rich fabric of this diverse neighborhood has turned out to be a wonderful place to raise a family.  

There was a white light at the top of the pyramid when I first moved in. The lease it states that the tenant is to change the lightbulbs when they burn out.  Somehow,  I saw that as a license to also change the color and one day, I opted for an ultra-marine blue bulb.  The neighborhood was up in arms and alerted the Seattle Historic Society.  Then a keen young intern at the Samis Foundation, Jack Almo, who happened to be writing an essay on the fiscal history of the Smith Tower, stumbled upon a story about the buildings inauguration festivities back in 1914.  Turns out that the Smith Tower first opened its doors with multi-colored lights shining from the globe.  That established a history of colorful beams coming from the lighthouse to celebrate various holidays and the historic society and neighborhood group allowed my blue beacon to stay.   Thank you Jack!

View west from a living room window.   Originally there one or two horizontal bars (as you see above) across the windows and when I was pregnant with Simone, both David and I decided to install bars and gates throughout the house to abate our intense nightmares.  The place is now a fortress.

The babies could bang on the bars as much as they wanted and be safe.  
This is looking West from one of the bedroom windows.

Simone and Naomi taking a quick bath in the sink after dinner.  They are so much fun.

Looking up at the front facade from the street.

Seasick?  Dizzy look down on the eye lids of the gothic windows from the globe.
The end of the day is really something. 

I was inspired by the bookshelves Dale Chihuly built in the lavatories off the Pendleton room at the boathouse and ended up making my own set with a polymer edging.  What I like is how this showcases the covers of the books rather than just the spines.

In the Chihuly Hotshop urinal, Dale installed two buck heads with massive racks.  Though taxidermy might offend some, I might have to co-opt that idea too sans the urinal.    

The books here are from a box of paperback books I was reading in New York City in 1985.  It is a snapshot of the early eighties and of what was important to me then.  Janet Malcolm,  Joan Didion, Flaubert, James Baldwin,  Voltaire,  Graham Greene, Richard Brautigan, Peter Matthiessen, Oscar Wilde,  Kant, Aldous Huxley,  Henry Miller, Thomas Berger, Dashiell Hammett, Virginia Wolfe, Jean Cocteau...  There are a few exceptions, Cold Snap by Thom Jones, a little hard-cover red book on the right hand side, True Patriot by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer from 2008 and "Don't Think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff.  (See "Evening with Lakoff" post.)

This is from one of our annual "Rational Evenings."  Each guest is asked to bring a fact, statistic or novel view of something that has changed the way they now see a particular issue.  We go around the room hearing from each guest.  Humorous one moment and we're all in tears the next.  En masse it is a riveting adhoc symposium on the issues that are relevant to our friends today. 

Friends arrive and depart by an elevator in the Chinese Room.  
Pictured here is Fred, Ben, Margit, David and me. Ben and Margit Rankin are Simone and Naomi's godparents along with William Justen.  Can't have too many godparents!

Simone cycling in the lobby on a rainy day.  Security guards, Alex and Adam with
bikes in the background, probably getting ready for their commutes home.
Looking South toward the stadiums at dawn.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Birthday at 3700 feet

We flew to the Hampton's on June 19 which is Simone's birthday.  The flight attendant, Maria, had an idea. Over the intercom, she had the passengers light the candles by pressing the attendant call buttons.  Then they sang Happy Birthday and then Simone made a wish and blew out the candles at which point the passengers pressed the call buttons again to snuff the candles out.  

By the way, Simone had already enjoyed a giant 120 guest "Big Dig" Treasure hunt at the beach (epic as always) and celebrated her birthday at school and then again with her god-parents and so she didn't mind flying on this very special day.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. -Winston Churchill

My good friend Annie Reese (mother of Cora and Liam) invited us to join them for riding lessons at the Willows Edge Farm in Bothell.  The riding school has these beautiful warm maneless horses called Norwegian Fjords that are perfect for young riders.  Be forewarned...throughout this post are horse jokes that Naomi and Simone have been testing out on their friends.

Cora went first.  She took to it immediately.

A cowboy rode into town on Thursday,
Stayed 3 days and rode out on Thursday. 
How is this possible?
(Answer:  His horse's name was Thursday.)

Liam went next.  He'd done some riding before and he wanted more speed.  He was ready to trot.

Did you hear about the sad horse?  He told a tale of whoa! oh whoa!
Where do you take a sick horse?  To the horspital of course.

Simone loved it.
Girl: We have a mayor. Do you? 

Horse: Sure! 
Girl: What do you call it? 
Horse: Same as you do. Mare!

All the horse had the Willows Farm heart brand on their rumps.
One day, while I was petting a Shetland Pony at the zoo, a friend of mine asked, "How
are you today?"  I responded, "I'm feelin a little hoarse." 

Naomi's spiderman boots work fine. 

What does it mean if you find a horse shoe? Some poor horse is walking around in his socks.

Each lesson began with a few rounds of no hands.  Naomi talked the whole time she was riding. "Sweet horsey. You have a nice coat. I like it way up here. etc.."  She was a wee bit nervous and found her own way to handle it. 

But I've got a horse out in the country 
I get to see him every second Sunday 
He comes when I call him, 
Yeah,he knows his name 
One day I'll saddle up And the 
two of us will ride away"  
                                 -Cowboy Junkies

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My feet can reach the petals.

We seem to be on the weekly boat rental program at Greenlake. 

Simone and Naomi like the big double-wide mothership ones so they can walk around easily. 
I like the boogie board best, but they have to stay very still or we get a chilly bath.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Abbey Road

The Daggatt's are visiting Gemma's family in London.  Great Shot!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


McKinley's leap.  Isn't it beautiful.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Arne's egg.

What a satisfying chair.  Thank you Arne Jacobsen for creating this beautiful lounge.  
(There is a whisper of Eero Saarinen in here.)