I left my sea legs in my other pair of pants.

This Saturday, with the help of my good friend, Ann, we busted serious ass in the community garden. With the recruitment of Ann, who is a seasoned gardener and ferociously hard-working, we were able to get a lot more accomplished than we would have on our own. After turning our soil into "chocolate cake," we had enough energy to stick a tiny tomato plant in the ground. 4 hours of shoveling, sifting rocks and mixing compost had me beat. But it felt good to work that hard, and I like the idea that some day I might have a muscle.

Needless to say, on Sunday I was ready for a long day of relaxation. But Ann and her dear husband decided it would be a great idea to go on a whale-watching expedition on a boat, and would I like to join them? Their treat? If I was smart, I would have said "no." I was tired. But it seemed like the kind of thing only a lazy nerd would turn down, and Ann assured me we'd only be gone a couple of hours. So I said, "Sure, I'd love to go."

They got me a ticket and we drove down to the bay that afternoon. I took one look at the boat and said, "Uh oh. Is this going to make me throw up?"
"Nah, you won't get sick on a boat this big," was the reply.

So we got on board and wandered around. I amused myself taking tons of pictures and tried not to choke on the thick exhaust fumes from the boat. Then the captain made his welcoming speech, mentioning that we'd be going out to sea for 3 and a half hours. My stomach sank. I looked at Ann and said, "Three and a half hours?" She shrugged. Everyone knows that a "three hour tour" always ends badly. My first instinct was to get the hell off the boat and take a cab home, but I stuck it out. It was a beautiful day.

The first hour was fun enough. I managed to take some cool pictures of seagulls hovering overhead. As the waves got bigger and walking became difficult, Ann got the giggles and we teetered around like drunks, laughing.

But that was where the fun ended and the nausea kicked in. I spent the next three hours trying desperately not to throw up, clutching one of the "seasickness bags" that were kindly provided on every railing.

This bag should obviously say "Chunk Blower." As my stomach tried to shove itself out of my mouth, my inner dialog went something like this:

I hate the ocean. I've never cared less about whales in my life. I'll never step foot on another boat again as long as I live. Damn you Ann. Wait, I should be meditating. What is my mantra? All is well in my world. All is well in my world. *burp* Please don't throw up in front of these people. All is well in my world. This is what hell is like. I hate you, mother nature.

When I went on deck to get fresh air, the arctic cold penetrated my ski jacket. When I went in the dining area to warm up, it was impossible not to inhale exhaust fumes. The experience sucked on so many levels, I was surprised to see only half of the boat's occupants puking and looking as miserable as I did. At one point, when I saw just how far away we were from land, I found a nice quiet corner to hide in and wept. It was pathetic.

Ann, who was impervious to the rocky ride (she said it was like being rocked in a cradle) felt pretty bad about it. Between her husband and I, she had her hands full of sick people. By the time a whale made an appearance, I was too green to walk to the other side of the boat to witness it.

When it was all over, we hugged and laughed and made fun of ourselves. But like I told Carly the next day, if a whale had jumped out of the water, into my lap, and read me a poem, it would not have been worth that trip. But that's not entirely true. If you ever see me on a boat again, it will be because I'm on my way to see snuggly whales who talk.


I Heart My Monkey

I am learning a little more about photography all the time (mostly from my friend Anthony, who works with Tom at Velo Cult.) Thanks to digital technology, I'm able to take hundreds of terrible photos without wasting any film (or money.) But regardless of how they come out, I love taking pictures. And every now and then, I get one that makes me really happy.

Speaking of awesome photos that make me happy, this one is from photographer Erin Tyner.

A few days ago I discovered her Etsy shop, and these brilliant images inspired me so much, I haven't stopped thinking about them. I love tiny things, and taking pictures of tiny things. So I started thinking about the kind of stuff I can make to take pictures of, and it gave me new motivation to work on my people sculptures.

So I better get to it.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. — Carl Jung


A thousand words.

In the world of Etsy, they say your blog is the gateway to better business. And because my Etsy shop is like a ghost town where not even a ghost lives, I decided to put a little more energy into my blogging efforts.

But I'm not real chatty lately. My brain hurts. I'm like a ghost town where not even a ghost lives.

I've been taking some pictures, however, and you know what they say about those.

These are from a Saturday walk with Miss Cooper.

Until words return to me, stay tuned for more pictures of Cooper and flowers. :)


Starting from Scratch

This Saturday I attended my first community garden meeting. There were a lot of nice folks, sitting around in a circle, talking about garden stuff. I tried to be attentive while keeping Cooper, who was sitting on my lap, from barking, whining or wandering off. As much as I want her by my side, I don't think she'll be a popular visitor in the community garden. She's like a little Godzilla, trampling over everyone's carefully planted little vegetable villages. I apologize for that, and I'll be leaving Coop at home until I can get her to understand plot boundaries.

In the mean time, we've made some small progress. Carly, impressing me with her strength and determination, spent the last two days digging through infinite rocks and stubborn roots in preparation for laying down the gopher wire. I helped a little, and when we were done today, she looked at the impressive pile of dirt and said, "I think I dug too deep. I'm a lunatic." But then reminded herself that you reap what you sow, and determined we were going to sow something immaculate.

And speaking of growing stuff, check out the new art for my Etsy store:

I showed this to my mom, and she said, "That's nice, dear." When I asked her why she wasn't more impressed (because I was mightily impressed with myself) she said, "You drew that? Oh, I thought you stole it off the internet. Kudos!" Thanks Mom. Anyway, stay tuned for more new art and new shop stuff.


Cooper the Great

Today I taught Cooper to fetch my car keys, which will come in handy on a daily basis, as I am always looking for them. We've been working on this one for a while, and it was an awesome feat for her. We were both really excited.

There is nothing like that moment when you and your dog completely understand each other. It's like cracking open a safe, or solving a puzzle. A brilliant, fuzzy puzzle.

Now if she'd just get a job.


Community Gardening

My good friend Carly called me the other day to say that, after a year and a half on a waiting list, she was finally called about an available plot in the Golden Hill community garden, and did I want to participate. I said "yes, please." It's high time I learned about growing stuff. Here is a photomentary of our first introduction to communal gardening.

I drove to pick her up on a rainy Saturday morning.

The area surrounding the garden is beautiful, especially in the rain.

We wait to meet Dave, the garden's curator, to let us in and show us our plot.

Dave arrives and shows us around, along with a couple who are also getting their share of dirt. We discuss the perils of attracting ground hogs. Everyone is real nice.

The place is very tidy. I let Cooper run around and sniff things. She was really into eating grass that day. It'd be cool if she ate only weeds. Like a little cow.

Everyone has a crafty sign to mark their plot. I've been assigned to come up with something for ours. A pirate flag comes to mind. Something bloody, with skulls, to scare off the ground hogs.

Carly signs the papers and makes it official. She says it's a monumental occasion, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

We can't wait to grow stuff, and then eat it. Check back for more community garden updates!


Viva La Resolutions

I have the classic collection of new year's resolutions: get in shape, stop eating junk food, be less of a dick, etc. But I still feel compelled to list precisely what I want to accomplish in the new year, and maybe give my goals a little more substance.

1. Ride my bike more

Tommy G built me a really beautiful bike, and if I don't ride it, I am both flabby and a dick. So in riding my bike, I kill two birds with one stone. More importantly though, is the magic perspective you get of the world from the seat of a bicycle. It is a very worthy endeavor.

2. Understand the mechanics of taking a decent photo

Tommy G also enabled me to purchase a camera for Christmas (generous soul.) The Nikon D70 is at last in my possession. You don't need to know a lot for this camera to take a fine photo. Nevertheless, my goal this year is to take great pictures because I actually know what I am doing.

3. Kick the sugar habit

This needs no explanation. Sugar is the devil.

4. Get more exercise

This goes along with riding my bike, but bears repeating. I have a box in storage labeled "skinny pants" that contains just that. I would like very much to fit into those pants in the near future.

5. Sharpen my entrepreneurial skills

Graphic design and I are getting a divorce, but not until I find another way to feed myself. It's time to throw some enterprising veggies in my capitalist crock pot and see what kind of stew I get.

That was a pretty corny metaphor. I must be hungry.

I'm off to eat something lean and sugarless. Happy new year!