Monday, October 10, 2011

Art & a Weekend Vacation

I love this quote. Calligraphy and painting by our friend, Gerry Fulton
Well, it felt like a vacation, but it was really just a good weekend.

It started with a relaxing dinner out with my parents on Friday night. After dinner, we stopped by the Bargain Boutique to see the display of Katie's Comforters Guild's three quilts, which will be up for auction soon.

Gregg and I have been talking about exploring our state's capitol city, Olympia, for nearly a year now. We stopped there with that intention last year, when we were on our way to Portland, but it was raining buckets that day, so we decided to try again in better weather. The day we chose was Saturday, and it turned out to be a great choice.

We started by driving the "back way," down Highway 101 on the west side of Hood Canal. Hood Canal is really not a canal (it was misnamed back in the day, just as Poulsbo was supposed to be named Paulsbo). Our first house was on northeastern shore of Hood Canal, and we love the area.

We saw lots of farms, and fall colors starting to appear in the deciduous trees; we passed oyster farms and stopped at the Hoodsport Winery. It's a little place which you might miss, if you were in a hurry, but we didn't, because we weren't in a hurry - the point of this trip was to enjoy the ride and all of the sights. We tasted three of their wines, and purchased a bottle of dessert wine (which we plan to serve tonight to our parents, with apple-peach cobbler).

Back on the road, we connected with I-5 and found our way to the downtown area of Olympia. Parking is free on Saturday - yippee! - and they were having an ArtWalk. It was the perfect day to visit - not too hot, sunny, and the locals were out in force. There were street vendors selling all kinds of art, clothing, and food, craftspeople making metal sculpture and paintings, a farmer's market, live music (LOUD) and many fascinating-looking people, artfully dressed.

We walked all through the grid of downtown streets, made our way to the waterfront and savored the boardwalk's views and investigated antique shops; after a couple of hours of walking, we sat down to enjoy a glass of wine, a beer and hummus plate during Happy Hour at a pub/restaurant. We had a great table from which we could view the street scene and all of the passersby, which was fun, but we had one of the most inhospitable servers I've ever encountered. She clearly didn't know that it was Happy Hour, and acted as if she was irritated to have to serve us. She neglected our request for water, over-charged us for our food and stood by her decision, so she got a very tiny tip, reflecting Gregg's feelings about her "service" (if I hadn't been there, she would have received no tip at all). After that, we were ready to leave town, so we headed back home. It's a drive of a couple of hours, so we stopped for a bite to eat before arriving home - and the service was just right in our local pub. A great date - a movable feast!

Yesterday, we started the day with a refreshing walk, and then worked in our yard. Gregg and I are not avid gardeners. We love our place, but we aren't the types who can't wait to get out and dig in the dirt. So when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday this year, he said "A day of yardwork from Jorge and his crew." We laughed about this - is it a sign of our "maturity" (middle age) that this is his idea of a great birthday gift? In any case, the crew arrived on Saturday and did a great job of pruning, raking, weeding, etc.
Sea grasses and salal cut back.
After our walk and a bit of lunch, Gregg and I decided to do some yard work ourselves. It was actually fun - we didn't do too much, and we had the reward of seeing results from our efforts.
Boxwood pruned by Jorge & co. I removed the mint at the bottom of the rock wall. I did leave two sprigs, because I hate to see it go. I love mint!
I took on the task of cutting back the mint and lavender (both of which I love having in our garden), while Gregg mowed the lawn and cut down a dead vine maple tree. We felt good about our accomplishments, and the yard now looks ready for winter...except for the fact that the hydrangeas are FINALLY blooming - a few months late, but it's SO nice to see the lovely blue blossoms!

Looking down from the deck on the lavender bed. It didn't look good this year, so I pruned the heck out of each plant, in hopes that they will grow back nicely.

We made a big decision (for us) this week, to purchase a painting which we've been admiring for several years. Heather Andersen is the sister of our friends, Heidi & Paul. She is a talented painter, in addition to the fact that she has a full-time job. Heather and her husband Eric have written a wonderful book called "Remember,  I Can't Remember) about caring for a loved one with dementia, based upon their experiences of caring for their grandmother. I highly recommend the book.

We are taking the plunge and buying this painting from Heather:
Painting by Heather Andersen
Since I'm writing about paintings, I thought I'd show you the two which we inherited from my grandparents. They are my favorites of the ones Nana had in her home.
Paris street scene - the sky and wet road remind me of our winters here.
The warmth of color in that flower stall is a welcome sight!
I love this image of the Tour Eiffel and the River Seine. The sky reminds me of the changing nature of spring weather. I had the walls of our dining room painted to simulate this sky.
Lastly, in preparing Gregg's parents' home for its new owners, we had to move some furniture out. I loaned them my great-great-grandparents' sideboard many years ago, and it is now back at home with us, serving as our hall table.
Yes, this belonged to my great-grandmother's parents - I even have a photo of them playing cards, with this piece in the background.
Art is a gift that enriches our lives, whether you find it in nature, in a painting, furniture, a street fair, museum, in a book or online. Through books and the internet, art is freely available to everyone - we don't have to own art to appreciate and enjoy it. I hope you find pleasure in these works of art that have special meaning to us.


ChiTown Girl said...

Your weekend sounds like it was wonderful!

Busy~Bee Suz said...

It is so wonderful that you and Gregg enjoy the same things....traveling, art, wine/beer and NOT doing yard work. :)
Your yard and your home is a great representation of your union....even if you both decide to have outside help: outside.
I adore the painting you are evokes such a feeling of warmth and character.
And the other pieces that are coming into your home; gorgeous. That sideboard; OH, if it could talk!!!!
Glad all is well with my friend on the West coast!

Anonymous said...

I remember that sideboard in Granny's apartment. I'm so glad you have it, Karen, and that it didn't go into some vast unknown void. May it serve you well for decades to come! B.J.

Diane Walker said...

I love that back road to Olympia; used to drive it every time I went down to Portland to see KC... so pretty!

Good for you for making the pilgrimage; I keep meaning to but have never been...

Feel like I've seen that Paris picture somewhere else. So familiar!

Thanks, as always, for sharing your life with us.