Sunday, September 30, 2007

Symbols of Transformation

from Katy: September 24, 2007 5:34:31 PM PDT
Did you really used to hate your house? What happened? I know you've worked a lot on it, but what else, what happened? What's the story of the transformation?

then katy said...

Was there a turning moment---a new floor, a cabinet, a sink, a good workman, a perspective from the table or chair or bed or stove, that revealed a change in the works? I really want a tale of symbolic change. Is there such a tale?

still wondering said...
Symbols of transformation, yes or no?...or is that too....psychological for something so practical

Katy's referring to the post where I told about going from hating our house to loving it. Moving to San Francisco wasn't supposed to be like moving to a prison camp. But that's what it felt like for a long time. The change that was revealed was in me as much as the house. (Violin music swells.)

Some symbols of the transformation:
• A green rubber watch (mailed to me by Tom after I had "moved" to Chattanooga for a month) with a note saying Time to come home. Love, Tom.

• A song that happened to be playing the first time I ever tried out an i-pod on display at the Apple Store: (If I had to point to one moment, this would be it.)

... I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren't half as frightening as they were before
But I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...

• A doorbell Tom & I painfully installed (big, green and glowing–looks like a gumdrop).

Other things that didn't hurt:
• White paint
removed (too good to be true)
• New red roof
removed (too disrespectful)
removed (too dramatic)
removed (too sad)
removed (too personal)
• New window punched out with view to the ocean / lots of light
removed (too obvioius)
removed (smells bad)
removed (too gushy)
removed (too strident)
removed (too weirdo)
• Getting the fireplace going (talk about luxury!)
removed (too dumb)
• The fact that Tom is a great designer. When anything he designs finally comes into being, the results are wonderful.

The saga never ends, as everyone who lives in a house or hovel knows. But Katy, you're the one with the house story. You lived in a tiny apartment in NY (so small you had to move your bicycle out of the way for me to squeeze through the door with my suitcase). Then two years ago you moved to a 170-year-old building in TN. (4000 sq. ft?) When will we hear your house story?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Trouble With a Capital "T"

Pal, thanks! I just opened Mellowicious. What a fun CD; I liked it right away. I was just now looking at pictures I took at lunch today (one above) and Trouble With a Capital "T" came on. p.s. I'm slow, but I'm wrapping up Sasha Dobson's CD for you.

E-mail from Aggles: Did I tell you that that picture of Tom makes him look like a country western singer?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Role Reversal

Emmy had a big bucket of chalk on her patio yesterday, so I grabbed a purple chalk and drew a dog. Cameron (age 5) grabbed a pad of paper and a marker and in no time had copied it meticulously. His dog was better, as you can see.

commented yesterday: don't kids make the best art?

... So I complimented Cameron on his dog, and then pointed to the house. "But what I REALLY love is your HOUSE."

Emmy (below, age 59) said, "I drew that house!" Then she proceeded to add grass and to outline a curtain.
"Why did you draw a FIRE under the house?" Ryan (age 3) demanded.
"That's not a fire! That's grass," Emmy replied.
"But it's RED. Grass isn't RED!" he insisted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our House

I found this drawing in Emmy's back yard today.

From: Katy
Subject: house question
Date: September 24, 2007 5:34:31 PM PDT
To: Linda

Did you really used to hate your house? What happened? I know you've worked a lot on it, but what else, what happened? What's the story of the transformation?

Yes Katy, I hated my house for years. Remember when you asked if you could come visit and I said no? It was because I was so depressed about our house.

When we first moved, I felt deceived. There were 26 bids on this house. It was a rat's nest. But a cheap rat's nest compared to others on the market. I remember when the moving van arrived, the driver was shocked that we had voluntarily left our home in TN to move into this one.

It was dirty and nicotine-stained. The yard was impossible. There was a funny smell, and months later it turned out that an animal (a cat) had been trapped and had died between the floor of the house and the ceiling of the basement. It was two years (?) before the inside was livable, though we lived in the house that whole time. Not a big deal when you think about what others in the world are going through, but ...

What I found out about myself was that I'm not able to see the beauty around me unless I have a place to live where I feel at home. This is a terrible weakness, to be sure. It took me five years to feel at home here.

About three years ago I began to see the beauty around me. I love our house now. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. But here's a reminder of what our house was like for quite a while.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Photo Requests

1. katy said...
Show us the card when it's ready.
Here it is! Well, part of it–wasn't sure my pal would want all her info posted. But you can see how the letterpress actually presses the image into the paper.

2. mary ann said...
When can we see the door stop?

3. nap time said...
Throw away the NY Times and take a nap with the pillows. Have Tom, who loves you more than life itself, take a photo of your nap. Post that photo. The nap must be real. Tom can confirm that reality.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am The Pest

Have you ever been to a movie and had th ebad luck to have a pest sitting nearby? Tonight I was that pest. We went to the Boa* to see 3:10 to Yuma. I took a stainless steel thermoss of wine–enough for both of us–and we bought a large bag of popcorn. When we finished the bag of popcorn, I went out for our free refull. Sicne Tom had ordered a meduim coke, I ended up drinking the whole thermos of wine myself. When the thermos was empty, I attempted to replace the top (so as not to forget it) and set the thermos upright on the concrete floor. CRASH! It smashed over on its side. (The floor in the Boa is slightly slanted downhill towards the screen–that's the reason.) I attempted to correcxt my mistake. CRASH!! It hit the floor a second time. Several people turned around and stared. I knew, I knew, by now that I had regained my bearings. I attemped to upright it a third time. It clanged to the floor–as if a shot had r;ung out–and the whole therature reverberrrated. This time, twice as many people turned around. Tom touched my arm gently and said, "Linda."

People who do things like this really bug me. Have you ever been a pest? What have you done? Please say!

*Our affectionate name for the Balboa. When we first moved here, all the lights were out on the neon sign except for the last three.

E-mail from Sal: did you mean to make all the typos in the pest post on purpose?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The sun is setting earlier every evening. It's good to be home. I used to hate our house and now I love it. If you hate something and grow to love it, sometimes I wonder if it means you're actually more attached to that thing than if you liked it to begin with.

Tom walked in as I finished cleaning up the kitchen. "Sorry I made such a mess," he said.

"That's OK. It was worth it. The only problem is ... you made too much."

Actually, I was referring to the fact that I couldn't stop pouring wine. I couldn't stop eating the brown bread from John Campbell's Irish Bakery. I couldn't stop making little crostinis out of the grated Parmesan and garlic croutons. Then there was the chocolate that Deb and Eric left. I had a chocolate-covered toffee, then I started unwrapping the gold foil from the other chocolates and taking a bite just to try them. But I was careful to put them back in the box before I ate the whole candy. Eric did it, so I was sure it was proper.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," I admitted.
"You can get stapled," Tom suggested.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Printing Thrills

I went to a PINC (Printing Industries of Northern California) show a few months ago thinking I would get a glimpse of what was happening in the world of desktop printing. I ended up enthralled with some samples I picked up from One Heart Press. Whoa! Instead of learning about the future of digital printing, I was propelled way back in time. One Heart Press uses a letterpress, similar to the printing process Gutenberg invented over 500 years ago.

After designing a card for my friend Anne, I had a feeling that One Heart Press would be the perfect printer for her. We paid them a visit. Val gave us a tour, explained the process, and showed us samples. Every piece from their press was a little work of art.

Today we went to the press check for Anne's card. It was an incredible experience to attend a press check and not be the slightest bit apprehensive. I knew that Val and Chad would be just as demanding as we were. Chad went through seven different variations of printing the card before the four of us were happy with the results.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On Our Way Home

Tom, Deb, Evie and I discovered this funky little harbor restaurant five years ago after a visit to the di Rosa Preserve. We were determined to find it again this trip with Eric, and we did! Moore's Landing is exactly an hour and ten minutes from home.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dream Winery

The most beautiful winery you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams? We found it today: Artesa. If you're ever through Napa and only have time for one stop, this is it. All the art is by Gordon Huether; the piece above is an example.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Deb and Eric showed up yesterday, and today I withstood another picnic–that's two in one week. But at least it was on concrete this time. It was at Gloria Ferrer Winery. Here's what we saw from our table. (Eric took all the photos.)

Deb finds some grapes.

Tom and I find a new house at Corner Stone Gardens.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


After we finished our walk yesterday, I made a sacrifice for our marriage. I threw in the towel and went on a picnic. We had apples from the farmers' market, and Tom had mixed up a bag of salted almonds, raisins, and chocolate. Once I had downed a can of champagne, I stood up and asked:

Is the picnic over?

Not yet, was the reply.

So I stood around taking pictures until he finished his chapter.

We ran into these two characters on our walk.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Somebody Else's Life

Today when I woke up I found this note. (I added the part about loving me more than anything on earth.)

Tom made coffee and the sticky buns were incredible. He brought back a NY Times, too. The day only got better.

I had to go into town to e-mail sketches. While I was at the copy shop, he went to a beautiful store called Placewares+Lyndon Design where I had seen five beautiful pillows from Denmark the day before. Also I had seen a rubber doorstop that I liked shaped like a tube of paint.

When I was finished on the computer, Tom appeared. The trunk was full of pillows from Denmark. In the bottom of the bag was the doorstop in bright orange shaped like a tube of paint.

He had also gotten a movie that I had been wanting to see by Sarah Polley called Away From Her.

It was sunny, too, and we hit the trail for a walk earlier than usual. Tom suggested a picnic. I didn't say anything right away. (I don't like picnics.)

When we got back to the cottage, I ran inside with the pillows and threw them down on the couch, which is brown. It's plain to see what these pillows can do for a brown couch. If you have a brown couch and want to place an order for pillows, just let me know.

After I took the photo, Tom said: Well, if we want to go on a picnic, we should do it tomorrow when we can get an earlier start.

So we didn't have to go on a picnic after all! I opened a can of champagne and we had salmon tacos inside, with our books and music.

I said: Tom, did you just find out I have a terminal illness and only have three months to live?
I felt like I was living somebody else's life.

Then we watched the movie surrounded by the pillows from Denmark.
I know this is the kind of photo I'm supposed to be posting, so here it is (from our walk):

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007


This path is ten miles long. It runs the whole length of Sea Ranch.

It's foggy today; we're in Gualala for the farmers' market and wi-fi.

Tom's loading up with fresh vegetables (and fresh baked pastries and pizza, I hope). I'm plugged-in upstairs at the loft by the copy shop.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Our cabin's in the woods up on a hill. It's very simple and cozy and even comes with good music. (Brazilian guitar and Mozart.)

(Above) We only had two visitors yesterday.

We didn't have time to get by Green Apple Books before we left. We were thrilled to discover that Sea Ranch has its own library, in an old white shed. I immediately found two books by Henning Mankell. Sally C. goes on and on about him; and Barbara & Larry send Inspector Wallander books to Tom, who reads them and sends them on to Billy Oil.

When we had selected our books and were ready to leave, we didn't see a checkout desk. We heard laughter coming from behind a closed door; we knocked and asked how to check our books out. A group of women were quilting, pinning bright material up on the wall and ironing. One said: "It works on the honor system. Take whatever you want." Another woman added, "Try to remember to bring them back!"

This is one of the best vacations I can remember. Even though I'm working, it's good work. I can't be happier than when I'm doing work I love. Unless it's when I'm eating fish tacos.

Also, I've rediscovered reading. Henning Mankell writes in a plain and straightforward style, almost deadpan. Here's a sample paragraph from The White Lioness, where Inspector Kurt Wallander is searching the home of a woman who's disappeared, looking for clues.

There's one sentence in here that cracks me up. The offhand way it's inserted kind of reminds me of Raymond Carver (one of my favorite writers back when I used to read books). It also reminds me of something that happened to me recently.

He continued with the living room, without finding anything of note. Then he went upstairs. He ignored the girls' room. He searched the bathroom first, reading the labels on bottles from the pharmacist and making a note of some of Louise Akerblom's medicines in his note pad. He stood on the bathroom scales, and was dismayed to see how much he weighed. Then he moved on to the bedroom. He always felt uncomfortable going through a woman's clothes; it was as if somebody was watching him without his knowing it. He went through all the pouches and cardboard boxes in the wardrobes. Then he came to the chest of drawers where she kept her underwear. He found nothing that surprised him, nothing that told him anything he didn't already know ...

And just in case you got hooked by that paragraph and are wondering,

... It was only when he opened the bottom drawer in the last of the chests that he was surprised.

See you later.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

El Mejor Tacos de los Pescados

We put new tires on the Ford Nebulous and took off around 4:00. When we got to Bodega Bay we stopped at our favorite place to eat (above). By the time we got to our cottage, it was dark.

Monday, September 03, 2007


The beach this evening, Labor Day.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Beach Finds

I found a color wheel on the beach this evening. Then I found the man below, serenading the setting sun with his violin.

Tom and I are leaving for a vacation Wednesday. It will be the first vacation we've taken–just the two of us–for 8 years. I look at today's photos and think, "Why are we going away?"
It's because when we're here at home, we can't detach ourselves from our computers. I'm really really looking forward to our vacation, though of course I'll be taking my computer with me.

Marilyn and Me

I thought I must be dreaming. My blogger pal Marilyn came to the show! Tom and I went to Biscuits and Blues last night (albeit to hear Jeffrey, Marilyn's boyfriend play drums), but I wasn't expecting Marilyn herself to show up. She lives in Davis; Tom had reminded me the bridge was closed.
This is how I felt when I realized it was Marilyn standing before me and not an apparition. I almost went thrombo! (Actually this is Sweet Baby J'ai, who sang.)
That's Sweet Baby on the floor; Jeffrey on drums. Tom and I ended up staying on for the second show. Near the end I kicked off my shoes and Marilyn and I got up and danced.
Marilyn and Jeffrey. Early this morning they'll drive to the Sacramento airport so Jeffrey can make it to the Thirsty Ear Festival where he'll be playing with Joe Louis Walker's band tonight. Marilyn is really tall. When I put my arm around her for our photo, she felt like a feather. And she ate piles of yam fries! I don't get it. She has the greatest talking voice–like a calm happy bird.