Friday, February 28, 2014

Mom & Dad's February Visit

My parents came out to visit us during the last week of February! We had a really wonderful visit, and were pretty busy the entire time. Unfortunately, I was too busy/tired to write a blog post during that time, and then I was sick afterwards. I'm finally getting around to it - having to change the date to reflect when their visit was. Just wanted to make sure to get the basics down, and the photos up!

The weather was amazing. I told them that they were here for the only 4 consecutive days of non-rain that we've had here since I moved to Bellevue in early January. It rained the day before they came, and again (actually, snowed) the day after they left.

Some of the highlights of their visit:

Microsoft! We met my friend, Nicole, and also Dick at the Microsoft Commons for lunch. The Commons is the super-fancy, huge, food-court like cafeteria option on the Microsoft Campus. Thanks, Nicole and Dick for meeting us for lunch, and for showing us around! After lunch, my parents and I checked out the Microsoft Store on Campus, and also went to the Visitor's Center.

Mom, Nicole, Dad

Mom and Dad at Microsoft Campus

We started our next day off in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle at the glassybaby store and hot shop! My dear friend, Mary, generously gave my parents and I a tour of the hot shop, and behind-the-scenes areas of the store. We all really enjoyed it - thank you, Mary!!

glassybaby hot shop!

Mary showing glassybaby product to my parents

Mom and Dad at the glassybaby Madrona store

We had lunch at a great little place in Madrona, then headed to the Space Needle! My parents and I haven't been to the Space Needle since 1982.

Mom and Dad in front of the Space Needle

We spent a couple of hours at the Chihuly Garen and Glass Exhibit. It was really spectacular.

Chihuly Exhibit - indoors

Chihuly sculpture inside the greenhouse

outside, in the Chihuly garden

We had a couple of hours before our scheduled dinner with friends, so we went up the the top of the Space Needle and enjoyed the view, coffee/hot chocolate, and eventually the sunset from the top.

Dad and Mom, at the top of the Space Needle

Space Needle at night

We met our friends, Jeff and Cheryl at a nearby restaurant, and had a GREAT time catching up. Jeff worked at LSI Logic in Milpitas back in the days when I, and later, my Mom, worked there. I hadn't seen them in well over 10 years!

The Chows with Cheryl and Jeff

My parents left the next afternoon. We spent part of the morning walking around Downtown Bellevue a bit. I brought them to Bellevue Downtown Park, which was especially beautiful that morning.

My parents at Bellevue Downtown Park

We had a really nice visit together, and look forward to another one soon!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Have Blackout Curtains, Will Travel

My Mom and Dad are up in Bellevue, visiting for a few days. Yay!!

My Mom is the only person I know who travels with her own blackout curtains. Impressive! :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A little bit of progress on the Market Street Painting

I worked a little more on my Market Street Painting today. I lightened up the sky quite a bit. I just mixed a couple of blues, didn't add any black, and painted over the existing sky area. Looks much better, I think.

I also added a whole lot of whites/lights all over just to start suggesting the idea of the light against the darkness. It's not precise, but I think it helps to add clarity to the buildings and to the street.

There's still plenty of work to be done. One of the hardest/biggest things to do yet is to figure out the vanishing point for the windows in the left building. Once that's done, I'll be able to get those windows in (or, at least suggestions of them), which is a large portion of the painting.

So far, I'm really happy with how the bus is turning out. I think there are some nice color blocks in there, and that there's a decent sense of motion.

I won't be able to paint for several days, so I'm glad I got this session in today. :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Perfect Lunch

Paula had the day off today, thanks to the President's Day Holiday. We spent the morning and early afternoon together, driving around town, running errands, and checking out the local Goodwill and second hand stores. She has found some great finds at these stores in the past, and managed to find a few more gems today!

By 2:00, we were really hungry. I had a craving for a grilled cheese sandwich, so we went to Lot 3, which has the best in the area!

Our lunch was really amazing and completely decadent.

We ordered and shared a grilled cheese sandwich with grilled onion and bacon (which comes with a small bowl of tomato soup and a small salad), and an order of macaroni and cheese.

Our server was nice enough to split the portions for us onto individual plates.

OMG. SO good.

This may be dangerous. Lot 3 is only a few blocks from my new pad. ;)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Starting new Painting: Market Street

I started a new oil painting this week. It's my first painting in the new place in Bellevue. I've got a nice little set-up here in the guest bedroom/office/painting room. I'm painting next to a window, with Northern exposure, so the lighting is ideal.

This is a photo that I took on Market Street early last month when I was last in San Francisco. I really like the angles of the buildings, and the tracks and lines on the street. I also love the motion of the bus and the old-fashioned bus, and all of the lights.

As always, I had a 12x18" print-out made at Costco to hang near my easel to use as a guideline. Now that I'm looking at the original photo here on my computer screen, I can see that the print-out is much too dark, which means that my painting needs to be lightened up, too.

the original photo

the canvas is 36" x 24". here, I've toned it, and drew out the lines in white charcoal

early stages, week one

early stages, week one

early stages, week one. I can see that I need to lighten the sky, buildings, and street.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Elfa Closet System!!!

Oh, Happy Day!

Today, I had an Elfa Closet System installed in our Master Closet of our apartment.

The closet of our Master Bedroom is quite large, and frankly, the largest closet I've ever had. Large as it was, it didn't make very good use of the space, as it only had a single shelf, and a single clothing rod going around the parameter. We also had all of our shoes laying around on the floor of the closet.

About a month ago, I went to the Container Store, and designed an Elfa closet system. I waited until January, knowing that they would be having their 30% off Elfa Sale.

I really love the Elfa system. Dick and I designed and installed one of these systems in our old house in San Francisco about 11 years ago. It's such a clever system, only requiring one rod to be secured to the wall, with the rest of the components hanging down from it.

Everything was delivered and installed today, and it is really fabulous. We don't have many shelves in the rest of the apartment, so we installed many shelves in the closet. We still have plenty of hanging room, as the other two (smaller) walls still have the clothing rod.

I think we'll make a small change, and exchange two of the shelves for one longer clothing rod for Dick's shirts, so that they aren't too cramped.

I love an organized closet!

If you have any interest, I just noticed that The Container Store has extended their 30% off sale on all Elfa products through March 2nd.





My Fuzzy Valentine....

...Sweet, Fluffy Valentine...

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Extraordinarily Talented Alff Family and their performance of "Escape (The Power Converter Song)"

Do you all remember when I went down to Burbank to visit my friend, Terri, and her family in November? They are the Star Wars-loving family for whom I painted the Crock Pot R2D2.

Well, I just had to share this video showcasing the talents of the entire Alff Family! This is a video of their performance at their school's talent show - complete with original lyrics - to a song they call "Escape (the Power Converter Song)".

If you are a fan of Star Wars, you really must watch this video. Not only are they an extraordinarily talented family (that's Dad, Derek as lead singer and guitar, Mom, Terri as backup singer and bass, Deacon, 12, on drums, and Maren, 9, on piano), but they are also very clever! The lyrics and video are awesome!

I could watch this all day.

This is actually the third Star Wars oriented performance that the Alff Family has performed over the years.

Here are the videos from 2011 and 2009, when they performed songs written by Weird Al.

2009: "Yoda"

2011 "The Saga Begins"

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weather Forecast

Looks like we'll be getting a little bit of rain up here in Seattle. Guess this comes as no surprise. :)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Saturday, February 08, 2014


We just returned to Seattle/Bellevue after being in North Carolina for the last week and a half.

This evening, we were treated to our first snowfall. Pretty!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Targeted Marketing

In the most blatant example of targeted marketing that I've experienced so far, I give you the "Team Chow" t-shirt.

"Limited Edition"!

"If you're a CHOW, then this shirt is for you!"

"Whether you were born into it, or were lucky enough to marry in, show your strong CHOW Pride by getting this limited edition "Team CHOW - Lifetime Member" tee today."

I think I may buy a "Team Chow" shirt for Dick. After all, he was "lucky enough to marry in".