ineffable

2/27/10 – Thanks to Tom for snapping this photo.

Hats off to my friend Mr. Pratt for bringing the wine a very long way to dinner.

It was serendipity that his travels brought him to Cincinnati on the last week of February, as the final Saturday of the month is a holiday of sorts. Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is an annual event coined a decade ago by John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, former wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal.

The intent of the occasion doesn’t fit neatly in a greeting card.

In Dorothy & John’s words:

This is why we invented OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year. Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all of us have that very special wine that we always mean to open, but never do. On OTBN every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. The whole point of our wine column is that wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all of the things that are really important in life.

(from Sprucing Up for Wine’s Night. 26 January, 2007)

That’s pretty kick ass. During their tenure at the WSJ they rated wines on a scale of “Yech”, “OK”, “Good”, “Very Good”, “Delicious” to “Delicious!”. That’s also kick ass.

So it was a good set-up as we met Tom & Wendy at a favorite restaurant that allowed outside beverages (see corkage).

Mr. Pratt brought the wine. Each bottle, carefully considered, was coupled with stories both dear and auspicious.

When I asked him what he thought after having a sip from the second bottle he said “ineffable.” With some shame I asked him what that meant.

“There are no words. It means it can’t be described” but he went on to mention that it had a feeling, a sort of tingling.

Great, I thought. Here I said it had the aroma of a freshly painted room—which it did—but what I didn’t say is that a freshly painted room was the smell of new beginnings! But I felt a little tingle too; and I don’t think it was from embarrassment.

Tangent? I once worked with a designer that never said anything negative when a client offered lame input. He’d simply say, “Well, that is really something!” with palpable excitement.

Luckily my friend isn’t one to mince words and he regarded the paint fume comment without visible distress. He’s also very patient.

I always thought patience was one of the most important components of wine, but this day gave me the perspective that it’s not always about waiting, it’s also about sharing the experience, and this evening was exceptional.

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lunchbag puppets

Oh hi there

My friends had a birthday party for their youngest yesterday.
A bit of a miracle that one year old.
I like these friends and don’t see them enough.
Their house is filled with life.
Right out in their front yard is a vegetable garden.
On the day I visited, the back was filled with families and kids running all around.
There was a slip and slide,
tables filled with summery salads,
brownies and cake.
Inside, an activity room had these lunchbag puppets lined up saying, “photograph me!”

Current music: Grizzly Bear “While You Wait For The Others”

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Guamanian fiesta

a carrot cupcake was a fraction of the awesome

The weekend closed out with a “BBQ extravaganza / authentic Guamanian fiesta” hosted by our new friend Jenny.

Her cousin Joe with a big smile and a wicked talent on ukulele was visiting.

Together they curated a feast of delicious-ness (ribs, steak, marinated cucumber, grilled pineapple, corn on the cob and apple slaw to name a few dishes) paired with seemingly never-ending pitchers of margaritas.

I’m salivating in recollection.

With a house full of well-fed musical folks, Joe coaxed out some sweet singing with his uke and it drifted beyond the dinner table and into the yard.

I think the appropriate word for days like this is blessed.

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this had the potential to end in tears

Luckily it did not. Other toys were found to occupy their attention.

Saturday was perfect for a grillout, and friends down in Loveland had one fired up for a Draft Day party.

I’m not exactly sure what all the football stuff was all about, but since the chart of colleges and draft picks was on the table with the chips and dips, I would pop inside, nod, and graze.

Outside was breezy and perfectly sunny. If folks weren’t old or pregnant we would have set up the Ladder Golf set (also known as Hillbilly Horseshoes, Bolo Toss, Monkey Balls, Chuck Your Nuts, Dangly Bits, Donkey Balls, Golfshoes, Twigs and Berries, Rodeo Golf, and many more… for real).

Instead we enjoyed spending time between the sun and the shade, nursing cool drinks, circling the grill, and running after kids. Good times.

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Grace turns 12

Someone got crazy with the candles, I counted more than 12

Birthday party on Saturday.

Finally an audience where I could talk about Twilight openly! (My mom’s letting me borrow her copy of the vampire romance novel.)

Every time I put on the coat to leave, I kept getting wrapped up in laughter and conversation.

Good times, great pizza, and more awesome cake.

Bonus, Amy’s keen decorating idea.

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The “new” guy

cuttin it up

This is Joel.

You may have noticed him modeling some of the new shirts over at the shop. Well maybe not, since I’m always cropping off everyone’s heads.

Anyway, Joel has been with us for like a year now, so he’s technically not the new guy, but he is the newest. He comes in a few days of the week and can jump into darn near any project we’ve got going. That alone makes him valuable, but the real bonus is that he’s a bright and fun guy, with a passionate (and yes, maybe quirky) taste for music; whether he’s picking out an album to play, or talking about his own creations.

The only thing we disagree on is how to say Appalachia.

All in all, we lucked out finding him.

Current music: Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down “Yes, So On And So On”

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Make sure you have room in your heart for absolutely everybody

On August 18, Dan and Chris (no not me and Dan) got married in San Diego

I’m standing there in California, which in itself is a fresh batch of cookies for the soul.

The garden is packed with smiling people—each face trained on handsome grooms.

I’d known the couple to wed for years. We met for the first time in the spring of 2003 and liked another well enough to travel to Europe that autumn.

In the time we’ve known each other, Chris and Dan have taught me how to appreciate wine, the joy of British humour, hardiness zones for plants, and a host of other things that enriched my world view.

When I heard that after 14 years together they were getting married, I marked my calendar and hung the invitation on our fridge.

So there I was, back at the ceremony on that August afternoon.

A fella named Austin officiated with particular charm, telling the story of how Dan and Chris met. He spoke of their love for one another and for everyone that stood before them to witness that day. I don’t remember all the words but I will say that I stole the title of this journal entry from Austin’s recollection of the day:

“Make sure you have room in your heart for absolutely everybody.”

I’m not going to try and butch it up folks. I cried at the apex of the ceremony.

These were tears for not only my friends, but for the very experience and possibility of their union.

As election day looms, I’m reminded that this marriage might be revoked if Proposition 8 is passed in California. And even though this is all going on with seven states between us, it’s heartbreaking to see the news and advertisements from the opposition.

I’m reminded of words by Robert F. Kennedy,

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness.

On that afternoon, in that backyard garden in San Diego, I shared some of that happiness, and I’m very grateful.

PhotosHere are some images from the day

a handmade envelope

just because

A friend sent a handwritten letter in a nice homemade envelope the other day, and I’ve been carrying it with me ever since.

Slipping it between the screen and keyboard of my laptop.

Sometimes I’ll put it in my pocket and find it again just before bed, setting it by my glasses for pick-up the next morning.

Soon? It will likely serve time as a bookmark.

I even updated my homepage with more artwork from this scan.

I’m not obsessing, really. (Trust me, I spend way too much time on political websites of late to have time to be obsessed about anything else).

It’s just that I wanted to remember to make note of this note.

I want to write one back.

Then write dozens more.

In lieu of doing just that, I’m writing this journal entry.

It’s not the same—I know—but it is a reminder.

Virtual string around the finger.

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Farm Day 6

printing shirts in the studio

Saturday was the sixth day out on the farm when friends and family drop by to wander the fields, eat cookies in the shape of ghosts, strum guitars, draw faces on pumpkins, and stop by the studio to print up a shirt.

It was so good I left pleasantly exhausted from the all the fun and sufficiently stuffed from the spread of goodies. This year was potluck. Everybody with last names betwee A-L brought a side dish and K-Z hooked up the desserts. (Yum!)

Current music: something from Talking Heads

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