Category Archives: Personal

Suitcase Painting


I painted my big suitcase back in 2007 before going to New York. This year I decided to paint my smaller carry-on bag. I leave for a week long training on Sunday. I decided on this trip, I wanted to travel super light and just take a carry-on. (Checking is so annoying and expensive.)  I found a quote about travelling. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And then will also be writing some of the cities that I travelled to over the years.


It is turning out a little more pastel than I like, but I had to lighten up the colors to get them to show up on the dark green canvas.

Below are some pictures of my big suitcase.


Josh was living with us at the time and he drew the character on the front. I always love waiting for this bag at the carousel. No one else has a more distinctive bag!


Mission Complete

The Messy "before" picture

The Messy “before” picture

So the fiber area is 90% organized. The only things left are the large bins of fabrics that are 3 or more yards. The are in the closet and are Too large to put in my little bins. I will have to wait till I move downstairs before I decide where and how I want to fold and store those. Plus there is a box of patterns I need to sort thru.

The cleaned "after" picture

The cleaned “after” picture

I am so pleased with my progress. Notice the empty shelf areas! I purged a lot of stuff. Several bags are ready to go to the thrift store and two full garbage bags are just gone!

I did discover that a couple of my small scrap drawers smelled mildewy. This was my own fault. I often leave the windows open up there, pretty much all summer.  But it is Seattle and it rains… So obviously these plastic containers, which are right by the windows, were getting rain and then keeping the damp fabrics closed up tight in this plastic bin. Hence mildew. The nice big pieces of fabric that smell, I will wash with some vinegar and try to get rid of the smell. A bunch of scraps I just tossed, not worth trying to clean. This won’t be an issue anymore after the move downstairs.

Project in progress

Project in progress

I got it cleaned up enough that I decided to make a project. I am making a visual journalling travel supply kit. I need to figure out a way to best fit my favorite pencils, pens, papers and collage tools. I found a few blog posts online that made similar things, but I don’t like following patterns, and nothing was just right, so I am just making up as I go along.

I do still need to finish organizing the paper area then the computer area.

2015 The Big Summer Project

Well, this blog has been dormant for YEARS! As has my artwork. This is the summer to change that!

Basement room in progress

Basement room in progress

I haven’t made artwork in years and part of that is because my studio space has not been easy to use. The attic has been problematic for a number of reasons: too hot or too cold, depending on the season; only access is by ladder which my knees can’t handle anymore; and the dogs hate it when I am up there. So not that our basement roommate has moved on we are repurposing many of the rooms. Along with that a deep clean and repainting as things are moved around.

I already finished painting and cleaning the basement room. Next we move Shawn’s books and computer down there. Then I will temporarily move the bedroom to the spare room to allow for cleaning and painting of the bedroom. Next I will do the same for the living room. Finally, I will paint and clean the spare room and move my studio from the attic.

Part of the studio move will require new furniture, including a fabric cutting island. I will also sort and pare down supplies to focus on fiber arts. I am hopeful and excited that the new studio arrangement will allow me to work more often and more easily on my art.

As part of this, I am taking an online class called “craft cleanse” which has assignments geared towards clulling and sorting supplies to make your studio space more usable. I plan to blog as I go along with these assignments and to show the progress on the overall project.

Meanwhile I am pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest.



The Story of Charger

imageName: Charger

Nicknames: Pooter, Pooh, Der Tootendoggen, Pooh-dog, Stink-butt (can you tell I fart a lot?) Charger-Barger, cow nose and Sir Fartz-A-Lot (my hip-hop name)
Sex? Male (Fixed)
How old are you? When is your Birthday? We celebrate on November 1st, which is the day I came home(2003). The shelter thinks I was about 5 years old when I got left by my first family. (They loved me for many years, but then could no longer afford to feed me and I was WAY WAY WAY too skinny.)
What breed are you? German Shepherd/ St. Bernhard mix
Describe your physical traits.I have a ‘cow nose’ it is very white and pink and big. I have big floppy ears and lots of scrunchy jowls on my neck. My coat is a beautiful black and brown. When you stare into my big brown eyes you will notice that I have RED EYELASHES. I have a cute little white strip on the back of my neck. But my biggest and best feature is the one that won the hearts of my mommy and daddy the first second they saw me, MY SUPER SMILE.
Describe your personality.Besides being incredibly happy in my new home? I like to be with ALL my people. I herd them into the same room if they are all spread out. I am mellow most of the day and lounge around like the king of the roost that I am, but when mommy gets home I howl with pleasure and run around, roll on the floor and get my well deserved scritches.
Where do you live? I live in a nice house with my mommy, daddy, and Joshie. I have a nice neighborhood filled with dogs that I get to play with, sniff and bark at. I have a big backyard that I run around in, but only with my mom and dad, I don’t like to be in the yard by myself.
Do you have any siblings? There are these two cats that live in the house. Mommy had them before she met Daddy and they pretty much keep their distance from me. We both get a little curious sometimes and bump noses. We each have our own spot on the bed and sleep together without incident.
What is your favorite toy?ANYTHING that is soft and fuzzy and squeaks!!! Mommy has to buy squeakies in bulk to repair and make me new toys all the time.
Where is your favorite place to sleep? I ONLY sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed. Lately I like to lean on daddy’s legs and try to push him out of the bed (he he!)
What is your favorite thing to do to annoy your people? If I am not getting the attention I deserve (which if I am honest is rarely, after all daddy works from home, so I am rarely alone) I like to stare at mommy or daddy and woof at them and then turn my head away like, “That wasn’t me”. I do this about a dozen times in a row until they come over and play with me.
Anything else you would like to add? I have a couple of girlfriends that I get to play with all the time. Good thing we are all fixed because otherwise…. Also I am SO Lucky to have a grandpa that loves dogs and happens to be a doggy doctor, I don’t even hate him for the recent medicine that he squirted up my nose.

November 2003

Ruff I bought him a dog because he loves dogs and I love him and I thought I would tolerate it for the sake of love.

I was wrong.

He is HUGE and hairy and slobbers when he drinks. He follows me around everywhere. The cats still don’t know what to do about him. I have to sweep every day and vacuum almost as often.

I never knew I could love a dog this much. He bats those big brown eyes and plops his big golden head in my lap and I melt. I look forward to getting up at the crack of dawn and walking out in the freezing cold so he can water every lamp post. I am anxious to get home so I can get a big slobbery hug. I am still wearing black despite the fact that every hair that covers me stands out like a slovenly sign of my pet ownership. I am so glad that I don’t have to tolerate him anymore.

So Charger is a German Shepherd-St. Bernard mixed shelter dog. We brought him home from NOAH. They are an amazing shelter and we continue to support them whenever we can. He was about 5 years old (and had never been neutered) when his family could no longer afford to feed him.

By the time we found him, he had already been adopted once. The family that tried him out for three months had a big family with little kids and realized they could not handle such a large dog. Honestly, I can’t imagine having Charger for 3 months and giving him up! But I am a full-blown sucker now, when it comes to spoiling and loving Charger.

Charger came with the name, and after only a short time with him, the name so obviously fit that we couldn’t justify changing it. He has two speeds: sleeping and full charge! ut he quickly earned MANY nicknames!

January 2004

Obedience Training Today was our first day at “good manners” class. Both of us went to find out more. We weren’t sure if it was OK to train the dog with one or both of us at the same time. I am so thankful Shawn came with me! there must have been about 20 dogs there (all medium to big, but Charger was in fact the LARGEST dog there) and Charger was just bonkers with nervous excitement. He pulled so hard that we both had to work to contain him.

The trainer recognized him right away, Charger was a favorite at the shelter. She talked for most of the hour, telling about different training collars, ideologies and methods. Charger was shedding like crazy. We both wore black, as it is a staple in our wardrobe and we were covered with hair in a matter of minutes. He finally got friendly with the girl dog next to us.

The only command we worked on today (finally at the very end) was sit. Charger already knows that one. But in general we learned some very good do’s and don’ts about training and we will be going together for the next 6 Saturdays. It was so much work to hold onto him and keep him calm AND try to listen to the instructions. I could not have done it by myself.

March 2005 ~ Charger’s Sports Injury

Today at 11am, I was just getting ready to work in my studio when I heard an ungodly welp. I stuck my head out the window to see my dog on the ground with his back end in an unnatural position and he was twisting around in circles trying to get up. Shawn came running around the corner and I ran downstairs. In the stress Charger had totally soiled himself and scratched his own legs. It was obvious that something was very wrong with his back hips and legs. He wouldn’t put any weight on them and they were twisted in the weirdest ways. The only thing to happen to cause this was he was chasing after this possum that he has an ongoing battle with, and as he charged around the corner of the house he slipped either on the wet grass or possibly on his own poop.

Even though my dad is a veterinarian, AND was on his way for a rare visit. I knew this was beyond his current work. He does house calls, so he doesn’t have a clinic and he mostly cares for the shots, fleas and minor illnesses and allergies. Without a clinic it is not possible to do x-rays and surgery. So we looked up the emergency animal hospital and planned to rush him there.

BUT Charger is 120-130 pounds of raw determined German Shepard/ st.Bernard muscle. So getting him in the car in his current pain and fear took a first try of roomy Kath, My b/f and myself. But roomy Kath quickly threw her back out, so I got the neighbors. Tony, a construction worker and Paul, a burly 200+ lb weight lifter and My b/f and myself, managed to get him into the car on a blanket.

At the clinic they had to sedate him to take x-rays and found (thank GOD) no broken bones, no hip-dysplasia. BUT he still will not put any weight on his left leg and he is turning the paw under. He has plenty of feeling in the leg and hip, the right leg is fine. So it is muscle or something. He is staying in the hospital over night, getting major doses of steroids and anti-inflammatories. If he doesn’t get better before Monday, we will be seeing a neurologist or something. YIKES

I am very thankful, that with S finally working we can afford the care. But please send all your prayers and good healing thoughts to Charger. I have been on the verge of tears all day, so also pray for myself and S for our stressed out worrisome mommy and daddy emotions.

So ($650.00 later) we have brought Charger home and he seems happy to be here and is not experiencing much pain. This is what the emergency clinic doctor ended up thinking it might be He said there is really no cure for it.
We are going to try steroids, muscle relaxants and meds for pain as needed, while doing some at home physical therapy, as recommended by Doctor Grandpa.

~ So it has been two weeks since the accident. We have been doing our best to cure Charger with TLC and it is working. We had him taking some meds for the first week but have stopped all meds as he no longer seems to need any. He is walking normally, but his leg is still a little weak, so sometimes he looses his footing and the leg slips out from under him. He is back to regular amounts of eating, playing and sleeping. He is getting up and down the stairs and on and off the beds and couches without help. He is as angry at the postman as ever and makes it known. He has gotten to be his old spunky smelly self and we are so relieved. 2 weeks for a sports injury is pretty good. In fact roomy Kath hasn’t healed nearly as quickly, but she is getting better too.


December 2014

Charger has enjoyed a wonderful life with us, but the past few years have been rough. After more and more pain with his arthritis, going deaf and then he having night anxitey related to senior dementia… We finally determined that his quality of life was too diminished. We used a home vet to help Charger move on. It was a difficult decision but best for all.

2011 Year End Review….

2011 has been a roller coaster of a year.

It started out with Shawn getting laid off from Microsoft in January 2011. But since I.T. had been tearing him up inside and things were pretty stable with my teaching gig,  I told him that I would be happy to support him while he chased a dream… We both have this little fantasy of owning a bed and breakfast when we ‘retire’ so I figured that owning some kind of restaurant would be an important stepping stone to that dream. So Shawn started researching and planning. I keep doing my teacher day job and training with the dogs.

Proud of his toy destruction

We adopted Frankie in June of 2010, and he turned out to be an anxiety ridden spaz! He was supposed to be part English Mastiff and Part Great Dane. This would, in theory, make him big, slow, lazy and loving. BUT after getting to know him, training with him and watching him RUN… we discovered that he must be at least 1/3 Greyhound!  Tearing up the house, destroying furniture and driving us crazy also led us to believe he might have some separation anxiety. Luckily, I discovered Jennifer and the Dog Spot.  She examined his issues and felt that it ~might~ be separation anxiety but was more likely a lack of confidence and too much energy.

 frankie at agility training

So Frankie and I started with Basic Training Classes, then moved on to some Fungility Training and finally a class called Games and Tricks. The physical and mental stimulation was so helpful, and the daily homework kept us both on our toes. Charger even got to learn some new things too.


Speaking of Charger, he turned 14 years old yesterday (December 24th is his birthday according to his adoption records.) When we got Frankie, it was because Charger had slowed down so much we thought he was on his last legs… Frankie was going to be an “overlap” dog for us. Charger had put on a lot of ‘old man’ weight and was up to 145 pounds. The vet had told us to put him on a diet. Luckily, Frankie and him have been really bonding and getting along great. Charger has lost almost 20 pounds chasing around the little guy and acts much younger than his 14 years. We are so lucky to still have him with us. (age expectancy for his breeds are 9 or 12 at most)

Artfest Dolls 2011

In April, I went to my usual art retreat, Artfest. Pretty much the only time this calendar year that I made any (non-school related) artwork. and it was great to see many of my online artsy friends in real life.

Meanwhile, Shawn made his restaurant plans. At first the plan was small, food trucks were all the rage and that looked like a good one man operation. But looking into all the details it turned out that doing a truck would be much more complex and expensive than a basic brick and mortar store (or so it seemed.) So after several months of researching the truck idea he shifted to looking for a good location for his restaurant. He found several different “turn-key” locations that were for sale for what seemed like reasonable prices… but there was always something a little weird or fishy about the situation. Unfortunately, one too good to be true location ended up talking him out of a couple thousand dollars. Small claims court and a counter-suit followed and added some stress to our already difficult year.

Charger the Life guard

In August, the Gaub family rented a wonderful lodge in Leavenworth and we spent a week away from the stress relaxing in nature and living like the rich and famous.

SWIL outsdie B4002 

Summer arrived and we found a promising location. While we negotiated with the landlord and tried to secure funding from the banks is was a big, long, hurry up and wait situation. Finally after signing the lease we found out that the banks were just not in the mood to loan us ANYTHING! But we forged ahead anyways. We had the restaurant BUG and were too excited about the possibilities. We spent a couple of the summer months CLEANING, painting and remodelling the space to fit our needs. 

Painted and getting cleaned up

We hired some staff, worked on the menu and recipes, ordered food and began with a Friends and Family “Soft Opening” in the beginning of September. Then after a week of low key service and some tweaking of our processes, we finally did our grand opening along with the Everett Gallery Walk On September 19th. Showing Adrien’s latest photography for the first month, relaunched her artistic career.

Adrien's Art up in the Restaurant

Planning and running a restaurant is a prety time consuming endeavor and along with the dog training it didn’t leave mush time for my other pursuits… like triathlon and artwork. My plans to do the Seattle to Portland bike ride fell through due to lack of training time. But Mom and I supported Brad and David as they did it in the usual ONE day. This was a good choice, as I discovered that the STP is not really the type of riding that I enjoy so that is not really a goal I am interested in keeping on my list. I did manage to do the Danskin triathlon though no personal bests this year.

The rest of the year has been consumed with working essentially 3 different jobs… teacher by day, then waitress at the new restaurant by night, and bookkeeper and marketing queen in any of the spare time that I may have. Plus keeping up with daily dog mommy tasks, like walking, feeding and taking the boys to day care and the parks. Luckily, I have a fantastic Student Teacher this year. Kevin has been making the newer, larger class sizes manageable. And his presence alleviates the extra stress from the restaurant that brings me to work a little more tired everyday. Plus it has been a professional joy to share my knowledge with him, and to be seen by him and get feedback has been invaluable. We teachers usually work in such isolation that we don’t get a lot of feedback for how we do our job unless it is something that makes a BIG slash. I have to avoid getting a big head this year as I get daily compliments on how I do my job. It has been perfect timing though, since after 10 years of doing the job I was beginning to get a little burnt out and ready for a change. This year with Kevin at my side will be a huge blessing in so many ways.


We proudly had the entire family at our new space for the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the best celebrations that I can remember, it was the highlight of the season. Having full use of the restaurant kitchen and dining space made for a relaxed event. The huge turkey cooked in just 2 hours in our gas oven and was juicy and delicious due to Alton Borwn’s brining recipe. Shawn’s mom and brother Josh even drove up from Portland to join us, and his brother Dean brought his fiance’ Linh. The full Gaub family was in attendance too… Grandma and Grandpa Gaub shared photos and stories from their recent month long visit to Australia.  

There is never anything BORING about being restaurant owners. Most of the time we are feeling very blessed. Many little happy accidents have occurred in the process, including getting just the right people to help us at just the right times. We have felt God’s guiding hand during most of the process. But because the bank didn’t want to give us the loan we really needed, and there are a million hidden expenses in owning a restaurant… money has been tighter than ever before. So this holiday season finds us in a not very festive space.

The few days we have closed the restaurant to relax finds us staying at home, and quietly celebrating with our dogs and counting our blessings. We have a wonderful roof over our heads, loving and supportive friends and family, cuddly dogs that love and need us, and are healthy!  The people we serve at our restaurant enjoy our food, our employees are loyal and happy to help us build our dream. Although, we have both found our bodies retaliating against the stress with the worse than usual winter colds, we do have health insurance and can see a doctor when we need to, so this too is a blessing.  We have met many wonderful people as we get to know the community we live in better than ever now that we are local business owners. We have both found a new exciting passion for food and experimenting with new ingredients. We have big dreams and plans for where the restauarnt can go, we just hope and pray to get enough business, recognition, regular customers and therefore INCOME to keep it all moving forward. If you are ever in the area, please come by for a visit because we would love to share our passion with you!

Who knows what the next year will bring… but we are sure that it won’t be boring! I hope your year was full of blessings and excitement too.

May you never be afraid to follow your dreams! Happy Holidays!

Burger at SWIL

Things are moving forward at the restaurant. and the reviews are coming in. everyone LOVES the food! the employees are getting the systems down. and word of mouth is starting to spread.

We have officially been open for one week now. We should have the credit card machine running by Monday. that has been a huge headache! then next priority is BEER! everyone wants some beer with these mouth watering burgers. we have added a bunch of healthy stuff and a veggie burger too. Shawn is listening to the public. we added kids stuff too.

Where, oh, Where?

Have I been??

front painting in progress

I am excited to share that I am helping my S.O., Shawn, pursue one of his big dreams… opening a restaurant! So this summer I have been busy painting the interior of the site, doing marketing and book keeping for the business, planning the art shows that will be featured on our walls and much more. Our opening date is right around the corner and things are moving quickly. Plus I return to my day job as Middle School Art teacher this week! Very little time to squeeze in any art. But hopefully giving myself a show in the restaurant will be a motivator! Meanwhile, I am accepting submissions of my other artist friends to show in our space.

Check out the website!

and like us on Facebook!!/Stuffwhatilike


Today I turn 44 years old. I took the day off and went to the spa. I enjoyed 4+ hours of relaxing, soaking, scrubbing and mosturizing. Lots of wonderful time to reflect and think… some new thoughts are stewing… but my brain is mostly mush from all the pampering, so I will have to share another time. Needless to say I am having a wonderfully relaxing day!

Artfest 2011 is in a month! and other news

getting super excited…

I finally (after having to do A LOT of cleaning and sorting) found my stuipd artfest booklet that showed what classes I was taking, so I could look up the supply lists. and I am super happy to discover that ALL the supplies are things I already have in the studio, so I will not need to BUY anything! which is a good thing since I am the only income in the house right now. there is a class fee for 2 of the 3, but that’s ok.

I will be Making paper mosaics,
class example

then monster rag dolls,
class example

and finally rug hooking houses.
class example

In other news… Shawn, my domestic partner of almost 10 years, is going to be starting a new business. He is going to start a food truck, which should lead to catering and eventually down the road a full restaurant.

The theme is going to be based on his roots in the Island of Saipan. Island style grilled chicken that is marinated in a sauce of garlic, ginger and soy sauce (plus other top secret stuff) it is very savory, not sweet like the Hawaiian Islands. Plus he will have sides of Red Rice, Potato Salad, and Lumpia. He is still working on the name and plenty of other details before he will be grilling and serving. But it is an exciting shift in our house.

Here is the truck, we looked at it again today, still trying to hammer out the contract details with spanish/english interpretation needed.

My puppy, Frankie graduated from basic manners class with flying colors. So we got x-rayed to check his hips to see if there is any hip dysplasia issues. Luckily there is NOT, which means on Apr 2 we are starting an agility course training class! so excited.

This is what happened to the couch!

This is they type of thing he was doing to our couch BEFORE manner’s class. Luckily he has moved past this troublesome behavior.

I have another big bike ride tomorrow (40 or 50 miles) and soon I have to start weekly back to back big rides to be ready for my STP 200 miles ride in July. It  is getting so close so fast. It is going to be a BUSY Summer!

Now off to work on some more artfest trades!