Thursday, October 11, 2018

make your [parents] happy little [parents]

there was one thing in this life i swore i would never do.

last month i did it...and it wasn't that bad.

there is currently a very trendy activity you can find in almost any town that involves going to a studio and painting a picture someone else has already done.  that's right, you pay to copy someone's work.  for the life of me i couldn't understand the appeal of this.  if you wanted to paint, just go buy a canvas, some paints and create your own!  even worse, couples go to these classes!  at the end of the night you end up with two pieces of art that aren't really yours!  (i always imagined couples going home and fighting about which one goes on the wall!)

point is, i am not a fan of these classes and never planned on attending one.

my mom, however, LOVES them.

during my parents visit last month, my wife suggested i take my mom to one of these classes to spend some quality time with her.  i assumed she was joking, as she knows my opinion on these painting classes.  however, i knew exactly why she had suggested this; it was no secret to me that she had always wanted to take one of these painting classes and had bugged me for years to go with her.  thinking i could do the whole two birds with one stone thing i agreed to go, so we all three got singed up.

entering the studio and finding "my" easel, i was hesitant and not all that thrilled to be there.  however there was a bar and enjoying a beer before class started simmered me down a bit.  the class was pretty much what i expected.  they painted, we watched, we painted, monkey see, monkey do.  what i didn't expect was looking over at my mom and seeing how happy she was.  she was having a blast AND she was pretty damn good!  she was so thrilled to have us both there, painting with her, it immediately changed my perspective, and i started to enjoy the night.

near the end of the session, it hit me why my mom loved these classes so much.  there's something very zen-like about listening to someone describe how to paint, it's very relaxing, it's very bob ross-i-en.  painting in this class was basically my moms yoga, it was her way of clearing her mind.  she was simply switching out poses and asanas for palettes and acrylics.

all in all, it was a wonderful little adventure. spending quality time with my mom was priceless and one of my favorite parts of their trip.  although my opinion has changed slightly about these classes, it doesn't change the fact that we still ended up with THREE versions of the same painting that night. 

now we just have to decided who's goes on the wall.

"don't forget to tell these special people in your life just how special they are to you" - bob ross

love you mom.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

parents [week]

remember in kindergarten when you would have an open house and your parents would visit your school so you could show off your classroom?  it was your chance to show your mom and dad your desk where you do all your work as well as the location on the mat where you eat your snacks.  it's a time to introduce them to your school friends and show them where you hang out at recess.  it was a whole night dedicated to showing your parents this whole new "school" life you were a part of; a different and exciting new world outside your home.  i remember how great of a feeling it was to share all this with them.

well, i can tell you as a 37 year old man it's still possible to have the same feeling.

i live nearly 2,000 miles from where i grew up and i don't get to see my parents nearly enough as i'd like.  maybe that's why after they drove up this summer to visit my wife and i, just like in kindergarten, i was excited to show them this new maine life i've created.  i may not have been able to show them everything, but it's only because this new northeast life is a slightly larger floor plan than my kindergarten classroom, but i did my best.

the major event was taking a trip to boothbay harbor to show them the town we love so much.  we spent two days eating at our favorite restaurants and meeting the friends we had made up there.  by the end of the boothbay trip, they shared our love of the town.  back in portland, i introduced them to the sandwich known as a maine ham italian, took them to trivia night at a brewery, ate at one of my favorite bbq spots and of course, just like in kindergarten, showed them my desk where i do all my work.

to say i enjoyed having them up for a week long visit would be an understatement, it really was fantastic.  just like when i was young, it was wonderful to show off this new world to my parents.

whether it's a 15 minute school bus ride, or a four day, 2,000 mile road trip, distances seem shorter when there are shared memories, and this trip created several.

Monday, September 24, 2018

bright lika a [great] diamond

even with summer making it's end more official with labor day weekend, we took the opportunity a three day weekend gave us to explore another new spot in maine; great diamond island.  we had heard about a great new restaurant called "crown jewel on the island and decided to check it out.  a short 45 minute ferry ride brought us to our destination; a very cute and very pink establishment.  as expected the food was great.  the burgers we both tried paired well with the miller high life "ponies" they offered.

i'm not sure we'd ever pick up one evening to go and grab dinner there, but for a lazy summer sunday, it was a gem of a spot to try out.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

mid-century [glamper]

one benefit to being an architect is no matter where you go there's always something to visit.  a wonderful perk if you're an architect; a slight annoyance to those traveling with you who are not [into] buildings.

not too terribly far away from maine is arguably one of the more famous houses in america; the glass house by philip johnson.  that simple glass mid century structure we all know and love from architecture school.  a long weekend trip to connecticut to visit my in-laws put us within 20 minutes of it's location.  with it being that close and one of those building [you just have to see] i convinced all four of us to sign up for the tour.

it was exactly what the name implies; a glass house. emphasizing this fact, upon turning the corner and seeing the building for the first time my mother-in-law said "is that it?" making me laugh.

it was everything i had heard about in school; extremely open floor plan, classic proportions and minimal detailing.  one item i didn't pick up on from my history books is that it's not so much about the building but rather the landscape surrounding it.  when taking in the space on the inside of the structure the building dissapears and you feel a part of the landscape.  the house doesn't really have walls of glass, but rather walls made up of scenes of the trees, the lawn, the stone wall, the pond and the views.  you don't feel a part of the house, you feel included in the landscape. 

after taking the tour and enjoying the house it made me wonder whether philip johnson had really built a minimalist icon...or if he was merely a fan of glamping.

end of summer [bel]grade

the end of summer isn't always dictated by the calender.

i think there's one weekend every year that gives you the sense the summer is comming to an end.  it's a little earlier in maine than it was in kansas but it usually happens in late august or early september.  this year that weekend fell during a trip to the belgrade lakes area.  we had some friends invite us up to spend the weekend with them and their family.  the weekend was chill, a little boating, a little swimming and a lot of good conversation.  it was a wonderful summer weekend but there was something in the air suggesting summer was nearly over.  it was nothing negative... just the feeling you get as you near the end of a great vacation or chapter in a book.  that chapter for me was a summer filled of exploring new places in maine, and learning to love this state more and more.