Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Story of My Press

The press from it's original owners manual.

I found this site the other day while searching for information on the year my press was born. I had learned that each Vandercook press bears a serial number which indicates the year it rolled out of the factory. While on this same site I also noticed a Census section. This intrigued me, so I clicked over and filled out the appropriate form and sent it. Later that day I received an email from the sites webmaster asking a few more questions about the press, whether it was a recent acquisition and directing me to another mark that would let me know who gave the final press inspection before it left Vanderson's so many years ago. Read more...

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Helmet Head Family

Just a few quick words. I have been writing outside the blog again and since I am generally in a mood of decreased anxiety these days I don't have such an urgent need to purge every little feeling I experience. This is a good thing. Calm is good for me, a much healthier state of being.

My little family has been skiing of late and I just wanted to say here how happy it makes me. I grew up skiing on Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers B.C.. My family back then was bigger, there were 6 of us and in the winter we skied, religiously. While other families worshiped together we fueled up on pancakes and then piled into our VW van. My dad had his own version of preparation anxiety and would occasionally yell and slam the basement door expressing his frustration with his troop of ill prepared kids. Skis! Boots! Poles! he would yell while pulling out of the driveway. Once on the mountain though, all that anxiety was replaced with gratitude for the place and the activity of wooshing down hills under clear blue skies filled with sparkling ice crystals. These are the happy family times that I am modeling my own family experience after.

Pearl's skiing is coming along. She is careful and moves methodically down the hill. Mark goes ahead of us sometimes for a blast of speed but we both take turns taking up the rear, skiing behind Pearl, protecting her from fast moving snowboarders. Even though I can ski aggressively I am enjoying the slow pace, savoring the turns, keeping my shoulders pointed down the hill, marking each turn with yogic precision, shifting my weight from one leg to the other, gripping my toes in the imaginary sand. My lungs filled with clear mountain air add to my euphoria.

Riding up on chair 8, in plain sight of Mt Shuksan, I am overwhelmed with love for Pearl and Mark and with happiness that the three of us can have this experience together. I say over and over how happy I am. I can't help myself. They roll their eyes behind their goggles but I know they feel it too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Font Hunting

I'm font hunting. Specifically I am looking for a good script font and I feel like one of those bad clients who can't articulate what they want but knows what they don't want when they see it. I need something that will look good with a bold slab serif, it needs to have a bit of weight to it but not too much. I can't be cute but it should be a little playful and nostalgic of 1940's advertising. There are zillions of fonts available these days and I am amazed by how many of them don't appeal to me, at all. What is wrong with me, what is wrong with typography? I'm not sure. I watched a bit of Helvetica again the other day. It's so soothing and reassuring to see. In my perfect design world all my design problems could be solved by the 21 weights of Univers, or some similarly austere germanic font. Alas this is not to be for even I get bored occasionally and feel the urge to friendly it up a bit. Today the perfect script is what I need, back to the search.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Walking Meditation

The walk begins. Luna is pulling like a maniac so I stop several times in the driveway to remind her I have the power to stop the whole thing, she complies, somewhat. My hands are cold. It's sunny but cool and I have not brought my gloves, why do I do this. I think about this for awhile and the whole idea of always trying to be prepared for everything. My shoes are wet from yesterday's walk in the rain and my nice dry socks are redistributing the moisture closer to my bare skin. I left the shoes in my bag last night instead of putting them by the heat vent in Mark's dining room. Again shoddy planning. We go along Trethewey toward snow capped mountains, I have brought my new camera but I don't bother trying to capture the mountains they are too far away and the picture won't say what I feel about them. I tell Luna to walk nice every 3 steps. She has no idea what I mean, I say it anyway.

Past the soccer fields in the municipal park I walk along under the power lines and take a few pictures of them. I've taken many pictures of them against the cloudy sky. I don't think about why. I wonder if anyone sees me and wonders why I am taking pictures of high tension power towers. I remind myself I am in Canada and no one cares. I encounter another dog/dog owner who I have encountered earlier on the circuit. His dog has a strange manner I don't like and I step in between him and Luna. The owner tries to assure me his is a good dog. I say the dog is exhibiting strange social behavior. This statement is lost on the dog's owner. He has a piece of rope for a leash.

I am on a mission. I continue on the Discovery Trail away from the playing fields. There are crows everywhere and big puddles, it rained hard yesterday. I put Luna on the leash because the road is near the path and I don't trust her not to run into the road. We go past the Agrifair grounds, there is nothing of interest here for me to take pictures of. I go through the tunnel that allows the Discovery Trail to cross under Trethewey. The street has a different name here, I don't know what it is. I pass two men coming out of the tunnel and think about whether I am safe or not. I think about safety again at the opposite end of the park. I can be a nervous, cautious person.

Through the tunnel Luna rushes an Airedale and tries not to get her butt sniffed. I acknowledge the dogs owner by stating this observation, we pass by without incident. She is faster than this dog. We walk in a westerly direction and I take a few more pictures of the towers, dry grass, and of Luna. It's sunny and the sky is blue, the trees are bare and beautiful and I take pictures of them too. The mountains appear to be even farther away now which is strange because I am closer to them. The pictures of the trees are similar to the pictures I didn't take of the mountains. They don't say how I feel about them. I photograph the baseball diamonds, the towers are in these pictures too, they are everywhere, the path weaves around through them. I like them, I like electricity, I like the lines cutting through the sky in gentle arcs.

I go all the way to where the park ends and discover that the last soccer field is filled with water. A fellow walker comments as he passes what a good skating rink it would make, I concur. Only a Canadian would say this, we are unified by our childhood memories of skating outdoors after sudden freezes. The water is reflective and the sky is twice as big at this end of the park. I decide this is my reward and head back along the path. Luna meets a friendly Beagle and an up-tight Schnauzer who she barks at and wants to play with only she is too enthusiastic and I worry she'll hurt him. I leash her up and we move past this interaction, heading east. It's getting cool and I practice telling Luna to walk nice without the leash, she does it but I still don't feel comfortable. When we get near the road I put her leash back on. We pass an older couple who smiles at us. The woman has a strange look to her and I wonder if she is suffering from something. There are a lot of elders in the area.

I put my hood up and adjust the camera strap around my neck. My stiff neck. We get through the soccer fields, Luna races back and forth on the path until she has to be leashed up again. She has pooped twice and seems happy about it. We pass the same couple again and the man says "hello, again" and seems to mean it. I say "hi" back. I relish fleeting interactions with strangers. I see the mountains again at the end of Trethewey as we turn into our complex. The road seems to lead right to them, a wave of happiness passes over me. Once inside, I check the time, we have walked for 1hr and 40 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Year of Magical Thinking

I am quickly reading Joan Didion's book about the death of her husband and daughter. Holy cow. It's so great for so many reasons. She analyzes everything about the process of grief, the wonder of love, motherhood. All of it. Creativity. Being right. Letting go. I can't believe I have never read anything by her, but then there are so many books I have not read yet. I could go on but I won't. I am going to brush my teeth and lay in my bed and read and cry a little, because I am lucky enough to have things to cry about.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Promise of Prosperity

I tend toward feeling that the universe will take care of me. It has thus far and I have no reason to think that it won't continue in this same manner. I am not passive in this though, I am not just lying around eating bon-bons and thinking happy positive thoughts. I am actively paying attention to what's happening around me.

It was windy when I sat down on New Years day to collect my thoughts and drink a little celebratory champagne. The sound I heard next was a combination of deep cracking, some scraping, maybe a woosh of wind but that's hard to say in retrospect. One sound I can verify with certainty was the sound metal roofing makes as it's being peeled off a roof in a high wind. I expected to see the garage destroyed when I went out but was met instead by something else altogether. A huge limb had broken off a big Maple tree adjacent to the carport falling across the driveway and clipping the the edge of the metal roofed carport and Mark's car and settling hard on the gravel drive.

And so this is how my year started. Now some might see this as big negative but not me. I got dressed and went out with my newly tuned chainsaw and systematically turned trouble into treasure. I plan to stay on this tact, so bring it on there is nothing in this world that I can't make work. I look forward to the warmth those Maple logs will bring me and my little family next winter.
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