Man, this evening felt like it was fired out of a canon. But, then again, if I were to be honest, that's how the whole year has felt thus far. Hard to believe that it's been over a month since my last "sorry I don't post more" entry here. And, harder still to believe that Otto will be 11 months old in only a little over a week.
Anyhow, I'm halfway through 4 nights of solo daddy duty, and -yet again- appreciating and missing my wife. (Not to mention feeling in awe of single parents everywhere, again.) So, I figured it was a good opportunity to take 30 minutes and get caught up on what's happened since the last entry. Here goes...
Well, while I'm on Daddy Duty this week, watching the kids while Sarah attends a work seminar up on Cortes Island, just north of Vancouver Island, I can't say it's all be work, work, daddy, daddy for me. Not long after my last post, my College buddy, Earls, and I (along with his mom) headed out to Walla Walla for a whirlwind one night visit. While Earls (aka Liam) and his mom were headed out to hear his sister give a lecture at Whitman College; I used it as an opportunity to tag along, do some wine tasting and visit with my brother, who's been living out there since around the new year.
Me, Trav, Liam and Colleen, tasting wine at Amavi Cellars.
Then, just two days later, Trav, a group of about ten friends, and I, all headed out to a friend's families house on Whidbey Island, for some golf, beer, poker and male bonding...
Possibly the biggest news of the last month and a half or so, though, is that Stella got her first haircut! After months of saying she wanted to grow it out "like Rapunzel," it was starting to round the corner from "cute and curly" to "tangled mess." So, one evening, when Sarah suggested that they might have to spend less time combing it, if it was shorter; Stella suddenly announced she wanted a hair cut. So, after a week of Stella asking us when she'd have her first haircut on a near nightly basis, it was time to schedule the appointment.
Before. It was definitely getting long, and a little unmanageable, though I have to admit that Sarah and I were a little hesitant... probably more than Stella.
After. But, look how cute she looks now! Stella sat patiently -if solemnly- through her first snip. No tears here!
Also, it was bother Mother's Day and Sarah's Birthday... on the same day. Similar to Stella's Birthday and Thanksgiving, Sarah's Birthday falls on Mother's Day after seven years or so. And, this was the first time, since becoming a mother, that she celebrated them both on the same day. To be honest, while I hope it was special for Sarah, I felt like I was a bit to scrambled and harried to really go all out for her, but still we managed a romantic dinner out (which she got reservation for, bad Tyler), and I made her Turkish breakfast the day of, amongst other things.
Turkish Breakfast. It's become a bit of a Mother's Day tradition at the Hill-Stach house. The ingredients are simple (a hardboiled egg, bread, cheese, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes...), but figuring out specifically what types and varieties makes it fun to shop for. Plus, it reminds us of Turkey!
Happy Birthday and Mother's Day, honeypie! She really is the center of my world, and an amazing mother for Stella and Otto.
Finally, last but not least, Otto turned 10 months!
It's amazing how quick he's changing and growing. With four teeth now, he eat an endless variety of solid foods. He pulls up, scoots, crawls faster than many people can walk, and generally leaves us in awe. Now, if he'll just start consistently sleeping through the night.
Finally, I don't feel I should end this entry without mentioning my recent brush with tragic circumstances. As I've mentioned here several times before, for the last three or so years, I've been involved with a local Illustrator collective known as The Bureau of Drawers. For the majority of those years, our groups de-facto headquarters has been the Cafe Racer in Seattle's U-District. Tragically, a week ago, an angry and mentally unbalanced ex-customer walked into the cafe around noontime and opened fire on the employees and customers working and eating there. All told, his rampage would leave six people dead: four people at the Racer, another woman he would shoot on First Hill while stealing her car a half hour later, plus, he would eventually take his own life.
Now, it would be an exaggeration to say that I was true friends with any of the people killed at that Racer that day. But, several of them were people I recognized. People who I'd shared a smile or joke with at the bar, during my countless hours drawing and hanging out at the Racer. Plus, to see the images taken from the surveillance footage both immediately before and after the shooting is something that will be hard to shake. Without seeing any actual blood or gore, the image of the shooter standing in the middle of a space I knew so well, with the stools -occupied just seconds before- toppled and scattered around him, brought the violence of something like this home in a way nothing has before. It is truly one thing to hear a store like this on the news, and another thing entirely to have it happen someplace you've spent your time at and enjoyed so much.
I'm deeply saddened for the lives destroyed that day. And, hope that the Racer and it's employees will be able to recover and someday open their doors again. I know the rest of the Bureau feels the same way. If you'd like to donate money to help the victims and families of the Cafe Racer shooting, you can do so at Cafe Racer Love.
Finally, it bears mentioning that, as I related in this blogs very first post, this blogs title, "Strange and Benevolent" is pulled from a line in a production by the circus group, Circus Contraption. Sadly, two of the victims of the shooting, Drew and Joe, were members of that troupe. In a way, that drives home what a strange, small world we live in. And while things like this will make a person question it's benevolence, I still believe our blogs title holds true. Thanks again, Contraption, for providing our blog with it's first kernel of direction. It's mission statement, in a way.
Photo by "Calamity" Jon Morris
Despite that tragedy, the Bureau has soldiered on, and yesterday we released the second volume of our quarterly digital anthology. If you are interested in checking it out (including the three "Lesser Legend" illustrations I included), you can download it a The Bureau of Drawers blog. Enjoy!
Finally, one last note: A little over a week ago, we bought tickets to Kauai. Yep. We're headed back to Hawai'i! This will be our second trip to the 50th State, but will be Otto's first big vacation (not counting his post-Christmas trip to see the Grandparents in Dallas). Looking forward to doing a travel entry on our travel blog, soon!
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