Last October was our 10 year wedding anniversary. For fun, we loosely follow the traditional anniversary gift list. For example, one year the gift was ‘iron,’ so we got ourselves a waffle iron. The ten year gift is tin, so we decided to get tintype portraits taken. 

Tintypes are made using metal plates painted with light sensitive photo emulsion. The image is developed and fixed right away…a fancy, old fashioned polaroid, if you will. Tintypes are now considered an alternative photography process, but they are actually at the roots of photography. With modern lighting techniques the process is fairly quick and easy, and can be more relaxed than in the past. Each one is unique and the chemistry involved makes striking images.

To be honest, I think I’d like to do my part all over again with a glass or two of wine and a shopping trip…but it really is a raw, honest snapshot of the moment, and I love having a set of unique family portraits. Thank you so much to Kari Orvik for the beautiful photos.

Mansfield Family, 2015 by Kari Orvik

Mansfield Family, 2015 by Kari Orvik



Two weeks into the new year, how's it going for you? I've been on my own for half of it as my people were off visiting more of our people. I missed them terribly, but was quite excited to have a long moment completely by myself for the first time in ages...a little introvert recharge, if you will. I had great intentions for projects and adventures, some of which I accomplished, but mostly I found myself sitting still, binging on shows and books and forgetting to feed myself or sleep properly. Ah well…guess that’s what I needed?

Truthfully, it usually takes me about a month to transition to a new year. There are the holidays to recover from and mental knots to untie from the previous year so you can daydream about the year to come. But if I'm not careful I can get a bit mopey about it all, especially left alone in a quiet house to listen to my own perfectionistic, regretty bullshit. My approaching birthday gets me going, too. To get me through it this time around, I'm tying knots in dough. I've been a bit obsessed lately with The Great British Baking Show (which due to trademark issues is sadly NOT called The Great British Bake Off here as it is across the pond). It's utterly charming and inspiring, so I decided to put my hands where my brain is. This month I'm practicing pretzels and using terms like 'cling film' and 'bicarb.' I found Baking is something I've dabbled in over the years (I'm told my apple pie is very good...probably excepting that time I made it with Splenda). I’ve been approaching it all in good fun as a true learning experience, without getting frustrated when things don’t go exactly according to plan. It could still be yummy in the end. That’s how baking is, and that’s how life is, and I would do well to remember that.

Steep Ravine

Well, except for forking over the money to register, I've chosen my next running challenge and my first exciting goal for 2016: A Steep Ravine 10K trail run. It's a brutal 3 miles up, so the 3 miles back down can only be delightful. My practice races during my half-marathon training were trail runs and I loved them. I had wanted to do this same course several weeks ago, but I wasn't running consistently and I knew I couldn't be ready in time. At least not to my liking. Lo and behold, here's a repeat event and I think I better do it. What a way to start the new year! I better pay the money and commit. Next? Choose a training program to keep me on target! I may repeat some early weeks of my No BS Run Club schedule since I KNOW that works for me. 

This post first appeared on Running Commentary

The Pint on Kickstarter

I seem to be in an impulse purchase mood lately...but at least it's for fun and useful stuff. Yesterday I spent $60 on fancy ribbon, for example. And the day before that, this Kickstarter campaign for a groovy drinking vessel caught my attention. The Pint is basically a stainless steel, insulated bottle that can open at both ends. The Pint looks to be the first product designed by Stable Goods, and I'm already a fan. If all their stuff is as cool looking, affordable, and functional as The Pint, we're in for a treat! My canteen/cup should arrive in February...I'll report back then! 

The Pint has already far surpassed its Kickstarter fundraising goal, but you have until November 19th to back the project and get your own bottle.

Book Report: A Tale For The Time Being

It's been awhile since I wrote about a book...with a few exceptions, my recent reads were dismissed soon after finishing the last page. That's how it goes sometimes, especially if I'm not giving reading my full attention. On a recent trip I had quiet time to really dive into a story which had been sitting on my bedside table all year. A Tale For The Time Being is a story about a young American girl in Japan who wrote about her life in a journal...the bullying she gets at school, her love for her Buddhist nun great-grandmother, her admiration for her kamikaze pilot uncle, and her fear for her suicidal father. The journal is found in a packet washed up on an island in Canada by a woman who is struggling to write her own story. The book flips back and forth between the girl, Naoki, and the woman, Ruth, as she reads the girl's journal (I love books with multiple points of view!). Ruth, gets really absorbed in the Nao's fate, and shadows of Nao's story start to creep into her life. This book was a page turner and so interesting and unique with the teenage drama, all the mysteries, the bits of philosophy, and even a splash of quantum physics. Highly recommended! 

(I link books to Green Apple Books in San Francisco...my favorite local bookstore...but they don't know me and I get no kickbacks)