My blog has moved

You will be automatically redirected to the new address.

If that does not occur, please visit;.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And my eyes are filled with green...

A few short ages ago I began this painting.  With gusto and effervescent energy, I believed it would develop quickly, that all the pieces would fall into place, that my strokes would be strong and confident till the end, that the vision in my head would remain clear and my direction would hold unwavering.

And then the rains fell.  Storming on my head and in my heart.  Earlier this year, in the final fighting throws of Winter, I struggled like a drowning woman, lost in my own frustrations.  I started painting after painting, till the white walls of my studio were covered in splashes of color but there was no resolution to be found.  I spent hours, days, weeks just sitting, beseeching the paintings to speak to me, to tell me what they needed, for that moment when the clouds part and the path is clear.  But the fog just rolled in thicker and darker, my skin icy and my faith shaken.  I finally had it out with Him.  Ranting, raging, questioning why, why if this is my path (which I have never doubted that it is) would He blind me to the trail.  Why would these tools, these brushes, that I trust more than my own hands forsake me?  I bled all over the studio.  I said angry things, honest things, cried myself to sleep on the dirty wooden floor.

When I awoke, the scales fell from my eyes.  But stubborn child that I am, I refused to get up until the the dust had settled and the path was clear.

And then I painted.  

From the roots of my soul, dipped in the sap of my blood, I painted.  And rejoiced.  And painted even more.  The famine is past.  The rains have fallen so that the feast could grow richer.  I am remembering my faith.  I am believing once again.

From this Detritus springs the most magnificent elixir I have known.  I will drink deep, healing my parched throat and filling my limbs with light.  I believe once again.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tales of a Morning Walk

I wish all the best for your days, drink your cuppas, breathe some fresh air, and look up.
- Umber

Saturday, April 18, 2009

To All the Ladies ever Accused of Being a Dork

Just know there is a bigger one out there somewhere.  I have no pride.

(and do excuse the jumping camera - I'm a foot tapper)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The votes have been cast and the results are in!  Mister Brian Wigand of the lovey-dovey story number three is the winner of the Umber Dove Birthday Contest and the (soon to be) proud new owner of an Umber Dove pillow! 


And a super huge thank you to all who took the time to send in stories (and to those - Sam - who are still going to...), I truly enjoyed reading each and every one!

In other realms of life, I am the proud new owner of an amazing work of art that sits weighty on my chest, a searing heat that soaks into my body.

Ladies mine, near and far, the givers of my Seraphim necklace, I love and treasure you.  Your thousand wings lift my sights, lending strength, whispering encouragement, buoying my spirits, protecting my soul.  I love you.  You know who you are, and even more importantly, I know who you are, and I am thankful for the gift of your friendships.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Polls are Open AND I Had Great Hair!

Friends and Loves, THANK YOU for all the Birthday Well Wishes!  I spent a simply fabulous day with my BC feeling absolutely celebrated.

Included in Saturday's festivities:
Strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar
Juice in a new feather-etched glass
"A Little Poem with Argyle Socks" (you'll hear more about this later...)
Tulips and blue skies
A bustling market and Nutella smothered crumpets
Subterranean history and the scent of old brick
A flirty breeze and a flippy skirt
The view from Space and an amazing meal
Really great hair (this was God's Birthday gift to me)

(We snapped this at a cool 520 feet above ground, with the night wind cool on our faces and the bright lights of our city twinkling below)

(yes, it really was)

And Now:

I know you're ready to cast your vote in the Umber Dove Birthday Contest!  Let me tell you, this is the last time I'll ever throw a contest in which I only get to pick three stories!  There were some fantastic ones written up - laughable, cry-able, and grin-able - and to narrow it down was not easy!  But some how I've managed, and here, for your voting pleasure, are the top three candidates!

Just read through, pick your favorite, and leave me a comment with the name of the Birthday Story you are voting for!  The winner of the custom 12" x 18" pillow will be announced on Wednesday April 15th!

Birthday Story Number 1 - submitted by S.L.

For my 30th birthday, the hubby surprised me. I knew we were going out of town, and I knew we were going to fly on a plane to get to our destination. What I did not know, was where we were going or what we were doing. The only hint I got was this: there's an "R" and a "V" and an "L" and a "B". Huh? I felt like I was talking to my 4 year old nephew trying to decipher a new language. There must be a reason, he's not telling me what it is, I thought to myself. He must be afraid I might not like it. So, I gave up on the guessing game and I resolved, to myself, that I would not get disappointed if we were going to some "boy" sporting event.
Once we arrived at the airport, the destination could only be kept a secret for a short amount of time because you really have to know where you're going to know what plane you need to board. And so while we waited in the lounge area to board our plane to San Jose (ha!) the hubby begins to quietly sing to himself, "Para Bailar La Bamba," with a sneaky smirk on his face.
An "L" and a "B" and an "R" and a "V". "We're going to see Ritchie Valens?" I asked a little embarrassed because we had just watched the movie, "La Bamba" and I knew what happened at the end.
"Yep!" - Sean
"HUH?"- Me
"Well, sorta" - Sean
"What do you mean, we're sorta going to see Ritchie Valens?"....
....We arrived that evening at a concert hall near Ritchie Valen's hometown where each year they host an event and recreate the performance that was given the night of the plane crash called The Winter Dance Party. The concert was given by a Buddy Holly impersonator, a Ritchie Valen's impersonator and the "Big Bopper's" son. Highlights of the night included: Sean taking a picture with Ritchie's brother; Me getting the signature of Ritchie's former girlfriend Donna - yep, the famous Donna from the song, "Oh Donna" and the Buddy Holly impersonator wailing on the guitar to, "Go, Johnny, Go!";
It's known as "The Day the Music Died" and I'm so thankful we got to experience what it must have been like. One day when Sean and I have children, I think we might have to go again so they can appreciate the oldies like we do.
Thank you, Sean for a wonderful 30th!

Birthday Story Number 2 - submitted by E.Z.

For my 13th birthday I was at a new school, the third new school in three years. Needless to say, an awkward age to be the new kid. Additionally, I had the misfortune of looking like Blossom (remember the TV show?). I did nothing to help my case by insisting on wearing outrageously quirky outfits. Yes, I even rocked the bowler hat once. But, fearless in the face of a challenge, I invited some girls to lunch to celebrate the day. I show up at Friday's with a group of 6 or 7 including the Most Popular Girl at school. We are having fun and laughing at the silly waiter's flare, and all is going smoothly. Until....I leave to go to the bathroom, and Popular Girl proceeds to tell the waiter it's my birthday, and, after bringing the cake and singing, he should tell me that I look like Blossom.

Cut to the end of the meal:

The waiter brings a cake, and askes - neigh - insists that I stand on my chair for the birthday song. Not only do all my friends sing, but everyone in the section. When the song is over, the waiter promptly bellows out:

Happy Birthday, YOU LOOK LIKE A POSSOM!!!

My friends were rolling in the aisles laughing as I stood atop my chair, eight shades of red, and not finding it so funny. Unfortunately, no more moves were in the cards for my family, and although I outgrew the Blossom look, there are still a few who love to remind me of that story every year on my birthday.

Birthday Story Number 3 - submitted by B.W.

My best birthday ever. March 26, 2005. Jennifer and I had come to Washington from California to visit for an extended weekend. I was still in college and she was working in administration at a hospital in Redding. We were both looking forward to getting away from school and work and relaxing at her parent's property in the tranquil little town of Maple Valley.
The night before my birthday, we had gone to a concert in Seattle featuring two of our favorite bands at the time, Death Cab and Pedro. For my birthday, we had plans to celebrate with a fancy dinner at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie.
We got dressed up, me in my trusty suit and Jenn in some new threads from Buffalo Exchange, and headed to Snoqualmie. The weekend was already so much fun already, and we were excited to stick out like sore thumbs at this fancy restaurant that was way out of our income bracket.
The Salish Lodge is located at the very top of Snoqualmie Falls and our table had a direct view. The entire time we were eating, the falls roared right outside our window. The food was incredible. Our appetizers were brought out raw, and cooked right at our table on heated rocks taken directly from the Snoqualmie River. Our entrees were fantastic- easily the best dinner either of us had ever enjoyed.
After dessert, we decided to take a walk to the viewing platform, just down some stairs from the restaurant. Someone had placed candles all along the stairway on both sides creating a very romantic atmosphere. We enjoyed our glowing descent, with the sound of the rushing falls, the cool mist in the air, and the sweet smell of early spring blossoms.
At the viewing platform, we gazed at the majestic, moonlit falls, and held each other- both of us trying to absorb every last morsel of the sweet moment.
We turned and discovered a CD player that someone had left. I reached down to turn it on, and the platform was filled with the voice of Ray Charles, singing and playing the first song that Jennifer and I had ever danced to. We held each other, and moved to the music. Her head on my chest, our hands clasped, our hearts beating as one: the incredible journey of our relationship thus far played through our minds.
As the song ended, another began to play softly. We stopped moving, held each other tightly, leaned back and looked into each other's eyes.
"Jennifer," I said, "You are the most amazing woman I have ever met. I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Tears were already beginning to form in her eyes as she gazed lovingly into mine. I proceeded to kneel.
"Will you marry me?"

The car ride back to her parents' house was characterized by nervous, giddy, excitement at the future that lay before us. Jennifer was completely unsuspecting, shocked, thrilled, and at peace. We didn't even say a whole lot as we drove down the dark road.
At her parents' house, we were greeted by family and friends who knew infinitely more about what the night held than Jennifer had. I was certain that someone would have mentioned it to her and ruined the surprise, but I was wrong. She showed off her ring (that everyone had already seen!) and recounted the events of the evening (that everyone had a hand in planning) in a way that only she could. I watched her, studied her as she spoke and interacted with everyone, so overjoyed that I would be spending the rest of my life with someone so wonderful.
That was probably my best birthday.

Rock the Vote Friendlies!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Growing The Range

Across the water, jutting above the cityscape

Separated by the thinnest veil of violet marine mist
Lays the Olympic Range.

When I first moved to Seattle I was enamored with the Space Needle.  Every time I left my house, walked out the back door there it was, shiny and significant, saying "Hello, Yes, you ARE indeed living here, feeling my rain and playing in my streets."  But after the first few weeks, my gaze extended far to the West to the craggy peaks of the mountains.  Their voice is ancient and deep, muffled by years of snow clinging to oceanic crust, thrust high in the sky.   They smile gently at the Needle's boastful and trilling voice, knowing they will remain upright far longer.

(The Range, Discovery Park, Wa  April 2009)

(Detail of The Range)

(The Range and the REAL Range)

In other news, there are only a few days left in the UmberDove April Birthday Contest!  If you've not send me your birthday story then get typing!  The last day to email me is this Saturday April 11th.  And believe me, your story IS something I want to read!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Me mums is in town, being positively romanced by the perfect Seattle Spring weather.  We've taken advantage of the sweet cherry blossoms and the dazzling daffodils by spending the majority of our time together strolling the streets of my fair city, hitting up street fairs and coffee shops, laughing in the sunshine and hiking along the beaches.

(When at Archie McPhee, home of all strange novelty gifts, random foreign toys, and bizarre leftovers from patent-pendings-gone-wrong.  She a gypsy and I a rocker, and a dismembered leg thrown in for kicks)

Well it's now time to run!  We've got a couple of hot dates at the tattoo parlor for some new ink!  Photos to come!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Friday Confessional, April 3rd

Confession Number 26:  I feel super-fabulous-sexy in wigs.  I walk even taller, strut out just a little more, and sometimes wink at strangers.  It doesn't even matter what type of wig - I've rocked the little black bob, a head-full of Southern blonde curls, and a massive, bouncing afro (and that's the very best - I feel HOT in an afro!).  In my next life, I'm destined to be Sydney Bristow.

Confession Number 52:  I eat disturbing amounts of cottage cheese.  You know, the big tubs?  I can polish one of those off in 3 days flat.  Sometimes that's just about all I'll have for dinner (with pita chips for the dipping as part of my balanced meal).  It's ok, you can be grossed out (I sometimes am).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Best Contest this Side of the Mississippi


What's that you say?

It's April Today?

Yes yes my friends, today marks the start of April which happens to be my very favorite month of the year,  and not just because the Cherry Blossom Trees are blooming, not just because the snow starts melting (supposedly - although it is snow-raining here today - crazy!), uncovering new life stirring, and not just because it also happens to be my birth month.  Although that may have something to do with it!

Can you smell them?  Close your eyes, inhale deeply, the scent is sweetly heady, a mix of nectar and morning dew.  I keep trying, but I am unable to pull enough into my lungs to satisfy my craving.  The delicate petals waft their breeze throughout the city, and often I am seduced into silence as I close my eyes and just breathe.

To celebrate this year I've decided to host a wee contest here in my slice of blogland, wherein one of you lucky ducks will win the whopper prize of custom 12" x 18" pillow made by yours truly, Umber Dove!  

Here's all you need to do:  Think back over all the birthdays you've accumulated thus far, and pick out the very best story you have to share.  It can be outrageously fabulous, tear-squeezingly rotten, or funny enough to make me snort coffee out of my nose (don't laugh - if there is a cuppa nearby, it could happen to you too!).  Write up the tale and email it to me at 
along with a note as to whether or not I have your permission to publish it here on my blog.  Type it up and zip it off to me!  Stat and clickity clack!  The deadline to send in your story is Saturday April 11th (which just happens to be MY birthday).  On Monday April 13th, after careful consideration I will publish the top 3 on my blog and you will be able to vote for the grand winner!  Voting will open April 13th and close at midnight April 14th, and the winner will be announced here on my blog (as well as in their email) on April 15th!

Easy as pie, right?

I can't wait to hear your stories and I've set aside a bottle of bubbly over which I will read each one!  Cheerio!

- Umber