weekly photo challenge: family

Saturday, January 18: The last time I saw my little sister Stephanie must have been at my mother’s funeral 12 years ago.  Stephanie has lived in Los Angeles for longer than that, and despite my best intentions, I’ve never made it to California until early this January.  It really is pathetic that we live on opposite coasts of the same country and never visit each other.

For this Weekly Photo Challenge of Family, I dedicate this post to my talented little sister.

To see full-sized images, click on any of the pictures in the gallery below.

Stephanie has always amazed me.  She’s insanely creative, energetic, and has a great sense of humor.  She can draw, paint, write, and do most anything that is inside or outside the box.  She used to work for Redbook, and later for Shape magazine, as Art Director.  Most recently she worked for Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health, magazines owned by American Media.  Now she’s taking some time to build her freelance business and pursue the non-corporate life of her dreams.  She really inspired me on this visit as we are both now trying to carve out lives for ourselves that are more fulfilling than the ones we’ve been living.

Steph and her abstract art
Steph and her abstract art

Stephanie writes of herself on her website KONSUMERISM.RUN.AMOK: the most random of desires: I’m a Creative Director, illustrator and obsessive collector.  I’m usually on the trail of something I have a sudden passion for, whether it be vintage books, tin toys, Danish modern furniture, cool plants, certain enticing vegetables, crazy looking bunnies, classic film DVDs, old jazz records, bicycles… the list goes on (and on). Everything is design. And I have an extra special kinship for old things. Mid-century makes my heart quicken. This is a place to share my latest finds and passions. Relax, put on a scratchy bop LP and meander with me through the artifacts of the last couple of centuries. I have tons more on my Pinterest than I’ll ever have time to post here, so be sure and visit.

Steph's house
Steph’s house

Stephanie is an avid collector, with an array of mid-century modern furniture, vintage bicycles, toys, books and movie posters filling her house.  Black & white family photographs adorn her walls and toy wind-up birds sit on shelves waiting to cock-a-doodle-doo. The whole ambiance of her house evokes our childhood, and the era of our parents and grandparents. On her living room wall hangs a photo of our brother Rob, Steph and me (with an especially bad haircut) in a New York diner, from her days in the city.  In her backyard, she has an aviary full of birds, especially finches, and a chicken coop where three chickens, rounded up by Horatio the rooster, lay eggs for her breakfast.  She has orange trees and a pond, and rusty vintage lawn chairs like the ones my grandmother used to have.  She has two friendly dogs, Babe and Buster, several cats who curl up by the heater and like to mark their territory on the guest bed, and rabbits who enjoy gnawing on electric cords.

We spend our time together on this visit reminiscing about our childhood, laughing, eating sushi accompanied by Sapporo and warm saké, watching The Invisible Woman at Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood, exploring the boardwalk & walk-streets of Venice, and watching Downton Abbey and the Golden Globes. We eat shrimp dumplings and calamari at P.F. Chang’s.  We talk of art and our goals and we encourage each other in our dreams. I loved spending time with my long-lost sibling.

Or, maybe it’s me who’s been long-lost.

In case you missed the homage to my visit that Stephanie drew in her journal, here it is, one more time.

~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit :-)
~ journal entry by Stephanie Birdsong, in homage to my visit 🙂
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weekly photo challenge: window

Wednesday, January 15: The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Window.  Writes Cheri Lucas: {Windows} are portals into the world’s stories. Glimpses into other people’s lives. Looking out (or into) a window can tell you about where you are — and where you’re not — and mark a particular moment in time, linking you to a physical place. Windows are also enablers of our daydreams and desires, and can stir up memories and big ideas.

Here are some shop windows from Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California.  In 1990, West Washington was renamed to Abbot Kinney, after the man who built the Venice Canals.  The street boasts fine restaurants, unique art galleries, prestigious wine shops and exciting nightlife.

Urbanic
Urbanic
Perfectly Imperfect
Perfectly Imperfect ~ Topo Ranch
Local 1205
Local 1205
Juicy Leaf
Juicy Leaf
Next door to Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop
Next door to Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop
Bountiful
Bountiful
cake stands at Bountiful
cake stands at Bountiful