All posts by Laura Grimes

Vermeer: The final tally, with a twist

"The Procuress" by Vermeer, 1656, oil on canvas, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Alte Meister (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), Dresden/Essential Vermeer

By Laura Grimes

The story so far: The Pantsless Brother has been on a whirlwind tour of Europe, dubbed the Sleep-Is-Not-an-Option Tour, to see 16 Vermeer paintings.

The goal: To take in the final 12 Vermeer paintings that The PB hasn’t seen, out of 34 (some say 36) paintings in the world that can be viewed.

How whirlwind? Ten cities in two weeks.

How sleepless? Nine cities in nine days, but that’s just the Vermeers.

What’s the news? Another unexpected twist put a crimp in his plans.

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Vermeer: Whine, wiener and wrong

"Girl With a Glass of Wine" by Vermeer. Image courtesy of Essential Vermeer.

By Laura Grimes

“Am I sleepy yet? Not a chance. Sleep is for sissies.”

The Pantsless Brother continues his Sleep-Is-Not-an-Option Tour in chasing Vermeer paintings all over Europe. If you missed my first gobsmacked installment, check it out here. (That’s not hyperbole talkin’.)

He’s on a mission to see all 34 (some say 36) Vermeers that can be viewed. Before his trip, he had (only) 12 left on his list. He had nailed down a relentless schedule to see 16 Vermeers in 9 cities in 9 days. (I can’t believe I just typed that, either.) His full tour is 10 cities in two weeks.

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Vermeer: Sleep-Is-Not-an-Option Tour

The Music Lesson, (De muziekles), c. 1662-1664, oil on canvas, The Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace, London. (Image courtesy of the Essential Vermeer.)

By Laura Grimes

It started innocently enough. A simple email from The Pantsless Brother last year pointed out that a Vermeer painting owned by Queen Elizabeth II would be on rare public view in London this spring. The last sentence: “We have to go back.”

I laughed. He was always being funny. As much as I would have loved it, I couldn’t really afford another extended vacation with my brother in London like we enjoyed last spring. To see just one painting?

Then, in early January, I got a note as I was having lunch with our mutual mother. The PB forwarded me a flight confirmation with this personal message: “Are you in? $568 roundtrip: Seattle to London, Zurich to Seattle. The first Hobgoblin is on me.”

I’m sure all I read was, “$568. London. Hobgoblin.”

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Finally, an uplifting story about bras

By Laura Grimes

This newsflash is for everyone who knows my woes. Everyone else can ignore it. I ordered bras online.

Brassiere advertisementNormally, this is not something I would discuss in public. My flushed cheeks and Mama-taught-me-better ways insist on it. But, given my past experiences shopping for underitems while coping with Large Smelly Boys, this might possibly be an occasion for a raucous public celebration. Before we jump around, though, let me first put on a sports bra.

I learned about these gizmos reading a big, elastic glossary dedicated solely to the language of bras. Who knew there was such a thing? And so long? A garment so confounding that it requires 90 terms to explain it. What it says, in part, about sports bras: “When you move, so does your bust. It’s called ‘bounce.’ ”

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OBOB: It’s all about the stories

Oregon Battle of the BooksBy Laura Grimes

Oregon Battle of the Books didn’t disappoint. It was nerve-wracking. And it wasn’t just me.

After the Ninja Unicorns’ sudden-death face-off among three teams for the eighth and final position to move on to the elimination rounds in the regional competition, I poked a dad who graduated from the Naval Academy.

“Tell me that didn’t get to you.”

“Are you kidding? Of course it did.” He slouched all his muscles as if to show the staggering weight. “I’ve been trying to be restrained. I’ve been calling my wife constantly to give her updates.”

I overheard one adult say to another, “I had no idea this could be so intense.”

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Books and the greater share of honour*

Go Ninja Unicorns! Kick book! (Image courtesy of the Small Large Smelly Boy, 2011, color marker)By Laura Grimes

Today is the big regional competition for Oregon Battle of the Books. As we say in the Scatter household: Go Ninja Unicorns! Kick book!

The Small Large Smelly Boy has been reading and studying for months. Really, the plotting for this competition started a year ago when the team lost a late-round nail-biting battle at regionals by, well, a hangnail. It was a heart-breaking defeat, made more so because they had given the right answer. But they had to prove it. In an official challenge, after two minutes, they were off by two pages. The other team got to advance to the next round. That’s just the way it goes, though it turned my head about how a quiet, erudite book competition could be incredibly thrilling.

A year ago, we had to drive to (hell and gone) Estacada (motto: “We’re in the boondocks … just keep driving”). I was simply the schlepper. Water, lunch, reading material — I was good to go all day. I was happy to support my kid and all his hard work, but I didn’t take it too seriously.

Then the competitions started.

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Mr. and Mrs. Scatter go shopping, and they blush to tell the troubled tale

"Clown Face With Blush" by Small Large Smelly Boy, circa 2010, color markerBy Laura Grimes

“Why are we parking here?” (Mr. Scatter is of the misperception that another part of the parking lot is better.)

“So we can walk through the lake on the sidewalk to get to the store safely.”

I scanned the grocery list as we stepped around puddles in the light rain on our way to the One-Stop Shopping Mart.

“I think I’ll get a separate basket because I need to get some things that you won’t want to deal with.”

As if to be helpful and save me the embarrassment of explaining further, Mr. Scatter quickly jumped in.

“Women troubles?”

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Jones for love? Try ‘Love Jones’

Wikimedia CommonsBy Laura Grimes

“I thought you’d like to write about it because storytelling is your thing.”

My thing?

My thing is very occasionally, if properly goaded, spinning a knotted-up yarn after a beer or two.

Mr. Scatter was trying to encourage me — nay, uncharacteristically apply pressure on me — to write about Love Jones, which we were seeing that night. He stood above me, strongly silent. He raised his eyebrows.

I scrunched mine and looked back at my non-pressing paperwork as if to say, I’m busy. Go away.

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Pick a peck of pickles ‘n’ peppers

Box full of 80K hotness.

By Laura Grimes

The Great Pickles As Social Vehicle Experiment continues with swap …

No. 6: Peppers. As my apple crisp cooled on the stove and I messaged my fellow crisp baker, another message popped up.

Peppers were in the mail from another old chum I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years.

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