From the Blog

Nursery Preparations

We have a room in our apartment we have been calling “the boys’ room.” In the beginning, it was a free-for-all room for us to throw junk into. Then, it became Dave’s early morning changing room, so that he could get ready for work. And more importantly, he could make as big a mess as he wanted. It was the boys’ room after all. And he is a messy boy.

Now we’ve really had to come to grips with the idea that we are having babies. Boy babies. And they are arriving soon. All this time, we felt like we had months and months to go. Then weeks and weeks. Now, legitimately, we may still have weeks, but we could possibly have days to wait. Just days!

And this means we have to stop screwing around and get our shit together. Because that’s what parents do right? We’re new at this.

I didn’t really want to pick a “theme” for the nursery. I didn’t want to spend hours on Pinterest. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money at baby stores. But for crap’s sake, I am a woman, and my uterus is the size of a watermelon. And I’m sort of crafty and creative. So I believe I’m allowed a little indulgence in stereotypical nesting behavior.

I have been hauling bunches of canvasses around for years. I still have some acrylic paints left over from college, and maybe even high school.

I call this series “Talentless Blobs of Color.”

I realized as I painted these, I really have become more comfortable with making art on the computer. As I filled in blocks of color, straight from the tubes of paint, I lamented that there isn’t a real-world equivalent of the paint bucket tool. It would have been handy as hell.

I also remembered an incident from my deep childhood, of drawing such trees, blue skies, white clouds, brown tree trunks in school, as I’m sure most kids did. And I remember a teacher tsk-tsking at me, asking if I really thought that tree trunks were “brown.” He said, “Haven’t you ever noticed, tree trunks are gray? There are no brown tree trunks out in nature, but you all draw them brown.” He shook his head in disappointment and floated away, as though he had just dropped some knowledge on me. Like I was just a little lemming, drawing all my tree trunks brown. I was embarrassed and ashamed. This is a strong memory for me.

I thought about this as I painted brown tree trunks for paintings that would adorn the walls of my sons’ room. I remembered what my teacher said about brown tree trunks. Was I really so unobservant as a child? Were tree trunks really gray instead of brown? Was I already such a slave to convention, even at so young an age? Would I just be perpetuating this grievous error against nature, to knowingly portray tree trunks as brown instead of gray? Would I be damaging my kids’ young minds?

And then I thought about this teacher, in his wise teacher wisdom, from deep in my childhood memory, and I thought: Fuck you, you fucking fuck.

First of all, when I was a kid, there were no fucking gray crayons in the package of 8 crayola crayons. There was red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and brown. What were we supposed to do? Color lightly with the black, in order to make gray? Fuck that. We were kids. None of us were masters of subtlety at that age. Plus, when I drew something, I wanted deep, saturated color. Otherwise, what’s the point? I wasn’t drawing ghostly tree trunks, I was drawing the real thing.

And further, as Dave pointed out, there might actually be gray tree trunks “out in the universe,” but really, primarily, tree trunks are brown. In Oregon, they might be greenish and moss covered. And certainly, the wood inside the tree trunks is brownish. If you are a kid, and drawing something made of wood, you might use a bit of yellow, but really, you are primarily going to use brown.

Because wood is brown. That teacher can go fuck himself.

I’m ready for parenting!


  1. Heh. That Dave. SUCH a dilettante.

  2. Dori Strom says

    I think they are great! I have bought some canvas and oil paints in hopes of making some master pieces of my own. Good job on getting the room ready, you are a rockstar mom!

  3. I’d call it Northwest Nursery. I think it’s fitting for your soon-to-be lumberjacks.

  4. Lauren Siniawer says

    I love the room! Looks great!! I just ordered stencils online this morning so I can have some fun painting the nursery over the next several weeks, since now I’m home from work on ‘modified bed rest’ for the remainder of the pregnancy… Figured I’d need a creative outlet! Just curious, what brand are the cribs / where did you buy them from? That’s the next order of business! :)

    • Lauren, those are Gulliver cribs from Ikea. I wanted simple and light, and there are so many fugly, over-engineered cribs out there. And it’s one of those thing they say NEVER TO BUY USED! Like CAR SEATS! Don’t buy them used! Because you never know what may have happened to them! They could have been used in a circus act! Or launched from a Russian submarine! Or used for drag racing!

      It’s a goddamned consumerist conspiracy.

  5. That is such a cute nursery without being “cutesy”. Your paintings are simple but lovely. Great primary colors. I will say that living in the woods in North Carolina, tree trunks are primarily gray THERE. A few tree trunks are brown, but most are gray. In the Pacific Northwest, though, I suspect most trunks are brown. Different types of trees have different color trunks. Duh. Your teacher should have known that. What a small-minded dude. You rock!

    • Emily, I do think there are some differences in the flora and fauna between coasts, as Dave and I “debated” about “pine trees” a few weeks ago. I was learnt that if a tree has needles, it’s a “pine” tree. Evidently, the world is more subtle than that. I believe there are gray tree trunks out there, but just not enough gray crayons. ;-)

  6. ElkoSteve says

    Those look like happy trees.

  7. some teachers, like some parents, shouldn’t be.

  8. Mary Sue says

    1) That teacher is a dick.

  9. What a happy room! The boys will love it! That teacher is a fuck, to be sure. xo

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