Friday, September 21, 2012


20 years ago today:

My 17th birthday. First guitar, a bright red cheap-o Yamaha from local music store MUSIC6000. Oversized striped shirt, ankh necklace(!), tight black jeans, and I'm guessing Converse low-tops or fake Doc Martens. We used to drive up to Seattle in Karla's beat-up old Subaru hatchback and hit the University District: high school kids on a mission for records, tshirts, weird jewelry. Blasting Mudhoney's You Got It/Keep It Outta My Face. The best part of this picture? As my friend Adam pointed out.. I didn't even know how to put the strap on the right way. How does this thing work?!

Today, I'm much the same. I almost faltered when someone asked me how old I was: "Twenty-Seven". Ha! I tried the mantra 'Treat Yourself'.. very difficult for a Virgo, I think. So I went into town and bought so much delicious food and bevs for my friends who are coming over for the end-of-summer bbq tomorrow. And then I met up with one of my favorite friends, Michelle, and ate seaweed salad and crab and spicy tuna and sake. I always learn something from Michelle. Tonight? Just bummin' around Kamilche. Feels good.

P.S. Thanks Mom and Dad for the guitar!

Monday, September 17, 2012

They Live By Nightlife

I love my 8-hour-a-week jobby-job. In fact, I'm about to head down there right now.. I will muddle, strain, shake, and garnish just for you. On top of that, I will bring you heaping plates of delicious food. When I got out of the 'service industry' (see: working super cool jobs for my friends that own local businesses.. just got bummed/exhausted by humans along the way) about 8 years ago, I said 'NEVER AGAIN'. And I had a good run! But there is something so special about this little room that I lord over twice a week. It is attached to a bustling and bright restaurant, but over in my tiny area, its all glow-y and sweet. Like a clubhouse? Or a little orb of comfort swathed in dark pink light.

 Oh, hi! Welcome.

Quality Burrito = Land of Fantastic Signage.

And my own scratchy mix of upper and lowercase! Gonna re-do this whole sucker in the next few weeks for fall/winter.

Fresh fruit. Yes! This is a Rose's-Lime-Free-Zone. That little muddler has caused me some grief, but acupuncture and eating basil all the time helps.

QB, built upon the ashes of China Town, a restaurant staple of 4th Ave. since the 60's, and a mysterious/crippling drinking spot for my friends back in the day. Always the last ditch, why not? These little pagoda lights are the last souvenirs.

Pretty sweet. Pretty and sweet.

If you're ever in downtown Oly, come find me. If you happen to land in the QB Lounge during my 8-hour workweek, I promise to treat you right!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Attack of the Tots

Have you ever had sodium-induced vertigo? Its a real weird time. The last big event hit me after a night of reckless gorging on Tater Tots®. I was in Portland, Oregon at a friend's house, and for some reason all of us (normally food-sensible folks in our 30's and 40's) decided to pretend we were 21 and consume ridiculous amounts of the barrel-shaped potato units. And the next morning, I stood up and promptly fell over. The spells came and went for a week or so.

I'm usually pretty careful about food. Things I love the most include wild salmon, mustard greens, brown rice, seaweed, avocado, and yams. I don't dine out too often (I like to cook), and if I do, you'll usually find me at the Casino ingesting magical Dungeness Crab and other shellfish delights. Its what grows around here. I also calculated that I managed to put away 11 pounds of blueberries in the past month. Aside from two berry crisps and two batches of blueberry muffins, I take full responsibility for the execution of so many berries, as the freezer is now devoid of their presence. Kefir + Frozen Bluebs + Blender = my daily breakfast. I'm guessing I'm extremely un-oxidized.

But for all of my good behavior, there are moments of convenience and terrible decisions are made. On friday, in Portland (again! something about PDX makes me stray into dangerous deep-fry territory), I was short on time and tall on hunger and had to cram something into my gullet pre-show. Bar food was had. A tuna melt and fries were my dinner. Breakfast the next morning consisted of a croissant w/ soysage, something I would never, ever, neverever eat at home! Today I looked in the mirror upon rising and I have strangely aged about twenty years. There are puffy sodium bags under my eyes and my skin is all parched. I look, as they say, like shit.

So its back to clean-jeans territory for me. There are touches of vertigo floating around me this morning. Lean my head back and to the right, say, to look at a bird flying by, and the world spins. Its not fun. I guess its a thing? Time to go on a hydration binge.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meme America

Today I was hanging with my new awesome studio landlady and printmaker extraordinaire, Jami Heinricher, when we somehow landed on the subject of 'business people'. And how we're both artists, highly driven and organized types that lie just outside-the-border of Going For It. (Whatever that means. Its actually a terrible term I picked up from an older, arrogant man when I was 22 years old. "Sarah, I've often wondered, I mean.. why haven't you really gone for it?". This was in relation to my work as a guitar player/frontperson; the man owned a renowned record label and I SUPPOSE was backhanding me some sort of 'compliment'. Complete with awesome age/gender power play = good job dude. I'll always remember that I am Going For It Every Day, on my own terms, thanks to you.) Ok.. sorry, long aside! I really need to start exercising more, it tamps down that sort of thing.

Jami and I talked about our mutual love for the making of things, and not for the 'business', i.e. the promoting, selling, shipping, organizing, databasing, whole dry world of being in charge of one's own product. And how, as intelligent self-made people, we are acutely aware of what a foolish biz decision it is. To just be the artist. To be a slave to nothing except your own free time, and your own perfectionistic worry of wasting any minute of it.

And she pointed out how I kind-of accidentally invented a proto-meme. With Reading is Sexy, an enigma that I am so, so grateful for (and major props to my business loving, savvy, awesome pals at for making it happen for me since 2005!). These pictures are just a small, small sampling of the bootleggery that is available all aboard the S.S. World Wide Web. I used to care a lot. Don't anymore. Just happy that I get to paint pictures of owls and listen to music and play music and run my time on my own terms. I think that's GOING FOR IT, at least it is in my book

ed note: I actually went as an 'Artist' for Halloween in 5th grade. I wore weird tights, a giant paint-splattered shirt AND a beret. I've been dedicated to my craft for years!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We did it! The surfboard SOLD! Last week in Malibu. Nobody told me! During a late-night email sweep before bed, I scrolled down to find a blurb tacked onto an entirely different message. A brief dance of joy and glass of wine were had. Victory!

This TOTALLY makes up for me having to call the cops on Angry Bicycle Man tazing (twice!) Hopped-Up Shirtless Bro at the artesian well a few nights ago.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yacht Club

This is no time to hide out indoors. Even as I write this I am nervously looking out the window, typing as fast as I can. Every minute left of summer counts! Yesterday I FINALLY got to go sailing. I've never been on a sailboat, despite a small pocket of sailors sprinkled throughout my family tree. The wind was whipping, the skies were blue, so I called my pal Pete and it was ON:

The Vagabond 14', docked in Nikki's front yard.

Cap'n Pete and first mate J-Tro, preparing for our voyage.

And then, sails up, we were at sea. The wind was crazy, I was nervous, but luckily Pete grew up in New England and is an expert seaman!

Perfect, perfect day.

Pete checking the clouds for squalls.

I got put in the 'Splash Seat'. Absolutely soaked, head-to-toe, after our maiden voyage!

The Savage Sailors of the Salish Sea! My friends are so inspiring. So Pete can sail and build beautiful houses and rip on guitar, J-Tro can climb mountains and identify trees and rip on guitar, Nikki can cut pieces of black paper into beautiful imagery, Greg (the Vagabond's owner) can rappel from giant maple trees with a chainsaw and ALSO paint crazy paintings. NW punks = ruling it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Today I met a fuzzy caterpillar in the forest. I said 'Hello, caterpillar friend'. Then, I paused to wonder:

(not my photo. forgot my camera.)

Can caterpillars hear? I leaned in and shouted 'HELLO FRIEND!', and still, nothing. So upon my return home I asked the magic oracle, aka Professor Google, what the deal was. Here's the deal: It is difficult to tell if a caterpillar can hear a sound or not, and we know of no caterpillars that make any noise other than chewing. The small article I found also goes on to say that once they transform into moths, studies of nerve responses have shown that they can 'perceive sound'. What does that mean? And who is doing these nerve response tests on moths??

So many questions today.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Manifest Fondue Pots

This summer in Kamilche has been, without a doubt, K-I-L-L-E-R. Refer to earlier posts in June and July to hear me complain about our region's late bloom of blue skies/sunny paradise.. but once summer finally started here in mid-August, its just been a show-stopping/no-holds-barred heaven. Allow me to illustrate:

The Wild Wolves of Kamilche, Washington! Our daily woods-walk meditation.

And Dear Sweet Universe, thank you for gifting me this new art studio. Absurdly dreamy.

Today: Front yard Puget Sound magic!

Last night: Ringo the Destroyer yawning at the Magic Hour. He could care less!

Oh.. sorry! ANOTHER CRAZY STUDIO SHOT! (its just too perfect).

Wednesday: This was so fun. Fed X killed it. I was rather Sloppy Joe on bass, but 4 brand new songs and one practice for a show? C'mon, cut me some slack.

And when I tilt my head skyward, its all an infinite sea of crushing blue, framed by the just-bitten pre-autumn leaves, preparing for their all-too-soon (at least to this 'adult' lover of summer; as a kid/teen/early adult I had nothing but love for dark dark winter) fall descent. It gives me all sorts of confusing feelings. When the seasons change. My skin is sensitive and I well-up at day-to-day sights like the subtle shifting of afternoon light.

*good news! Ian the Spiv and Chain + the Gang are coming out here monday morning to film a music video aboard our canoe, set out to sea in Totten Inlet. Scene Report to be filed soon!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This Northwest summer is SLAYING me. It is so perfect, each day somehow sunnier and more beautiful than the one before it, I keep scratching my head and muttering 'how is this possible? how?!' The light has shifted, maple leaves are starting to (slowly) fall to the ground, and I just want to live in this crisp blue sunshine world forever. JT tells me if that's the case, I'd better move to San Diego!

We finally got the mighty Lukens Tree Preservation dudes to come out here and give the front yard a makeover. Watching Greg swing around on cables one-arming a chainsaw was ridiculous! It was like a lumberjack circus routine. And the results were perfect: LIGHT + SUNSHINE. Oh.. ahhhhhh. My heart. It swells.

Ringo! Jerk cat. Taking down a hummingbird, really? On one hand, I am completely awed at the spry serial-killer moves of this 15-year-old (originally named Jacques Cousteau, by me, and promptly re-named Ringo, by my old friend and roommate Jesspeleta who 'refused to live with a cat named Jacques' and besides, we already had two fish -- Lennon and McCartney -- in the apartment), but on the other hand: A HUMMINGBIRD! My favorite magical little weirdos. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to be able to investigate one up close.

Here's something: a show! Mid-week madness and batty good times at the Brotherhood. We have lots and lots of new songs. We should probably record them? Need to get on that. Next stop, Portland, on Sept. 14th. Playing with Hooded Hags!

...Annnnnnnnnd: JT CLIMBED MT. RAINIER! Amazing. Lifelong goal: achieved. 14,411 feet! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Treasure Hunt

I'm turning 37 in a few weeks. Wild! And thus, my parents are finally bugging me to clear out some of the millions of boxes of junk I've squirreled away at their house. I barely scratched the surface the other day; its a rather overwhelming task. Piles of journals and photographs, old tapes, some backpacks from high school still stuffed with homework?! The journals, eh -- they're going in the fireplace. Some of these other gems, however, are hall-of-fame worthy:

This was from an album I put together as a 9-year-old, titled 'YEAR OF '84: DRAWINGS BY SARAH UTTER'. If you zoom in, you can see that my interests and subject matter haven't changed much.

And here I am, bothering my cat Olive in.. maybe 2000? I recognize the purple wall from my favorite apartment ever on Capitol Way. I lived by myself for three years there. Mysteriously, I never received an electric bill. My neighbor accidentally washed a baby possum in the basement laundry. We had a few earthquakes. As I sit now, Olive the Cat is snoring peacefully behind me, nearly 15 years old.