And we’re off-

May 31, 2010

Escaped. One woman. One dog (not pictured). One teenage chicken. Last seen: Santa Cruz, CA. Possible destination: Portland, OR. Threat Level: Not dangerous, in fact, considered very friendly. If (when) spotted: wave and shout, embrace, tell all stories that have occurred in their absence.

Saturday

May 30, 2010

We plan it out Friday night. “Okay Dad, what time do you want to go to the market cuz I could go real early.” “Yeah, lets get out there by 7:30 so we’ll have to leave here no later than 7:20.” I cherish these Saturday mornings with my Dad. We are similar and deeply enjoy the efficient execution of a plan. Rumbling east in the little white truck, Bello laid across my lap, we are initially quiet. The truck is cold, the morning new. But by the time we pull into the parking lot, I feel rushed to get in one last topic and always wish the drive were longer. Because once the doors open, the time for idle talk has ended. We strike out like special ops with only a nod and a purse of the lips to let me know- he is heading straight to Fred and Joanne’s for cherries while I get coffee, we’ll meet at Ronald’s stand, picking up blueberries on the way and don’t forget, Bonnie requested greens. Within 20 minutes we’re out, back in the car with the loot and heading to Gramma’s. Flowers and strawberries and a sit down chat. I love my Gramma! But the visit does not last long. Dad reads the front section of the paper and then, “Em, you ready to go? I gotta eat.” I cast a what-can-you-do glance at Gram and we are back in the truck heading west where the chores, the events, the wonderful distractions of the weekend wait for our return.

This trip to Santa Cruz has been like one big Saturday. I love the people I ride with in this little old truck of a town. But Portland, the weekend, waits for my return.

Hey Ladies…

May 29, 2010

Dearest

May 25, 2010

Josh, Ann, Emilyn, Tiffany, Jeff, Seiji, Quentin, Holly

When I arrived in Santa Cruz I came home to an empty house. My folks are in Missoula visiting my sister and are not due back until Wednesday. So, in classic kid tradition, I invited my friends over to “party” in the parent’s house. Of course, partying doesn’t mean what it used to. No strip poker, no random make-outs, no barfing. Partying now means food and lots of it. We truly feasted. But primarily we feasted on each other’s company. I have known this group for many many years. And yes, you could say we are a modern family with our fair share of emotional entanglement. But it is this shared history that makes where we are now and where we are going that much more rich. When I am asked what to do and see when visiting Santa Cruz, I don’t know what to say. What is lovely about this town is not the beach, the restaurants, the sun, it is them, they are lovely. They are why I keep coming back, keep looking back, keep Santa Cruz close to my heart. My dearest ones.

Pause

May 24, 2010

My first day in Santa Cruz. Before noon I set out for Josh’s and found him finishing lunch and heading out back to work on a bike. I laid in the sun just outside his shop door on the old chaise lounge pad. All the animals crowded around, excited for a human to be so accessible. The afternoon passed with easy, lobbing conversation between two old friends. The consistency and strength of my love for him surprises me. It is there, waiting quietly, patiently, for the moment I see his features and feel the calming of his presence. His front teeth, they touch just slightly when he talks.

It is fascinating to stand at the head of a path you once traveled and to pause only long enough to remember its contours, its dips and rises, its challenges and peaks of joy, before walking on to find new ground to explore. Come along now, there is much to see.

Hippie

May 22, 2010

Shortly before departure Luke and I picked up a teenage chicken to add to my brood. Raised by a young boy on the outskirts of the city, this girl was particularly friendly and well-adjusted. I named her Almond and took her with me on the road. She was a model passenger and no trouble at all. It wasn’t until I got to the border check point entering California that the situation took on a stressful edge. You are not supposed to bring fruit across, what are they going to say about a chicken! Is this how eccentrics feel? What had seemed normal to me was suddenly and starkly weird.

We made it. I didn’t have to leave Almond with the guard at the border. I was waved through like the thousands of hippies before me.

Cali

May 21, 2010

Well guys, I’m outa here. Hittin the road. Livin wild and free. Just me and this guy. Back to where the weather treats you nice. Caa-lee-forn-ia.

On the advice of my trusted friend Luke, I am driving from Portland to the Bay Area in one day. One long day. Leaving tomorrow morning very early, stopping in Shasta for lunch, a nap, and a little yoga, and then pounding out the remaining hours. I should be in Berkeley safe and sound by dinnertime. Hope to see some of you at the Capsule Street Fair in San Francisco Sunday from 11 – 6pm.

Around Every Corner

May 20, 2010

Have I mentioned that it is finally Springtime here in the Northwest? When it rains 9 months of the year, you tend to … act out when it is warm enough to go out. This weekend Sarah’s friend Chelsea was visiting. These two are trouble. Together they make girlhood fantasies come true. Like this one- “Lets style a photo shoot. You do the make-up and hair and I will dress them up. I bet we can find two people willing to do it” And what began as a simple boy meets girl photo series grew into something more. Something more authentic and memorable. I, for one, can’t get it out of my mind.

Come On

May 19, 2010

There is a heavy dose of good cheer in the air. Gaiety. Virtue. Womanly curves.

I want: To share my life. To see and touch. To be near the others.

A Dream

May 17, 2010

Sensuous, indulgent, rich. Grab, stir, swing, inhale. Close your eyes and eat cake from your hand.

Happy Birthday Allison and Maggie. May the next year be just as full as this night.

Delicious

May 15, 2010

It’s Friday. It’s in the seventies. This is fine dining for a people watcher like myself.

Set Up

May 13, 2010

Is this the calm before the storm? These days are suspiciously peaceful and relaxing.

Humble

May 10, 2010

I think my landlady might be reclaiming the house. I don’t want to move. I love my bosomy house on Mallory Avenue and I would very likely put off buying my own house indefinitely to live there longer. It is unsettling to be evicted, but also just the push I need.

Sarah and I went for coffee this morning at Albina Press and noticed a For Sale sign around the corner. Hmm. Medium size, West facing, side yard, quiet neighborhood… and affordable.

And what a calling card-  4600 N. Mississippi.

Mom Day

May 9, 2010

I am notoriously forgetful when it comes to important holidays. Family lore has it that I fail to come through more often than not. Terrible. And of course, all the more terrible because I come from the most loving family I can imagine. My mom, a striking beauty and the creative leader of our clan, set the bar for my sister and me. Charm! Ambition! Style! Humor! I have vivid memories of her across the dinner table, elbow propped, wrist folded, bangle bracelets tumbling to and fro as she provokes those still lingering after the meal. Teasingly wicked at times, her sharpness was buffered by a gullible innocence. She was, in effect and as far as I could tell, the perfect blend. She glowed while other mothers appeared worn and mortal. But come bedtime, she was the one tucking me in, pale yellow chenille robe wrapped around her petite frame. These were my favorite moments and reassured me that all that sparkle was mine. My mom.

Filly in San Fran

May 6, 2010

Space

May 5, 2010

I am really enjoying myself right now. Taking pleasure in just doing the next thing. Gently flowing from one interest to another. Careful not to write anything down. No list of To-Dos, especially if it means jotting down “gardening” or “buy a house”. Just easing down the road and trusting, challenging as that can be, that it will all get done. The list of responsibilities is never cleared. It is never exhausted. I will never say “Ahh, and the last thing finally gets crossed off!” crumple up the paper and throw it aside. No, the list just grows as I grow. So I am going to stop seeing a list and instead see a swirl of options, each one offering me a new experience. You know, organic productivity.

So when I come across images of hand-built houses, I don’t run to the computer and search Homes For Sale. I let the idea of intimate rooms with loft and day beds gently seep into the folds of my mind. And I know that the space I create will be an expression and expansion of all the beautiful places of the world I have seen and admired.

Wow. I sound super trippy. Maybe I am a hippy. I’ve always wanted to be someone that has a pantry and a house smelling of stored grains and quilts. Hmm.

Solar

May 4, 2010

How appropriate to be reading a book titled Solar on a cold cold Spring day. The wind! I don’t want to leave the house! Its icy bits lick at any exposed skin. A blue pointed tongue. Better to be nice and toasty under the covers with Michael Beard, the all too human hero of Ian McEwan’s new book. Through the window I see a snowstorm of white petals riding the wind.

The King!

May 2, 2010

Our neighborhood Farmer’s Market opened for the season and all the homies turned out. It felt like Santa Cruz in the sense that it was hard to get any actual shopping accomplished because every few feet another familiar face would appear.

Attending this market made me nostalgic for Adam’s company. It was a weekly event we enjoyed. With his food stamp tokens he would treat me to a wheat-free muffin. I miss his barely concealed irritation with the musical acts and small portions.

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