...Mostly. Looking for a little discipline, or maybe a little time.
...Mostly. Looking for a little discipline, or maybe a little time.
Yesterday included: a diner breakfast, an 8-mile hike, dozens of herons and turtles, a triple-scoop ice cream, the Sunday NYTimes, a backyard BBQ, strawberry rhubarb pie, rosemary sangria, an impromptu dance party, whiskey on a roof, and tons of great friends - old and new.
And you mean to tell me I get another day off?
This is the best.
One of the great pleasures of life as an adult is that you can decide, on a whim, that you'd like a bottle of wine to drink when you get home. Then you can stop at the store, pick out whichever one strikes your fancy - say, a Spanish garnacha - bring it home, uncork it, pour a measure into your nicest wineglass, and sit down to drink it at your leisure.
The prerogative and the pleasure are all yours. And it feels great.
Gave a talk tonight for a class of folks at UMD on the farm bill. I expected undergrads - and I got 'em, along with some random community members and a few farmers just for good measure who'd been invited by the prof.
Public speaking is an excellent exercise in humility, particularly in front of 18-year-olds. I can ace a conference or professional audience pretty easily - assume a basic baseline knowledge, expand their understanding in a few novel ways, make lots of time for questions, and drop in some novelty insider facts or stories to keep things interesting.
That sort of works for undergrads, minus the baseline knowledge and plus their propensity to fall asleep. Which a few did. Like I said, humility.
Just to keep me on my toes, the farmer in the room happened to be in disagreement with me on the usefulness of certain farm subsidies and had no compunctions about asking questions along those lines. Another asked me a real stumper about tobacco.
Meanwhile, as I worked through my slides, I thought of a host of ways I could have streamlined, reorganized, and improved the talk. Typical. Just gotta get step better every time in the iterative work of effectively explaining farm policy and mobilizing sleepy undergrads, right?
Turns out it's harder to find 10 minutes at the end of every day than I thought.
Not that I don't have anything to say.
Not that I don't still deeply enjoy putting some words down, even after a long day of, well, words.
Not that I am so busy I can't find the time.
Mostly I just don't want to give up 10 minutes of precious sleep. The thought at the end of the day of staying up just a bit later and getting a bit less sleep just sounds like the worst idea ever. So I don't.
Could I get up 10 minutes later? Shave 10 off the morning routine to make up the difference? Maybe. Let's try that next.
In the meantime, here are some things I want to talk about soon, for personal reference -
- Sri Lanka
- The continuing horror show of DC dating
- Getting dressed up
- Thao and Sallie
- Art museums
- And probably some other things I've forgotten. Here's hoping this whole 'get up 10 minutes later schtick flies, y'all.
Habits are harder to form than you'd think. Especially when there are lots of forces working against the regular repetition of a behavior you're hoping to cement.
Case in point: been traveling for work a lot lately, and working long hours pretty nonstop, which means I've opted most nights to stretch or read a few minutes of a novel rather than put my own thoughts to paper.
How hard can it be to just take 10 minutes to write a bit?
Real hard, if you're going to bed later than planned and getting up earlier than you'd like.
There have been times I've been so busy that I scheduled my days in detail down to 15-minute increments. A meeting here, a coffee there, phone calls, exercise, the very time it takes to walk from one place to another, the whole deal. Guess it's a survival mechanism? A way to still feel a little bit in control?
I got away from all that when I moved to Oregon because I already stood out as wildly more Type A than anyone else. And I didn't really need to. I was busy, sure, but the sheer volume of stimuli - opportunities, really - was simply smaller.
Now that I'm in DC, where every minute seems to count in a different, more high-pressure way, I'm inching back towards scheduling in everything. 15 minutes here, 15 there, and before you know it you've got your day.
Maybe it'll help me write more often too?
Things I learned this weekend:
- There truly is no such thing as too many doughnuts. At least for me. As I ate my way across Kentucky's doughnut shops with 3 friends, eating several a day, effectively all day, I didn't once feel ill. This probably bodes ill for my old age, when I'll probably stop doing everything except eating sweets nonstop until I keel over.
- Speaking of keels, apparently in some fried chicken joints you can order a "keel". The keel is a strip of cartilage connecting the breasts. What does this mean when you see it on a menu? I have no idea. None of us were brave enough to order it or ask the (understandably) surly guy behind the counter.
- Flying home at the tail end of a weekend late at night before a big day at work is really not the best idea. Really.
- I still love horses almost as much as I did when I was a kid.
- I love cats even more than I did as a kid. This also probably bodes ill for my old age.
- College friends are great road trip / weekend trip / bourbon tasting / doughnut eating / music listening / joke telling companions. I'm awfully lucky to have so many of them in my life.
- Kentucky is way more fun than you'd think.
Things I'm thinking about tonight, in no particular order:
- It seems my immune system is not as good as I always thought it was. Because the germs of DC are destroying me. Haven't had three winter colds in one year in... ever? This place is a Petri dish.
- Old friends - such a pleasure! So nice to sit over scallops and goat and beets and brussells sprouts tonight with Julie and talk shop about men, work, life, the Farm Bill.. A good reminder that even when I'm sick, tired, and busy friends are worth it. Always.
- Valentine's Day. It happened, as it always does, with little fanfare. Sat in the living room with George - seeking refuge from a boisterous crowd at his place - eating chocolate, drinking tea, and gleefully trolling OkCupid. Pretty alright, I guess.
- Kentucky tomorrow! Weekend trips mean something so different on the east coast. Gone are the weekend backpacks, in are flights to nearby states to eat and drink and chew the fat for hours with, yes, more old friends. Wish I could have it both ways but you never can, can you?
I used to have a doctor friend in Oregon who'd come home after a particularly long, hard day and say I left it all on the field today. It wasn't necessarily a bad or a good thing - just a comment on what the day demanded. Everything.
Today was that sort of day for me.
I've always been the kind of person to save a little juice for the home stretch - to always keep a little in reserve, just in case. When I ran cross country in high school, I'd carefully mete out my energy with each mile so that I'd have enough for a final intense burst at the finish. Plenty of other runners would start off giving it their all and sprint to the front for the first 10 minutes only to taper off in the second half of the race. Others would miscalculate, spend it all somewhere along the way, and find themselves literally collapsing, convulsing, vomiting just before the finish line, having overspent their reserves.
It's a risk, right? You've got to know yourself well enough to make a smart judgement - and hope that whatever plays out along the way doesn't upend your strategy. But I've been around long enough to know that the universe just loves upending our strategies.
How do you, then, make a practice of giving it - whatever it is - your all without collapsing just before the finish line? Where's the balance? I sure haven't figured that out yet.
Today I was an adult through and through. I mean, I've basically been an adult since age 4 but today it was clearer than usual.
My friend George bought a house today.
Another friend talked about quitting his job to take his startup full time.
I made a professional decision that, while perhaps less helpful for my own professional development, is the right thing to do.
Guess we're growing up and stuff.
One thing I'm grateful for as I get older is an increased ability to weigh the pros and cons of a decision fully - and to know when to take better, smarter risks and when to walk away.
It sounds cheesy - Kenny Rogers' The Gambler, anyone? - but it's true. I don't have as much the compulsion I used to to leap full throttle into any and all opportunities and challenges that come my way. I know when to take 'em - and when to let 'em slide on by.
... For the moment, at least.
Funny how hard it is to find ten minutes just lying around.
Seems like I've always got ten for facebook or animated GIFs or one last twitter trawl before bed, but to spend that ten productively? Working through what's left in mind at the end of the day and coming out the other side with a little bit of reflection? Seemed well-nigh impossible.
But then I signed up for this wellness thing, a chance to set and share and aim to meet a few goals every week in the presence of friends, and the need for reflection was at the top of my list.
I used to write almost daily. Back in the days of deeply confessional quasi-public diaries on sites like Diary-X and Scribble, I and a few close friends (hi Liz!) would pour out reams of words, detailing our days and our feelings and - at least in my case - more than a bit of angst, delivered in song lyrics and deliberately truncated little snippets of expression I wasn't brave enough to let fly in full. I pretty much stopped writing sometime in college; too much going on, too little time, and the overwhelming need to take it all in at a torrid pace.
That tendency has continued despite my frequent wishes to get back on the horse over the years. I figure bending this Wellness Challenge thing to this end might help - ten minutes, every day, spent writing something. Anything. And maybe with a public goal, a social incentive to succeed, and the chance to do some real habit formation over ten weeks, I can make it happen!
There's a lot of overlap across everyone's goals - floss daily, eat more vegetables (!), work out, read more, sleep more, be a little more disciplined, a little better to ourselves. And I, too, pledged for vegetables and yoga and reading more of the print newspapers that threaten to bury me alive. But I also pledged to spend ten measly minutes every day - well, night - being a bit more reflective. In writing.
So here I am. It feels good to stare at this little white box and let some text roll off my fingers, banal as it may be. I think maybe this is gonna be a good thing.
There are so many reasons to think critically about the nature of the Thanksgiving holiday. But all I really want to note today is that this was the first time in 10 years I was able to be home with my family to cook and eat and celebrate an opportunity to be together.
It was lovely.
by Carl Sandburg
(Written to be read aloud, if so be, Thanksgiving Day)
I remember here by the fire,
In the flickering reds and saffrons,
They came in a ramshackle tub,
Pilgrims in tall hats,
Pilgrims of iron jaws,
Drifting by weeks on beaten seas,
And the random chapters say
They were glad and sang to God.
Since the iron-jawed men sat down
And said, "Thanks, O God,"
For life and soup and a little less
Than a hobo handout to-day,
Since gray winds blew gray patterns of sleet on Plymouth Rock,
Since the iron-jawed men sang "Thanks, O God,"
You and I, O Child of the West,
Remember more than ever
November and the hunter's moon,
November and the yellow-spotted hills.
In the name of the iron-jawed men
I will stand up and say yes till the finish is come and gone.
God of all broken hearts, empty hands, sleeping soldiers,
God of all star-flung beaches of night sky,
I and my love-child stand up together to-day and sing: "Thanks, O God."
It's my last night in Charleston. Tomorrow: Los Angeles!
Vacation has been fantastic. I'll tell you more soon.
Frankly, I feel unmoored.
I think I'm back. I want - I need - to start sharing again.
Some words from Mary Oliver that have been keeping me company, of late:
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
(from The Journey)
I love New York City a little more each time I visit.
My fabulous market manager is out of town this week, meaning I'm driving the mobile market truck this weekend. Aside from the fact that it adds 30 hours to my work week, I'm psyched. It's great to be the bearer of delicious fresh fruits and veg to communities in need.
Next up: Good Things, NYC edition!
Well, here we are. What do you think of the new look? Going for something a little more stripped down and clean and, well, functional. Archives are temporarily down, not that anyone wants to go digging in there anyway. Also need to re-do About page, Resume/CV page, all that. Again, not like y'all are in a hurry.
A little tweaked that I haven't yet gotten it to display an entry's category or tags. A lot tweaked that the wild woolly world of web design has passed me so far by that this shit's total Greek to me. It's been a long time since I tried to get in and wrangle with Movable Type.
Either way I'm happy to have a fresh start. It's a long while overdue, eh? This feels like a place I might like to visit more often.
Things that have been floating around on browser tabs for a while:
Unrelated to browser tabs but also lovely:
Leonard Cohen on a rainy night
A new library book on the nightstand (Hemon, The Lazarus Project)
Still-fresh memories of a lovely, lovely weekend in Seattle that couldn't have been much better
Will return shortly.
A brief fluke of spring weather, sunny, warm and dry and perfect.
Starting the garden. Two long days blinking from the bright light, or is that from the whiteness of our winter skin, bared for the first time since Christmas in Florida? Two tons of compost shoveled from the back of a battered Chevrolet onto each still winter-heavy bed, all of them carefully staked and turned and furrowed and lined with tiny seeds: peas, spinach, chard, mustard greens, tatsoi, beets, carrots, arugula, collards, all of this just the beginning.
Sunday morning. NPR, hot coffee, fresh baked soda bread, companionable bickering over the crossword with Tom and Angie.
Saturday night. A bottle of rum smuggled in to enjoy Knowing all the more for the terrible terrible movie it is. Laughing uproariously throughout all the supposedly serious scenes. Sarah described it pretty spot-on:
Sadly, there will be no Knowing 2, because everyone and everything dies at the end, the entire earth destroyed by a sun shart (that one’s all Tracie), except for Nicolas Cage’s son, who escapes to Planet Narnia aided by a bunch of angel aliens who look like the guy from Coldplay, where he has to live out his days wearing Mormon underwear and waiting until he’s old enough to hump like rabbits. Also he got to bring his pet rabbit with him so that was cool.
Monday night. Walking home and did I mention it was warm and sunny? The smell of malty mash in the air, emanating from Full Sail. Pork carnitas with beans from last year's garden, a simple lemony cake from the April Gourmet. Best mail day of the month? The day Gourmet arrives, of course. So good.
Groovin to some Billy Joel and Wilco, switchin to the Big City clothes, lovin on the bluebird sky, and ON MY WAY TO SEATTLE. Good. Times.
Triple whammy: sick, busy, guest in town. I'll be back on it soon.
An oversimplification, sure, but:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes -- the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
I like this way of thinking about creativity, and I certainly find it true in my own work. I don't like the crude binary, though, and I'd love to read about some specific examples making the most of both theory and practice. Thoughts welcome.
Might make it to NYC in early June for an awards dinner! Well hot dog. I'll let y'all city types know if it comes to be!
I hate these loose ends and unexpected reminders and bits and pieces that keep popping up just when I'm not feeling low. It's never as simple as packing your toothbrush and pajamas and walking out the door, I guess.
Let me mention something awesome: went down to Eug last week to see the Punch Brothers and it was outstanding. A highlight: their 22-yo bass wunderkind solo with Gabe on You Are My Flower.
Also awesome: seeing all those great friends and getting all those great hugs. Buzzing around town with T and pulling off an ambitious array of dishes for the pre-show eats, including homemade crackers. Who'da thunk they were so easy?
This has been a dang nice winter thus far. Plentiful sunshine and not too much rain. The bulbs are already poking up out of the ground and I've only had to dig my car out from snow a few times. Nice job, Columbia River Gorge, nice job.
At the Salvation Army in The Dalles, OR: handmade log cabin style super soft and loved quilt, $2.99
At my new place in Hood River: Columbia River and Mt Adams view from the living room where I am currently sitting. Not that I'll be able to see Mt Adams until May, but, you know.
This was the congregational prayer on Christmas Eve at the church I grew up in. Something good to think on.
On this night, O God - on this night we confess that we do not want to confess. We do not want to examine our hearts before you and admit to the dark places. We want you to warm us in candlelight, carols, and communion. We desire soft light tonight; not the blinding shining of your glory that terrified the shepherds. We cannot stand in that light. God among us, forgive us. Help us hear your angel saying, "Do not be afraid." Flood our hearts with the light that drives out all our darknesses. Straighten our backs and loose our timid tongues that we might sing, "Glory!"
It really is good to be home.
There's a lot that's good of late, too.
Baking baking baking.
Tropical fruits in abundance.
Lots (but not enough) of time with Liz.
Going through scads of old family photos and scanning them with Grandmother, Aunt C, cousin Meg, and Dad.
Enjoying the sunshine and looking forward, just a little bit, to the snowy wonderland that awaits back in OR.
The fact that slowing real estate mania in Florida is allowing lots of conservation projects to MOVE FORWARD because suddenly nobody wants to build houses anymore. Well, hallelujah.
HAVING TIME TO READ. I repeat. HAVING TIME TO READ. Oh is it good.
And some more. Details later, maybe, if I get around to it. I got several stacks of old slides to scan tomorrow - and it's time to make pralines and macaroons and maybe a nice long bike ride on my fave yellow bike...
Somebody send me some good news, would you? I'm tired of so much that's bad or wrong or so sad you have to cry. I'm tired of carrying around this burden of knowing the whys and hows of what is wrong and why - what it means to walk into Save-a-Lot, our local super-discount grocer, and see Latina women carefully price-checking every item to stretch each dollar and the vacant-eyed stare of an older man with a body completely beaten down from hard labor or maybe drugs or disease or just plain being tired. To see the packets of frozen fish and know that they came from collapsing, overburdened fisheries - or from ecologically devastating fish farms that destroy all the natural sea life around them. To see the towering stacks of chips and sodas and the deafening silence, atop the tinny music, of a place full of people who are having a damned hard time.
To come home to news that, yes, the state of Washington is cutting its budget yet again and the grant program that is funding the lion's share of my salary will be cut at the end of June - just as the growing season starts.
I can hardly bear to walk into the assisted living facility where my Amma lives. My mom does it every day, goes and talks to her and rubs her legs and makes sure everything is OK, and Amma barely notices. She is beyond everything except the next round of medication and I can't handle it. Not her, not the indomitable woman who was digging up and transplanting spiny pineapples at 90 and skillfully picking out the best-quality fabric at Wal-Mart from the piles and piles of bolts at 85. Who until this spring was still sewing, still ten times the seamstress I'll ever be, who would stand in front of the sliding glass doors to the back yard and roar out in tongues her love for her God.
The papaya farmer I met who wouldn't take a cent for the gorgeous fruit he gave me but relayed a series of struggles and failures to succeed not through any fault of his own but bad circumstance - hurricanes, disease, market upheavals.
Every time I come home things look a little worse around town. The long slow creep of decay and the dissolution of that most important thing - community. People are disengaged. People don't care. Or maybe they do, but they feel helpless. All those For Sale signs, all those homes falling apart, decrepit, with filthy dogs short-chained in a ring of dirt, a sign of worse things inside.
Grotesquely huge faux-Mediterranean mansions sprouted all over Sarasota and down 75, having eaten up all that farmland and open space, they sit empty, For Sale. Walking around at one of the ritzier malls in the area and seeing the price tags and nauseating opulence at a store like Saks, and thinking, what the hell? Buying all these Christmas presents for all these people and having very little ability to gauge my complicity and what to do about it.
Don't even get me started on the Real news, everything I've been reading in the newspapers and online.
To want to keep my eyes open for all of this and to want desperately to look away, to stop knowing. How do you know it and see it and live with compassion and love and not let all that need everywhere dismantle you bit by bit from the inside out?
All these hours in the day and yet so much yet undone. Projects upon projects stacked in my room and my mind, all these things I want to do for me and for my family and my friends and my job and there will never ever be the time to do it all but I keep trying and getting frustrated. It doesn't really help to know, logically, rationally, whatever, that you can't Do It All or Fix It All unless you can live that truth and find that tricky sweet spot where you do your best and you do all you can but you don't try and do it all and you don't beat yourself up over all these things you see every day that wash across your body like strong waves and threaten to sweep you right out to sea.
I've gotta say - it's not such a bad thing to be in Florida on vacation when it's 11 degrees in Oregon right now...
I'll be here:
That is all.
p.s. I love my job.
- I go home to FL in 5 days.
- It is gorgeous and sunny outside - in DECEMBER. In the GORGE.
- I got my inbox to below 20 messages for the first time in at least 8 months.
- I may have found a great deal on a MacBook for my organization, since we currently are borrowing a laptop and will need to return it very soon.
I didn't get to post any of this on actual Thanksgiving because I was too busy having a glorious 24 hours in Eugene with friends, happily laptop-free, but, belatedly, some things to be ever so thankful for:
- A job doing what I love that allows me to have a positive impact on my community
- My happy li'l Subaru, which got a record 32 mpg on my Eugene trip, thanks to Granny-style cruise control and moderate speed
- Getting to go home for just over 3! weeks! a week from today and see my family and Florida and to wedding-plan with Liz
- All of my friends everywhere
- Being able to sit around a Thanksgiving table with a few close friends and a bunch of near-strangers and leave feeling positively communal
- Great thrifting buddies
- This lovely fall, which has been so sunny and mild, relatively speaking
- Scruffy the cat, who curled up with me in bed every night and morning while I house-sat last week
- The promise of a hot tub to enjoy all winter long
- Hope, and all that it means
So I had heard through the grapevine already (of course) that some folks I went to school with were on an HGTV home improvement show, but then ZOMG I had that very channel on tonight, because I cannot seem to turn the TV off while I house-sit, AND THEN SOMEBODY'S SAYING ARCADIA FLORIDA.
And there's these kids I vaguely recall from high school, now engaged, trying to move their new home across somebody else's pasture to their 5 acres of pasture. These kids are younger than I am but there they are, with their camo ball caps and Nextels on their belts, and their glorious rural Florida accents, on the TV as a young couple with a home.
And here I am, living out of boxes and nowhere even close to near to committed to this place or these people or this boy or this job.
But that's not what I'm really thinking about. It's the unexpectedly huge pleasure of seeing home - the cows and the particular look of the pasture, the quality of the light, the way the voices sound, the familiar highways, the live oaks and palmettos. Wow, it's hitting me hard.
I can officially call myself an Executive Director now. Pretty. Darn. Cool.
- Sleeping in until 7:30.
- Ray LaMontagne's Sarah (igif)
- Pretty much everything that Daniel Martin Moore does.
- Obama's grassroots organizing skillz. (huffpo)
- Pentagram's redesign of The Atlantic. So classy!
- Green tomatoes for green tomato preserves and fried green tomatoes.
- Still-fresh happy memories of all the friends I saw back East.
- A full-but-not-crazy weekend already planned: grape picking, harvest partying, beer brewing, and maybe a little Christmas shopping in Portlandia.
- Slowly, methodically making it through about 20 pages nightly of DFW's Everything and More.
Back in Oregon again. Gone a week, I came home to find the mountains already mantled with snow and a garden laid waste by the first killing frost.
While I basked in the sun along Brooklyn's wide, summery streets and Manhattan's steel corridors, autumn happened.
I already miss everyone I just left.
Amazing what a good conference can do for your motivation and career enthusiasm. It's nice.
- Saw Burn After Reading, first movie I have seen in a theatre since, uh, Wall-E. My new least favorite Coen brothers movie ever.
- Packing for Philly and NYC and trying to go ultra light: 1 carry-on backpack. This is proving challenging, especially because many of my travel-size liquids come in 4 oz containers. I mean, the limit is 3 oz. Will they REALLY notice?
- My cousin made the NYT! Too bad they did not publish the photos of all of Amma's handiwork.
- Really excited for the new Jolie Holland album. Springtime Can Kill You really didn't do it for me, but this one harkens more toward a mood and sound I like. Also, she covers Todd Snider.
- Not really happy with my lifestyle right now. Still too busy, too little free time, too much guilt over how much is yet undone. Starting to get that terrible mental wall when I think about work. Starting to dread it. This is not what I want to happen. I've got to find a way to step back and let some of this weight on my shoulders fall away.
It doesn't take too long to get back into the writing rhythm: the slow piecing-together of concepts into a narrative whole. The pages aren't quite flying by, but I'm getting somewhere. Getting closer. Trying and failing and trying and succeeding, steps forward and steps back.
Twenty-one pages down, at least twenty to go.
(from a local restaurant's newsletter, some kind words)
This week’s doff of the toque goes to....
Our collective kitchen hats are off this week to Gorge Grown Food Network’s own wonder gal, Sarah ---------------. Sarah, whose title is “coordinator,” has actually been sighted at three different locations at the same time. Or maybe it just seems that way. Whether it’s signing up new members, running the Sunday mobile market, or putting on the little picnic for 200 last Sunday at Idiot’s Grace, Sarah is just amazing. Rumor has it she even coaxes the tomatoes and raspberries into longer growing seasons. Thanks, Sarah, for all you do to help us eat local and delicious.
10:30 PM, still at work. This report is slowly coming together. Slowly. Don't look to hear much from me until I get through it. Things are pretty intense around here.
This is just about the only thing keeping me alive and well right now. On steady repeat.
(James Yorkston cover; I love that JY. Sadly, you can only buy it if you buy the giant box set of JY goodies. This does not jive well with my current desperate need to Own Less Stuff.)
Staring down the barrel of a terrifying deadline next week - and this comes after pulling off a 250 person fundraising dinner on Sunday and working through yesterday's painful dizzy stress hangover. Thank goodness N made me dinner. Must meet the deadline, then must turn around and make one more mobile market run, then one more community meal, then one more real work week. Will not get a full day off until October 4. And then the next day I fly to Philly for a conference. There's nothing to be done about it but barrel through and keep looking to the other side.
Got a scholarship to the CFSC conference in October! I'm comin' to Philly!
You know, I only moved out here with one box of shoes. I'm not sure how they've multiplied into three. Ditto, um, everything else I seem to own.
I'm moving this week. Both of my housemates in my current house are leaving town, so it's time to part ways and for me to move a bit further up the valley. It should be pretty awesome, actually, because I'll be living where I garden. Though I'll no longer be able to walk to work. We'll see about biking - there's a beastly hill, and y'all know how I feel about beastly hills.
Either way, I'll be moving again in January, into a 6-month house sitting gig.
After that? Who the hell knows?
I love what I do but sometimes (often) it is too much. There is more to do than I can reasonably (or unreasonably) handle. My predecessor burned out in 11 months; I'm coming up on that milestone real fast and hoping I can keep it together through next year. Again, I love what I do and I love the people I work with. I just don't like that sinking feeling I get every morning when I wake up and think about how much work is waiting for me at the office. Every day. Forever. With no end or reprieve in sight. And none of it with the time or resources to do it truly to the best of my ability. Everything seat-of-the-pants, reinvent-the-wheel. And then the guilt for leaving at, you know, a reasonable hour like 5 or 6. And for knowing that compared to somebody forced to slaughter chickens for 16 hours a day in near-slavery conditions, my job is positively cushy.
I don't know. I don't even want to take a vacation because then all I've got is an even larger pile of work to be done.
On the bright side, my new place has a cat. And wood floors in my bedroom. And a KitchenAid I can borrow. And did I mention I love the people I work with? And my new housemates are great? And that I got to work in my garden for 6 hours on Saturday (with the sunburn to prove it)?
It was a typical Eugene winter, chilly, dark and wet. I drove him around all night, bar to bar, watched him get drunk with all his friends. We didn't run into her, thankfully.
Next morning we were both haggard. He made some coffee in a dish towel, no filters in the house, and sat down to write in his journal.
I found this CD by the stereo and put it on.
The Destroyer Sessions - Ryan Adams, with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
(recorded shortly before Heartbreaker)
It was the end of a long slow slide into disaster, a messed up ride, the final "I don't want to talk to you ever again" that slammed around and around in my head until I had to say it.
I'd thought I was past that, better than that, immune to heartbroken boys in need of something nobody can give. Nope. It feels like a long time ago now, and it doesn't really hurt anymore, but that album is always gonna be that time, I think.
So don't have the slightest twinge of interest in babies. Never have. I know girls who get that in-your-ovaries longing whenever they see one, but that's not me. Babies make me think of sleepless nights and smelly diapers and screaming screaming screaming.
Whenever somebody tells me how much she wants one, I always say I understand the feeling. Because y'all, I am dying for a cat.
Made the mistake of browsing the local cat adoption center's website today and it was all I could do not to leave the office and immediately drive over and take one home. Or two. Seriously, this is way beyond 'oh, it would be nice to have a cat.' This is an irrational major brain-addled-by-hormones WANT. Normally I don't let myself look at the listings because it almost makes me sick that I can't have one right now.
I love cats, all animals really, and I live in a house where pets aren't allowed, am about to move to another house that already has animals, and then will move just 3 months later to a 6-month house-sitting gig where I definitely can't have a pet. So we're looking at nearly a year before this could happen.
I want a cat.
So there's an Obama campaign office in the building where I work, and this has made things something of a zoo the last few weeks: volunteers in and out at all hours, making the.same.scripted.call.all.day and thinking that I, too, work for Obama and might know if he is coming to Hood River and if so when and could I get them an in with him?
I'm all, I WISH.
We've got this life-sized cardboard cutout of Obama here at the office, and people move him around during the day. Nothing like walking around a corner only to find yourself face-to-face with an awkwardly smiling man holding fake glasses. I am going to get my picture taken with him soon.
So it turns out that when you work 55+ hours a week and have a big garden and a hiking habit you don't get a lot of blogging time in.
I did, however, read and love this: 75 Skills Every Man Should Master.
There's some thoroughly useless shit in there, but also some great tips. I wish women's magazines published pieces like this.
Some of my favorites:
19. Approach a woman out of his league. Ever have a shoeshine from a guy you really admire? He works hard enough that he doesn't have to tell stupid jokes; he doesn't stare at your legs; he knows things you don't, but he doesn't talk about them every minute; he doesn't scrape or apologize for his status or his job or the way he is dressed; he does his job confidently and with a quiet relish. That stuff is wildly inviting. Act like that guy.
20. Sew a button.
28. Play go fish with a kid. You don't crush kids. You talk their ear off, make an event out of it, tell them stories about when you were a kid this or in Vegas that. You have to play their game, too, even though they may have been playing only for weeks. Observe. Teach them without once offering a lesson. And don't be afraid to win. They can handle it.
29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. Sometimes the laws of physics aren't laws at all. Read The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone, by Kenneth W. Ford.
58. Avoid boredom. You have enough to eat. You can move. This must be acknowledged as a kind of freedom. You don't always have to buy things, put things in your mouth, or be delighted.
S: to float or not to float
J: currency markets?
S: the klickitat river
I need to read some books soon like whoa. I've got a big long list on my Goodreads and I hear good things about books from all my bookish friends but I have not been keeping up.
I've got a growing pile in the bedroom, books from friends, books from the library, books from bookstores. Have not made the time to read them. Have not made the time for lots of things lately. Like laundry. Or cleaning. Or running. Or hiking. Or much else. What have I made time for? Work. The garden. The boy. And that's about it.
How do you do it all, people?
Also, what does it say about you that when you get a free hour on a Sunday your first thought is to go out to the garden and weed?
I've been meaning to go to the weekly downtown Pub Quiz here for a while. Once a nerd, always a nerd, you know? Last night I finally made it down and joined N's team of fish biologists.
We totally won. Easily. I aced every lit question of the night and I would have aced all the redneck questions if anyone had believed me when I told them that a jingle bob is part of a cowboy's spur.
I think maybe I'll go more often. And wear my 2002 Division III Academic Team State-Runner Up ring.
News to make my Monday: TAX REFUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's cloudy and cold and wet and gross today but it won't be that way for much longer.
We busted out the first batch of sweet tea for the season last night.
MY NAME IS JONAS
I'M CARRYIN' THE WHEEL
It is 2000 (2001?) and I am so proud of my sporty red sweatpants even though I can only wear them inside where the air conditioning is cold enough to give you goosebumps. We are inside because it is the middle of the day in the middle of midsummer at the beach in Florida and we are already sunburned.
THANKS FOR ALL YOU'VE SHOWN US
THIS IS HOW WE FEEL
We are also inside because you can't make out on the beach in the middle of the day.
COME SIT NEXT TO ME
POUR YOURSELF SOME TEA
There's only one Discman and one set of headphones, so we share. One or the other keeps falling out, but it doesn't really matter, because we know all the words anyway.
(Brought to you by having heard My Name is Jonas today for the first time in a long, long time.)
If it's been a while since you've backed up any of your important personal or professional computer documents, DO IT. Like, now.
Because you never know when the computer containing everything your organization has done in 2.5 years might kick the bucket.*
This also means that I have even less computer access than normal. Thank goodness for my nearly-6-year-old Powerbook. If you don't hear from me for a bit, this is why. Also because I'ma be in Tillamook this Saturday and then doing an all-day GUMBO EXTRAVAGANZA with Team South'n on Sunday. Shrimp 'n' sausage and all that. Oh yes.
* Yes, I was able to recover everything. But it would have been less expensive and gut-wrenchingly stressful if I had had more current backups.
The tough part about being a generalist is that you spend a lot of time thinking about how much you would love to get more into EVERYTHING YOU SEE AND LEARN ABOUT but you are too busy getting more into 50 OTHER THINGS and also, you know, working at your job and stuff.
...but I'm still wearing my down jacket.
This morning? It is SNOWING. Where am I, New Hampshire?!
I made my first trip up to Goldendale yesterday afternoon for a meeting with a 4-H youth livestock showing group.
It's too bad I forgot my camera. Goldendale sits well above the Columbia River on the Washington side, and you have to make a long, slow climb out of the Gorge to get to the top of the plateau. Once on top, I saw not only the usual mountain suspects - Adams, St Helens, Hood - but, way down south, Jefferson! Plus a ton of rickety old barns, homesteads, and old-skool cafes and bars. I miss the big wide open spaces of Eastern Oregon; the Gorge, while beautiful, feels claustrophobic sometimes, especially living on the north-facing side (less sun).
No shortage of sun in Goldendale: it was setting just as I left, and I spent the whole windy way back down gaping at the panorama of gold and green and pink. Everything's green right now - well, almost - and it will only be that way for a few weeks in the desert. I need to get back up there again soon.
Closest approximations I could find on flickr:
Had a rad long weekend with Jill! Got some photos coming soon, too! So good to spend time with an old friend and share food and cooking and adventures and music and real long conversations and humorous stories about navigating badass-single-woman-land (or: Where's All the Good Menz? or: Care and Feeding of Intermittent Flaky Lovers, or: Oh Girl, No, He DIDN'T).
I took a long weekend to have some fun and I've been paying for it today. April is going to be a long month - some major deadlines, some major speaking engagements, some major networking, some major project planning. Time to hit it, unpaid-overtime style. Wish me luck.
Best potluck yet last night. Highlights:
From Rumi's Buoyancy:
So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where?
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It's a total waking up!
Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn't matter how long we've been unconscious.
We're groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.
My organization is going to get some super fab professional pro bono design work done: logo, identity, branding, publicity. I mean, I'd love to do it myself, but 1) I'm not a pro and 2) my days are too full of things like creating farmers' market application packets and meeting with stakeholders and all that organizing stuff.
I really really really really really want to go to Terra Madre.
Fela Kuti is far more inspiring music for Getting Shit Done than The Everybodyfields.
I've also been doing pretty well with a mix of Burial, Spoon, Hayward Williams, and a couple tracks off the Mountain Goats' Heretic Pride. (Keeping in mind that I don't have my full library at work - just tracks that I download from Hypem or buy on eMusic)
Hmm.. maybe it's time for a productivity mix. Or at least a Top 5.
What do YOU listen to when you need to really be productive?
I don't generally have bad dreams. But last night I dreamt that I was traveling - adventuring? - with a band of people, not real-life people but dream-people, and as part of our journey we had to free climb this monstrous cliff. It was not a hard climb, really, and I don't recall being frightened by being a good 1000 feet up a rock wall with no rope. But then one of my traveling companions, a tall lanky guy, got one of his arms tangled up with mine. In extricating himself, he apologized, shifted a bit to the right, lost his footing, and fell. I woke up with his scream in my throat.
Heading out with Becca to Seattle for the weekend.
I get to see Chris Thile!
I get to hang out with Shannon!
I get to load the f up on flea markets and winter farmers' markets and limited-release movies and the one the only Pike Place!
Also. I have a bunch of pretty sweet Everybodyfields pictures to upload. I have a bunch of other things to write about and/or upload that I may or may not get to. But, you know, I'm workin on it.
We got a great look at the lunar eclipse last night. I was standing out in my front yard with a few friends, gawking up at the sky, when a little white Subaru roared around the corner and screeched to a halt in the road. Yasmin!
She marshaled all of us into her car and off we went down the hill to the Mosier tunnels just outside of town - a far superior site for moon-watching, talking, and taking in the night, it turns out.
Over the last few weeks there's been a subtle shift in the social dynamic around here. Maybe we've reached a critical mass of individuals, or maybe we've just gotten to know one another a little better, or maybe it's just taken this time - but something's clicking. We've got a little posse going - friends who stop by and stay for dinner, the beginnings of a ladies' book club, good conversations, people to ski and hike and adventure with. Still a work in progress, still a long way to go, but it's a nice feeling nonetheless.
How to relax after a long morning packed full of meetings and workworkwork:
- Leftover Annie's Mac&Cheese with broccoli and tons of pepper
- Lou Reed
- Some particle physics reading
... but it's over now. Back to the grind. Is it for realz already Thursday? Where did my week go?
One of those weeks.
Things I want to talk about but might not have time for:
Last Friday at River City Saloon, dancing and meeting the single menz of the Gorge
Snow day Saturday, cookin up some good stuff
A bomber awesome potluck Sunday, more cookin up good stuff
Obamarama and the preppy socialist at Super Tuesday
The joys of hott yoga
The joys of cruising to loud old skool Modest Mouse in between meeting after meeting after meeting
Some other stuff too.
It snowed a lot this weekend:
This was great because it meant I got to ski around town all weekend instead of driving. Also, my housemate was house-sitting for a co-worker who happens to have a dog and a cat and satellite TV, so when I wasn't skiing I was watching Food Network. And parts of Star Wars IV and V. And cooking. It was a good weekend.
The thing about snow in Hood River is that it promptly warms back up to 37, 40 degrees and starts raining again. So the snow melts and turns to slush and muck and makes a disgusting mess. Rain, clouds, and wintry mix for the next 10 days. YEAH.
Bad news: I missed a triple-header FREE SHOW in Portland - Bobby Bare Jr, Langhorne Slim, and The Long Winters - due to the snow and the fact that chains were required on the interstate (and thus speeds of about 25 mph the whole way).
Good news: Jens is coming back to Portland! In March! To a tiny venue! I am there! I am so there!
IT'S KNEE DEEP
SKIIN' THROUGH TOWN NOW!
The thing that's hard about giving is not expecting anything in return.
Scene: semi-hipster bar in Northeast Portland
Me, unfortunately clad in clothes for working outdoors, not standing in bars
New Acquaintance J, a young architect, roommate of a good friend
NAJ: Yeah, we work all night at least once or twice every two weeks.
S: What's your project?
NAJ: Are you familiar with mumblemumbleDeStijl?
S: Yes, of course!
NAJ: Really? We are building his museum in Denver. (Long explanation of museum project, lots of high-minded design talk, little mention of functionality)
S: (Thinking: Hmm. Wait. His? Isn't De Stijl a movement, not a person?) Very nice. Tell me how his work has influenced your museum design.
NAJ: I must say, you're the first person I've met who actually knew who mumblemumbleStill is.
S: You don't say. (Shit)
NAJ: You must be a fan of abstract expressionism, then!
S: You could say that. I took some art classes in college, but art wasn't really a viable career option for me. (I did not actually have any talent)
NAJ: What kind of art do you do?
S: Um, well, it actually kind of looks like the art on the walls in here. (These are better than anything I could make, but I do like them)
NAJ: So, lots of graphic design and pop influences, eh?
S: For sure. It's hard not to, really. I'm not, like, the next Jeff Koons or anything though. Not that kind of pop influence. (A ha! Chance to reference an artist I actually know!)
NAJ: I would love to put a Jeff Koons in my house.
NAJ: Are you familiar with mumblemumblerandomartist?
S: Um, no, tell me about him/her.
(Repeat, several times, for the rest of the evening)
As it turns out, upon Googling, Clyfford Still was a pretty cool abstract expressionist. With kind of a crazy ego. But I like his later work.
That is all.
(Well, not quite all. Got lots of photos and things to upload, per my, uh, resolutions. Maybe tonight? Been swamped at work, y'all. In brief: it's sunny, life is better because of this. Will get to see good friends this weekend, made a bunch of good food last weekend, been XC skiin every weekend, did a lot of good thinking/understanding on lots of things, read some mediocre fiction, plan to read some better fiction, and made plans to backpack in NorCal with Sally this May. Almost decided to go to Tunisia; looked at plane fares, changed my mind. Still got itchy feet though. Maybe NYC? Early spring?)
Dear Oregonians who live on the rainy side of the state,
Bend is not Eastern Oregon. The Dalles is not Eastern Oregon. Just because you've driven more than an hour east of the Willamette Valley and spotted a few sagebrush does NOT mean you've ventured to the mythical wilds of Eastern Oregon. Try telling people who live in Bend that they live in Eastern Oregon. They will laugh at you. Try telling an actual East Oregonian that The Dalles is in Eastern Oregon. They will laugh at you too.
Dear young men I know who have recently gone through or are currently going through quarter-life crises,
This article? Change every instance of "midlife crisis" to "quarter-life crisis". He is talking about you.
"Why do we have to label a common reaction of the male species to one of life’s challenges — the boredom of the routine — as a crisis?"
Work Resolution 2008: Make friends with your telephone. Real good friends. Remember that you always, always get better responses from people when you call. And that real people like real voices and real conversation. Just because you have your email wired directly to your brain does not mean that everyone else does too.
Today I opened my Google Reader for the first time in almost 5 months.
Good ol' Nerve.
Capricorn: You tend to put the needs of others before your own, and that is dumb. Do you really want to be stuck at work tweaking spreadsheets on the next federal holiday? Make a resolution to be more selfish this coming year. There's nothing wrong with saying no to things you don't want — in fact, it's more honest, and your holistic well-being will thank you.
New Year's Eve was brilliant. Better than expected - and just what I needed after the shit that went down in Boise. Pitchers of beer, 90's-theme music, plenty of dancing, plenty of friends. Good-natured banter. Good-natured crowding of 5 people into one bench seat of a big truck.
I didn't take any pictures. This is probably for the best. I hope that y'all had a good one too.
Some choice moments:
E: We're on our way to your house, I'm at the bank right now.
The crop-duster: What are you doing at the bank??
E: I'll give you one guess.
The crop-duster, on his first round of nahcos: Oh man, dude, these nachos are so gross. I am gonna regret this tomorrow.
The crop-duster, on his second round of nachos: Dude, I can't believe I'm eating this.
The crop-duster, on his third round of nachos: These aren't so bad, really. Who made them?
The crop-duster, on his fourth round of nachos: Uhhhgghhh.
Discovering that even Skoal-chewing truck-driving dudely dudes like Feist.
Getting down old-school style to Baby Got Back and also some KRISS KROSS. Being drunk enough to really enjoy KRISS KROSS.
Spending time with E, in general. A mutual understanding that is easy and unassuming. Only a few words, really, but it's all I needed.
This time spent in Boise has a finality to it. It didn't feel that way last summer. I felt like I wanted to come back here, like I could always come back here.
I am suddenly not so sure. I have some doubts. It's funny how my sense of 'home' is so closely tied not to the geography of a place but to my relationships with the people who inhabit it. And those aren't as good in Boise as they used to be, as I thought they were. It's all so much more fragile than you'd think.
Tonight I'm heading to Ontario for New Year's Eve because J doesn't want to celebrate. It'll be a night at Saddles with E and the Malheur folks. I wish I could have stayed in Florida. Saddles is not what I'd planned, but hopefully it will be fun. E is a good guy. I guess I need to stop putting so much weight on plans.
Tomorrow I will be on the road to the Gorge again. I've got a whole bunch of goals for 08 and thoughts on 07. Hopefully I'll have a little time to put those down between now and the end of the week. I've got some great photos from home, too - bowling, friends, canoeing with Meg...
Home was good. Great. Fantastic. I'm sitting in the airport right now and I am not ready to go back. I guess I don't really get that option.
How to have a good birthday:
Take one nice family dinner
A few good birthday presents
Your brother, his girlfriend, and all of his buddies
A few of your friends too
Drive to a bowling alley in the neighboring city
Get yer shoes and a camera and some bowling balls
Goof off nonstop
Drink lots of beer and shots of SoCo, all on their tab
Bowl the worst 3 games of your life, score-wise
Have a fuckin blast
Go to bed at 1:30 AM
With plans to get up at 5:30 AM
For a day of kayaking, hiking, and HANGIN OUT with your friend Meg
Think to yourself,
Life is really good.
(pictures coming soon)
I watched the weather and it predicted freezing rain and shitty conditions across the Pacific Northwest for Christmas. In Florida it is in the 70's and sunny. I am in no hurry to get back to Oregon. None at all.
p.s. It is good to be on vacation.
p.p.s. Here are some sweet photos from biking in Portland with Tom. There would have been more but my camera batteries died.
Biking in Portland.
- Was great!
- Pictures soon.
- I am so tired of doing the thing that is Right even when it's not what I want because it's what somebody else needs. Of course it's the Right thing and I'm doing a fine job of being understanding and forgiving and supporting but dammit why does 'Right' always translate into "SUCKS FOR YOU, SARAH"?
Home in Florida.
- It is good to be home.
- It is hard to get work done at home.
Today: last full day at work, loose ends excepted, until 2K8! Also, catching a screening of Monumental.
Thursday: bike- and food-touring PDX with T. It may or may not be 40 degrees and rainy all day. It may or may not still be rad.
Friday: the (very) long haul to Boise in the snow. Leaving behind this godforsaken cold wet dark windy place for some icy highways and hopefully NOT snow chains.
Saturday: "something fun" TBD, some good times with my two favorite Boiseans in the sweet sweet desert.
Sunday: FLY HOME.
Monday: wear flip-flops and a skirt and eat my weight in citrus.
I keep starting and erasing entries because they all look something like
ALL CAPS SONG LYRICS
WITH VAGUE EXPLANATIONS
AS IF THIS WOULD HELP CONVEY THE MOOD
The mood being a weird mix of I-need-some-fing-alone-time and I-need-a-better-social-life and I-need-to-get-outta-this-job-home-job-home-routine. This is not a novel state of being, historically speaking. But it won't last long.
A week from today I'll be on the road to Boise. I don't know with whom I'll be staying, or what I'll be doing once I get there (hotspingzplease), but I'll be there and then I'll fly out and then I'll be on VACATION.
Hey, know what's awesome? Making plans with a new friend for a growing season garden partnership. She got the land, I got the weeding skillz. Know what else is awesome? Planning a potluck for the ragtag bunch of people out here I call friends. And crafting cool Christmas presents. And key lime pie at home in the fridge made from key limes I picked at my aunt's house while sweating under a September Florida sun. And knowing that even if one thing doesn't work out another thing will, it always does. And the fact that it is going to be by god sunny tomorrow and I am going to by god live it up.
In case you were wondering, the sun is mostly out today.
It is still raining, though.
(Coming soon: fave albums / songs of 2007!)
Now how can I tell you that I love you
How can I say so many words and so many syllables
In such a short space of time as this
Just turn it on and soak it in
And let it run off the walls
And let it down, keep it, and don't lose it
Or confuse it
It's just right there layin' open
Completely open for everybody to see
Yeah, you got it.
Yeah, it's all right.
Funny how easy it can be to make something a burden and maybe you don't realize 'til it's been lifted and you stretch and stand up straight and think, well, hell, that was easy.
I need to do more of that, the stretching and standing up.
Do you ever notice your moods changing with the time of day? Especially in the dark cold months? Mornings are chipper, productive, warm. Afternoons are kind of sluggish but I can muddle through. By the time the moon's risen I'm generally glum, misanthropic, and prone to neediness. This is an exaggeration, of course, and I spent a good portion of this evening being merrily gossipy at Double Mountain, not being glum. But still. In general. Why's that gotta be?
(In case you can't tell I came back to the office tonight to bask in the internet. I did not write any of the emails I've been promising for so long. This weekend. I promise.)
Might have finally perfected my kale soup recipe. Such a good fall soup. Recipe forthcoming.
It was a good weekend. Impromptu dinner party with giant pot of soup, bread, pear cake, salad with pomegranates, wine, beer, and neighbors. A country contradance at the grange hall. Beers at the Pourhouse. A waterfall hike. An unexpectedly sunny day and a few hours to read on a sunny rock above the big blue Columbia. A gut-busting tasty breakfast in town. (T: excellent 'cakes, but not quite WASP's) Sunday morning 10 Speed Coffee, quickly becoming tradition.
Happy Halloween, y'all. Anybody doin' anything fun and awesome?
My housemates and I are going to carve a pumpkin. And possibly an overripe watermelon. I'm kind of sad that I didn't get to wear my super sweet fabulous costume this year. BUT NOBODY HAD A HALLOWEEN PARTY. And all my Eug peeps are going to an Architecture in Helsinki costume show tonight which should be super rad but I've blown my concert budget already, what with The Weakerthans and Rogue Wave and Tom Brosseau and Talkdemonic and Mum already this month... and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (aka The Swell Season) next week.
Speaking of, anybody want to go see Glen and Marketa with me? I have an extra ticket.
Jen came to visit and it was awesome. I will post pictures soon! What up, East Coast?!
Unrelated thoughts on life:
I have yet to perfect my scone recipe but I'm getting closer.
Gala apples are totally rad if you can get 'em fresh. >>> most others, in my opinion.
I feel oddly disconnected from the American electorate, living in this new town - and I can't get a bead on the latest political winds. Hillary? Barack? Rudy couldn't really win, could he?
Introverts living extroverted lifestyles and having extroverted-behavior-requiring jobs need to find ways to get alone time. You'd think I'd have this figured out by now, but no.
Why does the cliche when it rains it pours have to be so true when it applies to one's social life or work commitments?
So I'm busier than I even expected. This job takes a lot of time. This job takes a lot of energy. This lifestyle I've got takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of energy too. I love it anyway.
Other things in life are good - home, friends, food, exercise, etc. If I just made a bit more time for art and music I'd really be doing things Right.
I think I might have to get the internet at home after the holidays. I would like waking up at 5 or 6 AM to answer work emails from my cozy room in my cozy down booties. I don't like waking up at 5 or 6 am to get to the office at 7 AM to answer work emails.
Jen's in town this weekend! Jen from K-town, Jen who I've known forever! Yay for old friends, for long weekends, for an excuse to hit up Portland and the coast! Yay for going out with my old friend and my new roommate and 2 newly-met neighbors for Mexican food and ending up chatting for hours. Yay for having another neighbor over who brought his dog and wonderful warm Minnesota personality to dinner. Yay for good people and a good life.
Frustrating: haven't been able to prioritize / make the time for real writing here in a long time. Don't know when/if I will, but I want to. We'll see. Don't give up on me yet.
The bartenders and the beer in Hood River.
Pretty much all of the people I've been meeting.
Jogging in the mornings with my housemates.
Cooking with my housemates.
In general liking the living situation.
Bags and bags of free pears and apples to eat and cook with.
Talking on the phone while huffing it up the many many stairs at night. Puffy jackets and moon boots.
Life without the internet at home - kind of challenging, to be honest. I'm gonna try to make it until Christmas and if I can then maybe I will have kicked the addiction enough to make it all year. I might break down in winter, though. Let's see how cold it gets, eh?
I don't have an office yet. I'm working from coffeeshops. This is not at fun as it sounds. Do you like carrying heavy binders around? I don't. Working from home is pretty mediocre too. Turns out I like office space.
Tonight: THE WEAKERTHANS! Dinner & drinks with my friend Erika in Portland, then the show. Y'all, I've wanted to see them live since high school. Since Bea (then Ben) played them for me in a hodgepodge mix of radical anarcho-indie sounds during a week of bicycling and berry-eating and boating and wild limb-swinging dives off the dam - Propagandhi, Saul Williams, Greg MacPherson, Dead Kennedys, David Bowie. Not that The Weakerthans are so radical anymore. But I still love 'em.
To be honest, most of this month is a countdown to November.
November means J.
J means the wedding in Portland and camping and hiking and The Swell Season live at Crystal Ballroom and maybe getting a little closer to sorting things out. Or maybe just making things more complicated. It's hard to say.
Neither of my roommates is interested in helping to pay for internet access. Neither of them uses it outside of work and only one even owns a computer. This means I have to either cough up $40/mo for it or live without.
People, I have not lived without internet access at home since grade school.* And that was only because the internet didn't EXIST back then. I'm tempted to go without just to see if I can - after all, there's a public library that's open 'til 8:30 every day, coffeeshops 'til 7, and my office after hours if I get really desperate. And I'll be on it all day at work. And it'll free up shit tons of free time in my evenings. Yesterday I got home, had a beer with my roommate, watched her cut up some pears for the food dehydrator, puttered a bit, did some music-organizing, copied a scone recipe from Atlantic Monthly, watched The Science of Sleep, and started reading The God of Small Things. (I know, I know, I'm like 5 years behind the curve on that one, but it happens to be one of someone's favorites and I've had it on my shelf since freshman fall at D [Thanks, English Dept!])
No internet at home? Not even a pirated neighbor's signal? Nothing?
Whoa, dude. Whoa.
This means I might be a little slower to, say, reply to emails. Or post photos. Or post blog entries. We'll see. You can always call.
* Actually, I did live without it at home for 3 months in Dublin. I was so busy that it worked out ok. Also, I had internet access daily at the university.
This is the last you'll hear of me for a bit. Off tomorrow morning to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness for a few days with Josh.
The packing list includes whiskey and fly rods. I think it will be a good weekend.
Shoot. I'm afraid that all of my belongings will not fit into my car. Shoot. Everything fit when I moved out but I seem to have acquired a full kitchen between October 2006 and August 2007. Shoot.
Category of possessions with largest volume AND heaviest weight: kitchen stuff. Both the pots&pans sort and the startlingly large collection of oils and vinegars and dry goods I have amassed this year.
Clothing is pretty bulky too.. but stayed largely static between last year and this year. Holy crap did I underestimate the volume of my kitchen stuff.
Do not want to make two 10-hour round trips. Do not want. (But there is no other choice; sadly, it's cheaper than mailing any of this stuff. I think I'll have two FULL LOAD trips to make. Maybe by some miracle it will all fit. Ha! Ha ha.. ha.)
(No I cannot get rid of anything. I already culled my clothes and by God I cannot afford to throw away those entire paper grocery bags of canned goods and spices.)
On the bright side, I'm now the proud owner of an iPod nano, a radio adapter, and a car CD player (THANK YOU O BROTHER WHO IS A VIRTUAL ELECTRONICS SHOP). Installed the CD player tonight and it looks pretty jerry-rigged* but it WORKS.
* Jerry-rigged: etymology, anyone? Is it majorly un-PC? I usually want to say 'ghetto' in these situations but am trying to kick the habit.
Went up to Hood River this weekend to move some stuff up with the help of my buddy's truck. I like my new place and I'm gonna like my life up there, I think. Pictures of the new place coming soon!
On the way home, me behind the wheel, E playing DJ:
E: This track is from a Dead show at Autzen Stadium that I went to.
S: When did Jerry Garcia die?
E: Uh, summer of 1995. I was a junior in college.
S: Oh. [thinking of how young I was in 1995]
E: ... That dates me, doesn't it?
I am so one of these people.
Q. Every day after lunch, you find yourself overcome by drowsiness, and you can’t get any work done because you just want to crawl under your desk and go to sleep. Why does this happen?
Apparently this is totally natural. Makes me feel better - I am ALWAYS freakin' tired after lunch. Don't pick back up again until at least 3 pm. This is not so good for work.
Know what sucks? It is AUGUST. Flights from PDX to TPA for the holiday time? Already over $500. What the hell, people. You bankrupt shitty-ass bastards.
For comparison, I can get a flight home now for about $200.
The sad thing is that I'll pay it anyway because I gotta gotta gots to be home for the holidays.
Not cool office behavior:
Popping around a corner and into one's office with a baby-voiced "Peeeeekey Boooooooo!"
Not cool at all unless you're interacting with an actual baby, and even then it's questionable at best:
Baby-voice, baby-talk, or anything like it.
Back in the swing of things in Eastern Oregon. It is still hot out here. Really really hot. New York City was fantastic amazing and so on. Pictures soon. Stories if I get around to it. My laptop has been rendered quite literally unusable due to the heat - it can't function without overheating when the indoor temp of my apartment is 97 degrees. Ugh.
Wildfire season's in full swing out here. From an article on the the last huge fire, 80,000 acres, which happened a few years back:
"At one point, this fire was six miles wide and moved eight miles in 10 minutes," Masinton said.
Off to the City tomorrow morning. Excited. Not taking a laptop or even any checked luggage. Very excited. Catch you on the flipside!
Ooh, I've been gone for a good while, eh? I'll be back soon. News on the horizon:
- Exciting summer adventures
- Exciting upcoming fall adventures
- EXCITING NEW JOB starting this fall
- Hanging out with R, Sally, and David
- Good times on the West side
- Foodstuffs, including cold-brewed coffee and key lime pie
Joined the ranks today. Is it me or is this essentially AIM for grownups? Productivity may or may not be dropping exponentially as we speak. (can something shrink exponentially? Or just grow? Hmm.) Dispatches from the field, in random order, some by me, some by friends, I'm not telling which is which:
I'm considering butchering my aloe plant. Nothing like sticky plant goo for a hot date!
Hopefully you have a big bed and no couch?
You don't want to make the friend feel like a third wheel... unless you want to have a threesome.
It's sometimes unclear whether what you're doing is bad karma or just kinda stupid.
I like a little artificial structure with my pomo meaningless existence.
I'm laying low from karma right now.
It's looking for me like i owe it money
Goddamn but the last week was a good one. I've been living out here in the Oregon high desert for nearly nine months now, and don't get me wrong - I've been enjoying the hell out of it. But a week's vacation spent in the company of some old college friends whilst road-tripping to San Francisco and living the good life, well, that's hard to beat. I've got some photos and stories for y'all soon, but until then, enjoy this old crunchy-loud-live Uncle Tupelo cover of Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, k?
HI FROM SAN FRANCISCO!
You can never go wrong serving a guy homemade garlic bread.
If anybody's gonna be - or wants to be - in New York City on the days of July 13, 14, or 15, let me know - I just got tix this morning and while a good chunk of that time will be taken up by time with my C&G girls, I've ALWAYS got time for more friends, especially since this is the only time I'll be both on the East Coast and north of the Mason-Dixon for a long while.
Apparently I sent this text message to one of my friends on Saturday night:
"druuunkkkkk yess oh mao redneck party yesss"
I HAVE NO RECOLLECTION OF THIS.
It is officially summertime. Know what I need in my life? Campari.
Not only because I could make a light fixture like this:
... but because a Negroni is one excellent summertime cocktail.
What else is excellent in the summertime?
Friday: Jackson, WY
Sunday: Grand Teton
Monday: Craters of the Moon
Tuesday: work by day, Boise by night
Wednesday: work by morning, parents + thrift shopping by day, skinnydipper hot springs by moonlight
It's been a busy week.
State license plates spotted over the course of two days in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (in red, that is):
MIA: Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, DC, Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine.
So, uh, I think Megz and I are gonna drive to Jackson, WY this weekend. And on to Yellowstone. And across the mountain spine of Idaho. And through Hells Canyon. Spontaneous road trips! YES!
When's the last time you stayed up all night for fun? Good friends good times good drinks and a quiet grey dawn in the foothills and one very tired post-weekend Sarah. Stories comin' soon.
Every time I think I'll get to sit down and do some writin' I end up going off to do stuff. I guess this isn't such a bad thing. Anyway, Boise tonight with Z and a 3-legged husky, then THE FAMILY, INCLUDING MY NEWLY-MINTED COLLEGE GRAD BABY BROTHER, arrive and we will spend the day frolicking in Boise and doing fun stuff. Then bro and I get to go out drinking and stuff. Since he for once will not be rollin 10 deep with his redneck posse (I love em, I swear, just not all the time). And Sunday is kind of a blank page but the pile of clean clothes in my room is no shit 2.5 feet high and I really ought to deal with that. You should see the wrinkles. Mmm, the casual life. Speaking of casual, you should see the hideous shoes I'm wearing. Florida Gator CROCS. Ha!
p.s. I have the greatest idea for a Darjeeling tea blend with herbal/citrus elements for iced tea (sweet). I'ma try it next week. Results forthcoming.
p.p.s. Those of you who owe me emails best send them. Punks.
p.p.s. HEY GUESS WHAT I LOVE SUMMER
So I went on this float trip last weekend. It was epic in that "you had to be there" way - I mean, I could say WHISKEY TRAAAAAAIN! and it wouldn't make you laugh, would it?
At one point John got the zipper stuck on Megan's jacket and we tried to get it off, and this was just about the funniest thing ever, but I dunno if it'd make you laugh either. But really, it should, because man was that jacket stuck!
So I'll say this: the John Day River in Central Oregon is gorgeous and perfect for a long weekend float trip with 11 friends, 2 cases of beer, a gallon of whiskey, a jug of wine, a fully loaded oatmeal breakfast bar, a bag of Ring Pops, 2 oar rig rafts, an inflatable kayak, and a capsizing-prone canoe. It was good to get outside, good to sleep under the stars, good to laugh with friends, good to get some sun, good to smell burning sage around the campfire, good to forget everything but the good times for a weekend.
You can check out my favorite pictures here.
Alright everybody, I'ma be gone all weekend on the John Day River. Have good weekends, k?
p.s. The thing about living alone and cooking alone most of the time is that when you DO have a chance to see people you go berserk baking cooking preparing things that you want to share. See: attemping puff pastry asparagus scallion pie between leaving work and packing and driving to Baker City. See also: 2 types cookies, 1 type brownies made last night. See also: pitcher of sweet tea and trying to find a way to pack it.
Things that are awesome that I had forgotten are awesome:
throwing a frisbee
shootin some hoops
Late afternoon work break, chatting idly with some co-workers, the conversation takes on a new tone:
A: Yeah, I broke my back when I was 9.
S: Ooh, that sucks.
A: Uh-huh. Then I broke my neck when I was 25.
S: Boy, between you and J y'all sure are a healthy office! Both diabetic to boot!
J: My brain aneurysm... they don't have any record of what they put into my head. Can't have an MRI.
A: Then there was that time I broke both my feet.
J: Once I accidentally put eight holes in my stomach with a shotgun.
Guess who's on cook duty for next weekend's float trip down the John Day River?
I'll get to inaugurate my new (v. old, has great backstory) 15-inch mega camp iron skillet, too, since there'll be 13 friends to feed! But before all the fun stuff happens, I've got to do the food shopping. Some collaborative menu planning with the other hazards girls has given us a (mostly) awesome plan for the weekend. Though let me tell you that I miss Cabot cheese something terrible. This Tillamook business just. does. not. cut. it. (ha)
Why do people insist on putting peanut butter into all kinds of dishes into which it is not welcome? For that matter, who needs it at all? Jelly and cheese sandwiches for all! Curry without that heavy peanutty underbelly! Trail mix without all those dang peanuts!
That aside, i'm getting excited for this trip. This coming weekend is pretty slow, which may in fact be a good thing, given the pending Big Awesome that will the the John Day.
So I get home last night at like 10 PM and I am tired and it is dark and as I'm sayin bye to E and digging in the truck for my filthy shoes I see that one of my apartment neighbors is hanging out outside. He says he's locked himself out. I offer to call the landlady, he's already done it, so I kinda shrug and say, sorry man.
A few minutes later I get a knock at my door. Is that your silver car? Could you, uh, move it so I can get a truck in?
So I move my car and his friend drives a big truck up to the front door of the building. He lives in the front of the house, on the second floor. His window, open, is tantalizingly located just above the little roof on the little front stoop of the house. He is trying to place a foot ladder on top of the truck cab so as to climb onto the roof. This man is pushing 300 lbs and the foot ladder is wobbling. Things do not look good.
I think about it for a second and say, Here, hold my flip-flops, climb up the trellis, over the gutter, onto the roof, and into his window. Piece o' cake. I think I now have a friend in my building!
You know that feeling you get when you see something that involuntarily and irrationally bothers you and all the blood in your body turns cold and you can feel it moving all icy through your limbs and your head feels faint and your heartrate skyrockets and your vision starts to go black? And then as soon as you distract yourself it goes away and you snap back into reality and forget it ever happened until it comes along days months years later?
It would be real sweet if that would stop happening in regard to various and sundry shit that's way in the past and way out of style.
It's the irrational bit that's the pisser. Paging Rob Fleming...
(I wonder if he'd approve of my soundtrack today.)
My boss is on the cover of the local paper today. There's even a picture! Only the Argus could make someone so interesting seem so not:
Besides riding motorcycles, Beal said he enjoys meeting people who ride motorcycles.
“We have a lot of common interests,” he said.
Portland kicked ass. Actually, everything about this weekend kicked it. I got stories and I got pictures. I am good and life is good. Come back soon.
How to keep oneself from getting sucked into wasting time on the internet when there are more pressing nesting and cleaning and puttering matters at hand: fill your easy chair, beside which the computer must be tethered to its external drive, with unpaid bills and other urgent to-dos.
Hi, my name is Chicken Little. I'm going to talk to you today about the risk of a falling sky in Eastern Oregon.
Easter Sunday. Time for spring vegetables, candy baskets in the mail from Mom, and Portland's Bunny on a Bike Ride III with Katie. Plus all the other awesome things about PDX, like good food and friends and springtime on the west side of the mountains.
That was my plan until yesterday. Then Peter and the Wolf had to go and schedule a chill Sunday night show in Boise at this guy's house. And, well, that would be pretty stellar.
I live 6-7 hours from Portland and the bike ride's not til 3 PM so there's no way I'd make it back for an evening show. So doing both is out.
What to do?!? Somebody help me out here.
OK, so I've got a lot of updating to do: Lakeview, Hart Mtn, Eugene, Leslie Gulch, Whitehorse, Boise, and so much more. I'll get to that tonight. Today, I've got work to do at work. Lots of it. Lots.
Hope you fine folks are well. Come back soon.
By the way, I'm in Eugene for a few days of job training. Updates may be kinda few and far between.
If you substitute "men" for "women" in this sentence, you get where I've been at for the past few months. Thanks to A. for putting it so well (and reminding me why I'm taking time off).
I always thought it would be nice to have a variety of women to pursue, but being in such a situation I've realized that the only way that situation crops up is when none of the women you know are really what you need.
Say you're lookin' for some new hubcaps for your car. Maybe yours are ugly or cracked or you don't even have any. You could go to your local Les Schwab and buy a set for pretty cheap, but you have a better idea: you're gonna steal some.
So you drive around town, cruisin' in your crappy car with its ugly hubcaps, looking for some 'caps that'll fit your wheels and make you look good. Those chrome babies on the F250 parked on the street? Nah. The swank 'caps on the neighbor's Hummer? No way. You spot a 2001 Subaru parked innocently in the driveway of a big house. It has a phenomenal set of cheapass grey plastic Wal-Mart 'caps - one of them is even cracked! HOT DAMN, you think. IT'S MY LUCKY DAY.
You come back by night to do the deed, since the car is parked near several other cars and lots of people live in the apartments in the big house. There are also several driveway spotlights. No matter - you set to work. You get two of the hubcaps off the car.
In the silence of a small-town Friday night, you drop one. SHIT. A light comes on at a neighboring house, and a sleepy middle-aged man pokes his head out to survey the scene. Maybe you ran away, maybe you hid, maybe you were long gone down the highway before he stumbles outside. But he doesn't see anything, so he goes back to bed.
The car's owner, the kind of brokeass twentysomething who would have cheapass Wal-Mart 'caps, looks out of her kitchen window the next morning. She blinks and looks again. Are her hubcaps missing?! She hustles downstairs and looks again.
Two are gone.
Two are still there.
What the hell?
Her landlady and husband live next door, so she asks them if they've heard anything. She gets the story of the noise in the middle of the night, the checking to see if anyone was there. But that's it - nobody saw anything. She herself slept through the entire debacle. They didn't take her bicycle parts or snowshoes or bike rack or winter hiking boots, all of which were in the car. There was no stereo to steal, just the factory tape deck, thank the Lord, since that got ganked a few years ago and she is too broke and cheap to buy a new one.
The landlady suggests that she go to the auto salvage yard and see if they might have some hubcaps to match the two that are still hanging on. She wonders if she could get some sweet funky 'caps for cheap.
She wonders if they'll come back tonight for the other two. If so, they're in for a little surprise - she'll be out of town. HA! Of course, there's always Sunday night. And Monday night, and every other night. Dammit.
Also, did you know that if you Google "two hubcaps stolen" you will come up with a lot of police reports of people having had two hubcaps stolen?
Today I was nearly run off the highway by a tumbleweed as high as the hood of my car.
Good things about today:
Government's gotta be proactive on environment. Global warming is here. All these idiots that run around and say it isn't here. That's ridiculous.
Part of a memorable conversation.
S: Oh man, I can't believe I was so stupid.
J: Yeah, right. You don't regret [it] - you're just pissed because you think it's fucked up your Master Plan.
S: OK, OK, point taken. But... this does threaten the Master Plan!
J: You want me to be straight with you? You were fucked the minute you made a Master Plan. Plans are made to fall apart, dude.
S: Oh. Right.
Isn't it amazing how quickly you regain your appreciation for good health when you're sick?
Also, has anybody ever, uh, had their vision black out temporarily? In the midst of nausea and general unwell-feeling-ness?
Did you know that if you speak before the Kiwanis club they will give you a gift certificate and a pen? That was kind of cool.
I'm out on the dog-and-pony show in town, presenting on the plan I'm writing for the county. Every audience is a little different, but they tend to have several common characteristics:
The thing about swearing off dating for 6 months is that a few days after you enthusiastically make this declaration you will find the email address and phone number of that nice boy you met at that environmental conference, recall his offer to go snowshoeing anytime up in the Idaho mountains, and notice that your weekend calendar is quite empty.
You will also immediately start to think of exceptions to the no-dating rule (Does it only apply to people you meet post-declaration? What about already-existing emotional entanglements with troublesome-but-handsome-devils who have been placed on the far back burner indefinitely?) and potential complications and reasons why maybe you don't need 6 months off, I mean, who knows what the next 6 months will bring? Could you have predicted the previous 6 months? I think not.
(I REALLY AM TAKING A BREAK)
(I'm legitimately excited to stay single for a while. Excited to have a no-drama lifestyle for a while. Excited to hang out with friends and have free time and use fewer cell phone minutes and and enjoy people for who they are, not who they might or might not be to me.)
(but maybe I will still go snowshoeing...)
Good end to a gray day: pizza, The Bier Stein, shooting pool, and dancing on a very narrow bar with the very awesome Elliott.
But I've really got to learn to play pool better.
I'm in Eugene this week, folks. I won't have tons of time to post given the nature of living out of the back of your car, couch to couch, coffeeshop to coffeeshop. But never you fear - I'm having a helluva lot of fun.
Food & Drinks = heaven.
Friends = heaven.
Weather = purgatory.
Work = purgatory.
Love = hell.
Two nights ago I dreamed that my house was on fire.
There was nothing I could do but watch it burn.
Haven't had a bad dream in a while - it was strange to wake up and feel so ill-rested.
I guess at some point I'm gonna have to give in and buy some climbing shoes.
So I got sick last week and stayed sick and lost my voice and have been a squeaky raspy hacking version of myself for a few days but today, the day I have to give a big 100-person presentation (at the Sizzler, no less, for the local Chamber, lolz), my voice comes back. It's gravelly, but it's there - just enough that I can't cancel the presentation.
But hey, gravelly voices are kind of hot, right? I hope they've got a microphone...
So I think I'ma redesign the website this week. Coming soon to a browser near you: a new and improved (read: simpler, cleaner, less pink) Flying Machine.
I had an effing sweet weekend.
Who in the world buys a $600 vacuum for their home?
One that looks like an extra from the Terminator set?
When I was waiting for my car today I watched a girl feed her small dog a pencil to gnaw and eat while she sat and watched the daytime court TV shows. The dog's name was Jäger.
Know what sucks?
Having your car's Check Engine light come on. On a gorgeous sunny Friday afternoon when the last place you want to be is at the Subaru dealership because you'd packed your car with hiking clothes and a camera and had planned to leave work early to go exploring. Bah.
(And, knowing how these things work, it's probably either nothing [meaning at least $50 to reset the sensor] or something gargantuanly expensive [to add to the fact that I have to have my windshield replaced soon]. And my credit card is maxed.)
Sorry for the lack of substantial/interesting posts lately. I should be back into it soon.
UPDATE: So the light came on due to a cracked fuel cap. However, they also discovered that my rear wheel bearings are shot, which means they have to be replaced. Before my car's rear wheels fall off. Right.
So I had iTunes on random and it was hidden from view so I could play the "what song is this?" game with my music. It's amazing how much of my own music I, uh, can't identify.
This kinda sweet chill guitar intro came on and I nodded my head along and thought, yeah, I like this! What is it?
It was Dispatch.
Go Gators! Aww yeah. I may never have attended U of F, but I have enough friends and family who did to be all kinds of excited right now. Ohio State who?
And Boise State won last week! Double awesome!
So Z thinks these are THE boots that I should own:
They are, according to La Sportiva, a light mountaineering/heavy backpacking boot. Now, I don't exactly do a lot of "light mountaineering" (see: sliding to near-death in the Winds this summer), but I do like the idea of a very sturdy boot that'll keep me warm in winter but still be ok for summer travel too.
And I've pretty much switched to my lowtop Montrails for dayhikes, rolling ankles haven't killed me yet, so these would be for backpacking and anything wintry. Also, the color is nice.
But I hate to spend $225 if it means I'm buying a burlier boot than I need (I mean, these puppies weigh almost 2 lbs each). Hmm. Thoughts, outdoorsy types? T and J, I'm lookin' at you.
Last night I dreamt that Jens Lekman and I were saved from certain death by a friendly thief and a bag of diamonds stored in a human stomach. The thief drove us to safety in a carriage across this huge span bridge on a smoggy day toward some sprawling industrial city on the skyline. Jens was a good hugger and I was glad for his company.
Now, dude hasn't put out any new music or toured the US recently, so I haven't really thought about him in a while and I don't know why in the world he popped up last night. But it was a pretty crazy dream.
It prompted me to check out Jens' website, in case there were any psychic messages hidden there or something. Not really. Just the usual melancholy smalltalk, a bit of info on an upcoming album (!), and an intriguing-sounding mix CD on which I recognized not one song.
That doesn't happen too often. If any of you out there actually have any of the songs on that mix, I'd like to hear them.
I just got a new haircut the other day, a good one, long-but-layered, huge improvement, love it, need to take a picture, but I'm kind of thinking of going short next summer.
Mostly because I saw this picture on The Sartorialist.
Man that's a good look.
Highlight of 16 hours of traveling today: the full moon over Salt Lake City from 10,000 feet.
Honorable mentions from my window seat(s): moonshadows on the mountains in Utah and Idaho, Christmas lights on houses from way, way above, tiny outposts of light tucked into the mountains with darkness all around, the linearity of towns along highways in the Midwest, all strung together by pinpoints of light along tiny highways.
Also good: stopping by Z's place to get my car and visiting with housemate-M and Best Dog Ever Cali for a bit. Realizing that I missed Cali, missed Boise, missed the little house with orange walls and a woodstove and the boys who live in it. Looking forward to Z's return in a few days.
Y'all have no idea how much of a production it is to get me packed up and on an airplane when I leave from home. I always always always always have more than I can fit in my suitcases - especially this time, since I came down with the mando and my backpacking gear. Oh. Lord.
BUT I think I've got it all. Tonight I'll be back in the snow and cold and maybe I'll have the time this weekend to write a few mega-updates on the past few weeks. There's so much to tell you and I just haven't made the time.
Whooooo, New Year's Eve. Oh man. Happy New Year, y'all.
There was totally a potluck at work today. I totally did NOT get that memo and thus had nothing to bring. But I totally got to go anyway.
Highlights from the buffet table:
- No fewer than 6 meat dishes in jumbo-size slow cookers
- Four types of meatballs
- Three variations on spinach-artichoke dip
- Zero vegetable dishes (dip doesn't count)
- Pumpkin butter gooey cake from Alvin via Paula Deen
- Red punch
You know, I'm not sure what's happened to my creativity but it bothers me that it's become so elusive. That goes for everything - writing, drawing, cooking, friendships, life in general.
Sitting at a desk every day is killing me but that's no excuse, that's just a lack of self-discipline.
Doing a little research on backcountry permits in the Everglades and found this:
Insect conditions are so severe during summer months that wilderness use is minimal and permit writing desks may not be staffed.
... Yeah. Thank goodness I'm going in December.
Man oh man. This was a busy weekend. I'll try to share some stories later. I just rolled into work (late, yes, I know) and haven't stepped foot into my apartment for more than 2 minutes since Thursday. Hadn't checked email since Friday. Yeah, I know. Whoa.
My coworkers in the tax office cleaned out their holiday decorations this week. They foisted some Christmas lights on me - not one, but four sets - two multicolored and two bright blue.
I have never in my life* owned a set of colored Christmas lights. My family is of the strictly white-lights-only school. We just don't roll that way. But I couldn't really say no to the tax ladies. If I hadn't taken the lights they'd have given me something even tackier, and I can assure you that there was some phenomenally tacky stuff in those boxes so I chose the least of the evils.
I put the multicolored ones up in my living room window and set them on flash mode just to drive the neighbors crazy.* They look great. The blue ones went along my bedroom window. I kind of want to leave them on all the time because they lend a surprisingly warm glow to my room. Who'da guessed?
* If we're being totally honest here, I once had a small string of blue Christmas lights when I was like 10. I'm not sure what happened to them or where they came from; I think they died young. I like to think that this was a precursor to my eventual falling in love with The Weakerthans.
* Kidding; they always have their blinds down. Also, they are my landlords. I bet they haven't even noticed the flashers.
Frustratingly, there's a sweet sweet sweet job at Fenton open right now in Manhattan. I (obviously) can't apply because they'll (obviously) want someone who can start sooner than, oh, August 2007 (I might apply anyway).
But a few years' experience working at a place like that, a PR firm that works exclusively with nonprofits, would make me invaluable in the nonprofit world - and I could have the magic 3+ years' experience that everyone wants. Argh. Looking at job postings makes me feel like a hay seed. So unqualified.
(Yes, I'm thinking of moving to a big city next year. Yes, I'm having a bit of a crisis in terms of what I want to do with my career and how best to make an impact and do what I love to do.)
Oh man y'all, I ate more sushi tonight than all the other times in my life combined. Sake too. Hoo boy.
p.s. Even after all these years, I still rock at Goldeneye on the N64. Hellz yeah. Take THAT, Halo.
Sorry this place hasn't been too exciting lately. I've banned myself from reading blogs until I get some things done but it hasn't helped. All it means is that I spend more time being frustrated with the mandolin. Well, and paying bills and finishing several backlogged mix CDs (yep, I said I was doing that a few weeks ago. Never finished 'em. Never finish anything, it seems).
How is it that there is so much going on in my head and so little of it translating into actual productive activity? Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but really, I have so much energy and so many ideas right now and the time just slips through my fingers. How is it 11 PM? I'm not ready for today to be over, there was so much I wanted to do.
By the way, I just cannot get enough of this Tom Brosseau song, Rose. Something about it just really, really works for me. I'm not even relating to it on a personal level (that is, I've not been nostalgically sighing over any old love lately) - it's just the mood, the way he owns that half-resigned, half-hopeful quiet space.
It is so hard to learn to play an instrument from square one. It is so slow and it is so hard. I feel like I am four years old. ARGH.
I am really terrified of driving in the winter in bad weather. I have to drive to Bend tomorrow to meet up with some friends for a weekend of camping and snowshoeing. I'm really excited for the snowshoeing. I am NOT really excited for the "SEVERE WINTER WEATHER WARNING" in red that I see listed on Tripcheck for Stinkingwater Pass (isn't that a lovely name?), which I have to cross to get to Bend.
Road conditions are listed as "packed snow" on the pass. And it's not even snowing right now, nor is it expected to snow all weekend - and the roads are still crap. As much as I hate salt on the roads in New England, at least it makes driving in the winter less terrifying. I mean, this isn't even really bad weather, it's just some snow on the roads, and it still makes me not want to go (but I'm still gonna go)! I am, however, buying chains before I leave.
I'm exiling myself from Bloglines today so that I can actually get some work done and some long-overdue personal emails written. No exciting links, sorry. Maybe some pictures tonight, though, 'cause it's a gorgeoooous day out. Snow on the mountains!
It's a good thing none of you are stalkers.
I just spent the morning cleaning out a ton of old files off of my server* and there was some PURE GOLD in there. But it's all gone now, so don't even try to look for it. Folders and folders of terrible art and poetry. Oh man.
Also. It boggles the mind how much time it must have taken me to meticulously scan, resize, edit, and upload so many hundreds of terrible drawings as a teenager. I have some recollection of doing this, but, um, wow. And of course I totally want to keep all these things, 'cause they take me right back to Angstville, 1999 - they just probably shouldn't be online.
* To make room for new things and because I accidentally maxed out my space and had to bumble through a sketchball command-prompt SSH portal this morning to get it fixed because if I hadn't you wouldn't be seeing this right now. 6 AM I woke up, people. 6 AM.
Just listened to Mole for the first time in over 2 years. Suddenly it is the end of April, 2004, the ground is still hard, the trees are still bare, and this is the only song I want to hear.
Out in the desert, we'll have no worries /
Out in the desert, just you and me
Out in the desert, we'll live care free
Takes me right back there.
(p.s. November mix file is up, linked in that post below)
So it turns out that the diner pie at the Starlite Cafe is as good as they say it is. I'm going to have to go back with a book and sit for a while one night. With pie. And coffee.
One of the ladies in the office has several daughters all with several babies and a new one arrived last week. I saw the pictures this morning. She's cute. But.
The baby's name is
M C Q U A Y L A.
I would spell it without the spaces but you can't even get any real Google hits for that word and I don't want this to be the only one.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. Hope it involves copious quantities of good food eaten in good company! I'm off to Boise in a bit with a just-baked pecan pie. My apartment smells MARVELOUS.
I don't know who Google ads thinks I am, but come on. This one appeared atop my inbox this morning. Surely they jest.
"Get your copy of a stunning poster of witty author Ann Coulter!"
From this weekend, while hanging out and cooking with Z and his housemate M at a house-sitting job:
S: Oh, look, they have some Greg Brown CDs! I love that guy. They say he's kind of a womanizer, but come on, look at that - he doesn't look like a womanizer!
(I show M the CD case, below)
M: Uh-huh. You've dated some jerks.
(Fun Trivia for Old Friends: Guess with whom I have a picture in which he's wearing a black wifebeater?)
So I was
using bumbling through the French version of the iTunes music store tonight, the better to browse Yann Tiersen's catalog (unavailable on the English iTunes store - what gives?) and it asked for my iTunes password (in French). I entered it. I got an error message. In French.
Now I am navigating the Apple retrieve-your-password jungle (humorously, the address is iforgot.apple.com). In French.
My only real thoughts on this matter are these:
1) How come the 10 minutes of my life during which I need someone to read French happen to be when there's nobody around to read it? I mean, for serious, my last 3 boyfriends (and Z) all speak French and the only time I ever got to take advantage of this was when I was actually IN France with one of them.
2) It's amazing what you can infer just from visual clues even if you can't read the words - I've been through enough password retrieval forms that it wasn't too hard to figure out when they were asking for my secret identity question.
3) Does this mean that Apple's gonna think I'm French now? I just got a confirmation email... in French.
p.s. You know that Yann Tiersen did more than the Amelie soundtrack, right? Dude plays the accordion like none other. He's so cool. Ask me about seeing him live in Dublin sometime. One of my top 10 concerts for sure.
Y'all, I just spent almost 4 hours of my evening on the phone.
It was with 3 different people, but still. Since when did I get so into teh cell phone? Sigh. I miss Blitz.
Words added to my Thunderbird dictionary this morning:
Thank goodness for Seal. I did not have the energy today to mock the D's op-ed page, but he did.
I'm zapped today because I just sat through a 3-hour meeting so excruciatingly inefficient and dull that it took all I had to stay awake and blinking in my seat. Oh my Lord, the bureaucracy.
Doesn't this sound like the kind of workshop you'd like to attend?
"Fundamentals of Psychological Preparedness for Human Remains Exposure (HRE) Workshop: Preparing for the Worst"
Ah, the world of hazards and emergency management.
I calculated that I can take at least 34 days off from work and fulfill my time commitment at this job (in terms of my contract and doing my best work on the job).
That is a lot of days off. I know I'll eat into it by taking half-days like I'm going to do this weekend, but still - vacation time! It is so sweet!
No new news on the Boise front. I will dutifully keep you posted.
Also, I am so suckered into this book, which I've borrowed from Z. Slighly revisionist-romantic but thoroughly researched and emotionally wrenching Civil War history from the perspective of a sensitive transcendentalist? Yessiree. Reading is far better than sleeping at night.
(Hi Marc, yes, I'm blogging from the computer lab)
Ever notice how when you send an email to which you reallyreally hope to receive a reply, you suddenly start getting lots of spam and no real messages?
I have successfully re-trained my ears to stop expecting a cowbell sound every time I receive an email. After 4 years of my blitzmail alert - the cowbell - and hundreds of thousands of emails sent and received, it was surprisingly easy to switch to a visual tic: scanning the Gmail toolbar in Firefox approximately every 10 seconds, looking for the (1) that signals a new message. It's amazing how that little signal, the (1), sets off all kinds of excitement/reward buttons in my brain. Until I click on it and it turns out to be spam. Again. And no email. Terrible.
Met the whole Sheriff's Office today. Now I DEFINITELY can't get in trouble.
I was talking to one of the officers about some emergency management stuff and he kept mentioning "the LDS church" and how helpful they had been on disaster preparedness and the like. All I could think was, what is LDS? Recovering LSD addicts? Some newfangled fancy church with a funny acronym? Is this guy slurring some more recognizable church name? Lutheran?
So I asked.
It's Latter-day Saints.
... cause I'm really tired and will update in full tomorrow:
I MADE A NEW FRIEND AT THE CALIFONE CONCERT
Also, the music was stellar. the audience was terrible. I got a nice poster.
But I MADE A FRIEND! WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE CUTE.
Since when does my email client's dictionary not include the word "blowhard"?
Hello from scenic Burns, Oregon. Well, technically Hines, but Burns sounds better.
Here for a work training. Not a lot of time right now - we're going out to dinner soon. But here is a sweet flyer for an event that I would totally attend if it weren't 2 hours away (and maybe I will anyway, actually):
Told you RARE folks are awesome:
Greetings all- I have a proposed camping trip if anyone is interested. The local coffee shop bum told me the public can rent old fire lookouts. He said that the one at Steens Mountain was pretty cool, right at the summit. It's something like $25 a night and can sleep about 4 people with cots, but we're all friends by now and I bet we could squeeze more. It would be sweet if we could get a group up there for a weekend before the snow starts to fall and blocks the roads.
My office just got a whole lot awesomer: one of the ladies here is really into organic food and eats mostly raw foods. She is really fun to talk to and my new job is to find us a CSA somewhere in the area, since she'd never heard of them. And she's not a dredlocked hippy or anything - she looks just like a straightforward middle-class housewife. Who happens to know how to make whipped cream out of cashews. (Another lady is the wife of an onion farmer. I'm learning a lot about onions.)
Also, note to self: check out volunteer opportunities with the BLM and the Watershed Council. Maybe I could meet people while out pulling invasive weeds?
Aww. I can hear the middle school MARCHING BAND from my bedroom.
Today I learned the hard way that the roadsides of Eastern Oregon are peppered with thorn bushes and that their thorns lie hidden on the rough pavement, waiting patiently to embed themselves by the handful into innocent bicycle tires and send bicyclists pedaling furiously home, air hissing all the way, only to have to walk the last mile home because the tire's gone totally flat.
I'ma upgrade my tires. Pronto.
Drunk-dialing is pretty much always appreciated. Call anytime, y'all.
So this morning I was outside taking a shower at some ungodly early hour and heard a big deep boom that shook the house. Hmm, the shuttle's back! I thought.
I came inside and my mom appeared in my door. She said, Sarah! Are you ok? I heard that big boom and I thought you'd fallen in the shower!
Here's a mystery: when Meg and I were at Myakka River State Park this weekend, we took a cruise along the park road. Along the way, we stopped briefly to gawk at a very large, very orange rat snake (3+ feet long) who was curled up in the middle of the road. When I stopped the car, the snake started moving - toward us. I watched its body creep slowly underneath the body of my car, and Meg watched for it to come out the other side. But it never did. After several minutes of waiting, it still hadn't emerged on the other side. I gingerly opened my door, stepped out (rat snakes aren't poisonous, but I'd rather not get bitten, thanks), and ducked down to look under the car.
I walked all the way around the car, looking into the tires, into the grass and the ditch, up and down the road - nothing. We decided that there were two possible options: either it got away by turning invisible or it decided to climb up into my car and take a ride. I like to think that it took a ride.
This bit from Dooce today just made me laugh:
Only because this suddenly made me remember a certain guy who said to me on our second date, “You mean, you like elephants, too? I THINK THIS IS WHAT THEY CALL DESTINY!”
I don’t even remember his name, not a single letter of it, but I remember telling him upfront that I did not want any part of a long-term relationship. His response was along the lines of, but I already called my mother in New Jersey! And she’s knitting you a sweater!
Also, the comments from other readers re: dating dealbreakers are hilarious.
Just in case anyone actually has any faith in TSA's ability to prevent terrorists (or anyone else) from bringing dangerous things onto airplanes:
Today, as I was going through some boxes of junk brought home from Dartmouth, I thought to myself, Gee, I could use my pocketknife right now. I thought for a moment about the last place I'd seen it, which was on my desk when I was still living at the Pebble. Hmm, I thought, I must've packed it into the stuff-on-my-desk box that's been sitting in my room all summer. I dug out the box and emptied its contents. No knife. I got a little concerned. I checked my jewelry box. I checked my junk box. I checked the piles of junk-to-be-sorted-pre-Oregon-move on top of my desk. No knife. Oh NO! I thought. This knife is a special one; it belonged to my grandfather and was engraved for me as a gift. I ran through my mental checklist of places that I keep the knife. The most obvious one was my wallet - it's flat enough to stow nicely in there - but I'd been on 3 flights in the past month, 2 of them under heightened security. I must've taken it out before all that flying. Just to ease my mind, I checked my wallet. There it was. MY KNIFE WENT THROUGH 3 ROUNDS OF SECURITY UNDETECTED.
(Thank God they didn't find it - I'd have probably had it confiscated. WHEW. Next time, must be more careful.)
I also accidentally smuggled some lotion onto one of my 3 flights, which I later found. Umm, oops? And then of course there's that 12-year old who got onto a plane without ID, ticket, or boarding pass.