27 Nov 2009, 9:28pm
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blah, blah, blah (i mean that in the best possible way)

for thanksgiving this year i went to two dinners and was invited to two more. that’s the biggest thing i am thankful for, i think: that so many people i love live here in portland where i live. and, i guess, that i love so many people who live here in portland.*

last week my mom and i went out for hot chocolate (i had some made with coconut milk, which, let me tell you, is genius) and as we sat in pix patisserie i thought of: eating fancy pastries with our fingers with my friend julia in the streets behind the patisserie the night before july 4th while neighbors set off firecrackers; carefully touching my thigh to the knee of a crush next to whom i sat amidst a rowdy group of friends; sipping an outrageous raspberry lambic float (also genius) and gossiping with judith. the memories that little shop has accumulated for me. i love the way portland has clarified itself to me, the way the gaps in my mental map have colored themselves in. i also love the blurry, disconnected patches that remain, relics of the time when portland was a mystery to me. the shop where i got my tattoo a month before my 19th birthday. a steep path through the canyon on reed’s campus–even though i have since wandered every inch of the canyon, i have never quite found that path again, which exists only in a hazy, beautiful memory from my very first week living in portland… these real and differently-real portlands that stack unevenly to make this the first home i have chosen.
 
 
* i am doing a pretty terrible job at nurturing a lot of these relationships lately, though. hey friends, i miss you and i’m sorry. let’s get together soon.

.

way back when i used to have a car, in december 2006, i took a road trip from outside of seattle, where i was visiting my family, to los angeles, where my boyfriend at the time was visiting part of his. i took these pictures on a roll of holga film that languished in my camera until this past spring–

i don’t remember the circumstances or locations behind any of these photos, really. i do remember:

* a rainstorm so thick and wet that even with my wipers going full blast i couldn’t see anything. i pulled off of the highway and tried, in the dark, to find a place to stay the night. i ended up at a motel in a tiny town in southern oregon that appeared, in the morning, to consist only of a gas station and a strip club. actually, i think that maybe the photo above was taken from the motel’s parking lot. the sleazy proprietor offered me a beer. i turned him down.

* listening to conservative talk radio to stay awake and hearing some dudes mock a new york times article they’d discovered that revealed that the cattle industry actually contributes more to greenhouse gases than all of transportation. their argument was something like “see, animals cause global warming, not people!” i thought, hmm, maybe i should stop eating meat. (and, eventually, i did. thanks, conservative talk radio dudes!)

* thinking a lot about “self-hacking” and how to be happy. i guess since then i have been figuring out a lot of the inputs this particular system (me) needs. i don’t so much think in terms of that metaphor anymore, but it is the same thing. good food, good health, good love, good learnin’.

* the morning after the rainstorm–the mountain pass just south of ashland was covered in beautiful snow. the sky was blue. i pulled over to put chains on my tires, only to discover that they were missing from my trunk. i never did find them. anyway, before i had time to work myself up about it, the guy just ahead of me who was running a little chain installation business announced that they’d lifted the chain requirement. i got back in my car and california opened up ahead of me.

* butternut squash soup at a friend’s parents’ house in sacramento, where i spent a night. intricately decorated colorful round handmade ornaments hanging everywhere.

on the way home, with my boyfriend in the passenger seat, i remember: driving along curvy route 1 through big sur in the dark, long after the sun set; a motel room so tiny there was really no room for anything but the bed; sharing a pomegranate; pastries and cacti at a hippie “spirit garden”; a cheesy roadside attraction full of optical illusions.

i am pretty thankful for all of that, too. for the combination of choices and coincidences that brought me to wherever the hell it is that i am. blah, blah, blah.

i used to walk past this almost every night during my senior year of college:

now–sunnyside piazza and this witch hazel tree:

(the pictures are from january, when i stumbled across it on a circuitous route home to a different house… didn’t imagine that i would walk or bike past it almost every day now when i took these photos, of course. this tree is a reason to look forward to january.)

You remember (!!!)

It made me so happy to remember you staying with my parents. They really enjoyed your visit and were so happy to have you. Mom’s still making those ornaments, yknow (and I’m still following you online – even if we don’t really talk much anymore).

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