Exploring

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My friend Rob was in town, a single afternoon of play, and we went for the familiar, with heaps and tons of photos snapped at the Japanese Garden. I am going to miss these days, of him sending a last moment message letting me know he will be here in a day or two, and might I have an open schedule? Yes, of course I do. The timing is always perfect and our shared moments, too. We talk of the big and small and delight at all we find on the other side of the lens. I take him to tasty places and we mmm… and ahh… and laugh and marvel at the wonders on the radio.

And this time, our last in Portland, there was something of the magical. Walking back to the car after lunch, taking an unplanned route, a cat, as if it had been waiting the whole of the morning, bound down the sidewalk to greet ME. My heart leapt and I gasped, for it was no ordinary cat, but a near twin for my dearly departed Paris. She flopped at my feet, in the same way she always did, and I rubbed her belly and stroked her tail, marveling at the silkiness, the turn of the head, the tufts of fur between her toes. Paris. I love you, Birdie. I miss you, so very, very much. And she, in her way, told me she was happy, no longer in pain, running, jumping, flying even, into my heart, up to the sky. Forever and always.

And Rob, for his part, bore witness. Neither of us would have believed it had we both not been there. Perfect timing. Thank you, Rob, for coming, for being one of my oldest and dearest friends, for being here and there.

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Columbia River

Multnomah Falls

Holla!

Bonneville Dam

Block + Tackle

Pepe le Moko

L O V E: Forever and All Ways.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

A 1930′s Vintage Chevrolet. Beautiful!

Interurban – yumm…

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope it is lovely where you are. We are in full autumn here in Stumptown, with cool mornings, rain, and golden sun from time to time. We are also in full “Oh my goodness, we are selling the house!” mode. Packing, planning, and getting G I A N T holes dug to repair the 83 year-old sewer in the time it took us to get a single large shrub in the ground. The wonder of backhoes!

Back when we decided to move, the hubster and I only fretted over telling one person, my Uncle Chris. He loves Portland dearly and has been our most frequent guest room occupant. He was disappointed, most definitely, but cool cat that he is, very understanding, too. New chapters are exciting! Then, much to our delight, he made arrangements to be our final visitor.

We could not have had a better time or better weather, either, warmth, sunshine, the best of good-byes.

The highlights:

We visited Bonneville Dam, which was truly fascinating. The giant grey object with rust drips is a turbine that had been in use for some 60 years, the wonders of engineering, and, quite likely, Pittsburgh Steel. Then there were the fish, heaps and tons doing their darndest, working their tails off (in some cases nearly literally) to make it through the rough waters of the ladder. Extraordinary! The previous day had a count of 30,000, and that is after running the gauntlet of fishing boats. Nature is bad ass!

A long walk to Block + Tackle, which, if you are a seafood and fish lover, get ye there! Everything pleases, fresh oysters, perfect calamari, a smoked mackerel sandwich, fish and chips, shrimp cocktail, oh my. The service was pretty spectacular, too. With nearly full bellies, we introduced him to the wonders of Salt & Straw (minus the line, what luck!), a  slow, sweet saunter down Division in the light of the setting sun.

A most marvelous time was had by all. Next stop Pittsburgh, mon oncle!

B I G News…

Fun times at the Aladdin Theater this past Wednesday! We attended the taping of Wits!, a public radio show, if you aren’t in the know. To be honest, we didn’t know much about it, but when Reggie Watts AND Jim Gaffigan occur on the same billing, you betcha we’re going to buy tickets. Hilarity, ingenuity, silliness, and some mighty fine tunes from Thao Nguyen ensued.

The timing really could not have been better, either. The hubster and I had been working ourselves ragged, the reason why you haven’t seen much of me here. Six weeks of cleaning, pruning, polishing, purging, painting, all in preparation to sell our house and move to Pittsburgh. W h a t ? ! I know. I waxed poetic about Oregon being home in July! Well, what can I say? A mind changes.

Our house has felt big lately, and we began pondering a smaller one. We looked around town and didn’t like what we saw. Then we wondered about other places and how much we want to really know America and how difficult it is to visit the unknown places from three thousand miles away. Click, whir. Click, whir, our collective brain (after twenty three years together, we DO have one) searching and searching. It stopped on Pittsburgh, another city of hills, rivers, and bridges. A day’s drive to New York City, Montreal, Providence, Boston, Chicago, Louisville, Burlington, Memphis, Charleston…

So here we are, nearly not Oregonians any longer. Jubilant to start a new chapter in a great, and very Portland-like, city! Melancholy to leave such marvelous people and a home we truly love. Our wonderful home, which pretty much sold on the first day we showed it, with buyers to spare. It was a fine bit of recognition for our labor and incredibly sad to disappoint such kindly people.

Now we play the waiting game. Hoping nothing major is wrong with the house, radon tests and inspections, nerve racking and not much sleep. Send us your kindest thoughts, a prayer or two, won’t you please?

Now, a taste of what we will miss.

Wacky Oregonians!

Walking to the Slingshot

and the Albina Press

and every neighborhood gem we pass along the way…

Whoosh

I don’t know that you heard it. That whoosh was summer passing, glorious as it was, chock full of every little thing I love. Long walks and sunsets and star-gazing, and spending time with my favorite people.

Solveig and company visited Portland for two weeks, with five fun days at our house. We chatted in the dark and early hours, of the big and small. I helped with bath time, danced, sang, played, and laughed.

Oh love, how it sneaks into your heart when you aren’t looking. A fourteen year old girl with more baggage that anyone deserves, ten years later and she is my K I N. Silly, smart, lovely, and fine, and the best mom to little Luna, she’s made a beautiful life and a beautiful family. I could not be more proud.

An evening of fabulous Prosecco (Ca’ dei Zago – try it!) and good company with our friends, Don and Katie. Hiya!

Out at the Clackamas County Fair with our friends Pat and Kelly. They’re posing with our favorite pig, what wild ears it had! And the cute girl (I forgot to ask her name) is posing with her rabbit Mr. Cuddles, who most definitely lived up to his moniker. The kindly man above is hammering my name into a horseshoe! As a child who could very rarely find my name imprinted on anything, I am making up for lost time. Everything Colleen, and pronto! Ha!

I hope your summer’s been sweet and filled with all you love.

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Sunday, early evening, my hand delightedly skimming the summer air. We had a lovely afternoon, with an early dinner at Guero. I had my favorite, and what I consider to be the best torta in town, the #3. It’s basically a bean sandwich, which seems unfair, because in their hands it is so much more.

We wandered around in the heat, taking in the fun and funny wares along 28th before enjoying the latest dazzler from Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive. It follows the measured, highly intellectual, and occasionally melancholy lives of vampires. It is neither glamorous nor frightening, at least not in the conventional sense. It is stunningly beautiful, a marvelous juxtapostion of life in Tangier and Detroit, cities and people alive and dead in their own way, full of zombies, beautiful music, and a certain yearning. Marvelous!

Home again, wandering again, the hour of vampires and the full warmth of an evening plucked from childhood. There were bats about, very apropos, we thought, and windows obscuring their occupants golden secrets. All was hushed, the breeze a whipping, jaunty exclamation point to a peach of a day.

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