Exploring

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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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Good Monday to you, dear reader. Welcome to the Rogue River and the final installment of our Oregon road trip! I’m happily typing to Jack White – the obsession continues. Thank goodness the hubster likes his music as much as I do.

Mill Creek Falls

Barr Creek Falls

The Natural Bridge

This was once lava!

A living stump, how about that?

Mount Thielsen

Our final stay was at Crescent Lake. Our lodgings were super shabby, but we made up for it, and how, by gliding kayaks over crystal clear waters (under the watchful eye of a Bald Eagle), reading, watching trout leap, eating sweet cherries, and sipping Stein on the screen porch. Life is what you make it.

Diamond Peak

Hey Eugene! How about breakfast at the Morning Glory? Yummy.

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Have you ever seen the movie, Throw Momma From the Train? Well, if you haven’t, add it to the queue, and pronto! It’s a gem of an 80s fil-um. Anyhow, there’s this scene where Billy Crystal is working on a line from a novel he’s writing. “The night was…moist? wet? humid?” He cannot find the right word. Then, curmudgeonly Momma (spectacularly played by Anne Ramsey), says, “The night was sultry.” BOOM! There’s no beating that.

In similar fashion, I was struggling with the title to this post. It’s kind of a hodge podge, four towns plus two mountains. Do I name the towns, skip the mountains? Do I redundantly say Southern Oregon? Call it Part IV? Welcome to the slightly nutty brain of a writer. Then the hubster, a la Anne Ramsey, says, “Southern Locales.” BOOM! There’s no beating that, either.

And here we are, southern locales, the first of which is Mount Thielsen, followed by what I originally thought was Mount McLoughlin but now wonder if it is Mount Bailey. Good grief! I do know that the photos were taken in the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, and I find them quite beautiful. Give me a shout if you know what is what.

Lunch break in Klamath Falls:

Another sweet town filled with friendly people and terrific architecture.

For me, Woolworth’s will always be my Grandma Frances. She absolutely loved them, and positively rued the day they disappeared, though she always called them the “Five and Ten,” which, as an often very literal child, made no sense. They were called Woolworth’s and had nothing available at those prices! If ever I was with her and needed something, her go to answer was, “They’ll have it at the Five and Ten.” In addition, and what is also solidly my grandmother, was the case of roasted nuts, or that contraption that spun around under hot lights. We always bought a small bag, usually cashews for me and the red pistachios for her, a near perfect match of her lipstick.

Medford:

The hubster chillaxin’ (Oh yes I did!) at our very nice Southern Locale home base. Funny what makes a person choose a place to stay. I’d always wanted to sit in Corbusier style furniture. So there you go, and it was actually quite comfortable.

Ashland:

It had been fourteen years since we last visited Ashland, which seems crazy, really. It was as lovely as ever, though super hot (107 degrees, ugh) and the Shakespeare did not disappoint. We saw Richard III, which was splendid and marvelously acted. Dan Donohue was pitch perfect as Richard; clever and wickedly funny, had we been wearing socks, he would have knocked them clean off.

And all of that cardboard, etc? That is an assemblage by Dale Muir, on display at the super cool Ashland Art Center. We had a great time wandering around, watching artists hard at work, painting, sculpting, drawing, throwing pots. Pretty neat!

And to Jasksonville, quite possibly one of the sweetest small towns ever!

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