15 December 2014



steeped in december over here. which really just means I'm busy pinching sap off the ends of christmas tree branches to rub into the palms of my hands. you know, so I can breathe it in, every chance I get. recently, I showed up for a counseling session with a few stray pine needles stuck to the side of my cheek and, I don't know. I think this means I might be doing it right.

am trying to find places for all the christmas things in this new house. am playing all the records, singing all the songs, baking all the things. in other words, decembering. because december is something you do but also, something you feel. december is the celebration of a birth, the birth is hope and without this hope, we are nothing.

p.s. I'm also over at habit this month, contributing when I can. that is, when I've not got my face buried deep in the branches of a christmas tree.

26 November 2014

truth is

there are lovely things to be shared here, friends. but I can't pretend. that ferguson isn't happening. that dr. huxtable didn't break my heart. that black friday isn't an ugly, ugly thing. that a personal family crisis hasn't turned my own life upside down since saturday afternoon. I'm at a loss. I'm losing, we're losing, we're all losing.

I don't believe there isn't still room for lovely things, that the sharing of them isn't still important. undeniably, it is (perhaps now more than ever) but to pretend the hard things don't exist, the things that break us, render us speechless, hopeless, to go on as if nothing has happened, is happening, will happen, well. I just can't do it.

tomorrow, I'll lose myself in the rituals of the day. I'll peel the potatoes, cook the cranberries til they quietly pop. I'll toss the green salad, brown the rolls. I'll set the thanksgiving table for the first time in this new house and I will not forget to be thankful. but I will also remember. just how much work we all have left to do.

21 November 2014

list forty-eight: some things I miss about portland

beginnings of a love letter

or, the beginnings of a love letter.

1. the light on yamhill and 10th around magic hour
2. the smell of franz bread baking near NE 11th
3. the used car lot balloons that line 82nd
4. the long, tall aisles of powell's books
5. annie's happy, happy windows
6. and those sunshine yellow booths
7. lippman's bins full of bouncy balls
8. smut's bins full of instant relatives
9. grilled cheese sandwiches eaten on double decker buses
10. cherry snow cones eaten in rose gardens
11. the sound of passing streetcars
12. the smell of coffee, everywhere
13. the big downtown library
14. the view from my favorite parking deck
15. the occasional awkwardly lovely tall bike
16. the green, green moss that covers everything
17. bipartisan's sour cherry pie
18. little big burger's truffle fries
19. old cameras stacked all ramshackle in citizen's windows
20. jumbles of color hung on rerun's racks
21. those five words in neon orange
22. that big loser in the sky
23. the light in the lobby of the ace
24. the secret drawers filled with secret papers
25. the cardboard city on the ceiling of tender loving empire
26. the organ music at the old oaks park roller rink
27. the red and yellow spiral slide at glenhaven park
28. the rainbow of flags that hang above SE third
29. the hidden gem that is the cameo
30. the hidden treasure that is ed's house of gems
31. a thousand different food carts
32. a window full of light bulbs
33. cargo's big red wooden doors
34. lloyd center's tiny spinning ice skaters
35. dance class up on the fourth floor
36. bus number twelve down sandy boulevard
37. chin's perfect neon
38. le happy's perfect yellow
39. saturday morning at the hollywood farmer's market
40. saturday night at the hollywood theatre
41. pambiche's empanadas and sugar cane lemonade
42. mcmenamin's magic saltwater soaking pools
43. my favorite building (the color block building)
44. my favorite thrift store (the secret one)
45. the feel of the downtown train station
46. the daily view from the sacramento ridge
47. every portland bridge, every single one
48. every portland thing, every last one

19 November 2014

the jar of magical thinking

jar o magic

magic bit #1

magic bit #5

magic bit #4

magic bit #3

magic bit #6

magic bit #2

magic bit #7

the jar of magical thinking

this is the jar of magical thinking. aka, the jar that sits on the blue wooden table and holds scraps of paper with ava's and ezra's words scrawled on them. aka, words I want to remember.

I first read about the jar of magical thinking back in 2008 and besides the fact that it was originally inspired by joan didion, here's what I love about it: it's an old spaghetti sauce jar, that's it. and the papers used are whatever is available, whatever is currently within reach-- backs of envelopes, leftover notebook paper, index cards, bits of paper bags, old receipts, anything.

this means I never hesitate to scribble words down, never. I never wonder if the paper is pretty enough or my handwriting is pretty enough. this means the whole thing is so simple it's nearly impossible to screw up. and you know what? six years later and I'm still doing it. I'm still stuffing that little jar full of magic bits. I'll stuff it till I can't stuff it anymore, till there are so many scraps of paper in that old jar it practically hums and hovers from all the magical thinking.

I never finished the baby books, probably never will. and I'm a thousand years behind with all the photo albums, but this. this I can do. and will continue to do until I can't anymore. or until they run out of magical thinkings, which I hope is never.

16 November 2014


climb inside, live

in which I drop the seventeen things I am currently doing to go through seven months of photographs to find the few I'd like to climb inside and live in for a little while.

ava, saturday morning, april 2014.

14 November 2014

photobooth friday

photobooth friday

behold: the last photobooth strips taken in that late, great city of ours. on our last day, our very last hour in portland, oregon. when I saw that the booth at the ace was working that day, I almost fell to my knees with gratitude.

but here's the thing. I've lost them. somewhere along the way, they vanished. in the midst of all the traveling, the packing and unpacking, the getting in and out of the car (and in and out and then in and out again), and then in and out of motel room after motel room and then all the unpacking of the suitcases once we arrived here in atlanta, and the unpacking of all the boxes, and the shifting around of a hundred million things, is it really any wonder?

still, I'm heartbroken. I never lose things like this. I've turned the house upside down but, nothing. nothing but this measly little iphone image. I can't help but wonder, will someone eventually find them? somewhere down the road? and wonder who we are? wonder what our story is? will we turn up at the fleamarket fifty years from now? will we be someone's fleamarket find? one can only hope. you know, a girl can dream.

13 November 2014

down the 101 we went

the glorious 101


this was a good moment

crescent city

drive thru tree numero uno


wild elk watching

drive thru tree number two

end of the day loveliness

the madrona

what with all the pocket knives


trees, trees

charm for days

gift shops, gift shops


you know the saying

drive thru tree number three

avenue of the giants

on day two and three (of the big cross country road trip), we hit the 101. highway of all coastal highways, charmer of road trip takers everywhere. there were trees, lots of trees, some of them, fallen. nothing to do but climb up inside and peek out from magnificent, monolithic root systems. we wondered, is there anything better than a magnificent, monolithic root system? it was decided, there is not. somewhere outside crescent city, we said our goodbyes to the pacific ocean, breathed in that dense, salty pacific air one last time, promised to return. elk meadows were stumbled onto, and the spectacular avenue of the giants traversed, both experiences that only confirmed my sincere belief in the existence of a brilliant, loving God. experiences that left me feeling infinitely humble, endlessly small. and well, wholly alive.

other things: a few large trees were driven through and the boots of paul bunyan climbed up on. he talks to people, you know. there's proof of it, should you need it. initials were carved into gargantuan tree trunks (thus, souvenir pocket knife collections put to good use). houses made from one log were visited, as were places claiming to defy gravity, as were eternal treehouses, as were many, many gift shops. urges to buy large wooden clocks were miraculously resisted. children were made to pose in abnormally large wooden shoes. a night was spent at the endlessly charming madrona motor court. (well, charming til around midnight, when the toilet overflowed and we found ourselves wading through the kind of water you never want to find yourself wading through). lesson learned: pretty much everything about a 1940s roadside motor inn is charming, except for the plumbing. still, I loved that little place, loved it to pieces, midnight raw sewage and all. I wouldn't trade our night there for anything.

by the time we drove through our third (and final) tree, we were way off schedule. this will not come as a surprise to those who know us well, but this would be a running theme throughout the trip. early on, we decided we didn't care. and as we drove out of the last of the redwoods and down that last stretch of the 101, further and further away from our beloved portland, oregon, I loosened my grip on the schedule. I felt my resolve soften. about an hour outside of san francisco, the sky turned a fiery, incandescent pink. as it turned out, we were right on time.