Yesterday was a gloriously rainy, gorgeously not-officially-autumn-but-close-enough Pacific Northwest day. Mists in the trees across the river, sliding down the slopes to wreath around the bridge, dark and gray and cool and lovely, rain coming down steadily for most of the day. While we spent the day writing (me) and watching the Timbers game (him) and enjoying our day, we had all the doors and all the windows open to hear and feel and smell it, to soak it all up. Fall is here, fall is here, O Great Pumpkin fall is here.
On the first rainy day of not-officially-autumn, if I am a very good girl, Sally makes me a crisp. Pear, in this case. While we sit at our humble, rickety little kitchen table waiting for it to come out of the oven, listening to the music of the rain and breathing in deep lungfuls of cool, water-filled air, we talk about deep life things. Soon, the oven beeps and the crisp comes out, sweet and cinnamon-y autumn love in a 9x13 pan.
We eat it while it's still not-quite-burning-our-mouths hot, big white bowls warming our hands, simple mix of pear and sugar and oatmeal and flour warming our bodies from the inside out, and I think, this is my life, right here. This is the life I get to live, this love and this comfort and this peace.
This life, I tell you what. It'll bowl you right over in the most quiet little moments.
Yesterday was our twenty year anniversary. Or, in Salvatore-parlance, "wedding remembrance day". We marked the day itself in a sweet and quiet little way together; our celebration was actually last week, on vacation in Orcas Island.
It's been 15 years since we were last there, and then it was only for a daytrip so we didn't really get to enjoy it as much as we wanted. This time, we did it up right: rented a little getaway with a beautiful view, packed up enough delicious food to last the duration, filled our bags with books and games and writing supplies and art supplies and movies, and fit it all into the Black Pearl for the road trip adventure north.
Six hours, most of Washington State, and a ferry ride later, we arrived at our tiny, magical, fairytale cottage, tucked into forest and steps away from the water. A little kitchen with just enough room for one person at a time, a bathroom with a skylight. A bedroom with a soft bed, woodstove, and French doors that open wide to the forest and the view. A covered patio a few steps down and a cobbled path through green and trees to a couple of wooden chairs perched on the water's edge. A hot tub hidden in a stand of firs and madronas, complete with lights for a good night time soak under the stars. Beauty and solitude and magic.
It was a warm and beautiful day when we arrived, rainy and cool the next, a mixture of both the day after that and the day after that. We had a chance to get a little too much sun, and to snuggle under the covers with the doors open while the rain played outside. We played in the water and warmed up in the hot tub. We spent time sketching, and writing, and playing Zombie Dice and Firefly Fluxx and Love Letter and Gloom, and watching movies late at night with a smorgasbord picnic spread out on the bed. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the village a few miles away, and walked through shops and galleries, and found a beautiful art treasure to memorialize this Year Twenty milestone.
We talked a lot, and laughed a lot, and enjoyed contented silence a lot, and it was like regular days together, but special days, too, because here we are, still together after all these years, and these are what regular days are like, and they are wonderful.
This was the view from the lanai of the condo we stayed at on Maui, where we've been (along with Oahu) for the last week. Just arrived on the red eye home to gloriously gray and cool Portland and cannot wait to climb into my own bed and get back into the Pacific time zone. Ocean waters are good for any sea loving heart, but this little mermaid's flippers are definitely most at home in cooler northern waters.
Today's airplane bento lunch, for the Sally Lake City to St. Louis leg of my trip. My seatmate had his window closed so it doesn't look so great, but it held up nicely in my carry-on after being tossed and tumbled and jostled about from house to car to airport to security to plane to another airport to another plane. Not too shabby.
(I know I've been lax about posting bento pics for awhile. I have been both packing and taking pics of them, just haven't gotten around to uploading. Someday.)
They started the tear up on Friday so of course I had to seize my last opportunity for a foot selfe on the iconic Portland airport carpet (if you've somehow missed the big to do about the replacement and are wondering what the big deal is about a freaking carpet...well, Google is your friend).
So Sal and I happened to stumble upon Liberace's furniture sale today in our quest for a new couch. Until today, I did not know that glittery gem trimmed cabinets and metallic pearlescent lizard skin textured dressers were a thing that existed in this world. I was also not aware that pearlescent white vinyl chairs with ginormous fake diamonds embedded in the middle of the seat backs were a thing that a human person alive and breathing in this dimension would not only make and sell, but buy and put in a room where food is served. And then nod to themselves with satisfaction and say, "Yes, this looks good."
Bless the person who would buy this furniture, truly. Bless the furniture maker who caters to them. Bless anyone who would need a 6 foot jewelry cabinet in black faux snake skin with a big rhinestone butterflyhandle.
And now the vintage 40s/50s style red couch I want doesn't sound so crazy.
"Oh, look. We have the white chicken in our bed. I have to go get the number off the pole and call now."
This is the combination of words Sal just said about 20 minutes ago as he happened to glance out the kitchen window, then took off out the front door. What the what?
I'm in full-on does-not-compute-blue-screen-of-death-void-null-error mode. Chicken? What chicken? "The chicken" implies a specific chicken, an expected one, which is odd since we don't, you know, have any chickens. The little hamster wheels in my brain are spinning furiously as I try to sort out what he's just said, trailing behind him in the blazing heat. (Trying to figure out wtf he was talking about was the only thing that could've enticed me outside at these temperatures.) The "bed" part I realize must be one of the raised garden beds, but what the everloving hell does a pole (light? telephone? North?) and a number have to do with anything?
By the time I get to the front porch, I have concocted a rough theory that there's a white chicken statue/figurine/object of some sort that has been left in our garden bed by some mysterious prankster, and that this is a random underground Portlandia sort of game that Sal has heard about and knows what's required next. That this white chicken whatever-the-hell has a phone number on it that you're supposed to call when you find the chicken for your instructions on where to leave it next. I haven't quite figured out how the pole fits into the scheme of things, but I'm only about 10 seconds into this adventure so it's early yet.
Welcome to the inside of my brain. It's scary in here.
Sal's down to the street level by this point and hollers over his shoulder to watch the chicken. As one does. So I did. I go around the side of the house to the garden beds and I hear rustling and then see a dart of white and then feathers. "WHAT." I'm loud enough for the neighbors to hear. There is an actual white chicken darting around our yard. My brain-hamsters are now no longer in their wheels, but instead running madly about and crashing into each other.
So there's a "Lost Chicken" flyer on the lightpole at the corner of our street (not as uncommon as you'd think) that Sal noticed on his bike rides and turns out, it's the very white chicken in our yard that I'm at that very moment "WHAT"-ing about while he's calling the number on the flyer.
He has to leave a voicemail, but must first listen to a long message because the number is apparently for a business, and the message is about hoop yoga classes, because of course it is. As he waits to leave the message about their lost white chicken running around in our yard, he says, "Well I feel like a true Portlander now."
(A few minutes after leaving the message, the chicken flew clear across the street and the neighbor's house/yard into Baltimore Woods, and there's probably a "why did the chicken cross the road" joke in there but I can't tease it out because my brain is still rebooting.)
*Title taken from a famous Lewis Black routine.
“Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.”
-- Concluding paragraph from the federal judge’s decision striking down Oregon’s same sex marriage ban. It’s taken 10 years to reverse what should never have passed in the first place, but love still wins in the end.
When I asked Sal what he wanted to do for his 40th birthday, he decided he wanted to ride the Banks-Vernonia Trail (an old RR line from Banks to Vernonia that's been converted to a 21 mile biking/walking trail). I'm sure he was thinking simple: load his bike on the rack, drive over, ride the trail roundtrip, come home. I don't know why he'd think simple... after 18 years of marriage, surely he must know by now that I can make anything into an extravaganza.
So here we are in our room of the delightful B&B in Vernonia where we're staying for the weekend, complete with birthday balloons and flowers for a bit of festivity. We've enjoyed lunch at our favorite place in town (Blue House Cafe OMG ZATAAR FLATBREAD YOU ARE THE GREATEST) and are currently kicked back in decadent leisure on a gorgeous evening doing absolutely nothing productive. Tomorrow (the actual big day), there's homemade breakfast delivered to our door (srsly great B&B), an awesome trail ride he can take the whole day to enjoy, our famous and fabulous smorgasbord dinner, the most incredible cake ever (made by one of his former students), and presents that will blow his mind.
Sitting in the second row at Helium Comedy Club, waiting for Christopher Titus (one of my fave comedians) to take the stage. I am maybe 10 feet from his mic. Holy crap! Thanks, Sally, for a great b-day gift!
1. Sal has been surprising me with gifts almost daily for the last week or so. The latest gift -- the 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (containing all three cuts), one of my all-time favorite movies ever ever ever -- came on a day when I really needed a little pampering. So he's still pretty much the greatest.
2. My discovery of a bento emoji on my phone today has made me hyperactively excited out of all proportion with the importance of the discovery. I may have seriously considered texting everyone in my contacts so that I could use it over and over.
3. The Veronica Mars movie comes out tomorrow and if the last few weeks hadn't been packed to the gills with tasks, plans, and appointments, I would've indulged my desire to marathon the show and get reaquainted with Veronica, Logan, and the gang. The next three days are similarly jam packed so I'll have to wait until Sunday to see the movie. Boo.
- seasoned chicken strips
- steamed broccoli
- nut & berry trail mix