July 30, 2011

sunset beach, part 2




(crab and I were both startled when I approached him on the beach, and he scurried under this rock before I could show him to my brother)

impending storm

myrtle beach skywheel


the ladies

meeting of the flock

the mirror maze

gull friend at sunrise

beth gives a talk?

it was so windy I couldn't keep my hand still
(a photo of the wind: one morning we got up early and biked to the east end of the island to watch the sunrise, only to get there and discover that the winds were easily 30-40 mph, blowing so hard I literally could not bike against them. the attempt to photograph my brother's bike ended up only in blurs, because I couldn't hold my hand still.)

(my sister and I got featherlocks, please pardon my stupid expression)


last sunrise at the beach
(our second attempt at watching the sunrise, on my final day at the beach, was much more successful than the first)


sky vs land

good shell day


I'm back in portland now. on my final day at the beach I awoke at 5, no longer able to sleep. my mom, my brother and I biked to the end of the island to watch the sun rise, and then, after dropping our bikes at the house, walked down to our spot on the beach and went for an early morning swim. with the exception of just two small breaks, I stayed on the beach that day from 6 AM until 2:30 in the afternoon, desperate to squeeze the last drop of every moment I had left.

my mom drove me to the wilmington airport, about an hour from the island. I had showered but on my skin was the chalky residue of sunscreen, and my hair blew curly in the air from the open window. when I reached the airport we hugged and, as always, my mother had tears in her eyes. how do I keep doing this? I wonder. I said some insipid thing like I'll see you at christmas or you should come out for thanksgiving! but it felt trite and false. I loaded up my huge backpack and walked through the airport door with a wave. after I had checked in, I walked briefly back outside to savor for one last instant that weather I so love.

inside the airport, I cried until the plane began boarding.

I feel too old for homesickness, yet here it is, seemingly worse than ever. back in portland, the cloudy mornings give way to sun. scott sleeps next to me. the vegetables in the garden are enormous. but inside me there is a deep gash I don't know how to fill.

July 22, 2011

sunset beach, week one







(my cousin's stash. apparently it was on sale. we call her room "the liquor store")











this morning at 8 AM it was 85 degrees. the humidity makes my hair curl. in the mornings there is coffee, sometimes muffins. everything, including the bed, is covered in sand.

a few days ago, a bold crow stole an entire packet of my baby cousin's crackers out of a bag, then hopped five feet away from us and looked at us inquisitively. when little jack ran after him, the crow flew over the dunes with the packet. a few minutes later, we saw him fly idly by with an orange peanut butter cracker in his beak.

vacation: good.

July 15, 2011


Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport
so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird
trapped in the terminal all the people
ignoring it because they do not know
what to do with it except to leave it alone
until it scares itself to death

it makes you terribly terribly sad

You wish you could take the bird outside
and set it free or (failing that)
call a bird-understander
to come help the bird

All you can do is notice the bird
and feel for the bird and write
to tell me how language feels
impossibly useless

but you are wrong

You are a bird-understander
better than I could ever be
who make so many noises
and call them song

These are your own words
your way of noticing
and saying plainly
of not turning away
from hurt

you have offered them
to me I am only
giving them back

if only I could show you
how very useless
they are not

-- craig arnold

July 13, 2011

to the sunset

in a few hours I'll take a red-eye to wilmington, nc. I'll arrive tomorrow at 8:30 in the morning, and my aunt and uncle will pick me up from the airport and drive me to the beach house on sunset beach. I'll be there for two weeks, the longest time I've spent there since 2006. spending time with me there will be two aunts, one uncle, four cousins (and three of their children), a cousin's friend, my mother, and my youngest brother and sister. there may or may not be a pet hamster in attendance.


it turns out everything that needs to be said about the beach, and what it means to me, I wrote back in 2009. I truly cannot wait.

July 11, 2011

the summer list, concisely

the long version is here.

learn to ride my bike like a person who knows how to ride bikes
read books sitting by the river
play my clarinet regularly, which I haven't done since  college
brush up on my french
cook a new recipe at least once a week
keep the house clean so a certain someone doesn't have to
go to the beach
lay around
play video games
watch movies
catch up on random tv shows
ride cookie
make cookie a better "citizen"
stop having back and hip pain
start running again
grow lots of things in the garden, and eat them
learn to pickle and can food
wear cute sundresses
don't go broke 


19. do the fruit loop

hood river's fruit loop is 35 miles of roads that wind around orchards and wineries and fruit stands. I've been to hood river a few times -- to swim across the columbia and to hike -- but have never traveled through the loop. although most people DRIVE the fruit loop, I got the idea that it might be fun to bike. I couldn't find very much about biking the route,  with the exception of a forum posting a few years back that talked about a group ride there. it seemed totally doable, so a certain someone and I decided to do it this past weekend.

scott talks a lot about all the bike trips he's gone on, and has often suggested that we could do one together. secretly I have never believed I was up to the task, because I hadn't biked in so many years and because biking on the road has scared me for so long. cars! they are fast! shoulders are small, and my absolute most petrifying bike fear is of losing control of my bike and crashing into the road in front of a car. also, I still lack finesse when it comes to turning, and I've always been afraid of going at high speeds down hills. but recently I've been commuting pretty regularly in traffic, and we've even gone on a couple of bike dates where we've just meandered along from one place to another. on roads. without spending two hours scrupulously finding the safest bike route possible.

so: the fruit loop.


we followed this route from hood river, south to parkdale, then back north. we stopped at a couple of fruit stands along the way but didn't choose to detour to any of the ones off the main course. (although we did leave highway 35 for a couple of miles in order to bike on a less-trafficked road).

mt. adams through the orchards. we were there last summer!

a certain someone on his bike

mt hood looming close by

a paraglider! he/she was SO HIGH UP. presumably they'd ridden the air vents. insane. there were two of them; the other one was much lower.

making it look easy

fortunately you can't see the steady trickle of sweat on my face in this photo.

the ride was the hardest I've ever done -- a lot of climbing (for a novice), a lot of fast cars going by, a rough road. there was one hill -- the last, not long but on the steep side -- where I thought, "if I can't see the top soon, I'm gonna cry." but I made it! at several intervals on the climbs scott very kindly waited for me to catch up (and catch my breath) before we continued upwards.

he also tells me that the conditions were probably about as bad as it gets on a bike ride, so I guess I'm ready to go on bike rides now! look who's all grown up.

July 6, 2011

summer, so far

item #1:

today I biked 3 miles home in flip flops; with a bag not designed for biking slung VERY awkwardly over my neck/shoulder, messenger bag style; holding on one wrist a half gallon container of milk in a grocery bag, which I bought forgetting that I'd be biking home and which wouldn't fit in my shoulder bag. the headwind was atrocious, and my shorts -- not really bike friendly -- kept blowing up my leg high enough to give people a show. BIKE COMMUTING SKILLS: ACQUIRED

item #2:

sellwood pool

pool day

sayonara, number 23. we've had a string of nice weather FINALLY OMG THANK YOU PORTLAND so I drove over to sellwood pool, brought a book, and lounged for a few hours. they heat the water to 84 degrees, so despite the fact that it's only now gotten warm outside, the pool was the perfect temperature. there were about a hundred thousand kids there. I ate an ice cream. pool admission cost me four dollars. everything about this story is awesome, guys.

item #3:

the pea trellis fell over.
trellis disaster

it happened sometime between monday morning and yesterday. we've had a pretty steady north wind these past few days, and the pea trellis is, as I have mentioned, super janky. two of the wooden supports simply snapped from the weight of the peas. this comes literally on the heels of my thinking dreamily on monday, these peas are the most successful thing in the garden so far. go figure. I had to leave them when I discovered them yesterday, but today I bought a couple of heavy plastic stakes and tried to wire them to the existing supports. it's hard since the stand of peas is so thick. I have a suspicion their season is beginning to wane, so hopefully the thing will hold up long enough to harvest the last of them.

it was a good run. we have probably a 3 or 4 pound bag of peas in our fridge right now. I love eating them straight off the vine, but we have so many that I'm going to have to can them or pickle them or feature them in several recipes this week.

item #4:

the rest of the garden hums along.

big beautiful italienischer heads
italienischer lettuce heads, bigger than dinner plates

greens <3!
the whole greens bed. salad 4eva

that fennel is seriously out of control
herbs. the fennel is spreading everywhere, including into neighboring plots, oopsies. and it's like 4 1/2 feet tall

strawberry runners
strawberries & their runners. they, too, are beginning to take over

one tomatillo
one tiny successful tomatillo. there are three other plants, but none with flowers, and since tomatillo plants flower each other in pairs, I may not get any this year. HURRY UP DUDES

various peppers
peppers. right now they don't look so good so somebody remind me to google pepper problems, k?

pole beanies
the pole beans are climbing very enthusiastically up the trellis.

the edamame is bushy. but not yet beany.

wee sunflowers
teeny tiny sunflowers! they need to be fertilized. hell, everything needs to be fertilized.

item #5:

the finished product

I cooked the first of the chickens from the slaughter. I made the marinade from smitten kitchen's thai-style chicken legs, plus the accompanying mango slaw, and I pretty much want to eat that dinner forever and ever. In fact, although I've already had dinner, I now feel compelled to go pour some hoisin sauce on some peas and call it good.

official portland summer: so far, so good.