Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mini Birthday

You had a mini tour, I had a mini birthday! It was the tenth anniversary of 27 or the seventh anniversary of 30. Whatever it was, it was sweet.

And thanks Mom, for having me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So, Okay.

Mini-tour did not proceed as pictured. It started with rain and Krusty Pups and the jumbotron and metal folding chairs and cheap clear plastic ponchos at the Puyallup fair. We never did get to see the draft horses and Jess didn't get her soft serve, which in my opinion means I owe her one and I do look forward to making good on that one. But the three of us had a good drive out to Puyallup, just happy to be with some of my best ladies and then Dakota was added once we got there. The rain let up a bit and Willie's new haircut was cute and even though it was odd trying to choose between looking at him way up there on the stage with my naked eyes or up close in jumbotron detail on the big screen, I was just happy to see him. Jessica and I stayed up late talking to Kate and then even later once Jessica and I got all settled in upstairs, me in the new bed Kate set up for me and Jess on the air mattress that, inflated, fills up the whole rest of that top floor.  The next morning Jessica and I had quiche at Honore and then I ran around town collecting what is starting to feel like all the little bits and pieces of myself before driving off to Portland in the rain. 

This morning at the mini-farm I woke up talking about the anxiety dream I had last night. I was in Santa Fe for the weekend, time run out on my dorm room and overdue back in Seattle, with nothing packed to go at all. "Sounds like your life right now," Tom said, and he was right. That trip to Portland was so good and so disconnected at the same time. I spent 30 hours at the Edgefield, the last part of Friday in Ruby's soaking pool late into the evening, in the warm dark rain, then reading magazines in my room while my toenails dried. The next day I talked on the phone in a little shelter in the garden while the rain kept coming down around me, soaking the lawn where we would sit to see Willie later. I sat in the cozy bar at the Black Rabbit for breakfast and thought about Nell Thorn and then went back later for chowder and a salad for dinner. The big covered porch with its adirondack chairs was perfect for reading too, even though the novel I brought to read completely turned me off after the first ten pages. It turned out to be a good thing that I had indulged in both Vogue and Vanity Fair before I left Seattle. 

Even all that relaxing felt unsettling, though. The best part was seeing Amber and Charla and Candice, and having Michael standing in front of me at Willie, turning around for no reason other than to smile to me. I fell in love with Amber's kids and Candice's girls all over again, and filled rolls of film that haven't even been dropped off for developing yet. 

And that's a whole other story. How I came home Sunday feeling strange, not knowing if it was too much car time, or what. A cold, was what it turned out to be. Two days at home feeling like someone had punched me in the sinuses. Luckily there was Tom with glasses of fresh-squeezed juice from the organic valencia oranges that we buy from the co-op by the big paper sackful, and a real breakfast every morning, perfectly fried eggs and potatoes with cheese and kale. I don't need to tell you that it was a little hard to go back to work on that third day, but reminding myself that work is what makes all this possible helps. The life I'm living out of bags and boxes right now  may feel unfinished and hectic, disorganized and junked up and always running late, but I want it, for sure.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I'm off on my mini-tour with Willie Nelson! I couldn't be more excited. Last night Farmer Tom and I watched The Real Dirt on Farmer John, which I loved and was totally choked up over. I adored his mom and all those wonderful color films of his childhood on the farm. What an awesome lady she was.   Of course the movie highlighted the challenges to family farms, and only made me appreciate Willie's Farm Aid work more. I'm so happy to live in the Skagit Valley and shop from local farms at our wonderful co-op in Mount Vernon, and all the honor stands within close driving distance of our place. Next year we'll have crops of our own, I'm sure! 

First stop is the Puyallup fair with the ladies, Lisa, Jess and Dakota. I'm hoping we get there in time for some fair fun, but even if we just see Willie, I'll be a happy girl. I made all the ladies little party favors, CDs with podcasts from Fresh Air's country week, interviews with Willie, Dolly and others. 

Friday I drive away from Ballard for my annual pilgrimage to the Edgefield. This time I get to stay there a night, not the night of the concert, but I'm still excited about it. Willie plays in Bend Friday night so he won't be there, but we'll see him Saturday night, when Amber and Seth and Charla and Michael and his whole birthday gang join me on a lawn that is hopefully not too terribly damp. Either way, I'll be there with my knitting, waiting for round two. 

Hope your weekend is just as fun! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The farmhouse looked so good when I came back to it last Friday. Some of it was just how happy I was to be there, to have a weekend, to be off the road for at least a bit. But most of it was everything that Tom had done since I was there last. The living room looked warm and cozy and the table where we eat made me want to sit down with a bowl of something hot, and everything had been cleaned, even our never-ending seemingly self-refilling dish sink. Everything. 

I haven't been so good, myself, at the nesting. Terrible, in fact. I've done some laundry. I put two little bird figurines in a place I liked on the window sill in the living room. Other than that, I just try to do some dishes when I can, and move things out of Tom's way, but I still leave my knitting around and my mail is also everywhere and my bedroom is an absolute mess. It's been hard to find pants. That kind of mess. 

When I came home to Kate and Jason's house the other day, they were nesting too. I could see through the big picture window that Kate was putting something on a shelf, standing back to look at it, gesturing to Jason. They both looked out and saw my car and looked surprised but smiled, waved. That was nice. It's been good to go there. Good to see all the little changes they've made since last time I was there. Was that painting of the frigate there in the bathroom before? Where was that bookshelf before? Have I ever seen that poster for Two-Lane Blacktop? You can tell they're happy doing all of it, and that makes home nice. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Farm Birds

Neither one of us was sure how the bird got in the house, but there it was, perched on top of the refrigerator. It was what dad would call an LBB, or Little Brown Bird. Officially, you know. Tom and I had been out on the front porch, just looking at the night, the wisteria growing up over the roof, lovely and needing a trim. We didn't know there were birds sleeping in the wisteria, and couldn't see them, that's how thick it is there. As we looked at all the little parts of the house, we kept flushing them out of their night-time hiding places, rustle of leaves, rustle of wings. It wasn't until after I had gone inside to finish an email. and closed the door, that Tom discovered the indoor bird. Maybe it came in when I was taking photos of Tom and Emmy like the one above, too dark, blurry, but to my liking anyway. Maybe Tom let it in when he came in, though I doubt it. All we had to do to get it out was walk towards it - it let out one sharp sweet little chirp, tart like small candy, and flew directly through the entire length of the house and out the front door.

I'm starting to see photos again. My film cameras are still mostly in their bags, but I've started to make a move for the digital camera more frequently. It's just expedient, and good in low light, in a way. I went running for the first time in ages today, and kept looking at the red barn with the fish sculptures on the side of it, the buildings half-hidden by the height of corn stalks, the way the yellow flowers looked by that metal gate that led to the corn fields near the dike. The farmhouse and life there is presenting itself to me in different ways too, now, the way Pam's ranch did when I stayed there and took photo after photo, every day, little variations on all the corners of the land I liked to look at. 

So many things made it a good weekend, but one of the nicest things was just looking, and seeing. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Or Not

I didn't take a single photo this weekend. It was kind of a nice change. I did finish knitting a shawl, the first thing I've knit in months and months, and it only took me a week. My hands were sore at the end of it, but it was worth it. Mostly I just petted Emmy, walked around the property, made food, ate food, did dishes, drove to Anacortes (three times!), bought groceries (also three times), watched movies from the 80s about country singers (three of them), and slept.

This week I'm staying at my Ballard room. In some ways, the simplicity is nice, and I can't tell you how much I LOVE having a functional closet, getting dressed in the morning is so easy, but I do miss the mini-farm. Time with Susan, Lisa and Stumptown consoles me. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


For our former blog format. Oh old blog! How I miss you!

Friday, September 03, 2010


photo by Lisa Robbins

Um. I think I kinda screwed up the blog. Sorry! 
We'll get it worked out soon, I promise...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Having Time

from Seamus' birthday party last Sunday

The drive home was lovely last night. It shouldn't have been. All day I debated whether to go home or back to Ballard, and at the very last minute I decided to head north, only to find all lanes of I-5 closed, in both directions. I didn't mean to head all the way out to Mukilteo, but that was where I ended up, in my search for a detour, and if there hadn't been a line for the ferry I would have been sorely tempted to hop on the Whidbey Island ferry and go home that way. It was getting late, and the light was low and warm-looking, and Whidbey and the San Juans have been so tempting lately. Instead, I drove along the water for a ways before heading back east, just north of where the freeway was closed.  I lucked out and hit it right at the first open onramp. 

There was a Willie Nelson interview on Fresh Air, and then the baseball game was on and the light was not fall light, it was late summer, and when I got to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op, there were no lines and the peaches weren't soft, they were just hard enough to ripen in time for the long weekend, and the first crop of Washington apples was there and I thought I'd just do a little shopping, but I kept thinking about chips and salsa to watch the Seahawks game with tonight, peanut butter ice cream for Tom, meals for the long weekend, my favorite tortillas, a box of black licorice, and stuffed manicotti for dinner and pretty soon three bags were full and I was driving home through twilight, still content, not feeling late at all.