Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer: Good To The Last Drop

A seasonal shift is taking place, little signs popping up all over to reveal the impending change of the weather guards. Yep, it’s still hot, forecast in the 90’s, but Summer is packing her bags preparing for her notoriously quick getaway. She’s antsy, that one, always on the move ready to get the party started. Apparently she’s got things to do and people to see on the other side of the world, for she never stays very long in our neck of the woods.

Autumn, however, is a generous fellow, always showing up early and staying for a long time. Not as long as Winter, for he’s just plain greedy, feeding on the waning light of Oregonians, getting a few souls stuck in his teeth now and then.

A friend recently sent an email and I’m including a brief excerpt from his lament. “We’ve had a pretty low key summer. I wish summer would last for six months ... I love the heat and the water. I dread the thought of another long foggy winter ....”

Dread the thought.

But before the light scatters, the fog settles, the rain falls and mildew lines our bones like green, fuzzy insulation, there’s plenty of summer activities to enjoy. On Saturday, Kimmmm and I attended a Hawaii Five-0 party, hence the floral print dresses. Her red muumuu, authentically “made in Hawaii,” was the hit of the party, while my blue sundress purchased at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival’s costume sale a few weeks ago makes a good story. I think Ophelia might have worn it in a tropical version of Hamlet.

At the Cuthbert Amphitheater on Thursday, Celtic Woman is playing while music lovers (i.e. we) are invited to sit on the grass and picnic at the outdoor venue. In addition to concerts, there’s still time to attend a movie in the park, catch a baseball game, go swimming, look at art, walk on the beach, garden, dance, run through the sprinkler and eat fresh organic berries.

This week, our newly crowned S.L.U.G. Queen (an acronym: Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod), will be presented on Saturday at the parade during the annual Eugene Celebration, a three-day block party filled with music, a classic car show, a Health & Well Being fair, the Mayor’s Art Show and the Salon des Refuses (this year called “Salon du Peuple”).

There’s also time to peruse the Farmer’s Market for fresh produce as the clock rotates from the high noon of summer and its corresponding fire element to the harvest of the earth. Corn is growing, acorns are falling, and sunflowers are stretching their solar powered necks toward the brightest star.

As Groom and I investigated our neighborhood on Sunday with our cameras, I was struck by how two things could be true at the same time, which reminds me of a very lively and helpful conversation a few days ago with God’s Minion. She told me it’s quite natural to hold simultaneous contradictory beliefs as does our current season.

Our photos for this entry reflect the height of summer and the early signs of fall taken on the same day in the same neighborhood. To do your own investigating of details, simply click on any photo to enlarge and then hit the back button to return to the blog.

I noticed a double-seated lawn chair, its orange cushions bleached by the sun while Groom captured a very autumn moment with the lone Adirondack chair sitting in the shade, shedding its apple red paint.

It was a veritable flower fashion show, this season’s colors ranging from bold pinks and purples with sassy attitudes to the more subdued tones of silver dollars and prickly whites. The bees were busy collecting last minute pollen while mosquitoes were getting drunk, turning skin into polka-dotted tents of flesh.

Hpnotiq? Well, I think the last photo reminds us to girder ourselves, to grab every last bite of sunshine and soak up those rays, inhale the warmth and relish it all, because sigh… leaves are being tagged by Autumn, his graffiti style signature undeniable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

River of Sun

I have a relationship with the edge of water. Not on it or in it, for I’m not crazy about boats, ships or how I look in a bathing suit. Plus, I almost drowned three times by the age of 10, so I prefer sitting by water, looking at it and soaking up its negative hydrogen ions.

Which is why I can travel as far away as Sisters, Oregon and still feel good while surrounded by the generous forest, but as soon as I get to Bend, I feel landlocked. By the time I’m in Burns, Ontario or Boise, I’m rocking back and forth in an effort to comfort myself. And Utah? Too far, too far.

Yes, we love to travel, but most of the places we’ve gone to like Hawaii, Costa Rica, Paris or Greece for example, are all next to water. Having lived no more than an hour or so from the ocean my entire life, I’m addicted to the nearness of water.

So I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to our trip to Sunriver – with all its high deserty heat and dryness, bleah. A friend offered the use of her lovely home while we were there (again, Thank You!) and it turns out we enjoyed ourselves very much.

The lighting was beautiful, the blueness of the sky more intense. Groom saw a fox trot through the back field and we woke up to a family of deer foraging breakfast outside our window and a bevy of quails searching for crumbs out on the deck. But the night sky. Oh gracious, being that far away from city lights the star show was spectacular, the way it was originally invented. Breathtaking, heartfelt awe.

The Sunriver Art Faire, a first year show, turned out to be a delight. The Sunriver Women’s Club, who sponsored it in conjunction with the Sunriver Music Festival, couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming. This was a show that knew how to take care of the participating artists.

In support of breast cancer awareness, there was a bra decorating competition and for food, pizza that was cooked in fire for 90 seconds. On center stage the day was filled with a variety of music including a very humorous group called the Potlucks Airband. Playing songs such as Surfing USA, members of the group lip synced to the original music and played air guitar, air drums and the like. They really worked the crowd with their enthusiasm and energy.

The last photo was also taken in Sunriver by Groom when a leaf from our bouquet fainted from the heat and landed on our booth counter. He noticed the grains matched.

The reason this is posted later in the day is that as I was writing this, I could feel the attachment to my hair trying to get my attention. Getting up from the computer and staring into the mirror, I saw the wisps of hair I was clinging to, even though it was not flattering. Taking a break from writing, I made a spontaneous appointment and had my hair cut off.

Let go and Trust. Messages I continue to receive.

Funny thing, a friend of mine emailed me that she was in Portland getting her hair cut today and another friend asked me to cut her hair for this afternoon. As the moon is growing fuller, it seems like a good time for a new do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Mad Cup Of Tea

“Love goes toward love.” – William Shakespeare

Without looking it up, what represents the 19th year of marriage, you know, like paper for the first anniversary, silver for the 25th and gold for the 50th? I didn’t know either until I Googled it and discovered the answer is bronze.

Officially Groom and I entered the Bronze Age of our wedded bliss on, and I love this date, 8-9-10 at 11:12:13 am. Alignment!

I suppose this means we’ve matured since our Stone Age courtship when Groom (who was still Boyfriend at the time), conked me over the head with his club and dragged me back to his cave.

“A woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart.” – William Shakespeare

Speaking of alignment, I find it curiouser and curiouser that Groom and I are transitioning into metalsmithing during our bronze year, don’t you?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of a daisy and a rose that had fused together and I mentioned that it represented Groom and me. The tree is this week’s romantic symbol of our fusion, but upon further reflection, the vine seems awfully clingy and is it really good for the tree? Hmmm. I’ll ponder that a bit more.

In the meantime, having just returned from a week in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene and immediately preparing for our upcoming show in Sun River, we were hesitant to make any more out of town plans to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary and Groom’s birthday during our brief few days at the homestead.

The idea of sequestering ourselves for a couple of snuggling days sounded like bliss to us, so it was a bit of a surprise to answer the phone and hear King Z0L0 on the other end of the line throwing a monkey wrench into our low key weekend plans.

For you new readers, King Z0L0 is a friend of ours who mistook my handwriting of the current year, 2010, for Z0l0 and it’s what we’ve called him ever since.

He informed us that the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland was having their first costume warehouse sale in, gulp, seven years. Ooooh my. I love costumes and am thankful that our Holiday Market in Eugene is an ideal place to play dress up. Instantly, all sorts of fanciful images danced through my head like finding a Victorian bustle skirt or a stunning 1920’s style dress. Stretching things even further, what if Groom could finally find a tony top hat or a dapper jacket that fits?

In a flash, we contacted my parents who live in the area, Goat Mama and Papa (friends of ours in the Rogue Valley who are raising two kids) and the housesitter: Every one was game.

Up at 4am on Saturday, King Z0L0 arrived an hour later and we were on the road by 5:15am. Exactly three hours later, we were in Ashland waiting in line. The sale was advertised to begin at 9am so we had 45 minutes to wait. People were friendly and the time passed quickly.

Let me say that this week’s photo selections have more to do with illustrating the surreal sale than for pure artistic merit. I will narrate and you will click on each one for better detailing. To return to the blog, simply hit the back button.

While I held our place in line (and yes, by the time we got there, the line was already around the block) Groom took a few photos of the items up for sale. You’ll notice tables of hats and accessories and racks and racks of hanging costumes.

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.” – William Shakespeare

Oh boy. After the fact, friends and family asked how the sale went. The word “sale” does not suffice. Event or experience or maelstrom carries a more accurate tone. Tempest, whirlwind, uproar, madness…

I’m not saying we’ll ever do it again, BUT, if we did, we’d devise a much better method. We made the mistake of being polite, of thinking we could shop the racks and if we came to an item we were interested in, we could then pull it down for a closer look.

Ha! When the gates finally opened, there was a mad dash and the tables of hats and accessories were ravished before we even got in. The crowd from behind pushed forward and in a matter of a minutes everything was claimed. Except for the button jackets, but I’ll get back to that.

It was as if locusts had descended and ate everything in their path. People simply grabbed armloads at a time, not bothering to look through anything until everyone was in separate corners, hoarding and protecting. I think I might have even heard some people growling and witnessed gnashing of teeth.

The official hours were from 9am until 3pm, but the reality was that it began at 9am and ended at 9:19. It went from chaotic and crazy, frenzied and frantic, to calm in under twenty minutes. The tenth photo, the one that deceptively looks like a crowd shot is actually the line. In case you dozed off there, the few people that fit into our camera’s frame is a partial rendering of the looooooong line we had to stand in to pay and make our escape. It snaked back and forth, zig-zagging and curving what felt like forever.

We drove three hours, missed a Saturday Market sales day, stood in the pre-line for 45 minutes and stood in the post-line (in the hot sun, without water), for one hour and forty minutes for 19 minutes of madness. We had nothing better to do than to make friends with those waiting in line near us and discovered folks came from Portland, Northern California and San Francisco just to attend this sale.

You can read a newpaper article about it and see a photo of Groom (and a little bit of my hair) if you want to by following this link. DailyTidings

Yep, that’s me trying on the red corsety thing. In the next photo, do you notice the guy buried underneath the pile? From the little girl’s angle, I wonder if she’s wondering why the clothes are moving.

If you’re looking at the photos chronologically, next up is King Zolo posing with one of the undesirables, the button jackets. If you scroll back up to the 11th picture, one of the after shots where the racks of clothes are empty, you’ll observe the button jackets hanging there in the shame of their rejection.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.” – William Shakespeare

Alas, poor Yorick, it was finally time to say goodbye to newly minted friends. Parched and overheated, we ate a relaxing lunch upstairs at Alex’s Plaza Restaurant overlooking the Lithia Artisan's Market. After meandering a bit through the handmade marketplace and some downtown shops, we promenaded through Lithia Park and told King Z0L0 everyone who comes to Ashland must partake of Lithia water. He took a sip and promptly spit out the sulfur tasting liquid and although he groused about it the remainder of the weekend, he admitted he couldn’t wait to spring it on some other unsuspecting tourist.

We encountered a deer that allowed Groom to get quite close before it dashed off into the underbrush. Apparently the deer could not read that it wasn’t allowed in the park.

Leaving Ashland and heading toward the other end of the valley, we visited with my parents for a couple of hours, Dad giving King Z0L0 a tour of his extensive telephone and train collection.

After that it was a charming meal with friends at the Bella Union in Jacksonville, sitting outside beneath the vast shade of a 90-year old astounding wisteria and toasting Groom’s birthday. Oh why did we leave our cameras back at the hotel? Darn and blast!

The next morning, Sunday, we met back up again and followed sage recommendations to have a leisurely breakfast at our new favorite restaurant, the Taprock in Grants Pass overlooking the river. From there we went antiquing, always on the search for cool items to retrofit into our bricolage jewelry designs.

On the drive home to Eugene, King Z0L0 decided to stop at the Seven Feathers Casino and won some greenbacks at blackjack, a fun way to end the weekend. He dropped us off back at our cave.

Groom, I just want to publicly say thank you for the last nineteen years and

“My heart is ever at your service.” – William Shakespeare