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Monday, September 29

morning 9/29

leavings

Oh, this is the hardest part. Saturday morning, early, I left my son behind, but not before I got to see him in his office...



..and I swear it was 5 minutes ago that I was telling his kindergarten teacher that it was just fine with me if he didn't color inside the lines. That, in fact, I preferred it. :)

I cried, of course, when we said goodbye, and again as I stood at the back of the ferry and watched as his little piece of the world got smaller and farther away.



We navigated the always horrific traffic around Seattle, and I took the obligatory Space Needle shot



The real photo op in Northern Washington is Mt Ranier as it seems to hover like a snowy spaceship over the traffic. I wonder how long you have to live here before you stop being awed by this amazing apparition?



A couple more hours and we are near Portland, one last visit with Russ' daughter and the beautiful grandkids



More tears as we left, a few more pounds on an already heavy heart.

This morning, breakfast with Max and Linda, visits with Yaney and Linda at the cottage, a group dinner and more goodbyes. More tears. The heart gets heavier.

We are almost ready to go. I've tidied the cottage and separated my kitchen stuff from Glenda's. Bags are packed, Jakes bed is ready. The bikes are in the car this time, no more rack time for them. I don't have the patience. I've left our note in the cottage guest book, taken out the garbage, swept the floor. It will look as if we were never here.

But we were. And we left pieces of our hearts all over the place like markers, like pennies in a fountain, wet with tears and wishes.

Friday, September 26

morning 9/26

lazy days

It has been rainy and gray the past couple of days, sort of what people think of when they think of the Pacific Northwest. But, in truth, it has been warm and sunny until now and there is relief that some rain has come because there have been fires here and there.



We have been just spending time. Me. Billy, Cassie, the dogs. Just being in the same space. Quiet conversation, shared meals, another game of Wii :) watching Mad Men.

I wonder if people who have this sort of time with their kids every day truly understand what a treasure it is. These ordinary days, burnished gold because they are rare, will see me through the WInter, make me smile remembering, keep our hearts close even when 3000 miles separate us.

We gather up these moments like squirrels gather nuts, I think. A hedge against the gray days.



I am almost ready to head home.

Wednesday, September 24

morning 9/24

day trips

What does one do in Paradise? Swim. Eat. Read. Eat. Play Wii. Yes, Wii.

We took the dogs to an off-leash beach, much to Jake's delight



I think they would have played in the water for hours, but there were tons of these around and we thought it best to get them out of there before stinging happened.



Took them a while to dry in the late Summer sun and they were a little confused about why we were in here and they were out there




There was whimpering.

Lunch was at a small deli-like place with a ho=hum view



and a stop at the bookstore next door.




A great used book place with wonderfully current and vintage titles tucked into every corner



So we shared our love of Golden Retrievers and deli food and books, one thng left. Food. I travel with a zester, Bill asked for a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas. It's in the DNA.



Pork tenderloin medallions on a bed of baby arugula, proscuitto, tomatoes and garlic. Carmelized broccoli. A watermelon salad with onion, feta and olives, dressed with a spicy lemon vinagrette.

That's my kid. :)

So, after we watched a movie, I was challenged to a game of Wii. Tennis eluded me but I started to get the hang of bowling. Actually won a game. It was good to laugh with my boy, even though most of the laughter was at my expense. I'm gonna practice when he's not looking.

A day of simple pleasures in the warmth of son shine. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 23

morning 9/23

mother and child reunion

The plan was for Russell to take me as far as Olympia where Billy would meet us, turn around and take me to the Islands. It actually worked. We did not pass each other going in opposite directions, nobody ended up waiting in a deserted parking lot behind a pool hall while the sun set and there was no cell service.

Yes, I imagined all the worst possible scenarios. It is what mothers do.

The morning ride north was beautiful. You know, beauty can get on your nerves after a while. It's everywhere. No let up. Even at the rest stops.



We met up at a McDonald's parking lot and the mother was exchanged. Russ turned around and headed South alone, while Billy and I and 2 Goldens headed back North. The ride passed quickly as we caught up and talked politics and pasts and futures and Seattle's infrasructure and I tried and failed to keep myself from reaching over every so often and touching him, my much-missed boy.

I know how the ferry works now. Been here before. So I was happy to be in line for only 45 minutes and even happier that it didn't break down this time. While we waited, I took a few pictures. The ferry,



some birds on a piling.



Billy multi-tasking while Ginger watched.



Finally, on the ferry. I guess you get used to it, because Billy pulled out a DVD for us to watch to pass the time. Or you could watch this




and then Friday Harbor comes into view and we are almost home



But then, I was "home" the instant I hugged my boy in that McDonald's parking lot. The rest is scenery.

Monday, September 22

son shine

Today I go to visit my son. Russell is taking me half way-to Olympia-and Billy will cart me the rest of the way to his home on San Juan Island. We will have a few days together and then Russell will join us and bring me home.

The details are so pedestrian, but my heart is singing "billy!billy!billy!" :)

morning 9/22

Sunday, September 21

morning 9/21

market analysis

Bright and early, again, to market, again. This time Eugene, a smaller market in a smaller town. My biggest hope for this weekend was that I wouldn't get dizzy again, having already come to the conclusion that selling at markets was not going to be some great step forward in my art "career". Career. I crack myself up.

The ride to Eugene is pleasant and peaceful, on back roads and through farmland. The highlight is a gas station with a price of $3.30 a gallon. (And they pump your gas for you! There is no self-service gas in Oregon, preserving a layer of employment.) Eugene itself is laid back and charming, but this is Oregon where "laid back and charming" is probably on the state seal somewhere.

Beth Little manages the market and has for the past 9 years. That's her in the orangey-red shirt:



I bet she would hate the description "perky", so I'm going to call her "upbeat". I signed in as a new vendor and she acted glad to see me, signed me in and told me where to go for orientation. I groaned inside, remembering Portland. But I needn't have worried. Early on in her presentation she explained that the market was designed to...and I paraphrase...celebrate the creativity that lives in the artist's core. Beth, say no more. You had me at "celebrate".

Note of interest: Eugene holds the trademark rights to the term "Saturday Market". Any city that wants to use the name, like Portland, has to put their city's name at the front of it and abide by the terms established at Eugene 30 some years ago.

Then as in Portland, we waited, although it seemed to go faster here. Maybe because the market is contained on 2 city blocks, in a park, and the options are not as diverse.



While waiting we struck up a conversation with a couple that met at the market 8 or 9 years ago. He was selling waterfalls of cord in rainbow hues and she was recently divorced and drawn to the joy of the colors. They married and do the market together now.

At Saturday Market, you pay $10 for an 8X8 space, $5 for a 4X4, plus 10% of your sales. The percentage is paid, on the honor system, at the end of the day. Some long time vendors have reserved spaces that they earned through seniority and cost a bit more. Membership for one year is $40.00.

As usual, as newcomers, we got a skinny space at the back end of the show. Two 4X4 spaces cobbled together. The young woman next to us was selling clay jewelry, most of which looked like food. Now, that sounds weird, but you should have seen the details of the rice in the sushi! Festive little cupcakes, tacos, pizza. I don't think she sold much but she got a lot of attention. I think she would kill at a show and I shared that feeling with her. She has a jump on the bloated jewelry category by having something unusual. I traded with her and got earrings that look like tiny artist pallets.

And we old-timers? Under a hundred bucks again. I think this is not for me. Actually, I think Frog earned mor than most of us.



Frog is a Eugene fixture, apparently. He pulls a sticker-covered wagon around and sells his stapled together books of jokes for $3. If you buy one, you get to squeeze the rubber chickens he pulls from the wagon. Each one has a different squeak and the last one has no squeak at all.

Did I buy one? Naturally. I was celebrating the creativity that lives in Frog's core. And besides, he autographed it!

So, market research having been completed, I'm thinking it's probably not for my product and absolutely not for my budget! If I were to choose, Eugene would be my choice and I would be willing to try again next year if we do an extended visit. I would make edgier things, try to tune into the PNW sensibility, go for the college crowd.

Or maybe tune into that poetry/rubber chicken gestalt.

Friday, September 19

goin' topless

Well, the folks at the Eugene Market said a structure was not required, so I will be set up like a gypsy, tables and racks out in the open air in the late Summer sun. This will be interesting.

We had wonderful meals today. Breakfast at Nearly Normals







That cheesy looking wonder was my breakfast. Perfect home fries with enchilllada sauce, baked with melted cheese, sour cream garnish. This is a once a year treat.

Then, back to Gathering Together Farm to be treated to lunch by a friend, Karen. Chose a salad this time, hoping to unstick the valves that slammed shut at breakfast. It is one of the most beautiful places to have luinch and certainly the most peaceful






So, now that I am well fed and peaceful, need to finish up some frames for tomorrow and pack up everything so we are good to go bright and early.

It couldn't be worse than last week, right?

Right?

morning 9/19

Thursday, September 18

morning 9/18

mornings

So, I was watching Martha Stewart yesterday while Russell was throwing some more of our discretionary income at the van and she was doing a show on bloggers. The one that caught my attention was written by 2 women who lived on opposite coasts. They would each take a picture in the morning and they posted them side by side. It was fun to see how often they connected on a theme, but it stayed in my head all day.

What a great idea. Take one photo every morning of one simple moment of your life as the day starts. I looked around me and before I knew it I could see little vignettes, small bits of beauty that I would not have noticed without that project in mind.

How wonderful to begin each day with appreciation, with an eye to what is beautiful. And to find that beauty in the ordinary things that surround you, that have always been there if only you looked.

So, off I went this morning in search of my little nugget of wonderful. It was hard! The temptation was to go for the glamour shot:



No, that's too easy and not exactly unexpected beauty. Maybe a puppy on the deck photo?



Nah. Shameless pandering.

So my first morning photo will be a windowsill, garlic with its tissuey cover in a graceful fall, reflected in a tin cup, a flower garden fuzzy in the background through the window. The hunt is the treasure.

appointment in eugene

So, for Market Research Pt 2, I had to go to Eugene to have my work screened for their Saturday Market. I had no idea what to expect or exactly where the office was, so we got there early and explored the town a bit. They used to have a pedestrian mall, Russell told me, but opened it to traffic a few years ago. Sort of what Buffalo is going to do. Sadly, it didn't look as though the area had revived and it made me wonder what will happen at home when the same thing is done.



As charming as that looks, many of those storefronts are empty and there were few people around.

They do have many artistic touches around the mall area still which make it a pleasant place to be. I especially liked the structures I called "totems" for lack of a better word, that mark the center intersection of the area.









They have lots of interesting little art placements, like the iron family here



and the turtles that Russ insisted on joining. Max's expression says it all.



And then it was time for the meeting. I found the storefront and was directed to the back room which was a big storage area with a large round table. About 6 or so people were sitting there and they made room for me and the other 5 applicants schlepping boxes and totes and plastic bags of their goodies. Forms were filled out and they asked who wanted to go first. Well, it was not gonna be me! I was used to anonymous critique. This was going to be weird. Not just the jury, but the other applicants were going to observe this process. Ha! Not gonna be me. I'll sit here quietly and watch what happens to the others so I can be prepared. So, of course, they picked me to go first.

I slid over to the team that would look at my stuff and was relieved when a couple with some stuff in squeeze bottles was called to be screened at the same time. There were lots of questions for them about content and labeling but I never got what it was they had in those bottles although at one point the director was asked if she wanted to smell it. She demurred.

They asked me a few questions about my process and for a moment talked about copyright issues with the flyleaf quotes. (I did not roll my eyes. I just waited it out) They OK'd me on the spot and I was given more paperwork and told to show up around 7:30 Saturday. Well, that was easy! The woman after me said she hoped it would go as well for her and she moved her china pots and cups with flower arrangements to the hot seat. I left but came back a few minutes later to use the restroom and there was lively discussion going on over the screening. Everyone else was still there. Guess I lucked out.

On the way out of town we saw a group of kids painting a mural and we pulled over to take pictures. That's when I realized my camera was in that storeroom and they technically closed 45 minutes earlier. Nobody answered the office phone and we sped back, hoping against hope that someone would still be there. The lights were off in the front office, but a woman motioned for me to pull the door and I was in. Phew. I expected the storeroom to be empty, but everyone was still there. The lotion folks, the teapot lady and another woman who was holding up a piece of material...maybe a scarf?...and arguing about some regulation or other. The teapot with flowers lady was right where I left her, moving her pots and cups around like chess pieces. Everyone was talking at once and never noticed me sneak my hand around the corner to grab my cherished Nikon.

When I got back to the car, I told Russ I thought I got off easy, they were all still in there! We went back to the mural to take pictures. I asked a young guy who was watching the process what the mural was for and he said it was "for not having to look a big ol' concrete wall". Good enough.





And so we are set to try one more market. I have to try to find an 8X8 canopy somewhere to rent or borrow. They sure like those smaller tents out here. Better get to it...