Monthly Archives: July 2013

Respite

“I miss you,” Wash said to me the other day.

“I miss you too,” I replied. “But I warned you, summers are crazy busy for me.”

He sighed.

“I suppose I can wait until winter to see you again, if I have to…”

Oh, yes, it’s July all right. I’m tits deep in zucchini and blackberries. Both children have been off of school long enough to be bored with all their toys and games, and their new favorite game is Poke the Sibling. It’s nearly time to start school shopping, and both kids have seen the dentist, thanks to my wonderful husband. Harvest season is hitting with a vengeance this year, with everything coming in a little earlier than usual, and with heavy yields too. Not that I am complaining – all this produce is our food for the coming winter.

We’ve had a holiday, and Moredena’s birthday, and in a couple of weeks it will be my birthday. There’s been a few Faires, and a Con, and a few hiking trips. We’ve been camping once already, and will be going again soon in a couple of days, and again at the end of August. My mother is a little more frail this year, and needs more and more of my time and energy. There have been other, more personal shake-ups, as well, things that have added stress and worry.

In short, it feels like we should be staring down September instead of August.

But somewhere, in the middle of the crazy and the busy, I took 4 entire, glorious days, and I left.

You see, for 361 days a year, I belong to everyone else.

And for half a week every summer, I belong to no one.

The husband encourages this. He gives me the money, tells me to spend it as I see fit. And I fill up my SUV, toss a backpack and a tent and a cooler in the back, and I check out for a while.

This summer, I went to Breitenbush Hot Springs.

I’d never been there before. It’s a long drive South of here, miles outside of Detroit Lake, at the foot of the central Cascades. On my way down, I stopped at Silver Falls and hiked. I got to the resort, set up my tent, and proceeded to unplug.

No cell phone. No kids. No Facebook. No calendar. No partners. No relatives. No weeding or canning or feeding or harvest or cooking or thinking, really.

Just me, and the bugs. And all the hippies. I dozed in the lazy heat. I soaked in the natural hot springs. I chatted with a lovely lady from Montreal and a really odd fellow from Seattle. She was thrilled to hear about my crazy poly life, he tried to convince me that I wouldn’t even miss meat if I ate enough dark, leafy greens. I managed to not consume enough food – it was a vegetarian only place and I can’t eat soy. But I drank enough water to sink the Ark.

I had a deer come within about 5 feet of my tent. I watched a different deer frolic in the meadow with her twin foals.

And I wrote. I had brought a notebook, and I wrote for hours and hours. And I knitted. I finished an entire project.

I spent three days at Breitenbush, and I enjoyed every minute. That time was exactly what I needed. But at the end of it, it was time to move on. I still had a little money in my account, and a whole day left to play. So on the last day, I had breakfast, and another chat with Allison from Montreal, and I packed up my tent and my sarong and headed West.

You see, if I don’t touch salt water once in a while, something vital within me starts to whither. And I needed more than anything to be on the coast.

I took Hwy 22 through Salem. I stopped at Grande Ronde for fuel and a Snickers bar. I hit Hwy 101 just South of Tillamook and headed North, my goal being to sleep somewhere north of Nehalem Bay. I found lodging at Manzanita, one of my very favorite places on Earth, and showered and set out to wander the town. I had a burrito at Left Coast Siesta and bought new pens at Salt and Paper. I walked in the cold Pacific waters until the joints in my legs hurt.

I slept deeply, and had my breakfast on the beach. And then, I headed inland. Hwy 26 East, to Portland. Hwy 217 through Beaverton, and a stop at Aaron Brothers for paper to use my new pens on.

And then, home, my husband waiting for me. A lovely dinner out and dessert at New Seasons. The kids off on an adventure of their own, with their grandparents. Back to my mostly disabled mother and my zucchini and blackberries and plums and cats and partners and projects for the yarn store and neighbors and Faires and life.

Back to the real world. The life I love to leave, once a year.

The life I love to return to, when I’ve found myself once again.

Adding a quick edit to say, many of my upcoming posts are going to be about my travels this summer. If there is anything specific you would like to see me address, please let me know in the comments!

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Summer

They look a little like a Coppertone ad, don’t they?

And this, my friends, is what summer looks like. Happy healthy kids, returning from a dip in the Sandy River on a 90 degree day. Birthday cupcakes with my chosen sister Moredena and all her lovely friends and family. Hawaiian shirts and piñatas and freckles and soda and burgers on the grill.

Summer is pretty jars of home-canned produce, cooling on the kitchen counter. Summer is waterfall hunting and river swims and beachside picnics. It’s tide pools and campfires and the smell of blackberry vines roasting in the sun.

It’s sand in your toes and berry juice under your fingernails. It’s rum and coke in the backyard and popsicles on the front porch.

Summer is laughter and joy and love and heat.

And summer is, probably, my favorite time of year.


Recovery (Conned Pt 2)

I’m still coming down from GearCon.

I’m still processing all the lovely experiences, and smiling over all the new faces. I’m getting back to my usual eating schedule and I’m working out again. Less mall food, more fruit and eggs and garden veggies. Less people, more down time. Kind of. Kind of more down time.

Weekends like the one I just experienced, it’s really easy for me to over-people. I’ve addressed, I think, how introverted I am. It’s not that I hate people. To the contrary, I love them. I just don’t get the same energy boost from them that others do. But, the flip side of that is the immense amount of creative energy I draw from cons and other big events. I come away sick to death of people but full of all the ideas for all the things I want to make or do.

I had a lovely Fourth of July. We had our usual day of grilled food and good company and lots of fireworks. We broke in the new front yard fire pit. My kids made some new friends. The next morning, we got up and got the kids packed and we put on our fancy clothes. They went to their grandparents’ house for the weekend, and we picked up Velah and headed to the con.

And we hit the ground running.

Coffee at Lloyd Center. A wander around the vendor’s hall. Sabre class. A costuming workshop – which was hosted by a former partner of my husband’s and resulted in a search for the lovely lady herself. A sewing workshop. Somewhere in there, we ate lunch. After the sewing workshop, we went back to Lloyd Center for dinner. A magic and variety show. Home again, home again, jiggety jig.  Up early on Saturday, dressed and out the door. Pick up Velah and get there in time for a panel on prostitution in the Victorian age. Demo of a Tesla coil in the main ballroom afterward. Lunch with a bunch of other Steampunks at Lloyd Center. Back just in time for the fashion show and a chance to fill my notebook with sketches and ideas. An hour of wandering around and goofing off and Velah raiding a housekeeping cart so I could get a maxi pad. Then two hours of parasol fighting (like in the book Soulless). That was a females-only class, so the Husband took swing dancing lessons in the ballroom next door. Afterwards, we were starving, so we went for burgers at a nearby McMenamins, and we got back to the con and flopped in some comfy chairs to wait for the live music. I had a lovely chat with some lovely people, and I really enjoyed the concert (Abney Park). Sunday was a much lower-key day. Martial arts stuff all day, a last look at the vendors, a chat with DJ Dirty Mollie. I picked up the kids and brought them downtown so they could get a taste of our weekend. We came home, had a little dinner, and were done by dark.

And the real world hit with a crash. My mother threw a fit that we were gone all weekend. She lives with us, and doesn’t get around so well, and needed to get groceries, which she can’t do on her own anymore. So she was “out of food” and was mad that we’d left her alone without telling her we were going to be gone. Of course we had told her, and she has access to our Google calendar, but whatever. The garden still needs watering every day and my neighbor’s cats needed feeding, since the neighbors are at Disney all week. Children need parenting, relationships need tending, life continues on as normal. I’m hip-deep in zucchini and plums and blackberries will be coming on soon. Time to start canning again.

The let-down after a big event like that is normal. You plan for weeks, you have a whirlwind weekend. So many things are presented to you that you have to prioritize and choose which one is the most important. You will always regret not seeing that one thing, not meeting that one person, missing that one panel. After all the activity, the real world is flat, dull, and tasteless. Everyday clothes feel strange. And time has warped in weird ways.

And you go back to the real world, the one of children and cats and chores, with the sweet memories in the back of your brain.

The belly dancer. The airship captain. The mad scientist. The wizard. The gamer.

You see, you never really left any of them behind. They are still with you, whispering ideas in your mind, singing airship shanties and jingling their coin-laden belts.

And you press “play” on that CD you bought during the concert, and you drift off on a cloud of steam…

Next time. You’ll do it all again, see them all again. Next time.


Conned

Aren't we cute together?

The Husband and myself at GearCon 2013

Pleas forgive me if this post rambles a bit. I’m coming down off of GearCon 2013, and the real world is taking a little adjustment. Immersing yourself in alternate realities for three days is kind of like that. I’m feeling like the entire weekend was crammed into about 36 hours, and I’m having a tough time remembering which event happened on what day.

It was such an amazing weekend. I cam back with all sorts of creative ideas and, I hope, I think I made some new friends as well.

Since I’m having a hard time with coherent sentences, I’m going to just do this post list-format.

  • The DoubleTree hotel in Portland was a lovely venue. The staff was wonderful and helpful and very, very tolerant of all of us crazies. And some whimsical scheduler put us back-to-back with a Catholic group, which made for fun time and strange looks. We were conveniently located across from Lloyd Center, where we had many of our meals. I always love being the person helping to keep Portland weird.
  • Portlanders are amazingly tolerant of strangely dressed folks wandering the city’s streets.
  • Leather Mystics are a lovely company. If you need leather goods, I highly recommend them. They cater not only to the corset and doublet crowd, but also the kink community, and do so with discretion and a fantastic sense of humor.
  • Swordfighting is difficult in a Victorian-inspired bustled skirt.
  • Tesla coils are the coolest things ever. Especially when used to fry bananas and DVDs.
  • Abney Park makes awesome airship pirate music.
  • The fashion show was neat, but I had more fun wandering the event and looking at people’s home-grown costumes.
  • Sitting in a tailcoat is a special skill
  • Fighting with a parasol is boatloads of fun.
  • Sharpies can be vicious weapons, and if it gets taken away from you there is very little your assailant can do with it.
  • Tom Badillo is bad-ass. Apparently, so am I.
  • I came home with dozens of pages of notes for costuming ideas, sewing tips, and people and events to Google.
  • Velah is a shameless girl-watcher. And a lot of fun to wander a vendor hall with.
  • I still love going to events like this with my husband. He makes something that would be fun anyways a complete blast.
  • Rosie the Riveter makes for very, very attractive cosplay.
  • Steampunk folks are my kind of people.

I’m sure there are other things that will dribble out of my brain over the coming weeks…. But I’m feeling pretty fried.

Oh, and one more thing. This caused hysterics all weekend long. Thank you, Velah, for putting up with this:

Good pet owners tag their pets

She kept wandering off, and we didn’t have her leash


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