Sunday, July 30, 2006
Well, The Angel Child is in town--seems there's birthdays afoot--so we set out for summertime fun and adventure in The 'Kan EWA.
We had breakfast out on the front porch; set the little table with a linen tea towel from Lago Como and the Portmerion dishes with the French cotton napkins. The hues were purples and pinks and periwinkle blues framed in black, suiting the morning exceptionally well. The orange and red geraniums in the annual bed bordering the porch provided a colorful moat as others from the neighborhood set out on their morning walks or passed by on their way to the weekend. We sat and watched them as we ate and drank, in one of the finest traditions of summertime civilization, the family breakfast, a eucharist when at Bellemaison.
We set out kiwis, homemade vanilla yogurt and blueberries, croissants, white cheese, proscuitto, and sliced tomatoes along with deeply steeped, rich, black coffee. A veritable feast. We talked and laughed about past, present and future. Pending high school reunion/cocktail party, new neighbors next door who turn out to be old neighbors from the Rockwood Childhood Series, and our next family vacation. We always have much to say to each other and much to listen about and these meals could last for hours. On this day, however, it couldn't be because we had an appointment with DESTINY. Well, the Irish member of the family was in residence. And these things ARE a miracle, as Irish people will readily tell you. (Go with a very small shrug here)
Yes, we jumped up at precisely 8:45 am and threw on our IDAHO sweats, hit the car, jammed it into low and raced, RACED, for the Garden Springs overpass across I-90, where the Orange County Chopper Motorcade would pass, on their way to the Fairgrounds, where they were doing the things you do for money at the fairgrounds on a weekend. I must confess, this part of it is a bit of a mystery to me. I don't get to the fairgrounds much.
We had scouted this overpass the night before on the way in from the airport and were quite satisfied that we had picked the very best perch to view Sr. , Paulie, and Michael as they rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, uh, The 'Kan! The 'Kan, AS THEY RODE TRIUMPHANTLY INTO THE 'KAN. They would be riding their magnificent chrome steeds, those custom choppers they make on their Discovery Channel series, Orange County Choppers; one of the two shows for which I will turn the television on. I love Orange County Choppers. For me, a frustrated general contractor/manufacturer, it's about the machines they use to fabricate, cut out, bend and manipulate the thick pieces of metal into the fully operational recreational sculptures they refer to as 'choppers'. I love those freaking things. I'm afraid of them; wouldn't get on one in this lifetime, but I love 'em. Truly. So we were completely confident we had the total 411 on how to see the bikes as they were ridden into town by this Germanic dynasty of upstate New York.
We cruised up I-90 to see that we were not the only people with the Garden Springs overpass opinion; nevertheless, we hit the offramp (going about 75 or 80) because we could see there was still plenty of room for us. As I started to take the curve, I glanced over at the opposite on ramp, where the Teutel boys would access I-90. Of course, with my keen (ha!) eye I knew IMMEDIATELY that this was our real spot and ours alone. I downshifted the Audi to a violent stop, backed her up on the weeds alongside the offramp (the people who live with me have now fainted in a dead heap), spraying a little of my own gravel around in the process, grabbed my camera and started running. As a second thought, I ran back to the car and snapped on the emergency flasher lights, to see my daughter now out of the car, but with her mouth wide open and her jaw on her chest. But she was on her own; I didn't have time to see to her needs. I sprinted across 5 lanes of I-90 onto the median and began to focus and frame the shot, frantically searching for the best vingette. I turned around at a point and motioned, commanded, that the Angel Child join me smack dab in the middle of I-90 and she, an athlete of All-American status, tentatively stopped-and-started her way across the lanes of traffic, filled with people who wondered what the hell was the problem with those women in the road. They could get killed out there.
I got my shot ready, started to absorb the reality of standing in the middle of traffic on one of the most heavily traveled freeways in ther US and began to need to breath a little more deeply when here came the cops, making way for the bikes, those two-wheeled baroque chariots of leather and steel. I got one weak shot off and then had to stop; as gorgeous as those bikes are , and I have seen them on display before, I was disabled at seeing them glitter and sparkle in their natural habitat. They are HUGE, as long as an Audi A8L, they are powerful, they are singularly magnificent. Paulie was in the lead, whizzed past us doing 80, doubled taked to see people in the middle of I-90 wildly waving and gave us a big wave back. We whooped loudly in response and turned to greet Sr., who almost stood up as he gave us a HUGE wave; he is the muscle man, you know. Then came Michael, blond hair crazy in the wind, come to think of it just like ours, who gave us a huge smile and as big a wave as a non-athletic man can give, when riding a 700 pound motorcycle 80 mph down the freeway.
We had just personally greeted American icons, people who are passionate about their work and their life; people who fail miserably everyday yet get up again every morning, ready to go at it once more. We welcomed them to our town, our passion, and waved them in with the best wishes and summertime solidarity we could summon and in doing so, reminded each other that life in its simplest form is unbelievably delicious.
The 'Kan EWA
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I had been waiting for this baby for 7 months; that little boy of mine, now 3 years old, waited with me, full of anticipation for the new baby. He was a very busy boy and he kept me very busy. More busy than I wanted to be , with a big house and much responsibility. But this was my life and I accepted my responsibilities dutifully. My little boy was a curly-haired firecracker who talked and laughed and played with a curiosity and humor that was irresistible but exhausting. He was all boy. I had prayed and prayed and hoped--hoped so deeply for a girl. As the sister of 3 brothers and the mother of a boy whose father only had unmarried brothers, I really, really needed another woman in my family.
This was not the kind of thing I could say out loud to anyone in my own family, not to my mother, because it would too wonderful a thing to happen to someone like me. I could not express my fervant desire for a girl to my husband or his family because they thought the best babies were boy babies. So I stood at the window on the 4th of July and watched the rain come down, wondering what the month had in store for me, wondering where my fate lie.
I shivered and watched a log jam in the gutter break, which sent the muddy stream moving ever more swiftly down the street. Then I saw the most curious thing: pieces of sod, the size of a yard of fabric, floating down the street towards Sacred Heart. The neighbors up the street who had just relandscaped were losing their sod to this relentless rain. Just about as soon, they appeared, chasing their sod down Rockwood. I laughed to myself and turned to find a sleepy blond boy at my side, fresh from his nap. And this was my life as a 26 year old mother expecting her second child.
July 9 was the date the rain broke. It was beastly hot that day; I remember perfectly because that was the day I went into labor. I wasn't too excited to get to the hospital remembering the last marathon, so I took my time but finally decided to go when it got really hot in that big old house of ours. Good thing.
I went into the hospital through the emergency room entrance; from there I went up the non-public elevators on a guerney to the ninth floor where I was met by a delivery nurse as the door opened. A quick examination revealed that I was in the final stages, moments, of labor so they decided not to move me but to set up shop right there as a baby was going to be born any moment.
And born this baby was; She was wide awake and uttered not one cry or sound but began chewing on her fist happily. She turned her head to look up at me as She lay on my stomach, fully taking me in with her bright, pretty eyes. She watched me cry as the wish that was too impossible and too utterly wonderful to say out loud had come true. I had a daughter.
She had the face of an angel. She WAS an angel. She was an angel who was sent to me so that I could cope, I could persevere, I could survive and rise again. This angel was sent to me as covenant, much as God sent Noah a rainbow, so that I would know I was going to make it. And my little boy and I were going to be okay. On that day, my life changed forever.
I named my little bright-eyed rainbow Angela.
The 'Kan EWA
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Been some talk around the internet lately about who I really am. The Chows got quite a kick out of that, quite a kick out the idea that something or anyone might change me. Truth is, I change everyday; everyday there's something out there that captures me and leaves its mark, that makes me different for always. At least on the good days. Cle pointed out to me that still, it's good to say it out loud every once in a while because it makes it real. And keeping it real, that's what we're about, right?
So who am I? Where do I live? Well, folks, I'll tell ya: I am a child of Penn Ave and sidewalks with huge maple trees; I am a child of church bazaars and ceramics with Mrs. Capaul and meat and potatoes fresh rolls and homemade dessert dinners on Third Street. I am a child of the Palouse, the St. Joe, and mounds of sawdust from freshly cut lumber. I am a child of Viking pride.
I live in the shadows and around the corners from goodbyes; still hate 'em and still can't figure 'em out. I live in the garden with the roses, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and pinecones. I live at my desk with problems that need solving, people that need soothing, numbers that need boxes. I live in the laughter and applause of great theatre and in the windows of skillfully inventoried stores. I live in the paint and paper and clay of beautiful art. I live in the stories and melodies of the car radio. I live on my bike. I live in the laughter of B, A, and J. I live in the lap of J, listening to him sleep. I live with the hearts of my friends, glad, glad, glad. Lucky.
I look for the sunset and for the first sign of a fruit fly in the kitchen. I also look for a scratchy throat, a hot ear, pale gums. Old habits die hard. I look for really good shoe sales. I look for dust on the pictures in the living room, nice firm bananas, and patterns of numbers that levitate off the page. I look for clues in the eyes. I look for as many different shades of green in the trees that I can find. I look for the slightest scrap of anything in the back seat. I look for colors. I look for the perfect pair of black pants.
I read. I think. I laugh. I fuss. I fix. I worry. I try.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
This is a common sight in Italy. The one and only place I did not see cranes and new development was Positano. Tuscany is full of 200 condo developments; I am assuming European tourists are creating the demand. There is more development in Italy than on the Rathdrum or Moran Prairies. When the time comes, I'm retreating to Slave Lake; or the Yukon.
The 'Kan EWa
One of my favorite sculptures, in the Duomo in Milano; this is St. Bartholomew whose artist escapes me at the moment. If you remember, St. Bartholomew was flayed and here he carries his skin around his shoulders. I love his resolute, unmartyr-like expression and his athletic stance. ha!
The 'Kan EWA
Friday, July 21, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
On Location with STP
Lloyd Center, Oregon
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
(Absolutely exquiste pink sky of sunrise this morning; I am positive you can only get this sky here.)
The 'Kan EWA
Sunday, July 02, 2006
The GJWHF Summer tour 2006 has the amazing good fortune to be playing The Continental Hotel in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast of Italia.
I write to you from the veranda of our room, done in blues and crisp whites, with three of everyuthing, including robes, which tells us they personally prepared the room for just us. sigh. Ne less than four different kinds of palm trees flank the veranda, framing our spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. Frankly, Caesar was crazy to want the UK, Gaul and Africa; this, my firends, is the true, real real estate for which your ambitions should run greasy, hot and smoky. Mio Dio!
We've had an amazing good fortune on the Italian leg of the tour and our good luck continued last night as we celebrated the Italians' latest World Cup victory, borne on the back of a sterling performance from their goalkeeper and three very solid goals from the boys up front. The national pride around the Italian soccer team is just one more thing I love about these people. Just as the pace flags were predominant four years ago, the red, white and green flag of Italia is everywhere, everywhere, in solidarity with the boys in Germany. You really do see the flag literally everywhere and my favorite was the tour guide in Rome who had amassed curled red, white and green ribbon at the end of a television antenna to use to lead her group around the cobbled streets and piazzas of the Eternal City. Another favorite was glimpsed from the train, in a marginal area that was quite reminiscent of Tiajuana. Three neighbors pooled their efforts to drape the railing on their tiny balconies with solid red, white and green banners, creating one marvelous big flag. In Naples, in a similar neighborhood, they flew their little flag off a similar tiny railing, but then attached red, white and green wide, wide ribbons, stretching them four stories to the ground in a national pride cascade of sorts. Such unqualified happiness; so simple, uncomplicated.
Sat in the bar downstairs last night with an English girl who joined me in rallying Germany past Argentina in penalty kicks--another multo bravo performance by the goalkeeper. Her countrymen, also present, sneered and mocked Germany's perseverance but as I told them, one thing you gotta give the Germans, they are damn good looking people. (tongue in cheek here, along with innocent smile.)
So the party continues in Sorrento, where the lemon trees grow thick as noxious weeds and shoulder the burden of hundreds of lumpy, sweet lemons happily--this is Italy, where the muzak plays opera, every man and woman alike is beautiful, the goals stay out of the net on one end of the field and go into the net on the other, yet new pieces of the exquisite jigsaw that is la douceur la vie.