August has its very own feeling. It’s quieter than June and July. The summer ends softly, like a feather floating to the ground.
I am looking forward to the calm in which to read, to walk, to wonder, to do nothing at all. There’s ripe tomatoes in my garden and I’ll make a galette. Work-life balance will flow naturally. Contentment will be achieved. This is my plan for August. I wouldn’t be me, though, if I didn’t know that plans, like rules, have a way of getting broken …
Summer rain when you’re tired: Rain—it’s only water. But when you wake up sore and tired, the sound of it falling can be the best noise on earth. Stay in bed … just stay.
Coconut oil in my coffee: I used to take milk in my coffee. Now I like it like I like my men—straight up and strong. However. A little coconut oil makes black coffee really smooth, gives it substance, takes the edge off. As a rule, I’m okay with edges, though.
Grilled “cheese” at the Bye And Bye: Grilled cheese—I love it, you love it, we all love it. This one’s vegan, though—made with a swashbuckling amount of Daiya cheddar. You can’t not eat the entire thing.
Ex Machina: Creepy. Haunting. Gripping. Beautiful. A Blade Runner for the new era. If you haven’t seen it, do.
I have been known to mismanage my weekends, but this past weekend wasn’t one of those weekends. Instead of lurking in town and going to bars, we all packed up and drove to Bend on Friday after work—pulling into town right at dusk, right when the air turned all quiet and cool.
Our intention was to camp, which we promptly did in our pal Brandon’s backyard. It was already dark when we pulled in. It stayed dark while we set up our tents and sat there drinking homemade wine, always throwing more wood on the fire. In the full light of morning, however, each of us crawled out of our tents to discover the magical view above. A big veggie garden, a chicken coop, and a private backyard skatepark. Brandon’s really got a good thing going.
Aaanyway, after that, Bend’s new skatepark to sweat and fall down. And after that, the prettiest swim spot on the pristine Deschutes River—which, as often happens way out in the mountains, we had all to ourselves in order to properly celebrate Toby’s birthday.
That night, we camped in Sisters under centuries-old pine trees. The milky way, I need to report, was impossibly bright. Everyone told stories, and the dogs laid there at our feet—happy to be outside like all the other forest animals, happy to be wild, to be dirty, to be free.
In regards to Thursday, it rained. Just in the morning, just for a minute. It had been so long since this happened though that at first I didn’t understand. I just looked out the window wondering why the air look all strange and smudgey like that. Then I heard the noise—like pebbles on corrugated tin, and smelled the scent—like dirt and leaves and other forest mysteries.
In the same way that thinking about death clarifies your life, a nice rainstorm now and then—well it purifies that sunlight that’s surely to follow.
Secret pools. I’m happy to live in a place where people appreciate the value of being out in nature, sure, but I’m happier still to escape those crowded trails—to find a hidden path like we did the other day, one that that leads you around a corner and out of site.
Walking to work. Hey it’s just a 3.5-mile wander from Northeast to Southeast through neighborhoods crammed with roses and butterfly bush, past intriguing “free piles” sprinkled on street corners and people laughing loudly in crowded cafes or sitting quietly on shady front porches. I do it once a week—7 miles round trip. Part of the 2015 Sherowski Improvement Plan …
Fresh figs. In July, the neighbor’s fig tree droops over my driveway—heavy with about a hundred bursting-ripe figs. Until now, it never occurred to me to eat them. It only ever occurred to me to rake their sticky guts off the cement after they turn. Anyway, last weekend I bit into one for the first time. Lightly sweet and perfumey. A summer breeze in yer mouth. I picked a bunch and have a heaping bowl—come over and eat one!
I am feeling profoundly inarticulate in the wake of seeing Shellac play at Mississippi Studios last night. Of all the indie throwback tours running around the country right now, throw your money on this one (it was only $12, guys!). Old men put on a good show. Especially when one of those old men is Steve Albini—the savant sound engineer and musician famous for that Touch And Go sound. See, a properly searing guitar can tear open the room, can unite it. It’s no small thing.
The late 1990s were a vital time for me, because I was angsty and in college and surviving heavily on angry music. “If you’re heterosexual and you’re angry, this is the kind of music you make,” said Derek last night when I mentioned that I’d forgotten what a woman hater Albini was. I probably didn’t forget, actually—I probably just didn’t care because back then I was a lass of 17 with no real opinions of my own. I’m all grow’d up now. I’m a liberated woman working in an industry run by men. And I only have so much tolerance for chauvinist rants—even if they are just to get a rise. Which is most likely what Steve’s doing. He’s too smart to be a chauvinist.
Aaaaanyway, it was a nostalgic kinda night, and, as if to accentuate this, Fred Armisen of Portlandia fame was crowded right in there by the stage with all of us. The dream of the 90s IS alive in Portland!!!
For all you friends going to the second show tonight, get there early cuz Shannon Wright is the business and you don’t want to miss her …
We’re hot off the holiday weekend—which happened to be really hot. Tis okay, the Fourth of July is supposed to be hot. It’s the natural order of things.
Friday, went to the river—an excellent little beach/swimming-hole combo fringed by a set of rapids on either side that you can ride down on, say, a tube. There, we all swam and tanned until we were impossibly crisp from the heat. The dog fetched, like, a million sticks. Or one stick about a million times.
Saturday, skated Mini West Linn—an excellent little park where we could all skate or sit happily in the relative cool under a deciduous tree canopy. Later, there was a BBQ function at Derek’s house, where I grilled and ate a giant mushroom and then drank too much whiskey as the neighbors’ renegade rez-bought mortars lit up the sky all around us.
Sunday, well, Sunday was a day for rest.
Ben blew up a watermelon, and George got the shot.
I am trying to take it slow and maintain a respect for the summer. All its bounty. It came on so hot and fast—my lawn already cooked into a hay-colored patch (a development usually reserved for later in July)—that I’m kinda worried I might get sick of it?
For instance, my stomach didn’t want BBQ food on Saturday night after having feasted on it Friday night, too. Another veggie burger, blahhh. Instead, I ate PB&J before riding my bike to the Q. And Sunday? We couldn’t muster the energy to go swimming after having roasted at the river all day on Saturday. Instead, we just skated and sweat in the heat and humidity and then lazily sipped beer and booze on a patio under swollen thunder clouds.
Every night, apocalyptic sunsets blow up the sky. Fires are burning to the North. 100 degrees is in the forecast for multiple days this week. Is it the end of the world? Aw, well, Armageddon ain’t so bad, I suppose …
Reading on the deck after dinner: Like, 25-30 pages. Nice, quiet way to tie up the day—just me and the dog and the cat and that one bird that hops around picking at the cherry pits under the tree.
Mt. Tabor hill bomb: Apropos of Monday’s post—hike up through the forest; roll down the switch backs. The perfect pitch—no need to powerslide it out, but you don’t gotta push, either.
Stella Taco: A newish taco join on Alberta Street where we all went one warm Saturday eve and sat at a high table with our feet dangling like toddlers and ate fried avocado tacos and drank ice-cold drinks and didn’t want to leave.
True Detective Season 2 Soundtrack: Hey it’s just original songs by Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Lera Lynn, etc—all strung together in a musical tapestry that’s deep and rich and chilly all at once. I mean Lynn’s This Is My Least Favorite Life from episode 1—DANG. T. Bone Burnett curates here, so, yeah…