Favorites 9.29.14

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Driving on the beach: It always feels like you’re getting away with something. Freedom! I mean, you could drive straight into the freaking waves if you wanted! But you don’t. But still.

Goat milk: Goat milk? Goat’s milk? Milk of the goats? Whatever you call it, it’s good. Use it in place of regs milk in your oatmeal and be rewarded with a deep creaminess and that lovely, goaty tang on the tail end.

Pine nuts: My very, very favorite of all the nuts. Or is it a seed? And why don’t they make some sort of pine-nut butter for toasts and rice cakes? This is something my breakfast most desperately needs.

Beginners: Rewatched this Mike Mills movie the other night and remembered how it’s great. About, among other things, the silk thread that ties our parents’ fraught relationship to our own adventures in fraught-ness. Also, cancer, rollerskating, and a wicked cute terrier.

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Top 3 To Read (Slowly)

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Did y’all know there’s a new movement for “slow reading”? Which basically just means reading a book. Because peeps are forgetting how, can’t sit still long enough, can’t focus on something for more than 10 minutes without scrolling. Reading books is my thing! But I’m a victim, too. That shit takes me waaaay longer now. But I’m still doing it! You should, too.

Without further ado, I give you my top 3 favorite non-fiction books. All of them wild with adventure, of course.

North To The Night, by Alvah Simon: About a dude who winters alone in the arctic darkness on a tiny sailboat. See, he sails up there with his wife and cat (!!!), but she (the wife) has to leave, and he’s left frozen there for months with his boat, with his demons, with polar bears, with the Northern Lights, with the storms, with the crushing cold.

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The Man Who Walked Through Time, by Colin Fletcher: Mom sent me this book, so it’s special. The author walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon in the 60s, all alone, and then wrote about it. Mom read it 30 years ago. Now me. An interesting cycle. Anyway, a quiet, relaxing text with much lovely language describing the hugeness of geologic time, the nature of beauty in the wild, and such: “Beyond shadow that still belonged to the night, a day’s incoming sunlight streamed across the rock reefs. Noon pressed down onto the Esplanade, hotter each day, more ponderously silent. Evening came, and a softer, richer silence.”

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 Jacque Cousteau: The Sea King, by Brad Matsen: “He didn’t particularly care about money as long as he had enough, and his chief financial tactic was simply going out and getting more cash when he ran out.” You see, Cousteau was down for living only in the now—no rehashing things past or backward-looking. “The road to paradise is paradise,” he said, quoting an old Spanish proverb. Anyway, a bit of a womanizer, but a true adventurer, through and through, Cousteau pioneered the modern-day scuba tank by trial and error with sketchy homemade setups. He’s fucking crazy! So much could go wrong!

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The Weekend Report

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Fall and summer crossed paths this weekend on their ways in and out of Oregon. The sun was hot, but the shadows were long and the light inarguably gold.

Went to Hood River to skate but no one had any energy. Ended up on a sandbar in the warm Columbia, wading out to cool off and watching the dogs lunge through shining waves.

Smoke from wildfires turned the sunset hot pink on the way home, and everything felt liminal.

Went to see Dumpster Wizard—an aptly named metal band comprised of our pals—play in a shadowy corner of the Kenton Club, then pit-stopped at The Tannery for a potent drink in a tall thin glass.

Attended Sunday afternoon gathering at the Bracewell residence, skated ’til exhaustion, sent summer off in the best way possible.

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New Best Ever

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Tomatoes-wise, the cherry one has my heart. The sweetest garden morsel in a manageable pebble size—you can put a handful in your mouth, which I often do.

Now is when I tell you about my new cooking jam: the galette. Kinda like a pie, but messier and lazier and incendiarily delicious. The dough, which bakes up all beautiful and buttery, is slapped together in a big bowl. The innards are whatever you want them to be (I did cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and pan-fried leek). Rolling pin the crust flat, pile wonderful food stuff in the center, and then lovingly fold it all up like a baby in a blanket. It’s the oven, really, that does all the work.

But there is freedom to the galette. Fuck the recipes. Make whatever kind you want. Peaches and blueberries? Squash, pine nuts, and pecarino? Yes and yes. It’s all good.

Just know that if you have flour/butter/something in season to put inside, then a brilliant meal is always achievable.

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Not pretty looking, necessarily—but pretty in your mouth!

Ancient (Garden) History

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I’m not writing this from the table on my back deck … but I could be. It’s where I spend a lot of time—sometimes reading, most times doing nothing. Just sitting there, being human.

I’m able to do this (i.e. nothing), because I know what the yard looked like before I moved in 8 years ago, and what I’m really doing (besides nothing) is just kinda savoring what’s become of that gloomy dirt/weed patch. Something green and vital. Something that hums.

Yes, yes, I’ve done a lot of work. But now the garden runs itself, I swear. I am particularly proud of how much the bees love it in there. Those guys work hard—it feels good to make them happy. Also? There’s still an excitement every time something comes into bloom. That’s fun.

I don’t think modern folks feel much of a bond with where they live. We travel too much, and we move all the time. But I was thinking today, when I came across a couple ancient house pics on my hard drive, that propagating my garden—it’s how I’ve connected with my land, primordially speaking. Cool, huh?

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Circa 2006, when pulling weeds was my life.

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Spring 2007, when my mommy came to visit and helped me plant some starts.

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Spring 2014—a horticultural bonanza.

Favorites 9.11.14

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Puppies: Obvi, right? But the the way they wiggle into your lap and happily thrash about there, gnawing on your knuckle with pin-sharp baby teeth—it’s what should be in the dictionary under the entry titled “joy.”

Oat milk: I did a tour of alternative milks recently—brandishing hemp milk with coffee, pouring rice beverage over cereal, dipping cookies into iced-cold almond milk, all before encountering oat milk. Did you know this was a thing? It’s the best! Oats are velvety rich and naturally sweet—no need for added “cane sugar” or other nonsense like that.

Pimm’s lemonade. Lemonade and the gin-based liqueur known as “Pimm’s,” plus cucumber, plus mint, plus orange slices. Tuck this cocktail away in your hat for the next languid sunny afternoon.

Anthony Bourdain’s new show on CNN. Good ol’ Tony—he’s kind of a chauvinist asshole but that’s what you end up loving about him.

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How To Get Hitched In The Mountains

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The truth? The truth is that we’re all inextricable romantics given the right moment/situation. Even the cynics. Even the hard of heart. Given the right moment/situation, there we’ll all be at some point with hands gripped over hearts, big tears being blinked away, et cetera.

Oddly enough, a wedding isn’t always that moment/situation. But! The wedding I went to this weekend was.

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I watched Tricia and Cairo get married in the old fashioned way—outside in the fresh air in front of all of their people under the high-country sun that cast long shadows in the late afternoon.

First, we all sat in wooden chairs and talked and laughed. Then, a quiet fell on the crowd. A wind whispering of fall set the aspen leaves clicking. Finally, out came Trish to the tune of a string band, looking, in her pale dress and veil, almost exactly like a flower. Right there in the meadow, both her and Cairo read some lines they’d written about each other—about magical first acquaintances and perfect matches, about holding each other up (most especially in tough times), about what exactly it feels like to be in love.

The rest of the night was a blur of Pimms and caramel cupcakes. And other things that cause dizziness the following morning but which are, at the time, consumed with the utmost noble intent of celebration.

Hooray for love!

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Pretty Trish.

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Griz, getting a snapshot of that rock!

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This pic may not communicate it, but the dance floor = bumping, all night long.

Waterfall Wanders

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Heat. Haze. Big roving rain clouds. Trails carved out of cliffsides. Waterfalls that drop loudly into deep, green pools. This is the seduction of Oregon in late August. Last weekend, Kelly, Marsha, and I were its victims.

After dealing with real-life bullshit all morning, we gathered at my house midday and drove east into the Columbia Gorge—for that is the province of waterfall hikes. On this day, we chose Eagle Creek Trail, a pretty famous Oregon hike that leads you ramblingly into the wilds by following the Eagle Creek itself.

Now, this trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, and as such, we passed tons of “PCTers” on it; all of them friendly, all of them covered in dirt—reeking of moss, earth, and abiding body odor, all of them heading north to Canada as we forged south toward Punchbowl Falls. In comparison, we were just lowly day hikers, carrying—all carefree-like—nothing but water bottles in our hands.

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Seattle Trip Top 6

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Pit-stopping in the indie-rock capitol of Olympia, Washington for the very first time (!!!!) and meeting one Mike Cummins (older brother to Temple and Matt!!!!). Also, randomly purchasing an exquisite ceramic bowl hand-made by this Northwest original.

• Coming around that one corner on I-5 where you all-the-sudden see the city of Seattle for the first time—the city and the Sound and the sun gleaming crazily off the windows and the water.

• Skating Marginal Way, just fooling around all by myself while the big men talked and drank beer and the birds flapped their wings.

• Starvingly finding a Greek restaurant and eating incendiary fresh pita bread sprinkled with big chunks of salt.

• Drinking a tall whiskey soda at a yuppy bar with my guy.

• Walking through the rows of vegetables on Beacon Hill, no one in sight, skyscrapers in the distance, a cool breeze whispering of fog and falling leaves.

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Summer Truths

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I made it! By which I mean, I managed to navigate the full mania of summer without injury, insult, or neurotic breakdown. I attended all the skate sessions and barbecues, I swam in all the rivers. In general, I tried to do EVERYTHING, because that’s the spirit of summer.

But! As August softly ends like a feather floating to the ground, a quietness is settling over things around here.

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Don’t hold your hands over your ears and pretend (la, la, la!) that summer’s not over. It is (almost), but that’s okay.

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