Saturday, April 30, 2011

Other peoples windows

I had a really nice time.
Being 'away' in a true sense, not just in Sweden and 'away' from Tasmania, or on the mainland and 'away' from home.
I got to drive wide, long, open stretches of road and know that I could just keep on driving without looping back on myself as one would do on the island.
More importantly I needed to visit with friends and meet the new additions.
I feel a responsibility as the one who moved away.
I also got a better and renewed perspective with regard to being on Zok's side of the situation.
I now feel I once again have a mental picture in my mind of my friends in their day to day lives, thereby giving me a connection so I feel apart not fragmented from their lives.
I can once again send mail and know that I have the correct address and that people are actually reading what I have written.

I am very grateful for Roberto and Monte having me stay for such a long time and to everyone who made the time to see me.

"...california...I'm gonna see the folks I dig...will you take me as I am, strung out on another man..."

Marcia Means with whom I share a birth date, gave me one of the very best presents; her son Monte. But this was not enough, she keeps giving and the best bits of yesterday were due to her.
She gave Monte a book by Charles Fleming. He organized into short easy walks all the remaining, public staircases in and around central L.A., where once upon a time as you may have learned from movies such as Chinatown, or Roger Rabbit that this dense city once had public transportation, and it always had people living up in the canyons and hills.

We chose to walk near High Tower, a working elevator that is prominently featured in 'The Big Sleep'. (There was a for lease sign on an amazing looking apartment, that comes with a key to this elevator, when I phoned I learned the 1 bedroom apartment was only $2,725.00 a month, which I person on the message kindly repeated twice as in

We took a short break from walking to go to the new wing of LACMA, which also had an amazing elevator designed by or decorated by Barbara Kruger.
There were some Koons pieces I had not seen, and some interesting pieces by younger artists, as well as maze, well, two mazes in rooms of their own.
They both had an interesting affect on the senses of perception when I ran through them.

Our second walk took us by one of Raymond Carver's homes in Silverlake.
That was really the best thing I could say about the second walk, although I do love to have an excuse to look at neighborhoods and the homes that comprise them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Aunt Cookie

I don't have many clear memories from childhood.
I have moved from place to place. A lot.
I have had many people pass through my life.

Most of my memories are random and abstract. I do truly remember more on those rare occasions I am with someone and we start to discuss some event, both adding in parts to make a whole story.

Even more slight are my memories of 'family'.
This is not a 'bad' thing, or really even a 'thing' as far as 'things' go.
I am just illustrating how the few who I think of as 'family' are very important to me.
One of these people is my Aunt Cookie, she isn't actually an Aunt and her name isn't actually Cookie, but this is an apt example of my history.

I remember Cookie coming to visit, now and then, from far away places.
(England! Where could that be?)
She has an infectious laugh and high spirits. She taught me how to make a proper cup(pa) tea.
She had the first tattoo I ever saw on a someone I knew personally.
I wrote her letters and she wrote me back.

In recent years, I have been able to visit her and she I.
I have gotten to know the family she created and the home she inhabits.
Now, I have a whole set of clear memories, with photos as well. For many this is common place for me this is irreplaceable and amazing.
So, with all my heart I thank you, Cookie.

"Books alone are libral and free, they give to all who ask, they emanicate all who serve them faithfully."

My long drives have ended.
I am turning my rental car back into the agency today.
I managed a bit over 7,000 miles.
I have learned that ten hours is pretty easy, and that thirteen hours is a bit too much. I realized that constant motion has the same appeal as touring with a band, everything is intensified by its short length of time, and everything gets left behind so that any emotional upheaval gets dulled to a smooth, manageable state.

I stopped back in Sacramento to see friends and catch a quick lunch with my Mom, who by happenstance was on her way to Seattle.
I got back to L.A. in time to catch Jared Diamond speaking with Francis Fukuyama, in an 'Aloud' series put on by the L.A. Library foundation.

I met Monte at his work, and we ambled over to a bar near the library. I get a thrill from going to places that are so far from my own life, a downtown bar during happy hour full of people in suits having an after work drink qualifies.
I have this moment of 'What would this life be like?', and then of course get to walk away without actually having to put in the work.

The next day I attended a small wedding ceremony.
I saw yet another area of L.A. unknown to me, Laguna Beach and Laguna Canyon. I don't think L.A. can be beat in the category of singular neighborhoods, each so different, and full.
I have about a week to make my farewells, and figure out how to fit everything into my suitcases.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"...did you call the distant cry? calling me back to myself..."

Seattle has changed so much that my mind feels addled.
Whole blocks are gone, many blocks have changed...
I think the city has changed as much as I have.
I would have to start my love affair all over because I no longer know this city that I once wrote poetry in its honor.
In many ways these changes are freeing, like memories of a person you only missed because you remembered them not as they are...but as you perceived them to be.

My trip out to Camano Island to see my friend Vanessa made my long journey here completely worth the miles, and any strain.
She lives out on a island about an hour north of Seattle, and out there I could feel, and see a landscape that felt like I remember Seattle to be.
More than landscape, there was the drive through espresso on a small country road, the friendly people, the gas station that also sold bait and tackle. These are the type of things that make up my memories of Seattle, misty mornings hanging around the pine trees. Being able to pay your bar tab with a personal check. Small businesses and interesting fashion, now I see chain stores and people that could be in anywhere USA.
Four of us went up to Bellingham where I attended University and lived for two years. I had a day that was entirely filled with laughter.
Plus I finally got to experience Record Store day which I have only heard of via podcasts because as far as I know Australia doesn't have this cool event happening.
I also found my old favorite used bookstores in their new location, and got ten great books (oh dear the weight!) for under $70.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"...I rode my bicycle past your window last night..."

An aspect of road tripping is that all the miles in between one's days, makes events that were recent seem much further back.

After Texas and before N.California, and before, before, Washington State, I had an extra-awesome rad day with friends at Ciclavia.
Here is the wordpress site that explains this event fully.

The idea, the possibilities, the execution were all perfect.
I was so happy to be in downtown L.A., in daylight, moving at my own pace, with no traffic, exhaust or fear of being smooshed, and able to gaze at buildings, stop on bridges, chat with my friends, and share an experience with what must have been thousands of people yet there were no creepy crowd aspects.

A lot of people had interesting vehicles, music, pets in baskets. There were places to stop for food, coffee shops, and even a beer garden (this was even better because it was two blocks off the main route so there wasn't random drunkenness, more that people met at the end of their day).

Exercise, architecture, catching up with friends, is really a combination for a great day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"...from the Kentucky coal mine to the California sun..."

The Veloway is a 3 mile loop through a sort of reserve, with roadrunners, snakes, and red cardinals all around. Only bikes or skates are allowed on the track and there is both a slow lane and a fast going one direction.

I saw more than a few Roadrunners up close, a red cardinal, a pair of mourning doves, and a western scrub wren which was large and blue and very impressive.

Nearby is the First Lady Johnson's wild flower reserve.
Which has a trails a mile or so through recovery areas with information explaining how the Texas landscape evolves.
There are also formal gardens, a small gallery, and an open air butterfly garden. There were some great garden ideas but I have to say the wild area made me feel impressed by my own home- Tasmania definitely has the better looking landscape.

I had a lovely morning.
I am waiting for the sun to rise to hit the road. Getting out of this area is tricky-and better done by light even if I have to wait through some traffic.
Thankfully the call of the road is always strong because leaving the ease of my friends very comfortable mini-mansion is challenging.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

" you remember the good ol'days before the ghost town..."

I am sure people with a better grasp of syntax and a more organized mind have written much about places like Bisbee, AZ.
This site has easy to digest information if you want to take a look.

I have a (add in all and any superlative adjective here as they will all fit) friend in Bisbee, which luckily for me is geographically between other friends.

I arrived later than I meant (don't I always?), and stayed an extra day.
I met a lot of nice people, seemingly people who end up in Bisbee love to chat with anyone who happens to be coming through.

I also have two tiny people from my life that live in Bisbee but they are no longer tiny, and the larger is just a downright, forthright and interesting human. They are both great and they add many an extra superlative complimentary word to the list I would use to describe my friend Moriah.

What I learned:
Buzzards really do group together and circle ominously in the sky.
All the deep concrete trenches that make for cute, high walkways to the then steep stairs to access Bisbee housing, has nothing to do with the mining, and all to do with the 'monsoons'.
The monsoon rains are frequently commented on and referred too.
Viewing the huge open (no longer working) lavender pit mine made me think 'men' are crazy with their aspirations.
When the mine shut in 1975- the hippies moved in.
Bisbee residents have a good sense of humor and laugh a lot.
I miss my friends.
Sometimes children grow into good humans.
I should have bought those cowboy boots in that second hand shop on Main St.

"...farther up on the road, you'll find out I wasn't lying...

When I studied Psychology- I had a Professor I admired, and she was very into 'self-actualization'. Being "present" in ones own life. Trying to achieve a state of mind where one pays attention to the details, of not just their environment but their own emotional state, wants, needs and then trying to act honestly upon these desires-to have a level of authenticity to how one acts.

When I am driving out on an open road- knowing there are more people than I can truthfully conceive of-yet I am able to pull over and stand in a wide open space and feel a sense of who I am in the world-all seems right somehow.
This is strange because mostly my road trips have been when I have been between some decision, some action, some emotional state.

I do feel a certain sense of 'right' when I come across a pretty spot, whether in a large city or out in the bush. But there is an added dimension in a vehicle, a means to flee or move on that for me is safety, security, hope and opportunity.