Archive for the ‘the future’ Category

slow growing

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

On Monday my parents were in town and I met them for breakfast. This meeting had two purposes: one, coincidentally, for each of the main themes or what-have-you of this blog. They brought me my bike (which was temporarily lost by the airline that flew me and it home from France a few weeks ago), and they agreed to get me (using their frequent flyer miles) plane tickets to India in the fall. I’ve got some stuff to say about both these things (mostly the second), and in the course of that will probably get to some of the less easily articulated themes of this blog (blah blah blah odyssey blah blah growing up blah choices priorities youth blah).

Part One:

I biked all over Provence for a week with my dad and my brother and some other people. It had its ups and downs (quite literally of course). I’m sure I will post some pictures eventually, including a great one of me and my bike completely surrounded by red poppies. I came away from the trip much less afraid of Portland’s hills (hey I was like climbin’ freakin’ Alps, man) and in pretty good shape, all enthusiastic about biking to Multnomah Falls and biking to the top of Mount Tabor every week or every day or something… so of course the airline lost my luggage.

So I rode a lot of buses and walked a whole lot too. Once I tried to borrow my boyfriend Andrew’s bike, but the 2 or 3 miles ride from his house to mine was enough to demonstrate very convincingly that bike fit actually matters a helluva lot and there is a lot more to it than standover height.

So after breakfast on Monday my parents drove me and my still-boxed bike to my former place of work, that is, the bike e-commerce business that my dad co-owns and runs, and there I put my bike back together, all by my happy self, and then I got on and rode it home in my boots and a sundress and oh the bliss of that first pedal stroke. The joy and efficiency. It was beautiful.

I should say “once and future place of work,” which leads me to…

Part Two:

I am going to India in the fall! With my boyfriend, whose praises I will resist singing except to say that he’s awesome and I am really excited that we’ll be traveling together!

…My parents are a little less thrilled. They’re worried about my safety, about money, about my joblessness and laziness and lack of ambition and other things. At breakfast we talked about a lot. I was pretty sure I had the money thing under control, and my slow but steady theatre work is beginning (very very slowly, but it’s happening) to generate some actual income. I felt okay with my figurative wandering. Remember those posts about that happy center I’ve found this spring? That stuff justified, for me, the fact that I kinda look like a slacker right now.

For awhile I was going to look for a job after I got back from Europe. Then I was busy with the play I was stage managing through March. Then I was going to France and figured finding a job that would give me that time off would be impossible or nearly so, so I thought I’d look after I got back from France. Then the kind folks at a certain large regional theatre in Portland offered to pay me some money for the same stuff I’ve gladly done for them twice before at their yearly summer playwrights’ festival, and I certainly couldn’t say no. And besides I was beginning to make tentative, hopeful, lovely plans with Andrew while we read through guidebooks to India together. Who would hire me when I already knew I’d need two weeks off in July and I might skip out entirely come autumn?

My dad. At the job I happily quit last fall before I left for Europe, swearing I wouldn’t work there again. The job I happily quit the summer before that… and the summer before that.

There are some compromises I am not willing to make (giving up travel, giving up theatre) and so I’ll make some other compromises instead (working at V__).

But I wanted to bike to Ashland with Andrew and we had vague plans to go backpacking and he was out of a job until July anyway, so when I broached the subject with Dad I asked him if I could wait to start until July, but oh by the way I need two weeks off in mid-July… he said, “start when that’s over.”

And for a couple weeks Andrew and I slept late and made food and wandered the city a bit and watched movies and hung out and cuddled my cat and didn’t plan our trip to Ashland or go backpacking, and on Monday when I asked my parents for tickets to India, they said, “why aren’t you working? What are you accomplishing now? How will you afford it? Shouldn’t you be writing plays or devoting yourself totally to theatre if that’s what you want to do, instead of taking off for months at a time? How come you don’t write in your blog anymore?” and, because sometimes they are right about things, when we got to V__ I asked my old boss, “can I work here again?” and he said “when can you start?” (I start tomorrow, 8AM.)

And now I am writing this blog entry.

Because I have failed to be productive for myself–because I have failed to establish my own productive routine–so I must submit to a routine made for me, at least in part. Next time, maybe, I will get it right. My parents aren’t right about everything and I know that some of the things I value aren’t what they value, and vice versa. But until I can tell them exactly what it is that I value, and until they’re not paying my health insurance and my cell phone bill, I gotta respect what they have to say (and I do).

It’s a tricky thing to wrap my head about–because of my lingering dependence on them, I don’t have the freedom to bum around Portland all summer… instead, I get to go to India. You know? I must be kind of an adult or something, at least a little bit, because despite their vague disapproval, they got me tickets anyway.

what’s goin’ on

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008


(photo above taken by Kati)

  • I’m stage managing (at least) two shows this coming year and assistant directing one of them as well. I’m excited to be building my life here in Portland. However, November and December are once again free for possible adventures…
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  • I’m also set to help out with JAW/West for the third summer in a row–only this time they’re paying me! (A little.)
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  • I had a great time at Reed’s big end-of-the-year party, Renn Fayre, two weekends ago. It was great to hang out with my Reedie friends, especially alumni I hadn’t seen or spent much time with since last year’s Renn Fayre. A lot of other recent alumni have, I think, had similarly weird / difficult / awesome / indescribable years, and it was reassuring to feel that together and talk about it a little.
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  • I’ve been in a fantastic relationship for about a month and a half with Andrew, who is pictured above. He’s awesome. 
  • happiness

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

    Actually, I have never been so happy.

    march 23:

    this morning in church i kind of zoned out during the sermon (which was a little about jesus, yes, but mostly about darkness and light and acceptance and how waiting can be a heavy, full time*) and i thought about how, yes, it’s totally possible to think oneself into irrelevance and even nonexistence… into tinyness and impotence. there’s this strange balance you have to find between that and solipsism. i dunno. the thing that just keeps coming back to me is: life is about balance!! balancing our recognition of the injustices in the world and our search for contentment in our own small lives. i dunno. i’m klutzy as hell. you know what i mean?

    *we say that the world isn’t dying
    and we pray that the world isn’t dying
    just maybe the world isn’t dying
    maybe she’s heavy with child
    –jason webley

    march 24:

    it’s always clear and beautiful and calm at night and rain rain rain all day. walking home from the pub tonight, singing aloud and smiling to myself, pondering this unquenchable whatever lately… i feel this self-presence that i have never had before. i can’t describe it as balance or an even keel, but those are getting at what i mean. i have been trying for however many sentences now to explain that walking home tonight, i realized that all i feel is… sane. that is what has changed since i graduated. i can still feel sad and lonely and alone, but i know that in my belly somewhere there is me and there is joy in that, real joy. am i making any sense? doesn’t matter. i’m so okay i can’t even tell you. my goodness.

    march 27:

    …he asked me at one point how i spend my days, being unemployed and all, and i had to kind of feel sheepish about that, because some days, yeah, i look back on them and i have no idea what i spent the day doing. but the thing is,

    i have never been so happy. i’m not talking about the insecure “omg i love you so much i can’t even begin to explain” huge overwhelming miserable ecstasy which i have had a time or two. i mean really. it’s funny ’cause if you saw me sometimes i probably look like i’m cracking up. i smile to myself in public about i don’t even know what, HUGE absurd smiles. i sing all the time, i dance and love myself for it. i still feel stupid anxiety about social situations sometimes, but it doesn’t matter. truly–because of this happiness in me. so forgive me if i’m not really missing structured days and all that. what is there to miss? i don’t know what i mean. i have been trying to write about this year and what it’s done to me but i don’t know what did what. being unemployed? breaking up with my depressive ex-boyfriend (both of them)? selling my car? exercising and eating well? learning on my own terms? maybe even, in some way, the outpouring of grief i felt after kari’s death?

    so yeah on the surface i am doing a lot of the same stuff i would be doing if i were depressed: sleeping late, cuddling with my cat, walking around the neighborhood in the middle of the night and listening to music, baking cookies, losing myself in reading. i’m not really sure what to make of that. the fact remains that my hours are totally my own right now and i LOVE that knowledge. i am reluctant to give that up. i know i will have to eventually. i am INCREDIBLY lucky and privileged to have been able to do this so far. i am pretty much infinitely grateful to my parents for gifting me my car for graduation, and accepting my decision to turn around and sell it, because without that i would be up a financial creek right now, and instead i am contemplating a bike tour!! this period i have had for all kinds of self-discovery i haven’t even begun to parse has been… some kind of blessing if you’ll let me use that word. that all the events in my life came together to allow it. i know it will end, but i can’t imagine yet how it will. i hope it’s gentle and good and i can maintain this happiness. i hope i won’t have to feel like i am giving something up, but instead like i am bringing something else into my life.

    we’ll see.

    march 31:

    …it was the first time i realized that my four or so years of terribly off-and-on yoga practice are present in me in EVERY MOMENT… in my deep, even breaths.

    yoga classes (well, yoga classes and megan evans’ theatre warm-ups) were actually the first time it ever really occurred to me that my belly should expand when i breathe in. i spent so long as an incredibly self-conscious late-blooming adolescent, sucking in my gut ALL THE TIME, that breathing all the way down to my belly was a kind of revelation. i still take a lot of pleasure in that really simple thing. my happiness lives there, now, and with every breath i feed it.

    spring is sprung

    Friday, March 21st, 2008

    Well, I think I hoped that by the time I wrote here again I’d be able to say something along the lines of, “life rocks. I have a job I love, my relationships are stable and supportive, and my life is full of love and art.” Life is far from bad, but I’m still figuring stuff out. I stage managed a show that went up at the end of February and ran through last weekend. It was a good experience and I made some new contacts in the Portland theatre community. I still miss Kari every single day, but my brother’s cat Kepler came to live with me awhile ago, and he’s a sweetie, I admit. My friends are still great and I’m even making some new ones. And it is–slowly, slowly–spring. I am pretty excited by the future and trying to be excited about the present. I’m applying for internships in Seattle and Berkeley that would start in the fall, so my future is, once again, kinda up in the air.

    Here’s some pictures from my life the past few months:


    I dyed my hair pink again. It feels better this way, job opportunities be damned.


    Yeah, and then we broke up. Oh well. (That’s Kepler curled up with him.)

    it’s sunny here, though

    Sunday, January 20th, 2008

    Well, I am traveling again (sort of), and it seems appropriate to write. I’m in San Francisco right now–I came down to see a dance performance choreographed and directed by my aunt Theresa, and while here I’ve also gotten to reconcile with my first love, wander Chinatown with one of my best high school friends, talk for hours with my very close friend Elana, and see an awesome (really, really awesome) Olafur Eliasson exhibition at SF MOMA. I’m here for another two days. My aunt invited me last week and I decided to come the same day. My parents were kind enough to give me some frequent flyer miles and Elana was kind enough to let me stay in her apartment in Berkeley.

    I was surprised by how eager I was to get back on a plane with such a small push. When I was in Europe and close to coming home, I thought Portland would open its arms to receive me and pretty much never let me go again–at least not for a long while. Truth is, “home” is hard. My boyfriend and I have been quarreling a lot, I’ve been struggling a bit with money and how/why/whether to get a new job, the same small social anxieties I thought I would magically learn to ignore upon returning to my much-missed friends continue to pop up, and I’m in way worse physical shape than I was when I left for Europe. And my mom met me at the airport in Seattle with the news that my beloved cat Kari, who had been sick on and off since the summer, wasn’t doing well and had a vet appointment that very evening. Despite my best efforts, she continued to decline and died in my arms on January 10th. She was with me for over fifteen years, and even though I know that she lived a full, happy life, it’s been very hard for me.

    So that’s life. I admit: epiphanies evade me. Things are not coming together. I haven’t figured out yet how to make it work. Or what “it” is. Or what kind of artist to be. Or how to live without Kari, the heart of my heart.

    paths

    Thursday, October 18th, 2007

    This afternoon I passed a cyclist who was not only singing, he was singing while climbing a hill. I’ve been bested. I didn’t even beat him all the way up the hill, though I don’t think that’s really the point. I didn’t make eye contact with him because I was embarrassed to admit that I was breathing hard. I mean, that I was trying to beat him up the hill. I passed him again at the top of the hill and kept him behind me until maybe a mile later when I guess he turned off. What–can’t I be easygoing about anything? Would’ve liked to be moseying along, singing my own song, sharing a grin.

    On my way into work it was Really Raining for the first time (during my commute) this year–and, surprise surprise, my jacket ain’t waterproof. It wasn’t too bad, though, and it wasn’t too cold out today so I dried off without too much shivering. And anyway I’m fleeing Portland’s winter in two weeks. To go to… London’s winter. And, hey, the French Riviera’s winter! I bought my Eurail pass the other day! I got a postcard from my friend Devin (in Ireland this semester) that my mom read to me over the phone ’cause he sent it to my parents’ house for some reason! We might be going to Amsterdam together! Thinking about my Europe trip makes me imagine big exclamation marks hovering over my head!

    But the real reason I wanted to write tonight (quickly, before much-needed sleep) is another one of those things-I’m-going-to-do-when-I-get-back-(I-swear), which is: do Portland bike-culture-y things and maybe get involved in bike/carfree advocacy. Okay, mostly I just want to ride in some parties-on-pedals. Anyway I joined the shift email list, and the other day someone posted a link to this 2006 essay by Rebecca Solnit: View From the Future. The premise is she’s looking back on the first quarter of the 21st century from 2026. It’s brilliant and is one of a couple things (see also this article on expansion of the I-5 bridge by BikePortland.org’s Jonathan Maus, for example) that have me thinking about… stuff. Here:

    The resulting food crisis of the early years of the second decade of the century, which laid big-petroleum-style farming low, suddenly elevated the status of peasant immigrants from what was then called “the undeveloped world,” particularly Mexico and Southeast Asia. They taught the less agriculturally skilled, in suddenly greening North American cities, to cultivate the victory gardens that mitigated the widespread famines then beginning to sweep the planet. (It also turned out that the unwieldy and decadent SUVs of the millennium made great ecological sense, but only if you parked them facing south, put in sunroofs and used the high-windowed structures as seed-starter greenhouses.) The crisis spelled an end to the epidemic of American obesity, both by cutting calories and obliging so many Americans to actually move around on foot and bike and work with their hands.

    Or:

    Every schoolchild now knows the Old Map/New Map system and can recite the lands that vanished: half the Netherlands, much of Bangladesh, the Amazon Delta, the New Orleans and Shanghai lowlands. And who today can’t still sing the popular ditties about those famed “fundamentalists without their fundamentals”–the senators who lost the state of Florida as it rapidly became a swampy archipelago. Most schoolchildren can also cite the World Court decision of 2016 that gave all shares in the major oil companies to Pacific Islanders, mainly resettled in New Zealand and Australia, whose homes had been lost to rising oceans (a short-lived triumph as the fossil-fuel economy ebbed away).

    Or, perhaps most pertinently for this blog:

    The future, of course, is not something you predict and wait for. It is something you invent daily through your actions. As Mas Kodani, a Buddhist in Los Angeles, said in the early twenty-first century: “One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being.”

    Today I spent awhile looking through old letters and journals from the past few years. I have done so much looking. It is hard to start walking.

    Solnit draws an analogy between this new future and natural history museum dioramas’ illustrations of the Age of Reptiles giving way to the Age of Mammals. Tom Robbins, in one of my favorite books, Jitterbug Perfume, also imagines contemporary society as an age of dinosaurs and reptilian reactionism… but for him, the next age is one of flora. Loaned my copy to a friend recently, so no quotations to draw from.

    P.S. I am thinking about changing the title of this blog to “slow going”… hm?

    gumption

    Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

    On Sunday I went for a desperate endorphin-seeking ride down (or up?–east) the Springwater–despite the fabulous weather (I wore just a t-shirt!) it didn’t really work, and so I called my friend Judith and we agreed to meet at the Pied Cow on Belmont. I biked down there and waited in Sunnyside Park until she showed up (by bus). We ate some bagels and talked–and that did work. We ended up walking back to her house off of Holgate, exploring residential side streets on the way. A few hours later I biked home and hit the sack.

    Yesterday morning I drove my car for the first time in probably long enough to be not very good for its engine–eight blocks round trip to take my cat to the vet (here’s where I’d parenthetically add “she’s okay” if I knew that she was, but I don’t, and so). Then I walked the same eight blocks again ’cause I’d forgotten my credit card at home. Then I biked to work, and home again. On the way home I let myself get a little competitive with another commuter, whom I caught and eventually dropped, much to my delight. (When I caught her and we pulled up to an intersection together, she looked over and asked, “is that a singlespeed?” I said no and she said, “oh good.”) In the evening I walked to my friend Sarah’s apartment, and we walked together to a coffeeshop on Powell at Milwaukie (or thereabouts) and back.

    This morning my wrist hurts. I’m a little baffled.

    When I was in college and stressed and sleep-deprived all the time, and partying when I wasn’t (and when I was), I thought my life would even out and my moods would steady themselves as soon as I’d graduated and started getting exercise on a regular basis and eating well and all that. And okay, I’m still working on the eating well part of that particular equation (though I could be doing much worse), but I keep wondering when everything is going to get easier. Or steadier, or just… better. Less confusing, at least, maybe.

    I am leaving for Europe two weeks from tomorrow. I have, consciously and subconsciously, made Europe into a kind of deadline. My trip will be some kind of last hurrah, or a voyage of discovery and adventure, or whatever, and when I get back (conveniently, for symbolic purposes, around the New Year), I will find a job I like, I will throw myself headfirst into the Portland theatre scene, I will cook a real dinner every evening, and I will successfully pursue my various hobbies: knitting, painting, dancing… I will not be broke; my car will be sold. I will learn to maintain and repair my bicycle. I will go for long, long rides. I will never ever flake out on my friends. I will keep in touch with all of them, near and far, and I will even make new ones. I will go on spontaneous adventures with my boyfriend. I will make up with my ex-boyfriend. Et cetera, etc., &c.

    Hahahahaha.

    Patience and acceptance.

    I wonder at what point patience and acceptance ceases to be an adequate substitute for (to borrow a page from the show I just finished working on) …gumption?

    Just some things to think about, I guess.

    I sometimes make ridiculous facial expressions when I’m concentrating on something, or thinking about something, or biking up a hill or whatever. Every once in awhile I catch someone looking at me and then I feel very silly. I was thinking about how visible I am on a bike (when you see a car, you see the car; when you see a bike, you see the biker) and how I miss listening to music during my commute (I don’t feel safe with earbuds in while biking)–not necessarily related thoughts, but still. I used to sing along to the radio all the time. So I decided to start singing while biking. Feels GREAT on downhills; not so practical uphill. And while I love riding alongside cars belting something off key, I get self-conscious every time I pass pedestrians or other cyclists, and I shut up or else whistle or whisper instead. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Something else to think about. Gumption indeed.

    “the odyssey years”

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

    I took a new route to work this morning, one recommended by a coworker as a way of avoiding Killingsworth (though not its intersection with Columbia–that’s unfortunately unavoidable). I had to get up my steepest hill yet–but hey, I did it! And I was rewarded with a quiet ride through a residential neighborhood, a golf course down a hill to my right. The houses were big, the lawns were green… it looked a lot like suburbia. Very nice and all, but I thought about the things within walking distance–a school, a convenience store, a gas station. That’s about it. Made me remember to count my neighborhood in the things I’m thankful for. I can walk to a grocery store, a video store, a couple coffeeshops, a pet store, my cat’s vet, a public library, Reed’s campus, a hardware store, a great Thai restaurant, a yoga place that I keep meaning to check out…

    Awhile ago I found this website: Walk Score. You put in your address and it tells you how walkable your neighborhood is. Mine (the Woodstock area, in the 40’s) scores 89 out of 100. My work’s address (out in NE near the airport) gets 29. Ouch.

    Mostly it kinda drives home to me that living close-in in this amazing city is pretty much where it’s at. I am pretty blessed to have ended up exactly where I want to be–and where it is oh-so-easy for me to use my car as nothing more than a landmark to help people find my house, these days. (For the record, I’ll be driving it to my parents’ house in a few weeks and they’ll sell it while I’m in Europe. Their idea and probably for the best.)

    I probably should hesitate to say things like “exactly where I want to be.” What do I know? There are many, many reasons to love Portland. Sometimes I’m not sure if the reasons I have found to not like Portland aren’t actually reasons to love Portland after all–if you follow me. The theatre gigs I’ve gotten since graduation have ocassionally been frustrating in their, you know, utter lack of real pay and such. But I was talking to a friend and found myself saying something along the lines of “but, I don’t know, I kind of like tiny incestuous communities where everyone knows each other…” Theatre people in Portland all have day jobs, but they also have enthusiasm and generosity that remind me of the theatre community at Reed (my alma mater, where I majored in theatre and literature, for the record). And maybe they don’t have that hint of bitterness that comes from relying on your passion for your income…? Or maybe I’m reading too much into my comfort zone. My beautiful, rainy, mountainous, bikey, friendly comfort zone.

    Anyway I’m leaving for two months to wander homeless through foreign countries. I am terribly excited! Anyway I have a paying theatre gig when I get back. If somewhere between one and two bucks an hour counts as “paying.”

    My mom sent me an op-ed piece from the New York Times a few days ago: “The Odyssey Years.” It suggests the existence of a new life phase, odyssey–”the decade of wandering that frequently occurs between adolescence and adulthood.” That’s us, right now, blah blah blah, according to this salt-and-pepper, receeding-hairline, spectacled guy anyway. Admission: I have never read Homer’s Odyssey all the way through. But Odysseus knew what he was heading towards, didn’t he? His wife and kid, his home island or whatever it was. The author of the New York Times piece claims we know where we’re going, too–we “have highly traditional aspirations ([we] rate parenthood more highly than [our] own parents did) even as [we] lead improvising lives.” I don’t know–every time I think I have something figured out, I learn something about myself or my environment or the world or whatever and I doubt everything again. So mostly I just work on not being bothered by the doubt.

    But hey, somewhere my instincts lined up with this NYTimes guy in calling this blog, in which I’m mostly writing about my routines and lifestyle(s) and choices and futures, a travel blog. Right? I’m not a confused 20-something–well, maybe I am. But I’m also hella journeying or whatever. Got my oceans to cross, my cyclops(es?) to battle.

    catch up

    Sunday, September 30th, 2007

    I’ve been having trouble writing here because I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with this blog. I thought it might be a “travel blog” in the broadest possible sense–in the same sense that I take the ring I wear on my necklace etched with the words “it’s not the destination it’s the journey.” But mostly I’ve just written about bikes, and in a kind of stilted, uncomfortable tone. I guess I’m cool with writing about bikes for now. In an effort to feel more comfortable with this space and feel more like I’m using my own voice, I thought I’d share some of my bike-related thoughts from my un-capitalised, mostly unedited, semi-private LiveJournal…

    aug 7

    i biked to work and back today. (ten miles each way, by the way. not much in the scheme of things, but ten miles used to be a big deal for me.) i am, like, a superhero. also, since i did it in the rain, without fenders, wearing cotton sweats, with an uncomfortable saddle–and since today i got fenders, a rack, and an ultra-cushy saddle–i have no excuse to not do it forever after. plus i spent most of the day thinking about how much i wanted to ride home, and not just ’cause it’d mean being done with work.

    i found a pretty nice route that’s all bike lanes and low-traffic streets, and the people-watching on the way home this afternoon was pretty awesome. waaaay more interesting than the highway. and yeah maybe my knees were hurting a bit when i got home (i’ll ask my boss tomorrow what i need to adjust) but hey good things, awesome things, etc etc etc.

    [...] anyway i also found this, which has inspired me to hereby (semi-)publicly declare my intention to sell my car by next august. yeah. i’ve told a couple people i want to do that, but a more general announcement is likely to make me feel guilty if i don’t manage it. i know thousands of people get by in portland without a car at all, and it’s not the city stuff that worries me–portland is easy. my car has mostly meant, for me, running away to the ocean or to the gorge, to see waterfalls, stuff like that. so i guess i’ll just have to get to the point where i can do those things under my own power. i mean, the not being able to bring other people thing will be too bad, but… there’s always other people’s cars? honestly the only thing i haven’t figured out yet is how to go skiing. maybe skiing’s just not the world’s most environmentally-friendly sport (lifts and all) but man is it fun. so anyway. i love my car. shit. we’ve been through a lot, me and my car. 40,000 miles o’ life. but kids give up their security blankets…

    so yeah, my bike is like batman’s batmobile, or superman’s cape. okay, hyperbole. i love it though.

    aug 8

    last night i didn’t sleep well, or didn’t sleep early, or whatever, because of being worried about kari [my cat], mostly. so this morning when my alarm went off at 6 (when i need to get up to bike) i grumbled and reset it to 6:30 (when i need to get up to drive). then i spent my shower and such feeling guilty and rushed, but i still ended up driving.

    kari has a scratch on her neck from whatever she got in a fight with when she got outside a couple days ago, and she’s been licking at it and it keeps getting bigger. it doesn’t seem to be infected or anything, but it’s definitely a problem. i talked to mom about it and she suggested this inflatable collar petco carries that’s supposed to work better and be nicer than those terrible elizabethan collars (the plastic cones). so at work i looked up the two petcos nearest to my house, and since it was such a nice day, i figured i’d drive home and then bike to one of the petcos, the one up on 82nd a little south of the springwater trail.

    so off i went. the last bit of the ride was pretty rough, lots of wind and traffic, and i biked past where the petco theoretically was (and i know i’ve been to that petco before. i bought a hampster there sophomore year!) TWICE, then once more much more carefully, only to discover at that address a “coming soon: dollar tree.” woo…!!

    so i biked all the way across town to the other petco at ne 66th and glisan, with lots of zigzagging on the way to avoid dead ends and heavy traffic. and the woman who greeted me when i walked in said “oh… hmm… well, if we have those, they’d be down that aisle [pointing] but i don’t know if we carry them in this store.” nope, of course they didn’t have them. at this point i was more amused than anything else, though. endorphins are pretty wonderful things. so anyway, mom called about then and we decided we should buy kari a doggy t-shirt, ’cause that might keep her from licking her wound.

    so yeah. then i biked 20 blocks to a starbucks i’d passed on the way, consumed some wonderful, glorious sugary fabulousness (chai and a cinnamon scone), and biked home.

    aug 31

    the moon was still up this morning when i biked into work. yesterday too. i’ve been doing okay with the biking thing; more on that eventually on my Real Blog. september is the bta’s bike commute challenge, plus i was kinda planning on challenging myself not to use my car for the month of september. i did that last year, but last year i lived a 15 minute (max) walk from my classes, and now i live 9 miles from my job. and i’m running sound in the evenings for a show way across town at the coho starting on the 23rd. for free… all the more reason to save money on gas!

    anyway i might have to make an exception for exciting adventures in the woods and that kind of thing. my life has included lots of that sort of thing in the last month or two, which is beautiful and amazing. the stronger i get and the more biking i do, the less i will assume that such things need include cars though… when i suck it up and buy some panniers, i think it might be nice to do a solo mini-bike-tour to some campsite somewhere some weekend, if i can borrow landon’s tent or something and if i can find a route/campsite that my skinny road tires can handle… i mean, just to see if i can do it. and to see if i can feel safe in the woods alone without a big metal box to lock myself into if need be.

    anyway i have changed tires or tubes etc four times in the past two days. hah! kind of a medium-long story involving ill-fitting fenders and… mostly just ill-fitting fenders. and my dad having a different approach to bicycling than me. anyway, good practice; better now than when i get a flat in the rain this winter. now i have an awesome pink-striped tire on my front wheel. it matches my pink cable housing. yum.

    when i got home i volunteered to change my housemate greg’s tires for him. i think i’m becoming a bike geek. it’s really satisfying somehow to take bikes apart (kinda) and get my hands dirty. i have hella grease stains on my legs, too. i want to learn more!

    sept 5

    things seen on my commute lately
    (or, why i like going slow)

  • a shar pei puppy playing with kids in a park
  • a hearse
  • a tortoiseshell kitten lying on the sidewalk; as i biked past, it looked up at me and rolled over onto its back
  • trees braided years ago around the posts on either side of someone’s front step
  • lots of astonishingly beautiful lush gardens
  • sept 10

    bicycling is teaching me a lot about patience, but i am still so impatient sometimes. i know life is too short to be impatient–i mean, there is too much i will close my eyes to if im trying to move too fast.

    sept 12

    i’m seven for seven so far in the bike commute challenge. every time i bike to work i draw a little bike symbol in my planner. i like looking at the row of little bikes.

    sept 13 [oh, here's some stuff about other kinds of journeying!]

  • i don’t even consider driving in the mornings anymore, even when i’m running late. it doesn’t register as a possibility all of a sudden. and it was drizzling this morning, so bite me. no, i don’t know. i was kinda bummed that all your responses to me wanting to sell my car were discouraging. if one of you had said “go for it!” it would be gone by now. maybe. i don’t know. jonathan got rid of his car… but i know the winter is going to be hard enough as it is. winter is always hard. winter when you don’t know what the hell to do with your life? guess we’ll see.
  • i don’t know what the hell i want to do with my life, or how to make the things i do know i want happen. i’m not feeling super-angsty about it right now, but that’s in part because i have something big to look forward to soon (europe). after that, i’m gonna have to do some figurin’ out of shit. hoping for some epiphanies. [...]
  • i sent a long email to my high school drama teacher expressing some frustrations i’ve been feeling since graduation and asking her how she made the decisions that got her to where she is (with a phd, teaching at a small girls’ school), and how she feels about all that. she wrote back saying she’d love to talk on the phone or in person if possible, so i’m going up next friday (also to see my parents). yes, i will drive. again, bite me. [...]
  • trying not to hope i find myself in europe. i don’t think i buy that anyway. i mean, i gotta make myself. i’m working on that (always…).

  • sept 19

    monday sucked. i had a podiatrist appointment that i biked to from work. apparently i have to get half of one of my toenails chopped off (probably next week) and, incidentally, i have very flat feet and should be wearing orthotics (which explains the crazy way my shoes wear down). on the way back to work i got hella rained on. i had a spare pair of jeans and a dry sweatshirt at work, and i bought a pair of wool cycling socks, but then i fought with my parents on the phone over dumb shit. okay, getting caught in the rain sucked, but mostly because my jeans were soaked through almost instantly and sticking to my legs. so, i will buy some rain pants. so, i am still selling my goddamn car. for the record. for one, i need to be some kind of student again and if i sell my car i can afford (in time and in money) to take classes at psu or audit them at reed.

    sept 20

    it’s funny to me how many times i have to learn that there are no answers, because every time i learn it, i think that it’s an answer. hah!

    had an up and down kinda day. drove for the first time this month. i’m in sammamish and by the time i’m back in portland i will have in one weekend pretty much used all the fossil fuels i saved by not driving to work for three weeks. [...]

    this afternoon i biked to nw 23rd and back, and got lost twice, once in northwest and once on the way home. getting lost on the way home meant that i ended up pedaling slowly past one of the ladd’s addition rose gardens, though, and oh my god it smelled heavenly.

    sept 24

    i walked to the bus stop and then decided to walk instead. so last night i walked from nw 23rd and raleigh to se 48th and tolman. i will do the math for you (or ask google maps to do it): 7 or 8 miles… it was lovely.

    this city is beautiful.

    sept 27

    i should be falling gratefully into bed right now, or maybe cleaning the bathroom so my housemates-who(m? agh)-i-haven’t-seen-in-days don’t hate me, or possibly taking a shower, but what the hey, tomorrow’s friday. i biked 25+ miles today, just because lately that is how i get around, and i had to get to work (ne 92nd and killingsworth) and then to the theatre (nw 23rd and raleigh) and then back home (se 48th and tolman). i love (love, love) biking. lately i am feeling pretty cocky about it. in this indian summer, riding home hours past dark in only a thin cotton sweatshirt, it’s easy to feel cocky about it. god it’s fantastic right now. (rain, please don’t bring me down just yet!) especially since i got home just now and the house smells like banana bread. whoever made it is my hero.

    i feel a little bit hypocritical though because i have asked for (or at least accepted) rides in gabe’s car lately (not that i have any kind of rule against riding in other people’s cars–but to an extent this is car rides caused by me). [...] see, his car gets hella worse gas mileage than mine. siiigh. i think it’s worth it to me to have broken the driving habit. i am really goddamn proud of myself, actually. [...]

    anyway, some more consequences of biking all the time:

  • thighs of steel
  • great body image (i look pretty much exactly the same, objectively, but being in shape makes a huge difference)
  • i get lost a lot, but i always eventually figure out how to get where i’m going, and i learn something about portland in the process
  • sore back from carrying too much shit in my bag (when you leave home at 7am and don’t get back until 11pm… agh)
  • i am not scared of hills anymore and don’t really even bother trying to avoid them. i can maintain an even, quick cadence even uphill, usually without using my granny gear!

    on the hawthorne bridge:

    later it says “you’re still cool.” even further–”nice bike.” on the ramp down to the steel bridge it says “call your deadbeat dad. he still loves you” in what i think is the same handwriting. i like it.

  • today

    raining now, of course.

    i got a pinch flat on my way from work to the theatre on friday evening. while i was biking, everything was fresh rain smell and rainbows. while i was struggling to reseat my tire on my rim and breaking two tire levers and swearing a lot, it was pouring rain and i hadn’t eaten since lunch and arrrrrgh. when i finally got it on (30 minutes + spit + elbow grease + remaining tire lever), i went to pump it up and must have pinched the new tube at some point in the process, ’cause it wouldn’t hold air. i called the director, told her i would be fifteen minutes late, and got on a bus. i still haven’t gotten around to patching one or the other of the tubes and getting it pumped up again. calling my dad in the rain, my blood sugar crashing, my hands cold and covered in bike grease, and asking him to look up the bus route for me, was one of the low points of my week. or month. i said “if i complain about this people will say this is why i shouldn’t sell my car!!” and he said “well, yes.”

    but if i’m anything i’m stubborn.

    So. Yeah. It’s a process (a journey!?).

    Some going-slow observations:

  • on Thursday I biked past a church with churchbells going at full swing (hah!). Gorgeous.
  • waiting for the bus this afternoon downtown, a saw a man wearing a brown pinstriped zoot suit and an orange fedora, carrying an umbrella and a Holy Bible.

    Also, last weekend I helped my mom set up a blog: Two Poodles! It’s pretty cute if you like curly-furred pups.

    Also, this is what I want to replace my car with. It’s too bad about the unfortunate color… an excuse to paint it, though!

  • slow down

    Friday, September 14th, 2007

    Yesterday I woke up in the morning groggy, still exhausted, running late. Even so I washed my face, put on my clothes, wolfed down some breakfast, got on my bike and rode into work. It wasn’t until later that I realized driving hadn’t even registered as a possibility. I happily drew a little bike symbol next to the day’s date in my planner–a kind of gold star. My planner is full of little bike symbols.

    I haven’t been very good about writing here because my thoughts about biking and traveling and journeys and such are all very tied up in very personal thoughts about growing up and mourning my past and not having a goddamn clue about my future and all the things I’ve been writing about for years on my livejournal. But a couple weeks ago I did start, and leave unfinished, a blog entry that went like this:

    “I can bike up the Woodstock hill.

    “I couldn’t do it last time I tried, when I first got my bike, in July. I certainly couldn’t do it as a student, when I invariably chose to drive rather than walk or bike to Safeway (at the top of the hill; Reed College, my alma mater, is at the bottom, and the apartment in which I lived was on the opposite side of campus) for groceries and sometimes, I admit, even drove to the library. By the end of my senior year I was in terrible shape: snacked more than ate, slept inconsistently and almost certainly not enough… I was, luckily, taking two dance classes, at least one of which was usually somewhat active; that plus daily theatre warm-ups got me at least a little bit of exercise. And I inarguably loved that life–complaints included. In June, and off and on for the rest of the summer, I mourned it extensively. I’m sure I’m not done mourning it.”

    I am proud of myself. I have a lot further to go. More hills to climb. Any time I try to write here I wax metaphorical. In the past month or so I have:

  • loved my job.
  • hated my job.
  • learned to change a flat and loved loved loved getting my hands dirty that way.
  • thought about being a bike mechanic.
  • thought better of it, maybe; maybe not.
  • thought about selling my car.
  • been discouraged.
  • been encouraged.
  • painted mental pictures of the bicycles I would like to own someday. An Xtracycle, a singlespeed cruiser with a stepover frame and a chainguard, a tandem…
  • accepted a job running sound for a show starting next weekend. For free.
  • sent a long email to my high school drama teacher asking about What To Do and How To Figure It Out.
  • envisioned eight bazillion possible futures.
  • not driven (since the beginning of September).
  • ridden in other people’s cars, however.

    A couple weeks ago, after I made a list of some of the interesting and lovely things I’ve seen on my commute, my mom asked me if I might take some pictures of things sometimes. I replied that usually I just want to get home as fast as possible, and taking pictures would require stopping. Usually I spend most of my ride home counting down the hills, counting down the tough intersections, counting blocks, watching house numbers shrink down to zero and then back up once I’m south of Burnside. But one of the lovely, interesting things I see on my commute everyday is this sign:

    Which is, I think, good general advice. So I took it, and I got out my camera a few times on my ride home today.

    Today I didn’t count down streets and was surprised to find myself only a mile or so from home when I got there. I was just riding my bike and seeing what there was to see. Even though it was stuff I’ve seen every weekday for a few weeks now, it was new. And I was having fun on my bike. Which is, you know, awesome. Duh.

    Yup, this is a metaphor. Life’s good when you’re having fun and not worrying about how quickly you’re getting to where you’re going. Lots of stuff to see on the way, and you’ll probably get there soon enough anyway. These are lessons I am learning. They sound like clichés only because everyone has to learn them a million times. Life’s a good teacher, though. Plus, there’s field trips.

    P.S. I’m selling my car.

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