home sweet home

October 24, 2007

tyler.jpg

TYLER (sketched on plane going home)

Tonight we say good-bye to Portland, Oregon, to our friends, Tim and Paul, and to chihuahuas, Tyler and Ethan.

Home. We are safe. Kitties are safe. House still standing. A fine film of ash all over furniture in bedroom, where window was open. May be more ash around; too dark to tell right now. A palm plant knocked over from the wind. Manic wind chimes fill the air with eery tinkling. Air also filled with faint smell of smoke.

All is well. We dodged a bullet.

Our hearts go out to all the folks who suffered loss during this disaster.

silverton, oregon

October 23, 2007

art-is-within.jpg

It seems strange to be looking around Oregon for a new place to live when our current residence in California may be threatened by no less than three different fires, fanned by Santa Ana winds. Information we’ve been getting from friends and family, the media and the internet, seem to indicate the whole Southern California is going up in flames.

Being hundreds of miles from home and feeling completely helpless, we decided to try to make the best of it. So, joined by our friends Tim and Paul, we headed back to Silverton, the quaint little town we visited yesterday.

We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a dream and this idyllic town really did exist. Tim was at the wheel and we directed him to the neighborhood where the house, that Tom insists he will die in, could be found. It was still there in all it’s glory. So Tom got out and took a few photos, doing it quickly, hoping no one would get creeped out.

We drove by another house that caught our fancy, still trying not to be intrusive. The owner saw us and beckoned us in. He, his wife and daughter were so nice and hospitable, it took us cynical Californians a little by surprise.

Afterwards we headed down to the little downtown village area for some espresso. We were accosted by an old-timer, or “moss back” as he described himself, named Ray. He assaulted us with folksiness of the likes I’ve never experienced in California.

After freeing ourselves from Ray’s über-friendly grip, we ordered our espressos and sat out on the deck overlooking the Silver Creek. It was a sunny warm autumn day. The creek shimmered, the leaves on trees glowed orange and red and the coffee was delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this.

We finally tore ourselves away, and decided to head back home. As we walked away, to the smiles and waves of more Silverton residents we passed, we decided that this place was just too good to be true. Surely the entrance of the Black Lodge could be found somewhere in the forest nearby. This kind of serenity and euphoria couldn’t be real. It could only be masking some insidious evil, the stuff of Lynchian nightmares.

How jaded our we Californians anyway, that we can’t take all of this for face value? Maybe it isn’t just a dream, maybe we actually could find nirvana in the tiny bucolic town of Silverton.

But first, let’s hope our home in California survives this latest firestorm.

tom-and-plate.jpgspider.jpgtomcamera.jpg

I wan’t my llama

October 21, 2007

llama2.jpg

Some words I never thought I’d hear: “This is where I purchased my llama. You should call them when you are ready to buy.”

We were in Silverton, Oregon today, at the suggestion of our friends Tim and Paul. They thought we might consider it a possible place to move to when the time is right. When we got there, we found Silverton to be, not only reasonably close to the urban and cool downtown Portland, but also unbelievably quaint, artsy and friendly. The best of both worlds. It is nestled in a fairly rural part of Oregon, and is complete with rolling hills, groves and groves of pine trees, sheep, goats, horses, cows, and llamas. Yes, you heard me, llamas.

Why are llamas part of the Oregon landscape, you ask? Well, the story we heard, from a lovely woman we met in a small art gallery in town, is that llamas are the next best thing to a guard dog for protecting your livestock from coyotes. She told us this story after we half jokingly mentioned it was our dream to move to Oregon and raise llamas.

Apparently one of her and her husband’s goats (goats? who are these people?) one of their goats was attacked by a dog or coyote. (Not to worry, the goat survived and is resting comfortably). They hated the idea of getting a mean old guard dog but figured they had to do something to protect their animals. After some reasearch they found that llamas, although not aggressive animals, are quite intimidating to the likes of coyotes. The llamas become quite attached to their goat friends and if a coyote decides to make trouble, the llamas just run it right off their property, tail between it’s legs.

Hearing about the darker side of the gentle llama left Tom and I fascinated and amused. I might also mention that the woman telling the story was an attractive older woman, somewhere in her late 50’s or early 60’s, yet she had a youthful, almost beatific glow to her. We figured it to be euphoria caused by living in such glorious surroundings, not the least of which being trees, art galleries and llamas.

After our conversation, Tom and I continued browsing around the gallery, taking in some of the local artwork. When we finally got to the counter to purchase some trinkets, the glowy llama owner handed me a piece of paper with the number of her llama dealer.

“When your ready.” She winked at me with knowing look.

weeeeeeeee!

October 20, 2007

plane22.jpg

We just flew into Portland from Burbank, and boy our arms are tired…ba da dum!

But seriously folks…
we got here safely and are enjoying rain, good friends Tim and Paul and chihuahua’s Ethan and Tyler. Did I mention it was raining? Oh dear lord does that feel good. It’s heaven I tell you! While L.A. swelters in the middle of an Indian summer, we here in Portland, were refreshed and rejuvinated by a hydrating rain. We strolled in it, without umbrellas, letting it soak into our skin, stopping at the Central Bakery, to eat soup and drink copious amounts of good strong Pacific Northwest coffee.

So now it’s time to turn in, but I have to first tell you about the Vietnamese dinner we had at Pho… something-or-other, around the corner from Tim and Paul’s house in Clackamas. Not only was the food delicious, but the owner, an adorable woman, not only told us what we would be eating, but how to prepare it and how to eat it. After bringing our food to us, she would then grab the food out of our hands, dress it up with hot chili then hand it back to us. It was hilarious and a tiny bit off putting, but in the end, actually quite wonderful. She did know her stuff, and steered us in the right direction impeccably.

The soup was extremely hot, but the four of us slurped it down like it was our last meal, taking time only to blow our runny noses and wipe our sweaty brows. For a short while, the conversation became stifled, due to the inability to speak from chili induced injury to our larnyxes.

A good time was had by all.

Really, drippy sinuses and injured throats aside, this soup was not only delicious, it just may be a cure for the common cold, maybe even arthritis or male pattern baldness! It’ll put hair on your chest, that’s for sure.

Well, it’s off to dreamland and then up and out to discover new lands. We’re going to investigate some of the surrounding towns and see if there are any open houses. We want to see how the natives live.

I hope this post made sense and there aren’t too many typos or grammatical errors. I am deliriously tired.

Good night!

pug shot

October 20, 2007

pug.jpg

Keeping true to my nature, it’s 1:00 a.m. and I’ve just now finished doing laundry and packing for our trip to Portland, Oregon tomorrow morning. The delicate balance of nature would surely collapse if something as unexpected as my planning ahead would have occurred.

My suitcase is predictably packed beyond capacity with damp clothing and may blow it’s rivets at any moment. In contrast, Tom’s bag is reasonably and lightly packed, possibly with room for me to sneak in a shoe or two.

Yes, we are finally taking a wee vacation! Heading off to Portland for four days, to see if we can’t re-ignite our passion for moving there. As much as we still dream of our eventual move, we have become a little complacent of late, and now that the summer swelter is behind us, we’re feeling somewhat less desperate about getting out of California.

So we’re off to the airport early in the morning, so I best get my butt to sleep.

I might add first, that the above pug is a detail from one of my children’s book (in progress since forever) spreads. It’s one of my less than successful spreads. Although I like how little pug dude turned out, I am not in love with how rough and toothy the paper is and how it shows up so prominently in the the background. So I will be giving this one another go, trying something smoother perhaps. But for now, little pug guy gets to live on my blog.

Good night!

empty head

October 18, 2007

empty-head.jpg

I have a bad case of empty-head syndrome tonight. I’ve been rummaging around for a while now, and nothing. Nothing but this silly drawing of me rummaging around in my empty head.

halloweiner dog

October 17, 2007

halloweiner-dog.jpg

Sick of the ubiquitous Halloween theme yet? Not me, I’m loving every minute of it. Just can’t get enough pumpkins, witches and candy corn.

However, everyone has their limits. For instance, I certainly don’t envy the employees of Rite Aid or those Halloween specialty stores. You know, the stores that sell witch figurines with flashing red eyes and the irritating cackle. They sell candy dishes with the skeleton hand that grabs at you as you reach for peanut M&M’s or Snickers, chortling maniacally.

I can imagine, every day, these employees going just a little bit more mad. As the gazillionth customer, that day, pushes the button unleashing just one more witch cackle, one more baleful ghostly moan or one more banshee scream, they snap! Now there’s a scary thought.

So, take heed, all ye who enter Rite Aid. Step lightly and resist the temptation to push yonder button, lest you unleash hell upon thee.

Ahem, so anyway, I thought I was super clever coming up with Halloweiner Dog. That is, until I insisted on googling it, to make sure I was, in fact, being original. Turns out, the whole freaking World Wide Web is lousy with Halloweiner Dogs. In fact there’s even a children’s book called Halloweiner. Who knew?