Family, Friends & Strippers

I cracked into five weeks in the Pacific Northwest with an unexpected late-night foray to a country dance club: I spent the evening re-living the childhood thrill of being thrown high in the air by a strong person (learning swing aerials). I might have almost died of fun. I wrapped up my month-plus among the douglas fir and redwood trees by singing 80’s lady rock (Joan Jett) while a scantily-clad stripper performed aerial moves of her own on the pole four feet away. Stripparoke has to be a Portland classic!

I filled the time in between my wild-dancing adventures with long-overdue visits to friends in Portland, Monmouth, Cheshire, Humboldt, and Eugene. I’m happy that my current lifestyle allows me to make up in quantity what I lack in frequency (it’s been two years since I’ve had time to spend in this corner of the globe)!

Highlights, besides  the best birthday party I’ve ever had:

  • An unplanned morning with Deb — a friend with the kind of roots that need no tending. One of those people you may not see or hear from often, but the reconnection is instant and the talking endless.

  • Cutest baby you've ever seen, is she not?!

    Cutest baby you’ve ever seen, is she not?!

    Getting to see the only baby in my life — Ms. Finya! – and her entourage: my awesome college friend Laurel, Laurel’s fantastic parents, and her sharp younger brother.

  • Pretending I’m 20 again with Erica and Travis… only a few days after possibly over-celebrating-and-under-sleeping in honor of being 30.

  • Huddling next to the fireplace, eating soup, drinking wine, tending the vineyard, and catching up with my college roommate Lauren and her husband Matt.

  • Falling happily into the open arms of my Humboldt family — Penelope, Tim & Toby. Not only are they generally amazing, not only did we spend hours catching up over dinners, but they caught and fed me crab, laughed with me over my nasty cleaning project, introduced me to pop-culture I’ve been missing (Portlandia, Downton Abbey, Mackelmore), and gave me plentiful surrogate-daughter-warm-fuzzies.

  • Writing a court report for and catching up with my CASA kid. She’s growing up so fast! I can’t believe it’s been five years since we first met!

  • The grand-dog of my favorite Freshwater residents - Percy!  She lives in PDX, but she is missed back in Humboldt. :)

    The grand-dog of my favorite Freshwater residents – Percy! She lives in PDX, but she is missed back in Humboldt. 🙂

    Watching the coolest documentary I’ve ever seen –  Happy — with the coolest Freshwater residents I know. Steve and Trina treated me to lovely meals, evenings of fantastic conversation, a week of Healthsport gym sessions, and a pizza night with the amazing Donna B!

  • A wine filled evening with Alison — whom I adore. We can (and do) spend hours swapping opinions, perspectives, confusions… give me more of this woman!

  • Watching the enigmatic Jesse perform with his awesome band at the Blue Lake brew pub, then getting to see him over the best Mexican and margaritas there ever were — Rita’s, I love you!

  • Beth! Crossfit! I always love getting to hear about life from the dry-but-wise perspective of this awesome woman. She’s always doing something new and cool — this time a cleanse and crossfit. I got to go to her Saturday class and definitely understand what all the hype is about.

  • Basking in the glow of a handful of people really worth knowing – including Jason and Carrie — while absorbing the atmosphere at Eureka’s hot new spot — Speakeasy.

  • Making tons of sushi and raw chocolate — both items are definitely my “kick” of the moment.

  • Eating salads with Yum sauce, walking a few miles to obtain ice cream, and getting to glimpse my college haunts with Elly — the best dancer and most even-keeled person I think I know. Oh, and maybe busiest — glad I got a few of her precious hours!

  • Learning the art of pizza sliding and turning

    Learning the art of pizza sliding and turning

    Making pizza outside in Daniel’s homemade wood-fired oven, talking to his mom about dreams, staying up way-too-late swapping stories we’ve collected over the past decade, and doing one last oil change on my fantastic old yellow Volvo.

  • Being treated to authentic Pad Thai and polenta magic via the amazing Tai, Dan & Percy (the puppy pictured above). I got to chop lots of wood and acquired an TV education, my favorite part of which was episode after episode of MTV’s Catfish. Yes!

  • Yakking about all the changes in my life with Deb over (birthday!) dinner at the infamous German restaurant down the street.

  • Goodbye, old yellow car.  I miss you!

    Goodbye, old yellow car. I miss you!

    Getting my life in order — travel logistics, car-selling prep, processing my crazy life, etc — during the sunniest weekend Portland has seen all winter

  • Falling in love with the Juno soundtrack. I know I’m really late to the game, but now I finally understand people and their music obsessions. Hard to pick just one song, but:   Tire Swing

  • Drinking killer IPA, making sushi, dog-walking, and swimming with my favorite (and recently engaged!) Wisconsin couple — Adam & Chelsey

  • Catching up with my childhood sweetheart and his awesome friends while enjoying the buffet of entertainment on Burnside

  • AMY!

Birthday Karaoke with Amy (and everybody)!

Birthday Karaoke with Amy (and everybody)!

Alright, Amy gets a paragraph all her own. I got to spend several days and nights with this woman who first demanded my friendship at college freshman orientation. Thank god for really terrible (river-guiding) Chaco tans — she might never have given me a second glance! She treated me to plentiful game nights, a poignant 70’s film that would have been lost on me without her brilliant plot summary, late-afternoon bar visits that made me feel like a kid again, a night on the town at an improv show, and a glorious Sunday bike ride. She even took me to work with her and enthusiastically attended the aforementioned stripparoke. I love Amy!!!

That, my friends, is what it was like to spend more than a month of my adult life reconnecting with loved ones. More, please! ♣

Sadly, stripparoke allowed no photos and I generally forgot to breakout my camera. 🙁   But you can see Daniel & I changing the volvo oil! Here.

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