I Send You My Best Vibes.

Today I tried sagging my pants. This was inspired by a 50-something, Caribbean gem that I work with who delivers slam-dunk styles each day at the makeshift trailer office we operate out of. It’s temporary. The trailer, not the sagging pants (those are here to stay).

Basically, what I am trying to express is that I love my new job. The women I work with are mind blowingly cool. They display multi-level hustle, kindness and patience and I feel that I have so much to learn from them. Also, I can take heaps of kindness and patience right now. I was thrown in as an interpreter on my 2nd day and am learning the subtleties of regional, linguistic differences and hyper-specific, non-profit vocab by actually speaking Spanish, A LOT of it.

Most of my life has been wrapped up in establishing a solid foundation at work and a place to live. Both frontiers look hopeful. I’m wishing on a haunted, victorian in Oakland but I’ve managed to slightly relax about how life falls in to place. Everything really does work out.

My in-between moments have been spent reading in the park for a newly founded book club, listening to political talk radio during my commute and spending loads of time with Stephanie in kitchen conquest.

I also had the opportunity to accompany Jocelyn in her recent foray into candle making. She sold these in a craft faire at Subrosa Coffee las Saturday and they smell SO GOOD. This is just on facet of her recent cohesive project Off the Beaten Path. Tune in for developments and an excellent selection of vintage, jewelry and artisan goods.

I’ll keep it brief and leave with a few photos of dreamy people and moments from the past week.

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Stephanie, horse whisperer

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This horse is not entertained

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Steph’s persimmon, lavender cookies WUT?!

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Does a name tage make it official?

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Candle babies.

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Book Club park times

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The endlessly beautiful Bay Bridge commute

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Pool, beers and a heart attack over how much I love these women

I Get Wild: Books, Country, Hobos & City Lights

If you know me, or even just read this blog, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I really like to read. Novels, newspapers, traffic signs, cereal boxes…I just dig the act of using my eyeballs to soak in words. However, I occasionally experience a moment of magic when I pick up a book and realize, damn, this speaks to me. And then I can’t put the book down.

This literary possession occurred yesterday when a friend loaned me Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. I’m usually pretty skeptical of any contemporary novel associated with the Oprah conglomerate (James Frey disaster, anyone?), but I fell in love with Strayed’s writing/fighting style within the prologue’s first paragraph.

Much of this is due to Strayed’s reminder of how it feels to be Wild. I’ve recently transitioned to an urban setting and while immersed in the squeaking rail systems, traffic lights, fried food, and clogged city sidewalks the sensations I experienced 2 months ago on my solo, West Coast journey become slightly diluted.

But I spent a good amount of time alone in wide open spaces. While my endeavors were nowhere near Strayed’s 4 year trek along the Pacific Crest Trail, I’ve grown sentimental today for the strange moments I encountered as a young, female wandering alone through unfamiliar territory.

For example, on my way back to Portland from San Francisco, I pulled off in Redding for lunch. One of my beloved pastimes during this journey was eating lunch on my tailgate in the sun. So I was sitting in the grocery parking lot on my tailgate, eating some cheese and a clan of hobos descended on me. They sauntered over and one sat down next to me. He looked at my sleeping bag rolled out in the back and bags of various living necessities. “Man, you have a nice setup here!”

“Yeah,” I said. “It works for me”.

Then he asked if I had a smoke, which I didn’t. “Does your boyfriend?”

“Nah.” I said. “He doesn’t smoke. He’s grabbing some groceries and then we’re heading out.” I lied. On my trip, I sometimes found that being brave meant lying about being alone. These guys were harmless though. They drank from their jug for a minute. Then my tailgate companion got up, said goodbye and he and his friends walked toward the freeway.

At this moment, I realized that these guys didn’t wander over because I was female and alone but because they recognized me as one of their own. A wayfarer with a makeshift bed, sunburn, and infrequent access to showers.

I had a lot on my mind during that journey back to Portland and despite the big life shifts I faced, I felt pretty grounded. I got back and 2 days later decided that I was moving to the Bay. Now I am here. I’ve found a very promising job. I’m making it work. I’m back to showering and sleeping under a roof.

But I read this statement early on in my Wild addiction and think it’s equi-relevant to both my rural & urban explorations.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story that we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”

I plan to head to Big Sur soon with friends to find some open space. For me, it’s important to strike a balance between natural and city landscapes and recognize how both offer a particular wildness that feeds me.

Here are some photos from my recent city ventures.

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Portland buds Jason & Tom take in views at the SF Art Institute. Current “Energy That is All Around” exhibit most definitely worth a visit.

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A tiny vial of Palo Santo essential oil, concocted in a science-project style, home distillery with Andrew and Jocelyn. Tip: Palo Santo oil smells great, marigold oil? Not so much.

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A collarbone ellipsis, very accurate for this chapter of my life, very painful placement.

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It’s very creepy that I took a photo of Stephanie sleeping and ALSO very creepy that she sleeps with pillows and blankets over her face. But I had to capture this tender moment to demonstrate how Lumps has become part of a trifecta. We love her.

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Blue sky view from the Deyoung Museum Tower

More job news coming up. If you’re in the Bay Area and want to join forces for a Big Sur trip or our new Book Club, holla.

Love,

E.D.

Let’s Be Honest…

…the only reason I’ve been able to make this transition to the Bay Area is due to the magnanimous generosity of my friend family here. I’ve recently been thinking about friendship a lot and how important it is to our human experience. Collin and I sat in Precita Park today and as I mumbled about income worries and which career path I want to pursue he turned to me and simply stated, ” well you have a place to stay and time to find a job you want and, you know, if you run out of savings we can buy your food.” MIND BLOWN by this kindness. So thanks for that Collin. And to Meg, Josh and Merwin as well for not merely being generous hosts but also for being beautiful humans in general. Please note, I don’t plan on having friends buy my groceries any time soon but the simple statement of their kindness moves me in funky awesome ways.

One of my best homegirls Stephanie arrived on Wednesday and we’ve mutually embarked on some deep, domestic pursuits. This includes a daunting search for Oakland property bearing yard space and the frequent preparation of elaborate meals for our current household. Both endeavors have been fueled by heavy consumption of red wine. Cork a bottle, drink, throw some in with onions sparkling on the stove, repeat. I want to keep doing this every night forever and once we secure the right digs Stephanie and I will be fulfilling our grandest, wine-onion dreams.

Everything is quietly falling in to place. Perhaps it isn’t on my exact timeline but as friends here keep reminding me, now is a good time to relax, practice gratitude and remain optimistic. It’s a simple formula and with the amount of sun and good times I’m having? It’s not a hard one to follow.

So this post is to primarily express my immense gratitude for friendship and to share a few pictures from hikes around Precita. More job news next week.

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Until then <3,

E.D.

I have some poems I’d like to share with you.

I wrote the latter two nights ago when I couldn’t sleep after strolling the city at dusk. The title is taken from an epic phrase coined by Jocelyn Zorn. I’ve been working with the former for a few months. Both are night poems and engage this simple Mary Oliver quote that I ritually return to.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
– Mary Oliver

His Name is Disaster

He drives a road curved along the hinterlands.
The night is dry. The doe’s white tail
flicks through the headlights and her body
uncurls beneath the wheels. The thump is solid. His knuckles
blanch across the steering wheel. The pine air
freshener waves and waves even after the car
stops and when he finds the doe’s body
heaped on the pavement, steam
puffs from her wound.

He feels comforted. He drapes the doe’s sloped
neck in his lap, rests a hand in the warm
gash at her stomach and weeps. You can feel his hand,
inside of you, slowly bring you back. When you wake,
the knotted fear in your throat unfurls like the white
ropes of fat loosened across the road. The man beside you
traces the pale slopes of your ribs, the doe’s
blood still wet in his eyes.

His Body Does Not Call to Me

There are many pink nights in the Bay, blue nights, nights
illuminated by headlight constellations along Folsom and rows of street lamps
quietly pittering to life down sidewalks.

I take the evening 12 where a passenger has discarded a chicken bone.
If I could take the fat from that bone and feed it to the pigeons
I wouldn’t because there are fewer pigeons here.

Perhaps the white pigeons still coo on the olive branches
in Spain, coupled at dawn in the Plaza of a mountain pueblo.
I will never know.

I am here instead, remembering bodies I’ve never known, constellations
my mouth will never trace along milky forearms and how,
years later, I still wake groping a phantom space in my bed.

Across the Atlantic ocean his body does not call to me.
All that I recognize is pink smog, how night hides a world
and admit that it is beautiful.

– E.D. 

Back to Portland

I journeyed the entire 12-hour stretch home yesterday and carried so much in my mind and in my heart along the way. I have a lot to say but prefer to remain silent in Portland for a bit longer. So here are a few photos from the past week accompanied by a word or phrase. 

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Sunset at Sibley

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Drake Bay Oysters at Point Reyes

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Backyard Palm Tree

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Beautiful Grace Kim

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One of the many free box gems from Liz’s estate

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Meg among posters

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Me and my sweet, sweet lady. Thanks for the good times.

xo, E

Bay Dreams

I thought I’d only stay in California for a handful of days. Well I’ve been here a week and I’m still groovin’ heavy on some Bay Area vibes. This has been primarily due to the serendipitous  convergence of many dear friends in one glorious place. Two nights ago I sat around a table at 25th and Folsom St. with 7 of my closest buddies from university . We’ve all journeyed along our separate paths since college but from the depths of Chicago, Eugene, Portland and San Francisco we found ourselves in the same city at the same time with a fresh rack of antelope and a feast of veggies. I 100% did not partake in any antelope consumption but I was filled with ecstatic joy when I looked around at all of their faces over a bowl of curried lentils. After a sleepover and giant croissant from Tartine in the morning with the crew, I felt invigorated.

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Dinner with best buds

You see, the night prior I had consumed 3 whiskeys after 4 months without any alcohol and was plagued with a hangover from the flames of hell. I somehow managed to drag myself to a tattoo appointment where I received a very large Sri Yantra along my arm. It was an interesting experience. The tattoo is beautiful. And I got it for free. There were some issues  with the line work and the artist didn’t charge me which was very kind. But I will have to do some touch up work back in Portland after it heals. Overall, I am stoked.

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Making of the Sri Yantra

Anyways, making dinner with old friends is most beautiful hangover cure I can think of.  I will be off the sauce again for some time.

My joy has just continued to increase exponentially. Yesterday I took an epic hike in Marin’s Deer Park with a former philosophy comrade and was completely amazed by the biodiversity along the trail. White birches and twisting oaks sprinkled the blonde, grassy plains one moment and the next we’d enter a mossy emerald patch of oldgrowth redwoods.

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The rolling, Marin hills

My home base has been at Jocelyn’s and she’s been a very gracious hostess to the point of humoring my trail obsession. The other night we took a sunset hike to Grizzly Peak and it was perhaps THE MOST MAGICAL HIKE OF MY LIFE. The bay fog settled below the peak and as the sun slid down the entire sky transformed to pink mist. We found a makeshift teeter totter overlooking the hills, hung out on it for sunset and when we headed back to the Datsun, waves of cold, white fog and eucalyptus washed over the hill.

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Sunset at Grizzly Peak

The whole bay area smells sweet like the fecund, summer ocean and rosemary and bay leaves and cedar. I’m mesmerized.

Full disclosure, Oakland has a pretty distinct, unpleasant smell but Oakland’s cool, whatever.

My level of enjoyment is so heavy and so right. Tomorrow I head to the sea for the afternoon. Monday I’ve picked up an odd job in the city and will meet Grace, a soul mate since high school, for dinner.

Thus, I’m not really sure when I will leave the Bay. For now I’m just going to keep vibing. More updates soon-ish.

Mil Besos,

Elissa

P.S. I got a new tarot deck. Herbal remedies divined through tarot coming soon.

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The Herbal Tarot

Updates: Condensed Version

I’ve made a discovery. The more time I spend hiking, the less I want to write. Or perhaps I just have less content to unpack. I can only say so much about the beauty of a wave folding into the shore or the stillness of a fern. It definitely exists but is honestly better seen than read and I wish that I could share it with you. Really. Hiking alone is incredibly meditative but at this point in my journey I’m welcoming companions. This longing for company is well-timed since I arrived in Oakland 2 nights ago and have spent a fantastic chunk of my stay with Jocelyn, one of my dearest. We’ve read tarot, burned juniper, picnicked at the park and snuggled her kitten Boris.

Upon arrival, I immediately took a trip to Eli’s Mile High Club, my favorite Oakland punk bar where Jocelyn recently got a tattoo. When I heard news that they had a  ink operation upstairs I had to go. More on that later.

Anyways, this afternoon I am headed back to Oakland from Point Reyes. The sea is very gentle in Point Reyes and I slept peacefully there, woke up, took a 5-mile loop along the coast, meditated on a sand dune and ate a tailgate lunch in the sun.

Now I am stopped in Marin for a coffee and, after a few frantic messages from my mother, figured that I’m overdue for an update.

I am alive. I am in the Bay Area and will be here for another week. Here are some highlights from the past week:

– I got in to my car in Bend and realized my brother had washed and waxed my truck, filled its tires with air and its tank with gas.  He didn’t even mention it. That’s a humble dude.

– Tomato, pepper soup expertly prepared by Andrew, an old friend from high school. I hadn’t talked to him in years and was lucky enough to stop by his Klamath Falls home for an excellent dinner and late-night campfire session. I met his wife, brand-new baby Katie and ate a chocolate croissant at Green Blade Bakery per his recommendation at sunrise. All of this was very beautiful to me.

– A gang of old motorcyclists in Crater Lake who really dug my Datsun. Also, the pure joy of eating an orange on a cliff overlooking the blue, blue Crater Lake.

– A moonlit walk along The Coastal Trail at Point Reyes. I was alone and could hear the rustle of elk in the trees, snakes in grass and the shrill song of crickets everywhere. The moon was just full enough to light the path and, in the absence of clear eyesight, I could hear the subtle melodies of the forest.

– Pulling up to Jocelyn’s Victorian after an 8 hour commute along 101-S. I am happy I got to see the Northern California coast… a pack of elk, the golden hills, majestic cedars: it was all beautiful. But I confess, I was elated to find civilization and a hot shower.  Jocelyn’s greeting me in a velour track suit and UGG boots was the icing on the cake. It really sent the message: treat yo’ self and I did. I showered, feasted, and slept in a super comfy, clean bed. Home is where the friends are.

– This cup of coffee in front of me. I am at an art-nouveau inspired place in Marin called the Coffee Roastery and to the naked eye, it looks like your standard rich-hippie hangout. However, the Fairfax Coffee they serve is the best cup I’ve tasted on my journey so far. True, the majority of my coffee has been poured at gas stations but this roast is smoky, rich and provides a much-needed surge of life-blood for the remainder of my journey in to the city.

Here are a few travel photos:

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Orange & Coffee overlooking Crater Lake

Orange & Coffee overlooking Crater Lake

 

Riley in Deschutes National Forest

Riley in Deschutes National Forest

The Moon over Hwy 101 S

The Moon over Hwy 101 S

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Succulents at Point Reyes Seashore

Tonight Jocelyn and I head to the purportedly haunted Burlington Hotel in Port Costa to hang at their dive bar and see what we can conjure.  More updates soon.

Love Infinity,

E.D.