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Entries in travel (3)

Sunday
Aug092015

Portland with Amanda | A kid-free weekend

It was Amanda's idea and I'm so glad she had it.

This is Amanda:

You may remember her and her starring role as my doula for Lyra's birth in Mexico.

If you don't know that story, it is worth a read here.

"We should go on a getaway without our husbands or are kids. What do you think?" she asked.

I pulled up a tab on Travelocity and asked her when we were leaving.

We had three months from the time we purchased tickets until we finally met up. Amanda said we should challenge ourselves to be able to do 100 push ups a day by the time we met each other in Portland.

DONE.

While we can't do 100 push ups in one go, we are able to do 100 in a day. In fact we both got so good at push ups that we bumped the challenge to 200 a day. Now that was something we really had to work at.

Amanda took a train from Vancouver (and a ferry from Pender Island). I took a non-stop from San Diego.

During the day we walked and walked and walked.

Those dildos in the sky are actually a thing in Portland. More on this "free expression of joy" here.

Amanda is not only a doula, she is a child-birth educator, AND a beekeeper. Naturally then, we followed the huge sign we saw on the sidewalk one day that pointed us toward ------------> MEAD.

Fun fact: Mead does not come from a winery or a brewery. It comes form a meadery, people. It just makes sense.

The thirty minute chocolate tasting at Missionary RX Chocolates finally made me realize how accurate Portlandia is to real life in that city.

Phrases we heard while tasting chocolate heaven:

"The mint comes from a third-generation mint farm just outside the city."

"This is from a local. She extracts the passion fruit flavor from actual plants versus using essential oils."

"If you buy Jacobsen Sea Salts [hand-harvested in Portland] at a retail store though, don't expect the salt to be this spicy. We add a little extra oomph." 

Our host was Jessica of Jessica J Consulting and ladies, if you are looking for a life coach, she comes highly recommended. Jessica lives smack-dab in the city and has a stunning guest room to boot. Amanda and I were so grateful for this kid-free, man-free (no offense to awesome husbands), zenned out zone. 

In the evenings the three of us danced, drank, ate carbs, and reveled in being able to finish whole thoughts and speak in uninterrupted sentences. Sometimes moms need a break. This was a GREAT break.

When three clear-eyed, square-shouldered, gorgeous women walk into a bar or restaurant together you will inevitably get asked what the hell is going down that evening. I liked to smile demurely and respond that we all owned Subarus, but Jessica and Amanda were quick to explain further.

What does give certain women that twinkle in their eye? 

Is it the push ups?

Minimal living?

A PASSIONATE LOVE FOR DARK CHOCOLATE?

(Because all of these things, including the Subaru-ownership is true for all of us.)

You can see the glitter in Bethany's eyes. This is Bethany from s/v Lilo. You may remember her from my Mexico posts, like this one.

And while you can't see their faces directly here, the sparkle is intense in Bethany's daughters' eyes too. That's Hannah on the sax, and Meira holding the music. Meira also plays the cajón, or any convenient Harry Potter book can work as percussion in a pinch too. (Don't believe me? Watch her playing a book in the video below).

Perhaps it is music? We all love music.

I give you our impromptu choral singing on the streets of Portland after brunch one day:

If you haven't guessed my theory yet, the unifying aspect for me is that we are all sailors.

We are female sailors and female sailors are something else. They are women who sing, and dance, and have children. AND they are women that know the sea. They adventure. They are incredibly competent and perceptive. And happy.

Sailing women are a happy, giving bunch. 

If you are a sailing woman, or aspire to be one, join Women Who Sail. It's a fantastic group of supportive female sailors. You'll like it. 

I'd be remiss to not give a shout out to Bryan, Bethany's husband. He was one of the only two gentlemen who hung out with us this weekend and like the ladies present, Bryan's got it too. There is an alertness in sailors' eyes that I see in very few others. He also recorded our singing session, and snapped photos when Amanda and I met Jessica's neighbors and asked them if they'd like to do a bunch of push ups with random strangers (us) right in that very moment.

The neighbors obliged and Bryan documented it. Hey, I've got to get those 200 push ups in any way I can.

Just doing our part to Keep Portland Weird.

Oh, and the other guy we hung out with? He was a hilarious Marine Corps helicopter pilot named Jesse, but don't worry, we weren't being untrue to our men, the handsome pilot was there with his ultra-marathoner date, Alyssa. She was training to run a race that is 8 MARATHONS BACK-TO-BACK.

Yeah, its not just sailors with sparkles in their eyes; it is anyone who is really squeezing the fuck out of life every chance they get.

Okay, maybe a Wonka gif is a bit much, though I'm feeling robust lately, so let's just roll with it.

---------------

Our exploration of the city lasted for several colorful days.

The most rejuvenating part of this trip was Amanda's exuberance about life and the exhilaration of traveling sans family ties. It was just me, my thoughts, my friend, and her wondrousness. And we both could do and explore as we liked. It made me feel nostalgic for the abundant adventures of my twenties  in Europe, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Amanda and I WILL be doing this again, though it'll be another city to conquer when we are ready.

Thanks to Amanda and Jessica. To Bethany, Bryan, Hannah, and Meira. To Yoni at Victory Bar and to that incredible ultra-marathoner, Alyssa, and the Marine Corps pilot, Jesse, for making our trip one for the record books.

We're gonna keep doing push ups every day and now we're adding pull ups to the repertoire. We shall bring our buffness to the next city soon.

PS - if you are in Portland anytime until the 28th of August, I encourage you to go see Claire Willet's play, Dear Galileo. It opened the night we left and has been met with wonderful reviews. I know Claire from an online writer's group and I have to tell you, I'd jump at the chance to see her work, though I hear that her shows are selling out, so go-go-go if you can!

Tuesday
May262015

There's a race of men who don't fit in, and thank God for that.

To the adventurers and misfits. To those who can't stay in one place for long. 

To my sailing friends who take their children out onto the water, thank you.

To those parents who take their children out in canoes and kayaks, up high in paragliders, or climbing gear. 

To men and women who teach their children to kiteboard or hike out, to paddle, or to surf the waves.

There's a race of men who don't fit in, and thank God for that.

If you ache and yearn to see the brightest starlit night, to live as deep into the wild as you can, than for those people, especially those who take their children to the important places, thank you.

The Important Places, by Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard

Wednesday
May202015

The Mountains are Calling, and We Must Go

Eric and I keep separate blogs on this site. We have our own verbal autonomy. He doesn't speak for me. I don't speak for him, and we never know when the other may write a post. I was tickled pink when he finally wrote a post about the backpacking he has been doing with Cora and the trips he has planned for the whole family. 

Last month I flew out to Texas for the funeral of my friend's amazing daughter. While I was gone Eric had both girls to himself and time off of work so I could attend. 

He took the girls camping. 

We are most likely stuck on land for 2-3 more years.

That is okay.

While we are here we will go into the woods as much as we can.

Image via The Wheat Field on Etsy

My most vivid memories from childhood, the good memories that is, are from trips to the National Parks, playing and being outdoors, camping, kayaking, fishing, snowcaving, sledding, cross-country skiing, and climbing.

Arizona, 1983 (check out the pants on my brother, Rich!) 

Mount Rushmore, 1985

Old Faithful, 1985

Chena Lake, Alaska 1986

Gold panning, Nome Creek, Alaska 1986 

BBQing at 20 below, Fairbanks, Alaska 1987

Sixth grade camp, somewhere near Eagle River, Alaska, 1991

One of the horrible things about being abused by a parent is that you still love them. They are intrinsically woven into the very fiber of your being. My father taught me about and took me into the wilderness.

We searched for crashed WWII airplanes and we plowed through swarms of mosquitoes so thick you could clench your fist in front of your face and then open your palm to expose a poof of dead insects inside. He fell into devil's club. We cleared trails. I made a trap for rabbit, we skinned it, and we made into stew,in the dead of winter. It was delicious. I've been charged by a moose. My entire 5th grade class chased a black bear up a tree. 

For my first week of my freshman year of high school, I walked to each class, a stranger in a strange land, with one eye swollen shut from mosquito bites acquired from our last camping trip. Looking like that really did great things for my social life, let me tell you...

Once you taste the wilderness, you never can let it go.

Wildcat Canyon, Californa 2003

 

Sierras, Middle Palisades, John Muir Wilderness, California 2004

Tahquitz, California 2005

Taos, New Mexico 2009

Two Harbors, Catalina Island, California 2010

I post these pictures of my outdoor adventures with great hope. Hope that my daughters will experience the freedom of the outdoors. That they'll gain the same confidence and skills to explore the wild as I have.

I am grateful. Grateful to men who are good fathers and who take their children out to sleep under the stars.

Lyra, Eric, Cora, Wes, Gray, Miles, Cuyamaca, California 2014

Frankie, Auggie, Cora, and Eric - headed to Kennedy Meadows, Californa 2015

I can feel the girls' excitement. Its joyful intoxication makes me want to go, go, go OUTSIDE.

I'm lucky. I'm lucky I married a man who values what I value.

I hope that our love for adventure is catching.

Cuyamaca, California 2014

Cora and Lyra, when you read this one day, know that by land or by sea, the world is yours and is waiting for you to go explore.

Muertos Cove, Baja California Sur, Mexico 2013