Friday, September 30, 2011

Out living my life, getting out dreams

Another nod to the last vestiges of summer, this one a video. When we were on Orcas Island a few weeks ago, Ryan, Amanda and I all shot video of the trip. That place is truly magical. You can see it in this video through all the giggling we do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The love that people say you made

Densely sweet and small present

Small wonder.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I heard it was fun

A couple of months ago, Ryan and I came up with an idea to take signs into a Photobooth some time to spell something out. We didn't have any ideas at the time, so we put it on the back burner. A couple of weeks ago I came up with the idea to spin the sign project into a summer memorial. Using lyrics from our friend Kate's band, I drew up a little diagram for an end-of-summer collaborative Photobooth project. Sunday night, a few days into fall, we all piled into The Florida Room for some combination arts-and-crafts // modeling // composing photo times. Ryan, Amanda and I edited the final project together.

Et voila, the people who made my 2011 summer worth living:

I heard it was fun

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Needful things

For the past two weeks, Amanda and I have been sending each other photos from our phones throughout the day. Technically, we weren't supposed to talk during these two weeks, but we did cheat a few times. Only a few. Kind of. We've got about 160 photos and are planning to make little books for/with each other of the larger project, but here are some excerpts.


L: Amanda; R: Casey

coffee full and empty

L: Casey; R: Amanda


L: Casey; R: Amanda


L: Amanda; R: Casey

Have a good day

L: Amanda; R: Casey


L: Casey; R: Amanda

We are in such different places

L: Amanda; R: Casey


L: Amanda; R: Casey

Hello there

L: Casey; R: Amanda

To and fro

L: Casey; R: Amanda

Riding and drinking

L: Casey; R: Amanda

Young girls they do get weary

L: Casey; R: Amanda

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You slide down your stairs to the heated street


It's the last day before another equinox, and I could not be more grateful for the past few months. I was so certain in February that this would be the worst year of my life. I made peace with it even, steeled myself for the onslaught of 28. Instead, it was hands-down the best summer I've ever had. This is going to sound more diary-esque than I'm really comfortable with, but I'll ignore that this once for the sake of the record:

Thanks to the desert and the bay, the Washougal River and the 24 Hour Fitness. Thanks to 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon, EAT's catfish poboy and that daiquiri I had in Louisiana. Thanks to my bike, my cat, my fire escape. Thanks to short shorts and boat shoes. Thanks to that Robyn song "With every heartbeat," which in one four-minute song flipped my whole brain. Thanks to Lil Wayne and Little Dragon. To Lloyd, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Kid Cudi, Tennis, Mariah Carey, The Vaccines and New Order. Thanks to that Bruce Springsteen song "Backstreets," which almost made us cry on that dusty desert road. Thanks to campgrounds and cabins, corn and cantaloupe. (All that to say thanks to my friends, whose brains/hearts/brilliance made me stop all that yearning for somewhere, sometime else).

As my man David Berman says, "hello to feelings that arrive unintroduced!"

*Amanda took this photo of some handwriting I did on her wall. The quote is courtesy of Dorothy from the Golden Girls.

Monday, September 19, 2011

You're an animal, too

One of the aspects I like most about working at a newspaper is the chance to go do all sorts of things I just would never do in my normal life. Some of those are things I'd never really think I'd want to do, but then they turn out to be enlightening. Friday i took my second trip of the year to a butcher shop, this one a Halal market. After covering the pig slaughter in 2009, I figured I'd had enough watching the way animals become meat. That assignment is still the hardest (and in that, one of the best) assignments I've done at the Oregonian.

But Friday was a good refresher -- not nearly as heart-wrenching, but I do think it's important to watch the way a whole animal is broken down into the disconnected pieces (I mean disconnected emotionally) that then get served up to the world. Plus, the butchers were so nice and excited to have me there. They told me all about their particular food ethos and about where the cows and lambs came from.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Nets my shadow's tangled in

Square scenes from T:BA late night.

Nets my shadow's tangled in

Writing on the wall

Guess how much I love you

Loves of my life

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 things I like

- wind chimes
- hummingbirds
- Baskin Robbins' mint chocolate chip ice cream
- the cup of coffee I had in Iowa. I brought the beans from Portland. Sarah V did the percolating. And Laurel provided the perfectly warm apartment.
- the orange fire-king coffee cup my grandfather used
- the smell of rain in summer
- showering in late afternoon with the sunlight spilling through my shower window
- treehouses
- light boxes with old diagrams or x-rays in front
- card catalogs

I hung my hopes out on the line

(will they be ready for you in time?)

That'll keep him quiet

Free Willy (from the choir room)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Drown my feelings in the sea / dry out over the beach

Ryan was averse to doing something so touristy at Doe Bay as posing with this wooden tiger (is it a tiger? I'm suddenly not so sure). But you can only take so many photos of the beautiful bay (my count: 300), so eventually we turned our lenses this way. The picture of me is on Ryan's camera, so sorry, readers, no snoop-a-looping into your author's visage.






Friday, September 9, 2011

I want to guard your dreams and visions


I had a moment last weekend, running up this small but steep hill where I thought, "This is my best self, here, with them." These two people have made Portland home this summer, a little spark of magic I felt sure would never happen. For the first time in at least a decade, I'm not aching for elsewhere or other times. They make me want to be here, now, a heart pointed only to the present.

My car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk

(from your front porch to my front seat)


Summer adventures with Bruce and this girl. Twenty-eight's not so bad.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First day of school

Witch Hazel Elementary School

I've been up before dawn the past two days to go cover the first day of school (first, elementary, then high school). Not sure how great these stories are, but there were some moments in each that I like. All in all, I met some very adorable students.

My time at the elementary school
included this little scene:

Mrs. Walsh isn't good at remembering names -- "I try really hard, but it takes me a while," she said -- so she gave each child a nametag and asked his or her favorite color. Blue and red easily won out, though a handful of girls chose purple.

Talia Tauti stood up to take her tag. She wore a pink shirt, pink pants and pink high top sneakers.

"My favorite color is turquoise," she said.

"Really?" Walsh asked. "I would have guessed pink because you're wearing so much pink."

"My mom begged me to," Talia said.

And my time at the high school
featured this:

Mrs. Trakselis spotted a cell phone on Karimyar's desk and motioned for him to put it away.

"Gotta put away your technology, man," Pope told him. "You know what Coach Casey says about that? He says it's ruining society."

Pope isn't much of a technology man himself. He only joined Facebook this summer. "But I like immediately had 900 friends," he said. "Whew."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Someone like you

I spent the night Friday in Amanda's Seattle studio, watching The Golden Girls and admiring her things.

The view from amanda's bed

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do not go gentle into that good night

A few weeks ago, I left an interview feeling totally buzzed about my job. Hugh told me about living in Virginia, how he would spend days at the Library of Congress. To tell his wife which stack he'd be in, he'd leave a note in the card catalog under "Anne Ferguson" (her name). They left Virginia a few decades ago, but a handful of years ago, they went back to the library and checked -- his last note was still there.

Anne told me how she worried her whole life that she shouldn't get married because no man would be able to carry her over the threshold. She's taller than Hugh, and when he carried her, she spread her arms and legs because she was nervous.

Hugh had homemade espresso waiting on the table when I arrived. He and I were wearing the same outfit. He sounded like a newscaster, looked like one, too. The couple has an ancient OED in the living room, which Hugh rescued from the incinerator when he was in the Navy in the 1940s.

None of that had anything to do with the story I was there to ask Hugh about, which is that he plans to bike 80 miles on his birthday. We got to that narrative, too, and then I went home to try to make a story as good as our two-hour talk.

Maybe this won't make sense, but the more I like talking to someone, the harder it is to write about them later. I had this same problem last year when I tried to write about the female pilot. So all week long I've been wrestling with trying to write something good about Hugh. I kept re-reading Dylan Thomas, hoping my brain would click in place.

Anyway, this is what I came up with.

Hugh Ferguson woke up one day feeling very old. Suddenly, it seemed, his body wouldn't cooperate.

He struggled to pull his wallet from his hip pocket. He threw out his shoulder when he picked up a suitcase. He was always thinking of a nap.

Last year, he wrenched his back trying to move a kettle drum for the Beaverton Chamber Symphony, and he decided right then: He would not go gentle into that good night. He would get in shape, live like a younger man.

He started a fitness regimen. When walking up or down stairs no longer seemed impossible, Ferguson set his sights on a task that did. Later this month, on his 80th birthday, he will attempt to bike 80 miles in 8 hours.

Read the rest on