Firsts

I am continually thankful for my family here in Seattle.  Perhaps it isn’t giving myself enough credit, to think I couldn’t have made it without Lou and Dave, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank them enough for all of their help and kindness and general amazing everything.  This weekend they invited me out to Whidbey Island to spend time in a friend’s cabin.  What a restorative few days.

Lou and I took a walk the first evening along the water, and I found a few pieces of sea glass.  As tends to happen, part of our conversation circled back to when my grandmother, her mother, was dying in New Jersey.  Just about the entire extended family was able to make it to the hospital within hours of her turning blue in the elevator.  I don’t remember driving there from college, but I remember walking into the hospital room.  I also remember my grandmother, awake and lucid, rubbing the fabric of my new long sleeve running shirt between her fingers and complimenting it.  (I know I will wear it to threads before getting rid of it, just because of this.)  None of us slept and I played endless rounds of gin rummy with my uncles, I knit with my sister and mother and aunts.

I think of now, and how far away I am, and how difficult it would be for me to return.  I love Seattle, and I’m afraid if I were to leave I might not be able to come back.  As of May 1st I will have been living in the co-op for a full year, and each day I fall in love with the skyline of downtown or the black and yellow tulips or the cat climbing over our fence.  Sometimes it takes leaving a place to realize just how much it means, and getting out of town was a nice way to look back at where I am and know that I am truly happy here.

Of course, there were more firsts this weekend.  Fresh asparagus from Carrie’s garden and a Doctor Who slumber party, a Welcome the Grey Whale parade with more observers than participants, a friend’s daughter running grinning into my arms as the sound laps at the rocky beach.  A dull push mower and a slightly sharper push mower and the satisfaction of clearing at least a little bit of the lawn.  Teaching my green curry recipe and learning to play hearts.

Now I am reading Wislawa Szymorska for my book club, with another book at the ready and poems for the Bodie project finally started.  Incense is curling into the air of my room and my body is slightly sore from an after-work run in the spring rain.  My roommate will be making tuna melts when he gets back from work, I will pour myself a glass of wine.  How did I end up here, so lucky, so happy?

Each Day the World Shrinks

Pardon the long gap between posts.  It’s been hectic here and as the weather warms I feel much more inclined to be out in it and not sitting behind a computer. But an update is long overdue.  So here’s a non-scholarly, event-filled update.

This past weekend was many things.  It was HonkFest West, it was the XX, it was Tim Shannon, it was sunny and glorious and it was pell mell sightseeing with a bit of work fit in there.  I have to say I haven’t been hitting the books as diligently as I’d like to be.  Cutting an hour off of my commute is wonderful, but it was nice reading time.

It’s hard to know where to begin.  HonkFest dominated the weekend.  Two of the guys in Minor Mishap (from Austin! made the front page of the Sunday entertainment section in the Seattle Times!) stayed at our house and I did my best to play tour guide and hostess.  I made strong coffee and pointed to bus stops and was hopefully more helpful than overbearing.

Tim came into town Friday, and I don’t know that we ever figured out exactly how long it’d been, but it was sort of strange to be waiting at the airport for someone I haven’t seen in years.  Waiting always makes me nervous–I’m afraid I won’t recognize the person, or that they won’t recognize me.  Travelers came in waves up the escalators; half looking exhausted, half looking exhilarated.  Of course I was looking the wrong direction when he finally showed up.  And of course I recognized him.  Foolish to think otherwise.

After dropping his stuff off and grabbing food we headed right for HonkFest and didn’t slow down the rest of the trip.  Danced it up in Fremont, both in the streets and in Brouwers.  Back to the Meridian House for yet more dancing, yet more horns, percussion, accordions… Nothing like having HonkFest move into the living room.

Saturday was the Seattle Center, the sculpture garden, Pike Market, the library, Seattle Art Museum, Cal Anderson Park, Volunteer Park (bike race, greenhouse, Asian Art Museum, Watertower).  Back to HonkFest, in Georgetown this time, to a party with a flaming tether ball, more dancing and closing out with a bottle of wine and exhaustion.

Sunday slowed down with a late breakfast and traipsing about Ballard.  Honk Fest continued but we bowed out.  Ended the night at the Sea Monster where Tim made new friends and gained a new understanding for many of the stories I tell him.

Monday I headed into the office and met up with the boys afterwards. Black cod, scallops over arugula and asparagus for dinner.  And then, the impetus for the whole visit: the xx.  Sound in the Showbox SoDo isn’t anything to write home about, but we danced around regardless.  If there’s music on, it’s hard to keep myself from moving.  Thanks to Tim, there’s almost always music on for me.

There were more adventures, there are more stories, but I don’t want to give it all away.  Suffice to say the visit wasn’t long enough and there are more things to be done.

It’s funny how time both passes and doesn’t.  Here are two things that made my world that much smaller this weekend.  While dancing around on Friday night I felt someone tap my shoulder.  It was a friend, also from college, and I turned to point to Tim.  The two spent the next ten minutes catching up, all three of us miles and miles away from the 12000 person college we once called a home of sorts.  The second thing happened after Jason from Minor Mishap headed home.  While becoming Facebook Friends (that application that seems intent on shrinking everyone’s world) I saw a face I hadn’t thought about in years.  A chance-met man through friends of friends, we had a brief friendship and some roof-jumping right before graduation, and he was, smiling and in the same graduate department as my new friend Jason.  Go Austin, now I know two of your residents- perhaps that’s my next travel destination. Texas seems to be accumulating people who know me.

(Photos courtesy of Tim, except the last one of the xx, courtesy of my confusing new phone)

In A Week

I used to be a much different person.

But, who isn’t?  I am happy that I haven’t remained stagnant; if nothing were to change year to year I suspect I’d be moving on from Seattle and finding a new place to call my home.  This is the first place I’m not looking to leave, and I’m glad for it.

So I’ve quit my job at the Museum and I’m moving forward.  I turned and simply said it. I quit. And I did.  Now things change yet again, and I enter phase 4? phase 5? in Seattle.  I’ve had so many lives here.  The girl planning for the equivalent of a white picket fence and a settled life.  The rude girl dancing to ska and singing to bands left behind long ago. The girlfriend-of-the-musician, the poet, the artist, the co-op hippie chick, the club queen, the hiker…. None isolated, none completely forgotten.   And in a week, a friend from Before Seattle is coming for a few days to see my city and to listen to music and to help me cause an all around ruckus.  So here’s to him, and whatever version of me he finds when he arrives.  I hope it’s someone he recognizes.