Missoula moments

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Last night Logan and I floated the Clark Fork River on some industrial rubber tire tubes. We had a river bag with two beers and our car keys tied to his shoelaces. The water was warm, and the smoke-clouded sun shone deep gold and warm orange on the water’s surface. We floated under a bridge with a loud train rumbling over and it felt surreal to look at thousands of pounds of goods moving over our heads. Fish jumped ahead of us and we heard the river get loud and quiet and loud again, and we bobbed in and out of waves and currents.

Then, we heard it. The the most pathetic sounding, wobbly, unimpressive sound a bird has ever emitted: the cry of a bald eagle! Yes, ladies and gentleman, our regal national symbol, with it’s glorious white head, sharp beak, and piercing eyes that grace the cheesy tee shirts that live in at least half of Montana’s older white male population’s closets. The bald eagle, in fact, shrieks in a most undramatic, uninspiring way. We saw two immature bald eagles and what we thought may be their mum perched in the tall trees alongside the river.

As we floated on, eagles close by and the sun going down, I looked all around us, I thought, This is bliss. This is what it’s about. Where else on earth do I get to do this?

36248384036_345caacd08_c35895831730_4abb3bea5b_c36248389366_cbf48db76b_c This last week has been full of reminders to be kind to myself. The job search has been brutal so far, with resumes given in hand and online, with only silence or rejection so far. Summer has been hot, brutally so, making me loathe everything. Sleep is hard to come by often. And yet, things are good. Chelsea visited us for a few days, making delicious palomas in the kitchen and telling stories of her around the world journey she’d been on with her Kate the last six months. We tried a new brewery, made pizzas, went to Bernice’s Bakery and ate amazing baked goods and had excellent coffee. We went to Kettlehouse and I had the most incredible slow pour nitro amber ale (which yes, is a dramatic title, and the beer was dramatic and delicious).

Life moves so fast in the summer. Last summer was a blur like this one, too, with hectic trips to Yellowstone, barbecues outside, delicious meals and cold beer, but also looking at the date and shaking my head, wondering if it was really already August. Last year, though, there was the inevitable departure back to British Columbia, the goodbyes and the sadness, and this August there is none of that looming. It feels so good to not worry about a date in which I’ll cross the border to the North and leave behind loved ones.

So life continues here in the northwestern part of Montana, where fires rage in the mountains and eagles screech from the river shores, and I continue to apply for jobs and keep my chin up the best I can. A dopo, readers!

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Rhubarb pie

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My mother has a beautiful healthy rhubarb plant in her backyard. It’s grown from cuttings of a rhubarb plant that she had at our childhood home. The rhubarb that she grows is descended from a rhubarb plant that our family grew over one hundred years ago after my ancestors emigrated from Scotland to New Brunswick, and I love that it’s still growing in Montana and has been a part of our family.

Rhubarb is one of my favorite things to bake with and eat in general. It’s great in jams, in chutneys, in pies, crisps, tarts, and lots of other things. I even like eating thin slices raw- but that’s perhaps not everybody’s cup of tea.

This recipe is from one at AllRecipes, but I used less sugar:

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 and 1/3 cups sugar (I used about 3/4 of a cup- I like my pies tart)

6 tablespoons white flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 recipe for two 9 inch crusts

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Roll out your first pie crust over flour and put in pie plate. Preheat oven at 450F. Mix together the flour and sugar until mixed well, then sprinkle about 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the crust. Then, heap your chopped rhubarb on top (isn’t it beautiful?!). Sprinkle the rest of the flour/sugar mixture over the rhubarb and dot with little pats of butter.

(If you’re feeling adventurous you can also mix a tiny bit of lemon juice in with your rhubarb! I meant to do this but forgot…)

Lay your other pie crust over the top and pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Poke holes with a fork in the top crust so that air can escape. Cover the edges of the crust with tin foil so that the crust doesn’t get over-cooked.

Put in oven at 450F for 15 minutes, then cook at 350 for another 40-45 minutes. Take out, let cool for a few hours, and enjoy!

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I like serving mine with ice cream or having it in the morning for breakfast with black coffee. A sweet and sour pie with a buttery crust is the best combination, in my opinion! What’s great about this pie is it’s amazing cold, which is perfect for summer when cold and tart things are ideal.

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A visit from the patriarch/Rushed Victoria tour.

32267803113_bea5a4b522_c32219173604_165efc5467_c33046571755_088b1a2a8d_c32219174184_ba31509f82_cMy father came up on the Port Angeles ferry for 3 days of sunshine filled Victoria time. We ate a lot, walked even more, and had a blast. Below you’ll find a list of places we ate, my opinions, and lists of activities we did. Note: I had a father figure patronizing the food adventures. These are not necessarily grad student budget friendly places- I had a patron.

32664481850_293793d1e0_c32664482240_0e4597525a_c32267802653_0ef5922ee5_c32249167513_6c5ecd268e_c.jpg Ate/Consumed/Masticated at: 

Omakase Izakaya on Blanshard: We had a blast eating there. We went for the omakaze option, so the chef/owner ended up making us about a 6 course meal. We were the only ones in the place, and it was amazing. We shared a little ceramic flute of warm sake, ate some amazing food, and left satiated in our hearts and stomachs- the perfect combination.

Ayo Eat in Market Square: Epic, cheap, delicious Indonesian food from a little tucked in food stall. We had the pickled egg dish which was delicious! The guy who runs it is super friendly and Market Square has some benches and places to hang out and seat yourself.

La Tana outside Fan Tan Alley on Pandora: OH my god. This brought back so many memories of Italian bakeries and eating delicious panini when I lived in Lugano. (It doesn’t hurt that the owner, Claudio, is from Milan, only an hour from my little city!) Amazing baked goods, cheap delicious sandwiches, excellent Illy coffee (americano or espresso are your two options) all in one wee little shop. I’m going back- it fits my grad school budget and brings me right back to the best parts of my past in Ticino.

Pho Vy on Fort Street: Pho Vy is my favorite place to get pho. My dad had not had proper pho before, and it was delicious (per usual). I go here probably 2x a month and every time it’s delicious.

The BeaverTails Stand on Broughton Street: Cheap, perfectly decent Canadian dessert spot. Their gelato is amazing, the BeaverTails always awesome (and they can be cut in half if you can’t eat a whole one!), and the gentleman who runs the place has, ever since I moved to Victoria, been a really positive and friendly human.

33046571535_daaeeaba31_c32926919752_85ea6c3b03_cWent/Saw/Meandered around: 

The Royal British Columbia Museum: A really lovely museum that houses one of the most thorough First Nations exhibits I’ve ever been to. (Not without its criticisms, but still worthwhile!) They have amazing traveling exhibits that come in pretty frequently, and even though I’ve been now close to a dozen times, I still always find something I really enjoy, be it the replica theatre that shows Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush over and over again or the weird but still awesome replications of salmon canning operations in British Columbia.

Ogden Point: A great place to go for a walk in James Bay! Great views of the Olympic range across the strait, and good for people watching. I love taking people there and it feels less crowded than other parts of the main city.

Beacon Hill Park: While the rose bushes aren’t in bloom and things are quiet, the park will always have some beautiful, rambling paths to meander around. The park itself is pretty large so you’re guaranteed to find some spaces to enjoy.

All around downtown: My dad and I spent a lot of time just weaving in and out of slow moving tourists going around the historic downtown area. We grabbed coffee at a few places and I showed him some of my favorite buildings and historical spots.

If y’all are in my beautiful town and are wondering where to go, any of the above places are highly recommended! Check out my Victoria tag for more ideas as well. I’m headed to Mystic Beach tomorrow, so hopefully it’ll be lovely! Packed a bunch of film and a few cameras, I’m excited to get outside into the nature!

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A new favorite: Caffe Fantastico

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I have realized that my words do little justice but that my images do. Caffe Fantastico was bright, friendly, affordable, and well laid out. It was large but not sterile, and the food is delicious. It’s the sort of place you can see yourself wiling away a few hours lost in a book or typing out something for class.

It was really necessary to have a good chat with some friends there the other day. These days it feels so easy to fall into the blues and feel useless but being able to have uplifting experiences with good souls over warm coffee will never fail to make me feel a little stronger.

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The Parrot Confectionery

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The Parrot has been a refuge of sorts for me for years. I’ve written diary entries, finished and ended books, held hands, had serious conversations and said goodbyes here. I’ve consumed way too much coffee in the booths, I’ve even cried in them. I lost my wallet once and found it there, in the hands of the staff, who kindly kept it for me behind the counter.

The Parrot in Helena, Montana, has been a place for me to love going to since we moved to Montana in 1998. It’s always felt familiar. Some new owners just bought it and I quietly fear that it will change, though they have vowed not to change a thing. Helena’s had this marvelous staple around for over 90 years, and I hope that when I am old and brittle I can still slowly make my way through the screen door and hear that bell ring and settle into my booth, with a piece of honeycomb chocolate and a cup of cheap coffee.

 

Read & consume: A list.

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Lusting after this WWII-era lingerie set that men stationed overseas would send to their sweethearts.

Reading The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt and falling in love with his descriptions of Rome and Florence in the 14th century. If you’re interested in humanism, how The Renaissance may have happened, or are a book lover, the main protagonist, Poggio Bracciolini is compelling as a great angle to dissect this amazing wave of art, creativity, and flourishing discovery that emerged from Florence at some point in the late 14th/early 15th century.

Quietly pining for the funds to have a house covered in this Cardiac wallpaper from the Morbid Anatomy Museum. I’ve slowly accepted that if there is a point where funds are available, I will make any abode I have into an ode to all things Gothic and mildly creepy.

Waiting to be home so Logan and I can attempt to make this Nutella and mascarpone torte. (The recipe is in Italian but Google Translate is very handy!)

Loving these flirtatious and forward acquaintance cards from the 1870’s and 1880’s. Young men and women could hand out these business card like pieces of paper which offer to walk women home, introduce men as “kissing rogues”, and serve as ways to circumvent some of the formalities of Victorian norms.

Been wanting to watch this wonderful film, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, for some time! Hopefully I’ll find time in a few weeks.

I may or may not have splurged and gotten myself this incredible Opening Ceremony x Kodak hat because everything else in the collection was way too pricey. My love for Kodak and film will never, ever die.

Laughing out loud at the marvelous James Kerr (aka Scorpion Dagger) and his German Renaissance-based short videos, .gifs, and other creations which he cleverly pairs with 1960’s and 70’s rock/punk/garage band tunes (and from whom I have now widely expanded my musical repetoire). This clever dude also got to do some of the animation for the new The Stooges film Gimme Danger (which I very much want to see).

Mario Badescu’s glycolic foaming cleanser has been helping me keep my skin happy with the transition to colder, dryer winter.

Also finished The Medici Conspiracy, a fantastic book about the complex world of stealing, buying, and selling ancient Roman and Greek antiquities. The authors weave a “whodunit” web of tombaroli (local men who “excavate” tombs) to secretive buyers with Swiss lockers full of stolen goods to curators at some of the world’s most renowned museums, who all work quietly together to make it so that much of the world’s ancient antiquities are gotten by ill, destructive, and horrible means.

Parmigiana di Melanzane

I grew up in a family that didn’t relish cooking. My mum is an incredible baker, whipping out apple pies, cookies, brownies, and other oven-based confections to perfection. She can cook, and I know that she and my father do more now that their spawn are out of the house. My father today makes curries, cans carrots, makes his own cider, and butchers the animals he hunts.

However, growing up, I don’t remember food being so prominent. My mother explained it in the most reasonable way when I asked her once, telling me that after getting us out the door to school, working full time, then coming home to make dinner, making dinner was a chore, not a gleeful reprieve, as I’m sure many women can attest to. I do not begrudge her this in any way, understanding and loathing the idea that women can and should have it all, including cooking skills that come out as soon as you close the office door, because you love slaving over a hot stove for hungry, picky kids.

However, my only living grandmother doesn’t cook. My remaining grandfather doesn’t either. My aunts in Connecticut cook, often reporting what they’re whipping up, but in my immediate family food is appreciated but not often lovingly made except on holidays or special occasions.

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Perhaps this is why I love cooking with Logan so much. I hear stories of family members spending all day in kitchens, of special pizza ovens, of flavors and ideas I’ve never known before. Bottles of red palm oil, special coconut milks, and dende milk can be found tucked away on his shelves, things I’ve never used or known. The cuts of meat are different here in America, which I had never thought about before. He teaches me how to do ridiculously simple things like how to properly cook rice and that cooking can be a joyful, organic process. We listen to music and have a glass of wine or two and taste as we go.

My brief sojourn home was spent in his kitchen with him, helping keep odds and ends going- soaking the starch of jasmine rice, grating parmesan cheese, scraping out small meaty pumpkins, stirring onions in olive oil for flavors, helping strain broth- and whenever I play sous chef I learn.

The best dish we made this weekend was a parmigiana di melanzane, which Logan found by watching Gennaro Contaldo videos online. It. Was. AMAZING.

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We picked out a beautiful, fat eggplant in the most gorgeous purple sheen at the grocery store. I had never actually handled an eggplant but it was really lovely and lighter than I expected. Logan sliced it up, beat an egg in a bowl, put flour in another, and got some oil frying, and it all began. We sipped Czech pilsners we’d picked up at a local beer and wine import shop, and a breeze came in from outside, crisp leaves on the back porch telling me that it was fall.

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After the eggplant fried we tore pieces of prosciutto and mozzarella and basil and rolled them up inside, laying down a bed of tomato sauce in a ceramic dish and then carefully placing the rolled tubes down. Covering them in more sauce, Logan piled on more mozzarella, some parmesan, sprinkles of basil, and put it all in to bake.

Trying to describe how good it was would be a waste of English. It was rich and perfect. We were the happiest, most full creatures after we ate it. It wasn’t difficult, and it was damn delicious.

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The Helena Farmer’s Market

29010225864_6e961818bf_b29636475565_d4c424980b_b29636469575_7992002982_b29636470475_fc9c36d5fc_bSaturdays are meant to be spent nibbling on baklava from your local Hungarian baker with the sun shining while meals are being mentally cooked up as you both consider all the options.

Shining jars of pure local honey glisten and you handle produce, feeling the bumpy skin of squash and smelling the roasted peanuts from the stand down the way. A producer snips off carrot stems to keep them fresher for you and people chat, eagerly telling their stories, talking about their vegetables and fruit, giving you more than just food, but giving you a loved, cultivated thing that they cared for enough and are now handing over to you.

Everybody remembers your extra tall partner in crime, and he knows much more about food than you do. He chats about lamb for a good while with some ranchers from Boulder and you people watch. At the end you leave with way too much food for two people but aren’t upset about it.

The Helena Farmer’s Market is a great way to start off a proper weekend. Grabbing a bagel from the Bagel Co. or getting baklava, sipping coffee from one of the food trucks, and letting all the smells and sounds envelop you. You can buy beautiful flowers, little fresh herbs, pheasant skins, jam, handmade hats, candles, fresh bread, multiple kinds of garlic, lip balms and lotions, handmade soaps, beautiful jewelry, and as much kettle corn as you want.

People have a special zest for the farmer’s market here- it’s always busy! Perhaps it’s because we Montanans spend 6 months of the year with fierce, bitter-cold winters, so our time for green things, for food that you can pluck from the soil, is so limited and we understand this relationship. We get to go somewhere with an abundance of beautiful, locally grown things that came from our harsh landscape, and while you hate the winter you love the summer, and ultimately you do love where you live. We love being able to be outside, and any excuse to gather together is taken. Once summer begins to fade, we keep our freezers full of quart bags of huckleberries and rhubarb so that pies can be made. Our mums can fruit and make jam for the long dark months, and some of our fathers gear up for hunting season so that elk, pheasant, deer, goose, and duck can once again be part of our diet and fill the extra freezer many of our families have in the garage or basement. We waste not, we want not, for soon this street and town will be covered in long-lingering chunks of snow and ice and the hours of the day will not be so kind. Better love the enormous sweet onions that call your name and buy the beautiful fresh carrots while you can.

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Grumpy hiking and lamb lunch

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We parked the car in the two story parking area at the base of Mount Helena. My allergies, vicious as they were, matched Logan’s misery as he was getting over a cold. Two congested, miserable souls, eager for exercise, climbed the dusty, hot 1906 trail. It felt like an odyssey.

“I think they re-did the trail” Logan joked at one point. We were mouth breathing, disgusting creatures who agreed that we’d stop once we reached the cave. Thank god the cave wasn’t very far up the trial. We went back down and ran errands, buying droll things humans need to continue existing, like mascara, carpet cleaner, bleach, allergy pills, and Mario Badescu Silver Powder.

Logan did enter an Ulta with me for a few minutes. I told him it was my version of church, and it was fittingly Sunday. As we entered my particular branch of religious worship, I led him to the cologne section. We went deeper into the store. Shiny displays, lit up shelves of $30 lipsticks, blotting papers, blushes, and makeup in every shade of the world, all hemmed in with massive bottles of shampoo, conditioners. As I asked somebody if the Mario Badescu Silver Powder was all gone, Logan looked around, and from his high angle, surveyed the store. “This is a strange place…” he muttered to himself. Thankfully, they had my powder, and we left, me triumphantly beaming. (What would be the male equivalent of an Ulta? Perhaps one of the reasons I love Ulta/Sephora/etc so much is that they are very feminine spaces, and people who identify as women are welcome and there are very few intrusions of male identified persons. I am, when I walk into an Ulta, free to look at cosmetics, hair products, skin care products, etc. and not be surrounded by curious eyes of people who don’t value makeup or cosmetics in the way that I do. I am surrounded by people who likely share my interests, and I automatically am much calmer in said space.) 

After running errands, we went back to the haus. Logan chopped rosemary, garlic, and parsley, and I got out the little cuts of lamb he’d purchased. Making a little sauce from yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and some other ingredients, we also lit the grill and washed watercress (which I had never had before!).

Logan laid the lamb on the grill with sliced, garlic laden zucchini and we opened some Haufbrauhaus Pilsners, which I learned were very similar to the beers that he drinks when home in Brazil. The lamb and zucchini came off the grill and we devoured our meal with zest. Immediately after, we went and took a nap in the park. Fine day, Sunday.

Eat everything and regret nothing: A pizza story

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I pushed the oven temperature button until the oven was as hot as it would go. Apparently I did this aggressively and unnecessarily, as Logan raised his eyebrows and said, “Really?” I responded the oven needed to be as hot as possible or else. It ended up getting turned down by 75 degrees in the end. Sigh.

Sticking a pizza stone in the oven, we began rolling and spreading the pizza dough out, chopping garlic, and getting the odds and ends ready to assemble 5 mini pizzas together for friends and ourselves. I’m about 87% sure that my stomach was making monster noises while all of this was happening. I am 100% sure that I ate some mozzarella chunks and just wanted to eat all of the cheese and skip everything everything else.

Garlic and basil stems simmered with olive oil, then boxed tomatoes, salt, and pepper went in. It smelled incredible. Food strokes multiple senses in beautiful ways and my nose, eyes, ears, and taste buds were all humming as new smells, new noises, and new colorful arrangements were put together.

Each pizza that came out was delivered to the small table where we all consumed slices with zest. We made a favorite pizza of sardines, which I was smitten with (the Dutch pickled herring lover in me knew sardines would be up my alley).

In the end we all gathered around a small table, eating and chatting and admiring the fruits of our labor. These delicious creations linger in my memories (Logan let’s make another sardine pizza allora per favore).

A weekend around Yellowstone

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Logan and I decided a few weeks ago to head to the Boiling River for a weekend. It being not quite tourist season, May seemed like one of the best times to go! We booked a stay at the Gardiner Guest House on the recommendation of a friend, and packed swim suits, towels, and comfortable clothes.

The Gardiner Guest House was the best decision ever. It was affordable, clean, full of character, and the proprietor, Nancy, was the friendliest, most welcoming, and yet not intrusive host! She welcomed us in, showed us where everything was, and told us to settle in. She was attentive, funny, and warm. We got hugs upon departing. (We’re going back for sure). The only thing we had to do: make sure to shut the gate so deer wouldn’t eat her gorgeous flora.

Yellowstone was blessedly quiet. The masses of ridiculously large RV’s and hordes of tightly packed tour groups were not yet present. We sat in the river, saw cow elk (some no doubt pregnant with babies), bison, eagles, hawks, deer, and breathed in the smells of sulfur and sage. It was chilly but not freezing.

Gardiner at night was eerie- there was almost nobody out on a Saturday evening, and we had a quiet beer in a bar on the main drag. I sipped a Bent Nail (Red Lodge Brewing Company I missed you!) and we ate a delicious, cheap pizza at Yellowstone Pizza Company. We walked in the middle of the streets, peeked in alleyways, but didn’t stay out too long- we were chilled from the river.

The next day we had breakfast at the Guest House- a ridiculously delicious affair! French toast with banana and pecan praline sauce, yogurt, fruit, cereal, coffee, tea, and sausages. Sharing breakfast with our hosts Richard and Nancy, we chatted and got the best start to a glorious day. After soaking still more in the river, the Mammoth Terraces called and we admired bacteria mats, terraces, and the gorgeous colors of the thermal pools. Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.

As we drove out of Gardiner and Yellowstone we decided to stop in Livingston. We headed to Katabatic Brewing, which whips up some seriously delicious beer. I had only heard good things from friends and upon entering I saw why- the space is welcoming and the beer awesome. Logan got a flight and the first beer, a Kolsch, was gone immediately. A growler of it came home and it was indeed delicious. We then headed to The Murray Bar, a historic and awesome bar that serves up incredible burgers. We walked around Livingston for a bit, but a toe I hurt badly on the rocks in the Boiling River and the wind drove us to the car pretty quickly (wear sturdy shoes in the Gardiner River y’all!).

Driving home, we were satiated, happy, hot spring river soaked creatures. I could not have had a better foray into Yellowstone and its surrounding area.

 

Still lifes made while home.

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Here are still lifes from mornings, afternoons, evenings, and all times in between.

I don’t know if it’s the Dutch or the art history student in me, but making still lifes is calming, and photographing them more so. I also occasionally make still life images rather than photographing the people I’m with, especially if I’m not feeling bold enough to raise the lens. Instead, I photograph these places almost like crime scenes- as evidence in a way. Somebody accompanied me somewhere and we did something – eat a diner, drink coffee, sip tea, eat bagels, etc.

I’m currently back in Victoria, sipping on peppermint tea and coughing up a lung or two. I started getting sick on my flight home last Sunday, and now I’ve got a nicely nestled chest cough that insists on accompanying me everywhere I go. David Bowie’s newest album came out today, and the hum of my negative scanner paired with his eerie voice is oddly relaxing and keeping my feelings of general awfulness at bay.

Being back in Canada has been busy. Hannah, a dear dear part of my heart, came and stayed with me for three days. Now I’m back to being very, very alone. I’m cleaning and re-arranging my furniture in my tiny apartment and making decorations with origami cranes and living off of yogurt, juice, and tea. Classes will be tough this semester but if I can keep myself on top of things I think everything will line up well.

Time to edit some film, use the tiny little vacuum I purchased (fie upon ye, dust bunnies!), and begin re-decorating to make this space the space for success I need for 2016.

 

Facciamo una pizza

23916176845_b15d3a4eda_b23807866782_9f9f37df53_b23916162115_590dd6eb2b_b23916156155_ab05243291_b23807847652_c029b1643f_b23916143555_6d94211530_bI hadn’t made food with people in months. Living alone my diet mostly subsists of hummus, carrots, apples, cereal, eggs, and food that can be made quickly, which I should be deeply ashamed of.

The first night I made a communal meal with friends I nearly cried. As a Lifetime Member of the Frequent Crier Club (LMFCC) I am unashamed to admit this, because the simple act of being around others with smells and things simmering and conversation seemed ethereal and blissful.

One evening we made a pizza. It was, in theory, to be a proper pizza. We had lined it out- a simple, classic pizza with olives, basil, mozzarella, as much garlic as possible, and a homemade tomato sauce. Molto bene, certo!

Whole wheat flour damned us. We tried to make beautiful pizza dough but made the tiny mistake of using whole wheat flour. The dough did rise- a bit- but kneading it and flattening it showed that the whole wheat had reduced the flexibility and texture of the dough to something that was not necessarily right for pizza.

Regardless, we knew it would taste good, and continued to pile ingredients on with the oven on as high as it would go. Nestled in tinfoil, the pizzas broiled and emerged looking delicious. Even with the odd dough, they tasted excellent.

P.S. I do have blog posts lined up. Lots of 35mm film to be developed and scanned in when I get back to Canada as well. I am not dead, just spending time with the living.

An appreciated delay

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The two week delay in finishing this roll of film and getting it to the lab is actually marvelous. I feel renewed looking at images I haven’t seen before.

I remember having cold hands and feeling like the sun was extra bright. It was a weirdly clear, sunny day in Seattle, after the two days of clouds and rain we’d encountered. We had our heavy packs slung over our shoulders after leaving the apartment we’d rented and walked towards the water, down steep hills. West Seattle and the Sound faced us and there was a cold breeze coming up the wind-tunnel like streets. The lack of caffeine in my system made this cold breeze not entirely welcome. My eyes were all over the place and my mind was as well. We walked right past the gorgeous library, and buildings that had actually been obscured by clouds the nights before. Cities always make me feel hyper aware of my ant-like existence.

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A brief stop in a cafe with big windows and odd coffee only made me hungrier, and in my standard clumsy state I spilled water all over the table and felt like a fool. Food was needed. We found a sushi place and devoured quite a bit of raw fish. We were right next door to the Seattle Art Museum and part of me wanted to venture back inside. I felt like a human battery recharging, sitting in the sun by the water.

I am in the midst of finishing papers and getting images back that were made when I wasn’t so stressed out feels destressing, even though writing about them is essentially shooting myself in the foot, as I should be writing about New Zealand government repatriation programs.

After the last member of our party departed, I spent the afternoon and evening in Seattle solo. I went to dinner by myself with a new book and had two large glasses of dark, dry wine while delving into a gorgeous story. I didn’t sleep at all in my hostel bed, and mostly tossed and turned, waiting for the first sign of morning. My ferry the next day was cancelled so the next day was a flurry of being transferred from bus to ferry, bus to ferry, to finally make it back onto the island. Huge waves tossed our ferry around and arriving in town it was pouring rain in a relentless manner. I got back to my apartment that still smelled like burned pancakes (a mini tragedy involving a spacey grad student and a hot burner) and settled back into my routine.

 

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To finish, I miss making pictures. I want to make more of people. On this trip I made images of my friends tentatively, never outright trying to invade space or be intrusive. I wish I’d made more images on film. On this roll you will note the lack of portraits- I made pictures of food in lieu of people. I feel shy at times making portraits of people I am in close proximity with, as tempting as it is to photograph people.

So, this is a kind warning to everybody I will see over Christmas: I miss making images, and you are all potential subjects. Ready yourselves. I will not be shy, and I’ve got a low-light lens.