Hug Point State Park, on the Oregon Coast
Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)
The chandelier is my secret sign that I am on the right path. It's kind of like how spies might have left a big X in a window or something. Back in the clumsy old days. (I'll write more about this soon, because it's a very fun thing to play with, and I can't find the original post about it.)
What we are doing here:
Dwelling in mystery.
Luxuriating in pleasure.
Seeking the hot tracks.
Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.)
And: asking What else might be possible?
Anyway, I keep thinking about picking a new symbol, because chandeliers are really pretty common. And then something will happen like a new building will go up at the top of my street, and a chandelier shop opens in the flagship space.
Or I'll be sitting down to brunch with Havi, discussing various spy missions, thinking how much more sophisticated and Bond-ly hers are, and how I really should upgrade from chandeliers to something like I don't know foo dogs or York roses, and then I'll look out the window, and there will be a huge chandelier in a specially constructed glass box in the back of a pickup truck, doing a drive-by of the restaurant, inches from my open mouth. Which happened this week.
So that is why I stick with the chandelier.
Another coincidence happened while I was in Portland: I was thinking about my former neighbor David G, an accomplished musical saw player. One of the best shows I've ever seen was him accompanying the energetically anti-modern singer Elizabeth Butters. They did a lot of sad Appalachian murder ballads, to which the spooky, mournful musical saw is the perfect accompaniment. I was remembering that show, thinking It's really too bad you don't hear the musical saw more.
The next day Mr Jones and I were strolling around downtown Portland and there she was, a busker with a musical saw. Second live musical saw of my life. And yesterday, a note from David, who I haven't heard from in months.
Finally, when I first arrived in Portland, I stayed at a hotel downtown where the doorman told me that a number of new murals had gone up in the weeks I'd been away. He said his favorites were two in the Alberta district. Of course that's where I was going for the rest of my stay. When I arrived in Alberta that afternoon, I immediately saw one of the murals he'd been talking about. It was on the building I'd be working in all week.
So there is this rule among shamans, or so they tell me, that you don't reveal the nature of your power animal to anyone. Which is KILLING ME because this mural depicted mine, with all the unnatural and peculiar aspects in which she appears to me, and I mean these aspects are UNUSUAL and oh! it's so frustrating not to be able to say this and this and this and this! and Can you BELIEVE IT?!
Anyway, it was by the far the most magical trip to Portland ever.
Continuing my experiment with ferocious self-care, I had been writing reminders about it at the top of each day's diary page (the one where I put my appointments and notes; it's not really a contemplative journal). I have been having fun with this, so we have days like:
- Oh, the Ferocity!
- The Voluptuous Ferocity of Self-Care
- Continuing FEROCITY. Raaar!
- Never More Ferocity Than Today
- Not Even Ready to Stop the Ferocity of Self-Care
Then I stopped the reminders a few days ago. And I noticed that was when the self-care levels dropped from ferocious to, well, let's say kittenish. I resist the idea of written reminders because HOW PEDESTRIAN. But all the while I gather evidence that written reminders are very powerful for me.
The other reminder I've been working with is something Elizabeth (not Butters) said about being mindful of "the consequences of even minor caretaking," where caretaking is, as I understand it, paying more attention to the [possibly imaginary] needs of someone else than the factual demonstrated needs of your own. I cannot stop thinking about this phrase. It finds many occasions to arise during the day.
They go together, the Voluptuous Ferocity of Self-Care and Noticing the Consequences of Even Minor Caretaking.
I used to think that if I ever got a tattoo, it would be that Chaucer quote: "The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne." One part on each wrist, maybe. But if I could get a temporary tattoo, this year's would be "Mind the consequences of even minor caretaking."
Updates on past experiments
None of you wrote to report known instances of builders saving marriages. I hope that's because you were content to read and contemplate, not because there are no documented cases of builders saving marriages.
Anyway, I was in Boulder and then Portland* when Operation Mod Cons started in earnest. I was away for two weeks. When I came back a week ago, the builders were still working.
And they are here today. It is rather hard to practice all the means of Ferocious Self-Care with them in the house. But! I am still married and my bathrooms are starting to look pretty beautiful. I put some foo dogs in the tiled window niche in the downstairs bath. They are meant for protection - ferocious protection - but one of the dogs looks terrified and the other one is totally faking it. I think they might have to go back to Foo School.
Both dogs are cross-eyed. I figured Mr Jones wouldn't even notice them, but weirdly, he has kind of fallen in love.
*I stayed at a place with a gorgeous kitchen, the renovation of which the host told me was the final straw for the previous owners' marriage. GAH.
Destination: Date night
What has happened? Mr Jones and I went to Beast in Portland for brunch and it was even better than I had imagined. Portland is full of people doing food at a really high level, as is well known, but it's really remarkable how young a lot of these people are.
Beast is very tiny; I think it seats 32 people and has two seatings a night. There are no choices; everything is fixed (and it's not even a little bit vegetarian-friendly, which is unusual anywhere, but especially in Portland, so be warned). They have an open kitchen, which is just a corner of the dining room (which itself has only two big tables), so you can see the food being prepared - and dishes washed. I was watching the young woman assemble the salad course, carefully choosing greens for each plate, efficiently but without rushing. On another day I might have found it all too precious. But that day I was just really impressed with the combination of her youth and her seriousness.
I worked in restaurants when I was in my 20s, too, and I didn't take my work anything like as seriously as the people you can observe everywhere in Portland. The kind of places I worked - Fred's Steak House, Dot's Diner (their real names) - did not teach lavish attention to the placement of salad greens on the diner's plate.
Even so, I could have brought something more to my work. It makes me a little sad to have missed the wave of It's OK to Take Food Seriously, because when I was in the biz, the job was mostly something to be ashamed of. To that girl at Beast: RESPECT.
I t's worth planning a couple months ahead to get a reservation there. It's a very beautiful and comfortable room, and the food was perfect. It reminded me a lot of Prune. Just lovely.
- Alden & Harlow
- Alinea (Chicago)
- Area Four
- Battersby (Brooklyn)
- Bondir Concord
- Coppa (for brunch)
- Franny's (Brooklyn)
Kirkland Tap & Trotter
- Myers & Chang
- No. 9 Park
Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
- Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
- Roberta's (Brooklyn)
- West Bridge
Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:
- B&G Oysters
- Brick and Mortar
- Miracle of Science
That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.
Join the experiment?
You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or discuss foo dogs. Or just say Hi.