I recently took a trip to Oregon and reconnected with some of my special friends there. One of those is Nancy, who had a nice luncheon at her home and even gave us all fun dragonfly bracelets. This is my sketch of the one she gave me. It was', nice to be with friends, breaking bread together, and I have a special souvenir of the occasion.
My birthday was over a month ago, but I am still relishing memories of it, and the things we did. One of the best memories is of was a brunch at a local French restaurant, Le Bernaise.
Louisa, Peter, Griffin and Sophia treated me. It is a beautiful restaurant, and the food is very good. The chief chef/owner is Spike Mendelsohn. Spike also owns two other restaurants on the same block--We the Pizza and Good Stuff. He has been on "Top Chef."
On a pedestal by the front door is a ceramic French Bulldog named Charlotte. She is actually the second ceramic dog in that spot. The first was stolen soon after the restaurant opened, and was never returned. The one that is there now, with a heavy chain, was commissioned and sent from France a few months ago. I love her. She is fierce and loyal. My little painting does not do her justice. She poses in front of a French flag.
Thanks, Smith family, for taking me out to brunch on my birthday and introducing me to a fun restaurant. I have been back and expect to go many times...and always give Charlotte a pat on the head.
Earlier this Summer, I had the fun of taking two almost sixth-grader boys around town the first two weeks of their Summer vacation. The boys were my grandson Griffin and his friend Sebastian. We went a lot of places, and had some good times, including the "Spy in the City" and the Indiana Jones exhibit at the National Geographic Society. We also went swimming and generally just had good times around the city.
I always enjoy time with Griffin, and Sebastian was easy. I think we all had a good time, and mastered some new Metro stops.
It was quite a surprise to get a gift from Sebastian's family, and so thoughtful. They gave me a set of coasters with Washington DC scenes, including one that has the flag of the District. That is what I chose for the image for my thank you cards. DC is not a state, and does not have any voting representatives in Congress. It is an injustice. We pay taxes, but have no representation. I thought that was what the Revolution was about. Anyway, the District flag is a meaningful reminder that we need to keep fighting to get representation.
It's fun to use the coasters....and fun to make the thank you card, which will shortly go in the mail.
One of the hardest things about moving from Portland Oregon to Washington DC was losing the sort of week to week contact I had with my friends in Portland. Thanks to Sue Pike, and many other welcoming people in Capitol Hill Village, I have found people who I love to call friends. Sue and I are in the Cinephiles group and like to go to movies together.
She has been travelling a lot lately and just returned from a trip to South Africa. I am anxious to hear about that. Before she got too busy with her travels, she took me to Hank's Oyster Bar on Pennsylvania Avenue to help me celebrate my birthday. I had heard good things about Hank's, and it was everything I thought it would be. We had a great table, great service and the food was fabulous. It was an evening to remember.
Thanks, Sue, not only for the dinner, but for the welcome as a friend.
One of the very special presents I got for my birthday was a book by my favorite poet, Gary Snyder. It is particularly dear because the "centerpiece" poem is an expression of grief over the death of his wife Carole Koda, who died in 2006. The poem is titled, "Go Now." It brought me back to the grief when Howard died, when I knew there was no other choice for him to "go" and also for me to "go" on...and death from a slow disease isn't "pretty." The "go now" in the poem advises the reader not to read it and turn back from the dark topic. It is a sad poem.
Of course, the book is very "Zen," and it is always good to be in the present moment....while still reflecting, as Gary says,
"This present moment
that lives on
The book cover is a woodblock print by Tom Killion and the back is a photo of Gary Snyder. I didn't think I would be able to do either justice and remembered a cast bell I used to have that I called my "Gary Snyder bell." This little painting is that kind of bell. I have peaceful memories from when Gary Snyder was my neighbor in Mill Valley, and (as I recall) gave me that bell...and of the times, over the years, that I hung the bell in my kitchen.
I am still celebrating my birthday, reflecting on the very thoughtful gifts from my friends and family. I am truly blessed.
My friend Patty sent me a lovely journal in a rich dark blue, embossed with a deep blue dragonfly. In the card I am sending to her, I changed the embossing to gold metallic ink....just so it would show up better.
Thank you Patty. I look forward to recording special thoughts in that journal.