Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flickers of Memories


Nothing ages you quite like going back to a place you haven't seen in fifteen years. I feel like I have lived through multiple lives, the former one being so full of events and memories that have been fuzzed out by the many that happened in the latter. Everywhere I go, I wonder if my little blonde-headed four to eight year old self stepped foot here too.

And, yet, I know that in most cases the answer is 'no'. We lived in Glendowie and so stayed mostly on the other side of the bridge from where I'm residing, on the North Shore. Thus, most of this experience is genuinely new and lovely in all its opportunities for discovery and growth.




Yesterday, I went to a new place (I think) with some new friends. Muriwai Beach was reminiscent of Hawaii with its black sand, rocky cliffs, and turquoise waves. And, yet, walking along the shore in my sweater, only letting my toes occasionally touch the chilly water, I could have easily been back on the West Coast of the U.S.

I don't mean to break this beautiful scene apart into disparate parts of the world, and dilute its Kiwi-ness. It was genuinely its own, with gannets and surfers in ice-cold water and a mix of palm trees, evergreens, and sheep-speckled hills meeting the shoreline.


Tonight I'm straddling that fifteen year bridge again. I sit at a kitchen table in a home that is entirely new to me, but has been warmly opened to the role that I'm currently living as a grown woman, a college graduate who has moved away from mum and dad to establish myself (whatever that means, right?). And, yet, I sip a drink that surely passed my lips as a child, a drink that awakens flickers of memories. Milo's milky, chocolaty warmth passes through this ceramic mug onto my cold hands that have aged from chubby and naive to slender and scarred in the course of years.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Not So Long Ago

It feels like ages ago that my sister and I passed through Oregon, meandering down the coastline highway. We stayed on the slow, scenic 101 for as long as we could, taking in its charm and beauty. Forced to turn inland about midway down the coast, we parted ways with the long stretch of shoreline, widening and narrowing but always being met by powerfully crashing waves, icy from their origin in the northern Pacific Ocean.

I say that it feels like ages ago, but in fact it was last Sunday. And Monday. Here are some favorite photos.




I'm trying to keep Flickr updated with photos (especially since my blog is so behind). Stop by there if you'd like to see more.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Necessary Stop

A week ago this morning, my sister and I opened the front seats of a little white Honda Accord, took a look back at the objects filling the seats behind us - suitcases, boxes, a snowboard, two long hand-wittled walking sticks, and spare cameras - and closed our doors with caution and excitement.

To save myself space and give you a little extra time in your day, I'll skip ahead to today and let you know that we are now in Santa Barbara, California. Our starting point was Lynden, Washington, and we've enjoyed a (mostly) leisurely-paced drive down the West Coast, taking more photos than I can quote in any sort of accurate quantity.


I will try to share a fair amount of photos and stories in the next few days. If that doesn't happen, I'll simply have to move on because on Thursday night I board a plane for Auckland, New Zealand, and twelve hours later I will touch down in a land and life that deserves stories all its own, brought to you with fresh photographs and still-forming perspectives.

For now, let me back up a few days earlier than last Sunday. It was Thursday, in a life where my sister and I still considered a two hour drive quite lengthy. We got on I-5 that morning and headed south to Seattle to visit friends and family, faces that needed to be seen in person before our departure.

Delancey, Seattle - 1

To finish off our day, we met with two friends at Delancey in Ballard. Now, you should know, this was not just a random dining selection. Ever since Molly, of Orangette, shared that she and her husband were planning on opening a wood fire oven pizza place in Seattle, I have been anxious to go. It worked out quite perfectly that by the time I made my way back to Seattle eight months later, the restaurant had been open for a couple weeks. Better yet, I had friends that were just as eager to try it (and a gluten-intolerant sister who was willing to 'treat' herself to a fluffy wheat-filled pizza crust just for the occasion).

The photographs I took sadly do not include any of the food we ate. By the time we got there, the light outside was fading, and when the food arrived, I decided I wanted to put my camera aside and really focus the food and conversation before me.

Delancey, Seattle - 3

Frankly, everything was superb. I loved the salad options available: a fresh corn and tomato one and one of lively dark greens and paper-thin slivers of radish, both with successfully simple vinaigrettes. Our pizzas were of the foraged mushroom and shaved zucchini variety. The first was the special of the day, but I don't recall many details beyond that for either pizza (I haven't found their menu online to jog my memory). Actually, I know the zucchini one had delightful little salty bites of anchovies and am fairly confident the mushroom one was finished with a topping of fresh marjoram. Knowing the standard of good food that Molly and Brandon hold (this is willfully shared through Molly's blog and book; I am not a stalker!), the sauce and cheeses used on their pizzas are very purposefully and wisely chosen, making for pizzas that belong with a glass of wine.

Delancey, Seattle - 4

We four girls shared a lovely rosé throughout the meal and two desserts to top the night off. I never thought of ordering a popsicle in a sit-down restaurant before, but when our waitress told us that Molly had picked the blackberries a couple days before and we saw cute little glasses, like tall, skinny shooters, arriving at other people's tables, we decided that was just what we wanted: a blackberry yogurt popsicle and chocolate chip cookie with grey salt. Both were delicious, but the popsicle was the surprise favorite.

The photos scattered throughout this post tell a story of the atmosphere of Delancey much more than the food, but when it comes to eating, the environment is often just as important as the food in the end. The decisions made at Delancey for a bar and its subsequent stools, an open kitchen, specials on a chalkboard wall, framed photography on the walls, and contrasting light fixtures hanging on long thin black stems from the ceiling make the entire place casual, yet classy, yet entirely unpretentious.

Delancey, Seattle - 2

I might just move to Ballard when I return from the land of the kiwi bird.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Northwest Bug

Life's days are continuing to fly out from under me. Since getting to Bellingham, I've had my wisdom teeth removed, helped my mom move houses, prepped for and celebrated her wedding, and tried (with some success) to see people I'm needing to say goodbye to before heading across the Pacific Ocean...indefinitely.




Fortunately I've made it to the farmer's market twice, as you can see above, and spent time in one of my favorite cafes; the third floor of Village Books and the view out the window are what you see in the photos below.





The Temple Bar is on the schedule for later this week, and a day in Seattle is coming tomorrow, so somehow I'll satisfy a bit of my Northwest bug before heading out on the road for ten days. My sister and I will be winding our way down the coast visiting friends and family on our way to LAX with suitcases and plenty of cameras and playlists in tow.