Chicago welcomed us with overcast skies and a light drizzle, eventually building up to a torrential downpour by nightfall. We spent our week with J’s cousin Rose, and her husband, Rick, both of whom live on the second floor of a creaky and endearing split-level home in Bridgeport. They told us this house survived the Great Chicago Fire because the neighborhood was located on the other side of the river. The noticeable slant in the floor and the ancient squeaks from the weathered wood revealed the house’s maturity upon walking to the guest bedroom, something Rick humorously pointed out to us.
We flew up to the Bay Area last month during a weekend pocket of calm between rain storms, marking the transition from winter to spring. We did an AirBnB in Berkeley, at a tiny house in our host’s backyard. There were chickens and a friendly black kitten named Aster, and our host shared his record player and books with us. First thing in the morning I’d listen to Nina Simone or Joy Division on vinyl, then read Audre Lorde or t.s. eliot before falling asleep in the evenings.
When we weren’t traveling between Berkeley and SF, we walked through much of the Mission District and Haight & Ashbury, and wandered aimlessly around Berkley and Oakland with walks sometimes spanning 11 miles in a day. We ducked into shops when we got tired, or wandered into cafes or restaurants when we got thirsty or hungry. Sadly, I can’t even remember most of the places we walked into. Regardless of all the time we spent plotting our itinerary in any location, we hardly followed any of it. But I think I like it that way.
I took my dad’s old Fujica AX-5 for a spin a few months ago, and I’ve been gradually filling up the 24-exposure roll with test shots. The prints are far from amazing, with most of the pictures streaked with light leaks. I don’t remember the last time I shot in film, so I’ve been trying to reacquaint myself with the slow process carefully composing, adjusting, and focusing. No throwaway test shots, no autofocusing or white-balancing, no HDR for Lightroom to fix. I’m trying to see it as more of an exercise in patience and observation.
I have mixed feelings about LA. I appreciate that nearly everything wonderful is so accessible within such a compact space of a city; but because LA is so compact, getting from point A to point B won’t happen so easily with freeways congested at nearly all hours of the day.
So we decided on a whim to drive up anyway.
I’ve been to the Getty a few times, but I always discover something new whenever I look at the permanent collection. We went to the Getty Center sometime in the afternoon, when the sun was bright and the travertine surfaces were even more reflective. Sometimes I saw the texture, other times I saw the shape.
More life changes have occurred these past few months: a puppy, new jobs, the slow process of moving house—real life happens, and sometimes it moves a little too fast for me to even remember to document it. And just like that, summer’s over, along with the other three quarters of this year.
Two months ago, I made my very first domestic flight to the East Coast for a wedding in Virginia. J and I thought it was a good excuse to stay in Washington D.C. for the duration of our trip. We did the usual touristy things, and I finally crossed off one of my bucket list items by visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot we have’t seen, so we will be back someday, D.C. I still have my metro card.
It’s been sunny for most of the week, with the exception of yesterday and today. I’ve been really enjoying how quiet it’s been here. When there isn’t much distraction, sometimes you tend to be a little more sensitive to your surroundings, and things like the way morning, afternoon, and early evening light color everything. I also feel a little more motivated to get things done.
This past week was pretty hectic, so there are a few iPhone photos today.
Not too long ago I made popsicles using coconut milk, this particular variety of green tea from Harney & Sons, and some strawberries and blueberries. Then I sweetened both the coconut milk and the green tea with a bit of stevia. Some of them didn’t come out as stratified as I would have liked, but that’s because I’d disturb the pop molds every couple of minutes. Depending on the temperature of your freezer, you want to wait anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour between pouring liquids and adding fruits; i.e, don’t poke at it and remove the sticks every fifteen minutes like I did.
It’s been such a busy week so far, but it’s always like that around any sort of holiday. Being swamped with responsibilities can sometimes open up opportunities for exploration and experimentation. It’s still possible to find time to play; making time for it helps release a little steam before returning to the busyness. Sometimes it’s doing yoga, experimenting with a new recipe, or simply going outside.
Sometime late last year, we got married during a heatwave and drove up the central California coastline after it was all said and done. We drove through Big Sur up to Monterey, and then back down. I’m hoping this year will be filled with more adventures, whether they are the outside variety, or the quiet ones that happen in the imagination.