I can’t even remember Friday, it seems too long ago.
Saturday started with a two-hour hike in Arcata Community Forest with my oldest daughter, her Akita and Chihuahua, plus her roommate’s bull terrier-mastiff mix. We made quite the quintet. My legs ached from the uphill climbing action, but I gloried in how good I felt overall — until the 6 a.m. jogging squad motored past us. That certainly put some perspective on motivation.
So nice to spend time in the redwoods, admiring the sun streaming through the branches, lighting up the ferns. Most of my regular outside experience centers around dunes, ocean and rocks, but the trees are what pulled us here. I remember the first day in Arcata, back in 1995, roadtripping up the coast to Bobby’s family reunion in Seattle. The Co-op, then Redwood Park — we didn’t move till two-and-a-half years later, but I knew that day this was where I wanted to be. Not that we could afford Arcata — plus, with kids and a dog, we had very little hope of finding landlords that would rent to us instead of college students/growers, a situation I never fully understood — so we ended up in Ridgewood Heights and then Manila. As nice as living in town would be, I’m grateful we had the experience of living in conservative Eureka, where multi-generational Humboldt County families are the norm and most of them with a history of logging. Our politics remained intact, but our perspective expanded much more than if we’d moved directly into Arcata’s bubble. And living in Manila has not only brought us great landlords, but also fulfilled my lifelong dream of living within walking distance of the ocean. So despite my initial crushing disappointment that no one in Arcata would have us, things certainly worked out in a most rewarding way.
This is actually the third place I’ve lived within a few blocks of the Pacific; the others were Long Beach (1991-1994) and Cardiff-By-the-Sea (1988). When I lived in LB, I sometimes biked down to Seal Beach, just south of where the San Gabriel River empties out. Once I biked up the Los Angeles River — in my naiveté, I noted on the map that I could bike from our apartment, up the river, then over to Bobby’s work. So I loaded one-year-old Chelsea onto her bike seat and journeyed forth. Through some particularly gang-infested areas. Scary. Teenagers tooling around under the overpasses with semi-automatics scary. I was very aware that if someone decided to hassle me or maybe murder us and throw our bodies into the river, no one would ever know what happened. But nothing did. Sometimes I have an overactive imagination. Still, that part of town was not one I opted to tour through again.
Moving to Humboldt was a whole new experience in rivers. For one, they’re not encased in concrete. Also, instead of dread, they offer peace, escape, reconnection, a cleansing both literal and metaphorical. Of course, the Trinity scares me a bit, the heartbreaking news of drownings too constant an occurrence. I am careful, often opting for the gentler Van Duzen or south fork of the Eel. Today, however, we did go to the Trinity, lured by the promise of greater heat and less company. An undercurrent of worry tugged at my thoughts now and again, but I pulled myself free enough to enjoy the friendship, food and family surrounding me as the river rushed along so cold and fast, yet clear and lovely — everything in life should be so defined in such crystalline terms. Even with the racing, chilly waters, we found a spot calm enough in which to swim.
Saturday evening, revelry had ruled for hours. I’d bought some great new shoes — I’m not typically a shoe person, but these really do inspire a touch of lust — and looked forward to the Journal’s moving party. The event did not disappoint. I danced with great passion to Magnum, failing to heed the lesson taught by Seinfeld:
Fortunately, so far the photos/videos I’ve seen so far are acceptable — you might not be able to tell, but I did look fantastic — excuse the lack of modesty, but hey, when you’re 40 and surrounded by teenagers, you have to hold on to anything that bolsters your self-esteem.
“Acceptable” clearly being a relative term! Anyway, great shoes, tight black skirt, flattering blue top, good hair — much better than when I showed up for Hands Across the Sand and was unexpectedly Flip video’ed by Bob Doran. Seriously.
Notes to self:
- When hosting a public event, assume someone may be taking photos/videos. Duh.
- Just because it’s Humboldt, don’t think you don’t need some mascara and a decent lip gloss.
- Video is not radio. Hold still. Don’t flail your hands and for the love of all that is good and decent, don’t tilt your head and look up like some kind of space cadet!
- A cute beanie is a perfectly acceptable beach remedy to a bad hair day.
Live and learn, right? Next time, I’ll be ready!
Back to the dancing.
Look, I make no claims to having anything resembling coordination. I am aware of my flaws, both physical and otherwise. But I love to get my groove on with friends and will not apologize for it. I come from a childhood of painfully shy and socially awkward, so if I can at least get past the shy part, then, well, mission accomplished.
Sunday, I worked a booth on the Arcata Plaza all day, then came home, vegged out, crashed out. It was awfully boring for a Fourth of July. Without the Crabs game and following fireworks, I had no idea what to do. So we did, essentially, nothing. Which was a much less rewarding sort of nothing than going to the river and doing nothing.
What a long, rambling post. Well, this is what happens when I force myself to write while waiting for enough time to pass that I can check Nick’s blood sugar level and then get to sleep myself.