We're back in London now (since the 29th) after a whirlwind trip back home. It was an extremely busy two weeks and I think we both need another vacation to recover. Because of family obligations I was unable to see many of my friends or meet any of you who wished to, which I regret now. I wish we had set aside at least one day just to see friends, but then I didn't even have time to see all the family that I wished to either. How do you cram in all of the friends and family you haven't seen in a year into just two short weeks? So apologies to Becca (Ukoiya), Brian, Matt, M@, Steve, Hal, Kyla, Greg & Mary, Aaron, Leni, Cameron, Dan, Bret, and so on. I wanted to see/meet you all, hopefully we can hook up next time.
It was intense emotionally, with meeting my parents' new partners (which wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected) and having to say goodbye to everyone again after such a brief visit. I had the incredible experience of going back to Sinclair Island, the island I grew up on, for a day. It was like visiting a dream since I hadn't been there for over 12 years. I was also able to retrieve some of my belongings out of storage and brought them back to London, most importantly some paintings from my dad and friends, a few books, wedding gifts, medical records, and clothes.
It feels strange to be back in London again so soon, I'm used to periods of several months to over a year between my visits to the UK. It was also my first time doing this now familiar and routine trans-Atlantic hop with Max.. it's much more entertaining with someone and it's so nice to be able to lean on each other when tired (it's a small thing, but it makes a big difference).
I'm still recovering from jetlag and a messed up body clock. I couldn't fall asleep last night until 5:30am and I haven't been able to eat anything but toast during the days since we got home.
So, here is part 1 of the condensed recap of our trip (parts 2 & 3 coming soon):
September 13th, Saturday
The evening before we left we saw on the news that there was a security alert over a suspect vehicle at Gatwick near the south terminal - our terminal - and that a bomb squad had been called in ("just our luck", we said).
At 5:00am we were woken up by a burlgar alarm and a policeman knocking on the door. Simon, who lives in the bottom flat, was out for the night and his burglar alarm had been triggered somehow so our downstairs neighbor called the police. We told them we didn't know anything and decided to stay awake since we couldn't go back to sleep with the alarm blaring. A few hours later we caught a taxi to Gatwick.
The police ended up blowing the abandoned car up, but thankfully it didn't contain a bomb, nor did it end up effecting our travel plans. Because of the scare the security was high, so we went through several searches before boarding our Northwestern Airlines flight to Minneapolis. The flight was about 9 hours long since we flew straight over the Atlantic rather than over the arctic North, as you do when flying directly to and from Seattle (which only takes 9 hours in total). They're not bloody kidding when they call Minneapolis "The City of Lakes", I had never seen more lakes in my life, they extended for as far as I could see. We had a two hour layover and as we prepared to board the flight to Seattle it was announced that under Minnesota state law we were not required to show our passport when boarding. Northwestern also has a self check-in service, which means that in Minnesota one could buy their ticket online, check themselves in, and board a plane without ever having to show their identification. We were shocked that this was allowed in the current climate. With so many gaping loopholes still in the system it is no wonder 9/11 was pulled off with such ease. After another 4 hours flying we arrived in Seattle and picked up our hire car which they gave us a free upgrade on. Max adjusted to driving on the opposite side of the road with my help and we zoomed past Seattle for the two hour drive to Anacortes.
We arrived there at 9pm, exhausted after travelling for 24 hours. My dad invited us to go see Voodoo Spoon (now Spoonshine, they played at our wedding) at the Brown Lantern that evening, but we declined since our legs and brains felt like jell-o.
We spent most of our time in Anacortes socializing with my dad, grandparents, and other visiting family. We gave my grandparents some Thorntons chocolates and even though he doesn't usually like sweets we gave Dad a huge white chocolate Toblerone since he seemed to be digging on it so much during Christmas in France.
some of my dad's watercolors @ my grandparents - far right is me at age 8
We drank a lot of coffee with dad at La Vien Rose and met his girlfriend, Denise, albeit briefly. I knew Denise before from when we owned The New Bohemian Coffehouse in the early 90's and I've always liked her. I saw several people from my past, but many, like me, have moved on to different corners of the world. Anacortes has become even more conservative and overrun with the typical commerical chains so that it's hardly distinguishable from the rest of Small Town, America. The new library kicks ass, however. I have library envy.
We took a walk up and down Commercial Street so I could see what businesses have changed and we strolled down to the docks to watch the sea.
`is that for real!?'
Dad has a small cozy studio which he showed us his new work in. Every morning when he wakes up he creates an abstract piece reflecting the feeling of the day and they're ever-changing on his walls, nothing is permanent enough to become "stagnant". He plans to contact the new library about doing a large piece for their immense wall space and he's considering the possibility of selling small pieces as one might sell flowers, relatively cheaply for people to buy daily or weekly, refreshing them frequently like on his studio walls. The people who buy them will always have something fresh and new. It's an interesting idea and I think it could work, although I'm unsure if enough people would get the concept in Anacortes. He's still doing some net work, making a couple websites here and there, and he may return to France, Italy, or perhaps even London sometime in the not too distant future. It was great to reconnect with him as the majority of our correspondence these past few months have been through cell phone text messages.
`what is it?'
`let me show you...'
first off, i would just like to welcome you back. my friends' list has been missing something these past weeks. :)
it sounds like you had a wonderful time with your father. he is such an amazing artist! and you were such a beautiful and serious-looking 8-yr-old...
that shrub pic is awesome. americana from the past couple of years scares the bejeezus out of me, but in a humorous way. i suppose.
anyway, welcome back and best of luck with getting your clock back on GMT.
can't wait to hear more!
Thank you! I'm so behind on everyone's journals.. there isn't much hope of me catching up so I hope I haven't missed any major life changing events.
He is an incredible artist, I'm so happy I was able to bring back one of his paintings to London. It's made our flat warmer and feel more like home. I remember sitting for that watercolor, do you have any idea how difficult it is for an 8-year-old to stay still for a portrait? ;)
I knew I was in America when I saw that dubya "praying for peace" picture in the window of a xtian store. My dad pointed out how prominent his wedding ring was. gag.
nope, just some job drama in my life, i've been to a few interviews this week. it's stressful, but i'm sure it will all work out fine. however, speaking of your dad, and the artists & criticism convo we were having a while ago on your journal, i did respond to your last reply, and you had some really good things to say, so check it out when you get a chance. you had some really thoughtful questions so i would hate to leave that thread hanging! :)
i can't believe you sat still for that long at the age of 8. you look pretty peaceful, too!
you didn't miss any art posts while you were traveling. i do have some stuff i need to scan, tho.
and i undrestand what you mean about most of your crative work being private. especially with my writing, only a small percentage is intended to be seen by others (especially others i don't know). LJ has actually helped me come out of my shell a little bit, this is the most i've written for a public audience in a long time!
I say "welcome back!" even though you're now thousands of miles farther away from me than you were. :-)
You are totally right about needing a second vacation to recover from the first. Just imagine what it's like with kids...
Lovely pictures, as always. Thanks. (Are the hanging ellipsoids with tendrils at the Anacortes library?)
that is true, interesting to think about. it was frustrating being less than a mile or so from M@ and others and not being able to meet up. now there's a 5,000 mile gap between us again.
I'd rather not imagine travelling with kids at this time, thanks. ;)
yes, the ellipsoids are at the new library.. it's a beautiful library throughout.
Gorgeous pictures - I was wondering about the hanging ellipsoids as well. Really good seeing some more of your dad's work too - I think I've only ever seen snarg before, none of his "offline" stuff. What websites has he been doing? And is he still c/o Blue "Chevy Van 20"?
I just wish all those pictures had labels... find myself asking "what is it?"... "Let me show you..."
Thank you, the ellipsoids are in the foyer of the new library. There's also a beautiful wrought-iron staircase to the second level. it's seriously one of the nicest libraries I've seen, especially for a small town.
wow, that's true, I guess you wouldn't have seen his analogue work. Have you two ever met in person? I'm happy he's painting again, but then I like all of his work regardless of the medium.
The websites are mainly for a few friends, I don't know much about them. And yes, he still has the old chevy van. :)
No, we've never met in person - we almost half-arranged things in the past, when he's been to London to visit you, but never quite pulled it off. We even talked about flying him over the the UK to do some work, 3 or 4 years ago when Leo Burnett's were throwing silly money at us to do web work, but that never happened either. And I wondered about visiting him in Italy, but... no go.
So... lemme know next time he's in town :-) otherwise, I think our best chance will be if/when we go to visit our friends in Canada, on Hornby Island, but I can't see us having the time and money for that for another two or three years at least, probably longer.
Glad to see everything went well. I remember trips home when I was on leave from the military never had enough time for everything you want to do. It always seemed like you were stepping back on the plane almost as soon as you got off of it. You always end up seeing people in passing, trying to set something up and then realizing that something else is happening then.
yes, that's exactly what it's like. not easy, is it? at least I don't have to go back to the military like you did.
Sometimes I wish I could move europe and the pacific northwest closer together, that would make my life muuuch easier.