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I thought I should post the remaining photos of my trip to America…

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I thought I should post the remaining photos of my trip to America in November before it becomes too distant a memory. I don't feel like writing at length about it, but perhaps the photos and their thousand words will fill in the gaps.

A cloud factory near Vancouver.

After a longer than scheduled layover in Vancouver we arrived in Seattle very late and jet lagged. We picked up our rental car at SeaTac and made the dubiously safe drive (due to a combination of fatigue and reverse-side-of-the-road adjustment) to Port Townsend to meet Gael at our friend Pete's new restaurant and jazz bar (he's the same who performed at our wedding).

The first thing that struck me about being in America again was the huge increase in SUV's and trucks on the road. I've become accustomed to tiny little European cars mostly being threatened by other tiny little European cars. The insanity of the drivers seems to have also quadrupled.

We arrived at Gael and Danny's beautiful house in the country.

A few days later we cooked dinner for Gael and Nate (Danny was ill). Macsen cooked moules marinière, I made chocolate mousse from his French grandmother's recipe, and Nate brought the sourdough bread he baked.

Gael and Danny at the Tyler Coffeehouse, Tim's delicious butternut squash soup.

Danny and Macsen playing Xbox.

Danny stoking the fire, Pierre.

After three days we drove up to Anacortes and finally saw my father and his gorgeous house. His partner, Patricia, and her son, Saul, came over for a dinner of fresh salmon, clams, and feta and walnut salad. We drank a ridiculous amount of wine which made our heads feel very fragile in the morning.

My dad told us that he was planning to move to Arizona with Pat and Saul at the start of the year. It was quite the surprise, Arizona and my father never went together in my mind before. He has plans to visit us in Europe this spring.

Dad !

For the last few years my father has been framing leaves and flowers that he finds out in the forest, as seen in this photo. When we arrived in his house I noticed it was full of framed leaves and I assumed that, like the past ones, they were real. He then told me to look closer and to my surprise they were all remarkably life-like paintings of leaves.

Thanksgiving Dinner.

My Aunt Mary, Saul, and cousin Jeremy.

We then set off for the long drive across the mountains and desert to Eastern Washington to see my mother and her family.

Dilapidated diner, scary tire shack.

The Rocket Bakery, Spokane.

Macsen and Mom in The Davenport hotel lounge.

My grandfather is a master at woodworking, he made these lamps and tables.

A snow dove and quail.

Driving back west across the desert and mountains.

Back in Anacortes, with the view over Deception Pass.

Black smoke from the air base.

When I wrote down the titles for my mix cd and photographs I included one that I had no idea how or where I would find it. It was called Future Tiger, by Susumu Yokota. I told myself that the tiger would appear, somehow, somewhere. Lo and behold it did, in the form of Jake van Tiger (real name), my father's closest friend of late. Jake also happened to have a large tattoo of a tiger extending from his left shoulder down to his wrist, which he graciously allowed me to photograph.

The rest of our time in dad's house was quiet, mostly because I lost my voice! Two weeks solid of constant conversation took it's toll on my apparently fragile vocal chords. It was rather amusing, though, as I had to whisper what I wanted to say into Macsen's ear and he'd translate it audibly for everyone else.

Jake van Tiger and figures.

Our bedroom was built to look like the captain's quarters of a galleon ship. The only shower I've ever seen with a porthole.

My dad's livingroom in daylight and the church that used to stand where the house is now.

We went out with Dad, Jake, Pat, and Saul to the Brown Lantern in Anacortes. There was some brewery competition going on and our table won the most prizes. The below photo of my dad makes me laugh, it looks so unlike him. He was doing his best brainless party jock impersonation. ;)

As my father and I hugged and said goodbye to each other for what felt like ages he told me, "Stop thinking so much." He also said he thought I had become an incredible woman, which was one of the most heartfelt compliments I've ever received.

Back to Port Townsend for the last leg of the trip.

We ate our last meal with Gael at The Wild Coho.

Gael out-cutes Amélie.

Drinks at Siren's.

Gael's bathroom.

This was the first time I've seen my parents truly settled into their separate lives and separate houses. The division of belongings that I grew up with was apparent. It was interesting to see their two different decorative styles separated; I've been so accustomed to seeing them intermingled all my life.

Before we left Gael gave me Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Since I was a child I've seen it on our bookshelf and was always intrigued by the Pan-embossed bottle on the old cover, but for some reason I never picked it up.

Three tearful goodbyes in a week is about all I can handle.

We once again had a layover in Vancouver where an official looking petite Chinese woman surveyed us about our experience at Vancouver Airport. She asked us several questions and we rated each according to a scale of 1-5, 1 being "poor" and 5 being "excellent". The last question asked us how we found the hospitality of the Canadian people as a whole. Don't worry my Canadian friends, I gave a rating of "5". She thanked us for our time and gave us both a maple leaf pin. I'll bet if I had rated Canadian hospitality a "1" she wouldn't have given me a pin. ;)

Flying over London.

M's parents picked us up at the airport and brought us home to a generous meal of oysters.

"She studied the circle of shellfish, each ritzy blob glistening upon the lustrous floor (or ceiling) of its own intimate architecture, the solidified geometry of its desire.

Briefly, she regarded the uneaten oysters, which, although beginning to look increasingly flabby, lay in perfect repose upon the remaining hemispheres of the dream houses in which they'd once enjoyed such exquisite solitude. Two strong hands and a steel blade were required to storm the privacy of the oyster's dark entrance hall. It takes a team of four horses to force the giant clam of the South Seas to yawn against its will. Every passive mollusk demonstrates the hidden vigor of introversion, the power that is contained in peace.

The oysters, those tender masters of sequestrable engineering, apparently had given up the ghost, perhaps to be reborn, in distance times, in distant foams, as Aphrodites. " - Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins

Recovering back in London.
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On January 27th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Mealtime is definitely sacred in my family. :) I intend to commission a few lamps from my grandfather, something along the lines of the second one. I love that the lampshade is made out of almost paper-thin strips of wood; they have an almost Japanese feel about them.

Branches and leaves are a good choice, I think. I like anything nature-related in design, my own invitations had real feathers.

Gael is the epitome of sweet and sparkly (but in an awesome rather than saccharine way).
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On January 27th, 2005 08:36 am (UTC), ginamoog commented:
As usual I look forward to your posts & the photos & stories that go along with them.

Thanks for sharing your life with us.
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On January 27th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Thank you Gina, I enjoy your photos too (mutual admiration society, here). ;)
On January 27th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC), ginamoog replied:
that's a band name right there MAS!
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On January 27th, 2005 08:58 am (UTC), localcharacter commented:
Not only do I miss PT and all, you've made me miss your family—not just Gael, the only one I actually know, but all of them! Thank you for showing us.
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On January 27th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
I'll bet PT misses you as well. I miss reading your posts about PT now that you've moved, they were a glimpse into a familiar far away world.

How do you find PT when you return to visit? It seemed to have changed significantly since I moved away two years ago, not just physically (Aldrich's, etc.), but the community as well. Perhaps it's because my circle of friends there have pretty much all dispersed to other cities or even countries.
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On January 27th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC), localcharacter replied:
Some of it's still the same—I could go into Sirens and be guaranteed of running into people I know. But, yeah. More upscale restaurants, it seems. The new/old Bread & Roses is good, and Sweet Laurette's, but it's all too organized and official; it's losing the old DIY feel. My favorite breakfast is still at the Blue Moose, but even they're slipping: when we went there, we got table service. I actually dreamed about Melville & Co (Bob De Weese's bookstore) last night. (I didn't go to Pete Toyne's new place, but I see you did.)

I really don't know what it would be like to live there now—it's been two years since I moved to Seattle—but it's still an amazing and magical place to visit. Even if everyone we know gets priced outta there, it'll still have that. But hotel rooms will cost $200 a night.
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On January 27th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC), interimlover commented:
the oysters look yum! and your resemblance to your father is quite strong :)

off-topic... have you tried the new version of Picasa yet? I was playing with it last night... very slick and powerful (especially for a free program).
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On January 27th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
You'd thinking growing up by the sea I would have a preference for raw oysters, but I actually prefer them cooked (sacrilege to most oyster fans it seems). I'll eat them raw, but I don't know, cooked has so much more flavor.

There's a great photo of me and my dad when I was 5-years-old and we both have the same expression on our face, I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

yes, I love Picasa.. it's so fast & really makes finding photos/images easier. I get a lot of use out of the Timeline as well.
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On January 27th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC), interimlover replied:
cooked has so much more flavor

I agree as well, but certain times (namely when I was in New Orleans), raw just really hit the spot :)

find that photo!

Man, now I suddenly want to go back to New Orleans and go on an eating fest.
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On January 28th, 2005 04:08 am (UTC), nomi replied:
The quote above about oysters from Jitterbug Perfume took place in New Orleans, I love the description:

"The minute you land in New Orleans, something wet and dark leaps on you and starts humping you like a swamp dog in heat, and the only way to get that aspect of New Orleans off you is to eat it off. That means beignets and crawfish bisque and jambalaya, it means shrimp remoulade, pecan pie, and red beans 'n rice, it means elegant pompano en papillote, funky filé z'herbes, and raw oysters by the dozen, it means grillades for breakfast, a po-boy with chow-chow at bedtime, and tubs of gumbo in between. It is not unusual for a visitor to the city to gain fifteen pounds in a week - yet the alternative is a whole lot worse. If you don't eat day and night, if you don't constantly funnel the indigenous flavors into your bloodstream, then the mystery beast will keep on humping you, and you will feel its sordid presence rubbing against you long after you have left town. In fact, like any sex offender, it can leave permanent psychological scars." -- Tom Robbins

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On January 28th, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC), interimlover replied:
that describes the feeling i had come over me exactly... awesome passage!
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On January 27th, 2005 10:15 am (UTC), dawaioser commented:
Your photo's alway reduce me to a *speechless* holding pattern. The light is always amber and the rooms look so cozy. I like to picture myself there with you and your companions eating all of the delicious/decadent food and laughing with heartfelt, but quiet mirth.
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On January 28th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC), nomi replied:
You have me thinking now how much fun a lj gastronomy-fest would be. :)
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On January 27th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC), mizerabl commented:
Живут же люди, ептыть!
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On January 28th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC), nomi replied:
"ептыть!" средства?
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On January 27th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC), naturesfriend commented:
Haunting photographs! I was wondering where in Az. your dad is moving to, maybe he'll be a desert creature- winters are wonderful here!
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On January 28th, 2005 04:33 am (UTC), nomi replied:
He's moving to a small town near Tucson. He's always suffered from S.A.D. during the winters, so perhaps more sun will do him good. I hope so! I would like to visit him in AZ sometime as I've never been myself.
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On January 28th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC), naturesfriend replied:
That's near where I live then! There are some great reasons to live in Az. Having S.A.D. is one of the reasons I live here- it helps a lot!
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On January 29th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Tom Robbins
What a great author. Still life with Woodpecker is incredible and I would recommend it first and Another Roadside Attraction is also excellent. Enjoy.Reading his work makes me feel like he and are in on a shared offbeat view of the world.
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On February 2nd, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: Tom Robbins
Thanks for the recommendations, I fully intend to read the rest of Robbin's work. Other authors seemed to lack colour and wit after reading Jitterbug Perfume.
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