Category Archives: Oregon

Walla Walla: travels to and from


Thanksgiving evening on the side of the freeway in Grants Pass.

We spent Thanksgiving hitch hiking through Northern California. The night before we got a hotel room in Eureka. We were trying to get to Eugene but called it a night in Canyonville, after a trucker dropped us off at a truck stop near the casino. We made it to Roseburg the next day via a local bus and took Greyhound from there – Casper to Eugene and me to Portland.

Foggy mountain morning

Foggy mountain morning

It has been 15 days since we left Humboldt County. In those two short weeks we have seen a lot of extended family – me in Olympia, Seattle and Walla Walla and Casper in Eugene – and we are exhausted from the combination of transition, travel and visiting.

My parents reside in Walla Walla and I came home with them the weekend after Thanksgiving. Casper joined us a week later via Amtrak from Eugene.

That was four days ago. Tonight we board an Amtrak train headed east. Saturday morning my sister will pick us up in Minneapolis and yet another life begins. We will descend into yet another world.

And that is what we do, you know: we place ourselves over and over in new worlds. We watch and listen a lot; don’t speak as much as you might think.

And right now we’re thinking that we want to do more of that.


On top of a parking garage in Roseburg, Oregon.

My mom will join us out in Wisconsin for Christmas, and a good friend of Jess’ (who we met when we visited her in Texas last year) is coming right after Christmas. She is house-sitting a little house in the same valley where we grew up and our own self-built house still stands.

Sisters are magical; I expect great beauty and growth for all present in the next three weeks. Also there will be a lot of really good food and my sister’s beautiful laugh which is contagious, particularly for me.

After Wisconsin – January? February? – Casper and I are flying to Mexico City! “Another white dash,” I think when I contemplate our latest leap of faith into a new world – and “once more with feeling”. Pack the bags. Reconsider your few belongings: what is now superfluous that last week was essential? what new items have taken top priority? We leave behind the ripped sleeping bag that was our only blanket this summer and trade out Casper’s threadbare backpack for a big duffel bag. I get to pack dresses, my paints and brushes, more than one pair of shoes. Every item we use regularly is re-examined for its worth in our new situation. Every possession is chosen.


“Please understand I have been waiting to leave ever since i figured out there were roads willing to take me anywhere i wanted to go.”

In Mexico, we plan to live in Xalapa. We know what we want to do with our time and just need the space to do it so cheap rent and foreign culture beckon us. We are excited, though this morning our minds and hearts are caught up in the present transitions of leaving Walla and arriving in Wisconsin and the dreamy travel-time of Amtrak in between.

Oh, and I’m making solstice cards and I want you to want one. Send me your address in the next week or so for best results. <3


Food photos…

Casper, as many of you know, is an excellent cook. No formal training, but years of close friendship with chefs plus a love of learning, other cultures and serving people make him quite the host, too. Food stamps allow us to buy good ingredients and Casper always finds a way to make things tasty even if we’re in a dirty kitchen, inside a tent, under a bridge, etc.

Quick photo post…

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Eugene Library Eavesdropping

Drinking tea and nibbling gluten free goodies at the Eugene library cafe. Casper is off somewhere doing what he does with a guy we met at a free meal. Working on three jobs today: my sister’s midwifery business, a friend’s health and wellness website, and ghostwriting articles.

A mother/caregiver of a four-or-so-year-old to my right is really calmly explaining that sometimes yelling is a bit loud even though enthusiasm is a really great thing. “I know it can be hard sometimes because you get really excited about things but sometimes we just need to be a little quieter.”

The six-or-so-year-old on my other side is asking her dad if his imaginary friend would like any of his bagel since her imaginary friend quite enjoyed part of her bagel. “Where is your imaginary friend, dad?” “He’s on the floor.” The one-or-so-year-old is babbling at and about the ceiling. A few minutes later: “Aren’t you going to bring your imaginary friend, dad? Or is he flying home?” She is grinning. “Yup, he’s flying home today,” the dad says.

Eugene: dumpster diving

Half-way through our stay at Shady Pines, Casper and I walked to the U of O campus and did some dumpster diving. College students are crazy when it comes to getting rid of stuff! And of course graduation week is the best time to hit the dumpsters.

We feasted on much of what we found but also brought a bunch of stuff back. Our loot, according to my journal, included a bag of bing cherries, about a dozen squished mini cupcakes (pictured in tinfoil), cookies, one pair of jeans, a take out container of curry, a roll of paper towels, an entire carton of imported Vietnamese noodles (pork and bamboo shoot flavor), several nice bath towels and bagels galore.

The great pile of dumpstered goods we scored at U of O, piled on the kitchen table at Shady Pines.

Eugene: TenderForever!

We got to see TenderForever! Never heard of her? Check out The Magic of the Crashing Stars and her cover of Justin Timberlake’s My Love.

On June 7th or 8th, I was going through bookmarks (I am a hoarder of digital reminders) and that led me to her website. While looking around to see if she was still in France or what, I saw she was going to be in Eugene on the 10th!

So we went on our second day back in Eugene. It was free because we stood outside the fest (Out/Loud). So many beautiful queer people! Luckily I had a freshly shaved faux hawk.

Casper’s handy work.

In fact, I made a game of the haircut, counting 15 other faux/mohawks  on fest goers during the hour or so we were there. This was helped along by a hair salon booth advertising “FREE DYKE HAIRCUTS”.

And Tender Forever was gorgeous, too, and had a French accent and never never never stops moving on the stage.

Way back from the stage…but still! Plus, she came running off the stage at the end, did a loop in the audience near us and paused to say thank you to the security guards.

Eugene: a day (or at least a few hours) in the life

Here’s an adapted and illustrated journal entry from June 10…

11:30am – library – Eugene

Casper at church. I woke up alone at Shady Pines to the sound of a woman orgasming somewhere in the house. I think in the basement.

I pulled myself thankfully out of a vicious-cycle dream of guns, disappearances, strangers gathered around a lake on a steep grassy bank, and broken glass pipes. Rolling up our bedding and setting it out of the way, I gathered all our other things lying around before leaving the room.

Gritty punk lady housemate perched on the front porch railing with dreadlocks, all black clothes and a friendly dog named Rosie. The door was pulled open leaving only the frame of a screen door. Elegant metal work framed the overgrown yard as I looked out from the dark hallway.

Dining room kitchen looking out the front door at Shady Pines.

Then I took lots of photos of the space because the house was empty of people and full of sunlight and shadows.

Shady Pines kitchen

Dining room/kitchen spray paint wall art.

In the car, I put some things here and some things there and ended up bring with me: computer bag, headphones, journal, sketchbook, city map, empty water bottle, car keys, phone and, because I forgot to take it out of the back pocket of my overalls, rose petal witch hazel.

I wore the headphones as I walked, the plug-in tucked inside my pocket so I could sing to myself and not look crazy.

Casper had left me a note underneath my blue traveling lizard who was tucked inside my set of car keys. The note was written in bleeding red ink in Casper’s usual unschooler scrawl. “I’m at church, I’ll meet you at the library after 1, or if the library is closed the bus station.”


It is going to be a really good day.

Ignorant Art: on the street

I’ve been leaving free art out and about both in Eugene and in Portland. Purpose of this action is to: one, get rid of art; two, spread beauty; three, advertise

Casper and I found this yellow foam in a construction dumpster, collaborated with markers and then let it with a free sign outside the public library around the corner. Eugene, May 23.


Dumpster materials plus markers. Left at Patton Square Park in Portland, May 30.

Cardboard and marker pieces left in downtown Eugene, June 14.

Empty pay phone art gallery. Eugene, June 21.


Eugene: Shady Pines

We spent about a week living in this house called Shady Pines. It was walking distance from downtown, beautiful and strange on the inside. A lack of rules somehow without total chaos.

The front window seen from inside our bedroom at Shady Pines.

Our first night back in Eugene (June 8th, I think), we went to the birthday party of an old friend of Casper’s and slept on their couch. The guy who invited us to that party then invited us to his house, Shady Pines. There was an empty room right near the front and we moved bike frames and whatnot and made room for our bed roll. One of the dirtier houses I’ve stayed in, but beautiful none the less.

One corner of our bedroom at Shady Pines.

Casper and I are pretty good at making any place feel like home. The house was cold and vast, but not necessarily in a bad or unwelcoming way. Here’s a journal excerpt from June 12:

There’s no light bulb in our bedroom here. We have just enough space to lay out our bed roll among the random large stuff scattered about. A huge pile of clothes. A futon couch frame. A sinking couch. Empty whiskey bottles and cigarette butts. At least two bike frames. But there’s no light so when we first got here we used the cell phone to guide us as we unrolled our bed, fluffed our pillows, curled in for sleep. 

Our set up at Shady Pines. Note Casper’s crossed feet to the left, Seinfeld on the laptop in the middle, and my art/cardboard/drawing to the right. I later got rid of the art pictured here by leaving it downtown with a free sign.

Though we rarely saw anyone at the house, apparently eight people, four dogs, two cats and five chickens all share the space. The front porch had a fallen apart couch where people gathered most often for smoking and beer drinking.

One of the ways Casper makes anywhere feel like home for us is by cooking. We bought dish soap and cleaned up the Shady Pines kitchen as well as we could. There was a notable decrease in flies and an increase in dishes at the end of this endeavor. And Casper was able to make us things like this:

Casper’s delicious golden rice with frozen veggies and a curry sauce we found in a dumpster. The second plate has pita bread (also dumpstered), potatoes and goat cheese.

Outside Eugene

I just added a couple photos to this post about us leaving Portland and spending time in Salem.

We’ve been staying in this rad house half an hour to the east of Eugene for about a week now. Casper’s friend who used to live here has moved into an RV in the woods (permaculture, zombie defenses, etc) so this place is empty and paid up until June 30.

The house is two stories: the bottom has two garage doors and cement floors. The top half, reachable by a set of wooden steps at the back of the house, is where we are staying.

The first thing we did when we got in was clean up. One corner of the living room is covered in my art supplies and I’ve been painting up a storm. The other side of the living room has our bed roll and a TV hooked up to Casper’s laptop. The fridge isn’t hooked up so we’ve been eating perishables first, rice and beans second.

One of the bedrooms we left empty for garbage storage and whatnot while the other, smaller one Casper has turned into a beautiful spiritual space. Patterned cloth, four altars, sigils on the walls. I go in there to do yoga.

Across the road that the living room windows look out on is a big field and a bit of woods and beyond that the McKenzie river. I hopped the gate into the field a few days ago. There are plenty of blackberry vines to avoid, but once you get away from the road the field is just full of white and yellow daisies! There are some little purple honeycomb flowers, too, and the blackberries are all abloom with their dainty white flowers.

If you follow the edge of the treeline, you can eventually find a blackberry-free way to dip into the woods. From there, you can follow water gullies right down to the river. There’s a sandy little beach and some good sitting rocks. Right across the river at that spot you can see three different houses, but if you position yourself westward and slightly southward all you see is trees and water and sky.

We only just got our phone charger back (we have two. there are often times where we don’t have either with us. how does this happen?!) so photos of this lovely spot have not been taken yet. Soon!

Portland, the woods, Salem

Portland was sucking our souls – for unknown reasons – so we cooked up a bunch of rice and veggies and headed out to the woods last Wednesday.

Spent three nights in the Mount Hood National Forest east of Estacada. Up on a forestry development road in our tent for the first time. All day for reading, writing, walking, drawing, cuddling, stretching, playing cards and chess. I finished “The Good War” by Studs Terkel, started and finished Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan, and am now reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. It rained the last night but the car kept us comfy the next day as we waited for the sun to come out before packing up.

Me and Brutus. He freakin’ adored carrying that plastic pumpkin around.

Now we’re on day three at Casper’s half-sister’s place in Salem. She’s been working but is coming home tonight. They haven’t seen each other since they were little kids and Casper only vaguely knew of her before she found him on Facebook last year. She’s got a two year old who we’re watching this morning while her husband goes and picks her up at work (it’s, like, six hours away) and a playful pitbull named Brutus.

It’s been three weeks since we last slept in a real bed. It’s pretty rad.

I’m busy working, dealing with body pain, struggling with depression, making anatomical drawings, studying astrology and watching Casper interact with family for the first time. I’d like to get the last few month’s worth of photos online soon, especially the ones from our time on Vashon.

Our plans are to head to Eugene this Friday, possibly with a stop out in the woods again because we loved it. In Eugene, our focus is to get me studio space so I can work on a series for a show Casper has hopefully secured for me next month!

In case you haven’t been bombarded on Facebook, I am also selling my art for the first time: You can check it out on Facebook, too. Yay!

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