I have been traveling since December 21. First, from my home in Colorado to Orange, California in a Prius with the dog, the husband and my two teenagers. True.
Once in SoCal, we joined my siblings for a holiday week with my mom. We went to the beach.
My dog, who is a poodle, has never liked the water. Until now.
I drove to my sister Linden’s house in Watsonville. After looking at her over-sized, monolithic, ice cube of a fireplace, I just got sick of it. We had to fix this thing and make it work with this fab wooden house. I had a vision that involved paint, mosaic and upholstery. Linden and I set out to make this work.
We went to a tile store and bought a box of leftovers, then laid them out on the floor.
We went to town. Painted the whole thing a charcoal grey, with the very top painted a metallic copper, to simulate a copper roof.
We designed two tile mosaics to edge the fireplace arch, different from each other to compliment the rooms they faced. After three days of paint, concrete repair, mortar, tile, grout and cloth, we had it nearly done.
Then I headed up to see my friend Lorri Scott, who is a fiber artist and fashion designer. She lives on a hill, overlooking the sea.
She showed me how to dye fabrics with rusty pins, onion skins, roses, eucalyptus and vinegar.
Lorri delivered me to the Greyhound Station where I was to take a bus to see my other friend in Oakland. My luggage was too heavy. We sat on the floor of the bus station to rearrange my bags. If you are a traveling art teacher, you have done this before, but perhaps not on the floor of a bus station with a fashion designer.
The bus took me to Oakland to see my dear friends, Ivan and Lori and their son, Joe. Lori was my housemate the year I live in Florence, Italy. We have been soul sisters since. Ivan drove me from their home to Petaluma, where we met my friend Ilene Harris. Ilene drove me four hours up the incredible coast of northern California to teach for the NORBAG book group in Arcata.
We stopped at Real Goods Solar Living Institute, a eco-friendly education center along the way, where there was a “car” garden.
Ilene is a letter boxer. According to the website she uses to guide her, “Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with “treasure-hunts” in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation.”
We found one of the boxes at this facility.
I am now happily ensconced at the home of Ilene and her charming husband, Dave. There is a fire, acres of huge trees, rain, green rolling grass, pygmy goats and a dog. We ate Dutch babies for breakfast, with Peet’s coffee.
I am profoundly content.
Here is a Haiku, because it is Friday.
Moving up the coast
Uplifting friends and branches
Steady chain of grace.