20 October, 2008

Clean Not-So-Mini Van, Friends and Art


I cleaned out my car. This means I now have at least 2 Costco-sized, and 3 Trader Joe's bags filled with krap in my kitchen and guest room. That's the bad part. The good part is that I was able to pile friends in my car yesterday and wind our way all over the Bay Area.

Emerald Hills at Ep's house is a peaceful way to start an October morning. There are quail and deer and birds and had we stayed even a few moments longer we would have heard the bees buzzing in her lavender bushes. It is a slice of country just blocks from my own home. It is one of my new favorite places, which makes sense to me as this is now the second woman that I really like who has owned the house.

280 North is always a beautiful drive. The lanes are wide and the road sweeps in gentle curves back and forth... and people drive fast. I love to drive fast. From the back seat I am asked by Captain Blog "Are you a lead foot?" I ease off the pedal as Squid reminds the carload of potential San Bruno area drivers that this particular area is a happy hangout for the Po-lice. I ease our way into a pack of cars who have slowed to 70 and realize that I rarely relax.

The Golden Gate Bridge shed its fog for the morning and a necessary potty break landed us in the Vista Point parking lot with clear visibility all the way back to the San Francisco peninsula. I take a short walk around the parking lot and returnto my seat behind the wheel thinking, "Wow. We sure are lucky aren't we?"

Sebastopol is farther away than I remember, but not so far that my coffee cup still has some warm caffeine when we hit some sort of magical coffee hut/hip people mash-up. I enjoy a Lattacino, which is perfect for me unsweetened with less milk than a latte and more than a cappuccino. There are lots of children with striped tights and layers of clothing.

We head into downtown and unleash ourselves on the farmer's market. DT and I debate whether we need to create a makeshift icepack so we can enjoy tasty cheese later at home. We meander about. I eat a peach the size of my daughter's head and buy award winning honey and a loaf of bread which I share a bit of, but mostly I hold it and nibble on it as if it is a lollipop in my hand.

Do I have this out of order already? probably. It was the Sebastopol Art Trails, and at Squid's invitation we (mostly) follow a schedule of bliss which also includes time for amazing artists, lunch on a patio, a visit to a nursery and because we still had time a new tea house. One of my favorite stops was Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent Their work is fantastic. It is whimsical and interesting and charming and edgy and beautifully painted and I want a sculpture in my front yard. I buy my sister a calendar, and hope that she will know that I wanted to buy her half the art in the place when she opens up the calendar for her birthday (which is today).

The countryside was beautiful, and while Squid is the most perfect navigator, I almost think she let me meander a bit on those winding roads purely because I was enjoying the scenery. The grape vines are all turning and the apple trees...the apple trees! Everywhere and loaded, and dropping their fruit. It would have been a good day to be a drifting horse, munching gravensteins here and Mcintosh there.

In Graton we viited two artists who share a space, and, I believe a life together, Lisa Beerntsen and Tony Spiers They also had a beautiful garden. They have been a part some incredible group art (Art Farm) which has been at Burning Man. It was neat to see the art in the studio, because my current life path does not indicate an adventure to Burning Man is going to happen. Lisa's art was very beautiful. In some of the current pieces she had incorporated vintage fabric. I love mixed media in general, and I love fabric even if I will probably never win any prizes for my sewing skills. I'm certain I will always have a pile of fabric in a box. Perhaps someday it will be vintage and I will make a mixed media art piece when I retire to Sebastopol.

We also visited Helen Caswell, a beautiful woman with a precious husband. (How many times have I said beautiful?) I would love to be the new renters on their expansive property. I wish she could be in my family, and in an eerie sense I feel like she is. My grandmother was an artist. She was many other things professionally, but I think had she been born in a different time or circumstance she could have made her life as an artist, as Helen has. Sifting through her prints I was amazed to see just so many portraits; so many faces she's painted over the years. I can't imagine having the ability to distinguish each face and render each one so accurately. Don't tell Descartes, but I bought two small prints. They are not originals of course, but I will love them as if they are.

Our last art stop of the day was Rik Olson. A charming man who manages to create beautiful and witty art in so many ways. He is one of the few masters of wood engraving left. It is painstaking work, and making color prints takes layers of art. Ep and I discussed the idea of thinking backwards and in steps and decided it will not be my next career. Rik also participated in this really cool benefit thing where they made prints using a steamroller.

After breathing in a little bitmore apple-scented air at the Olson studio we went back to downtown Sebastapol and tried Infusions The tea selection is amazing here.

Hmm funny here I am getting tired writing, just about the same time I got tired in real life.

The end of my story is that I enjoyed a really lovely day with some very lovely people and came home to my son sound asleep, my daughter awake for a potty break and my sweet husband tired, but just happy to see me, and not cranky at all about having watched the kids for more than 12 hours (of nearly all awake time). I got to read Lucy a story then pass out asleep on the couch before Descartes nudged me to go downstairs to bed.

Clean car, good friends, interesting art and a happy family. Now that's a pile of luck.
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