Liftoff in three, two, one. Ella, my brother’s gorgeous pit/boxer/lab rescue from the streets of Richmond, is a lover with way too much energy. Skateboarding is the only cure for this she-beast. So Evan rides with her almost every day, with Ella pulling him at incredibly high speeds. In my home state of Virginia, a pit’s purpose is typically solely fighting. But imagine if all the gangsta kids and ignorant dogfighting enthusiasts took to the streets for skateboard competitions instead of illegal dog fights in basements and warehouses. It would be Michael Vick turned Tony Hawk with a nod from the SPCA. Can you feel the love?
It’s been great, but there comes a time in one’s life when the crappy economy claims her job and she can’t pass up free rent. So it’s back to Reno/Bay Area with wonderfully gracious friends and high hopes for the dream job – or something like it. The transition’s been crazy: boxes slowly taking over my apartment, haircut with bangs!, crashing the car on the driveway, bittersweet snowboarding for the first day (and probably last in Tride) of the season on my sweet new Salomon Ivy, psychic reading (I’m not kidding), freakout after psychic reading, trips to the post office, selling a photo to Patagonia, trying cross-country skiing, chocolate cake, remembering how to drive in snow, trying to memorize the gorgeous scenery, farewell hugs, sadness, happiness. Hard to leave. Be back soon. Promise.
When I decided to get a dog, I knew exactly what I wanted – a black German Shephard/Labrador mix. But then I saw Bonnie, the neurotic one-eyed heeler mix who was afraid of everything – people, strollers, cars, loud noises, stairs, doors. I fell in love. The playful pup had been passed up by many visitors simply because she was missing an eye. “I don’t care if she’s missing an eye,” I said. Of course I had nightmares about her losing the other eye as soon as the words came out of my mouth. But my fears subsided and she rehabilitated quickly, grew to like people, and is now a gymnast, a snow hound, a runner and a cuddler who loves spending as much time outdoors as possible. She’s perfect.
In 2002 I spent six months in New Zealand and fell in love with Icebreaker merino wool. Uber-hip and outdoorsy Kiwis wore it everywhere, so I of course felt compelled to buy some, too. I never looked at polyester again. When I came back home there was no merino to be found. How did it became popular in the U.S.? Well, I gave my brother, who worked at an East Coast outdoors shop, an Icebreaker catalog. He gave it to the company’s buyer and six months later they carried it. Ibex and Smartwool were growing, and Patagonia’s merino came later. So that’s how this country came to love merino wool as much as I do. Or at least that’s how I like to think it happened.
One of my favorite paintings is in the Falling Birds series by Ross Bleckner, in the National Gallery of Art. I could stare at it for hours and surprisingly no one would think I was on crack because it’s just that cool. This photo reminds me of that painting. It was taken during the snowstorm that dumped roughly a foot today. I focused on the snow with the pine trees in the background, moving the camera in the same direction as the blowing snow. Weird. I know. A passerby would have thought I didn’t know how to take a picture. But I really like the effect – I could stare at it for hours. And it’s really much more peaceful than falling birds, which is actually kind of sad the more you think about it.
This girl is crazy. See the wild look in her eye? Her feral facial expression? If this is what half a foot of snow does to her, I wonder how she’ll react when it actually dumps? This stuff is catnip for canines. I suppose we all have our own catnip, be it fresh powder, a perfect crack climb, or a shopping mall. I wonder if this is close to how I look on the biggest powder day with the lightest, fluffiest, most heavenly white stuff. If not, I’m definitely going to try for it. How could this type of wild abandonment not be pure ecstasy, similar to what I imagine Hunter S. Thompson would have looked like if it had dumped a slightly different type of snow?