Week 32 – The Wallowas

#220 State Street Evening

07 August 2016 // Santa Barbara, California

This summer couldn’t end without another mostly unplanned, rather unexpected trip. Thankfully it wasn’t to the other side of the world this time, just Southern California.

This trip enabled me to see my aunts, and to go to my cousin’s birthday party. That also meant pounds and pounds of Filipino food for lunch.

And then the evening came and I got to see Matt and treat him out to fro yo for his birthday. And I got to wander State Street for a bit. If only I had a bit more time to see people while in SB. But I’ll take this.

#221 Short SB Stint

08 August 2016 // Santa Barbara, California

Took a very quick, almost unplanned, and way unannounced visit to Santa Barbara today. I really wish I had the ability to stay much longer, because there would’ve been so many people I’d have loved to see. Unfortunately I was in town for mere hours, so I ended up making it just a quiet solo visit.

This was my first time back here since I got married over a year ago. That’s also officially the longest amount of time I’ve spent away from Santa Barbara since I started living there almost a decade ago.

I still like the way the streets feel. And I know that there’s a sense of home here that I’ll never fully erase no matter what happens.

#222 New Year’s Resolution

09 August 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This is my view from the couch. I never intended the couch to be my primary workspace, but that started when I adopted the dog and continues on to this summer.

I stare at this corner wall, kind of an awkwardly designed corner the more you look at it. This location has managed to sell a decent portion of my book’s copies.

Also, my new resolution was to finally put some photos in that window-style frame. New year’s resolution accomplished!

#223 Cherry Pie

10 August 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

It is summer, therefore, I will make pie.

I am making a pie, therefore I will make it out of as many cherries as I can get my hands on while they’re in season.

Well, I feel accomplished today.

#224 Cornbread with Cheri

11 August 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

It’s been a pretty busy week- I had a presentation of some sort nearly every day, but that’s over and now it’s time to go explore some Oregon small towns in the middle of nowhere.

Current musical fixation: Oh Wonder. Phantogram-esque production with more restraint and way better harmonies.

Also, I watched The Little Prince last night. Wayyyy different from what I was expecting but that movie was romanticism and whimsy.

#225 Bryndzové Halusky

12 August 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Six years ago, I was wandering around Slovakia. A friend I met on the airplane decided to hunt for a meal with me. We went into a nameless restaurant in a rustic old alleyway. I was served a tall pitcher of beer and a meal I’ll always remember, even if I never got its name. The best way I could describe it was something like a goat cheese gnocchi with large chunks of seared bacon or pancetta on top. It was Central European comfort food at its finest. 

Flash forward to several months ago and I find an article in Anthony Bourdain’s Roads & Kingdoms online magazine about the mysterious Slovakian masterpiece, bryndzové halusky.

While I couldn’t find all the right ingredients (the cheese is a special Slovak cheese that makes for an impossible scavenger hunt in the US) I learned enough about how to take on making this recipe myself using chèvre, a couple potatoes, and uncured block bacon. I’m pleased with these results.

#226 Eastern Oregon

13 August 2016 // Joseph, Oregon

This has been one of the strangest summers for me on record. A lot of new things, a lot of challenging and difficult things, and a lot of unexpected things. Most of all, a lot of not really knowing what comes next.

I recently realized that there was so much ambiguity in my life that I can’t really make any plans beyond September. Then it also occurred to me how much I liked that… just having to take things weeks at a time, and soon enough, days.

The summer’s winding down, and I’m not even sure if it felt fast or long. That probably means it was both in some ways. There were times where I was so busy that it felt more like a really warm March.

At the same time this summer has also been full of some really beautiful moments, like getting out of a car I had spent seven hours driving just in time to witness the sun finally go down in a part of Oregon I’d never seen before– the mysterious, sparsely populated east. Deanna and I needed to cook dinner and ended up being shifty and “borrowing” a fold out table from a laundromat to get by. It was an unexpected challenge, but one all the more memorable because of that.