happy birthday Amber!

this time last year i was in thailand. and i missed my sister's birthday. i wanted to talk to her so bad it hurt. i wanted to talk to anyone back home. anyone to remind me of the life that existed there. to escape for a moment what i was seeing here.

it feels like a lifetime ago... yet i remember that night in perfect detail. walking around that whole island trying to find a phone that worked. my feet hurt from my flip flops and they were filthy from walking the dirty sidewalks and through the puddles because it had rained so hard all afternoon. and trying and trying the phones, but none of them worked. and jana just kept saying, "that's thailand." and i just kept wanting to scream, "how fucked up is that! if you are going to bother putting up phones and selling phone cards then, why don't you have phone lines?" and finally just giving up cause my feet hurt and my throat hurt from choking back tears.

and now looking back, thinking about how absurd it is to have phone lines across oceans. and people in the mountains selling pillows with stories on them to people like me who come home and put them on pillows that sit on nice couches. and what kind of world can this be i keep wondering? but, another year passes. and measuring my life in years is getting harder and harder to do because of all i've seen and heard and know. but a life is not only measured in years. luckily.

so, my sister is a another year older today. and the truth is, love transcends oceans....



"It's Lota. rhymes with Minnesota," she says with a chuckle after an hour of visiting with her. by now it's 7:30 and we were supposed to meet friends at the pool by 6:30. but walking down 4th street we got side tracked by a woman outside her house watering the peonies. but not just any woman. and not just any house.

it's the house matt and i have coveted ever since we started looking for houses here 3 years ago. it's a sweet, low-slung, mid-century gem, tucked amongst the victorian mansions of the east side. it's car-port, slanted roof-line and vertical cedar-siding caught our eye immediately. and so did lota. i remember when we first saw her. she was outside in her garden, it was a hot summer day, much like today. but we didn't have the courage to stop then (we weren't locals yet).

but today, walking with our stroller, feeling very local, we meandered through the east side on our way to the pool. we found ourselves instinctively walking down 4th, to see our favorite house. and there she was. all 5 feet of her. not feeling shy at all we told her we loved her home and asked if she could tell us a bit about it.

lota moved in with her husband in the summer of 1961. they bought the lot for $1200 and had a local architect design the house. his name was bob warn, and he was a student of frank lloyd wright. she said it caused quite a stir in the neighborhood, but she never did care what people thought, she said.

i liked her immediately. lota. she was a spit fire i could tell. and she was 89. we talked a a bit more and then, just as we were about to start our good-byes, she did something incredible...she invited us in! wow, what an honor we told her. "i can sense something about you two," she told us. "a lot of people stop and ask about the house, but i can tell you're really interested. wait here i have to go 'round and unlock it." and from the moment we entered until we left we heard the most incredible stories. what a gift it was to go through this woman's home with her and have her share the intimate details of her life. we just kept looking at eachother in awe as she showed us around. not only at the house, but at lota.

and as we stood in the doorway to leave, she told us how after her husband died that dozens of realtors had called to see if she would be selling. "i was polite at first, but then i started to get really agitated. they are going to have to carry me out of here--in a casket" she finally told them.

and i guess that's the lesson of lota. seeing the humaness behind the house. i have to be honest. the thought had crossed my mind years ago, when we first spotted the house and the "little old lady" outside in the garden. you can see where this is going.

i used to really love this house. but now i love lota. in fact, i'm going to have coffee with her again real soon. she may have the best house in town, but it's her, lota, that i really want to live in.


Happy Anniversary!

here's a little kiss
for my little sis
who got married a year ago...

all i can say is...wow!

sleeping in the grass