May Day! May Day! It’s May! How did that happen? I find it very unnerving when months seem to disappear without my acknowledging they’ve arrived. Spring has been teasing Portland with a few blazing 85 degree summer days amidst the typical grey, overcast drizzle that April is best known for. I pulled out my sandals one afternoon and was hunting around for my thick wool socks the next. It’s not strange weather for Portland in the Spring, but I must say I’m ready to put away my gloves and dig out the sunscreen. So much has been happening in my little corner of the world, so I’m going to use this post to fill you in!
The beginning of my year has been consumed by trying to finish building my tiny house. I’m soooo close to finishing and am tentatively planning to move in by the end of the month. I say tentatively because everything in the world of construction ALWAYS takes longer than you plan on, and this house has been no exception. The house was moved to its permanent location on April 7th after a very uneventful fifteen minute ride across the city from St. Johns in North Portland, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see it resting in its new home. Here are a few links to pics and a video on Instagram if you’d like to see it for yourself.
I am so excited to start nesting and unpacking my boxes. All three of them. This will be the first truly permanent home I’ve had in three years and I am looking forward to making my space feel cozy and lived in. I really have no other choice but to have a cozy space with less than 200 square feet, but I think you know what I mean. My minimalist self is so pleased that everything I own will have a purpose and be necessary. Thanks to my dad’s wonderful design, I have considerable storage space (including a full-size wardrobe), but I still want to be very intentional about every item I choose to bring into my house. I try to ask myself 3 main questions when considering keeping (or buying) something. Do I love it? Do I need it? Will it fit? If the answer is yes to all three, then the item is moving in with me. If not, then it will get given away to a friend or Good Will or sold on Craig’s List. I’ll admit there are a few items that only have 2 yes answers and that’s ok. I’m not a very sentimental person, so the items I do keep for sentimental reasons are precious and few. They get a free pass as long as they are not large and ungainly. (My shoes fill out that category completely)
When I haven’t been working on my house I have been preparing for my trip to Surtex (Surface -Textiles) in New York. I feel a bit like a creature who has wandered into another country as I navigate the world of trade-shows. It is vast and it is confusing and I don’t speak the language. Most other attendees do oodles of research before they decide to attend their first show. I, however, for better or for worse did not, and I’m learning on the fly. I seem to like to do impulsive things and am trying to figure out how to have a bit more of a balanced approached when deciding to take on big projects. Sometimes I ‘go with my gut’ and then I freak out because my logical brain has to deal with the repercussions of my wild and spontaneous gut. Hmmm…maybe I need couples therapy for my brain and my gut if I’m going to continue to try to pursue this life of creativity.
I did use my gut to say yes to speaking at the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) annual conference a few weekends ago and I’m really glad I did. This four day event was attended by around 170 people, most who have walked the Camino de Santiago multiple times. The conference was in Menlo Park, California this year and the theme was ‘Making meaning from Memories.’ I was asked to lead a breakout session encompassing my experience on the Camino and my resulting book ‘The Art of Walking.’ I have been working on some workshop ideas these past few months, so this was a perfect opportunity to test-run one of my presentations. The session went really well, and I had a great turnout and response. I met some fantastic people as well as a fellow presenter and watercolor artist, Jennifer Lawson, who also wrote a book filled with the lovely paintings she created along the way. Our art, along with that of another wonderful journal artist Janene Bray, was featured in the program and throughout the conference. The highlight of my weekend was seeing the incredible movie ‘I’ll Push You’ and meeting the film’s producer, Terry Parish. The movie documents two friends, Justin and Patrick, embarking on their pilgrimage across the 500 mile Camino de Santiago, but unlike any other pilgrim, Justin, who lives with a neurological disease, is in a wheelchair. It was incredibly powerful. I implore you to see this movie! It will move you and convict you in ways we all need to be moved and convicted. Terry shared his story of making the film the following morning, and it was just as powerful as the actual film. I was humbled by his deep vulnerability and I think everyone at the conference felt the same way. So thank you Terry. I hope we get the chance to cross paths in Portland soon.
The above drawing is from the peaceful courtyard of the Vallambrosa Center where the conference was held. My book table looked out onto this beautiful fountain and so for the first time in many weeks, I took out my journal to do a live sketch. The sun warmed my shoulders and my pen felt light in my hand. All was right with the world.
I’m looking forward to sharing with you about my Surtex experience after I return on the 23rd. I have under two weeks before I leave so I have to get back to attending to all the details. Wish me luck!