pink and green

I’ve been trying not to write about Rafael Nadal, but I just can’t hold back any longer. This will be a quick post. Everyone seems to be talking about his outfit for this year’s French Open so I wanted to take a moment to look back at what he’s worn at Roland Garros each year since he first played here in 2005.

I still think his outfit in 2005 when he won his first title is my favorite… and check out how young he looks! My least favorites are his outfits in 2007 and 2008 (Nike lost its way with these two combos). I was doubtful about him wearing sleeves, but they’ve grown on me and I love the colors he’s been wearing in 2009 including the hot pink with yellow accents he’s sporting at this year’s French Open. However, pink does not go well with Roland Garros clay (bad choice Nike), nor have the grey pants grown on me. They didn’t work last year and they don’t work this year. It’s not that I’m a traditionalist, but I like white pants on the courts and Nadal looks great in them.

Check out his French Open looks over the years.

boston meets the pacific northwest

Kaitlyn and Andrew visited the west coast and I swear I did not bribe them, but they liked Portland better than Seattle. Could it have something to do with the shockingly rude Seattle Mariners fans?! I don’t know… but their behavior was embarrassing. The highlight of our weekend in Seattle (in addition to watching the Red Sox games even from frighteningly high seats) was the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and walking around the Bloedel Reserve.

But enough about Seattle… come visit me in Portland!

hearst castle

In November 2004 (just one month after the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years) I was in Shepherdstown, West Virginia at a cultural landscapes conference. Over drinks at that meeting the idea of working on a Cultural Landscape Report for Hearst Castle first came up and I lobbied for the honor to work on it. Less than six months later I was given the project.

Little did I know what kind of journey that project had in store for me. It was a journey that contained the highest highs and the lowest lows. The trajectory it put me on led me (in no small part) to leave Boston and move 3000 miles away to Portland, Oregon in 2007. Prior to moving I completed two of three parts of the project.

This last week that project was finally completed and I was invited to attend a party and presentation celebrating its completion. For me it was both a celebration and much needed closure. You can’t second guess decisions, but I learned a valuable lesson which I never want to repeat – to never let someone bully me off a project that I want to work on or take away an opportunity that I have earned. Just by being there I was able to simultaneously celebrate and be recognized for my contributions to the project AND stand up to a bully. It was an amazing experience.

I revisited old haunts and relived highlights of my participation in the project – lunch at my favorite deli (Soto’s in Cambria), a latte from my favorite coffee shop (French Corner Cafe in Cambria), and driving around my favorite curves along the approach road to the hilltop. Plus I finally took the scenic drive from San Simeon to San Francisco through Big Sur and Carmel. Such a treat!

The highlight was a swim in the Neptune Pool along with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres under the portico in the late afternoon sun. Few people outside the Hearst family and those who work at Hearst Castle get the opportunity to swim in the outdoor pool. It’s a rare honor and I loved every minute of it, especially watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and the moon rise over Casa Grande.

At times, especially during the low lows I thought the Hearst Castle project was a curse. Fortunately it didn’t take 86 years of heartbreaking losses to break it (if indeed a curse existed). All it took was a little reflection and a lovely dip in the pool.

soto’s deli in cambria

french corner bakery in cambria

pier at san simeon

pier at san simeon

dipping my toes in the pacific

door to the pool dressing rooms

swimming in the neptune pool


sculpture on the neptune terrace

shadows on casa del sol

casa del sol’s curved staircase

casa del sol

moon rise over hearst castle

elephant seals napping in san simeon

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo – I arrived just as they were starting mass

smallest park in the world

Portland is kind of quirky, but that’s why we love it. Most of its quirk has developed over the last decade, but some things started long ago. It was on a 3rd grade class field trip that I first encountered the smallest park in the world. Surrounded by asphalt and located (in stunning contrast) next to Waterfront Park (one of the largest parks in the City), this little park still makes me smile.

urth caffe

Crema is my favorite cafe in Portland… but when I’m in L.A. it’s all about Urth Caffe. I’m on a soy chai latte kick right now and theirs have just the right amount of spice without too much sugary sweetness. It’s a comfy cozy good morning in a cup. Surrounded by friends (our first time together since Memorial Day on the Vineyard in 2007) and a little verbal sparring with Peter made for a perfect morning. As you can see I had just won the latest bout.