spain

Spain has been invading my life lately. The men’s tennis tour made stops in both Barcelona and Madrid during the clay court season, my close friend Lee and her son recently traveled there and sent back beautiful memories, and this amazing time-lapse photo video found its way to me. This beautiful country is next on my list and this is just one of the reasons why.

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gearhart

The Oregon Coast in winter is full of drama and I feel like I’ve had a front row seat these past few months. Though not by design I’ve been fortunate to spend three wonderful weekends in Gearhart, a quiet little town on the northern Oregon coast. Twice for weekends with my girlfriends and a third to help my friend Ted celebrate his birthday. We saw and felt rain, sun, intense winds, high surf, low tides, plenty of wine, and incredible food. Each Sunday, as I drove back to Portland, my soul felt rested and full. That is the gift of the Oregon Coast.

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Here’s my recipe for a perfect weekend in Gearhart:

Arrive at the coast in the mid to late afternoon, checking the tide tables so your first walk on the beach can coincide with the timing of low tide as the day’s light is fading.

Drink cocktails by the fire, cook an amazing dinner with friends, and then talk and laugh until your head hits the pillow.

Wake-up early for a sunrise walk on the beach. You might be able to catch razor clam diggers hard at work during low tide. Gearhart possess some of the best razor clam digging on the coast, whose season runs from October to July.

Pick up the morning paper and read it while you’re drinking the best coffee and pastries in town at the Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe.

Fill the afternoon with bike rides, naps, reading, and more walks on the beach… depending on the ever changing winter coast weather. We would wait until the sun began peaking out or the winds died down before quickly taking advantage and heading out. However, if the weather refuses to cooperate, heading into nearby Seaside to buy salt water taffy or taste a pronto pup (the best version of a corn dog) is always a good alternative.

Include one of Oregon’s delicacies – fresh Dungeness crab – in your dinner plans for your last night. So if you make your way to Seaside then be sure to pick up fresh-caught crab at Bell Buoy. The timing for dinner is critical since it shouldn’t conflict with an evening walk on the beach at low tide, especially if there’s a chance to see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean at the same time. That shouldn’t be missed!

If you’re a beach comber like me then your weekend won’t be complete until you find the one perfect sand dollar to remind you of your weekend. Gearhart is the best place I’ve found to come away with the ultimate beach souvenir.

9/11 and 5/1

Disbelief. Shock. Sadness. Heartbreak. Elation. Pride. I ran through a mosaic of emotions in the days, weeks and months after 9/11. Since hearing of Osama Bin Laden’s death I’ve felt them all over again.

I know I’m not the only one. As I hear from others who lived in and around New York City on that day I hear them echoing my own thoughts. One woman who lost her brother said it best, “I understand it’s a good day for America and the families that lost loved ones. In the beginning I was crying and I didn’t understand why, because you think after ten years that the tears will stop coming, but they don’t.”

I don’t feel the same level of anxiety I felt immediately after 9/11, but I still feel tinges of it every year on the anniversary. Time and distance have muted its effects, or at least that’s what I thought. I honestly never considered how I’d feel when the day came that Osama bin Laden was dead, no longer able to harm anyone else, but it feels like 9/11 all over again. Only this time I’m not surrounded by people who understand what it was like.

I’ve realized over the years that all of our lives changed in America that day, but that the closer you were to New York City or Washington DC the more affected you are. Perhaps that’s a no-brainer, but I still struggle to describe what that day was like. I’m often greeted with blank stares when I describe how thousands of people went into work that morning, me included, and how few of them came home. How full I-95 and the trains were going into Manhattan and how empty they were coming out. How a bustling metropolitan area that was constantly covered in sound erupting from planes overhead to cars on the ground to people walking around, was suddenly silent. And how the first time I made my way to the wreckage of the World Trade Center I stood in St. Paul’s Chapel at Vesey Street and couldn’t move for what seemed like hours.

Here is an excerpt from a previous entry I wrote on an anniversary of 9/11. It does help to remember. And it helps to reach out. I get in touch my friend Anne every year on 9/11 and couldn’t help but reach out yesterday after hearing of Osama bin Laden’s death. I don’t have to explain how important it was that we were together on that day.

Nearly ten years ago I woke up to a stunningly beautiful September morning in Connecticut. It was sunny, clear and crisp and fall was in the air. It was one of those days where you realize how gorgeous it’s going to be and you can hardly wait for the day to begin. Summer was trying to hang on, and I was looking forward to the day since Anne and I would have the office to ourselves. Our colleagues were on the road in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, and I’d be spending the day getting ready to join them in the capitol the next day. Just a couple hours later the whole day changed, and the whole world changed with it.

Living in densely populated Fairfield County I was surrounded by people who worked in the city. My typical evening commute was characterized by driving bumper to bumper on I-95 or being crammed like a sardine on the outbound New Haven commuter train. But that afternoon, the afternoon of September 11th, the interstate was empty. The trains weren’t running. The emptiness combined with complete silence stemming from no flights overhead was eerie and surreal.

My heart continued to break with each passing moment as the reality of the events sunk in. As Anne and I listened to coverage on the radio (phones and the nascent internet were unreliable at best) and helped our colleagues find a way to get back home we just couldn’t visualize the destruction the terrorists had left in their wake. I really didn’t understand what the reporters meant when they said the towers had collapsed. Only that night as I sat in my living room in tears watching coverage of the day’s events, did I start to realize the hole that had been carved out of our country.

I hope all those who were lost on that day can now rest in peace. I hope all those who lost loved ones can find additional closure. And I hope that all of us remember to be compassionate towards those who were affected that day – September 11, 2001.

May 1st

On this day in history…

2011 | Osama Bin Laden is killed by American Special Forces.

2003 | George W. Bush infamously announces “Mission Accomplished” declaring major operations in Iraq are over.

1945 | Hitler’s suicide is announced to the world.

1931 | The Empire State Building is dedicated.