December was a tough month to take daily photos – at least it was for me. The light was slowly decreasing and the holidays provided a bit of a distraction. I remember a couple days when I was slowly drifting off to sleep and I’d suddenly remember that I had not snapped a single frame. I’d curse myself as I got out of bed and find something to shoot before the day officially ended. I had to get pretty creative at times.
However, the real beauty of this project is what our individual images do when they come together. That’s where the magic happens. Here are some highlights from December.
Every year around this time my friend Nate organizes a fest in his honor – to get friends together and to celebrate his birthday. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 15th annual Natefest which was held at the Olympic Hotel in Centralia, Washington this past weekend.
I tried to attend last year, but caught some sort of nasty flu on my return home from Thanksgiving in Mexico… yes it could have been the swine flu. And yes, as many people have joked I could have been patient zero. Though no one I know got sick after me so that puts that theory to bed.
Anyhoo, Nate scouts out locations early in the year, makes all the arrangements, and then collects $100 from each of us in the fall. All we have to do is pack and get there and everything else is covered.
About forty people came this year. We were booked in nearly every room at the Olympic Hotel, a former brothel, that from the histories I read provided quite a service for quite a few men during the early 20th century. The hotel is linked to a pub, pool hall and movie theater and located along a historic main street that seems to have the corner on antiques in the area. A full-sized full set plastic glow-from-within Nativity set was on sale for only $450. Quite a steal!
So Friday I took the MAX from work to the train station and boarded the Amtrak going North. I met up with my friend Molly (whom I’ve known since the 2nd grade) when she boarded at the next stop (Molly is married to the Nate of Natefest). About an hour and a half later we deboarded in Centralia and walked across the street to the Olympic Hotel where the festivities had already begun.
The weekend was full of yummy drinks, food, friends and field trips. A quick trip to Mima Mounds came close to resembling a Gilligan’s Island style three-hour tour. Our Saturday night festivities were capped with the annual Feuerzangenbowle and the season’s first snow fall. On Sunday I hopped out the back of the Oly Club and on to the train for a lovely ride back to Portland through fresh snow-covered hills. Quite a way to start December!
Red Sox Nation descended upon Seattle over Memorial Day weekend, and they didn’t just confine themselves to Safeco Field. Wherever we went we ran into Red Sox fans wearing their Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez shirts. Ellsbury’s fans were considerably prolific which isn’t surprising since Seattle remains the closest ballfield to his hometown in Central Oregon. But it was a great weekend, sunny and warm enough… quite an amazing thing in Seattle in May.
Mom and I took the train up to Seattle on Monday for a night game against the Seattle Mariners. We checked into a swank historic hotel in downtown and had lunch near Pike Place Market before heading over to the new sculpture park. Later that afternoon we walked to the game and got swept up in the fact that Red Sox fans outnumbered the home team’s supporters. By the time it looked like the Sox were going to run away with the game, there were few Mariners fans in sight. Too bad for them since their team staged a late comeback attempt that was by far the most entertaining part of the evening… unless you were sitting near us and were entertained by the three drunk Canadians sitting in front of us.
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki, my late grandmother’s favorite player on the team, made the play of the game, which also made ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day list at number one. It involved Ichiro slamming backwards into the outfield wall to make a nearly impossible catch. He thrilled us with his acrobatics and his amazing throw after the catch towards the infield. My grandmother would have been on cloud nine!
We finished our trip with a fun tour of Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library and Allied Works expansion of the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle isn’t Portland, but it’s a fun place to take in a Red Sox game. And fortunately I have tickets to the Sox’s next trip to Safeco Field in late July!!