good flushers.

A couple nights ago, I helped out at Locavore’s Night Out.  It was an event by local food providers and it was just ah-mazing.  [some of the best food of my life.]

But it was over the hill [in Idaho], which means that all the beautiful parents and their beautiful children come out of the woodwork and you realize there MUST be something in the Idaho water.  I helped with the children’s activities and preciousness just abounded.

I had to take a little potty break for myself and while I was sitting in the stall, I heard a little girl come in and tell her mother…

– Mom, you can wait for me outside, okay?  I only have to go pee-pee.  Okay?  Go outside!

– Okay, I’ll be right outside.

I chuckled to myself at this little girl’s confidence so early in life.  Then I flushed the toilet and heard…

– Oh!  That’s a nice flush!

– Haha… Why, thank you.

Containing my laughter, I washed my hands and then heard her flush her own toilet and say…

– Well, that’s a nice flush, too!  They must just have good flushers here.

I walked out before I caught a glimpse of the little one… but, my goodness, she made my night.

Happy Easter from a woman who likes to hope that somewhere in her is the preciousness of a little girl in wonderment over simple joys, gorgeous friendships, rare beauty and good flushes.

lisa and myself, easter 1987. i don't know how many times i've posted this precious picture... but i'm not sorry.

The Easter morning by myself, admittedly, made me miss my family and my dad’s scavenger egg hunt… but the refreshing aloneness of today is just wonderful.  I had a head of a chocolate Easter bunny for breakfast [left for me, with an easter lily, by a lovely deserting love.] and a cup of tea with a tag that read,

Without realizing who you are, happiness cannot come to you.”

Which I believe is absolutely true.  So this morning, I looked back at so many Easters past and really looked at who I am… trying to do some realizing.

Looking back at Lisa, my family, Easters alone, with friends and Skip-Its, with strangers in Australia, the Easter Sunday I discovered mimosas, the Easter Sunday where dad rhymed “purple” with “maple syurple”… and on and on.

And maybe you think I’m self-consumed to be thinking of myself on a holiday so holy and so blatantly about a savior [either Jesus or the Easter Bunny]… but I decided I’m not sorry.  My love for you comes from my appreciation of life, which usually comes from happiness, which [as my tea bag states] comes from a realization of who I am… which is terrifying.

Go out and own who you are and love others through that on this Easter.  Get your honey-glazed ham on and wear your favorite pastels.  I didn’t have time for a Easter dress vote-off this year:

But I assure you I will wear an Easter dress at some point today… probably yellow.


alone. empowered. beautiful.

[feelings oh, so familiar.]

Last night I went to a TreeFight event [nice logo, eh?] at the Center for the Arts featuring the amazing work of Thais Beltrame.

Walking around, I was instantly moved by her work…

It was like a story, an on-going epic…





no jardim das coisas que eu não sei.


uma de muitas fantasias escapistas.


I could go on and on.  I wish I could find the installment she had up last night that was a bunch of smaller drawings of children doing naughty things… gorgeous.

Walking around last night… just falling in love.  There was an old suitcase that was to be filled with old baggage tags with writings of spectators feelings about Beltrame’s art.  I was moved to write,

“Reminds me of Henry Darger, my favorite.
Makes me feel the same way…

alone… empowered… beautiful…”


o peso de um coração.

Such powerful feelings.  From art… amazing.

And here’s Henry Darger

[i’ve spoke of him before.]


195 are unsuccessfully attacked...



Can’t explain the connection, but it was there for me and it was powerful.

Leaving the exhibit, I ran into the head honcho for TreeFight…

– Hey Rachel.

– Wull hay… This is amazing: Congrats!

– Thanks.  Hey, did you meet Thais?

– Oh, no I didn’t get to meet her.  Her work is incredible, though.

– Yeah, isn’t it?  She said she really loves the logo for TreeFight and wanted to meet you… C’mon, I’ll introduce you.

– What?  No, I designed a silly logo, she is an incredible artist… She really reminds me of my favorite favorite artist.

– Henry Darger?

– [a bit shocked/baffled] Yes… Wait, how did you know that?  Did I tell you that?  Wait… How did you remember that?

– C’mon…

So I’m introduced to Thais and instantly have a ladycrush on her.  Gorgeous, adorable, little Brazilian who makes breath-taking art… who doesn’t have a crush on her?

– I just wanted to tell you how much I’m in love with your art.

– Oh, thank you!

– And I’m sure it’s not cool to tell you that it reminds me of another artist, but it makes me feel the same way as I do when I look at the work of Henry Darger.

– He is amazing.  One of my favorites as well.  Thank you!  That is such a compliment.

And before I knew it, she was telling me all about her own searching and loving of Darger.  Telling me about standing in front of a recreation of his apartment at the Chicago Cultural Center and feeling like she “was standing [then pausing from a bit of embarrassment, then being brave in truth] in front of an alter.”

Tripping over our words in awe and excitement of his incredible story.  He was a recluse, a janitor.  His art was only discovered after he died.  He became famous on his deathbed.  There are only three known pictures of him.  No one ever hardly looked at him.  While there are now hundreds, thousands of pictures “tagged” of one [each] individual on Facebook, this man, this incredible individual, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, had only three times someone look at him close enough, focus on him on purpose, to snap a photo.


And as cheesy as it sounds, I was almost brought to tears from this conversation with a stranger.  The immediate bond, the depth of a connection discovered… Something great.  Something familiar like a best friend you haven’t seen in so long.  Something like your favorite book covered in dust, opened again.  Something.

Found this photo on Thais’ blahg [in true stalker-galore style]…

And now I don’t know even how to end this.  Convince you I’m not creepy?  Words of hope for more interactions, more strangers?  Arting and its importance?  A song?  Yes, a song…

or two…

…alone.  …empowered.  …beautiful.

then there’s an asterisk.

Sometimes I forget how much I love the face to face conversation. How much I love just running into people, talking, catching up, sharing.

Which explains how I forgot that I love going to the local coffee shop to set up shop early in the morning. My friend says that you meet the best kinds of people out early in the morning. I decided I should suck it up and get out early to introduce myself as a bestie as well.

Turns out, I know a lot of these early morning people! And you’re right, my friend! They are all so nice. I had so many “so good to see you!” [hug] “take a seat” conversations this morning. Catching up, gaining perspective, sharing, caring, being real, loving the randomness of friendship and the beauty in conversing.

Simple but gorgeous.

The end of one conversation…

“Yeah, I’ve got everything figured out…  If by ‘everything’, you mean ‘nothing’… and then there’s an asterisk that directs you to the bottom of the page that reads, ‘But I’m happy.'”


I’ve got everything nothing figured out.













*But I’m happy.


we can get along.

Checked the mail today.  Held in my hands a bunch of stuff I don’t want, I don’t need, that’s not supposed to be for me… but then there was amazingness…

Today was a late Christmas…

Today was love…

[expressed in haikus.]

amazing photos in a card from geneva, dave and bard.

photos of bardman
to add to the collection
cannot get enough.

christmas t-rex card from allison.

a t-rex santa?
he won’t come down your chimney
cuz he’s just too rad.


an oregon/maine postcard from whales.

a rock but quite more
the memory of freedom
whales, thank you for this.


a christmas card from brittnee, robert and dylan.

a child so grown up
who knew a girl from club dos
could show love like this?

[a mix cd from my little bro.]

whoa, is that cee-lo?
where did john fogerty go?
we can get along.


a clinique make-up bag from my aunt.

i’d rather have words
as kind as the rest of us
but i’ll take make-up.


a bicycle bottle opener from anna.

bicycles and beer
a pair just second to us
thanks anna, you rule.


glitter dino from K$.

it’s a mother eff-
-in’ glitter hanging dino
whoa, this be my fave.

…in a good way.

On the way to anywhere, sometimes I’ll stop by our local thrift shop… because it’s across the street… and because it’s rad.

Today [YES, TODAY!], I found THESE…

these boots were made for walkin', dancin', scootin', skippin'... okay, mainly dancin'.

I am OB-SESSED.  It’s like I paid $3.50 for a dream come true… a dream I never even knew I had… [trippy, huh?]

Yeah, I love them.  Not sorry.  I met my friend, Anna, for lunch shortly after buying them and the first thing she said was…

– Oh, man… I love those boots!  They look like they were Austin Power’s… in a good way.

Hells yeah, in a good way!

Got me thinking: Who’s boots were these??  Dang, I wanna know.  They’ve definitely got a story… there’s history behind those zippers on one side and snaps on the the other.

Who was this person?  A woman?  Or one amazingly styling cowboy?  Why did they buy these shoes?  A big night out?  Work shoes?  A reward for themselves?  Were they a gift?

Whatever the story, they were loved.  And will continue to be loved.

Another thing that will be forever loved is my new favorite ring…

LOVE it.

And this is great because I know the story.

I’ve had this ring for about a month and a half now.  My old boss/current friend, Geneva, gave me this ring…

me, bardito, geneva... LOVE.

She gave it to me the last day that I watched her little boy before they moved to Denver.  She wrote out why she gave it to me in an amazingly sweet letter.  It used to be her’s and while packing up, found it and thought of me.  She wrote…

“It is now 1am, and I need to go to bed, but I have to write a little more explanation.  My friend’s dad made this ring, and I think it is perfect for you.  The fiery opal is from Australia!  I also think the long lines are made for long, slender, artistic and athletic fingers.  I hope you enjoy it.”

So amazingly sweet.  LOVE.

She later told me it was made in Wyoming.

It IS perfect.

And it, too, will be very much loved.

Don’t know why, but all these old, loved things and how comfortable they are… how they’re here and they always should’ve been, how they fit too well… make me want to listen to this song over and over…

[makes no sense and it’s all so silly… but it’s smiling and it’s loving and it’s being and being well.]


I saw Valentino Achak Deng speak almost a week ago in Jackson.

He is an amazing man.  A man who, as a boy… such a young boy, suffered though the turmoil of the Second Sudanese Civil War: being seperated from his family, no food, no water, death around him, death before him.

Deng came to Jackson and gave a presentation on the schools he is building to educate the children in Southern Sudan.  It was his heart and you could tell… he only wanted to give the life of learning to these children.

He didn’t say a word about his hardships.  He didn’t talk about how hard it was, how much he should have hated life, how cruel the world was to him.

So, when the question and answer time happened at the end of the presentation, it was obvious that someone was going to ask what we all wanted to hear…

– How did you get through such a hard time in your life?  How did you deal with that?

His answer:

I have hope and a belief in humanity.

Wow.  The whole night was worth if for that line.  I was completely blown away.  Someone who was treated so wrongly, had a hope in humanity.  A man who had EVERYTHING taken away from him… over and over and over… this man has a belief in humanity.

I decided that I wanted to strive towards that kind of love and belief in goodness.  I wanted to give grace to the worthlessness of this world for the wonders of humanity.

And you would think that I could handle more with this new mindset fresh in my mind.  But the goodness and grace to humanity failed to come to the front of my mind when I checked my bank account to see that someone cashed a check of mine that did not belong to them.  A random picked up a check I had addressed to a friend from a restaurant.

I looked at the cleared check online and immediately thought, That mother f*cker.  Oh, I hate this.  Of course this would happen to me… of course on my vacation.  Dammit!  Who does this??  I hope this person suffers.

After being on the phone with my bank for over an hour, these thoughts became stronger and stronger.  To think how wronged I was was too much for me.

The goodness of people was gone… in an instant.  For what?  A dollar amount.

But still, I was livid.

In a city not my own, now without a companion, I decided I needed to get out, get coffee, sit, read, write, listen to music.

I came to a café that I was at a couple days ago… but today, it. is. packed.

Looking around, there was nowhere to sit… at all.  Well, except for that tiny kid table in the corner.  The rest of the normal sized tables were occupied with hipster students.

And standing there with latté in one hand and apple tart in the other, I sighed to myself and thought, Screw it., and headed to the kid table.

Just in case I wasn’t awkwardly tall enough, now I was sitting at a table that was less than two feet high in a smaller chair…

…with Portland hipsters all around me… the symbolism qualifies for lyrics better than those of The National.*

I sat reading, writing, loathing, sulking, until a little boy came up to me.  A three-year-old in full firefighter garb.  [day instantly better already.]  His mom came close after and asked me,

– We come here every Sunday so he can build firetrucks out of Legos.  I’m sorry, but can we sit here with you?

– Oh, my gosh yes, please.  Don’t be sorry.  I’m sorry… I’m the grown woman in the play area… there should be kids playing here.

So, they sat… Aiden [the little boy] and his mom [who’s name i’m so sorry i didn’t catch] on the tiny chair on the other end of the tiny table where I was sitting.

We were too close not to talk.  Wait, p.s., did I mention that Aiden also had a fireman’s hat?  It was amazing.

So, Aiden built firetrucks out of Legos and his mother and I made conversation.  She was so kind.

Before I knew it, I was telling her about Bard, the little boy I just had to say goodbye to and told her how her little boy made me sad about him.  I showed her pictures… she looked at Aiden, looked at me, lifted a whispering hand and told me…

– That is the cutest little boy ever.


She asked me why I was in Portland.  I danced all around the question for a little bit and she nodded politely at my bullshit answers until I paused, thought, Screw it., and told her…

– I actually am here because I convinced myself that this job I applied for out here was supposed to work out… So, I bought some concert tickets for my favorite band who was playing here… assuming I would be moving at this time.

The simple truth of that exposed failure and ridiculousness was met with bottomless compassion from the friend across the tiny table.  She told me stories of her own hard times, her own hopes… and then she encouraged me.  ME.  The creepy, stranger sitting alone at the children’s table eating desserts at 3pm.

We connected.  We shared.  Aiden made us laugh.  We built firetrucks.

She smiled.  I smiled.  We were happy to be there together.

Aiden had a three-year-old melt down and it was time for them to go.

– Thanks for letting us sit with you.  Have a great trip!  I’m really glad we met you.

– Thank you!  I’m really glad I met you as well.

Compassion.  The simple kindness that comes from deep within.


Who am I to think that I have it harder than anyone else?  Who am I to think that life is harder for me?  Money is harder for me?  Self-image is harder for me?  Love is harder for me?  That things are hopeless?  That people are hopeless?  That I am hopeless?

Having hope, believing in myself.

Having hope, believing in those around me.

Having hope, believing in humanity.

It’s worth it.  It’s true.  It’s valid.

*That is, more or less, an inside joke.

excuse me…

This blahg post is purely to remember/share the randomness/beauty of yesterday.


I’ve been riding my dad’s old Schwinn Varsity around.  It’s an emerald green ten-speed and I LOVE it.  My dad loves it too.  He talks about how dear it is to his heart and how if I don’t lock it up and it gets stolen, I will more than likely be disowned.

Yesterday, I rolled up to a café to have some brunch and eat outside.  When I went to go sit out on the deck, an old, white-haired man spoke to me…

– Excuse me… Is that your green Schwinn Varsity out there?

– Oh, yeah.

– Wow.  When I was a little boy, I wanted that bike SO badly.  It was THE bike.

– Awww… Yeah, it was my dad’s, a gift from his mother when he graduated high school.  He treasures it.

– Your father was a lucky kid.  That was a $70 bike and we were not a $70 bike family.  I was obsessed with getting one, though.  I saved and saved.  It took me an eternity to save $30.  When I told my mom that I had saved $30, I hoped maybe she’d be proud and help me out with the rest.  But, instead, she told me, “Well, now you can buy a $30 bike.”  I never got a Schwinn Varsity.

My goodness, I almost cried.  I almost just said, “You can have mine!  No, go for it… Take it!  You should have it.”  [don’t worry, pops, i didn’t.]

Instead we eventually dismissed ourselves from the conversation and went about eating respective brunches.  A bit later, I saw him get up to leave.  He walked away with a limp of dusty volumes and a cane I hadn’t noticed before.  He paused as he walked past my bike and gave it a good, long look of admiration before leaving it.

I cried.  Wow.  I cried.


We had a bike-in movie last night to support KHOL, the radio station I volunteer with.  I went out to help set up for the event in any way I could.

The venue was a local hiking mountain that gets plenty of use by all kinds of walks.

When I arrived to help, I was immediately put on dooty duty… which was totally fine.  I walked around and picked up dog shit that I’m sure pup owners just forgot to pick up.  I was walking back and forth when all the sudden I heard…

– Excuse me, miss.

– Yes?

– I just wanted to tell you that you are God’s gift to humanity.

– Ummmm…. Thank you?

– Not many people would be out here doing what you’re doing with a smile on their face.

[am i smiling?]

– Ha, well, just trying to help out.

– Someone should marry you right now.

– Ohp, okay… I gotta get back to poo.

– Hell, if I found someone half as great as you, I’d propose right now.

And that’s when I got so uncomfortable I just turned around and half mumbled, half replied…

– Okay, now I feel too awkward, bye, thank you, have a good hike, bye, eeeerrr…


Again, with the bike.  I was walking my bike on a sidewalk yesterday when a family passed.

A little girl, probably about five years old, stopped as we passed each other.  Her family kept on walking, but she stopped in her tracks and asked me…

– Do you have a flat tire?

– Oh, I don’t know… Do I?

Looking at the bike in oh-no surprise, I was pleased to find no flat.  So, I asked her…

– Do you think I have a flat tire?

She evaluated, looked up and down, then said, with authority…

– No, I don’t.

…and turned on a dime and walked quickly to catch up with her family.

– Okay, cool.

And I continued my direction.


‘Twas a glorious day of stranger interaction.  I love it.