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yoga and needles and art, oh my!

My fingers smell of kielbasa and pierogies, and soon, my keyboard will too.

Polish comfort food from a stall at the PSU Farmers Market.

Though my hands are greasy, my heart is full - I biked from my home in Multnomah Village this morning to downtown on the west side for the PSU Farmers Market. From sunchokes to cacti to reishi-infused chocolates, they had it all. Those were indeed the three things I actually bought, in case anyone wondered. I'll let you know how transporting the cactus back home via bike goes...

Incan quipi reproduction, as mentioned below.

Post-farmers market, I walked through PSU's free-to-the-public art gallery and perused their current exhibit that featured the theme of digital weaving (i.e. tapestries and the like that were somehow woven using digital concepts, whether it was using a digital loom, or encoding any sort of data into weaving patterns. My favorite work was a contemporary reproduction of an Incan quipi, a collection of knotted llama-hair strings, which would record numerical data such as census counts, taxes owed, the passage of time, and the organization of armies. These data were conveyed by knot placement, knot color, and the type of fiber used).

Entering Portland's weekly Art & Craft Fair.

After being thoroughly infused the energy of the art upon which I'd gazed, I decided to bike just a little further downtown to the Portland Art & Craft Fair along the Willamette River. This is a weekly occurrence on Saturdays, I learned, and I fully plan to return sometime! A drum circle greeted me as I walked my bike across a grassy green park to lock it up on the bike racks, and it was still there two hours later when I said my farewells. Some of the art that people were creating was so inspiring, and I found my artist soul fulfilled and enriched, ready to create more myself. Everything feels better in community friends, does it not? Much less inviting to be a lonely hermit of an artist - and yet it's so romanticized in our society! This does not have to be the way! Can you tell that I'm worked up? I'm glad I am, 'cause I'm gonna need some energy to go back up the hills I cruised down for 30 minutes on my way downtown. Phew.

This last week flew by. I had some physical symptoms of low-level migrainey-ness and nausea, which I haven't experienced for a while, and so the acupuncture appointment I'd scheduled at Working Class Acupuncture the previous week came right on time. Not only was it a great experience (in the hours post-treatment, I was able to go about my day with heightened energy and decreased nausea), but the woman who treated me was so understanding of my current limbo period and not being able to afford 3 treatments a week at $20 a pop (their sliding scale cost of treatments being $20-40), and said she'd rather I come in and get treated and pay a little less than not come in at all and feel sick. I paid $10 for 3 treatments/week! It feels so good to be able to afford something here that improves my health, as I don't have health insurance for Oregon (yet?).

Speaking of healing things, I attended my first yoga class at the bouldering gym I joined on Wednesday. It was incredibly helpful in stretching and strengthening my body after climbing the day before, and now I fully understand how yoga not only complements, but is actually necessary cross training for a sport in which body awareness is tested so rigorously and frequently.

Powell's books I couldn't choose from!

I've been finding peace and grounding in books and nature this week. Yesterday (and today, as I write this blog post), I went to the main Powell's Bookstore location on the west side. I can tell I'm going to be spending a lot of time there over the next few weeks. It's totally magical to me to have so many books, both young and old, of all different genres, in one place. And also, to have a sweet, adjoining café in which to sit and read, write, chat, or work. Pictured above is the stack of books I couldn't choose from to read in the café. I'm in love.

Snails n' shrooms.

Nature-wise, I'm continuing to explore parks within the city as I wait for the weather to get warmer and mountain temps to rise. But the city parks have a lot to offer! Laurel Hurst park on the east side was a nice, leisurely stroll, in the good company of families, skaters, and ducks. Tuesday afternoon, I hiked up to Council Crest Park, the peak of a mountain/hill (not sure how to distinguish yet - everything feels like a mountain coming from Michigan), from Marquam Nature Park. It was a beautiful hike, in and out of Barton Hills-esque neighborhoods (for those of you not from Ann Arbor, that means "ritzy"), but mostly in mossy and moist old growth woods. I met a few slimy and shroomy friends along the way.

Lol Portland.

This blog post felt like more of a diary entry today, sorry folks! I promise I've been doing my morning pages to get out the stream of consciousness storm of emotions and feelings that comes from being a human, but sometimes it's not enough (is it ever enough though?). Also, am I actually apologizing for being full o' love and full o' life??? Scratch all of it.

To all those who have been supporting me from your various abodes around the States, thank you - I could not continue to do what I have been doing without your love and support.

Close-up of Bo screaming at me for The Wuv.

Starting to get hungry again so I'll wrap it up and start to bike home. I hope my cactus friend makes it.

xoxo grace

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