Midsummer

comments: 68

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The middle. The greens have deepened. The sun is hot and rich. If there were cicadas here they'd be humming in the afternoons, but instead they hum in my memory of them humming. It's a Midwestern memory, one of many. There was a scent in the air the other day as Amelia and I got out of the car to have our lunch at a Thai restaurant I've only just started going to, needing a change. Something was blooming but I don't know what. It was the smell of a field, or a meadow, though we were nowhere near one. Far from, in fact. A sob caught in my throat. Our neighborhood feels urban in the worst of ways, lately. Overcrowded, filled with cars, crime, and a general crustiness that has me world-weary. I long for a Queen-Anne's-lace-lined gravel road, birdsong, a lake with a pier I could sit on and dangle my toes, a rowboat with which I could row Amelia into the shade to nap. No noise but nature's noises. I long for these things. Everything feels so far from them, somehow. I don't know why. I can't seem to find the right place for us to go to find them. It seems like just a small, quiet, ordinary place but I can't find it. It must be more extraordinary than I thought. Sometimes I wished we lived in the country.

Instead, I tend my little garden. It's not doing very well, actually, and seems rather stunted. The gourds and cucumbers seem stressed, their lower leaves turning yellow and getting brown splotches and falling off. The broccoli leaves, those beautiful, leathery, spruce-green lobes, are getting eaten by something. I guess everything else is actually doing okay, but it just doesn't seem to be growing very much. I've been watering every day and this is the first time I've been so diligent about doing anything in the garden for years, since before Amelia was born. It feels good and I feel ready to do it again. I mean, I'm still terrible at gardening. I learn things and then I forget them immediately, or I don't learn anything at all. I'm super into it for a while and then I'll get totally neglectful (and, well, busy) and won't water for a week, usually right when it gets super hot and the plants need it most. Well, we'll see. So far I'm doing okay with it, and it feels good.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your orders during my quilt kit sale the other day. I am so incredibly happy that these are selling, and yes, I have more coming. I have at least twenty new fabrics that haven't even been cut yet. I'm working on my skirt pattern — and yes, to those who've asked, it is the skirt hanging next to my basket on my post last week — and I'm going to be selling a limited amount of yardage of these vintage calicos to go with my skirt pattern. The pattern has no pieces for you to print out or cut out or anything like that — the skirt is made entirely of rectangles cut with a rotary cutter and ruler, and you can make it any size you'd like. I've literally made five of these skirts in the past few weeks as I've been working on the pattern, and I've been wearing one or another almost every single day. I put my phone/wallet in one pocket and my keys in the other and I go. So practical. I'm haaaaaaappy with this particular summer solution. It's good.

Andy Paulson. The kind of dad I wish every child in the world could have. Happy Father's Day, my dear, dear irrepressible, darling love. XOXO

68 comments

Now and then I find myself longing and needing a space where the sun hits from the south and the sounds of cicadas and birds and a maybe a far away rooster can be heard. And I'd then start looking up nearby retreats. But I realize now that what I was searching for isn't a place, it's a memory. It's not just peaceful sounds, that would be nice but that secure hug, feeling of it's all going to be okay and it's taken care of... my grandparent's front yard. It is still there but it's not still there. I carry that retreat in me and it helps. Still, I'd love to find a place I could revisit, not far from here where, all to ourselves. We recharge at Elizabet Ney museum, if only it was all ours for a weekend :).

Laura Nelson says: July 01, 2017 at 07:41 AM

Yes every child should have a dad like Andy. You should come to Maine if you ever get the chance. My lovely niece from there..is here this weekend.She is eating her own weight in lobster while she is here. I am fortunate enough to be a camp nurse this summer, deep in the Maine woods, dark and sunlight dappled, pond to swim and 250 kids to care for. But its a blessing. I can't believe how big Mimi is getting. What a nice life you guys have there. And Oregon has many places to get to , to become more rural without leaving the state. Have a lovely rest of your summer, we are just now getting into middle summer.

Both of you are the best parents and Amelia is so very lucky! Our neighborhood (as many others) has changed as well and not in a good way, but hard to find that cute country road and house - it's not always easy to move for various reasons. We live in a crazy world, but the home you created is so wonderful for you guys - I think, that's why I love reading your blog each weekend! It's wonderful to see your pics and I love your honesty. I, still think you should write a book - you have a great way with words.

our eldest and his wife have lived in portland for almost ten years. weary of the high cost of living and the fraying hipster vibe, they have just moved away...

my husband and kitty and i are perched on a ridge in beautiful vermont. no place we would rather be.

may you find peace wherever you are, alicia.

I agree with Cheri. Move somewhere that makes your heart sing. Between your business being online and your husband's profession, I would think there would be many opportunities open to you.

Six years ago we lived in an older neighborhood in a city. We moved to a quiet development in a small town ten or so miles north. The back of our lot is lined with trees and brush. Within two weeks I felt like a new person. I knew living in the city was taking a huge toll on me, but I didn't realize how much until we got out. When I do have to go back for appointments, I can't wait to get back out again.

Margot Troolines says: July 02, 2017 at 10:34 PM

I had not popped in to read your blog for a very long time. Tonight, when I saw your pictures and saw how your beautiful daughter has grown, I found myself with the same warm, gentle, delightful feeling that I got when I first read your work. Your photographs have a way of capturing light--especially twilight--in ways I can only dream of doing with my own camera. Have you ever thought of publishing a book locally with your photographs? I live just outside PDX and I feel they would be so well-received by this community! You have a real gift behind the camera. Thank you again for sharing your views of the light...and your beautiful family. Truly made my day---again! You can bet I'll be stopping in more often ;) (P.S. About living in the country--have you ever considered Forest Grove? Could be just what you are looking for ;)

I also long for a place much like that... but I fear I'll be making do with where I am for quite some time (and that's okay at the moment). I remember lying out on the lawn like that - I don't have a lawn in my small unit, but I do have room to put some in... I think that could be a future goal to make my little corner a little more green while I'm here! I'm loving your ear-ring organization, so simple, and so practical.

with your garden ,i recently learned how important it is to feed the roots. when planting, down at the roots use compost manure,fish fertilizer. one or the other or both.in your case dig a little hole next to the plant [close to the plant] and a little grass clippings and feed it.cut or pinch off the bottom yellow leaves the reason for the leaves getting yellow is too much water. make sure you hill around the base of the plant and if you mulch keep the mulch about 3 inches from the plant it holds water. little plain espom salt is good sprinkled around each plant i use 1 Tablespoon for each a month hope this works for you

It feels so natural to seek refuge from this world right now, to seek out a place where sadness and world events don't reach us, where they don't affect us or at least we can pretend they don't. When you find this place, please let me come visit. Although we both know I would not ever want to leave. Sending you much love.

SW Portland is in some ways the best of both worlds; big lots (.5-.25 acre lots are common) in quiet neighborhoods with good schools and a 10-15 minute drive to SE, NE, or NW. I miss being able to walk to trendy restaurants, but I wouldn't trade my 1000 sq ft garden for it.

Also, I saw you and your family at the Ryan Adams show last week and was trying to figure out how to approach you to say hi and tell you how much I love your blog (without seeming like a stalker) when Ryan came on stage and started the show. So I'm telling you now. Thank you for your images, words and endless creativity.

I also had the fleeting sense ages ago of seeing andy in Amelia,probably old soulmates.Fate and destiny and the people that join us on our journeys is always mysterious..I think even with adoptees that they are entirely fated for their parents and have old lives and stories threading them together with them.

Your photos are of poison hemlock, not Queen Anne's lace. Poison Hemlock is poisonous to pets if they eat it. Here is more info: http://www.ravensroots.com/blog/2015/6/26/poison-hemlock-id

To Haley,

That post you are referrng to is "Rain Rain" may 2013. I look forward to every single of her post.

Come to McMinnville and then we can be friends! It's perfect here, and you would adore the quilt shop, and you can still get to Portland for movies and restaurants. You would have to give up your perfect backyard, though.

Love the skirt at the first picture - love pockets on skirts. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures. Amelia is getting prettier every day! Such a handsome young lady!

I have been getting melancholy, lately, too. A summer thing, or maybe my kids getting older. P.S. I have that very same cucumber cologne!

Andylynne says: July 16, 2017 at 04:53 PM

Beautiful post, the skirt is a stunner and so clever too. As usual a great project.
Just a thought. I was born in a large city. Suburban neighborhood. I longed for country,birds animals trees flowers. I live in the country now and love it. Would not could not live elseware. But I still have a deep longing almost an ache. Where I live is amazing. I think I long for a state of mind. Im nearly always happy. But the longing still drifts in hinting at the could be. I've come to believe it's my secret self nudging me forward.country or urban I know you will follow your heart.

We moved from 71st & Fremont area to rural Oregon City a couple years ago for the exact same reasons. We used to love our little house, neighbors and urban community but we outgrew it. I am amazingly happy living in the woods now and it has changed my outlook on the world and fuels my creativity in ways I didn't know was possible. Hugs from Oregon City. :)

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.