One Year Out

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

The hint of fall is in the air as I sit under the blacked-out stars on the patio of the Space Room on Hawthorne.

Usually it’s a lot wilder, with hipsters celebrating the coming of Friday like the weekend was starting Thursday- “Thirsty Thursday” I think some people still call it. I always really liked this kind of weather, where you packed a light hoodie for the morning and evening, but crammed it in your bag during the hot sunlit hours. It certainly seems more pronounced in Oregon than it ever did in New Jersey. I suppose that’s because most of my autumns in New Jersey were home by the sea, not out in the Pinelands or anywhere especially wooded. Even in super-hip and compulsively urban Portland, you can’t forget there are woodlands out there. The trees are starting to change, littering the streets with scarlet and ochre leaves. It’s turning into the time of year that demands light music, whiskey, and warmth.


Well, I’m having a martini. Cucumber dill-infused vodka, a refreshing little twist. It’s my Friday. After coming home, stripping off the remains of my work of the last week and zonking out for about an hour, I decided that was break enough, and time to get out among people and back to work.

As of September 11th, it has been one year since Emily and I dropped everything and headed west. In the course of that year, we’ve:
– Moved once
– Learned to live and love a new city
– Made friends
– Said goodbye to friends we just made
– I was unemployed for at least 6 months.
– Restarted The Black Hat Bakery as The Black Hat Baker and took it legit.
– Got engaged- our date is officially January 7th, by the way.
– Faced changes and losses that we weren’t near enough to deal with quickly.
– Counted on the goodwill and love of more people than we believed we could deserve.
– Relied on luck and hope perhaps a bit more than we should have.

New Year’s Eve of two years ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t be in the same job. I promised myself I’d be out seeing the world, working for myself, or working for a business I loved and agreed with. I finished that promise with the words of my grandfather:

“They will love you, or they will hate you- but never let them ignore you.”


Two years later, I am an honest-to-God entrepreneur. I work a day job I love, doing work I enjoy and get creative control in. On the side, I work to fulfill two goals I made long ago at the same time- I wanted to make people happy, and I wanted to save the world. If I can entertain people with my writing and stories, and teach them to bake and look after others- that’s a job worth doing.

A year and a half ago, I didn’t expect to be doing any of that 2000 miles from everything I knew and loved.

A year is a long time, and it’s not so long at all.

I’ve been trying not to write too many self-serving blogs recently. I want everything I write here to be helpful or of interest to you guys, my readers, where/whatever you are. If I want to share all of this with you, I’m going to teach you something while I do it- and this is something I’m still learning myself, even as I sit under the stars 2000 miles from home, two drinks in, and listening to cars crawl along Hawthorne.


This has been a king-hell-bastard of a year. I learned a lot, often unpleasantly, and always just doing what I’d been trying to do all along:
1. Look after myself and those I love.
2. Do what I love to do.
3. Try to make the world better.

In the course of one year, it got me to some pretty dark places- I thought I was twisted or sick. I thought I should give up. I thought I was no good to begin with and who was I fooling.

It also got me to some places of indescribable beauty- where I KNEW all was well, and that I couldn’t forgive myself if I ever gave up, and that I still had skills worth sharing, and that I was where I was meant to be.

In other words, it carried me through life. Life sucks. It’s also beautiful. It’s painful. It’s also ecstasy.

In a few months, or maybe a little sooner, I’ll see my old home for the first time in a year. I’ll marry the woman I love, and who I managed to build a life with among all this madness. I’ll see old friends, and maybe some will ask how Portland is, or what life is like out here.

I think about that as I look past the patio lights at the cloudy sky, and then down the road at restaurants, bars, stores, people, libraries, museums, a city I’ve only had a year to know.

I think I’ll say “It’s life. Just a little wilder and weirder.”

Thanks for sticking around, folks. This should be interesting.

Stay Classy,