Doe Babies Forever

October is a favorite month, filled with birthdays, anniversaries, and that bestest of holidays, Halloween. But in a few more weeks, the winter gloom will start to sink in, the holidays will start to feel like pressure, and I’ll start thinking about early bird tickets to summer festivals. I’ve taken my kids to lots of them, but nothing compares to Doe Bay Fest, where grown ups are almost as welcome as the kids.


Stank Baby

That time my daughter’s friend from rock camp pulled her up on stage at a music festival. That day at Doe Bay they danced, but earlier that summer she taught my girl the importance of Stank Face. For those who don’t know, it’s the ugly face you make when you’re getting down and the music is more important than looking pretty.

Adra Boo, then of Fly Moon Royalty, is still a favorite at Doe Bay (playing music at the fest and teaching at the writing camp). She also writes for The Stranger, and perhaps most importantly, mentors young women in music through Rain City Rock Camp.

Wet Dog

One summer, I was invited to go camping in the San Juans. My dog was so old that I worried about leaving him at home alone. So I brought him with me. It rained so hard for those two days the waterproofing on my tent gave out. I had to leash the dog to make him leave the tent to pee, and when he came back in, he coated the entire inside of the tent with mud and the scent of wet dog, a scent that also pervaded my car for at least a week afterward. His toe nails punctured my sleeping pad. It was the last time I ever took that dog camping. He died a few months later. I’m so glad I took him with me to the island.

50 Years of Jewels

Milestone birthdays inspire reflection. Especially when the milestone in question is 50 years, and Jewels are being reflected. This year, Jewels, the collection of three gemstone-themed ballets by George Balanchine, turns 50. I’ve been watching Pacific Northwest Ballet for nearly half that time – I fell in love with ballet at PNB’s Nutcracker in 1993. Continue reading

Rain Shadow

My friend has gone camping on Lopez Island every summer for nearly 20 years. She likes Lopez, because in the Pacific Northwest rain is always a possibility, but Lopez is in the rain shadow. In all those years, she never had always had good weather. A few years ago she invited me along.

Lopez Grocery

The San Juan Islands hold a special place in Northwest hearts. Idyllic islands not too far from the comforts of home, they seem to exist with an Instagram filter that blends nostalgia and progressiveness. The first time I went camping on Lopez Island, I turned down a little dirt driveway onto a farm that had posted a “Fresh Produce” sign by the street. Pulling up in front of a big barn, I couldn’t see any sign of recent habitation. But just inside I found these refrigerators, a table with a scale, a chalkboard listing the prices of everything available that day, and a cash box with a piggy bank slot for payment.

FOMO, the Multiverse, and Doe Bay

Doe Bay

I was reading Neal Stephenson’s book Anathem when my family made its annual pilgrimage to Doe Bay Fest on Orcas Island. It was a hard book to get into in the middle of summer, but sometimes what you read and what you live integrate in the strangest ways.

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