Sunday, April 30, 2017

not yet

It is a quiet day in Yamhill, clouds hanging low in the morning sky, heaving with unspilled rain. The weather Nazis in Portland promise sun -- no, they promise warmth -- and are liars. It remains cold and May is tomorrow. Mayday. Our anniversary. 13. The number that dare not speak its name.

Yesterday we clammed at Longbeach, Washington. It is a damned long beach. 26 miles. An okay beach, but I know Seaside. I know, for example, that year to year there is a small shifting tidal creek that burrows a trench in the sand and makes for deeper water. At Longbeach, it caught me off-guard. I almost fell off the edge and into the surf. It wouldn't be the first time, but like I said, it isn't warm out. I'd heard tell of the huge razor clams from the Ilwaco and Longbeach area. To me, they seem pretty much like Oregon clams. I mean, they are clams. There just isn't that much variation. I was not impressed but I don't think the clams cared. Traffic was hideous. I guess Washington is conservative about how often they open the beaches for this sort of thing, and everyone from Oregon was up there, cramming their vehicles across that long bridge from Astoria to Washington, and the first stop across the border -- to pee, to get a day-license, was slammed. And only a single outhouse. Seriously. I stood in line: men, women and children ahead of me, and waited my turn. This is no longer easy for me.

Work is work. With my business office manager (BOM) off on maternity leave, I am responsible for portions of the work better left to the mathematically-inclined. I spent Friday afternoon trouble-shooting my first bank deposit with a machine that wouldn't recognize my computer. It doesn't make for interesting blogging, but bless the folks at our Home Office who have this stuff down. It isn't that I've never done payroll or deposits or paid bills -- just the supporting technology has changed a lot since I've done it all. I can add.

The dogs are outside and too quiet. Kurt is napping. All is well.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

and if that wasn't bad enough

Kurt took me out to dinner after the late afternoon cold sun broke through the gloom. We took the bike to Margaritas. We've given this new Mexican restaurant in Carlton three tries. Three. No more. This really has been a fool's day. Fajitas should not be made with bbq sauce. This is written down somewhere, I'm certain. My pal Nikki says it takes a certain kind of fuck it to ruin Mexican food.

side show

I'm not that nice of a person. We all know this. I am pretty nice to the people I love, but generally have disdain for the public. Except at work. At work I am good at people.

This morning, this Saturday, it was supposed to be a bit dreary in the morning, then, for the first time in a year, give way to a mostly sunny weekend. That's what they said. They promised, therefore I am entitled. I would work in the sun until my shoulders were pink, I'd have rings around my eyes from sunglasses, I'd be happy. And warm. Oh, and dry. I'd made a hair appointment to cover the wet part of the day, then was free to enjoy the remainder, playing in my yard.

I thought I'd run into Mac early, McMinnville, our "closest town of any size" to get some cheap wire fencing to keep the dogs out of the strawberry patch. Walmart has that sort of thing. So I got ready, drove into town before my hair appointment, and pulled into Walmart. I'm wearing my overalls and bogs for the gardening part of the day. The sunny part.

It seemed like everyone was moving in slow motion, limping like zombies, only doughy and white, dragging one foot or the other through the parking lot. Then, too suddenly, the neon lights of Walmarche, ablaze in the morning gloom. Greeting me as I entered was an exceptionally fat woman with green and purple hair sticking out in pigtails, wearing a neon-yellow Walmart safety vest. Beside her was a tiny midget with hair dyed as yellow as his own little tiny safety vest. The size contrast was impossible to ignore as the morning zombies milled around, flailing canes and carts and baskets and walkers. I know it is bad of me to be afraid of midgets, but there it is: part and parcel of my fragile psyche. 

I found the fencing, loaded more than I needed in the cart, and, head-down-not-making-eye-contact, made my way back through the store to the checkout. I was hurrying, I'll admit it. With side show clowns still watching the door, I rushed out the nearest exit. People were chasing me. I sped up, then heard some guy yelling at me. Apparently I'd left my 60.00 cashback at the register. I had to make my sheepish way back through the fat lady and her circus monkey, get my money and leave through the proper door. The midget called out as I left, "Goodbye, Sir." It took all of my self control not to tell him to fuck off. Really. All. ew.

I got to my hair appointment only to find I was an hour early. I cancelled. Fuck it. I want to go home. It is truly April Fool's Day. And the sun still hasn't come out. Not one single warm day this year and it is April. I am enraged. I am entitled. I am cold. I'd settle happily for a false spring.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This is a rant.  And, spliced in with that is news. I got a new car. I like it a lot except the color. Red. I like black or white. But it was a bargain. She paid 34K and I'm paying 20. That 20K is a bargain in any language is unthinkable. It has 11,000 miles on it and she's done five oil changes. "They're free," she said. I'd be lucky to get two into my busy schedule.  I am trying a new antidepressant for anxiety. Sometimes I can't breathe. It seems important. I have stressors in my life. One is a puppy, and tonight, the other is a step-daughter who hates me.

I have written little about Nicole, knowing she reads this blog, but tonight it seems more important to express myself than protect her feelings. She is, among many things, bipolar (or borderline pd), so she requires more therapeutic ignoring than the ordinary person. I let things go. I have for thirteen years now. But last night, she actually reached out for help, acknowledging a recent suicide attempt and sincere plans to kill a step-person. Not me. Her mother's husband. I think they're married. When she reaches out to her father, via text, this manipulates my beloved into a froth, as it would any adoring parent. She dumps the text in his lap, and he into mine, and then she fails to respond for hours -- hours in which I'm sure he pictures her hanging from the rafters somewhere in SE Portland. I can't stand to see him suffer and I texted her my concern, and said that I was glad she'd reached out. What I got in return was so mean. She is so mean. She basically laid the entire failure of her life at my feet because I won't let her live with us, lay in the house, be fed, and like a lovely but moody African Violet, face due east and bloom once a year.

In her text, she said, "Maybe we could talk about how often I've been raped for a place to sleep," then, "Seriously Judy, take your worry and choke on it." I didn't have the heart to tell her I was worried about Kurt. And we could speak about the rapes, I guess, but I'd win. Hands down. If that was meant to shock me into guilt over her troubles, she's barking up the wrong tree. I know the stock in trade. In my case, like hers, I opted not to work, and I lived in a tree instead of paying my way, so the boys took it out in trade. It wasn't usually very fun for me and I'm sure it isn't fun for her, but she isn't the first girl to have a shitty life. Not my monkey not my circus.

I met the girls when they were 13 and 11. There is hardly a year separating them, but they couldn't be more different. Nicole has bipolar disease, more depressive than manic by far. She lays down for years at a time. I've tried to support her or her parents to apply for SSD, but no one will take the time. She hasn't held a job for more than a month in several years. She takes a job, any job, becomes employee of the month, realizes how stupid everyone else is, and walks away. She is the poster child for the saying, "You can't fix a broken mind with a broken mind." I've hooked her up with many counselors, many nice women, all of whom she blew off after an appointment, or sometimes two, before she discovered their idiocy. In her text to her dad she claimed to be living by "manipulating idiots for a place to stay." I think these are probably nice people. Nicole is a charming and lovely girl when she needs to be, and a smelly hermit that bites like a snake once she gets her foot in the door.

Kurt asked me not to hold her wrath against him... not to take her meanness out on him. I am grateful he finally understands how cruel she has been, and for how long. At Christmas, as I said in a previous post, Haley talked about how everyone is poor in this family. And I think I understood her to say how sad it is that Nicole "has to stay with strangers who just accept her the way she is and take care of her." But that is nonsense. Most of these relationships are with those "morons"and they last weeks at most. She's a nasty tempered couch surfer who is currently paying the bill the hard way. One family's only stipulation was that she shower and she wouldn't do that. I remember setting that limit.... didn't work for me either.

Ah, I'm ranted out. I'm too tired and too fucking old for this shit.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

puttin' packy down

"All the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you." This was the earworm of my ninth year, just after my father died and little Packy was born. We didn't have PETA then, or know about cattle prods or elephant's symptoms of depression. It was just a sweet happy thing in a sweet happy world.

I'm sure it wasn't. But Trump wasn't president.

I guess he had TB. I wonder if they kept him in a cold room with damp sheets. That's my favorite Van Morrison song: TB Sheets. After Brown Eyed Girl. Anyway, this is just a little vignette for the only elephant I ever knew.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

ground hog's day

I test drove my new car today. I'm buying it from a little old lady who decided to move to Canada. Not a bad idea. She has a red Mazda CX5 that may stand for cross country. Its like my little white one, only bigger. I'm not crazy about the red, but it has all the electronic stuff, like the bluetooth hookup so it feel like you're in the phone if you're driving.

I marched in the January 21st Women's March. We made history. I didn't have a pussy hat, just a big sign that said no.just plain no. It was cold and miserable and didn't result in impeachment, I am sad to say. I will continue to resist in my small way against this very bad person and his henchmen.

Mac is wild. Never try to housebreak a puppy in a blizzard. On the other hand, I saw my oncologist eating a hotdog at Costco. That gave me hope. Things may not be as bad as advertised. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017


While Mac chews contentedly beside me and snow falls outside, ice to follow, I am allowed a single moment of peace. I got a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for Christmas but it turns out they only cancel the noise outside my head, not inside, where the real problems are. And now I have Enya playing into both ears because it is the only thing I could find without thinking. It is respite from puppy from house from headspeak.

But I still know how to knead bread, like the motion of wave or rocking a child. My hands remember each turn of the dough as cinnamon, sugar and walnuts slip between long unpracticed fingers, slick with butter, twirling the giant roll into perfection. At other times I find it hard to think.

These days I see things through the shifting kaleidoscope of political surreality, the post-fact post-truth post-honor post-democracy we live in, awaiting the million woman march portland edition and in the meantime, try to remember that my life is what it is due to the resistance of other women who went before. Who fought monsters less fictional than the bad man. I cannot swallow this whole, this idiocy of pretending, and so I bake and my blood sugar skyrockets.

Sue me. I favor resistance. Sedition. Read this and come talk to me. Arrest me.

Work is a happy place to go many days of each week, but it does not pry my mind away from this trauma. Not for long. Life and death and life and death. It is new for each family and still the same to me. I talk of heaven because that is easier. I like heaven. It is a way to end a sad conversation on a happy note. Streets of gold. Okay. Sure thing. We have the noro-type virus making its way through the building just now, like a dark and shit-spewing specter, pointing its bony finger and culling the weak from the herd. And I think, and sometimes say when they pass, oh good. oh, good. Heaven.

Home is happy. But with all the happiness of new home and open sky and stars and birdsong, Kurt suffers from arthritis and this is hard for him, which makes me sad. He is such a man. He pushes through when he should rest. He eats badly to make it not true. He pretends not to care. I love him so much and cannot stand to see him suffer. He will suffer more before this is over. I know arthritis, not personally, but I have watched it inhabit and twist the bones of elders into shapes they don't recognize.

Over Christmas, I had a moment with Marky that was hard. It made me so aware of how easy our relationship has been all these adult years... but he was drunk and now that he is sober, he seems to have an opinion. While I have been happily inviting him to various holiday events, he has experienced each one with mounting anxiety, a gift I gave him, no doubt. Anxiety that we expect him to house us, to feed us -- which we have never suggested -- these thoughts live in his head alone. I have pretended that he was unaffected by my past his past my life his life. He hates the holidays he hates having random conversations with people he doesn't know or want to know. He can't stand being around drinking. Neither can I, I wanted to tell him, but couldn't get a word in. He raged at me in his rational way in my rational way, until he'd said all he had to say. If you want to do something, he said, call me. If you want to go crabbing or camping, call me. I said Okay.

Then it was Haley's turn, sweet, strong Haley not so strong. So hard for those girls. Nicole discovered her mother wrapped in a blanket on a street corner in portland, and I can imagine that. I remember coming home to my mother wrapped in a piece of carpet on my front porch. But it wasn't a city street. And maybe it was my sister. They've both been there. But Haley mourned the poverty of both of our famlies in a voice I hadn't heard from her -- that millenial voice full of entitlement and expectation -- other kids get everything paid for. Yes. But not in our families. "Everybody in this family is poor." Yes. And in saying that, the unspoken is: but not you. You guys have it so good. And I wanted to tell her my life, of living with a small child in a house floating on a slough with electric wires so bad that you couldn't touch the floor and the counter at the same time and had to step bed to sofa to get around. And step log round to log round to make it out to the little sinking house for sixty dollars a month. A rising tide floats all things. And we do have a nice life, like most, a fingersnap from poverty. White trash-ish. A generation from the Ozarks in my family and San Jose slums in his. I refuse to feel bad about being warm in the winter. I think kids need to work. Hard. I don't know anything else. If education comes, reach out. I'm still paying for mine. Will die paying.

So, the children are unhappy. We do what we can not to break them further.

Happy New Year. jblsky

Saturday, December 03, 2016


To deal with my depression over the american tragedy, I bought a Scottie pup. His name is Mac. Mackie. He is very very cute, in an ugly sort of way. Scotties are odd looking dogs and they start out looking like grown dogs -- long nose, pointy ears. I couldn't resist. He is a doll, and like Duffy, I'm bringing him to work with me. So far so good.

So here's the thing: Like most of my peeps, I am reeling politically. As far as I'm concerned, it isn't over yet. The electoral college hasn't voted and he has not been inaugurated. As far as I know, there are recounts in process and trump is scheduled to appear in court on a child rape charge prior to the electoral college vote. The girl had dropped the case due to intimidation, but the judge decided it was worth a look-see. I'm just hoping something can happen to re-align the planets before December 19th, or at the very latest, January 19th. Pence is nearly as frightening.

My only hope, Obewan, is that someone will step forward and admit that the emperor has no clothes.