Tuesday, September 26, 2017

burning moon

It is Sunday before eclipse Monday. The newsmaniacs are making the most of a natural event. Oregon is first to see the action, and traffic has reached epic proportions. Madras, a tiny little pile of dust in central Oregon is supposed to be the epicenter because it has the best chance of clear weather in the whole United States. 30,000 people are expected in a town of 3,000. A nightmare, to me. I don't like being around 3 people I don't know, let alone Burningman levels. But, it is a rare total eclipse, and we, luckily, are 5 miles from the path of totality. We will mosey to Poverty Bend road in the morning and stand there. That's the line. At Poverty Bend you get about 20 seconds of totality. For the next 70 miles south, totality will be increasingly visible. With the numbers of people expected, I think we'll ride as far south as we can to the middle, then stop. with hours to spare.

(So it is now the end of summer and I am writing about what we actually did. And I am writing this on a new silvery hp Pavilion laptop. and I love it and it works. I have not erased a single thing I didn't intend to.)

So, we jumped on the bike at 6:00 and arrived at Poverty Bend about five minutes later. Always one to get a jump on things, we made an early start. The eclipse began at 9:15 with Totality at 10:16 or something. Exactly. They know exactly when. And I've seen partial eclipses, but wowzer. This was something else entirely. So, being there so early, we decided to keep riding. There were very few on the road, and we thought we were being so smart. We made it to the Center of Totality at 6:45 with an anticipated 1 minute 58 seconds of full eclipse action, to happen in about 2 hours. We finally landed in Monmouth, Oregon, a tiny town with a nice little park, and stopped for coffee. There were lines around the corner at most places, but we found a little ice cream shoppe selling crappy coffee for a buck a cup. Perfect. Coffee a buck and stale muffin a buck. so we had a four dollar breakfast while everyone else was standing in line for the scalpers coffee at seven dollars a thimbleful. We sat in an empty parking lot with picnic tables with people from San Jose and Chicago and Monmouth. We had viewing glasses from Lowe's and a stack of purple glass Kurt had taped together for a partial eclipse years ago. We waited and waited as the sky darkened like Alaska in summertime. As the moon covered the sun, every spot of sunlight was crescent shaped: like trees with dappled light? The dapples were crescent shaped, same as the sun. Once Totality happens -- and it happens in an instant -- you take off your glasses and the corona is visible, the Umbra, I think. And we had 2 full minutes to consider this awesomeness before the sun passed beyond the moon, or the moon moved past the sun. Whatever. I'm so happy I was able to see it. Then we tried to go home. Reference the part earlier where I said we thought we were smart.

Well,we weren't. We thought we'd sneak away as soon as the event was over, not waiting for the entire eclipse to finish. Sneaky. But not. We slipped out of Monmouth with about 10,000 other smarties, and bottle-necked on the two-lane road home. On the bike. Sucking fumes. In the heat and leather, which didn't stay on long... three and a half hours later, workday shot -- yeah, I had planned to go to work at noon -- we got home and collapsed.

But we saw it. Totality. Totally.

Then Oregon burst into flames: Brookings, the Illinois River Valley, Middlefork to Joe Bar, almost jumped the river to G'ma's house. And up north, Cascade Falls, Stevenson, Multnomah Falls, Sisters, Bend. Heartbroke. Bob entertained and hosted, in that order, the Firefighters from Florida who kept his place from burning. He had newspaper and TV coverage calling him the Godfather of Joe Bar. During this time it was to be his 80th Birthday Bash. Madness and Mayhem at Joe Bar. But the fire kept the weak away. We are among them. I couldn't stand the thought of breathing that air.

During the fires we made a very quick trip to Santa Cruz. Felton, actually, a gorgeous little hamlet tucked away in a grove of redwoods I'd never seen before. An old man, a dulcimer builder, made a dulcimer for Kurt. His name was...... um........... I forget, but the company is Capritaurus. He was 81, in a funky little shop he'd been in since the hippie days, right next door to the Felton Bigfoot Museum, a life-long obsession of his brother's.

We also drove into San Jose to see Kurt's aunt and uncle. San Jose is ugly. The whole place was awful: thick trash littered the freeways, everything dry and crispy, ripe for fire. Driving south through the middle of California it was 118 degrees with no visual respite. We spent the first night in a Santa Cruz motel. I left my pillow. My perfect down pillow. Dammit. The second night we drove up Hiway One, which is not the coast until almost Eureka. We did drive through the Valley of the Giants, but air quality was poor even down that far. By the time we got to Oregon, it was smokey as night. We finally stopped driving at Gold Beach and spent the night in a throwback motel with a spiral staircase to the loft. I'm sure the view was nice but I couldn't breathe.

Back in the Untied States of America, untied is closer to the truth. We have come undone. Nazis are marching openly in the streets in the south, and in Portland to be frank. People are dying. The POS is firing anyone who doesn't agree with him. He is taunting North Korea openly and they are taking the bait. There have been three major hurricanes in the South and a big earthquake in Mexico with two strong aftershocks.

My only  question is: Where are the locusts? Raised by a Pentecostal woman, I cannot help but anticipate the second coming of Christ. I'm sure evangelicals are having a field day as we live out each chapter of Revelation in real time...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

vacation 2017

I used to jump up and down demanding my time. It's my time. I've earned it. I can go wherever I want and do whatever I want to do. I can sit in my bathrobe and write until midnight. I can and I will. This tirade, this tantrum, this is how I blow the first few days of my special time each year. Well not this time, boy. Not this year. This year, I'm just going to clean my house, paint if I find the right color, wash my damned windows and care for my many dogs. I'm not going to force myself to take a road trip to prove that I can. I'm not going to force us into a camping fiasco, however funly intended, without adequate planning.

I'm going to relax. I'm sure I can. I'm going to write. I'm sure i can do that too. I have a fucking master's degree in it. You'd think I'd churn out something worthwhile.something.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

cow [sic] tipping

Um. My life seems hard right now. I know compared to some it isn't. I fell over on the 4th of July. I just fell over and landed, unbuffered, on my right hip. Like this: I purchased a pair of extra wide cowboy boots because my feet are Birkenstocky and I am accustomed to wearing comfortable shoes. I never did train my feet to endure heels or pointed toes, thankfully. Torture. The cowboy boots are bad enough. So, I bought them for being on the motorcycle, because, sandals. We'd decided to take a run over to Garibaldi for the day, so I yanked on my new boots, jumped up and down in them and stuck an extra pair of sandals in the saddlebags just in case I couldn't take the restrictive boots. It was a fine day, and when it got time to head back, I, of course, opted for the sandals. It wasn't easy getting out of the cowboy boots, so I asked for help. Picture this: me leaned up against a minivan, Jenny pulling off the boots one by one. The first one was okay. The second? Well, she had to give an extra little tug and it tipped me just off center enough that I began to tip. You know that feeling when you've passed your center of gravity and there is no hope of recovery? Well, I do. My back slid along the minivan and I knew, in that slow motion sort of way, that nothing broke my fall except my hip. I heard a crunch. I thought bad thoughts. I just laid there for awhile, assessing my situation. Can I stand up? Is it broken? Is this fear or pain? So I went through the available range of motion, mine a tiny bit limited on a good day, and figured I was good to go. I hopped back on the bike and off we went. Nah. That's not what happened. I struggled up from the pavement, wandered around a little bit, then got back on the bike with a tiny bit of help. "If we get as far a Tillamook and it still hurts, I'm going to the ER and get an xray." So that's what happened. it still hurt, of course. Hurt worse, in fact, and we pulled in to the hospital and got a picture taken. So far so good. No fracture.

The ER doc wasn't thrilled to put me on a motorcycle to go home, but options were few, far from home on a holiday weekend. Well, it wasn't a weekend, I guess. it was Tuesday. So anyway, I made it home. I am alive.

This next part is personal. You don't even have to read it. I just wanted to record it as a day in my life so sue me. It is my blog, after all. So I am old and need repair. I'd decided to do something about it. Something like surgery. So I made an appointment weeks ago and today was the day for my consult. I was going to see the surgeon, have him check it out, chat it up and schedule surgery for August when I have some time off.

Imagine my surprise when he decides to do the procedure in the exam room this morning. I said something like, ".. but i dont' have much time and i have my little dog out in the car and you know how people are about dogs in cars and it isn't even hot i mean i treat him better than most people treat their children." So anyway, he jams his gloved hand and some scope thing and rubberbands where nothing wants to go and boom. I've had a procedure done. I make it to work and I am somewhat traumatized.

But I don't have a voice today. I woke up without a voice. So, broken hip, butt-reamed, laryngitis. I'm exhausted.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


Thursday marks 30 years of not drinking booze. It seems an over-reaction, sometimes, of an extended adolescence and some, very few really, matters of public record. The phrase "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization" comes to mind. But still... 30 years? I joke. I'm so grateful I don't drink. I'm so grateful to have found my way out of that familial deathtrap. I was not alone then and am not alone now. Happy 30, HP.

Friday, June 30, 2017

mil rant

When I married Kurt, his mother came to stay with us. Same week. She stayed a month and a half after saying a week and a half. She came in the door, advance directive in hand, and asked me to sign it. I declined. I told her I'd be happy to offer her son support as she ages, but I am not signing up for the job. I already have one.

It may be because I deal with elders all day, and have for all my life, that she has always come as such a shock to me. She is vain and boycrazy and almost eighty. Her demands for attention have been unending, and Kurt is always willing to step up to do what she needs. Not good enough. She was mad at his/our kids because they don't act like debutantes. No thank you notes. Dreadlocks. Purposely ratty clothing. The other grandchildren, the children of her daughter who died, and their many-fathered children, are the objects of her affection. I love those kids too, I do, but our kids deserve a g'ma.

So thirteen years we have included her in every holiday, K fixing and moving and shifting and putting together whatever she buys. I cooked for her and cared for her after a surgery, but it became clear that surgeries were elective and I backed away from that form of support. She became snitty if she wasn't invited out every other week, but didn't invite us to her place. The usual crap. Years go by while she goes on cruise after trip after guided tour. Years.

Then, a couple months ago, mil begins acting funny. Like she is hiding something from us. Turns out she had been working with a realtor and was planning a move south. Like it was a secret. Like we'd try to stop her. Very long story short, she sold a perfectly nice condo, and over the course of many trips south, many reversals in decision, she tries to back out of the sale on her condo and cannot, and is now forced to -- no, chooses to -- purchase a crappy 80's mobile in a crappy trailer park. Okay. Not my monkey...

So, this week, after my husband has tried to understand what she is doing, not even why -- just what the fuck are you doing, mom -- she tells him she's rented a truck and her realtor is driving it down to Medford. Wierd, but... Then, mid-week, it becomes clear to my husband, her only surviving child, that she has no way to make this happen. Nobody to move her things, etc. nobody to load or unload. And she's clearly been throwing Kurt under the bus to all of her friends. And we didn't even get the memo about her moving.

So Kurt finally asks wtf? He tells her he'll drive the truck down for her, when does she need to be out. She says, "the 30th." He says, "July?" "No," she says. "June." Tomorrow. Jeezus. He can't move big stuff because of his recently replaced $60,000.00 not really bionic ankle, but he'll help. So she got some kids to help load stuff and off they went. Her friends at the 55+ condo place gathered around her to say, "so glad you get to be near family finally." I can't imagine how my husband felt.

So, he drove her down there, and he and his son and his sons helped her unload. Its a good thing she went to live near family. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

gong show blues

I'll admit it: I have some pretty fond memories of my misspent youth. The Gong Show is one. As my sweet husband says, "I loved getting up and turning on the Gong Show." Well, it started at noon, so that should tell you something. I don't know how long it played, it could have been one season or a decade -- time is a funny thing -- but acts such as "Having My Baby," a musical number sung by a guy in a dick suit with a condom on it; or Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, Fish Out of Water, and who can forget The Unknown Comic? These little vaudeville acts were funny. You didn't even have to be loaded, but it didn't hurt. And, to make it all work, in the center of the gong, was the master of ceremonies, the man with the shepherd's hook, the great part-time CIA assassin, Chuck Barris. I saw him at Wordstock a few years ago. It was inspiring to see him in person, and although I'm sad that he died, I'm glad he wasn't watching CBS last night.

As you may know, The Gong Show attempted a comeback. It may not have been on CBS. It doesn't matter. It was wrong. It was sick and sad and not funny at all and the winning act was part porn part carnival barker part drag queen vomiting bananas. It wasn't pleasant. It was the vaudevillian equivalent of Running Man. Entertainment gone awry. There is such a thing as too far. And just because it is allowable according to our rigorous FCC standards, does that mean its good? We still can't say shit on TV, but this is okay? And I fear there will be more episodes because people were laughing and it was billed as good summer fun. And Michael Myers as an aging Austin Powers version of Barris, in yet another attempt to resuscitate his career, was an affront to my hazy memories. Who's my cheeky monkey? Really?

You can't go home again. This we know.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

many little inconveniences

I wish I could make up my mind. This house, this endless series of brand new menopause beige walls, open concept, just isn't me. I don't dare start painting. I'd never stop. The last time I painted I had cancer and the color I picked was a bilious shade of green better used on the floor. A true reflection on my mental state. Terminal green. To say that I've lost faith in my sense of style is not accurate, but I can't imagine choosing something that I'd like for long. That's the thing: everyone -- well, not everyone -- says, hey, if you don't like it you can just paint it. Yeah. You go first.

You won't be surprised that this doesn't keep me from shopping. I just ordered a billion dollars worth of baby blue and dirt burlap brown linen bedding. I have yet to put it on the bed. I know if there's one thing that will make me paint its new bedding. Shit. But the thing is that in my new house all of the corners of the walls are rounded so when do you stop painting? Do you just keep going? Do you try to make a straight line on one side or the other? I'd go mad, especially with my pre-parkinsonian twitch. Jesus. Put me in a round room and tell me to stand in the corner. I'd try.

On to politics: I fear us demon-crats are going to ruin any real chance of impeachment by bald-faced zealousness. We're just too excited about it. Rabid dogs slathered in their own drool, rattling the gates of the kingdom, trying to act demure. Part of me says we deserve this -- the other part knows no one does.


Somebody from amazon sent me a nice set of headphones. A noise-cancelling, pop in your ear to look like you're not schizophrenic, new set of headphones. With it, in the same plastic package, was a little black handheld mirror. Why, I wondered, would someone combine headphones and a mirror as a gift? There was no return address. I hadn't ordered anything that I recalled. Then, I pulled the mirror out of the package and turned it over to the mirror side and voila, no mirror. It was just black leather on both sides. I turned it back and forth in wonder: an upholstered ping pong paddle? I picked up the plastic sleeve it came in. Black on one side, clear on the other. "Large Sex Paddle." Imagine my surprise. Imagine my husband's surprise. Now, special gifts that are added to internet purchases are not unusual, but they are typically based on a person's search habits. My search habits just do not run to the porny. They just don't. I don't. Given my druthers I'd be invisible. I definitely don't like being hit. Believe me, I know about being hit. I don't want any part of it. So, here sits the sex paddle, kind of just being on the entry table, daring me to throw it away or to keep it. Its just the kind of thing for a white elephant gift exchange. At work.

We've been working around the yard, keeping up with the jones' and I've discovered that the answer to all things yard is dark brown bark. It makes weeds look well groomed. At two bucks a bag, we've spent about a hunnerd. It will allegedly suppress, or at least hide, the horrible thorny weeds that are native to Yamhill.

I fired the maintenance guy. Turns out he is Danish. On his termination paper he wrote, "Jeg der krongen" which, roughly translated, means "I am the king." Okay. Well, I am the queen. Check and mate.