Saturday, July 31, 2004

tin fence

We are finally fencing in the back yard we conscripted from our neighbor in the name of home improvement. We've started quite a trend. Neighbors three doors back and one across are busily improving their back yards. Taking down that hedge, that 30 foot laurel hedge, started something big. But I don't want to watch. I want my privacy back. I want to disappear into my little green space and putz around unobserved. And it's not that I think I'm fun to watch, I just feel exposed. I may still have the teensiest bit of residual paranoia. You decide. I didn't list my phone number until a few years ago. Ah well, the remnants of that other life.... So it was my idea to make a tin fence. Wood is so expensive. Jesus. A single red cedar board at Home Depot (I call it Home Despot) is $39.95. Shit. So a 40 foot run would be, well, alot. I was married to a logger once, so the relative value of boards is changed when you can make your own. But he died, which wasn't so bad, but is another really long story, and now we have to buy boards. So this guy tells us he has all this tin sitting around, and I'm thinking the nice old wavy kind of tin. No. It is more industrial than that, and painted barn red. Why? I had to know. Because it was part of a barn. The door. So, we will have a dismantled barn door for a fence. For awhile anyway. I don't care. I can decorate anything. I'll just call it shabby chic. At least we didn't buy the tin at an antique store for twice the original price like bobo's are prone to do.

There were brown recluse spiders between the sheets (of tin, not my bed sheets.) Those things are nasty.

Friday, July 30, 2004


I could have happiness as my blog theme, but I think I'll stick with apathy. I think I'm stuck with apathy. Happily apathetic. I like that.

He asked me if I need flowers or poetry. I said no, I need you to bring home that fifteen dollar orange metal dolly with fat tires, and a blue picture frame you dug out of the Hillsboro trash. I need to wake up next to you in the morning, lay down with you at night. That's all I need. I don't know how to seem as happy as I am.


I don't think I'm very interesting. I am deeply self-involved, but I don't think that should be of much interest to anyone else. I write shit down. It's what I do to keep from exploding, imploding.... talking. I am quiet. Insecure. Shallow. Sexual. I don't know whether it is the nature of a writer to dislike attention for the product of a too-fruitful imagination, or to both seek and reject attention. I don't care. I dislike writing about writing and here I am doing just that. I am happy, and this is having a reverse Hemingway-effect on my production of well-strung (unstrung) words.  Which is to say I can only create if I am miserable or drunk.

I have led too many lives.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


It has been my custom to not write about what I do for money. The j.o.b.... But where I am now, this next asylum in my long list of asylums, is so transient, my position so temporary, that my feet barely touch the ground. And the people are so odd. SO ODD. And, for reasons of confidentiality (oh, please) I can't discuss particular features of the distressed humans I am shepherding these days. I mean, they don't have two heads or anything, but one has a gray face. Gray-blue, actually. Permafrost. Looks like an Everest alumni. I'd watch the Thorazine dosing if I were you. Shameful, what we have done in the name of mental hygeine. She hardly seems cleansed, but she is docile most of the time.

I have done my time in this field. Been here since I was a kid and emptied my first bedpan. I was an eighteen year old robber in need of honest work. I'd just held up Jack's drive up (sue me) and traded my ill gotten money for a jar of beans. Remember beans? When speed was speed.... Anyway, since I almost got caught for that, I figured legitimacy was my best defense. So, I dressed up as best I could and walked into Hillhaven, bowled over by the smell of urine and old skin. The lobby was lined with wheelchairs occupied by old women mostly. They seemed identical then: thin, longish gray hair pulled into severe pony tails, secured with thick red yarn. Like people of a different race, I could not pick out individual differences. Each little lap was covered with a crocheted blanket or quilt, bright awful colors, end pieces of yarn strung together haphazardly. I did not yet see the clear bags of urine hanging beneath many chairs. They seemed to be waiting for something, Bingo or Jesus, it was hard to tell. Gnarled hands reached out as I passed as though to touch me was to touch youth. Undeterred, I asked for an application. I don't remember filling one out, all I remember was a starchy German woman named Ingersol telling me to be back at one o'clock. She didn't care if I had a uniform, just a pair of white pants. I asked about experience-- did I need any? "Do you know how to take a temperature?" was all she wanted to know. I did. I came back at one.

My real training took place with two time-hardened aides who drug me around like the dead weight I was. I didn't want to be there, was just biding my time until something better came along, you know, like a ride out of town. But it didn't come. No one showed up to save me from my future. Toward the end of the first day those aides answered a call light and we entered a room. The man seemed suspended from the center of his hospital bed by all manner of trapeze-like straps, sitting semi-upright, with a leather helmet on his head. They went to work on him, cleaning him up, getting him ready for whatever was next in his abbreviated life. At one point they handed me a bedpan full of shit. In my wisdom, I said, "Oh, so I get the dirty work." They fell silent. The pause lasted a lifetime as my words clattered to the floor. Then the man spoke. "Honey," he said. "If there was any other way...." And my life changed in that moment. I saw him--a WWII pilot with the top of his skull blown off--and I have seen so much since then.

There is so much to tell. I wonder if I am ready, finally, thirty years later, to tell it.

Monday, July 26, 2004


He doesn't want a cake for his birthday, which is today. He wants blackberry pie. Now, I could go to Safeway, or Freddie's to find them. (I'm sure they wouldn't have fresh berries at Winco. there should be a site. I'll start it.) But no. He doesn't want store bought.... they gotta be fresh. So we went berry picking. Me and the mean girls. (I love those kids, they just don't love me. Yet. I'll get 'em....)

This is the part where I hate not knowing where I am. or rather, in this case, where the berries are. Down south, there is a sharp corner on Hwy 238 at Hamilton Road, and if you park in the triangle and walk down the gully, there are berries for days. But that's a 300 mile drive.

So my sweet husband, the birthday boy, gives me directions. I think I've said I don't take direction well. I also don't follow directions well. And the other part of that is: I can get anywhere if I have gas. So, it may take me a little longer, but I'll get there eventually. Oaks Bottom. That's where I was going. After a brief and fruitless tour of Multnomah -- no -- it starts with an M.... Milwaukee? No, that's not it. Anyway, its the road that goes to Milwaukee, and it is almost a freeway, but at long last I found it. Oak Bottoms. But as I left the relative safety of my truck, I gotta admit... there is no stranger sensation than trotting off into the uncharted urban wilds. Well, truth be told there are many, many stranger sensations, but this is not the time for all that. So, there we were, foraging for berries, a quarter-mile in, and we pass many forms of vegetation, but no berries, and I can hear the river, but can't see it from where we are. Finally, along comes a tall man carrying a tray of berries as though he were at a market. We had our empty milk jugs in hand (cut away to leave the handle--these are great for berry picking) and this gave us away as fellow fruit-gatherers. I freely admit confusion, so he says, "There is a place where the path goes under the railroad tracks and there is a trail off to the left." What I hear is, "Take the path under the railroad tracks and go to the left."

You can imagine what ensues. There are trails everyfuckingwhere....left right sideways, you name it. Of course, the berry patch is right where he said it was.

Now, the thing is, the girls know this, they had heard what he actually said, but they aren't comfortable enough to tell an adult what to do, so we traipse around for days, then finally, Haley says, "I wonder if that trail to the left of the underpass...." And I say, "Okay." Freely admitting I am so often so wrong.

We found the berries... buckets and buckets of them. And I will bake a pie and a cobbler. I have the best cobbler recipe which I am happy to share with y'all.

Jonni's Cobbler

melt 2 sticks of butter in a 9x13 pan

Batter -- mix together:
1 1/2 c flour
2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c milk

pour into pan over melted butter

layer fruit over mixture (blackberries or peaches are best. It calls for another cup of sugar for the fruit but I leave that out. Maybe a little if the fruit isn't perfect, but then what are you doing with sub-standard fruit?) Bake at 350 until golden and crispy. (The batter bubbles up around the fruit to make the crust.) Serve warm with whipped cream.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

too fuckin hot

I have considered documenting some of my own personal drama over a three day heat wave, but its like this: its only a heat wave if you don't have A/C. So yeah, I miss my air conditioner.  I have spent the past many years moving from one air-conditioned space to an other: home to truck to office and back. I've avoided heat. Now, I am attempting to embrace it. Sweat as part of life. I take diuretics to accomplish what the past three days have done for me, one drip at a time. Last night I sat in the basement on our newly acquired futon (there's one at every yard sale) and deliberately experienced the changes my body goes through when self-cooling. It is, like so much of my life these days, an adjustment. I used to spend the summer baking on a river bank, any river bank, but mostly the Applegate. Mostly McKee Bridge. And I remember endless days of 105 degrees, seeking shade, sleeping near a window or out in the back yard, and the heat was unavoidable. Until I started making money. Then, I could avoid weather. And I suppose that is an advantage. Ask any homeless person. Weather is a real equalizer. Ask an Alaskan. I'm going to digress now, I can feel it coming on, but hopefully I'll get back to my point, because, like Ellen, I do have one.

I went to Alaska a few years ago. Fairbanks. It was lawless and absent any apparent social heirarchy. I loved it. People wear pajamas to the store; houses, and most stuff, are purely utilitarian. Very little decoration (read: cheesy yard art) survives the elements with the notable exception of roadside altars. I wish I could find a link to show you, but I don't know what they are. They can be wooden planks, or telephone poles, covered with small stuffed animals nailed to them. I don't know that they are altars, I impose my own interpretation here. But you can imagine what these tiny sanctuaries look like after an Alaskan winter. The animals-- the kind you win at carnivals: cheesy, colorful, not the super soft yuppie variety -- what are they called? the ones with a tag in their ear...? Dakin? Something like that. Anyway, after a year of weather, the colors are muted at best and they hang there, ragged and rotting, like fuzzy little crucifixes all in a row.

What the fuck was I talking about? Oh yeah. Sweating. So I am feeling weather now, not just viewing it from my ivory window. I'm in it, body and soul. I sweat therefore I am.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

back to the island

Sauvie's Island.

The first question was: why don't we come out here every day? We set up the shade thing and pretty soon I didn't care if all the fat women and screaming children in the world were upon us, blanket to blanket. All that mattered was the water, the mighty Columbia, my wading pool, and I am weightless, swivelling like an otter, the sandy bottom much nicer than lake muck. I'm a river girl.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Cowgirls and Indians

Having coffee this morning on Hawthorne, an indian (native) woman passed our table and asked how long it took my companion to grow her hair. "I've only cut it once in my life," she said. The woman took her hat off to reveal a really bad haircut. Really bad. And this is on Hawthorne where most things pass for good. It wasn't the answer she wanted to hear. Actually, the answer didn't matter. Nor did the conversation. I'm a shit to people who interrupt -- mentally ill or not. Indian or not. Spiritual giants or not. You could interrupt me and I'd treat you like shit. At any rate, she blathered on about losing a family member, cutting her hair off in one griefstricken hunk (a long braid, apparently) and burying it. She went on, at some length, telling us why indians do that shit. And I don't care. (theme of  blog.) They can cut off their arms and legs in honor of their ancestors for all I care. I was just having coffee. I didn't want to know. And the thing is, she didn't want me to know that. She just wanted some of my money. The psycho-tragic hair saga was simply the dog and pony show she was willing to do to get my money.

I was going to say that I can't stand rituals, but it isn't true. Some I find comforting, like the first day of school and new pencils. And easter eggs. I just don't think its okay to take out your religion and pander it on a streetcorner for pocket change.

Yes I do. I've changed my mind. I think that's fine. I should have been nicer. If I see her again, I'll give her something. 

I might.  

new things

I love my new bike. I got a horn with it. It's a squeeze bulb with three spouts or horns or I dont' really know what they're called. The metal parts beyond the rubber bulb.  
I also got a new dress.  It was cheap and that makes it even better. It probably won't hold up in a washer, but it will be fun to dance in one time. I used to have a beaded antique top that looked really good on me and I danced all the beads off. I remember dancing in it to the Beatles "Back in the USSR" in a bar in Coosbay with a stainless steel dance floor. Shiny. Me and the floor. I love to dance.

Monday, July 19, 2004


Back in the saddle again.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


I was listening to a woman discussing her dying father, that he was cold and emotionally distant. Her pain was real. I know that at the end of my mother's life, and it was a long long twenty-year ride to the end, that I couldn't see her for who she was, or accept her, until about a month before she died. What I know about dying is alot. I've seen many many families through the transition, and the only advice I've ever given (apart from the spewing of youth) is that there is no right way or wrong way. No proper behavior for the dying or the grieving. Dying seems hard. I'd like to say, given my experiences with the dying, that dying is hard, but I don't know that. I've seen two buddhist's die lingering deaths. One selfishly, one beautifully. (These are my judgements. I'm not a buddhist. I judge like a bandit....)  I've seen medical murders. I've seen husbands follow their wives in one day. I've been with a sweet little old lady as she sat on her bedside, waiting. I'd asked her what she was waiting for, and she had said, "Just biding my time." Until what? I had to know. The young are always in such a hurry to know. Its overrated.  "Until Jesus comes for me." she said. I smiled knowingly, nodded, left, and came back in an hour to find her dead. I've seen pain and joy in the same room holding hands, comforting each other. That I was not able to comfort my own mother, knowing all that I know, is something that I carry with me now. Its a little heavy, but okay. I was mad because she didn't take care of herself. I saw her illness as a product of intention. And anybody could argue that it was and be right. You can be right if you want. But what I know now is that she was afraid of doctors, and she couldn't, not wouldn't, find out what was wrong with her. And I protected myself with distance and called it hers.
My mother could dance the Charleston. There are times I wish I could ask her the names of obscure flowers (I still think she'd make up the name if she didn't know it), or fabric, or how to make our homemade, sugary fudge, and she is always gone.  The things that irritated me are so endearing now. It's funny what you remember.

day trippers

I've been fortunate to always land in Seattle on sunny days. I hear they are rare. As we pulled into town --no, Seattle is definitely not a town-- as we pulled into the clusterfuck of a city, we passed three accidents, one right after the other, people stopped in the middle of the freeway to change a tire. On the way up I had wondered at roadsigns saying, "if you have a fender bender, pull over to the side of the freeway." Well, yeah. Good tip. Then, upon arrival, it is clear that Washingtonians need direction.
We went to the Rock & Roll Museum. It's called something else. And the Science Fiction museum. It was expensive. I liked seeing Janis' magenta feather boa. That was my thrill. And, I guess seeing Hendrix's hand written lyrics was inspiring. And sad. "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" (W Blake), or, in somebody else's words: whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Now, I really believe that is true. Its just that so often it kills ya.
I have no regrets.
There was a section on the Kingsmen (Louie Louie). One of them lived down the street from me when I lived in Portland years ago just after my father died and my mother fell apart. In that order. I was riding my bike (4th grade) and he was washing his car. Probably a corvette. He squirted me with the hose, I rode over a nail and popped my tire. That's my rock and roll hall of fame.
Let's see. We went on a ferry ride to Vashon Island, drove around the island to Tahlequah Bay and on another ferry to Point Defiance. I thought it was Cape Disappointment, but that's at the mouth of the Columbia. You wonder how they got the name. I do, anyway. I guess I could go to: There's everything
Plan for the next run is to go to the glass museum, then take the ferry to Port Townsend and drive down.
I got my bike! It is so fun to ride. I'd like to take a bike tour of the San Juan Islands, but I don't know if it is a burly deal. I'm not burly at all. I appreciate people who exert themselves, but I am not one. Riding up Division is a burly as I get. Mt. Tabor would kill me.
Well, it's a lazy sunday. The children, his children, are here, still asleep, complaining that we are too loud in the morning. Well too bad. I've tiptoed around one teenager and it didn't do him any good at all. Did harm, in fact. They hate me. It doesn't matter what I do. A wise woman told me this, in relation to step children: The only thing you can do about step children is love your husband.
I do I do I do.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

tattoo early

I worked, therefore I was.

It was familiar to be in a healthcare facility. Even the designation of the setting takes work. I don't know that we care for health, but some seem to care. I wish I could just work at the coffee shop down the street, get some tattoos, live on less. That art can't come cheap, though. The thing about tattoos, for me, is the inability to change my mind, which I've never been able to prevent from changing. The things I thought I would always love when I was eighteen--acid-rainbows dripping through Peter Max-like clouds and stars-- would horrify me today had I strung them rib to rib like a permanent corset. Not to mention the probability of pregnancy and all of its attendant disfiguring. I love tribal art. What I really love are the celtic looking knots and armbands. But I've worked in nursing homes long enough to know that the crescent moon on the breast of youth is the banana hanging from the coathooks of old age. So there you have it. Nothing is static. Not belief. Not skin. And now that I'm on the topic of nursing home bodies, I wonder at the patients of the very near future: ninety-five year old women with perfect tits, tight thighs and flat bellies. There is just something disturbingly incongrous about it. In the final analysis, and fight it though I have and do, there is a certain symmetry to sag. "The organism will out," my physician used to tell me. "Gravity will out" is more like it. Gravity, like entropy, always wins.

I love entropy, atrophy, anomie. All forms of breakdown, from muscular to social to the resultant alienation and social instability. Its all good.

I gotta go.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

yard art, strange monkeys

See old post: "monkey on the porch." I posted it some time in February of 04. We still don't know who left that thing.

I have to go back to work today. I don't know what to wear. White, I'm thinking. Virginal. Create the impression of guilessness (is that a word?) and bring out the black later. No time for turtlenecks.

Speaking of necks, mine looks like its been wrung. Bruises spreading like gossip across my lily white skin. Arnica arnica, work your magic.

all day in the house

I go back to work tomorrow. Actual work. I have settled nicely into this sweet slow life, this wife-thing, this marriage. I make our bed every day. I wash dishes joyfully, knowing beyond any doubt this is where I want to be. I have loved my personal investigation of feminism, and I do not reject the precepts. I simply embrace the domestic. I find it valuable, moreso than the pedantic pursuit of knowlege. Sorry, but I do. I've learned enough. (there I go again...) I remember writing a line in a novel that will likely never be published: "She straigtened slowly from the perpetual bent-ness of domesticity." (Jesus. With opaque shit like that, no wonder it will never see the light of day.) But really, I gather more hope from making the bed than a thousand heavily considered rejections of whose job it ought to be. The single greatest advantage of education is finally acquiring the ability to do what needs to be done whether or not I want to do it. Including making the bed. If I begin the day by making the bed, I have some hope of order for the remainder of the day. It is not that I can no longer embrace chaos -- be sure that I can -- I'm just not as entertained by it as I once was. I used to be known for the condition of my home. People who knew me talked about the science projects in my refrigerator. When asked, I didn't know where I kept the towels. I didn't do the dishes. I hired my eleven year old neice, who finally refused because she was afraid to reach into the sink. My husband, who was only an infrequent night time visitor back then, showed up one night and said, "That shit was on the floor last time I was here six months ago." I said, "Well then, you should probably pick it up." So he knows how it could be with me.

Well. I don't know what that was all about.

I've set up comments below. See if it works.

Monday, July 12, 2004

the line

I hate being a drug addict. It is inconvenient as hell. Most people, in most parts of the world, just take medicine for pain, or not, as the case may be. Not me. I have to weigh, consider, examine my body like a running CT scanner, ever vigilant for the slightest nuance of discomfort. And there is a difference between pain and discomfort that I have to be so very aware of. To thine own self be true. Yes. Great idea. The problem seems to arise NOT when I am consuming the drug, per doctor's orders. It's all good then. I have real pain PLUS something to look forward to. But when it is over -- the legitimate need for pain medication -- that's when the chatter begins in earnest. "Aw, c'mon. It hurts, you know it and I know it." It is at that point, when the voice in my head, (the mean one I'd hoped I'd gotten rid of in this past surgery) begins to refer to me as "we" I know I'm in deep weeds. I am alone in the room. Of this much I am certain. But suddenly, the voice dictates: "we" need medication. (I appreciate Bob Earl for his insight into this particular aspect of the addictive mind.) So, anyway, as of this morning, my medication extravaganza is over, and now I think I need a party thrown in my honor for not over-doing it. I want a medal. I want presents. I want about a bucket of vicodin to last me. But it wouldn't, would it? That's the sad truth. The sad truth is that the 15 minutes that are loveable about narcotics, those sweet, fleeting moments that crawl up your spine like an expert lover, bleed into hours of sedation. I used to be Willing to trade it all for those moments, and live a sedated life. And the thing is, wouldn't you think it was cause for celebration to be free of pain? Don't most people look forward to that? Isn't that what healing is all about? Twisted.

Friday, July 09, 2004

walking on hawthorne

We pass the kid on the street, a can for money sits to his left: "ninjas killed my family, need kung fu lessons. anything helps." I look him in the eye, not certain what exactly I am looking for, willing to share in what I think is a pretty good joke, but he's not laughing.


Two for one sale. Eggs. Two dozen for the price of one. Only the one dozen price is three bucks. I don't care. (this is my theme, my mantra, my thread) By the time I hit Safeway, I've abandoned any hope of thrift. My husband shops at Winco. This is hard for me. I'll admit to being white trash in some ways, but I really like Freddy's better. Winco is just too much. The aisles too long, the meat department more like a slaughter house than I like to face. Miles of food. Bad veggies, unripe fruit, small avocados. No good sourdough bread. But it's cheap cheap cheap, isn't it? And bagging my own groceries.... I hate that part. Such pressure, and my obsessive need for order makes it nearly impossible to get through the chore. How many cans in one bag? How important is balance anyway. Paper or plastic? This becomes my own personal dilemma. I prefer paper, but only, I think, because of poverty. The remnants of childhood. We used to need them for garbage sacks, neatly folded over at the top, twice if you were good at it. And draining the grease from chocolate chip cookies -- we removed them from cookie sheets into neat little rows on brown paper sacks to cool. Now, there is little use for them save recycling. And its funny, the money spent on just the right paper towels to drain the cookies.... evidence of affluence. When we did not waste, we did not consider wasting. Recycling itself is a product of affluence.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

This is serious

Oh my.... I had no idea blogging was so serious. The article in the Willamette Week brought to my attention the following: A. My blog is shit; B. I should edit more carefully (read: at all) in the event someone actually reads this shit; and C. In order to compete in blog world, one needs a topic, or at minimum, a thread. I don't have one. I just needed a place to take notes on my pathetic life, and this seemed as good as any. To my extremely limited readership, I offer a half-hearted apology. I'll try to do better. I'll capitalize. I'll let up on the elipses.... honest I will.... I'll consider the possibility that commas are a problem for me. Grammar seems, and has always seemed, so terribly personal. So subjective. I know where I want you to breathe, to pause, to stop, to go. Trust me on this. And, as is so often the case with me, I don't care. I just don't. Not today.

I'm not well. They stitched my face back together. My one and only face. I feel like a terrible cartoon of myself, prednisone conspiring with other agents of change to create a big, blonde chipmunk. Which would be fine, or at least tolerable, if I lived alone. But I don't. I don't suffer well. Not publically. I'm a heroin addict for Chrissake. I am a big fucking baby. I stub my toe, I shoot smack. Are we clear? So... Having a witness to my whining and bitching really puts a crimp in my style. He is so good, my husband, my sweet sweet man.... and I am usually very nice to him. Really. But not these days. I look like shit and that makes me mad. And when I'm mad, I'm evil. Ask anyone.

So, there's my blog for the day. No topic save my all time favorite: me. I welcome suggestions, but only for entertainment value. I don't take direction well at all.

I keep getting these little blurbs in the corner of my screen by way of Qwest: Americans hang Afghan detainees by feet... Ridge says new terror warning will fuck up election.... I suppose I could comment on these topics, and be newsworthy, but shit. What is there to say? Better by the feet than the neck? Stop doing that? Tom Ridge is probably just paving the way for yet another republican coup??? Really, I think I'll leave all of that for the more politically savvy to comment on. Don't get me started. Remember, I'm the one who doesn't care if the world is flat or round.


There is not enough Vicodin.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Apprentice Cats

These cats around here think my newly planted lawn (yes, more lawn) is their own personal catbox. We have a old old cat. Sebastian, 13+ years and still the godfather of the neighborhood, although my man thinks he's becoming suicidal in his old age, says he crosses the street without looking, and that he never used to cross the street at all. His ears are notched, skin riddled with scars beneath a thick coat of wiry black fur. He was rescued, therefore loyal, with the notable exception of a two year hiatus while Click, the maddog, lived here. Shows pretty good judgment in my estimation. So, the plan is to cover the grass... tarp it so they'll have nowhere to dig. Besides, it's July, a stupid time to plant grass. But hell, up here, I can't tell what season it is. It's cool today, but I'm learning that the strong summer sun is hanging out right behind the clouds, ever available to fry shit when you're not looking. There are two kittens who live next door, and innumerable feral cats. The babies follow Sebastian on his rounds, learning as they go. The neighbors call Sebastian "Blackie." Clever. They feed him, have a cat door... took him in during the dog days, and now claim he IS Blackie, has always been Blackie, that they paid for him and he was never ours. I don't care (see?). And the beauty of it is, Sebastian has no idea he is involved in a property dispute. He just eats when and where he likes and sleeps inside if he wants to. The apprentice cats are theirs, and they are welcome to 'em.


I lived. I am on drugs. There were complications, and it's all good, now. I'm home and happy to be here. I look like Jabba the Hut. Don't visit me. The thing he took out of my neck, turns out, was my evil twin -- embryonic tissue that never made the cut (until yesterday, of course.) I'm hoping against hope that we've finally removed that mean voice, the one who has the goods on me and uses them at the most inopportune times imaginable. Time, as ever, will tell.


Nothing is ever really all that simple. Or, as JoAnne's screensaver says: "For every complex question there is a simple answer that is usually wrong." Something like that.

We have the bikes. Or, one of them, anyway. Atually getting them has been interesting. Mine is horribly flawed, but beautiful. He's ordering a replacement now. K got his, but it isn't working right either, so we're a little disillusioned, and may have paid medium money for a step up from a Huffy. No. I think they're better than that.

Blues Festival and Fireworks

Sitting on the sidehill, listening to band after band. Anything seems to pass for blues. Reagge blues, country blues, blue grass, rock blues, speed-metal blues and the occasional sweet down beat, that grinding, intensely sexual sound, something like the opening riff of "The Thrill is Gone." Chicago blues, Missippi blues, Delta Blues. Its personal, and what is the blues to me, may not be what is the blues for somebody else. So I wait and I wait for my blues. My turn to dance.

And, I would have said, prior to this week, that fireworks are fireworks. Not so. They are similar, but the intensity of Portland's fireworks over the Willamette, was, well, intense. Breathtaking, actually, for me. Ever the small town girl, I stood stupified as blast after blast cracked the sky and made it bleed.

Old Timers

I've found some of them. Some who have abandoned one program for the one where the grown-ups go. That's still what I'm after -- being a grown-up -- one distant day.

One Missing Flamingo

On the fourth of July, one of my prize, cheesy yard art items went missing. Finally. I suspect it met a bitter end, stuffed up the ass with firecrackers, pink plastic projectiles raining down Clinton Street.

A lone flamingo now guards the hydrangea out front, awaiting the next drunk night, awaiting release.

Fleetwood Mac

Went to the concert Monday night. I've always loved Fleetwood Mac. Always. And unlike many old bands, the music was so good. I remember watching the Moody Blues last summer at Britt and they were still wearing leather pants and trying to do synchronized high kicks with their guitars in unison. I was afraid they'd require paramedics. But this night, this music, was so familiar, so well-travelled. My favorite song, the Derelict, never gets played, but that's okay. I was watching history. My history. For the uninitiated, I think Mick Fleetwood has Tourette's and its treatable. If you were there... what the fuck was he saying???? For us, it was the speaking-in-tongues segment. But it was watching the woman that gave me pause. Stevie Nicks. I know when I was young I wanted to be her, was both compelled and terrified by her beauty, the rumors that she danced with the devil to get where she was. But as she sang that line: "...and I'm getting older too." The issue of mortality, mine and hers, a day before my surgery, arose. And she still had it. Not all of it, but enough.

So, that's the update. My slit throat hurts.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Social Heroin

I'm going under the knife again. I have all the information, which, if you've been paying any attention at all, I don't like to pack around in this busy busy mind. Trivia. Just hook me up to a hose pulsing full of demerol and tell me no lies. The outcome will be what it will be. Forewarned, in my experience, changes nothing. I must have this procedure, and knowing I could be permanently disfigured, but probably not, is cold comfort. Statistically, I'm almost certainly going to be fine. But, I'll be glad when this one is over, when the drugs I love have once again passed, however briefly, through my body, and I am left twitching in their wake, trying to remember what the fucking problem was in the first place, asking Why can't I have just the teensiest bit of social heroin? Just once, twice, three times a day??? Is that too much to ask? Vicodin is no close second, but as the time gets near, I consider it. Consider the remote possibility that medical need could take me by the hand and lead me back down that old road. I still don't think I'd make it as a crack whore on MLK. I just really don't. I don't have what it takes anymore. Now I am not naive. I know a good habit would inspire me to abandon the lifestyle I have come to know, but I just can't picture it. Which is good. Who would water my flowers? Where would I keep all my hand washable linen pants? Back in the day, I could never get the grass and the garden to grow at the same time. I didn't have towels or socks.

I'm just being dramatic. I'll be fine.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Long life

She spoke again this morning: "Life is.... long." She is younger than I thought, miles of bad road in her eyes, on her skin. I tell her to stay out of the sun, like I haven't. Self preservation. Life is long. And so very short. A blip on the screen. I am who I am in this aging body. I am who I've always been. Betrayed by skin and gravity. Complicit in the eventual, the unavoidable, the ultimate grounding.

It is a beautiful day, cloudy, as I await the arrival of my new bicycle. We have been married 2 months today. We have 60 days.

Turmoil has subsided in my busy mind as I lean once again toward acceptance of my own process, my transition into an altered life. It is not what it used to be, and sometimes I think the pain comes from my attempts to restore equilibrium. What I forget is that equilibrium was killing me. I was suffocating in stasis. Treading shallow water. Now I may be in deep weeds, but they are my weeds, I recognize them now.

Home is home. Life, if long, is good. My son, unlike others I know, (like my nephew Mike and Asha's boy, John) is not heading off to Iraq to fight an unjust war. I watched the movie Cold Mountain, which was okay. My favorite line went something like this: "I'll bet God's sick of coming down on both sides of an argument." I don't know what God thinks, but that seemed possible. Of course, the notion that this is a religious war seems absurd. Its always reducible to economics.