Thursday, August 26, 2004

rained out

...and just as I was complaining about predictable weather. We got rained out of our campsite last Saturday night. That's not entirely true. It rained. That is true. We stuck it out in the relative comfort of our canopied truck on a futon layered over a blow up mattress. Cozy. We were planning to leave Sunday anyway, but the storm was a near-surprise. I mean, the gathering clouds were a giveaway, but still, I'd been out there since early Thursday afternoon, out of touch with information technology. I wandered over to the camp host and asked if she knew what the weather would be like on Labor Day Weekend. She looked at me like I was crazy. "That's two weeks from now," she said. "Yeah," I countered, muttering "" under my breath as I walked away. There's just no pleasing me.


It is no longer early. I was hoping to get some time alone, some quiet, all-to-myself time in this new life in a house of company and children and Kill Bill II, but the computer wouldn't come on. I won't go into detail about my sweetie's role in this tragedy, but trust me, its all his fault. By the time I got it to come up, an hour had passed and I had lost the thread, the inspiration, call it what you will, the fucking muse was pouting and giving up exactly nothing in the way of creative thought. Well fuck her. I'm writing anyway. I never believed in muses. She's the goddamned tooth fairy. Who needs her and her caprice anyway? I'm the writer, goddamn it. And I'll take ten minutes of your precious time to prove it. You can leave your quarters under my pillow.

Come back little Sheba.

I think the Hood to Coast Relay starts today. Run Asia and Annette, Run!!! Subsequent depression be damned. It evades me though -- the notion of depression settling in because you eventually must stop running. The thought of running, unless avidly pursued by someone more dangerous than my stepdaughters.... now that is depressing. But seriously, you go girls! I make light of what I cannot/will not/do not do.

We got a couple of new toys: a miniature cross bow and mouse glue pads. I hope their uses are never combined into some hideous anti-rodent sport hunting. If you've never seen mouse glue pads, they are unique and effective. A little mean-spirited, and those of you with a penchant for tenderness needn't read on, but they work where the usual trap does not. We've been through all manner of poison and humane traps, but the glue thing quite literally stops them in their tracks. I don't like the whining, peeping death part. I don't. But I also just threw away about five bucks worth of shelled walnuts and sliced almonds. Does that justify death? Well, I think it does. In the balance of geologic time, what's a few mice between friends? I don't think I'm making a dent in the mouse population or threatening the future of rodents as a species. I'm just cleaning up my corner, preserving the illusion of human superiority. They were probably here before me and will be here long after I'm gone. Like fleas on a dog, the earth will shake us off and only the rodents and cockroaches will remain, but damnit, I'm taking a few of the little bastards with me on my way out, and using the crossbow seems excessive at this point.

Ah. I've missed my blog.

I read The Case Against George W. Bush by Ron Reagan (Esquire), by visiting the ashabot. It was an erudite indictment, and I loved the distinction between liberals and rationalists. Any thinking person must, by now, acknowlege the fundamental dishonesty of the current administration. President Clinton, speaking on The Daily Show, said something like, "When people think, Democrats win." And I know liberals are not the only thinking people. I don't know that I'm a liberal, but I will align myself with rationalists. I think, therefore I'm pissed.

I was sitting on my porch yesterday and one of the tightrope walking squirrels joined me. Seems she has a nest in the camelia tree. She scurried through the rain with nuts and berries to store for the coming winter. Now, those of you who are actually paying attention to this rant will ask the obvious question: Did I use a squirrel glue pad to stop her? Did I break out the cross bow and pin her to the porch? I did not. But then, she wasn't so rude as to come in the house and steal nuts out of my basket. She settled for what was outside, on the ground. And she has a fuzzy tail.

I know I should use glass jars. I know. This is an old house.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

the high priestess of springwater

Its my new title. We're gonna buy the town when we get enough money: a general store and a church. I thought he could be the preacher, but he's too busy being the devil right now, so I'm going to run the church and he can have the store.

We camped at Metzler this weekend and brought the bikes. It was a little last minute, and the girls came along plus one, but it was a good, long weekend. The only thing I mind about camping is what it does to my feet. You'd think I'd wear shoes. Jesus.

Can you believe that someone stole Munch's Scream? I had a mousepad with that print on it. The Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia is said to be responsible for the red sky. Well, tempera or not, I hope somebody finds it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Camp Sites in the Greater Northwest

Today I drove to Estacada to check out sites for a possible camping trip this weekend. I've described what I want in earlier entries: cool and green. Big shade. I used to be against all human improvements, was a luddite, but with age comes laziness and sedentia (a precursor to dementia, I'm certain) and I'm all for picnic tables, fire pits and flush toilets. Showers.... not so much. I can dip in the river and feel clean enough to get by.

Then, after work, we had received some tips on possible camp sites out past Vernonia. I'd put in a link to Vernonia here, but I'm not sure what it would show. I think it might be a scene from Deliverance. So, being naturally inquisitive, we ventured out in search of Big Eddy Park on the Nehalem River. If you've ever been to Bolder City, Oregon, the only difference is that Big Eddy sits right on the banks of the Nehalem. And so do the campers. Campers may be too transient a term for the occupants of Big Eddy. They looked camped out in the most sincere sense of the word. Perma-camp. And it was one of those campgrounds with little underbrush to distinguish one site from another. It was just pretty much a cluster-fuck of broke down Winnebagos, sagging tents and the ever-popular blue tarp. This raises a question for me. Why blue? Why are all those goddamned tarps that godawful bright blue? Do they think it blends? Do they think you throw the shimmering blue tarp over, say, the woodpile or the children, and suddenly think the landscape has altered to include an unexpected fragment of low sky? I don't get it. I have some, but they bother me. I guess they could be made out of camouflage fabric, and I know some are, but I guess the risk there is that you'd cover, say, the children, and lose them.

Oh god.

Anyway, Big Eddy didn't get it, so we continue the search for the perfect campsite.

addendum/revision: Just made reservations for Labor Day weekend at Metzler Park. Big shade. Yay.

Monday, August 16, 2004


They can come slowly or all at once. They can be of the white light or educational variety. Light bulb moments--the kind that change the way I see the world, or the way I think the world sees me. And, at times like these, I feel like I've been away for a long, long time. As though I am coming to out of a dense fog and can see a thing more clearly than before.

It is good to be here, to be aware of who and how I am at this moment in time. To know that I am, right here and right now, where I belong.

I think.

monday monday

Not to worry. She's alright, my MIL. We're getting along just fine. There is nothing like a common enemy to galvanize a new relationship: the mean girls. Damn. Those kids are tough. Gotta love 'em, though. Its the only hope of redemption.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Only dead fish go with the flow

I thought it deserved title billing. I have nothing else to say about that.

What I want to talk about is weather. I liked it better when there was more mystery to the forecast. That is a recurrent theme here, not as prevalent as apathy, but a second to be sure: demystification as my own personal tragedy. I liked it when the weatherman wasn't so cocksure, didn't know, for instance, within a single degree of certainty, what would happen. I like getting caught in the rain, or being surprised by a too-hot day. I like weather that sneaks up on you. I guess I should live on the gulf coast of Florida, although they too have weather men sitting on their beaten shores, cameras poised for every breath of wind. I should be grateful, I guess, that we don't name our weather and have to consider gender and the pc-ness of hurricane women. I'm a hurricane and damned proud of it. Well, I used to be a contender.

Anyway, I liked having to pack for a day in the insincere, or maybe capricious, no... indecisive might be the perfect word... northwest. (As inappropriate as it is, I enjoy assigning human characteristics to non-human stuff. Reification? I think that's the word.) I liked having to carry a sweater because maybe, just maybe, a cloud might come by and relieve the monstrous heat. I liked layering, even though it made me look fatter. Now, weatherguys are obsolete. They could post the weather on the rolling marquee at the bottom of the TV screen and stop standing in front of a photorealistic map and saying stupid shit, like, "Well, the expected high is 120 but we might see 122. Tomorrow, Portland residents can look for some relief as a cooling trend will give us a high of 118." Nowadays, there's even a screen that tells you what the temperature will be at 6,10, 2, 8 and midnight. That's no fun. Where is the surprise of a sweetly cool Saturday morning, sitting outside for breakfast and getting caught in a sprinkle of summer rain if you know its coming. You can act surprised and like you wish you hadn't straightened your hair, but fuck it. You knew it was coming. Admit it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


It doesn't help that over the phone she is telling her friends she'll stay until the first part of September. The first part, if I do the math, ends on September 15th. My mother in law is here, visiting, I thought, for a week. I'm certain she said a week. I would remember that, because I like her, but she makes me nervous. We are in an unnatural pause in our marriage, a hovering of sorts, as I learn how to be related to someone else.

I do not call her Mom.

My mother was devout. Had we lived in the Ozarks (is Meford in the Ozarks?) she would have been considered a zealot, a snake-handling faith-healer. Mom was a cheerleader, a rally girl from North Bend. She hated cats, heights and the coast. She took in strays and could dance the Charleston but couldn't change a light bulb for fear of electricity. I don't think she expected it to catch on quite like it has. She had faith in Jesus and the curative power of vinegar and raised five children on 200 dollars a month. Wild children. Bad children. She never expected my father to die, which he did, too too soon. And once he was gone, she didn't expect to live so long. She taught me how to pack and move. We lived in four houses on the same street. She wore her poverty like a ragged crown. Insisted on it. There were times she lived in a car and refused gifts--considered them evidence of worldliness -- the greatest sin.

This woman in my house, this new mother, is modern. I don't get it. There are no soft edges. No comfort. No lap for bouncing the grandkids. I doubt she knows all the nursery rhymes or the names of flowers. She has an IRA and a will that is on our coffee table. She is very organized. She rarely moves.


In the valley of the Applegate River, it was hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. They all seemed good to me. And when we were young, the wild ones, the Marlon Brando's of the back woods, lived big lives. They were the stuff of legend, even if only locally. But I wonder what it is about aging outlaws that is somehow pathetic. My question is this: Is a man still an outlaw if he has to remind you how notorious he is?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

traveling light

There is alot to catch up on....the trip, the reunion, eagle vs. waldo lake, salt creek falls, camping, old outlaws, trout-fishing in america, packing vs. flying by the seat of your pants, and missing my son.

One at a time....

The pictures of eagle lake in northern california are deceptive. I'm a sucker for green: trees, grass, leaves, anything but food in the refrigerator that should not be that color, or, as Erma Bombeck said, "There is no known navy blue food." And as interesting as that is, I digress.

Eagle lake is not green. Well, actually, the water is. Approaching the lake from the desolation of the Klamath basin and the sweet town of Aida, the water is a shocking, malachite green. But the thing is, it is sitting in the middle of the desert, surrounded by, you guessed it: desert. Well, as much as I love to exaggerate [lie] I admit that there are pine trees, tall and sparse, doing their narrow best to provide shelter from the desert sun. Its funny to watch Californians thinking they are in the woods. And they are, I suppose. But coming from the deep wilds of oregon, the lush, almost tropical forests, I realize I am spoiled, blessed. We camped in hot red dust up to our ankles and my feet are awful. Awful. I have done all I can short of calling Dr. Sholl's in person and getting an appointment. I could blog about callouses, but that would be disgusting. I just want to go on record about Birkenstock sandals and cracking callouses. They cause the problem. There. 'Nuff said.

So we camped. We did not plan to camp, and I am learning this about my husband. I'm a planner. I need notice. I pack. I have stuff. He tosses three identical pairs of levis, three identical pairs of socks, a few t-shirts, and he's good to go. Me? Oh no. I strategize. And its all about weather and body image. What if its hot/cold/medium and I feel fat? What if it is hot/cold/medium and I feel like showing off my bod? I have to plan for these events, because its all about comfort, physical and psychological. So I need more stuff, and believe me, I have it. So he said, "Don't worry. We'll get a motel." Now, I knew we'd camp. So, I did, at minimum, have the presence of mind to back bedding, a futon (his idea), towels and soap, sandwich stuff, and my french press and coffee. And cherries. I love cherries. At least I had the coffee to bargain with as we begged camp to camp for food. Have good coffee will travel.

On the way down we visited my son, Marky, to those who love him. He has grown up since I left a mere 5 months ago. Left for the first time since they carved him out of my big belly. Well, we did get separated there for a month or so during the dark night of my soul, but that was involuntary, and probably for the best. I remember hitchhiking to find him, to retrieve him from his father, to snatch him from the jaws of the clan. They got him anyway, years later. But it was good to see him, to watch my beautiful, stumbling child learn to walk tall.

Waldo Lake. Now there is a lake. I insist on camping there before the summer is over. It is high in the Cascades and quiet, remote, clean, clear and cool. All the requirements of a perfect vacation spot. Nearby is Salt Creek Falls, a spectacular 86 foot drop to a deep green pool surrounded by concave, moss-covered basalt walls. I'm at a loss for words so I'll just use them all indiscriminately. Waterfalls do that to me. For some its the desert. Not me, boy. Give me your green, give me your wet, give me your narrow, your phobically high places, where leaning over the railing is a near death experience.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


After I have coffee with asia from deconstructionist this morning, my sweetheart and I are on our way to his family reunion and a meeting of the outlaws. Now I suspect, as in my family, there are some inlaws as well. If they were all outlaws, nobody could get a reunion together. And I would be really surprised if my husband's Aunt Ida is an outlaw. Although, to hear him tell it, she was a Spanish dancer in her day, complete with castanettes.

In my family, we are the black sheep, with the exception maybe of my brother Kim (see earlier entry: eulogizing Kim Kinney) All drunks, writers, artists and heroin addicts to balance the militaristic, republican policemen who are my aunts, uncles and first cousins. My aunt Gertrude is said to be politically just a little to the right of Atilla the Hun. I did have an uncle who was insane and one who was a communist back in the McCarthy era, which was akin to insanity at that time, but the remainder are glaringly well-organized. They pay their bills on time. They do not go to jail or have to move in the middle of the night. I think it is unfair that some people get the book about how to do things, and we didn't. I think, to my unravelling, that many things are unfair: my hair, wages for nurse's aides, the inverse and possibly causal relationship between what you know and how you look.

Oh well, I'm going anyway. I love outlaws.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

head cold

Upon peering out my bedroom window, what our new fence really looks like is a railroad car. It looks like Great Northern parallel parked at the edge of the yard. I'm dying to get a life-size stencil and paint "Santa Fe" or something on it.

For the past three days I have had a head cold. A bad one. It sounds so innocuous: a head cold, the common cold, a summer cold -- as though one could concievably go along with life, happily unaffected by the little bug. Well, it levelled me. I am still not myself. There is a respository for sludge in all the corners where my best thinking once lurked. It has always been a little difficult to get next to, but now I can't think for shit. I am better today, can, at minimum, type -- and want to make a pitch for orange flavored alkaseltzer plus. It is all I have to cling to.

I am such a baby. And we had to build a fence in the meantime.

The girls painted the basement. That was our quality time this weekend. I still maintain they hate me, and I can live with that. I'll admit I wasn't much help in my weakened condition, but they did fine without me. The basement is now red. Red red. With posters of the Ramones and a blow up of the Sticky Fingers album cover. I wonder if they know what an album is, or what an uproar that cover caused. I peeked. I confess. You might as well know it.