Wednesday, March 29, 2006


My shoulder hurts. I am still and will be in pain for awhile. My doctor says I won't be happy for three months. I don't want to break the news to him about me and happiness. He's such a nice person. It (the pain, what else?) seems to go like this: I have a couple of days off, then therapy, then its on again. And during the couple of days off, I think, "Ah, its over." And it is in that moment, or those moments, that I set up my downfall. My need for certainty in an uncertain body. When the pain returns, which it always does, I am devastated. Capital D. This is a D day. I understand it will improve, has improved, is improving, but I can't see it from where I am at this moment.

There is so much on my mind. Family crap, the declining razor clam population,low salmon runs, laundry, the absence of big trees, writing and not writing. I open Microsoft word and it is like a dead thing compared to this, this living breathing blog. So, I close it again, no words to prove I had ever been there. I re-read my poetry. I review my fiction, detached, dispassionate. I hold a yellow notebook in the palm of my hand, grasp the pen--the perfect black, microfine roller pen, and like a unpenitent hobo, my thoughts are off again. I write nothing. I can't gather the words like I used to, in rough baskets and manilla envelopes, sorted by topic: romance and madness, fragments of captured memory, the eventual quilt of my life. My thoughts are mercury these days, they are liquid and wind and all of the things that won't hold still -- that can't be contained, that do not form words--

That won't behave.

It is as though I have never written.

The things I know to be true are so few: I love my husband. I miss my son. My friends and family are generous and forgiving. Life is better when I am conscious. I am better when I write.

I probably need a job, but Gwen says I need to let my arm heal. I'm not big on healing. So, I'm not working. And I am okay. I looked at my bicycle today. It is so beautiful. Sleek. And I want to vomit and take laxatives until I am. The monster is awake, I fed it cookies. It won't shut up.

Bob Dylan said it best: Been down so long it looks like up to me.

I'm being hystrionic. Don't worry. I know.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


If I could do anything, I'd hang out a shingle and use my master's degree. I'd open a writing space, with genuine quiet, not like the quiet you find in your own home, where dishes and dust bunnies whisper among themselves, where skeletons rattle and the unmade bed calls your name in a voice only you can hear. Deep quiet. Stolen quiet. The kind of quiet that you have to steal from yourself, that no one else can give you, that does not keep and will not wait. I'd charge by the hour. I'd host writing groups, poetry readings, spoken word fests, story hours. I'd encourage crappy writers and good ones alike, I'd edit the shit out of things. I'd tell the truth in the nicest way. I'd launch the next Hemingway. I'd give the next Bukowski-wannabe a sober place to collect his scraps. Anne Lamott would speak on Friday nights.

I'd call it "Write Here."

And the thing is, everybody has one -- a story to tell. I think madness is the pressure of untold stories, unspoken words, unexpressed life. You'd come, right? You'd pay, wouldn't you? Solitude for money. I think its an idea whose time has come. We buy water and light and dirt and sunburns. Quiet? Its the next bottled water. It wouldn't be a coffee shop or a library, but something in between. BYOC. (coffee) BYOF. (food) You could curl up on one of the many sofas, or cushy chairs, and bring your laptop or your legal pad and perfect pen, and write the story. Tell the tale that is your life.

Yup, that's what I'd do.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

clamming 101

Once again, we headed for the coast, in search of the elusive Razor Clam. This time, armed with a new aluminum gun, our hopes were high. I got to use the new gun because it is lighter, and I have a recovering shoulder. And yes, I probably shouldn't be clamming, but shit. I am so bored. And it isn't like you have to wrestle the clams from their little hidey holes. Well, sort of.

There is so much to know about clamming. The big boys use a small slanted shovel with a long narrow blade. They say it is a challenge. But I don't want a challenge, I want clams with a minimum of effort. And without getting wet. That's the part I never really talk about. Clamming would be so much easier without all that water rushing in and out just when you have one in your sights. Freaking waves. And as we cursed the monotonous unpredictability of the sea, the damned spring sun bouncing off the glittering sand, rich with pyrite and bits of white shell, blinding us, we managed to get about 15 between us: me 5, him 10.

Clamming 101

What you need:

A shellfish tag.
A clam gun. Screw the old school guys. You can get them at (the guns, not the guys.) or GI Joe's.
Get a pair of waders, waist high, and rubber boots. And a coat and hat. Get the hat in Carson City and you too can look like "Heidi goes clamming." you can visit a. while there.
A shovel, or just take a long heavy stick with a rounded end. A shovel is best for the weight. This is for "tamping."
Get a stylish black fishnet clam bag, or strap a gallon jug to your belt, but its way cooler to have a net.
Ask around for a good place to clam. We go to Gearhardt Beach by Seaside.

This is all by way of preparation. Now, this is how it is done:

Check your newspaper for tide tables. Find the lowest possible tide, a minus tide is best.
Make sure the minus tide is on during the daylight hours. (People do actually clam at night, with lanterns. It's eerie. We've done it, but it was cold and scary and really flies in the face of that old time honored principle about never turning your back on the ocean.)
Start clamming about 2 hours before low tide.
Get as close to the water as you are comfortable and begin searching.
Walk slowly, tamping the sand with your stick (bouncing the bottom round end about every foot or so), carrying the gun in the other hand.
Look for little spouts of water -- really little -- and a dime sized hole that drops, like the sand is sinking suddenly in that one spot. This is called "showing."
Quickly, position your clam gun over the spot. Quickly. The 5 inch circle of the gun should be placed so that the "show hole" is at the point of the circle nearest you.
Slant the gun slightly toward the ocean. (you are trying to catch the clam. The clam seems to know this and begins always to run under the sand toward the ocean, so you want to position the gun to get him as he moves that direction.)
Shimmy the gun straight down (little slant) over what you hope is the clam, as quickly but carefully as you can. If you hear a crunch, it is the clam, back off and adjust. Go again.

The gun works by suction. Somewhere on the handle is a small air hole.

Once you have pushed the gun into the sand a foot or so, and you think you have the clam, put your finger over the air hole and pull the gun up and out of the sand, bringing the plug of sand, and hopefully the clam, with it.
Slowly, release the sand from the gun, holding your hand over it, ready to catch the clam as it comes out.
The clam will be anxious to get back into the sand, and will make a quick getaway if possible.
Rinse it off and stick in the net bag.

One down.

You can only get 15 clams each. That's the limit.
You have to keep any clam you get, so if you get a little one, you have to keep it anyway.
If you crunch one, you have to keep it.
Be honest.
There is like a 500 dollar fine to help you with the honesty part.

I'll post about cleaning them. This is nasty. It will take awhile after learning this to actually eat them.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

brother marc

For those of you who missed it, the blog was black for a minute. I changed to this parchment-like template because everyone uses the black and I AM DIFFERENT. I do wish, however, that I could make the title "bluesky" blue.

My fucking arm hurts fucking bad. I just got home from therapy. It is helping. My range of motion is much improved, but jeez.

Back to moving (see previous post.) My brother Marc always let me live with his family. He was big on the Waltons, and I think kind of viewed himself as the benevolent John Walton. My father died when I was eight, and Marc was pretty interested in replacing him -- or so it always seemed to me, the much younger sister. He was bossy, but mostly drunk, so it came off not all that seriously. It is nearly the third anniversary of his death, death by whiskey. He lived the last year and a half of his life whiskey-free, but it was too little, too late, and his liver finally gave up the long battle. I remember the last months of his life, taking him for long, methadone drives, listening to Southern Man, and Down By The River, and best of all, Wooden Ships. When I lived on his porch, or in his garage, or in the spare room, or on the couch, we'd sit all day long, playing acoustic guitars, watching the Gong Show and smoking weed. We did not have jobs, we had children and welfare and free cheese and canned pork and bulgar. If you don't know what bulgar is, you missed the commodity food era--standing in line with other people's children, coaching them to call you mommy to get more food, filling the van with lentils and pinto beans and real butter and powdered milk enough for a month. Pre-food stamps. We fed the spam-like canned meat to the dogs.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

darkness darkness

Well, I have to admit, this is a little dark. How can I be my ebullient self when suffocating in this cave? Its like the proverbial dark night of the soul. I have enough trouble as it is. I'll try out a couple different themes, and y'all can let me know whatcha think. It'll be a contest. I will win.

My husband is cleaning out the refrigerator. I'm not sure why. These are things I only do when I move, and since I'm not moving, he may have a point. Cleaning the oven and the fridge. Not my gig. I've moved more times in my life than I can count. I tried once. I counted 48 moves from the time I left home at 17 through my 33rd birthday. Random, I know. But 48? That's alot for anybody. Some of them were porches, but they counted. Anytime I had to pack it up, I counted it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

daytime TV

Kenny Rogers had plastic surgery. No one says anything about it, but there he was, singing like Kenny Rogers, but looking kind of like Keanu Reeves with gray hair. Little beady eyes, taut skin. He didn't look anything like Kenny Rogers. Now, I never thought anything about him, never thought he was hot or all that great except when I was 13 and that first song, "I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in" was launched, and I was just starting to take acid, and it was very deep. I've never been deeper than when I was a teenager. Everything was so important, and I'm sure it still is, and I'm glad there are still teenagers who think so, and adults who give a shit, but I don't. But then Kenny Rogers jumped the hip ship over to country music without missing a beat, and Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town was the big hit of the Satin Slipper crowd -- or the Sit 'n Slapper, as we called it. So, now Kenny Rogers, prematurely gray, is postmaturely young. I'm not against plastic surgery, have had my share, it is just so wierd to look at a famous face, and go through the mental effort to make sense of it all when no one says anything. I have a great friend who had a face lift and she was so out front about it. I mean, why wouldn't you be? Its your face for crying out loud. Why act like nothing happened? Like, "No, I've always looked like this. What's your problem?"

And, as always, who cares what Kenny Rogers looks like? Not me. Maybe it wasn't Kenny Rogers at all. Hey, maybe it WAS Keanu Reeves. Shit!

I love daytime TV. I love not working. I almost got hired yesterday. Whew. It was close. I sat there in the interview doing what I do, impressing the hell out of them, and when it looked like I had the job in the palm of my hand, I said "No, thanks. But if you have something that is, like, no work for a lot of money, where I can come in at, say, 10ish, and leave whenever I feel like it, I'm your gal." No, seriously, I'd come in at 8. ish.

The View is on right now. I don't like it. The Young and the Restless (which Dave Quick used to call, "The Hung and the Rest of Us,") will be on at 11. I have therapy at 12:30 so will have to record "As the World Turns," and "Guiding Light." I don't watch Dr. Phil much, and only catch the dancing monologue of Ellen , but that's it. Seriously, it can suck the life from your whole day. I lay on the floor, do my exercises, my personal shoulder torture routine, and listen to tips on how to organize your garage, how to color easter eggs, and how to braize beef. Martha Stewart has a great attitude if you ask me. She looks like she's having much more fun now that she's done a little stretch in the joint. She is very organized, as we all know, and was talking about the importance of making a monthly calendar. As we, the TV audience, watched, she showed her own personal calendar for last month, the dinner party on the 12th, the sailing date with Mick Jagger and his family on the 15th. Cognitive Dissonance. "They are SUCH a nice fam-i-ly," she says in passing, her prissy little face speaking the grossly improbable with New England precision as she moves on to the next date on her calendar with plans to wash all of the wicker baskets in her house and reupholster the garden furniture in awning stripe. oh. a day in the life. Nothing unusual. And like looking at Kenny/Keanu Rogers/Reeves, I simply suspend disbelief and move on.

KR/KR?? Do you think they might be the same person?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

maiden voyage, NDE

First of all, let me remind you that I exaggerate. NDE stands for Near Death Experience.

That being said, we did find and purchase a new boat (pictures as soon as I learn to use the camera). A 14-foot Hewes Craft, a plain ol' aluminum fishing boat. Open top with a good trailer, easy in and easy out of the water. An old man owned it, an old man who is midway into Alzheimer's. He did some built-ins along the side, little wooden compartments to stash stuff and holes for an improbable umbrella stand. I'm sure it will work fine, but I want a Bimini top for shade. Its the sun that kills me. It has three bench seats and a couple of cushy folding chairs mounted to the front and rear (fore and aft) port and stern, ahoy matey, damn the torpedos, and that is sort of what I was doing when I nearly killed the boat and drowned us both. I was damned-the-torpedos-full-speed-ahead and I know I shouldn't have been driving with my left arm not three weeks out of surgery. I know this. It makes no sense to me in retrospect, but when my honey said, "Wanna give it a try?" I wanted. Now here's the thing: Unlike the Wacanda, this boat doesn't have a steering wheel. It has a stick on the motor with a handlegrip gas pedal. If you push the stick left, the boat goes right. If you push the stick left while cranking on the gas, the boat goes right really fast and there's the bank oh, shit and it seems okay to use my arm muscles to crank the gas ON and push the stick, but when I tried to pull the stick back the other direction, which is to engage my shoulder in a way it is not yet willing to consider, well, it wouldn't. It just wouldn't. And nanoseconds are passing, and we are going in sort of a circle, but not really, and the bank is looking rocky, and looming ever closer, and I am going to crash our new boat. Then I think, "Slow the boat down." Now, it may have been my husband screaming. I'm not sure. I shouldn't take credit for thinking, because I wasn't. I was acting. So I released my deathgrip on the throttle to allow it to slow down and the boat stopped just short of the bank. Just. K was really pleasant during the whole thing, but I don't think I get to drive until I'm all better. Shit. But I'm glad it has the stick to drive with, because that means I get to sit in front and fish.

It was the maiden voyage of the unnamed boat. We didn't fish, but we did cruise around Ross Island and under the bridges downtown, which is kind of Venice on an urban-industrial scale. It is absolutely one of my favorite things, the people on the esplanade looking over the railing, waving as we pass. We are boaters. We are the leisure class, or at least we float along in the wake of the leisure class. There are some big damn boats out there.

I went to a job interview this afternoon. It sounded like a great job, but they wanted me to work some weekends and evenings, and I just don't want to do that anymore. I don't. So I was happy to decline, and they were unhappy and want to find something for me to do, and I guess I hope they can. I must work eventually. Eventually. I was scared to death they'd hire me, so I got the important stuff out of the way after making a fabulous first impression: how much money? (not enough) what schedule? (no go.) So there you have it. I may eat my words.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

another week nearly gone

I think it is March 16th. The way I know this is the green activity on television. The morning show guy had green hair already and the 17th isn't until tomorrow. My mother and father had their first date on St. Patrick's day. We're Irish and Scot. It has never been a big deal for me, though I do love Celtic music. It gets me in my bones. Green beer always reminded me of Mickey Big Mouth, which I got sick on as a kid, so never a big appeal. None of the major drinking days --New Year's, etc.-- held any great power. Every day was a major drinking day in my world. Tuesday for instance. Tuesday was good.

Anyway, the point is not so much the drinking or the Irish, but the fact that I have finally lost track of time. I have been off work one month today. Hooray for time off. I would rather have had a pain free vacation, but whatever. I love having a job, and seem to need the identity that comes along with it, but I hate working. I hate anything that impinges on my day to day life.

AARRGGHH! My soaps have been cancelled in favor of college basketball!! This is a tragedy!! Dammit. Who gives a shit about college sports? Not me.

So, I'm thinking about writing. I'm writing, also, but thinking about writing on paper again. Back to the Lead Pencil Society. Blogging seems inauthentic sometimes, just the lack of editing alone would make my professors turn in their -- their... .whatevers. I pound on the keys and press "publish." And I am. Published. If I don't actually write something, I may not get published again anywhere but here. And no offense, but this is not my best stuff. I got way more.

So, I'll see if my fingers can still hold a manual instrument. My poor old fingers who never thougt they'd release the pen for the keyboard. It was a brief if emotional battle, easily won, but I always wonder, what if Blogger dies? What happens to all this shit?

I know I'm saying shit alot. That indicates the need for a job, for socialization among the improved. I revert so easily. I am so susceptible.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Did you ever notice that "therapist" is spelled, "the rapist?" I was just wondering.

My physical therapy started yesterday. My therapist is a 12 year-old girl named Anna. Anna the Barbarian. I had visited the surgeon on Monday and he gave me the go ahead to begin therapy because my movement is good for someone two weeks out. Well, it hurt. It hurts still. It hurt anyway, so what's the problem? It felt good, in a masochistic kind of way, to feel blood flow in the area of my shoulder and neck, but still... Damn.

So, on Monday, I applied for 5 jobs. Got a call back from one within 15 minutes of faxing it, complete with a near offer. The money wasn't what I want, so I had to pass. Two more responses throughout the day. But I should note here that I couldn't work yet if my life depended on it -- that I don't want to work for a couple more months -- I was just testing the waters. When I moved up here in spring of 2004, I intended to be off work for 6 months and then reach out and pluck the perfect job from the low hanging branches of the job tree. They would see my resume, think, "My God, She's Here!" and offer me buckets of cash. It wasn't so easy as all that. After 6 months off I began applying and experiencing rejection for the first time in my life. After a month of that, I scrambled and took a job as a social worker for less money than I've seen in awhile. So now, I'm a little nervous, two years older, and my body a wreck. A wreck. And I don't want to wait until the last minute. But my dilemma is this: What if somebody offers me a great job?

I have spent the better part of my life just saying YES to the next thing, and it has worked out pretty well so far: Yes to the boys, yes to motherhood, yes to whiskey, yes to heroin, yes to more heroin, yes to NO more heroin or whiskey, yes to education, yes to homeownership, yes to the sweetest marriage proposal, yes to this life. So, yes has worked out fairly well for me. I'm gonna stay with it, only be choosy about the job thing. I don't settle easily or well. Like I mentioned a few posts back, I don't like to do what I don't like, so the job must have some appeal.

In my world, we are considering a weekend at the coast to spend with my outlaws -- my ex-never-were-really-inlaws, but the closest family I've been part of since mine went to shit which was a long time ago. My son's father's family. He is dead--my son's father. I danced on his grave. But I love them. My ex-mother outlaw has been more of a mother to me than my own. My ex-outlaw sisters closer than my own sister, sadly. So, we will locate a place to stay where Sid and the girls and maybe Marky can hang with us. cool.

Sid -- He'd die left to a weekend alone. What a baby. We got him a new toy at a yard sale, a stuffed dog, not lifesize, but bigger than usual. I'm not confident of the wisdom of buying a pitbull an animal-shaped thing to thrash, but at least it wasn't a baby doll. Anyway, we got him this dog. He thrashed it around for awhile, but not like usual. Ordinarily, toys are consumed in a matter of moments, thus the need to shop at yardsales and Goodwill.... Sid's ritual is this: Each morning, he listens for the sound of the furnace revving up, then he gets off the sofa to lay in front of the vent until he is toasty. So yesterday morning, we get up. The heater comes on. We walk into the living room and Sid has placed his dog in front of the heater vent and he is laying on the loveseat watching this dog. His friend. He is such a failure as a pitbull.

The boat search continues, and we are looking for a bike for Lorretta. I appreciate her aversion to gears. She is my best friend for a reason.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


My husband is looking for another boat now. "Looking" may be too timid a word to describe his quest for the perfect vessel. He is a man obsessed. I have watched with great joy the metamorphosis of his hobbies over the past couple of years.

With bikes, the evolution went something like this: we want cruisers. We want the perfect hawthorne cruisers. Then, we want to go faster, and uphill. We don't need mountain bikes, we need road bikes.

We bought the Cruisers new, and, together, they probably weighed 75 pounds. It was about that point that I said, "Hey, have you heard of craigslist?" And it was on.... He found that not only could he find bikes for us, for the girls, but that he could repair bikes, old bikes, and people would love them, and both seller and buyer could buy them for a fraction of their worth. Initially, the bikes were 15-20 bucks each. From childhood he knew he was a Schwinn man, a classic. He wouldn't buy or sell a Huffy if the profit margin was 200%. He surfed craigslist daily, made mad runs to be first come-first served for each fixer-upper. As the buying and the selling progressed, the quality and initial investment increased. He began to take calls on things called Treks, Bianchis, Cannondales. He was laying out significant piles of cash with increasing risk. But the sales continued. Woven in and among the sales was the evolution of my husband's own personal bicycle. I remember a beautiful Trek, orange to red (color is important to me) sleek and simple.

He paid some guy 100.00 for it. It was the first "high-end" bike. When he called me, as he does, to report his current expenditures, he said, "I've finally found it. This is the last bike I'll ever need." Famous last words. If I had a nickle....

Currently, our garage houses my bike, which, I'll admit, is nice. (A black Marin with a fat tractor seat and a gold bell that looks like a buddhist temple and great road gears.) And his: a billion dollar Jamis with razor thin racing tires and a seat that would get lost in my ass, a brand new Raleigh crossover and a beautiful lavendar Bianchi (currently for sale on craigslist). Oh, and a vintage tricycle that some woman asked him to find handlebars for. He'll fix it eventually. And, a big motorcycle. And, until we finally tired of cramming it in there, the Wacanda. The Wacanda had been parked curbside for the past 9 months.

So, what's my point? I know I'm digressing like mad here. Here's the thing: Now, its boats. Do you know how big boats are?

Really, when you live in a city, and have a classic Portland sloping driveway and an underhouse garage that was probably perfect for a model-T Ford, and now he's shopping craigslist for boats? I'm a little nervous. I'm learning about boats, which is fun. But the real fun is watching him, seeing the light in his eyes, the smile I live for. But BOATS?? I envision a somewhat slower process, one boat at a time, two tops. Keep in mind that the cost of the Wacanda was 600.00, sold for 1000.00 after having exactly that much into it. It was a great boat, and sold to someone who is into classic fiberglass. Now, he's dreaming about new boats. And when he said, "I'd never need another boat," I knew I'd heard it somewhere before.

Yesterday was an education. We raced madly to Vancouver for a 14 footer which turned out to be a 13 footer; to a new boat store in Beaverton where yachts are parked next to camouflage fishing boats that I'd lose in the morning mist; to 139th and Powell for a 14 footer that would NEVER fit under our house; and finally, to 71st and Sunnyside for a sweet little 13 footer with a suntop (my personal requirement).

Usually, when shopping craigslist, there is somewhat of an honor system. If you're the first to call, the seller will give you first shot, within certain timeframes. But this guy needed rent money. He said, "Two other people are on their way, but if you get here first, its yours." We were outta there. I liked the boat first sight, but like I said, I'm learning. When we rolled up to the house in felony flats, a man came outside. I should rather say the ghost of a man came outside. A meth-monster, reeking of booze, nearly transparent, unaccustomed to being out in the light of day. Making eye contact was too hard for him. He needed to sell that boat like I needed to sell my son's Christmas tricycle the day after christmas, or the Kirby vaccuum cleaner, or my soul.... So, I'm thinking, okay, the boat is sweet. He needs money, we need a boat. Contributing to his delinquency whispers in the back of my mind, a minor discomfort--I am an opportunist. Then my husband does what he does, he asks the magic question, "Do you have clear title?" The guy nods, sort of. Or maybe it was just a twitch. We look a little closer, see that the grass it sits on is undisturbed. It hasn't been there long at all. I see this. I know. I'm a thief. Still, though, I want the boat. I am capable of overlooking other people's faults. This does not make me a good person as I hope it will work out. It IS, afterall, the last boat I'll ever need.
"Okay, let's have a look at that title," husband says.

The ghost replies, "I'll just write you a bill of sale. That's all you need in Oregon." The unuttered "Trust me" passed his thin blue lips, falling soundlessly on the undisturbed lawn beneath (probably) his landlord's boat.

"Gonna need to see that title." says husband. We're Oregonians. We know better.

And that's where the sale ended. It may have been his boat. He spoke unconvincingly of salmon and sturgeon, but his voice shook and he had to keep his hands in his pockets to keep them from flying from his shoulders in frantic neurological distress. I know the pose.

It is difficult to hope he got his rent paid. I hope he gets some help, and in retrospect am relieved that we did not contribute, altruism not a factor.

Today, Sunday, I am home. K on the beach. My arm hurts bad. I know it is better but wish it was over. Back to the surgeon tomorrow to report my progress. I am doing great, but it is every other day that I am comfortable. I guess that is twice as often as pre-surgery. Whine. And its freakin' cold around here. I'm pretty done with winter, so, it could start warming up now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


We sold the boat. It's a '58 Wacanda. Still looks like a Buick to me. Some guy who used to live in Ashland bought it. Now I hope K will search for another one. I loved cruising around under the bridges of Portland. It wasn't a fishing boat, wasn't meant to be... but we'll find the right one. I want a sun cover, a lid of some kind.

Here's my diet plan (in case you were wondering): chocolate soy milk all day and a -- what do they call it? -- a sensible dinner. Sensible. I'm sure that's the part of the plan that will undo me. Me and sensible never did get along. I will make homemade pizza tonight. But really, I do like Soy Slender. It is sweetened with Splenda and is rich and yummy and only has one carb. I only eat meals to find my way to the sweet stuff anyway and this will short circuit all that chewing. I hate lettuce.

I have gone this long without talking about pain. I'll keep going.

So, its back to beach fishing on The Mighty Columbia with the beach boys. We saw one caught last weekend -- one -- but hear that they (Dept. of Fish and Wildlife) are closing the season due to low fish-counts. So salmon fishing is pretty much over anyway. We'll try for sturgeon. They are big and fight hard and you can only keep certain sizes, like, between 4 and 5 feet long. What the hell am I supposed to do with a four and a half foot long fish that looks like a prehistoric monster? I'm not cleaning it. I just want to be very clear about that. Catching halibut out on the sea is another thing. YOu come back in from the trip and there are fish maidens awaiting the catch who gut out and filet the halibut for a price you are more than willing to pay. Coastal women, wind-worn and harsh, who look better at closing time and know good jokes. I used to be one. I know.

My fucking arm hurts.


It snowed. It is not snowing here at this moment (you should see the news: "Its snowing out here in the Cascades!! Two days in a row now!!" This is in the shadow of Mt. Fucking Hood for Chrissake, of course its snowing.) Anyway, I was planning to charge out this morning and do stuff in spite of pain. In absolute rejection of pain, of this invalid season, this supine lifestyle, flipping side to side on a sofa that will not cooperate, like a too-round piece of meat, always just this side of comfort. I have visions of health, but rather eat myself into a carbohydrate coma with two pieces of peanut butter toast. Why would you have one when there are two slots? I am so susceptible. I am so tired of tired. So sick of sleep. So ready for spring.


But it snowed, so my visions of walking Sid in Laurelhurst park are delayed for another day, or a later time. But really, I can't see sitting here a whole lot longer. I am bored, watching the same striped hat pass my window this morning as last, thinking about my own hat, my many-colored Carson City Heidi Hat that my husband got me matching mittens for last Christmas. And a tall bike just went by, three bikes tall, and I can't show you a picture of it because I don't know how to use a digital camera.

Life goes on below me, around me, and this is time off work. I want to embrace it and have only one arm. Time takes time.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Yanni was arrested for domestic violence. Is nothing sacred?

Monday, March 06, 2006

not working

I'm not. I'm bored. My arm is better now. I need a job. Or, I could write a book again, get it published and be rich. er. I wish I had the nerve to live on my creative wits, but so far, I have opted for a paying job.

My arm is not really all better. It hurts, or rather, I am usually aware of the recent surgery. But I am, like most bad patients, in a hurry to regain the lost season. I guess the fact that it was winter is something to be grateful for. I can think of many other things, such as my ability to heal.

And now that I am not sedated, I am not sedated.

I must quote a. of ashabot when she told me (of being medicated post surgery) something like this: "Once you go under you begin to drown, and pretty soon, air doesn't sound so good anymore."

That tiny little jones behind me now, I want air. I want to gulp it, to slurp it from the giant juicy peach of life, to never have to know sedation again. I want it all. We speak of moments of clarity... I want a lifetime.

It is good to be healthy. And like James Spader said on Ellen today, "...besides my lines and world events, the only thing i think about is my weight gain." So, on to the gym. I decided to wait for the physician's release before charging out to re-injure myself, but soaking in a spa sounds good. My tub works.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

birds and banners

yesterday morning the birds were singing in my back yard. the sun was out for a good part of the day. i left the doors open. the pain wasn't so bad yesterday. yesterday... all my troubles seemed so far away. not so much now. wow. it is the only near expletive i can think of that really sums up my experience this moring. WOW. fuck is useful, dammit--not bad, but wow really kind of encompasses the wide-eyed wonder of the ongoingness of this condition. i don't dream in pain, thankfully, and waking up to it is such a stark and unpleasant contrast that it catches me off guard every time. like i said last post, i always think its over now. i really believe i'll go to sleep and wake up and be clear and jump up and make coffee and write for awhile, and wham. I guess this is evidence that pain meds work on some level. every day i believe it is over now. I'm better. And I am. I'm another day through this one. I am deeply apologetic for whining over such an extended period of time. I've had 3 pretty major surgeries in a year: tumor under my chin, exploded appendix and now, shoulder repair. its no wonder I'm depressed. and i know i am.

back to the birds. i used to dread the sound of birds in the morning, proof of another night spent, another chance to sleep lost, another day when my sleepy-eyed little boy would wake up, innocent of my sins, and i would hear him stirring and scurry to my unmade bed to pretend to wake up as he crawled in bed with me. I am glad i maintained the illusion of sleep, but it was thin, and he saw through it eventually. "remember when you never slept and all we ever had was peanut butter and crackers?" we think they don't know.

Birds in the morning, sign of spring, evidence of god, of hope, the world turning, the end of pain. my personal pain. I will make my bed, begin my day in the dark of my bay window, overlooking clinton street and the waking others who share my world. I love spring. I am grateful to be alive.

Nicole came over yesterday to see me. Just to see me. I like being her sometimes mother. She went to a punk show the night before and a band called WWPRF played. the PRF stands for Punk Rock Faggots. apparently the queer community got ahold of it and protested the name. See the portlandindy site for an exhaustive discussion. exhausting. it provoked a lengthy discussion of PC behavior, punk theory, who gets to wear which banners of oppression, the definition of faggot. me? i think many things: queer adults could find a larger battle than 15 year olds who are all about shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior.

banners. so many to choose from. mine are: woman, mother, wife, writer, artist, junkie, drunk, criminal. they hang in my closet, rattle like the skeletons they are. useful in a pinch, but costumes one and all. distancing mechanisms. this dialogue provokes in me questions about banners and epithets, slurs, internalized oppression and the apparent competition for who is the most oppressed. why is it that I, as a straight adult, should probably say "the gay community" while gays can now say "queers", why blacks can call themselves niggers again, why I have to say the inconvenient "native american," rather than indian. I like the word indian. it slips easily from my western tongue. I have my own bags to carry. As a white woman, raised in Southern Oregon, I am born racist, even though i was not raised racist and do not knowingly participate in discrimination. I benefit from white privilege with or without my consent. I don't see myself as homophobic, but I am deeply homobored. The whole notion of PC language is discouraging to me, especially as it evolves and seems little more than fashion. I hate to be censored, regardless the cause. Were the kids right? No. They rarely are. But they do love attention, and this was certainly galvanizing. I'd like to say to the guy who spoke for the queer community, "this isn't about you," but he wanted it to be, so now, apparently, it is.

the thing is this... no one owns the word faggot. pc language is about exclusion, about separation and entitlement. our collective life is suffocating under the great flat hand of neocon powermongers who use fundamentalists (whether hamas or gay activists) as the puppets of separation. the soil beneath us all is shifting, is on fire, and we are attending to our crotches? please tell me there is something more important, at least more INTERESTING to defend, than what humans suck on in their private moments.

my contribution to the dialogue is this: choose your battles. divide and conquer was never more visible or pathetic than the squabbling of well-fed liberals when competing in the "most-oppressed" category. It is the single, most powerful tool of the oppressors. and in my overblown opinion, the only voice that should be louder is that of the environmentalists, although truthfully, i don't think we'll live long enough for global warming to be an issue. we'll be too busy warming our feet at the cold chemical campfires of an urban wasteland.