Monday, August 21, 2006

pre encampsia

I am getting ready to go camping. We are upgrading our equipment. Now, the thing is, we already have enough camping gear for three families -- enough tents to sleep the army. But that's okay, I like stuff. I have alot of it. Among the gear are two, maybe three, white gas stoves, Coleman's or something. But, like most aging hippies, we are lazy, and kind of past the stage where we're willing fill the gas can, pour the gas from the can through the crappy, too-small funnel and into the gas tank, and once filled, to scrape that little leather thingy, screw it down tight but not too-tight, pump our arms off while keeping that little metal arm up (or was it down?) and then stand back and light it, willing to relinquish arm and facial hair, and still, even with all that effort, knowing there is little real chance that the flame will be even, or ever be that perfect blue that indicates success by Coleman standards. And even then, if you do get a flame, it only lasts until the stew is almost done, potatoes still too hard, but never long enough to cook a pot of beans.

JOke: There was this hippie that jumped out of an airplane with a parachute. He couldn't remember which cord to pull. As he was free-falling, he passed another hippie flying upwards through the air. He said, "Hey, do you know anything about parachutes?" and the other hippie said, "No. Do you know anything about Coleman stoves?"

So anyway, danger aside, there are so many reasons I am happy to have evolved beyond Coleman stoves and be the proud owner of a two burner, free-standing (non-tabletop model) propane stove complete with baking dome and grill. Whee.

And that's not all. I got marshmallow sticks. Metal ones. Which, my husband was quick to point out, would never hold marshmallows, and were probably meant for hot dogs. So be it. Hot dogs it is. And we got a clicker lighter, like crack-heads use, and camp chairs.

In SE Portland, and maybe in other parts of the world too, but in my neighborhood for sure, if you want to get rid of something, you put it on craigslist or put it on the street. We went for a walk the other night and passed a perfectly good queen sized piece of four inch foam. Sweet. We balanced it on our heads like rice baskets and off we went. I sewed sheets together to cover it and we have a new bed.

I chatter along, but I really cannot express all that is in my heart for my good friend Patrick. I will just say that there truly are no words for a sadness that big. To say that he is in my prayers is true, that this tragedy has moved me to prayer is true. And my prayer is that he will find peace in time, which seems absurd.

It was a weekend of bad news, and I am getting ready to go camping. It is always difficult to embrace life in the face of unjust death and suffering.

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