Tuesday, February 28, 2006


here's the thing.... i always think i'm going to get off light. i always think the worst is over just before it hits. in the immortal words of crosby stills and nash, its always darkest just before the dawn and i always think i can see the dawning from where i sit, think i am already in the dark, and then, it gets darker.

every time.

my freakin' shoulder hurts. they told me it would. but then, he pulled the pain pump out and told me i was probably through the worst of it, but shit man. it may have been the worst of it, but i had the pain pump in. see? So i get all hopeful, and think i'm on the happy road, and wham! the party starts in earnest. Now, the good news is that this may mean i am not a pessimist afterall. it may mean i am easily seduced by the carefully chosen words of physicians. it may mean i'm rebecca of sunnybrook farm or an idiot. you decide. so, i hurt. but it is a healing kind of bone pain, not the torture that came before.

anyway, asia from deconstructionist came by and brought me thai food which was yummy. Jill brought me roses and a young women's fashion magazine called Jane which was thoughtful and maybe a little edgy. Jill's a little edgy --alot, really-- and she thought it wasn't "too gap". in reference to the store i think. But it looked a little gap-ish to me.

Lorretta just wrote. my old house in talent is empty. that breaks my heart. you should have seen the kitchen. i designed it myself, with open shelving and tile countertops with terracotta colored grout. it was perfect. and a dishwasher and garbage disposal for the first time in my life. that is one thing i did give up to get married and still want. And while i miss my little cottage in talent, it was an empty sanctuary at the end, and i hope whoever lives in it loves it like i did.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


i cannot capitalize with one hand.

it is sunday morning on clinton street, as everywhere, but this is where i am. my husband is fishing on sauvie's island and i am healing slowly, staying ahead of the pain which is the center of my world for now. it is a footrace i am sure to win. healing is a beginning, and if i abandon my traditional apathy and wax philosophical for a moment, forgive me.

i will do yoga. i will do something. i am willing, at long last, to move, to bend, to stretch, to inconvenience myself, in hot pursuit of a more comfortable future. i am INTO comfort, and it seems that long term ease requires routine periods of physical distress (exercise). i don't like it. i don't like to do what i don't like. and in the past, the next phrase of that logism would have been: i don't do what i don't like. but i believe it is that very thought, that single attachment to short term comfort, that has, with lazy hands, placed my aging body under the surgeon's knife. my bones have been whittled on, and the resultant ache, deep and unreachable, was utterly avoidable. it was, on a deeply important level, an elective surgery. had i NOT been so utterly deconditioned, sid would not have yanked my arm from its socket so easily or with such far reaching effects.

i've wanted to do yoga for years. many years. i've wanted to do tai chi. i actually LIKE to lift weights. it is a gift i have the power to give, and yet, for reasons weak and transparent, i withhold it. i am an episode of oprah. i have misused the whole female talk show ethic (be good to youself) to my detriment. and it is a lack of self worth, not time, that denies me any attachment to the maintenance of my physical body. of many, many trite sayings, one that so often rings true is this: awareness without action is insanity. now i know a bit about insanity. a good bit. and as i lay in my sick bed in the middle of my wonderful life, i hope i can remember this moment... that as i heal and life normalizes once again, that my resolve does not dissolve -- that i make time to be better in the one way i refuse to face: the physical. bob earl said it best. "my mind thinks it can kill my body and go on." now granted, he was speaking about addiction, but this is an addiction: to ease, to laxity, to passivity, to pretending it doesn't really matter.

so, don't indulge me. don't tell me to put the bat down. don't tell me to take it easy. i have. i could, perhaps, be less dramatic, but what fun would that be?

enough. time will tell. for now, i heal. back to the couch.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Home. I wouldn't have to be rich to just stay here, day after day, watering the plants, sweeping the floor, folding the laundry. It may get old after awhile, but I am a homebody. Haley was telling me of her teenage angst, her wanderlust, her desire to hop trains and hobo her life away. My son wanted to travel, to see Australia and Amsterdam and any other place he perceived as permissive, any place but home. But all I've ever wanted was to make a home and stay in it. I've worked, always, and God knows I've moved my share, but home is where my heart is. I think if it were not for work, I wouldn't know how much I appreciated these periods of downtime, these episodic failures of body and mind that make it impossible for me to leave home for awhile. When I got here -- two years ago now -- I didn't work for months, seven, and I was so wrapped around getting settled and finding my way around that I never did relax. And now, pain denies me full appreciation of time to myself, but I am home, and it is still, and I am happy to be here, watching soaps and feeling no guilt at all.

The pre-op guys just called with all the pre-op questions and surgery looms ever closer. I have a coupon for a free milkshake at Burgerville and will stock up on Vanilla Swiss Almond Haggen Das, or plain vanilla. Did you know that Haggen Das means nothing? It isn't a real word or name or anything.

So, one more day and my arm will be repaired and I will do my therapy like a good girl and get my life back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

closer and closer

The time for surgery is approaching. I will go to one of those new, same day, outpatient surgery clinics at 6:30 in the morning and pop out, oh, say noonish, all stitched back together. McSurgery Drive-thru. I am looking forward to the beginning of healing, and the end of this endurance contest that has nearly gotten the better of me. It hurts.

I have new jammies. I have more soup recipes than I can count. I have solicited the support of my mother-in-law. I am planning what I can and leaving the rest to the four winds and hydrocodone.

Just to give you some indication of my perceptions these days..... I live a block from Nature's. Wild Oats. Its one of those higher-end green grocers with shiny food and big pricetags for votive candles. And I bow to my lack of grocery knowlege in general and admit that most green grocers are good to their employees and that paying a little more to forestall what seems inevitable to me: global warming and all that bad stuff that this blog declines to acknowlege let alone address, is not a bad thing. It is, after all, the corner grocery store, and from time to time I have picked up produce or a can of tomato sauce that I didn't find at Winko. I hate Winko.

So anyway, I went up there last night because K ate the last chunk of good sourdough bread and I am on a french-onion soup kick. I HAD to have it. So I wandered up the street and over a block, and the store was dark. And I thought, Ah, president's day. This thought is followed closely by a second: Since when do hippies give a shit about president's day? Then, I looked through the windows, noticed empty shelves, and thought: Oh, they're restocking one side of the store. And I get to the front of the store and there was no sign, and nothing in the store, and the store was pretty much gone. And I thought, why didn't I know this? How could the store close that fast? So, I consulted Gwen, the only grocery expert I know, and she said it has been a 30%-40%-50% discount thrift store for awhile, and I know I have slept through this winter.

It is unacceptable to me that the world passes me by. I lived the first half of my life in a coma,and I refuse to miss even one more springtime. There is much to do, and healing is the first thing.

Here's a poem about that:

What It Was Like To Be Drunk In The Country For Years

it was like comin' home
beer bottles stacked on the porch
lolling around in the dust of a hot day
not a hundred yards from the river
sweating pure whiskey
too busy drinkin' to jump in the water
sleeping face down in brown grass
missing the spring
and the summer
and the fall
and spending the winter
planning all those things we're gonna do
when the sun comes out


Saturday, February 18, 2006

dog wear

We are up, making a sweatshirt for Sid. Nicole is a seamstress and is carving up an old gray sweatshirt and Sid is a reluctant model. Any time we ask him to hold still, he seems to think we are going to cut his toenails. He really hates that.

It is nearly over now -- the weekend. Sid's unfinished doggie-cape sits in a pile amid the recently re-organized sewing supplies we have pulled together in the past couple of days. We have many sewing boxes and tins and baskets --Me and him. Me and them. Us. Since move and marriage, the numbers of boxes has dwindeled, but it has been a slow melding, like butter and sugar over low heat. We are caramel. I rarely order anything online, am still a bit of a chicken about all that, but needed a basket for sewing stuff, and I know they exist but I shopped far and wide and could only find an old-lady tapestry covered easter basket with little plastic liners. I'd rather have a good tackle box, and frankly, had one in hand at Bi-Mart, but K talked me out of it. He wanted me to have the real thing. I couldn't agree more. But neither of us knew where the real thing was. So I went to Jeeves and typed in "sewing basket", which elicited the response "Do you mean sewing caddy?" which I did. Which in turn provoked my husband to rent Caddyshack, but that's another story. So I said okay to Jeeves, and went for the caddy idea. Tap tap tap and there it was: a three-tiered wooden box on legs that folds out like a two-sided tackle box like the big boys have, and I ordered it. And it arrived, and I am not yet a victim of identity theft. I would hate that.

So I got the caddy, and it is full and organized, and the girls know where to find a needle, and, more importantly, where to put it back so it doesn't stick someone in the eye while they are rolling around on the floor with the dog or the husband.

There is a point to all this.

As I have whined about since mid-december, I am having shoulder surgery next friday. The day is nearly here, and since I will be down (but not out!) for the count, I figured I needed a hobby. I decided to learn cross-stitch. Needlepoint. I can do it with one hand immobilized and it passes the time, of which I will have much. Well, the same amount, but it will seem different. Already does: It is sunday night and I'm not suicidal. I just don't think I was meant to work. Do you?

So, me and the girls (the girls and I) moseyed over to Michael's hobby shop because if I have a hobby, they need one, and Haley got a bunch of embroidery floss to make string bracelets and Nicole got a set of those knitting hoops and some yarn. .... Yarn. Wow. There is some trippy shit out there these days. I've been watching women working on projects (thus the cross-stitch idea) and they have any manner of string projects they are weaving into any manner of winter clothing. Not me. I'm afraid of string. Knots kill me. So, I'm sticking with the smaller version: thread. I never did take up macrame, when every hippie chick worth her salt had plant hangers and wall art made of tangled rope. No way. But there is yarn that looks like animal hair and angel feathers and disco sparkles and vomit. You can get anything.

Anyway, all of this is in preparation for the aftermath. A hobby and good pajamas. Pyjamas. Whatever I buy needs to be easy on and easy off. I should just get some mumus but I am absurdly fashion conscious. Pain will dictate fashion rather than the other way around this time.

And soup. Asia will bring me Tom Kar Mushroom. The girls will cook me whatever they can on lunch break, and my hubby will treat me to his cuisine in the evenings like he used to. He makes great spaghetti. Tonight I made french onion soup. I have been wanting it since Valentine's day. We went to Montage and I had heard they have excellent french onion on their menu. But they don't anymore. "Sadly," said the Maitre d. A convincingly forlorn metroboy.

So I have a hobby, jammies and soup. I'm ready.

My fucking shoulder hurts. It probably wasn't a great idea to go see Buddy Guy last night and stand for four hours bouncing to the blues, but we had tickets, and sometimes moving is better than sitting still with this thing. But it was so loud, and I was really hurting. And this guy, some aged hippie with gray hair to his waist, decided to dance. And it was crowded, and he was feelin' it, and had to get his groove on. And it had to happen in my immediate space. And he was seven feet tall with big hair and I shoved him at one point. Because look... I can stand there and be in pain, but don't bump into me. Okay? I had no effect on him. He just kept on dancing. I was so annoyed.

That's the weekend update. I'm not working tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2006

valentine oversight

oops. I am so married. I forgot to post valentine's day.

Here's my favorite valentine poem. It was sent to Cooky by her first husband, Sherman. She'll never get a blog so I'll publish for her:

If I give you amphetamine
Will you be my Valentine?

Simple, to the point. Appealing. The sixties were a simpler time. I would know. I was 12.

We had dinner at Montage and are going to see Buddy Guy at the Roseland Saturday night. A valentine's week. I had never been to Montage. The pasta was good, but the gooey butter cake was memorable. The perfect combination of sweet and salty and mmmmm. Montage is messy and loud and there were people in sweats and in red-velvet valentine hair-dos, long sculpted curls that did not move, would not move in this morning's arctic blast.

Arctic blast my ass. Where is it?

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Me in the middle, walking down Eliott Creek Road, November 2003.

its over. I didn't keep the car that was behind door number three. Everything about that job was fiction. And it is over. Behind me. I got up this morning and didn't. Didn't get dressed, didn't scrape ice off the windows of the car that isn't mine anymore. Didn't drive to Mc-fucking-Minnville. Didn't.


I am sipping coffee, not on my front porch, which is my preference, but at this small desk, weather news in the background.

Once it was cold (view from the porch 2003:

It's gonna get cold. That's the news. I know, I know. I'm always whining about the weathercast. But it is february for crying out loud. Coldest month of the year. This is not news. But in the absence of something like the vice president shooting someone in the face, its all we have.

Dontcha love Dick Cheney? Isn't he just the epitome of power? When I behaved as though the rules didn't apply to me, I got arrested. Clearly not every time, or I'd still be sitting in jail, and I'm not suggesting Cheney should be arrested, but that guy really flies above it all. He just doesn't have to play nicely like the rest of the kiddies on the yard.

Well, enough political commentary for a non-election year.

The sun is out, my coffee's cold, and the most exciting thing I'm doing today is getting my teeth cleaned at 1:00. My shoulder is awful, still, and I hear surgery is a bitch. I am simultaneously embracing and dreading the idea. My arm hangs from its socket by skin and muscle, unaided by ligament, which is a real unsung hero in my world right now. Really, it isn't quite that serious, but it feels like it, and is the center of my thoughts most days, and spring is coming, and I can't use my shovel and that pisses me off. I'm planning to re-do the back yard so there is a pad for the pool (pavers) and sod for Sid to shit on. (say that three times fast: she sells seashells at the seashore...) and there is much to do. I understand that I will be out of commission for a couple of months, really, and the therapy is killer. But here is my plan: have surgery, get well, kick opiates, start yoga. It has been a long winter and I'm achin' for springtime.

What is the sound of one hand gardening?

The garden: post-hedge, pre-fence circa 2004

the garden midway taking the hedge down. This was the view into the neighbor's yard. Picture the cast of Deliverance.

The back yard in 2004 I think.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Curious George is dead. Somebody killed Curious George. I don't know his name (the author) and it shouldn't make me any sadder than any other random death, but it does. I loved those books as a child, and have one of those monkeys in my truck. And the curious George lunchbox, and the Curious George-in-the-box the girls got me for christmas.

I love monkeys. I got a white one at a yard sale last summer. An odd looking homemade one. We have a collection of old stuffed monkeys my husband had as a child and one somebody left on the porch with a strange note taped to his overalls. I have one that sleeps on my shoulder, ever vigilant to a single missed step.

Here's a poem about that:


Here’s to all you old junkies
still out there
keepin’ the home fires burning
the monkey on my back
only slumbers
light sleeper
my skin tightens
and leather begins to show through
my Eddie Bauer sweatshirt

on the other side of the other side of town
his porch is a minefield of
rotten wood and rusted nails
back seats from big cars
a water-stained curtain moves
slightly to one side

the smell of cooking heroin gags me
and I taste metal in the back of my throat
like a mouthful of cold pennies
syringes like tiny rattlers lay
ready to strike
veins like garden hose
hardened from unuse
give in

holding my breath
blood flags in the tiny cylinder
blossoming into
the warm brown liquid
like a dark rose
breath leaves me in contented release
just like riding a bike
I am home again

Anyway, I guess Curious George was co-authored. Look it up, I could be wrong. Sad day in the monkey world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

sweet endings

I was going to title this post "bitter endings" but it is sweet, really, to be leaving this job. As difficult as it is to fling myself out over the crevasse of unemployment, I will be better for it.

Anyway, the synchronicity of my shoulder surgery reminds me of a force beyond my own, beyond my knowing, that protects me from bad things. And the job was a bad thing. Bad for me. I lost my confidence, more than anything. The 15th will be my last day. I'm interviewing, but nothing yet, and I don't care. I just don't.