Sunday, July 23, 2006


these socks are missing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

extreme weather

I am forever complaining about the ever-vigilant Portland weather media.
"OH MY GODDDDDDDDD! Its going to be above 70!!!!!!!!!" and
"OH MY GODDDDDDD! Its going to be below 70!!!!!!!!!!!!

Extreme heat warnings have consumed the newshours for over a week. Since moving to Portland, I HAVE, admittedly, missed my A/C, and HAVE begged that we get something to offset the 90 and above days. But Kurt wouldn't do it, until now. He had his reasons, mostly based in a little too much first hand information about how thieves view a window A/C unit... (give it a push and crawl on in...) but 105 for three days was enough of a threat I guess. As usual, of course, it didn't happen. It did get to 102, I think, on one day, and it was bizarrely muggy Friday night. The house never did cool off and I think I finally got a taste of what it must be like to live down south (way down south in the land of cotton.) and all that was missing was the big bugs you hear about. I hate bugs. Anyway, after a debate about the cost of three nights on the coast and the price of gas, and that would have been fine but the traffic to and from is absurd in the midst of a Portland weather exodus, we opted for an air conditioner. Then, it was about finding one. Not so easy. Home Despot laughed in our faces. Lowes wasn't much better. We finally found one at Sears. But then, the big one we wanted couldn't be supported by the 1910 wiring in our house, so we opted for a smaller one. And it WORKS!!! It is so nice in here. Electric consumption be damned.

So again, I live in the lap of luxury.

Haley just returned from an unauthorized hitchhiking trip to San Francisco. At 15, we were panicked, and intercepted her in Arcata, put her on a Greyhound bus and got her home. She is here now, and fine, in her beyond thunderdome attire. This just doesn't seem like a teenage phase. It seems like this is probably who Haley is. She prefers the company of vagabonds and dogs, and places like Takelma, with its burned out trailers and RVs and open air cooking, and I can't fault her for it. I love that she views the world so openly, and is so trusting. I hope nothing ever happens to dull her enthusiasm. I am a skeptic of the highest order. It is easy to say, about my significant history of hitchhiking, that it was a different world back then. But it wasn't. There were bad people then, as now, and good ones, and a vagabond culture of which I was family for a long long time. I didn't die from it, and I hope Haley survives her inquisitiveness and rejection of higher culture (if indeed we are higher....) If the oil runs out, as many say it will, we may all have to learn to live around a campfire. She may be the future.

clinton street fair

One thing that has happened since I have been lax at blogging is that I get all these long e-letters from my friends, complaining that I am not blogging. Thanks for the letters. It is incentive not to blog, but I do want to catch up.

Today is the Clinton and Division Streets Fair. We went. Actually we walked down the street to get a cup of coffee and it was nearly time for the parade, so we waited, called Haley to bring down the camera, and this is what we saw:

the crowd

motorbikes in a circle

the alzheimer's ride

We didn't get a picture of the drum band that was first in the parade, or the flame flag twirlers. The pictures are all taken looking down Clinton Street. You can see the Clinton Street Theatre where we saw Rocky Horror, where they show it every Saturday night and have forever. Our house is three blocks up the street.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

baby shower

When I was laid up with my shoulder surgery, I agreed -- no, I volunteered -- to do the baby shower games. On Vicodin, it sounded like fun. On vicodin and without a job, it seemed reasonable. But in the doing, it was no different than running activities in a nursing home. I'm sure I've talked about that. Remind me to write about the time we went to the petting zoo. Or the time we tried to have a carnival in the nursing home parking lot and back yard, complete with a dunk tank and cotton candy machine. I'm sure there are worse things than making cotton candy in the dead heat of august in Southern Oregon after being awake for five days straight, maybe you know of something, but for me, it is near the top of the list of things not to do again.

So, yes. I arranged the baby shower games. But here's the thing: acts that are motivated by guilt instead of generosity just don't work. (Not to mention the vicodin) and guilt was definitely driving the bus. The girl who is having the baby is not my type, but her husband is my husband's friend. And I felt some responsibility to her. Wrongly. But once I was in, I couldn't figure out how to get out.

We played the stupid pin game. We played a diaper game. We played a paint the onesie game.

I hated it. It made me feel like a stranger.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


My head is mud. I am out of coffee. I am meeting asia at 10 down the street, so will wait to get my fix until then. I ground up about 10 beans, whirrrrred them around until they were dust and put them in a single cup dripper. I am desperate. I am hooked. I like drinking coffee in my pajamas on my deck. I NEED to be able to do that. Poor planning. It reminds me of scraping seeds and stems to get a headache, or crawling around on the floor after a chunk of (you fill in the drug) and shooting whatever I found. Yep, those were the days.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Today is the 4th of July. We took the boat out, put in at Willamette Park and drove over to Sellwood to see some friends. That was boring. Then we took the boat up to Oregon City along a stretch of river I hadn't seen before. I love to look at the homes along the water. I love the houseboats, each one a work of art. The Ross Island houseboats have one that is like a nautilus shell, wood and copper with lots of windows. I like to pick out the original homes along the river, among the McMansions, the little shingled cottages and river houses that preceeded the conspicuous consumption of these days. The houses are side by side now, each worth millions, I'm sure, each with a deck and a boat house and a long floating ramp meant to weather even the 100 year floods. I wonder. On the Willamette, 100 years passes fairly frequently. I was living in Portland in the flood of '64. I was in the 5th grade, Mrs. Jones' class. I had a peach colored umbrella that blew inside out in the wind and acutally lifted me off my feet. I remember newsreels of one of the bridges over the river that buckled and swayed and collapsed with cars on it. I could be making that up, but I think it is true. I remember bringing a scrap of newspaper to school that year. It was about the Beatles. I was the first person in my school to know about them. Even then I was tragically hip. We moved to Portland when my father died. Actually, I think we were visiting, and just stayed after we found out he was gone.

The other day I drove by the house I lived in when my father died. I'd tried to find it before, but I guess I went down 66th place rather than 66th. It is in felony flats. Was even then. I was surprised it was still standing. It is a tiny hovel, with narrow stairs and burgundy flowered linoluem and I could see my bedroom window that overlooked my uncle's huge garden of poppies. He had the whole yard planted in them, towering red tissue-paper thin flowers with circus tent seedpods in the centers. Even then there was the occasional pale flower, a gray or white throwback, that caught my eye. Its no wonder I loved heroin. I recall him standing in the yard in his overalls, a great fat man, watering those poppies each evening. When I water my yard, I recall his patience, and try to give my flowers as much attention. He lost his mind, finally, and went about watering even the flowers on wallpaper, which caused some problems in the family. I guess he was probably mentally ill -- schizophrenic, best guess, and had a big heart. I think I've said before that he rode his bicycle up and down the west coast in the final years of his life, finally coming to rest on a boat in San Francisco Bay where he died alone on Christmas Eve. The yard is different now, and the big field next door where we built a fort beneath a huge cedar tree is gone, of course, and the big lilac is gone. There used to be a narrow cement walkway that cut through the middle of the poppies from front gate to front door. My brother rode his skateboard down it too fast, put out his arms to stop himself and broke both of his wrists. Mrs. Wallace lived next door. She was 80 and could do handstands. And did. Every holiday she brought over a fake can of peanut brittle that was actually full of spring-loaded snakes. The first time it scared the shit out of me, but then I was on to her and had to fake it.

I remember the day the phone call came about my father. I don't recall crying, which doesn't surprise me. I remember confusion and disbelief. He was a good man. A happy man. He would have liked my husband.

I suppose we will wander down to watch the fireworks along the East Bank Esplanade. I just hope I don't have to stand near the very scary statue of Vera Katz. If anyone makes a bronze statue of me, I hope they use a picture of me when I was five. I was much cuter then.

Here's a shot of Sid on the patio. Is it a patio? Is that what we call it?

The blues festival wraps up today. Each year we bring the requisite cans of bad food and a couple dollars down there and brave the throng. The thongs. Actually, it is a rather gray crowd, all of the age-resisting boomers who continue to defy fashion but not time. We take the bike down and park easily, which is the hardest part, really. And each year I yearn to be among the boat people, listening to the blues from the water's edge. This year we did it. We put in at a strange little ramp up river, cruised by the fabulous Ross Island and Sellwood houseboats, and finally wound our way cautiously, paddles in hand, through the yachts and speedboats. Front row seats. The sound was good, but alas and as usual, I had to pee.... When sitting up on the lawn the day before, I had noticed an outhouse floating among the boats, so my darling husband, keeper of my comfort, said it was no trouble. He's great that way. So once again, we threaded the gauntlet, bobbing and weaving, until the yellow plastic oasis was in sight. We pulled up alongside the dock, hopped out and peed. My husband decided to jump in the water to cool off and suggested I do the same. I just really wanted to splash a little and not get my hair wet (I can't stand women who don't get their hair wet) but it didn't quite work out in my favor. I slid in, and under, and couldn't get out. My shoulder, you see, isn't quite what it used to be, and heaving my bod out of deep water just isn't something I can do. So, Kurt tries to help me, and as he is helping me, yells, "the boat!!!" which, as you might imaging, is floating away. So he dives in to save the boat and I am left to save myself for awhile. He rescues the boat, ties it to the dock and by that time, I have located the big rope tethering the dock to the anchor. I stand on it as best I can, and he pulls me up enough to get a grip and haul myself out. It matters what you wear in these situations, and my wardrobe malfunctioned in a big way.

It was the second time that day that I flashed Portland. That same morning we rode our bikes to Sellwood park and I was wearing one of my favorite short sarongs tied around my upper half. Turns out it flaps in the breeze of a downhill bike ride. I was horrified, but I'll never see those people again. I've managed to survive worse shame in my life.