Sunday, February 25, 2007

oscar day

We watched Babel last night. I'm sure it was great. It was certainly truthful and disturbing. The story of one gun. But I don't think I will ever like the post-modern chop of moving making. I don't like having to start and finish a minimum of three different story lines in one movie. I just love a good story. I loved Little Miss Sunshine. One story, well told.

I love the Oscars. Love the dresses and the hair. Love to see who shows up and hwo doesnt'. We've seen The Departed, but not the Queen or the Last King of Scotland. I'm not a big history fan. Just entertain me. I'm superficial. I haven't seen Blood Diamond or Dream Girls, but not for lack of trying. Just haven't found the time. We did see Pan's Labryinth, which was unexpectedly dark. We thought it was a fairy movie and took the girls. Oops. Glad they weren't five and six.

So, today is Oscar day and I will dedicate my evening to it. Today, I will look for leather furniture. I'm sick of mine. Not really sick of it, but it needs to be re-upholstered, and it would probably be cheaper to buy new. Brown leather. yummmmm.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

long time gone

Brother Martin turned 82 yesterday and told me I was a treat. I love treats. He has been a monk for 55 years and pitched his last game of softball the day before he went into the monastery. He said if he would have had a better job he probably wouldn't have. I like that about him. No agenda. No big entrance fee. No drama. Just a monk. I would make a shitty monk. I hate to think of myself as high maintenance, but if my black turtleneck sweater isn't clean, I'm fucked. What I look like is way too important. Way. Consuming. Brother Martin has no look good. He carries around his hearing apparatus in a worn cardboard box, the pick-up aimed toward the audience. And I have little regard for staged simplicity: for simple shoes that cost a bzillion dollars and simple not-quite-white cotton towels that cost 28 dollar apiece, for that just right hemp bag that creates the illusion of simplicity when in fact it is high democratic costuming. I remember when I made most of my own clothes out of muslin that was 38 cents a yard. Now, the simpler the fabric, the more it costs. I'm certain there are excellent reasons for this, that slave labor and transportation isn't cheap, but it is a sellers market, and in se portland, we are so fucking homogeneous in our uniquity.

That isn't a word.

Brother Martin speaks about god with a familiarity that comforts me.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

silver bullets

We went to the Bob Seger concert. What sticks in my mind now is that he seemed so happy. And not like he was happy about making a comeback, which he didn't really seem so much to be doing. He just seemed glad to still be making music and giving all of us what we came to hear: old Bob Seger music. He played everything. I danced my ass off to his music. He was never someone I followed to any degree, for instance I don't know when his birthday is like I do Paul McCartney. I never thought about him as a great musician. I don't even think he sees himself that way. But really, to consider Bob Seger with any depth of interest is to miss the point. He played really good dance music during a period of time when I danced alot. So, as he played to the gray-headed and the bald, I was just happy to be in the audience. He played a few new songs, but really, he played for us, the many for whom his value is reminiscence, not current acclaim. And there were a bunch of us. Grown ups, NPR listeners, voters, homeowners, grandparents, come for a look back at our long drawn-out, collective adolescence.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I am so sick of this. I am so sick of having a human body. I guess the alternative is not to, so will press on. I am on the second course of antibiotics, this one with the complementary yeast infection. I am more fragile each year I live. I have done things, years of bad things, that have taken their toll. Exacted the price. Paying the piper. But generally, if I quit whining long enough to consider those in sincerely bad condition, I would feel bad for complaining.

I tore my kitchen apart yesterday. I took the bookshelf from upstairs and brought it downstairs, took all my jars of beansricenoodlesandseeds, cleaned them and arranged them nicely, one jar deep, on narrower shelves. I took the other bookshelf back upstairs the hard way. Alone. My goal, other than Martha-like organization, was visibility. I have a jar of tabouli, for instance, that I never think to use because it is hidden among the lentils. I love tabouli and may make some. Yes. I think I will. There was that era, back in the seventies, when mason jars of grain, stacked knee deep on fruit boxes, was the height of hippie organization. Well, I still have the boxes and the jars. Stuck in the 70s, that's me. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, baby.

So it is Saturday in the middle of a three day weekend. We are going to see Bob Seger tonight. Should be good. Should be a pretty gray crowd. I just want to hear "Turn the Page" and "Against the Wind." I love those songs. Drivin' music.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I drove to NW 23rd today and walked into and out of each of the shops that I was certain would have exactly what I wanted. They didn't. Not at all. There were fake sock monkeys (not made of cotton socks) and some nice things, but all in all, it was a bust. I will go upstairs and take a picture of my actual sock monkey for comparison. Or you can go online and see for yourself. Now that sock monkeys are a big freakin' craze, they've improved them. I demand authenticity. Well, most of the time. I got that sock monkey for Marky when he was barely born. He reminds me from time to time that it is his, after all, not mine. I won't give it up until I am certain he won't lose it. I traded salt-dough christmas ornaments I made for a Christmas bazar to get it. One of the women at the bazar was selling her homemade sock monkeys and we bartered. It was the in the days before money. The relative value of things has changed.

Well, without pictures, without poetry, there isn't much more to say. I am unable to describe my world.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I heard the chirping out my window this morning, a robin, I'm sure, as happy to be closer to spring as I am. I love spring. I want to plant more stuff, get my hands in the dirt and dig in. I am never as happy as early spring and the promise of light. I am an Oregonian, and while I can endure the long gray months without complaint, and the rain with acceptance of what it takes to be green, I am always as relieved at the first sign of spring as though it might never come again, as if the seasons might just change their order and start again at fall, skip the warming for this year.

I wasn't always like this: jubilant, hopeful, peering around each corner with gleeful anticipation. Nope. Used to be the sound of birds intruded into my long day into night into another day.... That sound, that sweet one finger melody, plucking away at the robin's vocal chords, would bring daylight crashing in, reminding me of a life I had lost sight of, of unmet responsibility, a child that had to be off to school, a job I had little ability to perform; a house that needed tending, dishes still in the sink, unused broom in the corner, dust rabbits -- not bunnies -- big fucking rabbits, lurking beneath things that hadn't been moved in years.

It was a long run.

I love birds.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

urban myth

I'm sure Portland has a bunch. The Rogue Valley has a couple: the Gold Hill Cemetery is haunted by a female ghost, and this: We were trying to figure out the name of a little hamburger joint in the Rogue Valley that was around 30 years ago. It was on Riverside and Edwards, and I can't remember the name. But I do remember the name of Dell's. Dell's Hamburgers made cheap, greasy little burgers with chopped lettuce and onions, mustard and dill pickles. The buns were shiny with grease. They used to be ten for a dollar, then 5, then 4, then 2 for a buck. The story, the urban myth, goes that the cook had a heart attack and died on the grill. I have no idea if it is true, but it could be.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to share that, but now that I'm gone from the valley, it concerns me that no body is going to tell the tales anymore. Nobody is going to care that the fat old lady who flipped burger at Dell's died doing it. I guess I imbue (is that a word?) myself with the abilty to immortalize via this verbal vehicle (alliteration ain't for sissies). How much wood would a wood chuck chuck? Or would I be imbuing them with immortality. Who cares? Not me.

We had a dance today on the unit. It was spontaneous, as things must be without benefit of memory. There was nothing going on so the girls put on some oldies and they just started groovin'. Since there are almost all women, and finally, women wihtout egos, they danced like women will when faced with a world without men: tapping their little white shoes to "Wait. Oh yes wait a minute Mr. Postman. Mr. Postman look and see oh yeah if there's a letter a letter for me e e" And when one of them, we'll call her Dolores, looked up and said, "Me too," it was so surprising to see her want to join in. She had a ball. We all had a ball. Egos be damned. I danced with them, three little women and me, dancing in a circle, Tiger Lil' with her head back, eyes closed, rockin' and rollin' hips remembering just what to do.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I bought new undies today, and pink pajama pants, and all in an effort to make me feel better. Nicole got her first job after filling out her first application. She needed shoes and stuff to start, so the shopping was on. I am still sick, although the wireless connection up here is better since moving the router a bit, and while that has little to do with wellness or illness, I am happier for it.

Here is my current list of distractions:
Harp practice
Reading mysteries
Meetings about what is wrong with me
Step children
Making a yo-yo quilt
Money and how to get rid of it quickly
Work, to keep the money rollin' in

See, writing isn't even on the list.

Writing. There. I listed it. The odd thing is that I don't feel as though my writing is alive unless I post it here. I used to be of the mind that writing had to be on yellow paper (see previous post), that anything not handwritten was simply absent the Hemmingway portent. And that may be true. But I like my blog. I like this venue. It has allowed me to let go, for the most part, the notion of editing (some of you will bemoan this aspect) but really, releasing the inner editor is exhilarating. Kill the fucker. He never lets me finish anything. He has the muse tied up in the closet, duct-taped to the vacuum cleaner that never gets used in the winter, and we may not hear from her until the weather changes. She's not even fighting it. I don't think she cares any more than I do.


Sick as I am, I practiced my harp this morning. It is very specific--harp practice: certain fingers on certain strings at certain times in certain orders in certain arrangements of wrist and knuckles. I got through my exercises. Now I only have to do them one more time today.

Haley wants to be a fire dancer. Last week it was the banjo and a washboard. She wants those flaming things for her birthday. I'm sure we'll find some for her. A girl's gotta work.

I dropped out of the writing group. Did I already say that? I did. I just simply said, "I'm dropping out." And I got a nice letter from the nice person who kind of organized it saying she wanted to stay in touch.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


No workie today. I am sitting on my sofa with Sid staring at me becasue if I am home and the sun is out, he must walk. The "W" word. We spell it or he is a pest. Truth is, it is winter and he doesn't get enough exercise chasing the ball in the kitchen. Poor Sid.

First harp lesson from Elizabeth. Very good. I hesitate to make snap judgements, (Ha!) but a better instructor, I think, than Jewel. Very descriptive of fingering style with good exercises and clear directions. But every teacher is different. I learned this about writing instructors: use a pencil and yellow legal pad only.... use the computer only for editing.... write only using an outline.... just let it fly, no outline if you are a real writer.... blah blah blah..... Jewel was the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-type, which I often prefer, but not with the harp. I want to learn it right, then break the rules. But you should see the harps. These harp teachers have a minimum of 6 harps each it seems. But Elizabeth's concert grand pedal harp is spectacular. I just hope I don't have to own one someday. It will be like my husbands bikes, boats and guitars. He is always on to the next one, always saying this is the last one I'll ever need.... but I know better. That concert grand harp is huge, and it is a pedal harp. Mine is a celtic harp, looser strung and easier to play. I was happy to learn that after buying it. So much I didn't know. And looser strung is always preferable, yes?

Maybe I will take some tylenol, bundle up and take Sid for a walk. He deserves it and I want a cup of K&F coffee to start my motor. How bad could it be? It couldn't be worse than daytime TV.