Friday, September 28, 2007


I am working on a longer piece of writing for the first time in quite awhile. In the past I have been hamstrung by pre-publishing it here, so will not, but may use this space for something besides my running commentary on the mundane. It is a tenuous connection, a thread at best, and I follow it with trepidation and respect. I know it can disappear under the most unlikely circumstances, say happiness, maybe busy-ness, but I am not particularly happy right now, and thus the fertile ground for being somewhere else. I wish it were not so. And, as always, I don't really care. Whatever mystery unlocks my fingers and moves the pen, I'm for it.

Jane moved into the unit. Her eyes are big, like those bears or monkeys or whatever those little animals are that live in the rainforest and stare out from their vivid green perch. She is bent, and mobile, and pissed. In her chart, the place of all truth, she is characterized as paranoid, but she is also right. She's been caught being who she is. Captured. Snared by the uneven net of bureaucracy and locked away. Does she have Alzheimer's Disease? It doesn't seem so to me, and I think I know a little bit about that. She has lost command of language to some degree, but not of communication. Understanding her is much like playing a combination of the games Taboo and Charades, but she's good at it, and gets her point across. It only took me a few minutes yesterday to get that what she wanted was Famous Amos Lemon Cookies. Most people with Alzheimer's don't even know they like cookies until you put one in their mouth and their eyes get big and they go "mmmmm." Jane's eyes are always big.

Does she need somewhere safe to be? Yes. Should that place be locked? I'm not so sure. I think, from all I can figure, is that she is one of those odd little yard sale ladies who always has a perma-sale going in front of her trailer, with treasures only she understands, and a firm grasp of what things are worth.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

reality tv

Well, I'll admit it right here: I watch Survivor. I always have. There was a time when I tried not to for a season -- I think it was the second one -- but I did end up watching, and have since. It was the first reality TV, unless you count COPS, which I don't, and won't. Or Road Rules, which I also don't. But could. But don't, still. I like to think I'm old school about reality TV, but I just don't think its been around long enough to have qualifying material. We don't exactly unplug the phone, but we aren't happy when the phone rings Thursday nights between 8:00 and 9:00.

Survivor was always about regular looking people with fairly regular jobs thrown together somewhat randomly -- although we all know some casting went into it -- and sink or swim, they hung in together on the island. Now we have the silicone babes, the overtly gay mormon boy, the black grave-digger/underwear model, the anorexic blonde, an old guy named Chicken, a christian radio hostess, and some other people I can't remember, but nearly all chosen for looks or wierdness. Nothing regular.

Now we have a new season. This is the first time it has been a blatant wet t-shirt contest. There has almost always been a decent looking male and female, and somebody strutting around in their next-to-nothings, but not like this. I am notnotnot against breasts or nudity, but I think it detracts from an otherwise great contest if human behavior. I know I know you'll tell me how shallow I am, and you'd be right. But I like to be tricked, entertained. I liked the game. I prefer subtle.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

frank fishing

We (he) drove out to Cascade Locks to buy fish from Indians. We watched Frank bring in nets across the bow of his mossy, 16 foot fiberglass boat while his wife sold fish from the bank--a parking lot bank beside the locks on the Columbia. His boat had no windshield. I guess it would play hell with the net. Big nets. Nice fish. Cheap, for fresh fish. Once we got ours home it looked to have been bit by a seal, so we lost a little in the middle. It was a steelhead, to smoke. Most of it is now in brine, and we'll eat some tonight, cooked in coconut butter and lemon, with a blend of red, brown and wild rice and some fresh picked tomato salad. MMmmmmm. Its not salmon, but smoked steelhead is my favorite. I got all I could off the carcass to use for omelettes and chowder. It was their last day of fishing for the week. They get to fish when we whities don't.

I felt pretty white purchasing a fish from an indian. Its not like we got it for beads or anything, but still, it felt a bit city-fied and touristy. I was nearly compelled to explain to Frank's wife that, although we may at this point in our evolution be living in Portland, we are really just country folk, momentarily lost in the city. And while this is true, I don't know that explaining to an Indian that we are, in fact, rednecks from the Rogue Valley, would have improved our standing or offered any comfort or commonality. Race is so difficult for me. I am so white. I overcome it intellectually, but at no time was I unaware that I was dealing with an indian, and as such, wondered if he knew the fish had been bit and spoiled. Old wounds run deep. But at the bottom of it, we are both gypsies.

But what got me most of all was not the ingrained racism, which I think is a product of vision and history, but the way I see certain people: artists who make their living as artists, writers who make their living as writers, Indians who make their living as indians. It is a one-dimensional view at best, and I romanticize it like I do anything that is other than me.

So, you can imagine my dismay when she, the loyal and nameless wife of Frank, fish monger and authentic indian, pulled out a business card. And all of my assumptions, my romantic notions of what it means to be other, clattered to the asphalt, a feral breaking sound that in the end, made us more alike than not.

Now, my belly full of fish and rice, I am posting on my brand new computer with Windows Vista. I like it. I'd venture to say I love it. In my view, it is the first new version in a really long time that actually seems like an improvement. I'm sure there is a good reason why it is awful and I should hate it, but so far, the little notepad gadget on the desktop is my favorite. Remember, I'm the girl who bought a car once because it had a fan that moved from side to side automatically. I'm easy.

And cheap.

So, the coming of age procedure is behind me (ahem) and I'm all better. Just fine. Nothing was wrong. I'm glad to have all the major systems checked out. I know just enough to be dangerous, and that can be nerve-wracking.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

i'm back

Sorry for the delay. Technical difficulties.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I blogged for three and a half years without an audience. I just wanted a space to record stuff that would not be lost if my computer crashed, which it did from time to time back then.

Having some of you stop by from time to time is unnerving to me still, but I'm not against it. I never intended the blog to be a social thing, and I go through the human stuff about failure if there are no comments, but I'm not in therapy over it yet. I don't so much care what it looks like anymore, thus the canned template. For me, the jury isn't really in yet about linking to others. I just do what asha tells me to, as grand puppet master of blogland.

But the thing is, I write or I'm cranky. I'd like to say that where I write doesn't matter, but I have found, and blogged about my findings, that this venue is little more than a vent for good writing, is NOT real writing, and speaking for myself, certainly not my best. But just because it takes me hostage and requires time and attention like any other habit and I've had some, I cannot say it prevents me from writing. But it is true that I do not write, have not written anything of substance, since I started blogging.

And perhaps before.

Roy, I'd have posted this on your comment page, but didn't want to take up the room.

Monday, September 03, 2007

ride interrupted

We took the motorcycle out for a long spin today, out to Mt. Hood and around the base of the mountain and back around into Portland. We only fell over once, and that wasn't bad. I remembered from times gone by to mind the tailpipes when scrambling out from under a falling motorcycle. No scooter, this one. It's big, and heavy, and the next time we pass a yard sale down a steep gravel driveway, I'm thinking we'll take a different tack. It was a helluvan entrance though. Stop drop and roll. And the yard sale wasn't even all that great. But it was real. It was their own crap. No complaints from me.

Had breakfast at the Black Rabbit out in Troutdale, at the Poorfarm.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

truth in yardsaling

This post has been a long time coming. I am a dedicated yard saler. A "one man's junk" officianado. And here is a fairly comprehensive list of what annoys me:

1. Perma Sales. These are ongoing sales where they drag out the shit and leave it there, rain or shine, sheets of plywood on saw-horses covered with blue tarp and last fall's fallout. It is clear these people visit other yard sales, bring the crap home, reprice it, and this brings me to the next category...

2. Re-Sales. Often found in perma sales. People who have closed out an, oh, let's say, a christmas knick-knack store, and have all the twinky little shit nobody wanted anyway and the big thing is, they DO NOT sell it at yard sale prices.

Let's clear one thing up. Yard sale price: 25 cents. Period.

3. The ULTIMATE YARD SALE!!! When you finally find the place six miles later due to poorly placed signage, no parking and frantic traffic, you find three hot pink My Pretty Pony dolls with matted hair, melted christmas candles, a set of hot rollers and 8 track cassette tapes.

4. Antique Sales The price goes up. I take similar issue with Vintage or Retro. Anything plastic or avacado green or mandarin orange or chocolate brown is now retro.

5. Yard sales that are MILES from where you find the sign. Over the river and through the wood. Buy local.

6. Garbage Sales. Just like the name implies. They are trying to make enough money for garbage bags and a dump run.

7. Crack Sales. Scary. The people having the sales never make eye contact and cannot stop rearranging the tables. Do not come up behind them to ask a question. People come by in bad cars dropping off bicycles and firearms while you peruse the silk flower arrangements that keep changing.

8. TMI Sales. There is a balance somewhere between, "Hi, thanks for coming." and "Yes, the clothes belonged to my sister but she ran off with this guy who lived next door and I don't really have room to keep her stuff and her kids are in Louisiana now because we think the guy jumped bail." or, our favorite from the Vancouver area... while looking at a computer, my husband asks why there is an evidence tag on the case. "Oh," comes the reply. "We got the computer before we knew my dad was a pedophile. But he's in jail now. I think its okay."

9. Things people should not say at yard sales:

"It was sixty dollars new." Yeah. Well, thanks for the fascinating history report, but this is not JC Penney, and I'm not paying half price for the crap you'll be hauling to Goodwill at 5:05 today. 25 cents. Take it or leave it.

"I really hate to part with this." But you will. Say it with me: 25 cents.

"Yeah, it works great. Oh, wait. Hey, Honey, get me the..... " All together now: 25c

"Yeah, if you just fix the ____ it works great!"

"Its an antique."

"I was always going to fix, paint, etc."

"Oh. I guess it needs batteries."

10. Things people should not sell at yard sales:

Photographs. I've dedicated entire blog entries to this practice. It is like selling the souls of your ancestors to strangers.

Underwear. Need I say more?

Items made of wax.

Canned food.

Eighties chrome-framed disco art, specifically pink and grey calla lilies.

Broken shit (see above).