Sunday, March 23, 2008


Went for a walk down our street yesterday. It was a beautiful day. My husband is a garbage hound and is always snooping throught the free shit that lines the inner SE Portland streets.
"There's money in this one!" he exclaims.
"That's not real money," I said, looking over the edge of the trash can and into a cardboard box.
But it was.
"It is!" I shouted, master of the obvious. "That's the real deal."
He reached for it.
"Don't!!" I yelled. "It's wrapped around dog shit."
And it was. Dog poop wrapped in money. That's our neighborhood. Just three blocks from Obama-Central. White paradise. Where we have such abundance we clean up the shit from our 600.00 pure bred dogs with cash money.
I won't bore you with my reminiscence of all the times I searched for quarters deep in the sofa, risking life and limb and hypodermic needles, to do a load of laundry.

Ah... those were the days.

Then, we went for a drive up the Washougal River to Dougan Falls and Naked Falls. Wow. Great slabs of sandstone with rushing green water pouring over them. The sun was out for a rare weekend appearance, but I had a stomach ache and threw up on the way home. Stress. I'm looking for a new job.

Now, it is Easter Sunday.

We, after much debate, attended a baptism for one of the grandchildren at a Lutheran church in Cornelius. It was a small congregation in a small town in a newish church with bad stained glass. I love good stained glass and would convert to Catholicism were it not for the glass ceiling.

So there we were, in the front pews against my better judgment. The pastor called Jacob and his (duelling) parents and the custodial grandparents, up to the bapitsmal, and asked him point blank: Do you want to dedicate your life to Jesus?

"After I get the eggs," Jacob replied.

He has his priorities, that boy. Eventually, of course, they had their way with him and dumped water on his head and made the mark of the cross on his forehead with something holy. It was a bit primitive, really. The familiar rituals of my childhood conducted in the light of adulthood. It all seemed held together with tape and white glue -- faith a thing that evaporates with time.

I hadn't been in a church on Sunday in a long time, and never in a Lutheran church. It was alright. A bit lackluster, much like described ad nauseum on A Prairie Home Companion. You really can't picture them dancing much.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

yard sales and scrap heaps

Heading out to accumulate more shit. I have a placque behind my desk that says, "You can't have everything, where would you put it?" And still I try.

Today I hope to sort through a pile of picture frames and frame some photos of our collective children and make a family wall of sorts. Was a time when I hoarded frames, bought them at yard sales and fretted over which ones were best and which pictures to put in each frame. I spent days sorting and changing and polishing the glass and tacking the frames together, antique and flimsy, to make a home. Now, I have this pile of frames and glass and photographs and very few family photos on the wall.

There are many many many to sort through. Last weekend I completed a scrapbook for Pieper, my neice, and now on to this.... it is the year of scraps for me. Fragments. Remnants. Tying up loose ends. Now, with all of the family photos, it makes less sense to frame and hang them as it does to find yet another couple of photo albums and get the photos preserved, framing only a very few for the wall.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I awake to the sound of birds in the laurel outside my window, the lilac still bare but hopeful, the refuse of autumn cluttering the waking soil.

I am skipping school today. Calling in sick. Nothing makes me feel better than not doing what I am supposed to do. Rebel with a clause. I feel like crap right now and am hoping the eventual call in will help with that. I skipped a meeting last night and now this... what will the future hold?

It is supposed to be a beautiful day today. Once again my husband planted grass seed in the back yard. Last year, if you'll recall, we used sod. It failed after a couple of months. I think because he cuts it too short and because our back yard is shady and you can't purchase shady sod. It died rather dramatically. Suddenly, long about october, there wasn't a blade of green to be seen. This time we hit all the elements: dug deep, added lime to the soil, used lots of shade mix seed, tamped it down gently, sprinkled a thin layer of mulch on top, watered daily, and now we wait... but we have been waiting now for three weeks. I'm accustomed to grass that springs up after 8-9 days, but not this stuff. Yesterday, finally finally, we began to see tiny little green hairs here and there. I say we, but it's all HE.

Everybody has an opinion about growing grass if you bring it up. You should do this, never do that, only use this seed, never start before May, blah, blah, blah. I think seed grows if you water it, pretty much. There seems to be some wisdom about not cutting it too short, only one-third of the blade is to be cut, and I can't be sure about the mower and uneven lawn, but generally leaving it longer is better. The lazy person's method of cutting it shorter and less frequently is probably why so many of my lawns have failed.

Well, that's your gardening lesson for today, one of the first really nice days of the year. I am holding my breath for spring and the Canby Master Gardener's Fair. I don't know if I'll be able to wait that long. I do want to see what all comes back before I start jamming new stuff on top of sleeping plants. I really can't wait for my poppies. I'll be out in the yard today to see what is pushing back through the soil for another run at life on the upside. I'll move aside dead leaves and clean up the decay of another year spent in hiding. In so many ways.

I made the call. I am free. Ah, worklessness. Hooray. I should be unemployed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

fake money

Louisa is probably a millionnaire. She looks like one. Even at 96 she holds herself in that post-debutante manner that just drips with having.

I have enough now, but add up the years... and I have rarely known enough. Eventually the balance will come... those days of enough balancing with the many years of lack. For now, I notice the differences.

So even though she is well down the rabbit hole, well into the bermuda triangle that is dementia, she likes to carry money. She will also wipe her butt with it in a moment of inattention, so it is a casualty of the realm that I ask and I ask and I ask families please please do not give your crazy little mama daddy auntie any cash.

But they do.

And here are the girls, working for not enough, never enough to still the craving mouths of the many little baby birds at home, having to discover the money and make that critical decision not to keep it. Not. to. keep. it. I understand the depth of their decision. And when one of them leaves the cash in a little envelope on my desk and waits for me to find it and open it and get rid of it so the temptation can be gone because until we both know it is there, nobody knows it is there. Not really. And there is a star in heaven for Jessica tonight.

I went to the dollar store and bought some play money for Louisa. But that wasn't good enough. Her nephew found it, threw it away, and gave her the real thing.

When we found it on the floor I soooooooooooooooo wanted to give it to Jessica.