Saturday, March 28, 2009


She follows me around, pushes my hair out of my face, certain I am the other half of her, the part she has lost, her memory. She clings and frets and tidies up the place -- our place now -- tsk tsk tsking over the mess. She doesn't know what all those other people are doing here.

Each morning it is like this, as this new little chick imprints on the first kind face of the day and follows it until sleep breaks the spell and everything is new again and she must find, once again, all she has lost.

I have a note behind my desk posted on the file cabinet. It says, "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" Lula kept reading it, and finally, yesterday, she got it. She smiled and the words that came out were nonsense, but I could see it in her eyes. Kindred. And common ground appeared between us, fleeting and ethereal, disappearing as quickly as it had come. But in that single moment she knew who she was.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Okay. So we're going to Alaska instead of Maine. It is, first and foremost, remarkable to me that I have this dilemma. Maine? Alaska? Alaska? Maine? Oh the luxury problems of my perfect life.

At any rate, we've settled on Alaska because I love Alaska and have never seen the southern part and my husband can kill something there. We could probably get a lobster in Maine, but in Alaska, ther are fish. Big Alaskan king salmon and halibut. I will also fish and send them home in great frozen crates to a freezer that I am emptying out as fast as I can.

So he books us for this cabin slash charter boat thing, four nights, three days of fishing and there it is. Done deal. Then... drumroll....

Our sweet little cabin is across Cook Inlet from Mt. Redoubt. We can sit on our porch and watch


Now I'm as open minded as any neurotic, but don't you think its ever so slightly, just maybe a tiny bit, ABSURD to think: Oh, it probably won't blow while we're sitting in the boat in the shadow of the mountain. Chances are we'll get out alive. Here's the view from the porch>

I've voiced my concerns, and truth be told, the volcano is just kind of puffing away today. But I'm not as brave as I used to be.

Am I?

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I wish, and so should you, that I had a better memory. If I did, I'd remember to bring the camera with me when embarking on each new adventure. I've always used words to tell the tale, and I guess that's good, but I'd love to have been able to show you the steel grid canopy, the rusted pillars of the forest surrounding our new fishing spot beneath the Burnside Bridge.

Now, for the non-Portlanders, Burnside is known for derelicts and danger, the Mission district, Chinatown, places you don't go after dark unless you want some heroin, which I don't anymore so I don't go. Driving up Burnside in the early morning is a study in consequences. Later in the day, driving by on my way to one assesssment or another, it can look like freedom. Street people don't have much overhead, and when I'm buzzing by in my car payment and a five hundred dollar professional costume, it sometimes looks easier.

But I know better. I've lived on the roads.

Ah, digression.

The Eastside Esplanade is the brainchild of a former mayor, who took the east Willamette riverbank and turned it into a walkingbikingskating, and now, fishing, area that winds beneath the bridges, through homeless camps, up and over bridges and down the west bank through Waterfront Park. My husband has never fished it, but each time we go for a bike ride or a walk around the esplanade, he comments that he should try it. So he has for the past couple of weeks.

Turns out there is a sturgeon nursery under that water. Yesterday he caught four shakers (too young to keep, who shake the line, thus the name) and two adult fish, one too thin, one too short to keep. I guess pictures wouldn't matter so much here. You've seen one sturgeon, you've pretty much seen them all. See previous post.

I rode my bike five minutes down there, first ride of the season, and sat around for fish after fish. He threw away a skinny keeper, an act he is certain has changed his luck. I tried to tell him he makes his own luck by his words and thoughts, but he wasn't having it. He took me home, went back and stayed til dark in pennance for dissing the fishing gods.

It was a coldish day, standing under the bridge, industrial city-scape before us. I love Portland.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


This day always seems an appropriate nod to negativity or whatever it is I am once again or maybe for the first time attempting to outrun. I used to believe I was subject to the Hemingway curse, and now, even further, that my writing will lack substance if divorced from the beautiful beautiful darkness.

We'll see.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

and better still

I feel like I am emerging from a dark cave. This morning, when a woman asked me how I've been, I looked at her wide native face and couldn't lie. "I've been sick for a really long time and I'm not talking about it anymore." Its a process, this getting well. I self-identify as a sick person these days. If I look back, which I am prone to do, I've been sick off and on forever. But that is the view through these eyes right now. I, like most adults who do not always make great health choices, have long periods of wellness punctuated by episodes of unwellness. But after a string of episodes, coupled with/caused by an untenable situation at home (read: stepmothering), it can look pretty dim in the rearveiw mirror.

Kari says: Birkram yoga.
Gwen says: Get sugar out of the mix
Lorretta says: the Secret
Sharon says: come with me to Mexico.

I'm willing to try anything at this point. Anything but Birkram yoga. But room temperature yoga? Yes. I'd love to give myself yoga.

We drove out to Newberg last evening. I tell my honey I like to drive out there because it reminds me of the early days of our time together, when each of us was a mystery to the other, but the truth for both of us is that we go to see brother Martin.. We go to see if he's still there, still at 84, because he knows God. Now, I think I'd be like him if I had 16 hours a day to spend contemplating the shape of the sun. Truth be told, I don't know if I could ever be that undistractable. I admire people who are able to shut it down and meditate, but I think also, sometimes, that they are into self-abuse. Denial and suffering isn't the path for me.

But neither is the treadmill of illness.

So, its kind of crunch time in my world. My home is quiet, but I still live here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Alright. A bit lighter today. I finished the last of the poison I was forced to take or die, and as it clears my system, I am clearer and feel my feet on the ground. It would help that the sun is out if it wasn't so fucking cold. Will spring ever come?

Will it? I've always been willing to wait on the tiny green buds -- happy to see them, but still, willing to pass the winter with relative acceptance -- but this year, this year is different. It has been too cold, with too few false starts, too little warmth day in and day out and too much snow. With the blog, you could, if you cared, look back and see if I've bitched my way to the spring thaw, but I don't think I'm lying. I'd tell you if I were.

I have, as usual, enormous plans for my tiny yard. One, according to my honey, is further limiting the shit-space for Sid. He sees it that way. I see it otherwise: returning the front yard to its former shimmer. I can't stand dog-trodden grass, all piss-burnt and muddy. You get the picture. Ozarkian. So, I'm making a chickenwire fence to enclose the part that needs to heal, and sending the darling little dog to the middle of the yard, back behind the flower bed. That my husband would live in a mud hut as long as he could fish is one point of view. We live in a walking neighborhood and it matters. People look. 'nuff said. I will mend the yard. Sid will understand.

I am three days into seven days off. I had to take some time off to heal up: heal my heart and my head. I've always despised women who need to do self care, but here I am, caring for the self. So far it includes alot of sleeping, new vitamins and supplements, and quiet. I'd be off to the sanitarium were it not for liberal vacation policies.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

downtown sturgeon

Life in Portland has its upside. Perhaps not for this dead fish, but for my happy husband, who gets to stroll a few blocks, drop a line in the water under the Burnside bridge and bring home a dinosaur for dinner. Life on the river...

I went online to learn how to skin and filet the monster, and assisted in the process of removing armour, strip by strip and taking the irridescent flesh to the sink. Eating things that feed off the bottom of the Willamette? A bit scary.