Wednesday, April 29, 2009

random universe

So there I was, having breakfast at Francis Xavier in Gresham with a group of professional women. In the entry they always have paintings by local artists. Today, there was a 6x6 foot painting of an old man's face. At first glance, I thought it might be Jerry Garcia only with all white hair, but looking closer I thought, hey! That looks like my old buddy Warren. I looked down at the title and it read: Warren Goines.

I didn't know what to say to my colleagues. It was a little too random for strangers, and really, how do you explain that the madman on the wall is an old acquaintence, really he is. They think I'm crazy enough as it is.

Rosi Oldenburg was the artist. I called her. If you want to see it, Francis Xavier is at the corner of 181st and Halsey in Portland/Gresham. I guess she's taking him to Ashland for the fourth of July if you want to see him there.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

clamfest 09

Kurt and Sid walk down the beach in search of the elusive Razor Clam.

After a long day of clamming we went out to a crappy Italian dinner with bad service and small portions. A Taste of Tuscany is right. Then, out to see Sunshine Cleaning. I didn't figure Seaside for a large moviegoing community, but we actually had the entire theatre to ourselves. I could speak out loud and we danced through the credits to "Spirit in the Sky" by somebody from Portland, I forget who.

A walk around the promenade, the dead town, overbuilt for the money times, seemed to hold its breath in dread of a bleak summer season, hoodlums on streetcorners, waiting for opportunity instead of inspiration.
This is the morning rush of clammers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Fabulous Sea Captain Art in our motel room.
We are in Seaside, catching clams and celebrating five years of marriage. Five years. I am so proud of us. We have beat the odds, sticking together through the learning curve and now, settling into a comfy groove. I'm sure there is much more to come. I was talking to the wife of one of my patients and when I told her of our anniversary, she said to her husband, "They don't even know what its about yet." And I'm sure she's right. She's been married 63 years. All I know is that I married the right guy after all those many years.

We are moving a bit slower this morning after an evening of harvesting 30 clams and cleaning them one by one. My knees feel like I imagine an eighty year old's feels. Sid is even injured by unlimited exercise. Unlike me, he doesn't know when to stop. Kurt says he has the heart of a hummingbird and will burn himself out early.

Later same morning: my hands are raw from digging barehanded in freezing surf, wind whipping my hoodie ties in my face. I skillfully captured my limit and headed up to the motel which overlooks the beach and the parking lot of mad clammers. They began arriving at 5:30 this morning. I know this because we were up, as usual. Guys in camo, which begs the question: who are they hiding from?

75 clams, 8:00 am

We have cleaned 75 freakin' clams between yesterday and today, and Kurt is cleaning ten more. We took more than our fair share. Everyone does. Does that make it right? No, but you can come over for clam chowder any time.

This evening, Saturday, we went down for more, but it was raining and nasty and there was a mentally ill guy following us around with a turquoise PVC clam gun, kicking over the plugs of sand pulled with great effort by me not by him. It was irritating because I am not at work and I believe I do my time with crazy people all week. Poor me.

So, we did laundry at the laundramat which was predictably reminiscent of days gone by at many other laundramats in Ruch and Central Point and Coosbay and Red Bluff and Jacksonville next to the Jubilee Club which always made for a confusing folding stage because by then I was usually hammered. And the machines used to cost a dime. But at least I finally washed my double-sized Coleman sleeping bag even if it did cost five bucks.

And, we took a drive down to Wheeler where I would happily live out my life staring out over the marshland.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Full sun all day at long, long last. We rode bikes up to Hawthorne to get coffee and a paper, then home to plant more stuff, a quick nap, and now, coasting into the afternoon. Ah, Sunday blessed Sunday. No wonder God wanted it all to himself.

Yesterday I was looking for my cell phone--not very hard because I hate my cell phone, but found that I feel pretty disconnected without it. I couldn't find it anywhere and when I called, it went straight to voice mail--a very bad sign. I was almost anxious while driving to asia's baby shower. I mean, what if something bad or unforseen happened and I needed help? I couldn't, for example, speak to another human being and request their assistance, right? I couldn't walk up to someone's front door and knock, unannounced, and say, "May I please use your phone? I seem to be in a jam." They would never let me in the house because I could be a stalker lunatic ax murderer child eater. I could be. However, I managed to get through the day without incident and decided several times that I don't need a cell phone, but by the time I left the shower (which was nice and the food was most excellent and I won baby gift bingo --who made that pizza?) I knew it would be ludicrous to live without one. Its like a car, once you have one, there's just no going back. I had to find my phone.

When I arrived at home, I was drawn to the back yard and my many as-yet-unplanted-plants, and there it was, not quite floating in about an inch of water in one of the starter boxes. I vaguely remembered tucking it in among the plants as I carried tray after tray from the car to the house the day before. Needless to say (and yet I say it) it was not only dead, but dissolving--the batterly leaking blue shit like fly guts, tiny metal parts decomposing in my hand. So that was that. I decided to truck on up to the AT&T store which is never closed and buy me a new red phone. My own hotline.

Now, you could find the search bar and type in "one good line" and find the story of how I acquired the present/previous phone. Its pretty funny. Anyway, I arrived at the store and there were probably ten unoccupied employees glomming onto me for my business.

Recall that I am very easy to sell things to. First of all, I like to spend money, have some to spare, and don't care all that much about anything. So, the guy didn't have to work nearly as hard as he did. Even so, it started out badly.

He says, "Oh, I see you're not an authorized user on this account."
"Yes I am," I countered.
"Actually you're not," he returned, smiling.
" too." I hate it when they say "actually" as though I am not living in reality. Pshaw.
Smiling still, indulging my obvious sense of entitlement which is rooted in years of history, he said, "You're just a user. The laws have changed. Now you have to be an authorized user. And you're not."

I'm just a user. Right.

"So call my husband," I suggested, ever so succinctly.
"He has to call 611 from his cell phone himself," he said.
"Well," I began, "Funny thing is, I don't seem to have a phone right now which is pretty much why I'm here so why don't you go ahead and call my fucking husband please. That way, He'll know he has to call 611 to authorize me. Otherwise, I'd have to drive out to Sauvie Island where he is salmon fishing, and that would delay this pending deal indefinitely. You do work on commission, right?"

I didn't really say fuck.

So, I bought a phone and an ear thing, which is called a blue tooth although I can't imagine why. It looks nothing like a tooth, but comes with its own little sticky pieces of wallpaper and I can customize it with leopard or splatted paint or six other slick little things that will roll up and fall in my ear when they get old. Why someone would need to customize something half an inch wide and an inch long, I don't know. I also don't know how to use one, and I'm sure if you know how, it makes talking on a cell phone while driving ever so much safer. But for me, the techno-impaired, its just one more fucking thing. But the phone has a HUGE display when you're dialing which was a quick sell for this blind woman. If I can see it, I'll take it. I don't care how tiny and sexy a cell phone is if I can't see shit.

Time for a motorcycle ride.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Sun is up early, which, in Portland, usually waits until noonish. Like lazy garage-sailors, they don't really get going until around ten. So an 8:00 showing is impressive, bodes well for the day. I will drop smoked salmon off for a potluck, off to a baby shower, then back to my garden for an evening at home and hopefully fresh salmon for dinner.

Husband tried to hang, to do the potluck-as-a-couple thing, but the call of the wild loon is strong in him, and he had to hit the beach one more time before fishing on the Columbia is over for this spring season. It will open again, later, but the run has been good for him -- 3 Chinook so far-- and he wants two more to equal his record in a spring season. I just want dinner.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Spring is here. You can see it from out my front door. The orange runucculus is so beautiful. I'll try to get a picture of it loaded just for you. The camelia tree hangs heavy with flat pink blooms that will carpet the narrow sidewalk and be smashed into slick mush within a week. If I rake the petals daily, this won't happen, but you'll have to remember that maintenance never was my strong suit. Planting? Absolutely. I'm a great starter.

So far I've planted:
burgundy sunflowers
morning glory
yellow clover
crystal palace lobelia
a red shamrock-looking plant
creeping charlie
small cascading petunia
25 fuschia
lemon cucumber
yellow crookneck squash

...and my yard is tiny. I'm claiming eminent domain and taking over the sidewalk. No one will care, so long as a stroller and a wagon can pass in front of my house.

I am feeling better today. I have learned to value the days that I feel strong and healthy, and today was one.

The sun is streaming through the bay window, green and gold through the rhody, the sky beyond it bruised and brooding. Maybe it has rained for the last time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

posies for msb

I'm not much good at placing the photographs yet. I guess you'll have to just enjoy the pictures and try to follow the bouncing ball. Barb, these are for you.

There is nothing like the center of a poppy. When I was growing up, after my father died we lived with my Grandmother and my Uncle Alan. He was off by a few degrees and took great pleasure in his poppies. I was always fascinated by the circus-tent centers, knowing nothing of heroin at the time. Tissue blossoms of deep red, half of our front yard was knee deep in them. He'd stand out in the yard every evening, the hose spraying a fine mist, and he'd rock back and forth, back and forth, for an hour at a time. I admired his ability to be still.
When I found pink poppies, I was instantly charmed. I'm not usually a fan of pink, but this shade is perfect.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

springtime in the northland

I couldn't wait. Sue me. Last week it was fuschia saturday at Freddy's and I got 24 fuschias for six pots. Then, I toured the beds around my unloved yard, determined to fill all of the empty spots for a riot of spring color. I bought
Trailing Lobelia
blue Columbine
Day lilies
yellow clover
two kinds of trailing purple stuff
and there are still places for tons of stuff.

Sick or not, I planted. Last year I held my breath waiting for the Canby Master Gardner's Faire and ended up disappointed. Anything called a "Faire" is usually overrated. But they do have some fun stuff, and I'll go again, dragging my husband along for the heavy lifting, but I'm mostly looking for an Azalea for the front yard. I spent some time cutting back ferns in the rose beds. I think they do best with a good haircut just as the new fronds are unfurling their fuzzy little coils. I broke off two lilies I didnt' see. I need permanent markers for those guys, little sticks reminding me that something is being born again, just beneath the autumn detrius. They are so fragile.

Speaking of fragile... I am so fucking sick. I'm nearly through the zpack and still ill. Still very ill. Still as ill as I've been in months, and for those of you who follow this bouncing ball, I've been damn sick.

I tried visualizing wellness and abundance and all that, and I haven't abandoned the hope that positive thought has a role, but damn. I'm exhausted.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. We are staying home because I am sick. I don't get to see my son because I am sick. I miss Easter Baskets and hiding the eggs and always having one that never gets found until the heat of summer gives it away.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Like everyone else, I am happy to see the sun --happy to put my sunglasses on to drive, happy to press nasturtium seeds into the soil with my bare hands, happy to barbeque pork chops on the deck. It is Sunday, after all.

Sunday, which by rights, should be a lazy day at home. But I worked today. I was the manager of the day or MOD, a corporate decision that we should take turns hanging around on weekends to make sure everybody is in uniform instead of the weekend comefuckme clothes. So, I earned my keep. And now, my viable public, you have proof that I am capable of taking turns. And they said it couldn't be done.............. I am just happy to have a job. I've done worse things for money, you know.

But I do remember when the only control I had in my small life was not wearing the fucking uniform. It was all I could do about anything.

And my life is still small, but I live comfortably in it. Its all one uniform or another. I told them I'd love to wear a uniform just so I wouldn't have to shop for thousands of dollars worth of shit and still have nothing to wear.

Be careful what you ask for.

I've been connecting with folks on Facebook. I had to, and there are alot of people there, but the threads confuse me. I'm not sure where I am in it, or who can see it. I think I like email better, and blogging the best. There's none of that pesky back and forth. Just me blabbering away. What is the sound of one hand typing? I'm just not clever enough to keep up.

I've decided not to tell anyone I have a cold. I am into visualizing perfect health and may be just the teensiest bit nearsighted. I am dripping on the keyboards, coughing, running a fever of 101 and there it is: the negative. I live in perfect health I live in perfect health I live in perfect health.