Saturday, June 27, 2009


Depot Bay
The dock at Waldport and row of seagulls

We camp, therefore we are.

The evolution of my camping experience, like other parts of my life, has much to do with poverty. I have camped-out on porches--screened and unscreened, beside railroad tracks, next to rivers, lakes, oceans (ocean. one.) I have camped-out alongside creeks in many areas of Oregon while on the run from one bad act or another. This was not actual camping. This was avoiding responsibility, adulthood and inevitable consequences.
Growing up, my father dropped us off for the summer at McKee Bridge park and would visit each weekend and we camped the summer away in 110 degree Southern Oregon weather, renting painted orange innertubes that I was allergic to, but floated on anyway, covered with the beachtowel of the season, trying to keep my rash at bay. I learned to swim there, at McKee Bridge, when my schizophrenic uncle threw me out in the middle of the river thinking I knew how. I didn't know then that this would mimic my life to come. Was I afraid? I was. Did it stop me? It did not. I was neither brave nor courageous. I simply didn't die, and this has been my barometer. Set your standards low, I say. Nobody dies, its a good day.

So, the first legitimate camping had to wait until I had a job, because it isn't really camping unless you are on vacation, right? I mean, otherwise its just being homeless. Am I wrong? So when I was finally gainfully employed long enough to be paid to not be there for a week, I went camping. I knew nothing else. Its what you do. Its what we did, therefore.... So all I had was a car with a plywood backseat (see previous posts) and we had to camp in that. I don't remember the first year I actually had a tent, but I couldn't stand up in it, I know that. I cooked over an open fire using pots and pans from home and spent hours scrubbing the black off them when I got home.

The next evolution was the coleman stove. I never did like the pump up stove. I've never liked or trusted white gas. I knew too many hippies who didn't get it, who would blow up the camp and never be able to boil water on the damned things. Having learned early how to build a good fire and stack rocks to level the grill, I pretty much cooked that way, even when we had a coleman stove. Besides, wood was free and I could afford matches.
Next came a tent I could stand up in. Still, the bed was on the floor and year by year, getting up in the morning became progressively more difficult. From there: marriage and the combining of assets. Now, we have every conceiveable real-camping item: good tent, camper shell on back of truck for the bed, a small folding kitchen stand, folding tables, permanent camping-only pots and pans -- you know, the blue spatterware, and a two-burner propane stove. This year, a Mr. Heater was added to the mix. This little gem is a stand alone propane burner that blows hot air in under the pop up gazebo with a net enclosure. Did I mention the pop-up gazebo or the trailer we have to rent to haul all the shit? Ah, camping. The simple life. Back to nature. Turns out the only thing that got trapped in the net enclosure was me. With the bugs.

So there we were, in Beverly Beach, more of a Californian campground than I am accustomed to. Very organized. A nice campsite right on the ocean, and because it is right on the ocean, it is also right on 101. I didn't care (theme of blog). In fact, as I made the long trek to the bathrooms each morning (and hourly thereafter) and watched the little old ladies strolled by as I stood at my little camp kitchen doing dishes outside, I began looking at the smaller travel trailers, envy in my heart. Unfortunately, we don't have room to park anything permanent.

I've figured it out, the transition from tent camping to rolling home. It isn't only increasing financial capacity, it is physiological: as the female bladder gives way, the need for a self-contained camping unit increases. Men? They will piss on trees as long as they can walk upright, but women? We are condemned to the long walk -- the long cold rainy walk at five in the morning.
I'm thinking: rentals.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Daytrippers, that's us. We (he) drove up yesterday morning and had a ridiculously expensive and so-so lunch at the Crabpot, but it is what I wanted to do, so I did it. They bring a huge pot of boiled seafood, red potato and corn and dump it on butcher paper and give you a crab fork and a mallot and off you go. Barbaric.

My husband said next time, we'll walk over to Clay's and have them dump my salmon platter right on the table. That way, we'll save money and gas and the food will be better. But they did give us a huge piece of mud pie for my birthday.

Then, we walked straight up the five flights of stairs without stopping to Pike's Place and after I was hospitalized for cardiac pain (no, not really, but I did begin to get a sense of the "elephant sitting on your chest" that you hear so much about) we strolled on down to the market and looked around.
The guy driving the rainbow school bus was allegedly out to save souls, ranting about how you marry some person you don't even know and you go to church on Sunday and you still don't know anything about that person and how he just wanted "someone who's 100%." So, truthfully, I'm not sure he wasn't just going to extreme lengths to find a date.
The peppers were gorgeous, and paper cones full of sweetpeas and flowers and flowers and thousands of people crushing through narrow markets of perfect produce. We would have taken the ferry to Vashon Island like we did on vacation, but Sid was home alone.

It was a beautiful day in Seattle. See?

Friday, June 12, 2009

not sick

A blogger outage on my birthday??? Arrgghh.

Well, I'm not sick. I guess that's the good news. I haven't felt sick for two or three weeks now. I can hardly remember being sick, although I called asia and when I told her I wasn't working today, her first question was, "You're not sick again are you?" A reasonable assumption. Long freaking winterspring.

Nope, I'm fine. My garden is growing, I'm out supporting the economy for all I'm worth which is more than it used to be, and all is well with the world. I say these things when I'm not working. I was listening to some guy on NPR talking about how much he hated working and he's an actor making 35K a week for a sitcom and two lines and he doesnt' wanna. Doesn't, like me, wanna do anything. She asked him (Terri Gross. I can't stand her interview style. Gross.) Anyway, she asks him, "What is it then you'd rather be doing? Sitting home all day watching TV?" And his answer was, "No. I just would rather shoot heroin." Now this is a guy I understand. If there was only enough.

Anyway, not to wax darkly, but it WAS something to do on a sunny windy rainy snowy day.

So, the sun is sort of out. It is my birthweek and I want to go to Seattle for my birthday dinner. I want to go the the crabpot where they just dump out a bunch of boiled seafood on butcher paper and hand you a bib. Cave style.

Then, time for camping. We will start out at the coast and depending on the weather, move camp as desired. We pretty much have it down to a science. I own everything camping related. Today I bought a screen liner for our QuikShade. We can keep the bugs out ala West Nile. Swine, Westnile, Birdflu. Jeez. Its a dangerous world, and that isn't even talking about the maniacs. But given recent trends, the age group that should live in mortal fear is the fetal to seven range.

That was bad.

Well, Lula broke another hip. That's two. That's it. Still she wants to get up and go. You can't keep her still, but I will try. One more time.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


My husband caught a catfish out of the Willamette and we had it for dinner.

There. That seems like a complete post. Bring on the digestive advice. I'll be sitting here glowing in the dark. It is a tiny bit scary, but damn good eatin'.

I only get one day off this weekend. This makes me cranky.