Sunday, July 26, 2009


For those of you who have been so kind and supportive during this plague of a year, I am here to report that it isn't quite over. I know I know: think positive.

So there I was, thinking positive, accompanying my husband on a birthday ride down to Todai, the asian buffet, where he gets a free birthday dinner and I get to pay a fortune for mine. I was getting off the motorcycle, still thinking positive, and made the little hop I usually do when climbing off the back of the bike. I'd done the same thing just this morning. But something went wrong. I heard a tear and a snap, kind of a ripping sound accompanied by severe pain and screaming -- well, it was actually yelling and pissing my pants. Now, I love my new white pants which I should not have been motorcycle riding in anyway, and was more concerned with needing to rinse them out and what will people think? but my attention was quickly and brutally yanked from vanity to pain.

"Not good," I said. "This is very very bad." I think I kept saying this because my husband sort of kept looking at me. I suppose I was in shock. So, I asked him to get off the bike (the passenger always gets off first and then the driver) so I could throw my good leg around and get off the bike. I made it and off we gimped into Todai, my loving husband offering to walk something like quasimoto so I wouldn't feel alone. I couldn't eat, really. I finally know what it takes to make me lose my appetite. And they were out of vanilla soft serve and hardly had any creme brulee so whatever.

As we left, I had to take three flights of escalators down -- up hadn't been so bad -- and that was terrifying. I couldn't commit easily. The little stairs seemed to be going at mach speed and I had to choose one. Just one to put my one good leg on. And if I put my weight on the handrails, they'd jerk me forward. Jeez.

So, finally I made it down. I could see out on street level some homeless people begging on the street. One of them, I thought it was a young boy, had a cane. "Hey, let's knock over that kid and take his cane," I said, altruistically. When we got through the double doors, I saw it was a woman. She asked us for money. My husband said, "Let us use your cane to get across the street and I will." So Sharon Moore, aka "Little Mama" let me use her cane and her shoulder, which was about 4 feet high. She went on and on about helping each other and I couldn't disagree. She saved my ass tonight and he gave her some money.

So, I managed to get back on the motorcycle and made it home, off the bike, up the stairs and into my house where I am happy to be at last. I will find out what is wrong on wednesday when I see the orthopedist if I live that long. Think positive.

So, there you have it. The update from the sickroom. Although to be more precise, I am not sick. I feel terrific thanks to vitamin D, my knee is just really really painful right now. I know now what people mean when they say "I blew out my knee." That is exactly what it feels like.

Friday, July 24, 2009

brother, interrupted

My eldest brother told me that in the early days of television he and the next eldest brother would sit in front of this test pattern for hours waiting for programs to start. "Once the show came on, we were lost." All of my life I remember him watching TV, keeping it on for noise, for company. I remember complaining about how he kept it on all the time almost no matter what kind of crap was playing, sleeping through days and days of tv. I didn't know about the test pattern. I wasn't there yet.

I started out with three brothers. I was the first girl born after them, all in a row, and I'll admit, I wasn't much of a girl - that frilly stuff was left to my sister. I was a tomboy, my formative years spent in tree houses, walking along moss-lined ditches fishing for muskrats, jumping from haylofts and chasing errant cows that wandered into the endless field that was our backyard.

I admired my brothers, each one different: the architect, the vietnam vet and the fisherman. Only the fisherman remains.... A stroke nearly took him last year but he survived it. Most of him, anyway. He is/was/will always be a fisherman, a storyteller, a notorious drunk, a politico, a basket weaver and a painter.

He and his wife and the other artists from Port Orford have a show at the Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center in Eugene. We drove down to see the show last night.

When I crossed the entry to the gallery, he did not recognize me. This is the first time in my life that this has happened with a family member. I deal with this every day at work and just now it seems a curse that I know what it means, what is required of me now, that I introduce myself to my brother as though it was the most normal thing in the world. Now, he knew me, of course, once I got closer, but it was unnerving just the same, all the more for my experience. I sat down next to him, claiming my territory, my family. I wanted to wring the old stories out of him-- me the scribe, him the teller-- as though they were so many grains of sand slipping through my fingers. I wanted him to talk and talk and talk and regale us all with tales of the sea, of pulling out of Astoria in a fifty-foot steel-hulled boat in dense fog, radar beeping so wildly he thought it was broken, and when the fog lifted, finding himself surrounded with hundreds of small boats in the middle of some kind of regatta day, and the boats wouldn'tcouldn'tdidn't get out of his way. I wanted to hear the one about the last tuna trip of the season when he almost didn't make it back in. I wanted to hear stories of my father because he's the only one who knows these things now, he is the only one with the memories of my family. And he is beginning not so much to forget as to stop talking. He was so quiet. So so quiet. I have tried to write down as much as I could, as I can, but there is so much, and I am so much younger than him.

These moments of transition, of sinking awareness that we are all little more than that box of photographs at a yard sale who nobody knows, unkept memories, unrecorded history. I am torn between becoming a genealologist and knowing this didn't save my aunt from forgetting when I visited her and she walked me around her dining room that had not changed in fifty years and we looked at the pictures on the walls, her life's work, and she said, "I used to know these people."

In the punctuated equilibrium that is my life, seeing Doug not see me was a moment of some weight. These times come, and for a short time I am acutely aware of my mortality, of the passage of time, the transient nature of it all. My brother has settled with characteristic grace into his new incarnation largely due to his remarkable wife who seems to float through life without judgment or expectation. The heaviness of the moment will pass, and I will return to my day to day passage, forgetting that I, too, am temporary.

Life is good.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I don't know why I call them these silly names. But I called her Lulabelle to her face. She passed today at about noon. It was pretty calm and quiet and her sister came to sit with her. She called me her pet. She loved my husband and said she would steal him from me if she had the chance. He came by on his motorcycle once, at her request, and she was smitten. She referred to herself as a bigshot, a successful business woman who never married, never had children. She was tall, thin as a communion wafer, and she loved pills -- never had any trouble getting her to take her meds.

I say these things, tongue in cheek, but Lou was my friend. I'll miss her. I'll miss talking to her about work, about home, about her life and mine. She had lost her memory but not her mind. big difference.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

glory 602

I plant the flowers, he takes the pictures. This one is spectacular. Spent backyard time with a a &t. There's nothing like girlfriends.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Maybe I'll just start numbering them.

I am painting the honor table and looking forward to coffee with the a's tomorrow. two a's and a little t.

I really need to finish the table because the zuchinni is happening and we can't possibly eat it all. People walk by all day with comments such as, "Lovely harvest." Things like that. I'm from the country. People used to say stuff more like, "Whaddya gonna do with all that shit?" Farm lingo. Good ol' country folk. This urban gardening will have its own language, I'm sure. Everyone is thrilled that I will singlehandedly feed the homeless with six squash and two tomatoes and a few spiny cucumbers, but what can I tell them? I don't want people out in my yard, thus, the table. Isn't it pretty? It isn't quite done yet, but tomorrow...

Friday, July 17, 2009

600th post

Bluesky celebrates 600 posts since its inception in january of 2004. So, five and a half years, that's, let's see, about 110 posts per year on average.

What I can and do celebrate is doing something continuously, like keeping the same phone number or address. My 600th post is further evidence of stability, something I both seek and detest. I tolerate the absence of chaos like a skinless animal in hot sun. I know it is a nasty image, but this is how I'm feeling this morning. I see homeless people wandering my street and think they have it made. When I moved every six months or so-- no notice, outstanding bills-- life was so difficult, but I knew what to do. I knew how to do poverty with flourish. But this nice life? Ah, retrospection. Everything looks better in the rearview mirror. Remember those station wagons with the seat facing backward? I liked sitting there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

garden update

Yellow lily along the center of the house.
Squash and sunflowers
Green tomatoes
One fine pink lily, the photograph nearly as impressive as the flower.

Thought I'd post some midsummer pictures of the urban garden. We are dining from it each evening: squash and lettuce, jalapenos and peas. I made basil oil today by blanching the basil and drying it, then blending it with olive oil and freezing for use in soups and sauces. Yummy. I'm working on the honor table, as asha calls it. It will be a thing of beauty, strapped to the raywood ash tree in front of my house in the event someone doesn't fully grasp the concept of honor. Heaven knows it eludes me from time to time.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

alaskan food

Okay, so I've included a shot of The intersection of the Seward Highway and the road to Soldotna; downtown Homer; Kurt's dad on the boat; overlooking Cook Inlet; Kurt with the big(gest) fish; a Russian Orthodox church in Ninilchik.
So, with a freezer full of halibut and salmon, our choices are unlimited. Unafraid of failure, we take chances. He takes chances. Grilled halibut and salmon with currants and lemon pepper.

Wow. The halibut was amazing. The salmon was good, but the steak a bit too thick to cook properly on the grill. But the halibut, and veggies from our garden and brown rice..mmmmmmmmmmmmm. It was a very very good dinner. Rice and fish, fish and rice.

We eat well.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Why is it, on the hottest day of the year when my husband is in Alaska, the AC breaks down? Why? AC is entirely too important to me. I don't think I'll die of the heat like Sid almost did in the back of my car in southern oregon last week. Not really, but he was pretty hot and mad at me the rest of the way home. I thought I'd killed him, but turns out he had eated a bunch of dry grass when hanging out on the Applegate and it had failed to make it through the pipe and he finally puked it up two days later, a bale of straw on my living room rug. I'm saving it for Kurt, for when he gets back from Alaska with two halibut and a 48 lb king salmon. Whoopee!

It was my honest intention to stay home tomorrow, on the Fourth of July, to be cool. I hate being hot--me with the vitamin D deficiency. So, invited as most people are to various picnics and potlucks, now I don't know what to do. I guess I'll have to find coolness elsewhere.

So, I'm bring salad wherever I go because I have to use up my lettuce which is taking over everything, although I can't really figure out if the spinach is working out right or not. As I've mentioned, the spinach knows what to do. I picked my first two zuchinni today, and will use it in a marinara-based ragu of hot sausage, peppers, purple onion, italian green beans and my little zuchinni. I will bring left overs and salad wherever I go.

Because I am an urban gardener, I am going to set up a vegetable stand for people walking by. Colleen Russell, an old spiritual advisor of mine, used to have a can for money and an on-your-honor policy which I don't think would do as well here as it did in Talent, Oregon. But who's to say. I don't really care (theme) and will have an abundance of food, so am happy to contribute to the wellbeing of my neighbors and passers by. I will paint a small table in cheerful Mexican colors leftover from my garret and put out a can with a $? on it and see what happens. I don't picture it filling up.

I need to confess that yesterday I at two pounds of cherries and I feel like the church lady in The Witches of Eastwick. I may die.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

west east south and north

In that order. East to the coast, westward home, south to the Rogue Valley and North back home. Husband in Alaska, I am fending for myself. So far I have made coffee and eaten nothing, this first day back home.

I am working on an old manuscript for the bzillionth time and have nearly finished the first red ink go-through. Then a retyping of the whole thing. It has been sitting for six years, and I think I can be more objective for this revision. Its funny... when this thing was nearly published, I was so sure I was finished with it. Now, it feels so bland and immature. I'm so relieved it didn't go out in the current state. I couldn't see it for what it was -- couldn't see those [many] places where I had written well rather than told the story. I can do both, I am certain. An education in writing kills the gift if there is one -- at minimum buries it beneath cleverness and flattery in my case. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

So, if my blog seems thin these days, it is because I am actually writing. Imagine that.