Monday, April 26, 2010

duffy makes the front page

The first LazyDogCrazyDog Newsletter! Duffy makes the front page!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

one fish two fish

The first bite was mine -- utterly unexpected, and the squeal that followed (my brother Marc always referred to it as my Hollywood Scream) was heard across the Willamette. Alas, it was a native and we set her free after what looks to me like a significant amount of suffering. No blood-letting, but still, if you set a hook in my lip and drug me upstream against my will, well, I'm just sayin'.

So, some sunny hours later, we are back home with two fresh salmon and a sunburn. Three in a weekend. Hooray. I do like to fish.

Friday night we had dinner with Vali, my cousin who I met via (see previous posts) at her house. For all of my uncle/her father's idiosyncracies, her small family remained much more intact than mine did. Growing up, I have some memories of my uncle -- mostly that he was a good artist and an activist and Communist when it wasn't cool to be one. I remember his house over on Cleveland in NE Portland, a big craftsman place with a deep front porch. Inside was a fireplace and over the mantle was a painting of a young boy and girl, the boy holding mistletoe, about to kiss the girl, who looked not exactly thrilled about it. Vali had this painting. On another wall (in my memory) was a painting of a woman. Now, I know it was probably something like a hooker, with a streetlamp and signpost, a long narrow painting. Vali didn't have that one, but she had one of a blonde woman in a low cut green dress, a young man in the corner, the woman looking like she was just out of bed, the man just leaving the room. In my memory -- that of a nine year old -- the paintings were photographically real. Now, they are not so perfect. But seeing them, proof that my childhood did happen, was moving. Then, she showed me one of my uncle's notebooks. It is remarkable to me that this man I did not hardly know -- and this is one of my few regrets -- (reading along, you might think I would have many regrets, but I don't, not really, but I do endeavor not to create any as I go...) may have been not only kin, but kindred.

Anyway, during my undergraduate studies, Sociology was my major and Marxism my favorite flavor. That my uncle was a Marxist (not a communist it turns out, big difference) is stunning. I wish I'd known him. I think we would have had alot to talk about.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I am playing hookie. or hooky. whichever. I am actually staying home because my nerve bed or something is squishing out between C-5 and C-6 and my arm is numb and my face is becoming number and my brain oh my poor good brain is mush now. I am going to have a shot in my spine and it will get better I just know it. It has to. I can't ride my bike or shrug, and with my indefensibly poor attitude, shrugging is required. The primal shrug. mmm.

So I am home with the doggies, watching daytime TV and not eating bon bons. There will be a self-care end of this whole freakin' breakdown, wherein I will do what I am told, what I have been told to do for eons, and I will build myself back to my former glory. Which, truth be told, wasn't exactly glorious, but it was okay. I had moments. At least I wasn't in constant writhing pain. Now, I can't get away from it.

So I sew, and I plant little flowers and I do what I can. I made a sock monkey for Thea, the daughter of my friend asia who is the daughter of my friend asha; a trifecta of fabulous women. It is a blue sock monkey with wild eyes and a yamakuh (which is definitely not spelled that way) instead of a hat, so a blue jewish sock monkey with a long long tail. My first original. But it was a real blue sock, not nylon, not anything else. I think, now that I know how to make sock monkeys, that i'll find some great socks at sock dreams and make something new and different. It took awhile to make, and I wish I'd taken a picture, but maybe her mother will. Sitting and sewing by hand is so relaxing.

Duffy is now attending kindergarten three days a week at lazydogcrazydog in Montavilla. He loves it there and the prices are manageable. It is operated by two gentle dreadlocked folks who Duffy seems to like and he has friends there, one is an older scotty female -- too old for Duffy if you ask me -- but if she can put up with him, I won't stand in their way. He gets his nails done there and everything. Isn't that ridiculous? He was eating the decorative baskets and the moulding around the floor at work, not to mention the table and chair legs that no one has really noticed so far.

If you were to stand way back, like fifty years -- or maybe forty -- and predict what my life would be like, you would not have guessed that I would be a nice lady with a little white dog and a little white car and a husband and a garden and a cleanish house on a pretty street.

I'm telling you, you wouldn't have.

So.... work is still work. We made grudges the other day. I thought that since the theme of the week was "forgive and forget" that we could make ugly stuffed things, call them grudges and hold them. I'll post a picture one day. I promise.

Friday, April 09, 2010


All of my adult life, which began in earnest at about forty or so, I have been plagued by mail. It comes, every day, unsolicited piles of it, each piece demanding my time and attention, neither of which I have to spare. Avoidance, however, is more time consuming, mentally and physically, shifting uneven piles of shit from one place to the next, purchasing yet another plastic box to store it in until I have time to deal with it. The illusion of organization, always just out of reach.

Now, "dealing with it" just isn't that hard. I know this. I know I know I know. All I would have to do is to hold each piece in my hand, identify it, open it, scan the contents, and ususally, toss it. but do I do this? I do not. I wait months, years even, to go through boxes and bags marked "later" and "even later than that."

I'm exaggerating, as usual.

But I used to. I used to have mail bags big as the Pony Express. Great heaving sacks of unopened mail: bills, notices, refunds, advertising... you know. At one point I asked my old friend Vivian to sit with me while I opened all of it I was so scared of what I might find. There were bills, of course, but I remember one check for 85 bucks that I really needed, a refund from the electric company of all places. But the thing about the electric company is that if you don't open their bills, they'll just eventually come to your door and bring it to you in person. That was a pretty long time ago, but it was, for me, disincentive to open my mail. Or pay my bill for that matter, but that's another story for another time.

I have always been good about reading letters. And writing them. I love letters. I like email okay, but really, I miss 13 page letters from Lorretta on scraps of paper and beautiful stationery. It was kind of like a competition to see who could find the most interesting paper. I was a good letter-writer. So was Joyce, my sister in law. We wrote piles of letters back and forth rather than picking up the phone. Now, all I get is an email from time to time. And the rare phone call.

What's the point? I do have one. I just plowed through a pile of mail and it was all just crap, and I'd been avoiding it for two years, just moving it here and there, dedicating a drawer to it, a nice wooden box. But I couldn't just throw it away. I had to do my time, give it its due. Because in my piles, there are bits of writing, some of it good; there were 100 dollar bills with GW Bush's face on them, and old photographs of my neice's kids, and a great recipe for lemon curd, so I can't just toss the pearls out with the paper.

Finally getting through the pile always makes me feel like cleaning house. Freedom. but instead of cleaning, I saved my gardening overalls for another year. I sewed on about ten more patches over the patches from last year, so they should be good for awhile. They are my favorite pants. I actually wore them out of the yard today and got a few looks, but who cares. They have character.

Gardening update: Tomorrow is fuschia saturday at Freddy's. I'm taking five pots. I'm being somewhat conservative because I am also taking pots from work. I don't want to seem over-eager.

The big bowl I made last year -- the one with spring bulbs, didn't make it through the winter. I think they froze and rotted. Truth be told, they didn't do all that well over the summer. When I dug into it, the bulbs were all just gooey white muck. I replanted it with these trailing flowers, kind of a cross between evening primrose and petunias, only smaller. Orange and purple. Should be pretty. And although I built a handmade pea trellis, I found a nicer one for pretty cheap, so replaced it. It is bamboo, stretchy, and not so tall.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

death of scrabble

He is gone, Alfred Mosher Butts, the creator of Scrabble, whose name, anagrammed, spells: "board flusters them". I learned this on the Sunday Morning Show and called my friend Madonna -- my scrabble partner for years. Although I know "q" words that don't need a "u", am damn good at triples and am known to pull out of a slump and make an eighty-pointer late in the game, I am not a tournament quality player. I do miss the game, though.