Saturday, May 29, 2010

myna and earl and carpet carl

I am (we are) finally finally finally getting new carpet and linoleum. Carpet in the living room, linoleum in the entry and the kitchen. And you are first to see it. As you might expect, I chose linoleum that looks like faded barnboards. Poverty lingers. Had things gone my way, I'd have had the carpet changed before I moved in. I didn't post a picture of the 60's gold hi-low shag that I've lived with, decorated in spite of, for the past six years. Poor me.
So.... The carpet is called praline frieze (pronounced frizzay) I called it pecan frappe. Close enough. We are buying it from Carpet Carl at a huge warehouse because his saleswoman was really helpful and knew her business. We had to check three places because Kurt has to be a smart shopper. Me, on the other hand, will write you a blank check and trust it will turn out nice. I knew what I wanted, carpet-wise, but had to go back -- but only once -- to choose the linoleum. Once I found the faded birch floor boards, I was done. I know what I want. And the carpet already looks dirty, so I'm home free. The other carpet places weren't nice to us. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman trying to shop. If they only knew how willing I am to spend.
Well, back to living among the dying.... last week two slipped away. We'll call them Earl and Myna. Earl had the smile of a young man, grinned ear to ear whether he knew what was going on or not. His family, simple round people, were kind to him after solving the problem of one of the relatives going after the big money. People are so wierd about money. Really. These two didn't care at all. They just got Dad what he needed, paid his bills and came when they could. Earl always seemed happy to see them. His heart finally failed him, or gave him an out. I can never decide which it is. Heart failure? Not always.
Myna was a pilot. I don't know if she lived with the same dignity with which she died, but this was a woman with Parkinson's who knew what was happening to her. She made the decision long ago to let things go at a certain point, and when the certain point came, she stuck to her guns. I have great respect for hospice, overall, but the particular agency that handled her passing was crappy. I won' t out them here, it wouldn't be right, but they actually challenged her decision to deny tube feeding. As she lay dying, she looked at the nurse, and back at her husband, and said, with great effort, "Haven't I already told you this?" I called them, complained, and they left her alone (well, not alone, but you get the idea.) Dying is hard enough work without some bozo nurse overriding advance directives in some misguided heroic intervention. So Myna found her way out. Quietly, calmly, sweetly. We found a picture of her flying: beautiful, alive, at the controls panel in the cockpit. I will remember her that way.

Monday, May 24, 2010

southland in may

Soft new green spreads seductively across the rolling hills of southern oregon, my homeland. They will be brown mid-july. Its all a trick. But there is nothing like the Applegate Valley in the springtime.

The first night we stayed at Marky's house. He made a London broil and a great salad with Yukon Gold potatoes. He is such a good cook. He says I always made red potatoes. He talks alot about his growing up years, and fondly. I shudder and hope. He is kind and forgiving. At 32 he is talking about forgiveness in ways I didn't consider until well into my forties.

Saturday night we stayed at the outlaws place. I am becoming more and more a part of that family. I feel like the children who come up when we visit -- they aren't children, really, but 20 and 30-somethings -- know me, and trust me. That feels good. We stayed in our usual little cabin and it is so beautiful there, Eliot Creek babbling outside the bedroom window, sky full of stars I never get to see anymore.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I am tired of writing about the failure of my physical body.

I just signed up and paid for a weekend writing workshop. It is called "deepening the craft." I paid for it so I have to go. This means I now must fine tune the first few chapters of my book for the pros to look at. Hey wait. I'm a pro. Anyway, Even though I am bringing chapters to be "workshopped," I don't want to be caught too off-guard. And... the process kills me. But I am a writer, and must, from time to time, sit among my peers and take the heat whether I agree with it or not.

We just finished dinner, dry-rubbed pork chops, red beans and rice, quick-fried zuchinni, red peppers and onion. We are trying to eat a little differently, less food, more exercise. I actually made a week's menu: pork, eggplant parmesan, lemon-garlic chicken and salad, clam chowder, then on friday night, Mark will cook for us in Gold Hill. We're doing a drive-by visit to the fams. Mark wants to take us on a drift boat ride on the Rogue on Saturday morning, so we might do that. Then, out to Bob's for Saturday. He has a pretty mean old dog, so I'm not exactly sure if we'll be staying out there with no place to keep our pups. Duffy is mean, but he couldn't take Bandit on his meanest day. Bandit is a badass country dog. Our white city dogs just don't know how to act up there in the dirt. Just to clarify, they are white dogs from the city. Not White City dogs. Big difference. Huge.

Well, it is the final episode of Survivor for this season. We literally plan our week around this stupid show. I always have since it started, but it has anchored our married life for six years. Every thursday night is Survivor Night, which means we have thin-crust pizza from Papa Murphy's, sit and wait to see the darwinian exposition play out. Tonight, someone will win. Will it be Russell the Evil One? He could win, although I hope he doesn't. I don't know who I really want to win. I'll just miss it when its done.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I know I shouldn't let my happiness hinge on a single phone call from my son on Mother's Day, but it does, these thirty-some years later. And he called early, so my day was a happy one.

We took Kurt's mom out for breakfast and my eggs were cold, so was the sausage, but the french toast was fine. I only order the eggs and sausage to justify the french toast anyway. My logic is complex. Live a long long time on Adkins and you eventually begin to consider things like sausage and cheese health food.

When we got home I began painting another old wooden table. This one will be off white, red, yellow and purple to begin with. It is to remain on the porch, so will be painted to match the red adirondack chairs.

So it is now two days until my shot, but who's counting?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

spine needles

I am scheduled to have an injection in my spine next Tuesday. That gives me four days to think about it, or talk myself out of it, which I would if my neckshouldercollarbone didn't hurt so freaking bad. I've had the year of bronchitis, the year of the bladder infection and now, the year of pain. But sticking pins in me..... in my spine, ick. I have quadraphobia: the fear of becoming quadraplegic. I made that up.

As is my custom, I plan for the other side of this calamity, the finish line, the end of all discomfort. I look forward to the moment when I am released from surgery or whatever, at which time I will embark upon my real life, the one where I eat right and keep fit. In some countries, this is considered magical thinking -- as though one event could flip some sort of psychic switch and change me into a motivated and energetic life-magnet, with a new lycra wardrobe and sketcher tennis shoes that would stablize my core. Magically. Effortlessly. That's my mantra: effortlesslyeffortlesslyeffortlessly. Ah, if only.

While I was visiting the spine and pain center, we got to talking about women who have fibromyalgia -- now I don't want to start any blogwars or anything, so if you have it, just ignore me. Most people do. But I've never considered it a legitimate diagnosis. I think it is evidence of misery-- quite real misery-- and a penchant for visiting medical professionals. Either that or they are just too old and tired to hit the streets for dope anymore.

Whatever the case, I told the doc that I was much to young to feel so old and didn't believe in pain-as-life, or pain instead of life, and just wanted the shot. Now please. But I couldn't have it now. I have to wait four days. Four whole days. I'm not that good at waiting.

He asked me if I wanted sedation for the shot. It was hard not to laugh. Yes. I want sedation. Me and sedation are old friends.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


What's it all mean? Is this Mexican independence day or what? We went out to dinner at a crappy Mexican restaurant on Division. I wish restaurants would only serve what they are good at. For instance, this place probably does great vegan food -- it has a full vegan menu -- but the carne asada, my favorite, was awful. Tough as shoe leather, flavorless, no charring, no salt, and no salt in the house. I like salt alot. Ask my blood pressure. And the salsa was watered down so much the plate was a swamp. But the plates were square, and you got to bus your own tables, so that was fun.

It is my brother Marc's birthday, that much I do know. He would have been... let's see... 63 or something. He didn't live long enough. His liver didn't, anyway. Happy Birthday Marc. Wish you were here.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

six moonstruck truffles

It has been six years since I married the boy of my dreams. I remember so clearly, ironing his shirt before we left for the small ceremony, a light blue denim to match his eyes and my baby blue summer linen dress. I carried flowers that Deborah gave me and even though I didn't like them, I put a bunch of roses from our back yard in among them and they were beautiful. I didn't plan a wedding. I couldn't. The move alone created enough anxiety.

Now, a Portlander and a wife, I am content in my home on Clinton Street, still fascinated with life in this odd little town of a city.

Last night we drove to Seaside and stayed in the motel we usually stay in on our anniversary. We clammed this morning, drove home, cleaned them, ate fried clams for dinner and shared six moonstruck truffles for desert.

Happy Anniversary to us.