Sunday, September 26, 2010


I've already missed one appointment. I have this burgundy leatherish appointment book at work. I keep most of my schedule in there. I forgot a hair appointment for today, but when I made the hair appointment, I'm certain I forgot that it was the day of the Memory Walk. Memory Walk indeed. I have no memory.

So, this morning I wandered down to Pioneer Square in the pouring rain -- actually, my husband dropped me off -- and stood around until our whole team of walkers arrived, then I begged off due to cortisone flushing like fire under my skin, and found a bus home, plunked two dollars and five cents in the slot, and hung on.

This gives me cause (and pause) to purchase an iphone. If I had an iphone, I could sync all of my appointments into one place. Into one thing.

But would I?

Friday, September 24, 2010


I'm not good at this. Self-care. As I was lying on the narrow gurney, head turned right to expose my cervical spine to the needle, the surgeon says, "What do you do to relax?" I said, "Watch soap operas." He said, "Think of something else." I couldn't. So this tells me that I have to consider things like meditation that I have never really put any energy into learning about. Slowing my mind has always taken second (third, fourth) to trying to speed up my body -- not my forte either. I'm screwed. Or, at this point I feel screwed. First, I know, is to bring food into perspective and the rest will follow, dominoes one and all.

Tonight I am tired and sore, but willing. We'll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow. I have a week to pull my shit together. Yeah, that's a stress free plan. Yup.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

professional bum

I think what I'm getting at, after all these years as a professional something, I should rather be paid to sit at home and think. I think pretty well, and know some stuff, and its just that now I've dyed my hands brown and have to go to a convention on Monday, and I just can't figure out what to wear.

I just wish I had to wear a uniform and that the condition of my fingernails didn't matter. I don't want to have manicures, like some women who seem to think it is part of getting dressed for work. My husband simply chooses from navy blue or orange T-shirt. It is what makes prison appealing. I have to get up and think. I have to try things on. I have to decide what looks passable for that day. I have to remember what I wore the days before. I should have gone into, oh I don't know, painting or construction or something. Anything but the industry that thinks sterile conditions are important. I think sterility leads to illness, personally. I think the reason we have these nasty flu bugs is because we can't fend off normally occurring bacteria. I think Clorox wipes should be outlawed.

As usual, I digress. The thing is, I got this new blouse at Target and I like it but I wanted it to be brown, so I bought some brown dye and now my hands are shot. I hate to go to professional events looking like a farmer. I'd rather be a farmer. I don't think they have conventions and if they do, they'd be outside and you could wear your overalls.

I'm just tired of working and there's eight (I'm counting) years to go until Social Security will allow me to be the bum I was destined to be. You know how I see it. I've said it a million times: Those guys with the shopping carts have very little overhead. And if I didn't know better, I'd think it was freedom.

Friday, September 17, 2010

billy goat story

I'm a storyteller: a liar by trade. I love stories, always have. Some, if not most of the stuff I take the time to type right here, is true -- at least true in my memory which is faulty by anyone's standards.

But today was staff appreciation day, and we boss-types made breakfast for the crew. Picture me, sitting with my coworkers around the breakfast table, talking about goat meat. I think the general topic was greek food. It seemed like the perfect time to tell the only story I have about goat meat. I mean, wouldn't you? If you had a story about goat meat you'd tell it, right? I don't think everyone has a story like that. So.

When I was a hippie, living way up Yale Creek in a somewhat communal setting, there was this guy we called Hippie Dennis who was passing through the Applegate Valley. He lived in his big navy blue delivery van and had a billy goat. I don't know about you, but I can't stand billy goats. They jump on your car hood and suck their own genitals. Right? So this goat was all over the place, getting into our gardens, over any fence, unmannered as his owner who he co-habitated with in the big delivery van. He couldn't keep track of that goat anymore than he could perform his own personal hygiene.

It was high summer-- the perfect time for many outdoor festivities, a big BBQ would be one example. We invited everybody from Sterling Creek on up to Dog Fork and McKee Bridge. We even invited Dennis. It was a beautiful day and we had a really nice time. The meat was a little tough and Dennis kept asking if we'd seen his goat, but we'd just offer him another plate of food.

So this story may have worked better among less civilized sorts. The problem is that most of the people I hang out with these days are pretty civilized or at least politically conscious, and it left me feeling, well, criminally insane.

Personally, I think the story is kind of funny. I found myself defending the community act to kill the goat. But in retrospect, I suppose it was wrong. Okay, it was wrong. Sue me. Situationally and culturally, it didn't seem like it at the time. But once again, after I told my little story, my coworkers had that look about them -- that look that I've learned is a subtle form of fear -- or at the very least, psychological discomfort, the kind of look that made me want to say, "Jesus, its not like I shot the fucking goat myself, painted my naked body with its blood, danced around the fire and still carry the gun in my purse or anything..." but that would be little comfort to my nervous workmates. Geeez. You can't kill anything these days without somebody jumping up in righteous protest.

They should hear the stories I don't tell.

Monday, September 13, 2010


The trip South felt nostalgic this time. I don't regret moving north -- I never will. I've hated that Rogue Valley hot weather my entire adult life. Walking the streets of Jacksonville is always memory lane for me -- for us. My husband reminiscing about the time he bashed his head through the plate glass window of the JVille Tavern on purpose. Ah... those were the days. But walking the barely paved streets where houses used to be, my house, where split-rail fences have been and gone, where I lived and others lived, and lived and lived.... where our black lab Jodean pulled Marky out of the middle of the street when he was not even two years old. I remember these things.

And in this, age is a blessing. I've seen so much. Driving past barns, once standing and red, now decrepit with age, leaning into the decades with the same dependency I feel sometimes, that will fall. Are falling. We don't make wood barns anymore. Not really. There are a few, but more often I see these ungodly compounds, industrial in their scope, lacking the Amish bones, the neighborly customs of having been raised rather than built, of pie and lemonade in the hot august sun. I know these days are gone -- and truth be told, I missed them, mostly, although there was some civility even then, even in the mimicry of the sixties and seventies when we ached to get back to the land, whatever that meant. I did. I got back to it. I carried water, dammit. I cut my own wood. And when I walk the familiar streets, I wonder that I got to be a part of old Jacksonville. That I am a part of its history, just as it is part of mine.

Monday, September 06, 2010

facing fear

I know you're probably thinking that this is it: the big face off, face down, face it head on kind of thing, but really, its just that I went out in the boat on the Columbia. Now seriously, that river is huge, with swells as high as the boat, the possibility of getting swamped very real. But it turns out that the Alumacraft people thought this through and filled the seats with foam, so the boat won't sink. Well, still, its scary. Still, I got in the boat. I remember my fisherman brother Doug saying, when I asked him if he was scared when he was out to sea in a storm, he said, "When you put out to sea, that's when you make the decision. Live or die. Once you're underway, there's too much to do to worry about that shit."

So, it was an okay day in the boat, but I didn't pay to park, didn't see the sign, and parked in a double space that was only for trucks and trailers. So, rather than pay an eighty dollar fine, I made a short day of it.

Well, its labor day, the last day of summer, the last day to wear white.