Friday, July 30, 2010

sister joyce

In my family we die too young. We barely make sixty, if that. It is usually because we drink.

There are certain people who have geographic weight. I can't explain this. Joyce lived in Central Point and now she is gone. It is hard to know why I would go back there now. She tethered our family for over forty years, a family that was fractured by her presence. She came to stay when I was thirteen and we were never the same. She is not to blame for our undoing, that would not be fair or true, but sins and decisions being what they are, we were changed by those things.

I drove around Central Point and Medford today as if in a dream, lost in time, memories so dense I had to brush them from my vision, thick as cobwebs, driving to and from the hospital as she died. I had to come back to say goodbye, to thank her for taking care of me in the years before I decided to save my life -- to let my life be saved by the outstretched hands of others, hands she would not hold onto. Could not.

I just wanted to keep standing in her house among her children and her belongings, little things we had gathered at yard sales, had packed and repacked, moving to house after house: gnomes with green hats, red spatterware spoons, fiestaware, small oval rag rugs, a glass scottie dog, a sock monkey, a framed picture of Christ in Gethsemane, endless earrings and candles and fifteen tiny bags of weed here and there, forgotten in the clutter of life's ending. As long as I stayed in the house, it wasn't real.

But I am home now, and she is gone, my sister -in law and out,-my friend of so many many years. I miss her already. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

yard sales

Saturday was the Division/Clinton Street Fair(e). We walked up Division looking at all of the booths and I am always intrigued, and frankly, bored, by the similarity of all the crafty offerings. We drove from Ashland to Nevada City to Yosemite, to San Fran, to Tomales, to Fort Bragg and to Port Orford, and everything is pretty much the same. Not the view. Not like that. But things that are for sale. Used to be you went to the coast and found coastie things, went to San Francisco and got, well, you know. Sourdough. But now, the homogeneous nature of saleable items is tiresome. I was looking for candlesticks. For those of you who know me, you'll recall my former habit of going to yardsales to find the best candlestick I could for five bucks or less. Now, willing to spend almost any amount of money, I can't find anything unusual. I found some at Pottery Barn that I liked, but I wanted something unique, not some yuppy factory that pumps out the good life in cookie cutter perfection. So I looked and looked. 2000 miles later, I came home bought the Pottery Barn candlesticks.

I am so predictable.

But what, you'll ask, of all my old five-dollar candlesticks? Well, I have some of them here and there, but I needed black ones for this one special place. So now I have them. I hope I'm happy.

Between the trip and camping, we had a yard sale. It was huge and I sold things I swore I'd never part with. I hold out and hold out and think I know what will sell and what won't and I'm always wrong. I keep stuff until the yard sale people don't even want it. I wonder what it is about stuff, about shopping for stuff, about the way stuff catches my eye and I must have it. Must have it. Like the bird at Twist that costs 264 dollars. It is not a live bird, let me clear that up right quick. It is this kitschy plaster thing that I could probably make, and may try, but it is so cool and as my darling husband says as he drags me whining and drooling from the store on his birthday, it'll end up in a yard sale two years from now.

I hate it when he's right.

So... yard sale over, we were able to locate the camping gear. We packed up and camped up the Clackamas at Indian Henry for a couple of days, only a couple, because my neck broke again. We canoe-d on Lake Harriet which was really fun and beautiful. Carrying the canoe may have been the straw that doomed the trip. I don't know. I was picking moss out of Duffy's coat for days.

So, yard sales and vacations over with, I'm back at work and beginning physical therapy tomorrow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

more and more

Now I prepare to camp. I am always pretty much ready, but lacking a memory, I must forage through pre-packed boxes and make sure I don't get far from home without a coffee pot. And coffee. Let's not forget the coffee. And matches, all safe in baggies, and dish soap. I own everything one can own for camping with the exception of a camper, which, the older I get, the more appealing they are. Was a time I thought it was a sin to use anything but a tent -- akin to the lead pencil society and those good women who still use cloth diapers and serve nothing but turkey on Thanksgiving, but I digress.

We will rent a trailer -- an open one this time -- and head up the Clackamas for a couple of days. It ain't Yosemite, but it is nice and green and cool, and I will finish typing my book if it kills me.

It won't kill me, right?

Thursday, July 08, 2010


There is alot to be said about National Parks, and OPB did a fine job of it last year. Their piece on Yosemite inspired this vacation. This part of this vacation anyway. At this time I am back in my (90 degree) house, dogs as happy as we are to be out of the truck. We've travelled some 2000 miles since last Friday, and I only drove for 45 minutes. Men.

So, Yosemite... As a writer, I should be able to come up with something at least descriptive, but adjectives fail me. So far it is probably the most remarkable geological sight I've seen. I'm so glad we went, so glad we could go... that is, had the resources to play, spend, etc. Our fabulous vacation has been dimmed by the knowlege that two family members are losing their homes to foreclosure, both trying to save them, but probably not going to swing it. I am acutely aware that this could be me, could be us, and we discussed considering a plan B should we find ourselves out of work or otherwise unable to earn. We do earn our pay, my honey and I. We both do stuff we'd probably rather not, every day. I don't feel guilty, but I am grateful.

So, back to the parks. I loved Glacier. It was so surprising. And Ansel Adams had already sort of pulled the cover on Yosemite, but still, being there doesn't compare. We drove to the top of Glacier Point and looked down over Yosemite Valley, cars like ants, and looked through a scope of some kind at Half Dome where there were a bunch of people standing who had climbed up there. Climbed. My visit to Yosemite was pretty much a drive-by. We did walk up to one waterfall, but we all know how atheletic I am. (See post on Devil's Churn.) Still and all, I prefer the Redwoods to anything. Anything I've ever seen. It is heaven to me, tall lacey trees, dense fern undergrowth, fog hanging in the treetops. Dappled sunlight blinking through the curves. Yep. That's the one for me. Fortunately, we also went through the redwoods.

So we exited Yosemite and spent that night in Mariposa, an armpit of a town, and left the next moring for San Francisco. It was another drive-by because the point was not the city, but the drive up Highway One. The Whole Thing. Again, searching for adjectives and modifiers: very curvy. We spent the next night in Fort Bragg after stopping for oyster shooters at Tomales and enjoying the cool of the coast as we learned that inland it was 100. We debated going back into the valley (Rogue) to visit family on the way home, but phoned in our apologies: we are hugging the coast as long as we can.

Tonight I will sleep in my living room with a fan blowing on Duffy and me, and await the coming of fall. Pictures to come

Monday, July 05, 2010

from the road

Sutter's Mill

4th of July Parade, Nevada City

Sutter's Mill Three tin buildings in Nevada City

Stone house in Nevada City, Downtown NC

Castle Crags where Kurt didn't want to go but I insisted because I was absolutely certain the view would be better but it wasn't.

Spent our first night at Shona and Bobby's house in Ashland, breakfast with Cooky and Tracy at the Talent Cafe where I used to breakfast on weekends and on the road to Nevada City a day early. Stayed 2 days at the Northern Queen, a great spot for the dogs and for us. Sid and Duffy get to poop in special places and sleep on motel beds. The 4th of July was a small town parade in Nevada City with an enormous Tea Party contigent, no doubt sponsored by the Republican Party. We returned to our room and the pool. Put on a movie for the dogs and swam for the first time in a long time. I bought an awful boob-fest of a bathing suit at Walmart, but now that we are in Sonora California, I'm damn glad to have it, splashy hibiscus flowers and all. When we checked the weather before we left, I packed for the low eighties, but being a Portland resident, with access to sunlight only via the consumption of liquid vitamin D, I am in Southeast California and it is hot.

Damn hot.

So like the natives, we hide in the daytime, beautiful room in Sonora with a nice pool and AC. It is dangerous for the doggies, and at this point, I could be resentful that they are with us, but I don't even want to be out in it. Tomorrow we will see Yosemite and stay at the lower end of the park and head for San Francisco Wed. morning.

Nevada City is beautiful, and like all beautiful places, I think I could live there, given a huge advance on that novel I never seem to write. Sonora is too hot for me.