Saturday, June 30, 2012


I got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.

In addition to the multitude of diagnoses on my own personal list, I now have bone spurs trying to fight their way out of my left foot. There's a movie called My Left Foot. Maybe I'll make a sequel. It would show me sitting in one place, then trying to put on the forty pound boot with five velcro straps that is supposed to help me, only it doesn't feel like help, it feels like hinderance, which may not be a word at all. Then the movie would show me taking the boot off, saying fuck it, and limping around.

Literally everything that is wrong with me can be traced back to obesity.

So my plan is to try a diet I haven't tried yet: medifast. I want to go on record here and say that all diets work. Most all. I'm a great dieter. I'm just no good at re-entry. Medifast may not be any different, but the beauty of it is that they send you the food and you eat it. Even I can follow that plan. The only way it could be a better diet is if they sent someone over to do the dishes. I even get a personal trainer. Coach. They recommend no deliberate exercise for the first three weeks. I'll try to hold back.

 It may sound like I have a mildly negative attitude about this which could not be further from the truth. I'm completely resigned to doing a year on this diet like time at San Quentin, then attempting to follow their re-entry program, which is also laid out pretty clearly. I diet well once my mind is made up, and this time, my mind, my intestines, my joints, my esophagus, my heart and my left foot are made up. All for one, one for all.

I spent the day primering the inside of my trailer. Kurt was out of town, taking his dad to see his aunt in Susanville who has lung cancer, so it seemed a perfect time to start the project. My hands are now covered with Kilz and I'm about halfway finished. I'll try to get it done tomorrow. There are many little nooks and crannies in that trailer and I am going to paint them all. Twice. Death by Kilz.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

beyond mid-life

Nora Ephron died this week and I wanted to note her passing here. She spoke about aging from a woman's point of view. Her book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," is one I have yet to read but could have written. She said that aging is something that we talk aout -- we, the educated, the non-vain, the worldly-wise -- but do not understand. Not really. We nod in intellectual acceptance as though aging would happen to everyone eventually, but not to us. Not to me. And I think that's what I've been experiencing. A certain mid-life denial. Not crisis. Heaven forbid I sink to that level of self-involvement. But truth be told, I'd been graciously accepting my fifties until the fifteenth of this month when I turned 59 and it occurred to me like new information that I am not only going to turn sixty, but that I am, as we speak, two weeks into my sixtieth year.

Its not that I didn't see it coming, but I didn't see it coming. I am old already. Waitresses call me "dear" and I hate them for it. I want a tattoo. I want blonde hair. Not white goddammit. Not  grey. BLONDE. I AM A FUCKING BLONDE. I want to wear my leather jacket and look like I'm forty again. I want it back -- my youth, I've changed my mind. I want a refund.Our adorable next door neighbor Abilene, a twenty-something hair stylist saw our new trailer and said, "You guys have everything." Kurt said, "Yeah, everything but youth and health." Too true.

We went for a Sunday drive (you know, like old people do) down to Sweet Home to find a vintage camp trailer rally (a campout) to see what the trailers were like and what kind of people do that stuff. When we left, after seeing some amazing trailers, "Kind of an old crowd," I said. My husband said, "They're our age."  I'm trying to understand this but it isn't easy. You can see one of the trailers at Flyte Camp the 1946 Westwood Coronado. This one was at the vintage rally, restored to mint condition. Amazing. I'm spending the weekend painting the inside of ours. Nothing too fancy, and I found an Aladdin's lamp at 3 Monkeys in NW Portland. Perfect for the Sultan's Castle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

once a beauty queen

"She was Miss Oklahoma 1952" her daughter told me. I went to visit her, determined that she'd be a good fit for the unit, and made the deal. After about four hours she warmed up to me and crooked her finger, calling me closer. She pulled a photograph out of her jacket pocket, an 8x10 black and white, folded and refolded until the print is quartered with cracks. She won't take off her jacket or her hat, keeps her arms folded across her chest. Says she's cold all the time. What she really is is ready. Ready to hit the road at the first opportunity and head for home. Only home isn't there anymore. All that's left is a bunch of junk in a small room, blankets and sweaters and teabags and one cup, nothing of value. Except this photograph. She calls me closer and I approach her cautiously. She has not allowed me this close to her yet. "Is this it?" I ask. She nods and unfolds the paper. I am looking at Marilyn Monroe, or may as well be. She is stunning, in a white Janzen bathing suit, a satin Oklahoma ribbon stretched across her once-perfect body. "Now I'm old," she said. "I see that face," I told her. "I can see you." And this is her treasure. She carries it with her, proof of perfection, and holds it out like a diamond in her palm after you've passed her test.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

happy birthday to me

1967 Aladdin

The appliances are robin's egg blue. Ready to camp now, but I will make just the teensiest, ever so subtle, changes in decor. Now, I can yard sale all my camping crap, keep it all in one place and have a basement again. But where oh where to park it???

Sunday, June 03, 2012

clam anatomy

I haven't cleaned clams for a year. A strange species. Each time I have to find my way anew, scissoring into the slimy innards as if for the first time, remembering what we keep, what we throw away. There is no part of the clam that looks like it should be eaten. And I insisit on doing this part if I am expected to eat them later, dredged in egg and milk and flour by turns, then into the oil for a minute or less, until they shrink. That's how I tell they're done.

Its been a bit since my last post. We sent my brother out to sea and since he wanted no part of a funeral, memorial, celebration of life, or wake, his wife honored his wish and called it an open house. So we drove to Port Orford -- Port Awful to those who know it -- ate good food, enjoyed his paintings, and his peers celebrated his life whether he liked it or not. His children and two of his three wives were present. Seeing his son was like seeing him, young and healthy, handsome and whole. His daughter, my sweet sweet neice, was there with her family. And my sister came. She and I are the last of my immediate clan.

I was sitting on the porch, the rare coastal sun glancing through thick white clouds to warm us, as some guy sitting next to me began to ramble about Doug. "Oh, yeah, he was a fighter, a boxer, liked throwing his fists around. Oh yeah, he did hard time. Prison. Yeah, he was tough." I turned to him, wanted to see who was telling lies of my brother's misspent youth, as if the truth wasn't story enough. The man, caught up in his nonsense, looked at me mid-sentence and asked who I was. "Doug's sister," I said, not elaborating, not calling bullshit as I might have. I just smiled and he stopped talking. I heard him muttering something like, "Well, he did like to fight."

I'm not sure whether he liked to fight or not. I don't think he did. I think he had to fight on occasion like most men do -- or that most men who drink too much do -- but he wasn't a boxer. He did play baseball. He was in the first Little League World Series and might have gone pro were it not for his love of booze and distaste for authority. He did go to prison, but like most men who have, he didn't talk much about it. To my memory, he entered prison with slicked back hair, wearing a sharkshin suit, with a pool cue in one hand and an ace up his sleeve; he came out a Buddhist fisherman who read biographies, wove baskets, painted pictures of the sea, and followed liberal politics. He still, to the best of my knowlege, did not acknowlege police authority and considered a boat at sea a safe distance from trouble. His paintings changed the way I look at water.

My husband, always looking to entertain himself brought along the crab gear, so we ate well, four dungeoness males slathered in butter and garlic, and good sourdough bread baked that morning by my sister-in-law, according to the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, also soaked in butter.

I love butter.