Thursday, January 29, 2004

I borrowed this quote from "Watching my Sister....Disappear."  I absolutely LOVE it!  :-]

All the news you can use...

<TAIPEI (Jan 29) - The decomposing remains of a 66-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy Taiwan street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours, local newspapers said.>

Trust AOL to keep us up-to-date on all the important news stories of the day!  ROFL (ew!!!!)

UN-Road Trip

I am going to take a day off to just treat myself (as much as I can with Weight Watchers' restrictions.  Did I mention that I lost 5.8 lbs. my first week?  I think this was mostly due to the fact that I wore jeans for my initial weigh-in.  Didn't like the number, so I wore MUCH lighter clothing to the next meeting. LOL)

Anyway, I'm taking myself shopping to the fancy outlet mall.  All the good shopping is a fair drive from here...this mall I'm going to is an hour's drive through the city and back out the other end.  I'll be driving Big Red (my huge catering van that gets terrible gas mileage, unfortunately) because Little Pepe (our little 1981 Toyota pick-up that we bought new almost 23 years ago) just ain't gonna make it that far.  I feel guilty about sucking up the gas, but I can sure buy a ****load of stuff without having to wonder how I'm gonna get it home.

Off to the mall (insert light infantry charge bugle here)!

     ...or not.  Big Red won't start.  No idea why.  Try to call husband on cel phone while seated in van; no answer. *insert curse word here*  Push button on garage door opener to provide speedy entry to house without being drenched while fumbling for front door key.  Go in to husband intention to drive Little Pepe instead.  Close down laptop.  Grab for keys.  Not in pocket.  Not in purse. *insert more curse words* Open garage door, walk out to driveway.  Look in window of van.  Keys dangle tantalizingly from the ignition.  Doors are locked. *insert every curse word I know, have known, or will know* 

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Bad Dreams

It’s the middle of the night, and once again, I’m awake, pounding on the keyboard. I’ve had to leave my bed in order to escape the half-hour hot flash that sometimes afflicts me at night. But I woke disturbed by the dream I was having. It was a dream about war. We were off to attack another country somewhere, and I was certain that this time it would bring disaster on us. It had something to do with the timing of the attack…I remember being very upset that we were going to attack on a certain date. Seems it was the anniversary of another ill-fated attack, and because of this, the date spelled certain doom. It was very real, and I was absolutely certain that this time the battle was going to be brought right back to our shores. I was petrified.

I don’t usually dream about such universal issues. I can only surmise that the thought of war has been bothering me more deeply than I allowed myself to believe. When you are conscious, your mind doesn’t dwell on concepts that are so huge and unknown and unsettling. When you sleep, the chains you keep on your fears—to keep you sane—loosen enough to let your mind explore them. I try to keep the reality of war at arms’ length, but I must be more deeply disturbed by it than I want to admit.

In my dreams, I often visit the places I’m afraid to go when I’m awake. When my dad and sister were ill, I used to have dreams that somebody died. It was never them that died in my dream, just someone I knew, but was removed from. For instance, I dreamed that my best friend’s dad died of a heart attack. In retrospect, I can see that my psyche was trying on the idea of death. Looking at it from an angle that was close enough to examine it, but not to touch it. Or have it touch me.

The really disturbing thing is, I believe that my dreams contain more than a small dose of precognition. When I am bothered consistently by dreams of death, someone usually dies. I’m hoping that this war dream isn’t the first of a series…

Monday, January 26, 2004


For years, I was convinced my husband was nicer than I am. Lately, I’ve begun to realize how stupid that is. I’m a strong personality. I’m not going to apologize for that. I never dreamed of getting married and having babies when I was a kid. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but the whole "married with children" thing didn’t hold a lot of appeal. I saw my life as that of an eccentric artist…a single eccentric artist. I never "went steady" in junior high…never even dated in high school. I was as surprised as anyone when I fell for my husband when I was a mere twenty years old. And, wonder of wonders, he fell for me, too.

"You guys fight so much," my mom said once, right after we were engaged. My parents never fought. Dad made the decisions, and Mom went along. That was their relationship, not mine. My husband and I were two young people learning how to work as a unit. We didn’t actually fight, but we didn’t agree on everything, either. We had differences of opinion, and we aired them. We worked them out. I always thought our attitude toward marriage was very contemporary…that "today’s" women (of 25 years ago) didn’t have to be the ones who always gave in.

But over the years, I’ve seen that the relationship I have with my husband is the exception rather than the rule. Women did then, and do now, embrace relationships that have them forever playing second fiddle to their husbands. And it’s still what society expects. People see me as one of those bitchy women that the "nice" men all marry. There’s a certain amount of truth to that…I’m sure I wouldn’t have chosen a man that wanted to totally dominate me, any more than an ultra-dominant man would have wanted me for a partner. We would have killed each other.

People raise their eyebrows when they witness the dynamic of our marriage. I went through years when it really bothered me. In fact, I always thought that if we got divorced, my family would keep my husband and get rid of me. But I think I’ve just reached an age where I can’t worry about that anymore. We’ve been married 27 years…we must be doing something right.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Friday Five

At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. SONG:  "Shadows of the Earth"--Roy Finch (Off an obscure Windham Hill compilation CD from 1987.)

2. FOOD:  Anything with 1 point or less (I just started Weight Watchers.)

3. TV SHOW:  Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

4. SCENT:  Victoria's Secret "Amber Romance"

5. QUOTE: Not really a quote...a list: 

The seven "blunders" from which spring violence in our society:

Wealth without work.

Pleasure without conscience.

Knowledge without character.

Commerce without morality.

Science without humanity.

Worship without sacrifice.

Politics without principles.

Mahatma Ghandi

Little Plants

This picture is for anyone who thought I was joshin' ya when I said I have plants coming up in the yard.  These are Japanese Iris bulbs pushing up through frost-covered creeping thyme in my fountain garden.  They probably won't bloom until mid-February; that is, if the slugs don't get 'em first.  If I had yellow crocuses planted, they would likely already be blooming.  I'm going down to Eugene this weekend.  Maybe I'll be able to get some pictures of stuff that's already in bloom...for you spring-hungry easterners.

Natural Causes

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a movement outside the patio door.  I turned my head in time to see a little shower of feathers drifting above the fence.  Uh-oh...  Searching the nearby bare trees and bushes, I spotted him...a young sharp-shinned hawk breakfasting on the owner of the aforementioned feathers.  He was in the yard next door, perched on top of a birdhouse (how's that for in-your-face predation?), spewing more feathers about as he enjoyed his meal.  It was horrible, spell-binding, and beautiful  all at the same time.  Much like life.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Due to some common congenital eye malady, the unpronounceable name of which escapes me, I started to need glasses for reading when I was in my mid-thirties. I’ve been wearing specs for more than ten years, and it still bugs the hell out of me. I cannot stand not being able to see.

One of my favorite places to be blind is in the shower. In my stupider days, I thought all I needed was better lighting in the shower to be able to shave my legs decently. I now realize that it would take klieg lights and a 10x magnifying glass (which I would have to attach to my forehead). I’ve adopted the "Helen Keller" method of shaving. I follow the razor up my leg with my free hand, feeling for wayward stubble. The results are iffy at best…I usually end up with at least one furry racing stripe up my leg. But, hey, I can’t see it, so what do I care? Well, there ARE those folks at the pool who point and giggle…

I try not to buy hair products in identical bottles. I’ve wasted hours trying to find the biggest letters on the bottle, and then deciding whether the word was long enough to be "conditioner." I could always wait until I’ve squeezed it into my hand…but if it’s the wrong thing, what do you do with it? I’ve developed a knack for sucking stuff back into squeeze bottles (picture that…), but you still end up washing half of it down the drain, at $6 a bottle…

And then there is the spider issue. I have a phobia about spiders in the shower. Anywhere else in the house (except my bed) I say, live and let live. But NOT in the shower. So, I hop in the shower in the morning, and if my husband has left a butt crumb on the tile, I spend fifteen minutes peering at it to figure out if it has legs or is moving under its own power. God forbid I should get out of the shower, get my glasses and look at the thing. Too much mess, and too much hassle… I just spend my entire shower doing gymnastics, trying to get the water stream to wash the whatever-it-is down the drain without having it touch ME.

We boomers are fast developing ways to fend off old age, or at least make it a little less inconvenient. Hopefully some presbyopic, fifty-something researcher will come up with a cure for this before I hurt myself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Ya gotta have...

Life would probably be easier if I had friends. I have never been part of a "group". In my heyday, I had one "best" friend, and a few acquaintances beyond that. But no "Friends"-type relationships with anyone. No sharing of deepest secrets and desires. The girls I hung around with in high school thought I was kind of a drag...I didn't drink, I didn't smoke, I didn't do drugs, and I didn't really approve of people who did. They didn't pressure me to join them in a cigarette or a six-pack...but they never accepted me into the group, either. I hung around with them, but always on the outside looking in.

When I was in my twenties, and active in the little church we belonged to, I STILL didn't have any friends. Not being the model Christian stay-at-home Mom (I was neither a mom nor a stay-at-home), I missed out on most of the "women's" ministries. They invariably were held during the day, when I was at work...apparently, one was supposed to be home looking after one's husband and children in the evenings. Once again, I was on the outside looking in.

In the last ten years, we've moved three times. We haven’t been anywhere long enough to feel part of the community, much less cultivate friendships. And there was so much crap going on in my life, I wasn't feeling very outgoing. These were the times, though, that I could honestly have used a friend or two. My husband has been my ONLY friend for awhile, and he has been a little overwhelmed by this. The hurts and sorrows I've dealt with over the past five years have left me extremely isolated. I have spent more days than I like to think about completely alone, with no one to talk to but myself (and I DO, which is kind of worrisome...)

So, why do I write this? Well, today was an extremely social day for me. I went to my volunteer job and actually had conversations with my boss. And then, husband and I went to our first Weight Watchers meeting. I'm starting to think I might be crawling out of my self-imposed isolation. I don’t MAKE resolutions…but I feel like I really need to stretch myself to make connections with other people. Being alone so much that you are your only sounding board is NOT a good thing.


Monday, January 19, 2004

Spring IS Coming

Well, the snow is mostly melted, and we're back to the Oregon winter staple:  what is known in these parts as "Oregon pissy rain."  Going outside and not getting drenched is not an option...these are not raindrops you can dodge.  It's just an overall soaking dampness...more like giant fog.

Even so, I was out walking the dog in the back yard today, and I had to start searching for signs of spring.  And I found them.  I have bulbs in the garden beds showing their first signs of life...little green spikes popping up among what's left of the soggy perennials that were squashed by the snow.  Daffodils, crocus, Japanese Iris...  And darned if the filberts aren't blooming.  I can tell, because everyone I know is sneezing.  In a couple of weeks we'll begin to see the early purple plums beginning to flower. 

Summer and winter in the Willamette/Columbia Valleys in Oregon aren't much to write home about...spring and fall are the real stars.  "Spring" starts in late January and runs through June...autumn rolls out from September til almost Christmas.  Here it is, mid-January, and I'm already itching to get outside and dig in the dirt.  I'm a little afraid that the rotten winter weather might have killed off some of my plants...but then, that wouldn't be much of a problem.  To me, dead plants are more of an opportunity than a disaster.  I just pull them out, and make more room for something new and different and exciting.  The last three nights, I've been poring over a book on shrubs as my "read myself to sleep" book.  I'm researching different candidates for a shrub screen around the yard.  I want flowers, I want birds, and I want privacy.  And I wish I had a few thousand extra dollars lying around!

I am now officially on crocus watch.  They will be the first to bloom.  Or will it be the Japanese Irises?  Can hardly wait to see...     

Mom and the Girls

Do I spend more time missing the people I’ve lost in my life, than I do appreciating those who are left? I should dwell more on the special things about my mom and my remaining sisters.

Mom is finally living that peaceful old age we wished for her, but she’s had a painful life. By the time she was 53, only five years older than I am now, she was the only one left of her original family of five. And still…she had to lose my sister and my dad, too. When Joyce died, Mom did a hell of a job of masking her pain; all she said was, "No mother should have a child die before she does." At least that is one pain I will never have to bear.

My sister Donna, who is the oldest now, is the only one of us who has worn the mantle of "step-mom." At 31, she married a divorced man with two kids (and a vasectomy.) She brought her peace-making abilities and her quiet wisdom to a household that undoubtedly would have self-destructed without her. She sighs that her "kids", now 32 and 33, didn’t turn out as well as she hoped. I tell her they would have been in REAL trouble if it hadn’t been for her.

Chris, the middle child, has always been a mover and shaker. At times she seemed determined to leave the family as far behind as she could. She was the first to make the move from Illinois to Oregon. I don’t know if she realized the rest of us would follow within a decade…if she knew, she probably would have been off to Arizona. She has gone through a tough time in the last few years…job problems, marriage problems, family problems. She’s bucking the odds against "women of a certain age," and is starting a whole new career--successfully. Her marriage still sucks, but that’s the next thing she’s going to set her sights on.

And then there’s Lauren. All she ever wanted was to get married and have kids…she’s such a throw-back to a bygone era. But life often doesn’t go according to plan…she finally married at 37. That didn’t stop her having kids, though. Even after her first daughter was still-born, she stuck it out and had her family—she was 39 when my niece was born, and 41 when my nephew came along. She’s a single parent, now…NOT what she had envisioned. But when she moans about the "joys" of being an ancient mother—we kid her that she knew the job was dangerous when she took it!

There’s the nickel tour of my family!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

What IS Truth?

One of the churches in town has this message posted on its reader board: "Truth is not determined by how many people believe it." The message harkened back precisely to an issue I had encountered earlier this week. Surfing the channels one night, we stumbled across a show on the History Channel on Nazis in America. These are the people who pump their fists in the air and scream, "White power! White power!" These are the people who march beneath the waving swastika and spew hateful filth about Jews, blacks and foreigners. These are the people who are absolutely convinced that if they believe the Holocaust never happened, it didn’t.

It struck me that I have encountered this kind of attitude more and more often, lately. Especially among the types that rally around right-wing radio talk shows. If they believe something, it is true…for example that Sadaam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and that’s why we invaded Iraq. It doesn’t matter that Bush himself admitted (albeit under his breath and as far back into the newspaper as it could be pushed) that a link between Sadaam and Al Quaeda was never established. These simple-minded sheep have decided that this is what makes the invasion palatable to them, so it is true.

How do you deal with people like that? What are the magic words to make them see what is real and make judgments based upon facts, instead of making up (or omitting ) facts to fit their judgments? It is a terrible thing to suspect that some people in this country are so clueless when it comes to the issues that they don’t have the tools to use their votes wisely. I worry about where our country will end up if we don’t do something to enlighten the people (as in "government of the people, for the people and by the people") on the really complex issues…the ones they’re ducking by making up their own truth. But can you really enlighten people who have fashioned their own version of the truth and are ready to stick by it, come hell or high water? Come to think of it, hell may very well be coming…and it doesn’t seem to be changing anyone’s mind…

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Outta Gas


Twenty years ago, we would just about wring our gas tanks with our bare hands to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gas. Now, we're driving around in vehicles that get gallons to the mile instead of the other way around. The price of gasoline jumps ten percent overnight, and we just sigh and fork over the extra two bucks, or four, or whatever. It's only money!

But that's the ISN'T only money. We've got kids getting blown up daily in Iraq, largely because of our dependence upon almighty gasoline. The air in our cities is thick enough to spread on bread. The weather patterns on our planet are getting screwier and screwier (she writes as she gazes out the window at the snow from the "storm of the century" that's STILL covering the ground.) This is NOT okay.

What has changed? We baby boomers have gotten old, fat, and complacent. We're too wrapped up in our aches and pains to worry about the planet anymore. And unfortunately, concern for the environment appears to be one of the many nobler aspirations that we forgot to hand down to our kids. They NEED that SUV or 4WD monster, even if they never intend to venture out of the city with it.

AND we have, sitting in the White House, a Texas oilman, with his staff of energy cronies. Do we expect HIM to start an investigation into the volatility of gasoline prices? Or waste any time or budget expense investigating alternative fuels?

This is important stuff, folks. These are the kinds of things we need to start thinking about before we head to the voting booths in November. We're too young to hand control over to the next generation because we're too pre-occupied to deal with it. We need to start making a fuss about some things that are really important to this country, and to the earth!  Anybody got ideas?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Bush's War

 Paul O'Neill and President Bush (Getty) Paul O'Neill and President Bush (Getty)

<In a new book, the former treasury secretary says President Bush was looking for reasons to go to war with Iraq days after taking office.>

REALLY????  Surprise, surprise!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

The Outcry over Gay Marriage

The "Christian Right" has grabbed a new bone to shake…the "sanctity of marriage." Suddenly, gay marriage has become a threat to the very fabric of our society. When are these people going to quit making homophobia the basis for their entire moral code?

I’m not going to theorize on whether homosexuality is a life-style choice or a biological pre-determination. I’m not going to quote the scores of other things that are called "abominations" in the bible, but have been ignored as "archaic" for centuries. Those arguments have been made by people more learned than I…and they haven’t stopped the bible-thumpers from hollering their gospel of hatred and intolerance from their pulpits. Truth, facts, logic, compassion…these things have no place in THEIR moral world. Their commandments are fear, judgmentalism, small-mindedness and xenophobia. What amazes me—and frightens me—is that so many people find them reasonable.

The "sanctity of marriage", huh? "Protection of the family." What have these jokers done to REALLY protect marriage and the family? Where were they when the teen pregnancy rate began to skyrocket? Do they know that the majority of inner-city black families are headed by women, with no dad or male figure in the picture at all? How have they reacted to the fact that half the marriages in this country end in divorce? How many of them have rationalized their OWN divorce, affair, child out of wedlock? So now, suddenly, the prospect of gays being allowed to marry legally in this country is a threat to all we hold sacred? Bullshit. When, in the last fifty years, did this country start to hold marriage as sacred?

Let’s face it…their agenda is to clothe their meanness of spirit in an issue they believe will appeal to the broadest majority. Who doesn’t think that the institution of marriage has taken a beating in this country in the past few decades? But we can’t lay that at the door of people who simply want to be allowed to commit to each other publicly, in the eyes of the law and whatever they perceive God to be. The Christian Right claims to be shocked and overwhelmed by the "political agenda" brought forth by the gay community. I think they created their own monster…the gay community wouldn’t have HAD to become a political force if the rest of us had just left their personal lives alone.

Friday, January 9, 2004

My Children (Zoo)

Everybody is writing about their's mine. 

Beaker:  Age: 13  Joined the family in 1990.  Started out being my niece's cat.  Niece moved back to stayed.

Bebe:  Age: 13.  Also joined family in 1990, about 3 months after Beaker.  For many years, Beak believed she was his own personal kitten.

Sprite:  Age:  12.  Abandoned the family who lived across the street to come live with us.  Try explaining THAT to your neighbors...

Bartie:  Age:  6.  Joined family when rescued as a tiny baby kitten trying to cross a five-lane highway.  Saved by a guy on a bicycle, who handed him to me. Mine now!

Choo-Choo:  Age:  4.  Acquired from my sister, who swore she was a male. Her favorite being in the whole wide world is her brother Sprite.  They are sometimes referred to as "Me" and "Mini-me." 

Maude:  Age: 3.  Also abandoned the family who lived across the street to come live with us.  New street, new neighbors...but still hard to explain.

Lucy:  Age: 3.  When I stopped working full-time, I decided I wanted a dog.  She understands that the word "dog" refers to her, but she has no idea she IS one.  Actually believes she is mostly human and partly cat...has no affinity for other canines whatsoever. 

These are the guys who own the husband and I are just the hired help.

Thursday, January 8, 2004


I'm SO disgusted with myself.  I pigged out and blobbed around over the holidays so much that I must've gained at least five pounds (I refuse to get on the scale.)  And, I've gone backward about a year in my fitness routine just by blowing it off for two weeks.  Went to the pool on Monday (when I could still leave the house), and could only manage about 80% of my usual workout.  And now I've been stuck in the house for three days, and my determination to re-start my fitness routine has pretty much been snowed out.

Cruising the after-Christmas sales with a Target gift certificate, I found a video that caught my eye:  Pilates for Dummies.  Decided I needed to have it, since my ab muscles resemble a six-pack...of pillows.  Well, I tore the thing open today out of EXTREME boredom.  Rolled around on the floor for a half an hour accompanied by the sweet, calming voice of the serene little blonde in the video...SHE can actually sit on the floor with her legs out in front of her and her back straight.  And THEN she can stretch forward and touch the floor.   Found out THAT is a skill I lost somewhere in my twenties...

Well, I completed the workout...looking, I'm sure, like a beached sea creature struggling to get back to the surf.  If "purity of form" is indeed the most important element of this fitness regimen, my form needs a ride in an autoclave.  You'd think something that is mostly about breathing and counting to ten would be more...DOable.  But, as usual, my mind is a decade or two younger than my poor 48-year-old body (I originally typed "47" see?  My disconnected brain has no idea how old I AM...)

I'm sure I'll get the hang of this eventually.  I'm challenged, now, by golly!  ...If I don't end up in traction.    

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

For the Birds

For anyone who was as worried about the robins as I was (uh...okay...):  here's one selecting a nightcrawler from the box of bait I put out for them.  They got the hang of it pretty quickly!  They've already gone through three containers of two dozen worms each.  At $2.99 a pop, these are getting to be some pretty spendy birds.  But it's worth it! 

Ice Age

I took my life in my hands--you think I'm kidding?--and slid out on the back deck to get a picture of what I've been complaining about.  This is what our whole world looks like right now.  We've been watching people along the block taking literally HOURS to chip the ice and snow off their cars.  I don't know where they could possibly need to go that badly!  Although I guess there are people out there who have important jobs.  I guess I would've been pissed off if all the folks who work at the grocery store had decided not to go to work today.

I never thought I'd be praying for RAIN in the middle of an Oregon winter!  :-]

The Weather STILL Sucks

I cannot believe this hideous weather!  We are having a midwestern winter---and a bad one, at that---right here in the Pacific Northwest.  Yesterday it snowed about five more inches, and then it went to ice pellets, then to freezing rain overnight.  Everything is piled with snow and coated with ice.  The region is at a standstill...we don't DO snow and ice here.  At least not in this quantity!  The weather people have been predicting a mid-week thaw since last week.  But of course that hasn't happened, which is why the saying is, "Only fools and foreigners believe the weatherman in Oregon."

My husband is on his second day of being forced to stay home from work because of this thing.  He's been *sort of* helpful... I have "de-decorated" two rooms, and I actually had him help me in the family room yesterday, so that was nice.  But between "What's for dinner?" and "What's for lunch?" and "Let's go outside and play with the dog!" I haven't gotten much else done around the house.  Truthfully, I haven't felt very industrious.  For some reason, this awful weather has me just wanting to curl up in a chair, stuff myself with carbs, and stare at the television or read.  I think my body is being triggered to hibernate.

The target of most of my work and worry the last week or so has been the poor birds.  They're getting screwed bigtime.  These are Oregon birds...they don't understand this weather.  The robins don't go south for the winter here...why should they?  It rains so much, there's always a plentiful supply of worms.  Well, the ground has been frozen for over a week, they've stripped every berry off every bush I can see, and they're sitting on my fence, all puffed up, going "Cheep!  Cheep!"  I'm sure they're not smart enough to be begging, but that's what it LOOKS like.  I went down to the corner store and bought 4 dozen worms yesterday (bait) and tried to entice them.  They took a few, but the endeavor wasn't a great success.  I hope I won't be outside digging little robin graves at the end of this crappy cold spell!   

Monday, January 5, 2004

Venting on Journals

Last night was bad. Slept for a total of about three hours. Endless hot flashes and hormone-induced insomnia raised me out of bed in the middle of the night. I curled up in my leather chair and picked up my laptop to pass the sleepless hours. Visited many new journals. Wish I could say I enjoyed the experience.

I keep running into references to the Outstanding Journal Awards. I believe I expressed my distaste for this whole concept once before :-P. But I thought maybe I should give it another shot. Decided to go visit some of the perennial favorites.

One guy had a total overload of graphics, stuff, and do-dads on his page. Aside from this being completely distracting, I tried to leave a comment about five minutes after the beginning of my visit, and I couldn't because the page hadn't finished loading yet. The piece wasn't interesting enough for me to waste fifteen minutes waiting, so I left. Two or three others were so bent on being fast-paced and off-the-wall-funny that they were an exercise in literary hyperventilation. Probably I was crabby due to the circumstances surrounding my being on the internet in the middle of the night...but I just thought, "Bleah!"

In the past couple of weeks, I have found myself getting increasingly wrapped up in the idea of other people reading my journal. I was unduly bummed that I had apparently lost a few readers who had once been regulars. (I HAD a regular readership of about three people...guess that spectacular success made me hungry for more.) But after cruising some of the sites with the big "this journal has been visited xxxxx times" numbers, I understand that's NOT what I want my journal to become. As usual, I'm slightly out sync with the rest of the children. But that is, and always has

I do, however, come in contact with a really gut-grabbing journal once in a while. A couple of days ago, I stumbled on to "Watching My Sister...Disappear"---a log of a woman's daily phone calls to her younger sister, whose mind is being speedily devoured by Alzheimer's. A lovely tribute, displaying the kind of human connection that I can only aspire to. I'll use her as the target of my journal-envy, for now.


Sunday, January 4, 2004

Unusual Weather We're Having...

It is 25 degrees outside.  There is an inch-deep layer of crunchy snice (snow-ice combination) on my front doorstep.  We didn't shovel it...because we don't OWN a snow-shovel.  This is, in fact, the first time in seven years that we've had snow on the ground that lasted more than a day.  AND it's supposed to snow again later this week.  What gives? 

This strange weather did produce a most unusual phenomenon in downtown Portland today.  Driving through town on our way to our concert, we observed Oregonians indulging in terribly uncharacteristic behavior.  They were actually wearing coats.  Even more shocking, there was  not a pair of shorts or sandals to be seen.  Normally, the inhabitants of this great state, at least west of the Cascades, have the idea that we live in perpetual summer.   What a sane person would consider "summer attire"--shorts, Birkenstocks, tank tops--can as likely be found on the people of Portland in the dead of winter as the middle of July.  You can always tell a non-native Oregonian by the fact that she owns a winter coat, and will actually be seen wearing it once or twice a season, when the weather demands.

The funny thing about this is, we don't really HAVE a summer here.  We have about eight weeks, from Mid-July to mid-September, when it doesn't rain. It gets warm during the day, yes, but it always goes back down into the fifties or sixties at night. Summer nights in Illinois had always been about wearing as little as possible, weather you were in bed or outside carousing.  After moving here, I had to get used to the idea of bundling up to go watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.  The concept of needing blankets on the bed in August was new and strange.

So I don't actually know what makes Oregonians eschew winter attire.  Maybe it has something to do with consumption of mind-altering agents...another thing for which Oregon is famous. 

Up and at 'em...Later

I spent an hour last night prying off my acrylic nails.  They were nice to have for the holidays, but the holidays are over..*alas*.  I'm taking today as my transition day.  The last day of the last weekend of the holiday 2003-2004 season.   We're going to a concert this afternoon, and then I'm going to come home and sit and stare at my lovely decorations until they're imprinted in my mind (LOL).  And tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up bright and early (maybe) and start "de-decorating." 

I would almost rather walk across burning coals than take down Christmas decorations.  My Christmas stuff fills about a dozen huge closet in the house is big enough to hold it.  Luckily, we have built-in storage under the stairs that holds about half of it.  The rest of it resides on my husband's giant storage racks (you'd have to see our garage...between the display racks Matt scored from a home center that was going out of business, and the stacks of restaurant equipment, it looks like a warehouse.  And, by golly, we can still fit two vehicles in there.  Husband is a stuff-stacking genius.)

Here's the list: I have plans to paint my bedroom (we bought the paint two years ago...), finish the remodel of our family room, join Weight Watchers, alternate workouts at the pool and the gym, continue volunteering at the fairgrounds, continue working at the old people's home,  and do some major landscaping changes come Spring.  All this has to be done by April, as that is when my season starts with the concession trailer.  After that, just about every weekend until October is shot with some event or another.  Maybe we'll even make some money this year!

Yes, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of the year.  Today, however, is the last day of the holidays...and I'm just going to soak in it.


Thursday, January 1, 2004


It's snowing in Oregon today, Not just snowing...S-N-O-W-I-N-G! Paralyzes the hell out of native Oregonians.

And birds! I indulge in what I am told is one of the most popular hobbies in America. I have at least six different fancy bird feeders outside my patio door...and their favorite dining spot is currently the old Marie Callender pie tin I put under the picnic table on the deck.

Today's snow brought the little guys out in droves. Unfortunately, it has also made the windows and doors look too much like somewhere to go when they're spooked...I had them bouncing off the patio door all morning. We had just come in from slogging to the grocery store and *wham*...looked outside and there's a little guy spread-eagled in the snow on one of the deck chairs. We rushed out to see if he was still alive. Breathing, yes, but he was NOT okay...he looked like Wylie Coyote after he gets hit in the head with an anvil.

What to do with him? Finally decided to bring him in the house so he wouldn't freeze. Put him in a plastic bucket with a wire rack over the top, stuck him in the guest bathroom (seemed somehow apropos) and went about the business of making breakfast. I was not optimistic about his chances for recovery... he just kept closing his eyes and going into the twilight zone.

After about an hour I went in to check on him. He was looking around a little, but still not moving much. Decided to put some food in there for him, so I lifted his lid...and suddenly had a little bird flying all over my bathroom and cheeping curses at me. A little bird who wanted nothing to do with my catching him and trying to put him back in his bucket. He bounced off the mirror three or four times, and I'm thinking..."Jeesh, I brought this poor little thing in out of the snow to kill himself on my bathroom mirror...!'" They're SO hard to tiny, I was afraid my big stupid human hands would crush him, and when I finally got hold of him, he weighed nothing. It was like holding air with feathers.

Back in his bucket he went, wire rack firmly replaced. And then we marched out to the back deck and ceremoniously removed the rack. With a little prodding, he abandoned his bucket and flew up into the neighbor's tree to rejoin the cheeping hordes of his buddies. BIG smile on my face. Feeling large, like Mother Nature. Great way to start the new year!


Okay, it's time to rate 2003.  On a scale of 100...I'd have to give it an 85.  (It had a good beat, and you could dance to it...)  It was generally a good year, with some minor mishaps along the way.  Like when the tranny went out on the van on the way to the coast...pulling the brand-new trailer up a a "no cel service" zone.  That turned out to be $2500 worth of not-so-fun.  But if that's the worst thing that happened all year, I guess I'd have to rate 2003 right up there with the top ten good years of my life. Life actually seems to be going in a direction now.  There were a few years there that I was just treading water...and feeling pretty good about even being able to do THAT, rather than drowning. 

Resolutions?  I make resolutions all the time.  Daily, in fact.  Every morning, I fall out of bed with a list of at least a dozen things I want to get accomplished that day...everything from hauling my ass to the pool, to finding a solution to the nation's health care crisis (might as well aim high!)  As the day wears on and I'm distracted by the "stuff" of life---like an irresistable urge to sit and watch two episodes of "ER" on TNT---my list becomes more "streamlined..."  I start to blow stuff off.  Normally, I complete one or two of the dozen or so things I'd started out wanting to do.  If I get to three or four, I feel particularly proud of myself. 

I don't think I'm inclined to write a list of what I'd like to do this year.  I think I just want to keep on keeping on,  Last year, I made some positive moves toward healing some relationships in my life, and toward rejoining the human race.  I'd definitely like to stay on that track.  Other than that, I'd just like for myself and the people close to me to stay healthy, active, and out of trouble.Given that, and a few less hot-flashes and night sweats,  and 2004 could take its place among the top ten years of my life.

Oh.   And I want to win Powerball...