Wednesday, April 26, 2006

writing the night

there is work

to be done

but I have not

the patience or

the focus for it


in my head

I retreat

to the days of

the music and the bic

and the spiral notebook


so many years

yellowed in candlelight

the words that gushed

and flowed to the old songs

with so much force


I could hardly capture them

now are choked

and stuttered

and micro-managed


I am that girl, but not

now a loose-skinned woman

decades beyond the words

and the heart and the need


but the heart still beats

the need remains

the words still come

more slowly

but not less urgently


Monday, April 24, 2006

Ten Good Things Weekly--Week 6

Time once again for the "Ten Good Things Weekly." This is going to be a fast list, because I have a million things to do today. I have an event coming up this weekend, we have three different business opportunities that either we are pursuing or are pursuing us. So, I have to make this quick. And it might even BE quick, because I can readily recall some good things that happened over the last week, so I won’t have to do much dredging or embellishing.

Okay, here we go:

  2. I got the three most visible areas of my back yard weeded. Now we don’t look so much like an abandoned rental…
  3. We signed the papers for a GREAT BIG loan that will make us much more able to respond quickly if the right business opportunity comes up. Actually this scares the crap out of me, and it could just as easily be a terribly bad thing. But I’m going to "step out in faith" (a little cliché dredged up from my Pentecostal days…) and declare it a good thing, in hopes that perception will equal reality.
  4. We had our first al fresco dining experience of the spring at our favorite local restaurant. This little café is on a houseboat; it’s long on atmosphere, and slightly misses the mark when it comes to great food. But anything tastes special when sitting out on their deck over the waters of the channel on summer evenings.
  6. Finally got the husband to weed and feed the front lawn. Of course, there are so many weeds by now that the whole expanse will finally curl up and turn brown…
  7. See my previous entry about the scene of my emotional whipping last April coming up for sale…
  8. We really seem to be getting a handle on the business plan thing. It’s been an interesting process. I was convinced I did not have a clue about what I was doing. As I’ve waded further into it, I realize I am in possession of a great deal of knowledge about my chosen field, and I might just be able to make a go of this…
  9. I formulated a little plan for getting myself motivated on a daily basis. I sat down the other day and typed up "The List," upon which I put every item, big and small, that I want to accomplish in the next month. From "paint the bathroom" to "Scrub the dining room floor." That proved a bit overwhelming, though, and every morning I would just sit and look at the list, ticking off the things I couldn’t do because they were just too big for me to think about. Then I got the bright idea of making daily lists. Every morning, I type up a little list of eight or ten things that I need to/want to accomplish for the day. My first day, I ticked every item off the list. It was very motivational…I felt inordinately stoked at the end of the day, even though there was nothing earth-shaking on the list. Sometimes, you just have to be able to quantify your achievements, large or small…
  10. Did I mention that THE CAME OUT?

There it is. Now, I have to run and get dressed so I can take the dog for a walk in THE SUN.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Remember the disastrous job experience I wrote about, right around this time last year? (Come to think of it, I only wrote about the job in this journal...I wrote about the disaster in "Brainsurfing"...  But, trust me; it was a disaster.) 

Well, guess what? The "scene of the crime" just went on the market. And yours truly happens to be IN the market…for a local restaurant opportunity. Okay…what do you think I should do?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Apple Blossom Time

Fear of...?

I opened the front door this morning to the glorious, too-often-a-stranger sun, prepared to skip down my front steps and trot the half-block to my mailbox. In my neighborhood, our "car route" mailboxes are planted in groups of five or six along one side of the road, to make life easy for the local mail carrier, in her car with the steering wheel on the wrong side.

Just as my foot was poised over the sidewalk, I looked up to see the neighbor from across the street heading down his driveway, apparently with the same postal objective in mind. Our mailboxes are right next to each other.

At the prospect of actually meeting and having to interact with another human being, I hit the brakes and veered left, to the gate that leads to my back yard. Surely I could find something with which to busy myself…until the coast was clear. Even as I chickened out and opted for solitude, I chided myself for being such an antisocial old fart.

But as I headed for my gate to refuge, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my neighbor suddenly make his own left turn, head for his car that was parked on the curb in front of his house, and appear to be very focused upon some aspect of his windshield. I slyly detected a kindred spirit. Once through the gate, from the vantage point of the step up into my back door, I could see over the fence just enough to catch Mr. Neighbor heading toward his mailbox as soon as I was safely otherwise occupied.

I was amused—that there was indeed at least one other person in the world as transparently allergic to casual social interaction as I am… And somewhat relieved—that maybe I am not quite the "old fart" I believe myself to be… But, in the end, dismayed—that the social reticence that I had until now taken as a personal quirk is, apparently, an increasingly common malady in middle class American neighborhoods.

It is sad, isn’t it?

Friday, April 21, 2006

One of the Few Real People Has Gone

I’ve written a lot about the frustrating nature of internet friendships. Yes…they are a whole different category of human interaction. Maybe that’s the problem. Internet bonds are human interaction mutated by technology. The resultant relationships are sometimes freakish and a little scary. Let’s face it, it’s easy, fun even, to portray yourself as someone else on the internet. The technology has created this great big fantasy land. You can be anyone you’ve ever wanted to be. Or, even if you don’t create a completely fictional persona for yourself, you can still edit what you let people see of the real you—make yourself a little more comical, a little less anal retentive. I think we’ve all done that at one time or another.

But every once in awhile, a real person takes up residence in journal land. One who writes from the heart, who shares happiness and heartbreak freely and openly. Who reaches out selflessly and guilelessly to others. Who doesn’t hide behind a curtain of fear and falsehood. It’s funny. The rest of us, those of us who tread timidly, who always keep ourselves at least partially hidden, who write as if we were afraid someone we know might read; like ants to a picnic, we gravitate toward the real people. We have no problem calling them "friends." Even though we don’t (can’t?) offer so much of ourselves, we attach ourselves to ones who do, and wish we could be like them.

This past week, whether we wanted to or not, we have all found out how tragically real the internet can be. For one wrenching moment, the ether of journal land was transformed into substance, by the passing of our most real citizen—Pamela. I have been surprised how profoundly her death has affected me. Like many others, I only started reading Pamela’s journal after she was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. I immediately recognized her generous spirit and genuineness…and I was drawn to her as inexorably as the legions of j-landers who knew her as friend and paragon of the community before her illness. I was hooked…I kept up with every entry, throughout her struggle with the disease. Fearing the worst, yet hoping for the best. And continually awed by her willingness to share such a personal and difficult journey with the entire community.

We will miss you, Pamela. You’ve taken a big chunk of the rare reality of journal land with you. Wherever you are, we know you’re reaching out, making friends, and showing pictures…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tuning In. Or OUT...

My attention span is about five minutes these days, and that’s a dead give-away that something is chemically amiss. I am usually focused bordering on obsessive once I set my mind to getting something done. I seem to have misplaced the "On" button for that part of my brain. As a result, everything in my life is a dangling participle. A half-finished paragraph. And it’s got to the point that there are so many of these partial projects hanging around, I don’t know which one to tackle first. The whole mess seems so overwhelming that I just…turn on the television.

Yep…the TV. The last time I spent so many hours in front of the boob tube was when I was a teen-ager. I used the tube as an escape from the emotional challenges of fluctuating hormones (though I’m sure I wouldn’t have described it that way at the time...) What’s my problem now? Escaping from the emotional challenges of fluctuating hormones…only fluctuating in the opposite direction, I’m afraid.

Typically, husband and I have latched on to one or two shows for a season or so. Up until lately, ER and West Wing were the big two. And Queer Eye got us hooked for a few months… But it’s not in my nature to sit in front of the tv for hours every night; I’m too high-energy a person for that. Until now. Suddenly, I have a whole litany of shows that I "need to" watch almost every night of the week. Boston Legal. Top Chef. American Idol (god save me!). House. NCIS. What Not to Wear. And then I was wasting two hours every morning watching reruns of "Judging Amy." Augh!

Yesterday, we finally had a spring day here in the Pacific Northwest. I managed to spend five or six hours outside. Took the dog for TWO walks. Weeded another bed. Mowed the lawn. Sat on the patio of our favorite local house-boat restaurant until the sun got too low and it got too chilly to sit outside anymore. I looked in the mirror last night to brush my teeth, and my face actually had color in it. Between about November and April every year, my face gets so pasty and sallow I scare small children at the grocery store.

Oh, well I hear some other half-finished task calling my name. Gotta go do…something. Or half of something, anyway.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Get The "H" (Heaven) Out Of My Life

My phone has rung twice in the last hour. The caller ID told me it was an "Unknown Caller" with a 571 area code. I ignored the call the first time. I figured if it was someone who really needed to get in touch with me, they’d leave a message. I checked the voicemail a half-hour later…no message.

A couple of minutes ago, the phone rang again. Same number. Okay, I thought. I’ll bite. Maybe it’s someone who really does need to speak to me and won’t leave a message. Like maybe one of my myriad bill payments got lost somewhere along the line and I have been sent to collections for something I thought I paid (it has happened…) So I answered it.

A sincere recorded voice started in on a long harangue about how my signature was desperately needed to get a measure placed on the Oregon ballot. The measure happened to be about requiring Oregon teens to get parental consent on abortions. Of course, I would never sign such a petition, anyway. But that is not what irked me about this phone call. I wasn’t even really pissed that these idiots can bother me even though my number is on the National Do Not Call List…though that is irritating.

No, what cheesed me about this call was the Area Code it came from. "571" is not an Oregon area code. It is not even a Pacific Northwest area code. In fact, when I went to my online US Area Code Table, I was able to discern that the call came from somewhere in Northern Virginia.

I am thoroughly sick of being subjected to the national agenda of the Christian Right. And I emphatically object to them sticking their noses, and their funds, into putting measures on the ballot in MY state; an entire country away from their bible-belt cubicles with the "Jesus Saves" posters on the wall. And apparently they don’t even believe they need to be sneaky about meddling in our business.

If you don’t live in Oregon, stay out of our affairs. If a majority of Oregonians decide to risk hellfire in order to maintain the availability of safe abortions, or to provide end-of-life choices for our suffering neighbors, it’s none of your damned business. Look in the mirror and take the plank out of your own eye.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ten Good Things Weekly--Week Five

I’ve said this before…I am a pessimist’s pessimist. All my life, as far back as I can remember, I have tended to look at life from a negative, "half-empty glass" perspective. I don’t chalk my negativity up to some event or circumstance of my growing up. I was just never issued rose-colored glasses; my lenses are more the color of…something brown.

But there has also been a balance, something that sits on the other side of the see-saw of my life that keeps my negative baggage from weighing me down and planting my butt firmly and permanently in the mud. Many people are so mired in their problems, they don’t see any light at all. Up until now, I have been fortunate enough to never get completely lost in my darkness. I’ve come this close, but never fallen body and soul into the pit and pulled the cover over after me. My personal darkness has not prevented me from seeing beauty and life. And hope. And feeling gratitude for those things.

When I started this exercise a month ago, my intention was to get myself meditating on those good things, and take my focus off the "brown stuff" that is my constant companion. Tip the see-saw out of balance, maybe, but toward the good and the light. It hasn’t really worked out that way. But I have a feeling that, with the way things have been going lately, my butt would indeed be stuck in that cold, negative mud if I wasn’t taking a couple hours every Monday morning to call up the Ten Good Things.

So, even though today comes on the heels of a really crappy weekend, I don’t think it would be a good week to quit this exercise…

  1. Waded our way far enough through the commercial real estate fog to manage to make a bid on a commercial property. It felt good to finally get an idea about what financing such a venture would entail, how one goes about writing up an offer that will protect one’s interests, all that technical stuff. Now that we have done it once, it should be easier the next time.
  2. Bid was rejected. Trust me, this IS a good thing. Turns out the sellers are notorious flakes, have a reputation that has spread through just about every real estate office in the county, have listed this property at least four times with four different offices, and apparently have no intention of actually parting with it. At least, not until they disassemble it to the point that it will be of no earthly good to anyone… We are will rid of that particular money pit, and can now go on to the next one. J
  3. …And the "next one" might be a strip mall sports bar/bistro a few blocks from our house, which has many of the elements of the restaurant we’ve always dreamed of owning.
  4. I got my new recliners for my bedroom! And by golly, just the fact that they match makes the room look less like a flea market and more like an official room. Now, maybe I will be inspired to actually apply the paint I bought (and is sitting stacked up on the bathroom floor) to the tract-house white walls.
  5. They showed the final episodes of "Judging Amy" on TNT early last week. I like shows that have continuing story lines and actually end. So now, I don’t have to waste two hours every morning watching it anymore. Just in time to start getting out and working in the yard. If it ever gets around to being spring…
  6. New espresso machine performed admirably at otherwise forgettable (oh please) event on Saturday.
  7. Truck did not break down, nor did trailer burst into flames on the way to, or the way home from, or during aforementioned event. Not the greatest endorsement for the day…but good things, nonetheless.
  8. Unloaded the equipment from the back of the truck by myself (husband was down with flu yesterday) and only smashed my hand twice. It’s not broken… :-P
  9. The "buzzies" (hummingbirds) are back. Cats and humans alike are entertained nightly by their aerial acrobatics and prodigious appetites for sugar water.
  10. Sneaked out between freezing rain squalls and weeded another bed out in the yard. Two down, eight to go…

It is my imagination, or are my "Ten Things" becoming a little…stretched, shall we say? Next week, I’ll probably be writing that my right arm fell off, but that’s a good thing, because it means I won’t have to worry about my Weight Watcher’s weigh-in next Tuesday. It’s all in how you look at it, I guess.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Journal Land Mourns...

Where I'm Really From

When I posted my "Where I’m From" entry, I got a comment that kind of took me aback. Debbi said, "I know it’s not your usual vehicle…"

Ah, but it is! I’ve been writing poetry since I was in high school. I found it kind of sad that my usual entries don’t betray my poetic bent. Then I realized that I had been posting my poetry and more "creative" writing in my private journal—"Brainsurfing." I don’t write there anymore. I haven’t the time; the way post-apocalyptic Journal-land has re-formed, I have more than I can handle between "Coming to Terms," on AOL and "Better Terms" and "The Blue Voice" on Blogspot.

But, yes….I do write poetry. Even without a template to point me in the right direction. I’ve brought this one over from "Brainsurfing." It seems to speak to the theme upon which I have been expounding lately—my love/hate relationship with blogging…


it is after all


of nothingness


they are out there

but not

those spirits


one thinks kindred

could easily be

probably are invented


too much like

the world inside my head

to be real


I reach out

to grasp them

and wrap my arms round



Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More Fun With Words

Last week, when I wrote about how blogging has changed the way I write, some folks were probably wondering how someone could write to no one for more than three decades. Hard to say… I’ve always been a decent writer. A few wonderful teachers in high school recognized my talent and nurtured it. But I wasn’t used to being recognized or nurtured; ultimately, my life didn’t go in a direction where my literary talent was going to get a whole lot of exercise. Even so, I never outgrew feeling that it was easier for me to write what I meant than to say it. I got quite a rep as a note-scribbler. At my little bakery, my crew used to roll their eyes and sigh every time a two-page hand-written missive was posted on the bulletin board. It wasn’t a terribly effective means of business communication, but at least it was communication. Let’s just say, it met with mixed results.

As I said, though, blogging has been a whole different experience. It has been challenging, exhilarating, intimidating and liberating all at the same time. And what a stretching exercise! I’m sure I’m learning things about writing that I would have learned way back when, had I taken my talent to the next level of education. Here I am, fifty years old, discovering by trial and error things that a twenty-year-old college student got out of a textbook in Writing 101. So I’m a bit of a late bloomer…. What can I say?

But my writing isn’t the only thing that has been undergoing a metamorphosis. I have found that my increased attention to words, and how to put them together, has changed the way I talk. I’ll be having an intense discussion with my husband or one of my sisters, and something so creatively metaphorical will burst out of my mouth that I almost turn around to see who said it. Have you ever been watching your favorite TV drama, and a character will come out with some eloquent soliloquy, very emotive, very poetic…and you screw up your face and say, "Oh, come on…people don’t really talk like that!"

I don’t know…maybe they do. At least, maybe the guys who write the scripts do, so they think everybody else must, too. Because that fascination with language doesn’t seem to be something you can turn on and off at will. It just becomes part of you. Time was, I despaired that my vocabulary had dwindled to about a dozen favorite words. If someone told me a sad story, I was more than likely to emote, "Wow! That sucks!" or something equally juvenile. The other day, my sister was venting about her husband, and how he had dredged up some old wound in a fight they were having; and I said to her, I kid you not, "You live with someone long enough, and you learn a lot about them. You can either use that information to cherish them, or you can use it to push their buttons. Unfortunately, some people choose the latter." Now, that’s not particularly eloquent or literarily significant, but it is about two dozen more words than my response would have been, say, three years ago. Earlier that same day, I was having a discussion with my husband, trying to describe the unbreakable connection I seem to have with my dysfunctional family. I blurted, "Sometimes it feels like a safety belt, and sometimes, like a garrote." I actually said that. It came out of my mouth, I swear to God. Whoa.

Who knows where this will lead? Either I will soar to new heights of improved communication with my fellow human beings, or I’ll be branded a hopeless snob, intentionally unintelligible to the unwashed masses. I may find that my days of gloriously eloquent utterances are numbered; because in a very short time, no one will be speaking to me anymore. This should be an interesting ride…

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ten Things Weekly--Week Four

Has it already been three weeks since I made the mind-expanding commitment to a weekly list of ten good things that happened in the previous seven days? My goodness, I’m becoming a veritable conduit of positive energy. Next thing you know, I’ll be reading "Chicken Soup for the (insert the name of your sorry-ass group here) Soul." Or writing it. Ewwww...

Currently, I’m in the curious space of watching the days and weeks whip past at lightning speed, while my own life crawls along at the pace of a spider missing six legs. How can it already be April? Wasn’t Christmas just a couple of weeks ago? I’m still vacuuming plastic fir needles and ornament hooks out of my carpeting…yet the crabtrees and the dogwoods are days away from bursting into bloom. And my life is so stagnant that I’m not sure ten things of any kind happened, much less ten good things.

Let me look down the corridor of the past week and see if I can spot ten points of light. This may take some time; I think a few might not be much bigger than a speck of leftover Christmas glitter…

  1. Spotted our neighborhood bald eagle in a tree on the shore of Sauvie Island, across the channel from the dike on the Scappoose side. (Lucy has decided the dike is her favorite "dog outing" route. So many smells, so little time…and Mom and/or Dad usually produce a tennis ball for her to chase through the grasses.) We have dubbed our eagle "Sam," thinking the name would be appropriate for either gender, since we have no idea whether it is a male or a female.
  2. Presented my horrible, inadequate business plan to a commercial loan officer, who did not laugh in my face (yet.)
  3. Colored my hair. My pre-holiday haircut had eliminated the last vestiges of blond highlights from my mousy, dark brown fluff. I was quite taken with the fact that a fifty-year-old still had hair that could be described as "mousy brown," rather than gray. In fact, one of my sisters commented that she "wouldn’t have gone so dark" with the color, and looked a tad envious when I informed her that the dark brown was, in fact, my natural color. But after living with the new old me for about six months, I remembered why I have been coloring my hair since I was a teenager. Because my natural hair color sucks. So, back to the cap, gloves, and crochethook. It looks…better.
  4. Participated in a "writing exercise" (posted two entries ago) that resulted in a lovely poetic picture of my family. This was such a fun exercise, though more difficult than it looked. Probably took me three hours to distill all the images it called into my head down to the ones that best told the story I wanted to tell. Here is the template. Why not do one and leave your link in the comments?
  5. We made our first purchase of bio-diesel for "Great White"--the edging-toward-politically-correct giant mega-truck required by my business; which has, up ‘til now, inspired a worrisome pang of climate change guilt each time I clambered up behind the wheel. If I’m destined to pay in excess of $3 a gallon for fuel, why not pay a little extra for the privilege of sticking it to Bush, Exxon, and OPEC at the same time?
  6. Finally got outside to do some yard work, which mostly entailed trimming back and pulling out freeze-killed plants. My high hopes that some of my tender perennials may have miraculously survived our unusually cold, dry winter were soundly dashed. But every dead plant is an opportunity to buy a new one…
  7. Spent a day down south with my sisters and didn’t cry all the way home.  J In fact, we had a marvelous time with some blown eggs, cheap acrylic poster paint and vials of pastel glitter…
  8. Met with my "new" Kaiser dentist; whose ministrations, it is to be hoped, will not necessitate unlocking a closed dental clinic on a Sunday afternoon so that I may undergo an emergency root-canal procedure. As did his predecessor’s…
  9. Using my "brains over brawn" philosophy of donkey work, I managed to move two 100+ pound espresso machines without breaking either one of them or myself. I am woman, hear me roar…
  10. Ate dinner Friday night in the shadow of the spectacular Astoria-Megler Bridge, the four-mile long span that connects Oregon and Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River. I’ll never tire of sitting in the back dining room of the shabby-attempting-chic Café Uniontown, watching the sun sink into the bay, hiding and reappearing between the girders of the bridge. The gulls wheel and cry; and huge ships slide steadily and almost silently past the last outpost of populated shoreline before reaching the open sea. For a girl brought up amid the cornfields and silos of the Chicago exurbs, this Oregon stuff never gets old.



Thursday, April 6, 2006

About Writing...

There’s one thing I have to say about blogging. It has so changed the way I write. When I first started doing this, back in September of ’03, there was an interesting constraint to the experience: the 2500 word limit. There I was, the one who could churn out four or five single-spaced pages of stream-of-consciousness in a bored hour or two at work, reduced to trying to express myself in what amounted to about four paragraphs.

Eventually, we were freed from the word limit ball and chain. Going forward, I found I had learned a good lesson, and I carried it along with me into the world of the expanded blog. I had learned how to edit. How to distill my prose down to an almost poetic economy of words. And how to stick to making one point about one subject, and not indulge in my usual butterfly-flitting-from-thought-to-thought style of writing. The hyper-examination of every word has worn off some; but I have been bitten by the editing bug. And the computer makes it so easy! I hardly crank out one sentence without backspacing, "control-x-ing," moving things around or just deleting large quantities of print altogether.

Gone are the days when I could jump on my train of thought and shovel whatever came into my mind into the boiler. Suddenly, it has to make sense. It has to communicate. It has to be more than bile, or tears, or hysteria. It has to say something. Writing has gone from the smooth flowing fun with words it once was for me, to being a stutter-step, start and stop process that decidedly does not flow. But I can’t blame it all on editing fever. What’s really to blame is that pesky thing called an audience.

Readers. Nobody read my writing. For years. Not since high school, anyway. That would be many, many years. Until now. Readership is a powerful drug. It changes everything. Everything. It has kept me coming back here, even when my heart was sore, when I felt I’d been rejected or misunderstood, when I was afraid I had alienated the world, when I thought I had run out of things to say. Even though my audience includes almost none of the people I started out with. Even though I don’t feel the same "relationship" I did with the first half dozen friends who fell into stopping by and seeing what I had to say. There is a relationship, nonetheless. And for a writer, it’s the only relationship that matters. Someone reads.

Now, I wish I commanded the audience of a Dave Barry, or even a Margie Boulet ("women’s viewpoint" columnist for the Oregonian.) Or maybe I don’t. Because I have a hard enough time trying to write things that are true, meaningful to me, topical, and engaging to the six people who read my journal. I work for literally hours on a 3500-word post. Editing, revising, re-reading, trying to make sure I’m really communicating. I think about people who write for a living…who have to crank out something good, concise, and interesting five days a week. Oh, my god….the impossible dream. Or writing a novel. At the rate I obsess for my handful of readers, it would take me 200 years to write a book.

It’s unfortunate that even a small taste of very limited success makes one crave more. I’m pretty sure I don’t have what it takes to ever get to the point where I might actually be paid for what I write. And, you know…I’m not sure that’s my goal. I write stuff here, and some of it is good. And I know that there is such a thing as making a living as a writer. But I don’t look at writing in those terms. For me, the reward is all about the communication; the connection to at least one other soul on the planet. Having readers is still new enough for me that I haven’t yet reached the point of wondering how I might profit from the experience. But then, how cool would it be to make a living doing the one thing that you have always felt the call on your heart to do?

The world is full of people answering calls on their lives not even remotely connected to their highest calling, to their native talent. We all make do. We all find our lives more influenced by who we know, where we grew up, what our families did, the expectations put on us by others. Rather than the true voices of our souls. I feel fortunate that, as one of the misdirected masses, I have stumbled across the world of the blog…this microcosm of what I should be, what I would love to be. I can get the tiniest taste of what it is like to do what I am meant to do. Many people are not that lucky.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Where I'm From

Cynthia, Wil, and Mary all partook of this wonderful writing exercise. Their resulting pieces were beautiful, magical, deep... And, well...this is what I ended up with:

I am from station wagons, from Kool-aid and Turf-builder.

I am from the three bedroom, one bath ticky tacky box

with the swath of weedy lawn; from lightning bugs, june bugs,

and mosquitoes the size of small birds.

From nights near as hot as the days, spread-eagled on sticky sheets, crickets creaking, horns honking,

trains rumbling and whistling in the distance…

I am from Snow to the eaves, jewel-studded ice storms,

and green-black thunderstorms with sideways rain

I am from bright red tulips, honeysuckle berries,

and worms on the driveway after a cloudburst;

From daisies, tiny wild strawberries, "Queen Anne’s Lace"

and crashing the kite into power lines.

I am from "look what followed me home from school"

and never having too many animals; from Taffy, and Rusty,

and Sunny, the yellow-headed parakeet, who could say

"Happy Birthday" but only when he thought no one was listening….

I am from the women who shuttle the carpool, punch the clock,

scrub the toilet, then climb into the bottle, the herb,

or the fantasy to quiet the noise in their heads

and themen they choose to rescue, or who choose to rescue them

From "when you meet the right one, you’ll just know"

and "Your dad was a virgin when we were married…"

I am from the dutiful eldest daughter who paired off,

home made and pro-created at the appointed time,

and the other four who didn’t.

I am from the tearful Catholic and the stoic agnostic;

the rope stretched taut between belief and unbelief,

pulled one direction, then the other…the eternal tug-of-war never won.

I'm from pioneers of urban exile; before the country clubs,

the soccer, and the rolls royces.

I’m from the first McDonald’s and the last Tastee Freeze.

I am from the great mouldering box in the upstairs closet,

roaring twenties studio sepias stacked on

shiny square instamatic shots discoloring with age.

I am from the five stair-steps, the Christmas trees, the campfires,

and the blurred mountains captured from a moving car.

I am from the unlikely union of a country boy and a city girl,

brought together by Hitler and Hirohito,

and the neighborhood of compromise that kept them both sane…almost.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Poetry Assignment

I tend to avoid "blogfather" assignments like the plague...  Bad attitude, I know.  But an assignment that appealed to me came to my attention late last week.  Something about posting a favorite poem...

Oddly enough, though I write poetry, I don't read nearly enough of it.  I don't have volumes of poetry weighing down my bookshelves.  In fact, I don't think I own a single one.  I'll have to remedy that situation.  But here's a poem I latched on to a long time ago...and I like to think it has turned out to be descriptive of my least a little.


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Monday, April 3, 2006

Ten Good Things Weekly, Part Trois

I know it is very late on a Monday evening. (In some parts of the country, in fact, it is already Tuesday...). And that you all have been waiting with baited breath for my "Ten Good Things Weekly" post for this week. Or not.

It occurred to me that I should do a rebuttal list every Tuesday, called "Ten Things That Went to Hell Weekly." So far, about five out of the ten good things I have listed each week have rapidly deteriorated, disappeared, or just plain tanked within days. But you don’t want to hear about that part of it, do you? I didn’t think so….

Despite all that, here are last weeks "Things:"

  1. Good weather! We actually had 2 ½ days of spring early in the week. Sunshine, warmer temps, swelling buds, perfumed breezes…the whole nine yards. Mmmmmmm!
  2. $3000 truck repair turned into $400 truck repair. Not sure it really IS repaired, but the wallet remains a little fatter for at least a few more months.
  3. Great dog walks last week. Herons, egrets, harriers, osprey claiming the nests. The buzzards are back in the valley (a sure sign of spring in Oregon.) I soar on the wings of birds…
  4. Found out that the restaurant equipment guy was trying to pull a fast one on the espresso machine. I guess that's a good thing (that we figured it out before we bought....)
  5. Was forced to gussy up the house for some out-of-town guests. I always perform best under pressure. I like a clean house, but need some kind of extreme motivation to achieve it, these days.
  6. We may have found a property that will take my business to the next level. Someplace to put my catering kitchen. All kinds of plans and ideas swirling around in my head. Hope the fates are kind and it works out… All we need now is to win the lottery.
  7. I made a lovely oatmeal cake (with coconut frosting) for the out-of-town guests, from scratch. And ended up eating easily half of it myself. Well, that part may not be a "good thing…" But---aw, hell! It WAS delicious!
  8. Somehow managed to weigh in at 0.1# less than I weighed in last month at WW. And still within 2# of my lifetime goal (so I didn’t have to pay!) I have not been being good about what I have been eating, so this was a miracle, indeed. (I still need to lose three pounds to get back into my comfort zone, and my "skinny" clothes, for the summer…)
  9. Saw the first swallow of the spring, perched on the point of the shed roof. Had a pair nest in the eaves of the shed last year. Hope they will reprise that performance J
  10. Pearlie (my "Nuccio’s Pearl camellia—see above) popped into bloom. Along with my little rose-colored tulips in the side yard. Dafs are still hanging in there, and the grape hyacinths are coming on strong.

Once again, that was more difficult than I anticipated…. But getting easier! It seems I am powered by the sun. A few golden rays and a wedge of blue sky always inspires a smile and a happy dance. Oh, and daylight savings! How cool is it that the sky is still streaked with light at 8:30 pm? I gladly trade one measly hour of sleep for that yearly miracle!