Got kissed on the cheek by two tall dark handsome men and one beautiful blonde last evening, oh yes.

I had gone to friend R's home prior to our dance class, and she & her friends were sitting on the porch, flirting away in Spanish. Lou and Albert were leaving as I was arriving. R's friend Lou is Chinese and Peruvian, very striking, very passionate, and very in love with R, who likes him but has a fancy elsewhere. I didn't know Albert but he spoke very little English and was very handsome.

Oh, hardship to get kissed on the cheek.

Once the men had left, we went into R's little apartment in the funky old house, where we talked boys and travels and relationships and freedom and happiness and love. She just returned from an escapade in the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington near Seattle, with the man she loves best.

She wants to be with him but is not willing to lose herself to him, she doesn't want to move up there and end up being his couch ornament (which wouldn't happen anyway, since R never stops moving, but I nodded in agreement). Basically, she has her life here, and he has his life there, and they're both busybodies and neither is willing to pack up and change direction in life for the sake of being together.

I love her and she has a good strong mind. She tickles me but it was too hot to laugh in her apartment.

Dance class was fun; we didn't dance. We sat in the little air conditioned office and practiced our zils (finger cymbals) to the different drum rhythms. Much of Middle Eastern music is in Beledi, 4/4 time, like our Western music, but there are also some funky hard-to-count beats, like 9/8, which is characteristic of Turkish music, and 10/8 or 13/8, which is just weird. Boom tocka tock tock tock boom boom tocka tock it went to my head.

Boom! tocka tock boom boom tock it is really hot here.

Most people in Eugene don't have air conditioning, and usually the thermometer registers 100 degrees for one, maybe two days, and then it rains and cools off to 65 again.
Yesterday Eugene, Oregon was as hot as Phoenix, Arizona, but without the cool monsoon stormclouds and thunder and lightning. BOOM! tocka tock tock BOOM!

No there's no global warming. No.

If this keeps up I am moving to Alaska, which in ten years ought to have a pleasant, mild Pacific shore climate and will be a really nice place to live. I know I would not hear any argument from S; it wouldn't be the first time we were both willing to pack up and change direction in life for the sake of being together.

Boom boom tock ticka boom boom tock.


This morning on the way to work I saw a big black crow alight on a car that was waiting at a stoplight. The man inside was totally oblivious of the carrion bird, and I shuddered, thinking, "I would not want to be that guy."

Superstitions are interesting-- if I spill salt I'll feel the silly hair on the back of my neck rise, but as soon as I pinch some and toss it over my left shoulder, everything is right with the world again. In my kitchen I have this old horse shoe hanging above the door, angled perfectly so the luck doesn't run out.

If a black cat crosses my path, or some stranger gives me a dirty look, I make this ridiculous small gesture with my hand, palm out, dispelling evil.

I won't talk about an unlikely thing I'm hoping will occur, in case I jinx chance. Wherever I go, I plant rosemary near the doors to ward off witches. I worry about breaking mirrors.

The worst part is, I know I'm a weirdo about it. I roll my eyes at myself and laugh oh ha ha ha, so silly, stupid-stitions, but there's still that little tingle at the nape of my neck.

Such a curious thing, born of coincidences and ancient traditions. I don't really believe any of that stuff, not really. But I still wouldn't want a big black crow landing on the roof of my car.


My girlfriend M came over with her beau last night for bbq'd shrimp, mushrooms, and corn on the cob.
The men did the cookin' and M & I did some cookin' of our own.

I put on Natacha Atlas' Ayeshteni album & we swirled around in our long skirts, feeling the vibe of the eclectic chanteuse. Natacha Atlas is like Indo-European techno in the casbah. She sings primarily in Arabic, but some of the songs are in French, some in English. I like the song Soleil d'Egypte best of all-- it's like the sun heating up the streets of Cairo. So romantic, so good for dancing. And M is great good fun to dance with-- she was my first dance partner. We did a duet two winters ago for a sold-out crowd at Sam Bond's, and we raised the roof. We nailed it. Timing is everything.

We started out in the same beginning Middle Eastern dance class three years ago. Since then, she has become a terrible slacker about attending class, even though she moves beautifully and can cast a spell on the most jealous audience. Technically, I kick her ass, but I have this unresolved issue of stage fright that she seems to redirect rather than let it intimidate her. I showed her some new moves I've learned, and she admitted she hadn't even been practising at home anymore. I scolded her and flirted with her & we played with some fun, simple, traditional moves.

She is a huge flirt, and I don't know if it's subconscious or not but she makes these porn-star faces when she dances, very oh so sexy, very come-hither. Especially during the racy "Habibi, oh, oh!" song. Too sassy. My mom called her a snake, which tickles me greatly because M is one of the sweetest, kindest women I know. She's just, well, sexy. She has a great mane of burgundy hair & always wears a long full skirt with a tiny little top, and was delighted to show me her new nipple piercing that matches her belly-button loop. In the winter she wears full-length fur coats and knee-high boots. She is a ferocious beastie, but not really. I told her she has to start coming to class.

We danced for half an hour, and the men told us to get ready for dinner. It was much fun. It was hot and sweaty, it was good dancing and then good food. Over dinner we discussed God, and politics, and life in general.

It was a nice end to a good weekend.


I know just enough Spanish to get raped or murdered.
"Fuck your mother with the face of a pig" readily follows "Tickle me," and I also know how to say "You are a dirty slug without balls."
Oh yes I am bilingual. I can say, "Little goat, take me to the bathroom." And I know how to ask for water and the shoestore.


I have a great responsibilty, like one i have not had before.

My dance instructor asked me to sew strings of beads onto the bottom of what will be her costume for her next performance.

"Here, I was given this jewel- and bead-encrusted belt by a friend in Cairo. It was hand-made in Dubai. Would you sew loops of beads between these crescents here and here and here? I have it envisioned, just don't have time to do it..."

Oh yeah, no pressure.

"Please don't hate me if I tear it all off when you're done."

Well I've put in five hours so far, and I'm a third of the way done. The best part is, even if she doesn't appreciate it (but S says I am being hyper-critical, said nobody will even see the strings of beads because her ass never stops moving when she dances), I am guaranteed about five private lessons in exchange. Oh yes.

The belt she has me working on is amazing. It's about six inches wide, and completely embroidered with beads of all shapes and sizes, including some big faceted crystals that look like they were stolen from an old chandelier. It's red and gold, with layers upon layers of beadwork in an Arabic paisley pattern. It weighs a frickin ton.

I'm actually flattered that she entrusted me with the thing, which is probably worth more than my car, and with the project, which is a daunting task but means she thinks I'm capable. Feeling inspired, for sure.

I have been very careful to not drink wine around it, although it probably wouldn't be the first time red wine was spilled on a beaded bellydancing belt.

"almonds and cherries and cow skulls for sale"
the wind by the river always blows
where old maria sits with her five gallon pails
in the blue shade on the side of the road


Calling from hell tonight, the line crackles with static and electricity. "Hello, God? Where did those clouds come from? Enough of the humidity, thanks much. Please, no clouds." It is the humidity. Sweaty and sticky. Uck.

When it's cloudy, when lightning arcs in the mountains, that's when the big forest fires start. Fires travel fastest over cleared ground, up hill. Heat rises.

Ants move faster when it's hot, and so do people. Hurry scurry, I just want to find a quiet cool corner and wait it out. Some woman ran over a kid on a go-kart, dragged him and his kart 80 (eighty!) feet with his mom running behind the car, screaming the whole time. Finally the woman stopped, the mom grabbed her kid, who is amazingly still alive but in critical condition, from under the car. The two women made eye contact, then the driver backed up off the kart and drove away.

It's too hot. People lose their minds when it's too hot.

It was too humid to sleep, even with the little window air conditioner running in our room. Felt like it was just blowing the air around.

Spiders were prowling the ceilings and walls. I naturally selected against some of them-- some arachnids really offend me, while others I will catch with my bare hands and carry outside. I like jumping spiders, and crab spiders, and the big orb weavers. Can't stand the yellow nasty wandering sac spiders who make little hammocks in the corner between the wall and the ceiling, and the big ugly black things are destined for spider inferno when I find them. Give me the heebie-jeebies.

My nerves are frayed from the heat. I opened up the house about 4 in the morning and slept on the couch, cool air from outside circulating, finally, and thank goodness the big industrial plant that makes railroad ties wasn't pumping stinky creosote fumes into the air last night. I would have cried.

The valley is like a sauna. People are crazy. I'm crazy. I'm ready to move back to the high arid hills and the cool breezy hollows, learn to play a banjo, lose some teeth, make moonshine, catch lightning bugs and keep them in a mason jar by my bed, which will be nice and cool...


Give me anonymity or give me writer's block.

My pet dragon died.
I raised this little creature from a spindly-legged thing into a dragon of substance, for ten years I began and ended the day tending to him, and he died with his head in the corner of the cage and started to stink.
We put him in an old cigar box and buried him in the backyard under the ferns.
His name was Verne. I believe he is happily hunting crickets and eating strawberries. Good hunting, my golden-eyed dragon.

There is a certain I don't know about some writers, they obviously care about things and people, but their writing is whole hog, ferocious, and uncaring. And woe to anyone who gets between them and their writing because that's fodder for the keyboard.

Conversely, if you write about a thing, seriously write about it, then it must be somewhere close to your multifaceted enigmatic heart.

I see God in everything.
The Hebrew word for Spirit is also the word for Wind.
Tell me the spirit isn't the wind.

People are really shitty to eachother. Maybe it's the age I've reached, maybe it's the way I am viewing the current culture, with my eyes wide open, and no clue about pop culture, no television, no barrage of needful things, no nagging advertisements to have the best, do the best, be the best... but I think an element of grace is lost in the world. Maybe it was never there to begin with, maybe it's my naivete and whimsy lost.

Without a sense of humility there is no grace.

Grace is that thing which doesn't insist on being the best. I know a few people with grace, and I know lots more with too much ambition to be gracious. Ambition and self-importance and pride are hubristic, and greed is evil.

I can tell when I think or say something lacking grace, and that bothers me. I want only to be good, and humble, and to love mercy and seek justice.

Do those things mean anything, anymore? Or is this Babylon?

How do I write about a dragon who once ate rose petals from my fingers?


Some mixture of sunshine, pine duff, marble quarries, manzanita, horses, buckeyes and red clay make the California foothills smell like they do. Like iron. Like ozone.

The heat made me recall the term "blue blazes." Not a cloud, not a puff of air until evening, and then the mosquitos come hungry.

During the day, from the top of the hill, we could look out across the valley and see the air shimmering like gold with a million dragonflies just above the treetops. It's a bad time to be a mosquito. It's a great time to be a bluejay.

My Grandpa bought his 3 acres of steep rocky hillside for $3,000 cash in 1968. He spent 30 years building his house. He blasted 100 feet into the side of the hill and that's the basement. A big boulder juts into the basement, supports the shelf where they keep all the fruit and vegetables they can. He used the rock that was blasted out to build the walls of the house, which are all about 4 feet thick. He bought for a song the lumber from an old mill that was demolished, sanded it down, framed his house with 10 by 12 inch beams, each one hand cut and measured for a perfect fit. The top of the roof is fifty feet above the driveway. It looks like a big stone castle. There are stone and brick steps leading up to the front door, which is about ten feet above the driveway, and from the small brick patio all that's visible is the mountian valley, forest land, and far below is the river.

Every time I'm there and see it and look at the sky I think about jumping, and I think that if I did jump, I would fly.


Headed tomorrow for Columbia, California for my cousin's baby shower, which will be at my Grandparents' house.

I love Columbia. It's where my Dad was born, and grew up in the wild & unpopulated gold country foothills. He gets really quiet when we drive past the places he lived, the little house in Sonora, his old schools, and the small shack on three acres he set on fire when he was twelve, and where he had the bright idea to wash the wood floor with the hose.
I have heard of many an escapade.

My favorite is about the potato.

On Halloween, my dad & his three buddies were scampering as ghosts and vampires through the woods from farmhouse to farmhouse, acquiring numerous candybars and pennies and apples in pillowcases, and they happened past a bar just as a jeep was pulling into the gravel lot. The driver, already drunk, revved his engine and spun gravel at the boys, and then yelled at them, "Get out of here!" as he went into the bar.

Talford the troublemaker said, "You know, if you stick a potato in the tailpipe the engine won't start."

It was two miles back to Jim's house, & they ran fast as coyotes. There Jim & my Dad made up an elaborate story about why they needed a potato for a science experiment due in school the next day, sorry we forgot, but you know, the one where you put half the potato in blue dye etc etc & wheedled one from Jim's mom's pantry under her skeptical eye.

They raced back and the jeep was still parked in front of the bar. They snuck quietly as ghosts around to the back of the jeep, which was backed up to the building. Luckily it was close enough to the wall it cast long shadows and the four of them crouched low, talking under their breath, pushing the potato as far into the tailpipe as possible.

And then they ran, and hid on the dark side of the road and watched and waited.

They ate candy and waited until midnight.

The grizzled drunk barfly spilled out of the bar, stumbled to his jeep, cranked the keys in the ignition. The jeep made a valiant effort, sputtered, and died. He cranked the key again, "Rrrrrr-Rrrrrr-Rrrrrrr," and then it died. A pound on the dashboard and a string of expletives and he tried it a third time. This time the potato dislodged, and the force of the propulsion slammed it into the side of the building, where it instantly turned into mashed potatoes with an incredible BOOM! From the exhaust pipe emanated a tremendous cloud of black smoke which enveloped the jeep and its infuriated drunken inhabitant.

Dad and his friends tumbled and ran laughing down the hill into the forest as all the men in the bar came running outside to investigate the explosion and the smoke.

Not one piece of candy was dropped during their wild run home, when pacts were made and promises solemnly sworn.

My Dad had a Mark Twain childhood.


The sky is straight up wide and blue.

People keep calling me to bitch and moan. Nobody has money, we're all broke here in Oregon.

When accountants and attorneys file bankruptcy and the Goodwill Store closes you know the economy is the shits.
Yeah and the sky is beautiful.
It's big and clean and an unbelievable blue.

Some people have older cars & trucks painted that bright blue. My high school boyfriend had a Chevy Luv with a long bed painted what he called "flamin' queer blue".
I don't remember looking at the sky much in those days.

It just got uglier and uglier with Mr Chevy Luv. Some people grow mean. Some people have to work at it. I developed some tough mean skin on my heart from that dead horse of a relationship but it's ten years gone and I'd probably say hello if I saw him now.

Probably the sky was never as blue as it is now.

Dance class last night was a small group of us & Astryd worked us hard. We did the regular stretches to limber up, and then she made us do strength and balance-building stretches before she had us grab our zills for the drills. Ching chicka ching chicka ching.
It's fun when there are only a few of us in that big studio. Really noisy, coin belts and finger cymbals, and everyone's pretty good so it's not unbearable. It's nice and big, so lots of room to move & play, all of us sliding from one side of the room to the next, around in a circle, stick that hip out, keep that posture straight, shoulders back, roll up from the knees keep your back flat and bring your chest up and over like you're setting it on a shelf, just so.

Some of those stretches really worked my thighs and my ass (MY AAAAASSS). All the better to shake it, baby.

Stopped on my way home and bought some fantastico Spanish wine to share with my sweet darling who did the dishes and some laundry ("Um, I did laundry. I didn't separate anything..." but thankfully I have eliminated all red clothes from our wardrobe for such wondrous occasions when he gets housework bees in his bonnet). We had a nice quiet evening sipping wine and folding socks.

And there was a cool breeze and a million stars.


Chocolate cake for breakfast. Really thick heavy chocolate cake. It went well with coffee but good Lord there must have been a pound of butter in it. I think I just developed adult-onset diabetes.

In the office we find any excuse to take a break from work, and everyone gets a birthday party, complete with dessert.
So we had chocolate cake for breakfast.
Think I need a nap.

Never, ever ever ever buy wine that calls itself "red table wine" I don't care what other fancy en francais merde du bulls is written on the label, don't do it.
It might not taste like vinegar going down, but...
Make sure it lists a place of origin, and a type of grape. Never buy anything from Lodi, California. And when in doubt, buy merlot.

So we spent the weekend with S's parents, who are very sweet people WHO TALK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME because he's going deaf and she could've been an opera singer, big solid Scottish woman, would've kicked Brunhilda's ass. After they left S & I were quiet like mice all evening and really enjoyed the sound of the windchimes outside.

For the past four days I have eaten oodles of super-rich food, and with the chocolate cake this morning it wouldn't surprise me if I developed gout.

Salad tonight, oh yes. And dance class tonight, also. Motion is good.
And no cheap red table wine.


And it's nothing in particular.
It's summertime.
Joggers spiders babies birds.
People riding bikes and I wish I were.

So sick of stupidity and insincerity. So sick of people asking me a question and then talking over me when I try to answer, but they're not saying anything new or important, just repeating their question. Is it tv that causes this brain malfunction? Or just lack of proper upbringing?

This tan shirtless jogger passes me on the bike bridge and tugs my long pigtail braid like he's in second grade or something. Doesn't look back. Yeah, if if if... mmm-hm. I couldn't run in my thongs.

Thongs. I guess most people call them flip-flops because a thong is underwear, but I have and always will call these shoes thongs. They're held in place by cleavage, yes? Toe cleavage, butt cleavage, whatever, so long as thongs for breast cleavage don't make a popular fashion appearance I think life is okay.

Although, I am ready to kill the fools who light off fireworks after midnight. It was okay on the 4th, we all expected that. But Sunday night? That's inconsiderate and strictly an attempt to annoy people.

What I want to know is, did anyone stop and reflect on the actual importance of the Revolution? read the Declaration of Independence, look at the Bill of Rights? I hear people say we need a new revolution and I want to say, it's here already, open your eyes, claim your rights, be sure in your convictions and honest in your beliefs.
All the rest is fireworks, and too many of them makes the air smoky.
Too many of them after midnight pisses off the neighbors (hey neighbor quite a party you have had for the last two weeks. Do you know what day you're celebrating?) who have to get up early on Monday. Is it tv that causes this brain malfunction so people can't tell the time or the date? Or is it just lack of proper upbringing?
No sense.

I am thinking about moving out of the valley, and especially out of town.

In the mean time I am thankful for summertime and tan joggers and pigtails and thongs.


Practice makes perfect, so they say.
I think much of what we do in our everyday life is practice. Practice for? ...For getting in and out of situations we haven't encountered before, for learning.
Learning is good. Sometimes it's painful, embarrassing, boring, tedious, and sometimes it's exciting.

My legs are very tired.
Spent much time practicing Middle Eastern dance last night.

When I practice at home alone, often as a warm up I'll work on one move until I can do it without thinking about it. These drills are a good way to train my body how to move and remember the motion. When I actually begin dancing, I try to avoid doing drill movements like in aerobics or jazzercise.

Music moves the soul, and the soul moves the body. Practice is essential to perfect the technique of motion, which includes muscle isolation, rhythm, balance, and travel patterns on the floor, but there are other things to practice, too.

What happens when you get your veil caught on your head, or on your costume, or under your foot? What do you do when you realize a delectable phrase of music is coming, for which you've picked a particularly stunning move, and you are on the wrong side of the floor and can't possibly get to where you want to be without leaping like a fool? What happens if you lose your balance just a bit? What do you do if your little bejeweled costume pops open while you're doing a shoulder shimmy? Wheeeeee!

All these things have happened, and when I first started dancing, I would often stop, disentangle or readjust myself, and start over without ever addressing the problem.

Life is not so easy, and there's no "pause" button, certainly no "repeat" button.

Now I keep going when something unforseen happens, and I find out what I can do to recover. Often it is a lesson in patience, and sometimes it ends badly, but most often I am able to correct an error and continue. I have learned that safety pins are one of the best inventions on earth, and when in doubt, spin.

I'm beginning to apply this sort of mentality to my interactions with other people, and to the world in general.

I'm older and better, and wiser, and less apt to blow my top.
Don't ever stop moving.
Practice makes perfect.


Last night S & I went to Sam Bond's with Tebone and JJ for wine and to listen to the hillbilly music, no cover, anyone can play.

They all come out of the woodwork.

Those guys really jam. Old guy in the middle playing upright bass, accompanied by a bunch of banjo fiddle ukulele players inspiring us to hoedown.

JJ and my girlfriend R had never met, but really hit it off and we three sat there giggling and commiserating and railing against injustice and talking about God and women and music and women and wine and women.

We got started on said topics because R is a lecherous honey who appreciates the female form. She prefers men, but likes to look at women. And she was looking at JJ, who is very tall and dark with lots and lots of dark brown hair. She's pretty in a porcelain doll way, and once confided with embarrassment after numerous glasses of wine that she had been Miss Teen Texas the year I graduated from high school.

Last night we girls all sat at one table and the men sat at another table and we had much more fun than they did. Aside from S & Tebone there were some other musician guys, one I had met before, and one who crushed the living bones and blood vessels out of my hand when he shook it.

Now, I play musical instruments, I garden, I have strong hands. I even have some callouses. I also know how to shake hands. My father taught me how to have a strong but relaxed grip, and taught me how to position my hand so as to avoid people who do not know how to shake hands in polite society.

Fellows, it is one thing to show a woman how nice and strong your hand is when you meet her, so she might entertain certain thoughts about you and those hands, and it is an other thing entirely to cause her pain. If she has on rings, especially big turquoise and silver rings, do not crush all her fingers together so she has indentations on three separate fingers from one ring. Do not hang on with a painfully tight grip and then give a little squeeze at the end to prove you have strength in reserve. And do not wiggle the bone of her pinky knuckle like it's sime twisted suggestion, not when you first meet a woman, not even if you think she's cute, not when you have a death grip on her hand, and especially not when her husband is standing right next to her. It does nothing but cause discomfort. And maybe a little pity.

It certainly does not have the desired effect. Sorry, Charlie. It especially will not work, not with any of the girls, not even with R, who is single, because the girls are busy talking about women, and you with your boring musicians goatee and plain grey shirt and skinny legs are not as pretty as the girl with a tattoo on the small of her back or as interesting as the chick with dred locks and you don't look like you'd be as much fun as the sunburnt barmaid with pigtails and converse allstars.

Besides, your handshake indicates desperation, and especially in a bar, desperation in a skinny legged musician who crushes hands rather than shaking them is a most unattractive thing.

Go back to your table. This table is for girls only.

Isreal is turning over Bethlehem to Palestine.
Let's all pray for peace.

"Gospel" means "good news."

Dave has some interesting things to say.


Please spare me uncomfortable shoes.
What's the use of covering your feet if you can't walk?

Like Chinese foot-binding.

Often it's only fashionable because it presents an element of vulnerability amidst confidence. Stiletto heels say both fuck you and fuck me at the same time.

I'd rather be barefoot.
S caught me blubbering in the kitchen listening to a sad song last night. He's a good one to hold. Doesn't care if I get tears and drool and snot on his shirt. He's big and strong enough and he just quietly buffers my shaking. Made me go outside with him & look at flowers, snack on strawberries and blueberries, which were very tempting but not quite ripe enough to pick. He asked me why I was listening to sad songs, and I think it's because sad songs provide a framework for contemplating hard things never before encountered. And it's good to hear someone else has had such pain and loss in their hearts; makes it one of those things everyone feels.
Not that it makes it any easier.