So many things in my life coincide with what my S encounters.
Last night I read a chapter entitled "Elena" from Anias Nin's Delta of Venus, and when I was almost through it, S comes strolling into the room with "Elena's Mexican Cookbook." Coincidental? Given the steamy nature of Nin's book, I found it quite appropriate that he was reading an old-school style Mexican cookbook. "You gotta hear some of these recipes," he said, and spread out on the bed. S likes old cookbooks. He's a wonderful cook.

I closed my book and sat cross-legged on the bed and watched the fish in the tank while he read me the ingredients, "Twenty jalepeno peppers, ten bell peppers, thirty cloves of garlic, ten eggs..."

We have three angel fish, by far the most flirtatious and always fun to watch, a plecostomas, a krebensis, and two cherry barbs. The tank is on top of my dresser. It makes a soothing watery sound and I like to watch the plants move in the current generated by the pump.

"Thirty cloves of garlic?"
"Yeah, and two pounds of cheese, seven cups of rice,"
"How many people does it serve?"
"It's in restaurant batches. Elena," he showed me the cover, "opened a restaurant when she went blind. Went blind and became one hell of a cook, I guess she did it all by smell and taste."
"The Elena I was just reading about had just had her eyes opened."

I poked his leg, "I like you."
He set his book down and said, " I like you, too."
"Seven years we'll have known eachother, tomorrow."
"I like you even better now."
"Oh yeah? Why?"
"There is more of you to like." I had weighed 95 pounds soaking wet when he met me. His wonderful cooking has added another 20 pounds.
"I know; I have a butt now."
"Oh, yes. But I like you even more than the more amount of you there is. It's exponential, you see."
I did see, and I turned off the reading lamp.


For six months I have been helping one of our dogs regain strength in his left hind leg. This involves slow walks, special diet, bone and ligament supplements, and massages, which he loves. He follows me around and sighs loudly in the evening when it gets to be bedtime, until I finally relent and sit on the floor near his bed by the front door and rub his back and legs until he relaxes and falls asleep.

He was injured one morning when I opened the screen door and he and our girl dog went charging, like they always do, except she slammed her hard sleek body against him while he was mid-air so he landed funny, and injured him.

A bitch is someone who will cripple you so she can get out the door first.
Today I am wearing my wife beater tank top and a big silver chain. I also have on a long sleeved wine-colored shirt that I rediscovered in the back seat of my car when I cleaned it out last weekend. Last night I even painted my toenails a wine color with the intention of wearing the wine-colored shirt. Just call me a wino. Normally my attire is not premeditated at all; I get up and I pull on whatever is clean and comfy.

The last time I had painted my toenails, since I have a limited selection of nail polish, I layered two colors. It ended up being this metallic bronzy gold-green, which suited me just fine since I wear a lot of earth tone clothes, but it was time for a change.
Time for wine.

Just overheard in the office:
"Oh yeah, that was when that drunk guy was out riding his horse and he kept slipping over to the side and he was groaning and slurring something that sounded like 'Ditch Mitch.'"


In area and in population, Iraq is about the same as California.

California is huge.
I have driven the breadth and most of the length, although I never went to the southern border, or San Diego. The farthest south I got was Laguna Beach. I know it takes 6 hours from the Pacific Ocean to Nevada and at least 12 hours from Oregon to Mexico. I have never been to the northeast corner of one of the biggest counties in California but I know it's Modoc County, full of juniper trees 30 feet tall, sage brush, high cold lakes full of swans and trout, abundant in coyotes, wild high desert. I have never been to the coast between Big Sur and Los Angeles, and that's about 4 hours worth of driving. I have never been to the Imperial Valley, or the backside of the Sierras except for one quick trip at night to Reno.

Iraq is a big place.
We have about 150,000 troops there.

150,000 troops to maintain order in a city as big or bigger than Los Angeles and its outlying areas.
Donald Rumsfeld who needs a wooden stake through his heart in the worst way just said all the soldiers in Iraq should expect to double their tour of duty, and that no more troops need to be deployed for replacement.
Hanging out there like threadbare sheets in the hurricane.

Double tour of duty.
Iraq is a very very big place.

And I bet the Iraqi equivalent of places like Oakland, or Fresno, or even Redding for that matter, are smoldering with hatred of the Occupiers, and have the fuel to smolder for a lot longer than a double tour of duty by some unhappy American soldier whose morale has sunk deeper than the darkest channel of the fastest water in the Euphrates River.

America has never held such contempt for her soldiers, not even during the mire of Vietnam, and I know lots of veterans of that war including my disillusioned father and his biker friends. America has never held such disregard for her troops, for her militia, for those poor boys from poor places sent to fight rich (ich?) mens' wars in the name of Mammon aka the "A"merican dream aka "God" to those who should pray they never see His second coming. For He would knock over their money-lending tables and say, "You did this in my name, and I never knew you."

America has never held such contempt for her soldiers, but now the soldiers find their veteran's benefits cut, their veteran's hospitals backlogged at least six months because there's "no money," their veteran's retirement plans "limited" because those who are in charge of the nation were never soldiers. America has never had such flagrant disregard for her soldiers, but then it has never before intended to be an empire, and empires demand penance paid by every soldier. Rome's soldiers served 20 years.

Double tour of duty.

We are an empire. This does not comfort me.

Robinson Jeffers 1887-1962

Shine, perishing republic
While this America settles in the mold of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out and the mass hardens,

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.
Out of the mother: and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence, and home to the mother.

You making haste haste on decay, not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains.

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches the noblest spirits, that caught --they say-- God, when He walked on earth.

Dance class last night-- the first in two very long weeks! It felt great to focus like that again. I dance on my own and with a friend, and practice some every day, but it's not the same. The Stellar One kicks our asses.

She had us working on complex step combinations for Sa'idi music, which is from Upper Egypt (the southern part of Egypt, since it's the upper valley of the Nile, which flows north). Sa'idi is much more folkloric, much bouncier than the Cairo cabaret stuff she usually gives us. Lots of shoulder shimmy, mizmar horn, and quick footwork, stutter-steps and careful foot placement to ensure accurate follow-through.

Timing, as with all dance, is everything. It doesn't help that my left foot is retarded about turns; in one of the integral step combinations my left foot wants to swing forward and to the right, when instead it must swing back and to the left, which would set me up for the right side hip shimmy, and from there a step combo leading off on the right foot. Silly damned left foot, all class long, turned me the wrong way. My instructor laughed at me and said it was the same problem she had, and she said she had a complex about the complex steps. She promised me if I practice I'll get it. I think if I chop off my left foot then maybe I'll get it.

Walked with R and Jesi to R's little cubby hole apartment, where we sat on the floor of her kitchen because she doesn't have any furniture other than a small desk and a bed roll on the floor in her bedroom, which is smaller than the kitchen. R and Jesi discussed snuggle buddies and how great it is to curl up with a man in bed and have reached mutual agreement to not have sex because it changes everything, and how sure the guys probably want to have sex and surprise surprise the girls do, too, but such an act changes the intimacy of being snuggle buddies. I had no comment on the issue. It made me shrug. I did feel like telling them that marriage means their snuggle buddies will also be their lovers and their best friends. But I'm just an old married lady, what the hell do I know. I collected sweet sweaty girl hugs and headed home to my own snuggle buddy with Sa'idi music in my head.

When I arrived home, S was listening to Peter Tosh on the stereo he had set up while I was in class. Part of the components had been down at the coffeehouse, and our sole source of music for years has been a little radio cd-player. This is a very nice stereo, and he set the teak-framed Pioneer weighs-a-ton 40-years-old turntable up on a small antique craftsman-style oak table. The speakers are also Pioneer, and were part of the same stereo set my Dad had bought in Japan when he was on leave during his time in the Navy. All in excellent condition, well-loved and cared-for, well polished. Not many bells and whistles and lights on this old stereo but I prefer that, it sure sounds great, and now S can play all his old record albums from when he was in high school, many moons ago.

Like Peter Tosh, The Clash, Souixse and the Banshees, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Damned, and... Linda Ronstadt? What's this doing in here? Did you buy this? Which one of these things is not like the other...? Not like I have any room to talk. I am not going to share the information of my Linda Ronstadt equivalent with anyone.

Before bed we clinked whisky glasses and listened to an old bellydancing album he had purchased recently in anticipation of getting the stereo set up. The first song is called "Ouzo," like the Greek anise drink that will knock you on your ass. Come on over here, I said, and snuggle with me.


Went to a Eugene Emerald's game last night. The Em's stadium was built in the 1930s by the WPA and it is such a cool old ballpark, situated just minutes from downtown Eugene, right there in the residential area. Neat old houses, narrow streets, big trees on the hillsides. We parked a few blocks away and walked, and a twinkly-eyed S said, "Oh boy," and, "Thank you for taking me to the ballgame," about a hundred times. A co-worker had given me tickets for great seats, right above the Em's dugout, three rows from the rail.

S bought us both hot dogs and beer, and we settled in for the duration of the game between the Em's and the Vancouver Canadians. It was a very well-played game. The last ballgame I had attended was in Oakland when I was in 7th grade and Mom and Dad took me to see the A's stomp some other team. I remember Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire at bat, and Dad bought me a poster with them both glaring, arms crossed. I think really he wanted the poster but it went up in my room. During the game my Mom kept saying, "Bess-bol been berry berry good to me," and I think she had drunk too many beers.

Last night I loved the crowd, with their catcalls and heckling in that good-natured baseball game way. "Eeeeeasy ouuuut!" someone from the bleachers called each time the Canadians' big man came up to bat. He was an easy out, too, which made it even funnier. There were two very sweet double plays made by the Em's, and two Em's players stole bases in impressive displays of base-running. For two innings the Em's had a side-arm pitcher, which I had never seen. He really packed it in there, hit the catcher's mitt so fast it made a hard CRACK!

Hey... What is it with baseball player butt? They all have that same butt that looks like they've been taking lessons on posture from J-Lo. Nice straight back and then poink! there's the butt. Center of gravity decidedly in the lower half of the body, except in the pitchers, who all carry themselves like dancers. I had a wonderful time.

We looked at the roster for the players, and S kept score throughout the game. I was appalled at how young the players all were; S poked my leg and jokingly said, "Yeah, you ol' lady." Most of the players were born in 1982 and 1983. Ten years' difference doesn't make me feel like an "ol lady" but it was the first time since turning the big three-oh that I've been reminded of my age. I stuck my tongue out at him and refused to act my age.

The seats were great; we could see everything, and we could smell the fresh-cut green baseball field grass, which mingled with the scent of roasted peanuts. We stomped with the crowd, and hooted and clapped and talked baseball talk and enjoyed the 75 degree evening. It felt like summertime.

The Em's won their game. S said, "Thanks for taking me to the ballgame," and kissed me under the stadium lights.


Friday night saw the last performance at our coffeehouse. Wiley old music man Mark Ross brought his banjo, fiddle, harmonica, and guitar and a great wealth of songs, and was accompanied on a few songs by K & her voice & banjo. Very few people came but it was just as well since S had packed up all but a few of the glasses last week.

Mark sang some Woody Guthrie tear-jerkers and we passed around a bottle of wine. He gave us a hell of a show.
We got home by midnight.

Saturday we had one humdinger of a hootenanny at our house. Twenty people came so it was a much smaller crowd than last year's party, but I think that made it easier for people to get comfortable. My girl R and her friend came early to help us prepare food. S made some salmon dip and sliced up bread; Oily & Dragonlady showed up with the most delicious watermelon; I washed the delectable green grapes picked from our arbor & placed the bowls on the table.

Mark & K came early & sang some historic tunes, including "Joe Hill" as requested by S, while folks ate the bread, fruit, cheese, and assorted yummies we provided. Then S cranked up his Victrola and the sweet old music filled the room, rolling around with the conversations, twangling in people's ears, bringing smiles. One of my favorite 78s is Bonnie Blue Eyes singing "Seven beers with the wrong kind of man" which is just good old-fashioned country music at its finest, along with Hank Williams' "Long gone lonesome blues."

When the conversations got too loud to hear the Victrola, I put on a cd of some gypsy music and enticed the lovely R into pulling on a coin belt and performing 3 songs with me; I was a bit nervous because I didn't know everyone all that well, especially JJ's older sister visiting from Texas, but in no time at all I had relaxed & was playing with R like we do every week. People liked the end of the first song, with its very melodic ney (Egyptian flute) part, which lends itself to spinning. Spinning is what we did, the edges of our flared skirts just touching, hair flying, arms up bent at the elbows, palms to the sky.

Spinning feels like it scoops up the energy in the room and amps it all up; people started the clap clap clap clap and around we went, whirl whirl wild. The real crowd pleaser, though, is R's veilwork-- she is such sweet poetry in motion. The veil with her hair and her skirt all twirling, moving like water... I love it. We left them wanting more, which is as it should be.

By this time my dear darling S had gotten completely snockered on red wine. I had refrained from drinking, because while a little red wine is good for dancing, too much of it makes for an equilibrium-off-balance disaster. I don't know if I've ever seen S so drunk. I'd seem him tipsy, sure, but the word for Saturday night was definitely drunk, and bossy in a most endearing manner. I will say this about him, his bossiness got all those shy musicians to bust out their guitars and start singing. He provided our big tupperware container with "CAT FOOD" written on it to KJ, along with some forks to use for thumpa thumping. Homemade tympani. He got out his violin and sawed away, mostly in tune, often off beat, always fiddling happy. I joined in with my zils (finger cymbals) and JJ sang lovely nonsense; those without instruments clapped. It took about ten minutes for everyone to fall into the motion, but then for three full minutes we had a real improvisational song roaring along like a freight train and it was a glorious thing. It seemed by common consensus everyone wrapped it up and ended it together, amidst much joy and laughter.

After the group wildness, everyone took turns singing and playing, some solos, but often together. All the ladies sang along with JJ when she did a ferocious "Women be wise," with Tebone playing his guitar and he's from Texas so he says, "GUIT-ar." Half the party was in the kitchen, as always happens, and later Tebone and S were drinking and ranting in the kitchen with KJ. I went in there and turned off the lights so we could all see Tebone's t-shirt with the glow-in-the-dark skulls.

Wild and woolly somebody kept stealing my whiskey, but I didn't really care. A group hug said goodbye to Tebone & JJ, and then KJ was the last to leave about 3 in the morning.

I was stone cold sober when everyone left, which turned out to be a blessing, because I was able to take care of a spinny sick S, who said the next day he didn't remember getting his pajamas on, and I also managed to clean up all the little isolated messes before climbing into bed. I was surprised at how little a mess there was for how much fun we all had.

Also, I felt great on Sunday, and the house was clean, so I spent the day reading some Hemingway short stories, brushing the dogs, and baking a rice dish with the left-over salmon while S slept off his humdinger of a hootenanny hangover.


Went last night with happy S and delightful R to see Grasshopper perform at Sam Bond's Garage. We got there early and chatted over a bottle of wine while the band did the sound check.

For whatever reason it always takes sooooo long for the one particular sound guy to get all the microphones adjusted, I dunno if he doesn't know what he's doing or what. I've seen Peter Buck and his Minus 5 band play there, and the sound guy on the "professional" nights never has problems like the long scraggly haired dude who was working the mix board last night.

But the sound guy finally figured it out & the opening performer, who should've stopped saying, "I stole this next song from a friend," came on with his guitar and harmonica and he played about three songs too many, as indicated by the ass-o-meter. Most shows and performances can be determined for quality by the ass-o-meter: at the point when you notice your ass is starting to get uncomfortable on the chair, it's time for the performer to wrap things up. I have a very accurate ass-o-meter. I've discussed its merits at length with numerous friends.

He finished with one more stolen song just about the time R and I started singing, "Widdly widdly widdly" along with his belly-button gazing guitar playing. I do commend him for getting up there and playing, and he was pretty good with the harmonica. He just did go on, is all. For nearly an hour. All by himself. Playing song after song that all sounded the same. Dragging the energy in the room down down down.

Finally, JJ and Tebone took the stage with their guitarist, who was quite accomplished but not interested in being a show-boat, their bass player, and their drummer. They opened with a swift rockabilly, and quickly brought the room's focus back to the stage. They played lots of songs from their standard repertoire, that I've heard just JJ and Tebone do acoustically, so it was a real treat to hear the whole band behind them.

I don't know how to describe JJ's voice... it's sort of like her physical features, tall and dark, eyes so black you can't see where the irises stop and the pupils begin. She likes to sing sad songs because they are the most suitable for her voice, which is sometimes haunting. She was classically trained, and when she belts it out, the sound fills the room like an angel's voice and all the hair on the back of my neck rises. She doesn't slide around, either; she knows her voice perfectly and can nail any note with no mistakes. I could listen to her all day long.

She sang some of her own songs, and also covered "Women be wise, keep your mouth shut, don't advertise yo' man..." and "Angel of Montgomery," and both R & I sang along while chowing down on some garlic bread designed specifically to ward off vampires.

We were seated close to the stage, and there were maybe three or four empty tables in the place, which was a great turnout for a local band on a Thursday night. One of the empty tables was just to the front left of us, between us and the stage. Towards the end of the show, halfway through one of my favorite songs, this veryfront table was overtaken by the same lanky tall skinny feller whom I mentioned was present at the party last week: S & Tebone and I were all chatting, and tall guy gets a beer, makes our acquaintance, then says, "So how do you know Mike?"
I reply for all of us, "Actually, we know Andi."
Tall guy looks at the floor, and then walks away.

Them sittin at the table up front is not what bothered me. What bothered me was how he and his girlfriend proceeded to have an obnoxious, boisterous and inconsiderate conversation, full of gesticulations and exclamations, right there in front of us, in our line of sight and within earshot. I was annoyed, and S, who does not tolerate idiots or big mouths, was pinning his ears back and starting to frown.

I overheard this dude, who I learned later S had chatted with at the party and discovered was an investment banker (probably feeling "down with the indie scene" in his Bob Marley t-shirt, feeling like he's cool because he's at Sam Bond's), say in that unmistakeable I'm-an-asshole voice to his friend, "I was at a party last week and I swear JJ and Tebone were wearing the exact same clothes they have on now."

Which wasn't entirely true but that's beside the point. Is this high school? Who keeps track of what other people wear? It was extremely rude in a most nit-picky manner. Besides, you should not go around saying stuff like that when you don't know who is sitting behind you. I think he saw my drop-dead look. Come to think of it, I was probably wearing the exact same clothes I had worn at the party, too. But I, like Tebone and JJ, have a washing maching. Sheesh. What a prick.

Since I was seated a little to the side of R & S, I didn't see R stifle S from pegging the guy in the back of the head with the greasy garlicky wadded up napkin. I asked later if he had heard the comment about JJ and Tebone's clothes. He had not, and said if he had, then he probably would have swatted the twerp in the ear.

The show ended and we collected hugs and a refrigerator magnet from JJ and Tebone, walked R home safely, and then drove home.

"What if that guy shows up at our party this Saturday?" I asked him. He leaned back in his seat, shrugged, and said, "Well I wouldn't be rude, if he's in my home then he's a guest, but he's not welcome and he'll probably figure out I don't like him much the next time I see him." And with a wink and a laugh he launched into Tebone's song, "Gaugin had a gas can, filled it up with gin..."


The crusty old Red Apple in Eugene's seediest neighborhood is the best little grocery store. There's always something on the shelves I've never seen before, or can't get at any other store, and usually they have the best prices, too. I stopped there after work trying to get inspired about what to do for dinner, and there in the meat section were what I thought at first to be crawdads, but which were in fact whole sweet shrimp, packed up with legs, antennas, heads. I wanted to buy them not only because I thought it would please S, who likes to know what he's eating, but also I admit because I wanted to examine the creepy crawly things. They're strange blue bug-like things, with bulging eyes and super-long spidery legs. Their claws are long and thin and have a strange rubbery exterior on the tips, probably for clinging to slippery rocks or pulling edible slime from the crevises of the tide pools. They have a big hooked horn rising from the center of their carapace. S tested this horn like it was a knife blade and marvelled at its sharp serrated edge.

After I cut the heads from the tails, he chased his cat around with the long-antenna'd blue-legged "monster" head, but cat was uninterested.

I used butter and garlic and made scampi, which we ate with fresh corn and an avocado. The shrimp were delicious-- tasted like little lobsters. The best meals are totally impromptu, and cost less than $4.

After dinner I got S to stretch with me; all his muscles were tight from stress and from moving big boxes of books all day long. I finally made him lie down on the floor and roll around until he could move without groaning. Rubbed his back and neck and told him to relax his self, which is often easier said than done.

Closing the business is difficult, as is the knowledge that we have to be out of the building in a week from Sunday, and that everything in the shop has to fit into our house and garage. We don't have a very big house. We're talking floor to ceiling bookshelves in every room except the kitchen and bathroom. I'm still incredulous about all the people who had walked into the shop and said in that rude Eugene I-need-an-enema voice, "Oh, you don't have very many books. I have more books than this at home." Oh, really? If that's truly the case then maybe they wouldn't mind helping me move...


Just recently I have delved into deep water within, brought up some memories long buried in sediment under the depths. It feels good to stir it up, let some things go, uncover and dismiss worries I wasn't even aware still haunted me.

For a brief time, during when I suppose my "growing up" occured, I lost myself and also lost the importance of the present tense. The past was all-consuming; I worried incessantly about what I had done, so much so that I never thought about what I was doing. Such things have a ripple effect, and soon I found myself lost, bobbing along hopelessly in this huge stormy ocean of my own inconsiderate creation. I wanted to relive memories because they were much more fascinating to me than the present or future.

It is good to dredge the depths now and then, I think.


Wild weekend...
Friday we had a dinner guest, nice young man who lives in the basement at the coffeehouse who just came into inheritance and intends to purchase remote acreage in the coast mountains. He's young and kind and S has sort of taken him under his wing. He told me S reminds him of his dad. He's a sweet kid. He sat big eyed, absorbing, processing, thinking about all the things we discussed. He asked S some specific questions about historical politics; S has this amazing encyclopedic wealth of knowledge behind those pretty blue eyes of his. He's also very good at explaining history and making it interesting to learn. We consumed bbq'd chicken and corn on the cob and enough red wine to make everything funny. He's a good kid.

Saturday morning I got teased for waking up and jumping out of bed. S made little rooster crows, mocking me, as he nestled back into his pillow, and I could not for the life of me stay in bed. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, paid the bills, played with the dogs, and cleared more space for the huge tide of books arriving daily from our bookstore, all before 9.

After lunch the slows got me and I returned to bed for a "nap" which involved reading Carl Hiaasen's Lucky You in its entirety. He is goddamn funny. "Nap" ended up being five hours long, but that's okay because we had planned big things for the evening.

We went to dinner with R & L; they treated us to the best Thai food I have ever eaten. It's always fun hanging out with those two-- they like to laugh. After dinner with them we went to a party for some folks we don't know all that well. Andi has sung a few times in the coffeehouse, and seems like quite the diva in the making, although S commented she should take some iron pills or something because she is lacking the vivacity exhibited when we first met her. S said her beau Mike is an energy vampire.

It was a strange party.

I have never been in a party where there was so much pot and it was so jealously hoarded by little cliques. One fellow even asked S for a light for his bong but then turned away and just shared it with his friend on the couch.

It was the kind of party where some people don't bathe, and other people talk about cars. The kind of party where some people might buy strawberry toothpaste on purpose, not just because the package was red and they thought it was the cinnamon stuff. The only reason we stayed more than a few minutes was because JJ and Tebone were there, and we had fun chatting with them. At one point a tall fellow walked into the kitchen, where S & Tebone and I were all chatting, and tall guy gets a beer, makes our acquaintance, then says, "So how do you know Mike?"
I reply for all of us, "Actually, we know Andi."
Tall guy looks at the floor, and then walks away. Too strange.

The weekend culminated with R coming for dinner last night. We had pot stickers and salad and gin and tonics, espoused by S as the original health drink. We didn't ever end up dancing, except briefly in the kitchen, and then it was sheer goofiness. We've finally figured out a series of songs for a choreography to do together, possibly with tall dark Jess. She left after midnight, and I am dragging today, but oh it was fun. She's hilarious, and was recounting the 4am altercation overheard from her dinky thin-walled downtown apartment, involving two drunk dumbass men and an obnoxious nasal-voiced woman and a string of stupid not-so-witty comments regarding mothers and shit. She had us rolling.

Far too much fun was had this weekend.


Had fun talking with my Mom last night. She is a kick in the pants. She's been a yellow-dog Democrat for ever and a day, and she even voted for "that crooked lying son of a bitch Gray Davis," because the Republican running against Davis was "even worse."
And now she says she'll vote for Ah-nold.
"Oh God, Momma, what? Why would you do such a stupid thing like that?"
"Honey, this state's government is a circus. I'd much prefer the strong man to the clown."
"But Mom, every movie he made he kills someone, and, and... his dad was a Nazi!"
"If I have to listen to some dunderhead who doesn't have a clue, and none of them do, it might as well be Mr. Universe."
"But he cheated on his wife..."
"That's their business, isn't it."
"But Mom, he's a Republican."
"Well Gray Davis is NOT a Democrat, this much I know. And if Ah-nold is elected maybe there'll be a movie called Total Recall. Oh wait, he already did that, and saved the planet, too. Honey, sure he is clueless, but so is everyone else, about the magnitude of problems in this state. But he's married to a Democrat, he's smarter than Ronald Reagan, he's a hero-figure when we desperately need one, and he looks good on tv. I'm happy about the recall, I think that's what it's all about. While we're at it we should recall that squirmy lying little Napoleon idiot in the Whitehouse, too. Maybe Paul Newman would like that job."


The thing about talking on the phone with S...
"Hey you, I'm gonna stop at the store, should I get some vino?"
"What'll we eat?"
"We have that stuff..."
"Yeah, we could grill it; will you get those things?"
"Okay, and how about that other stuff, the saucy stuff?"
"Sounds good. Love you."
"Love you, see you. Bye."
Went to a bridal shower last night. For a co-worker. Involving all the people I work with daily.
Plenty of food, and lots of white wine, which always gives me a headache. I stuck with the champagne punch, although champagne makes me dizzy in an uncomfortable way, but my goodness the strawberries in the punch were delicious. Saturated in champagne-brandy.
I also ate too many carrots. It's okay, but today I feel kind of... orange.
My coworkers are all fairly cool, not people I'd normally meet, but cool enough for coworkers. Some have tattoos of cartoon characters. Explain Tigger on your ass when you're 80, that's all I gotta say.
We like to joke. We joked about male strippers, even though there wasn't one. I've never seen a male stripper. It's okay.
I don't need to see one.
Tammy opened all her gifts, which included a three-day round-trip honeymoon to New Orleans. One other lady got her a spoon and a hand-made dish rag. I didn't get her anything tangible but I did pitch in for the trip to New Orleans. I've never been to New Orleans. It's okay. There are other places I'd prefer to go.
My S, who was running errands in the area, showed up to collect me in his butterfly net and I jokingly quipped, "The male stripper's here!" Amidst hoots and hollars and oh yeahs! he flushed a lovely shade of crimson, I grabbed my purse, we were off in a blaze of 10 year old hatchback chrome.
I later apologized to him for the embarrassing joke about being a stripper and he said, "Naw, don't mention it. It's okay. I'm not."


I just overheard a coworker say as she came walking down the hallway from the boss' office, "...just whacked off his petunias, they were long and straggly..."
Cover my ears, la la la laaa, must not laugh...
Panacylum explores paper dreams, while Doobs experiences a little bit of Ghana in Portland, and Sex wishes happy birthday to the Hamburglar...
Celebrated love and went with S to Shiki last night, drank the sake sampler because they were out of Yebisu beer, and ate more than enough unagi to satiate my appetite. When I tell people unagi is barbequed eel they look at me like I told them I like to eat slugs or something. I don't eat slugs.

Food is one of those strange things. Often the people who make the biggest fuss about a specific food or dish have never even tried it. And that just boggles my mind. I will try just about everything except for sea urchin, which the woman at Shiki always offers me with a big grin, because she likes me and because I have ordered the sweet shrimp more than once. The sweet shrimp comes on two separate plates, half on a sushi brick, and half tempura battered and fried. The part that is sushi is just the shrimp meat, sweet, creamy, delicious. Dip it in wasabi and oh yes, there goes the top of my head. The part that's battered and fried is the front end of the shrimp, legs and antennas and shell, and it's quite edible, all of it. But I have smelled the sea urchin, and it does not strike me as something I wish to acquaint with my tongue.

I look at what some people eat and usually they have no notion of how to cook things from scratch. They think olives are fruit like peaches, just pick them off the tree, pack them in the can, get them at the grocery store. They've never been poked by an artichoke plant, never even wondered who thought, at one time, "let's boil that thistle for an hour and eat it." Or snails, for that matter...

Fear of starvation is the mother of gourmet cooking. Just add pine nuts or sesame seeds.


Find a high hill and go watch the Perseid meteor shower this week. And take a look at that big red bastard Mars hanging low in the sky, screwing with creativity, wreaking havoc.

My folks took off for home, home again to California. Here in Oregon you might could see a bumpersticker that states "Don't Californicate Oregon" and that's a pretty strong sentiment. My Dad's saddened by what has happened to his home, and is sad about what's going down now with the governor recall, and he wants to leave Caligonecrazy and live someplace without 34 million other people according to the census so probably closer to 35 million people if you count all the people sleeping in parks. 34 million people unable to afford the houses built on what once was prime farm land, so instead they have to live in apartments 80 miles from their place of employment.

Me, I'm happy here in Oregon, even with its unemployment rate & my own business tanking and leaving me in debt. I read about the child hunger rate and I also read about the highest rate of child obesity in the nation and wonder how that's possible and what do those statistics mean anyway. I know lots of kids and I don't know any fat hungry kids. I know lots of poor people and I know people who grow everything they eat in their gardens and they share with their neighbors. I know homeless people who left home to wander, become modern-day gypsies, because you can do that and still survive here. You can hitch-hike or ride your bike with a rifle across your back on the Interstate here. I know tree-sitters and I know people who have been laid off work because a Georgia-based logging company cut its employees in order to make record profits. Lots of big businesses left Oregon this year without paying their taxes and if an individual did that, the federal government would come repo their property, be it a house, car, boat, etc. and hold them accountable. I know the Federal Government wants Oregon to bend the knee because of the medicinal marijuana and the graceful death laws and I know the Oregon state motto is "She flies with her own wings."

People of California, plant a community garden this year. We're going for a ride, baby. It's like that click-click-click of the roller coaster at Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the Giant Dipper, the big old wooden one that creaks and rattles and you get on at the station, swing down through the tunnel, and then climb climb clickety climb......... and what goes up must come down.



My Dad's mother did not ever get to know her father because her mother took her and a trunk of clothes one night, and left her father sleeping in bed. She said she never saw her father again after she was seven years old. Her mother, my Great-Grandma Dot, was by all accounts a bitch of grade-A caliber who smoked and drank and swore like a sailor, who had a bluebird tattood on her shoulder. She ran a speakeasy for the mob on the banks of Lake Michigan, Wisconsin-side. I've seen the photos of the huge riding stables, the ice boats, the big studebaker cars, the multitude of full-length fur coats and smoking jackets. She got thrown into jail but kept her mouth shut, and when she got out of jail 2 years later, she had the deed and title to a ranch in Gabbs, Nevada, and partnership in a restaurant in San Francisco.

Dot's daughter was lost in all this, sent off to live with nuns for a while, then with an aunt, and finally she eloped with a charming blue-eyed soldier she met at a dance, who had three days before he was sent to Attu. They got married in Reno and she got pregnant, and then he was in the army stationed far away. She went to live with her husband's parents in the California foothills, and had her baby there. The baby was my father.
MomnDad are visiting, and S & I are keeping them busy. We spent Thursday night at Sam Bond's Garage in a small crowd listening to Mark Ross, the world's most famous unknown folk singer. He does lots of labor songs, lots of romantic train songs. He's been giving S some fiddle lessons lately.

Friday we engaged in a great Oregonian pass-time of driving back and into the National Forest south of nowhere, up up up on steep gravel logging roads, careful with the brakes, watch for the washboard because it'll walk it right over, slow. Cliffs and tree branches and gravel road dust and grasshoppers. Perfectly safe.

We found a suitable secluded spot and practiced target-shooting; S had just gotten Dad a new revolver. It's a big .357 magnum. Mom thought it was so exciting. The first three shots she made it through her repertoire of expletives, and then found the target and the word "YEAH!" to go along with it.

We saw a pair of grouse, and S & Dad discussed upland game bird hunting in the fall.

We walked about 100 yards to the top of the ridge, where S & I had explored a few years before & where we had found some nice high-grade agate and chalcedony. It was lovely, big fir and cedar trees, ferns, salal and huckleberry and not a soul for miles.
Mom found some agate and was very happy.

That evening, Dad opted to go to bed early, but Mom & S & I met up with my girl friend & my aunt at Sam Bond's for Astryd's performance. She wore red, and, as always, dazzled us. S was surrounded by four blonds and seemed quite happy in his corner.

Saturday I dragged Mom to the farmer's market, and she got a tie-dyed tank top, some veggies, and a bbq sandwich.

We ate leftovers and Dad & I stayed up until two in the morning drinking red wine, which we both regretted all day Sunday.

Too much fun.


My parents are bootleggers.

They arrived last night and I swear to you the entire back end of their car was full of hard liquor. I asked my Mom if she wants us to be alcoholics, and she said well of course not dear, but the liquor in Oregon is so expensive. Just you let me bring some from California where I can get it cheap.

I don't know if that makes sense, but I know where once the pantry was bare, it now boasts gin, whiskey, rum, brandy, and sour apple schnapps. S said we won't feel the cold this winter, and we'll be nicely pickled by spring.


I'll happily admit I am easily amused.

I'm taking a ten minute break here at my desk, happily munching on some peanut M&M candies, and one of the blue M&Ms hits my teeth, shoots back over my lip, drops to my chest, bounces away again and ricochets against the edge of the desk and back down to my thigh, where it rolls down my leg, and quite elegantly drops straight into the trash.

Yeah it sucks that I lost one of the M&Ms but hey two points for me.
Big thunderstorm about 4:30 this morning, shook me out of bed, rattled the windows, knocked the house around, big heavy rain flooded the yard. The devil rolled right on over with his chariot and what sounded like fifty black nightmares with flaring nostrils and flying hooves. The sky buckled and folded in on itself, everything eerily illuminated with great blinding streaks of lightning. Churning like the stormy ocean, great waves crashing against the earth.

Dogs barking car alarms blaring babies crying. S's cat ran in a circle in the middle of the room, tail all poofed out. My cat hid under the bed. Girl dog hid in the closet, boy dog glared at me because surely it was all my fault.

S got up and opened all the windows and doors, big freak that he is, then climbed back in bed. Scorching strobe of bright light count one, two BOOM! rumblerumble boom crackle I got up and closed all the windows and doors, little freak that I am, then climbed back in bed.

There was one point when there was no count between the lightning and the thunder, just the immense thudding rumbling roll of that great black chariot raging overhead. I do believe in praying at times like that.


Yausi is four and just the most adorable spitfire imaginable. Can I please bottle up some of that energy for use on a rainy day? We had JJ and Tebone come play at the coffeehouse on Saturday night & Yausi loves to dance with me.

We talked about how to tell when a song is sad, because JJ sings some sad songs, and how we don't dance like monkeys during sad songs. Her eyes got very big. We learned how to tap our toes to the rhythm rather jump around, and how to clap in time with the down beat. Her big brown eyes sparkled.

Mostly she likes me to hang on to one of her hands while she spins in a circle like a dervish. She likes it when I do spins with her, too, picking her up, swinging her big-band style over my back, catching her, swinging her legs from the left out straight behind her, then to the right. She likes it when I act like a monkey and hold her upside-down and examine her toes.

She's quite exuberant about dancing. I love dancing with little kids. Maybe I should rephrase that: I love dancing and I can always get little kids to dance with me. I like to see what I can get them to do; teach them without them knowing they're being taught.
Went to Oily and Dragonlady’s little parcel of forest farm paradise on Friday, ate tamales, listened to Oily’s old records. He also told us a story about earlier in the day, he had been looking for a hat, espied his tan cap with the hula-girl on the front, picked it up off the floor and plopped it on his bald head.

He said at first he didn’t know what to make of it, the lumpy cool thing that landed dead center on his head, underneath his hat. He carefully walked into the bathroom, turned on the light, and slowly removed his cap. There, staring back at him in the mirror, was a tiny tree frog that had turned the same tan color as his ballcap. He was amazed, and stared back at it, but then the frog made a frantic flying leap after it peed all over his head.

Poor Oily.
He washed his head while Dragonlady caught the frog and relocated it to their little shady garden.


Oh sweet summertime. I am alive and in love and the sky is blue and I don't care why. It's cooler today, hooray. I'm happy because the best boss in the world said we all should go home at 1 o'clock, which means he wants to go somewhere wilder and he figures surely we all do, too.

I just want to go home, sit out on my lounge chair in the backyard, sipping iced tea watching dragonflies in the garden. This weekend is going to be busy; three dirty dogs need a bath, the kitchen and bathroom must be de-funkified, and the second bedroom needs to be prepared for my folks' visit this next week. Can't wait to see them, and I am happy they'll be able to see the coffeehouse before we close it at the end of August.
They'll also get to see Astryd dance with her band at Sam Bond's in the costume to which I'm adding beaded fringe. And they'll get to hear sweet little mouse-that-roared Andrea sing her heart out at our coffeehouse.

I love summertime. It's all about the love. Love has lots of elements to it... there's smiles and *blush* sex, there's that ba-da-bing feeling in your heart, there's deep water and madness and youthful vigor and patience mixed with wild howling. There's questions to ponder, excitement, fun, and creativity to cultivate. I know I'm not the first person to say love is all we need.