The sky rises endlessly an impossible blue like a robin's egg or turquoise, a color that for some reason always reminds me of horses. The colors east of the Cascades are different than here on the west side; over there it's higher, bleached out, all faded like a well-loved pair of jeans somehow made crisp and hard by drying in the sun, and the sky is brilliant.

The cinnamon brown bark of the huge long-needled ponderosa pines and the dark scrubby lodgepole pines cast dappled shade on sage and sedge grass. Wild currant and hazelnut grow stunted from the snows.

Along the riverbank the grass grows waist-high and lush, and if I look closely at the matted deer beds I can see small wild purple asters blooming in the undergrowth, and wild strawberries, and yerba buena with its running tendrils and when I crush it between my fingers it smells sweet and good.

The smooth black water shines like a mirror and reflects the colors. Liquid emeralds, so dark green and deep and dark and treacherous, long dead trees fallen and slipped down the bank jut like bleached white bones from the water. Something wilder.


1. What is your name?
Sahalie is my nom de plume. I once had a boyfriend who called me Bill. My cousin calls me Mare, like a female horse. My Dad calls me Bird. I like it when waitresses call me Honey.

2. What color pants are you wearing right now? Black.

3. What are you listening to right now?
The phone ring in someone else’s office.
The Cure’s “Fire in Cairo” in my head. It’s silly when he spells it out.

4. What was the last thing you ate?

5. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Some days Brick Red. Some days Sage Green. Today is a Brick Red kind of day. Roar.

6. Where (did you/do you plan to) go on your honeymoon?
We spent our three-day honeymoon in a little historic hotel in Placerville, CA the same January weekend that torrential rain closed the highway two miles east of us & we had hoped it meant we were stuck, but alas…
Of course I could be hopelessly sappy and say we’re still on our honeymoon…

7. How is the weather right now?
I am inside. Through the window it looks gray and lovely and I want to go run barefoot in the grass.

8. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?
The head of the City of Coquille’s payroll department. Blah blah blah blah. Some mix-up or other. Not my fault.

9. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
The first thing I notice about anyone is posture.

10. Do you like the person that sent you this?
Nobody sent me this, I hijacked it from Clay Sail’s Panacylum.

11. How are you today?
I am always good except when I’m bad and then I’m better.

12. What is your favorite drink?
Tea made from the plants in my yard, especially green tea with spearmint, apple mint, & lavender, with just a touch of honey.
I also like pomegranate & rosewater Italian sodas.

13. What is your favorite alcoholic drink?
Red red wine. Except late at night I like Irish whiskey.

14. How do you eat an Oreo?
With milk. Reading a good book. On the couch with a cat curled next to me.

15. Favorite sport to watch?
Baseball. Not on television.

16. What's the next CD you're going to get?
Music finds me, not the other way around.

17. Hair color?

18. Eye color?
Blue with yellow around the irises.

19. Do you wear contacts?

20. Favorite month?

21. Favorite food?
Depends on the season. I like fresh food, and I like knowing where it all came from, especially meat. I like venison, and I like fresh fish. I'll try anything once. I could live on artichokes and mushrooms, salad greens and salmon.

22. Best job you ever had?
This one.

23. Do the dishes right away or leave them in the
Both. Either. Or.

24. Summer, winter, spring, or fall?
I like Autumn.

25. Is there Extraterrestrial life?
I think it’s possible but really I do not know. It’s not something with which I concern myself.

26. Hugs or kisses?

27. Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla with cake, chocolate with fruit.

29. Who is least likely to respond?
To what, a poke in the belly?

30. Who is most likely to respond?
If I poke your belly you had better respond.

31. When is your birthday?

32. Where and when was your last vacation?
This last weekend. A sweet little campsite on the Deschutes River.

33. What are your favorite things to do outside of
Reading, writing, dancing, listening to live music, kissing my husband, laughing, looking at stars, hiking, drawing & painting, being barefoot, sleeping, talking to loved ones, singing silly songs, playing with dogs, eating good food with good friends, watching the seasons change, digging in the dirt… how about living in general?


Went last night to the roughest little bar in Eugene to hear punk rockabilly. S refused to park in the lot because that's where people have brawls and fights. I thought he was being melodramatic but he said nearly every night some altercation occurs and better safe than sorry.

It's a small bar; big mirrors behind the bar, big windows on the other side of the room. Clean and spare and I am sure that prior to the no smoking ordinance you could have said never mind to cutting smoke with a knife, you would have needed a shovel. The ceiling was rather brown.

It was by far the most punk show I've ever seen. Songs about got no money and fuck the job. I sat between S & the lovely long-limbed JJ and at one point while admiring her tall black boots I ended up with her leg across my lap and that was just fine. S bought me a beer and said the music made him happy and he wanted to throw his beer glass in the spirit of the show.

Friend Tebone played some righteous bass for the trio, and Mr. Tall sang & played his no-nonsense guitar. We heard "Cell Phone" and "Nicotine Queen" and while he was paying homage to the Pabst neon sign behind him with "PBR vacation" some cops broke up a knife fight out in the parking lot. The cop car's spotlight made crazy shadows all over Tebone's face through the big windows and the flashing lights reflected like a colorful mirror ball on the ceiling while the drunk hairy hippy danced a jig in his well-worn sandals and the biker in the back by the video poker games nodded with the bass, and the large drunk Native American woman made her ferret skin with beads for eyes dance to the music.

I never thought I'd enjoy hanging out in bars but it's hard to beat for good live music & watching drunk people. Go figure.

Tonight S & I are headed east of the Cascades for the weekend, to the Deschutes River, up in the wild high pines. I am looking forward to eating fresh trout & drinking whiskey from tin cups while sitting by the big fire. Can't wait to smell like woodsmoke.

We'll lie on our backs on the riverbank late at night and look at the million stars, so close and so bright since it's the new moon I'll think I can reach out and touch them. See them reflected in the water and hear the sound of the river down deep.


For the life of me I cannot get my ass in gear today. I look behind me and there it is, still following along, lazy as ever. I could kick it but a beaten ass is untrustworthy; it may rebel at any time, and we all know how stubborn asses can be once they get a notion. It’s not a dumb ass—it certainly knows what it likes and can be really manipulative sometimes. It once was a hard ass but I think that was because there was less of it; now it affords a much nicer seat. If I could understand better why it is feeling lazy then perhaps I would be more inclined to follow its lead, but I have too much to do to be walking around with my head up it…
The bottom line is, it doesn’t want to do anything today but sit. And I can’t leave it behind, unfortunately.


More Ways to Stand Than a Drunk Fiddler

In the capitalist system, wealth becomes concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. Three hundred people (300 persons?) own 80% of the United States' wealth.

Before the industrial revolution (and usually that's capitalized but forget that standardized grammarian crap) technology oppressed the worker.
Which you are.
Yes you are.

Did you know that before the industrial revolution people only worked half the year? That's not just weekends and holidays on Monday, oh no.
Half the year off, half the year on.
Now we work eight days a week. Until midnight. Because commodities must be accessible and this is a service sector capitalist economy. Serve me, right now.

In the 1780s people thought they could up and leave their work whenever they wanted. So the bosses locked the doors and chained workers to their stations for the duration of their shifts. They didn't understand "work day."
Work your 40 hours, punch that clock.
Ring, ring, seven a.m.
"Putting a Highlander at the loom is like trying to put a deer in a plough."

Technology, as it improves, puts more control in workers' hands. Now there are too many workers, and we can weave whatever we want with that loom.
From here on in it's the Internet.

Where are you, now?

It empowers. You are empowered. You are an individual. It's better for creativity and invention than a Shakespearean collection on a deserted island.

Lewis Mumsford found distinctions between inventions created for the empowerment of the individual and for the authority.
For the authority we have tanks and bombs and the freeway system and malls.
For the individual we have the bicycle and rifles and the internet and the city.

Ring that cracked dusty Liberty Bell. I want to hear it.

I feel so proud of myself for keeping my shoes on all day long.

loKo itheK

I haven't had a car with a radio (or tape deck or cd player or any music other than what I make myself, thumping on the steering wheel, singing made-up songs that are often quite witty but I never remember them) for years. Years, people.

And the dumpy little blue bubble of a car that has faithfully carted my ass around no longer has that duty to serve. No more fluttering the clutch and gas pedal when it goes cough cough choke and shakes like it has the chillblains; no more adjusting the two layers of towels beneath my behind so the springs in the soggy old seat don't poke me in an unfortunate place; no more getting trapped in the automatic seatbelt that sometimes works; no more worrying about the coming rain, since for whatever reason the little blue doesn't like the rain and has a tendency to stall if I go through a puddle. Sputter chug. I have a fancy damn station wagon. It is sooooo comfortable. Don't be jealous.

I remember when Grandma bought it, I was a senior in high school and she taught me how to drive in it, and said I could use it whenever I wanted. I borrowed it once to go on a camping trip with some friends but mostly she used it for all her errands. She had it serviced like clockwork and it has maybe 70,000 miles on it. It is red and shiny.

My parents both have good vehicles, and they thought S & I needed a reliable car, so they gave it to us.

I don't remember the last time I heard the Psychadelic Furs while driving in my car.

Worked last night with Jesi & R on our choreo and I am finally getting excited about it. The song is as old as the sand of Egypt; traditional strong drum in 8/8 time with an unobtrusive and amazingly melodic mizmar horn, which usually bugs the crap out of my western ears but not on this song.

The three of us all have slightly different body types, but people sometimes mistake me for R, who is the same height with similar features and hair almost the same length and color. Those who don't know us often ask if we're related, maybe... sisters? Which pleases us to no end. With Jesi in between us we look very balanced.

Jesi is a full head and shoulders taller than we are, and her hair is long and auburn. We're having much fun playing with the height differences.

The way we all move is complimentary, too; Jesi is long and loose, and dances with soft hypnotic motions, and R & I are crisp, certain, and technical in our moves. I know the end result will be very dramatic, and enjoyable to watch.

I love watching the mirror at one point where we all swing our hips in crescents first to the left then to the right; it's mesmerizing and I can see in my mind's eye how it will look when we all wear big long swinging skirts carrying the motion to the ground and back up again. Swirl like water.


The equinox is today. Day and night are the same length long; from here until the solstice the days will become shorter and the nights longer.

My better half returned from that long state to the south in a car filled with treasures from my Grandma's condo. He had gone to help my Mom sort through many boxes. He was tickled by Mom's comment about how the Dutch reform church's mission was to fill the world with hand-made items, no matter how frivolous or useless.

He brought me a bag of skirt aprons to make June Cleaver jealous, every color of the rainbow, made from cotton, lace, corduroy, gauzy crepe, muslin, linen, gingham, taffeta. There was one made of fragile pink lace, adorned with a small pocket and three emroidered hearts and when I tried it on I asked if it was the equivalent of lingerie. He said if he got home and I was wearing it and some pearls and heels and perfume while I cooked a meat loaf he'd figure he'd be having a wild night.

There were pearls, and bracelets, and rings and about 200 pieces of costume jewelry from between the 1930s to the 1970s. He showed me a pair of eyeglasses that had been my great-grandpa's, barely worn, round owlish banker's glasses with gold earpieces, very 1920s. He also showed me a pair of ivory earrings, ivory carved like roses, and I found it interesting because my Grandma never had pierced ears so it must have been a gift from someone who didn't know her very well.

And the books and stamp collection and box full of ladies' gloves (some too small for anyone's hands but elegant just the same)...

I sometimes worry I might forget Grandma. It's interesting how tangible things can make the intangible seem closer.


The last love of the first half of my life told me once at midnight that I must put it into a river.

It must be a river, he said, and not a lake, for in a lake it may wash to shore too quickly; and do not throw it into the ocean, because then it may be ground to shards like shells or rolled too unrecognizably smooth like pebbles.

The past must be put into the fast deep channel of a river that seeks the sea, and if you travel the banks, you may some day see it again in the reeds, and make amends. Or it may be on the other shore, and you will wonder how to get there. Or it may make it all the way to the sea, and you will live free of regret.
Intending to find a pair of jeans, or even some nice black or grey slacks, I tried on over 20 too-tight, too-loose, big-butt, no-butt, too-long, way-way-too-long, short, itchy, too-high-waisted, too-stylized, and generally uncomfortable pairs of pants. The Buffalo Exchange has very cool clothes, but sometimes nothing fits. No. Amend that to say, sometimes nothing fits me.

I did find one pair I debated about purchasing, but the final negation came when I took a few steps in them and realized they bunched up in the crotch. Uck.


I gave up on fancy pants with acid stains, sequins, leather lacing, dragon painted on the left leg, frayed waistbands, and stylish holes, and instead looked at skirts.

There, nestled behind a godawful mustard-colored heavy wool thing, was the sexiest skirt EVER.

The skirt is black stretchy satin in a mermaid cut. The waist band drops to a point below my navel and the fabric tapers tight against my legs down to my knees, where it flares again to the floor. It is such the Morticia skirt, complete with a laughing skull on the tag inside. It makes me feel like the va-va-voom. And that’s always nice.

I wore it later to practice choreography with Jesi and R, and discovered happily that the stretchiness allows plenty of room for dancing.

Who needs uncomfortable jeans?

The nightmare I had last night has manifested itself on my face.

I dreamt my right eye was swollen shut, nasty and puffy and weepy and very infected-looking.

It seems during the night my left eyelid was bit by a mosquito... probably the same mosquito I waged war against in the shower. I sent volleys of soapy water and blasts from the shower head at it but to no avail, and I begrudgingly admit it won the battle.

There's no weepy nastiness, and the swelling has gone down and I have no trouble opening my eye but I (and everyone else) can see the bite and it itches terribly despite the antihistamine I took.

I understand there is a natural balance between all things, humans, viruses, mosquitos and what-not, but I very much wish the miniscule vampire had chosen something other than my eyelid from which to inject its itch-solution and drink my blood. If there were no mosquitos and no viruses then soon there would be no humans, I understand this very well. But I wish flying hypodermic needles would cease to exist. Especially in my house.

"What happened to your eyelid?" or, "Bug bite you?" becomes and open door for shared stories of the Worst Bites Ever.

I think Estella takes the cake for that one; she once was bit by a tarantula in her sleep. But at least it didn't bite her on the eyelid...


Summer comes to end.
It ended as quickly as it began back in June. Pop, there it goes, that hot little weasel of a season that causes all the girls to wear less clothing, intices guys to take off their shirts and throw a frisbee in the park, leaves dogs panting in the shade.

Season of runners and swimmers, barbeques and baseball, oh summer.

Here comes the autumnal equinox, that sweet lullaby song to the deciduous trees that makes them undress and stand bare and naked through the rain and snow while evergreens stand dark and silent and shadowy.

Shorter days and longer nights, harvest time for apples and pumpkins and corn, time to plant garlic and collards and cabbage. Time of great long skeins of Canadian geese flying south overhead. Cool rain and crisp air and ground fog and mist in the trees, acrid woodsmoke and sweaters.

I know there will be a few more warm days, and today is glorious and warm, but summer is passing.

Bob the Dirty Rat needs a bath.

Beware the chicken lady!
She coos and clucks and looks all soft feathers and she cocks her head at things one eye at a time and she'll peck at you until you bleed to death.
Cluck cluck!

Prior to class last night I spent time with my sweet girlfren R. It was a beautiful evening with swallows and a cool breeze & orange red and pink clouds. After stretching on her kitchen floor we walked from her little apartment down to the rose garden & river, looked at all the old houses and enjoyed the scent of verbena and lavender and roses. Then we headed back towards downtown to the Eugene School of Ballet.

There were some darling young ballerinas in black leotards and white tights whose gazelle limbs and fresh young daisy faces made me smile. They were finishing up their class before we could comandeer the studio & do our bellydancing.

Only half of the regulars came to class, and I sometimes suspect our instructor takes the opportunity of such small classes to work faster with those who consistently attend.

Each class begins with nearly half an hour of warm-up, and then half an hour of drills, during which we practice moves and undulations, traveling front to back and side to side on the studio floor, while playing a simple rhythm with our finger cymbals. These drills are one of my favorite parts of class, when we play follow the leader & are all moving the same direction, reveling in each other's beauty and strength. I look and see delphiniums and lilacs and willow trees and marigolds in the mirror and the energy in the room feels so natural and vibrant.

The last few classes we have been learning intricate step combinations to a traditional song. It's a different form of dancing than what I initially learned; instead of focusing on muscle isolation and quick dramatic movements, what we are now learning deals mostly with timing, balance, and transitions between the moves. In this class, we all know the moves (although there is always room for practice), but it is the step-step-pause between those moves, to the 12/8 rhythm song, we are learning now.

It is a mind-bender.

I was walking around humming the song trying to remember where I had heard it.

Once I returned home, I fed dogs & cats who scolded me and asked once more where is S, and I ate a scrambled egg with a glass of milk, and climbed into a hot bath. I talked to S, who is still visiting his parents, and told him I know he said he would be home Saturday but really he should come home Thursday. I am keeping myself busy but each and every day I think to myself about the things I want to mention to him, and have even forgotten he won't be there when I get home. Which at first made me sad but now pisses me off. Come home, damnit, I told him and he just laughed like I was joking.

He has a sweet laugh. He's visiting him Mom & Dad and I guess I can't complain about that. When I was a child, I had no siblings, and always thought I would never mind being alone. Solitude is a lovely thing, and I am happy enough being by myself and staying busy, but I prefer his company. Especially at night.

It was cold last night, and I could hear the wind in the trees.


Went last night to a friend's big old house for the Johnny Cash memorial barbeque and ended up looking at her photographs of her last trip to Cuba.

The dinner she & her partner fed us was delicious; he is a farmer and a master cook and we all ate much more than we should have.

The pictures of Cuba were fascinating.

She worked a few years ago in Havana making scientific drawings of grasses and insects. She said it was like paradise, very few cars, people riding their bicycles everywhere, nobody rushes around; it looks like the world stopped in the 1950s. Life is hard but also easy; she said so many people are genuinely happy. She said she would like to live there.

On one of her adventures into the hills near Havana where she had heard of a cave, she asked a tobacco farm worker to tell her where she could find it. She said he told his boss he was leaving and would be back, and walked her twenty minutes up this dirt road, pointed at the cave and bid her good day. She took his photo; he looked like he was 100 years old.

Another experience, she was taking snapshots in a small village south and west of Havana when two men approached her and asked her if she wanted to see their pig. She said if two men in some little town here offered to show her their pig she would graciously decline, but she went with them, walked along the trail to their two-room hut, and behind the hut was an outhouse and a shed. Inside the shed was the biggest pig in all of Cuba, as declared by the two men. They were very proud of their pig, she said, and stood smiling behind it while she snapped their picture. It was as big as a horse, and bigger than any horse in Cuba. She didn't ask what they fed it.

She has some of her drawings and paintings on her walls of things she didn't have film for, like the butterfly she saw on top of a little girl's head, and the sunset over the Atlantic one evening. Some photos were framed, like the one of the above-ground cemetery, with the shadows and dried flowers and bright sky blue paint on the grave markers.

One of the other guests who was looking at her photos is a photographer, and he kept telling her how she should have taken her pictures, and how she should work more on composition with her photography. She's very quiet, and she's one of the most successful artists I know. She actually makes a living selling her work. She is also a badass, and after one too many "constructive" comments from him ("You seem to have the 'bulls-eye' habit going on here" because she centered her subject-- heavens. I am sure he meant well but he got too excited by being a critic), she said in her deep low voice, "Well I guess it's a good thing I'm an artist, and not a photographer."

And she makes a mean rum and coke.


While S is gone I am like a clean freak on speed. Can't help it, and the house looks much more presentable.

I even washed the dogs. Or rather, I especially washed the dogs. It had been 5 months since last I bathed them, & then it was with a hose, which they hate. The word "hose-bath" inspires enough terror in their little doggy hearts to serve as a truly effective control, but is only used as a last resort, when they do something very bad like running out in the street or barking at little wizened Ines as she walks down the street. "Hose-bath" certainly is much more effective than yelling, which they ignore, or a scruffed neck, which they shake off, or a quick swat on the ass, which is insulting but rarely has any effect. So after 5 months of being dogs, they got a true bath in the shower and are shiny and clean and I scrubbed them good with a eucalyptus-based medicated shampoo. Boy dog seemed to enjoy it much more than the last hose-bath, during which he tried to choke himself and rolled the whites of his eyes at me. At one point during the scrubbing today he even wagged his tail.

The bathroom is much cleaner, too, because when they jump out of the tub they shake, which means I then get to wash the walls. Since S is gone and I have nothing better to do and I was on a roll, I even washed the ceiling.
And doggies are happy and clean, no more itchies, and the white on their coats is actually white.
They are soft and nice to pet.

I am going to go eat, which will no doubt result in a very clean kitchen.
Yesterday was one of the longest days for me. Got up an hour early to meet my girl JJ for coffee. S came along, and we visited until I had to leave for work. I should not drink coffee; I really should not drink coffee with chocolate, cinnamon, and sugar in it, because it makes me both clumsy and jittery at the same time and that's not pretty.

Work flew by like most Fridays do, and I had requested to leave two hours early so as to spend time with S before he got on that long silver train. I think we each said, "I'll miss you" about ten times. The train was two hours late and by then my head felt like someone had driven a railroad spike into it, I felt both clumsy and jittery at the same time but he said I was pretty.

We've been together seven years and we like eachother's company. He's fun. When he's gone it feels like my left eye has decided to go wandering off; I can get along without him but I don't prefer it. His presence is an essential part of my life. I know he'll have fun, and he'll be back in eight days, and I'm a terrible worry-wort but I won't bore you with the level of stress I feel about him being so far away from home. There's this dull ache between my heart and my throat from having slept without him last night.

Anyway I kissed him and left before the train left the station; couldn't stand there and watch him board the coach because my eyes felt all funny and my voice wouldn't work and I must be hypersensitive because of the moon or something. My head was pounding, too, and I think it must have bordered on migraine because I felt like I was going to yack all over the train platform.

Drove home feeling left behind and ill and there in my backyard were D and CC and CC's big damn wolf; they had hiked and hitch-hiked from the coast carrying all their camping gear and about 100 pounds of food, headed for the Cascades north of the hot springs. I really didn't feel like being a hostess but am comfortable enough with D, who lived in the basement at the coffeehouse & who is now a certifiable gypsy, to not put on a great display of inviting them to dinner. Which they didn't really want, anyway; what they wanted was a ride to the other side of Springtucky because they couldn't carry all their gear easily, and couldn't take the 150 pound-biggest-wolf-dog-I've-ever-seen on the bus. His back comes to just above the point of my hip. If I straddled his back like a horse my feet would not touch the ground. It's a good thing he's so mellow. I felt ill and didn't feel much like driving more but what can you do? They're sweet kids and he helped us a lot with the coffeehouse.

Drove them feeling left behind and ill the half-hour trip through Eugene and Springfield to a grassy patch of land next to Hwy 126 before it heads into the hills, where D assured me they would get a ride from someone going home from work, and if not he knew a fellow just half a mile up the road where they could camp the night. I hugged them all, even stinky wolf, and told them to come see me on their way back to the coast in two weeks.

Drove home again with the setting sun making retina burns and wondered what to eat for dinner, since it was 7:45 by the time I got back home and I had promised JJ just that morning (was it that morning we had coffee? felt like last week) that I would come see her & Tebone & the band play at the coffeehouse/bar that I can't really stand. Called my Mom to tell her S was on his way, jumped in the shower, which greatly relieved my headache, fed dogs and cats and ate a banana, jumped in the car and headed for town.

Friday night beers to consume, friends ready to enjoy the music, the opening act was quite good with guitar and harmonica and tall thin Jon offered to buy me a drink, so I said okay. I sat next to the lovely dark-eyed JJ who had on Nancy Sinatra boots if ever there were. She talked about how bored she was at work the other day, and that she was looking up the word "grasshopper" because that's the name of the band, and on the third page of related links she came across call me sahalie. My immediate reaction was, "How cool," and then "Uh-oh what have I written," but she had already read it all and there's no use crying over spilt milk. We talked about it and I only hope it doesn't change things. In this silly little on-line journal I have going here I enjoy a certain level of anonymity, which lets me vent without censoring myself to the point of saying something I don't really mean to say. I like to shoot, and I really like to hit the target. No ricochets, please.

Yes JJ you have a sweet Texas drawl. Not a twang, which is the glottal wide open and sounds like the letter h falling all over the vowels, but a soft mesmerizing western drawl that, from a linguistical point of view, involves your pattern of speech more than the position of your lips, or your tongue in your mouth. And you do make some vowels softer and longer than those of us from the left coast, who grew up with Dutch moms from Chicago.

But where was I? Ah yes, kitty cat friends.
Grasshopper took the stage & Tebone said he had been told to talk more about the songs being played. He explained how his song "Kitty cat friends" was written about these two cats he was living with, that it's kind of nonsensical but he started playing it at parties and people liked it. And here's how poetry and song lyrics take on a life of their own, because S & I had discussed the difference between "kitty cat friends" and regular friends. "Oh, my, kitty cat friends, I hope it never ends..."

They played their full repertoire, and JJ really loosened up and started belting songs out about halfway through the show. I had taken a seat right in front of her and delighted in her sweet rich voice that washed over me like rain. It felt... cathartic. It made me forget about S on his shiny silver train winding through the Cascades under a waning moon, headed south along the same route as the geese fly. He called me this morning from the station in Martinez and told me he loves me, and he had slept on a bench that are designed so you can't sleep on them in the observation car for maybe three hours. He is probably sleeping now in my old bed at my parents' house.
I pray the rest of his journey is safe and comfortable.
I pray D and CC & the wolf find where they are going.
I pray JJ and Tebone know they are my kitty cat friends, and I hope it never ends. It is real.


Tonight my love leaves.
But yesterday he went grocery shopping so I won't have to while he's gone. He even remembered to get plastic ziploc bags.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it when S goes shopping. He learned how to shop, and how to cook, from his mom, who raised three kids on a cowboy's wages on a cattle ranch in Montana, and then in the gov'ment housing projects in Greenville, South Carolina during the recession in the 1970s.
S pinches pennies to the last.
"Frugal" doesn't even describe it.

Me, I am a terrible shopper. I'll go with the intention of getting toilet paper and bread and lunchmeat and come away with pine nuts, avocados, and deoderant, and halfway home I recall the original purpose and have to turn back, which is often a hassle because U-turns are illegal in Oregon.

Stores distract me; there is too much to look at. S will systematically walk down each and every aisle, and not only that but he will compare quality with quantity and determine which is the biggest bang for the buck. He tries to get each full (and I mean full) bag of groceries for five dollars and usually succeeds.

Which leaves money for nice items, especially on pay day, such as a bottle of wine and two (reduced-for-quick-sale) rib eye steaks.

He also made a banana cream pie. Gold stars on his forehead and I will miss him when he's gone. Nine days sounds like a long time.

After dinner we sat on the couch and he held me.
"I like you," he told me quietly.
"And you're, um, curvy."
"I don't think so."
"Your skin is soft."
"That's my dress."
"No, that's you, and you smell good."
"I smell like barbequed steak."
"You're very difficult."
"Am not."
"I will miss you."
"Come home again soon."
"I promise."


Peace to the world.

Last night we went with R & Mme Stellar & her man to the Lava Lounge, which was very cool, not too loud, nice atmosphere, comfy clean silk-pillowed booths and good stiff drinks (although I stuck with red wine because I had to drive home, and get up today for work).

We teased R mercilessly about having to leave early for a moonlit hike with a "platonic" friend whose name she did not wish to reveal, and when she worried about what her long-distance lover might think about this moonlit rendez-vous we really made her laugh.

Star speculated that it might be good to have a long-distance thing because then you can get all your ya-ya's out of the way with local flings and when you've settled down then you'll have already ya-ya'd it up plenty and you'll have gotten all those ya-ya's out of your system. The opposite of a ya-ya is a nitty-gritty. As in the serious, getting-down-to kind of stuff.

Star had finished one drink that smelled like Irish cream and chocolate called an ecstasy when she talked so much about ya-ya's and nitty-gritty.

R blushed and that made us ya-ya it up even more.

Star is my friend and also my dance instructor, and I have taken two classes the past two days. My muscles are all pleasantly sore, my ankles, knees, hips, back and shoulders all feel nicely knit together again, and it worked out all the kinks, stretched, straightened, flexed. My jeans feel really baggy on me, my legs feel quick and light. I feel like I could swim five miles. I know I could climb a mountain... and sing, "Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight," while doing so. Roar.

The class the Shining One teaches that I usually attend on Tuesday is for her advanced students, and it's very fast-paced. Other dance instructors and a few serious performers are enrolled, and it takes much practice to keep up with everything we learn from our stellar teacher. The class on Wednesday is an intermediate course, and many of the moves she teaches us are the same, but she takes her time to break each move into incremental motions, such as when to pull the hips back, step back with one foot, swing the hips around and forward as the other foot comes around. Practice turns the move into a graceful swinging hip circle. Looks lovely with a big skirt that flares and a coy little smile.

So S & she & her honey & I all left about midnight, after a few more cocktails and her husband discovered that a long-lost college friend from Minne-snow-ta worked as a waiter. He brought us a sinful treat of fried bananas, coconut and chocolate ice cream, and slices of melons all topped with butter-rum syrup. I said it was a ya-ya if ever I saw one and Star said she's allowed that sort of ya-ya especially on her birthday.


In the rain on Sunday we went hiking down east of Culp Creek, a ways back in the big woods, in the Umpqua National Forest. There is a small primitive campground nestled between Layng Creek and a big hill, and the trail starts in the campground, winds up the hill along the creek (which has some lovely deep pools and cascades, and then drops down on an old logging road that leads to the campground.

Big thick woods and ferns, vine maples, big leaf maples, alder, ash, cedar, hemlock and always the giant firs. Silent stand the sentinel firs. The air was damp and warm, tropical and close, dark woodsy fresh clean air with just a hint of fall approaching. Breezes like cold stream water and droplets of rain falling from leaves kept us cool in our shirt-sleeves hiking through the warm damp woods.

We lived in the woods for two years in a pump house on my uncle's land and sometimes I wish I could return to that cabin on the hill, nothing to see for miles but the hills and forest. We would go for days without seeing any other people. We got a bit wilder. During our walk, I could see some of the ash trees near the top of the ridge have turned to yellow, but it's still a full month away from the spectacular autumn colors that make your toes curl.

We saw two newts along the trail, creeping like sleepwalkers with their three fingers and four toes. They blend perfectly with the forest duff; sort of burnt orange and brown, easily mistaken for a rain-slick leaf or a small soggy stick. We also saw wood snails in their red and black disk shells. We heard the myriad of forest birds, and some small furry mammals hid from us, although the four of us were quiet and hardly talked except to discuss plants and rocks and the creeks.

We listened to the water and the wind in the branches and the rain.

And then L couldn't resist and threw a rock KER-PLUNK into the large black pool of deep water down below the trail.
After two tries he successfully hit a tree branch sticking up at an awkward angle, and S supplied him with two more nice throwing rocks but did not partake in the boy-ness.

S likes mostly to skip stones, not knock the creek dry, and we teased L but he laughed.

We stopped on our way home by Wildwood Falls, a county park along Lower Brice Creek Rd, designated by the locals a Corona bottle and cigarette-butts kind of swimming hole. I would not swim there but then I don't like Corona or cigarettes. I don't know why people seem incapable of picking up their trash. Lazy asses. It is a shame. Even with the litter it is a beautiful place.
A massive hunk of basalt has been eroded into a highly polished river channel, over which a waterfall churns and drops spectacularly into a huge cauldron. The water is low now, but it is still too deep and black to see the bottom.

We all rode quietly home. There is little difference between the high canopy of the forest and the deep bottom of a mountain plunge pool.


Finally gave in and washed my car. I felt bad scrubbing away the two years' worth of moss and lichen; all these little micro-organisms have made their moveable feast on my dirty little Mitsubishi hatchback, but then it is nice to see out the rear window.

It had gotten so dusty inside I couldn't see the spedometer if there were any glare at all. Not like my car ever even approaches the speed limit, I have to peddle really fast as it is, but it's nice to know how quickly those trees outside my window are flying past.

The dust from gravel driveways, including the place where we lived for three years, combined with rain for eight months out of the year, had caked up so much dusty crud it was quite difficult to read the license plate. Really one of the main reasons I washed it was because I want to sell the car to some desperate college student (Don warn your friends), and also because I needed to put the registration renewal stickers on the license plates.

But the primary reason I washed my car is because that's the modern equivalent of the rain dance. The weather threatened rain a few times today but never materialized. I figured if I washed my car it would guarantee some much-needed rain.
I pray for rain. Hey-yah. Wash wash, wash. Hey, hey-yah. Scrub. Scrub. Hey. Yah.

R came over later and baked pound cakes. She and S and I talked about the origin of the name "pound cake" and she said she wasn't a huge pound cake fan. He said if she ate one a week she would be huge, and it disolved into jokes and giggles from that point on.

She sliced some strawberries and I confessed my love of her and strawberries even though they weren't ripe but they'll soak up sugar overnight and make a nice topping for the pound cakes, and the love was reciprocated and that always feels so nice. She had been gone a week to see her beau in the San Juan Islands up by Seattle, a whole week gone, and she said I was the only one she called upon her return because she knew I wouldn't be jockeying for position and other catty bullshit, I'd just be me and she loved me and that made me happy.

The best of friends are those with whom you pick it up where you left off and there's no awkwardness, no stupid pettiness, it's just love.

Love is simple. It is all you need.
Love and rain, I mean. Of course the two are not mutually exclusive. I love the showers and strawberries.

People complain about all those socks they lose in the clothes dryer and I just wanted to confess something. I have them all.

I don't buy any clothes made out of artificial materials, nothing nylon, nothing polyester, nothing that requires ironing drycleaning handwashing bleaching or washing with like colors. If it shrinks when I run it through the washer and dryer I laugh because I buy everything second-hand and probably I didn't pay more than five dollars for it and fuck that article of clothing, it takes more time than I care to spend on somthing that will just get dirty. I buy expensive sheets and that's all that matters in the long run.

So when I do laundry I don't keep track of specifics; so long as I have clean jeans and shirts and under... where? and my spouse does too, I don't care.

Which means I don't keep track of socks.

Where in the world did I acquire this knee-high beige-with-fancy-crochet-feels-like-100%- Egyptian cotton sock? Or this man's-size GI green wool-blend, or this beige heavy-duty rag-wool tube sock? This sock is pink and never in my life have I owned pink socks. No. One sock that appeared in my dryer all warm and clean had quite-comfy holes in the toe and heel and it was a very nice black and red argyle. I haven't worn argyle socks since high school when I cut off all my hair and wore boys' jeans and black boots and suspenders. This Nike sock does not match anything I own and I buy Champion athletic socks and whose it this? Because no way it is mine.

Yeah, mystery solved. Are you missing any socks?


About ten of the clock last night our neighbor called and invited us to look at the night sky with him through his small telescope. He brought it over and set it up on our driveway and we joked about shooting the streetlight on the corner so to better see the stars. Only half-joked because he said he did, once, shoot it out, and S offered to go get the air rifle. Laziness prevailed, however, and we talked astronomy and astrology and suns and stars and Mars, which hung between two big fir trees in the east, like some big garden orb weaver when you can't see the web you just see the golden and red spider.

We could see the polar ice cap.
I wanted to see Mars' moons, Phobos and Danos, but I guess they're too small to see even with a powerful telescope.

We looked at the craters on the moon and talked about how the earth is the only (known) supporter of life, because life generates the atmosphere, and about how our sun is actually expanding and is hotter than it was 2000 years ago, and about Antares, hanging low in the sky, opposite Mars. Antares is the other red shiny thing up there, and through the telescope it looked like it fluxed between electric blue and fire-engine red. It's bigger than our sun. Big and very very far away.

He showed us a dead star, which looked just like someone had taken a smudge stick and rubbed it in a circle on the sky, and we looked at the North Star and Andromeda, Pegasus, the Dragon, and numerous other constellations, talked navigation and astrological importance and about Mercury's retrograde.

I fell into bed and dreamt of big white winged horses.


The phone rang last night and it was my girl JJ with her sweet Texas drawl, "I left something very small and important over at your house, I don't know if you noticed it, it's this little black wine bottle thing..."

"Oh yes, I have it right here. I didn't know how it got in my kitchen drawer."

"We brought it over when we came to that party ya'll had and I forgot about it. Anyway can I come get it? I like wine but only drink a glass a night, and so I have three open bottle that have all gone flat and Tebone said I can't buy anymore wine unless I drink it all."

She arrived with her tall dark lovely self and had a glass of wine with us. We gossipped as we sipped and laughed about friends and relationships. I always get the feeling that JJ is insecure about Tebone. He is older than she, and is a bit wilder. She told me how before they started dating, he encouraged her to acquire "fuck buddies" who I guess are people you don't have any obligations to, you just fuck. "He doesn't have them anymore," she said.

I guess one of their friends has the hots for Tebone but JJ knows he isn't attracted to her at all, so she doesn't worry about it. But she does sing that "women be wise" song, and I have felt her sizing me up on occassion.

I think she worries about his possible infidelities, and I found myself slightly uncomfortable because she told me, not once or twice or thrice, but four times throughout the night that Tebone finds me attractive, "gorgeous" was her word, which elicited an eye-rolling from me and I think half of his attraction to me is because I flirt with his woman. I guess he really liked it when at their party I two-stepped with JJ; she said he told her it was even better than Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd doing the tango in that Frida movie and boyo Tebone was drunk that night. But it bothered me because it almost felt like she were feeling me out, trying to find out if that the attraction is mutual and she needs to worry about me.

I told her very truthfully I would be much more inclined to make a move on her than on him and she laughed and said, "Yeah I told him that too and he didn't believe me!" But the real truth is, I am married to a wonderful man, and wouldn't dream of harming our relationship for physical gratuity with another person.

And I worry about JJ singing that "women be wise" song because there is a flip-side to it; it says, "don't advertise what your man do for you." It seems like lately she has taken that to mean she should talk trash about her man, telling others how lecherous and lascivious he used to be, and I worry if she keeps it up then one day it's all she'll think about him, and not how he writes songs and plays his guitar for her or kisses her eyelids when she's asleep or cooks dinner for her every night or any other number of things that add to her love for him. And her continued insecurity doesn't help matters; it's a short step from insecurity to accusations and I hope she notices the line. Once it's crossed there is no more trust, and without trust the love will burn hot and fiery and then turn to ashes.

Women, be wise in more than one way...


Last night was dance class but I failed to go. Instead I drank a gin and tonic and chatted with this most charming man who had emerged from the bathroom after he shaved off his big wooley bugger beard and lowered his ears about an inch. He looked suspiciously familiar, especially those eyes...

We listened to old country, Sons of the Pioneers etc. last night, and S sang along, waggling his eyebrows during "Cig'rettes and whoosky and wild-eyed wimmin" and laughing about how scandalous such a song was when he was a boy. They were all the records his Mom would play when they lived in Montana and his Dad was the ranch foreman. They make S wistful and boisterous at the same time, which is an interesting combination.

We snacked on cheese and crackers, a light little meal. Dogs like gorgonzola cheese. We also picked sweet green grapes from our grape arbor. The grape vines sprawl twenty feet in all directions, like some monstrous creature with edible fruit hanging from its shady belly. It has climbed the neighbors' tree and is threatening to swallow our woodshed. The grapes are delicious. I am going to turn into a grape. That wouldn't be totally unpleasant to be a nice shiny green and smooth fruit, very sweet, eventually darken and get all wrinkled and turn into a raisin... actually that's not so far off from the whole human aging process. I think next year we'll try to make wine with the red grapes. They're a little tart for snacking but I think they are some variety of wine or sherry grape. Gotta do my research. Winter project.

We went jogging on the path near our house in the evening. The sky and the sun were red from all the fires out east, looked creepy and it was eerily hot and still. I like late summer but it's the time of year for foxfire and bats, spiders and unsettled spirits and crickets. Lots of electricity in the air from the late summer baking the earth. Jogging along the slough only the cattails are still green, everything else is brown.

It felt good to run. It's not dance class but it is cardiovascular, and it helped with all the tense tight muscles I've been nursing since the stress of our business closing and the subsequent move. I was surprised how far we ran, and I'm not even sore today.

Think I'll run again tonight.
After I eat more grapes.


On the door of the building where we had our coffeehouse, S has posted a Charles Bukowski poem.


I was having a coffee at the
when a man
3 or 4 stools down
asked me,
'listen, weren't you the
guy who was
hanging from his
from that 4th floor
hotel room
the other

'yes, ' I answered, 'that
was me.'

'what made you do
that?' he asked.

'well, it's pretty

he looked away

the waitress
who had been
standing there
asked me,
'he was joking,

'no,' I

I paid, got up, walked
to the door, opened it.

I heard the man
say, 'that guy's

out on the street I
walked north

Got questions about love, sex, money, relationships or all of the above? Direct your requests for advice to Dr. Sexton Seamus McGinty III at sexmcginty@hotmail.com, or check out his advice column over at Pataphysical Graffitti.
He won't tell you what you want to hear in the funniest way possible.

My knees have bruises on them from semi-drunken limbo (how low can you go? about 2 and a half feet; only the nine year old could best me at it) on Friday night, our farewell party at the coffeehouse. Everything had been removed; it was big and empty and full of good friends.

That was Friday night; we worked all day Saturday, then partied a lot harder than we ever did last summer at friends Tebone and JJ's big empty house; they had spent the day moving, too. It was a great time; five guitarists, four singers, a fiddle, tabla drum, and a big plastic bucket. We shook the foundation of the big old house. They requested I dance twice; it was so much fun to play with live music! Tebone sang his "Come on out and dance" song, which lends itself to two-stepping, and the lovely tall dark JJ and I swirled around in front of happy eyes and clappy hands.

S played his fiesty Buffalo Gals song and also accompanied Tebone on "Kitty cat friends" which was a request of 4-year old Yausi. We had so much fun, got home about 2 o'clock and fell into bed.

We got everything moved by 3 on Sunday afternoon. I haven't been so exhausted in years. I'm so glad Ivory soap floats.

We had so much help from friends, especially D, who lived in the basement of the coffeehouse and who says he is now happily homeless.
I'm happily businessless so I think I understand.
He's young and wild and is the epitome of cowboy gypsy bicyclist. He's hopped trains and lived in trees and says he is taking his girlfriend and her dog and three donkeys and a yurt up into the woods for the winter. He came for dinner on Sunday night, left Monday morning after breakfast. We wished him happy trails.

Today I feel happy and like I've been through the ringer; I have a coffeehouse and a bookstore crammed into my garage, and bookshelves in every corner of my house. Quite a learning experience-- a crash-course in small business management. We met some wonderful friends, and made some truly incredible memories. And we have plenty of books to read this winter.