Monday, February 03, 2014

Time for a spot of tea.

I am grateful from the little design training I have received over the years and therefore the words to express why something needs to change or be changed.
I am grateful that I write well and that I still have years left to practice and get better.
I am grateful that Brandon has a job with an interesting company, although I do not know if it's interesting enough.
I am grateful for honey.
I am grateful that I learned how to shape my nails so they will be strong and that with a little care they can look very nice.
I am grateful that Beck likes the snow. There were many fun hours of skiing with him yesterday.
I am grateful that I have a fridge full of fresh vegetables. And lots of garlic. This modern living thing is truly awesome - lest we forget some times. Fresh vegetables in winter is a miracle.
I am grateful that I do not have an addiction to anything worse than coffee. I'm not 100 percent in the clear -- because coffee grown badly can have a negative impact on the environment and the people growing it. But I don't have to fear that it will kill me if I can't stop.
I am grateful that my computer keeps working, though it requires some extra TLC these days and will soon need to be replaced. It has done a great job and lasted a long time.
I am grateful that I have a boss who trusts me.
I am grateful for greeting cards, which I eschew most of the time, but have taken a huge interest in over the last two weeks.
I am grateful for my friends who will come over, eat pork chops, zucchini, carrots and baked cauliflower, and then spend 2 hours working on a jigsaw puzzle.
I am grateful for the body's ability to heal my twisted knee, so that by Wednesday I should be able to climb again. And that yesterday it was strong enough to hold a wedge in cross country skies for a sustained, half-mile downhill.
I am grateful the Peanut cleans Oscar's ears.
I am grateful that the one thing I did not have to find for myself when I moved to Portland is a good hair stylist -- as my college roommate's little sister is here and gives the best haircuts I've ever gotten.
I am grateful that I did not grow up with my friend's Korean mother, who is most definitely mentally ill -- on top of being a Tiger Mom from Hell.
I am grateful for the Internet, internet comparison shopping, free shipping and the US Postal service.
I am grateful for the inspiration I got from my friends and the new adventure I will soon undertake when we start to get a weekly share of vegetables from a local CSA.
I am grateful I know how to clean.
And I am grateful for tea kettles.

Monday, September 02, 2013

What I learned on my mid-life vacation to Texas

I want to talk about climate change. No. Not Global Warming... although that is real and dangerous and still needs much dicussing.

No, I have moved to Oregon. Where. It's. Cooler. And I haven't slept past 6:30 a.m. yet. Not one single time. I'm exhausted and I have a terrible sinus headache. Yesterday, I got a nose bleed at bed time. Don't ask me how. It's humid here. And we spent the day at the ocean, where salt was in the air. And it was definitely NOT hot. Nor even really warm. Really.

So although I am exhausted and hurting, it's really very nice here. The climate is awesome.

Well, except maybe the political (Small p - from the word polis, meaning the people) climate. You see, when I moved to Texas, I had to learn not to be so rigid. Because, well, no one thought like me. 18 years ago there was NO curbside recycling, there were very few coffee shops, the idea of wearing no makeup to work, not shaving and letting your hair grey naturally was as foreign as kimchii. And saying you were pro gay marriage was likely to get you tarred and feathered.

So I learned to build reltaionships on commonalities, and let things roll off my back. Texas, you made me a better person, and for that, I do love you.

Oregonians, it turns out, are a self-righteous bunch who need to leave their little green shire and visit some places where people's happiness is not granted by sheer physical beauty and a comfy climate, but requires the choice to be a good, happy, productive and joyful person. You can make a life anywhere. And you can make anywhere miserable.

I am fairly sure I made several people completely miserable yesterday and ruined their entire day by failing to accede to their particular view of right and wrong. Maybe I've got a little Texan in me after all. Or, maybe I'm just a lot more sure of me after 18 years of being allowed to reinvent me in a foreign place.

Either way, I'm kinda struggling here. In Texas, I had friends with entirely organic gardens and I could go next door where the Red Neck Lesbian and her Diva wife would fix me guacamole and let me sit on the floor and cry. Riding my bike to the restaurant made me smarter than everyone else. Wearing chaco's caught people's attention. Rescuing dogs seemed noble and not self righteous.  And knowing how to buy and cook a salmon steak made me unique.

Here I'm conservative with my lack of tattoos and piercings, I lack indignation over cruelty to kelp flies, and I cannot get my head to stop pounding in my tired, tired skull.

Ah... Change.... maybe I can find enough in the junk drawer to go buy myself an organic, single source, locally roasted, fair trade cup of coffee with hemp milk and honey from backyard bees.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A tribute to Tyler

Tyler always knew what night the trash went out.
And so, if he were to escape, it would be on a Monday.
He'd always turn right, and then you'd find them: a string of knocked-over trash cans, contents strewn about, with Tyler standing in the middle of his latest conquest, gulping down whatever he found to eat.
Sometimes, we'd have trouble getting him home. Not because he didn't want to go, but because he smelled so badly of the neighbor's refuse, that it was nearly impossible to drive.
Aside from being the neighborhood's preeminent slayer of garbage bags, Tyler was also adept at hunting up smelly things at the lake.
Used diapers. Rotting bbq. Coyote poop. Dead fish.
Once, I used an entire bottle (32 oz size) of someone else's shampoo to scrub and scrub him after he rolled in a catfish carcass and then happily came up to rub against my legs. We stood in the waves on the shores of Lake Grapevine and I rubbed sand and more sand and even more sand into his fur to loosen the glue-like rotting flesh and then shampoo out that one-of-a-kind smell.
To no avail.
It was summer. It was hot. We're in Texas. I had cloth seats.
Needless to say Tyler rode the 7 miles home in the trunk of my Jetta. And slept on the back porch.
His craziest behavior, however, he reserved for that little-known treasure that melts all doggie hearts - Wonder bread.
Not once. Not twice. But multiple times, Tyler would wander from camp only to return with a loaf of  white bread. A loaf of bread within a 1 mile radius was in serious danger when he was around. I was even told by some fellow campers that he'd foregone their steaks to take the bread off their table.
This said, he did not only favor bread while camping.
Once, he escaped the house while a friend was dog sitting. She called, frantic. "Will he come home?"
I suggested she needed to track him down, but then came the text: "Never mind, he's back."
Followed by: "He found a loaf of bread."
He'd gone down the alley and I can only imagine that the fluffy white stuff was sitting atop someone's yet-unloaded grocery bag.
Thank goodness his theft never amounted to more than about $4 and .50 cents.
Tyler never hated anyone. Except one night when the cops came to the house. Mr. Policeman was there to take a report on our stolen bikes. Tyler walked up to the diminutive male human, put one paw on each shoulder and looked him square in the eyes. No barking. No growling. No nothing.
Just his way of saying, "This is my house."
Well, and he once barked viciously at a puppy who was dumb and climbed into the camper. Still haven't figured that one out. But, never-the-less, puppy learned his place.
All my dogs are taught to "get back" when someone is opening a door. When my Ex's kids visited with their beagle puppy, that puppy was not hip to what "get back" meant. After hearing "get back" several times and not seeing the puppy retreat, Tyler walked up, gently took the pup by the nape of the neck and pulled her back so the door could be opened.
It might have been dinner time. The matter was urgent. But whatever, on that day my Labrador was smarter than your average grade-school kid.
And so I recount the wonderful stories of my first and most well-loved doggie. He didn't fight with his sisters, pee on the carpets, kill the neighbor's cat, or growl at anyone he knew. Ever.
He got lost. Spent one night in jail. Covered me in poison ivy more times than I could count. Took to barking at me whenever he needed anything in the last year of his life, when he couldn't get up without my help. And was always, always, always happy to see me.
Fifteen years is a long time for an 85 pound dog. I wouldn't have traded a single moment of it all and I wish only that his last 24 hours - which were the only 24 hours he suffered - had not been so hard.
We choose our pets knowing they will leave here before we do.
At least mine had the consistency we've all come to know and love him for: He left on a Monday night.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today got away from me. But it started out so promising. I made gluten free pancakes and they were exactly what I needed.

That is all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

So many questions seeking your answers.

So I decided that I needed to throw out some jog bras that Lisa Butler helped me buy in 1998... or maybe 1997. They were expensive, well-made bras that fit well and we bought them on sale. They lasted a VERY long time.
But now, the elastic is crackly and ...  yeah, it's just time.

I have two - count them: 2 - of the best jog bras made. Fiona, made by Moving Comfort. I really need more of these, but like almost everything I own, I want to buy them either used (OK, we're really talking about furniture, bikes and cars here), or deeply discounted.

So, the dilemma: Do I go ahead and buy what I love and what I know will work and fit and such, and spend a lot initially.... expecting that they'll last me a decade like the ones I bought so long ago? This, btw, means that they will cost me fractions of a penny per use! Or do I buy something less expensive and wait until what I want is available at a price I can stomach without question?


This last weekend at Scarborough was nice and cool. Today? 87 degrees.
What this actually has to do with Scarborough is questionable.... what I'm really interested in is how, after 17 years, I'm still not sure what to make of these drastic and sudden season changes that happen here in North Texas.


My father is paying for my hotel in Steamboat for the four days that Brandon and I will be there during the week of our wedding. It's not that much, thank god, since the whole damn point was not to throw a costly wedding. In fact, we joked that he would not be paying for a horse-drawn carriage nor footmen. I said they'd be bored... pulling an empty carriage around while Brandon and I skied to the bottom of the mountain.
Brandon's mother wanted to know if there was anything she could do for us. I wanted to say, "help Ryan and Maddie get to Colorado." But I didn't.
The other thing we don't really want (nor have any clue what to do with) is presents.... and this is a very timely topic because Brandon just moved in here and there is SO MUCH STUFF in this house now that every time a cupboard gets opened, I am certain that something will fall out.
So I'm toying with two ideas.... we can register for PetSmart gift cards to use to feed out animals or rescue more dogs and cats. Or we can register for Home Depot cards, which funds will be used to rehab the floor, put in new windows or - goDs forbid it isn't done yet - scrape and repaint the house.
Or, I can have everyone give to Heifer International - and organization I have long supported, or the SPCA or Planned Parenthood (which seems to be much more under attack, but might be much less acceptable to his extended family).
So... that's the quandrie.

Friday, April 19, 2013

An attempt at the mundane

Sometimes the mundane is comforting.
So, for instance, while Boston is on lock down and West, Tx rebuilds from it's horrific explosion, there are an awful lot of things piling up on my to-do list.

1. Trim dogs toenails.
2. Trim cats toenails
3. Organize garage
4. Rearrange attic
5. build solar screens for the third bedroom
6. Mow the forest - err -lawn (edge, blow off debris).
7. Pull weeds in vegetable garden
8. patch concrete holes in sidewalk
9. hang curtains.
10. Buy a shower curtain that I actually like
11. Clean out baking supplies
12. Grout shower
13. Fix Cat Condo
14. Make new covers for pillows
15. Unload dishwasher
16. Laundry
17. Dry cleaning
18 Return sheets
19 Mail mother's day present

and I am sure the list goes on.
As does my life.
For which I am actually extremely grateful.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I have never wanted to run more in my life

Yesterday, the explosions in Boston were too new. Too unexplained. Too surrounded in unknowns. Too anonymous.
Today, I see the face of the 8 year old who died. I hear the voices of all those interviewed who were there, who ran away, who ran to help, who ran - for their own glory, for charity and for their lives, and I am overcome by heavy sadness.
I have been a runner for almost two decades. Even now, when I can not run because my ankle simply has been broken too many times, I am still a runner. It's like being an alcoholic - you may no longer drink but you will always self-identify as such.
Races are magical. Race day is like a party and a vacation and a community festival and a trial and a test all in one. Races run take away all the pain. All the outside noise of life. And all the crap.
When you are running you glory in movement and breathing. When you are running, the gap between you and the eternal is closed and you are one with god.
Certainly not always. Certainly not every race, especially if you are unprepared, or injured, or it just isn't your day. But on the days when it is right, running is all the things I mention above and the exact opposite of terrorism.
And so I add my voice to those affected by this selfish and cowardly deed. I have not bled. I was not scared. I will not fear.
And yet I mourn. For the 8 year old. For his father. And for all of us, who have ever gloried in the race well run and never, ever imagined yesterday would come.