n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, August 21, 2011

less cranky

I'm heading out on the float-plane this afternoon...

I enjoy float-planes.

I have a game plan, a week-long commercial license, and the opportunity to eat fish. The PMS-ing is over, and I'm less depressed about missing the last of the summer.

Trying to see this as a last opportunity to see the site again. And eat fish.

Wish me good voodoo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

fuck me.

So I get to go rushing off to AK to 'save' the fishing site again. Basically I was told by my mother that this was what I was going to do.

When I mentioned that I had planned to write during this time, she said "Oh, well, you can write up there." Ha. Ha. When I mentioned that I had only spent 4-5 days in my studio this month, she said "Oh, well maybe you should give up your studio." When I mentioned that I had a friend who was supposed to visit next week, she said "Well, you can go visit during Thanksgiving or something." When I mentioned I have a dog who needs exercise, she said, "Oh, I guess I'll walk him around the lake a couple of times." When I mentioned I had a garden with tons of things that will need canning and preserving (or cooking), she said "Oh well."

Oh well.

I'll be coming home just in time to start teaching the same old composition classes + the extra one I took on to put me at an overload.

I might as well throw my fucking computer into the trash, set my garden on fire, give away my dog, and lobotomize myself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

back to the trip

Once I arrived in New York, I had to figure out how to get to mid-state New York, where Ellen was going to pick me up at the train station. I had planned out part of the deal... that I needed to get to Grand Central Station to catch a train, but I wasn't entirely sure the best way to get from JFK to the downtown area. I'd looked online and finally settled on some advice to catch a shuttle-bus, which would go directly there. But when I wandered outside the airport to look for one, I was unable to find anything that looked even remotely like a shuttle bus.

A note on the wandering: upon leaving the airport, the weather report was affirmed. It was Damn Hot. "Damn Hot," in this instance, being a type of official designation just two notches below "I'm Dying Here," which is what had been going on a week prior to my visit. Damn Hot, however, was pretty far away from the "Pretty Stinking Cold" I have been experiencing in Washington this year. From what I hear, this is a record cool summer, or at least June was... with no days breaking out of the 60s. I am one of those unfortunates in the PacNW who adores heat and spends all winter sitting with my legs wrapped around a radiator (literally... zero metaphors there) and dreaming of the steamy summer to come, when I will drift down the rivers on inner-tubes and sip G&T's upon the flowering afternoon patio. However, I have struck a nearly tragic Pretty Stinking Cold status quo this summer (only nearly tragic because I don't live in Scotland like my sister, and she tells me it never does anything but sleet, drool, and flood there... which sounds nearly TOTALLY tragic to me). So... when I walked out and hit the Damn Hot, I was both physically startled/reeling and incredibly pleased. I loved every inch of mutant sweat pathways that notched my PacNW clothes with genuine summer notification... nevertheless, it helped with the disorientation and unwillingness to linger around searching for missing shuttle buses.

So, I decided to brave the subway, which went well for me. I took my time and had to transfer twice, but I got there and realized all again how much I am in love with subways systems, although I feel less affection for the ones that travel all the way underground than I do for those that stream past a graffiti-laden, peopled landscape with the trees and sky drifting above.

The train I took north from Grand Central was incredible... it ran right up along the Hudson river the whole time, and shortly after leaving the city we ran into some thunderstorms that billowed above the greying water. I was startled by how few boats were traveling along the Hudson, and also by how many herons and Canadian geese I counted. The rain started with a speckling, then shifted towards thunder and lightening - stripping across the sky right as we hit the Bear Mountain Bridge, then pouring and obscuring vision much past 30 feet or so. Then it quickly stopped until we got further north and it started right back up again and was finished by the time I rolled into Poughkeepsie.

I felt so happy just watching it, experiencing those thunderstorms I had missed so much since moving away from Chicago (I used to track them from front East-facing porch to the back West-facing porch, or vice-versa). Also, being on a train seemed to pull me pretty far back, towards those days of traveling in Europe with Sarah... little corners that reminded me of the strange illicit places we found to camp upon, light campfires of heady yucca and tighten down against the perpetual nightly rattle of the lines. It almost made me feel young again, or at least not so damn old, which is how I feel lately.

By and large, this is the overwhelming sensation of the trip: of coming awake again, of leaving hibernation, shaking my fat layers in slow-motion undulations of molting thick fur, and discovering... that it's not all grey. That I am not seventy-seven years old and hidden in the recesses of a nursing home (the story I've been working on forever... well, maybe it became too much my life, maybe why I've been having a hard time with it). That I am not alone, that I might not even like being alone. I feel like I've told myself for awhile that I am too old and set in my ways, that I can't bend - and that's why I am not able to sustain a romantic relationship. Perhaps I've told myself that there's just something wrong with me too, that love can't be maintained for some of us, while others find the lucky one person who will actually put up with them, and then they get to grown together so they don't wake up one morning and find that their life is set and rigid, with nobody who could even possibly fit into pattern and no going back.

NY TRIPBut I was totally enfolded into Ellen's family and I loved every minute of it. It was exhausting, and sometimes trying, but it felt so delicious and I didn't want to put down the baby, and I didn't want to go to bed and stop talking to Ellen, and I didn't want to stop playing tea-party with Sophia, and when Benjamin teased me, I felt like the little bubble (expended in something much like a giggle) was some pure form of affection I had been missing.

I also found out while I was there that Ellen keeps a picture of me in her wallet, next to her husband... not hidden in the back, but visible when opened, and I honest to god wanted to cry. I might have done so if we hadn't been in a public place. How can I explain that feeling? I'm not sure I trust myself to do so.

So, I think after all that there might not be anything wrong with me, except a bit of fear and paralysis. A bit of the sad lonelies.

It was a really good trip for me to take, and I'm so glad I did.


When I got to Poughkeepsie, Ellen and I had some difficulty finding each other. I made the assumption that because I didn't see her immediately she must be in her car with some very tired children, not wanting to drag them down to the tracks, or that she was having some difficulty finding the station in a town she wasn't very familiar with. Silly assumption, because after waiting for 30 minutes by the car pick-up spot, she wandered out of the station with a baby on one hip and a shy, tall little girl hiding behind the other hip, and confusedly said, "Joanna?"

Ellen is my college buddy and, at this point, one of my oldest friends. We met in the late fall of 1994 or early spring of 1995. That I knew who she was pretty early in the year is true, but I don't think we actually became friends until a fair amount later. Her dorm was one building over from mine and she lived with the girl I had a ridiculously adoring crush on for my freshman year, so I was probably always too busy trying to flirt with her roommate to make a very good friend.

My main memory of Ellen that first year - and one I tease her about, but am somewhat tickled that the teasing doesn't bother her - is that she often came somewhat late to morning lectures (not super-late) and she always carted an apple which she would crunch loudly upon during almost the entirety of the hour-long lecture. This introduced me to two facts about Ellen: one being that she is confident and secure (like everyone, she has her moments, but by and large, she seems to know inside her that there is a place for everyone, and this allows her to understand that there's a place for her too), and the other being that she eats super, super slowly.

(I am amused too that she has produced a daughter much like herself, who gets to drive her nuts with her own habits translated into childhood hyperbole.)

Anyhow, I think we all bonded during the year-end party (We 'picted' together, which involved painting ourselves blue and running blue nude through the library, the student union, the cafeteria, the all-college feast, and ending at the naked slip-and-slide and group showers where we washed each other clean, smiling with blue pores and bloodshot eyes at the fervent communion of like souls), but the next year is when I remember our friendship developing more thoroughly... the slow tidal erosion of distance, the sharing of childhood memories and hopes for the future, the knowledge that this is a person I like. Love is sometimes easy, sometimes hard, but "like" I think is the most important.

Ellen was also one of the first friendships-of-three I've been in, and ever since I've seemed drawn to such frienships, which I think provide a delicious stability and dynamic in the present, though sometimes become painful when the dynamic slips over time. Ellen-Me-Sarah, Natalie-Me-Camille, Jess-Me-Louie: with me a happy little sandwiched creature. Ellen, Sarah, and I were always together, it seemed, and we even discussed how it was important to have our alone time together (just two of us). We were asked several times whether we were a threesome (especially after Sarah and I hooked up), but what seemed more important and indefinable was how we all seemed to balance something in each other, and how learning from two friends at the same time could feel like revelation.

Both were there for me during some very self-destructive times, which is part of who I am, and something they seemed to accept about me, and help me through. Having had people see you at your worst is humbling, especially when they still care about you afterwards.

It is good to see Ellen with a baby cocked against one hip and a long-legged, shy girl hiding behind the second.

The long-legged, shy girl is my god-daughter, and I am very nervous and shy to meet her now that she is more of a little person. I met her when she was one and a half, but it seems ages ago and I can't remember much more than that she likes books and seemed a stubborn type. Now there is much more to notice and take in... she is a person, for sure, a handful too. I try not to talk too much about youngsters on here, as I think it is more private, but I will say... she is creative and imaginative, very intense and she pays attention to everything you do and say. There is no wool-pulling with this girl, and I found myself having to be very sneaky indeed a couple of times (chewing gum & buying a goofy kid present for myself) to make sure she didn't notice what I was up to, only to be nearly caught out at it. So inquisitive and observant for such a young creature.

She makes these weavings... with knots and yarn and twining... that are really incredible. Intricate and strange, not random, but neither ordered. Her little hands so coordinated and her attention so focused.

NY TRIPOkay, that's that. I will say in addition that I had many tea parties to go to, some drawing to share, some walks, and front porch drivings, and painting, and story-sharings, and reading, and Events To Attend To with my god-daughter... plus!


Okay, I'm worn out talking about the trip though I am almost done. I will save it for later though.

mini gripe session

I can't decide if it's Bville I dislike or if Bville dislikes me.

I don't think it's the place, because I truly think it's one of the most beautiful spots around, and I spend any lengthy time away from it missing it. But I think Bville and I have a messed-up social relationship. I.e. the people in Bville don't seem to like me very much.

I spent my morning biking loop around the lake (with my cute little helmet and a compilation put together by my sister, which ends perfectly with:

) alternately internally griping, and chastising myself for playing right into the whole thing and acting like a sulky dumbass.

On the side for internal griping, I finally gave up on going to the Stringband Jamboree after trying to find someone to go with me all year, and failing. NM backed out at the last minute, and so I decided not to go alone this year.

It's such great music, such great atmosphere, and sweet camping near the river at an old logging show ground... but it's a collective atmosphere. It's friends and families who have gathered and circled their tents around a central table. It's couples with their arms slung over each other's shoulders, and pals that make alternating beer runs and river jumps for each other. And last year I more or less went alone - I went with one of SP's friends who drove me absolutely wild the whole time until I felt I had to wander away or wring her neck. And I walked around the place feeling a little lost, and more than a little lonely. I made myself feel better by imagining the groups of friends who would absolutely love the place and enjoy a reunion with kids running wild and hot dogs and tofu burgers over the camping stove. It wasn't hard to imagine a great percentage of my friends who would adore it.

But it proves harder to get any of them to go. Mostly, they are not around at this time of the year or live too far away. But also, it's just a busy time. I was pissed at NM, though, I have to admit... for backing out at the last minute like she does about 75% of the time on things that matter to me. But I also know NM well enough to understand that I can't bank on her, so I was hardly surprised.

Anyhow, now for the griping part. I found out - at the last minute and through the grapevine - that actually quite a few local people I know were going. But not a one of them contacted me to ask if I want to join. Ali's and Pedro's friend Dan stopped by on his way back to the Jamboree on day 2 of the festival... and at that point invited me to join, but I had just gone on this tough solo+dog camping trip on a 45-degree trail to make myself feel a little less like a loser. And so I was tired and sore, and didn't feel like scraping up my shit for a few hours of a pricey festival.

But what about my Bville friends? Why didn't a single one of them call and ask if I was going? Ask me if I wanted to join their camping unit?

Is it because I'm a jerk? Is it because I didn't call them first (which always seems like my job!!)? Is it because they're mostly SP's friends and don't like me because I didn't make SP happy? Is it because they're Bville-ers and just don't think about other people? Is it because we've never fully connected, despite the camping, hiking, partying, art-admiring we've done together? But why is that? Why do I only have one-point-five friends in Bville after 3+ years who will actually call me up and ask me to do things with them? (And why does MH have to leave during August? And why does the .5 always call me up so late and only every now and again?)

But more to the point, why am I still here, like a stupid kid with a crush who keeps hanging around the ballpark hoping the star athlete will look over and say, "Why hello, gorgeous"?

On the side of self-castigation, I was clearly sulking by not going. Also, I am a little stand-offish and I think people don't even know sometimes I want to be included. And I didn't call them and ask what they were up to. And I whine too much and don't SHINE enough. So what if I don't have friends yet, maybe tomorrow if I just give it a little more oomph, I will!? And maybe they will be so beautiful, like my other far-flung friends, that they will make my heart ache.


in honor of cc and my garden

Below is a recipe I used that seemed to work. I doubled the size of some online recipes, combined stuff, and added + subtracted. It worked... it makes a huge pot, so I froze half of it for laters. It's good over rice too.


4 tablespoons butter (ouch!)
2 loosely chopped yellow onions
5-6 garlic cloves, smushed in one of those smusher-dicer things
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons spicy curry powder
salt and black pepper to taste periodically through the whole affair (start with a fair amount of salt... being that there are lentils involved)



64 ounces tomato juice
64 ounces water
2 bay leaves
some lemon or lime juice


diced carrots (I used four)
diced celery (I used five)
small cut potatoes (I used three medium-sized yellows, more would work)
2 cans diced n' spiced tomatoes (I used one regular canned & one homemade salsa-style [gotta rid the cupboards of those homemades])
[1] - Onion/Herb Mix previously saute-d
3 cups dried brown lentils (they expanded to 4cups when washed)

<4> SIMMER FOR 35-40 MINS {depending on softness of lentils}, THEN ADD:

As much sliced fresh-from-your-garden kale and chard as you can bring to the table (mmmmmm, more is better... you really can't overdo this part... really, try it. I double-dog dare you to try it. I prefer kale here, others seem happy with chard... it seems to work either way or even both ways, which is amazing when you think about it).

<5> Some minutes later (I simmered a few minutes, then turned everything off, lidded, and let it sit for a bit), you have a soup/rice dish ready.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

nobody should be bored, and you should feel seen

So this is the new music I was listening to as I took the first away-from-here trip since Jess's wedding.

I really like the whole album. It reminds me of going to Russia, and it reminds me of going to Ecuador, and it reminds me of going to Chicago, then it reminds me of coming home, the way it is, especially when you are young.

On the plane traveling east, there's arguably a visible difference between who live there and those who live westerly. I don't mean to stereotype as I travel towards the early sunsets, but those who aren't from where I'm from seem to have pearls wrapped around their wrists and to speak genteelly on their cellphones in just those minutes before lift-off forever-in-case-of-interair-mayhem-and-death-goodbyes and attachment... These people seem recognizable by their silken blouses, the frills (or ripples? what do they call those miniature billows that make their way ever closer to the atollic attachments closing upon the cinched places of the body? What do they call the knitted black sweaters, the designs coordinating with ripples? Is this an east coast seismic fabric calling? How do they get everything to coordinate?), and the nylon or nylon-tennis-shoe combos that greet their entry away from the cliches of the west coast.

(Such as galoshes, ratty clothes, marijuana and green trees, anti-Republican snipers and folks who descend trees to get to the school bus: they've made it, phew, probably not as relieved as the Texans would be if the Texans cared about the rest of us; in fact, they are too accepting to be relieved, but are instead secretly pleased (perhaps), as they watch the rest of us disperse like naive pre-barnacles washing in upon the shoals of something larger than ourselves or the west pioneering coast, or even American history if you would even imagine something to beat that in American history!

Except they don't seem to have exclamation points attached to their observations! Even their goodbyes to those who traveled across the country with them! They have seen everything! They make me excited to see their New York! Which I suppose I will never know!)

The little girl on the plane who asks for her misplaced play-doh by smiling first between the crack in front of my seat, and then pointing downwards when she realizes I am realizing music, says thank you loud enough for me to overhear it above the vent once I've turned off the music. I think first of how I once traveled like her. Then I think I might have been a parent, with a daughter traveling next to me, kicking up against the seat, asking the backdoor neighbors for lost items, and finally falling asleep stretched in some ridiculously unrecognizable pattern. I feel a longing. When we arrive, I listen to her tell someone: "Well, I understand where you're coming from, but I was feeling very frustrated. Afterall, we talked about this and you never mentioned... yes, yes... I know, I love you too, but that's not what I'm talking about. We discussed..."

Someone I found myself traveling between these patterns. Wishing I simply had a head nodding off next to me. Guessing that's not what my story is. Just holding my breath, and hoping for something different...

As we arrive, I have no room to speak. Literally. I can't speak. I am holding my breath and hoping my third 'fabric' roll doesn't reveal itself somewhere between hour three and five... a bit of turbulence, jittering, the ice-cubes in the diet coke I've asked for, and suddenly that disgusting fourth level just billows outwards in the direction of my western and eastern cohorts, whom I've been studying for jewelry, and accents... and the eight year old who asked me to pass her play-doh through the passageway between her seat and the canyon that makes my legs miserable: the way she taxiway talks to her friend, or father, or step-father: "No, I wasn't angry. I was disappointed because you promised me you'd be there... No, I understand... I get that... It's just that my emotions hoped for something..."

Is this who the east cost people are? I wonder. Because if it is, how is it they haven't taken over the universe? How isn't we haven't been invaded by rational bang-headed youngsters talking on their machines and reasoning through? I look again at the older woman with her pearls, her silken blouse, the mass of jewelry that has lodged itself upon her chest. You will never be like me, I think. How amazing is that?!


I've been trying to remember who said it to me. But someone told me within this past year that a person should never live in a place where they feel nobody sees them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So... how was that trip, anyway? Can you describe it in a campbell soup can?

in the works, sweetness

I think I might have been meant to be a farmwife to some lucky farmer(wife)

You climb your plow, I'll make strange avenues and uneven rows.

Here is my August garden this year. All the cold- to medium- crop plants are thriving. All the warm- weather crops are a tad miserable. I certainly will have squash and enough cabbage to make sauerkraut this fall. With my masterful Xmas present sauerkraut crock just waiting to be used, it's bound to be fun.

And by the way: why attend church, when there are gardens to be attended to?

August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden
August '11 PacNW garden

I don't really care anymore

quizzical puppy 1When I got back, I took a day to start working on some of the calls I am wickedly backlogged on.

Ahem, sorry Anne-wife. Call me. I swear to god I will answer and be semi-entertaining.

My guilt hovers somewhere over my left shoulder on this matter.

So, I called NM, who thankfully held off on calling me for the whole week I was away. And first thing she started talking about (well, no, that is a lie, but its energy permeated the call until it came spilling out) is how she saw Deb-of-the-exfriends. Took a ferry out to meet her actually. And how NM had FINALLY asked her about why she was such a bitch/bad-friend to me.

And I actually. actually. realized I don't care.

I was a little curious.

But only idly.

I realized there would be no surprises.

My eyelids lolled. (can eyelids loll? or is that only eyes? well, regardless, it was my eyelids in this instance.)

One of these days NM will stop talking about that time of my life. And one of these days I will sink into the ability to talk about it like any other period of my life: like it was there, but not like it is still here. Because that's how it is... so long ago. A bad dream that spoke in metaphorics about life. Lessons I have learned, bitternesses I have nearly dodged.

I do feel hopeful.

Goodbye, Deb-of-the-exfriends. Sucks for you. But it's probably a good thing that you'll never realize that.

quizzical puppy 1And NM, I think I get it. I know you feel guilty.

But I don't care. I really don't. Puh-lease, like I have always said: have your friendships, but don't tell me about them. It's o-kaaaaay. Especially if we go to Hawaii on a sweet sunshine swimming trip now that there's a direct flight out of Bville.

This feels good, sorta like the new helmet with a checkerboard pattern on it that I got, and the new iPod holder I got, so I can listen to the new music I got as I huff and puff around the lake, imagining a self as bad-ass as can be.

Hep hep hep.