Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This writing everyday like it's a journal isn't really working. I can't write unselfconsciously. I can't make the time. I am thinking about things I should write, phrases and ideas and then because they come to me when my hands are full I don't write them down and then they are gone. My mind is mushy with hormones. I can't remember anything and it makes me wonder why we hold memory up as this thing that is so important. Why do we mourn memory loss of the demented and alzheimed, in the the brain damaged and the afflicted? I say good riddance! It's the past, it's gone, it's ether, this moment is all there is.

I am going home next week to the place I grew up, to the town that exists solely in my memory. The town has changed a lot in the 36 years since I lived there. I had mixed feelings about the whole trip. It's a long way and the drive is slightly treacherous. My childhood was filled with stories of horrible car crashes so my mind goes right there. I lost a friend in the second grade to a camper fire—I saw her Friday, Saturday she was dead—it happened in the night when the children were all asleep in the cab-over of some shitty camper and the gas leaked and the whole thing blew up. A fiery crash on some deserted stretch of the Yellowhead 16.

A childhood friends father died tonight. I saw it on facebook. I've been in contact with her, he had cancer. He was a good guy, totally dedicated to his kids. Oh my god he was handsome and so sexy. I thought so at ten. He was a truck driver some times his daughter and I would sleep in his king size water bed in his purple satin sheets. He was an operator I guess but he was her dad and he was there even when he wasn't. They had animals and an unfinished split level house that we used to bring her ponies into. The living room had Hawaiian scene wallpaper, oversize bean-bag furniture, and shag carpet, it was nirvana. We ran wild of course. It was the 1970's and no one's parents were keeping track of the kids. We slept in barns and drove trucks we weren't supposed to, and we rode those damn ponies all over hell's half acre.

It's Wednesday now. The weekend is over, my husband only left this morning to take the long drive into the city to do his radio show. I got up and took the dogs for a little walk in the yard and I let out the chickens. I combined the flocks two days ago and the new girls are still miffed and confused. Only one of them figured out to go into the coop last night, I carried the other five by hand. I am confident tonight will be better. Hens are so mean to each other and especially to the new residents. There's no welcome wagon let's show you around approach. It's more like I am going to peck you and steal your food because that's what I do. Only once has one of my hens taken a foundling literally under her wing and that chicken now enjoys second place in the flock behind the three oldest hens and above the pair of year old hens, a Cochin and a Royal Buttercup. Gingers and Freckles (three of each name) are just 4 months old, still not laying and are now going to bed at night nervous and exhausted in a strange land at the bottom of the pecking order.

The weather has been perfect for an entire month and even though the days are shortening slightly it's still light until 9 o'clock and the temperature is consistently pleasant. I am satiated by summer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Around Here

We cancelled our weekend plans.  I am out 30 bucks for a reservation but it's the price you pay. I've been home for a few days on my own now settling into the routine of work and dog care with occasional trips out to purchase berries or to pick them. The pressure to preserve fruit is heavy right now, how could I possibly entertain the idea of going away again when raspberries are finishing up and blueberries are coming on.

I am in love with my days, the lazy way they unwind. Yesterday, I inflated the blow-up pool and filled it up two-thirds with water as Mark requested. Today the temp was 58°F after a few hours of sun. Later on I'll pick berries again and even hope to cook a meal, something I have been neglecting. When I am home alone like this I regress into some pretty questionable eating habits. I am no ones model. I eat nachos for supper without vegetable accompaniment. I let the dishes sit where they were emptied.

Listening to music while I work, the doors to my office open wide. A breeze blows past and taps me on my bare shoulder, reminding me how lucky I am. I wish I had a signal to make, like the sign of the cross to acknowledge the greater force but my luck has no name it just blows in from outside me and I gather it up.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I'm not writing much these days so I thought I would bring the journal here for a bit and see what happens. It's Monday, a day of clarity, or a few hours of clarity at least. I make my lists on Sunday, dreaming in the car on the way back from the city about what I can do better this coming week, thinking a lot about my dad who we have just seen. He is in good form and I am more relaxed around him these days. Why oh why are you not completely relaxed around your own father? I am not sure. I want him to like me and respect me, I don't see it all as unconditional. The work we are doing at his house is coming along, I think he's glad we're doing it. He seems happy to have us there now and then. I try not to boss him too much. I try not to vacuum each and every time I visit. That's progress I guess. I saw Molly (my stepmother) on Sunday at Banfield, it's a depressing place but there are no other options, her state is depressing but she did recognize me and spoke my name immediately, she even wanted to say something about my new hair color but the words got garbled. Dad was sweet with her, telling her how beautiful she looked. I was odd, I've never heard him be that effusive with her but it was genuine and it seemed to cheer her up. She's sad. This current reality of hers is not one she ever would have chosen, living in public, letting others care for her body, dress her, apply her lipstick. The women who care for her are all saints. Why would anyone choose this work, choose to care for people who cannot care for themselves and in some case are very angry about the care. Molly is sedate. She is prone to outbursts of emotion. She always has been and that made me wary of her when she was well. These days I can see her frailty, her anguish and confusion. She seems to know what is going on but is powerless to control it. She doesn't ask to go home, does she even know anymore that home exists. Dad goes to see her most days, they have their little moments, he likes to make her laugh but I see what he is missing too. She adored him, and fussed over him, cared for him for years and now he is left with this current scenario and I worry about him feeling lonely at home. I hate to think about the loss of intimacy with Mark, I try to imagine us all old and creaky snuggling up as we do our bony legs covered in tissue paper skin in place of our once full flesh. My dad's legs are so thin and veiny now, I noticed that the other day. My concentration is blown, that's all for now.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

Dead herbs on my father's deck.
The pace of summer is rapid, like a fast dance. I am dancing through forests and wetlands but not so much along my own beloved road. I am never without a plastic cooler of some sort filled with food and drink. We must transport food and beverages from one place to another, we eat less but drink more during this season of rapid movement, of endless comings and goings.

We camped last weekend near Mt St Helen's at the edge of Silver Lake. The woods were thick with smoke from campfires and the occasional waft of septic off-gas, an invisible turd lingering gently above us. I made a point of getting us to water during the heat of the day and we were directed to a spot on the Touttle River. This river that was famously a sudden outlet for the water and debris blasted off the side of the mountain that May day in 1981. Considering that, the water was harmlessly shallow with some current, amber in color and filled with tiny creatures, swimmers, skimmers, lurkers. I waded up the little river and floated back down a few times letting the water take me with it. I found a flat rock jutting up out of the flow and sat there, the river running past me without stop, and spent some time surveying the other river seekers. I find it fascinating how people behave in nature. To me it is a deeply spiritual activity and should be done quietly with a humble posture and without excessive litter. Not everyone shares my opinion.

My daughter turned 15 this week without a lot of fanfare. I was never great at creating the super-fantastic birthday bash, and this year I bought her books for presents. Books! On the day of her birthday I played chauffeur and took her and couple of friends to the movies. We had pizza afterwards but only one girl slept over and on the way home the birthday girl was complaining of a sore throat. The price of too much activity. She spent a day on the couch and when she wasn't better the following day we went to the local doctor. In the car on the way back with a diagnosis of Strep she said, "I guess I am prone to throat ailments", and she is. Part of growing up is getting to know the limits of your body.

Today I am cleaning my father's kitchen and in the midst of the crumbs and coffee grounds and ant-traps I found myself sinking into the meditation of the work. I am here in a place maybe I don't want to be right this minute but I am here so I will do this work and relax into the moment. I haven't walked for the past few days and I worry about how missing the active meditation of walking will affect me. My schedule has not allowed for the walk the past several days, the kid getting sick, weekend trips, visits with friends. I jumped on my trampoline for 20 minutes on Thursday, that seemed good but I crave the walk.

The weather continues to be perfect, cooling just a little as we drift past the solstice. It's a whole month now. I am outdoors mostly or if I am in, the doors and windows are all open. The grass is just starting to turn brown, and like I said, it's a fast dance this summertime thing and dry grass signals where we are in the cycle. With that in mind we are compelled to get out into the sun, into nature and jump in up to our knees to receive the glory of it all. So that is where I am at, just drinking it all in every chance I get while still working away in a semi disciplined way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Perfect Summer

How perfect has your summer been? Mine has been dreamy so far. I am in that perfectly relaxed, sandals and a see through shirt state of mind. I sleep late, stay up late, eat late, work late. I have struck some magical balance between the things I must do and things I want to do. And more important even than the perfect blond streaks I had put in my hair is my perfect mood. I am not depressed for the first time in quite a while.  I've had some panic attacks but only the ones that happen when I am falling asleep. Somehow I have managed to revitalize my thinking toward my work. I am allowing my schedule to be jumbled while still maintaining the component parts. Walking, working, eating, floating, making and now added to the list is harvesting. The valley I live in is filling with ripe berries and so at this time of the year you have to set less important things aside and go and pick berries and bring them home and process them in the perfect way that is best for you. The whole activity is perfectly peaceful. Summer is the best looking of the season sisters, golden haired and tan and smelling of sweet grass. I shut my eyes and laid my head back on a late night drive home on the 4th of July and let the heavens pass over me dressed in the night air. We walk on grass and eat salads made from the few ingredients in the fridge. We drink cheap beer and eat watermelon and ice cream. It's natural to want to know what causes the depression. Is it stress about money? When work is plentiful I feel better but that's not everything. The weather helps but I started feeling better when it was still cold. It's some other tide that rises when your back is turned, diet and exercise play a part but only a part. Right now it just feels good that what I am working at seems to be working. Step over step, keeping my hands in the air waving to all who pass.
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