Monday, July 6, 2015

We only signed up for two camps this year, because camps are expensive and Freyja is doing some traveling and my mom is in town and it seemed like a good idea.

The camps are soccer camps and she is going with her really, super good friend.

The first one was at a Catholic school in North Portland, which seemed like a no brainer, except Portland has become a traffic nightmare, and you can't drive across town in less than an hour anymore, and once my mother got lost and was a half hour late picking up.

This camp this week was attractive, because it is at a local school, just over on 15th!

HOORAY!

So we picked up the good friend and drove to the school with the name posted on the camp sign up, and waited. 

We waited and waited and waited.

No one showed up.

At 9:46, I looked at my phone and googled the name of the school and "fields" and sure enough, there is a lone soccer field with that EXACT name, across town, in NE.

I was already moderately annoyed, because the camp never sent a confirmation, or any additional information, and that sort of lack of communication is really irritating to me.

On top of that Freyja had thrown the mother of all tantrums over putting on sunscreen, which made me want to rip out my hair.

So off we went to find this mystery soccer field.

Naturally there was no direct route, with Burnside and Sandy now being one way, and a giant delivery truck blocking Davis.

We drove and drove and finally found the place and ran to meet up with the soccer guy.

I told him what had happened and he said

"Yeah, we get that a lot."

Hmmm, perhaps a clarifying e-mail would be in order?

On the way home, I felt a twinge of guilt over getting so hot under the collar over the sunscreen, and decided to stop at Whole Foods, to buy some of the insanely overpriced juice pocket things that Freyja lives for, and I never buy, for her lunch the rest of the week.

As I pulled in a giant delivery truck pulled along side of me, blocking me, to I couldn't move, for about 15 minutes.  

I went into the store and the greeter asked me. "HOW ARE YOU TODAY?" brightly.

"I feel like punching someone in the face."


Friday, June 26, 2015

I went to Lit Hop last evening, with my friend Karen, who is down for Rolf's birthday.

I know a fair number of writerly folks, and I'd hoped to get to see more than one reading, but the night was oppressively HOT, and the friend I'd come to see was from out of town and it felt tacky to listen and dash off, so we stayed for the last reader, a bombastic fellow with black curls and a LOUD voice.

His poetry was catchy.

He may have a future in advertising.

He writes hooks.

My friend is eloquent and smart and humble and he mumbled.

Way more writer, than reader, I suppose.

I sat at the bar between my oldest childhood friend, Julia, a woman I adore, but see rarely.

She has children.

There are women for whom motherhood builds community.

For me, and maybe for Julia, motherhood has shrunk us.

Boiled us down to the barest of bones.

Tony read a poem he wrote for me.

He read it last.

It wasn't sentimental, or lovely.

It was sturdy and a little homespun, I suppose the way he may see me.

The crowd was two hours into drink, and craved bombast and volume.

My poem with it's water, trees, and small town, was a little flat.

I had to drive, so I sat soberly, sweating, my arm touching Julia's cool bicep.

A glass of water would have been welcome, but I would have lost my seat, if I got up, so I sat, blocked in by a very tall woman, who was waiting for space to walk up the stairs.

A woman, who gave not one fig about poetry, or courtesy, her pointy elbow, nearly touching my face. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Manifest like a mother


 I often say "it's proof of God's love", even though I don't believe in God in much of a way that you would think that he, or she would be proving their love to me, but one thing I do believe in with all of my heart and soul, is the power of goodness and generosity and kindness, I've seen the abundance so often in my life of all of these things not to be a stone believer.
 I belong to a couple of silly Portland groups on Facebook, and a couple of them revolve around found objects.  I am a sucker for found objects, having been poor as an underemployed church-mouse for, well forever, and when not totally broke, let us just say that austerity measures are needed to continue to live in my hella expensive home town.

I also just really like old things.

I like used things, with the exception of underwear, almost always, more than new things.
Last week was a shitshow of a week.

An emotional disaster. 

I'm feeling better, getting back to myself, but geez.

A member of the Facebook group mentioned finding a birdcage on the side of the road.

It was a real beauty, and at first I mistook it for a plant stand, which I had been on the lookout for, to get my collection of Christmas Cactus (cacti?)  off the little side phone table, they had been hogging for months. 

The very next day, the lady with the birdcage tells me she found me a plant-stand.

She finds things for people. 

I also find things for people, so it made perfect sense.

Her finding me this perfect, beautiful plant-stand made perfect sense. 

Her plant-stand went perfectly with my other found plant-stands, and by golly, it could not have been more perfect.

I met her this evening and she hugged me, in the warmest and most kind and sincere way, and I was so deeply moved and humbled and touched and lifted up. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Even though we don't have money, I'm so in love with you honey..."

So things got complicated and I quit my job.

Mark says "*&^% those guys" because he loves me.

"You are not good at doing stuff that you can't believe in"

and I say

"thank you for loving me"

and he says

"quit saying thank you, it's my job."

and then I cry and he says

"I hate it when you cry, I just want you to be happy"

 and  that makes me cry about ten times more.

Then I sing the chorus from Danny's Song and Mark says

" I will cut you a check right now, if you stop singing."

and we both laugh like crazy, because, if you don't laugh, you cry.

Monday, June 8, 2015

I scrapped the last of the fancy raspberry jam out of the Maman jar today, and immediately started to imagine what I would do with the jar.

It's a real beauty, as jam jars go, with it's embossed label along the rim and it's handsome gingham lid.

I, who am so strong, against material goods and advertising, can be sucked right in by a jar of jam and the possibilities of it when empty.

I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

A collector.

A hoarder.

An imaginer of potential.

My grandmother was that way, only not as tidy, which I suspect is what made both my mother and her sister something of minimalists.

As a child I was horrified by my mother's lack of sentimentality, these days, as she fills our house with doodads and sundry objects, I see that she probably simply lacked the time and money to accumulate a lot.

I thought about throwing it straight away, into the trash.

Be done with it!

Out of sight, out of mind, type deal, but it's sitting in my sink, soaking.

"You're growing up." 

I heard my Grandma Betty's voice in my head congratulating my feeble attempt to be less of a pack-rat.

I'm growing up, but slowly. 



 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hippie Salad Hooray



We're headed to a birthday party for one of my old friends.

He is a musician and so are most of his friends.

It is a potluck and bring your instruments sort of thing.


"You better make enough food for us to have dinner, you know those fricking hippies never start on time and there is never any food. there's always that guy that shows up with like one small packet of seaweed, or some bullshit."

Is what Mark said.

He boiled eight eggs.

We made a lot of coleslaw with Moroccan herbs and dill.

I made pasta shells with sweet peas and homemade mayonnaise, Russian horseradish,capers and kale.

He bought a watermelon at the farmer's market earlier in the day.

I don't know if he intends to bring it with him, or eat it at home, tonight, after the party, while we watch a cooking show, or a movie.

That's our exciting Saturday night, most times.

Last year at this same friend's party, I brought shaved brussel sprouts with bacon and maple, mustard vinaigrette, and this stoned girl kept picking the bacon pieces out with her dirty fingers, and exclaiming

"IS THIS BACON? "

and sort of swooning and smearing it around her mouth,

Until I said

"keep your hands out of my salad!"

My friend's mother, who has known me for more than twenty years, laughed out loud, and the girl sauntered off, only to return with a friend and resume her pickery.

My friend said,

"Yo, don't mess with Heidi's p r e s e n t a t i o n." 

but by then I was satisfactorily annoyed enough to leave.  I only really came to see his mother and say happy birthday. 

I don't really enjoy those kinds of parties now that I'm a cranky old lady. 


I woke up abruptly at 6:30am this morning, from a nightmare.

I dreamed that ISIS extremists had mobilized and were traveling though cities abducting young men. 

They were driving around in big square buses, carting people off and killing them.

The buses were blue and gray and shaped like the buses from the 80's.  

I was  planning to hide Maxwell, in our attic. 

I thought I could stash him in the eaves, behind the built in cupboard in my bedroom, where there isn't a back wall. 

I was concerned about him falling though the ceiling into the living-room, and whether or not the bad guys would notice that the cupboard opened right into the unfinished attic. 

I suppose I was counting on them thinking that the craftsmanship of the people that finished the attic in 1916, was better than it actually was. 

I blame NPR for this nightmare, since I listened to a story about a large group of young Somali men leaving Minnesota to join ISIS. 

I don't typically worry about terrorists, or immigrants, or the end of times type stuff.  I have no idea where this came from, but it scared the shit out of me, and my heart was pounding when I woke up.

"I think we need a panic room."

I told Mark. 

"Does Rosie need to pee? Why are you up?"

I was rooting around in that little cupboard, trying to see if I would fit, or at the very least, if I could push the kids through the opening.

In my dream, I thought I would offer myself, instead of Maxwell, but I wondered if the terrorists would think of it as a square deal.

I regretted my lack of weapons in my dream and wished for something more powerful than a baseball bat, to keep under my bed.

When I woke up, I thought about people that feel afraid all the time.

I almost never feel afraid in that way.

I frequently feel outraged, sad, depressed and disgusted by people, but I almost never feel like shooting anyone, to protect my child.




Saturday, May 30, 2015

S K I N

I was cooking dinner tonight and a vivid memory, from 1993, came flooding over me, from when I was living with my boyfriend Don. 


He was working as a dishwasher at Hamburger Mary's during the day and playing bass at night, and I was working at some dead-end thing, I think I was doing data entry and teaching a preschool class on Sundays for the Quaker church.

Don was younger than me, by a year and extremely naive, having devoted his whole being to jazz music and not much else.

He also came from a nice family.

He was not what anyone would call worldly at that time.   

Don would come home with lots of colorful stories, because Mary's was a colorful gay bar and diner, the kind of place that generates a lot of FUN!

He also loved the soup that the new cook Gary made.

Every.
Single.
Day.

Don would come home and ask me to try to replicate the fabulous soup, made by Gary the morning cook.

One of these soups was a tomato with orange and basil.

I worked for weeks to try to duplicate that god damned soup, but could never quite get it to be as good as Gary's.

At some point it came up that Gary had recently got out of prison and didn't know very many people in Portland.

He came from somewhere in Idaho, or Montana, someplace small, without a lot of people around.

He was living close to us, in that shitty, narrow building that used to run along West Burnside and 26th.

A real dump.

A real roach motel.

I'd been to that building on several occasions, as it was a place that would rent to punk teens with sketchy employment.

So all the while Don is talking up Gary's cooking to me, he is also talking up my cooking to Gary!

Eventually, Gary invited us over to his place for dinner.

I brought acini di pepe with blue cheese, garlic and olive oil and arugula from our garden, and Gary was going to  make the orange soup. 

We walk down the windowless hall to Gary's place, and knock on the door. 

The door opens and a tall super muscled dude wearing Docs, red, narrow suspenders and a white T-shirt opens the door. 

His hair was slicked back and he had a hard look about him. 

When he reached out to take my pasta, I noticed he had SKIN tattooed on his wrist. 

We ate our food and bullshitted about cooking and then we left. 

On our walk home I asked Don if he'd noticed Gary's tattoo.  

At this time, Portland wasn't yet overrun with tattooed hipster, so it was mostly counter culture types and bikers, that had ink.

"Isn't that the funniest and most ironic tattoo ever?  I mean SKIN! His skin is tattooed with the word SKIN!" 

I gently explained the suspenders, the shoes and what SKIN stood for, while Don looked at me like I had killed a puppy. 

 


Last Saturday I learned that one of my old preschool parents had committed suicide.

It struck me hard, and I thought of this very kind and gentle fellow all week.

I'd kept in touch casually over the years and I knew he'd been struggling. 

People struggle. 

Life is a struggle.

It hurts my heart that he wasn't able to hang on. 

He was a lovely person and appeared to have many people in his life that would agree with my assessment.

I'll gather with some of them in the morning, in a bar.

My friend M will go with me, and we wont know the others, I imagine. 

We only knew him as a dad. 

As a sweet soul who was willing to help.

Willing to garden, or cook, or clean.
The first strawberries of the year are sitting on my kitchen drainboard waiting for a wash and hulling.

Rolf and Freyja picked them yesterday, on the island, in the sun, after feasting on a cupcake AND a cinnamon roll.

I told Freyja that she is the luckiest little girl in the world, to have such an indulgent Onkel, and she told me that I didn't know that they also went to The Skyline, after wading in the river, for french fries and a shared chocolate shake for dinner AND he let her stay up and drive to the airport to pick Mark up.

I was working.

My assistant was on vacation this week and what a week it was.

Good heavens. 

I went to Zoom Care on my way home.

They have this bright and shiny office on Hawthorne.

They are open until midnight, in case you need them LATE.

I was informed of this three times.

Zoom Care is Furnished with modern plastic chairs and a bamboo floor.

They have cobalt walls. 

The don't have magazines.

They do have tea.

I do enjoy a complimentary beverage, when I can get one. 

They have a receptionist named Jeffery, who has perfectly trimmed fingernails, square and strong.

Jeffery asked me if I had weekend plans and there was a sort of awkward pause.

"I can't breath through my nose, and my head hurts, my plan is to not bludgeon myself."

It seems I have a sinus and ear infection.

I was given antibiotics for possibly the first time in a decade, and I feel remarkably better already.

I hid the antibiotics from Rolf.

He had been pestering me to try oil pulling and some kind of black pepper preparation, for my stuffed up nose, for two weeks.

"It's not going to get better, if you don't do the TREATMENT!" 

I let the tea he brewed me grow cold in the cup.

I watched episodes of Chopped on the IPAD.

I behaved in a manner, that made him think I was not serious about feeling better.

I told Rolf I would process the berries.

Don't worry about it. 

But I lied.

I left them on the counter and they look a little worse for it, this morning.

I may make a pastry cream to pay for my sins.

I may use it to fill a genoise cake, and cover the whole mess with the berries, as an act of contrition.

I have been the iron lady my whole life.

A woman of steel.

The anemia of the past few years has worn me down to a nub.

My naturopath looked at my blood-work and said

"your body is in a state of fighting, or exhaustion, you are functioning like someone in a coma. Adrenaline! Adrenaline! You are just running on Adrenaline"

Which made me feel remarkable for everything I do, do.

I know her intention is for me to rest. 

"Can't you go on a yoga retreat? Just GET AWAY for a couple of weeks, a month."

She doesn't know I have never rested in my entire life.

One of my employees was very insolent this week.

Mark said "FIRE HER."

Instead, I scrubbed her classroom floor on my hands and knees and changed five diapers in a row, and then went back to my work, to show her how it's done.

To demonstrate that my standards are exactly high enough. 

I am quite frequently the biggest fool in the world.

My mother used to joke, that I was like the little pig in the story, the one that would outsmart the wicked wolf, by beating him to the punch.  By having already been to the fair, and back, before the wolf had risen for the day.

I did walk into work every morning this week at 6:30am, just to prove I can't be wilted by something as silly as a long day and a stuffed up nose, and no assistant.