Playing ketchup & mornings, moons, mopping

Note: the following 3+/- paragraphs were written on/around Nov 13-14.

Confession: I am playing around with audio and recording things to use in a possible audio experiment/podcast/what-have-you. When I first got your last 5things, I recorded myself reading your #1. I haven’t listened to it yet but I was thinking about how awesome it would be to do a 5things podcast, or something similar. My audio obsession has definitely stemmed from the audio letters that Joanna and I have sent each other. And she got the idea from hearing a Starlee Kine bit re: audio letters on an old This American Life ep. Which I tried relentlessly to find online, but couldn’t, and then I gave up. 

IMAGINE the possibilities. A bike tour podcast! Telling our story/stories. The sounds of the ocean. Cars rushing past. Interviews with people we meet on the road. The idea of creating an audio diary of sorts, for the road, is alluring for sure. Our words are so good, but could be even better (for a certain demographic/audience), perhaps, read out loud?!

Anyway. I’m glad you got some things figured out with your car, although it doesn’t seem like much was concluded except that it probably won’t blow up while you’re driving it? Hopefully? I’d still be mighty sketched out by anything electrical. But I am a weenie and know very little when it comes to mechanics. Just pull the damn thing over if it starts blowin’ smoke.  I loved Alan’s text message to you. Talk about a verbal hug. 

Proud of you for hanging in there, even when the (job-hunt-lifestuffs) going feels extraordinarily tough. You got this.

13 Tiny Things • Sunday/Monday • November 13/14 until present • 2011
  1. Playin NERTS with Claire, Katherine, Laura and Chris
  2. Hangover
  3. Updating the blog(s)
  4. Room-cleaning for carpet cleaners; clean soggy carpet
  5. Thinking of change
  6. Needing a rake
  7. Listening to Radio Lab nonstop
  8. Watercoloring
  9. Occupy madness
  10. Gotye’s music videos on Vimeo
  11. I went to NYC/Philly for Day of Thanks!
  12. You had a birthday!
  13. You got a new job!

Charlotte the person with Charlotte the tree, in Brooklyn. (Sorry for making Charlotte walk on your soil for a silly picture, tree.)

But okay! Here we are, back in the present. That is, December 10, a Saturday, 2011. It’s 10:48 a.m. and I’ve been up for over three hours! I love getting up early. I sense that (at least right now in our lives) we are very different in the morning person vs. night owl conundrum. Although I think we both find pockets of time where what we thought was true about our “tendencies” begins to shift, and you might find yourself getting up early and how refreshing it is (Okay, maybe not while you have this particular new job), while I, at times, put away my fear of the dark and being alone and stay up all night creating things. 

5 things before 11 a.m. • December 10 • 2011

  1. The lunar eclipse and Adrienne/Santine. I set two alarms last night: one for 6:45 a.m. and another for 7. I awoke to the last one and the air outside was just barely beginning to lighten. I knew if I wanted to catch a glimpse of 2011’s second lunar eclipse, I’d have to haul myself down from my cozy loft. Which I proceeded to do, groggily, and bundled up in the front room, grabbing my camera and schlunking my feet into snow boots before heading outside. Crisp and frigid, the sky was hazy with inversion. Bummer. But wait! There! Look! Above the rooftops, low on the horizon, peeking through neighbor trees on the northwest end of the driveway, was the moon. It was shrouded in a dusty pink veil of smog, which bummed me out, but I could see it, approaching its near-full eclipse! I headed up the driveway, intent on finding a “darker” part of the street (we have a pesky nighttime street lamp next to our mailbox that previous housemates and I have joked about “accidentally” throwing a rock at). There I was, trudging up the driveway at 7:15 a.m., and there was Adrienne (sp?) also out looking at the moon, our lovely neighbor! She was accompanied by her aging, wise shepherd mix named Santine (sp?). “Good morning!” she said. “Isn’t it beautiful?” I agreed, half-awake, but braced against the cold and acutely aware of what we’d both been lucky enough to witness. I know these things come around every few years, but it’s becoming more rare that I’m actually awake to see one. Adrienne said she was out earlier and caught it higher up int the sky, just beginning its eclipse, looking like a half-smile. I remarked on how smoggy the air was, and Adrienne said, “I know. I was going to try to get somewhere higher up so I could see it better. But that would have meant getting into my car and driving somewhere, and I was worried I’d miss it. So I just stayed here.”
  2. So, on Monday, they’re shutting down all of the ports on the West Coast?I feel like I need to do some serious catch-up on the OWS movement. For a while it was all anyone was talking about, especially around the national bust-up, and then it seems like things have “calmed down” a bit – although I know (and am thankful that) the movement still continues. I want to participate in marches and meetings, and am also tied down to my 10-6 workweek, which on most days leaves little energy or time for activism. But every little bit counts I guess. It’s a challenge for me to balance time away from things like Facebook when there are important news bits circulating which I feel like only gain attention on or with the assistance of Facebook. I’ve been reading about the ILWU and the other labor unions, the contradicting interviews and opinions in many confusing news articles, how the unions feel about the shut-down, and how seemingly tricky and messy this “Day of Action” will feel if OWS protesters and the labor unions aren’t first in complete agreement and solidarity. This is all very good Saturday morning fodder for my active brain…

    The "London Fog"

  3. It is winter-time. It’s the time of hibernation, storage, constantly seeking warmth and comforting nourishment, grains, dried fruit, oatmeal, hot beverages ’round the clock (this tiny bladder requires trips to the bathroom every hour), snow- and gasoline-laden air on prickly-cold mornings, twinkling lights up and down the streets, and avoiding the mall. Among many other things. ‘Tis the season for my family not to exchange (many) gifts this year! I’m feeling thankful for this. Charlotte, Mom, Dad and I are heading to southern Utah (Moab area) to stay in a little cabin, make good food, drink good coffee, spend hours at the bookstore, take hikes with Lucy, and enjoy each other’s company. We are not getting a tree (although I kind of want to find a small rosemary shrub for the cabin). I do want to bake or make tiny cards or something – tokens of my love for people that I love. On my bike rides to and from work, and especially home from work these days (as it gets dark at 4:45), I see vignettes of the season and keep them in my brain for when I sit down and draw. I want to draw, for instance, the small window I saw on 800 E riding home in the dark last night. It was a triptych of three windows, all three lined with little white lights.
  4. I just made Maybe The Perfect Breakfast. Boiled the potatoes, but not for too long, adding them to sauteed onions, cumin, the rest of my chili powder from Cali’s and a dusting of poultry seasoning, which was an unexpectedly delicious addition. Two perfectly fried eggs, yolks still a bit runny, cooked “dirty” with the remaining spices in the skillet. Accompanied by an abundance of fresh cut fruit from a party for mom’s last class at the U this week. Pardon my sailor speak, but I f*cking love breakfast.

    Eggs from the chickens

     

  5. Sunny winter mornings are for Housewife Emily; the end of an era. I got a wild hare (after my two cups of coffee kicked in) and decided to wipe the counters and table, then sweep and mop the floor. Multi-tasker that I am, I started the counters while the potatoes were boiling, then finished everything after I’d eaten. It feels really good to clean our kitchen so early in the morning! I highly recommend it. The kitchen is my favorite part of my house. Big News This Week is we are all moving out on February 1, which means over the next month or so we’ll all have to sort through our belongings in common areas. Most of the kitchen stuff is mine! I’ve been hoarding thrifted kitchen items for the last two years. Maybe time to get rid of some/all of it. We are thinking about having an indoor tag sale type thing (okay, maybe I’m the only one thinking of this so far?), which would be nice, because I like giving/selling things to friends and people I know. 
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A Very Special 5 Things!

Okay, blog-readers. I will let you in on a little secret. Normally, Mary and I exchange our 5 things via email to each other, so we can read through the day’s/week’s happenings and get a feel for the recent news before it goes live on the blog. Because this is a project we started together, I think this practice is nice and important.

But! It’s MARY’S BIRTHDAY today! So guess what, homies. This jawn is a surprise.

Thanksgiving themed fodder: Thanks for sticking with us. These are crazy times, indeed. I’m not “just saying that.” Look around you! Crazy times. We are all feeling it. I am especially feeling (and am thankful for) the listening, hugging and general “It’s going to be okay, we got this” vibe from friends and loved ones. Thanks.

5 things I could write about today:

  1. 5 things I appreciate about this week
  2. 5 things I have realized this month
  3. 5 things I look forward to in 2012
  4. 5 things I want Mary to have on her birthday
  5. 5 things I love about Mary

I think I’ll just stick with a Combo Deal: #s 4 & 5. Without further ado…

5 birthday-themed word-morsels (for Mary) • Saturday, December 3 • 2011

  1. Banana-times

    This is a picture I took the morning of one of the first bike rides Mary and I ever took together. We are headed to the Salt Lake Marina. Just before we parted ways for the day, we marveled at the fact that we had just spent 7+ hours biking and talking together with joy and ease. Mary (like me) has a certain piety for and devotion to riding bikes, no matter the distance, destination or purpose. For her birthday, may she receive at least one awesome, joyous bike ride this week, and many more to come (of course).

  2. Dog party

    Dogs all around, all the time! This is a photo of Sarge, Lucifer and Copper. They are dog-friends. They hung out together on this May day, a few weeks before Mary moved to Portland. I love this photo of camraderie and secret agendas. Sarge is obviously plotting something. Copper just wants to belong. And Lucifer appears to be off in his own world, wondering how he got smooshed (again) between two young hyperactive pups. For her birthday, may Mary receive at least one frolic (if not many) with Lucifer and other friend-pups.

  3. Nectar of the gods/goddesses/gender-neutral term for holy beings

    COFFEE. Road coffee, diner coffee, backyard coffee. Garbage coffee, garage coffee, cowboy coffee. Camp coffee, house coffee, field coffee. Early morning coffee, midnight coffee, all-day coffee. French press coffee, pour-over coffee, Italian coffee. Spendy coffee, cheap coffee, proletariat coffee. Whole bean coffee, ground coffee, broken coffee. Perfect coffee, bad coffee, just-right coffee. For her birthday, may she receive a great cup of coffee.

  4. Surrounded by goodness

    This is a picture of Mary writing out a Stereolab playlist (for her lucky girlfriend) while simultaneously eating a jalapeno-mango sausage hoagie. I think it’s pretty badass.  Wait, it would only be more badass if that glass next to her was filled with some gnarly beer. But we can pretend, right? Either way, for her birthday, may she receive Stereolab, loudly, and as many sophisticated, foodie, hot dog-esque creations as she’d like.

  5. Life Essentials 101

    Mary and I like to video chat. This is one of the first times we video-chatted. We both happened to be wearing grey hoodies with white drawstrings. We also both happened to be drinking stouts. It was this hilarious moment of unplanned synchronicity that I feel is important to document. We’ve had a lot of similar moments since then. For her birthday, may she receive beloved grey hoodies that are lost in Buffalo Exchanges and then miraculously found again, and the warmth that comes from said sweatshirts, not to mention from drinking chocolate stout.

Happy muthaflippin’ birthday, Mary. ♥

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Support Systems

Life lately has been interesting, and by interesting I do not mean easy.  It has been actually extremely difficult. Set in a backdrop of dissonance on a national and global scale, we are all expected to maintain a certain amount of strength and accountability more than ever.  It feels hard to ask for help and support, even as unavailable as things may seem, but it’s important more now than ever before to do so.  While I feel like we are awakening to a new consciousness in these crazy times, our senses are heightened, and we holding each other accountable in new ways with our own responsibilities.  But it is equally important to remember that there is magic in the minute; deeper meaning in the subtleties.  This is not so much a post about 5 things as it is a testament to people who have been important to me lately, regardless of how often or infrequently that I see them.  People who have helped me with the simplest of tasks, by mere suggestion, by a kind word or message.  Like making candles with Anna, riding bikes with Kristen, Nathan making dinner or video-chatting with Emily.  Just seemingly little things that remind me that I am part of the fabric.  That we are all part of each other, and are bound together by admiration, dedication, hardship, understanding, creativity,  joy, assistance, strength, stamina and belonging.  Oh, and Love.  There’s a lot of that too.  All of these folks have been on the higher point lately, helping me navigate my time in Portland, whether they know it or not.   Thank you.  I want to give it all back to you tenfold.

These are people and some things.  Photo credits are labeled, all other photographs are by me.  Sorry I am not very good at formatting this shit.  I will work on it.

Photo by Bloodhound Photography

Photo by David Andreko


Ice Cream Series by Larry Yes

Photo by Christian Johnson

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Examples of the Smaller/Bigger Picture

Hello!  It really has been an inexplicably long hiatus.  I have no excuses, and I will own my own part in the recent gap.  There.  I just had to get that off of my chest.  And now I feel better.

5 THINGS  for November 5, 2011 – A Saturday of Epic Proportions

  1. My radio alarm clock is so much nicer to wake up to than a cell phone alarm, so I prefer to use it.  However, since I have moved to Portland, I haven’t really been into finding a local radio station that I like, (meaning I just haven’t taken the time to spin the dials to find the stations, and my clock is old so often it feels sensitive in finding a clear station, like breaking into a safe, and I just can’t be bothered).  The only clear station I have found has literally been a right-wing conservative Christian talk-radio station, and I am open-minded.  The last couple of mornings I have been setting it in the hopes of breaking my new bad habit of sleeping too late, and so I wake to stories about finding Jesus.  This morning I woke to stories of loss, which is something I am not unfamiliar with, though I have my own methods for dealing with such things that call for a different kind of spirituality and presence.  I crossed from dreaming into waking, listening to a story of a woman talking about how she deals with her own loss of her child.  “When someone asks me many kids I have, I am faced with a choice…I decide whether I should tell half the story, or a quarter of the story, or tell the story at all and say that I have three children” (I am assuming she at one point had four).  I sleepily ponder the truth in this, and think about the many situations where I’ve had to decide just what and how much I should or feel comfortable with sharing.  I hit snooze.  In nine minutes, the radio comes on again, and it’s a different woman.  “I want to ask ‘why have you taken this child from me?’  I have many questions to ask God when it’s my time to meet him, but in the meantime I have learned that He’s telling me ‘You have a choice.  You have a choice to either be angry, or to serve Me.'”  I decided this morning that I need to find a new radio station to wake up to.  I also thought it was apropos of the day ahead.

    Gahr Farm

  2. I had a scheduled coffee date with Elizabeth, and had started driving down Fremont to meet her at her house when I realized that there was a plume, a tendril if you will, of white smoke inside of my car.  I switched the heat/defrost/off and pushed the dial to cold air all in the same motion, simultaneously pulling over as fast as safely possible, called Elizabeth.  When she picked up, I frantically and matter-of-factly stated: “I have to do coffee another time, there is smoke inside of my car.”  I practically hung up on her, turned the car around and drove the four blocks home, all the while trying to feel the dash with my hand, trying to feel where there would be heat, or smoke.  I have a suspicion that the problem is linked to the heat/defrost, as in the past week it sometimes smells like exhaust when I am running those things, but never has there been an actual plume of smoke.  This is problematic for obvious reasons.
  3. I call Alan, who is the owner of an exceptional shop in Salt Lake City called Clark’s Auto Service.  He is an old friend, and I try my hardest not to call him for mechanical advice unless I am at a true loss.  This particular incident falls into that category in my opinion, as I have Harriet’s* funeral to go to later this afternoon.  He calls me back while driving from Las Vegas.  I give him my rundown of the cars behaviors and he tells me, “Don’t drive the car.  It sounds like it’s starting to have an electrical short,” and proceeds to tell me that I could potentially start the car on fire and fry up the whole thing.  I do not want to deal with this problem on that level.  After the hypothetical prognosis, we catch up a little and he asks me how I am doing.  I tell him about my hard week, but then change the subject and ask about his happenings.  He tells me that the shop is doing great and that his family is doing well.  He tells me to keep my chin up, and that things will be okay on my end.  I know he’s right, but I have to admit I am pretty tired of telling myself that all of the time.  It is nice to hear such a warm and comforting voice though, from someone who knows me so well for the last fifteen or so years.  Hours later he sends me this text, which literally brings tears to my eyes:  Ryder, your lessons learned are carrying you well. Hold your course. You learn nothing from sailing smooth seas.   For all of you Salt Lakers with cars, go see this guy.  He’s amazing, and honest, and does good work and he gives solid, strong, and loving advice (though sometimes it will be about your carburator).
  4. I get a ride to and from the memorial in McMinnville, OR from an old friend of Thea’s named Bethe, and her husband James.  Bethe and I have known each other peripherally for a long time.  We both have the resident eldest dogs: Mine is Lucifer, a 14 year old husky, and hers is Evilla, a 13 year old chihuahua with a temper.  Evilla doesn’t really have any more teeth, so it’s nice that she can’t bite anyone any longer, though she can still angrily gum them.

    Lucifer at Gahr Farm

    Evilla under the kitchen table.

    On the way to McMinnville, we chat about Harriet and the farm and the family and the Christian Scientist traditions of death.  James admits that for a long time he thought that everyone meant Scientologist, which is the crazy religion that all of the movie stars belong to.  For the record, Harriet and Ted were NOT Scientologists.  I tell them about waking up to the christian talk-radio this morning.  On the way back, we talk about dog ailments and old-dog problematic behaviors.  Everything feels nice, albiet weighted, yet comfortable.

  5. The memorial itself was full of moments that cannot really be broken down into number 5.  Anyone who has witnessed a loss has contemplated everything that was summarized, observed, witnessed.  The sincere and the superficial, the recognition and the necessity of what it means to just be a support. Navigation.  The frailty and complexity of relationships, of the human experience, of the human body.  Specific things about the memorial of Harriet Gahr:  Sitting close between Alex and Eden.  We are shoulder-to-shoulder, my right hand holding Alex’s hand and my left arm linked through Eden’s.  The physical heat of our presence together is comforting and electric.    Bearing witness to the many people Harriet housed and ultimately adopted, many of them refugees unable to speak English, and also the local teens, troubled and addicted, she housed them all, she adopted them all, she loved them all.  Out of 14 kids who went their own ways, and/or learned English, and/or fucked up their own lives and families, nearly all came back to pay respects to this wonderful woman.  Bearing witness to the amount of people Harriet brought joy and love to: one woman who spoke said she had met Harriet in the 70’s, a man who spoke had only known her for 6 months, “but it was like we knew each other all our lives,” he said, holding his hands over his heart.  My own brief window with Harriet was only since the year 2000 and it felt like a blink, but it felt like forever.  She loved us all.  She absolutely loved us all.

    Young Harriet and Ted

    Old Harriet and Ted

  6.  After Bethe and James dropped me off I rode my bike to Mike P’s house and we drank beer and played Atari until two in the morning.

* Harriet Gahr was the mother of my dear and great friend Thea Gahr.  Thea introduced me to this family, and I’ve hung around ever since.  I’ve maintained a close relationship with Harriet and Ted (her husband) often staying out at their property usually for a few days at a time, but sometimes weeks and months at a time.  I have gotten to know many members of the large Gahr clan as well as other long-time friends of the family who’ve gotten sucked into their generous and magnetic pull.  That was just the kind of people they were.  Harriet passed away on Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011 (also Día de Muertos), after a year-long and heroic battle with cancer.  It is an honor and a gift to be included in this family, and to have been able to spend such good time with Harriet in the past decade.  www.gahrfarm.com

Thea and Harriet in 2009

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Back from An Inexplicably Long Hiatus

Hello-o-ooo again (to Mary and everyone)!

I have so little plans today and this weekend except to enrich my brain, eat sweet potatoes, read more about corporations, bake something with a sh*tload of apples (I have about four pounds in my cupboard), maybe make phở with Food Club and draw pictures. ‘Tis lovely.

Oh yeah, Halloween happened!

Pioneer Murderess Juli and Cool Mummy Isabelle

5 Things – November 1 – 2011

  1. Woke up around 6 a.m. to slight pat-pat-pat rain on the roof above our back stairs. I hear this early in the morning and it usually means weather is on its way. I’d heard it was supposed to get rainy-snowy later on Tuesday but I had high hopes that perhaps I could get on the bike early enough to escape the worst of it. Not so! It was full-on raining when I finally got out of bed to make coffee. Then as I was bundling up in the front room, I looked outside and big white flakes began to fall. It’s always kind of a magical, bizarre thing to see, the first snowfall, but it’s not surprising or early or anything. So I put on my “GIDDYAP” attitude and saddled up to a very slushy, chilly, exhilarating ride into work. My feet got completely soaked and were slightly numb, as were my hands, but my face/ears/neck were bundled, and my waterproof pants and jacket did their job(s). Fortunately we have a big heat dish at work and I plugged it in immediately to dry out my cycling shoes + sox. Getting ready for winter riding! Max Baer posted something on SaltCycle to the effect of “Sometimes when I am putting on all of my gear to go out riding in the winter I feel like I’m preparing for battle,” which is a very accurate analogy, I think.
  2. I actually arrived at work on time despite the crazy winter ride. Passed the probably freezing cold Occupiers and sent a “Bless you.” their way, to myself. I will admit that I’ve been spending more and more time lately listening to NPR podcasts, Radio Lab, reading stories about our economy, OWS, corporations, elections, ballot initiatives, “personhood” laws and their bogusness, and “Move Your Money” aka National Leave Your Bank Day. I feel like there’s so much going on right now, politically and internationally, with the protests and activists, that I’m distracted and what’s worse can justify it because I believe in the causes for which others are so bravely sacrificing warmth, security and the comforts of home. I say, At the very least I can be an informed, intelligent, independent-thinking citizen who is aware of her rights in this country. I downloaded the first 50 or so pages of this Study Group on challenging corporate personhood and revoking corporate welfare. IT’S SO GOOD. And free! Free information that we should be providing our kids in school instead of the inaccurate depiction of how the Constitution was this awesome democratic document (did you know that the word “democracy” never once appears in our Constitution?) written by sovereign, working class folks. Not! It was written by rich, privileged white men who created it with basically the sole interest of protecting their PROPERTY from England/other challengers. They wanted the freedom to exploit the riches of the Americas by themselves. I am fired up about this. Fired. Up.

    From OWS

  3. I’m listening to the new Laura Veirs album! It’s called Tumble Bee and it’s for kiddos. Some of the songs are kind of WOAH SILLY and some have been really enjoyable, as “an adult” listening. You can stream the whole thing on NPR.org in the First Listen section. I do love this woman’s voice. It’s interesting to hear new projects of hers, and think about what musicians start to write once they have children and might be easing out of their rock-and-roll lifestyles. I can/can’t believe you saw Laura Veirs at the grocery store. Of course you did!
  4. Called Mary around 3pm to check in. I still find it incredible that her consciousness knew she should head to the farm on Monday, something was coming up for her and she didn’t question it. That’s some powerful intuition. Although the family saw it coming, and may have been preparing for it, that obviously never makes it easier or less crazy to hear that someone is “gone,” and like Mary has said, there’s never a “timeline” with this sort of thing. Sending lots of hugs and warmth and love that way.
  5. I had dinner with Mom & Dad tonight and was feeling in general really grateful for the presence of both of them in my life, and my ability to hang out with my parents, NBD, kind of amazes me each time. I’ve gone through a lot of different feelings about it; when I first moved here I still needed my own time and space apart from them and living with them at first made me totally crazy. I created all sorts of stories like “This is unhealthy, I’m __ years old, I can’t live with my parents, I need my own place,” yadda yadda yadda. Now that I’ve spent four years living so close to them, going over for dinner, taking weekend trips with them, helping them when they need it, taking care of their house, car, dog(s) and cat(s)… I’m really lucky. I love having them in my life so frequently. I know it will be something I miss, deeper than I can even predict now, as it’s not reality yet, but living in another state will be difficult for me, the same way Charlotte has experienced living in (ahem) Mozambique for so long and now, NYC, which feels like another planet. But maybe it’s time for me to switch out of my role as the parent-guide, parent-caretaker, parent-liaison, parent-charmer and parent-friend sibling. Thinking about this a lot.

    Mom playing the melodica last spring.

  6. I was telling my parents about the RadioLab podcast “Loops” (HAVE YOU HEARD IT) and the story about the woman and her older mother getting Transient Global Amnesia, the kind of amnesia that’s pretty inexplicable medically, occurs suddenly and only within a 24-hour period (short-term), then the sufferer regains all normal memory functions. It has been known to happen after strenuous activities in adults ages 55-75, like SEX for instance, and I told my mom this and she was like “Help me! Who is this strange man on top of me!!!!!” burst out laughing. Then I burst out laughing. Dad changed the subject.   it was AMAZING
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Five Things I Miss About My Mother:

October 10th 2011 is the two-year anniversary of my mothers passing, which feels like a terribly personal thing to post on the Internet.  I wonder why that is, or why I feel such a strong aversion to posting personal things in general.  I mean, we are all going to die, right?  I’ll say it to your face.  “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.”  So what?  My mom died, big deal. But it is a big deal.  There was a This American Life episode about break-ups.  One of the first segments talked about how everyone deals with heartbreak, but it has this amazing ability to feel like the most isolating thing that has ever happened, EVER.  And there is NO WAY that anyone could possibly relate to that, or come close to understanding, EVER.  Well, losing someone close to you is a little like that too.  And by a little, I mean it’s like that x10.  The feeling of loss surrounds you in a dream-like cloud.  People avoid talking to you because they don’t know what to say, and it would make you feel like a leper if you had the presence to actually notice.  And the word “sorry” just starts to sound mechanical and theatrical, acted out, scripted, and you stand numbly at the church/funeral home and shake hands and hug and cry and pat backs and touch everyone who is still alive and you wonder why you still are too.  And then, you tell everyone “thank you for coming to this/ your concern/the pie/ the casserole/the booze”, and eventually everyone goes home and leaves you alone in your own special grief.   And there is really no way to express what all of this means, and you just muddle through it.  It gets easier, but the birthdays of the deceased are important and noticeable, as well as the death-iversary, which is today.

To commemorate this occasion, this post is for her.  This is about the mother as I knew her as a recent event.  The Adult Mother who is the Friend and the Family and the Matron and the Glue.

  1.  My mom had a thing for churches.  She isn’t necessarily religious or denominational, but she was spiritual in a lot of ways.  And by saying she was spiritual, there’s some complex layering.   She

    Red doors.

    definitely liked the iconography and the architecture, and she liked the reverence.  She was raised a Catholic, but I wasn’t.  She died a Catholic, but I will not.  I actually know very little about Catholicism, which feels strange considering I’ve been around it so much.  But that is the nice thing about it, is that I am no more familiar with Catholicism than I am with being Episcopalian, or Southern Baptist, or a Hare Krishna.  She loved the feeling of a church, the history of a church, the space given to worship.  She liked candles and Saints and her house was filled with prints and paintings and little statues.  You know what she didn’t like?  Mormons.  But the only ill words I heard her say about them was in conflict with her job as a middle-school teacher, where to be the only non-Mormon was exceptionally difficult and branding.  She was hurt for being ostracized.  But, imperfectly and perfectly, she embodied what it meant to be accepting and open, and emulated what could be considered “Christ-like” love and acceptance.  When she found out her daughter was gay, she was upset at first, but then attacked the concept with a vengeance.  She joined P-FLAG and marched in parades.  She researched.  She put a rainbow flag key chain on her keys.  She told me that the key chain was a signal, it marked her as safe to approach to any of her students who may be questioning their sexuality.  This approach worked.  She not only was my mother, but she became a mother and mentor to those who weren’t accepted in their homes or families, kids around the house with nowhere else to go.  It’s easy to canonize her with all of her enlightenment and unconditional love, but she was also human, and had bouts of condition and sometimes pushed too hard.  Oh, and then there’s the part where people often thought she was nuts.

  2. She liked to shop.  And buy.  Speaking as a non-shopper, it drove me crazy, but I also kind of got over it.  We had a deal for Christmas time where she would buy something that she could “see me in” or that she wanted me to like, but knew I would not.  So she would buy it, wrap it, give it to me with all the tags on it.  I would unwrap it, and put it on so as to give her the satisfaction of seeing me dress the way she wanted me to, and at the end of the day I would take the garment off and give it back, whereas she would return it and give me the money/store credit.

    I don't know what year this was. I want to say 1998 or so.

    But sometimes we’d go to thrift stores together and she would give me good critiques, whether or not something fit well, or if the old-timey camp shirt over/under-accentuated my shoulders/boobs/butt/hips/belly.  She loved wearing blazers and had more coats than any one person should.  She wore them well.  In the middle of winter I would walk to Kathrine and Jacobs house two blocks away and borrow a large wool coat with a native american print.  It was like wearing a blanket.  When I lived with Julie in Seattle, she sent us three Snuggies in the mail.  Two for Julie and I, and then a third for “when we had a friend over so they wouldn’t feel left out” (as an aside, that friend was usually Nic.  He was a great sport about it.).

  3. She was a great cook and loved food.  She never really got into the idea of “healthy” food options, feeling fine about using Kroger-brand canned something as a base for something else, or not buying “organic”, but then the way she could combine things would make me feel like I was eating the healthiest meal imaginable and following it up with Keebler Elf cookies that were always on the shelf.  She kept Chris and I well fed.  We went out to eat once at Long Life Vegi House in Salt Lake, and by the end of her meal, she was touching everyone else’s plate and licking the sauces off the ends of her fingers in such succession that she seemed to have more than two arms, one hand in the wheat-meat “beef” sauce and the other licking the Kung Pao “chicken” off of her wrist chattering the whole time.  In the hospital she was obsessed with the cooking shows, from Paula Deen to Iron Chef.
  4. She was a weird/hard communicator, but always had a gift with people.  I mean, most mothers can be difficult, and can get under one’s skin in the worst ways that only a mother can do, but she also taught me the patience and forbearance and listening skills based on her weird way of communicating.  She would engage with strangers all of the time, which I grew to appreciate, though often the topics were often socially inappropriate.  Once I introduced her to someone I was dating and she immediately gave them raisins and compared the size and shape of the raisins to rat tumors, which understandably scared the shit out of my date.  When she was in the early stages of her illness, she would lament to the cashier working the graveyard shift (when we would do the shopping) and she would tell the poor cashier about all of her cancer drugs and side effects and how much gas she has.

    I actually really, really love this picture of her, as she was in the best mood this day. 2009.

    Her and Chris came to see me in Seattle, and she immediately took over the traffic circle in front of my house, and spent her vacation weeding and cleaning up, which made her a huge hit in the neighborhood.  I mean, people I only knew by sight were knocking on the door and asking her and Chris to dinner.  Even in the hospital, she was the favorite of all of her doctors and nurses.  She exuded light even in her weakened physical state.  She was positive and witty, even at the very end.

    The Red Tent was one of our "Book Club" books. I love that she used it in that years' class picture. 2004.

  5. I miss the hours we spent in front of the tv together, which is such a gluttonous idea to me in my adult life, but had always been used in the household, sometimes for education, sometimes for entertainment.  Sunday dinners consisted of dinner and the Sunday night episode of Felicity on the WB.  She loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, but she really, really LOVED Xena the Warrior Princess(she once told me that the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle helped her understand me better).  We stayed up countless nights watching historical dramas and all of the Audrey Hepburn movies that she ever made.  We loved Wallace & Gromit and Cate Blanchett and Saturday Night Live and So You Think You Can Dance? and most things directed by Tom Tykwer.  We didn’t always agree, and if she were still alive I would give her such shit for making me watch Yentl, which I really hated.  Even with all of the tv watching, we both also devoured books.  When I moved away, we would pick books to read and talk about them on the phone, like sort of a long-distance book club.  I miss that a lot.

And I miss her for more than 5 reasons.  It’s crazy how she’s always around, and by her just being in my memory it continues to shape me.  I want to say it makes me a better person, but who knows? I just do the best I can.  Don’t we all?

Five of the simple things I miss about her are: 1. Her laugh and the sound of her voice 2. The way she moved through the world in her physical body.  The way she walked and moved and touched things as she walked by them.  3. The way she was good at plants and loved roses. 4.  The way she had roundabout conversations, the ability to pick up a conversation back up a week later (this took years of practice).  5. The twinkle in her eyes, surrounded by the crows feet wrinkles of someone who smiled a lot.

To make a heavy topic seem a little lighter here is a Garfield comic from Finland(I think?)  It was hanging on the wall of Mississippi Records and it made me feel awesome inside.  Garfield really speaks to me these days.

(WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?)

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“I pack my suitcase with myself but I’m already gone.”

We had a major lag there for a while. Did I say “we”? I meant I DID. I HAD ONE, not you.

MARY, we will cook lots of food together, do not worry one bit about that.

I think Paul is doing okay, has probably been better, but I have this strange faith that he is psychic and maybe knew that something like this would happen to him one day in his adult life, and that he’s got these internal guides that will carry him through whatever life brings, hard stuff and good stuff, through it all. He is a truly spiritual guy and has a lot of faith in himself, at least when he’s talked to me about that sort of thing. It’s reassuring and inspiring.

It is SO GOOD to be in One’s Own Bed. Charlotte just bought a new bed this week and has been sharing similar stories of bliss. The dollar bill story reminds me of every time I think I see a dollar on the ground while on my bike. It happens more often than you might think. Maybe I’m seeing things, or maybe people lose money all the time and you just have to look out for it. And then decide not to pick it up, for whatever karmic reasons you might carry.

I love, love, love the story about riding on the sidewalk. Perfect timing. Now you can feel better about not being quick enough to quip, “I’m not asking for money on the street and I still think you’re a dumbass” to those popped collar d-bags in front of Squatters.

Lots of Things have happened between today and my last 5things. I will now list a brief summary in carefully selected words and phrases, to catch you (all of you) up:

…At Fresh Market on the way home, a dude who saw me saddling up and said I was “hardcore.” Jason (my favorite clerk) goes, “You have fenders!”
…Charlotte on the phone feels fired up and crazy after watching Ru Paul’s “Drag Race.”  We commiserate about how that show makes us feel, and she shares her recipe for red beans & rice.
…Mental stamina wearing down.
…Soundtrack this week: Honey Watts, Mountain Man, Kurt Vile and Bert Jansch.
…Mom & Dad’s trips. The car and the dog and the doctor’s appt.

5 things / Thursday-Friday / October 6-7 / 2011

  1. RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN. Cold. Wet. Woodsmoke. These two mornings are full of late autumn: fallen leaves, deep red brick, streaky pavement, reassuring grip on my new bike tires. It feels like winter already and it’s much too early. Dad says all of the snow will melt next week and it will get temperate, normal, gradual again. This happens in Utah. Mary referred to it the other day as “bipolar” weather. I couldn’t agree more! It’s what I enjoyed most when I lived here. That there could be a completely warm, sunny and bright day in the middle of February. I believe I may be ready for more consistency, as this cold snap shocked my system and I immediately felt like SUCH A BABY. Where did the stamina and stoicism earned by all of my hard Vermont winters go? I’ve become soft, like an old pear.
     
  2. I was supposed to have a doctor’s appointment this morning, but I had to reschedule due to gnomes taking the doctor’s office hostage. So instead I used my morning to update my blog. And went into work late anyway. Hahahaa! Take that, universe! I told Dad (whose car I was borrowing for said doctor’s appointment) the truth when I returned his vehicle. But it still felt awfully surreal and luxurious. If and when I get up early enough, I love lounging and drinking coffee and writing, pretending like that’s my for real job. Maybe someday it will be! When I got into work it seemed like everything was still chugging along like normal. Jacob is at some wedding in Tennessee and everyone else was grumbling about the cold weather (it was 70 degrees and sunny three days ago, now it is 41 degrees and rain/snowing) (See Thing #1). I pulled out the ol’ heat dish which spent last winter camped three feet from my desk chair, as there are only two heat vents in the downstairs area of my work and it can feel like a well-lit cave November through March.
  3. Yo, I made BEET PATTIES for dinner Thursday night. Another recipe gleaned from the twin sister. Due to much improvisation from the original recipe, they turned out a bit confusing in texture, but I like them. Boiled about three pounds of home grown beets of various colors and shapes, plus a few nubbly white, yellow and orange carrots, tahini, and yellow onion in a blender. Then I added an egg and some chickpea flour, plus salt, pepper, curry powder and some cumin, but they were still pretty gloppy. So I added more regular all-purpose flour and a bit of cornmeal, which ended up giving them a slight polenta-esque texture. Light-fried them in some vegetable oil. Oh man. Delicious with salt & pepper & ketchup. This is a crappy phone picture of the victims, pre-boiling:

    Ready to walk the plank

     

  4. I smelled like a deep-fryer when I headed over to M&D’s. Dad gave me the house/car/dog run-down as I am house-sitting for them this whole week, until the 15th. Don’t burn the place down, keep an eye on the tomatoes out back, here’s how you make coffee with my fancy new Japanese ceramic coffee dripper and glass range server, here are the phone numbers of our neighbors, take Lucy on walks, talk to the cat, empty the compost, keep lights on and stay here as much as you’d like. Also, he says, “Don’t drive my car like I do.” Which is hilarious. He does drive like a crazyman sometimes. At least he is aware of it. (LOVE YOU DAD) Went home exhausted even though it was only 10:30. I think my thyroid is acting up again/forever.
  5. Rode into work on Friday morning and it was like I was riding straight into January. What the fudge, seriously?! It was so effing cold. It was exhilarating. I needed my woolly mittens, headband, thick socks and two jackets. There was an amazing air of REALITY riding in the cold. I reflected on this feeling all the way to work; summer is easy, lazy, challenge-free in most endeavors like “getting places” even if you’re on a bike. Actually, maybe this is only true if you’re on a bike. It’s crappy and sweaty and smells like pavement and gasoline in a car in the heat of the summer. At least on a bike you can dress almost naked and feel the wind on your entire body. In the winter you have to bundle up and feel that strange cold-hot-sweat in your armpits and back of your neck and down your boobies.
  6. I spun the length of time between phone calls at work reading about artist’s residencies, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and how overly-emotional people are getting about Steve Jobs’ death. Took Dad to the airport midday, and then I got to hang out with Lucy at work, which is always fun. Many dog owners think she is an Irish setter but she is alllllllllllll goofball golden retriever. There are lots of people who want tutoring sessions over the weekends; it is so, inexplicably difficult to line these up sometimes. But sometimes parents do not understand that the world does not drop to their knees every time their son/daughter would like a three-point improvement on their ACTs.
  7. After work, I rolled home and holed up with some echinacea tea to finish a letter to Joanna. Then I went over to Marilyn & Shari’s new mother-in-law apartment right behind their old one. It is tucked away behind the main house, and they have this cute backyard & garden zone. Shari has laid down an impressively wide stone path to discourage the dogs from tramping mud into the house during the wet months. Paul rolled in with a 6er of Natty Ice and it was so good to see him. M & S served us all incredible homemade mole sauce, with almonds, cinnamon, chile peppers, other spices… holy hell. It was so good. Next food club venture for sure (it was vegan!).
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(5)five pictures II

I’m a bit worded out. So in place of 5 things, I’m “borrowing” Mary’s idea. Here are five pictures from the last two four weeks of my life in Salt Lake City.

-posted by Emily

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Movers and Shakers (or “shakings,” as the case may be).

KEEPING UP ON THIS SHIT!

Responses to Emily’s:
It is truly sad that Paul B. lost his father so close to his birthday.  There’s a slap in the face from mortality for you, the simultaneous celebration that comes with EXISTENCE paired with the solemn realization of loss, and while there is celebration of the person with the BIRTHDAY (wut, wut, holla, candles, cake celebrating, etc.) there is always a bit of grief, humbling and serene.  These are the days that creep up on you.  They will both be intertwined for a long time, the birth and the death, possibly/probably for the rest of his life.  Hang in there, Paul, it ain’t easy.
I am so jealous of your food clubs all of the time.  They just seem to get better and better and better.  And then, they get better and better.  And better.  I also know the love of a good pen.  AND, last but not least, I can picture your moms’ face falling when she realizes there are no cookies to be had.  😦  (SAD EMOTICON- is what have I stooped to, this is the same feeling when I think of Barzun or other ways that new technology is re-inventing present day language.  WOAH.  It’s happening, and I have no way of defending/preserving it.)
ANYWAYS.
Tuesday October 4
  1. WORDS CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE HOW AMAZING IT IS TO SLEEP IN MY OWN BED AGAIN.  After having my bed unused, useless and stored on its ends since June, I am finally feeling like my bed is a place of respite and retreat again.  My new (gigantic) room gets such nice light, easy to wake up in, soft and grey.  I’m so into it.  Waking up slowly, I am sprawled, my limbs pointing in all four corners like a compass, or that one DaVinci drawing only with pajamas.  Lucifer is stretched out on his side on the floor, groaning like the old man that he is.  I realize I am smiling.
  2. I’ve been driving too much lately, so opted to ride my bike to a prospective employment opportunity in NW Portland.  The bike ride there was quick and easy, overcast and cool temperatures that are ideal.  At one point I was riding off the Broadway bridge onto NW Lovejoy, and as I was speeding down the ramp, I saw a one dollar bill stuck on the wet pavement of the bike lane.  It didn’t occur to me what it was until I was a good 20-30 feet past it, but once I did I found myself pumping my brakes a little bit, questioning whether I should go back and get it, not because I needed a dollar, but because I have somewhat of a superstition regarding finding money on the ground that has been kind of ingrained in me against my will.  I couldn’t help thinking that maybe that could’ve been the dollar that changed my luck around, but it seemed foolish to be unsafe in bike traffic to go back and get it.  It also made me think of this guy I used to know, an ex-friend, who was a money-driven, swindler-esque and “get-rich-quick”-ish sort of braggart, and a self-proclaimed “ladies man” (ew).  His shady behavior ultimately being one of many of the catalysts for the end of our friendship, I knew that he would risk traffic to flounder for a dollar.  All of these thoughts rushed into my brain as my fingers twitched on the brake-levers.  I spit the bad taste out of my mouth and kept pedaling, leaving the dollar behind. 
  3. I went to the DMV to get a copy of my driving record.  I should not have gone to the DMV downtown, as the wait was an hour and a half for a two minute request.  I will never get that time back.  It would’ve been so worth it to ride to the Kenton neighborhood, where there is a separate window for little tasks like mine, no test takers, no registration re-dos, none of that stuff.  Just the quick and painless line for renewals and driving records.  BUT, I sat there in the downtown DMV, next to people who struck up conversations about their jobs at McDonalds (I sound so smug, but at least they have a job), and I feel a little guilty until they start loudly comparing anti-psychotic medications that they are on.  GODIAMSUCHAHATER and I am soooo not going to heaven because I can feel myself judging them.  Ug.  I play Solitaire on my smart phone with its touch screen with a fury and try to tune them out.  Eventually my number is called and I am free to go, packing all of my first-world privileges in my waterproof bike bag as I leave.
  4. SCARRED a little by the DMV (tongue-in-cheek), I ride through rainy downtown and take a wrong turn, forcing me up onto the sidewalk for about a half-block.  Knowing that this is a) illegal and b) a jerky-lame bicyclist maneuver, I coast very slowly and carefully, shameful, and knowingly in the wrong.  A couple, haggard and weathered, like they’ve seen enough hard times to be anywhere between 22 and 45 but still look older, are sitting on a picnic bench with large dirty backpacks and razor scooters.  As I pass, the guy snarls at me “You’re not supposed to be riding up here, bitch.”  I am in the frame of mind where my delivery is near-perfect:  “I know,” I say, “thanks for understanding that things sometimes don’t go how you planned them.”  With that, I hopped my bike off the curb and merged with the traffic, and it’s damn near a movie moment.
  5. I took Lucifer on a walk to Beaumont Market to get some beer for Nate and I.  It’s the cutest little grocery store I ever did see and it was awesome to walk into their beer cooler room and see the most amazing display of artisan beers I ever did see from such a little tiny grocery store.  Immediately at eye level upon walking into the cooler, there was the Uinta Double IPA, with the custom Leia Bell label, greeting me like a friend.  Greeting me like it were Leia.

    Salt Lake Awesome in PDX.

    It made me feel proud and homesick all at once.  Leia is an amazing woman and mother, but also happens to be a brilliant and humble artist in her own right.  Friends in beer coolers.  The label that Trent Call did was in there too, but I don’t know him personally so it didn’t have the same effect and gripping nostalgia that Leia’s label did.  However, I hear he is a great dude.  Beaumont Market also had some Epic Brewery beer in the cooler also, and while I don’t know any of those Epic people personally either, those beers have participated in some memorable (or shall I say forgettable) moments as well.  Cheers for getting these to Oregon.

Another day, another dollar, smashed onto the bike lane of NW Lovejoy.  Finders-keepers, I am rich with fortune.  “Be brave, young lovers, wherever you are…”

-posted by Mary

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“Snakk om sitt”

Dear reader(s)! Several days have passed since I have submitted my last 5 things! This is just how it goes; sometimes daily lists bubble forth with ease, and sometimes there are dry spells.

My excuse (if you’ll have one) is that I’ve been working on my own personal blahg for writing/zines/artwork/photography/life. It’s exciting, and many hours this weekend poring over its inception have proven worth it, but my eyes are tired…so tired.

Without further ado, 5 things. Sunday/Monday, October 2-3, 2011.

  1. October 2 is Paul B’s 29th birthday!  I sent him a text message wishing him HBD at approximately 12:30 a.m. “this morning.” We all (Greg, Kris K, Daveed, Marilyn, Shari and myself) spent some QT together with Paul and his family at his dad’s glass studio last night. Paul’s dad passed away a week ago from a sudden, unexpected heart attack.  I’d met his pop a few times. Really good dude. I imagine this week hasn’t been easy for Paul. So strange that I was just hanging out at Paul’s house the Saturday prior, watching his film(s) and shooting the shit and asking, “How are your folks?” I made Paul two vegan pizzas and brought them over to the studio gathering. Despite the somber atmosphere, they were well-received. Labors of love. Paul B holds the title of Emily’s First Salt Lake City Friend Ever.
  2. Sunday morning I woke up to my alarm going off at 8 a.m. and I immediately thought it was Monday morning and I needed to get up and go to work. Then I realized it was NOT Monday and it was glorious and I slept another half an hour and got up “early” anyway! Made a huge pot of coffee and read some of “Living Juicy” by SARK, recording her book recommendations (which are pretty woo-woo and self help-y, but I find I am drawn towards this type of stuff a lot lately) and basked in the morning of nothing-to-do. I have also been researching about artist residencies (I’ve got this book out from the library), specifically those in the Pacific NW region of this world. There’s a place called the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology that looks particularly magical. Been mostly just stirring up some info, planting some seeds of intention here & there and wondering if/when I might venture into residency-land in the next year of my life. Friend and fellow UArts fiber-grad Jen Gin recommended told me recently that Penland changed her life and that I need to go. Hmmm…I mean, look at this place.

    Beautiful images of the Sitka Center from dawnstetzelsitkacenter.blogspot.com


  3. I had leftover Daiya mozzarella-style “cheese” from the pizza-making, and for lunch I had this on top of pasta with tomato sauce, garlic and fresh basil. Goddamn it is tasty. I couldn’t even tell you all of its ingredients, although I know it doesn’t have any soy, which is BALLER because my innards do not like soy, and it might have something-something-coconut. Ooooh! And “pea protein.” Whatever that is. Speaking food, which we were and I always seem to be, Food Club officially struck again on Friday at Matt/Alex/Jordan’s. Aka, the Fortress of Cattitude. We made sushi and I honestly think it was the best sushi round ever. This is how making sushi with food club always goes down: start early, drink lots of beer. Wait for what seems like ages for the rice to be done. Chop vegetables. BUTTLOADS. Some you might like to try: green onion, alfalfa or radish sprouts, red pepper, carrot, cucumber, butternut squash (TRUST ME), sweet potato (TRUST ME MORE), pickled beets (JUMP OFF THIS CLIFF WITH ME), mango, kimchi. Other ingredients: cream cheese, sriracha or that dank chili-garlic sauce, sesame seeds. Do this while waiting some more for rice to cool. Drink more beer. Then finally make the damn sushi and make everyone wait while all of your rolls are ready to be sliced and arranged delicately on a pretty plate and then realize you have made way too much sushi and continue to eat it all, anyway. Sit in food coma/stupor with a bellyache (well worth it). The end. P.s. Maybe I’m done talking about Sushi in 5things? Or maybe not.
  4. My weekend obsession was owning this glorious pen in 16 different colors. Perhaps you’re familiar with Acute Art/Office Supply Lust. I will admit: it’s absurd. I haven’t felt such a fever for an object of art-making in a long while. Maybe not since I was obsessed with gouache and Dr. PH Martin’s ink last year. Anyway, I finally buckled and purchased a 16-pk of these puppies for a shamefully low price from the website of a shameful corporation, whose name I will keep secret to protect my spotless, tree-hugging reputation. Despite the shame, I am excited to start drawing in 16 super-human colors once they arrive in our mailbox. In the meantime, please enjoy this vintage advertisement:

  5. Since I was too busy working on my BLOG all dang day Sunday and missed my usual “family dinner time,” I called up Ma & Pa on Monday night and asked invited myself over for dinner. My mom leaves on a 10-day trip to Turkey this Thursday (buffered by one day in NYC at both the front & tail end of her travel days), and my dad leaves Friday for an 8-day trip back East to visit my brother, sister(s) and my deceased grandfather’s wife Norma. Norma who came of age in the 30s and 40s and worked as a typist and a journalist, went to an all-women’s college and is always encouraging me to build my writing portfolio, like,physically with photocopies of everything I’ve ever published. Which isn’t too shabby of an idea, but I’m not sure how I’d recoup everything in print that has my name on it. It’s still a very sweet gesture. Norma lives in the house in Kent, CT that she shared with my grandfather Paul for 25+ years. It’s an odd-smelling, creaky, dense, musty house filled with exotic sculpture from Zambia and Tanzania, ancient-feeling rugs, lots of VHS tapes and cat hair. 
  6. ANYWAY, after dinner Mom kept asking “Where are the cookies?” but Dad & I forgot to get any at the store and she looked dismayed. But all was not lost; we ate honeydew melon (yes, that one) and I couldn’t find the 30+-year-old melon-baller that’s been in our family since before I can remember. Instead, I used the perfectly round stainless steel measuring spoon (1 tsp) and it made the most delightful melon balls! Have you ever had an ice-cold honeydew melon ball? Do yourself a favor. Then I wanted to show my parents my new blog and my mom said, “Hver snakk om sitt,” which sounds like “hvair snock ohm seet” and is a Norwegian saying that means “Each talks about his/her own [stuff].”  It’s a tongue-in-cheek remark you can use when you’d like to subtly point out that the topic of conversation has mysteriously turned away from you and towards whoever you’re talking to. You can also shorten it and just say, “Snakk om sitt,” which is even punchier and wittier, apparently. My mom spent 16 months in Norway in 1968-69, as a student with AFS. She is fluent in Norwegian.
All I ever talk about is food.
-posted by Emily
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