Monthly Archives: October 2011

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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It never quite happens how you plan it, and when it does, it’s a miracle.

+ (5)Cinq Choses + Vendredi/Samedi + 30/01 Septembre/Octobre + 2011 +

  1. I dropped out of school.  Such a sad, and disheartening blow of a thing to do.  After much deliberation and the buying of textbooks I am currently not a student.  I called Financial Aid and the helpful person on the other end (this is not sarcastic, they seemed genuinely sad and tried to be supportive of my decision) told me I could use the dispersement meant for this term and split it up between Winter and Spring terms, but there is an air of defeat around me now.  And I will probably just wait the year and go in the fall when I am an official resident, but it’s nice to know I have the option of Winter/Spring, as it might give me the semblance that my whole plan of moving up here to be a student is not completely in vain.
  2. I met up with Katie Z. for coffee, who has a great androgynous style about her that she pulls off nicely and that I appreciate and admire.  Katie is funny, and so, so awkward, but she is kind and warm and gracious.  While we were sitting in the sun, a bee flew into her coffee.  It was kind of sad.
  3. I met Elizabeth at the North Portland Library after she got out of her yoga class, where I returned some books and printed out a copy of resume draft #324.  We walked around for a while, sitting by the fountain at Peninsula Park and lamenting about the changes of plans that we weren’t counting on.  My failure to be back in school, her failure to be back in Nicaragua, we are both running out of money.  Our failures and then our blessings, where we both admit to good fortune, and know that things will always work out in the end.  We walked some more, and then ended up at a little utilitarian playing field on the corner of Kerby and Alberta.  We sat on her yoga mat that she had been carrying around because the grass was a little wet.  Lucifer rolled in the grass, rolled and rolled, snorting and scratching and blissing out so hard.  He is captivating when he does this.  It really might be my favorite thing that he does right now (other examples are when he “makes his bed” by scratching at rugs or carpets, and what I call his “dinosaur noises” that he only started doing in the last couple of years).  Elizabeth started going though her phone and suggesting networks of people she knows about for potential jobs.  It was very encouraging, as she seems in the know about a lot, and has a lot of hustle with a lot of people.  I’m moving the rest of my stuff this weekend, and Elizabeth offered to help me with the big stuff, so we will do that tomorrow and then go to Portland’s Greek Festival, drink beer, and eat spanakopita and those little deep fried bread balls drenched in honey, and it will be good and rewarding.  It’s the little things.
  4. Seeing as how it was Meredith’s birthday, I was happy to see her feeling so much better then she has been all week with her bunk back.  Earlier in the day they drove out to Lake Oswego to buy some gluten-free cupcakes for the birthday times.  She split up the four that they had bought and we all shared, my favorite being one called “Hot Chocolate”, followed by the lemon-raspberry. Jeremy and Sam both were eating the Mexican chocolate one, and Jeremy kept making an amazing/confusing face.  “What’s wrong?” I asked, “is it gross?”  “Oh, that is his face of approval,” Meredith informed me, and Jeremy nodded emphatically with crumbs falling out of his mouth.  Then they were off to a different birthday party, just like that.  Sam was going to a party also, and he wore a suit.  He looked amazing.  Damn, that man is handsome.
  5. I went to Katie Z’s house for Evan’s birthday party.  I didn’t really know anyone there except for Katie, but it was okay and I do alright mingling.  I was planning on not staying too late, but after a couple of hours I had met some really nice folks, and two other ladies named Mary which doesn’t happen too often, though Mary and I discussed that old lady names are making a comeback.  Mary is also a twin, and we ended up discussing twin experiences with another lady (whose name has left me) who is the older sister of twins.  Me personally, I am not a twin, so I can’t even pretend to know anything really.  Katie, Evan and I all danced to John Maus and the Rolling Stones “Emotional Rescue” which was great fun.  THEN!  In true form, I decided then and there that that was the crux of the night and therefore it was time to leave. So I did, just like that.
    -posted by Mary
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(5)five pictures

These were all taken by me at various times and places this summer.  All are in the PacNW, except for the second one which was taken on a blistering hot day in Emily’s backyard in Salt Lake.  We put the sprinkler out and ran through it for relief from the heat, shrieking like little kids.  -posted by Mary

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