Category Archives: Mary

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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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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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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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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Creature Comforts

5 things Monday September 26, 2011
  1. It’s so nice to be in Jeremy and Meredith’s house.  This morning, while I was making coffee, Sam came into the kitchen with amazing bedhead.  Right after he said he was going to go out for coffee at a coffeeshop as opposed to making it at home, he cut his finger slicing a bagel.  I gave him a sympathetic frown, all while thinking “that could have been me, that could have been me, without coffee, that would’ve been me“.  Was also informed that there is a pedestrian bridge that makes it a lot easier to cross Powell and zip over to the esplanade making getting to school very fast and rewarding.  (Thanks, Jeremy, for that information.)  The whole morning got me thinking about space and environment, and how something could be comfortable, open and giving, and other space can feel so creepy or controlled or toxic.  I wonder what my space feels like to other people.  My space is usually filled with dog hair.  People with pet allergies usually avoid my space.
  2. Ma class de Français!  I was worried about this class, having taking first year French in Salt Lake City, then transferring from semesters to quarters.  I was apprehensive because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in line with where the first year PSU Frenchies were going to be.  My professor is a nervous kid taking on a role as an adjunct professor.  Initially, I thought he was a fellow student. He is from France, and only spoke in French to us, most of which I kind of understood…a pleasant surprise since I have not studied all summer.  He went over the syllabus and how to use the book (which was similar to the book we used in SLC) and had us all go around and introduce ourselves and where we were from.  After the class I tried to go talk to him about placement, and he didn’t understand what I was asking.  Meaning French is his first language.  Meaning, he doesn’t really understand English which weirdly made me feel some kind of illogical affection for him.  As we struggled with the language barrier, a girl who had also stayed behind interjected and asked me, “Did you understand class today?”  “About 80% of it, “ I said.  “Then you should stay in this class,” and she explained her reasons a bit.   For validation, I texted mon ami dans SLC Jeff, who told me that the textbooks are the same for his semester back home!  So I felt a lot better about dropping $170 bones on a single textbook to further my education.
  3. Went to the PSU Bike Hub and procured a free map of the downtown vicinity, because even though I have lived in Portland on and off for over six years, I still get fucking lost all the time downtown, especially as I am moonlighting as someone who lives in SE right now.  I’ve spent only a short stint in SE, which calls for new ways, routes and systems and bridges that I’ve rarely ever used.  I am making good use of the esplanade today, which is lovely with the brown choppy waters juxtaposed against the pale grey sky and the jagged skyline of downtown buildings and the huge pylons that are holding the bridges up.  It’s so beautiful here, albeit moody.  Maybe that’s why I like it.  You know what else I like?  That the little scraps of paper for use in the Millar Library are old cards from a card catalog.   The first time I went there I stole a whole stack of them, thinking I would send them all out like little birds to friends.  People make those things out of nostalgia, recreate them on printing presses and here they are just for the taking.  I want to do something with them, but right now they are all just bundled with some old SLC postcards that I bought when I first moved back to SLC and never wrote or sent.  I still think I will, but maybe not to people in SLC.  I keep thinking about Pete and Steph in Milwaukee, and Susy in NYC.
  4. Went to Fidelity Investments where I had to stand on this electric floor mat that would automatically log me off of my session if I stepped off of it.  Or shuffled my feet.  I told the guy in the suit that I couldn’t verify my account at home even though they sent me new a link for it.  AS IT TURNS OUT, whoever entered my information entered my birthday WRONG, which felt bad for some reason.  Like they have money of mine, but I couldn’t access it because of their lack of attention to detail.  NBD, it turns out since in this process I am quite aware that I am basically considered to be at poverty level.  C’est la vie. I have resigned myself to the idea that I will always be poor-ish, but really my problems are still relatively first-world problems, and that I still need to suck it up and be grateful, damn it.
  5. Women’s Studies class is going to be awesome.  My teacher is a beautiful, large, dreadlocked black lady who kind of had the same no-nonsense that reminded me of Libby with more of a sense of humor.  The class is kind of large, but everyone was extremely present and diverse and on point.  Seriously, Utah is so much more white and self-righteous in comparison.  Jeremy: “How was school?” Me: “You know what the weirdest thing was for me at school today?” Jeremy: “What’s that?” Me:  “People actually make eye contact and smile”.  He laughed, but it’s true!  I hope that all of my posts don’t revolve around school.  I’m gonna have to mentally check it.  BUT, before I change any subjects, I got texts from so many rad people wishing me luck today!  Including my girl, who I luv.
  6. Meredith has chronic back pain, and today she was hurting pretty bad.  To stave off the boredom that Meredith has been coping with all day they decided to watch a movie, so I joined them for part of “Wall Street:Money Never Sleeps” and it was god-awful.  Probably the most redeeming thing about it is watching Carey Mulligan (who I find just adorable) and the fact that I was watching it with the Peanut Gallery.  Seriously, between me, Jeremy, Meredith and Sam, we were cracking ourselves up, pointing out that the blood-thirsty actors playing blood- thirsty investors/traders don’t pay taxes anyway and that most of Shia LaDouche’s dialogue was probably overdubbed among other things, but it was one of those “you had to be there” kind of moments.  Plus, Lucifer was being really cute and laying on the floor close to Meredith, which I think she likes.  She told me earlier today that Luc is good company-I was glad that he could be that for her while she’s been so laid out.

This is posting a couple of days later, but that is the glory of this thing.  It’s whatever we want it to be in the moment, and it will probably continue to change.  That being said, I think I have to drop out of school already but that will be detailed in another post.  FIN. À bientôt, mes amis.

posted by Mary

 

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School starts on Monday.

5 things!  Saturday September 24th

  1. Unplanned, I keep waking up early.  I think it is slightly stress induced but I can’t be sure.  I’ve heard that people start waking up early when they age.  Is this true?  In any case, I wake up knowing Todd is going to be coming back from his surfing trip tomorrow (Sunday) so I best be cleaning up his place soon.  Walk dog, drink coffee.  Typical morning routine right there, save for the waking up early part.  Listened to Fiery Furnaces on the dog walk and it reminded me of the Carpenters for some reason.
  2. I went to Warren’s house to pick up his motorcycle as previously arranged.   Warren runs a little record store out of his garage on Saturdays, but he’s not really been open much all summer, as he has been busy going to the river and riding his motorcycle.  I can’t remember the name of his shop but it has something to do with the ax that is fastened over the garage door, next to a record.  Ax records?  Anyway.  He asked me if I could help him with a couple of distro jobs in the next few days and he also said he’s going on tour for a month and would I like to babysit the motorbike to which I replied nonverbally by clapping my hands repeatedly while grinning like a loon.  As he gave me his keys, I asked about my helmet options, seeing as how the one he normally lends me is so large I have to wear a hat and a hoodie (hood up) in order to keep the helmet from slipping off of my head altogether.  SO DANGEROUS.  He had a new-used white full-faced number that fit my smallish head perfectly.
  3. Rode Warren’s little red Yamaha 400 to Kristi’s house.  I wasn’t sure what/who to expect on this impromptu ride she had invited me on, seeing as how I barely know Kristi, but it was Mar and Liza’s old house and so it was nice and familiar.  There is even a cat there that looks like Booty (M&L’s long lean man-cat).  Kristi has two bikes: an effing sweet Honda 350-Four with cropped café style bars and a little old Honda Dream that she’s been fixing up.  She explained that she having an awful time with her carburators which gave me a headache just listening (I have the same problem with the carbs on my old BMW which is still in SLC).  Honda Dreams are hard to work on anyways, because the parts are rare and hard to find.  Finn came over and then we rode (Finn riding on the back of Kristi’s 350) , met up with a few other queers and  rode out to Sauvie’s Island.  There were five bikes in all, and it was awesome.  I forgot how fun it can be to ride with a group, everyone taking on a stagger formation.  It reminded me a lot of when my old Portland motorbike buddy named JJ joined an old Norton bike club, and they would do monthly rides and even though they were old old Nortons and BSAs, anyone was welcome, and these old seasoned dudes would chide me on my german bike, but then they’d wink and grin with weathered wrinkled faces and take off down MLK.  Good lord it was so fun.  Laughing in my helmet fun.  Short story long, it was awesome to ride around with these ladies.  We rode to the beach at Sauvie’s and passed all of the pumpkin patches with their huge scarecrows propped up high above the already tall Halloween corn mazes.  At the beach we all sat in a row along a driftwood log and shared Dill Pickle flavored potato chips  and talked about the underground tunnels and sports teams and school and whatever.  Every now and again we’d hear the song “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid drifting through the air from down the Willamette, which was confusing.  It turned out to be an ICE CREAM BOAT, and Finn and Kristi desperately flagged it down like they were shipwrecked and the ice cream boat would save them, which could be a metaphor for so many other things.
  4. After the ride I went and dropped the bike back off to Warren who was in his record store/garage still, watching a soccer match on his laptop.  He told me he likes soccer, but prefers basketball, but with the NBA still on strike, he’s scratching the sports itch, which is funny coming from a guy that wears beatle-boots and white v-neck tees.  We chatted for a while, about nothing of particular interest, which is so nice.  I like when two people can sit and chat about nothing, but just be in good company to each other.  As I was leaving I saw a Klaus Nomi record so I picked it up.  I told Warren that Klaus Nomi reminds me of when my mother was sick and I brought over a documentary about him from the library and we watched it together. After watching that, my mom became obsessed with him and read everything she could find online about him, and looked for his albums.   Then I picked up a Françoise Hardy record.  “She is so Hot.”  I stated.  Warren nodded solemnly.  “Yes.  Yes she is.”
  5. Met up with Clint who is in town on bike tour.  We bought a six pack of porter and drank it out at the Skidmore Bluffs, and then met up with Mark and his friend Matt downtown.  DOWNTOWN on a SATURDAY NIGHT.  I didn’t feel like I was in Portland anymore, it was such a whirlwind of people and lights and shiny exciting nightlife.  We started at one bar called “SCANDALS” which was very typically gay in style and music (diva + techno/house+ really good haircuts), but then went over to a place that Matt recommended which was actually very classy and lovely and mellow called HOBO’S.  I don’t know why they would call it that, as it was beautiful dark wood bar and tables and nice ambiance and was playing classier things like Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover”.  After that I don’t feel like anything happened.  We drank some more, and then I felt bloated and went home which felt like the right decision.  Oh, also I listened to Fugazi all day.

    I took pictures of the motorcycle ride but can't upload them, so in the meantime, here is a picture of my dog at the beach.

posted by Mary

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The Temporal/The Corporeal

5 things for Thursday September 22

  1.  I was a gaping bottomless hunger pit today, and grumpy about it.  I keep hoping to hear from the people who magically make food stamps happen (I somehow equate this with a Wizard of Oz type of scenario for some reason).  The government man who, in his dingy office, gives me a card that somehow equates to me being able to eat on a regular basis.  It is like a strange kind of magic.  Hopefully this can happen soon.  I also know that I am premenstrual, and quitting smoking and drinking as of late is probably adding to the desire of hand-to-mouth behavior, and general hormonal craziness.
  2. Luc has been bundles and spurts of energy lately on our walks.  We walked to Woodlawn Park again, and he was doing sprints of running across the field, which is more running than a 14 year old dog-man should be doing.  My heart bursts in affection for him when he flops on the grass and wriggles around, bending his body in half and kicking his skinny, seemingly fragile legs up into the air in powerful circular kicking motions.  I used to think that he was rolling in something gross (which often might still be the case) but really I think his fur is so thick that rolling in grass must feel really good…like a rewarding back scratch, like Baloo in the Disney Jungle Book cartoon.  Also at the park, a large fountain erupting, and a toddler with no grasp of verbal language, gesturing wildly at it shrieking “UH! UH! UH! UH! UH!” while its mother recorded with her mobile device.  The kid’s eyes were like saucers, pointing and looking in amazement from the fountain to its mother back to the fountain like it was the most mind-blowing, amazing thing it had ever seen in its life, which is possibly true.  Moments like this make me feel grateful and jaded all at once.
  3. Dropped my car off at Alamo Auto Repair, which consists three older mechanics who have carved a serious niche in the Volvo mechanic service of Portland.  These dudes are gems, the stuff of legend.  I took the car in for an oil change, but got new window switches!  A new rubber pad for my clutch pedal!  And my defrost hose adjusted!  And a list of things I should eventually fix.  All for no extra charge.  I will always suggest them for new business, but they never answer the phone because they are so busy.  Job security!  The lot that they work on is a crazy tetris puzzle of Volvos in all shapes sizes and states of broken-ness and disarray but nothing gets those guys down, I swear.
  4. After dropping my car off I bike the 7 + miles to PSU to print off some resumes and check out their job fair.  It was a lovely ride, really.  Being in Portland, it’s so nice to see all the thruways so clearly marked and easy to navigate.  And now that it’s turning fall, everything feels so temporal and corporeal.  As I passed 21st and Ankeny, I saw my friend Erin who often is known by the name “Chach”.  I stopped and hugged her and asked her about a trip she’d recently returned from.  She was heading to PSU too.  “I have my car, or I would bike with you,” she said.  She told me she got a tutoring job with Portland Schools.  Then she told me that there were something like 350 applicants and they chose HER.  This information kind of set me off on a hopeless moody trajectory.  I am stoked for her, but one can’t help but feel a little helpless at that kind of news.  I think reality is really hitting me, after months of care-free living.
  5. The PSU thing turned out to be a shit show.  Discouraged, I ended up talking to my dear friend Katie G., who cheered me on, and then called in some names for me to take resumes to, all of which I did.  Every day is a new challenge for sure, but I just keep going a day at a time, knowing that it will all work out eventually.  It seems crazy to think though, that 6 months ago, I was laying in my bed in Salt Lake City and literally thought to myself: “I AM SO HAPPY.  I AM SO HAPPY THAT I CAN’T IMAGINE THAT I WILL EVER BE THIS HAPPY AGAIN”.  But I will be.  Bring on the corporeal, bring on the temporal, now.

posted by Mary

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