Tag Archives: family

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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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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