Tag Archives: thanks

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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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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To Do:

  1. Keep a list of things that happened to you today.
  2. Pare it down to five (5) things.
  3. Share with [Emily / Mary]
  4. Post on blog.

Hi, everyone! We’ve just launched our new blog 5fivethings. We hope you visit often!

Note: We wouldn’t have minded “5things.wordpress.com” or “fivethings.wordpress.com,” but there are two seemingly nice gentleman who already own those names. The former could be a Brit, and likes Christopher Nolan, “The Wire,” and updating on U.S. Thanksgiving. The latter likes these five things: baseball, dogs, family, reading and writing. Both don’t seem too convinced that anyone will read their blogs, ever.

I would not stop you if you’d like to drop them a line and mention that neither of them have updated their blogs since – oddly enough, the same month & year – November 2006. Maybe with enough convincing, one might relinquish their name to us! Wishful thinking?

Anyway, thank you for visiting. Tell your friends! Tell our friends! I was going to add something like “add us to your RSS feeds, your tumblrs, your twitters, your flitters, your jitters, and your GoogleReaders” etc. but I think you get the point.

Because you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t smart.

posted by Emily

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