Thursday, July 12, 2018

Small things

There have been recent reports of people being bitten by rabid foxes — not here, but in a nearby town. This makes me so sad for the foxes, on the one hand, and has also caused me to rethink my emotional relationship to the foxes I (rarely) see in Portland. A couple of weeks ago, I was walking both dogs at night when I saw what was probably a fox across the street (Gus was barking his head off, so probably a fox), and instead of running off like they usually do, it just stood there. Which seemed odd, unless it was maybe a cat.

Not so long ago, I drove past a dead gull on the street. It was on its back with its little bird legs sticking straight up in the air, like a dead cartoon gull.

Even though I had to drive around the block twice and ended up parking blocks away, and even though I had to turn over my debit card to the tune of $100 for flea and tick tablets, and even though I completely forgot to make Theo an appointment for his yearly stuff, I had a great ten minutes at the vet today. Some days, the things that make Portland feel like a small town are so sweet. Todd the receptionist, who's married to Tommy, who owns the cafe where Isaac worked one summer, asking after him. And Ina the receptionist, who's worked at the vet forever and is probably the kindest person on the planet, asking how Gus's joints are doing. Small things.

I started training today for Crisis Text Line, and I feel like I'm in college.

Monday, June 25, 2018


I've just been thinking about the walk we used to take beside a reservoir on a path lined with mica, and how Zoë would stick flakes of mica to her arms and face so she would shine with mermaid scales.

There's a photograph of her mermaid face somewhere — I need to find it!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Insensible losses

Insensible loss must be the most beautiful medical term ever. The smoke your breath becomes when it's bitterly cold? That's an insensible loss. Peeing? That's a sensible loss.

I have a pile of library books to dive into. I've walked the dogs, extra walked the little one in the woods, watered the plants, and cleaned the litter box. I started my day with homemade butter coffee (butter is basically ice cream, you know), homemade granola, yogurt, and sweet, ripe strawberries.

Here's my latest Google Street View idea: 

Kid, immortalized

I don't know — something about people who are caught unawares by the Googlemobile or whatever it's called. Maybe involving thread.*

*this is basically how my creative ideas go.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

My life was the size of my life.

Yes Itch

Poppin big green antibiotic pills and guzzlin kefir over here!

I got a hot, raised, red infection in my arm instantly after all the manual labor this week, evidence of my delicacy (I used to while away childhood hours imagining I'd been born a British princess). Tuesday, after returning the tidily-swept truck, I showered, diligently soaping and scrubbing the dump-dirt away. Mark and I had consulted each other a few times on the date of our last Tetanus shots ("We're up to date on Tetanus, right?" "Uh, we must be. I think."). I disinfected all the scratches and scrapes on my (tender) forearms too, even applying antibiotic ointment and Bandaids. It was hot, but I wore long sleeves to dinner because my arms looked so bad I was afraid I'd trigger someone.

And yet, I knew yesterday that one scratch was infected, and I did have cellulitis once, which supposedly means I'm at a higher risk of getting it again. So last night I went to urgent care, a little apologetic about the mere spot of infected skin I was sporting.

The first nurse spoke so softly, it seemed like she was deliberately making it hard for me to hear her. "Have you ever used chewing tobacco are you safe at home," she whispered.

I hate the idea of taking antibiotics. Every time I do, I think I'm one step closer to MRSA.*

*don't Google that

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My color's green. I'm spring.

Is it just me, or do things feel grim and then grimmer? Looking back at low times, dark times, politically bizarre times now — or times we thought were bad or weird — none of it seems quite so bad. Which makes me nervous about the future.

Mark and I embarked on Phase One of our summer fence project. Monday we tore down the old fence (well, most of it was down already, but we pulled up posts and yanked apart fence sections, and stacked everything tidily in the yard). Tuesday we rented a truck (a moving truck), and we filled that truck with fence and drove that fence to the dump. Eight hundred pounds of fence, give or take. We also threw in some large trash that we'd been hoarding in our basement. Then we drove the truck home and filled it twice more with brush that we'd been hoarding in a corner of our yard. Then we drove those loads to the dump.

The sad thing in this photo is the Big Wheel, not the boat.

Oh, how I hate the dump. Well, I like certain aspects of it, like the areas where like items are stacked, nicely categorized and organized like what you'd expect to find at a Montessori Dump. Hot tubs with hot tubs. Concrete blocks all together, tires neatly assembled, air conditioners with their air conditioner families. But the bulk of it is "mixed," like the above photo, and we were surprised that this is where our fence was meant to go. Also, any brush, plastic, or anything else that happened to ride along in the truck with the fence. Brush and other yard waste that was traveling solo was allowed to go in the "yard waste" pile. Horrifyingly, huge pushing trucks (front loaders? bulldozers? I used to know the names of them all, back when Isaac was a truck aficionado) would loom suddenly up right beside you and abruptly shove all the trash back into the trash mountain when you least expected it. 

The worst thing about the dump was a fox we saw there, slinking around, low to the ground, skinny and sad. Its tail was just so ragged and thin. It made me really sad.

We didn't get all the brush out of here, but we got most of it. Phase Two is erecting the new fence on that side. Phase Three, I regret to tell you, is identical to Phase One except on the other side of the yard.

On the upside, I have been making delicious smoothies with my trusty little mild-mannered blender (matcha, frozen banana, spinach, almond milk, vanilla protein powder yesterday. Frozen banana, peanut butter, cacao powder, vanilla protein powder, almond milk today. I think of this as "the Elvis smoothie" of course). We voted yesterday, and it was busy. I don't remember them loudly calling out your registered political party in the past, but they did yesterday, and I was shocked that there were several Republicans in line in front of me. 

Also on the upside, flowers.

Does anyone not like peonies? We once knew a lady in Kansas who pronounced it "pee OH nee."

She's my girl. My secret life's goal is to get her to love me more than she loves Gus or Mark.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

I'm just like a pile of leaves

I type constantly, all the time, for work and pleasure and boredom and organization, and yet I'm so much worse at it than I was at one time. I have some kind of typing dyslexia lately, constantly switching letters and drawing a blank when I try to figure out if I mean role or roll, bale or bail, peel or peal.

Hey, the Queen's last corgi may have died, but the Queen is not without dogs. In case you were picturing her bereft and dogless, having reached the true end of her life, the end of life with dogs. She's fine.

I wrote this weeks ago, and now there's a beautiful young American woman who's joined the royal family and also her American beagle.**

Also, I read about half of I'll Be Gone in the Dark and it was just too scary for me. I am so much more squeamish and anxious about certain scary things than I used to be. I remember reading a pile of true crime novels when I lived alone in my first solo apartment. I did terrify myself doing it, but I couldn't stop reading. Now I'm old, and I cover my eyes at the gory stuff on TV.

I am also re-reading both Outline and Transit by Rachel Cusk after reading this amazing review of the trilogy by Patricia Lockwood and in anticipation of the third book, Kudos, for which I am waiting in a virtual library line. These are in the category of slow down and read every word books for me. I get in this mode that's better suited to thrillers, gobbling books, sometimes. 

The monologues in the Outline trilogy are controlled trances, like Stevie Nicks at the end of ‘Rhiannon’: you enter the speed and the artifice and the belief of it with her. They seem to have been written compulsively; they certainly read compulsively. There is a relentlessness to them, an onslaught that is like the onslaught of life. Occasionally you find yourself wishing for someone to get up and go to the bathroom, but most of the time you are transported.

**Ahhh weeks and weeks and weeks ago! But still. Her beagle.