Friday, August 31, 2007

Uncle Ra Ra is coming!!

These lovely people are our good friends Rod and Julie. We met them during our time in Pacific City. Living in a place like the Oregon Coast takes a certain type of person, much like it does to live in, say, Alaska. Because the weather almost always sucks, and there is really not a lot to do and it's fairly remote. But it's also very peaceful and quiet and, well...quiet. So when you do meet like-minded people, you hang on to them and they become family. That was the case with Rod and Julie. We met them through mutual friends, and then Rod would come into my coffee shop (since he worked nearby) and we would have long discussions about books, music and politics. Now Rod had never had children and frankly, I think even he would admit he wasn't really a "kid person". I think it was sort of like when someone doesn't like cats? So of course that's exactly who the cat heads for, to settle in on his lap. Well, Anna settled in on Rod's lap, literally, from the beginning. We'd have dinner parties and when "Ra Ra" (as she called him, much to our amusement) and Julie arrived, she'd grab his hand and haul him off, away from the adults, to show him her toys and stuffed animals, to have him to herself. I'll never forget one beautiful, perfect summer evening, at the Nehalem Bay Winery, listening to bluegrass (David Grisman!) on the lawn, Eric, Anna, Julie, Rod and me. As the sun went down and it got cooler, Anna made her way over to Rod's lap, settled in, and went to sleep. He was hers. And still is. Rod and Julie have made such an incredible effort to stay in touch and be a part of her life, even now that we live 400 miles apart. And they are coming tonight. There will be dinner, wine, music, stars...and snuggling on Uncle Ra Ra's lap. A certain 6 year old is just a little bit excited.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is her last name, by any chance, Bush??

She still came in third! This video just confirms it: it's not what you know, it's who you blow.

(sorry mom! I love you. You did the best you could.)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

I'm done with the alphabet meme, which means we can get on with me picking the lint from my belly-button.

So....How about Idaho's esteemed Senator Larry Craig, huh?? Yesterday I heard on NPR that he'd been arrested back in June; something about "lewd conduct in an airport men's room". And that was IT. No details of the arrest or allegations. Excuse me?? So I immediately called my mom (who lives in Idaho), thinking surely the details had been made public there. Boise IS the state capital and all. But no. This was the fist even his constituents had heard of the incident and it happened TWO MONTHS AGO. It had been completely ignored (or more likely, censored) from the "news" forums in Idaho. Once the news broke nationally on Monday, only then did the Idaho Statesman (the Boise daily paper) and TV news report that there had been an arrest and he'd plead guilty to disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. Although they did not prove any of the details about the lewd conduct charges. Curious, one of my relatives quickly and easily found all the details on the Internet, police report and all. Is it not the job of the journalists to track down the information and report that one of the state's most popular politicians was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct?? He is currently in his 3rd term as a Senior Senator. He won by a landslide last election, with 65% of the vote. He bills himself (of course) as a man of "family values"; heck, he's got a wife and three children to prove it. And yet, it turns out there have been whispered rumors of homosexual behavior as far back as his day as a college student at the University of Idaho. That's approximately 40 years ago! Meanwhile, throughout his career, he has repeatedly voted against gay marriage, and opposes special rights for gay and lesbian crime victims. The entire incident is eerily reminiscent of the scandal involving Spokane's mayor a couple of years ago; also a public "homophobe" who voted accordingly to deny gays the same rights that straights enjoy...meanwhile he was cruising the Internet (on his government computer no less!) for young men with whom to have casual sex. The Spokesman Review (Spokane's daily paper) had heard rumors, hired an Internet detective and blew the entire thing wide open. Now THAT'S journalism. Idaho Statesman, take note.

Of course none of this has a damn thing to do with being gay; it's about hypocritical politicians who vote against basic human rights that would (if they were honest) apply to them. What's your take on this: do you think that politicians (who are also our policy makers) have a moral obligation to be honest about their sexual orientation? Is there an obligation on the part of journalists to report details of such incidents to better inform the voting public?

Friday, August 24, 2007

x ::

One of the best punk bands of all time, X holds a special place in my heart. They were among the very first punk bands I ever heard, with John Doe and Exene Cervenka's dueling harmonies, and I loved them. She was the ultimate rock-chick, wearing crazy vintage dressed, ratted-out hair topped with a pretty sparkly tiara. I discovered them when I was about 19 and to this day (some - ahem - 23 years later) I STILL play their song "Fourth of July" every. single. Independence Day. And I still sing it at the top of my lungs. Here, in part, is why:
Back in 1985, my boyfriend at the time and I went to Europe together. We were still a fairly new couple and 2 months of traveling and living out of backpacks had begun to take its toll. Toward the end of our trip, we found ourselves (for we were traveling with no itinerary whatsoever) on the island of Corfu, Greece. The climate reminded us, oddly enough, of McCall, Idaho but with the gorgeous blue Mediterranean just offshore. We found a darling little room with shiny wood floors, lovely crisp white bedding and floor-to-ceiling french doors which opened up to a private balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. The room cost us $11 a night. Furthermore, the room was above a market/bakery that sold good cheap beer and wine, which we'd take to the beach with us every day. Needless to say, we weren't overly anxious to leave this place. We'd swim and then sit on our towels and marvel at the endless parade of young tourists, euro-freaks and crusty old local fishermen. Every morning we'd go down to the little hut near the beach where we'd have the only item on the menu "scrabbled eggs on toast". So several days into our stay, Dan and I had some sort of fight. I have no idea what it was about, and it doesn't matter. I was young and moody, timid but starting to come out of my shell, tired of being defined by my boyfriend. So one night Dan pissed me off somehow and I went off by myself. I sat on the beach, staring out into the inky black sea, brooding and drinking. I had taken our only form of music with me, our Sony Walkman (for this was the mid-80s) and was listening to all the angry, black music that fit my mood. And then X came on...and my mood changed completely. Feeling completely in the moment, I jumped up, ran down to the shore, cranked up those little head-phones as loudly as they could go and proceeded to dance in the surf and sing at the top of my lungs. I was facing the ocean...getting into it...I am woman, hear me roar!! Eventually the tape ended; I'd danced in the salt water and sang along with the entire tape. I was finally ready to go back and face Dan. As I turned around to go, I saw that a small crowd had gathered along the road...people stopping to be entertained by the crazy drunk American singing at the top of her lungs to music only she could hear. As I walked toward them (my only option to get back to the room) they began to clap. All I could do was laugh right along with them. It was oddly empowering and still makes me smile.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

w ::

is for Washington. I grew up in Idaho, lived for 10+ years in Oregon and have now settled in Washington. Like Oregon, the west and east sides of the state are like night and day. Wet vs. Dry, Liberal vs. Conservative, Urban vs. Rural. I love how diverse this state is.

is for Wren. Canyon Wrens are my favorite bird. I've traveled a lot through the desert southwest, and always look forward to the first Canyon Wren song. It's always the thing that signifies, for me, that we are in country unlike any other. So many mornings, stepping out of a tent, looking up at the towering red walls and hearing that sound....aaaahhh...heaven.

is for Waldo Lake, one of my favorite places in Oregon. This pristine lake is one of the three cleanest/clearest lakes in the world. You can paddle out to the middle of the lake, look down through the bright blue water, and literally see 75-100 feet down...every fish, plant...every grain of sand. It's an incredible place.

is for Women. I am blessed to have such wonderful women in my life, family and friends. When I was young, my relationships with girls were so complicated. Competetive, sneaky, confusing, painful. For me, the best thing about growing older (and wiser) is the ability to have real, loving, trusting relationships with the women in my life. The line between family and friends has blurred: my mom and sisters are also my friends, and my friends are also my family. I love you all!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

almost too cute to ride:

Have you ever seen sweeter bike??? The details are just amazing...and I can't tell you how fun it is to ride. Is David not the best guy ever? I heart that guy.

Here are some photos of my silly girl, just because.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

p ::

is for Portland, where we are off to early tomorrow morning. We'll spend time with David's mom (who's visiting Portland from Boston) and his brother and family. Two boys for Bug to play with! We'll also get to see my sister Lala for the first time since she relocated there, despite the fact that she compared me to a parrot on her own blog today.
is for Pumpkin, one of Anna's MANY nicknames. It's morphed into Punkin, Punkie, Punkie Pie and even, I'm afraid, Punkenheimer. Poor kid. Last night I said "I love you, Anna" and she said "My name's not Anna. It's Punkin."

is for Pizza, one of my favorite foods and also one of our favorite games, thanks to the wonderful book Pete's A Pizza. It's about a little boy named Pete who is bored because it's raining (which means he can't go outside to play) so his dad makes him into a pizza. This was one of Anna's favorite games when she was little and we lived in Oregon where, yes, it rainded sometimes. Here she is, when she was almost 3, as a banana/tomato favorite.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

To whom it may concern:

Dear tired six year old: please do not scream like I’ve dipped you in red-hot lava when in fact, all I did was attempt help you get dressed so we could get. out. the. door. this morning.

Dear Overly Enthusiastic Checker at Albertsons: Please do not ask how my day is going, using that completely fake saccharine-sweet tone of voice you use on your elderly, demented (and apparently, DEAF) 104 year old grandmother. You can't possibly be that thrilled about your job.

Dear George W. Bush: You are the leader (shudder) of the most powerful nation in the world. Please, for the love of all things holy, stop speaking as if you are still on the ranch in Crawford. Or I know!! GO BACK TO CRAWFORD and stay there.

Dear co-worker to whom the sound of human laughter is so deeply offensive: Please, for the love of god, GO GET LAID. And/or admit that you are gay and be fine with it. Women are not evil.

To my boss: Please, stop sending me emails with cheesy water-color images of big-eyed kittens, red roses and American flags, thanking God for our freedom. Do you not see that Darwin sticker on my car?

To this same person: Please stop sending me emails thanking me for being your best friend which then say that I have 5 minutes to send this email back to you and also must forward it to 16 of my other best friends or I will die of some flesh-eating disease. I always delete them and I still have all my fingers and toes.

To our neighbor, Ted: Ted. Please. I know you haven’t left the house for 35 years but please, I beg you, stop wearing those five-sizes-too-small-polyester shorts to water your lawn with your hose. I will gladly come over and help you figure out how to shop online. We’ll buy you a sprinkler while we’re at it.

To my ex-husband’s new girl-friend: if you didn’t want a boyfriend with an ex-wife or a child, you shouldn’t have gotten involved with this particular man. Yes, he and I do need to speak occassionally regarding our child, but I have moved on, am happier than ever and am no threat to you. I will become less a part of his life as time goes on, but his daughter is here to stay. And also? If you’d make even the slightest fucking effort, you’d see what an amazing kid she really is.

Ok. I feel better. Your turn.

o ::

Oregon. Home for 10 years.

Soon after Eric and I met at college, we embarked on a 3 month road trip to nowhere. We spent most of that time in the beautiful desert SW and then, when I realized I was likely to kill someone (ie Eric) if I didn't soon get a real bed and a real shower and a place to call home, we meandered up through California and found ourselves in Oregon. We were young (ish), unencumbered and Oregon seemed like a good place for us: progressive, liberal, lush, green and lots of good pot (just kidding mom!) We settled in Eugene, hippie-ville USA, in a gorgeous second floor apartment with soaring ceilings, french doors, a fireplace and crackhead neighbors who came alive each day at 11pm, screaming and throwing large objects at each other's heads. But I digress. Oregon. We loved Eugene; it's impossible to be bored in Eugene. There was always something going on there: street festivals, farmers' markets, outdoor concerts, fabulous dinner parties with our neighbors. We had good jobs, met wonderful people who are life-long friends, and every single weekend we'd throw the camping gear in the car and head off to explore amazing OREGON: the Cascade Mountains, Waldo Lake, Bend, Crater Lake, the Metolius River, the coast. It was wonderful. Until it wasn't. Our relationship was struggling... so I know! Let's get married!!

We knew at some point we'd have to "grow up" and would most likely move back to Idaho, but before doing so we thought we should experience living at the coast for awhile. With friends from Eugene we'd often visited little town on the N. Coast where they had a cabin. Every time we'd gone there we'd had some sort of magical experience, including getting engaged there on top of Cape Kiwanda (after an ultimatum by me followed by a long, very quiet car-ride...ahem). I got a job at a brew-pub there and two months after getting married we moved to Pacific City, Oregon, population 548. The first winter we lived there it rained...and rained...and rained: 154 inches in one year. This was Tillamook county, land of dairy farms, and the flooding was so extreme that cows were literally washed out to sea. Our shoes molded in the closets and the couch had to be several inches from the wall. But it was breathtakingly beautiful, and we spent hours and hours walking deserted beaches, learning about sea life and birds and wild mushrooms. Friends came to visit and we had roaring bonfires, millions and millions of stars overhead, someone playing the guitar. We bought a house. We got a dog. We bought kayaks. We opened a bookstore, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We had a child. We were unbelievably lucky. We were miserable. We sold our house. We sold our bookstore. We moved to N. Idaho, once again hoping that a change of scenery would help our marriage. It didn't. But I learned who I am in Oregon and part of me is still there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

soon to be covered with strained carrots...

These little bibs are the perfect "immediate gratification" projects for a crafter with ADD like me. This one's for baby Cole, once he's done cookin'.... :)

And when I was in Sun Valley recently we went to the best toy store and I bought Bug her own little embroidery kit. So last night she and I sat on the front porch, doing needle-work together. Here's her own version a tree, blue-bird and all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

m ::

is for MOM. My mom is my inspiration. She has lived an amazing life. She married my dad six weeks after meeting him on a blind date and within a few months he left to fight in the Korean war. When he came home, they spent a rainy summer living in a tent with a baby (!) in a northern California state park while my dad worked as a ranger. They were so poor that they lived on berries they picked and salmon my dad caught. To this day, my mom won't eat salmon. Then, when dad got a job in Nevada, she lived in a shack with four kids in the desert outside Winnemuca where she would lay awake at night listening to the sound of the trains pass , fantasizing about getting on one and riding away...leaving it all behind. Yesterday she told me about the time, when we lived in the cabin in Garden Valley, that she had to evacuate us from a rapidly spreading forest fire, by herself. She had to decide what to save (photos, antique clocks, and her sewing machine), piled the dog and her four kids into the station-wagon and drove, literally, through a wall of fire because there was no other option. Then, she told me, she cried because she realized she had left her silverware, which was probably the only truly valuably thing she owned. She taught me to love to read and sing and she has always reminded me of cross between Doris Day and Carol Burnette (which is a very good thing.) Mom, I can't tell you how much you inspire me. I admire your amazing strength and the grace with which you've handled all the challenges in your life. I love you.

is for Motherhood. Being a mom has healed me and changed me in ways I never thought possible. It's been better than years of therapy and has empowered me and challenged me and satisfied me immeasurably. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my little bug.

is for Moby. He's our sweet boy. He smiles (seriously) when we come home, which makes him sneeze like crazy. He always lays with his front paws "criss-cross-apple-sauce" (as Anna says). If we sleep too long, he'll just sit next to the bed and stare at me. If I ignore him, he'll say, simply, "woof". One small, quiet "woof". He loves Anna the same way our childhood dog, Smokey, loved us: completely and unconditionally. Sometimes he'll go into her room and select one of her stuffed animals (usually a porcupine, ironically) and bring it out to her and set in on her lap, as if to say "Here. Thought you might want this." When I brought home an abandoned fawn, he was so incredibly gentle with her. When she lay down in the bushes, he lay next to her, alert and ready to protect her. He is such a love.

M :: is for Monday. Which is really just a way to get to talk about the weekend: I had the most wonderful, relaxing weekend. No kid (she was busy riding on a combine at a friend's farm), no David. Just me and Moby. I spent literally all weekend sitting on the front porch, either reading or working on some baby gifts. And I rediscovered my love of embroidery...aaahhhh...

Friday, August 10, 2007

j ::

for my sweet niece who's just been ordered to bed-rest for the duration of her pregnancy. She's not due until November. If you're the praying type (I know: ironic coming from me...), she could use any and all good thoughts sent her way, for her and the health of the baby, Cole.

i ::

Ira. Ira Glass. He's intellectual, witty, quirky and Jewish. I. love. him.
For anyone who doesn't know Ira, he's the host NPR's radio-show This American Life. Every episode is thought-provoking and halarious at the same time. And I could listen to him speak forever.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

h ::

Hell, I can't think of anything interesting that starts with H.


Monday, August 6, 2007

g ::

is for Garden Valley, Idaho, the idealic little mountain town where I grew up. It was, when we lived there, a very small community where everyone knew each other. Our home was a cabin on Alder Creek Road, and we spent our days playing in the creek ("crick"), picking wild strawberries and roaming the woods. In my mind it was and will forever be paradise.

g :: is for Ms. Gunn, my first grade teacher who (along with my mom) taught me to love to read and played guitar and sang songs like "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor" to her spell-bound (not to mention deeply concerned) 7 year old students.

g :: is for Game Warden, which was my dad's profession and passion. He taught me everything I know about birds, animals, plants and trees. It's also for those dorky Green pants he wore every day of his life, uniform or not. : )

g :: is for Gilligan's Island, my favorite childhood show. I was a latch-key kid and would come home, settle down a foot from the tv with a box of Fruit Loops and glass of Fruit Punch and would proceed to eat and drink my way into a sugar coma by dinner time. Every single day.

g :: is for Grapefruit and Geranium, my two favorite scents. Grapefruit soap and Geranium lotion are my daily staples.

g :: is for Gypsy, the coolest cruiser ever, Gifted to me by the coolest Guy ever.

g :: is for Greta, what I wish I'd named my daughter.

g :: is for Girl, which I am so glad I have. Tonight when we got home, Anna decided that I needed a pedicure, a leg massage and back rub. I'm sorry, but boys just don't think that way.

g :: is for Guinness. My favorite beer, the only beer I drink, really.

g :: is for Grateful. I am so unbelievably lucky; my life is rich in ways I couldn't have imagined a few years ago.

g :: is for Good Night....

f ::

is for Fabric. Oh, how I love fabric. I've always been into textiles; it was my favorite class in college. And now I can't seem to stop buying it....but it makes me so happy.

Now if only I could motivate myself to sit down and SEW! I'm anxious to try some of the project from Amy Karol's wonderful new book.

and also for FUNNY:
Last night Bug and I were hanging out on the front porch. She was busy "fixing" things (ie. taking measurements and writing them down...we all have remodeling on the brain) and we were talking about the pros and cons of having siblings or not....I was talking about how, as the youngest of 4 kids, I got picked on a lot (all in good "fun" of course, ahem) and she hesitated, and then said "Wow. It sucks to be the runt, doesn't it?"

Friday, August 3, 2007

b ::

Best friends.

I missed yesterday, day two of the August meme, because I took a day off from work (and computer) to take Anna to a water park. After a day in the sun and water, she came home and crashed, still in her swimming suit, with our sweet boy Moby.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August "meme"

One of my favorite bloggers, Cassie at Bella Dia ( ), has come up with a cool idea for daily blog-entries, and I've decided to play along. So in addition to my random ramblings, each day I'll post something new, A-Z, about some aspect of my life. Because Cassie lives in and writes about S. Idaho, I think I'd kick this meme off with something appropriate.

A :: is for Aspens. As most of you know, I recently went down to Ketchum for a peaceful, quiet :) weekend with my girl-friends. Having grown up in S. Idaho, that area will always feel like home to me, despite not having lived there for over 20 years. I love smelling the sage-brush as we drive through the high-desert, the first glimpse of the snow-capped Sawtooth Mountains, watching for the occassional antelope...but one of the things I love most about the beautiful Wood River Valley is the abundant Aspen trees. If you've never been there, Ketchum/Sun Valley is known as a ski resort. But summer is by far my most favorite time of year there. The surrounding hills are lush and green, the air is unbelievably clean and fresh, and everywhere you walk, there are hundreds of beautiful Aspen trees with their leaves shimmering in the light summer breeze. Growing up, we had a large Aspen in our backyard, and I remember during a certain time in my life (puberty) when it felt like no one understood me and I didn't fit anywhere, I'd lay for hours under that Aspen tree, looking up at the blue sky through the fluttering leaves, and finally felt at peace. To this day, hearing the sound of those rustling leaves brings me a sense of calm that I just can't explain.

So tell me, all three of my dear readers, what does A mean to you? Or better yet, if you have a blog (Lala, Heather, Jodi), how 'bout participating?