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mermaid grotto cheat

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
green seaweed

I backdated this to JUNE because I wanted to get this in under the wire so I could have 13 posts for June. Now you know my shameful secret. I'm writing this from the glorious future of....JULY. Twenty one minutes in and it's not so bad.

ANYWAY. This picture is from Harris Beach, Oregon, which is just north of the California border. V. v. pretty! I thought this looked quite mermaid-like, or pirate-like. Or mermaid/pirate-like if you prefer. Maybe you walk into the water here down a long slippery seaweed covered staircase (the mermaid pirates don't keep it clear of slippery seaweed because they don't take the stairs and quite frankly they're slatterns.), and you walk down, down, down and the ocean gets darker and colder but the stairs are still there so you keep on stepping. It's beautiful, but then it gets scary. WHERE IS THE SINGING CRAB? you might wonder (because you are delirious). OH, THERE HE IS! you realize (because you are delirious). Step, step, step. Down, down, down. Maybe this was a bad idea. What did the innkeeper say? Something about "whatever you do, don't follow any mermaid pirates down the stairs." That guy was a jerk. The water is really dark now, the fish are getting bolder swimming right by, bumping you as they go. To your right, electric eels, to your left swimming teeth. Step, step, step. You've gone too far to turn around now. Gloom, doom, pirahnas. The stairs level out for a bit and you walk on the ocean floor. Once you're down here, it's not so bad. Coral, shipwrecks, a skeleton with a fishbowl on its head. You feel better - that guy, he had problems. You, you've got a plan: get to the bottom of the stairs, go to the awesome mermaid pirate party promised on the flyer you found in the grotto. Was it a trick or a trap? It's a concern, but now you're committed to this plan. You start to hear music. Darling it's better down where it's wetter, under the sea? You wish! Ethel Merman all the way. (thanks to her name, Ms. E. Merman is popular in these parts. you later learn that her voice really carries underwater.) There are colored lights, bubbles (so many bubbles). The stairs no longer seem slippery. Giant luminescent anemones glow, the fish seem less hostile. There is suddenly a drink in your hand which might seem a bit redundant at the bottom of the ocean, but it's been a lot of work and worry to get there. Thirsty work and thirsty worry. There's deepwater algae hanging like streamers. You're pretty sure it's too deep for either algae or anemones, but you take another sip and look for the host/hostess/creature of the deep. After that, your recollection is a little fuzzy. You're pretty sure that there was a party full of mermaid pirates, and you're pretty sure you had a good time. There are only memory fragments, but honestly with a situation like this, it's probably best. Ethel Merman, dancing skeleton fishbowl head, party lights 20,000 leagues under the sea. You wake up on a rock in the grotto and have a fierce headache. For the rest of your life you have very strong opinions about any underwater movie, particularly the animated Little Mermaid.

clean desk

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
between the boards of the gilkey bridge
Today I cleaned off my desk - I mean REALLY cleaned it off - removed everything and scrubbed it. Ahhh - so much better now. I've been having a few days of jumpy fidgety antsy pants agitation, which I hate. The clean desk somehow helps channel the ants or at least distract me for a while. Some people can get a lot done under those conditions, but not me - mostly I hop around and fuss and fret a lot, which ARGH. Maybe it's the hopping that makes it worse - a certain amount of fussing and fretting is normal under even my happiest, most productive circumstances.

down to the river
(photos are from covered bridge tour - these are looking down from the roadway to the river.)

1) vacation buzz has left the building! (probably true. I've lost that loving feeling and it's gone, gone, gone woah-oh-oh. This coincided with returning to work, which is strange because I love my job mostly.)

2) pre-birthday freakout: …maybe. I'm feeling strangely grinchy about it this year - not because I'm SO OLD (although I am), but because it doesn't even feel like summer, not even a little bit - as I write this the temperature is in the 50s and I'm wearing layers. There are still a couple of weeks for this to turn around, though. Let's assume it's the weather and not me in deep denial about my ancient decreptitude and general lack of achievement, okay?

3) I'm not doing things I know I need/want to do. (what are the odds that this is it? Ha ha. shut up.)

I could probably make a list of sixty things, which would get sillier and sillier (#38 vendetta against a certain word that shall remain nameless) but might also have little nuggets of no-shit-sherlock obviousness (#52 quit drinking caffeine after 10pm). WHO KNOWS? It is a mystery of the brain and biochemistry and the universe.


1) the sun. You don't know what you've got till it's gone! We're having the weather in Portland that people (you know "PEOPLE") assume we have all year long. It does rain a lot, but usually not during summer - even in the winter there's the odd glorious sunny day that makes a proper balance for the usual gloom. My gloom balance is off. Fresno helped, but come on. Fortunately, all I have to do to get to the sun here at home is drive east for a bit. Once you're over the mountain, you're pretty much out of the cloud blanketed rain valley.

2) measurable progress. I've got a lot of open projects right now: stories, photos, sewing, needlecraft, gardening. Normally, this is a good way to work for me - I can go from one to another and keep working at them all. HOWEVER, lately some projects get all the attention and others are in a place called Permanent Later. Permanent Later is NOT GOOD.

3) plan a vacation. I just got back from one, but it was short and not really that far away.

Of course it's possible that there's just no cure for the summertime blues. Youtube research led me to T. Rex at Wembley in 1972. I think the fringe cape at the very beginning of this video just might cure the summertime blues or any number of problems caused by jumpy fidgety anty pants agitation. Fringe capes and puffy lavender satin jackets for all those afflicted!

bovine bucolic

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I've almost got my May photos uploaded to flickr! If I can get May done before July starts I'll be feeling pretty good. These are from a covered bridge jaunt - Oregon has a lot of covered bridges about an hour south of Portland.

cow on the move
this cow was headed down to the river to get a drink.

cow on the move
Looks like a nice place to be a cow, although she's suspicious of the paparazzi on the side of the road. (maybe she used to be a famous celebrity cow and she moved to the country to get away from it all! I hope I didn't cause any trouble for her.)

cow on the move
She was done with me and back to her river water goal. Five minutes later there were fifty cows trying to get down there, but she was first!

I might do a couple more random photo posts today.

ancient mariner gyroscope repair

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Friday, June 25, 2010
bright star

so the full moon is TONIGHT, with a partial eclipse right before dawn - at least here in these western united states. Fancy! I think I will be way far asleep when it happens, but I'm looking at the moon out my window right now and kind of squinting and holding a finger in front of it so I can have my eclipse early.

Time has gone wonky again - in this instance I think it's Vacation Effect, where it seems like I was gone for months but it was really only a long weekend. It's good, but disorienting. (I think I'm too oriented most of the time - my location too fixed. Maybe my internal gyroscope is stuck and in order to free it I'll have to circumnavigate the globe by cartwheel or something. I'll be like Ancient Mariner, except instead of reciting my tale of woe I'll have to do minor gymnastics I'm not any good at until the curse is lifted. If only there was another, less irritating way...)

In other news, I've got garden fever! There's so much to do it's easy to make measurable progress. Plus, when it's dark or dinnertime I can leave it all outside. The photo at the top is from sometime in May I think - not from my garden, but so pretty I can hardly stand it.

and now I must go to bed because I'm yawning those obnoxious huge oxygen sucking yawns that make me wish deep sleep was like the deep end of a swimming pool and all I have to do to get there is dive in. Maybe I can, if the full moon keeps its bright light business out of my window.

a full moon in each eye

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Thursday, June 24, 2010
This past Monday I was in an independent bookstore in Mariposa, California. (more on this later, including thrilling international adventures had in the mining museum.) Wait, where was I? Right, the bookstore. I was in the bookstore (very nice!) looking around to see what there was to see. I found a book of poetry by Hafiz so I flipped it open (as one does) and this was the poem it opened to. I like it and tonight is the full moon or the almost full moon so here it is:

With That Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

from "The Gift" - versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

summer vacation time capsule 1

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Thursday, June 24, 2010
hello, foxy

today felt like summer vacation even though I just got back from a summer vacation-type trip. I can't even tell you how wonderful this feeling is - time is big and full, yet has plenty of empty spots to fill in with whatever. (Today's whatever included planting things.) This feeling is so ephemeral - I know it could be gone tomorrow - but I think the uncertainty is part of what makes it so sweet right now. (RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW: this is what I try to remember every time I start to obsess about potential future disasters. I used to think thinking about them was so smart (I would be prepared!), but I know better now, even if I don't always remember that I know better.)

Anyway - here is a random list of three awesome things discovered or appreciated TODAY:

1) Flickr is rolling out their new page design and I love it.

2) Scott Pilgrim avatar creator!

3) HOLLYHOCKS! It's too early for them in Portland (at least in my garden), but in Fresno they were 12 feet tall - it was very surreal and Alice in Wonderland-like to walk between them. I collected a bunch of seeds and can't wait to see what they do here. In the meantime, I have foxglove towering over my head.

blue sky every day

| On
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
tile roof

I'm back from Fresno, where it was sunny every day. The weather report for Portland hints at as many as SIX consecutive days without rain (not sun, exactly - just days without rain). Regardless, I'm glad to be home and doubly glad not to be in a car.

(I promise to stop bitching about the weather and have some pictures and/or fun whatnots soon. SOOOOON.)

back to california

| On
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
saddle mountain summit trail

I was in the midst of writing up an epic post about my particular work insanity (not that the work is insane, just that I am sometimes insane doing it), but I'm starting a road trip to California tomorrow and I'd rather think about that. There might be a Crater Lake stop on the way! Although it's still snowy up there, so maybe not.

This is another Fresno visit. YES, that's right: the raisin capital of the world. I'm really excited because I was told I could pack my summer clothes! Word on the street is that outside of The Land of Eternal Moderate Winter (aka: Portland), there is sun! and temperatures above 60! I don't believe it, but I will take some flip flops just in case. I'll try not to use them to win any political arguments, as victory by flip flop beating is not very dignified. (or lasting, in my experience.)

(Now I'm picturing the Land of Eternal Moderate Winter as being ruled over by Tilda Swinton as the Cloud Queen (or Rain Queen) in an awesome costume made of cloud colored cotton candy. As intriguing as this is, I still need to get some sun!)

I'm taking my computer so I may make a blog post or two from the road - it depends on how it all shakes out. I've been working really hard for the past little bit and I'm looking forward to not thinking about anything but what to read next and what to listen to in the car.

I hope that the sun cures: 1) summertime blues 2) sore throat 3) lopsided farmer's tan

updates as warranted/able!


what I did

| On
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Mock Orange
SATURDAY: Went to the grand floral parade where I got a ridiculous farmer's sunburn. Bright red! I even thought before I left "I should put on sunscreen" but I didn't for some bewildering reason. Thank god my moisturizer has sunscreen in it, or I'd have a lobster face along with my lobster right arm and upper chest.

Post parade the day was spent observing the sunburn as it developed like a sun damage polariod, crocheting, reading/finishing the Johnstown flood book, and enjoying the sun from under an umbrella, even though I clearly need a refresher on how to behave when it's not raining.

SUNDAY: the weather today was even more perfect, if that's possible. breezy, little wisps of clouds but nothing dark and foreboding. I did laundry (exciting!) and watered plants in the morning and went to book group in the afternoon. I'm new to this group and also pretty new to discussing books out loud with people I don't know very well. (college doesn't count.) It went well! I think this was my third time attending and I've got a better sense of the people in the group - they're smart ladies with a lot of varied experience and I'm enjoying myself. (I deleted some late night rambling here - long story short: I love people but I'm also shy. Some people have a hard time wrapping their heads around this, but trust me - it's a real thing!)

post book group I came home and started uploading photos to flickr from my huge two month backlog. My new strategy with this is to just keep plugging away and try not to think about how far behind I am. We'll see how that goes. As a reward for getting up any pictures at all, I sat out on the patio where the mock orange is in full bloom -it looks pretty much like the picture at the top, even though it was taken a few years ago.

While under the umbrella I read When You Reach Me in one sitting - I liked it very much. After that, I finished up the last touches on my new work bag and so on and whatnot and then the day was over. All in all: good weekend. Here's a picture of the bag and some of the crochet dealios:
in progress

RANDOM MEDICAL MYSTERY: the top of my toe has been itching like crazy all evening. What's up with that? It's fine and then all of the sudden: OH MY GOD ITCHY. Maybe it's a sunburn referred pain kind of deal. If this was happening on Dr. Who, it would mean I'm turning into some kind of giant lizard alien but don't know it yet. I hope this is not the case!

sunshine and steel barons

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Saturday, June 12, 2010
WOOOO! The sun is shining for real - not just the oasis mirage kind where weak sun is visible in the distance - this is honest to god early summer sunshine as seen in ads for gas grills, popsicles, beer, and even - dare I say it - sunscreen. Although it was sunny last saturday too, which was followed by a week featuring the full range of non-frozen precipitation.

I think my sister and I are going to go watch the parade! I wasn't, but then the sun is so nice it seems like I ought to. When I get back I'm going to sew and finish reading the Johnstown Flood book which must be finished by tomorrow. (no worries - David McCullough writes some exciting, page-turning, thrilleresque disaster nonfiction, I tell you what.)

INTERESTING FACTS about steel barons and associates learned so far: Andrew Carnegie was 5'2"; Daniel J. Morrell had a weird neck beard (neck only!) that puts the pdx preponderance of Abe Lincoln beards into perspective (it could be so much worse); the existence of Philander C. Knox. PHILANDER KNOX! What a name!!

facts and digressions

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

FACT: today was the junior Rose Festival parade
FACT: the library I'm working at this week (sentimental favorite AND near my house) was in the middle of the parade route.
FACT: work is kicking my butt this week.

QUERY: Mean patrons, WHY SO MEAN? I'm only trying to help, I swear.
GENERAL ADVICE: if you think of some easy "witty" joke about a person or situation, stop and consider if the recipient of your intended bon mot has maybe already heard it TEN MILLION TIMES. If it passes this extremely low bar, by all means have at it. If not, kindly shut your pie hole.

FACT: I took my lunch outside and watched part of the parade.
FACT: Highlight for me - Middle school marching bands! Most interesting song choices: 867-5309 Jenny, the Austin Powers theme, and a song to be revealed in a later post.
FACT: This parade is for kids, by kids more or less.
FACT: It is cheesy and charming.
FACT: The entry that the kids near me were LOSING THEIR MINDS over was comprised of two llamas decked out in flowers. "the llamas! THE LLAMAS!!!! THE LLAMAS ARE COMING!!!!!!" (imagine that in high pitched 6 y.o. girl screams. it was awesome. the llamas couldn't have cared less.) It was kind of what I imagine a Miley Cyrus concert sounds like.

PHOTO FACT: these peacocks were not in the parade! But I thought peacocks and llamas sort of go together in the 'exotic but not really' animal category.

FACT: one more day, then days off.

little rattlesnakers

| On
Monday, June 07, 2010
FIRST THING FIRST: but you know, weeks later - I love this Janelle Monae video! It's so like a dream with the strange happenings, hallways, extraordinary locomotion, people appearing/ disappearing, striped shoes, dancing nurse, and mirror-faced mysteries. However, the dream-time clincher (in my humble opinion) is walking through walls and appearing in a totally new but hyper-real environment. None of which conveys how much fun it is to watch - it makes me so happy. I'm pretty sure I first saw this on fluxtumblr a couple of weeks ago; I'm positive I've watched it a bunch of times.


night garden update: I still want one. I took the garbage out at 11:11 pm (forgot! again!) and wandered past some roses and they just smell so lovely. I know it sounds weird, but they do smell different at night. Wonderful portland summer garden times have yet to come, since it's not even 60 degrees and has only not-rained twice in the past month, but… maybe one day. Night gardens traditionally have white/pink/light colored flowers, which traditionally are more fragrant, so that's what I want in my imaginary night garden. I guess I need a bench or something too. It's like a completely different world, even though it's the same old stuff as the day garden. If this were an 80s sitcom we would all have a special moment here at the end of our show about night gardens where Alex P. Keaton or a Cosby kid or one of the girls from the Facts of Life realizes that we are all extraordinary given the right setting. Bill Cosby would then appear in a PSA after the Very Special Episode to remind us that the best kind of night garden experience is one where you're high on life and transported by natural beauty and not the kind where you're hallucinating unicorns because you've been eating the datura or other vespertine.

life in the stacks update: The other day a woman and her 4 or 5 year old son came into the library to pick up some holds. I told her where they were (he had already raced ahead), and she told me that they were fairly new to the library and that her son was SO EXCITED to place holds, and was SO GODDAMNED EXCITED when he found out that his book was in and waiting for him - he had told her "I can't sleep, I'm so excited." Aw! Cute story about a young book lover in the making, I'm thinking. Two minutes later I look down the aisle to check on them and he is wailing, inconsolable. It turns out that the book that was ready was, in his words, "wroooooonnnggg." Tragedy! I guess she didn't read the email or maybe they're notified by phone (which doesn't give titles), and it was a dumb grown-up book for her and not the much anticipated book of his dreams. This honest misunderstanding was no consolation to Young Sir - now he wouldn't have it to read on the car ride (to Vacation - this book had clearly been a carrot dangled in front of him for something). His life: ruined! I felt bad for the little dude, but they went to the kid's section to find something that hopefully would patch over his heartbreak.

fantastic photos update: I love Sandra Juto's photographs, but I especially love her city pictures. She's been posting a series from Berlin that's fantastic.

strawberry saturday

| On
Saturday, June 05, 2010
strawberry picking

for the first time in A MONTH, the sun has been shining all day. Bec, Leslie and I went to Sauvie island to pick strawberries - lovely, as always! The strawberries are probably about a week away from being in that perfectly ripe/easy to pick zone, but we picked enough for weekend needs and got ice cream so it was all good in my book!

This picture is from last year - this year the berries were a lot dirtier because of all the rain.

It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so I'm going to take these last few hours of daylight and go sit outside and read a book or work in the garden. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday, that's for sure.