Thursday, January 29, 2009


I joined the 21st century the other day and it's name is Facebook. I've got vertigo now with the sudden lack of interest I have in people I've formerly known. I've been haunted for years by memories of all the students with whom I shared that horrific initiation rite we call high school. And now that I've seen their photos and know they exist I'm satisfied.
Do I want them to find me? NO.
Do I want to hear of their every thought and activity? NO.
Do I want to know that "Amy is frustrated with her iphone right now."? NO.
Do I want them to have access to all my friends and relatives? NO.
Do I want to have the temptation to tell them all that "Sarajoy is cleaning her toilet right now."? NO!

The blog venue hasn't really harvested the communications with friends that I was hoping for. I've been frustrated to know that people are reading and not know who or what they think about what I've said. And yet, here comes Facebook, with all the anonymity of a colonoscopy. And all the depth of a cookie sheet. Facebook, as far as I can tell, is inane chat central. If blogs are mostly empty blather, then Facebook is all about hollowed out small-talk. Small-talk is fine. If I have to do it, I can. But as anyone who's spoken to me cara a cara knows, I'm going to get to the real stuff as quick as I can, probably too quickly. And that's not going to happen on Facebook.

If it was just about the people currently in my life, I could do that, easy, without this queasy sensation in my spine. These people love me, I know. These people know the shit creek I'm up right now, and they love me, anyway. They didn't know me back when, back when they talked smack, back before we'd all grown up, back before I only hung out with people whose hearts are filled with love.

Understand, I went to two high schools, as opposite as they come, and I didn't have a place in either one. The first was huge and I was lost in the crowd, unable to explore or express any talents I may or may not have had, out shone as I always was. These kids all went on to subject each other to bonding dramas I know not what.

At the second, a private school in South Carolina, I was the freaky naked girl, meaning I wore neither make-up nor nude pantyhose. I founded the drama club, the debate team and the literary magazine, but that just made me even more freaky, the freak organizer. And all these kids had been together since kindergarten. And they're all hard core religious.

I have been so curious about all these folks for so long. And now, I don't care. In fact, I care deeply about not being privy to their most shallow and inane thoughts. And me not sharing mine with them.

I don't know how you find my Facebook page. But you can. If you want. I'll be your friend.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You will have a String of Good Luck

We recently dined at the Wok About Grill, a pretty cool restaurant in Wenatchee. It's a stir-fry salad bar that gets stirred and fried on a large drum. Fortune Cookies end the meal. Coyote's fortune, "You will have a string of good luck." In the weeks since then, he's spent a lot of time wondering just what the string will look like. How long will it be? What color?

Good news. He found it yesterday. It's apparently gold. But I had to tell him that strings of good luck become strings of bad luck if you wear them to bed. It's no mystery to me where superstitions come from: moms. Umbrellas really ARE bad luck to open inside!

Then I had a stupid idea to make our own fortune cookies because today is Chinese New Year, year of the OX! We made up our fortunes. Coyote contributed, "You will have a string of good luck." But fortune cookies are a demented invention. I had a 25% success rate, which is not an improvement, I now remember, over the last time I made fortune cookies 20 years ago. Only a few turned out. For dessert last night, Coyote wanted to pick out "his" fortune. I didn't even know if it was one of the 10 (out of a batch of supposedly 40) that made it into one of the misshapen crumples of varying shades of brown. Finally we convinced him to just PICK ONE ALREADY! And guess what he got! Another string of good luck. He's wondering what color this new one will be. I got, "You will soon grow a fully prehensile tale." I can't complain. I typed it myself. Under Huck's dictation, of course. It obviously means only one thing: Bone spurs. I'm sure I can feel them growing on my coccyx now, even as I type.

Coyote's string of good luck could also be interpreted at his new Karate belt. He's now a Yellow Stripe! Blue's a Black Stripe.

His string of good luck, as I understand such strings, might also include a new girlfriend. He's been bragging about her for a while now. So I thought I'd ask him some questions. How do you know she's your girlfriend? "Well, we were standing in line to wash our hands and I poked her in the back with my finger. Just like that." And so now she's your girlfriend? (incredulously) "Yep!!"

Well. Huh.

After being attached for 9 years to one guy, and bearing one son, I wonder how it is possible that men and women can even procreate together. Men seem like such a different species. With such a different understanding of the world. And relationships.

Another example: Coyote keeps asking me to marry him. I keep explaining the problems with that to him. But he keeps asking. Now he's asking, "Mom, if we were the same age and you weren't my mom, would you marry me?"
Me: "Coyote, some day you will find a wonderful woman to marry, if you want to."
C: "But would you marry me?"
Me: "Fine. Of course, I would. You're a really great guy."
C: "You would?"
Me: "Go play basketball, Oedipus."

At the library recently, Coyote and I experienced some mid-sized city library "people." You know, library people. They were doing something funny in the bathroom while we were trying to do normal things in the bathroom, like urinate. I ran in to a friend who's an administrator there and informed her that some funky thing was going on in the bathroom but I understood that lots of city libraries had these problems. I didn't regale her with my PTSD from the Seattle downtown library years ago, the gauntlet I had to walk through of homeless men looking at porn while I tried to find a book I wanted, and I never returned to that library. Her response was typical, "Libraries are for EVERYONE." "Yes," I said, "Even mom's with kids that need to use the bathroom for LEGAL reasons." GOLLY! Is shooting up in the bathroom really what Carnegie or tax payers had in mind? And why does a homeless guy's need to look a porn trump my feelings of safety as I find a book? Homeless people are people. I understand. I've worked in Disability law where we try to help people that are in similar situations. And yet, ain't I a human too? I am a citizen of as well. And I like to feel safe. It's a very natural and legitimate need. I know it's a complicated problem, not easily fixed and somewhat minor, in the GRAND SCOPE of it all.

However, scary people mis-using the library bathroom aren't the only thing I found this week. I also found tomatoes, tasty ones, grown without pesticides, just down the road in George. And it's January.

I hope anyone reading this has a string of good luck in this YEAR OF THE OX, and finds locally grown tomatoes in January.

P.S.: Photo is of Coyote at 1.5 years. By edict of my mother, I am being forced to upload, organize, and print my photos. I'm up to 2005!

Monday, January 19, 2009

All for One

No, this isn't an MLK or inauguration post.
This is about the shitter, the can, the piss pot, the bathroom.
This is about a family of 4 with butt one toilet.

Is it too late to warn you that this post contains stupid potty humor? The easily queasy and offended should check back another day.

One toilet is actually more than I really want. I would prefer an outhouse. At Feral Farm, we just take a shovel to the woods. That's my favorite place to shit. Or barf. But there are laws against that sort of "natural" stuff.

We live in civilized lands, and I have to accept some number of toilets.
I actually like just the single crapper.
1) The clean towels are Always in the bathroom you're using.
2) One can monitor the store of TP with ease, never erroneously assuming there's plenty in the other bathroom. And
3) my favorite: there's only one bathroom to clean.

But we have mutiny in the ranks.
Coyote, "I want two toilets."
Blue, "I miss the other bathroom. Why can't we just attach a second toilet to this one? Like with a hose or something?"
Me, "Talk to the landlord. I'll unlock the door when I'm done done with my bath."

Having to hold it and dance until someone finishes their stinky business is NOT helping Coyote's potty training fiasco/saga. And we all seem to be on the same elimination schedule, which is remarkably inconvenient (among other things).

Buck up, kids. I say. There are people in this world who would dance in line all night long to crap in water clean enough to drink.

Huck begs me to refrain from unleashing my full set of international bathroom horror stories on the kids. They give me nightmares still. And he's worried it might give them nightmares. Although I suspect he just doesn't want to hear them and is hiding behind the "it's for the children," excuse.

The happiest tale I have is about "going" in the Kremlin. As with most happy tales, it's not much of a story. Just clean, blue and white tiles, the usual attendant. No wading through stuff, no crowd trampling, no ostentatious missing of the squatty potty... nothing. Just clean and nice. Maybe we need an attendant at home...then the kids will be happy.

For now, it's One for All and All for One little crapper. Wish us luck.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An accomplice

During recent excavations, a painted bedsheet/banner from Seattle's 2000 MLK Day march turned up. Huck and I and other organizers painted MLK in the corner and his quote, "To ignore an evil is to become an accomplice to it." Kind of hard core. But then we were all about hard core.

So today, I went grocery shopping. And as I walked into the store, the quote came to me. And ten years of food securities study flooded me. And I almost left, determined to starve rather than feed the inequalities of food politics, rather than pay some company to keep citizens of the third world busy growing my food rather than their own, rather than pay the price of global warming for shipping this shit from Chile, rather than condone through my purchase the deplorable conditions many an indentured servant and their children are obliged to live in.

When I was 15 I volunteered in Malawi for 3 months, at the end of a long, hard famine. My neighbors ate one bowl of rice a day. And these were the good times. When our rice pudding burned over the fire, I was instructed to go far into the woods, before dawn, making sure no one saw me, and bury it. It seemed wrong, but if we gave it away, or someone found it, there would be an unmanageable throng at our door the next morning. And thusly, my interest in the politics of food was born.

So... starvation seemed like a great idea this afternoon, given MLK's quote and the current situation of food acquisition in our time. And then I shoved MLK's hard core statement out of the way and just did the best I could with the options I have. I didn't chose to be born here, privileged, yet landless, during a time of food insanity. I eat as local and organic as my food stamps allow not because, as one person accused, it's fashionable and that's what all the movie stars are doing. I do it because it's my best attempt to not be an accomplice in a food system that makes some obese while others starve, giving some life while others predictably die of cancer by 30 (like pesticide applicators on banana plantations).

The MLK banner was unearthed during "The Great Culling of 09." On a search through the storage unit this week, we removed every last box and tool. During this process, I disgorged from that unit no less than 40 boxes labeled: decor, misc, and/or keepsake. Being so happy and satisfied with what I've cleverly fit into our current living space, I wondered what could be in these semi-precious boxes. So I took 20 home, 4 are returning to the storage unit and the rest are trashed or Goodwilled.

When I prepared the Pullman house for sale, I kept out 1/3 of my belongings. I put 1/3 in storage. The other 1/3 went away forever. Then we moved into the apartment, and I sent several more carloads away. Before we moved here, I sent even more away. And now, this. With every move, the garbage becomes more obvious. And I wasn't THAT much of a packrat!

Blue is currently having her first Wenatchee area sleep over. River is here. She can't sleep.

Yesterday I was extremely honored to attend a Blessing Way for a pregnant friend. At this powerful gathering I witnessed abundant love and wisdom. And I also turned to an acquaintance sitting next to me and said we were looking to spend Tuesday morning near a TV and if she knew of any places around town where there'd be a TV cued up for the inauguration (our wireless internet isn't strong here.) Turns out they have a theater room, with theater seats and an enormous screened TV. So we decided to brunch.

It's funny, these people with enormous, gorgeous houses. And I don't feel jealous or bitter about it at all. I'm not even being sarcastic. I promise. I'm happy for them. You'd think I'd resent them. But it's the strangest thing, I don't! I'm happy for them and I hope they're happy too.

Rock Island is an interesting neighborhood, full of horses, orchards, enormous crackling power lines, and 1970's metal trailers. The neighbor kids Blue's been playing with live in one. I was successfully keeping an open mind. And then I found out there's 8 kids. In a single wide. I'm not exactly sure how a woman ends up being a single mom of 8 in a single wide, but the result has got to be pretty predictable. I don't know of any sane mom who could go in to that situation and come out "okay." There are several dads, but none could be said to be involved and at least one is incarcerated. But I was holding out hope, that in the midst of all these tribulations, one could still raise healthy, happy children, right?

Since I haven't met the mom, the rule is that Blue can play in their yard but not their house. They begged Blue to come in, despite knowing the rules. They told her that if she didn't come inside then she didn't believe in god. She said that would be an accurate assessment, as she's not sure there's someone walking around on the air above her. (This is never how I've portrayed the possibility of god to her. Surprisingly, this same child can give an encyclopedic account of fairies and their habits.) Of course this devolved into "going to Hell" -ish-ness and all sorts of uglies. Quite the evangelists next door, eh?! The very best way to get people to join your group is to make fun of them. You should also burn them at the stake as a way to increase membership and validity.

There's so much more to write as the last week has been an intense time of navel gazing, but I'll let you go. I know you have a life too.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A nice introduction

One of Blue's vocabulary words this week was "Natural." They worked on this at school, outside of my jurisdiction. I distractedly sorted through the week's worksheets and chuckled mildly at this sentence for Natural: "I was a natural birth." Cute. And then I saw the picture she drew:

Notice the mothers mouth. And the position of the baby's head.
This is obviously a drawing of Coyote's birth, not hers. I can tell because I was wearing different clothes and I was kneeling when she was born.
Blue watched the last minute of Coyote's birth. It was a decision I made about 6 seconds before, though I'd had nine months warning.
She claims to not remember it. But the drawing is very clear.
And thusly, our family is introduced to the Rock Island Elementary School.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Here now.

Here we are!
the kids wanted to know what "batting your eyes" meant. We tried to show them. I do not think they understood as the result was neither attractive nor inviting.

You wouldn't believe how easy it is to fit a family of 4 into a 600 square foot apartment. What helps:
a storage unit for off season items,
selling off large items of furniture,
loaning out enormous family heirloom pieces that you're not allowed to sell off,
merciless culling of randomness,
shelving, lots and lots of shelving.
And the big one: lay out.

The huge windows frame beautiful views: the orchard, the lake, the canyon walls, as well as the trailer park and the huge power lines. There are at least 10 horses within a 1/4 mile radius from our place! And there are two families of Coyote's with new crazy pups running around here. The farmer is really in to birds and they spend 100's on bird seed to keep them around. Apparently birds are great for peach pests but don't bother the peaches. Our cat loves birds too. The farmer may find that he spends 100's to fill his cat feeders.

I'm also loving the chlorine free well water. No more stomach ache vs. dehydration dilemma!

Living here takes some pressure off of the FUTURE to produce an escape from the soul-sucking McApt. If an engineering job does not materialize, then we can pay most of our monthly bills. And we lov it here, so we feel less restless. There's no need to escape. There's no need to be rescued. The future can come at it's own pace because we are now enjoying the present.

We continue our whilrwind tour through Washington State public schools with a look at Rock Island school. The crowning glory of the entire region, this school brings in kids from the city whose parents are obsessed with finding a the best education they can for free. What we've learned is that each school district is run completely differently. Lewis and Clark focused on math reasoning and Spanish. Rockis Land focuses on literary reasoning. Blue's had the first spelling and vocabulary tests ever. And she suddenly had to write a book summary this week. She hates spelling, and she's not good at it. Neither was I. But she's being nominated again for the gifted program (third time!). I worry about changing schools too much and obviously we are at that point already. However, even as I type she's romping through the orchard with the Walky Talky. To me, changing schools is bad, but is it as bad as having no place but a parking lot to play in?

As you can tell, the last few weeks have been a little bit busy. Our Christmas was anything but relaxing:
one afternoon/evening in Seattle,
another in Bellevue,
a morning in Snohomish,
a white Christmas drive to Salem, with a day at the beach again. AND Again, I managed to get 100's of photos of waves and sea lions and none of my family!
a drive back, returning home on Sunday night.
Both Huck and I have friends in the Seattle area we want to see, but family has such rabid dibs on our time, that we're as squeezed as it gets already.

Back at Wenatchee:
Monday: pack
Tuesday: 16 hrs loading and unloading a moving van all by ourselves, in heavy snow. It was a mid-week and no one wanted to use vacation time to help. Imagine that!
Wednesday: sent heirloom piano to visit someone else for a while, delivered couch, on 5 hours of sleep, while the kids begged to HOST a New Years Eve party! Asleep by 8:30 pm.
Thursday: New Years Day, cleaned McApt
Friday: unpacked
Saturday: waded through boxes looking for anything
Sunday: Holy Cow

In other news, Pipitone farm supplies organic apricot wood for the ovens of the bakery on Orcas Island where my sister worked for years. Another wacky connection here.

And my parents finally closed on their house in Salem! And my mom got an amazing job as a secretary for an Oregon state senator! Wow! 2008 kind of mostly sucked for them and then those last few days slammed them with great stuff. Very cool.


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