Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comments on the Coops

We all know how lovely and beautiful the Coops really is.
Walking with him each day never fails to yield conversations with strangers.
Here are the most common comments:
"That is a BIG dog."
um, yes.
"That dog is fluffy!"
yes, he is.
"That dog is white!"
"Is that a Samoyah?"
me: "samoyed"
"That is a samoyan!"
me: yes.
"The abominable snow dog!"

And my current favorite that never fails to happen, and never fails to please:
"A Samoan!"
um, no.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So many things. I can't sleep tonight for some reason: mild sore throat, smallish headache, overthinking, ruminating.
On Monday, I returned from a two-week trip to Alaska with the boy I met from the online. That trip was our fourth date, and we loved each other in a vast and raw place, where the veil between worlds is thin. I might write about the amazing things we did and saw: periwinkle blue glaciers, the low clouds, the black bears ambling in our path, a million jellyfish. The nut brown ale from the Kenai River Brewing Company, flaky, cooked-just-right halibut, the fire in the wood stove in a house on the ridge line above Homer. The best parts of this adventure for me were the smallest threads hanging out in that veil. One morning in Seward, waiting for our boat. We were sitting on a bench looking at the harbour, and I had a cup of coffee in my hand. It was early and the air was crisp. I leaned against him, and we were quiet. I thought to myself: this, this is the sweetest moment, maybe ever. Easy, secret laughing. Watching him dreaming in the early morning light. Hearing him whisper to me: "I need you". On Friday, a dozen roses arrived for me at work. the card read simply, "miss you!" Because of him I am challenged to examine how frightened I am of trusting myself with this new intimacy and go ahead regardless, to dismiss my self-consciousness, to hope about things. He is strong and kind and sharp and also sweet with me in ways I never thought anyone would be.
Home now, there is a voicemail from a friend who now has something in his life he can't abide. I know he is not sleeping now, too, because this new thing he's got is the sort of thing that once you have it, you cannot give it back. My heart breaks for him. His voice is hopeless. There are two breast cancers, somebody else's crazy ex who is off the rails and possibly dangerous. There is the dear friend whose sister is being astonishingly horrible, and tears. But there is also sailing, and Cooper's big soft paws, and the golden sunlight of early autumn. The Sparkly Warrior Princess is pregnant and joyfully embracing her really-soon motherhood, her relationship, her new future. It is time to think about things like soup, and firewood, and rain.
I want to be open and fearless to all of these things. I want to be silent and uncluttered and available to every bit of it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

For my friend Britt

If you can't get out of it
Get into it

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Well Hello, Zetta

It has been almost 2 years since I have written here, and that long since I have visited this place, which used to be so alive with my writing and thinking and looking. I had a broken heart. And the floundering economy did some heavy damage to my livelihood, and frankly I had little to say to the world that was any good, that was funny, insightful, or entertaining in the least. I disappeared from here, and from myself in some ways, while I struggled to make sense out of what I saw as one failure after another, like a row of dominoes or a perpetual motion machine.

Not long ago, someone that I hadn’t yet met told me that he had found and read this blog, all of it. He said he hoped I would not tell him to fuck off. In all honesty, I didn’t care that he had read it. After all, it is in the public domain, and it isn’t hard to find if one is mildly google-savvy. But having not been in here, I had sort of forgotten what it says. So last night, I read it all the way through, backwards, as he had. Now I wonder what on earth he must think about me, and I know now what he knows about me: that I can be very irritable over little things, and in the same way delighted. He knows all about the ins and outs of my last relationship, some familial discontent, my sorrows, my glaring flaws, my insecurities about how I look, all those little things I perhaps foolishly broadcasted for all to see. The funny thing about it is I am somewhat of a private, guarded person, and when I read through this last night, I felt small and vulnerable that he had read it. I wouldn’t have cared a whit about it—after all, I also checked the sitemeter, and though I have not been writing here, it still garners daily visits, maybe from people who have always read it, but also from strangers all over the world. Ah, the online. But then this person read it, and then, I met him.

Online dating: everyone does it, at least for awhile. Like most people of, um, a certain age, I don’t get out much. At least not to places where I might meet anyone with whom I might totally hit it off and start dating them. At the behest of some friends and Uncle Alan, who is now my roommate, bless his heart, I signed on. Uncle Alan—a man in his 60’s who has never been married, goes out on lots of dates he finds on the online. He shows me their profiles, and I have to say that the pool for him is much better than the one I get to choose from. While he finds svelte, beautiful, quality women his age who share common interests, I get morons, fatasses and perverts. I have met a few folks using this tool, almost all of whom are merely “alright” and certainly fewer of those whom I might want to meet more than one time. Part of this may be due to my inherent guardedness, but I just don’t get butterflies straight away anymore when I meet somebody. I won’t let myself. And when I do meet them, I don’t give them anything, really, to go on. One other thing: I don’t think I am much of a catch right now. Financially I am only beginning to recover from the Great Recession, I don’t want kids, and I share a house with my exboyfriend’s uncle, for crying out loud. But I digress.

Last year, I did something pretty well in line with who I am—I went back to school. I am almost always involved in some sort of active learning process, and anyone who knows me at all is never the least bit surprised when I sign on for something else. Last year, with the shitty money situation, I went back to school full time to become an EMT, which is something I have always been interested in doing but never had the time. It was good, it was fun sometimes. I made a friend from ambulance driver school who is, if I get nothing else from that experience, totally worth the time, money, and energy I put into that learning. I am a freshly minted EMT-B, and I am putting it to use volunteering for the fire department up on yonder hill, where I will be doing medical and rescue duties, wearing turnouts and a blue helmet. Power tools? Check. Lights and sirens? Check. Bon.

This blogreading dude, he lives in BC. He emailed me on the online dating site a few months ago. His tone was pithy, chiding. I was feeling pissy that day so I not only wrote him back, but I wrote him pack in a pissy way. He responded to that crappy email I had fired off to him, a little confused. This and that got wrote, and then he sent me a most excellent email to replace the first one, and I loved it, so I told him so. This exchange grew into a little writing back and forth here and there. Dream house? What would you do if? It was fun, and I found myself looking forward to his replies, if only because he was the only one who wrote anything worth reading, even if he was living so far away. I didn’t make much of it, because I never expected him to become “real” in any sense. Through the miracle of IM, there was more writing, sometimes for hours into the night. This was also fun, and he asked me all sorts of questions, and I answered them freely, because he wasn’t real, and I would never have to look him in the eye or touch him or feel him touching me. And then he wrote that he had read this thing, this whole thing. We kept writing. We sent photos. In a fit of spontaneity, I invited him down for a weekend. I did not expect him to show up. I mean, who does that? Who drives down here through the annoying border and braves the Seattle traffic to meet some neurotic girl from the internets? First, he sent me flowers. But then he did show up. And when he arrived, he had in one hand an overnight bag, and in the other hand, a rawhide bone for Cooper. I sized him up. He looked better than his photos. He had all his teeth. And he. Was in my livingroom. I made him sleep on the couch.

We spent a lazy few days doing mostly nothing besides telling stories, walking the dog, eating, and feeling sleepy. I failed to take him to Timberline, to the Coast, to Oneonta Gorge, to Ramona Falls. I didn’t introduce him to anyone, but Uncle Alan was here, and he graciously got gone most of the weekend. After the first evening, I did something I do not do, which is this: I chose to be not guarded. I chose to feel whatever I felt without prejudice, and it was easy for some reason. There was, at least for me, some subtle magic that is difficult to describe. He sleeps peacefully, unmoving, on his back. He is clean shaven. Wicked smart. Perfectly dorky. And he thinks. And thinks. And thinks. He has one crooked bottom tooth I want to touch. When he talks to Cooper, his voice gets sweet, and he says, “Good boy, Cooper, good boy.” I have hidden the dating profiles. I have set boundaries with someone where they were ill-defined. Why? Because I want to be not confused. Of course this is all silliness. This google-savvy blogreader, he lives in another country. My birthday was yesterday. There were flowers. And there was an email with a travel itinerary: two weeks from today, I will pick him up at the Portland airport, if he is nice. Otherwise he has to walk.

It has been Africa hot here the past many days. I don’t do well in it. Last night over the skype, he asked me how my big red heart was. I was tired, and wilted, and not sure what to say. Here is how I would answer him this morning, with the fever broken and overcast skies: my big red heart is good. It is a little scared, but not scared. It is excited about the many things to come: the blue helmet, the burgeoning recovery of my micro-business, this strange and hopeful knowing someone new and worthwhile and willing. My parents are coming next week. I have some things to tend to. I will get to them, carefully and patiently. Meanwhile, some time with friends, an evening in by myself, lime bubbly water, daisies. Remind me to tell yall about doing CPR for the first time on a person, and the profound satisfaction that comes with the sanctioned swinging of an axe into a car window. I’ve missed you, Zetta.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A perfect day on the mountain

Recently I came into some good fortune. I was asked to house sit for a man who is mostly away on international legal affairs. He has an amazing house on the mountain--totally secluded and appointed to the nines. Cooper and I have been staying here with some frequency, enjoying the quiet and the woods and the bright stars. The house is just a quick minute from the farm, and the Intrepid Cowgirl.
Yesterday, the Coop and I got up, drank some coffee in the sunshine on the deck, and listened to the nearby Sandy River. Then we went for a hike up the trail. Cooper is growing up, and instead of racing away from me like he used to, he trots ahead not more than 10 or 20 feet and stops to check in with me frequently. We had an excellent fun hike with lots of scrambling on the rocks near the Sandy, breathing that perfect perfume of Doug Firs and dirt and sunlight. It is really fun to see him so happy running and playing in the woods, his beady little eyes gleaming.
After that, Jackie and I went down the pass to get some lunch, where we had typical bad food and crappy service, but we drank some cokes, so that was fun. After lunch, we tacked up some horses and went for a ride. Yesterday's ride was the best ride I have ever been on. In the past I have been downright scared at times on this horse, mostly because he has alot of motor and I didn't trust him to take care of me or to stop when I asked him to. I also tend to overthink, and when Jack had me on this horse in the arena, I would just screw everything up because I thought it to death, and this horse would get frustrated with me and things would fall apart. Yesterday Jackie decided to say fuck it and throw me to the dogs on this horse and off we went into the woods. We gaited and galloped and rode those horses across the river and up the other side. We got ambushed by dogs and spooked and there were times I was nervous, but I rode it all. On the way home, she had me go ahead of her, and it seemed I was all alone on this horse, who had his ears trained on me and we were moving along at a nice clip and the sun was going down and the air was that delicious temperature it hardly ever is, that temperature that makes a magical backdrop for all good memories.
We were dirty and dusty and tired and laughing.
I had Jackie up to the house for dinner, and we sat out on the deck watching the moon come up and drank a bottle of wine together and even though it was late, we still had to come inside and dance in the livingroom until midnight. Days like this are few, when all things align perfectly to create this most rarefied joy that only lasts so long, and then it is time to sleep hard and awaken with sore muscles and a smile on your face.