Sunday, June 26, 2011

Impatient and Hungry

I am not convinced that people were ever able to survive by growing/hunting their own food. Earlier this spring (a month, month and a half ago? Before May 23...) We started a garden:
I wrote that in caps because I will not be a garden blogger. I read them, for informative reasons, and they have helped, but I am essentially winging this thing and it is only by luck that today, this is what my veggie-patch looks like:

Problem is, I don't want to eat the flowers. Why are the damn veggies (and/or fruits, there are tomatoes, peppers, squashes, etc. I don't know if you are a cook or a botanist...) taking so long to "fruit?" I am tired of going grocery shopping....
As for the hunting...this urban area gives me few options:
But I am pretty resourceful:


Saturday, June 25, 2011


   I lurched my 95 Ford Contour into my neighborhood Safeway gas station for a much needed fill-up. It was crowded, but please note: I took one of three spots open. As I opened my car door, an older town-car slid up next to me, coming from in front of my car. This is important, the fact that the car I am referring to came up from ahead of me. Also important is that there were two pumps in front of me - the first was empty, the second had a man hanging up his pump... and I was last. In other words, this town car passed two oth...anyway, I am getting ahead of myself.
   The driver of the town-car rolled down her window. She was old. I am NOT being rude, she was old, and I am terrible at guessing ages. So I will refer to her as "elderly." The "elderly" driver of the town-car waved at me. I smiled as I started to exit my own vehicle. She must think she knows me.
   "Excuse me, miss," she said, barely audible over the roar of the engine.
   "Excuse me, miss, but I did not realize my gas cap was on this side..." she waved a bony hand, motioning to the left.
   I stared blankly. Was she asking me? Or simply informing me that she had indeed made a mistake and then corrected herself. Honestly, I don't think she noticed my confusion. She assumed I hadn't heard her and repeated herself. It slowly dawned on me that she wanted my pump. Again my confusion. Like I noted earlier, she had passed one completely open pump, on her left, and a pump that was about to be open. She passed these to get to me. I strained my neck to look at the open pump. As I did, I asked "Oh, is that pump out of order?" I saw myself that it wasn't, and waited for an explanation or an exclamation at yet another realization on the "elderly" woman's part that she had not seen that. She just repeated herself. Again. I spoke louder, as the "elderly" are sometimes hard of hearing: "OH, IS THAT PUMP OUT OF ORDER?" The man in front of me was chuckling as he screwed on his gas cap. The woman repeated herself again and added sternly, "I need that pump." I replied, "Are you kidding me lady?! You just passed up a STILL empty pump on the correct side and a person who is obviously going to be leaving before we are even done with this conversation..." But what it actually sounded like coming out of my mouth was "oh."
   I wanted to say all that and turn in a huff and go on with pumping my gas. But she was elderly. I was supposed to respect my elders regardless of intelligence, blindness, dementia, entitlement, rudeness...any number of ailments that may have caused this woman to pick on me. So I looked up at the empty pump once again, then at the man who was motioning at me as he got into his car; he found the situation quite amusing and was indicating that I should just pull forward as he left. I slunk back into my car, hoping that it was in such desperate need for fuel that it wouldn't even start...that would show her! But it started right up and the "elderly," roaring town-car driver just sat patiently, staring at me as I waited for the man to move. He drove off and as I pulled forward, a hearty "Thank you!" sang out of the town-car window.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


As summer tries its damnedest to come to the Pacific Northwest, the surfboards are brought out and ready to go to the coast. Of course Jeff has been making boards and surfing through the winter anyway, but Lily is getting a little antsy. I don't blame her, as this is the summer that I am determined to get out on the water. Now, I have been surfing, a few years ago. It was a memorable spring? summer? (unsure, as the seasons in SoCal are relatively indistinguishable) day on the beach at Camp Pendleton down by San Diego (contrary to popular belief, "San Diego" is in fact NOT a whale's vagina, but a manatee's butthole...):

I had received for my birthday, an eight-footish long board from my wonderful family and had yet to surf it. We (the fam; Jeff, Lily and I) gathered up two surfboards and a boogie (Lily wasn't surfing quite yet...) and headed south to get on Pendleton and soak up sun and surf. I was excited. While we set up on the beach, we glanced around and I noted that we must be early birds; no-one on the beach yet....Wait. I was wrong. I noticed a wall of orange slowly pushing toward us. I strained my eyes. Then I chuckled as I realized that the residents of the brig were tramping across the width of the beach picking up every single bit of litter there. We were, in fact, such early birds, that on a military base we had even shown up before the EMI of litter patrol.
Anyway, to the very first surf session in the history of Dorian.
Jeff had been catching waves for an hour before I waved him in to keep an eye on Lily while I gave it a shot. He insisted, of course, that she would be fine for a few minutes while he gave me a hand standing up on the board....Whateve, I thought, I can figure it out but I will humor you. I splayed out on the board and began paddling. The water was shallow far enough out for Jeff to wade out with me to a decent spot. So we waited...then he saw with his expert eyes, something ride-able and told me to start paddling into it as he gave the tail a little shove. I paddled, turned and pushed with my arms...up, up, drop, and sanding....teetering...and roll. I saw it coming, so I held my breath, but forgot to shut my eyes. I felt the tug of the leash on my ankle, I turned toward the sea-floor and screamed...loudly gurgled, the monstrous stingray that swam under me. This caused me to flail backward toward my board, which then, instead of floating steadily away, caught my turbulence, lunged sideways then flung back...right into my forehead. I gurgled hysterically again as the momentum sent me back in the direction of my sea-monster friend. I forgot about the other hazard in the water and flailed right back...into the nose of my board with my sternum. Luckily, all the water was slowing everything down and I managed to not fatally injure myself. I finally found footing where I thought was a good distance from the stingray and stood up...right under my board which caught the top of my head this time.

When I had finally made it safely back to my beach towel, weakly carrying the board under my arm, I flopped down and set the board beside me. I lay happily in the sun, revelling. I looked over at Jeff, who had only seen part of what had gone on, and smiled. He asked if I was OK, I said yes. I will not be doing that again today, though.

And so I have surfed once, and not since, for a variety of reasons. But I am most definitely looking forward to giving it a shot up here, where the sea-monsters are much larger and stronger.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Day I Did Laundry

I wrote this a while ago, but wanted to post it here...

I broke my washing machine. It sits in the same room as our computer, so while I'm trying to work on the computer, my unbalanced machine starts going crazy. this is not unsusual for this particular Kenmore product; no matter how carefully I believe I am distributing a load, it goes nuts during the spin cycle.
Today, I snapped. I sat at the computer, trying to read an article, and slowly my machine began to pound and whir, growing louder and louder until it drowned out the NPR program I was straining to hear. THA-THUNK THA-THUNK THA-THUNK. I lunged at it, throwing myself on top of the lid, feet dangling off the floor, arms reaching around either side. When it continued its rampage (and had me bucking mechanical bull style), I lifted my hips and came down with both knees, full power, in a satisfying jolt to the front of the machine.
I heard a crack, the THA-THUNK subsided, and the machine whirred to an eerie silence.
"Shit." I was still hugging the machine but had lowered my feet to the ground. I cautiously opened the lid. It looked fine, the clothes were half-spun, but centered. What did I do? I turned the knob back to the Normal wash line. I pulled it out, and the machine came to life, dousing my clothes once again. "oh, thank God," I breathed and jostled the clothes around trying to find some stability. I shut the lid once again and went back to the computer.
It must've been about twenty minutes later when I noticed the silence. I looked at the washing machine. I walked over and cringed as I slowly lifted the lid. The knob had stopped at the drain/spin part of the wash. Just as I had dreaded, there sat my load, soaking is not-so-sudsy water. I kicked the machine. I closed the lid again, pushed the knob in and out, trying to get it to do something. Nothing. "CRAP" I shouted, my seven year old daughter came running.
"What's wrong mommy?" She asked. I was already unscrewing the back panel of the washer. "Nothing. Go play." I grumbled. I WOULD fix this thing; I figured I just disconnected something, I just needed to see. But seeing does not mean understanding. I just stared at the mix of wires and hoses. How would I ever even know if something was out of the ordinary? I ran to the computer and brought up google. Surely there would be something...After about an hour of sorting through trouble-shooting sites and all online manuals that existed (i found diagrams of everything BUT a Kenmore), I angrily began screwing the panel back on. I opened the lid and looked at the mess around the agitator. What was I going to do.
Then I glanced at the little hole where the lever gets pushed down when you close the lid. Where was the lever? I carefully stuck my fingers back behind the hole and felt a jagged stub of metal. Jeezus. I had broken the lever? I mean, It made sense, but such a simple problem...I pushed the jagged edge down and immediately the machine sprang to life. Water slowly drained and the tub began to spin. I stared at it, refusing to pull my finger back, even as the notoriously unbalanced tub lurched up, threatening to mutilate my hand. I could see why they want you to have the lid closed; kind of scary to see that thing, at any moment it could spin out of control, sending plastic parts and buttons flying into my face.
I stood there, for several minutes, until it was finished. I smiled triumphantly as I shook my stiff fingers and began to toss garments into the dryer.
You gotta let these things know who's in charge, right?