Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Birds! Butterflies! Bodies!

I finally had the chance to get over to Turtle Bay in Redding on Sunday to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit. Bones never bothered me, but nerves and brains give me the willies. So, I was surprised that the part of the exhibit which displayed a "skeleton" of the entire human nervous system was my favorite. It was rather beautiful, actually, and if the skeleton had been green instead of red it would look like a lichen-man. So much like moss, like plant roots. In a world of concrete and technology, it was reassuring to be reminded that humans are organic.

Disappointing, however, was that the owner of the exhibit, Premier Exhibitions, prohibits photographs. So, here are some pictures of the Birds! & Butterflies! exhibits instead. Nice birdies.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angels with broken backs

Thanks, friends, for helping me Saturday. I'll try to use the library more often from now on.

Thanks, also, to my copy desk friends and 1/3 of the sports desk for a lovely evening Sunday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When the universe says "go"

Quitting my job and jumping into relative uncertainty has given me a few moments of panic (such as now, when I should be packing and am nowhere near finished), but the decision feels right, and odd coincidences and signs during the past few weeks seem to have all pointed toward home.

Which makes me wonder: Are such signs always present, and do we see them only when we're ready to? Are they signs at all, or affirmations we create in our minds to justify our decisions? Or is it just that when we're being true to ourselves, things seem easier?

What about the bubble wrap?

Talk about getting weirded out. I was thinking how it would be nice to have a roll of bubble wrap for my fragile tea cups, and there it was, sitting next to the dumpster. Brand new, sealed, $20 box of bubble wrap.

I examined it skeptically. What was wrong with it? Did someone pee on it? I carried it back to my apartment and set it on the kitchen floor. Where it sat for a couple of days, untouched. Too strange. I circled it like the monkeys surrounding the monolith in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Bubble wrap from beyond.

In any case, I think I should keep packing.

And it's for sale! South Bend, WA

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This kind of creeps me out

The whole place was purple

The most recent purple house photo (Sequim, WA) was shot adjacent to the Purple Haze Lavender Farm during the Lavender Festival. Friends of mine found delightful and unusual gifts such as lavender honey. Earlier in the week at Fort Worden State Park, I sampled a lavender soda. Interesting. If lavender's not your thing, next May you can try the Irrigation Festival. No kidding.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pit stop

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good morning, Friday

Fill 'er up

I'd forgotten that in Oregon all of the filling stations were full service, so when the old man knocked on my window it scared the bejeebers out of me. If he wasn't eighty, he would be tomorrow.

"Oh, are you full service here?" I asked, rolling down the window.

"All the stations in Oregon are full service. State law," he reminded me. "What can I do for you?"

"Fill it up, I guess." The 'I guess' was because I knew it would cost me more than forty bucks, but I was headed to Washington.

While the gas was pumping he scraped the bugs off my windshield. How nice. I took his picture and explained that you don't see this in every state. We got to chatting about places we were from, and he told me he came from one of the coldest places in Wyoming.

"One time," he said, "I had this diesel truck. I got it started and drove in to work. There weren't any other cars on the road. When I got to work, my boss said, 'Do you have any idea what the temperature is?' I said, 'No,' and he said, 'It's 65 below.'"

It was colder weather than I'd ever been in, though I'd experienced forty below. I recalled the way your skin would burn as soon as the air hit you, how your fingers would turn numb in twenty or thirty seconds. How your lungs would hurt when you took a breath of ice wind.

I asked him about getting to Port Townsend, how long it might take from here. He didn't quite know, except that I was six hours from Seattle. But Townsend was his name. Don Townsend. I introduced myself, and we shook hands.

"It was nice visiting with you," he said.

Then I went through the drive-thru next door and ordered what turned out to be a truly vomitous hamburger.

Sometimes rushing just isn't worth it.

Dragon fly?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Take a number

It was one of those mashed potato days.

A crowd swarmed the deli counter at the grocery store. That’s okay. Mashed potatoes were worth the wait. I knew what I wanted. Not any fancy dinners, not any special deals, just a piece of chicken and mashed potatoes. Warm, fluffy, mashed potatoes.

I took a number like everyone else – number 86. I thought that was a little ominous, as in, ’86 the potatoes,’ meaning ‘don’t put potatoes on the plate,’ or worse yet, ‘throw the potatoes in the garbage.’

But the crowd at the counter, which must have been one family, wandered off happily with their food, and the lone lady before me had number 85. Smooth sailing.

And then he showed up.

You know the type.

The kind with no concept of personal space. The type who thinks his questions supersede anything else that might be going on, questions that trump any silly system of order established by the take-a-number wheel.

“What comes with a dinner?” He asked the deli clerk, who held a giant spoonful of my mashed potatoes in midair, where they perched, cooling quickly.

She answered as best as she could while packing up my delicious but quickly cooling food.

He asked questions about the chicken. He asked more questions about the potatoes. He relayed this information loudly to his companion, who must have been hiding in the liquor aisle.

“Hey, you’re taking all my potatoes,” he said, giving me a chuckle and flapping his elbow at me. Hyuk, hyuk.

“How much are they per pound?”

The lunch lady weighed my potatoes, held them and explained the price to the interloper.

“Do you use real potatoes?”

I tried to put myself in a zen sort of mindset. The potatoes are real if you believe they are real.

But all I wanted to do was smack the living shit out of him.

Here, I thought. I’ll help you out. The potatoes were grown in Idaho. The farmer’s name was Joe, or Bill, or Bob. Possibly James. They were harvested by machine and loaded onto a truck driven by Margaret, who is divorced with two grown children. The potatoes were delivered here last Thursday and processed into mashed potatoes by two underpaid workers who discussed the high cost of gas and whether or not such-and-such a place was hiring instead. The place had great benefits, they’d heard.

They’re mashed potatoes, damn it, and they’re getting cold. Any idiot knows that you don’t stand between a woman and her mashed potatoes.

When he started ordering his potatoes before I had my gravy, enough was enough.

“Do you mind if she finishes with my order first?”

Oh, my God! He was so sorry. He had no idea I wasn’t finished. He really was sorry.

Yes, yes. Just back away from the potatoes, please. And we’ll all get out of this alive.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's all about me

Come and see "Me, Myself and I," a self-portrait group show presented by Hawkman Studios at Vintage Wine Bar and Restaurant in Redding today through July 27.

My favorite fortune cookie message ever

"Birds are entangled by your feet and men by their tongue."

On the back, the Speak Chinese part: "I need money." (wo xuyao chyan)