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Ah July. Vacillating between using the air conditioner and driving with the windows down. Decisions. Decisions. Choices. Choices. With Burning Man coming up at the end of August, we will have to acclimate to the heat at some point. But then I'm driving along, and the heat starts to make me sweat, and the sun is making the steering wheel burn my fingers, and it's just a little bit hard to breathe, and then, well you know, I just decide to acclimate some other time, and I turn it on. Ah freon. The eighth wonder of the western world. Yeah.
What a shitty day. All around. Woke up aggravated and stayed that way all day. Irritated by everything and nothing. Noticing. Wondering. What the hell? Did I have a disturbing dream? Well yes, probably, but I don't remember it now. Did I sleep in an uncomfortable position? Well, no, not that I know of. It's no wonder we turn to things like astrology to tell us what is going on sometimes. When it just doesn't make any sense. You ask yourself, are the stars aligned just right for me to have a shitty day? Well who the hell cares?
Spent the whole day yesterday shopping for red sheets. Who would have thought it would be such a major undertaking? But try to find red sheets and you will know they are a rare commodity. Oh, you can find burgundy or blood red satin sheets. You know, something with a mature audiences only flair. But just red sheets for a six year old boy, well that is another thing altogether. That, my friend, is rare. But we found them. We did. And red paint for the drawer pulls. Now I hope he can sleep in all that sea of redness.
So Sarah Palin is stepping down. How's that for a shocker. Who would have thought that tenacious bulldog would ever give up? She must be in an awful lot of trouble. She must have cut herself a deal. If I leave, it never comes out. Otherwise, this is totally out of character for her. I listened to her rambling, say nothing announcement on the video from CNN. You can almost see her mentally dancing around the truth as you watch her standing there at the podium. Repeating herself. Wolf killer! Oil driller! Good news for Alaska. Say Halleluia. Say Amen.
The fourth was a blast, literally. The scene at State Line on the I-90 border between Idaho and Washington is always wild. The officially condoned fireworks shows put on by the cities of Coeur d'Alene and Spokane are great, but they only last a few minutes. What goes on at State Line is complete and unbridled play. Cars line up around the perimeters of parking lots, and the center area is ground zero. It goes on for hours, everybody is firing off their stuff, big and little, high and low, wild wild wild. We had such a great time.
Wow I can't believe we got rich text editing and word count. I won't know what to do with myself now that I don't have to count anymore. You guys rock. But my whole relationship with the project continues to evolve, so I guess change is good and it comes with the territory. When I started doing 100 words, I wanted to be literary every day. And I thought I should have a message, preferably something pithy or witty or insightful. But nowadays, I'm glad to get it done and a lot less worried about its artistic or intellectual merit.
It all fell into place for me today. It's not so important to take classes, and the world won't end if I can't come up with an interesting plot for my novel. But if I don't look after my grandson, there will be consequences. It's easy to see that in my family, I can make a difference. Today we got Tre's bed put together and he is happier than I've seen him in a long time. If my daughter can afford a better home for them, and my grandson feels safer and more confident, what more could I want for?
It's hard to get through the day on a poor night's sleep. I tossed and turned for hours before finally falling asleep and today I am dragging my tub-o-lard butt around. But I don't want to take sleeping pills, so there it is. Gotta take it as it comes. Take the good nights with the bad. At least Tre had a great night in his new bed. I didn't think he'd be able to sleep in bright red sheets, but he did just fine. And this morning, he didn't want to get out of his comfy little nest.
Spent the day getting ready for Kate's hat party. I'm worried she won't be feeling well enough to enjoy it after getting another nasty chemo treatment today.
Got her a cute little engineer's hat made of shiny grayish mauve fabric, nice and cool for summer, and a pair of the biggest silver hoops I've found. I really like them, they are nice and heavy. Tomorrow I will go off my diet to have a mojito during the party. I guess I feel like if I'm going to spend $50 on party supplies, including booze, I'm going to have a drink.
Just when I think it's time to stop subscribing to the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater, they put on a funny show and I'm hooked again. But under it all, I have an abiding dislike for musicals. Even the acting is so campy most of the time that it gets on my nerves. "The Musical" is really a particular thing, a specific art form. Well, it's just an art form that I don't much like. Tonight we saw "The Producers," and I guess if anything is going to change your mind about musicals that would be it. It really effing funny.
At Burning Man, I will not wear a bra. And nobody will notice much. I will be invisible in a sea of young bodies. The elderly heavy-set lady over there. Where? Over there. I didn't see her. Ah sweet freedom. I can hardly wait. And you know what else? If somebody offers me a tiny square of blotter paper, I'm going to eat it. And trip the light fantastic with no effing bra on. So there. And nobody will even notice. Except Richard, who will worry incessantly whether I am going to be okay. And stare at my tits.
We saw a play downtown tonight. It's called "The Complete History Of America (abridged)" and I have to admit it was pretty funny. Though not, as I had hoped, uproarious, side splitting, pee your pants hilarious. Ah well. You can't have everything. But I do love the theater. Even when it isn't that great.
I also love live music. Maybe I just love live entertainment in general. So long as it isn't country music, and even that is better live. I did once enjoy a Willie Nelson concert. Once I even tried line dancing at a bar in State Line.
Why is it always about sex? If there's a sexual innuendo, or better yet a way to make direct reference to sex, in general or specifically his manhood, prowess, skill and plenty, he doesn't miss it. And you know what? I'm his sister. I don't want to hear it. My Dad's the same way, just basically a DICK head. It's all they think about. Do they think it is really important that I, daughter/sister, know whether their dick is big, whether they know how to use it, or whether they are getting any? It's effing offensive. So shut up.
Why is it, she said, when I go to my Facebook page, there are all these posts from you on it? Well, I explained, that's because I USE Facebook. I make posts every day about what I'm doing and thinking. That's the idea. It's how you stay connected with your friends. Oh, she says, so when I go to my page, I see your posts? Right! If you had more friends, you would see their posts too. Oh, she said, I get it now.
Today I found out somebody stopped being my friend on Facebook because I talk too much.
Went to the beach and got myself a lovely sunburn today. I wasn't out in the sun very long. It didn't take much. It's a good thing we kept the baby in the shade. On a day like today, you could have a cooked baby in almost no time.
Can't believe I came to New York and got a sunburn. As I recall, from when I grew up here, the sunny days were not the norm, but rather the exception. We would all run outside when the sun came out. Look up at the sky. Before the next clouds rolled in.
How does life make a space for me? My sister and my niece both must have penciled me in, because the days are easily arranged for us to visit. Tomorrow we'll explore the Coe Mansion and arboretum. My memory of spending a week cutting classes to hang out at the Cloisters in the Bronx when I was in high school, comes flooding back to me in technicolor and sound, Polished wood and threadbare tapestries, Plants growing on the cliff as if they were the ones singing the devotional songs. Chanting out over the Hudson. God is here. Have no fear.
The city seems more crowded, dirty and noisy than I remember it. There's something gritty about it. Even the railroad into town was slightly gloomy. I looked out the window at the miles and miles of brick houses, little patches or yard, great beehives of apartment complexes. Everywhere little windows. All the way through Queens and across the river into the city. Even the escalators are narrow. So dirty they are almost black. Didn't want to touch anything. Up the levels to the street at Seventh Avenue. Walking past peddlers in Herald Square, I remember why I left this place.
Dragging my suitcase crosstown wasn't bad. The streets seemed quiet enough. Deserted by New York standards, on a weekend day in the summer. The air itself seems to brighten as you leave the west side. Fifth Avenue pulls its head out of its ass. Here the white stones shine and the sidewalk isn't so broken up. There is dignity afoot, doormen in uniforms and even an occasional tree. I wonder how the hell they survive. Maybe the windows are cleaner here too. Overall, it's an easier place to be. Particularly for a Washington girl come east to visit her past.
It was something there in the tiny lines radiating out from around her eyes. It said she was in pain. Physical pain, yes to be sure, but another kind of pain as well. Spiritual pain, the pain that breaks your heart. The pain known only by those who have been wounded again and again and again. Her spirit floated up like a wave, swelling in the center, large and welcoming and reaching over the top of the pain. I felt my spirit rise up to meet it. I wanted to surf on that wave. But under the surface, the pain.
We walked by the stage door and I took a picture of the sign: "Cast and Crew." A black door, nondescript and unadorned. The business of theater, that serious side of things, a membrane between two worlds, to be crossed mindfully. Out here on Broadway, the ordinary world, the real world. In there, beyond the black doorway, that other world.
Nobody's reality. Rain coming down from the rafters onto the stage. She's dancing, splashing, spraying, swaying. We sit in the dark in Row B and wonder will the water get on me.
Chris glances over at me. The queen enters.
First miles of tunnels, then up through the Bronx, past miles of apartment houses that are probably condos. So many open windows. Bricks new, bricks old, and out of the city. Somewhere in Westchester I see the first one. It's browsing along the railroad tracks, between the river and the backyards of the wealthy. Its flanks are orange. It twitches its tail as we pass. I start counting. It's automatic.
I'm up to seven when Astrid picks me up in Poughkeepsie. By the time we get to her house in the woods, we're up to fourteen. Not that we're counting.
Fire flies. Millions of fire flies. Everywhere you look. Twinkling. Blinking. Sparkling. The trees here are old, tower above us, sway ever so slightly. The green ground thick and damp. Stars unending. Every nerve in my body, every muscle relaxed. I slept until noon. Astrid had to wake me. Coming to in the shower. Easing myself down the stairs, I hear her in the kitchen. Sounds of cooking.
Soft rain comes down steady, purrs like a cat in the trees. Hot coffee and french toast at a round wooden table speak volumes to my body. Suddenly nothing matters. Rock steady.
When I think of fashion photography, I think of something shallow, something hollow as a model's emaciated cheeks. Something underfed. Something with a lot missing. All gloss and glass without body. Without heart. Superficial, insignificant if pretty.
So what do you make of Richard Avedon? It took a while to see past my preconceptions. Little by little the stark hostility, the edge of grotesque, the refusal to play nicely come through. Oh yes.
Then you see the suffering behind the beauty. The anger behind every smile, the laughter that dares to defy death itself.
And the curse of the money.
Jet lagged and disoriented, I stumbled up and out of the house and into the sun, in search of soup. All the way to town. Ice cold tea, hot soup and hot pita, cold salad and a bubbling blue fountain right outside the window.
Watching some street kids gathered in the plaza. Dirty clothes, dirty hair, dirty skate boards. All in black. Smoking cigarettes under the drug store awning. Defying the sun.
Vinaigrette and feta cheese, and salted cucumber, crunching fresh between my teeth. Red tomatoes and black olives. Chicken soup with orzo. Turbinado sugar.
Is this really my reality?
Today I am 59. I mean, if you're counting. And, assuming you are counting, this is the last day of a decade. The end of my fifties. The eve of the beginning of my sixth decade. Or, put another way, I have now been alive for
twenty one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine days
. And tomorrow I will be 60.
And what, you may ask, do I have to show for all these days? Even if you're not asking, rest assured that my brain is addicted to asking this question. And it doesn't like any of the answers either.
What the fuck! I'm two days behind. Must have been distracted by my birthday. And of course the boy is with us this week. Giving him attention takes precedence over everything else, including getting my words done. Alas, alack, methinks it does distract!
Well like I said to begin with, What The Fuck! It's all for fun. I mean, I think it is. We do this for fun right? Even though it has rules and deadlines?
There was a huge fireworks display on my birthday. It was Royal Fireworks Day in Spokane, so we sat on the grass and cheered.
Today was Splash Down Day. That's not a national holiday or anything like that. Today, we all rode the Cannon Bowl, which everybody really calls the "toilet bowl." It was awesome. You sit on a tube, and they feed you into a tube that drops you so dramatically that you get airborne just before you come out of the shoot into the bowl. Then around and around you go, until you get sucked into the center and blown out the exit chute. Where they give you one last blast of water in your face, just for good measure. Woo Mama!
I am really sick of listening to the negative ranting and raving of the religious right. And it's not just the religious ones, it's all of the right wing. They have completely lost it. They're carrying on like the world is coming to an end, like a government health plan option is socialism and will destroy the future for our children and grandchildren. They're still carrying on about whether the president is really an American citizen. I mean, do these people have an ounce of intelligence? What is the world like where they live? It seems like a scary place.
A completely insane couple attacked a woman in her home and cut the unborn child out of her body, killing her in the process. Then they wrapped her up in bedclothes and shoved her dead body in the closet. They took the baby with them, and told all their friends it was theirs. Days later, the landlord wondered what the awful smell was and checked out the woman's apartment, finding her dead body in the closet. Meanwhile, some of the couple's friends were not convinced she had really given birth and reported them to authorities. We live in utter barbarity.
I saw myself in the mirror today at Tre's Karate class. I knew it was me, but I didn't recognize myself. What I saw was a fat woman straddling a chair. Big tits, wide body, thick legs. Is that really me? How did that happen? And how do you turn back the clock? Dial me back to anytime but now! I don't want to be in this body!!!!
I want out!
I looked away. I refused to look back. I told myself the mirror was distorting my image.
I wonder if it is possible to live with your eyes closed.
Hot. So flipping hot. The Hoh Rain Forest is brown and dry, dust accumulated on the leaves near the ground. The moss is dead. There isn't a bird in sight. No sound, just the vague buzzing of insects in the hot air. Something bites my elbow and I jump and shout. Ouch!
Sticky flies won't leave us alone. I remember Australia, where the flies are dying of thirst. They attack your eyes, nose and mouth. Anything for a drop of moisture. You wear a net. To hell with dead and dying mosses. I head back to the car. Too hot.
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