Pork and shoelaces!

Have you ever fallen asleep while reading, so that you are not really certain you are asleep, and begun to dream, and had an idea that is gone when you jerk awake, but drags words back to consciousness with you?

Well, last night, I woke up when my Kindle hit my nose and I said, out loud, “PORK AND SHOELACES!”

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Happy birthday

I was hunting for something on this blog, and realized it’s been a year since I posted. It’s been a year since I felt much like writing.

The last post was recycled: I put up a birthday card I wrote to Jo. This year, for my own benefit, I guess, since I don’t have a forwarding address for her, I wrote another. Since I think Jo was someone everybody needed to know (which is why I introduced her to everybody I met), I’m sharing what I’m still trying to learn from her.

Jo celebrates the kids & me moving to Oregon.

Jo celebrates the kids & me moving to Oregon.

42 things Jo tried to teach me

  1. You can get a lot done in your pajamas.
  2. If you don’t tell people you didn’t brush your hair, nobody will know you didn’t brush your hair.
  3. Keep on hugging. Hold that hug longer. No, really. Just another quick sec. Aaaahhh, that’s how it’s done.
  4. Maybe just one more hug.
  5. Tell people you love them. Tell them in a variety of ways.
  6. Surround yourself with things you love and only things you love.
  7. But surround yourself with all kinds of people, and look for the good in them all.
  8. Keep walking. Keep climbing. Keep reading. Keep trying.
  9. Sturdy shoes are worthy purchases.
  10. Grow things.
  11. Build things.
  12. Fix things.
  13. Make things.
  14. Take care of your things.
  15. Try new things. Try new foods.
  16. Take care of your people.
  17. There’s no such thing as too many socks. Or jackets.
  18. There may be such a thing as too many t-shirts
  19. Good sheets can contribute materially to your happiness.
  20. Be silly.
  21. Be serious.
  22. Try hard.
  23. Work hard
  24. If you think people are out to get you, you need to chill out.
  25. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself.
  26. Don’t be afraid to be romantic.
  27. It doesn’t ever hurt to be more polite.
  28. Nor does it hurt to reapply deodorant. (She actually said this to me. Gently)
  29. Go on an adventure! No planning. Just go.
  30. Save.
  31. But, spend on what you want.
  32. There is no room in life for crappy beer and wine.
  33. Be nostalgic.
  34. Pet kitties.
  35. Plant gardens.
  36. Send flowers. Everybody loves getting flowers.
  37. Bring lipstick.
  38. Bring a bag.
  39. Bring a jacket.
  40. Bring lotion.
  41. Be gentle; don’t judge.
  42. Forgive and let go.
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Shortly before Labor Day in 1987, I met the finest person I’ve ever known. It was an instant connection. Lots of fun and childish hijinks.


And then we grew up together. Everything I know is colored by her wisdom and her humor. She’s gone, now. I can’t write anything about her that would do her justice. But I did find an old piece of writing that almost works. 

For her 39th birthday, two years ago, I made a list of the 39 reasons why she is more awesome than anyone else on the planet. It’s long enough that I wrote a practice draft, which I still have. (The card is gone. But it had a cowboy farting glitter on the cover!) . Here it is:

  1. We wear the same shoe size
  2. Finding a strand of your hair in a random place always makes me smile.
  3. You’re sweet, kind and generous, even when I’m driving you nuts.
  4. You teach me things
  5. Two words: great food
  6. Even when you laugh at me, you laugh with me.
  7. You speak Liz
  8. You helped make my kids the people they are
  9. You remember more about my life than I do.
  10. I can make you laugh.
  11. Best hugs ever!
  12. You’re creative.
  13. You’re brilliant.
  14. You’re crazy smart.
  15. You’re probably the sanest person I know.
  16. You’re definitely the kindest person I know.
  17. … and the most generous.
  18. You can always recommend a good beer or wine.
  19. You can always recommend a good friend.
  20. You married Dave.
  21. You let me recycle jokes and stories.
  22. You can make anything grow.
  23. You always look happy to see me.
  24. You can find beauty in anything.
  25. You see the best in everyone.
  26. You taught me to try to do the same.
  27. You’ve made me happier, smarter and more polite, and, embarrassingly, a little cleaner and tidier.
  28. You always have snacks.
  29. You always have gum.
  30. You send the best cards.
  31. You always know the best way to do something.
  32. You’re always authentic.
  33. You’re brave.
  34. You challenge yourself.
  35. You work hard and you play hard.
  36. I’ll never get to the bottom of your depths, but I’ll always want to be near you so I can try. I’m always in awe of you.
  37. You really, really listen to people.
  38. You look after me and you protect me.
  39. You love me.
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Happy anniversary, Pacific Northwest

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We’ve been together a year today!

August 18, 2010, the kids, the dog and I rolled into Tualatin, Oregon. We only stayed for a few moments to take a look around before moving on down to Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave’s house, since our apartment wasn’t quite ready. But we were there long enough to see a dude walking down the side of the road completely covered in a red spandex unitard.

We’re in Seattle now, also deliciously different from the East Coast.

Since moving out west, I’ve seen

-Four thousand pairs of feet in sandals and socks
-Naturopaths for dogs
-More tandem and recumbent bicycles than I ever saw in the Netherlands
-A chef willing to have a fistfight over the definition of local produce (really a very nice fellow)
-PBR at the Whole Foods
-Old men smoking weed on the street
-Vegan rednecks
-A rainforest
-More bonfires in one year than in the previous 30
-Really weird, really cool bike and bikelike contraptions
-Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, and, really, the best beer in the world
-Mountains, rivers, valleys, enormous trees
-Grown-up adult people with real jobs wearing clear glasses
-Gluten-free delivery pizza and delicious — delicious! — gluten-free beer
-Bob Dylan
-Fred Meyer
-Guerilla knitting

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The potato-onion-apple project, or “I ain’t outgrowing shit”

“Deliciously Useless Info — An apple, onion, and potato all have the same taste. The differences in flavor are caused by their aroma. To prove this, pinch your nose and take a bite from each. They will all taste sweet.” My girlfriend Melinda posted that on her Facebook page, generating a cascade of comments.

Two things: I was a newspaper copy editor for nearly a decade and a half. My BS detector is hypersensitive. Plus, everything looks like a good story to me.

Maybe there’s a third thing: I just moved to a new city. I’m in explorer mode, and thus acting like a 12-year-old with a sugar buzz. I haven’t outgrown the urge to do ridiculous things, only the urge to feel embarrassed about doing ridiculous things. You’re welcome.

Anyhow, look. We’ve all eaten apples, onions and potatoes. We know they taste different. Smell has a lot to do with taste, but it isn’t everything.  Your tongue actually detects chemicals in foods. I couldn’t let that assertion stand! So, yeah, that’s how I ended up on Melinda’s roof, pinching my nose and squinching my eyes and confidently identifying raw apple, potato and onion chunks.

Apples, onions and potatoes, cut in chunks. I guess you could make some weird pan fries out of this, huh?

In the interest of science, Melinda cut them up and fed them to me. I didn’t even touch them.

Onion. Easy. Next!

Because they were all in a bowl together, everything had a little onion tang to it. The flavors were all noticeably less intense with my nose pinched shut, too. They were readily identifiable, though.

Flavors minus aromas are definitely harder to distinguish.

(Also, I’m noticeably less adorable with my eyes and nose squished up.)

We took this whole procedure very, very seriously in the interest of science. And then we had some beer, and some rockin’ cookies Melinda made. Much better!

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Dead Baby Downhill

So, I’m new in town.

My modus operandi in Seattle has been to go up to people, introduce myself and just sort of up and start being their friend.

Some of these friendships have only lasted about 30 seconds. My friendship with Scooter went on for about an hour, though! Hopefully I’ll run into him again.

Ethan took me to Dead Baby Downhill 2011. You know, it’s pretty interesting to compare this to the World Naked Bike Ride in Portland my boy Kevin took me to.  I would have thought there would have been a more direct correlation between nudity and mayhem, but the Portlanders were much mellower. The Baby people seemed more hipster-y, but, well, clothing is an important cue in identifying a hipster, and the Portlanders were deficient in that area. We all look like hippies when we’re naked, right?

Anyhow, I ramble. At this Dead Baby Batshittery, I met Scooter. Scooter was in charge of a conveyance made of three or four bikes welded together. There was some sort of flamethrower dealie at the top, and a barbecue on the back. He gave us hot dogs! Food! Cooked on a bicycle! I was too busy being absolutely fucking delighted by this experience to take a picture.

The whole time I was there, I asked people, “why is the baby dead?” Nobody had an answer. Luckily, Google knew. It has to do with someone with a poor notion of interior design.

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When the jeans disappear, the aliens are on their way

Two nerdy siblings watching a Star Trek marathon. One says, “Pants.”

That would be me.

My little brother looks at me, puzzled for a moment, then smiles. “No pants!”

We’re both total dorks. When we get together we flop on the sofa, drink Boddingtons and watch movies starring special effects and pipe-dream technology. And we recently realized that, as dated as, say, “The Wrath of Khan” looks, the costume designers made some effort to keep the fashions century-neutral.

Apparently the only way to do this is to put everyone in pajamas, jumpsuits, capris and manpris, miniskirts, robes and toga-type things. I suppose the intergalactic etiquette calls for eschewing jeans in situations that might feature robots.

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