Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas. Let's make Chili!

It's been a lovely holiday. I wasn't able to go to the Bay Area, but luckily I have a multitude of friends here to celebrate and be family with.

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, Joan invited me to a play at the Imago Theatre. As she described it later, "Yeah, it was me, Nik and a bunch of families with their kids."

The show was a matinee performance designed for "ages 3 to 103" and it was really pretty stellar. Called, Biglittlethings, it was five guys dressed up in nifty costumes and using darkness, black light, and fun music to produce a series of vignettes that were lovely and appealing to the eye, and on several occasions made every little kid in the audience giggle away. Even for me, it's tough not to giggle when you've got all these little kids laughing around you.

At one point a couple of the actors, who were dressed up in polar bear costumes, climbed into the audience and were rolling around the seats and on the patrons, it was fun. The kids loved it and so did we.

After a starch and carb overload at the Doug Fir, we power napped and watched Battlestar Galactica before getting invited over to Chris and Christie's for a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit. Made drunk by too many Tollhouse Cookies, the gigglefest continued and a swell time was had by all. Joan proved victorious in the end, coming from way behind to have her "pie populated" by all six colors and emerging as the winner.

Today is another slushy day here in Portland. The sun is actually out after dumping a few more flakes on us as we come out of several days of being snowed in. Gwen is back from her meditation retreat up North and I've been hanging here watching her make her famous Buffalo Chili. It smells really good, and I'm a little sad I won't get to have any as she's making it for a co-worker. Damn. But, I get LOTS of Gwennie's good food so I'm not complaining. It just smells really good.

But, we're all well. I'm happy to be in the cozy house with her and Skid and feeling lucky and grateful to have so many friends and family in the world. And I'm wishing all a blessed New Year with hopes that I'll see them all soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mr. Stealth

I don't know why this made me laugh...but it did.
It's just over a minute long. Go ahead and push play.

More Snow Pics

"They" are now saying that Portland hasn't had a snow like this in forty years. Well how about that. I've been kind of sort of stranded. I get out for a walk here and there; I spent a little time shovelling little alleys between the street and the house so we could get through.

Skid didn't know what to think of it all

Gwennie's garden like she's probably never seen it before. She's been out of town for all of this.

My little white truck got a little buried too.

While I was shovelling, Skid became a little more curious about coming and seeing what all the excitement was about.

Eventually he made it all the way out to the garden through the little snow alley. He wasn't too into it, but he ventured.

Fun, fun, fun!

Still snowing, still sitting.

I can't believe this weather, I've never experienced this in Portland. It's kind of cool, my friend Joan skied up to see me the other day - there are people in snowshoes and studded bike tires and snowmobiles cruising around on the otherwise vacant streets.

It would've been cooler if this happened in a week that I wasn't supposed to take a long drive down I-5 to visit friends and family over the Christmas holiday. I had just missed my window - had my appointment with Sam been cancelled a day earlier I would've gotten out. But, I've said this before, there are reasons for everything. Maybe I was just supposed to hang out here with Skid while Gwen and Ron are out...

so hang out I shall. I'm sorry I'm missing the Xmas crab feed at Grandma's house though.

Here's some photos.

Here's Joan - cruising up on her new cross country skiis.

This is one of the busiest thouroughfares in Portland, Foster Avenue. Not today!

The snow had built up outside gwen's back door. The imprint there is Skid's cat door. Needless to say....

Talk to you soonly!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Skid Show

I decided to use this snow day to snap up some film of Mr. Skid. So, if you don't like cat pictures.....

Okay, all done for now.

It's been snowing all day. All day. I was supposed to leave for Ashland this morning, heading through to visit Corbyn and Kid on my way to the Bay Area, but instead I've been watching snow drifts build up around the neighbor's SUV.

It's given me the opportunity to sit, do some writing and reading...and start watching the fourth season of The Wire (one of the best shows written and produced ever).

It's also given me time to settle in a little. I had this day of those days where things just aren't right, a misstep, a hiccup, a it what you will, it was one of those.

I started my day volunteering down at Sisters of the Road for Customer Appreciation Day - they put me in the dish pit at my request, and I was having a good time, but everything just felt's been over a year since I've been there. I didn't recognize many of the customers, didn't know all the volunteers or even many of the staff; and they didn't know me. It wasn't bad or even awkward, just evidence of time that has passed and a space that's been filled by the void I left. So, uncomfortable would be a better choice of words.

I then headed home to change for my meeting with the Mayor-Elect only to find that that meeting was cancelled due to the storm Portland was expecting to find itself in over the weekend. That was all fine, but my previously jovial conversation with Mr. Adams secretary was cooler, he didn't remember who I was and what I was doing with the Mayor-Elect's time. Why should he? I'm a writer without an assignment or a magazine behind me. I'm still surprised he's granting me this interview at all. I had to remind him of my purpose and he rescheduled the time, letting me know his press secretary will be with him. It was fine, just a little reality check.

After that I read an email from a job I was hoping for, telling me that I didn't get the position. The employer was kind enough to say that he liked my work, "you're a good writer and could be up to the task," he said. But, I was one of 100 applications and someone just beat me. I would've liked the job, it wasn't reporting or article assignments, it was writing copy for a catalogue - nothing to sneeze at. I would've learned how to write tight, descriptive prose quickly and effectively in order to gather someones attention. Necessary tools for anybody wanting to write.

The exciting thing here, I suppose the hopeful thing, is that it opened up a new possibility for me. I never thought about being a copy writer. And at least one employer liked my stuff just a little. Perhaps the next one will like it enough to hire me.

And so...I fussed. The rest of the night. Ate almost an entire pepperoni pizza by myself (gwen's gonna love that). Got some rentals. Laid on the couch. Perhaps not the best of choices - but a choice nonetheless...we'll get 'er back.

It is still snowing. Twelve hours now of steady, windy, flurries. A couple feet of snow has dropped now, my chances of leaving town tomorrow is evaporating. The highways seem clear south of here, but its a mess otherwise. So, I'm staying put for now.

And watch all this amazing weather instead of try to negotiate it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


So I've been having all these dreams...still. One friend says I'm tuned into all the craziness in the world; another thinks it's more personal, my dreams are related to my apprenhension around my current situation (no job, money running out, etc.)

Could be a good old fashioned combination of both - all I know is I'm getting a little tired (literally) of being chased by guns, maniacs and tsunami style waves on a nightly basis. Not to mention Burt Reynolds. He was in my dream the other night too. He wasn't really doing anything, he was just there. And that, my friends, was frightening in its own right.

I'm not going to sit here and bemoan my fate. I don't even know what's in store - and I know there are people in a lot shakier situations than myself...but I'm having to work on this trust thing more than I'm used to.

I'm a planner. I like making plans. I like the list. And even with all the freefall of the Spain trip, the plan in itself kept me moving and motivated.

Right now I'm in a pretty complete freefall. I know nothing. Well, I know I'm moving into The Big Purple House on January 2nd, and I'm looking forward to that. And I have a couple of gigs with Monica to do non-violence trainings. I have a few articles that are floating around hoping to be picked up. I'm going to a couple of shows. But...I don't have a job and I can't turn on the radio (thank god I don't have a television) without forecasters forecasting doom. I swear, some of them have even taken to chuckling, or talking with a smirk 'cause the economic news just gets worse and worse.

And yet...and yet...there is a weird excitement about it all. I know, it'll be okay. I mean, whatever happens, it'll be okay. And I mean okay in the sense of, I will stay housed and I won't starve, I'm a ways off from that. So, you know, shelter and food are the essentials and those are covered.

I don't know. I don't even know why I'm telling you all this. Just saying hi.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maybe that's how I'll get to meet Renee...

There is dreaming and then there is dreaming
from The Woman of Wyrrd by Lynn V. Andrews

Yeah, Andrews gets to have all kinds of fun and adventure in her dreams. Meeting elves and fairies, dramatic windblown falconers and billowy women who represent both past and future. I guess I'm just not that advanced.

My dreamworld of late has been filled with apocolyptic visions; mushroom clouds, tsunamis and airplane crashes of which I am close witness to. I have enough time to know what's coming and can work on escape. Once I had a person under my charge to safekeep. Of course, I wake up before any real resolve. Did I perish or was I saved?

Last night I was involved in a trifecta of disturbing scenarios. All touching on my deepest wounds – those things that pain me the most – and while they weren't apocolyptic in the global sense, the emotions the imagery brought rendered me equally helpless.

No one really knows why we dream. There are theories, mostly scientifically physical. There was a great Star Trek episode (Next Generation) wherein the crew was being kept from dreaming through some alien force. They could sleep...but they couldn't everyone starting having these hallucinations in their waking hours, paranoia and fear were rampant. There, the explanation went, that our psyche needs time to rest itself, play out our fear scenarios in a less tangible form so that we can get about the real business of the day when we're awake.

I'd buy that over simple chemistry.

Then there is the belief that we can break through dimensions in our dreaming and really get to work. If you've ever experienced lucid dreaming, where you can direct your dreams from within them, then you can go with that concept.

I've experience lucid dreaming only a couple of times, both by accident (some people work devotedly to get to that state). But, I am not that evolved a human so I used my lucid dreaming to simply fly around the dreamscape.

It's a rich world out there in outer consciousness and it's probably better not to get too caught up in the whys and why nots of things. But if we really are working through our fears in the dark hours of the night, I know I've got a full cache, so can we just move on?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Portland Snow Day!

Yay for snow!

It's fun when snow falls here in town because it really only happens once or twice a year. It shuts us down because we little West Coasters don't really know how to deal with it...on the roads anyway.

And the more adventurous of us always head out there thinking we know how to drive on ice and snow. And so you watch the slow, oddly graceful sliding of cars into curbs, into other vehicles, both parked and moving. I watched an accident happen slo-mo right outside of the Firestone today. A guy tried to head out and make a left onto Powell, but he slid into the curb; a woman came along in a big ol SUV and stopped in the middle of the road, causing another guy to careen into her at bumper car speed. He roughed up his taillight and was pissed, but otherwise unscathed.

I watched people wipe out on their bicycles (good for them for trying!), wipe out on their feet. I myself nearly took a little skidder on Powell when my back tires failed to gain traction, but I eased into it and was fine. And then a super nice guy named Mark put my chains on for me and all was swell again.

Which means that I was able to keep my date with Chaela and head down to Goodwill to get me some new threads. I have a great dearth of clothes, very little nice stuff. Chaela is the friend everybody needs to have in this situation in that she picks out great clothes for me and she's fun to be around. She will also say things like,"I'm serious, you need to put that down," when I show her yet another thing I think will look good on me. And, "Yeah, that combination of colors will make you look like Beef and Broccoli,"

On the way home, driving slow as can be, I saw families with toboggans and a guy on skis and little bundles of people smiling and whipping snowballs around at each other. One little girl was rolling up a snowman belly.

And then I got to come to Gwennie's sweet, warm and toasty house and make a wonderful dinner of artichokes (that she picked up for me) and chicken (which she cooked for me). And now I am sitting here, with the wind whipping the flurries around and the heater percolating, and really, there isn't a better place to be on a snow day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Ski Day of the Year!

Beautiful day up on Mt. Hood. The first good snow of the season and it was pure powdery fun. My buds Monica and Debbie were there with me as we scooted around Enid Lake.
It was super cold today, Portland is getting ready to experience quite the cold snap this weekend - it's expected to get down in the teens! We're all a flutter.

We had to put on chains...well, Monica put them on. I kind of helped, but not really. Monica's super tough and endured little pre-frostbite hands in order to keep us safe on the roads.

Happy dogs Lolo and Petey frolicking

Flo is built for swimming in water, not tromping through snow. Her little paws are webbed, which means snow gets all clumped up in there> Here is Monica de-clumping her paws.

A very handsome Petey.

Look at that little snow mound on my head. Nice, very nice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is that the same dog?

So I get a phone call a few days ago from Addie who tells me that she has relocated to Portland! This was the day after Roman called me to let me know that he too had decided to rest in this neck of the woods for awhile.

So last Saturday I went over to NW Portland and picked Miss Addie up and lo and behold there was "lil Booger!" Awwwwwwwwww! He's not so little anymore...not like this...

But now he is a handsome little this!

We went to Kelly Point Park and he ran and ran and ran. And then was all sleepy in the truck on the way back. Look at his eyes...and there's Addie too!

We went over to where Roman is working and got to chat with him for a bit. I got all warm and fuzzy on my way home that day. Carrie had called me, but I missed talking to her. I talked to Kathleen. I love my walker family so much still...these guys...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I'm in a daze. I've been working on a few proposals and queries this week and finding myself frustrated with my inability to come up with good, solid prose for the articles I'm trying to write. I'm working on four different proposals right now and bop back and forth between them, trying to jog something worthy out of my constantly headached brain.
I've been reading a lot as well, so I've got a lot of words jamming up the works.
The headaches are due to my eyesight I'm afraid. Over the last several months my prescription has changed and I need to get into somewhere and get some new specs. I'm fretting over money, but this is probably not a place to skimp. I'm really just procrastinating the inevitable...I need bifocals and I know that, but that just seems to be admitting to an aging process I want to deny. However, I absolutely cannot read anymore with my glasses on, and that is just sad, sad, sad.
Last year when I went to the optometrist to get the perfunctory exam, the doctor told me that bifocals were in order. I told him, "no..I'm not doing that." And he smiled, that doctorly knowing smile and simply asked my age. I told him.
"Well, that's usually the age when it begins."
"Begins what? My RAPID DEMISE?!"
"Yes," he said, "Bifocals is the 'one foot in the grave''s all over from here really."

Dammit. I knew it. I'm aging. @*#($)!

So, I'm sitting in New Seasons, drinking tea and withering into dust as we speak. Sorry Dad, I don't think I'll have time to write that best seller.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lewis "Mucaw" Jefferson (1987-2008)

I was deeply saddened tonight to hear that one of our Walker family, Mucaw, crossed over to the Spirit world. I don't know the details of his passing.
I loved hearing Mucaw sing, which he did so often, up at the front of line, his rich, baritone voice keeping time with his tin can shaker. I walked countless miles to the songs of his ancestors,from the Quechan of Arizona, songs that he sang proudly and with the utmost care and respect. Sometimes, when I heard him sing, I couldn't place that deep, soulful voice in the body of such a young just seemed to come from somewhere else.
I pray that he is still singing with his ancestors and offer my prayers to his family and beloved grandparents who were so proud of him.
You will be sorely missed my friend.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gettin' cold here in these parts

And I know for my friends on the East Coast, and those folks in Minnesota, complaining about 40 degree weather will just be mocked and scoffed at. But..I'm a West Coaster and dammit, it's getting cold here in these parts!

I'm sitting here in Gwen's cozy house tho, having enjoyed a fabulous pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner (but mine was with eggs and toast and spinach - the fun trimmings will wait until Thursday). Gwennie will be gone over Thanksgiving, but she felt the need to cook a big 'ol turkey and I got to enjoy the spoils.

Today was my first real "Monday" since I've been home. I got myself up and out of the house early in time for my old home group meeting and then went to a coffeeshop down the street where I worked for about 4 hours, drafting and sending a query letter here, looking for submission placements there. I also started work on a story about my time on the goat farm. My brain has defogged considerably in the last few days and I've enjoyed wrapping my head around something more tangible than whether I'm gonna have eggs and toast or beans and tortillas. Or both. I continued the work later in the day and am dearly looking forward to one of my queries finding interest in an editor's hand.

In other news...

Patrick from the Walk is here in Portland (this guy)

and I had a chance to catch up with him last night - so nice to see him and share stories of what we and everyone else has been doing. He'll be here all week, so I look forward to seeing him again.

Also got to spend time at Lone Fir yesterday - it's so nice to revisit my old comfy places. I have found a new love for Portland and her sweet, goofy tribe of inhabitants.

Yesterday afternoon I was walking down Burnside near the Laurelhurst, and this trio of hipsters were standing on the corner, talking the talk. One of them, a lanky guy in a stripey scarf and pointy wool hat, blurted out suddenly,
"Hey you guys, look at my reflective tape."
And everyone turned (me too, since I was right there) to check out his bike, which had a strip of bright orange tape down the crossbar, but he had meticulously carved out "flames" all the way around it. It was funny, and there was something so sweet about his enthusiasm for his idea and execution, that it just made my afternoon.

So, there you have it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hoodies, Beanies and Dreadlocks. So good to be Home!

I'm sure I don't look as cute as Gwen's cat when I'm sleeping, but that's pretty much what I did for the first few days I was home. I was completely laid out by jet lag for a good 4 days. Brutal.

My friend (and massage therapist) Jenna told me a little story about jet lag that made me smile. She said that we always have a spiritual pony with us when we travel and that if we do something crazy like fly for a bazillion hours across land and sea, the reason we're so tired is because we have to wait for our pony (who can't fly!) to catch up with us. That's a lot of miles for the little pony to travel (and swim!). I feel, now it's been about 10 days since I've been home, that my pony has arrived.

I haven't been doing a whole lot since I've been back. I've had two massages (I know, it's crazy decadent, but I tell body...wracked up. After my first session Jenna said, "great, that's layer one!" I think my poor bones and muscles just haven't really known what to do with themselves now that they're not carrying a load and moving miles everyday. Everything just stopped, so things are kind of shifting and settling, causing me much discomfort and general achy-ness. But it's fine, really.

I went and re-upped my gym membership and have been able to do a few miles on the treadmill. I saw my old trainer Regina who is cutting me no slack and expects to see me back soon for her brutal cycling and cardio classes. I'll need to stay on it, lest all this hard earned muscle starts to slip and slide into pockets I'd rather not see on me.

Money...well, it's running low but I have a lead on a job, so that's good news. And I also have a possibilty, perhaps, of a new housing situation here in a couple of weeks.

So, essentially, we are just putting things back together. It's a little overwhelming, but I'm so happy to be home that it's all just gravy for me. Walking my beloved Portland streets. Going into coffeeshops and making small talk with, I missed that being away. Just chatting with people can make such a difference in your day, I so love having community again.

So...that's about that for now. Oh, I also got my astrological chart read. I do that every year on my birthday with my writer/astrologer friend Emily Trinkaus - who is so good at what she does. I love having her tell the tales of possibilities ahead.

I have mucho ideas for stories and am starting work on those as we speak. Gonna sign myself up for a language workshop, keep myself in the Spanish language realm. Have plans to get down to Southern Oregon and the Bay Area in Mid-December; but until then I am settling into the wintery weather here in Portland and catching up with everyone. It's really nice to be able to the hear the voices of my friends and family again!

Oh, and eating all my favorite foods again has You think things like eggs and toast aren't special? They're special..added bonus of spinach and sausage on the side? Yay! Miso soup, pinto beans, granola, burgers...yum.

Okay, I'll talk with you again soon. If you haven't checked this in awhile, you may want to scroll down and check out the new pictures. Also, there is a fun little video of Ellen DeGeneres' goat routine in the October posting. It's only about a minute and a half long.

Great to talk with you from this side of the world! Look at this amazing tree!