Tuesday, October 30, 2007

my halloween party full of old ladies

As you may know from previous posts, Adventure Girl and I threw a big Halloween Party for our kayaking friends this past weekend. I have, over the years, grown accustomed to throwing Halloween Parties. That tends to be the best way for me to insure that I'll be able to dress in drag and enjoy fabulous Halloween decorations each year. Of course, in my tiny hovel there's no way I can throw a real party of any kind and so, last year, I had to go without. And this year, I managed to join forces with Adventure Girl.

Unfortunately, you just can't bring the past back to life. My fantasies of bringing together so many old friends, just like the good old days, quickly dissipated. I have lost touch with lots of people, am no longer enough in their good graces to expect them to spend time on the biggest party night of the season hanging out in the home of one of my kayaking buddies, just because I asked. My closest friend in town, Leo, all but said she had better things to do. Everybody had better things to do. Except Rose, fortunately. And so, Rose from school was my only friend to show up at the Halloween Party.

Regardless of my lack of old friends, I was of course surrounded by my new friends, my kayaking buddies who have become, almost instantly, like a second family. They're a bunch of really lovely women and I'm really thankful to know them. And now, without further jibber-jabber, here are some more pictures from the party. Enjoy.
Sweet little luminescent bags lining the walk. They blew over within thirty minutes and burt to a crisp. Oh well. I should'a stuck a rock in each one...

Monster fingers!!! I made these myself after seeing them in one of my stepmother's magazines while I was back east. Aren't they cute?

DD and Adventure Girl! DD, who is a nurse, is appropriately dressed as the Operation game guy. Adventure Girl is obviously dressed as the wicked witch of the west. She won the costume contest in a landslide. DD got third place. (Second place, not pictured, was a woman dressed as "a hairy potter" -- she had a big fluffy wig on and had fuzzy hair taped onto the backs of her hands... and she was carrying some clay around. After she left, we found a cute little clay bowl on the table...)

These two were CREEPY. I don't know who they were and they didn't break character all night. They just walked around whispering to each other and looking at everyone from behind they're totally scary masks. Yikes.

A-ha! Sherrif HR! Look out, she's packing real heat. (It was unloaded, though.)

Rose towers over me. She was the only brave soul who showed up without a costume, so we gave her some fairy wings.

Most of my kayaking group. Our ages range from 32 (that's me!) to 61, which I think is pretty fucking cool.

Rose and me, lookin' sinister.

Me, lookin' hawt. How do you like that fake cigarette? HR and Adventure Girl got it for me at a novelty shop. It looks so real, people kept coming up to me all night to see if I was really so bold as to stand around Maia's beautiful house smoking. I wasn't. But I worked it like a pro all night. Fun times.

Monday, October 29, 2007

marcel proust is my homeboy

As you may know, Proust was a French writer famous for his seven volume masterpiece "In Search of Lost Time." I first became interested in reading Proust while I was reading "Henry and June" by Anais Nin. She cites Proust as a major influence and so I tucked his name away (next to Dostoevsky) for further exploration at a later time. Then I read Alison Bechdel's award-winning graphic memoir "Fun Home," which was also influenced heavily by Proust's "In Search of Lost Time."

At the time, I knew nothing at all about Proust and his masterpiece. I remember going with SK to Powell's Books to see Alison Bechdel talk about "Fun Home," and afterward, feeling inspired, I ran down to the literature section to look for this little novel that seemed so important. I found a whole shelf of Proust and yet somehow couldn't find "In Search of Lost Time." I got annoyed. And then, a tiny little lightbulb went off over my head... and I realized that it wasn't just "a little novel" I was looking for. I realized that, in fact, the "whole shelf of Proust" WAS the little novel. All seven volumes.

At that point I felt kinda crushed. I knew I wouldn't be carrying home seven volumes of anything. I was still in school and too busy to read much that wasn't published by West or Aspen (casebook publishers). I gave it up. And then, miraculously, school ended, I took the bar, and I suddenly found myself with a huge, gaping hole in my life, with a corresponding gaping hole in my brain. What to do, what to do...

So I started reading like a fiend. I filled the void with the fattest books I could find. I read Portrait of a Lady, I read The Brother's Karamazov, I read War and Peace. Just as I was starting War and Peace, I wondered how I could possibly top it, what fat book could be fatter than this fattest of books? Some of you who were reading last spring might remember that I discussed that very dilemma here. I decided I could either try and read the impenetrable "Ulysses" or I could go for the seven volumes of Proust. Having tried once to read something by James Joyce ("Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man") and therefore knowing what kind of misery awaited me down that path, I chose Proust.

I knew seven volumes was a major committment, so I decided the best way to guarantee success was to enlist help. I decided to start a Proust Support Group. I figured if I could find a few other intrepid souls who wanted to tackle the behemoth, we could encourage each other, give each other hope and the strength to carry on. I posted a message on Craigslist just to test the waters and much to my surprise I recieved so many responses I started to worry that the group would be way too big. I considered taking down the original post so no one else could respond.

I told all these folks that I'd be ready to start at the beginning of June and we discussed possible structures for our group. Should we meet once a week? Once a month? What side of town? At someone's house or in a coffeeshop? Meanwhile I slowly struggled through War and Peace and something truly magical began that changed everything. It became summer. As War and Peace wore me down, the sun and warmth called to me with the promise of fun, light and easy good-times. I wrote the Proust group and told them I couldn't start in June. I apologized. I asked if they'd mind if we put it off till the fall. I stuck with War and Peace until I finished that fucker, but once I put it down I didn't pick up anything difficult for a long time. Instead, I put on a t-shirt and ran outside to enjoy the gorgeous Portland summer.

Over time, though, something about that desire to read Proust entered my identity. It especially entered the fabricated identity I started using on a couple of internet personals sites. I blame my kayaking friends for luring me back into the seedy world of internet personals, but I'm not here to point fingers, I'm here to tell a boring story. When it came time to create my profiles, I decided on a very snappy "headline" that seemed to sum things up pretty well. "Pabst, Pinball and Proust."

I loved the alliteration and felt that those three words really said it all. "Do you like cheap beer? Do you love to pump quarters into the pinball machine? And what about hardcore literature? I've got it all baby." The only problem was the niggling guilt I felt knowing that I hadn't actually read Proust yet. I knew, on some level, that this was false advertising. I was completely ready to explain why I chose to throw Proust in my headline and, if asked, I would never have lied about it. And I consoled myself with the knowledge that I still INTENDED to read Proust... just not today.

Well, today finally came. As summer waned into fall and my desire to sit in hot bath reading a book returned full force, I decided it was probably time to make good on my Proust promise. I decided to put the first volume on hold at the library and, lo and behold, it came in immediately and suddenly I was faced with a very thick "Swann's Way" and no good reason not to read it.


I picked it up after the party Saturday night. That was foolish, but I came home more sober than I would've expected and I wasn't ready to sleep yet. It was the first chance I'd had to look at the book since I'd been so busy with party preparation. I read the first two pages and my eyes started closing. I got nervous. I thought, "Oh no, this is one of those awful, wordy french books, just a tangle of language, a neverending wrap-around maze of phrases and clauses that, in the end, go nowhere. This will be worse than stream of consciousness! This will be worse than Ulysses!"

I shut the book and decided I would probably have to change my headline. Without the alliteration, it really wouldn't have the same punch... maybe I could develop an appreciation for Pushkin? or Pynchon? (Doubt it.) I was bummed.

But yesterday I decided to give it another chance. I drew a nice hot bath after my kayaking adventure and I climbed in with my tea and my fat copy of "Swann's Way," the first volume of Proust's behemoth. I started on page one again... and I read... and read... and read... and I suddenly realized I was actually enjoying it!!! I realized I was moving steadily through the pages and I felt like a kid who suddenly realizes she's riding her bike along all by herself and mom's stabilizing hand has long since let go of the seat. I can do it! I can read Proust and I don't need to change my headline! It's a miracle.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

today's paddle

I'm not even going to apologize for my kayak obsession anymore. I'm just going to post pictures from my paddles and hope you enjoy them. More pics from the Halloween party are forthcoming, but just got home from this lovely paddle and wanted to share.

my name is earl

Happy Halloween Party.

Friday, October 26, 2007

well then

I was planning to put up a post called "a beautiful day in my neighborhood," which was supposed to include a lovely photo I took today of the autumn leaves in Irving Park over on Fremont. However, Blogger has other ideas. Apparently, Blogger isn't feeling well tonight and isn't technologically in the mood to allow me to upload photos. Sorry Blogger, hope you feel better tomorrow.

Instead I will just tell you (using my words) that it is really gorgeous in my neighborhood these days. What with the leaves changing and the... well... it's mostly just the leaves. And that crisp autumn air. It's pretty nice. Makes me want to hole up in a rustic little cabin somewhere with a lot of books and a fireplace and some root vegetables to eat. Fall gives me a powerful urge to nest. Good thing I've got the hovel.

Speaking of the hovel, it's getting a little dingy in here. I think some non-spring spring cleaning is due. I still haven't fully unpacked from my vacation, nearly three weeks worth of mail is scattered around my desk, my carpet is filthy and every flat surface is cluttered with junk just waiting to be sorted and stored.

I've got lots to do and no time to do it in. Remember how I used to have those lovely three day weekends? Well, those are gone. I'm working Fridays now, in the daytime, which means I have 8 less fun-hours per week and 8 more money-hours, which is good I guess. This weekend the X-Factor Kayakers are throwing a Halloween party... or really, Adventure Girl and I are throwing a Halloween party for the kayakers and anyone else who can show up. Unfortunately, our invites went out a little late and now I'm worried we'll be saddled with a pony keg (pun intended) that we can't possibly drink in one night. Oh well. Guess we'll all have to come back for round two on Sunday.

Oh lovely! Looks like Blogger has decided to stop being a douche and allow me to upload pics. Here's my beautiful neighborhood. Now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

i should totally be in bed -- NOW WITH LINKS!

But I couldn't resist! Thanks Lelo! This was fun.

Go build YOUR wild self. It's a really sweet program. Post it on your blog and then come leave me a comment so I can see everybody's inner animal nature. It'll be fun.

Monday, October 22, 2007

cheating with pictures

Hello people. I realize that lately I've been posting pictures instead of writing interesting blog posts. You might argue that I haven't written many interesting posts in months. Sorry. I had a hard time concentrating on words this summer. Now it's fall, the skies are dark, it's rainy outside (not today, but in general) and this is the time of year when the thinker and writer in me really thrives. You'll see. It'll be awesome. In fact, November is National Blog Post Month, where you attempt to post at least once a day, every day, for the whole month. It's also National Novel Writing Month. I'm planning to participate in both this year, so there will be a whole lotta writing going on here in the hovel. I'm looking forward to it. Until then, here are some more pictures of the paddle yesterday. And expect another round of vacation pictures -- just a few last things I wanted to share. But after that, I promise to buckle down and start writing really interesting, though-provoking stuff. You'll see.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

booties in action!

You saw the booties here yesterday, now see the booties in action! Here I am wearing my lovely new paddle booties during our awesome paddle on the Tualatin River today.

This was, I think, my favorite paddle yet (not including the camping paddles). The weather was cooperative, the leaves on the trees were lovely and yellow, the water was glassy, we saw a million ducks, a heron, a racoon and a very fat grey cat that sat on the bank and watched us until I pulled out my camera to take a picture, then she popped up and disappeared into the tall grass on the bank. It was so lovely, but very long and now I'm exhausted. We were in the water from about 10:45am until 3:30pm. My shoulers are sore and now I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

trouble at the derby

Tonight I went to ROLLER DERBY with some of my peeps from the lesbian breakfast club. Wow. I had never been to roller derby before and didn't even realize there was an actual *game* involved, with an objective and different positions and a scoring scheme. Who knew?

It was all pretty impressive, if not a little too chaotic to follow. There were lots of women, dressed in weird outfits, skating round and round and knocking each other down. Which was cool. And eventually I was able to pick out the ones who were able to score the points, and watch them for the most important action.

Of course the people-watching was top-notch. There were just slightly fewer lesbians than you might find at a Melissa Etheridge concert, which was awesome. SOOOOOOO many cute girls. Wow. Thank you Portland for being so full of cute girls. Including the skaters and some of the ladies in my party, which was nice. Ahhhhhhhhh girls.

However, there was minor ex drama. I ran into an ex I haven't seen in a very long time. Last time we interacted she basically told me to leave her alone, which I did. So it was strange and awkward to bump into her -- not once, but TWICE. The first time was quick and painless, but the second time was on the Max train heading home. She sat about ten feet away from me in the same car and we had a very uncomfortable conversation across the chasm between our seats. We asked each other pleasantry-type questions and then I just leaned my head back against the seat behind me and closed my eyes and waited for the ride to be over. I was never so happy to get off the Max.

As for roller derby, I'd give it a five out of ten stars. I just couldn't get excited. Maybe next time, now that I understand the game better and know the teams. Despite my lack of enthusiasm tonight, I *did* fantasize about participating. It looked pretty fun. And just so you know, my roller derby name would be Bull Dagga, and I'd wear a black utili-kilt and a wife-beater tank-top. I'd be pretty hot and I'd knock a lot of people down. It'd be awesome.

so glad to be back home

I can't tell you how happy I am to be back in Portland. Portland is a beautiful, wonderful, glorious place that holds me in it's sopping wet bosom and loves me like its only child. So what that it's raining and chilly? I LOVE it, not IN SPITE OF the rain and chill, but BECAUSE OF IT! I love the bright fall leaves and the deep grey sky and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. I'M SO HAPPY TO BE HOME!

In other news, I got some gear today! Before I left town, I ordered some paddle booties from REI online and this morning I got up early and headed over to pick them up from the downtown store where they were shipped for free. (Cool thing about ordering from REI.com: shipping to stores is free, you just have to go pick it up.) So guess what I'm doing right now? I'm wearing them because they're so awesome! I'll get to try them out tomorrow, and I can't wait!

For your viewing pleasure, my new paddle booties, to keep my little feet warm while paddling in the cold and rain.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

you want her, you can have her

Actual conversation between me and my mother just now:

Mom: (Watching commercial for the new Bionic Woman) "She's a British actress, but you can't tell. Isn't it weird to see someone who you know is totally British and then you hear them talk and they totally block out their British accent?"

Me: "They don't 'block out' their accent, they do an American accent."

Mom: "What? Americans don't have an accent. We talk plain."

Me: "Are you serious?"

Mom: (Looking at me like I'm crazy.) "Are YOU serious? Americans. Don't. Have accents."

oh snap

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Severus Snape

Well you're a tricky one aren't you? Nobody quite has you figured out and you'd probably prefer it stayed that way. That said you are a formidable force by anyone's reckoning, but there is certainly more to you than a frosty exterior and a bitter temper.

Severus Snape


Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Harry Potter


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Ginny Weasley


Ron Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Lord Voldemort


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

just a tiny glimpse into the madness

Why my mom makes me crazy, one example: We just watched the last twenty minutes of Borat and mom refused to believe that it all wasn't just a "put on." I explained how they made the movie, I explained the whole point, the controversy surrounding it, etc, etc. She refused to believe. She insisted they were all actors, that it was too "choreographed" to be real, that no people would really act that stupid.

Really? Wouldn't they?

Shortly thereafter, she dragged me into "mission control" (see photo below) to show me YouTube footage of alien bases on the moon. Yep. Alien bases on the moon. She didn't believe Borat was real, but she *did* believe the fuzzy grey buildings on YouTube were really alien moon bases and not just some asshole's film school project.

Wow. I'm frightened by the depth of her wisdom.

This is the office mom now shares with her brother and sister-in-law. Three fancy computers on which they play a game called Chicken Shooter and look up aliens and conspiracy theories on YouTube. I'm not sure if that really qualifies the room as an "office" per se, but whatever.

Monday, October 15, 2007

monday fantasy... boyfriend?!?!?

Ok, yes, I may have been drinking a little. (151 and Diet Dr. Pepper, I don't recommend it.) But I just watched Knocked Up and, seriously, if I accidentally got myself pregnant and decided not to kill it, I don't think I could do too much worse than Seth Rogen for the father. Funny, Jewish, sorta cute. Really. He's my first (and possibly only) fantasy baby daddy. I mean, fantasy boyfriend.

quiz to watch out for

Which Dyke to Watch Out For Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Lois

You are Lois, the ladykiller who's mellowed into an awesome, loyal girlfriend. Give yourself permission to read the newest Harry Potter at Camp Trans.















Sunday, October 14, 2007

new age wisdom of the day

How to slow the aging process, according to Deepak Chopra. Sounds reasonable. Especially the last one. Wish my family lived by these principles.

1. Change your perception of time. Don't be in a hurry.
2. Get restful sleep.
3. Eat fresh, nutritious food.
4. Take at least two multivitamins with minerals every day.
5. Practice a mind body technique such as yoga or tai chi.
6. Exercise regularly.
7. Don't put toxins in your life, including toxic food, toxic
emotions, toxic relationships, and avoid toxic environments or toxic relationships.
8. Have a flexible attitude to minor hassles.
9. Look at so-called problems as opportunities.
10. Nurture loving relationships.
11. Always have an attitude of curiosity, learning, and wonder and spend time with children.

holy shit

My dad's family has always been really big on genealogy -- which means that we have for many years known, conclusively, that we are not related to anyone of any historical importance. We are poor American farmers who descended from poor Irish farmers.

Until today, though, I never knew anything about my mom's side. I'd ask her every now and then and she'd claim ignorance. Just a few minutes ago, though, I was sitting here with my gun-toting grandfather and he started reminiscing about the old days so I decided to ask if he knew anything about the history of this side of the family.

He thought about it a minute and told me what he knew about his own family's unremarkable genealogy. Then I asked if he knew anything about my grandmother's side. (I'd ask her, but she's dead now.) He gave me some countries (England, Germany) then he said, "Well, you know she was descended from John Marshall... Chief Justice John Marshall."

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, as my stepmother might say.

For those of you who didn't go to law school with me, John Marshall is the father of constitutional law and, in my opinion, the most important Supreme Court Justice in the history of the court. And I've got his blood in my veins. And that's pretty fucking cool, as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

welcome to florida!

Mom's house. So bright. So sunny. So Floridian.

Mom. And her enormous grill. In her new gazebo.

The family. Mom, her dad, and her sister Linda. Do we look normal? Look closer.

We'll start slow. My rich aunt Linda. What you can't see is the pink bluetooth device hanging from her other ear. Whatever.

Now my grandfather. Seems like a sweet guy. But wait... what's that?

Why, it's a .38 revolver! Because you just never know when a backyard BBQ with family will erupt into bitter gang warfare... Want another look?

That's hot.

Moving right along... we went to the mall today. This is my brother. He bought me a new Columbia Sportswear jacket today because he's a rich computer programmer. He's the smartest person I know. Besides me...

Here's my new jacket.

Oh, and here's Buddy. He's seen better days.

And finally, a nice palm tree in the sunset. Sometimes Florida is cool...

reason number 417 why i hate florida

It's hot outside, but I'm wearing a sweater. Why? Because of the air-conditioning. I hate air-conditioning. What about you?

Friday, October 12, 2007

georgia in pictures, a retrospective exhibition

Encouraged by SK, I started writing "blog posts" in my word processing program while I was in Georgia so I could post them when I finally got back to civilization. I quit writing those, however, after only a day or so because they were dumb. Sorry, I don't know why, but I had a really hard time processing the Georgia experience. It's too much. For now, here are some pictures.

Here's where I was, the valley where my family lives. It's been in the family a hundred years at least, my grandfather's father aquired the land... I think. I should ask my dad. He built the barn too. The land has been split among all my grandparent's children, my Uncle Bill has the part with the barn on it now. He makes sure it doesn't rot away. Used to be a dairy, but hasn't had a cow in it in 20 years I guess.

Pretty, huh? I fantasize about coming down here someday when my family are all dead and gone. I love this place, but my family drive me crazy. I love Margie though. She's the reason I keep coming back. Here she is in all her glory. I call this series "Don't watch me eating red velvet cake."

And this is what I like to call "Faces of Boredom," from my narcissism collection.

And finally, Margie on her front porch. I call this one "Ya'll come back now, ya hear!" Or, "Dawn, stop taking my picture!"