Monday, September 29, 2008

Leaving for LA

Home Depot Center Velodrome/ADT Event Center/Snickers Bar Cycling Track/Maidenform Oval Thingy

We're off to Track National Championships, Version 2008. No road trip in the team van this time. Just a regular, old, boring airplane flight of which I am not afraid of in the least. Not afraid. Not afraid. Not afraid.

Unfortunately, we may have to miss seeing our old buddy, Craig Ferguson, as his show tapes in the afternoon, and we may not have any of those free. Same holds true for our real friend, Adam Felber's show, Real Time, with the stranger Bill Maher (you can't expect me to be on a first name basis with everyone).

I'll be in touch via raspberry if something crazy happens.

I'm going to go pack my Valium now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dean Is In Barcelona

...kicking ass worldwide.

10th in sprints
6th in keirin (he won the 6th through 10th round)
3rd in team sprint!

Read about it and live vicariously.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vincent Van Gogh was my David Foster Wallace. Sort of.

I guess I can sympathize, not so much with the feeling of loss, but with the struggle to understand that I am encountering amongst some of my most admired bloggers this past week, although I wasn't a big DFW reader.

Tortured genius is a true species amongst the genus artists.

"The diseases that we civilized people labor under most are melancholy and pessimism."
Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Onward Christian Soldiers

I'm an agnostic who likes to go to church.

Churches often have nice people in them (although not always), and there's coffee and refreshments afterward. And sometimes, if I'm lucky, I can get a break from feeling agnostic, because, believe me, it's not a comfortable condition.

Churches, however, (with the exception of the Unitarian-Universalists, who I can't figure out) are made for true believers. They sing about how much they believe, the pray about how much they believe, and they talk about what awesome things they're going to do with all that belief.

I don't want to sing about something I'm really iffy about. I don't mind praying; I talk to my dogs, even though I know they don't understand English. But I don't want to listen to a sermon exhorting me to go out there and throw my belief around.

I want a sermon that tells me I'm not crazy to be in a church. I want a sermon that makes me take out my Bible, which is all marked up from the years spent studying why I should believe, and mark up some new sentence with some light. Some good news.

Since I experienced such a sermon last, 12 years ago or so in Bend, I've been to four or five churches looking for another. I know, that's not that many in 12 years, but have you ever been to a new church? It's exhausting, and for me, terrifying to meet all those nice smiling people.

I tried a new one this morning. I have nothing to report, sermon-wise, because they had a visiting pastor who was awful, but the lovely church lady who led me to the after-service coffee hour assured me that their regular pastor is way better. They sure could use some help in the hand bell choir, though.

I've been more diligent this year in trying to find a new church. The thing that is puzzling me about my recent church visits is that I spend most of the hour staring at the hymnal, inwardly criticizing the preposterousness of the words, trying not to glare at fussy babies, and critiquing lay peoples' reading abilities and styling choices, and then I go to take communion and get a big cry-lump in my throat.

What's that about? I've never really even considered communion a necessity to Christian worship. I always thought it a little over-wrought and not exactly what Jesus had in mind. I could go all theological on your ass right here, but I'll refrain. So why the emotion flood?

If you say it's God's will, I will hit you.

I'm Serious, There Are a Lot of Tomatoes Here.

Anyone for some marinara? So far this past week, I've made one pot of marinara and four ovens-full of baked tomatoes to freeze. I've also eaten pasta with baked tomatoes, bread with baked tomato spread, pasta over split cherry tomatoes, basil and Swiss chard, and salad with an extra helping of tomatoes.

But they are all home grown tasting, which means delicious, and I'm going to keep at it until the freezer is bulging and my skin is shiny and red. Redder than usual.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone

Drew's gone on his adorable little "Long Way Round Oregon" trip with his cross-country motorcycling buddies this week.

I don't miss him. That's not to say that I won't be happy to have him back. I just enjoy me some "me time." More than most people, I'm afraid (I already get 24 hours of "me time" every time Drew goes to work.) And I must say I may be not missing him more than usual this time, as we had just spent a week together. Like, constantly together.

However, I am missing Dean. The quiet reminds me how much I miss him. I laugh more with Dean around.

The dogs are funny, but they're not Dean funny.

That is all.

Back to my tomato cooking.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blogging During Football Season and Other Adventures

This post was written on my raspberry while watching the Duck/Purdue game this afternoon. Sorry for the interruptions.

At a Steens overlook, checking the glacier-scoured gorge for wildlife. Score: one golden eagle.

I could begin my post by continuing the outdoor-toilet-substitute-exploits theme begun last time, but I'm afraid that story may lead to my son finding it necessary to dig the visualization lobe out of his brain with a spare bicycle spoke, so I will just report here that there are very few outhouses in the Steen Mountains.

(Aah, crap - interception. This game is not going as planned.)

The Steens Mountains wilderness area has two official

(Fumble on the kick! Purdue's ball again! Aaah!)

The Steens Mountains wilderness area has two official

(A Purdue run to the two yard line!)

The Steens Mountains wilderness area has two official campgrounds up on top: one with maybe a dozen spaces around a tiny lake, and one with just four spaces around a dry wash.

We chose the latter on account

(now 20 to 3! What the hell!)

We chose the latter on account of the camo-clad bowhunters at the lake campground, who, instead of bowhunting, seemed to be content to use random campground items for beer-fueled target practice.

The Steens is dry and high, with several glacier-scooped gorges, juniper, sage, and aspen just turning yellow now.

I think this is the one that is not the Little Blitzen River Gorge (the one we hiked along), but the other one.

It's high and thus cold at night, which makes a good sleeping bag a must, and some quick-on sweats a must for those late-night outhouse trips.

(Argh! Missed pass! Yipes! Bad snap! This game is a nightmare.)

We heard something prowling around our campground the first night, but Drew had his big old camping knife with him, so even though I kept thinking about Brick Tamblin's concern about women and bears,

(What! That was an incomplete pass, not a fumble!)

I wasn't worried. In the morning, Drew says he saw some tracks that may have belonged to a bobcat. Bobcats aren't scary - they're cute with their fluffy ears.

(This game sucks.)

Monday night, all four spaces were full in our little campground, with more hopeful campers continuing to drive through, scanning for spaces late into the evening.

Tuesday night, inexplicably, we had the whole place to ourselves. We scoured the other three camp spaces for firewood (feeling a little like survivors from Cormac McCarthy's The Road),

OMG, our adorable little tent nestled against the golden aspens.

(Aargh! Another interception!)

We started a fire, hooked the Ipod up to the truck and listened to a Tim Dorsey book (Serge Storms: my favorite serial murderer with a photographic memory for Florida history and a certain code of gentlemanly behavior, however twisted).

Wednesday morning there was frost on the tent, and the coffee water took such a long time to boil.

(Dropped ball! Dropped ball! Dropped ball!)

After three days and two nights of dry and dusty camping, we were ready for some hot water and a milkshake, so we packed up the camp and headed east.

(Finally! A Duck interception! With 39 seconds left in the half.)

East? Yes, east - first to a natural hot springs spot on the edge of the Alvord Desert (sort-of lovingly sort-of kept up by loyal users), where we lolled in a wind-screened pool of slightly slimy, sulfury and minerally spa-hot water in the middle of nowhere on the edge of an ancient dry lake bed with no one in sight. Brilliant and absurd.

(20 - 6 Purdue at half time. Ugh.)

Once the hot water had turned my face a satisfying shade of fuchsia, it was time to move on to Fields, the teeny-tiny town that is home to the legendary Fields General Store.

The Fields General Store's claim to fame seems to be burgers and shakes. And the kind of quirky homeliness found only in American deserts.

If you eat at Fields, I suggest that you take a seat away from the grill, as it is best not to watch this process too closely. It would also be best to be one of those desert individualists who don't have much use for either aesthetics or hygiene. Or those food safety "theories."

(An Oregon pick! I hope the offense takes advantage this time! Nope. Fumble.)

We ended the day with hot showers in a Bend motel up on Century Drive.

Thursday was our ann

(Duck special teams touchdown! Purdue is now only up by 7. But where's the offense?)

Thursday was our anniversary and Drew wanted to do something nice for me, so we had a milli-calorie breakfast at the Westside, and headed up past Todd Lake to one of the Broken Top trail heads. Drew's aim was to hike over to the Green Lakes, which lay between Broken Top and the South Sister.

Drew is not a natural hiker. The hiking he does, he does either for me or for meat. (You know, for hunting.)

It didn't look that far on the map, but it ended up being a 6 to 7 -mile hike one way to the lakes, which are actually nestled at the base of the South Sister. Drew and his flat feet and sore shins, still smarting from Steens hiking the day before, were tired and achy when we got to the lakes, and although the scenery was unmatchable, with very few other humans within whistling distance, he rested in the shade while knowing he had to do it all over again to get back to the truck.

Green Lakes. Just at the timber line. Inaccessible for nine-ten months out of the year, they are so high up in the Cascades.

(Duck touchdown! The score is tied! Tied! Quack, dammit, effing quack!)

On our way up, Drew marveled at trail maintenance crews, who must pack chain saws up here to clear the trails of downed trees. I could easily imagine doing that, but can't imagine doing 100-mile bicycle rides just for a workout like Drew-type people do.

Although the hike up to the lakes had been quiet as we were busy admiring the scenery, I thought Drew could use some

(Fumble! Oregon's got it!)

I thought Drew could use some distraction on the way down, so I kept him talking. I rewound our last 26 years, and stopped it every five years to see what we could remember.

(Another fumble back to Purdue. Crap.)

From 1982, we stopped at 1987 (at Travis AFB with a show-stopping-cute two-year-old), 1992 (living in Bend before the BFD experience goes sour, Dean learning how to ignore his teachers), 1997 (post BFD "divorce" and past a quick spacer job at the PDX FD and new at the VFD job, living in Tualatin close to my Hollywood Video legal dept job), 2002 (deep into Hollywood Video supervisory headaches and starting to learn what it means to have a kid who is good at an expensive and unpopular sport), and finally 2007, our 25th anniversary, which we celebrated by gaining a daughter-in-law in August.

(Purdue is on the 15 and threatening. Here comes the field goal guy...yep. Purdue up by 3.)

That and a few other random topics kept us talking all the way back to the truck. It was touch and go at times when Drew stopped to rest his aching back - I wasn't sure whether he was going to straighten back up again, but he powered through it like a soldier.

Some happy-anniversary dinner at the Pine Tavern and a soaking in the Turkish bath at McMenamins, and Drew's back on top.

Drew at Green Lakes. He's smiling with his mouth, but not with his eyes.

(Aach! Another missed catch in the end zone! Oh well, we got a field goal out of it. Back to a tie at 23.)

I wouldn't kick him in the shins today if I were you. Well, any time, really. But those shins are more than a little sore today.

(28 seconds left. Purdue has the ball. Down to a 44 yard field goal. Its wide! Its going to overtime!)

(Crap. QB Roper's down with a knee injury. Field goal for 3. Purdue's turn.)

(Thurmond gets a pass interference. Purdue gets close. Closer. Another field goal. To OT#2.)

(Purdue goes backward in their possession, and can't hit the field goal.)

(Freshman Duck QB Harper gets sacked as well. Johnson gets some yards back and Ducks get a 1st down. Blount in the end zone! TD and its over!)

(Holy crap. I've got to go lie down.)

Camping is made better by the shower afterward. Hiking is made better by the payoff at the end of the trail. If you get a chance to hike to Green Lakes (it turns out there is a shorter trail - check your favorite Central Oregon hiking guidebook), I would definitely do it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Out Experiencing Life. Back Later.

Drew is taking me camping in the Steens Mountains* for our anniversary tomorrow.

Check back next weekend for important updates.

*Far southeast corner of Oregon where there are more wild horses than people. But more cowboy hats than heads.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Experiencing Hate Overload. Must Shut Down Television.

Oh, the gnashing of teeth. The spitting of invective. The belittling of common cause. The sarcastic personal attacks.

The hate, hate, hate, hate!

Just turn the other cheek, man. No, the other cheek. Yeah, those cheeks.

I have had it up to here, and I'm going back over to Cute Overload for a time out. Join me, won't you?

Annie will be in bed if you need her.

Monday, September 01, 2008

And a Note to the Captain...

...thought you'd like to know that our neighbor, whom I shall call Larry, spent the day with his new life-partner, the power washer, again.

Why? What?

I was asked yesterday why I blogged, and what it was I blogged about.

Although I was pretty clear about the why (see title), I wasn't sure how to answer the what. At the end of the conversation, it seemed like the consensus was that I was wasting my time.

To avoid such self confidence-destroying conversations in the future, my current goal is to think of an answer for the what without resorting to my new standby answer, "you do not have the proper clearance."

Here are some ideas.

  • I write about life from the perspective of a hermit.
  • I post reminiscences of my life as a hobo.
  • I am the proprietor of a dog hair management website.
  • I write about everything but the stories my husband brings home from the fire department, which would make a better blog, but which might not be so ethically hygienic.
  • I fill my blog with random words and pictures of cute animals.
  • My blog is a long, rambling substitute for a "My Child Is An Honor Student" bumper sticker.
  • My blog is a pathetic and failed attempt at attention.
  • My blog is a trusted source for collie photos, self-flagellation, shared gripes, eco-rants, and biased cycling news.
  • My blog is a Fair and Balanced look at time wasting strategies.
Let me know if you come up with something.