disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kicked out of the post office (or, alternate title) too hot for meth labs

I grew up near where I currently live, at 5,000 feet above sea level in a small mountain town; sounds kind of like South Park doesn't it?

So today was hot. Like, record-breaking hot. It was all over the news, internationally, with highs an hour away (deep down in the desert) of 125 degrees!

Here it was a nice "cool" 100. Record-breaking still.

I remember back when I was about twelve years old and it was a record-breaking 96. People might foo-foo it, but where we live, few have air conditioning. Even most stores, schools, etc lack air conditioning, so 96 is HOT.

My little town lacked a/c anywhere except the post office. I recall sitting in front of the family fan (we were kind of poor so we had one box fan we crowded around and one small clip-on fan) just melting in place, waiting for a friend to come over. My parents gave us five bucks to go check the mail and so we did and "OMG" it was wonderful! The post office had air conditioning! The only place in town! So we hung out for two hours, bored as hell but cooled off, until we got kicked out for loitering. pshaw.

I also recall roasting in my bedroom, itching from prickly heat rash, wanting for dead every summer, which is why when I bought a home here, I wanted it set for a/c. My childhood bedroom was a loft room, uninsulated, facing west with one tiny window. Most every summer day might reach 85 (most summer says are 75-80) but my room, from 4:00pm until 4:00am, would be 96 degrees no matter what, with a little clip fan to "cool" me. I hated it.

So today I enjoyed our air conditioning when it was 100 out.

I even more enjoyed it when 3,500 acres caught fire about 30 miles west, with drift smoke and ashes filling my hot mountain air.

I remember it was 88 out, at 9:30am, and no breeze- we always have breeze- so it felt sweltering. At noon, 100 degrees, we got a breeze and I thought, phew a breeze but it will bring the fire bugs out. Having evacuated more times than I can recall, well, I hate fires.

So I enjoy our central air because my asthma, my husband and son's asthma, does not have to get too bad because our air system has a filter..because the sky is orange, the sun and sky the same eerie color as a partial eclipse, my cars dusty with falling ashes.

Oh and there was a smaller fire about five miles away. A meth lab blew up. yep. Same thing happened two summers ago.

But anyway, sometimes Los Angeles with bitch and moan, oooooh it's in the 90's we're all going to die (just like they do when it is "freezing" out at 50 degrees) and I'm sorry, LA, but I lack sympathy.

Why? Most Angelinos have a/c. Not all; I had a boyfriend in college from out there and no a/c. But yes, most have a/c. to escape 90 degree heat. The few who don't have options. I bet every Angelinos has within a 5 minute drive and in many cases a five minute walk at least one of the following, all with a/c.....
1. Library  (my town had one, but no a/c)
2. Shopping mall
3. mega-mart store
4. Starbucks, Mc Donalds, some food establishment
5. Grocery store (again my town had one but no a/c)
6. Official cooling center for those without a/c
7. public swimming pool
.... the list goes on....

What's the list have in common? All those places are within five minutes and have a/c so the Angelinos have an option to go to the mall or library or whatever and cool down for the day.

We, the people in my hometown, did not. Even our local swimming holes, creeks, often dried up and the one that didn't was usually filled with naked stoned hippies and drunk teenagers.

We had no choice but to swelter.

I often begged my parents for even a little window a/c unit. I see them all over town nowadays. I don't know if it was poverty, how windows were made in the 1930s (many homes were built around then), the electrical system or what but in the 80s, no one in my town had those window a/c units. It's like they didn't exist and yet they did. What's up with that?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Prairie Home Companion; or, Why My Underwear are on Display

Our dryer finally done broke. (Yes, hick vernacular, you will see why).

My mother in law has a spare dryer but it is 102 degrees out where she is at so....

I'm drying my clothes on a line.

With a husband, myself (duh) and two boys, we have A LOT of laundry. I feel like I am job shadowing Sister Wives.

So we have three lines criss-crossing our back yard with our laundry out for all to see, even our underwear.

What have I learned from almost two weeks without a dryer?

Well, I am indeed curious how my energy bill will fare; how much I will save.

It takes time to hang each individual item. Tossing them in the dryer is so much faster and careless.

But hanging clothes is kind of...Zen.

In a world where it is rush rush rush and now now now- we even get mad if wikipedia takes to long to load..... slowing down and hanging laundry is kind of...nice. You can take a break from kids. You can think to yourself. You can enjoy the sunshine. You realize the time you are spending would've been spent surfing the web or texting or watching tv, things that take up so much time that we don't notice.

I don't like the crunchy towels, wrinkled shirts, stiff underwear, but the time taken to hang and take off laundry is quite nice. You should try it. And, you can piss off your passive aggressive weekender neighbors by hanging underwear on the line closest to their windows ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2016

"I can't, I have a migraine"

This is me on a normal day.
"I can't, I have a migraine"

If you can answer the phone and say this, you probably don't have a migraine.

But you could have prodrome or postdrome, the before and after parts of migraines many of us get in addition to the migraine itself.

Lucky me, I often get all 3.

Not only do I get a migraine so painful that it rivals the moments before transition in childbirth (for those in the know), but I get the prodrome and postdrome.

Last night, I felt nauseous, hot and cold, very sleepy yet troubled. Suddenly my midl headache became DEATH. I stumbled upstairs for some advil. The dark was too dark, the light to light, the fan in the bathroom as loud as a jet engine, the water helping my pills down was too watery, my blankets were too in the way..

I woke up still nursing the migraine, more advil, a bunch of caffeine, and....


I am still noise and light sensitive; my pain is gone until something is too bright or loud, which is basically everything today, especially being that I'm a mom of two young boys. The noise is like a ratchet, click click, tightening a sharp drill into my skull.

And the dizziness. It feels like I am nearly blackout-drunk, when everything spins in circles.

The lethargy, oh, I am so tired, everything is laborious including this blog. I contemplate adult diapers, the bathroom is soooooo far away. I'd sleep but the postdrome won't let me.

Its as if I can feel my neurons spazzing.

I can't quite explain it in words but here goes.

You know how static on a tv looks and sounds? Imagine a faint bit of static in front of your eyes (plus the drunk spinning view). Then add the sound of static, or nails on a chalkboard, how it fills your ears, makes you shudder, recoil. Imagine that while you can't actually hear the static, your body reacts from it, recoiling, ears full.

Disordientation. You feel disoriented as if on drugs, but not good drugs... or so I imagine, having never been on drugs. But I'd say its like a "bad trip". You get body dysmorphia, your foot might feel like its here but really it is there, a body part might feel giant and bloated but look tinier than usual.

Flu. It feels like the flu, without the coughing, barfing, sniffling. That I got hit by a truck please ust kill me now feeling.

Duh. You can't think. Really, I'm lucky to have remembered to put on pants. The milk might be on the stove, dog food in the freezer, car keys in the dryer, I wouldn't be surprised. I barely even know who I am or where I am. Ignorance is not bliss.

The ADD. I don't feel well, so its like ok time to catch up on some TV or read a book, right? But I read a sentence and its as if it is in Greek, or like it is tangible, a little cloud of words in front of you that poof! disappear, so you read the sentence again and it vanishes again. You can't follow the plot of a tv show, because the blazing green color of your sock holds your attention, no, your eyes dart to the clock, barely moving, ouch why do my pants give me a headache, where did I put the milk?

All you want to do is sleep, but that neuron static keeps you wide awake. Lethargic, dumber than a brick, but deer in headlights level wide awake. gzzt. you feel the electricity pulse through your veins, your heart beat drums loudly.

You want to just close your eyes and rest, but you can't.

The static lessens about 10% if you focus on something, so staring into space isn't an option, the static gets deafening, but you cannot focus on anything anyways.

You feel detached most of all.

So to today, just end already. My to do list is increasing, my house looks like a tornado wreck because I cannot keep up with two kids! But I want to do stuff. I'm jonesing to write my book, I have some training to do for a new job, I have a house to clean, garden to water, shopping to do, I have to go to my prior workplace to get some things, I have a bunch of liens to memorize for a play, laundry to fold, friends and family to call.....

But I can't. I have migraine postdrome.


This. This is an image depicting post-drome. Actually, a migraine looks just the same on my face. I think I age thirty years during one....And btw I'm wearing just as much makeup in both my "normal" and post-drone photo.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Selfish vs Selfless

I had a giant awakening, a lesson in selfishness verses selflessness.

I love my job. I work at a small private school, teaching a smorgasbord of subjects for grades 7-12, a jack of all trades. Highlights have included a few students calling me their other mom, dining on a good-as-a-professional-chef-but-made-by-teens meal for Chinese New Year, and being told "thanks for teaching this, how do people live without it", just to name a few highlights. Once my students walk in the door, the day zooms by and I am filled with total, complete, joy. I love my job. Love your job and never work a day in your life, right? I finally found a job with the teaching freedom I desire, along with spiritual growth, and an amazing group of staff and students. I feel....alive. Amazing,


Here's where I go preachy.

God gives you lessons and sometimes they are not easy.

Selfishness verses selflessness seems easy. I am often far too selfless, but, maybe it is selfless through the guise of selfishness. I do XYZ to help people, because, it brings me joy. It is kind of a selfish thing of pride, where I have pride in helping people. I have pride in my super-awesome job.

I feel like God gave me my current job to kind of wake me up after an abysmal few years where I battled major depression, self doubt, and personal and family crises. I believe this job allowed me to think to myself, I'm worthy. I can find joy in things again. It is all good, man...

And then...

My son is mild special needs, and suddenly showed signs of needing more help, things I won't divulge all the details, but, he needs me. It is a sort of situation where only mom, time, and support can help him, and I can only give that if...

If I choose selflessness over selfishness.

So I told my boss, find a new teacher. Once you do, I quit. I told her this, of course, through choking tears.

Then, somehow, some students found out,so I told them my decision to quelch any rumors. I tried to stay strong, but began to tear up.  I will miss my students, staff, job so much. Also, quitting mid year is like career suicide, but, my son comes first. His needs come first.

It seems so easy, doesn't it? Put your children first. I have always believed this, but have never had to sacrifice so much, give up so much, make such a "what should I do" decision as this. But I know it is the right decision.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The cartographer's dragon

I seem to gravitate towards sci-fi or fantasy geeks, and always have. My friends growing up were the boys playing Magic cards and going to Renaissance Faires, the girls also at the Ren Faire; fantasy and sci-fi novels reigned supreme and still do among some of my friends.

But I have a secret.

I'm not that much into fantasy, Ren Faire, Sci-fi books.... 

But then again, maybe I am. Just in my own unique way.

As a child, I loved maps. National Geographic has always been a favorite, and the occasional fold-out map of some far away country was like an origami-folded Christmas gift of sorts. Just like with the Rand McNally Road map my parents carried in the back of the Jeep, or the Thomas Brothers LA County map my grandpa kept in the toolbox (for scoping out rental properties to fix), my fingers and eyes would excitedly trace every hill, river, toll road, and culdesac for hours at end. I would proudly try and twist my tongue to pronounce foreign outposts, memorize street maps of nearby towns, and study facts about the geography of wherever. 

I had a large cardboard child's atlas with cartoon icons n the maps (a four foot wide map of the USA with cacti in the west, oil fields near Texas, some very un-pc "Indian" person near Oklahoma.... I would imagine visiting the oil fields, the Indians, the cacti....I used the atlas as a slide, a building block, a place to nap, a table to draw on. I tried to match the bright icons to places on an outdated, rickety globe I found at a yard sale, and I'd dream of visiting places I knew little about: 12,000 tallest peak, 3 million people in the capital, icons for adobe huts..... I'd spin the globe for hours, closing my eyes, tracing my finger and seeing where I'd end up.

I even drew my own maps, twisty loops of residential streets complete with imaginary street names, home plots, driveways, and trees.

I created thousands upon thousands of little worlds in my minds, some based on reality, some completely fantasy, with made up residents, lives, life stories, adventures, scenic views.

This hobby even spilled over into my lifelong hobby of genealogy and postcard collecting, as well as my newer found hobby of: Google Map Street View. I will do as I did with the globe as a child, scrolling waaaay out, closing my eyes, clicking, zooming in. A rugged arctic outcrop in northern Russia, a busy street scene in Bangkok, rusty tractor parts in rural Romania, a caballero and his cows crossing a dusty Argentinian road. Every square inch tells a story I do not know but can only imagine.  Layers upon layers of history, of love and conquest, pain, beauty, silence. People come, people go, events of history imperceptibly change the environment. Millions of that-snapshot-that-moment scenes, experienced differently by each observer, never to be experienced again.

As an armchair traveler and pretend cartographer, I envelop myself in a fantasy world of wonderment based solely upon an image, a street name, a blank spot on the map.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The best gift you can give is a gift you want for yourself?

My husband bought me exercise equipment, something I wanted until I was like ouch it hurts. I bought him a smoker, something he wanted until I ended up with free time to play with it. So the best gift is the one you want for yourself, right?

Anyways, while I haven't any ancient Pacific Northwest Homesteader relatives, I still feel I'm channeling some hereditary thing because I am loving smoking things. Just like I love (but often fail) to garden.

I am not at all a hopeless romantic, but I find some poetic, simplistic, romantic notion in making your own food the old fashioned way- canning, smoking, gardening. I could never live "unplugged" as I enjoy, fear too much, ambient temperatures and would hate to live without heaters and air conditioners, refrigeration, and the like. But nevertheless, slowing down and putting your own effort and love into a food, for example, is rewarding.

Heck I'd love to smoke some elk, but, I'm too chicken to actually kill an elk and too squeamish to prepare it for smoking. I guess I should be vegetarian but I much prefer the alienated approach to meat, with styrofoam packages from the butcher counter. However, I do promote hunting over slaughterhouses. I mean, I've been past "cowchwitz" aka Harris Ranch in California where beef cattle sit unshaded in the hot sun atop their own feces, crowded together like sardines, stinking the air for miles and making a very obvious methane cloud. How awful for those poor cows. Bounce, bounce, bounce through the brush, bang you're dead for, say, a deer, is far more humane.

My mom disagrees and is refusing to tell us when hunting season is in Oregon cause how could we hunt an animal? Meanwhile she munches down on a shredded beef burrito. Hypocrite.

But anyway, just like my 6 hour fennel pork roast and roht kohl cabbage meal, smoking meats is an all day experience with lots of need for patience, lots of room for both oops and omg there's no turning back I screwed up, and some sort of food zen. When you can get a cheeseburger in ten seconds from a drive through, there is a certain joy in, say, brining a salmon for 24 hours, drying it for 4, then smoking it in cold smoke for 8 hours before you get to enjoy it.

Part of me wants to live on some ranch or country acreage where I have to hunt and garden for a living, except yeah I enjoy the convenience of the grocery store....sprinkled with my own small (like 100 square foot at most) organic garden of goodies.

The simple life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Misses Clumsy's mad ninja skills

Shh....I'm a ninja.

Sure, I've sprained my ankle 6 times, and was so clumsy and non-sporty in elementary school that the teachers asked my mom if I should join adaptive P.E. (P.E. for the handicapped childen). But I have mad ninja skills when needed, apparently.

I was watching a movie called He Never Died (a graphic dark comic type movie) with an actor, Booboo Stewart in it whose Native American looking appearance reminded me of a dark memory of my past.  So.....sigh....here goes.

I certainly had my dark days of being a party girl, which most who know me will find quite surprising, but it is true. My group of guy friends and I went to a  popular Spring Break  destination along a river adjoining a Native American Reservation. Geez this blog post is so dull right now but trust me there's a whammy coming up.

So we partied. Too much beer legging makes you have to pee, but the only restrooms they had were the glorified porta-potties where they're holes in the ground with a toilet seat, and I have a not so irrational fear of them because, well, eww. So I did my best to avoid using them but really really had to go. A rather attractive Native American guy had joined our festivities and said he lived nearby, so I naively asked where to go pee in hopes maybe there was a 7-11 in the middle of nowhere, because, beer doesn't equal logic. He motioned to the mesquite bushes by a hill and I was like, screw it, if you gotta go you gotta go, but I still wanted some modesty so I walked rolled down the hill a bit before finding landing upon a perfectly pokey mesquite bush to pee on, and all that with only minimal lacerations!

I limped back to the campsite and probably drank some more. And then, yep, I had to pee some more, but I wasn't in the mood to go tumbling into bushes again so I mustered enough courage to go to the glorified porta-potties.

As I excited, a pickup truck of guys began to speed past and slammed on their brakes upon seeing me. I was too drunk to properly pee in the bushes or probably form a coherent sentence, but my spidey sense yelled "DANGER!", but I had nowhere to run between the potties and the truck. I don't recall every specific which is probably for the best, but suddenly there were arms all around me and I was in the back of the truck while some cretin began to undress me. OH HELL NO I thought. I knew where this was headed, but I was stuck, half-naked in the back of a speeding pickup truck.

And that's when my ninja skills kicked in. Just like when in high school, my cousin and best friend conspired against me to try and grab me and throw me in the lake at midnight, and little 90 pound weakling me began to kick and thrash mid-air (My best friend to this day will tell you, "she freaking levitated and did kung fu!"), my ninja skills came to power.

I somehow got pissed off or frantic enough for my ninja survival skills to kick in enough for me to wrestle myself away from a bunch of frat guys hell-bent on rape, and I did a tuck-and-roll jump out of a moving truck into a dirt road and ran like hell back to camp, screaming "help help".

My boyfriend's best friend saw me first, and while I was a dramatic drunk (and he often became my babysitter), he knew somehow this wasn't just me being dramatic and he ran over to me. I explained what had happened through tears, and he vowed to find the %^&* that tried to rape me. We went on a little walk and walked over a ridge to find the guys by a fire pit. I know it was them.

Whether for better or worse, my friend put a hot fire poker on the main assailant's arm and told him something to the effect of him keeping his "parts" in his pants and not messing with women, and that hopefully his new scar would forever remind him of his mistake.

Phew. After holding in that story for 15 years, it feels good to let it out.