Oh, 98232.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

These are the things of which we don't speak, y'all. (Or even know).

Reading another blog born in the Carolinas today inspired me to add y'all to my sentences. Something about it feels friendlier. So imma try to do that now, y'all.

Unknown unknowns; there are things we do not know we don't know. Such a lovely concept. Thanks to the US defense leg and D. Rumsfeld for it.

...and then there is the call I keep receiving from "Unknown" who remains unknown because they do not leave a message. I screen, ladies and gentlemen. Leave messages.

Disclaimer: I have both a cold and what I believe is an infected incisor and thus, my cognitive sentence and idea forming skills are waning and mildly medicated away. Dripping out my nose, y'all.

Everything comes back to Edison. A thriving arts and beer elbow in this zip code. Just take Bow Hill Road exit from I-5. (Exit 236). Take it and do not stop heading west until you hit the quaint village macaronied by slough. Take it today, perhaps with me in tow, and then take it directly to where I left my car. Two days ago, y'all. Boxing Day and Sunday and dancing to that familiar Edison twang and reuniting with my lovelies. Shuffleboard and last call and let's go to Matthew's after party! I had a good time. And heck, I'm glad I didn't drive away from it. Even though I've recently learned that the boy I used to hold hands with on the elementary school bus is now a locally patrolling officer and I'd sure like to see him again - still glad.

What's making this difficult to transition to, this topic of unknown unknowns, is deciphering the language with which to talk about something that experience and societal habits ordain the secrets you must keep. News you must not share. Anything that dispenses discomfort. And then you will join me in the knowledge, and perhaps we can coexperience unknown knowns together. And known knowns. And perhaps we'll all dissolve this understanding and overuse of kn- words to the point where they look wrong when we type them.

Several people rubbed my stomach at the bar on Sunday. You see, what's more troublesome than telling people you are pregnant, is telling them that you have miscarried. And that you are not a fetal alcohol syndrome fetus mangler on your fifth beer. I feel bad to tell them this. Just in the same ways I can't tell people no, I have trouble delivering bad news. I hate making people feel BAD. Also, I don't want people to feel bad for me.

So very many of the women I tell respond with their own miscarriage stories. How common this is, y'all! And honestly, how much better these stories make me feel. Being alone in something sucks. I took myself out of public for awhile after learning, (coincidentally, the crappy news came via phone call received while shuffleboarding at the Edison), to privately grieve with my husband. To get past the point where I couldn't talk about it to the place where I can.

I'm not encouraging the complaint. Heavens-to-Murgatroyd we hear enough of those. I'm just sayin' that I don't understand the implied safeguarding of certain particulars. I'm not going to generalize with "having a tough time," or "everything's just fine!" I'm going to tell you we've been busy with this, and it is what it is. Starting now.

My husband and I have reached a point in understanding and have found places to appreciate our cards. It feels good to know that we are capable of making a person from nothing. We know that if something is wrong our bodies deal better than our minds. We know that we will be able to both enjoy a champagne toast this New Year's Eve, y'all.

I'm not sure any of this falls under the unknown unknown direction I set out to take. Or has an insight into 98232 life specifically. But I remember wanting to write about these thoughts as I was driving a few days ago, and well... there it is. Y'all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hauntings and Holidays.

Bow for the Holidays.
baby keller tree

Apparently the clouds impeded our Skagit visions of the rare Solstice Eclipse. For those of us who ventured the morning hours for a peek. Those of you, I might say. I was fast asleep and warmly tucked into bed. Unlike the Summer Solstice, the Winter one doesn't really get me in the mood for a party. Mostly because by the point it comes, I've already been led to believe that winter was months in. The Winter Solstice event helps only to remind me that the cruelty of the northwest weather is really in for a lengthy and gray visit.

Christmas. Something about it makes me anxious. But my husband loves it. My sister and mother love it. I like it when they like things, so I'm here for the show. For the first time in our Christmas history, Max and Michelle Keller have our very first decorated indoor holiday pine tree. My sister brought this tiny thing and leftover trimmings over and now our humble shit shack has a lovely red and green glow. Bets to how long we leave it up are being taken.

Hot buttered rums were called for last night and I ventured the Edison Tavern's Taco Tuesday. Something special about holiday drinks. Spiced mulled wines and warm cocktails. A shuffleboard game with Dave kept me busy. I am tempted to go on here about the Edison's front board's characteristics, but I'll refrain. This could turn into a blog about shuffleboard more easily than not, so I'll attempt not. I swear I'm not secretly an old man. After the game, (in which I came up from a 10-3 score to victor), I had fantastic company and conversation. On my right was Randy, who is a jack-of-all instruments in local band Smoke Wagon, and on the left was Joel Brock, Edison's own sloughart star. Sandwiched between creative and conversational brilliance made bartender Jeremy's lovely hot buttered rums take just the right effect.

Let's use the memory of mention of shuffleboard and the scene at the Edison to segue into the final thing I feel compelled to mention. This image was captured two weeks ago as a shuffleboard camera-phone photo op blurred into haunting evidence of an extra presence:

The ghost of ye Old Edison Innthe edison ghost

This has not been retouched; you can trust me. I acquired this image via sms from Nerd's phone who got it directly from Kimmy. No one was standing in front of Kimmy as she snapped the image. You can see the front board in the lower right corner. Now, I've heard rumors of a man meeting his end down heart attack road on the third bar stool from Phil's favorite seat, but this image seems so feminine. I've looked for any written internet evidence to Edison's history and spiritual residue, but my pithy attempts are empty. So, what do you see? What legends have you heard? Have you had a spooky feeling while you were out smoking a Salem out in the garden? Bar ghost, or no?

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Oysters" by Seamus Heaney

Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.

Alive and violated,
They lay on their bed of ice:
Bivalves: the split bulb
And philandering sigh of ocean
Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered.

We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery.

Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
The Romans hauled their oysters south of Rome:
I saw damp panniers disgorge
The frond-lipped, brine-stung
Glut of privilege

And was angry that my trust could not repose
In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
Leaning in from sea. I ate the day
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me all into verb, pure verb.

To all my friends! To all my frieeeeeends!

There's something to be said about coming home. Moving home. Going back to your people. I'm not sure if I'm qualified to say what it is, if it's good or if it's bad.

To me, coming back home was a signifier of defeat. Giving up my desires, crumbling in, sacrifice. But at least I'd have my old friends to reconnect with, right? Through the years away, my friends have stayed in touch to an extent. I'd come back on holidays and we'd all reconvene in a splendid and supportive constellation. So, they would be there, and my coup de grĂ¢ce would not take me down completely.

My husband and I came to northwestern Washington from Nashville, Tennessee for greater employment opportunities. We love our home in Nashville; we love our friends in Nashville; we couldn't find a way to love the economy in Nashville. While Forbes Magazine has ranked Nashville as #5th most affordable US city to live in, we couldn't manage to afford it with the jobs we couldn't get.

A call of availability for fantastic job came for my husband last November. Six days later we packed what we could fit in the Subaru (including two rowdy dogs) and migrated north. (Go north! The rush is on.)

[While family is nice and is always there, this post is not about family.]

We had a magical Christmas Eve celebration on Samish Island that made me faithful about things to come. (Thank you Becky and Dylan) A seafood barbecue, merry beers, beautifully laid out smorgasbord, a santa firetruck, and a reconvening love that included my husband (who at the time was a stranger). It was easily one of my favorite nights ever.

I thought all future stages would be performed with that same love. I thought, I'm here now! I can be part of this again. But, the old gang has moved up and out. It has morphed. It has been married off, promoted up, moved away. I began to notice that I was sort of an afterthought for addition. A by-the-way, if you will. "Oh, hey! By the way... X is happening and everyone's going to be there." Being out of sight for so long must've put me out of mind. It's difficult to understand, because I have never forgotten them. I've loved them so. And I still do. And then I'm not invited to their weddings. (And then I have to see the photos of those weddings all up and down the social networking streams and everyone so happy together except, well, you know.)

I'm torn. Do I make the stronger effort to reconnect? Or, do I just look to reinvent a new social life? Something that I've done so many times in all the cities I've lived in. Something I never thought I'd need to do here. I'm at a loss in so many ways.

Do I accept the by-the-way invitation and set myself up for future reenactments of this scenario:

Talking with a group of old friends at a bar that I was working at. (Yes, I've even had to pick up bar work, because even here, while my husband has good work, an artist struggles in this economy.)

One friend says to the rest of us, he says, "I never thought we'd be so successful." So I guess it wasn't to the rest of us, but the rest of them.

I mention something about my success in academia, having earned two master's degrees and plenty of accolades along the way but the struggle I've had finding serious employment in result.

Same fella says, and oh! how it burns a puke-sick hole right through me, "Master's degrees are overrated."

I want to cry. This is the economy for suffering friendships too, I guess.

And now, I want to cry still. I am so desperately lonely, understanding that my social sacrifice is for the good of my future family - my husband's work. I relish in all the true-hearted communications, efforts made by my beloved old-time, all-time friends. There are many. I still have places to stay when I visit Seattle, (thank you Spencer and Andrew), and Portland (thank you as always Dylan). I know that people deserve more effort than what I've given, but at the same time... I have no idea how I got to this space.

Perhaps this can function more as a love letter for all the friends I left behind in Nashville, Tennessee. Their love and love and love and love keeps me afloat. While proximity limits me to the remnants of "the old gang," I still have a massive support system.

"To all my friends," happy holidays.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rebirth of a young Bow blog.

So, here it is. I've been inspired to start anew. Inspiration comes this time by blogger friend Jessica Bonin's "One A Day" to begin again, especially by this post.

My mind is fatigued after working all evening on a 40 page effort composed of case briefs, court observations and a research report for my 100 level intro to law class. Complete with table of contents and tabs. I'll be damned if I don't earn a decent grade for the amount of sleep I've traded for it. It is 1:31am and counting.

I have a date with a cold car and the vet's office in the morning. At 7am. In about five or so hours. Our dog has a date with getting his left eye removed. Poor little Kentucky truck stop Eddie. Unlike in the picture below, his eye is swollen and infected. He's suffering a yucky amount of pain and tomorrow's surgery will be his relief. And perhaps his future cool-factor. It is also our future additional hillbilly attribute. Junk in yard. One-eyed dog. "Well, ya get down yer fiddle and you get down yer bow..."

So long, left eye. we will miss you.

It's been a year since I've updated here, and I'm quite sorry to report the only thing that has truly changed is that my little Ayrn has fled 98232 territory for the big city party that is San Francisco. I'm waiting for her sympathy to overtake her and bring her back here to replace my hardly any with one very best friend in Bow commisery. I just made that word up, but I'm certain it applies.

I'm once again shuffleboarding my winter by, and I intend to inform my three readers every time Phil mentions my name in the newsletters. Let me just catch you up to speed copy/paste-style on those:

"Edison II continues to impress, as they walloped the home team Edison I, 5-2, even with some of their biggest weapons absent. Capt. Jason (28-11, 3-for-3) and Leon (29-23, but only 2-for-4) took scoring honors, aided by Michelle (15-7 in 2) and Nerd (18-13 and 3-for-3). Mike Conn (24-23 in 4) had a part in both wins by Edison II."

"Edison II went to Gene’s to hand Gene’s I a convincing 5-2 ass-kicking led by Red Dan (22-4 in 3), and Kim Moore (18-8 in 2) with Mark, Michelle and rookie Ernie contributing their share as well. "

"Red Dan and Michelle paired for the only Edison win."

"Edison II, visiting Gene’s II, scored a 5-2 victory behind great shooting from Jeston (34-16 in 4), Leon (25-11 in 3), and Michelle, who had a game-ending 7-point end without the hammer (and she only needed a one!), as Edison came from 12-10 down to win 21-13 in that one."

Don't be jealous.

Monday, April 12, 2010

spring brings tiny things in the farmland

three little black gems found while suffering the tulip festival

husband meets Baaarbara

and these

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

oh and here're some eagles from the reservation.

big big
sam the eagle eyes

Fear and Loathing in Skagit County.

I was browsing videos in the action section at ye olde Burlington Hollywood Video just a few rows away from my husband when the chatter and inanities coming from the crowd of high school(?) age kids in sports sweats and glitter was broken loudly with the word "rape." A disheveled blonde woman was out of breath, telling the two clerks about the man who'd just attacked her across the street. They gave her the phone to dial police and I stayed back peeking over the action racks. She gave detailed description of the fella, down to the shirt he'd been wearing. Her shoes were missing. The kids, perhaps from discomfort, began to laugh and left. A few people sort of gathered but kept their distance. A couple young men went out to see if our rapey attacker was still around. They came back with a description of a pick-up truck, passenger side headlamp out driving away.

I continued to hide and my husband joined me. We held back until the police came and relieved the movie rental clerks of responsibility. No one had comforted her. It was mildly disheartening how instantly back to business everything went as soon as she walked out the door. But we hadn't done anything about it either.

Bow man arrested for attempted robbery and rape
Tahlia Ganser | Skagit Valley Herald
March 09, 2010 - 07:00 AM

BURLINGTON — An employee of an adult novelty sex shop fought off an attacker who tried to rape her Friday night by biting him on the arm and stabbing him with scissors, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Skagit County District Court.

The 38-year-old female victim was working at Lovers in the 1000 block of Burlington Boulevard when she was attacked just after 10 p.m. Friday.

She was preparing to lock up the store when a lingering customer grabbed her by the neck, dragged her into a back room and tried to rape her, the affidavit says.

After biting the man and stabbing him with scissors, she escaped to a nearby business and called 911, police said.

Burlington police searched the area, but couldn’t find the assailant.

About 40 minutes later, a 28-year-old Bow man turned himself in at the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office in downtown Mount Vernon.

The man told police he had tried to rob the store and rape a woman who was working there, the affidavit says. He also had a bite mark on his right inside bicep.

He was booked into the Skagit County Jail for investigation of robbery and rape.

Neither the victim nor suspect’s injuries required immediate medical attention, police said.

Yesterday, again renting movies at the Hollywood, I spoke to my friend Clinton (who is a worker there) about the incident.

"It sounded like it was a surreal event," he said, when I described how the event didn't really seem to be taken seriously. People didn't know how to act/react.

He said, from my description, "Oh, I think that's the girl that comes in here and buys a lot of Mountain Dew." Hollywood Video Soda Shop.

He told me then a little bit about his grandfather. He had been a cornerstone in the community. Even the entire shuffleboard league took a bye for Gus's funeral. He was a player on one of the teams, and I told Clinton I'd likely met him in a match before his accident. "Oh yeah," Clinton said. "He was probably drinkin' beer and being a big flirt."

I thought that definitely sounded familiar.

Former Burlington mayor laid to rest
Marta Murvosh | Skagit Valley Herald
March 07, 2010 - 06:49 AM

The funeral procession Saturday for former Burlington Mayor Roger “Gus” Tjeerdsma rolls east on Fairhaven Avenue, pulled by Tjeerdsma’s mules. Tjeerdsma was a volunteer firefighter for 33 years.

BURLINGTON — Speaking Saturday at the memorial service for former mayor and longtime friend Roger “Gus” Tjeerdsma, builder Dan Mitzel said he hoped and prayed for Tjeerdsma to recover from the injuries he sustained in a construction accident.

“God had other plans for Gus. He needed him to show those who had gone on before what leadership and friendship was all about,” said Mitzel, who said he was haunted by the fact the fatal accident occurred on his job site.

Tjeerdsma, 68, died Feb. 20 in Seattle, where he was being treated for injuries sustained in the Feb. 4 construction accident in Mount Vernon.

Mitzel, who met Tjeerdsma in 1977, was among the speakers at the former mayor’s memorial service in the Burlington-Edison High School gym. At least 700 people attended.

A glossy, wooden casket holding Tjeerdsma’s body was draped with flowers at the north end of the gym.

A firefighter’s helmet labeled “assistant fire chief” rested on the casket’s lid, a reminder of Tjeerdsma’s 33 years as a volunteer firefighter. Two bagpipe players from Snohomish County Firefighters Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace,” a tradition at firefighter funerals.

“Gus wanted this city to continue to be served neighbor to neighbor by a volunteer fire department,” said Burlington Fire Chief Glen Staheli.

Many spoke of Tjeerdsma’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and lend a hand to a friend or a community project.

Longtime friend Chuck Dynes told a story about how Tjeerdsma tried to help him when he got into trouble involving the “reckless discharge of a firearm and the police.”

Worried that Dynes might be expelled from a school program, Tjeerdsma lied to the police, saying he fired the gun.

“He was, as the Bible says, willing to lay down himself for his friend,” Dynes said.

Friends spoke of Tjeerdsma’s work ethic and his charm. He loved a good beer, cooking, travel and the outdoors. He especially loved riding mules.

Ray Jensen first introduced the former mayor to mules. When Tjeerdsma bought his mule Pete, Jensen commented that the steed was too big to match the former mayor’s other mules in the harness.

“It don’t matter,” Tjeerdsma told Jensen. “I’m in love with that mule.”

Jensen cried as he told those at the service that he found a mule called Maggie to match Pete’s size. On Saturday, the mule pair was hitched to the wagon waiting to carry Tjeerdsma’s casket.

“Gus will be pulled to the cemetery by Pete and Maggie,” Jensen said.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Those Garbage Burning Days

“Hi I’m in Walmart, do you need anything?”

This weekend, I have been taking my calls from my sick nest on the shop couch.
my sick nest

“Cough cough cough cough cough cough cough. Cough. No.” I’m sure I do need something from Walmart, but I couldn’t get past the coughing to name items.

nice day

The woods are on fire today. That, or the beautiful weather welcomes burn piles. Whatever it is, it makes me cough more. On the other hand, the sun and no-coat-needed weather is healing. Shotgun rounds echo off in the background in the most casual way and I observe the fog of smoke coming through the sticks.

smoke in the woods

I sent my husband’s visiting friend to Deception Pass for some Washington. He’d woken up wanting to climb a mountain. Some Verizon Wireless teller advised this mountain climbing could happen in Anacortes. I pulled a satellite view of the bridges and pointed. “Veer left toward Whidbey. Go over this, park here. Trailhead should be riiiiight here across the street.” Delivered him to one of the better Puget Sound daytrips I could think of.

I anticipate I won’t be seeing him for some few hours.

A day earlier in the week took us (myself and best friend since 1988, Ayrn Cromeenes) to the farm-to-market bakery for some peanut soup with rice. We sat out in the Edison sunshine waiting for a fresh batch. Four full cups. And fresh bread. For less than twenty bucks. Which made for a seriously fine lunch in the teacher’s lounge at Edison Elementary School, our alma mater, for Ayrn’s mom, another teacher, and us.

farm to market bakery

Later we ended up for one reason or another in Marysville waiting in what we called “The Parking Lot of Champions.” The Municipal Court or Clerk or Something of Marysville.

waiting in the parkinglot of champions


AAAaaaaand about the time we got back to the Valley, My cough really started to take hold. My husband went to Portland with his Nashville friends for the weekend and had a fantastic sunny getaway from sicky. I nested on the couch with a fever and haven’t really moved since.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

bird whisperer

Yesterday I participated in hourly comic day. (http://www.hourlycomic.com/hourlycomicday.html) I drew a series of little drawings illustrating the boring events of my boring day.

Had it been today, the comic would have begun with a little bird stirring me from my sleep on the living room couch. I sat up and it whizzed past my head on a kamakaze attempt to leave through the only window in the building. Thump! But lo! Little Bird was not dazed and it flew its tiny body into the bathroom and began trying to leave through the mirrors.

bird in the bathroom

It hardly wanted to pose for a picture and I settled with this one. He dive-bombed from the shower bar and out into the living room screen door where he either got stuck, or gave up. I grabbed a towel and scooped him up before the dogs noticed his existence.


He wiggled a little. I left the towel on the counter to put some kicks on my feet and leash my dog. Dog towing me out the door, I set the towel atop my car and opened it up. The little bird flew up and riiiight back toward the front door. He did not want to leave.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ditch Diggin' Day.

Well, it's Tuesday. Must be the day to clear the broken branches/street debris/road-kill from the ditches on Ershig Road. And with that, I return from my Bow-observation hiatus.

I was away for a 10 day stretch visiting the Northern California Coast. You can't believe everything you assume about California. I had been certain I'd not need a coat and I ended up being COLD.

Boarding the return flight back to my coats and similar weather, the attendant announced, "It is a full flight today! You WILL be sitting next to someone. That's right, folks. It's Make A Friend Day! If you did not bring a friend, we will provide you with one." Some how I managed to weasel a window seat and sat fixed out the window, headphones on. I stared down every potential middle-seat sitter with the most anti-social persona I'd ever had. A nice small girl sat next to me. We did not become friends. She fiddled with her iPhone for the flight's duration. I fell asleep by accident, much to my chagrin, and missed the drink service I had been looking forward to. Now, if I had taken my headphones off and made a friend, perhaps I would have been able to have that cocktail. Let that be a lesson to us all.

mt. rainier
(mt. rainier as we descended)

After baggage claim, I regretted letting my husband off the hook about picking me up at the airport. I had to wait an hour to catch the next north-bound shuttle and grew frustrated with every second of the wait. When it was time, I grabbed another window seat, again with my headphones on. I listened to every song on my iPod by the Constantines, and a couple twice. The shuttle makes the hour drive in double the time, but by my Burlington arrival, my husband had texted me promises of dinner and a hotel room. Cable TV and a shower that does not smell like our egg-water (sulfur) well supply. Promised dinner fulfilled, we took our membership cards to check in at the Skagit Casino Hotel. However, it was booked full and displaced, we moseyed down Old Highway 99 landing at the Cook Road Fairfield Inn at the Junction of Bow, Burlington, and Sedro Woolley.

Now today, I am getting back to my Bow/Skagit County routine. I had missed an evaluation while away for the Paralegal 105 Class I'm taking at Skagit Valley Community College. I went today to make it up and as I was finished and trying to remember the date to write at the top of my paper I laughed, "I should know what the date is, tomorrow is my birthday." My teacher laughed as well. He said, "Today is my birthday!"

When I tried to buy a parking permit from the cashier, all she wanted to talk about was horses on account of today I am wearing my horseshoe necklace. She ended her anecdote with "...still today, my husband says I looked like Ichabod Crane galloping toward him."

And here's a fun wiki for today:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Samish Island History 101, taught by my pal Dylan

"That's not an island. We drove to it."

I try to explain to my husband that the land-bridge wasn't always there and how Samish Island is indeed an island. But in the back of my mind, I was asking myself... "Well, IS it?"

So I asked Dylan to back me up. Dylan, now a successful PDX businessman, hosted a Christmas Eve seafood party at his mom's warm waterfront home. He grilled Blau oysters and laughed with us about the Christmas Eve caroling firetruck that kept circling the island. We sucked crab meat from fresh crabs, also from Blau's, and we listened to Dylan tell us about the island he grew up on.