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.