Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sleepless in Glenwood

Home. I learned on the way from the airport yesterday that Ron has endeared himself to the new neighbor by firing off shotgun blasts.  His objective in making such a racket was not to kill anything (although if the neighbor insists on being pissy, that could change).  It was instead to scare off the pig family that has chosen a spot near our water tank to nest, or burrow, or whatever pigs do to set up house.  Apparently, new neighbor guy likes to sleep during the day. He told Ron that shooting to scare them would do no good.  He insisted, and we've heard this before, that you have to kill them to get rid of them. Well, they're gone, probably to someplace quieter.  We were told we couldn't grow zucchini here too, but that was hogwash, pun intended.  

Speaking of noise, we have a new critter, another interloper that Ron has named and feeds and calls, "good boy."  Charlie the chicken.  More specifically, Charlie the rooster.  He's pretty, but annoying.  His favorite crowing spot is directly under our bedroom window.  His preferred time is 6:00 a.m.  Charlie hangs out.  And crows.  He likes Doc and is not afraid of the cats.  Did I mention that we feed him?  I know it's a long shot, but I'm thinking this could be why he hangs out.  Why do roosters crow?  No, this is not the beginning of a joke.  It's a question.  Note to self: must google why roosters crow.  Should google be capitalized when used as a verb?  Note to self..... google when to capitalize google.  Maybe Charlie is the reason those pigs skeedaddled.  They couldn't sleep either.  Note to self: look up the spelling of skeedaddle.

A hui hou.  Aloha.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pining for the Fjords

No cookies were tossed this afternoon, by me or anyone else on board.  No turkey on sourdough with tomato, mayo, mustard and onion, either.  Star of the Northwest was spared, as was the plankton rich, puffin pocked sea. It's a miracle of modern medicine (bonine) and a testament to the tranquility of Reserection Bay.  The mellow ride held fast until we hit the open ocean, where the swell was met with a storm that rolled in.  I stayed on deck for most of the trip, pelted with cold rain and a brisk, chilly wind that helped keep the queasiness away.  Gail hung with me for shorter stretches, then went inside for beers and warmth.  Thank goodness I had on my Gorton's Fishstick-guy hat.  

We saw eagles, stellar sea lions (on the rock in the middle of this photo), mountain goats, dahl porpoise, jelly fish, pink salmon and puffins.  The Kenai Fjords are grand, beautiful steep faces, craggy, rugged, stubbled with evergreens from timberline to the sea.

Yesterday, we spent some time at the Alaska Sea Life Center here in Seward, up close and personal with the puffins and sea lions in their habitat displays.  It's a nice nature center, with informative kiosks.   

The train ride yesterday morning was relaxing and pleasant. A woman sitting in the seat ahead of us was from California.  We stopped to ogle a glacier. Our car was quiet.  She said, "That looks just like frozen water." It was impossible not to hear her, sitting so nearby, and my head nearly exploded from holding in laughter.   Gail nudged me with a "be nice" jab of the elbow.  A moment passed, then her husband replied, "Ya think?" We were freed, all of us, to burst into hysterics.  

Tomorrow, we head for a short hike to Exit Glacier.  Then, it's back to Anchorage for the night, Seattle on Monday, Hilo Tuesday. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some things I've learned

I know that writers are lousy but enthusiastic dancers.  They are great huggers.  Some are good singers.  A few play guitars.  One, I hear, plays the oboe.  I play the ukulele.  Badly. Badly is an adverb and adverbs are for sissies.  Where was I?  Oh yes.  Writers.  They are adventurers and homebodies.  They are flirts and back-patters.  And huggers.  Did I mention that? It's true, especially at the end of a two week intensive residency.  They stand in awe of their colleagues' eloquence, wit, lyrical prowess and overall, kick ass wordsmithin.'  Writers are sensitive - especially poets.  They ache to tell stories. They tell them in verse. They tell them with prose.  It's what writers do. Besides dance badly, that is.  Shit.  Am I a sissy or what? Writers drink. Boy howdy can they drink.  Howdy!  Writers need encouragement.  We are fragile.  If you don't understand us, you'd do well to support us.  We do not need encouragement to drink, however, nor is prodding required to make us dance.

As humans, we are nothing without our stories.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things go better with Joke

Last night, propped up, sleep deprived and feeling a little out of my element, I was about to bow out early from a party with my fellow writers here in the dorm.  It was fun, and I enjoyed chatting with individuals throughout the evening.  Truth be told however, I'm a little shy in certain situations.  Yeah, you read that right.  (Give me a break, all you knuckleheads who know me!)  Literary conversations with smart, well-read people slam home the fact that I should have spent less time watching Gilligan's Island re-runs or riding my bike or whacking fuzzy yellow balls or careening down mountainsides and more time as a thoughtful grown up with my schnoz poked into the pages of the classics.   

I was poised to muster a graceful exit, to rise from my seat and bid everyone goodnight, when someone told a joke.  A joke.  They might as well have started passing around the coke tray.  All the world's a stage for a joke junkie.  I stayed, of course.  And all that stuff about being shy? Never mind.

Friday, July 10, 2009


You wanna be where you can see, troubles are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.   (Theme from Cheers)

I was driving through the mountains today, gawking at the 14ers along highway 285, feeling fine, soaking in the scenery, pondering how I might figure a way back to this place.  The radio faded, so I hit 'seek.'  The numbers fluttered, then landed on the first notes of Man in the Mirror.  I started snapping my fingers, singing along.  Gonna make a change, for once in my life... I got to ... It's gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference... and burst into tears.  Shit!

Did I mention that I had a lovely dinner with the Cress family at my/their house?  A steak as big as a tractor tire, but much tastier.  Of course, I've never eaten a tire, so I'm just assuming...

On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Gloria Beim delivered the stellar news: I have no arthritis in my hip.  None.  Nada.  Zippola.  Did I mention this already?  I ran out of ginko a while ago and with the hormones fluctuating as they do these days, sometimes I forget.  Anyway, it's comforting, since my mother has two artificial ones, a titanium shoulder and pins in her fingers, all due to the disease.  Lindsay Wagner's got nothin' on my mom.  (For all you younsters' benefit, Lindsay played The Bionic Woman on TV, way back in the stone age. Now she sells mattresses through a gauze filter.)  So, all I have to say about the lack of joint trouble is, thanks Dad.  Instead, I have bursitis, with an excessively tight IT (iliotibial) band, probably due at least in part to the fact that one leg is longer than the other.  I'm not sure who to thank for that.  Anyway, a shot in the rump, some new orthotics and a bit of physical therapy and I'm on the road to recovery.  My literal pain in the ass is already fading. (We'll save talk of my figurative pain(s) in the ass for another blog entry.)

Gunnison was Gunnison, complete with people I know in restaurants and shops, walking along the street, at the gym, on the cot next to me in PT, talking on the radio, everywhere.  

 My friend Stephen invited me to attend a spoken word performance at the Gunnison Arts Center Wednesday night.  I started downtown from my digs at the Comfort Inn, but soon realized I'd forgotten my purse and wallet. Blast! How on earth was I to buy a beer?  I turned around and high-tailed it back up Main Street, figuring I could make it to my room, snag the bag and be back at the Arts Center is eight minutes flat.  Not so fast.  That's what the sheriff's deputy told me when he pulled me over.  Well, actually he said, "Slow down," which is the same thing.  Thank you Deputy Medina for letting me off with a warning.  I arrived just in time to catch the last of the milling and mixing prior to the performance.  It felt like old home week. Mark Todd was there, a guy so famous around these parts that people still ask me if I'm related to him.  George Sibley hung in the wings.  No, not the actor George Sibley. (Remember Babe?) This is the writer, teacher, philosopher George Sibley from Colorado.  I don't think anybody in Gunnison doesn't know George.  Mark read a couple of poems in his spirited way. The young poets were impressive, too.  Stephen did a fine job as MC.  Last night, it was dinner with my pal Delaney.  We vowed to make it our ritual to eat at the new Mexican restaurant every time I come to town.  There's always a new Mexican restaurant in Gunnison.  It was fun hangin' with all my homies in G-town.  To those of you I did not get the chance to see, I apologize and promise to connect next trip.  Yes, there will definitely be a next trip.

A thunder storm just ripped through here.  The sky rumbled and flashed, the heavens burst with a deluge.  Sheets of water defied the awning over my hotel room door and soaked the walkway.  That's what I love about Colorado.  It's exciting!  Don't like the weather?  Wait a few minutes.  And the rain?  No biggie.  It's here and gone in a few minutes.  The sun will come out tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun. 

I've included a little eye candy, a shot from Monarch Pass, for your viewing pleasure.

Aloha.  A hui howdy.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In the air and on the road

As I sit here typing and refusing to pay for a wifi connection, I wonder if this kooky font will transfer via cut and past from my word processor to the blog. No matter. I’ll write it now in this whimsical way and hope for the best.

It was a fun packed, whirlwind weekend in L.A. La la la la la la..... I caught up with some old friends at a part Friday night, some I haven’t seen in way too long. Good food, chilly libations and lively conversation were had and enjoyed by all. There was a nice beach bike ride on a congested fourth of July.  It was so crowded, there were spots along the way where we had to walk our bikes, wedging through the throngs that had spread from party houses out over the path. My only mishap was a dribble of beer on my hand made my a staggering young delinquent shouting, “USA, USA!” Cops were everywhere - on foot, on bikes, on horses - as were revelers and weirdos. What’s not to like about L.A? Stretches of sand were completely covered by towels and shelters and bodies. The smell of salt and Coppertone and charcoal grills filled the air. Helicopters patrolled back and forth along the shore. Our friend Carol joined Janine, Lila and me for burgers back at the girls’ house and later a fireworks show in Woodland Hills. The next day we enjoyed some pool time, then headed to Staples Center where there was plenty of Michael Jackson hoopla. The funeral was today, of course. The early crowd waited patiently in line to sign a large, white board with a picture of Michael. We took it all in, experiencing a bit of history. I signed man’s autograph book upon request, giving my last, heartfelt sentiments for The King of Pop. There were people from all over the world. Janine chatted with a group from Poland.  

We found Trader Vic's for libations, then it was on to the Sparks game, LA's WNBA team.  The Sparks played well - for the first half.  They pretty much stunk up the place in the second. Still, we cheered and were treated to some great basketball. The ol’ timers dancing and the little kids jamming were a highlight that certainly beat the slutty cheerleaders featured in NBA games. 

Yesterday morning, I did my time in the dentist’s chair. Now, I’m off to the Mile High City, Queen City of the Plains, where John Elway is God and the air just a little thinner.  Then to sunny Gunny.  

Yay! The font works!  A hui hou.  Aloha!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Getting ready for the big trip

To kill time yesterday while my car was being inspected, I walked to town for a nice lunch at Aloha Luigi, then down to the bayfront to pick up some mints at the candy store strong enough to kill the garlic from my ceasar wrap. Back at Midas, I was told I needed new back break shoes. Mine were cracked. I saw the cracks for myself. So while they fitted the Focus for those, I strolled over to Starbucks, right next door. There I sat reading my classmates' manuscripts and enjoying a slightly sweetened iced coffee when the woman sitting next to me leaned over, tapped me on the arm and asked, "Excuse me. How do you spell heritage?" Really? Is this years-long Hawaii experiment just one big cosmic joke, a bad dream from which I will never awaken and during which I will be asked to spell simple, everyday words wherever I seek solace? I spelled the word.

Thankfully, this lady turned out to be different from the man at the library (please refer to a previous blog for that story). For one thing, she did not ask for dozens of additional words. For another, she was a she. It was a coffee shop, after all, not the hallowed halls of la biblioteca where quiet is both revered and expected. We talked about art, about poi, about breadfruit, about the merits and overuse of noni. She was lovely and interesting. I couldn't help but notice the copy of Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind on her table. Below that was Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico. Everyone's a writer these days. We chatted about that a bit, too.

Today it was back to town for another pound of coffee, some dog food, cat food, burritos for lunch and a prescription for some nose spray my allergy doctor thinks I need. I'm not so sure. Stuff tastes nasty when it runs down the back of my throat.

I'm packed and ready to fly away. Tomorrow night I'll land in beautiful San Diego. After some much needed underwear shopping at the Jockey outlet, my friend Gail and I will head north for a fun-filled weekend in L.A., with the coup d' gras a trip to the dentist. My dentist is in Encino. My orthopeodist is in Colorado. I'll see her the next day. My gynocologist is in Honolulu. Years ago, I had a gyno named Dr. Ira ( I don't remember his last name) in L.A. He had pictures of Farrah Faucet and Ryan O'Neill on his walls. Seems Farrah and I had something in common. The same kindly Jewish grandpa doctor did our pap smears. He delivered her baby. I really liked Dr. Ira.

I told my mom about my visit to L.A. I said I had requested a hike, followed by dinner at Los Toros.
She asked, "Is that as good as Las Flies?" I took her there once when she came to visit me in The Valley eons ago.
I said, "That is Las Flies." That was our old nickname for the place. It's grown since those days but the food is still the same. Same owners. They still pour an extra shot of tequilla into the glasses when you buy a pitcher. Only difference: now it's huge with valet parking. Love Las Flies. Tacos al carbon. I order the same thing every time. Hmmmm... the carnitas rock, too.

A hui hou. Aloha!