Direction: Northwest!!

Hood * Jefferson * Three Sisters

And Mt. Hood, all by its lonesome.

The most wonderful reasons for my return to Portland! Solveig’s little Luna had her third, and we sure hope final, open heart surgery, the Fontan. Our girl (now age five!) is a true heart warrior, having the strength to come home from the hospital a mere week after surgery. While she isn’t 100% and we need to be careful not to bump or jostle her, the strides she’s making are really quite remarkable. Her baby brother, Zoran, has grown by leaps and bounds since we last cuddled and bounced, with an adorable personality to match. I love them all so much!

Most of my time alone was spent sleeping and wandering the city for old haunts and memories. I am super happy to report that many remain. I was so afraid of a city so changed as to be unrecognizable.  Though there are differences (good gracious SE 50th Avenue!) there was much more that sent my hear galloping with glee.

Brown Lumber was one of our beloved local spots to buy supplies for our million and one home improvement projects. They have super customer service, but I liked their sign best:

WATCH OUT FOR THE POST WHEN BACKING UP

POST 111

TRUCKS 0

Gets me every time…

At the zoo…

Southeast Portland gets its Bushwick on, fabulous mural style.

 GUN not GONE

Never was, never will be.

Tofu makes my body wanna DIE, but I’m happy to see this old Portland business is still plugging along.

One of my favorite Portland peeps (Hi Susan!) with some of my favorite food:

the cocktel del pulpo at Tacqueria Nueve!

Southbound Number 75

I shall never tire of this view

Or this one!

More to come…

 

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Discover

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.

Wendell Berry

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Our house, as it was when we first laid eyes on it, nice, but definitely needing our stamp. It was exactly what we wanted, a brick ranch of the ilk I grew up in and that my grandparents owned. Solid. Humble. No frills. A giant garden!

During the dig, dig, digging – the hubster waving hello!

And now. Mostly new windows and coverings and a beloved front door. The color is Black Magic. We still need to replace the glass in the garage door and get a new driveway and sidewalk, but now there is no grass to mow! Though it hardly looks it from the picture, there are dozens of plants, mostly natives and not-too-thirsty. Some are so itty-bitty as to require a hey, don’t step on me! fairy circle of rocks around them, but there, rooting down and sending their spritely sprouts skyward. Pink, purple, white, blue – with more bees than we can count, hummingbirds, and butterflies, too. Grow, grow, grow!

With two famous suicides in the news, I have been thinking, even more than I normally would, about mental illness and suicide. And since I have been plagued by what Winston Churchill called the “black dog” since I first tried to kill myself at age eight, I have a bit more than two cents to offer on it. I’ve got a whole dollar and what I anticipate being a lot of swear words. Because I am pissed.

First off, for nearly every person I have heard comment on how important it is to talk to you about my depression, because you really care. Mean what you say. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this line, then attempted to get my head in a safe space only to be on the receiving end of bullshit like:

  1. How could YOU possibly know about depression? You’re my cheerful friend! Just because I work my ass off to keep it positive absolutely does not mean I have not visited or sometimes resided long-term in the pit of despair.
  2. Here’s what you should do! Yes, I have seen a therapist. Yes, I’ve read books. Yes, I have tried exercising more (an hour every day) and yoga and meditation and eating differently. Yes, I do take note of small miracles and kindnesses (bees! a smile from a stranger! that cloud there, literally floating!), of how TRULY great my husband is, AND how lucky I am. And yet, none is a cure. My brain is still broken.
  3. Oh, well then, maybe drugs are the answer. I tried them, multiple kinds and doses. They only made it worse, physically and mentally, so I quit them.
  4. I’m super uncomfortable. Let’s talk about something else.  If I am feeling brave enough to share my anguish with you, a person who is supposed to care, I am going full narcissist and only want to talk about my shit. Shut up and really listen. It is being heard, admitting openly (sometimes only in a whisper to myself) that I am hurting and my suffering is bordering on self destruction that I am saved.

Finally, should I ever choose suicide, know that it isn’t because I think it will make me happy or that I don’t have a fierce love or genuine concern for the feelings of my family and friends. It will be out of sheer exhaustion and a sincere desire for relief. My body aches with depression. My head, my heart. It makes me vomit while shouldering the crushing weight of mountains. It fills my mind with terrible piercing screams, of the horrible and unspeakable that exists in the world, of my own foibles – all that I am not, all that I cannot do and be and see, of the utterly stupid and trivial. Some of it is true. Much of it is not, but still, it continues, and I along with it, for how long I cannot say.

But, because, miracle of miracles, I remain an optimist, I have hope that it is ages and ages.

Flowers

There are flowers everywhere for those who are willing to see them.

Henri Matisse

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