Reading

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 A million thanks to Veterans and their families, for all you have given, for all you continue to give.

So many things happening here – summer, glorious summer, has arrived, and I’ve been enjoying it ever so much, silliness and heat and bright light with sunglasses, sprinkled with every manner of ripe, delicious fruit. I devour cherries by the pound with nectarine and cantaloupe chasers, a steady drip of succulent juice on my chin. And the plums will be here soon! The feeling of warmth, too, without layer upon layer of clothing is blissful, and that heavenly blue of the sky is what keeps me going through the long wet of winter and spring.

We’ve been reading a lot, nearing the home stretch on the first book of The Game of Thrones. We sit in the living room, and I draw and paint while he reads, sometimes slowly sipping a little whiskey or port. He needs no other distraction, happy to close his eyes, a cat on his lap, while I take my turn at the page. It all feels so homey and old-timey and special. It’s too bad the book isn’t as pleasant as the ritual. Drat, my friends, I am not terribly keen on keeping up with this story. I’ve tried, but it just isn’t my cuppa – far too much detail for this reader, of every kind. And I can’t help but feel that every character is a bit of a caricature, too. Oh well. So this one is it for me, and the hubster will fill me in on the rest, or perhaps we’ll get the television series off Netflix. Perhaps.

This photo demonstrates how impossibly adorable and spoiled our cats can be. Milo, as of late, loves to cuddle while I write. At first, he’s like a sack of potatoes over my left shoulder, purring and nudging my cheek, with me doing my best to type with one hand. When I decide he is too heavy, he squeezes behind me. Then, like Napoleon across Europe, he conquers the seat, until there is scarcely room for my own bottom, and he has to be exiled to St. Helena (also known as the hallway).

Finally, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much from me over the next few weeks. I’m going to be out enjoying the weather a bit more, finishing some projects, generally letting the little man take hold of the world, if he is so inclined.

Happy Summer!

Squee!

Happy Monday, one and all! We’re in Reed Canyon, enjoying one of Laura O. Foster’s Portland Hill Walks on the sunniest of Earth Days. Gosh it was lovely yesterday, eighty-two degrees, I think, and part of three days of warm temperatures in a row, with sun!

We walked to the walk, which was ever so fine. Short-sleeves and sunglasses and sunscreen required.

As per usual, we learned a lot, despite the location being a frequent destination for us, though we’d never actually ventured into the canyon before, usually taking the bridge over the water.

It was cool to see it from this perspective, to be, quite literally, in the thick of it. Our feet squished in a bottom land full of all manner of plants and flying creatures. There was a cacophony of birds and bees and who knows what else zooming to important destinations.

The air was rich with moss and oxygen, flowers and decay.

On our way home now. People decorate with everything in these parts.

And drive very personalized vehicles. Have I told you about the black van with the “Halen” license plate? Eighties music fans rejoice! Too bad I didn’t have my camera that day.

Upon our return home, the hubster was ever so tired and napped on the patio with Paris. Though he doesn’t really need to be tired for such activity. He is that kind of sleeper. Sometimes I envy him for it, but mostly I watch and smile and sometimes laugh.

This is from today – look at the sunshine streaming in the window! It was perfect for hanging out with one my littlest friends. We’re spending more time together while his Mommy takes care of her cancer. Today, he watched me hang clothes on the line, hunted cats and gnomes in the backyard, made full use of the laundry chute, threw paper airplanes, ate ravioli, and made a cake.

He was very pleased with the way it turned out. It is almost Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba!

My name is Colleen, and I like to dance…

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Some ever so random bits and bobs for you today. My mind is a wandering one. Its oft preferred state, which, after some overly obsessive and incredibly tiresome thinking suits me fine. Uh-huh.

First, a little more leg than I anticipated, but whatever. Call me a slut, but my neighbor beat you to the punch on whore. Because if a little leg, using birth control before having my internal lady parts removed (read about it here: 1, 2, 3, 4) , and enjoying sex with my husband make me one, I say, in for a penny, in for a pound. Anyhoo, the socks beg to be seen! They are from Gumball Poodle (oddly, I bought mine at New Seasons) and are perfect for roller skating, even when hidden under cropped pants, with many other neat-o options. Meat, anyone? Beer? Bacon?

Second, a little listening. Do you know about Poking Smot? I must say that I, in no way or shape, like this moniker. Really? That’s the best you got? Well, I shall forgive you because your website is so freakin’ awesome that it nearly makes my head spin. Music, so very much music: new, old, jazzy, synthy, rocky, poppy (currently jiving and toe tapping to Sandy Bull’s “Blend”). Merde et zut alors! This place could be the site of my downfall. I’ll just listen to one more song and be on my way, oh and another, but wait, they’ve got that? Down for the count peeps, d-o-w-n!

Third, a little reading. This is a shout out for local writer K.B. Dixon who sent me a copy of his book, The Photo Album. It is a very quirky, Colleen-style tale. A warm breeze of an afternoon read and well worth the time, it’s an imaginary photo album (hence the title) with captions. What was happening there? What was intended? What don’t we see? Filled with details of places I love and very much home. It made me think, laugh, and sigh with wonder.

Fourth, a little watching. And contrast. First, another one of my man-crushes, Zach Galifianiakis (I’m not kidding), in a supporting role (with Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson – a fine trio if ever there was) in a truly awesome and also very Colleen-style comedy series, Bored to Death. I think I’ve mentioned this bit of kooky before, but dang, do I love it so. The hubster can’t get enough of it either, I might add. We laugh until we cry and always want more. Luckily we’ve got DVD number two waiting for us to-night. It’s on, bitches! (Just for you, Amber)

Now to the contrast, The Yellow Handkerchief. It follows Brett (William Hurt) after his release from prison, searching for a new hold on life and remembering May (Maria Bellow), the love he left behind. Then there is Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (handsome Eddie Redmayne), young and inexperienced, escaping home, awkward and yearning for a connection, to no longer be outsiders and first forgotten. They travel in Gordy’s car, through the post Katrina aftermath, taking ill used highways and discovering unexpected places, especially within themselves. Sweet and sad and happy.

Fifth, a little love, for you, sweet readers, and Friday. Have a tip-top, hat’s-off, groove-on weekend!

Dazzling and terrifying.  These are the words that echo over and over again in response to both the text and its author, Bee Lavender.  Goll-ee.  I remember seeing this book somewhere, maybe at Powell’s after it first came out in 2005, and being really intrigued by the cover, especially that shade of blue ink.  It reminds me of the mimeographs of elementary school and our secretary, I’m pretty sure she was called Mrs. Price (tall {or maybe just to a child under age eleven}, thin, and perfectly coiffed every day of my entire Thomson Elementary career, a variation on what Jackie O. would have looked like if she took the job), turning the crank on that blue barrel shaped machine, and making the most positively pleasant sound.  Then there was the paper immediately after, cool, slightly damp and smelling, in the most heavenly way, of whatever chemical rendered it all possible.  I’m sure it was all quite toxic and part of the reason I am the nutter butter I am today.  That said, I still loved it.

And this gem of a book, to which I am returning.  I didn’t read it then and specifically remember not wanting to.  Knee deep in the throes of endometriosis (my condition is not even a word in my lousy dictionary/spell checker {I did NOT mean endomorphism!} – that so many women suffer from such a horrible disease and it doesn’t even register as a “real” word is beyond annoying), the thought of taking on someone else’s physical pain, even via a book, was out of the question.

Were it not for Facebook, I probably wouldn’t have given it another thought.  Then Byron, a friend from my elementary school days (I’ll bet he remembers Mrs. Price, too), found me and, as I discovered from a link posted on his wall, just so happens to be married to the author.  So there you go, a message from the universe that I might enjoy what his wife has to say.

Boy, did I ever.  Bee Lavender writes about life, growing up in the outskirts of society in a place at once tender and violent, and her body being riddled by cancer after cancer, illness after illness, tragedy after tragedy, from the ripe age of twelve.

Her life is a steady succession of shocks, and though there is ample reason to feel pity for her, a teen mother, a body that will never be cancer-free, more surgeries and procedures than I can even fathom, it is certainly not her aim.  Quite to the contrary, she is the type of woman who has taken her lot, for better or worse, and seen it as greater than the sum of its parts, far, far greater.  She understands the repetition of life, the ceaseless cycles, and is ever more keenly aware of death and our proximity to it, at any given moment.

Yet, she’s hardly been afraid to live or exert her power.  She travels, dances, and drives the countryside.  She is fun and funny.  She cannot be contained.  She speaks her mind.  She shares wholeheartedly.  Dazzling and terrifying and absolutely worth reading.  In a single sitting– I nearly forgot to mention that.  I couldn’t put it down.

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