Thursday, September 29, 2011

7 o'clock Magpie, faithful as she ever was

Yay! The 7 o'clock Magpie just showed up. That's my girl! She's a bit late this morning but hey! Other than a few days a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been here for five months to put out her morning peanuts so that's pretty good. I may be a bit obsessive but, when she hadn't arrived by 7:05 AM, it did cross my mind that something terrible might have happened to her but, barring injury or death, I never doubted for a second that she'd be by for breakfast. She's knows I'm good for it. We've got a thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Note to future self

The Gathering by ashabot
The Gathering a photo by ashabot on Flickr
Home. It doesn't feel like it. I've been mostly gone or coming and going since last March. Five months. We got back this afternoon from the loop to Seattle for my high school reunion then Oregon to see family and friends and now... home. It's a strange word. I filled the bird feeders, picked up the mail, watered the cactuses and now, before trundling off to bed, have checked in here.

Hello. That is all for now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reunions and the point of no return

Seattle. We're staying in a great basement apartment on 92nd for the next couple of nights. M. Lee found it on AirBnB, which is the place to look if you want cool, cheap lodging. I'm here to attend my high school reunion tomorrow night. I'm a bit apprehensive. I was a total outsider so it's not like I'm here to re-live a lot of happy memories but I grew up with these people and, even though they are all basically strangers, I am interested to see some of them again before, you know, we're all dead. Also, and on a coldly voyeuristic note, there is a delicious ghost-like, time-travel quality to reunions that adds a curiously attractive twist. I didn't go to the big cocktail party get together tonight though. M. Lee and I had veggie pho at a tiny pho house on Capitol Hill instead. It's been a long drive wrapping up our summer travels, Nevada to Centroamerica to Florida to Seattle with points in between and today's leg of that journey was enough for one day.

Also some of the people from my Catholic elementary school days want to meet for brunch tomorrow before the Big Event but I'm passing on that too. And after brunch a few of them are going to visit some of our teachers at the old nuns home. It would almost be worth it to see them without their habits. They were always so mysterious in their black Bride of Christ head to toe robes, stiffly starched white bonnets, collars and huge crosses with the limp body of Christ nailed to the huge crosses laying where their breasts should be... but not this time... and probably not ever. I don't believe in putting people or animals in zoos, for Christ sake. I don't have anything to say to them. I'm not Catholic anymore. I'm not even Christian any more. It was bad enough visiting the Dallas Krishna Temple. They all want to believe you still belong but you don't.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Touch down and take off

Tonapah's legendary ghost,
the Lady in Red
I just got back from my bi-annual weekend in lovely Tonopah, semi-ghost town and still and always, Queen of the Silver Camps. Once again, the guy ahead of me in the hotel check-in line won the Tonopah Station lucky roll of the dice free room. I did not, again. But the Big News from Tonopah is that somebody finally bought the Mizpah Hotel, probably for pennies on the dollar, and the place is scheduled to reopen in a couple of weeks. I hope they do better making their deadline than the Belvedere Hotel across the street. The sign announcing the Belvedere's 2008 reopening still hangs on the front of the building above the broken windows, fading into oblivion. This trip, I counted more broken windows at the ol' Belvedere but was puzzled by the lack of pigeons who normally reside there. I am not going to say foul play? No. I will not even think it.

Anyway, the Mizpah wins my Tonopah Zombie Hotels Back from the Dead Award (for the day) so my hat is off to them. I hope I get a chance to tour the place before it closes again. I have been photographing it through the windows for years. I really want to meet the Mizpah's legendary Lady in Red who tragically, in a crime of passion, was murdered on the fifth floor back in the 1920s. It's not because the new owners claim she leaves pearls under people's pillows. I dig ghosts.

Tomorrow we leave again, this time for points north. Got to have tea with Ms. Thea Bella and Baby Leo. I realize I'm pushing the limit still calling Leo a baby now that he's turned one, but come on... I've hardly spent any time with him. Once he starts walking I'll stop. It won't be long. These days it's all he wants to do. So, our odyssey Cross Country American Road Trip (Florida and back again to Washington and back again) won't be officially over until mid-October when Kimberlee, Mr. Reid (he's two) and I do our Portland meet-up.

So, what the hell am I doing fiddling around with my blog? Must. Pack. Now. See you on the road.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The 7 O'clock Magpie and Battlelines Drawn

Here's what's amazing. The 7 o'clock magpie showed up this morning at 7 o'clock. This is our first morning back after an absence of four months and she is still coming to the Bird Park at 7 am to check for peanuts. Yes, peanuts were waiting. Naturally, the first thing I did when we pulled in last night was fill the bird baths and feeders and put some peanuts on the table. Some hornets have colonized one of the empty feeders so they get to keep that one (I'll toss it when they move out this winter) but I filled the other three. That's enough for a start. Anyway, how 'bout that magpie?

That's the good news.

The bad news is that it just about took the jaws of life to jack myself back into my office this morning. The shelves are always crammed and bloated with stuff giving the room that WALLS_CLOSING_IN feel then last night I cluttered what precious little work space I do have with the things I brought in from the car... laptop, tablets, notebooks, various writing instruments, books, camera, sun glasses, phone etc. plus the different bags I carry everything in. And the tiny floor space has been reduced to a single channel connecting the door to my chair where I sit marooned in this flotsam of projects unfinished, current and yet to come. It's paralyzing. Must dig my way out. Must organize.

When we were driving across the country, anticipating this encounter and wooed by that special camaraderie born of the road, I invited M. Lee to help me gut my office and reorganize this winter. I may regret that. He is way too eager to help but I am already crushed by even the idea of tackling this. After all, the stuff is not to blame. It is my own self I must wrestle and tame, or at least cut a new deal with. As it stands, my mind has colonized my refuge from it. No one else can stand up to me but me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trip notes

We're in Kingman Arizona for the night. One more day and we'll be home but I'm really missing Florida. I miss Alligator Creek, the little house and the pineapple palms and I miss Frida Kahlo the squirrel and her friends. I miss all the critters who sing in the night. I miss the egrets and ibises. I miss the congregations of little plovers scurrying in and out with the waves. I miss watching the squadrons of venerable pelicans pass overhead, wings outstretched, gliding the thermals like ancient gods. I miss the Great Blue Heron who likes to people watch at the beach. I miss the friends we discovered there. I miss the gulf.

I am reading 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel García Márque as we drive across the country.

When we were in Dallas the other day we ate dinner at Kalachandji's, the very excellent vegetarian restaurant at the Hare Krishna temple. I lived at that temple many years ago.

Must sleep now. We have to drive through rush hour in Las Vegas tomorrow morning.