Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get'cher motor runnin'... and don't mind the backfire...

On the commute into our routines this morning, we listened to the radio. I'm a sucker for theme shows, and one of the local stations does a show consisting of 8 songs with a theme. Some are better than others, but this morning he decided to do one about cars, and had people talking on facebook about their firsts. There were some doozies on there, and mine was really no exception.

It had been our family car for a very long time, and was finally passed down to me when I turned 15 and got my learner's permit. A 1981 Ford Fairmount Futura. I'll let you believe that's what mine looked like, because the car in that link? Pure awesome. Mine wasn't quite that cool. It was your standard-issue 4-door, which was pretty popular in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the early 1980s. It was maroon. It had a vinyl roof, bench seats, and a hard plastic steering wheel with fake wood paneling at the edges. I think the jockey box also had fake wood paneling, and so did the interior of the doors, if I remember correctly.

Whatever happened to vinyl roofs and fake wood paneling? Seems like that's something you just don't see anymore, but to me... yeah, that's some class. Pure class. Pure class in a glass.

It also had chrome bumpers, and white wall tires from Montgomery Ward. Remember those?

I learned how to drive in that car. One of my first driving lessons taught me about cockeyed steering wheels. This particular one cocked off to the left a bit. I hadn't realized it was supposed to be that way, even when there was a slight bit of resistance... or... more resistance, because the car leaked power steering fluid, and was often quite difficult to steer, but I digress... for a minute, anyway.

See, my mom got the bright idea that taking me out on a country road with a high speed limit was a good way to teach me on the second trip out. There were deep ditches on either side of the road, and since I had no clue about the steering wheel idiosyncrasy, I kept trying to straighten the thing out, and would veer off to the right... at 55 miles per hour, since that was the road's speed limit. Whoa, mama, what a mistake! My mother freaked out, and so did I! She finally figured out what the problem was, and got me to stop doing that, but we were still pretty badly shaken, because those ditches were deep!

She finally got me to slow down... a lot. And of course, that was when other traffic decided to show up on the road. Naturally, they all honked as they passed me in the oncoming lane, shook fists, flipped me off, (one even did this Russian-style, which caused him to come close to wrecking his car.) But there was no place to pull over... for what seemed like an eternity.

I finally found a place to do so, and my mom took over. She drove us to a store, where we could chill out for a while, and bought me a sweater, and a new pair of shoes. That's how bad it was.

After that, it was back to the Waremart parking lot. (Remember Waremart?) It was a good long while before I felt confident enough to try a street again. When I finally felt up to the task, I panicked as soon as I turned out of the driveway. I hooked the curb, turned the steering wheel the wrong way, somehow sped up, took out a row of juniper bushes, then... plop! Right back into the parking lot, I went!

Lesson... over. Dad drove home.

The car had juniper branches wedged into the undercarriage for a couple of days after that... at which point, I crawled under there, removed them, and decided to try again.

Before long though, I figured out how to drive that beast, and I drove every chance I got. I loved that car. Sure, it had an exhaust leak, and I had to drive it with the windows open for a while, but I still loved it. Sure, the power steering stopped working altogether, and I had to manhandle it just to go around a corner, but I still loved it. Sure, I had to manually flash the directional lights, but hey, I still loved it.

To deal with the exhaust leak until I could get it fixed, I just got a rose-scented air freshener, and life was beautiful.

I remember once, I picked up a friend who lived across town from me. We also gave her friend a ride. When she got in, she said: "Wow. It smells like roses and gasoline in here."

"Yeah, yeah... I know. Getting that fixed soon. You may want to hang out close to the window, so's you don't asphyxiate."

Not long after I got the exhaust leak fixed, it developed an oil leak. We lived on a giant hill at the time, and I can remember driving the beast up the hill, and it just kept getting louder, and louder. By the time I got home, the car sounded like a motorcycle. I can remember seeing my dad come of the house as fast as he could. I had never seen that man move so fast in my life! He yelled at me, telling me that a car like that should NEVER sound like that, and we'd better check the oil. Sure enough, bone dry. So, until I got that fixed, I would buy motor oil by the case, and just keep it in the trunk. Got very good and checking oil, and other things.

Rolls Royce made the Silver Cloud. My friends and I referred to my car as the Rust Cloud. But hey, it got me where I needed to go, and it played tapes!

I eventually sold that car to a friend. I remember watching her drive away in it, feeling a bit wistful, despite the newer, nicer car I'd just acquired.

Sigh... a first, is a first, is a first, 'non?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OK, who threw the chair?

I have reached a point my parenting where I'm realizing my kids are... right there. And when I say that, I mean that they are right in a place that I have zero, to... uh... well, no experience with, because I was an only child. I used to crave a backseat fight, but settled for dramatic music about fighting, and a stare out the window, because reading about fighting, or, well, anything in a moving car, made me nauseous. I don't know... something about objects whizzing past when you are trying to concentrate on something that isn't, has the same effect on me as being stuck in one of those teacups at Disneyland.

Few things make me nauseous. But put me in a boat? I'll puke the entire time. Put me in a car and tell me I have to read 50 pages of a book? Hoo-boy! Tell me to ride in the rear-facing seat? Yeah, asking for trouble. I'll settle for the observation of my surroundings, in a front-facing direction, thanks. Man, I wonder what I would have been like if on-board TVs were around when I was a kid?


Well, anyway, because of that, I have one keen sense of direction, and rarely get lost. I have been paying attention to where I've been going since I could see, basically. But I have no clue how to go about dealing with two warring monkeys in the back seat.

I swear, driving with them is akin to watching an old episode of Geraldo at times, complete with hair pulling, scratching, screaming, talking over one another, accusations of stolen loves, (OK, this usually has to do with dolls and stuffed animals... at least for now,) and chair throwing... or at least that would be the case if they had access to chairs. But they do throw things at times.

Today, as we approached the intersection of NE 15th and Broadway, I was quite glad that we were stopped at a light, as I heard a whi-ssip! past my head, then a Bonk! The latter occurred somewhere close to the passenger seat, as whatever just flew past my head like a giant blood-thirsty mosquito, found a resting spot on the floor in a less than graceful manner.

It took me a second to register what it was. In this case, MicroSqueak's shoe was the momentary unidentified flying object.

Wow. Whoda'thunk'it? UFOs! Really big bugs! Uh... birds? No, Hedy. This isn't Roswell. It's not the set of "Them!" It's not the lorikeet exhibit at the zoo. You are in your car, and that was a child's size 11 Doc Marten Mary-Jane.

I was just glad it didn't actually hit my head. Those things are heavy!

Those girls got an earful after this. I started with: "Dude! What the? Huh? Why?"

I peered into the back seat via rear-view mirror, and saw LadyBug's face go all sheepish, with a small grain of fear. "Uh... sorry!"

"Yeah, right. Let me tell you something! You are lucky that thing didn't hit me in the head! What if I'd been knocked out? Huh? What if we had been moving?! We could have been killed! KILLED! KILLED!!!"

"I said I was sorry..."

"Well, you are... oohh! I... well? Don't do it again! Ever!!!"

"OK, Mom..."

"And when we get home, you are going to fetch that shoe, and you are going to help your sister put that shoe back on her foot. Or... there will be trouble! You hear me??"

"K, mom. Sorry."

Those who know me well, know that I don't yell at my kids all that often, but when it's important, it's important!

And... when we got home, she did find the shoe, and help her sister place it back onto her foot. You know? I think I could probably handle a crazy talk show.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upon The Ay, Whada'fuuuuu...

I swear the stupid was ubiquitous yesterday. I don't know what it is about Mondays, other than the fact that most of us stay up way too late on the weekends and really are sleep deprived to the point of stupid, come Monday mornin'. But yesterday, for some reason, it was especially bad.

Everywhere I turned, people were just... fucking up. And badly. In traffic. In the grocery store. In my own house, even.

Oh wait! That last one was me! Let's just... blow past that one. It's... not important!

Of that list, the worst offender by far, was the woman who actually ran me over with her shopping cart. I guess that's what I get for taking too long to look for yellow mustard, and the right pickles... which oddly enough, I never found either of, because the store was out of both for some reason. I have never seen that before. Every other kind of mustard but yellow. Every. Other. Kind. Really? Seriously? You are Winco, for fuck's sake! How could you not have the most ordinary condiment known to mankind? I walk into your store, and I automatically think: Milquetoast. Yes. Yes, I do.

And well? Sometimes I do like mustard on my milquetoast. People have been known to enjoy stranger things. For instance? What the hell is up with chicken and waffles? Thinking it was probably brought about by someone who was ridiculously pregnant at the time, and her man thought to himself... "Hm. The lady's onto something here."

But back to Winco. Don't get me wrong. It's a fine place to shop for most things, but it offers few frills.

Mr. Hed really looks forward to Winco day, because he loves the fried fruit pies that he finds in a bag on his basement office chair when he comes home from work after a hard day of slaving for his slave-driving bosses.

He's easy to please. I like that in a man. I... do what I can.

As for the pies, I craved those once in my life. Can ya guess when? Why, yes! It happened to be when I was pregnant with my first kid. And even then, it lasted about 5 minutes before I realized how disgusting those things are, and never wanted to see one again. Why do people like those things? See? Pregnancy cravings are not always something the rest of the world should embrace. Those gross pies? No exception.

Anyway, my thought process basically ran the way it read before my rant about those gross pies that Mr. Hed loves so much. I was scratching my head when I felt it on the side of my ankle, and into my Achilles tendon. It wasn't pain. It was... akin to being electrocuted, then dropped onto the floor by a Zamboni with a loose wire somewhere. I heard myself say: "Ay, whada'fuuuuu..." and then I was on the floor.

I look up, and there is a shopping cart in my face. The woman who had been pushing it was apparently leaning on the handles, and texting with her smart phone, completely oblivious to her surroundings. She jumped from her texting post at the wheel of her death cab, and began to apologize profusely: "OH MY GOD!!! I'm so sorry! I can't believe I did that! Wow, I'm stupid! I'm so sorry! Are you OK?"


By this time, I get back up to prove that I am, and Microsqueak sighs with relief. She was sitting in the main part of our cart, playing with her leapster, and didn't really notice what was going on until the woman started freaking out with concern.

"Are you sure? That looked really bad. You kind of flew away when I hit you."

"Yes, I can assure you I've been through worse. I'm just glad there aren't any employees around. I hate how they completely freak out and blow stuff like this out of proportion. I'll be fine."

"K," she said, with a look that hearkened what I can only guess was a combination of disbelief, guilt, and... more disbelief.

"Well, I've got to get going. Need to pick my big kid up from school in a bit." I didn't really know what else to say, because she was just sort of standing there, awkwardly gawking, and not knowing how to end the encounter.

She finally nodded, "K. Sorry again."

"No worries..."

Seriously. Wow. That is a new one for me. I've come close to being hit by cars when people were texting while driving, and not really paying attention, but I guess I now have a new place to be more than aware of my periphery.

In summation: Winco can be a dangerous place. There is your public service announcement from me.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The night that I made him laugh.

For the past few months, I have been crawling around in search of all manner of wonderfully weird things. It started with a desire to find out more about my neighbourhood in the time that my house, which now a century old, was built. I have found out all sorts of interesting things about my beautiful city, but still nothing about my house, or the neighbourhood it sits in, other than it being close to a trolley turn-around, when trolleys still rolled over the streets. I will never know why they did away with them in favour of just pavement... especially now that they are bringing street cars back to the city, and making things somewhat miserable for those of us who have to traverse the city on a reasonable timetable. Even if this was explained to me, I wouldn't be able to wrap my head around it.

One of the things that I found particularly intriguing had to do with an 1866 Plat Map of Portland. The bridges were not yet built, and people crossed the river via ferry in those days. But the most interesting thing I came across was a section of the map that just said: "Lunatic Asylum Grounds".

I wasn't able to find any more information about it at that time, other than speculation about a parking lot being built over the graveyard that served the asylum, but I decided to keep looking for a few months. Finally, I was able to find more information about it, and was glad I did. The Oregon Hospital for The Insane was built in 1862, housed over 300 inmates, (most of whom were indigent, and unable to fend for themselves,) and was founded by a Dr. Hawthorne, and a Dr. Loryea. I'm still unclear as to whether or not Hawthorne BLVD was named for this doctor, but given the location, I'd have to guess this was the case.

Reading about their model of care was a trip! They recommended a healthy diet, and lots of time outdoors as a means of promoting a soothing effect on the mind. The hospital also had running water so inmates could bathe and be kept comfortable. The interior of the building was meticulously kept, and well ventilated. Pretty radical, given the time frame.

In 1883, when the Oregon State Hospital was completed, They closed that hospital, and sent over 300 inmates by rail to the newly constructed asylum in Salem. Not sure when they leveled it, or even of exactly where it sat, since many things have gone up in that area since that time, but I am still fascinated by it. I wouldn't mind taking a trip to the archives for a little more insight on this bizarre piece of history that for some reason, is not well-documented for public perusal at this time.

In the past week, I had an interesting conversation with my shrink about this discovery, when our appointment had ended. I was her last client for the evening, so she had a little time to talk.

She said that she also recently learned more about it, and by the description of the model of care, concluded that it was built around the time that most doctors were still naturopaths.

She told me about her time working at Dammasch, and how different their model of care was from this antiquated one. They did have access to some meds in the mid-to-late 19th century, but that model of care was obviously not nearly as heavily reliant on them as the model of care we see today, where institutions just load 'em up with meds. Very interesting, to be sure, especially considering that she went from working in an institution like that, to promoting amino acid and talk therapies in a private practice. I'm glad she did, because I feel like I am finally in recovery from the nightmare that has been my emotional state of the past few years.

With institutions on the brain, I went and saw one of my favourite actors in a performance art/film presentation/discussion forum/cinematique setting this past week.

Crispin Glover, a man who definitely appeals to my bizarre, depraved side, came to town for a few shows at Cinema 21. He did his big slide show, reading from books he had written, with fabulously random old photographs and creepy penmanship, as well as a few others he hadn't written.

Then, he promoted and showed the second film in his trilogy that he is currently producing titled: "It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine!"

If I had to give an honest first impression; to say that film placed me on a rollercoaster of conflict would be quite an understatement.

This film; the screenplay for which, was written by Steven C. Stewart, a man with Cerebral Palsy, which while debilitating, is not degenerative, or mentally disfiguring in any way. I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating that must be for people who carry this particular handicap.

Steven also starred in the movie.

Steven is severely handicapped and when he speaks, he is quite difficult to understand. The film; though demented, is pretty brilliant and funny. Crispin purposely did not add subtitles to this movie because he felt that it would condescend to our sensibilities too much, and you would not get the feel of what it is like to communicate with someone in this condition. I thought that was smart, and a good choice. It was easy enough to pick up on the context of what Steven would say while he acted out his part, and the actions he took in his role were certainly bold enough to understand. He wrote himself into the role of serial killer, with the theme of the movie being that of a 1970's murder mystery movie of the week.

He played a man who lived in an institution. This is not too far from the life he was forced to live for a decade, in which he had been institutionalized, and treated like someone with mental retardation, which I could see being an honest mistake, given our culture, and historic lack of exposure to people with these differences, thanks to... institutions.

In the story, he... does a lot of killing, but manages to be seen in a sympathetic, protagonistic light; especially when the end leads back to the whole thing being pure fantasy on his part.

There are elements in the movie that I wasn't expecting, such as graphic, explicit sex scenes, bordering on pornographic. Crispin said that had the movie been produced the way the screenplay was written, it would have been rated XXX. He did say that he didn't really have a problem with that, but worried he would not be able to find actresses of the right caliber to perform in such a way, so a lot of that was edited out. Someone just happening upon the movie without knowing any background could easily be disturbed for this reason. One would have to wonder if Steven was being exploited, or molested.

Obviously, he wasn't, and the film was so important to him, that despite being gravely ill during the last month of filming with a collapsed lung due to pneumonia complications, he was on set when they needed him, and gave everything he could to the production. He died shortly after filming had been completed, and even called Crispin to see if there was anything else he needed from him, because he was otherwise ready to be taken off of the ventilator.

This was something that had been in the making for a long time. Crispin read the screenplay in the late '80s, and decided he wanted to make the picture. He used the money that he made from the first "Charlie's Angels" movie to fund this film, and it has taken quite a few years to get it out to an audience. I'm glad he did though, and I think the message I took away from it was Steven's desire to be treated and recognized as the brilliant person he was after so many years of that not being the case.

For that reason, I think this really was a very important work, and I really admire Crispin for what he did.

After the movie, there was a discussion forum. For the most part, it was respectful, although there was one heckler that the audience got pretty annoyed with. Crispin handled him with about as much respect as one could be expected to extend in that situation, and the man finally left. He did admit though, that he was glad those questions were asked, because there probably were a few others with the same thoughts, who may have been afraid to ask. That was part of the purpose of taking on such a project; doing something that makes people think, and have questions is an important task. As long as it's handled in such a way that is respectful, it can be a beautiful thing.

And really, where would we be without that?

I was glad the discussion forum took place, because he did answer a lot of other questions people had about the film, gave lots of pertinent background, and it all made sense by the time it was over.

It was so nice to finally meet this man I've had a bit of a crush on for the past 26 years. I of course, didn't tell him that part, but I did let him know that I thought he was one brilliant freak, which he got a laugh out of. I made Crispin Hellion Glover laugh. Yes. Yes, I did.

And to think, I never would have even known he was in town had it not been for a couple of friends who clued me in! What a great night!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Magic carpet ride...

Last night didn't go the way I had hoped it would. I had a great, productive day. Got everything done. Early, even. I was cooking dinner, and dancing at the stove in my apron, (which I do a little more often than I'm comfortable sharing, because... hey, it's twirly!) when Mr. Hed breezed in. Wait. Scratch that. Mr. Hed lumbered... in, and he was beat. His coat was... covered in rain, and while he wasn't exactly snarly, I knew he needed to spend time in his man cave. This disappointed me, since I was finally ready to spend some time on the music he wanted me to work on, and was all set to record at least one of the songs he's been after me to record for months. But that's OK. I can certainly understand days like this.

And last night? Well, unfortunately, it was no exception to the past few months. We have since resigned ourselves to the fact that weekends are really the only time that I can give a little undivided attention to anything. These kids keep me pretty busy.

Did I mention I'm tired? I am. I feel like Lilly Von Schtupp lately. And... let's face it, I'm nearing 35, and while everything below the waist is far from kaput, (just being honest...) I'm am still tired.

I thought... well, maybe after the girls' bedtime we could do this. It's just a voice part, and doesn't require loud amplification, (not to mention the fact that we'd be two full floors below the sleeping children,) this shouldn't have been a problem. But well? MicroSqueak decided she wanted to be with me, and she was going to be with me if it was the last thing she'd do. So she was... with me.

After about an hour and a half of hanging out, she finally curled up next to me and went to sleep. Mr. Hed took her upstairs, and I felt that the only things I had left in my energy stores were a few stitches on the scarf I'd been working on while watching CopDrama, and allowing Todd the privilege of rubbing the back of my neck.

By the time the show was over, I was... out -- see you tomorrow style. But as I walked past the kitchen, I remembered there were still dishes to do. So, I did them. As I pulled the rubber gloves off my hands and untied my apron, I could hear Mr. Hed's feet on the stairs. I could hear him calling me, and saying something, but damn if I knew what it was. I was groggy. Seriously so. I reach the bathroom door, and he's standing there, holding his toothbrush, with a sad expression on his face. "Hed, uh... we're out of toothpaste. Did you buy more?"

"Yeah, yeah... it's on top of the fridge." I keep things I don't want MicroSqueak getting into up there, because if I don't, I usually end up scrubbing a wall or two of whatever it happened to be that I failed to keep her out of.

With puppy dog eyes, he looked at me, "Uh... could you get it?"

"No. I'm ridin' the magic carpet of half-asleep, and if you make me go back down there, it will wake me up. Don't do that. Don't be cruel."

"OK, fine, I'll look for it.

A few minutes later, I hear: "Uh... Hed? Uh... Hedro? Uh... baby? Uh... sweetie darlin'?"

I bend over the retaining wall at the top of the stairs to better hear him, because, damn it, I'm serious about not going back down there.

"I can't find the toothpaste."

"Shit. Fine. I'll come back down. Farrrgh."

I arrive at the bottom of the stairs, go into the kitchen, and he's got his hand on top of the fridge, trying to find it that way, without really looking. I go to the other side of the fridge, and leap up in the air, trying to see what I can see for the half second I'm airborne. By this time, I'm fully awake again. Damn!

We never found it on top of the fridge, but during the last leap, my hand was partially on the top of the refrigerator as I came back down. I inadvertently opened the freezer, and spotted the tube on the door shelf.


I felt the tube, and it was, of course, frozen solid. Shit! "Well, I guess baking soda, it is!"

"Wait. I bet if I squeeze it for a few minutes, I can melt it well enough that we can get some out."


We walk back up the stairs, but something catches Mr. Hed's attention at the landing. I just wanted to get to bed, for the love of Pete, God, Sheep, Inflatable Sheep, et al., so I keep going until...

"Hed! You've got to come check this out! We've got three Possums of the Grotto now!"

For those of you just joining us, we have a resident possum in our backyard. He's been the source of entertainment for quite some time. Ruby started calling him "The Possum of the Grotto", after a Rasputina song which gets a fair amount of play around here. So, anyway, now you know.

Apparently the delicious sleep I craved at that moment just wasn't to be. I also realized he was still clutching the tube of toothpaste, and I wasn't going to be able to brush my teeth yet, anyway.

I walk back down to the landing, and sure... then there were three. We named them: Linda, Lou, and Stella. Linda looked mighty pregnant, and the other two? Not so much. We decided this must have been some bizarre love triangle between the possums, due to the fact that Lou and Stella were all over each other, and Linda was off on the other side of the yard, eating for twelve.

Poor Linda.

Every once in a while, Lou would walk over to Linda and try to be affectionate, but she would just hiss at him.

Hm. Poor Lou.

Still, methinks as a quiet observer, Lou should probably be more understanding... hm. Linda is going through some crazy changes that would make anyone snarly.

The toothpaste, while thawed, was quite cold on my teeth, making me jump back, with the toothbrush still in my mouth. Yes, I did get laughed at.


Though I went to bed amused, I was still tired, and slept like a baby. I love it when the magic carpet lets me climb right back onto it.

The end.


Monday, January 17, 2011

That's what it's all about? No. This is what it's all about.

So, I've seen the question posed a few times: "What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?" Yeah, no. It's not. Trust me. I got sucked into all that rhetoric once. I'm back. Don't be fooled. The mountain didn't come to Mohammed, and it's not going to come to you. And a dance that makes you shake your foot isn't anything but a dance that makes you shake your stupid foot.

It's a nice thought, though.

My best advice, after being sucked in? Leap when you gotta. Stay put when you gotta. It is a dance, sure, but this thing called life? Sometimes it takes the skill and grace of a fucking gazelle, and well? Gazelles don't do the hokey pokey. Gazelles think the hokey pokey is a waste of time; a distraction if you will. They laugh when they see humans caught up in a dance that takes them nowhere, and they keep going.

You! Keep going!

Try to stay calm, keep on keepin' on, and look good doin' it. And that, my friends... is what it's really all about.


When it hits the fan...

And this time, I'm not actually referring to what the cliche represents, which is usually figurative drama. And yes. If shit were to hit a fan, that would be bad, and it does paint quite a picture.

The other night, we were with friends. All of our kids were playing together, and having a great time. Ruby was playing with a little boy about her age, and as they ran around the kitchen, they stopped for a second. Ruby and this little boy wanted to tell me a joke. Now, I know... at least with her, that a joke could really be anything. Really, and truly. She has told me some doozies.

But what came next was completely unexpected, and made me think that this little boy could be no one else's son but our friend, who is quite awesomely random.

"Hey! We have a joke for you!"

"OK, go for it!"

"Have you ever... pooped on a fan?"

That, of course, was the whole thing, but good lord, he's got a good start. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

The next morning, Todd and I were pondering the instance in which shit would literally hit a fan. Seemed like kind of a rare instance. Who comes up with this stuff? I mean, you'd have to be sitting above a fan... or, I suppose throwing said shit at the fan, and well? Why would you ever do that? That's how you get flies. Gross.

But... well? Monkeys do fling the poo. Perhaps the person who coined the phrase was a zoologist, working in the monkey house, in unfortunate proximity to a fan of some sort?

Hm. I bet it was!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


I am convinced that I have moved into some sort of alternate universe recently. Very strange things happen here often. Strange things, indeed.

Our house borders a small family business that has apparently been there since about 1959. The building they work out of was sold recently, and the new owner hiked up the store front rent to $1000 a month. One business moved out, and the other stayed. He went ahead and grandfathered them in with some rent control because they had been there for so long. They are... interesting people, to be sure. Two of them are the sons of the founders, and they are on the... well? Bizarre side of normal. They are nice enough guys, but having a conversation with either of them always kind of leaves me with a cackling sense of... "wha?"

I've kind of grown to love those guys, and actually feel a bit protective of them now, because I have realized that though quirky, they really are the kind of people who would do anything for you if you needed help. They can be themselves all they want as far as I'm concerned.

See, The day we closed on our house, we decided to take one last pass at it before heading to our escrow appointment; take a walk around, make sure vandals hadn't done anything destructive, et-ceh-teh-raaah. We happened upon one of the men, and he was on what would soon be our stoop, meticulously cleaning it. Nice of him to do so, but at the time I thought it was sort of a weird thing to do. Mr. Hed walked up to him and asked him what was going on, and he introduced himself as our new neighbour, and that he was glad to do this for us; that the lord satisfied him, and making things beautiful also did.

M-kay. Thanks. We like having a clean porch.

At the time we bought this house, it was 99 years old, a foreclosure, and had about a 30 year history of being a rooming house for students of Reed College. We did get an amazing deal on it, but it was, and still is, a major fixer. Because of this, we ended up spending about a week of VERY hard labour to bring it into livability. Because it had been sitting for so long, we got a LOT of lookie-loos, and curious people walking past, peering into the windows, and coming by for introductions. I had to come to terms with the fact that this house had been sitting for months, and was therefore subject to having homeless people camping out on the porches. On one of the days I was moving stuff into the house, I pulled into the driveway, and noticed two of them sleeping on the front porch. Apparently, they didn't notice us working on the house for the past week, or moving in and out of it during that time. It was quite a shock, and not a good one. As I pulled into the driveway, I honked my horn, but it didn't rouse them. I called the police, and told them about what was going on. They told me they would send someone out, but to call them back if they had moved along on their own.


I got brave and went into my new house through the back door. I then went to the front door, opened it, and because I was scared to fucking death, I sort of yelped with a growl: "HEYYYYYY!!!"

At first, nothing.

So I tried again. "HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!"

This time, one of them sort of halfway woke up, and I timidly told him that there were people living in the house now, and they needed to move along. He sort of looked up at me and said. "Oh. Huh. Really?"

"Yeah. Go on now, guys. I need to be moving stuff through here, and trust me, you don't want me falling, or dropping heavy things on you." I thought that would work. Nope. They stayed put until the police showed up. When they finally did, I heard the people complaining about how they had to move all their stuff now, and man, they were tired!

Wish I could save everyone from having to sleep on a porch, or having to find a new porch. Alas, I can't. Sorry, guys.

I still see them once in a while around here, but they don't seem to like drama, and neither do I, so I guess that's good. They do their thing, and try to stay out of the way most of the time. In turn, I stay out of their way. They aren't hurting anyone, and most people around here know that. The cops also told me this, that day, and I was somewhat glad to see that they seem to have a level of respect for them, know what they are about, and also stay out of their way.

That said, however, "Get off my lawn!" has fast become a necessary phrase for me, and I do use it in a serious manner, probably more often than I would like to.

For instance, about 2 weeks after we moved in, I was in my room. I had just showered, and was very naked. I could hear someone talking, in what appeared to be a one-sided conversation. It was weird, and trailed back and forth. I had already been accustomed to hearing people walk down the street while talking on their phones, but this voice just kept coming back.

I was finally dressed, and I looked out my window to discover a hipster in a pair of skinny jeans, plaid shirt and cap, with a wisp of pink hair sticking out, and smoothed strategically across his forehead, ala Bieber. He was pacing around my yard, talking on his cell phone.

At the time, I was still in the honeymoon period of living here, so I tried my best to be nice, and come off as non-threatening: "Can I help you?"


"Can I help you?"

"No, why?"

"Why are you pacing my yard?"

"Fuck, lady! I thought it was a fucking parking lot! You know what? FUCK YOU! I don't need your FUCKING HELP!"

"OK then, please leave."

He did, and I haven't seen him since. But it didn't stop there. I think the most obnoxious visit we experienced actually happened a couple of months later. We'd had some friends over for a backyard bonfire, and they stayed pretty late into the night. The kids were out of town with Grandma, I'd had myself quite a lot of wine, and was tired. I was rudely awakened at 4:48 AM, by some very loud, and also very drunk college kids, who were so disoriented, they wandered onto our property.

I was also quite naked, once again. Shut up. I was drunken, and the kids were... in another state.

Anyway, I remember rolling over and asking Todd if he thought they were in our yard, because the voices didn't leave the way they would if they were just walking down the street. Nope. They just kept getting louder.

I sat bolt upright in bed, leapt up, and went to the window. Sure enough, they were in our yard, carrying on, at this point, trying to climb the chain-link fence that separates our yard from the parking lot of the neighbouring business.

I hid my body, excepting my head, with the curtain and shouted as loud as I could: "GET OFF MY LAWN!"

It was enough to get their attention, and they actually sheepishly apologized, saying they thought this was a shortcut to the bar. Because... yes, apparently that's what my yard should be, right?

As they left, one of them said: "Dude! I think that girl was naked!" And, OK, we had a good laugh about that comment on both sides of the wall.

But back to my wonderfully weird neighbours!

I was minding my business one afternoon, painting the porch, when they each happened by. They told me all about everything, and then some, and then some more. And then some... snatched from outer space and beyond.

Oh mah soul...

The older of the two brothers; the one who cleaned our stoop the day we closed on the house, appears to have some major OCD issues. He can't walk past a yard without doing some weeding. During the week I painted my porch and stoop, I watched him go up and down the block. He had a lawn and leaf bag with him, and he took the time to weed everyone's yard. Very kind of him, sure, but I can't help but feel sorry for the guy, because he really does sort of remind me of a Tazmanian Devil... trapped in a zoo cage. Ever seen one of those? They just sort of run around in circles, on this continuous loop. It's frantic, sad, and truthfully? I just couldn't watch for very long.

How to free this guy? I haven't a clue. Maybe he doesn't want to be freed. This is the impression I get. He does seem perfectly happy and content doing what he does. It's not something I could ever be happy doing, but hey, I suppose whatever floats it for you... that's what you should be doing, right? Right. And, well, it's not up to me to judge people for doing what makes them happy, especially when it's productive, albeit a little quirky.

Recently, I had a friend over to the house for coffee. She walked to a window, and watched as he hacked away at my rose bushes. She was a little worried, and I just dismissed it with: "Oh, that's just Henry. He likes to help out around here. He... means well." It was mid-December, perhaps prime-time for pruning. Fine with me, since that definitely makes for less work, but he was really going at it! He was putting all of himself into the pruning of these bushes, which, by the way, are not very big to begin with. They aren't even that nice, although maybe next spring they will be. Hard to say.

Sometimes this man will pace the parking lot of his business; a pair of pruning shears in hand, and appear to be pontificating with himself. He will then pause, walk back over, and trim the climbing ivy on his side of the fence. Then, he will go back to pacing the parking lot, until he must have completed a thought, and prune more leaves. He does this so terribly often that it seems needless while he is practicing this bizarre little ritual. But again, it makes him happy, and the ivy isn't taking over our yard, so, sure. Why not?

OK, I'll admit that there are times I exhibit certain... weird behaviours. I often pontificate while cleaning. And honestly? This sort of thing has become a comfort to me to see. I would really miss these guys if they had to leave. There are also times when I wish I was even half as persnickety, because I'm telling you... their place of business is absolutely immaculate. On holidays, they really go all out, and decorate like there is no tomorrow. If I had half of his energy, I would be thrilled.

The latest thing, however, has me quite puzzled. There was a Christmas tree in the parking lot a couple of days ago. Yesterday, for most of the day, it was gone. Now it's back. I have no idea why... but with these guys, I guess it really could be anything. I might even ask for it, since we like having things to burn.

Ah, mysteries of life...

Good lord, I think I may be becoming the crazy old lady who knows everything about everyone. Help!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something I have noticed recently

People of Portland:

It has come to my attention that some of you like to walk around this time of year sans shoes. You will be dressed in a nondescript manner for the most part, 'cept for this tiny detail. Has there been some sort of weird winter uprising against shoes? What's wrong with shoes???

Can you explain this one to me?

Because frankly, I don't understand what you are doing, why, or where you might be going. I can't think of a public place that would find this acceptable indoors, and yet, you flout the laws of decency, sanity, normalcy, and other things that would make me less worried, just so you can pull your weird little stunt.

See? Shoes. They are a good thing.

Think. Yes. Please do that, because shoes are useful things; especially in an urban setting, where some gross drunk homeless dude with hepatitis C may have puked all over the sidewalk. This is something that sort of becomes less noticeable when it rains, which, oddly enough, is when I see you out there barefoot. But the puke. Just because it's dilute, or not really detectable, could still be there, and basically all spread out, because yeah... rain does that to things.

Or what about broken glass? That's pretty common in the city. It happens a lot, and usually about a block before you find the puke, because that same dude was done with his Bottle'O'Icehouse, didn't know what to do with it... making use of his ability to throw things on the ground. Then, a block later, he makes use of his ability to do... other things. You get the picture.

I know, I know. Gross. But hey, common sense usually trumps gross. I'm glad I have it.

What is the motivation here? Are you trying to look tough? If that's all it is, why not just pick up a metal-spiked bangle bracelet, or collar? Good lord, you can get those at the mall, at that damn Hot Topic store. I think they even have them for fat girls at Torrid. I've heard a lot of people find individuals who wear them somewhat severe, surly, and intimidating. That must be what you're going for, at least a little bit, right?

Get a tattoo. Get a piercing. Dye your hair turquoise. Be normal.

But please. Wear shoes. Don't be a moron.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's the stuff we say...

I guess, maybe a this is little like "Shit My Dad Says", but I've been quoting people in my life for much longer than Twitter has even been around, so I take credit here. I'm not going to act like I'm copying the guy who started that, just because he took a stroll down a very crowded street and gained so much attention they modeled a sit-com after him, starring William Shatner.

Sorry guys, but I'm Shatner-Proof.

Well, that, and the fact that many times I record whole interactions for context. And... in keeping with that, I'll let you in on something we discussed a few days ago. See, we were talking about ways that we could be much cooler people, and apparently we decided that really cool people keep bees, so maybe that's what we should do.

In this morning's conversation, I was getting dressed to go downstairs to do a little cleanin', dusting, and the like, when he pops off with this: "Well, I guess you'd better clean this place from stem to stern, since your friends are going to come over today, and they might judge you."

"Uh... shut up. I guess you'd better go into the basement and build a better tomorrow."

"Better get your new, fancy phone ready, put on a cardigan sweater, bake some cookies, put some bees in the backyard... oh, and make sure those bees have an Android phone of their own, so they can post mobile uploads of their hive to Facebook."

"Snort! Yeah, that sounds like a reasonable way to prepare for a knitting circle."


Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 30: Love of self

Well, I'm not one to get all mushy and sentimental toward... most people, unless I'm so affected by that person, or caught up in a moment, I can't help but say something. While it's been known to happen on occasion, and even in my fairly recent past, it's not something you can expect me to ever really do toward myself.

It's not that I don't love myself. Of course, I do! But when I say the words... "I love myself", I usually start singing what follows that sentence as lyrics to: "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls.


Yeah... I'll spare you that, unless you really, truly want to hear that from me. I've certainly sung and said stranger things.

But anyway, I will say this: "That'll do, Hedy. That'll do."

And the swang sings nighty-night to the 30 Of Truth. Stay tuned 'til tomorrow for some misguided, and hopefully hilarious words from the fingers of HedyBean.

Until then: stay safe, play nice, and have a lovely day.


Thursday, January 6, 2011


If I had to think of one thing I'd like to change about myself, it would probably be my self-image. I know everyone has something about themselves they don't like, but mine has been a source of annoyance and resentment for basically my entire life.

I have tried so many times to do something about the shape my body decided to take, and once I even really did succeed, but it came at a real cost. During that time, I was sick... pretty much constantly. I don't think there was a two week period where I wasn't battling some illness. I gained some weight back, and guess what? It stopped. I barely ever get sick now.

Most people automatically place me in the category of lazy puke, and I usually have to prove myself over and over and over again. People are usually quite surprised when they see that I can keep up with my thin friends, and am actually pretty physically active and healthy. Hard to tell by looking at me, but I guess I'm stuck with what I've got, here. Really, it doesn't matter what I do, unless I'm actively pursuing an eating disorder, or working out 4 hours a day. (I really did that when I was smaller. I worked as a waitress, and had a 4 hour period between shifts. I would go straight to the gym, which was 5 minutes from where I worked, work out 3 1/2 hours, shower, and get back to work. It was the only way I was able to keep the weight off, and even that didn't work all the time.)

Still, try telling that to an insurance company, or a... modeling agency. Or Carlos Mencia. Did I mention I HATE that guy? No. I did not eat my way to hate, you asshole. Better hope we never cross paths, because I might have to kick your teeth in, or at the very least, pound on you a little bit, because you ran your mouth to hate, piss ant.

I will say, though, that for a brief period of time in high school, I actually did model. On a runway, and everything. But I didn't seek that one out. It just sort of fell into my lap, and like I said... it was brief, and set up by a friend. But still. I did that, and actually had a good time.

There are times when I'm fine with the way I look, and then other times when I just want to restrict myself to 600 calories a day, and get on the stairmaster for 3 hours. Yeah, not healthy.

If I could strike a balance here, it would be helpful. It's just hard when the world sees people a certain way, and those categories only change with great persuasion, and on a case-by-case basis.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 28: Pregnant

Ha ha! Made you look! Well, now that you are here, I guess you have to read about what I would do if I either got someone pregnant, or if I found myself in a family way, yet again.

Well, let's see. I suppose we will start with the first one. Hm. If I got someone pregnant, I think the first thing I would do is look down and try to figure that one out. I've never noticed anything there before, and I know there's nothing there now, but hm... I may not have seen everything under the sun just yet.

Anyway, if we were absolutely sure there was no other way this person could have gotten knocked up, I'd keep a low profile, because that's the sort of thing that would get me way more publicity than I would ever want. Once the baby was born, however, I would have a lab do DNA swabs on both, baby and I. If the probability of my paternity came back as 99.99999999%, I would then run through the streets, jumping and shouting, kicking my heels, on my way to the top of a building with a rooftop deck, and once I got there, I would shout: "Oh my soul, people! I have balls!!!! I have balls!!!! Thank God Almighty, I have balls!!!"

See, this would sort of just be no big deal, because I'm sure people would look up at me, perplexed for about 5 or so minutes, then just go on with their day without giving it a second thought. No papers involoved. Mental health facilities are overcrowded. Yeah. Works for me.

If I were to find out at this point in time that I was carrying another child, it wouldn't be so bad. I like babies. I could do it again. I don't think Mr. Hed would be particularly happy though. We have agreed... we are done, and this would mean a lot of extra work for both of us that we hadn't really thought about. But does anyone really know what the future holds? I think that's the point.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 27: Best

If I had to think of the best thing I have going for me right now, it would probably my sense of humour. I've been told, anyway, that I'm pretty funny most of the time. I don't know that I'd be able to do it for a living, but maybe if I took a few more improv classes, and I really, really wanted to, it would be something I'd pursue professionally.

Yeah, I don't really see it happening though. I prefer to just make people crack up at parties, and not be under that sort of pressure. Well, that and, let's face it: my ego is the size of Alaska. I'm not really proud of that fact, but yeah... there it is. Comments about certain things I do make or break my day... or sometimes... uh... year. I wouldn't say that a joke met with a flat response would turn me into a shrinking violet, but a dry week or month? I'd say that probably wouldn't be so great.

So, I'll continue to give you a wink and a smile... and if you laugh, fine. If not, that's OK too. It's not my bread and butter, and it's all serendipity, anyway.


Day 26. Give up?

There have been a few times in my life when I just wanted to cash it all in. I actually did come close to attempting suicide at 16, again at 20, 21, and again around 31. For many reasons I did not have the easiest childhood, and as I have said before, having to spend an unreasonable amount of time with someone who was ridiculously mentally ill took its toll on me. I was his captive audience most of the time. He viewed the world in a very defeatist way, and I learned from his actions and attitudes toward life.

And... at first? Not in a good way at all.

It has taken me years, and I mean years of reconditioning my personality and crafting the person I would have liked to have seen myself as back then for me to even consider liking myself. I had a ton of guilt by association; thinking that I was poisoned fruit from the same tree. That was a very tough thing to think about myself, and to go through. I think I'm finally over it though.

Though I'm still quite ashamed, we are not the same person, and I do have choices to follow different paths over time. I don't have to buy into the shame that I allowed myself to feel for so long, and gave so much power to. In that sense, I sometimes feel that I wasted so much time feeling that, and not trying to move past it. Other times, I feel that I needed to process it for a long time alone, even if it felt punitive.

But I think I'm finally finished. For now, anyway. I have forgiven him. Doesn't mean he's allowed to be part of my life, but I do feel a sense of peace having done that, and I no longer carry so much anger with me that it's almost too much to deal with.

I'm hoping that I will never feel like giving up on life again. That is, I suppose by design, the worst feeling in the world.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 25: The reason I'm still alive.

Day 25: The reason I'm still alive

Just being honest here, but let's face it. I'm not stupid. If I'm having a problem, I will find the root of it, and pull it out while it's still thriving, and green. Then I'll grind the fucker up, toss it out, and be done with it.

I've had to do this many times in my life. There are so many things I could have just let happen to me, but instead I kicked and screamed until I got my way, and ended up so much the better for it. True, I don't like drama, and I will do what I can to avoid it, but there are times when it is necessary. Like oils, you should use it sparingly so people take you seriously when you do find that it really is the only way to deal with something important, however.

Most of you who know me know that I struggle with certain health issues and depression. Most of you also know that I had a child naturally after my first was born via Cesarean, this time with almost no intervention. Less of you know the full extent of the issues I faced with my dad, who I am now estranged from. But anyway, we all have choices in how we live our lives. I chose the options that were right for me, and feel that I have a pretty good life as a result.

Life is all about taking the right opportunities and dodging a whole lot of fucking bullets. Mine is still very much a work in progress, but I know where I came from, and what I've had to fight so far. I am glad I did, because I'm still here, and I'm thriving!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 24: Playlist

Hm. I have no idea here. I like music. Most people know that. Don't make me pick 10 songs. Or... do. OK fine. I'll do it, but I'm not making up a list for any one individual person. I'm not really that sentimental. But anyway, here are some songs I like. I'll essplain why when I get to that point in this here bloggity post. Oh, and if you click on the linkage to have a listen, be sure to do it by right-clicking and opening the links in a new tab. Apparently blogger isn't sophisticated enough to do that for you. Apologies...

1. Judgment of the moon and stars by Joni Mitchell It's a love letter she wrote to Beethoven, dig? You must listen to the lyrics. Especially these ones: "You've got to shake your fist at lightning now, you've got to roar like forest fire. You've got to spread your light like blazes all across the sky. They're gonna aim the hoses on ya. Show 'em you won't expire; not 'til you burn up every passion, not even when you die." Pretty fucking powerful, 'eh?

2. Girl Anachronism by The Dresden Dolls. If you aren't easily offended, you must hear this band. You. Must. So much energy. So much talent. Such a crazy/amazing duo. Amanda is probably the most amazing piano player I have ever heard, (and believe me, that's SAYING SOMETHING.) and Brian... wow. Just... wow. That is some fast drumming, right there. That's what that is.

3. Rhythm and Soul by Spoon. This one is kind of reminiscent of something by The Zombies, etc. Makes me think of semi-cool winter days as a kid when I would go to Licorice Pizza with my dad and pick up a new record to spin. See? Not all memories of my dad are bad ones...

4. Art School Girl by Stone Temple Pilots Hey, I had to throw something in from my college days... just for this, I'll add one on the end, 'k?

5. OK fine, one more... 'cause it brings the memories... Walkabout by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

6. Beware of Darkness by George Harrison 'Cause... how could anyone hate that guy?

7. Empty Pages by Traffic Upon discovering their music, I developed a bizarre retro-impossicrush on Steve Winwood. Hey, he was hot back then! I have no idea what happened to him in the '80s, but that decade was hard on everyone, 'non?

8. Going to a town by Rufus Wainwright. Amen, brotha! Amen!

9. Miss Otis Regrets Written by Cole Porter, sung by the great Ella.

10. The Girl In The Other Room by Diana Krall because, yeah, who hasn't been that girl at one time or another?

11. Pump It Up by Elvis Costello OK, this may have been by slight association, but it is one of my favourites by him.

12. Combination of the two by Janis Joplin. By far, my favourite by her. I can't tell you why. Because I don't really know. It's high energy, happy, and rockin'. That's all I claim to know.

13 All day sucker by Stevie. I love singing along to this one. Not my favourite, but I easily have a day's worth of his stuff, and there is just... yeah. Nope. Can't pick just one. Sorry.

OK, last one... because I couldn't leave P-Funk off of this list. See what I mean? Do you reaaaaly want to get me started? Do you? Because yeah. This is what happens! I just keep going. Dammit, crazy blog meme from hell... look what you did! Fine. This won't be the last one. No. No, it won't.

14. Tear the roof off the sukka by Parliament Funkadelic. You know, it took me about 50 listens to that song before I finally picked up where that particular line is? Yeah, I can be dense at times...

15. This one, #15, is, in fact, a cover. But dammit. I like it better than the original. Whole lotta love originally by Led Zeppelin, covered by Tina Turner. It's fan-fucking tastic. No, really, it is.

16. Walk on the wild side Lou Reed. 'Cause you know, an occasional walk on the wild side can be pretty damn fun.

17. Chemtrails by Beck. No, I'm not a believer in the hype... I just like the song. It reminds me a bit of Alan Parsons, only it rocks just a little bit more. I love the drums in particular.

18. Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying! Belle and Sebastian Oh, it's emo. Terribly so... and oh, I identify...

19. One Thousand Tears Of A Tarantula Dengue Fever. Is it weird that I find this terribly sexy? Because I do.

20. Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed David Bowie. Would my list be complete without him? No, it may not be my favourite by him. I do, however, love how he laughingly sings "It's very catching." Honestly? I have a day's worth of his stuff, too. There is just no way I could narrow it. But this one is just so wonderfully weird, and I'm all about that.

21. Dancin' in an Easy Groove Lonnie Smith, before he was Dr. Lonnie Smith. It's an easy groove, and I dance to it often.

22. Lady Marmalade The original is the only way to groove here. Sorry, I hated the cover.

23. Border Song Elton John. When he was still good and not all corporate... and Disney.

24. Haitian Divorce Steely Dan. It's kinda goofy as a choice, but the drama that plays out in the song... and the clever ending hooked me. Shut up.

K. I think I got it out of my system for now. Sort of.