Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cecil Anne (Hudson) Pedersen
March 19, 1940 - January 30, 2009

Many people have asked me to send them a copy of the tribute I delivered at my mom's funeral last Saturday. I thought that I would post it here instead. I'm very proud of it and amazed that I was able to stand up there in front of 300 people, in a church and make it through the whole speech, only losing it twice. After the service, everyone came up to me and told me how much they thought of it. So many people had so many loving things to say. I'm honored to have been able to do this and hear from the people who heard it.

When we were planning this service, my father and I discussed the flowers. Mom loves tulips and I just so happen to live near the tulip capital of the US, so I offered to get tulip bouquets. My father balked at the suggestion, explaining that he doesn't like it when flowers are cut, only to be enjoyed for a few days, when it is so much nicer to plant flowers and have them to enjoy year after year.

I reminded my dad that with tulips, one must cut the flower in order for the bulb to grow and divide, thus allowing more tulips to spring forth from the one. And so it goes. One beautiful bloom must be plucked in order for the rest of us to grow and thrive.

I could have never imagined that I'd be standing up here today, speaking with all of you, but moreso, I could never have imagined the gifts that have come from this. Even though this has been such a difficult time for me and my family, I've found great comfort in recognizing the gifts that have been bestowed on us and I'd like to share them with you in hopes that if my mom's passing has left you with a void in your life, you can fill it with happy memories of my mom and the assurance that the legacy of mom's gifts to us and this earth continue to be a blessing to all of us who were so fortunate to have her in our lives.

We all know her intention was to give us the gift of sparing us having to take care of her during her decline and the gift of never having to know her as anything less than her very best, but I wonder how much she thought about the other gifts that have amazingly and strangely come from her sudden departure.

We are not left with the unanswerable question of "why," which can mercilessly plague families who are struck by a senseless death. None of us have to suffer that particular bewilderment and we can be grateful for that gift.

Although we know that my mother possessed a quiet determination in every goal she set, we have now been given the gift of truly understanding her boundless strength and now know that she is far more brave than any of us could have ever imagined. We can take great inspiration from that and she makes us even stronger as we go forward in life. It is due solely to her gift of strength that I am able to stand up here today.

She has given us the gift of being closer to our family and friends who through their love and support during this difficult time has deepened the emotional relationship we have with them.

I'm closer now to my family and friends than I could have ever hoped. That includes my mom, who I love more now than ever and feel closer to than I ever thought possible.

I have been given the gift of re-connecting with people from my childhood who were very important to me, even though I didn't know it at the time. We've been given the gift of reconciliation and ultimate respect and love for the truth behind our bond and the disolution of all of the wrong ideas we had about each other.

Our friends and family have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their love and care for us by supporting us through this difficult time. And we now live in wonder of what a gift it is for us to have these people in our lives.

Her death gave gifts to people she had never even met. For example, the night after I told my dear friend, Maurice of her passing, he sat to dinner with his friends, two couples, a very elderly couple who have been together for decades and a couple whose ages are quite far apart. The elderly couple were no doubt touched by a deeper appreciation for the time they have had together. And later, the older member of the other couple shared with Maurice that the conversation they had about the circumstances of my mother's death, opened up a whole new and more meaningful avenue of communication between him and his less mature partner. Both of these things are gifts that my mother gave people she never even knew and would never know how she touched their hearts.

I've always wanted to believe that everything we do and say sends ripples out into the world and affects people in ways that we will never know. It's one thing to believe that in the abstract, but Mom gave me the gift of witnessing that first-hand and validating that belief that I hold very dear.

I know that for me and I hope for all of us here, that we are reminded to be thankful for our great blessings and to not take anything for granted: the air that we breathe, the food on our tables, the roofs over our heads, our family and friends who we love and love us in return, the beauty in our world and our good health.

Mom freed herself from the body that betrayed her and prevented her from being able to do the things that she loves.

She is no longer trapped there, she is free, and now she is everywhere.

She is up there with her mom and dad, Fannie and Joe and her sisters Helen and Josephine. All of the earthly concerns gone and they now know each other as they may not have been able to here. She and Aunt Nadine are horsing around and wishing we'd all lighten up a little down here. Grandpa Art is joining them all in a good belly laugh. He is.

Mom loves animals and we know that she's up there playing with Tinker, Maynard, Fritz the cat who burned through about 40 lives, Sweetie, Ziggy, hopefully not those two rabbits we got for Easter in 1970, Benji, Barney, Mister Stevenson, Bitsy, Dusty, Frosty, Tina, Max, Jelly, the Professor and Mary Ann, that chameleon I got at the Puyallup Fair that would only eat live house flies that we all became experts at catching in sandwich bags, and all the other pets patiently waiting for their owners to join them.

Always putting everyone's needs ahead of hers, know that she has just simply gone ahead for us, and is getting the place ready to welcome us all when we come.

She's hounding Paul Newman for autographs and checking the schedule to see when Robert Redford will be arriving.

She's in the camellia blossom that forges ahead through the soggy, grey winter to bloom and give us hope that Spring is just around the corner.

She is the flickering flames of the campfire, that she will make burn a little brighter and dance a little higher.

She's sitting on the 50 yard line of every Seahawks game.

She's in the stars we gaze at twinkling in the night sky on a clear, black night.

She's in the wind that blows our hair out of our face so that we can see.

She's there when you are cutting your child's bangs too short and crooked.

She's with you when you're planting your flowers and she helping your tomatoes ripen on the vine.

She's in the ray of sunshine that comes in through your window and provides a warm spot for the cat to nap.

She's at WalMart.

She is sitting right next to you in the car, flinging her arm across you when you're forced to stop too fast.

She's in the forests of Africa, hanging around with the gorillas. Don't ask me to explain that one, please.

She's at the daffodil parade, keeping the seagulls from pooping on your head.

She IS at your dance recital, she IS at your granduation, she IS at your wedding and she IS there when her great-grandbabies are born and she IS swaddling them with her love.

She is standing right next to you when life is forcing you to make difficult decisions.

We don't ever have to be lonely, because she is always with us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Open Letter To Every Driver Who Travels In The Passing Lane And Won't Move Over When Another Car Comes Up Behind You And Flashes Their Lights.

You know who you are. You drive in the far left lane of the freeway when you have no intention of passing any cars. Normally, I consider your behavior to be rude, and retarded and I find small consolation as I am trapped behind you knowing that you are a pathetic piece of shit and you live a miserable life and I should feel sorry for you for that.

But now, you've made it personal. You've made it very, very personal.

Because, you see, this time when you were driving like a jackass, you were preventing me from getting to my father's house where he had discovered my mom's body after she had blown her brains out with a .38. 

You see, I was driving 70 to 75 mph on the freeway, in order to shorten that excruciating drive as much as possible. But you decided, that when I came up on you in the passing lane, you were going to teach me a lesson for being in such a 'frivolous' hurry by SLOWING DOWN. When I flashed my lights at you to pull over, you SLOWED DOWN EVEN MORE. That'll teach me, eh? That'll teach me for being in such a fucking hurry, huh?

After I was finally able to pass you on the right and get back into the passing lane, you sped into the carpool lane, JUST SO THAT YOU COULD PASS ME AND CUT IN FRONT OF ME AND SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES.

Oh now that'll REALLY teach me, won't it.

You see, you waste of air, I was driving 70 to 75 mph, knowing FULL WELL that I could be pulled over and given a speeding ticket AND I DIDN'T CARE! You know why? Because my dad was sitting there, LOSING his SHIT over the fact that he walked into the room to find MY MOTHER'S HEAD BLOWN OFF and I would have been HAPPY to pay 100 speeding tickets that day. 

And think about it, asshole, REALLY think about it. Say I had been given just 5 speeding tickets in my trip, that would have amounted to several hundreds of dollars that would have been contributed to our State coffers to fund the very freeway that you so love to crawl down!

And you know what else? It's a FREE FUCKING COUNTRY and if I want to drive 75 mph on the freeway and get a pile of speeding tickets, THAT'S MY RIGHT and it is NOT your right to take that away from me. How very Un-American of you to steal freedom from your fellow citizens.

So you civil-liberties thieving, road-funds hating excuse for a human, I hope that when the day comes that YOUR mother blows HER brains out because of all the SHAME she feels from POLLUTING the planet with your despicable carcass, that someone JUST LIKE YOU will pull the same shit on YOU when you are trying to be with your family. 

In the meantime, I am channeling all of my anger into getting all of your self-righteous, petty, retarded asses out of that left hand lane. I'm coming down on you, and I'm coming hard. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The one good thing about having no work and nowhere to go is that when two feet of snow drops on your neighborhood and the snowplow is broken and can't get you out for four days, it's not such a big deal. You can even tolerate your over-stayed houseguest and not worry too much when the water pipes freeze, leaving you with no water.
No job = no hygiene = no problem.
But I did have one place to be and that was San Francisco on Christmas Eve. I cared of nothing, other than getting there, which meant getting my housesitter here and getting me to the airport, preferably clean. All energy was focused on achieving that goal. Luckily, all the pieces fell into place and I landed in San Francisco, Christmas Eve at midnight. Clean and with a suitcase full of clean clothes. 
And in stark contrast to a week ago, when I was dressed to the fucking nines and UNCE-UNCE-UNCING my ass off at a 125,000 square foot New Years Eve party in downtown San Francisco with 7,999 of my closest friends, today, I was again, unwashed and garbed in yellow slickers and rubber boots, frantically digging trenches around my house in a futile effort to divert the water that was pouring off the hill behind it, a result of 2 feet of melting snow and 8 inches of new rainfall in one day. 
As I whacked away, cutting a trench across the driveway (over a hundred years of compacted gravel, over a foot thick, mind you.) I would occasionally, spot a little critter paddling across the lake where the yard used to be and scampering across the driveway to higher ground.
Any hope that Noah would cruise by and collect us was dashed when I remembered that everyone in this house is spayed and neutered.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vem Skulla du Gora?

My friend Karen sent me a link to a page of pictures of Swedish dance bands from the 70's. I innocently clicked on the link and my eyes were immediately assaulted with images so horrific, like a train wreck, I couldn't look away. As I scrolled through the pictures, that part of my brain that hates me, remembered a game my friend Angela and I used to play when we'd get bored at a bar gig: 'Who Would You Do?'

We'd start with the band, me with the bass player always, and decide who among the band we would 'do.' If that was not challenging enough or did not provide enough Point-Counterpoint repartee, then we would move onto the other patrons of the bar. Sometimes we'd actually Move On the other patrons of the bar. 


Left to right: Sigvard, Bjorne, Jorgen, Olle, DJ Kjell

Don't let the pink shirts with the gauzy lampchop sleeves that DJ Kjell's mom made for them fool you. This dance band is HARD CORE, as indicated by the hip hop spelling of their name in the vein of Stone Cold Killaz and Gorillaz. Think of them as Heart informed by Ghost Face Killah.
But the question at hand is 'Ven Skulla du Gora?'
Well, I don't understand Sigvard's hair. The sideburns on Jorgen are just too over the top. Olle reminds me of my pervy 7th grade choir teacher and DJ Kjell looks like a nice guy, but too scrawny. Looks like the Eric Idle look-a-like, Bjorne, is the big winner!

 Bob Candys

Back row, left to right: Greger, Nils, Torkel, Sten.
Front row, left to right: Olle, Thor

Who needs a silly article like the word, 'The' when you are Bob Candys? They are Bob Candys, that's who they are. Not THE Bob Candys, Bob Candies, nor Bob Candy's. When deciding on their costume design, the heartily agreed to go with a Traffic Barrier theme - WITH puffy sleeves! Bravo! 
But sorry, Torkel, I don't care for hippies. Olle, you look too old for me (You! Shut UP!).  Thor, Sten, that's a lot of forehead there. I'll be passing on Greger's Chicklet teeth and going straight after Nils! Rawr!

Tre Blå & en Gul

Left to right: Blå, Blå, Gul, Blå

"Hey guys, I went to Elvis R Us store and they only had three blue shirts so I got one yellow one. So, anyway, what are we going to call our band?"

Hey Captain Yellow Shirt, (or should I say Kapten Gul Tröja,) I admire your willingness to stick out like a sore, yellow thumb. Get over here!


Left to right: Thor, Sten, Kjell, Greger, Gustaf

Well, what do you know. Here are some Scandinavians. How can I tell? Well, the 'matching' (not shirt to suit, but person to person) outfits with bell-bottomed sleeves are a dead give-away. Oh, and "Scandinavians" is stenciled on the bottom of their Golden Grain photo. They were all told to cross their arms for the photo, and Greger just couldn't get it right. Gustaf looks a little pissed off and I like his white 'fuck-you' belt. Hey Gustaf, get over here and buy me a drink!

Norrlandspojkarna med Inger
(trans: Lollapallooza with a Vengeance)

Back row, left to right: Perry Farrell, Olle, Torbsjorn.
Front row, left to right: Torkel, Inger, Bjorne

It would appear that Perry Farrell was caught on film just before he backhanded Inger. Who can really blame him though. I mean look at her just sitting there beaming like she's all that after weasling herself into the band by emotionally blackmailing her husband, Torbsjorn. And look at those poor rubes Torkel and Bjorne, stupidly transfixed by her femine wiles. That'd be enough to send me slappin'. Looks like Olle's the only one in this picture without serious mental problems. Normally that would be a turn-off for me, but this band doesn't need ANOTHER Yoko! Olle! 


'Hick' really only describes one person in this picture. Can you guess who? Ya, well, anyone but him, come on down!


Back row, left to right: Olof, Sigfrid, Gosta.
Front row, left to right: Torsten, Nils, Sven

SPARKLY! Who needs beer googles when you have lens glare? Gosta couldn't be bothered put forth the effort to sparkle. Torsten, Nils and Sven all used a curling iron on their hair which makes it a toss-up between Olof and Sigfrid. I don't trust Sigfrid, not for one second. I bet Olof is funnier than shit. Let me get my sunglasses, Olof, and I'll be right there!


"Hey honey, did you find a Swedish dance band for our anniversary party?"
"I got the Schytts!"
"So you didn't find a band then?"

(People, this stuff practically writes itself!)

There is absolutely nothing to distinguish any of these guys from the other. So, eenie meenie minie mo... hey, clog-wearing, mullet guy in the front, meet you backstage?

Tage Öst - Fyrklang

Back row, left to right: Hunka, Hunka.
Front row, left to right: Burnin', Love.

'Tage Öst,' translated means, 'Mounting Cheese.' That could mean any number of things. Is the cheese being taxidermied and displayed on the wall? Is the pile of cheese growing larger and larger? Or, my accordion-wielding studs, does it mean that you hump cheese? You know how I am about accordions, and those are monsters! I, I, I... I am the cheese!

Kurt Reines

Back row, left to right: Äke, Sven, Torsten, Olle, Greger.
Front row: Guy with his junk totally out there.

I can only assume that the guy with his junk totally out there is 'Kurt.' He was like, 'Guys, when we have our picture taken, I'm totally highlighting my junk in it.' Everyone else in the band was like, 'No way, dude.' Frankly, Sven has been sick of Kurt's shit for a while, but he endures the young one's hijinx in order to stay in the band and avoid his miserable family.
While I admire a guy who would be so bold as to accentuate his junk in their band picture, I'd have to go for Äke here. Set-apart, he seems mildly amused and unphased. 

Dansgånget Family

I'm going for weird Uncle Olle in the middle of the Dagnåbit family.


Back row, left to right: Sven, Torkel, Jorgen.
Front row, left to right: Marta, Greger, Bjorne

'Bjorne! Damn it! It's supposed to be BLACK with red trim! Idiot! THAT is why you are the drummer! You don't fucking LISTEN!'
I don't need to be with anyone who can't follow simple instructions, sorry Bjorne. Torkel, it looks like you may have suffered a stroke, but you're the pick of this litter!


Back row, left to right: Thor, Leif, Thor, Leif.
Front row, left to right: Thor, Leif.

Finally! A band with some REAL fashion sense. It's a tough call, choosing between Thor and Leif, but I think, I'll have to go with... Leif!


Your name is WHAT? 

Top row, middle. No question. Not even joking.

Tommy Ferm's

Back row, left to right: Sven, Dag, Christer.
Front row: Kjell.

I was scrolling through this list just WAITING for someone to misuse their apostrophe. And here they are! The Tommy Ferm's!  I can't stop marveling at how completely ugly and ill-fitting their costumes are.  And Dag looks like he was Photoshopped in from a more close-up photo, but seeings how this was taken before the days of Photoshop, it means that Dag is just off-sized. Sven looks like he's in the wrong place and Christer looks like he's in the wrong body. That leaves Kjell, the White Knight, take me away!


Left to right: Torsten, Ake, Kjell, Olle, Thor.

Apparently, 'Saints' took a break from their gig at the Elks Club to snap their band photo next to the pool. And the award for puffiest sleeves goes to.... Saints! Ake's mom went to far as to put extra fabric in the sleeves and bell bottoms to extend them to the maximum allowed. 
Again, these guys look pretty much the same, but I'll abandon the eenie-meenie-minie-mo method and instead choose the one with the least stomach-churning hairstyle. Despite his grotesquely-scuffed white clogs (He was like, 'Guys! Baby blue suede platforms DO NOT go with our outfits!') , Olle comes out the winner here. Bonus: looks like he might have a motorcycle.

Gert Jonnys

Back row, left to right: Torsten, Sigfrid, Nils.
Front row: Torbsjorn.

Where to start? The elf-like color scheme? The pec vests? The obvious over-use of Aqua Net? The font they chose for their name? I don't know. I just don't know.

Teddy Boys
Left to right: Thor, Sten, Torkel, Olof, Bjorne.

Capes! Capes! Capes with giant fucking bows! Teddy Boys take it to the max! Now, I know I've mocked the bands' puffy sleeves, but I'll admit that I know they have a distinct purpose. You see, the puffy sleeves are there to wave in the breeze as the band plays and hypnotize the audience into believing that they are listening to good music. But capes! I salute you Teddy Boys, you magnificent bastards. I mean, look how much space they have to leave between themselves to make room for the capes! Glorious! But I'm sorry, the name 'Teddy Boys' and the capes indicate to me that none of you would want to go home with the likes of me...

Two of my favorite things...

I watched Heat all day yesterday, over and over. The storyline was a skosh too intricate for me to understand the first time. Or the second time. Or the third time. I finally had to consult my old friend, The Internet, to fill me in on the details that I was unable to grasp. Thanks Internet!

I think the reason why I wasn't able to pay attention to the storyline was the guns. Oh lordy, the guns. At every gun battle, I was focused on each firearm and trying to figure out what it was. But there were SO MANY and I couldn't identify much besides the Colts, M16s and H&Ks.

My dear friend, The Internet? Can you help me here?

Yes, yes, oh freaking YES.

BTW, Tom Sizemore is The HAWT. (And so it his Benelli M3 Super 90 12-gauge pump action.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wallace the Evil Duck - Final Chapter

I've just returned from a 40-mile round trip to pick up my pre-ordered, local, farm-raised, free-range heritage turkey for Thanksgiving - all six pounds of him. More on that later.
It so happens that the farmer I got this turkey from, is also the one who adopted Wallace the Evil Duck.

I asked him how it went with Wallace.

"Oh," he said, "it's kinda sad, actually."

Did he end up on a dinner plate? I asked.

"No, it was weird, he kept attacking all of the other birds. He'd be OK for a couple days, then right back at it again. But then, he went after the cow. He'd bite her teats, and well, then, she started kicking him... and well, she didn't stop until he was squashed into the ground..."
Judge me if you will, but I chuckled at that. It seemed a fitting end to a seriously deranged duck. Here, all we over-generous humans tried keeping him, (I'm reminded of that Twilight Zone episode with the kid who has psychic powers) but the milk cow finally laid down some Farm Law on his waddly ass.

"I don't understand what was wrong with that duck," said the truly gentle farmer.

"Well, his mom rejected him, that's how I ended up with him. She probably rejected him for good reason."

R.I.P. Wallace, for everyone in Farm Heaven's sake, OK?

Friday, November 7, 2008


Let's just pretend that October never happened. To make it easier to forget, let's concentrate on these wise words imparted to me, some years ago, by my friend Randy, who is a therapist:

"Connie, if you find yourself attracted to a guy, the best thing for you to do is just WALK AWAY. No, RUN away." 

Obviously, if had I heeded Randy's sage advice, it would have saved me from major heartbreak. However, if he'd explained his theory in more detail, perhaps I would have learned how to avoid putting myself in these situations. But then he would have had to bill me for therapy sessions. And what, that would be a few hundred bucks and instead, I'd rather waste years of my life banging my head up against a wall. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


See you in September.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Return of the Evil Duck

Well, that didn't last long. Wallace was at his nice, new home for 6 days before Barbara emailed me to tell me that he Had To Go. She sent me a video of Wallace attacking her shins. 

I wasn't surprised by this. It seemed a little too good to be true. 

It would take me a couple days before I could retrieve him and it was no happy reunion on his return. Since I was leaving for Burningman in a couple of days, and I didn't want to saddle my very nice house-sitter with this Devil Duck,  my first plan was to "take him for a ride." I drove him down to the lower field, thinking he was far enough away, let him out of the box and drove back to the house. 

It wasn't very long before he showed up back in the yard and began attacking the chickens again. And the dogs. 

I found a farmer nearby that breeds and sells Muscovys and asked if he'd like mine. I begged him a little. He agreed to take him if I brought him over first thing in the morning.

The difficulty now was how to catch the son-of-a-bitch. The mind reeled. The horror fantasies of being scratched to death or having to shoot him ran through my mind. 

But then he ran into the house. He'd never done that before. The house-sitter and I were able to corner him in the kitchen without bloodshed or broken dishes and crammed him into the cage and set him outside until morning.

And now, Wallace is either living amongst his peers, or he's been eaten by some nice, Vietnamese family.

Via con Dios, Wallace!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A new home for Wallace

Wallace has grown up and turned into a complete asshole. 

He spent most of his day attacking the chickens, pinning them down and biting the backs of their necks, coming away with a bill-full of feathers. I stopped putting him in the pen at night because he was impossible to catch and when I did catch him, he'd scratch me with his sharp claws to the point of almost needing stitches. I left him out at night, kind of hoping the coyotes would get him, but no, every morning I'd wake up to see him setting on the picnic table, waiting for me to let the chickens out so he could get to work attacking them.

Like it isn't loud enough here already without me constantly yelling, WALLACE! KNOCK IT OFF! and chasing him away from my hens.

So when he started coming after me, it was time for him to go. I momentarily considered BBQing him at the Burning Beast event, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. I advertised him on craigslist as a non-edible guard duck. Surprisingly, I got a few responses, one from a really nice person just a little ways down the road who keeps ducks and geese.

She came over immediately and informed me that Wallace was not in fact a duck, but a Muscovy who are very different from ducks. I told her that explained a lot since Wallace was such a jerk. She took Wallace away and invited me to her house the next day where I got to see the beautiful place that is Wallace's new home. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Technology will not save you when nature decides to kick your ass.

Maybe instead of levees, build canals. Or maybe leave it the F alone and move somewhere else.

This is why we can't have anything nice.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump!

I went to the dump today. To take in the last load of crap left behind by artists here since last year, including the shell of an inflatable plane that was installed in a tree. 

The artist didn't come up, but relegated the installation to one of the volunteer curators who had to jam it up in the tree and then inflate all 30 feet of it. It was abandoned here. Then it popped. It deflated. It hung in the tree looking like an enormous used condom for 8 months. All of my begging and pleading for help to remove it fell on deaf ears and every day I had to look at that enormous used condom hanging from a tree in the middle of the farm. Then, one day, it transferred itself into a heap on the barn floor. I have no idea how it happened, but now it's at the dump.

I hate going to the dump because I hate seeing all the crap people throw away. Correction: I hate seeing all the crap that people buy and then throw away because it was crappy and broke. I know what you're thinking, "But Connie, YOU are at the dump too..." Yes, but I'm not throwing away cheap, broken furniture and cheap plastic broken toys. I don't buy cheap crap that breaks or I get tired of. Once I saw that someone had thrown away hundreds of pieces of tack: leather saddles, horse blankets, bridles, riding gear - it all looked perfectly good to me. Today, in the Scrap Metal area was a pile of bikes. 

But today, today I saw someone throwing something away that I'd never, EVER guess I'd ever see. Dirt. I saw two women throwing away dirt. 

They were next to me, shoveling the dirt out of the bed of their little pickup, one shovelful at a time. I was immediately horrified and judged them to be incredible idiots. Then, I thought, maybe there was a good reason they were throwing away dirt. Maybe the dirt had been contaminated with something and they had to get it off of their property. Maybe it had been infested with a noxious weed. But I needed to know. So I asked them, "Why are you throwing away dirt?"

"It's SOD." replied one of the two women. "And they won't accept sod at the yard waste place."
"You know, all you have to do is turn the sod upside down, cover it with black plastic and in a few months, you'll have really nice composted soil."
"Oh really? I had no idea!" 
"Too bad." I said. "That's a bummer."

When I stopped at the booth to pay, I remarked to the dump employee, "I just saw two women throwing away dirt." 

She rolled her eyes and said, "You wouldn't believe it, but it happens all the time."
"People throw away DIRT? Why don't they compost it? I thought we lived in the country out here. How can people live out here and not know what to do with DIRT?"
She shrugged. "Happens all the time."

Saturday, May 24, 2008


My. It's been a month since my last post. The chickens are getting big and feathered out. Wallace the duck is full grown and mean. I joined a gym and I'm going to Pilates class. (Pronounced Pie-laytz) 

I was intimidated the first time I went, but that subsided when the instructor came in and she was a little porky - admittedly out of shape after a pregnancy. But the next class? The other Pilates instructor? Ya, well, I guess I've been living on Vashon for too long and forgot that there are women who wear makeup. And she looks like Jessica Simpson, only much prettier and taller. And as I struggled to get through the class, I kept staring at her in stunned disbelief. I didn't know that there were actually people, in the world (and Mount Vernon, of all places) walking around looking THAT good. I thought it was all airbrushing in the magazines, or 'mad Photoshop skillz' as the kids these days call it. 

If you're not familiar with Pilates, it's like Yoga, but instead of staying still, you have to move a lot. A LOT. The instructor gets you into a weird position then you have to flail a number of times. Like 100 times. All the time, using your "core." And you flail the requisite number of times, like 20 and then the instructor says "20 MORE!" and your muscles are burning and you think there's no way that you can do 20 more, but that's OK, because the instructor can't count:

"OK everyone! 20 more! Make it count! 20! ::oof:: ::oof:: 8 more! ::oof:: ::oof:: OK! 2 more! GOOD! Looking good guys!" 

Friday, April 25, 2008


One of the pitfalls of spending a lot of time by yourself is the tendency to verbalize random thoughts. Out loud. When you live alone, it hardly poses any problem. But then, say you start to re-integrate into society by maybe, I dunno, joining a gym, because in your hermetically-sealed state, maybe you got out of shape and added a few pounds. So then maybe you start going to this gym and maybe you're reading "Self" magazine while using the Stairclimber(tm) and maybe you're reading an article where someone has written in, concerned about the health of their born-again vegan friend and maybe the responder mentions that their vegan friend can obtain the recommended daily allowance of protein by preparing food made using SEITAN.

And then maybe you flash back to the first time you were introduced to SEITAN, Thanksgiving of 1995, when you were invited to your Vegan friend's house for T-day dinner and instead of cooking a real turkey, they cooked a turkey-shaped loaf of SEITAN. Now remember, the only reason you accepted this invitation to begin with was to 1) avoid your own hopelessly dysfunctional family and 2) to ogle the husband of one of the guests, of whom you've had a crush on from the first moment you laid eyes on him. And despite the earnest attempts by your hosts to be righteous in their veganism (Please, DO NOT notice the leather chairs in their living room. Please.) you find yourself out on the deck with the smokers chanting over and over "SEITAN SEITAN SEITAN SEITAN SEITAN..." And it's funny, you see, because SEITAN is pronounced the same as SATAN. And every time after that day, whenever you've ever seen the word SEITAN in print, you, in your most evil, Linda Purl Exorcist voice, compulsively hiss, "SATAN," aloud. Every time. It can't be helped any more than my OCD friend touching the light switch 5 times before he leaves a room. 

Flash forward to the gym in Mount Vernon, full of people from America's Heartland, and there's a woman on the Stairclimber(tm) who, for no apparent reason, breathlessly hisses "SATAN."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chicken Pox

If you don't get Chicken Pox from chickens, why does one of my chickens have it? For whatever reason they call Chicken Pox, Chicken Pox, there's nothing left to call what my chicken is suffering from than Foul Pox. 

I found her teetering in front of the waterer this morning. I picked her up and saw that her beak was caked and bloody with a warty-looking swelling on it, as well as her comb. I whisked her into the bathroom to clean what I thought were wounds and found that her feet and legs had scabs on them. And on the back of her head, I can barely describe. It looked like she had a small rock stuck in the middle of a tumor. I cleaned her up and tried to soften the lesions with warm water and vitamin E oil, but no result.
I called the hatchery and they had no idea what I was describing. I called the vet and they also didn't know, but said I could bring her in on Saturday. "I don't think she'll make it that long." They told me to refrigerate her if she dies and they can run tests and see if it's contagious and take precautions to protect the rest of the flock.
I got on (I LOVE) the internet and tried to Google for a clue. "chicken tumor," "chicken lesions," "chicken diseases," etc. until I found mention of the pox. Google images confirmed that my little chicken has Fowl Pox. There's nothing to be done about it once the chicken has it and in most cases they eventually get better. Unless the Pox has spread to their mouth and throat, making it difficult for them to breath and eat. My chicken is wheezing and won't swallow the yummy yummy special food I made for her, so she's most likely doomed.