Forty-three

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in this middle age
I find a crucible of
molten metal me


Middle age is often an inflection point where a person decides, again, what direction their life will take.  I like this image of the crucible.  The metal has the potential to become something strong and beautiful, but must be handled with care lest it reduce its surroundings to ash.  Mine has not yet been cast, but I think I see the shape of it shifting underneath the surface.

(Coincidentally, element 43 on the periodic table is technetium, a transition metal that is radioactive and mostly not found on Earth, but rather in red stars.  Transition, indeed.)

98.8% Is Fine

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The Ancients thought the solar eclipse
Was the wrath of the great I Am.
In modern times, there’s wrath indeed–
In this God-forsaken traffic jam.


Oregon normally has a population of around four million people, not counting Sasquatch.  On Monday, thanks to the solar eclipse, we’re supposed to have an extra million visitors in the state (and not evenly dispersed).  The traffic started yesterday, and the logjam of RVs, rental cars, and out-of-towners will only get worse.  (If you’re wondering why Oregon is especially blessed with solar tourism, we are the closest destination for all of Asia.)

We live just outside the band of totality.  I am NOT driving the 20 miles to be in totality on Monday.  We’re going to hang out with our neighbors, drink up the champagne they don’t want to move to Idaho, and not be in the car for six hours.

Side note:  That little orange dot in the glasses is the sun.  I hope everyone feels like they got their money’s worth afterwards.

GastroNom

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Plant the seeds
Or till the sod,
You’ll find our
Homely gastropod.

He ate my frisé,
Peas and beans,
Chowed all the leaves
And in-betweens.

Then slimed away,
Full fed and smug.
Next week’s menu?
Salted slug.


I’m not sure why Oregon has a state microbe (brewer’s yeast), but not a state mollusk. Specifically, why isn’t the slug serving in some official capacity? Lord knows we have enough of them. We could encase them in decoupage and sell them as souvenirs. I say it’s time we force this lazy garden grifter into some real responsibility. I just haven’t figured out how to keep the tiny sashes on yet.

The Geologic Equivalent to Waking Up Dressed Like a Disney Princess with Sharpie Drawings on Your Face

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the Erratic Rock
got stoned with Canadians
woke up in Oregon


This 36-ton Canadian rock sits on the top of a short hill in Yamhill County, Oregon.  It was carried here, likely encased in glacial ice, during the pre-historic Missoula floods.  There’s a very brief hike to get to it, long enough for your kids to think there might be something other than a rock to look at when you’ve arrived.

I adore the Erratic Rock, because the idea of a boulder acting unpredictably, even whimsically, is so delicious.  I like to think it rebelled against its Canadian mountain parents and hitched a ride.  “You guys don’t understand me!  I’m different, I don’t want to hold up a mountain for the rest of my life!!”

Log

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what’s brown and sticky?
someone’s been walking their tree
oaken excremEnt


I once seriously considered starting a Tumblr of “Toys that look like turds.”  I had small children and small geriatric dogs at the time, and scouring the carpeting before you stepped was a necessary habit.  This beautiful work of nature is about 18″ long, so I have to conclude it’s Ent droppings.  Guess they need to install one of those DogSpot bag dispensers in Fangorn.

The ‘Pause That Enrages

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It turns out I don’t want a purple hat,
Or a red dress that doesn’t go.
I just want to be completely done
With my monthly visit from Flo.

I am over producing progeny,
All my oats, I have sown.
Now for the special bonus round–
All systems shutting down!

I’m hot for no reason.
Today, I’m feeling stabby.
The Noxzema years are back,
And my hair is getting shabby.

Well, not all my hair,
That would be a silver lining.
The hair where I don’t want it
Is luxurious and shining.

You can tell me about dignity,
And post-40 freedom—that’s true.
But physically? This sucks a lot,
I hope it’s easier for you.

Doctors will mess with my ‘mones,
Heh… sort it out in a…flash,
But for right now I’m stuck–
Waxing my menostache.


Since poems about lady problems are super popular, I saved this one for the Sunday night dead zone.  I’m also at a point in my own lady journey where I don’t much care who likes it.  That said, here’s a *high five* for all the women.  You ladies are tough.

The Semi-empty Nest

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I’m cleaning out the closets
As if a baby’s about to arrive.
NO, NO, NO, I’m long done with that.
My baby’s a world-weary five.

The cleaning and scrubbing binge
That I’m energetically on
Is for when school starts this fall
And both my babies are gone!

No, not to college, not even close,
Just elementary school for now.
I’ll be all alone in my quiet house
Managing to cope somehow.

My lovely empty closets,
And clean, tidy rooms,
Will stay that way for hours
Sans the chaotic fruit of my womb.

So as summer skids to a stop,
I’ll spend hours on organization
For that first peaceful cup of joe
Of my school-days-only vacation.


I am in a serious bout of nesting behavior right now, cleaning out closets and hanging drapes and calling a housepainter for the outside.  When the school year hits, those of us who work opportunistically around kids can finally concentrate for more than 10 minutes without a request for pancakes, the iPad, or punishment for the other child.  I am feverishly working toward a house that is clean, quiet, and free of distracting, disorganized junk and projects uncompleted.  It won’t actually all happen, but some of it will, and that is better than none of it.

PS.  The painter is also quoting that deck railing because I….ahem….haven’t quite gotten that ironed out by myself yet.