Monday, October 29, 2007


One can not work with people for many many years without learning to read faces.
Authors read so much into the face. Eyes smolder, light up, crags of sun exposure make the old farmer wise, trusted, presumed innocent of heinous crimes. Babies have all the innocence, can look like and old soul.
Here, in the shadow of Gotham, the faces are telling me stories.
In the liquor store K and I browsed today was a woman who tans too much and has a heavy face despite the small, thin frame of her body. It screams years of sampling her products to lustily.
In the faces of the young here is an innocence but a cynicism. There is a way they hold their heads, move their bodies that makes them never quite face forward, directly at you, but angled as if to either avoid confrontation or to precipit a fast get away from unknown danger. They walk offensively, a pushing of the energy ahead of them that says, I belong here, I am moving forward, do not way lay me, do not think of messing with me.
Adults appear pinched. Jowls and frown lines appear so starkly against faces that I have seen else where that are ready to smile, laugh, admit the sheer joy of living. But here it is as if there is a crushing pressure that pushes the face in to a scowl, a frown, a look of compression.
K has mentioned, and I think I have written it here, that Long Island is where people from The City fled to escape The City.
Imagine Gotham, NEW YORK, NEW YORK; over 8.2 million people (according to Wiki) in about 322 square miles. That population pressure, the sheer pressure of so many people living, breeding, stealing, dying pushes down, not up on a soul. Your pressure valve is east, to the Atlantic. These people look pushed down, compressed, pushing others out of the way so that they might have the space they crave, the elbow room they are denied in The Big Apple.
So I am at the store and see young people looking pinched, pushed down, older than they should be. The teen agers move like mercury rolling out from under the finger pushing down on it.
Down ward pressure is not a good thing for most objects of an organic nature. Pressure on an artery can kill, pressure on a water hose stops life giving fluid from keeping things alive. Crushed stone, ridges in asphalt on roads and cement, changes to a very solid state of matter.
But, but... pressure creates diamonds.
Diamonds on your bling are polished, the crusty outer surface rubbed away and ground away by more pressure, friction.
Although no where near as scarce as the diamond cartels want you to believe, diamonds are uncommon in this polished form.
So, I have to think that I am seeing the diamonds just un-earthed, crusty, dirty, not in the accepted polished beauty we are trained to see, but the hardest substance on earth in its raw form.
I have to look at the brighter side and believe that those pressured scowls and offense, brusque presentations are the outer coating that hide jewels.
Maybe I have just lived where the rain washed off the crust and people shined just a bit more readily, unearthed and free of the pressure. Maybe I am where the pressure is still exerted to finish the product.
I will keep looking at the faces, look for the polished facets. Or maybe I will look at the surface and have faith that below is the beauty inside, hidden under a cover of patina, a disguise to keep that brilliance hidden from most strangers, but not from the people that need, crave and must have that brilliance in their lives.
Shine. Stand in the rain, get rinsed clean and shine.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


This will be something I come back to again and again, I think.
K and I have gone to several different grocery stores now. One had incredible produce. You name it, it is probably there. Quince, prickly pear fruits, large aloe leaves, bunches of basil leaves that are just huge. The deli meats... oh he deli meats.
We have a friend who is on a year long vacation with her husband. They were just in NY for a wedding and even they had to comment on the food.
The predominant brand is Boar's Head. They make ham, chicken, roast beef, liverwurst, bologna and on and on and on.
We have found a wonderful pizza place where you just go in and ask for a coke and a slice. A slice of this pizza is huge, think about two slices of a large pizza. There is plain cheese, pepperoni, sausage, a seafood variety. I ordered a pop in a deli and the girl serving us looked at me like I was speaking polish.
Out here it is a soda, or just a coke.
You fold the slice in half, the crust snaps in half and the oil spills out the front or back of the triangle. It is the best pizza. I worked in pizza for years, I know a good pizza. This is good.
Bread tastes different out here too. People say it is the water they use. I do not know, but it is saltier, has a different texture, the crust.
Bon apetite, mes amis!
It is time for lunch.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

OK, my bad.

I made an awful generalization.
K and I were at a blockbuster of a video store, and the guy at the counter was so great.
We bought two used DVDs, Hot Fuzz and something else. I asked if he could open them so I could inspect the disc for scratches. Not only did he open it and find it was a bad disc. He went and got three more copies and checked them all, giving me the best, least scratched of the group. He was oh so polite.
So maybe that first sampling was not a good representation. I need more samples for a better analysis.
Maybe the poor waitress, the overworked DMV person that said only "How are you today." while helping me get my license, maybe they were just tired from burnout, a hard night out, bad home life, being stuck in a job they hate and they just suffer from "quiet desperation".
It just reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
I would quote it, but I do not know who said it originally.

K and I now have temporary driver licenses.
They took my WA license away. And it had such a nice picture. Another step toward assimilation. Resistance IS futile.

OK. Go get em, kiddies.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Milage guesses:

So far:
J has guessed 4014
Papa Bear has guessed 4730
A has guessed 4900

I will keep the game open for another week.
I know more than 3 people read this.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The answer, my friend...

If I remember correctly, there is a Native American word for the sound the wind makes through the leaves in the trees, through the pines.
That is the sound I hear now, outside an open window.
The screen keeps out the bugs but lets in the sound of the crickets, the woosh and swish of sweyolakan. It is a sound I have heard all of my life. In my back yard growing up, there were about 18 pine trees and there were maples up the street. Wind would howl through them in the spring and fall, the change of season. It would be the lullaby to send me to sleep some nights.
The sound is still the same, 3000 miles away.
The change of seasons.

Being from the great PNW, I am used to a bit more civility, politeness.
Please, do not mis understand me. It not a lack of civility, more a brusqueness. You sit down in a mis level restaurant and you are greeted with "How ya doin?" asked in a way that states it is just rhetorical as hell.
There is a lack of eye contact, a lack of lingering at the table when dropping off the check, walking by to ask how things are and you answer the back of the waitress as she is moving away, no break in her stride.
I have history in food service, I understand busy and no time to linger so you can get the 6 top served before that other section's 8 top. But it was not that busy and our waitress had only one other table with 5 wait staff total just hanging out gossiping.
It is not just restaurants but at grocery stores, the DMV, gas stations.
I have no idea where this brusqueness comes from. It is a mystery I will look at in spare moments, listening to sweyolakan and crickets.

Listen to the wind, once in a while, just stand and listen.


Sunday, October 21, 2007


So it is Autumn. Leaves change and fall, there is a cold bite in the air that makes you grab that favorite old sweat shirt, the one with the grease stain from the dropped nachos, a spot of pain here and there, and sally forth into the world. You embrace the slick wet leaves on the ground and take the sliding in stride.
The temperature today is to be 76, tomorrow 76...
Every one tells me this is not what it is like here. But you know what? I'll take it.
There is a nip in the air sometimes. But K was in shorts yesterday. Boy do people look at you strange when you where shorts when the local populous is in sweaters, denim jackets and zippered hoodies.

The leaves are changing slowly. Reds and yellows and golds that just do not come in that 64 crayon Crayola box.

Pumpkins are all over, the local roadside farms stalls and the nurseries have haunted houses and corn stalk bunches to show off the local produce.
Ever have a courtland apple? How about honey crisp?
I made home made from scratch chicken soup for us the other night. There is a squash waiting to be made into soup as well.
It is fall, a time of change.
That is where K and I are, admidst a time of change.
We faxed back a signed contract to our Realtor last night. We have been told that the deal could close very fast.

Enjoy your Autumn. Prepare for a winter, a time of slumber before a new period of growth.

Be well.


No Gusses yet? C'mon, our friends, how many miles were on the mini van when we turned it in?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This Just In....

Right after posting the all is lost memo, C checked his cell phone and found a missed message.
Our Realtor called.
Just after his "man" had put the appliances back on the new linoleum in the kitchen, another Realtor gave a full price offer.
We will look over the paper work tonight.
More to come...
Thanks for your prayers and thoughts!



The deal to sell our house has completely fallen apart.
Because of too many details to go into, and to not impugn anyone, let's just say it fell apart.
Anyone know anyone that wants to buy a cute little house, let us know.

We are in shock.
We are OK.
We have applied for jobs just a little sooner than we had wanted.
We will win that loto!

Be well.
Think good thoughts.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall is in the air...

Many years ago, almost 20, I moved from eastern Washington to the Pacific NW.
My first day in Hamsterville, the girl I moved to be near dumped me.
I remember it quite well. With the depression that comes from getting dumped, I walked a lot.
Autumn has always been my favorite season, and it was definitely fall.
I took a long walk, one day, up to a local lake. It had rained the night before and the smells were all new and different.
As I walked the winding trail up to the lake, I smelled wet earth, damp pine needles, cedar, dirt, mold.
A few months later, still smarting from loss of love and direction. I took an advanced first aid-wilderness first aid class where we spent one full day out, under the trees, figuring out how to save multiple victims 3 days from the trail head. I remember the smells that damp fall day I took my final test, and passed.
I came back to help with the class three more times, acting as a victim twice, lying in wet pine needles and cedar boughs.
Today I walked out into the front yard, walking a certain brown long dog and letting Puppette sniff all around, I was noticing new smells.
There are more leaf trees here, so it smells different. The sound of acorns falling on the house, the truck, the shed. They pop under your shoes when you step on them.
Part of what you experience in life is visual, part scent.
I am in new scents and trying to enjoy all of it. But there is the ever present knowledge that this is not Hamsterville, not the surroundings I have known for so many years.
Vive la difference!

Get ready for a little contest.
If you can guess the total miles logged on the minivan, and come closest with out going over, K and I will send you a New York present!
Guess only once.
I will take guesses for one week.

Let the fun and frivolity begin!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The neighborhood

There is a duck pond about 1/2 mile from the house. There is a duck crossing sign and we got a chance to see the ducks crossing. These are K's favorite, Indian Runners.

Here is the beach we can drive to, just about one mile away.

A local hanging out on a nice day.

Poppy and K's dad.

In New York, it is a soda, not a pop.
It is a pie, not a pizza.
The common greeting is "How ya doin'?" A rhetorical question that I was raised to answer.
K and I keep running into people that feel compelled to tell us their life stories.

The roads here are narrow and everyone drives at least 10 miles an hour above the speed limit. Now, I love to drive fast, and I love windy roads as much as the next testosterone laden male, but in a small pick up truck and a sea sick passenger, it is not nearly as fun. We tend to go slower than the posted limits, but the driver behind us is close enough to read the serial number on my muffler.

We have a new adversary.
It is small, sneaky, parasite.
In the many many years I lived in the great NW, I took 4 ticks off my dogs, collectively. In less than 2 weeks, I have pulled three off Poni, one off Puppette that were just crawling on their fur, one that was crawling on my shirt. We have dislodged one from Poni and Puppette each. Despite the Frontline, they lock on and suck up. I dreamed about ticks all last night and I itch almost constantly. EEEWWWWW!!!!

We have found several wonderful restaurants. We ate at a great deli yesterday, K had a meatball hero, I had a hot hero with ham, prosciutto, provolone and riccotta cheese.
I cooked last night, pushing my creativity a little.
Most of you know, I love to cook. But... most all of the cook wear is in the PODS container. I did steaks with sauteed mushrooms, roasted red potatoes and a satueed onion-squash medley using a 10 inch cast iron pan, a 2.5 quart sauce pan and a 1.5 quart sauce pan and a dollar store round baking pan. It was so nice to be cooking again. It was a nice challenge to get things cooked in impromptu pans. The steaks were great, the mushrooms were baby portobellas and the onions were sweet against the squash. Ahhhhhhh...

I never seem to say what I want on this. I have great ideas throughout the day and never remember what I wanted to put down in words.
The Long Island sound is beautiful. It is protected and the rocks are smooth rounded in pinks, reds, tans, even some almost clear as they shift under your feet. The water is not as cold as the Northern Sound out West.
It is good here. We wish it would slow down just a hair more, let us breathe.
Soon. That amazing little word that promises tomorrow, promises time, gives hope.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Through a great round of missed connections, misunderstanding and mistakes, we were without hot water for a over week.
We moved in to the little house on a Sunday and knew that we would not get gas for the hot water heater.
Then it dawned on us that Monday was Columbus day and that no services were available.
the land lord had put all the helpful numbers right in the lease so we knew who to call for what and that was all expedited so easily. But there was no info for the gas company.
I called a gas company and was informed that Gas Company "Able" could not fill the tanks for gas Company "Baker" and so on. So I called to find out who filled these tanks before us. That took over 24 hours to get an answer.
Then, on Wednesday, I called our prospective gas company and talked to a nice person who took all the pertinent info and then, was hopelessly human, and forgot to schedule the appointment. We did not find this out until the following Monday.
K and I stayed home all day Friday to wait for the cable guy, the water meter to be read for switching over to our account and the gas company.
K and I are very reasonable people. We waited until Saturday and called the gas company. The office was closed and I got the main US corporate line and explained the problem. Monday I called the gas company again and that is when the nice person who took all the pertinent information, admitted openly that she forgot to schedule the appointment.
She sent a guy out who told us, upon seeing the tanks "These are out of date and I can't fill them." I looked at him.
I do not think I smelled bad, I do not think I looked unwashed, but he said "I am gunna get you gas today, somehow."
So we had gas, finally. But then the pilot light would not light. So close but yet so stinking far. (yes, that was intentional, shut up and keep reading)
So he gets the pilot lit and we let the tank steep for 30 minutes. No hot water yet. It is a new tank but god only knows how long it sat empty. So it took a long while to heat up.
We passed yesterday looking at more houses, looking at the surrounding towns. We came home, teasing each other about hot showers. We ate late and fell asleep later and did not shower.
The gas company was coming today to swap tanks and get us set up. That they did with a shiny new tank with a gas gauge to ell us how much we have left.
I got the first shower.
The last shower I had was at K's parents house over 13 days ago. We had been heating water on the stove and doing spit baths for almost two weeks.
I showered!
I used 4 times too much shampoo, I scrubbed that soap into me grimy skin and shaved off several days of stubble.
I scrubbed hard with the towel, like a loofa. I think my skin squeaks.
K is in the shower now.
It is interesting what you take for granted. Hot water to wash dishes, take a shower, wash your hands.
Cleanliness... it is, I truly feel, never to be under rated.
Two things: I need to duck when entering the shower to keep from hitting my head on the damn sliding door upper track (which I have now done 4 times), Every one and their freaking cat out here has sliding shower doors. I can not tell you how many houses we have looked at online that have sliding glass shower doors. What the hell were these people thinking?
It helps to open the skylight in the bathroom to vent it.
We just had a fan installed in the bath room in Hamsterville before we moved and now we are back to no good venting. On step forward, one step back and into the hot steamy shower with too much shampoo and soap and bubbles and...

More soon.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Still alive, still ticking

We found a place to rent. A nice house K and I have been looking at online for months.
It is small and cozy.
Poppy is still with K's parents until all is settled here.
There will be more posts, soon. Promise.
All is well.

Thank you to everyone who helped get us here.
The food is soooo good.
Time to start exercising.

Be well, all.

PS: we are one block from the water!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New York, at last.

We arrived on Monday. At last check, the odometer read 4730 miles. The odysey is now done in the traveling stage. It is weird to have the crossing finished. I wake up every morning thinking that we need to get on the road nad make 400 miles before we rent another hotel. We moved out of opur last hotel and will stay with friends and family.
We were driving the other day and K said "let's just drive around, look at the roads." I looked at her and said:
"But what destination do you want me to program into the navigation system."
"No where."
"But where do we go?"
"Just drive around."
"But don't we have to be anywhere?'
I looked at K as long as I could without veering off the road.
No destination.
We are at our destination.
That, by no means, implies that we are done.
Today we signed a tentative lease on a house. It just hapens that it is one of the houses we have been looking at for months. It went off the market and then just came back on the market yesterday or today. We were looking at a house one block over and our real estate guy here said he had one more place to look at. We were in the drive way before we realized it was that house!
It has a fire place in the kitchen area and a great sun porch, a nice deck. It is litterally one block from the water.
It is 10 minutes from where K and I would like to work.
The food is soooo good. We have eaten at teh same deli two days in a row. K is enjoying bologna and liverwurst with mustard on a roll. I had a chicken breast one day, Boar's Head ham today. We finished with an lemon Italian ice. Tonight we had "a cheese pie" for dinner. The food is sooooo yummy!
It got hotter than hades today with humidity that relaxed my bow hair wonderfully.
The dogs are well. Puppette sleeps alot, I think she is just tired from the heat and the continued disruption to her world. Bugsy is now a slave to his name tag. When I lovingly teased the Bug with the laser pointer, I created a monster. He has become so nuerotic chasing his name tag. Any time light hits it and a reflection is thrown, he stalks it and pounces upon it like the great hunter he is (deep inside his little badger dog heart).
We still do not have an internet connection. I am on a family's network for this. More regular posts might be forth coming.

That is all for me for now.

Be well, all.


Monday, October 1, 2007

The continuing saga...

And into the east we go.
Putting Tennessee behind us, onward into Virginia... the states keep falling.
Loved this bill board:
The little prince surveys his mobile kingdom.

Puppette asks: "Are we there yet?"

The other Prince surveys his world from the safety of his cage.

Not much to post from C. It has been a long trip, the end is now in sight.
I am tired.
I am overjoyed at the news that our friend Richard is doing wonderfully well after surgery! They let the man have a triple americano a day after his surgery, he is doing so very well!
Best wishes Richard, Sherri.

K is out, she has pictures she wants to post, but that is for another day.
Once we reach our destination, we might be off line for a day or two until we can find a free wi fi spot or get internet in our place.

Be well, all.