Department Of Been There Done That… (And Done It Poorly)
I washed my car last Saturday.
I mean hand washed it – something I have not done in years. Clarification: my car is a little over six months old, so I haven’t done or not done anything to that car in years. I meant, it’s been years since I’ve hand-washed any car we’ve had.
Not to imply my car resembles a college dorm room – far from it. I regularly and thoroughly clean and vacuum out the inside of whatever car I’m driving, but when it comes to the outside, I run it through the local car wash, and I urged family members to do the same. Commercial car washes use less water than home-washing, and treat and recycle the water they use, and when we wash our cars at home, in the driveway, the runoff soapy water goes into the sewer and ends up in the rivers. So, by patronizing a car wash I am being a good citizen…
…no, really, THAT’S THE ONLY REASON I DO IT…. It’s not that I’m lazy.
Anyway, so I hand washed my car. And now, I am so over that. Forget the eco warrior consciousness  pretensions – having not done it for years, I’d forgotten what a mind-numbingly tedious task it is. I’d also apparently forgotten what shoddy results are obtained when a car is washed by moiself.
It looked a little better than this when I was done.
* * *
Department Of Why I Am In Tacoma And Thus By Extension Or Implication, Why This Blog Is So Relatively Lame Short
Belle had foot surgery.
I’m doing the Mom Thing ® , helping out with errands and taking her to her post surgery appointment. Most importantly, I am helping my daughter come up with some better-than-the-truthstories for her to emit in response to the inevitable, what-happened-to-you?queries she receives when people, from friends to strangers in the grocery store, get a look at her snazzy boot & crutches combo.
Vivid dreams are the norm for moiself; stylistically, they tend to be more Dali than documentary. What was unusual was the tone or setting for the dream: it was total realism – cinema vérité, as opposed to my typical night reveries which start out with plausible scenarios and quickly morph into Cecil B. DeMille goes Dada, cast-of-thousands spectacles. If the particular dream to which I refer had unfolded according to my “usual” REM reveries, at some point jars of peanut butter would have suddenly appeared out of the proverbial nowhere and flipped open in front of the podium where McCain was speaking, and Carmen Miranda and a chorus line of bare-chested Brazilian boy toys would have popped out of the jars and joined McCain on stage.
Whom would you rather hear give a stirring political address?
So. I had a dream that Senator John McCain rose to the occasion. Sen. McCain still wore the bandages from the recent operation which revealed his brain tumor, at a press conference where he gave the speech of his – of any politician’s – life.
Sen. McCain spoke of treasuring his lucidity while it was still present, and of how his biggest disappointment was not of his impending death, but of leaving public service at a time when the delusional ethics and behavior of the current administration were more mind-scrambling than any hallucinations a brain tumor would likely produce. He announced his retirement from politics, and gave an impassioned call to action to his fellow senators and to the American people to demand the resignation and/or impeachment of Trump and Pence, citing Section 4of the 25th Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution). His last request was that he could retire in peace, live his remaining days with his family, secure in the knowledge that the country was not in the hands of a madman and his lap dogs.
And then, I woke up.
* * *
May certain of your most vivid dreams soon become reality; May you never lack for entertaining responses to what-happened-to-you? queries; May you know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em;  …and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 If I were really a warrior fanatic in that regard I probably wouldn’t’ have a car.
 Since the reality – corrective surgery for a bunion – is not nearly so entertaining as, “This guy was about to stomp on some puppies so I kicked him in the teeth and now the puppies are safe but the would-be-stomper’s teeth got imbedded in my foot…”
 Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention. And yes, that KR song reference is apropos of nothing, and frankly, I’m embarrassed that the song just popped into my mind as I was trying to end this post. Must have been a tangent from thinking about brain tumors.
Among the many reasons the short story is my favorite fiction format: it is one wherein questions are raised, but not necessarily answered. Unlike the novel, which may take you through a character’s existence from cradle to grave or present a life survey from A-to-Z ,  a short story often drops you in the middle, say, in segments M-Q, leaving – or allowing – you to fill in the befores and afters with the clues the writer has presented.
A well-crafted short story leaves you wanting to know more, and even frees your imagination to provide your own details. I admire the art of lyrical songwriting, in that a song can sometimes be the perfect short story. The first time I heard The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby I was blown away by how a song could be at once so sparse and evocative. But wait – how did those lonely people get to be so lonely, and where did they come from? I must know.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, someone asked me who my favorite contemporary short fiction writer was, and I answered, “Bobbie Gentry.”
Arguably one of the greatest short stories of the twentieth century was penned and sung by Bobbie Gentry . Her Southern gothic ballad, Ode to Billie Joe, was released 50 years ago this month, when Gentry was a mere 22 years old.
The song, which never reveals why Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge, has been described as suggestive, haunting, enigmatic, poignant, disturbing, mystifying, etc. But to the grade school moiself who, after a first listen, had to listen again and again and again, it was then and remains now merely and monumentally…cool
Congratulations on the anniversary, along with a Tallahatchie River’s worth of admiration, to the classy Ms. Gentry, who had always refused to explain “the meaning” of the song.
* * *
Department Of You Never Know What Fun Awaits While Running Mundane Errands
Dateline: Wednesday, noonish: I would like to thank the Mystery Person(s) ® who left this pair of – guardians? greeters? mascots? ninja warriors in disguise? on a curb in the grocery store parking lot.
After I took that picture I stepped back about thirty feet or so and hung around for awhile, watching the people who walked to and from the store – people seemingly oblivious to the mini public art display at their feet. The only reason I saw it was that I happened to look down at just the right moment when I was passing by – no doubt it was my karmic reward  for what had just previously transpired outside the store (is this a segue, or what?).
* * *
Department Of Yes I Do I Blurt Things Out To Total Strangers
As I exited the (previously mentioned) grocery store, two young girls, looking to be about four or five years old, ran past the store’s entry door, each giggling and turning to glance over their respective shoulders. I looked in the direction of their glances: thirty or so feet behind the girls was a rather impatient-looking woman (whom I took to be the girls’ mother), resolutely pushing a shopping cart.
Impatient Mother called out to the girls,
“You are not running away from me!”
Which caused me to smile and say, in what I thought was my best/supportive, I’ve-been-there voice,
Actually, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Impatient Mother threw me a bit o’ stink eye and then called out again to her daughters, this time using their names. I got a kick out of the fact that one of the girls has the same (non-blog moniker) name as my daughter. And there was much rejoicing.
Was I that easily amused when I was younger?
* * *
“All together now: “Harp and fuchsia, ahhhhhhhh.”
* * *
Department Of Life Is One Big Celebration
Dateline: Monday My Swenadian friend recently returned to the ‘hood after spending six months in Sweden. I visited her, bringing welcome-back goodies, and we played catch-up with each other’s lives. She, too, has traveled to Ireland and loved it and would like to return someday.  After telling her about MH’s and my trip to Ireland and the recent arrival of the Harp and Fuchsia pattern tumblers we’d ordered from Dingle Crystal, I returned home with the sudden urge to take whatever I had in the frig and turn it into a meal an Irish person would enjoy. Plus, there were those mahhhhhvelous gin and tonics we’d had in the town of Dingle, made with Dingle Gin, which would be lovely to serve in the tumblers…but what are the chances of being able to find a Hillsboro Oregon liquor store which stocks a spirit from a small Irish distillery in Oregon?
My mission was to find something comparable, so I told the clerk at Hillsboro Liquor Store that I was looking for Irish gin (not even thinking to mention the specific distillery, as it is so small) but realized the likelihood of finding it was slim, so did he know if a Scottish or British gin would be analogous? The Friendly and Helpful Clerk ® checked his register computer and said, “What about Ding –” he couldn’t even get the word out of his mouth before I shrieked, gobsmacked with delight, “You have Dingle gin?!?!?”
That night I informed MH that our Irish butter-poached steelhead salmon, cabbage/potatoes/mushroom colcannon and fresh spring peas feast was to celebrate the arrival of our crystal and the memory of our Ireland trip, the return of our beloved Swenadian friends, my acquisition of Dingle gin, and…
I searched my mind for another reason to justify spending $50 on a bottle of gin.
…”and oh yeah, this morning someone farted quite loudly in yoga class” (despite the fact that the class was *not* performing pawanmuktasana, which translates as “wind-relieving pose”). 
* * *
May you continue to wonder why
Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge; May you, via gin or crystal purchases or berry encounters,
have the opportunity to say, Dingle; May all of your poses, yoga or other, bring wind relief; …and may the hijinks ensue.
Dateline: Tuesday. Friend CC and I were walking down the stairwell from the 6th floor of the parking structure near Portland’s Fox Tower Theatres, on our way to see The Big Sick.  I was purposefully and vigorously inhaling through my nose – in contrast to employing my usual, defensive, mouth-breathing strategy while navigating a Portland stairwell. After three or so flights of stairs I asked CC if she, too, noticed something strange.
The something strange was a pleasant floral aroma, which we both identified as honeysuckle. Which was soooooooo preferable to the pungent stench of urine (and worse) which usually wafts up and down that stairwell (and other Portland urban area access points).
I speculated that some ammonia-odor removal crew was had been on the scene – and also noted how clean the stairwell looked. Not one cigarette butt or crushed plastic cup nor piss stain outline to be seen. CC, who works in downtown Portland, says that in the past few weeks she’s noticed, as she’s made her 16 block walk to and from her commuter train to her office, a marked improvement in the area, which she attributes to the increase in tourists she’s also noticed. Certain streets, corners, alleys and parkways where sketchy-looking people congregated to panhandle (read: extort) passersby or just stare at them menacingly are now seemingly clear of loiterers, and she’s seen Portland Parks employees, wielding large buckets of mysterious but agreeable-smelling cleaning solutions, sprucing up the downtown.
” ‘Morning at the Florists’ or ‘Tweaker Takes a Dump’ – which freshener scent shall I use today?”
* * *
Department Of No To Mainlining Tequila Or Acquiring A Chippendale’s Rent Boy – What Kind Of Midlife Crisis Strategy Is This?
My Friend LU, a proud Denver CO denizen, is in the midst of a month long vacation, whittling down her goal to hike/climb all 50+ of Colorado’s 14ers She has described this mountainous (sorry) task as “…the Peak-a-Day remedy for my midlife crisis”…
Her description made me a bit puzzled, in that LU, who has yet to summit (no more, I promise) her 50th birthday, is a bit too young for a MidLife Crisis ® . Or so I thought. A bit o’ research later and I realized that, once again, moiself was/is the outlier with regard to the pesky MLC phenomenon.
I was an early reader , yet a late bloomer – the latter term used here to refer to common social and/or cultural conventions. For example, I married at age 31  and had my children, K and Belle, when I was 36 and 39 respectively.  Also, I didn’t experience the emotional/existential questioning of identity and self-confidence – what I refer to as the What-now?-ness of TheThird Act, and what is more commonly referred to as a Midlife Crisis – until I was in my mid-late 50s.
The first time I tossed out the term Midlife Crisis in relation to moiself, MH couldn’t help but weigh in with an observation. This man, the apple of my eye, the nectarine of my nose, the tangerine of my toe, the kumquat of my kidney, the apricot of my ass….
Anyway, MH, Mr. Supportive incarnate, offered this:
Mid -life crisis? Do you really think you’re going to live to be 110?
The honeymoon never ends, does it?
* * *
Department of WTF ?: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
We wouldn’t be in this mess – having to send an astoundingly immature, tweet-posturing mortification of an excuse for POTUS to G-20 and other world summits  – were our presidential voting system not shackled to an archaic slave state appeasement scheme.
The Electoral College : much has been uttered re the need for its abolishment and/or reform, and little done (as I have carped about before in this space)  ). There are ways to change this system, and there are people working long and hard to do so….and then our elected officials sit on their asses…until the next time they can bemoan how someone can lose the popular vote by millions and yet be “elected” POTUS.
So. I am pissed off, disenchanted, and yet (perhaps saddest of all), cynically not surprised by the political action – or rather, inaction – on the matter. I refer to that which has happened in my own beloved state, Oregon, where last week the legislature ONCE AGAIN proved they had no balls by dropping the ball re this issue of national importance and international repercussions.
Which leads to my first guest blog post. To present a more nuanced, less testicle-insulting illumination of the situation, take it away, MH:
Why I am so disappointed with the Oregon State Senate
The Oregon State Senate failed to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) for the FOURTH time. Actually, it is more than that, but it’s the fourth time that the House has done its part of the job (2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017), and the Senate has not. Many of our Senators claim to support it – a majority, even, but it just doesn’t happen. Eleven other states have had the good sense to pass it. It is past time for Oregon to do so.
What would the bill do?
It would award Oregon’s electoral votes for the president of the United States to the candidate that receives the most popular votes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It would go into effect only when states that account for a majority of the electoral votes (270) have joined the compact.
The eleven states that have passed the compact represent 165 electoral votes. Oregon represents 7 electoral votes.
Why is this bill important?
We have a bad system for electing the president of the United States.
More than three-quarters of the voters in the United States are politically irrelevant when electing the President.
Oregon’s electoral votes (for example) have gone to a Democrat in the last eight elections. The vote hasn’t been close enough that either candidate had any incentive to care about gaining a few more votes. If you don’t win the state, you get nothing. If you win it, you get it all. The same is true in nearly every state. Every vote for the Republican Presidential candidate in Oregon has counted for nothing for the last 30 years. Conversely, every vote for the Democratic candidate in Texas has counted for nothing since 1980.
If you don’t live in a “swing state,” your vote is of no importance to a presidential candidate.
That importance (or lack thereof) carries over into the treatment that states receive from sitting Presidents.
You can watch a video expounding on this far more than I’m doing.
This bill, once enacted by enough states, would make every vote count and be valued equally.
But what about….?
There are several reasons oppositionists present as making the NPV a scary or bad thing to do. None of them hold up to scrutiny. The nice folks at National Popular Vote Inc have done an admirable job of addressing the concerns with reason and evidence. Their videos aren’t exciting, but they are clear and convincing. If you think this is a bad idea because it would favor big cities, disfavor small states, enable extremist candidates, or some other reason, I encourage you to visit their site and see what they have to say about it.
Let your state legislators know that you are disappointed in them and that you want them to pass the NPVIC at their next opportunity. You can find your state representatives here. You can also contact them through the NPV web site, which gives a history of the efforts in Oregon.
Senator Ginny Burdick was particularly crucial to stopping the bill this session by keeping it from escaping the Senate rules committee. If you happen to be in her district (Portland, southwest to Tigard), it would be especially helpful to let her know. In the end, she said that she would only support the bill if it was referred to the voters. While that sounds like a good thing, it is the legislature’s job (constitutionally) to decide on the method of awarding electors. In addition, a referendum requires an expensive public campaign (with no one to fund it) to counter the myths about the effects of the compact.
* * *
Department Of Precious Special Snowflake Of Self-Concern
Content Warning: gender pronoun satire ahead
MH, for those of you who’ve either (1) figured it out on your own, or (2) checked the about me info on my blog header, is my blog acronym for he who is My Husband.
MH identifies as male; pronouns he/him/his/himself. Or, when dealing with British monarchy (as we are so often called to do), HRH. 
Moiself: I identify as Scarlett Johansson; pronouns she so fine/her be wow/hers is the best/herself is the babe of babes.
* * *
Department Of What An Odd Dream To Wake Up From Aka, How You Know That It’s Time Go Back To Sleep
Last week, early one morning (~ 5:30 am), I awoke from a dream in which I was watching a TV commercial for what might genteelly be described as a novelty item or gag gift – you know the category (such classy items as fake glass spill, windup talking dentures, fake vomit, remote control fart machines, fake turd-in-the-toilet….).
The advertisement showed a young boy playing in the hot summer sun, running back and forth through the sprinklers in his back yard, while aren’t-we-having-fun-in-the-sun music plays in the background. After about ten seconds of this seasonal fun the boy slips and falls on the wet grass, landing smack on his behind. The boy rolls over and lies face down on the grass, giggling with embarrassment as the camera closes in on the back of his shorts. It seems his siblings have played a prank on their brother, dressing him in special shorts that, when wet, reveal a heretofore invisible brown stain, as if he’s soiled himself. The boy’s siblings chortle with glee (off camera) as the boy sings this ditty:
♫ Why did you take my Pooh Pooh pants now? Why did you take my Pooh Pooh pants now? ♫
It must be the truth; there’s no way she could have made up something this inane.
* * *
May your early morning dreams be entertaining if inane; May you do your part to change Electoral inanity; May the urban stairwells you have to traverse be sweetly fragranced; …and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which you must see. 10 thumbs (or whatever digits float your boat) up.
 A “14er’ is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14k feet.
 And yep, having kids was also on my list of Things Not To Do.
 Once thought to be a mainly male phenomena, midlife crises are now recognized to be gender-inclusive, although tending to hit women earlier – in their mid-30s to late 40s –(or so say People Who Track Such Things.)
 Or have to deal with his embarrassing and inflammatory ignorance at home.
 Specifically, then Senator-Elect Clinton’s vow to get rid of the EC after the GWB election debacle. She – surprise! – and the other senators did nothing, which came back to haunt her oh-so-recently.
Department Of Let’s Get This Out Of The Way Adjunct To The Department Of If You Did This To A Dog The Humane Society Would Sue Your Ass For Animal Cruelty
I refer to the heartrending case of Charlie G__, a terminally ill British baby, born with an extremely rare, incurable, genetic disorder, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome – which has made the baby blind and deaf, without the ability to breathe or move on his own, brain-damaged and stricken with persistent epileptic seizures.
The distraught parents, in denial of reality and their child’s doctors’ advice, are seeking experimental treatment outside of their country. The baby’s doctors’ (and British and European courts) have held that prolonging the infant’s life – prolonging its death, in reality – would be inhumane and unreasonable, and that withdrawing medical treatment is the only justifiable option.
And into this sad mess jumps Certain So-Called World Leaders ® .
These CSCWL, with no personal connection to the family, who’ve tweeted their lack of knowledge support for the parents’ misguided quest to prolong the inevitable – which of course is giving CSCWL points with the JesusLovesCharlie mob.
I case you haven’t heard, CSCWL would be #45, aka The Cheetos Hitler, that bastion of scientific and medical ignorance, Donald J. T—-, and His Moral Anachronisticness, aka, the pope.
“What a great team…”
Given #45’s penchant for wrestling metaphors , this situation – linking his name with that of someone who has a marginally more respectable reputation – is the ultimate tag team opportunity. But truly, exploiting the tragedy of this family is mud-wrestling at its lowest.
The phraseevery parent’s nightmare is used to describe the grievous suffering and/or death of a child. Another parental nightmare scenario: someone using your child’s suffering and unavoidable death (as well as your own parental despair and desperation) as a tool to promote their own political and/or religious agenda.
And, as MH pointed out, why is it that #45 can offer U.S. health care for a doomed foreign baby, but National Health Care for American infants, children and adults – no way can we use our resources for that.
* * *
Department Of The Lazy Days Of Summer, When Thoughts Turn To Star Trek One Liners
Calling all Star Treknerds fans: my eternal respect  shall be bestowed upon ye who can identify the source of the following one-liners (“Source” = name the Star Trek series or film, the episode title, and the character who utters the quote  )
What do you mean, it cannot be done?!?
I will provide a hint: the series from whence the quote. (TOS; TNG; STV; STE; STE; TOSM  )
– You’re supposed to just sit here? (TNG)
– Well, double-dumb ass on you too! (TOSM)
– I am not a Merry Man! (TNG)
– Sorry; neither. (TOS)
– A warrior’s drink. (TNG)
– Nuclear Wessells. ( TOSM )
– What is it with you? (TOSM)
– There is no one on deck nine, section twelve, who *doesn’t* know when you’re having intimate relations. (STV)
– Why do I have to answer the poop questions? (STE)
And this one, of course, holds a soft spot in my heart and head. 
* * *
Department Of Belated 4th Of July /Independence Day Wishes
Just curious – do you and yours refer to this particular national holiday as The 4th of July, or Independence Day? In my family, ’twas always the former. A long time ago in a galaxy college class far, far away, someone posited that whether or not a person referred to that holiday as The Fourth of July or Independence Daywas a “test” of that person’s knowledge of U.S. political history. 
Either way, although I’ve long since lost my youthful enthusiasm for fireworks (yawn), I do anticipate this holiday for the once-a-year opportunity – the guarantee – to hear a band or full orchestra perform Stars and Stripes Forever.
And so do you. Admit it.
Because…oh,. c’mon, you know:
THE AMAZING POWER OF PICCOLOS!
* * *
May your tragedies never be exploited by So-Called World Leaders; May you forever appreciate the amazing power of piccolos; May you discover or concoct your own version of a warrior’s drink; …and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Funny how their Jesus doesn’t love this baby enough to cure it, or not to have stricken it with such a ghastly and cruel condition in the first place.
 Which is worth double its weight in GOP Health Care Plan vouchers.
Active, reliable, sarcastic, affectionate, bipedal, cynical optimist, writer, freethinker, parent, spouse and friend, I am generous with my handy supply of ADA-approved spearmint gum and sometimes refrain from humming in public.