April is a Month Of

April is complete. April was a month for flying kites. Tissue paper and balsa ribs made up the kites for us kids. It was always windy and we loved getting a kite up in the air as high as we could get it. And then just watching it. That was all we required on a spring day. Getting a kite up and watching it. Living on one of the first streets in the suburban neighborhood gave up a lot of free space. Less each year. But there was plenty each year.

April brought different joys this year. One of them came with a promise. If I practiced every day then I could buy myself one of my own. The month was spent with my wife’s ukuleles. They were presents from her parents. For years she put off learning and playing them. I picked them up and started. It is a tenor. Which, somehow, were never purchased for my wife. Concert, soprano, and baritone were in her collection.

Playing a ukulele has a couple of advantages. One being it is a good time. Even if you are like me and have very little aptitude for it. It is still fun. The other fun element is my wife likes to listen to it. Even the most rudimentary bits of effort I put out, she still likes it. This is in opposition to when I was playing a clarinet. Even when I got to be OK with it, she really did not like listening to me and it. Yep, with a ukulele, she likes what I play and so I do.

Tomorrow May starts with a new thing to try, to do every day. You will find out about that exploration at the end of the month.

— MichaelRpdx

Tenor Ukulele, My First

You Know a Junkie

The feeling comes daily. The waiting for it. Seeing it ready for injection. Watching the needle pierce the skin. Yes, I am, at least for now, a junkie.

I did not expect to be telling you this. I did not expect to be telling anyone this. But here I am. Ready for another injection.

Every night about eight-thirty or so I have another hit. I inject it. I go lay down on the couch. I am done for the night. Just me and the feeling brought on by the needle. You can call me a junkie. It fits. Well, kinda sorta.

I normally take warfarin. (My gateway drug.) But when I am going in for something that is going to cut or snip or take a risk for those things they, my doctor and the nurses, take me off the warfarin and switch to an injected formulation. The pill form takes some time to build up and taper off. The needle drug goes away in a day. The drug is an anticoagulant, aka a blood thinner. I had to switch it out because of (the favorite of every person over 50) a colonoscopy.

I thought I would be off of the injectable version. Maybe tomorrow. In truth, I do not understand how someone takes a needle drug for recreation. Damn, it is a pain. Injecting yourself is a pain.

Maybe tomorrow. I hope so. The month will end. So will my junkie behavior

— MichaelRpdx

A year or two after I graduated and was reading an art journal. (sorry, I do not recall the name) they ran an article well a photo essay on heroin users. Then I turned a page and there she was, one of my classmates. Being the naive person that I was I had no idea.

Birds, Tiny Birds

There were birds outside today. In the yard. Tiny little things. They were doing us a favor. They were on, gripping on, the dandelions. The ones that had gone to seed. Yes, there they were. Gripping on the stalk of a dandelion. Picking at the seeds the little thing at some lightweight things. Ready to be blown away. You have seen them. The dandelion seeds drifting to a new home. But today little birds, little birds with yellow breasts were perched on the stalk of the dandelions and picking off the seeds. Tiny, little birds with their yellow breasts and snacking on the seedés of dandelions. We watched them. Such little tiny things perched on a dandelion stem. We enjoyed watching them. Who would not? Such little light things perched on the stems.

Any excuse will do. I did not mow the lawn. How could I? All the dandelions would be obliterated. What could the tiny, little yellow-breasted birds eat then? No, I can wait a day or two. A day or two more of watching the birds perching on the stems of dandelions. Yes, I will leave them for the birds.

§      §      §

As soon as I type the above, add the bits for separating the sections, we look outside and see hummingbirds. The first ones spotted this year. Nice small birds day here.

And for the record, I will not be committing to an entry of the day here. I am not like Catherine or Kent. They have something to say every day. Every Day. Wow. But, I do realize that there has to be something to write about and writing to do about it. Connecting my experiences to this, or any of my, typewriter and express it. Perhaps that is the answer to John Prine’s question, “How the hell can a person/ Go to work in the morning/ Come home in the evening/ And have nothing to say?” I used to ask that question and I asked it often. Now I get bits and pieces of the answer more often than I would like.

Day two of vaccination number two. Outside of being a mite tired and having a sore arm I feel pretty good. This is good.

— MichaelRpdx

PS, maybe, perhaps, I do not need to have something to write about when I sit down with the typewriter. I just need to sit down and type a word or two and let it go from there.

The Day

Today was the day. THE DAY. The day when I got my second Covid vaccination. Now I just play it safe for it to take effect and I am fully covered. My wife got her first vaccination on Sunday. Her second is scheduled and by Memorial Day we will both have full coverage. And in the world of full coverage, the Southwest Gentalmens Association will all be fully covered by mid-month. We will meet in person on the 20th. Meeting with a group of people? Lord what a change in our lives.

I have a series of things to do each month. Each August is a blog item every day. Last February was international correspondence month. March was a watercolor month with a panting each day. This month has a theme. Which I will reveal on Friday. Do it, then talk about it. I am pretty big on talking about something that I want to do. The whole thing of “tell people about it and then you will be committed to doing it” just does not work for me. I am much better off doing it and then talking about it. Friday. I will let you know then.

— MichaelRpdx

What a Week

A week is a man-made construct. There is not a natural, organic lapse of time that corresponds to a week. A day? Rise and set of the sun. A month? Watch the moon to come and go. A quarter? Feel the seasons come and go. A year? Feel the combination of how long the days last, how the seasons are much the same. If you want a really fine piece of time, take your pulse. But the week, it has no organic measurement. So when I say, “Oh man, I had a tough week,” I am referring to a man-made construct of time.

What a tough week I have had. And I am glad it is over.

It started with laying on my back and holding my breath. They warned me about a feeling of warmth flooding my body. It ended with a day of fasting, a warning that I would be unconscious and come back to life where I was getting the warning. From a CT scan to a colonoscopy it was a week of medical joys. And the dietary restrictions led me to days of reflection.

I like vegetables way too much to go three days without them. Where “vegetables” means things that are barely cooked, never canned, and delicious. All the meat I want? Keep it. I do not yearn for it the way I do for beans and fruits and all those tasty things.

The artificial time period is over. I am eating again. Yay!

The Art of Noticing has arrived. I decided to get copies of both books, the other bein Dunce, perhaps I will read them cover to cover now.

Spring has returned. In Oregon, in the Willamette Vally portion of Oregon, that means rain has returned. I do not get to mow the lawn that needs mowing. Shucky darn. I do not get to mow it for a while. I really like spring in Oregon.

— MichaelRpdx

Found of the Lost

You walk into a room. You stand there. You ask yourself, “why am I here?” Not in the sense of why you have lived a life that brought you to that place. No, it is the much more mundane reason. Why have I walked into this room now? Did I want something? Was I there to do something, or to not do something? But whatever the motivation was, well, it is lost. For now at least. Maybe you could remember the reason. Given enough time and doing whatever to jostle your memory you might remember why you are there now at that time.

Recently there was a similar puzzle. What have I done with the two library books? Dunce, from Mary Ruele and The Art of Noticing from Rob Walker were the two books I have been looking for and looking for until today. There is something appropriate in the titles for them. I did not notice what I could have done with them. And I was a bit of a dunce is losing them in that manner. Or maybe it was a hint from the cosmos that I really should have copies of them.

Where were they found? In a box of stuff, including three other books, that was filled with watercoloring supplies and other things I needed to have cleaned out of the living room. We were both going to have visitors and needed to clean up the house. This occurred right as our winter storm hit.
I guess it is time to move the box contents to permanent homes. As soon as I clean up some area to store things in.

What can I lose then?

— MichaelRpdx

Vote: should I buy these books so I have permanent copies?

Agreeing to Disagree

How does one do this or something like this? Understanding a difference of opinion, that is healthy. Understanding something that leads a person to their conclusion, to their stand on an issue, that is healthy.

Take saving for retirement as an example. One person saves quite a bit, they, as some say, pay themselves first. Another person saves less being sure they will be covered by Social Security or a government pension. Or perhaps buying a car. To one a new car is reliable. To another, a car without 60,000 miles on it is just getting broken in and it is a great time to buy a car and use it for years. Largely which decision is made is a personal decision. When they talk about it both ways of making a choice, which one is “better” well, they can disagree and they can agree to disagree. In fact, they probably do disagree on the two.

In truth, I do not understand things that are big things to decide on. Take the elections of Obama and Trump, we did not disagree on those races, we agreed on the matter. I am referring to my wife here, we agreed on these issues and cannot understand agreeing to disagree. On something important. Something of less important, like what food to consume as an example, we do disagree.

If you are in a situation where you are in the position of having to agree to disagree, can you explain it to me? The only explanation I have is one person asserting, well they do not wish to talk about it anymore, they cannot get an agreement and a “agree to disagree” is a way of avoiding the discussion.

I am truly curious about this issue. See the stamp below to send me a letter rather than explaining it here.

-— MichaelRpdx
[a stamp with the address]

Summer is Here?

I think the rain took off with spring. It is so much like summer now, today, this moment. People out everywhere. No need for anything besides shorts and a t-shirt. Heck, the only summer thing missing was a need for air conditioning. And we can all live without that.

This morning sunlight came into the house. It warmed us up. That was needed after turning off the heat to keep us warm overnight. But, with the summer weather, we did not need it. It makes me want to get out a ukulele and write a song. But crikey there are so many great sounds out there. Why another?

A nice element of the sunlight this morning was the timing. In “real” summer the sun would be up for hours and by the time we were both eating breakfast and playing dominos the sun was high in the sky. But today, the sun was up, barely out of bed and coming through the trees. I am going to quit writing and go enjoy the light. There will be a sunset in an hour or two. I think sitting around and watching the sun mosey off into the night, well that is something to enjoy. Right Now.

-— MichaelRpdx

There was a scrub jay. It was in the birdbath. I did not see any crows today. What is up with them?

Hot Dogs and Writing

Where has the rain gone? In Portland, Oregon in April it should be raining. Heck, except for a brief bit of May and some one in a while teasers it always rains. Not now. The rain has gone off to hide someplace for some time. Dandelions are abundant. I had to mow them down. There was no excuse of rain to prevent me from doing that. I could use some rain as an excuse to not mow.

Met with the Southwest Gentlemans Association last night. They are a small group that is rooted in the Oregon Brew Crew. We meet once a month for beer and conversation. It seems May 20 will feature our first in-person meeting since last whenever it was before the Covid struck. We will all have our double shots, not of beer, and we will be ready to see each other and spend as much time talking about beer as book clubs spend talking about a book they have read in the prior month. What group do you belong to? Is it something that sticks to the ostensible topic? Or is it like Portland and the rain that we should have here?

Hot dogs – what do you put on yours? Is ketchup, as thought in Chicago, a blasphemy? I know I did that as a teenager. Now I do not even eat the things found in the store as “hot dogs” mostly lately it has been Field Roast Sausages or other stuff that tastes good on its own.

Here I am, doing the typewriter equivalent of scribbling. Just letting my fingers bleed across the keyboard. Another bit of Gertrude Stein, what is it called again? automatic writing? stream of consciousness? Spontaneous automatic writing? I thought there was a word for it. That would be handy now.

— MichaelRpdx

Noir, I Mean NOIR

Damn, I finally finished reading a second book in less than a month. I am getting better at reading like I used to be able to read. The book came by one of Barbara’s writers, one of the ones in her group of four writers talking about Noir. His name is Eric Beetner. This title is Criminal Economics. This book came as a response to a question (from me actually) “What is your darkest book?” (I think that is what I asked, it was which Noir is the darkest title he had written.) He responded with this title. You want a Black Noir? You want something new to you? I am pretty sure you have not read anything this dark.

You want something with a happy ending? Not here.
You looking for something where a good guy wins? Not here.
You want something with lots of people getting out? Nope.
You want something with lots of twists? Yep, it is here.
Two guys set up a bank robbery that nets out $640,000 in cash that is not recovered. But they get 25 years in jail. It opens with them being carted off by a guy eager to have them turned over. So he drives them in a hurricane. After a few news bulletins to set the stage it opens up. “Rain hit the roof of the van, filling it with the frantic sound of someone trapped in a coffin.” Rain persists in the novel. Don’t expect anyone to emerge from this book in a manner you will want to meet them again. You want some relief from the darkness related? I think, I think, there was one bit where there was a glimmer of something good happening to one character.

You want some dark Noir? Check this one out. It is.

*   *   *

This far north it is time to mow the lawn. Which I have. Now I am reading some other novels from Beetner. I will let you know. A Noir novel does not need to be this dark. Thank god.

— MichaelRpdx