Saturday, December 24, 2005


Yes, the busses in Clallam Bay's school district DO have brakes. In an earlier post, I guess I scared people by making it seem like the busses won't stop. I meant that the brakes are very very delicate, being air-brakes. One has to step on them softly but firmly.

I'm getting not half bad at driving these things, or so Bob Cain says. Bob owns Cain's Marina, and does the maintenance on the busses and got stuck with teaching me to drive. I'm not scaring the willies out of him when I back up any more. At least he's not ducking behind the seats.

I didn't grow up driving trucks and boats or backing them up, so backing up is difficult for me. Bob's got this extremely narrow little alley beside his property that he's using to teach me to back into. It's a bear, but it's a good idea. If I ever get the hang of back-turning the bus into that alleyway I'll be able to back between the line of traffic cones during the test. Bob's a pretty good teacher.

After 3 and a half months without a bite, I finally pulled a decent-sized female greenling in off the Slip Point beach. Fish haven't been biting all over the straits and into the ocean, so this one was a bit of a surprise.

She looked a bit odd. Her golden back was nearly red and the light places on her gill covers and belly were more white than the usual yellow.

When I opened her up, her flesh was bright blue. Not the usual greenish-blue of a greenling, but bright chemical blue. Her stomach was pale artificial blue and very stiff. In fact, everything in her except her heart and liver was like hard plastic. It was like cutting into Cyber-Fish.

Her fillets, after two days soaking in milk, came out nice and white, but the milk was chemical blue. We ate the fillets anyway. They cooked up lovely white and tasted great. No ill effects.

No one I described her to could explain why a fish might be bright light blue, until Dan and I were out cutting wood with Tim van Riper. He said that the divers around here sometimes illegally use copper sulphate crystals to drive octopodi out of their holes in the rocks. This greenling, in her foraging for crustaceans on the reef, had probably swallowed one of the crystals.

At least now we know.
Already On Television.

I'd been thinking this place would make a good setting for a play or a book or a movie.

It's been done.

Picked up a dvd of the second season of "Northern Exposure" at the library the other day. In the course of watching the show I started recognizing the characters and places and situations around here.

If that ain't that bunch of red-headed kids I don't know what is. And the way everybody is always running around doing something with kayaks and second-and-third-hand trucks, and moose in the streets (or, in our case, eagles and the occasional cougar).

Or maybe these little rural towns are just all like that. When I was watching that show a decade ago, I never realized I'd be moving to it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Nice Review

Francois Pernaud gave my latest color book, Pithed, real nice review at:

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Maybe we should get them Safeway cards.

WISH I'd had my camera today. Guy had shot a 7-foot female cougar and she was lying in the back of his truck.

Of course I had to go pet. Cats are my totem animal. Some other guys were gathered around the truck. While I was petting her, I asked: "So what do you do with a cougar?"

A young guy said, "They eat real good." (He was petting her, too).

Another young guy said, "They jerk good, too."

And then another guy said, to the first young guy who was petting: "She ain't gonna feel your affection!" To me he said, "They eat a lot of animals."

I said, "Well, they can't go to Safeway."

The second young guy said, "And they would get children, too."

I can understand killing any animal to eat or use the hide -- circle of life and all -- but I don't understand sports. If you're going to KILL something, tell me you did it to eat it or because you were cold. Don't be making excuses because you just wanted to shoot it. I don't catch-and-release fish, because let's face it, there are kids on the beach, and teaching kids to torment animals for the fun of it is just asking for future trouble -- you can end up being one of the animals.

And I thought cougars were a lot bigger than THAT. If this is a big one, they're really kind of small.

When I got home and let the cats smell my hands they had no reaction. Which was a surprise to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Scared More Witless Than I Am.

Sooo....... we don't need a LOT of money up here, but when all our appliances and the roof and the car and my teeth and the computer die at the same time, some part-time cash is going to come in handy. I mean, my art works out for non-emergency situations but this got a little ridiculous.

I've been testing for the Commercial Driver's Licesense to drive a school bus, and now I have my learner's permit. And today Bob Cain, who keeps the Cape Flattery school buses so clean and safe, was out letting me haul the first big rig I ever drove around the Clallam Bay area roads.

Talk about scared. What really scared me was the brakes -- they didn't seem to BE there! They're air brakes, and I'm used to the Squash-Me-Hards on the VW bug. Trying to back the bus out of the bus barn I managed to feather the brakes into exhaustion and had to put it into neutral with the parking brake so the compressor could fill the system back up. But Bob let me do it. Well, I'll have to do it twice a day anyway, now won't I?

I just know what's going to happen. I'll end up driving the Neah Bay route. Yeah, go look at this: Washington State Maps

It's truly twisky-betwiskt. And I hear the woman who drives it now needs some time off. When I threatened as a child to "go live with the Indians," I didn't know it would mean DRIVING THEIR SCHOOL BUS.

So if you hear any reports of a Cape Flattery School Bus going off the edge into the Strait of Juan de Fuca..... just hope it's not me.

My father the truck-driver must be laughing his head off in Heaven.

At least I haven't got a Has-Mat license!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Baby Whale in Clallam Bay

Dan and I were down walking the beach today, Sunday, in the grey mizzle. We had done a tour of the reef and were starting to wander back toward the town or river end of the beach, when Dan looked back and said, "Look!" and pointed.

Right next to the beach, barely 15 feet out, where the gravel shelves down about 10 feet deep, a 20-foot baby gray whale was feeding. If we'd wanted to, we could have jumped in and petted her. Her white-and-dark-gray mottled flukes and flippers waved in the air as she fed, and disappeared as she rolled to blow.

A couple of times, it became pretty obvious that she wasn't feeding, but was circling around to watch us. At one point she ground up on the shallow gravel shelf and had to kick a bit to get back into deep water.

We could see her light mottled form under the surface. She went out about 50 feet and then turned back and came straight toward me, quick as a torpedo. I might have been standing on the beach, but I gasped and backed up. All right, YOU have a 20-foot streamlined leviathan come at you and see what you do.

I ran back to get my camera, and on the way yelled at the kids that were walking along the street in the rain: "Baby whale on the beach!"

As I ran back from the house, one of the girls passed me at a dead run. They should have her out for track next year.

By the time I got back to the beach, all we could see of the whale was light puffs out by the kelp line as she moved off into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Salmon Egg cheese

Went fishing for a break -- the bait was old and fermented so I threw it into the creek. Sugar+salt+salmon eggs + 6 months cheezing up. Two otters came right over and dived for it. Otter candy! Hey, you and I eat fermented animal milk fat. We can't talk.

Salmon eggs packed in a cedar box and buried for 6 months while they turned into salmon-egg cheese were once a delicacy and emergency food mongst the natives, here. They still use eulachon (candlefish) oil. They still bread and fry up the salmon egg sac, too -- and the balls of lingcod eggs found in the rocks are stewed up, too.

I'm glad the otters enjoyed the salmon egg cheese/candy... but they can have it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fun Things To Do At Airport Security.

All of which I’ve done and they’re very satisfying.

1. As you remove your jacket or shoes, hum The Stripper.

2. Don’t take your shoes off ‘till the last minute – and if anybody asks you why, snap, “Only prisoners sluff along in line in their socks.”

3. Wear very high-laced shoes or boots and sit on their tables to undo them (slowly) and take them off.

4. Baa like a sheep in line. Or moo like a cow.

5. Drop your ID and say, “Oops! Dropped my plasteek!”

6. Reply to snapped orders with a very loud and pointed “You’re welcome” until snapper begins to mumble “please” and “thank you.”

Admittedly this will get your baggage damaged and things stolen – been there, done that – but pack the good stuff with you and just accept it as part of the good fight. It’s SOOOOO worth it.

Isn't there a song someplace with "Katrina" in the lyrics?

Accepting suggestions or good stories of things to do to -- or you've done to -- airport security.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Back From Boston

That's where I've been the last month, and yes, I should have been posting, but I was too busy getting my teeth fixed -- look! Gold for Charon! -- and learning the basics of InDesign and laying out two whole new books and going mushroom hunting with my friend Eric's very cool mom, Amy.

Amy, by the by, is quite the artist: Amy Schneider's ArtI kinda sorta built that blog for her -- and if you want any of those magnificent paintings, she now takes PayPal! So I'd contact her if I were you, and get those paintings before somebody else does. She's also talking prints, so ask her.

Anyway, I'm home, and today Dan and I are just SHOT. We spent four hours gathering chanterelle mushrooms in the woods yesterday, and it ate us alive. Admittedly we have all the mushrooms we'll need for the year, and any more we pick after that are just gravy -- but it's all stoop labor, and slogging through swamps and ducking fir spikes. Dan is a total mass of bruises (not my fault!) today. And he was wearing those hard hiking shoes of his. I was wearing these neat little running shoes I picked up for a quarter at the too right Clallam Bay One-Day-Going-On-Two-Years Rummage Sale, so at least my FEET aren't dead. If you're going to stomp over rotting logs and hillocks in a slash forest, do wear dem running shoes. They are just a fancier form of moccasins. And I've got that long Rom back that lets me put my hands flat on the ground, and do stoop labor all day, so while I've got the usual pinched nerve when I get tired, I'm not so banged up. Hey, we're not spring chickens here any more!

Anyway, weird and goofy things going on up here. More later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Boston Spuds

No postings lately -- I'm playing health tourist (for my teeth) near Boston. To see where I've been and what I've been doing, check out (search: Rummelhart) and

Been doing a LOT of work on the Desert Peach novel. And on Peach #31 -- "Pithed" -- in full color.

The novel will ship from Diamond in January. IF they will order directly from If not, the retailers will have to order directly, themselves.

"Pithed" will ONLY be available from as soon as I get it posted -- and then only directly to customers. The site is working on getting as publisher-friendly as Booksurge. In the meantime, order it directly. It's the only site where I can put up POD for a reasonable price.

Lovely place I'm staying with lovely people. But as we used to sing in the army, "Lord how I wanna go home." For one thing, I want to see Spuds. The silver sulphur cream we're putting on his nose seems to be doing the trick at least for now.

And while gone I put the VW bug up and down for sale 4 times. I CANNOT bring myself to sell that thing. I'd have to get a lot more than $1500.00 to let go of it. It's been through a lot with me. I have four separate selves to contend with -- brain, soul, body and now heart. Oy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Well, lately I've just been taking films and shots and posting them.

For just photos, you want to check out:

For films, the following:

For Chito Beach Resort's moment in film history (hi, Pat!):

Makah Days! And me dancing:

Smoking Fish:

Bone Gaming:

Or you can just go to and search for "Rummelhart."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dead Fish

Okay... so now the seals are catching our fish for us.

Before you ask, just consider that our old cat Spuds needs raw fish to make him happy. He's old -- as said -- he has a growth on his nose. So he gets when he wants.

So I was down at the beach yesterday, gathering mussels off the reef to catch him fresh greenling in the evening. The tide was mass out, so I wander a little further out, in search of scallops. Whoops. The summer seaweed growth soon stopped that -- I was asking for a broken neck horsing around on anything that slippery.

I was heading back when I spotted a 15-inch fish floating in a clear tide pool. With absolutely none of my old city squeamishness, I went and picked the fish up. No head -- had been ripped off, and took all the guts, neat as neat. Seal job. They'll take the head and guts sometimes, leave the rest to feed other predators, or the plankton (no waste in nature). I scrubbed off the body and pulled out excess membrane still clinging to the white flesh. Smelled of it, inside and out -- nice and fresh. Why not? It had probably been beheaded that morning, and floated under the surface of icy water ever since.

When I got it home, we quickly identified the fish with the fish book. Pacific Hake, or Whiting. Filleted and skinned it. Soft flesh. Yup. Hake. Put the raw fillets on a plate in the fridge.

Since then, everybody in the cat tribe has had a nip at it -- but they got tired of it. And it wasn't drying as well as the greenling fillets I already had on a towel on a plate in the fridge. So figured I better cook what was left.

Cooked up nice. Really white, sweet fish. Mixed it with noodles and lentils, hot sauce, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar. Tasty.

So now the seals are catching our fish for us.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Goodbye, Spuds

When we moved to Clallam Bay, the former owner begged us to take her old grey and white cat, "Spuds." We did, and we love him dearly. He is such a very sweet purry old character.

But Spuds spent a lifetime lazing in the sun, so now he has what our vet very much suspects is a squamous nasal sarcoma (and research on the net turned up photos that look the same for the condition, or rather, much more advanced cases).

Our vet says he hasn't the capabilities for the surgery. The nearest veterinary surgeon he could refer us to for this treatment is in Seattle. Clallam Bay is far out on the Olympic Penninsula (, and we don't have a car right now (working on that!), and I have to go to Boston for major dental surgery, myself.

We're keeping Spud's condition down with steroid shots and antibiotics, just for the tissue damage, and the vet is going to give us some cream to keep down the pain and infection. But it doesn't look good.

Spuds is 17. He's not suffering yet, but we don't want him to, either. If a month or two more of decent life in front of the wood stove is all he's got, we can accept that, too. We want to do what's right for this good old cat (we've got a number of cats, and have gone through several animal deaths, including those from old age and various traumas). And any treatment we've found will either endanger his eyes (radiation) or make him vomit (chemicals). That's not how to spend the last days of his life. Hell, Dan and I have living wills so no one will do it to us.

So Spuds is out in the yard, basking in the sun, waiting for winter.
Nose Cancer

Oh, man. It looks like that cat I was talking about -- Spuds, with the nose problem-- has a nasal squamous sarcoma. In other words, a cancerous growth in the nose. Pink-nosed cats who lay in the sun all day long until they are bleached -- like Spuds does -- get this.

Our vet can't just cut it out. The only oncologists who can are in Seattle. No, we don't have a car, yet.

And Spuds is 17 years old. Any treatment at all may allow survival from a month to 36 months, according to what I can find on the net. And of course, it costs an arm and a leg (one does not ignore the $$ problem on health care).

He's still cheerful, but these things can get ugly and painful fast. The photos on the net are UGLY. This poor old cat does not deserve this.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Okay. Now we need a new roof.

BUT --

I got Dan working on that one. He's supposed to be finding estimates and looking up $$ on Hey, I said I would do the roof and just pay for the materials (Hartnagels Truevalue Hardware in Port Angeles has a Pink Tool Apron program in which women who do a project and take photos and do descriptions for their website get the materials for contractor's prices). But Dan, who has done work with his Dad, said NOOOOO, that would leak. Rini Duncan next door said she did a roof when she'd never done any such thing, with -- was it her brother? - and a female friend - and the guys' side of the roof leaked, and the girls' side didn't. Well, of course, females are detail-minded. Or anal. Picky picky picky gets you a dry roof. But Dan is insisting we hire a crew and I said, "Okay, you want a crew -- YOU FIND THE MONEY." Deal.

The car is fixed (clutch was shot -- but it had a billion miles on it!), and Bugmasters in Seattle is working on finding a buyer. I've got it up at under Seattle and Cars.

Working on getting a new car -- that's in the pipeline. In the meantime, using the incredible Clallam County bus system. From now on, in the summer, it's the bus. TOO nice, and no messing with vacation traffic.

New fridge! Neat little apartment size one, that uses $20.00 less a month in power. Full of beer, bait and smoked salmon.

Mouth is a mess -- ancient rotting hole in my face from a dead nerve UNDER a crown (why do I never feel these things?) and busted another tooth. Local doc gave me antibiotics to hold me, and said the busted tooth was fine -- the filling is still good.

But -- I need an endodontist.

Working on flying to Boston where endodontists are MUCH cheaper, and staying with friends who want me there, too (and make incredible fried chicken) -- fix the mouth, have loads of fun visiting (publish a book while I'm there, because I'll be forced to work on it, having no other computer access. Use, AND -- if it works out -- set up a book signing tour for Permanent Party ( Oh, and go to horse shows to learn more about this incredible new camera.

I need to be cloned.

Did I tell you about the camera? A reader went a little crazy and got me a Nikon CoolPix 8700 and a full kit -- including extra lithium batteries, storage disks or whatever those are called, tripods, fancy carrying cases -- JEEZE! I'm still in shock.

And all he wants in return is I learn to be a photographer. John Brewer at the Penninsula Daily News says that as soon as I get a car, he'll buy me lunch. Because with a car and this camera, I can even take FILMS. I'm going to figure out how to get those up on the blog.

AND learned how to smoke salmon with little work or mess -- and it's the best smoked salmon EVER. And my smoker is a bunch of old two-buy fours and broken concrete brick and some cedar shakes and some old racks, and I use little bits of driftwood to smoke.

Just picked up free advertising with a publisher who ain't much now but I'm convinced is going someplace.

And demanding stock options.

Things are pretty good.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Oh, goodie.

And now I've BROKEN a tooth.

What in hell is going on here?

Last meal I ate in Seattle was at FareStart. It's a hotel/restaurant that gets homeless back on their feet by helping them to be chefs.

A pretty nice place. Cool, pleasant, sleek black furniture.

I had the Gypsy Soup and Sourdough Bread. Both very good.

The coffee was awful, but it was Starbuck's, and they'd donated it. So put up with the bad coffee, or order the tea.

Good prices, nice people. If you're going to be downtown, eat there.

If I hadn't had that tooth problem, I would have tried one of the scrumptious-looking deserts.

They feature Seattle-area gourmet chefs once very week -- reservations recommended. August 14, it will be David Bramer, from the 35th Street Bistro.

In Seattle, go to:

1902 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

11 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. Clean kitchens and restrooms.

206 267 7601. And they do parties.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Yup, made it home on Olympic Van Lines. Oh, what a pleasure. A break on the Kingston Ferry, and 45 minutes between the dropoff and the Forks bus. Took me not a moment more of travel time, cost very little more than driving and all that gasoline and wear and tear on a car. From now on, I leave the area, I'm taking the bus.

Left the car at Bugmasters in Seattle. We're negotiating. I'm done with cars for a while. Seattle's bus system is stupendous, and the Clallam County system ain't half bad. I can do anything I want without owning my OPTMI (Own Personal Three-Mile Island, or car).

And let's face it, with oil prices going up, America will have to do what it always does -- face the music and improve. We always wait until the last minute, when it's much more expensive, but we always manage to do it.

Teeth are still horrible. I wasn't sure if it was an abcess or stress, but now I'm pretty sure it's the former. Had to get home and rest and sleep with my bite guard to make sure. Of course, the free or sliding-scale clinic in Port Angeles (What health insurance? I'm an artist -- and is this Canada?) is being renovated until September. We'll see if we can't hold off with pain-killers and antibiotics until then. I've done it before -- let a root rot for 8 months, and then just had the dentist flush out the clean cavity, with no intrusion or scraping, and nothing to heal. This was my last dentist's idea, and a good one. Doesn't work for kids, of course, but an obsessive adult (know any of those around here?) does it fine.

And we have a new fridge. A little mini apartment compact. About 4 feet high, 3 feet wide or so. The old one had a lot of wasted space. This one has room for ice and my cold packs and a few hot dogs. What else do we need? First thing we put in it was a 6-pack of beer and mussels off the beach.

I showed it to the neighbor: "Hey, look! Bait and beer! A fisherman's fridge!"

She thought that was pretty funny. And this thing does about $32.00 a year on power. Scaling down on everything.

Got Spuds to the vet for antibiotics and steroid shot, on the bus, just fine.

So, things are working out. Cross your fingers we won't have to cut off an arm for dental fees...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Goin' Home.

Well, I hope I am, soon. On the Olympic Bus Line.

Car's gas tank utterly blew. Peterson's Automotive had it ready to go Tuesday -- my flight day to San Diego.

Picked up the car ($500.00!!) and on the way it began to struggle on hills. Barely got it to a friend's condo, where I parked it while I was gone.

Got back (trip report will be on another site). Towed car (AAA) to Bugmasters in West Seattle. I'd asked Paul there to find me a truck.

Have not been able to contact Paul and my bug sitteth in Seattle.

I'm going to put it on Craig's list -- in hopes of finding an enthusiast who can take a basically sound bug and cherry her up.

I think I'm done with cars. Considering that the oil shortage will force us to develop our public transport, I'm doing busses and my bike. And occasionally giving somebody a few $$ to borrow their truck.

And a scooter. Anybody in Forks or Port Angeles with a scooter for sale?
Still stuck....

Still in Seattle, working on getting home.

Friend's slow MAC.

More horror stories latter.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Aw hell.

I knew I shouldn't have sat on the beach and watched the fireworks at Fun Days the other day.
Across Clallam Bay, you could see them in Sekiu.

But I was surrounded by kids. Nice kids. But - somebody had germs. Don't they always?

Now I have a bad head cold. Dan has offered to help me get the suitcase the 1/4 mile to the busstop.

The car is still in Port Angeles, but it's ready to go. So I ride the bus to get it.

At least I'm not trying to drive around Lake Crescent with a headcold. You want to be in good shape driving that road. Oh, and they did find fragments of Russell.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lyndon Gets HIS.

What? Lyndon Larouche is back out of jail, huh?

Oh, I just had the greatest moment on the phone. You ever been wanting to chew somebody's ass and out of the blue a victim shows up?


Phone rings. Dan picks it up.

Dan: "Hi. Well, she's kinda got her hands full right now."

Me: "I'm making salmon patties! Who is it?"

Dan: "Somebody political."

Me: "Tell 'em just a minute while I get these in the microwave."

By this time Dan has found out it's from the Lyndon Larouche gang. And you should understand I've got beer in me. So I put the patties in the 'wave, and wash my hands.

Me: "Hello! Whatcha need?"

Larouche Woman: "Hi, I'm calling from Larouche (something). Have you heard of us?"

Me: "Oh, yeah, I've heard of you."

LW: "Well, you know that for the last 30 years, LL has been warning everyone how our system will collapse, and now it is -- "

Me: "Well, d'uh! What do you expect, if you follow capitalism?"

LW: "Well, exactly --"

Me: "I mean, capitalism is based on cheap or free resources and cheap or free labor, and once you run out, it is goin' to China!"

LW: "Yes, and we've been talking to members of the senate -- "

Me: "The SENATE? I'm hoping everybody on this continent will dry up and turn to ashes and blow away."

LW: "Well, that's not very Christian of you."

Me: "Damn right it's not. Do NOT get me started on Christians!"

Pretty soon Missy Right-Wing Serf Twat is trying to get off the phone.

Me: "Yeah, you people think YOU're radical, you haven't met ME!"

Oh, there are just some days it feels GOOD!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Flu dee doo

Remember Penny came up here with the flu?

Now I have it. I've spent all day in bed, too weak to move, on a heating pad. And we're praying to kitty gods that Dan is well enough Monday to take Spuds to the vet. The steroids are holding off on the rodent ulcer, but it still looks ugly.

We SHOULD have the car by Tuesday -- or it's riding about 6 busses and the ferry to Sea-Tac for San Diego. 4-5 hour trip. Oh, well, it would be 4-5 hours with a car, anyway. And at least on buses I get to SLEEP all the way if I want.

I like buses. Sit and read and pay no attention to anything but the scenery. Earplugs are great against mouthy riders. Admittedly, one of my worst memories is riding from Arizona to Seattle on a Greyhound with a migraine most of the way -- but that wasn't The Dog's fault. And other than wanting to put my head through the window and PULL, it was a pretty good trip. It was also the trip where my meals consisted of coffee and pie -- I'd decided to sample pie at all the stops, and didn't feel like anything else. Huh. Migraines ARE supposed to be linked to diet, aren't they?

Does this column sometimes read like Life Of The Scarlet Idiot?

(But.... speaking of things as they stand....I've had proof again that my bestest friends in the world are my readers and colleagues.

Well, WOULDN't they be?)

Saturday, July 09, 2005


The nice lady's husband said, ya know, we got 90K on that Subaru...

and she said, yup, can we split the costs on the clutch 50/50?

Somebody's prayers to Bastet must be working.

Holding up little paws over my head and saying many kitty thanks.

(No, MY little paws. It's not like I'm holding a cat over my head and using it as a prayer puppet or anything. Then I WOULD go to hell).
Gods On Steroids


Chapter two (or is it 22?):

While surfing for "rodent ulcer" on the net and thinking, yup, that's what Spuds has, I saw the name of the steroid usually used.

And remembered Belle had needed a steroid for a mouth infection and we'd bought two syringes with dosages, but we hadn't needed to use the second shot...

And went and read it on the site and it was the same steroid...

And the still-useable steroid syringe was in the failing fridge...

The gods must be fucking bored today.
Just Shoot Me In The Head

Tuesday I have a plane to catch from Sea-Tac, to make it to San Diego Comicon. ONLY 80,000 people in one room for a week. ONLY the biggest convention of any sort in the western hemisphere (2 years ago we topped the Republican convention). A booth to run. My books to turn over to the San Diego State University. People to see, signings to make, face to put on and KEEP on.

So this week, the car's gas tank collapses like its water broke. The 2-hand refrigerator's freon unit failed. Spuds, the oldest cat, gets a rodent ulcer on his nose, from baking his pink nose in the sun for years -- hell, the damn grey cat bleaches BLOND every summer. The nice lady who does the kite-flying says at the last minute she needs a guest room (NOT a huge problem but... we have a newly-spayed wild cat, "Iki," in the guest bathroom, and you can imagine she thinks people are out to gut her, because we nearly did.).

It's not quite a Sherman Alexie novel, but I just emailed his site and hoped the Indians would not only not stop dancing now they'd started again but that they would KEEP DANCING REAL HARD. Which you have to read Indian Killer to get the reference.

Let's just say that between treating this like I was fighting snakes and refusing to lay back and be patient, I managed to end up wasting two whole days on the bus system AND blowing the clutch out of somebody else's car.

Which is weird, because I've been driving automatics and sticks and loaners and trucks and tractors all over the country for the past 5 years and not having any problem. But trying to sneak around the Fun Days parade up a steep hill and having an excited cop trying to talk to me through my window while I tried to find the gear in a Suburu Outback kind of blew my concentration...

And I admitted what I did to the nice lady who trusted me with her car (Oh, the kind and foolish people among us), so when the smartass drunk I drove 400 round trip miles to Seattle for biopses last month began to get on my case, I buttonholed him and said, "You got about 500 laughs on me you don't get to have after what I did for you last month. You OWE me."

But -- I only had a few minute's cursing stomping fit across one non-populated parking area and one crying jag after I got home. Which is pretty good for me.


Dan says he's taking the cat to the vet Monday on the bus (poor Spuds!), because if I do it the day before the Seattle trip -- which may or may not be on a series of six buses and a ferry -- I will get shell-shock in somebody else's living room in San Diego AGAIN. Just a fact of life. Sometime in my life I blew out my lymbic system, and it barely takes being glanced at, let alone pushed. So we're praying the car is at least something I can pick up by next Tuesday.

We've cleaned out the fridge and we're just going to turn it off and buy a new one, because it will cost about the same anyway. I swear, when I get older I'm just eating out of cans. If I want ice cream, I'll pick up a cone. I do now, anyway.

The spayed cat is getting used to people. All that fish we had to thaw and feed raw to cats -- well, that didn't hurt any feline feelings, Spuds's and Iki's included.

My kite-flying friend got the flu and had to go home. Which is probably just as well, I was ready to beat my head against a few walls. I hope she's feeling better, in her own bed -- you don't want to be sick in somebody else's, lemme tell you.

Okay, okay, so everybody else here is dealing with funerals and I'm not -- I don't care, I was still looking to do some short-term cradle-head-flattening.

I'll pay for the damn clutch. And if it blew it's because it was about to blow anyway. So she gets a new clutch anyway. I'D be happy....

AGH. And now they're blowing up London. Well, like my mom used to say, "And what did you do to the CAT?"

Oh. That's right. Iki says she nearly got gutted. So she's been sitting in that bathroom for a week HATING US.

Very mad cat magic.

That explains THAT.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Showin' Off Eagles and Gay Support

Over at, one little comment or two has people pouring their hearts out all over the place. Man, you touch people and they just burst like pimples.


Okay, for those of you from Alaska, you probably won't see this: but on Bear Kill Ridge there's only room for so many eagles. One major nest. Mated couple. And one horny young male.

He's been flying around with headless greenling now and then, but nobody's noticed him, no matter how much he screams and shows off. Nobody's leaving any nests for dipweed.

Then.... he hit the water off Slip Point, and when he came up this time, what he had glinted silver in the sun.

About a five pound King salmon.

Oh, the screaming. Oh, the flying in circles around the nest. Then the crows' nest. Then dipped down to fly over OUR heads. He got the top eatin' fish in the area, and he wasn't too proud to show it.

You'd think he'd found diamonds.

But then, maybe he'd found the eagle equivalent.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gay Bashing In Clallam Bay

I just want to throw up.

I thought Clallam Bay was above this. I expect such things in Port Angeles -- I've heard horrible racist things while sitting waiting to serve on a jury -- but HERE?

I heard this crap in the bar last night while the Seattle Gay Pride parade was on TV. Maybe I shouldn't have pointed it out, but I was missing it. I've ridden in cars sponsored by gay groups, doing the silly parade wave.

"Oh, look," I said in delight, sort of generally toward my husband and sort of just thinking out loud. "The Pride Parade!"

Two people at the end of the bar started up:"Oh, those people! That's just disgusting!"

Me: "What? Those are nice people! That parade is a lot of fun."

"Why don't they have a parade for the rapists and murderers? What if my kid saw that?"

I know these two nasty arguments. They come straight out of church pulpits.

Of course I shot off my mouth, too, and made everybody even more uncomfortable:

"What if your kid IS gay? Do you want to make him commit suicide? What if there are gay people in this bar?"

I don't understand it. Sit in public and say ugly things about race or gender, and expect everybody to agree with them. I mean, if I sit with my mouth shut, it means I agree with them. I'm free to excercise my free speech -- and I mean to use it to show that I am a MUCH nicer person and NOT ONE OF THEM. If they want to split people into groups, then they can be the Nasty People, and I can be the Nice People.

I know what I'm saying next time (I have to always think about these things):I'll point at the parade and say, "EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that parade has been persecuted or bullied or oppressed for being gay or having gay relatives. This is their declaration of freedom from the cruelty of their pasts.

"And they were oppressed and persecuted by PEOPLE LIKE YOU. So the next time you see a gay couple holding hands or kissing -- JUST LIKE STRAIGHT PEOPLE DO ALL THE TIME -- it's because people like you made them refuse to hide any more. So if you don't like it you can go home and look in the mirror and blame yourself."

And while we're at it -- nosing into what your children will ultimately do with their genitalia as sexual adults -- is just plain sick. What is WRONG with you?

Now I know why I've had to tell the kids on the beach that if they use the word "gay" as an insult they can't go fishing with me. I've also told them that they can't be with me and torment the fish, either -- "Those fish died so you could eat. Respect them. Kill them quick and don't pull their eyeballs out while they're alive."

Bullying gays. Tormenting fish. Bragging about using kittens for target practice.

Kids got this from adults in the community.

You know who you ARE. And yes, I resent you, because you make my world uglier and stupider and more cruel. YOU are the reason life can be brutal, nasty and short.

The next generation of kids in Clallam Bay are smart, kind, alert, talented, and thirsty to learn. Get out of their way. Don't infect them with your poison.

And why can I say this?Because someday they won't just be YOUR kids -- they'll be MY fellow citizens. And I don't want to have to deal with YOUR baggage.

Went to the beach to relax a bit, and throw bait at the fish.

Wild waters, throwing high waves, mist in the air. Didn't, of course, expect anything.

WHAM! they acted like food was gonna be banned tomorrow.

Before they figured out there was a hook out there, and got picky and started playing hook games (dragging the bait down the beach, wrapping it around kelp, all the stuff that makes me respect greenling as having a fish sense of humor) -- got two of the biggest girls I ever pulled off the beach. Couple pounds a piece. LOADS of beautiful white meat and a big meaty backbone. And bunches of scraped raw fish from the skins for the cats -- and big livers and roe sacks for the cats, too.

Greenling look like big golden-brown and bright yellow and orange versions of Mr. Limpet.

The males have pretty black-rimmed silver spots, too. Rarely catch males, and they're not very big. I don't think they're as daring as the big girls.

We got more meat than we know what to do with.

How to prepare greenling:

They're kind of mushy and grass-tasting fresh. So -- gut and rinse. Put in 'fridge overnight to firm and dry a bit. When you skin 'em out the next day, they peel easy and look like lingcod. Don't discard the backbones -- they got loads of meat on 'em. Freeze filets and backbones on trays to lose the grassy taste. Glaze 'em individually with cold water, don't freeze 'em in a lump.

Thaw, and dredge in cornmeal batter.

Fry up. Use the left-over batter for hush-puppies. Serve with cold beer.

Oh, Lawdy. Maybe there is a god.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Makah Clout

Okay.... Imagine this. Contentious, hairs-up library/funds meeting. County councilmen, leaders of Friends of Library and Library System and pissed-off citizens. Nearly over when --
Makah tribal representative introduced from the back of the room.

Medium-tall thin guy with iron-grey hair slicked back, in a brand new black/white/red Makah Whaling Commission t-shirt.

Total double-takes. Hair on end. Mouths fall open. Shock and awe.

You can practically hear it.... "The TRIBE!!! is here!"

Everybody is -- well, not scared of the TRIBE -- but the TRIBE might as well be our Mother. "What will the TRIBE say?" "Can we get the TRIBE in on that?" "What does the TRIBE want?"

When the spokesman said that the TRIBE sided with what the citizens and the FOL wanted, it was like -- well the Navy had hit the beach. In cedar conoes.

In the course of siding with us, he said, "I will take your words back to my council."


So we are all doing this little white-eye war-dance, cuz the TRIBE is on OUR side. With alder-smoked salmon. "Here come the Indians!" is the line up here.

Everybody else can just take their nasty dried fish and go home.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


While living in Bremerton, didn't listen to KPLU.

Didn't like jazz. Grew up hard rock.

We moved to Clallam Bay. Couldn't get KPLU. Didn't care.

Then one day, it seemed to open up on that end of the band. They'd extended the transmission network.

And suddenly -- all we wanted to listen to was the cool jazz station. We were tired of rock, and tired of classical. But the jazz just fit everything we needed. It even calmed us down and made us feel better.

Do we get cool when we get old? Or was it a change of air?

Keep up the coolness, KPLU Tacoma (88. 5 or 6 or thereabouts...)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Babysit My Kids For Free

Okay, NOW I get it.

I've wondered for a long time why parents are so desperate to make sure that the rest of us be forced to act like the parents of their kids.

We're to have our books, our media, the internet, even our bedrooms and who we sleep with monitored so it doesn't infringe on the way they see their kids should be interacting with their environment.

I finally GET it -- and I have a family in Clallam Bay to thank for that!

Oh, awright, it's a family that was up here from Port Angeles for the Scholarship Auction.

There was this one woman doing the usual A Cat Attacked My Kid spiel.

You know the one -- the parent describes the baby grabbing the cat, or cornering the cat, and getting a quick slap around both sides of the head.

Then the cat is killed, or abandoned, or any of the other bullying nasty things a big omnivore can do to a small animal. Because we can, or some other reason we should be ashamed for.

But did you get it up there? "Grabbed the cat." "Cornered the cat."

That's right.

Mommy or daddy stood right there, brainless and starry-eyed, and let their soft, hairless, vulnerable, soft-eyed offspring crawl right up and grab --


Sat RIGHT there and let the kid crawl up to an animal that is on the constant alert NOT to be grabbed or harrassed -- that has buttons in its head that make the knives come out and the attack-arms flash out -- and then got all surprised when the cat popped the kid!

And they should be grateful that ALL the cat did was a little quick warning slap. That the cat spared the kid in ways the parents can't even begin to realize. That the cat exercised EXTREME self-control on a kitten.

A friend of mine once tried to rescue his two big Siamese from a raccoon they were backing off the yard. He picked them up. Did they hear him coming? Did they know they were about to be boosted? Did he even realize he'd set off the flash-attack switch in their heads and spinal columns?

42 stitches. 42 STITCHES. He looked like the mummy.
And those cats never meant to hurt him. That was just a defense mechanism. The guy did no more than step on a land-mine.

He didn't blame the cats. He knew it was his fault. He's the human -- he's the responsible one.

But parents who let their kids play with predators? That don't teach their kid not to torment animals?

Talk about lazy. Talk about irresponsible. Talk about self-absorbed. Talk about a kid in danger -- and not because of a little animal.

These are the same people who dump their kids off in libraries, and bookstores, and then patrol the freedoms of adults, because they've wandered off to do their thing, and left the rest of us to deal with their kids.

In their eyes, the rest of society is just a free baby-sitting service, and they can turn their backs on their kids any time they like, just dump them out there without supervision or care, because WE'll pick up the tab.

I get it.


Saturday, May 14, 2005


A reader just asked me how the fishing is going.

Well, a couple weeks ago, after the Hat boys -- three or four plump interchangeable kids with red hair you could read by -- and Richi (the Makah kid who lives with them) headed down to the beach and 20 minutes later came back with three nice big black rockrish, I decided I was going to have a try, too.

The boys told me that they'd used a salt-and-pepper jig - a plastic fake fish/squid whatsit - to catch 'em.

While at Neah Bay for the new Chamber of Commerce meeting, I picked up a clear plastic silver sparkly jig.

Yesterday, my extremely accurate horoscope, that I read in the Peninsula Daily News, told me to go do social things today. So, today, instead of packing up the last of the Diamond order -- Dan had begged for a break from bagging books and writing addresses on boxes -- I decided to obey the stars and go fishing.

I threw a bunch of jigs -- white, red, and that silver dude -- in an old plastic sour-cream plastic, and Dan and I headed out for low tide.

On the way, we ran into an old Japanese guy ("James" -- the name he uses so round-eyes can call him something), up from Tacoma, and he asked where to go for fish. So I said, c'mon along, I'm new on this beach too, let's see if we all get lucky.

We tromped out along the pebble beach, and then out to the end of the reef point. On the way, we ran into another Japanese guy ("Jim") and turned out they knew each other. Cool. So, with Dan tailing behind watching Eagles, we continued on to the point. J and J are nattering away in Japanese -- the old guy sounding like Takashi Shimura in the Kurasawa movies -- but I keep hearing a lot of "san" this and "san" that, so I figure they're Talking About Their Friends. Don't we all...

We found a nice deep hole amongst the kelp, and said hi to a big grizzled bull sea lion who came by to bark at us and wish us luck.

We rigged up some white jigs and started throwing them into the hole and reeling them back. My jig wasn't going very far. Jim said that I needed a heavier jig. The only hook I had was a big ol' weighted head, really too big for the little silver jig. But I threaded it on anyhoo.

I'd no sooner flipped that thing out there and was slowly reeling it back -- and I got a strike.

NICE fat black rockfish.

I pulled out the hook with my Leatherman and dropped him into a pool in the rocks behind me. Oh, I should mention here I was squealing like a little girl. My dad and the neighbor used to take me fishing, and they caught lots of black rockfish, but I always got skunked. Okay, except for one baby salmon that fought like six rockfish, pulling down the end of the pole and amazing us all when the dinky 9-inch thing came to the surface. We let it go, of course, but if it had been any bigger, it would have taken the boat down.

By this time the Hat boys and Richi show up (oh, hell, when I say the Hat boys, I mean the bunch -- and that includes the little plump Hat girl, although she's all of a sudden shooting up into this tall thing with long legs who the other day I saw WEARING HEELS, so she's officially no longer one of the Hat boys). They're as delighted with my fish as I am -- but that just means the fish are biting.

So now we got two Japanese guys and me and three kids flinging lines off the same rock, and Dan watching eagles behind us with the fancy binoculars they gave him when he retired. I doubt I'm going to catch any more, but with this many jigs, somebody's got to hit.

And I do.

I'm the one gets the next one!

Even bigger and nicer than the first. You've never seen anybody do the Little Tappidty Dance on the far end of a big slippery reef she could have fallen off of into a deep current-sucking hole.

About now Jim decides to go down to the FAR point to see if there are any more fishing holes. And the current turns and brushes the kelp into our hole, and all we start catching is sea-otter salad (Sea otters munch kelp because, like us, they can't produce vitamin C). The eldest Hat boy shows me how to cut the fishes' gills so they'll bleed out and die quickly. I string 'em on a piece of rope I found on the beach and always bring along. James and I leave the kids behind, waving at us from the point.

Dan offers to carry my fishing pole, which is a good idea, because you need a hand to brace yourself in case you slip on the rocks, and one of my hands is hauling fish. About 10 pounds of fish.

Two hours, and we get in a long hike, two fish and all cleaned, filleted and in the freezer. I'm collecting fish for a party I'm having in August, and burying fish fillets in ice. Except for the skeletons -- which always have so much meat on 'em I save 'em to fry. Which is what we're having for supper tonight, with homemade bread and kosher dill pickles. And maybe a nice glass of blush wine.


Beginner's luck, huh?

Now, I will admit something.... whenever you ask fisherguys what they're using for bait, they'll tell you. They'll show you where to fish. They'll tell you what sort of rigs and gear to bring. They'll teach you to cast.

But they won't tell you the Secret Trick they use to catch the fish. That the Hats and the J's didn't see me using while I was rigging the new jig.

And I'm not telling you, either.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kitty Pretty

One step further into helping all these yard/wood/street cats.

I won't say how, but an act of very unexpected and great kindness has provided me with a brand-new Havaheart trap.

As soon as the vet gets back next week, it'll be kitties going down to see him and taken out of the gene pool. By fixing all these guys. They'll be much nicer without all the kittens.

It's not a population control -- up here, there's only one queen and a bunch of toms. If there aren't enough queens to form a kitten-protecting pride, the toms kill the kittens. So no kittens ever survive.

This is a normal population control with cats. But it's upsetting to humans who have to live next to it. We like our peace and quiet.

Pumpkin is healing nicely. Hopefully by next year he'll have lost enough hormones not to get his head crunched open by Goucho -- and Goucho won't feel any need to do it any more.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Cathead Puke Theater

Dan just told me that he'd found a pool of pus about 6 inches across in the driveway.

"Yeah, the cat was just sitting there with pus dripping down the side of his head into this green pool."

Dan did time in the infantry and as a doorgunner in Vietnam, and he said he just wanted to get away from looking at the cat.

He said that pus is toxic and dangerous, and it's just natural we don't want to be around it.

Again, the cat is just fine now. Nice clean dry wound.
And me without a spoon...

Well, that's it.

Gonna have to catch and fix all these feral cats.

Been putting out food for starving cats all winter, mumbling about catch and fix. Got the SNAP program up here -- Spay And Neuter Your Cats.

Cats were all well-behaved and purry all winter. All glossy come spring.

And then came May....

Oh, God. Cats screwing in the middle of the road (trucks slowing down and the drivers and passengers laughing their fool heads off). Cats screwing on our porch and under our car. Our old cat, Spuds, stepped outside, sat down with an appalled look on his face, and demanded to be let inside again. Well, he's one to talk with his ragged ears. Nothing like a retired roue for being ultra-prude.

Then Pumpkin (I named 'em so I could talk to Dan about 'em) showed up with a HUGE swollen abcess on his head. I'll bet Goucho did it. Size of a tennis ball.

Now Pumpkin used to be real friendly, I could even pick him up -- but a hurt cat is a wary cat.

Moose Parker let me borrow his live trap. Didn't even know me. All he said was, "What are you going to do with the cats?" "Fix 'em and release 'em," I said. "And take one of 'em to the vet, because he's got a big ol' abcess on his head."

That was okay with Moose.

And all I did was catch Creamsicle, and then didn't manage to get him into a cat carrier. Rats. So now he's even more nervous.

Meanwhile, Iki, the little plump long-haired tabby-point Himalyan kinda thing, is prancing along, fluffy tail in the air, her big BLUE eyes just as wide and innocent, with all these toms paying court and humping her like a basketball team. Oh, she is such a CHEERFUL little slut. A regular bitty Mae West.

Anyway, I had to take the cage back Saturday, because Moose needed it again (is it the only one in town?). And the vet was out of town all next week. I spoke to his wife about how generous and trusting he had been and she said, "That's Moose for you."

Then I tried to grab Pumpkin.

Got him by the scruff and back, and he turned over howling. I couldn't get the blanket over him -- and he leaped loose.

And that abcess sent a flying spurt of green pus a foot out of his head.

Oh, gag. Oh puke. Oh I about fainted.

I can gut fish and clean up shit and all, but that much green pus -- I will never be a vet.

Pumpkin seemed much relieved. First pus, then red matter dripped down the side of his head. Then he got it clean.

A couple days later, he has a nice, flat clean scab about the size of a silver dollar. And is back to calling Iki to the food bowls.

I'm going to get my own live trap -- and then ALL these damn cats are getting fixed and released.

I'm not dealing with any more pus.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Death by Lipsynch

Drove up to Neah Bay on 112. Incredible shimmering bright day, woods full of brilliant new green, the Strait still and glimmering. Attended the institution of the Neah Bay Chamber of Commerce. First First Nations C of C in I don't know how many miles of coast.

That night, attended the Sekiu Community Center Tea. "Dress to impress," said the flyers.

At the door, a pretty teenage girl asked me if I would like an escort. Well! Very elegant. I hooked my hand into her proffered elbow.

Inside, tables set diagonally were covered in green cloths. One of the retiring teachers had lent part of her huge tea-service collection for the event. Everyone had a different teacup and saucer. It was like tea with the Desert Peach. Gardens from all over had contributed bouquets -- so there was a lot of rhododendron and lilac. Student projects along the walls, including a couple of nice quilts made by a local boy (don't you love how the kids are dumping those stupid sex roles?).

Poetry, essays.

Fashion show.

Funniest damn fashion show. Wonderfully elegant dresses, including a black wrap-around over cobalt blue embroidery. One VERY tall skinny kid (musta been a van Riper) in a brilliant white suit and little round black sunglasses. Girls walked as they usually did in blue jeans, and everybody was giggling their heads off. A boy all in black tried to keep his face straight reading very haut coiture descriptions of the outfits, but, as he'd said before, "I don't do dresses." He got most of the words right, anyway.

Then they all came out to take a bow, and the band started a dance on the runway area.

God. FUNNY. They were doing all sorts of comedy dances. In these long formals and fancy suits. Tromp and jump and stamp and just howl with laughter. Log-camp dancing in fancy dress. They asked audience members up. I could NOT stop laughing. Across the runway, I saw a woman in her '70s's, and she was laughing as hard as I was. The sense of put-on was just tooooo delicious.

Afterwards, when everybody had stopped gasping, three boys and a teacher got up. In stupid wigs.

"The girls were going to have a lip-synch contest," one said. "But then they decided not to. So we'll just do this."

Okay. THE funniest -- and most spot-on -- lipsynch of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

Teacher on air piano. Another kid on air guitar.

Two huge kids doing the lyrics.

By Mama mia, mama mia the audience was laughing so hard it was crying. I swear. I mean, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I've had my endorphin shot for the whole year.

Finally they tore off their raggedy outer shirts and revealed the Bruins' (local highschool) Football Team T. Howls and stomping and even more laughing.

Who says we don't have a club scene?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Clarice Doorknob

Well, I've found another way Clallam Bay is more civilized than Port Angeles.

Jury duty yesterday. Sitting reading Les Miserables (finally -- huge thick book you can't get through in jury duty), in the Port Angeles Courthouse.

Nice little old lady and nice little old man had the following conversation (I'm not bothering to point out which was which. It's equally nasty, but you can probably guess from the tone):

"Oh, the way those indians stopped the graving yard. I mean, what is wrong with them? That would have been lots of jobs. It's just spiteful."

(The Port Angeles port was going to just go ahead and put a graving yard on top of a native graveyard, but the natives stopped them. Mostly by bringing to light the nasty racism that's still going on in that town. As these conversations illustrate).

"They've had all this welfare all these years. They want to live in the best of both cultures."

(Yeah. Being forced to be on the kind of sour-faced stingy welfare our mean-spirited government gives. Oh, that is SOOOO the best).

"The government should just take away all those reservations and just make them citizens. And what's the problem with the bones? I don't care what they do with my body."

"Neither do I."

(Oh, right. Just throw 'em out in the yard for the dog to eat. I'd like to see what their relatives and friends do then.)

"They should be happy with a few of those bones for museums. What more do they want?"

I'd like to buy those two a clue -- the Indians will forgive US the theft and destruction of their graves, way of life, land and water when the Jews forgive the Germans the concentration camps -- FOR THE SAME REASONS.

Okay? Does that put it into perspective?

You never hear that crap up here. It's because so many people are related to the natives. Their kids play together, and go fishing, and everybody owns the same dogs.

And the Makah are the funniest and nicest people on the planet (I'll bet the Elwah are, too).

But you know white people -- if somebody else has a mouthful of water, or food, or an inch of land, or a tree that WE want, then we go to pieces.

Greedy, greedy, greedy.

I wonder why we don't just get rid of the eagle and take the ravening hog on as our national symbol?

I couldn't butt into this conversation, of course, or start vomiting, (I wasn't raised in a barn), but today I realized how I could have expressed myself (They sure as hell were!).

Fake cell-phone call. Who would know? People set those things to Vibrate these days.

"Yello. Yeah, we're still waiting. No, I decided to catch the bus. Was great -- got to look into the woods all around Lake Crescent, saw all kinds of cool streams."

(I'm usually the driver. Don't get to see anything.)

"Oh, and I picked up some great dialogue for the next book."

At this point, repeat the nasty sludge Mr. and Mrs. Master Race were spewing.

"Yeah! Oh, I've got her named already. Yeah. Clarice Doorknob. What? (Laugh). Chester Butthead! Naw, that's a little too obvious. But it's great lines. People ask where I get dialogue. Why write it when it's all over the place? Yup. I told 'em I needed to catch the 5:00 pm bus. Pick you up some apples? Will do. Okay. See you tonight -- or earlier if they let us out."


Quietly go back to my book.

And if they get all appalled and try to butt in -- glare at them and snap, "Do you MIND? I'm on the phone here! These minutes add up!"

And you know they would have hated it. Take comfort in this -- no matter how nasty somebody is in private, he or she knows it's wrong and don't want it published.

So we DO have a sense of decency as a species.

At least when somebody offers to tell somebody else.

(How to stop nasty email: "I have a long email list. And a forward button. And a SHORT TEMPER." They'll take the clue.)

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Last night we were all dancing at a benefit.

On a hill, behind huge fir trees. In the Community Center

13th Floor and Mandana. Sound Garden influence and hard hard old rock.

Non alchoholic event (which meant everybody had these paper cups... and dark stuff in coke cans...)

Between midnight and 1:00 am, everybody on the floor, all ages, dancing their brains out, lights hung in all the windows and flashing overhead.

Old women dancing like girls. Old men teaching women the two-step. Boys leaping up and down before 13th Floor like Watusi. Girls stamping, arms linked.

Four women bumping in a very kinky foursquare around the bliss-faced UPS driver. He's gonna drive funny all week.

Ain't no spooks gonna get us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Clallam Bay Murphy's Law

We have our own version of Murphy's Law.

If anything can go wrong, it will -- and it will involve a logging truck.

Warren Konopaski was just clearing brush – he didn’t mean to clear two power poles.

Konopaski, owner of the Coho Bait Shop, was using an excavator to clean brush off the breakwater across the road from the Breakwater Restaurant just west of Clallam Bay on Highway 112.

The brush had grown up around the guy wires supporting a power pole on the breakwater.

Konopaski’s excavator clipped the unseen guy wires. As the unsupported pole fell, an unloaded logging truck, driven west on Highway 112 by an independent driver, caught the wire across the front of the cab.

Ken, a witness staying at the Coho Motel, said that the wire slipped up over the cab, shattered the windshield, caught the risers on the trailer and yanked down a second power pole by the restaurant. The pole fell onto and went through the building’s roof overhang.

Another witness said, “the cab was smashed down about 12 inches over the hood.” The driver suffered small lacerations from flying glass on his face, but seemed to be otherwise uninjured.

A witness said the truck was “moving like a runaway freight train. He hit those poles and there was wood everywhere, like toothpicks.”

Another witness says that the driver was moving no faster than the 45 mph speed limit, and only the impact gave the impression of speed.

PUD crews had repaired enough of the damage by 6:30 to return most of the local power.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Burning Bush

I've been into the nettle patch behind the sheriff's deputy's house for about two weeks now, picking weirdly early new nettle tops.

About a week ago, I'd picked up a big bag of nettles and then went out gathering scallops and clams on the beach. Oddly enough, Dan and I have discovered we're not really crazy about shellfish. I like finding 'em, but I'd rather hand 'em over to some other gatherer. So I wandered over with my little bucket of finds and offered 'em to the Quilleute lady and her grandson who were gathering chitons and sand clams on the reef.

We got to talking about the nettles. She said that her people used to eat them, but she didn't know anybody who did now. But when I described 'em -- "better than spinach" -- she said she wanted to try them. So I added a baggie of nettles to the shellfish.

Later on they showed up at our place, and asked if they could wash their hands. No problem -- and they asked if we liked fish. Oh, yeah. Fish we like.

The next thing we knew, we had a fillet of bright red-fleshed silver-sided steelhead in hand.

Whoa. If you think salmon or trout are good... and steelhead is something I'll probably never catch or eat -- too many regulations for an over-fished animal anyway. Didn't want to add to the pressure. But the First Nations, of course, have always included it in their diet. So if two of 'em wanted to share -- we weren't turning it down!

(Actually, this is a gift culture out here -- turning down a gift is -- well, imagine turning down a gift from a Japanese. On that level).

A couple days ago, the sheriff's deputy's wife, Angie, and her mother saw what I was doing and asked what the heck was with picking those stinggy plants ("stinggy" -- it's a word. People use it).

So I described how to steam them like spinach, and rub them on arthritis. Angie wanted to try, so I gave her a little plastic baggie of the nettles, warning her that she had to drop them into hot water or hot bacon fat before touching them. They will sting.

Today I was walking past her house, and when she waved, I asked her if she wanted any more nettles.

She held both hands out.

Well, it's a southern family -- and you know southerners and their greens. Her mom even pulled up a few nettles to take home and plant in her garden! Hilarious -- because Lewis county is full of nettles anyway.

We've decided that our nettles are juicier and more buttery.

Wow. Nettles aren't just good for making greens and fishing line and curing arthritic pain -- they're good for making friends.

And catching fish.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Doing layout for the next book AND smoking salmon out in the cinderblock pit at the end of the driveway. Technohick again. Over bits of driftwood. It's not very good salmon -- pretty much spawned out -- but anything's good when you smoke it.

Dan's at the beach, reading a Tony Hillerman mystery.

So any of you out there who are supposed to have gorgeous sunny weather, and are wondering who stole it -- we did.

We are going to have such a drought this summer. Everybody is out on the beach or in the woods or otherwise enjoying the sun -- and every last person is saying, "Oh, man, are we going to be in trouble this summer. There is going to be no water in the reservoirs."

I hear San Diego has our rain. Please send it home.

A reader sent me a godawful huge surf pole -- now I'm itching to go try it on something. I dunno what. What comes into the surf that could be this big? Most of our big fish are out in the deep holes -- and I don't have a boat. Not that I really need or want one. But if somebody ever wants me to go along on a fishing trip, I have a pole!

Been out riding with Teresa on Lightning again. That boy is getting into shape. No more sweating and wheezing just because he walked up the hills too fast. Lots of deer out in the woods right now.

Oh, if you need to ask about local herbal medicine or food plants, go to Ed Wilbur's been studying our woods for decades. He does walks and tours and lectures, too -- you have to email him to ask for a schedule at The guy knows everything.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Me at Clallam Bay, on a gorgeous summer's day.

Me On The Clallam Bay Beach

And today is beautifully misty and we're praying for rain -- because it's been looking like summer up here in February -- and that's no good for a rain forest!

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Originally uploaded by Potluck.
Cutest Christmas present of 2004 -- I win. Because one of my readers sent this very neat little hand-made doll -- it's a toy as would be played with by my half-horse characters. A kind of Raggedy Cheiron doll.