Saturday, December 22, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Me: There is no new Freddie Mercury. You are a blasphemer!
Keith: You're right.
[stands up straight with his arms by his side]
I should be struck by a pink lightning bolt.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Butch: Sorry baby but I had to crash that Honda.)
This was the beginning of our Thanksgiving weekend.
A weekend that was supposed to be relaxing and easy turned a little stressful as we went through the intersection on Hwy 12 in Walla Walla, Washington. We rented this little blue Prius, a 2008 with less than 3500 miles on it, and crashed it. The Subaru's 18-year old driver pulled out in front of us---from a stop sign onto the highway--without even looking in our direction. Luckily I was slowing down, thinking she would see us and stop---but she didn't and we wrecked. Bad times. Everyone's ok and honestly although that's what everyone always says is the most important thing: it is. The dogs were shaken up but not injured. Keith scraped up his arm a bit, but nothing serious. Ended up getting a ride up to the Walla Walla airport and rented another car (without disclosing why we needed one).
My First Car Accident.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Mia was chewing gum the other day. Keith asked her where she got it, but she wouldn't fess up. Then he saw she'd stepped in it and was trying to clean her paw. For once she had minty fresh breath.
"They're like presents on the street." I made the mistake of putting a movie called The Gleaners and I in our Netflix queue. About people who go through the fields after harvest to take the surplus that will otherwise go to waste. Then it morphs into urban gleaning, one guy didn't have to buy food for over 10 years--he scavenged it all. Hadn't been sick once from food poisoning. Still, braver than I. But the main theme of the movie was taking things people had thrown away and putting them to use. One guy said, "I am a retriever." Keith took notes. One day our house will filled with these presents Keith finds. But not in that way of the brothers who were smothered by their own junk.
My grandpa was a collector. I'd say my dad is a collector. And my husband is a collector. It's an interesting thing.
We're pretty low-maintenance people. Keith's going to meet me downtown where we'll pick up dinner from Vegetarian House and head home....mmmmm... where we'll probably watch a movie on the couch with the dogs and eat chinese food together to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We picked this date kinda arbitrarily because it's the first date we can both remember going on. Back when we were sneaking around the bagel shop and waking up to Blinded by the Light-volume at 11, sitting in Rick's car at the company barn dance? What was that? I don't know. There was hay in a barn. Oh yeah, it was Benjamin Ranch. I lived near The Plaza and Keith lived out in Lenexa so we split time between the two. Then in January, I think it was around Keith's birthday, we decided to live together. I really don't know what I was thinking. I was 18. He was 28. And now it's been 10 years and that's CRAZY. It's been good and it's been not all that great, but it's good now and only getting better. I'm really thankful for my husband and I keep finding out I love him more.
Here's a slideshow from our dog walk on Sunday. The fall leaves are beautiful here and the weather's been great, not much rain at all. This is the first year I've really liked fall as a season. I used to think of it as the end of summer.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Amanda was in town this weekend to visit friends. We met up at Voodoo, cruised the Saturday Market, and then headed up to the Rose Garden. Keith and I hadn't been up there since last winter. It was very nice, great weather. So, here's a slideshow!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Here's a cool (and short) video from last night.
I started school last night. Microbiology. Micro for short, they say. Nothing over my head. 90 minutes of lecture on the history of Micro and then 90 minutes of lab. (Repeat 2x week for 11 weeks.) Refresher course on using a microscope. I have a cool lab partner, which is a relief. Why does college sometimes feel like PE class and I know I'm going to get picked last for dodgeball. So, instead I choose the seat by the door and wind up with someone cool. Take that, college!
It's a long arduous crowded MAX ride up to Interstate Ave. and then a super quick bike ride, about 7 blocks, to campus. But I think I can find an all-bike route and do that at least one way. Bonus: PB&J for dinner and a bike ride home will help me get skinny again.
I won't have much free time or brain power to spend on the internets (Keith is really upset about that) but I will try to write updates just to keep myself a little more sane.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Keith's mom flew out to go with us to Idaho over Labor Day weekend. So 3 adults and 2 dogs drove all night across 3 states. It was a little cramped and maybe I should have let the guy @ Dollar Rent-a-car upsell me to the Toyota Highlander, but I just couldn't justify the extra cost. And Monday on the ride home I got a knot in my back and Tuesday I went home early-- in hindsight that Highlander might have been a good choice.
We had a good visit with my family, but it wasn't as laid back as our usual trips to Kamiah. So we're hoping to make it back over for Thanksgiving for some real slow quality time. And I went to my 10-year reunion which was a lot less angst-y than high school, so maybe it's true that we've all grown up a little. It seemed to be. I think I was one of three or four in our class that hadn't reproduced--a distinction I am happy to have. It was really nice to see everyone actually, although there were a few people missing.
I also got to see my friend the day after she had her baby. I called her today to see how she's doing and she was excited to tell me that she's back down to her pre-pregnancy weight----2 weeks later. Sheeeesh. She sounds like she is doing well and Matthew sounds like an easy baby. He sure is a cutie, especially for a newborn. (see slideshow) Matthew's dad is Native American and they gave Matthew Bad Boy Grizzly Bear as a middle name (in Nez Perce). That's about the most bad ass middle name I've ever heard.
Here's a slideshow of the weekend, in summary.
I am getting sweaty palms about the upcoming school year. Classes start in 2 weeks! Today I had a mini-panic attack when I read that my application to the OHSU program is due December 1st and I won't be done with my prereq's until spring, but I was assured that credits in progress are ok as long as I'm done by next summer (when the OHSU program starts). So that's good news.
But that also means I have to take the GRE, get my references/recommendations, and crank out an essay by 12/1. Working full time and taking a full load of anatomy/physiology, microbiology, and human development classes in the meantime means I am pretty glad to have the next couple weeks to do As Little As Possible.
Luckily, this is something I've practiced and become quite good at.
(and I would fail that portion of the GRE in which it is forbidden to place prepositions at the end of the sentence)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
It was on a course at Mt. Tabor (extinct volcano!).
Mt. Tabor makes Portland one of only two cities in the continental U.S. to have an extinct volcano within its boundaries; the other city is Bend, Oregon. The volcanic features of Mt. Tabor became known in 1912, years after it became a public park. The volcanic cinders discovered in the park were later utilized in surfacing the park's roads.
I made a slideshow, but you'll see most of the soapbox on the second page of it...so keep going. We stayed for a couple hours and left when we started seeing the same cars, so we don't know who won. They ran several heats of 3 cars at a time. Keith took notes and is already brainstorming his entry for next year. He will consult his father-in-law over Labor Day weekend. Maybe come up with some schematics. This is not 'Nam, there are rules.
"Heads up, Godzilla!"
"I'm, like, by now you have to have seen The Matrix."
"Well, you know if we get hit, we get hit."
"Deploy the parachute!"
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I got a new tattoo that marks my surviving the past couple of years. This is a very personal tattoo, and when I explain it to people it either sounds ridiculously cheesy or slightly psychotic. In reality, in my reality, it is neither. I knew several elements that I wanted to incoporate and I took a very rough mock up to a studio and Ed drew up the design for me. I was a little nervous because I'd picked the shop b/c it was Painless Steel (a branch of where we went in Missoula) but when we got there it wasn't Painless anymore. I talked with Ed and looked at his portfolio and he gave me a price quote and told me some ideas for the design. A couple weeks later (last Wednesday) I went back to the shop. Ed showed me the design and I was amazed. It was so much better than I could have imagined. At that point any remaining reservations I had were gone. 2 hours later, I walked out with this.
After it heals, in about 7 days, I'll go back for the rest: filling in the butterflies, shading, touch ups. Then it will be finished. When I got home to show Keith he was equally amazed. So despite some trepidation about it not being Painless Steel, Ed @ Anatomy Tattoo won our business for the foreseeable future.
And that afternoon I met Matt Gone. He works down the street from our building and we see him pretty often but I'd never talked to him. He saw my fresh tattoo and gave me his business card. He said he'd just gotten a new one, too, and lifted his pant leg which was entirely covered in tattoos. And he pointed to a train and said it was a I-think-I-can train. Ok.
"I just wanted to do something nearly impossible before I die.
I was also born with birth defects. The tattoos hide them and make my body something I can be proud of instead of hating.
This project began in 1990 and has cost over $65,000 so far. $20,000 of that was earned as a dishwasher in New Orleans' French Quarter."Interesting guy. He's been on Ripley's Believe It or Not. And he's been tattooed by The Enigma!
See, Mom--it could be worse.
We're still making the new apartment home-y. Keith hung these frames. All free from the guy who used to have this apt.
We're going to paint the wall. And then hang some Items in the frame. 2-d. 3-d. Recycled paint is only $5/gal, so I think we're going that route. Brick red? Gray?
Here's a photo straight out of the 90s, color-wise from our dog walk the other day. This is my sister circa 1992, in leaf form. Ok, me, too. But she was the color coordinating freak.
The dogs have been crazy for the outside lately. Lazlo lays down on the sidewalk, wherever. So I try to take them to the park in the afternoons, or a walk. And Keith takes them off leash to the triangle in the mornings.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
That's what it says above the door at Dante's.
Keith and I decided to go out Saturday night to see Deadbolt--"The Scariest Band in the World." We don't go out that often because we're cheap and lazy, and we usually think it sounds like a good idea in advance but when the time rolls around we say, Aw, let's just stay home and watch Netflix. But Keith found Deadbolt on the internet a while back and we saw their poster by chance on a dog walk last week.
Deadbolt, and the 2 bands that opened for them, can probably be described as psychobilly bands: "a mix between late-1970s punk and 1950s American rockabilly." Well, ok the first band, Cold Hearted Trio, was more rockabilly than psychobilly. And, ok, the second band (Dead Man's Hand) calls themselves "666% metalbilly." But I think you can imagine they're all in a similar category. So here's a sample of our night, and the rest of the weekend if you keep going through to the second page. I'm digging this slideshow feature thingy.
Of course after we had a great time we said, once again, We should do this more often. And our chance is coming up---MusicFest NW! Keith and I recently watched a documentary called You're Gonna Miss Me about Roky Erickson; he basically invented psychadelic rock with his band The 13th Floor Elevators. From his website: "The Elevators only had one chart hit, the Roky-penned You're Gonna Miss Me, but their influence was far reaching. R.E.M., ZZ Top, T-Bone Burnett, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Cramps have all either recorded or played live versions of Roky's songs. In addition to these performers, Roky is an acknowledged influence on such diverse musicians as Robert Plant, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, The Butthole Surfers, Jon Spencer, and current indie hit-makers The White Stripes." So, we were amazed by the movie. He's one of those people that the music flows out of effortlessly--someone who is made to make music. Check out this video!
Struggling with drug abuse and schizophrenia, Roky spent 3 years in Rusk State Hospital after pleading insanity on marijuana charges. After losing interest in music, he became a recluse, living in poverty and filth until his brother was granted guardianship of Roky and has helped him get his life back on track. (from imdb.com)
So, anyway....we're definitely going to that. And there's a few other bands that I might try to drag Keith to. Okkervil River, Horse Feathers, Spoon. This is all happening the week after we get back from Kamiah (Labor Day weekend).
And I will have some exciting news to share next week, but for now that is a surprise. (Does not involve dogs or children.)
Monday, July 30, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
I met with my advisor today @ PCC. She set me up with overrides for the classes I needed and gave me some great advice about applying to OHSU. So I am signed up for 13 credits. I had planned on taking 17, but the last class was full. It's probably going to work out ok though because she assured me that all classes are offered all terms and that means I should be able to complete all the prereq's before the OHSU program starts next summer. (And I think 13 credits of microbiology, anatomy, and human development will be a-plenty.) That's assuming I get in to the OHSU program. If I don't...well, I'll have to make another plan after that. But I'm in the mindset that I will.
This is the closest campus for me and I have options to get there: bike, bus, MAX or a combo of all three. I'll be there Monday and Wednesday nights until 9p and Saturdays from 9a-4p. Ugh. Keith's going to be a single parents for a while.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Most recent case in point: connecting to the Intertubes. I'm no Dungeons and Dragons nerd, but I can usually operate the necessary computer components to get me what I want: online. But connecting the wireless router to have internet access on the laptop stumped me. Stump the Chump! All last night I fretted and stewed and contemplated and searched tech forums far and wide. No go.
Tonight Keith got home after I'd just gotten off the phone with Comcast, clinging to a bit of hope about the solution. Again, we had 100% signal strength but Firefox wouldn't open. Keith walks over to the router and says, "Maybe these are plugged in wrong."
Keith is even less technologically minded than I am. But he cracked the code!!
I sleep/eat/live/walk dogs with a regular John Nash. (We just watched A Beautiful Mind again last week.)
Okay, so the point is:
Yesterday Keith woke up and wasn't feelin' it.
"It" being work.
So he called in. And I am lucky enough to have flexible hours at my job so I went to work for a few hours and I'll pick up what I missed later in the week. We both rationalized Not Working On a Monday (Excluding Holidays) by saying that soon I will be really busy and we won't have as much quality time together and...who cares. Mondays are for losers.
The Dude: Is this a... what day is this?
If you don't know what Body Worlds is and you aren't clicking on that link right there, here's a synopsis: "people skinned and put into plastic," says Keith. Seriously, though. It was weird and cool and not as gross as I thought it would be. But I am still processing what I saw. My favorite was the camel, which was a surprise toward the end.
And baby camel.
an example of the human specimens
but they are all in different poses
and have different things exposed
The creator of plastination,
Professor* Gunther von Hagens
on the right
*2 honorary professorships
The other arguments against Body Worlds (cited from the mildly reliable Wikipedia) are more serious to me:
- In October 2003, a parliamentary committee in Kyrgyzstan investigated accusations that von Hagens had illegally received and plastinated several hundred corpses from prisons, psychiatric institutions and hospitals in Kyrgyzstan, some without prior notification of the families. Von Hagens himself testified at the meeting; he said he had received nine corpses from Kyrgyzstan hospitals, none had been used for the Body Worlds exhibition, and that he was not involved with nor responsible for the notification of families.
- In January 2004, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that von Hagens had acquired some corpses from executed prisoners in China; he countered that he did not know the origin of the bodies and went on to cremate several of the disputed cadavers. German prosecutors declined to press charges, and Von Hagens was granted an interim injunction against Der Spiegel in March 2005, preventing the magazine from claiming that Body Worlds contain the bodies of executed prisoners.
We took an impromptu bike ride and covered a lot of ground. We realized we didn't have any lights a little to late, but we were lucky to make it to a MAX station and ride the train home.
Keith found a mini bike.
Watch him try to ride it.
Bah ha ha!!
We saw 2 gay cowboys getting out of an oversized mantruck and go into the PPAA (for a dance? the internet was not much help). I was too chicken to ask to take their picture, so we circled around and got one of their truck.
perpetually-under-construction Burnside Bridge.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Yes, that's right. We're finally moving. In the process of. Which is not too stressful, 2 flights down with an elevator, but plenty tiring. We started Sunday afternoon and we're piecing it together every night after work. Last night Keith schlepped the fridge downstairs. (They ordered a new one for the apt, but it's easier just to move ours. Plus: not having to clean it.) Tonight: the kitchen table and various odds/ends.
A 2-week unintentional experiment called Do I Need to Be Medicated is ending today when I go to Walgreens Pharm. It was a disaster that culminated in a lot of crying, staring into space, and sleeping. So, the answer to the experiment is: Yes, for now. Confounding variables excluded. Like I said, it was unintentional and I could blame it on the pharmacy or my NP or moving or whatever, but basically it was me being too lazy to follow up on my refill not being refilled in a timely manner. I think the results of the experiment became Really Official when I opened up the mailbox to find my beloved Sun Magazine, 2 t-shirts I ordered from Threadless, and 2 Netflix and all of this caused me to get weepy. Mail should not make you cry. Even if it's a good cry. And, also, not a good time to be reading Good Grief ("about a young woman who stumbles, then fights to build a new life after the death of her husband"). Great book and all, I can't stop reading it, but it's just a little too easy to imagine myself in that deep hole eating Oreos by the package and not showering for days and watching Cops marathons on an air mattress in the living room.
So, you know, other than moving and my mental health hanging like a loose tooth, things are fine.
Keith just called from work. Someone he works with gave him a trumpet. This is very exciting!! He was offered a full ride band scholarship when he was in HS in Wyoming but wasn't able to take advantage of it and I don't even know how long it's been since he's played. I'll have to post some video.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I had checked out the concert schedule and written down several bands I wanted to see (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Mavis Staples) but, as with any plans to go out in public and deal with crowds, the time approached and we were thinking we might as well just stay home. But we've regretted not seeing enough live music, so I played some Mavis Staples for Keith and in 10 minutes we were leaving the house.
The first stage we saw a zydeco band (must have been Donna Angelle and Zydeco Posse) and then Keith wanted to cruise the food vendors. He found a shack selling catfish and fries for $7. The fries were delicious and Keith said the catfish was, too. It was a huge filet, way more than $7 worth.
We did see Mavis Staples, but it was a huge crowd (she was on the main stage) and we were about 200 yards from the stage. So we hung out for a few minutes and then decided to circle around and see who was on the smaller stages. (We watched a few minutes of Live Earth they had on a side screen; The Police performed. Pretty pretty good. Sting's looking good for being in his mid-50s.)
Then we heard some great music coming from behind a double-decker bus. There was a Workshop Stage and, by looking at the schedule, I can only guess it was Johnny Sansone. Excellent music.
The last band we saw was Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys. They put on a great show.
Then it was over. Well, it continued in the Marriott or something, but eh. We were disappointed, but I guess that's what we get for showing up late.
Also this weekend: furniture!
Thanks craigslist. Apparently we're moving this next week(end?) so it's starting to feel more like we live in an apartment instead of a storage unit. How simple---furniture.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
I'll miss the views and the people watching when we move, but the traffic and drunk fray boys down on Burnside, not so much. Today I watched a cop sit in his car in the Starbucks parking lot for over 30 minutes. Makes you wonder who's watching you when you don't realize it... And the construction workers at the apartment building this side of the Civic are still plodding along, so soon whoever lives in this apartment won't be able to walk around naked at all. Good thing we're moving.
The next big excitement, after moving, will be going back to my hometown for my 10 year high school reunion over Labor Day weekend. Eeek. And even more exciting--and a little scary--I'll be picking up 17 credits Monday and Wednesday nights and then Saturday from 9-4 at the local community college beginning mid-September. I have to take 9 200-level classes in order to apply for a program @ OHSU. I'm hoping to have them all completed or in progress by summer '08 to start their 3-year accelerated program to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Nursing is one of the best fields to be in right now and will probably stay stable, if not grow, for the rest of my working life. So, in order to live in a small town comfortably, I'm going to take 4 years now and get a graduate degree in nursing. It's a little intimidating, knowing I will have to study and be disciplined, but the payoff will be so great--that will keep me going.
Monday, June 25, 2007
It was successful. All four Blankenships (two being of the canine persuasion) made it home safely from the coast. Which is not what happened in my alternate universe. In that version: the dogs were in a bloody heap in the driveway. And I am grateful that is not how my weekend wrapped. Keith said, "I would've told Merry...'Keep going. There's nothing in that house we need.'"
About 30 seconds after we left to go get ice cream on Saturday afternoon (we were at the coast on vacation, what do you expect?) one or both of the dogs jumped up on the wall and opened the garage door. Yes, two pit bulls were running loose in Lincoln City.
No, but the funny thing was: we were pulling up to the townhouse after ice cream and there were 2 cop cars leaving the complex. We joked, haha They're here to see us.
Well, really. An old scraggly man, VietNam vet, who "knew German Shepherds but didn't know nuthin' about pit bulls" yelled for someone to call animal control after he saw our dogs escape from the garage. And the police showed up and chased Mia and Lazlo around the townhouse a couple of times and eventually corralled them into the garage.
How this happened without Mia biting someone, I really don't know. Lazlo is of no concern. He's about as ferocious as a rabbit and will grind an organ for treats. He's easy to manipulate. But Mia's smart. Clever. She's played the Catch Me game before and also has shown us she hates a) strangers b) men c) men talking to her and d) men coming toward her. So these cops fit 4 out of 4 on Mia's Things I Hate List.
I think these policemen, who did not react as so many others do--out of fear, deserve something special. I'll have to think of what that is. But I have said 1 million Thank Yous that we came home to dogs out of breath instead of not breathing at all. It could have gone so wrong. We are so lucky.
Lesson: Don't just shut the garage door. Latch the garage door.
Everything else was tip top. We took the dogs to run off leash on the beach early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the beach was empty for long stretches. They had, what appeared to be, a fantastic time. We were unsure how Mia would react to the water, with her history of The Hurricane and all. She met the first waves cautiously, but ended up running in the water as much as Lazlo. She's a Rocket Dog. I have some video to put up in the next few days.
We were there for the Kite Festival, by chance. It was pretty cool. I'd never seen anything like that before. People from all over the country with all sizes and shapes of kites.
We decided to take the long way home, so we headed south instead of north Sunday morning.
clouds over Albany, OR
on our way to see some covered bridges
Keith @ the 1st bridge