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There Are Days [Thoughts]

IMAG1268_1_1There are days.

There are days when you’ll be cut off in traffic and when you’ll get a ticket because of the photo radar system. Chances are, it’ll be at the intersection you never, ever, ever run except for that one day when you were just a little too preoccupied and you didn’t gun it or break it in time. If you’re really unlucky, you’ll get twice of those in the same week (but different intersections, of course, because you’re not stupid).

There are days when you realize you’re unhappy and missing out on life’s best moment but you have to because you’re a slave to a paycheck.

There are days when you look at your most important relationship and realize, “There’s nothing wrong – but there’s everything wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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Two Peas in a Pod [Stories]

Officiant:

Good afternoon, friends. I’d like to extend a warm welcome to everyone coming out on this chilly and wet March day to celebrate the life that was Tom Jaeger. If you haven’t been to the Everlasting Gardens of Perpetual Sunset Cemetery and Crematorium before, I encourage you after the services are done to visit our facilities inside where you can enjoy complimentary donuts and coffee as well as free WiFi. There’s a spot for the kiddos to run around, too, as well as information about purchasing memberships in our floral service where, for a nominal fee, we will put flowers on your beloved’s grave on dates of your choosing. It’s a really great service, particularly for those of you who are from out of town and can’t visit often. But I digress.

We are here to honor Tom, a man who has touched many through his kindness and charitable deeds and lived in this community for more than 20 years. Does anyone know if more people are coming? No? Just us? Well, okay, then, we should get started. There’s another service after this one.

I’d like to hand this over to Raoul, Tom’s son, who will begin the memorial. Raoul? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in stories

 

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Never Tear Us Apart [Memoir]

IMAG1609_1I don’t know when girls start to notice boys but I started my career of boy crushing early. Some say daddy is a girl’s first love but not with me. It was Mr. Rogers. I woke up to that man almost every morning and loved him with a sexless passion that defines a little girl’s first romance with a television character. Once, Lynn and Lynette were talking in the living room about the boys they liked. Eager to get in on the conversation with the girls 12 and 14 years older, I chimed in, “but what about Fred?” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in auto-biographical

 

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The Curious Case of the Can of Buttons [Stories]

il_fullxfull_366295235_b0w0The coffee can gleamed dully in the corner of the closet. Above it were family treasures. Below were the litre bottles of Jack Daniels, Smirnoff, Beefeater. On either side were jars filled with wheat pennies, dimes minted before 1965, international coinage. The can was more interesting, filled to the brim with buttons.

Dad harvested buttons from everything, like his mother before him, saved for a day (you never know when) a button might be needed. I can’t recall a single flyaway button incident the entire time Grandma lived with us. The little ones wore zippers and elastic and Grandma preventatively reinforced the buttons on everyone else’s clothes. Flyaway buttons? That’d never happen, not on her watch.

Clothes failed before the buttons did and when they did, Grandma would snip the buttons off for later use. She died in 1989, and Dad took up her habit. There’s a Frog and Toad story about a lost button. Toad’s lost his and Frog scours high and low for one to match. Why didn’t Frog ever call my dad? We had buttons to spare. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2013 in auto-biographical

 

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When the Rain Washes You Clean You’ll Know [Stories]

blog waterMy little sister died last night.

I’m fuzzy on the details but I know it happened while she was running. She is an endurance athlete, striving to complete her first 100-mile ultra-marathon. The farthest she’s accomplished is 72 miles on a run almost a year ago through central Washington in March – her body gave out due to hypothermia. Her feeling of failure was absolute, her shame considerable. Freddie’s made two attempts since then – both times disqualified at a checkpoint, moments too late. She’s determined, my sister, running thousands of miles a year and perhaps a hundred over a “normal” weekend – long back-to-back runs, often overnight, over the hilliest terrain metropolitan Portland has to offer. Ultra marathon runners don’t get medals – they get belt buckles. She is determined to get that belt buckle of accomplishment even though as girls in Montana we joked that large belt buckles are “tombstones for a dead dick.”  It’s okay though. She’ll never wear the belt buckle and no one could confuse a woman with massive balls with someone who has a dick. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

All Summer in a Day [Memoir]

Mother dropped a thin brochure over the book I was reading.

“What’s this?”

“Dad and I were talking about you taking classes at the university with me. There’s a program for kids like you.”

“Kids like me? What kind of kids?”

“Precocious kids.”

I must have looked bewildered. “What does precocious mean?” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in auto-biographical

 

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Let’s Try It

When Dad passed away, his archives became available to us. Years of records, a file folder on every child, every property, every pet, every business. Most of my folders included drawings, birthday cards, the occasional award or picture but a fair chunk was dedicated to the history of my education, non-traditional that it was.

I was a parenting experiment. All children before me attended some form of traditional schooling, public or private, skipping a grade here or there. Raoul and Linda both started college at 16 but otherwise the older seven kids were within the range of common. My parents decided to buck the industrial schooling system entirely with me: Total home education. What this meant in the 1980s is that once a year I would go to the local elementary school for a few hours a day one week a year to participate in standardized tests. Providing I performed at or above grade level, the state would allow us to continue home education.

This once-a-year testing event was my only contact with children who didn’t share my genetic makeup. All those experiences you may not even register as experiences were new to me.

The first day of third grade assessment, my mother dropped me off at Mountain View with Miss Fredericks. Mother pressed some money into my hand. “You’ll need this for lunch. Just follow the other kids.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in auto-biographical

 

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