Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/30/10: Laughing Confab, Dickie Jo Wad, New Albums

1. Having failed on Thursday with Margaret and Jeff, and then with my good friends at Billy Mac's Margarita Madness to get the problems of the world solved, I met up with Shirk at Laughing Planet and we worked at it for three hours. We didn't quite finish the job, but had a solid confab uncompromised by the silly fact that I chomped on a floury wad called a Bubba Burrito.

2. Speaking of food wads, the Deke and I decided a junk wad from Dickie Jo's was in order so I buzzed over and brought back an armload of beef, bacon, lettuce, onion, white bread, french fries, ranch dressing, fry sauce, and onion rings, dumped it on the dining table and 1900 calories later, we finished dinner.

3. I finally came to terms with some photographs I've shot over the last three months and posted some albums on Facebook. I was happy that some friends enjoyed my night shots of Fifth Street Market, and was tickled that so many friends liked seeing my most recent photos of Snug.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/29/10: Iced Tea, Margarita Madness, The World Around Us

1. Enjoyed a refreshing ice tea with Margaret and Jeff. We missed Michael. The three of us did our best to solve the world's problems, but, as you probably noticed, we fell a couple of wars, a polluted gulf, and an economic recession short.

2. Having fallen short with Margaret and Jeff solving the world's problems, I joined the margarita madness get together at Billy Mac's and enjoyed fish and chips, solid conversation, and a couple of Billy Mac's mad margaritas.

3. Russell and I took our cameras and tripods to the Fifth Street Market and attracted as many questions about what we were doing as we did good photo opportunities. One woman asked me what we were taking pictures of and I said, "The world around us". My response made her giddy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/28/10: Lawn, Burgers, Honda

1. Patrick arrived home and mowed the lawn. It looked trim and deep green in the refreshing cool of the evening.

2. I didn't know the Deke was going to make hamburgers for dinner. I couldn't have been more happily surprised.

3. I took the Honda into the shop and it's road ready for a drive to Kellogg, Idaho next week, most likely on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/27/10: 1970 Vikings, Hard Candy Talk, The Commish

1. Okay. It was an odd thing to do. Nevertheless, I went to the Coeur d'Alene High School class of 1970 Facebook page and looked at all the pictures posted from their recent forty year reunion and at pictures posted of class get togethers, past reunions, even of elementary school class pictures. I played ball against a lot of guys in that class. I knew others from Boy Scouts. Some were still at NIC when I went there. A few once lived in Kellogg and moved to Coeur d'Alene when we were kids. Others are people I've come to know at Huckleberries Online and through Facebook and this blog. I guess, too, I enjoy photos of North Idaho people enjoying each other and it looked to me like the Class of 1970 from Coeur d'Alene High School enjoy each other. I liked that.

2. Throughout the day, Facebook friends commented on Hard Candy, inspiring my thoughts and leading to some good conversation. I have a little more to say about this movie in a blog post coming up.

3. I watched the first two episodes of The Commish. I wanted to see the pre-Vic Mackey Michael Chiklis act. In Tony Scali and Vic Mackey, Chiklis brings two different law enforcement officers to life. Scali can be unorthodox, bend the rules, and even be menacing at times, but it's within the framework of being good natured, understanding. He's Ward Cleaver at home with his wife and son, and he brings a lot of who he is as a father and husband into his work as a police commissioner. It's fun to see the range of human character Chiklis brings to life in these two roles. I don't know how much more I'll watch of The Commish, but if I need a break from all the edgy cable television programming of the 21st century, I'll go back to the early 1990's and enjoy some episodes of the much tamer program, The Commish.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/26/10: Pre-Juno, Dinner Party, Good-bye Zynga Poker

1. When I watched Juno, I enjoyed the story and, most of all, I enjoyed Ellen Page and vowed I would watch movies she appeared in before Juno. This afternoon, I watched Hard Candy. What I witnessed made me ill. I almost never watch movies involving extended scenes of bondage and torture. Nonetheless, I saw the movie to its conclusion. As in Juno, her Hard Candy character, Hayley, is sharp, witty, acerbic, sarcastic, and verbally adroit. Unlike Juno, Hayley is sadistic, vengeful, cruel, and frightening. I admired Ellen Page's work. I'll never watch Hard Candy again. I have some other pre-Juno movies to check out, though, and one day I'll probably watch her latest, Inception.

2. Martha hosted a dinner party to celebrate the visit of her sister, Rose, and served farmhouse chicken, grilled asparagus, grilled corn on the cob, and forbidden rice. I loved it. Martha also baked a homemade, from scratch, three-layered yellow cake with coconut frosting. Perfect.

3. After about ten months of enjoyment, I decided to close out Zynga Poker tonight. If I play moneyless poker online any more, I'll play on PokerStars which doesn't involve collectibles, challenges, a daily lottery, a tool bar, and a host of other extras that I grew weary of dealing with.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/25/10: Hosea, A Romanticized Thug, When to Talk

1. I spent a good part of the morning looking up how to pronounce names that appeared in the passage from Hosea that I read in church this morning. I read them pretty well. Practicing helped.

2. Casey Affleck has now deeply impressed me in two movies: Gone Baby Gone and, today, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The movie puzzled me. Why so highly stylized? Why such a poetic script? Here's what I concluded, fwiw: we were seeing the story of the end of Jesse Jame's life through the perspective of those who had made him into a mythological hero, into a celebrity, into a romantic figure. The movie told a truth, but not so much a historical one. It told the truth of what it looks like, from inside the public mind, when a brutal psychopath starts to be seen as fighting on behalf of truth. The movie unnerved me, in the same way aspects of the collective American mind can unnerve me when unheroic men and women, often criminals, become heroes. In this way, this movie reminded me of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers.

3. The Deke and I have some logistics to figure out for the rest of the summer. I'm glad we waited until about 10 o'clock this evening, in the cool of the backyard, to start working on them. Trying to figure things out in July heat never works for me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/24/10: Lupus, Bach Drug Bust, Strong Battery

1. My response to the hot weather? The Shield. Season 7. The last season. All afternoon and into the evening. The lasting image? Claudette confessing to Dutch that medicine is impotent to treat her lupus in a moment charged with emotion, void of sentimentality.

2. I kept my XM Satellite Radio tuned to the Symphony Hall channel while watching The Shield on my computer, listening with earbuds. Several times, the classical music pouring out from radio provided a serendipitously apt soundtrack for what was happening on The Shield. Sometimes it was ironic: I.C.E. swooped in and violently broke up a drug kingpin summit to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.

3. After The Shield, I went to Albertson's. I left my headlights on. I returned to my car. It started.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/23/10: Vic, Jeri, Herb and Francoise

1. I had an intense afternoon back at the Barn in the Farm. Armenian blow back. Blackmail box. Mexican mafia rage. Top ten gangbangers. Cassidy wonders, "Did Daddy kill Terry Crowley?" Fed in Mexican mafia pocket. Never a dull moment on The Shield.

2. Jeri got busted up in a motorcycle wreck last month and while recuperating has time to write. It's really good stuff.

3. Dinner on the Pendleton's deck in the still coolness of a perfect July evening, sweetened by the sugary scent of petunias.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/22/10: Naked Tyson, Naked Nixon, Beaming at Billy Mac's.

1. James Toback's movie Tyson is naked. Mike Tyson unfolds his dark, complex, lonely, frightened, angry soul in this unsettling movie. The boxing scenes reminded me of what a force Mike Tyson was in the ring for several years. It's still astonishing to see him lose to Buster Douglas. His comments in the ring to Jim Gray after losing his career ending match to Kevin McBride are so anguished it's almost unbearable to watch.

2. Speaking of naked, I watched the first fifty minutes of the Frost/Nixon Watergate interview, first telecast in May, 1977. I have about twenty-five minutes to go. Slowly, Nixon's inner shields drop away. It's much more compelling to me now than it was when I watched this interview thirty-three years ago.

3. No one was naked at Billy Mac's. I enjoyed another convivial couple of hours of conversation, laughs, margaritas, and chicken tacos. I beamed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sibling Assignment #132: Fear of The Clearwater River

The Clearwater River and Orofino, Idaho

For this sibling assignment, InlandEmpireGirl made it simple: The Clearwater River. InlandEmpireGirl remembers past fears, and enjoys how calm the river looks today, here. Silver Valley Girl once feared being eaten alive by sharks in the Clearwater River, but got over it, and just took her daughters, a niece, three dogs, and her husband to the Clearwater River, here.

It's an Orofino Creamery truck. I'll say it's white. Mostly what I see is two red dots in the back as the truck belly flops off Highway 12 and into the Clearwater River.

I'll say it happens near Peck. It seems like that's close to where Aunt Lila nearly drowned in the Clearwater River as a girl.

It was a recurrent dream when I was a kid, the creamery truck going into the Clearwater River.

The dream was like a movie playing out my mother's fears of the Clearwater River.

Mom loved the river's meandering calm in August when our family traveled along the Clearwater River out of Lewiston on our way to vacation for a week or so in Orofino.

But the Clearwater River frightened her. It was where Lila nearly drowned. She'd seen the Clearwater River flood the Clearwater County Fairgrounds.

Cars went off the highway. They plunged into the Clearwater River.

Mom's fears made their way into my dream world, maybe as an act of sharing in Mom's anxiety so she didn't have to feel her fear of the Clearwater River alone.

On July 9, 2010 I saw my cousin Cyndi at our family's Last Cousin Standing Hootenanny at Lura and Lyle's place in Riverside, a section of Orofino near the Clearwater River.

I hadn't seen Cyndi since 1975 and that weekend back in 1975 was a reunion at our recently deceased cousin John's place and when Cyndi's memory goes back to that weekend, she remembers me as better and stronger than I was or am.

She remembers us going to Zann's Beach just east of Orofino on the Clearwater River and remembers me swimming across.

I know I didn't. For starters, I was physically unable to perform such a task because of the way the sulfur dioxide and zinc, cadmium, and magnesium dust had injured my respiratory system just two summers earlier when I fell to the bottom of a roaster at the Zinc Plant at the Bunker Hill Company.

Even if I'd been healthy, though, I doubt my psyche could withstand a swim across the Clearwater River. Repeated dreams of an Orofino Creamery truck going off Highway 12 and sinking into the Clearwater River so frightened me that no matter whether we went to Beaver Dam on the North Fork of the Clearwater River or to Zann's Beach on the main fork, I only waded or let currents running in shallow water carry me near the shore.

I also respected my mother's fear of the Clearwater River. I know I didn't swim across the Clearwater River because it would have shaken my mother.

Someone who remembers Orofino history better than I will have to tell me if they remember an Orofino Creamery truck in the waking world going off Highway 12 into the Clearwater River.

When Dad drove us down Highway 12, Mom acted like such a thing had happened as she drove her foot into the floorboard, braking, digging her nails into the car seat, sucking on gulps of air.

Today the Clearwater River along Highway 12 is better guarded by cement barriers and improved guard rails. Many stretches of Highway 12 from Lewiston to Orofino have been straightened. It seems a safer road.

Still, when I've taken Mom on a trip to Orofino from Kellogg, I'll suggest we go the back way, over the Cavendish Grade, down to Kendrick, and then up the hill to Troy and over to Moscow and up Highway 95 to Coeur d'Alene and on to Kellogg or we'll go from Kendrick up to Deary and Harvard and on to St. Maries and Rose Lake and take in the white pines and go to Kellogg that way.

It takes longer.

But it keeps us off the Clearwater River.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 07/21/10: No Kidney Appt., Jawin', Red Stripe for David

1. While I was away in Orofino, on Cd'A Lake, and in Kellogg, I was nagged by the thought that I had a nephrologist appointment and would miss it. I called Dr. Zachem's office today. I'm in the clear. I don't see Zachem until January, '11.

2. I had a most relaxing morning, getting my blog caught up and jawing with the Deke.

3. The first time I met David Diedrich in 1998, he shook my hand and handed me a Red Stripe Jamaican Lager. Ever since he died in November, I've wanted to drink a Red Stripe or two in memory of him and that first day we met. No fanfare. Just a couple of beers and some thoughts about David. I did it today. I only wish I could open the bottle of beer the way he did: with his wedding ring, while it was on his finger.

Three Beautiful Things 07/20/10: Breakfast Nook, Bottled Water, Snug

1. I left Kellogg before I'd eaten, so I dropped in on the Breakfast Nook for corned beef hash, hash browns made from freshly grated potatoes, two eggs, sourdough toast, and coffee. The place was overflowing with customers. No wonder. The food was solid, the service quick and friendly.

2. I hear people mock, even castigate, bottled water, but when I'm driving long distances, it saves me from dehydration and falling asleep. I was sure grateful for bottled water today.

3. Snug missed me.

Three Beautiful Things 07/19/10: Midtown Circle, Nosworthy Omlet, Bruce at Work

1. Scott and I went on an endless circle, north on 4th, then south on 3rd, in search of the Garnet Cafe in Coeur d'Alene. A text message from Bentley, from the Salmon River, told us it was behind the Syringa. We found the Syringa. Behind it: the Garnet Cafe. Closed on Mondays.

2. So Scott and I went to Nosworthy's Hall of Fame and complemented our laughter and conversation with omelets. Mine was Chuck's delight, an intoxicating blend of bacon, sausage, cheese, onions, and God only knows or remembers what else and plentiful hash browns, buttered sourdough toast, and and hearty coffee. It was worth circling Cd'A's Midtown for nearly a half an hour to finally arrive at the former Ground Round for this epic breakfast.

3. Scott and I were able to somehow to waddle our way over to the Spokane Valley and visit Bruce at his place of employment. Bruce invited us to go to lunch. Had we, we would have re-enacted the wafer-thin mint scene from The Meaning of Life.

Three Beautiful Things 07/18/10: Mission Inn, 10 on 10, Sunday Steaks

1. For a change of pace, Ed and I decided not to go to the Silver Spoon for breakfast and went to the Mission Inn. I enjoyed three fat link sausages, hash browns, a couple of eggs, toast, and coffee. Deputy Jake stopped by until he had to go check out a car crash or something. It was fun remembering when the Mission Inn was The Owl and thinking back to old Tom Snyder's opinions and hearing Ed tell when his dad won a rifle playing a punchboard at The Owl.

2. Abbas Kiarostami filmed himself talking in 1o segments about his way of making movies. It's called 10 on 10 and it was fascinating to learn more about his unorthodox, against the grain ways of making movies.

3. Mom pulled the T-bones and rib eyes and sirloins out of the freezer and even went to the store to buy some more and marinated them and I became the bbq chef and Carol, Paul, Zoe, Coco, Mom, and I savored steaks and green beans and baked potatoes and salad and hot garlic bread and a jello fruit salad for dessert.

Three Beautiful Things 07/17/10: Penny Train Bail Out, Halibut, Kiarostami's 10

1. I got bailed out at the Cd'A Casino by the Penny Train. I think that's what it was. It's a progressive feature that popped out of nowhere, reels spun, I stopped them, and BINGO, nearly 110 new bucks.

2. Halibut. Dinner. Mom. Delicious.

3. I've had the Iranian movie, 10, on hand for several weeks and, I watched it tonight; for me, it was another intriguing, stimulating, unusual movie by Abbas Kiarostami that chronicles ten conversations a woman in Tehran has over a few days with passengers in her car, including her son, a prostitute, a old woman who is a devout Muslim worshiper, her sister, and a recently jilted friend.

Three Beautiful Things 07/16/10: Farewells, Incomplete Poem, Nixon/Frost

1. It's bittersweet when the NIWP writing retreat ends. It's sweet because we all feel accomplished, invigorated, nourished, ready to go forth into the world and write. We are reluctant, however, to let each other go and and relinquish the enjoyment we shared.

2. Bev suggested we follow the lead of Richard Hugo and go to the old cabin at Camp N-Sid-Sen and imagine a history for it, populate it with feelings, and make it into our reality. I was very happy Bev took charge of this prompt and I wrote a poem that I don't think is done yet, but here it is so far:

Your Cabin

For you it’s always November here.

That six-pack in Bovill got you to Harrison,

To this gray bay cold and empty.

The brunette wives stretched and tan on docks

Left months ago.

The smell of cedar left your cabin

Some time back when that judge in Spokane

Killed the clear cut near Benewah Lake.

You moved to Lenore then Greer then on up to Kooskia

Before you said to hell with it

And went to work for old man Konkol

Stacking short loads of white pine on dying trains.

This is not the life you dreamed of:

The dinner triangle unrung for twenty years,

The vacant chairs only the chill wind rocks,

The oil you never bought in Potlatch

For the stubborn door that barely lets you in.

No, you dreamed of a tender wife,

Long nights of Canadian whiskey

George Strait, George Jones

Her fingernail tracing the veins of your wrist,

Long kisses.

3. I drove to Kellogg, enjoyed stuffed green peppers with Mom, and rested after a week of being the retreat's visiting writer by watching Nixon/Frost, a movie I enjoyed thoroughly, especially because of the way Frank Langella portrayed the complicated, complex soul of Richard Nixon.

Three Beautiful Things 07/15/10: Old Flames, Burnt out Richard Jenkins, Transformed Alan Rickman

1. Terri and I looked at piece she wrote about her 40th high school reunion. It led to our discussing the mysterious depth of feeling still stirred up in us by old flames, flames we thought, when we were younger, would be extinguished by the time we neared sixty years old. We were wrong.

2. Among my favorite genres of movies doesn't have an official genre title. Movies about men in middle age who have become numb and burnt out, sometimes because of grief, and are brought back to life in unexpected ways move me. Today I watched a movie of this genre, The Visitor, and I marveled at Richard Jenkins performance. My enjoyment was further deepened by the work of Hiam Abbass who played, with deep dignity, the Syrian mother whose son who has been arrested and faces possible deportation from the United States.

3. Becca, knowing I admire Sigourney Weaver's work, especially in the last ten years, recommended I see Snow Cake. As the movie got underway, I suddenly realized that not only would I be marveling at Sigourney Weaver's talents as an adult with autism, but it's a movie about a man who has become numb and burnt out, because of grief and guilt, and is brought back to life in unexpected ways. Furthermore, this man is played by Alan Rickman, whom I always admire. To top it off, Carrie-Anne Moss, another favorite, plays the source of sanity and sex next door. I thoroughly enjoyed Snow Cake and, without Becca, I would have never known about it. I'm most grateful.

Three Beautiful Things 07/14/10: Stones, Choked Up, Fudge Mint

1. This refrain from Guy Clark’s song, “Hank Williams Said It Best”: “Hank Williams said it best/He said it a long time ago/’Unless you have made no mistakes in your life/Be careful of the stones that you throw.’”

2. I had never before included in my piece “On Needing Richard Hugo” the story of my father confessing his despondency about his job as a foreman before and it choked me up reading it to the members of the writing retreat. I was happy to be moved and choking back tears.

3. I took a piece of fudge off the plate in the faint light of dusk and thought it would be an explosion of rich chocolate and it was chocolate with a refreshing mint layer. I loved it.

Three Beautiful Things 07/13/10: Lake Feelings, Coma-Nap, Fried Chicken Time Warp

1. Along with the other writing retreatants, I experienced Anna’s and Terri’s and Katie’s and Wilma’s and Mercede’s feelings about things through the physical beauty of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

2. I realized after lunch that I hadn’t stopped driving, talking, laughing, playing slot machines, teaching, writing, eating, drinking, and planning since Thursday, so I dropped on my bed fell into a coma-nap, and three hours later awoke.

3. I bit into a fat fried chicken drum stick at dinner and suddenly I was in our family kitchen in Kellogg, seated around our dining table, waiting for the masked potatoes and gravy to come my way. I think the camp chicken was fried in shortening and the shortening transported me home.

Three Beautiful Things 07/12/10: The Closer, Getting Acquainted, Guy Clark

1. I couldn’t believe it! I woke up, turned on the motel television, and a 24 hour marathon of The Closer was underway and I watched two gripping and moving episodes.

2. On this first evening of the writing retreat, people are having lively conversations and seem to be enjoying each other.

3. On my way to the retreat, I reacquainted myself with Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues. I trembled with delight.

Three Beautiful Things 07/11/10: Bloody Mary Breakfast, Turkey/Potato Brunch, Last Cousins Standing

1. It’s been years since I started a day off with three or four Bloody Marys. What a pleasure. What a relaxing way to start the day.

2. Brunch. The perfect complement to Bloody Marys. Potato dishes, turkey, and other leftovers.

3. The afternoon of conversation and sun stretched out for hours until Christy and I, the last two cousins standing (except the cousins staying in Orofino) loaded up the car and headed for Moscow.

Three Beautiful Things 07/10/10: Coffee and KahLura, Touring the Orofino Area, Hootenanny Happiness

1. Multiple cups of Lyle’s coffee, the last one or two spiked with KahLura and some sinful Danish got day #2 of the Last Cousin Standing Hootenanny off to a perfect start.

2. Mom and I jumped in the Subaru and toured a slice of Clearwater County and a sliver of Lewis County: Michigan Avenue, Yellow Dog, Grangemont Grade, Canada Hill, the Fairgrounds, Jingletown, Ahsaka, Zann’s Beach, Kamiah, the Ponderosa CafĂ©, and back to the Last Cousin Standing Hootenanny.

3. So many beautiful things at the Last Cousin Standing Hootenanny: conversations with so many people I haven’t seen for so long, the memorial table dedicated to Cousin John, the table bulging with so much food, the end of the night circle of chairs, a little too much to drink and non-stop laughter.

Three Beautiful Things 07/09/10: Friendly Moscow, U. of Idaho Hike, Let the Hootenanny Begin

1. On the Moscow/Pullman highway, the woman who waited on my table at Shari’s was just like the woman who helped me find what I wanted at Staples: gracious, friendly, solicitous, warm. So was the desk woman at the Palouse Inn. I began thinking Moscow is the friendliest town I’ve ever been to.

2. I enjoyed being a guest speaker at the NIWP workshop, preceded by my inability to find the parking place close to the Ed. Building, so I parked close to the Tri Delt House and climbed the campus and arrived in Christy’s class flushed, winded, and the butt of a barrage of jokes.

3. Let the festivities begin: Christy and I were welcomed with open West/Baugh arms into the fold of the Last Cousin Standing Hootenanny at Cousin Lura and Lyle’s green and open property.

Three Beautiful Things 07/08/10: Water Solution, Palouse Beauty, Boise State Burger

1. After a Whopper and fries in Albany, I became drowsy and pulled over at two rest stops before arriving in The Dalles to nap. In The Dalles, I bought some water. That’s all I needed. I was alert all the way to Moscow.

I loved driving through the Palouse farm fields from the Hatton Rest Stop to Colfax.

I ordered the Boise State Burger at the Moscow Ale House: it was described as basically a loser burger: plain and unimaginative, very much in contrast to the Vandal Burger.