Sunday, January 23, 2011

Double Rainbow

"I remember being shinier" Nathan said as he looked at the photo projected on the wall.

"This is the gayest photo of all time" Nick said. "Seriously dude, we can't show this one to our parents!"

"I did" I said. "I showed it to my mom"

"Seriously????" Nathan asked.

I looked at the photo. In it Nick, Nathan and I were shirtless having just hiked down to Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon. It had been hot - over a hundred - and we'd hiked through cloudbursts. Now the sun was setting and our skin glowed in the soft sunlight. Our hair was damp and hastily pushed out of our eyes with sweaty hands. But best of all, behind us a double rainbow lit up the sky like two rainbow flags.

"Yeah. Mom said we looked like an advert for 1-900-dial-men."

"Your mom," Nick snorted, "she's cool!"


Copper...yeah. Copper. Not cooper - 'cause that would be a barrel - big and round. Copper.

I tried to write it down but all I got was a scrawl.

Copper. Yeah. I can remember that. Copper Pipe.

I went out to the garage.

Orange. sometimes green. That's the color of those long narrow pipes made of.....

I looked at the car. It was dusty

..But Trusty!

the word sprang into my mind and I smiled feeling (finally) familiar to myself.

I tried the car door but it wouldn't open. I looked at the garage wall and a button glowed brightly. I pushed it and the big garage door opened.

Orange...Oranges...Oranges and... Olives!!

I walked around the car and the keys fell from my hand to the floor. I examined the key fob. More buttons. I pushed one and the car beeped.

"Hi!!!" I breathed..."Oh, Hi!!"

I opened the unlocked car door and slid behind the wheel.

Olives and....Vodka!!

I wrinkled my nose. I don't like vodka. Maybe I'm having a party. I'll need wine for the party, too.

The keys grew warm in my hand. Some motions, like the ones you've practiced your whole adult life are in grained in you - like breathing. I knew what to do with the keys and the car started.

Wine and Vodka.

Wine and Vodka.

Where do I get that? I thought I was going to the hardware store.....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This voice....

It was hard to do, but it needed done. I faced him down, stuck a knife in his bubble and burst it. It was liberating--all those years of feeling trapped -- feeling unworthy--feeling........well it finally came to me that these feelings were just thatt - feelings. And as they were my feelings I could make them true or prove they weren't and so I faced them -- faced the fear-- and won.

I know it sounds stupid, but I really didn't know. All those years, I didn't know I could do that...face him down, I mean. Make him back off.... Oh, and when I say I used a knife I don't mean a real one. I didn't need to. I just, well you know the phrase "she had a sharp tongue"? I just sharpened my tongue - my words actually. Once I started using that tongue it just seemed to get sharper and some possessed ginsu knife.... He did end up looking wholly deflated even though he initially reacted in anger. I expected the anger to just keep growing, escalating until he hit me or something. You know, he never did hit me. He wasn't that kind of cruel--much more with the words that one.

After I was done - after the possession left me, I left him. And it was good.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


"I asked the Shaman and he told me what to do"

"What Shaman? I mean, you know a Shaman?

She gave me a look that let me know I was clearly clueless.

"No, silly, I looked him up in the yellow pages." She shoved me in jest. "Seriously, how can you not know a Shaman?"

I shook my head "You know I'm just a sheltered, Lutheran, Swede. So what did the Shaman say?

"I'm supposed to smudge the room with sage"

"What does that mean, exactly?"

"Well, that was what I was hoping you'd tell me - That's why I had you bring over your sage."

"Sandy!" I said, with exasperation. "I'm a cook - not a medicine woman! I brought sage but it's rubbed sage - the kind you put on turkey stuffing or on turkey - I don't know if it will work for .... what did you say? Smoking?"

"Oh," she said.

"Wait, I said 'smoking' but what was the right word?"


"What does that mean? Maybe this is the right stuff?

Sandy brightened "Well it means to make smoke - I looked it up!"

"Okay," I said, "let me get this straight - you went to see a Shaman - one that you found in the yellow pages - "

"I was kidding about that" she interrupted.

"-And he told you that to get rid of the bad feelings from the fight you had with Marcus you should burn sage in this room?"

"Yeah, he said that it would cleanse the air."

"And by 'sage' he meant the herb - that kind of sage?"

She looked puzzled, "Is there another kind of sage?"

"Oh, Sandy I don't know. Why don't you call your Shaman back and clear it up - ask where we can get the sage he wanted you to use?"

Sandy looked exceptionally uncomfortable at this idea. "I don't have his number." she said.

I thought "hmmm - that's pretty lame." I looked at her more closely and said "Sandy, is this Shaman a real person - or is he someone you 'met' in a book?"

"Well, not in a book, exactly."


It came out of her in a rush "At writing, this morning. Someone wrote about a Shaman and smudging a room with sage to clear it and I thought it sounded like such a good idea.... And I knew you'd know about sage...."

"Yeah, well, just for cooking."

"Hey! Maybe we can look it up on the Internet....."

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Because of my tender and boundless love for him I love and care for him. He is my dad. In his bathroom there hangs a piece of art, a row of ceramic houses and a poem I wrote to him on the occasion of his 70th birthday. 12 years ago. He and mom were still active. Mom was only using oxygen at night. They still traveled. Great and Abu were still alive - still going strong although Great would leave us less than a year later - slipping away in the dark of night.

The poem outlines the fun bits of childhood - cigars as punks under a sky of fireworks on the shores of Lake Pepin. Orange Ni-hi at the bar in Stockholm, movie nights in the long narrow living room of my childhood. Fun times indeed.

Now he's in a wheel chair most days. Outings - to the store, to the doctor - wear him out. He no longer travels - not even to visit his daughter. He prefers to hold court in the high rise apartment we converted, in the course of a March weekend last year into "home." All of his old familiar things are there - the mantle clock no longer on the mantle, but on the curio cabinet containing my mother's paperweight and royal china collections; the china cabinet that my great grandfather had at his house now contains a castle collection instead of china. On top of it perches my mother's photo and a box containing the ashes of what was once her physical body.

When we moved him he insisted on "helping" although he could no more help than a three year old. He sat, holding court yet again, and directed us to the placement of his things. Half way through the day he was exhausted so we all took a break. As we sipped on lime colas - Green Rivers of his youth - he looked at me and asked "Elizabeth, where is your mother?"

Mom had died '03 - four years before. I began to panic. Does he not remember? Is he so tired that the beginnings of Alzheimer's is showing? I looked at him. He was serious, but the spark that was, and is, my dad still glimmered in his eye. With a flood of relief I realized what he was asking. "Oh, Dad" I said, "She's in one of the boxes we've not unpacked yet. Do you want her on the china cabinet again?" He nodded and said "Let's find her. and we went back to unpacking.

Great is Life, Real and Mystical - Walt Whitman

Turner's paintings have skies that are larger than the life depicted in the painting. Didja ever notice that? To us, to regular people the world we live is huge. We travel, see different things, people and places we'll never know even though we've met. Yet Turner turns that upside down. With towering thunderheads of purple and pink, flowing light highlighting only pieces of the life we identify most closely with. Making us small in the eyes of the Gods observing the painting.

The Green Moon

The green moon rose above the horizon just after we landed. I stood by the door and stared at the moon until the interpreter arrived. "Ah" he said, his English had only a trace of an accent "I see you've noticed the moon." "Yes", I said turning to him "it's green."

He handed me a pair of eye shades. "Try these and you'll see why" I slipped the darker glasses on and the odd color of the moon became instantly understandable. "It's a sales tool we call Moon-ver-tizing" he explained as I watched the images on the back lit screen that the moons surface had become. "we are having trouble in some of the provinces because of it." He said. "The discoloration that results from the Moon-ver-tizing rays has them convinced that the end is coming. Peasants!" he said deridingly.

The images were fascinating. Commercials in a language I couldn't hear but could clearly understand. A woman selling laundry soap, a group of teens listening to music and eating some snack food, even a public service announcement. Wow.

"Is this available every night?" "Yes, providing it's clear" he shrugged. "Mostly it's a novelty - the disturbances in the east are more a result of the politics of ownership."

I looked at him perplexed. "You own the moon?" "Yes, of course. We - the Araidian people, bought the moon and announced it to the rest of the world. They resent our claim but now with Moon-ver-tizing and soon Moon Movies, they can all see that we do indeed own the moon.

I tried to think if the moon was owned by anyone back home but my thoughts of 'back home' were fuzzy. I turned again to the moon. "Yes, he said, the subliminal messages make it very attractive." "Uh-huh" I was turning into a moon zombie - being sucked into a world I didn't know but couldn't bear to leave.

The interpreters voice was disappearing into the background as I became aware of the music and sound coming from the moon. "Soon," he said, "you won't need an interpreter - you'll be one of us....."