Tell me about a time you remember rain


Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve which is one of ...

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Today is the last day of November, and, thus, the last day of Nanoblomo 2010! Will I ever post on my blog again? that remains to be seen. I’m kind of glad the pressure’s off though (not that there was much pressure to begin with…)

For my last post I’m going to share a writing exercise from the book, “An Old Friend From Far Away” by Natalie Goldberg. I’ve been thinking about this event a lot lately. I have no idea why. It seems so  insignificant. And yet, there it is, on my mind.

Tell me about a time you remember rain.

I miss the winters of Santa Cruz. In December we would get torrential downpours with high winds that would tear down anything in it’s path. I remember one night on a December evening after work I went out to the laundry room to switch out my laundry. It was a typical epic winter storm. Wind and rain.  It was raining so hard that I was soaked in the short 100 yard walk to the laundry room. It was noisy, too. All I could hear was the rain hitting the pavement.

As I walked to the laundry room I saw this gigantic dog standing on the sidewalk a few feet from me. It was a white  dog and it had short hair. It had to be half as tall as me. It was just standing there in the rain, letting it fall down on him. It didn’t run away when I approached. I didn’t actually walk up to it but I had to walk by it as I walked to the laundry room. As I moved my clothes from the washer to the dryer I was a little worried about walking back to my apartment. This dog was big and I didn’t quite trust it. It was really weird, the way it was just sitting there in the rain.

When I walked out of the laundry room it was gone. Sometimes I wonder if it was some kind of hallucination. It was really strange the way it was just standing there in this storm. But I know I have an over-active imagination. I’m sure it just left to go find it’s home.

A Christmas Miracle!


At least that’s what Raf exclaimed, somewhat sarcastically, when he saw this first. “The snow melted into the shape of a reindeer!” I walked over to where he was. “Holy shit! You’re right” (in case you didn’t know I talk like a sailor in real life. I’m sorry if you have sensitive ears). This random pile of snow in the forest melted into the shape of a reindeer! How weird is that?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure my picture does this incredible scene justice. Raf said that my photo doesn’t look like a reindeer at all. I think it does, but maybe that’s because I already have the picture of it in my head.

But anyway, Weird!

I promised you the ukulele


Raf started his new job yesterday and he works late and I was bored and decided to practice my ukulele. Then I got the bright idea to record a video of me playing the ukulele for my blog. Admittedly, there was a beer involved in this decision making process. ahem.

I am learning Christmas music right now for a concert the uke orchestra I’m in is giving. I’m still not the best at this. I have trouble getting to chords. So please forgive my sloppy playing.

I’m not sure why this video still looks like all of the blood has been sucked out of my body. oh well.

The Difficult Post

The Difficult Post

Mom and Doug having fun on Christmas 2007.

Today marks exactly one year since Doug died. I have been sort of dreading this day. I’ve actually been dreading this whole holiday weekend  because I knew it would be difficult.

I’ve thought about that day many, many times over the past year. It is impossible to think about without tears welling up, no matter how hard I try to keep it together. I can’t think about that day without crying even just a little bit.

That moment when he died was the worst, most horrible pain I have ever known.  It is still a very raw wound and when I poke at it it hurts.

I wonder a lot why it hurts so much. I’ve lost loved ones before and that was very painful too. But there was something about watching my stepdad  die right in front of me that might have fucked me up just a little bit forever.

I remember my mom telling him to go, to just let go, and he listened to her. He did let go. his breathing became more shallow and then he took his last breath. And when he did It was like my heart just completely broke. I audibly said, “no” because I couldn’t deal with what was happening right in front of me. I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want to let go. And yet I had to let go because he was leaving us.

And then he was gone. It was just his body laying there on the bed. He looked so peaceful, like he could have been asleep. But he wasn’t there. It was the vessel that held him that was left behind, laying there on the bed.

It has taken me three days to write this post. I keep trying add something here at this point about how in that moment of great suffering I have also found great joy. But I can’t seem to write it without it sounding cliche. And I think, also, that the whole finding joy part deserves more than just something tacked onto the end of this post.

I think what I wanted to do today was just acknowledge this moment that happened exactly a year ago because it was significant.

Miss you, Doug.

Flickr Time Machine Part 2


Abandoned Car

I started writing another post about Google Maps but I wasn’t feeling it so I thought, instead, I would delve into the Flickr Time machine again. This time I thought I would go back a few more years, to 2006. This was actually taken on November 27 of that year. It is a picture of an abandoned car in the wooded area that was a few blocks behind my house in Spokane. For some bizarre reason I don’t understand, it has gotten a large number of views. At least a large number of views for my photostream. For many people 268 views is nothing but for me it’s quite significant. Why are people interested in an abandoned car?

Of course this is coming from the person who took the weird photo in the first place.

Anyway, Raf and I had moved into our house the previous June and so it was still “new” to us. I hadn’t had much of a chance to explore the neighborhood so was really excited to find this unpopulated place so close to my house. It was kind of a fun adventure.

Thanksgiving and Pea Salad


A year ago today Raf and I got up early, packed up the car and began our long drive to Spokane. My mom called a few days before to say that Doug didn’t have much longer to live. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, logically. Did he have a month? Three months? What did she mean by “not much longer?” I asked, “should I come home?” and she didn’t really have an answer. She just said something like, “It’s up to you, if you want to.”

I already knew the answer to the question before I finished asking it. I would go home and I would go as soon as I could. I wouldn’t even wait until my weekend, which started on Sunday. The logical, hopeful, part of me believed it would be another month before Doug died, but that little voice inside of me, my intuition, that thing that connects us all together (whatever you choose to call it) was telling me that I needed to be in Spokane right now. So we left on Thanksgiving morning.

The drive there was very difficult. I was really afraid of what I might encounter. Every part of me wanted to turn around and drive back to Sandy but that little inner voice kept me going. Whatever it was I was going to see I had to face it no matter what. I had to face it for Doug. He needed me and the rest my family and I was going to be there for him.

We pulled up to the house, walked in the door and there he was, laying on a hospital bed in the living room. The television was on. He was watching “The Deadliest Catch.” His eyes lit up when we walked in the door and he said “Hi Moni.” He was happy to see us. He apologized for his voice. It sounded strained and weird after being in the hospital (and probably because his lungs were pretty messed up at that point). He couldn’t move. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his body had already started shutting down. But otherwise he was very alert and happy and was able to chat with us.

So Thanksgiving turned out to be a really nice day, despite the situation. All of us were there, except my sister who was trying to fly down from Fairbanks. We sat around and told stories and ate turkey. We were all kind of still hopeful at that point. In reality we were in denial, but maybe that was a good thing just for that day. It gave one last, nice Thanksgiving with him where he could just hang out with us and we could enjoy each other.

One thing that he kept asking for was Pea Salad. It was his mother’s dish. She made it for every holiday and family barbeque. She when she died we decided to continue her tradition and make it for Thanksgiving in her honor. Kind of like the tomato aspic we make every year in my Granny Mary’s honor (yeah. it’s tomato jello. and it tastes about as good as it sounds). Doug really loved pea salad and it was pretty much the last thing he ate in his life. He wanted to be reminded of his mom, I think.

So, all of this rambling to share Grandma Edith’s Pea Salad recipe with you. In honor of Doug and Edith.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pea Salad

Pea Salad may sound like it is not very appetizing on the surface. However, it is very delicious! It is a very quick and easy recipe and is great for potlucks because, since it is a salad, it is served cold. It is also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

Grandma Edith’s Pea Salad.

2 cans of peas, drained
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 cup of shredded carrots
1/4th cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup miracle whip
1/2 cup of mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Eat and enjoy.

Easy peasy, right? I’m all about fast and easy. As for the Miracle Whip, I am not a fan of it. I hate the taste of it on sandwiches. However, I have never tried this salad without it. I suppose if you wanted to you could go with a cup of mayo instead.