A new idea.

One wishes that it was possible to function easily in the world without money. Alas, it is very difficult. Especially when the financial situation changes very quickly and unexpectedly.

To that end…


Please help me help you help me.

and hilarity ensues. or terror, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

My aunt and uncle were at LAX when there was a shooting. So they were delayed a couple/few hours. Then when they were finally loaded on the plane, a baggage cart crashed into the plane next to them’s engine and they were delayed again waiting for the emergency vehicles and clean up. They weren’t sure that they were going to get to SeaTac in time to rent a car. So they called ahead. The lady said that they were open 24 hrs, so no problem. They finally got there at 12:07 and the lady says, “sorry, we close at midnight.”

So they get a car.

They go all the way out to it and it doesn’t work. So they have to go back and exchange it. The guy is then like “ok, well, go bring me the keys back” (at this point, people were starting to lose their cool)

So J is like, “give me a new car.”

“All we have is SUV’s”

“I don’t care. Just give me something with four tires and a steering wheel that runs.”

“Well, they cost more.”

“No, Give me a car and I’m paying the $17 a day that I signed up for online. and you are giving me a car!”

So they finally got here at like 3 in the morning. My cousin was flying in to SeaTac and supposed to meet them and drive down with them. But he was there and they weren’t, so my other aunt went back and got him. He was there a few hrs I think. He got here at about 11:00.

Saturday we had a shuttle bus chartered to take us up to where we were going to spread Wally’s ashes. That went fairly well, except for the brakes or a belt or the heater or something starting to melt or something filling the bus with toxic fumes.  That got squared away and the only other thing was that it was snowing up there and sideways wind. So we couldn’t really walk around and see much without freezing to death…and we got pretty worried when K turned up missing. She went a little way up the trail up the mountain, but didn’t tell anyone she’d gone. Then Davy went to find her and disappeared. Though we collected him shortly. Eventually all were collected and we returned to the cabin unharmed.

The rest of the weekend has been uneventful. With the exception of a strange flickering and surging of the lights and power. We attributed it to too many things plugged in, but when the oven keeps turning off and you are trying to make pizzas (and have already gotten to the point where they need to be cooked.) and it takes HOURS to do it. The maintenance guy decided that it was a transformer out on the road and called the power company after the power surged and two DVD players popped, fried and started smoking. Eventually we were able to finish cooking by putting the pizza trays on the top of the wood-stove. We were using candles, flashlights, and cellphone screens for light. augmented by the occasional epileptic siezure inspiring strobe light effect. Eventually we turned off most or all of that. It was okay until one of the outlets, during one of the surges, popped and caught fire by itself while there was nothing plugged into it. then we were nervous and turned EVERYthing off at the circuit breaker so we might be able to sleep. (we considered taking turns keeping watch). But at 10:00 or so the power company arrived and I think they got it fixed last night. I wake up really early right now, so I’m not the one who’s going to start flashing circuit breakers and stuff on to see who I can terrorize in the wee early hours with sudden daylight in their eyes.

Don’t forget, it’s daylight savings or the end of it.

Other than all that, the weekend has been great. No one has been arrested or even pulled over, so I think we’re counting the weekend (so far) as a win. or something. And completely typical of our gatherings.

The ocean, me, and the family.

Here are some pictures from mom’s memorial two weekends ago.






That’s the sand memorial my aunt spent all day building for her sister. We helped, too. But she started at around 9 am and went until around 4 when we left. My son’s sculpture is still there in this shot. He later moved it over by his little sand castle area that you can see him building up there in the left hand corner.

That is Rusty, mom’s dog, in the box on the left. My salt sculpture in the center. Mom is on the right.


I think I’ll stop there.

For now.

time and tide: six word friday love

when I was very young we

had no running water. we would

take baths and other watery chores

in the creek. when I was

still quite young, we moved back

to L.A. -less than a mile

from the beach. in between the

school years, I spent summers with

my Dad at Lake Tahoe. I

am a Pisces. and while I

never quite became one with the

ocean as I might like, it

soothes my soul like nothing else.

when I stand before (or in)

the ocean, I know that it

is immeasurably bigger, deeper, and more

vast than any problem I have.

in the face of this grand

scale and eternal rhythm and repetition,

I am put in my place.

the ocean is not concerned about

bills, or school, or emotional crap.

It is just there. Forever there.

The waves swelling, curling, breaking, retreating.

swelling, curling, breaking, retreating, ad infinitum.

much as the sharp edges of

a broken piece of glass are

tumbled to a softer, smoother edge,

my sharp edges of pain or

sorrow are sanded down to a

dull and less cutting surface. I

find solace in the sound, in

the smell, in the sight of

it. that is the main reason

why last week we released my

Mom’s ashes into the ocean. aside

from her love of the ocean

and the life found within it,

I needed to know that she

was free and in this place

of worship for me. free eternally.

of course, the ocean in Oregon

is not the balmy, palmy beach

of my childhood. it was a

sunny day made ridiculously cold by

the wind that whipped in from

the sea. we braved the weather

in jackets and swim clothes. huddled

under blankets and towels. bringing back

the literal definition of sand wich.

I found myself, in the afternoon,

standing in the surf with my

aunt on my left, releasing my

Mom (and her favorite dog, Rusty)

into the ocean from the little

green bucket that we had used

to mix them in in order

to keep them from sailing away

in the wind onto unsuspecting beachgoers.

the surf was traveling to the

left. I found myself standing in

the surf with my aunt on

my right, releasing my bucketful of

ashes to the sea. the salt

sculptures that I and my son

made already being claimed by the

water’s action. She was a little

bit reluctant to leave the bucket.

We stood there as the tide

brought each wave just a tad

higher up our legs to where

we had tucked up our pants.

trying to get the last couple

of inches to let go of

the bucket. to let go. to

let her go. to let us

let her go. and so, not

crying, but laughing at the idea

of it all. and how she

would have appreciated the humor

because that’s how we roll. together,

as a family, steeped in unconventionality.

so if you should find yourself

in the sea, have a laugh

and think of mom. and me.

I was inspired to write this post specifically today by this post at Squashed Bologna and, of course, Six Word Fridays at Melissa’s

Preparations with Salt

This weekend we drove over to Newport, Or to have a memorial at the beach for my mom. It turned out great and was wonderful to see everyone. I decided I would make something for her. I was challenged by what to make. I didn’t really want to make a painting that would end up so charged with emotion that I would have to figure out what to do with afterward. I thought about a sculpture, but laws about not erecting permanent monuments wherever you go being what they are…. Besides, my mom felt that art should be impermanent. She would often use chalk on cardboard.


Then I remembered someone in my art class mentioning carving yard art out of salt blocks. So, I got one (or three).

these things are heavy

I thought that I would just use my Dremel, but these things are really a lot harder than you would expect. So, I got to borrow a bunch of my husband’s tools. First I tried to cut it in half. We thought we would drill holes in it and then use a hammer and chisel to crack it along those holes.

It was taking entirely too long. I’m sure it would have eventually gotten done, but we looked for a better way. We ended up using a saws-all to cut it in half. Once it was cut the going was a little easier. But not a lot.

Lots of tools 🙂

The salt got everywhere as it was chipped, chiseled, cut, whizzed, whirred, and ground off. I had one idea for the sculpture, but, as is often the way, the salt had other ideas. It decided that it was going to be a heart.

I gave the other pieces to the kid and he made one, too.

He had to go old school. Just like Michelangelo.

Later I let him use the Dremel. My mom gave me that, by the way.

I used it as well for the carving at the end. It’s great for smaller work like engraving words.

I liked this but it was really difficult to read. So I decided to dye it. My mom would have been very upset if I had used anything unnatural. I decided on food coloring.

and here is the one that the kid made.

So we loaded up the truck with mom’s ashes, the sculpture, us and our gear to head west toward the beach.