Thursday, February 28, 2008

Portland Travelogue

You know that you haven't yet recovered from your dorky 70's childhood when you call your cousin and leave a message on her voicemail saying, "I've lost the directions you gave me, so I'm using The Force to find your house."

Fortunately, The Force was with me, and nine hours after leaving my Humboldt homestead, I arrived at Keri's home carrying one red sandal that she left under my bed in August and a bag of green m & m's.

Bright and early the next morning, the adventures began. There is no way that I can do justice (let alone remember through the alcohol haze) to all the action that we packed into four short days. We drank, we laughed, we gossiped, we burnt our flesh with hot metal, we acted like fools in public, we sang along with ABBA in perfect harmony and much, much more. Here are just a few of the highlights.


On our first day together, Keri and I drove 35 miles for a doughnut. Not just any doughnut, mind you, a Voodoo Doughnut.

Keri chose an early-morning-appropriate Grape Ape - a glazed confection covered in grape powder and purple sprinkles. She said it was just like eating a mouthful of grape koolaid powder. Mmmmmm. I was feeling a bit more adventurous and chose a gigantic maple bar topped with big slices of bacon. Now that's what I'd call breakfast!

As if our early morning sugar rush wasn't enough, we also had to visit Saint Cupcake to really make sure we didn't go hypoglycemic. We were disappointed that the Fat Elvis cupcake wasn't on the menu that day, but we did enjoy the turtle, red velvet, hot fudge, chai, big top and coconut cream cupcakes. We even shared some with the family - really. After we'd licked them all of course.


Regrettable Missed Purchase #1: The Bee Gees bag

I loved this bag. I loved it so much that I carried it around the store for 20 minutes trying to decide whether it was worth the $14 price tag. Unfortunately, every time I looked down at the bag I started humming "How Deep is Your Love" and couldn't stop. The bag was returned to its rack. If it had been an ABBA bag, there might've been a cousin-on-cousin wrestling match to report.

Regrettable Missed Purchase #2: Pornogami

So tempting. But really, I don't need another excuse for not working while at work. And making naughty folded paper sculptures would be a good one. So, with great reluctance, I put this little gem back on the shelf at Powell's Books, the greatest book store ever.

Fabulous Purchase #1: Recycled Bag

It's hard to tell from the picture, but this bag is crocheted, and made completely from recycled plastic bags. It's huge, super strong and was $2.99 at Goodwill. It was such a score that an old woman at the checkout line tried to talk me out of it, but I just sneered at her and hung on tighter.

Fabulous Purchase #1: Crafty Necklace

Crafty Wonderland was Crafty Wonderlicious! Beautiful and hip crafts made by beautiful and hip women (and a couple of guys who weren't really all that hip but were kinda cute in that embarrassingly heart-wrenching emo kinda way.) This gorgeous necklace is made out of shrinky dink plastic.


Outsider Artist Douglas Jones

Jones created his art on pieces of freeway signs and trash underneath bridges while he was homeless. I love, love, love his work.

Figure Studies

These are very cool mixed-media pieces created by students in the anatomy class at the Art From the Heart program for visionary artists.

Keri and I also took an art class together where, after about two hours of sleep and a ridiculous amount of caffeine, we were shakily molding metal heated to 700 degrees. Fortunately there are no pictures, but my left inner thigh still stings from the burn.


The Exhibitionist's Room

This was my room at the Ace Hotel, which had the best coffee, the funkiest honor bar and the cutest front desk boys in Portland. The walls were covered with a strange painting and a poem about "The Oregonian Gentleman," who apparently likes to watch. The crystal clear glass shower was located not in the bathroom, but right behind the bed in the middle of the room. Perfect for soaping up and showing off.

The Oregonian Gentleman

Another reason to love Portland: it has the most adult businesses per capita of any city in America.

Keri and my favorite: Spartacus Leathers.

You've gotta love a place with a sign at the entrance stating "Please refrain from spanking/whipping/flogging others while shopping at Spartacus Leathers. Violators will be asked to leave the store." Yes, we made some purchases. No, you can't see them.

Big Oregon Love

I've got a great family up in Oregon. Uncle Ken is planning a future yurt compound in Willa Crick. Aunt Cheryl has been known to tap-dance on the street for cash. Grandpa Joe is a bonafide dowser. Keri does a perfect impersonation of the Swedish Chef, especially after a couple of long island ice teas, and is much more like a sister than a cousin.

Plus, Oregon's got clean rest stops, no sales tax, legal Everclear, amazing waterfalls, an abundance of outdoorsy flannel-wearing boys, and you don't have to pump your own gas. What's not to love?

P.S. Confidential to a certain local newspaper employee who expressed some displeasure at our neighbors to the north: Maybe next time if you'd just be nice instead of acting real jackass, you'd have a better experience. Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You Can't Get This at Home Depot...

I received a letter in my inbox that gave me a little dose of joy today. Apparently there is an estate sale happening locally. An estate sale full of all sorts of kinky goodness. Just in case any of you are interested in shopping local, here's the letter and list. Feel free to email me if you'd like the contact information. I promise I won't blog about you.

Be prepared for a fight, though, if you're going to try to beat me to the spanking bench.

On behalf of someone who desires to remain unnamed, I have been asked to share an "estate sale"...
There are a number of very beautiful pieces, and they
have been well cared for.

Any and all of these pieces would make a wonderful
addition to your toy collection. They are VERY
reasonably priced.

There are two pieces of furniture offered:

A steel spanking bench with leather top. It comes
apart. It is very well made, and a beautiful piece.

Steel bondage frame (sex swing frame)
Will support up to 450 pounds

I have a price list and pictures of the various toys
if you are interested.

The smaller toys:

Braided 23” Kangaroo Skin cat-o-nine tails
Braided 23” Suede cat-o-nine tails
Buffalo skin flogger (heavy thudding sensation)
Black leather flogger (bites a bit)
Belt leather flogger (OWWWWWWW)
Rubber band flogger (a neat stinging sensation)
4 foot single tail 2-tone black and brown
8 foot single tail 2-tone black and brown
6 piece wrist, ankle and palm restraints
4 piece wrist and ankle restraints
Large vaginal specula
1 pair leather gauntlets
Violet wand kit

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Full Moon Lunatics...

Did you feel that?!?!? I know it wasn't just me, right?? There was definitely a pull at mankind's mental state. Sort of like when you see that random string hanging from your sweater so you give a little tug and the next thing you know, you've come undone. Literally.

Today I stood all day with my mental yarn at my ankles. Yards of it. I was going to just cut it off but then I saw all my co-workers had the same bundle at their feet. Hmmm. So I carried on, tripping most of the day.

I knew I had experienced this phenomena before but just couldn't put my finger on it. It took a 5th grade autistic boy to explain that we had a full moon and that the lunatics were on the loose. He then proceeded to explain that Luna was Latin for moon and that the lunatics come out when one is in the sky. Made sense. I had a sudden flashback to hospital work and how the ER and Labor and Delivery would swell to capacity with the bulging moon.

So with this new found knowledge I am now going to be checking the calendar frequently. I want to make sure I pack a pair of knitting needles in my purse... just in case I come undone or need to fend off a lunatic.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Alright, so my favorite Boy over at the blog most likely to has tagged me, and I'm afraid he'll never show me that thing he can do with his tongue again, so I'm going to have to play along.

1. Curse the person who tagged you:

Damn you, Boy! May Gina La Devina NOT give you a big french kiss with lots of tongue and NOT slap you on the ass when you go to Aunt Charlie's Lounge without me in a couple of weeks.

2. Grab the nearest book, open to page 123 and find the fifth sentence. Then post the next three sentences.

"Though he loved her and wanted to marry her, he couldn't accept her facial hair. While Carroll was willing to remove her beard for love, she didn't want to lose her position in the show. Famed sword swallower Alec Linton suggested a solution for the dismayed couple: Carroll could lose the beard and become a tattooed lady."

From the new book I picked up at Powell's Books in Portland, "American Sideshow, An Encyclopedia of History's Most Wondrous and Curiously Strange Performers" by Marc Hartzman.

And you all thought it was going to be some steamy passage from a book of erotica, didn't you? Strangely, I'm almost as obsessed with traveling carnivals as I am with sex. Almost.

3. Tag 5 people:

I tag Keri, Ann J-S, Jane Doe, Mresquan, Erin, Carson Park Ranger and Heraldo.

Yes, I realize this is 7. CPR and Heraldo won't play, but it still makes me all hot and bothered to type their names.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Warning: Valentine's Day Post

There might be some sap. Some cheese. Some predictability. Some wince-inducing triteness. What can I say? Sometimes love makes a girl soggy.

Squirrel and I have been married a little over six months, and I would be lying if I said that there hasn't been a bit of an adjustment period. No matter what anyone says, marriage is more than a piece of paper. You can't just rip it up and make it go away.

Squirrel puts up with a lot. I am stubborn, opinionated, mouthy and full of sass. I am often impatient and sometimes judgmental. I am chronically overemotional and cry at all kinds of ridiculous things. I put his life on display much more often than he would choose to. In fact, he would never choose to. If all of this weren't enough, I also all-too-frequently possess the maturity level of a twelve-year old. I make prank phone calls, create stupid lyrics to show tunes and make gifts for my friends like this year's Valentine's Day cupcakes:

Sweet, aren't they?

This is not to say that Squirrel is without his own eccentricities. He is an artist, and he has a tremendous brain in which he lives, often mumbling under his breath to himself and staring off into space. Some days it's hard to break through. He never puts anything back where it goes, and he is constantly losing his wallet, his keys and anything else he needs regularly. A couple of weeks ago he even lost his wedding ring.

The quirk I find the oddest, though, is that he's always leaving the faucet running. Not just a little drip, but a steady stream. I can't figure this out. He has perfectly strong hands. The handles turn easily enough. It's like mid-wash he gets so distracted by his own thoughts that he simply walks out of the bathroom with the faucet still on. This would not be such a big deal if we didn't have a precarious water situation. Our spring has a lot of issues, and we never know when we're going to be out of water - sometimes for days at a time. So to see water going down the drain, emptying what could be our last reserves, sometimes causes me to become a bit...oh, shall we say....agitated.

Yesterday I was driving in Eureka behind a man on a motorcycle. A car going the opposite way made an illegal left-hand turn and missed the bike by mere inches. It took a few seconds before I could breathe again after imagining what could have happened. The incident made me think of my friend Dana.

About ten years ago Dana's husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. She was 25 years old, and he was the love of her life. They had only been married for four years, and they had a son, Jason, who was just three. The first time I saw Dana and Jason after the accident, Jason came running to me, jumped into my arms and said, "Auntie Kristabel...did you know that my daddy's in heaven when he's supposed to be at work?"

Several weeks after that Dana called me in the middle of the night. She was simultaneously sobbing and laughing hysterically, and I could barely understand what she was saying. Apparently she had accidentally knocked over the box from the crematorium that her husband's ashes were in.

"Did you know that it's not just ashes?" She said between gasps and hiccups. "There are chunks in here too. Bones. Teeth. What the hell am I supposed to do...vacuum up my husband?"

For months I watched her struggle with her enormous grief while trying to raise her son the best that she could. She always said that he was the one thing that kept her from remaining in a fetal position on the floor for the rest of her life. There were days when I wasn't sure how she made it through. There were days when I'm sure that she thought she never would.

I was still thinking about Dana last night when I walked into the bathroom, looked at the sink and saw a thick stream of water flowing from the faucet. For a split second I felt the irritation start to wash over me. Then I looked at myself in the mirror above the sink, felt something yank at the insides of my stomach and suddenly it hit me.

There's only one thing that could be worse than seeing that faucet running water every god damn day for the rest of my life.

Not seeing it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Uh Oh.

You might remember the havoc caused here in Humboldt the last time Keri and I spent several days together.

It's been over six long months and,'s Portland's turn now.

We may be away from the blog for a bit because we'll be so busy. Or drunk.

Don't worry. We'll be back soon enough with so many pictures and stupid stories that only we find funny you'll wish we'd go away again.

P.S. Please be nice to Heraldo. It's really hard for him when I leave and he has to try to hide his feelings of loneliness and despair.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Too much time on their hands

While admiring the pictures of a beautifully artful homestead on Kym's blog, I was reminded of an incident several months ago while shopping for a birthday gift in old town.

Drawn in by some pretty vintage aprons outside a small store, I went inside to search for the perfect present. This is not a store I would usually shop in as the display tables are filled with knick knacks and pastel baubles, but I was instantly drawn to the middle of the room where a huge quilt was hanging on an iron rack. Filled with color and pattern, the scraps of fabric had been pieced together in neat squares. The gifted quilt maker had then used more fabric to make hundreds of intricate small rosettes and had sewn them in place evenly all over the quilt. It was amazing. I stopped to look at it for awhile to try to take in all the detail. Not having acquired any sort of talent in sewing I am always astonished by the precision and skill it takes to create something like that.

Just then two middle-aged women walked through the door. They were chatting about how they'd never been there before but that it looked so cute through the window. I watched them walk by several displays, oohing and aahing over the trinkets made in China. As they made their way to the middle of the store, one woman noticed the quilt. She curled her lip, lifted one corner and sneered, "Well.....someone had way too much time on their hands." I looked at her incredulously.

"Too much time on their hands" has always been one of my two least favorite phrases, "You're cut off" being the other. It bothers me because people most often use it, as this woman did, to describe a work of art that is beautiful and often thought-provoking and usually awe-inspiring.

My friend Mary is an incredible sculptor. She creates huge clay vessels, some larger than her, not by throwing them on a wheel, but by building them by hand. She makes long gray coils placing them one at a time, carefully and precisely, until the vessel is the exact size and shape she wants it to be. Once it's finished, she covers it with sculptures, which she also makes by hand. Each vessel is completely different. She has one covered in aliens and flying saucers. Another is covered with little girls holding rifles. She has even made one with a likeness of me on top - with huge hands and feet in a flaming red dress to match my turquoise hair. It's one of my most prized possessions, along with the three foot tall ceramic tiered cake she made Squirrel and me when she found out we were serving cupcakes at our wedding. Each of these pieces takes Mary months of continuous work. She spends several hours everyday covered in clay and muddy water and happiness.

A man I know named Jim works over 60 hours a week and takes care of his elderly mother. He also spends almost the entire year making Christmas decorations for the outside of his house. Sometimes at 2 a.m. he can be found at the kitchen table madly wrapping empty boxes, picking out only the brightest and shiniest papers. He makes huge paper mache' candy canes, reindeer and snowmen. Sometimes for good measure he'll throw in a baby Jesus. By mid-December his home is covered with everything he's created. Hundreds of packages reflecting the multi-colored lights strung everywhere are attached to the sides of his house. Giant candy canes line the eaves. A glitter-covered Jesus lies in a flood light shining on an alcove above the porch. It is a sight that is gaudy and garish and hilarious and absolutely breathtaking.

To describe Mary or Jim, just like the quilt maker, as having too much time on their hands is not only an insult; it is also completely untrue.

When you are an artist, creating is never about having too much free time. Artists are compelled to create, and so whatever it is - painting, gardening, writing, singing, sculpting, playing the guitar, drawing, cooking, dancing, and even blogging - that makes some sort of pause in life's drudgery, you will always attempt to do it in whatever way and time and place you can, even if it's not ideal or practical or hardly ever possible, because you have to in order to be able to breathe.

I wonder about people who discount others' work so easily like the woman in the store. Is it simple jealousy, or could it really be true disdain? After all, she's got more important things to do with her time. She has to shop for knick knacks, get her hair done, clean her house of every last speck of dust so that she can reward herself by sitting in front of her television to learn about what more she should buy, what more she should eat, what more she should wear and what more she should watch on that same t.v.

I hope one day when she least expects it, she comes upon another piece of art or hears a song or really listens to the wild-eyed man on the corner reciting poetry to himself - and that it makes her catch her breath and her eyes fill with tears and she realizes that the people who she considered to have too much time on their hands are really the ones making the world a more colorful, more interesting and definitely more wonderful place to be.