Friday, April 30, 2010

Because, Part II:

Because we don't know why we're born or when we'll die and North Korea, Iran and Pakistan are in a potato sack race to see which can annihilate humanity first, let us find respite in the joy that Pomeranian puppies bring.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Because... is hell and this is one of my favorites. March 2009, Red Rocks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When you actually have to explain to your ob-gyn... stress from grief can affect one's cycle, you shouldn't have to pay for the appointment, right?

And shouldn't the doctor have to bake you cupcakes or something just for being such a dumbass?

I know the calendar says it's spring...

...but assuredly, it's not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Human skulls and Nixon stickers and vintage Steinbeck:

My newest Capitol Hill blog post, an interview with the owner of the delightful junk shop, the Anne Bonny, is up now:

Here's a fun one that in my shock and horror six months ago, I didn't anticipate:

There are ostensible friends who will bench themselves during the early stages of your grief and then return half a year later, either because they have a hangnail or some stupid shit like that or because they think that icky death stuff is over now and want to hang out again.

Sorry, children. That's not how this works.

No drama. No discussion.

We're done.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If you haven't heard back from me, please don't take it personally:

Since noon today, I've received substantively bad health news from two very close friends. Nothing fatal, but nothing minor, either. Each is so massively kind-hearted and loyal and wonderful, I hate that anything bad has found them. And while Mom is taking a few more steps each day--hooray!--she needs the walker to do so and is still mostly in a wheelchair. (Our whole family, including Mom, obviously, feels quite fortunate the outcome wasn't worse. But, you know, it's not exactly a jamboree right now.)

I'm meeting my deadlines despite, as noted a few days ago, I've been back on the cane the past three weeks. And I've been far sicker than this and have still never missed a deadline. This is the first time, however, I've been in this situation while deep in the grief zone and while taking care of others. Also, I don't want to go into it, but I will be having surgery in the next month.

None of this is a bid for sympathy. It's just a reminder that I'm dozens of emails and phone calls behind and am unlikely to get caught up soon. Personally and professionally, for everyone's sake, I have to assess things in a triage manner for the time being.

So again, please, oh please, don't take it personally if I haven't gotten back to you yet. We'll get into mischief sometime soon, hopefully. Promise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Like really bad reality TV. But sadly, real:

Apparently Oklahoma has opted to duke it out with Arizona and Virginia for the title of Most Backwards State. I'd rather drink paint thinner than reside in any of them.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Odds and sods:

  • It is quite nice to get phone calls from Mom and see her and Dad's number and not that of Swedish Hospital or Leon Sullivan Physical Therapy Center on my caller I.D. The planets seem slightly more aligned when your mother is back home. Hooray!
  • If we know each other, there is a good chance I owe you an email. The past month has been full-tilt nuts: Mom in the hospital; several deadlines; the six-month anniversary of TJ's death (still awful and surreal); and I've been back on the cane for the past three weeks, which eats ass.
  • My most recent Capitol Hill blog pieces are here:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In response, may the Justices' dogs piss on their robes:

Does anyone else think yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that "crush videos" (films in which small animals are crushed under a woman's stiletto for the sexual arousal of the viewer) are once again legal has as much to do with the Justices' views on protected free speech as the fact they have no idea how information is currently transmitted?

Forget an ideological litmus test: Obama's upcoming nominee should submit proof of high-speed internet and smartphone use.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After 23 long days...

...Mom will be going home tomorrow.

She continues to regain her strength and while she isn't yet completely ambulatory, she's moving in that direction and is taking a few additional steps each day.

Thanks again, everyone, for your kindness and help. Immeasurably appreciated.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Okay, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell:

You say Confederate pride isn't about slavery.

So what's it about? Tasty cornbread and baked beans?

Your progenitors fought and lost a war roughly 130 years ago so that states would have the right to own people.

At this juncture in history, the Confederate flag is a snazzier, more subtle version of a pointy white hood.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Posies concert recap! (Replete with sibling japery; tasty spring rolls; unexpected bathroom vermin; leaking pipe water; and pleasant encounters):

  • My brother, George, picks me up at 9:15 p.m. I notice his very nice blazer and ask if he's teaching a seminar during the show and, if so, if he'll be handing out a syllabus later.
  • Without missing a beat, he looks at my cane and says, "You're the one dressed like Mr. Belvedere."
  • This is our way of greeting one another. Each of us would be disappointed if it were otherwise.
  • We have opted to skip the opening bands and grab dinner in Belltown instead, a few blocks away from the show's venue, the Crocodile Cafe. We find free on-street parking our first try and like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, we smell victory.
  • At one of my favorite restaurants, we imbibe splendid phad thai, spring rolls and white jasmine tea. And because it is one of my favorites (the food, service, and ambiance are consistently wonderful) I will not mention its name when I note the furry creature that scurried behind the waste basket when I turned the light on in the women's room. After I return to our table and spritz with much hand sanitizer, George offers me one of the two packs of Pez he is sporting in his aforementioned nifty blazer.
  • It is raining during our walk to the show and I unfurl my umbrella, which is met with stares slightly less hostile than might greet a Klu Klux Klan hood. It should be noted that said gawkers uniformly have straight hair, thereby disqualifying their opinions here.
  • At the will call desk, a guy asks for my I.D. (the tickets are in my name), finds us on the list, stamps our wrists and waves us through. He looks puzzled when we don't budge. "You stuck my license in your clipboard," I point out and he sheepishly returns it. I have squelched his burgeoning drag act. Or maybe he was just tired.
  • George and I can hear the Posies onstage and make our way into the main room. They have just launched into their upcoming disc, due in September, that they will begin recording in Spain in 48 short hours. Ken S. and Jon A. harmonize beautifully, per usual.
  • After completing the new material to enthusiastic response, the band steps backstage for roughly two minutes.
  • When the Posies return, they tear into their seminal Frosting on the Beater in its entirety with the ferocity of a bull goring a downed runner. George and I saw them play Frosting several times contemporaneous to its release and agree they fucking slay with the same maniacal energy they brought the first time 'round.
  • Halfway through this set, I feel a large glob of water splash on my head. At first, I think it is an errant drink rivulet, but then I'm splashed again and realize the pipe above me is leaking. My umbrella cannot save me now. I step aside and the guy in front of me inadvertently gets wet. Which will make for a lively answer when each of us eventually gets asked, "So, how did you get hepatitis?"
  • A few feet ahead, I spot my pal, Chris Burlingame, of the excellent music site, Three Imaginary Girls. We chat a bit and I introduce he and George to one another.
  • Shortly thereafter, I realize George and I are now standing by Eric Corson of the Long Winters, a band I've written of roughly a thousand times. Pleasantries ensue.
  • Near 1:30 a.m., the Posies wrap up their encore and the audience applauds heartily for an evening well spent.
  • Ken S. has asked me to say hi after the show and I do and introduce him to George. Which is fitting, as George introduced me to the Posies in 1989.
  • George drops me off around 2:00 a.m. I write this now while I'm still cogent, knowing I might be immobilized large portions of Sunday. (See "cane".)
  • If you missed it earlier this week, you can read my Seattle Weekly Posies feature here:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Worth remembering:

"The world breaks everyone. And afterward many are strong in the broken places."--Ernest Hemingway

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some good news:

Mom is now able to take a few steps with a walker, unassisted by physical therapists. Also, she can now sit up in bed by herself. She remains determined and, knock wood, continues to grow stronger.

Three possible diagnoses, but nothing firm. None are excellent, but none are grave, either.

Our whole family is deeply grateful for everyone's unfettered kindness. Cheek kisses to each of you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My new Seattle Weekly Posies feature is online and on stands now:

Ken Stringfellow was in the studio in Bejing, Jon Auer was in the studio in Seattle, and Mom was in Swedish Hospital while I was interviewing KS and JA for this one. And everyone still made it work. If I don't see you at Saturday's Crocodile Cafe show, there is a chance we are not really friends:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thanks, all, for your kind wishes re Mom:

I've relayed them to her and she's touched.

Surgery no longer imminent, but still a possibility: we've got three of the best specialists and three different diagnoses. (None of them great, but none of them grave, either, we should note.) She still can't walk again, but with help, she can sit up and her spirit remains strong. Also, she's in a physical therapy center now and not the hospital.

XO, folks!

P.S. I'm going to try to resume posting frequently 'round here. We'll see.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Today is the eighth day Mom is in the hospital; surgery imminent. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Again this week, I won't be returning messages that aren't personally or professionally exigent, nor will I be updating here.

Reminded again I have incomparably kind and insightful loved ones and colleagues and that insurance companies and many nurse's aides are a step below the corn found in satan's shit.