Nice Things

I want to remember some nice things.

Melissu and I are goofy at work. She taught me the way to shorten "son-of-a-bitch" -- swan bits -- and "shut the fuck up" -- "SHUGH" (the fuck) "UP!" Once, she gave herself a haircut right behind the desk. Bent all the way over the trash can and snipped some off.
She had told her Steven that the reason, she thinks, that we're goofy together is that I am thinking all the time, and that her way to give me a break from thinking is to pull stunts and talk funny. I think that I think a lot, but I don't remember if I told her about it.

One summer vacation in Branson, Missouri, cicadas had crawled up the trunks of the trees, out of the holes they had been born and lay dormant in. Their shed exoskeletons still hung to the bark in droves like delicate insect ghosts. My cousin, Becky, took some of them and filled them with silver. She made perfect replicas,no more than an inch long; the silver bound to every joint, appendage, mandible, and palpus.

Last week I walked to the store to buy myself a bottle of wine. After the store, the air felt so nice and I didn't want to go home yet, so I kept walking west through the neighborhood until I was all the way out of Browne's Addition. I came to the valley ridge above people's park. The river lazily carved its way twelve or fifteen stories below me. There was a footbridge topped with concrete, a sign on it saying it was the oldest in Spokane. I walked to the middle of it and leaned over the edge, the bridge sides coming up to my waist. Sparrows dove madly down by the river, the sun was starting to set somewhere behind the clouds, and a train passed on the tracks above and behind me. Orange and red Zephyr in front of a slate-colored sky.


recent findings

here are some things i have either:

a) discovered over the last few weeks via some of you or my own silly mistakes
b) decided that you should discover as well if you haven't already:

- watch the movie Tender Mercies. Directed by Bruce Beresford.

- sometimes the best parenting advice comes from people who are not parents.

- middle schoolers poop in their pants and leave their underwear on the ground.

- the seattle sculpture garden is rad.

- I like mark twain.

- accepting/receiving forgiveness is not easy.

- watch the movie 'the King of Kong'. Excellent.

- i've been lazy with writing and reading and speaking french. these are the three most important things in my life for the past 4 years. i've just been depressed that i've put them on the back burner. I am hoping to change that.

- rob bell did some great things with love wins. he also did some not great things. i want to thank him for provoking a conversation that i hope happens among those who care about that stuff. (i hope to write more on this later.)

- asking a kid, "what would it take to make you happy?" when they just said they feel hopeless is the wrong question.

- chocolate pasta is good. you can buy it at pike's place market.

- trying to be a good friend is hard work.

- i love mushrooms.

- there is sunlight over me no matter what i do.


365 project.

what sunshine does to the people of seattle.
sista's 21!
it is forbidden to bring pets to school.
mirror facing the sky.
seattle flash mob.
bellevue community center.
rec time.
snow fight.
271 bus.
re-living childhood.
spring at nighttime.
jeremy playing kanasta.
playdough berries.
an art lesson.


An Example of My Wealth

A lot is afforded a woman in my station of life.

I rotate through dozens of automobiles, most of them stretch, you understand. Capable of sitting thirty to forty people if I wanted them to. High ceilings and large windows. I like to decorate their sides with advertisements. In the morning, one of my countless drivers picks me up, and I watch the early light bend through the glass and play across one of the many seats I have a choice of sitting in.

As someone of such extreme wealth, I try to spread my good fortune to the community. I have often given strangers a ride. In fact, my drivers know so well my generosity and fortune that they will pick up just about anybody.

Why, this very afternoon, my driver, Harold, picked up so many strangers that nearly half the seats were filled. There was an older couple, who sat behind me. They told me they were on their way to the casino. (I had second thoughts about applying my fortune and good graces to such a cause.)They both walked with canes and pretty well filled up their seats. They seamed to be enjoying one another's company. The man let out a blast of breath in exclamation to the woman. I didn't breathe. But eventually, as I feared, I smelled the acrid scent of his exhale bounce off my book and into my face. It's a good thing I am so rich and therefore can cope with situations like this.

I also picked up a man and his son. The man reminded me of the Dude, if the Dude were to have a child and glasses.

In the seat in front of me was a young woman in a sleeveless sun dress with a small grey jacket covering her shoulders. Bobby pins held her curled hair delicately away from her face.

As my driver pulled up to my lavish residence, all the riders gazed at me. They prepared to get off, sure that once the owner of such magnificent automobiles had arrived at her destination they would be able to go no farther.

In a final show of my endless privilege, I waved them on. Harold, take them all home. I will see you in the morning.


It has a heart on it, so you know it loves you.

You euthanised your faithful companion cube more quickly than any test subject on record.


Please Stay Off the Grass

All winter I've been petting these tree buds on my walk home from the Plaza. They're hard and brown and soft as kitten ears. They finally bloomed this Sunday. The blossoms are white with petals like dog tongues. I think it's some kind of magnolia.

They came out brown on the outermost edge of their petals, and I wondered if the oils in my fingers from rubbing them all winter caused the outsides to die prematurely.

When I was little we had a goldfish pond. It was a bushel lined with black tarp sunk into the ground. Jessica and I sat by the bushel when we dumped the goldfish into the water. We picked them up in our hands, tiny hand cups of water. The fish were slimy and bright. White ones and gold. They'd be on their sides one eye looking at us. Jessica assured me that we loved them and needed to pet them.

The fishes died rather quickly. The ones that didn't die from us holding them got eaten by the raccoons.

I'm thinking that sometimes affection isn't great.


I told six-year-old Kody, who comes to the rock wall almost every time I work there, that he could have the rocks. There are two weight bags full of grey stones that I clip to the back of my harness when I belay someone much heavier than me. Kody found these and discovered their contents. At first he asked me if he could have some, and then when I said "yes" without resistance, he asked me if he could have them all.

Now, those bags weigh about 150 pounds each and are filled with palm-sized stones. I was curious to see how Kody planned on taking all of them. So I told him sure.

He unzipped each bag all of the way, white dust as fine as smoke billowed up, covering his hair and clothes, and began to fill the front of his shirt with as many rocks as he could carry. He took them to a nearby bench and dumped them out; he returned for the next load.

He occasionally showed me some of his finds. "This one would be a good skipper." "This one would go straight to the bottom." "This looks like a tooth."

Their time mashing against the other rocks in the bag had made most of them very smooth.

It reminded me of growing up when Mom would send me and my brothers into the yard with toothbrushes and a bucket of soapy water. We'd collect rocks and wash them on the deck in the sunshine. The project was to paint them eventually, but I mostly liked to work them over with the iridescent suds across my toothbrush.

Also, when my family went on vacation to Bandon, Oregon, the beach rocks were small and smooth and colored bright reds, purples, golds, and blues. They had a semitransparent sheen to them, and we piled them on our Frisbee until it started to buckle. When the salt water dried off the stones, we found them to be more-or-less grey, opaque, and dusty-looking.

My grandpa would sometimes walk around the grounds on our family reunions. He'd show us the things he found. A rock the shape of Indiana. Another one good to rub your thumb against.

I told Kody he could keep his five favorite. First he narrowed it down to about thirty rocks, and I had to badger him to go lower. He picked a nearly-perfect round flat one that we both agreed on. A large one for good measure. (Splash!) A white one. One with concentric circles like the rings on a tree. And finally, a not-all-that-smooth, chunky, nondescript rock I couldn't see anything special about.

He asked if he could come pick five more the next day. I asked him why he didn't just get rocks from outside. He said, "Because those rocks aren't perfect."