Saturday, January 14, 2017

Snowed in Ag*in

Every time someone says I read your blog--when is your next?  I am glad someone did.  Hey, you didn't have to like it--at least you read it Eric.  If you are like so many in the no longer NorthWet but NorthWhite came out of the skies and for our north face a little less than one thousand feet (add time to boiling stuff); Mieki and I are snowed in again.


Previously, we were snowed in from January 1 through the 10th.  Easy to count--10 days.  On the 10th day of 2017 we headed down our half mile lane.  We were getting a little anxious--out of living essentials:  Butter, Hempler's bacon and eggs/flour, wine and vodka.  This sojourn to civilization was interrupted by 6 fir trees the oldest being about 60 years old by ring count not babies.across our road next to our east neighbors clear cut.  The clear cut was the culprit for all of these downed trees.  The firs, sadly beaten down by a nasty east wind were always sheltered by near by friends.  Exposed naked with no buffering trees, they became victims bingo bango downo a game of giant pickup sticks.  I wonder how we would fare without our forest of friends in east wind adversity.  Would we all fall down?

Firs are shallow rooted but spread their feet wide.  When they fall their root ball will be standing 10-15 feet vertically like the log used to stand  60' tall to the sky.  The first time I cut up a windfall similar to these; I was shocked, astounded, surprised at the speed of how the root ball snapped back to it's horizontal state.  Thank God no one was resting their back eating their lunch against the vertical root ball.  I later told this to one of my bmf best male friends there are so many abbreviations now that it's a good thing there's google.  Old Jack my age God rest his soul was a true red-neck with a heart. He had logged on and off his whole life and told me more than one murder victim was never found because a root ball snapped back into place.

Back to our encounter with trees over the road.  We had no choice.  I popped it in low 4 wheel drive and we headed east still snowy and uphill a bit and started in my black Dodge dodging stumps in the clear cut. Ooo we were lucky--keep it gunned and try not to bottom out we made it to the road.  Double lucky because if we would have got stuck, my best friend, M, might have been inclined to say I told you so.  We called our best ever neighbor Paul Hero all around Great Person (find pictures of fir falls blocking our lane on ""Peculiar Ambitions" blog/facebook).  I said I would help when we got back from Costco and Freddies--though I wasn't sure how much help I would be with my bum shoulder.  By the time we got back he was doing the last tree and of course I was watching and his saw got pinched--first time whole cutting clearing the lane time.  I got it out while he jockied the logs--and then I went I touched his saw and I'll catch his flu--wow he was doing all of this while he had the flu.  New tv series:  "Better Call Paul."
Well hey, it looks like we are snowed in until this Tuesday. That will make it another 7 days.  Lots of time to surf (I wish I was on Maui with Bob & Sherry doing the real thing).  I'm talking the Internet and I see an offer of $100 K to stay at a cabin in the woods without any amenities of civilization--esp all things related to the Internet, tv, phones....  M and I are ready.  Where do we sign?  We could do it--being snowed in twice for a total of almost 14+ days--I know we could--throw in the essentials and cards with a cribbage board especially if it is January as this is the only month we keep track of wins and there are some bloody games and accusations and extreme stress and high anxiety.  Right now I am 5 games up and I don't want to admit that M has become an almost equal.  I hope she doesn't read this--M is a nasty winner.  If you have followed my meanderings thus far, you will see the point of this loquaciousness is being snowed in twice for an excess of a week is a test of love, compatibility and friendship and to pat on the back those couples who have stayed through the snow years of their relationships and to those contemplating marriage ask yourself who could I get snowed in with or take a sail boat trip across the ocean with or get trapped in a cave-in with.  Those of us who have weathered storms; who have come out the other side as friends and lovers--good on us!

And now for a few poems as this snowed in has offered me lots of time and have kept my sanity through writing and working in the greenhouse.

Why do I end up with rocks after I dug them all out of the garden last time.  They just keep percolating up from the mantle we live on.  Picture of them :

                                    Pursued by rocks in all of my gardens

                                    Round ones where the glacier stopped/99th st

                                    Now irregulars of all sizes ghosting up

                                    Where there was none the loaves and the fishes

                                    How do miracles happen

                                    Why do they hound me

                                    He never found a rock in his garden

                                    Why do I love my dirt

                                    Ever-present rocks can there still be love

                                    What lesson can be learned from my soil

                                    Your love is always there

                                    Steady constant always

                                    Chasing my well-being and love

                                    You are the rocks solid

                                    Loving me more than I love myself

                                    We are igneously fused

                                    Id rather have rocks

                                   Too bad never found a rock in your garden


Yes, I have now read Gary Snyder's new book of poems thanks to a gift from Vince and Jenny.  This Present Moment  is powerful and thought provoking and mundane.  His poem about his dying wife is testimony to what a mate's duty is--to always be there.  This poem is a take-off from one of his fun poems.
I have always reveled in botanical names but as they slip away in old age not that old one comes to see the essence of things and not their names.  Gardeners tend to be snobs always wanting the rarest coolest when right before their eyes is such a common beautiful thing.

                                      Jenny and the Montmorency Cherry

                                    How you read Gary Snyder

                                    Standing on the mighty Columbia bank

                                    Teaching us and the city behind you

                                    Garys methodology of bird identification

                                    A fine way to learn feathered friends

                                    To know is to know

                                    Flowers are the same

                                    When you have grown beauty

                                    Knew what grew such delight

                                    Reveled and rolled in such rainbows

                                    The name is not on the tip of my tongue

                                    I dont need latin

                                    I need seeds

My orders for seed are in the mail--another thing that kept me from going bat***t during this time.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Without friends

                                               Without friends where would we be
                                               Cast adrift on a lonely anonymous sea

          This blog is dedicated to all of my friends (you know who you are you are like the flowers I grow and love) but especially to a friend for 50 years who shamed me into re-entering the world of ideas.  Have you read Gary Snyder's new book? (I should maybe I will could you loan me a copy that's really cool he is still alive and does he still love the trees and all of the things we loved and rapped about when we were young and I know you still do and I am married to those ideas like I am married to M)--I am so far out--(remember that saying "far out") of typing words in virtual reality; that using my fingers to do anything but play in the dirt like a simple child seems foreign.  But here we go.

          I wonder if old Gary (had to google his age 86) is still creating, talking of love of his conifer forests and wanting us all to care for our mother earth that sustains us all--I bet he doesn't whine I bet he still sings the glory of mountains of pristine white not red snow.  What a lesson for us youngsters to stay young and continue to work at what we believe and  love.

          Before I go on, I would like you to know that henceforth I will not use parentheses if I don't want to or use many of the structures of writing that I learned as a student of such discipline as I have forgot them it could be the Gabapentin I might explain later what this miracle drug does for me though I'm not certain it helps all the time except to erase memory or it could be I am saying I rebel to the rules and confines of proper English structure I still have a sophomore streak in me as in my poetry I do not use any standards of punctuation because without a comma or an exclamation point lines can often have more than one meaning and I thought I was so cool and original but found out this was vogue with some poets years past; there are no new ideas, they are all in the shared consciousness of man's gene pool.  So we go on seeking new ideas is that antonymous--cool show off scrabble word--to me saying there are no new ideas.

          More than anything besides being of the earth, I am of the seasons.  This is the winter but not of my discontent.  It is the winter this moment the polar vortex December 14th 2016 of howling east winds down our east fork of the Lewis river that are making our fir trees see how close they can limbo low and the wind is chilling the temperature to 25 degrees and we have a healthy stack of wood in the living room to keep our wood stove cherry red so we don't have to go out to the wood shed and watch our breath and feel my butt freeze.  This same weather brought me in from the relatively warm 40 degree temperature of the greenhouse where I was propagating and potting to write this blog.  You see, you cannot use excuses like the greenhouse or the garden or splitting winter wood or making time to see a friend or painting a picture or throwing a pot or writing a blog or trying a new home-cooked recipe or exercising or or or.  I hate that saying but just doing it is what must be done.  While were at truism sayings that I hate is going through the day without hearing :  It is what it is.  Quit saying that:  is what it is.  Now Life is good is a helpful saying.  I never get tired of hearing it. It is a helpful reminder even when I am low to remember to count our blessings and then repeat the mantra:  Life is good.

          Blogedy blogedy blaw blaw blaw.  For the future I will try to make some commitment to think and share my thoughts and poems; rather than just to be/exist--like being snowed in with your best friend--you still have time to share ideas and walk in the snow to visit neighbors.  I am not good at keeping resolutions but I will try to sit down at the key board and stay in touch with you.  For so many of us this is Autumn.  We have had the Spring and the Summer and they have been good and some not so good; the good old days that were not always that good;  but we have lived them hopefully to the fullest.  M says that these poems are gloomy and pessimistic--they are not.  These songs are facing our Autumn and how we need to continue to live, love, and accept what Autumn brings--good or bad-- how we can embrace future life gracefully.

               Autumnal Life

What the Heaven what the hell

If this season is rehearsal

For laying down a carpet of muddy brown macrophyllum leaves

So be it... But

Let me keep practicing

The art of  leafing not yet wanting green gone on my arterial branches

Wondering if every seed and tender bulb

Will be saved survive and bloom in pregnant deliverance

Dress rehearsal a play with ever changing actors

Leaves fall like the curtain

Before who is behind only the roadies know

Perhaps Sartre blackness and no one

I do not care to know just yet

Steps in a spiral to Nirvanas circles

Once in a while a glimpse  behind the curtain

Good seats at our grey season may soon be open

Continuing to rake and clean your always something

Still have not got it right

Keep plodding you are inevitably a ticket holder

Do not be waiting for something to happen

Just flow like the sky in October

The fall streams that start again racing to the sea

          It's funny how we are amalgamations of our past.  The above poem echoes Shakespeare though I did not intend it or was even conscious:  "All the world's a stage" and all our philosophic anhie.  This next poem is about one of my teachers, don't we all have them, and how I want to be and am like Rufus.
                      Ruffie and Me

Blinded by butterfly flashing rainbows

Begonia flowers each a shiny copper penny 

Fort Knox vaults beyond told

Not dull heavy yellow gold weighing down

Some yellows but more picotee everything

White pinks oranges reds with rims of gold

Bold bold bold solid flying frilly splashes

Daily fires to put out always the many chores

Imagine to never hear see

Singing out chorus lines of corn basil beans and cleome

Intoxications poor fools endure

The spine is being strangled

Broken c5 c6 begs for advil

Old Arthur creeping into every skeletal bone

Still like old Red Beards gone to snow

Deep down it is our souls need

To till and try to pull every weed

Throngs of Attila wait outside the gate

Always the uprooted interlopers

Hopelessly fighting them on rickety knees

Crawl on it is our only choice

Hoe hoe  hoers of  the dirt 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reflections on the lateness of being

Facing the ebb of life as you know it.  What life do you know?  I know I love the forest and flowers and

especially you.  Who will take it away?  Time maybe.  When joints are not able to be commandeered to do

what you command them to do.  I think of my groin tear.  Unable to walk.  Unable to hoe my garden or

cut wood to keep us warm for winter.  Oh, get a heat pump--not.  Unless I can't do all of the above, you say

that is not enough to cry about--I say it is enough to grieve deeply as a life loved was life lost.   I sat on the

couch; looked out into the forest and flowers and cried.  Big crocodile tears!  I'm no baby--physical pain

does not make me cry; although this groin injury did.   Normally, I cry like my dad did in the movie Old

 Yeller when I found out that roaring lion, my dad,  was really a softy pussy cat or when he saw me

  graduate  from high school.  A happy crier.  But this couch cry was grief.  Wet tears I could not see a

  future through.  Grieving for what I  thought I could no longer do.  Go sailing to Alaska with Aurelia Eco

Tour charters.  Luckily my old classmate said he could accommodate my handicapped state.  No cry there.

I am now better 2 months later but the doctor tells me it will be a while until I am back to full range of motion

in exercising.  Still, mortality raised its rattlesnake warning rattle.  Today I wait for our good friend, father-

like-friend, neighbor of some 30 years, principled, stubborn friend, to let go of his earthly spirit.  For some of

 us it is a battle to let go of what we called ownership of our life.  But then I write this to try and place myself

on my own death bed.  How will I react?  You cannot own what has been a gift.  You can be thankful for a

gift. But a gift is a gift.  Grace is free.  I am brought to another person's dying.  All of the possessions he has

amassed, the fat bank account, the  big Chrysler 300, the antique guns, cannot be held in his withering

spindle arms.  Lost control.  Clutching his stuff--no longer able.  That is his life story.  What will his obituary

say?  How will mine read.  A-hole finally dead--God, I hope not.  66 and 6 months.  Nooooo!  The

mystery unlocked.  How brave will I be?

                                    Dont weep for me
                                    Ive already cried a sea
                                    Looked into a crystal ball
                                    Seen everything in the future
                                    This is a preview
                                    I heard about old man Caldwell
                                    13 strokes crying on the porch
                                    In his rocking chair they carried him off
                                    Used up by the trees and farm
                                    Said he withered up in the city
                                    I hope I will be brave
                                    I hope my darling wont let them carry me off
                                    Cant I die here
                                    In the shady cathedral of fir and cedar
                                    Pile the Dido pyre wide and towering
                                    Let me take one last look from on high
                                    And as the smoke rises
                                    Carrying me through the boughs to the tree tops
                                    Let the needles feed on the CO2
                                    So that I may eternally
                                    Live on Sacred Ground

           Reflections was written after a conversation I had with Allen while his beautiful little girl,Una, was flitting around.  The epitome of genius & athlete gone; waiting for his fragile health & mind to be totally gone.  My hope for him is that he lives long.  I hope we all do.                                           

                                Reflections on the Lateness of Being

The body in the bathroom mirror

Looked a little like me

Thank God it was fogged a bit

I recognized the person sort of

Like an old high school friend changed

Conversations with frontal lobe impaired Allen

We heard together ticking ticking ticking

Better get the house in order

The inevitable visit is coming

Could be any day

Could be years we both hope

100 not looking to good

Who knows when

Perhaps I hope with him not today

                                    I know Im always late

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ah, but I do protesteth

                                                  Ah, but I do protesteth

A recent visit to the Kayaktivists media splash, (see shell arctic drilling protests Seattle) gave me reasons for opposing the Shell drilling in the arctic north.  They have won me over to their side.  As I grow older, I have adopted a cynical old man’s world view. 
That it is hopeless to try and change the world.  I offer proof:  presidential underdogs that wanted to change the system that I supported in the primaries or general election:  Anderson, McGovern, Perot, Nader, Kerry, Paul and now Sanders snow ball in hell chance.  All underdogs I supported that were thrown under the wheels of the bus.

That a person, (Me specifically) is much happier to concentrate on the small world that I touch each day.  To make Sacred Ground a more beautiful place and follow Voltaire’s advice to Candide,”cultivate your own garden,” my mantra for so long, perhaps is to misanthropic; adding feelings of hopelessness for change to a world upside down with hate and religious wars.  To add credit to my small-world philosophy before I rant on the protest at hand; I offer several proofs.  I watched Marieke recreate an autumn wreath into a summer wreath that was given to her by one of her best buddies, AnnAlee.  As I watched, Marieke said to me that I probably thought she was wasting time.  Au contraire!  I felt and said that I thought these “making of wreaths” are what constitute the rich garden of our life that is certainly not measured in green dollars as they are woefully shy as a crop. (any donations made over 10 thousand dollars will be used for partying with the Clintons)  Creating those decadent pork chops from the Hanlin’s pig was a culinary masterpiece that nourishes our hunger for life.  A once in a while cholesterol packing is health-wise tolerable.   For me, the jewels that I plant are food for my soul, too.  My sore back is lessened when I look out our living room windows and see Erythroniums, or Bletilla, or Cypripediums join us on the couch.  I have had as many failures as watching the Cypripediums come back again and again.  I guess I can’t classify myself as truly pessimistic about the world.  I am that gardener that has failed with one plant, and failed with it again miserably, but this third and last time I am trying to grow it, I’m sure I know what I was doing wrong.  The joy driving into Sacred Ground makes my tired legs less weary.  Art for arts sake flies us up on a plane far above the animal world.  Do the pleasures of beauty  exceed the pain.  I’ll try chopping my ear off to find out.  I can’t say yes, but I keep on planting.  Sort of like that old hippy saying “Keep on truckin” but in this case it’s “keep on plantin.”   Working man’s pain deadened—my dad knew and I have learned the saying “feelin no pain.”  Enough medication, alcohol or whatever and you can extract a back or shoulder hurt; and say, “feelin no pain.”

My darling wife always poses a very pertinent question:  What will we do when we can’t keep the blackberries from forcing their way through the shingles into our bedroom?”  --Like some Richard Brautigan novel.  Was it Trout Fishing in America or in Water Melon Sugar or maybe you can tell me the novel in which blackberries were devouring a house.  Good question Mieki!  I envision the only use of my secateurs at that blackberry swallowing time, then a feeble old man that can barely squeeze the blade (and bladder) to anvil; cutting vining thorns from our lintel so we may enter our home.  Answer to my darling, “Who cares if the vines are inside?  Easy picking.  Blackberry fermentation—velvet on the palate desert wine.  There’s more.  Being loved is a humbling experience.  It gives up all robes of artifice.  There is only you, naked and vulnerable and still you are loved.  Is this a miracle like a seed?  Bare all bulges, blemishes visible, and still you are loved.  True love is very hard to find  

But hey, I was reminiscing with the kids, Ty and Kristin about how my stay at Stanford got shortened (Vietnam/CO).  I went up to Golden Gate Park with friends and added our number to the 400,000 plus Vietnam War protesters.  All 400 K became linked together like a single organism’s mind, filled with love and peace.  We did change the world.  We said enough is enough.  The powers of conspiracy listened.  So when you have kids to talk to and grand kids, you must look to an optimistic future.  They blew my cynicism, you might say, into the water with the Kayaktivists. 

Back to Black.  I don’t want to go to rehab so I return to the main reason for this blog: 
S-Hell no explorations for oil in the arctic.  At first I was sardonic about the protesters. 
Wow, they came riding into town in their gross gas-guzzling Mercedes SUSteeds; paddled their kayaks made of petroleum base and got their pictures on the 5 o’clock news in protest of Shell’s plans.  WooHoo!  How is that for ridiculing their protest?  But then I talked with my friend Vince, who was the spill and safety coordinator for the city of Valdez.  Remember the Exxon-Valdez?  How human error—actually the captain was snockered caused so much environmental damage.  Vince said the disaster is still there but out of sight.  There would be no way to clean up a bigger disaster spill in the north.  Look to the Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Scientists say it is still a disaster present despite clean up efforts.  So is the estimated 90 billion barrels of crude worth an irrevocable, inevitable debacle?  That is a lot of wealth.  The power of greed (the same greedy people who brought you the great recession in 2008)!  No wonder most Alaskans want it.  I bet Sarah wants it.  I’m disappointed Obama supported it.  I know American security and society benefit if the oil is tapped.  I need my gas tank filled.  Screw the Eskimos and polar bears and Salmon and Orca and all the species that have evolved since the beginning of time.  I’m willing to throw the dice and add 90 billion barrels for more global climate change.  Sea levels rising no worry.  I live at 800’ elevation—it’s a while before we have ocean front property.  Weather has always changed since biblical times.  Read your bible:  the bible says there will be 7 years of drought and 7 years of rain.  It’s god’s fault. Then there are advantages to this crisis.  It’s been the dream of sea-farers to save time and money to sail through the Northwest passage.  Let the roulette wheel spin. Am I being facetious?  Yes, I guess that is why I am opposed to nuclear energy too.  How can one drunken mistake or one I didn’t put the safety valve in correctly or one 3 mile island or one Chernobyl be worth our children’s children’s future to the 7th  generation.  I don’t think the gamble is worth our grandchildren’s future.                                                                                                                                                      

 Are you a gambler?

                        The idea
                        The very idea

                        When fortune strikes

                        Like a tree-snapping wind storm in November

                        Misses you totally in December

                        Was it because you couldnt even find a flashlight 11/12

                        Was it because you even had water for coffee and a flush on 12/4


                        Oh but poor fortune

                        Sang time and time again

                        Happening time time time and again

                        A neighbors well is dry

                        Your garden is a straight flush of abundance

                        Fate Fata always one side of the coin

                        What humor is needed

                        Laughter helps to cure

                        Only that fat Buddha  jelly belly shaking

                        I believe in fairy tales

                        That dont always come true

A wish for our children’s planet                       
                                                                Getting In Sync

                                                Can you hear the heart beat of Gaia

                                                Thump thumps in deep tuba tones

                                                Look out what do you see

                                                Mirror mirror of yourself

                                                Sitting on an empty shelf

                                                Look what is reflecting beyond

                                                What is all the clutter in the picture besides your face

                                                Just the world you are connected to

                                                Can you join in all the noise around you

                                                Harmonize with all that is found old-new

90 billion barrels of wildflowers

                                                        Quo Vadis

                                                Tell me where is Nirvana

                                                Do not tell me

                                                It is where the big leaves have gone

                                                Being part of something so big

                                                Or so small

                                                What does it mean

                                                Where will you go

                                                Rich food for your friends

                                                Or nothing at all

                                                What is better

                                                To pile up gold in your hours

                                                Or lay in a meadow with your lover

                                                Rolling in the wild flowers

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I am a motherless child

                                                      Marie Eloise Gomulkiewicz Kemper

                                                      Holding Court on Sacred Ground

My mom has been gone, but not too long.  Today 4/21 is/was her birthday.  She would have been 95 years

 old.  April 21, 1920-August 29, 2012.  A good run.  She was a party girl.  There are things I can say that

could not be said in the eulogy for Marie Eloise (Gomulkiewicz) Kemper.  Pop always said he could never

recognize the person that was in the casket that the preacher was talking about.  It was if death erased all

sins from human memory.  She was human, she had faults.  Sometimes she was catty or down-right mean.

She taught me to always make sure the phone was hung up before she went on a rant. She would beg  for

 forgiveness. She had favorites.  Who doesn't?  The first dirty joke she ever heard not told in the eulogy:

Blind man walks by the fish store every morning.  Same greeting every day, "Good morning girls!"

Some are lucky to escape such flaws.  But she was a lover--she collected heart rocks and friends.  She had

five children and we all turned out okay--perhaps just not the vision she wanted us to see.  There were years

when I would call the family home and she would not say anything in greeting but,  "I'll get your father."  After

I was married to Marieke for  a while, she became friendly.  Marieke and I have no explanation for this

change in behavior towards me; but we enjoyed many years of  greater love.  She  was human.  All of her

flaws don't mean a thing.

 What's in this eulogy does.  It was hilarious to me that she would  ask me to give her eulogy long

before she was dead.

About 10 years ago Mom asked me to give her eulogy but made me promise I wouldn’t

 cry.  I’ll try MOM.

I say to you what many of you have already experienced: We Kemper kids are both

 motherless and fatherless children but we are not here to grieve

for ourselves.  We are here to celebrate our Mother, our friend, such an extraordinary

woman who died at the age of 92.  She passed from this world with little monetary worth

but the legacy of riches she left are here sitting right next to you.  Many friends are

 missing: our Dad, her sister Ann, brother Stan, Grandson Gabriel, Mart Klinger, Dee

 Sullivan, members of the circle guild, Saint Joseph’s banner makers and so many that it

 would fill this church to standing room only.  But we the living are here-Sister Connie,

 Brother Paul, nieces and nephews and many good friends.

Yes she died with few assets but she died the way she lived, the richest woman in the

world-the queen of hearts.  A heart so big it could hold us all.  She had a collection of

 Heart rocks that she found on the beach or anywhere she went, but it could not fill a

 Dump truck compared to the hearts she held in her soul.

My sisters Geni and Lisa, brothers Tom and Steve and their families and mine, I cannot

name you all, it would be longer than an Easter vigil service, but you know who you are,

 look around again, see how she brought us all together to share her love.

How the prettiest girl at McCoy auto company chose our Father to go on a 65 year dance

 of love sometimes baffles me -for they were fire and water.  Maybe the cliché is true:

 opposites attract, but no one could ever deny that our Dad loved her and cared for her

                                                                Pop and Mom

 until his last breath.  His final job was to find a safe home for her to live where she would

 be lovingly taken care of, with some old friends Allah and Sergei Tokorov.

When she was settled in her new home, his last act of taking care of her, he said, “I am

 tired,” and he left her and us.  She would always say, “I miss Pop,” and look lovingly at

his picture: but it didn’t stop her from continuing to live large.  She was taken care of by

an angel, Venice.  She wasted no time in making friends with everyone in her new home,

 including a little old lady, Phyllis-our Mom never ever considered herself old-well I guess

I am 92.

Later as Phyllis lay dying, Venice and Mom sat by her bedside, holding her hands and

 praying because no one should die alone.  She loved everyone and was strong in her faith.

  She grew up in the hands of the Sister of Providence, back when they could still smack

 the back of your hand with a ruler.  Geni graduated high school from the same academy

 and  Tom had the starring role as the little Maestro in his kindergarten play there.

She worked in the shipyards and after the war went to work for McCoy Auto company.

  There her virginal naiveté met our worldly wise Father, a handsome rake, wearing an

 earring from his navy days.  When they were out with friends and someone told an off

 color joke, (I could tell you the first one she ever heard but that is at the reception if you

 are interested) but my Dad would patiently explain the joke to her.

The courtship was guided by the old church, laws of mixed up, oops, I mean mixed

marriages.  I can picture our Pop, a loose Protestant, who even confessed to me that he

had gone to a few holy roller tent revivals for fun. Saying anything to the Priest, signing

anything and agreeing to anything as long as he got that girl.

And then came us-5 children.  Mom and Pop’s rhythm was great on the swing era dance

 floor at Jantzen Beach-not so good  in the bedroom, but all of us were wanted and loved.

  Always she loved and supported our Dad.  When we had little capital to begin the service

 station, she even let him put her beloved piano up for collateral-a piano that Geni and Lisa

 learned to play on and that now her Grandchildren make music on.  She loved music.  She

 always had season tickets to BRAVO that she enjoyed with her good friend Joan.

Ah, the widow years of the service station when Pop would have to work 16 of 24 hours.

She would bring him lunch and dinner and make part runs.  She did everything she could

 so we could survive and the service station thrived.

She felt it was of the utmost importance to dress her children in their Sunday finest for

 church, although having me wear my fine wool pants for baseball practice was a little

over the top.  She had running accounts with Meier and Frank and Nordstroms.  Several

 times our Dad would become exasperated with the balances and he would demand she

 hand over her cards and would make a show of cutting them up.  But oh Mom had a little

naughty in her and as soon as things quieted down she would take one of us for a first

 communion suit or confirmation dress- go to the billing office and say she lost her card.

  She could not let her children want.

We lived in a little 3 bedroom house on 13th street next to the best friends, the Klingers, 3

 boys in one room, 2 girls in the other.  Trying to keep a small house tidy was no small

 feat and when it was not and our rooms were messy she would go on the warpath,

 Chasing us with a switch singing, “the war is on, the war is on,” and we would begin to

Laugh and join in the chant, the war is on, the war is on and then she would say, “wait

 until your father comes home.”

Her capacity to adopt people as her own is testament.  When Marieke so grieved for her

 mother, Mom took her hand and said, “I will be your Mother now” and she did love her

 as a daughter as she did Melanie.  When Melanie’s mother died, feeling so lost, the only

 place she wanted to be was at Mom’s dining room table, getting fussed over along with

 her sisters.

Perhaps that is why she loved her baby Lisa, her favorite, although we were all her

 favorite.  I would always say to her, “you’re favorite son is here,” and she never denied it.

Just kidding.

Defining Heaven                 

What could  you say of hell

One would perhaps brimstone smell

The  chimnea embers danced hot

Butter on the skillet gone forgot

Could it be as they say

A presence never to visit or stay

I know the beauty of today

Heaped up around us lay

Sad never to hear see joy

Being grandparents to a baby girl or boy

                                          She loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren--not all pictured.

Lisa inherited that adoptive nature and gave her 7 beautiful grandchildren that she loved as

 her own.

To all of her grandchildren she was GrandMarie, Yes she was grand, Grant, Tyson, Gabe,

Noel, Alisa, Nicole, Madeline, Joe, Rose, Lily, Joe, Grace, Clare, John and Anthony.

  Remember making valentines and decorating cookies?  The hand made Christmas tree

 skirts and stockings?  She loved children-let the little children come unto me.

When she was semi-comatose the last full day before she died, Alisa brought her youngest

Great granddaughter.  She put the amazing Maisy close to her face and Maisy jibber

Jabbered  and mom came awake like Lazarus.  She opened her eyes, smiled,  tried to

sit up and reach to hold the baby, though we had been with her for hours.   During those

last lucid minutes I kissed her and she said, “ I love you.”

Her language was a language of love.  Though she had forgotten her Polish, when

 neighbor  Miraslavs mother visited from Poland, they communicated as only

grandmothers do.   When Terrie, who loved and helped keep our mother and father in

 their home until it was no longer possible, brought her mother from Ethiopia to visit,

 although they could not speak a word to each other, they communicated with hugs and

 kisses as if they had know each other for years.  No color, but the red hearts of love.

She was a party girl--taught our Dad when unannounced guests arrive to say, “ the more

 the merrier.”  Even though the last month of her life she would say to Geni on one of her

 many sleep-overs, “Why doesn’t the Lord take me to be with Pop”  Lisa added that the

 night before our 27th annual festival, of which she had never missed one. Mom said, “I

 can’t go to heaven until after the party.”  Alas, she couldn’t come but she called 3 times

 to see how the festivities  were going.  She never missed Annie’s  St. Patties Day party

 and Annie continued to be her friend bringing her communion and flowers.

Her cooking was legendary.  Everyone knows about her German chocolate cake that went

for 1000 dollars at the St Joseph’s auction.  She had the flourish of Julia Child when

cooking without the measuring.  She would taste and add a dash of this, a handful of that,

 and OOOH the spaghetti needs more fresh basil.  Her mantra was butter, but I could

never figure out when the 5 of us were at home we only had margarine.  She inspired

Steve to be the gourmet cook that he is.

Oh vanity thy name is Marie.  Can you imagine what person has 70 scarves to choose

from and that was after the number had been pared down by 1/3 when they moved.  She

 was always a stylin lady, up on the latest fashions, pouring over Nordstrom and Nieman

 Marcus catalogs.  When she was in her late 80’s she found a $500, dusty rose purse at

Nordy’s and said, “Oh Gene I have to have it.”  I might add his favorite saying “whatever

 Marie”  Our Father could never say no to the love of his life.

The last few years almost everyday she would be fixed up like she was going out and

 when she did go out Venice or Allah would apply make up and jewelry and a spray of

perfume.  Gerda would come and fix her hair and always bought flowers.  On her 90th

birthday Gerda hired a limo and many of Mom’s friends were waiting inside-they did the


Can I mention all the people that touched her life, the Westgates for years of friendship,

 Norann with all those shopping excursions that she loved best, Mary Natta for bravely

 taking her to lunches even though mobility was a problem.  Linda and Dell for bringing

 their daughter and grandchildren as Mom held court in her wheelchair and as they left

 Joan, Cathy and Fran, with Shaina and me circling around her, adoring fans in the

Sunshine of her last week.  Can I mention you all-loving neighbors, always ready to lend a

 hand,  Mike Klinger honored to play his original composition for her here today, Joe

 Kemper for the picture history of our Mom and the Mckeirnan kids for playing for their

 Grandmother here and at her home for the other members pleasure.

Finally Mom must thank Melanie, who took her to all of her medical appointments, out for

 lunches, was unflagging in her devotion to her mental and physical heath.  And to Tom

 who sacrificed and took her to church and worked hard so many years to manage the

Folks finances.

Mom thanks all of you who shared her LOVE!!!  .

Gin and I Ponder Death                                                           
The time has been well spent.
Did you want to repeat
What you said
Only a little
Was it worth saying at all or
Did you believe it was
A joke then but
Now it makes

There was someone else who believed
Not like a crowded church parking lot
Rows of Japanese maple clones are waiting
To be worshiped like emperor one
She said the words I have been thinking
For a long time maybe 90 years she said
What’s the matter with going to sleep?
We have no promises of smiling reuniting
Memories only that become the recorded word
Of  every brain’s man-consciousness
Saying I have not crushed the hummingbird’s dreams
I have built compost and planted all colored maples
I am happy to go to sleep each night
As long as I was aware the day before
And the day before that
And if I was sleeping while it was light
Forgive me

                                       How Rich

If you are the person

Who must have a clear cut around your home

Then you have not committed to faith and love

You have risked nothing

You have lost even

Where will you spend your whordes

What will you get for it

The time is coming fast

Then it is over

As we have known it

The Omega prophecy is here

Not some ticker board bouncing speculator numbers

Happiness fat gardens friends

All will dwell in love and harmony

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentines 2015 flood the whole year with valentines


         It wouldn't be right if I didn't wax mushily about love on this day.   I remember a priest sermonizing about St. Valentine. He said this was the day that robins and other birds became flirtatious.  It's true!   Go out and watch a couplet of robins today!  What's a saint noticing stuff like that?  Also, I never got the point of his sermon unless the theme was love of all creation.

 And so:  Just an old fashioned love song  how would that come to be.  The 64 dollar question:  Always that question:  Why do you love me?  .  Love--we are talking about how do you care? What makes you like/love me with all my idiosyncrasies and faults let alone cherish me ("cherish is the word") like you do?.  Why?  You have all of the answers.  Still, I am remembering  the conversation of the other night; that we are discussing more of tonight.  I am trying to tell you that I thought we barely changed each others minds; but came to respect and accept the way you or I felt--after 30 years we are still defining our relationship.  Not to change each other--merely to have heard each others voiced opinions.  That brings one to say I was listened to and can I move in some closer direction to the other persons point of view?  Can I actually wear their heavy steps.  I saw give now; how can I give back?  Even the deepest love and commitments suffer waves of harmonious- less days.  The question is how can we survive these teensy to wiping out tsunamis?  Get a counselor or a life.or accept and embrace the other persons differences.  This is our 30th year together.  Certainly, calls for a summer party we will have in 2016,  maybe.  Is a trecade worth celebrating?  One cannot deny there were some hard times; but mostly it was 30 plus years of pure ecstasy and selfishness of being good to yourself and your other self.  To be seeing oneself in a mirror; yet the other reflected person is not a doppelganger, but the yang of oneself.  Am I making any sense describing love long lasted survives.  How it can still escape out of the same ole same ole.  How every time is new best ever.   Like the menu planning that gets repetitive and boring.  How can we change that?  I will always love sourdough (thanks for the starter Johnny B) just a little to much in pounds and they aren't  worth a  buck- fifty English.  Or homemade apple pie or chicken and dumplings.

                        Best ever biscuit recipe that yields the best dumplings that are light as a feather.  
                                 Have light as feather biscuits in the morning/feather dumplings that night

                                 2-cups of Flour
                                 1-teaspoon of salt
                                 2+-teaspoons of dbl-acting baking powder
                                 1/2 teaspoon of soda
                                  Sift 6 + times I believe this contributes to lightness/gotta tie-em to your plate

                                  Cut in to sifted product 1 stick of Tillamook butter
                                  Divide above in half  in separate bowls if making both biscuits/dumplings

  On to Biscuits half    1/4 cup of sugar cut in (almost double if you are just making biscuits)
                                  In a separate bowl

                                  2-eggs  beat until frothy (3 eggs if just making biscuits)
                                  1/2 cup of  heavy sour cream/mix with eggs (double if just making biscuits)
                                  Mix egg/sour cream into biscuit half . This product should be firm and stiff.  If not
                                  add flour to stiffness.
                                  Use an old fashioned ice cream scoop that turns out cool round uniform dollops
                                  onto a pammed cookie sheet

                                  Garnish with Raw sugar crystals friends brought from Hawaii

                                  Bake @ 450 in a preheated oven for 12 minutes

On to Dumplings half
                                  In a separate bowl

                                  2-eggs beat until frothy
                                  1/2 cup of heavy sour cream mix with eggs
                                  Add egg/cream to dumpling half.  This should be firm and stiff.

                                  With same ice cream scoop, drop dumplings into a simmering dutch oven/give them
                                   room as they will double.  Cover with lid.  Cook about 15 minutes.  Use the old
                                   tooth pick test for doneness

Why would I include a recipe for best ever biscuits on Valentine's day?  It's what makes life worth living:  the 3 F's.  Fooding, Friending (you), and I leave the 3rd F to your imagination.??????? Did you say Fidelity?

The lottery is now at 450 million.  If I won would I keep my day job?  I seemed silly as I tried to work the machine for a 2 dollar quick pick.  The lady behind me was so nice to help--I explained I was not a usual player and she said, " half a billion; who wouldn't try."  Out came the ticket and I said to her, " if I win I'll meet you here and give you a 100--that's a hundred thousand."  To have so much money is mind boggling. Keep our house, fix up a good number of things.  Keep the old lady--I would never talk about my wife the love of my life like that.  Of course I would keep her--that's what this Valentine blog is about.  True love, true love is very hard to find cause money can't buy me love  Could we keep our poverty of spirit? Well if we don't win, will still have poverty.  We'll always have fun til the money runs out.  Bunnahabhain, best ever biscuits and love--how rich can you be?

              For is it not true that we tie youth to spring and robins flirting.  Watching snowdrops, daffodils and tulips break out of sleep.Thinking of you and me in an old body;  I see you in the photographs in Spring or the summer of 30 years ago.

 Silhouetted in the setting Joshua tree sunset; or  in a sexy skimpily clothed perhaps too lean body languidly lounging in a skiff  in Ketchikan, or  in a bikini not too itsy but oh so eye-catchy on lake Williams--We see today what our eyes saw then and it is real.  It reminds me of the part in the Shining where Jack Nicholson is holding a beautiful woman in his arms and suddenly the years turn her wrinkled and old in his embrace and he is horrified.  We all go there.  I am not but a little afraid.  I still see you.  I still feel you.  We still have break through communications.  Maybe it is seeing your essence.  What really you are in body and soul.  It's confounding, but true.  My mind and my eye still see you.

              If you are that friend, truly captured in time, it does not matter if I see you yesterday, years ago or
tomorrow; it is always today.   There is always that magic--call it clicking--when life with each other continues as though time has never stopped from the last time we were in continuum.  That is friendship that is love that is forever.  Never forget, that is the true meaning of Valentines day.

Now some love poems from the Mossman

There is this kind of  love


Salt and scented sometimes

Trumps soap and squeaky  clean

Sweat and the musky smell are part

Of ordinary unscheduled days

When time has turned  to dark

You must not let this chance go

Without kissing her

Going to that place

Where tectonic plates collide

The wild earth quake ride

Tides rising and sweeping you away

Into another tomorrow today


There are all kinds of  addictive loves/some good

                                        Growing Heaven

Why do I Garden
Why do I love Camel cigarettes
So many dreams
What does the picture painted mean
Is it such deep loam the garden of Eden
Is that what we are trying to plant
In our bones in each shovel full
I cannot deny
Seeking koan answers
Whether it be the lilies in night breathing
Waiting for that warm late dark
When blooming jasmine cloyingly overwhelms
To have plant sharing friends
Pure joy of a pregnant red filled pod of Arisaema
Fall again
So many poems of yellowing big leaves maples
It is now happening again
But not quite yet
The field of ground fog flows portending
There is still time
The corn is not all shared
There is not gold kernels in freezer bags
Save some for the fattening pigs and chickens
No wine gurgling in fermenters
Lets whine go ahead raspberries crush me
It is all about you
All about flowers and friends
Oh you begonia garden getting ready for rest
I am the billion dollar counter
Counting counting blooms of grandpas morning glories
How I must  remember each velvet color
Wait you are still present
So I must remind myself
Take the scales from my eyes Jesus
This is the end of times again another season
When we will learn
To tend our garden with Candide
To grow only flowers for the bees
There are destructive addictive loves


My heart is broken  a million pieces on the ground

You stole our fat smiles

Left us only frowns

Grandchildren vanished 3000 miles away

You brought tears to eyes that never cried

Now we are the living zombies as if we had died

Love betrayed by lies

Trust stolen in all of our lives

Who can put humpty dumpty back together again

  Only you


There are trans formative loves

     Love Can Change You

Trite has been said before

How cruel and mean you could be


When you could kick a dog

Break a heart without remorse


I do not think I am talking about myself maybe

It is you you know who


Now people must take back everything

They said and thought about you


I never knew you then

But I know this you


Love can change you

Love did change you

Happy Valentines Day from the Mossman & Mieki!