Welcome home

Two friends texted welcome home and a third picked me up. I was in the east, visiting a friend who has known me since birth. I had a good trip. She is twenty years older than me.

It was very much an adventure traveling on oxygen, but it worked. It’s like having a cell phone that weighs ten pounds, plugs into your nose, the batteries are the size of my hand, my carry on weighs 50 pounds (batteries, oxygen concentrator, camera, flute, laptop and phone) (also a book, I’m retro) AND you still have your phone AND you can’t breathe if you leave part of it at home….. So why can’t I have ONE wire to charge all of these stupid electronics instead of a cord for the phone and a cord for the oxygen concentrators and a car charger and a cord for the laptop and a cord and charger for the camera. Hello Electronic Hell.

Anyhow, made it there and back, double masked on the plane and taxi and ferry and…. the number of people who were ignoring the “you must wear a mask” on the ferry was impressive. About half. Well, fifty percent of people are dumber than the other 49%, right? Right now I can pick them out in a crowd really easily. Hey, I am on oxygen, I really do not want covid-19 or strep A or flu or whatever else you are coughing into the air.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: fault.

I realized last night that I had not put up the prompt, and got back up to do it. My daughter called while I was thinking and told me about segmentation faults. I wrote the poem this morning.


people talk about me

whisper gossip
social skills aren’t right

they only see now

I had to grow in cracks
hold on tightly
find nourishment where I could
not fall

if they could see my roots
if they could see
where I had to grow
no choice

maybe they would be kinder

Christmas for Children

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: shop.

The main thing I am going to shop for today is a little tag that I got at my Sunrise Rotary yesterday. This is a gift request for a child, part of Christmas for Children, run by our local Kiwanis. Here: Port Townsend Kiwanis.

Applications for gifts for children are here: https://www.christmas4children.com/.

This year, Christmas for Children is not only handling Port Townsend requests, but Chimacum and Port Hadlock and Quilcene.

A friend just remarried and he says that they are comparing stuff. They have two of many many things! Kitchen items, house items. Maybe as a wedding gift we should all offer to go choose between two of the things and take one away to donate to someone in need! All those decisions!


admit deny

For mindlovemisery’s prompt: opposing forces. The prompts are admit/deny and presence/absence.

The pairs bring up my current sadness right away. I am struggling with the realization that we have a pervasive legal substance that works at the opiate receptor, is all over the US, and I have to send out urine tests for ALL of my chronic pain and opiate overuse and anyone on any controlled substance. You say, “but it’s legal”. I say, “Overdose and death risk. I can’t ignore it.” Here is the resulting poem.

admit deny

admit to yourself you deny your addiction
the presence of the drug means the absence of the one I love



For Raynotbradbury’s “my life in percentage” challenge.

I have just returned from a vacation, a trip, a pilgrimage where I was unplugged. No list. No goals. No internet. No outlets. Just a lake and old cabins and meals and weather and quiet. Percentage, I wonder, of what? Happiness? Efficiency? Joy? Gratitude? Percentage genuine? Percentage genuine and present. What percentage is a loon at?  Either 0 or 100 percent and they are both the same.

We travel to the lake. It’s hard to get to from my home. We drive to a Seattle hotel for a park and fly. Stay the night. 6:08 flight Seattle to Detroit. Short layover but I know the airport, we make the gate with 120 seconds to spare. Our checked bags make it too. Flight Detroit to Sault St Marie, MI. I did not reserve a rental car soon enough to get one in Michigan, so we have a limo reserved. It’s a van. The van takes us across the border into Canada and to the Sault St Marie, ON airport, where we get a rental car. We drive to a grocery store and get a few groceries. The plane landed at 3:08, and I would like to get to the lake before dark. We drive from Sault St Marie to Blind River, and the 17 miles to the lake. We find the old boat, load in our stuff and get the four stroke started, one hour before sunset. The cabins can be reached by boat, no road. The dock was destroyed by ice so I have to pull the motor up as we come in to the pebble beach. I am just big enough to do yank the motor up. We are here. We unload.

Crazy, right? I have been describing it as “shacks on a lake”. No electricity. Propane stove and refrigerator. We used to use candles, but the fire risk is high this year. LEDs now. One cabin was built by my grandparents somewhere between 1936 and 1938. The other is a log cabin, built in the war years by a pair of French Canadians, logs chinked like tinker toys. Not quite though. It’s the log above chinked to the log below.

We set up tents and are unplugged. I have two phones. My t-mobile won’t work at all. The old I-phone will work sort of sometimes on the front rocks. I have camera batteries and take a lot of photographs.

I open my computer once at the library in two weeks.

We sleep in tents except for the two nights with major thunderstorms. It’s really the outdoors I want. The lake changes color and mood from moment to moment. I swim this year: I am way stronger than in 2015 or it’s warmer or both. We are in the cabin to eat and do dishes, but otherwise we are nearly always outside. The loons call. A family of mergansers comes up on the rock with us, 10 or 11. Otter sliding through the water. A pair of raccoons. A snapping turtle the size of a platter. Three pileated woodpeckers come to check out my flute. Three sandhill cranes by the road on the way into town. My cousins report a moose on the way into town.

The loons answer when my daughter plays violin: every time she plays the E string, they reply.

I’ve been visiting that lake since I was 5 months old. The lake, the rocks, the trees. The lake changes color every moment, changes surface mood, change. But the depths change slowly and are present, a turnover when the lake thaws in the spring and freezes in the fall.

I am the lake and the lake is me. Unplugged and being. Minimal doing. No list. Eat when hungry. Sleep so deep and swim and canoe around the lake.

I canoe and there is a woman, way across the bay. We talk. I know her last name, she knows mine. She remembers playing at our cabin with me and my sister, our long hair, running around while the adults talked about Watergate. About 1970. Her father just died in his upper 80s. He defied the doctors after a stroke a decade before, walked again and she kept bringing him to the lake. Now they are trying to maintain an old cabin, as we are.

Home again.


My sister’s writing about the lake from 2009: Rain on water.


For the Daily Prompt: present.

Our Rhody Fest is in May, with the Grand Parade, tricycle races, the bed race, and my Sunrise Rotary “Running of the Balls”. But I took this photograph two days ago: this rhododendron is not going to wait for May. No time like the present and in full bloom in February and gorgeous. A touch, a promise, harbinger of spring!


For yesterday’s daily prompt: Or.

I am looking through old photographs and wanting to escape, back. Hide. This is from 2007, my daughter on the beach. Nostalgia, but also the picture is imperfect. The horizon is not level. But I love the colors and she is so happy. The water, the sky, serendipity…

…because I am afraid of polarization and anger in our country and I am afraid, very afraid, when I read that the KKK plans a victory march. And then that turns out to be false: yet my son’s friend hears people chanting “No more safe space.” on campus on the night of the election.  I won’t get lost in nostalgia or an idealized vision of the past. And I want my daughter to be able to run with joy….