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Sunday, August 28, 2005

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in honour of burning man, which begins in just a few hours, i will be reading "this is burning man" this week.

on thursday we hosted the summer mac salon. yesterday we went to the hollywood farmer's market and used up most of we bought there for an incomparably fresh dinner. today we went to alex's "geek fest 2005" to read comics. we were going to go to the beach tomorrow, but it looks like it's going to rain. the raspberries are going nuts and i tried to tie them back yesterday but they have burst through their confinement and now are blocking the path between the house & studio. time to trim, i suppose.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

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i picked up biking again and i was so proud i got up all five hills on the way home! in may that wasn't even conceivable, and so even though i haven't done it in over a month, i was pleased to discover i haven't entirely turned to mush. on the other hand, i did feel a little sick and had to go lie down for a bit. but this will only get better.

other tidbits: they've broken ground on the new house; i don't know why they didn't begin it at the same time as the other two, but this just prolongs the excruciatingly loud noises in the morning during a time we would prefer to keep the windows open to stay cool. the blackberry season appears to be over, and tired of our non-producing plant we razed it. but still it persists in growing new leaves, so we're having to pull out the roots w/ pliers. today i stopped by the meads after the self-employed creative professionals meeting, but alas, they were not home. or they were napping with maya. one never knows.

tonight we hosted the summer mac salon, six people hanging around our living room talking about our computers. it was the first one leopoldo had been to and the first one mph missed. we almost got some new blood but bryan was unable to make it. less structured events are much less stressful to facilitate, and we have implemented a "round robin" host/facilitator thang to distribute the load.

if i was going to burning man this year, i'd be leaving sunday. that's when dan's going, and i think steve is already on his way from michigan. joe won't get there till wednesday and rachel's not going this year, either. i have little twinges of envy, but overall, i'm glad i decided to take the time off.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

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just finished responding to the last of the cat condolences. i updated amelia's post, but the academy awards list of people to thank include sven, michaelmas, a random visit from australian blogger matpalm, markalope, dang, ann, terrilynn (who lost hobbes recently), briant, mph, cindy, chuck, susan brown (wow!), jennifer nowotny, bryan, gerrie & colleen mcluckie.

other than that, a brief bulleted guide to my week:

* jalex finished the narm test wednesday, the last thing she needs to do to finish her midwifery requirements. hooray!

* i was watching arwen for michaelmas until he returned from seattle. she was pretty unimpressed for most of it, though she did have a few good bouts of purring. steve. still. hasn't. returned my smartcards yet, the unreadble ones with half of my australia pictures on them that i've been wanting to send to a data rescue service for months.

* charlotte kelly, someone rob mead & i knew in high school, completely surprised me by finding me via my crusty & abandoned friendster profile.

* sven & i watched primer last night, which is very neat but is something i think is probably better to watch in a group so that you fill in the gaps about what the heck you think happened. primer is especially good w/ sven's new pizza dough recipe. :)

* if you're not reading up on scarlet star studios, you're missing reports on the portland artist's way open studio, the gresham art show ending, and my first fall artist's way registration.

* today sven & saw the "the carry on opera" at the backdoor theatre, which is a silent, expressionist half-hour version of the wagnerian ring cycle. for what it was, it was pretty good. though i can't say most people would enjoy it, i like sincerity & enthusiasm in a production, which this had going for it.

* afterwards, we spent some time w/ carl since he's still in town, dividing our time between hawthorne, a large tree at a school and ole ole.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

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the perseid's trip was, ahem, stellar. :) lots of relaxation, exploration and culinary delights.

after our favorable experience at mcmenamin's edgefield, we stayed at mcmenamin's old st. francis school in bend. the rooms were very warm, covered with wood paneling we were uncertain was ironic and the food was mediocre. but one of the people at the front desk took exceptional care of us (hi, cynthia!), and their opulent soaking tub, which we went to as often as possible, was both gorgeous and relaxing.

we took the opportunity to trek to skeleton cave, a 1/2 mile lava tube, where our tour guide was both knowledgeable and kind. we took a little turn up bear alley, where the skeleton of a prehistoric bear was found, giving the cave its name. sven talked the guide into taking us even further than he had planned, and even squirmed his way through a very tight tunnel. it turns out the lava tubes are publically accessible, but i was still glad to see them initially via a wanderlust tour w/ just two other people in tow. the trick is to find a map that marks the caves, though; i'd hate to get lost in the high desert, even if i now know how to find protein grass, currants and sage.

because we had two unimpressive meals at mcmenamin's, upon returning we were forced to forage for sustenance elsewhere in bend. we asked our tour guide where he'd eat, and while it looked tasty, it had no vegetarian options. we asked one of our odd mcmenamin's waiter where he'd eat, and he recommended bend's culinary jewel: merenda, which served exquisite... everything! every bite was luscious and compelling.

but the clouds had been gathering since we returned from skeleton cave and i watched them with a sense of dread past nightfall. had we come all this way for aught? determined to find clear skies, around midnight i drove us further into the mountains. i thought we were going to go to sparks lake, but we turned off at todd lake instead, where we unloaded sleeping bags and the binoculars into an empty field and watched with relief as the clouds finally evaporated, leaving a sky thick with stars. sven was astounded by the milky way. there were so many stars we had a little trouble locating familiar constellations like casseiopia and hercules, but we were able to see faint constellations like the corona borealis shine like never before, and when we used the binoculars, the stars were like rice in soup. perseus & mars rose together, and as the night grew later, we even began to see some of the winter constellations rise: the pleides, auriga, capella & the kids, even taurus.

it was a very cold night. an owl floated a mere breath above us, perhaps surprised our noses weren't mice. we shivered under starfall for three hours before i reluctantly decided to return to the hotel. i was feeling like a wimp until we discovered the binocular lenses and blankets had frosted over! trixie's thermometer read 36 degrees. racing back to our overly warm room, we discovered we had left the window fan and the ceiling fan on, but after piling all the possible blankets on the bed we immediately fell asleep, ad astra per aspera.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

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and we're off like a herd of meteors after a very late night due to some technical difficulties with an autoresponder i wanted to put on my (portland) artist's way address without success. see you sunday!

Monday, August 08, 2005

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we had a neat artist's way reunion breakfast @ colleen's this morning, then got our hair cut, then stopped by the hollywood library because rob told me about a portrait of edward gorey in its coffeeshop -- and there was, but i found something even more interesting: a gilded laptop! a woman had wrapped her entire powerbook in flash copper leaf. it was amazing, but boy, i don't think i could mess w/ a laptop that way. sven's looking for a theatre playing nochnoy dozor which should have been out by now & regal even had a "coming soon" poster for it, but we can't find it anywhere.

had a little relapse about amelia after looking at some pix on sven's camera. meh.

just in time for the perseids trip: i picked up a great ephemeris called stellarium, which is a little rough around the os x edges, but still a beautiful and useful piece of software. i've seen other astronomy software but this is by far the most impressive for simple observational astronomy purposes (and it's free!). thanks to stellarium, i can actually -find- perseus, which rises below cassieopia and above orion, and i was delighted to discover that this year mars rises with it.

because you can look at the sky at any time of day or night or months past and future, stellarium immediately solved some questions sven & i have been having since beginning our nightly explorations in january. for instance, we had wondered why gemini seemed to have an extra bright star not noted on the star chart which made it look like the "cell phone" costellation. we now know that extra star is saturn. michaelmas asked me to name a star over the river during fourth of july, and though i confidently thought it was spica, it turns out to be jupiter (but at least it's -near- spica. :). the brightest star hovering near sunset is venus. in conjunction with 365 starry nights, the whole sky seems friendlier now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

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my birthday is already a blur. there were crepes and star balloons and a poem and trips to the omsi planetarium, oaks park, the river's edge, and the oaks bottom reserve. that night there was bowling & cupcakes w/ rob, dan, michaelmas, leopoldo, sven, alex, amelia & miles. yesterday there was an unsuccessful trip to find gorey details, then to powell's to behold edward gorey's rare fantod deck, and dinner at the heathman. wednesday will begin a trip to see the perseids meteor shower in eastern oregon where i hope it's darkdarkdark. every year michaelmas picks a song for me: this year it was an interesting spoken word piece by bob dylan, "last thoughts on woody guthrie."

today was sven & my second anniversary (or what i'm calling the "oort cloud anniversary") so we went to chez machin & blackberry picking on the butte.

Friday, August 05, 2005

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you know it's a bad day when you wake up and wonder whether your cat will be alive or dead when you open your eyes, and when it ends with an emergency ultrasound finding cancerous pancreatic lymphoma throughout her abdominal cavity.

amelia hadn't eaten for almost two days and was spending most of her time lying around sadly and listlessly. occassionally she'd get up, take a couple of steps, and then collapse with the effort of it. we were keeping little dishes of water nearest her circuit of lounging spots and trying to get her to lick more than one mouthful of food from my fingers. finally, last night i knew i was going to have to talk to the vet again. sven & i slept downstairs with her and as she purred on my legs i worried it might be for the last time.

so when i woke up this morning, i steeled myself to find her lifeless by the comfy chair; my heart sank when she didn't even twitch her tail when i called her. it was only after i put on my glasses that i realized she was still breathing. after trying to get her to eat and drink a little more, this morning she went in for xrays. this afternoon i received a call that amelia's urine was unusually high in bilirubin and that there was a "suspicious mass" in her abdomen. if we didn't ask for an emergency ultrasound, we'd have to wait to schedule one till monday; given how much she wasn't eating, i didn't think she'd last that long.

amelia's liver ultrasound i couldn't read any of the blurry images on the screen, but the ultrasound tech was surprised at the size of amelia's liver and spleen, which were pushing some of her other organs around. she had never seen the "cobblestone" texture of amelia's liver before, either. finally, when a particular blur was named as amelia's pancreas, the shadows were particularly ominous. the vet turned to me and said, "her prognosis isn't good." i looked at amelia as she lay on the steel table with her mouth wrapped around a blue tube, the heart monitor beeping steadily and rapidly, her iv wrapped with yellow tape printed w/ smiley faces.

so i called sven & michaelmas and waited. when sven arrived, we petted her as the vet injected a light blue fluid into her iv and left the room. within seconds amelia had stopped breathing. her shaved belly and pointy paws grew cold. her eyes grew glassy, then textured and dull. her tongue grew dry and lined with purple. after the needle, it would have been harder to have seen her laid out limp and sightless if she hadn't essentially been doing that same thing at home for the past several days.

tomorrow i'll need to cancel the reservations i made for amelia at kitty condos and return the case of bland prescription food i bought her. in a week i'll receive her ashes and i'll spread a third of them here at powell butte, give a third of them to michaelmas, and keep a third of them for the trip to california i know i'll take in the next few years. in a month she'll probably stop being the first thing i think about when i wake up. in a year i'll be 33 and write a brief memoriam about my moody, frustrating, intelligent, responsive, beautiful, discerning cat. but tonight i feel like i've resolved the paradox of schrodinger's cat -- and wish i hadn't looked in the box.

[update aug19: three very sweet blog responses from sven, from michaelmas and from matpalm. also thanks for words of support from markalope, dang, ann, terrilynn (who lost hobbes recently), briant, mph, cindy, chuck, susan brown (wow!), jennifer nowotny, bryan, gerrie & colleen mcluckie.]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

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(and gerrie, too!)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

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aieee! now two fine people i know are jobless! mount hood community college's library didn't have enough for rob to do in the summer, and then leopoldo was laid off from xerox.

leopoldo is a technical project manager & analyst who knows about movies and networks in exquisite detail, but is also a generous mentor and ambitious developer. he is confident, knowledgeable and extremely hard-working. he would ideally like to find a job in a creative field (advertising, PR, film or television development, game development, digital animation) but is open to trying almost anything.

rob has led a librarian's life almost entirely by accident, but has always been an academic. a former english professor, he probably knows more about the historical, cultural and political aspects of music than anyone in the western united states, without being arrogant or elitist about it. he's quietly focused w/ an occasional hyperactive raucous streak, but is always willing to do what's asked of him and do it well. he'd love to teach at an alternative school or write critical articles for a publication.

both of these people make incredibly fine additions to a workplace. they are intelligent, funny & self-sufficient. if you have any leads for either of them, please pass them along!

Monday, August 01, 2005

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sven's done with the trailer! it is in the hands of the hp lovecraft film festival even as i type this. hooray! much, much, much more about it on the scarlet star studios blog.

while he was still sleeping this morning (after arriving in bed at 5:30 a.m.), i took amelia into the vet because she's so thin and still isn't eating much. the vet said because she's about 15, it could be her kidneys or a hyperactive thyroid, and doesn't think the chance of food had anything to do with it. hmmm. she was apparently dehydrated, though, so they did a subcutaneous fluid injection and i left her there for several hours so they could wait for a urine sample and send it & bloodwork off to the lab. i'll find out more tomorrow. she took the vet experience better than she ever has, which just indicates to me how sick she really is. mind you, she got some spunk back after the subcutaneous injection, but on the whole she was pretty mild. once in california she was so angry that a vet wouldn't take her out of the crate even while wearing heavy leather gloves.

my grandmother broke her hip a couple of weeks ago and i finally got to talk to her for a bit today. she's appalled she's having to use a walker and says it's still pretty painful. she's finally been moved home, though, and my aunts are splitting schedules to take care of her.

alex & i went to the low bbq at apizza scholls tonight. alas, they were out of ribs, but the brisket was tasty. i have yet to find a bbq sauce i like in portland.