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So I’m staying at my Dad’s for a couple days helping out with some odds and ends and he has this cat that he took in because she was a stray and pregenönte. She’s tiny and cute and has had the babies and they are weaned now.

The cat and kittens are kept in the spare room because Dad’s girlfriend Kandi has a beautiful fluffy tortoiseshell cat that doesn’t like any other living thing in the world other than Kandi. Like, if you walk up to where she’s glowering at the world from her cat post perch she will complain that SOMEONE APPROACHES ME WHICH IS CLEARLY NOT PERMITTED and give you a warning meow, which even if you’re not fluent in Seriously Disgruntled Cat you will get the gist of, and then if you dare extend your hand to her — the very NERVE — she will throw you some Bea Arthur shade followed by INSTANT COMBATIVENESS.

So, if you were a young and healthy street cat who got herself into a little situation and now that situation is over, and you were being kept shut in a spare room all day while the Goblin Queen nibbles dainties and scrëms insults from her elevated throne in the other room, you’d probably get bored. And maybe you’d express this boredom by yelling at the walls all night. And who could blame you? Your kids are little snot-nosed punks who hurl themselves at you all day and night, and there are innumerable squirrels and birds outside snubbing their collective noses at you through the screen all day, and you’re just dying to get out there and party.

It’s all very understandable but leaves one singular victim to the whole scenario, namely me. I didn’t sleep well the night before because I’m elderly and drank something with caffeine in it a little too close to bedtime, i.e. after 4:30pm, resulting in Restless Entire Body Syndrome, so when I got to Dad’s I was fully prepared to bolt straight for the guest bed within minutes. I got all settled in, crushed a few candies, merged a few dragons, sent a few dank memes to my brother, and turned out the light. Slumber beckoned me. I slept.

… for like an hour.


Repeat on the half hour for seven hours. End scene.

Oh and the kittens? Total wretches, all three of them. Attacking toes, knocking things off the dresser, etc. and they’re not super well socialized so they’re not cuddly in the classic sense. They’ll tolerate you but might run. So all the cuteness but none of the satisfaction of rumbly kitten purrs etc.

Virtue: maybe not its own reward this time.



If you decide to publish passive aggressive bullshit about your family (or your husband’s family) on your BUSINESS Facebook page, you’re an idiot with poor boundaries.

When it intersects in an undisclosed and vague way with MY family, you’re a piece of garbage and you can be super sure that I’m thinking a lot of unkind thoughts about you. I’m much too smart to do anything stupid or threatening. But just so you know, I see you.

Manifold Destiny


So my dad informed me ruefully that my intake manifold is shot. This is some thing no woman of a certain age wants to hear, particularly from her father.

“See this corrosion here? It’s not going to get a good seal to the carburetor.”

Me too, intake manifold. Me too.

Anyway, this resulted in a frantic search for a new one which as it happened would take at least a week to get from any online source as no local parts outfit could even order one in for me. Damn supply chain issues. Is there nothing that Covid cannot mess up?

Finally somebody that I spoke to at one of the parts houses recommended that I call the imaginatively named Old Car Parts over in Portland, a place I’d been driving past for my entire life and always wondered about but never had occasion to visit before. I called them and the gruff voice that answered took down what I was looking for and my name and phone number. There was no indication in the seven words he spoke to me whether or not I would get a call back or what time frame I might expect one in. I didn’t hear back.

The next day we decided to just go down there since we weren’t having any luck anywhere else.

Friends, it was like stepping into the Ollivander’s of crusty old car parts. This place is jammed so full of bits and pieces of every antique car you can think of that it boggles the mind. Like, to the point of no return.

The fellow that was there turned out to be the guy I’d spoken to. I told him that we had called the day before but we didn’t hear back so we decided to just come on down. “Yeah, we’re not always great at calling people back,” he said. “There’s only a couple of us that are here most days and sometimes it’s only me and it can be a little bit much.” I told him I didn’t take it personally and he laughed.

We then embarked upon a mission to find the parts we came for. This took us through the store to the back, stopping along the way to check a couple of racks of manifolds and related parts. We had no luck finding what we were looking for so we returned to the front of the store and he made a phone call.

He then sent us to the owners house about 20 minutes away. “He’s pretty sure he’s got a couple of those hanging around over there,” he told us. My interest was definitely piqued by this time. There is literally almost nothing I enjoy more than poking around in piles of junk. I cannot explain it but there it is.

You guys. It was everything I could have imagined, and more.

We found the place tucked into a dead end gravel road up on a hill, a gated compound of modest design festooned with one or two tastefully decaying old cars parked out front. We parked tentatively to the side and wandered back to where we could see a couple of old duffers shooting the breeze in the back of the house. This turned out to be Joe, the owner, and a customer-turned-friend whose name I didn’t catch. Joe was expecting us and pretty soon we were off to ramble the property seeking our parts.

We started by exploring the shop building which was every bit as packed and jumbled as the store had been. No luck there.

Eventually we wandered outside where we found the manifold I needed rusting in a pile of brambles. Along the way we also found an air cleaner and a technical manual from 1965. My car came with the most ridiculous tiny air cleaner about the size of a can of deviled ham and I really wanted to return it to the type the car came with, which is bigger than a dinner plate and has a long snout off to one side. Dad spotted the manual on a shelf somewhere and wanted it for the various specs contained therein. I happily bought them all for less than a hundred dollars.

Joe turned out to be the most delightful guy. He’s 82 and opened the Old Car Parts store fifty years ago. He loves old cars and everything to do with them, and he’s living the best life doing what he loves. It was just a magical experience to meet him and see his shop.

As we packed up to go Joe offered to show us his pride and joy, a 1938 convertible Chevrolet that he’d tried for years to find. He told us he’d had a few leads on one over the years but it had never worked out, and when this one finally came along he was so excited his hands were shaking as he talked to the owner on the phone. The upholstery is original and the car has only been painted once since it was new. It has a rumble seat!

He also has a 1959 Pontiac Bonneville in original sunrise coral hiding in the shop. I would have purchased it on the spot if I could, it was that beautiful.

The green 1951 Chevy shown here was taken in as part of a trade and he said he doesn’t intend to keep it.

Miscellaneous shop and property pictures. His nest, a wall of hubcaps, etc.

Jolene, pt. 2


So on a recent Friday I went and picked up an engine hoist and transmission jack from a rental outfit using my dad’s pickup. It’s a massive diesel rig with rear duals and an honest to God hydraulic lift in the bed, which impressed the heck out of the rental dudes who loaded the stuff onto it. I hopped out of the truck (well, it was more of a semi controlled fall, as the truck is very tall and I’m somewhat not springy) and found them regarding the back of the truck.

“You want me to put the lift down?” I asked.

“Uh, that’d be real good,” they replied, never taking their eyes from the truck. I’m pretty sure I saw the glint of saliva in the corner of one their mouths.

The lift came down, smooth as butter, and they each got that satisfied look, like they wanted to light a cigarette. I broke the reverie by holding out ratchet straps to them asking if they could secure the hoist and jack. I’m complete garbage with tie downs. They never work right for me and they’d work even less tight in front of these guys. They obliged and as they worked they commented that it looked like someone was getting ready to do some work on a vehicle.

“We’re pulling the engine out of my ‘65 Chevrolet,” I told them. Between that and the cool truck-bed lift I had now amassed a modicum of credibility amongst the tool rental guy crowd, exactly the kind of demographic a middle aged lesbian strives to impress.

I drove away with my rented machinery, reveling in the glory of it all on a fine sunny Friday in September.

Jolene, pt. 1


So I’m probably the luckiest person in the world. Except when I’m not, but that’s a story for another time.

A little over a week ago my dad and brother came over and we spent a carefree five days removing the engine and transmission from my 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air, Jolene.

Jolene ran when I bought her, although not super well. She brought me home safely from where I found her in Olympia, over an hour away, but I couldn’t tell you how fast I drove because over about 45 miles an hour the speedometer needle bounced around. It was a bit of a job staying in the lines, her steering was that sloppy. I stopped for gas early on because of course the gas gauge didn’t worth either. But I was ridiculously happy.

Once home I sent her for a little sleep away at the mechanics where she behaved tolerably well, aside from the way one of her ball joints fell completely apart when they put her up on the lift. Her steering was considerably improved after the subsequent front end job.

She sat in the driveway and then in my garage for the past two years, waiting for me to have time and money to start the process of restoration. Then last spring I had some difficulty with the Subaru (the Impreza with the crappy brake design, a pox forever upon its name) and we needed a more powerful vehicle to tow the trailer anyway. We traded in both of our cars on the Juggernaut and bought my little Mazda back from our friend’s son as a little around-town car to tide me over until Jolene could be brought back to life, Jolene who had spent last winter emptying her cast iron bowels onto my garage floor.

I ordered an engine from a company in Spokane where my dad lives, and because they didn’t have it done on time it then spent a few months in the garage of one of my dad’s friends, waiting for the weather to calm down and not actively try to kill us. My dad is reasonably hale and hearty but he’s of a Certain Age and I’d like to not contribute directly to his actual expiration by asking him to wrench on my old car in some kind of crazy swamp heat out there.

Finally the stars aligned and we had a fairly mild weekend mostly free of other obligations, and so it began.

Fat Loser


So just over a week ago I stepped onto the scale, as I do every morning when not vacationing in some exotic locale, expecting that I would still be burdened by the same couple of wretched pounds I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks.

I embarked upon this one way ticket to smallerness (a new word I just made up, patent pending etc etc) toward the end of February in anticipation of surgery on March 14th. We had eaten as we pleased the last few weeks before starting the preop diet, having numerous “food funerals” along the way.

I’m now going to put numbers in this accounting of my Slog Toward Smallerness, which is something I’ve put off doing because numbers make it real. Numbers make it specific, and bring shame upon the weight bearer. Numbers lay the body bare.

I started this at 295 pounds exactly, according to my bathroom scale, stark naked at the end of the day.

Ok so weighing yourself to get your starting weight at the end of the day is kind of cheating, because you generally weigh more at the end of the day, especially after having several last meals of fatty deliciousness. Then when you weigh yourself in the mornings, after using the restroom and shedding your pajamas, you magically seem to have lost more weight than perhaps you can take actual credit for. But still. That’s my official starting weight. (Shh, just let me have this.)

Surgery weight was 271. This was after three weeks of the preop diet which is designed not for weight loss so much as to shrink your poor, bloated liver. If you’re overweight, chances are high that your liver is fatty. They have to get in behind the liver to hack mercilessly at surgically remove part of your stomach, so the risks to you are reduced if your liver is petite and well-behaved. Still, I lost 24 pounds eating almost no carbs and a limited amount of protein for those three weeks.

In the ensuing six months since surgery I have lost an additional 72 pounds, for a total of 96. I now weigh under 200 pounds for the first time since I was about thirty.

That’s what I found out that day when I stepped on the scale, expecting to see some variation of Not Yet Under 200 Pounds. Instead I saw the blessed display: 199.5

I set this as my first major goal, to reach “onederland,” and decided my prize would be a Levi’s jacket. I had one in high school and have always wanted another.

I ordered it and it should be here before too long.

I feel amazing.

My next goals will be probably ten pound increments — weight loss is still occurring but has slowed down considerably, since moving around now takes less energy and my body is starting to fight back and try to hold onto its beloved avoirdupois. But I think I can take a few more pounds off. My goal has never been to be stick thin or wear a certain size — just to be healthy and comfortable. If I never lost another ounce it would have been worth it and I’d be perfectly happy. I’m off metformin, my cholesterol is good, I can walk farther and do more things, I just feel better. Life is very, very good.

Ridiculously satisfied with myself


So every year that it is happening The Lovely Rhonda and I attend the three nights of Dave Matthews at the Gorge Amphitheater over Labor Day. My birthday is September 7th so sometimes it’s right at my birthday which is cool.

The way Labor Dave works is that you camp for the long weekend, from Thursday to Monday, and you hang out with your friends. There is carousing and eating and drinking and whatever. The Gorge campground is a bustling place and gets rather crazy. We camp in the ADA section which is purportedly less wild and crazy than the non restricted section, of which I have heard such tales that would make your proverbial wig flip right into another dimension.

The first year that we started doing this we jokingly named our encampment Camp Morningwood because it was us boring old married two lesbians, our friend Joni (straight and unattached), and Robert (also straight and unattached). We ladies are in our forties (okay, possibly our Extremely Late Forties) while Robert is youthful. Like 30ish? We don’t actually know, because we respect his privacy.

The next year we had a few more people and I made a Camp Morningwood sign from a canvas painter’s drop cloth which we proudly display in our camp. Every year we list the year and camp inhabitants. Visitors are asked to sign. It’s a thing.

The next year after that, I made a Camp Morningwood flag with a Sharpie and a piece of white tarp material that we had hanging around camp, and we started running it up a flagpole that Robert brings every year. It has brown duct tape on it and we just punched a couple of little holes in it to string it up, like so:


Sometime over the past year or so I bought a grommet kit at Cheap Tool Store and threw it in the garage and today I actually managed to locate it and use it, which is pretty much just short of miraculous.

First I put a grommet in one of the corners of the flag and oh my gosh. It was deeply satisfying.

New hotness

I have now placed grommets in the corners of one of our drop cloths as well as both corners of the flag, and have a couple more drop cloths to go but it was starting to get warm in the garage so I’ll finish it later, likely tomorrow. (We use the drop cloths as shade panels that we hang from the sides of our pop up shelters, because I am a pink skinned Scandinavian who burns easily.)

So what I’m saying is, if you have always wanted to place grommets in things, go to Cheap Tool Store and get you a kit! It’s crazy easy!

‘Nother Update


So you guys.

I bought a belt today.

I haven’t owned a belt in literally years.

At this point I’ve lost more than ninety pounds. When I last measured myself a little over a month ago, I’d lost 26 inches off of my various body parts from pre-surgery measurements. I’ve gone from barely fitting into size 24/3x plus-sized clothing to wearing size 16/18 pants and L/XL tops.

I went to a Fred Meyer store a little while ago and had some time to kill while I waited for a prescription, so I wandered into the clothing department and by habit went straight to plus sizes.

You guys. There was no longer anything there for me. Nothing there fits me anymore.

Recently we cleaned out our closet down to the winter coats and sweaters. Everything went except a few cardigans. I bought new coats at Costco. We donated most of the clothing to a clothing swap at a friend’s church and she told me that the larger ladies there were so happy to get clothes. It was a LOT of clothing. SO MUCH. I gave some jeans to another friend and she was happy too. We’re all just so happy over here it’s almost repulsive.

The Lovely Rhonda has lost a similar amount of weight and inches and is similarly sized to me (except I’m taller and wider in the shoulder). We tried on our motorcycle gear the other day. Our jackets were ludicrous. The sleeves hung from our arms and we looked like little kids trying on grandpa’s coats. We took it all to the consignment shop and put it up for sale, and looked for new gear while we were there. TLR found a brand new ladies jacket in size large that fit her, which pleased her to no end. I found a Triumph jacket, used but in excellent shape! Men’s, so it’s a little long in the arm and snug in the waist, but I’m happy for now.

Back to the belt thing.

I’ve recently given away most of the size 20 jeans I had bought at Ross and Goodwill just a couple of months ago, having come to the conclusion that I really was going to keep losing weight even though it feels like magic and like it won’t keep happening. Today I put on some size 18s that felt suspiciously loose.

You know how jeans get kinda baggy over the course of the day? By lunch time I was over it. I happened to be going to the Danner boot outlet store anyway so while I was there hanging out with my brother I bought a belt. And now it’s holding my pants up.

I also got new boots the other day (which my brother envied, hence the trip to the Danner store where he also got new boots today) so here’s a picture of those. My old boots are also from Danner and lasted me seven years, but they are pretty trashed and not rebuildable. These are my Forever Boots, according to TLR. I can take these in and have them repaired and rebuilt if needed. I love them.

Something’s Afoot


So about six weeks ago I stepped on something in our laundry room/pantry. I thought it was a grain of cat litter and kept trying to brush it off my foot but it wouldn’t come off.

It wouldn’t come off because it turned out to be a piece of glass stuck in the bottom of my precious beautiful foot and now you get to hear the saga of what fun I’ve been having hosting this complete parasite for weeks.

A few hours after the usurper stabbed itself into my poor unsuspecting hoof I finally gave up on the idea that it was a mere crumb of litter and sat down to examine it more closely. After some painful attempts to extract whatever it was I asked The Lovely Rhonda to help and between us we managed to get what appeared to be a piece of glass out. I would have rejoiced but oh man did it hurt.

The evil bit of beer bottle (or whatever it was) glinted malevolently at me, but I just scoffed and threw it in the trash. Little was I to know the tribulations I would face at the remaining hands — shards? — of this little bastard, lo these several weeks hence.

A few days later I noticed that my foot hurt, not excruciatingly but more like irritatingly, every time I walked. Which, you know, is like every single day. This went on for a bit and then I realized that we were about to leave on the Epic Family Vacation to the East Coast and maybe I should get it looked at by a professional, since it was still bugging me and we were going to be traipsing all over four major cities for close to a month.

I went to an urgent care and a smug, restless MD in crisp scrubs sent me for x-rays. He didn’t see any glass in my foot, told me it was inflammation, and advised me to wear cushy shoes and take ibuprofen.

I can do neither of these things. I have to wear hard plastic orthotics in my shoes just to walk upright, and I can’t take NSAIDS because I have a tiny delicate remodeled stomach. So yeah, thanks for that, Doctor McUseless.

We went on the glorious vacation and dutifully traipsed through all the major sights of the aforementioned four major cities, and each day I put a bandaid over the supposedly inflamed area of my foot and just got on with it. We covered 4-6 miles of walking a day, which for a Traditionally Built woman such as myself, with the flat feet and the arthritis and the missing hamstring etc was a significant amount of trudging.

We returned from this epic journey a couple of days ago, and I was too busy starting a new clinical instructor gig to even think about having the foot examined again, but finally today I couldn’t take it any longer and managed to get a same-day appointment at my usual doctor’s office. My provider wasn’t in but I saw a delightful MD there who was willing to give this thing a try.

For an appetizer we started off with a piquant injection of lidocaine directly into my foot. It sucked and I said some Interesting Things right out loud, which did not seem to alarm the good doctor. I imagine that if your job is to occasionally jab people with pointy objects and get paid handsomely to do so, you get used to the occasional bit of salty language.

Next we moved on to the salad course, which involved a scalpel carving into my poor unsuspecting foot-meats. Which were insensate, and it’s a good thing. Because then came the main course of using tweezers to fish around inside my foot in search of stray bits of glass. At least two were extracted. It was difficult to tell how many were removed because a) they were tiny pieces and b) there was blood. So much blood. And c) the glass was brownish and difficult to see in all that blood.

Did I mention I was bleeding my own actual blood during this part? Because I totally was.

We wrapped up this romantic occasion with irrigating the gaping hole copiously with saline in hopes of flushing out any further hangers-on. It really makes the whole event to have a syringe jammed into a cunning new entrance into your foot’s interior spaces. Just adds a certain je ne sais quois.

The tech applied a sassy little bandage to the terrorized appendage and off I went, having been instructed to not bear weight on that foot for a few days and soak the wound four times a day in salt water “to keep it open.”


If this doesn’t work I get to visit with Mr Surgeon for a more in-depth plumb of the depths of my foot.

Why we won’t be staying there again


So we booked a moderately priced chain hotel for the NYC portion of our trip and whilst we may stay in a moderately priced chain hotel again, we won’t be staying at this particular Uncomfortable Lodging, and I’m so glad you asked me for the details.

For starters, the room was almost impossibly tiny. Which was kind of expected but for real, you couldn’t swing a kitten in there let alone an actual cat. (Note: I do not condone the swinging of house pets unless the pet appears to enjoy it and then only under OSHA approved conditions)

Example of smallness: refrigerator located under tiny desk so that there was no space for legs should you wish to sit at desk for any reason. No actual wardrobe or closet, just a few hangers on a funky little rod hanging above a tiny shallow niche.

The rooms were reasonably well appointed but came with a hodgepodge of amenities that varied from day to day. Housekeeping took the soap out of our shower the second day but failed to replace it with a new bar. (Why take our soap? Like what the hell?) We used the washcloths but they never replaced those either. We had no ice bucket but the kids did. Whatever.

They never vacuumed the corridors during our stay. There was a giant snarl of hair on the floor outside our room, like someone had cleaned out a hairbrush. It appeared on the morning after we arrived and was still there when we left. The elevator just got grubbier and grubbier with bits of debris. When we went down to the basement for ice ( at the only ice machine for an eight story hotel) we were shocked to see two vacuum cleaners parked right outside a housekeeping closet. We didn’t know they had any.

The elevators were out of service part of the first couple of days we were there, but I suppose this could happen anywhere. To their credit they did get someone in right away to fix it.

Oh, the toilet. When we first arrived it made noises like a fighter jet taking off when flushed. This went in for a couple of days. Then it became blocked, and they sent “engineering” to plunge it, after which it did stop making that noise.

Breakfast. We were supposed to get breakfast each day. Just continental, nothing complicated. Our expectations were not grandiose. Which was handy, because they managed to not come close to meeting them.

First off we would send a couple of the kids down to get the food and each day they acted like the kids were lying when they were told there were five of us. So that’s nice. Secondly, there wasn’t always food available at the the appointed times and when Rhonda called down and asked if/when it would be coming the horrible gargoyle working the front desk would say “I don’t know!” as though it were a stupid question. “They haven’t told me anything!”

When we did get “breakfast” we got a brown paper sack with a granola bar that often contained nuts (I’m allergic), a Kool Aid Slammer (similar to a Capri Sun), always fruit punch flavored (the worst of all flavors), and either a banana or an applesauce cup. Uh, thanks. I guess.

I did check for bedbugs and didn’t see any evidence of them, and the linens were clean, the bed was comfortable, the tv worked, etc. I mean, it wasn’t gross. But it wasn’t that clean. The carpet felt kind of … greasy? underfoot,

2/10, do not recommend.