Friday, July 31, 2009

Relay: 9:45 pm

We are now the active van with our 3rd walker on the road. We are keeping to our estimated time and we rock!!

I have the next leg. It's 3.3 miles, probably 72 degrees, and dark. Then I will have another leg which starts about 1:30 AM.

We are having a great time, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are great.

We will become "inactive" around 4AM.

This is bliss and I can't wait to get my feet on the road!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Relay: LaPine sleep area

Sated with breakfast, armed with crosswords and books and snacks and water galore, we arrived at the sleep area. To sleep? Probably not a lot, though that would be a good idea. Our "active" time will be from around 7PM to 4AM. But sleeping in a park, in the shade (whew), along the busy street in town (but not the highway), with temperatures reaching toward 90 and beyond is not likely - or not likely except in short naps. Between trips to the bathroom, updates from our active van on times when they have mobile service, and our excitement and wanting for it to be our turn. No, not a lot of sleep.

So far my team time predictions are pretty accurate - our teammates are doing a great job. We are about 17 minutes behing my prediction - but I think the current walker will make up a little of that.

We are still excited. We are ready to go. We are doing this!

An adventure, for sure.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Relay: day one on the road

It's 10:35 AM and our first walker stepped off at 9:00 AM in Silver Lake. She has about another hour or so to go on her 8 miles. Go, Cheri!

We are the inactive van and are at the Red Rooster diner/cafe in LaPine. We are waiting for our breakfast to arrive _ yumm. Afterwards we'll have probably another six hours until it's our turn.

What will we do? I'll let you know when we decide! A couple hours need to be reserved to be at the exchange point here, so we can be told when the other van is at #16 and we can head to the exhange #18.

For now - we're hungry and are awaiting breakfast.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, July 30, 2009

relay: the night before

We are in Bend - all walkers and both drivers. With an RV which will stay here (not allowed to be on the route) and our 2 vans (well, one van and one suv). We are fed, carbed up, excited, having fun, and sprawled on just about every square foot of this apartment, including the porch. We went through a thunderstorm and pouring rain, had a slight delay due to a jack-knifed semi. And we're asleep or soon to be. There is a coffee shop across the street that opens 30 minutes before we leave.

We are ready.

We will have fun. We are prepared!

Relay: day 1 (pre-race)

The MissFit WiseWalkers are heading out today for Bend. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at St Francis school, just a few blocks from where we are staying. Tomorrow we will head out around 5:30 AM to get to the start of the relay; our step off time is 9:00 AM. Our estimated arrival at the finish line is 7:30 PM on Saturday.

I will post periodic updates as I can, depending, of course, on mobile service availability!

I am excited. I thought I was nervous, but that's not true. Everything has come together - we have a team, our volunteers, our drivers, a backup driver arriving on Friday night, we have vehicles. Little bumps along the path to tomorrow, but all is well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

kids and writing

I've discovered a wonderful new place to write: Ladybug Organic Coffee Company. Or maybe it's a wonderful new place to have coffee and eat and talk about writing. And write IF there are not a large group of kids running around.

Don't get me wrong. I am 100% behind the idea of having kid-friendly, mom-friendly, let-the-kids-be-kids restaurants and cafes. Really. And this place is great for that.

I'm probably giving the wrong impression. I did meet with a couple writer friends here for the purpose of conversation and writing - which we did. And it was lovely. And it was just the wrong day. I really do recommend it. The coffee was exquisite and the foam art on the latte beautiful; the eggs and rosemary potatoes delicious and they have homemade ketchup, salsa, and jam which are - well, no other word than - yummy.

It was just the wrong time and wrong day for me. There was a mothers' group there, each seemed to have an average of two kids with them and all under, oh, six or so. So it was noisy and visually distracting and - if I wasn't there to write - I might not even notice. So maybe this is just a heads up that, if you don't want kids running around, check with the restaurant. It's totally worth going to - but see if the monthly (yes, I overheard them say "see you next month") mothers and young children group is there if you want it quieter.

Quieter - depends on who's running the music while you're there. And for some of us, music is not an issue!

You can check here Cafe Connoisseurs and Writer Capers for more information about the place - well, as soon as the entry is updated!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

upcoming Ariel Gore workshops

This is best writing class I have ever taken! Almost painlessly you got us to write, write, write. And for me got at some new great material.
--Kitty Torres

Eight-week class starts Sept. 15

Taught by Ariel Gore

The creative jolt we all need -- for writers wanting to work on either memoir or fiction -- we'll make time to write, create new material with weekly deadlines, and improve our craft with practice and critique. Appropriate for writers working on longer projects as well as those who want to write to assignments and produce short essays and stories. The pace is quick and energizing--you won't even have time to worry about creative blocks. Class combines online discussion/critique, email, and telephone coaching. Class size is limited, so please sign up early.$275. $85 deposit saves your spot - balance due when class starts.

Click here to go to Ariel's website to register.

{Ariel} will also be teaching a 10-week memoir workshop and a 6-month book-writing workshop at The Attic in Portland. Get all the info & sign up at The Attic .

Monday, July 27, 2009

good news?

I just found out that my car's gas mileage is too good to qualify for the "cash for clunkers" program. And, apparently, my ten-year old car's gas mileage is better than the new "gas saving" cars, because the clunker-replacement cars must get at least four miles per gallon more than the clunker itself. Now adding clunker mileage + 4 mpg = Oh! still less than my TEN-year-old car.



Not that my car is a clunker. But it ain't no fancy schmancy shiny new Prius or Insight or nothin'.


At least I won't have car payments! Hang in there, ol' car, you're doin' good. You can, apparently, still beat those young whipper snappers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

five days to relay!

In five days, the MissFit WiseWalkers will be nearly one-third of the way through our 132.4 miles of the Cascade Lakes Relay. In just four days, we will be having our pre-relay team dinner at McMenamin's in Bend, Oregon. And three days from now, I will be preparing to go to bed early since from 5:30AM on Friday until after 9PM on Saturday I will be getting little sleep and walking three legs of the event.

The day is nearing and I am excited!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

announcement: publication

One of my short creative non-fiction stories, Showing Off, was accepted for publication in the fall issue of Alltopia. This time I will be able to attend the peer editing workshop and, hopefully again, the release and reading. As soon as I know the reading date, I will post it here.

In another note: the summer anthology release and reading of Write Around Portland will be on Friday, August 28th. Mark your calendars and attend this free event.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

for the Poor People's Campaign

thinking about Revolutionary Letter #19

by Diane di Prima
(for the Poor People's Campaign)

if what you want is jobs
for everyone, you are still the enemy,
you have not thought thru, clearly what that means.

if what you want is housing, Industry
(G.E. on the Navaho reservation)
a car for everyone, garage, refrigerator,
TV, more plumbing, scientific
freeways, you are still
the enemy, you have chosen
to sacrifice the planet for a few years
of some science fiction utopia, if what you want

still is, or can be, schools
where all our kids are pushed into one shape, are taught
it's better to be "American" than black
or Indian, or Jap, or Puerto Rican, where Dick
and Jane become and are the dream, do you
look like Dick's father, don't you think your kid
secretly wishes you did

if what you want
is clinics where the AMA
can feed you pills to keep you weak, or sterile,
shoot germs into your kids, while Merck & Co. grows richer

if you want
free psychiatric help for everyone
so that the shrinks,
pimps for this decadence, can make
it flowers for us,

if you still want a piece
a small piece of suburbia, green lawn
laid down by the square foot
color TV, whose radiant energy
kills brain cells, whose subliminal ads
brainwash your children, have taken over
your dreams

degrees from universities which are nothing
more than slum landlords festering sinks of lies,
so you can go forth and lie to others
on some greeny campus

THE ENEMY, you are selling
yourself short, remember
you can have what you ask for, ask for

(thanks to Ariel Gore for posting this first;
and letting me borrow it...)

Monday, July 20, 2009

whitewater day

I didn't get my Lit Star Training writing assignment done for today. I will get it done by tomorrow night, I'm pretty sure. It was a busy week and then a great, yet still busy weekend. And, as I'm typing this, my right forearm is very sore and my wrist is starting to hurt, again. Which is why I can't really finish typing my story.

I went whitewater kayaking again, today. My first whitewater trip since my first one three or so months ago, where I spilled into the water twice and lost my kayak. So I went into today with a little trepidation and a back-up plan in case I decided I really was too scared.

But I went. I stayed in my kayak. I had fun. I broke the growing ache that I would never be able to do it again. And I paddled all 13.5 miles of the Clackamas River from McIver park to Carver Park.

Ouch. My wrist hurts. Here is a picture on Flikr from autl666 of the one tiny piece of the park. I left my camera back in the car; not that I would have probably had or taken the time to get it out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

the "i thought you said"s

I was browsing the forums for my online writing workshop with Ariel Gore. At the bottom as I was getting ready to go to the next page after not finding what I wanted, I read:

You can eat your posts in this forum
I looked over at the next page marker and then thought, "wait a minute! EAT your posts?"

So I hit the back button (I'd already clicked on next) to see if that is what it said or if I was in too much of a hurry.

I was in too much of a hurry. It actually says:

You can edit your posts in this forum

Oops. I need to slow down a bit!

Friday, July 17, 2009

bumper sticker

Among other political stickers on the rear of the typical southeast Portland car in front of me, there is one I haven't seen before. Nestled amongst the more common ones, such as one for KBOO community radio and 'keep portland weird!' is:

"We're making enemies faster than we can kill them..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today I was planning to return to the kayak company where I participated in the wet exit and rescue class on Sunday for some practice. The kayak I was in on Sunday couldn't be tipped over because it would sink (it doesn't have the inserted bladders, I think that's what they're called) so there would be nothing to really hold it up. So I got to practice rescuing, rather than being rescued. Which I was fine with. There was another boat I could have tried, but I was still building confidence about being back on the water and knew the boat I was in.

So I'd decided to give it a go today and to do it in a smaller area and one-on-one. But when I called to see if someone was available, I discovered that there has been a severe algal bloom from a contributing water source, so it would have to be further away from the boathouse and in a completely different body of water. And the person who was going to do it with me was not available.

So I received a reprieve today and didn't have to go up and practice falling into the water and getting back into my boat. And I'm okay with that.

What I did instead was to come home and blow up my new Ik (Inflatable Kayak). It was still in its original box since I bought it after losing my first one. I will admit to a little hesitation about going back into the whitewater - as well as some excitement; I will be going out on Sunday and realized I hadn't checked the new boat for leaks.

Luckily, there are no leaks that I can detect at this point - yay. And I am feeling really confident about going out in this boat. It is totally different than the last Ik I had; sturdy, it's a "real" boat not a plastic play toy, it has a heavy canvas covering over the tubes.... It feels sturdy and strong.

Yahoo. Water, here I come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

new writing: JAW festival

A wonderful opportunity to see some new works of theater!

JAW: A Playwrights Festival is Portland Center Stage’s developmental festival of new work for the stage. For two crazy weeks, from July 13-26, JAW: A Playwrights Festival takes over the Armory, inside and out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10k update

I completed with my best 10k time ever. I worked hard for that time and became very frustrated at one point, after the 5k people split off and it became suddenly much more lonely as I entered the 10k route. Fortunately, I have a good friend who has been working early mornings, whom I was able to catch via messaging when I was feeling a little frustrated and needed moral support. She said just the right thing.

I completed the 10k in 1 hour and 41 minutes. Which comes out to an average of 16.3 minute miles and 3.7 miles per hour. This is a good pace for me for going this distance. I don't have any problem with going that distance - just working on increasing my speed a bit. Two weeks ago I was frustrated because I was walking 17 minute miles at five mile walks and that jumped to just over 18 minute miles when I walked six to six and a half miles. Last fall, my friend and I were happy when we completed a 10k in just over two hours (20+ minute miles).

And I confirmed that my pace breaks down a little at three miles. I completed the first three miles in just about 42 minutes, which means a 14 minute mile - wow. But then mile three to four was 20 minutes - and I was bummed. Mile four to five was about the same. Then I gave it everything I had left for the last 1.2 miles and completed that in 19 minutes, meaning a 15.8 minute mile - not bad for the final 1.2 miles!

So - I am not a race walker and I'm fine with that. Despite my crash near the middle and feeling like I just wanted to give up (okay, I admit I wanted to quit about three times during the event), I finished with good times for me and a new personal best. Now that it's done - I feel good about what I did.

writing assignment

This week's Lit Star Training assignment started out with wandering the neighborhood with a digital camera and capturing five images. These were mine, with initial comments. (There's more to the assignment, but these are my images.)

Pictographs left by an unknown person on a corner of the sidewalk. Two figures smiling, sunny, happiness, contentment. They make me smile every time I look and them. I nearly walked over them without seeing.

(I already posted this one a couple days ago.) Signs of urban life. Confusion. Too many directions, micromanagement, controlling. Taking away our right to think. Which can lead to a path of non-thinking.

Lost and not yet found. Furry pets, a rat - like a large rat, yet soft, and loved. Yay for a way where technology fails us and we resort to old fashioned sign posting. I hope they found (her).

"Beware of Cat" sign posted on the gate below a wooden archway. What a perfect perch for the guardian cat and I wonder where she is as I admire the open to the sky opening the people made for her. Welcome and beware.

Inner sanctum. Nature cannot be controlled. Denseness. Branches and offshoots and they all work together to block out the neighborhood, to reclaim the air and the sky and be alive. Wildness.

Sunrise 7/11/09

It's 5:24 AM and I'm on a yellow school bus being shuttled from a pumpkin patch near Smith Rock Park to the start line for the Smith Rock Summer Sunrise Classic. The rock formations for which this park is famous are outlined against the rising sun.


And I am on my way to my first solo 10k walk. A year ago I would not have been able to picture myself doing this.


And I forgot my camera, but that's okay. This scene, the rocks, the sun, the surrounding still snow capped mountains, the 500 or so people - all of it, is in my mind where I can revisit the experience of being here and remember.

photo of Smith Rock at sunrise from "photojg" on Flickr

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm walking along a dirt road in central Oregon. There is gray gravel strewn across the road to provide added traction, but most of it has has been pushed to the side by vehicles over time, so it sits in burms of gray and cinderblock red and sun faded white.

To my right there is a fence with vertical green metal rods, with a few inches of white painted on the top edges. Between them and wrapped around each one is barbed wire, twisted and warning. Intended to keep out only the larger livestock or wild animals, because the smaller ones can easily slither under, hop over or through, creep up or even burrow under. You can't really keep out the wildlife.

And just over the warning fence is a golf course. Among the early July yellow and brown desert grasses, the blue-gray sagebrush, and a few remaining native pines, there is a bright green grassy, knoll, a couple of mounds of pushed aside natural gray and weather beaten soil as hazards, and even more expansive patches of green. The green is dotted with hundreds of white balls, scattered like the wildflowers on the natural side of the road. An anomaly here in the desert as I walk.

And here am I thinking how outrageous this sight is. How ruinous of the landscape. Isn't anything sacred / where is the nature / what are we doing?!?

As I walk on this dirt road along side this golf course in the desert and post to my blog on my Blackberry.

book release announcement

The Lit Star Collective anthology is now published and available for sale. Click on the title to go to the website for ordering.

A collection of short fiction and creative non-fiction -- each written in eight minutes -- these gems range from the raw as originally put to paper, to the peer edited and polished story. The writing shows the strength and energy that can be generated by writing quickly and honestly using prompts. The Collective's hope is to inspire writers in the sitting-down-and-writing-process and to provide enjoyment to both readers and writers. Introduction by Ariel Gore.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

signs of urban life

...and along the way on my second walk today...

...reminds me of a song, hum along if you know it:
Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

lemonade or worm bin?

I'm faced with one of those times when I'm looking at the current events of my life and wondering whether to press on and make lemonade. Or whether I have a bunch of rinds and seeds and inedible bits only fit for the recycling worm bin.

Not that I have a worm bin. Maybe that's the problem. I can't recognize what's right in front of me.

It's these moments when I see my looking for the horse in the barn syndrome come into view. I think I'm past the Pollyanna stage - but maybe not.

Yesterday one member of my relay team had to back out for personal reasons. Nothing to be done. She may become one of our volunteers, instead, but even that is up for grabs due to family commitment. That still left us with the minimum number of walkers needed: eight.

Then today, another member had to back out to do unavoidable and unresolvable work conflicts. Now we're one short. And that one short also came with a driver. So - I'm waiting to see if we are missing a driver now, too. Which I assume is a yes.

So, I'm trying to convince the other driver to become a walker for just two of the legs.

I've found over the years that there is sometimes a line when I need to let something go rather than trying to make it all work out. And sometimes the struggle and adversity is just what I need to do and it's a good thing. And I often don't know until further down the road.

This lemons versus garbage incident comes with a $900 registration price tag (non-refundable policy) - so I have more than just spiritual and ethics reason to persevere.

And I think it will be a darned good time! Yet I still wonder... And I hope. Little Pollyanna has raised up her head and says that we CAN do it, yes, indeed.


Monday, July 6, 2009

workshop: (art and books)

From Serena Barton at The Art Of Your Life

Dear Art-Lovers,

Escape mundane life and the awful heat by meeting us in my air-conditioned studio for one of my most popular workshops!

Whether you're new to altered books or an experienced altering alchemist who needs a jump-start, you'll enjoy this inspiring and fun workshop!

Happy July!

Altered Alchemy

altered books
Books from a previous class

Transform an old boring book in to your own fascinating work of art! Come join us for this mind and book-altering workshop. No previous experience necessary--just a desire to experiment and have fun creating!

July 11, 2009 12-4:30
Tuition: 75. Bring an old book to alter. All other supplies provided!

The Art of Your Life Studio
1210 SE Oak St.
Portland 97214

To see more altered book photos, go here
To register, go here

Sunday, July 5, 2009

reading: Wednesday 7/8

From David Oates, local Portland author:


Come hear a stimulating set of readings this coming Wednesday! Nice chance to check out the new Q-Center on Mississippi too.

Portland Queer is a new collection of short fiction and nonfiction pieces. I'll be reading "Unlocking the Hips." Also reading: Ariel Gore, Jacob Anderson-Minshall (the guy who got pregnant), and Nicole Vaicunas.

Q-Center: 4115 N. Mississippi (n. of Shaver, s. of Skidmore). map


Cheers, David


Friday, July 3, 2009

call for submissions

...from Lorette C. Luzajic....
Michael Jackson Tribute anthology
deadline August 29
Michael’s 51st bday

I’m compiling and editing an anthology of writings about Michael Jackson.

Not looking for “I pray we’ll never part/ you’re in my heart” stuff, just so we get that out of the way.

I’d like to see stuff you wrote when your heart was wrenched apart by the news of his passing. I don’t want to obsess over his death, though, to balance the stories with his life.

I’d like you to write something creative about your experience of one of the songs. I’d love you to get really open and write something interesting based on one of the songs. For example, some people have never even heard of Stranger in Moscow and yet it’s one of my favourite works. Not everything is cheesy. I could argue for the creative maturity here and contrast it with the emotional immaturity that still disturbs me. I could write about why I relate so much to Song X.

I’d like you to eulogize, philosophize, lament, theorize. Write about your experience of Michael, how his magic touched your madness. Poems, too. And again, try not to write the kind of stuff Mikey did in Dancing the Dream. I want this collection to be literary, but not snobby. Think Salon or Maissonneuve or Bust Magazine or Now or Discover or Rolling Stone if I get lucky. Or just be from the heart, but come at it from a different angle.

Absolutely zero bashings about dead pedophiles. I shy away from no topic, so feel free to discuss your thoughts intelligently. Discourse is good. But understand that I go with innocent until proven guilty, and the man was found innocent by the courts, so I have to go with that unless something else comes up. You don’t have to agree with me, but there’s no point sending bashings. Thoughtful considerations of the implications of this kind of tragedy and scandal are fine.

Humour, too, please.

There’s still plenty to say about Michael Jackson. I intend to compile it.

Previously published or posts is fine by me, as long as you can prove it’s legally ok for me to use it- ie, you own the rights, or the first publisher gives me permission.

I hope to have this project out by the end of the year, crazy I know, so get writing.

I’m so sorry that I am a woman of few means and this is a labour of love, so I can’t pay you. You will be fully credited with a bio and any websites or whatever you want. It’s a great chance to use Michael Jackson stuff that might otherwise never speak to anyone. It’s a gift to Michael, too, taking his work and impact seriously.

Please feel free to send me a note with any questions. Feel free to run something by me. To check in. Don’t worry, I’m a very friendly editor and I’m not too busy for you because this project is important to me. Like I said, it’s a labour of love, and like many of you, I have a deep, abiding, intense, sometimes upsetting relationship with Michael Jackson. I believe his reign and fall say a lot about our culture, and there were so many aspects to the story that merit pondering. And so, I want to contribute to the shrines in my own way, not just by waving an old poster at the downtown memorials- though I was there, too….

Lorette C. Luzajic

Thursday, July 2, 2009


...or not.

I want to say something meaningful - worthy of taking up space. I want to give you inspiration and recognition and a boost that makes you want to go create -- something. Create.

But the truth - which is already evident in my slowed posts - is that I am feeling a little uninspired and just trying to get through each day. Well, that's being a bit dramatic. But at this moment that's how it feels and I don't see an end in sight. Which is also a lie because, while it's true that I have a very long work day tomorrow and Saturday which was book-ended with regular work days today and Sunday - I will then be off work until the following Saturday.

So - I'm feeling kind of empty and should have probably just left this post off, too. But it's already been too many days, so you get the excuses and the boring Woe, Is Me posts so that I can keep my self-designated minimum two posts a week -- or else. (I have no idea what my Or Else is.)

Next week promises to be different! Highlights to look forward to when I'm not working:
- a drive to Medford for a meeting about the relay (I was already booked for work for the local meetings; and it's cheaper to drive 9-10 hours round trip than take the time off work to go local).
- a massage
- acupuncture
- a mini-vacation to central Oregon, where I will scout out the relay route and do some training walks
- do the 10k at the Smith Rock Sunrise Classic
- therapy
- two sessions with my personal trainer
- miles of walking
- a kayak lesson on a lake: wet exits and rescues