Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Since Jamie asked to see them, here's one of my new hooves. If you don't frighten easily, click here to see what they look like on my not-very-pretty-at-all feet.

I realize now that they are not by a long shot the most attractive items of footwear on the sandal spectrum, but they are the only ones I could find that won't wreck my feet if I walk more than half a block in them. If you can wear cute sandals in comfort, count your blessings!

Anyway, I should say that I'm hoping these new hooves won't leave me with any new festering wounds. They aren't completely identical to the hooves I had to put out to pasture, but they're close. As soon as the sunburn heals and the blisters on the bottoms of my feet deflate a bit more, I'll test them out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blistered and Burnt

I really racked up my feet over the weekend. Friday evening B and I and our friend T.O. walked to a bar about a half mile away. Since it was sunny and summery, I wore a skirt and platform sandals that look like this except without a trace of Gothiness. After we had a beer, we decided to walk another mile or so over to a Middle Eastern restaurant.

But by the time I limped across our threshold later that night, I knew the sandals had let me down. In the past, I’ve walked up to five miles in them without incident, which made me very happy because up until I bought these sandals (B calls them “hooves”) every other pair of sandals I’d ever worn (from age 4 onward), had done something unspeakable to my poor feet. So finding the hooves was a godsend.

But as I said, they let me down on Friday. I think the problem is that, basically, they’re just worn out. The wide canvas band that secures my foot to the footbed is coming loose on the right sandal. I think that explains why I got the blisters—my right foot was slip-slidin' around as I walked. I’m hoping, however, I can find a new pair of identical hooves. Are they still in style?

Anyway. I laid kinda low on Saturday and to keep the hobbling down to a minimum. And by yesterday, the blisters weren’t bothering me much. Time for a hike! A hike near the Coast so that we could escape the 101 degree heat in Portland (you read that right--one hundred and one farking degrees in the supposedly cool-summer Pacific Northwest).

B and I drove until we got to the western edge of the continental United States, where is was breezy and the absolute perfect temperature. We walked barefoot along the sand as the Columbia River occasionally lapped over our feet. It was heavenly! I don’t think I’ve walked barefoot for any length of time since I was a kid. We kept walking until the Columbia met the Pacific Ocean and became markedly colder! Then we walked back.

We congratulated ourselves on how we’d managed to find a relatively uncrowded and delightful beach on a day when most of Portland probably fled to the Coast. It even had an eerily picturesque shipwreck submerged in it. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" has been stuck in my head ever since I laid eyes on this wreck, which, by the way, is the Peter Iredale, a British sealing vessel that ran aground during a storm in 1906.

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

We got home after sunset and that’s when we noticed that we had both managed to burn the tops of our feet. B has never in his life worn sandals or shoes without socks so, basically, he was exposing virgin flesh to the sun when he trooped down the beach barefoot for six miles. It now looks like he’s wearing pink socks. I have two angry, amorphous red blotches on the tops of my feet. And one of the blisters developed another blister on top of it. I don’t quite understand how that happened, but I guess I can see (now) how walking on abrasive sand might not be conducive to blister healing.

At least we didn’t step on any jellyfish. These horrible things were all over the place!

Dead Jellyfish

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Swim Suit Issue

What was I thinking when 10 to 12 years ago I ordered this bathing suit from—dare I admit it—Victoria’s Secret?

Droopy Drawers

What attracted me to it? Was it the boob-squishing sports bra-like pullover top? Or was it the bottoms with their ultra high-cut leg, tres chic back then (I think). Today, the bottoms look like a toddler’s diaper (fully loaded). If you think it looks bad in the photo you should see what it looks like when I emerge from a hot tub or pool or the Willamette River. Droopy drawers!!!!

Really, what a hideous bathing suit! Dead unsexy. It didn’t always look quite as bad as it does today. Chlorine has taken its toll, dulling down the color and destroying the integrity of the elastic, but there was a time (maybe a year or so after I bought it) when it looked OK. The waistband sort of cut my pooky little tummy in half, giving the false impression that I have an almost flat stomach and the ultra high-cut leg made my short legs look a bit lengthier. So that’s why I bought it. Of course, a depilatory was a must.

But given the ungodly state of the suit now, I’m sure everyone is wondering why on Earth I still have it. Apart from the fact that I keep all clothing for forever and a day, there’s another reason I still have the suit* and the reason is pictured directly below.


I bought this suit about two years ago, when a swimsuit emergency arose. That emergency consisted of my realization that I was scheduled to go to Bagby Hot Springs with a group of people I didn’t know too well. There was no way I was going to be prancing about in that droopy drawers suit in front of them. Off I went--at the end of August--to try to buy a bathing suit. As everyone but me probably knows, the swimsuit pickin's are slim to nonexistent at that time of year.

I was forced to buy the suit pictured above. A suit that that didn’t fit me then, doesn’t fit me now, and won’t fit me in the future. Somehow, though, at the time I deluded myself into thinking that I would lose a few pounds and the bottoms would fit just fine.

Pause for laughter to subside.

I was so obsessed with the bottoms that I sorta kinda failed to realize that the top was also too small. Those of you who have met me in person can attest that I am no Jayne Mansfield, but I’m telling ya, I sure feel like her when I put on that top. And not in a good way. What’s really funny is that this is one of those tops with little pouches in them where, if you are so inclined, you can tuck in those Wonder Bra-style pillows or puffs or whatever you call them. As if there would be any room! I just cannot imagine what would happen if I tried that. I’d look like a freak (more of a freak)!

I last wore the above suit—the dinkini, as it shall henceforth be known—a couple of weeks ago when I went out to the Coast. Having lost 10 lb (mas o menos) with the King, Prince, Pauper diet, I thought I just might not look too terribly bad in it. Maybe I’d even look good. Wrong! The suit is still too small. Because it always was too small. Perhaps it would have looked OK on me when I was in high school and so farking skinny and on the wrong track that I stopped getting my period. But now? No. It’s just not my size, nor was it ever my size. I bought the wrong size in a moment of panicky delusion.

Unfortunately, I was forced to confront the unsightly, artificially induced bulges for about 45 minutes straight while I waited for the hot tub at the inn to fill up, because the changing room features a full-length mirror that takes up an entire wall. What is up with that? Criminy! I think that that was what finally drove it home for me: I have got to get myself a suit I feel mentally and physically comfortable wearing. (Need I mention that the dinkini binds at the closure in the back of the bra top and around the waist?)

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a suit that I actually felt comfortable wearing. I can remember some real monstrosities from early childhood onward. For example, I learned how to swim while wearing a hideous fleshtone one piece that had two weird oval cutouts at each side of the waist. I recall that it accentuated my little potbelly most unflatteringly. Then there was the urine yellow “convertible” suit. It was like a bikini but it had this veil-like thing that snapped into the bra and hung down over the tummy. Sort of an early tankini, I guess, but it was rubbish. Those snaps dug into my flesh, too. When I was in high school, one-piece “maillots” were in style. Invariably, they were too short for my torso, and you know what that means: I was constantly hiking that thing up. Once it was decently covering my boobs that meant my ass was hanging out of it. Oh the memories. And there were any number of other ill-fitting suits that were always creeping up my butt or threatening to unmoor a boob.

Anyway, I have hope that I may finally have found—after all these years—a suit that I will be happy with—one that will fit and that will look good. I bought it at a shop called Poppi Swim and Sport that is mere steps from my house! Every single suit in the shop is stylishly retro and made to cover a real woman’s ass. And if you don’t find one that fits, they’ll custom make one for you! At a very reasonable price, I might add—totally in line with what you would pay at a department store, but made locally instead of by serfs in China. In fact, the suits are very, very locally made. As I was trying on suits the owner, Pamela, was clacking merrily away on a sewing machine, seaming up a top.

I tried on about eight different combos before settling on this top and these bottoms in this fabric. May I just say that this was the first time in memory I haven’t gotten fed up and cantankerous shopping for a swimming suit? And really, I would have been happy with any number of the suits they had. The other great thing about the shop is that if they don’t have what you want in your size, they’ll just make one up for you in your size. That’s what they’re doing for me, since they didn’t have the size of bottoms I needed in the fabric I wanted. What service! My suit is going to be ready around July 4th weekend, which should be right about the time it finally gets warm and summery in Portland.

*I realize I didn't really explain why I still have the droopy drawers suit. Until I lost the 10 lb, I knew better than to even attempt the dinkini, so on the rare occasions I've had to wear a suit in the past couple of years I've been forced to resort back to the droopy drawers, horror though it is.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Drug of Choice

I supposedly don’t consume caffeine except on “special” occasions, those occasions being when I have a migraine headache and I take a dose of Excedrin, which contains aspirin, acetaminophen, and 130 mg of caffeine. The caffeine is the secret weapon.

But lately I’ve been indulging in a certain murky brown liquid known as Vietnamese iced coffee. Boy, does that stuff pack a wallop. It’s just the thing need when I’m on deadline and I need a little artificial motivation when I start to flag.

It used to be that I’d only get an iced coffee every couple of months or so. But lately—I’m not quite sure why—it seems that every time I am in the vicinity of My Canh Vietnamese restaurant, I’m ineluctably drawn in there. And I’m in that vicinity at least a couple of times a week, as My Cahh just happens to be in the same neighborhood as the FedEx and UPS drop boxes, my bank, and the library. My thinking goes something like this, “Hey, I just dropped off a completed assignment in the FedEx box, why not reward myself with a Vietnamese iced coffee?” Or, “Hey, I just deposited a check, why not use a just a teeny-tiny fraction of it to get a Vietnamese iced coffee, since I'm in the neighborhood anyway?” Or, “Hey, I just did all this research at the library, and now I’ve got to go home and churn out some work, why not get myself a Vietnamese iced coffee as an incentive to be extra productive?”

It’s gotten to the point that the lady who owns the restaurant gives me this knowing little smile when she sees me walk through the door. She always waits for me to place my order, but she knows exactly what I’m there for. She never anticipates or comments. She makes me ask for it. She’s the man.

Except once. Once she asked me with that oddly crafty smile of hers, “You like better than Starbuck?”

Of course, "I like better than Starbuck!" Isn’t it obvious? I’m in here all the time, and I’m totally freakin’ addicted to that murky brown concoction of yours!

I’ve tried making it at home. I mean what is it? It’s just really strong coffee and some sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice. But I cannot create a version that even comes close. Of course, that may be because I make my version with decaf coffee. Who am I trying to fool? I’m slowly but surely readdicting myself to caffeine. So what? Is that really such a bad thing?

Maybe not. But maybe for me, it’s not so great. The whole reason I went off of caffeine in the first place is because an acupuncturist suggested that it might be a contributing factor to my migraines. In a way it was nice to be off of caffeine. I no longer absolutely without fail had to have a cup of coffee every morning or suffer the consequences later in the day—a blinding headache far worse than most migraines.

My migraines aren’t as frequent as they used to be, but I’ve been noticing that Excedrin doesn’t knock them out quite as well as it used to, probably because my body is becoming accustomed to caffeine again. Also, the Vietnamese iced coffees don’t quite make me feel like I can conquer the world the way they used to either. Yet more evidence that I’m readdicting myself. Hopefully, I will be able to keep my addiction under control (yeah, that’s what they all say!) and won’t end up like Marcel Proust who eventually pretty much gave up food and subsisted on a steady diet of café au laits.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Horse Latitudes

I haven’t been terribly inspired to blog lately (as you may have noticed). I’m never sure if I should just “force” myself to post something shoddy and slapdash or just let my blog drift—as if it were stranded in the Horse Latitudes—until I feel like I have the time and inspiration to write something worthwhile. I have opted for the former today.

It’s not that there isn’t anything going on in my life, rather it’s that there’s too much and I’m just not able to sort out much time for “quality” blogging. I’m sure everyone can relate.

I’m sitting out on my patio writing this. It’s distinctly unsummery. Low, heavy clouds have been threatening rain all day and the temperature is about 60 degrees. It's exceedingly bleak and unmotivating. I’m still thinking, however, that I’ll get on my bike and ride to yoga in about 10 minutes. I’ve not been on the bike once in 2006. What a disgrace.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Trifle Glazed

I just got back from dinner, most of which was spent scribbling madly away in a notebook like the eccentric, wild-haired* spinster I’m sure the entire waitstaff took me to be. I had planned to write up a blog entry based on my notes about what I’ve been up to the past few days. But now, one dirty martini and one lovely hop-perfumed Wakonda IPA later, I am feeling like that is way too daunting a task. I seldom have more than one drink and I’m feeling a trifle glazed.

But here's one thing from today. Someone set up a swing over a dune on a remote hiking trail. How gonzo.

Gonzo Swing

The swing is suspended from a tree that is growing out of the ground at a precarious 45-degree angle. Of course, I wanted to have a go. The thing that persuaded me that it was safe was the message painted on the seat and the fact that someone took the time to varnish the seat. I figure anyone who’s going to go to that much trouble to cut out a round swing seat on a jigsaw (or whatever kind of saw you use to make something round), paint a warning on it, and varnish it can be trusted also to hang it from a strong-enough rope and a reliable-enough tree.

And, you see, I’ve lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, about the only thing that happened after I managed to maneuver myself onto the swing, was that I twirled around counterclockwise for a bit. I couldn’t really work up any momentum that would have given me thrilling glimpses of the dunes beyond. Still. I’m glad I gave it a whirl. It brought back fond memories.

My dad constructed an almost identical round-seated swing (sans safety warning) in our basement. I loved swinging on it. Especially in the winter while my dad “jogged” around the perimeter of the basement.

Speaking of eccentric. Here’s how my dad’s jogging routine went. First he’d put on a record—either Neil Diamond (Moods—I know this comes as no surprise) , Joni Mitchell (Ladies of the Canyon) or Miles Davis (Bitches Brew or Kind of Blue) and then he’d shuffle around the basement in his bathrobe and floppy old-man slippers like these. That’s how my dad stayed in shape in the winter. And I guess that’s how I spent quality time with my dad when I was a kid.

OK. Just one more tiny thing about today. I finally found a place in Florence, Oregon that serves good food and has great atmosphere to boot. It’s called the Waterfront Depot. I spotted last evening while digesting a rubbishy, overpriced meal from another place. I could tell immediately just based on the authentic Whitbread sign that this place would be right up my alley. I walked in and it definitely had that British pub feel to it. Wooden floor, wooden tables, wooden bar with senior citizens spooning. A massive photo of perennial sots Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton given pride of place over the windows looking out on the river. I blame those two entirely for my allowing myself to be overserved.

Anyway, for ten measly bucks I got a beautifully cooked crab-encrusted filet of halibut and a Caesar salad. What a deal! And to sweeten the deal, literally, I got a free slice of Mexican chocolate cake for being nice enough to move to another location so that a party of four could have my table.

That meant I was then ensconced near the high-traffic Loo with a View™, but that cake more than made up for it. Also, it then occurred to me that I might as well have a bit of a tinkle in the Loo with a View™. Here’s the view one sees while perched on the commode. Here’s the view one would see if one had brought binoculars and a chainsaw into the Loo with a View™. I must say it was one of the more pleasant restaurant bathrooms I’ve been in. They store wine in there as well. Sounds like something you might do, Diana.

*I don’t know if it’s the wind and the salt-air or what, but my hair is sticking out horizontally from my head like Bozo’s, adding greatly to the eccentric spinster vibe emanating from me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Female on the Beach

Rolling Dune
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Not only was I the only female on the beach this afternoon, I was the only human walking down five miles of pristine dune-framed Oregon beach. The wind erased my footprints in a matter of minutes.

Yes. Once again I find myself on a clam chowder and hiking binge on the Oregon Coast. It was such a success last year that I’ve decided to make it an annual event.

Shifting Sands

Hard to believe that a stretch of beach this beautiful would be deserted, but it was. I could have kept going for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles (to paraphrase The Who).

I stopped and watched a convocation of eagles (or possibly a kettle of hawks) cruise and swoop overhead. They were huge and majestic and utterly silent. I got a bit lost—but not panicky lost--traversing the dunes. There really aren’t any landmarks to speak of. I inspected this intriguing sea vegetable. A while back, Jamie sent me a regional Northwest cookbook that has a recipe for pickling these things. If the one I saw hadn’t been swarming with flies, I might have “harvested” it.

I crunched over beach detritus—severed crab claws, former scallops, defunct razor clams—and wondered if I was accelerating in any meaningful way the evolution of the shells into grains of sand. Are, in fact, seashells a component of sand? Surely they must be, but isn’t sand mostly silicon? I should know this. At some point I probably did.

Best of all—I’ve got everything I need for an evening of pure self-indulgence and pampering.

The Collected Stories of William Trevor (I'm rereading this with great relish and awe at his skill as a storyteller.)
A tote bag of knitting
My laptop and free WiFi
A bellyfull of quite passable clam chowder and Bombay Bomber IPA from Eugene's Steelhead Brewery
A coffeemaker procured by special arrangement with the innkeeper
Wiliam Sullivan’s 100 Hikes: Oregon Coast and Coast Range
A baggie full of bridge mix

In about 15 minutes I will head over for my private appointment with the hot tub and stew myself into a prune.

Flooded Dune