Happy Making

Soon enough, it will be a memory.

I’d considered dragging the child out on a bike ride today but the weather wasn’t as dry as I was hoping. A slightly less risky endeavor was a shorter stroll with an excellent effort-to-reward ratio. Thus, Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close.

As we got out of the car I felt compelled to mention we were entering the environs of the Episcopalians, and to explain just what an Episcopalian was (in brief: A Catholic with a mind of their own and proper measure of empathy)

What ensued was a delightful early spring stroll + theological discussion of great breadth and scope. I enjoyed it immensely and continue to be filled with wonder and pride at the nuanced curiosity and expansive compassion my daughter expresses at every turn. Between that and the flowers, I consider her sweetness far more lovely.




1. calm; peaceful; tranquil: halcyon weather.

2. rich; wealthy; prosperous: halcyon times of peace.

3. happy; joyful; carefree: halcyon days of youth.

Every time someone asks me how I am lately the answer that first leaps to mind is:

I am amazing.

I mean this not in my typical utter-lack-of-humility-please-realize-how-awesome-I-am-as-a-human-person sort of way, but rather that I have never before in all my life been so simply, profoundly, and systemically happy. 

So too, and at last, my days are full of radiant light. I wake to each morning with an satisfaction I have never before known. It is borne of feeling complete unto myself, enjoying the pleasure of my own company, and knowing that though all the plans I had spent so much effort creating and defending have fallen away, that limitless possibilities for unimagined joy are everywhere.


How fortunate I am to have come awake to this feeling, at long last.


After winter, must come spring…

For those of you familiar with Colgate, it has been a long acknowledged fact that his primary (and perhaps sole) redeeming quality was that he was extremely inexpensive to obtain. Back in September of 2010, I found him on Craigslist for $1000 and talked the seller down to $800.

He was kinda beat up, but ran strong. He had some electrical gremlins, but once I took a refresher course in “Ignition switch workaround as effected by application of screwdriver” he always started, got me where I was going, and while utterly unglamourous, was basically quite trusty.

Until about two weeks ago when at a stop light, and for no discernible reason, he stalled. This would have been annoying enough, but paired with the fact that I have to GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GET UNDER THE HOOD TO RESTART HIM it presented an extreme inconvenience at best and a threat to my safety at worst.

At the time, I hoped it was a fluke and carried on with my day. When it happened again earlier this week, I was disconcerted, but still determined to hold out on replacing him until my tax return came in. When it happened again two days later, it was the end of the line for me and the ol’ Toothpastemobile.

So, the scouring of the landscape for my new ride began. I require and demand several important things in an auto; this narrowed the field considerably and immediately:

  • Manual Transmission*: I loathe the automatic transmission. Colgate had one and I almost didn’t buy him on account of it. With the budget I had to work with at the time he was simply too good a deal to pass on, but never in this lifetime will I consent to buy a car without a manual again.
  • Excellent Visibility: Working with only one eye makes the whole problem of a “blind spot” turn into more of a “blind hemisphere.” Most sedans have windows that can be difficult to see out of under the best of circumstances and my wonky eye can hardly be classified as such.
  • Volkswagen: I didn’t even briefly consider another make. I am a enthusiastic adherent to the cult of Volkswagen. Every day since Klaus died I have felt a hollow place inside where my farfegnugen used to be.
  • 2.0 Engine: As much as I loved Klaus, his 1.8 turbo is a notoriously troublesome motor. Talking to my VW guru before purchase, he said the single best thing I could do with the ‘wags is to avoid the turbo.

Only certain models even offer that engine: the Golf, the Jetta, and the Beetle. My first instinct was to try to find a Golf. Apart from the catchy name, it seemed to have a good amount of cargo space and they get excellent mileage. I hadn’t cared for the feel of the Jetta I had driven and worried about the Beetle having enough space to hold my skis.

I went out and drove a Golf and knew almost immediately it wasn’t for me. It handled with disappointing stiffness and lacked the luxurious appointments that I expect from a VW. It also had a shockingly large blind spot. Moving on…

I drove another Jetta, and while it performed better than I recalled, it had a hesitation in the engine that made me nervous. At this point I was curious enough about a Beetle that I wandered the lot looking for one that might suit…

Around the corner; there she was. 



White isn’t naturally a color I would gravitate toward** but somehow she looked sweet tucked back in the corner there. And, she had an all important moon roof. I eyeballed her from a dozen yards away and thought

“There is no way my luck will hold and she’ll be a manual…”

But, oh frabjous day, she was.

We went for a spin and I was immediately taken by the feeling of moving through space in a giant bubble. It was sort of odd, but ultimately pretty enjoyable. More, it was incredibly easy to see out of every angle of this car. It had the handling and appointments I was looking for, and within about ten minutes, I was sure this was the car for me.

My first drive was out Skyline, moon roof open, music blaring, taking corners at speeds much greater than strictly advisable. It was glorious; farfegnugen, regained.

And after some deliberation, her name is Svanja. German, for Swan.



*There is a whole rant in me on this subject, but I’ll save it for another day.

**Unless we are talking about boys, in which case, the pastier the better.

  [lib-er-teen, -tin]  


1.  a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, a profligate; rake.
2. a freethinker in religious matters.
3. a person freed from slavery in ancient Rome.

For every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners, saints. ~Sympathy For The Devil




I claim with pride my status as a libertine; one liberated of backwards puritanical notions of propriety, rectitude, and integrity. For all that I refuse to accept the bill of goods on offer amidst most religious doctrine that experiencing sensual pleasure in any way undermines human capacity for fidelity to the principles that truly define goodness; decency, compassion, and generosity towards oneself and others.

The devil, after all, is only a cipher for unrestrained indulgence, which is by no means what I advocate; both because of the damage it will inevitably do to the bacchant, but also for the savor it will steal from these pleasures by their constant gratification.

In this season where we strive against the encroaching darkness and aim our attention more pointedly toward the light, it is important to recall that our joy is most often derived from the presence of others and our common experiences of revelry. That what best keeps darkness at bay are throats and ears full of laughter, the warmth of a near heart with open arms, and a satiety that only libation and ailment can truly provide. We are drawn together in these ways, and they are virtuous by that very measure.

And so I raise my glass to these liberties; drink them in!


I love Christmas. I am not sure why, since I have literally had like three good ones ever, but I do; unreservedly, unabashedly, and wholeheartedly fucking love Christmas.

One would think, considering my natural cynicism and gloomery, that I would be inclined to adopt an attitude more closely echoed by the following:


But, no! While it did give me a chuckle, I find my attitude toward the holiday season to be utterly in earnest; I revel in the shiny things, I make crafts to keep and give away,** I leave candy out in bowls and boxes scattered in my wake; undermining the most devout efforts at weight control. I basically ooze Christmas. It totally gets on everything.

In this vein I went out this weekend to tame the piney beast, and cut down my own tree***

My friends Allison and Michael were also going so we decided to band together and conquer the forest en masse. We headed for Parts East and climbed Wildcat Mountain. We saw some lovely sights, as well as people tailgating their Christmas tree hunt, and located a likely spot to hunt us some tree.

The main difficulty, apart from finding a tree that wasn’t either:

a) 18ft tall

b) a bushy beautiful beast on one side and a sad dearth of foliage on the other

was getting through the “clearing” to even spot a likely candidate. Even accessing the “clearing” required elbowing through the tree break with the gusto I usually associate with navigating a crowd of hipsters on most-ironic-t-shirt-gets-half-price PBR night.

Once in the “clearing” Allison and I, both being less than 6’4″ were tree-ted to the repeated violation of our personal lady space by a range of rhododendrons, pines, and firs. Damp pants did ensue****.

Eventually, Michael, who is 6’4″ managed to spot not just one but two excellent Christmas trees. And cut them down. He beat me to it. Really.



Brought home, and lit (but not decorated further; I’m waiting for Hodie) my tree looks like this:



 I’m pretty excited about it. Once it was all set up, I was super happy to cozy up with a good book and hang out with it for the balance of my evening. I enjoy having it so much, I began to wonder why I don’t keep one year-round; apart from the obvious – The profound tree shortage in Oregon.


*Not tits the season, you pervert.

**Sorry if you have been on the receiving end of such efforts; I enjoy crafting, I am not particularly good  at it.

***Ultimately, Michael ended up doing the actually cutting part, but I set out with good intentions.

****It had recently rained. What kind of degenerate are you??

I have a dimple. And some crow’s feet, apparently.


This is news to a lot of people that know me pretty well. I recently figured out why this is; I am rarely smiling with all of my face, and it only shows up when I do. I have been seeing it show up a lot more lately. This pleases me, on many levels. 

Dawn, all purple and golden and frosted. Being awake this early always makes me feel like own more of the day. That I am embracing a greater portion of my life. This is not to say I do not relish long mornings warm in my bed, but that I also relish not having those. I trade them for a pleasure entirely different, yet no less wondrous and sweet.

I like to know exactly what is going on.

This is because I am a bit of a control freak. Having spent much of my childhood in circumstances which were chaotic and unsettled has turned me into a person who prefers a rather high degree of consistency. This is not to say I cannot enjoy spontaneity, or that I crumble in the face of the unexpected, but it is rather the case that in my day-to-day endeavors, I am happier if I know what to expect. To this end, I give a lot of thought to why things are the way they are, why I have made the choices I have, what drives me, what I might want to do differently, and occasionally, how my actions affect other people.

Turns out, not everyone does this. This came as a major WTF when it was finally explained to me. Apparently, many people do what they do without giving it a tremendous amount of thought. They don’t chase themselves around in their heads, analyzing the motive and origin of every action  they have ever taken. Weird, right?

So, I like to ask a lot of questions. Questions to which I want very specific answers.

By which I do not mean I want an answer in particular. I want the truth, whatever that might happen to be. I just want it in scrupulous detail.

“Well, was it that you found it confusing, or just annoying?”

“Did it just surprise you that it turned you on, or are you expanding your notions about your sexuality?”

“Was the whole thing gross, or was it only the texture that bothered you?”

Apparently, some people experience this as The Third Degree, and do not much enjoy the treatment. It is not that I am trying to pick them apart, but to peek inside and understand them better. I think I believe if I do this,  I can remove some of that pesky unpredictability from human behavior. For me, this is just about ensuring a high degree of accuracy in communication to facilitate more accurate predictions about the future.  Like any data, the more explicit and specific the information is, the better.


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