Update from the Big Elk

I think my manuscript might actually come together. Today I printed out a lot of poems and loosely organized them. I wasn’t happy with the title I used previously, but I’ve settled on a new one, thanks to Mike Green, my previous director at Intel. Mike’s a writer also, and when he said, “I wish I’d written that,” I listened.

But I found another reason why I’m still married (and remarkably happily so) after all of these years. Ben has surprised me from time to time in what he reads. I subscribe to a number of relatively weird (or at least esoteric) publications. One of the ones that Ben reads regularly is The New York Review of Books. Not what I would have chosen for him to read, but I’m glad he likes it as much as I do. Reading this weekly gives you a taste of reading much more widely and a hint as to where you might read more deeply. That’s where I discovered E. B. White’s collected letters, for example, a book that almost instantly catapulted to my list of all-time favorites.

But Ben likes the NYRB I think for much the same reasons I do. I was putzing around in the kitchen the other morning when he said, “OK, it’s finally happened. There’s a word here that I don’t understand.”

He brought the magazine out to where I was puttering around. I didn’t have my reading glasses, but between the two of us and his spelling efforts, we determined that the word in question was “misogynist.” “Do you know what that means?” He asked. I told him it was a word that describes someone who hates women.

“That would be a very hard word to use in a sentence,” he said, and I fell in love all over again. Ben is definitely not a man who could comprehend hating women. . .

The hummingbirds are eating me out of house and home. I had to buy ten more pounds of sugar yesterday (just got ten a week or so ago). But they are consuming about two quarts of syrup daily. Our count is up to about 20 at feeding-frenzy times, early morning and late evening. I’ve seen 10 sitting on the 6-hole feeder numerous times. They’ve learned to share holes so more can feed at the same time.

We’ve had two days of fairly heavy rain. But the Rose Festival parade was this weekend, so it should clear up any time now.

Ralph made enchiladas (with close supervision) tonight. He’s pretty well mastered the art of corned beef, so this expands his repertoire. They were very good, topped with “the whole Marianne,” a salad of lettuce and tomatoes and olives, and accompanied by guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

It’s 9:30 and still basically daylight outside. I love this time of year. By the time I get everything shut down, it will probably be dark. And so to bed.

17 Responses to “Update from the Big Elk”

  1. jackiesgarden Says:

    Thank God that misogynist isn’t a word we hear or read often – it’s hard to comprehend how ANYONE could hate an entire gender.

    Our hummer population was huge this spring, though they have slowed down this last week and I’m not refilling feeders daily. I was afraid I was going to have to take out a loan to buy sugar! All the wild rose bushes are blooming now and I think they’ve found plenty of other food sources.

  2. jackiesgarden Says:

    P.S. Good luck with your manuscript!

  3. jackiesgarden Says:

    I just got curious about your “Big Elk” header – so went through some of your older posts to determine what these words referred to – and discovered you are in Oregon. I lived in Newport for 17 years, my youngest (35 now) was born in Lincoln City, my daughter lives in Eugene and my brother in Waldport. We were in all those cities in April – and I got to enjoy fresh seafood! Yum. I still miss fresh!

  4. whig Says:

    Misogyny is unfortunately all-too-common, and it isn’t even as politically incorrect as hating people for their skin color.

    For that matter, consider the “pro-lifers” who dominate Republican discourse and simultaneously with trying to limit women from even having access to emergency contraception will favor the death penalty and advocate for war.

  5. mklekacz Says:

    Whig, I think that is why I’m so fond of a man who would find it difficult to use “mysogynist” in a sentence. a good Catholic boy (since reformed) who clearly learned from the nuns at his parochial school that to own a word you must be able to use it in a sentence.

  6. mklekacz Says:

    Jackie, you don’t say where you are now, and I’m curious.

    But you are absolutely correct in locating me. I am about an hours drive from Newport, but only because of the roads (the first 11 miles are gravel). It’s about 25 miles. It’s probably less than 10 miles as the crow flies, so that tells you something else about the roads here.

    I went to Waldport today to meet with my writers’ group.

    As to the hummers: It isn’t just the roses blooming. When they start nesting, they frequent the feeders less often. I’ve been sort of watching for that (it slows down the need to make sugar water), and our population is thinning, too. But trust me, it will pick up again.

  7. jackiesgarden Says:

    Marianne, we live on 50 acres outside Spokane WA. I was raised in Coeur d’ Alene and then moved to Newport. I came back to Spokane when my sister’s husband died – and have been here every since. My oldest moved back to Newport after she got a divorce, and then on to Eugene to finish her degrees – and she’s stayed there. My brother never left Newport after I did – until he moved to Waldport. He is a retired ‘hippie’ now and lives on the Alsea where he’s growing tomatoes hanging down out of the bottoms of buckets this year! I have a niece and best friend in Newport, too, so we usually get to Oregon a couple times a year.

  8. Lisa Hostick Says:

    Hmmmmm…I wonder if the tomatoe pots are like the “Down Under” planters that I have seen at shops in our area. From the looks of them, it seems that watering would be pretty efficient.

    Just curious.

  9. whig Says:

    Hey Marianne, I just got back to California after a difficult trip, our plane was delayed from departure scheduled to leave Pittsburgh at 6:15pm and when we arrived at the airport (at precisely 4:20pm) and finished checking in our rental car and getting through security, it was showing as delayed to 6:20pm, and there was another flight waiting to leave at our gate so we had dinner. When we got back it was still showing as 6:20 but there was another flight that had been delayed and was showing as scheduled from our gate at 6:10, so it seemed like a possible problem.

    Then they started bumping back the time for our flight. 6:55. (Times are approximate here, I didn’t record it at the time.) There was a long line in front of the gate agents so when my wife suggested I get a preboard so I wouldn’t have to stand for a long time on my legs, I said I’d have to stand a lot longer in that line.

    We were watching the delays because we had to make a connection in Los Vegas and had an hour and a half layover scheduled. (Amazing how that sounds, given Vegas’ reputation. Our flights were an hour and a half apart, for the benefit of possible foreign readers.) I decided to go check the departures board, which was a bit of a distance but it’s actually easier for me to walk than stand because I am distributing my weight across my hips and not holding it all in one place for a long time, and it is also hard to sit in one position for a long time.

    Anyhow, my wife decided she’d better get in line in case we’d have to rebook a later flight out of Vegas, and it turns out the Philadelphia airport was shut down due to weather, and our flight is supposed to be originating from Philadelphia. It starts getting later, and it’s going to be a problem.

    So I call my mom, who’s a retired travel agent, and tell her the situation, she gets on the threeway with the airline. Meantime my wife is still in line, it’s barely moved, maybe six feet in thirty minutes. We’re not the only delayed flight, of course.

    So Pittsburgh is swamped because of the US Open, hotels are completely full and talking to some of the other waiting passengers, they are charging $300 a night. My mom and my wife talk for awhile. We can go back to my folks’ tonight, but we’d be no closer to getting home, and our bags have already been checked. We’d rather go to Vegas and if we have to get a hotel there we’re able to find rates under $50. Flights from Vegas to Oakland are regular, and it wouldn’t be hard to get out in the morning.

    Well, Philadelphia is still stopped, we can’t get anywhere at the moment, and it gets later to the point we were going to have to take a bus back to my parents’ because they couldn’t come out to the airport that late. We’re pretty well committed to getting some forward progress out of town, so we stick it out. Nobody knows if our flight is going to come tonight, but we rebook for the second leg in the morning. Eventually we are told there will be no possibility of anyone making connections tonight in Vegas.

    We’re trying to decide whether to book a hotel room, but if our flight left so late that we’d be able to get a morning flight without there even being time to leave the airport and come back, it wouldn’t make sense, and that’s exactly what wound up happening. Our plane finally got off the ground in Philadelphia, and the waiting passengers cheered. At this point we were scheduled to leave Pittsburgh at 11:55pm.

    Pretty close, and we got in to Vegas at around 1am, but figure three time zones. It was “4am” by Eastern daylight time.

    We got a flight out at 6:40am. Had to sleep on the floor of the airport. It didn’t smell very good. Finally got home, and for the first time in a week I have my medicine. It’s like returning to the free world.

  10. whig Says:

    One correction…We landed in Vegas at precisely 4:20am Pittsburgh time. Twelve hours from the time we’d arrived at the Pittsburgh airport.

  11. whig Says:

    And I wandered around my apartment now and saw that every clock is different, my laptop is on Eastern time, my cell phone is on Pacific time, my clock on the wall is correct but the clock on my stove is wrong because there was a power outage right before we left.

    And the song came to me (often, when I write many words I find a musical connection)…Does anybody really know what time it is?

  12. whig Says:

    And I see having fixed my laptop’s time zone, it is indeed 11am.

  13. mklekacz Says:

    Jackie, thanks for the info. Let me knopw next time you’re coming this way. I’ll buy you a cup of something.

    Lisa, I saw “upside-down” tomatoes at the mursey this week. It must be the next Big Thing.

    Whig, glad you made it home safely. Your story just reinforces my decision to explore train travel. I was very impressed when we were back eqast.

  14. whig Says:

    I think travel by rail sounds like a great thing if you have the time to do it, but we wanted to spend a week and not a month. Cross-country visiting is a luxury, I know, but if my parents will not move West then we must go east to see them.

    Leaving California is a pain altogether with the circumstances of medical patients being subject to prosecution in other places. What an evil thing.

  15. mklekacz Says:

    Whig, hope you’re recovering. . .

    Are your parents retired? Buy them a train trip instead. . .

  16. whig Says:

    Much better here, yes. They aren’t retired, though they do a bit of their own traveling. Mostly to Los Angeles to see the grandkids, we’ve only lived in Berkeley for less than a year. We’re probably going to have to go back east to visit with an aunt and uncle, my aunt is in a wheelchair and travel is harder for her.

    I don’t really want to be a jetsetter. Travel is unpleasant until the laws are changed, and that needs to happen. Even if I have to get a valid recommendation from a physician in whatever place I have to visit. The West coast seems to be fine. I wish I could convince them all to move out of places where I am not comfortable visiting, but that isn’t my choice.

  17. jackiesgarden Says:

    Thanks, Marianne! I may take you up on that!

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