Another person leaving the Asian Market with a bag — he goes into a house right on the corner and pops the red gate shut.

A woman in colorful scarves and a preschooler. He hides behind a parked car, pops out and roars at her. She laughs, totally relaxed. I freak out when my five-year-old isn’t within arms’ reach of me on this street.

A short, stocky man, staggering a bit under a backpack. It’s hard to tell how much is his gait, and how much is the backpack’s weight. He shifts it a bit.

A couple, dressed casually, next to each other, chatting. The man walks in the street, says hello across the street to me. I say hi, worry about his attention not being on the car I hear coming up behind me.

A dude in running clothes, walking a very cute dog. The dog is sniffing a bush. “Come on,” running clothes dude chides softly. No one wants their dog to pee or poop right in front of a stranger if they can help it.

A woman in what I guess are intentionally tattered black leggings and tunic, smoking.

We could use some sidewalks.

I’m better now

When I first watched the first season of Great British Bake Off with the new hosts, I got the impression that they were deeply sad.

I may have been projecting.

For Luck

Eight years ago, in April, I was getting ready to play a roller derby game at Memorial Coliseum in Portland. That’s where the NBA team used to play. Now they play in the bigger arena next door.

I wasn’t the only one playing a game that day. The Blazers were playing a playoff game, too.

I’d checked the score on my Blackberry a couple of times, but we were down at least 20, and it was hard to get a signal in the basement locker rooms that smell like hockey pads. So I wrote off the Blazers. It was easy to do — lots of injuries and disappointments over the season and years. My own game needed my focus.

So I rolled out for my warmup, and after a couple of casual laps, saw someone sitting near the wall in a Blazers jersey. I stopped and showed him the Blazers wristband I was wearing over my wrist guard for luck. “So, what happened?” I asked, expecting a quick-but-friendly “yikes.”

He smiled. “We won.”

“WE WON?!”

“Brandon Roy scored 18 points in the fourth quarter.”

Is there a more pure joy than a miracle comeback — and getting the news while on roller skates?

The toddler is yelling because he wants to see the lobsters in the tank at the grocery store. A few months ago, it would have been, “more fish!” This time, it’s “I want to see fish ONE MORE TIME.”

When did he get so big?

A guy was standing on the sidewalk, in a puffy coat and knit beanie, holding something in his hand and looking toward a house. He seemed to be talking and gesturing, but I couldn’t see anyone else.

Hmm, I thought.

I didn’t have much to think about it, but I wondered if he belonged there.

But as I drove closer, I saw her. A woman, kneeling, ostensibly gardening, chatting back. Wearing a puffy coat and knit beanie.

They must’ve belonged to each other.

The women in the locker room — most easily 20 years older than me at 39 — like to chat after water aerobics.

I set my broth — on Monday I made the turkey legs — out to cool. Then, from the other room, I heard this huge crash! I thought what in the world?! And would you believe it, my glass dining room table broke. I cleaned it all up — three gallons of glass — and called my neighbor. I said, “I need a drink!” We drank wine for hours.

Did you have something hot on it?

No! Just a little cloth and a Christmas cactus! You know, I went to my homeowners’ association on Wednesday, and they said this  happens. There are pictures on the internet.

I’m never going to buy a glass dining table now.

Portland winter

I woke up when my toddler forced me to, just like I do every other day. When I say every other day, I mean every two days, because for the most part I take turns with my husband.

While I poured the water over the coffee grounds, and the toddler puttered around, I felt a warmth and calm that doesn’t come around very often. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m happy.”

I was truly glad and content in the moment.

Eventually, the five-year-old got up, and he got a longer hug than usual. I made coffee for my husband and gave him a longer hug, too. “I’m happy,” I said.

An hour later, in the minivan headed to preschool, it hit me.

You dingdong. It’s sunny outside. That’s why you feel good.


Every time.

A month or two ago, it was our family’s turn to take home the pre-k “class book.” My husband put it on top of the car while he was loading the kids in and… you can see where this is going.

Despite him calling the school immediately, tracing his path later that night? The book was gone.

The kid’s teachers and classmates were very chill about it. “That’s disappointing, but we’ll make a new one.”


Because, see, the kids make the book themselves. It’s a precious one-of-a-kind deal.

Yesterday, finally, it was our turn to take the book home again. “I’ll be careful with it,” I semi-joked, because really, how hard could it be to keep track of?

You can see where this is going.

I took the toddler out for a snack, then to his sports class. On the way out of the class, I had a weird feeling that I never put the book in the car. No, it has to be there.

It wasn’t in the car.

I panicked. In doing so, I lost my keys in the car for about five minutes.

Well, it must be at the school, then. I must have left it in the classroom. What else could have happened?

And there it was, waiting for us. I’d left it twenty feet down the hall, forgotten after stopping to read the toddler a book.

So we finally got to take the book home to read it.

It was very cute.

And we got it back safely.

A Little on the Nose

I’ve volunteered to stuff envelopes, so I show up to the Democratic Party of Oregon office and buzz the buzzer. Thirty seconds later, an older gentleman comes walking down the stairs and says hello.

“I’m here to volunteer. I’m helping with the mailing?”

“For the DPO?”

“Ummm.” (Oh yeah, DPO.) “Yes.”

“Huh, um, come upstairs.”

A women emerges from a room to the left. “Actually, come down here.”

“Come on upstairs.”

“No, it’s down here.”

They go back and forth three or four times, civilly, neither offering any more information to me or to each other. Finally, thankfully, another woman pokes her head around the corner to set the record straight. “We’re doing the mailings down here.”

So down I go, and duly stuff my appointed envelopes for the 973xx zip codes.

It doesn’t occur to me until about a week later that this exchange might have been a little too illustrative of the Democratic party as a whole.


I’m headed toward the self-checkout when I see a woman in a long, elaborate dress swan toward me. “Swanning” is the only way she can move in this costume, with a train shushing around her on the not-quite-clean grocery store floor. Suddenly, she’s pivoting and turning back.

“What did you need help with?”

Her dress moves with her. Someone’s having trouble with their scanner. Someone always is.

I wonder how she’ll deal with this all day, and why anyone would want to.