Whale fluke

Dana's memorial, in more detail

Several days ago, last Sunday, I was back at work and a co-worker, conversationally, asked how I'd spent my weekend. I was vague at first. A little while later, during a lull when we could talk in more depth, I told them why I'd been vague: it felt weird to be conversational about going to Dana's memorial-fundraiser at Beulahland the night before. It could have been like "Do anything fun?" "Oh, I was at an event that happened because a good person died."

Last Saturday, I was at an event because a good person died. Now I feel up to going into more detail about that.

I took it fairly easy that day, wanting to save my energy for late in it. Did driving errands earlier, got groceries, and rested, and that was mainly it. Then back in the car, searching for parking in the relatively tight area near Beulah, and was there slightly ahead of the event start time, in the bar that like many dive bars always seems under-lit even at max light settings. People had started to gather; regular Saturday night clientele were there in force. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) was on one of the projection screens, on quietly in the background and still funny.

My poem for Dana was up.

My words are there for the rest of this month, words that I hope help people as they remember her or learn of her, along with other artworks made in her memory. I took a look at those pieces. (One of them is above my poem in the preceding photo.) I later found that one artwork had already been bought, which contributes to the new scholarship fund in Dana's name, the Dana Thompson Memorial Fund of Awesome.

We got a decent turnout of Dana's friends and acquaintances. After a time, the bar turned off Christmas Vacation and started a slide show of pages from the upcoming memorial book. It reprints the art on Beulah's walls for the current show, and includes photos of her and short essays from other friends of hers. One page is about her cats, George and Gracie — who she named for the humpback whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — and their new home, which they're adapting to.

I got a ginger ale — no drinking anything hard, since of course I'd driven — and got hydrated: good idea just in general, plus I wanted to be ready to speak. Around 9 o'clock, the speaking part of the event began: co-organizer Angelee Van Allman introduced the event, co-organizer Christine Claringbold said more about what we're doing to keep Dana's memory alive, then Van Allman introduced me to read my poem.

"This won't take long," I told our audience, to (thank goodness) some chuckles.

I'm not used to reading my work aloud. I'm literally a published writer, and not just because of my 15-year-old blog and my three years as a newspaper writer-reporter, but getting up in front of people and saying what I'd written is much less usual for me. I mainly hoped not to do any of the Poetry Slam clichés, and speak clearly enough and with enough variety of tone, not flatly reading at the iPad while not looking around, to get my message across. So I'm not a good judge of my speaking/performing voice, or how well I made eye contact with those who were listening. But I read it, and said "Thank you," and got a good response, and was able to hug Mary-Suzanne right after stepping away from the mic.

(A section of my poem refers repeatedly to different people: a "you and you and you" part. Some days before I'd wondered how to handle that, and I'd decided I didn't want to do the obvious thing of looking directly at different people while saying it. That felt cheesy and possibly manipulative. Instead, I closed my eyes for that line.)

I didn't stay much longer after that. I had work hella early Sunday, as I do each Sunday, so I found Ms. Claringbold and donated to the DTMFA then left. Then home. Meanwhile, the event went on, and DJs who'd known Dana started playing Portland punk songs they felt she would have liked.

The next fundraiser, DanaFest, happens Tueaday, Dec. 31st, her birthday, at Twilight Café and Bar on SE Powell near 14th. Twilight was one of Dana's places: she sang there as part of the band Dartgun and the Vignettes. Live music, more memories, more remembrance.

A memorial and fundraiser. It happened.

This will be a short, basic entry.

Saturday night, Beulahland hosted the first fundraiser for the new non-profit that is raising money for a scholarship fund. The fund is called the Dana Thompson Memorial Fund of Awesome.

The fundraiser also was the debut of the art show dedicated to Dana and her memory: art's up on the walls and will be for the next month.

One of the pieces is my poem, "After: a poem for Dana." And on Saturday night, I recited it to the people in the bar.

I'm noting this here so at least this is on the blog before I go to sleep tonight; I'd planned to write a blog entry today but wound up napping after work until, um, late.

More, perhaps, soon. But: it happened. And Dana's remembered.

Slightly shorter steps

One of my feet, my left one, is a little sore.

It was more sore yesterday, which I had to deal with while on the job, which involves lots of walking. I'm thinking I shouldn't have gone a long distance at lunch that day (the McDonald's in Concourse C) but stayed closer to the valet booth.

Anyway. Today I've been more careful. Indulged in a bath in the morning, and massaged the foot a bit. For ambiance I listened to Abbey Road, often smiling at the music.

Then I still got out and about, just more gingerly than usual. Route 10 to Route 75 to NE Glisan, where I got onto the 19 after waiting for a bit at the Glisan and Cesár E. Chavez traffic circle...

...then got off at NE 28th so I could spend time at Beulah.

Been home since early afternoon, sitting and reading plus doing laundry. Today's been about not having to move too fast, so that my foot will soon improve.

Poem thoughts that aren't poetic yet

I gave myself a deadline that I probably won't make. Whoa, that sounds portentous and ominous; I don't mean that at all. But I wanted to acknowledge it.

On Saturday will be a reception at Beulahland honoring Dana Thompson and her memory. On display at the bar/diner will be the poem I wrote as a way of dealing with Dana's loss. The deadline I gave myself recently was to finish my next poem by Saturday.

That poem's gone slowly. To be more honest, it's still just notes. Ideas that aren't yet quite connecting, let alone coalescing into a structure.

Without getting into what I think and hope the new poem's subject will be, some of those notes have more to do with what I don't want the poem to say. I write this badly, it could be incredibly smug, know-it-all and self-righteous. Hear about Chris Pratt's poem that lots of people took him to task for? I'm worried this poem of mine could wind up like that.

Still, knowing what you don't want a piece of writing to say is part of the process. I hope I can focus my thoughts in a worthwhile way, because I want to keep writing poems, to do them steadily.

I'm tempted to post an entry...

...that is nothing but the word, in a giant font, "[REDACTED]."

Be mysterious and vague, like I'd said then deleted something I shouldn't have said, in other words.

Buuuuuuuuuuut, I won't.

...hi. *waves*
Me 3

The last week or so, told quickly

Hello, December. We'll get to know each other now.

Some of what I've been to leading up to December:

Work. Including my regular Thursday shift, last Thursday, but that day I drove to the airport (very little traffic on Portland's freeways, yay) so I could hit the road for Dundee right after work. Got to my parents' place, quickly changed out of my work vest, work tie and work shirt, and joined Mom and Dad in one of their cars to go to Thanksgiving with Uncle Greg, Aunt Peg, and Cindy in Dayton.

Resting. On Friday I stayed in bed (except for a couple quick bathroom trips) until past 10 a.m. That felt luxurious.

Getting back home. That was my Friday evening, on a bright, brisk afternoon. Including stopping at a Carl's Jr., for dinner, because I had coupons for that chain.

Watching The Right Stuff. After errands Saturday morning, I decided it was a good time to invest in three hours of watching that film about test pilots and the space program. I'm glad I did.

And today, while moving a pickup truck to Valet's overflow lot very early in the morning, I saw a heron fly above Frontage Road. Slightly surreal to see a big bird that close.
Admiral Ackbar

Self-Care, Monday 11/25/2019 edition

Some days are tougher than others. Today, for a bunch of mostly small reasons, was one of those. I figured out quickly that I was cranky, and adjusted my behavior based on that. I was careful not to take my mood out on people; I very carefully vented about one frustrating issue with a co-worker. (And I first asked "Okay if I vent?") I also was cold, which is a hazard of this job, and that didn't help.

I did other things to mitigate my mood:

• I fought for warmth by getting a snack on my morning break, tomato-orange soup from the PDX Flying Elephants Delicatessen plus hot coffee. And I sipped the soup, like it was a really thick tea; didn't need a spoon.

• I paid attention to dogs. Seriously, it helps, especially as I'm a dog person. Plenty of dogs come through the airport, as pets or as service animals. I appreciate them from afar; most of the time there, the dogs are either working or likely in an unfamiliar situation, and me going up and going "Aaaaah! Can I pet 'em?" isn't fair to them. Why if I scared one? But I can still see them being good dogs, and smile at them being good dogs.

• I sat and rested, when I could. This job keeps me moving a lot, and getting a little bit of respite helped me recharge a bit.

• Some of the music that went through my head: John Williams's "Theme to Superman." GOOD MOTIVATION MUSIC. And at lunch, I briefly sat next to Beaches Restaurant, which plays mostly feel-good pop hits, a lot of it the songs I heard on Top 40 in the Eighties.

• I was honest with myself that I was having a frustrating day. I didn't deny it; instead I told myself "I want to have better days than this." There will be better days.

• I got to train. I help teach some of the people who are starting the same type of job I do, and doing that today helped me to focus on Doing A Thing. I don't want to train someone badly just because my day's frustrating.

• Inspired by the CD labels that say “PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT,” I wrote out the phrase “PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICITLY AWESOME.”

So. I did what I could. Then I got home (early, in fact), had a nice bath, ate a filling dinner, and relaxed.

Can tomorrow be better?