Thursday, November 19, 2009


1960 Rambler American

Back when I first rode around in a 1960 Rambler, I didn’t think about getting married or having a family or even whether or not I’d get an education. I don’t know what I thought about, but it wasn’t those things.

The first time I rode in that Rambler M and I were spending time together in a different way then we had previously. We’d been friends for a couple of years but I had another boy friend. Now I didn’t. I remember he put his hand on my knee as he drove and we listened to his only 4 track tape, “Happy Trails” by Quick Silver Messenger Service.
I thought it was strange that he didn’t stroke or caress my knee, he just left his hand there, still. Now, I relish the memory.

The Rambler had a four track tape player in it. Four Track tape player technology had such a short life span that they were obsolete before I’d ever heard of one and people have forgotten all about them now. The eight track tape player is infamous, but this was a four track tape player. Even in 1970 I don’t think they were much available. But I remember that tape because we listened to it over and over again.

We both lived and worked at Multnomah Falls during the summer of 1971. It was the summer after my junior year and the summer after M’s graduation. The Rambler was our mode of transportation. We’d go 90 miles an hour down I-84 between Troutdale and Multnomah Falls. We were never pulled over. I guess the police just figured their radar was wrong, a Rambler couldn’t possibly be traveling that fast.

M still had the car when we married two years later. Then, it was our car. It broke down a lot. We often had to borrow cars. One reason we moved further into town was to be nearer the better bus service so M could ride the bus to work. We might still be living in that first depressing apartment that smelled like mold and dirty carpet, M and I usually need compelling reasons to move. Of course that would mean also that we’d never have had any children or been given acreage in Corbett, but you never know what the true catalyst is for the rest of your life. Maybe the Rambler was low on gas the night my oldest daughter was conceived? I don’t remember, so it could be we had sex instead of going out for dinner. Speaking of sex, the Rambler was the best car for making out. It was good too, since it was really the only car we ever really used for that purpose. Marriage tends to move that activity indoors. It had a bench front seat. That bench would lay completely flat. Cool huh? Couple that with dark country roads and well, we were too young to be out on our own.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spring 2009, Thankfully Ancient History now!

I hate my job but every night on my way home I listen to NPR’s unemployment news and remind myself to be grateful.

When I was a young person I got a lot of negative attention for challenging my father’s authority (imagine) and for generally thinking I knew it all. My dad was an alcoholic. He was in treatment when I was a young married woman and I heard the dysfunctional family info for the first time. The family structure of the alcoholic tends to be co-dependent. The alcoholic (or the angry person, or the sickly person) is the only one whose needs matter to the group. Among the children of such a family, the oldest tends to be the hero. The second oldest, if the same sex as the oldest, will choose a different coping strategy, at the same time comparing himself to his sibling. A second boy or a second girl will often be a “scapegoat or acting out child”. In my family my oldest brother often played the hero. From my point of view my mother’s need for my brother and her general unhappiness caused him to seek outside the home to get his needs met. He was seldom home. My older sister was also a hero at times, occasionally a scapegoat, but mostly a caretaker. She put a lot of energy into teaching my brother and me our catechism and when my youngest brother was still small and my mother went back to work, Paula was surrogate mother, housekeeper and sitter. Surprise, surprise she’s had a highly successful social work career.

But I became the acting out child.

As a grade school student I was happy. There wasn’t much evidence then that I would become a rebel. I was very social and spent hours with my friends in the neighborhood. My mother was so busy trying to ignore her situation that I was allowed to spend most of my time at the park, at the neighbors, the library or in front of the tv. We did play cards quite often as a family. Those are some of my fondest memories. And there wasn’t a lot of arguing. It was a very loosely run household. There were few expectations of me, I seldom bathed, I came and went as I pleased from a young age, and I was pretty darn happy. Though the problems were fomenting, I ignored them. My sister suffered because of my parent’s neglect of many of their responsibilities, but I capitalized on them.

Then we moved to the country.

It became much harder to socialize. I made friends with everyone in my class but it was too far to walk to school. And I had to catch the bus both morning and night. I don’t remember my fathers’ drinking impacting me directly until we moved out of town. It was then that I became aware that his day was structured around alcohol. I was 12 years old. As I entered puberty I realized my family wasn’t like other families. My undiagnosed ADHD helped me be an irritable, mouthy and rebellious teen. My relationship with my father was non-existent, even though he had once been my greatest advocate, and my relationship with my mother deteriorated to mutual criticism. Because I needed my parent’s attention and neither of them were available, I set out to get it and to set them both straight.

Fast forward.
I’m tired of that subject, because the real subject I want to write about is how I feel about working for the attorneys. There is so much I appreciate about these two bosses. They are constantly trying to make my job fit me. But because I am also constantly failing to meet their expectations I feel picked on and scapegoated. They make mistakes too but no one scolds them. And if they do “get in trouble” they can console themselves with their income. I on the other hand get to feel like the lackey. My ingratitude is awe-inspiring isn’t it?

I have a job!! Thank you Lord. But no I’m sabotaging my own success with my terrible attitude. I’m not sure how to get myself off this track towards disaster.

"Acting out child" - "Scapegoat"
“This is the child that the family feels ashamed of - and the most emotionally honest child in the family. He/she acts out the tension and anger the family ignores. This child provides distraction from the real issues in the family. The scapegoat usually has trouble in school because they get attention the only way they know how - which is negatively. They often become pregnant or addicted as teenagers.
These children are usually the most sensitive and caring which is why they feel such tremendous hurt. They are romantics who become very cynical and distrustful. They have a lot of self-hatred and can be very self-destructive. This often results in this child becoming the first person in the family to get into some kind of recovery.”

I am responsible to lead a weekly meeting at the Firm. Mondays are “Office Meeting day” I usually type thoughts through out the week to discuss on Mondays. I printed out my list today and forgot to delete the word “Scapegoat”. I didn’t mention my feelings of being scapegoated during the meeting. It wasn’t appropriate, but later in the day when I needed the notes to make a call I dug them out of the garbage and inadvertently left the paper behind where I made the call. One of the attorneys found it and gave it to me. He asked if I felt scapegoated. How do you backpedal out of that? I told him I realized it was my childhood affecting my current feelings. Am I displaying self-hatred and self-destruction? I’m pretty sure I am. And the deeper I dig the harder it’s going to be to turn this stupid course I’m on. I’m dismayed with my mismanagement of my relationship with these very kind people. Why can’t I just be grateful and shut the f#*k up?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

December 6, 2005

Dinner Trauma

My daughter drove my car home from the mechanics, I drove the truck. On our way down to pick up the car we discussed her plans to go to a local restaurant. Her friend works there (my daughter does too but had the night off) and her friend had a birthday gift for her. I asked if her dad and I could join her for dinner. She replied with a "sure", as long as Simone, my other daughter, would come along too (should have been my first clue my daughters were trying to ditch us). On my way home I called home. "How about we take the girls out for dinner tonight at Tad’s?" I ask my husband.

"I can’t say no to you Hon, and I love going out."

So my mouth freely waters for oysters. The best oysters, always fresh, always crisp on the outside and moist but not wet. Almost too hot to eat.

Once we were all together at home, we had to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before leaving, not that I was enthused. At 6pm I jumped up, hungry to the point of being too weak to fix my own, and announced "Time to go!"

Simone started to whine. She wasn’t hungry, in fact she has heartburn from the brownie she ate. She doesnt’ want to go. Rachael doesn’t want to go without her. Hubby is really too tired too but he’ll go to please everyone. You know how I felt about it.

So, after much discussion and sorting out of feelings we decide not to go, though Rachael’s still going to get her gift and buy a gift certificate for me and order food to go for herself. Her father shakes salad out of the precut salad bag and cuts meat off the leftover chicken in the fridge. I take frozen "seafood medley" out of the freezer and throw it into the microwave to thaw, Rachael puts her makeup on and Simone quietly slips out the door to the car to go with her. Whaaa??

I burned the roof of my mouth on a freezer burned shrimp or it may have been the beans and rice I accompanied it with. I don’t mind the blister as much as not getting it from an oyster.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Astoria 1972

I worked in a hospital in Astoria the year before I married. There was a patient with emphysema who had to be hospitalized several times that year. His name was Mr Hansen. I was always assigned to be his nurse’s aide. We got along really well. He was looking for spiritual comfort. I was a new Christian. We talked about scripture and I prayed for him. He could hardly breathe each time he was admitted but after intensive respiratory treatments he’d get to go home for awhile. The last time he was admitted he was much worse. That day I had to give him a sponge bath, he was too weak to wash himself.

I got off shift at 3pm. I was deeply concerned for him. When I got home I took a nap. I dreamt I was at work looking out the employee lounge window. It was on the second floor of the hospital, on the river side, just a couple of blocks from the Columbia River. You could just catch a glimpse of the river and when ships went by it was like they were going down the street. In my dream I am gazing out this window and two angels were with me. I don’t remember seeing them fly in or anything, just being there on either side of me. I have no visual impression of them and never did “see” them. I had the impression that they were going to take me to heaven, out through the window. I protested and assured them it wasn’t my time yet. That’s when I woke up. It seemed like the dream was about Mr. Hansen. It was profoundly spiritual. Have you had dreams like that? You just can’t shake them off.

I went to a meeting at the church that evening. When it was over I felt more oppressed about Mr Hansen then ever. Astoria is a compact town and I lived in walking distance of everything. This was a good thing since I didn’t own a car. I had walked to the church and the hospital was only a few blocks from there.

Even though it was about 9:30 pm and I knew the hospital was locked to visitors, I walked down to the hospital. I felt drawn there. Mr Hansen was in the corner room on the second floor. The light was off in that room. I looked up there and thought, why am I here and what can I do? I decided to walk up the length of the hospital on the riverside and pray. I prayed and sang worship songs up the deserted street and then back down. The heavy feeling was crushing. I finally reasoned with myself that I wasn’t really accomplishing anything and decided to walk home. I crossed the street and had walked about a quarter the length of the next block when I felt this sudden “lifting” of the heaviness, I can’t explain it any other way. I swung around to look at Mr. Hansen’s room. The light switched on right after I turned around. As I watched an aide came in the room, approached the bed and then exited leaving the light on. I continued to watch as a few moments later several nurses came into the room. I never saw them do this before or since but one of the nurses took the sheet and covered his face with it.

I was filled with an irrational joy and skip/ran home. I called my good friend Alden to report my experience. He told me that at the same time I was out on the street by the hospital he had felt an urge to pray for me. He had called another friend of ours and they had prayed for me together.

Isaiah 46:4—“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Aaron's Advice

Taking Aaron’s advice

Aaron’s advice is to write short sentences for online blogs.

He also advices writing short paragraphs. (I must assume he promotes complete sentences unlike the fragment I just wrote.) I favor an occasional fragment.

I believe Aaron’s advice is good.

Generally I ignore good advice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In the Beginning

Though my IQ scores are high, if I have any genius, it is my ability to arrive somewhere without knowing where I’m going. My blog will be my record of such a journey. I expect to arrive somewhere important. I have no outline, I have no purpose, I have no preconceived idea. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a purpose but it is a felt purpose, visceral and ill defined. My purpose is to influence, to make a difference.

My definition of the church is contextual. While reading my stuff please allow the word to mean different things. It is my nice catch word with several definitions. To help you understand me, when I capitalize the word “Church” it means something supernatural. I am then referring to a body that is much bigger then its parts. When I use it without a capital I can be referring to any blowhard that believes he represents Christ on earth. I can be referring to a local church or the American church or some other variant. The little “c” demands a contextual guess at my meaning. Bear with me.

The church has taken the Bible and has written endless books based on what the Bible says. An author will take three or four lines of scripture and create a movement. One such section is I Corinthians 12.

The writer’s main point is the church is made up of people with various talents and all of their talents and contributions should be valued. He lists a variety of gifts and then compares the church to the human body. He points out that some parts of our human body are visually attractive but the less pleasant to view are just as important to the total function of the body. We should all be valued without favoritism. This is not the interpretation of most of these modern books. These writers make it the point to figure out which one of the listed gifts you have. There have been endless tests developed to determine your “Spiritual Gift”. Once you figure it out, supposedly, it helps you to better function in your gift. (Or to wear a label and refuse to function outside of the definition it assigns you.) We love boxes.

This is ridiculous. And I love it. Give me a test to define me. I love these tests. I could take tests for a living. Tell me who I am. Please explain me to me. So I can marvel at myself. I am my favorite subject, so lets talk about me some more. Go to, type in “Spiritual Gifts” you will find pages and pages of websites devoted to helping me label myself. Even as I write this I ‘m resisting the urge to go online and take a test.

I am.

Exodus 3:13-14 records a conversation between Moses and God.

“Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ’What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

I am fascinated by this record. I am. This is the greatest mystery of the universe. I am. When I say “I am,” I am (ha, it’s unavoidable) saying “how can this be?” I am a mystery. And Moses’ God puts His Almighty finger right on the point. I AM. I have accepted this apology for God. It is enough for me. God is. I am and so is He. I am the proof that He is. He is the proof that I am. It just makes sense.

But moving on….

Being a fluid “I am” is not easy for me. I love/hate the boxes, the definitions. I want to be defined but the minute I’ve come to a conclusion I find I am in complete error and I am relieved and again searching for the elusive “I am”. My body is 80-90 percent water? How much more fluid would it take to understand I am not static?

Repeatedly I have defined myself by my circumstances. As my circumstances change I discover my definitions no longer apply.

This “I” stuff is beginning to bore even me and since my point is to grab you and be of some value to you let’s leave off on it for now.

My parents were the babies of their families of origin. My dad was a twin. His twin was sickly. In some ways that made my father older then his brother, but he acted the baby well enough. Neither of my parents was attentive. I was third born of five. Middle children get to figure things out on their own.

I was raised in the church. The Catholic, one, true Apostolic Church. Now that capital is the Catholic’s capital not mine. I believe in the Church. It is obviously more then the Catholic variety. Growing up Catholic has gotten a lot of bad press but I was not molested by priests or abused by nuns. I was awed by the incense and robes. But mostly I was bored. Being bored is one of my strongest childhood memories. I just realized that. I was usually bored. I went to Catholic schools. I remember very little about what went on inside those walls. And it was because I was lost in my head, thinking of other things, what was going on around me seemed boring. I do remember arm wrestling the boy behind me in second grade. I remember the girl that showed us how she could pull big wads of her hair out in one pull. I remember bringing string with me to school to tie to an eraser and play “crane” in the unused ink well in my desktop. I remember laying my head on my desk and putting my glass ring up against my eye. It would reflect the objects in the room in pretty patterns. I found that interesting. And somehow I don’t remember how I learned to read, write and do arithmetic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Posting old blogs

I may repost a blog or two here from MySpace or but more commonly I suspect I will post old writings I haven't posted at all, ever before. I'm not writing new blogs right now. I'm working 12, 14, 16 hour days. I'm not writing. So... long story short, here's something I found on one of my hard drives written April 26, 2006. It's entitled "ADHD"

I don’t really have the strength to write a full on blog. I just want to express myself. I’m going to let my thoughts take us where ever they will. Will. Spilt maintains we have no will but are preprogrammed robots. It’s not predestined robots but more like organisms that do their “task” in nature without any real impact on the outcome in a global or eternal sense. At least, that’s what I think he means. I’m guessing he’s going to chime in here and maybe he’ll further enlighten us. I disagree with this perspective entirely. He is my main example of how goofy this “belief” is. He has made all the counter intuitive decisions in his personal life. Quite unlike what most would do. If he’s “preprogrammed” its a novel program and he’s the first in a new mutated form of life.

This evening I attended an ADHD group for adult women. It’s the fourth time I’ve attended this group, they meet once a month. Every time I go over half the participants are there for the first time. I usually only recognize a couple of the women as having been there before. It’s hard to organize people with ADHD, I have the same situation with my support group that meets at my house. One of my ADHD friends said it’s like “herding cats”.

The subject of the evening was relationships. ADHD women have a lot of trouble in relationships. They are erratic, undependable, forgetful, messy, distracted, inattentive, impulsive and explosive. They can be flirtatious, inappropriately. These are my people. I identify with them. None of them/us have easy and secure relationships. Who wants to be hooked up with that bio? Men with ADHD have similar struggles, but I’m not talking about them right now.

So, instead let’s talk about Spilt Milk. He HATES it when I talk about him. He’s like a low profile kind of guy. Self deprecating, private and shy. I know that doesn’t’ sound like the guy whose blogs you read, but think about it, has he ever talked about his sex life? Or his marriage? Let me tell you about his sex life…. oh damn, I can’t do it to him. He’s just too too something to “out”. I will out him this much, he’s a very generous lover. Spilt, surely that doesn’t offend you?

Back to the “Will”. Spilt is unlike any of the men that were referenced at the meeting tonight. I, on the other hand, was like all the women. We pick fights to stay stimulated, forget things important to our mates, are always late, make huge messes everywhere we go, are defensive, inattentive, and unavailable. All the husbands reported on tonight express great dissatisfaction. None of the women have maintained relationships lasting as long as mine. One very sweet woman, obviously desiring to be everything she can be in her marriage choked up as she told us how she was on her third marriage and this one was on the skids. I am these women yet I’ve been married 32 freaking years. It hasn’t been all that fun at times but it is, still.

One of the things I know about my husband is that he says what he means and means what he says.

A year and a half ago, our marriage finally hit the wall. Why did it take so long? It’s Spilt Milk’s incredible tolerance for abuse. He is a strong willed man. His will is very special to me.

The details of our end are not important. What matters to me, is we came to the end and started over.

I hope things are as different now for him as they are different for me. I am grateful for all the difficult things that have happened in the last couple of years because everything is better now and I know myself better. Thank you Milk. I love Milk.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Letter to the Editor - April 2003

April 9, 2003

To the Editor -

Though I am delighted to engage Sandra Healy in a discussion about marital rape and the best way to raise my six daughters I am surprised to be characterized as “revolting”. She obviously misunderstood my criticism of the Outlook’s article. My point was that this particular article was written in a way that sensationalized the event, causing the reader to feel like they were watching the events through an open window. It felt more like a fictional story (no names were used) then a news article. Marital abuse is a serious problem and does need to be addressed in an open and sensitive manner. It’s front page material. But I stand by my criticism of the Outlook’s Wednesday March 26, 2003 article.


Frani Grover

Friday, September 25, 2009

1971 Graduation night Corbett High School

This was the real beginning. That night. I remember the seniors, all 48 or so of them, lined up at the front of the gymnasium. The ceremony was over. They formed a receiving line, everyone knew everyone. I went through the line myself. I knew all the Seniors, at least by name.
Though I attended a private all girls school downtown,having gone to grade school with this group of kids, I knew them all. One of them, Mike Dryer, interested me that night. We’d been working at a local tourist attraction, the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant, all winter and now with school out we were each going to live on site. The lodge provided housing for its employees, Mike and I independently were taking advantage of it for the summer. Mike considered himself a free agent now that he’d graduated, he moved all his possessions out of his parents home, forever. And he changed his name back to Grover, shedding everything that had to do with his stepfather. I, on the other hand, was going to be a senior and was staying at the Falls (because I very much wanted to) for my parents’ convenience. They worked in the opposite direction and the restaurant was 13 miles from home and there were not enough cars in the family for me to use one everyday. (yippee!) Mike was my ride the very next morning to work and my summer party!