Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Peoria Dave has returned to the house (from spring break in California), so here’s the Sunday 7.

1) Red, green and black fleece sweatshirt, white souvenir t-shirt from the 2004 Tour de Blast (a sadistic organized bike ride up the side of the famous Mount St. Helens volcano, across the Columbia River from Portland), red slacks (the ones my wife claims were discarded by a burger joint counterman), sweat boots.

2) What are you reading?

“The Book of Joe,” a novel by Jonathan Tropper. I bought it because my eldest son’s name is Joe and Wednesday night he took me to his favorite book store in Palo Alto and the store had a big display of “The Book of Joe” and what could be more appropriate? Furthermore, the novel is about a young man named Joe who has achieved big success as a writer, as son Joe dreams of doing.

3) What’s for dinner?

“Nervous” pork. My wife roasted pork for Easter dinner with visiting friends, but she says test-carving indicates it is tough, which means the pig was “nervous when it died.” That’s news to me. Do pigs usually die relaxed? Maybe slaughterhouses o.d. most of them with valium these days, instead of slitting their throats.

4) What’s the best thing that happened this week?

I survived my trip to California with sons Andy and Joe. Andy graduates from high school next year, so he’s looking at colleges. Joe went to college in Southern California and spent a year in Northern California, so he went along as guide. I was the car-renting chaperone. Four campuses (Pomona and Occidental in the Los Angeles area, Stanford and the University of California in the Bay Area) in four and a half days. It was a rush, in more ways than one. And a cloudburst almost drowned us on the Occidental campus. Isn’t Los Angeles supposed to be in a desert?

5) What’s bugging you?

I’m tired. I hiked over most of California this week, but otherwise I didn’t exercise. Today I spent 45 minutes on a spinning bike, and now I feel like -- as my mother used to say -- I’ve been dragged through a knothole backwards.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Checkerberry, Vermont.

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

Visiting LA, where I went to kindergarten, and the San Francisco Bay area, where I lived for most of my grade school years, and then returning to Portland, which has been my home for two decades, reminded me of an observation advanced by literary critic Leslie Fiedler:

"Americans have no real identity. We're all . . . uprooted people who come from elsewhere."

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