Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2 Update

What do you think? Is this guy going to make it?

This week I wrote a 2600 word story about Kelsey, the tribal member in charge of the Tribe’s theme park ride who is called in on her day off to investigate a ride anomaly and has to deal with a guy who is still mad she dumped him when they were teenagers.


“What’s going on?” I asked.

At first glance everything looked normal but you could never be sure since the ride went deep into the forest, mountains, a gold mine, a re-created Karuk village, a white-water river sequence and some generic wildlife activity before returning to the start point.

“Got ourselves a blip,” Ike said. He was dressed like a gas station attendant and pulled a handkerchief from his back pocket like an oil jockey which was hilarious because he actually sat in front of bank of monitors like a surveillance employee which is more like what he was.

I looked at Archie who nodded, vigorously not smiling and making sure I knew that was for me.

Full disclosure I am scheduling this post ahead of time. Today is my dad’s 90th birthday and we’re having a socially distant, masked-up, very few select guests birthday celebration that will include grilling red meat.

Hope you’re enjoying your Independence Day, too.

Important fundraising information:

You can sponsor me here.

You can sponsor one of our workshop leaders here: Neile.
Or tireless workshop supporter Kate.
My classmate: Maggie.

If you want to check out the participants yourself: CW Write-a-thon Writers.

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:

Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

All donations are welcome. If you’re suffering donation fatigue, we’ll take your good thoughts.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #1 Report

This week I wrote a 2800 word story about Lester, a fast-talking tribal member who hears the feds want to unload control over the “alien portal” that is located on tribal lands and sees a great opportunity for himself.


Lester had a friend of a friend in the local government. It took a few calls and some loitering at the casino bar until he managed to hook one of the alien portal employees into a conversation.

June was her name and she was three minutes away from retirement and not about to let you forget it. She drank something called a salmon prisoner – he was never clear what was in it but it was one of the most expensive cocktails on the menu.

The idea was inspired by this piece by Winona LaDuke Reconciliation Pipeline: How to Shackle Native People. Relevant quote:

Dressed up as “equity positions”, or “reconciliation”, across the continent, corporations and governments are trying to pawn off bad projects on Native people.

You can sponsor me here.

You can sponsor one of our workshop leaders here: Neile.
Or tireless workshop supporter Kate Schaefer.
My classmate: Maggie.

If you want to check out the participants yourself: CW Write-a-thon Writers.

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:

Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

All donations are welcome. If you’re suffering donation fatigue, we’ll take your good thoughts.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Time Again

First a correction from my last post: My tree has 1 Gala apple and 3 Red McIntosh for a total of 4 apples.

Like most people, I can’t seem to dig out from under all my email so I let it accumulate and then tackle it in fits and starts which isn’t particularly effective as it comes in all the time.

I finally read my Clarion West Write-A-Thon email and learned that it starts tomorrow. Whew. Just in time.

As you might have guessed, there is no workshop this summer. The same students and instructors are hoping to convene in summer 2021. The workshop will be doing online things this summer.

These are my posts from during the workshop: Overview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 part 1, Week 4 part 2, Week 5 and Week 6.

If I can think of anything fresh to say about it, I’ll add it to a future post.

Because I’m not happy unless I’m not happy, my goal for this year is to pull a fresh idea out of my butt and write a brand new story each week. I’m not going to gnash my teeth and try to make them pretty but I will aim for at least 1000 words of something. I will post a little snippet or description at the end of each week.

You can sponsor me here.

You can sponsor one of our workshop leaders here: Neile.

I’m not sure if any of my classmates are write-a-thoning, if so I will post links next week.

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

Micro-donations are welcome. We love your support.

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More Garden Pictures

I prepped a number of photos so I could put up some posts last week but I’m working on a project and my computer time was all sucked up in that.

This is an older picture of the garden before the sunflowers and pumpkins took over. Those red things are tomato tents and I think they are working — the tomatoes in them look bigger and healthier than any of the others.

This is one of my apples.

These are my other two apples with the first apple in the background.

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Cucumber Sadness

I almost always have a terrible time growing cucumbers. The last time I had a good crop I planted an entire envelope of seeds and managed to get enough survivors to keep me in lemon cucumbers at the end of the season.

This year I started a few seeds on my windowsill. I let them get good and healthy. Then I let them acclimate outside for a few days before I planted them. They looked great.

Then we got about 8 feet of rain in two days.


And now they look like above. One year I transplanted them from the house to outside when it was warm and they also looked like that. There is some secret to cucumbers that I am missing.

I have one plant left that is hanging in there and I just sprouted some seeds on the windowsill again. I am very determined.

This is what the garden looks like right now. I’m not sure what happened but I had pumpkins sprout in incredible abundance. I pulled a lot of them out which broke my heart but as you can see, there are more than enough. There are greens. I found a turnip yesterday.

I need to get out there and weed as soon as it stops raining.

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The Wednesday downtown farmer’s market is back. This one of my favorite days when the market starts and my sad Winter Is Coming day when they close in the fall.

Downtown has much fewer people than normal anyway but the market layout has been revised so it is spread out along several blocks and has a one way travel design. So far I have loaded up on asparagus and filled up on my favorite Verde Cocina – chicken in adobo and gringas con molé. I bought enough to bring home dinner.

Last week I also picked up a bunch of tamales with fresh salsa. (Different vendor and I am blanking on the name at the moment.)

I can’t remember if I shared this story.

I watch Westworld — it’s a reboot on HBO. I think we just finished season 3.

I DVR the show and then watch it when I get a chance.

At one point this season I settled down for the latest episode and it was in Spanish with subtitles. The characters were in Mexico so I figured this was some conceit of the episode and kept watching.

The show continued in Spanish. After about fifteen minutes I thought it was strange. Wouldn’t this be alienating so some of their audience to do an entire episode with subtitles? But maybe this was going to pay off in some interesting way.

I kept watching.

You guys – I watched for 45 minutes before I figured out that it was my TV! Somehow I held down some magical arrangement of buttons to switch my TV to Spanish. I don’t know how that could happen. I don’t know how to do it on purpose.

Well, I do now. I learned so I could turn it off.

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When The Morning Cries and You Don’t Know Why

Remember last year when I planted only 2 tomato plants? And the angry raccoon tore up the walls of water where one of the plants lived?

The plant lived on but never recovered. It was supposed to be a prolific yellow cherry tomato plant but it barely grew to a foot and I got about 10 tomatoes off of it.

I saved some seeds and started one on the window sill. See arrow above. I was determined to get my prolific yellow cherry tomatoes.

The rest of those are 2 tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, and 4 Anaheim pepper plants.

Look how healthy and happy it looks, ready for it’s big new life outside.

Then: tragedy.

This was not an angry raccoon. This was operator error. I knew it was kinda tricky getting the walls of water to balance right so I was extra careful.

But not extra careful enough. I looked outside a couple of hours later to see the ruin. Poor little yellow cherry tomato. It is not to be for us.

I have one more tomato on the window sill that I can transfer to this spot.

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Must Have Died Laughing

When I was in those terrible teen years where you want to get out and do things but you can’t drive and you have no money, I had a couple of friends that liked to make prank phone calls.

I liked the prank calls but I wasn’t much for doing them myself.

One prank was to call information (also called directory assistance) and ask questions like how to bake cookies or get spaghetti stains out of a white T-shirt. We thought this was HILARIOUS.

We also liked to call radio stations to request songs like “You Light Up My Life” and Linda Ronstadt songs from that album with her wearing a satin jacket on the cover.

We also tried to win things. I once won an album called Livin’ on the Fault Line by the Doobie Brothers.

We also would call random numbers and ask questions like, “Is your refrigerator running?”

“Oh yeah? Well you better go catch it.”

HAHAHA. Oh, we were so funny.

One time my friend left this long message on someone’s answering machine informing them that sadly, someone they knew had died. Our message had no details such as who died, or how it happened that we were the ones charged with imparting this information.

As soon as we were done I felt really guilty. I ran upstairs to another extension (Do kids today even know this? That a household would have one phone line with phones in different rooms and everyone had to share?) and I called the number back to tell them it was a joke.

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I’m More Wild Than This Fruit

It never fails that when I finally sit down to post something, I only have about three minutes. Here’s the three minute report:

Bob bought me this giant frozen fruit bag for my blender drinks. My teeth are doing pretty good and blender drinks aren’t as necessary as they were a year ago at this time, but it’s an easy way for me to get some nutrition in me when I’m in the middle of too many things.

It includes sliced bananas, strawberries and “wild” blueberries. I don’t believe they are wild.

Does anyone really need a recipe for a blender drink?

Here’s the update on the raccoon: it showed up 3 times in 5 days which worried me. So then I did some research and animal control does nothing. Here, the raccoons belong to the fish and wildlife department and they suggest that you just deal with it unless it’s a danger. If it’s a danger you can call some wildlife experts to give you a quote on removal. It was hard not to imagine all the dollar signs in that nugget of information.

I fretted about it and then Raccy seemed to disappear in the middle of the day which was weird. The same day I was taking the compost out and found a worrisome collection of blue feathers near the hedge.

Since then I have seen the blue jays and I assume some of their babies so no worries there. I have not seen any sign of Raccy so maybe this was just a crash pad and it’s off living a great life somewhere else.

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Playground Competition

This is what a busy intersection in downtown Portland looks like on a weekday during quarantine. It was painful not to be able to take advantage of all that street parking.

When I was in elementary school the playground had a set of hanging rings in a circle — I can’t believe I can’t find a photo of this type of thing to link to. I guess this isn’t hasn’t been normal playground equipment in eons.

They were tricky to do — you had to learn how to swing your body around to get from one to the next and then you needed to time it just right so you could re-catch the swinging rings once you completed the circle and were going for another round.

I finally learned how to do it. I think maybe me and a friend rode our bikes over there on weekends to practice? I don’t think there would have been enough time at recess. There was always a line to get on and if you were taking a turn and you missed the next ring you had to jump off and let the next person go.

On Fridays after school there was a contest on the playground for who could catch the most rings and I thought I had a chance. I was really timid in elementary school (or my entire life) so it was a big deal that I even tried.

I made it the first lap around but couldn’t figure out the timing and I can still clearly see myself hanging from one arm back and forth trying to catch that swinging ring.

The girl who won was one grade ahead and the mean older sibling of one of my friends. She won the contest every week. I can’t remember the prize. Candy?

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