Category: Uncategorized

Tats and Toos

first tat dayi’m not sure why it’s taken so long to write a new post. one would think, if you lived my life, that i’d be writing every day. i even have a two page list on lined paper of all the stuff i have to say and stories that really should be told. ah well…

so..i live in the greatest city anywhere. portland, oregon. we call it the city in the forest, cause that’s what it is. two major rivers, the willamette and the columbia.  the city is gridded into quarters. if you’re on the east of the willamette river and south of  burnside st., then you’re in the SE, if you’re on the east of the willamette river, but north of burnside st., then you’re in the NE. you get the idea. and the whole city is not only surrounded by pine trees and conifers, but they exist everywhere in the city and when the wind blows, you get this magnificent pine scent to soothe your soul. my favorite therapy.

each neighborhood in what we called “pdx”, has it’s own unique personality. it’s like a city that’s not a city but just an area that has all these tiny villages round the place. each neighborhood has its own little amazing eating establishments and bars and other assorted independently owned shoppes. in the 4 years i’ve lived here i’ve never eaten at a fast food joint or franchised restaurant. i even hesitate to go to the home depot out in ‘the burbs” and instead opt for the little “best hardware” down the street. there are so many gems in this place that it would take you years to explore. i pinch myself at least once a week to ensure myself that i actually somehow ended up in this magnificent, young, vibrant, artistically enhanced city.

but what does this have to do with the title of this post which is “tats and toos”? here’s the story. my business partner decided he wanted to get a tatoo. now this is something that if you live in portland for at least a year, you eventually get around to doing. serious. this is the tat city of the universe. if you don’t have one, its highly likely you don’t live here.

so jeff decides he’s going to get a tat and of course i’m totally involved in the process. drive there with him, take photos, suggest tat position on arm, chat with the tat artist, drive to the store after to get the lotions to take care of the tat, etc. etc etc.

and of course, i had been thinking about my own tat for some years. one just doesn’t rush into this thing. there’s a lot that goes into it. you have to figure out what you want to “say”. is it going to be something meaningful in that sort of philosophic way, something just for fun in a goofy sort of way, something you want to remember so much you must have it inked into your skin, etc etc. a lot of decision making. so when Jeff got his, it set the whole thinking process into gear in my mind. and then when i received a tat gift certificate for xmas,  from aforementioned  business partner , well, that capped it. i had to really really get serious about it. which i did, even though it still took another 3 months of thought.  this is where the “too” part comes in cause it was “you got a tat and i want one too.”

here’s the proof. and, by the way, if anyone, like your business partner, tells you it just kind of “pinches”, tell that person they are full of you know what. it friggin hurts…a lot. all worth it. but most importantly, it looks killer when I play bass!! and in case you don’t recognize the artwork, it’s a phoenix. i’ll let you speculate on that one.

ok..slowly easing into it it hurts for christ's sake!

totally worth all the pain!



there’s some things that remain funny to a person, long after they are funny to anyone else. or maybe these things actually were never funny to anyone else…just you and maybe the other person(s) who you shared this funny thing with. i have a feeling i’ve got it right, when i say that the story i’m about to tell is going to seem completely lame and unfunny to anyone reading it. well…so be it. it’s my story.

one night, renee (yes, the very same renee of other stories on this blog) was spending the night over at my house. a girl’s sleepover. we were about 9 or 10 at the time i believe. and as is typical with girls our age, we had the giggles, telling each other “stuff”. i happened to have a book of limericks or some-such and we were reading from it and roaring with laughter, but nothing made us laugh as hard and for as long  as the following:

by the sewer i lived
by the sewer i died
they said it was murder
but it was sewer-side.

WTF? right?

now the above, for some reason, hit a nerve with us both and we literally could not stop laughing, holding our guts, for hours and hours and even later, years later, when we would recall these few lines of nonsense, would get us started all over.

i must say, though, after these almost 40 years of that ditty going round in my head, that by typing it out, i have desensitized the humor in it for me. bummer.

i’m convinced that there are surely more true stories that are funnier (and odder )than any that can be made up. the old adage “fact is stranger than fiction” or whatever it is, definitely holds true…at least my life.

i was 12 or 13 at the time, not a child anymore, but quite the budding teenager, good grades and all that but for some time i had been puzzling over the queerest thing. so on this particular afternoon, i was in the car with my mother and younger brother, driving thru a well trafficked area, when i saw several signs on the side of the road, which got me remembering that i had a very important question to ask of my mom.

you see, there were so many signs i’d seen over the years that warned “Pedestrians stop here” and “Pedestrian crossing here” or “No Pedestrian crossing”, etc, that i was feeling a bit down and quite perplexed until this fateful afternoon when i decided it was time to clear up the conundrum.

in total innocence and honest wonder (now you must keep in mind that i was brought up in a jewish household, my dad being an Auschwitz survivor with his tales of the horrors of persecution having been ingrained in me for my entire childhood), i turned to my mom and asked her, “why is it that Pedestrians are so ostracized in our society?” Now, credit to my mom, she, straightfaced, turned her head slightly towards me to see if i might be joking. but one look at my solemn concerned little face told her otherwise. so barely keeping herself in check, she said, “what do you mean darling?”, to which i explained that for the life of me i could not figure out what these pedestrian people had done and why they were so restricted, why there had to be signs preventing them from crossing streets or entering areas.

“Who ARE the Pedestrians anyways?” I blurted out defiantly.

To which, all my mom could do was try and hold onto the steering wheel with her gut-retching laughter.

the tuna fish story reminded me of other renee-related adventures of my youth, such as: one day, a group of girlfriends, lead by the ringleader (that’s me), decided we should go for a long walk over to the woods. i forget the name of those woods, but the area wasn’t far from where we lived. “the girls” usually consisted of the core group: myself, renee and laurie (who was an almost certain fixture in any trouble we got ourselves into) and some other stragglers.

so we started out and at one point came to the expressway overpass that you had to cross to get to the woods right on the other side. there were 5 of us that day and i thought that it would be great fun to walk across the overpass, but not in the normal, boring, walk-on the-sidewalk-like way. why not add some spice to the deal and walk across on the other side of the protective railing, you know, the one that protects people and cars from going over and falling onto the expressway below. (by the way, the term “expressway” is what us chicagoans call the “freeway”). now not everyone in the group was gung-ho about this proposal of mine, but since i was the proponent of the idea, i thought i’d just proceed and by example, the others would follow.

there i was, after having climbed over the protective railing, making my way steadily, holding on to the top of the railing and carefully finding placement for my toes, watching as renee and laurie started over, when, all of a sudden, just as i was completing the venture and about to disembark on the other side, came this car screeching to a halt. a woman jumps out of her car and starts shouting at us, at which point, we hightailed it across the remaining part of the overpass and started dashing towards the woods. then came a shriek i’ve seldom heard the likes of since that day, one coming from this woman’s mouth “STOP YOU BRIDGEHANGERS!!!”. and for some reason, we did.

now for all my mischievousness, i had a really hard time lying, so when this woman finally caught up to us, voicing from her booming larynx,  her protests and concerns over our overpass-crossing-techniques, and she asked what my name was along with my phone number, well…i gave it to her. on retrospect, not the best choice i could have made because what happened next is:

as i told you in the tuna fish story, my bedroom had a convenient backdoor leading to the outside. so on this day of wrong-side crossing, after the “STOP YOU BRIDGEHANGERS!”,  my pack of friends and i headed for my house. we were sitting nervously in my room discussing the day’s events and wondering whether crazy lady was going to actually call when i heard the phone ring and shortly after, my father’s footsteps coming down the hallway towards my inside bedroom door (which, also had a lock on it, another fortunate circumstance, and one i took advantage of in this particular incident). well…everyone except renee made a hasty exit out my outside bedroom door, scattering to all points that had nothing to do with my house. so here i was with renee, both of us shaking,  listening to my father banging on my bedroom door and screaming until i finally opened up. plenty of ‘splaining there was to do…as usual. and of course, renee and laurie, who’s parents were never kept out of the loop once mine got wind of what we were up to…had an equal amount of ‘splaining at their end, especially laurie, who’s mom thought i was the devil incarnate herself…

Update: it’s probably the many years in between the day’s events above and the current day, that made me certain that renee was a part of the bridehanger scenario or maybe it’s the fact that she was a participant in just about every amusing scenario of mine,  but as renee pointed out in a FB posting she made, she actually was not there that day. however, laurie definitely was and she was the friend that stuck in out with me at my house before the banging on my door by my father. good to have my ol friends around to correct my fading memory…it’s a great story anyways, no matter who the players really were!

tuna fish

there’s something about tuna fish that makes me want to eat it almost every day. it could be that it’s just memories of  past tuna fish sandwiches that makes me  reach for a can from the many i have in my cupboard. what i mean is, when i was growing up, i had a best friend, renee. now renee and i have known each other since we were around 8. she lived in what was called a “co-op” in the chicago suburb of skokie. these co-ops were an ugly bunch of brick square buildings that had 4 apartments each. but they weren’t really called apartments because they were owned by the people who lived in them, which today would be called “condos”. at any rate, i lived in an equally ugly house, which was actually a house, but still square and brick, and i had, of all things, an actual door in my bedroom that led directly to the outside. not a very good idea for a girl like me. i would sneak out that door, hop in my parent’s car (how did i get the keys???) and drive over to renee’s. after rapping on her bedroom window, or to be more exact, after throwing a rock or two at it, she’d proceed to sneak out that window lowering herself onto my shoulders and off we’d go in my parents car,  down to old town for some late night fun.

but wait…that’s a whole other story. back to tuna fish. so my mother used to make a lot of tuna fish. she’d do it up fancy. solid albacore in water, just a little mayonnaise, with some onion, celery, pickle relish. spread between a couple slices of homemade bread and there you had what would be my lunch a lot of days. however, renee’s mother had a whole other tuna-fish-sandwich-making technique. renee’s mother would take some chunk tuna in oil, add tons of mayonnaise and stick a huge gob between two slices of white wonder bread. so there we’d be, in the school cafeteria, with our respective tuna sandwiches at lunch and there i’d sit, totally jealous of renee’s spectacular tuna sandwich. so we traded, both of us convinced that the other got the sweeter of the deal.

tuna fish…yum. as a matter of fact, i just happen to be eating lunch right now. guess what i’m having…

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