Wednesday, October 29, 2014

American Woman

So.  On the list of "Ten Best Countries for Women" this year, where do you think America falls?


Nope.  It's not even on the list

The top five are Scandinavia plus Iceland, which I'm never sure whether it's Scandinavian or not.  But then comes Rwanda and Nicaragua and Ireland -- three places I would not have dreamt could be there -- because come on, genocide and drug cartels and The Troubles and Catholicism?  And we are really not better places to live and work than they are?

Sobering and infuriating.  Makes me want to rush out and volunteer somewhere, doing something.  But what?

I'm currently reading Terry Bisson's 1988 book, "Fire on the Mountain" which is an "Alternate History" novel, about what the world would be like if John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry had been a success, and slavery had ended so much sooner.  This is one of the books I added to my library list because Jo Walton, a favorite author of mine, liked it a lot.  And I am really enjoying it.  Oddly, I have just returned to the library, the recently published book "The Good Lord Bird", which is also about Harper's Ferry, and Old John Brown.  Written from the point of view of a slave boy, who is passing as a girl.  Not the other way around.  Strange!  And, as I said, odd, since I haven't seen a book about this time in history for many years, and here I have two, in the same week.

Hallowe'en coming up!  My costume is ready, just needs to be assembled.  My apartment building's party is a murder mystery theme, and this year it's Death at the Deadwood Saloon.  I'm Poker Alice, a poker dealer with a secret.  Should be fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pedestrian Foolishness

This morning, on my way to work, I was driving down Burnside, approaching the bridge -- green lights all the way.  It's still fairly dark at seven-ish in the morning, now that Autumn is here, and that morning was even darker, since it was overcast.  I was therefore unable to see any details of the woman who stepped into the street in front of me, as I approached the last light.  She was heavy, with thin legs, and a fairly large topknot-style bun, and she was hurrying, but not nearly fast enough to justify crossing, unnecessarily, in front of traffic, against the lights.  A few seconds wait would have given her a traffic-crossing signal.  As it was, I had to break hard and heavily, and my car skidded a tiny bit.  I didn't hit her, though, and was able to continue on my way, shortly, with a pounding heart.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jo Walton and her Love of Sci-Fi

Reading Jo Walton's collection of blog posts this morning, and fell prey once again to the inherent flaw in -- not her writing, but in my reading of it.  Since she is a writer I particularly enjoy, and seems to think in ways that I think, and reads voraciously and as if it is her life she is living on the pages, I assume (and there's that naughty word once again) that her brain and mine are similar.  So when she is enthusiastically discussing her favorite literature -- science fiction -- with such detail and dedication, I get swept up in it and feel that somehow, I have just always been unlucky up til now, when reading science fiction.  Because even though I love the ideas behind it, as a genre, and the "other world-liness" it presents, like a good fantasy, and even though very occasionally I have been impressed by it to the point of buying it and keeping it, for the most part it is Extremely Disappointing.  EXTREMELY. 

But now, I have come to the library, and enthusiastically put several books she discusses, on my waiting list, even though part of my mind feels sure, feels certain, knows beyond any reasonable doubt, that I am going to be unhappy again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Morning Drive

Once again this morning, my commute filled me with joy, as I drove along through the wet dark.  My radio sang along with me as I passed under trees, past houses, through neighborhoods, as I climbed hills and swung around corners.  I was always the only one in my lane, going my direction.  I would occasionally pass cars in the left-turn lanes, but otherwise, I drove alone, passing the long stream of headlights going the opposite direction.  Even over Mount Tabor, no one in my rear view.  The tires hissed, the windshield wipers hissed in alto counterpoint, my small warm dry space was warm and dry.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Came to Work This Morning

So I came to work this morning in the silver-chain rain, and smiled all the way here.  Portland is a beautiful city, especially wet and gleaming in the early morning light.

So I came to work this morning, and promptly tore the shoulder pads out of my jacket.  Caught sight of myself hurrying past the mirror in the bathroom and was struck -- again -- by the ludicrousness of shoulder pads as an additive to clothes.  At least to MY clothes.  Possibly some thin and narrow-shouldered people exist out there who feel reassured by the squareness to their outline, but I look like a linebacker.  And a cartoon linebacker, at that.  So I pulled the shoulder pads out with a quick jerk, and now I look human again.

So I came to work this morning, and one of our more recently hired agents -- a nice young family man -- came in to the office about half an hour early.  I was already there, since I avoid traffic and make use of the internet by getting to the office a couple of hours before nine.  He came in and asked if he should slide the pushbar holder back, thus unlocking the front door.  I said, "No -- still got half an hour!"  He looked blank for a few moments, and then asked, "You're here, but the office isn't open?"  As though I and the office are ONE.

So I came to work this morning, and spent at least half an hour fiddling with the hinges on the cupboard door in the kitchen.  It's some kind of fancy-schmancy hinge that has two sets of screws to adjust to make it exactly right, and if you merely tighten both of them, the door won't even come close to closing.  Which is all well and good, except that they also suddenly give way and come loose and need to be fiddled with and experimented with, and loosened and tightened and moved a fraction hither and yon.  I was tempted to merely remove it, like the momentary fad in kitchens a few years back.  But you will be glad to know that I didn't. I stood patiently on the little stool, and opened and closed and wiggled and fiddled and twisted and shoved and tightened and loosened until I was finally able to close the cupboard door.  It's a tight fit, but too bad.

So I came to work this morning, and made a pot of coffee, of which I am now enjoying a delicious and fragrant cup.  It is very tasty.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chinese, not British

Nameless Agent just asked me to enter his name and e-mail address into the scanner so that he could send himself copies of things with the push of a button.  I agreed, and as I was doing so, he stood and looked over my shoulder.

"Arthur -- that's A-R-T-H-U-R, " he began.  Really?

"Yup, just like the King!"  I agreed cheerfully.

He drew himself back and looked with some hauteur at me.

"I'm Chinese, not British!" he said.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Today is my birthday.  I am 49 years old today.  

Yesterday my cousin was telling me that when I turn fifty, all play time is over, I can no longer make excuses for myself as being too young to know something, or making a mistake because I didn't understand something -- "when you're fifty," she said.  "All bets are off."

Well.  However much truth you ascribe to something as didactic as that, it's not for another year, anyway.  I am 49 today.  And will be able to remember this, now, I hope, since this past year of being 48 was one of the hardest-to-remember years I have ever experienced.  I could never tell whether I was 47, 48, or 49, and had to stop and count laboriously backward from the date to the year of my birth.  And sometimes was incapable of doing that.  I just don't get numbers.  They don't speak to me, they don't live in my head.  Words, do; letters, also, do.  Numbers -- you kiddin' me?