Thursday, April 21, 2016

For ANY sake, speak!

I believe I have said this before, although possibly not to you -- one of the few things wrong with my job (which I love) is the lack of communication.  Several times I have accidentally stumbled across some information which, turns out, I needed to know in order to perform my job.  Today was another example of the poor communication at which we excel.

I stopped by the office at about eight to do paperwork this morning, since my first shift was not scheduled until ten.  I was reading my office e-mail, since I am generally unable to gain access to it from any out-of-the-office computer, and saw that the other weekend staffer, Christine, had been promoted to an Assistant Team Leader position.  This is excellent, of course, and I mentally congratulated her, but the e-mail did not say who would be replacing her as weekend staff.  She and I are the only two staff from our team working the weekend, and have to see all the people in need of meds or meals on those two days.

So I stopped by my team leader Erik's office and asked him who would be replacing Christine.  He said he did not know yet, that they had sent out the standard e-mail to Craigslist and the other sites, and to the whole staff, but hadn't had any responses yet.

"We'll be trying to cover with subs, until we hire someone," he said.  "We aren't just making you responsible for all of them."  Then he laughed.  I laughed, too.  Uncertainly.

"When does Christine start as ATL?"  I asked.

"Oh, she started yesterday!"  he replied blithely.

So-o-o-o-o --- I might have to be doing some rapid shuffling around on Saturday, the day after tomorrow!  And if I hadn't stopped in and asked, I would not have known until someone called me on Friday afternoon, to sling three or four people into my already-full schedule.  

Now, I know, it might very well not happen, there might be subs galore available.  But it doesn't seem very likely!  And even so, (she begged) why not tell me, for heaven's sake?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Get off my lawn!

April -- a Spring month, I feel sure you will agree.  And yet the last few days have registered temperatures in the eighties.    The weather forecast predicts the following week will be grey and rainy and in the sixties, or I would actually be cross.  My mother always says that I cannot allow myself to be controlled by the weather, to which I always reply (in my head), "Oh, yes I can!" 

Anyway, at the moment I am in the air-conditioned library, where people are misbehaving all around me.  The woman next to me is loudly eating sour gumdrops.  Come on, lady!  That degree of smacking and sucking would be annoying on  a cross-town bus.  The man across from me is talking on his phone -- his phone! -- in a voice that would be too loud on the street corner, much less the library, which, as everyone has known all their life, is where you must be quiet.  Not silent anymore, unfortunately, but still, quiet.   And there are signs at the door reminding people to turn off their phones.  Grrr -- makes me wish that guy who kills rude people was still around.  Not that I want any of these people dead, of course, but they wouldn't be so ignorantly rude, if they had a madman with a politeness fixation to deal with.

Sigh...

I sound like a little old lady, don't I?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Queen for the Weekend

It is definitely odd to see the changes in traffic patterns that result from the time of year.  To all those of you who regularly drive on the freeway systems, I'm sure you noticed this years ago and have completely stopped noticing it now.   But for me, who has always avoided driving during rush hour, and driving on freeways when overland will do, and has had a terror of being in a large traffic jam, especially on a hot evening with pitiless sunshine pouring in the windshield and the engine slowly getting hotter and hotter and...AARRGGHH!
Pant, pant.  Okay.  What was I saying?
Oh, yes!  I have always avoided driving on the Banfield particularly, since it is the sole East-West freeway in a city which is constantly increasing in size, and seems to be nearly always crawling along, if moving at all.  It is also walled in on both sides, with no way to escape a wreck that happened ahead of one, so venturing oneself onto it with a great many other drivers, tired, irritable and more-or-less stupid, and all in a hurry, has always seemed to verge on the suicidal.
So, early on weekend mornings, when I have been very nearly the only driver -- between three and ten other cars, and most of them headed for the airport -- on the Banfield, I have actively enjoyed its use.  I feel as though it is all mine, that I am the Queen of it, the Conqueror of the Freeway, and I graciously wave to the crowds of cheering people as I pass by -- at least, inside my head I do.  I can go as fast or as slowly as I like and am not impeded by anyone.  It is MINE!
So I have not liked these past few bright and sunny mornings, when the lanes are full of cars.  All the way full, so that I have to be constantly aware of them and drive like an ordinary person and not Queen of All She Surveys, has been disappointing and frustrating to me.  They are mostly SUVs, and a lot of them have bicycles or windsurfing boards or other outdoor gear on them, and I am entirely sympathetic to the desire to get out and play in the sun that occasions these trips.  And I also understand that for a lot of people, especially those born elsewhere, the Banfield is the only way to get across town.  But still!  My kingdom!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jo-Jo's Bizarre Adventures

So I was with one of my clients this morning -- she is very intelligent, but has Asperger's which makes her interesting to have a conversation with.  She was in a very good mood this morning, however, and was telling me, in her spectrum-y way, the whole history of a manga story called (something like) "Jo-Jo's Bizarre Adventures."  (We got onto this from a monologue on Gundams, of which I had heard, {thank you, Ernest Cline!} but about which I knew very nearly nothing.)  I, in the meantime, was trying to gently ease her into getting showered and dressed (yes, still in her pajamas) while I tidied up, since her job coach was coming that morning to discuss her employment.  It somehow seemed important to me.  But Nameless Client merely sat on the floor, wearing a big smile, and kept talking about the various Jo-Jos, starting from the first one, whose name was (something like) Jonathan Jostar and who was the protagonist for the whole first series.   And then the second series was his grandson, whose name was (something like) Joseph Jostar, and then the third series, was his grandson whose name was Joseph Cujo, and so on.  And on.  

Her mind constantly edits and revises her thoughts, as do we all, but she does her edits and revisions out loud.   So it goes like this:

"In the fourth series, Jolene Cujo was accused of a crime which she did not -- was charged with a crime -- was innocent of the crime she was accused of -- was charged and convicted of a crime which she did not in fact commit, and was sentenced to a -- was temporarily -- was briefly incarcerated in a women's prison."

Ordinarily, I really enjoy it when she does this, since it means she is feeling good and enjoying my company, and I just put in the occasional monosyllables to indicate my fascination.  Not that she needs this, let me add, since she just barrels right on regardless.  But I feel better about it, more involved, and like I'm helping in some small way.  But this time, there was the job coach arriving, and the pajamas, and the unwashed hair, and there she still sat on the floor, beaming at me, and talking away.  What is a body to do?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and Sudden Death

So, it's Easter Sunday.  And it's a beautiful day in Portland, by anyone's standards.  It was cool and grey this morning, which made me happy, and now it is blue-and-gold and warm, which makes All The Rest Of You happy.   I hope everyone has found their Easter eggs, loved their Easter baskets, enjoyed their Easter church service, and is now eating their Easter ham and deviled eggs.  I am doing none of those things, but I am enjoying the fact that I am done with work for the day, and in a short while, will be eating my Easter bean burrito, hot and crispy.  Yum!

So those of you who are not on Facebook, may not know that my friend Shannah, the first friend I made at Prairie Bible College, died suddenly this past week.  I'm still in the can't-really-believe-it stage of grieving -- it just does not seem possible.  Absolutely typically, I feel certain, I am thinking about suddenly dropping dead myself, and wondering how that would work -- who would find my lifeless body?  How would they find it?  Who would tell my people?  How would they know whom to tell?  Should I make up a list of Important People To Tell If I Suddenly Die?  And where would that list be posted?

So, just in case I do die suddenly, and you get missed by the poor person to whose lot it falls to call all my Near and Dear, let me tell you that I love you.  Yes, I truly do.  You are someone whose memories make me smile (and sometimes cry), whose invitations delight me, even if I'm working that day, and whose face makes me happy to see.  You are my Dear Friend! And I promise your name will be prominently displayed on my IPTTIISD list!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Water, light and air

So I am at the Retirement Home -- my folks' place in Ocean Park -- and I had a sudden eye-opener about the quality of light and the nature of rain.  It's been raining since I arrived yesterday morning, but the cloud cover is not dark -- there's quite a bright light outside, illuminating the wet green. ( The birds are just as vocal and active, too, so they don't mind a little dampness!) 

The brightness of the cloud cover is different from the cloud cover I admire so frequently in town, though -- there is a translucent quality to it -- as though the light were right there, close behind the clouds, a ragged, wateriness to it as though the cover was going to shred apart at any moment (even though it does not!)  The light is purer up here on the comparatively uninhabited coastline -- far fewer cars, no factories, nothing like as many people. No constant layer of smog between us and the source of light (or at least, less) Light is coming directly at us, inhibited only by the rainclouds.

Anyway, I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window as I waited for the kettle to boil, and feeling vaguely nostalgic about childhood rain, and my young sensations of looking out a window and not being certain it was raining, and the telltale signs I would look for.  Up at the edge of the gutter to see if tiny drops were falling from the split place, over at the wild rose hedge to see if the light thin leaves were stirring with the percussion of beats of water.

Both of these places -- my childhood home and this one -- are rural. I am surrounded by fields of grass, and forests.  There is no cement, only tarmac on the road, which is at the other end of the house.  Anyway, tarmac receives water in a way that cement paving does not -- sort of muffled and multi-directional -- so that steady drumming you hear, from acres of roof tops and yards of flat smooth cement, does not exist out here.

But now I live in Portland, right in the heart of the city, and all you need to do if you want to know if its raining, is listen.  You can hear every drop bouncing off some flat surface, a window, a rooftop, a sidewalk, the tops of cars and trucks. Everything is paved!   Everywhere the sound of falling drops is met with the sound of rushing water from gutters and downspouts.  It's a whole different thing!

Anyway.  Such are my maunderings on this lovely morning.  Good coffee, too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

....that men still call Tyre...

Such a beautiful Sunday morning!  Warm and soft, with a pretty steady breeze, and occasional flurries of tiny drops.  I've been turning my windshield wipers off and on all morning.  The sky is palest grey and looks like a fresh duvet.  I'm looking at the grass through the library window, and it is vivid green -- partly because it is new growth, and partly because this is the perfect weather to see colors in. 

Many of the trees have tiny brilliant green leaves, and those that don't have pink and white and lavender blossoms.  Even the deep forest green of the conifer trees looks brighter and greener -- less Grimm-fairy-tale-forest, more men's-club-smoking-lounge.
This morning before my shift started, I was reading a travel book by Lawrence Durrell (note to self: read Gerald Durrell, not Lawrence!) and getting melancholy as it talked knowledgeably and casually about all the places I have never been, in a time, when all you needed to travel was some cash and the desire to go -- if you wanted to live in Greece, you just went there and rented a house.  Sigh... 

Anyway, I was trying to convince myself that I should be glad those who had traveled had written about it, so those of us (me) who had been too cowardly and procrastinatory (I've just made that word up) and generally frozen, could experience it vicariously, after a fashion.  Instead, I set the book down, and decided not to read any further about the "old ships (which) sail like swans asleep/Beyond the village which men still call Tyre/ With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep/ For Famagusta and the hidden sun that rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire."
That poem has always made me long for something -- something.

Ah, well!  I will make a physical effort and wrench my mind back to the happy state I was enjoying just moments ago!  Green, grey, soft warm air!  Sunday morning in Portland in the gentle rain!