Sunday, December 19, 2010


I have just finished drinking a lovely hot cup of tea in a Christmas-themed cup -- I put aside all my regular coffee- and tea-drinking cups at the beginning of the week, since I have six or eight Christmas-decorated cups, and if I don't use them at Christmas, then what? This particular one is the third or fourth that I have taken down, and it is a faux-Engelbreit. Poor man's Engelbreit. Engelbreit manquee. Anyway, it was painted by someone imitating Mary Engelbreit, and not very well. The upper edge was neatly done -- a very familiar design of black-and-white squares, with a narrow, berry-bearing vine above. But then the background was made of two shades of green squares, and there was a chubby little blonde girl with wings made of large leaves, holding up a globe with a red ribbon round it, to two white doves. Hmmm. What do you suppose that was supposed to illustrate? Because M.E. always illustrated something. And I must say, this looks like nothing on earth. But the colors are pleasant, and the painting is done neatly, so from a distance of a few feet, it looks really quite charming. It's only when one picks it up and holds it in ones hand that one sees it's malapropiateness. If that's a word. Which I doubt. Sounds right, but then.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Malaise

Wow, I opened up my work e-mail account a few minutes ago, and saw that I had received two messages overnight. Both of them adverts. Good LORD! Now, consider that I also opened my home e-mail account this morning, and had about thirty e-mails that I didn't want, and about ten that I did. And this is not a spam problem, either -- both accounts have spam-bots and do a fine job of removing all those obvious advertising idiocies. I know, I know -- it is December, and very rainy and nasty out, so few people are looking at houses or thinking of buying any, and it's close to Chirstmas, so everyone is occupied with trees and cookies. Still.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

...Somethin' 'Bout a Sunday...

Sunday mornings are definitely to be sought after and treasured. This is the belief that I have come up with after enjoying the hell out of this morning. It is now noon, so the morning is over, but it still continues. The peacefulness of it is hard to describe, but perhaps I can make you see if I tell you that there is no sound! No thumps, squeaks, doors closing, faint far-off music, car engines, children's voices or cats. Sitting in the living room with my second steaming cup of strong coffee and the Oregonian, all I could hear was the semi-synchronous ticking of several clocks from several rooms of the house. At one point, a pair of sirens, from, presumably a police car and an ambulance wound their way through the streets fairly close by, but when they died away, the peace returned. Looking out through my kitchen window as I brewed my second cup of steaming hot strong coffee, I could see no movement. No ducks, no seagulls, no people in the park, no cars in the parking lot through the trees. Nothing. And no sounds of them, either. I got up at seven-thirty, so I had nearly five hours of solitary peace and comfort and quiet. No phones ringing. No screen doors squeaking. No television muttering in the distance.

I was thinking, as I looked out the window, of the Kristofferson song, "Sunday Morning Sidewalk" but it is all so negative in its beauty -- the singer is a hung-over drunken ne'er-do-well feeling sorry for himself as he wanders out of his house into an empty city, where most people are at church (so presumably somewhere in the South) and thinks maudlin thoughts about frying chicken and happy families. Beautiful but self-absorbed and sentimental and not full of peace. Can't think of any song or poem that fits the mood, really.

Hmmmm. Happy. Maybe I should think about showering and dressing and starting the car.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vive l'individualite!

Since recently on Facebook we've been posting shots of our favorite cartoon characters as our profile pictures, in order to identify ourselves as humans against child abuse, I've been thinking about the cartoons I saw as a child (not very many) and those I particularly liked. Which caused me, in turn, to ponder this. So many of the things I particularly like, are tangled up, in my memories, with my ex-husband. Since of course there was the whole getting-to-know you time, when you tell the person you are dating all about yourself, including all your favorite things. And then there are the things you found that you liked while with that person. And then there are the things that THEY liked, which you hadn't heard of until dating them. And so on.

Well, one's first impulse is to shy away from EVERYTHING that you ever shared with this person, especially if they demonstrated themselves to be an abuser, a liar, a cheater and a criminal. Or, if it just hasn't been long since you broke up with them. Cuz I know most people's exes aren't all those things. But, if you do that, if you allow yourself to shy away, then you are allowing that liar, thief and cheater to take from you all the things that make you YOU, even down to your likes and dislikes. For example -- I selected Judy Jetson as me, since I really liked the Jetsons, and Judy was blonde. Even though my ex had told me many times how when he was a little boy he had been in love with Judy, and had even hinted several times that he had had sexual experiences with Judy Jetson. And since by that time (within the first year!) I had already figured out that I didn't want to know about any of his weird sexual stuff, (since then I would be expected to join in)I didn't ask to have that explained. But I thought that over, wiped out the squirmy memory of my ex and his strange needs, and selected Judy Jetson anyway. And then later I chose Snagglepuss. In spite of Ex's habit of imitating his voice and sayings. I like Snagglepuss! He quotes Shakespeare, and is very erudite in his Cowardly Lion way.

I am going to go right on liking the things that I like, regardless of whether Ex liked them too, or whether I first heard of them in his company. Vive l'individualite!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Came to work a little earlier this morning, and was driving directly down the maw of the rising sun. It was just below eye level, and it was huge and golden and blinding and blurry and filled my whole windshield with huge, hot, unbearable yellow light. Sunglasses made it worse, blinded me completely, and the fold-down screen on my windshield only kept it from incinerating me there and then. I could see, with my head twisted and my eyes squinted, and one palm up to block part of the source, I could see about two feet at a time of the white line beside me, and the occasional red flash of the brake lights on the (invisible) car in front of me. For about four minutes, until my windshield completely cleared itself of the fog of the night before, I was a loose cannon -- literally. A weapon, let loose upon the world by me. Fortunately, no small animal ran out in front of me, no child toddled into the street, no car without brake lights came to a sudden stop, nothing like that. Fortunately.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


This morning the low-lying fog was obscuring -- no, not obscuring -- a word that means slightly less than obscuring -- hmmm. Dimming? No -- making it hazy? Well, anyway, in spite of my non-functioning vocabulary, there was fog and stuff. And I couldn't see through it very far. So it made the view all mysterious and stuff. Really beautiful, and full of ducks and all. And dim, and hazy. And mysterious. And evocative. Sigh.... can't... think...

In any case, today is my day in traffic court, to go and apologize to the judge and ask him to pretty please lower my speeding ticket. Please. On account of because I'm poor. And my vocabulary is jammed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Three feet tall and rising

Surface of the water is in constant motion this morning! We'll say it's because of the ducks, and not the enormous underwater KRAKEN! --arrghhh..... glub, glub (that's me drowning).

It also looks fat -- the water does, I mean. It is very pale brownish-grey this morning, none of that steely look it so often has. But it doesn't look like the surface of water, or at least, not like a pond of water. It looks like the top of a custard pie, rising above its pastry in the oven! Sort of fattish along the edges, with a definite rounded edge. Hasn't been wet for a few days, either, so unless it just took this long for all the rainwater to sluice itself down here and fill this pond, I don't know why it's rising. How high's the water, Mama?

Friday, November 26, 2010

As are we all!

Well, quite a few things have happened that I really ought to have been mentioning, if this blog is really a "log" -- because a log is where you keep track of what is going on from DAY to DAY. So if a week has gone by without an entry, this is Not Good Log Keeping. So, by definition, bad blogging. Therefore I apologize to all of you (mostly imaginary) Readers Out There In Blog World, as well as to the Great Blog Monitor In The Sky.

The reason, (since there must of course be a REASON, there is a reason for EVERYTHING, right?) that I have been unable/unwilling/not there in the blogging world, is that I haven't felt like even talking about this stuff, (cuz it's all bad), and even less like writing about it, cuz that has to be in complete sentences and spelled correctly, and all. So effort. And I didn't feel like expending effort. So in conclusion, "I didn't FEEEEEEL like it." Note the whine?

Well. Regarding the tooth situation. It has not been pulled, it is still firmly rooted in my head. Not causing me any pain or even discomfort at the moment (though more on that later) but still there after two visits to the dentist for the sole purpose of removing it. This is because the dentist was unable to anesthetize me. I would not get numb. After the first visit, he gave me two weeks worth of antibiotics with instructions to take three a day until gone, and to return next week to have the infection-free molar removed. The second time was worse. WORSE!!

The dentist had given me one shot of anesthesia, which was supposedly working, when he said, "You know I can see the nerve, right down there -- let me put the needle INSIDE the hole in your tooth, and that will REALLY get it thoroughly numb." I agreed, doubtfully, thinking he wouldn't want to do this if it was going to be too painful, right? YEEEEOOWWWWWCH! My legs were kicking and my body was jumping and I was trembling in great leaps and unable to speak, so acute and horrific and filling-the-whole-world was the pain. And although it died away when the shot was over, the jumping and twitching of all my limbs, and the tears from my eyes, and my inabaility to speak went on for about ten minutes. And still, several shots later, I was completely not numb. No numbness whatsoever. So the dentist wrote me another prescription for pain pills and sent me off to find an oral surgeon. And although I was having this done at the county office, because of my lack of money, it still cost nearly $100 per visit. Which I cannot spare, when the thing I was visiting them for is not accomplished. So I went through several people, and finally got someone who quite cheerfully agreed with me, and is willing to refund most of the fee for one visit.

So that little part of it is good, but the whole oral surgeon thing is BAD. Mostly because I cannot afford it. I don't think that any oral surgeons are working for the Poor Folks Clinic. But also because I am kind of worried, if I no longer respond to anesthesia, how will I ever get anything sewn up? Guess they'll just have to knock me out or give me laughing gas, if they ever want to do that!

And as far as pain and discomfort go, the tooth is mostly fine and I don't even know that it is there, but I was eating a piece of leftver Thanksgiving pie this morning -- raspberry banana -- and got a seed lodged between the tooth and the temporary filling. Painful! Until I was able to extract it with my handy little curved metal extractor thingy. But still.

So, besides this expenditure, I also have a speeding ticket to pay (I know, I know) and my regular bills, which more than take all my income as a regular occurrence. So monetarily, I am in a bad way. As are we all, I know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caring About Pain

The only time I have experienced the complete disappearance of pain was in the hospital while waiting to have my emergency appendectomy. The kind male nurse gave me a shot of liquid morphine, and it not only completely eliminated all traces of pain -- and that was some serious pain -- but made me feel warm and floaty and loving and as though I could answer any question. I can still picture the room, and the feeling of knowing everything, and having the answer to anything right on the tip of my tongue.

My usual experience with pain pills that work for me, is a feeling as though the pain does not matter -- it's still there, still recognizable as pain -- but the feeling that it is bad -- or important or meaningful at all -- is gone. So what brain access does it block?

I'm thinking about this because I have just taken my midday pain medication. I can still feel the tooth and its surrounding lake of pain, but the bridge to it has been cut. It does not affect me any longer. I don't care. So what is that -- the caring about pain -- that has been wiped out? What do you call that?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fancy Dress for Ducks

Well, now at last I am feeling good. Feeling very peaceful, a little swimmy, and with no pain or feeling of distress at all. A very good feeling. Waiting for the water to boil for my cup of tea, and enjoying the lovely serenity of the afternoon. The pond is very full, and there are orange leaves scattered all over the grey surface of the water, which give the ducks a more festive air -- sort of dressed up, if you see what I mean.

This morning, you see, was my dental appointment at Clackamas County Dental Clinic. I was to be there at eight-thirty, which would have been no problem at all, except for Neighbor, who wanted to use the computer again, and had sworn up and down he would be here before eight, so that I could leave in plenty of time. And yet, for the third -- or fourth? -- time, he did not get up in time. I did make it in time however, although a fat lot of good that did me, since it was eleven thirty before they called me in! However.

I explained the trouble to the dentist, and he took a quick X-ray of the tooth, and tsk-tsked at me --"You see, this crack? All the way into the bone!" he said solemnly. And gave me a couple of fairly painful shots, and off we went. But. I would not get numb. I had told them how very poorly I respond to anesthetic, and so he gave me shot after shot (total of six, altogether!) and kept asking. Finally they sent me back out to the waiting room and made me wait for half an hour, while whizzing through several other patients (this is the County, you know -- they are moving as rapidly as they can!) When I came back in, my face, including my nose and my eyelid were numb and floppy, but when he began trying to pull the tooth, it hurt like billy-oh. Truly. I was shuddering all over -- even my legs were giving great leaps -- and tears were pouring out of my eyes. And my tooth! Huge crunching waves of pain. The dentist decided that in spite of my lack of fever and swelling, I must have gotten an infection in the root of the tooth itself, (which was blocking any anesthetic getting to the nerve under the tooth) and must take antibiotics for a week, and come back next Monday. I staggered out of the office, with my whole head going kaBOOM! kaBOOM! and managed to drive home, get my prescriptions filled, call the office and tell them I wasn't coming back (one-thirty by this point) and take two pain pills.

And that was about two hours ago, and I am feeling very calm and happy now. In fact, I think I may smile out the window once more and then take a nap.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday morning peace

Well, my lovely peaceful morning has changed colors somewhat -- but not with any startling surge. Joe was planning to come and do laundry here today, and had a ride all lined up, but he just called and said that it had fallen through (which I knew, I KNEW it would) because they all drank too much last night and uh....and Jamie's car died. I really, really wish he would not lie to me. However, I told him that I would be there to pick him up at about noon, which he accepted with relief, and I hope he went back to bed.

In the meantime, I am enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning, drinking my second cup of hot coffee and listening to the quiet voice of Karen Carpenter. No sounds from outside, except for the ducks, who have also quieted down since they got their morning bath taken. Cold enough out there, that it required a great deal of energy and vim to make them do it. Lots of squawking and splashing and racing to and fro. But not any more. And all my neighbors are still asleep, as well as the drivers of the world -- no traffic sounds. Peace.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Loud Sing Cuckoo! Or -- Penguin?

This morning as a I made my coffee, the view from the kitchen window was only identifiable because I knew what it was. It was nearly all charcoal with a few folds of pewter and one silver triangle where the sky reflected off the water. And a few ducks were already out on it, making a ripple that caught the tiny bit of light. Winter is coming! Time shift is this Sunday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Best Poetry EVER!

Today I received a book in the mail. It was one I had requested from the BookMooch program to which I belong, and one to which I was eagerly looking forward. It was called, "The Best Poems Ever; A Collection of Poetry's Greatest Voices," and it was edited by one Edric S. Mesmer. Which name sort of gave me pause for a moment. Sounds like the made-up name of a teen-age poet, doesn't it?

Anyway, it arrived today. And it was paperback, and it was 71 pages long, including table of contents, and notes in the back. It contained forty-five poems. FORTY-FIVE!!!

Ah, well. It was free. And it is the right size to be carried in a purse, on the bus. But I can see why they felt free to label it "the best" poetry, since there are so few of them!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neighbor or Nuisance?

Well, I am annoyed. And so I am going to talk about my annoyance. Because this is what blogs are for, right? Sharing one's annoyance with the world. So listen up, world!

My neighbor is is fairly bad shape financially right now, (as who isn't!) and has been relying increasingly heavily on me to assist them in their life. For example, I take them shopping once a week, and allow them to use my computer when they wish, and run them on errands, etc. Mostly it is my car and my computer that they seek. However, this fairly reasonable requirement has increased over time, to being nearly every other day, and taken pretty much for granted. And if it is something that my neighbor feels uncomfortable asking me to do, they won't tell me what it is until they are already in my car and we are on the road. Thus I cannot, really, refuse to do the series of errands they want my chauffering for, without looking really obnoxious and witholding.

So there have been a few times when I have expressed myself -- such as "No, I'm not taking you to buy liquor twice a week -- besides the trip to the liquor store you always make when we grocery shop -- because even if you are willing to spend that kind of money on liquor, I am not willing to contribute to this problem." The result has been an offended and angry neighbor, who feels quite free to express this anger and offence to me. And I agree, I should not be involving myself in this drinking problem, as I am not their mother or their boss, but then, they should get themselves to and from the liquor store without asking me to chauffer them.

And then there are the annoying opposite times, when I am ready to help Neighbor in some way -- like this past Friday morning, when I had the house ready for them to come and use the computer -- and they did not arrive when they said they would. Or at all, in fact. And I, waiting nearly an hour past my usual Leave-for-work time, had called and left messages, and finally said, "Okay! I'm leaving!" and left. And the only reason, which they left on my answering machine later that morning, was that they didn't get up in time.

Okay. So this morning. My neighbor had called and told me that they were coming to use my computer today, and so I needed to pick them and their son up in the morning, and take the son to school and then take them back to my apartment, where they would be until the son got out of school, and then they would find their own way home, unless I let them wait in my apartment until I got home from work, and then took them home. Oh, and the son-to-school-in-the-morning thing would be every morning this week and a few next week, too. When, for several seconds, I was unable to respond, such was my shock and surprise at this series of demands, they added, "Please."

So, I began preparing my house for this, since, although tidy, it is not company-ready at all times, (plus I just had a migraine) and it was going to have a non-family, non-friend in it all day long! I left some of the tidy work to be done in the morning, and went to bed. However, last night was a white night. I was completely unable to sleep. Listened to three CDs of my book on tape, and finally got a bit of sleep between six and seven in the morning. Didn't make it out of bed until seven-thirty, though, and was due to pick up Neighbor and Son at 7:50. So I raced around, putting dishes in the dishwasher, closing my bedroom door on my unmade bed, etc. Remembered the vacuum cleaner in the back seat of the car when I hurried out to the car and found it! Had to run back upstairs with it, and finally made it to Neighbor's house, five minutes late.

Neighbor said, "Oh, no -- I'm not coming over this morning. I've got errands to do, and all. Just take Son to school, and I'll see you later. Maybe do some shopping tonight?"


They did give me some gas money, though. I am really frustrated with this. To what degree am I supposed to be giving and helpful, and to what degree is this person just imposing themselves on me?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Migraine Day Two

Well, I am somewhat better today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Migraine, migraine....

Okay, well, I am NOT feeling well. No, not at all. I have all the symptoms of an old-fashioned migraine, but the pain is in the wrong place! Which worries me a good deal (no doubt because I HAVE A MIGRAINE) since if the Old Firm is no longer enough for migraines, what, they need my WHOLE HEAD? So I won't be able to recognize a migraine straightaway, won't be able to tell the difference between just a regular headache which may well respond to a handful of ibuprofen or a tall glass of water or some food or something -- because there is now no longer any special Migraine Place? Ohhh, this is not good, not good at all...

I'm at the office, it is now nearly eleven in the morning, and I have not seen a single person yet today. One phone call. No people. If Doug would just come in, I would immediately shut down my computer and go home, such is my feeling.

It's a pretty day out there, but I can't even raise my eyes to look at it, because there is far too much light, too bright, much too bright, another familiar migraine symptom. The pain in my head ratchets up from bearable-if-held-still, to momentarily COMPLETELY UNBEARABLE, and dies away slowly as I close my eyes and rapidly re-lower my head. Not too fast, though, 'cause vertigo is a very powerful inducer of vomit. And I am hanging on hard to the whole Not-Vomiting idea.

Oooh. Driving. I do have sunglasses, but still. Driving is a horrifying idea. Oh, I want there to be farcasters, I really do. I could totter a few steps with my eyes closed, and step through a farcaster that ended up in my bedroom....but driving a car? In the brilliant sun? Can't think about that right now, swallow, swallow, swallow...

Eleven-oh-four, and now two Nameless Agents are here, talking much too loudly and moving much too fast and wearing FAR TOO MUCH cologne. Slow down, shut up, hold still and wash!

Leaf-blower right outside the door. Blowing a few wet leaves here and there. So very obnoxiously loud. Sun has gone behind a cloud, however, so that feels less desperate.

Ohhhhh, I want to go home, I want my own bed, and to close my eyes with a pillow over my head and hear and see nothing....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

RIP Shirley Wallan

Goodness me, I have just talked with Keith on the phone for more than an hour and a half. My ear is very flat and red. Ow. But I was glad to do it, both because it is fun to talk with Keith, and because his mother died yesterday. And he found her. Shudder!

He called me yesterday and told me about it, and cried, which may be the first time I have heard him cry. Doesn't seem possible, does it, since we dated for seven years? My memory could be merely gone kaplooie. But if so, I don't remember it.

Dreadful to think about, my mother dying. And oddly enough, Dad and I had just been talking about that when I was down there last week. We were walking on the beach road, and he said, "If I should suddenly croak, please don't leave Mom up there alone," and I responded, 'Dad, if you were so bad-mannered as to suddenly croak, I would promptly move in with Mom. And the same thing, if she were to suddenly die, I would move in with you. That's already understood." He was quite relieved to hear this, but of course he pooh-poohed the need for me to move in with him, cuz he, of course, is one hundred per cent capable of looking after himself. Which he is certainly not. Mom brings him his coffee in the morning, in bed, for him to take his pills with, and then at intervals throughout the day. And although he occasionally makes himself coffee, it is an occasion when he does! She also feeds him almost every bite he eats, and does his laundry and pays his bills -- of course he could do these things, but he hasn't done them for forty-six years.

And Keith's Dad, who has outlived his wife, was always supposed to be the one who went first, because he is very, very frail. Keith's worried.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The sun over the yardarm

Hmmm, question. It is a blue-and-golden Saturday in October, and the first Autumnal day we have had so far this year -- electricity shimmering and crackling in the air! -- and I have had a double bourbon-and-Coke already this morning. Before noon. Before noon, on a Saturday, I have had a drink, and a double at that.

So am I in danger of becoming an alcoholic? No, that isn't what worries me -- I drink far too seldomly (if that is a word) for that to be a problem. What does worry me? Is it wrong? I know there are no laws about when one may drink alcohol, so I'm not worried about breaking any laws. But is it a bad thing to do? Bad for my health, or my stability of mind, or my reputation?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I need a helicopter

Home again, home again (jiggety jig). I wonder what it is about home that makes it so relieving to get there. Probably some of it is just the relief -- the relief of no longer travelling, of driving if you're drving, or getting on and off planes, of trying to keep track of your belongings and your money, but just being somewhere where all of your clothes and toothbrushes and books and all ARE. But part of it is a warmer, more welcoming and happier feeling than that. It's as though you can let your breath out in a big sigh, but not merely of relief -- also of happiness to be back where you belong. And I know this to be true, becasue I have just returned home from two days at the coast with my parents, and that is what I feel, even though my parents home at the coast was my home for three years, and still feels like home to me. And a far more beautiful and homey home than mine is, too, with no job to be required to go to, and a sweetly beautiful and charming little town, and the ocean (for crying out loud). So it should, really, trump the ace of my apartment in Milwaukie. And yet it did not. Which makes me want to sit down and figure that out.

In the meantime, however, let me just say that the beach, and the waves and the foam and the tides are all as absolutely beautiful as ever, just as moving and heart-lifting and poetic, and yet as ordinary and quotidian as life at the ocean is every single day. Simply fabulous. I look forward to being able to live wherever I want to, and living within sight of the beach. A northern beach, though -- best would probably be an island, off the western coast of Washington or Canada or maybe Ireland. Probably an island would not be best, come to think -- although I have always wanted to live on an island -- but in case of emergency, they are hard to get to and from, unless you have a helicopter. But hey, a helicopter! No, no, stop getting distracted, your thoughts are running crazy! I can own a vacation house on an island, and just live on the mainland. And then perhaps switch them around when I am sure of my helicopter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pay me the money! But I can't pay the money!

Well. I am really at a loss here. I do not know what to make of this behavior, or how I should interpret it. I mean, there are a great many ways to interpret it, but most of them are very negative, and ...but I should back up and tell you what I'm talking about.

You know Joe is going to college, right? And living in his first apartment. What I may not have made clear, is that Joe's great-uncle left Joe money to go to college, and put his younger half brother, Uncle, in charge of this fund. Uncle is the legal executor of Joe's college fund, and as such, is required to pay his bills, his travel costs, his room and board, his books and supplies, and his tuition. All from this fund.

So, when I let him know that Joe was ready for college, he asked a list of questions to make certain that Joe was really attending school (or something -- I'm not really sure what these questions were for, since it's not as though Joe has to satisfy Uncle of anything) but he did pony up with a nice fat check (at the last possible moment -- and we were a week late paying for tuition, but it all worked out) for school clothes, tuition, and getting an apartment. We even exchanged this Q&A :

Uncle: "How much will I be paying per month?"

Me: "The monthly charge will be $800, for rent and utilities."

So I KNOW he knew and understood that the rent check had to come once a month.

And yet -- October first came and went. Rent was due by the fifth, but I kept calming Joe down and saying, "Don't worry, the check will come," until the fourth, when I finally gave in to my private freak-out, and sent an e-mail saying:

"A brief note to remind you that rent is due by the fifth of the month. I'm afraid it will be late this month, but I'm hoping his landlord will be kind this first time!

If you want to send the $800 to me, you can, of course, but Joe has his own checking account now and you can send it directly to him if you like. His address is (**).

Thanks very much!"

And then I reassured Joe again that the check would come. However, on the fifth, when it did not arrive, I called and left a message on their phone. I called again on the sixth. Then on the seventh --the SEVENTH! -- I sent this e-mail:

Just checking!

I feel silly writing this, since I'm sure the check is about to arrive, but we are feeling pretty anxious here -- Joe in particular. His rent was due on the fifth, and is getting later every day. Please forgive me nagging!

In the meantime, I was getting a daily call from Joe's building manager, making increasingly threatening noises, until the eighth, when she left Joe an official 72-hour notice of eviction.
Joe was calling me repeatedly to rave about the physical damage he was going to do to his uncle if he ever saw him again, and I was getting really very angry.

So, on the evening of Thursday, the seventh, Joe called and got his Great-Aunt. She was surprised to hear from him, and claimed complete ignorance of the fact that they were supposed to be sending us a monthly check. She also said she would immediately send him a check. Joe began to tell her how much it would need to be for, but she interrupted him, saying, "Yeah, your Mom left a message, she said it was $800."

What? What?! WHAT!!!!???

So they had listened to my messages and read my e-mails and were just ignoring me?

In any case, the check arrived Saturday, and we managed to get it deposited to my account (Aunt had written it to "Joe" Sumpter, which is, of course, not his legal name. So he couldn't deposit it to his own account) and I wrote him a check, and he took it over to his manager this morning. Today is the last day he had to pay it, or be evicted first thing tomorrow morning.

And since then, I have not heard a peep from Uncle or Aunt. No phone call saying, "Gee, I'm sorry -- we will make sure you have the checks by such-and-such a date from now on." No e-mail, saying a bit more than that. NOTHING WHATSOEVER.

And I am very much up in the air and confused and concerned about how to respond to this sort of thing. Various people to whom I have spoken about it, say that I should promptly and at once, talk to an attorney about getting Uncle removed form this account, and getting it transferred to me, or some court-appointed person. And I would like to do that. But that is so very hostile and reactionary of me.

I guess I will talk it over with my dad when I get down there tomorrow morning

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weather Liars

You know, I am just going to comment on the weather, and relish how once again it is not following the Weathermen's predictions. This morning's prediction was that today was going to be the last of the clear bright sunny days, and tomorrow afternoon, we would get some tropical rainstorms. Well, it is eleven a.m, and the thickly-cloud-covered sky is seconds from pouring down the rain of which it is visibly full. Ahead of the game by at least 25 hours. So often that is the case. The weatherman/woman (beg pardon, the Meteorologist!) doesn't even call his/her predictions predictions anymore! S/He just stands up and says, as though this is as true as the news, as though there is some way of being able to see into the future, that today's weather will be this, tomorrow's weather will be that, and next week we are going to have such-and-such.

To which I always want to respond, (like Carol Channing in "Princess Bride,") "LIAR!"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Does this mean...?

Giggle-giggle! Snicker-snee!

Oh, tee-hee. The copy machine repairman is here, and has evicerated our printer/copy machine and is currently vacuuming out its innards. Lots of noise, lots of pieces lying out on newspapers, very obviously a taken-apart machine. And then Nameless Agent came in and looked at the man, up to his elbows in the printer and bleated, "Does this mean that the printer is shut down?"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What I am Doing Today

Well, it is a cool, grey Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting around my lovely little apartment -- not quite so shining clean as it has been for the past month, (since Joe left) but still only needing a quick clearing of counter tops in the kitchen to give it that peaceful glow. I am absolutely loving it at the moment. I am both enjoying the comfy, squishy feel of my soft and silky pajamas and my softer and warm robe, as it nearly two in the afternoon, and I have neither showered nor dressed (!) -- and also sort of enjoying the opposing sensation of guilt as my new-neighbor and her stream of friends and family move in downstairs. Shouldn't I offer to help? Shouldn't I hurry down there and carry a few boxes? And yet here I sit, reveling in my second cup of steaming hot sweet tea.

Apropos of nothing, except, I guess that my eyes just fell across them, is the interesting fact that in my dining room, on the three decorative plates that sit on top of the newest bookcase that runs underneath the west-facing window, as well as filling the large oval basket in the middle of the round dining room table (how descriptive is that!) are apples, oranges, tomatoes (big red beefsteaks!) pears, lemons and limes. The tomatoes are going to need to be cut up and disposed of quite soon, and I think I will make at least one tomato sandwich today -- but the pears are slowly ripening, and glowing gently yellower by the hour. I look forward with much anticipation to slicing them into long thin curves and eating them with a great deal of both physical enjoyment and happy reminiscence. The oranges are those thick-skinned kind that are easy to peel, but usually neither as sweet nor as juicy as their thinner-skinned counterparts. Makes them less enjoyable, but good to take to work with you. I took a large bag of them to Joe's house yesterday, along with the pre-packaged, pre-made food that frequently constitutes our weekly food-box. Now I am, at last, glad and grateful for these examples of ridiculous packaging and "ease" and microwavability. They are very handy for Joe, my trained and taught to cook, but young and unwilling to, son. Makes it easy to divide the box up, too! The cook-with stuff I keep, and send the brightly colored plastic things to Joe, along with the Franz wonder bread (It's the loaf with LIFE!)and the various cheeses. No, I still love cheese, but can't eat it as much as I used to, because of this dang nab gall-bladder absence. But don't worry, Joe also got the green grapes (even though I love them, ever since they saved my life during a terrible, nightmare episode of migraine plus carsickness during an apple-picking trip that evolved into a mushroom-picking journey. And no, I know they didn't really save my life, but it certainly felt to me as though they did), the watermelon and the summer squash. So he is set for fruits and veggies this week, if he eats these things.

Let's see -- well, Friday night, Billy (my Scottish cousin-in-law) and his band were playing at the Roadhouse, and once again I went to listen, along with Mickey and friends Bob and Katie. They are as good as ever, Billy in particular being an amazing guitarist
-- but somehow I was too full and sleepy to want to stay long, and we left after the first set. Fortunately, Mickey was just as full and sleepy as I, and she was my ride, so it worked out quite well. See, she had come over at about six-thirty, and we had gone down the street for Thai food, which was very, very slow in coming, so that by the time it got there we were absolutely starving and ate hugely of it. So then we had to remind one another that Bob and Katie would be there, and how disappointed they would be not to have us to scream at underneath the huge music, cuz otherwise we would have walked back and flopped on the couch and snoozed.

And, I have been re-reading Hyperion -- the real reason I am still en dishabille this morning -- and being amazed all over again at how powerfully he sucks me in, in spite of how much I know about him -- I mean, I used to own these books and yet I never looked at them because I knew how his books only shone the first time you read them and after that you could see the holes and strangenesses -- like Leon Uris -- and now here I am getting them out from the library and reading all morning in a state of breathlessness that kept me from eating anything that was going to require two hands. Hmm. That was not an appropriate descriptor, since my breath has nothing to do with my hands. I had started thinking about these books cuz I was describing the Cruciform part to my boss, and then got drawn into the Treeships and the Shrike and the Amazing Shrinking Child and the small crystalline perfection of various ideas that he had -- and how much they filled one's mind.

Anyway. So that is what I am doing today.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My son the college student

So this is Wednesday of the first week Joe has been going to college. He has called me each day so far, and today when he called me, he was just about ready to explode with joy. He said that he LOVES college, that it is THE BEST, that his teacher thinks he is SO SMART and the other students do too, and he is so glad and grateful to me, that he could hardly think how to make me understand it.

He said, "Mom, I LOVE college! It's the best thing EVER!"

Can you see my shoulders descending from clear over there?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

So Sunday was my birthday, and I am now 45 years old. At first my lack of accomplishment or experience was making me feel both sad and guilty -- wasteful idiot! What a stupid way to treat the only life you will ever have! But I stopped that, and I have decided that I am going to live to be 90 years old (not such a difficult thing to strive for; my grandfather died at 95) and so I have just reached the halfway point of my life. I'm only halfway through it! So there. Plenty left.

Anyway, as a birthday celebration, my cousin took me to the Portland Art Museum to see the R. Crumb exhibit of the Book of Genesis. I understand his position on the Bible -- he says that it is the single most important work of literature in the world, since it is the foundation for the cultures of so many of the world's people, and has made them who they are today, whether they are still Christian or not. I get that. What I don't really get is the "and therefore" part -- and therefore he needed to draw a cartoon delineation of the entire book. Every verse (that means sentence). Really?

He was not intending to make it into a humorous story, or even into a story. He was just following the verses, in the order they were laid out. So that means that he also covered the "begats". You know, there's nearly a chapter of those -- "and Eber lived four and thirty years and begat Peleg. And Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after he begat Peleg and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years and begat Reu. And Peleg lived after he begat Reu some crazy number of years and had lots more kids. And so on -- " Pardon my irreverence, all you religious types who take this very seriously as the word of god.

Anyway, although it was a hard job, and he did it all very consistently and well, I didn't really care for it -- I think because of his style of drawing them. He made sure that they were not beautiful people, but were, in fact, Semitic-looking early-tribesmen types, with the whole R. Crumb version of sexuality in the background -- women who were considered attractive by the storytellers had large round rumps and enormous erectile nipples. So there was that degree of not taking it seriously, but not enough to say he was mocking the Bible -- I don't know. Perhaps that is just what I should have expected to see, knowing the sort of guy he is. And I don't want to be giving the stories any added importance, but just their historical cachet -- so it's hard to say why that degree of mockery spoiled the enjoyment for me. Perhaps I am still reacting as someone who was raised by Christians. And it didn't spoil the experience at all. I loved being back in the PAM -- haven't been there for about twelve years, and I wandered around and looked at all the art. It brought the National Portrait Gallery in London back to mind, even though it is nothing like that -- just the walking around a temperature-controlled building and looking at paintings and statuary is all they had in common -- but that memory, in combination with some really great pictures brought a smile to my face that I wore for several hours.

And then Katie and I had about forty-five minutes to sit and talk with one another as Mickey made her way page by page through the whole darn book, which was very enjoyable as well. And then we walked a few blocks down Park to South Park, and had a delicious lunch accompanied by Kamikazes and followed with some not-as-good-as-it-should-have-been panna cotta. Still pretty enjoyable, though. And the appetizers were absolutely delicious -- light and crispy polenta fries and kalamari, with spicy mayo or black truffle cream to dip them in. YUM.

So happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spread out!

So, my workday was not entirely bad, nor was it unrelentingly good. I talked to Jill -- over lunch, which she brought to me at the office, (what a sweetheart!) about Joe's recent demands, and then to Ruthie on the phone. Both of them gave me good advice and listened to my woes and made me feel both better and supported and stronger, and also wimpier, since I knew how I was likely going to behave, in spite of their encouragement. Still, it was very good to see and talk with both of them. The more so in that my Office Depot order somehow did not get forwarded from the Westside Office, so we still had no creamer for Nameless Agent's coffee, nor any grey-green folders for me to put my sales paperwork in. Glad I called and asked! So, there were plenty of listings to do, no worries there. But still, it added to my feeling of uneasiness. They will be here tomorrow, I am assured.

Anyway, although today is the day my support group meets -- and I had nearly decided to go and see how it felt this time, and let this be my decision-making time -- should I stay or should I go now? -- I decided to skip it and drive out to Oregon City, in a ridiculous display of Worried Mother Saving the Day. Because Joe, although he knows that tomorrow is the day he must pay the rest of his move-in fee, and knows that I work from nine to five, and knows that he didn't ever answer the phone when I was calling him yesterday, to see if I could come out and write him a check and get the cash to cover it, had STILL decided to drive down to Silverton and spend the night there with his friend Conor. And although I am very glad that I asked him about this and got all this information out of him, I almost wish that I had just left it, and he could have come home from a day of playing with Conor, to losing his apartment.

Anyway, I drove out to Oregon City, woke up Joe's girlfriend (who made a tiny effort to be polite to me) left the check, took the cash, gave her a bag of bread and cheese, and drove back to Milwaukie. On the way, I decided to stop at the movie theater and watch a movie by myself. I do really enjoy watching movies alone. You can get as into them as you want, laugh, cry, without feeling embarrassed or on display. I remembered that I had seen when Eat, Pray, Love was showing, and thought I might get there right on time. But the trip took longer than I thought, and as I was approaching the turnoff, I saw that the movie had started five minutes ago. And even though I LOVE trailers, and always want to watch them all, I suddenly decided to go for it, and swung the car into the parking lot. Walked straight in to the empty lobby and approached the young boy behind the desk.

"Hi, I'd like one for Eat, Pray, Love," I said.

"Okay," he replied. "That's going to be in theater four, and just let me tell them that they're going to have to show it after all, cuz you are the only person who came to see it."

I paused. "I'm the only person in the whole theater?" I asked, laughing just a little.

"Yup!" he answered. "Spread out!"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh boy, no boy!

Joe has moved out.

The house is empty of Joe.

No Joe, no queen-sized bed, no chest of drawers, no rifles, no VHS tapes and loose DVDS.

This is the first time I have lived alone --THE FIRST TIME -- since 1998. Since before I was married. For twelve years!

OH, BOY!!!

I'm being very calm about it. No hooting or squealing. No dancing in place. I've hardly even allowed the thought to cross my mind aloud.

But OH, BOY!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Home for Joe

Well good news first -- Joe has been approved to rent this apartment that we looked at the other day! Hurrah!

Now, it is not a nice place, not pretty or cozy or charming in any way, that I could see. And the apartment itself was in fairly shabby shape, and run-down, with stained carpet and small kitchen and bathroom. But the ceilings were high, and the storage ample, and the two bedrooms were fairly decently sized -- and it's a town house, so no one above or below you, which is good -- and anyway, Joe is getting very antsy about finding a place. And I guess he can certainly move out if he wants to, if the place does not meet his needs. So there's that.

BUT. I've just hung up the phone from a conversation with him, in which he gave me several orders (cuz he's a man now, doesn't have to say please and thank you -- right?) and also asked for help as though I were bound as his mother to give it to him. And I just don't know about this. I still WANT to help him -- I'm still his mother, for goodness sake, and I still wish he had a better life and more belongings (hold that thought while I run rapidly backward through the last few years, and all the belongings which Joe has casually discarded along the way -- a-a-and done) but I need to sit down with him and talk this over.

You know, he has been behaving so much better lately -- really, so very much better! Calm and reasonable and nicely mannered, and understanding the things I would say -- and giving me hugs when I dropped him off, and all that -- that I am unpleasantly surprised by how instantly he got rude when I told him the apartment was his.

Oh, well, sigh.... I should just hold on to the good news, right? He has a place of his own! Well, he and Nick do. And I'm sure his girlfriend will be moving in soon, as well... but she is not on the lease, so her tenancy can be terminated with a quick push out the door.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A lovely first-floor apartment

It's a beautiful, warm but not hot, sunny but not oppressive Saturday, and I've spent some of it out doing errands, and then coming home to start four or five chores at once and work on each of them a bit at a time in fairly ragged rotation. Little by little!

Still, what I have spent a lot of time today doing, is watching my downstairs neighbor move out, and wondering (worrying) about that.

See, Kathy has lived here for six years. She works from her home, and does fairly well for herself, as far as I can tell by looking around. She has the big garden area full of plants, and a multiplicity of potted plants in her fenced yard (which I saw being carried out by her young helpers this afternoon. She has nice and fairly new furniture, all of it very well kept and polished and dusted (I say with a guilty glance over my shoulder.) She knows her neighbors and talks with them over the railings or across the walkway. And she told me, when I was first moving in, that she loved it here.

And she is the fifth (or possibly even the sixth: I've lost count)of the apartments that have emptied since I moved in last October. Of the fourteen in total, that is over thirty per cent! In less than a year!

Now I don't know, perhaps that is a standard turnover in apartment house rentals. Certainly feels wrong to me, though. And why are they all moving out? I'm starting to fear that when my year's lease is up, my rent is going to double! And that will be next month! But I can't move! For one thing, I LOVE this apartment, and for another, I don't make enough money to move! No one is going to rent to me; you need to make at least three times what your rent is, in order to get any kind of clean, well-lighted place, and plus, you have to pay first, last and security deposit! No can do.

She is the sixth, I've thought it out carefully. And one is still empty. As Kathy's will be by tomorrow.

Sigh...well, I guess I can't do anything about this. So try not to stress, Elisabeth. Okay.

Anybody want to move in to a lovely first floor apartment?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wind and water, foam and wave

I would just like to take this opportunity to mention how very happy I am about the weather. It feels to me as though a corner has been turned -- a bridge has been crossed. And this might not be true, alas -- Auntie Cousin did give me a self-important warning about how much hot weather we are still sure to have in store -- but it certainly FEELS that way!

Monday morning, I woke up to a thick soft grey cloud cover and tiny delicate rain drops that barely registered on the windshield. Tuesday, there were actually puddles on the street, and the cars made that driving-on-wet-pavement sound -- shussh, shussh. This morning, though, there is all the evidence of a wild and windy night -- a western wind! The bird feeder was blown down, and the tall circle of iris stalks was blown down flat and there are quite a few leaves on the ground.

You know, I wrote several poems about the wind, back in the day when I wrote poetry, particularly one that I remember well, about the wind from the sea, but the ones that keep going through my head over and over again are neither of them mine. Nor do I remember who wrote them. Who, for example, wrote this? **

"Wind from the sea!
O wind from the sea!
Blow lustily,
Over the sea!
With thy blast of thunder,
O tear me asunder,
Annihilate me!
And scatter my dust,
My mud and my rust,
Blind and a-blunder..."

and it ended -

"O wind! O water! No death! No grave!"

Pretty intoxicating for a ten-year-old.

Reminds me that when I was doing all this poetry writing, I was confused about the direction that wind goes -- I mean, do you call a wind the west wind if it is blowing out of the west, or towards the west? (Yes, I do know now!) But at the time it seemed very difficult to know (couldn't just go and ask someone!) and so I avoided my question by referring to the sea a lot, just as this poem does.

In any case, it gives me an overall, underlying sensation of settled, world-without-end happiness, a subterranean joy that flickers away, even as I drive the car, file the paperwork, answer the phone, wash the dishes. This is me! This is who I am! I am, apparently, as my mother was always telling me worriedly that I wasn't, but clearly I am, the merest weather-dominated animal. Wind + Rain = Elisabeth's Happiness.

** Wow, I looked for a long time (online, of course) for any bit of that quoted chunk of poetry, and could not find it. And then when I finally remembered this at home, and took down the book of poetry I thought it was in (turned out not to be, but it was in the second book! A Louis Untermayer collection from Calvert School) I found it. Her name is Irene Rutherford McLeod, and she was A.A. Milne's sister-in-law, and Christopher Robin's mother-in-law! These English people, always marrying their cousins!

Interesting, too, to realize that just because this is her poem that mattered most to ME, does not mean that it mattered most to anyone else! Hence its lack of appearance online. In fact, even with her name added, that poem does not arise. I guess it's just you and me, Louis!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Needing a trim

Once again, I have cut my hair off. Shorter this time than ever before. It is really quite difficult to do one's own head, especially if one has only one mirror. One cannot get the back of the head with any sort of surety, and has to pretty much cut away blindly and hope for the best. Looks pretty good, though, at least as far as tidiness goes. I'm not really sure how becoming it is.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To lunch or not to lunch!

Me, oh, my! What a morning! Today is Wednesday, and I do have a luncheon date with my dear friend Jill. My boss knows about this, cuz I told him, and because I called him an hour or so ago to remind him. Left a message on his cell phone.

However, the morning rolled swiftly by, and it got closer and closer to noon, and no sign of him. That's why I called to remind him. And then, right at noon -- well, five minutes to -- the maintenance men showed up and began taking the front door off its hinges. I asked them if they could wait and do this later, since I would be leaving the office, and if Bossman did not show up, I was thinking I needed to lock the front door. But no, they explained to me why they had to do right now this very minute, which, when disentangled and translated, amounted to, "Because we are here," so then I had to think. Called Jill's cell phone -- left her a message. Then I got in my car and drove over to McMenamin's, planning to spring upon Jill when she arrived and take our lunch back to the office. I walked in, glanced quickly around. No Jill. I sat down tentatively in a booth. And a waittress came over to me.

"Are you waiting for Jill?" she asked.

"Yes, I am!"

"Well, she's going to be late!"


Well, in any case, I ordered a lunch to go, and left a message for them to give Jill, and returned to my office. And now here I sit and make prints!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Being generally picky

I would like to ponder something, and I'd like to do it aloud (sort of) and so you must listen (read).

My son Joe just got his GED, as we all know. I am very, very happy about this, and very proud of him, in spite of the simplicity of it and the requirement of it. I know it was difficult for him to understand the necessity, and when he finally did scew his courage to the sticking point, I was very pleased with him. And I've been bragging on him like anything, to everybody. I acknowledge all of this!

HOWEVER. Nameless Agent just overheard a conversation I was having with a friend of mine, and mentioned it to me in a congratulatory way, (nice of him) and then asked, "Did he get a reward?"

I asked, stupidly, "Who?"

"Your son," he said. "Didn't you give him a reward for getting his GED?"

Well, now, wait a minute. This strikes me as being similar to the whole only-kids-who-lie-require-congratulations-for-not-lying thing. I have been giving Joe a great deal of encouragement and praise and applause, and I did, in fact, buy him a small present. But "reward" -- with, on the one hand, its implications of heroism, and on the other, its implications of a doggy treat for a dog being trained or a child being weaned away from bad behavior -- I don't know. Do I think a child should get a reward for doing the required thing? I would, of course, buy a present for a student who graduated -- but that isn't a reward for graduating, it's a celebration of their graduation. And that's different. Isn't it? Or is it?

Perhaps I am merely being semantical and didactic and generally picky.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Till Death

Oh, my goodness. I have just got to share this. I was talking with someone -- we'll call them Anonymous, because that's new and original. I was inviting Anonymous to laugh along with me at the silly behavior of a couple at their wedding. Anonymous did laugh, and then said, in a high, girly voice, "With this ring, I be wed!"

My first thought was that this was a person of very rapid humor indeed, and I shouted with laughter. Anonymous laughed, as well, and then made a remark about how the Olde English of the wedding vows contained strange phraseology like that, since no one would think of saying "I be wed" nowadays. My laughter sort of died away. Wait -- what?

I asked, hesitantly, if that was a joke, or...? Did they not know that the wedding vows say, "With this ring, I thee wed?"

Anonymous stared at me. "No, no -- that doesn't even make any sense!" Anonymous said. "It's a vow, see, they call them marriage vows, and that's what you're doing, you're taking a vow, and that's the vow: I be wed."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear, precious GED

Okay, here's the thing. Since Joe dropped out of high school, I guess I've been holding that against him. Sort of unconciously. And then the whole year that he was supposed to be taking his GED, and was not doing it, I was silently fuming and grinding my teeth and speaking stiffly to him about it and so on.

And then yesterday he came home all excited because he had finished the testing and had his GED and had passed very easily, about a hundred and fifty points ahead of necessary. And my first reaction (which I DID NOT express, thank god) was "IT'S ABOUT TIME, DANG NAB IT!!"

However, as I lay in bed reading, part of my brain (the back part) was churning away and doing its thing, and suddenly brought up this: during the first two years of high school, when I was not there, and his dad was a meth addict, Joe missed two out of three days of school. His father, high, and certain that the woods in the backyard were full of DEA officers or aliens or the Chinese army, would keep Joe at home with him, requiring his company as he tramped sweatily through that little patch of trees over...and over...and over...and over. Day after day after day.

Which is why Joe was so very hard to control when I first got back together with him. He had spent all those days and weeks hating his father and hating his unreasonableness and hating the hours he was not with his friends or at school, and really, really HATING the apparent idiocy of his father insisting that some tiny flimsy bush had a soldier hiding in it. I mean, I KNEW that he was on meth and it used to infuriate ME to see him swinging a two-by-four at a stand of bamboo (bamboo for the love of god!)again and again and again.

So that is why he gave up in despair on the whole high school thing, besides the fact that he did not enjoy it, and couldn't discipline himself to sit in the classroom. He had missed so much of those first two years, that at the end of his third year he had amassed nine credits. Nine! Poor kid. And he had that in the back of his mind all the time, knowing that if he wanted to graduate, he would have to stick around for another whole year after all his classmates had graduated. And still probably do at least one stint of summer school.

Anyway, so I called Joe into my bedroom and apologized for not being nicer about his happy news, and congratulating him for finishing his testing. And that I was proud of him. He grinned a big grin, and said, "Thanks, Mom!"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mr. X

Well, I'm just going to behave inappropriately and talk about my ex-husband in a negative way for a minute. This is a very small thing, so I feel that I can get away with it. We'll call him -- hmmm -- Mr. X.

When Mr. X and I were first married, and we were moving in to the Envoy (that was a lovely apartment! Parquet hardwood floors, casement windows, gorgeous view of the city...sigh!) he unpacked a set of five James Bond novels, by Ian Fleming. These were of a matching set, hardbound with dust jackets, and quite nice looking -- and they were all sealed in plastic sleeves.

Now, I was (and still am) an enormous fan of James Bond movies, but at that time in my life, I had still not read any of the books. So I exclaimed with delight at seeing these books, and reached for them to read them. Mr. X responded with sharp horror, and forbade me to ever, ever, EVER open these plastic sleeves and remove these books because they were EXTREMELY VALUABLE editions, and would, in case of emergency, be able to buy us a house or support us in our old age or pay for our cancer treatments or some such thing. So, I, still thinking that he was an ordinary, intelligent, believable human being, and not a bizarre, soulless, self-absorbed pathological liar, said, "Oh," and withdrew my hand.


I would like to tell the world that I have now collected, on my own, with no assistance, those same five books and two others of the same edition, not one of which has cost me more than two dollars.

Two. Dollars.

And, since I have now become used to Mr. X and his lies, I feel quite sure that these books were merely books, in someone's storage locker, and he stole them when he was a security guard. Because that is what he did. Repeatedly and always. Stole things and then proclaimed them to be family heirlooms, or priceless artifacts.

Nonetheless, my little shelf of Ian Flemings gives me extra-special joy when I see them, because I bought them for myself, and disproved Mr. X's lies to myself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Wasn't the One Who Spilled It

Well, Joe was gone for this weekend, and for several days in the week before this one, so I don't know exactly when the spillage happened. I did not notice it until this weekend, when Joe was gone, tra-la-la, off to the coast for the weekend with his girlfriend's family. But on the carpet in the room where Joe is temporarily camping out while trying (ha ha) to find himself a job and an apartment and so on, over near the closet door, wasa large spot of Spilled Orange Drink. Some sort of sweet orange drink like Gatorade or Powerade or Nehi Orange soda. In a circle about five inches across and dried as hard as a biscuit.

So I left Joe a note when I came to work this morning, saying, call me, and I will tell you how to clean this up. Now, I know that he is going to give this job a lick and a promise, and I will have to take him to task, and make him do it again. And part of me says, "Oh, hell, just clean it up yourself, life will be so much easier that way, and your house will be cleaner and your rug won't be ruined." But the Good Mother part of me says, "No, it is your responsibility to make him into the best person he can be (even though he is eighteen now) and not allow him to wander out into the world believing that the Rug-Cleaning Fairy will always clean up any mess he makes, or that if you just ignore a spill it eventually vanishes. So he must make a good effort to clean this up -- and then you can go back and really clean it."

So at about eleven-thirty, he called and asked impatiently for instructions, and I explained to him how to clean up an old dried-in spilled-juice spot on your carpet. Then I said, "What is it, anyway? Gatorade?" It wasn't the true orange color of orange juice, you see, so although I do have orange juice in the refrigerator, I knew it had to be some Fake Orange Drink.

"I don't know," said Joe haughtily. "I wasn't the one who spilled it."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hear me, Screen Actor's Guild?

So I've been watching this television show which is filmed in LA, and the sky is always hazy. Sometimes only mildly hazy, sometimes thickly covered, but always glowing away up there, as though it were the sky. Which causes me to wonder. I understand that it never clears away, because that city is just too full of people and they all drive automobiles and the physical location doesn't get any powerful weather, et cetera, et cetera. But wouldn't a tremendous rainstorm -- a hurricane! -- clear it all away? Wouldn't that wash all the smog right out of the air? And if it did, what would happen to all those pounds of particulate matter? Would you be able to see it on the ground? Would it be measurable in the water table, or visible to microscopes in the pools? Would it clog up the filters of all the millions of pools in LA? And how long would it take before it was back?

And hey, does it affect the way the sunlight in that area hits the people who live there? It must, mustn't it? Change the way they tan, change the way they wrinkle? Diffused light, as far as I know (which is not very far) causes faster burning! Doesn't it? It must make it better, not worse, though, because if it caused their skin to age faster, you can bet all those actors and actresses would be stopping it! Right now! Unite to save our radiant dewy complexions from this monstrous pollution!

Because London, which used to be the smoggiest city on earth, cuz of burning coal ( I imagine) and congregating in large numbers in a smallish area, they were aware of what caused their "pea-soupers," their "London Particulars," and one of their kings, back in 13-something, forbade the burning of coal! Of course, he was The King, so people had to do what he said or have their heads chopped off ( this was 13-something, remember) but I'll bet the Screen Actor's Guild could go on strike or something! Think how that would affect the country! Movies and television are the number one form of entertainment for Americans!

It is amazing, in a not-so-positive way, that seven hundred years later, we can't get our act together enough to do what that King did. Edward the Somethingth. And say, 'Hey, knock it off. No more cars in the city limits," like that princess just did in Belgium. Not that she made the commandment and the people obeyed, or anything, she just supported the people of one town who said, "no more driving in our city. Only foot traffic and bicycles", and then built a car park at the edge of the city and arranged things to suit foot traffic and bicycles! It would certainly make for a lot more jobs, too -- as small stores had to spring up, since you can't carry a carload of groceries all at once on a bicycle. Gotta stop several times a week, or maybe even every day!

Okay, well, I'm simply free-associating here, so I'll stop. But it's certainly worth thinking about! Hear me out there, Screen Actor's Guild?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Because He Wants a Motorcycle

Such a lovely morning! I am so filled with glee by it that I must comment. This could be the perfect summer morning! If it were not for the undeniable beauty of other types of mornings.... You see I am easily pleased with weather. There are only certain types that I dislike, and even then I can usually appreciate the beauty of them, even as I look at them with loathing.

But today is lovely. Grey sky, thick soft cloud cover, delicate grey rain in tiny droplets, enough to cool the air and freshen it a bit, in spite of the eighties temperatures the Weathermen are promising for later in the day. I love shades of grey! Especially combined with shades of green!

This morning on the deck with my coffee, I heard an angry yowling, not unlike the cat that lives somewhere nearby and howls in the evenings. Didn't sound quite like a cat, though -- smaller, I think. Although the amount of noise a creature can make is not tied to their size, certainly.

Joe spent the night last night. He is finally nearing completion of his GED testing. After more than a year! He is doing very well at it, though, as I knew he would if he would only get his act together and take it. It is unfortunate that it won't matter even slightly, in the end -- no one is going to ask him how far above passing his score was. And now he walks around repeating how much he wants a job, and how he longs to work so very, very hard for someone, etc. I find myself biting my tongue again and again. And sometimes not biting it, as yesterdy, when I responded to another version of this rant, by pointing out that often LOOKING for a job is more helpful than moaning and groaning about a lack of one.

It's because he wants a motorcycle.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recycling woes

This morning, when I came into the office to empty the garbage cans and vacuum, I noticed that someone had flung a used coffee filter, full of used coffee grounds, into the small trash can which has a large label on it, reading, "RECYCLE BOTTLES AND CANS." I fumed to myself, as I cleaned up the mess -- "Can't they READ? Are they ILLITERATE?" and went to my computer where I made a nice neat sign that read, "Please don't put garbage in this recycling can," and hung it on the wall above the recycling can.

Later, Nameless Agent came in. I heard him from my desk, holler, "Hey, who made this sign?" from the kitchen, but I made him walk ALL THE WAY out to my desk before I turned and smiled and said, "I made it. Why?" He said, in a mean but laughing way, "You made it? And here I thought you were so smart!* That isn't a can! Don't you know what a can is? A can is made of metal, and it usually contains something canned!"

I said, "Oh? So what would you call that container for pop bottles?"

He said, "I'd call it a trash can!"

! ! ! ! ! ! !

*This is something that makes me mad. I swear I do not go around saying, "Hi, I'm Elisabeth, and I'm very smart." I do not have my Mensa certificate framed and hung on the wall. I don't wear clothes from Miss Smarty Pants. So where does that come from? It makes me feel very squirmy, but I can't object to it -- I am, actually, pretty darn smart. Erg.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just a Daughter

So what is it about the coast that is so magical for me? And pardon the use of the word "magical" but I actually mean it, in its really-truly meaning: its effect on me is greater than the sum of its parts, and in fact, greater than it ought to be, looked at dispassionately. But that word right there! "Dispassionately." I wouldn't say that I feel passion for the coast, because the feeling that word carries is one of strength, heat, power, whereas my feeling is fairly light and cool and floaty. But it is love, and love and passion are sort of synonymous in a sideways kind of way. So dispassionately is the wrong way to look at it.

Is it just the ocean? The water? The waves? The constancy of them all?

Pause while I ponder. I've just been watching a show about the Hamptons, and another one set in Miami. And in case we forget where we are, they keep showing us people in the sun, on the sand, wearing tiny bikinis and huge sunglasses, walking on the baking beach, with golden sunlight glaring off them. That has NO appeal for me. Obviously it does for other people, cuz the shows producers are using those images, and I'm sure they spent millions market-testing them. So it isn't "beach" that I love, nor "ocean." It's the Oregon coast. It's grey skies, or possibly pale blue skies but with a wind that has a bite to it, under the golden-but-not-hot-sun. It's cold water and many shades of grey on my morning walk, along a deserted mile of sand, with pure white foamrushing in and out. It's also the beauty of all the flower beds and the riotous blossoms everywhere, even during the winter, and all the self-conciously quaint cedar shake houses arranged around the real family vacation homes (fewer and fewer every year). It's the quiet of the winter morning, when I can walk down the coast and back through town and not see a single person. Not one! And that smell, that salty, evocative, far-away-ish smell, that you only get every so often, and immediately makes the whole place seem like a pirate adventure. Or at least a sailing ship adventure, if no pirates!

And it's the fact that my parents live there, and I was living with them. Which IMMEDIATELY removed me from responsibility. Oh, I mean I still had to behave myself -- I still had to be good. Couldn't lie around and not work, couldn't drink, or break laws or anything. But I changed at once from being The Mom -- responsible for all -- to being The Daughter. Responsible ONLY for herself. Hmm, as I typed those words, I heard a faint echo in my head of another journal entry, many, many years ago, in which I was complaining bitterly about having to live with my parents between school terms, and how I went from being a person, a somebody, to being a nobody, "just a daughter." Ha! How one's perceptions of life change!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cancel Your Own F**g Mooch

Dear Canadian BookMooch Member,

Although I have already responded to your e-mail message, I did so in such a polite and cheery way, that I am still sitting here fuming. Where the heck do you get off? BookMooch is a group of people who very kindly give their books to one another, yes. And it does cost money to send the books that people mooch from you. But one of the fundamental options we are all given, is the choice whether or not to send to people in other countries. I chose not to. I could describe my financial situation to you, but I won't. The fact of the matter is, I can't afford it. Really. I CAN"T AFFORD IT.

When you sent me a message, asking me if I would send a book to you in Canada, I promptly responded. I apologized! I said that if you had an angel, I certainly would, but that I was sorry, I couldn't afford international postage. And then I got your response:

Thank you for your response but that all sounds too difficult and a bit surprising, really, since it only costs 3 or 4 dollars to send a book to Canada. Just cancel my mooch.

Well, then I guess I'm just VERY POOR! Did that never occur to you? That I might know exactly how much it costs to mail to Canada, and I CAN'T AFFORD IT? Or are poor people somehow below the line of Worthy of the Effort of Politeness? Glad you're rich! Or clueless! OR rich AND clueless! And bad-mannered and stupid and snotty and not worth my time!

And you know what? Cancel your own fucking mooch!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yes, it is!

Went to the library this fine warm Saturday, and as I walked in, I saw a mother and her young daughter standing at the counter. The small girl -- probably four, to judge by her shape and size -- was saying seriously to the librarian, "Hello. What's your name?" The librarian answered in a sweetsy, talking-to-little-children voice, "HelLO there! My name is Marie! What's YOUR name?" The little girl said, "My name is Angelina," and the librarian laughed pointlessly and said, "Wow, AngelEEna!" The little girl turned her face to me and said, "Hello, do you know what my name is?" I said, "I'm betting it's Angelina," and all the women behind the counter burst out laughing and squealing, almost drowning out the little girl's serious voice, "Yes, it is."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Isaac! Isaac! Isaac!


I am at the office now, and am sitting in silent AMAZEMENT at the carry-on going on in the small conference room. Nameless Agent is in there with a small family -- mom and dad and one small boy. You know how very thin all the walls and doors are here in this building, and how I can hear every single thing that anyone says in their rooms with the doors closed, right?

So I'm hearing the adults' conversation, which is going on without interruption, and then I can hear all the interruption which is not interrupting! All of it! Thumping, yelling, squealing, shrieking, laughing, CRASHING against the wall which vibrates the whole building -- and none of it is even slowing the adults, who are all three talking more or less at once. And then I hear Mom saying, "Isaac! Isaac! Isaac! Isaac! Isaac! Isaac!..." and so on, finally culminating in a shriek and a Mom-yell, "STOP IT!"

And then, 'Sorry, he just bit me."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Looking forward to my bed

Although once again I have not accomplished everything I hoped to this weekend, I did get a pie baked, and my shopping done and all the groceries put away and the house tidied and the dishes washed. That was all today, and I also had breakfast at Sully's, went to the Farmer's Market and to the Salvation Army, where I bought a mug and a Pyrex refrigerator dish and lid. Total -- $1.50

Now, I cannot remember, if ever I knew (although I'm sure I did know once) why it gets so much hotter at night, when the sun has gone down? Something to do with the changing of the movements of air? Because it certainly is hotter right now than it has been all day.

This evening I heard the far-off train whistle, and caught myself thinking, "There's that train whistle -- wonder why it hasn't been running lately?" At last I have become one of those people who doesn't hear the familiar sound because of its constancy. Even though I love the sound, and wish I heard it every day, as I used to do!

Feeling happy, sort of achy and tired -- looking forward to my bed and a day at the office tomorrow.

And it works for me!

It is a lovely, a beautiful, a fabulous day out there! I woke this morning, alone in my apartment, with the knowledge that the laundry was not only done, but folded and PUT AWAY -- any of you readers out there in TV Land who know me, know what a big deal that last is for me -- to the sound of rippling water and the occasional sleepy chirp of birds. I showered, dressed and walked over to Sully's -- how I do love that sweet little restaurant! -- and drank three cups of that excellent, rich and furry coffee with my half-an-omelet while reading the Sunday Oregonian. In the "O!" section, I found a lengthy article on local writers, which included Monica Drake, an acquaintance of mine, my cousin Mickey's lifelong friend, along with other famous writers -- pretty darn cool! Always gratifying to see someone you know and admire getting the recognition and the praise!

And then in the travel section, the front page article was all about the Cowboy Dinner Tree -- remember that place? The last sign of human life before we reached the camping place? Down near Silver Lake -- closer to the town than to the camp site.

Anyway, so the paper was created for me today (for me, for ME-E-EE, FOR MEEEEE! Been listening to Queen!) and I enjoyed that. As I walked back home I swung down to walk down the main street through town, looking in all the windows -- the empty ones as well as the occupied ones. It was completely deserted and nearly silent -- distant sounds of traffic, but none within blocks -- no people or dogs or even birds. And then as I crossed a street, I heard muted voices up ahead and saw people setting up their booths for the Farmer's Market. Mmm -- that will be nice, in about an hour, when I have digested some of my breakfast. See if there are ANY fresh vegetables that appeal to me -- and maybe buy some expensive but very real fruit!

Gotta bake a pie today -- should oughta do it now, before it gets too warm -- the blueberries are sitting on the counter and ready to go.

I'm not even slightly migraine-y and have that extra-special good feeling that follows a time of illness -- the everyday beauty of the world takes on a slightly fairy-tale quality. Or a movie-set quality -- anyway, posed and created to give the watcher/reader/audience a certain feeling. Beauty! Happiness! Joy! All potentially right here in this little town, folks! Why just step on in to the old-fashioned soda fountain, and see if our home-made lime ricky can't widen your smile!

Works for me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Need more teeny-tiny men

It is funny -- not funny ha-ha, but funny-hmmm -- to look at the effect wind and the movement of air has on clouds, and see how similar it is to the effect that water has on sand. As I was driving in to work this morning, I was looking up at a large thin expanse of white, a thin, flat stretch of clouds, that looked very like a carded and stretched thin bit of cotton -- had the raggedy edges, but also had the design on its surface -- sort of a repeating deep narrow "V' design. Just like the sand would look when I took my morning walk down in Cannon Beach.

So what would that say to someone who was looking to apply some truths or extract some truths, or something, to (from) our physical world? Would it imply that water and air are related, are fundamentally the same? That because they act the same way upon the other entities they encounter, that this implies some similarity? Or would it just impy that they are both moving forces in our earth system, with the same outer forces working on both of them -- gravity, etc?

Clearly I am unable even to explain what I mean, because my knowledge of meteorological terminology is buried in some unused part of my brain. I can't spend long enough on this little blog entry to manage to get everything in the way of them moved in time! Need more teeny-tiny men in matching white suits with goggles....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So what is up with that?

Yesterday morning, at just about this time, a firetruck screamed past, turning on 99th. And this morning, seconds ago, a firetruck screamed past on 99th. So what is up with that? Is this a locality for fires? For fire-starters? Or for other emergencies that the firemen are just responding to because they can and they wanna?

Another grey and lovely morning -- different this morning because Joe was awake when I got up, and claimed to have been awake all night. Since I saw him still up at three-thirty this morning, I don't doubt it. He showered and dressed, and complained about it, and I drove him over to Hannah's, on my way to work. He wants me to find him a doctor and make him an appointment, because he needs sleeping pills and mood-altering pills and anger-controlling pills. He does seem to feel that he is at the mercy of this huge thing, ANGER, that he is like the Hulk, it takes him over and he can't do anything about it, and so if I don't want him to kill people, I had better snap to. I have reminded him of the doctor's appointments that he blew off, and the doctor that he stopped going to for no reason other than it was just a drag to go -- and he acknowledges that, but says that this is different because he wants to go to see this doctor. Sigh.

Yesterday, a young man carrying a box from a print shop came in to the office and gave me a handful of menus from a new Mexican cafe opening up just a block away or so. He wasn't a definitely-obviously Hispanic young man, but an oh-I-see-he's-Hispanic. And the restaurant is called -- I kid you not -- McKlovios. McKlovios Mexican Grill and Tacqueria. So what is up with that?

Oh, and Mickey's grandmother died yesterday morning. Inevitable but still sad. Sad for Mickey and Nick and Uncle Ken, I mean. I was expecting (in so much as I was expecting anything) her to live for far longer and gradually lose her marbles, instead of dying suddenly with everything still working. She was 87 when she died -- she had seen a lot of things get invented, whole ways of life cease to be, all kinds of massive changes happening. Grandpa Vickoren was 95, and I used to ponder on what that meant, on what sort of life he had had. Horse and wagon to model-T to family cars to small planes to corporate jets to stealth bombers to rocket ships to space stations. All in his lifetime.

I have just learned how to use a website that allows virtual house-for-sale advertisements to be sent to someone's cell phone (speaking of amazing changes)by them texting a number. So you're driving along and you see a house for sale and think, "Oooh, that looks cool," and you text the number on the sign and blooop! You can look at forty photos of the house, immediately, and see how much it costs, where the nearest schools are, and what grocery store nearby sells organic coffee. All without even turning off your engine, or coming to a complete stop.

Remarkable! Cuz here I am remarking on it!