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.