Friday, November 25, 2011

So...what am I thankful for, exactly?

Whoever came up with the -- aphorism? quote? saying? old saw? -- my brain is not working so well today, so I don't know what this actually is -- but the phrase, "It never rains but it pours" was thinking about my day yesterday. Hang on to your hats because it is a long story. Okay, here we go.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I was slated to celebrate Thanksgiving with my cousin Mickey and her family, at her house. My part of the meal was to bake five pies and take them with me. Now, pies are best about eight hours after they are baked, so the best thing to do is to bake them the night before, and then they can have cooled and settled and be ready to transport and to eat. So I had assembled all my ingredients, and was ready to get home from work on Wednesday night and begin baking.

I arrived at home, checked the mail, changed my clothes and was in the act of tying my apron strings, when floomph! The power went out. It was about six pm, so already quite dark, plus raining so overcast, so there was no light visible anywhere. Blackness. I began immediately to light candles since I have quite a few around the house, and soon had four tall tapers in the kitchen lighting it quite well, and I began to make pie pastry. I soon had the pastry for five pies prepared and divided and wrapped in plastic wrap, waiting for the power to come back on so I could start baking them! I had just started to mix the pumpkin custard, when the lights came back on. Total outage time: about one hour. Not so long, in the overall scheme of things, but an awful lot of time when you are supposed to be baking five pies, one after the other, and your oven will only hold one at a time.

So this sort of explains why I was too busy and too tired at the end of the evening to go and sit at the computer -- I just went to bed, and therefore did not notice until the following morning, Thanksgiving Day morning, that my computer was not able to gain access to the internet, and therefore I not only had no e-mail access, but also no phone service, because my phone service is computer based.

So, the long and the short of that story is that I have just now gotten off the phone with Quest, for the second time this morning (you see I had to wait until I came in to work before I could call them -- no phone service at the house!) and the first time they hung up on me, after I had finally convinced the Indian woman who answered that I was, indeed, a Quest customer, even though I was not calling from that number. And they are unable to assist me, because I am not at the computer in question. She was able to tell me that it is merely a connectivity problem, since the signal that the modem is receiving is full and strong (I had told her that already) and that the computer was just unable to recognize it. Guess I'll be trying agin when I get home from work.

The other half of the raining-pouring story, however, is that when I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, my stomach was hurting. Or at least, my interior abdomen was hurting -- who knows what organ -- and it had bloated me hard and tight and was making it very difficult for me to move around or do anything except curl up into the fetal position and gasp. This has happened perhaps four times in the past few months, and each time has seemed like the end of the world (or at least my corner of it) and after about an hour and a half, has faded away and left me feeling fine. It does not strike after any specific food (this time I had drunk some chocolate milk, but wasn't eating because, duh, Thanksgiving!!) nor after any medicine, although I had thought that possibly I was taking too many of my acid reflux prevention pills, and had cut back on them. I did manage to dress and comb my hair and all, since I could not call my cousin and tell her that I wasn't going to make the drive to her house since a) I had no phone service, and b) I also had the pies.

However, when I got there, I was quite incapable of bearing the loud, hot, crowded aspects of her house, full of happy noisy people, so I managed to pull her aside and tell her that I was going to leave immediately, and why. She was unwilling to allow me to go quietly home and suffer until it got better, and extracted a promise from me, that I would go instead to the emergency room. And then find a pay phone somewhere and call her.

Oh, boy. What IS it about emergency rooms? This was Thanksgiving Day afternoon, and I was the only person in the waiting area, and I was in significant pain, and I had medical insurance. Surely they should have whisked me back to a room immediately and given me a bed to curl up on! But no, I had to go back out to the waiting area, and sit on a molded plastic chair for at least half an hour, until the same woman who had taken my information came out and called my name, as though the room were full of people, and she had no idea which one I was. I then was able to curl up on the bed, since it was another lengthy wait before the doctor (who was at least ten years younger than I) appeared and made a humorous remark about overeating my turkey and stuffing. I was able to tell him with only a little sharpness that far from overeating, I had not, in fact, eaten anything that day, but had merely drunk some coffee and then some chocolate milk. "Oh, then you must be lactose intolerant," he said. "Well, since this is NOT the first time in my forty-six years that I have drunk milk, I don't see how that can be right," I said, only slightly sharper. But he was prodding my (hard and distended and so painful!) belly, and said that since I had already had both appendix and gall bladder removed, that really only left indigestion to be causing this degree of bloat. And I should go and see my regular doctor about getting an appropriate diet to follow, byee! Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning, I am slightly better. Still painful but no bloating, no appetite, but no feeling of horror at the thought of food, and some sadness that I missed the dinner at Mickey's, since Billy's turkey is always the very best. And five pies! All made by hand! Sigh...

It is, however, a beautiful blue Fall day! Sparkled with yellow and russet and maroon, as the leaves continue their flamboyant parade. Or something like that. Sorry, my descriptor is not working so very well this morning.

And tomorrow is, at the very least, another day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Today is pie-making day. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I have accepted an invitation, once again, to my cousin Mickey's house, for the Mistler family Thanksgiving, and I am bringing the pie. So when I get home tonight I am assembling and baking pies. Two pumpkin, an apple-walnut-raisin, a blackberry custard and a pecan. Five pies. Putting them together will be the easy part, but baking them is going to take hours. So I will be up late. Me and Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

I am really, REALLY enjoying my sweet little new camera! I take a picture or several with it every day, and I have had it for a month (nearly) and it still has not needed to be recharged. Very happy about that! I am sending pictures to everyone I know and posting them online, and really enjoying owning a camera! For the first time since I was a teen-ager. I love making records of things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'd Like to be In One

This is the week that I am on jury duty, and yet I have only been in the Jury selection room for half of one day. Much better than the process in Multnomah county, fifteen or so years ago! Although that room was much more comfortable, with couches and a television and shelves of books to read (all trash, but still...)

This room had only stiff upright chairs, although padded, and about half the room had tables to sit at. I was called in the first jury-go-round, and lined up in careful order and walked over to the courthouse in careful order, and filed in to the jury seats in careful order. And then the judge spoke to us for awhile, and the two attorneys spoke to us for awhile, and then I did not get selected to be one of the six they needed. So back we went, but instead of settling down to wait until five, I caught the bus back home. I approve of this system! And then I was able to call in last night to find out that my number had not been called for today, so that was good too. I will be glad to do jury duty every year, if this is how it is! But I would like to actually get on a jury occasionally!

I would like, I think, to be on a jury that had some meat to it -- a murder or a kidnapping, with high-priced attorneys and lots of evidence that had to be kept track of. You know I enjoy reading (and watching!) coutroom dramas, well, I'd like to be in one, as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big and white and soft

Nameless Agent came into my office to ask me if I knew the whereabouts of some office furniture today.

"Do you know what happened to those big white overstuffed chairs?"

I reminded Nameless that I had started working here after the move from the Division Street office.

"So you haven't seen them? It's a couch and two chairs or a loveseat or something. And they are white overstuffed chairs, really soft and comfortable." Nope, I said, I had never seen them, but they could ask Doug when he got off the phone. So in a few minutes, Doug hung up.

"Doug," bleated Nameless, "Do you know what happened to those big white overstuffed chairs?"

"What big white overstuffed chairs?" Doug inquired.

"From the Division office, you know the ones from the waiting room area? Big and white and soft?"

"Noooo..." said Doug thoughtfully. "I can't picture them. Can you describe them?"

"Well, they're white."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Late and So Loud

I really only have one complaint about this apartment, it is so perfect for me. I mean, yes, it's shabby outside, and yes, the deck is sort of rundown. And the landlords themselves are nobody's joy. But as for the apartment itself? Nothing but great things to say about it, except for one. And that has just recently begun. Only for the past month or thereabouts. It's my downstairs neighbor.

See, when I moved in here, in October of whatever year that was, 2009, I think, (wow, I missed my two-year anniversary!) a little old lady lived below me, named Helen. She was a little, bent woman, very polite and civil, and pleasantly friendly, but not outgoing, and she drove an enormous Cadillac. But sometime about two or three months ago, she quietly disappeared. I was out of the house when it happened, so I don't know if she moved to a nursing home, or dropped dead, or what. I wasn't even aware she had left until the painters started having their radios on loudly while they painted. One day I was home from work early, or something, and heard them, and then I knew she was gone.

And then the new tenant moved in. I have only seen him through a glass darkly, so I have no idea how old or young or dark or fair he is. I'm assuming he is youngish, cuz his parties last all night long (but that could be forty-ish, too). Anyway, he sleeps in the larger bedroom, as do I, so he is directly below me. And, not unlike my ex-husband and son, he has the TV on all night. Or at least, he goes to sleep with the movie playing. I am not in the room with him, of course, so I don't know whether he is awake or asleep -- his snoring has never drowned out the dialogue. And it isn't on when I wake up in the morning. BUT! the other night when I couldn't sleep for several hours, it was still playing below at one-thirty. So the muffled swoops and bangs and screams and surges of background music keep me company until I fall asleep. So far it isn't dreadful, it doesn't keep me from sleeping, but it does annoy me while I am awake.

So! First official complaint: late-night movies in the bedroom. And it's not that I don't like movies, as we all know, I love them. I am leaving to go and see The Rum Diaries in a few minutes. It's just that it makes me feel sort of getting-even when I hear the floor creak as I walk around. It's a very creaky floor, you know, and I used to walk so softly, thinking of Helen below me. But now I tromp around like a big dog, because he leaves his movie on so late and so loud.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Early Autumn Morning

What a gorgeous Autumn day, pale blue sky, bright thin sunshine, cool air, and colors, colors, everywhere. This change was dramatic and overnight, and everything is some russet shade now, from pale yellow through to flaming scarlet, and every shade in between. I am really enjoying this Saturday so far, partly because I got up at my usual time, instead of lolling abed for longer in the mornings, as I have been doing lately. This morning as I woke, I was confusedly thinking that there was something going on about the Rand family, and a tall clothes cupboard, and someone's nephew going to jail...? And all that being expressed, somehow, in the beeping of my alarm clock. Strange, (shaking head) how one's sleeping mind can weave a tale. Instead of waking me up sharply and cleanly at the sound of the beep, as I always used to.

However, in spite of the dreaming, I was up and about in the crisp lovely morning, and got my packages mailed at the post office, and then walked over to Sully's and ate French toast and sausages and drank that gorgeous, award-deserving coffee, all before anyone in my building was even awake. I
love that feeling. Like I know more about the day and the world than anyone else.

Now, of course, it is early afternoon, and there are sounds coming from the other apartments, thumping and scuffling from downstairs, and a door closing...a muffled voice...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crrrunch, crrrrunch, crrrrrunch.

Ice on my windshield, I said yesterday, without a thought to what it might mean. And today I was gawking away like a mooncalf at all the suddenly -- overnight! -- bright orange and flame red and golden yellow trees. And being amazed at the crisp crrrunchiness of the leaves drifting to the ground all around. It wasn't until my drive home that it hit me: ice on the windshield, dummy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Day Long

Goodness, it has been over a month since the last time I wrote. At first thought it doesn't seem nearly that long, but then when I think twice, it seems even longer. The idea of having a blog and keeping it up to date seems far off and foreign to me. Can't tell you why -- perhaps I am merely getting older with each passing day, and my memory is becoming more and more aged. Or there may be any number of other reasons -- we may never know.

In any case, part of the reason that it has been so long is because of the recent events in the life of Joe. They were big, and important, and filled my whole window for a few weeks. But he asked me not to tell anyone about them, so I'm not. And trying to think of what to write about when I couldn't write about that? Like trying not to tell someone that their hair is on fire.

It is a chilly morning today! My last entry was about the dreadful heat of this past summer. And it was dreadful, too, but isn't it interesting, how rapidly the memory of weather changes? As I sit in comfort (in my cardigan) and think about summer, I can pooh-pooh the idea of buying one of those portable, mount-in-your-window air conditioners, like so many of my neighbors did this past summer. I hate air conditioners because of that -- walking past so many windows with air-conditioner vents spewing hot air out onto the walkway -- ugh!

But I repeat, it is a cold one today, and there was ice on my windshield this morning. Only a bit, and soon succombed to the heater, but there it was. Forty degrees this morning, and still only 44 out there. I have yet to turn the heat on in the house -- holding out until November, is the idea, but if it is still this cold, or gets any colder in the next week, I may just give in. It is hard to get out of bed when you are so very cozy and delicious and you can tell by the numbness of your nose how cold the bedroom is. Takes me less than an hour to get up, make coffee, shower, dress, make lunch, do the hair, and walk out the door, but that hour is getting slimmer by the day as I snuggle down for one last ten minute snooze.

Did my grocery shopping last night -- bread and milk is all I ever really need, and a few non-food items like eye pencil or shampoo. But last night I gave in to the used-meat bin, and bought myself a tiny, fat little sirloin steak. And I will grill it tonight, with a baked potato -- yum. Looking forward to that. I also baked some chocolate chunk cookies, which are quite tasty, although the bottoms burned. I'll do another panful this evening, and put the shelf up a notch, see if that helps. This is pre-mixed cookie dough, that came in the food box, but it is gourmet and all, so I gave it a try. And it's pretty good -- they have a faint caramel taste that I frequently try to achieve with brown sugar and brown flour, but have never managed like this. Don't know how they did it, but it probably involved caramel flavoring, so. At least I'm going to tell myself that.

I had dinner last Friday with my friends Alan and Jody, and I'm afraid I was not a very polite guest. I mean, we had a very nice visit, and all, but the dinner contained several items which I do not enjoy, and so I just did not eat them. It was an orange meal, by the way, just happened that way, with no intention -- and I told them about the Marquess of Malyn, from The Whispering Mountain who loved gold and would only eat yellow food -- and his unhapy guest, the Seljuk of Rum: "Alas, alack, more yellow comestibles!"

The next day, I had a date for dinner at Dina and Mark's house, and had planned to get up and bustle about the house, getting a great many chores done before driving over there. Instead, I got up and sagged limply about the house, revelling in my bathrobe and pajamas and standing-on-end hair, enjoying the feeling of laziness that comes with eating in front of the computer, and later, of making a banana cream pie without doing the dishes first. And then, at about 12:30, the phone rang, and it was my cousin Mickey, saying she was on her way over and let's get some lunch. So THEN! I had to do a great deal more than I had even intended to do all morning long, and get it done in forty minutes! So I look around my clean and shiny kitchen now and bow my head in thanks to Mickey.

So at four I left the restaurant and walked back home with Mickey, and then at four-forty-five, I drove away to get to Dina's by five. So it was pretty much a day of play. All day long!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Take the Newspapers Out!

This may be the hottest of the hot days yet. I walked over to the Farmer's Market, and before I even got to the end of the second block I was sweating. Actually, noticeably sweating, with liquid sweat running down my sides. Pretty unpleasant. But I continued on the few blocks more, and did a short walk round at the Market -- looking at jewelry and drinking pineapple juice and then heading home. But I was so weak and damp and enervated by the heat, that I stopped off at the library on the way. Two hours later, the air-conditioning has completely changed my world-view, if not my life.

For the past two weeks, the weather has been so dreadfully hot and still that the most I have ever been willing to do in the house has to be done while sitting still. So I can read and write and occasionally wrap a package, I can talk on the phone a bit or send an e-mail, I can watch a movie or drink some juice. But I cannot take out the garbage, wash the dishes, vacuum or put clothes away, cannot make the bed or fold towels or iron things. Easy to tell this, all you have to do is look around the apartment, where piles are rapidly accumulating. The dining room and the bedroom, in particular, are disappearing under piles of various types.

As a result of this world-view change, now, I feel as though I could easily go home and fold the laundry from the various piles in my bedroom, sort and throw away the various vegetables and what-not left over from the food box, and definitely take the basket of newspapers out to the recycling bin. Who knows, though. My energy level has risen as my body thermometer descended, but the opposite might just as well be true. They might even occupy the same container inside me, so that the absence of one guarantees the presence of the other. I am so looking forward to the lovely grey cool rainy autumn which is just around the corner. And I am not looking forward to the idea of a globally-warmed globe.

Today is September 11th, the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States by al-Queada. The comics page was full of references to it, and so was my Facebook page. I'm not about to forget it myself, since it was not only the first time America has been attacked by a foreign power since the 1940s, and cost many citizens their lives, but also because it was the beginning of the end for me at the MAC, thank you, Michael, who could not resist the opportunity to fool a bunch of people whom he had never met, through me, so that I would look stupid and take the blame. I still cannot believe that he called me at the office, from the den where he was watching television, and told me that the latest news was that Disneyland had just been struck by an airliner, killing hundreds of children and their families, and when I had passed this along to my co-workers and bosses, burst out laughing and said he had made it up, and weren't we all stupid to believe such a ridiculous story. I didn't pass along that last, but they all felt it anyway, and turned their obvious and justified anger and offence onto me. After that, my firing by Elda was merely a matter of time. So it is hard to think of this tragedy without also remembering Michael, which I am able to go days and never do.

Yesterday was Second Saturday, so I headed out to the Westside office and set up the food for the class. I took along some canteloupes and muskmelons from the Box, and sliced them up, and they were all eaten, so that was good thing. Then I went out to a brief breakfast with Mickey, and then we went to begin getting ready for Mavis's birthday party, which Monica throws at Mickey's but is supposed to completely cater herself so that Mickey is only required to provide a locale and some tables and chairs. It started out very miserably (I felt) since Billy was very grumpy and crabby and Mickey was not helping at all, but being very in-his-face. The temperature kept rising and rising and there was nowhere cool to be, even though the house was so much cooler than the outside. After I had sliced the remaining melons, a watermelon, a pineapple, celery and peppers and a roasted chicken, I couldn't hide indoors anymore and went out to join the horribly hot fray.

The children were the only ones who enjoyed themselves, it seemed clear to me, even though there were a great many people there. There was a sprinkler and a slip-and-slide, and they were running around in the bamboo forest, which must have been cooler than the open field. I listened to one remarkably stupid conversation between two mothers about what they would, and would not allow their children to do by themselves, because I was too stunned-by-heat to leave my chair. When finally the last person left, and we dragged ourselves into the house, I was a little more cheerful, and much cooler, and ended up staying until nearly eleven.

The woman on the computer next to me has a habit of sighing loudly every few breaths and muttering curses under her breath, even though she looks totally normal and intelligent and a lot like Elizabeth Moss. Don't know what the problem is, since it doesn't look like she is finding out that her child was killed, or that she owes someone a huge sum of money, or anything, so I think I will merely draw this to a close and go on home. See if my bright and vivid energy lasts beyond the three blocks and into the house. I am determined at least to take the newspapapers out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sleepy Sunday morning

Sunday morning, and I'm at the Retirement Home, enjoying the peace of a Sunday morning. Or at least, what remains of the peace since the neighbors are here, working on a weekend-fix-the-house project, which requires constant music. And they like repetitive alternative-type stuff, over and over. Arg.

But it is beautifully blue-and-gold with a warm sun and a cool breeze. Faint smell of neighbor's bonfire a pleasant backdrop to my mother's air fresheners. I went for a short walk this morning with my first cup of coffee and enjoyed the mist still filling the trees and lying low in the roadway. And now I am sleepy again, even though is is barely noon. Mom and Dad will soon be home from church, but I might sneak in a tiny nap before they make it. I'll bet we are having store-roasted chicken for lunch! Mmmm...

Spent the pre-church morning having some fairly interesting conversations, one with each parent. With my mom I was discussing the value and/or lack thereof of multitasking, and how much of the various things one was doing at the same time one could retain or pass a test on. That seemed to be her method for ascribing value to something. I was saying that while reading a book, even one I was very interested by, I would feel as though part of my brain was empty and flopping about unused, and I would want there to be something else going on, to occupy it. Therefore, I would often get up, go to the computer and at least have e-mail present to my peripheral vision, which seemed to do the trick. Mom complained that unless I was fruitfully reading both book and e-mail, it was the wrong thing to do. And I know that the prevailing wisdom of the moment is that a human being is not capable of ingesting (?) two streams of information at the same time, but I'll bet that's coming! How long has it been since we were unable to read and write, to speak, to walk uprightly?

With Dad, I was discussing several things: the new prevalence of autism, the way public schools are set up, the downsides in the long run of agribiz, the way any school of thought or scientific discovery seems to affect the world forever, but they are all temporary, as anyone looking back down history can see, quantum physics, health care and the lengthening of life.

YA-AWWWN -- think I'd better go lie down for just a minute....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The lowest it has EVER been


I am pleased with myself.

Yes, I

I got my electric bill in the mail yesterday (paid it today, while I still have money -- some things haven't changed) and would you like to take a guess at how much money they were asking for, from me? Bearing in mind that it has been hotter than a big dog all this month, and I have had two fans going all night long every night? No? No takers?


That's forty-seven dollars.


That is the lowest my electric bill has ever been, I do believe.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Driving a blue sedan

Last night I closed the sliding glass door. It has been open for several months, but last night, as I shivered while going around turning off lights preparatory to going to bed, I closed it. Is the Summer over? The Summer, meaning this period of still, hot, merciless weather is over, I do believe, and hallelujah! I like my blue skies to be bracketed between little showers in the night, and to have the occasional breeze moving across them. I like my temperatures to nudge the thermometer up around eighty, and that is hot weather, not 95 and onward. I like a cool, temperate summer, which is why I live in the PNW.

This morning, as I was driving to work, my eye was caught by a flash and I looked up the road, as I was slowing on Hwy 224 before turning down the circular descending on-ramp to I-205. It was a large black SUV, which had been several cars ahead of me as we made our way up the highway, and had just passed the on-ramp when it braked, slid over to the side of the road while all its red-and-blue flashers came on. I caught the tiniest corner-of-the-eye glimpse of it turning, or backing, or something, as I disappeared around the corner onto the ramp.

Then, I moved from lane to lane until I got into the farthest left, and began to speed up to catch up with traffic, which was really moving that morning. When suddenly: zziiiiip! a small black car, very low and speedy zipped horizontally across all four lanes into the fast lane and came right up on my tail. Very, very close. I sped up, then looked to see if I could get over to the right (I was doing about 70, and can't go much faster, the car starts to wobble) but could not, momentarily, and the little black car was hanging right there on my tail. Several seconds passed and then zziiiippp! all its previously unsuspected red-and-blue lights came whirling on and there it went, once again, rapidly, horizontally across four lanes, and right up on the tail of another car, which -- you know, looked a lot like mine. So they were all out there looking for someone, and he was driving a blue sedan.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Are any women missing?

There is definitely something about hot weather that affects my sleeping patterns. It's not even as hot as it was, but still, even with fans blowing on me, it's pretty warm. And although I turned off the light before eleven, and settled down to the book-on-tape with just a sheet over me, I still woke up, rolled over and turned the CD back on two times. And here it is quarter past six and I am up with a hot cup of coffee, typing away in the silent morning. The occasional squawk of a duck is the only sound there is. I'm going to want a nap later on, though.

The man next door is building a large, two level deck. It is an ambitious project, and one which he is trying to do well. I have watched him working on it for a few weeks now, and it is still only a frame, both because of its size, his onliness, and the fact that he keeps making it more --well, elaborate is a word which implies excess, so I don't mean that, although I guess it could be. I don't really know what is required for the floor of a deck, but this is as carefully criss-crossed and squared up as if it were the floor of a house.

Today I need to mail a book or two, wash the dishes and take a walk. Those are the only things I need to do today. Wow. And last night I finished the good (great! excellent!) book I was reading, so that will not be pulling at me, either. Although I did promise myself a re-read of certain parts. I love you, Lev Grossman! So a trip to the library is indicated as well.

Hey, last night I was in the office after hours, since I had had to stay past five (if I have to stay past five, I wait until after six to leave, cuz otherwise, traffic). Doug had gone home, and so had all the agents, and I was just playing some computer game or something, when Nameless Agent came in. He has always looked slightly disreputable to me, since he is untidy, overweight and his hair is just a little too long to be controlled. But last night he was worse than ever, with a large purple area on his face, (which could be the symptom of some health issue, or could be a large bruise)and a reddened and infected-looking set of scratches on his lower jaw. He was surprised to see me, and said something fairly unintelligible about why he was there -- something about Tiffany, so perhaps he is leaving -- and then I left. I've been wondering, since, if he was in a fight or attacked someone or something that I should have reported? Not that the police department would welcome the report if I called it in: "Hey, I saw a guy with some scratches on his face -- you got any missing women?"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wax on...

So -- if I were to wax my car with turtle wax in the little can -- you know what I mean -- would it be possible to remove/cover-up/lessen the look of some scratches in the paint? The liquid wax they spray on at the car wash does not seem to have any effect on these -- but then wax-on/wax-off wax does have some sort of mild abrasive in it, that should do something towards that, wouldn't you think? Commentary, anybody?

There was rain in the night, the edges of a small thunder-and-lightening indulgence (which I caused by asking for it! Really!) and my windshield was covered with small round drops of water, very round since they were touching as little of the waxed surface as they could manage (hot lava!) and when I began driving fast, they started flying up the windshield and off into the ether. Very pleasing to me, as I drove through the fresh cool morning, looking at the lavendar-backed clouds covering the sky...sigh! Happiness.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...Let it run all over me...

The rain began last night at eleven. I was already in bed, but jumped out and went to the window. It was too dark to see anything, so I hurried out and into the living room and out on the deck and leaned on the rail. It was definitely raining. Lightly, but the air was so still that it was still falling straight down. No breeze at all -- usually there is a cooler air coming in right ahead of the rain, but not this time. Rained most of the night, though! Or at least the times I woke up, it was still raining.

And now the air coming through the window has a washed feeling. The temperature has dropped, it almost feels cool, and the way air in Portland ought to feel. That is, of course, merely my opinion, but then this is where I voice my opinion, isn't it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Made Glorious Summer

Now this is weather! This is the sort of summer day I think of when I think of a summer day. Not this 90-95 degree horror like we have been having, brassy blue sky, pitiless sun -- but the sort of day the Pacific Northwest is famous for, and will continue to be, ceteris paribus, world without end, amen. 78 degrees -- pale blue sky -- fluffy white clouds here and there -- grey skies when I got up this morning, and even a hint of rain warnings, although none fell -- THAT is a summer's day! Ahhh.....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Made it out again this morning! 45 minutes. I'm hurting (all over) slightly less. But boy, oh boy, that was really some kind of crippling pain, and to have it all over me! I can still press on myself almost anywhere and have it hurt. Wondering if it were a result of the massage I got last Sunday? Half an hour, and she was really working on me. But that was only on my back.... Seems unlikely.

One more day of access to historical records! Gotta get a lot done by then.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Will I Eat When I Get Home?

Oh, dear, it is to laugh.

Last night, as I washed out the large Tupperware bin that had held my bean-and-Polish-sausage soup, I thought, "I don't want to get up and make a sandwich tomorrow -- or, no! I'll get sushi for lunch!" And went happily to bed, and got happily up, and happily left the house, where my wallet was not in my purse, but was sitting on the desk beside the computer screen. So -- I have no cash, no bank card, no identification. I could not purchase anything from anybody. Ruling out sushi, hamburgers, clam chowder, or, really, anything else.

I get nothing for lunch!

Not that it will hurt me, although, as the clock hand inches toward one pm, my stomach is gearing up to begin complaining. I look forward to a couple hours of grumblings and carry-on.

So what will I eat when I get home...?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keeping this up!

Another walk this morning -- slightly longer and more sweat-producing. I enjoyed it, though. Need to come up with something quick to make and eat, but also satisfactory -- no cold cereal, for example. Cuz I am going to be hungry in the mornings, if I keep this up. And I WILL!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Endorphins = Nap

It is a delicately lovely sunny Sunday, still cool at two in the afternoon, even with a golden sun shining down. I am trying to talk myself out of a nap, and into a trip to the library. Don't know yet which of me will win.

I had a massage this morning over at the Farmer's Market -- two hours ago -- and I have been trying earnestly to convince myself ever since that I am NOT DRUNK. Not drunk and not stoned, because my head and body are trying hard to believe that I am. I guess it is a result of all the resultant endorphins that are created during a massage, which probably tickle up the same parts of one's brain. In any case, I am feeling good. Might have to take that nap, though...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Step Three in Rugs

Last night I stayed up until midnight so that my next post would be on its own, not connected to the one before, and I made it, and then COMPLETELY forgot what I had been intending to write about. All I could think of was Gordon's gin, and how interesting that was, and how good it tasted. Wrote a couple of paragraphs about it as I was waiting for whatever it was to come back to me, but it did not, and I finally went to bed.

This morning, however, I got out of bed and walked out into the kitchen to put the water on for coffee, and as soon as I stepped into the hall, I remembered. Why yes! Step Three of the Great Rug Project has been completed! I have found and purchased the hallway runner!

Now, it is not perfect -- not my imaginary rug, which was going to be shades of brown and blue, and a minimum of ten feet long, and not more than two feet wide. This one is shades of brown and red -- sort of a deeper, darker maroon red, with a patterned edge. And it is shorter -- maybe eight feet, and wider -- maybe two and a half feet.

But it triumphs all OVER the place in one regard, and that is the price! I paid five dollars for it at the Silly Army! Cheapest yet! So very cheap, that if the perfect hallway runner should ever turn up, I will not hesitate to buy it, since five extra dollars is nothing! I am very happy with this one, however, and smile every time I set my foot on it, or even think of it!


Friday, August 5, 2011


Mischief managed again this morning! Well, not mischief exactly -- but I got up at six and went for a walk around town, got some coffee, and got home half an hour later. So half an hour of steady walking -- that's good, right? Right, indeed. I will never be a thin person bursting with energy -- all my life, I have never been that -- but I can and will be a healthy middle-aged woman, not a heart-attack-victim-in-waiting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

It's the third day of August, and I am back in the office after a week of vacation. I have piles, PILES of work to catch up on. Piles. Three large ones! But I am finding it hard to settle down and trudge on through. So I am taking a few minutes to think about this past week, and remember its gloriousness, in hopes that when I am done I can sigh briefly and turn to.

My beloved sister Ruth arrived on Saturday morning at the train station, which I still think is one of the greatest buildings in the city, in spite of its modernization. I did not recognize her for a moment, and she also looked right past me, even though we were both looking eagerly about for one another. In my case, it's because I am so much fatter than when she saw me last, and have cut off my hair. In her case, it must have been because I'm unobservant, cuz she certainly looks just like herself. I took her home to my sweet little apartment and was very gratified to find that she likes it almost as much as I do, and was walking around exclaiming in a very heart-warming way. Especially liked the deck, which was surrounded by fluffy green leafy branches and very pleasant to sit on in the warm afternoon. We drank lemonade and ate sour-cream-blueberry coffee cake and talked and talked. The next day, Sunday, we had breakfast at Sully's, outside on the sidewalk, which was also very pleasant and enjoyable. Then walked over to the Farmer's Market, where Ruthie got a chair massage and I bought some marionberries to make a pie for the trip to Ocean Park. Cousin Mickey came over and spent the afternoon making us laugh. Thai food finished off the day. I was very full when I trundled off to bed, or to couch, for accuracy's sake.

The drive up there was the shortest yet -- I was still looking for the third mountain range when we came down the slope into Astoria -- surprise! Nice to have someone in the car who isn't driving, so she can tell you what things say, sing along with the music in harmony, and respond to your remarks. We got to Ocean Park about fifteen minutes early and did a little shopping at Jack's to give Mom and Dad time to brush their teeth and comb their hair. They were very happy to see us, especially Ruthie, as they see me every month. (Of course they like me best, though.)

We went to the beach that afternoon, and I signally overdid it on the walk, which is still having its effect on me, a week later. I strained my calves in walking through dry sand, always a bete noir of mine, and my back somehow as well. Too bad, because that kept me from being able to be very active the whole week. My calves are still sore enough to make me groan when I stand up, and I can't turn my head all the way to the left. Unfortunate! I had been planning on this week meeting all my exercise needs for the whole year! I was still very able to enjoy talking with Ruthie at night (we shared a room) and eating meals with my parents and with Ruth's husband Tom and son Sam who drove up on Thursday. I made three pies while I was up there, and directed Sam through one as well. On our last night there, Dad and Sam made Sidewalk Tacos, which were absolutely delicious and I ate three. Sam is sixteen now, and is six foot two. The tallest person in the room!

I read many of my mother's collection of paperbacks, drank lots of tea, ate the best pie in the state, watched a couple of movies with the gang and talked and talked and talked. To everyone, but mostly to my sister Ruthie, who is my best and dearest friend. It was very restful. I got pink and freckly and my hair is a shade lighter than it was when I went up there. Only one day was rainy, though several were overcast, but for the most part it was sunny and bright, but not hot. SO perfect!

And now -- I turn with a tiny stifled sigh to the first of these large piles of paperwork.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'll exercise you

Ohh, dear, the Plan for Today has resulted in me being in fairly serious pain. Ow ow ow. Really truly pain, too, though not as bad right now as it is pretty darn certain to be tomorrow. Oh, I dread getting up so much that I almost don't want to go to bed. Stiff, sore, creaking and aching. So many of my muscle groups are stiff and hardened and Painful. And all from working on cleaning up the house! And not working hard, either, not lifting extremely heavy (just mildly heavy) things, not rushing around, just plodding along. And lots of resting! But I guess when you are as out of shape as I am, this is what you get for any sustained exercise. I wish I could wish this feeling onto anyone who tells me with cheerful idiocy that I just need to get some regular exercise. I'll exercise you.

The Plan for Today

The clock has just struck noon (struck? I do not have a striking clock anymore -- which is where that expression comes from. My birdsong-playing clock has just Baltimore-Orioled noon, is what I actually mean. The bird pictured at noon is a Great Horned Owl, but somehow this clock skips one bird a day, and always ends up, twelve hours after being reset, with the Baltimore Oriole at noon. Anyway, moving on.) just indicated noon, and I am very happily enjoying the rain.

It is RAINING. Straight downward, in geometrically straight lines that are slicing down through the air like a scimitar blade, if scimitars were only straight and not beautifully curved like they are. I could say "sword blade", of course, but "scimitar" is just one of my favorite words, and goes so much better with the word "blade". I think because "sword" only has one syllable, like "blade".

In any case, I have just returned to the house from the deck, where I was sitting out in this gorgeous (scimitar) rain, reading the Sunday Oregonian and drinking Bay Bridge Merlot, which I bought in a small bottle, only slightly larger than a beer bottle, for two dollars. Costs a lot more than a beer bottle would, though, but then I never drink beer, (bottled or otherwise) so the point is really moot. I've only taken two sips so far, so the bottle is still a little too heavy to drink comfortably from, but it feels quite delightful to have it right in my hand like this. I feel like a wino. Or like a rough sleeper, or whatever we call those who sleep out of doors because of their addiction to alcohol, when being careful not to hurt anyone's feelings. Not the alcoholic homeless' feelings, either, but usually some completely separate person, who has never had either an addiction to alcohol or the need to sleep under a bridge. PC, that's what it is.

I had breakfast, this lovely morning, at Sully's, in spite of the torrents of air-slicing (scimitar) rain, and enjoyed it no end. The coffee was not quite up to their usual, and my first few sips disappointed me sadly, but then I grew accustomed to its perfection-lacking, and enjoyed it at the level it was. Which was pretty darn good, and still better than Starbucks or, in fact, anybody's. I was reading a book which so far (only 73 pages into it) seems excellent, and I may be noting it down later as one of my Approved books. Does that sound suitably pompous? Perhaps Approved for Humanity -- better? Called "The Magicians." By Lev Grossman.

In any case, the food was excellent, as always, the service was attentive, and I really enjoyed my plateful of multi-colored toast and apple butter while listening to the conversations of those around me. One gentleman, a fire-fighter (possibly retired) started three sentences with the words "When I was a little kid in Miami" which I enjoyed, but the most wonderful part was a plump, balding, middle-aged man sitting with two women, one of whom was his mother or aunt (that age, anyway) and the other of whom was his sister or wife (also the right age, and mildly affectionate). He was telling the two of them some story about someone buying books, in the past, books which are currently highly valued because they are old editions. Hold that thought. But you know, money was harder to come by, then, and a little bit of money went a long way by today's standards. He understood that, too. Where he went wrong was in speculating in awe about how hard it was for "them" (didn't catch who he was talking about) to buy these old, valuable books -- "some of 'em were even first editions!" -- with their little bits of money, at the prices these valuable books would command -- today. He didn't think far enough to get that the prices would have changed, too, that "old books" are valuable because of their age, which requires the buyer to buy them after that. Not back when they were new, and just basic books. Delightful to hear this.

So, the plan for this afternoon and evening is to make a shopping list for later in the week, complete the task of sorting, ironing and putting appropriately away all the laundry in my room (about three-quarters done), vacuum the house, and possibly clean off and polish the low dresser in my bedroom. And, otherwise, eat and drink tea and rest and read and go to bed early. That is the plan for today.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don't know what I want

Someone in this neighborhood is frying ham.

It's quarter past eight in the morning, and the air is quite still of any human noises -- although I did hear a car start up and drive away, somewhere, a while back. But I got up at seven when my phone rang, and no one else has opened any doors, started their showers or called to their children since.

But someone IS frying ham. Mmm, gorgeous smell. Almost makes me change my mind -- again -- and walk over to Sully's for a hot breakfast. Although, as I consider it, the taste of frying ham is not nearly, nearly as good as the smell, which is absolutely magical. My knees got weak before I had even identified it, and saliva ran rapidly into my mouth. Which is a thing that never happens to me, so there you are.

See, my plan for the morning was to get up when the alarm went off at six, shower, and walk over to Sully's in the pleasant warm sunny morning, and eat a lovely breakfast, cooked for me and brought to me on a plate while I sat at a corner table and sipped their prize-worthy coffee and read my book and looked about me. But then I couldn't fall asleep last night, or even get comfortable, and listened to the Book on Tape for an hour before the CD came to a stop, and even then it still took me a while. Don't know how long, I stopped looking at the clock, but kept my eyes closed until the magic happened. So, then I didn't want to get up this morning, and kept hitting the snooze button. Until the phone rang.

And when I looked out the window and saw that not only had it rained in the night, it was still raining, gently, softly, desultorily -- and I did not feel like a rainy walk was quite what I wanted. So here I sit, having finished my own coffee, my shower, and the scrub-down I felt compelled to give to the deck railings while I was out there this morning -- and I don't know quite WHAT I want.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sorrow and relief


Okay, am I far enough away from this that I can tell you about it without weeping? Cuz I am at work, you know. Can't be leaking and swelling and turning bright red here at the front desk.

Okay. You know Joe moved back in with me, supposedly only for a few days, but I told him he could have a month, and then later told him he could have another. We were getting along, but I was growing increasingly unhappy at the state of my apartment.

And then I went to my parent's place up in Ocean Park for four days, and Joe stayed home. He is a grown-up now, legally, and so I told him that as a guest in my house, I expected him to be appropriate and discreet in the people he had over and the things they did (I actually said, "No parties and no drugs, right?" and he said, "Right.") and that whatever transpired I wanted all signs of it to be gone by the time I got home. On the day I was leaving, I called Joe and told him I would be home in about three hours, so it was time to start picking things up and turning the dishwasher on.

Well, for sheer stomach-turning disgustingness of the mess the kitchen and bathroom were in when I arrived at home, hot and tired, to find no Joe, he wins a prize. The counters were mounded high with crazy stacks of dishes, half-eaten food, glasses half-full of juice and sticky spills running down the fronts of the cabinets, garbage and more dishes, tilting this way and that. The hot kitchen smelt strongly of sour milk and rotting fruit. And over the whole thing was a large cloud of busy fruit flies.

Shall I describe the bathroom to you? I think not. It will be even harder for you to imagine, unless you are a parent of an unaware teen-aged boy, with unaware teen-aged friends. Suffice it to say that I was still cleaning black greasy handprints ("Nick was working on his car!") off walls, light switches, cupboard doors and towels for days. I couldn't even look into the sink.

So. This was the last straw. I called Joe. He answered. I told him to come home that very minute and clean the house. He sullenly agreed. FIVE HOURS later -- midnight-thirty -- he showed up. I told him that I was in bed, that I did not want to be kept awake by the noise of him cleaning, that I would go to work tomorrow, and when I came home, the house would be clean and all signs of the weekend eradicated. I said that this was the last straw of my willingness to believe him when he said he would be responsible for something, and therefore, he would be moved out by Friday, and hand over his key. He agreed, and apologized, really as though he meant it. But STILL! It was unbelievable. Hang on to your hats, though. It gets worse.

The next day, when I got home from work, Joe was there, with a friend. I could hear the dishwasher running. I asked him, was the house clean?


So I turned around and left, telling him that I would give him half an hour, and then be back. He protested that he only needed twenty minutes, but I said half an hour, and the kitchen, bathroom and living room must all be done (I had left a list for him of all the things that I objected to, since I knew he would just look right past them).

When I arrived home, Joe and his friend were leaving, were actually outside the apartment and coming down the stairs. I didn't make a big to-do in front of the friend, who was not at fault (hmmm, wonder if that's why Joe broght him along?) but asked if they were done, and Joe said yes.

When I went in, I saw that it looked at first glance as though a lot had been done, but that with the exception of throwing away a lot of garbage, pushing the dishes back into the corner of the counter, and turning the (half-full) dishwasher on, Joe had done very little. The bathroom was untouched. Still cheese in the living room. Real cheddar cheese, I mean, not slang for a mess -- but a sharp knife and the block of cheese siting on top of a speaker.

Anyway. I'm growing weary of telling this story. Let me sum up. I was unable to get Joe home for the rest of the week. He kept coming in while I was at work, taking showers and making the house more untidy, and leaving before I came home. His phone does not take messages, so I could not even get in touch with him. After some hard thought I realized that since I had thrown him out, I should clean up the rest of the mess myself, treat him kindly, and be ready to stand my ground when he tried to avoid leaving.

So. At 7:45 on Sunday evening, Joe turns up. Tells me that he is moving in with his friend Nick, and that Nick's father is fine with it. Then says, "But I can't take my stuff over there tonight, so I'll leave it here and pick it up tomorrow."

"Nope," I say, firmly, but feeling my stomach curl up. Here we go! "This is the last day of the week plus weekend. You gotta go by end of day today."

"Okay," he grouches. Then he hangs around in the bathroom for a long time, then comes out and hangs around in his bedroom. Then the bathroom again, then takes a shower. Finally he calls through the house to me, and says that Nick has a girlfriend over, and so Joe can't take his stuff there tonight. Can't he please leave it here, just until tomorrow?

I point out that he has had all week to figure this out, and now it's the end of his time. I'm getting shaky, and take the phone out on the deck to get some encouragement from my mother, who gives it to me. I mean, he has plenty of money, and if worse came to worst, he could get a motel room for the night. But he has had seven days to figure this out, and has just been partying and sleeping late all week, figuring, no doubt, that I would cave when the time came.

But I did not.

Then there is his dresser -- a small Tupperware thing. He says that it won't fit in his car. I offer to follow him over to Nick's with a load of stuff in my car. He accepts, then refuses, and says to throw the dresser away. I say, in that case, I will keep it, since drawers are always useful.

Now he's finally worked himself up, and he's Angry. Anger has a special force for Joe and his father, acquitting them of all responsibility. Like being really drunk in England. So now he's stalking back and forth and slamming doors and yelling insulting things as he goes out the door. When he finally leaves, and I lock the door behind him, he is yelling, "Fuck you, Mom! Fuck YOU!"

Baby that I am, I immediately begin trembling, and call my mommy. I get Dad, who calms me down, and tells me I've done the right thing. And I know I have. I'm not going to start second-guessing myself (she says, second-guessing away like mad).

Anyway. I am sad, but I am also really relieved. He is out. He is gone. And although he could easily break in, I don't think he will. I will fix the door he knocked off its tracks and the map he tore (although I mourn that, since Niels sent it to me from Denmark) and then go on getting the house clean and aired out (reeks of old cigarette smoke now)and ready for Ruthie.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Here it is, two in the afternoon, and not a single turned-in packet of paper. Not one. Usually Nameless Agent turns them in by the bucketload, but he has been here all day and not a single one.

Ay, de mi.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I do dust

Oh, heavens, I think I must be a very lazy person. I know I am, in fact, the laziest of people. I will live with a situation that is uncomfortable, inefficient, ugly and smelly, out of sheer laziness. This has all been brought home to me for the last few days, by reading the ten year's worth of blog by John Bailey. Here is this man, whose blog starts when he is 59, and he is constantly "clearing things away" or "washing down the shelves," or "giving the floor a good going over with some Flash." I'm halfway through the third year of this, and even though he rarely mentions it in his blog, he refers to it in a way that shows this is a regular process. And of course I know it is for most people.

I've just been comparing myself with the few people whose houses I know well, and feeling fairly okay about myself -- about my public self, anyway, since my private self will do almost anything not to have to get up from her chair once sat upon. When I sit down in front of the computer, I always take a book along, since otherwise I am stuck with the bookcase I have there (full of favorites for just that purpose) and that would never do, but once I am sitting, I'm not going to want to get up and go get it, so I'll HAVE to read one of those favorites!

In my leather chair in the living room, I have a box next to the chair which is for holding magazines and crocheting projects, and so on, but it is full of empty envelopes and bits of wrappers and so on, because it's there! And Heaven forbid I should have to actually get up and walk the two steps to a trash container.

And then of course, there is the pan in my sink, in the kitchen, the baking pan which was full of rhubarb and strawberry cobbler. It has been in the sink, full of water (changing all the time, at least) since May 20. And today is June 23rd. More than a month, and it has survived several washings-up. I will get down to just the dishes in the sink, and then give up.

And my public self is hardly any better. Hardly any. I do dust.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An extra chin

I am drinking cranberry-pomegranate juice, and loving it. It is yummy-yummy, mmm-mmm-mmm. Last night I drank a very tall iced glass of it, with the addition of two ounces of Irish whiskey, and a large bloop of heavy cream. Now that was eyes-rolled-back-in-the-head DELICIOUS, and I very nearly made myself another one. But I'm not a hardened drinker, and I was alone in the house on a Monday night, and cream is very fattening, so for all these reasons I did not.

What is it that pomegranate juice contains that makes it so very healthy to drink? I know it contains some appalling amount of sugar, being the sweetest possible fruit juice. But it's also full of vitamins and folic acid, and some sort of antioxidant. Prevents cancer and cures heart attacks and beats off strokes. Something like that. And cranberries are anti-bacteria. So I'm doing myself a mort of good, unless I add the cream and the Jamesons. THEN, I'm just giving myself another five pounds and an extra chin.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Apres le deluge

Hooray! The phone just rang! That was the first call of the day, at 10:41. I am alone in the office today, too, no others here even for a moment. Find myself watching anxiously for the mailman, just to make sure I haven't been abandoned by my race.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crunch, crunch, crunch

One of the agents who works in my office -- we'll call him Nameless -- has several habits that cause a reaction in me, among them a determined and exhaustive cracking of every finger joint in every possible direction. Really. Every direction.

Well, he has another habit -- one which really causes every nerve of mine to stand up and shriek aloud. We keep a few bowls of candy in the office, it is my job to keep them full of mixed candy, and I enjoy that part of the job. Right now there is a slight preponderance of hard candies in the mix, peppermints, butterscotches, tropical fruits, etc. Lots of suck-upons. And Nameless picks one up, unwraps it and chews it up right there and then. He is swallowing its pulverized form as he reaches his office again. CRR-RRUN-NNCH, CRR-RUN-NNCH, CRUNCHY, CRUNCHY, swallow. I can hear his teeth splintering into shards as he does this. Brr, shudder!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Like a good apple

Feeling good today -- oddly, and very noticeably, better than I have felt for the past several weeks. Yesterday was a good day, and today is also one, even though I haven't left the house or indeed showered yet. My hair is currently soaking in fresh lemon wash, and I'm sorting and folding sweaters in my room, listening to an interesting book on tape. Even the sorting and discarding of too-small clothing is not distressing me, although as I do, I am noticing that there are several articles of clothes that I never even wore, so rapid was my inflating. I am saving a few pieces that I really like, in case I am ever able to deflate, at least partially, this rotundity which now houses my person.

It is not upsetting me, though, not at all. I am eating slices of cold chicken breast, as I walk to and fro from room to room, and burning candles all over the house to freshen the already crisp and chilly air -- the sliding glass door was open all day and night for the past several days, and a few windows as well. I do like that sensation -- to walk into a room and breathe completely fresh air. Not just perfumed with room freshener, not with any faint trace of we-have-been-here-before, or re-filteredness about it. Just purely, crisply fresh. Like biting into a good apple. Not waxy, not soft, not wooly inside -- but right off the tree, hard and crunchy, bursting with sweet-sour juice and chilly on the tongue.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Worse comes to worst -- I'll get along

It is a lovely day again today, although overcast and grey as to sky -- cool and breezy, over an underlying warmth. Lots of green visible through the door from my desk -- I'm at work. Doug is in his office selling the company to a new agent, and the maintenance men -- John and son Hans -- are switching out the light fixtures all over the office for new ones. This is actually a lengthier and more intrusive process than one might have thought, since it involves large ladders all over the place and large boxes of gear, since the light fixtures are the whole 2x4 foot process, with ballast boxes and all. Nonetheless, the light they give off is so much nicer -- it has a pinky-yellow glow, instead of the pale blue-ish glow, it seems to light the area much more, and give the walls a more welcoming color. AND uses less electricity!

Financially, however, I am in very bad shape these days. I just saw that I am overdrawn at the bank, by $35 more than I actually am, since they slap on a fee whenever that happens. I cannot do anything about this, either, since I will have no more income until the fifteenth of the month and that will be taken up with several other payments. But it will be covered then. I just hope that I can manage to avoid any other fees being attached. More than a week, though. Hmmm. What can I sell, and to whom?

I am also started on a payment plan with the IRS, to pay my State tax, which starts on the fifteenth. So strange to owe taxes! I was really quite surprised. Now that I know that is going to be possible, I had better save towards that every year, and not end up like this again.

And, although this is not really my worry, I have been getting calls at work from a collection agency that claims I am still responsible for Joe and his rent at Clipper Ridge, even though he signed a second lease. This is a three thousand dollar debt. And the woman is a hateful person. Now, I know collections agents often are, as part of their job, but she, I think, is, at all times. I would hate to meet her.

Okay. Feels better to have written that down. I complained about some of this to Mom and Dad when I was there this past weekend (so lovely!) and to Ruthie on the phone, but no one knows the whole story but me. Doug would instantly offer to lend me money, so can't talk to him about it.

Anyway -- if worse comes to worst, I will just go and live with Mom and Dad in Ocean Park!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On the kitchen counter

So I haven't been complaining abut Joe lately -- don't think I've even mentioned that he has moved back in with me. Temporarily, and all, but still.

However, if you were a young man who had moved back in with your mother, and were living in her office, with all your stuff in a corner there (having abandoned ALL your furniture -- ALL) and she was allowing you to live with her temporarily, as long as you followed certain rules strictly (these few rules were small and obvious {seemed so to her, at least} such as not turning the baseboard heat on, or leave the lights on or the water running or your clothes in the dryer. Somehow, though, every time you saw her she was grinding her teeth with all of them that you had broken, Every. Single. Day. ) and you had felt the need to smoke a little pot in her house, strictly against those few rules, and had carefully and quietly created a neat and tidy little bong out of materials she had lying around, and used it, greatly to your benefit and peace of mind, would you then leave for the night, with that tidy and carefully constructed little bong SITTING ON THE COUNTER IN THE KITCHEN??!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Long day, happy ending

Yesterday, besides being the Big Fat End of the World, was Calhoun's eleventh birthday, and was celebrated at the community center in Montavilla, which was just a block or two from where I lived for a few years as a baby, while my father was going to Multnomah School of the Bible. (Digression -- why on EARTH do you suppose they were pretentious enough to name it that?) You might ask why, when both Calhoun's father and his mother live in Milwaukie, we were celebrating his birthday on 82nd and NE Glisan -- far from the home stretch. I do not know the answer to this pertinent question. I did not really know the details of the arrangements when I said I would be glad to go and asked if I could bring any refreshments, or I might not have gone. It was a long day. But Mickey and Kevin and Ensai (Calhoun's sister) and I had fun talking in the kitchen while the boys played in the gymnasium, for hours. And when it was finally over we drove Ensai home and then got very lost in first Ladd's Addition and then Brooklyn, looking for 17th Avenue to take us back to Milwaukie. I had suggested taking Woodstock, but both Mickey and Kevin disagreed with me, so I sat back and watched. I was in the back seat, croaking "We'll never get out! Never!" as we wound around and around in Ladd's Addition, and Mickey was driving, but she was cheerful and patient and no one got mad!

Anyway, after dropping off Kevin and Calhoun, we went to the Hawaiian restaurant behind my house, and ordered some appetizers, and while we were waiting and chatting, a girl of about seven with white-blonde hair approached me. She addressed me, but was stammering and sort of milling about, vocally, as I was taking her in, and before she finished a sentence, I cried out, "Natalie!" And it was -- her sister Emily and their mother, whose name I cannot recall, came over too, and chatted briefly. Natalie was two years old, the last time I saw her, and Emily six --they were two of my daycare children. I got several tight hugs from Natalie, and a shy stiff one from Emily. So the day ended very well indeed!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good thing I was wearing a robe

Remember when I first moved into this apartment, and I was interested in the large and silent house next door? The House Next Door! Sounds like a movie title, or no, maybe a pocket book. Empty or not empty? Did someone live there but never came into any of the rooms on the back? Never turned on any lights in the living dining room or master bedroom?

Well, for nearly a year now, we've known the answer to that question, and have lately been watching The Man turning it inside out in a rapid change of all its lines. Very like what they did to our old house, which is now gorgeous and brand new and absolutely like every other house on earth. This house as well, which had a long, wide glowingly green front lawn, surrounded by huge old rhodies and beds of daffodils and hyacinths and multi-colored tulips -- very Pacific Northwest -- was being tidied, and all its special edges cut off. Then the back yard, which was shorter, without any lawn because of the huge fir trees which keep it almost completely dry, but also pretty much sun-free, opened onto the creek. The first thing they did was to take a load of enormous rocks down there in a flatbed truck which they simply drove in right over and through the bushes on the side of the house, and laid them all in the water just outside the edge of the yard, and filled in between them and the yard with gravel.

It is now a very tidy water's edge, especially as the second step, a tall iron fence, kept the ducks and geese from just waddling in. They still fly in, if they want to, but it does take a lot of extra effort, and the ducks mostly don't bother. The geese do, though, especially this year's crop, which as I may have mentioned before are Hysterical. Really. In its true meaning, too, I don't mean funny. At least one of them is clinically hysterical and she/he infects the others with unending Honking Panic which can continue for half an hour at a time. Very, very annoying. So there is a lot of panic-stricken Escaping and Pursuit involving lots of Flight to the Rooftops and it is all scored with Blind Unreasoning Honking. And from the roof, if you are not a very smart bird, you flap down into the yard, before realizing that now you can't get out to the water without a great deal more flapping and honking to get back up onto the roof, or possibly clear the fence from the ground, which is not easy and really makes you honk, long after you have Escaped and Thwarted their Evil Plans.

Anyway. You see I got a little carried away there. I liked the geese until this year.

But as I was saying, now they have begun working on the house, either preparatory to selling it, which seems by far the most likely, or to moving in themselves, which could also be, since there is only ever one guy out here doing all the work, even though he has access to all kinds of large equipment. Hard to imagine any individual having that kind of spare cash, especially in today's recession. And you would also assume that his family would have moved in already as well, to save on whatever their rent must be wherever they would be living. No, it has to be a revamp company. Perhaps times are tight enough that they can only pay one guy, and also put him up in the house...?

Because this morning, when I got up and put the kettle on for my coffee and was standing at the window looking out at the rain-washed morning, in all its typical colors -- deep dark greens, vivid glowing greens, assorted pale greys, backdrop of blue -- so very recognizable and beautiful! -- I was looking down into the yard next door, at the mini-caterpillar tractor and the mini front-loader and the large pile of railroad ties (hmmm, that's new) lying next to the side of the house where all the holly trees -- sadly overgrown -- had all been dug out and disposed of yesterday. Also a pile of long black piping -- like a new septic tank system or a water feature (which would be a real waste of money, since the house is right on the water already) and all the places where the smaller bushes and clumps of flowering plants had been dug up or skinned off and loaded into the truck and carted away. Anyway, as I stood looking sleepily at all this, and wondering vaguely with my pre-caffienated brain what the overall plan was, I realized that, standing on the opposite deck with a large steaming mug in his hand and staring back at me in startlement, was the worker guy. Took me several seconds to realize that we were looking right at each other and move away. It's just a very, very good (and lucky) thing that I was wearing a robe.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tell me NOW!

What is the deal with hyacinth blossoms? I mean how the color drains down and out of them once you've picked them. Of course, this is the fourth day of this bouquet, and I'm really NOT complaining -- it was a gorgeous, fagrant, eye-rolling-back-in-the-head handful of Springtime. But I'm curious. This is the fourth day, and the top three-quarters of the stalk have faded to nearly white, while the lower fourth is much darker purple -- exactly as if the color is slowly draining down the stalk. What's up with that? Nobody online seems to know -- at least, no answers to this question have appeared -- I could spend longer doing some actual research, but I'm a victim of the minute-and-a-half mentality, as far as looking things up. Tell me NOW, or I'm not going to care!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obvious computer note

Brief Note: It is very interesting to see how computer usage picks up in my neighborhood, according to time of day. This is Sunday morning, it's about ten am, and everyone is my building is either still asleep or making no sound. When I first sat down at the keyboard this morning, I was able to just whiz through things -- movies played with no problem, I was able to jump from screen to screen, just as if I were at work, on their modern and up-to-date server! And so it has been until now, about ten, when other people are up and at their computers. Slowing right down.

I've noticed this also right after dinnertime, when people have come home and are watching their shows or surfing Facebook or whatever. Everything slows way, way down.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thanks for the memories

It is a gorgeous Saturday morning, and I am sitting at the computer, having finished my coffee and my hint-at-breakfast, and listening to the sound of contented ducks ( small squeaky grunts) and watching the sky get brighter and brighter -- and I'm sad.

And I am going to write about it, because I want to, even though I know it is my own doing and all, so it can't be fixed and I can't blame anyone, but I just feel like writing about it, and so I am.

This was all brought on by my finding people on Facebook (who weren't there the last time I looked -- more than a year ago) who had been, in the past, before my horrible marriage, my very dear friends. They were a family who attended the church that I briefly attended when I first moved to Portland -- I met them there, and then they hosted the "Small Group" in their home in Northeast Portland. They were a young couple with a small boy, when I met them. Both of them became my dear friends, but especially Him. He was (also!) a Monty Python fan, and almost every visit would devolve into a quote-fest, or have one (or both) of us singing "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam..." to the point that even his kind-hearted, sweet-natured wife would protest. "Oh, don't get started on Monty Python!" she would beg, and even leave the room. We would look at each other guiltily, but sooner or later, something would happen and one of us would whisper, "Help, help! I'm being oppressed!"

I went to their house once a month for dinner, and babysat for them whenever they went out together -- which wasn't very often, they being a devoted family. And we had many long discussions about god and life and the future. They both knew that I was ambivalent about Christianity (at that time -- or at least I was comfortable claiming ambivalence, instead of outright repudiation) and we talked that over, too. I was so perfectly comfortable with them. And when their second child was born, they asked me to be there with their little son to keep him calm, so he could witness the birth. That was the first birth I ever saw -- little Micah, although his name at that point was Keegan. And She had at least two other pregnancies while we were still close -- one which was twins and resulted in miscarriage, and one which resulted in Rebekah.

When I met my ex-husband-to-be, I took him there for a visit, first thing, and then several weeks later again, with Joey this time. Wow, it's hard to imagine that I felt so good about Michael (having not the faintest idea who he was) that I freely took him to Their house! Even when I took him to visit my parents, only a few weeks later, I was anxious. But no anxiety at Their house!

Anyway, when I had fled Michael, and the Marriage, and was safely at my parent's house, I tried to find Them, even though they had moved to Idaho, and I didn't have any contact info for Them. There was no such thing as Facebook in those days, either! But it was important to me -- they were friends who had avoided the whole marriage debacle, since they had moved to Idaho almost immediately after I married, and I counted on them for understanding and support and love. I was eager to love them, as well.

So when I found their number and called, I was close to tears before She even picked up. But I recognized her voice at once. I was SO HAPPY to hear it. She was polite and gracious, but not excited, or even pleased to hear from me. She said, in a very few sentences, that since I had left the church, she didn't think they would need to be seeing me again. Have a nice life, good-bye.

Which, at the time, a very bad, bad time in my life, absolutely crushed me. I wasn't just devastated at the loss of my son, and horrified at the thought of my ex-husband, and completely freaked out, and all, but I was also swimming in guilt, because of all the lying that I had done, at Michael's orders, to back him up, or to keep people from knowing what went on in our family. Some of my friends have forgiven me joyfully, and some have forgiven me with a little haughtiness and some, like this family of dear friends, have not forgiven me at all. Or at least that's how it seemed to me at the time. It could have been merely that they had become more rigid in their faith, after all those years of isolation from the rest of us. That certainly happens. Could have had nothing to do with my marriage at all.

So I've been keeping them out of my head for the past five or six years, only occasionally bringing them up in conversation, telling some humorous story about Him or the little ones.

Until today! When I stumbled across his so familiar face, on Facebook. His two oldest sons are married now. Little Micah! Whose first seconds of breathing life I saw. Married. And they have a fourth child, a daughter named Hannah. I hope they are as happy as they look to be. I truly do.

Thanks for all the happy, loving memories!

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's just funny

It is remarkable to hear the difference in tone of voice when I let the person on the phone know that I am not merely the phone-answering girl. The woman I just spoke with was a perfect example. She asked for Nameless Agent. I offered her, instead, his cell-phone number. She accepted it, but asked in a bored, impatient voice, for our "relocation specialist". I said we did not have one and asked if I could help her. She said (so impatiently!) that she was So-and-So, with Such-and Such, and they needed a contact person in our office, because we weren't even on their LIST and she needed to send over some Blah-Blah packages, if Nameless Agent and they were going to be able to do business. Was it POSSIBLE that I might know who that contact person should be? I replied that said contact person would be me, that I was the office manager, and would be glad to accept her Blah-Blah package. Her voice rose several notes. "Oh!" she said. "Oh, really! Well, do you have an e-mail address?"

Now, I know this is nothing to do with me and my geniosity. There is no way they can know anything about our office, and I have certainly suffered through idiotic and untruthful and petty-minded phone-answerers in my time. It's just funny.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where is Patrick O'Brian when I need him?

Beautiful, beautiful day! Sky a vivid blue, clouds brilliantly white, lots of pale golden light filling the air -- cold and brisk, but still gorgeously sunny! And another year slowly creaks up and over the top, and is about to begin on the slow-at-first-but-then-moving-faster-and-faster roller coaster ride of the year!

Three goslings had hatched this morning as I left for work -- I'll bet there will be more when I get home. The parents are extremely crazed with trying to scare me away from looking at their babies -- when they were still in the egg, the mother merely hissed at me if I leaned over the rail, but now! Both of them lift their wings and lower their heads threateningly and HISS!

Otherwise, I am just sort of marking time for the day to be over and for me to find myself in my comfy chair, in my comfy apartment with my steaming hot cup of tea and plate of crsipy toast! And something to read...gotta find something that is as interesting and seductive as a Dick Francis -- so maybe I'll pull down a Patrick O'Brian. The Surgeon's Mate is my favorite -- or no, The Ionian Mission -- or perhaps The HMS Surprise -- no, no, The Nutmeg of Consolation -- well. One of them. Since those were my favorite books of all time since 1996, I can fall back on them when I need to be weaned! So -- tick, tock, tick, tock...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Angles of light

Saturday morning -- hair up in a towel, steaming cup of coffee, the sound of the dishwasher doing its thing -- I can also hear the ticking of the living room clock. Otherwise the day is still. There were ducks squawking earlier -- as I sat up in bed I heard them through the bedroom window, but now they are quiet and still, swimming silently around in neat little angles on the surface of the water. The branches, which have been nearly invisible all winter, grey and spidery against a grey surface, are now very visible and lovely: light green, yellowy-green in tiny balls or spots or fluffs against the pale green, grey-green water. And it makes me wonder. It cannot actually be that the water is a different color in the spring, it must be that the quality of light is different -- more light, since it is later in the year. But I don't quite believe that, either, since I have stood looking out the window at all times during the day, in the winter, when it was easily as light out as it is now, and never saw the water this color, which is true-greeny-grey. I would like to have a dress made of material that color...

Perhaps it is the angle of the light. That would make a difference, wouldn't it? Different angle reflecting different bits of color differently onto my eyes? Someone? Anyone?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday! Friday! Friday!

And I'm not even a party-girl or anything like that, I won't be drinking or dancing or staying out late (although I am staying UP late; it's after eleven) but just knowing that I have two empty days in front of me. Empty, empty. I will merely sit around and read and drink tea. Ahhhhh.....


Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Fourteen

Today is April 14, and the first day since March 1, that I have not had a Dick Francis book to read. An unread one, I mean, since I have about twenty DFs hanging around the house, but they have all been read by me. In fact, I think there are only two left for me to read. Whimper...

These books are some kind of good, too, whether they are mysteries or revenge stories -- really, the only two kinds he writes -- they are good and very magnetic. Very. On March 16 I wrote a note to my mother saying something like "As I begin reading my eleventh Dick Francis novel..."

Today is also April 14, the day after my son Joe's birthday, since he turned nineteen years old yesterday. Wahoo! And he is trying to make a new start, with his schooling, and his housing and his uncle and his money and his drug use. So I should be glad about that. And glad that he apparently doesn't want to lie to me for any length of time, since he certainly will lie to me. Can't tell you how awful that makes me feel, sort of a sucking away feeling of all that is good between us, since if he will lie to me, then we have no relationship. But then on the other hand, (brave smile) all teenagers lie to their parents, especially about drug use, and he did tell me about it, just not until a month later. Whimper...

Today is also April 14, three days after Doug's father died. Yup. Poor man. He was trying to get the obituaries put in the newspapers today, AND get his father's belongings packed up and moved out of his condo, AND meet his uncle who was flying in for the funeral. AND it was raining. AND Nameless Agent was there with his baby daughter, milling around and taking up time.

Today is also April 14, my cousin Rhys's birthday. He would have been 45 today, if he had not died a week ago. The same age as I am. My silly brown-haired cousin with the sideways smile, and the endless stream of ridiculous sounds and made-up words and annoying noises. What was the one? "Eeeee - shneebert!"

Today is April 14. And I feel that I deserve a cup of tea.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crash Boom Wallop

I was sitting in my big comfy chair, in my clean quiet office, watching a show on Hulu, and reading a book at the same time. It was evening, and I had just turned the little frog lamp on, next to the computer screen. Still pretty light outside, but dim within. When suddenly, from the direction of the front of the house, there came a loud, crashing, thumping, reverberating metallic blow kind of sound. I sat up -- got up -- turned on every light in the house as I walked quickly around looking for whoever/whatever had just bashed something very hard IN MY HOUSE. It was a three-part sound -- semi-familiar, so I knew I would recognize whatever had made it as soon as I saw it. But nothing. Nothing fallen over, nothing on the ground that should have been hanging on the wall, no broken pieces of anything anywhere. I got a little shivery as I walked around, since this sound had been very loud and definitely IN THE HOUSE.

But no evidence of anything. The kitchen counters still had un-put-away food from the food box on the counters, and there was some of that on the floor in the dining room, but nothing that I hadn't put there.

I went back to my chair, and sat down and thought about it as I read and watched with the front of my mind. It couldn't be anything I needed to worry about, right? Cuz there was no sign of anything or anybody. I had finally decided lazily to forget about it, when ka-BOOM-thump-crash-rinnnnggg! There it was again. This time I leaped up and ran out into the hallway and turned on all the lights, and huried around the rooms. But NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL.

This time, however, I did not go back to the office. I started putting away food in the kitchen, sorting out the "keeps" from the "give-aways" and this time putting the "keeps" away on shelves in the pantry or the fridge. In the course of doing this, I had to run some water -- perhaps I was making tea to help me with my task -- and noticed that sort of underneath the dishes in the sink -- several pots and a cookie sheet -- were two burst-open tubes of biscuit dough.

I stared at them for a moment before I realized what they were. I had taken them out of the food box, and stood them on the counter next to the sink. And they were so close to bursting already, that a half an hour later they had burst open, flinging themselves into the sink, clattering against the cookie sheet and the pots and the bottom of the sink, making that dreadful sound, and neatly covering themselves with the toppled-over sheet! First one and then the other. The metallic wobble of the cookie sheet was the familiar part of that noise. Still seems amazing and humorous when I think about it.