Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jays and their Ways

I spread a bag of upscale trail mix on the edge of my deck railing last night.  Came in the food box, so cost me nothing, and was full of whole almonds and cashews and large chunks of dried fruit, as well as the usual raisins and peanuts and sunflower seeds.

This morning a young Stellar jay came along and tried a few bits.  The cashews he couldn't handle, but he loved the raisins and peanuts and even managed to hork down a hazelnut, after trying desperately for a few seconds, with his neck extended.  Shortly thereafter, there were two velvety blue birds with black frills on their heads, hopping about on my deck.  Then three, and the two young ones were very wary of the older one with the ragged edge to his topknot, diving off the rail if he even looked beadily in their direction.  Now they were just landing, grabbing a mouthful and flying away.  Soon there were five blue and black jaybirds, all eating and transporting these expensive treats as fast as they could.  This went on without a pause for about twenty minutes.  I was imagining the cramps some of them were going to have, and the diarrhea, if that can be said to apply to birds. 

I was also imagining the large size these birds were going to attain – it would be the talk of the bird-watching community – North Milwaukie birds sudden growth spurt!  -- when suddenly – as suddenly as the first one had appeared – they stopped.  Completely.  Half the contents of the bag are still there, but the jays have stopped.  Not the slightest movement in the branches of the cedar tree, which were bobbing and swaying a minute ago, with high speed arrivals and departures.  Not a jay in sight.  Only a squirrel, sitting in the leafless maple tree, and looking beadily at my deck railing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A bright white morning

It was very light out when I got up this morning -- I know, I know, that's what Daylight Savings is all about right?  Lighter in the mornings, and darker in the evenings.  But I noticed it as I was levering myself upright and staggering the few steps that my old body always seems to need to stagger before straightening up and flying right.  And when I got into the kitchen, and stood in front of the window, my discomfort at the chill linoleum floor under my bare feet was drowned out by the brightness of the day outside. 

The sky was very full of light, although the sun was completely invisible behind the thick, off-white cloud cover.  It radiated light all over, and the tree directly in front of me, which was only sparsely leaved, with small, completely yellow leaves -- a change in the past week -- stood out sharply against that glowing backdrop.  A squirrel, racing lightly along this branch and that branch and then dropping to that other branch, was bright, crisp black against the white sky and the yellow leaves.  Very visible, yet I clearly remember just a few days ago -- wasn't it? -- that I saw a squirrel perform much the same manoeuvres and all I saw was the bouncing of the thick green branches and the occasional flick of a tail.  The yellow continued on down to the ground, which was carpeted with crunchy gold -- no rain and cold nights have kept everything bright and sharp!

Cold nights -- yes, last night was very chilly in my bedroom, but I am smiling with pleasure as I think of it.  My nose was very cold, but the rest of me was absolute perfection.  I had changed the sheets to a flannel set, and they were lightly furry and immediately warm when I slid between them.  I had draped my old-rose afghan over the side of the bed I always lie on, and I was wearing my pink shawl.  Made for me by the mother of my first boyfriend, back on the Farm, it is pale pink crochet, ribbed and scalloped and buttoned up the front with large mother-of-pearl buttons.  It is a very warm garment, and I never wear it as clothing anymore, but keep it for a bed jacket.  It fills that job to perfection.  I'm really very surprised that I still have it, after all these years.  Let's see, I was -- sixteen? -- when she gave it to me, and I am 47 now, so it is 31 years old.  Remarkable that it has survived so many abrupt departures and cross-country moves.  I still have the quilt my mother made for me when I was eight, but those might well be the eldest of my belongings.  I'll have to give that some thought.

I had a new Michael Gilbert to read and a cup of scalding tea, which I held balanced on my chest (propped up by four flannel-clad pillows -- warmth from the back as well as the front! ) and every few minutes dipped my head to take a tiny sip -- couldn't manage more, it was too hot -- and as I felt the spreading glow of each sip I had to smile.  Comfort complete!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I have just utilized Triple-A for the first time and found it highly useful and very satisfactory.  They lived up to their reputation in a way that few things do.  I locked my keys in my car, which I knew even as I was doing it, that I was doing it.  I had paused for a few seconds to hear the end of a line of song on the radio, and when I snapped it off I was then juggling my umbrella and a couple bags and my purse.  As I got out of the car, I thought, several layers down, “There’s something I am doing wrong here, but…” and I popped down the Auto-Lock button, and closed the door.  And then stood there, as my feet grew increasingly damp, looking in the window at the shiny bundle of keys depending from the ignition. 

My first thought, heading down the road toward panic, was to break a window, and wrench my keys into my hand.  But I have allowed for this possibility by leaving bundles of keys with various friends and relations (not Rabbit’s) around town, so I told myself that in a scolding hiss, and then as I grew calmer, I thought, “Hey,”  I thought, “I’ll bet this is something I can do with my handy-dandy and never-before-used Triple-A card!”
So I called them.  And got a live person in under two seconds, who took my membership number, name, location and make of car, and told me someone would be there in half an hour.  I hung up the phone, drew a deep breath, and looked up to see the Triple-A van pulling into the parking lot.  Okay, so maybe I drew five breaths.  But I had not even considered going inside out of the very wet morning.  The man got out of his little small van, and stuck his little metal tool down inside my car door in probably thirty seconds, then checked my ID and waved his hand and away.  I was inside the building with the lights on and checking my e-mail before 9:30.   Now that is service. 

And since I have used the card once, I feel quite certain that it has paid for itself, especially since I am certain Joe has used it more than once.  Any other usages will be gravy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Raising the Rent....

Through much labor and worry and chewing of fingernails, I have managed to put a few dollars into savings this past month.  I am not buying any alcohol, but waiting all month for the weekend with Mickey when she buys, I am not going to the movies, but borrowing DVDs from the library,  I am eating the foodbox food, and not going to the grocery store, and so on.   It hasn't been fun, and I'm not as light-hearted as usual, but it has been do-able, and I'm really quite pleased with myself.

And then I get the envelope in the mail, telling me that my rent is being raised again.  Fifty dollars a month, for the second year in a row.  So that wipes out the savings entirely, and makes me have to seriously question whether or not I can continue to live here.  If they are going to keep raising the rent once a year, I will soon be completely unable to afford to stay.  What is the deal?  Do they not like me?  Do they prefer to keep their tenants for only a year, and then want to dump them and find new ones?  There are currently four empty apartments in this building.  They really prefer that there be five?

And, at the moment, I cannot afford to move out, anyway.  The whole first/last month and security deposit thing.  But I guess I will begin looking.  This is just SUCH a perfect apartment!  Really.  I do NOT want to leave.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's Saturday Morning

It is Saturday morning, and my house still smells -- deliciously -- of grilling steak.  I came home last night, unpacked the food box, and turned on the skillet.  The steak had been thawing in the fridge for two days and was now completely thawed.  I seared both sides and then covered it and turned down the heat.  I got out an enormous baking potato and scrubbed its golden skin.  I toyed, briefly, with the idea of making a salad or roasting an ear of corn to go with the steak and potato, but I knew I wouldn't be able to (comfortably) eat them all.  I did, however, eat both steak and potato, comfortably, while watching "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" and mulling over America's ridiculous need to pretend that everyone in this country is beautiful.  The actors in this Swedish movie were, every single one of them, imperfect in all sorts of ways.  Wrinkles.  Weird hair.  Saggy bellies and strange faces and corrugated necks and floppy eyelids.  And those are just the main characters.  The common people are practically deformed, by American movie standards.  And I've just been watching a few television shows, so I am familiar with that.

It's Saturday morning, and I'm eating a toasted peanut butter sandwich and drinking Paul Newman's Virgin Lemonade.  I'm really uncertain as to how lemonade can be virgin, or how you cause a lemon to lose its virginity.  But then, I'm still pretty vague on the whole olive oil thing, too.  And don't even get me started on "Extra Virgin" olive oil.  The mere concept makes my head spin on my shoulders.  It sounds like the sort of thing the Catholic church would come up with to describe the Virgin Mary, whom they delineate a virgin long after the birth of Christ and his twelve or thirteen brothers and sisters.

It's Saturday morning, and I'm just returned form the library, where I returned a bag of books and DVDs, and picked up a further bag of books and DVDs, and then sat outside on the fountain's rim and read one of the new books (which I have read before, just to be completely accurate about my description) for half an hour or so, enjoying with the second track of my mind, the way the sun felt, warm through the cotton of my shirt, and the stones felt, cool through the cotton of my jeans.

It's Saturday morning, and I'm sort of marking time, emotionally, until two, when Paget's memorial service starts.  I am, strangely, not feeling sad at all about her sudden and completely unexpected death by stroke.  I don't feel anything.  But I know, from dealings in the past with both the Engen family, and the Powell family, that there is at least a fifty-fifty chance that this gathering is going to be one weird, crazed, tense, uptight and emotionally shredding way to spend a few hours.  Aunt Margy will probably begin to cry loudly.  Jeffi may begin to cry in that choked, strangled way she expresses herself these days.  We will be lucky if she doesn't cry in baby-talk.  Kyle will no doubt cry, and will probably also yell and scream and may very well throw things and break glasses and have a huge tantrum.  I will come home in a state of aggravated but suppressed nerves and sit around staring blankly at nothing until I grab, like a drowning man at a straw, at a book and read until I fall asleep.  Unpleasant to look forward to, sort of, even if I am feeling nothing at the moment.

It's Saturday morning.  Joe was supposed to come over and get his hair cut.  But he slept late and then "forgot" all about it, I imagine.  Later will have to do for that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Damp and Grey

This morning, as I stepped out of my door, the air felt like a perfect kiss: firm with no push, moist with no drip, filling me from top to bottom, and making me slightly light-headed.  Tasted like the bowl of a cool spoon; smooth, round, grey and just faintly tasting of something.   Ahhhhhhh.  Life is once more one hundred percent worth living.

On the drive to work, my windshield was covered with the lacy effect of tiny droplets of water -- I left them there, and allowed my eyes to get accustomed to it, like a nineteenth-century woman walking around with a little veil on her hat.  They were apparently just hanging in the air, and I was driving through them, instead of dropping downward from the sky.  Standing outside had given me no feeling of dropping raindrops, and yet there they were appearing all over the windshield.  Made me imagine them hanging in the air, just drifting, as though they were lighter than air, which everyone knows they can't be -- no matter how tiny, right?  Water weighs more than air.  It just does.

The joy that this has given me has settled a bit now that I am at work -- sitting here with the door standing open to allow as much of this dampness to fill the office as possible -- but it was so significant a sensation that it overcame the sort of negative outlook I was carrying because of my migraine.  Yup, day two.  One of the very mild ones, but still, bad enough to be on my mind, as it were, every moment.  But that first deep breath affected even my physical body, and through it, the mental attitude that it was informing.  I am still in pain, but I do not dislike anybody, or anything, that I would not ordinarily dislike, and I certainly do NOT dislike my life -- I love it!

If I ever have cats or dogs -- I think I will name them Damp and Grey.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bookshelf Porn

I am sitting at my desk here in the office on Burnside, and looking at bookshelf porn.  That is what the site calls itself, and it is gorgeous and evocative and appealing to a booklover such as myself.  And it brought to mind a memory -- not a long-forgotten one, really, since I have always held it in my mind, but I haven't stopped and thought about it for quite a while.

It was when I was staying with the McKnights for a week.  I don't remember where my parents were -- I think they were couselling at the church camp, where Sarah, my older sister, was camping, for a week, and their three younger daughters had to be accomodated elsewhere.  Sarah was old enough to camp -- to be a Camper! -- but even though I was just a year younger, I was not.  This was very sad and disappointing.  My parents promised that next year, I would get to go, too, but next year came and went, and although I have camped many times, I never managed to be a Camper!  In a Cabin!  With other girls who were also Campers!  Hard to imagine that appealing, but it did.

The McKnights were a couple in our church with a small (spoiled and bratty) boy, David, and an odd propensity for moving a lot.  They lived in three places that I can remember, and I know they moved out of the third one, the one they called the Birdhouse House, even though I cannot remember where they went from there.  Not so called because it had birdhouses, either, but because it was an "old Portland" style home -- the third floor was one large room with a big dormer window at floor level looking in each direction.  And they called that big room, "the birdhouse."

Anyway, I was staying with them, I think I was seven or eight, and I was very, very homesick.  I was with Mrs. McKnight (Sue) all day, helping her amuse David, and do the grocery shopping and so on, and then trying to be polite and friendly with Mr. McKnight (Bob) in the evening.  He was the type who is known as a Big Tease.  A Card.  The Life of the Party.  A Jokester.   I hated him.  He made me so uncomfortable.  I was never sure of the right way to respond.  Trying to tease back grown-ups who were teasing me had backfired in my face more than once.  But if I behaved as though they were serious, then I was an idiot.  Then I was "such a sober little thing!"

At that time, they were staying in a big white house on a college campus.  Bob McKnight was the caretaker, and the house came with the job.  I don't remember where he was fulfilling this role -- Western Seminary, possibly?  Maybe even Warner Pacific, which would be funny, since I ended up both attending church, and then later, working for Warner.  But some Christian college on the side of a hill in Portland.  Anyway.  Big white house with three levels, and pocket doors between the dining room and what was probably the library or the family room, but was the room where I slept, while I was there.  On a fold-out couch.

It was sunny, most of the week I was there, but on one day, maybe Thursday, it rained.  And that is how the fabulous thing about the house came to my attention.  It rained, and this worried Mrs. McKnight.  How was little Bethie going to amuse herself, if it was raining?  Not realizing that I hadn't been playing outside at all so far.  So she said to me, "Do you want to color?  I have some crayons, and I know we have coloring books somewhere."   I did not comment on the whole coloring book thing, but asked, wistfully,  " Do you think you have any reading books?"  She looked worried for a minute, but then brightened up.  "I think there are some children's books in the basement!"  she said.  "In a grocery bag.  Why don't you go down there and see?"

She showed me where the basement stairs were, and pointed in the direction of the bag of books.  I made my way over there.  The basement was not dark, because there was a glass door opening out of one corner, onto a lower part of the hill, with a small terrace made of reddish brick in front of the door.  Right outside the door, to the right of the brick, was a tree, right now dripping away onto the little sqare terrace.  So that grey-sky-backed diffused light was pouring in and illuminating that corner of the basement, which was, in general, filled to the roof with things like piles of sports equipment, and racks of folding chairs and stacks of folding tables, and bins of pennants and ropes and all kinds of things which a college campus would need to store somewhere.

I found the bag of books and dug in.  Most of what it contained I don't remember, but I do remember two.  One was a very beautifully illustrated edition of  "Johnny Crow's Garden."  It had a battered red cover, with a picture inset in the middle, of a crow holding a watering pot in its foot, looking over a hedge at a lion.  I read that one many times, and still never got it, but also never lost the feeling it always gave me, that maybe this time I would.  And the other one was Little Women.  I had heard of this book, people in other books had mentioned it, and other real live people had mentioned it, so I just knew of it.  I looked round for a place to sit and read these treasures.  A few feet away were two large gunny sacks, one half empty but very firmly packed with whatever it contained and the other about three-quarters full.  I investigated.  The firmly packed half-full one, which was just the right size and shape to make a comfortable reading perch, contained hot chocolate mix, which had been opened and used long enough ago that the remaining powder had hardened into a solid lump, which, as it was warmed by my fat little rear end, gave off a lovely and comforting smell of chocolate.  The other bag, which had been opened at the same time, was full of stale and stiffened marshmallows. 

Oh, my.

How better to evoke bliss?  If I had had a mug of hot, sweet tea, I might have been slightly better off, but the gorgeous rain in front of me, the comfortable seat, smelling of cakes and brownies in the oven, the sound of footsteps on the boards overhead, the fifty pounds or so of stale marshmallows at my right hand, and the Book in my lap --?  Sheer bliss.  Perfection.

The rest of that week was a thing of beauty and a joy forever.  I would wait until Mrs. McKnight was out of the kitchen and then I would hurry down the basement stairs and settle onto my Chocolate Chair.  I would hear David's running feet, as he barreled around the house calling my name and whining to his mother, "I can't find her!" 

"It's okay, honey," his mother would reply, cooingly.  "Maybe she just doesn't want to play with you right now." 

Damn right, I didn't.    And I popped another stale marshmallow into my mouth and turned the page.  Even on sunny days, it was cool in the basement, and the tree outside the door proved to be a pear tree with smooth pinky-golden pears on it.  I got sticky to my elbows with that suculent, faintly gritty fruit.  No one ever knew I was down there, or if they did, they kept it to themselves, and the rest of my week was spent in sweet, chocolate-flavored peace, in that perfect little reading nook.  Better than any of the Bookshelf Porn pictures I have just been looking at.

And I have always preferred my marshmallows stale, ever since.

Monday, September 3, 2012

X-rated X-files

Well, I am embarrassed.  I have just finished watching four episodes of The X-Files, which, as you may or may not know, was a big favorite of mine, back in the days when it was on the air.  I used to watch it every week, with the group of friends I had then, and argue the possibility or impossibility of the things that happened.  I chatted about it online, in the old fashioned alt-rec way we did then.  And now, to find out that they were basically soft-core porn!  Very soft soft-core, of course, no body parts, but a great deal of attention to David Duchovney's lips and breath, and the lips and breath of any female person -- or even male person, thinking of Skinner and Krychek -- with whom he exchanged any sort of conversation, and lots of dramatic light and darkness and extreme attention paid to the way light fell across a person's face.  David Duchoveny gazes soulfully at everyone who catches his attention, making grown-up me cringe.  Why didn't it make me cringe back then?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Help, help it's on fire!

So, last night I went to bed at about ten, after spending an enjoyable evening cleaning my house.  I say enjoyable because I did not hate it, not because I was actually giggling with glee while doing it.  But I was listening to a book on tape -- Broken Harbor by Tana French -- and the time went by quickly.  And when I looked around at the house this morning upon arising, I was surprised and pleased by its cleanliness.  Not to say that it is ready for company, because it isn't, but I did two loads of laundry, folded it and put it all away, washed and dried and put away all the dishes, and then scrubbed out the sink, (which had reached the stage of smelling bad, so you see) and swept the kitchen and dining room.  When I get home tonight I will (probably) mop the kitchen and dining room, and front hallway.  And then I will be ready for company.

In any case, I went to bed at about ten, and was asleep before midnight.  At two-thirty in the morning I woke up.    Through my closed eyelids, I could see light, orange-yellow natural light.  I opened my eyes and peered around.  And by the time I was able to see clearly, I had also woken up fully, and was startled to realize that the light I saw was the leaping brightness of flames.  I sat right up and went to the living room after being unable to see anything from my bedroom window.  From the living room, I was able to see that the flames, jumping several feet in the air, were confined to the  consuitudinary roundness of a smallish barbecue.  I peered at the clock on the wall of the darkened dining room.  Yup, two-thirty-five A.M.

I went back to bed and lay and listened.  No voices at all.  So if there were more than one involved, they were being very quiet so as not to wake up their neighbors, for which I give them props.  But the banging and crunching and opening and closing of doors was quite fairly-merely disturbing.  More so than a quiet murmer of voices would have been.  After about half an hour, I began to smell that heavenly, hot, sizzling smell of barbecuing meat.  And so I went back to sleep.

So here is my question.  Under what circumstances would it seem reasonable and appropriate to barbecue your dinner at two-thirty in the morning?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy sigh of deep relief

Today -- for the first time in  several weeks -- perhaps even two months -- feels like a Real Day.  A real day for me, anyway.  Forgetting about all the temporary and fleeting issues and problems of the world at large and me in particular, and just existing today, feels very happy and satisfactory.  Now why is this?    I can think of several reasons, but the main one, the obvious-at-a-glance-one, is the weather.

The sky is overcast today, the air is cool and almost crisp, at 62 degrees.   That feeling of oppression is gone, as is the merciless brilliant blue sky, not the glowing golden-tinged blue of Autumn, nor the bright pale robins-egg blue of Spring.  I feel sure that the humidity, whatever it was, and whatever it was doing that was so unusual and felt so dreadful, is back to normal, and is cheerfully humidifying the world in its usual way. 

My apartment, charming in so many ways as it is, is completely un-insulated, in the ceiling, and it just got hotter and hotter in there, as the wretched hot days rolled sluggishly on.  98, 99, 100, 101, and not a breath of air movement.  I would wake up with the fan in my window valiantly blowing hot air from one end of the hot room to the next.  The sheet I was tangled in would be damp, and I would feel very uncomfortable, and have deep red dents in my skin where some fold of material had pressed.  It took me half an hour at least before I could even think coherently. 

And last night?  I did not even have the fan on.  I wore my nightshirt to bed, and had the quilt over me.  And woke this morning to my recognizable world.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is Oregon Actually "Ruined?"

Sitting and listening to Nameless Agent -- Crazy Nameless Agent, you know who I mean -- ranting in my boss's office about how we didn't actually "ruin" the state of Oregon by clearcutting all its timber did we?  He keeps repeating this question, having already made very clear what answer he wants, asking if Boss is going to claim that we "ruined" -- complete with bunny-ears -- the state of Oregon.  Is it really "ruined"? 

His nuttiness is of the type that needs to mention any fact or memory or bit of history connected to whatever he is saying, which makes him very annoying and frustrating to talk with, because unless you interrupt his ever-louder stream of rapid-fire free-association, (by shouting) he never gets to the end of whatever question he is asking, or point he is trying to make.  I am trying to ignore the flood of what is now yelling coming out of the office, but it is difficult, because my name keeps coming up.

Friday, August 17, 2012

For something more to eat

Here's the thing about sushi.  It never renders you full.  You never get that feeling of maxed-out-ness that accompanies the eating of almost any other meal.  My usual lunch is a sandwich or a burrito.  And if I ate two of either of those things, I would be groaning with discomfort, and would probably be unable to finish the second one.  So you see what I mean.  But I ate a large tray of sushi for lunch today -- silly waste of money, although delicious -- and I am still fighting off the feeling that there should be at least that much more.  I am not full.   I am neither physically full, as to stomach, nor is my sense of hunger assuaged.  I keep looking around, mentally, for something more to eat. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Not well-planned

Hey, it is 99 degrees out there.  Right now, at six in the evening, in Portland, Oregon, it is 99 degrees. Ninety-nine degrees!  I guess I should be thanking heaven fasting that it didn't make it up to the predicted 105.  But I'm not, I am feeling, ridiculously, full of outrage and indignation, and like complaining loudly to someone.  But that's just it, see.  There is no one to complain to.  No one can do anything about it.  Whereas humankind can, in certain herky-jerky ways, affect the weather, or in other long-term, far-in-the-distance ways, can maybe-hopefully arrest a trend, but about days like this?  Hot summer days where people in apartments with no air conditioning can actually die?  NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. 

Humph.  This was NOT well-planned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The Iowa State Fair is running currently, and the most popular of the fifty-something varieties of deep-fried food on a stick? Is deep fried butter on a stick. Yup, frozen butter that is dipped in batter and deep fried, then covered with honey sauce and eaten with rapture by the fair attendees, who claim that it is "out of this world."

Uhhhh.... Okay.  I am not certain how I ought to react to this news.  My immediate, real reaction is one of repugnance.  "Eww, gross!"  my inner child says, with her face all twisted up.  Melty and greasy and run-all-over-your-clothes-y!  I cannot imagine it tasting even edible, much less like "a hot, soft cinnamon roll." 

I shudder to think of the horribly soft, fat, oleaginous bodies that people who ate deep-fried butter regularly would have.  And I say that with an open eye to the strident, fat-acceptance people who think that we should all embrace fatness as an acceptable human look.  Which, being a lifelong fat person myself, and very deeply ingrained with both resentment at the way the world works in relation to fatness, and with guilt and despair (buried deep, but still faintly fluttering) at my evil sinful laziness in "choosing to be fat," I am both sensitive to, and contemptuous of. 

I don't even want to get into all the different ways in which fatness affects our world, both in its prevalence and in its lack.  Girls killing themselves -- literally -- to avoid it.  People without any fat-making genes, apparently, sneering delicately with faint horror at the rest of us who put on a few ounces from smelling the caramel-popcorn booth. Men, whose bodies do not stockpile fat, since they will never have to bear a child during a famine, (which is presumably what my body is telling itself is about to happen) making casual judgments on the desirability as a partner, as a co-worker, or even as a human being, of an overweight woman.  But let's just accept that I know, and understand, every single way of looking at this problem, from every direction, and with every ramification.  I got that disapproval from my father, my mother, my husband, and my doctors. In different ways from all of them, of course.  Also from saleswomen, from casual friends, and from my sisters.  Everyone in the country, apparently, has an opinion which needs to be expressed, because for heaven's sake, I must be blind to the problem, since otherwise I couldn't possibly allow myself to be so fat!

In any case, I said I didn't want to get into that, but there I was, getting all into it.  Apologies!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Joe's First Job

My son Joe has a job, at last, at last, at long, long, last.  I am so happy.  Almost as worried, instantly, as I am happy, but that isn't fair, to him or to me, so I am going to knock that off right now.  Knockin'.

He is working at Jiffy Lube, which is a very first-job sort of job, but then this is his first job, so that is fine, isn't it?  Yes, it is.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ex-Wife Syndrome

I have always been afraid of sounding like an Ex-Wife.  You know what I mean.  There are so many of them, and they all say the same thing, roughly: "I loved him, I trusted him, and I married him; he used me, he betrayed me, and he lied to me; men are all scum, and who needs them!"

Since I always feel the Ex-Wife lurking in the back of the room when anyone asks about my Ex-Husband, I have always been unwilling, afraid, self-conscious about describing life with him.  No-one, I think to myself, is going to get it.  Everyone is going to assume I am exaggerating, am twisting the story, am making him sound worse than he was, even if just for the pleasure of a well-rounded story line.  I don't think that any of my friends, with the exception of my sister Ruth, will one-hundred-per-cent-ed-ly believe what I have to say.  They will, privately and kindly, reserve judgment.  Because, well, after all.  I am the Ex-Wife.

So, therefore, and because of which, I do not.  I use vague phrases which everyone will get the gist of, and say things like -- "Well, he used drugs, and he was abusive to me, and he cheated on me, and he spent all my money," and let it go at that.

But I was just reading another blog post, written by a young man -- well, a man about my age, I guess, -- who had worked for Michael at the Art Museum.  While Michael was holding his brief position there.  I remember him too, vaguely -- but I don't know his name, so let's call him Chip.

Chip had been fired, at Michael's behest, and he had also been the "ringleader," albeit reluctantly, for the guards, in their protest against the treatment they were receiving from the management at Michael's hands.  And he is both a humorous man, (though fairly self-absorbed, but hey, it was a blog.  Where else are you allowed?) and a good writer.  And Chip had written a careful, detailed and lengthy description of what working for Michael was like.  And it was remarkable to read.  Both for its power to bring back those memories, which I have not put in the player for years, and for the degree to which he saw Michael.  He spent some time thinking about him -- and why not? -- and he got him.  (He was still making the mistake I made, and that is, attributing these behaviors to an imaginary fundamentally normal man.  And that is the thing.  Michael is fundamentally abnormal, and sees the world from a different vantage point than all the rest of us.  In Michael's view, it is Michael's World that he sees.  We all live in Michael's World.  Not in The World.)

In spite of that, however, he also saw Michael from the point of view of someone who was used to bad behavior in people.  Used to people who drank too much and misbehaved, who used drugs and saw the world through them, who broke the law and might get caught.  (Very different from me and my silly, wide-eyed, love-is-a-many-splendored-thing viewpoint.) And even from this viewpoint, from this place in the cold, hard world, Michael stood out to him as a Bad Guy.  Michael hadn't stolen from him, cheated on him, kept him awake for hours in the night yelling at him, but he still recognized that Michael was a Bad 'Un.  He hadn't had a gun shoved up against his head, while Michael loomed over him, weeping and grinding his teeth with fury and sweating great drops onto him, but he still saw Michael as a Bad Man.  This I also found remarkable, and very comforting.  Very.  And not because I don't believe it myself, or doubt my own point of view, or anything like that, good heavens, no.  But because I know I cannot describe it in any way that people are going to absolutely get.  Because I am the Ex-Wife.

And I believe this is where I came in.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I can WRITE and I can also READ

You know, I gotta say, I am getting more and more annoyed at the symbols instead of words on any kind of sign.  Though even as I write those words I am assailed by a feeling that I may merely be getting older.  Old people don't like things to change.  But just now I opened my blog page to write an entry about something completely different, and found that since my last post (which, admittedly, has been about a month -- bad me!) the directions on the page had changed, so that I looked bewilderedly about and settled, gingerly, on the picture of a pen.  Which in my past experience with this site, is the symbol used to denote "edit".  So how do you now symbolize "edit", oh, Great Blogger?  Is this the way of the world?  Is EVERYONE assumed to be illiterate, even the people who are WRITING things?  Do you feel the need to let the WRITERS know, by pictograph, (in case they can't read the word "write")  that this is where they do their writing?  I object!  I don't mind if every sign on the dang-nab street is symbolized all to hell, but when you are showing the WRITERS where they do their writing, you might just as well use WORDS!

(pant, pant)

And now I have forgotten what I wanted to write about.  You see what you did?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate -- sort of

It is after one, and I am alone in the office, as I have been all day except for maybe an hour this morning when Doug was here.  It is Friday, howev, and summertime, so you can see why.  Lovely day, too, warm, but overcast, with a bright white sky and buoyant quality to the air.  I am not feeling at all lonely, but instead enjoying those things which make the office a good place to be, to wit: a rapidly-moving computer, with a clean, smoothly finctioning keyboard;  fresh, hot, strong coffee (yum!) made by me; Pandora playing Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (at the moment) and a comfortable (mostly) chair.

I've just stopped trying to eat a Brownie Parfait (made by Fred Meyer) which one of the agents brought me.  She started bring me a cupcake anytime I called her and told her she had a commission check waiting for her.  Today she sprang for this confection, surely more expensive than even a dozen tiny cupcakes, but truly, quite inedible.  I've been trying to imagine the sort of person who could swallow this whole thing, and the mere thuoght of such a person, their tastes and history of eating, is making me feel sick.  Possibly this requires thinking of this on top of a stomach already protesting about the one-third of this dessert I have been able to consume.  It brought to mind the feeling I have always had about the prevailing school of thought in modern American cooking/eating, which is, put simply, if this is good, than more is better.  It's the sort of thing that caused me, years back, to decide that I only really liked cheese pizza.  Because if a ham sandwich is good, than a ham-and-cheese must be better.  And a ham-and-cheese-and meatball must be better yet! 

This Brownie Parfait consists of the following, all commercially produced, of course: first a large dollop, maybe a quarter cup, of chocolate frosting, in the bottom of the plastic cup.  On top of this is chunks of brownie, about a cup's worth, interspersed with chunks of semi-sweet chocolate.  On top of this is what passes for chocolate mousse in the Fred Meyer bakery, about a third of a cupful, and chocolate sauce drizzled over all.  So five types of chocolate, with almost no difference in flavor from bite to bite, although intensity of sugar gives way to greasy slickness on the tongue.  Brrr, shudder.

...Waiting / for a change in the weather / I'm waiting / For a shift in the air..

And yes, I realize that is not Frankie Valli, but you must see that it took me at least a song's worth of time to type the above.  That is Alphaville.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happiness is a hot cup

I am quite happy just now, even though my eyes are acting up.  Have been for about a week, in that same old way, but today they have reached the swooping-vertginous-carnival-ride stage, which is very annoying, and makes me feel as though I should be angry with someone.  But, oddly, I am not.  It hasn’t been bothering me on a personal, emotional level at all this time.  For which we are devoutly grateful.

But.  I am happy.  I can feel my happiness like a glowing ball, like gathered light in a Harry Potter movie – “Expecto petronum!” or something like that.  I can gently hold it in my upturned hands.  And it seems to be centered in my cup of coffee.  Not caused by, since it is also a lovely grey and delicately damp morning, but at least exemplified by.  This is a fabulous cup of coffee.  Fab-yoo-LUSS.  Hot, strong, perfectly flavored, faintly magical…really great.  I am drinking it in large sips, and then grimacing with the sharp but not-bothersome pain of drinking a liquid which is hotter than even my mouth can take.  It is nearly gone, and then I will get another cupful before the flavor changes.

It is also caused by the fact that I am alone in the office.  No one here yet.  I can hear laughter and chatter faintly through the wall from the hair salon, and the light rolls of thunder of running children’s feet from the physical therapy office upstairs.  But I think the phone has rung once all morning, so it is only me.

 And by the fact that I have been doing genealogical work, and have tapped into an unknown and un-thought-of vein of good hard facts, which really pleases me.  It’s like sturdy brickwork, constantly strengthening the framework I have already erected.  Which gives me great pleasure.   I mean, there are people’s family trees and all, which are only slightly better than nothing, and sometimes much worse, but this is a cluster of censuses.  Makes me feel very good about this bastion of the family tree.

So.  I am really very happy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Extraneous decks

Okay, my next door neighbors, about whom I have spoken before, have recently built a large deck in their backyard.  It is very well-made, has a staircase attaching it to the upstairs deck which already existed, and is easily accessible from both floors of the house.  Has a railing about waist high around it, and a two-step stairway stepping down to the yard in front.  I have yet to see them using it at all, which causes me to wonder all over again if they are merely living in this house while beautifying it to re-sell.  Their pile of lawn chairs stays in a pile, and there is nothing on the deck at all, no chairs, tables, candles or tiki lights.  

So, why, I ask you, has the next thing that the young man has been working on been a sort of pseudo-deck-beside-the-deck?  He worked on it for several days without me paying much attention, although I could hear him clinking and chinking his way through a pile of used bricks, tapping off the mortar clinging to the edges, to make sure that it was square enough to fit in the place he was going to put it, you know what I mean.  He dug out a long narrow rectangle beside the deck, and floored it with this brick, and then used the brick to build a dry-stone type wall alongside, where the ground rose up.  It now has a chair and a tiki light and a small table and a decorative fish made of rusted metal on a long pole stuck into the ground next to it.  And it is quite lovely.  And totally extraneous.  So what the heck?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Power Outage

Because of my white night on Sunday, I went to bed early last night, hoping for a long and restful sleep.  When I pressed the start button on my recorded book, I only heard about a paragraph, so apparently I went right to sleep.  But then I woke at about three a.m.  Something woke me, perhaps a distant crash, or something, but as I opened my eyes, I saw the flashing lights on my clock radio, so I knew that the power was out a split second before I saw the sudden pale blue elctrical-looking flash that spread out horizontally before vanishing again.  Probably some drunken resident driving into a power pole.  And then silence fell.  I lay and listened to it with enjoyment.  No sounds of the woman downstairs and her all-night-movie.  No buzzing of the clock-radio.  No humming of the refrigerator.  Not a sound.  But not the absence of sound one gets from the fingers in the ears (although that always magnifies the interior sounds) but just a pleasant quiet so that the movement of tree branches and the drip of occasional raindrops could be clearly discerned.

I thought about getting up and taking a picture off the deck, since the enormous Pietro's Pizza sign and the bowling alley sign, as well as all the other neon signs that keep the area beyond the trees lit all night, would be off.  But I realized something before I got up, and that is, that to take pictures, you need light.  Makes it hard to document the way things look without it.  So I got up and went to the bathroom, and then got back into my soft warm bed, in my cool and quiet room, and went to sleep.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bet they had rhubarb

The Farmer's Market in a delicate springtime rain!  What could be better?  And early enough in the season (this is the second of the year's markets) that everyone is in a good mood.  There were a few people making help-help-its-raining-on-me faces -- you know, twisting their heads sideways and sort of raising one shoulder, as though Mother Nature would get the hint and stop.  But for the most part, everyone was smiling, kids were calling to their parents -- "Mom, Mom, look, tor-TEE-yas!"  "Oh, Daddy, it's a lit-tle ti-ny pie!"  -- and the smells and colors were a brightly fragrant kaleidoscope of springtime glory.  The music group was playing bayou-style rock-and-roll, and I was NOT the only one singing along " was a teen-age wedding, and the old folks wished them well...dee deedle doodle doodle doo..."

Also as a result of the earliness of the year, the booths were very carefully arranged, and very colorful.  I took a few pictures of the heaps of orange carrots, for example, and the buckets full to overflowing with deep blue iris and vivid tulips.  Didn't buy anything, since I am absolutely stony broke, but there also wasn't much in the way of appealing offerings for me.  Vegetables, while pretty to look upon, and all, are not appetizing or appealing to me.  And it's a little early for fruits just yet.  Bet they had rhubarb, though.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Hoping it will be all right

Hmmm.  Well, I came to my blog intending to mention a) that it is Arbor Day, a day when we celebrate trees and living and the symbiotic (if that is the word I want ) relationship between humankind and the plant kingdom, and b) to comment on how, last time I was here, I wrote a lengthy (and although I says it) charming and hilarious entry, and then lost it completely between the last period and posting, and how that depressed me to the point of not wanting to even look at my blog (which, you may have noticed, I haven't done) for a week or so.  And instead I find that the settings for this posting page have changed completely, so that I am pretty much entirely uncertain as to what is likely to happen when I check this over and hit Enter.  I'm hoping it will be all right.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RIP Dick Clark

Dick Clark has died, really truly, finally died. Dead and gone. This, for some reason, is very hard for me to comprehend. I'm not sure why. Not because he was a large part of my childhood, or anything -- I hadn't even heard of him until I was a teen-ager, and even then it was several more years before I saw him. The first time I heard of him, in fact, he was being described as a remarkably long-lived celebrity who was suspected of having a picture in the attic, a la Dorian Gray. And when I did first see him, although I could tell he was a middle-aged man, he certainly did not look old enough to be Dick Clark.

But, however, all things come to an end, whether good or bad, and his life has at last ended. He was only 82, also, I was sort of expecting him to be 104. But 82, that means he was born in 1930. Twenty-two when American Bandstand began. Thirty-five the year I was born! Really not so terribly old, just a very young-looking old man. Ah, well. Rest in peace, Dick.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Changed his Medication

Well, I did not go and get bread yesterday on the way home from work as I said I was going to. No, instead I drove to Fred Meyer, and then sat in the car in the parking lot with the engine running and thought about it, and decided that I didn't have any money to be buying non-essential items like bread, and so I was just going to go home and eat food-box food until my ship came in. Which I did. I baked a pan of crescent rolls, which were my supper last night -- soft cheese, mmmm -- and my lunch today. And I will do so again tonight, if the occasion warrants, but since I am picking up this week's food-box after work today, I doubt it will.

Joe and Catt came over and picked up their fax (Joe) and neatly hemmed pants (Catt) and then I chased them out, since I was tired and head-achey. Really ready to be over this nasty chest/head cold. Unless it is allergies, which is always possible, too. Dang nab it. Ready to be over it, whatever it is!

Oh, hey! Guess who I stumbled across on FB today! Do you remember Psycho-Dale? The guy I dated very briefly and weirdly back in the early nineties, who was bipolar and quite nutty with it? Wrote good letters, though. Met him at Warner Pacific. He now has a website on which he writes about the Oregon Ducks, and is totally bald. I can't remember what his son's name is, but he isn't mentioned on his father's FB page at all, just his older daughter, whom he never once mentioned to me, but whom I found out about when we were doing the graduation arrangements at Warner. His wife is also not mentioned (on the page or to me) but then she never was -- we never actually broke up, he just stopped returning my calls, stopped coming over, but kept calling me in the middle of the night when he was unhappy about his sex life and wanted to talk to someone about it, or wondered what he ought to be wearing to a play that he was taking someone to. No conversation about the two of us, after the "I love you I love you" conversation. So bizarre.

And then I saw them at graduation holding hands very awkwardly, and then saw their wedding photo in the Sunday paper. She was tall and red-haired, and very uncomfortable-looking. I think her name was Susan? Or Sarah? Or something like that.

ANYway, after listening to him talk in real life, his letters took on a different flavor, since I could now hear them in my head, so I threw the whole big fat file away, shook my head in amazement and was very glad that we never slept together.
So, but now he is a web-site writer! About something that he knows a great deal about, apparently, although when I knew him, it was baseball, baseball all the way. The Giants, I believe were his team. Now it is football and golf, so I guess he has re-invented himself since then. Or, perhaps, he has merely grown and changed. His medication. Oh, now that's not nice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We took it right back

Last night I gave Joe a haircut, measured and pinned the hems of three pairs of pants for his girlfriend Catt, made and frosted a panful of cinnamon rolls (which they took with them when they left, AND which were from a can, so but den) and listened to a lot of chat from the pair of them. Gave Catt some advice on how to conduct herself in interveiws. Chased Joe out of the house because he had eaten an egg-salad sandwich and was having trouble with gas. Made him very handsome in a short-haired Junior Executive. And then made myself some dinner, played around on the computer for a bit, and went to bed. Don't remember turning off the light or turning on the book-on-tape, but the lights were off when the alarm went off this morning, so someone did.

So, tonight I need to hem those pants, since they are coming back to get them on Thursday, and make a quick stop by the grocery store for some bread. No bread in the house at the moment, since I ate the last piece of toast on the morning that I drove up to Mom and Dad's. And that was last Saturday. I did enjoy that long weekend, even though I was pretty gosh-darn sick for most of it. Did a lot of sleeping, which was very peaceful, and not at all itchy with guilt at the housework that I was not getting done.

Oh, but here's a funny. Remember, I bought the first two seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD for them, since they are watching a lot of movies, and only have a library at which to get them. And I was pretty excited about it, because it is supposed to be a very good show, and I have not seen any of it myself. So I was just getting ready to whip them out and hand them over, and I asked my mother if she had heard of the current show, called Downton Abbey. Her face puckered up like she had bitten into a lime, and her head began to shake. Oh, yes, they had checked it out from the library, and in the very first scene, there had been two men who were planning to go to bed together. And if they hadn't turned the TV off in a big hurry, who knows, they might have just done it right there!

"We took that movie RIGHT back," my mother assured me primly.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deep Blue

Hey -- this new computer tower has Chess Titans on it, and I have just played two games. The first one was a stalemate, which pleased me mightily, but then I WON the second!

My first thought was, "What the hell? I BEAT the computer??!" But then I remembered that this wasn't the one that beat the world's chess masters so many times -- what was it called? Blue Something? Something Blue? -- this is just a game, and I was playing it at the bottom rung of three. So probably most people beat it, and I should just move it up to a higher level.

Deep Blue, that's it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools!

Well. It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, alternately raining in a very spring-like manner, and glowing with vivid sunlight which reflects off the just-rained raindrops. The tips of branches are all palely green, and the bright wet lawns are a brilliant, glowing emerald. Lovely.

I am sitting at my computer, having just finished a fresh, hot bean burrito, still crackling from the hot oil it was seared in, and drinking port left over from the Visit of John. For John was here, my lovelies, yes, indeed he was. I provided him with a bed and bathroom and occasional companionship for the past week, whilst he went hither and yon visiting old friends and places, ranging from Eugene to Vancouver, BC. So I hit Powell's twice, where I have not been since the last time John was here, when was that, sometime at Christmas? Close to Christmas? Hit Powell's twice, went to several restaurants, went to a wine bar and drank a lot of Nebbiolo, bought two bottles of port and drank them both. Am just finishing one of them now, which is, I believe, where I came in.

I have a lovely clean apartment, also left over from the Visit of John,(although it was still fairly tidy from the Visit of Matt and Susanna) and needs only a quick load or two of laundry to be back in the game and ready for the upcoming week. I have just returned from a trip to the library, and a trip to the bank, having decided against a trip to the grocery store, and am waiting for it to be time for a trip to the movies.

I did a lot of walking yesterday, all over the Pearl District as we went to Coppia's for wine, to Powell's and then all around looking for somewhere to eat, the Deschutes Cafe having a line that promised a 40-minute wait, and then back to Powell's after eating at Third and Davis Tavern. My calves were faintly sore when I woke up this morning (with a momentary port-drinking headache)and the balls of both feet are still throbbing feebly.

Oh! And you know how I've been watching Battlestar Galactica, and quite enjoying it (with reservations, although I enjoy them, too) and had just finished Season Two? Well,Season Three is available in its entirety, but ONLY if you join Hulu Plus and pay to watch it! Ha, ha, April Fools!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Me and the delivery man

All, all alone in the office... Nearly lunch time and with the exception of the Office Depot delivery man for about 35 seconds, I have been the only human in the place. What is up with that? I have been amusing myself just fine (trust me for that) but I also feel as though I might be the only person left on the planet (with the exception of the Office Depot delivery man, of course.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You are Too Impatient with People

Am I too impatient with people? Am I regularly impatient with people to the extent that other people notice? Oh, dear...

I mean, I feel impatient, fairly often, but I guess if I thought about it (which I never do) I would tell myself that I keep my feelings hidden away within.

I was told last night that I would be a poor salesperson because I was "too impatient with people all the time."

Sorry, everybody!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wet and tired and grumpy

My house is clean and tidy and ready for company, cuz John Bell is arriving this evening! Woo-Hoo! I also got the zip-off pillow-top for a double bed from the Salvation Army, and it is now making my bed far more comfortable, especially for those who are not used to its creaky boniness.

Now, yesterday I started a post, and had a paragraph or two written, when something occurred to me to check, and instead of opening a new window, I just went to the web site from this one. So of course my post completely disappeared. And now I cannot remember what I was writing about. Sigh.

Grey skies and wet pavements await John as he trundles around town with his suitcase. I texted him an offer to come and pick him up if he needed it, anywhere he might be, and he replied along the lines of "Thanks but no thanks." Hmmm. We shall see. If he is still channelling his inner pack-mule, then he may appear on my doorstep, wet and tired and grumpy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's a hard life by all accounts

I am having a hard time reconciling this unbelievable sweet warm, gorgeous aroma with the cold, wet, slushy snow melting in the parking lot. Daphne smells of vivid sunshine, brilliant blue-and-gold days with warmth and light and buoyancy. Not this hunched, shivering, feet-sliding-out-from-under-you weather.

Plus there is the sadness and the sense of failure, of seeing the brave and cheerful little colored faces disppear under the thick blanket of cold, cold whiteness.

It's a hard life by all accounts.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Me (to doctor): I'm having just terrific acid reflux, frequently waking me, and sometimes making me throw up.

Doctor: ...Uhh, why is that terrific?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oh, dear.

Well, I took a walk today. Yup, just like I am always thinking I will. I did. And although I am glad that I did, (especially since now it is raining like a big dog) I am also very saddened and surprised and kind of horrified to see just how bad is the shape I am in.

I walked for thirteen blocks. At the beginning of the third block, my legs were protesting, not violently, but quite noticeably. By the end of the fifth block, I was limping on my left leg, I couldn't really tell why, but that's how the pain was expressing itself. I had to pause a few times for a few moments every block after five. On the ninth block, I was limping on my right leg. I never did get short of breath, although I was breathing firmly through my nose as I climbed the stairs to my apartment.

Oh, dear.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No More Pineapple

Man, I am having a bad day with acid reflux. Can't tell why, either, I haven't eaten anything out of the way, or done anything tense, or anything like that. Nothing should have caused this. And I took my pill this morning. But I have just been munching on antacid tablets for the past hour or so -- probably twelve of them so far. And still feel the heat in my stomach and sternum and the back of my throat. Urrgh.

Oh, hey, funny thing. You remember how pineapple has always made the inside of my mouth itch? Not much and never any other reaction to it, but it does. Well, today I met Mickey and Billy at the Old Market Pub for breakfast, and had a Caribou Lou, a tall glass of pineapple juice with shots of rum in it. And just as I was finishing the first one and ordering the second, I began to feel very bad in my face. It felt as if it were swollen, my eyes felt like they were so tight I couldn't blink them, and breathing became noisy and difficult through the nose. Thinking and talking were bad, too. Eventually, I figured out that I was having an allergic reaction to something, and that it was probably the pineapple juice. I didn't drink the second drink. After a couple of antihistamines, I felt better, and now I feel pretty much fine, although my nose is still a little bit noisy. So -- no pineapple for me. Sigh....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


 Snow on March 13th?  How very unusual!  And sadly, after nearly everything has bloomed, so they are all going to die -- or at least, are very likely to.  It wasn't so very cold this morning, but very snowy, with a thick grey-white cloud bank lying low down to earth and covering all the mountains and even the closer hills.  Lots of wind, lots of fiercely flying wet snow, lots of frigid puddles.

Still, everyone drove at seventy-plus on the freeway, just as though it were not difficult to see through the flying snow, and there weren't slushy ridges of snow between lanes.  I did make it safely in to work, and can now go and re-do my hair, and try to dry out my cold wet socks.
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not a good start to the day

My lower back went from being gently sore yesterday, to being impossible to move without pain this morning. I managed to shower, and drink coffee, with lots of gasps and "oohh--owww" but I'm still not able to dress. What is up with that? I am not prepared or willing to have back problems! I'm much too fat to have back problems! No no no no no!

Plus which, my plan for this morning was to clean the offices. Which requires vacuuming and carrying large bags of garbage out to the Dumpster.

And, the allergy that my right eye had throughout Matt and Susanna's visit was apparently only temporarily stopped last Monday -- I noticed it was watering yesterday, and this morning it still is. So damn it! What the heck is going on?


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Smelling daphne in my mind

As I was driving up Harrison towards 224, I caught a quick glimpse of the neighbor's daphne bush -- full to bustin' of blooms. I almost stopped the car and picked some, but I was on my way to set up for Second Saturday class, and so did not. But then on the way home from Mickey and Billy's at five or so, I came home by way of 99E, and so was not reminded. And now it's nine-thirty. I've got to remember tomorrow. I can almost smell it now, just thinking about it, and I can't wait for my eyes to actually roll back in my head. Mmmmm...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Adoption Anniversary

Eleven years ago today, I became a legal mother. I had been Joe's mother since the day I saw him, of course, but this was the day that the adoption was finally, finally official. I am taking him (and his girlfriend) out to dinner tonight to celebrate. This is the first time anyone else has been along on one of our Adoption Anniversaries. We will have a good time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Friday. Yes.

I have been eating jerky again. Shame on me. My gums are throbbing in accordance with the toughness and difficult-to-chew-ish-ness that inhabits each succulent teriyaki-flavored piece of dried beef. But it is just so good, and I kept taking another small piece out of the bag and chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing...until I realized that the faint warmth in the gums around my left rear molar had suddenly become HOT! Throbbing! pain! Which, in spite of an application of Anbesol, can still be felt, although now it is so mild that I don't even recognize it as pain. Such is my stoicism.

I must remember to drink a tall glass of juice before going to bed, just in case the three cups I drank at work were not enough to rehydrate all that meat. Don't want any intestinal upheavals.

Tomorrow is Friday. Yes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I've had a moon-full

The moon is absolutely gorgeous tonight, huge and yellow and round and brilliant in a deep purple-black sky. Gor-hor-horgeous. It will be full tomorrow, by the way, for any meteorological tight-asses out there.

Got my DNA results back -- and I am 100 per cent Western European. In fact, to put it bluntly, I am mostly from the British Isles, with the little bit left over being from Scandinavia. Soooo.....what about all the Bechtelsheimer stuff about Germany? I guess that old saying about it being a wise man who knows his own father is pretty darn accurate. Somewhere along there, someone was not fathered by the father they thought fathered them. Or, there was a slight error in calculations in my testing. I will have it done by someone else, when I am feeling flush again. And we shall see.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And also, a bag of books.

Snowed this morning. When I looked out my bedroom window I was very startled to see the snow on the neighbor's roof, and when I hurried in to the dining room to look out the glass door, I saw the tiny flakes falling through the air. But this afternoon was bright blue and gold with a warm breeze, and tonight the sky is deep and clear and if that moon is not full, it is as near as damnit. I walked down to the library after I got home from work, and checked out a bag of books, and then walked over to the Thai restaurant, what's it called? Rice? I think Rice. And ate a large meal. But then I walked off and left my tom kha with shrimp on the table, so no lunch tomorrow, which was part of my justification of spending that much money to feed myself. Two meals for the price of one! Sigh. It was delicious, though, and yet not fattening. And I also have a bag of books!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Very, very pleased. Really. Very.

My baby sister Susanna and her husband Matt just left my apartment, heading up the highway to the airport. They arrived from Colorado Springs last Thursday, and this is Monday, so -- carry the one -- they have been here for five days. Really a very nice long visit, and I should not be sad, I should be dancing around enjoying the peaceful emptiness of my rooms. But I am. Sad, I mean. Just as I am always sad when I drive away from Mom and Dad's, or when Ruthie gets back on the train. These people are members of my family, and especially Ruth and Susanna, are people that can I count on, no matter what, to love me. If I am spotty, or clumsy, or badly dressed or fat. This past weekend,(por ejemplo) I was having some sort of allergy, and my right eye was swollen, bright pink and watering. I looked like a girl with Down's Syndrome that I knew when I was small. But no one avoided looking at me, or mentioned my off-putting ugliness, or anything.

Wait a minute, I don't mean to imply that Mom and Dad will NOT love me if I am fat or spotty, since obviously they will. Which is what I meant to imply. OBVIOUSLY they will, so it doesn't count. Although I do love them both dearly, they are my parents, and they will love me, even if I waddle up to their door at five hundred pounds.

But! In spite of my blueness, let's talk about this visit. First of all, though, I need to go and start a load of towels, since we whipped through them this past weekend. Back in a minute...

Okay, back. Towels whushing back and forth, back and forth. Where was I? Matt and Susanna arrived on Thursday morning, and I was so very glad to see them, especially my dear Suzette-Suzanne, but also my brother-in-law Matt, who is not only one of the best guys I have ever met, but my son Joe's hero, and my baby sister's husband. So you see. We hung around the apartment and exclaimed with affection at one another for a bit, and then ensconced them in my (very clean, ahem) bedroom, and drove off in their cute little rental to buy a hat or two. It seems that Matt's favorite brand of hat manufacturers has a branch in Northwest, so over the Fremont bridge we went, and spent several hours wandering up and down NW 23rd, which used to be my absolute home. If I ever need to leave this apartment, I will be heading back there to Myrtle's house. It was a sunny day, with a bright blue sky, and we all bought sunglasses at Urban Outfitters, and looked in many shop windows, and bought a total of four hats, (one for Susanna) and had brunch at Bertie Lou's in Sellwood, where I made Susanna pass out. Bad Beth!

Then home again, where Joe and his girlfriend Catt joined us, and visited with us until it was time to make our way to Gino's in Sellwood for dinner with Mickey and Billy. And THAT was a good time, let me tell you. Matt and Billy at one end of the table talking away nineteen to the dozen, Susanna and Mickey earnestly conversing across them, and me and the kids at the other end. Lovely.

The next morning we had breakfast at Sully's, and packed up the car and headed off to Ocean Park. The drive took a little longer than usual, mostly because Matt is not a speeder like me, at least in country he has never driven through before. But we arrived shortly after lunch time to happy laughter and chatter from Mom and Dad, who love Susanna best of all their children, since she was their last, and their only experience of an only child. She and they made the trips to and from Mexico together, and they experienced at last what it was to have a child who sneaked out of the house at night, and openly defied them on a regular basis. Thus they love her best, which does not bother me in the least. I fully understand it, and if it were not for Ruthie, my best and dearest friend, I would love Susanna best, too.

Our stay there was one hundred per cent delightful, in spite of my wretched eye, and I enjoyed it. We spent three days and two nights, and came home yesterday afternoon. Ate dinner at the Ram's Head, which Matt really enjoyed, and then came home and visited and chatted and talked until midnight.

And then today, this morning before their flight left, we drove over to Northwest again and ate breakfast at Besaw's (where I had not been for some ten years)and which was very enjoyable, with excellent coffee and very good brioche French toast. We then went to Pioneer Place, where Matt and Susanna took me to the AT&T store, and put me on their family plan, and bought me a cell phone.

You heard me! I now have my very own cell phone, which cost them nothing, since the rebate being offered more than covered the cost of it, and the monthly fee for unlimited texting and a lot of talk will be ten dollars a month. Ten dollars! A month. Wow.

I have been playing with it all morning, although now it is charging overnight. I have texted Susanna, and taken two pictures, and entered Mickey's phone number in the Contacts list. I am joining the modern world!

I am really very, very pleased. Really. Very.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Right Back to Sleep

Okay -- I am finally, just now, coming to life. I overslept this morning, because I stayed up too late last night reading a book that I have already read, and knew how it ended. But it was both too well-written to want to skip a single page, and also too scary not to get it resolved. If I stopped and left the story unfinished, then the one-eyed handsome psychotic killer with the wealthy enabling parents would have been lying there in the bed beside me until morning! Can't have those monsters roaming the peaceful greeen countryside, can we? (to quote Mitch Leary/John Malkovitch) Anyway, it was also a cold night, and I put the afghan from the chair across my already heavily covered bed, and so by morning I was absolutely cozy. I won't do that tonight. Gotta have some discomfort to make the waking up easier! I should drink a large beverage, cover the bed scantily and open the window wider.

No, what I really ought to do is remember to get some batteries for my alarm clock, so that I am not trying to be woken by my clock radio. I mean, it works and all, but -- it isn't sharp and unpleasant enough, and it doesn't wake me all the way up, just enough to turn it off. And then right back to sleep.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Squawk Beep Squawk

You know for someone who loves -- loves! -- to write as much as I do, it's very nearly worrying that I have spent so long without even the slightest desire. In fact several times I have thought "You know, I should write that down on my blog," but then felt not the slightest answering urge, and in fact, felt a negative reaction to the idea! Worrying. If someone else were watching this happen, they would probably try to get me to go see a doctor.

But otherwise, I am quite happy in my life -- not with my energy level, but with everything else. I would like to comment on something, though -- perhaps this a rude behaviour which is so commonplace that no one thinks it is rude anymore, but I certainly hope not.

I'm at work, and the phone just rang, with an Asian woman asking for my boss. I told her he was not in the office, and offered her his cell phone number. She agreed, and I began to tell her what it was. As she repeated the numbers back to me, she was entering them into the same phone she was talking to me on, so that a loud squawk-beep-honk was filling my ear. After the 5 - 0 - 3, I protested. "Please stop that!" I said. "That's right in my ear!" She said, "'Uh, yeah, 4 -8 - 1?" SQUAWK-BEEP-SQUAWK. All the way through to the end of the number.

So is this an acceptable level of idiotic behavior nowadays? It better not be.