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?