Friday, December 13, 2013

!@#$% Facebook! ARG!!

Oh, I'm privately giggling --!  One of the agents here in the office has an overwhelming temper, which causes him to behave in very unacceptable ways.  We have had two serious talks about this, and he has been behaving pretty well for the past year or so.  No kicking the walls, no punching the doors, no shouting cursewords -- he's been behaving pretty normally.

However, he grew frustrated with his Facebook page -- he was trying to set himself up with one, and doesn't really know much about how things like this work, and suddenly lost it.  Pounding with both fists on the desk, he began to roar, and then shout furious denunciations of Facebook, and the computer he was using, and every person involved in either or both.  Lots of loud cursing, and the more he yelled, the angrier it made him, and so the louder and more violent his rage became.  Much repetitive obscenity, roaring and repeated pounding of fists.

Well.  What he did not know, was that there was another agent in one of the front offices.  She was very distressed by this, and even though I tried to calm her, she insisted on hurrying back to his office and asking him if he was all right, and did he need help, and goodness, she was just so upset!  And what on earth was the matter?  Could she call someone?

He was very embarrassed.  And shamed.  And apologized, saying that if he had known she was there, he wouldn't have done it.  Which sort of clued me in to the degree to which he can certainly "help it."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Other countries, other ways

I feel sure that I have mentioned this before.  There are two people in the conference room, an agent and his client, and they are speaking Romanian (I believe).  They have been here several times before, and each time this amazes me.  It is apparently a convention, in Romania, for everyone to speak at once.  They don't work their conversation so that Person One speaks, and then stops and Person Two responds.  They both just talk steadily, with pauses and giggles and expression, as though the other one was listening intently, (which, apparently, they are, I guess) and the other one talks just as steadily.  It is amazing.  Even when one of them is giving the other one information that they did not know, the other one does not stop talking in order to listen.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tangerine Dream

On my way in to work, the morning sky was a deep true blue with shadings into purple.  The weather is very cold, and there were no clouds anywhere, but along the eastern sky there were four layers of con trail, all pretty much straight, and evenly spaced, one above the other.  They were touched by the still invisible sun, from below, and were vivid shades of pink and tangerine.  But as I approached them, I realized that the colors alternated.  The bottom stripe was tangerine, the next one up was pink, the next one tangerine and the top one pink.

Now, what the hell?  How is that possible?  Was it a matter of depth, of distance from the earth, and it just happened that the stripes were arranged in that way?  It looked very familiar, so it wasn't until I started trying to figure it out that I boggled.  They looked all to be roughly the same size, and they all came from the same airport -- so what is the answer here?  Anybody?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scary Chickens and Their Frightening Eggs

In what could be a result of my brain injury, seven or eight years ago, or possibly just a result of getting older, I have pretty much stopped remembering my dreams.  I mean, I still remember the frightening dreams that made me so afraid of the dark as a child -- one or two of them quite vividly -- but any dreams that I have now,  are gone within moments of waking.  I can try to hold onto them, and the feeling they gave me may last for half an hour or so, but none of the details.  Even while feeling the feeling, I often cannot identify it in words.  This makes me think it is a result of my brain injury, since I think I have always had words for what I wanted to convey, in my previous life.

However, last night I had a dream that I still recall quite clearly.  And last week I had a dream that I also recall pretty well.  So -- is this me, stepping out of the mists of Brain-Injury-Land, and back into the clear sunlit hill country of Dream Land?  Or is it merely an aberration? 

Last night's dream involved me driving repeatedly over the same terrain, in the first half  of the dream, just to get from place to place, but in the last half, to escape from someone who wanted to take a small child away, and was prepared to kill me to get to him.  I can't remember what relation to me this little boy, named Kenny, was -- but he was small and thin, and white-faced, and very obedient and quiet, which led me to believe he had already had a pretty hard life.  I remember getting out of the car and running into a house that I knew was empty at the moment and hurrying him upstairs into the wife's dressing room, which had a weird little offset closet space behind it, that you couldn't really see unless you knew it was there, and squeezed yourself into this corner to look. I bundled him into it and pushed boxes around him, and put an afghan over his head and told him to sit silently unless he heard my voice tell him to come out.  Then I squeezed out of the closet hidey-hole and got into the dressing room door, as the people who were chasing me for his mother, who wanted him for some evil purpose, burst into the room.  They were going to search that room very carefully, since they had found me in it, and I felt so bad for the tiny boy, hiding and then being found, then I wrenched myself awake.  My heart was pounding very hard.  So hard that for a moment or two I couldn't breathe, and had to throw off the covers or suffocate (I thought).  It took awhile to settle down and beat properly.

Now, on thinking it over, I wonder which came first?  Was I having a frightening dream, which caused my heart to pound, or was I having a heart problem which showed itself by pounding, which caused me to attach a dream to it, as subconcious explanation?  Like dreaming that the police are coming, when it's actually your alarm going off?  It's sort of a which came first, the chicken or the egg.  Only it's the scary chicken or the frightening egg.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chocolate Man

Several times, lately, on my way to work, I have had a thought that caused me to say to myself, "When I get to work, that's going to be a blog post."  And then I get to work, and the idea is gone.  Completely, entirely gone, just a small echoing nothing, like the spot in your  mouth where the tooth was, and now is not.  Once I could even remember what the idea was about, something about a man...?  And chocolate...?  But no amount of thinking "man -- chocolate, man -- chocolate," over and over to myself; no amount of sitting with eyes closed and mind open, letting my empty brain drift, around the Man and the Chocolate; no amount of incubating the man and the chocolate caused them to hatch into the fluffy yellow chicks of the idea.

Drunk again, cooky, and this time on Gordon’s gin, which is a very good gin, I must agree, since it has made me drunk. I’m really truly drunk, too, with odd swayings and an inability to keep my eyes all the way open, and a lot of staggering sideways. It’s because there was more gin left in the bottle than I thought there would be, and after tasting and making the face of one who does not drink their gin straight, thank you very much, I made it into two drinks with the Canada Dry and put one of them in the freezer until the first one was done. And now the second one is also finished, and I am intoxicated. Not in the pass-out-forget-everything kind of way, but definitely in the can’t-walk-a-straight-line kind of way. And I just finished reading The Ruins for the third time, which I knew all along, with every turning page, was a bad idea, alone in the house at night and drunk. So I skipped the really heart-wrenching parts and just read the terrifying parts. Goody. Fortunately I am not quite drunk enough for anything in the house to start scaring me, although I turned off the circulatory fan, since its face kept looking at me.

This is the gin which Ruthie bought when she was here, last week, and the weekend before that – I bought Irish and she bought gin, and then Mickey came over and we drank it. And now I have finished it off. She told me that Gordon’s was, in her opinion, better than Tanqueray, which I took my leave to doubt, but let her buy it anyway. And it just might be. Or I might be drunk. Can’t tell you now, you know. Wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ya Wanna Get Ants?

This morning I managed to shower, dress, dry and put up my hair, pack a lunch, make and drink my coffee and eat about half a piece of toast and marmalade, (Note: what is it about early mornings, that the effort of eating is so much more than the desire to satisfy appetite?  I was thinking and thinking of delicious hot, crispy, buttered toast, with fresh, tangy orange marmalade to try and stir up some appetite, and my stomach was not responding at all.  I made it anyway, thinking that the smell/taste would help, but it didn't at all.  I managed to take my vitamins, and then left the remaining piece and half on the plate on the counter -- "ya wanna get ants?  Cuz that's how you get ANTS!") all quickly enough that I was also able to put two quarts of oil in my car before the TIME TO LEAVE! alarm went off on my phone.

Morning View

This morning as I drove over the bridge shoulder to get to Burnside, I looked out over the skyline.  I always like to see the pattern -- new every time! --  of the old St Patrick church dome and cupola, within the larger dome and arch of the Fremont Bridge.  It was quite dark, but I saw that the sky, which was black, shading to deep purple, faded into a faint glimmer of green at the bottom edge, which was tipped with a fine, fine line of yellow.  It really looked like a dark shade drawn over a window with brilliant sun behind it, that can only be seen in a thin golden band at the bottom.  

As I drove through downtown Portland, the radio told me that Burnside had a burst water main -- chilly this morning! -- and I should look for an alternate route across the river.  As I registered this in dismay, I saw the orange Detour sign looming up in the spray of headlights.  So I went around a few quick blocks in a  square, which took me a little out of my way, and gave me a second view of the night sky, from a different and unfamiliar angle.  This time, the shades of green and yellow were completely gone, and the sky was a more uniform shading of deep navy, from darker to lighter, looking very like that crushed velvet skirt I used to have -- what did they call that briefly popular dye job?  Ombre?  Never knew what that meant, always made me think of a Cockney Spaniard.  Oy, 'ombre!

Half an hour later, and the sky is a pale Federal blue, shading through white into delicate seashell pink at the bottom.  Wouldn't it be fun to just sit and register, possibly write down, all the permutations of color that the sky goes through in the course of a year?  It would be different for every place, of course -- trees, mountains, pollution all making it change differently... and possibly it would be a terrible bore, but I think I would enjoy it.

Cold weather, the radio said!  At the moment it's 32, so right at freezing, and zero precipitation predicted, which has got to be unusual.  Funny, I came out without a coat, and didn't feel cold, but then, I am well-insulated personally, and wasn't standing about on street corners with cardboard signs -- the beggars I regularly pass did look uncomfortable -- I just climbed into my car and drove away.  Had to turn off the heater before I even crossed the river -- too warm.  Had I been waiting at the bus stop, I would have been chilly, but then I also would have been coated.

Monday, October 14, 2013

If I'm Not Receiving, Than How Can This be Reception?

First call of the day!  At 2:15 in the afternoon.  Sheesh.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

In Some Lab, Somewhere

So I have become, at last, a child of my times.  I am sitting in Starbucks, drinking Starbucks coffee, with a laptop on my lap, using Starbucks WiFi. How more contemporary could I be?  I guess I could be using the voice-to-text app and murmuring into my iPhone, while looking through a Google Glass (tm) but that would make me much younger than I am.  Anyway, I have a deep-seated disbelief in those applications.  They cannot actually exist, can they? Not in regular people's possession.  Possibly in some laboratory somewhere.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Very Grimm

This morning I left the apartment building a little later than usual, since it was Monday, and I was going to make a stop at my credit union.  Only Monday and Thursday mornings, it's available to me.  As I left the lobby, I was thinking about the filming of "Grimm", which was scheduled to be happening today, and wondering if I might catch sight of any of the actors -- none of whom speak to me in any particular way, but all of whom are familiar, and it would have been fun.  I walked up to the bank, deposited the check and exchanged a few pleasantries with the teller, and then began walking back down Thurman to my bus stop.  I was horrified to see a banner across the street, saying "Northwest Christmas Village"  and several large street decoration-type Christmas decorations.  There was even a Christmas tree lot, with hot chocolate stand set up in a parking lot.  I fumed! It isn't even Hallowe'en yet, it's barely October!  What the hell?  And why, in Northwest, has this sort of small-town silliness taken hold?  And so early!

And so forth and so on.  Until I saw the enormous floodlights and the camera truck.  And I had just been thinking about "Grimm", too!  Heavens.

Friday, October 4, 2013

There You Feel Free

When I am driving just to get somewhere, then I almost always prefer freeways and high speeds and on-ramps and off-ramps.  Cuz on the freeways, there you feel free.  Thank you, Tim Powers.

But driving between home and work, on Friday mornings, I always take the overland route.  I do this to avoid the congestion of the Evil Banfield, which has no shoulders of any kind, and is just a terrible, fiery, twisted metal wreck waiting to happen, but I am really enjoying it for its own sake.  Driving along Burnside has all kinds of things to look at and enjoy, and I can usually drive about ten miles over the speed limit, cuz of no traffic at all, and still see the lovely houses and apartments with which it is lined.

Bus routes are not on highways or freeways, either, and the 15 meanders along over Mount Tabor and through the Belmont neighborhood, and then around Mall 205 from behind, and all -- past many beautiful houses and lovely old brickers and gorgeous yards and big, stunning trees.  It is making me love Portland more than ever.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


If I am to continue riding the bus to work, at the time and place that I do ride the bus to work, (and I am) then I am going to have to rethink, and possibly rearrange my eating schedule.  I am accustomed to getting up in the morning and drinking a large black and very strong cup of coffee.  And then of needing no further recruitment until lunch.  But lately, as I sit at the bus stop in the crisp quiet mornings, I am assailed by aroma.  Across the street to my left is a superlative French-style bakery.  And a few feet down the block on the other side is an excellent breakfast restaurant.  So between the two of them, my appetite is being awoken earlier than usual.  A little swirl of hot, sugary, yeasty smell tickles my nose for several breaths, than a waft of delicately frying bacon.  A few eddies of  excellent coffee and that hot smooth smell of steamed milk.  Crisp toast, melted butter, fresh oranges -- all can be smelled in their round perfection, all of which cause me to arrive at the office absolutely ravenous.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bah! It's a beautiful day!

Yesterday was what the average person (if such a thing exists -- average by whose history?) would consider a beautiful day.  It was a golden morning, with a large, vivid, indeed blinding ball of fire sitting on the edge of the world, preventing those of us trying, foolishly, to drive east at that hour, to be able to see.  At all.  And those of us with dirty windshields, to be completely unable to see anything except a vague and blurry outline of the tail of the car ahead.  It did not even have its taillights on, so only a darker blur, in the midst of the obliterating fire of the sun facing me.  I had my hand up to cover it, and my sunglasses on and my visor down, but I was still blinded, eyes filled with tears, incapable of sight.  And still I drove.  Very stressful.

And yet this morning, with a soft grey cloud cover, is a morning that several people have complained of, in my hearing.  As though it was stolen from their pocket by a malicious sprite who doesn't want them to have a real, true summer.  As though summer were a blue and gold entity that you unwrap from its tissue paper and set out each year, complete from the last day of school to the first day of school.  As though (again) the weather was regimented and scheduled according to the school year!  Bah, I say.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Real Portland Weather

It looks as though today is going to be a real Portland-style day as far as weather is concerned.  I am looking out at thick soft grey cloud cover, and feel the breeze in the air.  It's about 64 degrees out there right now.  Ahhhhhhh....  I am relaxing all over.

So today is going to be my first walk-home day.  I'm not walking all the way home, because that is far too much for my fat, slovenly self, but I am going to take the 20 bus down Burnside, and get off at 23rd Ave, and walk home down 23rd.  So about 20 blocks.  That would just about do me in, except that it is a very gentle slope downhill all the way.  So I will be able to handle it all right. And I am going to enjoy that!  Think of all the windows I will get to look in!

And in a few months, when I have spending money in my pocket, I will be picking up a slice on the way home, and eating it as I walk. Looking forward to that!

Well -- this past weekend was the Labor Day holiday, and I enjoyed the hell out of it!  Spent Saturday cleaning intermittently, you know how I do, but it worked, and before noon the house was absolutely ready for company, even if the company had been ready to check my drawers and cupboards and look under the sink.  I also read several books, listened to Rex Stout on CD, and watched Poirot to go to sleep.  It was a very pleasant day.

Sunday, I got up at about five-thirty, and walked through my clean, clean, clean apartment, with nothing to climb over and walk around, nowhere that I had to reach across anything or put anything aside to open anything.   My house is TIDY!   

I had some little vanity cakes that I bought from St. Honore's and the tea kettle full of hot water, and I was ready for company.  Doug and Kathy arrived about 12:30 and brought me a gorgeous orchid in a pot, a Phalaenopsis with three blooms in cream and lavender.  We had a very nice visit, even though Doug had forgotten his lovely cigar, so could not enjoy the yard nearly as much.  We sat outside in the chairs, and shaded ourselves with the big yard umbrella.  It was still very warm, and I was glad to return inside.

Alan and Jody arrived the next day at about noon, after I had made a coconut cream pie, and we ate a meal that they brought with them, except for a plate of sliced, home-grown tomatoes which I had temptingly out on the table.  They stayed for several hours into afternoon, and left about five when Jody began to get sleepy.  It was a very good visit, both of them were.  I really enjoyed having people over into my lovely, familiar, happy and enwrapping apartment!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Come One, Come All!

"And then I'm going to go and get lunch in one of these gorgeous new restaurants!"

Said I to my sister Ruthie on the phone this morning.  Well, and I didn't make the lunch date with myself, but I have merely shifted the time back to dinner, and I will go and get some food in one of these lovely new restaurants in a few hours.

What I did instead of lunch was a glorious two-hour nap, from which I awoke with no sign of bleariness or the pop-eyed catatonia which is usually my fate when my naps last longer than half an hour.  See, I awoke this morning at four, as per usual lately, and was unable to go back to sleep at all, so I got up and made myself coffee and started in on the house.  And I had finished it -- FINISHED IT! -- before ten.  Ten was when I heard the first sounds in the apartment of anyone else getting up.  Not a sound from upstairs or next door until then, so I had perfect peace -- the occasional car driving past out on the road, the occasional chirp from the walnut tree outside the window.  Six hours of beautiful, solitary progress.  Oh, and I took my time, as anyone who knows me knows.  My inherent laziness and general fatness and sloth keeps me from passing an inviting chair if my back has begun to ache.  And I had several cups of tea as the morning progressed, and read the rest of a book I had started reading last night, and so on.   I listened to Nero Wolfe on tape as I folded clothes away into plastic bags for the Goodwill pick-up, stacked shoes into the shoe bag,  scrubbed at a stain on the carpet, and hung the shower curtain around the clawfoot.

So now I am ready to receive visitors!  Come one, come all!  I am expecting Doug and Kathy tomorrow, Alan and Jody the day after, and POSSIBLY Joe and Katt and Jamey this afternoon sometime.  Probably not those last visitors, though.  Hard to believe that Joe will actually drive into Northwest Portland!

Friday, August 9, 2013


Goodness me, I am so happy.

I know, I've said that a lot lately.  But I really, really am.

I just wrote a letter this morning, to a friend from Cannon Beach, and for a moment --  as I was picturing her walking down to that sweet little shingle-covered post office, with her hair being blown around her face with a chilly ocean-scented breeze under the brilliant sun -- I missed living on the coast.  I missed the ocean, and the beach, and the never-changing in and out of the tides.

But!  I am now living in the best and brightest, most hip and happening neighborhood in the city, and paying less for it than I paid for a place in the dullest and deadest backwater suburb of them all.  I am surrounded by buzz and cheer and people's voices, by laughter and visiting and freshly-brewed coffee, by books and newspapers available everywhere, restaurants of every description absolutely clogging up the sidewalks, and more people than anyone could count.  I am home, and safe, and free and myself again.  I can walk to anywhere I want to go -- and will be, I promise you!  This weekend I am not going to allow myself to be lazy in the apartment, or get busy in Beaverton -- I am going to walk around the neighborhood, and see what is still there (Besaws!) and what is new (The Matador!) and I am going to sit outside at least one place sipping coffee and people watching.

Man, I need a laptop!  But someday.  For now, I will just write with a pen on a notebook page.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I try to be my best

This morning as I was getting ready to come to work, I realized that I had still not found my shoes -- none of my "regularly used" shoes, which got left to the last minute, and so had to be somewhere in a box or bag,  probably on top.  I looked around -- and then looked more closely -- and then began to search, burrowing into each bag and digging down into each box.  The mess increased exponentially.  I stuck my feet in my ratty working shoes to go out to the car, which must be where they still were, right?  Nope.  

Then I came back in and worried.  You do have to wear shoes at work, and you do have to wear appropriate shoes on a day when your boss and other people are going to be having a meeting in your office.  I finally reached for my library book bag, which was standing neatly at the head of the bed, untouched since it was surely too small for more than one pair of shoes.  But no, four pairs were carefully packed into that small interior, plus my camera cord, a small box containing safety pins, and a bottle of ibuprofen.  The treasures of Ali Baba! Carefully wedged into the bag I carry to the library. 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

So. Very. Happy.

Okay -- it's the first of the month, and you know what that means.  It means that I had to be out of my apartment last night, come what may, come what might. And I DID IT!  Calloo, Callay!

But I could not have done it in anything like the degree of efficiency, if it weren't for my downstairs neighbor, Mary.  She stood and patiently wrapped small random glass and china articles that kept showing up in the corner of cupboards or the back of shelves, as I plodded up and down, up and down, with box and basket.  And she was the one who opened the coat closet door, as I was coming back up for a final check of the rooms, to reveal it full of coats, hats, scarves, gloves and a broken fan.  I wasn't very excited about that at the time, but now I imagine (with happy relief) the surprise and distress of looking around for my winter coat when the snow starts falling, and I'm very glad.

So, my new apartment is a happy disaster, as you can well imagine, especially after I sifted through four or five anonymous black plastic garbage bags this morning, looking for my black work pants.  I finally had to be satisfied with wearing blue jeans to work today, but fortunately, no one has come to the office for the past few days.  So we'll hope for the best!

Now this morning, I got up at five-thirty, not from any need, but because I was wide awake -- gonna have to re-program myself over the next few weeks -- and did some very desultory putting away of things.  Which is to say, that I put books on two shelves and some band-aids in the bathroom.  I headed out at seven, to see if I could get in my call on the new credit union (my old one required me to live in Clackamas County) and a stop at Food Front for a bus pass.  

(Hmmm -- spell check does not accept the word "Clackamas" and suggests that I really want "blackamoors."  Don't think so.)

But the credit union was reacting to construction on their building by opening half an hour later than usual, and Food Front doesn't open until 8 anyway, I observed.  So I went ahead and caught the number 15, and rode it all the way here!  Around the corner from my door, to three blocks from work!  Pretty darn good.

So now -- let me just say this out loud -- I live in Northwest  once again.  I never have to drive down Hwy 224 again in my life, unless I want to.  I am tired and my eyes are sunken, I have 34 visible bruises and six blisters, and three cuts.  But I am very, very happy.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Two-level conversation

It's funny -- I'm in the office (air-conditioned, thank GOD) and listening to the two speakers-of-Russian in the large conference room.  They are having, as far as I know, (I don't speak Russian even a tiny bit), a conversation.  But it doesn't sound like a conversation, because both of them are speaking at once.  And not in any sort of loud, trying-to-top-the-other sort of voices -- both in totally conversational voices, as if both were talking on the phone to someone else, or to two other people who were just never responding.  But I have walked by twice, just to check, and they are talking to one another.  Not looking at one another, much, mostly looking at the documents they are discussing.  But both mouths moving ALL THE TIME.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Quietly and in a nice voice

Boy, yesterday was quite a day.  Much too hot, which sort of drew a veil over everything, you know what I mean.  I still ended up enjoying myself, but it was iffy for awhile there.

But I am not going to tell you the whole saga of the day, because that will be boring and uncomfortable.  Instead I will tell you one brief story which happened right after class.

I was hurrying through Albertsons, looking to grab a pint of whipping cream and get the hell out.  I was headed to Dina's for dinner that night, and was making a banana cream pie.  As soon as I came in through the automatic doors, I heard the noise.  Like a distant piece of machinery or a freeway, or something.  But as I went down the aisle, it became clear.  It was a very familiar sound in grocery stores -- a child, about two, crying loudly and with forethought.  This one was a girl, who was making herself cry, and at great volume.  She wasn't hurling herself about in the grocery cart seat, or grabbing at things, or any other destructive behavior, but she was shrieking and crying at length and LOUDLY.

When I came into view of her, I saw that her parents, who were both there, were quite young, maybe 22 or 23, and were talking quietly to one another and entirely ignoring their steam-whistle daughter.  They were also ignoring the dirty looks they were getting from older patrons, who, I'm certain, were thinking that these young folks nowadays were just so used to this behavior that they couldn't even hear their poor little baby girl, who was just crying her eyes out, besides upsetting all the decent, responsible customers who had raised their children right.  None of this yelling carry-on.

As I was rounding the corner away from them, the little girl began to speak, all at the top of her lungs, and through her sobs.

"I wanna say I'm sorry!" she howled, at top volume.  "I wanna say I'm sorry -- I WANNA say I'm SORRY!  I wanna say I'm SORRY...!"

Her mother leaned in towards her scarlet face.

"Yes, sweetie, but there's a rule about saying sorry, isn't there?" she said quietly.  "Do you know what it is?"

I was down the next aisle by now and couldn't see her any longer, but the volume was turned up to eleven, so I didn't miss a note.

"Qui-Et-Ly!"  the small girl bellowed.  "And in a nice voice!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Me? Or The Mother?

Oh, boy -- I don't know where to begin this story.  Perhaps like this: I still don't know where being a mother and being me intersect or overlap, and when the one has to give way to the other.  I still feel guilty when Me wants to take over from The Mother.  Last night was a good example of this.

(By the way -- this has all been apologized for and tempers have calmed -- so I am not holding it against anyone.  I know that my son has a volatile and very big subterranean lake of rage waiting for anything to drop in so it can erupt.  And while I do not enjoy this, I can understand it.)

I got home and found my apartment very unwelcoming.  Joe was shouting angrily, the standard fan was lying in pieces on the floor, it was hot and there was food and bags and what-not strewn here and there, and Catt, Joe's girlfriend, was on the couch in tears.

The reason for all this was a contretemps with Joe's bank, in which a deposit he had made, and for which he had the receipt, was being denied to have ever taken place.  Several checks had bounced, as a result of this, one of which was his insurance payment check.  And he had a court appearance the next day, in which he was supposed to show proof of insurance.

Those are the bones of the situation, but I had to hear over and over the fury that had resulted, the hopelessness of Joe's position, the manner in which he needed to assassinate the bank manager and any other people who might get in the way, and how he was not going to be incarcerated for their incompetence.  Why hadn't someone let him know this was happening?  Why hadn't anyone at the bank or the insurance agency or any of the other check recipients given him a call?  Now he was going to be jailed for 90 days because the bank had stolen $480 from him, and there was nothing he could do about it in time for his court appearance, which was the next morning at 9 am!  And so on, and on, and on.

Now, my first, and immediate, and strong reaction was to get him OUT of my house -- out, out, out!  I do not like yelling, or threats, or cursing -- if rage is being expressed, it had better be expressed in a reasonable way, and even then, I don't like listening.  That is Me.  But The Mother -- she has to show sympathy and support and affection and assistance.  I mean, right?

So this went on for awhile.  Catt calmed down, Joe spiraled up and down and up and down for awhile, but as I was starting to lose my patience, the next thing happened.  Joe had begun looking at his court paperwork to make sure of his scheduled time of appearance, and saw that it had been scheduled for that day, not the next day.  So he had already missed it, even though he had been behaving himself so well, and planning to attend, and getting ready for it, and all -- because he had been thinking "the sixth" instead of "the fifth" he was now well and truly screwed.  A bench warrant had been issued for his arrest, and he was headed for jail.

Merciful Heavens.  The uproar.  I fled before it, and went to my room, where I sat on the bed with a book, and Catt wept in the living room, and Joe shouted and stormed up and down the hall.

So now, after Joe has calmed down and apologized, and become cheerful, and made some sort of plan, (don't know what it is, and my phone has died, so cannot text him a question) I am still feeling guilty and secretly unfit to be a mother.  If I were a decent mother, I would have flown to the defense of my child, and whipped up a plan to smuggle Joe out of the country to my contacts in Mexico, right?  Instead of which, I just wanted him to stop yelling.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Broker's Instructions

Oh, snicker-snee!  Sometimes Eye am not the one who failed to follow-through!

I just got a call from Corporate, saying that a certain check had come in for a certain sale, and they needed a copy of the Broker's Instructions to Escrow, so that they could process it, and write a check to the agent.  I looked in my file -- no Broker's Instructions.  I called Nameless Agent, and, very apologetically, told her this, and asked her for a copy of her copy.  She yelled and swore and whined and was pretty annoyed with me for "losing" it, and then said,  "Why don't you call escrow and get a copy from them?  I'm away from my desk, and won't be able to get it to you 'til tomorrow.  But call Fidelity and ask for a copy!"

I agreed to do this, and did it at once.  The assistant knew immediately which sale, agent and file I was talking about.  "Oh, Nameless?"  she said.  "Yeah, we don't have a copy of those, either.  Broker's Instructions to Escrow, right?  We asked her repeatedly for those.  Finally we just sent the check with standard deductions.  Can't help!"

My, my!

I called Nameless back.  The silence that fell when I told her this was pretty complete.  Then she said, (I kid you not)  "No, sir!  They do, too!"

"Well, they don't think they do,"  I said.

"If they didn't, they would have told me!"

"They think they did!"  I said.

"Ohhhh -- damn it!  I'll get them to you in the morning!"  she said crossly, and hung up.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Three Pinkish-Gold Mountains

This past weekend, I went up to Ocean Park to spend the weekend with Mom and Dad, as I do the first weekend of every month, wind and tide permitting.  But this time was different, because I went with my dear sister Ruth and her dear husband Tom.  So not only did I have beloved company along the way, but I was not driving, and so got to spend my time looking out the window, which one cannot do when driving.  The down side of this is that we were in their little Scion, which was designed for people with very short legs, and I was pretty damn uncomfortable by the time we arrived.

However,  as we passed through the outskirts of Portland, and Linnton, I caught sight of Mount Hood, lit by the pinkish gold rays of the setting sun, and called everyone's attention to it, so pointy and distinct.  And then we saw Mount St. Helens, also clearly delineated and touched with pinky-gold.  You could see clearly the slanting angle to the top, where two cubic tons of mountain were blown out when her volcano huffed and puffed and blew her house down.  I was commenting that if it were only clearer weather, we might be able to see Mount Rainier, which would be right about --- and there it was!  We could see all three in the same shot, and if we had only pulled over, I would have taken pictures to prove it!  All three of them were standing out sharply, in spite of the hazy sunny afternoon, all three were pinky-gold, and all three were RIGHT THERE!  How often does that happen?  Only one other time to me, that I can remember, and that was on a plane!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Flat Tire in the Rain

Well, I'll tell ya.  This past week has been difficult and annoying, but also sort of rewarding.  Both from the same source: my son Joe.

On Tuesday morning, the phone rang before I had gotten up.  It was Joe, letting me know that he couldn't start his car, and asking me to drive over before work and give him a jump.  Which I did, but it would not take.  His little BMW was just not responding at all.  We went through several rearrangements of engine parts and what-not, and finally I had to call it quits, or be late for work.  I agreed to take Joe with me, and let him drive my car back and keep using it to get his car started.  He would come and pick me up that evening.

Well, at about three he called.  "Mom," he said.  "I got my car started!  But hey, your car has a flat tire.  I've got to go to work now, can you take the bus home?"  
So I did.  It's a two-bus trip, taking just over an hour, instead of the twelve minutes the car trip takes, but whatever.  No problem.  My car is still in Joe's friend Brian's driveway.  Joe assures me earnestly that when he gets off work he will go and fix it.  

At about three in the morning Joe comes to my door, awakens me, and tells me that his car is not holding a charge and although he is willing to attempt to take me to work in the morning, he cannot promise that we will get there.  Oh, and my tire is not merely flat, it has a large area of rotting rubber, and cannot be repaired. 

I take the bus to work.

At about three I call Joe and ask him for an update.  He says, "Oh -- yeah.  Uhhhhh, I've been working on my car, and haven't gotten to your car yet.  I'll give my tire guy a call when I get cleaned up and see about finding a tire to fit your car."

I take the bus home.

When I get home, Joe is not there.  I call him and find him picking up his girlfriend from work, in his friend's truck.  When they finally get back, it is dark.  I ask Joe what the plan is, and whether he has fixed my car yet.  He gives me a look.  "Mom," he says.  "I haven't even gotten my car running yet!"

I tell him that I don't want to interfere in his arrangements, and ask if I should just go and buy a tire myself.  Joe is distressed, and urges me not to, saying that his "tire guy" will be able to find us a tire, we just have to wait for the "time to be right."

I take the bus to work.

Now I am annoyed as well as concerned.  I know that Joe is  perfectly capable of replacing this tire.  I also know, however, from long years of experience, that Joe is very, very easily distracted.  Almost anything can turn his eyes away from what he is supposed to be looking at.  So when I get home, (on the bus) I repeat to him several times, loudly and clearly,  that I need to know if he is going to fix the tire before Friday night, since I must drive it Saturday morning.  Can't take the bus to Beaverton, after all.  So can he?  Cuz if he can't then I will go and buy a brand-new tire at full price at Les Schwabb and have them put it on my car.  

When he understands that I mean it, and that it is now Thursday afternoon already, he sort of comes to attention.  Calls someone and has them drive him over to Brian's house, where he puts the donut tire on my car and drives it home, and calls the "tire guy" and gets an appointment for the following day.
I take the bus to work, but at about two in the afternoon, I get a call from Joe.  A proud and happy call, saying, "Guess what, Ma?  I'm driving your car!  It has a brand new tire!  I'm going to come and pick you up from work!  How about that!"

He then went on to add, "And thanks for being SuperMom and coming to the rescue when my car wouldn't start. I know you don't have to take care of me anymore, but it sure makes me feel safe to know I can call you when I need help." 

No doubt you are looking askance at me and telling yourself that this is merely sucking up, and you may, of course be right; to which I reply: shut the hell up.

So all the waiting at bus stops (in the rain!) I have done this past week, are now forgotten.  I am happily waiting for my grown-up young son to come and pick me up!  Ahhh...!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Sitting and listening to the D'oyley Carte Opera Company singing Pirates of Penzance gave me an immediate sensory memory of sitting in Dad's warm and airless little shop, listening to the record player he had in there.  Even though I have listened to this very song performed a number of times, quite recently -- maybe four? -- by the actors who made the musical movie.  You know, Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Angela Lansbury -- those guys.  But something about the full-throated chorus of men singing

"Here's a first-rate opportunity/ to get married with impunity/ And indulge in the felicity/ Of unbounded domesticity..."

brought that smell of wood glue and warm dust rushing back.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Well, it is a lovely, heart-swelling, blue-and-gold morning, and I am feeling distinctly introspective and nostalgic.  Nostalgia for me, though -- not for any past time that I was never a part of, which is the shape my nostalgia usually takes.  I am remembering the days of living alone in Northwest Industrial, and walking to Powell's Books several times a week, (and always on Sunday) and spending hours in a squeaky basket chair, reading, sipping hot tea, watching people, and writing.  I would write letters, write in my journal that I carried with me everywhere I went, and write in the Coffee Room Book.  

See, the woman who owned and ran the Coffee Room in Powell's Books would put a large blank book out on one or the other of the tables when she opened in the morning, and over the course of the day, it would get moved from table to table and people would write in it.  Jot down their thoughts, draw little pictures, write angry diatribes to politicians, rhapsodize about the boy/girl they had a crush on, complain about their mothers or teachers or boyfriends, mourn the death of a husband or father or child.  

This was a tremendously fulfilling thing for me.  I had been writing for years, channeling most of it into letters (the year I was sixteen I had 21 pen-pals, can you believe it?  And answered each letter immediately and vociferously) and a great deal of very poor poetry.  I kept experimenting with all these different poetic styles, none of which bubbled up from my own heart -- if any poetry ever does...hmmm.  (Note to Self: ponder this idea.  Is all poetry derivative, since no one would think autonomously of rhyming words, would they?  Or would they?) 

In any case, this was not only a completely new and thrilling chance for me to polish and write mini-essays to the world, but an even newer and more thrilling chance for feedback from the world, as represented by the other Coffee Room Regulars. 

And I got feedback, too.  A lot of it negative and snotty, of course, we all know what "commenters" are like, don't we?  The internet has certainly taught the world that.  Haters gotta hate!  But a lot of it positive and some of it valuable.  Are you listening, Freak?  I signed my work with the initial "B" and several other anonymous writer-types, most especially one who called himself "the Freak" would nearly always slip me an admiring, encouraging word.  I remember one full page directed to me, but written there in the book for all to see, which made it even more moving and important in my young and silent life.  The Freak was encouraging me to value the direct response I got to my writing, and to keep on letting the melancholy and loneliness (which, I'm sort of ashamed to say, made up a lot of my writing in those solitary days) dribble out onto the page and evaporate.
And then to continue writing, with the blues out of the way.

Sorry to say I have not followed your advice, Freak.  Oh, I still write -- but mostly e-mails to loved ones and the occasional blog entry, thus.  No books.  

Not going to lose the happiness I brought with me today, though.  Even if the memory is a bittersweet one, I plan to sip the sweet and discard the bitter.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Okay, I am distressed and sort of confused in my thoughts right now. See, early this morning (1:38 am, to be precise) my son Joe called me, asking me if I could possibly help him with a little cash, since his car had been towed and impounded, and he needed to raise $300-and-some to get it out. I told him that I had no money at all and could not help, and he said, very cheerfully, not to worry about it, and he would see what he could do.

But telling your mother not to worry about something that you have woken her out of a sound sleep to ask for, rarely works. After the adrenaline surge finally calmed down -- I respond very badly to being suddenly woken, for some reason -- and my heart stopped racing and my eyes would finally close, I was still unable to fall asleep, for a few hours. So I am feeling sort of heavy and somewhere else, today.

And what I keep thinking about, over and over, this morning, is this: to what extent should I, as a mother, and as a human being, be willing to get involved in my son's life by way of giving assistance when the thing he has done deserves the result it has gotten?

In this case, he was parked across several parking spaces in a private parking lot, unloading stuff from his car to someone's apartment. Since it was so late at night/early in the morning, he sort of assumed that no one was going to be doing much coming and going. But apparently one of the spaces he was blockading belonged to someone with a short fuse, they called the towing company, who came at once and towed him before he even came downstairs for his next load. Now, I know this has probably been skewed for my benefit, but I can only tell you what he told me, no?

The kicker is that this morning, as he has spent several hours trying to locate his car, and figure out how and when he will be able to spring it from impound, he found out that they are unwilling to release it to him at all, since his name is not on the title. Oh, dear.

Now -- there are many reasons why this might be the case, but I know Joe, and I know that the reason this is the case is that he simply did not want to take the time out of his important life to make the trip to the DMV ( which he described to me once as being staffed and visited by total losers) and pay the $70 or however much it costs. And while I sympathize, I completely do not agree with this sort of behavior. I don't like the DMV either, but I have never, and I mean never, allowed any of the paperwork of owning a car to even get late. Okay, that is just me, and apparently I was incapable of convincing Joe of the importance of not getting on the wrong side of the people with the power. So, sort of my fault.

But see, that's what I am wondering. This sort of thing is what ought to really make him understand that you can't (to coin a phrase) fight City Hall. But a) I feel tremendously guilty for allowing him to fight this one out on his own, (even though there is, literally, absolutely nothing I can actually do about it) and b) this sort of thing has happened a lot in the past, and hasn't done any good so far. 'Course, this is the first time he has had his car taken away from him. So maybe.

Oh, I don't know. Urg.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Grey Wednesday

Well, I made it in to work today.  You might think this is a non-statement, like saying, “Hey, I breathed ALL NIGHT last night!”   But since I did not make it in to work the preceding two days, you see how it actually makes good sense.  Right?

Made it in to work, on time and all, and have sat here at the desk slowly recovering from the energy required to walk across the parking lot and unlock the door.  I was trembling and gasping, such is the level of weakness to which I have fallen.  It’s funny, I know I’ve had the flu more recently, but my memory keeps bringing up the mental picture of myself, standing shakily at the card catalogue (wow!  Does that date me, or what?)  in the Prairie library, one hand hanging on to the waistband of my skirt, which was showing an alarming tendency to drop off, and the other trying feebly to make notes on an overdue English assignment.  That was after my first bout with sinusitis, but I feel much the same.  Much, much better, and all, but ridiculously feeble and given to sudden stabs of pain or waves of exhaustion.

The rain this morning as I pulled out of the driveway, was that sudden skies-open drenching deluge,  an altogether-boys kind of flattening downpour that made me feel like the roof of my car might suddenly dent in.  The usual traffic problems ensued.  I was in the far left hand lane, creeping along with the rest of the traffic, all of us side-by-side for miles, and I found myself quite freakin’ annoyed with the people who kept wanting to squeeze into the left-hand lane.  People automatically assume that the passing lane is going to go faster, but there we all were!  Creeping along next to one another!  No-one getting anywhere any faster than anyone else!   Clearly and obviously visible to anyone who looked!  Arg!

So.  Now to start digging my way out from under the accumulated paperwork of the past few days.  The office seems fairly tidy, but I haven’t looked in the file room, yet….

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adoption Day Daphne

Went out to dinner with Joe this past weekend, to celebrate Adoption Day. I am very proud of my tall handsome son, and cautiously pleased at his steps up the ladder toward being a responsible and trustworthy young man! He is working hard, always making it to work on time, and staying for all his shifts, which, thinking back on school and his constant skipping of classes, I was sort of afraid (oh, admit it, I was absolutely certain!) that he would fail to do. However, he is proving himself to be both responsible and trustworthy, and I am very pleased!
I was surprised,(and delighted) by the way, to notice as we walked to and from our car, (we had dinner at Gino's, which is in Sellwood) that we passed six or seven houses with blooming bushes of daphne in their yards! Daphne is not something I see very oftne -- not like daffodils, or roses or rhododendrons, which are commnplace throughout the Northwest. It is much rarer, and to see house after house with a large bush in the front yard, or two of them blooming on either side of the fornt steps, was really both thrilling and amazing!

Made me wonder if one of the older houses had a bush, and several of the nighbors were noticing the gorgeous smell, and it just sort of spread? Maybe they had a clipping party, and everyone got cuttings of that original bush! Or perhaps they had all been planted at the same time by the builders -- perhaps it was fashionable then, or he had had a bush in his front yard as a boy, like my dad, and always loved it! Or MAYBE......

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shoe-trees and Apologies

Last night on my way home from work (left the office right on time, so that I could get some laundry done -- I was going to REMEMBER it this time!) I was lured in by the siren song of the Salvation Army. (Well, I drive right BY it, and it's very inexpensive, and I haven't stopped for weeks, no, months! And they had their Half Off Everything in Store banner up! So come on!)
So anyway, I took one of the weird carts, since all the normal carts were in use, and started my usual route through the store. There wasn't a great deal of stuff, so if I stop by tonight it will probably be crammed with new stuff, the Post-Half-Off giddiness of new second-hand things! WooHoo! 
Anyway, I found a few shirts and a sweater and a candle, and looked through the books and experimented with a deep-fryer, and then went and got in line. The check-out man was about ten (or possibly 20, hard to tell) very, very skinny, with a strange bony face and very bad skin and a huge shirt which had come untucked in several places, and an odd voice. But he was very chatty and friendly and and talked nonstop the whole while I was in line. I paid for my purchases and bagged them myself, and headed out to my car.
As I was starting the engine, I saw him running across the parking lot toward me, yelling, "Ma'am! Ma'am!" I slowly stopped the engine and rolled down the window, and he poured out this very confusing story about how he had somehow inadvertently made some huge mistake and I needed to come back in the store and let him run my bank card again, he was so, so sorry. I said, "Wait a minute -- what?" and he started all over again, interspersed with constant apology, so I said, "Okay -- never mind. Let's just go and take care of it."
Back into the store I went with little Mr. Disjointed Apology. We stepped back in front of the guy who had been behind me in line and was patiently waiting to buy a nice pair of wooden shoe trees -- I had looked at those. I handed the clerk my card -- he was babbling about how he hadn't gotten my signature and then when he looked at the receipt he saw that I had only paid $10, when I actually owed $12, and so on and on, he was so, so sorry. So we went through the process of cancelling out the first transaction, and then getting my signature on the second transaction, and then he finally handed me the receipt. I looked at it. 
"Well, " I said. "I see the shirts and the sweater, but I only bought one Bric-a-Brac, and here are two Bric-a-Bracs. So what do you think that's about?"

He took the receipt and stared at it, and as I watched, his whole neck and face flushed deep dark red.
"Oh," he muttered. "I forgot to take that guy's stuff off it," gesturing to the patient man behind me. I looked at the man, while Apology Man tied himself in knots apologizing AGAIN! -- STILL! and said, "Well, sir, your shoe-trees are free!" He thanked me, and tried to give me two dollars, but by that time I just wanted OUT OF THERE, so I smiled, said "No problem!" and fled.
I think I will stop on my way home, though, (she mused). You know, just to see the new goods. Don't think I'll buy anything, probably. And if I do, I won't go through the line with Mr. Apology!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wind-up Key Equals Depression

So there is currently an ad playing online, at least – possibly on television as well, but I don’t know – for a depression drug.  A drug you take to assist with your depression, I mean.  Can’t quite think of the brand name of the drug, although it begins with P and has a Q in it somewhere.  But the drug itself is desvenlafexine.

In any case, it is an animation, with the protagonist being a woman in a drab colored dress and sandals, with a large wind-up key in her back.  She is a toy, in fact, a doll with stiff and jointed limbs and sort of stylized jerkiness in movements.  She bends stiffly forward from the waist with her arms hanging straight down, and shuffles in tiny little steps, looking at the ground.  This represents her life in her depressed state. 

She then progresses through her interaction with the doctor and others in her life, and, after taking desvenlafexine, finally joins in the shopping trips, and make-up wearing, and yoga classes that her friends are all experiencing.  They are all stiff and jointed dolls as well – the doctor included.

But she is the only one with the wind-up key in her back.  It persists, as well, throughout her depression, and improvement.  And no one else has one. 

So what does it represent?  Is it her condition, her depression?  And if so, why?   Depression is not what motivates her – not what keeps her going – not the impelling force in her life.  I have seen ads wherein the depression sticks around throughout treatment, which is supposed to let us know that this treatment is not going to “cure” the depression sufferer – just going to make their lives easier and more normal.  But in this case, I think they chose a ridiculously wrong article to represent the depression (if indeed they did) – a wind-up key?  Stupid!  It should have been something like an umbrella, that she could have folded up and carried, but that no longer kept the sunlight off her head.  And if they didn’t choose this key to represent something, then they are even more stupid, since no one else has one, and this is the only thing that she has that they don’t.   Bugs me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Questions About Life

When I unlocked the office this morning, the first thing I smelled was not air-conditioned air, nor the copy machine, but the enchanting, intoxicating aroma of daphne odora. From the tiny little bunch I have on my desk, three days old. I immediately become a nymph on a Grecian hillside, half hidden in the daphne, peeping shyly out at the sheep and shepherds, while I draw a deep breath, and my eyes roll back into my head.  Gorgeousness. 

Why can't all life be as intoxicating, as perfect and as meaningful as the scent of daphne?  Or just even other beautiful scents -- we'll leave out the philosophical questions about life, this time -- I don't have the mental fitness to be pondering those questions this Wednesday morning -- even other great smells, like roses (nice, but...) or fresh cut grass (evocative, but...) don't carry the smeller out of their body.  Don't have this emotional effect.  It can't really be because daphne is rarer, either, because there has never been one time that I smelled that smell that I didn't experience this.  This what-you-may-call-it.  This emotion.  And I lived for seven years in an apartment building with bushes of daphne beside the gate.  And every day it bloomed I plucked a bit and had it on my body, being warmed by my skin, so that the scent rose with my heartbeat.  And each time I would catch a whiff, I was exalted.

So is it something about the composition of the aroma?  That it tickles a tiny place in the brain?  A race-memory?  Of a time when I was a numph on a Grecian hillside, half-hidden in the daphne bushes, warmed by the sun and pouring their fragrance out over the country and making the people (and the sheep) drunk with giddy joy?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Full Moon Tonight

Full moon tonight!  Driving home from Mickey's it was tantalizingly peeping through the clouds every few miles, and glowing dimly behind things.  Absolutely lovely, no matter how many times it has happened before, and how many times it is destined to happen again before I die.

On my way north on I-5 I was beside a pair of motorcyclists, who were riding very loud bikes.  And I mean loud, too -- when they revved their engine, each burp was separate and distinct and VERY. LOUD.  It was a pair, a man and a woman, and the man's bike had a very shiny, red, square end, like a box, which I'm certain has some specific biker name, that any biker person would know immediately and probably contains the word "bitch" in it somewhere.  But I don't know it, okay?  Anyway, it made the bike look brand new and like a toy.  They were both wearing what I always think of as Nazi helmets, which is one of the reasons I knew they were serious bikers.  And although this was back on I-5 that I first saw them, they roared and rumbled and blap-blap-blapped all the way back to Milwaukie with me, and turned up MY street.  Went to the apartments on the corner of Harrison and 23rd.  Pretty funny!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Non-Migratory Geese, and E-coli That Does Not Evolve into a Person

This morning I got up and stumped into the kitchen to put the kettle on.  I was in that stunned state I frequently am in when I wake up, eyes unfocused and staring, and I was standing at the kitchen window, but such was my state of still-feeling-asleep that it took me a moment to realize what I was seeing.  It looked like the whole pond was on the boil.  When I realized that it was the geese doing their morning ablutions, instead of the ducks, I was able to make the motion immediately relatable.   The ducks do just that same series of movements,  ducking their whole bodies under, head first, several times in a row, and then shuddering quickly to fling out the water.  But when they do it, it's sleek and quick and smooth, with some spraying of water as they shake their feathers out, but not this roiling, churning, splashing, swirling hugger-mugger that was going on with the geese.   Quite a lot of violent motion going on out there.

So -- I was thinking, as I made coffee.  Are the Canada geese that live in Milwaukie a step in the evolutionary path?  Since they no longer migrate, I mean.  Geese do migrate, right, and every time they fly somewhere, they fly in that pattern of long vees which makes me immediatley think of migration -- when I was a child I would see and hear a vee of geese going south, and my parent would exclaim, 'Look, honey, the geese are going south for the winter, see them?"  And now these geese, this flock of a couple hundred geese no longer goes anywhere, but lives here year round.  So that is changing their programming, isn't it?  They are now no longer migratory creatures.  Their children are also not migrating, but staying here with Mom and Dad.  This has been the case for at least three years, and probably much more, but these three years I can at least attest to.  So what the heck?  I haven't seen any articles about this, or even questions as other people notice and ask, so either I am the only human who has realized this, or else everyone realized it so long ago that it is now a non-issue.  The evolution of a species right before our eyes!  Or at least this sub-set of a species.

And this caused me to remember that senator from Louisiana, who will probably be remembered everywhere by everyone because of the stunning stupidity of his remark, which was immediately placed on YouTube, and will no doubt be making people exclaim for years to come.  He was opposing a group of science teachers who were there hoping to repeal Louisiana's current law which requires teachers to give equal class time to the myth of creation as laid out in the Bible.  Kept interrupting them to ask things like "Is evolution something that you can prove to me right here?"  and the science teacher, very patiently, was explaining the process of the evolution of the E-coli virus, and how each step can be frozen, and then viewed, and the progress of evolution seen right in front of your eyes, and this senator (Mike Walsworth, in case he ever runs for President) interrupts again to ask, "Does it evolve into a person?"

Into a -- does the VIRUS E-coli evolve into a -- do you have the faintest idea of what the word evolution means, you idiot?  Who elected you? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Head Under the Covers

Arg, arg, arg.  I do hate anything to do with my sinuses.  Whenever the word "sinus" crosses my mind, the words preceding it and following it are going to be negative.   Can we speed up the evolutionary process here, please?  Hollow areas that fill up and then empty themselves in order to equalize pressure may be the very best thing we can think of at the moment, but come on!  It so rarely works with anything like efficiency, always includes miserable sensations, impedes breathing, talking, singing, and shrieking for help (just in case, you understand) and frequently produces runny snot.  When it doesn't produce runny snot, it is often much worse in the other departments (read: miserable sensations) and always brings with it an emotional quality.  A negative emotional quality.   

Now, you could argue that miserable sensations are, by definition, going to produce misery.  But I have experienced pain just as painful in other parts of my body -- my knee, for instance, or my elbow.  And while it made me feel pain, it didn't make me also feel --  frightened, anxious, depressed, hopeless, desolate, solitary, unloved and ugly.  All of which I have experineced (and then some) when having sinusitis.  Remember those months at Prairie?  I'm amazed I survived.

So, today is Wednesday, and I noticed the facial pain on Saturday.  So this is day five.  Isn't that long enough for my sinuses to figure out what is going on and reach a point of equilibrium?  This spot on my cheek has been aching in that elusive, cold, dense way pretty much without a pause, but bounding into my awareness every time the temperature drops even a few degrees.  I need a hood to wear over my head, that can stay moist and warm inside.  I took an antihistamine, just hoping that it would have some effect on the attached sinus activity, even though there isn't an allergen involved.  Don't know if that will help or not.  I need the cold east wind to stop blowing.  STOP BLOWING!  I need to live on a tropical beach, or a rain forest, woth lots of water floating about in the air.  I need to have stayed in bed with my head under the covers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I will choose Free Will!

As I turned onto "R" Street, just a hundred yards or so from my parent's house in Ocean Park, this past Saturday, I was singing along with the radio. It was playing loudly, since it is a three-hour drive to my parent's place, and I need to amuse myself somehow. Since no one was in the car with me, I was also singing loudly. The song was Rush, "Freewill," which lends itself to loud solo singing.

" can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice/
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice/
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill/
I will choose a path that's clear -- I will choose Free Will!"

And then I turned in to park beside my parent's little wagon, in front of their tidy yellow and brown house. I passed a very pleasant and lazy weekend with them, as it was chilly and raining, only went for two short walks and did not even see the ocean, although I heard its thunderous roar. I collapsed in a heap in my favorite chair and read all weekend, and my mother fed me. It was lovely.

When it was time to return to Portland and take up the reins of my life once more, I packed my duffle, and gathered my things, and kissed my mom. And then went out and got in my car, started up the engine and drove off. As I got to the first cross street, I flipped on the radio. It came on loudly:

" can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice/
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice/
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill/
I will choose a path that's clear -- I will choose Free Will!"

I was quite surprised!