Tuesday, December 8, 2015


This is perfect weather.  I want to just sit at the window and watch!  I keep finding myself standing in doorways, taking deep breaths.  It's gorgeous! 
The sky is a thick pale grey, but the air is warm.  There is a constant, gusting breeze, but it's from the southwest.  Rain is falling steadily, but the water is so warm, and in such tiny droplets, that you can't even feel it on your skin! 

I did my grocery shopping this morning, and got back to the apartment house around noon.  That was a very busy time of day for our street, so I could find no place to park close enough to unload my groceries, even though I drove around and around the block, watching closely, and waiting for someone to leave.  Finally I gave up and drove over to park in the library lot.  In the three trips I made back over to the apartment with my bags, I got some up close and personal experience with this rain.  It was lovely.  My hair sprang into wiggles, it always does when it's damp -- I just wish it would do it enough, so that I could have curly hair, instead of merely untidy and lumpy hair, going in all directions. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Damp Days

Lovely, lovely day!  Leaves a delicate tracery of gold, copper, and bronze against a pale grey sky, all gaily dancing in the breeze -- light but muscular, and tossing my hair around my face -- ahhh!   Smiling weather.

Buses whooooshing by, broooom-jingle-scrunch!  Cars a lighter, smoother hisssss of the pavement, still wet from last night's rain.  Motorcycle -- which should not be out in this weather -- blap-blap-blap-brunnnngle-blap-blap-blap.

I don't even care that my car is in the shop, having its brakes examined, and new tires put on -- can't afford that, but what can you do?  Smile and keep walking.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A trip to Bedfordshire

Well.  I'm not sure where to start.  I've sat here drinking cider and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and completing quizzes like "Name all the Sesame Street characters!"  (100%, BTW) because I almost don't feel up to writing down why I am not bursting with fruit flavor this evening.

Okay.  So my house was completely clean because two of my sisters came to visit me twice last month, and then I had a day of assembling a costume, and baking nut tarts.  Which completely destroyed the clean house, as I was rushing from place to place trying to get the #$%@ bald cap to stay on my head and get the caramel filling to thicken and turn golden without burning and so on.  Sticky swathes on the counters, bits of nuts on the floor, drifts of fake fur all over the carpet, scissors, needles, thread, pins and so on everywhere else.  Really did a number on it.  And then I remembered that Aunt Jeannette was coming by to take me to dinner last night.  So I had one evening to undo all that hastily created disaster.  But, however, I did so, and the house was once again vacuumed and dusted and washed and dried and put away.

So, today, I had a dental appointment at 7:30, and then I went to Starbucks and was working on all the photos that had been piling up on my camera, when I got a phone call from the woman with whom I had been communicating about buying her antique oak bed frame, with inlaid flowers in the foot board.  (That's a long and possibly run-on sentence, but I'm just leaving it.  That's how unwriterly I am feeling this evening.  Deal with it.)  She was a block away from my apartment, with the bed frame in the back of her truck.  So I rushed home and helped her unload it, paid her for it, and then sat back and gloated over it.  However, while I was helping her unload it, I hurt myself -- not because it was heavy, because pfft!  Come on!  It's a bed frame!   But somehow, in the back and forth, I pulled a muscle or strained my heart (!! -- got that out of some book) or something, because for about three hours my chest ached and I felt as though I couldn't breathe properly, even though I was.  Also both hands felt as though they could not make fists, you know?

So that took some of the oomph out of my morning, and then about noon, when I was finally feeling like I could move around without, you know, dropping dead or anything, I started trying to put the bed together.  And now it is 7:30 PEE EMM, and it is STILL NOT PUT TOGETHER.


I finally quit and came over to the T&P, where I am now, and drank two pints of sweet cider rapidly to try and soothe my mind as well as my thirst.  And I have tomorrow to get the #$%@! bed together, so that's okay.  I will go to a hardware store first thing to get some bolts (they were not provided -- and the ones that I have are all either too big or too small, dang nab it.) and some of those bed-raiser thingies.  I will also sit down with sharp knife and see if I can't make the tabs fit the slots.  I will also call and order delivery of a new mattress and box spring set. I just have a hard time believing that this bed was put together and used for years, which is what I was told.  That cannot be true.  Sigh.  I don't like being lied to.

And I will have to sleep on the fold-put couch tonight!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Three Umbrellas

When I woke up this morning, the heat was on.  It hasn't been on so far this autumn, and I knew as soon as I woke, and heard the low purring sound.  It made getting up a delight, instead of a thing-that-only-grown-ups-do,-and-I-guess-I'm-a-grown-up,-so-here-goes.  To step into the softly blowing warmth, weaving around my bare ankles, instead of the chill of the early morning -- lovely!

It's a beautiful day, too -- a thickly overcast, dull white sky, faintly glowing overall, without anything by which you could locate the sun, turn your head though you might. 

Raining steadily but softly, plicketty-plicketty, in a way that you might think was negligible, but would soon soak you through.  Glad I always carry an umbrella!  In fact, there are three in the car right now, since I left the giant emergency umbrella in the back seat, and brought my everyday Klimt, as well as the small rollup stuffed in the side pocket of my carry bag.  So I am ready

Friday, October 16, 2015

A small nap

So I've been doing a lot of house-cleaning lately -- since two of my sisters are spending nights with me this month.  I got my closet all straightened up and stacked tidily and squarely, instead of trying to balance yet more stuff on top of slippery mounds of belongings -- and thus was able to put quite a lot of things that were untidying my bedroom away on the two shelves of storage space that his apartment affords me.  

The house was slowly moving towards complete cleanliness, as (for once in my life) I was vacuuming, washing dishes, folding towels and dusting cabinets in my off-time moments, instead of slumping in a chair with a book.  Sister Sarah and her third-of-nine son Elliott were due on Thursday evening, but the house work was done enough that I agreed to meet Doug for lunch on Wednesday, and spend several hours hanging out with him as he smoked a Lovely Cigar after.  I then returned to the fray.  And had only to change the bedclothes on Thursday morning, when I climbed into bed quite early on Wednesday night.

It was about eleven-thirty Wednesday night when the phone rang.  I had been asleep for a couple hours, and was fairly far down.  It was my dad, and he told me that Sarah and Elliott were at the Portland airport at that very moment, and had been there since nine-thirty, waiting for me to pick them up.  I said, stupidly, still mostly asleep, "No, that's not true."  !!

So I raced into clothes and zoomed off to the airport, which is fortunately only about fifteen minutes away, and got them.  They were very tired, poor dears, after all the flying they had done, and then the waiting -- I got them home and fed and tucked up in bed as soon as possible.  But since I had arranged to have Friday off -- expecting them to arrive on Thursday, you see -- I had to work the next day, and so they had the day on their own in Northwest Portland. 

When I got home we bundled into the car and chugged up here to the Retirement Home, where Mom and Dad were extra glad to see our arrival.  Dad has taken them out to the beach this morning, and I sit in my favorite chair with no socks on.  I think a small nap is in order!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The so-you-can-sleep medicine!

Once again enjoying the peace and comfort of the Retirement Home!  My mom is puttering in the kitchen and my dad is puttering in the library/sewing room/staging ground.  I'm in my favorite chair in the living room, instead of sitting up in bed, but otherwise, the cup of tea is steaming at my elbow, and I'm feeling very relaxed.

It's a lovely grey and overcast day, constantly nudging you in the side and whispering, "Rain!" but never quite raining. 

I am suffering from some sort of allergenic head cold.  I had thought it was just allergies getting to me, but it has lasted too long, and progressed too far.  As a result of this, I took a couple of Nyquil capsules when I went to bed last night, and I would like to stand up and attest to their soporific properties.  I slept perfectly soundly, until my phone rang its six-thirty alarm, without a twitch.  I then got up and staggered to the bathroom, and was extremely surprised to see an unfamiliar woman sleeping on the living room couch.  I went in to the bathroom and peed thoughtfully, and when I came out I stood and looked at the woman for a minute, to make sure that she was there.  And after I returned to bed, I got up again and went out to look.  Yup.  Still there, still asleep, and still totally unknown.

Turns out that my parents' meth-head neighbor had had one of his noisy, shrieking, furniture- breaking fits, and had thrown his wife (girlfriend?) and their small daughter (eight?) out, and all their belongings after them, splintering the breakable ones all over the street.  My dad had gone out to investigate, and found the woman and girl silently picking up clothes and shoes and books and toys, and hiding them in the shrubbery, preparatory to walking in to town and waking up a friend.  My dad brought them in and my mother put them to sleep on the couches in the living room.

And I had slept like a puss-cat through it all!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Fall!

Gorgeous day!  Thick white cloud cover, quite low in the sky -- Big Pink disappears into it completely, well below its top floors.  There's a definite nip in the air -- time to start thinking about wearing my jacket when I leave the house!

So yesterday I started working on my costume for our yearly murder mystery Halloween party!  I'm a circus muscle man, (Death in the Big Top!) so I started out by spray painting two large styrofoam balls black, to make them into a fake barbell.  It took quite a while, since the paint kept running into all the tiny holes on the surface of the styrofoam, and I kept having to leave the house to catch some air and let my head stop swimming.  I painted the dowel that goes between them, as well.  Tonight when I get home from work, I think I will try blocking out the white letters on either end, saying 100 lbs.  Or maybe 500 lbs, since this is a costume party -- I can claim as many pounds as I want!  Didn't the world's strongest man set a record with 1,155 pounds?  So maybe even 1,000 pounds!    We'll see how well the numbers lay out over the curve of the ball.

Good news from my mom last night -- my sister Sarah is coming for a visit!  All the way up from Mexico, on a plane!  And not with all of her family in tow, just one son is accompanying her.  I'm feeling very happy about this, since it seems that she will relax so much more without having to run interference between her children, and feed them and make them behave, and all the caregiving things she would have to do were they all with her.  And she is staying for two weeks!  Two whole weeks of rest and peace and the sound of the ocean at Mom and Dad's.

Wow -- just raised my head and looked out the window at a young man taking a large hit off his pot pipe.  I know this became legal today, but it still gave me a shock to see.  I should accustom myself to this sight, shouldn't I?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Only in Portland

Here's a funny story for you.  This past Friday, I was late getting home with the food box, it was about 8:30 or so when I came off the bridge.  As I parked the car down the road a bit from the apartment house, I could hear voices, raised in argumentative merriment, from the yard, which made me smile as I heard them.  I figured it would be some combination of Linda, Russ, Janell, and Lynn.

Dusk was deepening into dark when I opened the gate with my first load of pineapple juice, plain yogurt and apples.  The gazebo seemed much more lit than usual, quite suffused with gold as I glanced up at it, looking for one of the familiar faces.  Four people, three male and one female, all young, no one familiar.  Two of the guys were wearing ball caps and had their backs to me, so I couldn't tell for certain that I didn't know them, but I certainly did not know the young woman or the young man facing me.  I took one hand from the bag and waved, and the young woman stopped talking and stared, quite rudely, it seemed to me, and then turned away and kept talking.  She had golden hair, thick and wavy, swirling around her face and bouncing over her shoulders.  She was definitely the center of attention, and she was being quite loud.  Well.  They all were.

They were still at it when I went back out, and when I came back in.  I had decided by this time that they must be friends of the new young couple upstairs, Hannah and Whatever-His-Name-Is -- since I have at least seen most of the friends (the ones who visit, anyway) of the other people who live here.  Plus they looked about the right age to be Hannah and Whosit's friends.  And I couldn't tell if one if the two with their backs to me might not be Whats-His-Name, since, like I said.  Ball caps.  Backs to me.

However!  This afternoon, I heard from Linda that on Friday evening, four complete strangers, fairly drunk, apparently, since one of them puked in the yard, had brought their six-packs, and their food-from-Food-Front-containers into our yard, and had settled themselves in the gazebo.  They had found the extra string of lights which Linda had stored in the bench box, and had plugged them in, and strung them up, hence the extra gold of the scenery.  They had stayed there long enough to eat their food, drink their beers, and puke, and then had trooped off, leaving all of their detritus behind them, just before Linda went out to see what was what, at about nine-thirty.

So where else on earth would strangers come in to your yard to eat and drink and argue with one another, and then decorate the place while they were there?  Only in Portland.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Midnight Laundry

So last night it was very hot, and I was in that uncomfortable state of being too miserable to remedy my situation.  You are familiar with this, I hope -- I hope I am not the only human who falls prey to this --  and will recognize the feeling that kept me, sweaty and unhappy, from merely getting up and going to bed in the air-conditioned bedroom.

I was sitting in my living room, watching a movie on my laptop, and it was about 11:30 at night.  The lights were off in my place, since they reflect on the screen, otherwise -- and I was sitting next to the open window that looks down into the laundry room.  My ear was first caught by a clinking sound which caused me to turn my head and look -- I recognized the sound as being something to do with the washing machine as I did so -- and I saw an arm stretched across the top of the machine.  "Goodness," I thought idly to myself, looking back at my movie, "That is a very tanned arm.  Who is that tanned, among us?"  This niggled at me, and I frowned and looked back into the basement window.

I was looking at a man, age indeterminate, with reddish, raggedy hair and a greying beard, very tan all over (open, tattered denim shirt), with a dark, greasy ballcap and no teeth.  He was sliding the (now empty) coin box back into the washing machine.  In the brightly lit basement laundry room.

I was momentarily baffled -- my mind did not make the necessary jump, but was instead trying to figure out a reasonable explanation for this creature to be in my apartment house.  Repairman?  Nonsense -- it's nearly midnight.  Friend of somebody's, doing a favor for Linda?  Ridiculous -- she wouldn't ask such a favor of someone's random friend at nearly midnight.  Thief!

I was wearing very little, shorts and a tank, in an attempt (which had failed utterly) at being, if not cool, at least less hot, but still was too little to venture out in, so I couldn't think of what to do for a moment.  Then I leaned closer to the window and yelled, "What are you DOING?!"

As Pooh and Piglet would say, "Did he run? No, no."  He did not run, jump, blench, or even look around for the voice, but merely replied, in an obviously-attempting-lightheartedness, (and clearly toothless) voice, "Just doing my laundry!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Giant abalone shell

So -- I've had my first bad experience at UCP.  It wasn't even bad, as far as bad could possibly go, in this job, but it was very unpleasant for such as I. 

I got a call from Brenda, an Assistant Team Leader, as I was parking at Leilani's apartment at 8:30 in the morning, yesterday.  Brenda told me that she had rearranged my afternoon, so that my final two med passes would be handled by others, so that I could go and spend three hours with a woman I had not yet met.  She had dementia, could not spend any time alone, and was recently returned from an emergency hospitalization due to liver failure.  She had diabetes and was having difficulty adjusting to her return to her apartment.  I was very hesitant to just show up without being introduced and trained by someone, but it was an emergency, and I was the Eastside weekender.  So I got it.

It was not a good time.  I could do nothing right.  She was unable to wrap her mind around my being in her apartment ("Who let you IN?  Who let you into MY HOUSE?") and did not want me to help her to get up, get dressed, or go to the bathroom, did not want me in her kitchen,("You are STEALING my FOOD!") or to touch her television set, or to assist her into or out of her wheelchair.  She could not hear anything I said, and if I approached her to speak loudly close to her ear, she would shrink back ("Get AWAY from me!  Who ARE you?"). She would stare up at the corners of the ceiling, and then slowly look down and if her eyes met mine, she grew angry immediately ("Who ARE you?  How did you get IN here?")

When her regular live-in assistant arrived, I was feeling like crying -- I didn't!  I was just feeling like it -- and I fled immediately.  I still feel fairly freaked out when I think of it.

The weather, praise be to a merciful providence, is slightly cooler.  The evenings are cooler than the days, and the nights are very nearly cool enough to sleep in.  I am looking forward with eagerness to my coming weekend (hooray!) to get some housecleaning done, but you will be glad to know that I have not merely been waiting for the days off.  I am not merely existing in sweaty exhaustion amid a welter of books, crumbs, wrappers, torn envelopes and tea cups.  I have already cleared off my dresser (piles!) changed the sheets on my bed, cleaned out the vacuum cleaner (that thing has three places where filters have to be removed and cleaned out, besides emptying the main chamber), washed two drainers full of dishes, and dusted the living room.  More will be accomplished over the next few days, as long as the thermometer stays below 90!  Just waiting for the rains to come, for my apartment to rise slowly up, cool and glowing, like a giant abalone shell, pearl-like, out of greasy, trash-filled harbor waters.  Yes.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Days Are Here Again

Hmmm -- I'm sitting up in bed this morning, listening to the quietly occasional twittering of birds, and enjoying the cool ocean air,  And then I realize I've been hearing that distant shuddery thump -- not unlike the scene in Jurassic Park where you see the water in the glass tremble? -- for awhile now.  It isn't rhythmic, so I'm reasonably sure that no T-Rex is about to burst through the undergrowth and shriek-bellow with rage.  It can't be anything firework-related, can it?  It would be like someone lighting sticks of dynamite at a distance.  But this is close enough to make the floor vibrate, and yet not loud.  Very T-Rex!  Any ideas?  

So I'm quietly happy this morning, for several reasons.  Firstly, I'm up at the Retirement Home, and I love it here.  There is always a little more progress made on the house, that I can admire and enjoy, I love the weather and the location (ocean ocean ocean) and it is always an enjoyable visit.  Even when my dad starts talking about things I cannot argue with him about, although I want to, and I know he hopes I will -- but my arguments would all contain  things I know would wound him, and I'm just not willing to do that.  And eating Mom's cooking always makes me feel like a kid again, plus I made an exceptionally delicious peach and strawberry pie.  Mmmmm -- gonna eat some more for breakfast.  What?  I'm getting my fruits and vegetables!

Secondly, I was offered the job I was hoping for, as a Support Service person for United Cerebral Palsy.  And yesterday I called my boss and gave notice.  So that is excellent news, and  the only bad part easily taken care of.  And now I only have a week and a half that I have to spend with CoWorker for the rest of my life.  The rest of my life!  Hooray!  Huzzah, huzzah, oh, that is such a relief.  I'm beaming as I think of it.  Sometimes the meek DO inherit the earth, or if not the earth, per se, at least a very different section of the earth than those unmeek people.  

Goodness, that thumping is getting closer.  Is there a giant lost in the woods?  A slow-moving but very heavy giant, who can only take one step at a time?

Thinking it over, I realize that a part of my joy in this job-situation is this: other times in my life when I have been looking for work, I have spent a long time and a lot of effort at it before even getting an interview.  And then the interviews themselves were a strain and a blight.   And this time I sent  an e-mail -- written pretty casually -- and attached my resume, and heard back within two days.  Had an interview two days later, and was offered the job a week after that. Since I had been looking at each new day with dread at RHP, the length of time I was sure it was going to take me to find a new job was making me gloomy.  But then, instead of heading for the Administrative section, I thought about it and opened up the Non-Profit Sector instead.  Since I can't count on my abilities in the office to pass muster, if the company is going to be staffed by young people, (what does a Social Media Advisor do, actually? All day long?)  but I can count on my interpersonal skills.

Hmm, One-Legged Giant has stopped his massive thumping. Wonder what that was?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday in June

It's a beautiful day!  At least, so far; the media is threatening that the cool grey beauty of this morning is going to "burn off" and be miserable hot heat for the rest of the day, and they may be right, but at the moment, it is purely gorgeous outside.

I'm at the library, which is cool and quiet (except for the woman next to me, who is trying unsuccessfully to keep her laughter under her breath as she listens to Shia LeBeouf on headphones )  My mouth is a little sore, day two of wearing my brand new bridge, which I am so very grateful for and glad to have! And I feel fairly certain that the soreness is going to wear off, as I grow accustomed to this presence in my mouth.

Talked to Sarah on the phone this morning!  My older sister, who, since she has lived in Mexico speaking Spanish to everyone for the past 25 years or so, has a definite difference to her pronunciation of English and style of speech.  It's the first time we've spoken on the phone for about five years, and I really enjoyed it.  Her second son was just married last month, and she is still recuperating.  I wish I could have been there for it!  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bad Craziness

So -- I don't believe I have mentioned anything about my ex's recent behavior...?  With Joe, his son who deserves a much better father than the one he got.  Okay, so Joe had been getting messages on Facebook from Ex,  saying things like,  "Son, call your old papa -- I have no bad feelings for you,  and I hope you can overcome your hard feelings..." , "I want you to be best man at my wedding," along with a picture of a pouting twenty-something, and "I know an old guy who wants to give you some rifles!" along with a picture of him in a sombrero.

Joe has been ignoring them, although talking them over with me (he is offended by the marriage one, I think on my behalf, although I could NOT care less about that;  I am offended on his behalf over the "no bad feelings" one -- where the hell does Ex get off implying that he has any right to have bad feelings toward Joe?) and musing over whether it would be wise or foolish to drive up to Kelso and see his father.  He (loudly) wanted the chance to spit in his dad's face if he wasn't appropriately behaved, and he (secretly) really hoped for a father he could love. 

But then he got a call from Dylan, a young man who is the son of one of Ex's high school buddies.  He and Joe are Facebook friends and see each other every so often, and Dylan was at his dad's house when Ex came over for a visit.  Ex was talking to him and said something about where Joe lived, in a negative way, and Dylan responded, immediately, with the information that Joe did not live there any more, Joe lived here.  When he got home, he called Joe, very apologetically, saying, "Man, I'm sorry!  I didn't mean to, but I told your dad where you live!"

So Joe was at least slightly prepared for the FB message he got from his father next.  It said, rather confusedly, that Joe had better watch his back, because Ex was coming to kick his ass, and bringing with him, "my Aryan Brotherhood boys," all of whom had "done time for the Big One," and they were all coming to wreak unspecified havoc on Joe and his surroundings.  Not for any mentioned reason, you understand.  Just because.  This devolved into an online slanging match with Joe getting pugnacious and specifically asking his father to pick a time and place for them to sort this out between them once and for all.  In the crossfire, Joe said that he knew about a certain crime that Ex had committed, which I know Ex was devoutly pretending had never happened, and was earnestly believing would never see the light of day.   Anyway, Ex stopped responding when Joe asked for him to name his seconds, basically, and has not sent Joe any more messages.

HOWEVER!  The story does not end there.  I got a call from Abdullah, telling me that he had been hearing from Ex about Joe.  Which, considering that Abdullah and Joe have always been very close, seems so crazy to me, that I'm thinking Ex must be back on drugs.  Ex called him, in a pretend panic, telling him that he needed to get in touch with me since I was the only one who had any control over Joe, and could possibly save his life.  How, what, why? said Abdullah.  It seems, (said Ex)  that Joe had gone up to Canada (of all places) and from there had called his Granny Marcia -- Ex's Evil Mother, whom Joe has not seen since he was maybe eleven? -- and spun her some big yarn about being in undeserved trouble with the law up there, which was really the fault of these two other guys, who had set him up in some unspecified way, and could she send him $1900, and save him from jail time?  And she had done so, but now Joe was being charged with Elder Abuse, and theft, and mail fraud or something, and could Abdullah get in touch with me and get me to save Joe from jail?  So Abdullah tried to call me, at home and at work, just to say WHAT the HELL, but of course I had just changed my number and changed my job, so he was unable.  And when Ex called him back, he had to tell him that.

"Oh, no, because the police were here," said Ex.  "The police were here, wanting to track down Joe, who is apparently on a huge crime spree up there in Canada, just wreaking total undescribed havoc in the great white north."  Abdullah tried to get more details out of him, which Ex seemed to be providing, but they were very vague, and seemed to center on Elder Abuse, $1900 wired to Joe in Canada, and the police, who were very sternly looking for this young miscreant, who needed to be protected from his behavior, and was Abdullah SURE  that he couldn't get in touch with me? 

Then the last call was on the same day that Joe had been trying to get his father to name the day and choose his weapons.  Ex called Abdullah, and said, "Good news, it was all a mistake, the police came back and told us that the phone number that called  Granny Marcia from Canada was a very familiar one to them -- it belonged to some Big Daddy Mail Fraud and Confidence Trickster who constantly called little old ladies and pretended to be their grandchildren, and asked them to send him money.  So it wasn't Joe!  All a big mistake!  Whew!"

Abdullah tried to get some information on why Marcia would have thought this unidentified man on the phone was her grandson, and Ex said, "She said, 'But he called me Granny!  No one else calls me Granny!' so she knew it was him."

So there you have it.  Abdullah still cannot accept the Complete Liar diagnosis of Ex, although he has tried, and so he was trying to make some sort of sense of this behavior.  To me, it was all too familiar, and I'll bet money that Ex has some fresh track marks.  That might be an unkind thing to say, but I feel quite, quite certain that I am right.  Any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Housecleaning, and criticism

At last, at last, FINALLY!  I finally have the urge to clean my house.  Yes, indeed, perhaps y'all are different from me in this, but if I am not feeling this particular drive, I can let the house get into a very un-lovely state.   I just -- well, I don't want to say I can't, since of course I know I could, but when this apathy takes hold, I really, really don't do any cleaning of the homestead.  Dishes pile up.  Laundry sits around in wobbly tilting stacks in the bedroom.  Dust builds up on shelves in the bathroom.  And worst of all, I feel no shame or distress at this dreadful situation.  I just look at it and register it like it was a sunny day, or clouds in the sky.  "Huh," my brain goes. "Yup, that dust is getting thick."

So I came home from work on Friday night and chatted with my neighbors for half an hour or so, and then went in, planning to sit in my chair with some dinner and read.  But while I was in the kitchen, adding some teriyaki sauce to the pork chops browning in my favorite frying pan, I looked over at the sink.  And then turned on the hot water and squirted some soap, and washed those dishes, while keeping an eye on the pan and the progress of the chops.  Oh, the relief!
Since then, I've done two drainer loads of dishes, taken out the garbage, washed the floor, and straightened out the contents of the pantry cupboard, and the feeling of need-to-be-cleaning has not gone away.  I am sitting at the office, planning on where I am going to attack when I get home.  Such an excellent feeling to be having!  Perhaps it will stay with me this time!

Just finished reading a Nelson DeMille called "The Quest" -- not one of his best, cuz he has written a couple of really good, interesting and imaginative books.  Really, he has.  I have read and re-read "The Charm School," and found that the story line and the characterization made up -- mostly -- for the sort of schlocky themes, and paternalistic viewpoint. 

This one was a compilation of all the DeMille standards, tied together around a very old and threadbare plot.  I had started reading it while waiting for a computer to open up, and then I kept reading it because there it was in my hand, even while the Me of my brain kept asking, "Why are you reading this garbage?  This is garbage!  Why are you continuing to run your eyes down the page and then turn to the next one?"

The two-men-and-one-woman idea was there, slightly more pronounced than usual.  There was nothing particularly interesting about the woman, except that she was one -- she had soft skin and long hair -- but that made her worth introducing to the story, just to give the two men, only one of whom we cared about or believed in, something to fight over and show off for.  And the plot was tiny, and unbelievable by anyone, and had been done by many and frequently far better.  The bad guy was very, very bad, and seemed crazed with it, except he wasn't, he was quite sane.  But that degree of badness is so very easy to hate and shy away from. 

Mr. DeMille was doing his DeMille thing of careful description of the action being performed by the people -- so all along this journey to find the Grail (yes that's right) he was describing the way palm leaves shift in the lightest breeze so that it is very difficult to know exactly what shapes they may be concealing -- but then lost interest, or gave up, or something, and the climactic scene was about three-quarters of a page.  Really.  Much more attention was paid to the description of the cell which held the priest who told them the story that started them along this quest.  Much more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watch yourself

I am in the library, at the computer table.

Homeless Man: (suddenly and loudly, lurching forward to stare at me)

"Did you know the family was guilty of treason?"

Me: " I did NOT know that."

Homeless Man: "True story. Better watch yourself, sister."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So, I've been doing some surprising soul-searching lately.  Well, maybe not soul, exactly, since I've been thinking over my past behavior and having it suddenly appear to me in a completely different light -- but there isn't the term "behavior-thinking-over" or even anything that resembles it, is there?
Okay.  I know I've mentioned one of my colleagues in my new job, who is 23, and feels very top-of-her-game all the time.  Has always viewed herself as the smartest person in the room, with the best singing voice, and the most beautiful hair.  And although I can see this very clearly, I have still felt kindly toward her, and sort of amusedly tolerant of this childishness.

Well, yesterday, she was looking over an e-mail that I had drafted to explain a situation to our boss.  This was at her instruction, by the way.  "Type up an e-mail explaining that to Honor, and let me read it before you send it," said this 23-year-old girl to me.  So I did.  And she came over and read it, and taking the mouse, removed about six of my commas.  And then said, "Okay -- go ahead and send that."

So -- since I know, and have always known, that I know more about grammar and usage and sentence structure than anyone in the average room -- some notable exceptions, of course! ( and I'm being humorous, in case I haven't made that clear) -- this momentarily stunned me.  Not just that she would think that was acceptable behavior, but that she should be so sure that she knew more about how many commas were appropriate in the e-mail, than I did, that she would remove the (to her eye) superfluous ones without a by-your-leave.

And then I began to think.  Do you suppose that the times I have corrected someone 's document for them, (almost always at their request, although sometimes without their knowledge, and once, that I can think of immediately, against their will) without ever apologizing for it, since I know what the paragraph ought to look like, and I feel certain that they want it to look as good as I do; do you suppose that this unapologetic attitude of mine  has been as offensive to them, as this casually superior young woman was to me?

Can't be!

Can it?

This doesn't make me feel any the less offended by her behavior, which I still find stunning -- but it does make me feel less certain of mine.  And not just of my behavior -- but of my view of the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

Today is the first day that the "Batch" process -- that's the particular, company-specific accounting process -- made sense to me.  Up until today, I was following the directions step by step, slowly and carefully tabbing over to here and filling in this and then going to the next line and filling in that.  But today, I know what each line means, and how they add up, and where they are supposed to fit into the leasing and transaction paperwork.  It's a very good feeling!

However, I also found out that since I am new, I don't get holidays off, and paid -- so although I didn't have to work yesterday, since it was a holiday, I do have to work tomorrow, which is my day off, in order to get paid for it.  And this will be true until the end of my probationary period, which is 90 days.  Ah, well.

I worked an additional half an hour today, which also makes me smile, since at this job, I'll get paid for that!  Not overtime, since I only work about 37 hours a week, on an average week, but still.  More money!  To buy a kouign-amann at St Honore's with, like I did this morning.  Shared it with Corrina, and she was so delighted with it that she drove me home so as to go into the bakery and get one for herself.  Okay, okay, a kouign-amann (means butter-cake) is a Breton cake made of bread dough, butter and sugar, folded over and over into many layers and then baked very slowly for a long time, so that the dough puffs up into layers and the sugar caramelizes.  It's hard on your teeth, cuz very sticky.  And delicious.  None of the explosive crumby flakiness of puff pastry, either.  Quite tidy to eat.

And, speaking of food and eating, I should walk across the street and go home!  Make some scrambled eggs and toast for my supper, and watch some old television on DVD.  Perhaps wash some dishes.  Perhaps.

Monday, February 16, 2015


My back is aching once again, but I am not nearly as a) exhausted or b) hungry as I have been in the past week or so.  I brought a half pint of blueberries to snack on today, and ate them at my afternoon break.  They seem to have done the trick -- I'm not even thinking about dinner! 

I am, however, thinking about my back, which is coyly leaning toward a spasm, but lingering on the edge, just to remind me that it has all the power in this relationship.  Uncomfy -- think I'll run a bath when I get home.

It was a pretty good day in the office today -- I was sort of worried, since I had my first solo junket this weekend, and it had been fairly freaky on Saturday morning, with emergency power outages and all the staff people being involved.  But everyone indicated to me, in their various ways, that I had done just fine.  Even Corrina, my immediate supervisor, who is very young (23) and very smart in a certain kind of way, and very determined to have everything done her way or know the reason why, only intimated that there was a better way to do almost everything that I did, but she supposed it was my first weekend.  And then about half an hour later informed me, out of the blue, that she got upset thinking about anything that was out of her control.  So we're going to have a great time working together!  No, really,  I just need to remember to be immediately obedient and never sulky or offended about anything, and she can control me to her heart's content.  Shouldn't be a problem.

In the bus stop this morning, a person approached me and said," A very good afternoon to you."  I looked up, ready to smile at this very mild joke, and saw a man (couldn't tell for a moment if it were a man or a woman) with a large, round face, and a large, round belly, and grey hair falling to the shoulders in carefully brushed waves, with curly bangs coming down to the glasses.  He shook his umbrella at me, and asked,

"Do you need an umbrella?"

I indicated the umbrella I was holding.  In my hand.


He said confidentially,
"I seem to have two."

And although I could see by looking that he did not have two, I replied, "So do I!" pointing to the little collapsible in my bag pocket.

He sat down on the bench, and remarked,

" I usually wait at the coffee shop down our way, but there's all that construction going on, so I had to come and wait here."

I said, "Really?  What coffee shop is that?"

He said, "Oh, I don't think it's yours.  No -- at least -- I'm almost certain that it's not."

I stared at him a moment, trying to figure this out, and he added, "Unless -- are you a relative?  A member of the family?"

And it progressed from there.  I talked with him until my bus arrived, very much cross questions and crooked answers, and then he did not even get on the bus!  When I stepped forward to climb on, he said,

"Well, it was lovely to talk with you!" very much like a well-brought -up five-year-old.

So I've still got it!  Whatever it was that beckoned to all the crazy people on earth to come and chat, is still blinking on and off above my head

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Two Things

Two things.   First, I learned a new word today: "armamentarium."  Spell-check does not wish to allow me to use it, but I just read it off the page of the extremely charming book I am reading, called "The Debt to Pleasure" by John Lanchester, so I know it's real.   This book is thoroughly delightful, reminding me constantly of myself, if I were only extremely educated, wealthy, snobbish, British and male.  An armamentarium is the place one might use to store one's armaments.  Presumably.

Second, I had a partly stupid and infuriating, and partly relieving experience (debacle) at the DMV.  Good god.  This system has got to be streamlined a whole hell of a lot.  Okay.  So I had to go to the DMV, because my neighborhood, (NW INDUS) is being zoned for parking, which means we all have to pay $60 per year for parking passes.  This is not a big deal, although it saddens me for all the reasons you are perfectly capable of thinking of for yourself.  However, on the instructions I received in the mail, there was a note.  NOTE: the name on the parking pass much match the name on the automobile's registration.   Well, but this is not the case with me -- two times now I have gotten a new registration, and both times I filled in the little area which said if-your-name-has-changed-fill-in-here, and both times it came back to me, still under my married name.  So whatever, I thought, if they don't care, I don't.  Ah, but they do care, as I found out when scoping this out online.  There it is, clearly stated:  Name changes must be accomplished within 30 days of change.   Ooops.

So anyway, I went to the DMV with all my necessary paperwork, which I spent some hot and disheveling time digging out of the filing cabinets buried in The Closet (there is only One), and I got a number and waited until it came up.  And then they told me, "Oh, no, you see, we don't change names on your registration form, because your registration form is a reflection of your title.  So go get your title and change the name on that, and then your registration form will automatically change and every other piece of car-related paperwork will change, too."   As I was staring in dismay at the woman, she whipped out a form and handed it to me.  "You can do that by mail," she added.

So whoo-hoo! and also curse you, DMV!  Get your act together and your stories straight!  That simple sentence could certainly have been on your website, maybe in caps and boldface!

Anyway, the end.