Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How can it be that Labor Day weekend is only a few days away? How can it be almost September? This summer has gone too quickly. Frankly, I wasted a lot of it. I don't suppose I could have a do-over, could I? At least I have a week off at the end of September. Hopefully the weather will still be nice enough for some sunny autumnal road tripping!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gordo's Great Adventure

About a month ago my little two year old neighbor, Antonio, pushed his stroller-bike over to the fence and climbed his way to freedom. Lured over by the prospect of playing ball with Toby and Ruby, he came for the dogs, but stayed for the Otter Pops. Since that time, he has come over for a few visits. Sometimes he brings his mom along, but a lot of the time he just mills around near the fence that separates our yards, hoping that someone will reach over and pick him up. Thankfully, he has caught on that he can just ask to come over rather than furtively stealing away from his mother. This goes a long way in alleviating my fears of being arrested for kidnapping when the amber alert goes out or, even worse, coming home to find his lifeless form sprawled on the patio, because he fell during an escape attempt and bounced his little head on the concrete. Yes, this new arrangement is far preferable.

While I think the impetus for the original visit was simply to play ball with the dogs, the visits have now developed a bit of a routine. First, he and Ruby enjoy a game of fetch. When that is done, he heads for the back door, ushers everyone inside, then heads straight for the kitchen to cool off with an otter pop. If we don't have otter pops, he roots around for another suitable snack, then takes it outside to sit at the table on the deck. There he plays with the cat treat jar, which plays truly obnoxious recordings of "What's New Pussycat" and "Stray Cat Strut" when you open the lid. "What's New Pussycat", especially, results in the boy engaging in copious butt dancing in his chair. It is such a simple thing, but due to the level of joy with which it is infused, it becomes really entertaining to watch. Not only that, but it's infectious.

The truth is that my little friend is fun to have around, because he is so happy. It takes so little to make him laugh. The right song, the right color popsicle and his face breaks into a broad grin. It's difficult to be in a bad mood around someone with such a zest for life. He reminds me of all the important things we forget as we grow up:

- If something makes him happy, he doesn't worry about being a dork. He just smiles for all the world to see.

- If a song so inspires him, he gets down with his bad self, shaking his groove thing with wild abandon.

- When he wants something, he says so, because his hope is unsquelchable.

- If he wants to do something, he does it without bothering to worry about whether he's doing it "right", because he is too busy enjoying himself.

-When he doesn't like something, he says so.

- He expresses himself, but bears no grudges.

- And most important of all, when he loves someone, he doesn't worry about how they will respond, he just loves thems.

When I look at him, I think of all the things I have spent my life studying, learning, reading and experiencing in the hope of finding some purpose to life. And here is this little sage who didn't even exist three years ago and he seems to have all the big, important stuff down. What a crazy existence it is that the older we get, the further we seem to get from each other; ourselves.

Since I was cut from the reedbed, I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source longs to go back.

-Rumi (via Coleman Barks)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

My little vacation from the internet has done me good. It allowed me time to reach some conclusions:

1. Although I always thought the bumper stickers were kinda stupid, mean people do indeed suck (as do dishonest people).

2. The asshatery of others is a reflection on them, not me.

3. It is better to go through life with an open heart that operates from the premise that people are good and get hurt from time to time than it is to go through life with a shrivelled, black walnut of a heart that trusts no one.

4. Life can have a strange sense of timing - personal relationships can be craptacular at the same time as business relationships bear unexpected promotions and raises.

5. Even if one thing isn't going so well, you have to at least try to enjoy and appreciate the dozens of other things, people, and relationships that ARE good.

6. A little moping is okay, but after a certain point, it serves no purpose and only hurts the moper.

7. Helping someone else is among the better ways to forget your cares.

8. Change does not have to be a negative thing - in fact, it can be quite good.*

And with that the Greater Powellhurst Area Mopery is closed for the season.*

*I'll have to let you know how those last bits pan out, but I am pretty sure I'm right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Ironically, within an hour or two of my last post trying to find the good in the day, I had an interaction that confused some already jumbled feelings. I'm having a hard time and it seems like all of the posts I start turn a little too revealing, so I am taking a little vacation. This way I can work things out in the privacy of my mind rather than using long, rambling posts that will interest no one but me. This way you can still wonder if I'm crazy rather than having it incontrovertibly confirmed for you. This way everybody wins. Sorta.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things That Made Today Good

1. Sam Cooke
2. Neighbor-manicurists who make house calls
3. Knowing I have a hair appointment tomorrow
4. Fresh tomatoes
5. Baxter
6. Completion of big, heinous work project
7. Approval to leave work early (with pay!) on Friday as a thank you for completing big, heinous work project
8. Free pizza for lunch
9. Allergy eye drops
10. My two year old friend Antonio, who is the cutest boy EVER
11. Rilke's Duineser Elegien
12. The sun
13. It's only two days until the weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Today is my mom's birthday. As I sit outside listening to the crickets and watching the sun set, I have to think that I got pretty lucky in the mom department. Sure, we have our moments when we bicker, but we have way more where we laugh. Frankly, I can't think of anyone I know who has as much fun with her mother as I do with mine. We even have a secret handshake involving rude gestures. Can you say that about your mom? I thought not! We have always been close, but as I've grown up, she really has become my best friend. I can't think of anyone I even come close to trusting as much as I do her.

So, in honor of her birthday, we have spent the weekend together doing whatever she wanted to do. Whatever she wanted to do included, but was not limited to attending/helping with a shower for some of the women affected by last month's ICE raids (more about that later!), watching Hitchcock movies (Suspicion, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), visiting Saturday market, strolling around NW Portland, going shopping, going to the movies, and enjoying a lovely homemade birthday dinner together.

Because she didn't want anyone to make a big deal of it, we kept it quiet this year. Beyond a few old friends who already had it on their calendars, almost no one even knew it was her birthday. We still made a really nice weekend of it. Her special birthday dinner featured roast duck with an apple and rum-raisin dressing, red cabbage, new potatoes, and a wine sauce. It is the first time we ever made duck at home (even though she grew up eating it), but it came out really well. The only thing I would changed is the gravy, which tasted a little too strongly of wine for my taste. I'm not sure if it was the amount of wine the recipe called for or just the type of wine we ended up using, but next time we'll have to tweak that element. Anyway, it wasn't at all bad, just a little too wine prominent and the rest was so good that a little too much wine is easily overlooked.

And now in the time I've been writing this it has gotten dark. The neighbors have come by to give my mom a birthday present (despite all her hiding, they felt the need to make a big deal of it after all). So, I had better go, but I go feeling pretty fortunate for the family I have and for the great friends we have as well. They are a far cry from our old neighbors. It's good to be me and it's good to think that maybe just a fraction of the awesomeness that runs through my mom's veins might have made it into mine too. She is a lot like her mom was, so maybe a little of it was passed on to me as well. She's pretty incredible and I am so lucky to have her.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Must we REALLY?

Friends, neighbors, countrymen, lend me your ears. I am here to talk to you today about a scourge whose proliferation threatens to ruin our reputation as arbitors of culture and taste among the three people in a remote area on the other side of the world who haven't heard about how we were the ones responsible for McDonald's, WWF wrestling, Cheez Whiz, Wonder Bread, Rob Schneider, and the Bush administration. I think we all know which scourge I'm talking about - the phrase "git r' done".

It wasn't so bad when it was still just on t.v., but this morning, when I turned on the radio, it was playing a sound bite from some Senator or talking head whose commentary on an upcoming vote included a reference to the "great philospher-poet, Larry the Cable Guy" and the exhortation that Congress just "git r' done". Even worse, the saying has infiltrated my workspace. If there's one thing women in their mid-30's should not be running around saying in a constipated tone (because there are so many things the rightfully could be saying in constipated tones!), it's "git r' done".

For the most part, the people I work with are nice as far as co-workers go. Where things don't gel so well is in my lone non-love of Larry the Cable Guy, who is quickly becoming my secret hillbilly nemesis (not to be confused with my celebrity nemesis, who is, as we all know, Oprah Winfrey. She knows what she did!). But back to Larry.

I get that Larry the Cable Guy is a parody of a stupid hillbilly and that there is an element of irony in the character, but seriously, "git r' done" is (and I can't stress this enough) NOT FUNNY. It never was funny. It never will be funny. NEVER. If all the funny fell out of the world leaving no basis for comparison, it still would not be funny. People repeating it ad nauseum does not make it less unfunny. It just makes it repeatedly unfunny. I'm serious people. I would not jerk you around on this. Read my lips: not funny.

Just between you and me (because I may not be able to put this out after I'm confined to the asylum for "git r' done" inspired amock-running), if I hear one more person utter that insipid phrase at work, I will not be responsible for my actions. Despite my normally non-violent leanings, as God is my witness someone is going to get beaned and then stapled to her chair with a Swingline. I also cannot promise that I will not rent an old school van and a big stick, so I can hunt down said Cable Guy and bop him on the head. Don't worry, I don't really mean to injure, just stun. Then I can begin a regimen of deprogramming that begins with forcing him to eat brie and ends with the kind of good and sensible elocution that inspires people to address issues or even take care of things, but never, ever to "git r' done".

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Guess what!

Remember last week when I wrote my ranting (but later mostly deleted) post about how angry work makes me and how my response was to pick out the best looking job listing I could find and apply for it? Well, apparently sowing seeds really does bear fruit! I got a call back! By that time I had calmed down and was again proceeding through my work world at a pretty even keel. Because a friend claims that I sound like I have Stockholm syndrome when it comes to my boss and because the job is a great opportunity that meets my skill set and includes a lot of the things I want (non-profit, work downtown, progressive environment, environmental/social consciousness, mass transit friendly, etc.), I accepted their invitation to interview.

I am pretty proud of myself for going. It is probably the product of having been overworked, tired and just trying to stay afloat mode for the past few weeks, but I've been a bit less than impressed with myself lately. It is a strange experience to go to a job interview and sell yourself as a high end product when you are feeling kind of bargain basement. Hopefully, the repeated pre-interview listenings to "Razzle Dazzle 'Em" in the car did put me in the zone to show them how much of a first rate sorcerer I am, inducing them to like me enough to produce an offer. If nothing else, it put me in a good mood, making me laugh at the idea that large scale flim-flamming could be involved on my part. I'm not much of a bullshitter and I can honestly say without arrogance that I am qualified for the position. In the end, I think that it's going to come down to likability and personal connection.

So, I'll have to hope that my abilities speak for the themselves and that I was able to call forth the kind of winning personality that I am not feeling right now. I think it's just the feeling of tiredness, but I find myself retreating deeper into my already introvered nature these days. Hopefully, I was able to impart at least some charm. I can be charming, really!

Meanwhile, when I got to work I learned that things are a-changing and that there is a new title/possible accompanying pay raise in the works for me there (are they psychic? I didn't even take time off to interview - I went before work!). So, it's looking like either way I win. Apparently I am a winner even if I am too tired to notice!