Saturday, October 31, 2009

Can I get a Go Ducks?

Dear Ducks,

Good morning. I don't have to tell you how important today is. ESPN is in Eugene for College Game Day, the fans are frenzied, and you have some major focussing to do. This is a huge game for me, but I wanted to remind you about perspective as it relates to your performance on the field today.

This is USC. And USC has a long tradition of just being intimidating for what they are. Not necessarily who they are, but what they are. Just because they are USC doesn't mean you should be intimidated. We've all been watching their strengths and weaknesses this year. They should never have beat Ohio State, and they lost to Washington. They're good, but they're not great. And today, they are just another opponent.

I'll admit that when this season began I didn't think it would be a great season for you, Ducks. I didn't think it would be a bad one, I just didn't think it would be great. After Boise State (and I take full responsibility for that loss, by the way, so I apologize), I felt like this might be one of those seasons where we just sort of hung in the middle. I was okay with that, emotionally, and certainly was ready to stand by you as I have for 44 years with total support no matter what the turnout.

But look what you've done! One game at a time, you have managed to climb out of mediocrity and be outstanding. Weekly I become more impressed, more enamoured, more proud of all of your talents. As a team you're like poetry. Your confidence shows on the field and you are a joy to watch. So although my own stomach is in knots this morning, yours shouldn't be.

Because today's game is just another game, and USC is just another team - not bad, but not great, either. They are expecting to put you down a notch, but I am asking you today not to let that happen. Let your confidence shine through. Go in there today knowing who you are, who you have been all season, and play like you've been playing every week up to now.

Be who you have been all season. Be the 2009 Oregon Ducks - impressive, confident, strong.



Friday, October 30, 2009


I finally did it, broke down and booked. Like I had a choice, I mean, I HAVE to go on this trip. Not because anyone is making me or because I already have the unit at VCI, but because if I don't go I will surely go insane. Despite having to spend money (I simply will not put anything else on a card. Period.), which I hate, I did it, and though it may mean lawn soup for a few weeks, the trade off is I get to really look forward to laying down for a week and getting really tan. And seeing a bunch of people I love hanging out with and having cocktails and again getting really tan. And laying down for a week. Can't figure out which is better, the laying down for a week or the getting really tan. But, Yay! I'm going to Cancun!

It's been a long week but it's nearly over and though I have knots in my stomach over tomorrow's game, I'm in a pretty good position right now. Great day at work yesterday, and another one today I'm sure. Life is feeling good right now.

Not much else on my mind except this thought that came to me this morning: people who have small dogs aren't really dog people. They're cat people who just don't want to admit it. And they're secretly kind of bummed that their little dogs can't jump up on the counter while they're curling their hair.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The ear situation

I've had ear issues all my life. I don't remember a whole lot of my childhood (but maybe more than others), just memories like snapshots, but I do remember the hell of constant ear infections. They have reoccurred throughout my adult life as well, and I've punctured my ear drums more than once - most recently in about 2003 when we hit major turbulence over Utah flying home from Cancun. We dropped a few thousand feet and I blew out both of them. That was fun. I was pretty much deaf for a month after that.

When I moved to Cancun in 2004 I spent more time in the water than normal and got a few more infections than I would have any given year. Luckily I know when I have one, and I know what it takes to get rid of them, and you can buy amoxicillin over the counter there, and you've heard all that before. Since I've been back, they are more frequent, and sometimes I do something about it and sometimes I don't. This last one, the one I have now, has been going on for actually quite a while now. You remember how I went to the doctor about two weeks ago, well, I did the amoxicillin thing like a good little patient and I guess it just didn't take.

So the drugs ran out Sunday and just today I got around to calling the doctor to see what I should do next. Because, you know, it's still runny in the night. Nice, huh? So the advice nurse called me back, and I told her all about it, and then she checked with the doctor that checked me out before, and called me back again, and said I needed to come back in. I asked, like, when, and she said, well, as soon as humanly possible.

Of course it's month end on a desk with no assistant, but I had things under control (as much as I could anyway) and so I left Hillsboro for Beaverton (real Beaverton, not Aloha Beaverton, or Tanasbourne Beaverton. I don't consider those Beaverton. For the record.) at around 1:30. This time my wait was a little bit longer.

The fun thing was that the nurse that I saw today was the same one that told me I had all kinds of crazy stuff in my right ear. She remembered me and so I asked her to explain what she said. Like, when you say "all kinds of crazy stuff", what does that mean? She explained that the normal ear is all smooth and almost shiny and mine is all lumpy and scarred up with crazy shapes and terrain and like sculptures and stuff. Interesting. She took a look just to remind herself. Then she looked in my left ear, the one with the infection.

And recoiled in horror.

Seriously. Recoiled. Like backed away quickly. I asked her what was up, and she said it was red like the sweater I had on and there was some kind of pus pocket kind of growing in the middle of it. I laughed, even though I know it can't be good, but she cracked me up because she was so real about it. She asked if I minded if she showed the other nurses... of course I didn't. None of them had ever seen anything like it. I'm glad I have this ability to do parlour tricks without actually doing or saying anything.

My actual doctor (the one they assigned to me, I guess, I had never met him) was in so she walked me upstairs to see him. He took a look. Did not recoil. Prescribed more antibiotics and some drops. Told me to finish them and then call them back. I've been down this road before.

Okay so meanwhile it's 3:20 and I have a 4:30 signing back in Hillsboro. My doctor's medical assistant had taken my vitals prior to seeing the doctor, but my blood pressure registered high so she wanted to take it again (it's never high) (which is actually kind of surprising considering my temper) after he was done. She comes back in and I'm starting to stress, wraps the thing around my arm, and the fire alarm goes off. Okay. She says, calmly, So I guess we're having a fire drill... and I said, seriously, I have to get back to work, can we do this another time? She went and checked it out and it was a false alarm, but really, doesn't it make perfect sense that Kaiseer Beaverton would burst in to flames the minute I have an appointment there? (The bp was normal when she rechecked it, by the way. Thanks for asking)

So down to the pharmacy I go, where I learned a valuable lesson about my health plan, which means I don't yet have the drugs, but will, and now all I can think about is the pus pocket in my left ear and a mini Stonehenge in my right. I made it back just in time for the signing too.

This saga, as boring as it is, will continue. I just want my ears back to normal in time for me to fly south and blow them out again. Anyway, not being able to hear is better when you're tan.

New signs, the kind you can hold in your hand

According to Yahoo weather and my iPhone (same thing), it was 34 degrees at 5:40 this morning. Soooo it's cold. I'm not sure how accurate that is, because it's not even November yet, but I'm more inclined to believe it than not. I keep thinking about last December and the being all snowbound and shit. That's not good.

It also has me thinking about our trip next week. Barbie and I were planning a September thunder run to Ontario to hang with the cousins, but had to put it off due to an unforeseen (and unfortunate) series of events, so the only real free weekend we had to reschedule was the first weekend in November. Nobody seemed to think that was an issue, it allegedly doesn't snow in eastern Oregon before Thanksgiving. But take a look around - it allegedly doesn't snow so much in the greater Portland area before Christmas that it leaves the city incapacitated and me trapped inside for four days, either. Weather is changing, kids, and we have to get up and over Cabbage Hill. Barbie's driving, and she professes to be a great all-weather driver, but I'm getting older and feeling less indestructable. I'm going, I'm just saying it might be a bit more treacherous than expected.

In other news, I'm wrapping up a week and a half stay in Hillsboro today. I'm torn - I really like the branch, they made fun food for lunch and laugh a lot and Maril made me some signs that I could hold up in the event non-verbal communication was necessary. But on the flip side, the desk I am on is pretty high-maintenance and I just hope I got to everything. Oh and a customer tried to bully me yesterday by calling me stupid and telling me I don't know how to do my job. I spoke to him last week, too, and he did the same thing. Bastard. I laughed at him while he ranted and raved at me and interrupted me incessantly (there are a couple of ways to take back control of a conversation - laughing at the person is one of them), which threw him off, but seriously it was one of those conversations where you hang up and are just pissed off for the whole rest of the afternoon because of it. Even though you know that he's the prick, that YOU're not the one in foreclosure on a $58,0000 loan, that in the end you'll win because you do, in fact, know what the hell you are doing. Still ruins your afternoon and really strengthens the case in support of violence in the workplace. Thank God for the "MFCS" sign Maril made for me. At least I had that.

Time marches on, Cece has her plane ticket, I will before the week is out, and it's getting colder. Wish I had more to report, but more adventures are on the horizon. And I can't seem to shake this Cleveland feeling...

Monday, October 26, 2009

I wonder what it's trying to tell me...

I don't know why this song makes me so sad.

But I love it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For those of you who like rants, this one's for you

I'm not a terribly political person, mostly because I can't pay attention to the news long enough to educate myself on what's going on. But I know what I like, and I know what I understand, so forgive me if I sound like the rest of the general population that reads at a fourth-grade level and considers the USA Today quality journalism.

But here's what I understand about this whole H1N1 situation.

Yesterday the president declared H1N1 a national emergency. National emergencies are bad. It indicates that this is a pretty big situation. So... why is there no available vaccine? I mean, they know how to make it, they've shipped some. Did they just stop making it? Why is it not going to be available again until the end of November? Haven't "they" been suggesting all summer that this was going to be a pretty big deal this cold-and-flu season? Isn't it better to make TOO much rather than not enough when someone says, hey, this H1N1 situation is going to be quite the issue next fall and winter, we better start pumping this shit out now to be able to accommodate the HUGE demand for it. If we make too much, what the hell, we can keep it in the freezer for the next round. I mean, isn't that what you do when you make vegetable stock?

Thursday I had a signing where the loan officer, who lives on the opposite side of the Portland Metro area from the branch I am in, attended. She seemed fine, physically. We spent maybe two hours together. She didn't spit on me or anything, but we did hug (I know, there's shit I have to do for my job, intimacy issues aside) and shake hands. Friday when I called her to tell her the file was funding, she sounded like she'd been hit by a truck. She later called me to tell me she'd talked to her doctor and he had diagnosed her with H1N1. She wanted to let anyone she came in contact know. Also on Friday one of my coworkers came in in the morning complaining about a splitting headache and general feel-like-shit-yness. She went home mid-day. She has other complications, and is a person who should probably take care of herself at the first sign of something icky. Again, she didn't like spit in our food or anything, but how much do we know, really, about the spread of this thing?

I don't get sick, generally, and you all know I got the regular flu shot a while back when it first became available (and by the way, IT's not even available now) (that same coworker that went home on Friday, with the other complication? She can't find even the REGULAR flu shot anywhere, and her doctor, who, it seems to me, should be hoarding this shit for people that have other complications and should be at the top of the list to get it, doesn't seem to be working that hard to get his hands on any for her. I don't know, I mean, I don't know the whole story, but for fuck's sake, is it me or does it seem like nobody cares?). I feel kind of bad because I have never had the need to get the flu vaccine before, and now people who really need it can't get it. Woops. How would I have known? How would I have known they would run out of the regular flu shot when they have been encouraging people to get even that one for most of the summer and so they did? And how would we, as a country, have known that something that has been on the radar since APRIL as a potentially huge issue would have been so obviously put on the back burner in terms of the production of its control?

So here's my issue (in case you were wondering what it is): control. Write about H1N1 in the media and discuss it constantly to some degree since it came on the scene in April so that people will always have it in the back of their minds. Any time anyone, and I mean anyone, contracts it during this period of time, when it isn't really the season for it, write about it and talk about it so that nobody forgets that this is a potential disaster. While you're at it, have a vaccine for it, so that there is some kind of solution and maybe some hope for all of your reader/listeners that have felt this nagging fear in the back of their brains since April. And THEN, when more and more cases are being reported, and it is getting colder, and the emergency rooms and hospital beds are starting to fill up with cases, DON'T HAVE ANY VACCINE AVAILABLE. Make SOME, just don't make enough. Decide ahead of time who can get it and who can't, but then crinkle up that piece of paper the list is written on and light it on fire because it doesn't matter anyway, YOU DIDN'T MAKE ENOUGH VACCINE TO BEGIN WITH. Control? Oh yeah. Lead by fear. I know that theory, that's how I ran my desk for 10 years.

I get that maybe at this very second, and on a Sunday no less, there are scientists manufacturing the vaccine to make sure they can get it out to meet the demand (well, I hope anyway). My point is why wouldn't they have made a ton more to begin with over the summer? Money? Is it too expensive to make? Too expensive for whom? Surely whoever is in charge has a pretty decent sized line of credit to handle that kind of expense until the local agencies and consumers pay through the nose to get it. So that's no excuse. The only answer is control. Provide a solution but then dangle it front of our collective noses, make it unavailable to us after a tease, and then declare the whole thing a national emergency to incite MORE fear. To what gain? I just don't get it. Can you tell I don't get it?

I do get this - I spoke with my mom this morning about it - she's 82 and has had pneumonia every year for the past few years, this last one enough to put her in the hospital. I know, on the huge scale, as an 82 year old she probably should be in line behind the children, but when she asked her doctor about it, the doctor told her old people are immune to it, because they have been exposed to so many things over the course of their lifetime, so don't worry. You won't get it.

What. The fuck.

I could go on and on and ON about that little pearl of doctoral advice, but this thing has gone on long enough and I've lost most of you by now I'm sure. For the rest of you 17 still hanging on, please don't think I am just poor undereducated white trash from south Beaverton - if there is a more logical reason for what seems to be such poor planning, I wouldn't mind knowing it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Find a happy place

Coming off just a ridiculous work week, replete with power outages, downed internet for two days, brutal last minute doc arrivals and driving rain, not to mention an early monthly (thanks, body), I've decided to find a happy place.

I'm going to Cancun in a little bit over a month (good GOD I need to book that ticket). I'm staying at my old stomping grounds, VCI, and I have to keep reminding myself how excited I am about it. I mean, come on. If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, then VCI is the happiest place in the universe. Seriously.

The staff, for one, most of whom have been there for years, are the greatest. I know most of it is because they have to be, you know, to keep their jobs and get tips and all that, but when you are a repeat customer for years and you're nice and respectful and fun I think they mean it when they appear happy to see me. The grounds - pool area, La Palapa restaurant, beach - just feel like home when I picture it in my head, when I imagine myself walking down to get towels in the morning. The smell, the warmth, the cool tile on bare feet... I seriously can't wait. I can't wait but I have to keep remembering that I can't wait, and I'm not sure if that's good.

I've taken this trip a ton of times (maybe twenty, and then there was that whole moving there twice thing) and the best trips are when I stay at VCI. It just feels good to be there. Like home. And the way I tend to move around, the concept of home is good. I like the idea of doing nothing for nine straight days, laying in the sun and feeling it on my skin and relaxing and seeing my friends and drinking coffee on the balcony in the early morning and walking around totally familiar places and discovering new places. Just that indescribable feeling I get when I'm there.

Cancun has its warts - more and more of them are sticking out all over the place. I get that. There is no such place on this earth that is paradise. But despite everything I know that is ugly and icky and camp about the place, VCI still remains an island of calm happiness surrounded by bad reputation, rip-offs, drunk tourists and other really bad bad things I'll let Rivergirl tell you about. The thing about taking a vacation from your regular life is that for a brief period of time you get to see past the warts and bask in the comfort that is the tried and true. That's what I need to keep in my head when someone calls me at 3:30 and says docs have just been emailed, can they sign today at 4:30 in Hollywood? Instead of my natural reaction of wanting to scream NO and calling them every name in the book before getting in to my car, driving to their office and kicking the crap out of them.

I've used this picture before (seriously, back in 2005 in like my 8th post, but nobody ever reads back that far, do you? DO YOU?!), but looking at it just kind of makes me take a breath. And then let out a sigh and then feel a little bit of calm. Calm is good.

I think that once I book the dang air I'll be jumping out of my skin (but, you know, in a good way). If nothing else it will get me past days like yesterday and the days leading up to it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

'Tis the season

Last night while I was at my mom's doing my duty, she asked if I would open her mail and read it to her. She has macular degeneration and can't really see to read it anymore. So I went through a couple of bills and a bunch of junk, until I got to a big thick envelope from some sort of Catholic organization called the Followers of the Little Star or something like that - the older my mom gets the more Catholic she becomes, so I imagine she gets this kind of stuff all the time (major religions don't care how little your income is). The envelope said "A Gift for You Inside!" so of course I was drawn to it. I open it up, and there are a stack of blank Christmas cards with envelopes, and a letter from someone called Father Bob. Apparently Father Bob runs this getup. I read one of the cards. And then it hit me.

For years I, like my siblings I'm sure, have been receiving similar cards from our mother for Christmas and birthdays. Mass cards. In this particular instance, the card has a nice verse on it and then says that a novena of masses will be said on the receiver's behalf for five days by the Carmelite nuns. They're not a bad thing to get, who couldn't use a novena from the order of the Carmelites? Can't hurt, right?

I read the accompanying literature, signed by Father Bob himself, that had a donation card attached to it. It said the usual religious-charity-fundraising stuff - take these as our gift to you, but if you choose to give, your donation of $8 will feed an entire village for 6 months. In theory my mom pretty much had her Christmas shopping taken care of by October 21st without spending a dime. I asked her if she donated to this Father Bob and she said "If I use the cards I send them money."

I thought about this for a minute. So I get a mass card that says all these Carmelites are praying for me. But how do they know who I am? My mom COULD just mail the cards out and never send Father Bob a nickel, and I'd be walking around, stepping into intersections, smoking in bed, chewing on foil, all safe in the belief that an entire order of nuns have my back. When in fact they have no idea who I am, let alone what name to tell God in the midst of all this praying. I asked for an explanation. She told me, "They know who you are, you have to give them the names of the people you want masses said for on the donation card" (is NOTHING free in this life?). I flipped the donation card over and sure enough, it had room for you to write down the names of those you intended to send the cards to, along with a bonus line for any particular special intentions you might want included. The donation card looked suspiciously similar to the GM Card visa bill I had only recently read to her, so I thought about it a little bit more.

"So, Mom, do you see this little microencoding on the bottom of the, er, donation card?" She did (well, she didn't, I mean, she probably was just going along with me, but then again, there are theories out there that she sees just as fine as you and me). I continued, "So you know then when you send stuff like this in with a check, this little microencoding thing is read by a computer, right? In fact, nobody ever actually looks at this card unless your donation is written on an odd-sized check or isn't there at all.. kind of like your visa bill." She nodded her head, kind of understanding. My mom was born in 1927 so I'm pretty sure she isn't familiar with the lockbox process. "So I guess what I'm saying is, if you write down my name and send in $8, nobody is going to know my name is on that card. They're going to take your $8 and toss the card, and all this talk about the Carmelites saying prayers for
me is just a bunch of hogwash." "Nooo, they wouldn't do that, they're nuns!" "Are they? Really? Is 'Father Bob' really even a priest?"

(Which brings up another thought - what about all the other 82 year old Catholic women out there receiving these cards and mailing them out, but with no intention of sending in a donation? I mean, at least my mom THOUGHT the nuns would be made aware of me and my need for constant prayer. What do you call the kind of sin where somebody mails these things out under completely false pretenses? All these people the Carmelites will never know, thinking they're being prayed for. No wonder there are so many crackheads and crime sprees.)

In the end she didn't really believe me, will probably believe Father Bob, and I am sure I will get one of these for Christmas. But you can bet one thing - I will no longer live my life with wild reckless abandon, secure in the knowledge that the Carmelites are spiritually covering my ass. Looking back over the years, I wonder how I ever came out alive. I always just thought it was because of the nuns.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cut off from the world but surrounded by ham.

Three seconds to blog because I need to get the hell to work due to a power outage yesterday that knocked out our internet from around 12:15pm until whenever, way past 5pm anyway. I was in the email loop for the ticket that attempted to get it fixed, and the last email said something about the "path being clear" - I'm no IT genius, but naturally I assumed that that 9:45pm email meant all was well. We are stricken useless without internet access, because our escrow system is internet based, so after we all did as much filing and non-computer-related work as we could, we basically sat around and did nothing until the end of the day. Fantastic.

I was next door at the eye doctor getting an exam in the room with no windows at the time - contacts out and big machine against my face. Plunged into darkness. I ended up having to just bail and finish it up at 4:30. The power itself came on around 1:15, and thank God it did, because we were replicating Burgerville ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch and I really wanted one.

Does anyone from around here remember when Burgerville offered the ham and cheese on the menu? I may have blogged about it before. I seem to remember writing about it. Anyway, it's not on the menu anymore (and hasn't been for like 15 years) but you can still get it. The travesty of the millenium is that they switched from thinly shaved ham to a big ham shingle about 4 months ago (seriously). So not the same. Orenco Station (the branch I am in this week) has set up a panini grill in the kitchen and has been doing a lot of home cooking for lunches - awesome, since I can never figure out what to have for lunch, and this way I don't have to think. They've been calling their kitchen the Orenco Grille. Monday it was Cece's cream of chicken soup (really, really good) and yesterday was the Burgerville ham and cheese - minus the ham shingle.

Jodi picked up some Burgerville spread and brought in the rest of the fixins' - sesame seed buns, cheese, THINLY SLICED ham. I think it was mentioned that any time someone broke in to song it had to be ham-related (and believe me, people break into song a lot in my line of work). I have to tell you that spread makes all the difference. It was awesome. Seriously, suddenly I was 15 again. I alternately love and am mildly horrified that a sandwich can do that for me.

So now I am hoping like hell that the internet is back and I can actually catch up. So I'm off.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Never never gonna give you up" (because I can't think of a title and that happens to be the song on my iTunes right now)

I read a daily tarot card online in the morning and try to think about what it means for me. Online doesn't seem as accurate as it should be if someone physically pulled a card for me, but it's as close as can I get while remaining somewhat objective. Brad C.'s 10 year old son (I think he's 10, I have retention issues) says tarot is the work of the devil but I think he's wrong (and he's 10, so the odds are good that he just isn't looking at the big picture, being that a 10-year-old's big picture encompasses his house, his yard, his street, and his school. And maybe the supermarket.). I think they are entertainment, and also a good tool for looking at your life with a little different perspective.

Today's card is Judgement. Here's what it says: "Incredible pressure to tell truth lest you be judged. A court case or other legal proceeding in which an outcome is assigned. Have you done anything for which your judgment or actions would be called into account? Time to examine life, friends, family, career and relationships with a discerning eye. Time to deal with something major in your life. Transformative energies are surrounding you now. A choice is at the ready and must be made now."

Remember, this isn't necessarily literal. I have no court- or legal-related issues in my life. I'm just over here living the dream and flying under the radar. It's the end that makes me think (the "Time to examine life" part). I have been lamenting over and over on this thing about how I need a change and how I don't want to be "done" and wondering what's next and blah blah blah. But it's not like I have the wherewithall or even the finances to do anything drastic, like I have plenty of times in the past.

(Speaking of that, sometimes I wonder where the hell I got the nads to do some of the things I did, like move to California or move to Cleveland or move to Mexico for Pete's sake. I am not absolutely sure I could just wake up one morning and decide to do that, and then actually DO it, anymore. Do we just get wimpier as we age?)

So, in the limited time I have to blog this morning, I am thinking that maybe the transformation needs to be from within (if you are reading this, Elizabeth, you have my permission to smack me upside the head, because you have been telling me this for a while now, but remember I only listen to about 25% of what people say to me and the rest of it is immediately replaced by a Smiths' song). I am not really sure in what way, I mean, I'm fairly spiritual in a personal kind of way, and I do try to live the Golden Rule, but there's got to be something in there that can be tweaked and bring me some sort of inner peace. Or whatever it is I'm searching for.

And on that note, life can't just be about the search, can it? Hm. That's something to think about.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The good news is that it only really rained a little bit. It didn't affect my mid-day fresh-air breaks at all, and though it poured in the middle of Saturday, I was for the most part in the car during the worst of it. I really shouldn't complain, except for the sensationalism of it in the news. Or should I say "news". It's really unfortunate that we don't have some crazy mad-scientist/weather-chaser-family-man here who staged a missing child scenario as a means to extend his 15 minutes of fame to detract from the fact that nothing much is going on around here. I mean besides the murders, break-ins, car-jacking and lottery parlour hold ups, apparently the only thing newsworthy is the fact that it MIGHT rain. In Portland. Like it has for ever. And ever. That's just not news.

We had a bye week, so I experienced a relatively stress-free Saturday, as much as everyone else in the Winco would have liked to have made that not possible (Is it paranoid to think everyone is out to get me? Or is that just me being realistic?). I guess a relatively stress-free Saturday is in order, because today starts my "Mom week" and, though I know we (meaning the four of us... well, 3 1/2) all have to do our part, it still doesn't make me any happier. I can barely have one civil conversation with the woman, let alone four or five. I know some of you (most of you) out there must think I am a horrible person for this but trust me when I tell you you don't know the whole story, and anyway, not everyone is going to like their parent. For what it's worth, Barbie told me yesterday that her week wasn't that bad. She said she kept the conversations limited to basic, light topics, like abortion, the war in Iraq, and national healthcare reform. So long as she kept away from topics like family, the past, and nurturing relationships, it was fine. I'll have to keep that in mind.

We go back to eastern Oregon in a couple of weeks, Barbie and I, so that will be fun. We had to postpone our last trip at the last minute, and now I'm convinced there will be snow and ice over Cabbage Hill, though Barbie alleges it will be fine. She says nothing happens til after Thanksgiving, and I say things have been changing weather-wise around here. So how does the weather that kept me trapped in my home for four days last December know to not ice up I-84 prior to the end of November? It doesn't. We'll see. And you'll read about it.

Right now I am putting off the inevitable. Seriously I have let this whole cleaning thing go far too long and something needs to be done about it. TODAY. I have a 10:45 wax appointment and then I'm thinking maybe I'll go over to the mother's and borrow her way-better-than-mine vacuum cleaner. That way I can bring it back later and start this whole sham of a week.

All right, you're caught up. I'm pretty much a lot like the city I live in - news-less. But at least I am not sensationlizing things.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The drive-thru doctor visit

So I went to the doctor today. I'm not really a go-to-the-doctor kind of gal. I never get sick (though I might have been mildly fluish once last year). I take B12 daily and have the kind of job that you can't be sick at. God only knows why Nicky and Amanda roped me into getting that flu shot, but I'm pretty sure I just wanted to go on a field trip.

I've never had Kaiser before because my mom was in the healthcare field for years (administrative) and never liked them. Said they were shoddy and you never saw the same doctor and the care was like going to a drive-thru doctor. So I always chose like Blue Cross or Aetna or something like that. But what I hated about them is that you always have to have a primary care physician and I have moved around way too much to actually have my own doctor. So I'd sign up for an insurance company and then try to figure out what doctor in the plan would be close enough for convenience and sucky enough to not have any patients and could take new ones on. Essentially. Once when I had to change carriers for some reason or another I had a loan officer client find me one - he had the time and I didn't. I don't actually remember seeing any of these doctors, but you had to have one in order to like be seen at an urgent clinic or get stomach medicine. The way I understand it is that if you don't have a primary care physician, and someone sticks a knife in your thigh, the urgent clinic won't have anything to do with you. It's never been a huge problem for me, again, because I don't go to the doctor, but still.

So this last November (not 15 days from now but a year ago) during our annual enrollment for benefits, I took a look at the costs of the plan (which I never do) and saw that Kaiser was $10 a month cheaper than Aetna. So I changed. Because I never go, what difference does it make, and anyway, a lot of people I know like Kaiser and are still walking around. I'll take the $120-a-year pay increase. How bad could it be?

Today I found out.

My left ear is a mess and it's been hurting and I thought it was infected so I took some amoxicillin (because I have it) for 10 days and nothing happened, so I just let it go, because that's what I do. But I was thinking I probably just needed to have my ears.... washed... like they do there at the doctor. I used to have to have that done fairly regularly. Some people just produce more.. product.. than others (but I'm a really good cook). So I set the appointment, and when I called (Tuesday) they said, we can get you in on Thursday, what time is good? Which was sort of surprising. Noon, I said, and today I went over there and prepared to wait for hours on end.

And that didn't happen. I was in a chair by 12:05. Some sort of almost-nurse started the flushing procedure by 12:06. She was done (in theory) within 10 minutes.

I say in theory because as it turns out, that wasn't really the problem. She went to get a nurse to look at them (and the nurse said to me, I see a lot of scar tissue in there. The left one looks pink and enflamed so it's probably infected, but the right one has just a ton of scar tissue and all sorts of crazy stuff in there. "All sorts of crazy stuff"? Like what? A banjo? A ball point pen? A slinky? Define "All sorts of crazy stuff". She didn't.). She told me she would get a doctor to confirm the infection. I again expected to wait but the doctor came within 3 minutes, looked in my ear, confirmed infection, prescribed some antibiotics*, told me to schedule a hearing test when I was done with the drugs, and left. It was roughly 12:20.

So I am then instructed to sit tight and wait for the exit paperwork, but the original Ear Flushing Woman was chatting me up some and asked, hey, do you want a tetanus shot? And I said, well, why? I don't intend to play around any rusty nails, and she said, because you haven't had one in ten years. Um. Okay. Then she said, hey, when was your last mammogram? to which I replied, Shut up! She started hitting me with the paperwork and telling me we were scheduling one whether I liked it or not because I'm 44 and should have had 4 by now (does anybody get by now why I don't go to the doctor?). So some other chick came in, shot up my arm and scheduled the mammogram. For fuck's sake.

I then proceeded to the pharmacy, where I waited the longest. Roughly 8 minutes. Paid my $9.80 and hit the road. Back in the office by 1:05pm. I have nothing to complain about. Except that I have to have a flipping mammogram in December.

Oh and I wasn't charged anything, besides the pills. Do they bill me? I have no idea. I don't even think they know where I live.
*Here's a bitch, as well. So while Nurse All Sorts Of Crazy Stuff In There was waiting for Ear Flushing Woman to go get Real Live Doctor, we were chatting about my ears. I confessed that I self medicate. That I go to Mexico and buy penicillin there, because I know when I have an ear infection and why go to the doctor for that. She grimaced and told me never to do that because you don't know what's in it and besides, not all penicillin is for every infection. We each gave equally convincing arguments to the cause (she won) but in the end, I didn't tell Real Live Doctor about the bottle of 500 mg Amoxicil in my cupboard. So what does she prescribe? 500 mg of amoxicillin. I had to go flipping pay $9.80 for something I already had in my cupboard, just so I could get the dosage. I'm not THAT bitter, but still. It's the same dang stuff. The moral? Don't judge people or penicillin just because they crossed the border illegally.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Oh my hell how I hate it. It just puts me in a funk. We haven't even really had that much up til now. I hate walking to the car in it, walking to the office in it (if I'm working in Orenco or Beaverton), hate the fact that I can't go out for a cigarette because of it (I'm pretty sure my coworkers hate that fact too, or at least the effect it has on me), hate having to put down a towel on the arm rest under my cracked window, hate how much colder it makes me feel, hate how much darker it is with it. Yesterday morning it was really only sprinkling but the street was wet and I completely missed the left turn to the Dutch Bros. Imagine how frightening it is to have me on the roads in this situation.

My hair looks like shit on a dry day. Imagine what it looks like after 2.3 seconds of exposure to the rain.

In other news, I actually made a doctor's appointment. For my ear. I haven't been to the doctor in like forever so this is saying something. I can't hear for shit out of my left ear and now it's giving me headaches. I'm going Thursday. Maybe after Thursday when I sleep on my left side I'll be able to hear the alarm. As it stands right now Lava listens to it for roughly one minute and then head butts me awake. Good girl.

So, no inspiration. Nothing going on. I miss my friend. I'm cold. It's raining. Eight months until June.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Go Monday

I have nothing much to say except it's cold and I am so not liking it. Nor am I ready for it. My apartment is so flipping cold already that yesterday I spent most of my day covered in a blanket. And I'm not really sure if I can endure this for the next eight months. I just don't get why it's already SO cold in here. Outside right now it is allegedly 50 degrees, but seriously it's 30 in here.

In other news it was a good football weekend. Would have been great if the Beavers lost, and was anyone even watching the UW game? Holy crap. I should never have turned it on, my being a jinx seems to have carried over to whoever is playing the teams I simply can't stand. Thank God it's not affecting the Ducks right now. I do have that kind of power, you know. And the Browns won. So there's that. I don't know how to be enthusiastic over a 6-3 win, but I guess I'll take it.

So I guess I'll just finish up getting ready for work and leave a little bit early. I'm not terribly busy but my car has the best heater in my world and I can't feel my fingers right now.

Go Monday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Be nice to your policeman

I got pulled over.

So yesterday I was driving home from work, happy to have a couple of days off after a pretty uneventful week, doing the same thing I do every day on my way home: trying to speed. My route home from downtown involves as many side streets as possible because there are so God damned people here anymore and traffic makes me crazy. Lately I've been taking the same route home as I do to work - Naito to Barbur Blvd to Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy to Shattuck to Vermont to Oleson to Hall to Greenway to Murray to my street. It takes roughly 25 minutes depending on what time I leave. The worst of it is getting out of downtown and getting off Beaverton Hillsdale. The better of it is driving up Shattuck. The only people that take it live there.

After crawling on Beaverton Hillsdale, avoiding pussy wagons and trying to understand why someone driving 30 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone insists on doing so in the left lane (or at all, really, I don't get that. Do you not pay attention to the signs?), I made it to the left turn to Shattuck and relished the impending rush of speed. Unfortunately there was a Portland Police cruiser waiting to rain a little bit on my parade. He clocked me going 44 in a 30 but even I am a little shocked at that (not really). He pulled me over in the Alpenrose parking lot, but since he caught me, I was nice and played along with him. Because of this, he only gave me a warning (which has never happened to me) and told me that I won the "attitude of the day" award (for which the prize was obviously not traffic school). It made me happy and therefore as I pulled out I almost immediately gunned it back up to the low 40s until I realized he would probably follow me. He did. All the way down Oleson to Hall, where I turned right and he went straight. I will be more attentive in the future. And I honestly believe that I would not have gotten a warning had all this happened in the jurisdiction of the Beaverton Police. We just don't get along.

(Did I tell you that story about my 15th birthday? Prowler? Bread board/broom/serrated bread knife? No police for four hours despite my repeated phoning and begging them to come check it out? And then they didn't show up until Tom went outside and caused a minor ruckus and the neighbor called the cops on him and THEN they showed? I think I did. So you can imagine my feelings still, 29 years later, about Beaverton's finest)

I have a lot of respect for the police, I really do. It's got to be a shit job anymore, what with all the crazy people out there. People don't really have any boundaries at all with the police anymore. Well, criminally speaking. When a cop pulls someone over they have know idea whether or not the person in the car is packing and whether or not they are going home that night. Imagine a job like that. Imagine not knowing if this next call could be your last. I may have my differences with the Beaverton police, but at least I can respect the fact that their job is pretty much a life-or-death situation every day. Mine is too, but it's a different kind of death. I mean, so far I've only had one threat to my physical safety, but the guy threatening me was drunk and I probably could have taken him anyway.

So the moral of today's story is if you get pulled over, be nice. Realize they busted you for doing something you probably shouldn't have been doing and they might be relieved enough over not having been shot that they'll let you off with a warning.

Have a happy Saturday and Go Ducks!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Here, kitty kitty, maybe?

I swear. A lot. Sometimes I don't even notice I'm doing it. I have the ability to turn it off in front of customers and out of respect for old people, but generally speaking my speech is littered with cuss words.

So why does it shock me to see them in print, in public, for all the world to see?

I've been working in our downtown office this week, and so the landscape changes on my way to work. I have a variety of routes that I can take since I live so flipping far away from downtown. The first day driving I passed a billboard on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway that said something along the general idea of kicking someone's ass. On a billboard? Sure on the internet, in a blog, in a book, maybe even in a PG movie. But on a billboard? I didn't think that was legal. I remember being mildly taken aback and wondering if there was some hidden meaning and maybe I am too much of a swearer to see the obvious true context of it. But that's really not it. I wish I could remember the whole slogan or whatever it was. Maybe tomorrow I'll retrace my steps (but I probably won't because I remember hitting a lot of traffic on Monday's route) and see if I can remember it after 9 hours in the hole.

I'm also kind of shocked at what is okay to say on prime time anymore. It's gradually getting worse. Bitch is okay, damn, hell, ass. I'm just waiting for shit. It won't surprise me in the slightest. I just came from a time when those were bad words. It's not bad for me since they make up about 50% of my vocabulary (with the f word filling in 25% and then regular words, conjunctions and prepositions filling in the last 25%), but I don't have kids at home watching this stuff. Not that they would necessarily watch the shows I watch, but isn't prime time supposed to be family friendly to some degree? I should ask somebody. What do you tell your kid when it's all over TV but he gets grounded because he asked you how the hell your day was?

The capper on it this week was this pickup I was lucky enough to drive up behind on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway coming home Tuesday night. There was something painted on the tailgate in huge bright letters, and as I approached it, I thought for a minute it was time to get my eyes checked (it is, but I'm lazy. And I digress a little bit). Nope, eyesight is fine. It said "Pussy Wagon". For reals. "Pussy Wagon". After I got over my initial shock (and distaste, really, because who does that? Who has that painted on the tailgate of their truck?), I sped up to see what kind of guy would be so crass as to drive around with that. Guess what? Wasn't a guy. It was a chick. Which changed things a little bit, perspective-wise, though it was still crass. You know, maybe if it was like a mobile cat grooming truck or some sort of cat mass transit situation. But I really don't think it was because there was nothing in the bed of the truck and no other detail or advertisement anywhere else on the truck. Just "Pussy Wagon" on the tailgate. Come and get it. Come and get your pussy, here in my Pussy Wagon. Mother of God.

Pussy Wagon came up behind me this evening on my way home again, but I saw her coming, and I sped up and passed a Prius on the right to get away from her. I don't want that thing anywhere near me. God only knows where it's been.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Rules of the game

I'm a creature of habit. Or more specifically, routines. If I remember correctly my younger years, this has been sort of a gradual thing. I don't remember having rules in my life the way I do now when I was in my twenties, or even my early thirties. I think that somewhere around when I started to realize this single thing was really going to stick they started to kick in.

My old roommate Sonia told me a story about her older sister when we were in our early twenties. Her older sister was the ripe age of thirty at the time, and hadn't yet married. Sonia told me her sister wouldn't marry her current beau because, you know, when you get old you become more set in your ways. Thirty. Dang.

I don't think that my routines are that out of line, but that Marsha seems to think that some of the rules that I set for myself are a little over the top. But I don't think it's unreasonable to not turn on the heat or add the blanket to my bed before November 1. This is Oregon, for crying out loud. Temperate. Sure I am always cold and currently can't feel my fingers, but it's the principle of the matter.

Every morning when I get up I do the exact same thing - brush-teeth-wash-face-put-in-contacts-turn-on-shower-undress-shower-towel-in-hair-lotion-redress-make-coffee-take-vitamins-feed-cats-dry-hair-read-email-plug-in-curling-iron-scoop-litter-read-news-curl-hair-makeup-face-dress-read-more-news-put-on-jewelry-go-to-work. I have rules about which coffee place I go to depending on where I am working, which result in specific driving routes. I do my dangedest to be to work between 7:15 and 7:30, depending on the office I'm in. If I take a lunch I take it at approximately the same time every day, again depending on the office, but I don't stick too much to that. When I get home, though I do immediately change into houseclothes, the evening is pretty mixed until 9:30 when the get-ready-for-bed routine takes over. I don't think I am any different than anybody else, really, I mean, what is life without some kind of order? Chaos, that's what. And my work life is chaotic enough.

Maybe that's why when I get up on Sunday morning I take the far corner of the fitted sheet with me so that the bed is half-stripped by the time I am half way to the bathroom. Maybe that's why I won't wear socks or a coat until December 1. Maybe that's why the cats don't get their wet-food treat until promptly 9pm, no matter how much they meow. And maybe that's why I HAVE to be in bed by 10pm, and at 11pm, even if I am not tired enough to sleep or the show on TV is really interesting, I take off my glasses, turn down the sound, roll over and close my eyes.

Order. Routine. Rules. They're all comfortable. They're all safe. They're all a little bit of normalcy in an otherwise not so normal existence.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cheers to a rocky road ahead.

I have a friend, a very old (well, SHE'S not old), dear friend who I have reconnected with fairly recently. She and I had some absolutely super fantastic times back when we lived in the same time zone. At one point in her life she worked in our local watering hole, and I can't even count the number of Saturday afternoons her then-fiance and I (and sometimes just I) would hang out with her at the bar, slamming Harvey Wallbangers through a straw, drinking beer and listening to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett on the jukebox. Fun, relatively care-free times, with way less resonsibility than today (or maybe I just blew everything else off).

The problem with so much fun like that is that for some of us it takes more and more to make it fun. Or, you know, you think it does. It's that whole "off-button" situation (like, I don't really have one). Over the years I moved away, and my friend and her fiance married and had three kids. Life throws some major challenges at the ones that can deal with it the best, and it did not spare my dear friend of any of it. Over the years she coped. And in the world we grew up, coping means we drink a lot.

Now that it's time for her to quit, I know what kind of struggles she is going to face. Not the physical ones, the cravings and the anxiety and the trying to figure out what to do instead (because I never really had that), but the social ones. Last night we spoke on the phone about how it will be difficult for her to go to a bar to meet friends and not drink. I told her it will get easier - and with three kids it's not like she does that a lot. But I also told her not to be surprised that the people who invite her out looking to see the old KD may not like the new KD and may stop calling her. I think she thinks she's prepared for it. I don't think it's something you can prepare yourself for. I think those of us with no off-button don't really like rejection.

But whatever challenges lie ahead of her, I am extremely proud of her and look forward to supporting her in the good times and the bad times. People who don't have this kind of personality trait don't understand like those of us that do. And I really understand. So Godspeed to the woman who helped me dream up the name "Trauma: The Drama" on a sunny afternoon in Cuyahoga Falls, drinking beer on her driveway and trying to figure out the world's problems. Salud - and I mean that.

Yes I'm upset about it, but what can I do? Nothing, just like the other times. Nothing but wait, and wonder if it's me, that suddenly everything just changed because of me, or something I said, or just me being me. I always wonder that. And I try not to think about it but it's always there, and I try not to miss it, but I really, really do.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Maybe I read too much into every little thing. But sometimes when I don't have anything worthwhile to do I look up random quotes and lately the ones that seem to stick with me have to do with dreams. Recently that My Guey pulled some cards for me and essentially told me that changes are coming provided I pull my shit together, focus, listen to my dreams and basically find the strength to do the things I know I have to do. Since every truth basically hinges on perception, I have perceived this to mean that yeah I should do all those things but does it really matter what actual order I do them in and if not then why shouldn't I just pay attention to my dreams? And the signs pointing at dreams and really when you get right down to it, the word "dream" itself. Or at least I think that's my current train of thought.

So today I thought about a favorite quote of mine by Henry David Thoreau, and then I saw that same quote two more times today just randomly. That's gotta mean something, right? And less recently (but still recent enough) I've been having these great conversations with people that I know from other lives I have lived, and I think to myself, Hmmm. Change. Change has always done me good.

The problem is I don't know what my dream is anymore. Or if I even have one. What happens to us when we stop dreaming, for God's sake? What's THAT mean? I don't mean stop dreaming as in sleep dreamlessly, because believe me when I tell you my dreams have always been and continue to be just whacked out crazy shit that I always remember and make me wake up thinking, good Lord where did THAT come from? I can't be done yet. I'm not old enough to be done yet. The escrow world is twirling down some sort of not-so-good drain to God only knows what and who knows where it that's going to leave me, so I can't just be destined to do escrow until I'm 78 and finally decide I can live comfortably on the roughly $7,000 I have managed to accummulate in my retirement plan. I just never envisioned my life like that. It's hard to continue to answer the question "Hey, what's new?" with "Not much, just living the dream" when I have absolutely no idea what that dream is.

All I know is that lately there are a few things that are making me pretty unhappy (as well as some things that make me pretty happy, when they're good, but I also know that with some things, taking the not-good is just a part of the good itself, so I deal) and in my world, when things make me unhappy I do something (drastic) that makes the unhappiness go away. Run away? Call it what you want. I call it greener pastures. I've always done a lot better, probably everyone has, when I have something to look forward to.

Clearly I'm scattered. And I'm not like looking to make a huge change right now. The way my world world works is that things just sort of present themselves. So for now, I guess, since I don't have anything very worthwhile to do, I'll just keep letting those signs present themselves, and keep searching for the dream.