Saturday, January 30, 2010

Home improvement

Whenever the upstairs neighbor takes a shower in her main bathroom it sounds like an explosion down here. Scares the crap out of me. It's really loud. Luckily she doesn't shower very long (I don't think she's washing her hair. She appears to be one of those old ladies that gets her hair done on Saturdays. Or maybe midweek.). I haven't seen her since last summer but I know she's up there because I can also hear her go to bed - her bed is very squeaky. Thank God she's about 137 years old. I can't even imagine what it would be like if she was getting any action up there. Here's hoping her New Year's resolutions didn't involve (findahappyplacefindahappyplace).

It's really quite amazing, when you sit down and think about it, like I have, just how much I've gotten done this morning. It's only like 9:30 and seriously, I've done more cleaning than I have in a month. Collectively. Can I just tell you how much I love my vacuum cleaner? It's nuts. Who would have thought I'd love a vacuum cleaner? It's not even a Dyson, and from what I understand, housewives have been falling in love with them for years. I don't know why I don't hang out with mine so much. I think I just forget how flipping awesome it is. It's really just a symptom of having had such bad relationships with vacuum cleaners in the past. You can't really blame me for being skittish.

I'm kind of fired up, too, because today could be the day that I get my "new" living room chair. It's kind of a long, drawn out story involving my being a cheapskate (and, you know, poor) and someone else being incredibly charitable, but the end result is this chair. I didn't think it would be the chair that it is, but I saw it in person yesterday and yeah, I'm pretty happy about it. Maybe it's just the idea of finally making this place more homey (after 2 1/2 years..). Or maybe I'm just happy that I'll have another place to nap. I'm kind of getting tired of the sofa.

In keeping with this home-ifying (don't look it up) of the casita, I've also been pondering crockpot recipes. Last week I made sort of a meatball stroganoff situation that was really good. I'm not really sure where I learned to cook for 45 people instead of one. I don't like leftovers. I'll have to figure out how to make something that's fabulous and only lasts two meals. It's hard toning things down.

Jackie has booked another trip to Isla and that just has me thinking again. I can't not go to Mexico twice in one year so I'm back to looking at flights and deals and stuff and then losing interest after about 7 minutes. The cycle of my life. I'll figure something out. Maybe I'll just go spend a long weekend in Southern California. I need a little sunshine therapy.

Until then, back to this sudden domestication/commitment situation I've got going on lately. Not sure what's got into me. But it's not really a bad thing so I'll stick with it for a little while.

Friday, January 29, 2010

And so another week comes to an end.

See this is why the minute I think of a good, meaty blog post I should just find a way to sit down and write it. My retention is shot. I was totally going to blog last night about something crazily insightful and full of the usual deep meaning that you all have come to expect from TtheD, but I ended up on chat and then the telephone last night until suddenly it was time to go to bed. This morning? Nothing. It's hard to remember what I was thinking of last night when my dreams are so flipping vivid and involved. It's hard to separate fact from fiction when you wake up at 5am wondering if you really DID hit two pedestrians, which was, among a million other things, what I dreamt I did last night. Is it a sign? Slow down? Pay attention? Maybe.

On my way to work I almost got pulled over. I say "almost" because I saw a Washington County Sheriff's car on the side of the road while I was driving at what I assumed was WAY over the speed limit on Baseline Road. Turns out I was only going 2 miles over, but it still scared the crap out of me and pretty much made me drive the speed limit the whole rest of the way. And though actually having been pulled over would have made for a better story this morning, it would have sucked really bad because let's face it, I can't afford any $300 ticket at this point.

Tonight after work I am (allegedly) meeting Karen and Jeri for drinks in Lake Oswego (which for me means club soda). We're meeting up at around 6. So I have to somehow get from Hillsboro to downtown Lake Oswego in the space of an hour. It is literally not happening. I love working in Orenco, but for the love of God it is a thousand miles away from anywhere. One thousand miles. I'm not kidding.

Work has not been busy. That's frightening. But you know, you hold your head up high and keep on keeping on, because there aren't a whole lot of alternatives otherwise. We at Orenco have managed to keep ourselves entertained, however. Yesterday turned out to be "Puppy and Acorn" day, and God only knows what today will bring along the lines of a theme. I had some clients yesterday that were roughly 182 years old each, and the wife had some pretty severe bed head going on, which somebody (I'm not sure exactly who, remember, I was in the signing) mentioned that her hair was sort of similar to mine. In keeping with Orenco's attitude of "kick 'em while they're down", everybody knows I am a freak about my hair, its potential nappy-ness and the ever impending gray racing stripe. So when I came out of the signing and the clients left, I was bombarded with "Joyce's hair is just like that 182 year old gray haired bandit that just left the office" jokes. Now, I know as well as you do that since I just had a cut and color this weekend that it couldn't be true, but Super-Fantastically Insecure Joyce still immediately runs to the mirror to make sure that, in fact, my hair does NOT look like the client's. I still kind of believe them. I'm glad that I have developed yet another neurosis in my advancing age. I don't want to suddenly turn boring.

So that's it. This wasn't the post I was thinking about. I honestly believe the idea-post was going to be more along the lines of the state of mortgage lending currently or something similarly bleak, but when it comes back to me I swear I will write it out. It should be good. Better. Anything is better than this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bad hair

I'm having quite possibly the worst hair day in a decade. It started with too much product, morphed into the wrong side part and has ended up in a gigantic mess. God only knows what it will look like at 3pm. I wonder if I have any signings. I hope for their sake I do not.

Work. Bleh. Well, the work part anyway. This is a great branch. I mean, there's always something going on. They make lunch there a lot, for the group, and there are giant combs and canned tuna and yesterday Maril brought in the Spirograph game. Remember that? Flipping awesome. Except I haven't tried it yet. The set is pristine - no rips in the lid, all the push pins and pieces included. We had that game when I was a kid - probably ten minutes after the box was opened half the stuff was missing. I love that Maril's set is in such perfect condition - and I love the fact that she brought it with her when she moved from New York. I wonder if she was thinking, hmmm, should I bring it? Will I need it? I might need it. Yeah, I better bring it.

Weather has been okay, not too rainy (rainy, but not super-rainy). It's foggy out there this morning, which will wreak havoc on an already ridiculous hair situation, but what the hell.

So it's pretty clear that we are in that mid-winter-there's-just-nothing-going-on season that tends to happen in this blog now that I no longer live south. I mean, seriously, what kind of adventures can one have when it's dark most of the time? I could go on and on about the cats but some of you don't really care and frankly, how many times can I post about them digging in a shoe or me wondering what they are looking at behind the bathroom door and being too much of a wimp to look myself to find out? So I'll just go to work, and work, and have fun with the props but not with the new HUD, and come home, and go to bed at like 9 out of sheer boredom, and then the next day I'll do the same thing. January. Shit.

The only thing left to do this morning is see what kind of hell this fog will do to the 'do between the front door and the car. Sigh.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brief resurface

Wow. It's been a long time since I've had like 4 days between posts. Mid-winter. Nothing going on. Rainy weekends where you run your errands like a crazy person, dodging puddles and idiots dressed in black crossing Canyon Road anywhere but at the crosswalk. Naps. Ridiculously long naps where it's just not worth getting up and vacuuming. Crockery cookery. Checking the window twenty times an hour to see if the rain has let up enough for you to take out the cat box debris.

I was poised to write about the branch I am in last week, this week and next week, and the fabulousness that they are all about, but I should have done that like on Friday night or Saturday. Now it's Monday and I'm not fired up at all about anything. They're still fabulous, I just need to shake off the funk before I put my heart in to it.

And then I wake to find out that Palmer Cortlandt died this weekend. I knew something wasn't right. Another icon of my youth. Dang. But such is the circle of life.

I'd wish you all a happy Monday, but really, when you get right down to it, who am I to tell you what kind of day to have? Just have your Monday any way you see fit and I'll see you on the other side.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Exploding heads

It's not that I'm super busy or anything, it's just that work that used to take no time is now taking ridiculous, endless amounts of time anymore. The same deals, the same kinds of deals as before - simple refis, new construction sales, FHA purchases - now take for flipping ever to close. It's exhausting and frustrating and frankly, it's cutting in to my be-social/screw-around time. Between every other file being a short sale and the new HUD, my head was ready to pop right off today. Four day work weeks are like seven weeks in a row with no weekend. Flipping exhausting.

While we're on the subject, I need a living room chair for God's sake. And a TV stand situation that is higher than the one I currently have. And really, two and a half years is probably commitment enough to realize I can probably hang a few more pictures in this place.

Speaking of which, my hair couldn't be grayer right now and though it's only been five weeks and three days, I'm finally getting my color done tomorrow night. The racing stripe is getting wider sooner. It's not pretty. Things might need to be done. Decisions might need to be made. I'm not saying anything beyond that, but if this never-ever-get-a-raise-again situation keeps up, there is no way I can continue to pay for the constant retouching of this hair. Not in the way I have to take care of it currently (don't feel bad, even I don't know where I'm going with this).

So in summation, I can't believe it was sunny today and that it was still light out at 5pm, I'm so cold I can't feel my fingers, and I'm mildly concerned with my current fixation on dim sum. Tomorrow is casual day. I don't know why that makes me feel better. But it does.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

...stupid truth.

You know, we always want people to tell us the truth. The truth is definitely better than being lied to, there's no question. In my business I have seen people strung along right up until the very moment they get to closing, and then had to face the facts and make a decision right then and there that could affect whether or not they would actually buy a house. No, there's no question - the truth is best. So when I spoke to someone today and told them to be honest with me, give it to me straight, I need to hear the truth... well, sometimes you don't really want to hear it after all.

It wasn't BAD truth, or bad news, and it actually ended on a good and happy note. But still, the fact of the matter is that particular truth hurt. A teeny tiny bit. It's not like I didn't already KNOW deep down inside the truth of this situation, but still. Just a teeny tiny little bit. So I sit here processing it, and thinking, yeah, you know, maybe I could have lived a little bit longer not knowing that the truth I suspected was really true.

I'm glad I learned this truth, and I'm glad the situation turned out the way it did, but nevertheless, sometimes, you just don't want to hear it.

These blues will pass sooner or later, they always do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And don't for a minute think I can't sing the hell out of this song, either.

I heard this in the car this morning and was stunned to find it isn't in my iTunes. I used to play this song every time I did the dj gig at Over 30 back in the day. Dig the hell out of it. I have nothing to say (still) but at least the cats are well taken care of.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

The opposite of doing stuff

My cat Seca is insane. Seriously, there might be something wrong with her. Plus I think she ate a chicken bouillon cube this morning - she knocked it off the counter when I mistakenly turned my back for one second and now it's gone. I smelled her breath and it doesn't smell like chicken so who knows where the hell it is. Probably in a shoe. Everything winds up in a shoe in this house.

So yesterday I got a wild hair and bought a crockpot because I simply don't have enough crockery cooking in my life. This morning I threw a bunch of shit in it from my cupboard and freezer and we'll see if it's edible in about six hours. It's a three-day weekend and I have effectively done nothing, because the weather is for shit and I have a raging case of the blues and all I want to do is read and nap and flip through channels. I wonder if today will be the day that I go get more WonderBoxes for the cat box? Hm. I wonder.

At least I'm doing some laundry. I have trash to take out and the crockpot box to recycle and the kitchen counter has a bunch of crap on it and my bedroom needs vacuuming and Seca is flipping out all over the living room and I'm pretty sure that after I finish this up I'll just go back to the couch and continue reading.

Yep, I'm pretty sure that's what I'll do.

Friday, January 15, 2010


It's been quite a week of going backward in time.

Jeri found a bunch of old pictures from the '80s, along with a photo essay of sorts from a trip a friend of mine and I took back to Portland when I was living in LA County a thousand years ago. We went to lunch today and looked at them, laughing out loud and trying to piece together the memories. It was great fun and reckless and felt like twenty-five years had never passed, still making a scene in the Burgerville but not caring.

Phone calls to long-time and faraway friends, not necessarily talking about the past but building on the strength of their foundations.

Wondering about other friends and friendships, missing them and wanting them back.

It's a happiness mixed with so much sadness and I don't know why.

The greatest people in the world have called me "friend" and I don't want to let them get away again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some come back

I got a blast-from-the-past phone call yesterday. Completely non-social-networking-site-related (well, not completely, and not the one you'd expect. They found me on LinkedIn and simply picked up the phone). January must be my month to reconnect with people from a thousand years ago or something.

It's funny. You don't really know the impact you have on someone until you haven't seen them in a few years (or 18. Or 26.). It's fascinating to me to see myself in their recollection. It's actually kind of daunting. I mean, I think I'm a good person, I don't think I've ever really been a BAD person, but I think the years have improved my sense of right, wrong and only-be-a-bitch-if-it-means-being-true-to-yourself-ness. And there are some periods of time in my life that, when I look back at them from my own perspective, might not have been the best in terms of where my head was at. So suddenly you get a phone call, you jump in your car and drive to a motel on Bangy Road (geez, People Who Aren't From Portland, look at you all jumping to conclusions), and after a couple of hours you find that even though you may have thought you were kind of fucked up at that time, you didn't let other people see it. Or maybe you just weren't that fucked up to begin with.

I worked with this one in Southern California for an automobile finance company. It was actually, in hindsight, a pretty good gig. I got away with murder 97% of the time which made the other 3% more bearable. And the people were great. We were all roughly the same age and tended to hang out some after hours. I was completely naive when I started down there and clearly was from a less-diverse-at-the-time Beaverton, but I learned a lot about much more than auto finance during my four and a half years in that biz. But I was also broke, had a piece of shit car, and was still perming my hair, so obviously I had a long road ahead of me. I was in my early twenties - a decade, I might add, that I always contend that I enjoyed immensely but would never, ever want to repeat - and lacked direction, just living the Southern California dream. Up until yesterday, it was a time in my life that I just didn't think about too often.

Last year I reconnected with some people-from-the-past that made me think of the high school me (sweet, shy, naive) (really) and got me thinking that it sure didn't take long for me to go from sweet and shy to reckless (my twenties) - I wondered how that happened, but didn't dwell on it. I looked past my twenties and focused on my thirties and the things I accomplished then. Last night I discovered that maybe I wasn't such a whack in my twenties - through someone else's eyes, I was someone worth knowing. Worth remembering.

So that's the thing about friends - some of them come back. And they remind you not only of how great they were, and are, but of how great you must have been to have attracted them in the first place. To inspire them, years later, to google your name and pick up the phone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I don't like being told what to do. Which is ironic, really, when you think about what I do for a living. I've never responded well to people telling me what to say, how to act, how to handle something (unless, of course, I ask their advice) (which is rare). I've been at this for 44 years, I know how it works.

So you can imagine my irritation when I got a criticizing message about something I wrote on a social networking site. My personal page of said site.

Social networking has come in to vogue in the business world of late, especially in the service industry. Fantastic. Great marketing tool. Reach millions of people. Blah blah blah. My own company is getting involved, being a service-oriented field. More and more of my coworkers are getting involved with some of these sites and linking up with clients and, well, not much more than that that could be construed as work-related, but whatever.

I, on the other hand, have been involved with one of the more well-known sites for a lot longer than the person who sent me the message a) has been employed with my company and b) started thinking about how beneficial these kinds of sites can be should one consider using one to assist in building their business. I use them for the social aspect. Not the work aspect. If it was my intention to use it for work I wouldn't have it hooked up to my personal email and I would assume I could actually get on the applications from work. But since I don't and I can't, it's pretty much all about me personally. I do not link to clients (I don't have any in my position for Pete's sake) and my profiles are private. So just because you can see it, because I am linked to you, doesn't mean you can suddenly make veiled criticisms about the way I use something that has nothing to do with my job (and while we're at it, don't try to tell me how to do my job either because I've been doing it since you were in high school) and that I've been using long before you people even knew it existed.

My message to you? Kiss my ass. Don't link to my profile, don't read my blog, don't try to get in where you are not asked your opinion, if you don't want to hear what's really on my mind. This is my shit, I don't do anything for your benefit, I am CERTAINly not here to please you, and if you're looking for some bullshit cleaned up pc display of phony business persona, you are looking in the wrong place.

And you might not want to approach me today. I'm in a shitty mood.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I have nothing to say so instead, here's some light entertainment from supergrupo ManĂ¡.

**I had to remove the (stupidly huge) video because it screws up my margin and that pisses me off. Keep irritating me, Monday, you're not quite over yet.**

It's Monday, my hair looks like shit, of course it's raining and my umbrella is at work. Salud.

Friday, January 08, 2010

This is my current excitement

Because it really doesn't take much anymore.

Yes, folks, a real, live, grown-up vacuum cleaner.

Costco had it on special, plus I still had that $20 Costco gift card hanging around, so finally I have a vacuum cleaner that is supposed to be good, doesn't take a cycle of steroids before you can build the strength to push it, and doesn't come with a screw to keep the handle in place that's too short (causing you to go to the Home Depot to get a longer one, realizing the nut won't fit it, causing you to rely on a shaky theory of gravity to allow you to vacuum 2 feet before pushing the screw back in or risk the handle coming out and looking like a jackass...). What the hell. I'm 44. I should have a grown-up vacuum.

I swore I would go home last night, put it together and vacuum the hell out of my living room, but I didn't get home til around 7:30 and I was just too tired. So I swear I will do it tonight. Believe it or not I am looking forward to it. Vacuuming on a Friday night. I am looking forward to vacuuming the living room on a Friday night.

How did this happen?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Well I had to write SOMEthing...

Because I'm freezing and am whiter than anything, mornings like these when I should be getting my shit together for work are spent looking for vacation deals. The problem is I'm really bad at it. Years ago I was in the travel industry, you know. My ultimate intention was to work as a travel agent, before being a travel agent became practically obsolete. Now I'm glad I didn't do it, because seriously I suck at it. My friends Marita and Dave can find deals at the drop of a hat, and maybe it's because of where they live, but they are constantly booking fabulous beach vacations for next to nothing. Me? I look for ten minutes, grow weary, and give up.

Who cares that I don't have any money? This is the year I'm going to make a whole bunch more, remember?

The kitties and I are back in the routine - me working all day and them alternately lounging around and ripping the shit out of my sofa. They like to harass me in the middle of the night because somehow after only five days of me sleeping in they forgot that I have to get up at 5am. I'm back at the circus but feeling kind of useless because I am not really covering anyone in particular. Being at the circus is comfortable to me, though, because it's so close to home, there's a Dutch Bros on the way and it's kind of loud. Really loud sometimes because I am sitting between Janno and that MaryAnn and both of them have hearing issues. I was rather shocked to find out yesterday as well that there was no cake - there is ALWAYS cake at the circus - so MaryAnn made me sort of an impromptu cake-like situation... a piece of fudge (I think) covered in strawberry cream cheese and decorated with frill-picks. It was fragrant. And a little frightening. I hid it on her desk before I left last night so we'll see how it fared.

The good news is it's Thursday already and already I have grand illusions about all the many things I will be doing this weekend. I'm surprised I haven't figured myself out yet, but I'll let the illusion continue for a little while longer. For right now my goal is to find a sunny destination for like April or something. I'd say I plan to spend some serious time looking on Saturday, but I know I'll give up on it. And send a plea out to Marita...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Yesterday vs. Today

Soooo I've gotten a lot more done today than yesterday could have ever even dreamed about doing, and it's only half over.

Things I have already done today that I didn't do yesterday:

1. Showered
2. Changed out of my pajamas
3. Put on mascara
4. Put on a bra
5. Left the building
6. Drove
7. Got my eyebrows waxed
8. Went to the supermarket
9. Put gas in my car
10. Returned two phone calls

Talk about progress! Yesterday's list? It's shorter:

1. Watched "Law and Order: Criminal Intent"

All day. Seriously. ALL DAY. It was on one channel for about six hours and then when it went to something else, I found it on another channel, and then another, so at one point I was actually flipping back and forth between two episodes on two different channels. I literally watched nothing else the entire day, and it was even on well in to the night because I watched it from my bedroom and feel asleep to it. That's gotta be some kind of record. I even suprised myself by seeing some episodes I've never seen before (and how can that be? I love that show and watch it whenever I can. Clearly.).

I felt kind of guilty about doing literally nothing else for the day (I didn't even nap through them), and made a vow to myself last night to actually get out and get some stuff done today, the last day of my five-day weekend. I don't feel guilty about it now because frankly I seem to the only person who can please me anymore.

The waxing was good today, though, and I set up another advanced appointment with Pauline, who impressed me enough last time to make me pre-book. She remembered a) that I was getting ready to go to Mexico last time, b) that I am a spinster and c) that I never pre-book waxing appointments. Kudos to her. She also advised me to start tinting my brows. In the nicest way possible. In the nicest way possible she indicated that I have been walking around looking like a jackass with eyebrows that don't match my hair color. And now I am expected to do this for another four weeks. Nice.

The driving-around-doing-all-these-things part sucked, though, because I think I am the only one who didn't get the memo that it isn't necessary to wave to people when they do you a favor. Like be nice and let them cut in front of you in traffic. Apparently I am the only one still waving at people like a lunatic when someone lets ME in, because when I let THEM in they just act like it was their right to be let in, and not that I was being nice and doing them a favor. Which irritates me because no matter how elaborate their back window decals are or how dark their window tinting is I still look for that "thank you" wave. It never comes. Bastards.

So spending all yesterday watching Goren and Eames crack cases was probably, in the long run, better for my mental health. I'll be out in the thick of inconsiderate stupidity soon enough. For now, just a few more things to add to the today list and then it's chill time.

Monday, January 04, 2010

ADD in action

So I'm taking a couple of days off in the new year, mostly because I don't think anyone else in escrow is and I think for the first time since I've been employed at First American I have a ton of vacation time left over from 2009. Which means I'm not traveling enough (remember my resolutions?). So here I am. Extending the weekend. I don't have kids and I'm not a crafts kind of person and I don't exactly have a ton of money in the bank, so really the only thing I have to do is clean. And read. I have a ton of books I need to get to. I'm off to a pretty decent start though, because believe it or not, while I was on a THREE HOUR PHONE CALL with that Kelly Dean yesterday I cleaned my bedroom. This is huge because I have this one dresser that serves no purpose other than to hold the pile of clothes that I put on it (rather than hang them up or throw them in the laundry). The pile was getting pretty high (mostly because all of the things that I didn't wear while on my last vacation went from the suitcase to the dresser and have been sitting there for a month). Just the fact that it's all empty and flat makes me feel pretty accomplished.

Also while on that same phone call I cleaned the crap out of my bathroom - we're talking old-toothbrush and hands-and-knees clean. You can pretty much eat off any surface in that bathroom now, if you were so inclined, which is a lot more than I can say for the kitchen.

I swear to God today I am going to vacuum. I swear it.

So at first I was thinking to myself that 2010 started out on a rough foot, but then I realized, really, there is no one event that can be an omen for a rough year. Other than be on the phone for ridiculous amounts of time (some of it in the car, without some kind of handsfree situation, which is now illegal in Oregon, and speaking of that I forgot AGAIN to put my new insurance card in the glove box, which I should probably do since I keep forgetting about that stupid phone law), I haven't had a ton of interaction with others. This is probably good since I am feeling kind of cranky and off my game (but there is a biological reason for that). I know a couple of things (besides the vacuuming which I SWEAR I am going to do today) that HAVE to be done - one of them is to go get these eyebrows taken care of and the other is to get creamer. And cook some more shit for my lunches this week. Because there are a few things on that resolution list that I really am going to do.

I obviously don't have much to say right now, and this thing is getting a little bit out of control, meaning it's just basically thoughts in my head spilling out all over the page, and I know that's not very exciting for any of you. So I guess I'll get to it (getting to it meaning dicking around some more on the internet and then half-heartedly emptying out the vacuum cleaner canisters and getting to THAT chore). So I'm signing off because my head is feeling a little ADD right now and I feel like if I continue I might never stop typing.

So, you know, happy new year and all that.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Rose Bowl 2010

Really? I haven't posted this? What's wrong with me?

It's going down, it's going down.