14 June 2017


image borrowed from the internet. not my basement.

Well, it's how we get through this world isn't it?  If you can't box shit up to deal with later, you'll never make it out of the house.  The trick is to open the boxes and deal with the contents, instead of shoving them into the basement for forever.  I know you feel me on this; don't pretend you don't!

Good thing I'll have some time to ponder, coming up here.  It'll be time well spent.

But, for the here and now, I'm busy.  Mostly busy at work, finishing up and getting stuff ready to be handed off.  Training the new person.  Emptying my office.  You know.  All that. I've been there for 23 years... I brought home a lot of stuff!  Oh, I have to tell you this: I was walking down the hall to a meeting yesterday and looked down.  I realized that I was wearing my gardening shoes instead of my office shoes!  And, naturally, I had just taken home my spare office shoes that lived in a desk drawer, just the weekend before.  Figures.  Made me laugh, actually.

My niece is going home to Virginia on the 30th.  The whole 'living with Grampy and going to college' thing didn't work out.  Directly as a result of my brother's animosity.  I'm not sure how to deal with him, going forward.  He is poisoning our dad against us.  I'm hanging in there because I don't want my dad to forget that his other two children love him.

Back to the niece, unfortunately her family is coming during the last week of June.  It's the last week of my employment and I know I will be busy.  And, there are a couple of happy hours scheduled that week for after work as well, so I can be sure that I'll be getting home late.  I know that they can entertain themselves, but I wanted to be able to see the rest of the family while they were here.  Plus, there might very well be drama and I want to be available to put out the fire.  That's what the middle-child-only-girl tends to do.  This one, anyway.

Meanwhile, it's still pretty cool and damp and cloudy here.  This weekend is our Pride celebration and, fingers crossed, it's supposed to be sunny.  I sure hope so!  If not, we've got rain gear.  :-)

Ok.  That's it for now.  I've got to go be efficient.

09 June 2017

What the hailing holey heck?

It's Portland, people!  Holy Hey Zeus!

I don't understand what is happening in my city.  I can't wrap my head around the sharp escalation in terror, fear, violence.

Two weeks ago (although it feels like the day before yesterday), two men died and another was gravely injured at the hands of a white supremacist terrorist on a public train in my city.  During the afternoon commute.  On a regular Friday.  Crazy broke free of the bonds containing it and tore a vicious and bloody hole in my neighborhood.  My actual neighborhood.  It's my dad's transit stop, and just one stop away from mine.

Crazy.  That's a handy excuse.  We hear that all the time from the gun rights people - 'It's not the gun.  There isn't enough mental health help for these poor (white) people.'  Fuck that.  This guy used a knife.  And, I also don't want to hear the bullshit from the prisoner rights people.  'He was radicalized in prison, it's the environment, it's not his fault.'  Fuck that.  It's a personal choice to pick up a weapon and kill someone when your life is not in jeopardy.  So, fuck all that; fuck those bullshit excuses, fuck you to the people who would normalize this action.  This is not normal.

We are all stunned.  Gobsmacked.  Reeling.  Disbelieving and incredulous.  How could this happen here?  Portland is so mellow, so laid back, so easy going.  Ha.  That's just the image.  Thanks, Portlandia!  (Disclaimer: they are often spot on.)  The seedy underbelly of Portland is white, ugly, and racist.  There.  I said it.  There are a lot of creepy and scary people around here.

And, the level of violence is escalating.  The fringe is emboldened and they are acting out on what had only been fantasies before.  A train conductor beaten up, a woman held up at gun point at my local park, stabbings, mob violence.  A bomb threat today at the transit center where the two men died.  Holy fucking whatever!

It's Portland, people!  Stop it!

I'm trying my best to be a force for good, but it is damned difficult in these times.

Feeling besieged,

24 May 2017

How is May almost over???

Hey Women,

How has spring been treating you?  Have you had some sun and flowers and green grass?  Have you had long pleasant evenings sitting on the porch with the neighbors, sipping a cool glass of something?  I hope so.  I have.  Doesn’t it feel good?

Here’s my catch up:

The countdown to retirement is on!  Still feeling a trifle ambivalent, but doing it anyway.  There have been some mornings that I have felt quite resentful at having to go in.  Ha!  Soon.  Very, very soon.  In fact, it’s 25 work days (counting my work from home days).  Yikes!  I’d better keep scanning!

So, T and I finally cashed out our vacation fund and went to Hawai’i.  We spent a week on Maui and had a really good time.  We got along surprisingly well!  We did a few things, but mostly hung out and relaxed.  It was very pleasant.  She might have roped me into a deal where I end up with a tattoo… I breathed a sigh of relief when all of the clean and reputable places in Lahaina were booked up.  If it happens, and I wouldn’t be adamantly opposed to it, a small image of a sea turtle, possibly on the inside of my calf.  If it ever happens.  I really wish we had seen one while we were snorkeling.  We saw plenty of fish, and we saw the turtles all the time coming up for air while grazing on the reef.  And, while they were in the same area that we were snorkeling, at the same time, we never saw one through our masks.  But, we still felt like we were swimming in their back yard.

I’m going to have to postpone my car trip.  I’ve got to sort out a better vehicle.  My car is a 1999 Audi.  I bought it from my sister in law for $2000 a year or two ago.  I’ve had to shell out for a couple of repairs, and I’m afraid there’s just a whole lot more of that in this car’s future.  It’s a decent small car and I rarely drive, so it has served me well enough.  I have taken it to Seattle a couple of times, but it’s had a couple of issues since then so I’m thinking that it might be just an around town car now. 

Speaking of Seattle, my niece and I are going up for a baseball game with Zoe next week!  Fun!  We are taking the train up on Friday, doing some touristy stuff in Seattle and then taking an express bus to the east side.  Zoe will pick us up and will spend the night at her house.  Then, her town is having it’s ‘town celebration’ that weekend so we will hang out there and see what there is to see.  Saturday evening is the baseball game – Mariners vs the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Mariners have been playing so badly!  I hope none of you saw that game we lost that was something like 10 to 1.  Ugh.  So. Bad.  So, yes, after the game we’ll go back to Zoe’s, spend the night, have her take us to Seattle the next day and take the train home.  It will be a good weekend away.  T is not coming.  We’ll have to spend some time with Z’s husband, but it’ll be fine. 

I haven’t gotten any gardening done this spring.  All I’ve done is pull weeds.  I know that I could still put some veggies in, if I bought some starts, but I think I’ll let the garden lie fallow this year.  Maybe I’ll plant a nitrogen fixing cover crop.  I’ve got garlic growing, leftovers from the last harvest.  I’ve got blueberries and raspberries and huckleberries and herbs.  Thyme, chives, rosemary.  And I’ve got two plentiful rhubarbs.  But, I have a lot of empty space in my raised beds.

Hey, I actually had some other stuff to say, but I have to go over to my dad’s house.  It’s Wednesday night – that’s what we do!  So, I’m going to go ahead and post this nonsense, because you know how I am.  If I procrastinate at all, it just doesn’t happen.

Thanks for reading, friends!

31 March 2017

Early Morning Discovery

I am out of English Muffins, and out of bread.  How the hell am I supposed to get to work without my coffee and toast???

Toasted Angel Food Cake.

It's true!  When the cupboard is bare, Mother Hubbard makes do with what is on hand.  This morning, that was a stale angel food cake bar.  It toasts nicely!  But, quickly!  

Two thin slices, spread with peanut butter, two (and a half) cups of coffee.  It'll do.

Hi Ho!

27 February 2017

Floral Report

It's February.  It's cold.  We had tiny snow pellets yesterday and an unkind wind today.  The pellets were called 'graupel', a German word, by the local weather people.  I looked that up online and it wasn't the actual atmospheric phenomenon that I experienced.  Suffice it to say, it has been cold, icy, and gray.  However, the days are getting longer (and marginally warmer) and the plants have their own timetable.

So, on with the Floral Report!

A couple of weeks ago I began seeing the signs.  Tiny piles of earth, pushed up, into the air.  Soil breaking, and pale tips emerging. Stirring.  Life is stirring, under the protective leaf cover.  Plant life, earthworms... stirring.

And then I smelled it.  The fragrant, sweet, seductive aroma of the sweetbox shrub.  The early bloomer, with such subtle flowers, that blasts glorious spring-promising perfume through the neighborhood.  Glory!  Spring Shall Rise Again!

Immediately following the glorious perfume of early spring, here come the snow drops. So clean and pristine looking.  Demure.  But, they are sharing the stage with the earliest of the crocus.  Purple, yellow, white, with dark green spiky-looking leaves, they are planted in drifts in yards in my neighborhood.  I'm usually seeing them closed up as I walk home, as they are diurnal and go to bed early.

In my yard, the daffodils are poking up, and the tulips.  Just barely, but they are gaining by the day.  There is also a lot more garlic than I was expecting in the front bed!  Maybe I'll get some big ones this time.  :-)

Spring in Portland is wonderful.  If you are cold and snow-bound (or just cold), I wish you warm temps; if you have been deluged with rain after years of drought, I wish you high water tables and low erosion; if you are yearning for Spring... I wish you could be here.  It would please your soul, I'm certain.

We are at the beginning of the season.  I'll try to keep you posted!

21 February 2017

Who said something about 2017?


Knocks on the door.  Tentative.

‘Anybody here?!?’

Dusty around here, isn’t it?  Yeah.  Sorry about that.  I’ve been reading but not writing, obviously, and this little corner of the interweb has been neglected.  Again.  Sigh.  Sorry.

Moving on!

I really don’t have anything to report.  Did we March?  Yes, we did.  It was awesome.  I hope all the millions of people who marched that day will continue the grass roots effort to reclaim our country from the dangerous demagogues who have taken control.  I keep thinking of that Margaret Mead quote:

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’

I feel discouraged that we have to fight these same damned fights all over again.  But, we will.  And, when I feel discouraged, I think about the black, gay, women friends that I have and…  yeah.  Let’s keep fighting.  Some people have never had the luxury of NOT fighting.

So, what else is going on?  Things are on a fairly even keel with T.  She was laid off in November and remains unemployed to date.  She is making a real effort to find a job but things are slow in her line of work.  It will pick up in a month or so…

This has been hard on her, of course.  And I am sympathetic to her situation.  But, truthfully, I’m glad that we are living apart.  The complaining and negativity would have tanked me, would have brought me so far down.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but I am certain that you both understand.

As it is, her family is at hand and they have taken up the slack.  They are so delighted to have her back in the neighborhood!  Her mom pops in frequently and does stuff like washes the dishes and straightens up.  It would drive me crazy but T likes it.  Most of the time.

What else?  I’ve had my niece over several times for meals or to spend the night.  She is homesick, and while I am not her nuclear family, I am at least a mom and I think she just needs a different energy sometimes.  We’ve had a good time hanging out.  I have shown her a couple of cooking tips and she can’t wait to cook for her family when she goes home for a visit.  It’s actually kind of funny, for being raised in this country, she and her siblings know very little about ‘typical’ American food!  Her mom is Ukrainian and my brother certainly never cooked, so she is more accustomed to a bowl of borsht and a plate of pelmenies than a hamburger and fries.  I showed her how to cook a butternut squash and a couple of chicken breasts in the same pan in the oven.  Ha!  So simple!  Simple is my only speed when it comes to cooking.  Fortunately, she has liked it all so far.

Let’s see…  the kidney donation thing is moving forward incrementally.  Lisa is active on the list again and the donor coordinator contacted me for some blood work.  The whole process is quite labyrinthine, but the fact that I work in a hospital that has a kidney transplant center will help.  I’ll be able to have some of the testing here.  First up, a blood draw for tissue typing.

I’m planning some stuff for when I retire (4 months, 1 week).  I’m 98% sure that this is the right thing to do, but I vacillate.  It’s kind of crazy, kind of scary.  I don’t know… do you think it’s crazy?  Retire and be poor but free, or keep working and kill my spirit slowly? I feel in my bones that it is the right decision.  I guess I’ll find out!

In an attempt to post *something* before another season slips by, I’ll end this here.  I hope you both are doing well and things are going your way!  Cheers, m’dears!

22 December 2016

Solstice Greetings

The longest night has passed, the shortest day is done.  It's a return to the Light from this point forward, thank the Goddess.

So, I've been thinking about duality in its various forms.  In its simplest form it sounds like good vs evil, light vs dark, Clinton vs the Hate Monger.  But, duality isn't simple.  To see it as A vs B is to misunderstand that there are layers to everything.  Does this mean that there is some good to the election of the Hate Monger?  No.  Absolutely not.  But, wait a minute.  What if this election means that enough people are angered, disenfranchised, uncounted, and hurt to be a catalyst for positive change?  What if something wonderful came out of it?

Here's the thing, as I see it, duality is also about balance.  At this time of year, when the planet is leaning into her orbit, we are at the furthest point away from balance.  Balance comes at the Equinox, we are at the opposite end of that today.  We are on the seat of the teeter-totter, our butts on the ground.  But, soon, we will be poised in the middle and then up in the air again.  Balance.

Light vs Dark is another false duality and is actually a beautiful balanced reality.  We imbue light and dark with values that have nothing to do with the presence or absence of the Sun, the day star.  Of course we do, silly humans, always making everything about ourselves.  Sheesh!  Have you ever read the Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien?  It is the creation story (actually several stories) of Middle Earth.  In the beginning of the physical world, there was no sun or moon and the elves lived under the starlight.  The sun and the moon were created (in part) to give light to humans (a later species) to protect them from the forces that preyed on them in the dark.  BUT, the dark itself wasn't bad, it was appropriated by evildoers for their own gain.  When the sun and the moon were created, the Elves mourned the loss of the starlight.  The starlight was that balance point between light and dark.

Do we fear the dark?  Sometimes yes.  I think that stems from being prey species in our evolutionary past.  We've got good vision, but we need light to utilize it.  It's harder to see the hunter in the dark.  We may have feared the dark as children (and we may still as adults, no shame in that), we may have needed a nightlight to protect us as we slept.  We probably didn't ever thank the sun for rising again, but our ancient ancestors likely did.

I'm trying to get to a place of balance.  A place where light and dark are the natural, expected and equally cherished parts of every day.  Understanding is the enemy of fear.  If I understand, accept and celebrate the dark then I do not fear it.  On these dark winter days and long winter nights I am working on finding an appreciation for what the dark gives me.  Time to read, a cessation of yard work (mostly), the enjoyment of being at home all snug and warm while the storm rages outside, things like that.

As an aid to that seeking of balance, I have a new mantra.  It may make you laugh, and that's not a bad thing, but I can tell you that it truly brings me a step closer to balance and centeredness.  I say it as a prayer when I go to sleep and I say it as a gratitude when I wake up.  I say it sometimes during the day when things seems bleak.

Bright blessed day
Dark sacred night

That's all.  Just those two lines from the song 'What a wonderful world'.  Performed and made famous by Louis Armstrong and written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss (thanks Wikipedia!).  That song still has the power to make me tear up every time I hear it.  It also reminds me that duality is false.  Night and day are different, but they are two necessary parts of a whole.  And here's one thing I love about that couplet: bright/day and dark/night share the notion of holiness.  Blessed and sacred are the same value attached to the two opposites.  With this idea we can see that both night and day are a gift.

On the shortest day of the year, I will look forward to the turning of the wheel.  But, I will not bemoan the dark.  I will celebrate all of the good that I have in my life, and I will acknowledge all of the work I have to do to make the world a better place.  I will happy when the days are longer, but I am not sad that they are now short.  It's time to make plans.

Happy Solstice, friends.  I'm toasting you with a glass of crystal clear, mountain born, icy cold water.  Drink deep, refresh your spirit, get some rest.  We have work to do.

12 December 2016

December is cold

Hello Readers,

It’s 12.12.16.  Wow.  Almost halfway through the last month of the year.

November was… difficult.  First, it was NaNoWriMo.  This year marks my fifth win.  I’m happy about that, and I will have more to say about the writing output later, but… November.

Second, well, you know.  The Travesty.

It’s been hard to make sense of our country and our people.  It’s sad knowing how many people live with hate and fear in their hearts, leading their actions.  It’s also terrifying knowing how little they regard anyone but themselves and their kind.  The terror comes from being one of their targeted ‘others’.  We made so much progress as a nation during the last eight years…  it’s heartbreaking to contemplate it all going backwards.

So, where does that leave us?  Clinging like tsunami victims to the scrap lumber of our sinking ship? Maybe.  Maybe for a little while.  But, really, we’ve got to fight back.  I don’t know how, but I know that we must hold our ground.  I know a lot of politically savvy people and I hope like hell that they are formulating plans.  I’ll help.  Whatever it is that we are doing, I’ll help.  (Usual caveats.  Not killing anyone.)

When we look at the voting patterns, we see the same thing that has been happening for years: polarization of opposing views, and much of it geographically aligned.  This behemoth of a country has stood despite such a strongly divided population, but it is shaking, tipping, teetering now.  Could it fall apart?

There is a long held desire in my neck of the woods toward secession. Free Cascadia!  Cascadia is the bioregion that includes the Cascade Range and everything west to the ocean.  Cascadians would like to have Oregon, Washington and British Columbia (and the SE peninsula of Alaska) as our own country.  There is a small region in far Northern California that would like to join us – they already refer to themselves as the State of Jefferson.  They could be our southernmost boundary – our banana belt, if you will.

I know there are other idealistic secessionist notions in our country.  US out of Vermont was a popular rallying cry a decade ago, and probably still is.  We all know that Texas has been talking secession for generations.  I mean, who didn’t contribute to the Great Wall of Texas?  California has the gross domestic product of a fairly large nation and could, easily, be its own country.  New York certainly has the population for it.

I guess what I am saying is that… maybe it’s time.  Maybe this behemoth isn’t serving enough of the people anymore.  It is turning into an oligarchy before our very eyes.  Do we have to stand by and watch?  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think that I would see the collapse of the Soviet Union in my lifetime. That happened with breathtaking speed.  Can it happen here?  We didn’t start as diverse nations united by force, like the Soviet Union.  But our diverse regions are becoming more and more estranged from the center of government.  And, this trend will continue, I think.

Now, the ultimate breakup of the United States is a pipe dream at this point in time.  I believe that it will happen eventually.  But, probably not for a very long time. [But who the hell knows? The Travesty should never have happened either.]  One thing that can and should happen sooner than that is the breaking of the two party stranglehold on our government.  Just imagine if there were no majority.  All parties would have to compromise and work together to get anything done.  This would be a boon to the people of the country.

Besides the need to work together, a plurality of political parties would also ensure that real people are truly represented.  For my part, I do not feel represented by the Democratic party.   My concerns, my demographic, is a footnote to the larger party, and we are most often told to wait, that this isn’t the right time to address our issues.  True, President Obama made good on a lot of issues, and I thank him wholeheartedly.  Without a strong populist in the driver’s seat, the rest of the passengers on the bus will be out of luck.  And, that’s just those who were allowed to get on the bus in the first place.  Oh, who am I kidding, the Hate Monger would never be caught dead on a bus.  It’ll be a limo and it only stops for the wealthy.

I’m discouraged.  I’m tired of rhetoric.  Even more, I’m tired of lying liars and the lies they tell.  I’m tired of the disingenuousness of the mainstream media.  I’m tired of the 24 hour news cycle.   I’m tired of social media.  The world is changing and the rate of change is increasing.  I know I’m getting older because I am often left feeling that I’ll never catch up, that I’ll never understand the new order, that I’ll never even be able to work the fucking remote control for the tv!

 So, where does that leave me?  I cannot spend the next four years in despair.  Depression is my frequent companion; I can’t invite her cousin to come along.  That means that I need action.  Action!

I’m talking about two kinds of action.  One is meaningful political activism, the other is physical.

For the first, money and time.  Right now my time is limited, but I am going to partially retire in the summer (!) and I will be able to devote actual hands-on active time to a cause.  There will be many to choose from, a plethora, sadly.  As far as money goes, no I don’t have a lot, but I can make an extra $50 donation to some of my usual charities.  I’m getting my brother’s family a donation to the ACLU for the holiday gift.  That kind of thing.  That is something that I can do right now.

The second kind of action is physical.  You know it.  I know it.  We all know it.  Physical activity, exercise, whatever you want to call it, has a great capacity for decreasing depression.  When I am working out regularly, she really does sit in the back seat, sometimes even in the trunk.  I have put my bike on the trainer in the unheated sun porch.  I need to pump up the tires (at least the front one).  With the Goddess all around us as my witness, I will ride that bike TODAY!  This I swear; witness my hand this 12th day of December, 2016.

Now, there’s my positive note!  Pollyanna smiles and breathes a tiny sigh of relief.  You see, we need something, some positive thing to cling to, to hold us up against the downward pull of the tide.  We’ve got to hold the good thought, people!  For our own salvation as much as the saving of our country, we have to keep the light shining.  Apparently, for me, it’s all tied up with the damned bicycle.  At least right now.

So, thanks for rambling along with me.  I know every single one of you is as gobsmacked as I am.

Don’t give in to despair!  We are in this together.

Peace and Love, friends.

31 October 2016

Family Eruption

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of women's safety in contemporary America.  Could get ugly.

Just when you think that everything is going along swimmingly...  a shark fin is spotted in the harbor!
What the heck does that mean?  Well, I thought that everything was going really well with my dad and the teenager and then shit blew up this weekend.  Sigh.

Actually, everything is still going well with my dad and the teenager, it's my younger brother who is the problem.  Here's how it went down:

Friday afternoon I got a text from the niece asking if I would call Gramps and let him know that she could get herself home from work on her own.  I asked, 'What's going on?'  Turns out my brother, not her father but the other brother, has decided that it is too much trouble to pick her up at the transit center (or work) when she has a late shift.  He says that it's too hard on the grandfather to stay up past 9:00 pm.  Mind you, the grandfather did not say this, only his pampered son.  AND, it was her first day on the job.

The transit center is not far from their house, but it is a dangerous place in the dark, with all sorts of miscreants, punks and homeless people hanging out and relative isolation physically from the rest of the community.  You have to cross a bridge and descend a stair to a platform alongside the tracks and overlooking the freeway -- there is no street access or businesses nearby, it's very isolated.

So, my brother decided that it was too late for our dad to go out at night, and he certainly couldn't be bothered to shift his lazy ass off the couch to pick up the kid, so she'd have to get herself home after her work shift ended at 9:15.


Fucking straight white men and their fucking straight white man PRIVILEGE!  My blood was boiling!  It's still at an active simmer!

Not a one of them has ever been afraid.  Not a one of them has ever been threatened.  Not a one of them has had to endure the hidden violence of cat-calling, of being followed, of being accosted while waiting for a bus or a train.  They haven't been shoved up against a wall while some man presses his engorged dangly bits against them.  They haven't had to deal with the realistic fear of being young and female in the city (or anywhere).  They have never been raped.  They are so fucking oblivious!  And entitled!

The first thing I texted back to my niece was: I will pick you up at work.  I don't want her to have to quit her job because she has no one to rely on within her family.  I don't care if she works or not, that's not my issue, but I don't want her world restricted to the daylight hours and the small safe zone she has around the house.  How many of us have had to conquer that in our lifetimes?  I remember back in the 1970's when my mom picked me up at the school bus stop in the car when I had late practice in high school.  It was about a tenth of a mile; we could have counted our steps between the two spots, but it was along a main road with no houses or businesses within sight or earshot and my mom didn't feel that it was safe for me to walk home in the dark.  All I can say now is, Thank you, Mom, for being worried about me.  I will gladly continue to pay that forward.

*** Take a breath.  I need to as well. ***

I'm mad at my younger brother.  Full stop.  I'm frustrated with my dad and older brother (father of the kid).  There are multiple layers of angst rearing up in my family right now, and some of them are extremely unsettling, but one thing ties the three adult men in the family together: their willful blindness to the peril women face on a daily basis.  If they lived a week in our shoes, they wouldn't begin to understand what we have known since childhood: the world will hurt you.  There are bad people who seek to control and debase you.  Every action will be judged and found wanting.  Do not talk; dress; act; look; behave; speak; (etc) that way, or pay the consequences.  It doesn't matter how nice, quiet, sweet, unassuming, invisible you are -- the world will hurt you.

*** Ok, take another breath with me...***

My dad and brothers are looking at things like: how far away is the transit center?  Not the reality of; what is the transit center like at night for an 18 year old girl?

My older brother thanked me for taking his daughter to the self defense course.  I said, yes, but a single class does not make a black belt.  It would be foolish for her to assume that because she has completed one 3-hour class that she can go anywhere with impunity.  Fortunately, she is smarter and savvier than they are.

The other big issue raised was that she should be driving herself.  Now, that might have been expected if she were living in the rural suburbs where she grew up, or even the suburbs around Portland, but she lives in a close-in city neighborhood and works downtown.  You tell me how leaving her car in a parking garage and having to get back to it safely late at night is a safe strategy... These men have never lived our lives.  I'm sorry, but parking garages are very dangerous.  That's our reality.

Upshot: I'm picking up my niece after her late shifts and dropping her off at her/my dad's house.  My younger brother is out of the equation.  That's good.

The other upshot: my younger brother has said some things to me that make me seriously doubt his mental state.  He is making up a new history for himself that doesn't align with what we lived.  That's pretty concerning.  Also, he has a lot of influence with our dad.

Pollyanna note:  I dropped by my dad's house this morning to check on him when my brother wasn't there.  He appreciated me checking in and is feeling better about things.  He is still 100% supportive of the kid living here and is enjoying her company.  Also, Pollyanna #2, I'll get to see the kid more often and I count that as a good thing.

***Go ahead and take a few more breaths.  Shake your head.  Breathe again.  We all need it.***

18 October 2016

Update from PDX

What do I have to say that is of interest?  Little, as usual.  But, a survey of events since last I posted reveals that I am overdue on communication.

So, how was the trip to Cali?  Good.

Lisa, my bestie from the first day of high school, the one who needs a kidney, the one we went to celebrate the birthdays with in April, is doing much, much better.  I was so relieved when I saw her!  She didn’t have her old energy – but, who among us does?  But, she was so much healthier than when we last saw her… quite the relief!  The dialysis is definitely working!

She still teaches at the really rough high school, and it is just so draining.  I worry about her all the time.   The kids are so bad.  The administration is so bad (but maybe a tiny bit better than last year).  Hell, southern California is bad.  It’s unhealthy, I believe.  It’s so dirty.  And so crowded.  So hot.  And so stressful. But, maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, I wish Lisa didn’t have to keep exhausting herself on a daily basis.

But, that’s my worry.  Let’s move on to other things.

This coming weekend I will be assisting in a Women’s Self Defense class at my martial art school.  A little background:  Besides being a black belt, I completed the training to instruct women’s and children’s self defense classes.  I worked at that in my limited spare time for a while.  But, then my mom got sick, and then she transitioned to another plane, and my energetic focus has been directed elsewhere since then.  One of my teammates is taking over the self defense program and asked me if I was interested in assisting once a month or so.  I pondered this a fair bit.  And, I decided that, yes, I was interested in going back to teach self defense.  The time is right…  sadly, the time is always right for teaching self defense.

Did I tell you about my niece moving to Portland?  Well, she did, and she is absolutely delightful.  She is smart, funny, quirky, studious, sweet, sincere.  She is a great kid!  She’s living at my dad’s house, which is great for both of them.  They are keeping an eye on each other.  Lol.  I’m trying to find the balance between helping out when and where I am needed and not interfering!  Hahahahhaha….  Actually, I’ve been pretty good at not overwhelming her.  Which makes me wonder if I should be in touch more…

One of the cats needed a trip to the vet and a ridiculous vet bill. Of course, it was the best kitty.  Couldn’t be the jerk who pees in the house, no, it had to be the most loving and affectionate of the cats.  The one for whom we are willing to spend beyond our budget.  Sigh.

We had a massive storm last weekend, but it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as the prognosticators thought it would be.  Glad of that!  Still, I did have water in my basement and there are branches down everywhere.  If it’s headed your way, it’s a wet one.

Well, I guess that’s all for now.  I hope things are humming along on a good track for the rest of you!