01 August 2017

August 1st

We went camping last weekend, just a 2 nighter on the northern edge of the greater metro area.  It was fun to get the trailer out.  T has decided that she wants the trailer in a covered storage place, so she rented one and we parked Vivian there on Sunday.  It gave me a pang to leave her there! She is quite the presence in the driveway, and utterly charming.  I'll miss her.

I have a busy two weeks coming up.  My buddies and I go on this cruise dealio on Friday.  I might have mentioned that I am uncomfortable with everything about a cruise.  Nothing about it appeals to me!  Claustrophobia, seasickness, germ-riddled environment, etc.  On the up side, though, is time spent with my friends!  It will balance.  After the cruise, we are going to visit Zoe and her husband for 3 days.  Sorry you guys!  Then we are going to Port Townsend for 3 days to visit Lisa's sister.  Thankfully, we will be staying in a hotel.  The sister's house is undergoing an extensive remodeling project.

In the meantime, my friend KA is driving up from Cali tomorrow morning.  She'll spend the night here and then we'll drive up to Seattle on Thursday.  So, I've got her for one night and then my neighbor son who will be cat/housesitting for me.  I've been super busy getting the house ready to have multiple guests and for an extended duration.  It's a week long cruise, but then we have a second week of visiting around.  I hope Pierre won't be too mad!  Good think he likes Gavin.

Just to make things a little more urgent, we are expecting a heatwave this week.  The predicted high on Wednesday is 106!!!  Ridiculous!  I've been busy covering all the windows.  The house is like a dark cave, but it's a cool cave.  I have a second window a/c unit that was just sitting on the floor in a closet, so I installed that in the guest room.  I don't want my houseguests to suffer!  There's nothing for downstairs but fans.  A couple of big fans is usually all we need to keep a house cool here.  Sigh.  Climate change, what?!?

Wish me luck on the ocean-going adventure!  Makes me a little queasy to think of it...


18 July 2017

Two Weeks Later

Two weeks later and it still feels like a vacation.  I'm still waking up ridiculously early (4:48 am today).  Sometimes I manage to get back to sleep, but not often enough.  Sometimes I resort to an over-the-counter sleep aid to keep me in bed longer.  Actually, it's kind of funny.  I react strongly to most medications so I always use my pill chopper for these.  They break in half easily with just one's fingers, but then I use the chopper to quarter them.  A quarter dose of an OTC sleep aid.  Talk about light weight!  (Of course, I mean my drug metabolism... not my corporeal weight.  Obvs.)

I made a list of big projects that need doing and hung it on the wall in the dining room (where I am sitting right now.)  So far I have crossed one thing off: Remove carpet from stairs.  Now I have to sand the stairs, replace two treads, and paint.  It's interesting to see signs of previous owners in old houses.  I note that someone else loved the color green.  The stairs were green at one point!  But, when I bought the house, the edges of the stairs had been painted a light-sucking dark brown and a dark brown carpet was nailed up the middle.  And, wow, did they use a lot of nails!  Still, it's all pulled up and it went out with the weekly garbage collection.  (Dusts off hands with satisfaction!)

Weeding the yard is on the list, and it is one that will never be crossed off.  I'm pacing myself on that one.  I'm trying to keep up with the front yard first, since I don't want my neighbors to be too unhappy with me.  But, the back yard needs attention too.  Sometimes I don't even want to go outside because it all feels so overwhelming.  Like I said, I'm pacing myself and trying to just keep at it.  This may sound like an excuse, but some of the 'weeds' are native wildflowers and I intentionally let those go longer because the bees and other pollinators need them.  This in not bullshit!  I am trying to tread that line between flowering and seeding -- I pull them when they are getting close.  At least, that is my goal.  The results is... scruffy looking.  I will never have a manicured yard and I don't want one. That's not my style.  I like a more wild looking garden, one that looks like it might hold a secret or two.  But, I live in the city.  People expect the front yard to be presentable.

Last Friday was my first payday without a paycheck.  That was disconcerting.  It took me about half the day to figure out what was bugging me.  My pension checks have not stated coming yet so I have been more frugal than usual.  My final check was bigger than usual since it included my vacation cash out, but it's a reality check to look at the bank balance and miss out on that every two week payday.  On the plus side, I have taught two self defense classes since I retired and I do get paid for that.

One great thing about being retired is the ability to say Yes.  Being free of the constraints of the M-F day shift allows for all kinds of different activities.  I've had lunch out with friends a couple of times, and impromptu get togethers with some of my neighbors who are teachers.  So freeing!  And, just sitting on my front porch watching the rhythm of the neighborhood is extremely pleasant.  (Just fyi, I've always been moderately good at saying No.)

I haven't created a schedule or structure for myself yet.  I had thought that it would be healthy and productive to do so, but so far I'm just... unwinding, I guess.  It feels strange to be without a schedule.  But, I will adapt!  I'm thinking that the morning might contain some aerobic exercise, like a brisk walk.  Coffee and toast, newspaper, blog reading and then a walk.  After that, the project list.  Maybe.  We'll see what happens.

I've got loads more to say about other subjects (family, T, friends, etc) but I think this is enough for one post.  Pretty soon I'll be boring you all to tears with the excruciating minutia of my pedestrian life.  Looking forward to that?   :-)

Thanks for reading, women!

01 July 2017

First of July, 2017

I had cake and champagne for dinner last night.


And it was good!

Instead of the Costco sheet cake that I was expecting, there were fancy layer cakes from a local bakery. Ooh! My only request had been for a lemon flavored cake.  There were two lemon cakes!  And a chocolate cake, a vanilla bean cake, and a latte cake.  I think I only missed the vanilla.  Lol!

I wasn't expecting anything but cake and fellowship, but there were gifts and a very nice send off speech from my division chief.  Naturally, I got a little teary.  But, I managed to clamp that shit down!  Jeez!  Don't want to go out on a watery note.  No Sally Fields moment for me!

So, that was Wednesday.  I had odds and ends to finish up on Thursday and Friday.  My office will be completely disassembled next week since another department is going to 'borrow' it for a few months while they undergo a remodel.  I hope my department gets the office back!  If not, the doctors in my division won't have an onsite support presence.  So.  Yes.  Hmm.  I'm drawing a breath now, and letting it out.  And, yes, all of that is none of my concern now.  Ha!

Anyway, the last two days were pleasant and low key with lots of hugs and heartfelt testimonials from coworkers and friends.  On Friday I had lunch with two of my favorite gals.  One is my birthday buddy, and we'll never lose touch.  But, I want to stay in contact with some of my now-former coworkers.  I handed out my email address to a number of people.  A very select number of people.  You know, you spend more awake time with your coworkers than with your family.  I hope you like some of them.  I've been lucky enough to have met some great people and maintained long friendships with quite a few coworkers.

So, after an uplifting and heart-warming send off, I called T from the bus as I was heading home.  She had called me earlier when I was in the middle of a conversation with three other people and couldn't talk with her.  Instead of congratulating me, she chose to be snippy and complain that I hadn't gotten right back to her.  Oh, for fuck's holy sake!  I'm close to done.

But, here's the thing.  I went home (caught the #70 at Lloyd Center!  Woot!) and I said, don't let this petty bullshit color your day.  And, I didn't!  I carried in my extra bag of gifts and last minute stuff from the office, kicked off my shoes, popped open the bubbly and took a glass outside to enjoy the afternoon/evening.  I had some celebratory texts and emails to respond to, and then I just relaxed and listened to the neighborhood unwinding (and had cake for dinner!).  It was incredibly restorative.  I could feel the tension draining out of my body.  In fact, I ended up being so emotionally and physically exhausted that I went to bed just before 9 pm.  I needed it!

This morning, I am still feeling pretty danged good.  I suspect that the first week will feel like the average summer 'vacation', and I'll be ready to go back to work on the following Monday.  But, I will create a schedule or a structure to my day and hold to that until I leave behind the automatic work pattern.

It will take me a while to settle into the new reality, but I am looking forward to exploring just how that evolves.  Stay tuned here, friends, I hope to be more regular with blog posts.  Gonna up my blog fiber!  Hahahaha....  sorry!

Ok, I'm having cake and champagne again (after a lunch of kahlua pork and rice).  I'm heading out to the porch to watch the world go by.  After a bit, I'll get back to work, uh, play.  Whatever!

27 June 2017


Ok, people!  This is it!  My last week!

I had to go in on Monday, which is usually my work from home day.  So many things to do!  We are interviewing a late applicant for our fellowship program, and I had hoped to escape without doing any more of that.  Ha!

One of my coworkers (my favorite, in truth), texted me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go out for celebratory drinks on Wednesday.  The great part of this is that she is planning to drive to work that day and will give me a ride home.  That's a gift!  And, if I have anything else to schlep home, that would be the day.

It still seems unreal.  I've been employed here for over 23 years.  That's rare in this day.  The generation after me doesn't stay in a position for more than 5 years, I'd say.  I'm an anachronism, for sure!

Still stressed about health insurance, still sending up a prayer to the Goddess that Obama-care will hang on a while longer.  My senators are fighting like cornered badgers to keep it.  Stay strong!  Or, for me, Stay Healthy!

Well, I'm going to go make my lunch, put on my shoes, and walk to the bus.  Four more days.

14 June 2017


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!