Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I bought a few things for work, because I am working at a place that requires business casual, which is far afield from that clothing that hang in my closet. 

I've worn jeans and hippie dresses for the past 25 years, to every job I've ever had and it's been completely acceptable, if not expected.

So I bought four new outfits, because the four things I rotate now are pretty shopworn, and winterly.

Three of the four were simply not good.

One dress a knit thing with a sort of flowery print and empire waist, was shoddily made, although I liked the design.

The second dress had weird sleeves and too much lining. 

It looked like the breastplate  of a suit of amour, and made me feel stiff.

The third outfit was so so. 

The top was fine.  It was white, which is always a gamble, for someone like me, who drinks coffee while terribly near sighted, and has a tendency to spill, but it was cute (although Mark said it was "see though", by which I think he meant white, having almost always only seen me in black).
The accompanying skirt was an abomination. 

Hideous.

Long, overly long.

Mark couldn't quit put it into words, but upon seeing it on, Rolf exclaimed,

"there is simply too much FABRIC!" 

and as usual he was completely correct.

He may have not been this correct, since the time in the early 90's when he observed that the dress I was wearing made me look like a secretary.

The lot of it is going back, except for the see-through white tee-shirt with the little bow.

To hell with clothing, I will go on with my Mao inspired peasant dress and they can avert their eyes if they don't like it!




I have few indulgences, when you get right down to it, in relation to the typical middle aged modern person. 

I don't shop.  

I don't really wear makeup, and the one lipstick I use regularly is 5 years old.

We don't have cable, and we are frugal as can be, with the exception of a few meals out per week.

We don't have debt, we don't have toys. 

All of this has a lot less to do with virtuousness, and much more to do with my neurosis regarding money.

I have a naturopath that I see several times a year. 

Maybe five in a bad year, maybe less when I'm betterish.

I used to have a hypnotherapist, but he was insanely expensive and didn't draw blood.

I love my naturopath very much. 

She listens to me.

She pats my hands.

She tells me I matter, and that I'm meaningful. 

She worries that I work too much and rest too little. 

She tells me that she is proud of me, and knows my taste, my struggles, my strengths.

She pours me cups of tea and cares deeply about my well being.

She is like the parents I never had, and for $125 an hour, it's a bargain.

She also got me put back together last year after my iron dipped so low that my MD suggested a blood transfusion and a hysterectomy, which seemed like a terrible idea to me. 

I know tons of people that feel this way about their therapists, but I never had much luck with mental health folks, all they every wanted to do was give me sleeping pills and stuff me full of anti-depressants, that they couldn't really explain fully.

My friend Dom is a big believer in western medicine.  She is game for any kind of treatment, and I suppose that works for her.

I have never felt the slightest bit of care from a doctor in my life, in fact, I have actively felt uncared for and harmed at times.

So I opt to take vitamins and practice Emotional Freeing Technique, and do yoga sometimes and breath deeply and believe strongly in the power of having someone care about you, even if they are just pretending to for money.  







Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Listening to A Flock of Seagulls can lead to accidental goat consumption and divorce

Maxwell has been taking drum lessons from an old friend of mine. 

My friend the jazz drummer lives way the heck out in North Portland, almost to St. Johns, which is a very long way to go at 2:30pm every Sunday, for a half hour lesson. 

He's a good drummer, that much I know for sure, and so far he seems to be a decent teacher.  Maxwell has taken to practicing once in a blue moon, even, which makes all the driving a loitering around during the lesson seem worth while (for what it's worth, we could probably sit in my friend's living room and wait, but that feels overwhelming to me, since I am not a fan of loud noise).

On a recent Sunday, it was just the three of us, Freyja being away on a trip with my mother, so I suggested that we all go to the lesson, Mark and I would speed grocery shop, then we could have a late-lunch-early-dinnerish thing after. 

I had this fantasy of eating barbecue brisket at the place near the drum lesson. 

My mouth was all set for it, as my grandfather used to say.

On the way to the lesson we encountered traffic, the result of a crash on I-5, which made us very late. 

A half hour late. 

Both Mark and Maxwell were hungry when we left the house, because I made them skip lunch, in favor of this barbecue fantasy I'd created in my head, that was to happen at 3:00pm sharp.

We dropped Maxwell off for the lesson, and went and did our shopping, and encountered even more traffic, and were quite late picking up. 

Mark and the kids all suffer from crankiness brought about by low blood sugar, or hunger.  In fact they need to eat rather often, for such slim and trim people. 

This is a very alien concept to me, who despite being quite plump, can go long periods of time without eating a bit, and feel perfectly shipshape.  In fact, I prefer not to eat all day and just have dinner (which I know is TERRIBLE and possibly makes me the worst person ever).

So here we were in the car, with me merrily thinking I was going to get my brisket, and Maxwell and Mark feeling all woozley and peaked from hunger, when we noticed the barbecue place was closed. 

There wasn't anything to speak of nearby, so off we set for Alberta St. in search of something special.

I was merry.  

I was in search of something special, they were in search of immediate sustenance.

As we drove the conversation turned to Mark playing in a band in high school and he might have mentioned playing A Flock of Seagulls cover tunes, and I might have said

"WHAT!? I wouldn't have given you to time of day!"

and he might have not been in a very festive or jovial mood and said

"Yeah, Max, Mom was really cool and alternative"

and I may have run my mouth a tiny bit, talking some good-natured smack, thinking we were joking, because I totally was and all of the sudden everyone was in a terrible mood. 

The traffic was awful and the mood was terrible and no one was laughing at my hilarious barbs, and the afternoon was just spoiled.

We did manage to find a parking spot, in an area that appeared to have a cluster of cafes, but when we got out of the car, nothing seemed to be just right.

That's when Maxwell suggested that we go into a taqueria  he'd noticed when we drove past. 

I wasn't really in the mood for tacos, since my whole vision involved having something Freyja would hate, since she wasn't around to limit my choices to tacos and pizza, but it seemed like a bad idea to push the more exotic options, at that point.

I could tell straight away that this was not going to be a good kind of hole in the wall taco place. 

This was a bad, not very clean taco place.

To make matters worse the menu was one of those wall mounted jobs, with print so small that I couldn't read it, without my glasses, which I lost when Freyja was in 1st grade.

Both Mark and Max, with their enviable vision, had already ordered, by the time I managed to ask the sullen lady at the counter for a printed menu, and then wander around searching, while she barked vague instructions from her perch behind the counter.

At that point my good humor was completely warn thin and I was furious at Mark for being such a baby about my teasing over his terrible taste in music, when he was in high school, and I was further furious at them for ordering without me and not helping with the menu problem.

I noticed one of the photos on the menu that hung far above me, looked like a soup that I often have at our neighborhood place, so I pointed at it and said,

"I just want #8"

"You want birria?"

"Yes!"

"B I R R I A?" 

"YES!!"

and I went to sit down.

As I joined my cranky family, it dawned on me that I had just ordered goat soup. 

Soup of goat.

I'm not a vegetarian, but I am a goat enthusiast and I was just horrified by my mistake. 

My mouth was in no manner set for goat!

"Goddamn it you guys, why didn't you help me? I couldn't read the menu and I think I accidentally ordered GOAT."  

"Let's just GO, this place is almost guaranteed to suck."

"There is no way I am leaving and giving that woman the satisfaction of thinking I didn't know what I ordered!"

"Mom, you didn't know what you ordered! You ordered goat!"

"She doesn't need to know that!"

Then the goat arrived. 

Unadorned, in a Styrofoam container.

While my family ate tacos, I sipped at my goat broth.

I got up and asked for a lime.

The woman pointed from her stool at a sad pile of juiceless limes on a sideboard, that I'd overlooked (she was not moving from her seat for love, or money, as my father might say).

When they were finished eating we packed up what was left of the goat, and took it home with us, for Rolf to eat in the morning.

I made up a little song about the mistaken goat, in a Styrofoam tote, and Mark apologized for being a dick about the new wave music ribbing, and Maxwell sang a little harmony and added a bit to the verse, and said that it was one of my very best songs, close in quality to "I have my cat in my hands", and we drove back to SE with very little traffic.  




Monday, April 20, 2015

enough to just about break your heart, if you let it

A woman just came to the door, asking for work.

Like a depression era drifter.

A broke down lady with blue, blue eyes and a black backpack.

She looked clean enough, said she and her daughter had just become homeless and were trying to get a motel for the night.

She didn't strike me as a junkie, or a thief, but you really never know.

Mark would not have approved of me talking to her, to giving her a $20, to telling her how sorry I was.

He doesn't like me giving people money like that. He thinks I'm a soft touch (I am).  

It's getting dark, and I don't have any work to do.

If she'd come yesterday or Saturday, she could have helped me with the garden, Maxwell wasn't worth a good goddamn on Saturday with the garden.

He spilled the cedar chips all over the sidewalk and then huffed and puffed a great deal when I asked him to sweep up.

"that's money, you are leaving on the sidewalk."

He doesn't care very much.

That is the side effect of having mostly all you need, a willingness to leave things lay.

Two weeks ago I hired a man named Walter to clean up our shameful mess of a yard.

The mower's been broken for a while and it shows.

I asked my friend John to take a look at it while we were having coffee weeks ago, now.

He tinkered around and got it going, after washing out the fuel filter with gasoline and messing around with the spark-plug, but there is something off with the idle.

John's good with fixing stuff, being an engineer, I suppose, but he wasn't keen to "spend the better part of the afternoon" trying to figure out that idle.

I had high hopes my invitation to dinner would change his mind, but it didn't.  That's when I phoned up Walter from a flier, and he said he'd come right over, and he did.

I liked Walter right away.

I liked his glasses, his horned rimmed glasses.  

Mark thinks I'm foolish for basing my decisions on things like that, but I don't care.

I treated myself to that yard work and I am happy with the results.

I almost never feel like people are going to rip me off, and they almost never have, not the ones I've dealt with directly at least.

This lady at the door, she could be up to no good.

I said, thinking of Mark and his distrust of people,

"I'm a stay at home mom.  I'm just here day and night, with my dog, so I do all the work there is to do, and I'm married, so what I don't do, he does."

I thought I was being extra crafty, letting her know someone is here most of the time.

I have my nosy neighbor looking out, next door of course.  The one that likes to look through binoculars, at everybody.

The lady hugged me when I gave her that little dab of money.

She said "your eyes are stunning, your are so pretty" and I told her hers were too, because they were, I told her that she was a beautiful person to do what she was doing for her daughter.  She had acne scars, a lovely smile,  an open face, a pretty wave to her hair.  I hope she's ok.   

When the woman left, I thought I should have offered her some food to take along.  I felt like a real creep for not doing that, but what to do?

Monday, March 30, 2015

A trick of the light

I treated myself to a facial. 

A fancy one.

An expensive one. 

My skin had been a little bumpy and the space between my eyebrows had grown a little course, in recent years.  As if I'd been in the sun a bit too long.

I also had my brows and lashes tinted, because in my old age, I can't stand to wear makeup, it feels too uncomfortable.

So I have them tinted with vegetable dye every four weeks or so, so I don't look too washed out. 

It is the one thing I sort of keep up with. 

I'm usually cheap as hell with myself, but I decided to splurge.

I don't know if I look any better, but I feel a little less haggard, so I suppose it was money well spent.

I came home and Mark was making noodles and frying lebekase.

Rolf had set the table and even remembered to put a hotpad out. 

Farfala

Bowtie pasta

They had washed the dog and applied flea medicine. 

"you guys hardly need me anymore!"

"Daddy is making NOODLES!" 

I make noodles all the time, but I don't get that kind of reaction.

"You look nice, mom", Maxwell said, because he is Maxwell and knows who butters his bread. 

I look a little blotchy, and my nose is a little red from vigorous scrubbing, but I will take it.

I'm working with a bunch of women that are more made up than the social activist,hippies I typically work with. 
I feel chronically under-dressed, yet completely unmotivated to change it.

I just slog around in my usual state of unkemptness as if it's the most usual thing in the world, which it is for me.  







Sunday, March 8, 2015

16

Suddenly my tiny baby was sixteen, It felt like the blink of an eye, the way those cliches go. People who complain about teens are idiots, or maybe they have horrible teens. 
My teen is awesome, and parenting him is my joy, my pleasure, I only wish I had more to offer, a million thank you tokens to the person that makes me real
I believe, sincerely, that without him I would have just shrunk and shrunk as a person until I blew clean away one day, without notice.  A vacancy, left in my absence.
We celebrated on the day of his birth with our little family, and Onkie, and my mom. 
We ate shrimp in his honor, and exchanged modest, but meaningful gifts. 
We shared stories of his birth and infancy and early childhood. 
A roomful of people that love one teenager with precise devotion. 
Boats all pointed in the same direction of adoration.






My mother saved the day on Thursday, by hosting a small dinner.  I worked late, and never would have been able to pull everything together.  I looked worse for the wear, but I made it home by 6:00pm.

On Sunday, Freya and I made salsas and cream pies, and spiffed the joint up, to host some friends of Maxwell.  We ate a great deal of pie, and Mark's mother came for dinner.  I made too much food, as usual.  I let them have rivers of soda and chips

Maxwell inexplicably requested chocolate cream pie, after having devil's food cake for his birthday, his entire life.  This was thrilling to me, as I am a big fan of all pie, and chocolate cream pie in particular.  It reminds me of my Grandma Betty, who would make it often, and was good at fulfilling birthday "orders".  I made a vanilla cream pie too, because Maxwell has a good friend that doesn't eat chocolate, and Mark's mother is not a big fan of it either.  Both  we fabulous and decadent and lovely.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A friend's post about parking lot brawls in Gresham, reminded me that, one new year's eve, in the mid 1990's a lady, a big, strapping, tough, tall, lady, in plaid (she may have been a lady lumberjack, now that I think of it!) once punched me right in the face, in the parking lot of the Blockbuster Video Store, on NW Burnside. 

She was very angry, because she felt that I parked in a parking space that should have been hers.

There was an identical parking space right next to the one I parked in, so at the time I thought nothing of it. 

I just parked. 

When I stepped out of my car, WHAM!

Right in the kisser, as they say. 

More like in the cheek.

I sort of crumpled and sat down, next to the car.

I thought about saying something to her, but my mouth had gotten me into trouble in the past, and since I had already been struck, rather soundly, I thought better of mouthing off further. 

Who knows what she might have in her?

SOMEONE IS GOING TO KILL YOU!  

Is what she said, as she walked away without offering me a hand up.

My mother had warned me more than once that running my mouth would get me into trouble, but who knew that parking would lead to such violence? 

I went home without getting a movie. 

Rolf saw my face and said "what happened to YOU."

Monday, December 22, 2014

I was offered a job.

A big, real job.

Instead of feeling excited, I felt a little sad, and unclear, because I have a tiny, beautiful job right now. 

The big, real job could also be beautiful and the realness and the money would be good for my future

I have done a poor job with making my life about my future. 

I mostly make my life about my present. 

I care a great deal about whether things are good, ethical and nice, which doesn't always fit with a future plan.

My mother said "I don't think you should take it.  It's not you, to be concerned with a career." 

Which felt a little hurtful, because I feel like my work with children has been a career, but I know what she meant, I had not, in my life been very concerned with keeping up with the Jones. 

That much is certainly true.

"Mom, I am going to be eating cat food, if I'm not more mindful about laying the groundwork for the future."

"You can live with me, I don't eat cat food, besides, I'm going to die soon, you can have everything that's mine." 

My mother is not what anyone would call gentle, or sentimental. 

She was a teen mom, a single mom, that worked very hard for her numerous successes.

When I was a child she was in the Army reserves and would go on active duty from time to time, always telling me cheerfully, as she walked out the door, "you make them bury me, if something happens! Don't spend a dime of our money!"

I knew my duties well as a child; keep my brother in line, keep the house together. 
Don't be a schnook. 
Don't get taken.
Don't be anyone's fool.
Act as good as you look.
Look good so no one will think you are trashy.

My mother grew up with farm people, with self made parents, that worked sun up to sundown, and  the notion self expression or self esteem was foreign. 

I was always my grandmother's pet.  Allowed to be inside when the other children had to play outside and stay out from underfoot.  Allowed to be sentimental and gentle and pampered a tiny bit.

My grandparents cared for special needs foster children, all through my mother's childhood and mine.

Cared for them like they were their own. 

There was always a heavy burden similar to noblesse oblige  that permeated our family, and while I feel like my work path has followed, my mother would characterize me as very self directed. 

My grandparents were utterly horrified and perplexed by my career choices, by my liberal arts education.

"All that money, to wind up wiping butts!" My grandmother would say, and shake her head. 

I chatted a bit online recently with an old boyfriend, and we both agreed that the most significant thing in our adult lives, is that we have a nice family.

Money, smoney!

He wrote in praise of his wife and children. 

I feel lifted up when someone understands my perspective in that way.

"I think you will be FANTASTIC, in this role", the lady that offered me the job said. 

I think I will be fantastic in this role too. 

I think I will be driven and passionate and fantastic and a little different from the usual person that usually does the job. 

I will feel a deep sense of duty and purpose to do a good job, I will avoid cat food.