Saturday, December 3, 2016

Friday I drove to Carson, Washington and did a soak and wrap at Carson hot springs.

The Carson bathhouse a 1900 hotel in the middle of no where in the Columbia gorge. 

The place is shabby and smells like boiled eggs, but the mineral water is amazing and makes you forget about the yucky spots on the cast iron tubs, where the enamel has worn away.

You soak for a half hour and then you lie on a little lawn chairesque lounge, and a nice lady wraps you up in warm sheets and blankets, where you lie for another half hour. There is also a sauna, but I hate saunas so I didn't use it.

I was fully pain free for the rest of the day and night, after the soak. 

It is a peaceful place with no cell coverage, so perfect for a bit of mind clearing.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016


Apple pie, pumpkin pie, pear gingerbread tart tatin, and Karen's almond rocca cookies

My friend Tamara, who is always inexplicably delighted to see me and most kind



Ham and turkey
All the usual suspects, or most anyway, I made four fewer dishes this year in some kind of austerity measure, that didn't entirely make sense.  We still had too much food.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Yesterday I worked at the cart, and it was moderately busy.

Brisk.

It was fine, I was working with the sullen young man, that broods silently about whatever it is that fills his mighty mind, and keeps mostly to himself.

While this is not my most favorite model of work, he and I get a lot done and are typically quite successful.

He thinks I am old and resents me not allowing him to play his electronic music, and I find him insufferably young and cranky and am happy that I can play the old lady card and nix the music.

It is a delicate balance, but we make it work for five hours a week.

Yesterday, we were dealing with a new system of take out, a new venture by Uber, where you order food online and an Uber driver picks it up and drives it to you.

You can eat out while in your pajamas.

Hooray.

People have been doing this for decades with pizza and Chinese, but this is branching out to all the foods in the whole wide world.

It is a terrific concept, but it was new to us, and new to the drivers and there was this chirping and chiming ipad to contend with, rather than real people calling in their orders.

All the while our regulars, in all their hungover glory,
all the families with hungry children
young people in love,
elderly picky eaters,
each and every one, kept right on coming, all through the dinging and chiming.

 All through the chirping and tweeting, time marched on and the tickets piled up and the people had ten thousand questions, and we lovingly answered every single one, because that is what we do, we cook and serve with


l o v e.    

We remember who likes extra syrup, and who adds bacon to the sausage and who likes their things extra crispy.  

Then the new guy let the bacon run out, and surly dude and I gritted our teeth and steeled our nerves and worked through it.

"I was thinking you made those preemptive eggs too early, but they are almost gone"  

Is the closest thing to a compliment he said to me all day. 

And at some point there was a fellow named Kyle that ordered online and his driver was a little confused and needed to use the restroom, and I was feeling very nervous because I had made Kyle the most beautiful, breathtakingly gorgeous sweet treat in universe with whipped cream and berries and I just could not square that with the restroom, but there it was. I suggested he leave the bag, or better yet RUSH the food to it's recipient, pronto, and the hint was received.

My blood pressure rose and rose as I watched the driver wander around and around and eventually tramp off into the fog.

Naturally there was nothing I could do, but it disturbed me greatly.


My November dinner was a Mexican theme.

I made a Oaxacan salad with chili peanuts and pomegranate seeds , a pork and sweet potato mole, and goat cheese and mashed potato stuffed poblano peppers, friends brought salsa, a green mole with prawns and a corn and kale salad
.
 I also made margaritas and sangria

Everyone was shellshocked after the elections and a few guests cancelled but we managed to rally and have a nice time.

*photo credit to Ms. Dianna



charing peppers 



In other festive November news, I scored big at the Twilight Rummage Sale.

TLRS is a monthly gathering of pickers and junk hounds, at the Eagles Lodge on Hawthorne.

It is a last vestige of old Portland, with little old ladies and punk rockers and weirdos of every stripe, gathering to look at treasures, records, books, toys, and works of art and sometimes complete garbage, heaped upon  folding tables.

The Eagles have a bar and little diner in one corner, where there members gab, as shoppers shop and sometimes mix.

I scored this fabulous teensy cuckoo clock for ten dollars.

It has it's key and works, beautifully.

Freyja and I go faithfully each month, in hopes of catching artist Alicia Justus of Redstar art, because every single thing she makes is pure magic.

We collect a series of felt mice that she hand sews, as well as her little grab bags of vintage dodads and googas that one most certainly cannot do without. We also love the work of Kimi Boylan, who transforms found objects into amazing tiny shrines.  

Much more mice. 



A print of a painting by Alicia Justice, of  Ruth Gordon, from a 1940's movie magazine.

I had this perfect little leather frame lying around, so it was clearly meant to be, since I am a Ruth Gordon superfan.

 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Didn't see that coming

I was utterly shocked by the outcome of the election.

That is how insulated I am

You could have told me any number of ridiculous celebrities would be elected, and I would have believed it more readily, than Trump, but as my imaginary godfather Kurt Vonnegut says "so it goes".

Wednesday morning the parents streamed into the preschool with tears in their eyes, some obviously hungover, and sleep deprived.

The one most like a redneck, the hunter, the bro-dudest of them all, was misty at this national tragedy.

My trans parent sobbed and hugged me.

I did my best to offer comfort.

I know folks in the LBGTQ community are terrified.

In my feminist community women are buying morning after pills in bulk.

People talk of underground women's health collectives, things I had not heard of since the 80's.

The arts will surely get better.

Punk rock will rise again.

I am an old lady.

I will never need an abortion, a sex change, or political asylum.

I will not risk being beaten, or killed for the color of my skin, or my sexual orientation, but I don't want to turn back the clock and live in a world where people are afraid over these issues.

In my heart of hearts I want to believe that people voted for Trump, because of economics, and not because we are a country of hate filled bigots.

I want to believe that their motivation comes from trade agreements and not some creepy desire to overturn Roe VS Wade, but it's easy to be afraid.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I've been waiting eons for this day to arrive, or I suppose more accurately, for this day to end.

This election cycle has dragged on and on and left me weary.

I'm not at all interested in national politics, and I have no faith in the system.

Mark is terribly interested in politics and has a lot of passion for the system.

He gets cranky and ranty about all of the hubbub around politics, when I know in my heart of hearts that the whole thing is rigged, and that nothing short of a revolution would create real change.

When I say that, Mark gets even more cranky, so over time I have learned to keep it to myself.

When we first got together he would become irate when I said I didn't vote.

That I refused to participate in the sham of our political system.

He said that I was part of the problem.

I had been fairly content to be part of the problem, for a good long time before I met him, choosing to focus my energy, smugly, on these of greater value, like social service volunteerism and working in child care, things that in my opinion really change the world for the good.

When I had a son, and when George Bush started all the war, I voted, not that it really changed anything.

I am disappointed by the Obama Care, not that it's Obama's fault, the concept was ok.

We need to run the insurance industry out of town on a rail.

We need to tar and feather it.

We need to hang 'em high, boys.

All that old western movie stuff, we need to do that.

If we could have decent health care, and decent child care, and decent maternity leave, and decent education, then I might be less cynical.

If old people and mentally ill people could count on not eating cat-food from a cardboard box under a bridge, I might give a shit.

We can't count on a god damn thing, not even an epi-pen, for an allergy, if you haven't got the dough, not even a humble college education, if you are smart, which guts me.

I have worried about the dragging on wars, and all the heaps of money they cost, and all the good that could have been done instead.

It used to keep me up at night, the worry over the draft, over war.

Now I worry that my grown up child will not be able to realize his full potential, because we have such a ratty country that doesn't value people.  That what little is left for social services, is sprinkled over the lowest of the low, and everyone else can just go to hell, or work themselves to death.

I worry about not being about not being able to support myself in my old age, which has some to do with our political situation, but my vote isn't going to change much about that, one way or another.

So I imagine Mark will be glued to the TV tonight, pacing around with a 7-UP in his hand, while I knit some do-dad in the kitchen, listening to John Prine and planning a dinner party.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Self Serve

It's been a long week.

My troubled child has been trouble.

My sleep has been scant.

My work has been excessive.

I have a small cold and a frog in my throat.

Last night I left work thinking of strategies for behavior management after a stupid conversation with the Early Intervention lady left me enraged.

Those well intentioned folks really only have one speed.

Behavior challenges?

Feelings Cards

Family going through divorce?

Parent dies?

Loss of a pet?

Autism?

Leprosy? 

Feelings Cards

We are a pretty evolved and well trained staff, we coach children brilliantly on expressing feelings.

I have a lot of tools in my toolbox, when it comes to feelings.

Long story short, I was very tired and distracted.

When I fired up Sherman, a big electronic display popped up saying

DIMINISHED ENGINE PERFORMANCE!

Which startled me, and made me scared that we had another big car repair bill in our future (I am still paying off the last one).

As I drove away from the school, my nerves frayed and my mood soured and I felt sick inside, I also noticed I was dangerously low on gas. 

So I drove home up 52nd Street, and stopped at Duke, for cheap gas. 

Duke Street is part of old skanky Portland.  

Ungentrified and funky. 

The unpleasant gas fellow took my card wordlessly. 

I buy gas from him each week and each week his scowls at me as if I were doing something terribly wrong. 

He also never tells me when he is done pumping my gas, instead, does a little banging thing on the roof, the way you would spank the thigh of a horse to say "Giddyup!" 

Last night, he was even more sullen, and cranky than usual, and I pissed him off more than usual by dropping my credit card when I handed it to him.

I was feeling nervous, because it is one of those gas stations where the traffic flows both ways, with no rhyme or reason, and there was a guy in a pickup pointing in my direction waiting for my spot, who looked like he could  be kin to the attendant, same scowl.
  
Instead of going around and taking a spot in line behind me, he had pulled right up almost bumper to bumper with me, and looked down disapprovingly, as I waited for my gas. 

After a few minutes, the gas fellow walked by and handed me my credit card, and did a little tapping on the roof of the car, and the pick up guy, backed up and off to the side, which in my mind indicated that our time together was through and I could leave.  

So I drove off, slowly, because it was a jumbled mess of cars parked willy nilly, and as I did my little turn to get onto the side street, I hear the attendant banging on the passenger door and yelling, so naturally I stopped and asked him what the matter was. 

He screamed "GIVE ME YOUR DRIVER'S LICENCE!" 

No feelings card was necessary to know that he was furious, but I couldn't figure out why, until he said "YOU DROVE AWAY WITH MY PUMP!"

Which made me burst into tears and feel nauseated.   

So I parked the car, and went inside, where a slightly less weird guy behind the counter  made a copy of my insurance card and my driver's license.  

Then I went home and cried for two hours and worried. 

I worried for a very long time. 

I worried through dinner. 

I skipped TV to worry.

I chatted online with my friend Tamara, who assured me that I was not going to have a nervous breakdown, "because who would make the nametags for Thanksgiving?" which made me feel quite a bit better.

I worried a bit more, and wrote a haiku in German, which Rolf said was pretty correct, which made me feel even a little more better than the name tag thing. 

I worried though two cups of tea and once glass of Calms magnesium drink, and chatted with my friend Doug, who said that it was an accident and that he was sorry that I was upset, which helped me feel yet more better. 

Then I went to bed, and slept for two hours and work up really worried at midnight, about the gas station guys having a copy of my driver's license and was back to square one on the worry.  

Mark agreed to call them for me in the morning and talk to the manager, to see what the procedure is when you are a super big dummy and break the gas pump, because your are overly stressed and tired. 

Right in the middle of circle time today he phoned me to say that he had spoken with the manager of the gas station and that he was a nice guy.  

It seems that driving away with the pump still stuck in your car is not terribly uncommon and that the manager thinks he can just reattach it, and if not it's just a matter of buying a new part.  

Mark told the manager we would follow up in a few days to see where things were. 

I feel much better, but not completely better.






Thursday, October 20, 2016

I lay awake the other night, writing a brilliant essay in my head about open-ended art for young children (at least it seemed brilliant at 4:00am).

My goat had been gotten earlier in the week, when my boss sent me links to a gift project.

Some lovely Pinterest thing, that would require a lot of prep and supervision, and would spark very limited interest in my two and three year olds.

Oh they would be thrilled to paint, and glue, and cut, and glitter,


but to keep the project gift level beautiful, I would have to censor and monitor their work.

In the end the project would become my work, not theirs.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am craft queen.

I've never met a project I didn't love.

Glitter flows in my veins, but as an early childhood educator, I know that it is the process, not the product that is meaningful to young children, if you are doing it right.

There is a delicate dance of indifference and detachment the adult must do, to empower children to create, without preforming.   

That means you hand them the materials and step back.

You do not stand behind and ask

What IS it? 

or exclaim

G O O D   J O B !

You do not take their adorable little hands, press them in paint, and craft reindeer and seasonal fowl.

You resist the urge to stop them from mixing all the paint together into a giant shit colored blob, and your bite your tongue when the drawing veers suddenly from charming to rubbish.

I attended a very good training in winter (which is unusual) and the best take away was

The younger the child, the bigger the paper! 

The child that has not been molded by curated art projects, will paint for the joy of it.

She will paint with focus, and abandon.

She will be carefree, and careful and she will paint for herself.

At two, a child will not know what it is, because it is the act of doing which holds meaning, rather than the act of producing.

At three a typical child will tell a story about their painting, but the image on the page will not be representational, in the way we adults like.  The image will twist and turn and change with layers and scribbles and lines overlapping.

At four a child will draw and paint more concrete images, and will often make things for a recipient.

Two year olds are gleefully narcissistic, three year olds paint for themselves, unself-consciously, with delight.

When adults impose their values on the art of young children, the outcomes shift.

They often stop painting and drawing all together, or they become the children that ask me 100 times, "do you like it Miss Heidi?"

Do YOU like it ?

I ask them.

My boss is a nice lady, with a great understanding of all of these things, but parents really like all those paper-plate projects, the googly eyes, the hand-print turkey, the cotton-ball Santa.

On Wednesday we made autumnal wreaths from paper-plates, because I sometimes try to be a team player, even when it's against my nature.