Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gimme Shelter

I had a pleasant experience at work the other day. Well, actually, it wasn't pleasant, but less hideous than I expected, which makes it pleasant by comparison. The fine city in which I reside is very homeless friendly. There are many programs and helps for them here, which combined with our mild climate, bring them here in droves. One of the services provided by the community for them is a cold weather shelter at a local church with free bus service to the shelter. Until recently, I have studiously avoided being the driver on the particular run that transports them to the shelter at the end of the day, but during the last round of route changes I unthinkingly bid on this very run for one day a week. So every Tuesday night I will have the privilege of transporting our indigent population to their beds. There have been issues and problems with these gentlemen before, issues of discourteous behavior, foul language, harassment of non-homeless passengers, not to mention the smell. I should add that most community shelters stipulate that a person must be sober in order to use their facilities. Not so our shelter. They can arrive in any state and and still be welcome. So last Tuesday was my first time and I expected to have trouble. These gentlemen have been issued passes for the bus that they are supposed to show as they get on. Most of the other drivers don't bother to check passes. They just want to get them on and off as quickly as possible. I'm totally anal about passes and fares, and so I told one of the men waiting at the bus terminal half an hour before their run that I would be checking passes and they should please have them ready when they got on the bus. I expected lots of complaining and abuse when the time came to load the bus, but they were all there with their passes ready. Only 3 of them didn't have them out when they got on the bus and they showed me on the way off. They sat quietly the whole trip, which I understand is VERY unusual. They thanked me respectfully when they got off. It was bizarre and I was frankly stunned. Hopefully this behavior continues, but even if it doesn't I'm thankful for the one peaceful night. The cold weather shelter ends in 3 weeks, so... :)


I have been remiss. I haven't posted for an unforgivably long while. I haven't had anything interesting to say. Nor do I today, but I'll give it a go:

The weather has been very fine of late. Unusually sunny for this time of year, although we have had some rain this week, which I'm sure the garden appreciates . . .

My health has been entirely satisfactory this winter. I seem to have avoided the nasty bugs everyone else has been suffering through, in spite of my lack of flu shot this year . . .

My mother and I went to Goodwill last week and bought a new-to-us footstool for the living room. It is currently covered in an unfortunate maroon polyester fabric that needs changing, so we went yesterday to find a replacement fabric. We couldn't find one we both like. She wants forest green velvet and I want brown faux fur . . .

You're glad I haven't posted now, aren't you?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Music From Beyond ;)

The other day as Mum and I were driving to Portland, she put an old CD of my college choir in the stereo to entertain us on our drive. As we listened I recollected that it was there in that auditorium, singing those songs that I had first met Charlie. We were in the same choir. Our choir of 100 voices practiced in the round, that is surrounding our director in a circle, and it happened that Charlie and I were placed directly opposite each other in the formation. I had ample opportunity to stare at him every day while we sang, and that suited me just fine. I always liked Charlie's looks. (For the record, he never noticed me. I asked him on our first date, to the symphony.) Anyway, I had forgotten that he also accompanied the choir. He was a musical genius. The first few songs on the CD are acapella, but when the piano started and I realized who I was hearing, I got a little teary. Mum offered to change the music, but I wanted to hear it. I'm glad I have it, to remember his talent, and our first year together. My relationship with Charlie was a struggle from start to finish. I had to fight to get in that choir, the first musical group I ever auditioned for and didn't get into right away. I had to convince Charlie that he was interested in me, and basically drag him kicking and screaming to the altar. I never understood why he went through with it. He didn't want to be married. Our marriage was a constant struggle for me to figure out why he wasn't happy, and of course in the end there was the emotional struggle of the divorce, which continues. I learned a lot from Charlie, mostly about agency. For better of for worse, Charlie is part of what makes me who I am today. The lessons learned from him color everything I do, every interaction with another human being. Damn it! He's still manipulating me even from beyond the grave. I guess he gets his wish then. He wanted to change how I interact with people and he's done it. OK, when I started typing this I was a little sad. Now I'm just angry.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I've decided online dating isn't for me. I'm not trusting enough. I will never believe that a man showing interest in me online is what he says he is, because there is no way to know. It's hard enough in person, and I'm a bad enough judge of character that I totally don't trust myself to see the truth. When we make a profile about ourselves, of course we highlight our positive character traits and ignore our negative ones. We omit, exaggerate, embellish? I tried not to, but it's a medium that lends itself to incomplete and semi-true information. Is it even possible to make an honest profile?

Also, the companies that run these online dating sites have an interest in their clients staying single. They need half a dozen success stories to post in their advertising, but it is far better for them if the rest of us fail, so we will continue paying for their services. If all their clients found love they would be out of a job. So why would I trust them to help me succeed????

Therefore, I have deleted my online profiles and have now only to be chagrined that, against my principles and better judgement, I actually paid good money to these shysters, these purveyors of fairy tales hoping for real results. For the record, I've been contemplating this move since long before the Brad incident. My experience with him just confirmed to me that I don't feel comfortable there. I take dating too seriously. It's not a game and I can't treat it like it's entertainment.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


My birthday was several days ago and a miracle occurred. It was sunny. I honestly don't think I've ever had a sunny birthday in Oregon before. Normally the first week in February is the worst part of winter here. Ice storms, snow, sub-arctic temperatures, (or so it feels to us mild climate loving Oregonians.) It was sunny and 60 degrees. I wore a short sleeved shirt without a jacket and drove with the windows open. It was awesome :) My birthday gift from the heavens, made even more notable by the heavy rains on the preceding and following days. The second gift from Mother Nature was pink :) a few tiny little pink buds on my Daphnae bush. After wanting a daphnae in our yard for years, I finally got one for my birthday last year. I planted it and it did not thrive. We had a big freezing ice storm here a couple of months ago and all the leaves turned black and fell off. I thought I had killed it. Then low and behold, on my birthday there were leaf buds and blossoms preparing to bloom :D Thank you to whomever is in charge of these little things. I appreciate it.

Conversely, I did my taxes today and discovered that I will not be getting a whopping big refund as one always hopes. I owe federal taxes and get a State refund, which basically cancel each other out. I think I make $20 in the deal. At least I'm not majorly in the hole.

I have stopped writing to Brad, and he doesn't seem to have noticed. So much for undying devotion ;)

I had lunch with Barak Obama

Not really. What really happened was that my mum and uncle and I went to lunch the other day at Big River, a semi-snooty but very tasty upish scale restaurant. The whole time my mum was glancing at the table behind me, and near the end of our meal, when the guests at that table left the room, mum said, "that was Michelle Obama's brother. I was watching him on the news yesterday." Apparently he coaches something here, basketball maybe. Then I was joking how that sort of story tends to grow in the retelling and that if I were to tell people that I saw Michelle Obama's brother at a restaurant during lunch, a few days later the story would be that I had lunch with Barak Obama. Voila.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Liar liar pants on fire?

I made a new friend, I think. His name is Brad, if he can be believed. I met Brad online, so I'm 95% inclined not to believe a word he says, although that said, my brother met his wife online and she's the best thing that ever happened to him. I'm even more inclined to think Brad is either a liar or a loony because something like 85% of what he writes is abject flattery and romantic frippery. He's never met me and he writes things like, "You're so beautiful I think God must have spent extra time creating you" and " If you ever give me your heart I'll love and cherish it like a newborn baby" !!! That one made me laugh out loud when I read it. Bleah!!! It's like I just drank a gallon of maple syrup. I know I shouldn't make fun, but who says that?!!! So why, oh why haven't I kicked this guy to the curb, you ask? Because the other 15% of what he writes seems genuine and sincere and I dunno, I kind of like his weirdness. It's quaint. I should mention that he's from Amsterdam, so a large part of his total un-PC, social unawareness vibe could be cultural. Assuming he really is from the Netherlands and not some 63 year old, 579 pound, mullet wearing, warty, work from home telemarketer from Arkansas.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A friend of mine randomly said to me today, "I think we all want to be happy forever". I had to think about that. Do I want to be happy forever? What does that even mean? The first disturbing conclusion I came to is that I don't trust happiness. If I'm happy it's because I'm missing something, blissfully ignorant of some truth that will mitigate the happiness with pain. When I'm happy I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Also, if I'm happy it's because I'm not paying attention, not looking at the people around me. Think of Haiti. How can I or should I be happy when there is so much suffering in the world? As for being happy forever, I don't think that's actually part of the grand design. If happiness was all there was, it would cease to have value. Happiness is only good compared to misery. Unmitigated happiness would be dull, and frankly unproductive. There must be opposition in all things. In order to appreciate the joy we must feel the misery. People often say happiness is a choice. If that's so then I choose occasional happiness mingled with productive trials. It actually makes me happier realizing that I don't want continual happiness. It makes me feel like I'm doing something right by having a marginal day :)