Thursday, March 30, 2006


What's that word for the process by which allows for the expression of pent-up emotions? That word that is so overused by actors to the point of cliche; and yet, I want to use it because it says exactly what I want to say? Oh, yeah: cathartic.

I wrote a letter to my biological father, and the experience was very cathartic. (Hey, just like writing on a blog can be!) I experienced catharsis after writing this letter. I felt a purging of my emotions after writing of the letter. I now feel lighter and freer; expressed. Ahhhh.....

So, my biological father. There's a long story, but to sum up: he is emotionally very young and incapable of coping with the normal ups and downs of life in a healthy way. He enjoys remembering the past to the point of obliviousness of the here and now. He doesn't understand boundaries, he just does what he feels. Socially, he is awkward and had no idea how to behave around other people. He comes off as quiet, but weird-quiet.

When I was five, my parents got divorced and he didn't move past that point, emotionally. Growing up, he made me responsible for his happiness by telling me he was only happy when I came to visit (every other weekend) and then about how depressed he was. This made me feel useless because even though I was visiting, he would tell me he was depressed, and then of course I would feel it was my fault. I went home and worried about him, not knowing that this really wasn't my problem to solve. Every thing, every situation was all about him, his needs; and all of it was because he didn't know another way to be.

All of this left me feeling totally used up and sucked dry. I knew this was not right, but I had no idea how to cope with it, much less change anything. My solution as a kid was to shrink inside myself so much that what I presented to him was a shell, the real me was buried so deep inside that I dared not let her out to be exposed to that crap.

I didn't have any frame of reference for this. I had friends whose parents were divorced, but none of their fathers acted this way. I felt totally weird and freakish, in addition to the normal weird and freak feelings that accompany adolescence. As I grew older, I used the shell technique with other people and uncomfortable situations. I had learned a useless coping skill and incorporated it into all parts of my life.

Yes, I've had much-needed therapy, thank you very much!

I had some good weekends with him, to be sure. I have good memories. It's important to say that, because it's a fuller picture of what it was like. I think the hardest part about dealing with all of this was that it wasn't as if it was all bad. It wasn't as though he were an alcoholic, which is something that everyone knows about, and for which there is much support available. He was...socially inept and emotionally needy, where's the meetings and support groups and literature for othat? It was a problem that was hard for me to define, which was probably why it was so hard to step outside of it and to cope.

One of the most profound realizations I have had were that the things that have happened to me as a child were not my fault, and that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Those two things have lifted innumerable amounts of weight off my shoulders, allowing me to leave those experiences behind and move forward with a lighter heart. To articulate a problem can distance you from it. With distance a realistic perspective is gained while the pressure on yourself to act before you're ready or know what to do is relieved. Allowing yourself the space in which to explore healthier ways to manage or solve a problem is a very valuable gift to give yourself.

Anyway. I spent some years not talking to him. He didn't understand why. (Duh, dude.) But now; now there is the letter! It's short and to the point, imperious, assertive, strong, specific, not to mention way, way overdue. It feels like one of the best things I've ever written. Probably because of all that catharsis.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Le Poopsie

This morning, I asked OC if she thought my necklace went with my outfit. She looked closely at the necklace, which was beaded in an assortment of neutral colored beads of different shapes and sizes, pointed to one bead and said, "I think this one gives it the right touch."

Then, on the way in to work she asked if there was any yogurt in her lunchbox for breakfast. I told her no, that she had Clifford cereal this morning. She was disappointed, and so I said I would pick up some yogurt the next time we went grocery shopping. She brightened at the thought, asked if it could be strawberry yogurt, then said, "Okay, I will be delighted to eat my cereal today!"

I'm so glad she is okay. She's feeling much better today, after getting a good night's sleep last night. She fell asleep in the car on the way home last night, and napped in the evening until bedtime. I got her to eat a snack before I put her to bed. She was out until I went in to wake her at 6:30 this morning. There have been no incidents at daycare where she has gotten reinjured, like I have feared.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Yesterday, OC and I enjoyed a picnic lunch outside on the driveway, during which there were lots of harmless little black bugs around. A tiny one landed on her jacket.

"Mom, look at this little bug! He looks like he needs some fresh air. I will introduce him to the ground." (Gently scrapes bug off jacket and places on the ground.)

We had sandwiches, chips, and cottage cheese. It was warm in the sunshine but every once in awhile a strong, cold wind blew through reminding us it has only just become spring, and that we have a ways to go before the purely warm days of summer.

I was able to enjoy this day at home with my daughter because of a horrific accident she endured the day before. Horrific for me; painful for her; in the end, she was okay.

We stopped by the grocery store. She wanted to ride on the bottom part of the cart. She tried to fit into the small basket on the bottom, but realized she was too big. She backed out of it and went to stand up, but hit her head on the metal bar underneath the cart - right where a bolt stuck through. It cut her head, and then the blood started to flow. And flow. And flow. And flow.

It's weird how your mind works in an emergency. My thoughts were fast, and so the following took about 2 1/2 seconds to work through: I wanted to get her in the car and go to the hospital, but she was bleeding so much and was scared, and I knew we had to stop the bleeding first; Next, I thought we'd need to go buy hydrogen peroxide and bandages, but we didn't have time to wait in line. Finally, I arrived at taking her to a checkstand and asking for a first aid kit.Which I did.

A man who had just bought his groceries asked if it was my hand that was bleeding or if it was my daughter, and I said it was my daughter. He came right over and said he was a paramedic. I immediately felt relieved, knowing I wasn't alone. Not only were there concerned people around, which was nice, but also, a paramedic! Who, sweetly enough, used to be a box boy at the very same grocery store.

But back to the blood. The store employees got us an icepack, more papertowels, cookies, water, and went out to my car to get my phone so I could call OH to come get us. My left hand was entirely covered in blood, and one boy cleaned it off with a spray bottle and some paper towels, gently moving my watch and ring to get it all, all while I hugged OC and held the icepack with the other hand. They were talking and joking with us, after awhile. How fabulous is that? How great are people when you need help like that?

OH came and we got OC to the emergency room, where she did not require stitches or a shot. The cut is on the back of her head where the scar will never be seen. They cleaned it up, anointed it with polysporin, and sent us along with a discharge sheet that told us to bring her back if she did things like vomited more than twice, behavior changes, headaches that weren't soothed with Tylenol, etc.

She is fine. I am fine. We stayed home one day to have a bath to remove the crusted, caked-on blood, and to give the cut some time to heal. She is back in her preschool/daycare classroom today with all those little monsters. I am worried about her getting reinjured somehow, in all that activity with the other children. On the other hand, she may not. I have to think she is just fine.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Every time I glanced at the previous post's title, I read it as 'The Old and the Jackass'. I wrote the thing, and still I am like, what was that again? Oh yeah, "jacketless". Allrighty.

Talk about everything in the world being interconnected. Not long ago I was reading Karen Armstrong's Visions of God: Four Medieval Mystics and Their Writings, where I first learned about The Cloud of Unknowing, which is a manual for contemplative spirituality written by an anonymous Englishman in 1375. The book contains simple, brief advice to prepare oneself to experience the Divine. The overwhelming and recurring theme is love, all written in concise chapters with thoughtful advice.

Just today, I started reading The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism by James Geary. You'll never guess what I came across when the author begins with his first of five points about what makes a true aphorism. Beginning on page 9: "If brevity is the soul of wit, as Shakespeare observed in one of his many aphoristic insights, then concision is the aphorism's heart. Aphorisms must work quickly because they are meant for use in emergencies. We're most in need of aphorisms at times of distress or joy, ecstasy or anguish. And in cases of spiritual or emotional urgency, brevity is the best policy. The author of The Cloud of Unknowing, a spiritual instruction manual written by an anonymous English monk in the latter half of the fourteenth century, knew this when he advised his students: Short prayer penetrates heaven."

It goes on another page and a half about The Cloud of Unknowing. I mean, I had just read about this! What are the odds?

I'm enjoying The World in a Phrase very much, because it's been a nice segway from the historical and religious texts which have captured my interest lately. I'm only on page 34 and it's already discussed Lao Tzu, who I have quoted on this blog; the Tao; and now on to Buddha and Confucius.

It's a surprise to find all of this, because I was expecting more of an English textbook-with-anecdotes kind of book, and instead have encountered references to ancient texts and sources of wisdom which I seek to study. The only problem is these books are so packed with thoughtful, meaningful words that reading them goes quite slowly. I get them from the library and often have had to renew them (or return them before I was finished because they were on hold for someone else) in order to try and finish them, not to mention absorb, what they have to say.

One thing I keep learning over and over again, is that Life is all about transformation. It never stops. Ancient sages knew this, and advised people to stop fighting the change and instead find a way to become stable within that change. It's a tough lesson to learn, one of the most important we need to know but one we keep forgetting.

I most enjoy the connections between people, ideas, and experiences. I experience such delight when I come across something I have a familiarity with, and find out how it further relates to something else. And that's what our existence is, really; a multitude of interconnected beings going about the days, mostly unaware of the powerful connections between one another this thing called Life has created. I love it when I find one of those connections. Life is full of them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Old and the Jacketless

This morning, I was over halfway into work when I realized I had forgotten my jacket. I can't believe I forgot my jacket. It's barely spring, still right smack in the middle of jacket-needing weather, and I forgot my jacket! What an airhead.

And now, from the category of "I Just Can't Take It Anymore": Last night, I told my boss I want to quit my full time job in a few months. His reaction? "Shit." Which, awww, how sweet!

This wasn't an easy decision to reach. There are so many positive things about working here: I like my job; my coworkers and I work well together and like each other, so much so that we have been going to lunch together once per month for a year voluntarily; I have great health benefits; three weeks of vacation time; great pay that affords an indulgence in yarn, shoes, and wine; and more often than not I really like the work I do. The work here consists of a wide variety of projects. My boss is a combination of a shield from management bullshit while also being a hands-off, non-micromanaging supervisor who will work out conflicting deadlines so you don't have to be the bad guy. There is no ego in our group, no office politics or jealousy; just goofy, somewhat technical-minded, intelligent, creative people of high integrity, working independently. You can see why I have to get the heck out of here!

It's amazingly hard to think about leaving. But, life keeps whispering to me that I need more time and has given me a way to have that time. It's about give and take. In order to get more time, I need to give up something. By giving up something, I move on to something else, which will include days and days of free time with my daughter. We can go to the park! We can go to the library! We can do all those cool activities that are only scheduled during the week so that working parents like me couldn't go to because of all the working. It's time to make a change.

I think my daughter deserves a break after five solid years of 8.5 hours a day five days a week away from me. It'll be nice to be together for a change.

We have so much to look forward to, in addition to the library and the park. How will it feel to just let the days unfold, to not plan ahead but see what we feel like doing each day? We can have the luxury of go ing to new places and discovering new things we might not have otherwise discovered in our usual rush.

Life is smart, knowing when to push and then push harder when I don't listen the first time when it's time to make a change. Life will take care of us. Life is good.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Where I Use Words Like 'Harbinger' and 'Major' and 'Change' and Do Not Explode

In the past, when a time for transition arose I reacted negatively. I tended to fear change and shrink from it, only doing what was necessary to go along with the tide rather than be the harbinger of major change. It felt better to me to do things that way. It might be more accurate to say that I feared being at the helm of sweeping change, because if it turned out badly then I would be responsible, and those around me who were affected would hate me forever and life would end.

What a way to go through life! No wonder I have problems with anxiety, what with the weight of the world on my shoulders and all.

I've learned that the people who truly love me will not abandon me at the drop of a hat; that life is all about change and transformation and that these things are good for us; to go with it only eases my comfort; there is no way to stop the change, only to learn to roll with it better; that when chaos arises there is usually a lesson there if I'd only stop freaking out and hear it.

That is why I am not freaking out today. I have scheduled a meeting later today with my boss to talk with him about some major changes I am making in my life. The wonderful thing is, I am not afraid of these changes. They are necessary, and will allow me to further explore and express my creative side, spend more time with my daughter, and be an all around breath of fresh air in my life and for my family.

There is still an unknown factor which does make me uncomfortable, but I have an overwhelming trust in that, things are the way they should be; I will be okay.

I am going to talk more about the details at a later date. Soon, just not right now. Hang in there with me!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Girl's Lunch

I had lunch with OC today. We went to Good Dog Bad Dog for hot dogs, then to City Hall to apply for her passport.

On the walk over, we tried to see how soon we could spot Portlandia, but she's pretty well hidden behind the Multnomah County Courthouse so you have to wait until you're only a block away before you can really see her. When we first walked into City Hall, OC said, "Wow, this is really cool!" at all the ornate railings, tile, and the glass elevator. I'm not sure which captured her attention. Maybe all of it combined.

On our way out of the office, we spotted the giant red pillow in the atrium. It's a huge circle, probably almost six feet across. We went down and sat on it, and then laid on it and looked up at the art installation above. It was a mixture of white, maroon, gold and silver in colored beads, shell circles, and resin circles; all of this hanging from the atrium ceiling which is four stories tall inside the building, topped with a skylight. It was fun to lie there and watch the clouds pass overhead. The pillow was very comfortable. I wanted to take a nap.

OC cried when I took her back to school. I guess I rate above the Yeti, after all.

She's going to her dad's for a week. Oh, how I will miss that girl! I will be crying tonight. (This parenting thing is not for the faint of heart.)


It's true that life is everchanging, that life is like a river.

Here in my occidental coast world, change is brewing. I can feel it in the air like you can smell a distant rainstorm on a summer breeze. I have known it was coming, and have been preparing my mind for the uncomfortableness I feel at transitions. The thing is, more than discomfort I am feeling relieved, much like the parched prairie grass is made green again by a life-giving shower. The dry, tiredness of my soul seek cleansing refreshment. I welcome this newness, and also this new attitude toward transformation.

There's only so much you can learn in one place/ The more time that I wait, the more time that I waste/ I haven't got much time to waste I'm gonna make my way/ I'm not afraid of what I'll face but I'm afraid to stay...

--- "Jump" by Madonna, from Confessions on a Dancefloor

Untrue to my normal form, I am not afraid of what I'll face in the future. I have always been scared of change, to be sure, because of the unknown and how that makes me feel insecure. But more than that, now I feel Trust in that what I'll need will be there for me. I don't know how I know it, I just do. Having that Trust trumps the Fear, and makes room for Excitement about Transformation. After all, change can bring about good things, too.

I know that I can no longer stay here. I no longer want to. Bring it on, Life. I am ready.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Chernobyl? We Have a Meltdown

Yesterday, I experienced a meltdown of parental proportions.

OC was tired, hadn't had a nap at school, and was needy and whiney. Every tap and bump she received from her lunchbox, the door, the oppressive air around her, made her whimper in pain. This tends to get on my nerves even on a good day, but yesterday we had SO MUCH TO DO.

It takes me 20 minutes just to get to her school from work, and when I get there she is, more often than not, not excited to see me. I have to ask her repeatedly to get all her stuff together and to get her jacket on while I help her get her stuff because she is busy ignoring me to tell other parents where their kids are, or talking to other kids about needing to pick up or something; then we walk to the car, deal with traffic, stop at the store, and get home so we can make dinner, build a fire, feed the cats, do laundry, deal with the dishes, bathe, jammies, brush teeth, and read a bedtime story.

While I am at the same time annoyed with her, I also, just as forcefully, feel compelled to drop everything and attend to her. Who cares about work and schedules and clean clothes? My daughter needs me!!! Usually, I try to negotiate my way to comfort her while also managing to accomplish only the most necessary things. An example of this is: I'll get down on the floor and hug her and kiss her owies, then tell her I have to start dinner but I'll be right back. This usually falls flat. Upon reflection, this moderate approach probably results in both of us feeling unsatisfied in the way that only getting part of what you need accomplishes.

It's when I am not a comfort to my own child that I feel I have failed as a parent. That is what caused the Chernobyl-like meltdown last night. She has a lot of earwax in one ear, so I stopped to get an earwax removal kit at the store. When we got home, had dinner, we gathered up what we'd need and settled into a chair to begin the process. She was scared that it was going to hurt, so I reassured her I had done it many times before on my own ears and it doesn't hurt at all. It's just like having bathwater in your ears, I said. She was not convinced. (It's not that I expected her to believe me and calmly submit to the earwax-removal process, it's just that I felt that while I was there for her, it might as well have been the Abominable Snowman doing this for as much comfort as it seemed to give her.)

Of course, I immediately thought things like, she's been in daycare since she was four months old, of course she feels disconnected from me. It's further my fault because I have so much to do in the evenings, that I frequently have her do much on her own while I cook, clean, and whatever. I do that TOO much, and so she feels like either a Himalayan Yeti, or her mother, would be fine to administer ear drops. And then I have no one to blame but myself, because even though the situation is such that I work, it is also true that when we ARE together, I push her away. Not meaning to, but that is the result of me trying to get things done.

So I cried and cried and cried, and OH came home and was all, "Holy.... " while I cried some more and tried to explain it to him. It wasn't pure guilt and down-on-myself-edness, it was a realization of what is truly going on.

It wasn't a waste of energy, either. What came out of it is that I recognized the need to change how I interact with my daughter when we are together, at night and on the weekends. I now have the opportunity and the motivation to do things differently. I only hope it is not too late to reestablish a close relationship with her. I keep thinking positively, hoping that my insides will catch up and feel good, too.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wit and Wisdom

I just talked to my X about several things, one of which is OC's school in the fall when she will start Kindergarten. I want her to attend a private, classical christian school in our town that has an amazing curriculum; emphasis on the classical. (Awesome stuff she will be exposed to: great literature, history, philosophy, writing, science and the historical roots of science, fine arts, music, and classical and foreign languages. Okay, maybe not the literature in Kindergarten, but later on.) What was his response? Without knowing anything about the school, here it is in summary:

"I don't believe private schools are any better than public. You're already paying taxes, and to pay more for school on top of that is unnecessary. A kid will be exposed to enough and learn just fine if they apply themselves, it doesn't matter what school they're at, and if they don't apply themselves at private school, then it's a waste of money."

This is all based on his General Theory of How I Feel About the World, mind you, and not because he's read about the school or looked into our town's public school. I could respect his opinion if it were informed, but as it is, I don't respect his knee-jerk opinions which lack basis in specificity.

I should say that I have nothing against public schools. No. Thing. I went to public school! And look how I turned out, yuk yuk yuk. No, really. I just think the curriculum at This School is so great, and compared to public schools, it affords more opportunity for well-rounded exposure to things that might get cut with the next budget go-round at our beloved public school system. I especially appreciate the emphasis on music, art, literature, and classical languages. The opportunity is so amazing!

So, let's say that it's not any better than public school. Yet, to be exposed to those things at such an early age, how could it be bad? (Sigh.) I don't like being in this position, because of the factors of possibly making future negotiations difficult. If I send her to the school and he hates it, then what? What if he just hates it because I like it? That is a distinct possibility. The man has endless capacity for spite. But! Enough editorializing, that's not helpful. Do any of you have children with an ex? How do you handle it? I could really use some support, or anecdotes, if you have them. Allright, on to other things.

My daughter, the wit. To wit:

The other day I gave her a few slices of jicama to try. She looked it on all sides before taking the tiniest sliver of a bite because, it is a new food after all and new food is always suspect. Turns out, she loved it and asked for more by saying, "Mommy, can I have some more jicam-up?"

And then there was the day we were in the traffic. The light was green but cars were backed up and we did not immediately get to go. OC decides it is time to drive forward, so she says, "Move, suckews!" And they did.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What I Want

Getting home late last night and then for those few nights last week has taken a lot out of me. I'm so tired, I can't think straight. Last night, I was going about getting our lunches ready, building a fire, and putting things away. I kept walking back and forth, forgetting what I was doing. I went to get my medication from the bathroom, then left without taking it. When I got to the kitchen to finish the lunches, there it was in my hand. I picked up my tea and took the pills, then went to the kitchen instead of going to the living room to get OC's lunch box. I think I end up trying to do too much at once, and also switch too rapidly between tasks that I end up going in circles.

I want to write about things that have happened, things we've done, but I can't come up with anythign interesting and end up writing, "we did this then we did that". Ack! Boring.

Plus, I want to knit and I want to read, and there isn't time for that! I fell asleep after one and a half pages of Eat, Pray, Love and it wasn't because it was boring.

Tonight we will get to bed early, and tomorrow should be better. You never know.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Beginning of a Beautiful Postship

We had a great weekend. How could it not be when there was free wine tasting???

We all went to visit OH's dad for his birthday. It was gorgeous weather: cold, but sunny. There was snow on the ground in patches, the white kind, not the dirty brown junk. We had lunch with my grandma and aunt, who I haven't visited for years, for reasons innumberable. Okay, not really; there's just one reason, and that it they are my biological father's family and since I had a problem with my biological father, I felt like I couldn't communicate with his whole family because they seemed like one big unit, not individuals. But they are individuals, and now I feel like I can make that distinction and proceed to forge relationships with each of them and not feel jeopardized. Does that make sense? If not, suffice it to say there is a lot of history behind why I feel this way. All of which would make for a great post one day.

After lunch, we went to King Estate Winery where there is (free!!!) wine tasting. King Estate is the largest winery in Oregon. We tasted 6 or so wines (for free! free! free!) including a reserve 97 chardonnay, which was creamy and gorgeous; a reserve pinot which was not so good but only because it had just been uncorked and hadn't had time to breathe, which would've displaced the strong flavor it had which it wasn't supposed to have. Listen to me, like I know what I'm talking about! Ha!!

You know what I love? OH's dad is this farmer and logger, yet he defies stereotyping because he also likes wine, history, golf, recycling, and organic farming. He did mostly horse logging, which is much less detrimental to the environment than equipment logging because it doesn't use fossil fuels or damage the ground as badly. He also did a lot of thinning rather than clear-cutting, which is much less invasive to the forest, allowing it to recover and grow anew that much faster.

(Logging is a controversial topic, but to me it's simple: All logging is not bad; using natural and renewable resources is good; bad logging practices are bad; logging practices have much improved in the past several decades; my father-in-law is conscientious about what he does, so much so that he's had numerous back surgeries because horse logging? Is a HARD work for the person, too, and taxes your body a LOT but FIL thought it was the right thing to do and so that's what he did and I totally respect that; humans will always need wood to build houses and things, and it's much better to have people like my FIL showing us how doing it the right way produces a good product, gives people jobs, and preserves the environment, all at the same time. It's GENIUS.)

To be continued...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Return from Absentia

Greetings! I am still alive, you may or may not be glad to know. I have been out of town, staying on Mt. Hood, skiing at Meadows, and attending my grandma's funeral.

I was back to work yesterday but too busy to post. We have had snow here in mild, temperate Portland, and so I ended up having to fumble uncomfortably with, while ultimately succeeding in securing, tire chains. I got in to work two hours late, which I will have to make up sometime before Sunday. OC had a doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon as well, so the day was basically jam-packed, not to mention that at some point, I did some actual work.

Speaking of work...right! Gotta go, kiddies. I won't keep you waiting like that again. Until, you know, I do.

Friday, March 03, 2006

International Relations

So. I went to get lunch yesterday at the Indian food cart. It's so good. Sooooo goooood. You can get a veggie or meat lunch special for $5, including naan. I get the veggie special (or my favorite, channa masala) and make it last two days, cutting the expense to $2.50 per day. Sooo goooood, and cheap!

As I was waiting, two young men walked up to the cart. They turned to me and asked if I was in line, which I said no, I had already ordered. How nice of them, I thought. They were very chatty. And young. Probably college-aged, not more than 19 years old. They were talking to one another in a language I couldn't place, and were asking for certain foods - and food equivalents - from Sandu, the Indian food cart owner who, by the way, is awesome and nice and gives me free samples of tea sometimes and also calls me "friend" because I have frequented his food cart so often.

Anyway, so the two guys: One mentioned something about "where I come from" and something about how hot it was. "The sun here is nice," he said. "It doesn't beat down on you like where I come from."

"Oh," I said. "Where is that?" He said, "Guess."

Oh great, I thought. I am terrible at guessing games. Like the game where people ask you to guess their age? I hate that game, and not because I never get it right. I hate it because there is no way to win unless you are very, very lucky. If you guess the age as being too high, then you are an ass. If you guess too low, well, that's insulting, too. So I guess I do hate it because I rarely/never get it right and usually end up offending the other person who, let's be honest, is an abject risk-taker to play that game with me in the first place. I am not going to lose sleep over offending adventurists who ask me to guess something like their age over which they may be offended. Now that that's settled...

I was afraid I would offend these nice men who were so polite to me, and not like a politically correct way but in a basic, common sense kind of way. So I said, "No, I have no idea. Please just tell me." *please oh please oh please oh please!*

They were like, no. I reluctantly said, "Okay, it's an Arab country, right?" Because they had said something about how Arab food is, and how they hadn't found much here as an equivalent of what they were used to. Lebanese food is close, as is Indian food, but each was way more spicey and not quite the same thing.

"Okay, uhhhhhhhhhhh................... *breathes, says prayer asking for an inoffensive answer - not politically uncorrect but just basic, human-decency-factor answer, and also quickly drawing a mental map of the Middle East, which frankly, wasn't quite complete, which was why I said*


"No, but you're close."

"Oh. Iraq?"

"No, but it's very near there."


"No, okay we'll tell you. (You poor thing who we are torturing with our guessing game!) Saudi Arabia."

(Holy shit! That's where women are less than dirt and stuff, and like, that doesn't happen anywhere else. But they are being nice to me and not treating me like dirt. Does this mean that not all men from Saudi Arabia treat strange women badly, except maybe to torture them with guessing games? Hmmm. I'm thinking my world just expanded a tiny bit.)

This is where I tell you that I had a friend at my last place of employment who went to Saudi Arabia for a job she held previously and was part of a group staying and working for a few months. She said it was awful trying to work with the men there. She told me about how she had gone to the front desk and asked them to fax something, or whatever, and they had completely ignored her. This experience was my only exposure to someone's personal experience of that country, the rest I know was learned from the teevee.

Just then my food was ready and so I said goodbye, nice talking to you, enjoy the sun, and have a good day. They each shook my hand, introduced themselves, and then also said goodbye.

It was an interesting encounter, because I think about the path that brought those two to that food cart that day. They traveled a lot of miles to get there. I was in a city that I've never lived more than 45 miles away from, much less moved to a different country to attend college (I assume they were here for college, anyway). Thinking about that was pretty cool. The world is so big, yet small. (No, I will not now begin a rendition of 'It's a Small World'.)

Another thing was this morning, and the beautiful Asian woman who made my caramel mocha. I was admiring her shiny black hair, and the artful way she had made her ponytails. They were not little-girley, but grownup ponytails. She had two down her back, with several red holders at short intervals. It looked very sleek and cool. I liked her hair and also the way she put caramel sauce on top of my coffee without my having to ask, even though she was the only barista making coffee and they were busy.

It's true that odd things can really bring people together, like food, caramel sauce and hair. And other things, but those are my offerings.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


"I saw yellow in the distance and I was like, Oh mommy! We have daffodils!"

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What a way to start the day. When OC noticed the daffodils were blooming, she exclaimed about it ever so sweetly.

This morning I used my neti pot to help clear my nose. I take Trazodone to help me sleep, and it dries up my sinuses. I'm still willing to use it because it works so well, but I hate the drying effect. The neti pot does an absolute wonderful job of moistening the tissue and helping to clear out whatever junk is stuck up there.

Aren't you glad I shared? After all, a blog is good for many things, one of which could be learning the intimate details of the inner workings of someone's sinus cavity. It could be worse. I could talk about poop. But poop? Is not my style. Snot, however, is right up my alley.

Me and my dry, snotty nose, along with my family, are headed to Walla Walla on Sunday for the funeral of my grandma. It promises to be interesting, with all kinds of relatives there to mingle, many of whom I go to great pains to avoid. But, that's what funerals are for: bringing people together who otherwise would assume not to see one another. Ahhh, family. You gotta love it. I do look forward to seeing my Aunt and my mom, and a couple of my cousins.

But before this, there is a loooooong list of things To Do. Oh, my! Before we go to Walla Walla, we had planned to meet some friends and stay at Mt. Hood so we could ski this weekend. OC can't go skiing, as she's still got her phlegmy cough. I'm hoping OH and I can split a day pass and switch off staying with OC inside the cabin while the other goes skiing. I don't mind, as I love to ski but also will bring my knitting along and watch movies with her. Not a bad way to relax before a funeral.

I keep thinking I need to add pictures to the blog. All this text is probably boring the snot (HA!) out of you. Allright, I'll get you some pictures. Soon.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bad Things Come In Threes

My bad things are:

1) My grandma died.
2) My biological father had a stroke and is in the hospital, his left side paralyzed.
3) OC is sick again, this time with much mucous in her lungs.

I am feeling tired and overly emotional today, so I did the only thing I could think of that might help: I placed an order at I feel a little bit better.

Dealing with death is hard, and the level of complicated emotions felt when the death of a family member occurs are, I think, proportional to the level of complications experienced in the relationship.

I am still marinating in my own thoughts, not yet ready (or able) to articulate very thoroughly how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. I suppose I am letting it all stew so I can make sense of it. That's what I do: think, ponder and make sense of the entire thing so I can expound on it. That is when I am able to talk about it, because that is when I begin to understand it myself.

I really liked something I read recently. It's a beautiful metaphor for life, perfect for when you are in the mood for contemplation. This is it, from DatingGod, and was written by Paulo Coelho:

A river never passes the same place twice,” says a philosopher. “Life is like a river,” says another philosopher, and we draw the conclusion that this is the metaphor that comes closest to the meaning of life. Consequently, it is always good to remember during all the year to come:

A] We are always doing things for the first time. While we move between our source (birth) to our destination (death), the landscape will always be new. We should face these novelties with joy, not with fear – because it is useless to fear what cannot be avoided. A river never stops running.

B] In a valley we walk slower. When everything around us becomes easier, the waters grow calm, we become more open, fuller and more generous.

C] Our banks are always fertile. Vegetation only grows where there is water. Whoever comes into contact with us needs to understand that we are there to give the thirsty something to drink.

D] Stones should be avoided. It is obvious that water is stronger than granite, but it takes time for this to happen. It is no good letting yourself be overcome by stronger obstacles, or trying to fight against them - that is a useless waste of energy. It is best to understand where the way out is, and then move forward.

E] Hollows call for patience. All of a sudden the river enters a sort of hole and stops running as joyfully as before. At such moments the only way out is to count on the help of time. When the right moment comes the hollow fills up and the water can flow ahead. In the place of the ugly, lifeless hole there now stands a lake that others can contemplate with joy.

F] We are one. We were born in a place that was meant for us, which will always keep us supplied with enough water so that when confronted with obstacles or depression we have the necessary patience or strength to move forward. We begin our course in a soft and fragile manner, where even a simple leaf can stop us. Nevertheless, as we respect the mystery of the source that gave us life, and trust in His eternal wisdom, little by little we gain all that we need to pursue our path.

F] Although we are one, soon we shall be many. As we travel on, the waters of other springs come closer, because that is the best path to follow. Then we are no longer just one, but many – and there comes a moment when we feel lost. However, as the Bible says, “all rivers flow to the sea.” It is impossible to remain in our solitude, no matter how romantic that may seem. When we accept the inevitable encounter with other springs, we eventually understand that this makes us much stronger, we get around obstacles or fill in the hollows in far less time and with greater ease.

G] We are a means of transportation; Of leaves, boats, ideas. May our waters always be generous, may we always be able to carry ahead everything or everyone that needs our help.

H] We are a source of inspiration.

And so, let us leave the final words to the Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira, “To be like a river that flows silent through the night, not fearing the darkness and reflecting any stars high in the sky."

Peaceful. And lovely.