Thursday, August 24, 2006

a photo essay, sort of

The girl on my left in the coffeeshop is meeting with someone who appears to be her life coach or maybe just a really annoying (in that helpful way) friend. But by his tone I think he's getting paid for the crap he's telling her. I love eavesdropping on people's conversations. Also overheard today: "Because I think you're on drugs!" (a girl walking down the sidewalk, into her cellphone)

One week down on my new drug regimen. No noticeable difference, but I'm still waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Last weekend we went to the Clackamas Co. Fair and had a fair time.
Keith pretended to be a fireman.

We looked at all the different kinds of chickens.

We saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, remembering when we saw it in KC when we were first dating. Oh that was so long ago.

On Tuesday we had a visit from our friends Bob and Roger. (We met them in Mexico. Bob lives south of here, near Roseburg, OR. Roger was in town visiting Bob.)

Bob sells biodiesel. He's a precher for the Church of Biodiesel. We are theoretically converted.

He took us downstairs and up the street to show us his new pump, which he plans to install at his biodiesel station. It was tied with rope into the back of his Mercedes sedan, which (logically) runs on biodisel. Pure vegetable oil, which he buys at Costco for about $3/gallon. So, see, it's do-able. If we had a diesel. Which he offered to help us finance. Oh, like right now I could use another task, especially if that task involves buying and selling automobiles. Uh, maybe later.

My job is going well. I am fairly well trained. It's pretty much the easiest job ever, only emotionally it's taxing. It's difficult to have to constantly put forth the effort to communicate with someone in only Yes or No questions, to de-stress, to encourage another person when I cam barely keep my own self encouraged. But it's what I do. So the other day I snuck my camera in and took a photo of me working in the catacombs of the Powell's warehouse. I'll post a photo of Andy (my boss---the guy with cerebral palsy) and I soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A lesson on how NOT to help people

This week has been a struggle, I admit. I started a new job last Thursday. Friday was a near-crisis. I existed only inside my head where I was forced to watch the most horribly painfully bad TV show (worse than The Tony Danza Show) from which I was unable to escape. The day ended in me telling my new employer that I had overestimated my available emotional energy and I would not be able to fulfill agreed upon job requirements. I was desperate you see.

So this week I have been referred referred referred to various mental health providers, not a one being able to provide me with anything but grief and frustration. I spent 3+ hours in the ER last night trying to get some g.d. satisfaction (i.e. Rx), but to no avail. Let's put her in a room, make her repeat her story several time to several people, make her wait wait wait and then tell her no go. Okay, NOT helpful. At all. This caused me to walk home bawling at 11:00pm, holding Keith's hand, trying to take just one deep breath. Keith has this great quality of being able to reel me in when I need it most, and I have needed it often lately. So he reeled, I returned and I fell asleep dreaming of elusive prescriptions.

(using shopping cart to take our Costco loot upstairs)

Today was better for some unexplainable reason, but I was grateful it was. I finally contacted someone who scheduled an appt with me on Friday and I see some light at the end of the tunnel. I am thankful for friends and family at Times Like These. Although it's hard to reach out, I am always grateful for the support I get when I do.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Veganopolis & The Bins

We had such an adventurous day yesterday that when Amber called at 8:50pm, I thought for sure someone was calling in the middle of the night. We’d been asleep for a while by then. I didn’t have any concept of what time it was when I stumbled to the phone. She invited us to dinner with her dad in a couple weeks and I said, “You’ll have to tell me this again later,” although I remember what she said. I was sleeeeeeeeepy.

After a slow start in the laundry room in the basement (grrrrrr) we rode the MAX downtown to have lunch at Veganopolis (check out their website). It’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a new eatery. I had a vegan grinder (salami) on grilled ciabatta with a side of potato salad and Keith had the special---a vegan chick’n taco salad. (Chick’n spelled with an apostrophe so they don’t have to always explain that it’s fake chicken, as if the word vegan in front of it….at Veganopolis….didn’t give it away.) We shared a cupcake for dessert. My sammy was excellent, but it was really the bread that was the star of the plate. Excellent bread can make a very mediocre sammy a star. So I will try another sandwich next time to test this bread theory.

Keith’s taco salad was also excellent with a very tasty tangy dressing. The cupcake was a little dry, but the 3” of frosting on top counteracted that. German chocolatey goodness. It was busier than I thought it would be---we were there right at lunch rush hour, though. The Cutest Vegan of the Day Award goes to a little old man, maybe in his 70s, who was there just as we were leaving. He had on his khakis and button down short sleeve shirt and tennis shoes and on his shirt a button that said Vegan. Amongst all the tattooed/Goth/health-nut-runners there, he was out of the ordinary.

We had an appointment at 1:00p to see a $75 king-sized bed that was advertised on craigslist. So we drove to Hazel Dell (north of Vancouver) and immediately regretted that decision. We pulled up in the apartment complex and I thought, “Well, it’s kind of dumpy, but for a $75 bed, let’s see.” When they opened the door and 5 little barking monsters greeted us along with a guy who showed us in to his apartment, I knew we should just turn around and leave. The place was filthy. But we were there, so we went and looked at the bed out of mild curiosity more than anything else. It didn’t appear to have anything wrong with it, but it was a little junky-- hey it was $75 and she let me know on the phone that they weren’t “firm on the price.” But who knows how many dogs had peed on it. When I asked her if it was in good shape she said, “Yeah…” and I thought, Well, surely there’s more to the story than that. Keith tugged a little on the ratty bedspread, but no was offering to show us the real goods. So while Keith and I were trying to figure out how to get out of there without being completely rude to these strangers we talked about Oh it might be too big for our bedroom…I don’t know if it will fit…. After we had finally escaped, Keith confronted me. “Okay, we need a code. If you don’t like it, you say ‘It’s too big.’ Or ‘It’s too small.’ I’ve been to Mexico, I’ll sleep on anything, it’s up to you.” I say “Well, then if I say, ‘Do you think it’s too big?’ then that’s a legitimate question about whether it will fit.’ He says, ‘Yes, then I will answer that question.’” Glad we got that settled. After almost 10 years together we now have a Code for Getting Out of Deals We Really Don’t Want to Be In. So that was an hour of our lives we’ll never get back and we decided that any future furniture shopping would be done within Portland, preferably within our neighborhood.

For afternoon entertainment we decided to go to The Bins. The Bins is an outlet store for Goodwill. This is not like a Nautica outlet or a Ralph Lauren outlet. This is like a dumpster outlet. Keith said it’s one step up above dumpster diving. Everything is in these giant dump truck-style plastic carts on wheels for your digging pleasure. Clothes are all mixed together: baby clothes and sleeping bags and men’s underwear----all in the same cart. Household goods are likewise not sorted. Lamps, toys, kitchen sink, 3-ring binders---all in the same cart. It’s mayhem. It’s great. Once you get into your rhythm.

On our virgin voyage we clearly looked like amateurs wandering from cart to cart, perusing the goods, being picky about what we looked at. The seasoned veterans were pulling armloads of clothes into shopping carts, taking them to the end of the aisle and sorting from there what they were going to take. One lady had gloves on; this was clearly not her first time. When Goodwill employees wheeled out new carts, people lined up to be first to see what treasures were about to be offered. There is a “strict rule” that you don’t touch the cart until it is in place but after that it’s fair game like the last piece of cake at a Mormon family dinner. When I Googled “The Bins” to get an address, several articles from the local weekly papers came up and I was disturbed to read that items such as snakes, bats (the animal), broken glass, and even dirty diapers had been found in The Bins. I let Keith in on that before we got there to see if he was still game. He wanted to find some T-shirts, and we didn’t have anything else planned for the afternoon, so we went. You definitely feel the need to take a shower after The Bins, some hand sanitizer is a definite must, but if you are in the mood to wander around and people watch and maybe snag a good item here or there, The Bins is cheap entertainment. We scored a cute tablecloth, a small rug, a 1991 Guns’n’Roses T-shirt for me, a shirt for Keith, a lined sweatshirt for me, a tote bag, a curtain that we’re going to make into a bed for Lazlo, and a few other random things and it came to $10.20. Up to 20# is $1.39/pound, 25-50# is $.99/pound. We were taking the bus home or we might have been hauling home a lot more.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

I`ll paint you anything.

We (I) started painting the kitchen last night. Keith did almost all of the taping. It started out as fun (Look! Color!) and ended up being tedious--as evidenced by my decline in attention to detail near the end. I've done most of the "cutting in" (Keith is teaching me paint lingo) and today I am going to get my roller on. Before he left for work, Keith warned me not to fall off the step ladder and break my neck. Okay.

countryneal's Box Painting gets its own wall

We are still trying to decide on a color for the living room. The sample we brought home may be too dark. ? However, I nailed the color for the bedroom. I will not ruin the surprise. Don't give it all away up front.

Also on today's agenda: library.