Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tales from the six...

#6 bus line, that is.

I think it should be a universal Portland rule that if you are unfortunate enough to have a rather weak chin, combined with the very unfortunate habit of leaving your mouth open all the time, you should neither get one NOR two lip piercings. Especially one on each side of your bottom lip. They really don't enhance the whole mise en scene ya got goin' on.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I was out for dinner last night with a friend, and the first five minutes or so were a bit off, as I was "coming down" from work. That's the thing not just about interactions with or for the Boss... but about the casework. I'm a government employee now, so it's a common belief that I leave work and forget the woes of others. Problem is, I'm not very forgetful.

This week, I woke up one night at 2:35 AM and laid awake for almost an hour, mulling over two new folks I've been assisting, and their place in the maze of immigration-toward-citizenship, and what I either forgot to tell them or what I needed to do more research into. When that hour was nearly up, I did not fall asleep - I had to move to the guest room because the quiet breathing (no snoring even!) of my husband was still keeping me up. I needed absolute silence to get out of the thought circle.

Tonight, I'm drinking some wine and watching my binky show, and I've forgotten the details of which case was keeping me on edge tonight. But a psychologist or a life coach or a counselor would still have a field day... I can't remember for the life of me what was in the ever-looping thought circle just an hour ago, but I still FEEL it! Low, persistent anxiety... the sense that the right answer is just out of my vision's edge... the worry that I won't be back at my desk til Monday, and they have to go all weekend in radio silence...

Happy Friday?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another new one!

The first thing in our new house broke last night! The kitchen sink!

I can't even imagine what causes water to gracefully arc out of the side of the faucet (somewhere in the middle of the neck; was it hit with a pan?), but that is what we have.

Some plumbing tape, covered with duct tape, and I said: "Heck, in my house growing up, we'd have left it like that for a couple weeks." (My father's dishwasher has been broken since 1997. I am not joking. He just uses a little bucket to hold the door up, so it does not fall to the ground when loading. Old Yankee thriftiness taken to the extreme.)

But that is not how John's family operated. Nor how he operates now. Ahem.

And because I'm nothing if not honest... this literally happened in the midst of my asking John the last time he cleaned a bathroom in this new house, the last time he swept the living room in this new house (two things I was doing at the time), and so even I have to then admit that while I may do the lion's share of the day to day, were it up to me, we'd be soon living full-time either with duct tape or be out whatever ungodly amount a plumber charges to put in a new faucet.

But, Emily!, you must be saying. Your husband has a theater degree and a finance degree! What could he know about fixing and installing things!? And so to those folks -- and those parents who might worry a theater degree has no real world application -- I say to thee three words: set design class.

The man can cut, he can measure, he can saw, he can use a power drill and more... and has a layer of aesthetic appreciation, too. In the middle of the kitchen loss, that's what we call a win-win.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A new one.

First, you have to know how much I hate to be hot. I HATE IT. When hot, I become furious and mean and itchy and snap at people.

The downtown Portland shopping and in-out, in-out from store to store was making me hot. My rain coat keeps me warm, which is not good on a rainy day that is also 55 degrees (this is warm to a Westerner). Up four flights of stairs to my car in the lot, and I had the windows rolled down for some air, puttering toward the freeway entrance.

When I was panhandled WHILE SITTING IN TRAFFIC.

That's a new low, even for the clean, intelligent-looking, 21 year old young man with matching clothes and a Helly Hansen backpack. Does it seem remotely likely that walking up to my open window as I'm easing off the brake, and asking for change, is going to elicit a "yes"?

Gah. Chalk it up to Sunday Blues, perhaps.

I just gave a firm "no" and kept all commentary to myself - 'tis the season, after all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What I won't say.

I won't say that it should have come to this. I won't say it's what I would do if I were the most powerful man in the world. I won't say it should pass the House or the Senate, or that a different version should pass than will, or does. I won't say that it isn't a depressing compromise, a non-compromise, a total defeat or a shameful loss of value, power, reputation, promises. I certainly won't say I like it. I won't say I agree with what's happening, and I won't say it's been a blunder from start to finish, with a lot of blame placed squarely on anyone who dares call himself a journalist.

But I will say that as adults, often our choices end up being between two things we dislike very, very much. Still, there is a choice, and it sometimes has to be made. And if you, alone, had to choose one of these options -- not a combination of the two, and not a different option altogether -- what option do you prefer?

You could end all the Bush-era tax cuts, and let most people in America pay a little more in taxes, what they paid under Clinton, say... and while you add that desperately needed revenue, you also have to let long-term unemployment end. You have to look that neighbor in the eye and let them lose their house, their car or their self-worth.

Or, you could extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, and add to the debt and likely extend the depression, but you would get in turn to continue long-term unemployment checks to the person who wants to turn on the heat but is cold, or who wants to buy a Christmas gift, but can't.

What if those end up being the only two options, both of which stink? What would you do?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do you like bird hunting?

No? Whether you do, or you don't, I invite you to read this article, in the New York Times, by my friend, the excellent writer and photographer Dave Sherwood. Even if you have never hunted birds, even if you've never watched a dog work the fields, and even if you have never been to Maine... I bet dollars to doughnuts that he's a good enough writer for you to finish the article and enjoy it. He's that talented. And his dog Bailey is awesome!