Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Journal Moment

So.......Karma really fucked up this time.

I'm a good person, right? I'd like to think I am. I donate some of my hard earned, paltry shekels to charity. I hand things out to the homeless. I volunteer at the school. But above all, I try. I try so hard to be good, kind, and honest. I try to be the kind of person, co-worker, employee, spouse, and friend that I would want to be around.  Then why? Why, Karma? Why did you choose to not only incinerate my car but to give my family the puke flu for Christmas? There are rumors among my work circle that you fucked up. Please, right this wrong.

Yeah. We've been sick. Lucy first. It started before Christmas and culminated with her halfheartedly opening her gifts while lying in my lap on Christmas morning. Then me. Missing work and wanting to die. Next came Jay, lying in bed saying, "This is horrible. I think I'm having contractions!"  Everyone but Monty, who is immune to stomach viruses and has thrown up, literally, only once in his life. While we've been retching he's been walking around eating fish stick sandwiches waiting for us to get better.

I've really tried to be cheerful. I've tried to stay upbeat and look on the bright side but honestly, at this point, only a lunatic would be able to find the bright side of six loads of barf laundry and a window view of a burned out Volkswagen. (It will be gone tomorrow. It will be gone tomorrow. It will be gone tomorrow.)

BUT...........I have good friends. Everyone has been super supportive and kind. All of my local people have offered to help. Even people who I didn't think had me on their radar, have been wonderful and surprising. Plus, I have some happy things to look forward to: book club tomorrow and New Year's Eve with the Lindgren's. Plus, the car situation isn't dire. It's not great, but manageable and the future looks bright.

Just get your shit together Karma, because I'm banking on 2013 being the year of Tammie.






Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So There Was A Fire.......

Monday night (Christmas Eve), as I was coming home from work, I noticed my car begin to smoke.  Because it wasn't overheating at all and because I had just pulled into my parking space, I wasn't entirely concerned. Keep in mind, my car is old. And just like any senior citizen, it will occasionally make weird sounds, odors, and emissions and then keep chugging along like nothing is out of the ordinary.

Shortly after I went inside, Monty left to walk the dog only to immediately return and and say that there was a fire under my car. I  went outside and froze, just staring at the small flames under my car.

Monty gets in my face, "Mom! Fire!" Oh right.

I called 911. Within minutes the fire department had arrived and were in the process of putting out the flames that were now engulfing the entire front portion of my vehicle.

The damage:


Related Thoughts:

* No one was hurt and there was no damage done other than to my car. It could have been much, much worse.

*Jay had planned to get me new tires. I'm glad we put it off until after Christmas. Money saved.

*Before the firefighters arrived, a few of my neighbors came out with fire extinguishers. I have no idea which homes they came from and in all the excitement of the moment, I never thanked them. I hung a Thank You note in a common area and signed it The Woman with the Charred VW. I hope they see it.

*The firefighter who filled out my incident report was the quintessential hunky firefighter and he was unbelievably kind. He walked over to me and said, "I'm sorry about your car." I sighed and said, "Yeah....it was vintage." He looked sadly at my car and replied with almost more sorrow in his voice than I had, "I know."

*Before the firefighters left, a slutty looking girl who was visiting my neighbor asked Hunky Firefighter for his number. He glared at her and walked away. Score another point for you Hunky.

*Last night I was numb and in shock. Today I worked through the necessary logistics about how I'm going to get to work. We still have another car and I have some great friends and co-workers who have already offered to help out if needed so I don't foresee any major problems. I'll know more once all the insurance stuff gets sorted out. All in all, I'm amazed at how nonchalant I've been about this whole thing. When did I become so relaxed?

RIP Cab. We had a good run.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow

Last weekend was a nice one. My children seemed to want to be with me more than usual. Maybe they sensed my need to be near them more than usual. Jay and I both had all weekend off and by some amazing stroke of luck none of us got sick of one another or argued incessantly.

On Sunday we went to Cooper Mountain to see snow. (Past Cooper Mountain visits can be seen here and more recently, here.)












God I love the snow. Sadly, we rarely get any of the flakes where we are in the valley, but when we do it's so pretty and makes me so happy. It was coming down in chunks when I left for work on Tuesday and I was so jealous as I passed Lucy and her friends walking to school. (Most mornings she treks to class with her buddy and his dad. Side note: It doesn't escape me how incredibly lucky I am to have a handful of friends close by whom I trust to care for my child and who trust me to care for theirs. It takes a village, people.)

I'm hoping for a white Christmas, but I don't think it's in the cards.

Unrelated Random Thoughts:

*I've been working. A lot. As much as I love the busy-ness of the holiday season, my patience is wearing thin. People really need to stop getting mad at me for not having the toy that their precious, entitled brat wants. Shop earlier next time, asshole.

*Personally, I think I overdid it this Christmas. And in saying that I'm in no way implying that I can somehow afford to overdo it this Christmas. But I did. Jay made fun of me the last time I put a present under the tree by saying, "Yeah, feed that tree. Nom nom nom." I'll admit it,  I have overfed the tree this year. Next year I'll be better. As an Ex-Jehovah's Witness I'm still getting the hang of this whole Christmas thing and I haven't found a balance yet.

* Christmas cards please me. My favorite time of year + snail mail? Yes, please! All of them are proudly displayed in my living room. (Yes, Peggy, even your vulgar one. Especially your vulgar one.)

*I'm really in love with the song Into Giants by Patrick Watson.  When I'm alone I listen to this song an embarrassing amount of times. I have a crush on this song.

*In a few weeks my daughter will be 8 years old. Jesus Mary and Joseph how did that happen? My plan is to make a Kit Kat cake.

*I still have California pictures I need to post here. I'm just slow.






Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15

A few months back Jay purchased an annual family pass to the new Portland Aquarium and we penciled in a day during opening week when we would pull the kids out of school and go as a family.



That date was this past Friday.

As we drove we listened to the news and I was so thankful to have my people with me. Safe.

Since then I've felt a range of emotions. Sadness, confusion, anger, grief, and even guilt. Why do I get  to have my family here, healthy, and looking forward to Christmas?

Even though the news has been on in our home a lot lately, Lucy has no clue about what happened. She's forever in her own happy little world. Sadness doesn't penetrate it too easily.


Monty gets it though. He's a news junkie to begin with so he's already heard way more than I would have liked.

As I look at these pictures of my rag tag crew (taken at a local park on the way home from the aquarium),

I cannot believe how lucky I am.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Concert

I just came back from Lucy's Winter Concert at school. Jay couldn't be there because he had to work so I ended up sitting between Monty and a Cell Phone Dad. Cell Phone Dad took one picture of his kid and then played with his phone through the whole program, barely even looking forward. I wanted to elbow him.

I know these things aren't the most interesting way to spend an evening. We're sitting on folding chairs in the gymatorium. It's 1000 degrees. The audience is filled with assholes whom I wouldn't hang out with in any other instance. Babies are screaming. Some woman behind me is barking about how she can't get her camera to work. From where I'm sitting I could barely see my kid.  Personally, I couldn't wait to get home and pour some wine and get into my disgusting yet comfy nighttime sweat pants, but my daughter and her friends are SO THRILLED and they (and their teachers) have put so much work into this night.

So I play the game. I clap after every song. I try to make eye contact with my daughter and her friends. I'm what my daughter's teacher refers to as 'an active listener.'

And it's worth it.

On the walk home we ran into my daughter's friend and he looked at me and excitedly said, "I saw you out in the audience looking at me!" That's right, I was looking at you! I couldn't understand a word you said because the audio in the gymatorium is not that good, but I was right there with you.

It made me think about Cell Phone Dad's kid, who looked out into the audience and saw the top of their dad's head.

Next time I'm elbowing Cell Phone Dad.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

San Francisco: Three-Dead People

Ever since coming back from San Francisco, I don't think a day has gone by where I haven't thought of something about my trip. When I first came home Jay and the kids were immediately all "tell me about your trip"-and I had nothing. But as the days and weeks passed, details and tidbits have emerged. I'll remember the way that certain streets in the city actual smell old and good, like a used bookstore. I'll recall how freaked I was when I saw motorcyclists whizzing between lanes of traffic (totally not illegal in California) or I'll picture the streets of the Castro district where it's not uncommon to see a store that sells only high end, designer dog supplies right next to a sex toy store that has some of the largest dildos  I've ever seen displayed right in the front window. These are all memories that will stick with me forever.

I'm forgetting the order of it all though. In my head it's all filed in one giant messy folder labeled San Francisco. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it and as I look at my pictures I can't remember what happened before or after the image I'm looking at. 

For instance, I don't remember what else we did this particular day. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was awesome, but this is what I took pictures of.

Chapel of the Chimes is a beautiful historic building housing the cremated remains of people. Once you enter, the building appears to go on and on with each room leading into another one with seemingly no end. The remains are in drawers or on shelves in boxes that look like books. At first glance it seems as if you're looking at some rich person's library.



 It's filled with fountains and gardens at every turn and the atmosphere is peaceful and serene.






I could see coming here regularly, just to unwind and be quiet after a busy day.

After seeing the Chapel, we went to Mountain View Cemetery which is a gorgeous, winding cemetery that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same guy who designed New York's Central Park.

 It's quiet and gothic.




The best thing about the cemetery though is the view:

There isn't much else to say about these places. This was a calm and low key part of my trip and I love that Daphne thought to share these spots with me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

San Francisco: Two-Alcatraz

The day we went to Alcatraz was warm and bright and as we waited at the dock for our little cruise ship to come take us to prison, I could feel my neck getting warm. But the people watching was fantastic. So many different nationalities, colors, and languages in one spot. While we waited in line to board the ship, we got a chuckle at a little boy behind us who was screaming, "I don't want to go to jail! I'm NOT going to Alcatraz. I hate you. I hate everything! I'm not going!" It made me thankful for my few precious child-free days. 

If you ever get a chance to visit Alcatraz, I highly suggest you take advantage of the audio tour they offer. You pop on a headset, choose your language, and listen as you tour the penitentiary. It's narrated by former guards and inmates and it's incredibly haunting.
Living conditions:



Isolation:
Daphne in "the Hole":
One of the things I remember most about the tour is when a former inmate tells how on certain nights, when the partying in San Francisco was especially loud, like on New Years Eve, the prisoners on the island could hear the revelries, at times even hearing the laughter of women.

The view from the island:

Who wouldn't want to be there?

 I think everyone should have to visit Alcatraz. It will keep you on your best behaviour and make you appreciate the fact that you don't live behind bars.

Monday, November 12, 2012

San Francisco: One

Oh my, San Francisco. As much as I love my cold, silvery-grey, misty Portland, the Bay area was definitely a treat. It didn't hurt that I had a fabulous tour guide who adores the city and took me not only to the popular spots, but the areas she loves as well.

Our first destination was at the Powell/Mason turntable to catch a Cable Car.

Before getting on, Daphne asked me if I wanted to sit or stand on the outside. I had no idea and sitting just seemed easier, but then she said, in a sing-songy voice, "Standing is better." Well, okay then.
She stood in the very front holding on to the white bar, and I stood directly behind her. I had to hold my purse close to my body as we clanked past parked cars and I was standing directly in front of some tourists who may have been grumbling about me in their native tongue, but what a way to view the city! I'm glad Daphne poo-pooed my sitting plan.

The ride ended at Fisherman's Wharf which wasn't far from where we needed to be to catch the boat to Alcatraz. (Alcatraz was intense and probably deserves its own post, I'll write more about it another time.)

After finding a mailbox (Ballots had to be postmarked, this was Election Day!), we wandered around a bit. Fisherman's Wharf is super touristy, even by the standards of a tourist. Lots of tee shirt shops and mass produced trinkets. I'm glad I can say I saw it, but Daphne and I both agreed it wasn't a place to spend a ton of time. The crowd was diverse though so the people watching was great.

This silver fellow was especially fun:
A little girl had put a few coins in his cup and he was unimpressed:
It was all good once I gave him a dollar though:

A view of the Golden Gate bridge:
After Alcatraz we walked back to the car. This is where my details get fuzzy. Did we then go to Chinatown? Dammit, this is why people keep travel journals. Either way, eventually we ended up in the Castro, which was a wonderful place to spend this election night. The crowds in the restaurants and pubs were glued to the news and as we walked the streets we could occasionally hear cheering as the individual states' results came in. Daphne treated me to a birthday dinner at Chow, which was delicious. (The dining options in the Bay area are amazing. I ate so much good food. Really, I ate a lot.)

After eating and a bit more walking, we picked up Daphne's man and headed home where we drank a lot of red wine, snuggled with Thomas the cat, and continued watching the election night coverage until the very end.

It was an incredibly memorable day and night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012








The summer seemed to last forever but Halloween week has been cool and rainy. Costumes were worn  over long sleeve tees or with jackets over them, but it was beautiful and sweet nonetheless.

The girl was a fairy. When Jay found her dress for $6 at Goodwill the initial plan of her being a robot was tossed. The fairy dress was just too pretty to pass up. Her night was filled with glitter, makeup, sparkly gems on her face, and people complimenting her on how lovely she looked. There aren't many times an average gal gets to feel like a princess, but Lucy definitely had a princess night.

The boy pulls the same junk every year. He says he's too old to dress up, too old to go trick or treating. Then at the last minute he throws together some weird teenage boy costume. He and his quirky friends got it in their head to dress up and trek to the rich neighborhood. Monty was a walking billboard for marijuana legalization (something we've discussed in our house a lot lately), Friend #1 was a meth addict, and Friend #2 (a Middle Eastern guy) dressed as a "terrorist." Needless to say, their costume choices didn't score them the full size candy bars they hoped for.

They would have had better luck staying closer to home, Lucy brought home quite a haul.

Happy Halloween!