the rabbit hole of insomnia

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I’ve wrestled with insomnia since I was very young.  When I was 7 years old my Dad got me a child-sized wicker rocking chair and set it up outside my bedroom in the lighted hallway. Continue reading

shopping in virus times

 

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I’ve been away for awhile – life as usual – for awhile.  But now…..now nothing is as usual.

I’m working from home and fortunate to be doing so while so many have no work to go to right now. However; the work from home set up is not without some stressors.

It became evident quickly that my fancy-dandy Mac wouldn’t work with the system I needed and unless I quickly became a computer tech I was out of luck.  So……. I went shopping for a PC laptop.  I had to have it; I had exactly 4.5 days to learn a new job, with some 30 hours of online training (I know, do the math – it didn’t fit) learn a new program and get to work and my employer was not providing equipment. Crisis times call for crisis measures and I want to do my part.

Dashing into the empty city I found the computer places closed and with only a drug store that has a reputable computer department open.  I went in to awkwardly stand across the room from the sales guy and explain what I need.  He came up with the great idea of hey! how about a refurbished Lenovo? It will handle your requirements and not cost you an arm and a leg.  Well, $500 of an arm and a leg.

I took it. Rushed home to get on-line and try to catch up.  I yanked the “refurbished” tape off and “unboxed” my new to me Lenovo.  I opened the laptop and WTF! there were crumbs in the keyboard!  Someone’s sandwich leftovers refurbished….. In order to enter the Windows 10 code I needed to turn the laptop over to read the number.  Two keys fell off in the process and the code wouldn’t enter. I tried to get the keys to fit back on as I hurriedly tried to connect to the training I was missing.  Just trying to make it work for the day.  Just get through it. After charging the battery up fully, I unplugged the laptop and carried it into the other room with the message battery low – plug me in now or lose everything.

So long story shortened; I took it back. Got my money back.  Went to the computer store that was now open and bought a new PC for substantially more $. I won’t tell you I handled the stress ok, because I didn’t.  I cried. The pressure from work was huge.

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On my way home I stopped at Walmart to grab a cable to connect to my extra monitor.  The store has made considerable effort to manage shopping with huge red arrows on the floor directing traffic through the aisles and distances marked off at cash registers.

Are people blind or just plain don’t give a damn “it’s not meant for me mentality”? As I follow the red arrows up the aisle, they come from THE WRONG DIRECTION and walk right up as if social distancing was a concept beyond their grasp.

I found some help in the tech department with a close-talker young lady.  As I kept backing up and moving off to the side, I can excuse her for being too young to remember Seinfeld and the “close-talker” episode, but social distancing? Hmmmmm.

We dance around as I show her a picture of the connection I need and she shows me a cable and says “you need the female connection”.   I show her the picture again and say, “no I’m thinking I need one with the poking out ends to go in” and she says “Oh! I get it the male; the poking out thing!” Ah, yes.  Sadly they had none in stock.

Any shopping in virus times compels us to take a saunter down the toilet paper aisle.  Empty of toilet paper, but a couple boxes of scratchy looking tissues that we all have in the cupboard (just in case) and a lot of paper towels.  Maybe the populace has discovered that paper towels and septic systems are not a good match.

Tired of the whole frustrating shopping experience from laptops to cables to toilet paper,  and major stressed from work requirements, I turned around at the end of the aisle and there in front of me was a whole cooler of Haagen-Dazs!  Talk about strategic end of aisle placement!!

Well played, Walmart.  I bought it.

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that time I lost the Vagina Monologues

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As I pulled into the dealership to have my car serviced last week I automatically reached out and turned the volume on my radio off. I suppose so the service guys wouldn’t  have to listen to my Sirius CNN at mega volume to compensate for my deafness.  After all, I drive alone most times so my cable news addiction can remain my secret. But then again, there’s the time I lost the Vagina Monologues.  Continue reading

shaking it off

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Those things, you know…the things that you have to shake off. Do they bother me? Those things? Of course they do but there’s no one at the edge the lake with a big fluffy towel so I’d better learn to shake it off.

I went in to get a colour correction.  That’s fancy talk for fix the gold streaks in my hair that look like streaks of “oh no…..not a good look”.  I went to a new stylist because I wanted a change; came out with hair so blonde it looks like doll hair. A cross between yellow yarn Raggedy Ann hair and bombshell Barbie synthetic hair.  A friend of mine said “I wouldn’t have done that” when she saw me.  Well, I did it and actually kind of like rocking the blonde again for a change. Doll hair and all.

My friend said to me ” don’t you worry about your brain tumor?” Interesting question which I suppose requires more than a yes or no answer. Well yes, I worry about it just before it’s time for the next MRI to check what it’s doing.  Besides making me deaf, that is.  Yes, I worry about that.  Do I worry about it otherwise? Not so much. The hearing aids work and I get by. For now.

Standing across the counter from the cell phone lady, I explain that I need a new phone and want to review options and all that stuff with the phone plan thing. Because there was background noise and she was talking down at her computer I couldn’t hear her so I moved around the end of the counter and said “I am pretty deaf and need to stand closer to hear you”. Great. She spent the next five minutes explaining my plan to me by YELLING at me very slowly. People in the store were all watching her yell at me as I backed up around the front of the counter.  I wanted to yell back “I’M NOT THAT DEAF”,  but she was trying so hard I didn’t have the heart to.

This is the time of year that no matter how long I’ve lived away from there, I get homesick for Oregon.  On my way to work early in the morning the air might feel like Oregon, or it might smell like Oregon. A tiny pang of homesick. It’s not always practical to pack up and chase homesickness so I buy Rainier cherries. Well, we called them Queen Ann, but whatever you call them, they taste like Oregon. Shaking it off.

These things that bother  – I can usually shake them off and find some joy and even a smile in doing it. Even if sometimes that wet dog smell lingers…..

 

 

 

 

wait a minute – where’s the cellulite?

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Those ads.  The all-inclusive resort, azure blue waters, all the beautiful people. I can almost feel the soft tropical wind gently blowing the sarong slouched oh-so-sexy on my hips.

Wait a minute……. where’s the cellulite?   Continue reading

he ate my signature

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The phone call totally made my week.  The guy calls and tells me he has a problem.  He says it’s hard to explain.

 He tells me he has a situation with the document he needed to sign and send to me and that he has a new puppy. Ok.  He tells me that he signed the paper and had it on the coffee table and when he left the room the puppy ate his signature; ate the bottom of the paper right off where his signature was. Ok, so of course I asked what kind of puppy it is and he says it’s a black Lab.

Say no more.

Always dangerous, that quiet was, and as if bursting from starting blocks on a track Benjamin gallops around the round oak coffee table waving my new peach satin Victoria’s Secret bra from his mouth with great delight.  Cups flapping on his ears like headphones that can’t get a grip, straps shinning across his nose, he’s clearly thrilled with his dresser surfing prize and is trying with all his might to entice me to join in the chase.  I yelled, I commanded,  and he raced faster and faster around the table reminding me of one of my childhood bedtime story books where the tiger races around in a circle until it turns into butter.  Totally  frustrated, I flopped down in the chair in the living room and decided to wait him out. Let him eat my bra, I was tired of the whole game. Benjamin walked over and with the classic Labrador soft mouth, laid my bra gently on my lap as he looked up at me with “you are my world” eyes. It’s hard to explain.

We take our fancy new RV trailer up in northern BC to remoteness. Rivers, bears and dead salmon.  The spawners that drift up on the bank and feed bears and eagles.  I make a special dinner and set the table in the trailer with placemats, wine glasses and flowers and Mark takes Benjamin out for a pee.  The short leash while walking along the river bank trying to avoid  the dead salmon mine field didn’t quite work as Benjamin found one that Mark missed,  flips over on his back and gloriously rolls  in stinking, slimy rotting fish, legs pumping the air as he shimmies and slides in the goo before Mark can yank him up.  I open the trailer door to a fuming Mark and a putrid Benjamin.  Did I mention that it was raining steady our whole trip? Like raincoat essential rain? Using all our shampoo to wash our stinking dog and all our towels to dry him, we spend the rest of the week convincing ourselves that we’re having a great time as campers do when they’re really miserable in the rain. We camped all summer in beautiful places and weather, but it was awhile before we lost the aroma of wet dog and rotten salmon with notes of Febreeze.  You just don’t pick that up in the fine air freshener aisle.  It’s hard to explain.

As I listened to the guy explain how his new puppy had eaten his signature, the Benjamin stories started popping up in my mind.  I felt a sharp stab of nostalgia.  It’s hard to explain.

 

Photo:  Benjamin – my best friend for many years.

 

 

 

oh those duck lips….

……an adventure in cosmetic tourism.

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Well, it was only cosmetic tourism due to my accident. A freak accident….(aren’t ALL accidents freaks?) put me in ranks of those travelling far and wide returning with altered appearances.

So here’s the thing; people do fall flat on their faces.  Nope, it’s not just a saying, and I proved it.  It’s the quick pop up, hands groping, feeling the damage that’s the realization of “F*@K, I’ve really done it this time”. Chips of tooth, too much blood were all I had to go by since I was alone,  there were no streetlights, it was dark and I was eight blocks from my hotel.

And here’s the other thing…..what the hell is wrong with people who walked around me like I had the ability to part the seas on the sidewalk; who didn’t miss a step getting to where ever they were going?  The only person who asked if I was ok was a homeless guy who said ” hey lady, are you ok?” and offered to share his grubby little roach which he told me was from really good weed and would help with the pain.  I thanked him, said no, and trundled on to my hotel.

Cosmetic tourism probably has a certain panache with hotels catering to clients and so forth. Picture me trying to get through the lobby up to my room with a bloody kleenex over my face – not even sure what people saw when they looked at me. I was a freak!

Shout out to Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.  Although three hours in the emergency waiting room was oddly reminiscent of the famous Star Wars bar scene, the care was awesome. A little plastic surgery putting me back together and I was good to go albeit with a sewn-up, swelled-up lip accessorized by a healthy dash of road rash on my chin and nose to complete the look.

Here’s my question to Angelina, Julia, all those gorgeous sexy ladies with duck lips……when will mine turn sexy? The look just isn’t working for me yet…….

 

 

 

please don’t hate me ’cause I eat carbs

 

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At a surprise birthday event this week a  large beautiful sheet cake was presented beside a stack of little plates, napkins and plastic forks.  A feeble rendition of “Happy Birthday” was sung with no one hitting the high note – nothing unusual there. So the cake was cut and plates began to be passed around the table – and around, and around the table. “No, none for me….”,  “my diet…”, “I’m not eating carbs…”, no thank you, no thank you, no thank you.  Well, until the cake got to me.  A few of us had cake, but the big diet thing was hanging over us like a disapproving cloud.  Savouring my first forkful of cake with fluffy icing, I felt like I could have been drinking wine out of a styrofoam cup at an AA meeting.

I’ve lived through a whole lot of diets with colleagues.  The cabbage soup diet the entire office was on had us walking around farting like livestock.  I’m pretty sure there’s a hole in the ozone above that office building.  Continue reading

fall walks

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Fall came in and shoved all the summer pastels to the back of the closet bringing out the golds, the ambers, the deep rust colours. It’s as if Fall knows that gold tone eyeshadow makes blue eyes pop and is using the nearly iridescent gold leaves to show off the dazzling blue sky.

It’s unusually beautiful this year; drier than usual and no storms so far, so the leaves are staying as crisp as the fresh air. Makes for stunning walks and a yard carpeted with gold.

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Mr. Bear was out doing his fall fattening up and climbed over the fence onto my sundeck to chew a hole in the garbage can feasting on remnants of rotisserie chicken. Can’t really blame him for that – I’ve had much the same inclination to chew through a pizza box after catching a whiff of hot bubbling cheese on pepperoni pizza. Still, I don’t want to run into him again so the garbage cans are secured in the pump house for now.

The sound of a chainsaw singing its way through dry pine and the smell of wood smoke drifting by like the faint contrails of a jet off to somewhere….feels like picking the last of the crab apples to make beautiful clear jelly.

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As we rounded the corner on the homeward stretch of our walk, we ran into Young Buck. He said “Hey, how are you?” in quiet deer talk.  He said ” haven’t been around your place since I ate your spring tulips, but I’m out looking for a bedding down place under your trees for winter.  I always liked your yard”.  He and Jasmine stood for a minute looking at each other and I told him to go back into the forest until hunting season is over and he bounded away in disappearing in the trees.

I love fall in the north.

stuck on a rock

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I’m stuck! Help me!!

The thing is, my little friend Buddy, you aren’t really stuck.  You got up there; you tippy-toed through the water and climbed up on your perch, tail wagging and smiling until you realized where you are.  In the middle –  surrounded by – feeling abandoned and helpless.

The only thing worse than the feeling of being stuck with your feet in metaphorical quicksand as you struggle to move, to make decisions is to watch someone you care about struggle with being stuck.

But…. we’re human and terribly imperfect klutzy beings so we laugh.

When I was seven years old I decided to climb the huge cherry tree in our front yard in Oregon City.  I climbed, and I climbed.  Oh, I was a nimble little monkey scooting out on a big branch and surveying the yard from my lofty perch as I gorged on plump Ranier cherries. Then the lightening bolt of terror hit me. Suddenly the fun drained out of my adventure and I was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t move. I couldn’t scoot back to the trunk and shimmy down; I could only sit on the branch and hang on with sweaty palms. I yelled at my big brother to go get Dad to help me.  Of course big brother laughed and my moment was saved from time immemorial only because we didn’t have the ability to snap pics and text them to our network of friends. Dad eventually came out and all he had to do was lift up his arms and hold me as I slid off the branch which was barely above his head. To hold me in his arms until the panic subsided and he set me off on my next adventure full of confidence to climb again when I found the next tree to explore.

Being stuck is so much a state of mind; in a tree or on a rock, and the best we can do is offer arms to catch and hold long enough to set us free.

The swift water rescue team is on the way Buddy, as soon as your Mom stops sending me pics of you stranded on your rock and wades in to get you.

 

 

that one friend

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Who’s to say where we find that one friend – in a new job orientation session, in an airplane, in a theatre sharing Ted X, in a dish drainer.

Pipy found her friend who doesn’t judge, doesn’t criticize, just listens in the dish drainer. While Pipy’s friend resembles her in almost every way, it isn’t a prerequisite or condition of finding that one friend.

Friendship is wondrous as it grows and evolves. That one friend what just”‘gets it” is a true rarity and an adventure to be brave enough to dive into head first. Watching Pipy and her friend as they talk, talk, talk sharing excitement, chirps and joys is how others see us interacting with our one friend.  The engagement is contagious and we can’t help but share in it, by backing away and watching Pipy chat with her friend or by having a stranger comment that watching the conversation is heartwarming.

The beauty of that one friend is in celebrating differences as well as shared vision. The daily chat of that one friend as a steady companion in shared situation, a shared “help you get through the day”, a shared “well done!” Priceless.

The beauty of that one friend is the resilience that allows the friendship to go on sabbatical and come back refreshed.  Tanya will inevitably empty the dish drainer and put that one friend away, but not to worry Pipy, the true friendship will show up again the next time you are together.

As always, thanks Tanya for sharing Pipy with me.

 

 

that 1 mosquito

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Where does it come from?  Sheesh, every morning I get in the car to head to work, out the driveway, turn the corner and there it is! That 1 mosquito buzzing around the windshield. On the inside.

So here’s the thing. I open the windows so it will fly out. Nope, won’t fly out like a bee does; the mosquito hovers tight to the edge of the windshield just kind of looking at me. I swat at it as I swerve dangerously and give that up in a hurry to stay right side up on the highway. My plan is to wait until the first stoplight with weapon – envelope – in hand and then fwap! It’s done.

Every morning.  I don’t leave windows open so I can only surmise that they line up as I open the door and have some sort of plan like “Bob! You’re up next – get on in there and make yourself comfortable until she gets in to go to work and do your stuff!”

I will have forgotten all about my 1 mosquito trials in six months when it’s 30 below and even the inside of the windshield is no mosquito shelter.  I can wait it out.