Sunday, July 23, 2006

Portland, Ah Portland

From July 21:

In the airport, on the way to PDX to visit family and to work a conference, our largest and longest. It's been very busy at work. There are no interstitial moments during my days at the office. I leap as quickly as I can from one high priority project to the next, trying not to let any slip--much. It's exhausting me physically and mentally. Home, I barely have the energy to stare glaze-eyed at the drama of birds and bees and ants and shivering leaves from the back deck each evening. Staring at the white popcorn textured bedroom ceiling while horizontal is about all I can manage.

It's bothering me, this drained feeling. All motivation for writing and sewing has completely disappeared. It makes me tired to simply walk into the craft room to visit Queen Veronica. Maybe the heat plays a part. And my age, which is feeling exponentially older and older every day. At our writers group meeting earlier in the week, I was horrified to feel both whiny and resentful at my fellow Pointie sisters for even trying to motivate me to write by suggesting assignments and exercises. Leave me alone all you people! (But I'll try to work on a poem, really I will, though only the sappiest of ideas are working their way through my thick skull.)

This funk I'm in puts me in mind of my last days of my NYU career, where all I could talk about, think about, not-sleep about ,was my job. I must've been such a boring pill. I grew to hate that job, and I finally had to quit before they fired me. It was terrible, and there's much that I enjoy about my current job, not least of which is my fellow cube-dwellers. But I don't think I can keep this up for much longer, and I don't have any creative ideas for how to solve it.


Here in the airport, I'm reminded how happy I am to not have a cellphone. I arrived here way too early thanks to our crappy public transport choices, and yes I pulled out my laptop and worked a bit as well as started this blog, but I didn't go online though I could've justified it on my expense report. But riding down on the bus, working (I was writing a marketing email, by the way, and was pretty happy with it--at least I'm a little happier with my work "creative" output), waiting in the sort of impromptu bullpen of the burrito stand waiting for my number to be called, I was surrounded by people on conference calls, other work calls, or engaged in what sounded like completely meaningless conversations. And sure there's an aspect of accomplishing more, or connecting more, or not being exactly alone when you're surrounded by strangers, but I guess this modern world puts my non-phone personality in higher relief.


Today: I'm in the staff office alone at the convention center. It overlooks the darkened, empty exhibit hall. I was disconnected for 48 precious, fleeting hours, and it was rejuvenating. My aunt and uncle treated me royally. They took me and two cousins and their families out to brunch, so I was able to spend time with them.

At Vista House, Columbia Gorge
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
We toured the Columbia Gorge yesterday, parting the unusual heat and humidity in the air-conditioned car, stepping out in the cooling mist of waterfall after waterfall. We stopped at Skamania Lodge to take in the art and view. A lovely, healthy Vietnamese dinner one night, hearty German food in a superbly kitschy setting last night (including a triplet of three accordion players, who, as you can imagine, focused on The Sound of Music music), and uncle-crafted crepes for breakfast this morning. Our visit ended just hours ago and it seems like ages, but I need to remember to return there mentally this week when I'm feeling stressed. And that will happen, later rather than sooner, hopefully.

Aunt, Uncle, waterfall
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.


This week marks our sixth anniversary of home ownership. Another milestone. I don't have much else to say about it other than we still have a looooong way to go before it looks anything close to the shack of my dreams.


M had his first mock trial last week, and he reportedly did very well. I was in the City with some of my longtime gal pals seeing a very off-off-off, etc. kinda show (and having a fabulous, "wish I could live here" feeling), so I missed his debut. I'm sure it won't be his last day in court.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Of Pirates and Party Guests

Like all good practicing Pastafarians, we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean--Dead Man's Chest on opening weekend. M felt strongly that we should tithe the commercial powers that be for promoting pirates. We chose the matinee that afforded us maximum time in the air conditioning, but that show was sold out and we had to buy tickets for the next show, more than an hour later. It was a little crazy though, in this day and age. What the hell were we doing queuing up and just standing there with strangers with the sole purpose of getting good seats? If we just waited a week, we could have great seats with no waiting at any time of day. I adore Johnny D., the special effects were amazing, but it was only an adequate diversion. I think that if my expectations were a tad lower, it would've been a better experience.


Kids these days: I was sitting at the kitchen table last night knitting an attached I-cord border to my potholder (sounds complicated, huh? But oh, it's just a potholder, and I have a habit of spending hours on a project only to screw it up royally at the very end), when M came home, reached into his pocket, and handed me a envelope. His name was scrawled on the face in pencil, a child's hand, complete with a reversed u. It was a thank-you note from one of our party guests, written on my favorite stationery, pulp lined with the blue roadways of letter guides.

Rayna's thank you note
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
On one side, a row of smiling people on our deck with a lower border of trees and on the other side, this note, petite pink and purple crayone clouds and hearts at the top:

Dear Murray and Suzanne Thank yoj for invitins us to your party I had a nice time I livved drawng a rtl table love Rayna

How incredibly cute and sweet is that? It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Rayna's a's have lovely curled tails like little leaden cowlicks twirling off the page.

That's the kind of thing that inspires me to throw another party…

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It Began with the Always-Annoying 80s…

So usually M's trolling about in the liberal blogosphere yields nothing but stultification, sadness, and/or disbelief. But today, progressive voices take on a conflict on a much different front--the war of political words nor the combat in the Middle East were not up for debate. No, today it’s all about the Worst. Videos. Ever. Can Shatner's spoken-word version of Rocket Man vanquish clips from the pre-roller-blade world of Xanadu? Does Billy Squier's inane prancing annihilate the mystery of this version of Total Eclipse of the Heart (second clip--watch the first of this post at your own risk; THE happens to be Rex's theme song, btw)? Can chauvinism adequately explain this musical salvo (last video)? Will The Rebellion ever recover from an attack as heinous as this? Can Carl Lewis ever outrun this massacre ? (Be sure to watch all the way to the end on this one.)

Think whatever you like about the Internet. While your retinas may never be the same after witnessing such carnage, M and I would never have wasted so much time, never have been so amazed, never have had the belly laughs we shared today if it weren't for an online community of geeks who hoard bad video, with a little help from YouTube.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Well, by all accounts, the party was a success. Or maybe our friends are just too polite to say anything else. Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday were spent in preparation for the shindig. By 3pm Sunday, two hours before the party even started, I was ready to call it quits. But then guests started arriving and I felt reenergized and enjoyed myself. The dozen kids played nicely together, and none was injured by darts, firearms, the dog, the aging insane cats, or our very unchild-proofed home. Rex was actually quite well behaved--a little humping and his signature clandestine butt-sniffing, sure, but no nipping and he even let the kids pet him.

Book burning party
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
I didn't get to meet all of M's law school friends and their significant others, unfortunately, and there were a lot of 'em in attendance. One fellow student brought a firepit and several copies of the property law book from the class that caused so much anguish last semester were torched. It was definitely a party highlight until the flames reach the binding glue and started stinking up the yard. Well, it was time for everyone to start leaving anyway.
Book Burning
The food and drink was certainly another highlight, if nothing else. I wish I had taken a pic of the groaning table. The one surprise--no-one brought that picnic/summer staple, potato salad! Well, perhaps the role of the spud was more than adequately filled by the potato gun. Party gun

So M and I have been recovering these past two glorious, lazy days. Those long hours of preparation really paid off--we haven't had to cook or clean or do any other chores, really. I have several nice bottles of wine now and the cooler is still keeping some leftover beer chilly. (In fact, I'm having one now, for lunch, in broad daylight, how crazy!) We went to a matinee of "Superman Returns" yesterday, which was a very satisfying summer blockbuster. One last day of lounging…will I be able to resist checking my work email today? I hope so. Maybe it's time to pop in that "Cooking with Julia" DVD.

The music from the nearby fairgrounds has just fired up--let the partying begin! It is nice not to have to drive anywhere to see a good fireworks show, but Rex suffers--he barks himself hoarse every year. Supposedly our city's no-fireworks ban will be strictly and strenuously enforced this year, but our neighbor let us know that his roommate recently returned from Vegas with a thousand dollars worth of fireworks. The ban has been in force for a while, but our street was ablaze with both the "safe and sane" and *really* illegal varieties last year. We'll see how crazy our street is tonight.


One week into his six-week teaching gig, and M is feeling the godly power of the professor. He's taking this job very seriously and really seems to be enjoying it.