Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Blog About Blogs

I feel as if maybe I have traversed to an ultra lame topic here, but it has been almost a month since my last post and Gods be damned if I go a month without submitting something bordering on intelligent thought to the web world.

I like to surf the web and read other blogs on occasion – okay, quite frequently. In fact, I have a list of about ten blogs which I read frequently. One or two of them are just funny pictures and things that make me laugh, like the Cake Wreck blog ( for example, another is someone local that I admire, like Marc Acito ( who is doing something new every day for a year, and others are blogs that search through other blogs for interesting stuff. The thing I like about these blogs and the others that I read, and many of the other popular blogs out there, is that they cater (if you will) to a specific niche interest. These blogs rarely if ever go off the topic of what they were designed for, and that is their draw. So I couldn’t help but think what my blog’s draw is. Not that it much matters since I’m writing it more for myself than anyone else. At least that’s what I like to tell myself anyway.

I’ve been blogging in one form or another for quite a few years now. The former incarnations of my blogs have been something similar to the boring teenage chatter one might find on MySpace, which is partly why I started this one. At the time, and perhaps still, I was struggling with a quarter-life crisis – trying to figure out where in the world I belong now that I was done with school. Well, now that I’ve found my place in the world for the time being, I keep this blog going as I evolve, knowing that I will never be a finished product and that someone else might get some solace in my experiences. Trust me, I’m not getting full of myself or my writing abilities here. All I can do is just write, think I’m saying something valuable, and just be who I am.

Friday, November 21, 2008

John Cleese, How Do I love Thee...

I was prowling the internet, as I am want to do from time to time, and I discovered that John Cleese has his own blog (I don’t know why I am so surprised by this, all the kids are doin’ it!), and I found this lovely jewel within its webby pages penned by Mr. Cleese:

Ode to Sean Hannity

Aping urbanity,
Oozing with vanity,
Plump as a manatee,
Faking humanity,
Intellectual inanity,
Journalistic calamity,
Fox Noise insanity,
You’re a profanity,

Oh, my heart jumps in my chest. I’m sure Hannity has had that joy of such an easily rhyme-able name for the entirety of his life, but you can’t say he didn’t bring it on himself!

I’ve been a Python fan from the moment I knew of their existence (Holy Grail is one of my favorite movies!), and enjoy John Cleese whenever he includes himself on a film (see: Rat Race), and when he would make guest appearances on TV shows that I already enjoy. I seriously need to have a look through his IMDB credits and have my very own Cleese film festival.

I must also admit that my radar had been raised for him recently as the Python boys recently started their own YouTube channel. Truly I have needed something lately to make me giggle, and that’s just the ticket.

NaNoWriMo is taking it out of me lately… even after my little venture off to the coast to write for four days. On schedule to break 40k words tonight (3 days worth of writing ahead of schedule) and if I’m really good I’ll get this thing blown out of the water before turkey day hits.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A little story

So, apparently I like to start my day by thoroughly embarrassing myself… I had just gotten my first cup of coffee for the morning and was walking back to my desk being careful not to spill the hot liquid on my hand or elsewhere, when something happened just as I got to my desk and the new VP of Marketing walks in the door … and I spill half of my mug of coffee all over the place, on my desk, on the floor, on my chair, on my pants, and – most importantly on my hand. Burning hot coffee on my hand. It takes all of my focus to not drop my mug on the floor and just put it on my desk, excuse myself and run to the bathroom to rinse my hand under cold water and get some paper towels before I help him. Yeah, I’m awesome…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Results Are In!

Last night after the election results came in overwhelmingly in favor of Obama, I couldn’t help but be excited. This is the first election since I have been eligible to vote where the man I chose to go to office won – and not just by a little bit. I will be honest, as I have no reason to do otherwise; I’m not really all that in to politics. I believe it my right and duty as an American Woman to vote. As I was telling my coworker, FlatEarth, 90% of the time I don’t really care what’s going on in Washington DC and will generally avoid political topics mostly because I don’t know enough to hold up an intelligent end of the conversation. But I digress.

I had an overwhelming sense of dread going in to Election Day yesterday. I think my sense of optimism was murdered by the previous presidential election when the bushman was put back in office for a second term. Being that I’m not really politically minded, I hadn’t been checking the opinion polls, I hadn’t been reading up on the details and checking political blogs to see what others were thinking I just went in to the day hopeful that our country would go the direction it needed to go.

I was diligently working on my NaNoWriMo novel, trying my damndest to ignore the poles and just get the thing done. I didn’t expect that they would have the results as quickly as they did. I had gotten to 500 words of my 1700 words and clicked over to the NBC website to check the standing at the polls. At that moment the website reloaded to show that Obama was over the 270 electoral votes needed to win and I couldn’t help but scream: “Holy crap!” I ran out to the family room and turned on the TV and sat down in time for them to repeat what I had just seen come over the internet. To say I was elated would be a mild description of my emotions of the moment. I continued to watch completely ignoring anything else that needed to be done while Hubby watched his Twitter feed repeating the funny comments to me.

Several things strike me about the McCain rally/ concession speech versus the Obama rally / acceptance speech and I think that the things that stood out to me are emblematic of the type of person or leader that each would be. McCain’s rally was in a private ballroom in Arizona with an invitation only crowd, this screams exclusiveness to me. Obama’s Rally was in an open air park in Chicago – anyone and everyone could have shown up, this speaks to an open willingness to be comprehensive in everything that he does. As for their speeches, both were eloquent, but the really telling thing to me was the crowd’s response when one would mention the other’s name. While McCain’s concession speech was gracious and supportive of Obama his crowd was considerably less so, booing whenever Obama’s name was mentioned and at one point chanting “We want John” while he was speaking. I can understand their disappointment with the loss of their chosen candidate and perhaps meant this as a way to cheer him up, but in my opinion those tactics are childish. The attitude was of course more celebratory during Obama’s speech but everyone in the thousands gathered was respectful and listened quietly and even cheered once or twice when he mentioned McCain. I believe they saying goes: “you are judged by the company you keep.”

I look forward to President-Elect Obama taking office on January 20, 2009.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm The Saddest Sicky You'll Ever Meet

I don’t like getting sick. Truly, I don’t know many people who do (“Oh wow that cold looks awesome! Can I drink from your glass there?”). But as hubby points out regularly, I am down right pathetic when any type of illness strikes me. I’m not the “suffer in silence” type.

Two weeks ago I had some stomach bug that caused me to pray to the porcelain gods for most of the night, and ultimately took the next day off of work – which I never do. Hubby was sweet and brought me water so I didn’t get dehydrated, and came home for lunch with a container of chicken noodle soup and crackers from our local grocery store. Ultimately it blew over two days later much to my relief and everything was hunky dory.

This past Saturday night hubby and I had our long awaited Halloween Pirate Party. Hubby had kicked his cold for the most part so we seemed all ready to go. Everything went great and we had good food, dirk, and excellent company who could have stayed long past midnight if I hadn’t all of a sudden been felled with the symptoms of Hubby’s cold at the stroke of midnight. Luckily there were only a few revelers left, and I think me starting to clean up may have been a sign for them to exit. Yesterday morning I woke up much later than normal to Cleo whining to be let out and feeling as if I still had a pillow over my face due to the lack of ability to breathe, my throat on fire, and my head buzzing like an angry anthill. My response: groan like I’m dying.

I spent most of yesterday on the couch or in bed bemoaning my fate and wondering if I should call in sick to work again. Ultimately I decided that since I wasn’t really dying I would go to work and go to the store on my break to get some medicine. This morning while getting ready for work, and generally feeling bad for myself I found a set of Dayquil liquid caps in my medicine cabinet that may or may not be more than a year old, I took them in the hopes they would help. As of this moment don't feel nearly as horrible. I'm just hoping the phone doesn't ring all that much today, I don't know how much talking I can do with this sore throat.

What I do know, is that I'm going to be stocking up on the airborne the next chance I get, because I can't really afford to be so pathetic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NaNo Insane Mo

Well, it’s come to that time of year again: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have a love hate relationship with November for this reason. This year, like the last two years I have attempted this, I have no idea what to write. Since here we are at mid-October I’m trying to be proactive and come up with something before Nov. 1 rolls around the corner and smacks me square on to my keister. The reason I keep submitting to the glorious torture of NaNoWriMo, other than that I fancy myself a writer, is that the first year I did it, 2004, I was able to complete the challenge of 50,000 words in one month. That in and of itself is what keeps taking me back to the wondrous suffering of the month. The idea that I came up with in 2006 was very half hearted and not well developed at all, and 2007’s effort was developed but probably not enough to carry my interest through to the end.

So, I have made the goal that NaNoWriMo 2008 I will finish. We’ll ignore the fact that that’s what I said last year. And the year before that. This month, I have been trying to prepare myself for the NaNoWriMo by writing unnecessarily verbose emails to friends, family, and coworkers, I find myself eavesdropping on conversations trying to think if it would be a good plot point or story line, and of course I’m totally writing off every idea I come up with thinking I couldn’t get a full novel out of it. Except for one.

When I was in college I took a course in Creative Non-Fiction. Most people make no differentiation between Non-Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction, but oh glory is there a big difference. What you find in text books and newspapers is Non-Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction is how one might qualify a memoir or travel writing for example. My professor explained it that the story is all based on fact and things that really happened but if you can’t remember all of the details (what someone was wearing, how many people were in the room, etc.) certain parts can be fictionalized as long as it is 95% factual and it had to “read like fiction”. I’ve been thinking of trying this for my NaNoWriMo novel writing it much like the book I am reading right now (Eat, Pray, Love) but my main challenge with that is I wonder if my life is really interesting enough to replicate on paper, and after checking my bank account I’m pretty sure I can’t afford to bank roll a trip of self exploration to a different country let alone a hotel for a night.

So I have fifteen days left to decide what I want to write 50,000 words about. Try it, it’s not an easy task.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

At Your Administrative Assistance

I was talking to OfficeNinja on the MAX ride home the other night and we were discussing various projects we were helping out with in the office. She, being OfficeNinja / the in-house go-to when things need to be done, and me, being the Gatekeeper/Assistant at Large, get quite a few projects from various people in the office. What brought up the upcoming part of the discussion was a result of me overhearing someone that I had helped with a large project of theirs talking about said project. I proceeded to tell OfficeNinja about my frustration with not getting any credit for helping out or contributing to the projects, just contributing to someone else’s glory or “the greater good”. I’m fine with helping out on a project, don’t get me wrong, it is a part of my job after all. The part I’m frustrated about is “all the guts, none of the glory”. I suppose that just means I’m annoyed with being a measly assistant instead of a mover and shaker in my company.

Previously I had been happy not to have the responsibility (and the hours) that those positions required, but now I really want to do something other than entertain interviewees, transfer phone calls, and do someone else’s work. Perhaps a lot of the enjoyment I got from working this job previously was a result of me working at The Bank and allowing myself to screw up enough to get fired and send myself into a depression. I liked only taking responsibility for the simplest things – answering the phone when it rings, signing for deliveries, checking the mail regularly, typing up meeting notes coherently, etc. After a year in this position it seems like child’s play now. Maybe that’s just a sign that it’s time for me to move in to something more challenging. Don’t get me wrong, I love working at The Company, always have. There’s a great energy here that would be difficult to find elsewhere. So my goal is to get another job within the company – something that doesn’t require a MBA – and see where it takes me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…

I usually remember my dreams. I don’t remember them so vividly that you could ask me about it the next week and I would be able to tell you the details, but sometimes there will be a dream that will stick with me for a bit. Last night I had a dream like that. I can’t remember all of the details of it, but one part of the strange conglomeration of ideas stands out above all else. I remember in the dream sitting at the edge of a lake in the middle of a forest, at night, I am partially in the water, and there is a steep drop off just past where I am sitting with another woman who’s face I never see but I am happily chatting with. My two “kidnappers” are diving farther out in the lake looking for coins, but can’t seem to find any. To my surprise I look down at the bank of the lake where I am sitting and notice all of these silver flecks shimmering in the moonlight. As I pull them out one by one I realize that these are the coins the two men are looking for. There seem to be millions of them as I start throwing them in a mason jar I had at hand. The whole situation seems strange to me. Of course it’s strange, it’s dream world.

As I said earlier, the two men diving were my “kidnappers”, but I didn’t feel as if I were being held hostage. And the coins I was collecting (which I thought were all quarters but ended up being a mix of silver coins, mostly dimes)? They were going toward my $10,000 ransom.

I always try to glean my own answers from my dreams. But this one caught me off guard for two reasons: one I hadn’t experienced the elements in it before, and two it has stuck with me for most of the day making me feel like it is important. I was silly and looked at dream analysis websites, none of them lending a helping hand toward what I felt the interpretation might be. So, I’m just going to let it simmer and perhaps the meaning will come to me… or I will go slowly mad trying to figure it out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Believe It Is Called a Menagerie

I have always been a lover of animals. My mom told me once before I moved out of her house that she had had a nightmare that she came to visit adult me and had to literally step over animals no matter where she went. I promised her at that time that it would never be that bad. While I was growing up my family always had just one dog. This is all well and good because, looking back, that one dog didn’t get nearly the attention and love he deserved. I was always pestering my parents for more animals, and they thought for some reason that giving me fish would do the trick. Not so much.

When I graduated from college and moved out on my own I adopted a cat from my now husband’s mother, who couldn’t afford to keep all three of hers. My cat, Tigger, has been my steadfast pal through four moves in as many years, and I think quite content to be the only creature in the house. When hubby and I moved into our own home this January we started to contemplate adding to our little family, but not in the same way most newlyweds do. We wanted a dog. So at the end of March we adopted Cleo in to our life. Cleo is a great dog, very low key, and we joke that she is more cat-like than dog-like, and on top of that could care less about Tigger. As a result of Cleo’s addition to the family, Tigger hid out in the one room Cleo wasn’t able to go in to only making brief ventures out to go to the litter box and after a month or so to come back to sleeping with me. It took at least four full months before Tigger would venture out regularly to make her patented comments on things or occasionally to curl up on my lap while I’m watching TV. I honestly felt bad for her, and there were times when I would seek her out in her hiding spot to pet her that it looked as if she truly missed the attention.

Hubby decided for an anniversary gift he would take me to a shelter and get me a kitten. For the week prior to our journey to visit with kittys needing a good, loving home, I struggled. On the one hand Tigger had taken this long to adjust to having Cleo in the house, how long would it take for her to adjust to a third animal? On the other hand was the kitten who I knew would likely adjust immediately to the living situation and because it was the same species likely make it easier for Tigger to adjust because she’d lived with other cats before. On yet another hand (three hands, creepy), Tigger might like having a kitten to boss around. I came to terms with the whole situation by the time we hopped in the car to go to the shelter. Really I felt like I was getting a friend for her as much as anything else.

Enter Elwood. Elwood is a wiry five month old tuxedo kitten that had called to me from the pages of for weeks. The shelter suggested we get a young kitten and a boy to make it easier on Tigger. I can tell from their interaction now that Elwood has been with us for over a week that Tigger still doesn’t like it – but accepts it more readily than she did the dog. She knows she can, and will, put Elwood in his place when necessary. Like last night. Tigger was happily laying with me in bed and in blast Elwood and as he flies on to the bed (because we all know kittens don’t actually walk) he discovered that Tigger was where he wanted to be. But Tigger, quickly discerning the situation and not having had a good snuggle in a while put her ears back and gave a low growl. Elwood hopped back a bit and went to lay down next to my husband. Content, Tigger went back to purring. I think Tigger is okay with the situation.

So our house is up to three animals, and I don’t think we will be adding any more any time soon. That will probably make my mom very happy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thoughts on Smaller/ Simpler Living

Some time just after hurricane Katrina happened a blog I read regularly wrote a post about a company called Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. The thing that interested the blogger at the time, having just been a Katrina survivor and losing just about everything she owned to the storm and flooding, was that some of these houses were small enough that they could be hitched up to a car like a trailer and driven away. The thing that interests me is that people actually live in these tiny houses full time. In fact Jay Shafer, the founder of Tumbleweed, lives in one of the smallest house models coming in right under 100sqft of living space.

I don’t know what it is exactly that I find so attractive about these tiny homes. It could just be a novelty or a cute idea to me, but it could be something else too. I was thinking this morning about it and while I know I could never live in a home as small as Jay does – especially with a dog, two cats, and oh yeah my husband. I think the novelty of it for me comes down to living in just the amount of space you need. Here in the US we’re all about bigger is better, but what happens to all of that space you aren’t living in and using on a regular basis? It ultimately becomes wasted space, a decorated show room that you need to dust and clean but never really use. I’m a pack rat. I always have been. I know a lot of the stuff that I have I may never use again but I still keep it around because hey one day I just may need my high school chemistry notes. Ok, I’m not that extreme, but I know people who are. With such a small amount living space it force me, at least I hope that it would, to minimize what and how I consume.

There are many reasons to down size your living space, including what I mentioned before. Ultimately the largest reason is an environmental one. How effective is it for one person to live in a 2000sqft house with all the trimmings? The same person would likely do just as well in half or less space, but our American imperialist attitude is to conquer the space both with ourselves and the things we own. You don’t see that in Europe, you don’t see that in Asia, heck you don’t see it in Canada, because they tend to take advantage of the space they have not the space they believe they are entitled to. But I digress. Ultimately if we all lived in a smaller amount of space then that would leave more for the natural world, and because we are consuming less to fill these spaces it’s better for us environmentally and economically.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Can't Buy My Life

I recently go back in contact with a cousin on my mom's side of the family who I had not seen or talked to in years. To be honest I had been reluctant to re-initiate contact with her due to lack of contact and familiarity with the majority of my mom's side of the family. But, as my husband pointed out at the time, she took the effort to send me a high school graduation announcement the least we could do is send her a card and wish her well. I took it one step further and included my email address in the card putting the proverbial ball in her court. We started exchanging emails about two weeks ago, nothing too furious since it's like we're getting to know each other all over again.

One of the first things I asked her, which I am sure everyone is asking her, is what she plans to do now. From her response it sounded like she was attending college out of obligation more than a desire to further her education, and therefore really undecided about what she's going to do once she got to college. I think a lot of kids that are graduating from high school may be feeling this way. Like going to college is just what you do after high school and that's really the only reason for it. Like it's training wheels for real life. This may be, but some one is putting up thousands of dollars for those training wheels. I am not by any means saying that this is wrong - hell I will be the first to point out that that's pretty much what I did. But college really is a life in and of itself. I took it as an opportunity to redefine myself as me rather than my parent's child.

I was trying my hardest to avoid the roll of "older wiser cousin" mostly because I did not know how she would take it, but since she brought up that she was undecided about what she would major in, I figured I would pass something on to her and she could take it or leave it. "One of my professors told me this when I had to finalize my major my sophomore year at college: Major in what you love to do, there will be few opportunities in life to spend four years doing what you love. The only time a major REALLY matters is if you want to go to grad school or you want a career in something you need a specific degree for."

To be honest, I think that was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received, because if you think about it, how many people really use the degree they got? All that matters now is that you have a degree and perhaps where you got it from. I am very happy, for one, to have taken that advice and would likely have regretted making another decision. And no, I'm not using my major or minor on a daily basis but the education itself was very valuable.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mill Ends Park

I heard not too long after moving to Portland that among all of the fabulous parks in the city, we had the World's Smallest Park. The story behind this park just goes to show you how original and quirky the people that live in this city can be, and part of why I love it.

Mill Ends Park is 24" in diameter and was acquired by the Portland's Park & Rec in 1976 it is in the center meridian at the intersection of Taylor Rd and Naito Pkwy (Front Ave). Originally this park was supposed to house a light pole, but when the light pole never came, the park's founder Donald Fagan decided to pretty up the useless weed filled dirt spot and planted flowers in it.

Read more about it here:
or here:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wedding Bells

Someone I had met a while ago sent me an IM last night about fifteen minutes before I was to leave work for the day simply saying: "How did you plan a wedding and not go crazy?" I responded simply: Lists. But she responded "No, I've got that down. I mean with the family drama." That subject is something that they don't really talk about in the wedding magazines and I think everyone deals with. I was fairly fortunate, I think, to come away with only a small amount of manageable drama. Here is what I said to her in an email later:

"As for family drama there were two things that I noticed that really came out around my wedding time. 1) Other people trying to force their opinions on you and trying to make up for their own wedding, and 2) imagining that the wedding day would some how cause peace among otherwise warring parties (be it family members or friends). The key to drama like that is being realistic knowing that it's YOUR wedding. While it will be a happy occasion, it will not align the planets and cause people to like each other any more than they already do. That usually takes a lot of alcohol. :-D Just kidding about the alcohol. But in all honesty you can't take it all to heart, you can't make it all your problem, if you do in the end you'll just make yourself crazy and nothing will have been solved. This is your special day, make it what you want it to be.

And when the big day finally arrives just remember to breathe and relax, everything is taken care of. If something goes wrong? Then let it. Worst case scenario is you'll have a great story to tell and then have to go to a justice of the peace the next day."

I hope this helps out anyone else out there who is suffering under the pull of family drama.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Does the written word remain?

I have been part of a fairly active book club for almost a year now. The book we are currently reading is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The main female character, Clare, is an artist. In one small portion of the story that I just read she talks about the strain between being an artist and being able to support yourself and also allowing time to nurture your artistic side. It’s a difficult balance. I struggle with it myself and still haven’t found a way that works for me. I frequently feel as if my artistic side it starving because I don’t take the time to write or sew or doodle any more.

The last few years I have endeavored upon a writing adventure known worldwide as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). What is NaNoWriMo you may ask? NaNoWriMo happens during the month of November and participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch (more about it at This is a mighty feat, one which have only attained once in the four times I have attempted it. To be honest, it’s my own fault. But I had a good excuse. I always have a good excuse for not doing the things I love. Mostly I’m sure it’s just pure laziness. And that’s why I continue to kick myself. The one year I did complete the goal I was working part time, no more than thirty hours a week, and was living mostly alone. Having more free time allowed me to concentrate on that 1700 words a day goal.

Now that I am working full time, have a 45 minute to an hour commute on each side of my 8 to 5 work day. I feel like I barely have time to do the things I need to do let alone the things I want to do. With that in mind, I frequently find myself not working on the artsy things I enjoy doing. Like sewing or writing and even art on occasion. I suppose this blog is a decent substitute for my lack of writing otherwise, but there is no substitute for thrill of creating something new and exciting that I am truly proud of.

So then the dichotomy remains. I will continue to create in spurts when the moment catches me just at a good point where I have enough time to follow through with it, or I will continue to not create at all. Sometimes I wish I could have the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Democratic Debacle

Things are getting pretty heated in the Democratic race for the presidency. Everyone knows that. Unless, of course, you have been living in a subterranean cave on a tiny island with no outside contact. The thing that strikes me the most is that everyone I have talked to about it is firmly planted on one candidate or the other, no one seems to be waffling like me, and with the Oregon primary in two weeks and it quickly gaining more importance than it’s ever had before, I really feel as if I should set down an official decision for myself.

To be honest, previously when asked I would sheepishly reply that I was a Hillary supporter, but that decision on my part was almost completely superficial. My opinion was based on three things: 1) she is a woman, and hey so am I! 2) If her presidency is anything like Bill’s was it would put us back into a good place as a country (for a moment let’s ignore the whole infidelity thing), it would take us out of the recession in the very least. 3) To be so strong as to cope with Bill’s infidelity under such a fine microscope and keep her head about her, I would have no qualms about her handling the country’s crises in a similar calm and direct fashion. I realize that these things are all opinion and not fact based on my part at all, which causes me to look back at Obama. Obama’s whole platform is change. I think everyone agrees that is what this country needs. He seems to be a strong, even tempered person with strong ethics. But where do we go from there.

Ultimately what it comes down to is: I am an uninformed voter, and it’s my own fault for being that way. What I really want is to know their stance on the issues I care about and what is most important to them. Yeah they can sit there and blabber about education, the environment, and what they will do about the cost of gas, but if really those are all just campaign promises unless they personally feel strongly about it then IT WILL GET DONE. I am currently trying to read through the issues pages on each of the candidates web sites. Hillary’s issues page seems to be arranged in a way that shows what is important to her, Obama’s is in alphabetical order.

I am trying to avoid being influenced by anyone else’s personal opinion and therefore avoiding other political websites for the moment, but we shall see when the time comes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Slowly Going Mad

I like to read – probably not as much as a lot of other people, but I do enjoy it. I am always surprised when a book affects me in a profound way - because it does not happen to me all that frequently. This is likely due to the fact that I use reading as an escape rather than a reality check.

I just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. If ever I identified with a book and a story line, it was that one. It wasn’t so much the plot itself but the emotional down fall and the realization that you don’t really want to be who society and your parents have prepared you to be. The main character, Esther, finds herself slowly dissolving from society’s expectations of her and floundering to find her own definition of self.

All in all, I came away from The Bell Jar being glad that I read it because of it’s place in literature, but being depressed by it because the story reminded too much of my own struggles.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spare A Quarter?

As I mentioned in my previous post I am now working downtown. It’s interesting how different “the city” is from out in what may lovingly be considered the suburbs. This has become blaringly apparent to me in the over six months I have been working in the heart of Portland’s downtown.

One major thing that I notice daily, and hope to avoid more often than not, are the panhandlers. Technically they aren’t doing anything wrong as long as they don’t interfere with the “progress” of the pedestrians (the same goes for those trying to get petitions signed and handing out pamphlets) but realistically what do they expect from us, the passerby? They probably know that they aren’t going to get hundreds of dollars especially since a majority of the passersby do so regularly. The panhandlers I pass regularly have found comfort in front of a Rite Aid store that is almost to the MAX stop, so I am forced to walk by them every day in my best attempt to get home.

There are those that my heart breaks for, those I am annoyed by, and those that I wish would just go away.

My heart breaks for: the man who sits in a wheel chair on the sidewalk, no matter the weather, every morning with a small sign that says “I need money for the basics: Rent & Food.” He looks to be a veteran and not capable of doing much else to provide for himself. I would much prefer to buy him a cup of coffee or a sandwich than just give him some spare change and hopes he will get by.

Those I am annoyed by: He is an older man with a long beard and leather jacket. He looks like an old biker type to me. I am pretty sure he is not homeless since I have never seen him with any type of belongings other than what he is wearing. His position floats so I can never be sure as to where or when I will run in to him, but I seem him at least once a week. His standard greeting is an overly enunciated: “Spare a quarter?”. Something just bothers me about his demeanor and tone of voice. I suppose he’s much more abrasive than I expect a panhandler to be.

Those I wish would go away: There’s a group that looks to be in their early twenties that always have a beautiful and well behaved pit bull with them. This group varies between talking amongst themselves with their collection hat set out on the street to asking the passerby for money and then yelling something to / at them after they walk by without responding to their request. I’m pretty sure that this group has chosen this way of life, which makes me feel even less like tossing them a quarter.

I have nothing against these people, or panhandlers in general, but I think I have become hardened to their presence because I am guaranteed to encounter at least one everyday. I don’t want to feel like they are just taking up sidewalk, I feel badly that I have lost my humanity toward them and a part of me wishes that I could help them out and give them what they really need and not just a quarter. The reality is though that I know I can’t give them what they need; perhaps even they don’t know. I can barely give myself everything I need right now. Call me cold hearted if you will, but I realized not to long ago that I would quickly make myself broke if I gave a quarter every time to each panhandler that asked.