Friday, June 20, 2008

::Brevity interlude::

It's been pretty heavy around here lately.

So I have two things to share.

The first is a link to Otto's new fame and fortune. He's a model. I wish he'd tell me he's doing these things, though--I'd get him some quality representation (an agent).
Famous kitteh.

I guess at some point you just have to let them live their own lives.

That said, I think the small-time has gone to his head a little. He's never been quite the brightest bulb, but he's starting to show some disturbing tendencies toward visitors. Perhaps he's stressed by the move and is hoping that someone else can take him home? And here I thought he liked us.

Devon told me this story around lunch time. We had to have a maintenance guy out to do some work on the lights in our rental house today. She got a call from the property management company, that he was on his way over. When she got to our house he was already there, and in my room working on the light.

She said that she was so embarrassed when she saw what was happening. Here was the maintenance guy (hopefully in his socks if he was standing on my bed!) in shorts, fixing the overhead light. Meanwhile Otto is going CRAZY licking his leg. And when that cat gets a'licking, he really does it like he means it--we're talking deep, fleshy, "I love you and I want to cleeeeaaaaaaan you" sort of licks. His eyes half-close, and he gets into a rhythm--almost as if it's a meditative state for him.

I can picture their exchange.

"Hi, I'm Devon; I live here. And this is our cat Otto. Obviously you've met. He's not especially shy."

Fortunately the maintenance man was quite accepting of the whole thing--he told Devon that it was ok, he had three cats at home.

Nonethless, it sounds like we need to have a conversation with Otto about Stranger Danger--he must have misheard us when we said it the first time: "No, Otto, it's stranger DANGER, not stranger FLAVOR."

And thus begin the goodbyes.

Last night D., Charlie and I had a nice final hurrah BBQ with David and Emily out on our back patio/slab.

The weather was beautiful, E & D brought Mr. Bingley (their dog), and we had a fantastic spread of barbecue foods: grilled portabella mushrooms, fruit salad, garden burgers, grilled asparagus, red potatoes, a lovely vegetable salad, a divine sangria, and cupcakes for dessert. There was more food that we knew what to do with. The conversation was light, and the company was tremendous.

The only thing that was less than perfect was the elephant sitting just to the left of the slab with the big "last hurrah with D & E before Boise" placard hung around his neck. We did a pretty good job of ignoring him until it was time to say goodbye for the evening. I gave everyone hugs and said we'd be back to visit soon, and then, promptly, after they headed out the door started leaking big alligator tears.

Let me refer back to some previous blog postings for a moment, and remind you that my mom repeatedly points out that I can have quite a flair for the dramatic. I think this is fairly accurate, but that said, I think this was an alligator-tear worthy event. I'd prefer to think that, rather than drama, I have a knack for letting myself feel things deeply--especially when those things involve big life changes or things that directly affect my own little life.

Anyhow, the fact that we're going to be moving to another city, and that the threads that make up my Portland tapestry are starting to knot off at the ends, is finally becoming a little bit real. It's not such a bad thing--in fact, I'm excited to head east. I'm excited about Boise, and I'm excited about being there with Charlie. There are so many things that I'm going to miss about here though.

I suppose the best way to deal with that missing, is to find new things to be excited about in Boise--and I know those things will make themselves apparent in a short amount of time. It's kind of scary, though, getting ready to move and knowing yet what those things are.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeling bike-crazy this morning.

The other day I heard a news story covering a recent study that indicated bumper stickers can help identify a driver prone to road rage. The research claimed that people who put bumper stickers on their cars tend to be more “territorial” about their space/possessions, and thus are more likely to have a strong reaction when they feel those things are threatened.

Well, I have bumper stickers on my car and on my bike and I don’t think I am prone to road rage? I didn’t think so, that is, until my bike ride in to work this morning. (Actually, in retrospect, I think this is more a case of “smugness,” feeling holier than thou, and reveling in my own “rightness”—not road rage, but also not very admirable qualities. I’m working on it.)

It was the perfect Portland morning for riding my bike to work: cool, sunny, and the traffic lights were all going my way. Another biker gave me a friendly hello as I pulled up to a stoplight with her, and all was well in the world. Birdsong, bumblebees, and singing children.

But those darn stoplights—they always ruin things, don’t they? If there’s one thing that makes me feel absolutely batty when I’m riding my bike, it’s the people who somehow think they’re so above the rules that they can blow through red lights. We don’t live in Idaho, people. Red lights in Portland mean STOP until the light turns green (unless you’re making a right-hand turn).

I pull up to a stop light—and granted, the road to the right was closed to all but MAX light rail, but that’s no excuse!—and a cyclist draws up behind me, barely slows, and zips past on my right, blowing the red light. I wanted to blow a raspberry at him. I was willing to not feel annoyed, though, because of the road closure.

My light turns green moments later (oh, the irony), and I follow him up to the next light. Which he blows through. No forgiveness for you now, my son. He gets a little ahead, and predictably, my light turns green moments later.

Now comes the part that I’m not especially proud of, but it made me feel sooo good. Here I am, wearing my work clothes, on my squeaky, rickety bike. I’m wearing sandals, and I know that I often get passed by people just because I look like I’m the type who’s not serious and is going to just slowly mosey along. And—at least in my mind—Mr. Stoplight-blower with his shorts and his mountain bike had that same impression when he decided he couldn’t wait behind me at a light.

I get in gear to cruise down the ramp to the Steel Bridge, and lo and behold, I’m right behind Speedy McImpatientson. With my rattle-y bike going clank-clank-clank on every bump, and my squeaky pedals going “reeeeeee-reeeeeee-reeeeeee” every third revolution or so, it would be hard not to know I was behind you. (It’s not an especially quiet bike. Rocinante, as I’ve chosen to call it, needs a tune-up.)

Squeeee-squeeee behind him on the Steel Bridge, and then ZOOM, as soon as we hit the Waterfront I’m off! I fly past him, and zip off on my way to work.

I never thought of myself as the competitive type, but under these circumstances, it felt so great to pass him. (I also came up on a person today who’d been at a light with me, and then took an illegal short cut—it was also great to pass her and know that my legal route was actually just as fast.) Then again, all that, and I still got to work 5 minutes late. Roh-well. They probably got there ten minutes late. OH SNAP!

Anyhow. That is my mostly unflattering bike gloat of the day. Yes, I am small and petty just like everyone else.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The worry monster.

It wasn’t until recently that I became the kind of person who worries. Fancy-free, things will work out as they’re supposed to… blah, blah, blah. It seems like all of a sudden, though, someone has infected me with the stress and worry virus—because it seems like that’s all I can do! (Of course, my mother will beg to differ on my assessment of my degree of “worry”—perhaps I’m just not admitting to myself what it actually is I’m experiencing.)

Holy moly this move to Idaho is bringing out the worst of my “worrier” tendencies.

“OMG CHARLIE! What if we don’t find a place to live??” (We found a lovely place to live.)

“OMG CHARLIE! What is they don’t allow Otto?” (He’s fine with a reasonable, refundable pet deposit)

“OMG CHARLIE! What if the woman we’re leasing from doesn’t send us the lease agreement and we turn down our ‘back up’ place and then we don’t have a place to LIVE!?” (She sent it, it’s fine.)

“OMG CHARLIE! The lease agreement says that we have to have a phone on the premises—what if they make us buy a land line??” (They didn’t. Cell phones are fine.)

“OMG CHARLIE! We need to buy a new couch! What if we move to Idaho and we’ve unpacked our moving van and there’s no COUCH to sit on??” (Still working on that one, but I think it will be resolved soon.)

“OMG CHARLIE! We don’t have dressers or a table or a coffee table!?” (Working on those too.)

“OMG CHARLIE! WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A JOB SOON HOW WILL WE PAY MY COBRA INSURANCE!?” (Fair enough, this one is still out there, but I’ve applied to three jobs that I think I’m well-qualified for.)

Thank goodness for a sweet and understanding person in my life who will listen to these worries calmly and not treat me like I’m going insane.

I’m starting to learn that moving to a new state with no job lined up yet can make a person feel a little insane.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Big news.

As if moving across state lines wasn't enough of a change for us (not to mention finally moving in together), there's more exciting news brewing in my little world.

That's right, Charlie and I are making it official--sometime in 2009 we are going to join the realm of the blissfully wedded.

We're both so excited about it (as you can imagine), and our families are thrilled as well.

We've not really started much of the planning process (aside from the occasional "WOULDN'T IT BE AWESOME IF WE MADE EVERYONE DRESS IN SILVER LAMÉ AND WEAR HAIR HATS??" thought). As we've told a few people (it's turning out to be an exceptionally convenient excuse!), once we get through the move to Boise, then we can turn our thoughts to figuring out how to throw a wedding. AAA! A WEDDING!

One funny engagement-related story to share... they had an end-of-the-year party at the Homework Helper program where I volunteered this year, and Charlie tagged along. The population I worked with there was primarily Somali, and most of them were recent immigrants (refugees to be more specific) from Africa. Most of the girls came up to us and wanted to know who Charlie was.
"Is he your boyfriend?"
"No, he's my fiancé."
"What's that?"
"Well, it means we're going to get married. He's not my boyfriend any more, but he's not my husband yet either."
"So he's your husband?"
"Not yet."
"So he's your boyfriend, then...."

Fiancé was somewhat of a lost point.

Another amusing moment came when I told one of the girls that I wouldn't be able to come back next year because I was moving to Idaho. First she was so excited, "Idaho! We're going to Idaho!"
Then, not so much.
"You're moving away to Idaho?"
"Idaho is poo. It's where all the dogs and cats go to go poo. The dogs and cats all poo on Idaho."
(Thinking to myself: That explains why it's so brown!)
"Oh no! Well what am I doing to do there, then?"
"You're gonna have ta clean it all up." (scowling)

All in all, it was actually pretty sweet of her. :)