Monday, August 29, 2005

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

I couldn't resist the Carpenters' quote. Just dates me a bit, that's all. I used to love them when I was little. My aunt Peggy listened to them non-stop, and I learned all of the words to the songs on her records. It made me feel very adult to be able to sing along with actual big people's music- not just my old Burl Ives Rudolph recordings.

It rained here last night. Big shock for Seattle, no? So I had to track down the silly umbrella that I own. It is a vibrant and really ugly shade of pink. It was purchased under duress during a monsoon downpour of epic proportions from an Osco in Tempe, AZ. Spouse got the red one. I got the pink. At the time we thought it best. He has since moved on to a nice, little portable number. I am too cheap.

Rain today though reminds me of the hurricane named after my Sister-in-law. She would be like that too, if she was an actual hurricane. Intense and strong. That's our Katrina.

I've never lived in a place where the weather can kill on that scope. Montana has the cold. That can sure as hell kill. And pretty quickly. Arizona has the heat. Ditto. But both of those are pretty much singular experiences. Seattle doesn't seem to have anything that dramatic to offer. Natural disasters via seismic events, sure. But weather- doesn't seem like it. I pretty much have avoided living in places where these kinds of events were a possiblity. By intent. Not that I feel smug- I just know that I don't handle the off-chance threat of major catastrophes very well. Don't get me started on Mt. Ranier. I had a rough enough time with the Yellowstone Caldera and the fault line that underlies Helena. My bluff to the fates was that I could never be killed off as long as I had books on my shelf that I hadn't completed yet. I wasn't ready. Therefore, I couldn't die. I think they call that Magic Thinking. If not, they should. Do I still feel like this? Well, not really. I am aware that plenty of people die with unfinished business, and that the ability to wrap up your life in a tidy way is a small miracle not often achieved.

I just continue to avoid most of the major disaster movies, though. I do like to sleep at night, not wait for the mountain to erupt. We do, however live on a hill. On the other side of the hill from the mountain. Out of sight, out of mind...

Someone's having a case of the Mondays

Office Space is one of my favorite movies. I find it extremely pertinent on most occasions.
Today I have the pulse rate of a hummingbird, and the patience of - oh I don't know what. Something without large reserves of patience.
Yesterday, the stress finally got to me. I forgot that Spouse was taking an out-of-town roadtrip. Totally forgot. And I scheduled something else for the afternoon- and he thought that since I never as a rule forget things like that, that I had just blown him off. Nope. Just forgot. The things that really mean something to me in life are starting to slip, as I focus on the minutae that keeps on popping up.
So I made an executive decision. I emailed myself the detailed list of things to do that I kept obsessing over this morning. That should quiet those nagging little internal dialogues down a bit. And then I'm going to cut out of here after an early afternoon meeting. That will buy me time. Part of the problem is that we haven't finished moving yet. And all of that stuff is spread between two homes. I realize that it's only a flight of stairs, but there's still plenty to do. I think you can witness my brain churning around all of this...
Anyhoo, once I make some significant headway on the crap in my life, I should feel much better. It will also help when the caffiene in my system wears off a bit. Good thing I haven't got blood pressure even close to hypertension- or my head would probably explode.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

I'm moving. I'm in classes. I'm working full time. I'm trying to pull some semblance of a life out of my ass along the way...

That's not to say that writing isn't important- but it's not gonna happen much in the next couple of days. I'll try, but it's just getting to me a bit- the frenzy of it all...sigh...

I'll send happy thoughts out there, and keep myself from self-combusting. We'll chat later, ok?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I am NOT your mother, kid!

Tonight I got the rare opportunity to see myself in someone else. I was on the phone with my Mom upstairs. We still haven't moved in, but we use both floors. The little girl from next door and her little friend rang the doorbell. I got off the phone and went over. They wanted to come in and play with the cats. Sure. And see all of our stuff.

History- the woman who lived here before let them pretty much have full run of the place. I am not interested in sharing that much of my private life with the neighborhood. Even though I like these kids a lot, I know what I'm dealing with. I was that kid. I went into as many homes in the neighborhood as I could access. I was nosy. I was loud. I was a general nuisance.

When I said no, not now, the littlest one said, "no fair! We want to!" I replied, "but it's my house, and I don't want you in here right now." It's all about the boundaries. It's funny- the first response that came to mind was, "but honey, life isn't fair." Thank God I bit that one back. I swore to myself years ago that I wouldn't ever, ever say that.

Spouse is chuckling to himself. He thinks it's very funny that I met my junior doppelganger. It's all about setting the right boundaries in my book. I feel pretty guilty about it though. The little girl did carve her name into the stainless steel on the refrigerator, though. So she does, indeed have destructive tendencies.

On another note- I'm too lazy to add another post. On the bus ride home I got to share the bus with a crazy guy. He was having a loud argument with his internal dialogue. He said, "I have Baby Jane in my belly button." "Thank you!" "YEAH!!!" "I'm not intimidated by you!"

Lucky me- if this guy was on the bus the first day I tried it out, I probably wouldn't have ever gone back. It was just that kind of experience. And this morning I got to sit next to a rude thug. So all in all a touchy, not feely kind of day. Gotta love those.

From the Bozeman Chronicle

It's been a while since we've checked in on Bozeman. It's still there. Here are a few items from their Police Reports section from the last 2 weeks:

A caller reported a badger at large on West Lamme Street.

Officers warned a suspicious male near a pond on Huffine Lane to stop giving flowers to young girls.

A woman was reported riding a bicycle naked near West Koch Street on Friday. Upon contact with police the woman screamed and yelled profanities, and was arrested for disorderly conduct. Further investigation revealed the woman was in possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

A man was making a right turn near North Seventh and West Main Street when a CD on his dash slid off. He took his hands off the wheel to catch the CD and then ran into a street sign.

A report was made of a 10-year-old boy crossing the street in a large box near East Mendenhall Street and Tracy Avenue. Officers responding found no trace of either the box or the boy.

There was a dead cat on South Eighth Avenue Monday

A caller told police Wednesday that her son was in Bozeman last week for a baseball tournament. She said players from an opposing team entered his hotel room when he wasn't there and urinated in a bottle, which he later drank.

There were two cows at large on Hulbert Road Tuesday.

A naked man was spotted on West Cameron Bridge Road Monday.

Nothing stays the same

Just when I got comfortable, things changed. I was told today that despite initial reports that my job was a 6 month contract, it will now end in September. This particularly blows, since I really like it, like the people and hate looking for work. The only real saving grace from the situation is that not only do they really like me, and have offered plenty of reference help, but it keeps me in the hero spot. I can't stay around long enough to muck anything up. I'm trying my best to put a positive spin on it all.
But it does go against my basically lazy nature to have to hustle for a job again. I really would like to settle into something and enjoy it for a while. After I was told, I called the temp office and was told that I would get re-assigned right away when this one ends. That is encouraging. I also applied online for about 6 other jobs.
The irony- when I took this one, I was asked by one of my supervisors if I planned on staying for a while. I assured her that I could commit to that. Her contract was terminated yesterday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Summing up the weekend

The trip to MT to finalize sale of the showcases went well. It was quick, and I was pretty worn out afterwards. My flight got in around Midnight, Saturday morning, and I left at 6AM on Sunday.
The guy who bought them was interesting. We definately did a bit of the old haggling- I'm not very good at it. Thankfully my Dad was there, watching my back. I have got to learn to negotiate more effectively. My innate instict is to cave early just to be nice. I'm not critical enough of others' arguments. I don't hold fast to my own enough.
Sadly, I wasn't able to help Spouse get the house ready to move into. He's been preoccupied with cleaning. We're still working on the carpets in the bedrooms- seems that one of the cats (who is now in Kansas) was a leaker. She liked to lay down the law, so to speak. I bought some enzyme stuff at Petco last night, and am trying to take care of the problem.
So, friends and family will have a nice room to stay in when visiting us, but it might have a slight odor. I'm working on it.

Getting to work

I tend to see plenty of noteworthy things (by my standards) on my way to and fro. Yesterday, while I was walking the 4 blocks to work, I was at a cross walk. On the other side of the street was a crazy homeless guy. He was looking at me and making faces and gestures. It took me a few seconds to realize that he liked (or disliked) my hair. I gave him plenty of room.
Today on the bus I listened to two women discussing childbirth. The one had an 8 pound 8 oz. baby boy. She did a week of spa treatments afterwards to feel like a human again. While they were going on and on and on about how advanced their babies are already developmentally, I was watching a couple of Hispanic women discuss a crochet hot-pink purse one was holding.
I pass by an art gallery or two on the way here. One of them in particular has lots of photo-realist landscapey kinds of things. I was pretty impressed by a couple of them until I saw them for the 3rd or 4th time. Then they became like visual Muzak. They are pretty, but pointless. I certainly wouldn't spend $2K on them.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pissofy me off

Just a head's up- I might not have time tonight to blog fully- so I'm alerting my near and dear readers- I have eliminated the anon posting on this blog. The spam pissed me off enough to get rough. If this cramps your style, I apologize. But I really dislike the kind of crap that I'm seeing in my comments section, and can't figure out how to delete comments. So that's that.

And a nice morsel- on the bus tonight, I saw a man with a banana comb in his back pocket. Purple. Brought back the 70s big time. He did not have feathered hair, however. Just a retro comb.

Later dahlings!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Run out of inventiveness for a day

While you wait with the traditional bated breath for the next installation, I'll steal something from an article that amused me yesterday.

On, they were writing about a NY blog called Overheard in New York. I've been there- it's fun, addictive, and I get tired of slogging through it after a while. (Lack of patience is a Gemini trait- that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

I'll share these gems:

Man on 2nd floor of the Port Authority: Wow, I didn't even know things existed here.

Hipster: Whenever they build a new road, it should be the blankth street ever made. 34th Street should be the 34th street ever built.

Girl: Mommy, what's the opposite of hair?

The subway doors open. A hobo enters, holding a bottle of windex in one hand and a tube of toothpaste in the other.
Hobo: Which is the better time to read Dostyevsky [sic]? Winter?
He sprays the windex.
Hobo: Or Spring?
He squeezes toothpaste out of the tube.
Japanese girl: Spring!
Hobo: You are correct.

Lady on cell: ... so we were at this goth club and I moonwalked into someone…

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!
Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

(And finally- for your pleasure - ribbed even!)

Girl #1: Well, tomorrow is the Philharmonic in Central Park.
Girl #2: You wanna go?
Girl #1: Well I do, but I have my brain MRI.

Guy on cell: I moved all the way here and now you won't even marry me?
Guy on cell: I'm off today. I ran over one of the kids with the bus.

Dumb teen: Hey, look at this! It says 'Train for jobs in beeyotch.'
Smarter teen: Fool! That word is biotech. Why you gotta be ignorant all your life?

Ghetto guy #1: Who do you think is better, Bernie Mac or Mr. T?
Ghetto guy #2: Obviously Mr. T. He uses pronouns more efficiently.

Short time of it

I have to fly to MT tonight, stay Saturday and be back very early on Sunday morning. (it's an uncivilized world, folks.) I had work yesterday and then my replacement class until 10 last night. Needless to say- I'm not up for much writing. If I can muster the a) enthusuasm, and b) creativeness, I will post this evening. Otherwise, you're on your own until Sunday. Sorry for the short notice. I know it'll have an inpact upon you all- your days are spent no doubt, wondering what I'm doing, thinking, etc. Well, until I install the couchkittencam, you'll have to trust me. Either nothing important is happening, or it is.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Final smell/memory exchange

Part of the nostalgia triggering system of smells and memory has to do with a current preoccupation. For those of you who have been in my home, you know all about my fixation with orchids. I have quite a few. Sadly, moving from MT to Seattle caused some serious disruptions to my growing them- I had to adjust my methods quite a bit, and lost quite a few plants. But they're coming back, and hopefully will recover in the next year or so.
The orchid fixation started when I was little. I didn't remember that my Grandmother raised them. She died when I was 6, and I didn't hold onto that particular memory.
About 3 years ago, I was visiting the orchid nursery in Bozeman with a friend. I walked past a plant in bloom and smelled something that stopped me cold. It was a lavender Cattleya. I remembered my Grandmother in that instant. Those were the plants that she had kept. I remembered burying my nose in the flowers when I was little. I remembered how happy she was when Grandpa ordered them for her. I remembered one of them dying in our basement after her funeral. I had to buy the plant. Right then. And I haven't stopped since. They are tremendously rewarding. They are challenging, and receptive to quality care. They are amazingly varied and beautiful.
Before he died, I gave Grandpa a couple of them. He was able to re-bloom one about 3 weeks before he died. It was the first and only time he accomplished this. I was so proud of him. And so happy that I was able to re-introduce him to a passion from 30 years before.

On the subject of smells and memory

Another big trigger for me is the smell of motor oil and gasoline. My grandparents had a service station. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. There is a distinctive smell to the place that is hard to define exactly. It is motor oil, gasoline and cleaning products- as close as I can get, anyway.

When my Grandfather died a year ago, I got a bedspread from the house. I had a difficult time washing it the first time- it smelled like the station, and was the final link to him in a way. I kept pulling it out of the plastic bag I had it stored in, and smelling it. I had Spouse smell it finally- he made the car smells connection. He grew up in a service station too- his dad owned one. It definately is a comfort smell for both of us.

I remember when I was around 5 standing out by the gas islands between customers. I would stand close to the pumps and inhale deeply. I loved the smell of gas fumes, and didn't realize that huffing them is a good way to kill brain cells. I just thought it smelled good. Kind of like markers used to smell good. Not fruity- just yummy chemically. Then inevitably my Grandpa would yell at me to come in and get away from the gas pumps. Killjoy.

He would also let me have a candy bar or a soda for a kiss. One or the other. Unless I was very persistent. It drove my mother crazy- she would come and get me and I would be all hopped up on rocket fuel. Lucky thing she didn't serve either at home- I escaped my youth with great teeth. I credit her diligence and a small fortune spent on preventative care. My cousins weren't nearly as lucky, and had really bad teeth to go with very bad eating habits.

I could also get a sip of their drinks in the evening if I asked. Grandma drank cherry vodka and 7Up. It was yummy. Grandpa drank Old Granddad and 7Up. It was icky. But both of them beat the taste test over Dad and Mom's preferred vodka martinis- which were vile, evil things. And Dad's beer- which, being Ranier, was pretty nasty stuff too.

It's just hard to let those kind of places go- and yes, I probably do overanalyze it. But the older I get, and the more of these things slip away from me, it gets a little more difficult. I suppose I should feel liberated in a way. But I really don't. I just feel like my recognizable points are vanishing, and I'm not creating new ones with any real resonance. All of my adult landmarks for the most part are pretty nomadic. I've been happy plenty of places- but never the way I was when I was so much younger. Now it's more that certain people are the important factors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Buddy- close up of the demon within...he wants to make biscuits on your face...

Buddy catten at his old house.

Buddy catten

This is the new family member. His name is Buddy. He has some annoying habits that we're trying to eradicate- like sitting on our heads in the middle of the night and kneading our hair. And our faces (I've been clipping his claws a lot- or else this is particularly excrutiating).
He gets along well with the other boys now- it was kind of a rough start- as Buddy took the agressive stance, and bitch slapped the other boys around.
We get to incorporate Sylvester, our foster kitty into the house in a couple of days too. I'll take some pics, but in the meantime, imagine a larger Buddy with different colored eyes. Lovely temperament.
We're definately crossing the line towards being full-on cat crazy people. Better than pit bulls in a chain linked enclosure.

School's not out

I go to my class and tests in an old converted grade school. I'm told that it's over 100 years old.
What gets me about it is that I just think about the children who used to attend the school. It has the old dark brown wood floors, black chalk boards, horrible circa 60s acoustic tile ceilings, and large wavy-glass windows. The bathrooms are in very odd spots throughout the building- which makes me wonder about all of those 6 year old bladders in days of yore. Maybe they had outhouses for the chilluns.
It's the kind of school that my grandmother probably attended- only her schools were all in Queen Anne, and this is in the U district.
It has that old school smell. Decades of the same kind of cleaning supplies, floor wax, and something that I can't quite define. When I was very young, I went to nursery school for a short time in an old high school. It was a scary Victorian building that I remember as very forbidding. I remember the wood floors, dark hallways and pencil sharpener in the hallway. They demolished it not long after I was first there as part of urban renewal.
I can't help but think about the little kids who went to school at this Seattle place. The littlest ones in particular. I think about what it would be like to walk through those imposing doors the first time. How the floors creak, and the hallways get ominously silent when the classrooms are occupied. How the sun crosses the room in the course of several hours. How evocative the smell is. (kind of like how universal the smell of college dorms is too- entirely different experience, but universal smell in my experience). I only hope that the kids were happy there. That it wasn't a crappy school.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reading CNN

I read about the prisoner and his wife getting captured this morning. She gave up everything to marry him and try to help him escape. I have to wonder if she is as stupid as she seems. It reminds me of the teacher who slept with her student. There's just something catestrophically wrong with these women- their choices couldn't be more self-destructive (unless they decided to use the business end of a shotgun).
Is it just being drawn to a broken male- the need to fix someone and have them tied to you via the ties of gratitude? Is it some kind of twisted maternal instinct run amok? Is it the bad-boy attraction?
In each case, these women must've been quite unhappy prior to their run-ins with lawlessness. I cannot fathom a well-adjusted, happy woman choosing to mix with a career criminal or a child. The wholesale loss of perspective indicates that each woman was ruled by her demons.
I'm not discussing this to sound like I condemn them. I don't feel superior necessarily. No, I don't think I would leave everything behind for one of the options behind door #1 or door #2 above. But I have fallen for the bad-boy attraction in the past, and I do understand the draw.
Explaining bad boys to good boys is a hard task. The draw- ego fucking of the highest order. If you can change him, or get him to change himself, you are really, really powerful. It shows that he values your inner spirit more than any other woman before. You are special. It's actually pretty archetypical. If you've ever read a romance novel, you'll see the story played out in print. The hero falls hard for the heroine (she pretty much has to be virginal, but strong and with a temper). After hijinks often including mistaken identity, the appearance of rivals for each one's affections, some kind of physical peril, they settle into some kind of marital bliss. The reader is compelled to identify with the heroine, and to desire the hero. It's just the way these books are written. I could probably sit down and churn one out in a month or two if I felt like it. (that's not to say that it wouldn't be total crap, but I could do it).
In my teens and early twenties, those bad boys were an irresistable draw. I wanted to be the savior, the heroine, and the special one. I found out after a particularly unpleasant encounter that these goals were a waste of time. It would never, ever happen. He would never recognize my value- especially since I didn't. Bad boys are most often jerks. Fuck them. Then dump them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Guantanamo Bay reading materials

Online today ( I read that the Harry Potter and Agatha Christie mysteries are the most favored library books at Gitmo. For some reason, imagining a bunch of radical Islamist militants (and the unlucky ones who don't necessarily fit that bill, but are incarcerated anyway) reading Harry Potter makes me kind of happy. I guess that they don't have books #5 or 6 in Arabic yet. But one of the prisoners also requested the movies. Do they have movie nights at Gitmo?
And if any of those guys have a problem with women (a la much of radical Islam), how do they handle the conundrum of reading two very female authors? Maybe they haven't figured out that J.K. is a woman. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it, and they wouldn't have an issue with it at all.

Commute items of note

Every morning that I take the bus, I see a couple coming out of the Starbucks in our lobby (there's one on a lower level of the building too- two in one building...). They are young- in their 20s.
What's of interest here is that he always wears a turquoise cardigan sweater. I call him Timmy Turquoise Sweater. He's always in a hurry. I think he's gay. Just from overhearing him talking to his female friend. And watching him. He amuses me. It's the sweater.

And I saw the Mormon/Chile guy on the bus again. Looks like he's a regular.

More on the sleepless theme- you can tell I'm tired!

My Dad was involved in a wrongful death suit a decade or so ago that was related to Viverin. Seems that Johnny Paycheck had 3 full-time jobs. He didn't sleep. This had been going on for some time. After months of this, he died. When the coroner was investigating his death (must've been something potentially fishy about it), he went to the pharmacy listed in numerous receipts in the apartment.
Coroner goes up to the pharmacist and says, "Do you remember Johnny Paycheck?"
Pharmacist replies, "Oh God- he's dead, isn't he?"
Seems that the pharmacist had warned Johnny- Johnny was buying Viverin by the truckload, so to speak. He had been living on that and coffee for some time. Betcha his pulse rate rivaled a hummingbird's.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Overdoing it


A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, authorities said on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old man, identified only by his family name Lee, had been playing online battle simulation games at the cybercafe in the southeastern city of Taegu, police said.

Lee had planted himself in front of a computer monitor to play online games on Aug. 3. He only left the spot over the next three days to go to the toilet and take brief naps on a makeshift bed, they said.

"We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official said by telephone.

Lee had recently quit his job to spend more time playing games, the daily JoongAng Ilbo reported after interviewing former work colleagues and staff at the Internet cafe.

After he failed to return home, Lee's mother asked his former colleagues to find him. When they reached the cafe, Lee said he would finish the game and then go home, the paper reported.

He died a few minutes later, it said.

South Korea, one of the most wired countries in the world, has a large and highly developed game industry.

Monday, August 08, 2005

LSAT update- for those of you who care

I am counting down to the October 1st test date. I take a 4 hour class on Saturdays, followed by a practice test for 3 hours on Sundays. Last weekend was the first test. I am pleased by how much I have improved so far. We have been working on the logic problems section- and I thought I would do pretty well on it. But I choked. However, I did do remarkably better on the two arguments sections. I scored a 160- which is really good overall for the first one. When I took it in December, I got a 154. So the classes are working. It is like I have a 2nd job, though.

Tire store

Spouse got a puncture fixed today. Whilst at the tire store he overheard the following exchange:

(60-70ish man in shorts, brown socks, general geezer tourist wear): "You don't see whitewall tires around much anymore."

(wife of older guy- shorts, pastels, female geezer tourist wear): "Do you know what a dominatrix is?"

Him, " yes."

Her, " I looked it up in the dictionary, and it wasn't there."

Him, "look at those rims over there..."


My little bit of ecological ranting

I was reading the news the other day and saw that there is a plan afoot to get rid of the Mill Town Dam on the Clark Fork River, outside of Missoula. The fundamentals are this: the dam was put in place to help contain heavy metals produced downstream at the Anaconda smelters. The Clark Fork provides at least half of Missoula with their drinking water. The dam is an earthen one, and is vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters. If the dam were to go out, the water supply for Missoula would be severely compromised. No one has wanted to deal with the dam for decades.
Part of the problem is that the companies who were responsible for the many superfund sites in MT have either divested of their MT holdings, gone bankrupt or been absorbed by other companies. It's a really scary situation. People are surprised when they find out how much of the state is in really bad shape when it comes to industrial contamination. When you explain that a large part of the state's development was due to the mining industry, it becomes more clear.
The East Helena Smelter was another prime case of bad news deferred for several generations. It is still kind of open- no one really works there, but the holding company claims that it hasn't been totally mothballed, and therefore they don't have to clean it up. This will be a really scary one. The entire smelter is ensconced on top of a huge slag heap. I can only imagine what lurks in the black slag. There are acid pools on property, and the dust in the close vacinity is really nast stuff, I'm told. About 10-15 years ago, they replaced the yards of a bunch of older houses in East Helena- and took the top couple of feet of topsoil. It was due to lead contamination of the dirt. My Great-grandmother's yard was part of this. Scary fact- when I was very young, we used to play in the sprinkler and on the slip-n-slide in that yard. Betcha the grass was as contaminated then as it was in the early 1990s when they removed it.
Between the use of cyanide leach mining in the gold industry and lead smelting in the copper industry, there is enough really bad stuff in the ground covering large portions of the state to really warrant concern. Add in the vermiculite/asbestos situation in Libby and it's really scary. In Butte (home of the largest copper mining in the region) the tap water was unsafe until the late 1990's (and might still be iffy).
On the other side of the balance sheet, Anaconda turned their super fund site into a really great golf course (called Old Works- if you get the chance, go there- it's wonderful, I'm told). The sand traps are filled with black slag that's been treated and rendered safe. It's really pretty.
I'll be watching the Mill Town Dam project with interest. I really hope that it is taken care of soon- they don't need an earthquake to ruin the Missoula water supply and cause a huge fish kill.

Friday, August 05, 2005

And now for the good news/bad news of the day.

Seems that the woman who lives upstairs is getting deployed in 2 weeks. She'll be gone until January of 2007. I'm sad for her, since I think it'll be really tough for her. She warned us that this might happen, and was dreading it. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to face leaving your life behind and going someplace that's rather unpleasant. It's her second deployment.
What this means for us: We will be moving again. We're going to move upstairs into her place while she's gone. That way, we can find a renter for our place and take care of the whole property while she's gone. There's more room, a better kitchen and better garage access. So all of this is good. We'll also finally get to meet our landlady- who lives in Spain or Portugual (I can't remember which- I'll just call it the Iberian Peninsula).
Good news- bigger place for the same price. Bad news- we have to move again.
Good news- same basic address. Bad news- our friend is going away- and her cats are being placed elsewhere too.

General observations from my commute this morning

It is a really great day, weatherwise, and there are tons of fishing boats of varying sizes in the sound. I am taking this to mean that there's some kind of salmon run, or something similar. We'll probably check out the fish ladder at the Locks this weekend to see. We were there last September and saw a cool fish that looked kind of broken. We named him Bendy. He's dead now.
On the bus, there was a very blond, angular, thin Ichabod Cranish guy in a navy blue suit with a red and blue striped tie. He was reading a highlighted book, and his mouth moved. He had a backpack with a Chile key chain attached. My instant thought was- religious missionary of some sort. And then he closed the book and I got a glimpse of the cover. It was the Book of Mormon in Spanish. Damn I'm good.
Walking to my building from the Museum, I saw a crazy looking guy. He was clean and dressed better than some of the tourists. But I could tell that he was crazy. So many of those crazy people have that totally lost look in their eyes. He was one of those. At lunch, I was walking back, and I passed another crazy guy. this one was more obvious- he was using a stick to scrape dirt out of the crack between the crosswalk cement and the roadway- while mumbling to himself. I didn't get a look at his eyes.
I find it funny how secluded people are on the bus. It's like they're in their own little chambers of silence (only without the echo). No one makes eye contact on purpose (unless they're tourists), and they don't talk. It's strange. My last mass-transit experience was in Montreal. Albeit, it wasn't a good test case for this- there was a lot more interaction between passengers. The reason it wasn't a good model is that there were about 200,000 people in town for the F1 race, and they were all taking the subway with us.
Every morning and evening when the weather is clear, I get a clear view of Mt. Ranier to the south. It is one of the prettiest things I see all day. I just thought I'd gloat a little. Remember- I'm still on the damned bus.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More on crazy cat people

Another interesting group of people in my family were my Uncle Steve and my Aunt Liz. They were the brother and sister of my Grandfather. They lived in CA, and visited us in MT several times while I was growing up. They died about 10 or so years ago- at pretty advanced ages.

They were also crazy. Nice people- I loved them tons, and always enjoyed seeing them- but they were wingnuts.

They lived together all their lives. They had taken care of their mother until she died in the 60s. Then they kept her clothes and personal belongings in their very small house in a LA area neighborhood on the decline.

They worked in a health food store and consumed dozens of vitamins a day. They had very little money, and had to keep buying TVs to replace the ones that were stolen from their house.

They always brought me little religious presents- like rosaries, icons, those little religious cards with the stitching around them that are supposed to go between the matresses (I think- an explanation of those would be appreciated).

They belonged to an offshoot of Catholocism that didn't recognize Vatican II (probably the same one that Mel belongs to), and were amazingly religious. They were also quite racist- despised Martin Luther King- and reviled anything stemming from the Civil Rights Movement. (that's where I got very uncomfortable being around them- when they started expressing these kinds of views when I saw them last- I was in High School)

They wore clothing that was sort of in style in the 1940s.

Liz wore bright red lipstick.

They had many, many cats crammed into their house. They used the bathtub to store newspapers. They used the kitchen sink to store empty cat food cans.

When family members came into the house after Steve was hospitalized and carted off junk, Liz got offended, and didn't speak to some of them ever again. When she died, Dad, Uncle Bob and Grandpa flew to CA and took a week to clean and rennovate the house so that they could actually sell it. I guess it was pretty rough. Lots of cat stink. Lots of junk. All of the good stuff had been carted off by the CA relatives.

I like to think of them staying in the motel my Grandparents owned and ran- and visiting their room- they made me feel special and loved.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


The things I find on Craig's List...



(Ok- not only sketchy with the language skills- but does this person think that someone will pay $800 for a pet with these kinds of strings attached? Damn.)

Back in the day

Unlike Missoula, Helena most often is sunny and windy. We didn't have overcast skies for weeks on end, and the place didn't smell like the inside of a shoe when the wind shifted.
What we did have was close proximity to the East Helena Smelter. My family started in East Helena. My grandfather was born in the house where my uncle lives today. My grandmother was born in the house that my great-grandmother died in a few years ago. The roots are deep. They were a bunch of Slavic/Germanic Catholics who worked their asses off at the smelter and had huge families. I am basically related to over 600 people in the area. The joke about one of my cousins was that he couldn't date anyone from EH- he was related to all of them. Ditto me. But I wasn't looking there for boyfriends- the family kept too close of tabs on me in the area for me to misbehave with boys. I had to go further afield.
When I was little, my parents kind of bucked the tide and settled on the West side of Helena. It was about as far from EH as is geographically possible within city limits. Our road was dirt until I was about 11. We lived on a corner lot, with a large yard that I covet today. I had free run of the neighborhood- and basically knew everyone and had been in most of their houses. I was very curious. It boggles my mind today that I had such free range. My parents basically had no idea where I was. I might tell them that I was going to someone's house- but any detours were off the chart.
I'm not overly close to my extended family. It had to do with the geography, as well as inclination. I always felt oppressed by them. There were so damned many of them! I felt closest to my grandparents, and my great-grandmother. I liked my cousins, aunts and uncles- but just didn't spend as much time with most of them. And my immediate cousins share absolutely no interests with me- at all. We speak totally different languages. They have grown up from kids I really didn't like much (but was forced to play with at family gatherings) into adults I have nothing to say to. I just don't know them. And I can certainly assure you that they don't know me. I guess that I'm basically ok with that- I'm not overly fond of their parents, so it doesn't break my heart not to spend tons of time with them.
I did always feel like the outsider, though. I was the one who read all the time and wanted to get an education. I couldn't wait to go to college. I would look through my parent's college yearbooks and imagine myself there. I never had a question about going. It would happen.
Unlike my similarly literate father, I didn't have a typical hunting/fishing/outdoor common childhood to link me to the family. We did outdoor things, but I have never hunted. It's a big family thing- and I never was part of it. I didn't own a gun until I inherited one last year. I know how to shoot- and am really good at it- but never thought about it. And I do come from a family of serious gun collectors.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Downtown today

I overheard something amusing and scary- all rolled into one!

A quasi-homeless looking guy was walking towards me at an intersection, carrying a large prescription bottle filled with large colorful (brown and green) pills. He was talking to an equally dishevilled friend. I overheard him saying, "...the doctor gave me the arithromyacin for my abcesses..." and then he was gone. Like a sweet, sweet dream. A man and his abcesses. Lovely downtown at lunch.

Bloody tragic

And the site of 3 new little white crosses:

A Superior Township couple and their 8-year-old son were killed this weekend in a crash involving a Volvo and a 1929 Duesenberg.Bradley Miles Patton, 35, took his family for a ride in the classic automobile when the vehicle was struck broadside by the driver of a Volvo who ran a stop sign at the intersection of Ford Road and Old Ford Road in Superior Township, according to the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department.Police said all five occupants of the Duesenberg were ejected from the car and were lying in the roadway when authorities arrived at the scene.Patton, his wife, Kristin, 35, and their son, Nathan, suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The couple's two daughters, Emily, 7, and Taylor, 9, were taken to the University of Michigan Hospital, where they remain in stable condition.An investigation revealed that the family in the Duesenberg was headed eastbound on Ford Road when the driver of the Volvo ran a stop sign while turning onto southbound Old Ford Road from westbound Ford Road, according to the sheriff's department. The impact caused the classic car to roll and the family was ejected from the vehicle.The Duesenberg was owned by a Bloomfield Hills resident and had just recently been restored. There was no word on how much damage was done to the car, which is valued at over $500,000.The driver of the Volvo, a 25-year-old Ann Arbor resident, was not injured in the crash. He was arrested and taken to the Washtenaw County Jail, but was later released pending the authorization of charges by the prosecutor's office, which are expected to come later this week, according to the sheriff's department.Bradley Patton was a six-year veteran of the Ypsilanti Fire Department. Flags were being flown at half-staff outside the station and a black band covered firefighters' badges in memory of Patton.

(I'm guessing that the car was valued at $1.5 million (according to CNN), that they will be fixing it. It will then officially be a death car.)

The importance of Ernest

I'm not a huge Hemingway fan. Too terse. Too bloody pre-occupied with killing things. Especially too into the masculine.

There was another sad creature in Missoula to add to the collection. I wonder if David Lynch used him as a role model for David Duchovney's character in Twin Peaks...sheer conjecture on my part.

You could see him on most days sitting on a bench at the courthouse.

From the Bozeman Chronicle:

(Turns out that he was) Gregory Hemingway. They eventually married making Valerie an official Hemingway herself.

In "Running with the Bulls," Valerie discusses in detail the more than 20 years she spent as Greg's wife. She describes him as a talented sportsman, a caring and charismatic father and a man with deep psychological problems including bipolar disorder. They divorced in 1987.

"I wanted to try and give a picture of the whole man and the whole family," Valerie said. "You can just take the grisly details and have an entirely different story."

Greg Hemingway was found dead of an apparent heart attack in a women's jail in Florida in 2001. He had undergone a sex change operation in the mid-1990s after living his entire life as a transvestite.