Sunday, April 30, 2006

Walmart Coda

Yeah- I'm still whining about the Walmart visit yesterday.

Sight that will live forever in the pantheon of things witnessed at the Walmart Store- the woman in the SUPER-sized Rascal who probably weighed over 700 lbs...wearing a blanket...buying bags of candy. That pretty much sums it all up for me.

And no- I'm not one of those "I hate poor people- they make me uneasy" types. I am one of those poor people who makes others uneasy types on occasion. Depends on the median income of the place I'm living. Helena- not poor. Bozeman- borderline, tilting towards poor. Seattle- poor as hell, with no hope of redemption. It's all in the way you look at it, right?

I just have an issue with the company as a whole. Not that they are hurting US businesses or anything by bringing in cheap Chinese crap to dump on the market- fuck that. It's the way they treat their legions of employees that makes me cold inside. The stereotypical Walmart checker in my experience is a hard-bitten, 40ish woman with deep frown lines etched on the sides of her mouth, permanent vertical smokers lines on her lips, and a raspy voice. She might call you "hon," or not, depending on how much shit she's had to cope with today. On a weekend, pretty much no "hons" get handed out. Fuck that. She gets paid far too little to deal with the place, and her benefits suck. Her feet hurt. And if she's unlucky enough, she works at one of the Walmarts that offers overtime off the clock or lose your job benefits. Pisses me off every time. Workers of the world UNITE!! We shall overcome!!! (practicing for the big rally tomorrow downtown, near where I work- oughta blow the commute home out of my ass and good.)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

In a STATE, I tell ya.

Today Kenga made me go to the Walmarts. In the hood. Renton, if you must know. I hates me the Walmarts. Hates it. We used to live very near whilst in Bozeman, and I would do anything- anything to not go there on a weekend in particular. I would go to the KMart. I would go to the Target (don't call it Targeeyy like you're French, I know you come from Butte, sunshine.) But still, he would drag me to the Walmarts. Against my will, I proclaim! On our last trip to MT, we HAD to stop at the Walmarts in Missoula. Twice. Both ways. It about killed me.

It's not the teeming masses. It's not the sad truisms sung by poor Chris Isaaks on the sound system (IIIIII Don't wanna fall in love....with you). It's not the cheap, shoddy merchandise. It's the lack of home. Abandon all hope, ye who trod the cheaply made floors of the Walmarts. You will always feel alone, despite the nearness of your compatriots in the towering aisles. You will always avert your eyes from theirs and avoid making contact, because you will see yourself hiding inside. Cowering away from the light. Stuffing that bag of Reese's Peanut-butter Cups miniatures in the cart. Despite your professed aversion to carbs. (does peanut butter count as a carb? Or is it more of a protein?)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What a time...

So the job probably ends tomorrow. Which is fine- rather than stage a colossal slow-down, it's time to put the baby to bed. I've been able to read about 10 chapters of a friend's manuscript on the clock, and apply for several jobs, arrange an interview, and do numerous other non-work related things on the clock, so I'm not complaining.

And then there's the anxiety and agony of decision time. So. I've basically tortured myself with indecision enough. I made a choice. It was difficult as hell. Didn't sleep much night before last. Didn't sleep much more last night. Tormented myself today. I will not be going to Penn State. Too bloody expensive, for one. The financial aid package didn't cover half of it. Too stressful to deal with a move. Don't want to cope with it so soon. Don't want to live apart from Kenga for 5 months while we wait for our lease here to play out (can't leave the deployed friend in the lurch and steal her cat...just can't). Don't want to deal with so very much stress at this point in my life. Not like that.

Fall back and punt position, then. Still waiting for Seattle U to make up their minds about the wait list. And then there's always next year if I need to try again.

So there. And after the decision was made, and the letter was sent, the very nice admissions lady called me. She was great. And I felt guilty as hell. But still- I made the decision based on what I really felt, and for all of the right reasons, and with all of the major players giving input that I considered fully. But I still had to torment myself a little more. Because making well-considered decisions based on logic, and not just on intuition isn't something I have a lot of practice at. I just sometimes wish that someone would just tell me what to do, so I could blame them if it goes awry. Or so that I wouldn't be burdened with this kind of process. But then I remember that I'm not 12. So I shut the hell up and do what I gots to do.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And the wheel goes round

The temp job is certainly just that. A temp job. Nice people, who I won't get to know very well. Forgettable job. I'll not even remember it in a year. Or them. It'll all fade away.

Playing with Powerpoint, Visio and Excell all day long...reading legal contracts...clockwatching.

Nothing certain on the horizon, either. I think that it's time to just plain quit fighting it. Time to keep on with the attempt, but quit fighting. Just flow. Just roll. Those are easy, gravity-friendly movements.

In the meantime, I'll keep in my cubicle in the area of the office that's abandoned (they moved to the new building), without a phone, or anyone to talk to...all by myself...gonna eat some worms...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I found out that you never told your children your stories. They asked, and you evaded.

Funny, though, that you would take the 6 year old me as your confidant, and spend hours telling me everything. You made it seem like a fairy tale. You also spent so much time and energy keeping me occupied and making me happy- did you have this much to give your own children?

I have your picture on my wall. The one with the sad 6 year old's face. It was my favorite of you when I was little. I saw something familiar in the eyes.

Now that your mind has splintered, and only some parts remain with us, I wish that I remembered more of your stories.

New job

Yeah- I'll be lucky if I can bleed this one for 2 full weeks. It's pretty simple. And pretty short-term. The very good news is the pay. Loverly. And being downtown in my favorite area is a plus- yesterday was Specialties Bakery lunch day. Today maybe the Vietnamese place with the world's best sandwiches. Or maybe the soup place with the mac and cheese. Or maybe I'll just get a smoothie and hit the Ross and look for some more pants to fit my bum. Or maybe I'll go to Borders and look at books. Or maybe I'll go to Pike St. Market and hit the newsstand. I think I've gotten my point across. Lovely.

Aside to Allison- Chapter 1 looks smashing, dear girl! I'm looking forward to Chapter 2 and maybe 3 tonight!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rhetorical question du jour

Yes, the wine has blunted all pain. And the question remains:

Why did I just watch Herbie, Fully Loaded with Kenga?

Damn. That was 2 hours lost forever...

Eternal road trip

We rolled in a few hours ago from our whirlwind tour of Montana. Actually it wasn't much of a tour- only a couple of towns. But we do have a new car, and donated the Grand Am to a battered women's shelter. It was going to a woman who really needed it, and whose story was full of very grim realities. I hope that our anonymous gift makes a difference. If she looks hard, she'll find the Sailor Moon card, the Helena parking ticket, and the Kenga business card in one of the compartments, neatly hidden away. Just to show her that the car has a long, beloved history, to which she now belongs.

When we returned home, it was through a wicked storm, which I have no doubt will turn to snow in the Cascades tonight. We missed that, and I'm glad. We did, however enjoy about 24 solid hours of podcasts on the computer and GPS tracking via the same computer (Kenga rigged up a system so we can do this all via the car).

I found the stack of mail then. And found out, that like Scobby, I have been rejected by the old Alma Mater. The fuckers. They'll heretofore never, never, never get one red farthing from me or my family again. Bastards. It was not what I expected, as it's not on the same level as Penn State. So I'm still waiting on the Seattle U wait list option. But I did send my check to Penn State to hold my place. And it looks like we might be making a kind of reverse pilgrimage. My ancestors worked in the Pennsylvania mines after coming over from Slovenia. Therefore, it's probably destined.

In the meantime, I start a 2 week temp job on Monday for the bank, paying pretty damned well. I didn't get the other job- rack up 18 interviews total. Only 1 with a job and it was temp. Interestingly, he stated that the reason I was turned down was that he didn't think I could handle a client on the project. Bummer- I don't get the opportunity to deal daily with an asshole who would probably make me wish I was dead. Gee. I think I'll be very thankful. Plus the guy was a Porsche guy. We're BMW types, ourselves. And if I had the lottery in my pocket, it would be a 53 Olds convertable. Metal flake blue. White leather interior. With a new Corvette engine hidden under the voluminous hood. BRWWWOOOOORRR!!! Anyway, gotta go swill some wine, work the kinks out of my back and watch some South Park on the Tivo.
Yesterday I spent the day telling the old stories with my mother. We laughed about the good times. And laughed harder about the bad ones.

Turned out that we were allies all along- only had fought solo battles for a while there.

The history is in my bones. The stories are written in the cartiledge. Ask me why my knee pops. There's a story there- stored in there. Deep. Behind the knee cap.

Then it was Kenga's turn to divulge the past. For the first time- he held center stage.

Many ghosts came out to play, and some of them were sent packing forever.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dave Chapelle says that white people own everything. Sure wish I was one of those white people...

Yeah- I have a lot of stuff. Stored in my Mother's barn, in the closets, in the garage, on the shelves.

But I hardly think it qualifies as everything. And I suspect that he's referring to another brand of everything entirely. The kind of everything that no one in my family in all of the generations of mechanics, potato farmers, coal miners and serfs have had access to. The kind of everything on parade in the world's major art museums. The kind of everything that is basically stupid rich.

That's what I suspect he's talking about. The kind of everything that includes power. Because this pasty white chick certainly doesn't own a surplus of that.

Well, Goddam!!!!

Today I had the first of this series of job interviews. If I don't get it, I also have a job lined up for Monday (temp- 2 weeks), and things are popping. It's like I've been reborn as an actual qualified applicant, or something. I'm supposed to find out about the interview tomorrow. I expect that he is one of those decisive sorts, and will be quick. I hope so.

In the meantime- still waiting on schools. We have to take a quick trip to MT to get a car to replace the lovely Grand Am
-She's going into retirement. So will not be online for a few days. But I'll be back. That's a promise that I may regret later, but I'll be back. So there.

Pass it on to the next generation

Yesterday we made our weekly pilgrimage to visit the cutest animal in the world. We were well rewarded for our efforts- we saw the cutest animal in the world and the Mrs. cutest animal in the world. We saw her eat her apple. Her little tongue was pink. She is pigeon-toed. So cute. It was breathtaking. I'm pretty sure that their poop is pink, shaped like hearts and smells like strawberries, and makes a cute little "plink" noise when it exits their cute little bottoms.

Funniest comment overheard- at the penguin tank, a little girl was walking away, and said, " I don't ever want to be a penguin!"

Funniest reaction- when we were in the dark bat house, a little boy took a look at the big bat in the window as it stretched out its wings. He had a total meltdown. He had to leave. Betcha he has nightmares for the rest of his life about bats, Marilyn Manson, and goth chicks.

We saw a disturbing example of blossoming girlhood. She was wearing a pink terry outfit that would've been more appropriate for her grandmother, and little black slides that would've been more appropriate for a Victoria's Secret shoot. She was about 12 or so- judging from her face and her relative height. But then comes the distressing part. Her body from the neck down. Let's say that she was blossoming in a very public way. And damned proud of it, from the way she was shoving them out there. Her bum was also getting that not very 12 year old look. It was scary. She looked like she had abandoned her teen years physically, and was chasing 40. And winning the race. She reminded me very much of the scariest girl in the 8th grade. She was more physically advanced than any of us. And strangely sexual. She was in the talent show- and did a solo dance. She was shaking her knockers all over the place, and if there had been a pole, would've probably hopped on board. The kids teased her mercilessly- having her rehearse her dance in the schoolyard at lunch.

Then came the day of the show. She did her dance. I wish I could remember the song. But it didn't matter. She was in a dress without underwear of any kind. No bra. No knickers. Just high kicking and shaking it for all of us to behold. Then she sat on her daddy's lap in the audience afterwards. I was stunned. Still am, actually. Not long after, she wasn't in school anymore. I have no idea where she went. Hopefully a better place. For very disturbed young things.

The little zoo girl had a distressingly similar vibe going on. I only hope that my perception was colored by proximity to the cutest animal in the world, and that I am wrong. It was strange, though...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stormy weathuh

I've been ill the last couple of days. Today is not only sunny, with sinus clearing, but the headache has lifted. I repeat, the headache has lifted. Let's all give a sigh of relief in unison...sigh...there.

Interestingly, and probably unbeknownst to me, when I get sick, it's not only physical discomfort that takes over. My mind has to get involved, as well. We have a pretty rigorous program that we do together, my mind and I. It involves the following steps:

1. Guilt. I shouldn't be laying around. There are things to do. You are worthless, darling. Don't you see?

2. Let's re-live all of the horrible things I've done to others in the past, shall we! It'll be fun, and instructive. Yes, you are the worst human being on the planet. See all of the destruction you have wrought?

3. (this is my personal favorite) It's now time to cycle through relationships. Yes, all the boys you loved (and otherwise attached to) before. Yes, dear, you really did sleep with him. Now you should remember it all...including the messy breakup. That's why no one ought to love you.

4. And finally, it's time to discuss food, weight and the fact that I'm not built like I was when I was 24. See, if you hadn't eaten those peanuts, you would weight what you did in High School. Automatically. But you did, so you won't. Poor dear.

But as I said before, there is a light. And I'm there now. I can safely shut this particular Pandora's Box of treats, and not worry about it until I get sick again some day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bloodpressure rising....arrrg

CNN did it to me again. Always. Probably shouldn't watch the bloody news anymore. I saw a story about a little boy who called 911- his mom was in trouble. The dispatcher dismissed his call and told him not to make prank calls. His mom died. The family is suing the asses off of the city. Good. This kind of thing really raises my ire. I hate it when children are discouraged from telling the truth or asking for help.
The representative for the dispatcher's union said that she, "is a good operator." Bullshit, I say. Good operators don't ignore calls. It's not like doctors, where there is an expected percentage of lost patients. I don't give a rat's ass if it pisses off the police or fire department to respond to crank calls. Respond, dammit. Or look, people can die! Now that little boy gets to live with the knowledge that he failed to get help for his mom, and she died. He gets to live with the memory of watching her die, and being with her dead for 3 fucking hours before the police finally arrived. That doesn't indicate a good operator to me. Good thing I can't be on that jury. I'd probably award the largest damage award on record to the poor kid. I'd bankrupt the fucking city.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Throw back

We went to lunch the other day at Dad Watson's in Freemont. We like it there. While I was drinking lunch, and eating tater tots (which I regretted later- they make my tummy hurt badly), they were playing songs that I know the words to. Like the Police. And then they played the song. From when I was 15. It was the one I wore out on the record. Playing it over and over and over. It was one of the first ones I ripped on Napster back in the day. It is silly and stupid, and I know the words. Sentimental drivel, if you will. But it still takes me places.

Mandocello, by Cheap Trick- from their first album. Kenga thinks it's goofy. I gotta agree from this vantage point. It was probably their effort at getting laid a lot. Betcha it was successful.

I actually met Robin Zander in person once. They were in Missoula for a concert. He was kinda a tool, I thought at the time. Still think that, but understand the mitigating circumstances that could make someone act like a dick. It certainly wasn't personal- he was probably bored, tired, depressed at playing in Missoula, and I wasn't the chippy he wanted to talk to. He wanted to bang my friend. Admittedly, she was fucking gorgeous. She was also not impressed by a 40ish rock star. She had the something, something for the concert promoter. Who was an even bigger tool. I also had a boyfriend. The up to that date love of my life. And I never heard the end of it from him for going to the bar to meet Robin Zander. Even though I had chaperones- including a couple of his friends. Even though I invited him along. Shoulda seen trouble coming right then.

Ah but to be 15 again- in my room- listening to that song- hoping that love would be like that- hoping that I would find hearts and rainbows some day. Right. Well, I think I retract that right here and now. Nope. Wouldn't go back to being that kind of dumbass again. Not for love, money or patriotic duty. Stupid bar Ipod.
Some days breathing is difficult. Not just because of asthma. But because of the weight pressing on my chest. And no, it's not a cat. It's something else.

Moving is slow on those days. Like crawling. And it's so hard. Very hard. All I want to do is crawl back in bed and try to sleep it away. I can lay there and fantasize about a better reality. I can place myself anywhere in the world, doing anything I want. And it's never right here, right now.

On good days, I can't make myself sleep- and I can't conjure up preferable realities. So, I guess this isn't exactly a good day. But I do have the hope that it might turn out all right anyway, and that tomorrow might be good.

And that's why I keep getting out of bed in the morning. That and the stupid cat that jumps on me when I sleep in. It bothers him. Maybe he's smarter than I am on those occasions.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My questions fly furiously from my mouth
I watch them leave, and wonder who is talking

I figure the best thing to do is sit back and watch the show- she seems to have things under control here- nothing for me to do to contribute

I have to say, I'm kind of surprised by her eloquence, and her passion

Because all I can feel is numb detachment. Or maybe it's all just the psychotic break I've been courting all these years. Or else I'm just lazy enough to let someone else do the talking for me.

Ya takes your lumps

And not in tea, my dear.

I've been in a full-on pout since Monday. Kenga got laid off. Still has the job when the company is back on its feet, but still. It's not the first time they've done this- but it has to be the last time he has to be treated this way. It really breaks me in half. I want him to be happy, and to have a fun job. But it kills me to see him treated this way. And I know that the bosses are decent people- just crappy businesspeople. Who seem desperate to make the wrong decisions consistently. It just makes me crabby. So now we're both at home on the job hunt. My tongue is bloody from biting it. And Kenga is playing with the cats using the flying feather toy. And watching Michael, starring my least favorite actor, John Travolta. I am hoping that he can take the time and restore some sense of where he really wants to go in life. And then can reach out and make it happen. Like I hope that I can do the same.

In the meantime, I'm taking more care to cook on the cheap, and make it good. I'm taking more walks. And spending more time with Kenga- just being. And watching movies. Movies, movies, movies. (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!) I've discovered one called The Americanization of Emily that is a must-see. It stars James Garner and Julie Andrews, and was probably the funniest war commentary short of Dr. Strangelove. Even funnier in a way, as it doesn't lean so heavily on the talents of Peter Sellers (who isn't one of my favorites, either). The writing was sharp, and the plot was killer. What's not to love, eh?

Now I've gotta go and email my resume to a friend who's out there spreading the word about my fabulousness.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

He feeds the cat a peanut. The cat sits and thinks about the peanut for a while. Then drops it on the bed.

The old man gently, gently soaps the little dog's back. The little dog shivers in the water. The old man's hands are gnarled like very old trees.

The man deftly puts the worm on the hook for the little girl. His hands are split and weather-beaten. He has used them to conquer the elements and build new worlds.

The man touches his daughter on the cheek, and kisses her hello. His long, elegant fingers are warm. His eyes- her eyes- smile.

The cat with the peanut makes a funny chirp. He smiles and laughs, and says, "kit-tens." And I smile with all my heart.

Did they want us to put our heads in an oven?

We were at the Pike St. Market this morning. It is lovely out- the flower vendors are specializing in daffodils. The new F1 magazine is not out yet. Life is so-so. There was a man singing Country Roads on the guitar by the fish show. I was singing along. It took me back.

For some very strange reason, in grade school we had all of these productions that we put on. There was the obligatory Christmas show. Then at different times there were other productions. In 3rd grade, we sang a bunch of songs from Bambi to our crying mothers. Drip, drip, drop was our favorite. It was a little twee, in retrospect. Our teacher was a spinster old lady, with owl-like glasses. She made us memorize psalms and proverbs. She was an ear pincher when boys were bad. Very much the old school. She had perfect penmanship. Just like the posters along the top of the blackboard.

Our music teacher later on was an odd woman. She wore peasant blouses with sweat stains in the armpits. She was a pear-shaped little dumpling of a woman who was far too sensitive for the likes of nasty little grade-school children. Seriously. We made her cry. We would groan and laugh at her when she tried to teach us the newest, latest, greatest ethnic songs. She accompanied us with the autoharp. It was twee as hell. The worst was when we learned the Eerie Canal song. With the autoharp. I wanted, desparately, to lodge a bullet in my temple. The song is a downer to begin with- almost as bad as Sakura- another of her favorites. She probably got off on making us sing depressing songs- hoping for a mass suicide.

The apex was the city-wide show in 6th grade. We all filtered into the civic center, and sang one song. We sang Seasons in the Sun. I still really, really hate that song. Goodbye Michelle, it's hard to die...when all the birds are singing in the sky... ARRRRGGGG. Sentimental crap! I don't remember if my parents attended. I might've not told them on purpose- I hated those kinds of events. I loved actual theater, and performing on stage- but those kinds of choral festivals made me very unhappy. The Christmas shows were the worst- I hated having to appear happy and cute. And sing the songs from the Christmas TV specials. Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas...who the fuck was I supposed to be, an elf? Little tall. Little bitter.

We also had an international festival in 5th and 6th grade. They combined us and split the world between the classes. The 6th graders got the choice locations, like Europe. The 5th graders got the third world. In 5th grade, my report was on Egypt. In 6th grade, it was on Scotland (I was obsessed with the Bay City Rollers that year, and this was my homage.). We got to sing international songs, and do some dances (like the Mexican hat dance), to the delight of our assembled mothers. We provided international foods, and made international houses out of refrigerator boxes. It was fun, though. Silly too. Buncha white kids in costume doing the Mexican hat dance. Without falling down. Much. In the gym.

We did make the music teacher cry that year. Then we had to write letters apologizing to her- she wouldn't come back unless we did. It was pretty bad. I still maintain that she was a bit sensitive to be dealing with grade school kids. She always was a tad fey for the likes of us little ruffians.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

He is cute overlord of all he surveys. He is the undisputed cutest animal on the planet. Bow before him. And offer him some leafy greens. He owns you, beeitch.
I apologize for the blurry nature- will try again some other day for a more accurate portrayal of the elusive and sensitive desert fox. The official second cutest animal on the planet.
Spooky Mika was hiding one day. And we stole his soul.

I respectfully say to you, sir

You, sir, are wrong. The baby fox is cute. Yes. But you must bow down before the cute overlord that is the red panda. You just must. We made a pilgrimage yesterday, and were only able to see it sleeping in a tree. Our cute overlord kept us at a distance. I suppose it was because we hadn't made the proper sacrificial chicken blood ritual. Or it was sleepy. But seriously- see the pictures. Baby fox- cute. Red panda- the cutest animal IN THE WORLD.

We also saw the second cutest animal in the world. It is a kind of desert fox- not Rommel. But much, much cuter, and not German in the least. I forget the real name for him, but he was cute. And agitated by the small children who were waving things at him and shouting- despite it being a "quiet zone" at the zoo. I don't quite know who the misguided genius is who decides that there can ever be "quiet zones" at the zoo- what with the 700 small and medium sized children running rampant throughout the place- it was rife with them.

I'll also post a picture of the ghostly Mika. He was hiding under the sheer curtain, and was very dramatic. Scary, no? OOOOOOHHHHH- Mika's gonna get you!!! OOOOHHHHHHH!!!!! And if you saw him without the scrim, you would notice the alarming similarity between his dirty white fur and that of a Mountain Goat. Disgusting. Ratty little beast...who bitches when we clean him up.