Tuesday, October 14, 2008

dr. szeto

I always think I know what's wrong with me. I always have a logical diagnosis in my mind when I walk in the office, and await simple confirmation. My doctor knows this and hates it about me. I'm going to attempt to relate our dialogue right here. You need to read his words in a stacatto asian dialect, high-pitched and loud, giving equal emphasis to each syllable with the occasional hand chop for effect. He yells at me. He always does this. I just laugh at him. He's little.

I recite my symptoms. I know them well. He says, hand in air, "I already know what you have!" (always an exclamation) "You have a sore throat but not a sore throat, right!" I nod. "You have dizziness, right! You have eyes all squinty all the time and a headache, right!" I nod. "You are so tired by noon and have no energy, right!" I tell him he is exactly right. "I know what this is!"

So tell me already.

"You have sinus infection! It is not bad enough to cry about or you would not have waited three weeks to see me! It is only bad enough to whine about, so you wait and now it is bad!"

I hang my head. Nod.

"And you no come to see me about your diabetes! Why is this!!"

And on and on and on. And he wonders why I never show up.

So, I didn't know I had a sinus infection and now I am taking these huge pills as big as a peanut in the shell and they make me sicker than the sinus problem. I belch like a logger, and five days into it, no help. Not really. I am sick of being sick. I am sick of taking antibiotics. I am sick of not having energy to do the things I need to do, like paint the kitchen.

Let's talk about that, shall we? It has, as always, turned into more of a project than originally intended. We will now replace the countertops, which is a great thing, but not as easy as just painting. Simplify simplify. Why is that so expensive? eh? I have removed the cabinet doors and the hardware. I have filled the holes with putty and broken-off toothpicks and white glue. I have sanded the residue. Next, I will strip the paint with a heat gun. This is new to me. I was prepared to buy caustic, flammable liquids to do the stripping, but my husband said, "Why don't you use a heat gun?" Well, I didn't know I could. But I can. So I will. The wonder of tools. Apparently you heat the paint, it bubbles and you scrape it off before it cools. I'm sure there will be a learning curve and small fires on my kitchen floor. Not to worry. I have an extinguisher and I don't like that floor anyway.

In finishing these projects, which were all begun five years ago, I find I have far too much stuff that I am not going to need. I knew that, but I've been hanging onto so many things because I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with this house, and making one home of two has been a process (see former yard sale entries related to selling his stuff.) Now that I'm on a roll, I'm going to have a Halloween yard sale. In the dark. You should come. I have great shit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

sick and sicker

I am sick. I am home. When I am not sick, it seems like staying home sick would be so much fun, but sick just takes the fun out of it. I've felt crappy for a couple of weeks while co-workers around me got really sick and stayed home. I was jealous, I'll admit it. I wanted to stay home sick and miss work. But this is no fun. It isn't like playing hooky. I might as well work. People tell me I'm in a stressful job. What is actually stressful about it is that I'd rather be at home doing anything else or nothing at all.

"Do what you love and the money will follow" is the high flying banner of the happily employed, the bliss-followers, the yoga teachers and bookstore and coffee shop workers. I don't know how to make a living writing, reading, watching Survivor and decorating my house. I don't get it. Its not so much that I hate my job, I'd just rather be home.

As a political junkie, I'm happy to sit and watch the stomach turning babble go around and around, knowing beyond doubt it could all turn on a dime and my guy could lose. It is impossible to predict the fickle public, willing to embrace Palin one minute and string her up the next. (Make no mistake, I'd string her up.) I appreciated the Guardian article. As my friend Kelly said, "Leave it to the UK to tell it like it is." But honestly, as exciting as it all is, I'll be relieved when its over and Obama is in office. But.... a country that elected Bush, not once but twice, cannot be trusted. The campaign cannot rest. There are no laurels.

So, I'm on the couch for awhile. Teapot on, Wild Sweet Orange for me. Join me?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

painting, chapter 288

I overestimated my ability to be okay with a quick color choice. I grabbed a nice shade of robin's egg blue for the bedroom, got it home, and as I put the first stroke on the wall I gasped. It was swimming pool turquoise. Now, I have a pretty well developed denial system, and ignored what I knew: I could never live in a house with a turquoise bedroom. A dark, swimming pool turquoise bedroom. I couldn't sleep let alone accessorize. So I painted the entire room telling myself over and over again: it'll be fine when it dries. Maybe the laws of physics won't apply and it will dry lighter instead of darker -- I can never remember how that goes -- inside paint dries darker, outside paint lighter. I forget. The point, however, is that it dried darker. Way freakin' darker. Turquoise like some old lady's knit pants. And when I say I painted the room, well, that's only half true. My husband, who ordinarily lets me do all the painting, helped. And liked the color. And said as much. So now, I have to overcome all sorts of misgivings as I meander inevitably toward what you all know is a foregone conclusion: I will buy more paint. I will paint the room again. We will sleep in the living room one more night. At least. And this is the only reason my honey got involved, I think. He wanted to get the room back together. So, three nights later, I'm still painting.

I went back to Home Despot and bought more robin's egg blue paint. This time, I had my swatch with me and took my sweet time, and got what I wanted in the first place. The moral of the story (or "the take home message" as they say in work conferences) is: you can't rush art. Or me.

So I brought home a gallon of Swan Sea and a quart of Aqua Breeze for the accent wall. Gotta have an accent wall. I rolled the walls, three of the four are just drywall and take paint easily. The fourth is a little more complicated: a panelled wall covered with stucco, primered, with one coat of dark turquoise paint. Almost black. I'm exaggerating now.

So I slap on the paint, and on the difficult wall, the paint begins to sag, actually to start slipping down the wall, stretch-marks in the wake of the landslide. I panic, try to drag it back up with a brush, it does not go well. I wait for it to dry, repaint it, and when all is said and done, it is fine, but a damn good think it was supposed to look distressed because it does.

I have to go now. Must paint the baseboards. No rest for the wicked.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

painting, chapter 287

Yes, I'm at it again. This morning my husband put a pergo floor in the bedroom. It was cheap ass fucking shit, according to him, and he cussed and fussed through it. It is very pretty, and much better than the linoleum from the thirties. I guess it isn't hardly wood, and sparks fly from the skillsaw blade when cutting the stuff. He cusses his way through all man projects. I have learned not so much to ignore him as to appreciate that he does these things at all, and like knowing your own baby's cry, I can tell when something has actually gone wrong. Mostly the yelling is for emphasis: I am man, see me work. I couldn't make a floor if my life depended on it, so I play a supporting role, reading my book, blogging, and handing him the hammer when requested. And sweeping. I always get that job.

Now that the floor is in, on with the robin's egg blue walls. I wonder if I'll like it for very long. The kitchen is next, but since our bed is in the living room and the dresser in the kitchen, I gotta finish one thing before I begin another. When we went to Lowe's, doing our part for the economy, I chose the kitchen paint in about two minutes. This is unheard of in my world. I usually carry around paint chips for weeks, then obsessively check them against other brands. But this time I just picked two shades of olive green and one terra cotta red, and off I went. I will pick out new drawer pulls which may take a year or two or I might get lucky and see what I like right away. I have a gift for choosing the most expensive item on the rack. Really. Its like radar. It works in almost any store.

Since this is not a political blog, only a blog by a writer who is interested in politics, I'll just say I'm glad I live in a world where Saturday Night Live actually holds sway over who becomes the leader of the free world. There is a certain symmetry in that, dontcha think?

One of my guys died on Friday. I feel bad about it. I did all I could, not to save him, but to make it easier, but it didn't work out that way. And even though nothing was my fault, I dislike being part of these things. I didn't know him well enough to write about him. He was in pain and his daughter thought she knew better. Sometimes it is just my role to get out of the way.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

no rest

McSame and Flailin' Palin could still win this thing. Keep the pressure on. The neocon machine is capable of anything. They have not begun to fight as dirty as they will in the next 30 days. Believe it.

my big fat greek food fest

Today was the Greek Festival on Glisan. We always go. We wait for this all year long and arrive like starving people. I've been eating sugar competitively and feeling the hangovers and thought the Greek Festival would be a fitting end to compulsivity. We'll see. I've tried other such tricks before and not been able to outwit my psyche or my appetite. Its tricky.

Showing uncharacteristic restraint, we started with meat and salad, mine a stick of soulvaki and a greek pasta salad, my sweetie's two gyros and an olive and cheese plate. Then, onto the spanikopita and finally, or almost finally, the loukapalousas. I made that up. I don't know what they're called: little dough lumps drenched with hot honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Huge people wandering around with huge paper buckets full of them. Fat in, fat on. It was obscene. The soulvaki was excellent. Then onto the bakalava. Oh my god. That stuff can't be legal. I took two bites and gave the rest to Kurt. I also got some feta custard or something that wasn't very good. It's still in the fridge.

You can tour the sanctuary and look at the history of the greek orthodox community in portland, complete with costumes and diahramas depicting orthodox activities I don't understand, but similar to Catholicism, they seem to favor Mary.

Tonight we will go to our favorite blues bar and see Curtis Salgado. He's an okay local guy, from Eugene originally. Trail's End Saloon. There's a tunnel under the bar that goes all the way to the Willamette. Which isn't far because it is in Oregon City which is right on the river. We will listen to the music, maybe get up and dance off one or two of the luokapalousas.

Friday, October 03, 2008


I am so disappointed that the vice presidential debate wasn't a train wreck. I waited, stomach in knots, for Palin to dissolve into a puddle like the wicked witch of the west, but nothing happened. I think if the election goes to the republicans, it will be because Americans want a charismatic personality on the ticket. They want a movie star. They want to be entertained. Biden is not entertaining, Obama is not entertaining. Like Al Gore, they are so doggoned serious, wink wink. Golly gee whiz. It was like watching a beauty pageant contestant answer a question about world peace. Say it ain't so.

I should take Sid to that republican boot camp. They can train pitbulls.