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I'll be vague, the way I usually am when I talk about work:

It's frustrating when I realize I'm tired and stressed at the job for what is, fundamentally, kind of a stupid reason.

Okay. I'll do my best not to add drama at work, and do my best to soldier on.

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The work...

...means that it makes sense for me to have two pairs of the same kind of shoe.

This is the first time I've done that. In December I bought a pair of Nike Air Monarchs (my first Nikes in years, in fact) and they broke in well and turned out to fit me well, in this job that requires lots of walking.

On Saturday, finally, I shopped at a place where I could get another pair of them. Both pairs are black, as the job requires black footwear. I've been breaking in the new ones, and once I feel I've done so, I'll be alternating. Two pairs you alternate tend to last longer than when you wear a pair until they wear out then you replace 'em.

Years ago, I heard a factoid that I hope is true, that alternating between three pairs will last as long as five pairs you buy in a row, but I don't feel the need to get a third pair of work shoes. I do, however, miss having boots. I had boots until last year; I wore those out so thoroughly that parts of both heels had worn to the padding, so by the end I was basically walking on sponges. I am hard on shoes.

Out-Of-Context Theater.

"THE BEATLES DID NOT DO ENOUGH SONGS ABOUT FOOD."



Note that I said "NOT ENOUGH," not "ANY."


A gift: a breeze

Two days ago, Portland hit a high temp of 98° F. Yesterday, it was about ten degrees cooler, so, still hot. This morning, when I woke up late and first went, still in a bathrobe, outside, it was...kind of slightly cool. Relievedly.

It was still coolish in the midday, once I got back from Super Deluxe and the Holgate Library. And I indulged, in a way: I left the front door open. The slight breeze could move some fresher air into the house.

I was careful. I stood near the door, reading a book but keeping a lookout for cats. Last summer during other heat waves, I would sometimes sit on the porch and then run interference with any neighborhood cats who wanted to enter the house. This time, there was that concern plus the fact that we once again have a cat who lives in this house; I needed to make sure he wouldn't go out. Luckily he didn't; luckily no local cats wanted in. I finished a chapter and, figuring this had helped a bit, closed and locked the door.

Thank you, fresher air, for coming.

Return of the Car

I got the call from Portland Police Tuesday afternoon, at about 3:30, that they'd found my car.

I think Portland PD tried to call me earlier: during a quiet moment at work, I'd checked my phone and seen that a call from a private number had come through, but with no message. The first call they'd made to me Sunday night, after I'd reported it stolen, had shown up as "Private Number." It rang soon after I'd boarded the waiting MAX train, and I walked off it (I never want to be the person on their phone on public transit) and answered, and the man on the other end was telling me how to pick up my car...

...and I had him repeat that. Yes, they'd found it, in more or less the same shape it had been in, and a tow company had it.

My car had been found in a residential area to the east of Mt. Tabor in SE Portland. Whoever stole it had driven it maybe 20 miles; it was abandoned about two miles from the parking garage where the whole misadventure began. The car still had gas.

I deliberately waited to call the tow company until I was back at the house. I didn't want to rush out to the tow truck company yard: maybe I'd have stuff at home that I'd need when picking it up. Turns out I could reach the yard by taking a bus near where I live, so I did; earlier, I'd considered asking a housemate for a ride, but it turned out to be better and quicker to take the bus.

Sidebar: since I rarely drive home from work and only sometimes drive after work, I'd kept thinking of stopping at one of the airport restaurants and having a beer one of these days. I came close to doing that Tuesday. GOOD THING I DIDN'T, or I would have had to wait a day and pay more to get it back.

The afternoon was still hot; the tow truck company lot was dusty; my car was there. It started as it should when I turned the key. I paid a couple hundred dollars, went back to the car, waited for the gate to open, and headed back. I drove home gingerly. I listened; anything sound different? "Off"? Of course I have no way to know exactly how the driver or drivers drove it — maybe I should be weirdly impressed they knew how to drive stick — and as it's 21 years old, the car's eccentric. But it seems, so far, to be fine. So I got home...though I indulged along the way by pulling into the Foster Popeyes drive-thru and getting dinner.

And cars — cars in general and mine in particular — have been on my mind.

I like to think of cars as tools. That's fundamentally what they are, moving you, people close to you, and your stuff from place to place. When I'm valeting, I'm caring for other people's tools, whether it's a Kia or a Rolls Royce or a Tesla. I make sure to be, as I've said before, careful, respectful...and unimpressed, because I can't be scared to drive a vehicle. I'd be bad at my job if I freaked out thinking Holy crap, this costs $200,000. And I think of my car, in all its dented and worn glory, as a tool. But: it's my tool, damnit, and losing it, even briefly, made that more obvious. I use it; I like it.

During all this, I didn't/couldn't know how someone else was using it. While it was gone, I told myself not to imagine what might be happening, as doing so would freak me out more. Too many possibilities, some of them maddening or awful. A family member here in Portland who's been through the same thing got their car back in weeks; they told me that per a cop who helped them, 90% of the cars stolen from the garage where I'd parked are recovered. But mine could have been one of the 10%.

Three days after getting it back, I'm still tense. I'm processing the stress. Today's a regular day off — after my extra day off Monday, in the immediate aftermath — and I've taken it easy. Breakfast and dinner were by other people: I had an avocado and egg muffin sandwich at Super Deluxe, a high-end fast food place that opened last year, and later a bagel sandwich plus soup at Space Monkey Coffee a few blocks from the house. I also bussed some, walked some, and hung out in a library. Though partly due to the heat Portland's had, and partly due to a brain that kept revving, I slept badly last night. (Plus I was then "treated," grr argh, to a dream where Dream-Me did something terrible and illegal. Why did you have to go there, subconscious?!) Result: today I've been a little out of it. Made me feel good I didn't have to drive.

And by the way: yesterday, after work, I did stop for a beer, though I waited until I was home to drink it.

News That's Good

I. HAVE. MY. CAR. BACK.

The police recovered it today in SE Portland, I've retrieved it from a tow company yard, and so far it seems none the worse for wear.

I'm not yet in the mood to write up what the whole (as I know it) saga's been, but I can pass on the news. And be relieved.

News That Sucks

My car was stolen yesterday.

[long string of swear words deleted]

I'd driven part of the way to work Sunday morning, getting on the MAX to ride the rest of the way, and started my work day early and finished it late. That night I got back to the parking garage where I'd left my car, and: no car.

After getting a ride home from one of my housemates (and, luckily, my phone had enough power for me to make a phone call), I started the frustrating and tedious process of reporting the theft. That night I let Portland PD and my insurance company know; I also called in to work and said I wouldn't be in on Monday morning, so there's one benefit of working for a 24-hour operation: you can always reach a supervisor. This morning, I rested — though I was still tense — then contacted TriMet, which let me know Portland PD would reach them to see any security footage from the garage. And in the midday, I called back to work, doing my due diligence to see if they'd need me today in the afternoon or evening. They didn't, so with their OK I took today off. Mental health day. Good idea.

I appreciate people who've commiserated with me since I let people know, who've boosted the signal on Facebook to maybe alert someone who might see my car, and who've shared advice and experiences. This sucks and is frustrating. (Some friends wondered if maybe it was towed, which I doubt: I parked in a garage that allows you to park for up to 24 hours, and there was nothing wrong with how I'd parked it. But wouldn't that be a plot twist...)

I keep having an irrational belief that I'll see my car randomly drive by. I've even briefly imagined the car showing up back in front of the house where I live, maybe with a note saying "Sorry." Meanwhile, I've done what I can so far. I can only wait and see, and continue to get around via the bus and MAX, and do my best to function.

(No, I was not in fact for something dramatic to happen so I could blog about it...)

A vow for this week:

Time to be better.

Short Circuits

I thought this today: "Yay! I wasn't an ass!"

Especially on Thursday, but to an extent since then, I've felt on the verge of Doing More Stuff That's Wrong and Saying More Stuff That's Wrong. I was feeling awkward and worried that I'd deal with feeling awkward in ways that were inappropriate, or even simply "off."

A harmless, years-old example of this: in my college years in the mid-90s I'd stay with my folks at their Dundee, Oregon home between school terms, and eventually both of them got jobs that they carpooled to together, so when they'd leave they'd tell me "See you tonight." Surprisingly often I replied "Okay, good night!" See? Wrong, though harmless! But it felt like a short circuit in my head. I spent part of the past few days feeling on the verge of short circuits like that...and at risk of short-circuiting in a way that would bother people. Or, worse, hurt them.

As yesterday and today went on — Friday was bus riding, a bank errand, and library time, while today I drove to Beulahland to watch part of today's Women's World Cup play (Spain vs. South Africa and Norway vs. Nigeria) then hit up two comic book shops and Fred Meyer before heading home — I was careful. I related well enough to the people I saw, whether friends, acquaintances, or random people in stores. Today, overall, I probably was farther from being an ass than I was worried I was on the verge of being. But I was on alert for signs that I'd, shall we say, slip into ass-ness. (I'll be vague: I got on alert today partly because I saw a shit-storm happen elsewhere online, and I thought Uh oh: I could add to this if I'm not careful. So? Careful! Careful enough, I hope.) Was I communicating well enough? Would I be confusing and off-putting? Would I give people the wrong impressions? Would I be somehow unreasonable?

I probably gave few to no outward signs that all of this was going through my mind, by the way. So, hi, y'all are getting glimpses into my brain. (And in a much cheaper way than with an MRI.)

One of these days, I'll be an ass. Again. An ass again. I'll just hope I recover well from moments like that.

This is me being honest. :-/

I scraped a car yesterday.

That's a hit to my confidence, I tell ya. I made my day more difficult and more annoying by doing that.

We have procedures for dealing with incidents like this, and we started doing those after I let one of my supervisors know what I'd done. I feel kind of lucky (RELATIVELY LUCKY, you understand) that this happened late in the day; I don't know how well I would have done at work the rest of my shift if I'd done this at 7:12 in the morning.

It's a job hazard. It happens. And I'll redouble my efforts to keep it from happening in the future. But damn, a weekend break (which I just started) is a good idea.

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A sigh of a day

It's been a day where I couldn't really tell you what specifically was wrong and "off" about it, but, it felt wrong and "off." My sense of whether I was doing a good job seemed to be set badly; I had trouble being satisfied. (Today's most satisfying thing: a Blue Star Donuts pistachio-topped doughnut with raspberry filling. So something was satisfying. But then I wasn't hungry for lunch, which is unusual for me, even if I have a doughnut earlier.)

I note this day for the record. And now, I'll relax.

This sums it up:

"I mostly avoided annoyances today! 👍🏻"

Today had the chance to be annoying. I anticipated that, I adjusted for that, I adjusted further as the day went on, and with the exception of having to listen to a two-notches-too-loud conversation on the bus home at day's end (some people have no Inside Voice, argh), I mostly kept away from what had the chance to annoy me.

Today was also an extra, and unusual, shift at work: modified swing, as we were short in that time slot. Good that I finished my work in time to get home at a manageable hour (i.e. not midnight) and, I hope, sleep enough to be ready for my regular shift tomorrow morning.

Zoo Nooz, from staff photographer Me

I was at the zoo, a week and a day ago.

I don't get to the Oregon Zoo much, though it's easy to get to and visit. So that was what I did Friday, May 24th. I'd posted videos from the day — here are several of them on my Facebook — but this morning I finally got around to editing the pictures and putting them onto LiveJournal.

Here we go.

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It amuses me to realize this...

...that one thing I probably still haven't done in the entire time that I've had this journal is blog while drunk.

Tonight is not that night. But I'm tired after this work week, and remember, being really tired can be a lot like being drunk...
Feelin' nostalgic. Feelin' nostalgic 'bout Big-Ass Sandwiches.

A food cart from December 2009 to summer 2015. Two food carts for a brief time during that. A brick-and-mortar restaurant from June 2015 to May 2016. By Brian and Lisa Wood, partners in love and food who wanted to feed people and did like whoa.

I got to every single location the cart then later the restaurant was at. I first went on the original cart's second day of operation in 2009. I was at the restaurant on both its second-to-last day and its last day, sharing whiskey after the close with the staff.

(I mention two food carts. While Brian and Lisa were at their second location in Central Industrial Eastside Portland, between Produce Row Café to the south and the Burnside skate park to the north, they bought a second cart and installed it at the N. Mississippi Ave. food cart pod next to the bar Prost. Frustratingly, this turned out to be a bad location for them: they'd get a surprising number of people who'd walk up and ask, "Do you have vegan salads?" WHAT PART OF "BIG-ASS SANDWICHES" IMPLIES VEGAN? Though they did have vegetarian-friendly sandwiches, then later, at the restaurant, salads. Still. Read the menu and read the room, people.)

For four shifts during Rose Festival 2012, when the cart was still in Old Town near Voodoo Doughnut, I worked the cart's front window. I had (and have) no permission to cook in food carts; I was taking orders and money, while the people who knew food cooked and assembled them behind me. On my last shift, I worked the cart's late night shift. THAT was an experience.

People evangelized about the cart. Some people made special trips to visit it. (This happened sometimes with the restaurant, too.) Brian and Lisa got nationwide cable coverage. Summer 2011 was slammed at the cart because of one cable show. They met famous people, becoming friends with some of them. They helped many people bond over damn good sandwiches. To this day, some of their sandwiches are the best sandwiches I've ever eaten. I miss those sandwiches. I also miss Lisa and Brian, but at least I can reach them.

This is an excuse to reshare the commercial Lisa and Brian shot in Old Town in summer 2010, featuring me. That location is now a building under construction. Things change. People change. Hairstyles change. Interest rates fluctuate. But, for a time, this place and its sandwiches were out there, getting to people and making them happily full.

Thank you, Brian and Lisa.

Doing my job, I'm doing it...differently

Oh: that's what a split shift feels like.

That's part of why Monday was an odd day. I started work at my usual time, and an hour in a supervisor of ours confirmed for us: the morning was unexpectedly slow and we had too many people, while in the afternoon and evening it was going to be busier and we didn't have enough people scheduled for then, so: could some of you volunteer to leave and come back?

I left and came back. So did another co-worker. I clocked out after an hour in the morning, during which I'd done one work thing. One. Like I said, slow (it's never been that slow during a day shift I've done). I took the train and the bus home — walking part of the way down NE 82nd while waiting for a bus to catch up — then tried to relax.

That didn't go too well, darn it. I never managed to nap, which I'd hoped to do, though I did rest to an extent. Then a good lunch, then heading out to start my second commute of the day. I was well-armed with caffeinated drinks.

The second, longer part of my work day was busier, as promised: steady. I didn't have to stay through the whole swing shift (and I'd known from experience not to commit to being there that long), and I got home.

The math tells me that I should try not to do split shifts too often: I worked a total of 6 1/2 hours (with half an hour for lunch) and was on transit for a total of 4 hours, so yesterday was not the most efficient day. But hey, holiday pay.

I'm still recovering from yesterday, as I still needed to work today at my regular time. Steady-to-busy morning, a slow afternoon, so, near the opposite of Monday. Sleep soon, once my laundry is done...

Extremes are allowed

I Am Large, I Contain Multidudes, Latest Example:

It had been a while, like two or three years, since I'd visited the Oregon Zoo, so yesterday I got going early enough to spend most of the midday there. 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., wandering, appreciating animals, and taking pictures and videos. As busy as the Zoo is, I still found quiet places for quiet moments: the unused-at-that-time North Meadow for the Asian elephants who live there, then later this moment in the enclosure for the Bontebok, a southern African antelope.


No Bonteboks were in that portion of the enclosure, nor were any of the other animals which share that space, and for a time no people other than me observing it either: just a gentle drizzle on a pond, and I felt like preserving it.

And then later, after heading home, I headed out again for a much louder experience, watching John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum in a late screening at the Bagdad Theater. Very satsifying, very violent, as the other John Wick films are, sometimes getting me to full-body cringe and to yell. And watching Ian McShane as Winston simply start to smile is ne of this film's surprising pleasures. Oh yes, I like Chapter 3.

HOW IS WORDS

For no particular (and, thank goodness, not for any bad) reason, I haven't been blogging.

There are reasons, but small reasons: been doing other stuff (but I've often still blogged while doing so), been tired after some days of work (but, still, blogged before), not feeling I have anything in particular to say at the moment (OH I HAVE STILL BLOGGED EVEN THEN)...and then it hits me that I haven't updated for a whole week and get concerned.

So: hi. I'm still here, and elsewhere online, plus of course life offline (like work) goes on. Hoping I'm doing worthwhile stuff, and having worthwhile thoughts.
...this time of Juniper, the chicken that the herd adopted because somebody dropped Juniper off at their original Belmont location. (Disclaimer: DO NOT DO THIS, it's stressful on the animals and unfair to them, and other animals that have been dropped off at Belmont Goats' homes have had to be re-homed.)

Juniper was in a playful mood today, as I understand it. Burrowing, to her, is fun. She's also well-fed at the moment — this morning one of the people who works with the Goats pulled up a stump the goats' people don't usually pull up for Juniper, and there were some particularly long worms she was able to eat — and she's been laying quite a few eggs lately. I hope she (and the rest of the herd) keep doing well.