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I was at work today. Usually this is a day off, but I needed to take a class and a test (I won't bore you with why) and I got paid for being there for the test, so that helps.

Rarely if ever do I bring my tablet with me to work, but today I could. After the class and the test, I until around at PDX and took pictures of the Departures Roadway and parts of the terminal. Now I'll share:


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On a clear day, from here you can see Mt. Hood.

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Reporting from bed

It's been a long week.

I've been in bed preparing for sleep for the past hour already.

And technically, my work week isn't done: I'll go into work for a couple of hours late tomorrow morning for training (we're adding a service that our Valet operation hasn't done before), but at least I can sleep in.

And, of course, before then, get some sleep.

Be well, y'all.

"Can you do a blog entry today?"

".................................................yes."

But then, some days are better.

Despite a second late start at work in a row (for the same reason as Sunday), I made an effort to make today better than yesterday. I think I succeeded.

And I had an unexpected pleasure: a cousin who lives in New Jersey, right across the Hudson from Msnhattan, flew into Portland this morning (his immediate family still lives in Oregon) and stopped at the valet booth to say hi. He had to wait a bit as I was bringing down a car, and then he had to wait a little more because I was so in Work Mode that I didn't get why my co-workers were gesturing at the guy sitting on our outside bench going "say hi!" THEN I took a good look and: hey, hi, cousin!

What also helped my day be better was me realizing we had plenty of people working today, so I asked during my lunch if I could simply clock out early. I got the OK, and went home to relax, stopping at McDonald's on the way.

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Some days are...unsatisfying.

Today was an "off" day. Maybe it should have been an off day where I just called out of work, because I was awkward and the day was awkward. More than once I wanted to say, out loud, "Oh give me a break"...that or "Give me strength." Fear not, I didn't.

One thing I did say today: "I'm sorry, that was really rude of me."

Another thing I said today: "Don't run me over." (But that's a whole other story...)

Today was annoying from almost the start, thanks to a slower bus than usual. I got to the MAX platform just as the doors to my usual train closed, and I wouldn't have had a chance to get to the train and get the doors open before it left. So, I was late and had a short day. Also a day where...maybe I should tell that only on my Patreon.

(Kidding. Badly kidding. I don't have a Patreon.)

So. I made it home (no problems or accidents!) and I should be able to relax now.
While I was out today — driving to Moreland/Sellwood, stopping at the library, walking around the neighborhood's antique shop district and people-watching — I stopped at a branch of my bank. For maybe the first time in my life, I deposited not a check but cash: the bulk of my August tips from work. I'd come up with a cunning plan: save up that money to, eventually, do something with it, and why not put it in my savings account? Then it could do a little work itself and help me get those little bits of interest while I decide what, perhaps, to do with it later.

Satisfied with watching an ATM swallow those $5, $10, and $20 bills* and tell me exactly (and correctly!) how much that was, I continued on my day out, got home, and went online to where I could do an electronic transfer of those funds from my bank to my credit union.

I couldn't, turns out.

I think I know why it didn't work, and it's probably related to the credit card balance I have with my credit union — don't worry, I'm working on paying down that, it's manageable and I accept that I have a balance to pay — but I also didn't want that tip money to stay in my main account that I use most often. So I wrote a check to my credit union for that same amount and mailed it off. My tip money will go where I want it to go.

Am I more of an adult now? I got excited about financial transactions.



* Once so far, a few months ago, a customer tipped me a $50 bill.**

** I wound up not saving the many $1 bills I'd gotten; I decided at one point this that it made more sense to add those to my pocket change. Meanwhile, I'm working to be a better tipper of other people, and having cash to do so helps...


Entry title a quote from this.
Ah, dreams. I think about them a lot, and after last night's I had this wider thought:

Many, many, many descriptions of dreams boil down to "Something that shouldn't make sense, made sense!"

At some level, many dreams do make sense to the dreamer, but without all the filters in your head to help reflect and refract the dream's sense, that description will often become really boring and pointless to anyone who listens to you describe it.

The most I'll describe about the events of my dream last night is that they involved a hotel room, driving away from the hotel and taking a complicated route to do something based on a plan I hadn't nailed down with other people, realizing I'd forgotten an important thing to do at the hotel room — SHOULD HAVE TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS, DARN IT — and having no luck getting back before the dream ended...

...but seeing interesting stuff on the way. Like a food cart that literally could not be seen when looked at one way, but could be seen when looked at another way. In other words, this dream-food cart was somehow disguised unless you knew where to look for it.

Getting even further into the weeds of this dream, I looked at the cart as I passed and thought "Oh! That kind of reminds me of the food alley!" Which is a dream location I often dream about, this alley between brick-and-mortar restaurants which has more eateries. Portland obviously has food carts, but it doesn't really have alleys like this, other than a block of road in Old Town/Chinatown (around the corner from the original Voodoo Doughnut) that was converted into a pedestrian-only alley. The food alley I picture is narrower, more eccentric, very DIY with its furnishings and hangings to protect people from rain...and with wonderful food.

Yes, of course I dream about good food.

Thinking about the big conflict of the dream, where I needed to detour back to the hotel to turn off a bunch of lights, I can realize now that I'm awake that all I would have needed to do was JUST CALL THE HOTEL AND GIVE THE STAFF PERMISSION TO ENTER THE ROOM AND TURN OFF THE LIGHTS THEMSELVES. And also, likely, because I'm me even in my dreams, to thank them for doing so and to apologize for making them do so. See? That would make sense.

Maybe this all would make sense if I keep talking about it, but, you know. Boring and pointless to others.

But I'm glad I like my dreams.


(Title paraphrased from a Randy Newman song, because I'm me.)

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Short circuits as sleep approaches

My mind is trying to be useful. I'm imagining me trying to give directions to people (and having them not really listen or get what I'm saying, argh) even though it's late and it's the end of my work week and I'm hoping to relax.

Still, I think — and hope — I'll sleep well tonight.

Poemizing

I have a poem in progress. Earlier this year, I had a different poem I was working on, and I got distracted and stuck and then I was surprised that I'd started that poem in March of this year and hadn't even looked back at it until August. But I had the opening of another poem by then, and I prefer to get one poem done before I start another — I used to get bunches half-done or less, or never even write my poem ideas down so I'd've had even a harder time finishing them — so I got that earlier one done and noted that line and got started on the new poem. Slowly.

That earlier one, "Awkward," is far from my best work, but: at least it got written.

I've made what I think is notable progress on the next poem, but I've put it aside for the night, JUST FOR THE NIGHT, because I worried I was starting to over-think it. It also has no title yet, and I want to be sure I have one before I show it to anyone.

But I can do this. Just not right now.

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I've indulged some this weekend:

Thursday I wrapped up work for the week, and took a different route than usual so I could go to Beulahland: I was in the mood for a burger, a beer, and a shot. I got all of those (plus the minestrone soup Beulah had that day). I could, too, since I was done driving for the day. A rye whiskey and a Narrangasett (a New England lager; Beulah stocks it) got into me. I had satisfying floating-like feelings afterward. By the way, I made sure not to have any more alcohol; I know I'm a lightweight when it comes to drinking.

Friday, after sleeping in (😌) and confirming my paycheck with some overtime plus some retro pay I was owed had been deposited (🙂), I had breakfast at the corner coffee shop then cleaned clothes, including new dark socks and a new pair of pants. (Socks verdict: they work! Pants verdict: the sewing wasn't good in places and I seem to have dangling strands in my pockets that I'll need to trim without causing the whole thing to unravel.)

I also wrote. I have a poem in progress, which by then meant "six words plus some notes." It's a poem I'm writing as a memorial to Dana Thompson. This is not an indulgence: I want to do something special for her. I'm glad to say I made progress, though the poem's coming together in bits and pieces, not very linearly so this may take a bit.

After that was some outside time: walking to the nearest library branch for my latest borrowed DVD plus some desktop online time — certain things are easier to do on a desktop computer than a tablet — followed by walking until a Holgate bus caught up to me. I took that plus a 70 bus plus, of course, my feet to get to another place where I could indulge, Cider Riot! (The exclamation point is part of the name.) I'd been meaning to finally go to the pub, to be a good person there because back on May 1st some jackasses started a literal riot at the place. I ate well (a spinach, Gouda, and mushroom pie plus a hummus plate), I drank well (a half-flight of four 4 oz. samplers of the pub's ciders), I tipped well. I'll be back sometime; there's music plus soccer culture there.

Next was not an indulgence, but it was time to do so: I went clean-shaven again, losing the Van Dyke because a few days ago I'd accidentally trimmed the mustache wrong, darn it.

Something unusual and special happened at the Portland Timbers soccer game I then listened to as the day drew to a close: supporters of the Timbers plus supporter groups for the visiting Seattle Sounders, usually vocal opponents in a rivalry match like this, spent the games' first 33 minutes being very quiet, as a protest. At 33:01 into the match, THEN both sides erupted in noise and banner-waving. It was a little surreal and, in a way, impressive.

More rest, then it was Saturday (today!). A much quieter day, overall, with grocery shopping this afternoon at WinCo at SE 82nd and Powell.

And I'm winding down for the weekend's end.

I wasn't reading.

That just-over-two week period where I was driving to work and not taking TriMet there, I also wasn't reading. Not really. For several reasons, that period of time was pretty tiring and at day's end I mostly didn't want to do much, and I didn't want to start a new book because I wasn't sure how much attention and time I could devote to one.

That and I read a lot on the bus and on the MAX train. Not there? Not reading nearly as much. Though I've been back using TriMet since Monday (after indulging myself with one more car commute last Sunday).

Generally, my reading this year has been much slower than in most past years. I aim for the pace of at least four book-length works a month, basically a book a week; I've mostly done less than that in 2019.

I'm noting that. And making sure I keep reading; a few days ago I started Summer Knight, the fourth novel in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. It's light, but it's something. And soon, I hope, more poetry; I'm waiting to borrow a poetry collection by Emily Brönte, the writer of Wuthering Heights.
Co-Worker A is someone who, for several reasons, I find frustrating.

Co-Worker B is someone who, for completely different reasons, I also find frustrating.

I know, I know, that they weren't really doing this, but: today at work it felt like they were tag-teaming me.

Yeah: frustrating.
"Calm Down You Manipulative Owl is the angriest Pink Martini album."
Y'know what's satisfying? Stocking up.

So. I'm earning more now. In fact, my next paycheck will include money from four days of work where I was paid at the wrong (lower) rate, on top of my regular hours plus the few hours of overtime I got in that pay period, so: IT'LL BE A DECENT CHECK. More than decent.

And I went to the Hollywood Fred Meyer yesterday with a very targeted shopping list, partly based on a coupon I had available ($10 off $35 or more of apparel) but also needing some personal care stuff I was low on. First I indulged by browsing toys, giving myself the option of buying something if it struck me though nothing did, then I took care of the apparel purchases: more socks for work, and since that wouldn't reach the $35 threshold I thought Well, I do need a pair of pants so: new pants! And the process of slowly upgrading my wardrobe continues.

As did stocking up: I could buy not one but two tubes of toothpaste! And I needed deodorant, and the type I get had a special deal: five deodorant sticks for $5. One stick would have been $2, two would've been $4, three would've been $6, four would've been $8, five would be $5? YES, GOOD DEAL.

My shopping was so targeted I only bought two food items, lettuce and bananas.

Once I was home (after stopping at Music Millennium, which I don't get to often enough and which yielded CDs by Sleater-Kinney, Pink Floyd, and film composers Michael Kamen and Bernard Herrmann), I found room for the stocked-up stuff. That's one impediment to stocking up, but the other impediment of not enough money? Less of a problem for now...

My stuff, it feels so used

I had hard shoes that I wore to work, at my last office job (where I worked 2014-2016). I have hard shoes. They are the same shoes.

By now, they look like this:





Yes, that's a hole. This is not the first time I've worn shoes until they had holes (well, I mean, more holes). I wore sneakers in high school that practically disintegrated and about five years ago, the previous hard shoes I'd owned opened up at the front, like they'd grown mouths. I made an emergency shoe shopping trip soon after that, to get a new pair. Unless I'm missing something, they were these shoes.

They're still useful. Until I got around earlier this year to buying new slippers that I needed, I used these as slippers. And they still work as "shoes I put on if I need to take out recycling or go to the corner to get a newspaper" shoes. I'd considered throwing them out, like a more recent pair of hard shoes I wore to work at the valet service for my first few months there until I thought that maybe they were wrong for such an on-the-go job so I bought new sneakers and yep, the sneakers were much better for my feet; I haven't thrown these out, as hobbled as they look.

I want stuff to get used. As fully used as possible.

Effects!

Saving this for later reading: James Cameron, who's been filming the Avatar sequels, and Jon Favreau, another director who's often working on digitally-rendered films like the remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King, talk about using digital tools to create the environments for films, as more and more filmmakers are doing.

Awkward

Awkward
by Christopher Walsh, 3/22/2019-8/10/2019





I speak from decades of experience:
You're at an oblique angle to The World.
All seems refracted, bent.
You misjudge space, views, distance,
Run into what you can't possibly imagine could be hit,
And where even imagining and thinking kind of hurt,
As gravity pulls on thoughts until distorted,
Seemingly cracked,
Scratched like now-bloody kneecaps.
(You don't remember how they got scratched.)
It's difficult,
A parade of of the Harder Than It Has To Be,
Than It Seems It Should Be,
Blocking your way to Simpler and Easier.


© Christopher Walsh, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Walsh (chris_walsh) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Some days, you nap.

I wanted to take it easy today. Two days ago I wrapped up a hectic work week — there's a difference between things being busy and things being hectic — and yesterday I was out and about, but this morning I woke up wondering what I wanted to do today, and the thought was "...eh, not much." And I didn't have to go out, so I got presentable at least but mainly stayed in my room. SOMETIMES NAPPING.

And it's been nice that some of my recent naps have been actual naps: falling asleep, not just resting my eyes, even sleeping enough to briefly dream.

(Yesterday's out-and-about stuff: I wanted to drive, and drive for awhile, so why not drive around Portland? So I went down to the Sellwood Bridge, up to John's Landing — driving in the neighborhood until the odometer hit 181,181 miles, yay a palindrome — then up to Burlingame and the Terwilliger Curves, getting onto I-5 and crossing the Marquam Bridge, getting off the freeway in the Rose Quarter area, and going up Williams to the N. Mississippi neighborhood. I stopped at Bridge City Comics, and briefly walked around that neighborhood, then got back to the car and regrouped. I didn't leave right away, because I wanted to decide on a route I hadn't been on for a bit. I wound up going farther up N. Williams and Vancouver, past the soon-to-be-gone Portland Meadows and the thank-goodness-still-there Jubitz truck stop, and up to Marine Drive. Neat views along Marine Drive, since the Columbia River's just to the north of you and planes are launching and landing just to the south of you, but it's a drive you have to do CAREFULLY because there's usually no barrier between the road and the river — the road is mostly at the very top of a levee — and anyway, I drove carefully. After that, I worked my way over to 82nd Ave. — I'd almost taken I-205 back, but it was busy — and got back to my neighborhood, pulling over to buy a few groceries at the produce stand and to get late lunch at my neighborhood McDonald's.)

...yeah. I have my reasons to nap.

Commute Thoughts

For the past week, I've been using my new parking pass and driving to work. This way I avoid dealing with the disrupted MAX, which is currently split in two for upgrades with shuttle buses bridging the gaps, and can be more flexible in my commute. Thursday morning, I left the house earlier than usual in the morning and stopped at Tik Tok on SE 82nd for breakfast.

But meanwhile, I'll be back to regular bus/train commuting via TriMet once this MAX work is done, in about a week. That way I can rest when needed, whether heading to the airport or heading home. And read, too, when I want.

And also — you may be surprised — in certain circumstances, I can ride TriMet home from work slightly quicker than driving home. I checked that Thursday afternoon; I got home about 4:20 p.m. Using the train and buses, I once got home at 4:13.

But I said "regular." If I work odd (to me) shifts in the future, say more swing shifts, it might make more sense to drive to work those days so I can then drive home; that late, driving would definitely be quicker than TriMet, though (again) not by that much.

Random from-work thoughts

A grab-bag of things I've noticed while valeting lots of cars these past eight-and-a-half months:

• For some reason, this Oregon airport's valet operation gets more cars with Texas license plates than cars with California plates.

• I'm getting more used to Teslas. My standard comment about that make is "the car might be smarter than me."

• A surprisingly large (to me) number of people don't use the Trip Mileage on their vehicles. I was noticing how many cars had gone, say, 21,647 miles and Trip Mileage would say 1,647, and it took me a bit to realize that Trip Mileage rolls over at, say, 10,000 so the drivers simply had never touched it. (I use mine to mark how far I've driven between stops for gas. Now I wonder how else it gets used. At least for measuring how long certain trips are...)

• Recently I helped clean up the roadway near the booth. You'd be surprised how many chewed pieces of gum I found. Or maybe you wouldn't.

• Plates. Bowls. Kitchen-style open-topped glasses. Utensils. Some of this gets filthy. (I try not to look too closely at all that.)

• You know how often I see "Passenger side airbag off"? Do y'all not like your passengers?

(Edited To Add!: That last bit was me being a smartass, but I just learned that there's a reason for it. My friend Royal explained that many cars now have sensors that can tell if a passenger is in the front seat or not, so if the car is in an airbag-deploying accident, it won't deploy that airbag. As a) valet only has people in the passenger seat when someone in training is shadowing and b) WE TRY NOT TO HAVE AIRBAG-DEPLOYING ACCIDENTS, we probably will see those warnings.)

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