Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Category: Eugene

And then, the snow.

This week’s writing prompt is: NEXT

Next is both a rock in my shoe and a double-espresso to my soul.

Next is cherry blossoms and leaf buds and rhododendron fireworks. Next is the marvel of infant garter snakes at both ends of twilight, soaking the last of the day from the sidewalk.

Next is sun and heat and stiff skin telling me I’ve definitely got a sunburn.

Next is humidity and heat that matches my own body, so it’s hard to breathe and hard to feel real and hard to know if I’m breathing at all, a stratified lake turning over, up and down suddenly a dizzying match.

Next is long days and pleasant nights and feeling the air like a cool drink as the leaves start to whisper a colorful change.

Next is the shock of realizing the leaves have changed, and the ground smells rich and the earthworms are out at night and pumpkins start popping up on porches like grinning mushrooms.

Next is wet feet and telling myself again that I should get a raincoat and the mud tries to steal my shoes. Next is the longing for fairylights and a snap in the morning air and the ancestral pull to migrate or die.

And then, the snow.

Some days are just green beans and mustard, and that’s OK.

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: CONVENIENT

What a prompt. My head’s going all over with it.

The first thing that comes to mind is convenient food. I hate it. I’m no food purist – more than one dinner has been cold canned green beans dipped in mustard and mayonnaise mixed together. I’m classy like that. But convenience food tastes good for a moment, then tastes bad, and I physically feel bad afterwards. I’ll take my I-grew-up-poor-and-this-is-soul-food-for-me green beans any day.

I will admit to having a weakness for someone else doing the grocery gathering. For about $5.00, there’s a grocery store here that will find and bag everything, and all I have to do is pick it up. I only get groceries every 4-6 weeks, so it’s not a big expense for convenience. My anxiety and (currently managed) major depressive disorder salute you, Fred Meyer.

Convenient. When I moved into my apartment in late 2014, the rent was $935. Now it’s $1275. It’s going to $1325 in September, and I’ll absolutely have to move. I’m not making as it is and have sold everything that can be sold, and breaking the lease would be about $1900. Who has that kind of money lying around? Convenient is staying, and I wish I could. I live in a third floor walk up. I don’t have people here to help me. I’ll have to sell what remains of my furniture, because I can’t move it. It’s going to suuuuck.

Convenient is typing my complaints instead of solving them. Luckily, I’ve been working on solving them, to help me get by until my lease is up in September. Again, if it could be sold, I sold it. I don’t have internet or a TV, and I share Netflix with a friend. Yes, that’s a luxury and not a necessity, and I feel guilty about it. The lights are only on when I need them, and the heat is not on. Coffee is rationed, y’all. Not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. I’ve reopened my Etsy shop in an attempt to slow the sinking, and am listing things every time the sun shines enough that I can take photos. Rainy pacific northwest, anyone?

It’s definitely not convenient to work a full day at children’s services, which is emotionally exhausting (and rewarding), then go home and hunt for a second job. I’m tired just thinking about all the applications I’ve submitted over the last few months. I took FOUR HOURS of evaluations just to qualify for an interview at one of those jobs, then didn’t get the job after interviewing. Not convenient.

I’ve really overrun my five minute limit, haven’t I? How perfectly inconvenient. Thanks for dropping by. Sorry about the rambling rant.

Bats at the umbrella factory

Meanwhile, back at the umbrella factory.

Last May, my landlord raised the renty by $50. On the first of this year, they raised it $85. In September, they’re going to raise it another $50.

I’m deeply tired of renting.

It’s not like it’s a fancy apartment. The only real amenities are that we can hang out in the apartment office and use the WiFi, and an alleged gym with a few weights and an elliptical.1

I need to discontinue my certification goal for bit, as finances are too tight. I’ll hopefully be able to come back it after September, as I’m not going to be able to afford to stay here once they raise rent again. With some luck, I’ll find a place cheap enough to have some financial wiggle room to get back into things.

In the meantime, NaNoCertMo will need to be on hiatus. See you soon, Bats.

Window and Freeway

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: INFLUENCE

Not gonna lie. The prompt doesn’t speak or spark, for me, but the point of the exercise is to build discipline around the practice of writing, to some extent. So. Here I am. Rock me like a hurricane.

Influence. I influence others. I am influenced. The environment I’m in on a daily basis has an influence on my life.

Ah.

There it is.

Living in Eugene, I can’t get away from the noise. I’m sitting my office in my apartment, and I can hear the road noise right through the wall. I’m in a residential area, and quite a ways from the freeway, and I can hear it at all hours. There’s no quiet.

I work in an office building where, for the first time in my entire career, I have access to a window. I work in the quiet, not having to listen to music someone else picked. I work with people who are competent and professional on the phones and when interacting with adopters and sponsors, and who are silly and fun when interacting with each other.

Reader, that environment has changed my life.

I went from abuse at home and abuse at work, to a peaceful home and a healing workplace. I won’t spell it out, but will just say that I’m learning to have peace in my heart, and to feel safe for the first time in a very long time.

Five Minute Friday: Share

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great tool for getting me up and writing, before work, on this, the most holy day of the workweek.

Today’s Five Minute Friday Freewrite prompt is: SHARE.

I’ve worked for myself for a lot of years. I took care of the hands and feet of marginalized and vulnerable people, like those in the trans community, and under-served people, like veterans, and people who were physically unable to do so for themselves, like those with cerebral palsy or dementia.

It was humble work, and it (mostly) paid the bills.

^^ It’s the “mostly” in that sentence that’s concerning.

When my (now ex-)husband quit yet another job without a word, because he didn’t get along with his manager, (“It’s like she’s not even trying to figure out how to make me happy!” Seriously. Those words were spoken.) I finally snapped. I knew I didn’t want to live like this for another 14 years. And that meant taking on traditional employment.

I had to leave my clients. That was so, so hard. I called so many people, trying to find anyone else in town who does what I did. I did my best, but most techs only serve out of spas, and few take on the extra training to become a medical nail tech. My heart was so broken to leave them. I’m still broken about that. Is this a taste of how therapists feel when they have to let a client go?

After six months or so of job hunting and contracting and temping, I finally got on at a great place. The work is meh, but the mission is amazing.

But… it’s an entirely different kind of work environment. There’s no hugging someone who looks like they need it, or prompting them to share more and to work things out talking with me. There’s no hand holding. It’s not a place where I can hold out a hand and “oooh” over someone’s sparkly nail polish. There’s no deep sharing of life stories, or unburdening while I give someone a foot massage.

It’s a Fairly Serious and Professional Place.

The sharing that takes place, physical, verbal, and emotional, is so different from what I’ve been doing that my instincts are all wrong. I have to constantly remind myself it’s not appropriate to touch someone on the shoulder, after years of working with people who were touch-deprived. It’s not appropriate to smile and call someone “sweetheart,” when they’re having a hard time and could use comfort.

I’m constantly monitoring myself to make sure I don’t share or ask for too much information. It’s strange and exhausting and kind of lonely. It’s been the hardest part of going back to office life, which I hadn’t been expecting at all.

I went from working in IT to taking care of people, and now am back to working in an office. Have you had to make an unexpected, major career transition? Because, dude. I could really use some tips on this.

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s something that made me smile.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

It’s sunny.

Great googly moogly, look at that sunshine. What a shame it would be to be stuck indoors on this lemonade-and-sunglasses kind of day. The temperature is perfect. It smells amazing out there, after yesterday’s rain.

Nope. I can’t possibly spend even 15 minutes writing, today. The sunshine. I must be out in it.

This is when I desperately miss having a garden. Pots on a balcony are nice, but to have an entire morning to myself, shoveling dirt, pinching off leggy plants, finding surprise bugs and volunteer plants, feeling the strength in my back and legs and arms.

Oh man. This is when I’m tired of living in an apartment. I love my apartment neighbors, and the fact that I can have company whenever I crave it, but I do miss the physicality of being able to work on a house and a yard.

In fact, this is a perfect day to go to Spencer Butte. I think I’ll do just that.

So that’s why I’m not writing today. It’s gorgeous and sunny out.

In case you’re having a hard day, here is a dandy lion.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

It’s raining.

It’s raining.

It’s raining; it’s pouring.
The old woman is snoring.
She went to bed and bumped her head,
And she couldn’t get up in the morning.

Seriously, it’s all grey and yucky outside and I’m utterly unmotivated. I am without motive. I cannot be bothered to motivate. Too tired to be inspired. I just want to curl up with a big, BIG quilt, some very hot tea, and as many cats as I can borrow from my neighbors for the day. (They don’t mind. Really.) I don’t want to move at all. I don’t want to go to work, or feed the animals, or walk the dog, or do anything that I don’t feel like doing. And I don’t feel like writing, because it’s raining.

It’s cold and drizzly. No one’s paying me to write, so I don’t actually have to, do I? I mean, what would the consequences be? (Well, other than letting myself down. So there’s that.) But. Rain. Water from the sky. If you’ve ever visited Oregon, you know this is some apocalyptic bullshit, right here. I can be a slug for one day. Who will notice? (I will.)

I want to stay inside and lay about and do nothing, even though that’s bad for the grey matter between my ears and makes me feel like a ghost. Yes, the weather dictates my life.

So that’s why I’m not writing today. It’s raining.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

Sometimes you fly

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great warm-up before throwing myself headlong into the writing train that is Write 31 Days.

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: POTENTIAL.

When I move something that’s in danger of falling, like a glass too close to the edge of the counter, I generally think of it as removing some of it’s potential. It’s just an old snippet of high-school surfacing, when that was a running joke between my friends and I, picked up from an introductory physics class. We weren’t moving something, we were “removing its energetic potential.” We’re removing some of the risk that it’s going to fall, and reducing it’s energy.

And my mind moves to one of my favorite quotes, and strikes a spark against the first thought, from potential to falling to flying.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

― Neil Gaiman, Fables & Reflections, Sandman

This leads me to thinking about how, when I oh-so-carefully curate my life, I reduce my risk of falling, and I reduce my risk of flying, and I reduce the potential of my day, and rob my life of its energy, both useful and damaging.

And I think about how I’m like an abused cat I fostered years ago, that had to be taught to play. Gentle reader, I do not recreate well. At all. Work is fun, because that’s how I was raised, and how I’ve been shaped to live my adult life. No time for unproductive fun. I’m the first to offer a hand when someone is painting or remodeling or moving, but if they invite me to a housewarming party, I’ll usually find a reason not to go. I don’t gravitate towards fun. Here, in my 40s, I’m trying to learn how. I don’t even know what I like to do. I have to concentrate to notice what enjoyment is.

This is SO not the life I want.

Which brings me to an episode of Doctor Who I watched recently:

Bill: You know what I mean. Every choice I make in this moment, here and now, could change the whole future.

The Doctor: Exactly like every other day of your life. The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.

― Doctor Who, Thin Ice

It’s only in fiction about time travelers that we worry about how our every action affects the future, but that’s every day, right here, right now. Today. Everything we do today affects our future. Every. Little. Butterfly. Flap. Spending a little time on a class instead of Twitter could entirely lift a life from one set of tracks to another. It raises potential and risk and the chances of falling and/or flying. Because there’s no separating them from each other. Time to start guiding that pesky little chaos butterfly, instead of just letting it get blown around.

I think about a ceramics class half a lifetime ago, where the instructor laughed at my worry as I shaped clay, and said, “You have to allow for the possibility that it might turn out well.”

I suppose that’s my takeaway, today. I have to allow that today/tomorrow might turn out well. There’s the potential of flying just as much as there’s the potential of falling. They can’t be separated. There’s no flying without some element of falling.

***

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s a photo of a man local to Eugene, who flys kites every single day. On the day in the photo, October 12, 2017, he was celebrating his 1,000th day in of a row of kite flying. I love when I run across him on walks.