Petty Crime

Here’s what a stack of my books looks like. I did the cover myself with some help with typography from Debby Neely. I had a tough time and still see a few things I would fix if I were a little more clever. I have a job, and write books, and can do the splits. It’s okay if I’m only a C+ in book cover making.

Those URLS again: Giant Online Retailer or Still Giant Online Retailer.

And I’m sure you’ve all been wondering about the Timbers. I went to one pre-season game and am now anxiously awaiting the season opener on March 3. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.

I joined an online network that’s like Facebook for your neighborhood. I wasn’t in love with the idea but there are times when it would be handy to be connected to the neighbors.

Of course, I’d barely been on there a week when everyone was reporting car break-ins and garage break-ins. Then other people freaking out about all the crime. And then other people freaking out if a car slowed down while driving down their street. I was already annoyed and assumed everyone was overreacting.

Then our car was broken into. I drive an ancient car and keep nothing valuable in it. Remember the days when we had to carry our car stereos around with us because of theft? My car is so old you can remove the front plate of the stereo as an anti-theft measure.

They didn’t take the stereo. They didn’t take the change bucket for the parking meter. They took one thing: the garage door opener.

Of course we discovered this on a Sunday night when we would have zero time to deal with it for another week. So we unplugged the garage door opener, bolted the garage door shut, and parked in front of the house.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood network is still going nuts with this crime wave. I began to suspect they weren’t just over-reactive nervous nellies. Finally, there was a story in the news that they caught a young guy and a teenager and charged them with over 50 break-ins.

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We’re Back, Sorta

My new machine wasn’t supposed to arrive until next week. I spent most of the day on Friday trying to turn my laptop into a desktop machine so I could work better. At 2pm I got a text from the Apple Store telling my they had something for me to pick up.

It should be a testament to how badly I wanted that new machine that I departed almost immediately to go into downtown on a Friday getting near rush hour.

I had a current back up so I was able to get the new machine running fairly quickly. I’m still sorting out passwords and software that limits how many machines you’re supposed to use it on and a few other things for setting up things the way I like.

Then I fired up the new machine on Saturday morning raring to get back to writing. I opened my work in progress and it was empty. Once I regained consciousness, I figured out I’d biffed and shut down the laptop before it was finished backing up to Dropbox. It was all fixable but there was learning, by me, involved.

I am now very behind and tempted to panic but that would not serve my cause. So I’m just facing forward and doing what I can do the best that I can.

I don’t think I even wrote about the technology challenges I had at work. The short version was that I had to arrange for an old copier to be hauled off, a new copier to be delivered and set up, plus our IT guy from Idaho came down to do something-something to make us more compatible with headquarters and his thing necessitated Comcast coming out to do something-something.

As you can imagine, this made is slightly impossible to get any work done so I was in a mild panic over some deadlines there, too.

My patience with technology is hanging by a thread.

The writing meter is just a guess because since my technology meltdown my system of keeping track hasn’t been accurately updated. (Probably because I’m scared to know.)

Oh — here’s news. The paperback version of my short stories Red Tape is now available from Giant Online Retailer. It has a different cover which I need to update — someday — but here’s the URL Red Tape Stories from Indian Country. If you don’t like to purchase books from Giant Online Retailer you can also get them here which to be honest, is also Giant Online Retailer. This is the world we live in. I think you can order the paperback from other book sellers. If you try to and you can’t let me know and I’ll add it to my list of things to check on.

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Things Are Fragile

My desktop computer took a dump yesterday. It was not a complete surprise but the timing was not great. Is there ever a great time for something we rely on every day to take a dump?

I have a laptop so all is not lost but it’s only set up for writing, checking email and basic web browsing.

No updates until I get the new machine, get it set up how I like it, and catch up on the massive number of words I am behind on my writing project. I don’t know why I voluntarily stress myself out like this but I’m in the middle of it so I need to keep pushing forward.

I tried to post a flickr photo but apparently don’t remember how. What I did didn’t work and I don’t have any patience for technology at this point. At work we had a copier – router – modem – printing – scanning – Internet massive clusterfukatonia situation that went on for days and technically, colleague’s work station is still not fully operational. I have calls in.

Then I spent half the day yesterday trying “one more thing” to get desktop to grind back to life a teeny bit longer. Here we are. Fingers crossed: all the other stuff hold together.

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More Farewell to the Apple Tree

This is from spring last year.

I’m taking the loss of this tree pretty hard. I don’t know why. It’s not like they were the most delicious apples and it was a part time job cleaning them up in the fall.

It’s so pretty and I liked this shady corner of the yard.

It’s still not gone yet, but here’s a good view of its sad state.

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Another look at downtown Portland in the Snow. This is on the park blocks behind the Schnitz looking north.

Below are photos of the snow at the park-n-ride, first seen here on the 18th. The photos below are the 23rd, 25th and 26th. I bet there’s still a little bit tomorrow.

I’ve got a bunch of sprouting bulbs — little green tips peeking up. I thought maybe something was digging up bulbs but the Internet tells me that’s something called winter heaving. I keep finding sprouted halves of bulbs on top of the dirt. I’m supposed to plant them deeper. Now I know.

No new words on Book 2 this week. That wasn’t completely unintentional. I had planned to take a few days off to write a draft of a short story that I thought I could whip out. Then the time that I had set aside for that project didn’t work out. It took me all weekend to get the draft whipped out. That’s still fast for me. We’ll see how long it takes for me revise it into something I would show someone.

It’s resting for now and I’m back to romance. I’m still on track for my deadline but just barely.

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One Bad Apple

This is the apple tree before. I have more great snow day photos. The snow is gone now but there will probably be more photos to come.

This is the apple tree after. More pictures as it is disassembled and sent to its next life.

I’m doing some homework now on planting some dwarf varieties of fruit trees. I love the idea of fruit trees but super lazy about taking care of them so we’ll see.

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Long and Silky

Early morning view at the park-n-ride last week.

A year ago I decided to grow out my bangs. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. I love seeing my giant no-botox fivehead when I look in the mirror. I like being able to pull my hair back without fussing with my unruly bangs. It’s amazing how hostile I feel toward my bangs now that they’re gone.

I have mostly cut my own hair over the years and I used to keep it at basically the same length, even in the middle of my back. When I quit trimming my bangs, I quit cutting my hair completely and it’s gotten really long. During the snow I used some product and ironed it. I don’t think my hair has ever been this long.

It’s pretty scraggly but I’m going to let it keep going for now.

Check out this giant icicle. They had yellow tape blocking off the sidewalk so no one would walk under it. It’s all gone now.

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My Thursday Commute Adventures

Walk to the bus stop before sunrise. It was quiet and beautiful.

This was the worst part, waiting for bus #1 for 20 minutes. I got nervous maybe I didn’t understand snow route and I was in the wrong place.

Bus #2. The express buses weren’t going all the way into downtown. Instead, they were taking passengers to the park-n-ride at the lightrail. The highway was nuts. I guess the truckers had to chain up as soon as they got into Oregon so there was a long line of big rigs of to the side and then, I think 2 lanes of traffic getting by. I didn’t choose my seat well so I couldn’t see as much as I wanted.

Lightrail! The train wasn’t very full. This was the highlight of the day. Pretty views everywhere you looked. I felt like a tourist seeing everything for the first time.

SW Broadway. Total time door-to-door was 1 hour 45 minutes.

I’ve never seen so much snow downtown. I went out for walks a couple of times. There’s a hotel next door where airline pilots stay. The pilot van to the airport was stuck against the curb and there were pilots in uniform trying to push it out. About half the food carts were open so we had plenty of choices for lunch. While I was waiting a little breeze flared up and snow from the trees sparkled down. It was magical.

The trip home was an adventure, too. Same routine. The bus from the park-n-ride wasn’t an express bus and there was a guy in a safety vest sitting next to me smoking weed. He was being all secretive so you couldn’t see but you could sure smell it. Then I thought I missed the local bus to take me to the grocery store not far from my house but instead a bus that goes right through my neighborhood showed up.

It was a great day. But it’s weird to look out the windows and still see snow.

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Apologies – I cannot name the weavers who made these beautiful Karuk baskets. I was at the gathering and took photos and failed to track down that information.

I could swear I wrote a long manifesto about saltines. I don’t pull it up when I search. I did tweet about it, but it wasn’t a manifesto.

I have a strange love for saltines. For many years I wouldn’t even buy them because I would eat a sleeve in one sitting. I still love them and I like to have them in the house.

Over the last several years it seemed like every time I ate them they would be stale and taste like burned and dust. I kept assuming that I’d just had the box too long or I’d accidentally bought an old box or the sleeve must have been ripped and the crackers got stale.

Finally, I had a notion that it might be the cracker. How did we get information before we had Internet search engines? Sure enough, Nabisco changed the recipe. There are complaints all over the place. I am not the only person very upset about the state of saltines.

One board suggested trying Keebler but my market doesn’t have Keebler so I tried Kroger and I am thrilled to tell you huge improvement. Not 100% my old beloved saltines but close. I’ve already eaten one and a half sleeves.

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This is the Scene Today

A bunch of snow slid off the roof and covered the front step. We could hardly open the front door. We just cleared it off so we could open the door and find the steps. I already had to change pants and socks once today.

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