This neighborhood cat scared the crap out of me when she strolled past our driveway a few months ago. It was highly unlikely that MoMo had gotten out, but I was sure it was him. Look at the apple-shaped torso and the fat little bottlebrush tail! Anyone might have been deceived. Matthew and I have finally trained ourselves to stop knocking on doors and inquiring about every seemingly freelance cat we encounter; people thought we were really weird, like why wouldn’t a cat just be tooling around outside with no collar. Matthew even seized a longhaired tortoiseshell with a purple collar and took her to what he thought was her home a couple of blocks away, only to learn that she was not the one in the “lost” flyer. The one in the lost flyer had a red collar on, anyway, but he couldn’t help himself. I told him that pretty soon we were going to see a “catnapper” flyer with his picture on it. Seizing innocent cats and transporting them hither and yon. But who am I to talk! I almost brought poor FauxMo right into the house.
Discovered in a bale of hay with her two kittens, has a bb in her head. Used to hide upstairs at our old house, but now there is no upstairs and she has come into her own. Can defend the cat tree from the boy cats, and will not let the dogs chase her off of the couch. Her foster person had named her Miss Kitty and we couldn’t think of a homonym, but we did give her the edgier “Ms.” Her only nickname is kittybot; she has a creaky complaining meow. Like a smoker’s meow, but higher pitched. She loves to glom onto anyone who doesn’t shove her away, but if you try to pick her up she digs all her claws into the rug and ends up looking like a bloated tic. She is annoying and not too bright but has always been the darling of vet techs, catsitters, and my mom, who sticks up for the underappreciated animals in the family. Watching her climb the cat tree or make her way onto a windowsill is the weirdest thing; she doesn’t hop or jump, she oozes. This has been independently verified.
Every Thursday or so, Matthew swears he’s getting a haircut that weekend, à la Lucy and the football. I don’t really believe him any more, but there must be a little bit of Charlie Brown in me, because I just had one of the now-familiar moments of startlement when I looked over at him and got a glimpse of the craziness on top of his head. He asked me which category I’d put his current ‘do in: “attractively messy” or “oh man, I have to walk past *that* guy” messy. Now he’s wearing his hat.
Matthew and I used to lament the lack of good coffee in the near NW area, until our friend Sage told us about the “secret” Stumptown in the Ace hotel. I wish I were a better photographer (and also less shy about taking pics in front of the hipsters) so I could get pictures for Crystal; I know she’d like the style in the lobby.
My English classmate uses “ace!” as an exclamation of approval or satisfaction. That kind of thing, combined with her British handling of the comma, makes for some interesting mental detours when I read her emails. Responding to a draft I’d sent her for a joint paper of ours, she wrote, “I love it, ace.” Now I refuse to stop thinking of myself as Ace. Anyone wishing to (actually) address me as Ace should please do so.
The lobby has a photo booth.
This is a test post from the WordPress iPhone app.
Usually I really have to reach in order to find some love for my fellow coffeshop patrons. The guy who sits facing me and dares to eat a muffin! The people who are having a meeting! The girl coughing! But tonight I got a treat, someone who could charm even my grinchlike heart:
Very small but sturdy kid with a baby-bird mouth and monchichi hair, sitting across from a tall older guy with a long thick gray ponytail: “Do you like your tea Grandpa? Ask me if I like my hot chocolate. I like my hot chocolate!”
He had hung his new-looking, blue-flamed baseball cap on the back of his chair, and when they got up to leave, he put it on and bounced out behind his grandpa, strutting to the beat of the ironic faux-country music the hipsters sometimes like to play in here.
Today’s poopy walk (yeah that’s what I call it, I’m not going to front, and there’s a song that goes with it, to the tune of The Hukilau Song) was drizzly, but profitable in terms of petting. It is Par’s dearest wish to be petted by as many people as possible every day, and he has a special hovering/stalking technique for when he sees a potential petter approaching during a walk. Today he didn’t even have to work at it; a big tall guy petted him almost as soon as we’d left the driveway, and since Par especially loves big tall guys, I figured the afternoon was now complete. But no, we had to stalk the tall guy in case he felt like turning around and petting anyone some more, only we had to go slooowly because it was raining and when it is raining, sometimes you might be able to stop the rain if you stand really still. Choose a spot with good stuff to sniff, so you won’t get bored while standing there. Lucy just goes along with whatever Par wants to do. She doesn’t usually get petted, because it’s hard to predict when she’ll enjoy it and when she’ll get suspicious and start barking like a maniac. I just tell people she’s "shy." It makes me look crazy when the "shy" dog creeps up as Par is getting petted, looking all friendly and meek and left out, but I’ll take that over the looks of startled betrayal people give me when she suddenly decides that they deserve the Cujo treatment.
On the second leg of the walk, we spotted a large sunflower head moving quickly out of someone’s front yard toward the street. The squirrel who had somehow landed this prize had made it as far as the grassy median when he stopped for a break and saw the two big dogs headed his way. You could see him weighing his options and deciding, in the end, that he would just eat as much of the thing as he could before he had to make a break for it. I had Par and Lucy cross the street so he could eat in peace; they were pretty cooperative, although they kept their heads swiveled squirrelward for as long as possible. That’s how we scored our second petting of the walk: there were some construction guys across the street who were about to get into their van, and they were Akita fans. "He wants that squirrel," said one of them sagely, "Akitas like squirrels." "Yeah," I replied, "he’s never caught one…" "Akitas LIKE squirrels," the guy continued, clearly having more to share on the subject. I gave him the floor and he related, with great relish, a story about a former acquaintance and Akita owner who used to shoot squirrels out of the trees "for chattering and driving him crazy," whereupon the gun-toter’s two Akitas would grab the squirrel as he hit the ground and "TEAR him UP!" "That’s a nice story," said one of the other guys reproachfully. "I..wouldn’t want to upset that guy," I offered as we got moving again. "Oh, no," agreed the storyteller reminiscently, "he was a trapper."
At last, a dramatic story worthy of a first post. I broke my arm yesterday–on my way to a job interview! Riding my little Bianchi hybrid "Tiny Horse" down a bit of a hill on a street I commute on almost every day, I hit a big pothole, lost my grip on the bars, and was pitched over onto my right side as the front wheel wrenched to the left. People say an accident like that happens so fast, one minute you’re riding and the next you’re down, but in my mental replay I’m graced with a horrible hovering moment in which I have plenty of time to realize I’ve hit something and to wonder whether my cyclocross-and-yoga honed balancing skills will save me (answer: not this time). The "noooo" sequel of falling, hitting the ground, feeling how hard I’d hit the ground, and skidding to a stop is also lengthy enough to make me cringe when my brain puts it on auto loop. I rolled onto my back and noticed with some horror that my arm was bent upward at a right angle. Matthew, who had been riding with me on his way to work, said afterward that he knew I’d hit something really hard because of the tremendous "DING" the impact drew from my bike bell.
Drivers and fellow cyclists stopped to offer help, but once I regained some motion in my arm and stood up, Matthew and I decided that we had things under control. Maybe the floppy joint was just a bad case of that funnybone paralysis you get when you whack your elbow. I’d sit for a couple of minutes, and we’d be on our way! But when the elbow / forearm area continued to feel weak and twingey as I tried to bend the joint back and forth, Matthew said he’d ride the mile or so home and come back with the car to take me to the ER. "Just in case."
It was cold out, and as Matthew propped me against a curbside tree and poked chemical handwarmers into my gloves, I felt like one of those arctic adventurers left behind with flares and a sandwich while their buddies seek help after some terrible mishap. Except I didn’t have a sandwich, and I could have used a few flares because I was getting really lonely. I began to make hopeful eye contact with people riding by, but in Southeast Portland there are much stranger sights than a woman relaxing under a tree in thirty-degree weather, and my forlorn smiles met with just a nod or at most a "hey" from each hurried workbound cyclist.
At long last Matthew returned, saving me from further explorer-type problems like frostbite or quirky meal choices; I would have hated to have to eat the elderly Pekingese who was the only one to take an interest in my unorthodox chillaxing. We hied ourselves to the ER, where lots of people were happy to pay GRUESOME attention to my situation. With every helpful proclamation that "that thing" (i.e. my elbow, which I was carefully not looking at) was "as big as a house," I began to think that the loneliness of the left-behind explorer has its merits. At least there’s no one to point out that the tip of your nose is totally black, or that maybe you shouldn’t have eaten that penguin.
Alas, there are no pictures of the freshly busted bloody elbow; Matthew did not reciprocate the festive picture taking that I engaged in when he separated his shoulder last August. But I will return with more one-handed typing to regale you with tales of secretive x-ray techs, my low ("BECAUSE I’M HEALTHY!") blood pressure, the terrific doctor who got me a same-afternoon ortho appointment with the surgeon of my choice, and delectable post-ER doughnuts.
Meanwhile, I must make some coffee in preparation for my rescheduled job interview at 9 a.m. This story installment has been brought to you by achy-arm insomnia; I kept the Percocet to a minimum so I’d be at full prospective-employer-wowing potential, but I’m beginning to fear that my winsome hireability may be eclipsed by the buzzy exhaustion.