August 20, 2010

looking out from tram to the north

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book worm

August 19, 2010


Originally uploaded by proteanme

During my time off, I finally got a chance to tackle reading something more than the New Yorker and the New York review of Books. I finished off 3 books in a week, which felt great and gave me lots to think about. I’ll list them now and talk about them more later. First up was Alain de Botton’s “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work” – a philosophical look at what work means in our lives and to our culture. Funny and smart overall and lots to think about. Second on the list was Daniel Mendolsohn’s “The Elusive Embrace.” This is one of my favorite writers. Part memoir, part cultural essay, he uses the classics as a springboard to to talk about the mysteries of identity and desire. And last but not least, Jhumpa Lahiri’s pulitzer prize winning “Interpreter of Maladies.” I’m a number of years behind of this one, but it doesn’t matter. Great writing and memorable stories.

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the commute

August 17, 2010

tram at top deck

Originally uploaded by proteanme

This is how I get to work at my new job. Trippy, huh? But seriously, I’ll be riding my bike to the south water front and taking the tram up to and down from the OHSU campus everyday.Or at least that’s the plan, It’s like the Jetsons or something.


it’s all my head

August 14, 2010

Yesterday I was lying in the hammock with RU and Phil, my cat, was lying under us, all stretched out flat like a pancake, which used to be my nickname for him.. With our combined weight the swing was resting only 3 or 4 inches above Phil and I said to RU, “If the hammock breaks we’ll kill Phil.” RU assured me that the hammock wasn’t going to break and it’s not like I was terribly worried, it was more that I was noticing my catastrophic thinking. It’s like when we’d stopped at this tiny state park on our our little Oregon trip and I couldn’t stop thinking about the how the woods on the other side of the road looked just like woods in the assassination scene in Miller’s Crossing.This is what  my brain looks like when I’m anxious and changing jobs has brought on some anxiety, giving me lots of opportunities to notice how kinda nuts my thoughts can get. Luckily I don’t buy in to the whole “I think therefore I am” adage.

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what i’ve done during limbo

August 13, 2010

The time in between my old job and my new job is winding down and I’m feeling a little wistful for it already, wishing I could have stretched it out a bit longer or at least long enough to spend a couple afternoons doing nothing but hanging out in the hammock an reading. If only my brain wasn’t so tweaked for endless anticipation and rumination . . .I did get a bunch of stuff done though, practical shit like replacing the chain and cassette on my bike and I got to visit with my sister and niece too. Plus I a took trip with RU to Oregon’s outback. We saw shooting stars, an owl, some pelicans, lots of cows, goats, horses and chipmunks. We soaked in a natural hotspring, camped near an active volcano, and tried to find Oregon’s only geyser, which seems to have gone missing. We visited a tuff ring that is set in what was once a prehistoric sea. We hiked around Oregon’s youngest obsidian flow where in 1964 astronaut R. Walter Cunningham tested the mobility of a moon-suit. And we got caught in little traffic jam in downtown Bend. A rancher riding his horse said hello to us, a fisherman warned us it was going to get down in the 40’s the night we camped and we me these two guys that drive shuttles from Corvallis, Eugene, Salem and Albany to and from the Portland and San Fancisco Airports (whew).

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take a picture

August 9, 2010

Took the train down to Eugene this weekend to visit my sister. I think this is the first time I’ve made that trip on Amtrak in the summer and the whole ride was kind of magical. I could have filmed everything I saw outside the window on the way down there. It was one of those days where everything you see seems like it has artistic potential. I took a ton of photos on my phone trying to capture it all – the sun, the lines, the colors, and the things you see because of the way train slips behind everyday life or runs along side it. I felt like I was in another world. Kinda of poetic is the only way I can describe it.I was going to read on the train trip home. It wasn’t sunny and I wasn’t expecting any more poetry. Plus, I was tired. So I bought a New York Times. But almost every time I looked up from reading I saw something that seemed to me cinematic and I ended up taking a bunch more photos.

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August 5, 2010

I’ve been writing poems this summer and I wrote this for a friend who is falling in love. It’s a rough draft, but it’s so sunny and warm out that i don’t care about the parts that don’t work.

This Is Going to Break My Heart, but Ain’t it Grand

She loves pancakes,

especially when I make them tall and fluffy

but not so big that there isn’t room

on her plate for two slices of bacon

or a couple links of sausage,

an indulgence I knew we both loved,

but I only just found out that she loves bacon more,

just like I do.

Before I even start mixing the batter

I take the butter out from her fridge

so it will soften up under the knife,

and melt beneath the syrup

I warmed up the way she taught me to.

It makes her smile to see the the glass bottle

bobbing in the heated pan of water.

I tend to pour the syrup more generously than she does

over the three or sometimes four pancakes

we’ve stacked up on the dishes I grabbed from her drying rack

and placed on the kitchen table across from each other.

“It looks just like a table for two,”

she says laughing between bites

And it’s so amazing to me

the way her mouth gets sticky

just like mine.

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from last week’s new yorker

August 5, 2010


by Alice FultonAUGUST 2, 2010


It’s just me throwing myself at you,

romance as usual, us times us,


not lust but moxibustion,

a substance burning close


to the body as possible

without risk of immolation.


Nearness without contact

causes numbness. Analgesia.


Pins and needles. As the snugness

of the surgeon’s glove causes hand fatigue.


At least this procedure

requires no swag or goody bags,


stuff bestowed upon the stars

at their luxe functions.


There’s no dress code,

though leg irons


are always appropriate.

And if anyone says what the hell


are you wearing in Esperanto—

Kion diable vi portas?—


tell them anguish

is the universal language.


Stars turn to train wrecks

and my heart goes out,


admirers gush. Ground to a velvet!

But never mind the downside,


mon semblable, mon crush.

Love is just the retaliation of light.


It is so profligate, you know,

so rich with rush.

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August 4, 2010

Upheaval. This time I bought it on myself. Switching jobs is an opportunity to trust in my resilience. That’s what I’ve been saying to the me inside that gets caught up in predicting my future happiness or anxiousness based on leaving my old job and starting a new one. Even though it’s a futile exercise and I know that, I still get lured into it by my risk averse nature, and because it never seems futile at the outset. It seems prudent to try and figure out what’s going to make me happy, even though humans are not particularly adept at predicting their happiness (at least according to Daniel Gilbert).This  morning I awoke caught up in the exact predicament I’ve just been describing, which has brought on a fair amount of anxiety, a feeling I instinctively avoid, like jerking my finger away from a hot stove. Anxiety and the awareness of my response to it makes me think that my brain is my best friend and my worst enemy – something and I wish I had a better since of humor about. But forcing a sense of humor seems pointless. Although just the idea of saying “Ease up, mother fucker” makes me laugh because of the ineherent contradiction. I’ve got this line from an Ohio Player’s song stuck in my brain – “Rollercoaster of love, Rollercoaster.”

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last days

August 3, 2010

Today was my last day working at Rejuvenation. I rode in at 7:30am, like always, spent several hours finishing a tedious project, cleaned out the the crumbs and scraps of paper in my cube, ate some cookies and made a couple rounds of good-byes. I hit the lunch room at 11:30am to say so long to a handful of people who work in manufacturing, people I didn’t work with directly, but almost always talked to when our paths crossed. Their friendliness was something I could count on; even when we ran into some language barrier stuff, we marched on talking about the weather. Today, I sat down at a table next to Sisco, this great guy who’s worked at Rejuve for over 20 years. I told him today was my last day and that I was leaving Rejuvenation and even though we didn’t work together a lot I was glad to have gotten to know him. Sisco thanked me and wished me luck and then as I was walking away he said, “Is your name Liz?” This is a guy I’ve said hello to almost every work day for 4 years and he got the company email that said “Liz” was leaving. I just laughed and said, “Yep, that’s my name”.

I got to know some really fine people during the 4 years I worked there and I will miss their company for sure. It was such an agonizing decision to leave. I almost teared up a couple times saying goodbye.

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