Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oatie takes an adventure (and scares the crap out of us!)

 Resting in bed after a rough day yesterday:

A most adventurous hour and a half yesterday.

"Do you have the dog? The back door was open." Carrie texted me. We'd been gone for about twenty minutes when she'd written.

"No" I answered.

We have a funny side door that's hard to get closed. We'd shut all the doors and closed the back door and went by the particular side door that had opened several times, so there's no way we would've left it open. But we'd gone back in the house two times and maybe the pressure of the front door opening and closing forced the door open.

After talking to Carrie, Justin and I sped back in the car across town in about ten minutes. (I can be Mario Andretti when needed.)

Oatie was still missing. He'd been gone about an hour by then.

We imagined the worst.

Before we'd left I'd been holding him and was going to bring him with but figured the animal patrol people would haul us to jail if we had to leave him in the car for some reason (it was 57-60 out and sunny but they are nazis here even if the windows are open) so I'd stuck him back in the house. He was mad to be left and growled at me as I deposited him in the front door.

After getting left home and finding an escape hatch, I figured he'd gotten out and ran like a madman to catch us. (He's done this in the past, of course, scaring the shit out of us. And he usually heads for the busiest street around.)

When Justin and I got home, Carrie's friend Kristi was driving around looking for him and she was on the phone with animal patrol.

I headed south on the bike with the bike basket on the front (Oatie likes to hop in there and ride) and Justin headed north on foot to the park.

I biked and yelled, "Oatie! Treat!" No Oatie.

I asked everyone I saw if they saw him.

I crossed Killingsworth. Which is a major street- a thoroughfare in this part of town, heavy with traffic driving 30-40mph. One block south of Killingsworth, a man out mowing his yard said they'd seen the dog and that I should ask the man down the street, that he'd just been picked up.

I biked down the street and asked the people if they'd seen him.

"He was hit. He had a broken jaw and was limping."

They gave me a little white business card with his case number on it.

I rode home and showed Carrie the card. She called and they confirmed that he had a broken jaw. But didn't know what emergency hospital they'd taken him to. We were both thinking he was going to need soft food the rest of his life but at least he was alive.

Three of us were on the phones calling all the emergency vets in town to find him. Kristi finally discovered he'd been taken only about 10 blocks from our house. Carrie ended up on the phone with the hospital and the lady told her he was fine. Maybe he'd been swiped by a car but not hit.

Then we talked to the Portland animal patrol who picked him up and she said, "He wasn't hit. He's totally fine." She said she was nearby and would drop him off. They'd mistaken his underbite and missing teeth for a broken jaw. He has a tendency to run on three legs so they thought he'd injured his leg. But it was all normal.

About fifteen minutes later, Oatie was dropped off by the animal patrol lady. He was happy in his little cage to see us. Wiggling with happiness. I'm sure we'll receive a bill for his little adventure but it's a minor problem compared to what it could have been.

What I learned:

1. Oatie had a chip installed and so they had his name and address once they scanned him. I'd been thinking before that those chips were sort of excessive and too techno for me. But after this, I'd support them.

2. Double check the doors are locked! Especially when leaving in a hurry!

I still can't believe he crossed Killingsworth. It's a crazy busy street and he's a five pound Chihuahua.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Blind Pilot with the Oregon Symphony & Two Visit Portland Art Museum weekend

Friday night we ventured downtown to catch free entry to the Portland Art Museum, where an exhibit by Carrie Weems (born in Portland, OR) was on display among the other goodies on the walls. We pulled into a spot a block away, and heard "excellent parking job!" coming from the sky- a guy hanging out his balcony. He said, "I watched a big car try to get into that spot a while ago. Didn't fit!"

An hour and a half in the art museum wasn't enough time and we were a little sad leaving. On our short walk back to the car, we were peeking at the sculptures outside through holes in the wall, when a man in all black (museum employee) told us it was free on Sunday from 12-5 also.

It's the small things.

Saturday night, we headed downtown again, to catch Blind Pilot playing with the Oregon Symphony at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. We'd discovered Blind Pilot at Bonnaroo last summer, and then found out they were all Oregonians and living in Portland. And our favorite song of theirs was composed at Kitty Hawk, NC. Strange correlations. Their music is suited perfectly to orchestral accompaniment and we felt lucky to be there together.


Yesterday was a lazy Sunday, with another few hours at the Portland Art Museum, a stop at the REI used gear sale and doing my first oil change with the instructional hand of Drazen nearby. I wish I'd had the opportunity to learn about cars growing up. It's such an area of weakness for me, and it's life-skill-knowledge that's really handy to know. Unfortunately, I think most car repair people are fairly crooked and unintelligent. I had a good shop in Iowa. I'm still looking out here. But that's a small worry compared to the rest.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday that feels like Sunday

"Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy." - John Denver

The clock is ticking. A breeze outside rustling the trees. The whirr of a distant lawnmower. Oatie curled up in the sun at the end of the couch. Sitting crooked, staring at my computer, catching up on things, wondering what direction we're headed. A fly buzzing. A drink of cool filtered water from the fridge. (Again I'm trying to wean myself from fizzy water- too environmentally unfriendly and waste of money.)

I spent the morning/afternoon washing my car by hand. Scrubbing off grime that's been there since I lived in North Carolina. Buffing out scratches and a black mark from my bike tire rubbing the back bumper. Every time I loaded the trunk, I saw the damage I caused with bikes. Now it's basically gone. Handy how rubbing compound cleans up an oversight on a bike trunk-rack installation. After the wash and buff, I waxed the car. By hand. In the shade of the garage. It was still too hot and the buffing out the wax part was a lot of work. No wonder I've not waxed since Germany. It's hard! But the car is shiny and bright and happy now. And feels loved.

Back in high school I'd wash and wax my 1987 Buick Century Limited. And clean the inside, even taking off the door panels to get all the grime away. I was a little more anal and exertional then, in a different way. But the fondness for my car is still there. The Mini and the Buick are in the same category: Beloved Car.

I listen to the planes overhead and think about my family scattered.

Here at the table in the kitchen, Carrie and I talked about Kayleen. She told her friends at lunch today about Kayleen and they all cried. I called my mom and we talked about Kayleen. I can't stop thinking about her and worrying. Kayleen makes me thankful to have time with my sister. Thankful for my sisters. And thankful for my life.

Tomorrow's Saturday and I'll probably bike to work. I've been crazy bike lady lately. Partly by choice and partly by virtue of us having only one car. I've tried different ways to get to work, and decided a busy road with a dedicated bike lane beats a regular road without. (Especially when driving home into a low-lying sun.)

It's been a good Sundayish-Friday and I'm looking forward to the real weekend.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Oregon Coast- (Astoria to Tillamook) & Random Thoughts

This is the grand finale of our holiday on the West Coast. Literally on the coast... It's been about seven or eight years since I was out there so this was quite a special treat for both of us. Time flies, it's remarkable. To think that I'd been gone for five years and returned. Things feel different and the same.

Just yesterday at work, two of my old coworkers from Kaiser (who are married) showed up in the window at Costco, neither of us knowing the other was there. What a surprise! What a reunion! We hugged for minutes. Old friends. Enveloped by love. What energy and goodness it was.

I received an email asking if I'd like to do another Germany military adventure. I knew in my gut I didn't want to, but asked Justin if he did. He said no. No surprise there- he's more of a homebody. I'm also tired of moving and if we could just stay here until I die that would be fine with me. I'm even fine just taking trips to the woods to go hiking and to the lakes for some paddling... I couldn't imagine a better life. Sometimes living quietly is an adventure in itself.

Last weekend we came upon the wreck of John Iredale, an occasion from 1906. What a glorious, majestic wreck it was- metal rising from the sand in a misty haze of fog. I kept taking photos, entranced by its beauty and the idea of a shipwreck. We are all shipwrecked here. Until we are not. The idea is to enjoy the time we are shipwrecked. Stuck on this earth without any particular reason why.

Often I've wondered if I picked the wrong career. Lately I've felt it is as good as any. Knowing that I'm able to help some people every day. To give of myself a bit. To learn from my patients. To accept love from them also. More often I am giving but not always. And I'd say overall it's a positive thing in my life.

So these are small worries. And I am thankful.

Every day I think about my cousin's daughter, Kayleen. Every day I hope there is a miracle. Every day I can't figure out why there is so much cancer in this world. I wish I could take that away from her and make her into a normal third grader again. I don't know what it is like to lose your child at 9. I don't think anyone should know.

Forever, I've thought of age 34 as a marker. 34- when my dad died. Carrie is 34. I passed it. Molly is on her way. Now 34 seems so much older, so much luckier. Such a longer life. I mean, my dad got to have daughters and a wife and college graduation.

There is so much to be thankful for in this short, sweet life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quinault Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington State

"But trust in life does not mean trusting that life will be free of grief and pain. It means trusting that somewhere inside yourself you can find the strength to go forth and meet what comes and, even if you meet betrayal and disappointment along the way, go forth again the very next day."

What we've seen the last two magical days: