Friday, January 19, 2007

in recent news

In no particular order:

1.) I bought Peaceful Patchouli bubble bath today. I realize this means I'll be bathing in hippie juice, but I don't care. I already use patchouli soap, so why not go all out and get bubble bath too? A hot bath at night with a good book after a long day of studying is the most awesome thing going for me lately.

2.) I'm reading The Brother's Karamzov. I know, I know, I was all excited about my three library books (War of the World, Social Intelligence, and this book of essays by Jean Amery) but it was a case of book overload. The three-week library time-limit (none of them were renewable) put too much pressure on me. I cracked. I started all three, couldn't commit, panicked, and started reading something else. I mean, really, they weren't all three supposed to come in at the same time. I'd had them all on hold for varying lengths of time and I had hoped they would all trickle in one at a time. But no. I did, however, use the Barnes and Noble gift card my brother Alex gave me for X-mas to buy War of the Worlds online today. I love more than anything getting books in the mail. In a week or so, once I've totally forgotten I ordered it, I will be SO PSYCHED to see I have a box on the porch! I can't wait.

3.) I'm sleepy.

4.) You may or may not know this, but every week I facilitate a Writing Group at work. (You also may or may not know, I work in a transitional housing facility for the homeless mentally ill.) Anyway, Writing Group has been churning out some really cool stuff lately and you should go check it out at The In-Between Places. (It's in my links list.) Those folks are awesome.

5.) Speaking of awesome, we've had a spate of *actual* winter weather here in Portland the past two weeks, and so, for eight days, my little workplace operated a Severe Weather Emergency Overflow Shelter. That means we had 15+ strangers sleeping on the floor in our basement every night. It was a lot of extra work and was a bit of a drain on our program, but it came off without any major problems (one fist-fight inside and one knife-fight outside notwithstanding) and YAY FOR US we helped a lot of people not freeze to death. And that's a pretty good thing.

6.) SK and I sort of relaxed our obligations to and expectations from each other last weekend, which means I've got my weekend nights mostly free to study till late and take hot baths, etc. We're still talking a lot on the phone, though, which is good because otherwise I'd be really, really lonely. We had good conversations today. I can't remember what they were about anymore, but they were really interesting. Thanks, SK.

7.) I don't love coffee anymore. I don't know why for sure, but it started last month when I was sick for a long time. My whole digestive system went on strike for a week or so, and I eventually stopped eating solid food for awhile, etc, etc. Once I was otherwise feeling (and eating) much better, my body still hadn't recovered its ability to process (and furthermore *enjoy*) coffee. This is monumental. I love coffee. I am in love with coffee. I roast my own fucking green coffee beans in a hot air popcorn popper, for chrissakes, such is my love for coffee. And yet: it's gone.

I thought I'd just grown intolerant to caffeine, so I started drinking only decaf (I know, for shame) but while the jitteries and stomach-grumblies went away, the sheer *pleasure* of drinking coffee never returned. A few nights ago, while mourning the loss of my love for coffee, a radical idea struck me. My grandmother, the one who died last month, was like my patron saint of coffee. She gave me coffee when I was just a tiny toddler, mostly milk and sugar of course, but that was probably even worse because it made coffee so extra-appealing to my young little tastebuds. She may as well have dipped some crack in dark chocolate and rolled it in powdered sugar for me.

Anyway, I have always thanked her in my heart for turning me on to coffee and for loving it so much herself. She would brew up a pot of coffee at set intervals throughout the day and I always associate the deeply inviting smell of brewing coffee with her. So it suddenly struck me, there in the bath, that she died in December and she TOOK MY LOVE OF COFFEE TO THE GRAVE WITH HER!! As heartbreaking as this seems, initially, I guess I could look at it as a kind of a blessing. Maybe if I go off coffee for awhile, drinking coffee occasionally will start be like having a very special celebration of her. I can have infrequent ancestor worship sessions wherein I brew up a pot of foldgers and put in lots of milk and sugar and sit and reminesce about her. That wouldn't be so bad.

8.) Now I'm going to bed.


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