Monday, March 31, 2008

so it goes

So far I've had two full weeks on the new job and I can feel myself slowly and subtly changing. For one thing, I'm starting to get used to my new hours. After seven years of mostly swing shifts, working in the morning feels weird. But good. I don't necessarily love popping out of the bed so early, but having my evenings with Mahavira is fair trade. We have actually been cooking meals for each other, just like we planned. It's nice. And going to bed before 3am, which is also a treat.

My identity at work is changing too, which is fine. Necessary, I guess. I'm a manager now, or so my boss keeps telling me, and it's finally starting to sink in. I have been assigned two former peers to directly supervise and today I had my first slightly unpleasant supervisory interaction with one of them. Shmiel, my friend, my buddy who used to go out with me on Monday nights after work to Billy Ray's to play pin-ball and drink beer... I had to sit her down and tell her she was fucking something up. And I saw the curtain come down over her face and I thought "Wow. I feel like a dick." But that's life.

And we had a death at work. Last week one of our clients died. A client I kinda hated. At first I felt surprisingly gleeful about it. Seems like it's always the nice ones who die while the mean ones just linger on forever. It was nice to have a little balance on this one. Actually, it felt like an answered prayer. Mean and spiteful, a shit-stirrer -- two days after this person died, I pulled a stray paper from my pocket and saw notes I'd written to myself from earlier in the week, reminders to deal with several different problems this now-deceased person had caused. Now those problems have vanished.

My initial joy has been replaced with other feelings, however. Mostly I'm just amazed how fast the hole can close up around someone. The dead client's body was hardly out of the building before people were milling around like normal, like nothing had ever happened. No one even cried. In fact, people were immediately vying for some of the dead client's belongings, swearing they'd been given permission to borrow this or that, not seeming to care that their so-called friend was now dead. A week hasn't yet passed since that client died and you'd never, ever guess.

In a way it's reassuring. Life goes on, that's the beauty. But it's also a little depressing. Are we all so shallow and short-sighted that we really stop caring the moment someone disappears? If I died tomorrow, would the hole close that fast? Mostly I think of death as a natural passage, maybe a door to the next thing, maybe a peaceful end, whatever. I don't tend to fear it and I don't tend to worry about leaving a lasting impression, though this death did make me give it all a little more thought.

Strangely, though, the recent death that *really* moved me was the death of my mom's 14 year old dog Buddy. I just got a message from mom this evening describing his last days and explaining that she had a vet come out today to put him to sleep after a two-week illness. I cried and cried and still get teary thinking about him. So, I guess I'm not a complete monster.

Bye, Buddy. I'll miss you.

that's more like it

I scored a "low" on my sex blog, but somehow I scored a medium on this one... Weird.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

one week down

I finished my first week on the new job. I discovered one unexpected challenge this week: my boss is crazy. And not in a "you-so-crAYzeee" sort of fun way, but in a "you're-making-me-cry" sort of way. Which is a shame, because she was sort of my friend before and she was also already my boss and I didn't realize she was going to take off the mask (or the gloves, whichever metaphor your prefer) and let me have it the minute my status changed from counselor to manager. Goddamn.

And the weirdest thing: after spending about an hour in a skype chat with SK processing the whole thing, I drove over to Mahavira's to drop off the clean laundry, and there's my goddamn boss, walking down the sidewalk to pick up a pizza at the pizza joint underneath Mahavira's apartment! WTF? The universe is fucking with me again. Oh well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

i never thougth this day would come

Today, South Park actually, finally grossed me out. I have seen some fucked up stuff on that show and I have always found it all to be funny. But today, a day that will live in my memory forever, it actually made me feel sick to my stomach, mildly depressed, and unable to finish watching.

What was so gross? Britney Spears blows off the top of her head with a shotgun, lives, and goes through the rest of the episode with nothing but a bottom jaw and a bloody cavity on top of her neck. When she talks (and sings) her exposed tongue flaps around a little. And the talking is obviously nothing more than gurgles.

I get it. I get that it is supposed to be a satire on her state of affairs: no matter how fucked up she gets, the media will still hound her, the public will still devour images of her destruction for their own entertainment, and the music industry will still exploit her "popularity" until she's no longer profitable. But fuck. That was just gross. Really, really gross. Like... super uber disgustingly gross.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

me, in a skewed, subjective nutshell

Click to view my Personality Profile page

can't... seem... to think...

I'm sitting at Mahavira's, watching her write a paper. I started a new job yesterday, at my old workplace, and nothing about it seems new except the hours. And the pay, which I haven't actually seen yet, but I know that suddenly each hour I spend there is worth about five dollars more than it was last week. Which is one hell of a raise.

So I started shopping just a tiny bit more lately. I went out and bought Mahavira a bunch of little presents to go in an Easter basket. But I forgot that Easter was this coming weekend, not last weekend, so I gave her the Easter basket early. I figured out my mistake before I gave it to her, but I just couldn't sit on the presents for one whole week. I didn't have the patience. I called it "Mahavira's pre-Easter, Palm Sunday, Easter Basket full of AWESOME!" I wrote that on a sign which I hung on the basket and then I left the basket on the bathroom counter for her to find after work. She was surprised.

The Easter basket I made contained: yellow plastic Easter "grass," three large Rice Crispy Treat bars (her favorite), one box of pink Peeps (for color), two different packets of incense, one pack of American Spirit yellows, one packet of rolling papers, one purple lighter, one standing wooden Ganesha figure, and one really cool silver ring from The Gold Door. She was really, really happy. She loves the ring. She loves the incense. She loves all of it. She loves me.

My new job requires me to wake up really early. Not REALLY early, but early for me. 7:30 most days, but 6:30 some days. And 6:30 is pretty early in my book. Today was a 6:30 day and I'm exhausted. I was going to make a curry, but I was tired. Instead I came over to Mahavira's and we walked down to Laughing Planet and I got a bowl called "Soylent Green." Mahavira, studying the menu, said "Zapatista Salad?!?! I will NOT get that on principal. That's like naming a dish the Holocaust Delight!" It was funny. And then we talked about hipsters and this new feather-earring fad that is beginning here in Portland. All in all it was a nice afternoon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

my shaky relationship with power

I have written a bit here and there in my other blog about power in the context of sex, but now that I have a new job, I'm encountering power dynamics of a different variety.

For a very long time I have been a direct care worker in a social work milieu, making very little money. I realize that, over the years, I've come to consider *other* things to be compensation for my work to take the place of money. For example, the work I do gives me a warm feeling in my heart. I leave every day knowing I did at least *something* that was meaningful to someone. This work also gives me a lot of satisfaction. Not because I get a lot done, but because I know the job really well. I've been here seven years, I know the program like the back of my hand and my clinical skills, such as they are, are pretty decent. In short, I rock at my job and get a lot of my self-esteem from that fact.

Now I'm in a new position, a position of much more power but, ironically, a position that puts me in an even more tenuous relationship with the powers that be above me. Ie: Any fuck-ups I make will be much more serious now so I have to be trained, and I am starting to realize that I don't want to be trained. Obviously I might need actual training on procedures I've never done before, but I'm having a problem allowing myself to recieve training in the area of my judgment.

It is my opinion that my judgment is excellent. I know, that's a little inflated, but I can't help it. I love solving problems and applying all the otherwise useless skills I learned in law school (like how to suss out complicated issues and create balanced solutions that take many different viewpoints into consideration). I think I'm good at this stuff and I feel personally attacked (ok, just mildly irritated) when my boss steers me in a different direction or flat-out disagrees with my approach.

I am whining. I know this is not a real problem, this is the kind of problem a privileged white person in America has. So, to help me put it all in perspective, I have to remind myself that I'm actually being compensated with MONEY now. Lots more money than I made before. So my self-esteem and warm heart and all that can take a backseat for awhile. I'll remember the green while I'm taking the bitter medicine of criticism. Dammit all.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I start my new job next week, which means I'm counting down my last days of swing shift and I won't be sad when it's over. This is my last Monday night at work. Woo-hoo! Next Monday night I'll be all curled up with Mahavira, watching a movie and getting ready to go to sleep. Sounds a lot better than being here, cleaning the kitchen and getting ready to do the narc count...

I have to tell you, I'm definitely going out with a bang. Tonight has been peaceful (knock wood) but all last week was crazy. I had to call 911 every single night last week. Even the week before was crazy. I called 911 Wednesday night and Thursday night, and on Thursday we had emergency personnel out here three different times: one time for a fire alarm and two times for clients in medical emergencies. I was practically best friends with the EMTs by the end of the night.

All throughout those experiences, I kept imagining the things I would blog about, but it turns out there isn't much I can say about it. It's either confidential or it just wouldn't be that interesting. Which is sad. One thing I can say for sure: I hate clients with borderline personality disorder and if it was up to me, I'd ship them all off to some borderline leper colony somewhere where they could be alone together, creating dramas and manipulating each other till kingdom come.

And since I'm writing this on a work computer, I might end up in my own leper colony called the unemployment office... I guess I should quit while I'm ahead. Jack Bog warned me once not to get dooced. I should listen to my elders and watch my words.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

anybody who tells you blogging isn't sheer narcissism... lying.

Thanks for visiting This Stony Planet, your one-stop-shop for top-notch navel gazing since 2005!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Don't be! You too can be among the awesome lesbian kayakers! Just take a look at the invitation below. If you're in the Portland area and you're even remotely interested in kayaking, come check out our season-kick-off social this weekend. This is NOT a paddle, people. It's a happy hour. Come prepared to drink some beer and talk about kayaking. Here's the invitation that ended up in Just Out and Craigslist and everywhere else. Come one, come all, and bring friends. It will rock.

It's kinda like Girl4Girl only a lot wetter,
and skip the dance shoes but grab a paddle!

Calling all Lesbian Kayakers
(and wannabe lesbian kayakers)

Please join us Saturday March 8th to
kick off the start of Kayak Season!!!!
Learn more about our upcoming paddle events.
We're rec and sea kayers. All levels welcome.

When: Saturday March 8, 4-6pm
(It's happy hour ;-)
Where: MacTarnahan's Taproom
2730 NW 31st, Portland Oregon, 97210
Telephone: (503) 228-5269

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

oh to be young and in love...

Evidence of good times. Despite the fact that my workplace is driving me crazy, at least Mahavira is as lovely as ever and keeping me sane.

Monday, March 03, 2008

be prepared

Even though I have been promoted to Program Supervisor and even though I am within two weeks of starting that job and leaving swing shift forever behind, the universe is not content to cut me some slack. I'm here at work, working one of my last 8 swing shifts, and one of the graveyard guys called in. We called all the on-callers, but no one wants to work. Do you know what that means? That means I'll be stuck here tonight. All night. All the way until 8 o'clock tomorrow morning.

I'm gonna go eat some Doritos and drink some more coffee. Gotta fuel up. Expect some long, weird, ramblings long about 2 or 3am. Should be interesting.