Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pest control

CB is gone, off visiting different cities to investigate postdoc opportunities. Rather than dwell on it (OH MY GOOOOD IT SUUUCKS), I will entertain you with a story from my latest workplace.

I write and edit materials about plant conservation for a Very Important Institution. We have gardeners on-site to manage some of our exhibits, and yes, I'm being vague in the hopes it will take you longer than 30 milliseconds to figure out where I'm employed.

Just after Christmas, one of the staff gardeners let out a bloodcurdling screech from the shed where he kept his tools. Moments later, he came into the office looking several shades paler than normal.

For background information, this is a nutria. It looks cute, but it's actually slightly more evil than European starlings. Or your worst relative, in case you are a normal person who doesn't understand why starlings are the spawn of Satan over here. Nutria are an invasive species who happen to be champion eaters, so they inflict irreparable damage on our native wetlands as they munch their way across the United States. This is why you can find all sorts of interesting information online from people who hate this handy book of recipes...

Anyway, our gardeners hate nutria. Haaaaate. And while we environmentalists are all supposed to be hippy-dippy treehugger types, the truth is that we get downright pissed when invasive species show up and throw one more wrench into our sputtering ecosystems. Apparently, we aren't too good at keeping quiet, because someone figured out that our group is anti-nutria.

The gardener, he found a box outside his tool shed. After cautiously toeing it, thinking it might be some kind of misshapen bomb, or maybe even full of puppies, he opened it. And screamed. That's right: Santa brought us a dead nutria for Christmas.

Welcome to my world. :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

True that

From Adrian Ryan's tales of Portland:

One moment you would swear before God in a court of law that Portland was just about the darlin’est little place you ever did see: everyone is beautiful and smiles at you, the sweet smell of coffee, books and young Democrats wafts upon the breeze, the roses yawn wide to serenade you as you frolic with the roaming deer and so forth. The next moment—SNAP! Everyone is looking at you like you have crap in your hair, even the squirrels are vaguely antagonistic, the city turns ugly and small and desperate and cold as a frozen hooker’s ice cube tray, and you really just want to die. I’ve lived it. I know.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Days go by

I've started and saved half a dozen posts, but between the packing and the shopping and the moving, they're still sitting on Blogger waiting. Like my new website. So not gonna happen this year.

I have stories I want to tell you, like the one involving the massive statewide flood, a malfunctioning fuel pump, and my favorite jeans. (Traumatic, people. Traumatic.) The truth is, though, I've also had a really rough time lately, and part of my way to deal has been to withdraw from the world a little. It isn't easy to explain the roots of the crisis without sounding ridiculous, but I am going to try one of these days.

For now, I ask you to be patient with me. I'm trying. Things are getting better, a lot better (apart from my poor jeans), but I'm just not ready to write about it all yet. For everybody I've talked with lately, I love you. Your support means more than I can say. To anyone who's waiting on a comment response or who's wondering why I don't write on your blogs anymore, I'm sorry. I am here. I am reading. I'm just a little quiet; I won't be for long.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hanging in there

I'm here and tired, but man -- I barely missed getting stuck on I-5 yesterday when it closed, and now I'm stuck in Seattle while Mom languishes down in Portland. This It would be really nice to go home, see the cat, pack my apartment -- but I don't have a clue when that's going to happen. I'll tell you all about my awesome travel day when I'm a little less exhausted.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Last days

Is: 7:40 pm.

Number of drinks have had:
1 double gin and tonic
1 stoli's and rootbeer
1 irish car bomb
1 shot whiskey
1 irish car bomb

Number of co-workers have outdrunk:
4. Could be 6 or 7, but double vision makes it hard to tell who might be figment of drunk-ass imagination.

Number of times have said "I'll miss you":
Oh god, do not ask.

Minutes until I will severely regret past 3.5 hours:
Five, maybe 10. Depends on how much water I can chug. Considering that ceiling already spins like a record baby, could be very soon. Then again, did manage to order pizza. With vegetables. I think. Maybe called Fred Meyer's instead. Not sure yet.

General assessment of evening:
Fun. And oh, shit. Do not remind me of existence of Irish Car Bombs, as response is to say: "Shit, yes!" and chug, willingly, repeatedly.

Going back to floor now. Fuuuuuuck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Edward Abbey knows my soul

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

Many thanks to Bryce for posting this quote. I've been struggling for the last year with some serious environmental burnout while my fellow Udallers do amazing things without me. I think the tide of apathy is finally turning for me. Tonight, I needed this quote.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh, hi!

Oh my god. It has been 12 days since my last post.

TWELVE! I have become one of those awful bloggers whose page you refresh and refresh and refresh until your key seizes up and you delete the whole thing from your RSS feed in disgust.

Forgive me, dear readers. It's going to be a long month. Oh, shit. Month is basically over. It's going to be a long...quarter?

I was going to blog yesterday, but then I got stuck in holiday traffic south of Olympia. This was particularly irritating because THERE IS NOT ONE GODDAMN THING SOUTH OF OLYMPIA. There is an asinine billboard run by a right-wing conservative. There is a perfect example of why people with money should not be allowed to spend it without some form of oversight. There is a small town whose location I can identify only because it is directly south of the two smashed-to-bits freight truck cabs that have been perched atop a 20' pole for as long as I can remember. I think it is an advertisement for a junkyard. Or maybe a memorial to drivers who went insane after navigating this long, unforgivably boring stretch of highway week after week. Last night, I could not reflect upon the meaning of the trucks, because I was sharing the car with a cat who does not understand congestion. He'd behaved very well until traffic slowed -- probably because I sprayed Feliway in his carrier until he hallucinated -- but we were doomed as soon as the tail lights lit up.

Want to know what cats think of highway backups and air pollution? It goes like this:

"Meow. Meow. MEOW. MEOOOW. Meow. Meow. MEOW. MEOOOW."

A little tip? Do not attempt to soothe a road raging cat. It may clamp down on your finger and continue its monologue thusly: "Mrmph...mprhwo...ooooow."

After four hours, I wondered whether I should pull over and find somewhere to stay for the night. You see, my cat also has a few gastrointestinal delicacies, fancy talk for: he's prone to farting whenever he's excited. Or pissed, apparently. Just as I reached the point where I was willing to stay in a room next to a giant Veggie Tales outlet (you so wish I was kidding right now -- welcome to the parts of Washington State we don't talk about in polite company), traffic cleared. And then I drove like the proverbial bat from hell except I can see so I didn't have to use the sonar which was good because I think bats would have trouble navigating at 80 mph+.

Did I mention this week is the week from hell? No? Well, it is. So this semicoherent post may be all you get from me until Saturday, because in between now and then I must:

1. Work until 10 p.m. tomorrow, because nothing says, "I'm a short-timer!" like a 14-hour day
2. Take the cat to the vet to have a lump examined Wednesday. This involves putting him in the carrier, which he didn't used to mind until we started going on 3 hour excursions. On Sunday, he almost took down a lampshade in his attempt to escape the plastic jaws of doom, and that was when I had someone else to help me. This should be fun.
3. Work a full day Thursday, go to physical therapy (oh, crap, you don't know about that yet) and then drive to Seattle because
4. I have an interview at 9:30 Friday morning (and I have lovely pre-interview questions I have to think about and write beforehand because, you know, you really need to go through the wringer for a 15-hour per week job) and then
5. I have to drive back to Portland by 1:00 to finish my workday. Because they hate me.
6. Did I mention I need to pack all weekend?
7. And CB comes into SeaTac on Monday? Which involves (yes) another drive to Seattle (nonononono).

It is now past my bedtime and I am going to take a bath because, damnit, at this point sleep deprivation might be a good thing.