4th of July.

Last year I had been in Nashville just shy of a month. I was pregnant and basking in the fierce summer sun I hadn’t seen for over a year. (San Francisco-as beautifully foggy and dreamy as it is-has no summer-or at least it has no summer from an east coast perspective and we left Portland on June 1st) I was reacquainting myself with vine beetles, fireflies, crickets, suntea, and cicadas and I was loving it.
One year later, I’m still brewing the tea. I’m still awed by the cicada songs that swell out every day. Instead of a belly I have a little smiling strawberry topped boy strapped to my back or front depending on the day.
Speaking of which here’s what I heard on American Roots show on the radio today and I think it will be Sir’s theme song – only substitute the ‘she’ for ‘he’. There are many variations of this song but these are part of the lyrics I found under Doc Watson.

Curly Headed Baby
She’s my curly headed baby
She’s from sunny Tennessee
She’s my curly headed baby
She’s more than all the world to me
Yodeleyie-ie-ie-ie

When I look into her blue eyes
There’s more than words can ever say
I could never love some other
No one else can make me feel this way

She’s my curly headed baby
She’s from sunny Tennessee
She’s my curly headed baby
She’s more than all the world to me
Yodeleyie-ie-ie-ie

Happy 4th Everyone!

 

 

 

I’ve entitled this entry ‘raised from the dead’ in honor of the new man in my life: who in this virtual world goes by Sir.
I’ve also chosen this title as it’s been a very very long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog.

 

What has happened between that last rainy post and now?

A whole new life.

In short fragmented bursts the following happened:

  • Got pregnant
  • Decided to leave the PNW
  • Packed up our car with everything we owned including the cat and two palm tree shoots and drove from Beaverton, OR to Nashville, TN.
  • Got my parents to move from Colombia to Nashville.
  • Had baby on Halloween.
  • Have lived my first time mother life in the rolling hills of Tennessee for a little over a year.
There are so many details in between. Details I’ll expound on. Details I’ll omit.
But nonetheless here will be :
My Life in Tennessee

And in between the real time posts there will be snippets of that other life I left far away on the West Coast for those of you who wonder ‘What exactly happened?’

Until then here are some of the things that surround me daily.
Cheers!
 
 

April 4, 2008

Portland

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This entry should be titled cliche (with accent over the E and everything). Or it should be called human nature is predictable, boring, common and I being human am thoroughly included in the mass of repetitive dreams, fears, and complaints that plague us all and will continue to plague us until we are extinct.
It is Friday, April 4th, 2008 and I am staring out my balcony window at the rain. It is supposed to rain for the next three days. The greyness is seeping into my pores.
Not too long ago I was in San Francisco griping about the lack of rain amongst other things. And I wrote, both in public and in private, long winding sentences about the beauty, the wetness, the lushness, the blah, blah, blah……
Now I’m drowing in it and am actually missing San Francisco.
The point being the green grass is venemous and will poison your thought like a slithering little grass snake…….sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

January 8, 2008

Portland

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Portland.

City of Roses.

City of Rain.

City of “No Call Back”.

What does this mean?
It means that while in other parallel dimensions of the United States of America people call you back after you’ve left them messages (and by this I refer to the professional realm not the “I’m feeling in a funk and can’t press talk on my phone to call my friends back” realm) in Portland other things happen.

What these things are I don’t know. Perhaps businesses receive messages and then call meetings to discuss how to better avoid their customers’ attention. Perhaps the secretary decides he or she has a sudden craving for Subway. Or maybe today was that day everyone was going to get together and go to Olive Garden for soup and breadsticks.

In any case, one thing is true: You do not get called back.

Of course, I can’t rightly or fairly heap this phenomenon only on Portland’s rainy head. Correspondants from a neighboring rainy city also report mysterious lack of communication. What could it be?
What could this mean?

In the meantime I must content myself with the contact I do get. Which comes in the form of the following dialogue:

“New York City! Wow! Oh, and San Francisco? Boy, you sure did move! So, what brings you here?”

Yes.

I sure did move.

Ironically, it is then that I am left at a loss for words. How to cram into a politely brief, not too initimate sentence exactly what drove you to pack up house and home and transport yourself to this new moisture drenched land 3000 miles away…

Better life sounds too cliche.
Search of self – too therapy oriented.
Just picked up and left – too twenties.

At the moment, “cheaper rent – more space” seems to do the trick with little remorse as it happens to be true. ;)

January 4, 2008

Portland

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Day Thirty Three

Once again I awake to a gray sky with rain. And those rental applications creatures have morphed into employment application creatures.
Both are equally destestable.
The creatures.
Not the sky.

The repetitive copying of the numbers and titles that make up my paper profile leaves me feeling drained. Though maybe drained is not the word because that would imply that there is some fluid in me to drain. And that does not describe how I feel.

So no.

The repetitive copying of numbers and titles that make up my paper profile
The repetitive copying of numbers and titles that make up my paper profile
The repetitive copying of numbers and titles that make up my paper profile

leaves me feeling bark like.
Not as in dog but as in tree.
As in papery papery dry dry dry.
As in kindling.
As in high propensity to tear.

But copy I must since the Portland job market is incredibly s l o w.

Which brings me to the molasses part of this entry. Though really I’m thinking about honey and the honey bees and how they are mysteriously disappearing and this could mean the disappearance of figs, flowers and fruits in general. But I digress.

Rainboots have been purchased as well as an umbrella.

Applications are out and about floating freely in a virtual universe. All these numbers and titles that could be me – somehow are me – are living out some intangible computer adventure possibly pinning me down to teach verbs, sell audio tours in a museum, tutor children, interpret for immigrants, pull coffee… exhilarating the possibilites of creating a new life in a new setting, or an old life in a new setting, or simply changing perspective of an old life in a new setting.

It’s tiring,
but I like it.

And meanwhile I write.

And the roots part of this entry?

Will have to wait till later.

December 26, 2007

Portland

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So after having been here for 24 days and seeing no sun it was quite nice to not only see the sun yesterday on Christmas but to see it shining while big fat fluffy flakes of snow swirled all around the sky.

Christmas Eve found me and mine cooking up some goodness and bringing it over to our friends’ house for a quiet but happy and beautiful potluck Christmas dinner. Scalloped oysters, Maque-Choux sans tomatoes, bacon wrapped dates (I miss you T), turkey, dressing and Abita beer…yum, yum, yum.

Of course the holiday had me feeling torn and scattered at various times throughout the day. My family in B’quilla, my friends in Jersey and NYC …. Oregon at moments felt so very far, far away. And then there is the city of NY which is like a whole other person itself.

I do miss the window displays on 5th and the holiday mess at Union SQ. I miss the Grand Central decorations and the pierogies on 2nd. I even miss (I think) the throngs of tourists gaping at the tree!

Here in Oregon everything’s good so far except for a faulty fridge.

I’m still amazed at how diverse the Beaverton community is. Yesterday I discovered Tanya’s European Deli with all the Russian yummies. Well, not really all. It’s no Brighton Beach, which is also severely missed, but at least it’s something!

I’m also still in awe of how beautifully green it is here even in winter. The trees are majestic against an uncluttered sky.

That’s all for now.

Tomorrow, I go to become a Portland library member. Did I mention I miss the lions of the 42nd St. library too!!! Patience and Fortitude xoxo!


December 18, 2007

Portland

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So.

Today is Tuesday.

I now live in a place called Beaverton.
Yes.
Beaverton.

I’ve been in my new apartment since Friday afternoon. I currently have no internet and am posting this courtesy of my neighbor’s wireless. (!)
I will have internet on Christmas Eve. Comcast strikes again and this was the soonest they could have it installed.
What else to say in this short furtive posting?
The parallels to Jersey continue but in a good way.

I’m about a block away from the Max which is their lightrail system. It’s twenty minutes or less to get into downtown Portland.
Hmmm. Twenty minutes and I’m in the center of the city?
Jersey.
A dollare store within five blocks?
Jersey.
Ok. I’ll stop with the Jersey.

There is a lot of cultural diversity here. Just in the three days I’ve been here I’ve seen Middle Easterners, Asians of all types, Africans, Hispanics (and not just Mexicans), Indians, etc. And somehow this seems more diverse to me than the San Francisco population. I know this can’t be true and yet that is how it feels.

What was it about San Fran that felt disconnected and distant?

Who knows. I’ll save that exploration for another post.

The population here is young to middle aged.
I lucked out by having all of the major shops and stuff within walking distance to my house.
It’s been raining steadily but not very hard and it’s definitely cold but not horribly.
The skies are stormy here and they remind me of Petersburg.
My plants, all four of them, made it alive – even the passion fruit seedlings.

I guess, until I have a safe connection, it will only be posts of this kind. Rambling, disjointed and small.

Till then…

December 13, 2007

Portland

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came down upon our little mortal heads today – Thursday – the 13th of December.

Day Thirteen

After a long night of tossing and turning and dreaming that I was living in a hostel with Syler from Heroes (ick), I woke to a message on my phone from the assisstant at the rental managing office.

I couldn’t listen to it – so wound up and tight were my nerves. I handed the phone to my guy and we both stared at it for a moment.
The message, once heard, was not positive. It was not negative either. It was neutral. Limbo. Gray.

The information from the background check had still not come in and they were hoping hoping they would have it in by the end of today.

HOPING??

Jesus F’ing Christ!!! This waiting is torture! At this point our dejected waiting asses did loop-di-loops around the room for an hour…maybe more….you never know because time takes on a different sort of quality when you’re watching it.

It was some time later that I awoke from the stupor of the wait to find us watching first a re-run of the Cosby Show and then the first half of an episode of Sister Sister.

And laughing.
At a re-run.
Of Sister Sister.
It may be then when I lost it and grabbed the keys to the car, the rental manager’s card and my phone.

After calling a few of my close friends for moral support and getting their machines…I called the office:

Had our information come in?
Yes, it’s sitting right here.
Oh. I see. Well what would the next step be in the process?
The manager will look over the report and call you back.
Oh. I see. (cue easy going laughter) The thing is I’m new to the area and not familiar with this application process. (Construct voice to sound nonchalant and friendly) We’ve put in other applications and actually been accepted by a place over on the east side (lie). It’s a go with that one but really your complex is our first choice. (Construct voice to sound confidential) So really we were just wondering how long before we know because we kinda have to make a choice. (construct voice to sound as if it pains me to make that choice).
Well the manager is at lunch right now but I will have her call you back.

That would be wonderful. Yes, please have her call us ASAP. Take care now. I look forward to hearing from you.

Five minutes later…a phone call.

We’ve been approved.

WE’VE BEEN APPROVED!!!!

Now this entry is not just a personal little glee glee glee over the fact that I am no longer technically homeless, that we finally get to check out of the Red Lion Hotel, that we can stop sulking along the halls and stop leaving the TV on for fear the staff will hear the fugitive furball we have stashed in our room – no.

This entry is also about the recording of the very strange phenomenon that occurs when a person who has been in the suspended gel of waiting suddenly gets yanked out of that gel.

It was very quiet when the news came. And it was very quiet after I hung up that phone. We just stared at each other for a minute. It was almost as if our minds and bodies were still existing in the waiting mode. Is this what the chicken feels seconds after the head is lopped off? A silent second of eternity?

The nature of time. The nature of habit. The nature of waiting.

I think I can say that as uncomfortable as the situation was and as much as it was becoming increasingly more alarming, our bodies, our minds, our selves had somehow adjusted to the immediate life at hand. We will carve routine and stability out of anything. It is our nature.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow we have checks to write out and keys to collect. Cats to sneak out of hotels and trees to get out of storage (poor poor tree). All this lies in front. In tomorrow.

For tonight we will sit in an alleviated glaze of disbelief- that this indeed is the start of a new life. One that now has an apartment-a home- involved.

December 12, 2007

Portland

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Day Twelve

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. A home would be nice.

Still no word from the elusive application rental gods. Apartment searching in Portland is maddening. Here, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest there is something called an application fee. It can range anywhere from 25 to 45 dollars per person. This means that if you and another person are looking for an apartment together you each have to put in an application.

That would mean you as an apartment seeking unit have to shell out 50 to 90 dollars each time you apply for a place.

So unless you have a lot of money to blow, you tend to be quite cautious and picky before you put in an app.

The application fee goes towards a criminal background check and other sorts of background checks to make sure you are not a bankrupt, formerly evicted, currently in forclosure, sex offender felon.

The application asks for standard information. Your social security number, your present and former address, your previous employer, your current employer, your gross monthly income, your job title, references, your bank account information, emergency contact numbers and whether or not you are intending to use a waterbed or musical instrument.

Now of course, I understand. I always try to understand. These rental offices want to make sure you are not going to bail on them. They need to know if you can pay your rent or not. It makes perfect sense – logically it does. But this entry is not about sense.

This entry is about the creeping cold sweat that seems to overcome me whenever an application needs to be filled. What is it about applications that tap into some soft pulsing nerve spot in my brain?

The filling out of all the information begins easily enough. My name. My date of birth. My social security number. Great. Lovely. Piece of cake.

Then it comes. The question that can not be answered yes or no. Or the question that in my mind needs to have an explanation added.

License number. Huh? I don’t have a license. So what do I put down? N/A? What are they going to think? 32 years old and no license.

Next question. Previous employer’s name, address and phone number. Ok. So, I’ve been working freelance for eight months with very little earnings and before that I worked at a university, a college and a coffee shop simultaneously. I don’t remember anyone’s number except the coffee shop’s and I only worked there like one day a week for the past seven years. And my monthly gross income? Depends on how many classes I taught. And what about the cash money I got for tutoring. That’s under the table income. So what do I put down?

Next. Previous landlord and the all the addresses you have lived at for the past seven years.

WHAT??!!!

Not only have I somehow not been on a lease since 2002 and that was for all of one year, I have no idea what that address was or what my landlord’s name is. Nevermind the constant apartment jumping, the roommates with no legal working papers, the boyfriend that kicked me out of his house, the boyfriend that got us kicked out of his house, the apartment I was living in but was officially under my father’s name that no longer lives in the States, the fact that at some point I was living in Jersey but sleeping in Queens in the apartment of the boyfriend’s mother’s boyfriend…

This is where the self-worth issue crops up.

I should have been more organized. I should have a list of all these official numbers and contacts. I should keep better tax records. I should have had a steady and respectable job with benefits and 401Ks. I should have gone for that PhD. I should not have moved around so much. I should not have had that many boyfriends. I should have more money in the bank. I should have a bigger savings account. I should have health insurance. I should exercise and drink more water. I should. I should. I should.

All the shoulds and musts rise up in a suffocating cloud and swirl around my head and the room gets smaller and the cold sweat begins to sprout.

On paper, I fear, my life looks not only disorganized, capricious and unstable but not respectable, not decent, not smart, and not eligible.

Then the rental leasing lady comes by with a big fixed smile. “Are you almost done?”

I quickly finish scrawling answers onto lines and vaguely feel I’m either cheating on a test or handing in a poorly prepared project for finals.

I hand the document over to my guy and he hands the documents over to Ruby, the rental lady, along with the $70 fee for both of us.

And now we sit

at the hotel room

and wait

and wait

and wait.

72 hours. 72 hours is what we’re told it will take for the screening to go through. In the meantime I stare out the window at the planes landing and leaving. I wonder about my mother and father and their coming to this country with no money, no understanding of the language and no papers. I wonder what type of courage it takes to do that. But more on that later.

For now it’s just waiting for tomorrow when we find out yay or nay.

Cross your fingers.

December 11, 2007

Portland

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Day Eleven

It’s a funny thing to gauge the different stages of stress in a person.

There is the stage of adrenaline – where the person – me – surges with nervous energy. Crazy I seem to myself. Pacing. Spinning. Cleaning. Moving from one pile or project to another. The words that fall out of my mouth do so in jumbled garbled chunks. They do not make sense to you. They do not make sense to the person I’ve spoken them to. Everything seems to have to be done now. Fast. Now.

That was me two weeks ago.

Then there is the stage of nonchalance. Everything is under control. It’s all going to be ok. It always is. It always works out in the end. You’ve been in worse positions than this I tell myself. This is a piece of cake.

Nonchalance.

I will not stress. I will sit down and leaf through this magazine. I will change the layout of my MySpace page. I need to just sit for five minutes. Ten. Twenty. After all…there is plenty of time and everything is under control.

That was me one week ago.

Today, day eleven, I awoke to the stage of Exhaustion.

I am exhausted. It is interesting to me only because at this stage I am very much outside of myself. An out of body experience. I coast along. I eat something. I drink something. I do the things I need to do because somewhere there is a list of things to do recorded in my head and I follow them.

I am too tired to be stressed. I am too tired to be nervous. Too tired to react. The buzz that fuels the fury in the head is silent. There is no what I need to do after this. There is no what I should have done yesterday. There is nothing save what is directly in front of me.

Exhaustion.

Today. An application was put in for an apartment. My articles for the latina web-zine were rejected. Portland was sunny. Mount Hood shone in the background. I have no to do list for tomorrow and I have no substance to even worry what may or may not be.

Exhaustion.

And yet this is not unwelcome. Perhaps it is the body’s way of shutting down and protecting the strained and stretched nerves.

And on that note…..the bed calls.