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another book report...

Sunday, August 30, 2015
... when I found: "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" by Ann Packer. Randomly taken out of the stacks at the branch library, another of those things I got immersed in and then accidently discovered myself reading three books at the same time. The story is about  a young couple, in their early twenties,who have been together since high school, and the relationship is wearing thin for Carrie, but Mike is still crazy in love. He has a tragic, traumatic accident when he dives into shallow water, while they are picnicking with a group of friends over the summer. She had been debating about ending their couple-ness before the accident, but after he becomes completely disabled and totally dependent, she is ambivalent at best, and hauls around has monumental guilt.

Takes off on a wild hair, and ends up in NYC, looks up a friend from back home to find a place to live, then gets involved with a guy in the city...no spoiler here. It's a really good read, with a well fleshed out group of characters - makes you think you really know these people and you are involved in their lives. You can't help but want to give Carrie advice, to offer help, make some suggestions for how she might somehow 'have her cake and eat it too?' But she is only there between the covers of the book and you really can't communicate your interest and concern.

You might wonder how/why I do so much reading? Make so many trips to the library? I do not watch TV. And read myself to sleep every night. Words, words, words. Books, books, books.

I love to go to movies, but when I work till eight o'clock at night I can't go. I'm too damn tired. And when I have to get up at five a.m. to be at work at six o'clock, I can't stay up late enough to go.  

I don't see many/get to movies often. And cannot watch them at home. Maybe Santa will bring me that thing that lets me use my computer for a movie screen?

slooowwwly reading...

...a book I started over a month ago, and just finished today. Making it sound like it was not much good., or very interesting. But it really was, and I will recommend it, though you have to like to read non-fiction, and definitely does not have a 'happily ever after' ending. Remember that book you read the 'report' on some weeks ago, about the Arctic explorers and all the misery they went through? This one is not quite that bad, but it will give you the shivers when you trek with them over the Rockies in the dead of winter. Under-fed, insufficiently clothed, lost as a haint in the graveyard in a snowstormn.

"Astoria" by Peter Stark is the story of the founding of the city, on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon. Originally built as a fur trading post, and funded by John Jacob Astor. He was a German immigrant and eventually a very successful business man, with accumulated wealth that would make him a billionaire in today's currency. He had the idea that he could send men with experience in trapping and fur trading to buy pelts that he would then ship to China for a huge markup. Wanted to establish a series of trading posts in the north west, that was previously only known from the trek of Lewis and Clark.

Like that book about early exploration into the unknown Artic regions, this one has plenty of well-documented poor choices. Stark read lots of journals, talked with lots of locals and well-versed historians in the area, including college professors and native people from the First Nation who have a fascinating oral history, handed down through the generations.  Astor ultimately pretty much lost his shirt in this venture, but continued to deal in furs with trappers in eastern Canada and the northern US. He also had a great deal of real estate that played a big part in his accumulation of a fortune that he bought cheap in New York City and resold as it grew and developed.

At the end of the book Stark tells what happened to many of the key members of the founding party, both overland trekkers and those who sailed around south America to get to the mouth of the Columbia. Like you see at the end of a movie that is 'based on true story', you find some went on to be successful business men, and others broken and permanently damaged from their experience.  

Really interesting: is that I was actually IN Astoria. I'd checked the book out, totally randomly, in late July, never knowing that I would GO to Astoria in early August. When we were traveling in Washington state, we drove south, and went across the Columbia River, on the bridge that takes traffic from Washington to Oregon. And right there, on the southern bank of the River, sits Astoria. Vastly different of course, from the primitive log houses and fortifications that were carved out of the wilderness in the early 1800's, but Astoria none the less. Where we rode the trolley down the tracks along the river front, and ate at a neat little pub, sampling brews and watching boats plying along the water. Good fun with my fave. peeps.

just 'la-de-dah-ing' around the house...

Saturday, August 29, 2015
...with the attitude that I had all the time in the world to get myself dressed and out the door, off to work. I knew I would be cooking fish again today: thankfully that's the end of this recipe that caused me to come home smelling like yesterdays' left-over bait, similar to the arresting aroma of fish market when I was a kid.

Continually checking  my watch, to be sure to leave the house in ample time. For getting to work at 11:00. When suddenly I remembered that the cooking demo. starts at ten o'clock!!! An hour earlier on Saturday and Sunday, instead of the usual eleven on week days.

I'd been just roaming around, writing some notes, wandering from one end to the other. Puttering about in my sleepwear, remarkably unconcerned about getting dressed and brushed and into action. When I suddenly looked at the time and said: holy cow! I have to be there in thirty five minutes, instead of an hour and thirty five. So dashing to and fro, thinking: 'did I leave my shoes in the car?' and 'where's my name tag?' Brushing teeth and slapping my face on to tear out the door and get there with a margin of safety.

It all worked out, and I don't regret the la-de-dah-ing, as I had been meaning to write notes, get some corresponding done, stamped, sealed and in the mail. But already dreading the morrow, when the clock in time is 6:00 a.m. Guess in need to get started on my resting up....

volunteer driver...

Friday, August 28, 2015
..for another patient needing transportation to the treatment center. She lived in the uptown area, and needed a ride to the Amos center for her appointment today. I was not too sure about finding her house, so actually arrived about thirty minutes too early. After the last time, when I took my rider to the wrong doctor's office for his appointment, I knew I needed to allow plenty of time. For me to get lost and found before I even arrived at the residence of the patient. Though I doubted the directions I had map-quested, it was not difficult, as it was near an elementary school I am familiar with.

Mrs. G. was very personable and a willing conversationalist. She had retired from teaching some years ago, and has been widowed for about five years. She and her husband had enjoyed travelling in their retirement years, after his career in the Army, another in civil service on post, then  as the first black man hired to be a city bus driver. She was looking forward to her 65th high school class reunion this weekend - thinking there were four or five still living out of a hundred graduates. I bet she has some really interesting stories she could tell about life in Columbus in the 1950s before the intergration era.

We got to the appointment with ample time. I told her I would take my library book, sit in the lobby while waiting. She nearly caught me taking a nap when she was finished, and was ready for her ride back home.

"You think,

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Well, I'll go along to get along - and the next thing you know, you're somewhere you never wanted to be without a ticket back."

"The Dive from Clausens' Pier" by Ann Packer


...happens, but not something I usually recall after I wake. But this morning, it was so vivid it has been on my mind all day, while I was trying to decide how to spell an artist's name. I remember from art history he was active during the Renaissance period, and was maybe from Brussels or Amsterdam area. His art is so unusual and unique, when you see one of his paintings and observe his style, you would recognize it at a glance anywhere.

So I looked it up and find his name is spelled Bruegel, and he was Flemish, though some resources refer to it as 'Netherlandish'. You will have to look him up and check out some of his paintings: often having dozens and dozens of individuals in a variety of activities, some pretty weird and possibly disgusting. The thing that is so bizarre is how my dream was almost like one of his paintings. As if I were standing on higher ground, or some sort of raised platform and looking down on a scene unfolding below eye level. From the view point of Pieter Bruegel as he painted his strange portrayals of inhabitants of his mind.

The dream was a scene of a huge mass of small children, busily going about a wide variety of activities. Doing all manner of fun things, just little things that keep kids entertained as they grow and learn about how the world works. Like discovering how water always flows downhill and how things fall over due to gravity. Without knowing about cause and effect, learning basic physics, with a bit of Murphy's Law thrown in. Dozens of little people playing together in pairs or little groups, at games just amusing themselves.

If you looked at the scrupulously detailed paintings of Bruegel, you may have seen the individuals doing some perverse, creepy things, that you really don't want to witness or even be aware of. But in the dream, I don't recall any 'parents' in the scene, or what might be considered to be 'adult supervision'. Only dozens of little people, all laughing, joyful, interacting, having a marvelous time, with no need for any intervention by referees or people who would adjudicate problems or disagreements: they were all supremely happy.

slicing like crazy...

...at work today, putting in the hours in the produce department instead of cooking. I had instructions for cutting up squash as soon as I got to work. Arriving at 6:00, and slicing, slicing, slicing. All the stores have this cast aluminum slicer you can adjust the blade on. You can slice your veggies to be one half inch thick or 1/4 inch. Naturally, the management requires some to be one and some the other, meaning you have to continually change the setting.

I cut up pounds and pounds and pounds of squash. Yellow and zucchini are both on sale, so you can get either color, or a combo. of both. Or, lucky you, you can also get the squash with sliced onions included so you just heat up the skillet and drop it in. Everything has to be put on a little black foam tray and shrink wrapped, then weighed and priced.

Then I cleaned the slicer and went to lunch. With several other employees who were invited to go to the United Way Fundraiser Campaign Kickoff. Along with about a thousand other UW supporters. Average food, about what you would expect for a buffet that was meant feed a crowd that size.

Then back to work for several hours to make salads. And clean up, hose everything down, scrubbing cutting boards and putting it all away. Meaning I left the store about 5:30, so expect for lunch, a long day of being on my feets.