First Day as a Copy Editor

Hey look! I’m a full-time copy editor with benefits and everything! Today is my first day working for MFA. Maul, Foster & Alongi, Inc., provides environmental consulting and a whole host of other things. I’m looking forward to learning the ropes. That’s my new, company-issued laptop behind me. I’ve got a lot of other new things too. There’s going to have to be a room reorganization.

Photo from the Past

My friend S. North gave me this photo of use taken on the porch of the Leverett, Massachusetts house she was living in in the mid-90s. I’d lived with her and one other roommate (most likely the person who took this photo) for a summer and came back to visit that winter. We lived on 868 N. Pleasant St., though. She had moved by this time.

There are things I love about this picture. The fact that we both now live in Portland and see each other regularly. That I’m still overly reliant on one sweater-type object, bright in color, to keep me warm. (That’s my famous green sweater in the picture. It was given to me by friend Sara because her Great Aunt Hazel died and she knew I would love Great Aunt Hazel’s sweater.) I love that S. North still wears caps like that. That porch sitting was very fun.

However, this is what I wrote on Instagram:

Back in my green-sweater-wearing, porch-sitting days.

The truth behind this photo is that this was one of the hardest times in my life. My connections were few and felt tenuous and it was tough to get through every single day. I’m lucky to still be here.

There were respites, like this trip, and I’m glad to have had those days of light.

Mental health issues are tough. Hard to spot, hard to get treatment for in our health delivery system, and hard to overcome. It’s been a few decades since I’ve felt this way and I still do daily work to keep from sliding back.

While I do pine for parts of that time in my life I know I’ve traded it for something more solid and happier.

If right now is a dark time for you, keep reaching out, keep trying to get help, keep trying different things to make you feel better. The world can seem crappy and not worth sticking around for, but it is. Really

Vintage Photos of Me

With my birthday card, my mom sent along this picture of me with my Easter basket. When I posted it on social media, more than one person commented that they lived in a house with that exact same fireplace.

My Aunt Carol sent along these two phots from when we visited Molokai. I think that’s my Aunt Pat (since the photos came from Carol, I’m guessing she was behind the camera?) me, and my brother dodging the waves.

And here we are running into them. (Except Chris, who was still in dodging mode.) Molokai had the best waves.

That was a fun birthday surprise.

Standing in Line for Ikea.

I drove to Ikea last week, but they were closed due to smoke. (That smoke was intense.) As you can see, the smoke has cleared, so now it was time to take part in another 2020 thing: standing in line to go into a store.

Kind of like waiting in line for a roller coaster, but with more space and no discombobulation due to testing physics. Ikea had a clearly marked path to get into their building. I made four turns while making my way through the line. Luckily Ikea is a big enough store that the line moved at a steady clip.

On Hold Since March

Back in March, I made a special Friday trip to grab my holds. My weekend had cleared and I wanted to have books and movies to tide me over. There was one book that had arrived, but it wasn’t with the other books on the shelf.

“Oh well,” I said to myself. “I’ll grab it on Monday.” Monday was my usual hold pickup day.

I did not grab it on Monday.

The libraries shut down along with everything else and it was about three months before I could bring this book home.

To do that I had to make a phone call, sit on hold, and arrange a day and time for pickup.

Pandemic fun!

I enjoyed the book, by the way.

Unemployment Checks Arrive!

What I learned today: when the state needs to pay out seven weeks of unemployment at once it does not issue one check. It issues seven checks.

And when the state has to pay an additional $600 a week due to enhanced unemployment benefits, they do not issue one check for those seven weeks, or combine it with the normal unemployment.

No, when you get seven weeks of benefits, fourteen checks arrive in the mail on the same day.

And then, you get to take a very happy trip to the bank!

The checks wouldn’t have come on this day without the help of AmyBeth, Speaker Kotek’s legislative aide. She was invaluable at giving me information about the process, telling me about a trick (calling rural unemployment departments) and putting me on Speaker Kotek’s coronovirus-specific mailing list.

I really appreciate the help of my representative, her staff, and the people of the Canyon City unemployment department, especially Sunshine, who used the Big Post-It Method to ensure someone called me back.

After this first run of checks, my weekly benefit will be deposited electronically into my bank account.

Signs of the Times at the Grocery Story

Bulk food! We can still use the bins that dispense, but they’ve cleared out the bins where we dig for things. Also, they’ve shut down the bulk spices which is a big deal in my world. The WinCo bulk spices section gets a lot of use by me.

Fred Meyer doesn’t want people sitting on their display couches. I suspect they’ve never liked people sitting on their display couches and this provided a convenient excuse.

Whoever owns Plexiglas must be making a fortune right now. Here we have barriers at all check stands at Fred Meyer. Also, in the background, one of my favorite checkers.