Thursday, December 3, 2015

Now Precious is gone

I woke up the morning of November 7th, a Saturday, to find Precious pacing.  She was non-stop, relentless.  She'd pace, stumble, pick herself up and continue pacing.  She'd run into something and change direction, turn in a circle and go off another way.  I thought maybe I could hold her and calm her down.  For the first time in her life she didn't resist being held.  I held her and talked to her and petted her.  After a little while I put her down and she went right back to pacing.  I called the vet and made plans to take her in, I told them I thought her time had come.  I went out to run an errand and when I came home she was asleep in her box upstairs.  I wondered if maybe I was wrong and she would be okay after all.  Then she woke up and went back to pacing.  I got a nice piece of plaid fabric ready with a small piece of fake fur in the middle so I could put her on the fur and wrap her up to take her to the vet.  She went like a lamb, no struggle when I held her.  I got her to the vet and into a room where she started to squirm so I let her go.  She went right back to pacing, bumping into things and got herself stuck in a space between the wall and the leg of the exam table.  There was a new vet to see us, Tim Curtis.  He was very nice and compassionate. He had observed her and said with her age the pacing was a sign of dementia and there was really nothing to be done to make her better.  So I decided the best thing I could do for her was to help her go out peacefully.  When the vet got ready to take her back to put a port in, I told him she liked to be called Princess so he did.  He brought her back to me and I held her while the vet gave her a lethal dose of anesthetic.  I stroked her and talked to her, her heart stopped almost right away.  Poor little baby, 22 years old.  She didn't have to be scared any more.  I put her in her own little spot in the back yard.  When Buster died I got a stepping stone made by Jean Madgich (the clay artist from Logan) to mark his spot.  It had sunk quite a bit over the years and was almost hidden by ivy.  So I pulled that stone out and put it on Precie's spot.  I moved the little chain saw carved bear to Buster's spot and made a stepping stone for BiBo.  I had a thing I think was made to warm fragrant oils that I was using to hold a votive candle on BiBo's spot.  I like to light a candle for him, it's all I can do for him now.  I found another fragrance warmer for Precious at Salvation Army.  Then when I got it home realized it was part of the Lennox Christmas pattern collection and worth way more than the $6. I'd paid for it. Not sure yet if I'll put it outside or not. 

Now I have only Stuart.  You can not be a crazy cat lady with only one cat.  I am so thankful to still have him.  He seems lonely without the others.  He wants to be close to me and cuddle more which is fine with me.  He likes to sit next to me on the couch, sleep with me at night and will even snuggle in when I take a nap.  I figured out he likes the crunchy treats, so he gets those when ever he wants.  I also bought some of the little dishes of wet food and give him those once in a while. 

With Precious gone I've taken the plastic off the furniture and have gotten rid of the litter boxes, food and water upstairs.  I've moved the food dish to the kitchen so I can make sure I know when it needs to be filled.  I found some stuff called My Pet Peed, it's a spray to get rid of odor and stain from .....well, you know.  I used it in the spare room that smelled from Eddie's dogs and it seems to have worked well.  I'm going to try using it upstairs.

It's very different here now with  just one cat.  I miss the others.  I'm not thinking about getting another cat to keep Stewie company just now.  Maybe someday in the not too distant future I can work fewer hours and consider getting a dog.  Our animals give so much love and happiness, then when they leave us, our hearts break.        

Thursday, September 10, 2015


On August 26th I lost my dearest little kitty, Bibo.  I don't know why we say "lost" when someone dies, it's not like he's out there somewhere that I might find him.  I wish it was possible, I am having a hard time accepting that he's not coming back to me.  I want him back so badly, I'd give anything for it.  He was only 14 years old and the only cat I've ever had as a kitten.  I woke up and he was on the living room floor.  He was not moving much and having a hard time breathing.  I tried to set him up on his feet and he just collapsed back down.  I called the vet and took him right over.  Dr Eric looked at him, his pupils were reactive to light, but his blink reflex was weak.  He had a weak reaction to pain in his paws.  The Dr said he thought Bibo had had a stroke.  He was not optimistic about his prognosis.  He said to leave him and they'd try giving him some fluids and see how he did. He called shortly after I got home to say there was fluid on Bibo's lungs and it did not look good.  He said I should come in and talk about putting him down.  We set a time.  Before I got back to the vet, Dr Stewart called.  My dear little boy was gone.  His blood pressure dropped and he stopped breathing. 

I tried calling Connie, but no answer.  It was Wed so I called the collection, got Gayle and then Connie.  She said she would come.  She took me over to the vet, they had Bibo wrapped up in a nice blanket but I had taken the towel the girls on the boat in Alaska had used to make a red carpet for me.  I wrapped him up in the towel and brought him home.  Connie helped me dig a spot for him in the back yard.  I sprinkled some catnip in it, put him in, laid in some hosta flowers and added some CatSip.  I ended up going back to the Collection with Connie for the afternoon, just to have something to do.  I took some time over the weekend to create a shrine, a garland of fall flowers on a wire support with a home made prayer flag.  I found a candle holder at VOA and put it out there so I can light a votive for him.  I bought a kit to make a concrete marker. 

I'm glad I'm working on Sweeney Todd, it helps keep me busy.  I just miss Bibo so much.  I think Stewie misses him too.  Thank God for Stewie.  He is so sweet and affectionate.  Even crazy 21 year old Precious has been acting different.  Instead of hiding upstairs she's been laying on the floor just inside the living room doorway.  She's also been singing her little song at night. I guess there's nothing more to do but hang on and let time go by, hope the hole in my heart will heal.  I was in DC over Labor Day and it was nice to spend some time with the kids.  We just goofed around and ate and drank.  One day we were in Old Alexandria and went into an old church.  They had a prayer box, so I asked for prayers for my boy.  I started to cry and the kids were very comforting.  They are both very sensitive and loving.  It was a good visit.    

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Snake River

We arrived in Clarkson just a little late Friday noonish.  The group that was going to board the boat on Sat to go the other way was there, they were going to spend the night and board Sat morning.  So both groups went on the Jet Boat ride up the Snake River.  The boats are flat bottomed with bench seats for 3 on either side of an aisle, maybe 10 rows of seats covered by an awning.  I ended up sitting on the back of the boat, the lack of awning there gave me a much better view.  The Snake River gorge is pretty amazing, starting with rock formations, lots of little sandy beaches, some remote homes and places mentioned in Lewis and Clark's journals.  There is a spot they described that had a Nez Perce fishing camp.  Scientists went out recently with sonar and located the foundations of a long house and several teepees.  Near there we saw petroglyphs. 

Years ago the Federal govm't sold off pieces of land along the river.  These homes are so remote they are accessible only by boat.  Along they way we saw the gate of a big cattle ranch and trails in the hillsides from the cows and big horn sheep.  At one home the guide said the road over the mountain to town takes 1 1/2 hours and can get closed by snow.  So the family built a garage across the river for their car.  They take a boat across and can be in town in 20 minutes. 

The place we stopped for lunch is run by the boat company and is part of The Nature Conservancy.  There were some cool antiques there.  We had a good lunch and some folks went to sit under the shade of the apple trees.  I walked around the grounds then went down to the river where they had a nice sandy beach.  The kids from the Funster family and some other people were swimming.  I waded in, damn it was cold.

After lunch we went further up the river into the part they call Hell's Canyon.  It has very steep sides and got its name by how hard it was for the explorers to navigate.  On the way back the captain drove the boat fast, it was fun.  We slowed down a few times for rafters but still had a good ride.

We got back in time for dinner, Mom told the people on the boat that it was my birthday, so after dinner they brought a cake to the table and sang.  Nice gesture but the cake was no competition for the flourless chocolate cake.  We went back to our cabin and packed, we had to put our bags out in the hall so they could get them off the boat and have them ready for us when we disembark.  Saturday we had an early breakfast and a bus ride to Spokane, about 2 hours.  We saw huge farms as we moved from rolling hills to flat country.  Our flights were uneventful.  In Spokane we had time for a little bite to eat before we went to our gate.  Mom was so anxious to board that when they asked people  to come up and check roller bags she thought they were boarding ahead of us and rushed up.  She got right behind a man checking a bag, so close that when he turned around he almost knocked her over.  She was mad at him.  In Milwaukee  we had less time, so I parked Mom at the gate and went in search of coffee and snacks.  OMG, they had just started boarding when I got back and she was freaking out.  I wonder sometimes why she is always so pessimistic, just sure things are going to go wrong and ready to panic. 

Oh well, over all she enjoyed herself and we saw some pretty cool stuff.  We met a lot of interesting people, too.  All the nice young kids on the crew and all the other passengers with interesting back stories.  People like Mary and Richard, a retired orthopedic surgeon, who go to Malawi at least once a year to train new doctors.  Nothing fancy but enough that when a kid falls out of a tree and breaks an arm or leg it can be set properly and the kid doesn't end up crippled for life.  Or Carol and Bill from Colorado.  Bill cut timber for years, now they have some land they lease out to farmers and a small piece they work themselves.  Bill talked about the variety of berries they grow, esp about a type of thornless raspberry. Carol spins, knits and weaves.  They were just so laid back and friendly.  Then there was the guy with his 60 year old wife with Alzheimer's, it was so sad to see her just go along with this blank look on her face and vacant eyes.  She seemed to be enjoying herself, tho.  They were traveling with another couple which helped because the wife could not be left alone or she would wander.  I saw her one day in the lounge by herself.  She was looking for a coke, so I helped her get one, then took her back to her cabin.  The husband had taken a shower and she'd slipped out that quickly.

It was very interesting to see all sorts of people, some very active and fit, despite their age.  So many people older than Mom who get around so much better.  I wish I could know for sure what she experiences with her balance.  I know her inner ear is deteriorated, that's why her hearing is poor, and the doctors said it affects her balance, too.  Still I wonder how much of the hanging on and trouble with inclines, etc is real and how much of it is her paralyzing fear.  Anyhow, I was inspired to get back in better shape so I can keep traveling.    


After we left Umatilla, we went through another lock at the Mc Nary Dam and on into Lake Wallula. Then on past the mouth of the Snake River to Dock at Richland. We docked at a big public park and Mary was waiting at the dock. What a wonderful reunion. We took my mom and walked down to the Red lion where Mary was parked. Their restaurant was closed so we drove just a short way to a place and had soup and sandwich. It was so good to see Mary again. Her Mom is 95 with dementia. She is living in Canton McKinley Home, the old high school has been turned into assisted living. It's where Doris went to HS so she thinks she's back in school and loving it. She has kept mostly good memories and Mary says is happy. Mary's brother Mike still lives in Canton and looks after Doris, although his wife Helen is in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. Sounds terrible. 
After lunch we took my mom back to the boat and Mary and I just sat up in the park and chatted. She had some weed that Steve grows and we sat out at a park bench and smoked a little. How wonderful to be able to sit out in public and do what we have hidden for years. Mary coordinates all sorts of social services for the kids in her school district and their families. There are special programs for the spanish speakers and migrants as well. Her daughter Kerri lives close and does developmental assessments on ages 0 to 3, then refers families in need to resources. Mary's son Ryder lives in Richland and works at the Red Lion in Pasco. He is the head of catering. He and his wife Whitney divorced a couple years ago, she never seemed to be satisfied, but now he has a nice new girlfriend, Jackie, and he seems much happier. Karina has just moved a couple hours away somewhere with a nice boyfriend who is finishing his education on computer programming. He had an offer from the firm where he interned for a job once he graduates. I think Mary said Melanie is now 15, so still in HS.  She never mentioned what Steve or Kerri's husband are doing.   

So wonderful how some things never change. Same old Mary, same sense of humor and positive outlook on life. She seems to have such a huge impact on her community and enjoys the work she does. She and Steve have been married 37 years and are still happy. I needed to be back on board by 5:30 so we took some pictures and said out goodbyes. I shed a few tears, it was a lovely afternoon. The park was shady and full of people swimming, fishing, kayaking and generally enjoying the river. 

We headed out of Richland, back to the mouth of the Snake. We went into dinner and while we were there the Captain announced we were going to have to stop a while and wait for another ship to come west through the Ice Harbor Dam. Right at the confluence of the rivers was Sacajawea State Park. We were able to pull in and put just a short gangplank down. After dinner they said we could get off and look around, that the captain would blow the horn when he was ready to take off. So after dinner I got off with the Murthas and some other folks. Another nice park, no one else there at that hour and we walked around and looked at the trees. Next thing I know I hear MEOW and here come a little black cat out of the underbrush. She was small, probably young but wanted to rub against our legs and even stood up and put her front paws on my leg to be petted. There were birds and such around and she wasn't skinny but seemed used to getting people food and followed us around a while. So I ran back to the ship and got one of the rest vest girls to smuggle some bread out of the kitchen. Took it back over where we'd first seen her and put it out, she ate some right away but still followed us when we started back to the ship. She tried to go over the gangway, but the crew stopped her. She was all black with a fluffy tail and gray eyes. Little Sheba.

We ended up waiting almost 4 hours. I asked the captain about it this morning. I was on the top deck watching him guide us into the lock at the Lower Granite Dam, the last one before Clarkston. Once he had the boat in position, they tie her on to a type of post imbedded in the wall that floats up with the water level. The captain took me on the bridge and showed me the charts around the Ice Harbor Dam. All the way from the confluence to the damn the channel is dug only wide enough for one vessel. A tug with 4 big barges was coming into the locks from the east so first we had to wait for them to go through and come down river through the channel. Then the captain said it should have been our turn but some faster fishing vessel got priority to come west after the barges. So we had to wait. But the captain did his best and docked at the park so we could get off instead of floating somewhere else.  

When it got dark, we came back on board. They were setting up a game to see who could finish the lyrics of songs. My mom was a contestant so I stayed in the Mt Hood Lounge and watched. Everybody had a good time and a few of the folks knew a lot of lyrics.

 After the game we went to our room and about 10 o'clock we finally started to move. They went top speed through the night to make up time so we're only about 1 hour behind schedule this morning. I'm going down Hell's Canyon in a speed boat while Mom packs. We'll stay in Clarkston overnight, then head for the airport at Spokane early in the morning. When we woke up this morning I came down to the lounge to get coffee and there was no cream so I went to the dining room to ask. Just then the new chef came out. He had come on board a few days ago and our food improved so much after that. I told him how much better things were and all he wanted to do was apologize for the first few days. They really train the crew to be polite. Yesterday Mom realized the cabin kids had taken her second blanket away by mistake. So when they were cleaning I asked for another. The steward asked if we'd like duvets instead, duh! Seems we were in the cheap seats with the cotton blankets, but he brought duvets that were heavenly. Lemony pancakes for breakfast and some sort of lunch on the river. 

Also when I was up going to the dining room I noticed 2 of the deck hands out working on the lines. The end of one was so badly frayed so they wrapped the line in tape where it was still good, then set up a hot knife and cut off the bad part. So interesting. It's been restful for me, mostly people are nice with interesting back stories. My mom's social interactions are a little awkward at times. She is so self centered that she wants to tell people every little boring detail about her life and has trouble showing any interest in what others are saying. Sometimes she doesn't hear conversation, especially in the dining room or where there is other background noise, so she'll go off on a tangent. Most everybody is real patient and I try to fill in for her. Sometimes she gets crabby and tells me that she hears, but later she has no clue about things that have been said. I also figured out that the running monologue she keeps up about what she's doing and "I think I'll get my hat", etc is just her thought process out loud. Thank god for therapy. I learned to be Margaret Mead and sit back and watch what's going on rather than let it irritate me. I got stuck right next to a super snooty last night for dinner, she carried on conversations with everybody else but never said a word to me. She was so demanding of the wait staff, waving her arms to get them, just pointing at stuff rather than asking them, never said thank you. I said something to her about did her mother want more wine and she just snapped "she's not my mother". Never clarified but these 2 women look so much alike, one with spikey fake red hair the other with spikey natural white hair. So I just smile inside thinking how much more I'm enjoying it all. 

I saw something on face book about when you see the snooty women in the grocery the best thing to do is say "excuse me, do you work here". Believe me I'm going to use that. It has been wonderful, Mom and I have gotten along well, we have seen some fantastic stuff, the people have been interesting, I've rested and relaxed. Tonite we pack and put our suitcases out at bedtime and we'll fly out of Spokane in the morning. I miss my monkey butts.     

Thursday Aug 6th

We left Stevenson in the morning and continued East.  When we got to the Hood River we were able to look up the valley for a spectacular view of Mt Hood.  We docked at The Dalles, Lewis and Clark camped here in 1806 and a town  was founded here just a few years later.  There is a fairly wide valley floor here and the guides said the local Native American tribes used to use this area for an annual fall meeting place.  They had fishing platforms and would collect and dry fish for their winter camps.  They also made carvings and petroglyphs on the rocks.  When the Dalles Dam was constructed, it flooded the valley covering everything including their burial grounds in water.  There was a group of volunteers that met us at the dock, all dressed up old timey.  The women call themselves the Fort Dalles Floozies and the men were dressed up like a sheriff and some deputies.  There was also a lady with a 3 year old gyspy horse and a carriage to take people into town.  She had bags of little pieces of bread that you could feed the horse, Max, for a donation.  He was very sweet.

We got on the bus to go to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.  The ladies that drive the bus are hired to accompany the trip and as we motor down the river, they drive to the next port to meet us.  On the way we passed by a minimum security prison, our guide says because there are so many wildfires, the inmates are trained to fight fires.  At the Discovery Center we went into a small auditorium and the ranger brought out a hawk, a kestrel and a great horned owl.  She held each one with one of those big leather gloves and talked about it, then put it on a perch and brought out the next one.  These birds are here because they have been found injured and can not be rehabed and returned to the wild.  The ranger talked to each one like I talk to my kitties, the owl was grumpy and she just cooed at him.  She brushed up his fathers so we could see his horns and he gave her the dirtiest look.  She told all about the different birds, the most surprising thing was how little they weigh.  Maybe because their bones are hollow and they are fluffly from feathers but she said the male great horned owl weighs only around 2 pounds and  the female is about 4 pounds.  We walked around the Center a little bit more, some old dug out canoes and other artifacts.  Then we went outside to the Golden Eagle enclosure.  She opened a gate so we could see them.  They were so majestic.  There is a male and a female and again, both have injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild.  Sad, but occasionally the female lays eggs and they have to destroy them because the parents can't teach them to fly or hunt, so the young could not survive.  We wondered about another bird fostering them but evidently, the eagles won't accept someone else's eggs or young.  Too bad.   There were some interesting plants there as well.

TThen the bus took us on a tour through the town, there are murals on many buildings and an old courthouse with a clock tower.  Then we went up the hill outside town to an overlook where there are several war memorials and some beautiful roses.  Back to the boat for a good dinner and while we still had some daylight we went through locks at the John Day dam.  We continued to travel during the night, by morning we were in Lake Umatilla, really just a very wide section of the river and after breakfast we stopped shortly at the small port of Umatilla and all the folks going on the tour to include the Pendleton Factory got off.  They will travel overland and meet us later today when we dock at Richland.  Just after Umatilla we went through the locks at the McNary Dam and I went up on deck to watch.  The dam is impressive and I got to see what a fish ladder looks like.  Hope my pictures come out good.  The captain has a small stand with controls in it right on the rail at the bow of the ship.  He stood there guiding the boat just so into the locks because the boat is nearly as wide as the lock.  He had a deck hand with him whose primary job seemed to be keeping people from trying to talk to the Captain as he was doing the tricky steering.  At one point he sent the deck hand on to the bridge to do something, it's wonderful how the young men and women can get experience and training on the boat.  They all work so hard.

The inside crew wear kahkis and blue polos and serve breakfast and lunch.  They change into long sleeve blue shirts for dinner.  As soon as the dining room is all cleaned up they change into what looks like scrubs and start cleaning rooms.  Then back in kakhi and blue for lunch and the cycle repeats.  The deck hands wear red polos and navy pants.  They all take turns learning to wipe and oil the engines, one does laundry all week, I saw Justin hang off the back of the boat just over the paddle wheel to wash the big windows.  I saw Ethan hosing off the decks.  And always they are front and center when we get on and off.  They've helped my Mom to get to shore when the gangway incline is steep and they take a couple others off in wheelchairs every time.  One of our servers told me he's hoping to move up to deck hand.  They all just fall all over themselves to do anything you ask them to do.  Their standard answer to "can you…." is "of course, I'd be glad to" and when you thank them they always say "you are very welcome".   When they've been around a while they might graduate to the red vests.  Right now that's all women, one who oversees the dining room, one who is head of housekeeping and one who runs the tours.  They all wear grey pants, white blouses and the red vest.  They run the bar during happy hour and work as hard as everyone else.  Jess runs the tours and has to deal with all these people with limited mobility and others who need all kinds of special attention.

The river gorge is so interesting.  The terrain changes from high bluffs that are as barren as can be to bottom land with apple orchards.  We've seen vinyards up on the hills. But all along at the top of the ridges has been lines and lines of wind turbines.  The grren electricity is wonderful but the ranger told us that 30,000 raptors will be killed by the turbine blades this year.  They are developing technology for internal turbines, rather than the big exposed blades, that will be safer for the birds but I doubt the exsisting ones will be retrofitted anytime soon.

Yesterday the captain let us go up into the wheelhouse for a look see.  He had computer screens that showed exactly where we were on the river and depths and such.  He explained about the different engines and the propellers, some of which I understood.  The paddlewheel is functional but is so inefficient compared to the engines that it's mostly for show.

Most of the people on board are very nice.  With open seating we've met a lot of different people and it's been interesting.  Today at breakfast a lady traveling with her sister, who lives outside Boston, looked at the dinner menu and had to request something special.  The choice was beef or pork and she told us she was bitten by a Lone Star tick, the enzyme from its saliva created an anti body in her and she can not eat any mammalian flesh.

There is a family on board, grandpa and I think his girlfriend, his two daughters and their families.  The one daughter has husband, her own grown daughter and son in law.  The other sister has 2 boys, one about teen age and the other younger.  I call them the Funsters.  I've been in the Paddlewheel lounge after dinner a lot so I can use the wifi to blog.  They've been coming in and playing games and having the best time.  They really like Jenga.  The one sister started apologizing for being rowdy until I joined in a little bit and they realized they weren't bothering me.  So sweet to see them finish a game and go to their cabins, they all kiss grandad and tell each other I love you. 

Of course there are some holier than thou types, but it's not too hard to figure out who they are and steer clear.  I really feel sorry for people who are so angry and tied up inside that they can't relax, go with the flow and enjoy.  They fuss about some little thing wrong with the food or that the service is slow or the boat isn't just so.  I think this is the oldest boat in the American Cruise Line fleet, they've refurbished it but it's getting a little frayed around the edges.  The captain says they are going to bring a ship from the Missippi up to run the Columbia and I think they will retire this one.  Still, things are pretty nice.  Our room is small but adequate, we are among the few that don't have a balcony but there are all sorts of places to go if we want to be outside and my Mom complains about the wind so much I doubt she's use it.  It gets windy in the gorge.  We had beauty parlor this morning, my Mom took a shower and washed her hair.   I helped her blow it dry, luckily she has a good permanent and I was able to curl it around a brush and shape it.  That's about the extent of my hair skills. 

We are going to dock at Richland this afternoon.   It looks like Richland sits between the Columbia and Yakima Rivers.  My friend, Mary Langley, has lived in Ellensburg, WA for many years.  It's about 2 hours from Richland and she's coming to meet the boat so we can visit .  I am very excited to see her.

Did I say earlier that I like this Dell 2 in ??  It was fine until Windows 10 creeped in one night.  Now I have to learn all over again how to get my pictures on and put captions on them.  Technology is not my friend.  Give me a needle and thread any day.  I noticed the cuff of my pj's was coming loose and got out my little sewing kit.  We were docked at Umatilla with the sun shining in our windows.  I sat propped up on the bed mending my pj's and was as happy as a clam.

Because we were down in the gorge we didn't have any wifi service so I have typed on OneNote.  The instructions say it saves automatically, so I hope for the best.   

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 1, 2015 part deaux

Back to Wednesday, my last day of work before vacation.  I pulled into the parking lot and noticed a young woman in a hajib standing by the dumpster behind the bar next door.  She looked frightened and somehow I was drawn to her.  I went over to ask if she needed some help and she started to sob, I hugged her and she put her head on my shoulder and just cried and shook.  She was so small, not even Hilla's size but appeared to be an adult.  She spoke English but with a stutter and I finally got her calmed down enough to understand she was trying to get across 4th St to the spot on Spring where the MegaBus picks up.  She was trying to get the bus to Cleveland and then had plans to fly to California to visit a friend in Bakersfield.  She had a huge roller bag that weighed more than her (no exaggeration this time) and seemed to have a little difficulty walking.  She said she had fallen trying to cross the street and had hurt her leg.  I think she was just shook up and didn't know quite what to do.  I took her into the CoSpec building, dragging her big red bag behind us.  I got a bandaid and Neosporin and fixed up her skinned knee.  I asked her if she was hungry and she started to cry again.  I told Jay I needed an hour or so and took her over to the CafĂ© for a bagel and tea.  She said she'd been in Columbus about a year, 5 or 6 years in Nashville or Memphis before that and originally from Cairo.  Her face just shone when I told her I'd been in Cairo.  How she got dropped off that morning with nobody to help her, she never said.  But she did say her father was in Pakistan doing some kind of work for the UN.  It was getting to be time for the bus so we walked back, picked up her bag and I helped her get across 4th.  There were some other people standing there waiting, I asked one man if he was going to Cleveland and he was very friendly.  I asked him to help get her bag on the bus.  She was so grateful, thanked me profusely, and I told her about my pay it forward philosophy.  I told her it was up to her to help the next person and she got it.  She said if we all helped each other, how much better the world would be.  So I left her there on the corner and thought about how travel has influenced my life.  Having been in the Middle East, I do not have prejudice about people with different religious beliefs.  I wondered how many people would be afraid to approach an obviously muslim woman especially standing next to a big bag.  I thought about all the situations I've been in where other people have helped me and how much it has meant to me, and how it motivates me to help other people.  It was a good start to the day.

Then about noon it all went to hell.  I'd worked on Wed, which is usually my day off because we were to have some sort of mandatory meeting at lunch.  I was working on the Penguin, putting together the front of the body, making sure the stripes all matched and dealing with a double rip stop lining because it was fur.  I'd worked on the legs but got stuck because the flange was too small and I was waiting for Dipshit David to figure it out.  Jason was finishing up the zipper so I pulled out the pieces for the head to lay them out.  Jason jumped up and started showing me what to do  and Jay first told me the fur pieces are different from the lining (DUH) and then leave the head for Jason and finish the legs instead.  It just set me off, I felt like they were treating me like I was stupid.  I had to walk away for a minute, then came back and explained to Jay I couldn't finish the legs and that I had just built the front and know the fur and rip stop pieces were different.  Then he started back peddling, so close to lunch, couldn't finish that day, better to let the same person do it start to finish.  BULLSHIT!!  So I was already pissed when I got to the meeting.  More bullshit about clocking in and out for breaks, etc , then a presentation about sexual harassment.  I wondered what had happened to initiate that but no clue.  I was sitting next to Johnny and was writing him little dirty notes to amuse myself.  Then the lady started talking about protected classes, same sex partners, interracial couples.....I told Jason to stand up as the poster boy.  After the lady finished Greg got back up for one more thing........headphones.  Somehow it's Wendy's bug a boo again.  "it's inefficient for the boss to have to come over to me to get my attention."  I said it's so noisy up there I need the headphones to block out the noise and concentrate.  No go, they want us to wear the headphone over one ear so we can be aware of our surroundings.  That shit just rubbed me the wrong way.  I stewed til about 4 then went into Jay's office and just let loose.  Told him how insulted I'd been about the Penguin, how I was feeling undervalued , had worked nearly 3 years without a performance review and said I was going to use my time off to think about my future with the company.  So that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4th

With the help of a nice young man I figured out how to get some pictures on here and to add some captions.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to add individually instead of in a clump.

We started moving at 11PM last night and docked at Stevenson just after 11.  The landscape changed considerably overnight, from flat shorelines with people fishing to being more in a gorge with hills on the shoreline.  We went through a lock at Bonneville Dam.  After breakfast I got on the bus to Multnomah Falls, Mom stayed on the boat.  We went by an old railroad tressel with an osprey nest on it.  Our guide says there have been birds in it the past 4 years and this year there are 3 fledglings in the nest.  We went over the Bridge of the Gods and past a trailhead for the Pacific Coast Trail.  The guide was saying that because of the drought, the waters inland are too warm for the fish hatchlings and so the hatcheries in this area are trucking the hatchlings downstream toward the Pacific to find cooler water in which to release them so more survive.  The falls is a big tourist attraction right off the main road and there were lots of people there.  It was pretty impressive, even though our guide says there is only about 40% of the usual amount of water falling due to the drought.  When I got there and took a picture, my camera said no memory left.  I tried to go in and delete some junk but could only find 6 or8 pictures.  Then it dawned on me, I left my memory card in the damn laptop trying to transfer pictures.  Luckily the gift shop had a card for sale that fit my camera. 

Really dry grass

The wind comes through this river gorge and can really blow at times.  We are docked right by a small city park that the wind surfers hang out in.  They were all over the water, so cool looking.  Later I saw a couple guys using parasail type kites to propel them on boards.  One of the crew said he has seen them jump the waves when the wind is really strong. 

After lunch I went into town, it's small but has some restaurants, a grocery, and a Laundromat.  I washed some clothes then went for a massage.  It was lovely.  Got back to the room, Mom had not gone on the afternoon tour despite my urging.  I think she's okay by herself on the boat but getting off the boat and onto a bus, etc  by herself is too intimidating.  I decided to have a little lie down and slept a while but started hearing the wheels of her carry on banging and drawers going in and out.  I thought she was moving all her stuff around to make it even harder for her to find.  I woke up and she was in a tizzy.  She couldn't find the little case that holds her jewelry.  She was convinced that she had had it out when the cleaner came in the room and that the cleaner had come back later and taken it.  So I asked her where it was supposed to be, in her carry on, of course.  So I opened it up and there was the case.  She's just waiting and hoping for something to happen.  At lunch, the lady next to her had asked for her salad dressing on the side.  When the plates came, she started fussing because she hadn't gotten any dressing.  I tried to explain it was on her salad but she didn't want to listen.  Then she started complaining about not getting clean towels.  She swears she didn't hear then say that if you want clean towels you put the dirty ones on the floor.  Soooo we had to call housekeeping for all clean towels.  We have complimentary drinks and snacks at 5:30 every night.  Beer and wine is complimentary with lunch and dinner.  There's a bottle of red and one of white on the table every night but she was fussing because the servers didn't bring wine.  She thought the bottles on the table were for special people who had ordered them.  I wonder sometimes what's going on in her brain.

Sail boarders

Queen of the West

The Park

Add caption