What A Difference A Day Makes

I got paid yesterday. The first paycheck as a Core employee for the company I’ve been a Contractor for since February.

Since I’m motivated by money, this was a big deal to me. Working in Payroll and Finance, with close partnerships in the HR and Benefits departments, I made sure to get set up right, right out of the gate.

Ten percent direct deposited to my savings bank.

Ten percent to the 401k, more than maxing out the company match.

The rest direct deposited to my household spending account.

In November when the next Offering Period for our Employee Stock Purchase Plan begins, I want to slide another ten percent into that – assuming the stock doesn’t blow up this quarter. Employees buy at a 15% discount, so it’s always a good return, but with stock prices depressed across the market I admit that I’m sad I couldn’t participate in the current OP.

Anyway, after setting myself up in what I deemed an optimal scenario, I was happy to see that the direct deposit to my household spending account still covered my rent in one pay period. I’d been worried.

There was also some concern over my direct deposit set up. My household bank is a credit union, which is famous for randomly declining purchases. This usually happens with online purchases, but in the back of my mind was a worry that this would be the time they reject an ACH deposit.

This is my life, after all.

That secondary worry could be in part because of my secondary account. It’s an online bank, so things are a little different with them. “Different” meaning some organizations just won’t do business with them. I’ve found that out the hard way a couple of times. Once while trying to set up automatic payments for my car loan and again when setting up direct deposit with Robert Half-Ass.

Both bad scenarios. So when my alarm went off at 7 on Friday morning, I logged right into my credit union’s app. No easy feat with my old and still-sleepy eyes. But I was greeted with relief. Relief that increased by a full factor when I switched over to my online bank’s app.

I’d also been overdue in my rent this month because of the timing of my start as a Core employee and the final pay shenanigans over at Robert Half-Ass. But my landlord is pretty chill – and I think appropriately grateful for having a consistent tenant.

Anyway, because of that relationship with my landlord, getting him trued up for August was a priority. Ergo, by 7:01 my household account balance was $4.

That was depressing. Not as depressing as the immediate realization that my paycheck two weeks from yesterday was going to have to go to September’s rent to avoid being late.

Ugh. If I’m going to have a bank account like a poor twenty-something, could I please have the body to go along with it instead of this decaying bag of fat water I’m stuck in?

Sure, just get on the Peloton and stay out of the bar.

<looks around> Did you just hear something?

But in a display of one of my favorite things – an Attitude of Gratitude – I admitted that I still had my savings. On top of that, I have Angela, which means I can make money doing deliveries any evening I choose.

Very lucky, am I.

All of that is a very long introduction to the text I received from mom later that afternoon. She and dad were calling a breakfast meeting. It’s funny because I’d been B-reeling how to reach out to them to tell them I missed our weekday breakfasts when they come to town for doctor appointments.

Smash cut to this morning when I sidle into the Dockside and sit down in the center of my side of the booth without realizing there’s two menus and setups on my side. When mom points it out, my first thought is “Weird”.

Don’t get me wrong, most of my thoughts are weird, but in this case it was the actual adjective, since we’re never a foursome. The Dockside peeps know this.

This is what I’m thinking about to the point of distraction. Which caused a delay in my normal defenses when mom joked that they had invited someone they wanted me to meet.

I blinked a few times to mentally switch gears and catch up. Then I announced that my brother was joining us and ten minutes later, he obliged my prestidigitation.

Ten minutes after that my mom announced she couldn’t wait any longer and pulled two envelopes out of her purse and dropped one in front of each of us.

Then she switched them around.

And then back.

Our names were on the envelopes, making that scene imminently enjoyable.

Yes…grandpa’s probate finally closed! I’d talked myself into the likelihood that my uncle had either fled the country or mom and dad decided to use the money – their money, not mine or my sibs’ – to move into town.

You can tell my brother and I are related because neither of us opened the envelopes.

After another ten minutes or so, mom called us out on our withholding. Inside the envelope was a handwritten note:

Wait, that’s not right. Lemme try again, I know I kept it…

From $4 in my checking account yesterday to holding a check with as many zeroes over the course of breakfast at a greasy spoon? Like the title says…what a difference a day makes.

My hands were actually trembling. My usual wit-on-tap was tapped out. There, in that corner booth of a Portland-infamous diner a rare thing occurred: I was speechless.

Mom wanted to know what we planned to do with the money and I had no answer. I’d been looking forward to them sharing enough to allow me to pay off the credit card debt I hate carrying. No one was impressed when I tried to float that answer as acceptable.

I do know it’s not quite what I’d wanted to put down on a condo when I was kicking that around last year, nor would I buy in this market. It is nice to at least know what I’m not going to do with this windfall.

I’ve been sitting on this for a few hours now and I still don’t know what the right answer is. This is pretty life changing money when received in a fairly out-of-the-blue envelope. I think I’m going to lean into something that came out earlier in this post and transfer 75% of it into my savings account once the funds are released. That’ll leave me enough in my household account to pay my bills off and take a respectable chunk out of what I still owe on Angela. My savings account has à la carte investing, so it might not be a bad idea to put it there and just…not know what to do with it for a while.

Gotta go, can’t see through the tears in my eyes.

What A Difference A Day Makes

M.A.S.H. Up

I had the most realistic dream last night.  One of those dreams that makes you doubt reality.  

The strange aftereffect was further enhanced by a couple tangents.

First of all, the dream was about David Ogden Stiers.

He’s kind of one of my so-called life extras, a phrase I carried away from my time with Sacha.  By the by, Sacha complains that I only write horrid lies about him – basically – so I’m sure he’ll be blind to the fun memories I have of life extras with him.


Anyway, DOS was a life extra because of the Pearl District Segue Dude, who whips around the Pearl on his segue – in case you were struggling with the name – looking a lot like DOS, who had famously lived in Oregon.

Giggles reminded me that he had indeed still lived in Oregon at the time of his death when she posited that there might be an influx of M.A.S.H. celebs through the airport for his services.  She was giddy to the point of distraction, which was pretty crazy for someone born within a year or two either way of the show airing.

So, I guess that’s Tangent One, before I really ever get to the damn dream.

Nice pacing, Xtopher.

In the dream, Giggles’ own dream of celebrity sightings during her shift did, indeed, come true.


Alan Alda pulled a Carrie Fisher and dies on his arriving flight.

My dream reaction was so vivid that I woke up.  Then I couldn’t tell if it was something I’d seen as a push alert on my phone when I checked the time or part of my dream.  The two potential realities coalesced that quickly.

I go into my phone and start checking the news.

Some Korean actor killed himself after some #metoo allegations surfaced.  Giggles is a huge K-pop fan, so that tangent just keeps fueling my confusion and distraction.  Not that K-pop and Korean actors share the same spotlight or affections in Giggles’ universe.

The D’Wayne dude that inspired Scott Bakula’s character on NCIS New Orleans died.  I’ve never really liked the New Orleans franchise, nor Bakula’s character…so this news was kinda awkward.

Surely Alan Alda dying would scoop either of those two celebrity-ish deaths.

Still, I google Alda specifically just to be sure.

Still alive.


…and he’s been married to the same woman for 60 years!  Amazing!  Then again, he’s one of those people that I just assume is an amazing human based solely on his acting.  I fully admit that there’s no correlation, but there it is.  

Don’t judge my crazy brain.

So, in awesome Pam Ewing style, I’d dreamed it all.  This was not tangent two.

This was.

Of course, I had to tell the Silver Fox about it on the way to coffee.

Of course, he had to scoop my ass with his own DOS story by reminding me that one of his condos – either the one he rented, which I believe is correct, or the one he ended up buying – belonged to DOS’ boyfriend.

Me: Y’know, I don’t think you ever actually told me that!

Which devolved into a brief summary of this guy’s resume and a reminder of DOS’ famed involvement with the symphony community on the Oregon Coast.

Now, that’s a tangent.  As only The Fox can provide.

I was still kinda turning this damn dream over in my mind as I was out running errands when I saw this on Broadway.

Sorry about the crap picture, but I was relieved to see Segue Dude alive and well after the surreality of my morning.  Just zipping down the busiest N/S street in downtown Portland like a damn boss.

M.A.S.H. Up

Black & White

A while back, I was challenged on the Facebook to participate in this Black & White Challenge thingy.

The rules were to post one black and white photo each day for seven days, no commentary, no people.  Just photos.

I suspected it was just some elaborate ruse to get me to shut the hell up for a week and considered ignoring the challenge.  But, since my inner child is very much alive and well, I simply couldn’t resist the dare.

So I did it.


The final part of the challenge was to pass it on to one of your Facebook friends each day, but I’m lucky enough to have the friends I do…best not risk pushing them away any more than my sparkling personality (read:  EOG) already does.

Plus, it took me nine days to post my seven photos.  

Needless to say, it’s been bugging me ever since, the lack of context or comment on these posts.  Fortunately, I have a forum where I can basically say and do just about anything I want.

Take that, everybody else!

Now let’s see if I can not only recall these in order but also remember what struck me about them enough to include them in the first place.

Day One:  I go to work too damned early.  Sure, we had recently survived the idiotic annual shift to Daylight Savings Time once again, but seeing street lights on when I leave for work in the morning is a little much.

I think this was my Sunday shift, so I’m up at 3:45 and out the door by 4:30.  On my way to the MAX stop in Old Town I pass a gentleman’s club that’s still open, further reinforcing my belief that it’s not actuall morning.

Day Two:  This is where I do it, Portland International Airport.

Not “do it” like a wide-stanced senator, I actually work at PDX.  I love the environment and the carpet makes me happy.  This is version two of the world famous PDX carpet.  It was replaced two years ago after a couple decades of wear and tear.  And at about 50,000 travelers a day, that’s a lot of wear and tear over 20 years!

Day Three:  After a couple of days at the old Salt Mine, I’m ready for a drink to blow off a little midweek steam.  I actually stopped on the way home at a shitty little Old Town restaurant with good beer called Silver Dollar Pizza II.  I have no idea how this is related to Silver Dollar Pizza on NW 21st, but I do know that this is owned by the same jag off that formerly owned one of the three second-worst gay bars in Portland.  He sold it s while back and suddenly its not a gay bar anymore.  I guess you could say, <poof!> no poofs.

So, there I am, having a couple of beers and when I walk out, darkness.  Goddamned Daylight Savings.  But I walk around the corner and here’s this sign to brighten my night!  Nothing like blowing a few bucks in quarters and blowing away your day’s frustration with some Galaga!

Day Four:  This building.

I always lament my move to Shittatle by saying, “If the Pearl would have looked then like it does now, I never would have left”.  Truly, I would have taken the severance being offered and suffered through the remaining years of the W presidency in the happiness of my hometown.

When I left, the Pearl District was just starting it’s redevelopment phase and there were blocks of in-redeveloped warehouse space and abandoned buildings.  There were lots of galleries, a few co-ops and some new high rise buildings.

This is one of the co-ops. It’s someplace I could never afford to live, but a place that’s always been one of my Pearl aspirations.

C’mon lottery…

Day Five:  I’m pretty sure this was one of the days I missed posting because I was traveling, sue me.  I took off for my company’s annual leadership seminar midweek and took a little light reading for the trip.  Of course, if I’d forgotten it, the hotel had me covered with its own good book.  

I love the act of holding an actual book while I read.  It’s such an analog feeling.  The weight of the book in my hands, the smell of ink and paper.  Imagination engaged and senses engaged…I was off on an adventure that was simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic.  If you have a chance to read this before the movie comes out, do.  If not, the movie will be pretty good, I’m sure.  Spielberg at the helm?  Pretty good indicator, right?

Day Six:  And then I missed another day.  But it got me back home where I was greeted by some wet foliage when I walked through the park in front of my building.

Actually, I was pretty impressed that I didn’t slip on this leaf as I traversed these sometimes treacherous bricks.

Day Seven:  It’s my weekend!  And I was lucky enough to meet up with the Filipina Fox for a drink while her hubby was traveling for work.  Also, she got me into this challenge, so it’s only fair that she was with me when I snapped my last entry.

It’s a statue of a giant whisk.  Because: Portland.

And then there’s this gem.  I snapped this selfie in my elevator afterwards.  All this black and white nonsense made me nostalgic for the work of Herb Ritts or one of those super gritty Rolling Stone covers with the pop culture icon viewed through a haze of exhales cigarette smoke.

Obviously, I’m missing the smoke.

And some professional lighting.

And the pro photog.

Gawd.  What if this is what I really look like?!?

Black & White

The Red Shirt Diaries #7

My first bad dream of the last week was clearly a sign of watching too much Supernatural as I returned to the series to complete the last of the 11th season over the course of the a couple consecutive evenings.

It’s no surprise at all that I woke up suddenly to the reality that a Bela Lugosi looking creature was not grabbing my ankle to drag me out of bed.

No, Deizel, he was not dressed as a sailor, either.

I can even attribute bad dream number two of this week to the fact that I have been living in a state of shocked disbelief over the last two weeks as America’s new president essentially waves his dick around at everyone.

Plus, I wrote about my feelings on that topic last night, ate a large amount of emotional food with a couple glasses of wine and then went to bed.

In one of the most surreal dreams that I can recall – which is saying something for my dreams, which kind of begin at “surreal” – I was drinking at a bar when in walked you-know-who.

I know, drinking at a bar isn’t surreal for me by any stretch of the imagination.

But the fact that then he goes on a rampage, killing 49 people…that’s kind of surreal.

I had mentioned in my blog post from last night that I hadn’t felt this affected and shocked as a person since the Pulse Massacre, and guess where I figure I was?  If there’s credit to be given here, it’s that unlike Omar Mateen, the Cheeto-In-Chief wasn’t firing a gun…he was killing people with his actions, tweets and Executive Orders.

He grabbed someone by her pussy:  dead.

He breaks for a moment and checks his phone, tweeting, “You’re overrated” and someone else collapses:  dead.

He critically looks someone up and down and says, “Wrong”:  dead.

He mimics someone with a disability:  dead.

He whips out a padded folder with an executive order in it, signs it and throws it onto the dance floor, where several people are hit by it and hit the ground:  dead.

It goes on and on in slow motion for what seems like years.

Four years, I’m assuming.  We’re all just trapped in there.  It’s happening so slowly that I get to witness areas of the bar where people aren’t yet aware of what’s going on, they’re just blissfully sipping and chatting and dancing…totally oblivious.

Kind of like our current administration, except these people look happy.  Ecstatic compared to any of the folks in this administration…most of whom look as if they haven’t shit since before Woodstock.

He tweets out “Fake” and several more people drop amid a cacophony of tweet alerts:  dead, dead, dead and more dead.  I note the irony of people in a gay bar dying when someone calls them fake…but it is bittersweet.  Actually, just bitter.

I’m now hiding in the kitchen with several others, peeking through the swinging doors as the rampage seems to be losing steam.  As I peer through the round window in shock, a Marine that just magically appeared by his side sets a briefcase on the bar and opens.  Keys are inserted, digits are punched and a countdown clock begins.

I run into the kitchen and start tearing food and shelves out of the oversized fridge and crawl inside.

I can’t – and yet…strangely can – believe that the asshole kills himself with a nuke.

Once I woke up – and this friggin’ nightmare, like out current shituation is not over – I couldn’t believe the similarities between what I assume to be Omar Mateen and our fervent Cheeto’s mental state and the culture of mental health neglect that created them.

Repressed by culture, religion and/or overbearing parental figures.

Situationally isolated from a peer group by race or class.

Aggressively seeking to dominate everyone around them to disprove their own feelings of impotence.

I also spent some time thinking about how forced parenthood leads to mentality ill children:  neglect, abuse, escapism into drugs and alcohol or bullying.  How does a child cope with the feelings they must be able to sense or intuit about not being wanted?  As my parents’ favorite child – of the year I was born – I can’t imagine firsthand how that happens or feels.  But while I was stirring this insane dream around, my second cousins popped into my mind.

I know exactly why.

My first cousins were my closest cousins growing up.  The children of my grandmother’s sister and her husband.  Visiting them was exciting and terrible at the same time.  Exciting because they lived on a farm.  Terrible because they seemed to believe that the farm existed in the 17th century.

Only The Lawrence Welk Show on the TV – the only show they ever seemed to watch and which somehow always seemed to play during our visits – and the equally 180-degrees-from-modern-pop-music loaded Wurlitzer proved we were still in the 1970s when we visited.

There was women’s work.

The kids were all home schooled.

There was a grotto to the Mother Mary in their home, although I may be confusing that with their compound…er, home from later in life.

My great aunt never spoke out against her husband, and my great uncle never spoke, so much as growled or commanded.

The viability of their children seemed to diminish over time.  Starting with what seemed like two perfectly normal girls, then moving on to a string of less and less functional boys.  I think it was basically Mother Nature picking up the vibe my great aunt was putting down…perhaps the children’s diminished functionality was a result of Mother Nature trying to give my great aunt a break from raising and schooling another farm hand.

Who knows?

What I do know is that by the fifth kid, my picture of unrecognized and unmanaged “special needs” was complete.  Whenever I remember my male second cousins, I visualize the eldest as a prototype of his father, bullying his two younger brothers and calling it love when it was really just therapeutic mis-management of his isolationist upbringing manifesting its rage.  I remember the two youngest as faceless toddlers doing stupid shit like running full speed into a wall.

Faceless, because in my memory, they each always have a bucket on their heads.  I think the buckets were stolen from where the older girls made their mud pies in preparation for growing into the women who would eventually marry twin brothers.

In the same ceremony.

american-gothicI know I’m not painting a strong enough image of how different that side of my family was…or is?  Let me just say this about the folks who are the faces of all Cheeto voters in my mind as I type:  when my great aunt finally divorced my great uncle – which I cheered – it was after my own parents’ divorce, which thankfully didn’t stick.  He shows up at my mom’s door, according to family legend, and drawls out something along the lines of “Your kids need a father and my boys need takin’ care of…”

I just imagine my speechless mom slowly closing the door as he stands on her porch.

But the childhood of those boys…that’s what I imagine Omar Mateen and the head of the Embarrassment Branch of our government experienced growing up.  Sure, not on a farm 30 miles and 300 years outside of town, but that same type of minimal parenting and social isolation…it’s not good for kids.  I was an odd duck kid and my parents made me participate in the shit other kids were doing:  intramural sports – which was so inadvisable, street games like hide and seek with the other kids from the cul-de-sac, birthday parties that I’m sure my cooler siblings were invited to and I went along as part of the package.  I just don’t imagine people who grow up to behave so contrary to the norm to have endured – er – had that type of parenting.

So, lucky me.

Until now, anyway.

End on a fun note?

I didn’t die in Trump’s “suicide”.  I got to live in the nuclear winter that followed.  I emerged from my industrial fridge cocoon in the North Park Blocks outside my building, which is weird, given that my dream began in Orlando, right?

But, dreams.

I go into my building and head up the stairs to my place, because…no elevator, right?  My unit is in the back of the building, which is nestled between a still under construction hotel and the street facing units of my building.  The place is pretty well destroyed, but partially protected from the blast by the elevator shaft.  I think to pack together what canned food I can before heading out to find more suitable lodging.  Since it’s my kitchen, there’s more canned cat food than anything else.  Broken bottles of wine rest in their overturned racks as a grim reminder of the one staple I kept at home for meals.

As I’m entertaining the dark thought that I might have to consider alternative food sources, it occurs to me that Myrtle is nowhere to be found.  Unsurprisingly, really.

I am heading for the stairwell when it occurs to me that I should check the other units on my floor.  The doors are blow completely off the street facing units and I can see the haze of the nuclear winter through them, so I opt for my neighbor’s – whose blog name I have forgotten, but I recall that it was a completely not subtle acknowledgement of his all American slash wholesome hottiness – place.  It’s not trespassing since his door is most definitely more off the hinges than on.  Thank you, shock wave.  I’m picking around in the debris as I head toward the kitchen to forage imagining how it must have looked pre-nuclear holocaust.  My foot catches on something and when I lift it from the ash, it has a leather harness hanging off of it.

My all American hottie neighbor had a secret.

Make that, my most likely dead all American hottie neighbor…but The Silver Fox would be gloating right now because he used to tell me that he had seen my neighbor kissing a guy outside on one or two occasions.

a-boy-and-his-dogBefore the thought is even completed, I’m on the stairs and heading across the park to The Fox’s Lair when I run into him in the park.

With George.  Of course his inherited pooch survived, making my The Fox Don Johnson from A Boy and His Dog.

I here I thought this was gonna be a Thunderdome-type dream.

What, you don’t have those?

The Fox and I lament how the absence of coffee would add to our post apocalyptic catch up sesh in the park and make a plan to get out of town since the survivors all seem to be radicalized and hungry.  I suspect I get his drift all too well, so we decide to hike out toward my family’s homes outside of town.  My brother and brother-in-law are both former military and my bro-in-law is law enforcement, and we figure we could do with the skill sets inherent with those vocations for the foreseeable future.

We pack up and head out on our journey.

I don’t know why the two day hike finds me holding out such assured hope that my family has likewise survived, but I upon discovering the error of my assumption, my grief is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they will be spared the future left to humanity as well as the warmth of knowing my mother and sister would both approve of the faith that sustained me on the journey.

The Fox and I decide to keep heading out Highway 30, finally taking that road trip to Astoria that I’ve been not so subtly suggesting to The Silver Fox for the last couple of years.  Although, I’m fairly certain that the breweries I was anxious to visit will still be around at this point, it seems like as good a plan for our final days on earth as any.  I’m awoken in our cave-campsite on the second night of our hike to the mouth of the Columbia by George’s incessant barking.

Of course, what would normally annoy me, terrifies me given the current circumstances.  I turn to check on The Fox, only to discover that he’s not there.  I let my eyes adjust and try to listen for movement, I creep on my stomach toward the opening of the cave.

All I hear is that damn barking.

Until I don’t.

I quickly belly crawl as deep into the cave as possible before I hear intruders rustling in our – I guess now it’s just my – campsite.  From where I am perched, I can hear the nonsense Bible versus they are quoting about how the lord hath provided for them yet again.

I can vaguely make out a red ball cap that one of them is wearing and I suspect it was made in what used to be China.

Those people.

I am powerless to do anything to defend myself or my makeshift campsite and resign myself to waiting them out.  I am not afraid that they might find me, nor of what would happen to me if they did.

They leave.

I lay there planning my next steps; ultimately deciding that whether I’m to live or die, I’m going to do it where I call home.  Magically, I’m standing in front of my building as dusk settles…it’s not so much something I visually observe through the grayness of our nuclear winter so much as simply sense.

I also sense that I am not alone.

I begin backing toward one of the giant tree stumps that used to shade the park B.T. and I can see something darting around my peripheral vision.

Something hits me from behind with a feral hiss and I fall to the ground, rolling onto all fours as I look for my attacker…knowing who it is.

I am jolted awake just as the yellow green eyes of an only slightly more feral than normal looking Myrtle runs directly at me…with the instant realization that I had slept through the whole night.

I hadn’t woken once in almost eight hours, not even to pee, which is way out of the ordinary.

Experiencing that fucked up dream seems like way too high a price to pay for a night of physically undisturbed sleep.

Anyone want a cat?

The Red Shirt Diaries #7

The Red Shirt Diaries #2

breakfast-of-sickosI’ve been sick since last week…and it’s a weak, yet persistent little bug.  It’s annoying.

But, at least being medicated gives you some interesting dreams!  And this morning, with the help of NyQuil and wine before bed, followed by DayQuil and a breakfast of Monster Lo-Carb and black RedVines for breakfast…I finally feel like sitting up long enough to scribble down some of them.

Or one, in particular.

We’ll see if I have any mojo left for the others.

Not to bury the lede, or anything, but I’m not particularly afraid of spiders.  I’m not the type of guy that runs around picking them up and taking them outside…but after the initial revulsion, I tend to tolerate their presence.

So, I’m laying in bed the other morning – wheezing – trying to go back to sleep.  My throat is on fire, probably from sleeping with my patio door open so that the murderous Myrtle can go in and out as she pleases…which is solidly just defensive thinking to hopefully get as much undisturbed sleep for the night as possible.  It’s 6:58 in the morning and I can hear the construction team warming up outside my bedroom window prior to beginning their work on the hotel project next door.

My sleep window is usually a pretty tight affair.

I’m stuck between getting up for some Naproxen and Melatonin so I can just knock myself out for a few hours (I’m out of NyQuil at this point) and successfully dozing off and on.

I’m actually dreaming – or hallucinating, depending on your definitions – in my moments of unconsciousness.

img_1519I wake up, sensing something crawling on my wrist.  My hand is tucked underneath my pillow, supporting my head, but close enough to the wall that I briefly consider what might have crawled out of the crack before dismissing the sensation as my pillowcase brushing one of the hairs that grows away from my skin versus laying down with the rest of my arm hair.

I’m chuckling at what on Earth would ever lead me to believe there might be monsters under my bed.  Surely, a cat as intelligent as my murderous and blood thirsty Myrtle wouldn’t just stare at my bedskirt for no reason whatsoever…would she?

I fall back asleep.

Only to be woken up by my neighbor leaving for work.  Two doors slamming is his farewell – the first is the door to his unit, the second the fire exit door since he takes the stairs down versus the elevator.

My throat is on fire.  I decide that I’m not going to get any more sleep without serious sleep inducers and just decide to get up.  I do some serious coughing as the phlegm in my throat shifts position from the horizontal to the vertical.  I’m having trouble expelling any of it while I cough.

I hop in the shower to wash the sick sheen off my body after a night of erratic feverish sleep.  I keep coughing as the heat further loosens up my throat.  Aren’t you glad I didn’t say “phlegm” again?  I’m feeling better overall, even though I know that the heat from the shower is going to mess with my body temp for a few hours to come.  I’m finishing up, brushing my teeth and enjoying the steam wishing I could clear my throat.

Yeah, I brush my teeth in the shower…what of it?

I’m rinsing the toothpaste from my mouth when I’m hit by a huge throat tickle.  Spewing water and toothpaste suds all over the shower wall, I successfully avoid drowning myself and double-over, coughing.  I’m bracing myself against the wall with one hand, just getting in a killer ab work out as I cough.

A nearly solid chunk of phlegm flies onto the shower floor as I finally cough up what was in my throat.  It’s about the size of a date.


I’m still coughing a little, my throat is still a little tickle-y.  I’m staring, horrified, at what just came out of me when I notice that it’s kind of darker in the core and lighter and whitish at the edges…and that there’s a…spider leg sticking out of one edge?!?


I lean my body against the shower wall imagining how easily a spider could have crawled into my mouth given my tendency to lay flat on my back with my mouth wide-open when I’m congested in order to suck as much oxygen in as possible while I’m sleeping.  Snoring, some might say.

I’m hit by another round of small coughs, which result in some splatter on my hand…great, I’ve probably coughed my throat raw and am actually bleeding.

The splatter starts moving around.

My throat explodes outward with baby spiders as my body explodes upward in bed.

Well, now I’m awake.

I prop up pillows behind me and grab my iPad to read.

“Let’s search the place for Hex Bags before we go canvass the neighborhood and talk to his friends…see if anyone strange has been hanging around the neighborhood or if this guy had any enemies.”

I’ve fallen asleep again

More likely, I’m in that semi-asleep state between being truly awake and truly unconscious.  I soothe my active mind into just going with it.  I’m curious to see what has been going on with my subconscious self lately.

“Cut!” someone yells, and I push myself up from the floor of the shower just in time to see Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles walk away from my mostly naked self.

I really need to stop binge-watching Supernatural while I’m taking cold medicine.

The Red Shirt Diaries #2


I had a weird dream last night.

In it, I am pouring out a bottle of wine halfway through the first glass because I got invited out.  Such a waste.  But I remember, vividly, thinking “Well, doesn’t look like I’m going to get a chance to finish this off”.  Which may seem like a premature leap, since I had only opened the bottle about two ounces prior.

Not such a strange thought once you factor in the fact that I really don’t like to eat leftovers.  It’s just one of my quirks.

Takeout from a restaurant is one thing.  Taking home leftovers from a restaurant…probably just going to sit in my fridge until I toss them out.

My family loves to send food home with me after family dinners.  I have loads of plasticware I really should return to them…and I do try to make an effort to eat those leftovers, the symbolism of my family taking care of me with food.  So core.

My lunch yesterday at The People’s Pig, a local dive BBQ joint up in North Portland is a good example of this habit of mine.  My sandwich order ended up being a Pluto-sized BBQ pork sandwich with about two spuds worth of jo-jo potatoes on the side.  I got about three-quarters (closer to half, I’m sure) through the sandwich and tapped out.  When the purple haired and tattooed waitress suggested that there were takeout boxes available if I wanted to take the rest home with me, I told her to just give it to the homeless guy out back – there’s always a homeless guy around in PDX.  She looked a little offended, but I assured her I would be back.  More menu items to gorge myself on!  I just know myself well enough to know what is going to happen to that poor pig if it ends up in my fridge.

I think this soldier is to blame for the dream imagery, BTW.  He’s been sulking here on the countertop since Tuesday…

Probably not the most reassuring thing to have car keys chilling next to a half bottle of wine…but they aren’t mine, I swear!

Anyway, the meaning of the dream, from the little thought that I have put into it this morning seems to point toward not letting opportunities pass me by.  Particularly with friends, as this situation would indicate, but overall in life.

Remember The Yes Game?

Well, in this dream, I said yes to friends…even though I’m sure it could appear that I said no to wine.

Don’t worry, I drink enough.


I think this dream was meant to remind me that I’ve a fairly solitary existence.

In part, I think this is a habit from my career.  I spend a lot of time being center stage at work.  One of my ex-boyfriends called it “Being on” in a pejorative kind of way, but he was right.  When I’m working, I’m on.

For my customers.

For my employees.

It’s my job.

The flip side of that personality coin – for me – is that I spend a lot of my off time doing things on my own.  Exercising.  Reading.  Movies.

I’ll hit a movie alone without a second thought.  Turns out, I like avoiding crowds when possible.  I love my weekday days off.  I can grab a matinee and shame eat popcorn in relative privacy with only the judgment of strangers in a dark room to weigh me down.  Plus, I hate sharing food.  Particularly finger-type foods.  But that’s a blog for another time…I hope I remember to write it!

Not that I think this dream was trying to suggest I learn to share.

When I exercise, I tend to do it solo – although it is a great date activity.  Alas…

Anyway, the reason behind this behavior is that when I want to exercise, I want to focus on it and get it done.  There are so many guys at the gym who use it like a social club.  I joke with the Fox that his jaw looks really pumped after he works out, since I frequently witness him standing around chewing the fat with his pals at the gym.

Becoming the Silver Fox does have it’s costs and responsibilities, it seems.

That said, when I work out and get stuck behind a Chatty Cathy, it kind of frustrates me.  But, there are other machines.  What frustrates me is that I find myself wishing that guys were as social at the clubs as they are when working out.  The difference there, of course, being that they don’t bring a gaggle of friends to the gym to insulate them like they do the bars.

Maybe the dream was trying to tell me to chill the fuck out and be flexible.

<eye roll>

Sometimes I sit at home with a bottle of wine – and recently, with Myrtle as a companion – and watch TV or read a book.  A young friend commented once that it made him sad when I said that.

Inside, I told him to go fuck himself.

Outside, I challenged him as to why he felt that way.  He responded that when he drank, he liked to go out and drink with friends or go to a bar and meet new people while he drank.

I get that.

I also get that that’s less the reality, even though it’s a good concept.

He’ll learn.

I spend plenty of time drinking in a bar.  I’ll hang out at CC Slaughters or Hobo’s fairly regularly, just to get out of the house for a few hours.  Sometimes, I will chat up the bartender or on a good night, find a social fellow patron.  Most nights that I go there aren’t good nights, though.  Frequently, I will read a book or – more recently – even work on a blog post as I sip (aggressively gulp) my drink.

Maybe you’re familiar with the old saying about gay men disappearing once they turn 3o?  Well, it’s not literal.  But for a variety of reasons, we do.  The lucky ones have met a boyfriend and settled down.

Talk about unicorns, though.

The more common phenomenon is that the gay culture is incredibly youth-obsessed and when a guy starts to show his age at 30, shedding the twink or otter or cub body he sported effortlessly in his 20s…he is passed over in favor of the Pretty Young Things that have come after him.

With the rise in usage of apps like Grindr and Scruff, the unicorn phenomenon I mentioned earlier has only gotten rarer since it seems gay men are settling down less frequently.  The smorgasbord menu those asocial media apps provide seem to be making “settling down” more synonymous with “settling” in the face of all the accessible “options”, incorrect as that interpretation may be.

I hope I don’t live to see the full circle our culture comes to when the world is populated with lonely gay uncles attending family get togethers with no one special to accompany them.  It’s kind of what I feared becoming when I was a young kid…there were always flamboyant or quirky – frequently drunk and dressed in seersucker suits – vaguely gay uncle figures in my reading and TV viewing providing a tragic glimpse into what eventually became my existence.

Sans seersucker suit, mercifully.

Presently, I think the gays would be topping off their glass and staying in, eschewing the offer of time out with friends in this particular dream scenario.

But that’s not what this is about.

I think this dream for me was a reminder to do what I’m doing in the dream.

Say yes!

Even though my psyche knows I will likely not return to that unfinished dream wine, it’s reminding me that there is always going to be another bottle available.  So, go on…get out.  Don’t let an opportunity to spend time with friends or foster real relationships with new ones pass you by.

I also think it’s a way of allaying some of my simmering fears about selling my condo and exploring self-employment versus banging my head against the doors of people who don’t seem to want to work with me.  If I want to experience being one resume or profile amongst thousands that gets ignored or just a surface glance, only to ultimately be dismissed without any real reason…well, I can always keep trying to date.

There are recurring dreams that I have had my entire life that kind of make me stop and take a look at what’s going on in my life…reminders to not just proceed blindly without weighing the pros and cons a situation or person might offer.

One such dream I have had time and again over the years is of me playing darts with Larry Tate from Bewitched.


And you thought I looked so normal on the outside…

I don’t even play darts in real life.  I used to, for a short time – I think just because of this dream.  But, for some reason, my psyche landed on this figure to be my dream time sounding board.  Interesting since he was a pretty unsympathetic character on the show.  Nevertheless, there we are, tossing darts and talking shit out.

Less weird and surprising than that dream would be the reality that in my conscious life, the Silver Fox is my best friend.  So, in my waking life, I have a Larry Tate stand in as a sounding board.  The Fox, however…definitely a likable character, despite the occasional shit I give him!

The message that I think my psyche sends me here is to stop and consider a situation and not to get trapped in my own head while doing it.  In my life, I am fortunate to have several great friends that I consider confidants.  Certainly, my parents are always there for me, too.  As a matter of fact, they are traveling through the middle of next week and I’m eager to have them weigh in on what’s happening as I seek to become self employed.  I think it’s going to be a long week…but the take away is to use those resources I am lucky enough to have in my life.

The last dream I want to share is a recurring childhood basic weirdness dream.  In the dream, I am an infant and my dad has taken me to work with him.  He was supervising a crew of longshoremen – not his actual job, so where my kid-brain got this imagery is beyond me – as they pulled on some ropes that led into a gigantic warehouse.  The strain they were under and the effort they were putting into their task was obvious.

There was a preternatural quiet.

I was crawling around in some crazy yellow infant-wear carrying a white plasticized Easter-type basket.


I wasn’t paying much mind to the work being done, but was super aware of the strain.  I could feel it.  Eventually, I noticed that a giant slab of stone was emerging from the warehouse.  Slowly.  The piece of rock was as big as the opening to the warehouse.

It was otherworldly looking.

Eventually, they got to about the three-quarter mark on their work.  The stone was literally as long as the warehouse.

This dream feels like it takes forever to unfold.

What happened next was deafening.  Over the sounds of their pulling, the deafening sound of a rock breaking apart overwhelms my ears.  I start to cry, but stop as the rumble is replaced by the song of a little girl’s music box.

My perspective pulls back and I see myself crawling over the rubble, dragging my basket behind as the dust settles.  I zoom back in and see myself collecting bits of debris into my basket.


I’ve had this dream since I was a kid.

It used to terrify me.  I’d wake up, literally shaking my head, unable to understand what the hell I had just experienced.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to interpret this dream as a sign that I was putting a great deal of effort into something in my life.  Perhaps more effort into something than I should.  Eventually, it would either pay off or end in catastrophe.  This dream has served to make me stop and examine what is happening in my life and assess whether what I was focused on was going to end up being worth the effort I was pouring into it.  Ultimately, if it didn’t yield the expected return, then it was just my responsibility to pick up the pieces and carry on.  The symbolism of the men was interesting, given that I began having this dream before I became aware of my sexuality.

BTW…Broken Poet, anyone?  Where was this dream then?!?  LOL.

But the real moral here, or the most immediate one…never leave a bottle behind.