* * * My Words, My World, My Way * * *

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Comes to a Close

Imagine my surprise last night when I discovered out of nowhere that we actually have Planet Green on our television lineup.  (We ought to, as much as we pay each month.....)  Not that I was looking for Planet Green.  But I spotted The Fabulous Beekman Boys running back-to-back episodes.  We'd never seen it.  In spite of the fact that our friends Garth and Doug who run the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, New York, have roles in several of the episodes.  So I said to Loverboy, "Hey LoverBoy, I wonder if Doug and Garth are in this episode......"  And then, before I could even get my bowl of ice cream, there they were!  If you're not familiar with the show, it's sort of has a rich, gay Green Acres feel to it.  Two city boys move to the country and try to make a go of it.  And I love all of the little cute animals running around on the farm. 

We're headed to the Oregon Coast this next weekend.  In spite of the fact that we live only 1 1/2 hours from the Pacific Ocean, we haven't been in several years.  And we're both demanding a bit of time away with the Pooch.  So, we've secured a room in Lincoln City, Oregon, for two nights.  And they take doggies so Mason will be welcomed.  We'll do our typical coffee stops along the way.  Browse at the Outlet Mall and maybe even stop at the casino to pull a handle or two.  The whale migration should be about done but perhaps we'll spot a few of the beasts headed north to Alaska for the summer season.  And this will be Mason's first trip to the ocean.  I can't wait to see him put his cute little paws in the 50-some-degree water. 

Our condominium Homeowner's Association held their annual meeting last week.  Our meetings in general have been a little tense over the past year.  We have several giant outstanding construction issues in our building that have yet to be tended to -- they have been going on for several years.  And they involve our developer.  He's been in legal arbitration and finally, I think, has a settlement to hopefully take care of the issues.  He's an arrogant, pompous know-it-all who talks down to we little puny homeowners.  So, what do we do?  We elect him onto the board of our HOA.  Nice, huh?  I didn't vote for him but he secured enough votes via his slick, conniving ways.  I'm more than a little concerned about a conflict of interest -- what he will, or will not, do.  But I'm trying to keep an open mind in spite of the fact that I'm not happy.  He's far too smart for his own good.  And that can come in quite handy if you need something from him.  But I'm not sure it will serve us all in the best way possible.  We will continue our duties as the building's Maintenance Committee for now.....we change light bulbs, sweep, tend to minor maintenance issues, just keep our eyes and ears peeled for anything weird. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lord's Day

Since it's the Lord's Day, I think it is only appropriate to include you in a letter I'm writing to Doctor Steve Crane.  He is the Senior Minister of Eagle Christian Church in Eagle, Idaho.  My old stomping grounds.  And I still have connections in the area which is how I come to know of this giant evangelical church.  I've been there, several times.  Each time is quite the experience.  But my big deal with the church is the actual, live people that I know who attend it.  That's where my issue comes in.  It's how they talk and live their lives.  The words I hear coming out of their mouths.  The attitudes they have toward other human beings.  And then they go to Eagle Christian Church on Sundays and sit under Doctor Steve Crane's preaching.  

Dear Doctor Crane:

What a pretty building you have.  Larger than it used to be, isn't it.  To accommodate the masses.  The Eagle area has grown so much since I was a child in the area.  I remember the old ECC on State Street in a little, old white building....with steps leading up to the front door, I believe.  I've moved away now.  But I've had the opportunity to visit your church a couple of times in recent years.  The services are nearly exactly as I assumed they would be -- staged, perfect, music here and there, scripture reading at the appropriate times, and the sermon placed just-so in the grand scheme of things.  And communion at just the right time when indicated so by the overhead visual TV monitors that say something like "Communion is Now Being Served."  To me it feels eerily staged, sterile....less than authentic, even.  Oh, I know, every person's perception is their own reality.   Apparently, my perception is off.  I have met you.  And I've met the ever-famous Doctor Beckman.  Seems all I ever hear when I'm back visiting is "Doctor Beckman this or Doctor Beckman that..."  He is obviously well thought of.  I come back for a visit and hear frequent references to the church, you, Sunday School, how many people come to church, and a variety of other things going on around your parts of the world.  They love you.....those folks I know who sit in your sanctuary on Sundays.  And Pastor Mark.  They love him too.  But I have questions.  Because I hear bantering about how great the church is, the pastors are, and all of that.  But I see and hear things out of your congregants mouths that cause me pause.  Cause me to wonder.  Even cause me anger, dare I admit that. 

I hear words and phrases that don't seem to add up to the positive, beautiful, Christian world that I know you promote inside your building.  I sense feelings of hatred, intolerance, and a less-than-stellar view of those who don't share the same opinions or viewpoints.  Now, there's nothing wrong with someone having a differing opinion -- but my concern is when that opinion continues right on down the road to downright nasty and filthy words like "spic" or "schvartze" (because using "schvartze" sounds so much better than nigger).  And the Jews.  They don't like them at all.  Yes sir, right out of the mouths of those who think the world of you and sit in your pews each week.  Sort of makes me squirm a little, you know?  I've heard things like "That school is a top-notch school full of smart kids because there aren't any little spics attending it..."  And I hear how they refer to our current President and the First Lady.  It is so far from a simple differing of a political opinion.  It is deep, dark, and horrible.  It is hate, clearly hate.  It is vile, venomous.  It comes from a place somewhere deep below the surface of their mouths.  Even below the heart level from a place of buried mixed-up, unresolved emotions and feelings.  And it springs forth from the mouth like a black, putrid stream of words that Jesus would never use.  And it goes without saying that they don't like Mormons.  Not just the Mormon religion.  Or the way that Mormon people believe.  They hate Mormons.  The people.  Not a visit goes by that I don't hear about what horrible people the Mormons are.  In fact, looking back to my own childhood, I think that my very earliest memories of how to not like someone else were bred in Idaho.  With regard to Mormons.  And I find that sad.  Thankfully, I'm a quite different man today.  I've been able to shed many of those feelings and have a markedly different vision of today's world than I used to.  My Christianity has migrated to a healthy place not stained any longer by predisposition, name calling, and teachings which are nothing remotely related to those of the Bible.  Balance.  Care.  Concern.  For all.

I remember leaving your church one Sunday morning after a nice little one-hour service.  We all got into the car and headed east on the highway back in toward Boise.  "Let's go to Taco Bell for lunch," I heard from the back seat.  Within minutes, it began.  Bad mouthing others, name calling, a lack of understanding or acceptance.  And I actually said out loud, "If you don't stop, I'm going to turn this car around and drive you right back to the church -- and you can go inside and tell Doctor Crane right to his face what you are saying....I can't imagine he would be happy."  Oh boy, that didn't go over well at all.  Talk about uncomfortable. 

And there's the murder.  Late one Saturday night out in Meridian a few years back.  The first thing I hear out of one of your congregants is "that it's probably a Mexican who did it."  Guess what?  It was a white female.  Caucasian.  Female. 

And then I wonder if they talk about me like that.  Behind my back.  You know, when I'm not around or actually in front of them where I can hear.  You see, I'm gay.  Homosexual.  A real life, honest to goodness fag.  And I have trouble believing that they can possibly love me, think highly of me, when I hear such degrading terms coming out of their hearts when I'm around.  They say they do.  But I must wonder.  Oh, I grew up in the church, Doctor Crane.  I know all of the terms, the phrases, the scriptures.  How to act in church, what to say, all of it.  I know your beliefs, your visions of heaven and hell.  Again, all of it.  I'm no stranger to the church or the Bible.  I've been a youth group leader, a church musician, a teacher, a leader.  I've played all of the church parts well.  Quite well.  But today, I wonder and think.  And it all makes me feel sort of sad for the work you do.  With all of your dedication, education, and devotion to changing the direction the world is headed, I'm not so sure that that honest hearts and souls of today's mainstream, right-wing evangelical Christians are being changed.  Perhaps some phrases, words and outward appearances when it is convenient and acceptable.  But it's the insides that are still quite dark and murky. 

I have this funny feeling that there are a whole slew of so-called Christians in today's world that are going to be in for a very rude awakening one day.  You know, on that day -- that day when the world comes to an end, that day when the sheep get separated from the goats.  I just have this feeling that things are not going to play out in quite the way that many are assuming.  So, I'll be back.  To the area.  Certainly not to the church.  I just can't stomach it any longer.  I've tried.  But if what I see in the lives of those who attend your church is a manifestation of what you're teaching, training and believing at Eagle Christian Church, I just can't be a part of it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trying to Keep an Open Mind

Once again, I have been reminded of the fact that we just never know what we're going to face in any given day.  We have zero idea who we're going to be around, what they are going through, where they are headed, or precisely how things are going to play out.

I have met some of the nicest people in my life.  Today, I had a couple of guys actually ask me how my day was going.  It's not that unusual, but fairly so.  They were so friendly, polite and smiling.  They wanted to know where I'd been that day, where I was going to overnight, and how my Monday was going.  And that's the reason I love some scant parts of this human race so much -- because of people like these guys.  I could have breezed over it, continued right on in my flight attendant mode, and simply said "Fine, thank you."  But I stopped, answered their questions, and turned around and ask them the same thing.  That's how I choose to do business.

And yesterday was a sad day.  My flight from San Jose to Seattle included a mother.  A mom who was, perhaps, 50.  Asking me for a cracker or little snack of some kind because she had not had a chance to eat yet.  Honestly, these sorts of requests are fairly routine -- and I often give them something if I have it but sometimes I just wonder what in the world they are thinking -- if you're hungry, eat!  Get up in time to actually get yourself a snack, for god's sake.  Back to the Mom.  She had a son in Seattle who was dying she tells me.  Today.  Yes, today.  They were keeping him on life support only until she could get to the hospital in Seattle to say her goodbyes to him.  I refused to make her turn off her cell phone when she should have been doing so.  I guess it was her call to the nurse who was attending to her son that did it for me -- "Promise me that you're keeping him alive until I can get there....you are...right?"  Yeah, she could pretty much do whatever she wanted and it would have been alright with me.  She cried.  I cried.  I put my hand on her arm and told her that I would be thinking about her.  She said she appreciated it and asked for my prayers.  I promised.  And off she went once we reached Seattle.  To see her dying son.  I suppose he's gone by now.  A mother left alone.  That's just not right.

And then the very next flight, another woman with a typed note on her passenger service record which read:  "Her mother died today."  Well golly gee now, just like that.  Her mother had died and now she was on my flight trying to get to Ontario, California, to attend to her duties.  She slept the whole way.  Rightfully so.

I do my best to keep an open mind.  I achieve it sometimes.  I fail miserably many times.  Part of the learning process, I presume.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

17 Years And Still Missing Him

My father passed away 17 years ago today.   Click over on the link to read his amazing story.  10pm tonight, to be precise.  I think that tonight's Super Moon is only fitting of a proper way to celebrate and honor him.  He was quite the man.  So great in a million ways.  In many ways we're alike.  And in many ways, we're not alike.  He would have appreciated me as a gay man, I just know he would.  He never had the opportunity to.  He would have been 79 today.  He died at age 62.  Lou Gehrig's Disease is a rotten deal.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All In a Day's Work.....

So, I know you think that we Air Hostesses do nothing but pour refreshing cold drinks, take coats for hanging, and say "Oh yes, why of course...." to any request.   Well, there is the occasional heart or asthma attack....but that really doesn't count.  But I'd like for you to take a careful look at what happened yesterday on a flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles.  This hits strikingly close to home.  And pay attention to the repeated Air Hostess requests for compliance.  I spend a huge percentage of my work life asking people to do this, or that, or reminding them of things that I'm required to do.  And, quite often, the requests are disregarded or ignored.  So, even more often, I find myself simply turning my head or ignoring things that are going on.  For my own sanity.  And because it happens so very very often.  Take a look:

Shortly after Flight 241 departed from Mexico City bound for Los
Angeles yesterday, flight attendants observed unusual behavior from
three male passengers that continued during the four-hour flight. Out
of concern for the safety of all of the passengers onboard, the crew
erred on the side of caution and authorities were notified. The crew
did not realize at the time that the passengers were Orthodox Jews
engaging in prayer ritual in Hebrew.

Here are a few of the issues that concerned the flight crew:
  •  Flight attendants instructed everyone to stay seated with their seatbelts fastened as the aircraft flew through turbulence shortly after takeoff. The three passengers disregarded repeated requests, however, and stood up several times to retrieve objects from their luggage in the overhead bin that the crew had never seen, including small black boxes fastened with what appeared to be black tape. The crew learned after the plane landed that these were tefillin boxes worn during the prayer ritual.
  •  The men prayed aloud together in a language unfamiliar to the crew while wearing what appeared to be black tape and wires strapped to their forearms and foreheads and wires on their chests. Their actions and behavior made some other travelers and the crew uneasy. The three passengers responded, but provided very little explanation, to a flight attendant’s questions about the tefillin boxes and what they were doing.
  •  Later in the flight, two of the three passengers visited the lavatories together while the third waited in the aisle and continually looked around the cabin and toward the flight deck door. Flight attendants thought he appeared anxious, as if he were standing guard.
The safety and security of our passengers is our top priority. While
our flight crews must be vigilant in watching for suspicious behavior,
they are also trained to be aware and recognize the personalities and
practices of a very broad and diverse group of travelers. Out of an
abundance of caution to protect all of our customers, we
misinterpreted the behavior of the three passengers who were praying
and wearing tefillin.

We embrace the cultural and religious diversity of our
passengers and employees. We apologize for the experience these three
passengers went through after landing in Los Angeles as well as for
any inconvenience to our other customers onboard. To help make sure
this misunderstanding does not happen again, we plan to incorporate
awareness training of Orthodox Jewish religious practices into our
ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. We’ve asked the Jewish
Federation of Greater Seattle for their assistance to help us better
serve our Orthodox Jewish customers and employees alike.

This is the official report from the airline.  You can find the complete Internal Review HereWould anyone care for a beverage??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll

I think that's how I responded to him when he asked what I was doing in the park and what I wanted.  Washington Park, to be precise.  Near the Fruit Loop but not actually in it.  The park sits just above downtown Portland and is where Portland's world-class Rose Garden sits.  Amazing views and a perfect place to spend the day wandering around -- in the Rose Gardens, not the Fruit Loop. 

We began our friendship in this very way.  I drove my rental car behind his Jeep as I followed him down the hill and into Northwest Portland to his apartment.  I begin to spend my time in Portland with him ... and with other Portland friends.  You see, I still lived in Boise, Idaho.  I was still not out yet.  And, glory be to the father son and holy ghost, I was still married...barely.   To a woman, for those in disbelief.  Michael was really my very first introduction into many things that I now take for granted.  Like taking public transportation.  Like drinking lattes.  Like recycling.  And watching PBS British Comedies.  And walking instead of driving.  And walking into a co-op instead of a grocery store.  Like alternative thoughts against the modern mainstream Christian church that I was immersed in.  And living with an indoor animal -- he had a cat, to which I was allergic -- in addition to not liking animals one little bit at that particular dark period in my life.  Can you even imagine...me not liking animals??  Wild!

We continue our little tryst for numerous months on my visits to Portland.  And I remember the night at home in Boise when I made up some excuse to sneak out of the house that I shared with my wife.  I drove down to the Payless Drug Store and found a pay telephone (you remember those, don't you??).  It was December, Christmas time.  And it was snowing as I stood outside in the cold winter air making a pay call to Michael in Portland.  To break the news to him.  To be honest and tell him I was married.  Remember, I still wasn't out yet.  I had told no one that I was gay....he was the first person that I'd ever told.  This phone call was a big deal -- I still hadn't learned how to live my life honestly yet at that point.  He was nothing but understanding and continued helping me along this particularly rough patch of life's road over the next months.  And it was when I returned from a trip at Michael's house when I found a little note in my bedroom in Boise.  From my wife saying that it was over.  And that's when the whole thing started going down -- I filed for divorce and came out.  April 1997.  Michael was there.  Right there.  A very good friend, indeed.  And it was also during these same few months when my one-year-old niece (now 15!) found out that she had been born with a heart defect -- valves malfunctioning and missing parts of the septum in her heart.  Michael went through this very scary time with me.  And we were watching PBS British Comedies at his house late one Saturday night when his parents called to tell him that his brother had died.  And there I was.  Not knowing quite what to do.  We were friends at some very difficult times in our lives.  And then, just as fast as it started, it ended.  Because of me.  Because I was going through so much in a particularly small window of time in my life.  And because Michael was telling me things about my church-going days of mainstream Christianity that I didn't want to hear.  I remember he came to Boise the very month after I came out.  He was the very first gay person that I introduced my mother to.  Man oh man, I was so nervous. 

Fast forward.  To today.  We were absent from one another's lives from May 1997 until about a year or two ago.  Via Facebook, I found him.  And sent him a message.  And he responded with nothing but a positive spirit.  I can't imagine the change that I've undergone from those times 13 years ago until today.  He didn't know me as an out, gay man with strong leaning liberal tendencies and grey hair.   He knew me as a scared, sort of out, unstable man who went to church every Sunday and didn't know what recycling was all about and didn't like badmouthing the Christian church.  So, imagine my surprise last summer when LoverBoy and me were at one of Portland's free Summer Concerts in the Parks when Michael rolled up on his bicycle.  Right up to us.  After all of these years. To say hi. 

We now see each other a bit.  All of us.  At our Tuesday Happy Hours.  He has a couple of dogs.  We have one.  He has offered to doggy sit for us if we ever need it.  It's been so nice to get reacquainted under better circumstances.  He's become a good friend.  And, believe it or not, LoverBoy and I are now die-hard fans of Saturday nights watching PBS British Comedies.  Because of Michael. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

He's Gone

For the week, that is.  He left last evening and will be home Thursday evening.  Actually a very cool week of new work activities in Seattle -- working with the catering company that drives our food and supplies up to the doors of our aircraft and delivers them....streamlining the process.  Really neat stuff.  Nonetheless, I'm sorting through this mounting feeling of not liking him to be gone.  And me not liking to be gone, either.  I like us to be here.  Together.  At home.  And I haven't always been this way.  There was a day when I actually enjoyed being gone, for a break....to gain perspective.  I mean, hey, we're both flight attendants.  And that does involve travel in case you didn't know already. 

I actually get a bit anxious over it.  Nothing major.  Just more sad or depressed, sort of.  Weird for me.  Perhaps its age.  Perhaps its recentering and recognizing what is important in life and what is not.  And I'm better this morning.  Mason and I will be home all week by ourselves.  I have several days off with nothing to do.  And I do enjoy those sort of times.  But there's just something about he and I being separated when big, monumental things happen like tsunamis or earthquakes or giant storms or airplanes crash.  You know, those sort of little things.  It makes me want to draw close to home.  For safety or security reasons, I guess.  I could go out to eat with friends, or the gym, or take a walk, or go to a movie, or go to one of Portland's million cool places for a drink or chat....but it just sort of rings hollow sometimes. 

I used to treasure my time away.  Enjoy it.  Look forward to it.  For a bit of breathing room, for space, for perspective.  And I still do.  But I'm really over it in many ways.  Over being gone, over being in hotel rooms, over dressing up in blue polyester and disappearing on trips for days on end.  Over eating in restaurants.  I like home.  And I like being home.  And I like him being home.  I think I'm getting old. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Heart of the Matter

"...Code Blue, C.T. #1.....Code Blue, C.T. #1.....Code Blue, C.T. #1...."

Lordy, those are not the words you want to hear over the hospital loudspeaker system as you're lying down for your very first heart echocardiogram.  But that's precisely what happened yesterday.  LoverBoy had just sat down on the chair next to the bed I was lying down on and the nice technician man was hooking up my heart monitoring equipment.....when those words about a Code Blue came screaming overhead.  And in case you don't know, a Code Blue is when a person has gone into cardiac arrest, their heart has stopped beating.   You see, my own father had two unannounced heart attacks in his early 50s.  Well just you guess now who is approaching that particular age?  Ahem.  And the men in my family have a terrible track record -- none have lived past their upper 60s or early 70s.  And I've had a bit of a minor history of funny feelings in my chest.  Not pain.  Not compression or pressure.  Believe me, I know the symptoms....and I'd be the first person to head to the E.R. if I needed to.  Sort of palpitations, sort of a minor bit of pain....nothing major, or even medium.  Just weird, strange sensations.  And that always makes me wonder.  I had high cholesterol until five years ago when I started my Zocor.  Unfortunately, medications like Zocor give a false sense of "I can eat whatever I want to because my medication will take care of it."  I do my annual blood work to make sure I'm where I need to be.  But I always wonder what my arteries look like.....is there plaque buildup happening?  Should I be doing more? 

I take four fish oil a day...along with a men's multivitamin, a vitamin E, and a low-dose aspirin to help prevent coagulation of my blood just in case.  I used to be a pretty regular attendee at the gym but that has turned into nothing.  I haven't gone in a long time.  And my yoga practice does as much for calming and anxiety as anything.  I floss my teeth nearly daily (did you know that good dental care can actually help keep bacteria and disease out of your body, including your heart??).  My blood pressure has always been normal (120/80) but has been creeping up over recent times.....into the 130s or even 140s.  Unacceptable over the long term.  The doctor is headed toward prescribing me high blood pressure medications....and I'm dragging my feet over it.  My EKG was perfect.  I've been wanting to have a heart C.T. scan to see if there is blockage in my arteries -- but insurance won't pay for it unless there's a good reason to.  I could falsely complain of heart attack symptoms but all that would do it put me in the Emergency Room.  I hate it that we don't provide for preventive procedures but, rather, they'll give it to me after I have a potential heart attack.  So, I had four consecutive days of a strange sensation in my chest last week.  And my doctor sent me over to Providence Portland Medical Center for the echocardiogram yesterday. 

What an experience.  Here's a video of an echocardiogram.  I've never seen inside of my heart in that way.  Wow.  I mean, suddenly you're just staring at the four chambers of your heart...and the valves, and the aorta, and the septum.  The little mitral and tricuspid valves.  The little pieces of skin making up the valves flipping open, closed, open, closed.  So fascinating consider that this little heart of mine has been pumping for 49 years.  Thousands of times, repeatedly.  And I'm hoping that it will continue for a bit longer.  The dude took 58 still photos and additional videos for assessment.  He shot pics in several different angles, some with color, some moving, some with sound.  He measured each of the four chambers to see if they were enlarged.  He measured the ejection fraction (EF) to see the percentage of blood leaving your heart with each contraction (normal is 55-70%).  I dig this sort of thing, the technology, the medical field has always interested me.  But I prefer it on others rather than myself.  I'm probably making it out to be a bit more sensational than it was.  But for a guy who is intrigued and wants some information about what's going on inside, and wondering if he has his father's bad heart genes, and questions every little feeling in his chest, it was just what I needed. 

So, I'll keep on working at it.  Paying attention to the amount of fried foods I eat.  Flossing, taking my vitamins and drugs, maybe even getting back into a cardio/yoga routine.  And I need to keep on trying to figure out how to get my insurance to pay for a Heart CT scan this year.  I just wonder if I should be doing more or taking additional preventive measures.  And I wonder if my arteries are all clogged up and ready for a myocardial infarction.  But in the meantime, I'll keep the images of my beating heart, its chambers and valves in my head.  It's good incentive. 

Oh, the results of my echocardiogram......fine.  100% perfect, were the words.  No enlargement of the heart or any particular chamber, the valves are opening and closing perfectly, and my Ejection Fraction is 70% (remember normal is 55-70%).  And that's good news. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Facebook is our Glue

..."Facebook wants me to confirm my relationship.....there's no going back now!!"......

This was a modified Facebook status update from a friend of mine.  I loved it.  Facebook was asking her to confirm her relationship and then it would be published on her Facebook page for the entire world to see -- provided she doesn't have any settings restricting such observation.  I had to laugh.  And comment....that Facebook is the cement that holds all of our relationships together.  God, we're a weird society.  Funky.  Strange.  Odd.  Somehow we've allowed Facebook to be our glue.  The concrete.  The end-all, be-all of our lives and relations.  If we get pissed off at someone, we defriend them or block them or hide them (you'll have no idea what these phrases mean if you're not a Facebook crack whore).  We get all riled up if someone won't be our friend on Facebook -- in spite of the fact that they are someone else's friend on Facebook.  Boo hoo.  Poor little weak things that we are. 

And what about this on again, off again thing?  I swear.  I have a few friends who are "So and so's friend" one day and not the next.  And then they are again.  And then they are not again.  Over and over.  Honestly, I can think of one friend in particular who has been so-and-so's boyfriend I don't know how many times.  And then she defriends him.  And then she friends him again.  Sort of like being friends on Facebook means anything.  Or everything.  Or nothing.  Perhaps it's the knowing that someone likes us.  Or wants us.  Or loves us.  Or none of the above.  Personally, I think it's for the sex. 

And Facebook is so new!  It's not even a few years old and it has become life's only connection to making relationships work for some.  What in the world did we do before Facebook?  And why does it have to be the determining, sole source for making us feel good about who is our friend and who is not?  I mean, hey, it's fun.  It's entertaining.  And an excellent way to get out news or word of an activity.  But that's really about it.  It's not like it makes any difference if I put my LoverBoy as my "domestic partner" or my "husband" or my "significant other" or my whatever....  He is, no matter what.  No matter if it's on Facebook or not. 

And I've had friends ask me why all I post about it Mason.  Mason, Mason, Mason.  That's all they ever see me posting about.  So?  So what?  Are we keeping score, or a tally?  It's really quite insignificant. 

I think we're weak, thin, exhausting.  As a people, a society, a globe.   It's like the whole world is going to hell around us and all we have time to do is get worked up over Facebook and its innerworkings.  Seriously, it's insignificant.  Having said that, I'm on it all of the time.  I do enjoy it.  For fun.  Not for drama, or work, or bickering, or long threads of going back and forth sorting out troubles, or being divisive (yes, I have been....), or for someone getting all bent out of shape over whether I friend them or not (I'll yank you off quickly if that's your game....). 

It's just so entertaining.  I get a kick out of the seriousness of it.  Or the game of it.  Or the lack of depth.  I also think it demeans our one-on-one, in person relations.  It cheapens them.  It takes our attention away from them.  And here's someone else's take on how Facebook destroys relationships

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Elevation 253

That's where Portland Maps puts our condominium.  At the elevation of 253 feet above sea level.  Downtown Portland is apparently at 180 feet.  The Portland Airport, out in Northeast Portland not too far from our house, sits alongside the Columbia River at 20 feet.  Which can be a problem if the river crests during a flood.  There are a more than a few higher areas of our county -- Mount Tabor 400 feet.  The West Hills can be more than 1,000.   We're all over the map here as far as elevations go.  And just an hour to the east or north can send you right straight up to the pinnacle of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, or Mount Adams...all at over 10,000 or so.  And to our west, betwixt us and the Pacific Ocean, is the Coast Range at upwards of 5,000 feet. Here's a list of a variety of Portland elevations

So, when the weather reports roll in here, it all depends on precisely where you live as to whether you'll have rain, snow, a mix, nothing, sun breaks, etc.  There are no rules.  Plus, if you live out on Portland's east side, you can often be under the wild influence of the Columbia River Gorge winds.....which can bring heavy wind to that section of the city along with cooler temperatures and even ice...just in that part of town.  It's weird. 

The snow is falling right now at a rate of 2 inches per hour at Mount Hood (that's where the big old ski lodge is located that you'll see in the opening scenes of Steven King's The Shining).  2 inches an hour!  And we need it up there because that's our drinking water for this summer.  So here in Portland, again, overnight they were forecasting 1-3 inches of snow....depending on your elevation and all of that.  We got nothin'.  Except for rain.  We're in the middle of a giant winter storm which typically means rain for the Portland Metro area.  It hasn't stopped in more than 24 hours.  No, suurrriousssly, it has not stopped.  Flooding, creeks and rivers are high, logs begin to jam the waterways, and the Willamette River which runs through downtown Portland gets closer and closer to Portland's nine beautiful bridges that traverse the Willamette. 

In spite of what much of the world believes, we don't typically get days and days on end of rain.  Even in the winter.  I like to say that we get "many days of some rain."  It does rain, at least to some degree, on a variety of days.  We get around 36 inches per year.  And lucky for us, we actually like the rain and ominous gray skies.  But the periods of time where it rains without stopping for long periods of time are pretty limited.  And the thing I like most about Portland is that it doesn't get socked in under snow like many places do.  We have only had a smattering this year.  And the temperatures do get below freezing sometimes but never for any length of time.  Much of our winter is spent with lows in the 30's and upper 20's perhaps.  Mild, really.  The crocus have been up for weeks, trees are beginning to have buds in them, and the pink flowering cherry trees along the river are in bloom.  I like Elevation 253.  A.  Lot.