Tuesday, March 31, 2009

i am sitting in a little place called the Coffee Girl on the end of Pier 39 in Astoria overlooking the grey and rocky Columbia River and a big ship anchored out there. The counter of the coffee shop is the original counter that the original coffee girl served coffee to all the cannery workers back in the day. outside it's blustery and the rain is going in all directions. Sleep did not come easy last night as i woke up off and on and thought about my job situation and former friend. both of which i could nothing about in the middle of the night. and no matter how many times i told myself that, my sleep was as choppy as the river is this morning.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Astoria is overcast today. i took a walk anyway. of all things my back is acting up, so i am exercising in some way everyday. i don't know exactly what i did; i'm thinking the stress of job-hunting, plus driving again, etc is part of it. i've been here for a few days visiting my girlfriends. the highlight was to hear Michael Hurley play at a little art gallery along with Alexa Wiley, a guy named Forrest, and my friend Claudia's husband, Brigido. Alexa sang and played guitar, Forrest played the violin and Brigido was on congas. of course Michael Hurley played guitar and banjo and sang. It was great. and even greater was the news from Claudia the next day that they wanted to do a house concert in Eugene and Claudia had suggested our place!! (Steve is thrilled!!) so it's been nice; and all about walking, talking, eating and soaking in Claudia's hot tub with her and Shelley. the only downside to the visit has been having a certain person again making it very clear they want no more to do with me. knowing this particular person wants no more to do with me has been worse than either of my two divorces. this may sound extreme, but it's the truth. i've missed her terribly.

last week while visiting my sons and Sue her name came up. i wish i had an explanation for Mica and Josiah as to why we don't talk. regardless whenever her name cames up it is always fondly. So, while in a thrift store, of all things Mica bought this wallet made of plastic meant to look like bacon, hence a bacon wallet. it reminded Mica of my friends potted meat collection. we all laughed and that afternoon l called and left a message of how nice it would be to see her. She never called me back. stupidly i decided i had nothing to lose if i stopped by her work with flowers. i received a cool brushoff. ouch. i fought back tears, thought all over again at just what had i done to cause this, and told myself to just let it go. i'll just say it's easier than it sounds.

i leave tomorrow for Portland to meet Steve! We will be spending the night there and then i am off to NYS to visit my family for two weeks. Mica, my son will be there on the 8th. it should be a good time or at least i am hoping so. i hope to do alot of walking, helping my mom with things and catching up with my dad and brother. and Mica hasn't been there in awhile and i know my parents look forward to seeing him.

the job hunt continues (even though i am away). i received news last week my old job is no more and they have no openings. they reminded me it was my choice to take the leave. ouch again. they're right, and while i did not expect my original position to be there i did think there would be something! so i am trying to not fret and have faith...i have applied at a few places i feel qualified for and will just need to hope for the best. we will see. i am almost afraid to feel too confident since i discovered the supervisory job i had applied for went to the other person. and as to the govt job i never made it to the list of applicants interviewed. i remind myself i do get myself into this position by leaving my work to do what i do in Peru. i don't know what to say besides that; we all have to live with our choices i guess and that means me too. realizing that does not help my anxiety though.

i have alot to keep me busy these next few weeks: the trip, then moving into Steve's, getting our garden in, more applications, seeing the lawyer about how to correct the Vidas Mejoradas paperwork, writing up the experience in Peru this time, doing my taxes , getting married...and what with no job, it is no wonder i am still waiting to feel settled down since getting back from Peru.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

gosh, i am ready for it to be warmer! brrr! its colder than it was in cuzco, but here in my room there's heat! such a blessing. i really thought we would be coming home to milder weather. it seems we have been thinking the weather should be different than it is for months now! ha! fooled again! yesterday the sun came out and that made it better especially since i was on my bike for a bit while my car was in the shop. steve has been able to dig up blackberries and get some hauling done to Lane Forest Products. we are making plans for some painting at his house and for me to move in upstairs mid April after my trip to visit my family. i am nervous about all the changes.

job hunting continues and now i am up to three outfits to wear to interviews, but to wear one, it needs to warm up a bit. ellen says i should post a picture of the more "professional" Laurie alongside Steve with his suit. i still feel like halloween in my outfit though! so far i have applied for four jobs and i have been back less than one week! i had two interviews for one job and they will call me next week after meeting their one other candidate. i called about the gov't job and at this point they have 14 candidates of which they do not have to interview all. there is someone who will review the applications and make that decision. and they would not tell me if i was one of the 14! another job i had applied for from Peru and i was never contacted. and yesterday i put in for a home health nurse job. that would be nice! the back up plan is to return to ICU mid April or so should nothing else materialize. obviously i would rather do something else but thankfully there is something, even if it is the 12 hour torture night shifts. on the 23rd i am scheduled to go to human resources and see what posted openings there are and i'll take it from there.

well it seems i may have registered our non-profit in the wrong category. instead of "mutual benefit", it should have been "public benefit." oops. i visited with our friend Ken of the organization AidAfrica the other day to try to sort it all out. he advised seeing the nonprofit attorney here in town, as his brain was just not working. sadly he is not doing great, but as always he approaches it all honestly, his spirits are good and sense of humor intact. he explained i should even wait on my personal taxes until seeing the attorney and straightening this out. i talked to steve right away about it and he has decided to go ahead with doing his taxes. the way the papers are now it is in my name, or appears to be and that may all be in error anyway! so as it was explained to me, Vidas Mejoradas is it's own entity so it is separate from us as individuals. so i have an appointment with the attorney but not until the 16th of April. it seems best to take care of this now in spite of the fact ken also said for five years the government does not pay attention to you! (his words were something like our $4000 is nothing to them if $4 billion gets by them...) he went on to say especially in the first year because "they" figure you don't know what you're doing. (you would have to know ken to really appreciate his opinions!)

the other day i went for a hike to see what would happen with the cough. all the mud reminded me of Mandorani (except it did not smell!) and to see my dirty hiking boots, i thought of the horror that would be on the faces of the shoe cleaners in Cuzco! it was peaceful and nice on the Ridgeline trail. yesterday the sun came out and while the car was in the shop, i got to ride my bike and then spent the afternoon settling myself into the room i have for now. today is another beautiful sunny day! i am getting set for a trip, going to the doctor to follow up on this cough and then for a walk. maybe i will even visit Vivian, my friend. later we are going to a birthday party and then to hear a show by the Bad Mitten Orchestre. i am hoping this MD appt is not a waste of money...ie., no insurance...but my good Doctor Pinedo advised i follow-up so as always i will do what he says. i am thinking it's a bit better. the cold air and exertion continues to bring it on though and it remains an odd sort of cough. perhaps i just need some nice steady warm air to settle those cilia down in my bronchial tree? or maybe a prescription?! that's my theory!

soon i leave for california to visit my sons and old friend, Sue. the car is all set for a road trip and i plan on going down the coast saturday. just the thought of the driving down the pacific coast causes a nice sigh in me. then i come home and help get the kitchen ready for painting! then it's another little trip to Astoria, another one of my very favorite places where my old friends live, until i fly to NYS to see my folks for a long overdue visit. and then steve will have the upstairs painted and i can move in and get back to work (of some kind)! so, this first week back has been what is usually the case for me. there is the initial excitement of returning, giving the quick talk of what we did, then settling down to being here again, ie., going to the grocery store, driving, and now even taxes...steve says all i do is complain. re-entering is always the harder part for me while the opposite exists for steve. it all just seems so complicated, but maybe i make it that way? (just maybe given my schedule above..., let alone the move-in and May Day event! yikes.) none the less right now i feel like a fish out of water, i miss just simple living with steve in our own place, i miss walking and seeing people around me, (even if they are asking me if i want a massage). i feel lonely in a weird way. and i miss knocking around in my rubber boots in the stinky mud in Mandorani doing our work with all the folks who had grown to be familiar faces and friends.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

We are home after an easy trip minus the fact it was near 24 hours counting airport wait times. i have to say i love Lan Peru, our airline from Lima to LA--good food, professional attention and the best--individual little TV screens for every seat. we watched a great coen flick, which of course i have completely forgotten the name of. typical of laurie's brain!

on return our first stop was to Sam Bonds for a decent microbrew and then to Papa's for a pulled pork sandwich. after that i passed out dead in my bed for a solid 10 hours! the next morning we went to the Wandering Goat for some great coffee and a yummy bagel. dinner was early and at Chao Pra Ya! dessert was a vanilla creme filled eclair at the Sweet Life! Then in the early evening it was off to a new place called The Rabbit Bistro where our best buddy manages the bar. Her spanish coffees are great! (for some time now each of these stops have been carefully planned and looked forward to). then we went out to hear Testface (great show!) at Lucky's and saw some friends. our evening ended with our best buddy at her place over a nice bottle of wine catching up on everything with us and with her. this morning it was yummy Nancy's yogurt and a croissant at the Sweet Life. and a hot bath this afternoon! so are we spoiled or what? good food, friends and things like a tubful of hot water.

news is sadly grim here with finding out the unemployment rate in Lane county is 11%. i am so lucky to be a nurse. many friends are without work. hard choices are having to be made. but as always in eugene, it is not always obvious. i will say again for some reason i am fortunate. has it been a roll of the dice or what? who knows? we for example have enjoyed the high life since being back just hours after leaving the Peruvian highlands. somehow i was not born an indigenous Quechua woman only eating potatoes, washing in black water, tending a fire as my eyes burn, or having children die of malnutrition, or an American denied an education or opportunity, or someone without the blessing of their health. it's why i do what i do. and here there are still cars on the roads, full grocery stores and expensive gourmet food and wines enjoyed. are the people struggling here somehow less visible to me here here or i am not looking closely enough? our responsibility to others continues though. I know we have Obama! and one of my best friends says the difference is we as a people are humbler and for that we are fortunate. so i need to just be quiet awhile and just look and listen.

so steve is home listening of course to his records which he ordered while in peru. he is in his own personal form of steve-heaven as i write. i am temporarily situated at my ex's where he has been always kind enough to give me a room to stay in while preparing to leave for peru and then on my return until i get back on my feet. typically i have a rough time reaccliminating more so to being back than while in Peru. its funny i make all my plans and it all seems straightforward enough from there, then i get here and go into some sort of anxiety/panic mode. in spite of enjoying all the ways in which i am spoiled, i take up residence in my car as opposed to walking places. more than getting through the day i fuss about getting through the week (or longer.) it is like i am both here and there and it is in a way like trying to mix oil and water. oh well, all we can do is our best. i am in process of applying for a new job. i continue to have my leave of absence. i want to see my sons, my folks and my best friends while i look for jobs. (the LOA is for a year and that just seems to be the policy rather than my request at the hospital work at.) i would love to have a day job and not be in a unit (or hospital) where there is so much stress either due to the patient acuity or number of people under my watch. and my back is done with lifting people really. at one point of my career i did work in an office. i had all the clothes and it was normal for me. now i have no office clothes and i am more comfortable in a dirty pair of rubber boots than heels. not to mention i was never good at heels in the first place! so i have spent the last couple days scavenging consignment shoppes attempting to remake myself into office nurse material. yikes. it is adding to the shock to my system!

so i have uploaded some final photos to Flickr, including Steve in his new suit made by his personal tailor in Peru! there are also shots also of our short run through Lima while waiting for our plane and seeing my friends.

so how can i thank everyone who has kept up with and encouraged us? our work down there means so much. the simplest things can and do change lives--and i am talking a mud stove with the most basic chimney--and to be part of what helps people to have that makes my life have so much more meaning. so thank you all for being part of making that happen because we couldn't have done it without your support.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

well good god, we are packed.  a horrendous nightmare thanks to my buying at the last minute weavings from three of the families of my god children.  i located a scale that we could weigh the most likely culprit suitcase of being overweight, ie., mine.  so we flew through the house packing stuff we intend on storing with a friend here after getting everything else rammed into suitcases and backpacks.  much is up for donation as well at a party we are having tomorrow night to say good bye to a few friends.  i am hoping all things end up with homes and if not they will go out on the street to someone who likely needs them more than i.  our last chore is to get the stuff we are storing to our friend rosanna, and get my 90$ owed to me by our landlord which is annoyingly like pulling teeth.  always "manaña, manaña..."  it is sadly our experience of trying to get back money owed to us from folks here. 

so we leave tuesday for lima and will spend the afternoon with friends of mine from Trujillo who will meet us for lunch.  our flight out of peru is 1:40 AM on the 5th.  aargh.  we plan on taking a little something to make us sleepy so to survive the following day that will take us from LA to Seattle and then back down to arriving in Eugene at 5:30 PM.  see y'all soon!