Don’t worry—I’m not going to try to put my life in a nutshell. Remember how well that went last time! Here are a couple of short posts combined into one long one. Because apparently I believe you have ample time on your hands. Or something.


Harold and Maude have changed apartments. As a result, Harold has spent a couple of evening sitting with Donn on the couch while Donn helps with transferring electricity and internet and things like that. And as a result of that, we found out that we could get high-speed internet for less than we were paying before. Score, right?

Soon, our yard was criss-crossed with spray-painted lines and small flags. These appeared mysteriously while we were gone, and I thought it might be the squirrels planning a takeover, but Donn disagreed. And apparently he was right, because on Tuesday I was told to be home between 9 and 11 for our exciting modern high-speed connection to whiz in and take connection.

The guy showed up at 1:30, in the pouring rain. That’s all right—I didn’t really expect him before then. He left at 4. He attempted to explain things to me, although I pointed out that the squirrels might have at least as much chance as I of remembering GPI or GFI or whatever that new box in the garage is. He took the flags.

And I’m pleased to report that ever since, our internet is slower and also keeps just quitting. Which is why I’m typing off-line. It feels like I’m back in Morocco.

An Afternoon of Frustration:

Last Wednesday was the weirdest day. I knew Rita had the flu, as her husband called me Tuesday night to let me know she wouldn’t be in class next day. They’re an elderly couple who LOVE it here. “We should have come here long ago,” they keep telling us. They go shopping at the outlet stores and are collecting owls and stop at random farms to gather grape leaves and make friends with the farmers. I was worried when I heard she’d been violently ill. “Tomorrow I’ll bring her soup,” I said.

Donn came home from visiting another friend and told me his daughter was in hospital. She’d had the flu too, and she’s had a kidney replaced and has to take immune suppressants, so any illness is dangerous for her. We decided that after class on Wednesday, we’d drop off the soup for Rita and then go see Laila in hospital, taking Ilsa with us.

I was super-organized and even started the soup (chicken noodle) BEFORE class, which was very far-thinking for me. Afterwards I finished it, made cheese scones to go with it, and off we went to their apartment. Only they weren’t there. We knocked and knocked and knocked. Finally Donn called the husband. He was out getting his hearing-aid adjusted, he explained loudly to us over the phone. Rita was sleeping. (He didn’t know why we’d come) I had the bright idea of leaving the soup with another family who lives in the same complex, but they weren’t home either.

We stopped by our house to put the soup in the fridge, although I pointed out to Donn that it was probably cold enough that it would be fine in the car. He agreed but was more worried about it spilling on his pristine upholstery. We went to Safeway for flowers and chocolates, then headed downtown and up the hill to Doernbecher hospital.

Doernbecher is a great hospital, world-renowned (well I don’t know that, but it has a great reputation) and very nice. It is arranged so that if you only know her room number, you will be confused—is it north or south or where exactly? We managed to find her eventually. She was asleep, had been given an injection, and her room was closed. We left the plant and chocolates at the nurses’ station. Strike Two!

We stopped for Starbucks in the lobby—I know! Impressive—and admired the very cool décor. We couldn’t help comparing it to the Rabat Children’s Hospital, where each floor has a different coloured stripe painted on the wall, to help the illiterate figure out where to go, but things in general are just much more basic.

Then we went home, where I made dinner while Donn went and dropped off the soup. The other family from the complex called to see why I’d called them earlier, and told me they’d been there, just sleeping. I’m glad everyone had such a restful afternoon!

Books set in the NW:

I just read a YA book set in the NW, specifically Portland, which doesn’t once mention the rain. It kind of ruined it for me. The story takes place over several months, summer and fall, and there are several hot days, but not one where plans have to be changed because of torrential downpour. This just doesn’t feel realistic to me. Also, apparently (my word of the day. I’ve used it like 5 times already. Go check) the local school district, tired of being mocked, decided to get some snow standards. It used to be that even a sprinkling of snow, even a smell of snow, would shut down the schools. We had TWO mornings with snow and off they went, not even delayed. We were so disappointed. Sure we mocked before, but in our hearts we applauded. And yes, the snow was gone by 11 a.m., but still. This is an open call to the schools to go back to the typical Portland thinking on snow, which is to panic about it, rush to buy bread and milk (without which staples, life as we know it would cease to exist) and issue radio bulletins about the snow being an inch thick and only go anywhere if it’s an absolute emergency!

Phew! That was still a bit long, but better than last time, right? What’s been going on with you?