Thursday, May 29, 2008

Politicking and Puking

Well - I'm back. Back in Juneau and back in the scene. Maybe on that last one. I still haven't decided whether I'm ready to get back out there into the bar scene after my weekend away and my influenza-induced hiatus. Maybe.

So, the Dem-Con, as I've so cleverly nicknamed it, was pretty awesome. It was a costly trip, probably several hundred dollars in the end (ouch!) but for the sake of being a part of history, I kind of feel like it was worth it. It was also nice to get out and see another part of Alaska, meet some new people, make some new connections, and dip my toes into the liberal political waters of Alaska. I know, Alaska is a "red" state, but there was a rather large showing this year, which makes me really hopeful. Back when Kerry was running, it was the same ol' dems I always knew, the people who had been dems and weren't that excited except to possibly get Bush out. Yes, they wanted that badly, but Obama seems to be stirring up some excitement that Kerry couldn't. I hope that he wins so that I can really justify spending all that money... I am being recruited into joining the Alaska Democratic Party officially, as well as the NOW (National Organization for Women), and I am also going to be one of the brains behind a youth voting program. Apparently, my thoughts on the matter are important - pretty awesome.

When flying to Anchorage, Miss D was on the same flight, as was Miss K and one of her friends. I moved to sit with Miss D so we could fill the recycled air with our terrible gossip and my constant swearing. Once I arrived in Anchorage I rented a car. I've decided the guy must have thought I was cute because he waived a fee for me, got me a brand new car, and took the time to draw out a map of where I needed to go. Sweet. I drove to my friend, Miss J's house, where I got settled into a nice room. We went out for a bit, had some french fries and beers, and then went back because we were all pretty exhausted. The next morning I had to leave pretty early, we said our goodbyes and I headed off to do some delegating and some politicking, and the like.

I won't go into great detail about the delegating and politicking and the like, but as is normal with politics, everything went longer than intended, much was debated, and while it was pretty awesome to have the reformed republican staffer of Nixon speaking of the need to remove the republican party from office, I was ready to get out before his Q&A was over. We also listened to some speeches from some candidates for congress, which provided me with some very clear answers regarding who I would be supporting. Diane Benson and Mark Begich. The rest were... well... not impressive to me. They ranged from deranged and creepy to just plain cocky, but I think the majority were backing the two I found to be most sincere. We had a banquet, which I expected to be good, but it was mediocre at best. I am okay with it, I guess, since I was supporting the Mat-su dems, and it allowed me to see the speaker, but DAMN, I'm not rich enough to be supporting organizations monetarily.

Day two was going even more slowly than day one, thank goodness I had gotten a fair night's sleep at this cute little (vegan) bed & breakfast. By the time we finished the FIRST item on the agenda, we were already two hours behind. I made it through until the very last thing, but people insisted on going through all 45 items, discussing them, and voting individually on the items. I decided it was time to go and I wasn't the only one. I took the scenic Old Glenn Hwy back into Anchorage, driving over the Matanuska and the Knik rivers, past mountains and all sorts of gorgeous scenery. I didn't see any wildlife while I was there, but maybe next time. I hit up old navy and bought a blazer while I was there, but then headed to the airport because I didn't have time to do anything else and I had spent enough money on this trip. Once at the airport everything went smoothly, and I got a ride with one of the Dems and her son downtown. Once home I was exhausted, watched some movies with the roommate, and went to sleep.

The next morning is when I started feeling ill. I had gone to bed early so I woke up early, but it was too early so I went back to sleep, woke up a full 6 hours later, feeling a bit nauseated. I doubt you want to know the rest, but I puked a bunch, felt like crap, watched a lot of family guy and didn't eat. The next day I was feeling mostly better, but not well enough to be up and around much. I didn't work, didn't really eat much, and ran a couple errands. Ah, the excitement of my life. Wednesday and Thursday I worked, found out I got the job I wanted, and today I looked into buying a car. I have a good option, but if I can just carpool, I'd probably prefer that. I know there have been many occasions when I'd have preferred to have a car over having to bus or anything like that, but once I get to the valley, walking around isn't that bad - assuming I don't have to carry much.

Today I met up with Miss L for maybe the second time since I moved out, we spent, again, about a half hour together. We caught up some, but we have got some time before we're back to our old ways. Also met the roomie's mom. Also talked to Mr. A, but I don't think I'll be seeing much of him. He's leaving again for a couple weeks and I guess I blew it by not calling when I got into town (I was sick) but I doubt we can pull off a relationship if everytime we call each other one or the other of us is out of town...

I got a new phone and phone number too. Oh, the changes. I feel almost like I've started over again.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fake-ation number two

I'll call it a fake-ation instead of a vacation - I'm going out of town this weekend, but not to relax... I'll be hanging out with a sorority sister tonight and then dem-conning it up Saturday and Sunday. Aw yeah. I had to pay for everything myself and I was too poor to register so I won't be doing any banquets or any such nonsense - basically I dropped hundreds of dollars to be a part of history and a part of the democratic process. Sometimes I'm crazy - I know. I'll tell you what, though: When Obama is nominated as the Dem Candidate and eventually President of the United States of America - I'll feel pretty good about it. Maybe.

Also, it'll be nice to get out of Juneau for a weekend - though less than a month ago I was gone for two weeks. Already, things are getting messy!

I've been enjoying working at the bar, though day shifts are not that lucrative. I've managed to keep busy working despite having only part time jobs. I've only been working two of the three also. I had two interviews today - one for a mine which, despite my environmentalist leanings, is my preference. It involves working three days on and four days off, allowing me free time to work my other jobs and have some fun too. Cross your fingers I get it!

I have been going out a lot, which is pretty normal for me, I guess... I went to the last Monday Night Raw and also saw the Foggy Mountain String Band perform, as well as the Wilders. The bassist for FMSB is an acquaintance of mine and I talked to her about the instrument. She said that if I wanted, I could test hers out to see if it is something I really want to do. I am pretty excited about that. Also excited because I saw one of the Gallus Bros. at the Alaskan that same night and decided I'd buy him a drink, then we danced for a few songs, which was fun. I also danced with another fellow, a friend of a friend of a friend, I guess. I think he's a really nice guy, but alas, I am not necessarily "emotionally available" these days - nor have I really been for the past few months, I guess. He is sort of the "mountain man" type that I've always imagined would be plentiful in Alaska, bearded and slightly unkempt, but not in a vagabond sort of way, just rugged. He gave me a call last night and I need to call back, but I don't really know what is going on in my "love life" so it is tempting to just put off calling. I should call tonight and tell him I'm out of town - that maybe I'll see him when I get back?

Speaking of emotional (un)availability - Mr. A got in contact and we did see each other again. He told me he missed me, which was sweet but frustrating at the same time. I'm considering telling him that he has first choice if he wants to be with me, but I can't play this hot/cold game - there are other people out there and I need to know one way or another before I can really put myself out there with other people. I need closure or commitment, I suppose. Not from everyone, just him. Other people I'd be glad to just date around, but I have decided that this relationship needs to either be a relationship or be non-existent.

We've had some nice sunny days and I've found myself hanging out with Mr. EJ more and more - he works downtown and is therefore around more often. One night we were hanging out dancing and whatnot, another afternoon we were having ice cream in the park, and other times we'll just chat. I feel like I have a really bizarre social life. I feel like I am quasi-dating multiple people, getting different things out of them, never finding one person who can fulfill all of my needs.

Stupid dating. I should have become a nun - too bad you have to be catholic, saintly, and celibate...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm ready!

I'm ready to be on my own, to have my own shift, to be a REAL bartender. At least for a day shift... At least that is what the bartender who's been training me and who has been bartending longer than I've been alive said. I think I trust him. I think the owners will trust him. I'm pretty excited.

Last night I went out to dinner and treated myself with my share of the tips - it's pretty much all gone now, if you include the drink I bought for my new buddy Miss A. Which I do, since I have only a five left in my wallet. I need a better job like mad. Seriously. I mean, I guess it isn't a matter of better so much as better paying or more stable - I like to know that I'll make at least X amount of money in a month and I have no clue. I can't wait for that damn stimulus check or my other tax refund check. Then I'll feel like I can survive.

I've still been going out to the bars almost every day - such a lush! I at least get paid for some of it now, so I don't feel quite as bad. Although, I am sitting in a bar right now using wi-fi - I wasn't planning on getting a drink but the bartender made me a lovely tropical drink with some Stoli Strawberry and goodness knows what else - he recommended I just sip it, so it must be full of booze. It's tasty though. I worked at the boutique today, and I should be working most every day for the next two weeks - not that I'll make tons of money - but some, at least.

Tomorrow, since I don't work, I think I will go to the valley on the bus and get an Alaska driver's license and a new phone plan since T-Mobile is dropping me (they don't like Alaska). So, goodbye, Oregon identity. I am giving in and becoming an Alaskan now.

Yesterday, while I was working (about a full shift and nearly on my own) a bar patron asked me if I was Irish, then if the carpet matched the drapes, and when I refused to answer he accused me of shorting him $10. The wise old barman and my bartending mentor called him on his shit and taught me that I need to be more confident and remember that I'm pretty much always right. Yep, that's right. This is a business in which the customer is not always right, I AM. Kind of neat. I knew I was right, I even double checked. Nothing was out of place, so he was just being a bitter old creeper because I wouldn't disclose the color of my pubic hair. Once he had apologized and asked me very politely what my natural hair color was, I went back to being friendly. What a pervy old man, though!

I spent last night after my shift hanging out with my new friend and fellow jewelry saleswoman, Miss A. We had some drinks (I served her some and then we shared some), and we went to dinner at the Hangar and had fun. She was feeling kind of sick and left, I made the rounds downtown but was bored and decided to go home - I worked on reading a bit of Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five, before falling asleep on the couch. When my roommate came home late at night I moved to my bed. I just finished reading The God of Small Things - it was wonderful, I'll have to read it again to fully appreciate all of it, but I wanted to get started on the books I got from the library.

I ended up hanging out with Mr. HG over the weekend, discovering that what spark may have once existed, existed no more. I have been trying, and failing, to fill this stupid void in my romantic life. I want desperately to be over a particular person, but I don't think it will happen - I was able to feel pretty connected and not think about that particular person with one guy, but due to circumstances beyond my control - that's over. I just heard from the heartbreaker too, saying he was getting in touch with me because it was much needed or something of that sort. I had sworn him off but I don't think it'll last - I keep wanting to give him another chance and he keeps making it seem like a good idea.

I ran into the twin of the guy who nicknamed me princess last summer - I saw him again and said hi today, he called me kiddo. Apparently nicknaming people is hereditary. I said, "It's Mr. D, right?" and his co-worker/friend gave me his name too and asked me mine, as though we had met. Oh, those jewelry store workers. Looks like last summer's Latin Lover is behaving himself this summer, I guess he's finally taking his engagement seriously. Good for him though, even better for his fiancee.

Might be going to a bonfire tonight - perfect since I don't have to work tomorrow! I just have to call in and set up a schedule. Maybe I'll get a chance to work at the Jewelry Store tomorrow - I'm trying to work as many hours at as many places as possible so I can actually make enough money to survive. Most people make tons of money during the summers and somehow I'm suddenly only barely scraping by.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Juggling.

What have I been doing lately? Juggling. Lots of juggling.

I have finally worked my way up to full employment, but what a mess that is... I've got two retail jobs working for a very small base wage and hoping I get any commission at all... I am also working at one of my favorite bars - I'll hopefully get about 3 shifts a week. Working 3 different jobs is rather difficult, I've decided. On one hand, I can't very well get bored with any of them, since I'm constantly switching and working different shifts. On the other hand, I had a real scheduling nightmare on my hands this week when I managed to double book myself for a couple jobs. How will I survive?

One job I've been at since September, so it is no trouble at all - if I made more money I'd probably do it full time. The bartending job seems great, it is interesting and it is a good experience. I'm fine with it being only part-time however. The third job... well... I don't know how long I'll last. I am planning on looking further to see if I can manage a part time office type job instead. I am certainly not aggressive enough to work full time in Jewelry Sales. Commission - oh no.

I went out nearly every day since I've been back. The one night I didn't go to the bars, I was watching a movie with Mr. L and Mr. A.

I assumed correctly that the bud of a relationship would get nipped, but I didn't let it get me down. As a matter of fact, I ran into the ever charming though often flakey Mr. EJ, and had a really delightful night of dancing to the Gallus Bros. at the Alaskan, drinking whiskey, and lying on the roof of the hotel during an "after party" that night. I didn't get home until 4 or 5 in the morning and I was happy to have spent the evening with him, though I had sworn him off briefly.

Sunday night was Miss D's birthday, so there was a lot of excitement there. The excitement included balloons popping and a cake fight. Oh what fun.

I've been far too busy to really keep up with this much, but I have been having as much fun as I can with the busy schedule I've been keeping.

Tonight I am training again at the bar from 10 until whenever I'm done, perhaps close if I am meant to learn it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's official, I will never have a healthy relationship.

I should submit a Public Service Announcement or something. Melissa Leeanne will never have a healthy relationship - if you were considering involvement with Melissa, please reconsider - either you or she will fuck everything up. It is also possible that a third party will play a role in fucking everything up.

In better news, I begin training as a bartender/barista this afternoon. In about 40 minutes, actually. In not as exciting news, if I am to use free wireless, I will be spending almost every day of my life at Silverbow. I had attempted to use wi-fi at both Heritage and the public library, but for some reason fate just wants me to overdose on bagels.

The days have been flowing together, full of job-seeking, wi-fi seeking, romance seeking, and drinking with friends. I've spent time with Miss P, Mr. M, Miss L since she returned to town, Mr. L some, and select others.

I had managed to begin forging something which had potential as a healthy relationship but I think it is over now. I think I am doomed to eternal singledom or to stupid worthless relationships. Here's the problem: The eligible bachelor is the former crush/fling of a close friend. That we ever began something that surpassed the platonic was just a matter of chemistry, of sexual tension that was thick enough to be tangible, it was like existing in a viscous atmosphere of awkward attraction.

It happened again.

And once again.

Less awkward, more natural, comfortable, and containing some amount of hope or something like that. I looked forward to seeing him, and I like to think he looked forward to seeing me. There were no labels. There was no pressure. It was pure. We enjoyed the company of one another. We enjoyed the intimacy with one another. We would have continued if it weren't for the demand of said mutual friend, who had every right to be upset, that matters be discussed, dissected, disclosed... I have to remind myself constantly that not everyone is as detached from emotion and irrationality as I am. My world is full of calculations and logic and avoiding getting too attached to anything.

Now, I have no idea what is going on, probably nothing, probably pretending like nothing ever happened. It's probably better that way.

Spending time with the new roommate, Miss J, I have been discovering that we have a ton in common, from similar nervous habits to a love for John Cusack films. I think we'll work out well as roommates. So far, so good.

I am always reminded of how wonderful a friend Miss P is, when she demands that we discuss an issue over drinks, when she is always there and always understanding and rational. We have a tendency to keep a lot of crazy company, but the two of us tend to think a lot more similarly. It works well. We went to the Imperial last night and had $3 Watermelontinis - the cheapest drinks you'll find in town, basically. We were hanging out with Mr. M and one of his friends as well until we went back to my place and all crashed for the night.

Today I wandered around way too much and practiced bartending for about an hour and a half. I poured colored water into glasses, counting to 4, trying to perfect the art of pouring a shot. I also know how to make a good Bloody Mary thanks to my bartending mentor.

Once off my "shift" I had a drink and tried to brush off an old drunk who commented on my beauty and asked if I was Czech. I am waiting around for the updated price list so I can study it and become the best bartender ever. Something like that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Home is where you...

...where your heart is?
...where you hang your hat?
...where you get kicked out of because your dad likes to over react?
...where you feel comfortable?

Any ideas?

Well, on my last full day in Oregon, after the family portraits, before curling up to sleep on my sister's floor without saying goodnight, a lot happened.

I joined my sister in visiting my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, which was pleasant, despite one of the kids being sick and puking. That's what children do though. I realized at this point that 2 weeks is not nearly enough time to spend with the people who were important to me for some 10ish years of living in Oregon. Trying to spend time with family, friends, and even trying to fit in a bit of relaxation actually proved rather stressful. I did a lot of driving, a lot of staying up late, waking up early, going from place to place, and trying to please EVERYONE. I feel like it's more of a vacation being back in Juneau but still under-employed.

So I got kicked out of the house for the second time in my life. My dad had gone out of town, and we expected him, my grandmother, and her boyfriend to be gone overnight. My mom was out with her girlfriends and my youngest sister was at a sleepover. My sister who is closest in age invited over some of her girlfriends for a girls' night pre-funk and we indulged in some sweet alcoholic creations and sat around having fun and chatting. My sister who is a freshman in high school and her friend were still around and someone decided to allow them to have a drink. My 14 year old sister declared that she drank and that it was no big deal (I, being a bit of a late bloomer, was a bit horrified that my 14 year old sister was drinking) and she kept helping herself to more drinks, including a couple glasses of two-buck-chuck. As the night wore on, we were getting tipsy, including the 14 year old, I insisted that she was cut off, but I later discovered that she had been sneaking shots of vodka as well. I went outside to smoke a clove with one of the girls, and during the two minutes that I was outside, my dad, grandma, and the BF arrived in a whirlwind of yelling, swearing, and confusion (all thanks to the dad). I had no idea what the problem really was, and still have no clear recollection because it all happened so fast. All I can really describe is that there was a lot of yelling, swearing, and some items thrown, and we were all kicked out, despite having been drinking. Logic wouldn't work, we all grabbed what we needed and drove to Bend.

Once my 20 year old sister had calmed down enough to speak clearly, she got directions to some house party, where we all headed. I called my 14 year old sister and got her friend, who explained to me that my sister was puking - not realizing just how intoxicated she had gotten herself I apologized profusely and suggested she try to keep her in the room until my mom returned home, knowing that my dad would be in no state to take care of this situation.

We arrived at the house party where I knew nobody, felt like an outcast because I was the only non-skinny, non-snowboarding, strange girl in the place, and no introductions were made. I didn't feel any desire to be there, to participate in the drinking games or foreign conversations about snowboarding or Bend gossip. After not much time we left the party, taking one girl back to her car (not at our house, luckily) and my sister and I went with the German girl to Shari's where we ate crappy appetizers while we waited for a cab to take my sister and I home. My mom had spent several minutes convincing us that we should come home, that we should take a cab, and reassuring us that our dad was in bed. Not without placing overwhelming blame on us for the 14 year old's state, as though we were responsible for the fact that she was irresponsible enough herself to sneak so much alcohol and not know her limits. I feel guilty, yes, but it was beyond our control. I wonder what difference in upbringing existed that I would be such a "goody-two-shoes" going through high school, while my younger sisters drink to the point of their bodies rebelling. I think that the blame falls on my parents for not teaching my 14 year old sister how to make better decisions, how to maintain control, how to know her body and its limits, etc. My younger sisters have faced so many problems, I won't describe them any further, but I do believe that their upbringing, even slight differences between the way I was treated as the oldest and how they were treated as the middle or youngest kids, is enough that they are making far worse decisions in their life than I ever have. I've made mistakes, I have had emotional and mental health difficulties, but nothing comparing to those faced by my two middle sisters.

Off the sisters/problems tangent. When Schwesterlein and I finally made it home, taking a cab manned by a guy who was probably smoking crack between customers, we discovered that my mom had lied and that my dad was sitting at the kitchen table, looking disappointed or something. It's hard to read him when he isn't speaking, it's easy to tell what is going on in his mind when you can hear clearly the anger or sarcasm in his voice, but when he just looks there, the lines in his forehead don't bely what negative thoughts are dancing around in his head, not like sugarplums. He always does this thing, he says he doesn't want to talk about the issue at hand anymore, but he inevitably says something about it, eliciting some response, then he demands in a forceful voice that we aren't talking about it. I declared sometime during this exchange that I needed to pack. I went to the 20 year old's room, packed everything, and curled up in a ball on her floor without saying goodnight, dreading talking to my dad because when he left on the trip we had parted on mostly good terms, but now I couldn't even bear to look at him.

I left early Sunday morning. The 10 year old drove me to the airport, we hugged when she dropped me off. I made it on my flight, napped at the Sea-Tac airport, made my next flight, and was delighted to have Mr. D pick me up. My new roommate, Miss J was not home and I didn't have my key, so I was unable to take my suitcases to their new home (my new home). I spent much of the afternoon with Mr. D, running some errands, chatting some, and even watching Happy Feet - very cute. Not wanting to impose any longer I asked him to drop me and my luggage off at my old house, where I made myself at home, showering, cooking something, and checking my e-mails and such nonsense. I eventually managed to get into my new place, where I still have all of my suitcases and boxes partially open, clothing spewing out, strewn across the floor, while I apparently take my sweet time conjuring up enough coat hangers and storage solutions for my mass of stuff.

Sunday was Mr. CG's birthday, so eventually I joined Mr. L and Mr. CG in drinking some beers, watching some hilarious show, and eventually going to a bar. We went back to the old place where Mr. L tried to convince us that we should eat some, drink more, and watch more of the same show, but I was tired and Mr. CG and I went to bed. The next day I missed an appointment out of sheer laziness or something like that. Mr. CG and I had a late brunch at the Sandpiper and then I went back to the old place to gather some more of my things to take home. I ran into Mr. EJ and we had tea, I hadn't seen him as a while, as he had reverted to being a hermit for a few months. We had a nice chat until we parted ways.

Monday evening Miss P and I had our reunion, she dropped by my place and we went to the Hangar for a bit. I then recorded the voice tracks for Miss L's radio show and then met up with Miss P again at the Alaskan for Monday Night Raw with special rap battles and Mexican beers on special in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Miss P stayed the night and for the second night in a row the cold was kept at bay by some strategic spooning.

Tuesday was another sleepy day, I tried to be productive in the job search but that only partially happened. I ran into Mr. EJ again, also at Silverbow, I had had lunch, met with Miss C for warm beverages, and then he showed up and joined me at my table. I had to leave him after a bit to get a shot - the HPV vaccine has to be one of the least pleasant shots I've ever had - instant aching in the arm and it lasts for a couple days. All worth it to avoid cervical cancer though! I went home after this and spent some time with Miss J. In spending the evening with her I've discovered that we are very similar people and I can only imagine that we will morph into even more similar people, sitting on the couch, picking at our cuticles, and watching every John Cusack movie in existence. Went to the Bergmann with her, we played Rummy as a team, watched Better off Dead, both quoting it as it progressed, and creeped everyone out with our similarities, including ourselves.

Today I have applied for to jobs and am waiting to hear about potential interviews for two other jobs. I also stopped by the jewelry store where I had lots of friends last summer on Tuesday and was offered a job with no interview, no questions asked, just let the manager know. I had known the manager last summer, he is a nice guy, very quirky, and he would love to have me working there. I just have to decide whether or not I want to work in that sort of field. I also went to one of my favorite bars, seeking potential employment, and was told that if I wanted this particular shift it was mine, just let the owner know. Once again, I have to decide what I want to do for the summer, because some of the jobs I might take won't allow me to do some of the other potential jobs at the same time. It is tempting to take all of the part time jobs, be rather carefree, earning commission, working odd hours, and learning to bartend... but I also want health care, stability, and some relevant experience to use in my professional future. It's the choice of whether to be an irresponsible kid or a responsible young adult... what should I do!?!

In other news, there must have been some ears burning because within 12 hours of talking about a particular shared acquaintance with Miss J, said acquaintance texted, then called, then perhaps propositioned me? Shut down! I have developed a very low tolerance for such nonsense. I think that friendship is all we'll ever have at this point. I am pretty content with the current state of my social life without this person adding more complications.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

High/Low

My sorority had formal dinner every Monday night. We would all show up for a "family style" dinner rather than a buffet style, we'd be dressed "to the pin" and we'd follow all the proper etiquette. We would also state our highs and lows for the day or the week. It seems silly, but I kind of enjoyed high/low and I still remember the rule - say your low first so you always end on a high note. That being said, I wish my night could have gone almost in full reverse because it totally ended with a low.

My keys are locked in my car and the existence of a spare is unlikely - or perhaps the existence is likely, but someone knowing its location is around 0.01%. Also, I was locked out of the house (for which I have no key, but even if I had, it would probably be locked in my car). I first looked for the mythic spare key (not found), then I decided to try knocking on my sisters' windows (no answer), then I finally called my mom's cell phone and after what must have been the maximum amount of rings she answered. She came and unlocked the door and then shuffled back to bed. On top of these things, half my clothes are locked in my car from my days spent in the Willamette Valley, my pajamas are in my sister's room, I have to sleep on the couch in the horrifyingly hot living room, and we are shooting family portraits tomorrow morning at TEN A.M. I'm pretty sure we even have an inflatable mattress somewhere, but my parents only bring that out for the guests they care to impress.

Lows out of the way - I can get on to the highs!

I spent the last few days hanging out with lots of friends, which always makes me happy. On Tuesday I headed back to the Willamette Valley, to Portland first this time. I arrived later than I had wanted because getting started on trips is slow when you have a family like mine. My dad and I were probably THIS CLOSE to getting into an argument right before I left too. The drive there was much better than the drive back had been, at least 90% because it was actually light for the whole drive. I arrived at Miss N and Mr. A's house and we had some beers while we pondered which bar would best suit our moods, our budgets, and our walking radius. We decided to check out Goodfoot's (maybe I got the name wrong, maybe it's right) but were quickly turned off by the atmosphere. We went to Crush instead, which is a very nicely decorated bar and on Tuesdays they have happy hour ALL DAY so the drinks didn't cost much. As we were just sitting and drinking, we eventually decided that it would be more cost efficient to sit and drink back at their place, plus we could go straight to bed whenever we desired. The next morning Miss N and I had a small breakfast and tea before she headed off for a meeting, then I went shopping with my Nordstrom gift card I received for Christmas. I met up with Miss N and Mr. A again in the afternoon for a late lunch - we had sushi at the Portland City Grill. I got mad at Portland briefly on my way there because I thought my navigation skills could get me from the Lloyd Center to downtown without taking I-5 and without getting lost. I was wrong. I got lost and frustrated and the weather was awful. Portland redeemed itself during lunch though. We're still okay. After a delightful lunch with those two, I got into my car and drove to Salem!

I drove directly to Miss J and Miss L's place when I got to Salem. Miss J arrived just after I did and she and Miss K started making enchiladas from scratch - homemade tortillas and everything. Miss J, Miss L and I went out for some frilly drinks at Bentley's and caught up a bunch. I helped Miss J put some highlights in her hair, but it was disappointingly unnoticeable so she decided to use what was left and do her whole head. The results? Trashy. Oops. Her hair was various shades of brassy blonde, orange, and reddish brown. We had to venture to the 24 hour Walmart to buy some more dye to fix it.

The next day Miss J and Miss L had class so I went to spend some time with the sorority sisters, I mostly spent time with my little sister and a girl who will be moving to Fairbanks. I imparted some wisdom regarding moving to and living in Alaska before meeting up with Miss L again for some coffee and quality time together. I ran into numerous people here and there, which made me happy, though I certainly didn't see everyone I would have cared to have seen. Miss L and I ended up walking to the Starbucks amid a procession marching for latino rights. We joined in chanting "Si, se puede" and were rather horrified by the three man redneck protest on the sidelines - they had a piece of cardboard on which, sloppily scrawled, was some slogan like, "If you aren't a citizen your only right is to leave" and while I don't like the idea of illegal immigration, I understand the motives behind it and everybody has rights, regardless of their nationality. After coffee I stopped by the good ol' sorority house for some final goodbyes before heading to Eugene.

The trip from Salem to Eugene generally takes about an hour, this time... TWO. I discovered just as the lanes finally freed up that there was a significant accident - some motor home tipped and was basically destroyed on the shoulder. For a while we were moving so little that I got a chance to start devouring Craig Thompson's travel diary, Carnet de Voyage. When I finally made it there I met up with Miss H and we had dinner and shared some hysterical laughter. We probably stayed at the restaurant for two hours, despite being finished and paying about an hour into it. Miss H often seems very reserved but in my experience with her, once you get to know her she is a riot. I don't laugh this much with most people - we just bring it out in each other. Close to 9pm we parted and I went to Miss M's house where we got ready and met up with Mr. S to go out on the town. We went to John Henry's, Starlight, and Indigo. I got a bit drunk and danced a bunch, in the morning I felt a little hungover but that was cured with a nice breakfast at Studio 1. After breakfast I met up with one of my sister's best friends, Mr. C, giving him his sweatshirt and catching up on life since we last saw each other. Then it was back to Central Oregon.

Once back in "The CO" I spent a bit of time at home relaxing, spending time with family - my other grandma came to visit, and getting ready for a night out with the girls. Miss S, Miss N, and I got together again for the first time since high school. I had seen Miss N a lot before I went to Germany and some while I was back in Salem for my senior year, but the three of us probably stopped hanging out all together before senior year of high school even. We had a lot of fun catching up, or at least attempting to catch up over the loud noise. We went to The Twins, which was loud and had karaoke, but was rather empty. After a drink we moved over to Timbers, which was crowded and rather quaint. It wasn't all that quaint, but when I first arrived there was country playing and the crowd was distinctly hick. There was some variety, if variety is slow country, fast country, commercial rap, and Cotton-eye Joe. We saw some people we knew ages ago, some people we didn't know at all but who were ridiculously amusing to watch, and we nicknamed one scrawny, angular fellow 'Dobby' after the House Elf from the Harry Potter books. We did get up and dance some, which was fun. Miss N left a bit early but Miss S and I stayed out until around 2am. Perhaps the highlight of the night was forming YMCA-esque letters to Fergie's song Glamorous. Did we look absurd? Most likely. Did we care? No. Why don't I care? We were having fun and I doubt anyone who mattered would have judged. Anyone who would have judged probably doesn't matter. Then I drove home and was mostly ready for bed.

That is when I got home and locked my keys in the car and discovered I was locked out of the house.

This morning was family portraits and I may have been the only person to be ready on time. We had the usual photographer but also Mr. L, who used to work for my dad. We talked some, his heritage is actually Tlingit so that came up. The portraits went alright, lots of silliness from we girls, but that's how we roll. Glad they are over though...