Wednesday, September 24, 2008


In Portland, we have four (4) trash/recycling containers: Muted green for trash, blue for "recyclabes", a bright green for yard waste, and a small, yellow container for glass. Frankly, I'm shocked we aren't asked to separate the different colors of glass. And I'm not being facetious.

We haven't quite figured out the trash pickup routine yet, even after 10 weeks of it. We were told by neighbors that glass pickup is on Wednesday morning and everything else Thursday morning, but then Ann phoned the company who told us that no, Thursday, everything is picked up, so make certain to cart our stuff out Wednesday evening.

Well, some Thursdays, one of the (random) containers sits untouched and remains full. And other weeks, they just don't show up at all. But they've been fairly consistent.

One of the more fascinating aspects about trash day (I can almost see you all perched on the edge of your chairs) are the recyclabes collectors. Routinely, we hear the clanging of empty glass containers bouncing about in shopping carts. This is a veritable army of glass collecting-hobbyists who descend on our trash like Lindsay Lohan on a new sexual identity (I worked real hard coming up with that one, folks). Thing is, they aren't the predictable homeless every time. Our first week, two college-age preppy "dudes" nabbed our stuff (beer money, we assumed). And now, not 3 minutes after I put the containers out front, I'm watching a middle aged Latino man who looks like he might have been playing chess in a park a few hours ago dig through our glass. All I can assume he's thinking is, "Damn, you people like beer."

That and, "King takes rook seven."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Deep thoughts, with Russ McGarry

Yesterday hailed birthday numero 38. My phone rang, predictably, at 12:27pm, Central time, the exact minute I popped onto this Earth. It was my mom, who calls every year, and who greets me live, or via voicemail, with the same message:

"It was xx years ago exactly now that I was in the hospital..." and on she goes to describe my birth: How I let out one, huge wail and then was docile and calm, how she held me to her chest and I just lay there, quiet, calm, comfortable.

I really do cherish this tradition.

About 3 hours later, I found myself curled up on the sofa, near tears, hit with the realization that HOLY SHIT IT'S MY 38TH BIRTHDAY. Birthdays serve as milemarkers, no matter how we poo-poo ("poo-poo" LOLZ) age in these "enlightened times", i.e.:

"Age is nothing but a state of mind!"

"You're only as old as you feel!"

While both of these statements remain true, it's also a time to reflect. And there, prostrate on the couch, I was doing just that.

Much has changed for me in the last two years...actually in the last year...well, to be completely honest, in the past two months. I went from being a married, freelance television writer with a house in North Hollywood to a resident of Portland, Oregon, in a relationship with one of my oldest friends, pouring beers at night and exploring the latest, freshest chapter of my life. And while change is certainly exciting, it's also frightening.

But that's the whole point now, isn't it?

Ann and I talked about it: How this paradigm shift is so uncertain and stressful, and we came to a realization, as I flopped onto my back on the sofa and she paused the episode of "The Office" we'd been watching:

Ann: So we could've stayed in Los Angeles, in a city we didn't like living in, chasing jobs we don't like, to just survive.

Me: Right. That would be "more comfortable".

Ann: Or, we could live in a city we love, maybe have to struggle a bit financially at first, and see what's out there, make new friends, and live new experiences.

Me: I think I see where you're going with this.

I cried for a bit - aka, let out one, huge wail - and then stopped. Quiet. Calm. Comfortable. Happy to be alive and here.

I guess it's just in my nature.