Hint of Crime…

Posted January 17th, 2017 by Doral

O, Tostitos Hint of Lime,

You plague me with your delicious Salty Tartness (my former stage name).

You make me stalk you in the grocery store like my own personal Fatal Attraction until I find you, take you home, set you up on top of the refrigerator and try to pretend you’re not there.

But somewhere between the Late Show and the Late Late Show, you tiptoe up next to my chair and beg for me to take you onto my lap, rip you open and have my way with you.

You are very naughty.

Permanent New Year’s Resolution

Posted January 17th, 2017 by Doral

Just thinking about what I’ve learned this past year and how much I still don’t know.

In the coming year my hope is:

  • That I stop trying to change the world and instead change my mind.
  • That I find a way to love everyone, especially those who I find it hardest to love.
  • That I give up trying to correct others, and learn to accept everyone just as they are.
  • That I forgive without reservation.
  • That I achieve 21 days in a row without complaining, gossiping or criticizing.
  • That I realize if I condemn anyone, I also condemn myself.
  • That I choose love over fear, in every situation.
  • That I live fully and authentically and beautifully in the present.
  • That every person I know gets everything that I want for myself.

Jordan’s Journey

Posted March 26th, 2014 by Doral

One of my nephews was in a near-fatal car accident a few days before Christmas (2013). He sustained many broken bones, crushed skull, internal lacerations, and traumatic brain injury. He’s still in a coma at this writing and just this week was moved to a facility in Palo Alto, CA, where they specialize in waking people up.

Many people are following his journey as his father posts to a page on facebook, which he set up to allow others to view the process they are living. I can’t imagine what they are really going through as we see the incremental progress in this young man’s life.

To find out more about Jordan’s Journey, go to his facebook page and “Like” it to stay informed.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jordans-Journey/1392064321044382

Since moving him from Portland to Palo Alto, the family’s expenses have become tremendous. Please consider donating a few dollars, or a lot of dollars, to help them through this ordeal. I know they would do the same for you!

http://www.planetdoral.com/donate-to-jordans-journey/

Belt Man

Posted August 17th, 2012 by Doral

Belt Man – Queen for a Day

The world might be a pretty boring place if we were all able-bodied, intelligent, kind, and gracious. Not to worry…there will never be a dull moment if you’re paying attention. There’s no telling when and where you might run into “Belt Man.”

Perhaps you know him or have seen him on the public transportation system: blind, crippled up but gets around with crutches, loud, angry, foul-mouthed, pees where and whenever he wants. These are generalizations, of course, for I cannot begin to describe someone to which I have no other points of reference.

All the bus drivers seem to know him, and I’m thinking that he just rides around town from one place to another without the benefit of a purpose for going there. He carries a dozen or so leather belts that he tries to sell to people on the bus, and I suppose someone buys one once in awhile or he wouldn’t keep doing it.

I was on the #75 going north on 39th Avenue one day when Belt Man got on. He immediately got into an argument with the bus driver before turning his attention to finding a seat, tried to sell a belt to a couple of unsuspecting riders in his path, got into an argument and cursing match with another rider, and finally got off the bus not far from where he got on, where he positioned himself behind the bus bench and proceeded to pee on the sidewalk and down the front of his already fouled trousers.

I felt sorry for Belt Man for a long time as I watched him stumble around town in a wake of foulness. I wondered in what kind of place he lived or who, if anyone, cared for him. I thought somebody should do something. At times, I would see a bus driver be mean to him and my heart would go out to that poor creature. I was to be cured of this sympathy soon enough.

One day I was waiting for a bus downtown and Belt Man came up to my stop and started shouting for someone to help him. For every bus he heard pulling up he’d shout at the top of his lungs, “What bus is this?” One man tried to help guide him to a safer place than the edge of the curb to wait for his bus, but Belt Man cursed at him and took a swing at him with one of his crutches.

I started to catch on that perhaps the bus drivers had encountered similar problems, hence the not-so-nice treatment I had witnessed.

Another day right after work I got on the #15 from downtown to head over to NW 23rd Avenue. The bus was packed with tired workers trying to get home or where ever they needed to go, and there were only a couple of seats left on the bus toward the back. It had been a particularly shitty day for me…you know the kind of day…where you wake up to find no coffee in the house, you’re late for work, you can’t find any clean underwear, can’t make a decent bus connection all day, your boyfriend dumps you at lunchtime, and you have about a $1.50 left to your name to last until next week.

Anyway, I was about as low as I’ve ever been and was catching this bus to get to a much needed AA meeting when Belt Man gets on the bus. I’m about half way up the aisle and watched the scene as I always do when one of the Transit characters arrives. I see a couple of people up front offer to move and let him sit, but he tells them to piss-off and proceeds to wobble down the aisle in his cloud of stench. I start thinking, “That poor guy is so much worse off than I am.”

Just as soon as I had this thought, tinged with compassion, Belt Man turned around in the aisle and sat on me with his nasty old urine stained pants and belligerent attitude. Okay, so I thought I was having one of the worst days of my life and it just got worse…BELT MAN SAT ON ME!!!

Other riders were mortified, but not nearly as much as I was, so I did the only appropriate thing…shoved him off as quickly as I could, hoping none of his cooties would linger. A couple of people then got him to an available seat, but it was too late for me to recover any semblance of dignity or decorum.

I felt that everyone was looking at me after that, like I was “Queen for a Day.” All those riders on the bus, and Belt Man chose to sit on me! I started to chuckle as I thought of the day’s events and the most recent insult added to injury. In fact, I couldn’t stop chuckling and soon was laughing. I tried to get control and settle myself down, but it only got worse and soon tears were streaming down my face as I rode my personal log ride into the abyss.  The woman sitting next to me got up and moved to another seat, which only made me laugh harder.

I was afraid the bus driver would kick me off the bus for being out of control and making people uncomfortable, but we reached my stop before that, much to my relief.

What more can I tell you about the day Belt Man made me “Queen for a Day,” except that I no longer felt sorry for him, and came to the realization that  at any given time, I might be only one incident away from totally losing control of my publicly acceptable conduct.

What’s Love Got to Do With It

Posted August 13th, 2012 by Doral

A Very Long Sentence

If you had been there that night, you would have known she was still the Queen; still able to pull you forcefully up out of your seat when she descended to the stage as if you had steel ball bearings in your brain and the ceiling was a giant electro-magnet; still able to lure you to your feet with her shake-and-shimmy, vibrate-and-strut, until you wanted to jump out in the aisle and dance your way to the edge of the sea of bumps and grinds and keep right on going till you drown; still able to scream-sing love abrasions through the sexiest sneer on the planet until your ears jump down your throat and grab your heart with both lobes, and cry out, “She’s singing your song!”; and those legs up to here, and that wild woman hair; still TINA after all these years.

Mae West – True Sighting

Posted August 3rd, 2012 by Doral

I first saw her when I used to ride the #35 bus from downtown Portland to West Linn, where I worked at the public library. I liked to get on the bus at the beginning of the line on 5th and Oak so I could get my favorite seat and observe everyone else as they got on board for another long ride to the “burbs.”

She always got on at 5th and Morrison, right in front of what used to be Meier & Frank, which is now Macy’s.

She was decked out in a red and black dress; black lace stockings; red high-heels; black wide-brimmed hat with veil; and gloves, purse, bangles and all forms of what-not to match. Everything she wore was obviously good quality and she apparently spared no expense in dressing.

Shockingly blonde hair cascaded down around her shoulders from under the black brim and veil of her hat, and as she moved her head, little glimpses of equally shocking red lips peeked out. I strained to see her eyes through the veil, and then suddenly, there they were — big, black, long false eyelashes firmly attached to her powdered and carefully made up eyes.

Her features, her demeanor, and her aura all screamed “Mae West.”

She was approximately 85 years old, and I was totally fascinated by her uncanny resemblance to the original Sex Goddess. I watched her relentlessly for some sign that she really was “Mae West,” that this was a True Sighting, and therefore, proof that “she” lived.

As if she read my thoughts, she suddenly looked straight at me, a knowing glint of mischief in her eyes, and smiled that slightly pouty little Mona Lisa smile of hers, as if to assure me that I had found the genuine article. Then she got off the bus on “A” Street in Lake Oswego; one last quick glance my direction and a barely perceptible nod as the bus took me from her sight.

I thought I’d never see her again, but for about a year after that, I would see her every few weeks, all dolled up in one of her outrageous geriatric costumes, and then somewhere between Portland and Lake Oswego, I’d get that one and only knowing smile.

Radio Shack Man – A Sign of God

Posted August 3rd, 2012 by Doral

In downtown Portland, on the 5th Avenue transit mall there was a Radio Shack store. For about a year and a half I watched an old man stand in front of that store every day that I passed by on the bus. His dark sport coat was rumpled and frayed, and his trousers had not been cleaned and pressed in several years, give or take a few months.

Day after day he turned his face upward as he stared at the Radio Shack sign. He would stand about 2 or 3 feet  away from the building, right under the big “S” on the word “Shack” and lean back to stare. I started staring, too, as my bus pulled away from the stop, hoping to get a glimpse of what he was tuning in on.

One day I saw him in the morning, just getting himself into position for the day’s staring session. When I came by in the afternoon of the same day he was still there, but had his back arched in such a painful angle, still staring up at the “S,” that I thought he might be some kind of human sundial, gradually leaning back as the day moved on, until his head would touch the ground. Then he’d be able to go home, work done for the day.

I’d seen him in the rain, water dripping into his ears, splashing into his eyes and making them blink, face ever upward until the rain gets so heavy I think he’s going to drown. Then he would suddenly take a break and stare at his reflection in the window.

Soon after, he started having a conversation, perhaps with his reflection, but it could be prayers to the God in the Radio Shack sign that keeps him coming back to his lonely post. “S” could be for Salvation, and maybe that old sign has saved him from a fate worse than this, or maybe his mission is to make people like me wonder.

Maybe he had no purpose in life before he found a Sign of God in the Radio Shack sign. Who knows.

Or maybe it was me who found a Sign of God in the Radio Shack man, all because he took his post and his mission in life on the 5th Avenue transit mall.

Religion and Politics

Posted April 15th, 2012 by Doral

First, I have to say that I’m not qualified to speak on either subject.

These are two topics that I try to avoid with most friends and relatives. I love my peeps, but going into these dank territories with loved ones is like purposely whacking a yellow jacket nest. It stings and gets red and angry.

I have an abundance of Christians in my family, and was, in fact, raised as a Conservative Baptist. I really tried to become a Christian, but it never seemed quite right for me. There was always something a little hinky feeling when I tried to accept this version of reality as the only true way for my life to be lived. I don’t think I would’ve done any better trying to be a Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, or any other religious follower on the planet.

At times I’ve wondered what is wrong with me…a vast majority of people follow some sort of religion as their lifestyle. What I’ve come to know and understand is that there’s nothing wrong with me. I believe in some fairly universal tenets of religion: that there is a supreme intelligence I choose to call God, that this supreme intelligence is pure love, that there are choices humans make which create positive or negative conditions, that there is light and dark (2 sides to a coin, good and evil, etc.), and by having faith that I get what I need and letting go of trying to control outcomes, I create peace and serenity in my life.

The language of Christians (and other religious groups) is marked with the assumption that they are right. And politically speaking, I guess a lot of them are, just judging by my family. But the quoting of scriptures and continual praising of Jesus sounds a little weird to me. I didn’t drink the Koolaid and don’t understand how they can be any more right than anyone else. And sounding righteous is not an attractive human trait for any of us.

What I know is that my spiritual beliefs are right for me and that I don’t need to be saved by someone else. How do I know this? God has revealed to me my own truth and has placed the universal stamp of approval on my heart. I can and do love my fellow humans regardless of what kind of weird little monkeys I perceive them to be, and if they need to spew dogma, I can listen for their intention rather than their words. Otherwise, I would not be able to tolerate such fanaticism.

A lot of folks these days get religion and politics all mixed up in a big pile of goo. I suppose that’s what it has become…one’s religious/spiritual beliefs inform one’s political beliefs and choices are made, not based on what one can cogitate with one’s own mind, but instead based on the background and belief system of the candidate that most closely matches one’s own.

I’m not affiliated with any political party anymore. None of them fit me, although the Green Party comes closest. When I first registered to vote, I was clueless and registered as a Republican because I heard my parents say they were Republican. I think a majority of youngsters register this way when they first get politically inclined. Very few are actually able to discern what’s right or wrong for them due to the fact that they haven’t lived long enough. They do what their parents did.

I wasn’t too far along in my voting career before I realized that the candidates and issues I was voting on tended not to agree with the Republican party. To my horror, I recognized that I was going to have to switch parties, do some actual research or not vote.  As I was reading through the ideologies (or issue stances) for each party, I would inevitably find that my personal beliefs would collide with one or more things on each list, making it impossible for me to select an affiliation. My head said I should overcome this disagreement and select the least of the offenders, but my heart is still waiting for the perfect political alignment. Too bad I didn’t approach marriage this way.

I can’t talk to most of the weird little monkeys about this stuff, because the arguments that are born in political “discussion” just make me wonder how some people live as long as they do (not a very spiritually elevated thought). Then religion starts popping into the scene and it’s all I can do to turn the other cheek and take another punch because I’m not a Christian, just another Progressive or Liberal who thinks there is such a thing as climate change due to pollution that humans have created. And let us not forget what dire straits the current President (whoever is currently in office) has created.

The word “progressive” means moving forward or advancing. The word “liberal”  means broad minded. The word “conservative”  means preservative, tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions. It makes sense to me that since change is the one constant we can count on in our lives (besides death and taxes), being progressive and liberal should be a good thing. However, I believe that it’s really meant as a slander.

So, to all conservatives I say, you are a Preservative, and everyone knows those aren’t good for you!

I love you anyway.

Finding a Job at Age 50 – 65

Posted March 2nd, 2012 by Doral

A bit of History,or more accurately, Herstory.

When I was a teenager starting out on my own, I had a hard time getting a job because I had no experience at anything.

“How do I get experience if I can’t get a job?” I asked. No one had a really good answer, but I was told to just keep trying things until something worked out.

My dad thought he could get me a part-time student job where he worked. They had a program where staff members with high schoolers could get their kids jobs during the summer to get some experience and a little cash. Apparently, that did not apply for the Building Maintenance Manager, aka The Janitor, or his high schooler. Although I had suspected as much, I didn’t really think class discrimination was an issue until this happened. My father was embarrassed that he didn’t know he wasn’t included, and ashamed that he couldn’t help his child when everyone else was helping theirs.

I felt enraged at the stupidity behind this kind of treatment. My father was a brilliant man, but life circumstances had put him in the position of working at a job where one is treated as if one is just not smart enough or good enough to do any better. Yet, he was so much better than they knew.

After that incident I took a left turn in life and it took many years for me to get a decent paying job. I never felt that I deserved my good fortune in landing a “decent” job, and that someone would find out that I really didn’t belong to this class of fortunate people and take it away from me. In reality, I know I was a good, hard worker and was very good at what I did.

After many years of putting my heart and soul into my job, I started to notice some weird things once I turned 50. Bosses came and went, but I was always there, holding down the fort. My bosses were getting younger as I was getting older, and for the first time in my career, I felt like I was always doing something wrong even though I wasn’t. Little things started happen…such as my getting left out of an email that went to the rest of the team. The parts of my job that I liked started being handed off to new people on the team and I was being given less responsibility and more mundane mind-numbing duties. Was I just imagining this?

By the time I turned 55, it was very apparent that my newest boss did not want me on his team, however, labor rules being what they sometimes are, he could not fire me or lay me off. Instead, he systematically made my work life so unbearable that when the company was doing some major layoffs, he offered me a job he knew I abhorred with the hope that I would take a voluntary layoff rather than do that job. His plan worked and I took early retirement rather than work at a job designed to make me slit my throat.

I wasn’t worried about getting another job. I’ve never had problems getting hired as an adult. What I found when I went on the job hunt took me apart brick by brick.  By the time I was 57 my self worth was nowhere to be found. I didn’t recognize myself and I didn’t know what to do.

Try to get a job in your field after age 55. Go ahead. Try it. If you can do it, kudos to you. You should write a fucking book.

I’ve talked to a lot of people my age who have also found that after becoming jobless, there is no place for them in their chosen field. Those of us that have tried to get a job even half as good as what we had, have become desperate enough go to places like Home Depot, K-Mart, Target or anywhere just to get some form of employment. Reasons for not getting hired:  I was over qualified, would probably have to move appliances, they were looking for someone with lots of energy (perky), would probably get bored too easily, (add any other excuse here). That’s if I even got an interview. Mostly, I just got rejection letters or emails.

I worked “tech support” in a call center for 6 months…it was actually a sales job with a tech support component. Places like that are geared toward entry level employees, and they treat you as such regardless of your experience and background. It was a real meat grinder. They hire anyone who is breathing and can use a computer. When I was starting my young adult life this type of  job might have been appropriate. Not so much now.

So what does one do for satisfying work at my age?

I’ve been able to get a tiny bit of freelance work in my field. Not enough to support my basic needs. So I decided to research how I could work for myself doing something I could actually live with. After a lot of soul searching and researching companies, I decided to get in on a ground floor opportunity as an independent advisor for a new jewelry company that sells on a home party plan. Not anywhere near my normal choice of work, but I’m no longer normal. I have to find the new me. What better way to do so than by dressing up, putting on makeup, jewelry, going to fun events and watching as people ooh and aah over this fantastic line of quality jewelry. Smiles are good.

It’s harder to get people together for these types of parties than it was I was a kid. Back then, when we didn’t have any way to keep in touch besides phone calls, letters or getting together in person, home sales parties proliferated. I remember my mom having parties and attending parties…I lurked in the background and took mental notes about appropriate social behavior while munching on party treats with the women-folk.

Now with social networking the norm, some of us have lost our knowledge of hospitality, courtesy and real conversation, and some of our children have never experienced something akin to these social shopping events. Although I love my network connections and would never give up my electronic gadgets, I see the home party plan making a comeback as one way to bring back some of the social graces we’ve lost in shuffle of progress. Also, it gives me a reason to get up, get dressed and out of the house. I’ve got a new energy and direction and I’m saying ta-ta to my old self.

Can’t find your way back into your career? Can’t find a job? Heading into the 4th quarter of your life and feeling a bit dazed and confused? Consider doing something you’ve never considered doing before. Do the research, discover what you can live with, find a product or service that you like, and become the new you. There’s no test to pass, there’s no one to tell you why you can’t do it (unless you live with some asshole) and there’s nothing to lose by trying. From my perspective, there’s a lot worse things than selling high quality fashion jewelry at home parties (and I’ve done those things) and there’s no where to go but up!

And who doesn’t like beautiful jewelry?

Update: August 2012

My jewelry thing is not going as well as I had hoped…I’m not much of a sales person. I continue with it, but have decided to open a store and office, to sell needful things and my technical services. We’ll see how this goes. Still piecing it together, but surviving.  Hope you are, too.

 

Three Cats

Posted January 2nd, 2012 by Doral

I have three cats named China, Buster and Leelu. They share similarities such as fur, claws, purring and napping. Other than that, they are pretty distinct individuals.

China cat is the Whiner. He complains about most things unless I’m holding him, preferably under a blanket. He’s a skinny Lavender/Blue point Siamese so I figure without any meat on his bones, he must be cold all the time, and that’s why he always wants to be under a blanket. I wake up in bed with him under the covers, too. And he’s a bit finicky about food. Sometimes I put food out and he goes over and sniffs and if it doesn’t meet with his approval, he starts scratching the floor trying to cover it up like it’s an almond roca in the litter box. What a critic.

Buster is the Fetch Cat. She was a feral kitty that was very sick, weighed 2.5 pounds and was on the brink of dying. Who could resist? She has grown up to be a beautiful cat with a very sweet disposition. She hides when people come around (I’m not people) and because she was so sick, her voice is more like a tiny squeaky croak, plus she doesn’t see very well. What she does do well is play fetch. Her favorite fetch toys are the plastic rings from the necks of milk jugs and plastic covered twist wires from electronics packaging. She’s very specific about this. After years of being with me, she finally sits on my lap, but I can’t hold her.

Leelu is a very Naughty Cat. She was a rescue kitten. I’ve only had her for a few months and I’m hoping she grows out of the naughty stage pretty soon. She’s so darn cute, ornery, lovable and exasperating. She climbs curtains, digs in the plants and chews off their leaves, gets up on anything and everything and knocks everything to the floor, which then becomes a cat toy. Yes, I’ve been using the water spray bottle and saying NO, but she just waits until I get settled down to do something and she’s right back at it. She yells at me when she’s in trouble, and I’ve literally soaked her (and my house) with water trying to instill in her right from wrong. I’ve given up. My daughter is babysitting what’s left of my plants and I will look at getting new curtains someday. For now, don’t judge me by how my house looks. It’s Leelu’s house.

Update: August 2012

I went of town for a few days and had family come over to feed the cats. Although Leelu is an adult now and has calmed down a bit, she’s still very naughty. When I got home from my trip, she had gotten into the closet, found a bag full of yarn, dragged it out into the bedroom and proceeded to decorate the entire house with various colors of yarn that once lived in a bag in the closet. How can I not love this cat?