Thursday, April 11

A Little Nostalgic

Forgive me for being a little sentimental, but I have to note that today is my late mother's birthday. Even though she's been gone for a little more than two years, I still find myself jarred into a panic come Valentine's Day remembering that Mom's birthday is just around the corner. . .what will I get her?

Mom lived to the blessed age of 84, a life allowing her to witness and experience many things: from the First World War (she always reminded me they didn't it call it that at the time, since there hadn't been a second world war), to the Great Depression, the popular rise of radio, WWII (prior to which she met my father), television, jet air travel, satellite communications, and something she first appreciated then truly loved: cable television.

I was blessed to grow up largely with the "mom" depicted in so many 1960s sitcoms. She was always in the kitchen when I came home from school (much to my shagrin on some occasions), she made my lunch, washed and ironed my clothes, chauffered me to where I needed to go -- sometimes on a moments (or whim's) notice. She could be both supportive and reprimanding within the same sentence and three vocal ranges.

When my Dad died during my senior year in high school, Mom and I coalesced into a "unit." My Dad, a good man but somewhat of a gambler, had left us a little shy on the inheritance side. We had to give up a lot and learn how to make do. For an indulged only child, I often found the task not only daunting, but defiable. I was a handful for a number of years, but we always pulled together when we needed to, she helping me when I needed it, and me helping her as she progressed in age. We went through breast cancer, a femur shattering fall (literally a replay of the "Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" commercial), and just the oddities and challenges of aging.

For several years in the mid-to-late '90s we fell into a comfortable routine. I would come up every Saturday and grocery shop for her (fortunately she lived next to a Safeway), do household chores, and tend the container garden I had planted on her terrace, which she could see from her beloved Lazy-Boy recliner. (There was a time when I thought my Mom would find it easier to lose me than her recliner, her TV remote or her cable connection). Once a month I would cut her hair. I've never taken a lesson in hair styling, but I had watched my hair being cut many a time -- how difficult could it be? "After all," I would tell aghast friends who learned I sheared Mom's locks, "she doesn't get out much."

Cancer came into her life two times, and she succumbed to it the third time it called. Having been a smoker for more than 50 years (though quitting cold turkey at the time of her mastectomy and remaining off cigarettes for nearly ten years), lung cancer and a few other things were too much to fight.

And while I always found the right gift for her birthday, I realize today how many things she gave me: her wonderful sense of humor (especially an appreciation for the absurd), a love of books, of the outdoors, of how to entertain yourself simply (something only a Depression child can pass on), and a deep loyalty to one's friends.

I think she knows she's missed. But I hope she knows she's being remembered.




Welcome To My Wednesday

Not working a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 existence is disconcerting at first. At first you feel as if you aren't part of the "regular" world (no one works on Saturday or Sunday). Then you take a job requiring other than a traditional schedule (if that even exists anymore) and soon it feels natural.

There are times I long for a regular work week again, and then I realize I have the luxury of a day off during the week. Time to be "off" when so many others are "on."

Today's part-time opportunity fell flat since they wanted me during the times I'm committed to the Atlantis. There are still other options. I have a feeling something will appear that will be right for the moment. It always seems to be that way.

One of the benefits at the Atlantis (Every Player's Paradise) is a free meal each day. Today was my first day to explore the delicacies awaiting me in the employee cafeteria. Believe me, the deal sounds better than it is, but it's also nothing to sneeze at. Employees receive one free meal a day from the offerings in the cafeteria. Essentially it's overstocked food from the buffet, so if the enchiladas aren't selling and we made too much rice. . .it goes to the employees! Choices du jour: Italian Pasta Salad, Salad Bar, Enchiladas, Tacos, Baked Potatoes, Beef Tips, Rice (white or spanish), bread, desserts. They will also make you food to order, for instance, a turkey and swiss on wheat, to go with your salad. Drinks are free all of the time. If you've eaten your free meal, you can still take advantage of the bounty, only it will cost you a little. For instance, a second sandwich is $2.00, an omlette, burger and fries, etc., the same amount. Thinking about it, that's a nice benefit.

Still have unfinished business with the marketing company we were working for (a paycheck for training and the first week) to collect. Hope that goes well. If not, then expect to hear some nasty things about a certain company here in the Great Basin.

Revenge can be a sweet thing.

Wednesday, April 10

Where Now?

Today was my first day to be foisted onto the paying customers of the Atlantis. Nothing too horrendous. It takes time to learn the subtleties of any business and this one is no different. Casinos, I've discovered, attract a number of retirees and the elderly type folks, most of whom want to spend the least amount of time with me since I am a major barrier to their gambling.

Have an opportunity to pick up a part-time job tomorrow afternoon. That would make things work out pretty well. At least I would be closer to meeting some financial goals that I want to achieve.

Pressure continues from a friend in SF to just return to the City and admit this was an interesting, yet largely unrealized, experiment. While I find his appeals attractive (nice place to live in Pac Heights, a Lexus at my disposal, an allowance of some sort until I get myself established) I really don't know if I want to leave this place. While there are so many things about this area that I find repulsive, I also find some very nuturing aspects to life here. Extremes seem to be the currency of my life right now.

Maybe that's what it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, April 9

Pass Go, Collect Ugly Purple Blazer

Worries about the drug test proved to be unfounded. As I knew, nothing illicit in this bloodstream. Though I normally run around 14 proof, they don't appear to be worried about after work carousing of the alcohol variety.

So today was my first day on the new job. Of course, I learn I have to wear a very bright purple blazer only described as Barney friendly. Underneath I get to wear a shirt that appears to be a castoff from the Aladdin movie. Collar-less, embroidered tuxedo style shirt. I desperately wanted to ask the Lesbian who assigned these duds to me where the curly toed shoes were. Rick believes the perfect accessory is a Fez. I'm thinking the Shriners have more taste.

Yeah. Life's good. At least there is a free meal each day to make up for this. I'm thinking the uniform is their way to encourage the fashionable to aspire to management positions. Apparently managers get to wear what they please as long as it's business style attire.

I can speak management.

Monday, April 8

Distractions

Here I sit at the main library at the University of Nevada, Reno, my current and most reliable cyber connection. It's a beautiful campus, but it also has some of the most distractingly beautiful boys roaming around it most of the time. All it takes is a nice spring day like today for most of them to come out of hiding and parade themselves around campus. Ugh. . .I need to get to work.

Speaking of which, I still haven't heard the results of my drug test, which I'm sure is fine, but without the word from my future boss I can't go to work. Another source of frustration and distraction.

What to do. . .what to do?

Sunday, April 7

One Down. . .

And hopefully another to go. Landed the full-time job, now I'm just looking for something else in order to amass enough money to buy another life. If the drug test I took last week comes back clean (and why wouldn't it?, I don't have enough money to do anything illicit) I will be joining the front desk crew at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino here in Reno. It's a swing shift position, but that is OK because it will give me time during the day to take on a second job, or to further some of my other projects.

Health issues raised their ugly head (well, so to speak) again yesterday. Not what I was needing to happen at the time. Of couse, there is never a good time for this to happen, but yesterday was especially inconvenient. Really thought about packing in and going back to the Bay Area, but as Rick pointed out, there isn't necessarily anything better to go back to. I hate it when he is practical.

So Reno continues to get the best of my ambition. I am volunteering at A Rainbow Place the local Gay and Lesbian center, helping them with their fundraising activities. It gets me back into doing something I truly enjoy and will help them out as well.

Might as well be useful.