Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend

I had a great 4th of July weekend. I spent it alone. I have been so busy going somewhere every single day seeing so many people I was beginning to feel exhausted. I have not been doing the work I have been wanting to do around the house nor even the art work that I need to do for my art classes. I decided to spend the weekend alone.

It was some time ago that I discovered that some people are afraid to spend time alone. I am not one of them. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find a place where I can be by myself. In the military, it was in the middle of a marching field when it was deserted. As a child, I climbed trees where I could read and be safe. I also went to the school when it was deserted and read and to this day summers always reminds me of science fiction as I read more science fiction in deserted elementary schools as a child than any other place. I had friends growing up, but they did not understand my propensity for reading. Librarians knew me by name.

This weekend I read, wrote and had a grand time listening to music and watched a few movies on Netflix. I did not watch regular television. I really haven't since coming to Portland. Over the weekend, I watched several Joseph Campbell documentaries. He was such a marvelous scholar and mythologist. On film, he also had such an engaging personality. I know he lived a very long life, but I find myself wishing he lived longer.

The weather was wonderful. The sun was out and the sky was clear as it is right now. I used my patio and even took my laptop out there. I enjoyed my kitchen and cooked some nice meals. I did not go anywhere and just enjoyed my apartment. It was easy to do since I did not need anything. I have plenty of books to read and finished two library books. One of them was so interesting I zipped right through it. It was a new book by Jon Ronson, "Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry" (Riverhead: 2011). I had heard about this book from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I had made a note in my head to read it and found it in the library across the street. I also had the new edition of the magazine, Bookmarks, which I read as well.

There were a lot of people at the pool, and I did not envy them since I never like to swim in pools. I can see the pool from my patio but the fence around it blocks the people and the playground which I can see from my apartment has been empty for the most part since the pool opened. It is a heated pool so even when the day seems a bit cool, there are people there.

There are balconies above me, but I seem to be the only one that spends any amount of time in the patio with the possible exception of the smoker above me. I would have to have the only smoker. When he is out there the smoke drifts down to where I am, and I have to leave and go inside which of course is a shame. Still, he does not seem to be a chain smoker. He has stopped dropping his cigarettes off the end of his balcony, thank heavens.

There were lots of fireworks or at least I listened to them. I did not see them as there are trees that block the horizon. I also did not see the jets that flew over in formation and I have seen enough of those to know what was happening without seeing them. It was during those times I miss my mother for when I moved to California I would take my mother to 4th of July parades and her favorites were in Ashland. She lived in Grants Pass, Oregon. I would also take her to Crescent City, California which she would love and the last thing we talked about before she died was her dream of a trip we took there to see the light house. 4th of July was a big event for my aunt who lived in Grants Pass as well and we would have these wonderful picnics on Gilbert Creek with all of the people my aunt and uncle knew. I always think of them during the 4th as well. My uncle died in 1976 and my aunt died in 2001. Ah....memories. What would we do without them?

I said hello to the apartment manager as she headed to the pool. She is a very friendly woman in her 40's and her extended family live in this complex. She has some very colorful tattoos that I can see as she passes by because she is wearing a bathing suit. I talked with her by phone before I got to Portland. I was reminded of my impression of women with tattoos from my living in the Midwest that they were bikers. Now, I laugh but I remember seeing my first supervisor in Redding who was covered with them and my thinking she was a biker and my eyes must have almost fallen out of my head. Talk about culture shock.

Being alone stores up my batteries. When I was in Redding, I would head out to Whiskeytown Lake and spend some time alone in my car. I don't need to do that here although I don't know a lake like Whiskeytown. That lake is very special. Today, I intend to walk to the library as it is just across the street from this apartment complex. I need the exercise. It looks like a beautiful day for it. The people who work in it are very friendly and knowledgeable about the small but excellent collection. I have other things to do this week including one doctor's appointment. I think I will be up for them now.

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