Thursday, November 19, 2009


1960 Rambler American

Back when I first rode around in a 1960 Rambler, I didn’t think about getting married or having a family or even whether or not I’d get an education. I don’t know what I thought about, but it wasn’t those things.

The first time I rode in that Rambler M and I were spending time together in a different way then we had previously. We’d been friends for a couple of years but I had another boy friend. Now I didn’t. I remember he put his hand on my knee as he drove and we listened to his only 4 track tape, “Happy Trails” by Quick Silver Messenger Service.
I thought it was strange that he didn’t stroke or caress my knee, he just left his hand there, still. Now, I relish the memory.

The Rambler had a four track tape player in it. Four Track tape player technology had such a short life span that they were obsolete before I’d ever heard of one and people have forgotten all about them now. The eight track tape player is infamous, but this was a four track tape player. Even in 1970 I don’t think they were much available. But I remember that tape because we listened to it over and over again.

We both lived and worked at Multnomah Falls during the summer of 1971. It was the summer after my junior year and the summer after M’s graduation. The Rambler was our mode of transportation. We’d go 90 miles an hour down I-84 between Troutdale and Multnomah Falls. We were never pulled over. I guess the police just figured their radar was wrong, a Rambler couldn’t possibly be traveling that fast.

M still had the car when we married two years later. Then, it was our car. It broke down a lot. We often had to borrow cars. One reason we moved further into town was to be nearer the better bus service so M could ride the bus to work. We might still be living in that first depressing apartment that smelled like mold and dirty carpet, M and I usually need compelling reasons to move. Of course that would mean also that we’d never have had any children or been given acreage in Corbett, but you never know what the true catalyst is for the rest of your life. Maybe the Rambler was low on gas the night my oldest daughter was conceived? I don’t remember, so it could be we had sex instead of going out for dinner. Speaking of sex, the Rambler was the best car for making out. It was good too, since it was really the only car we ever really used for that purpose. Marriage tends to move that activity indoors. It had a bench front seat. That bench would lay completely flat. Cool huh? Couple that with dark country roads and well, we were too young to be out on our own.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spring 2009, Thankfully Ancient History now!

I hate my job but every night on my way home I listen to NPR’s unemployment news and remind myself to be grateful.

When I was a young person I got a lot of negative attention for challenging my father’s authority (imagine) and for generally thinking I knew it all. My dad was an alcoholic. He was in treatment when I was a young married woman and I heard the dysfunctional family info for the first time. The family structure of the alcoholic tends to be co-dependent. The alcoholic (or the angry person, or the sickly person) is the only one whose needs matter to the group. Among the children of such a family, the oldest tends to be the hero. The second oldest, if the same sex as the oldest, will choose a different coping strategy, at the same time comparing himself to his sibling. A second boy or a second girl will often be a “scapegoat or acting out child”. In my family my oldest brother often played the hero. From my point of view my mother’s need for my brother and her general unhappiness caused him to seek outside the home to get his needs met. He was seldom home. My older sister was also a hero at times, occasionally a scapegoat, but mostly a caretaker. She put a lot of energy into teaching my brother and me our catechism and when my youngest brother was still small and my mother went back to work, Paula was surrogate mother, housekeeper and sitter. Surprise, surprise she’s had a highly successful social work career.

But I became the acting out child.

As a grade school student I was happy. There wasn’t much evidence then that I would become a rebel. I was very social and spent hours with my friends in the neighborhood. My mother was so busy trying to ignore her situation that I was allowed to spend most of my time at the park, at the neighbors, the library or in front of the tv. We did play cards quite often as a family. Those are some of my fondest memories. And there wasn’t a lot of arguing. It was a very loosely run household. There were few expectations of me, I seldom bathed, I came and went as I pleased from a young age, and I was pretty darn happy. Though the problems were fomenting, I ignored them. My sister suffered because of my parent’s neglect of many of their responsibilities, but I capitalized on them.

Then we moved to the country.

It became much harder to socialize. I made friends with everyone in my class but it was too far to walk to school. And I had to catch the bus both morning and night. I don’t remember my fathers’ drinking impacting me directly until we moved out of town. It was then that I became aware that his day was structured around alcohol. I was 12 years old. As I entered puberty I realized my family wasn’t like other families. My undiagnosed ADHD helped me be an irritable, mouthy and rebellious teen. My relationship with my father was non-existent, even though he had once been my greatest advocate, and my relationship with my mother deteriorated to mutual criticism. Because I needed my parent’s attention and neither of them were available, I set out to get it and to set them both straight.

Fast forward.
I’m tired of that subject, because the real subject I want to write about is how I feel about working for the attorneys. There is so much I appreciate about these two bosses. They are constantly trying to make my job fit me. But because I am also constantly failing to meet their expectations I feel picked on and scapegoated. They make mistakes too but no one scolds them. And if they do “get in trouble” they can console themselves with their income. I on the other hand get to feel like the lackey. My ingratitude is awe-inspiring isn’t it?

I have a job!! Thank you Lord. But no I’m sabotaging my own success with my terrible attitude. I’m not sure how to get myself off this track towards disaster.

"Acting out child" - "Scapegoat"
“This is the child that the family feels ashamed of - and the most emotionally honest child in the family. He/she acts out the tension and anger the family ignores. This child provides distraction from the real issues in the family. The scapegoat usually has trouble in school because they get attention the only way they know how - which is negatively. They often become pregnant or addicted as teenagers.
These children are usually the most sensitive and caring which is why they feel such tremendous hurt. They are romantics who become very cynical and distrustful. They have a lot of self-hatred and can be very self-destructive. This often results in this child becoming the first person in the family to get into some kind of recovery.”

I am responsible to lead a weekly meeting at the Firm. Mondays are “Office Meeting day” I usually type thoughts through out the week to discuss on Mondays. I printed out my list today and forgot to delete the word “Scapegoat”. I didn’t mention my feelings of being scapegoated during the meeting. It wasn’t appropriate, but later in the day when I needed the notes to make a call I dug them out of the garbage and inadvertently left the paper behind where I made the call. One of the attorneys found it and gave it to me. He asked if I felt scapegoated. How do you backpedal out of that? I told him I realized it was my childhood affecting my current feelings. Am I displaying self-hatred and self-destruction? I’m pretty sure I am. And the deeper I dig the harder it’s going to be to turn this stupid course I’m on. I’m dismayed with my mismanagement of my relationship with these very kind people. Why can’t I just be grateful and shut the f#*k up?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

December 6, 2005

Dinner Trauma

My daughter drove my car home from the mechanics, I drove the truck. On our way down to pick up the car we discussed her plans to go to a local restaurant. Her friend works there (my daughter does too but had the night off) and her friend had a birthday gift for her. I asked if her dad and I could join her for dinner. She replied with a "sure", as long as Simone, my other daughter, would come along too (should have been my first clue my daughters were trying to ditch us). On my way home I called home. "How about we take the girls out for dinner tonight at Tad’s?" I ask my husband.

"I can’t say no to you Hon, and I love going out."

So my mouth freely waters for oysters. The best oysters, always fresh, always crisp on the outside and moist but not wet. Almost too hot to eat.

Once we were all together at home, we had to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before leaving, not that I was enthused. At 6pm I jumped up, hungry to the point of being too weak to fix my own, and announced "Time to go!"

Simone started to whine. She wasn’t hungry, in fact she has heartburn from the brownie she ate. She doesnt’ want to go. Rachael doesn’t want to go without her. Hubby is really too tired too but he’ll go to please everyone. You know how I felt about it.

So, after much discussion and sorting out of feelings we decide not to go, though Rachael’s still going to get her gift and buy a gift certificate for me and order food to go for herself. Her father shakes salad out of the precut salad bag and cuts meat off the leftover chicken in the fridge. I take frozen "seafood medley" out of the freezer and throw it into the microwave to thaw, Rachael puts her makeup on and Simone quietly slips out the door to the car to go with her. Whaaa??

I burned the roof of my mouth on a freezer burned shrimp or it may have been the beans and rice I accompanied it with. I don’t mind the blister as much as not getting it from an oyster.