Friday, December 2, 2011

The Art of Being Out In the World

Pictures hopefully to be added later.

A long time ago, I read an article in the NYT "My Turn" column - whatever it's called - about a man with chronic fatigue syndrome (or was it something else?) who loved to surf. Because of his illness, one day (or hour) of surfing would cause him to have to lie in bed for 2 weeks at a time after. But he was so determined
to live life as best he could, that he did it anyway. He considered it more than worth it.

I am reminded of that as I sit here tonight, after having gone to both the Portland Public Library, remodeled 18 months ago, and the year-old Trader Joe's today - for the first time.

My chemical sensitivity makes this a difficult, arduous task but one I've been wanting to try for a while. I just didn't quite expect to do them both at the same day, but yeah.

Ryan came with me as we entered the library. Architecturally and visually very pleasing. It now looks like a modern, big city library (without the institutional feel). Plants, huge windows, lots of benches and artistic touches. Everything arranged neatly and intuitively. Ryan got a library card. I got my fees waived from the last time I had a library card there, 4 years ago. Ha. Librarians very nice. Books too smelly to probably ever make use of it but nice to know it is there.

Walking down Elm St to get to TJs - SO much nicer than walking down Pearl for WF. Brought back so many memories of when I used go to Wild Oats that way. Had a moment of feeling free, independent and happy. Elm shorter than Pearl lol.

Trader Joe's - walked in and thought "This isnt so bad." They didnt change much about the building from when it was WO, so makes sense. Big and open, easy to manuever, but lacking a lot of the stuff - or at least a lot of the varieties and quantities - of things I've found at all the other TJ's I've been to.

Still, the sweets section still was VERY enjoyable to examine.

Got one of their dark choco Belgian bars to try. Rob got lots of snacks for his meeting tomorrow, most of the suggestions provided by me. =)

Knowing that they imported a lot of their employees from other states, I asked my cashier where she was from and she said Wyoming. When I showed her my Montana ID, she got very excited, and VERY enthusiastically told me that Missoula has the biggest smokejumper center in the country. I *love* enthusiastic people. We had a very nice and rather intense discussion for about 3 minutes. She misses Wyoming - no mountains here - by Western standards, anyway.

So, yes, when I got up from my nap, I felt like crap. And spent several minutes convincing myself to get up rather than wallow in my misery. And it is quite possible there still might be more of that. But, I am hoping I can be more like the man who chose to live in the world despite the cost.* Just not quite as extreme as him. And I know today, I took two major steps toward that goal.

*Restrictions and limitations may apply. Coupon only good for one sale per week.


  1. That is great, Kate! It is, for me, empowering to choose my RISKS. When others, through the fuels, fragrances, pesticides, fabric softeners, choose for me in my air space, it promotes vulnerability. When I have less 'hits' from outside sources, it is easier to choose to take those RISKS, as I am better able to use self-care before and after the outing.
    The library is one place I really miss going. I used to be able to drive myself there. It was a pleasant country ride and if I picked times I knew the farmers weren't spraying, I could go and spend a contented hour. They were even interested in what cleaning products would be safe for me. But then they put on a children's wing. I have only been able to use the library a couple times in as many years. And you are right about the books. If the books are older they have absorbed fabric softener; the newer books smell like petroleum based inks. But libraries are still one of my favorite places to take RISKS. I am glad you were able to go...and tell us about it. Thanks!

  2. Nice to see a post again. I've been out to stores to get some stuff I needed to get ready for the holidays. The shopping and driving has left me at a very low place. Familiar though, and I know if I don't give up I'll be all right again in a few days.
    I can't be around sprays either.
    Happy Holidays. :)
    p.s. I'm moving to Montana.

  3. That's crazy. 23/m/Aspie from Billings. I love Montana almost as much as I do Oregon (my other home state). I'm glad I found this blog.

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