Sunday, March 28, 2010

Running out of things to say

I don't know what to write about. I realize I haven't been here for awhile. I could write about the day I spent 6 hours cleaning my house. Or the great dinner party we had that night. Or I could write about the grant I'm writing, and how intimidated I am by budgets. Or, I could write about the contract that is ending in May, and how my nonchalance about it borders on irresponsibility.

I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I read a crap book during the time it took Amazon to send me the next book in the series, and then, last night, began reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. I am obsessed with Lisbeth Salander, even though the only person I discuss her with is my father. He recommended the books. I want to go to Sweden and be a writer now. Salander is NOT, by the way, a writer in Sweden. She is a goth computer hacker with a harrowing past. But if living in Sweden (and smoking 60 cigarettes a day, by the way, which killed him before he could write all ten books for this series) can help me write like this, sign me up. (Kidding-- everyone knows that to be a truly great writer, you have to go live in the South and be an alcoholic!)

Lisbeth is truly bad ass (and if you ran with me, you would know that I talk about my desire to be bad ass during about 90% of our runs; it has now overcome my desires to have a great ass and to buy a bikini this summer). She has had said harrowing past (which we continue to learn about), yet she is by no means a victim. Lisbeth gets revenge. Tiger Woods would have had a real problem with Lisbeth Salander. She is also a genius. And Salander thinks about more interesting things than I do. I have my loop of thoughts that circle and iterate (kids, husband, coffee, food, Facebook, work, my puppy, my parents, running, and Radical Honesty) rather uselessly. Salander has a photographic memory and has memorized Dimensions in Mathematics and solved Fermat's Last Theorem. She also lives in Grenada and sort of lopes around writing calculations on cocktail napkins and prying into her neighbors' affairs. Granted, she has a lonely, empty, kind of horrific existence, but she is fascinating. And instead of thinking about mathematical proofs or how to improve conditions in Chile or Haiti, I am thinking about someone who doesn't exist.

It's a little demoralizing.

I know people, however, who do not read fiction. And while I can appreciate this, I will always read fiction.

Dereck said something Friday night that honestly astonished me. A friend asked, "What was the first book that made you cry," and as I was searching my memory, Dereck said he didn't think a book has ever made him cry. We will have to fix that directly, and I, apparently, will have to finally read 100 Years of Solitude.

[Tommy just came in before bed, talking about how a character on an episode of the show Community had run forward into her own pepper spray. "She was trying to be a bad ass. More like a dumb ass. But what's the difference, really?" Thanks, son!]

Running is starting to take over. It used to be that I ran so I could keep in shape (now that my medication change has helped me get into shape). I ran so that occasionally, I could eat peanut M&Ms, and still be able to button my pants.

Friday, we ran 2.5 miles. I had had a very slow work out week. Yesterday, we ran what we thought was 7, but was actually 7.7. And I don't mean that we ran 5, walked two. I mean we ran 7 and walked parts of the .7. Then, today, we ran over 3 as our recovery run. Our bodies are breaking down, hopefully to be rebuilt with muscle. My knees hurt. Carol's left calf is tight. Mine has been tight on and off for three years. I am thinking of taking up yoga, as I am stretching now to make sure that my muscles get elongated and not bunchy. Carol (5'2") laughs when I say that I feel short, squat and fat (I am 5'7"). However, Carol's thighs are the size of my wrist.

Our goal for the next two weeks is to run 8 miles each Saturday (we run at least one long run per week, and balance out the rest of the week with 3-to-5 miles depending mostly on time, with one day off) (we have a lovely, flat course for the 8). When we run 9, it will be a personal best for us both.  I have to tell her that I am going up to Cedar Falls next weekend with John to see Avenue Q. He got tickets for my birthday LAST year. It's kind of ridiculous when one of your first thoughts is that you will have to work your run around your fun, isn't it?

At the same time, we are snarky on our runs about the middle-aged women (besides us) at races who have sun-and-wind-leathered faces from hours running outside, the women who don't smile, who don't chat with us, and who wear T-Shirts that say, "If you don't puke, you're not running hard enough." What kind of quality of life do they have? I always wear my hair in a ponytail, and I am running out of pants that fit me. They either threaten to fall off, or I have to wear a belt and they just look stupid. But I don't want to buy new pants NOW because I'm in between sizes. Not quite there yet. So, I end up just wearing my jogging clothes all day. I build my days around my runs. I have to plan what I eat (not too much before hand, don't pig out after or you'll GAIN weight while training), my sleep (don't stay up that late; it will ruin your run), and my work schedule all around my runs. Or at least keep them in mind. It's almost like the running is a newborn I have to take constant care of.

I am starting to eat and sleep to run, instead of vice versa. I colored my hair brown in part because it's too much of a time suck to maintain the blonde (also? Too damaging. Also? Ridiculous). What is the point in running all these miles when I just walk around in sweats and a ponytail all day? Carol can't even wear a skirt to church without people commenting on her bony knees and how the veins pop out of her legs. She thinks they are disgusting. I think they are beautiful and bad ass. I can't wear skirts because they are too big now.

I'm not really complaining, you know. For one thing, training for a half-marathon is a choice. For another? It's a privilege. I will be 41 in one month. And I ran almost 8 miles yesterday. That is a gift, my friends.

So, even though, like my friend Libby from High School who reads a lot and is a Dean of Students and has lovely dogs and drinks wine and enjoys the same pleasures (a good meal; a good bath; exercise) that I do, she claims she feels boring, and often,  I feel boring too. One of the reasons I don't blog is that I really don't know what to say-- because I'm doing the above-- or because I'm thinking too much or having conversations so private that they both exhaust my desire to write and there is just too much to write, and you don't have the background and context, so where do I begin?

Still here. Time goes by. Things happen. The sun goes up, the sun goes down. Just like always.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Running away with my thoughts

Bah. I'm tired today and a little emotional-- probably hormonal. I can tell I'm starting to make mountains out of molehills, so I am trying to nip these little thought loops in the bud. Sometimes I am a big fan of being a masochist, and making myself upset by the little stories I tell myself. Stories that either used to be true, and now aren't; aren't a big deal; or just are not true at all.

There is a group run (for Kirksville Multisport) this evening at 5:30. I know Carol would like to do it, but she was also looking last night for people who run at her pace-- which is significantly faster during races than mine. So, that means I'm looking at a 6.5 mile run by myself-- or alone in a crowd of people who run faster than I do. I think I'm going to give her a call, but I'll probably run earlier today by myself just so I can clear some cobwebs. I am feeling a little twitchy, like I should get outside and move my body before I can concentrate on thinking work. That's one of the reasons I'm writing this morning, in an effort to clear my head a bit.

So, far with my dad, no news. He should get a call today or Friday with the results of the scan that was done (looking for cancer) on Monday. He said Tuesday was a long day with his finger amputation, and then he dipped his bandage in ketchup at McDonald's on the way home. He then drove himself back up to Salt Lake City yesterday, in spite of the fact that he'd not only had surgery done on his dominant hand, but they also removed cancer cells from his elbow (lymph nodes) and under his arm (same). He claims not to be feeling sore, not needing his pain killers, but I'm not sure a two-hour drive is a good idea anyway. Today they get a day at home, then back up tomorrow to have staples removed. I probably should have gone out this week despite his protests and despite the financial cost. But I didn't. So, move along. I think my brother is going out there this weekend.

Also, as people keep telling me, if he does have more cancer that requires treatment, I'll need to go out. His brother-in-law lives nearby and drove them on Tuesday. But his brother-in-law is older than my dad is. I'm not [trying to be] ageist, but all these old people driving is making me nervous.

The kids are with their dad this weekend. Yesterday, despite being told that there would be a lot of waiting around and boredom, Tommy came to the St. Patrick's Day run. He jogged up to the DuKum with me and Carol. Then, he found some classmates to hang out with before the run. He ran pretty well! He did the 1.5-mile run, and someone handed him a glass of water at the end. He did it in 19 minutes and something seconds. I know this because he says he came in at the same time as Royce, who did the 5K in 19 min 2 seconds.

I did not meet my personal goal of not walking during the race-- but during my first mile, I did it in 10 min 30 seconds (which is quite a bit faster than the 13-minute mile I usually train at); at mile two, I was still well under 22 minutes (so still going faster than 11-minute miles); then I got tired, and had to walk a bit during the third mile, but picked it up and ran the last half-mile hard. My time was 34 minutes, even, as I heard it. Nice, because my time last race was 37 minutes and more than 30 seconds. So, I shaved off some nice time. That wasn't even a goal!

I did meet my goal of not coming in last. In fact, people kept coming in for awhile after I was done. I was also out of breath and tired after the run-- I hadn't really been at the last run, because I didn't run it hard enough. My high school track coach used to get pissed because I'd hold back during my runs. My foot doctor (from 13 years ago when I had one) was at the race wearing a green shirt that said, "If you're not puking, you're not running hard enough." I told Carol, "If I don't feel like crap at the end of this, I'll kick my own ass." So, I felt like I acquitted myself well, despite the walking.

Should *really* *really* just give up the cigarettes for good. I went to karaoke Tuesday night and not only smoked a little, but drank and stayed out late. I smack myself and think, "How much better would my run have been if I *hadn't* done that?"

Last night right after the race, Carol and I were talking about going back out for St. Patrick's Day after we'd gotten our families home after dinner and showered and changed clothes. I called her, almost dead on my feet, at around 9, and we both bailed. I was in bed by 10pm. That, of course, led to being awake for an hour or more in the middle of the night, and now I've been up since 6 a.m., and I would like a nap. Or more coffee. Or something. But at least since I'm writing right now, I am keeping the other stories at bay.

The sun is out, so I think I'll take a shower and walk up to the coffee shop, order some mocha, and see if I can get some more work done on the project I was working on yesterday.

What is new with you?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Picking Up

Where I left off...

I was so angry about my keyboard last night that I just got off the Internets and went to bed to read. Today, I tried to re-install my keyboard drivers. Fail. Then, I discovered that Dell customer support is via chat-- if you want to have it via phone, you have to pay for the privilege. So, I opted for chat. The representative took temporary control over my computer, and downloaded a new touchpad driver (after uninstalling the old one), and that seems to have fixed the problem.

Of course, with my bad luck with laptops, I immediately assumed that I was at fault for the keyboard's wacky behavior. Fortunately, I was not. Still, as Dereck said, you shouldn't have faulty drivers on a brand new computer. I don't care though. The problem is fixed. And it is turning out that using a PC is sort of like riding a bike. I am remembering how to do this. Though for some reason, I was just typing in Facebook in response to a message, and my keyboard is starting to sound like a typewriter... interesting and possibly alarming. I wonder what key I hit to turn this on. Why can't these things ever be simple? Open the box, take out the computer, plug it in, and Bingo. But no.

So, anyway, enough about my computer (the problem vanished when I first muted my sound and then turned the sound all the way up-- does it have a poltergeist?). In addition to interesting conversations about Truth and the State of Things (do we fear not being loved because we think that the endgame of existence is to be worthy of love? Do we feel unworthy of living if we don't think we are worthy of being loved? Despite the fact that the thoughts appear to be oddly juxtaposed, I do think that everyone who exists deserves to exist-- whether they are loved or not. That seems largely irrelevant. Nice bonus, but not a pre-requisite for life), I am also reading probably the closest thing to a Real Book that I've read in awhile. At my father's recommendation, I picked up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at the Denver airport, when I was done with the thriller I'd read on the plane.

These are the four ways in which I know I am reading a Real Book instead of the Usual Crap I read:
  1. It took me a bit to get into it. I started it, then put it down for a couple of nights and was grumpy because I was a little bored by it. 
  2. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. The plot is not predictable or formulaic.
  3. It's about twice the length of the Usual Crap. 
  4. It's going to give me nightmares.
That seems to be a hallmark (and a reason why I don't read) of Real Books. They are complicated, and also disturbing. Because if there aren't obstacles, if nothing happens, then why read it? I am fascinated with it, but also filled with dread about where I think some things are going. It does (sort of, kind of, a little bit) make me curious to read some *other* real books. Good thing the sun is starting to shine, so my tender psyche can hack it.

We decided to introduce the kids to The Godfather over Spring Break. I am not a film student, but I have seen that movie a bunch of times. And seriously, the more I see it, the more I see IN it. It not only holds up, but I think it gets better as I age and notice things and understand them more deeply. Sam is the only kid who made it through the full length of the movie, which we watched on Friday then Sunday. Michael Corleone really impressed him. As Sam put it, "Michael Corleone is BAD ASS."

Just watching that movie makes me want to go buy some Francis Ford Coppola red wine, because it is delicious. I told Sam that if he thought Michael was hardcore in the first movie, well, hang onto your hat. Dereck has not seen the second movie, so it should be great to watch that one with them both. I think that as far as good movies go, part I and II are equally good movies-- I honestly couldn't say that one was better than the other. The second one might even be a smidge better, technically, but the first one is my favorite. I love the wedding, the scenes in Italy, its wide-sweeping grandeur. I don't really care for the move to Las Vegas in the second movie. But the history and the story are rich and detailed and disturbing. I don't have to be nearly as careful with movies as I do with books. Maybe I just have a more visceral relationship with the written word than I do with images and the heard word.

On top of the conversation, the Godfather viewing, and the book I'm reading, we went to see Crazy Heart yesterday. It is a quiet little movie. To some extent, all of the ways you can make a movie about an alcoholic singer/songwriter have been tapped. This movie definitely had the typical elements of the performer whose personal life falls to pieces due to alcohol (not drugs in this case, unless you count the chainsmoking). But Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal are just great to watch. Dereck said he had read somewhere that the critic thought Gyllenhaal had been miscast, but I thought she was terrific. I'm so glad her work was recognized in her Academy Award nomination. I just like to watch her move, watch her face, watch her think. Jeff Bridges is always terrific (exception: The Fisher King with Robin Williams. I hate that movie almost as much as I hate The Lion King).

So, the point of all of this is just that I've got all sorts of things rattling around my head right now, and that usually makes for a pretty happy Jen.

Sam is texting me that he doesn't feel well. He woke up this morning and asked for a hug because he had such a sore throat. He says he is having trouble focusing. He is at his father's. I replied that he should lie down for a bit. I may keep him home tomorrow just to nip this in the bud.

This morning in the car, Tommy was angry with us for making him change his shirt, so he tore into Christian: "You have officially become WEIRD!"

I said in my best, "Don't even try to talk your way out of this" voice: "Knock it off. I am so tired of you picking on him. Christian has a diagnosis of Asperger's. So, if he is doing things that you find quirky or odd or irritating, it is because he cannot help it. And it's not hurting you or affecting you anyway. Besides, I wouldn't change one thing about Christian."

I wasn't even really thinking about the fact that Christian was listening to all of this, until I saw him wiping his eyes in the rearview mirror. "Thanks, Mom," he said. "I worried that maybe you were irritated by me too."

In all honesty, I have been a tad irritated with him because every day he asks me what my favorite Disney movie is, and he is relentless about taunting me about my hatred of The Lion King. But I am not irritated by his Asperger's or his quirkiness. And I wouldn't change any of them for anything.

People always ask me how the kids are doing. I never know what to say to that. Christian is managing his diabetes well, but I have started to wonder, when he has an unexplained 'high' blood sugar, whether he is cheating a bit (which would be normal for a 13 year old kid, I think). He gets good grades, struggles with math. He likes to write, wants to be a writer, and enjoys watching The Nostalgia  Critic on the Internet. He doesn't often speak of it, but I know he struggles socially at school. The other kids don't seem to make fun of him. They ignore him, which may be worse. His speech is still a little hard to understand, so instead of taking the time to try with him, I think it makes them feel less embarrassed just to pretend he hasn't spoken. He is shorter than Tommy, and still has trouble with the motor skills required to tie his shoes. But he is funny and empathic, highly self-aware and intuitive, and sometimes he has a real attitude (namely about bedtime) that I am secretly proud of even as I encourage him to respect me. He is so mild-mannered and sweet that sometimes it's fun to see a little sass.

Tommy has matured incredibly since summer. He still doesn't like to change his shirt, but he does his homework, does his chores, and is a lot less belligerent about both than he was even a year ago. I mean, he is just pleasant about it now.  He adores our animals and actively plays with them. He likes to shoot the puppy across the hardwood floor, or make a wheelbarrow with him. Or just carry him around and put the puppy into people's faces, which I have to have chats with him about: "The dog may be floppy like a beanie baby, but he is a live animal, and he could snap and decide to bit someone when you do that." The dog really is so mellow it's ridiculous, though. All of the boys are still very affectionate, unless it's right before school and they are getting out of the van. Christian isn't bothered or embarrassed by blowing me kisses, but Sam and Tommy both pretend they have no idea who was driving that van they just hopped out of. Tommy has a natural gift with metaphor and simile that thrills my writer soul. He is also almost as tall as I am, and has started bathing voluntarily.

Sam. Such a little adult, but still asks his mother for hugs. I embrace every single one. When I think about Sam leaving for college in two-and-a-half years, my throat starts to close. Sam is the one I still have the most difficult time separating myself from. He is a mini-me. He looks strikingly like I did as a teen (poor him). He is kind, mature, scary smart, highly irritable, bossy to his brothers, a reluctant pet owner, introverted, shy, with a great sense of humor. The things that seem to concern him most in this world are the idea that someday we may develop the technology to download ourselves into computers-- that humans will some day lose their humanity. He has heavy heavy ideas weighing on his soul. He wants to change the world, even though I don't know that he realizes that that is what he is suggesting when he speaks of how we just need to cure AIDS already and move onto other things. He is furious with the government for not making that a priority. He is a true socialist in his soul, and I would not be surprised if he chooses not to live in America when he is finished with school. That both pleases me and breaks my heart. One of the things that astonishes me and compliments me most in this world is how much Sam likes me and seeks out my company. I don't know that I could ask for a greater gift as a mother. All three boys are like that-- but Sam is the oldest, and the fact that he still feels this way-- there are no words.

I don't really know how I got from point A to point Zebra. But that is how the boys are.

My father, today, is having dye injected into his bloodstream so he can be screened for cancer, to see if his melanoma has infiltrated more than just his finger. I am trying not to think about that.

Running is still going well, but I'm reaching the stage where I am getting hungrier, need more food. Blast it. Today, Carol had to get back by 4pm to leave for a kid's basketball game. I was finishing up a project and we didn't get on the road til 3:35, so we did our 2.5 mile route. And dammit if we didn't get back by 4. I am tickled pink. Carol has been tired, putting in extremely long hours at work. She commented today, "You are running faster than I am. I am having a hard time keeping up. You have now become The Dom." It's true that I am usually the driving force now behind our runs. I have noticed that when she is tired, she won't call me for a run. When she is on her game, she will call by 1pm, regardless of the day, to discuss running plans. So, if I haven't heard from her by 3pm, I know that she thinks she can wait me out, that I won't call and that day we won't run. This winter, I have surprised us both by not only calling, but by being the one pushing us to go farther, faster. I have to admit that my days are mostly centered now around these runs. It's a gift I give myself, and I am pretty selfish about it.

That's Life in Lake K-Vegas. How are you?


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nope, haven't quit the Internets. Haven't quit blogging either. When I slow down in content here, it's a safe bet that my writing energies are focused elsewhere. They have been last week, so I have found that writing to be engaging enough that I haven't really needed another forum or outlet for it-- sorry! I have been having some interesting conversations about truth and honesty lately, also happiness and intelligence. I imagine that some people would argue that if you are truly intelligent, you would find the answer to happiness. But the only people I can really imagine saying that are sage, white-haired movie protagonists. Most of the people I know struggle with it. We compare anti-depressant prescriptions. We speak rather matter-of-factly about our depression and the ongoing role it plays in our lives. We wonder whether happiness itself is possible or over rated or why it remains so elusive to *us.*

One concept I have been introduced to recently comes from Brad Blanton and his philosophy of Radical Honesty. Not a big fan of Brad. I think Radical Honesty as a movement has far too many similarities to Mormonism in its fans' testimonies, and also the Charismatic Leader. But I admit that he has some interesting things to say. One of them is that there are differences between the actual experiences we have an in the stories we tell ourselves about those experiences. And it is possible to get lost in those stories, or to have them create negative cycles and spirals for us. I remember that right after my grandmother died, I started obsessing about my mother and her dementia. I couldn't stop thinking about my regrets about times I'd lost patience with her, worries about her asking for promises that I would never move her to a nursing home (I have never made such promises, and won't), etc. I finally went to my doctor and told him I thought I was depressed. I told him what was going on. He said, "You're not depressed. You're looping. You are trapped in useless thought patterns about things beyond your control. Stop it."

So, I did. It really was almost as easy as that. I stopped telling myself those stories and was able to get back to my life.

I have to pause. I am on my new computer, a Dell, and the keyboard is driving me batshit crazy. I have been trying to adjust the settings so it stops opening other windows every five keystrokes, but it's continuing to do so, so I have to stop, close the other windows, or hit undo when everything gets selected and deleted. I have never had a computer behave like this before.

If this continues, I am sending it back to Dell tomorrow. Grrr

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Impermanence

You can try to hold it
stand in the rain all day

hands cupped, head up, mouth open
you can even see

sun standing in that rain
and the drops will hit your face

arms and slide down
til they fall to the ground

The rain in your mouth sinks in.
You taste before you can

swallow. It sinks into
your tongue, becomes

part of you or part
of waters your body can make.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tempted

One of my college buddies is breaking up with the Internets. He writes about it here. I'm sorely tempted to do the same thing. I did stop blogging for a long time, and I was fine with that. However, I have discovered that when I don't blog, I do not write.

I admire his chutzpah. He notes, significantly, that he is getting a divorce from the online world. The thing that holds me back from the same thing is that I think it might actually be as painful as getting a divorce. And I am grieving enough these days.

But perhaps not if I kept the email door open...

Monday, March 8, 2010

She doesn't cry in the dark*

The tears surprise her when she
pours her coffee, fills
the tub.

Twice
she presses hands against
salted sea-blue eyes:
once
for her grief,
then once more
for his.



























*Diana, this is the last. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Revisions

Another pome: This one has two versions:


Valentine


no apples fall from these

fallow trees, my branches

ache in their empty poses

reaching upward, frozen



I have no honey

words to

drip into ears plugged

from years spent in closed

underwater spaces



winter briskness

slows life to

cold isolation

silent stillness

puffs of white air

we breathe

in, out



In February moonlight

I can give you this:

one hand on your face, one

at your waist,

your shaven neck my

frosty mouth


____________________________________________________________



Valentine



In February moonlight

I can give you this:

one hand on your face, one

at your waist,

my frosty mouth,

your shaven neck


I have no melted

whispers to

drip into ears plugged

from years spent in closed

underwater spaces



winter briskness

slows life to

silent stillness

puffs of white air


smoke

we breathe

in

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Clarifications

Earlier today, I got an email from a friend that made me realize that I'm writing this blog in shorthand sometimes. I [erroneous monkly] think that everyone has not only read Jenorama, but that you also realize when I am referencing things from 2008. Oops. I do this with Dereck frequently, and I often find myself saying, "Oh, you mean you can't read my mind?"

I find that inconvenient. However, I am willing to admit it is not his failing. I often also find myself saying, "For someone who earns a living communicating, how do I manage to do this so badly?" Obviously, I need an editor. But I would rather have a housekeeper.

I also expect you as, y'all or you all, not only to understand that the word erroneous above reminded me of Thelonius Monk, because the words rhyme (except for the "r" and the "l" of course, unless you are my friend John, in which case, they *do* rhyme perfectly), but I further expect you to then make the jump to MTV's Tabitha Soren not knowing who Thelonius Monk was. She then asked presidential candidate Bill Clinton who "the loneliest monk" was. [Also rhymes with with erroneous and Thelonius... are we following*? Lost? Sometimes, I think I must be the loneliest monk because my brain makes these leaps, like Sam Beckett, all by itself and all alone. It is times like this that I miss Karl the most, because he was usually leaps AHEAD of me, and for some reason, our brains sort of worked the same way sometimes].

What on earth did we do without hyperlinks? Ah, yes. We did not blog.

Would you believe that I haven't actually clarified anything yet? Yes? Okay. Without further ado:

1) The grant from hell was the 934-page monster I wrote during 2008. Its submission coincided with the death of my best friend. The two have merged as one terrible even in my mind.

2) The roof that is failing is actually a bit over our TV room, but mostly in the studio behind our house, that I use for as an office. That houses PAPER and COMPUTERS, neither of which like water. But the studio roof was repaired before the house roof, and by another company. The company that then fixed the house roof (also in Fall of 2008) managed to ruin the studio roof by tromping and dragging shit all over it while fixing the house roof. So, now, we have ceiling tiles that are sagging beneath the weight of so much water, like huge zits, and then exploding all over the place.

I go out there and stare underneath them and am sorely tempted to lance them like boils, but I really don't want to deal with the mess. Clearly, though, something needs to be done. And whatever needs to be done will cost monies. Le sigh.

3) The Mac has NOT, in fact, failed. It may, however, be epileptic. Time will tell. In the meantime, have decided to go ahead and get the Dell so when/if the Mac *does* fail, I won't have to wait 2 weeks for a computer. Truthfully, the Mac will probably get turned over to the kids or maybe even sold...

Clear as mud? ;)

__________________________________________________________________________________

*Last night in the car, Tommy asked us to remind him quickly of the definition of a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. We told him, and then Sam started talking about gerunds and participles, and I said, "No! Don't give him more than he asked for. You will just confuse him."


Sam: "Pronouns, prepositions...:


Me: "To Infinitive... And Beyond!" And to my complete joy, Sam burst out laughing hysterically. That's my boy. 

Which came first, the Karma or the Egg?

I am half-way through working on a manuscript, and I am literally nodding off, drooping over my computer. I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night. I got up around 7 a.m. because Christian spent the night with his father last night-- so no insulin or finger pricks this morning. However, I am dismally tired. I've been a little headachy the past couple of days (and today) and sluggish, very tired, so I haven't been running. I would really like to run today, but I think I am going to have to take a nap this morning just to get through the rest of my day. I think I am fighting off a little bug. I know there is one going around (when isn't there?). It could also just be exhaustion from an emotionally draining weekend. Even though I run and I'm feeling a lot better these days, I am still not very resilient. Don't have what my ex used to call that "hearty peasant stock" constitution. I am a delicate flower. (That is an inside joke: My father always used to tell me that I am no delicate flower, nor am I docile.)

Yesterday was sort of exciting: My MacBook Pro had a seizure and started making a clicking noise while flashing scary screens at me.

I manually shut it down and turned it off, and then it did this: 




Then it wouldn't even show me that much: Just blue screen of death with multiple vertical lines doing down the screen. I tried several times to restore it, after turning my house and studio both upside down looking for my external hard drive so I could back up new music and the most recent documents I hadn't had a chance to save yet. Of course, the stupid hard drive was in my laptop bag, right where a good little external hard drive should be. I didn't remember it being in there from my trip, though-- I usually try to take out everything except what I will really need, to save my back. (Funny, I never had to do this in my twenties...)

So, after hours and hours of dead computer, I decided that I better just order a replacement. This time, a Dell. No more Macs for this girl. Not intuitively a Mac person. I am a Windows, and I am OK with that. 

So, I ordered the Dell, nothing fancy, got the really, really, really super awesome advanced warranty program so if Aliens come down from space and shoot my computer with water guns, Dell will replace it. 

After we picked up the other two boys from their dad's, they wanted to see what my computer was doing, so I pressed the power button (without it being plugged in). It made a horrible noise and wouldn't turn on. So, I plugged it in and tried it... And I'm using it right now... It works again. 

I immediately backed up EVERYTHING. So, now I am wondering: Do I cancel the Dell order? What is wrong with my computer? I got this screen once on Monday morning when I was still in Utah, but I didn't have time to think about it then. Is this going to happen today? Tomorrow? Is this a video card, a RAM, a hard drive problem, or just a loose cable? How do I know? And oh yeah, Apple won't make their people work on the computers of people who SMOKE anymore, so what if I take it in and they say, Oh nonononono, we are not going to look at this. We might die of cancer if we look at this. You know. In 50 years. 

There are two competing truths here: 

1) I have been wanting this computer to die so I could replace it since, oh, um, I got it. 

2) It is really, really, really inconvenient to buy a new computer right now during Tax season. April truly is the cruelest month for the self-employed. I got a huge whopping check in the mail today, and every penny has to go for taxes. That is brutal and heartbreaking. Especially because our ROOF is FAILING. The new roof we got last year with money from the grant from hell. 

In a moment of schadenfrade, I actually laughed the other day when I was grousing about the guy who did our roof, and Dereck told me, "Well, his house burned down, if it makes you feel any better."

I mean, of COURSE it doesn't. But I did laugh. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

When Doubt Becomes Knowing

on occasion it has come to me
you know me well enough

some have traveled far to get here
all I do
who have always been here
is stand

it is hard
to count the matches on the shore
I know they are there
because I am looking

for all my pretended wisdom
I am not calm
it does not then become easy
to mold myself to the present
is astonishing

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bucket List

This weekend was so brutal that I felt fairly crushed under the weight of it. I can tell when depression is settling in for a visit when I stop feeling that I have anything to look forward to. So, when I was on the plane today, I decided to figure out what I still need to do with my life. I have to admit, I do feel better now.

Here is my Bucket List, which I hope is a work in progress:

  • Maintain my close relationship with my kids. Give them whatever support for their growth and endeavors I can, while being able to be true to myself and what I would like to do with the next stage of my life.
  • Be good to my husband and help us both continue to grow and develop in the ways we seek.
  • Get my PhD in Creative Writing. I want the body of work I will have at the end of it.
  • Go to Alaska and see glaciers and bears. Seriously. I need to see a bear. And hopefully survive it. Go camping in the wilderness there, spend some time.
  • Go white water rafting again
  • Go skiing again
  • Go snow-shoeing and cross country skiing in Minnesota, dontcha know
  • Run a marathon (starting with the half I am running on July 3)
  • Grow a really long, groovy, hippy braid down my back
  • Camp in the desert again without a tent, just under the stars
  • Go visit Old Faithful (if you were a reader of Jenorama, you know why this is funny)
  • Go to Paris, England, Italy, Greece. Be a traveler, not a tourist. No fucking tourist packages. I want a backpack, a camera, a notebook, a pen, and a pack of cigarettes. I'd like to visit Austria. I think I can survive without ever visiting Germany.
  • Learn how to throw pots.
  • Break out my paints and overcome my fear of them.
  • Spend more time with Jes, Elliot, Beth, Mary, Vanessa, and Brad, my St. Louis crew
  • See Ilona again, more often, my Ottawa crew
  • See Carol Ann again, more often, my Seattle crew (Fall 2010 conference FTW!)
  • See Brooks, Kim, Suz, Jeny, and Dara again, more often, my BYU crew
  • See Mike again, more often, my OU crew
  • See Robert, Jason, Steve, Todd, and other Kim again, (East Coast OU crew)
  • Hang out with the Yeagleys
  • Vacation with Kathy Howe every year, my Minnesota crew
  • Have a huge party and invite ALL OF YOU
  • Go back to Athens, Ohio for a visit
  • Go back to New Orleans
  • Go back to Savannah
  • Travel
  • Find meaningful employment. To some extent I have it, but I think I would like to return to teaching. Literature, creative writing.
  • Go ghost hunting again. 
  • Heal myself.
  • Learn to write songs.
  • Watch Erica continue to become herself.
  • Pay off my debt
  • Continue to learn and embrace financial simplicity.
  • Read more “real” books. [Overcome my fear of mind-numbing depression caused by reading them]
  • Read more Faulkner.
  • Do a mandala. [Overcome my fear of them]
  • Go snorkeling again
  • Pet a dolphin
  • Learn more about coyotes and the role they play in my totem
  • Get the Karl tattoo on my shoulder
  • Figure out how to help young women be stronger, kinder to themselves, and more loving to themselves
  • Hang out with my brother, nephews and niece more
  • Go horseback riding
  • Survive my parents’ old age with some dignity and grace.
  • Face my hardships with some degree or decorum, dignity, grace, kindness, and love
  • Get the HELL out of Kirksville, Missouri
  • quit smoking