Monday, March 30, 2009

Rethinking, Recycling, Revamping

This past Friday, I did a lecture/presentation on Third Wave feminism. I had a pretty big crowd. Part of this was self-promotion & giving my students who attended extra credit. (Not many of them were mine, though. Lazypants.) I made an AWEsome flyer, and a lot of people were intrigued by that.

I thought about not doing the presentation. I signed up for it in the more optimistic, everything-is-possible start of this semester way back in January. As the semester has gone by, I've missed most of the other presentations because this has been such a weird "Spring" for me. So I just wasn't sure. I'm kind of in the "glass half empty" phase of the semester-- tired, frustrated, ready for summer. (Everyone gets there.... students & teachers alike.) Sometimes I am back in the plus, but sometimes it's just hard to do anything because it all seems to be overwhelmingly too much.

But then I thought-- you know, this is what I do. I like to teach, I hardly ever get the chance to justify simply talking about Feminism, and my brand of it, too. Yeah, I work it into some of my regular "comp" and literature lectures, but thus far, I haven't been lucky enough to teach a course that was specifically about this. So it was new ground for me, in a way.

I had a lot of fun, learned a lot. I had one person in the audience who wasn't really "feelin'" it and was not going to be convinced, I think. But I got a lot of "love" from students, including two today who were inspired to go to the bookstore to find some of the books on the handout I had available.

But it's made me think about what I do, and what I wish to keep doing, with my life. I will never quit teaching, no matter what. But it's possible that it may be a while until I'm in front of a classroom as the teacher of record. And I'm good with that. My lectures will just have to be over coffee or margaritas, delivered to one or two interested parties, for a while.

And that, my friends, is a glass more than half full kind of feeling. Sure, maybe it's one of those big margarita glasses. Just no salt please.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


When I was about 8, my friends and I were bullied. I dreamily remember an event where the bully was chasing me through the wooded, swampy area near my house and the boy I kinda had a crush on was looking for snakes. I stopped to see what he was doing, kinda hoping he'd protect me & bully girl drug me off pretending to be my friend.

My older sister made me & the friend of mine who was also being bullied fight back. I can remember, though, the girl thought she'd still win with two against one, against us two girls with their backs against the walls of sisterly contempt. She smiled cockily, waggled her fingers in that "come and get me" way.

We won. She lost face that day, and was never able to bully other kids again. We knew she could be beaten.

It's a classic story-- the underdog wins, even when at great odds. I like to think bullies always get theirs. And it's probably wrong to be secretly glad when a bully's karma bites them on the ass.

But I can't help but smile, a little, because I know that like when Glinda waved her wand at the Wicked Witch just as Dorothy got her shoes: "You have no power here. Now be gone, before someone drops a house on you." Like when my sister made me take control over my life with the childhood bully, it doesn't really matter now if I actually lose the fight. I tried, and that means the bully doesn't win.

Making the Leap

I've been thinking, lately, a lot about how "real" writers write. What I mean by real is writers who get published because frankly, I doubt many young kids with their noses pressed into books from the library dream about one day having a blog of their own. The aim has always been for the "literary sort" to be published.

I tried. Right after my BA, I sent out a round of poetry to small press journals. Most of them never replied, one nice magazine sent me back my self-addressed stamped manuscript with "sorry, not interested" scrawled across one page. No feedback otherwise. At the time, I took it as a sign that I must not be very good.

Then, I went to grad school. I went to an MA program where there was also an MFA track. I didn't know what MFAs were, at the time. I might have gotten one had I known, but I was already on the MA then PhD track & didn't see the need to switch. The MFA students were generally intense. They wrote, the workshopped. They fought, they had wild parties. I was married & less intense, and I also lived far enough away from where the MFA crowd congregated that they never really made it to my sometimes fairly wild parties. But I took away from that place the feeling that I was more a critic than a poet. I was jealous, but also focused on the teaching gig I was planning to have magically appear in exactly the place I needed it to appear. (Dreams. Ah. Innocence.)

So for years, I really did not write a single poem. Not anything worth calling that, really. A few lame scribbles. While I was pregnant with the kids I wrote the two poems that I'm most proud of in a long time about them, about a sonogram picture. And began thinking about, again, writing the novels which I have ideas about, even an outline for.

Here, in LA, I tentatively have written again. I went to one meeting of the student writer's group, got inspired by a couple of those poets & inspired by the theme to write a couple of good poems. Read a "how to" book called poemcrazy which I still quite like. When the new faculty member who joined us last year, who during her time b/w being hired and starting the Fall semester sat down and wrote her first book, which is now one of three accepted & well on the way to publication arrived, we talked a little bit about our shared interest in genre fiction. It was fun, and I went home one day last fall and wrote ten pages on a book I've actually got all mapped out.

But I haven't really written anything in forever. Class lectures, mostly. I wrote a few drunken poems a few weeks ago, mad at the world, mad at the difficulty in my life (Sean's problems, business, tiredness, life.) It's not that bad, really, but the poems seemed very mad & bitter. (Hey, I said I'd had a couple glasses of wine!) :)

In a few weeks now, I'll be done teaching the last semester I'll teach at the Uni where I work before I'm done for an indefinite period. There are multiple reasons-- the main two being first that my life-- especially the real estate part-- is way too complicated to add even a little bit of time for teaching. The other, less crucial one is that budget cuts are probably going to eliminate my position anyway.

So, I'm leaving the University for the first time in a few years. And I'm not planning to come back right away, either. What I do plan is writing. I want to write, I want to work towards publication. I have to plan to limit my time online, because it can really suck the day away and I don't have that much free time to waste anymore.

I have a business plan, too, and Andrew is very adamant that I work on that stuff. I will, but I will promise myself that I will make the leap to write my own creative work, too. I miss living in that space, that creative life. I will see what I can explore, and work, and write. I am really looking forward to that, and I really hope it pays off.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Got Buddha?

This past week, I had a handyman type dig out my pond & a few other odd jobs in the back yard (no the pool is still not clean. We're having difficulty).

Anyway. This is Shreveport. Or, as hubby & I say, T-I-S.

I have this lovely Buddha meditation statue in my butterfly garden. I need to weed around him but the last time I moved him a tiny silver snake skittered out from beneath. I thought that was cool. Buddha as refuge.

Handyman offered to help me throw the Buddha statue away. He laughed when I said "uh, no thank you" but I could tell he wasn't entirely joking.

Dude, did I ASK you for religious help? No. I did not. My religion is my BIDness (nudge nudge Alex) and nobody axed you for your opinion, thank you.

There's a reason you're not supposed to talk about religion, sex, or politics at a party. People are touchy about their beliefs, and mine are very quirky, and not the point of this post. But overall, in spite of all the quirkiness, I do consider myself a roundabout Christian. It's just not as conventional as SOME folks might like to think it ought to be. Ultimately it comes down to this: God is god, no matter what the name is. So if a Buddha statue meditating in my garden gives me peace, then mind your own Ps and Qs.

So. Buddha stays, handyman goes. Any questions?

Friday, March 20, 2009


In 1907, Dorothy was born, the same day as Gene Autry. During that year, the first vacuum cleaner was built, as well as the color photograph was created. The LRMS Lusitania sailed its maiden voyage. Pike Place market in Seattle opened. The Mud March, the first large procession organized by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), took place in London. Mark Twain received an honorary doctorate of laws degree from Oxford University. Hershey's kisses were created!

There is a lot I do not know about her. We lived very far from her during a good chunk of my life, so I can't really recall ever sitting down and just chatting with her. Also, she was not the sort of person who cottoned to silliness. If you wanted to lollygag about on a day off from work, she would chase you out the door saying "it's a beautiful day; go do something."

My grandmother was a strong woman. Her husband died when she was fairly young, still, and she worked to support herself & her two children when there weren't many women in the regular workforce. She worked until her 80's when she moved to live with my mother in Florida, but she still took care of people, even then.

We had her in our lives for a very long time, and it's going to be strange for her to NOT be there. I know my mom is already missing her. Last winter Grandma became confused and needed to be hospitalized. Basically, I think that Grandma had finally decided she was done and she took off on a walk in the early morning hours, headed somewhere with five dollars and armed with pictures of my children when they were teeny babies.

In the nursing home, she would take the velcro strap they place on older folks so the nurses can move them around in an orderly fashion and swing it at the nurses when she didn't want to do something. I can see it now-- weilding her velcro strap better than Lara Croft's whip, letting those nurses know they'd been OWNED.

There will be more that I will write about this, and I'm in the middle of gathering photos & memories from family members for a digital scrapbook. We will have a family gathering this summer to mark her passing (she's being cremated, and we'll scatter her ashes around then, as well.) But for now, tonight, if you think of how you couldn't even begin to imagine the world without Hershey's kisses, which have just always been there, you can imagine how there is a hole in the universe. However, that hole can be filled with the love and faces and lives of the family, including four generations of kids, that is still here.

We never really die-- we just move to other forms. Right now, I'm certain my grandmother is having a reunion with the man she never got over, holding her son in her arms again, and visiting with all the family she has in that place. And when we see her again, she'll be that feisty old German woman who used to bake cookies and cakes and chase us out into the sunshine. It's a beautiful day. Go do something with it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Koi-less koi pond

It's on its way. It's the pond I've been wanting for a long time. I want a bunch of fat, greedy fish struggling for dominance & popcorn. If you dig it, will they come?

Just across the sidewalk (and just peeking out of the right hand side of the picture) is my two years ago attempt at having a water feature in the back yard. Under the lip of the cobalt blue foundtain lives an old toad. I say old because he's been there about two years--that's gotta be old for a toad. Once I lifted the lid up and there was a much larger toad in there with him. I figure that was his lady friend and they had the Toad equivalent of the "baum chicka wa wa" music going on so I left them alone. I forget he's there sometimes when I'm fiddling with the fountain mechanisms and he moves & startles me. But he is quite happy there, I think.

But on the pond front, so far, so good. The floaty flowers on the water are right now just placeholders for the plants that are dropped into the water which will hopefully grow in a couple of weeks. Then we can drop some fishies in there for the racoons to enjoy. (Did I tell you there was a racoon in our tree two days ago? He kept covering his ears with his paws. He might have had a hangover and we were, technically, in his bedroom.)
cause it's pretty
This is what I've been doing with my spring break thus far. And procrastinating on the taxes. Maybe I'll plant the front garden today if I can drag myself away from Facebook long enough.

I like my angel,* and my little white solar light globe which catches the sun & sparkles off the water. There's a little wire bench for gazing at the koi (when they magic themselves in there) that you can't see. There are a few more improvements I'm thinking of making, but I'm happy with it as it is right now. I do wish, as I think everyone who ever makes one of these ponds wishes, that it was larger. One day I'll have a larger pond. It's something to hope for.

Ugly-sexy fish & an angel statue. What more could you want?

*I'm not normally much for the cutesy angel statues with their fat putti cheeks & all but I like this one. And she reminds me more of a tree fairy or something. She's holding a brass-looking bird in her hands, by the way, and there's a very pretty blue bird feeder just overhead, so it looks very nice IRL.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Thoughts

So today is St. Patrick's day. I'm a large percentage of Irish by blood and temperment. I've been meaning to write this post for days, actually.

I have this neighbor who decorates the crap out of his/her yard for every holiday. This means hanging stuff from trees, putting up those plywood cutouts, etc. It's way overdone, like something in the Griswald's Christmas Vacation.

For St. Patrick's day, they don't go as wild as for other holidays (heck, it's just one day!) but they do decorate. Right now, there are about ten red-headed, green wearing Irish Leprechan type little effigies hanging from trees in their yard. They wiggle and twist in the wind as you're sitting at the light.

Somehow, the act that seems innocuous when it's little ghost figures at Halloween does not seem so innocent when it looks like "me people." I'm a redhead (although it's darker as I am older) and so are my kids. So it looks considerably like a lot of Irish folks who have been hanged. And rather menacing.

I mean, consider the issue with a different race substituted. If one had a bunch of African Americans hanging from trees in honor of, say, Juneteenth. I know-- it's hard to even leave the statement there because I know it'll make you cringe. But it's not even thought about for me, and probably, if I had a lot of commenters on here, someone would say I was being too sensitive. It's not the same.

Well, I do admit that it isn't exactly the same but it's close. You gotta know how badly the Irish were treated in this and other English-based countries. And yet, these racist stereotypes are just fine. Yes, I make the same stupid jokes "Why did God create whisky-- to keep the Irish from ruling the world" but it still begs the question of whether anyone has ever thought that hanging little people from trees as a "decoration" celebrating St. Patrick's day is inappropriate.

Several years ago, as part of my "Cultural practices" paper assignment, a student wrote about St. Patrick's Day. She described how it was a holiday where people went to parades, ate funnel cake & drank green beer. No mention of who the heck this St. Patrick felow is, and what he supposedly did. No mention of it being about Irish pride. Nah. It's FUNNEL CAKE!!! AND BEER! And Irish folks hanging from trees! Yeeeeee haaaawwwwwww.

Hmm. This post was meant to be kind of funny but apparently that's not happening. I don't object to St. Pat's celebrations. I love the idea that my heritage is being acknowledged-- another neighbor had Irish flags up, the way people drape their balconies w/ American swag flags on the 4th of July. THAT was cool. It didn't make me feel vaguely threatened. It made me feel proud. It was something that I can imagine explaining to my kids someday-- what the colors on the flag mean, and why a shamrock. THAT'S the point of the celebration. Heritage, and pride in where we came from and how far we've come.

So have some green beer (yuck) if you must, but at least know who the Hell St. Patrick is, and what the day is celebrating. And realize that the fact that you may not know about how badly Irish folks were treated in this and other countries, and the ethnic strife that still happens, means that we have come a long way, baby.

Just don't hang us from trees! And if you vomit green beer later today, remember: it's not supposed to be green. Try the good stuff.

Monday, March 16, 2009


You know, there was a time when Teh Internetz was simpler. I used to hang out in a chatty bulletin board where the posts essentially could go so fast they were chatroom-esque and it was super fun. I also blogged, and had a pretty good following of commenters. I also would hang out and comment on their blogs. It was kind of fun, a round robin of comments & chatting and it would sometimes take me an hour to get done "blogging" in the morning.

That this was when I was very slowwwwwly writing my dissertation needs to not be said. It's been said before. Probably way too often, in fact. Probably not even this blog post is entirely original, but I'm feelin' it this morning.

Nowadays, it seems so much more complicated. You have facebook, and myspace, and twitter. And I update one but not the other or I use a different update on one but not the other. I have a half a ton of students and co-workers on my Facebook page, but not my twitter feed (I'd rather keep the twitter feed a little cleaner, although it's getting all cluttered up lately with total strangers cause if they follow you, you kind of feel all obligated, don't cha?) All I have on my myspace page, which is pretty much totally anonymous, is some family, a few friends who don't do blogger, and a few cool authors who I found through some channel or other... I don't remember actually. Oh, and dead people (poets like Anne Sexton who have "fake profiles".) It's very multiple personality-ish.

I have a good friend I know through blogs (is this the modern day equivalent of a pen pal?) who has decided to trim down the facebook thing and really only do "tweet deck." I tried the tweet deck the other day and didn't quite get into it yet. But he swears by it. Sigh. Maybe it's just the first day of Spring Break with fog and chilly weather still goin' strong but I'm feeling a little old and technophobic today.

Can't I just go back to the simpler days of chiseling out blog posts and commenting on other chiseled out posts? No? And if all my online personas & blogs meet, somehow, in the same space, will there be an implosion? Probably. Maybe it's worth it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Copycats? Mreow HISS.

Nissa pointed out in my comments yesterday that there's a new-ish blog out there that has a very, very similar address to mine. As well as a very close to mine template/graphic & color layout. At first, I was very blasé about it. It's not like I'm freakin' Hemingway here-- she's not copying my content or anything. Her readers are not likely to ever be the same as mine.

But now I'm a little irritated, after thinking about it. I really like my template, and I paid money for it (not a lot of money, and I never expected the template to be totally exclusive, but I never expected the person who had the similar graphic to have a similar name, too) and now I feel like I have to change it. I'm not going to go over to this other blogger and yell at her-- it's certainly possible that she came up with the name and the idea of the graphic without ever seeing my site. I'm not a brand name or anything. (It's kind of weird, though-- the two things being almost exactly the same).

I mostly got irritated after looking for a new graphic and thinking "But I LIKE this graphic!!" It's more about me not wanting to change it. But that's what happens when you're too cool, I guess. So watch this spot for a graphic change soon. It'll still be dandelion-ish, but something else. Now to decide what.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Utilize Caution: Annoyed English Major Ahead

I hate, hate, HATE (note the repetition for emphasis) the word utilize in most contexts.

People USE it all the time as a jargon-y, pretentious, fancy-pants sounding substitute for the simple word use. In fact, it is not a substitute for use. It does not make your writing sound more efficient, technological, or intelligent. You're actually probably using it wrong.

To utilize something is to USE it (to make it usable), usually in a manner for which it was not originally created. For example, if you take the old iMacs and turn them into a fish tank, you are utilizing the iMac in an interesting and clever way. If you pick up a chair and hit someone who just wrote utilize in a paper instead of use, well, then you are utilizing that chair as a weapon to express your frustration at the phrase popping up all over the place.

I'm not usually a stickler enforcer of "correctness". I am all for changes in grammar & style. I know that a living language, which English is, changes or it dies. We introduce new ways to deal with grammar and style problems all the time, and sometimes they fly, sometimes they don't.

But please, if you are writing something for me, USE a perfectly good verb. Don't try too hard to sound smart, because generally, you're going to screw it up if your "util" isn't working correctly. :) And then, you'll just sound pretentious, and I'll whack you with a chair.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


wishing luck
Richard Bach, in one of my all time favorite books, wrote:

You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true.
You may have to work for it, however. from Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

When I read that book, I was unhappy. I was a sophomore in high school, life was hard in many ways far past the social. As the years have gone by, I have moved back and forth with the Richard Bach quotes. Once, in the WA area where he most likely lives, I saw a man & woman of the right description hanging around a biplane in a local airport. I thought maybe it was Richard & Leslie. I thought that was kind of cool, and would rather have not known if it was or was not.

Today, I got the merest spark, possibility maybe teeny little flicker of good maybe news. We'll see if I have the power to make it come true.

A Simple Religion

As part of the "compassion manual" I've been working on, I have gathered a bunch of "famous people quotations" from the Internetz. A lot from the Dalai Lama. I think of his happy, smiling face and know that one could do so much worse than be like him.

Here are the quotations, just to chew on a bit:

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” Frederick Buechner

“Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other — it doesn't matter who it is — and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.”
~Mother Teresa

“Suffering is but another name for the teaching of experience, which is the parent of instruction and the schoolmaster of life.” Horace

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. . . .Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein.

“My message is the practice of compassion, love and kindness. These things are very useful in our daily life, and also for the whole of human society these practices can be very important.” Dalai Lama

This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples;
no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain,
our own heart is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama

George Washington Carver:
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.

Zelda Fitzgerald:
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much a heart can hold.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

Monday, March 9, 2009

American Quilts

Have you ever seen that movie, How to Make An American Quilt? It was on HBO this morning and I had it on while grading papers. (The kind I can do w/ half my attention on it.) I'd seen the movie before and it's a lovely movie in many ways.

There are a lot of things to like about it, but mostly, I just really, really want two things.

I want friends like the women in that film. I know that at times they fight each other and hate each other. But they end up in the long run being friends who know each other.

I want to learn to quilt like that. And have a quilt like the one that Winona drags through the dirt like an idiot at the end.

Other than that, this morning has been PMSish, possibly flu-ish, and crabby. So I won't blog about that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

my new door

I painted my back door this afternoon-- barn door red. It was fun. Goddess forbid that I should go a weekend without getting a paint buzz & having paint on my hands. Yesterday I also painted my table white again.

Busy weekend. Fun. Painty.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring & All

This is Reserve Weekend, so Andrew is working. I figure he'll probably have to spend at least a little time "checking on the tenants" when he's off of the official work, too. So I'm on my own for the weekend with two very active babies.

The kicker: we're trying to eliminate naps on the weekend. Our kiddos are night owls-- it'll be 11 and they'll be wide awake running amuck. Because on weekends, they'd like to take a 3 hour nap. But if they don't nap, they're in bed, sometimes, by 7.

So I have a DIY project ahead-- I'm going to try to re finish this white cast aluminum table that's all covered in ick. However, the scourge of pollen that just fell on it makes me realize I need to move it to another part of the yard, first, or else have these tree sex bits stuck in the paint of my table forever & ever amen.

I'm not a religious person, really and like to think of myself as spiritual, rather. But there's an expression in the church (Lutheran). The preacher says:
"this is the day the Lord hath made" and everyone replies "praise be to God."

That's what I think about this day. In spite of it being difficult sometimes, it's a lovely gorgeous wonderful day with perfect babies (who are not angels, but just right and what I deserve anyway). And there's coffee. And not too much sneezing (thanks, Spring.)

Wasn't it T.S. Eliot who said "April is the sneeziest month?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Gift From the Universe

You never really know when something will come your way that reminds you of yourself. For a while now, I've been upset by something that I could not control. It relates to a situation that happened long enough ago that I was over it, but then something happened that put me right back into the confusion, disappointment, and most of all, anger, that I felt when the situation first happened.

I wrote that post the other day about hate. It was meant to be funny, but it wasn't, really. I was reflecting on the things we lose, but what I needed to actually lose was the attachment to certain parts of something I never really had to begin with.

Then, today, in the Tech Writing class I teach, where my students are getting started working on their "how to" manual, I was looking for a link to "how to manuals." Just to show them some content they could model their own work on. I found this wiki, and especially, the "How to Be Compassionate" how-to. I started looking at it, drawn in by some things I have been forgetting.

Every time I assign this project to my students, I also do it. It's an exercise to remind myself how much work it actually takes, how to actually do it, so that I can judge the students' work fairly & accurately. So I decided that I would do my sample manual based on this guide.

I started looking at graphics, websites. Formatting the "found text" into a manual format. These are all tasks that I have done before, and I have to say I'm a big nerd about these kinds of projects; I love fiddling about with graphics & fonts & white space & page numbers. All the little things that go into this kind of project.

In the meantime, I was also finding quotations about being more compassionate. Practicing acts of kindness. Being more spiritual. Meditating. Keeping one's mental state in a healthy place.

This quotation is important: "Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin" Frederick Buechner. I don't know who Buechner is-- I may have to research that.

However. The point is this. The event that has happened which has made me wallow in my own misery lately is tiny. Insignificant. A blip on the radar of the universe. I was forgetting that, and because of that, as Yoda says "anger turns to hate, hate turns to the dark side." It's a feedback loop and I have decided to practice letting that go. I think I've made a big step in just thinking about it and realizing what an unhealthy mental pattern I had thrown myself into lately.

And when I forget, I'm going to look at the spiffy manual I'm making. Reminding myself that "How To" be compassionate is far far more important than any small place, any small thing, a day in the life. And to live in the somebody's skin who I was so angry with, to think about what must be going on in that world to make such things happen, well. I don't want to be stuck there forever, but I forget that I am a happy person. I am not bitter, nor angry, nor petty. Not normally. And I will not be. I am practicing kindness to myself, first. Then I can practice, til I get it right, on everyone else, too.

This day was truly a gift. Thank you universe. I was forgetting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pondering, Pensive, and other words that start with "P"

Perhaps (see-- there's one) it's the low blood sugar because I didn't eat breakfast & am holding hungry office hours (again). But I've been thinkin'.

Point number one is that I obsess too much. I worry about what people think of me, and often, I do it when there's just no way to positively affect that. Andrew always says pithy things like "what can you do to change that-- if nothing, don't sweat it" but then he also worries about things. I find myself thinking about the Serenity prayer and tacking it to my computer like an addict of worry. I feel kind of paranoid, but then I remember that sometimes, paranoid people are right! They are watching you!! (Seriously. Look behind you. QUICK!)

Point Two: I should Get over it.
Yes, I should. I really really should. I will. I know I will, because I've gotten over tough patches in life in the past just fine.

Point Three: Find a way out. Particularly pissy (two more p words raht thar) is my own lack of control over my current situation and how I sort of let myself fall into it. It makes me want a glass of wine way too much for comfort's sake, because that slight wine buzz makes me stop obsessing, but the NEED for it is a little 12 step-ish.

Point Four: Time in a bottle (and no, not a wine bottle). I mean-- totally. HOW in the heck did I have the time in the past to play days and days and days of computer games? And why couldn't I have banked some of that time wasted for now, when I am so busy I can't even blink without it putting me behind? If I think of all those days fiddling with the "new banner every day" for my old blog, making couches and perfect houses for The Sims, and playing that Bladerunner simulation game and Roger Wilco (that one was fun) I am just amazed. And envious of people who have the ability to just veg like that. I veg sometimes now, but I feel guilty about the other things I ought to be doing instead. I thought when I was done with my dissertation I'd be done with that guilt, but it seems to be never-ending.

I forget what eight was for.

I need coffee, something sweet flaky & pastry-ish, and a red pen to grade all these papers on which I am desperately behind. T-minus 31 minutes and counting until I can accomplish those tasks. I can't really focus on the grading thing until I've eaten. That pressing (p word alert) blood sugar problem (you count them; I hate math).

But the "tap dancing happy thing" is that since I'm leaving my current job after this semester, I don't have to go to the meeting about budget cuts later. Ya'll can cut my budget. I'm already gone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day One

Those of you who have been here a while know about Sean's speech delay. Last year at this time I was involved in figuring out what was going on, what we could do about it. Over the summer we had tests, tubes put in his ear, meetings. He has had private speech and occupational therapy since mid-August, and it IS working.

But not really fast enough. Not that I want him to be perfect or anything, but he's still testing as about a two year old on his language skills. Since he'll be four in June, that's pretty delayed.

He can talk. He'll sometimes surprise you and come out with a whole sentence, perfectly logical, communication of his desire or need. But most of the time I prefers, like Bartleby the Scrivener, to not.

So, we finally agreed to put him in the "Special needs" class at one of the local elementary schools. He was qualified to do this before but I was afraid of what he might pick up from kids with more severe problems than his. He is such a sweet kid-- I don't want him learning temper tantrums & violent behavior. Many of us probably felt that way in elementary school, ourselves, but just had the ability to control it. :)

Anyway. Yesterday we set him up to go and today was his first day. I have to go pick him up in about two hours and he was pretty good when I dropped him off this morning.

There are all kinds of things to be anxious about. As a twin, he (or his sister, for that matter) have never really been on their own totally. Oh, sometimes, to a doctor's appointment or something. But they hold hands. They play with each other well. They are with each other almost constantly. Maia is mad because she wants to start a new school, too.

I'll have a shorter day of freedom/work ability, myself. I could put him in after school daycare, but why spend a lot of money when I can pick him up and he'll be so happy to get some "private time" with mom? But I think it will be good for him.

Anyway. This has been a big transition. Admitting that your kid needs help, that he get to ride "the short bus" at least for a while, overcoming your fears about how other people will treat him because of that above. Knowing that he'll be exposed to new things that you can't control. But wanting, so badly, for him to say "I love you mom" or "I'd like some ice cream"-- simple things most parents get way before now. Knowing that it will be worth it when he communicates better than he does. Being a little afraid that he never really will, in spite of all evidence that he OUGHT to be able to. That he has the lights on upstairs just fine, just doesn't choose to answer the buzzer when you call.

That, and Andrew probably found us another rental property, also in the local historic "Highland" district. This one will take A LOT of work, and it will be a duplex apartment. But it could be SO cool if restored, and if it doesn't have any major structural problems our inspector will go look for, then it could be a fun but very, very busy summer for me working on the restoration.

We call ourselves slum lords but really, if we really were, we wouldn't be restoring these places and doing all this work; we'd leave them the way they are. But it's super cool. We're going to post some "after" pictures of the place I've been working on the last few weeks soon. So there. Day one of two things. Sean + possible rental property project.

And life goes on, and there is so much more to think about.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What do you do

With a three year old who suddenly "wants a little privacy" getting dressed? Who is 3 going on 13? Oy.

I don't have much more to say than this. Perhaps facebook statuses are going to my head. So, I will belabor the point for another few words just to prove I can write more than one-liners.

::sound of crickets::

Look-- Val Kilmer!