Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Went to temple this morning for the last session of the year. It was lovely, peaceful, hopeful.
Until I got outside.
When I drove to the temple there was the littlest bittiest layer of snow on the ground--powdery and kind.
When I came out after the session it was inches thick, blowing and angry. I cleaned off my car and by the time I was done, it was snowed and icy again. I drove home, saying prayers in my head, hunched over, trying not to spin. At one point I got cut off by a snow plow, and honked my wimpy little Corolla horn. At another point I cut off an ambulance (the lights/sirens weren't on or anything), which, yeah, is really smart. The ambulance horn is not wussy: it's a growling roar.
I'm still getting used to this driving in the snow thing. Before we left for Christmas, we hadn't had ANY, aside from a gentle fluttering one Sunday, and a nonthreatening slush the day we left. And now, this nonsense.
But I made it! Here I am, home and cozy on my couch. Or as cozy as I can be, when our house is a house of non-insulated coldness.
Sam just called to tell me he was coming home, but instead told me he got in an accident. I gasped and felt my heart burst into top speed. Then he said he was calling from beyond the grave, as in, like, a joke. Isn't that SOOOO funny?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So I asked Sam, "What would you do if it turned out I was allergic to kitties?"
The man said, "We'd just take out a personal ad: 'Well-behaved Mormon Female to good home. Friendly disposition. Toilet trained. Likes pillows and cupcakes.'"
He likes the cats.
Anyway, no more school. Big sigh.
We're under the Tucson sun, visiting Sam's family. Went shopping with his mama, had a fancy dinner with the whole crew. The first grandbaby is about to make its debut in the world. Any hour now. We watched Emily's belly at dinner, saw the little feet kick it out.
Back in Boston it's 16 degrees. My school campus is closed because of the millions of feet of snow on the ground. And we are here in shirtsleeves. The sky is very big.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I've been thinking I need to write down my little miracles, my humble gratitudes, etc. So here I am.
Yesterday I was sad. More than sad. I've had my bummer teaching days, but this was more like the heavy, aching depression that I experienced last year, and have been fighting off for months. I don't know how to describe it if you haven't felt it. Nothing was wrong: Sam and I went to an incredible performance in Cambridge (see other blog), we had a ward Christmas brunch, the kitties were cute and our house is cozy and the semester is ending and we love each other. And yet, sad. It's like being tired, but through every bit of you--like every cell, every atom of you is lifeless, weighed down, slow. It's awful. Really really awful.
So I went to bed at 5:30pm. I woke up a few times, once to eat, a few times to sit quietly with Sam while he worked on his computer. But mostly I slept. And every time I woke up, I would think of having to go to church today, and feel incapable of going. Not like being there would be a problem, but getting there would be impossible. I couldn't imagine doing the simplest tasks: put on my shoes, brush my teeth, feed myself breakfast, drive there. I always go to church. It fills me up for the next week. I know I need it, even if I don't want to get there. But I really didn't think I was going to make it. Thinking if I'd ever been ill, I was ill yesterday, I had pretty much decided to stay home.
I woke up this morning with plenty of time to get ready, but I still felt rotten, so I went back to bed. And I prayed this little prayer, my head still on the pillow, that if He wanted me there, He would get me out of bed somehow. I'll be honest: I didn't think He could do it. But sure enough, at 8:06, at nearly the last moment I could wake up to make it on time for the sacrament, my phone rang. Half asleep, I was sure God himself was calling me. And He sort of was, because it was my miracle: my visiting teach-ee, who doesn't own a car, had overslept. It takes her an hour to get to church by train, and she wouldn't have made it unless I got up right then, threw my clothes on, and gave her a ride.
She's never called me before for a ride, although I've offered. She's this totally with-it sort of law student, so it's not like she's a chronic over-sleeper. Of all days, of all things, of all moments.
He loves me. I remember. And I need church. I remember.
Nothing amazing happened in my meetings. I was just there, where I needed to be. There was this moment during Sunday School, where I looked around and saw all of these lovely people bending over their scriptures, their hands raising with insights and thoughts and spirit. And I thought, that's all I'm here for, to participate, to take part. It was enough to renew me, at least for now. What a blessing.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
So, but, rain. I was making myself breakfast when Sam left, sans an umbrella. Feeling wifey, I ran out the front door to meet as he pulled out, carrying his umbrella like a torch. He called me an angel, kissed my forehead and drove off.
Then I locked myself out of the house. We have two doors--the outside one's always unlocked, the inside one's always locked. When I opened the outside one, it made the inside one slam shut, and lock. Whoops. There I was, outside, in a misty rain, without a cell phone or any means of entry. I spent several panicky moments on the porch, combing through a visual catalog of all of our windows and doors, to no avail. I was scheduled to teach in about an hour, and we live 45 minutes away, and I was stuck.
Crisis averted: I remembered the stoplight down the street takes 47,000 years to get through at that time of morning, so I took off running. I was in tall brown boots and my flowy engagement-picture skirt, running down our street as fast as I could go. Darn, that felt good. I used to run an hour a day, but it's been a long time since I felt up to doing that. But this morning, in the balmy rain, with the clock at my heels, and the light changing, I ran like wind. Spotting Sam's green car ahead, I darted across the street, weaved between a few cars, and knocked on his window. The man was surprised, but kind, and I perched on top of the mound of papers in the passenger seat while he made an illegal u-turn, and delivered me home safe.
I don't know if it was the brisk jog that spurred my endorphins, but I had a miraculous day today. No crying on the way home for me. My students were sweet, the teaching was fun and brilliant, and all felt right with the world. Thank goodness that sometimes, after slumps, we have good days.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I adjusted my rearview mirror, and thought, "Self, it seems like we adjust this mirror a lot."
I figured it out: I do adjust that mirror a lot. When I drive home from work, I'm so physically/emotionally drained that I slump in my seat. I slump so deep that I have to adjust the mirror down to see out the back window. In the morning I adjust it back up. Rinse and repeat.
That's bad, is it not?
But the husband made chili for me (nice meal when it's EIGHT degrees outside.) and patted my hand and held me while I wept in our kitchen, my feet feeling icy on our cold tile floor.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It doesn't matter really, but this has been a rude week. I got a cold AGAIN, which doubles the fun of any given venture. I tried to have an event at school, and the dude that was presenting was forty-five minutes late, then the sound wouldn't work, then most of the students left, then I realized I forgot to arrange to PAY the man, and someone in charge of me clucked their tongue at my incompetence.
That evening, I was supposed to go to this Relief Society Wreath Making activity because I was sort of in charge, and I went and sang in the program, and when everyone else wept a little at the moving Christmas music, I sobbed. I couldn't stop crying. I snuck out before the wreath making or the real socializing. At this rate, I'm going to have so many friends.
I also listened to a book on CD about budgeting (Dave Ramsey) which caused me to figure out how much debt we have (remember how we both have Phds?--ouchie) and try to work out a budget for next semester (triple ouchie). This, budget-thinking, is not a thing I recommend when you're already having a rude week.
So now I'm trying to convince myself to grade twenty research papers, which may be possible because it reminds me that next week is the LAST WEEK of the semester. Sigh. I doubt I've ever been so happy to reach it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
So she rinsed it and I patted its butt dry (which turned out to be its neck--weird), we slathered the goosebump skin with butter and salt and pepper and popped it in the oven. Three hours later, a golden gorgeous beast.
If I do say so myself, it was a damn good bird. But not better than my stuffing. Boy was that stuffing good: cornbread, onions, celery, apples, bacon. Nothing over the top, but it was mighty tasty. Which brings me to wonder, who thought of the stuffing? Who was it that said, let's stuff the bird full of ... hmmm, I've got it ... BREAD! That'll be GOOD. Whoever they were, they were right on the money.
When we were sitting down to dinner and I had the table all set with my pretty red plates and real cloth napkins and stuff, Sam discovered pepper on his plate. He was afraid of the pepper. He didn't believe it was pepper, so he said he'd just have to use a blue plate (yes, we ended up with some red, some blue plates--long story.). I'm ashamed to say I freaked. Looking back, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was my TABLE. And if you've seen what my sister Amara can do, what she posted about her Thanksgiving on her blog, you know why I had to hold on to the uniformity of my red plates, at the very least.
Which, yeah, getting all worked up like that made my prayer of Thanksgiving really powerful and sincere and sweet and gentle. Actually, no, it was lame. And I had such self-righteous plans to display my spiritual gratitude in front of my non-mormon crowd. Which is probably exactly why I didn't get to. Sigh.
But still, a good dinner. Something satisfying about doing the whole show. And I had a very long nap and then a very tasty pie and we watched a movie and then I actually got really sad. I miss my family: my big, big family with babies and my mom and my dad and my siblings. Friends and husband are wonderful. But why can I not have my family, too? Is that really too much to ask? Christmas. I wait for Christmas.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I mean, it's busy. Not only am I teaching three new classes to students I haven't figured out yet, I'm also supposed to oversee a student club, develop a reading series, sit on two committees, advise a bunch of students on registration, and find time to write/publish my own stuff. It's hard.
And every time I have to go to work, it ruins my day. I come home in the worst mood, feeling terrible about myself and the world. While I'm on campus, I always feel like I'm bumbling about, like I have no clue what I'm doing, like I'm doing it wrong, like a fraud. Ten hours of that, and I'm bound to feel low, right?
I'm whining, I know. But I just realized yesterday that it's true: I'm not enjoying this. I want my mommy. I want to sit at her Thanksgiving table with her moist moist turkey and Amara's exquisite pies and decorations. I don't want to buy my own turkey and cook it. Turkeys are yucky and raw and frozen and they have guts. Sort of like how I feel at school, without the guts part. I don't have those.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This seemed like a problem. But it just didn't come naturally for me to talk about it here.
So ... time for another blog. This one you have in front of you will still cover everyday sort of happenings--my cats, my husband, outings and excurions and cookie-driven angst. But hopefully on the other one I will I'll post bits I've read that have struck me, stuff from podcasts and audiobooks I like, links to literary journals, maybe even stuff I'm writing.
It's called picking up handfuls of birds, from a line by Herbert I've had on my sidebar here. In case you don't get the birds, I'll post the entire poem over there at some point, and perhaps that will illuminate.
Anyway, happy Sunday. See you at the other blog, if you feel so inclined.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
And in the middle, straight ahead, floating lonely at the end of Beacon Street: a big cloud, in the shape of a fish, precise.
This has never happened to me, seeing a cloud picture without looking for it. I can't even remember it happening to me as a grownup.
Has it happened to you?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This sent my mind a-flutter, writing in the margins of the page. It was sort of an interesting thought: messing something up to celebrate. I think I know people who do that.
Turns out, on continuing to read, he meant, "I enjoy making MIX TAPES for big events." As in, like, music.
Still. Freudian slip?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This post was longer. Was rambling on, saying nothing really. I have a cold blah blah blah. Sam went to bed early so I watched a dumb movie blah blah blah. Today a lady stuck a bunch of acupuncture needles in my face blah blah blah. I ate some SOY DELICIOUS "ice cream" because I have a cold AND a sweet tooth that won't leave me alone. Blah blah blah.
But really, all I want to say: I have a PhD in English, and I still, on far too regular a basis, mix up my their/they're/there and my no/know. Not like I don't know which is which. I DO. I just type the wrong one like ALL the time. What is with that? It's particularly embarrassing when I send an email to a student with that mistake. Head smack.
I'm secretary of this department committee, which means I have to take minutes. And I submitted my minutes for review, and this lady, who looks like my kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Sanders) but ISN'T anything like my kindergarten teacher, pointed out four errors like that--not precisely like that, but stupid like that. I felt like pulling her hair. Ever since then, I've been terrified of everything I say or type.
I wish there was some pill I could take to cure me of such a horrifying habit. I could just wake up every morning, pop a homonym pill with my calcium supplement and be on my way for an error-free day. Is this not a good idea?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Sometimes, food is not good. Earlier today, I stopped to get an Italian soda, made the UNFORTUNATE choice of picking gingerbread flavored syrup (I KNOW. What was I thinking?!) and had to dump it out in a gutter. I think I was subconciously wishing for a cookie, and that was as close as I felt I could come.
But sometimes food is good. Tonight Sam took me to a fancy place for dinner. Lineage, in Brookline. I forgot how much I LOVE me a fancy restaurant. I didn't even know how much I loved them until I started dating Sam and he took me to Cafe Degas in New Orleans, Purple Parrot in Hattiesburg, Restaurant August in the French Quarter, and some place in Greenwich Village I can't remember the name of where I got the most aesthetically pleasing meal of my life, etc. Since we moved here, we've been attempting to be more financially conservative. To be, like, grown ups. But I'm so glad we didn't tonight.
Here's what I remembered, what I want to remember because we paid a darn fortune for these details: At fancy places, there are tablecloths--clean, crisp, white ones. People fill your water glass, give you fresh silverware for nearly every bite, have intelligent things to say about the menu items, wear pretty clothes. At this place, they had a big wood-burning stove in the back. (I caught the reflection of the fire in the window and briefly thought a car was burning.) The salt and pepper were in little wooden cellars on the table. They played semi-cheesy jazz music that didn't seem cheesy at all. They brought us fire-warmed rolls in a big oblong basket.
And the food. The FOOOOOD.
For the appetizer, we had lobster tacos: little taco shells stuffed with lobster meat, creme freche, avacado mousse, and some indian spice that I can't pronounce. (Okay, maybe the tacos sound weird but holy happy loveliness.) Sam had scallops on a bed of fennel squash risotto. The bite he could spare for me was wonderful. I had this thin, bafflingly delicious pizza with (and this sounds odd, too.) yukon gold potatoes, sauted mushrooms, sprinkled with some green herb and drizzled with truffle oil. I also had a salad with cranberries and oranges and bacon and strange lettuce that looked like coral. They brought it out with pears poking at artsy angles, and Sam said it looked like the underside of a lobster.
Dessert (sorry, Chinese Herbalist.): dark chocolate bread pudding made with brioche. Vanilla ice cream on the side.
Seriously, folks. This was such a happy time. Sam kept trying to talk to me, carry on a human conversation, and I found it so distracting. I wanted sush him, tell him I was eating, close my eyes and listen to the sappy music and feel the heat of the wood stove and swoon for the flavors in my delighted mouth.
This is what prompted Sam to say, "You're in love with food." And I got offended, huffy.
But it's true. It's TRRUUUEE. I love me a lovely dish. I'm a sucker for restaurants and waiters and water in tall glasses and especially for pretty things that taste pretty. Sigh.
It was worth every penny. Every darn penny.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I mean, I expected them to change. I looked forward to the reds and yellows and oranges.
But I forgot: when leaves fall, they stay put. We are past the trees that look like they're burning. We're before the trees put on sweaters of snow. So now the trees are mostly bare, and at their feet are mounds and drifts of leaves. They fill the ditches, cover cars and sidewalks and speckle the street.
The other morning, driving down a street lined in swaths of gold, I saw a red boxey truck with an enormous black hose attached. Two men wearing galoshes and rubber gloves were using the hose to suck up all the leaves, shooting them into the big red box. They were vacuuming.
Which makes sense. In a place like this, where there are so many leaves, leaves upon leaves upon leaves, one must do something. Leaf collection can't just be rakes and bags in the front lawn, jumping and scattering the piles. Sometimes the cities have to get serious. Sometimes they have to hire maids in galoshes.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
And afterwards, sitting there, listening to all of these feisty New England woman bicker back and forth, obsessing over calories and trans fats and pedometers and how many weight watchers points are in a chicken wing, I couldn't help but think, "Well, that was fun. Now it seems we should all eat a lot of cake."
I tried to tell this to the woman next to me. She didn't seem amused.
But I AM trying not to eat so many sweets, again. My witty and delightful Chinese herbalist (yes, I have a Chinese herbalist.) made a compelling case for it, having to do with my stomach chi or my spleen fire or something like that.
So, here's to cups of light yogurt!
No, actually, I find them to be yucky.
So ... maybe ... here's to drinking warm, satisfying, belly-chi-comforting cups of herb tea!
Except for my comforting cup of tea this morning burned the hell out of my tongue. So that's not very comforting at all.
So maybe just, here's to insisting the husband polish off the rest of the chocolate!
He hasn't needed much encouragement for that. And if it's not in front of my face, maybe my brain will eventually leave me alone and stop calling so sweetly for a little scrumptious something to put on my poor burned tongue.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Student wrote story about having a continuous romantic relationship with the ghost of an old rock star. Weird, but potentially good story.
Trouble was, Student believed it. I mean, Student was the "her." Student felt she was the story. Student was in love and desperately missing her rock star ghost boyfriend.
I'd like to say more (as more occurred), but in the interest of good taste, I'll stop there.
I'm tuckered out.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sam was sleepy. Very sleepy.
Sam had hiccups. The mean, painful sort.
I gave him water. Salty crackers.
Sam fell asleep.
Sam snored, then hiccuped loud like a seal, then snored some more. Repeat.
Ultimately, the man slept, snored, and hiccuped on the couch.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
But anyway, so I was trying to convince myself to get up, and found myself listening to the sound of my eyelids opening and closing. (Do your eyelids make a little sound when they open/close?) I was half asleep, so the sound sent me back to the first time I found out they made a sound: in an old boyfriend's car, after a movie, in the parking lot where we sat for several hours because his car wouldn't start. We were sort of snuggling, but not really, but close enough for him to say, "What's that noise?" When we figured out it was my eyelids, I think it really freaked him out. I mean, in my memory, I think he made me sit on the other side of the car because the sound was so irritating/distracting.
So that memory was so weird that I started remembering other things about dating this man. It was in Denver, my junior year of high school. For various reasons, I was very depressed in Denver. So depressed that I slept most of the time and barely ate. I mean, barely. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months. (If only I could manage to have that brand of depression again. Now I have stuff-my-face depression. I'm so lucky.) And somewhere in there, I started dating this odd man, with an odd name, which we will pretend is Buddy, for the sake of a little anonymity.
Here are things I remembered this morning about dating Buddy, in no particular order: Buddy whispering in my ear "You sing like an angel." Buddy picking me up from school in a pair of bright maroon-ish pants and wrinkly yellow shirt with a huge chocolate ice cream stain down the front. Buddy leaving messages on my answering machine while I was at school so I got to listen to them all when I got home. Buddy kissing me with slobbering kisses all over my face, removing my makeup. Feeling, after hanging out with Buddy, that if anyone ever touched me again--held my hand, put their arm around me, slobbered me with kisses--I would die, or at least vomit. Taking romantic pictures of Buddy and his ex-girlfriend in the snow. (Yes, we were dating at the time. Yes, it was her idea that the pictures be taken, his idea that I be the one to take them.) Reading the lyrics of a sappy Alanis Morrisette song to Buddy over the phone, most sincerely ("You held your breath, and the door for meeee...."). Buddy's glittery T-shirt, the way he drank an entire pitcher of juice in three minutes whenever I made one, the way he didn't cut his finger nails often enough, the way his voice sounded when he told me over the phone that he had kissed the ex-girlfriend and didn't feel bad about it, so, well, sorry.
All of this, and three supremely embarrassing things that still embarrass me to think of:
a. Buddy once insisted that I had a spot of spaghetti sauce on my chin. Insisted and insisted. It was, of course, a zit.
b. Once, when Buddy was at our house, my mother made me drink this super healthy green grassy drink. She was worried because I never ate anything and was trying to insist on some nutrients. This stuff wasn't even wheat grass, which she's made me drink on other occasions. It was worse: imagine mowing your lawn, blending the grass clippings up in a blender with some twigs and leaves mixed in, and drinking that. So, Buddy was over, I had to drink this generous portion of the green drink. I took a swig, and proceeded to spew it all over the kitchen table. With a horrible retching sound escaping my throat, and the green nastiness dripping elegantly off the sides of the table.
c. Buddy was over once, and hungry for lunch. I made him an avocado sandwich, cut it like butterfly wings, and presented it to him. He found eight (count them: EIGHT) of the long hairs of my head in that sandwich. Not eating much makes your hair fall out, apparently.
Wow. They all involve food. No wonder I didn't have an appetite.
But I just did an experiment. Sam's eyelids don't make sounds. And, he says, he can't hear mine. What a relief.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here are pretty trees above a cemetery in the North End.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Worse still, they have my cats.
Because we wanted Sam's kitty to have a chance to stake out his territory before my cats arrived, Sprouty and Meatsock stayed with my parents. They're happy there, showered with attention: my dad lets them attack his feet while he reads, my mom feeds them seaweed (which they LOVE, oddly enough), and they get to play in the backyard and catch birds. (Then they bring the birds inside to show my parents, and get even MORE attention.) So the plan was for my parents to come out and visit and deliver the creatures.
This morning they flew from Salt Lake to New York fine, but the flight they were booked on from there to here was cancelled. They were standby for a 7pm flight, but that didn't work out. So they are stuck there until 10:30.
My parents are frazzled and bored enough. Imagine my cats. They're stuck in these little bags; they haven't eaten since 6pm yesterday (as a precaution against accidents); they're high as kites on tranquilizers, and they're not happy. They're frantic, actually. Sprout, the mama, is a dignified soul. She's been sitting quietly in her little black bag. The baby, on the other hand, is not as dignified. He's been crying, downright moaning, my mother says. They're drawing all sorts of attention from passersby.
They tried to feed them a tuna sandwich, by they're both so high that they can't figure out how to chew. And still Meatsock cries. My mom said at one point he was on my dad's lap, on his back like a baby, with his mouth hanging open while my dad scratched his belly. Did I mention this was in the middle of JFK airport? Check out the cat people.
I'll just be glad when they're all here, safe in my little house. I will give my kitties some cat food and show them their litter box (which we've set up with a room divider so it's like their own little bathroom) and scratch they're necks and give them kisses and introduce them to their new brother Tadzio. (They won't like the Tadzio part any more than he will.) And I will give my parents clean towels and show them the bathtub and the warm bed with clean sheets and in the morning I will feed them blueberry yogurt and apples.
I don't like airplanes or airlines or airports. I like kitties and parents and here with me.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
So this time I took some pictures, because the fall colors are really starting to pop. Pretty, no? We're liking this place more and more. Especially since this week has shown us temperatures that hovered around 70. Didn't Utah get SNOW today? Bless your frosted hearts.
My favorite building on the path--an old waterworks building, which is now a museum.
It was sunny, so Sam protected his head.
Then, he got silly, as he's wont to do.
Then, we posed with the creeping blood-red vines.
Handsome bloke, no?
There's a little yellow house that I'm dying to live in. Can you spot it? Sam says he'll buy me one just like it some day as long as I'll let him board up the windows against zombie attacks. He worries a lot about zombie attacks.
A fuller view of the bleeding vines.
A shot that's attempting to be arty, but is not so arty because my camera's not a diva and I don't have skillz. Still, you get the idea.
It took me about two weeks to find all the ingredients. We went to Whole Foods for them. That place happens to be the closest grocery store to our house, and also happens to be this uber-snoody, pricey, gorgeously wonderful place. And it was shaping up to cost me about $30 bucks for the ingredients. When we were at Whole Snoods for the cookies, it had only been a week since I'd run in to just get a few things, and came out with a FEW things and a fat, horrifying amount at the bottom of my receipt. I can't even mention that number because it hurts me. I ended up putting all the ingredients back and leaving in a huff. Anyway, this stuff (especially the coconut oil and almonds for almond meal) is more reasonable at regular grocery stores that have a fancy section.
Most importantly, I made them today, and, mmmmmmm is my verdict. I took some out on a plate to Sam, and he was back in the kitchen in about thirty seconds, saying only, "More cookies," and heading for the heaping plate by the oven. He likes, me thinks. I like. Your turn.
Friday, October 10, 2008
In news that has nothing to do with the slacks, I can hear a big flock of geese out my window, honking, announcing their flight South. And yesterday, the Sam and I went to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plains. Pretty pretty. Some pictures. The first one represents our best attempts to take a picture of ourselves. Notice all the trees we managed to include ...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sometimes, school, as a thing, seems so lame.
I stood like a moron at the front of the room, flipping throught the pages, begging God to supply me with some brilliant question to ask that would fuel discussion for another 45 minutes. The heavens were closed. Nothing arrived in my head. It was awful. AW-FUL.
It triggered all sorts of who-am-i, what-am-i-doing-here, how-did-i-get-this-job, i-sucksucksuck feelings. I'm brimful of self-loathing.
But tonight, Sam and I are going to the circus. Barnum and Bailey, even. And there, when the big kitties are jumping through hoops and the elephants are swinging their trunks, and the clowns are falling down, it won't matter if I can ask a discussion-inspiring question, will it? Will it?
Monday, September 29, 2008
They even make little sneakers that light up.
And houndstooth booties.
And ducky slippers.
It's gotta be really weird being a dog owner.
I won't even mention the halloween costumes. Oh, to be a hot dog.
This has made my day.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I was on my way out the door this morning, running late, just zipping up my tall brown boots and swigging the last of my breakfast shake, when Sam found me. I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and he put his arms around me, looked at the two of us in the mirror, and kissed my neck. I wondered what led to this affection, what caused him to find me in the back end of our little house. Usually, the morning is writing time: snuggle time for Sam and his computer in his office at the front. I have to tug on his sleeve to get a kiss goodbye.
A moment later, he confessed. Chest pains. A numb left arm. Throat closing up.
Off to the ER. Again. And no, our insurance hasn't kicked in yet.
After six long hours of painful, stinky waiting, it was pretty clear he was okay. No heartattack showed on the cardiogram. And we wanted to go home. The emergency room was packed: a pretty brunette with a terrifying allergic reaction to shellfish, a electrician with a racing and palpitating heart, and several large old women with mountainous bellies and sunken mouths that looked very unhappy. There were so many sick people today that they moved us out to the hall, where we waited and waited some more.
And Sam's so patient. I wanted to stomp around and insist on more pain medication, cop an attitude with the fuzzy-headed nurse, snap at the techs when they wanted to move us to the other side of the hall. This comes from my father: he taught me how to make my case in the world of retail/healthcare services, and often, I think, stand up for all that's true and deserving. But Sam's always saying that it's not their fault, that they're doing their best. I listened to him today, held off my mama-bear instincts for the most part, and I was glad I did when the nurse said so sincerely that she was sorry and she knew how frustrating it was and she appreciated how long we'd waited and could she get us anything else? I wanted to cry when she said that. I'm not sure why: because it seemed like she actually cared after all? Because I have a good husband that teaches me how to be nicer to people? Because I walked by all of these rooms with very ill-looking people curled up in wrenching exhausting pain, and I realized we are lucky, after all? Blessed to be in the relatively good health that we are?
When the doctor showed up again, and we told him we were going home, he told us, basically, that if we did, Sam could die. If something was indeed wrong with his heart, he wouldn't have any warning the next time. He could drop dead without so much as a squeak. He'd seen it too many times to tell us our plan to scram was a good idea. Sam was disappointed. He had wanted Indian food and a chocolate sundae.
So they shipped us up to the sixth floor, and there Sam stays. I'm at home, now. Munching on crackers because I don't know what to do with myself without him here. I never really got it when people talked about how easy it is to get used to sharing a bed with one's spouse, how quickly odd it feels when they're away. But it's true. I miss him. I want to snuggle up to him before I kneel to say my prayer, want to talk to him about school and his cat and what I'm reading and what he's writing and what we'll eat for dinner tomorrow.
But I shouldn't complain. At least I'm not at that dreadful place--with the beeping and rushing around and odd smells and nurses who come in to take your temperature and ask if you've had a bowel movement yet. Sam's roommate is an old man with bony shoulders who smells like he messed his pants and keeps his TV on really loud, even when he's asleep. He snores. (Although, I also snore ...)
When I left the hospital to get Sam's laptop and a book, it seemed like I needed a prize for such a harrowing day. I stopped at this little pastry/gelato shop down the street called Athen's and got a little heart-shaped strawberry mousse cake. It was pretty and pink with a chocolate foundation. And it made me forget for a moment that my husband wasn't coming home with me, that I have mountains of teaching prep and writing and submissions and department business to attend to, and I didn't do a lick of it today; that we're out here in an unfamiliar place with new jobs and new pressures and no real friends and a batch of health problems we can't currently afford. I didn't even realize the coincidence of picking a heart-shaped cake. I must have wanted to see one whole, wanted to have one pretty on a plate, wanted to take it inside where mine hurts, and Sam's hurts. Wanted to feel grateful for a moment that I could be there, afford it, quietly sit.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Little girl: very bald, odd-looking, wearing all white, maybe 10/11 months old. She's sitting on her dad's lap just down the row from me, and I'm kind of watching her, wondering why she looks so weird.
She crawls off her dad's lap, comes and toddles over to stand in front of me, looks right at me, and says, "Day. Ja."
Okay. What's with the creepy baby saying my name? It's not like she was babbling. That was all she had to say. Then she toddled back over to sit with her dad.
I can think of only two possibilities: 1. Her parents are teaching her French. or 2. She met my babies in heaven and they told her to say hi when she got here.
What else am I to think?
Monday, September 8, 2008
This is us, up high in the balloon. Isn't it lovely (not that you can see much...)? It's surprisingly serene up there. I think I thought it would feel sort of precarious and dangerous. But actually it's such a smooth ride, so peaceful. Several times we were low enough to see people waving and hear people shouting hello. They were on their back porch, taking pictures of us.
View straight down. Right after this, when we got low enough to graze the tops of the trees (on purpose, to slow us down), Sam plucked a pinecone off the very tippy top of a tree. Boy, was it dripping in sap. After dropping the pinecone, he clapped his sappy hand on my arm and, when I protested, said, "I'm cleaving unto you, see? Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Cleave." At the time, I did not find this amusing. But now, thinking about the pinecone being from the tippy top, it pleases me. It only took a week to get the sap off my watch.
Okay, as odd as it may seem, this was perhaps my favorite part: blowing up the balloons. The had sam and another passenger hold it open like this while they aimed a powerful fan that puffed it up like so. Then they start the hot air part, and that's what gets it to stand up. There were two big yellow ones in the field--ours and another--and it was just incredible to witness these massive, happy-looking objects take shape.
Best birthday present ever? Perhaps. Quite possibly. I'm pretty sure, yes.
Monday, September 1, 2008
the nice people brought me magic heated blankets, hooked me up to an iv with pain meds, anti-nausea stuff, antibiotics. then sent me home.
in other news, they said i'm NOT prego. we were actually a bit worried, so this was a relief for both of us. married for one month and three days equals not ready for babies. i told sam he looked like the very proud father of nothing.
also in other news, sam took me on a hot air balloon ride for my birthday, which was so much more jolly than the trip to the er. stay tuned for pictures. lots and lots of pictures.
come to think of it, i don't know if it was actually more jolly. i mean, it was more peaceful, more fun, more celebratory, and more, well, elevated. but sam is particularly smooth in a crisis--charming, keeps me laughing. and by the time the pain meds kicked in, i was a pretty jolly gal myself. i was cracking myself up: when sam said he thought the blankets were just for patients, i said, "well, i think you have a lot of patience." get it? if i hadn't have been hooked to an iv, i would have been rolling for that one. and that's just the one that made sense.
so, jolly enough time. i just really really wish we weren't two days from our new jobs and new insurance. that's gonna hurt.
and now i'm going to sleep.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I mean, the plan today was just to jet over to the DMV to get the license, then dash into Manny's Auto Center to get my cute vehicle.
And yet. Here it is, 5pm, and I'm still carless.
Talk about your all day.
Can't we simplify things, World? Why so many papers to sigh over and sign? Shouldn't there just be one all-inclusive pass that says I'm buying a dang car, I scrawl my new-fangled signature (do you know how trixy it is to switch last names? to remember ones new identity 78 thousand times?) and I drive off into the sunset?
Okay, anyway, a piece of advice: When the car dealer man, Harry, insists that you try some odd object that he's calling a "chicken strip," don't do it. Just don't do it. Tell him you've never been so full.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
That's all I can manage for now. I need to throw in some laundry and figure out what on earth I will teach when school starts in a very few days.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
I fashion-showed the red shoes and my other loot for my mother while she was propped in bed, watching the news with my dad. Later, when she came out to get some vitamins before going to bed, she stopped in my room, tried on the red shoes, and ended up doing a tap dance for me on my hardwood floor.
I told myself as I watched, as she danced: I must remember this. My reserved, wonderful mama, in her nightgown, dancing in my red high heels.