30 December 2008

Today, in Tech News at 8

new MacBook is here
VMware Fusion is here
Windows XP is here
Office 2007 for Windows is here

and finally

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 is here, with a terribly ill-fitting headset I'm wearing around my neck

oh, and a new printer, wireless.

more non-tech news later.

20 December 2008

Oh Friends

Friends, if you be true friends, do not let me ever, ever publish something with a title (or a chapter title or even an a-head) with those witty parentheticals inside a word, e.g., Trans(per)forming.

Also, I do not want to take the GRE Subject Test in Literature. And so I am not.

Also, where is my MacBook? Our new printer got here first. None of this would be possible without an incredibly generous friend, and I thank him ... and the printer was $35. And is wireless. And prints photos and has five ink tanks. Wowzer. Our current printer goes to the curb or the craiglist.

When did I decide to apply to grad school? A month ago? Maybe that is why I am behind and buying books with expedited shipping rather than wait for the interlibrary loan folks to do their thing, via Noah's library card. Today I found a receipt for a lot of money that I gave to UIUC after I graduated, which makes me think I do NOT owe them several hundred dollars, though perhaps speaking with them will clarify that further.

How many schools to apply to? Why? One in NYC, one in Atlanta, one in Nashville, one in Seattle, one in Pullman, WA, and the list stops there so far. The NYC might not keep my interest; they have some weird no-MA-offered thing but let you get it through another college nearby, and I'm sure it's less complicated in person, but it seems crazy from far away. Looked into U of Oregon and Oregon State, and one requires the Lit test and one sounds really, really lame and only offers an MA.

Do I really have to take coursework? I guess I do. I can maybe transfer two classes. Could have been three if I had stayed in Cary's Modern American Poetry, but honestly, auditing that was so much better than really taking it.

I just keep thinking ... is this it? Professor? Comp studies, creative writing pedagogy, trauma studies, et al et al? It has seemed like it could turn out this way since I was in high school; I just thought then that it would go faster. I don't remember why I decided to go for an MFA anymore; does that scare anyone else? I remember ... having written a lot of stuff and being really encouraged by faculty ... and thinking it sounded more job-ready than an art degree. I guess I'd stopped thinking about lit in the same way. But oh, how all the rivers flow into each other.

I keep looking at satellite images of Seattle and thinking about floods. But apparently, bays and sounds don't flood like deltas do. And Seattle doesn't seem to be a major watershed. All this makes me feel very Midwestern but specifically of Saint Louis and its flood plains.

Friends, again, if you be true, don't let me use air quotes.

16 December 2008

Renaming this blog to ... Sick = Sick = Sick

My last occupational therapy appointment was Dec. 4. I have another EMG/nerve conduction test scheduled in Springfield, 90 miles away, on January 19. They hurt, no matter what the literature says about 'mild discomfort,' and I do not enjoy being told to relax when I can't ... the test shoots electricity through your nerves to see how well they conduct, and it buzzes if there's muscle tension. Yet doesn't the prospect of electric shock encourage muscle tension? Yes.

Anyway, EMG on 1/19, give the doctor two weeks to finish his report, give the worker's comp claims worker two weeks to get back to me with a more final say on the claim, so maybe in late February I'll be treated again.

I am so angry.

And keep in mind that occ therapy = pain relief for me, things like ultrasound which is magical, massage which is magical, the world's best moist heat wrap things ... I'm taking way more ibuprofen now than I was pre-Dec. 4. And ibuprofen scares me; I think I was taking way too much in middle school and high school and that it freaked out my kidneys. The kidneys seem okay now, though. I worry anyway. I like my kidneys to function.

So I am not being a maker so much these days. I'm beading a necklace for someone, I'm weaving in ends of knitted socks for someone, but mostly I'm wishing I was knitting. I really miss knitting. It hurts to hold books up for too long. And to hold heavy drinks.

So maybe I am better than I was, but not really better. More in a super funk. And maybe deciding to make risotto tonight was a bad idea, as it involved the chopping of onion and kale, the zesting of a lemon, the shredding of Parmesan. And stirring of broth into rice as it released its starch.

And I am ANGRY about the reasons I am injured, ANGRY about the medical expenses still unpaid and my work hours missed due to medical restrictions remaining uncompensated, ANGRY that the only time I've been warm today is now, sitting inside my down mummy bag, with the hood over my head and the zipper closed to my waist, flapped open for arms-out typing.

Angry yes. Angry angry. Sick = sick = sick = angry.

14 December 2008

quick posts again

Christine is ...

*glad to hear Deutsch is en route to San Diego

*wearing splints again, under my own orders

*getting weird pain that wasn't there before, or at least not prominent, and was aggravated today by carrying a plate full of brunch food

*sad that her meat-free brunch food was too heavy for her to carry ...

*probably buying a new MacBook on Tuesday, then VMWare Fusion, then Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, and hoping that the combination works well enough for the kind of writer and editor I am/she is

*hating facebook's grammar quandries

*thinking, focus on the dissertation and screw everything else, or at least, is trying to use the fact that she's thought about grad school a lot to her advantage

*silently crying at the prospect of more grad school, a little bit, and is gearing up retaliation now: bring on the affirmations, preferably in post-it note form

*going to stop typing now

09 December 2008

NYT and me

The New York Times is me:
* watching TV online, though I don't mind the threat of "getting busted" and use surfthechannel.com
* writers with hurting hands who can't leave their Macs

* people who like sorbet, but Bittman's sounds kind of lame and I'd rather use my ice cream maker
* people who should think about buying a house, but hopefully in a place where homes are a) affordable and b) not projected to plummet in value by 2012

What else is up? Work is lame but today I learned something and reminisced with a former boss about how hard my first year has been there, in terms of projects; I will come out better financially next year in regards to health insurance if I spend a lot of money on my health quickly, in a meet-the-deductible-and-get-partially-reimbursed scheme that isn't so scheme-y; I am cold and slowly convincing Noah we should own a down comforter, as he has stolen! my! down sleeping bag!

And I called it a good, healthy dinner night yesterday when we had a garlic shrimp pasta frozen skillet meal and a spinach/apple/gorgonzola/balsamic vinaigrette salad.

04 December 2008

What's with all this llama drama?

Ongoing drama: In August I start feeling a deep ache in both thumbs, then intense burning pain in my palms and soreness, burning, tingling, and aching from the elbows down, though the pain in my palms distracts me from everything else and interrupts my sleep. I see my doctor, she says "it's carpal tunnel; here are splints," and before I quite know what I'm doing, I file a worker's compensation claim. (I type a lot at work. And otherwise literally do the same thing over and over.) The first claims worker from the worker's comp insurance company never speaks to me, doesn't return calls, and my company's HR folks ask that he go away and someone else take over. Someone else does; she calls me and is helpful, if a bit brisk and odd--a strange interaction not entirely unexpected, given the situation. There are literally thousands of dollars at stake. Meanwhile I wear one set of splints, I see another doctor, and I undergo a nerve conduction test and have no nerve damage or compression to be found, nixing the carpal tunnel diagnosis and leaving me with "lots of tendinitis." I take a prescription pain reliever twice, react to it with chest tightness and throat tightness, go to the ER and OccMed and the ER again, only for it all to pass with the six hours I spend waiting at the hospital, no epi pens at all. I see a new doctor, I start going to occupational therapy, I get new splints, and these kind folks say, oh my, your elbows are awful too, and your shoulders and neck, and did you know you're hypermobile? (I'm hypermobile. It's like double-jointedness but not; for me, it's more like my ligaments don't know how to hold my joints in place, and it makes stretching difficult because I can stretch forever and then I hurt myself.) Now I do lots of stretches and they are all awesome. I am showing my joints and soft tissue what is what. I am wearing splits for wrists and elbows every night, I am on lots of ibuprofen all the time, and the worker's compensation claim is still not finalized. They send me off for a second opinion, an IME. That doctor says, it's work-related, but I don't know what it is; have another nerve conduction test. The claims worker says, I'm not approving any more occupational therapy until we're sure of what it is. I say, folks, it's been three months, I'm getting better, and of course my symptoms are weirder now--half of them are gone. But if this is what it takes, I will do it. Meanwhile I am still working, at first still full days and full computer use, now six-hour days and one hour of computer use a day, now "advancing as tolerated" though I am bad at anticipating what I can't tolerate.

And grad school apps, and freelance clients, and work, and now probably a new computer and voice recognition software at home, and a couple really great flax-filled heating packs. The llama drama is from someone else's child, I don't remember whose, who was apparently involved with drama and llamas. The high today was 27.

Why trauma theory? It's incredibly complex, and I like complex things. "To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric" (Adorno, Cultural Criticism and Society). "Perennial suffering has as much right to expression as a tortured man has to scream; hence it may have been wrong to say that after Auschwitz you could no longer write poems. But it is not wrong to raise the less cultural question whether after Auschwitz you can go on living ..." (Adorno, Meditations on Metaphysics). "Learn to think with pain. ... Where is there the least power? In speech, or in writing? When I live, or when I die? Or again, when dying doesn't let me die?" (Blanchot).

I feel like I read someone saying "death is no longer sacred," but maybe it was just something Cary repeated in Holocaust Poetry often.

And I like things to be as complex as possible, or else there are no stakes, and why do anything with no stakes.

29 November 2008

Sickness and Trauma Theory

My pecan pie was fine. I do want to try Carl's recipe that does not call for corn syrup ... interesting idea.

Noah is alternating sicknesses and allergy attacks and then is fine and then is getting me sick. Wahoo four day weekend of sickness!

I am also relearning trauma theory. I just diagrammed and outlined a 19-page paper of mine, a process I've advised others to do but never have done myself. Enlightening. Also makes me want to delete half of the draft and add in five to ten pages of smarter-sounding awareness of one of the subfields I'd like to study.

Which also means I'm rereading Blanchot's The Writing of the Disaster. Here, so you can share the joy with me:

To read, to write, the way one lives under the surveillance of the disaster: exposed to the passivity that is outside passion. The heightening of forgetfulness.
It is not you who will speak; let the disaster speak in you, even if it be by your forgetfulness or silence.

27 November 2008

I'm really worried about my pecan pie.

25 November 2008

The Trouble with Grad School Applications

I'm really glad I didn't start watching Project Runway until this point in my life. Last time I applied to a graduate program, I was hooked on Prison Break. What the shows have in common is that they always end. Eventually, someone wins, someone breaks out of prison, and it happens within a season.

The trouble with the applications? They are long and complicated; they cost money, which is a terrible affront to my sensibilities; and, listen, critical readers of literature, you can't organize a website for crap.

So, yeah, I'm applying. Here and maybe here and I'll come up with some other places. Seattle because it's Seattle, Emory because two rockstars of trauma theory teach there.

Oy vey.

15 November 2008

Things I Like

*trauma theory

*trauma theory and creative writing, and ethics, and the evaluation of creative writing in light of trauma theory

*teaching creative writing well and learning in a CW classroom/workshop

*creative writing pedagogy: the revolution, by me


*nonfiction writing about landscapes, especially western

When everything is over and done, what do I want to have done? Made things, written things, shared the making and the writing with others. Cooked and eaten things I feel good about cooking and eating. Been a positive output to the world at large. Maybe teach people, maybe directly help others to write better and communicate their ideas well.

I feel more and more strongly that it's easier to see where I don't belong than where I do or might. In example: I don't belong in a company whose product I'm not invested in (which cancels out, you know, most of everything); I don't belong in a position where I'm unable to direct my own tasks or offer input regarding a project (which is also nearly everything). That leaves ... editorships in literature, teaching things maybe, making things, freelance developmental editing, and I'd imagine that I'd be good at reviewing books for a bookseller. Scholarly work in CW, trauma, pedagogy ... volunteer work with things like 826 ...

Well, first I need to eat, and that means tempeh chili.

13 November 2008

Well ... no Teach for America for me. They're not interviewing me further. I feel quite weird about it, but whatever reasons they may have all lead to me not working with them, and so, I will work with/for someone/thing else. Noah's job prospects are changing--another consulting firm and another chance for Seattle and further interviews with T for A--so we are quite up in the air. Way up.

I'm not wearing splints during the day anymore, and taping instead, which is great except the tape wrecks my skin and there's no way I can tape everyday. So I did yesterday, didn't today, maybe will tomorrow.

To everyone I haven't gotten back to: I love you all, and I am sorry, and I will. With no date specified. Try calling me again. I am this absent-minded.

What to give one's father-in-law for the holidays? If I could knit, it would be so easy: socks, fingerless mitts, a hat, something. If only I had some of my mugs kicking around, or something ... he and I both like tea, but he also has everything he needs ...

In general, folks, what do you see me as being good at? I am adrift when it comes to this lately. This T for A thing is throwing me off like someone punched me in the gut.

And maybe there are bigger things to worry about.

11 November 2008

I survived driving! But I paid for it in pain. Bath salts help. So do naps and early bedtimes. Ciao, yall.

09 November 2008

facebook format is easy

is excited about Obama but still in disbelief and will be until January 20th

is going to Springfield tomorrow night so she can go to her independent medical exam on Tuesday and ... have the most important doctor's appointment ever! It decides her entire worker's comp claim!

is nearly asleep

blow-dried her hair today for the first time in two months

did dishes for the first time in two months

wants to support etsy.com this holiday season

02 November 2008

"...up with which we shall no longer put!"

Okay, I love Keith Olbermann (I call him Keithy) and since SNL is redeeming itself for a decade-long slump this season, I shall link to Ben Affleck's skit of Olbermann. Or Keithy. Whichever. The man does have impeccable grammar, which is at least half the reason for my love, and Ben A. does it well. I may watch it three times today.

Since everybody knows I'm moving in the summer, and looking for jobs in a very not-sure-what-town-I-should-look-in way, I will also give y'all the scoop on me. Noah and I are applying to Teach for America--not sure what will happen, not sure if it's for me, but it seems like applying is the way to find out. I'm also starting to consider applying for grad schools, e.g. PhD programs, in creative writing and other stuff. What program will let me study creative writing (my own), creative writing pedagogy, and trauma theory/contemporary poetry all at the same time? Sounds kind of like a lit program, or a lit/cw program, or a ... program in education. T for A has all these partnerships with master's and PhDs in education ... like money-giving partnerships ... I don't know, man, I don't know. I miss big words.

Other options: find a great little press that I can do everything for (hi Graywolf!); work for some arts-based initiative, company, museum, gallery, thing; freelance developmental editing and something else to fill in the gaps, like copyediting or breadmaking; dye yarn; make bread; make pots once I know it won't hurt me; write a lot; on and on. Other options welcome.

28 October 2008

read with me/vote with me

Al Qaeda endores McCain:

"Yet the endorsement of Mr. McCain by a Qaeda-affiliated Web site isn’t a surprise to security specialists. Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism director, and Joseph Nye, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, have both suggested that Al Qaeda prefers Mr. McCain and might even try to use terror attacks in the coming days to tip the election to him.

“From their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting,” said Professor Nye, adding that Mr. McCain is far more likely to continue those policies."

Are there any reasons left to vote for McCain? Honestly?

Okay, I do still agree with him on two things: (1) corn subsidies tied to ethanol production are no good at all since it takes more energy to produce ethanol than ethanol provides; there are things like, you know, the sun and the wind which cost NOTHING that we could subsidize instead; and corn is, well, still good for eating--especially in the middle of a global food crisis (though in an election year, I forgive Obama for sidestepping the issue entirely); (2) nuclear power is an energy option that needs to be seriously considered--the current methods of its production disallow nuclear meltdown, and they are insanely efficient, hence better, than crap options like clean coal. "Clean" coal? More like "what's going to happen when those hydrogen-filled caverns break through the earth and kill me" coal. And again, the sun, the wind ...

But notice that is two subpoints of energy policy. The man has left me gaping with everything else he says.

I don't like abortion but I want to run as far away from legislating "moral choices" about people's bodies as possible; I don't like either candidates' take on gay marriage (I want more equality, if you were wondering); I'm not convinced that any options for health care reform and economic crisis-averting are going to work.

But good god I'm ready to vote. But I think I'll wait until the 4th. Voting early sounds like a hoax.

23 October 2008

smells like coffee after using the grinder at Trader Joe's for her folks' Costa Rican blend and subsequently collecting coffee particulate on her splints and splint liners.

has put a grill pan on her wish list.

has eaten meat everyday for something like two weeks. she's a carnivore.

21 October 2008

(in facebook status format)

is convinced her nightly healing imagery therapy is working good things on her canker sore.

is still in stl.

is sweeping up the remains of her shattered neti pot.

is now using a new, all-plastic neti pot and breathing free.

is now smelling that whiff of death that comes from inside her head when her sinuses are clear.

is a little sick of passive voice, oh well.

is also sick of resting her elbows, wrists, hands, and arms.

is glad to have taught some really great poetry students who are pursuing poetry in various ways. she's getting interested in creative writing pedagogy again.

is almost definitely moving to chicago.

is praying that republicans don't steal the election again.

03 October 2008

Still Alive

Sometime next week I will find out if, in November, I will be paid 66% of 25% of what I normally am (since I'm 25% work-restricted and compensated at 66% of that), or 66% of my normal pay.

It's a weekend of repurposing, folks ... from pantry ingredients to things stashed in the closet to NEVER BUYING ANYTHING EVER AGAIN. Also, have you heard we're in a recession? And this whole financial crisis too? And that if worries about money were something you or I had before, those worries could triple now and that would be a reasonable amount of worry?

However, within the next few weeks, Noah will finish some interviews and decide on a future job and a city to move to, and with all that comes a different sort of salary. Did you know engineers and editors make different amounts of money? They do. And so while these tripled worries are reasonable, they will also pass in a very definite time frame.

To end, I will tell you I am still alive, figuring out ways to manage pain, letting Noah do kind of everything our house needs, and thinking thoughts of reduced inflammation and the opening of nerve tunnels (folks now say I have carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome, and bilateral tendinitis in wrists and elbows).

Also, a brief list of awesome RSI prevention/recovery things:

for PC's--Workpace is a free customizable break timer and activity tracker, and it is awesome. It includes stretches to do on breaks, a "lock my computer" thing to do in one click if you get up and walk away ... really good for offices.

For Macs--Time Out is also a free break timer, though with no activity timer, and has a very pleasing transparency/opaque thing to indicate break time.

Honestly, anyone and everyone who is reading this should install either, or both, if you use a PC at work and a Mac at home like me.

I'm doing some new stretches for shoulder, neck and upper back muscles ... if anyone is interested, let me know, and I'll make some PDFs of them to circulate. I'm doing easy stretches every hour and hard ones four times a day ... and they feel good. My OT is pretty sure that if I can loosen the insanely tight muscles I have there, I'll reduce nerve pinching throughout and feel generally better.

26 September 2008

the right to bear arms

So, Noah has a list going of circumstances under which he will buy a gun and drive to DC--things like, the government says they're postponing elections until this crisis is over, things like that.

I don't like guns so much, and I'm not up for that long of a drive, but ...

What's your list like?

25 September 2008

my job tried to hurt me

*i believe my worker's compensation claim has been approved

*OT says, 6 months until i am all better

*OT also says, you have cubital tunnel (elbow) and nerve pinching there, not damage

*OT also has me in two custom splints for wrists, elbow gel pad tube socks, currently some kineisiotape for my right wrist going up my forearm, and two stretches to do ... arm straight out in front, hand flexes up; arm straight out with elbow to floor, hand goes back/down ... with a terrifyingly tiny range of motion

*also, i believe my worker's compensation claim has been approved

*also, my work restrictions will probably be revised on monday morning; i'm betting the doctor will say, three days off, then you can work only 6 hours a day -- because when i'm not working or doing anything at all, i'm in pain, but less, and when i work over six hours, i'm in way more pain

*i have decided that pain, in this case for me, is an accurate ethical barometer: i am in pain, so what i am doing is bad; i am not in pain, so what i am doing is good

*my company's short-term disability insurance policy says, if you have to stop working, we'll pay you something, but if you leave in the next six months, you have to pay it all back. umm ... uncomfortable conversation possibly in my future

*noah has interviews on the way, wahoo!

20 September 2008

Wrong Again

The EMG and nerve conduction tests say ... I do NOT have carpal tunnel syndrome. Or at least I have no nerve damage. The doctor said I might have had mild carpal tunnel when I started wearing the splints three weeks ago and that it's had time to recover since then. Whichever it is, I am SO HAPPY to not have nerve damage because ... nerve damage doesn't get better. You can't regrow nerves or heal them, just kind of cope with them. And nerve damage is in my family, of course: paternal grandfather with myasthenia gravis; mom with spinal cord injury and now MS ... I can stay off the list for now.

I do have bilateral wrist and elbow tendinitis, though. The doctor was like, this is rare. You're still 25? So ... I'll stop typing soon ...

Doctor's orders for the weekend: don't do anything. I think yarn dyeing can stay on the list, though. Our full-DVD-collection of The West Wing finally arrived, so I have things to watch at least.

Six more weeks of occupational therapy, with better splints on the way, with the great elbow gel pads already, nice OT named Becky ...

19 September 2008

still alive

*had an allergic reaction to a NSAID, which is basically hyped-up ibuprofen, throat swelling and chest tightness; fought with my dr's nurses about going to the ER, then went to the ER, only to 1) try to give them my parents' address as my own and 2) get sent to occupational medicine ... because a drug allergy is related to the worker's comp case that brought about the drug prescription? and four hours later, when i've been sent back to the ER, and see finally a real doctor who just will do something, and am falling asleep in the exam room and really even more out of it ... the reaction is waning and so they don't give me anything. thx guyz.

*bilateral carpal tunnel, wrist tendinitis, and elbow tendinitis. everyone doctor-related keeps asking, really? you're only 25? yes, yes.

*saw an occupational therapist, awesome older woman who's done this for 38 years. she made me a custom splint (which sadly is still irritating my far-too-bony wrist--do you have the bony bump on the far side? it's annoying when wearing splints) and gave me TWO ELBOW GEL PROTECTORS which in short are tube socks with the feet cut off and a pad of thermal gel stuck in at the elbow. they are AWESOME. i'm on zero pain meds right now and, while still in some pain, am in much less pain.

*this story's ongoing moral: don't ignore pain. you shouldn't be feeling pain--it isn't normal. (i kind of figured it was.)

08 September 2008

I Can Be So Wrong

*not allergic to mold or dust. Had an allergy skin test today (the horror and pain! I am verifiably sensitive to everything) and ... am allergic to ONLY tree and ragweed pollen. Then had a systemic reaction to the test that did not, thankfully, get as far as any kind of anaphylactic shock--more like crazy itching and hives. Very significantly allergic, and this does help explain the whole pain of spring-summer-early fall, but really? Is my war with mold over?

*still have carpal tunnel, still hurts, blah blah blah

*I have wasted the years of my life during which I have not been watching Arrested Development.

*Rethinking all future career choices in light of this carpal tunnel thing.

*Aveeno makes really wonderful, non-irritating products ...

03 September 2008

Short Posts

*was diagnosed with carpal tunnel
*wearing wrist splints on both wrists, 24 hrs. a day
*still getting pain, tingling, burning, numbness, etc.

*yes, I'm still 25.

*and my ergonomic keyboard never leaves me-board. i take it to work and then take it home as needed.

*the carpal tunnel web sites recommend wearing fingerless gloves at work. ha! do it! just don't knit your own, apparently.

*expect less typing from me for a while. still i love you all. just going to rest my hands a little ... put the knitting and clay work on hold ... the work-work and freelance-work ... i recommend the free download Workrave, which has a really great mandatory break program and a really scary tracker of all your mouse use, keystroke volume, and how long you're active on your computer. i'm at a consistent three to four hours of active use. that excludes reading online.

*and is this the dumbest health problem i've ever had? yes.

26 August 2008

A Recipe and a Workers' Compensation Thing

I have a feeling some of you would like the superfood scone recipe. So I'll add that sometime.

And I think I am developing/already have some repetitive stress injury, a la carpal tunnel, blah blah. My hands and arms and shoulders hurt, ache, burn, go numb, get super cold (it's a symptom, apparently) ... so far it's nothing big, in terms of filing, and I'm really careful with documentation when I feel like it, so I'm being careful.

Man, what does this all mean? Braces? Massage (I want to call it 'court-mandated massage')? Anything at all?

I guess I should start with seeing a doctor ...

25 August 2008

Superfood Scones Again

Hello, world. I'm still here.

I have some superfood scones baking. They're vegan, banana, walnut, dried blueberry, and whole wheat pastry flour scones.

This is a bad sign--not because they're vegan, or so superfood-ish. Bad sign because I'm not working.

I'm finishing up that 712 page book at work, and ... it just doesn't end. For any other book, it would be reasonable to end at 400 pages. So it is, often, quite literally twice as long as I imagine it will be. Well, it goes to the printer on Friday, and it will be gone from me then, for real. Even if I don't catch all the errors. It will go away.

Noah's home. He started school today, wahoo, send him your wishes for passing Japanese III. He's totally capable of passing (Hi Noah! I love you!), but you know, taking other classes gets in the way of his excellence at all things.

I made frozen yogurt with Fage Greek yogurt, which has, as its main ingredients, whole milk and butterfat, and yes, it was decadent and tasted a lot like frozen cheesecake filling. I don't want to think about it too much, so the cravings don't come back.

And in the middle of this work, this Noah, this cooking/eating, are other things: the secret book review I guiltily neglect; the proofreading I did for a freelance client at the last minute; the desperate urge to be in the ceramics lab making flat/gently curving things; the cats; the laundry; the health freak outs like, "Am I jaundiced right now? Am I about to faint? Am I so overstimulated that I really just spent five minutes, in the shower, doing nothing but letting the water hit under my fingernails?"; and yes, the scones. And a visit from a longtime friend and her husband-dude this weekend, and a possible drop-in from another longtime friend, and ... me. Wanting to be anywhere else, maybe a field, maybe a river bank, maybe the cloisters from my old church, in the middle of the afternoon, when no one was there, looking out the mid-century stained glass blocks, feeling the stone stay cold.

Oh and I'm reading William Gibson novels obsessively.

How're you?

07 August 2008

Things I Am Learning

--Capitalization rules according to CMS 15.

--I love feisty older women. Older = 60s and beyond. One is a coworker, who I did not love for some time, but then came to love once she called the book's author "a fussy ass." Other examples: my great-grandmother Nana, who died at 98 with a perm still in her hair, still caring; my best boss ever Vera in the RV park, who cut her own hair, could burn you in your place with her eyes, and drove me the whole two blocks to the cafeteria after I sprained my ankle.

--My older cat hates vacuums, but not as much as the younger, and this difference of hate carries over to lots of things: car noise; thunder storms; my absence.

--Looking stylish is not so much about looking good all the time; it's more like something large about you looks good right then. This is different than "being stylish" which can only be observed over time. Looking stylish can be achieved by wearing great heels, combing your hair that morning, and walking really fast. If you followed my inner monologue at work, you'd agree. All these stylish people, walking so fast in heels.

--I smell different in summer.

--When all my friends at work are gone, work is really lonely, and my people-watching and daydreaming increases tenfold. It isn't a large company, so the people-watching is limited; the daydreaming feels unlimited, but since I think and work in fifteen-minute increments on my timesheet, I can feel the reasonable limit of daydreaming approach.

--Maybe you didn't know this about me, but I'm a third-wave feminist, and so is Liz Phair.

06 August 2008

Dad, Do You Hate the Comment Function?

I'll copy his thoughts here:

Ways I'd Really Like to Kill Mold
1.) with vodka, both for me and for the mold--vodka's like bleach,
....good idea....wouldn't it be expensive?

2.) with sound, I'm thinking death metal
3.) with love: "Can't we live in harmony? I love you in cheese!"

Good luck with that....evil does not respond too well to this approach.

4.) by growing mushrooms, to encourage jealousy and rivalry, with hopes
the mold would lose to the mushrooms in some kind of fungi-bacteria-all
tiny things war
5.) with ground-up penicillin scattered about
6.) by burning lavender-scented candles
7.) by wishing really hard

Always a good idea....
8.) by donating to NPR, in a kind of karmic way

Sure...NPR can use the money..
9.) by talking trash about it (not working yet)

Always take out your trash....

and 10.) ... by doing nothing at all

This method will NOT get rid of mold.

Thanks, Dad. What if I threaten it with bullets?

05 August 2008

A Very Disgusting Story

Mold of all kinds and I are locked in an epic battle. That isn't news. I come from a moldy part of the country, I live in a "garden-level" basement apartment, I am allergic to mold, and I love moldy cheese. That's just how things are.

Mold and my apartment love each other. They make out every day. It's disgusting. But that isn't the story.

The story is this: I have a portable dishwasher, and it is a handy appliance until it stops sucking water out of the sink's faucet and spraying it into the dishwasher body. A few weeks ago, I loaded it with dishes that had been carefully rinsed, loaded my very-eco "biokleen" dish detergent that is only scented with grapefruit oil, and turned it on. It made a huge growling, churning sound, and I turned it off, saddened. It might not be dead, but it was not going to run that day.

Then I kind of forgot about it. And then remembered, put it off, remembered, left town for a week, remembered, and finally opened it.

I had forgotten that the dishwasher had pulled maybe two inches' worth of water into its main compartment.

And so there was mold. Mold growing on the dishes (green), mold growing in the water at the bottom. Mold mold mold. I washed three loads of dishes with more hot water and more soap than I have ever used on dishes ever, ever; I found places to dry them; I realized I needed to get the water out of the bottom, but how to do that? I tried mopping it out: let the mop head soak up some water; squeeze it out in the sink; repeat. Then, since it has wheels and I have a patio/pit thing, I rolled it outside and tilted the whole thing forward, letting the mold water run out. At 1:30am.

After I finished treating the inevitable hives and sinus freak-out, I resolved to 1) do dishes every day and 2) figure out how to fight mold for real. Apparently running the air conditioning helps, so the internet says, especially in a tightly-sealed apartment, which I do indeed have. Drying wet things helps, cleaning helps, bleach, soap, on and on.

I've also been feeling really dizzy for the last few days, and I think it's an allergy thing maybe mixed with a med side effect, and I'm hoping that less mold will help allergies go away. Maybe?

But to end the disgusting story with some glee:

Ways I'd Really Like to Kill Mold
1.) with vodka, both for me and for the mold--vodka's like bleach, right?
2.) with sound, I'm thinking death metal
3.) with love: "Can't we live in harmony? I love you in cheese!"
4.) by growing mushrooms, to encourage jealousy and rivalry, with hopes the mold would lose to the mushrooms in some kind of fungi-bacteria-all tiny things war
5.) with ground-up penicillin scattered about
6.) by burning lavender-scented candles
7.) by wishing really hard
8.) by donating to NPR, in a kind of karmic way
9.) by talking trash about it (not working yet)
and 10.) ... by doing nothing at all.

29 July 2008

My New Strategy for Dinner

1.) Boil some water
2.) Add some frozen cheese ravioli to boiling water; cook
3.) Meanwhile (in the two minutes they're cooking), heat olive oil in a small pan
4.) Saute garlic and some crushed red pepper
5.) Throw in a can of diced or crushed tomatoes; stir
6.) Add snipped fresh basil (four big leaves? more? less?) if available
7.) Drain pasta; toss sauce with pasta; consume

CONSUME or INHALE like me, when I am so absurdly hungry for dinner. What is the deal with being so hungry? I eat like a real person, especially like a real person in an affluent country with lots of food available. Oh well, absurd hunger: I will satisfy you.

Things I should probably be doing:
1.) more dishes my dishwasher cannot do, as it has died
2.) laundry, oh the never-ending laundry
3.) vaccuum
4.) figure out what my neighbors are jabbering about in the hall ... it's raining, what else is new?

What else causes jabber?

Oh and something I'm not going to talk much about until it's ready for real: I'm writing a book review! And since secrets are so much better, I will keep the book and the people secret for now. Let me say it is awesome, I am honored, it doesn't pay, and I am still honored. Poems full of declarative sentences? Poems full of white things, blue things, black things?

Okay, that thunder crash is saying, go get some candles, little girl, and a match, just in case.

21 July 2008

class vs. class

Saw The Dark Knight; more in love with the Joker's makeup than anything else. I don't know; something about rich-boy do-gooder sets me off. Rubs the wrong way, if you will. Still like a big film on a big screen, especially one that uses so much BLACK.

Here's a snippet of Noah and me discussing:

me: I'm thinking of doing a class-based critique of Batman.
Noah: You could do an independent study.
me: Independent of class and program?
Noah: ... You mean economic class, don't you?
me: Yes.
Noah: You can still do it; you'll be independent of deadlines ... ?

Oh Noah, oh Noah. One of us is a student, and one of us is not; one of us is a systems engineer (I've recently decided that sounds both more accurate and cooler than 'general') and one of us is me.

This just in, an update on me and clay: toilet brushes are the perfect thing for stirring glazes in buckets that have sat, untouched, and separated into their sediments and water. Definitely toilet brushes. Also I was assigned all the crazy-hard-to-make glazes, and I appreciate this immensely. Purple? Yellow? "Mirror Mirror" that actually does reflect light? Yeah, I can probably mix those up. I can use a scale. If they have the million things that go in those, then sure, I can do it.

Does wood ash melt at cone six? Does glass? These are things I need to know.

Also, New Belgium's Mothership Wit is a fine hefeweizen.

16 July 2008

"If Panache is What It Takes to Brighten the Musty Corners of Your Soul"

Got a raise! It just overtakes the cost of inflation!

I am actually excited, actually, because this means I feel okay eating the pomme frites with truffle oil and creamy Parmesan sauce, drinking the hoppy draft beer, eating the Custard Cup Heath snowstorms.

And Jeff, yes, these salt blocks ... they speak to me. I want seven.

Take it from the salt people:

"h) If panache is what it takes to brighten the musty corners of your soul, try serving up an entire meal using large round or square Himalayan salt plates. Moist foods take on a touch of saltiness, dry foods do not, and everything glows with the otherworldly power of the ancient world (see Ogling below)."


15 July 2008

A Dream

Standing in an airport, next to a man I don't know, who just keeps looking out the window at a slow, pink sunset. Lots of bustle; just the sunset.

11 July 2008

My Bizarre Love of Humidity

It's bizarre.

But it arises especially in mid-summer, when the air conditioning in nearly every building is so cold, and I am dressed for not-cold, and so I go inside and get very cold, then go outside and breathe, "Ah -- humidity!"

Also, I'm in such a mold-busting regimen that I can't switch to a dry-skin-care regimen now. So humidity it is. And humidity is nostalgic for me. I haven't gone that far out of the Midwest for that long, but every time I leave and my skin dries out, I don't know what to do ...

Another thing in the not-knowing-what-to-do category: I made four friends at work, two are gone (and I had another pre-work friend who is still a post-work friend, Ms. L), another is leaving within the calendar year, and I ... I remain. I'm not really friends with my coworkers, not anti either, but not friends ... I see knitting and reading on breaks in my future. Also the possibility of taking walks (in the humid air) on my breaks.

Is it too silly to buy this blouse with birthday money? I'm leaning towards no, not too silly, for it is a blouse I dreamed of for weeks and then saw on Anthropologie. So? the buying?

I keep thinking about dreams, intelligence, intuition, and learned behavior today. Do less intelligent people (and how to measure intelligence is enough of an issue) exhibit less intuition? More? Do higher intelligence and intuition collide at some point negatively, where the higher intelligence starts prohibiting the intuition because of too much analytical ability? And dreams -- do less intelligent people have less intelligent dreams? How can that be compared?

And what if a person possesses, however this happens, higher intelligence, but through learned behavior, begins to lose that intelligence? Can we make ourselves dumber, or do we just act dumber? Do you lose intelligence if you don't use it? I've experienced the loss of old memories when new knowledge had to take its place (the saddest example is rosters of Rhet students and childhood memories) -- is it like that, limited somehow? Or depreciating -- are those memories worth as much, as full (I won't say accurate) as they used to be?

Outside of the chemical death of brain cells, can I lose intelligence?

I'm thinking of all this because I'm getting ready to start writing, making, and designing in some kind of stricter way, some way that says "this is an act that is worth your time, and if you don't do it, it will fade." Because I haven't been able to keep a pot on the wheel yet, and that's so disheartening that I stopped trying for nearly a month. And I'm a bit worried that I'm losing some of that intelligence, that memory, and also that I can be taught to not value that intelligence in myself and let it go.

07 July 2008

"Hear me out"

I'm not sure what policy Starbucks baristas have regarding sleepy drivers who wander into their shops, looking for caffeine, but I feel that I might have butt up against it last night in Effingham. Between the blond's really perky "Hi!" and her manager's questions about my leavings and goings, I felt them both getting ready to call, I don't know, who do you call? The cops? She nearly sold me a double tall latte at 10pm.

Eto lets me know he missed me with incessant licking and small bites. Also the not leaving my side.

Anyway, something today got me thinking of William Carlos Williams and "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower" so I think I will end this non-post with an excerpt of his. I think the best line, still, is "Hear me out. / Do not turn away." Of course I can't get Blogger to keep the formatting ...

I cannot say
that I have gone to hell
for your love
but often
found myself there
in your pursuit.
I do not like it
and wanted to be
in heaven. Hear me out.
Do not turn away.
I have learned much in my life
from books
and out of them
about love.
is not the end of it.

03 July 2008

Sleep is So Uncool

I certainly don't believe that, but my body certainly does. It's all, oh sleep, so last season; the big new thing is the return of the puffy under-eye circles that will not lighten no matter the makeup; isn't the room more exciting when it's a little spinny even without any drinks at all?

And yes, I'm going to take another nap in a little while.

I bought two wonderful used books yesterday: that bizarre facsimile of TS Eliot's original and edited version of The Waste Land, and also Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (it's the fault of officemate Kyle, though I admit the scary scribbled notes all through the front matter did draw me in).

This TSE manuscript book is fascinating. The book isn't anything new for those who know, but I often am not among them, so I'm still in awe. There's also no good reason I keep quoting from it these days, but I can't stop. Unreal City ... I did not know death had undone so many ...

On a brief jaunt to STL tomorrow; when it's been this long, I usually get choked up at the sight of the Mississippi River valley. Tofu kebabs for everyone!

01 July 2008

Big Ol' Update

Warning for cupcake fanatics: cupcakeblog.com is dead. The archives are up, they are not nearly as searchable, but man, can that woman make a cupcake. Cupcake/chemical engineer, may you and your newborn rest well.

I was in Chicago! For a long time! Noah took me to see Stevie Wonder (or hear, in the midst of nearly a million other people in Grant Park), to eat food on sticks (or even better, cheesecake and grilled plaintains), and then -- surprise -- on a jet boat off Navy Pier to watch fireworks. You are a good man, you Noah-man.

And we saw his dad and Nancy, and his aunt and uncle who make hand-cut wooden puzzles, and we worked their craft fair booth with them despite the pounding rain. And the next booth over was a potter who fires a wood/soda kiln! Wood and soda with a catenary arch and kiln bricks in her backyard. Oh my. We talked a lot. I'm sad I didn't buy a tea bowl, but I promised myself to stop buying ceramics for a while, and I kept the promise. And we saw nieces and siblings (in-law), and my oldest niece Selah not only remembers me but LOVES me. I love you too, Selah! Now go to bed!

Officemate Kyle and I (yes, he's a returning character) have made our third mix CD, and it may be the final installment. It's a double -- quiet and loud -- and it is amazing. I will send you all a copy if you want. It will rock your socks, especially if your socks alternately love really sad songs and really goofy pop songs. And clap tracks, and men and women harmonizing, and trumpet peals. Those are themes, apparently.

Heading to STL for family time, barbecue, more barbecue, etc.

Working a lot before I go. Going back to that now. Note: taking on copyediting jobs that will take at least 7 hours, and planning to finish them in three nights or less, is maybe ill-advised.

22 June 2008

What to use my birthday money for? Pot rack, new chef's knife, pizza peel to go with the stone maybe, classy shoes and silly shoes. A haircut.

Saturday I spent some hours at the C-U Potters' Club's massive booth at the Taste of Champaign, where someone donated a 100-gallon propane tank and we did on-site raku firings. We did one about every half-hour, and they drew a great crowd. Selling people non-food-safe pieces is hard, though. Still I got two good pinch pots, the first pots I've made since 2005.

Noah's commissioned me to throw some ramen bowls with notches in the rim for chopsticks. Ramen bowls need to be extra-deep and large enough for a whole pack of ramen. I see some Christmas gifts in my future ... I've also seen bowls with holes near the rim, in the walls, for chopsticks, but that seems more dangerous.

Of course, to make bowls like that I need to be able to prep clay for throwing well enough to keep it on the wheel, figure out how to throw on this sitting kick wheel they have, figure out if I can attach the splash pans like I want to ... Why doesn't everyone embrace how great standing kick wheels with built-in splash guards are? I miss mine from Iowa. Hey Doug ... I can't even find it online. I'll keep looking. Creepy, though: my blog comes up in my own searches ...

My wild yeast whole-grain starter is nearly done. There will be excellent bread this week.

Brother Zak wants to buy me a tattoo. I only like rivers and trees enough to have tattoos of them. Ideas?

17 June 2008

What if This Was a Want Ad

Migraneur, MWF (not mon/wed/fri, married white female), seeking no more migraine.

I don't want to admit this, but these things could be triggered by red wine, and I should be more aware of that. Damn it.

Also I have wonderful friends, some of whom cook amazing food, others of whom sneakily ask what candy bars I like and buy them for me at work, others of whom leave unintelligible Facebook messages (!! !), and yet still others of whom who kind of lurk in a reassuring way. I don't always see the lurkers much, but they're comforting.

And I am older.

More on all this later.

11 June 2008

I Feel So Justified

Jack White is in The Raconteurs!

Ha! This band I thought I had a silly obsession with (the obsession is mostly with the opening bass and guitar lines of "Steady As She Goes"), which MADE ME UNCOOL in the eyes of many, actually makes me cool because Jack White of The White Stripes is playing guitar and singing!

\insert T Rex of qwantz.com here, with his open-mouthed second frame\

And if you're an editor, you get why the backslashes are so funny. Ha, ha ha.

Poor officemate Kyle, who has now officially lost the "are The Raconteurs a good band or are they lame" debate, who has suffered (or 'suffered') through my incessant blaring of their bass lines -- Kyle is WRONG because they are not lame. They can't be. It's the same as the Beatles' inability to be classified as lame.

So yes, this is news to me, and yes, I am that behind the times, though not on quinoa. I am also lately like "oh this Amy Winehouse is nice, too bad about the rehab and that "Rehab" song of hers, I like "Back in Black" as an album title."

Yet in other areas I am SO FAR AHEAD of everyone that it is hard to explain to the masses. That's right, masses. I mean things like Wyoming (read Annie Proulx's Bad Dirt collection of stories; they are good), and things like giving up on functionality, and other things like cowboy boots. Just trust me. I am a trendsetter.

I am not a trendsetter. As poor officemate Kyle says, I am falsehood embodied and should wear a shirt, or hat, with an upside-down capital T on it.

10 June 2008

Salt Goes With Everything

Like this amazing quinoa toss.

Maybe you have yet to hop on the quinoa bandwagon, but honestly, just hop on it already. COMPLETE PROTEIN.

The recipe relies on salt. Salt is not something I am too familiar with, the use of it being quite limited in my youth. For no particular reason, either, and I like it that way. Things taste good enough, most of the time; if you're cooking a mix of American Italian, tex-mex, cajun, and whatever else goes with black beans, you use a lot of other spices and salt doesn't need to be so prominent. There was a time I was shocked to learn that 1) not all recipes start with "saute onion and garlic in olive oil in your large, deep-walled saute pan" and 2) sometimes salt is necessary.

But this quinoa toss. It needs it. The one I just made consists only of quinoa, onions, garlic, sauteed asparagus, and chopped almonds ... and olive oil ... and salt. And pepper and lemon juice in a remake of Heidi Swanson's citrus parmesan dressing. But it is the salt that I almost always skimp on, and here, I taste before serving and exclaim, "oh yeah salt!"

Olive oil also goes with everything. So does black, so does relativism, so does, I don't know, red wine? Maybe dark beer is a better choice.

I think about locavores these days, and I think, if I could make my own tofu, I could do that. And I would get sick of squash and pumpkin sometime in February, and canned tomatoes too, but hey. Maybe a heavy rotation of tofu/squash/corn/tomatoes would work?

04 June 2008

My New Ideal Life

It has presuppositions, like affordable (to me and to the world) fuel, time, less debt, less need for health insurance.

Pots, new studios, textiles, new textile people, reading materials science texts, seeing old friends, getting better at gardening, driving a lot. A lot of West.

Want to hang out? I can leave anytime. I need a second cat carrier and harness/leash, though.

I should be writing. Or continuing the debate about determinism and free will I've had three times today with three different people. Don't they both fail, but at the same time, aren't they both only complete systems in the extreme? (I don't know where this 'complete system' jargon is from, but I'm using it.) And aren't incomplete systems structurally instable enough to warrant one's resistance to them? I mean, why believe in something that already is falling apart?

And can determinism free us from concern? If everything is determined, then nothing matters; if everything is determined, though, we have no way of knowing either what has been determined already or the fact that things ARE determined already.

And free will is just lame. You can't actually make any choice you want. Ask a sociologist.

And isn't overeducation kind of lame, too? When do I give back to the work force for real? When does my balance go positive? I take and take and I leave with no marketable skills. I do have lots of tricks for alphabetizing, I am increasing my proficiency in PowerPoint (hate), Access (hate), and Excel (ambivalence). Less paper cuts these days.

Maybe I need to ... go for a drive in the south fields, get into the clay studio once the flooding is gone (it flooded, yes, a CLAY studio where moisture is our enemy and for whatever reason, clay is stored in cardboard boxes on the floor of a basement), make some new food to eat tomorrow. Make that "warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa with raspberries," that "red lentil and cauliflower curry," some more bread. Some more hummus for Noah's Triumphant Return.

Have I told you the story of my pinch pot and pit fire project, the one I did for my advisor's nature writing class in college? I brought clay I'd dug to some wild place and make a pinch pot. Good-looking pots. I dug a pit. I put pots in it and lit a fire.

All the pots exploded in the first three minutes.

But maybe, minus the pit fire, it's worth repeating.

30 May 2008

Other Things I Know

When feeling panicked, and avoiding some behavior for some reason due to the panic, just go ahead and do it. You want to make sure the cans of Chef Boyardee (survival food) are where you think they are? You want to put all your emergency disaster supplies in the bathroom, because you'll hide there with the cats and the litter box you cleaned earlier -- just in case you do get stuck in there, so it won't smell quite so bad?

You just go ahead, babe. Just go ahead.

I hate tornadoes. Big ugly things in the sky. Make me afraid of thunderstorms, which is unlike me, and hail, which is worth being afraid of. Ice falls from the sky. Ouch. When I was in the Tetons, doing odd stuff for an RV park like cleaning the public bathrooms and driving around in a golf cart, a storm started one afternoon and hail came down, on me, in the golf cart, and so I sped away. I could have run faster, but there would be no roof over me. And hail is scary. And when else can one speed away for safety ... in a GOLF CART.

I wasn't even a licensed driver then.

I've made a lot of bread, and most of it is either just right or too heavy, too floured. But this last bread? Not enough flour. Flopped all over the pan. Weird bread. Tasty, still.

And the best tidbit --

Today, I emailed one of my bosses to ask if I could drop in to talk for a minute. She responded: "Only if you're not quitting. I'm serious. If you're quitting, you have to wait until Monday." Seems she had an awful week and ... didn't want it to end with me quitting, because she doesn't want me to quit. Tear.

Anyway I howled and squeaked with laughter and wrote back "I'm not quitting! I'm not!" and went to see her, where conversation was good.

Sometimes, this last year at my job can only be seen as some kind of lukewarm tolerable hell, and sometimes, I faintly recall the high hopes I had for it when I started, and how they faded, and then crashed, and then hit bottom, and then dragged along the bottom for six months. But you know, that boss with the "I'm serious"? She really does want me to work for her. She likes what I offer. She made that clear when I was hired. And in the middle of all the crappy mistakes I've made this year and all the ridiculously bad numbers that describe my performance, there are people who do know why those mistakes happened (PERFO-MANCE) and still want me to work for them. Now, this job pays less than TA-ships pay over the year, and the coffee is free but weak, and I really don't enjoy a whole lot of it. So I am surprised to feel how glad I am to know someone there does still want me to be there.

It's nice.

29 May 2008

"The Humans Are Dead"

Yes, I am behind the times. Behind the Times.

But I love this Flight of the Conchords song. And why aren't full episodes being hosted semi-legally where I expect to find them? Do I really have to torrent the whole thing? Grumble.

Potters are hilarious; I am having less outbreaks of hives (since you really wanted to know); my cats are both within arms' reach and asleep; I am baking bread RIGHT NOW. Yeah, I get off on the bread-baking timing and then ... stay up late baking it.

Boulder Hazed and Infused is one incredible beer.

Is anyone else ever struck by a yearning for mid-90's bands? Or at least the bands of yore? I could listen to some They Might Be Giants ... and Nine Inch Nails sounds good ... am I getting old? Is this what the space between decades does?

And birthdays; I have one; what to do. Officemate Kyle's is four days before mine. I am in charge of scheming. So far I have "dinner parties can be hard." Ideas welcome.

23 May 2008

The Great Potters' Pick-Up Line

"Want to go throw a pot?"

Somehow there's a glee, a glint in the eye that insinuates, "You know, like in GHOST?" And it is not an untoward pick-up line, if even really a pick-up line, maybe more of a combination greeting/come-on. It is innocuous, except in that hopeful "maybe we'll get our hands dirty together and then ... " way.

So I received this line today because I went to the clay studio I'll be in for the first time, in work clothes -- while, not formal, are clean and office-oriented, not clay-lab-oriented. So the "come on, throw a pot" gesture of some wiry, middle-aged dude was funny also. I do love the gross-clothes mentality of potters. I think my Cornell prof Doug kept cleanest, despite running in and throwing on your wheel all the time. The thirty years of throwing contributes, I'm sure; he also does something like 500 sit-ups a day to keep his back strong for kiln loading and unloading. My solution to the fact of working with mud for hours a day was to wear the same clothes all the time and to shower infrequently. It made sense then. Don't ask, please.

This clay lab only fires to cone six. CONE SIX is for lame earthenware and, yeah, fine, some decent stoneware glazes, but come on. Come on! But the Glaze Committee chair seems great and very into raku, and that bodes well for me. And she wants to see my glazes. Too bad they won't melt in their wimpy kiln. Cone six. Blah. Everything I've ever done that low I had to smoke-fire afterwards just to feel like it was burnt enough. Bring on the smoke fires ...

The Springer Center also has this beautiful gallery space, some hallway and some in a old foyer area, and that latter part has thirty-foot-high ceilings, dark wood paneling, bright white radiator covers, and an inlaid marble floor. Wow oh wow oh wow. I think I could build some kind of trellis thing, some framed structure with lattis or something on top to hang pots from upside down. Because that is what I've wanted to do for a year or so -- make white-glazed pinch pots and hang them upside down. Not sure why. Don't let that stop me.

And I am happier today than I have been in a long time. I'm sad they don't make their own clay, but the lab is so cramped, it is okay. I am sad there will be no salt firings or soda firings, but that is okay too. What I need is to touch clay, and that I have.

I think the key to my making is believing it is worth doing. That the leads are worth following, that the materials are plentiful enough, that the time is always there if I want it.

And I want to layer fired, glazed clay, like cross sections of pinch pots in colors nested/rested or something. I want to look at them together. But not glaze them too much.

21 May 2008

What Being Alone Can Do for You

1.) Scones. Vegan, banana, dried blueberry, and walnut scones. It feels like a super food frenzy. That's Super Food. I'll eat them tomorrow.

2.) Lots of frantic, love-deprived cat attention. Oh the cats, how they miss Noah. Eto is even calm about his leash and harness being put on him ... cat on harness = best thing ever, especially when Hobbes roams free nearby. Ha-ha.

3.) No dishes, hardly.

4.) An increased reliance on sleep aids and wake-aids, e.g. caffeine. And not caffeine. Feels like the old days, this sweet relax/agitate/relax/agitate cycle. I know it's good (as in not so good) when I don't feel right if my hands aren't vibrating a bit. And when triple-shot lattes are ho-hum. BRING ON THE CAFFEINE. DO NOT STOP MOVING.

5.) Nothing moves in the apartment if I don't move it ... and the car's gas tank does not magically refill itself.

6.) I can't stop singing alone with no music on.

"All right now ladies
What's cooler than cool
all right all right all right all right all right ... "

"On the field I remember you were
hey shut up hey shut up
yeah ...
Andy you're a star
in nobody's eyes but mine"

7.) Anyone want to buy a homemade LCD projector off me? It is one of a kind!

18 May 2008

I'm really not dead ...

Just not writing about being alive, yeah?

I am nearly a member of the Champaign-Urbana Potters' Club, on the Glaze Committee, and nearly able to wander in to the Springer Center and touch clay.

I am excited, I am afraid, I think a void is being filled slowly, did I mention I'm afraid of other potters who have actually touched clay in the last three years, unlike me, who can list all the skills I can contribute to a ceramics lab but has not used those skills in a very long time? In as long an interval of time as I was an undergrad? In as long a time as I was a grad student? In nearly as long as I've been married? A long time. Or long enough time.

Not to mention the last ceramics professor I had told me things like "I don't know if you have any skills" and "I can't tell if you're really smart or really stupid" as I made little pots, just little pinch pots mostly.

Well, in a week and a half I have a meeting with them and get to work with clay until the end of September, at least. Their 'no selling pieces for personal gain' policy might be a problem, especially if I start making a lot of stuff. It's hard to store everything you make when you make pots of any kind. Think dozens of bowls. It's probably easy enough to find recipients of free pots, though.

I've been thinking of posting a Robert Hass poem from FIELD GUIDE here, "Politics of the Pornographer," because I really love the end, but to get to the end, you have to get through this section about what the pornographer dreams of, and it's a bit too graphic for me to write out publicly. So look for the poem yourself. Or just imagine a mention of Oedipus, some other stuff, then: "There is no walled city come to. / There is no plague."

Noah's in Chicago getting ready for his first day with Crowe Chizek, doing an internship this summer with them in technology consulting, where his dress code is BIZ CAS. The dreaded biz cas, easier for men than women, but I am sad I won't see him in his biz cas dress, since we'll be visiting weekends when he isn't working and will be liberated into shorts and t-shirts from woot.com and threadless.com. He looks good in a suit. He does, he does. (Hi Noah! Hello!)

Well, to bed, to bed. To bed for all of you.

01 May 2008

"the wreck and not the story of the wreck"

You ever get that chilled and crampy feeling when reading an excellent poem, especially when reading an excellent poem within a collection of moderate, passable poems? How your gut goes, all of a sudden, "Oh my god this is it"?

Diving into the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,

and loaded the camera,

and checked the edge of the knife-blade,

I put on

the body-armor of black rubber

the absurd flippers

the grave and awkward mask.

I am having to do this

not like Cousteau with his

assiduous team

aboard the sun-flooded schooner

but here alone.

There is a ladder.

The ladder is always there

hanging innocently

close to the side of the schooner.

We know what it is for,

we who have used it.


it is a piece of maritime floss

some sundry equipment.

I go down.

Rung after rung and still

the oxygen immerses me

the blue light

the clear atoms

of our human air.

I go down.

My flippers cripple me,

I crawl like an insect down the ladder

and there is no one

to tell me when the ocean

will begin.

First the air is blue and then

it is bluer and then green and then

black I am blacking out and yet

my mask is powerful

it pumps my blood with power

the sea is another story

the sea is not a question of power

I have to learn alone

to turn my body without force

in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget

what I came for

among so many who have always

lived here

swaying their crenellated fans

between the reefs

and besides

you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.

The words are purposes.

The words are maps.

I came to see the damage that was done

and the treasures that prevail.

I stroke the beam of my lamp

slowly along the flank

of something more permanent

than fish or weed

the thing I came for:

the wreck and not the story of the wreck

the thing itself and not the myth

the drowned face always staring

toward the sun

the evidence of damage

worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty

the ribs of the disaster

curving their assertion

among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.

And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair

streams black, the merman in his armored body.

We circle silently

about the wreck

we dive into the hold.

I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes

whose breasts still bear the stress

whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies

obscurely inside barrels

half-wedged and left to rot

we are the half-destroyed instruments

that once held to a course

the water-eaten log

the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are

by cowardice or courage

the one who find our way

back to this scene

carrying a knife, a camera

a book of myths

in which

our names do not appear.

From Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 by Adrienne Rich. Copyright © 1973 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright 1973 by Adrienne Rich.

30 April 2008

Balance, Impasse, Nothing New

Nothing new on the busy-ness front. That storm is still rolling in.

Nothing else new, either. Except I am impressed by how Noah and I are still eating at home though we haven't been grocery-shopping in two weeks. And I'm thinking vegetarian/vegan is impossible for me to avoid. And my manic cleaning came back, and my migraines are back.

And my horoscope today?

"Business as usual is boring -- so skip past all of your right-brained thinking today and focus more on creative pursuits. Turn the left lobe of your mighty brain on. Instead of looking at spreadsheets or working on calculations, check out some new music or look at some art. Your gray matter needs a balanced diet just like your body does -- too much time spent dealing with facts and figures is not good for you. Make something -- even if you just bake a batch of your favorite cookies."

Does a highly technical textbook count as left-brain? I do have two spreadsheets open at this minute, too.

How about some swatch-knitting ... how about it. Swatches I have yelled about before; today, I think they might be incredibly comforting. Take yarn; guess at a needle size; cast on and knit. Unhappy? Unravel, guess again at needle size, cast on and knit some more. Knit and knit. I have an insane backlog of yarn, projects, current projects, hoped-for projects ... and overtime to keep working.

Well, all the overtime has convinced me to get a haircut, at Ippatsu, a place I've hated on and badmouthed for years now -- with no evidence, of course, of my own. But they set me up with a woman who has lots of clients with wavy and curly hair. And that is something I have and am at an impasse with.


24 April 2008

How Awesome I Am

Noah: "We need more matzo. And cream cheese."
me: "Oh why did you have to say that! Oh my, cream cheese and seasoned salt on matzo!"


me: "Wait! I think we have some cream cheese!"
Noah: "Is it green?"
me: "I don't think so ... Go find out!"

Green and whithered, folks, not just green. Dessicated.

I grow mold like no one's business.

Is ginger beer chametz? I have a million limes and a hunger for Moscow Mules.

Though I have very helpful friends, let them all heed this advice anyway and make me Moscow Mules in spades!

"In fact, the Moscow Mule is the perfect drink for the not-so-helpful friend who insists on helping the host. Although I certainly wouldn't advocate it, even a child could mix 2 ounces vodka with an ounce of lime juice in a Collins glass filled with ice, and then top it with 4 ounces ginger beer, before tossing in a lime wedge. So assign the task of mixing this drink to those guests you'd like to keep out of your hair, as you enjoy serving hors d'oeuvres and milling around with the other guests."

23 April 2008

In which she gets busy

Like "what do I really have to sleep?" busy. Like hives busy. Like put on your eye makeup and then think, "wow, is that how tired I really look? I thought it was a lack of under-eye concealer ..."

If, in a best-circumstance publishing world, I would have two and a half months to do what I'm doing, and I now have three weeks to do what I'm doing (let's use a displayed equation),

10 weeks / 3 weeks = 33% = an approximate 66% reduction in available time.

That's me working three times faster than I should be.

I'm not checking the references anymore. Don't ask.

Also, did you know that sometimes, variables are italicized (ital), sometimes boldface (bf), and sometimes "bf ital"? And sometimes Greek characters are ital, and sometimes not ital? And sometimes subscripts are roman, and sometimes they're ital, too?

And that all the art is wrong? All 450 pieces of art? Because none of us thought about the variables before.

What's the big deal? It's only a physics textbook disguised as a "neuromechanics" text ...

I moderated a week-long dispute about multiplication dot size and the alignment of equal signs.

Also, Aveeno's overnight itch relief cream is wonderful.

20 April 2008

Oh Right, the Earthquake

I didn't feel a thing. Not at 4:30am, not at 10:15am.

I got to work and was all, "was there really an earthquake?" to be met with shock from my coworkers, some of whom had been awake since 4:30 due to the quaking. I asked because my mom had called and asked me how I liked earthquakes in basement apartments, and, mostly due to lack of caffeine and sleep, I figured she was making some joke I didn't get, because certainly there had been no earthquake. No, apparently, she was asking out of real concern because there was a real earthquake.

All this makes me feel quite out of touch with my body. Hello, body, the earth was shaking -- what happened, yo?


I just don't know about me and meat. I just don't know. I don't know if I can do it anymore, the eating of other animals. I was trimming the brisket yesterday, using the wrong knife (why not use a chef's knife, eh?), slipped and whacked into my left index finger. Only to freak out not really at the blood, but at the threat of food-borne pathogens. I was all "RAW CHICKEN DISEASE" and then remembered it was beef. So Noah finished the trimming and browning, and it was tasty ... but my favorite part of the meal was the leftover sauce from the brisket on top of the vegan mashed potatoes. And the sauce was really all tomato, tangy, blackened-onion goodness.

I'm not making any declarations. Just let it be known that I'm constantly forgetting to cook the meat in our fridge and freezer. I do eat a ton of chicken and tuna salad, but couldn't that be replaced with any other convenient sandwich filling? Indeed.

And I'm knitting a little, and Dave of Cornell left today, and it is sunny and I am busy working overtime inside. BOO.

19 April 2008

OMG Passover Seder!

The stores of this town undersupply the matzo-seeking population, and I am upset every year, and I think, every year, I will get to the store before The Last Day of Leaven and buy some whole wheat matzo, some salted matzo, not this half-assed unsalted, NOT EVEN KOSHER FOR PASSOVER crap.

Well that's what I have again, so it's triply good I'm not Jewish, and that Noah has a kind and friendly association with Jewishness, and that we don't have to freak out for religious reasons. I'm angry for consumer reasons, and I feel very American.

But if you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps ...

I'm going to try Peter Reinhart's recipe for whole wheat matzo today. Fastest bread baking ever, especially since his book is all about the two-day delayed fermentation of whole grain ingredients to make hearth-style, artisanal bread. V. different.

Also making:
--brisket, yall
--a sweet potato or potato thing
--chicken stock
--to be followed by matzo balls
--berry sorbet
--chocolate-covered matzo

and the seder plate jazz, too.

I was dreaming of seder plates a while ago. Kind of a lame dream. Seder plates are too cool, though. Vessel -> plate -> designed for ceremony -> still a plate -> can be very unique and used-once-a-year OR just a plate.

whoa I'm going to go get cooking.

15 April 2008

Oliver's "Wild Geese"

Today I keep reminding myself that I am graceful, I am delicate, I am well-trained, that I could do a clumsy dive and a better push-off and some really great backstroke, that I could do all the ballet positions and some plie`s (isn't that the name of those running and spinning jumps?), that really, I can move, and I can sit still.

It's just so sunny. And in here, I need to be so quiet, so stationed, and after a while listening to music doesn't help either. My head still can't decide if wordless noise or silence helps me think better; maybe it's both, at different times.

Let's go alter some clothes. Let's go cut hair in a field.


Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

14 April 2008

Reading Slowly as Fast as Possible

This is an interesting test of my abilities: with work, right now, I'm reading newly-laid out pages, and I need to read them really carefully, which means slowly, and I am terrible at reading slowly (thanks, grad school). So I'm doing all the eye-slowing tricks there are, like using a piece of paper as a line guide and hitting words with my pencil and thinking them as I read them (which I don't usually do; I'm a speed reader too), and all of this is SLOW but accurate.

But, but, now it has become clear that I need to get through as much material as I've already done, which has taken DAYS, in fewer days.

So fast and slow, yeah? I can't tell if caffeine will help or hinder.

I just want to read paragraphs diagonally again.

Also I am fastidious and obsessive and that makes me a good editor, if you didn't know. Also I am probably about to take on far too much freelance work, but whatevs, the money is good, I like the folks I'll work with, and I don't want to drop them.

What is editing overdrive like? It is very slow.

08 April 2008

Craving Saag Paneer

And tonight I will fulfill my craving. Yessss.

I will send a book to the printer today, a book I've worked on start to finish. Whew. Weird. This book is a book of tumult -- it was designed, then fixed, then redesigned, then fixed again, and then more minor fixes after that. Usually we have three or four rounds of correcting laid-out pages before sending things to the printer ... this book has had seven, I think.

Forgetting to take Claritin is a really bad idea. I'm itchy already. Maybe some extreme hand and arm washing will help.

Have I mentioned I'm knitting socks? And that they're cool?

And that I'm going to dye yarn this week? Probably starting with the superwash merino worsted I bought ... ah, forgiving yarn, I shall make you weird blue colors. Maybe with purple and green, too. We shall see.

07 April 2008

Dangers at Work and Spring in General

It's spring, like bare legs and skirts spring. Finally. Thank god.

Work is full of dangers, like the way upgrades in OS's mean that all the Greek characters in the neuromechanics book I'm editing are GONE. Just GONE! This is a physics of the body book ... so you know, variables, math, formulas, et al. A problem. Quite a problem. If only we hadn't sent it to the author yet.

I think this is the anniversary of my great-grandmother's death. I think so. Or else it was yesterday. She died at 98 in 2002, but I didn't see her death coming at all. She was 80 when I was born, so in my head, I think, she was just old forever and would be alive and old forever. It was hard explaining to friends how close I was to her. We lived a block away from her until I was five, and were with her all the time even when we moved five or ten minutes away. She died of congestive heart failure and gangrene. Who honestly dies of gangrene? It was so awful, so terrible -- this woman of grace, this woman of style.

Oh Nana, it's spring, the bulbs are blooming, my neighbors have geraniums like you did, and I can't stop thinking about your daffodils that you couldn't keep up with anymore, how the bulbs needed splitting and since no one split them up, their orange heads would be three layers full, their yellow petals all flush and rampant. How that beauty was a kind of disease that shouldn't have been there at all.

01 April 2008

In which she tries to sound smart and aware

In the middle of two, well, four bad months of work, I have today, and today I am catching up on all my training that I haven't done in the last nine months and setting things up so that some of my work is easier from here on out. Some of that has made me aware of how over-budget all my projects are, all the time. Like double the budget. Like that bad.

Oh well.

I am cooking more food these days; maybe that allergy-fogged grocery trip did me good by keeping me from getting anything except ingredients and nothing to immediately digest. Well fruit is in that category, so never mind. Anyway:
--black beans with orange and cumin, served with white rice
When I get that recipe in front of me, I will share it. It's an hour and a half crock pot recipe ... that's unheard of. And good.
--chicken cacciatore with fusilli
More crock pot: slice onions, thaw chicken drumsticks, open jar of marinara, add minced garlic, add chopped green bell pepper ... eat ... wow. The recipe calls for mushrooms, which I like and Noah does not, so we went without. I think it would be better over rice or fettucine, something easier to eat that the really squirmy fusilli we had.

I am reading Dog Years by Mark Doty, and it is great. He posits that sentimentality is just a way to cover up rage.

Keep thinking about it. Think about how we tell stories of animals' loyalty, and how we can all agree people are not nearly as loyal and that is really sad. And outrageous.

Where's the outrage again? Huh?

31 March 2008

On Lyrics in Songs

Man, if I wrote poems with higher frequency and thus had them on the brain, this post would have to do with either Brigit's SONG or "Song" or the lyric in general. Instead it has to do with Outkast and "Hey Ya!"

I'm obsessed with this song right now, not that I haven't heard it until now or anything -- I am a bit hipper than that. But. I have this trouble with song lyrics, a trouble that is really only me not knowing what they are, and being certain I do, and singing out loud because why wouldn't you, life is short, sing some songs, but in the end? I look the fool.

But I have listened to that song so much that I think I really do know the lyrics. At least some of them.

Also I want to be knitting. I worked 8.5 hours of overtime this weekend, so money=yay, but weekend time=nay. So I have a knitting jones and a biscotti- and bread-baking jones and a sleep-jones. All shall be fulfilled in their time.

27 March 2008

and another one

Things I want to knit:
-- a sweater or wrap for myself out of my miles of green/maize/cream wool/mohair/silk yarn
-- a Clapotis with the single-ply bare silk
-- socks with the awesome best yarn ever, for me, in some pattern, not determined
-- napkin rings, beaded, knit with thin wire
-- hats with ears, 2.0
-- an a-line skirt out of hemp yarn, probably using a feather and fan lace pattern with a dyed to match or complement slip sewn in, or not sewn in, because I know my own clothes and which ones need slips, yeah?
-- some scarf thing with the pumpkin colored cassette tape yarn
-- some mitts, probably, with the really busy apiary yarn
-- some color theory malabrigo legwarmers (I am still cold, and this way, I can use up the 3+ skeins of pink/purple yarns I have around, not striping but fading randomly)

At this rate I'll knit a screen door.

That was a joke.

This odd thing is happening over here ... Noah's off to his Chicago thing, I'm here, it's raining, it's very still and cold and sniffly, and ... things are okay. That's what is odd. The okay. Sometimes silence like this can work out differently, more manic, more bathtub-scrubbing, high-production volume kind of things. Right now I just want to keep being still. And maybe reading Stuff White People Like.

A Very Editorial-ized List

-- Noah has interviews for summer full-time internships: woohoo!
-- I have allergies, DayQuil, NyQuil, and a nasal wash pot: woohoo!
-- Our house has fresh produce now, too!

Of course, the allergy fog that went with me to the grocery store led me to buy only fresh produce, and none of the food we actually eat as meals. You know, frozen pizzas, etc. Yeah, good job, immune system; bad job, all other body systems. You know I need more than fruit.

I think I'm going to try making our own yogurt. I've heard it's as simple as adding some existing yogurt to milk, letting it sit, and then watching it become yogurt. Because it is a living thing, it works that way. Kind of gross, huh? Don't think too much. Think "good bacteria."

Officemate Kyle and I finished our office theme song cd ... and it is awesome. Oh man, it is great. We are working on a second act, not a sequel, not a second edition -- at this point, a theme-less collection of songs that we throw out in very short emails as ideas.



"Whistle While You Work?"

Um, no.

24 March 2008

Good Hip, Sighs, Pipian, and Evil

For the record, my hip has not popped out of its socket. I heard rumors of concern. No need for that concern. It does make a popping sound, though, which might distress a chiropractor, but not me, and not you.

We are back in town as of yesterday. Sigh of relief. I slept the whole drive back and then eight hours more in the night. Deep, deep breaths.

Anybody know how to hull pumpkin seeds? I have all these seeds and they aren't hulled, and I'm learning that hulled ones will help me make the pipian I so desire.

If you needed proof that humans are evil, you can read this, but it is so disturbing that you could also take my word for it. We're evil. We just are. Maybe not all the time, but we are evil all the same.

21 March 2008

Owning It and Working It

is how I feel about scarves. The Sartorialist is boosting my confidence -- I mean, I'm an unstoppable scarf-wearer anyway, but the folks in his photos are so lovely in theirs. And I do get made fun of, from the way-back girls in high school who really did say to the air next to me, at the movie theater: "Oh my god, is she wearing a scarf? It's, like, spring ..." Down to the fellow poets and writers at writing conferences, who commented every time I put on a scarf, "Oh, at least we can tell you're a writer now." Also keeping warm! People! They are very practical accessories!

And then the scarf problem becomes worse when traveling. I mean worse in that I end up bringing so many. Pashminas and fake-minas are so great for travel, especially in that casual "oh no really I did bring this blanket with me" thing they can do in cars and planes. And that they are so low-volume to pack but big volume to wear, no?

I'm easily annoyed with scarves, though, as well. Little ones, mostly. I need something about them to be bold enough to be seen, if that's structure, or color, or pattern, or volume. I usually hate skinny scarves for this reason (sorry skinny-scarf-wearing friends, it isn't you, it's me). But dooce in that (is it skinny) blank one is fabulous enough to make me drop the charges of hate.

Anyway, I am wearing a huge blue-red pashmina thing, beige cordouroy coat (thanks Karen!) two blah tank tops, lilac socks, and these flower-printed ballet flats. And I don't think downtown yuppie Kirkwood can handle me. Or at least the dudes that work at this Kaldi's.

Knitting makes this scarf thing so much worse. I'll just stop there.

What's your limit on the comfortable shoe? How ugly will you go, and on the other end, how much pain will you endure?

I am learning lately that I may have a kind of huge pain tolerance for badly made shoes. Some product of being poor and stylish? Of having FAITH in cheap shoes, FAITH that they will feel okay out of the store? Faith that vinyl can stretch (which it can't really, it just breaks)?

Anyway, I am ready for more owning of and working 'it.' Yeah fashion, but really everything. I own what I am, and can I work it? Can I?

To end, the world's most awkward wedding (second only to Heidi's, and that had little to do with them as a couple, it was circumstance) is coming up for us on Saturday. Like tomorrow. And today is Purim, so it's time for Hamantaschen by the dozens, and I want to be more adult about all this grieving Noah's mom and accepting his dad's remarriage this weekend and meeting the woman who will be my stepmother-in-law and her children, etc., etc. But I am not feeling so adult about it. Distant from the real and violent feelings of it, but not actually here with it.

And it's Easter. Easter. What a mixed bag. Growing up, it was one of my favorite times of year, Lent and Easter and Pentecost, for all the ceremony next to the story of the gospels and Acts and all accentuated by the full choir and brass quintet and organ at my childhood church. Wow, wow. All my classical training is still ready to rush in there and sit down, with that church, on Sunday, just to hear it all. But now it feels like another thing on the list of 'things I don't know how to do now that I am not a child.' I still think in eggs, people. And songs like this with full brass:

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!

18 March 2008

Deep Hip Popping and Deep Molar Pits

Apparently it's a bad thing, and it really is my hip joint popping like you'd pop your knuckles. One of the books I'm working on, the clinical orthopedic assessment guide second edition, says so. I thought I was just flexible. Apparently one of my legs may be a bit longer, and my stance may be off, on and on. I think orthopedic clinicians may make some of this up. Whatever; those deep hip pops are okay by me.

Dentist appointment today, first one in three years, so I went in certain I had cavities, root canal needs, denture needs, all of it. No, my teeth are perfect. The dentist is a missionary-minded guy who supports Noah's dad in Lutheran-to-Jewish missions, so our visit culminated in him telling me 'that Lutheran teaching about free will is all wrong. God gives some people really bad teeth no matter how much they brush. Yours are great, though.' And they are great only because my mom and my first dentist (who I saw for twenty years) forged a pact that would ensure I would have no braces and no cavities. I'm still cavity-free, and it is pretty miraculous, given the deep pits in my molars. Many are filled in with permanent caps, which are so sweet, but others are not, and I worry about them and brush a lot. I am also braces-free and wisdom-tooth-removed and sometimes I forget if I have all my other molars or not. Things were tight in my alignment for a while, and there was some willy-nilly tooth extraction happening in my mouth. All my canines were pulled at once, all my bicuspids were pulled together another time, and in my vague memory, I just didn't have a lot of teeth for a long time. Now it is all good.

Doesn't 'deep molar pits' look like 'deep moral pits' as if to create some ridiculous way of saying 'her morals are in the pits, the deep pits?' No one talks that way, though. And this is my editor brain working too hard for sure.

My real editor work is not hard, though, and I should go do some more of it. Never lay out documents in Word, people. It is not a layout program. It doesn't want to make books for you. It will declare its hate for you by deleting your footers at random and also centering paragraphs for no reason. Oh, Word, this is not your calling.

17 March 2008

In Saint Louis and It Already Smells Like Dry Rot

Or mildew, or mold, or whatever you call it. I mean from faucets to walls to the water itself: dry rot. I am definitely hypersensitive to this stuff, no question, but this visit is the first time ever that began with my too-enthusiastic rush for STL tap water (it is the best, ever, ever) and then segue: "DRY ROT? The water and the faucet and now my water bottle all smell like dry rot?!"

It's a little sad, but honestly, the city has survived this way for four centuries, nearly, so they'll be fine.

Do you tell your hosts you think their faucets and walls and entire home might be rotting? While mentioning there's a chance that, due to your well-irrigated sinuses, you could be smelling your own indwelling sinus infection, which might be fungal anyway? It just seems a bit awkward.

So yeah, in STL, and I'm working anyway, which is kind of great in the long run. I started out working today at Panera, formerly St. Louis Bread Company, where I realized yet again that I attract all kinds of crazy. Maybe it's my sweet face and calm demeanor, maybe it's a proximity thing, maybe it's just that whiffs of psychosis hit me in the same way that dry rot does -- I sniff it and I'm done. An older man walked to a table near me, and I could only see one side of him, so when I noticed he was having a full-out conversation, I prayed, "Please be wearing a headset. Please, a bluetooth, an ear bud, something, please please."

No avail. Full-out conversation with himself, but probably not from his perspective, punctuated with hand movements and explosive noises and general gun/bomb mimicry. Well, he left, nothing happened, but trust me, I kept thinking about where my knife way (don't you all keep one in your purses too?) and where I'd go and who I'd yell to and how no one there in all likelihood would know how to take him down but Noah always says that punching someone softly in the throat should always work ...

And to answer a question Jeff asked, I think the songwriter who brought us "I Want to Play with Your Poodle" knows if poodle is a euphemism for something.