31 August 2007

Child of vision

Children do say the darndest things, and mine are no exception. The son, in particular, comes out with some zingers that leave us flabbergasted (and usually laughing in private). He started to speak fairly early, and his first phrase was "Damn dog," enunciated with stunning clarity in front of our elderly neighbor. That he would choose this as his first phrase is no surprise; he heard it often enough.

But then the son did something that young children aren't supposed to do, and he stopped talking. He didn't stop vocalizing, but where he'd once pointed out the "moon," lights that were "pretty" and the "damn dog," suddenly he only said, "Da." Of course, being a conscientious mother, I immediately took him to the pediatrician for an evaluation, absolutely certain that my beautiful blonde baby was showing the first signs of autism.

"Nope," said the ped. "He's just abandoned language to work on other things right now."

And it certainly wasn't that the son was disengaged or disinterested. It's just that he couldn't be bothered to utter anything other than "Da." That I understood his "da's" perfectly only undermined any need that he saw for additional communication.

He more than made up for his single sound utterances, however. My mother-in-law often likes to recount how she left a uni-word child behind for a trip and came home three weeks later to a grandson who was speaking in paragraphs. No joke. He was.

Once he decided that speaking was a viable way of expressing himself, we couldn't shut him up. And we also suddenly discovered what he'd been thinking about all those "da"-laden months.

"Mama? See that star?" he asked one evening pointing at the summer sky while we waited outside for Daddy to come home."


"It's called Mossacube."


"I'm from Mossacube, Mama. That's where I came from."

I stopped pulling at the grass and looked at my solemn, chubby toddler. Forget autism. My child was insane.

A few nights later, I decided on a little memory test. "So," I said in a conversational tone, "show me where Mossacube is again."

"Oh," he said in a very matter-of-fact way, "it turned into a spaceship and flew away."

A little chill ran up my spine.

So, a couple of weeks later, I tried again. "Where's Mossacube tonight?" I asked.

"I told you," he said with a certain severe annoyance. "It turned into a spaceship and flew away."

"Well, where did it go?"


No less unsettling was the night he announced out of the blue that the true name of God is Stingray.

Then there was the time that he turned to his 6-month-old sister and said severely, "Never trust a domeless baby. They aren't respectable."

To her credit, she just giggled and drooled, and I at least knew that had been adapted from a Thomas the Tank Engine episode.

Over the years, we've parlayed Mossacube into something of a family joke.

"Could you call your friends from Mossacube and have them come pick you up? 'Cause I've just about had enough of you for one day," I told him after one very trying afternoon.

In 6th grade, he wrote a poem for his literature class about the Mighty Military Man of Mossacube. We tried to explain the origin of Mossacube to his lit teacher, and I believe she now thinks the entire family is nuts, but hey, I bring snacks for Pentathlon every year, so she'll keep me for a bit yet.

And even as a teen, he manages to surprise me with some of his more blatant confabulation.

Tonight at dinner, the daughter was waxing poetic about recognizing the dawning of her own consciousness, and how did it happen that she was born to these parents at this time in this place, the fairly standard mysteries that periodically occur to children.

"I know what she's saying," the spouse said to the mildly mystified son. "How is it that she's here now rather than Bulgaria a hundred years ago."

"Well," I said, always happily prepared to be the voice of trouble, "she may well have been in Bulgaria 100 years ago."

"WHAT?" squawked the daughter, clearly confused.

"It's like this," said the son in a soothing and paternalistic tone, "there are all these souls in heaven and God keeps a waiting list for the souls that want to go back to Earth..."

Go listen to some good music: "Child of Vision" from the album Breakfast in America by Supertramp.

30 August 2007


I. September 1988, Idaho

I am sitting on a playa, in the dry grass, on a warm September afternoon, high above the car & the cows milling about it. High above the man responsible for bringing me here, but watching him trundle over the hummocky ground, in search of some elusive piece of the coring device that we’ve dropped somewhere between car and landslide. I am supposed to marry him in three months. The wind whispers, stirring the clump of trees behind me to the left. Above me, a small group of cows grumble gently, shifting, mooing softly.

I like involvement, but I also like solitude, and this is a rare moment to myself, sitting on a landslide. I think of the times I’ve sat in a coffee shop, allowing others’ conversations to swirl about me, and the pleasures to be had in the voices and stories of those I don’t know. The wind lifts my hair and I feel the back of my neck prickle. Something is in the trees, and it is watching me. The chill feathers up my spine as I hear quiet movement. I was long a desert dweller, but I believe in the secret lives of trees. My greatest fascination on long car trips has been to look between the trunks for what lives within. I always thought that when I grew up, I’d finally have the chance to pull the car over to the side of the road, and venture into the trees. Today, my courage fails me—cow? bird? ghost?—and the trees will have to wait for another day.

Landslides have become interesting to me, by default. It is what he is studying and now I’m learning their ways. Cows are wise in the ways of sturzstroms, and smart enough to know they can’t outrun the fall of rock, mud or ice, and so run sideways. Humans are stupid and try to run away, and so die.

We core the playa, hoping for organic matter than can be carbon dated, leading to a time line for the landslide. The good weather doesn’t hold, and by next day, I’m pushing the hydraulics to keep them from freezing, and hoping an errant lighting bolt doesn’t hit this metal pyramid that peaks above my head. But our persistence paid off, and the cores yield ash from the Mt. Mazama eruption, giving us a date range. I am pleased to have added to human knowledge with this small bit of science.

II. September 1992, Montana

I am sitting in a car, huddled in the seat, looking at the desolate vista through the windshield, while the wind whips and moans, causing the car to rock slightly with each gust. The Madison Landslide occurred in the 1950s, when an earthquake struck this valley in the middle of the night, causing an entire mountain to fall, destroying a campground and the families sleeping there, and damming the lake below me. The wind ripples parts of the lake, yet the center seems still, mirror to the sky.

Driving up here, we stopped to look at the fault scarp created that night. I ran my hand over the broken, ridged rock. Six feet of displacement, a violent rupture indeed.

But sitting here, looking at the blasted mountain face before me, I feel sorrow that could make my heart break. Sitting here, easily several miles from the base of the mountains opposite, I am atop the landslide, which jetted across the valley, washing up against the other side like some demonic wave of rock and soil. The wind seems to cry with the voices of those who died that night, overcome and overrun by forces they couldn’t begin to dream of, and I sense in them the confusion of those who simply don’t know what hit them. I am isolated here, so truly alone, as the small life that will now go unrealized ebbs from my body. That small soul joins the chorus: “Don’t forget us.”

And years later, visiting Mt. St. Helens, I realize that the blasted landscape there at least shows the signs of rebirth, something conspicuously lacking at Madison, where the dead trees and bare dirt might just as well be on the Moon.

III. August 2003, Montana revisited

After an argument held in a hissing undertone, I am back at the Madison, a place I never wanted to see again. Where I sat in a car 11 years earlier, there is a now a parking lot, attached to a small visitor’s center. Where I sat contemplating the loss of a child unknown, there are now two, running up the path toward one of the enormous boulders that once comprised a mountain. One child only slightly more precious than the other because I nearly lost her too.

I agreed to come back only out of curiosity. I wondered if the desolation I felt that long-ago afternoon was a product of my own loss or if sorrow had been ground into the soil with the bodies of the dead. It’s an odd day, today, August 17, and a freak winter storm is pelting my face with icy rain. The lake is dark, storm tossed, almost angry. It happens to be, quite coincidentally—though I don’t believe in coincidence—the anniversary of the earthquake and subsequent landslide. Those watching the video in the visitor center stir uneasily as they realize this.

The loss is mine, but it is also of this place, a sorrow discrete, but forever connected with my own.

Go listen to some good music: "Landslide" from the album Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac.

29 August 2007

Gemini dream

Long time no see
Short time for you and me
So fine so far so good
We're on the road
Like you knew we would

I go through intense periods where I dream vividly. As a child, I had extreme nightmares every single night, and it's been pointed out to me on more than one occasion that this probably accounts for my insomnia. Who wants to sleep when you're being chased by giants and dinosaurs and moving mountains with faces or falling down bottomless pits? When you have to hide from a parade of...aliens? That clown mouth that's supposed to be the entrance to the fun house? In my nightmare, it was the door to the local Lucky's grocery and everyone who walked in it was eaten. What exactly was at the bottom of that staircase I always dreamed about, the one with the invisible force that pulled me irresistibly forward? I'm sure I still don't want to know.

When I was pregnant with the son, I dreamed frequently of the child I'd lost to a miscarriage the year before. During the period in which the spouse was constantly away on business and I drove a 15-mile round trip twice a day to get the son to school, I dreamed of a road. The same road, always, but in different settings, some happy, some derelict, some terribly frightening.

Fever dreams are always a good time. In high school, I came down with a terrible case of the flu just before Christmas break. I had a trigonometry final that day, and being the utterly anal student I was, firmly believed that there was no way I could miss that test. I dragged my burning body into the school, cheerfully gave everyone I knew flu for Christmas and aced the test. My punishment came later, though, when I got home. I went straight to bed and immediately fell into a dreadful dream where I'd been charged with solving a trigonometric equation for creamed corn and stewed tomatoes.

Recently, the dreams have been pretty odd.

I was in an old hotel serving as a university building, and I was supposed to be attending a writing class taught by the author Neil Gaiman. But he never showed up for class and we ended up making bead crafts or something equally bizarre. I called him on my cell phone to complain bitterly.

A few nights ago, I was troubled by a really nasty nightmare about a snake. Simply Freudian in some regards, but the worst aspect was that I'd wake up, and I mean really wake up, not just think I had, and when I fell back to sleep, the dream picked up where it had left off. Finally, the third time, when things were getting seriously hairy and the bodies were starting to pile up, I woke up and stayed awake for the next two hours.

Last night? Another hotel (notice a theme here?), old and lovely and slated for demolition. I have absolutely no idea how my mother's long dead hairdresser--she must have died 30 years ago--ended up in a cameo role, but there she was talking about her dead husband as she did someone's hair. I wanted something from the building, which was already falling down in large chunks, and large chunks of earth were beginning to fall away from the building's foundation (I had dinner with a geotechnical engineer last night, which actually does go a long way to explaining why I would dream of elaborate soil collapse). Despite the hotel tower falling in my general direction, I leapt onto the remains of the hotel's entryway, and went in the door. Most of the roof was gone and daylight flooded into what used the be reception area. I could hear the crash and bang of walls coming down in the distance, and hastily opened a room door at random. Light flooded into the room from tall windows here, illuminating a room filled with objects, including a bed with a sheet over what looked for all the world like a body. My idea of gleaning something from the wreckage suddenly seemed terrible, and I was overwhelmed with the urge to get out. I ran for a door, and found that the garden it had once led to was gone, and that I was standing on the edge of the world, the nearest ground miles below me.

Of course, given the fact that the geotechnical engineer also regaled us with stories of his naked backpacking adventure, that last dream could have gone in some far more disturbing directions.

Go listen to some good music: "Gemini Dream" from the album Long Distance Voyager by The Moody Blues.

26 August 2007

Baker Street

...another year and then you'll be happy
Just one more year and then you'll be happy...

Last week, I was wandering through a most delightful little toy store, where one can watch a real glass marble being made by hand, and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" came on the radio. Although I don't listen to the radio much, in fact only when I'm in the car with the spouse, this song seems to be as much a staple of classic rock stations now as it was Top 40 stations when it first came out.

It's a great song, one of a spate of offbeat, mysterious, almost supernatural songs that graced '70s music--think "Angie Baby," "Devil Woman," "Carrie (Doesn't Live Here Anymore)," and "Year of the Cat." I loved it for the sax, for the lyrics, and for the fact that I actually lived on Baker Street. But mainly, it was the lyrics, particularly those I quoted above. The summer that it sat on the charts and was played over and over was the same summer that I was making my escape plans, working out how I would leave a small desert town and an unhappy home to start the rest of my life. And in the context of one more year to happiness, it seemed survivable.

So on a steamy August day, in a town not unlike the one I did escape, it was odd to hear the song.

...another year and then you'll be happy...

And I realized with a momentary flash of joy, that I was happy, that I'd made good my escape, that the waiting had long since ended.

Go listen to some good music: "Baker Street" from the album City to City by Gerry Rafferty.

24 August 2007


Last night in Kansas City, basking in the humid heat, booted feet up on the chain link security fence in front of me, contemplating the stage and the first half of the show D. & I had just sung and danced our way through, I was approached by a man in a black baseball cap.

"I saw you come in to the premium parking lot," he said, and nodded his head smiling.

My mouth opened to respond, but no words came out. What possible response was there?

"I'm sorry?" I said, trying to make some sense of his comment.

He leaned forward and said a little more loudly in case I was deaf from the earlier proceedings, "I saw you come in to the premium parking lot."

It didn't make any more sense the second time. I think I just stared at him, completely perplexed. He walked away (looking sad, D. told me).

After contemplating this a few more moments, I turned to D. and asked, "Why would someone come up and say that? What could he have possibly expected me to say?"

D. laughed. "He was hitting on you."

"WHAT? No, he wasn't."

"Yeah. He was hitting on you."

I huffed back down into my seat, disbelieving and completely appalled at the thought.

By the end of the evening, D. had termed me "oblivious." I won't recount what else she said, funny as some of it was, but apparently, I was highly entertaining from the moment I set foot in the premium parking lot.

Go listen to some music: "Contact" from the album Reggatta de Blanc by The Police.

21 August 2007

I go to extremes

The spouse has standing orders to wake me before he leaves in the morning...whatever time he leaves, which is sometimes hella early. I haven't slept much the last couple of weeks because I've been ill, and last week, I woke at 9:30, with a little cup of coffee next to me and the undeniable revelation that he didn't wake me up before he left!

"But you were so sound asleep," he told me when I called him at the office to protest, "I couldn't."


This morning, however, he happily woke me out of a sound sleep before he left for the field. And it was early.

I don't mind, though, really.

And once he woke me up, I was awake. Irrevocably.

I have piles of paper and old clothes everywhere. STUFF that needs to be done.

And it was all calling--nay, screaming--my name.

And I'm leaving for Kansas tomorrow.

(Don't even ask why someone who hates to get into an airplane would conceive of the brilliant idea to fly to Kansas in the middle of thunderstorm and tornado season. Those who know me best know exactly why, and anyone who doesn't know me just wouldn't get it.)

So, stuff. I've been cleaning out my closet for the last hour or so. The recurring theme is "What possessed me...?"

What possessed me to buy a lace top from Old Navy that would require a camisole I don't own in order to be worn decently?

What possessed me NOT to return that hideous pair of jeans to Lands End?

What possessed...Spandex?

"Possessed" is, of course, the operative word here. I am a Gemini, which means that I am frequently possessed.

By what, of course, only God knows.

Though the ghost of Spandex past is a contender, apparently.

Possession attends my packing. I have a pink leather bag that I use for these summer jaunts, and it handily holds most of what I need for an overnight. Or it would if I didn't feel the need to carry a week's worth of shoes and clothing with me, not to mention a year's supply of makeup for every possible occasion.


The spouse, God bless him, knows I'm periodically possessed, and occassionally obsessed. While I can't say he exactly embraces it, he still loves me, which counts for alot.

And he brings me coffee in the morning, which is love louder than words.

Go listen to some good music: "I Go to Extremes" from the album Greatest Hits Volume III by Billy Joel.

20 August 2007

One week

They go back to school in one week.

Uniforms? $800. The son needed a whole new wardrobe. Everything. Men's shirts. Men's trousers.

The daughter wears a uniform skirt now rather than a jumper, and can wear a sweater shell rather than a Peter Pan collar blouse. She lost six inches of hair yesterday and fluffs her new bob with tremendous pleasure.

We already covered shoes.

School supplies cost me $300 this year. This doesn't cover the book lists, which I haven't gotten yet, or the cost of the daughter's outdoor education trip coming up in a month or so ($600).

Where did my babies go?

Sending them to school--letting them out of my sight--was traumatic enough. The son was 2 1/2 when he started preschool ($800/month). Our neighborhood had no children for him to play with, so preschool became the alternative to give him some kid time a couple of times per week. He loved it. I cried.

The daughter didn't go to school at all until she started Junior Kindergarten (I learn. Developmental preschool didn't exactly cut it for the son, so the daughter went to an academic program, which suited her perfectly). She was 4 1/2, and so ready for school, so excited ($8,000/year).

The month before she started school, I felt the stirrings of panic. I would be at home--ALONE--once she started. I decided to go back to work, and got a cat ($110 adoption fees, $300 for treatment of subsequent medical problems. And that was just the first week we had him).

But those planes hit the WTC a week after the daughter made her triumphant entry into the school world and turned everything upside down. I traded in office plans for two more years of room mother duties and freelancing ($200 out of pocket for parties per year, not at all offset by freelancing income).

It salved the kids' psyche and mine. I was close by, often on campus. It gave us all a sense of security, even the spouse.

Even now, when I hear sirens near their school--because I'm only 4 blocks away--I will hop on my bike and make sure the sirens aren't at their school.

When they go back next week, it will be the first time in a while that I won't head into the office after I drop them off. I will return to the very quiet house and the cat. I don't cry anymore, but I miss them. I know they don't miss me, and I know they are moving inexorably further away with each year, day, hour. They are meant to, and it's ok.

But I miss them.

And I'll never tell them that (box of Kleenex, $2.50. I lied).

Because raising these people I love and of whom I'm so proud is priceless.

Go listen to some good music: "One Week" from the album Stunt by The Barenaked Ladies.

14 August 2007

Rock anthem for saving the world

Last night I twisted and flopped in the throes of nightmare and coughing.

My family said I kept them up all night. They should have told me.

Because I wasn't sleeping.

I was buying tickets. All night long. To a show in Chicago.

It was the sort of inescapable nightmare one gets into sometimes when one is ill. I haven't actually run a fever in several days, and I think it might have been fallout from daring to take a dose of Dayquil.

I never take medication if I can avoid it. The after effects are almost always much worse than what it's supposed to be treating.

Though I love Motrin. Lately, it's been my lifeline and has kept me, literally, on my feet.

Today, though, I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

On a completely different note, who knew that an Xbox game could have such great music?

Hello? Was there a segue in there somewhere? How did we get from nightmares to Xbox games? Well, because last night's nightmares were reminiscent of the nightmares I had of running through alien corridors after a marathon session of cooperative play on the Xbox with the spouse.


So, who knew that an Xbox game could have such great music? Especially an FPS. There is only one FPS I will play, and that's Halo. The son thinks this is about the greatest thing on Earth:

His. Mom. Plays. Halo.


Completely freaks his friends out.

I didn't like Halo 2 much; the graphics were lacking, and I didn't like how gameplay changed from the Chief to the Arbiter. I won't play online--the massively multiplayer online experience is just not for me (I was a beta tester for one though). I am rather anxious to see how Halo 3 will play out. Even it does mean buying an Xbox 360.

Rereading all that (beta tester! Halo!), it becomes painfully obvious that I am a complete failure as a girl.

Maybe I'll go play with some makeup now.

While I'm wearing my "I can kick your ass at Halo 2" t-shirt.

And then I'll buy some tickets to see Rush in Chicago.

Go listen to some good music: "Rock Anthem for Saving the World" from the album Halo: The Soundtrack by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori.

13 August 2007

Jellicle songs for jellicle cats

Yes, indeed. I am ill. Very, very ill. I still have no voice. I'm immensely frustrated at not being able to communicate with my also feverish children. School is starting in two weeks...and uniforms? School supplies? Basic groceries?


But the garbage bill was resolved by the far-kinder spouse (their problem--a computer glitch--not my problem) and I finished the taxes.

Yes, I know they were supposed to be finished four months ago. But they weren't.

And when not sleeping or riding the exercise bike or making soup for the horde of ill people in the house (even the cat is sneezing for crying out loud), what am I doing?

Your Score: Longcat

54% Affectionate, 30% Excitable, 37% Hungry

Protector of truth.

Slayer of darkness.


It is prophesized that Longcat and his archnemesis Tacgnol will battle for supremacy on Caturday. The outcome will change the face of the world, and indeed the very fabric of lolcatdom, forever.

Be grateful that the test has chosen you, and only you, to have this title.

The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku

I promise never to do it again. Honestly.

Go listen to some good music: "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from the album Cats.

12 August 2007


I came down with a rather rotten summer cold on Friday, probably an unfortunate by-product of my travels.

It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't also developed a rather devastating case of laryngitis.

I have to admit that the latter is probably my fault (well, the former, too, but it's concert season. I have to travel! This is an every few years event. And come to think of it, I caught a really bad cold the last time I went to Red Rocks, three years ago. But I digress. As usual.)

Anyway, I've been reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows out loud to the assembled family. This is a little tradition we started several books back so that everyone could hear the book at the same time. It's fun and I do "voices" and the spouse says that I have a compelling voice to listen to, so it's all good.

Except when you have a bad cold that's already going south.

If you've read the final Potter, then you know that the final 120 pages or so are simply unstoppable. And I read them all aloud in the space of two and one-half hours this afternoon.

Let me just say that it was no stretch to do the bullfrog-voiced house elf, Kreacher.

And now, I whisper. And it hurts.

And it's all my fault.

And it's going to make arguing the so very wrong garbage bill with Waste Management tomorrow that much more difficult.

Go listen to some good music: "Infected" from the album Infected by The The.

09 August 2007

Strike up the band

Sometimes, you see a concert, and it's like watching a pitcher pitch a perfect game. Yeah, there may have been some errors, some bad plays, but everybody had a good time and it was a perfect game! It doesn't happen all that often, and it seems to have a lot to do with the phase of the moon and the park they're playing in, and the fans, and probably what brand of hot dog is being sold at the concession stand. (Rat, if it's Angels Stadium). And of course, who's pitching.

This show was a perfect game. Yeah, so the marimba died in the middle of a song, and something got triggered at the wrong time. Who cares? These guys don't throw wild pitches and train wrecks are pretty rare. It's Red Rocks, probably the most spectacular venue in the world, and the breeze blew and rocks glowed, and everybody screamed the lyrics to the last song of the first set, the words bounced back and forth off the rocks, and the lasers lit up the sky. Strangers beamed at each other and sang together and danced.


Go listen to some good music: "Strike Up the Band" from the album Gershwin: Greatest Hits by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

08 August 2007


If you go and see one movie this weekend, go see Stardust, the film based on the novel by Neil Gaiman.

No, I haven't seen the movie, but I'm shamelessly plugging it because I loved the book, and I know the movie will be different, but I suspect I will be pleased with it because the reviews have been so positive.

And Rush Hour 3? Honestly.

Stardust the book was billed as a fairy tale for adults. And it very much is, with all the charm of the tales I read over and over as a child, and a lot more sex. Not to mention fratricide, attempted murder, a really scary forest and some rather festive High Adventure.

Before someone decided that fairy tales needed to be sanitized for the eyes of our precious youngsters, they were all pretty non-politically correct. I remember reading about a king who decided to marry his daughter and all that entailed, and not being particularly shocked, but well aware of the wrongness of the decision. Nasty ogresses talked about throwing children into vats of snakes, certainly a Bad Idea. Children were regularly the targets of wolves, evil stepmothers, witches, but damn, the children were pretty resourceful and usually figured a way out of their predicament. The damsels in distress didn't always do so badly either, though the princess in "Green Snake" was a little too whiny for my taste.

I don't think anyone did the kids a service by cleaning all that stuff up. And maybe even robbed them of the idea that they could use their brains to get out of a pickle.

What this boils down to is that my kids always got the unclean version. They also got Neil Gaiman, and the spooky but hilarious "Wolves in the Walls" and the downright scary "Coraline" and the eerily beautiful "Mirrormask."

And they loved it.

So Stardust the movie is rated PG-13 and I'll be dragging them along on Friday. They are a young teen and a tween, so I think they will appreciate the film. And God knows, it's got to be better than the latter day Star Wars abominations I allowed them to watch.

Go see it.

Go listen to some good music: "Stardust" by one of the many artists who have covered it, including Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole.

07 August 2007

When the music's over

I watched Hank Aaron make his record-setting 715th homer.

I remember how happy I was for him, feeling that it was a great day for baseball and a great day for the fans.

Mr. Aaron always struck me as a humble and unassuming man. A man whose smile was shy but genuine. However, if nothing else, he treated the game with respect, and worked hard for the records he set. He was someone we kids could look up to as a hero. He was someone we could admire.

I always believed him to be a gentleman.

I'm not so naive as to believe that Mr. Aaron's records will stand forever. However, I could hope that his successor would be worthy of the honor.

Whether or not Barry Bonds deserves the record he set tonight is between him and God. It carries no weight in my mind, and I am only relieved that I don't have to hear about it anymore. With his surly attitude and tarnished reputation, I will never see his "achievement" as anything more than trifling.

It is one thing to have talent; what really matters is what you do with it, and how you present your gift to the world.

My baseball-loving heart belongs to Hank Aaron.

Turn out the light.

Go listen to some music: "When the Music's Over" from the album Strange Days by The Doors.

06 August 2007

I stay away

The last week or so, I have been in a terrible mood. And it must be noted that "terrible" here doesn't mean "generally cranky," it means "fearsome, forbidding, dark."

I can put some of it down to hormones. I can put some of it down to a summer that hasn't worked out quite the way I planned, and to projects that have been started but not finished. I can put some of it down to general exhaustion. Some belongs to the dishwasher just up and dying.

The news has not helped. I try to avoid the news when possible, but the bridge collapse in Minnesota was not avoidable. I worked in the disaster biz long enough to see how it all plays out, and watching the woman officer wade through a stew of human effluvium and toxic waste in an effort to find people in cars hours after this happened, with no protective gear and little more than a playground jump rope tethering her to safety, was nearly enough to make me jump out of my skin.

And the families killing each other and then killing themselves. Then the two who died hiking at Seven Falls this weekend: accidents happen, but don't you people understand the meaning of "flash flood?" Off the top of my head, I can count three people that I knew who died in flash floods, but do people never EVER grow the wiser?

The company picnic this weekend, and dealing with parts of my recent past. Lunch with the in-laws, which would have been fine if it had just been the in-laws and not the MIL's sister and her husband. I loathe that man, a tiny puffed-up bantam, a man of no consequence. Usually I can ignore him, no eye contact, no words, but this weekend, I was all teeth and claws. I don't like it when I turn vicious and rabid, even more so when there is no satisfaction, no worthy adversary.

Shopping for back-to-school shoes afterward. The son always fusses; he doesn't like shopping. Nor do I. They are growing, and the daughter is hard to fit, with wide feet and narrow heels. A pair of sneakers and a pair of dress shoes each. The daughter now wears a women's size 7 shoe, and finding appropriate dress shoes for a 10-year-old in the women's department is no easy feat. Finally, I locate a pair of black loafers, which I hand to her, saying with understanding, "I know they're hideous, but see if they at least fit." She pronounces them perfect; she loves them.

She loves them? They are about the ugliest shoes I've ever seen.

She loves them, and please, Mommy, can I have them?

They fit and she's happy with them; they will probably look great with her uniform skirt. I wouldn't be caught dead in them, but I wouldn't normally be caught dead in the Brooks Addiction Walkers that I am sentenced to full time, with $400 custom orthotics!, either, if I didn't have to wear them all the damn time.

Perhaps I am a little jealous that there are no cute shoes in my immediate future.

Two hundred dollars and five pairs of shoes later, we leave the shoe store.

My mood has not lightened; while the guy who came to service the a/c did not try to upsell me this time, he spent 2 hours chasing me around my house, talking at me about pressures and freon, and why I have a maintenance agreement. Right when I'm trying to deal with the daughter who decided to projectile vomit all over the faculty restroom during cheer camp. At a time when I am preparing to fly to Denver. I don't want to think of her with heat exhaustion, but I'd really rather it not be say...Norovirus. Not this week.

There are rats at Angels Stadium. It's all over the news. For whatever reason, this is the bright spot of my day.

Go listen to some good music: "I Stay Away" from the album Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains.