recenta la carte - 2006-11-14
my prayer - 2006-10-22
Dipshit adieu - 2006-10-17
all sewn up now - 2006-10-14
fix-a-flat - 2006-10-13
more to love
a la carte 2006-11-14 - 12:13 a.m.
Finally occurred to me that this really must be strep. That itchy red rash that bloomed across my left breast overnight isn't just "weird"--it's scarlet fever. I called the doctor's office and they called me back and left a message saying "give us a call back," so I called them back and they told me to call back after five p.m. and leave a message on the machine asking for an appointment for tomorrow.
Welcome to the modern world, Starla.
In my delirium, I spent some time today thinking about my dream lover fantasy man. I like a man who is at once a regular guy and a virtuoso. So for tonight's entree, I'll take one Stephen Jay Gould crossed with Tony Hawk by way of Tom Maggliozzi.
my prayer 2006-10-22 - 11:04 p.m.
Hey guys. I haven't been coming around here much lately. I'm trying out something new and liking it and having fun, but I miss my friends here, too. So I thought I'd come and do a quick update.
I'm doing okay. I quit my teaching gig last week because they weren't paying me when they said they would. I went out there for the last time on Thursday and, needless to say, the check arrived on Friday. But it doesn't matter because I'm not in a place financially where I can be blase about that kind of unpredictability.
So, that's fine. I didn't like it that much anyway. I'm just not a teacher. It's not my passion. It's fine, I have fun sometimes, but ... ugh. I hate the relentless preparation and paperwork.
So I got in touch with a friend who still works for the people I used to freelance for, and he had some ideas, and I wrote to the editor at the top of his list, who promised me an assignment, which I should receive in the next day or two. So I have all my digits crossed to make sure that comes through. Otherwise I am deeply screwed!
But I try not to think that way. I'm still in a very precarious position. I'm terrified of renting a place and not having a steady income. But I think it's one of those things where I just have to make that leap and then it will work itself out. But it requires faith, and as you all know (perhaps too well), that is something I lack.
But the alternative is doing more and other kinds of work I dislike. So I just have to make it work! My Mom did it before me, my sister did it (okay, well, her way was illegal, but still, she had good credit for YEARS), my niece does it, there are millions of women in this country making it work, and I can do it too. I think my confidence will come back once I've managed to actually pay the rent for a year or so.
Christ! Please, please please let me make it and not end up homeless! I don't want my kids to be ashamed of me.
That is the closest I get to prayer.
Dipshit adieu 2006-10-17 - 9:26 a.m.
Oh what a fool I am. To think
Enough of what you think is right:
I hate you more than castor oil.
This is my first attempt at writing a "minute poem." I had never heard of such a thing, but I saw a description and thought I'd try. It's supposed to be three stanzas of 8-4-4-4, in "strict" iambic, rhyming aabb, ccdd, eeff. My ear for meter is very poor--I can hardly scan a nursery rhyme--which embarrasses me, so maybe if I work on it I can improve.
all sewn up now 2006-10-14 - 11:06 p.m.
My sister got her pacemaker installed and it worked. Instantly her heart rate increased to 80. It was at 91 when I visited her around lunchtime.
When she saw I had brought four kids with me, it jumped to 110.
I saw my nephew and his wife for the first time in more than a year. Even better, their little boy, who is now three. He didn't know who I was, of course. His face is like his father's face, and his father's face is like my father's face. I look at him and it feels like a family reunion.
Mom said the doctors thought Diane must've started drinking again. She told them no, she hadn't, but they didn't believe her until the test on her liver came back. "Bouncing baby liver?" I asked.
"Yup," said Diane.
fix-a-flat 2006-10-13 - 10:34 p.m.
Well, I went to see my sister. She seemed all right for someone whose heart rate is hovering around 43. Tired, though. Half her heart isn't working. She's going to get the pacemaker in the morning. The way she described it to me, it's not a big deal. They're just going to cut open her aorta and slip it in. She'll be awake for the whole thing. She'll just feel a little pressure when he pushes the skin apart.
Doesn't it seem like I must have some detail wrong? How can it be possible that opening up an aorta is less invasive than root planing? I don't get it. I'm totally confused.
But this much I do know: the doctors still haven't got the first idea what's causing all these problems. Despite being very ill, and despite having led a less than exemplary life, she's in pretty good health. So every time they check out something new, they have to cross it off their list. It's weird. I wish they would figure it out and fix it.
my sister is very sick 2006-10-13 - 4:31 p.m.
I just found out my sister is in the hospital. They're not sure what's wrong with her, but they want to give her a pacemaker, because her heart's not beating properly. I don't dare visit her until I get my emotions under control. I'm not prepared to lose my sister and all these things they're saying are just way too serious and scary.
pillbuggery 2006-10-13 - 11:55 a.m.
I'm a little pillbug,
Poke me with a stick
Okay, so the pillbug defensive maneuver is still my trademark. But I just made a phone call I've been dreading, and I've got a new lead on some writing work, so you could say I've only got one leg in the toilet. I hate teaching the class I've got, but the good news--surprisingly enough--is that they haven't paid me yet for September. Clearly, once I get something else going on, it won't be nearly so hard to say I'm not coming back next semester. And if they don't pay me pretty darn soon I may be able to stop much sooner than that, even.
I taught the class yesterday, with a bad headache to boot, and I was just so down-hearted afterward all I could do was perform emotional triage on myself on the long drive home. Then the girls picked up the movie "Mean Girls" and one of the opening scenes really helped me over the yuckhill, believe it or not.
Lindsay Lohan's character, Cady, is explaining that despite having been homeschooled her whole life, she and her family are quite normal. "I know what you're thinking," she says. "Homeschooled kids are freaks." Onscreen, a young girl at a spelling bee spells, "xylocarp." Lohan's voiceover continues, "Or that we're weirdly religious or something." Now we see a group of boys in overalls, one of whom recites, in a very broad "hillbilly" accent, And on the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that man could fight the dinosaurs, and the ho-mo-sex-shools. And then the other kids say, "Amen."
I cracked up because those are my students. At least that's how it feels sometimes. They are primarily homeschooled and the further away you get from Castro Street just happens to be the further away you get from the sort of urban civility I value. I can't help but think, while I'm sitting there consciously trying to be noncontroversial, that if these kids had any idea what I'm really like, and what I really believe, they'd come to class wearing garlic around their necks. Actually, better yet, they wouldn't come at all.
Anyway, thousands of miles away in Diaryland, the lovely Melissa was here, right here, reminding me about the incipient Nanowrimo. Could there be a better day to sign up for Nanowrimo? I don't think so. So that's where I'm heading now, and maybe this year, maybe just this once … eh, whatever. I'm going to sign up; that's the only promise I'm willing to make.
sticky fingers 2006-10-04 - 1:49 p.m.
Duff's payday is next week and already I don't have enough money in the bank to cover my checks. I'm short about $5. According to Linda, I should have had a check from the school on the 1st. I'm not the sort of person who actually expects to receive a check when it is due (I've been a freelancer too long for that folly), but it sure would have been nice if it had happened.
I found out about some on-call work at the school district that I could do until things even out, and they seem eager to have me. The only problem is that I have to get fingerprinted again, which costs $45. I was fingerprinted for my part-time (and as yet unpaid) teaching job just six weeks ago, and a year before that, too, for our old school, but they won't accept those fingerprints, even though the live-scan agency that does them is exactly the same, because they were done for two other school districts. I want to yell at somebody about this. I want to say, "But my fingerprints haven't changed that much!" Can you imagine if you had to get a new driver's license every time somebody wanted to check your ID?
I'm just a little black rain cloud 2006-09-29 - 1:03 a.m.
Here it comes again. This feeling that I might as well call it a day. Throw in the towel. Hang up my hat.
I think things, I say things to myself. You won't be needing that where you're going.
I don't really want to die. I just want out of everything. I want to live by myself in the woods, in a house made entirely of candy. I want people to forget about me.
This is why I took the medicine. I don't want to take the medicine again. So I talk to myself. I say, Just wait. This will pass. It doesn't feel like it ever will, but it will. I'm used to trusting my emotions. Not being sucker-punched by them.
let's hope it was only a Freudian slip (and not premeditated assholery) 2006-09-25 - 12:39 p.m.
Peter Roskam, the GOP candidate to succeed outgoing Rep. Henry Hyde, accused Dem opponent Tammy Duckworth of wanting to "cut and run" from Iraq during a debate a couple days ago. The use of this common pro-war talking-point in this case surprised some observers—not to mention Duckworth herself—because the veteran Duckworth lost both of her legs in Iraq. Duckworth's post-debate reply was rather straightforward: "I just could not believe he would say that to me."
reminders 2006-09-23 - 11:19 p.m.
It was late and we were getting ready to eat. Duff wanted to see the kids even though he didn't want them to sleep over at his place, after all, because he has to ref a game first thing in the morning. Same thing happened last night. OK, that's fine.
He hadn't eaten so I said he could have a TV dinner when he got here. That way I didn't have to cook for him, but I didn't have to feel uncomfortable about it, either. (Or, third possibility, listen to the kids complain because they had to eat ordinary food from home while their Dad ate fast food.)
Everything went OK. Duff was on his best behavior, asking the kids questions about the trip to Waterworld and the girls' first dance, which was Friday. I didn't sit down, because I was trying to let them have their time with their Dad while achieving some sort of separation, as Dr. Wheat is always after me to do. I try not to talk to him too much, or talk to him about pointless "fun" things, or make eye contact. Certainly I am trying to avoid these "family" moments that always leave me feeling so bereft afterward (without being a shrew about it, though at this I am not always successful).
But they were calling me to come sit at the table. I told them to go ahead and eat. And he was calling me: "Come on, Mama," just like he used to do, like nothing ever happened. I know he is trying to be nice, because it would seem rude not to encourage me to eat with them, but it doesn't seem quite right for me to sit down, either. Also it must be confusing for the kids. I don't know what I should do, but in the end I sit down. I can hear my friend Barbara's voice in my head, saying, "Don't let him come over there and enjoy family life with you. He's the one who wants to have two houses. He's the one who doesn't want to be a family."
After dinner, he spends some time on the computer with Jinx and then on his own while I read Prince Caspian to the kids, who can hardly keep their eyes open. I am pulling cupcakes out of the oven when I hear him say goodbye to the kids. He comes downstairs. "Goodbye, Mama," he says, and gives me a hug. I never know what to do with these hugs.
On his way out, he passes the dining room table and says, "I guess I don't need to tell you that this food won't last if it's left here." He means that the dogs will help themselves to anything they can reach. He's reminding me to put the leftovers away and clear the table, I guess. As he reaches the front door, I notice that his TV dinner tray is still sitting there, on the table. He hasn't even cleared his own place setting.
I don't say anything to him about it (what's the point?) but I decide I'm glad he left it there. It reminds me that no matter how much value I place on "family," and eating together, and all those nicey-nice things, not to mention that I still love him, apparently, there are plain reasons why I shouldn't be with him beyond the most obvious and painful ones. I tell myself, not for the first time, that though it may feel like hell, this is the right road to be on. It was harder to entertain the idea of breaking up before I knew everything that was happening, but breaking up was always the right idea.
moody blues 2006-09-21 - 11:08 p.m.
Caught by surprise because I see I haven't updated in almost a week. The diary's still stuck on that awful icky Friday when I was so low it felt like I would never surface again.
Nothing really great has happened since then, but somehow I don't feel so bad. I was sort of at the end of my period at the time, which has joined the beginning of my period in supplying me with bottom-of-emotional-barrel-scraping mood plummets (I don't think it's fair to call them "mood swings" if they don't bother to come back up until well after you've lost hope). I had eaten mix-made brownies at my Mom's house, and though I love it, some types of chocolate wreak furious havoc on me. In this case, the brownies seemed to carry that whole "devil's food" metaphor a bit too far. And I had neglected my own prescription of daily exercise for two or three days.
Then, on top of all those relatively innocuous events, I had taken some friends' advice and visited the housing authority office in the town next door, where Duff lives now and the kids go to school, to find out about section 8. I didn't want to go; I prefer not to think of myself as low-income, even if it's true, because with me it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plus, once you get on their lists it becomes a full-time job, just keeping up with the fucking paperwork. But I told myself I was being silly and should at least find out whether I qualified and could take advantage of something for the short term. But when I got there, the clerk told me that not only were they not accepting applications, on account of having a long waiting list, but they did not plan to begin accepting applications again.
"You mean, like, never?" I asked.
"Right," she said, slightly apologetic. She said they only get so much funding every year and they're already using it to help the people on their rolls.
At first it seemed funny to me, that an office that exists ostensibly to help people in need could just say, Enough's enough! Get lost! But the further away I got, the less funny it seemed, and I started sinking into a funk that wouldn't lift. Bad enough to have felt the need to go at all, and then to be summarily turned away ... I felt like Gregor Samsa. I was trying to cheer myself up, cracking little jokes to myself, like "Clearly, poverty is not an option," but nothing worked.
And then, even though I wanted to get it out of my system, I didn't want to write about what happened because I felt ashamed for having gone in the first place. But now that I feel a little better, I'm writing about it, because that's what I do. And I'm saying fuck it, whatever and I mean that very sincerely and that's official.
hurting 2006-09-15 - 11:56 p.m.
I knew there would be bad days, and this has been one of them. My thoughts are dark, fluttering, chaotic. Again my mind wants to end it all, make it stop, but my hands will never comply. They have their orders. Some other part of my brain, more hollow and dessicated, more Obi-Wan, tries to comfort me, tries to remind me that things will get better (they always do). My Mom says that. She tries to keep it positive. That's one reason I don't want her to know that I'm feeling this bad, because when she gets going in full-blown Pollyanna mode it is hard to endure. But as she steers the conversation, inevitably, to subjects I can't discuss without losing my composure, I snap at her. I don't want to snap, but I can't think of anything else to do or say. She doesn't complain, just urges me to go to bed early; get a good night's rest.
My big problem at the moment is that I can't see my way clear. I can't figure out how I'm going to get by. I just keep sifting through the possibilities and coming up short. It must be possible to make it; people are doing so all around me. But I don't know how to get there myself. And the not-knowing convinces me that I can't do it, which makes me hate myself. And that's when I start thinking I'm too useless to live.
I'm going to make myself get up now and walk around the house. Maybe I’ll put a movie on. Anything but sit here for one more minute feeling like this.
blow the man down 2006-09-12 - 12:00 a.m.
In the bathroom, I hear the side gate slam shut. It was already shut and latched, so the noise is upsetting. It suggests that someone has just come through the gate and let it slam behind them. I remember with some surprise that except for the animals, I am completely alone. I tell myself it was only the wind. But there is no wind. So I tell myself it was only the breeze.
Then I have an irrational thought: If someone comes in the house and murders me in cold blood, maybe Duff will feel bad about leaving me here by myself. I find this thought comforting, even though I know, as I think it, that this kind of thinking is pointless, absurd, and self-pitying.
Then I decide, No, he won't feel bad about not being here to protect me. He'll be sorry I was killed, of course, he's not a zombie, but he'll be glad the kids were safe and warm with him instead of here with me, in danger.
I will have died in vain. Oh well.
I go downstairs and make some toast and let the dogs out. The back porch light is burned out. Duff is tall and could change it without difficulty, but I'll need to use a stepladder. I don't want to drag a stepladder outside in the dark at 11:30 at night, so I tell myself to please try to remember about the porch light during the daytime.
While I'm getting my toast out of the toaster oven, I could swear I hear a door slam. Inside the house, I mean. But the dogs don't bark, so I tell myself it's just the wind. Just the breeze.
Upstairs, at the computer, I eat my toast. The ceiling fan isn't securely fastened to the ceiling, so as it rotates its blades, it sways. This causes the pull chain to clink against the glass light dome about four times per second. It is extremely irritating. I decide to turn off the fan. But before I am out of my chair, I hear a low rumbling noise. I can't tell what it is, but I can feel the house quivering. Now I'm really creeped out.
It's a car driving by outside with the radio turned up too loud, I decide. I feel the bass line, that's all. There is nothing to see here, people. It's just the wind, the breeze.
worse for wear 2006-09-07 - 12:12 a.m.
Two idiots. Two irresponsible losers with one pompous ass in between. Do I bring out the worst in the men I fall for, or are they horrible to begin with and I simply refuse to notice? I don't ask this idly. I begin to doubt myself. I begin to wonder if it's even worth it to try again. My record is nothing to be proud of. I don't want to make another big, ugly mess, especially if it means wasting even more YEARS of my life. Maybe it's time to go into hiding. I'm like the Typhoid Mary of romance. The thalidomide of love. Maybe they're all perfect, or perfectly, charmingly imperfect, and I just have a bad attitude. My expectations are what's all wrong. Is that it? All I know is that it's embarrassing, crushingly embarrassing, to have these colossal failures on the books of my life. It pisses me off like you wouldn't believe. And there are still so many stories, so many incidents, so many nuances that I've never told you about. I just can't type that fast or that long. But setting aside the problem of my diseased romantic history, there is something sort of wonderful afoot. And I just want to say, for the record, that it was MY idea. It is still in the very beginning-beginning stages, and it may never come to pass, but it's a fiction-writing project, a plotsy super-colliding-genres series, and it would be--will be--a collaboration between me and my friend Frank. I pitched the idea to him tonight and to my surprise, he took to it. So, there you go. And tomorrow, I will write another crucially importantly document, namely, The Great Over-Arching Plan, to Which I Will Subsequently Refer When I Have Forgotten What I Said I Was Going to Do. It's something I desperately need, and I need it on paper, so I can look at it every day until I'm done living by the numbers.
the kidnapper 2006-09-04 - 11:27 p.m.
There he goes again. That man, what's his name?
stingray 2006-09-03 - 11:47 p.m.
Just saw that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died today. He was killed by a stingray while diving. He was only 44! No idea how good he was at his work, but I always enjoyed his wonderful crazy energy. Feel so bad for his wife. They seemed as if they had a good relationship; that is, if "Animal Planet" can be trusted. I hope they did have a good relationship. I hope they were still madly in love, not drifting apart. I hope she is wild with grief now. Keening, rocking, tearing her hair.
girls night out 2006-09-02 - 6:12 p.m.
[I apologize for the unconventional punctuation I have had to use below. My apostrophe key suddenly refuses to apostrophize. It will still cough up double quotation marks, with the help of the Shift key, but a single quotation mark is now out of the question. It is beyond annoying, not to mention strange. Nor can I use the backslash. I bet it is some horrible keyboard wasting disease. Next thing I know, I will be forced to write without using the letter E.]
OK. Real entry begins here.
My mother remembers what it was like, when "Dad" gets to be the fun parent. She called me right around the time the kids left, having heard already about his new car, and asked if I wanted to hang out. And of course I said no, because it is always so easy to blow off my mother, who asks so little of me and gives so much.
"You know what I want?" she asked. "I-ve been thinking about it all day. I want a Nations hamburger."
How long has it been since I went to Nations with my mother? Five years? Twenty-five? I made a mental U-turn and said yes, we can go to Nations. Of course we can go to Nations, Mom. There is nothing I would rather do.
Eichmann 2006-08-30 - 8:48 p.m.
I was thinking, Have I ever heard more than a phrase or two of Lenny Bruce? I didn't think I had, so I found some and listened to it. At the end of the recording, he read a poem he said was written by Thomas Merton. I Googled it and copied it from the frighteningly erudite Philosopher@Large, whom I hope does not object, though s/he has every right (esp. since she--I'm reasonably confident it's a she--fussed over the formatting I'm relying on below). But I want to paste it here so I don't forget about it.
My name is Adolf Eichmann.
Just as interesting to me were the comments Bruce made after reciting the poem, such that I wasn't sure where the poem ended and Lenny Bruce began. So I will try to transcribe those sometime soon (yeah, that'll happen).
WIWWMCN 2006-08-30 - 10:03 a.m.
I just found a short text file on the computer that I don't remember writing, but it's clearly my prose. I just had to share.
My Software Idea
it was a dark and stormy night 2006-08-28 - 9:34 a.m.
I'm going to have to bow out of our plans to get together this week. My therapist is adamant that I shouldn't start dating for months yet. His words have been ringing in my ears all week. The more I try to dismiss what he says, and tell myself that it wouldn't really be a date, it's just coffee, gosh, am I not even allowed to make new friends?! the more it weighs on me, until I've become superstitious about it.
I still think you're cool and would very much like to spend time with you once my imaginary restraining order is removed. If you write to me at my Gmail address I'll write back. But if you're pissed and don't want to be bothered with the likes of me, I can understand that, too. I really am sorry to be so confused and confusing.
Well, that totally sucked. But at least I got it done. I hope Dr. Wheat doesn't turn out to be some sort of Svengali figure, whereas Charlie Brown was my one shot at happiness, and I just blew it.
Actually, if I could meet a man like the real Charlie Brown, that would be all right. Well, hmmm. Maybe Charlie Brown would be a little too depressive for me. Of all the Peanuts characters, the one I'm most like is (can you guess?) Snoopy.
The Crap Shoot School of Home Education 2006-08-28 - 4:33 a.m.
No results found for "elitrisaty."
Did you mean elitist?
My kid can't spell. You might think it would bother me, but it doesn't. I think it's pretty cute, actually.
The first time I gave her a spelling test she took it so hard that I felt like an ogre. The second time I gave her a spelling test was even worse, and I told her she didn't have to take any more spelling tests. Not until she was ready.
I still stand by my decision.
The thing is, I have a knack for spelling. Criminy seems to have it, too. But Felony has to work at it. And that's the whole point: She does work at it. She worries about it so much that it impedes her when she is trying to write for an audience.
Even so, she's improved tremendously. But instead of hammering her with the study of spelling, I chose to emphasize the need to read instead. I've heard that's the best way to learn how to spell. Taking spelling tests is an endless humiliation if you don't have the words turning up fully formed in your mind. It's something she just can't shake off. So we'll see what happens. Either I'm correct or I'm stunting her academic development. (You gotta love the whole crap-shoot element of parenting.)
birthday girls 2006-08-27 - 1:26 a.m.
I don't really have anything to say. I just felt like writing something and starting a new page, so I wouldn't have to look at that old page anymore.
Today my girls turn eleven. It won't be the birthday they had hoped for, I'm afraid. I'm so broke I can't even pay attention. But I'll try to make it fun anyway. Maybe I'll have them write a list of five things they want, within reason, and get them one every time I get paid. It feels like I'm always telling them no; they can't get something, we can't afford it, I don't get paid until Wednesday. And now I can't even celebrate their birthday on time. Makes me feel kinda bad. But they know I love them and I want them to have a good birthday. We'll just have to stretch it out a bit.