Thursday, December 31, 2009


I saw a little rabbit in my neighborhood on my way home yesterday. It was dark, but there it was. I had Thai noodles from the Kroger deli. I don't even like Thai noodles. I usually forget that it means, at least here in the U.S., that it has peanut butter in it. It has been a long, slow vacation. This week, being the parent of a teenager stings a little bit, for all of us in the house. I want to do the right thing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


What is it about repetition that makes us who we are, or who we are not? Do we repeat the same mistakes because we have to? Our brains know no other way? We haven't learned the lessons that our pasts have tried to teach us? We have more to learn from more mistakes? When will we change? When we want to? We all say the world is constantly changing. We also say that life repeats itself. A cycle of circles we live in. All are different, yet all are shaped the same. Make one circle, go around again. Trees grow this way. Seasons go this way. Birth, life and death go this way. Why do I want something better for myself, when repetition is life? How often is the word "again" used in a positive context?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chance Passage

Yesterday I came across this part of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," by Milan Kunder, which caused me to read it over a few times and think a little more: "Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup." Thanks, Mr. Kunder; when you're not extolling the virtues of womanizing (through Tomas), you're helping to enrich my day.
Post script: I've never talked to anyone about coffee grounds at the bottom of my cup. I thought I was the only one who tried to make sense out of the patterns.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What I Take

There was a brilliant, full rainbow on Christmas day at about 4 p.m. Our best gift! Our best Christmas ever! We had snow, sunshine and not-too-cold temperatures. We had family, we had friends, and we had great food. My friend gave me his i-Pod, the very i-Pod I found in the trunk of my car last March, full of amazing songs. I got to spend the night, Christmas night, at a president's house, with great and wonderful people, some of my very favorites.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Today I started reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which had been recommended by a friend who touts it as The Book He Would Have Wanted to Write Himself -- maybe the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a book. So far, I've read to about page 20 and it has made me feel so sad. The main character has so carefully constructed his life to have made no emotional attachments to women, and many affairs, with rules involved so that he does not become attached. He calls it the rule of threes: either be with a woman three times in what he calls rapid succession and then never see her again; or carefully schedule engagements with a woman so that at least three weeks pass by before each encounter. That is the story of the successful lothario/womanizer. I suspect the reason my friend likes this book is not directly related to this character's womanizing habits, but more based upon the quality of the introspection and placid analytical style this author has exhibited that I have observed so far. I perused through a few of this author's other books, and I find similar womanizing themes in at least one of them. I wondered what it's like to be inside the head of someone who has no feeling, no emotion, no attachment to women and creates this state of being on purpose. But to read about it makes me feel used, abused and kicked around. I don't like it. None of the qualities of the women being used must matter much to that person who seeks no emotional attachment. That's a horrible feeling. This is a problem I have with some of the other books I've read. And they have one thing in common. Male authors. They know this stuff.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter bliss

Today I've looked at hundreds of photos of snowy vistas. I know some people who know some other people who have great cameras, four-wheel drive vehicles, and like to ski. I wonder if I would be a skier if I could afford it. The fresh air, the exercise and the camaraderie seem exhilarating.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to Fix Regret

Today I was going over in my head a small event that happened in July of 1993. A day of a seemingly carefully weighed decision happened that triggered more than a decade of regret. I was 20 years old. I had been dating someone for two weeks. I was blissfully happy and thought I had found an amazingly awesome person who had everything and offered everything I could ever want in someone. He was easygoing, funny, tall and good-looking. He had sparkly green eyes, beautiful hands, and liked everything I liked and his artistic nature was something I resonated with. I knew that after two weeks there was a lot more that I would want to get to know, but I loved what I knew so far. He wanted me to come with him to where he lived, 40 minutes away from my house. I was expecting an old friend to come and visit me then. He was traveling an hour and a half away. I left to be with the new guy to go to his house. The new guy told me if I waited for my old friend, I would never hear from him again (new guy). I tried to call my old friend and tell him I wasn't going to be home. I called and there was no answer. I left. I left a note. I thought about it and I didn't want to lose the new guy, or lose a chance to get to know the new guy better.
Later I realized this was the first of many control tactics the new guy would use to manipulate me. Later I realized how badly I treated my old friend. My old friend is still my friend, but probably still has not forgiven me for my utter inconsideration. At the time, when I apologized, he said that he was coming to town to visit another friend anyway, so it was no big deal. I don't know if it's true, but I do know that I still feel badly about it. If I could go back and change the past, this would be the one thing I would change. I would have stayed for my old friend. I would have picked up on the control tactic and made the new guy go back to his house by himself, no matter whether he would have talked to me ever again. I guess the question is how can this regret make me a better person? What can I do to make it better?

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Yesterday I went for a walk in the snow for about an hour. I got a phone call toward the end of my walk and I had trouble talking because my face was kinda frozen. Earlier that day I read through a cookbook and decided to make a few recipes from it, mostly involving baking. I bought ingredients for three of the recipes, plus a lot of other food, and ended up spending way too much at the store. I had to walk by some bubbly college students who were running the Salvation Army bucket outside the store. They were serenading everyone who walked by, including me.
The day before that I had a conversation with someone about another person who practices witchcraft, and it got me thinking about manipulation. Does the draw to become a witch attract people who like to manipulate people and things? But at the same time, does it involve peaceful interaction and respect of nature and mother earth above all else? Don't the two contradict each other? How to reconcile the desire to manipulate and the desire to live in harmony with all existence? I wonder.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


If not for John Cusack, 2012 would have been a miserable failure. It's just that I have something against disaster movies. One of my favorite parts is when some guy puts his hands on his face ("Home Alone"-style) and exclaims, "We're all going to die!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Things are very quiet here. I made some chicken burgers and baked whole sweet potatoes. I took a walk. It rained a little on my walk but I had a hat and a raincoat. Things were very quiet outside. It's been hard at work. It's been quiet. It gets dark so early in the evening. I want to get this Wednesday over with.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Love You, Mr. Fox

After a string of movie-watching of lackluster blockbuster films, I finally saw a magnificent movie that kept me laughing and interested from beginning to end. Wednesday I watched Twilight's New Moon movie (sappy, melodramatic and dry); Friday I watched A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey (I fell asleep 3/4 of the way through it); and Saturday, The Fantastic Mr. Fox -- quirky, witty, artistic, crafty, hilarious, doll house-like, picking up on subtleties and details of life that make a movie great.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Combinations of Stripes, Blocks and Color

Today the three members of our household each wore a plaid shirt. Funny how we all enjoy a good plaid. Plaid is fascinating to me because some of the combinations of color can evoke a variety of imagines and feelings, like of woodsmanship, scotsmanship, privateschoolmanship, scotchtapemanship, order, process, and complexity. Varying widths of stripes come together to cross, overlap, and weave to create new colors and layers of squares and rectangles. Plaid can be versatile -- understated or overstated; conservative or liberal; cheery or dark. But with all those things, plaid can still maintain a neutrality that is unparalleled by any other type of pattern. Flowers can be too floral and feminine, stripes can be too stiff and confining, circles can be obnoxious, argyle too conservative, and checkers too uninteresting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yay, The Fiddle

Ah, the fiddle competition. My annual visit to the Mountainlair brought me fresh pasta from Elkins, pasta chips from Elkins, a packed-house fiddle competition and the usual perusing of West Virginia-made art. Oh, and maple sugar candy. I cannot figure out why the delicacy of the maple sugar candy is not more widely available. I find it about once every two years. Better than anything, I tell you.
Each competing fiddler played two songs. There were five prizes, and a wandering fiddler from Chicago who just "happened to be passing through" won two of the prizes. Really? Was it by chance, circumstance, or compelling competition-stance? The youngest competitor looked to be about six years old, and she was brave and skilled. The oldest (well, probably the oldest), Elmer Rich, is a local musician in his 90s who is amazingly and magically talented. Sweet, sad, slow, graceful, perfectly in tune, and just perfect. I didn't want him to stop playing. He was funny, too. Most of the fiddlers told short funny stories to introduce their songs. This was my first attendance at a fiddle competition, I believe. I am certain I will be going back next year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Early Week

Sunday I visited the pristine Mason-Dixon park, climbed a ridge and walked along it to the post that marks the line between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The walk was leafy, sunny, peaceful and, of course, beautiful. Before that day, I didn't know a couple of benches could impress me so much. They were put together so simply, and were placed along the route in the most picturesque of places. There were some lessons around on the white signs that had to do with the history of some of the battles involving the Catawba and Delaware tribes (I think) and a story of a woman who axed three people to death near there.
Back at the flea market on Sunday, people were packing up when we got there. You go too often and things seem a little stale.
I didn't sleep well Sunday and was miserable on Monday. When the week starts, I wish to be ready for it. Sometimes that level of predictable responsibility seems to me to be most mundane, though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The previous posts are significantly uninteresting. Please don't read them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today when I was driving I came upon the scene of a car accident. The first time I passed by, nothing was happening. About 20 minutes later, I came by on the way back from where I was going and saw a lot of black smoke. Fire engulfed about half of a Toyota and the car's windshield was shattered. The flames were high, maybe about five or six feet above the car. Then I saw a body lying in the median. He wasn't moving and he looked completely lifeless. I found out later he died there. He was driving his motorcycle and hit the car on its side, and that's what caused the car fire. We passed by before the emergency response people came, but there were some fireman there (without trucks) trying to direct traffic while the fire blazed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not So Good Monday

Almost every day for the past week, we've missed the bus and I've been later than I have wanted to be for work. Two people were having birthdays at work, so we went to the Olive Garden for lunch. Our waiter was super-fast, super-hyper, and smelled good. He didn't care how close he got to anyone to lean over to put cheese on our food. A waitress was in training with him and she was twirling her hair.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This weekend I watched the movie "An American Crime," with Ellen Page and Catherine Keener. The movie is based on a true story about a terrible, terrible crime. I was sad about it for the rest of the weekend. After I read more about the story, I felt even worse. In Indiana in 1965, a 16-year-old girl was imprisoned in a basement and was tortured. Her parents worked for a carnival, and they paid a woman who had six kids to take care of the girl and her sister for $20 a week. The mother and her children and the neighborhood kids all participated in the abuse.
The movie I watched the day before was surprisingly good -- War, Inc., with John Cusack. I'm always amused, as are most people, I'm sure, when Joan Cusack unexpectedly turns up as one of his cohorts, costars, sidekicks, in some kind of cameo appearance or small character. Why is John Cusack so infinitely cool? Is it because he plays complicated characters? Is it because he has pretty good taste in the movies he picks? The soundtrack was great in the movie. Hillary Duff stars in the movie and plays a sickeningly trite pop star, and she sings a couple of the songs. The movie seems to take place in the present, but in an alternate world where corporations have essentially replaced government, but the difference is that their influence is not subversive. The movie has, as all good movies have, a blend of the elements of many different kinds of movies in it -- comedy, beauty, tragedy, action, violence, philosophy, literature, action, and something interesting to think about. I'm sure there's a good word for that, but I'm too tired to be creative.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The sound of an old satin dress tearing sounds like the noises from a cat fight. Two hours of shopping for Halloween costumes yielded nothing. So we are getting creative with old dresses.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today the weather was its most brilliant, and the colors were golden, red, and yellow against a beautifully deep blue sky. I spent a lot of time outside, and got some good deals at the Sunday flea market. I found some Star of David glasses for 10 cents, and a couple of silver racks for 25 cents. For a total of 90 cents, I came away from the flea market very happy. There was also an old Schwinn bike with basket that made someone very happy after the expenditure of $10.
Last night I attended a Dracula play, a production of college students. The costumes, sound, set, scenery and the acting were spooky and captivating. There was an incredible, eerie, black and white illustrated tapestry that was about three stories tall that served as some of the background scenery and scene-changing screens. Most actors were wearing freakish wigs and there was a lot of fog onstage. In a couple of graveyard scenes, the fog rolled perfectly across the stage, as if emanating from the hallowed cemetery ground, and at other times the fog looked like apparitions of paranormal activity. At some plays, I can shift listlessly in my seat, wondering why I thought coming was such a great idea, and wondering how much longer I have to wait to see whether it will get any better. But at Dracula last night, I had an affection for theatre.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Last night all this energy consumed me to such a boundless extent that I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned for hours. I threw away months', maybe years', worth of clutter in my room that had accumulated from the U.S. Postal Service and school functions. I did laundry, folded and put away laundry, cooked, got the oil changed in my car, found some good stuff at Goodwill, cleaned up another room, and vacuumed. I did all that for 10 hours. I think all this energy comes from happiness! It scares me a little bit because I know it's only temporary and I don't want to see it end.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I finally got to the woods! My walking companion took my photograph with her iPhone, as I was standing on the rock overlooking a giant canyon, and posted it to Facebook while we were standing on the rock. It was brilliantly sunny and colorful all day at work (at least the view from my office window told me so), but by the time I got to the overlook, it was a little overcast, but really not bad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Everyone is talking about the weather today. Brilliant, sunny, warm, a world away from last week. I'm talking about going into the woods this afternoon. There is nothing better.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Balconies and Bootstrapping

Last night I read some stuff I had written down about eight years ago. I was again reminded by reading it how much I got out of evidence class. I wrote, "Everything I learned about life I learned in evidence class." I wrote about the concept of bootstrapping, which my professor talked about, to mean that one event can be used as a tool to accomplish something else. I was writing that I was trying to put clean laundry away, hanging up the clothes on hangers. The hangers were getting all tangled and I had clothes in one hand and hangers in the other. For a second I got annoyed because I couldn't untangle the hangers with just one hand, then realized that I didn't just need one hanger, I needed both, and I could use one to pick up the other, like they were plastic monkeys in a plastic barrel (also known as using the path of least resistance). I thought a lot about how that could be applied in other useful ways, and about how interrelated each event is to all other events in our lives. I started trying to figure out solutions to problems that will help me with other problems. I believe the concept of bootstrapping that my professor was trying to get across, is that a piece of evidence at a trial might be able to be introduced for only a certain purpose, but its value might be in something else that that piece of evidence happens to show.
Something else I had written down then was interesting that I was reminded of, completely unrelated to the above except that it was something I came across from the same time period. In one of my other classes, the book used for the class had advice for how to objectively view any given difficult situation. The author said to imagine yourself standing on a balcony, looking down on the situation from above, and evaluating at a distance what is going on and what should be done. I wonder, do other people do that?
I'm really, really, really glad I wrote so much and still have what I wrote from that time. Life repeats itself, and things that were happening to me in there are coming around again, and I'm remembering, in a visceral way, how much I had to deal with and how I got through it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Weekend Education

Yesterday and today I'm taking a refresher class on Evidence by a somewhat famous (at least to me) professor from a law school in New York. He's a lively talker; he's funny, pauses at all the right and dramatic moments, and he's anecdotal and direct. The way a good professor should be!
Taking the class reminds me of how interesting I found the topic of Evidence to be. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years have gone by, tweaking the development of how we present the Truth to the Court. What is considered True? Not something that someone else said or wrote (most of the time); just what someone has observed or experienced herself. What makes something more believable or not? Not that that person has been convicted of a completely different, unrelated crime (sometimes) ... unless it's used for a certain specific purpose and the conviction was a felony (most of the time). What kind of information do we need about a photograph before we can consider the truth of its contents? Who took it, where it was taken, when it was taken, what it represents, why it's relevant ... and does its probative value outweigh the likelihood that it will be prejudicial to the jury?
I was trying to explain to someone how exciting I find Evidence to be. She responded by saying, "It's all so subjective, isn't it?" And I said, "But it is objective. Our society has tried to create a system of presenting the truth in the most non-subjective way possible; that's the beauty of it."
Later on as I was cleaning up after dinner I thought some more about those hundreds and hundreds of years of developing Evidence law. I remembered earlier that day, walking through the room where the lecture was being presented, seeing large portraits of distinguished-looking men. I realized that probably 99.99 percent of those books and laws and cases and rules were developed by legions and legions and legions of men, at least prior to the 1970s.
I wonder if it would be different if more women had been involved in legal history. Would it be the same? Can the men speak for us? Is it all just a bunch of gender-neutral logic?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Yesterday I had an eventful and amazing Sunday, just as a fair-weather Sunday should be. Coffee, wilderness, great food, walking, driving, and taking in the fall scenery. I checked out the dog park downtown, for the first time, and it was a friendly and laid-back place. I saw a man with an easel set up by the river downtown, and he was creating an oil painting in purple and gray of the Mon River scene. The day before I heard some good music and talked to good people.
The annoying trivialities of trying to get through life had been eroding my usual buoyancy on Friday: strings of inconveniences and disorienting events, like dropping things that should have been easy to hold, forgetting things that made me circle back out of my way to retrieve them, which made me get caught in a flood-making downpour, getting caught in traffic behind the drivers who drive 15 miles per hour, hitting all the red lights and the potholes, one after another ... and being sensitive to those trivial setbacks without the ability to be impervious to them. I used to think that meant that I was tired. Or unhappy. Or both.
I don't know how I turned it around for myself this weekend, but I did.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I found out that no one got to say goodbye to my neighbor before she died. Last week, on Tuesday, she broke or fractured her hip. Her husband told me they thought she would be home soon, but he was called early that next morning and was told to come to the hospital. They told him that his wife was gone, and he said, "Where did she go?" Apparently she had a heart attack, possibly as a result of the trauma of the fall.
Today I passed the Sheetz sign that tells customers, quite loudly, that they have the Lowest Cig Prices Around, or something like that. I feel so bad. Only about a month ago or two, at her request, I went to Sheetz with $2o she gave me and bought about four or five packs of Lowest-Priced Cigs for her. I suppose I wouldn't have refused to buy someone cigarettes, and wouldn't have done anything differently, but I still feel somewhat ... irresponsible for helping her do something that was probably killing her.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The End

I found out my neighbor died today. I didn't see it coming. I hadn't seen her outside on the porch in a few weeks, but I related her absence to the weather getting colder. She was too young to go, but she had health problems. We were geographically close. We shared a wall in our duplex. Her husband came this afternoon to tell us that she died this morning. I tried to think of people I could talk to about it, but I was having a hard time figuring that out. This has never happened to me before. (I do recall when my grandmother's neighbor Kitty died. I thought of her mostly because my grandparents gave me Kitty's wooden art supply box full of paints and brushes, and I used that box a lot. I only talked to Kitty a few times.) I wonder about what to do and what to say to my neighbor who just lost his wife. I haven't yet talked to him about it; only heard the news from my daughter who heard it from him.
She had a special name for my cat. We helped each other out. I didn't get to say goodbye. We knew things about each other that no one else knew, like when I stayed at home from work or when she was out of cigarettes.
I wonder if there will come a time when I will be that neighbor. Maybe I'll just slip away peacefully in a forgotten nursing home cell. There, the neighbors'll be kicking off all over the place so it'll be just another event there at the rest home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Yesterday and today I've been thinking into the long-ago past, revisiting some unpleasant memories about me having to pay back a loan during some rough times. It wasn't my idea to take the loan out in the first place; it was at my then-husband's insistence. We divorced, and I got stuck with 100 percent of the payments for almost three years because he wasn't able or willing to pay his half. I paid the $142 faithfully every month, and made the last and final payment due when I finished graduate school. The loan originally went mostly to buy a new computer, which I never saw or got to use. I tried (and try) not to dwell on the tragedy of the totality of it all, about how all of our individual monetary choices started and ended exactly the same way, but now it comes back to haunt me in the future, when various current events force me to revisit the past. I generally think of myself as someone who hasn't had very many bad things happen to her. Last week a co-worker told me that I seem to have a lot of bad luck, and she thinks it's because I'm such a nice, pleasant, and positive person, and that the universe has to temper that by having me run into bad luck. I found that observation to be rather preposterous, but at least it contained a few compliments. I just try to think of each negative event in my life as a learning experience, but it's difficult to keep that focus when the past keeps coming back around. Sometimes it helps to remind myself that things are so much better now than they used to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday I went to a wedding, and did not feel the slightest bit cynical. Mm ... maybe a touch cynical, but much less than ever. I spent a lot of time right before the wedding painting a picture of the lovely couple taking a motorcycle ride in the midst of some amazing scenery. Maybe that helped lessen the feeling of cynicism.
The leaves on the trees that lined our road on the way to the wedding were more colorful than they are at home. Taking in the beauty of it all, in the short amount of time that is available, is something that must happen. Kind of like how one should feel when going to a wedding.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kenyan Cafe, Part 2

A re-visit to the Kenyan Cafe this night. What a welcoming, fulfilling, happy place to eat. The food is wholesome, flavorful and interesting. The masala tea is sweet with sugar and cloves, spicy hot with ginger, and soothing with its creamy, hot goodness. Oh, yes, tea can be that good (I hated tea for the first 25 years of my life. I thought it all tasted like dirt; it turns out that the only tea that tastes like dirt is plain black tea or plain green tea with no herbs, spices, sugar or anything to flavor it).
The owner was just as friendly this time as he was the last.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today began a two-day stretch of taking a bunch of compensatory time I've racked up recently. I was just tired and wanted to sleep as much as I could. I woke up at 11 a.m. and didn't realize until about 2:30 p.m., when a headache set in, that I didn't have my usual coffee. So, of course, the rest of the day I was groggy. I discovered that my new computer will let me watch Netflix movies, which my old one wouldn't do. I watched "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly," similar to the book I'm reading ("The Gargoyle") because both involve being bedridden because of medical conditions. Other than that, the two stories are very different; one is essentially non-fiction and the other is a novel.
I wondered if it will ever be possible to go without coffee. In The Gargoyle, the main character is a burn patient who is trying to kick a morphine addiction. He does it. It takes three days. The author spends what seems like a couple of chapters detailing his Dante-Inferno-like hallucination, a journey through an intricate series of hellish settings. Meanwhile, I was feeling infirmed because of a lack of caffeine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I put myself out there to take a two-and-a-half-hour trip to go to a work-related fundraiser Friday. From about noon to 3 p.m. I was second-guessing my decision to go; thought that I think a long trip to go somewhere for an event that would last only a few hours sounds like a great idea until it comes close to the departure time and I start thinking of the long road ahead and all the other things I could be doing with my time. I've gotten myself in those situations, and when I get there, I question the idiocy of my foolish choices.
From the time I left home, though, to the time I returned home, I was glad I went. I met the spouses of people I'd known for awhile, had some good food, and talked to a lot of nice, funny people.
Friday in the midst of my preparations for travel, a squirrel ran right under my car as I was driving uphill toward home. If I had applied the brakes it wouldn't have made a difference. Probably the only thing I could have done to avoid the accident would have been to stop at the ATM a few blocks away like I had planned but had forgotten to do. I'd managed to drive for all of my 20 years of driving without killing a single animal. I heard "clunkety clunk" under my wheels. I drove around the block to move the squirrel out of the road. As I approached its little body, I noticed a crushed chestnut inches away from it. The squirrel's fluffy tail swished from left to right, but the life was gone. I moved it off the road and apologized to the squirrel and its family, and babies, if it had any. The whole way down the interstate and back the next day was littered with squirrel bodies. I managed to save the lives of a couple of squirrels who dashed in front of my car on my trip, so I felt a little better about the animal that died under the wheels of my car. Someone told me there's a shortage of nuts in the area this year, which is causing the squirrels to forage frantically.
The death of the squirrel made me think about how, in the past three years, random, unpreventable accidents have happened to me at precisely this time in September. Last year, a dog bit me while I was walking calmly and peacefully in front of its owner's house. The year before that, I was stopped at a traffic light and a caravan rear-ended my vehicle, which caused my car's frame to crack. I don't remember any unavoidable tragedies in any other mid-Septembers. And I think that there were good results from my tragedies, with the exception of the squirrel dying: one, the damages from the car helped me pay for a new vehicle; two, the owner of the dog stopped having the dog wander around aimlessly without a leash in the vicinity of my house. Actually, now that I think about it (and was recently reminded that everything that happens to us is a learning experience), it helps me realize that unavoidable tragedies are a part of life, cannot be predicted, and sometimes we cannot prepare for them. But of course, just having the ability to drive in a car means that inadvertently killing innocent squirrels is a likely inevitability. I have been prepared for this moment. All those near-misses I've had have prepared me for it. And to think, thinking things through makes something out of what might seem to some like nothing. But life is our teacher, from the beginning to the end.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today I was telling a story to someone about how someone else snapped at me in a disturbing and unjustified way. About an hour later, the person I was talking to about it snapped at me in a slightly disturbing and unjustified way. It was just one sentence that bothered me. It was one of those statements directed toward me that involved the other person being impatient and annoyed with something I said, but based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of what I said. I didn't react, other than to say, "OK," but thought about it and tried to shake off a bad feeling. I hate talking about other people in a negative light, but sometimes it's necessary. I also hate bad feelings.
Hopefully I will feel better in the morning.
Last night I discovered that Amaretto combined with soy milk is one of the best drinks ever. It tastes like cream, honey and butterscotch, all caramelized, only much better. The only catch is that you have to be 21 to try it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


When I read too much, I narrate my life in my head in between the times spent poring over a book.

"She approached the kitchen cabinet door to pull out her earthy coffee mug a friend had given her years ago."

"She anticipated the steaming, strong beverage that would soon be filling her mouth when the espresso machine had finished with its cacophonous roar."

When I was young and used to imagine that my life was a television show, I imagined it would be produced just like it was on The Love Boat, complete with the guest stars and actors in round windows when they're introduced in the opening credits. Of course, I would have been the only one who didn't know it was just a show, and they did a really good job hiding all those cameras. Sometimes I think that Jim Carrey was actually playing me in The Truman Show. Doesn't everyone?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Unwind in the Way You Know Best.

Has a person ever felt that he just can't take any more? That he snaps at the slightest slight or inconvenience? That person needs to recognize that it's simply a sign that the person needs a time-out. I know I have done so. And when I do, I feel a lot better. I feel even better knowing that I recognized when it was time. I might unintentionally or intentionally revisit this topic sometime. Ahhh, Friday. I feel glad that you are here with me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This evening I attended an open-house function for parents at school. Like the three other years I attended, I expected a visit to all the classrooms and with all the teachers. This year they decided to try a different format, which was to have parents choose one of six workshops, and to attend three of those workshops, most of them designed to help give parents tips about helping their children learn in school and at home. I was disappointed because I didn't get to go in the teachers' classrooms and hear them talk about each class my child is taking. I was disappointed because I didn't get to go home and make dinner for the family until 8:30 p.m. I was highly irritated that many of the materials passed out at the school to me today had glaring grammatical errors. I thought about how the principal told everyone he has an "open-door policy," which made me think about the time I told him about the problem with the compound modifier on the giant banner in the cafeteria; that the banner had a mistake on it, and that it should read "A People-Building Environment" instead of "A People Building Environment." Neither phrase makes much sense to me, but the idea of an environment that builds people makes more sense than "a people" building environment. When I told him, it clearly annoyed him that I thought there should be a hyphen on the banner, and I could tell he either wasn't comprehending what I was saying or didn't care (especially when I later noticed that nothing was done to correct the banner). He was dismissive and abrupt. I realize I told him during the lunch hour and he was very busy. But his reaction made me sorry I reached out. I thought about how I might be more successful flagging down an English teacher and asking him or her to change the banner, or at least debate with me about whether it is indeed a mistake. I keep telling myself it's such a minor issue, and I should just let it go, but then I think that a big banner in a school pinned up on the wall for everyone to see, every day, is going to make a difference. We get it drilled into our heads that a good education is so important, and I have come to believe that. So when I see an example of a statement that's supposed to be positive, and has been made into a giant display for all the students, and it has a common grammatical error in it, I think an injustice has occurred.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Wasn't Finished

Today I wondered about whether there's a difference between interrupting someone and attempting to finish someone else's sentences. Whether someone interrupts me, or incorrectly attempts to finish a disturbing number of my sentences, the whole experience is draining because it requires extra patience with the person, and stamina for the energy it takes to maintain a coherent thought, stay focused, finish articulating a thought in its entirety and suffer through that annoyed feeling.
If someone wants to finish my sentence exactly the way I would've finished it, that can be gratifying and confirming, as if experiencing a miraculous-seeming coincidence when our intellects connect and we are one, momentarily.
If someone interrupts me once or twice (and I might get overanxious and interrupt the person I'm talking to), I expect that it's going to happen.
But the consistent interrupting and erroneous thought-finishing immediately makes me feel as if the person doesn't care about what I have to say, doesn't think my complete and finished thoughts are worth listening to, or arrogantly and wrongfully assumes the person already knows what I'm going to say and doesn't have the patience for me or interest in my thoughts to let me finish. Lately I've found myself resorting to such tactics as "let me finish," "just hold on a second," "what I'm trying to say is ..." "wait a minute" and "I wasn't finished." Sometimes it's not worth the energy or the time, and I just look at my watch.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kenyan Cafe

Today was made into a pleasant day by a visit to the Kenyan Cafe. Upon entering, guests are ushered to the tea for samples. The owner greets you with a smile and offers to answer any questions. The stew is whisked out to you by a group of people so that everyone gets their food at once. We had goat stew, chicken stew, beef stew, and chicken curry with chapatis, kale and cabbage. The kale and cabbage were cooked perfectly, with the texture and flavor of partially cooked or steamed vegetables. The portions were exactly right, and we all left feeling great about the healthy food we ate, and without that heavy, overindulgent feeling one can get after eating at a restaurant. We were all happy when a large group of people entered the restaurant after we left. I hope the Kenyan Cafe sticks around for a long time. It's open every day and they have Wi-Fi access (much to the delight of the teenager in the group).


Since the parking and traffic situation near my house is impossible when there's a football game going on (and there was a game going on), and I needed to buy some coffee beans, I decided to walk awhile to buy some at a coffee shop a few miles away. We left the house at 12:20; it was eerily quiet and cars were excessively parked all around, and tents and chairs were deserted. That's how I knew the game had started. Along the way, we encountered melted tar, sycamore bark, a shortcut, a shoe store, a friend we met, a pet store, a store with incense and lemonade, a yard sale and a playground. Four hours later, we arrived home.
About 2 p.m., I was curious about what was happening with the game, because I eventually saw groups of two to four people walking away from the stadium; all of them wearing the school colors (everyone except us). As we crossed paths with two of them, I thought they looked friendly, so I asked them, "What's going on with the game? Is it just too hot?" One guy said, "We're just too drunk." The other guy, carrying a bag of about six beer bottles, said, "Yeah, we're wasted." I guess it's my fault for asking; my fault for living in a university-dominated town; but I was walking with two 11-year-olds who probably did not need to hear their response. I started to wonder if all the people leaving early "were just too drunk." I thought a little bit about how the football games were about football, but so much more. Later on the 11 p.m. news, there was a local story about how the party atmosphere was so much under control, and about how it was more of a family environment than ever, and there is so much less drinking going on.
All in all, we saw a lot, got a lot of good exercise, fresh air and sunshine, and resolved that it was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Monday, August 31, 2009


The hamsters in the house chew on the cage bars in bites of rapid-fire succession. Then, when they're finished chewing on their bars, they run in their wheels. Of course, they sleep. But they sleep when we forget that they are not being annoying. Change is in the air today. The weather is crisp, the sun is bright, and it is getting colder, among other changes.
I've been reading a novel, "The Gargoyle," by Andrew Davidson. I am about a third of the way through the book. It started out that a burn patient is recovering in a hospital. Now that I'm one-third of the way through it, it's still about a burn patient recovering in the hospital. I'm at the point in the book where I have to decide whether I'm going to assume that it's a slow buildup leading to a grand, cataclysmic, meaningful ending, as I was promised; or if I'll be waiting for something more and it never comes. If I consciously or even subconsciously assume the latter, the remaining two-thirds will remain unread, forever. I'm willing to keep going, for the time being, but I hope I'm not sorry about it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


This was a necessarily quiet but sad weekend. Nothing bad happened, except that I was trying to get over a cold (flu?) before it hit me hard. The best part about that is that I think I won and the sickness lost. I had lots of zinc, Tension Tamer tea, Echinacea Cold Season tea (both Celestial Seasons, I suppose I must add), soup, and tomato, basil and spicy mustard sandwiches.
Saturday night I debated between watching The Pursuit of Happyness and the XMen movie, The Last Stand. I watched about 10 percent of the X-men movie and 90 percent of The Pursuit of Happyness. One crucial fault of the XMen movie is how most of society sees the mutants as people who are sick and must be cured. It's just too much of an inconsistency with how I think it would be in reality, if the mutants' powers existed, and too contradictory to really accept as a legitimate part of the story. If I could imagine the world rejecting the idea of people having superpowers, like the ability to make cars float or read peoples' thoughts, then I could accept the rest of the movie. Any amount of fantasy superpowers would be acceptable, but if you're going to combine it with human behavior that doesn't make any sense, then I have a hard time with it.
I knew The Pursuit of Happyness was supposed to be sad, but it was sad in a way I didn't expect. The main character made a few mistakes I think I would not have made. He took too many risks. He told his son's mother that she couldn't take care of her son, so she couldn't take her with him, and then he ended up not being able to provide a home for his son so that they had to sleep at homeless shelters for awhile. Then, in the end, of course, it was all "rags to riches" and I ended up wondering why I can't seem to move forward.
I was supposed to have been meeting my good friend Djeneba at a nearby resort where she works. We both had in mind dinner and a movie to celebrate her birthday. I was going to see the whitewater rafting action where she works and see what her job was like. I told her I was coming down with a cold and we both thought it was best that I didn't come.
Even though I had plans it didn't help with the feeling, the omnipotent feeling, that my world is so small. I guess a better way to put it would be that I want it to be bigger. I keep trying to tell myself that it doesn't matter. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Take Me Away!

Yesterday I talked to two people, two voracious-reader friends of mine, and they both have a different idea than I do about what "platitude" means. One said platitudes are comforting things you say to people that make them feel good, like telling someone affected by a friend's death, "It was his just his time to go" and "I'm sorry for your loss." Another friend said platitudes were the equivalent of a pat on the head. I told him about my struggle to avoid such commonness. He said it's easier to do in writing than it is with speech. Annoying, well-worn phrases are just easy; and without them, the observer would think you're weird. Take me away!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yesterday I found out that the word of the day was "platitude." I'd seen and heard the word lots of times and thought it meant some metaphorical level of elevation, similar to a metaphorical plateau, and just imagined that it was a derivative of the word "plateau." I was glad to learn about what it actually means. Trite. Weak. Commonplace. Well-worn phrases and irritating cliches. I'm glad there's a word for it, and I was amused and intrigued by the notion that there is another word for trite and cliche. I decided I really like that word and how it is suggestive of ridicule of the quality of being unoriginal. But now I detect a sense of snobbery in it. Anyway, ever since yesterday (well, really all my life) I've been compelled to avoid the drudgery of the predictable, routine, unoriginal frame of mind. That doesn't mean I think I've succeeded. But why doesn't everyone feel that way?

Friday, August 21, 2009

We Are Marshall

I'm one of those people who despises football. I don't mind going to a game and seeing and feeling the energy of the crowd, getting fresh air, and watching the spectators. OK, maybe I even enjoy seeing the marching band because it reminds me of old times. That will keep me occupied for the full two to three hours of my time there. But football itself? Please, ask me to do just about anything else other than watch sports. I didn't expect to really like "We Are Marshall" for that reason, but I found myself enjoying it nonetheless. My eyes glazed over and my eyelids got a little heavy during the game scenes, but I held it together and stayed awake the whole time. I wondered if anyone else with no ties to West Virginia, or to the people who were involved in the making of the film, would watch or appreciate this movie. But then again, a lot of people all over the world have ties to West Virginia, somehow. There's a very long, but very beautiful commercial enticing people to visit West Virginia. The length of the commercial made it seem so desperate. Please, come to West Virginia. Please see the rivers the mountains the bridges the glass ... wait, is that all we have? They really didn't need to show the same scenic vistas over and over and over again. I don't mean to be critical. What would have been more interesting to me, and just as good a commercial as any, is listening to Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox and some of the other actors talk about what they did and what they saw while they were here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last week, someone told me that if you think a certain thought often enough, the forces of the universe respond and provide you with what you have been thinking about -- she thinks the power of thought has an energy of its own. Her example of something that had just happened to illustrate that concept was how I told her that I had heard someone last week on the radio mention deviled eggs, which made me realize I wanted some. The following day she brought them in to work for everyone, with no traceable connection to my thought or what had been mentioned on the radio.
A few days later, I watched the movie "American Psycho." After watching the movie, I watched part of the special features that talked about Brett Easton Ellis, who wrote the book that the movie is based upon. I learned he also wrote the book that the movie "Less Than Zero" was based on. The following day I started reading a book, "A Million Little Pieces," that I picked up from a yard sale two weekends ago. On the back of the "A Million Little Pieces" is a quote from Brett Easton Ellis giving his compliments about the story.
And if that weren't strange enough ... that same day (last Saturday), I decided I wanted to check the TV listing to see if a movie, 1408, would be on. I had been wanting to see it for a month or two, trying to catch it on one of its airings on The Movie Channel, and wondered if it would be on sometime Saturday, when I had free reign of the television (which hardly ever happens) ... and anyway (can't you see, I'm just bursting with coincidences at the moment and I can hardly contain myself) ... I sat down on the couch, turned the TV to the movie channel, and the very movie I wanted to see had just started three minutes earlier.
Another coincidence happened today, with me thinking about the status of a class action settlement that's been ongoing for at least two years. I checked the Web site today to read about the status, which I hadn't done in at least six months, and someone walked over to me and asked if I had learned anything new about it recently.
I could talk about coincidences every day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Over and Over Again

Today I'm thinking about a former co-worker's over-used statement to a group of us at work: "I'm a creature of habit." At the time, he had been working there for 27 years. Now it would be about 37 years, if he's still there. Not only did he have a few lines of advice, comments and statements he would make throughout the day and every day, he would only do things a certain way, over and over and over and over.
Habits are funny things. Some of us like our subconsciousness to run our lives.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When I Don't Have Anything Else to Think About

Today clarity arrives in the form of thinking about life as solving a series of problems, from a mathematical context, like an equation. One day, variable A plus variable B creates a problem, and C is the solution, which I will eventually find. Or I know about variable A and I know C, the solution, but I don't know how to find variable B. And then I find it. The more and more time that goes by in my life, I see that each problem has a solution and that I have the power to find it. Maybe this clarity came from my good friend, Djeneba. She always has a clear way of looking at things, and I don't. My problem that I talked to her about today is that I have an old friend who has consistently backed out on plans we have. I've been friends with both of them for more than 20 years. Djeneba said I have to figure out if I want to address the problem or let it go. Do I want to tell this person I have a problem maintaining a friendship with her because of her consistent habit of not following through with the plans that we've made? Or do I let it go? It's got to be one or the other. Years ago I came to the conclusion that I would let the friendship go. That I was not going to confront the problem by talking to her about it, because it seems like it would be pointless and no good would come out of it. Then she comes back into my life, and the same problem comes up again. This time I can choose again to let it go. Again it seems that no good would come of me trying to explain to her that I want her to be different. Is that me not solving the same problem, or am I now solving a new problem with the same solution?
Lately I haven't had much to do or think about, and books haven't interested me that much, so I embarked on the form of time travel that I know how to do, by looking at some old stuff I've written and photographs from a couple of years ago. Now all I have to do is figure out how to move forward. I have a couple of projects in mind, like making a table leg stop being wobbly, gluing a wooden box back together and painting my next mandala.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Movie update

Netflix instant reflex: Do Not Watch Hugo Pool. Worst Independent Movie Ever. I didn't just fall asleep once watching it. I fell asleep four different times. Magic Hat #9 might have helped that, though. I thought Robert Downey Jr. being in the movie would help, but I think it exhibited one of his lowest levels in film. He had a fake accent that I couldn't tell was put on to be a fake accent for his character, or if it was just really bad acting. Whichever it was, I couldn't understand what he was supposed to be saying. I did understand that he set his house on fire because he had too much vodka. But that's about it.
I watched Charlie Bartlett last week. That one was a lot better. It was about Charlie Bartlett, who is smart and naive, and is mischievous so that he can be liked by his classmates. I wasn't sure if Charlie Bartlett was supposed to be a hero, someone to feel sorry for, or just a teenager we were supposed to see as human with both flaws and good qualities. If that's what the movie was about, to see all the characters as multi-dimensional, then it worked well. It was a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and a little bit introspective and interesting. This time, the appearance of Robert Downey Jr. was nice, because he played a realistic and likeable character. The mansion, the fancy cars, and the slightly quirky fashion helped make the movie a little bit more compelling, which made me feel shamefully shallow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Short Story

We had a three-day adventure to Ann Arbor, a place I'd seen three times by myself and wanted to bring the family to see. Thanks to the generous and kind offer of a friend, we stayed at her parents' house near there so we could partake in the art fair.
Day 1
At first we worried about how outsiders would perceive us as West Virginians. We were marveling over how flat everything is, and how much sky we could all see. On the way, I drove responsibly and cautiously, which made three other drivers irate. The first time it happened, I was driving in the fast lane of a three-lane highway. I was following the signs, which told drivers to merge into the left lane for construction. As I tried to make my way back into the slow lane, I saw a white Lexus coming up very fast behind me, until it was about three feet behind me. I figured the driver would try to pass me on the right, which would make it quite dangerous for me to get back into the slow lane, so I waited for it to pass. As the Lexus got around me, I looked over at it coming around me to make sure I could get back in the slow lane after it passed. The woman driving the Lexus was yelling at me and pointing her finger at me, demanding that I move over, which is what I had planned to do before I saw her speeding recklessly right behind me and beside me. She made sure to mouth the words dramatically and with as much anger as she could muster toward me. It disturbed me on so many levels. That all her anger and frustration wasn't going to help anyone or make the situation any better. That she thought it was her job to tell me how to drive. That she was so busy being angry that she didn't notice I had a good reason for driving the way I was driving. That she was the one breaking the law by speeding and passing on the right. That she ignored or didn't think about the sign that told all drivers to get into the left lane. That my law-abiding, responsible driving made her mad at me. That other people wouldn't let that kind of road-rage abuse bother them. That when I'm driving in West Virginia and people do that kind of thing to me, I am always right when I assume that they're not from West Virginia. That she had so much anger. In West Virginia, we're considerate of other drivers. We let other people go ahead, because it's safer that way, and we'd want some other driver to be kind to us, so we're kind to them, too. It's definitely a cultural-good-manners thing we have going here. Someone in our car thought that the Lexus lady figured people from West Virginia don't know how to drive.
Later, on a two-lane road, I was trying to make a left turn so I could turn around to a spot where I'd missed a turn. I had my left-hand turn signal on, so I could turn, but the driver behind me was going very fast. I tried to slow down so that the driver would slow down in recognition of the fact that I was about to turn left. I made a wide turn so that I could turn around and go the other direction with as little backing up into traffic as possible. The driver behind me sped on past me after I turned, honking his horn for a very long, continuous signal of anger and annoyance. Finally, when I arrived at my destination, I was driving on a two-lane road at 45 miles per hour. I was looking for a certain house, and still going the speed limit of 45 miles per hour. That wasn't fast enough for the driver behind me. He flashed his extra-bright lights at me (I can only assume it was because I was going too slow, or maybe to tell me he wanted to pass). He did pass me about 15 seconds later, so maybe it was just a mode of communication, a plea, asking me to slow down so he could pass.
Minor incidents or not, I can't help wonder why people drive so unsafe and so angrily. What good does it do people to get angry? Shortly after the Angry Lexus Lady yelled at me, I stopped at a turnpike rest stop. Someone held the door open for me and insisted I go in first. I thought, if this were the highway, and we were driving inside the door, they would have trampled right over me to get in before I could. And yelled at me if they thought I was going too slow. If only strangers could be as kind and considerate to each other on the dangerous highway as they are on foot, the Earth would be a better place.
After we arrived in Ann Arbor, we were directed by my kind and generous friend to drive to the mall, where a bus could transport us to the art fair. When we got to the mall, the passengers of the car were much more interested in checking out the mall than they were the art fair, so we occupied ourselves doing the mindless chain-store shopping. Then it was too late to see the art, so we went to my kind and generous friend's parents' home. It was a beautiful Victorian house painted yellow with green and maroon trim. There were a few barns, a few gardens, a fire pit, a cat, two dogs, and lots of friendliness and good food.
Day 2
We arrived downtown at noon, and started walking at one of the four art fairs. The one we went to was called "the original." This section of the street had artwork that was supposed to represent the best of the artists. I saw furniture, photography, Salvador Dali-inspired paintings, comical paintings, metal frog sculptures, graphic art paintings, mixed media, statues, clothing, glass vases, ceramic teapots, whimsical wood figures, pottery, stained glass with fossils and fish in them, amazing magnets, light switch plates, Batik prints, puppets, dolls, quilts, and hundreds and hundreds of paintings. These are some of my favorites. Five hours later, we realized we probably only saw one quarter of the booths around town. We saw one of the four fairs and a little section of another of the street fairs. There were also a lot of festivals and events around town that were going on because of the events of the art fair.
Day 3
As we headed out of town, we stopped at a bookstore I'd been to the other three times I was in Ann Arbor, and a nearby toy store where we spent about an hour having fun playing with and looking at all the gadgets and games. I didn't make one driver mad at me on the way home. No, wait, I did make someone mad at me. I was slowing down, going the speed limit the whole time, because we were approaching a toll booth. This young guy with a Delaware license plate honked his horn at me in a long and impatient way as he was behind me. My exposure to the big wide world made me a tougher driver by the third day. We stopped in Maumee, near Toledo, at Friendly's restaurant and ice cream store, where the food was pretty unoriginal and unmerry-making. Next door was an antique flea market. Not all of us wanted to go in. Two of us looked around quickly, since the place was only going to be open for 20 more minutes. On the way, the family passengers decided that we would listen to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody for the last two hours of the drive. I put a stop to it after about an hour of intense karaoke. I lost my voice and the other two passengers pulled muscles in their necks from wild Queen appreciation. You know the part.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid-Summer Bliss

Today I had lunch at the office's outside picnic table. The weather was extraordinary and my salad was acceptable. There was a creature wearing a cow suit giving away free chicken by the roadside near the office. We are working on getting an air-conditioning unit in the office for a guy who is perpetually hot. We are working on turning this workplace into paradise. Next: indoor fountain and napping lounge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dialogue Between Father and Daughter

Father: Women can have masculine features, you know.
Daughter (Thinking bitterly of all the times she received comments from people about how she looks so much like her father): Yeah, I suppose that's true. I suppose the same can be said for men having feminine features.
Father: In fact, if you stare long and hard at any pin-up girl long enough, you'll begin to see that she has masculine features, too.
Daughter (Smiling politely and looking away uncomfortably as image develops of father staring at pin-up girl until pin-up girl looks like a guy): Hm.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Unveiling of My New Word(s)

Is there a name for the occurence of when a person has a first and last name that are the same, like Jordan Jordan or Carter Carter? And I wonder, are there very many people whose parents blessed them with such a combination of names? And of those people, how many have taken the effort to legally or informally change them? If there would be a designated word for such treacherous namesakism, I would call it synaname.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


There's been a wish list on my chalkboard in my kitchen for about three months. It contains some necessities, but mostly just stuff I wish I had.

1. A new computer.
2. New tires for my car.
3. A Wii. (I didn't put that one on there.)
4. Chaise lounge.
5. GPS.
6. A digital camera.
7. i-pod or MP3 player.

So far, just having the list hasn't helped me get any of that stuff at all. I'm getting kind of tired of having the list up there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Despite the brilliant sunny weather, I watched a matinee of Up in 3-D. I fell asleep for about 10 or 15 minutes during a pivotal part in the movie. You'd think a person wouldn't get bored at a 3-D movie. The study of the old man's life was pretty sentimental and introspective, and seems to have been based on the real Carl Frederickson, according to the credits at the end of the movie. To watch highlights of a couple's life, from childhood to death (or near death), as in Love in the Time of Cholera (not the movie), makes life seem pretty short and puts a person squarely in the shoes of a person who has lived so much life that all that's left are the memories in his mind. It always makes me want to do something more than I'm doing at the moment. And it makes me re-examine some of the choices I've already made that have put me in the spot I'm in now.
I'm not sure whether seeing the part of the movie I missed would have made me like it any better than I did, but it was a decent movie. Watching it in 3-D didn't add much to the movie, and the tinted glasses made everything darker than it would have been otherwise. I would have rather seen it brighter, and maybe I wish I hadn't been as sleepy. Twenty-six dollars later, I'm wondering what's so great about going to the movies.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Today I've been thinking about Edy's Samoas (Girl Scout Cookies) Ice Cream. It's amazingly delicious, but it might be even better with some Magic Shell on top.
I watched a show on MTV about a dancer teaching an uncoordinated high school student be better at dancing in four weeks so she could try out for the dance team. The biggest message about trying to get the student to improve was for her to radiate with self confidence. To help her do that, she got a haircut, eyebrow reduction, contact lenses, new clothes and new shoes. When she went to school with her new look the next day, a guy asked her out on a date. The sickening allure of superficiality is a vicious truth. I need ice cream.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Old Stuff

I've been thinking about a tour of a home I took two days ago that opens itself up to tours. I happened to be there because that was where I was a guest at a bridal shower tea that was happening. The home seemed to be open for nothing except tours. It was a beautiful, spacious, historic home, but I couldn't figure out why it was significant or special enough for a tour. I wondered how much a person might pay to take a tour. It was "included" if you were a guest at the bridal shower. I saw the servant's quarters in the basement, where the kitchen, icebox and pantry, and living area for servants were. Half of the basement, where the servants lived, used to have a dirt floor, but the floor had been covered with bricks. It was cold and the ceilings were very low down there. I saw six bedrooms on the second floor; a back porch that had been made into a bathroom; two other rooms that had once been porches and had been enclosed; a giant dining room; three living rooms; and a gift shop. There had been a dumbwaiter and an elevator (you had to pull your own weight) at one point, but the dumbwaiter had been removed and the elevator was just to look at. The ceiling on the first floor was 13 feet high; the ceiling on the second floor was 12 feet high; and the third floor ceiling was 11 feet. There was a third floor with several more bedrooms, but it was not open for the tour part. The furniture was all very beautiful, but none of it was original to the home of the only two families that had lived there. There were decorations on the walls that women had made from family hair. I had no idea that was how women used to spend their time. The tour guide said that this was what was called "tatting," so I went away thinking that tatting was something it is not. It sounded like she was saying that tatting was related to making art out of hair; but it turns out that tatting is the art of making lace out of thread. Anyway, the hair art looked like over-dried floral arrangements. I learned something else from the art on the wall -- some old needlework, and an alphabet sewed onto some material, created before there was a "J" in our alphabet. Since when did we not have a "J" in our alphabet? The cloth only looked about a hundred years old.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Men in Maine

Since I've been thinking this past week about coincidences, my mind is working harder to notice them. Today I encountered another coincidence. I just started a book in the early-morning hours of the day (circa 1 a.m.) and then watched a movie about 11 hours later, and both concerned the prospect of a man returning home to Maine to take over the family business. Both men would be leaving their lives as writers, leaving behind their efforts to make their ways in the world by making use of their creative talents. In the book, "Empire Falls," the guy does go back to Maine. In his case, the family business concerns textiles. He thinks that it will be hard to put aside his true passions and suck it up, but finds out it's not that hard. The other guy, played by Ron Livingston in the movie "Two Ninas," really doesn't want to go back and doesn't go back. The movie never reveals what type of business he'd be entering into with his family in Maine. He continues to try to make a living in New York City as a writer, trying to find a publisher for the novel he's written. I tried to like the movie, but it had no substance. I tried to like Ron Livingston's character, which is usually extremely easy for me, but I found this character annoying, trite and pathetic. Sorry, Mr. Livingston. I'm still waiting for the Fox series Standoff that he starred in to come out on DVD, since I didn't get to see any of the episodes in its short life on TV. I don't think it's going to happen.

Friday, May 29, 2009

One or the other? Or Shades of Gray?

I've been wondering: how often is it that confident people are not just confident, but are arrogant and cocky and are uplifted by looking down on other people? Are there a lot of people who seem to lack confidence, but are judgmental and look down on everyone, including themselves? How often is it that confident-appearing people are not confident, but have decided to act that way anyway? And when someone is not confident in a given situation, is it because the person senses that people are looking down on him and judging him negatively? In an ideal world, people are confident because they believe in themselves and are happy about themselves, and are understanding and accepting of everyone. That is happiness.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Yesterday I found "Barrel of Monkeys" at the grocery store. What about that game doesn't appeal to someone? Happy, laughing monkeys made textured like illustrated hair and the goofiest long arms that link to one another indefinitely in a chain of square-dance camaraderie? Good as a solitary game, or for two or more players. Thank you, Milton Bradley. You and your barrel of monkeys will provide me endless happiness.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Will Ferrell Flicks

Recently I watched two Will Ferrell movies, one that was an incredible waste of time and the other that was actually pretty good. The first one I watched, The Legend of Ron Burgundy, put me to sleep, which is probably just the classic passive-aggressive rating I have for, "This movie has nothing going for it and there's no reason for me to stick around for the ending, and I'd have a much better time resting my heavy, heavy ... eyeszzzzz ..." The jokes were pretty bad. By the time I fell asleep, I was thinking to myself that Will Ferrell has really not been in any funny movies whatsoever. Since this was about news anchors battling over news stories, and I have an interest in journalism, I thought that at least that part would interest me. It took place in the 1970s when females apparently were not news anchors, and Christina Applegate's character was trying to break into traditionally male territory. I don't know if the ending would have made the whole movie worthwhile or not, because I just couldn't make it that far.
Even though my mind was made up about Will Ferrell being not funny at all, I nevertheless gave "Old School" a chance. I didn't think that the back story would interest me that much -- a bunch of guys trying to fit in as a fraternity on fraternity row, but Luke Wilson's character had depth. He was intelligent, a little reserved, and didn't mind getting into the fun and wasn't completely rejecting the let's-be-a-fraternity-even-though-we're-not-in-college idea. And Will Ferrell actually made me laugh. Out loud. I could pity him and laugh at his jokes and understand him at all different parts in the movie, which is what the viewer is supposed to feel. It worked.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I watched a pretty good movie today called "Puccini for Beginners." It was an independent film and called itself a "screwball comedy." When I think of screwball comedies, I think of slapstick, Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges. Puccini for Beginners was nothing like that. One line I liked from the movie, which I would have appreciated before I watched the movie if only I studied Freudian psychology a little more than I have, is a line along the lines of something like, "Freud said there are no such things as coincidences. Our minds create coincidences."
Real-Life Application, Coincidence #1:
I was thinking back to that once coincidence I had a few months ago, when I went to Ann Arbor, and I heard from my friend who I hardly ever hear from while there. A few years before that, I was in Ann Arbor and the same friend who hardly ever contacts me called me while I was there then. I thought to myself, "how is that not a natural coincidence?" Then I turned it around on myself and realized there have been more times than just two Ann Arbor trips that my friend has contacted me out of the blue, after not having heard from him in awhile. Does that make it any less of a coincidence? Why did I even remember that he contacted me twice while I was in Ann Arbor? What difference does it make? How many times have I been to Ann Arbor? Three? It's not a coincidence at all. He didn't contact me the first time I went. Or did he?
Real-Life Application, Coincidence #2:
What about running into the same people all the time, strangers or not? What if I run into almost all the same people all the time, but only the people I see as interesting are the ones I keep noticing, which makes it feel like a coincidence? Help me, Freud! What if I could keep track of everyone I've ever seen at the grocery store and the park and at work and in the neighborhood and at parties and restaurants and schools and bike riding and whitewater rafting and at stores and at the beach and ... ? Maybe my brain has the capacity to track such coincidences, and I'm not using it to its capacity. Which brings me to my next set of questions, why do scientists say we use only a small portion of our brains? If it's true, why don't we use the rest of our brains? How do we do we expand? What else can my brain do?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Read This Book? Read This Book? Don't Read This Book?

Go Ask Alice is in the young adult category of books. Here I am, an almost-middle-aged adult, reading it for the first time, and I am traumatized and disturbed. Someone recommended it as reading for teenagers to scare them from using drugs. The book jacket basically says that too. I agree that it might do that, but I am just saddened and upset after finishing it. At first I thought I was reading an actual diary of the anonymous writer, but after I finished the book, I re-read the introduction and it said the book is based on the diary of a 15-year-old girl who has a drug problem. Later I read that the book's authorship is controversial, and that the diary might instead be based on a psychologist's re-telling of the stories of a group of children who have had traumatic and drug-addled backgrounds. I'm still trying to decide if I'm sorry I even read it or not. What kept me reading was that I thought that surely it would have a positive ending. That book led me to such depths of despair that I had never before experienced. At least I have a comedy to watch from Netflix waiting for me. Ugh.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vendetta's Capture

Friday night I fell asleep on the couch while watching TV. At some point during my late-evening nap, the cat jumped on my stomach and started kneading me with her half-sharpened claws and heaviness. She weighs 12 pounds and she can really weigh a person down when she's looking for a comfortable place to rest. Later, when I woke up again, I groggily got to my feet and saw that she was crouching on the floor next to the bottom of the couch, in attack mode, and pawing at the bottom edges of the upholstery at the bottom of the couch. I wondered if she was playing with the hamster Vendetta, who had escaped from her cage earlier that morning. I thought this might be my chance to return the wild pet to its proper resting place and maybe even achieve a minor hero status for a few minutes with the other members of the household. I realized if I had to chase it around, I might never get back to the restful sleep I had on the couch. At any rate, I moved the couch back and forth and spotted the hamster hiding underneath, going along with the movements of the couch. After about the fifth time I moved the couch, and, after trapping the cat in the bathroom, the hamster ran out. I spotted Vendetta running behind the couch. "This is my chance! It could be my only chance!" I thought eagerly. My hands pounced on her body, but she did a dive down the stairs, beneath and beside the living room floor. I heard a "clunk" as it landed on the stairs about four or five feet below. I ran around and down the stairs, and couldn't see Vendetta anywhere. I looked all around the barren stairs. Nothing. I went further down the split-level levels, examining the bathroom floor and family room floor below. I checked under the downstairs couch. Nothing. I checked under all the furniture. Where could a hamster have gone after falling down the stairs in about 30 seconds? my groggy brain wondered. I examined the shoes by the front door, and Vendetta was peeking at me with the protection of about 15 pairs of shoes all around her in a big mountain fortress. I formulated a plan to trap her inside one of my big shoes and run her back into her cage. After about 10 tries of me moving shoes around to get to her, she ran toward me, past me, and to the wall, where she was trapped. I tried to get her to run into my shoe a few times, but she resisted. Finally she had no other choice. She had to enter my Clarks. I put my hand over the open top and bolted up the stairs and into her room, telling her, "don't move." She ran into her cage where I deposited her, and she immediately ran to her water bottle and gulped away for awhile. Ahh ... victory ... now I could go to bed. It took about an hour to settle down, but I did it. The cat got to come out of the bathroom. She sniffed around for awhile and checked back under the couch.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Not Enough Drama In Our Lives

Meecutio, calling Franjessca: I'm going to see some stuff tonight. Wanna come?
Franjessca: No, I'm going to a party; otherwise I would come. I normally don't have anything going on.
Meecutio: Oh ... OK ... well, I can ask more people.
Franjessca: See you next week.
Meecutio: OK, bye bye.
(Meecutio and Franjessca hang up.)
Meecutio, calling Suchanderina: Hello, Suchanderina. How are you today? I'm going to see some stuff tonight. Wanna come?
(Leaves message and hangs up.)
Meecutio, calling Mellsopam: Hello, Mellso, I heard you were in town and thought you might want to do something.
Mellso: Yes, I am glad you called. I'm with my sister at the hospital. The doctors have just induced labor on her and she's about to give birth. I can't talk right now, but I'll call you back.
Meecutio: Oh, OK. Talk to you later, then. Enjoy baby time. Hee hee. Bye.
(Mellso and Meecutio hang up.)
Meecutio, calling Djeneba: Hello, Djeneba. I just thought I'd call and see how things are going. I hope you're doing well.
(Leaves message and hangs up.)
Meecutio, dejected, can't bear additional rejection so avoids calling other people she knows, watches a movie, eats popcorn, makes salad and whistles to the tune of "Uncle John's Band."

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We've added a few improvements to our home, including a chime made of spoons and a fork, and a bird feeder that brings small brown birds, doves, cardinals, and bluejays to our yard. It's fun to watch birds come visit for our little snack we offer. And I used to think bird feeders and bird guests were completely uninteresting. How could I have let that happen? A few days ago I saw a tiny hummingbird and a pair of orioles high in the treetops, and I felt like my world was suddenly so much bigger. My grandmother used to call us excitedly to her kitchen window overlooking her back yard when something unusual landed in the birdbath. Sometimes she'd try to take pictures. I thought that she must have been really bored.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Yesterday I got to a lovely picnic, with fires and good food and friends and family. The day before that I got to accept an award for being a mother. The award was actually named "Single Mother of the Year." That ought to be a prime consideration for you single gentlemen out there. Just put that away in the back of your head somewhere if you're not a single gentleman. Or just revel in the amazement of me receiving such an award. OK stop now, that's too much. I felt kind of bad almost immediately after I received the award. At the award ceremony, I ran into someone I went to high school with, someone who I thought was always kind, funny, easygoing and lighthearted. I hadn't seen her in about 20 years. Her daughter was having a meltdown in the grass because she wasn't getting something she wanted. She said to me, "I'll never get a mother-of-the-year award; my kids are ..." and then she started listing a bunch of negative things that were relatively minor, but things a mother might spend too much time worrying about nonetheless. In a way it made me appreciate getting the award a little more; and in another way it helped me realize how it's so easy to look at other peoples' accomplishments and feel jealous, and that only knowing one tiny little portion of a story that might seem good but is really pretty unremarkable and also contains the unseen tales of heartbreaks, hardships, plenty of roadblocks, and endless struggle, casts a much different light, depending on the angle.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Today I was thinking about believing in magic. This week, I can find it in amazing coincidences, warm and sunny weather, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finally installing a kitchen radio that works, an amazing book that I can't stop thinking about or talking about (The Glass Castle), and a lot of laughter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


On Sunday, I watched Equilibrium, which was a pretty good movie. After the first scene of intense action and mass confusion and dead-serious voiceover, I decided the movie was probably not for me. But then the psychological fiction took over and I was fascinated. In the future, society tries to reach equilibrium by mandating that all citizens take three daily doses of a mind-altering drug that makes them feel no emotions -- no hate, no love, no sorrow, no happiness, and ... no remorse -- in an effort to end war. Christian Bale stars. He smiles once in the movie, and it's a smile that one smiles when one is exasperated.

My computer is having mini-strokes, getting increasingly disturbing as time goes by. Getting ... really ... difficult ... to continue ... functioning. ..... Ergh.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Lot of Energy

I passed by the alluring Chocolate Lovers' Day on my way to the sustainable fair in the new and immaculate Stonewall Jackson resort closer to the middle of the state. The building was beautiful, I got to go for a paddleboat ride, and saw some great artwork and got free wine and cheese. At the sustainable fair, I bought hot pepper jam and watched a movie called "Kilowatt Ours," by a filmmaker from L.A. who was there to talk about making our homes and lives more energy efficient. The film showed some mountains blowing up in West Virginia and how a lot of our coal is causing the mountains to disappear and leave ugly sludge behind. I learned that our electricity is provided about 52 percent by the courtesy of our coal. I liked the question, "where do our resources for electricity come from?" Coal as the answer is not obvious to most of us. So, turn my electric heat down to 68 (*brrrr*) in winter; and my a/c thermostat up to 78 in the summer (just a little uncomfortable, but maybe I can do it). Replace all my old incandescent light bulbs with long-running compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Buy Energy Star appliances. Seal up holes and openings on the outside of the home. And wow! I can save coal and hundreds of dollars on my utility bill each year. Hooray! After hearing about all that, I started thinking about how I don't use enough of what I have in the house already. Instead I'm always thinking about what else I need to buy at the store. I don't need a new CD; I can just listen to some of my favorite songs from five years ago. I don't need to go to Panera for dinner; we can have corn and macaroni and cheese that are right here on the shelf. And then I can recycle the aluminum from the corn can, which can provide enough energy to watch three hours of TV. We planted our own tomato plant, but forgot to bring it home with us.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I returned the found iPod a few days ago. It wasn't as sad as I expected it to be. I guess iPods can be annoying, the way their earphones tug at your ears, their power shorts out all too often, and they play songs you don't like (especially on the borrowed ones).
When I had the iPod, I was thinking I would be getting one of my own after I returned it to its owner. But now I'm back to Square One, before I got to use it for a few weeks, thinking I have much more important things to be spending my money on, like food, gas, utility bills and car payments.
Tuesday night I watched "Steal this Movie!" and learned about life in the radical '60s and Abbie Hoffman. I didn't know anything about Abbie Hoffman before I watched the movie, and didn't even realize I was getting a movie that was based on a true story. As I watched it, I thought that perhaps his name was a little familiar, but I couldn't be sure. He was so caught up in who he was, being recognized, and making a difference. He obviously did make a lot of difference to some people (maybe a lot of people), but I think his self-centeredness is what killed him. Fame can really get to a person. Especially when the fame has a touch of notoriety to it.
There were a few lines in the movie, or maybe in the interviews about the movie, that talked about how radical people who worked in the 1960s to effectuate change by protesting and being active in government helped advance society to where we are now, by advancing the civil rights movement, advancing women's rights and improving social services for the financially challenged. I wasn't around then, and I wasn't around before then, and I'd never heard it explained that way before. Overall, the movie met my likability standards, which must be pretty high, because it doesn't happen to me too often. I'm not trying to convey that it was a great movie, and I wouldn't go around telling everyone that they have to watch it (I probably wouldn't do that no matter how good a movie or book was); but it had depth, comedy, drama, psychological themes, and it was intellectual. Give me more of that, please, Hollywood!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bad Movies and Age

"The Object of My Affection," which I watched Friday evening, is one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. It's one of those movies that has a preview that sums up the entire movie in 30 seconds. That's all you need to see. The story is weak, the acting is mediocre, and Paul Rudd's character is gay. After the movie was over, it continued to disappoint me when I saw that it is in the comedy genre. It was a straight-up drama with absolutely no humor. The movie was also described as having a strong female lead. The female lead character seemed incredibly needy and histrionic, and I would not call her character strong. It did apply to the theme of my last few weeks about letting go of something or someone who is unavailable, about how it's a waste of time and causes a lot of pain that could be avoided if one thought a little more before letting herself become emotionally attached. The scenery was dull, nobody wore interesting outfits, and ... did I mention Paul Rudd's character was gay? I think I did. One interesting thing about the movie to me is that it was released in 1998, and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston look incredibly young. They both look good now, 11 years later, but it's interesting to see the process of aging of thirty-something people, through a period of 11 years, to forty-something people.
On Thursday, one of my coworkers was cleaning up old piles of papers long forgotten about that were sitting in unused mailboxes. There was a biography of me that I had written, which I had been asked to write, about myself when I first came to the organization I work for nearly six years ago. I realized how much I had been through in the six years of working there, reading through what I had written when I first started. Attached to it was a photo, which I had been asked to provide, of me. The photo was taken about eight years ago. I don't have very many photos of myself, especially in the years following the birth of my children -- that would be the last 14 years. Anyway, my coworker thought it would be funny to put up the biography of me with the photo. He said I look really young in the photo. He didn't quite say everything on his mind, holding back probably to not offend me about how I have changed a lot in the past eight years. I don't get upset about aging; and I feel like I'm improving in wisdom and maturity and taking responsibility as I get older, so it feels like a good thing. About six years ago, I heard the first comment about me getting older, when a friend told me, "You look good for your age." I can't remember if there was a long pause between "you look good" and the qualifier "for your age," but I don't think it matters. I had never felt old until then. I realized that was just the beginning.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fill In the Blank

This is for my dream trailer friend.

I am
: laughing out loud right now at Stephen Colbert's "I am America (And So Can You!)"

I know: what time it is without looking at the clock.

I won: a cake in a cakewalk once. I predicted it would happen. I saw myself winning it before I won. I was eight.

I have: everything I need.

I hate: rude, cruel, mean people. But I try not to be judgmental.

I miss: my hometown on holidays and some special occasions.

I feel: better when I take a walk.

I smell: salsa. From a nearby empty bowl.

I crave: chocolate. Doesn't matter that it's Easter weekend or not.

I search: for the perfect, upholstered, tasteful chaise lounge for my living room.

I love: the iPod that belongs to my friend, and that I found in the trunk of my car (see first answer about Stephen Colbert).

I care: about being on time, even though I am usually running late.

I always: have been left-handed.

I believe: that there is good in everyone (even those people who are mean, cruel, and rude; they can't be that way all the time).

I sing: when the music is so loud that no one else can hear me.

I write: for my own amusement and for therapeutic value.

I lose: myself in thought way too much for other peoples' comfort.

I never: have experienced an earthquake, tornado or hurricane.

I am scared of: dogs, after recently suffering from a dog bite.

I need: more art, music, creativity and passion in my life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I started the morning by grinding coffee beans, and the coffee grinder slipped out of my hands with ground coffee in it, and most of the coffee ended up on the floor, on my feet, and in the cat's food.
It was supposed to be a day off, but for more than one reason, I went to work at 10:45, expected to be there until 1 p.m., and instead got home just before 5 p.m. Just taking a break is challenging and difficult. Life is hard and full of pain. I usually feel happy on Thursdays, but not this time. Nothing good happened today, unless I count the good weather and being able to take a walk. I have lungs, I can breathe in the fresh air, and I have legs, and I can walk, get exercise and feel safe. And listen to my friend's recently found iPod. I wish I didn't have the tendency to discount good things I try to think about when I am in a bad mood and try to think positively.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Poems, Used Furniture and Dance for the Young and Old, Which I Might Call Inspiration

Last night I visited a poetry reading, which, I believe, was the first one I have visited. The poet is a visiting professor at the law school. He had a short law career that he explained had been recently resurrected from the dead, and, otherwise, a long career devoted to teaching and creative writing, among other interesting pursuits such as psychotherapy and baboon-watching.
I was hoping to get some inspiration from him, and I was pleasantly surprised about his ability to read poems in a listenable, likable way, and at the depth of content in the words he used. He is able to say just enough to get a point across, some involving love, loss, awkwardness, bathroom interchanges during a job interview at a law firm, age, youthful deceit and Hungarian peep shows. Behind the poet, who stood in a library room, were rows and rows and rows of Isaac Asimov books. I had no idea he had written so many, many, many books. I haven't read any of them. I do own a short story of his, in an anthology of science fiction short stories, that I plan to read one day.
Thinking about this lawyer/poet's career made me re-visit the past, at the moment that I decided I no longer wanted to be an English major in college. I was 19 at the time and had just completed a British Literature course. I had really enjoyed all my other English-major classes, until British Literature. After I took the class, I wondered what I would be doing with my English degree. I remember my father telling me that one could do just about anything with an English degree, but that didn't help me very much. At any rate, I appreciated the time-travel aspect of re-visiting a career choice and pursuing a degree in English. I picked up a brochure about the creative writing department and a list of books that our local English professors recommend. I also ate a delicious and wholesome-tasting oatmeal-raisin cookie.
Today I spent some time looking at used furniture. The prices at places of charity were even too expensive, for the quality of what I found. I also discovered that the old, neglected mall is slowly transforming itself into a place to sell vast quantities of second-hand stuff. I also saw some senior citizens taking tap-dance lessons through large windows of the senior citizens center that has relocated itself into the large, ghostly mall; and, next door to the tap-dancing senior citizens, a swarm of tiny little girls trying to learn ballet. Ah, how I have exposed myself to diversity today.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I had a full day of my very own agenda yesterday. I went to a restaurant I had wanted to visit for a few years, but never seemed to manage to make it there. We were the first ones there for dinner, and I think they gave us the best table, which was by a huge window overlooking the town. The food was interesting and delicious. Not too heavy. Lots of added ingredients to make each item have a complex taste.
I wanted to go see "I Love You, Man," but it was such a beautiful day, instead we went for a walk on the Botanic Garden path, which is a loop around a reservoir that my friend and I took twice around. It's flat, quiet (except for several rounds of gunshots fired that we heard very nearby), and has interesting plant formations. It kind of reminds me of the early Dr. Who episodes when the Tom Baker Dr. Who would land in the middle of a sunny field and the unexpected would pop up. But then again, a lot of deserted, sunny meadows make me think of Dr. Who. I loved that Tom Baker.
My friend and I went iPod shopping. She bought a small Phillips MP3 player. I learned a lot about the differences of the brands of little music players. I'm probably going to have to buy one when the owner of the iPod I found comes to reclaim his from me. I will miss it when it's gone. I won't miss the Clutch music on it, though. It seems to like to play more Clutch than anything else when it shuffles its songs.
Instead of seeing "I Love You, Man," with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, at the theater, I watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel at home from Netflix (Paul Rudd just had a tiny part). It was just a coincidence that I had that movie at home already, and that I wanted to go see a movie at the theater with the same actors in it. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was just an OK movie; mildly amusing in parts and not disappointing or bad. I expected a silly comedy, but the story had some substance to it and offered some interesting character development, vacation ideas (Hawaii), and relevant, somewhat realistic, relatable relationship stories to offer. I'm sure it was just as good as "I Love You, Man," would have been. I could not have hoped for a better day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


We went downtown in the evening, to the library and to the gyro restaurant. We all had lamb and baklava. We saw a wild blonde skateboarder taking control of the sidewalk outside our window, where we had a panoramic view of the streetscape.
Remarkably, there was no sign of Black Leather Jacket Guy anywhere downtown. I wasn't really looking for him, but I know I'd see him if he were there, because he is a fixture.
The smell of meat being grilled outside is everywhere tonight.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


All day I was looking forward to taking a walk with my found iPod. As I set out on my journey, it was all out of battery power, so I walked and listened to the sweet sound of birds. I tried to walk off the stress of work, and it worked, a little. My new route involves a house I have a slight attachment to. A crush, if you will. It has a red-brick exterior, a medium-sized porch, a medium-sized back patio, a small walkway around three-fourths of the house, a bird feeder, a giant kitchen with a bar and plenty of room for a table, a living room with a fireplace and built-in shelves, dining room with two built-in glass corner cabinets, a bedroom on the first floor, a finished room in the basement with a window, a two-car garage, three bathrooms, and two large bedrooms upstairs with dormer windows. In one of the upstairs bedrooms, there is a large walk-in closet that's about as big as a large bathroom or a small office. Both the upstairs bedrooms have extra tiny rooms in the closets, each with little doors. They're like dwarf closets, and they're under the eaves, like a secret hiding place in each bedroom. The only major problem with me developing an attachment to this house is that it probably will never be mine. Some healthier people would never let themselves like things that can never be theirs. They probably wouldn't even listen to or enjoy a found iPod with a thousand awesome songs on it, like I did. They wouldn't want to miss it after it's gone. They probably wouldn't catch themselves trying to figure out why people don't call back or write back to them. They probably don't spend time envying people who don't develop attachments to unavailable people or things, or harbor irrational feelings of attachment. Then again, maybe we're all human.

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