Wednesday, October 29, 2008

and then the clouds parted...

I hid.  I looked upward and scowled at the ambiguous bestower of fates for my week of bad luck.  Even the pick-me-up chocolate chip cookies I baked came out flat and burned.  Chocolate chip cookies fergodsake!  The sunshine after the rain, or something like that, is that my karma seems back in check.  Oh!, sweet release from misfortune!

And now because I'm not feeling prosey, I'll just share the highlights before trying to focus on the MUCH overdue research for tomorrow night's pedagogy class.  They are as follows:

  • I voted!  I bar-rocked my vote in the early polls and am proud of not procrastinating [when it counts].
  • I am typing to you from my sweet new MacBook.  Not the NEW, new one; the white one that preceded last Tuesday's NEW, new debut.
  • I paid all my bills yesterday, including the entirety of a long-lingering hospital debt and a Gap account that had allowed some unnecessary, late-summer retail therapy.
  • I picked up the newest 19th C. book assignment instead of putting it off until the last minute [like last week].
  • I have rocked the kitchen [since the cookie failure], which makes the hard-working Staff Sergeant a happy man and keeps me a sane woman.  Last night's Seafood Risotto was a yummy change from the norm and this morning's Espresso Brownies looked divine (they're currently in the fridge setting up)!  Up for the rest of the week: Red-Lentil Rice Cakes (with light-colored lentils 'cause the red ones were illusive and hard to find) and The SS's fav, homemade [turkey] sausage and pepperoni calzones.  
  • The fleas appear to be gone!  I'm happy, Macbeth is SUPER happy!
  • I just picked up candy for handing out Friday night and fabric for my costume.  I'll be threatening Martha in the sewing room as well as in the kitchen this week [sinister laugh].  Thanks to McCalls' two-hour hooded cape pattern and 4.5 yards of bright red cotton fabric, I'll hopefully be a smokin' Little Red Riding Hood by Saturday night.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Casual Friday

I'm clearly paying for something, although I cannot imagine what offense has warranted an entire four days of bad Karma.  So today, with it rainy and gray and cold-looking, and as it is my last day off this week, and because I have a big presentation on Monday, I am going to keep well off the radar.  I may even stay in my sweats all day or at least until I have Zitkala-Sa's American Indian Stories and Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall thoroughly devoured and digested.  And I may keep the Food Network on for inspiration and company.  And a pot of coffee hot.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

if only a sigh were loud enough

My muscles pinch and crawl like intolerable little spiders up and down my back, up the length of my neck, around my middle.  I balance in between grabbing for the swimmy-head, stomach tickling anxiety pills and screaming and swinging and unbinding any sense of composure I have ever held myself together with.  

I don't understand why there are times when each single task erupts into odyssey after odyssey.  It's god-damn over-the-phone bill paying.  It is MADE to provide a convenient service!  Charge me ONCE, not twice OR not at all!  It's tracking down the apparently out-of-print book for 19th century lit. that LITERALLY is only housed at the smallest, out-of-the-way-est library known to mankind, and it only took 10 phone calls and an absurd conversation with the 85-year old uninformed campus librarian who could NOT explain to me why the online catalog listed the fucking book as both "available" and "checked-out" before I could lay my twitching, exhausted hands on its cover.  And it's the bionic fleas that refuse to surrender the sweet, tender flesh of my poor, suffering dog, and the vet money I don't have and every cure I've tried [as best as I could].

I meant to tackle backed-up homework, though the universe clearly had other plans.  I spent the day unpuzzling an unexpected Rubiks Tuesday.  A couple of times I considered erasing my notion of maps and to-do's and driving aimlessly forever, but I settled on cooking my woes into oblivion.  I checked-out the book, had treated the dog with prescriptions and unearthed an intricate grocery list from the bowels of my purse.  I wandered until I found myself parked in a grand Kroger lot.  With eco-friendly shopping bags and wallet in hand, I entered the automatic gates of Salvation.  Ripe palettes of produce, chirping lasers kissing barcodes, panes of frozen aisles, warm yeasty shelves of bread; I love this pocket of life better than the hilarity of the world at large.  With my blue bag brimming full of dairies and veggies and tubes of dough, I caught myself before making my way to the finish-line cash register.  Hard cider and less of a white-knuckled grip on each angry minute beyond the thick walls of food would feel nice.  Finished, I went to pay.

This is where I picked up [yesterday].  And rising today, full on sleep and drawn by sunshine I started collecting myself, directing myself, finding my Wednesday purpose.  All was well and free of anxious, crawling muscles until I dumped out my purse for re-organizing.  No wallet.  Of fucking course: no wallet.  Because how could a day be whole without the blinding frustration of something amiss!?  And again I want to drive away, uncoil my mind with a pill, fire up the oven or uncork a thick, glass bottle of freedom.  

It's still at Kroger, holding my place in the land of salvation, only I'm miles and miles away, stuck in the here and now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

someone's in the kitchen...

Our sense of seasons in the South is different than in other regions. We only sort of have four of them: 6 months of summer, 4 months of mild-winter, 1 week of spring, 1 week of fall and at least 6 weeks of wild-card weather amid the hinges of definite change. So it was strange and luxurious when Summer tapered off many weeks earlier than expected and spared us August's usual heat advisories and 300% humidity. An eerie cool graced September long before the trees became rusty and the days became notably abbreviated. Only now the mornings and evenings are marked with a reliable chill and I've pulled out my lazy hoodies and I've started craving apples and steamy drinks and comfort food and NYC. Something about Autumn feels like home and it brings about a force that I cannot fight, drawing me to the kitchen, making my fingers ten tireless little chefs.

Tonight I'm paying homage to my roots with black-eyed pea stew and cornbread (and Woodchuck draft cider). I have wild hopes that it will indeed make you wanna slap your grandma!  Cheers to Autumn and southern de-liciousness!


Monday, October 20, 2008


A new day and a workless week! It would only be a better Monday if I were caught up on my reading, which is why I cashed in a couple days of remaining paid vacation.  Now I'm trying to make myself move on the active need to love hundred-year-old literature.  I've got my pomegranate enviga close and my Damien Rice love song, but I really have no interest in writing a response to Harper's Iola Leroy no matter how I might try to manipulate my indifference with creature comforts.  

What I would really rather be doing, and what I have had to pry myself away from, is grocery shopping Plumgood's website and thinking over little details for next summer's travel writing road trip.  It doesn't take much to distract me especially when I want nothing more than to be completely distracted.  But at the end of a few hours of procrastination there is defeat and panic and pull-my-hair-out-stress.  So even though I cannot stand another dose of 19th century literature, I must push onward.  Life is unfair and I'm pretty sure that most things are meant to be trying.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

'round and 'round

I'm caught in a place where my mouth is so full of questions, and I wish that I wasn't always-inquisitive. I've started looking at myself and wondering why I continue to follow the deep, washed-out footprints I have already made and already retraced. I am sometimes so aware of the circles that I have the overwhelming urge to fall down and refuse to travel at all, which will not actually relieve me. I'll sit a while but again become anxious and restless until finding my way back to the bald, sole-pocked earth wandered over and over and over until really, I should just be drunk-dizzy.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I've begun to contemplate where the line draws itself, or where I've managed to draw it unconsciously, while sleepwalking or severely distracted.  I don't remember marking it in the dirt or qualifying either side of it.  Maybe it is my fault for not taking into account the boundaries that I set in place and didn't share or acknowledge.  

Compromise.  This is a thought bleeding through all of my others, every word I read, mile I devour, every breath and television show and goodnight kiss.  There is a line; on one side is mutual respect, sharing and necessity and on the other you become a traitor to self.

When does compromise become compromising?

I cannot deny who I am and how far removed it is from The Staff Sergeant.  Think of a personality trait, any one of them, any conviction or stance on the world and we appear at far ends of the pendulum's swing.  I've always appreciated that about us, how his perspective challenges mine, how he is a catalyst for me to think beyond myself and the ways that come easily to me.  Think of us as the Super Soldier and the Earth Child, though you may wonder how we ever managed to attract to one another I've always thought that we had roots in the same center, yet we spiraled outward in separate directions.  When you come from the same place, Home is easily recognized.  

Perhaps it's politics: the way I shape myself around his contours like a bead of mercury. because I'm a girl. because I want him to love me. because I can keep the surge of myself tamed for a time and I do. because I don't believe that I'm deserving. because the super soldier having room for the social-rights-fighting-world-saving-peace-love-and-Obama-supporting earth child would be a bright, strobing anomaly [with a mandated caution against seizures].

That is what scares the spirit out of me.

I don't believe that we have to agree on all points.  I don't even want him to be like me.  If he echoed my voice, every word, we would bore ourselves into a puddle of empty meaning.  But I am all of those opposing pieces and I fear that maybe they won't mix.  I have a hard time knowing when the jokes are laced with truth or when they are hollow shells of air spent for no real reason, or if that is even possible.  I've stopped entirely caging myself and have begun releasing small drips to float like oil to the surface.  I self-imposed the captivity, compromising constraints.  I dimmed the deep-hued dirt from whence I sprouted.  These are my own guilty endeavors, and as they recede I can only hope that the training has paid off, that our stitching really is war-strong.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Change. Progress. Hope.

I imagine that the rain held off until our moods were oil coated and resistant.  The earth needed quenching but our spirits were swollen and untouchable.  They say that water and electricity don't mix; I assure you that yesterday proved old precedence wrong.  The dark skies threw torrents to the thirsty ground while supporters charged with storms of conviction held their melting posters, held determined faces, held beliefs and hope like sturdy soldiers.  Like the smell of doused streets, the murmur of Americans permeated the damp air.  Even a person with no knowledge would have known that something big was occurring.

I went ahead of my friends to secure seats at the coffee house across the street from campus, the same place I've gone a hundred times to study and hang out on perfectly average days.  The street vendors and organizations held most everyone's attention until about 5:30 pm, but by then I had already draped cardigans and umbrellas and placed Nalgenes and any other marker from my bag of tricks on vacant seats so they would look taken and I wouldn't have to straddle an entire corner of Bongo Java with rabid eyes and a snarl to repel the crowds.  It wasn't long before my old roommate and her posse arrived.  We had our seats and time to kill and coffee and Cookies for Change right outside the outdoor patio.  Several times we remarked that it felt like New Years Eve, like a countdown should be in order for the event and the potential for change and our hope for change.  The people rolled in like waves and the rain fell in waves and goosebumps came in waves.  Everything felt too big to true.

My journalist friend had a break and excused himself from the circus in which only a press badge gets you entrance.  He didn't have much time, nonetheless he took a seat and we talked about his very entertaining and informative election blog and how he had received a REAL, LIVE ticket to the Great Hoorah.  Though my account is far less official than his and I didn't have a badge of any kind, just a hot tea and dry seat, I was there and I'll tell my babies about it, and no matter what accessories or adornments I was lacking, this is history.

There eventually was a countdown because we had exhausted ourselves and built a hype in our cores after two hours of waiting and watching the police guarded streets and the feather-shaped flags of red and blue whipping occasionally in spotlights and weather.  The street booths shut-down and their sponsors found seats of their own.  The floor space filled up first and then the front patio, the stairs leading up to the patio, the sidewalk leading to the stairs, and then left and right, as far as they could stand and still have a peek at the projection screens.

Browkow began.  Our biased group of Obama supporters cheered untamed when Barack made his way across the stage, so much so that McCain's first appearance was lost in the sea of opposition.  I was jealous not to be in the actual audience of the debate until the hoots and clapping wrapped me up in something more organic and bigger than myself, communal hope and fiery passion in a coffee spot that felt as much like home as campus every did. 

In fifty years I wonder where we'll be as a country.  I wonder how these days will affect the kids I haven't even considered conceiving and how my adulthood will be molded by the rebuild of all that is crumbling.  I wonder when and how the war will end, how I'll be able to afford the utility bills this winter, the gas for my car.  I wonder what this extra degree will amount to in a job market sinking like silt, and I think of how uneasy this state of our country leaves me, yet I know without a shadow of doubt that even my worst hardship brought on by the government is so weak compared to so many.

Presidential Debate [no. 2]

Welcome to my alma mater, Belmont University.  We may be a small, private school you haven't ever heard of, but who cares?  You know us now.

The audience begins to arrive via Gray Line tour buses. 
(This is the same building where I graduated!)

One of several viewing parties.  
We are live from Bongo Java, home of the Nun Bun.

Before our mesmerized gazes is a giant screen and all around our hungry ears is the booming volume of arguing politics.  We are pretending we aren't mere yards away from the Great Hoorah, but that we are there as well.  

Even more impressive was the crowd watching the outside screen in the 60 degree, pouring rain.  They are the true rockstars of the evening, and their numbers are many, many times those of us sheltered by the coffee house.

photo credits owed to

Sunday, October 5, 2008

For the past month or so I've been paying homage to Utopian societies, or maybe more accurately labeled, communal living.  There are several criteria missing for this to qualify as "Utopian."  And by that I mean equal work loads and division of property.  Some days, though it would be a great exaggeration to say it, I feel like I'm living with the whole army.  I'm not complaining, just observing the very small me-ness among so much man-ness.

But this morning I'm the only one awake in what seems like miles of silent rooms.  The burning autumn early sun pours through open blinds, and even still this living room bites with the briskness of seasons turning.  Coffee brews from the other room, a warm, rich sweetness awaiting to catch between the cup of my hands.  Two appliances hum lulling mantras and we meditate.  

I am the space around me, not a guest.

I have forgotten how I need my own space every now and then, how otherwise, my layers begin to peel apart.  So this, I am rolling in, coating my skin in like dark mud.  I won't attempt to wake him, he's tired from another long week of work anyway; the others are preoccupied.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Debate '08

I've tried to keep the concrete details of my small existence a secret for reasons I won't go into now. This just seems too big not to brag about, though. Part of me wishes that I was still a student, to witness the historic madness ensuing on campus - news vans and national attention, etc. There are events all over town scheduled for Tuesday's town hall debate and I feel that I will be doing myself and the wide-eyes of my future children a grave injustice if I'm not a part of something so monumental. In recent history there have only been a few elections so exciting the American people.

If you know me, it's no secret that I was born 40 years late, missing the 60's (when my soul was conceived). The Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam and critical social progressivism created a tone that I have always envied. How powerful would it have been to hang in the electricity of so much needed change? After the first and second plane struck the World Trade Center towers, life as Generation-Unmoved knew it took a swift turn for the unknown. So here we are squashing under a system of drying Social Security, a diving DOW, a sky-rocketing inflationary situation, fuel dependency, failing medical-care, a struggle for gay rights, attempts to seize my right to choose what to do with my own body, and a 7 year war that threatens more for me than world peace. I so wish that I could attend the debate. Even as an alum, the tickets were few and snatched up by everyone else who has been swept away in the importance of this election. I will however, have to make time for one or two block parties!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

hump-day musings

Time has become ever illusive. I mean, it never felt like a low cloud hovering aimlessly, but now, now it's a hurried wind. I keep meaning to come here, to rekindle a dedication to writing, though it seems that I'm only tapping on my keyboard when everything else feels so dire and fragile that I have no other choice than to relieve my mind [here].

I'm making a point this morning to be different.

I'm taking a break from Tracks [which absolutely HAS to be finished today] to write something more attached to sanity than the last post. That conflict has yet to be resolved, but at least we are searching for a direction. Both of us are pulling out our compasses and watching the dials spin over personal capabilities and the ecstasies and trials of love. Beyond my ungluing over love in the time of army-ness, school pushes me onward.

I turned in my first graduate paper yesterday and as I slid it under my pedagogy prof's door I was nearly trembling. I think this must be what it feels like to be a little fish. These papers aren't about business content anymore. Not only am I submitting them to the grammar sticklers but also to the English scholars, which I might remind you, I am most certainly not. I'm in Composition Theory and Pedagogy because once upon a time I started a MySpace blog that a couple of people gave a thumbs-up. I may never feel like I truly earned my spot at the conference table where our classes are held. So frankly, I may have a stroke writing the 10-page essay due on Wednesday. I can't recall ever feeling intimidated by a professor like I do in my 20th C. American Lit. course. I am accustomed to research papers, where a number of secondary sources are required. No question. And cited throughout. This particular assignment is to be 8-12 pages made up 75% of content I pull out of a pool of three novels. Ok, it looks easy. It even looks easy to me, just now, reading over the previous sentence. I'm just not sure how to summon my own opinion on some parallel that worms through all three books and then how to support it with only fictional text.

I'm thinking that something church inspired would be interesting and relatively easy. The symbolism in Erdrich's characters strikes me, a possible other direction. There is also the socio-cultural nature of Erdrich's white characters compared with her Native American Indians. The white characters are always weak and mad and petty. Pauline and Sita and Karl all lose their minds in various ways; Lynette is pretty well straight trash, and the nuns tend to be corrupted. I suppose an answer will come to me.

Back to the books.