Saturday, September 21, 2019

So I guess

Maybe this weekend after I get the grading done I clean up the house

I mean, more than the minimal clean I did when I thought my piano teacher was coming yesterday (I told her to just go home, that was when my street was flooding).

But I am now having visions of the electrician shaking his head after looking at the busted GFCI circuit and telling me it's time to rewire my house, which would be a major thing, not least because many of the outlets to which they'd have to pull wire are behind things, or have a bookcase near enough them that they'd be hard to work around.

I suspect if it comes down to 'rewire,' I will have to box up tons of my stuff and just bung it into a storage unit for a while to make it easier for the electricians to work.

And yeah, because this is 2019 and all we're allowed to have is terrible news, I am fully expecting to be told my house must be rewired.

At least it didn't burn down overnight, therefore it is not likely to do so, at least from that outlet.

I would go antiquing or something for fun but I'm honestly scared enough now that I'll get in a car wreck that I don't want to go out on the interstate, and the only way to get anywhere with decent shopping requires getting in the interstate.

I give up.

And maybe, again, I try to fall silent, I know all this is boring to read, but literally all I do these days is work and deal with the minor crises in my life, so I have nothing else I can talk about. (And no one to talk to, which is why I dump it on the blog)

I know you all are tired of hearing about life beat up on me, trust me, I'm even more tired of experiencing it.

And yeah, this was on this morning, and you know? I'd happily trade my voice for a while for not feeling stuff so deeply for a while. And I suspect that a life without figurative rain would make you not so much miss the figurative rainbows:

And anyway, a lot of the time, I don't have anyone to talk to ANYWAY.

(And yeah, missing my fellow pony-fan Charles Hill a lot this week.)

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Erica Show?

If in fact I am being filmed in secret as the butt-monkey for people's amusement, I hope the producers are making bank off of me.

Apparently the GFCI circuit in my kitchen failed. My dehumidfier was off, I tried turning it back on, it wouldnt' go back on. I groaned, and unplugged it, and punched the GFCI circuit, then checked the breaker. Breaker wouldn't stay on and when I tried it again, I got a sizzling noise. And there was a definite ozone/melted insulation smell.

I called the "24 hour" electrician, got voicemail.

So I called someone from church who should know, and asked him: is my house going to burn down overnight?

(Though at this point, I am ALMOST to the point of saying "Fine, I burn down with it." This year has almost broken me)

No, he said, as long as the breaker is off and the wall isn't hot, you're fine.

I hope he's right.

Then the electrician called back, he said that if the breaker was off I was probably safe, and I could also take the face plate off to reassure myself that I didn't see anything smoldering. When I did - no smoke, and while there's still the ozone smell that came after the first sizzling, it's definitely fainter.

So anyway. For my gentle readers I will say: forget my life.

The electrician is going to call back on Monday to make an appointment, his snap diagnosis - which I hope is right - is that "GFCI circuits really only last about 20 years, and then they need to be replaced, that's probably what happened," but the dishwasher and the light over the sink and the dispose-all in the sink are all on the same circuit, so NONE of those work until it's fixed.

I hand washed the accumulated dishes in the sink and now wish I had bought a dish drainer back when my old dishwasher conked out. Maybe I do tomorrow.

At any rate: I only got the Policy and Law papers graded, the ecology ones wait until tomorrow, I guess.

this is not how I want to be spending my time, figuratively (and I sincerely hope, not literally) putting out fires.

(I have a fire extinguisher but I do not think it is rated for electrical fires....)

(Edited to add: it is. But I also checked the outlet again, it's not hot, there's less of a smell around it and what smell lingers is more like ozone than burning, so I hopefully am safe)

I am really ready for stuff to stop going wrong. I almost do feel like I'm being punished for something. I don't know what. If I did, I would change it.

Every week I think "this week HAS to be better" and every week it's like the universe cackles and goes "Oh, hold my beer."

AT LEAST the starter for my hot water heater (it is a tankless gas heater) is on a different circuit so I still have hot water. It really would have broken me to have to heat water on the stove in order to handwash dishes.

And I am giving up on today and taking a warm bath and then going to bed. Everything has been very stupid for the past six weeks and it shows no sign of getting less stupid.

another freaking branch

So, we got torrential rain this afternoon (remnants of TS Imelda). I couldn't put my car away at first (probably a good thing, in retrospect) and it was raining too hard until just about 3:20 or so.

I sat and practiced for a while, then graded. (No piano today as it turns out; there's flooding in the area and for a while my street was flooded; I just told my teacher to get home safely).

I heard a noise. As I said on Twitter - "I hope that wasn't another branch coming down on my roof"

That is what we call a monkey's-paw wish. It didn't come down on my roof, but rather my drive, right in front of my garage door. (Fortunately, it turns out, my car was down at the OTHER end of the drive).

I just stood and looked at it. Contemplated calling the tree guy again, but you know? I've spent too much money on joyless maintenance this month. So I thought: maybe I can haul it to the street myself, and then either call one of the guys from church who has land and ask him if he wants wood for a bonfire, or see if the city will haul it off for me.

But it was too big.

Ugh. Once again I am a self-rescuing princess, which is something that gets really, really, really old. I sighed, and opened the garage, and got my little Japanese folding hand saw (which is an excellent tool and is the best saw I have ever owned) and started cutting the side branches off. (Yes, it would have been easier to call someone who had a chain saw, but I didn't know anyone who loves me enough to come out on a rainy Friday afternoon, so I just did it myself*)

(*I guess that means I love myself enough to go out on a rainy Friday afternoon and do it with a hand saw. So, yay me? I guess?)

Hauled the bits down to the curb. One of them was still *almost* too big, but when you're solo, all you can do is plant your feet and make a bit more effort. (Story of my life).

I might call the DA's husband a bit later to see if he knows of someone who could haul it off; he seems to have a lot of those sort of connections.

But anyway. I get very tired of this sort of thing, having random stuff figuratively fall on my head, and having to figure out how to deal with it all alone and without help. Oh, I deal with it, but it makes me sad to

That looks like less than it actually was because I cut it up into a lot of bits so I could move it. At least I was able to garage my car and in a minute I'm going to put my pajamas on even though it is 4 pm because I can, darnit, and I'm soaked through and grubby from dealing with the branch.

Also, there was no water in my building this afternoon; after I walked out of class one of my colleagues said "There's no water in the labs!" and apparently there was a large water main break. And wow, the city guys got a terrible day to deal with this (So: I guess someone is having a worse day than I am). I'm wondering if they even get it fixed today and maybe this is a message from God or the Universe or someone that I'm pushing myself too hard and instead of going in tomorrow and trying to work on research (which would require a small amount of water, but more importantly, not having functional bathrooms would be an issue if I was over there more than a half-hour or so) maybe I should take tomorrow off? The work will wait for me.

But, cripes. I am ready to stop putting out small fires, and I am ready for bad things, small and large, to stop happening. In the grand scheme of things this was really a minuscule thing but it interrupted my afternoon and took some energy to deal with.

And yeah, now I'm just tired and sad and am once again reminded of how all so often when things go wrong, I have to deal with it all on my own with no help. I mean, yeah, I get that I should reframe it as "look at how capable I am, I can do this myself" but sometimes it would be really nice to have help. And it takes time I don't really have.

Back to grading, I guess.

I could really use a hug and someone to fix my dinner for me but I'm not going to get either of those things. (I have food on hand I can fix, but it would be nice to stay sitting here grading while it's fixed FOR me.)

Friday morning thoughts

* One of the things about being the only person in your life you can depend on (i.e., being uncoupled, not having adult children, not having siblings near by, not even having super-close friends nearby) is that when you reach the point where you rest your head in your hands and say "I can't any more," you have to, you have to find the "can," because ain't nobody going to rescue you.

I am trying hard to find my  "can" this morning. Oh, I will. I just wish I didn't have to.

* Had another dream involving my dad last night. It was just sort of a random "family when I was younger" dream, where everyone was more or less around and doing what they normally did. I assume these are that my subconscious desperately wants to believe he's "somewhere" and is OK, but I wish it would stop doing that to me. I wish we could just shut our dreams off for a night or two when we just need to sleep without getting emotions involved.

Fudge, I wish I could just shut emotions off for a few hours now and then, to get a little peace.

* One thing I've also realized about grief, and I've done this to people myself, and now I regret it: people not in grief expect other people to get over it faster than they probably will. So, after about a week or two of expressed condolences, either people start avoiding you (which is the worst and is what some of my colleagues seem to be doing) or expect you to be 100% up for everything like you used to be. And the second of those is preferable to the first, even if it can be exhausting to try to reclaim the pace of living you once had. I can keep up a brave face for a while.

Hunting through old stuff on metafilter, I read a comment by someone who said that "basically in two weeks you should pretty much back to normal" and that makes me wonder if I'm broken or if they are? Two weeks is no time. Two weeks (if it's a BIG loss, like a parent you were close to) is when you are just barely beginning to recognize they're gone.

* I can only imagine the avoidance is either  "don't know what to say" or maybe even some deep superstitious "Must avoid grieving person lest something similar happen to me soon." And it sucks. I do feel a little cut from the pack, and though that should be a familiar feeling to me, it still hurts a little.

*So okay, maybe I have learned ONE thing from this load of manure I've had to deal with and that is don't assume because people are functioning that they're "over" whatever it is.

* I have too much grading coming up. I should not have taken yesterday afternoon/evening off; I should have graded those policy and law papers. It just never stops. It's like trying to outrun an avalanche. How did I manage this before? I feel like I've lost half my power to work concentratedly on stuff.

* I did find a better book to read on last night; Rory Stewart's "The Marches," about a long walk he took with his father (at least part of the way) in the borderlands between Scotland and England. Stewart doesn't seem to have quite the "look how great my life is" crowing that annoys me right now, though I also have a strong suspicion that at some point in the book I will be Sad, seeing as he dedicated it to his mother and not his mother AND father, and once or twice in as far as I've read he refers to his father in past tense....but at least there isn't the same horror of looming death or potential for violence (I kinda had to put "Trojan Gold" down for a bit after the scene where Schmidt got shot at; I have come to like Schmidt a great deal and I don't want something bad to happen to him. I don't know if other people do that with book characters but I do.)

* I also have the first sock (of the hopefully four pair I will knit my mom for Christmas) almost done; I watched a bunch of the season 2 episodes (including the hunting lodge one, which is, for some reason, one of my favorites) of Parks and Recreation. I don't know, it's become kind of a comforting show to me* because of the ensemble cast aspect to it and the fact that dumb things happen but often those dumb things are resolved in 22 minutes or so and would that real life had that kind of easy solution to stuff where people laugh and/or hug at the end. (One of the episodes I watched was the Christmas fair one, where Leslie basically got suspended for a time because of allegations drummed up by a sleazy politician and everyone else had to do her jobs...and when she finally came back, they had saved the most-fun "job" and the one she would really love and hate to miss - lighting the Christmas tree in the park - for her. And there was just something weirdly heartwarming about it. I mean, yeah, Tom is a skeeze, and April tries to do the bare minimum, and Ron is grumpy, and everyone dumps on Jerry - but there's also this sense that the characters like each other on some level, and there's support there, and again: that's something I sort of long for, that sort of weird created-family of people)

(*and yes, talk all you will about Asiz Ansari's "problematicness,"  I am tired and I am tired of "cancelling" every one who doesn't conform 100% to the current vision of what is right. Okay, I admit, I can't happily watch re-runs of the Cosby show any more, but what was involved there were literally criminal acts; some guy saying stuff that is dumb and sexist/harrassing deserves censure in the moment and probably deserves the woman he's saying it to to just give him the stink eye, get up, walk away, and then tell all her friends about how the guy is a jerk....and it ends there.)

* There was an ad I overheard last evening that started off with 'everyone has a crew' and I thought "yeah, right." Because I don't have one, at least not locally, and I do feel the lack of that. I mean, yes, I have friends - but they are all people who have more stuff going on in their lives and have relationships far more important than the one they have with me, and if your kids need to go to practice or your 90 year old mom needs to go to multiple doctor's appointments, OF COURSE hanging with friends close to you in age is going to go out the window. I'm not even sure I'd have time to be a good friend right now seeing as it feels like all I ever do is work and eke out a little life-maintenance here and there...but yeah, I'm a lot less likely to listen to what an ad is about if they start off like that.

* Ugh. I need some fun, but I think this weekend needs to be a working weekend. The three "fun" things I can think of are:

a. Meeting up with a friend (my best friend is currently out of commission with a broken foot though) and just....doing something. Even getting lunch. But, like I said, the person I would consider my "bestie" (if I believed in such a concept) is laid up, and the people locally who are low-key friends of mine are all busy.

b. Dumbly: going to a petting zoo or something. Just getting to look at cute animals and maybe pet them and feed them. It's silly but yeah. Someone posted a video this morning on twitter of baby crocodiles ("they sound like they are shooting lasers" and they do) crawling up a guy's arm, and they are weirdly cute.

c. Going to a big craft store and just getting to wander around and look at supplies and think about new projects. Or do some kind of simple and time-limited craft like making a small tree ornament or something in a class. No, I don't think I will - doing that would take the better part of a day to drive where there IS a craft store and back, and I don't know of any classes going on. And I have enough supplies already.

Probably what I will do? Do the work I need to get done and then go home and knit and maybe watch more Parks and Recreation. Hopefully that will be enough.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

and I'm trying

Lots of people out sick or "sick" on a day a paper was due, and several people pleaded computer problems or "I have just a little more revision I wanted to do" so I decided, heck, I'll let them take more time and I'll just grade these Monday instead. (The class meets next on Tuesday, so I will still meet my self-imposed deadline of "short assignments back in the next class period").

I get a big assignment in another class to grade tomorrow, so I will have to do that on Friday afternoon and maybe in to Saturday.

But right now....if I could get through the two samples I need to do today before 12:30 or so....well, I could be "done" for the rest of the day.

(College professors are never really "done" - I could do that grading, I could write the exam for next Friday, I could work on assessment data).

But maybe I do decide I am "done" for today. Go home and eat a nice lunch, then go and do my grocery shopping for the week (Locally, I am still "off" driving even if there are a couple things the natural foods store in Sherman has that I would like) and then go home and mmmmmaybe do the workout I skived off on this morning (because I was sore) and wash my hair and then sit and knit tonight. Because too many nights lately I've pushed it - last night, re-reading the article for discussion, which then bought me the time this morning to do the grading, and...yeah. It never stops, which is why I'm tired.

I'm really trying NOT to feel guilty about maybe taking a couple hours off this afternoon during "business hours" (I don't have class, I don't have office hours, the person who needs to make up an exam is doing it tomorrow at 8). (Or maybe I take the papers home and read them, knowing I'll have a batch more on Monday....)

But yeah, lately it seems like my life has been me getting stuff done, and kind of dusting my hands off and going "now I can relax" and the rest of my life snickering as it sneaks up on me to dump another task on me, and I am not good at not-working. Which is a skill I need to learn because really, life isn't life if you're only ever doing things you must do and never things you want to do.


Slight change in plans: "Flu has already been reported in our county" so I am running out to Walgreen's to get the anti-flu jab. Yes, it takes two weeks for full immunity but still. I want to avoid the flu. And then I'm going to do my weekly grocery shopping. Then come home and relax, because I had the flu shot, y'all

Also, my new small lavender bunny came. The "official" name is Xander but she is pink so she is a she so she will need a different name. Not sure of one yet:

She can go right in the microwave (for a v. short time) to heat up; there is a pouch in her full of cherry pits and sprayed with a lavender essence (and instructions on how to replenish it when it runs out, and also, the bag can be taken out and the bunny herself washed in the machine - very well designed there).

And book dissatisfaction

I thought I'd start in with something new last night; hit a slightly-more-violent section of "Trojan Gold" and didn't want that, and "The Furthest Station" (with its "ghosts" and kidnapping plot) was making me sad. So I thought I'd try some non-fiction.

First I picked up one of the Clara Parkes books on having a life in yarn, but then I realized - no, I got annoyed with her last time I tried to read, because all of the "problems" she described seemed so minor, and her life seemed so fun and nice compared to mine, and right now I'm in one of those stupid eddies* of being envious of other people's lives.

(*Yes, I know: stupid and wrong and sinful, because I'm not being grateful for the good things I do have. But this past six weeks has been pretty awful and I am right now seeing a lot of other people's "problems" and thinking "Wow, those are nice 'problems' to have")

And then I saw one on The Greatest Equations or something similar, and flipped it open, and thought "nah" because I was tired.

And I picked up one - I forget the title but it was someone who had written a book review a week for a couple years - but looking at the introduction, I realized it was another "So I met THIS cool famous person and I went to this cool place" book, and I just couldn't with that then, seeing how small my life has shrunk recently.

And there was another one that I remembered I had started LAST time I was up to visit my parents in May, and nope, couldn't.

In the end, I went back to "The Furthest Station" (and yeah, it looks like the person they're looking for is dead, and everything is death and destruction everywhere and there are no happy endings, I guess) but man I wish I had had something nicer to read. I need to be better prepared tonight and find something good before it's like 9 pm.

I could go back to "The Three Musketeers," which I never finished, but I'd have to backtrack in it to pick up the thread of the story, and also right now I am extra stupid and my reading comprehension is bad, and also, there's just a lot of random and callous death in that book, and I don't want to read about people dying right now.

Maybe I switch for a while to looking at either books of quilt patterns, or knitting-stitch directories, before bed, and just plan future projects instead?


Several of my students have already begged off the discussion class today either sick or "sick" (I can't always tell but I give the benefit of the doubt). A few more and I could just cancel and go back home....

I have someone who has to make up an exam but they've not got back to me about when. I kind of hate how everything in my life feels unsettled (I've also had people ask for extensions on stuff, which means that I can't call the grading "done"). I need something settled and solid, not all this dang quicksand that seems to surround me.

I might do my weekly grocery shopping after lunch today; it's supposed to rain like crazy Friday and Saturday and I'm also still "off" the idea of driving very far for anything. I just wish we had nicer choices in town than what we do have. I'm still largely without much of an appetite or motivation to cook. I made bean burgers the other day and that is about the limit of what I feel like doing. I'm telling myself maybe if I can figure out either a carry out or a quick meal from the grocery store I want, I just do that this evening for dinner. Not ready for pizza again yet, not in the mood for barbecue so that eliminates most of the carry out food possibilities. (Even though I've relaxed my salt restrictions of late, Asian food, at least how it's prepared here, is still too salty for me, or I'd just get a lo mein.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Comforts of stuff

And yeah, I know, apparently the trend now is decluttering or tiny-houses or pre-death-cleaning-to-keep-your-heirs-from-having-to* but I still find I need stuff around me.

Books. Having big stacks of books where I can pull one out at random. Different books for different purposes so I have cheap and potentially-disposable mystery paperbacks to read in the tub (in case I drop them) and nice Folio Society books for more careful reading especially  when I want ILLUSTRATIONS and books small enough to cram into my purse in case I'm going to be stuck somewhere.

(*But what if we all go out in a nuclear blaze? Not much point to living out your life in a white empty box in deference to your heirs if there won't be any heirs or any stuff)

And enough plates and spoons and stuff so I'm not always having to do dishes, so I can go a day or more and just bung the stuff in the dishwasher instead of having to laboriously handwash it so I can reuse it. (There is no frustration quite like knowing you need a particular size of mixing bowl and remembering it is in the fridge holding leftover salad or something)

And clothes. I think I said yesterday laundry was hard? I wanted to wear a particular dress yesterday but it was in the wash and so I had to find something else. (I did make myself do some laundry last evening, so at least it's clean now).

And lots of those little blankets. I have two fleecy ones from Five Below - one with unicorns, one with kitticorns - that I keep near my bed in case I get chilly. And I have the afghan I made for my dad on the back of my recliner now. And I have others...and I am slowly making a ripple afghans. Wrapping up in a blanket is a big source of comfort for me (and part of my distress with the ongoing heat is I can't do that) and having more than one or two around is good.

But also: Getting new yarn. I've bought some recently despite not doing much knitting, because it feels like a promise to myself, that I will eventually (a) feel more like knitting and (b) make the time to knit/have the time to knit.

And stuff in the mail. It doesn't matter too much what it is. I ordered some cosmetics I needed to refill from Ulta. Yeah, I might have been able to have driven down to the store nearest me tomorrow afternoon (piano is moved to Friday for this week) or on Saturday, but, meh: I'm still slightly "off" driving in heavy traffic, and it's supposed to rain. And it's just nice to come home and find the box on the porch and be able to open it, even if it's stuff I ordered and paid for myself.

And also my stuffed animals. Laugh if you will but they are making my life a little easier and more comfortable in these days - at night, sleeping with Pfred pushed up against one side of me and Polaris and my big calico cat on the other makes me feel less....cut from the pack or something.

And Bunny, the lavender-filled bunny that now sits on my desk. (She doesn't need a more complicated name than Bunny, I think). She's helped me get through some hard days, there have been times I've pulled her off the shelf where she sits and just sat with her tucked under my left arm (i.e, the side not visible from the hallway) or with her in my lap. Or once or twice, rested my head on her when I put my head down on my desk.

And to combine mail-order and stuffed animals....well, late last evening I did some depresso-shopping (like drunk shopping, except you are sad instead of drunk) and went to the Build a Bear site and saw a 25% off coupon, and looked around....and considered a red panda and then a sloth but then I saw an Okapi. I like okapi, I think they are cool looking, and after cats, most of my favorite animals tend to be ungulates of some type. And I also remembered seeing on someone's tumblr about a Snorlax someone ordered and gave a hilarious name to ("Baby Got Back") and I realized that I kind of wanted a ridiculously-named okapi WITH CLOTHES.

I was not particularly creative last night so her name is Miss Thang, which probably actually works OK. (generally: slang for a woman who thinks she's "all that" and is slightly conceited, so I guess I know my okapi's personality now). And I ordered a skating-style dress I hope will fit her, and a set of unicorn-themed pajamas....and I might either make or get more outfits for her (I am wondering if the 18" doll outfits that can be had from places like JoAnn's would fit; I think the BaB animals are about that size, but maybe fatter).

When I was much younger I had a stuffed koala that I made from a McCall's pattern who could wear baby dresses, and for a while I changed her clothes every day....I don't know, the idea of a toy with a lot of clothes is just appealing, and being able to change the clothes from time to time. It's dumb and it's little but sometimes the dumb little things get us through the day.

So I eagerly await "Miss Thang" (and yes, it is going to say that on her "birth certificate")

News of the world

* So apparently NBC is starting up yet another streaming service, for which they will charge.

I tweeted this earlier:

1969: There are four networks, they are free over your tv if you live close enough to a broadcaster

1989: You can pay for satellite or cable and get more networks if you want

2029: there are 365 pay-streams, each with exactly one show you would want to watch on them.

I'm especially annoyed to learn that Parks and Recreation - of which the middle seasons are comfort-watching for me - are going to be removed from Amazon Prime, and transferred to this new service. Yes, I get that NBC owns it and all, but....I guess Amazon will be left with "original content" only, then. (I will probably keep it, the free second-day shipping is the main attraction for me, given that I live in the middle of nowhere and it's sometimes hard to schedule a time to get to Sherman for bigger shopping when I need stuff, even if I WANT to go)

I will admit that I hope a lot of these services fail for lack of subscribers. What they're doing is recreating the cable model, except instead of bundling, you have to pay $10 a month for a single channel or whatever. And I don't watch enough tv to make it worth it to me to pay for a bunch of streams and especially when getting TO the stream takes some effort (getting to Amazon Prime via my dvd player is more work than just flicking on the TV, and I'm not hugely in love with watching on  my small laptop screen.)

But whatever. What this is gonna do, i suspect, is feed the market for dvd box sets - unless the networks decide to axe those, too. I'd rather spend, I don't know, $25 to have a couple favorite seasons of a show that I might rewatch fifty times than pay $10 a month for the privilege of streaming it.

* If what is alleged in this story is true, it's absolutely shameful and that judge needs to be gone. I live in an economically depressed area (Ardmore is about an hour to my west). A lot of people could not afford to pay off fines all at once, and keeping them in jail is just going to hinder that, and maybe lose them their job. Allegedly in one case the judge would not even let a person go to the bank to get the money to pay the fine! (And that could very easily happen to someone like me....that's the scary thing. I don't carry much money on my person.)

I am also guessing - without investigating further - that many of these fines are traffic matters or code violations, in other words, non-violent crimes and perhaps not even "real" crimes. (I do not consider a code violation, like letting your grass get a bit long, to be a 'real" crime)

Yeah, great. Let's re-create the worst parts of Victorian England here.

* The UAW strike - which seems like it might get pretty ugly pretty fast - just feels vaguely to me like "we're reliving the bad parts of the 1970s." I don't even know why other than that when I was a kid growing up, two of our neighbors were people employed by auto factories - one by Ford, the other, I think, by GM.

Also the stuff about oil production being cut (this time because of bombings/tensions with "Syria" but really Iran) maybe leading to gas shortages some places. I am just old enough to remember sitting in the back of the car while my dad waited on line when it was "his day" to get gas (they went by digits on the license plate, as I remember). 

I dunno. The whole bad/hard news smashed in your face thing right  now. Also talk of another big recession maybe coming, this one would probably wipe out my retirement savings, thanks so much. I don't want to work until I die but that might be just what happens.

* On the other hand, there's this. One of the untold stories on a lot of college campuses is just how precarious many student's finances are. I joke about having been a "broke college student" but I was "broke" in the sense that I had to be frugal and I ate a lot of beans and rice and shopped at the farmer's market, not that I actually went hungry.

We have a food pantry on my campus, and the Wesley Center here has a "blessing box" (which can also be used by local residents) (And which reminds me - I have a meeting of the board of that group in a couple weeks and I should gather some canned goods to take and stick in the box. I feel like that kind of thing is important; I have what I need so I should share.)

My campus also recently started a support group for single mothers; we have a lot of non-traditional students and many who are single mothers. And especially given how difficult the child-care situation is in this's hard. (I really think my campus should start up a drop-in child care program. We have an Elementary Ed program, perhaps it would provide internship possibilities too? I suppose funds and space and federal regulations are an issue, but I wish we had that; I have too many students who have to miss class on days when their child care fails)

I mean, yes, it's sad that people have such struggles, but this is life now and it's better to have a food pantry on campus than to wring your hands about how students struggle.

* And one last not-news thing: I follow Pee-Wee Herman (yes, that Pee-Wee Herman) on twitter. I know, it's probably NOT Paul Rubens writing the tweets himself but rather some staffer, but the tweets generally have the "feel" of Pee-Wee Herman, and they are all very happy and silly and positive, and it's one of those silly little things that makes my life a little better and a little happier these days. Yes, I know he had a "problematic" past and all that, but I remember Pee-Wee's Playhouse fondly for its 1980s absurdism, and it's just nice to see a tweet from him about hot dogs or something pop up in the middle of everyone else calling for everyone else's head on a platter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

One little laugh

Dumb stuff still has the power to make me laugh, and even if the crud I see on Twitter sometimes breaks my heart, I still stay on for the good stuff.

Like this:

Trust me, if our "workplace wellness" stuff ever becomes so intrusive that we're required to do Performative Exercise (that is: work out where we can be seen by people on campus), I am 100% doing this - getting a Hershey's bottle, emptying it out, washing it well, and using it as my water bottle. Just because.

Another hard day

I tell myself that my dad isn't suffering pain any more, that he's not stuck in a body that doesn't work the way he wanted it too, but that doesn't make not being able to talk to him on the phone any more any easier :(

I think I'm just stuck with being a bundle of easily-hurt or easily-angered feelings for a while. Oh, I can stuff it down and function in public, but the hurt is still there. I think about Mr. Data on Star Trek and I marvel that he wanted to be a "real boy" with emotions and feelings and everything, because emotions suck a lot of the time. (I want to rewatch that series again - I haven't seen it in ages - but right now it's a little too raw, as it was one of my dad's favorites.)

I got into a low-level argument with someone online, and I also got my feelings hurt by someone snarking on something I hold dear. I am not as good at shaking that kind of stuff off as I once was (I never was all that good, but I feel even more sensitive now.)


I poked allllll the potatoes and wrapped them in foil and got them down and arranged in the ovens at church, the secretary is going to turn them on so they will be ready to feed the college kids, and all I'll have to do is cut up the chives and cook the bacon for them. I guess this is an important thing to do, I don't know. So much any more it feels like the small things I do are basically pointless, though today's Daily Devotional suggests that maybe feeling like nothing we do really changes things is....weirdly....kind of part of the point. I don't know. I do wish I didn't feel so discouraged by what I can do on a regular basis.

Though it also seems kind of....cruel? To push us to do good works, but have those works ultimately count for naught. That's not a comfortable thought to sit with. I don't know.  I'm not a very good theologian about this sort of thing.

And I got my 'faculty development plan' done - this was due Monday but at least I got it done and in this week. I couldn't find my teaching evaluations to digest down for it and I told my chair that either I would do those later, or, I could do them for the spring, because I have to do the full post-tenure review this spring. I feel a little bad about it but not as bad as I might.

I dunno. I suspect I'm not going to come off too well in post-tenure review this year but whatever. It takes two bad ones for a person to even risk being fired, and I suspect they'd find me difficult enough to replace that "ehhhhh, she doesn't publish much and doesn't even really got to conferences any more" might not be bad enough for them to even threaten me. I guess I don't care as much as I once did. (And if I do get fired? I move back home with my mom in case she needs a caretaker in future years; once I hit 60 I think I could at least get part of my pension from here).


I got two of the soil samples (there are 14) inspected today, two is about all I can do in a day and not upset my allergies too much. And I set up lab for tomorrow. I don't know always how much to keep pushing myself, and how much to rest....I tell myself if I push a lot on one given day I can rest more the next, but lately it seems that it just means more tasks appear.


I keep working and keep striving and keep doing and tell myself eventually I'll come out the other side of this, but some days it's just.....I would very much like to just stay home and either stay in bed, or lie on the sofa and watch old movies, but I also know if I took a "sick day" I would feel guilty about it, so.....

And I feel pretty normal as long as I'm in class; it's the other times when stuff creeps up on me. And just the life maintenance stuff. Laundry sometimes feels like a lot. Cooking sometimes feels like a lot. No, I can't easily outsource either one. Laundry, okay, maybe, but that costs money and I have to save money now. (I am still waiting for the CPA to call me back about the IRS thing; if I haven't heard by Thursday I am calling him)


I really need, this evening, to settle in and finish my piano practice RIGHT AWAY as soon as I get home from feeding the kids, and then wash my hair, and then just sit and knit; that's another thing that makes me feel at least marginally normal.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Good mail day

Lots of stuff came. A couple were things I had ordered, a couple were total surprises.

And okay, maybe the Universe is telling me: you'll be up to putting up the tree when the time comes, because one of my ITFF friends sent me a set of Giant Microbes tree ornaments. (Or, failing a whole tree in my house, maybe I get a tiny one to put in my office):

mail today

Let's see: there's Amoeba Christmas Tree, Little Drummer Boy heart cell, Snowman white blood cell, candy-cane Nerve Cell, and dressed-for-the-cold cold virus.

Also, Peach Blush - well, I ordered her for myself; I am slowly trying to acquire the "repro" Strawberry Shortcake dolls as Basic Fun puts them out. (I may have missed Raspberry and Lime, but I'm not going to pay third-party-seller prices for them).

The yarn is also something I ordered for myself. Once I finish my mom's socks I want to make some more socks for me.

And this will probably amuse Roger, at least - as a former librarian - I got this:

card sorter

Obsolete technology for the win! (Yes, I am a bit of a hipster, but also, this will serve a purpose for me: I have over 100 scan-tron sheets* for each of several semesters to alphabetize, and I was asking on ITFF the best sort method, and one of my friends there said "Hey, maybe a card sorter would help, let me see if we have one still hanging around" and she did, and it came all the way from Hawaii for me!)

(*On a more technologically advanced campus, we'd use a different set of forms where the students would bubble in their surnames - like on SAT tests - but we aren't, and literally no one has thought "Gee maybe that's a better idea than expecting a faculty member to spend their time alphabetizing them" except for me, and I have zero power in these things, least I can use this to make it a bit less painful).

And another friend sent me a shawl, a small hap-type shawl:

shawl from loshakova

And I'm not that good at selfies yet:

shawl on

And yes, I confess, I am a bit embarrassed at this outpouring of gifts....I try to tell myself, "But people love you and they want to do it" but it's still....I don't know....I feel like they shouldn't feel obligated to to it and I guess they don't, but....

Also over the weekend I did this:
Because, yes. (And I think it's fitting for today. Getting the packages - even the card sorter, which I knew to expect - from friends did push the darkness back a little further from me)

Edited to add: I ran out to get the potatoes and toppings (and Pruett's even had chives!) for the college kids tomorrow, and there was one shave ice stand still open (there are about five scattered around town during the summer but they usually close up early in September) so I got a Wonder Woman flavor shave ice:

 It is coconut-pineapple (so like a pina colada without the gross alcohol) with some cherry added in. Very good and what I needed this hot afternoon. (I do not drink alcohol but something like this takes the place of an occasional "cocktail treat" that some people do - yes, mine has more sugar, but whatever)

Monday morning things

* Even though I have a better job than most people, and most of the time I like my work, that doesn't stop me from having the odd days where I sort of resent being at work, and this morning is one of them. I don't even really have a good reason.

* I am having to "Do an awake" as this comic strip puts it, and I would rather not. I hauled out of bed and did a short workout this morning but I would rather have stayed in bed, and I can think of a number of things I'd rather do than be here sitting at my desk.

* To try to entice myself into trying to enjoy the day, I put my newest shoes on.

They are another pair of those Hot Chocolates mary-jane types, with a cat and a ball of yarn on them. They are juvenile and ridiculous and don't really match what I have on but I don't care. And if anyone else makes a noise like they do, I'll just point them at the various horrors in the news, and the fact that it feels like both the 1970s and the bad parts of last year, with maybe a little of other earlier periods thrown in for good measure repeating.

And I have friends who are hurting. One in particular I am thinking of who is apparently being forced to remember/relive bad stuff in her past because of a news story from last year that's been dredged up again. I don't LIKE it when my friends are hurting; it makes me angry. Especially over something like this, where there's nothing that can be done to make it better and the people profiting off the story aren't gonna care about the distress they cause.

* The news these days feels very much like this:

I ALWAYS think of that (even though I've only seen the scene, not the entire movie) when I feel like bad things are being shoved in people's faces.

* I saw a tweet this morning noting that today is exactly 100 days until Christmas, and....I don't know, guys. Yes, the spiritual part of me is ready to say "We are celebrating the coming of the Light" but the part of me that loves fun and celebrations and cute things doesn't know if she's going to be up for it this year. (I've already told myself if my mom decides she's not up for the Christmas Thing - with a tree and gifts and a big dinner and all of that - I will force myself to be okay with it).

I'm....not even sure I'll put my tree up this year.

I may feel differently in November, I don't know. But right now it seems like a lot of effort. Lots of things seem like a lot of effort.

Also, that 100 days tells me I better get to work on the socks for my mom.

* It doesn't help that we have eternal summer here; heat indexes are supposed to approach 100F again today.

* Had a bad morning's piano practice (I try to do 20-30 minutes before going over to school). I don't know if it's just a bad day in general, if I'm tired, if my allergies are bad, if grief is hitting me harder today, or what. I don't like being off my game; it makes me both sad and angry.

It does seem lately that the start of the weeks (Sunday/Monday/Tuesday) are harder than the end of the weeks, and I don't know if that's the fact that all the big recent losses I've suffered happened over weekends (e.g., the minister's leaving was announced on Sunday two weeks ago; my dad died on a Saturday) or what it is, but....yeah.

* I did do a little sewing yesterday. For one thing, I HAD to sew something in order to put my swap-box together and get it out. And going in to my sewing room was....oddly hard.

The sewing machine was where I left it - the bobbin ran out back in early to mid July when I was working on a quilt top and I just left it. And I realized, as I sat down to fill the bobbin: the last time I sewed using the machine, my dad was still alive.

I should not have thought of that.

I got the bobbin wound, and in, the item cut out (dear goodness how much I hate sewing velour; I had forgotten that). The bobbin thread kept breaking. "Dangit," I thought, "Did I foul up the tension on the machine somehow?" and contemplated dragging out the very limited instructions (I have yet to find a proper copy of the manual for this old Kenmore that they don't want like $30 for) and seeing what the recommended settings were. Then I wondered if the thread was rotten (it happens some times, but this was a fairly new spool) and I took the bobbin out to look.

I had put it in backwards. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE done that. I have sewn on a machine for close to 40 years, I have had this machine for over 30 years, and this is the first time I misfed the bobbin.

I raged at myself for about 10 minutes - my stupid broken brain, will I ever get my attention back? I mean, at this point it's freaking lucky I haven't tried to drive on the wrong side of the road, considering the other dumb stuff I've messed up! Will I ever get to the point where I'm not screwing things up and forgetting random things and doing things the wrong way and having to re-do them? I don't know. I hope so but I worry.

I did get it in right, and completed that little bit of sewing, and then added a couple rows on to the ongoing Tabula Recta quilt top....But yeah. There's not quite as much joy in the things I used to enjoy as their once was. Oh, I hold out hope there eventually will be, but...I think again of this webcomic where the author writes about losing the ability (at some point in late childhood) to enjoy playing with toys, and, yeah.

I dunno. I was happy enough last Saturday needle-felting that owl, but maybe that was because I was out of the house and there were other people around? And so I didn't have as much chance to pay attention to the small howling void that's set up shop in my heart? I don't know.

I do wish there were some kind of a craft group I could actually go to in town. There's a quilt group that meets but it's when I'm in class. And yes, I know I could ORGANIZE one but that is more work and I cannot with more work right now; I need something that other people take care of. I get so tired of taking care of everything... I need to be taken care of some time but it feels very much like that's not going to happen; some days I don't even have the time/energy to take care of myself.

* At least I got my swap-box packed up and it is in the car and I am going to force myself to leave campus at 3 pm (when office hours end) so I can send it off. I also have to get potatoes, cheese, sour cream, bacon-to-cook-up, and if chives are available, chives (or failing those, maybe green onions to cut up? IDK). My work-partner on these things and I are feeding the college-kid ministry tomorrow night and we decided on potatoes: she is going to make a big green salad and bake some kind of dessert, and I will get the potatoes ready and cook the bacon and....everything else is ready to go.

I am trying to think of other things people might put on a potato and the only thing I can think of is chili and I don't feel up for making chili; hopefully bacon and cheese will be enough protein for the non vegetarians in the group. I suppose I could buy a can or two of Wolf Brand but I'm not sure.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Under another pseudonym

So, I wrote a thing and submitted it elswhere, and it got published today.

I have another piece I'm working on (editing, and also, because it's still kind of emotionally raw, letting it sit a bit) on grief, and I am contemplating trying to write another one for over there on trying to learn an instrument when you are Old. (At one time I thought about trying to write a book of essays entitled "Learning to Play The Piano at 40" because that's how old I was when I started, but I eventually gave up on it because I had no time to write, and I'm not sure there's more than one essay in that anyway).

I'm a bit apprehensive because I do occasionally get some pseudonymous hate over there from some jerk. The people who run the site tell me it's a serial troll who keeps getting banned and popping up under other names, but....if you want to, pop over there and read the essay.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

a little hope

I took last evening totally off - watched most of the first of the "Hobbit" trilogy of movies (have been told it's the best of the three, and since I've read the book like 30 times I probably don't particularly need to see the rest of them) and knitted for several hours on one of the sock-gifts for my mom. And then I took a warm bath and slept.

This morning, playing Pandora after I got up while I was getting ready for the day, "Spirit in the Sky" came across the channel....and I started dancing along with it.

And then I stopped, thunderstruck: I feel happy again. I feel hopeful again. That doesn't mean I'm not still mourning people or feeling concern about the future of the congregation or my university. It's just, those things don't dominate my thoughts or emotions like they did earlier in the week.

And yeah, I know, there will be points of backsliding - I get overwhelmed more easily these days and one problem I do have is that when I get overwhelmed with work I hyperfocus on what's wrong and forget the good things. Or there will be some other "bad" thing that happens.

So: I'll have to hang on to this. And also remind myself that I deserve to live, too, and maybe if I have a day when I get overwhelmed, instead of staying over at work late struggling and trying to get things done, I get better at saying "forget this for now" and go home and knit or read a book or even clean up part of my messy house.

Sometimes, if you're juggling too many balls, you just have to drop a couple. Or throw them to another person to hold.

I AM going in to work today but I feel better and more hopeful about it, like I will get useful stuff done, and then this afternoon I can come home and relax, and I still try to take Sundays entirely off.

Also, this was in the movie last night (I have the book of "The Hobbit" well-nigh memorized, and I don't remember it from the book), but it was something I needed to hear, and something I need to remember:

"Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."

(Emphasis added, but that was the part that struck me. Because I am only an ordinary person, and I can only do small deeds. But if I can choose to be kind and loving - to tell the student who walked away from a bad car wreck that I'm glad he's okay instead of asking when he'll be back to class, or helping my new colleague with something that is unfamiliar to him, or greeting that visitor at church - that might just make a little difference. And it's all I can do. And maybe it's people giving up on those small ordinary deeds because they don't seem to matter that allows the darkness to creep up on us....and literally the only resistance I can mount against the darkness - what I was calling earlier this week on twitter as the a-holes winning - is to just keep being who I am, who my parents raised me to be)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Now the photos

These are the things from my swap box. (I have to put the one together to send off; maybe I sew the one little item tonight....)

The little toys that came in two of the Kinder Eggs (I still have the third to eat. And I wish we could get REAL Kinder Eggs here, instead of those stupid "Kinder Joy" things that aren't all that good)

Kinder eggs

A funny top thing with legs, and a little dog that was a character in "Secret Lives of Pets 2"

 And yarn, and some nice funny scented pencils, and also a tiny replica of a Welsh "love spoon" and some cards:

other goodies

The funniest of the cards ("Potatoes: Master or servant?") is going to get stuck up on one of the file cabinets in my office. (I need to scare up a few more magnets first):


 Here's a still photo of the wonderful little owl.

lit owl

Let's see if this works. I took a little short video of the owl changing colors and playing its music. I hope this first video ever...

Like I said: it's designed for babies, but also excellent for upset adults, and that owl is just so stinking cute.

And here are the dresses. The first four (the ones on Sam - the dark haired, medium-toned skin doll), Cinnamon (red hair and "curvy"), Olivia (African-American), and Ginger (pale "curvy") are all from the lot of vintage items. I know that Sam's jumpsuit and Cinnamon's are handmade, probably vintage 70s:


Sam's isn't the most flattering on her and I will probably change it soon (because the newly-made, and VERY NICE dresses I bought from "Buttercup Dress Up" came today) but I admit Cinnamon's bell-bottom jumpsuit amuses me, and I also imagine that she is rather outre in her style, so I think it suits her.

And I really like the hot pink "mod" dress on Olivia; colors like this look good on her:


It's a weird, flimsy knit, and I would not be at all surprised if it was a commercially-made one. It's not tagged (the only thing in that lot tagged was a yellow beach-cover-up that is Barbie tagged). It might also have been intended as a tunic to go over something else as it is VERY short, but it's long enough for Olivia.

This also may be a commercial dress. It's a bit big, so I wonder if it was intended for a doll just slightly larger than Barbie (Ginger is a "curvy" Barbie, and it is loose on her, especially on top):

green dance dress

I am also not particularly wild about this look on Ginger, because her style tends to be more preppy/classic, and this seems a little too....80s?

And then finally, the first of the Dress Up Buttercup dresses, and these are very nice (I should leave some nice feedback for the seller, they came in good time and were packaged well and are nicely made). I bought several of these. This one in particular I wanted for my Gabby Douglas doll. (Yes, I know the "real" Gabby Douglas is a woman in her 20s, but my headcanon for Doll!Gabby is that she is a smart/kind/popular-for-justifiable-reasons high school student who wants to be a veterinarian)

And I saw this dress, and it just looked like something my imagined high-school-student Gabby would wear, maybe for a visit to grandparents or to church. It's cute and youthful and just kind of nice:

Gabby new dress

Yes. I have mental backstories for all these dolls, and they are all SUPER NICE backstories because I feel like my dolls should at least get to have happy lives. (Previous discussion of their backstories are at the end of this post)

Friday morning random

* So I woke up and did my workout and for a bit (while still at home) was all "Friday the 13th? I've already had a year's worth of bad things happen to me in the past six weeks, so bring it, b*tch."

I am not so sanguine now I am over at work - headachey, for one thing, and I keep making mistakes or misplacing things (for about five minutes I thought I had lost a textbook that I consulted literally 14 hours earlier, and no one had been in  my office since then). My brain feels sludgey this morning; I don't know why.

Also, I got the provisional grade-and-attendance reports (due today) done late yesterday afternoon (after piano lesson - I came back). Within 30 seconds of doing the first one? I had a grumpy e-mail from a student saying that I failed to take something into account and their grade read lower than it should.

And I just stared at the e-mail for a bit, and then wrote back a chilly but polite one pointing out (a) these are purely advisory and (b) in fact I don't have lab grades to include yet so I cannot base the grade on ALL the material so far.

I also got another one this morning complaining that "I walked into class late one day and you still counted me absent!" Yes, because on the first couple days I explicitly noted you have to check in at the end of class to be sure I marked you present if you came in after roll.

This is...frustrating. For one thing, it feels like we're infantilizing students who are adults. But also, the people genuinely missing half the classes and earning an F for never turning anything in (and I have one of those) never bother to check the reports or e-mail me. It's the A and B level strivers who can sometimes be quite strident in their demands that I "correct" the report.

(I can't. Not once it's submitted).

And also, it's just a bit more additional work for us; it seems like every few years a couple more tasks get added in to our workload. Work expands to fill the time allotted and even then some.

I am in one of my periodic funks of feeling everything is asymmetrical; that I am expected to extend infinite compassion and understanding, but if I make an error, or didn't have full information, or did things a tiny bit less precisely than I would in happier, easier times - well, it all comes down on my head and I have people angry with me. (Dear Universe: this is not how you get someone to stop being an anxious perfectionist).

How students view their professors, has changed, I think. There is much more of a "we're customers, and the customer is always right" model, and it does seem I do a lot more fetching and carrying than my own professors did.

* It just never ends, though: I still have to type up the AAUW minutes, and I am trying to "clear the decks" so I have a couple hours this afternoon to work on  my research (so I can have this set of samples done before I have to go collect the October ones!) And I'd really like to take Saturday off but I should probably come in and work on research. (at least my exam for next week is written and at the printer's).

I don't think I'll go to Sherman for a little while, though, am now anxious about driving on interstates; a student was absent one day (unusual for this person) and they e-mailed me to explain: they'd been in a car wreck, their car rolled a couple times, they had to go to the hospital to get checked out. They are going to be OK - just bruised and sore - but in the wake of ANOTHER car accident that took a life....yeah, I think I'm gonna stick close to home for a while. Anyway, I have enough yarn and books, and many other things can be had via mail order. (I probably need to order a couple things from Ulta. It would be faster to drive down there, but...nope.)

* And yeah, I do need to sit down and do more knitting and sewing; the couple times this week I actually felt kind of GOOD was while I invigilated my ecology exam and knit a bit (I started a new version of the Pocketses vest, this time out of a bright-fuchsia tweed yarn, a colorway called "jam." (I liked the color anyway, but it doubly amused me to make a vest inspired by hobbits out of a yarn named for a food they would like to eat).  And also last night, when I took a few minutes and turned the heel on a sock that will be part of my mother's Christmas present. I've never been able to figure out if "I feel really bad in the weeks when I don't do any knitting" is because "I have no time to myself" or if it really is something about knitting SPECIFICALLY that is good for me; I know there have been studies suggesting it shares some commonality with meditation.

* I also need to do a tiny bit of simple sewing for a swap-gift. I am participating in the ITFF (Ivory Tower Fiber Freaks group) swap. I have the three purchased things but there is a fourth thing I want to make. And I NEED to get this sent off; its due date is the 21st, though everyone on the group knows what I'm dealing with and I think they'd be generous with me if I didn't get it out right on that date. But I want to, especially because I got my package. (Photos will have to come later, I cannot login to Flickr over here, have forgot my password and don't have the list over at work). But I got a small amount of yarn (some of which may go for armwarmers) and some scented pencils and a Welsh "love spoon" (the person who sent to me lives in Wales). And some Kinder Eggs, two of which I ate (and am saving the third one).

And the best thing? A little owl that lights up and plays music. Yes, it's a soother for babies, but you know? sometimes upset adults need soothing too. (It plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but that could equally likely be "Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool?" or even "Ah, vous, dirai-je, Maman" - all use the same tune or darn close to it. (Also the "Alphabet Song"))

* And I should take pictures of my Barbies in their new/old clothes - some of the stuff I ordered off Etsy came - a couple of groovy 1970s style pantsuits (I put one on Sam, and the other one was large enough to fit Cinnamon, despite her being "fat Barbie"). And a really 1970s bright minidress sort of thing that looks well on Olivia....

That's another thing I want to get back to, changing their clothes more regularly. It's a simple thing but it's fun. And yes, I do look around for vintage homemade clothes to put on them, somehow the homemade stuff makes me happier than the modern commercial dresses (which do tend to be v. cheaply made) do.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

okay, I lied

Maybe I write a little poetry now and then. Especially now, somehow it seems to help. (Again, disclaimer: too many years of people telling me what I did was "dumb" and "bad," and too many years of journal-article rejections or "resubmit with revisions" have seriously damaged my ability to perceive whether my writing is good or bad. If this is bad, I apologize; it's as much for my own emotional processing as anything.) And yes, that last line rankles; "chew toy" seems so flip but it is also kind of how I feel of late.

(We voted on the minister's resignation last night. It was more congenial than I feared it would be. Sad, but at least no one was angry and at least no one called for "Well, let's just forget the 60 day separation period and tell him to get lost now")

Maybe if I can't talk about knitting or life, I can occasionally drop a poem here for the next few weeks or so.

On Moving Forward

Bent, but not broken.
Angry, but not full of rage.
Sad but not despairing,
The growth happens offstage.

A fallow time, a lean time,
A time of drawing in.
A time of trying to imagine
What new might begin.

Looking for hope in the wasteland,
Turning back to Job’s old story
Is there some meaning here,
Or are these losses not allegory?

Unsure whether to trust again
Unsure whether to care
Unsure if there will be happiness
In whatever future is there.

And yet, what choice is there?
Life goes ever on.
Time to make some new dreams;
Dreams of youth are gone.

And yet, obligation carries me forward.
Perhaps some time there will be joy;
There will come a time again
When I am not the Universe’s chew toy.