Professing * Reflecting

Thursday, August 31, 2006

TCB in a flash

Did you know that Elvis had TCB (Taking Care of Business) painted on the tail of his custom jet? It's true. He also wore and gave special TCB lightening-bolt (Taking Care of Business, in a flash) jewelry to his cohorts. That Elvis. Speaking of which, did you see the pudgy pasty red-headed Elvis on Project Runway last night?

I digress. Is it possible to digress before one states her topic? Egad. I've done it again.

Sorry. Bit unfocused. Have only just had first sips of coffee. I am trying to get up earlier and earlier, in preparation to teach morning classes next week. I know, I know--9 a.m. is not that early, but I have been going to bed at 1 or 2 a.m. and pretty much sleeping until 10 every day.

once I mapped out my escape routes the other day, I was able to get down to business. As I forgot to explain in the actual post, thinking of ways to escape actually allows me to get about the business of doing whatever it is I am thinking of escaping. Perverse, I know, but it works.

I have actually been happily working in my office at school--cleaning, doing all kinds of small but necessary tasks, and getting organized. I know it's all going to change drastically next week, but for now it's nice. I am also noticing that I feel better working in my office. I made a few changes and voila! I must have finally achieved good feng shui. I must say that I have a sweet office. You know what I hate, though? When the occasional colleague drops by and tells me how lucky I am to have such a great office and make jokes like, "Oooo, wonder how long before they kick you out." I mean, on the one hand, it's kind of okay in "we are all so oppressed" collegial way; on the other hand, it's just insulting. And it is usually a senior person with an office just as nice or nicer than mine or an administrator. Next time, I think I will say, "You are so right. As a faculty member, I in no way deserve to have adequate work space at my place of employment. I am totally on board for making faculty feel as uncomfortable as possible in their campus environments. I mean, we are lucky to have these jobs at all and now we want a place to do our work and meet with students. I mean, who do we think we are?" Well, for those of you who were worried I had reached a zen-like and very un-Medusa state of calm, there you have it.

But yes, for the most part, I am happily ensconced and taking care of business at a pretty high level of productivity. Another thing keeping me there is the torrid affair I am having with an elliptical machine in the gym. I swear, I am starting to feel guilty about whatever it is that is happening to me on that thing. It feels almost like a religious experience but also somehow dirty.

OK, I am more awake and ready to tc of more b. Please tell me to go out and enjoy myself this weekend, perhaps to drink too much or to eat delicious food that is bad for me or to make out with boys who are totally wrong for me. All of this healthy working and living is starting to worry me.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Where would we be without the interwebs?

"Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sieg Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you."

In a bleak place where we might never know about Hitler cats, that's where.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Escape Routes

I was going to call this post "Plan B," but in an interesting case of linguistic slippage that signifier is forever changed. (By the way, yay on the passing of the legislation!! Maybe we are not living in an Atwoodian Gilead quite yet.) This slippage (a word which is now in this context is making me think of condoms) also gives a whole new significance to my favorite imaginary custom t-shirt, "Plan B is my Plan A."

Anyway, this is not a post about emergency contraception. The original title would not have really worked in its old significance, as this is not even a post about plans but rather about my resistance to them.

I was chatting with one of my favorite former students who was telling me of his plans for graduate school or x or y. He had a very clear-cut sense of "if this does not work out or if I do not like it for these reasons, I can do this or this." It made me realize that I never really had a Plan B (except the ready supply in my medicine cabinet. . .erf, tricky thing a signifying system, no?). I do have an idea of things I could do if I left this profession, but not in a systematic way that would constitute an actual contingency plan.

The reason I mention all of this is I am not having the usual bright and sparkly back-to-school feelings about the semester starting one week from today. I am ready. My syllabi are done, and I am ready to teach. Except for the one revise and resubmit I thought I might squeeze in if I had time, my summer research projects are completed and sent. I have a somewhat coherent and doable research plan for the upcoming year. So I am ready. I am not dreading it and I am not anxious. I am just also not especially excited.

Right now I am getting ready to go to campus to make some copies and face the state of my office, which unless special school-house elves have been there and cleaned is very messy indeed. I do not want to go. I am realizing this is a real problem. I think I know why this is. I am afraid that I will get all excited and motivated only to be kicked square in the face like I was last year. Yes, this is stuff from last year (the Unbloggable Year, the Year That Made Medusa Disappear) rearing its ugly head. Until I find a way to blog it all out, I will say that . . . [Edited out due to start-of-the-semester paranoia. The basic gist was "asshole at work blah blah making my life difficult yadda yadda."]

In any case, I have probably said too much and it is a miserable situation. It is one of the primary reasons I should probably go on the job market this year. It is also what drives me to think of leaving the profession, completely and forever.

So, yes, I am spending time daydreaming rather than making solid plans. Below is my short list of Ways to Escape the Profession, or What I Would Do Instead of Being Dr. Medusa. If you feel like it, please vote on your favorite.

1. Go back to school and get a Ph.D. in physics and/or geography. (What?! This is what happens when geeks daydream. Seriously, I love both of these fields and they could not be more different from my own.)

2. Find a way to work for the rock-n-roll circus and tour the world. (This is a tough one, as I do not have a high level of musical or technical skills and I do not want to be a hooker. I would love it if the rockstars needed a traveling professor to give daily sonnet or some such lessons.)

3. Sell out. (This is even tougher than 2, as there is no real way to "sell out" in my field. I suppose going into administration could be seen as a way, but that is not at all near enough to the level of buckets-o-cash selling out I am imagining.)

4. Bartend and/or wait tables and write.

5. Find a way to buy this place in the Italian countryside. Live there. Make lots of martinis with home-grown olives. Write. (You guys can come and stay in one of the three guest cottages anytime you want. I realize this plan may fully depend on 3 or the hooker option in 2.)

6. Move to Maine or Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and follow the call of the sea to be a lobster fisherwoman or a pirate or a shipbuilder or. . . (I actually have friends who lobster fish for a living, like these guys but different. When I tell them of hearing the call of the sea, they tell me in no uncertain terms, "Yeah, whoever's calling, it ain't the sea." I nevertheless continue to entertain the idea that it's true. We seafarers are a persistent bunch.)

That's it for the short list. I am off to school.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Haiku anyone?

Via Luckybuzz.

Haiku2 for professionalmirror
but i have to go
inward but not alone to
nest and fortify
Created by Grahame


Saturday, August 26, 2006

To the dance music fan with the sweet speaker system in the parked car on the street below me right now

You the man. For real. Awesome speakers, dude. The proof is in the solid bass thumping pudding of trance-house-electronica-techno sound you have so graciously shared with your neighbors for the past 45 minutes. About ten minutes in I even briefly considered going out for some glo sticks and Ecstasy. Now you have approximately fourteen seconds to finish your little dance party with yourself before heavy objects start flying from that garret window four stories above you.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday poem, More Delmore

The First Night of Fall and Falling Rain

The common rain had come again
Slanting and colorless, pale and anonymous,
Fainting falling in the first evening
Of the first perception of the actual fall,
The long and late light had slowly gathered up
A sooty wood of clouded sky, dim and distant more and
Until, at dusk, the very sense of selfhood waned,
A weakening nothing halted, diminished or denied or set
Neither tea, nor, after an hour, whiskey,
Ice and then a pleasant glow, a burning,
And the first leaping wood fire
Since a cold night in May, too long ago to be more than
Merely a cold and vivid memory.
Staring, empty, and without thought
Beyond the rising mists of the emotion of causeless
How suddenly all consciousness leaped in spontaneous
Knowing without thinking how the falling rain (outside, all
In slow sustained consistent vibration all over outside
Tapping window, streaking roof,
running down runnel and drain
Waking a sense, once more, of all that lived outside of us,
Beyond emotion, for beyond the swollen
distorted shadows and lights
Of the toy town and the vanity fair
of waking consciousness!

-- Delmore Schwartz

Last night it started raining well past midnight. One of the joys of living in an attic is the sound of the rain on the roof, the walls, the windows. The rain surrounds you. It was a cool night and today is a cool day. Already you can feel Fall in the air, deep Fall. Not just that first twinge, that bit of chill, but air like October air, the feel of Fall about to dig in and settle deeply.

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the melancholy, the mystery, the weird energy of the light, the air, the ripening fields, the dying leaves. It somehow holds so much more possibility than any other season, even Spring, when I can barely contain myself but whose insistent energy feels naïve. Every time I have fallen in love, really in love, it has been in Autumn. I think this has to do with deepening perception and with an irresistible desire to go inward but not alone, to nest and fortify, to be two against the cold, against the beautiful gloom, against the “rising mists of the emotion of causeless sadness.”

I love everything about this poem. That “causeless sadness” line and how all of the lines beginning with “Knowing without thinking how the falling rain (outside all around)” have the rhythm of a falling and the soft insistence of a falling rain. And then any poem with whiskey is a poem for me. How many days have I gotten through by thinking, “And ‘after an hour, whiskey’ “? Many a happy one.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Not wearing my thick-skin suit today

A colleague and friend of the past ten years has just done a really shitty thing to me. I do not want to go into too much detail, but he basically stole a proposal idea of mine and acted like he thought I would not mind and proposed it to the place to which I was going to propose it, albeit in a slightly modified way. This is someone I have gone out of my way on several occasions to include in my projects, just because he is my friend and not because it would benefit me in any way whatsoever. This is someone for whom I was directly responsible for getting two different adjuncting positions to help him get through graduate school after funding ran out. This is someone who has just stabbed me in the back and not in a clueless way but I am pretty damn sure in a "I know this is kind of sleazy but I have to do what I have to do" way.

I can take assholery of all kinds. I can take my frat-boy conservative asshole downstairs neighbor, Hamilton Fuckwit, who as I have mentioned before likes to make jokes about how I must be a stripper and not really a professor and who quotes "films" like The Shawshank Redemption to tell me to "get busy living or get busy dying" when I do not want to pay for an $1000 non-freezing dehumidifier for the garage he owns so that mold will not grow underneath the trash cans that he leaves in the garage. I can take the petty control-freak asshole at Foggy C. who made my year last year a living hell. I can take the everyday assholes I encounter on a daily basis as I navigate through the infamously unfriendly city in which I live. (In fact in certain circumstances I am one of those infamously unfriendly assholes.) But sometimes it gets to be too much, you know? Especially when the asshole in question is someone who is close to you.

Ugh. I am sounding put-upon and victimized and even like I might have a persecution complex. I really don't. And most of the time I am what you might call a tough cookie. But I think this tough cookie is going to take to her bed, at least for the afternoon. I have several new magazines, including the September issue of Marie Claire with none other than my favorite actress, Ms. Maggie Gyllenhaal, on the cover; the massive September Elle recommended by Dr. Crazy for its hilarious interview of this month's cover girl, the gloriously bratty La Lohan; and last but never least, this week's New York magazine, which just arrived in the mail. Yes, I could rally on and seek out my friend and try to resolve this dispute. Or I could use this angry energy to get my original proposal ready to send, which I am still going to do and which unfortunately is going to compete directly with his.

But, no, sometimes a girl has to take to her bed to read magazines all afternoon. I might report back on the many valuable tidbits I am certain I will find. And then I am likely to rise for an evening snack and perhaps a bottle of red wine. Yes. Sounds like a plan.

(This post may self-destruct, by the way, because I feel creepy posting like this about a friend regardless of the circumstances. As long as I am feeling this pissed, though, it stays. And can I really call him a friend at this point? Gaah. . .feels like higher-stakes high school. OK, enough--off to bed with Lindsay and Maggie.)


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

But then again dental health is important

Whirlwind trip to Ancestral Homeland is not going to happen. Just too crazy in the end to work. On the one hand, I am disappointed that the Summer of Adventure seems to be at an end. On the other, I am relieved. The trip would have left me exhausted with only a week to tie up loose prepping ends before the school year began. And while I do some of my best work when exhausted but with that happy fresh-from-adventure energy, I think in this case some of the stability I have been so intent on fighting seems to be in order. Why I cannot be a professor and tour the country with the rock-n-roll circus, though--there will never be a satisfactory enough answer to that question for me.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Emo? Just no.

[in which I sound, to my horror, more and more like the lonely grandmother who orders Quacker Factory holiday sweater after Quacker Factory holiday sweater from QVC while chain-smoking Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra-light Menthol cigarettes in her West Virginia home and whom I secretly find lurking in my psyche and dread becoming]

As September draws near, the young college boy whippersnappers are once again suddenly omnipresent. Now I am familiar with this newfangled Emo business. Lots and lots of boys working the Emo angle at Foggy College. It doesn't do it for me personally, but I kind of get it.

But now I am seeing this new trend involving baseball caps. The smallish cap is set on the back of the head and to a slight sideways angle. Because of this placement, it looks like it would have to be held in place by hairpins. But it's not. I think the gel from the acccompanying faux-hawk meets Dennis the Menace meets Mayor of Munchkinland hairstyle must adhere the cap into place.

The whole effect is kind of Beaver Cleaver or Japanese anime sprung to life or young adult posing as a kid for cheap kiddie porn or . . .a certain je nais c'est just so wrong. Dr. Crazy is seeing a connection of some sort to Emo, but I am not sure. I just want to stop seeing this downright passive-aggressive in its affectation look. It's not even bothering me so much on an aesthetic level as it is on an "officially old enough to recognize a fashion I refuse to understand" level. Make it stop.


Monday, August 21, 2006

But I do have that appointment to have my teeth cleaned on Thursday morning . . .

More Fun wants to fly me out to--of all places--my ancestral homeland for a few days this week. Like in two days. My ancestral homeland. . .the birthplace of my father and home of his side of the family, the homestead of Mama Bear until she recently (and reluctantly) moved to the Deep Red, my off-and-on hometown and city of my undergrad university, the place I love and miss and the place I feel I kind of somehow lost when Mama Bear moved last September. Add More Fun and the rock-n-roll circus in AHL and More Fun with three days off in AHL and Mama Bear actually in AHL for a visit right now and . . .all too crazy to comprehend.

But I clearly have to go, right? School doesn't begin for another two weeks. Syllabi are pretty much done. I am just fiddling with assignments and such. There is some work to be done in setting up new mandatory bullshit online crap for classes. Other than that, this week is just filled with an array of personal and house stuff--teeth cleaning, getting estimates for some home repairs, shopping for back-to-school clothes, etc. Then there was the idea that I would nest and meditate myself into a nice calm state of zen-like happiness and resolve with which to face the rigors of a new academic year. But you know what I might have to say about that? Fuck it.

Then again, I am also not too keen on the idea of flying right now. It's a long-ass flight, even with a hip flask. Does anyone know what the restrictions are at the moment? Like, can I not even take my Afrin on board so that my bad sinuses do not explode during the flight? Are any carry-on items--a handbag, a laptop, anything at all other than passport and ticket--allowed? Am I silly in thinking it might turn out to be two days of flying hell for three days of fun?

Though my oh my but what fun those three days will be. . .


Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday poem, Kora Rumiko

Because I am feeling a lot of not-quite-yet-ness, a kind of stirring anticipation for the school year ahead and for something as of yet unnamable. And because it's just a beautiful beautiful poem, and I wanted something pretty for the initiation of the new template. I think the two somehow work together.


Within a tree
another tree that is not yet,
and now the upper branches shift in the wind.

Within the blue sky
another blue sky that is not yet,
and now the horizon is rent by a bird in flight.

Within a body
another body that is not yet,
and now the shrine gathers blood.

Within a road
another road that is not yet,
and now that space is shaken by my destination.

--Kora Rumiko



Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quotations Meme

As seen at Ancrene Wiseass, Dr. Crazy's, and Clare's:

Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe.

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
--Tom Robbins

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet.
--Mae West

There is nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation.
--John Ciardi

The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.
--Blaise Pascal

Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.
--Henry David Thoreau


Monday, August 14, 2006


What is flowing through my brain this morning, as I try to focus on the work at hand of writing actual syllabi and finalizing plans for courses . . .

. . .Can I just say how much I am loving the Terror Alert Level situation on my sidebar? Elmo, Ernie, and Bert. Brilliant. Perfectly sums up the administration's response to the recent threat.

. . .All of the windows of my little attic are open and a sweet-smellilng warm summer breeze is blowing. All is quiet except for the various wind chimes around me. Sounds like the air is singing. So beautiful. I feel like I am in a dream.

. . .A tiny tiny tiny part of me kind of sort of might be thinking about going on the job market. That tiny tiny tiny part of me needs to slam it into high gear if it hopes for the rest of me to be ready to do so in the next month.

. . .Mmmmmmm, More Fun. That young man is quite . . .mmmmmm. . .

. . .Why must my sister harrass me every time I call her? How did she manage within five minutes to get in jabs about me not living in the Deep Red and not having a husband? And why must I take the bait every single time? How do I make her stop? I am serious. I really need to know. Maddening.

. . .Tell me I absolutely positively in no way need a Blackberry. I am a) not in the best place financially at the moment or in any foreseeable moment as I am a single assistant professor (in the humanities, no less) living alone in one of the highest cost of living areas in the country on a single assistant professor's salary; b)not a socialite or a mogul who needs to be in constant social or business contact; c) not someone who does not nevertheless crave this brilliant little toy, even though My Two Dads who are moguls of sorts and who are required to have them tell me that they are Of the Devil.

. . . How are ya'll feeling about the template? The new gold tile/glitter/sand thing going on on the sides? The colors? I am feeling an itch to do something different but do not know exactly what.

. . . I am also feeling an itch for a Virtual Happy Hour. Dr. Crazy and I plan to have a series of pre-arranged VHHs starting very soon to get us through the academic year. I encourage you all to get on board this drunken blogging train.

. . .How unfocused am I?


Sunday, August 13, 2006

2/4 meme (from like a hundred years ago)

I am kind of basking in the afterglow of my little getaway with More Fun and kind of having a blogging block, so I will finally do the ancient meme that Clare tagged me to do:

2 moments in your life you'd like to erase:

1. Well, I have thought about this a lot, because I teach a couple of movies about memory. I have to say I would not erase any moment. Like Clare, I also think it's important to live with no regrets. Now, that doesn't mean that I haven't had some intensely painful moments and some seriously embarrassing ones. I would tend to erase the embarrassing ones over the painful ones, but . . .
2. . . .gratefully the short-term memory loss effects of alcohol take care of most of those for me.

4 moments you'd like to relive:

1. Every single second of latest trip to see More Fun in Favorite City
2. The time when I was taking care of my then three-year-old niece while my sister was sick in the hospital, when we found out my sister was going to be okay and my little niece put her hands on both sides of my face, pulled it toward hers so our foreheads were touching, looked straight into my eyes, and smiled
3. The moment I walked into the pub after my dissertation defense and saw that Longtime Ex Turned Friend (then my boyfriend) had set up a little party for me. Really my whole first night of being Dr. Medusa was pretty great.
4. Any moment with Grammie, my father's mother, who died a few years ago

2 places you wouldn't go to/go to again:

1. That town in Mississippi where I totaled my car. What a shithole. Think I later dated a guy who randomly enough was from that town. Mistake.
2. Will never visit Ground Zero

4 places you can't wait to visit/visit again:

For the first time:
1. Amalfi coast
2. Newfoundland

Again and again and again:
3. NYC
4. Mexico City

2 foods you can't stand:

1. Canned vegetables
2. Martini-less olives

4 foods you love:
1. Steamed mussels
2. Any fish, actually
3. Rare steak
4. Bread

2 current songs that make you change the station:

1. "You're beauuuu-tii-fuull" by that annoying pasty little fellow, James Blunt.
2. "S-O-S, please someone help me, get this fuck-ing song out of my he-ye-ye-ye-ad. Y-O-U, are killing me, for real, lalalalalalalala" by Rhianna

4 current songs you play over and over:

1. Have been playing Madonna's "Confessions on a Dancefloor" obsessively since the show
Do not really listen to new stuff on the radio but for whatever reason and even though I do not own or regularly listen to their music, I will turn up anything by:
2. Coldplay
3. Train
4. Again not current but also obsessively playing the $5 copy of Beck's old record, Sea Change, I found in a record shop on my birthday

2 books you'd never finish/read again:
1. I really do not have any desire to reread Philip Roth, even though I believe he is a talented narcissist and a fine writer indeed. I could change my mind.
2. Kafka. Over it.

4 books you have read more than once, and/or will read again:

All of the stuff I teach and write about I read multiple times but other than that:
1. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy
2. Paradise Lost
3. Geek Love
4. And as a child, when I tended to reread more than I do now, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Charlotte's Web, Jane-Emily, A Wrinkle in Time, and some book about a rabbit with eyeglasses named George (if anyone remembers this book or the title, please tell me!)

Tag 2 - 4 people.
Anyone who has not, as I seem to be one of the last.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

A happy medium?

So I have decided to meet More Fun late this afternoon in Favorite City. We will spend the evening and most of tomorrow together before I drive back tomorrow evening. This makes more sense, as I was just too busy then just too tired to swing it last night.

The problem is that formulating a plan to take off at the last minute to see someone because you miss each other and really want to see each other and because it's slightly crazy is not supposed to make sense. Which is probably why I feel the way I feel about it this morning. In short, meh.

Truth is I have satifisfied my need for adventure for awhile and am now in work mode. I have also been happy in my own company and in my company alone this week. I am looking forward to the fall semester and want to smooth the way for it to be a good one.

One last adventure, though? Maybe a cup of coffee, shower, and chat with More Fun will have me more motivated. And Favorite City will definitely recharge me. Always does.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


More Fun is trying to get to meet him tonight in an out-of-town place. This would mean that we could then drive into my favorite city on the planet tomorrow and spend the day and night together there.

1. I have my old-new class figured out and I am quite quite pleased with what I am teaching. I have ordered books and selected material for electronic reserve.
2. More Fun! Both the man and the concept.
3. Favorite City on Planet! Have not been in a year. Obviously love Favorite City on Planet.
4. It's beautiful beautiful weather--fine for a drive tonight and fun in Favorite City tomorrow.

1. Have not actually written syllabi. But I have a friggin' month! When do I ever get my syllabi done this early? This is not an issue.
2. The out-of-town meeting place just outside of Favorite City on Planet is four hours from here. Four hours of driving. In the dusky dark. Not a fun prospect but see #4 above.
3. Still recovering from last week's adventure. Getting centered. Blah, blah, fuckity blah, insert new agey cliche about balance here.
4. A little wacky, this plan . . .as, in addition to the general wackiness of it, he has to play a rock-n-roll circus gig (which I could go to, so that's kind of a pro) on Friday and then he's off on the road again late night, leaving me to fend for myself four hours from home until the next day.

What do I do?!?!?!?

*Notice my tendency to try to turn every con into a pro, for I am an irresponsible gorgon indeed.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Random morning bullets

  • If I spent a few hours today choosing materials for my old-new class, writing the syllabus, writing the assignments, and then working out the dates for the syllabus I am not changing for my other class, I would be free from all of my teaching and research obligations for the rest of the month. Well, at least the most pressing obligations. Would this not be awesome? Why would I not do this favor for myself?

  • Despite experiencing on one level the dark-night-of-the-medusa-soul anxiety I wrote about yesterday, I am also doing things like waking myself up from a deep sleep because I am laughing in my sleep. I have friends who do this, and I once listened to a despairing ex-boyfriend of Amy Poehler describing lovingly her tendency to laugh in her sleep on a regular basis. But this is not something I normally do. I did it a couple of times last week when I was with More Fun, but that's because we laugh so constantly when together that there is simply not enough time for all of the laughing during the waking hours. Last night I dreamed I was having dinner with a much older (imaginary) colleague and her teenage daughter. Her daughter kept disappearing into the bathroom, quite obviously to do cocaine. But I was the only person who noticed that this is what she was doing. Her mother was completely oblivious to the fact that her daughter was a crazy cokehead. (Let me explain that this cocaine factor is totally random. While you might think I encountered it on my travels with the rock-n-roll circus and while I am sure it existed in bountiful amounts around me, I do not do it and I was not aware of it.) Anyway, every time the daughter returned from the bathroom, the mother would say with a knowing smile, "Beware the Ides of March." On her last visit to the bathroom, I heard the daughter mutter under her breath, "Yeah, Beware the Ides of Coke." This is what had me laughing so hard that I woke myself up at 3:30 a.m. And I actually still find it hilarious this morning, even though it makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone who would like to offer an interpretation of this or explain it as proof of my incipient insanity, please feel free.

  • Is it just me, or is Project Runway terribly boring this season? Has it jumped the shark so soon? I am sure people are blogging about this somewhere.

  • Some things I want to blog about but cannot seem to get it up to do so: 1) my annual birthday resolutions, which this year involve correspondence, learning to sew, and financial stuff; 2) my "Year without Cigarettes," quit-smoking reflection post; 3) a return to discussing great mirror scenes in movies or maybe a Great Mirror Scenes contest of some sort; and 4) a post about blogging boundaries (what people feel comfortable blogging about, what they absolutely will not blog about, whether it is a personal thing or if some kind of blogging boundary etiquette exists).

  • One more cup of coffee and then the syllabi. For real.



Monday, August 07, 2006

So here's the thing . . .

I think I have figured out what the persistent anxiety is all about but I do not know how to blog about it. I feel a little embarrassed, because I think it's very old childhood and family stuff that I feel I should be able to shake. I need to get it out, though, so here goes.

Since I returned from my family visit to the Deep Red, I have been feeling a profound sense of not belonging. This all started in the Deep Red with the onslaught of questions, which are explicit or implicit in every single conversation:

Why do you live there?
Why don't you live here?
Why don't you "settle down"?
Why don't you get married?
Why don't you have kids?
Why don't you come "home"?

Yes, this is as maddening as it sounds. And most unsettling is that on a basic emotional level it reads to me simply as, "You don't belong here with us and we're calling you on it." To complicate things, when I return here--to my home of many more years than any "home" during my vagabond childhood--I feel guilty for being here. My father pressures me constantly to come "home." He is constantly worried about me being "alone." When I point out that I have good friends here, he immediately turns this against me to say that I "do not realize the importance of family." So for the past few weeks I have been wondering why I feel like such an outsider, no matter who I am with at the time. It happened on my birthday when I was surrounded by some of the best friends I have known in my life. It happened at the beach with Paloma and My Two Dads. It made more sense that I would feel less at ease with More Fun. Even though we were introduced by a longtime mutual friend and had instant rapport, we have not known each other for very long. Plus I was meeting a lot of new people from the rock-and-roll circus. Still though, I was much more self-conscious than I normally would be. That's the thing. I am feeling intensely and constantly self-conscious, like everyone thinks I am freak for whatever reason--for not being in a relationship, for not having a baby, for fill in the fucking blank.

But it makes sense, doesn't it? Given the pressure from my family? The guilt? Then there's the childhood piece. We moved around so much that I was always shifting in and out of peer groups. I was good at making friends and had close friends, but then we would move. Because we lived in mostly small towns, my friends were from long-standing, tight-knit circles of friends they had known all of their lives. They were warm and wonderful, though. I have no nightmare stories of being shunned by cliques, which is pretty extraordinary. But I guess I was a bit of a floater, and I guess I always felt like a little like an outsider. It occurred to me that I felt like an outsider yesterday at lunch, even though the people I was with were not any closer to one another than I was to them and had not known each other longer than I had known them. But I felt like I should be in a long-term relationship like Longtime Ex is. I felt like I should have a baby like Downeast BFF does. And I felt like they were somehow judging me, even though I know that they were not.

It really feels like old old stuff is coming to the surface. I feel embarrassed, because I feel like I am thinking and sounding like an adolescent girl in expressing all of this. My ex-shrink taught me how to deal with the family stuff (past and present) but I think it might be time for a refresher course. I think maybe all of this is coming up now because I have taken away all of my screens--the cigarettes, the medication, and at least when I was writing for all of July, the alcohol. I am not saying it's a bad thing, recognizing the problems and dealing with them head-on. But I do feel frightened, like somehow I am not the same or that nothing will ever be the same.

OK, thanks for indulging me in such maudlin thoughts. I am going to run now to clear my head. By the way, I am happy to report that I ran my normal route of 2.66 miles yesterday, which I know because of the awesome Gmaps Pedometer (thanks, PowerProf).


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lovely afternoon

Had an unexpected lunch date with Downeast BFF (best friend now living in the Northern Country), Northern Baby (her daughter), Cool Mom (her mom), and my Longtime Ex Turned Friend.

It was a glorious afternoon--sunny, warm, just perfect. We sat and ate and chatted at a neighborhood outdoor cafe. That's Northern Baby, hiding from the paparazzi behind Longtime Ex's hat.

Good to see everyone and all-in-all a lovely surprise. Just slightly below the surface, though, is a persistent anxiety that was with me today and last week and really I guess since my trip to the Deep Red. I cannot quite put my finger on it. Unsettling. Something deep.

It is still so gorgeous outside. I should be sitting here planning my class but instead I am going to attempt my first run after my week of dining and drinking like a carefree heiress. Prior to my little holiday I was running every day, between 2 and 3 miles a day. How far do you think I will make it today?


Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Bends

I am giddy and exhausted from my week of adventure. I am also wondering how I set up my life so that I habitually shift from one extreme, for example, sitting oh so alone writing in a garret for nearly a month with very little social interaction, to another, for example, bouncing around from seashore to rock-and-roll circus in a social whirlwind of all play and not one thought of work as if I were a young, carefree heiress of some sort. Dizzying, delightful, but not psychologically healthy, right? A proper balance is the thing, true? Or is it a perfectly fine lifestyle that I have been taught to think is wrong for x and y reasons?

Whatever the case, I do feel a bit like I need to reacquaint myself with myself, after being in the company of so many others for so many days. I had a relaxing time at the beach with Paloma and My Two Dads and a slightly wilder one-part rockstar, two-parts romantic adventure with More Fun, who continues to live up to his name.

Too tired to write anything more substantial at the moment, so I will leave you with a brief list of Things I Learned on My Summer Vacation:

--Medusa + four giant martinis = "Very mean and totally adorable." Who knew?

--Steven Tyler wears garden clogs. I kid you not.

--Greenheads are evil fuckers.

--Homemade coconut ice cream is the bomb.

--I am somehow not getting too old for this.