"We Three"

"We Three"

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Spindrifting here...

We are in the midst of a huge storm, and about to have some pretty bad flooding, like 11 feet at the bridge in Guerneville, and that's a big bunch of water. It was around this time of year that it happened 3 or 4 years ago, and then it was just a couple of feet over the bridge, enough to snarl traffic. And we had only one day when we were trapped in our tiny town, by rockslide north of us, road collapse south of us, and flooding to the east. We could have gotten out only to the west, by boat, if we had one. Well, we did have a canoe, but there were 2 foot combers out there. Man, you have never seen a temper tantrum till you've seen what Mother Nature does to the coast during a storm. The river would get all churned up and turn to foamy cafe au lait, and whole trees would float downstream to Jenner beach, where they would pile up and sometime during the summer, burn, either on purpose or the result of homeless people not putting out their fires. Occasionally, a renegade propane tank would scoot by. And, of course, the power would go off, and not come on for days and days after the rest of the county. If we were lucky, the tarp would not have blown off the pile of firewood and it would not be all wet, because we heated the house with the woodstove. Ah, the joys of a house on the hill over the river and sea!
Town is different. The power stays on, or, if it should go off, PG&E scrambles to get it back so their profit-margin doesn't decline. Streets get some big puddles, but even our neighborhood turkeys can navigate through them. I just heard that downtown San Anselmo is flooded, which is a shame; why couldn't that happen on a workday, when my friend Taylor could stay home?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bargains come to those who wait, and wait, and...

Last year, really, last year, I saw this sweater at Coldwater Creek here in town, the real store, not the e-store. It was gorgeous, a silk blend, simply styled, just my thing. Except it was $59.99, or $60 (and who do they think they are fooling, anyway), outside my paltry budget at a time when I was spending beaucoup bucks on things like moving, a new refrigerator and washer/dryer, little things like that. Once in a while, usually at work while I waited for my dinosaur printer to spit out a long report, I would check on it online, like, it had to go on sale sometime, didn't it? Well, guess not. Until a couple of days ago, sitting here with nothing to do, I remembered it, and looked again. Eureka! It was $29.99! And in my preferred color and size! Perfect, especially with a few extra greenbacks in the bank from Christmas $$$. It is now in the mail to me. But, there's more. Because I was a firstime customer online, I got an extra $15 discount, which means I will have a $60 sweater for $15, plus shipping, $22 altogether. This is an anthem to patience, virtuous patience. In my life, a rare and wondrous occasion, sorry to say.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Electricity and me

I have this love/hate relationship with electrical power. I depend heavily upon it for my creature comforts: hair dryer, coffee maker, CD player, microwave oven, and, for God's sake, my television. So I expect, when I have paid (handsomely, I must say) for it, I expect it to be there when I need it, which is all the time. So, yesterday evening, when I was blowdrying my newly darkened (very dark, too dark) hair and it just snapped off, leaving me sitting on my bed with half a headful of damp hair, in the dark, I was not happy. I noticed that the neighbor's lights were still on, lucky buggers. So that meant this was a localized problem. In fact, when I switched on the overhead light, it obediently shone down on me. A trip to the circuit breaker box was very unenlightening. All those bony little switches were on, so I turned a bunch of them off then on again, aware that I was going to have to go about the house and reset all those things that have digital clocks, or bear the indignity of having them flash at me forever: 12:00, 12:00, 12:00. No dice. The front room was all off, too. Our phones didn't work, and our computers were dead, too. This is very bad indeed. Fortunately my cell was nicely charged up, so I called our landlord first to find out if there was something else we should be looking for, which sent me on a pilgrimage around the house, inside and out, looking for outlets with little red buttons, which I dutifully reset. Still nothing. So we called PG&E. Now, calling PG&E didn't work very well for me before in the house on the edge of the world. We were always last on the list for restoration of power. In fact, once the whole town came on, after a wait of several days, and we didn't. I have always longed to be special, but this was ridiculous. But being in town and two women living alone, without telephones, works! They came over within the hour, poor guy had to call me from in front of the house to find us, but he showed up, fiddled with the circuit breaker box, and everything popped back on. Now, I realize this is a tiny problem. Miniscule. But let's get real. Life with a wet head and no coffee, that's inhuman torture.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Life in the slow lane,,,

Here I sit, with my big red cup full of fresh-brewed Ethiopian coffee, happy beyond words. Sixteen years ago, I was nursing a horrid hangover and a huge heaping of remorse. Little did I know that would be the last time that happened in my tiny life. And things were not looking up, oh no. My partner was in the process of moving out, leaving me to stew in my own juices. And I was terrified, with a lot of dandy things to contemplate in the future, like court and some pretty big fines. Yes, hitting the bottom, alcoholically speaking, is not fun. Getting sober isn't, either. It's just better than the alternative. I honor that poor broken woman on this day every year. She is not me anymore. And that is because I did the things I needed to do to change. Ooooh, there's an ugly word. Perhaps it is more that I kept to the high road, and somewhere in that process, I was transformed into something new and improved. So this week, I get to make the rounds of meetings where I show my face regularly, and give back the medallions that say XV, and pick up new ones that say XVI. Sweet sixteen. That's me. Again.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Just the best present came today...

I used some of my Christmas money to buy some new music on CD, soundtracks to the new Pride and Prejudice (Okay, I admit it, I saw it again today with a friend, but she needed something sweet to fill her up with sweetness) and Sense and Sensibility, another Jane Austin tale, and both CDs are amazing in their lovliness. I am bathed in all this amazing music. Then I went to the Christmas Eve candlelighting service at the Center for Spiritual Living, we belted out some of those very un-PC carols and had a jolly old time. Now I am all decked out in my red satin jammies, feeling kind of holidayish, kind of. Actually, it is not bad being me today. Not bad at all. My life is filled with abundance. I saw all kinds of people I know and love, got to help another woman in her early recovery, do some service, hug a lot of dear friends and kiss my dog. How could it get any better? Well, it could, but that's for later, maybe next year.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The things you learn in college...

I got my final papers back from my Critical Thinking prof yesterday in the SASE I left for him during Finals week. There was just the smallest moment of hesitation in opening it. Despite bending over backward many times, I couldn't do better than an A- for this nitpicky guy. Then I took a page from another book, and decided to kiss up to him, wondering all along if this was the proper approach for a spiritual being to take. Like, where is the dignity and integrity in this action? Then I tore open my envelope and found that voila! I had finally gotten that A, no little niggly minus behind it, just an unadorned A. I want to believe this was because of my superior effort, and I know it was my best work that I thrust under his nose. And in the end, it all adds up when I apply for the psych program I want, where I need a solid 3.0 average. So my sucking up was for a very good cause, in the end. Right.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ghosts of Christmas past...

Well, we were sitting around this morning reminiscing about our childhoods, and kind of whining a little, too. I am remembering my mother busily baking up a storm around this time of year, so that the whole house smelled of cinnamon and vanilla and chocolate, too, when she stirred up the fudge. We had Hallmark Card Christmases, with very tasteful flocked trees and bowers of holly and even beribboned bunches of mistletoe over the doorways. Sometimes, the presents were piled as high as the tree. You would think this was all very wonderful, but the truth was, my mother martyred herself to this process, and instead of enjoying it, seemed to labor under the burden of the work. Now, I love a good Christmas cookie. I am going to bake some myself this afternoon. And my roommate is making candy, too. But it is a joy to do this, really. I insist on enjoying myself, even in the stores full of maniacal shoppers, even in the wall-to-wall traffic, even in the rain. There's not a thing I can do to change any of that, after all. So I sit at the stop light, for the fourth time, and just scratch Boo under the chin, or sing along with Barbra who in crooning her heart out for me on the CD player, and watch the window steam up. It could be worse, after all. I could be living in Iraq, and in fear of my life everyday I leave my hovel. There is always something to be grateful for, if I work a little at it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Living in the now...

My friend Bill has a license plate that says "ZMOMENT". This is a very spiritual man who spent his life outdoors and has explored his inner landscape as well. How important this concept is and how very simple. And how very elusive. I look at that picture I got for Christmas of myself at 11, and my heart is full of regret. I think of my next semester, when I will be taking (gulp) geology, and my heart is full of fear. Right now, as I sit here pecking away, my belly is full of apple pie that I ate for breakfast (hey, it's fruit, after all) and I sip my coffee, and I am mighty fine. Well, a little cold. OK, I just turned on the heat. That was easy. Ram Dass was right to admonish us to "Be Here Now". I saw the Dali Lama on the telly last night. He says the same thing. Don't worry about heaven or hell. Just be. Everything is temporary, anyway.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Queen of shopping strikes again...

So I was in this long, long line at Best Buy yesterday, and a friend waved as he hurried in, and made a little comment on the lateness of the hour. And I retorted "I'm done. This is for me." So there. You see, my folks give me money at Christmas, as well as a few little things, but money, well that works for me very well. Most of it went into the bank to buffer next month's text book purchases. But some I actually got to spend. So I decided to get a new book bag. My red one, that I bought at Safeway for $10, was really meant for a kid, and already was pretty beat up. Plus the strap kept getting twisted up and digging into my shoulder because the flanges were plastic and didn't keep them from doing that. It was bound to break under the load I was asking it to bear. I love my new book bag. It is a Targus and a lot more sedate than the red one, and I could actually carry my laptop in it if I wanted. Why then didn't I just use the laptop bag I already have, you ask. Well, because it won't handle the books, that's why. Then I went to Target, always a favorite place, for birdseed, bubble bath and binder paper. Also got some dividers and a little box for index cards, the ones that have been sitting on my desk for a month in an untidy pile. All for $13. When I got home, I set up my binder (the one that would not fit into my red book bag) with dividers for the classes I would be taking, in the order I will be attending them. There are pockets in the dividers for my syllabi. And this year I will not be cramming hand-outs into a spiral notebook, but can actually punch holes in them and file them in the binder so I can find them at test time. How dandy is that.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What I would really like for Christmas...

Wouldn't it be lovely to get just one do-over per lifetime? Like go back in time and not marry that first husband, so I could actually finish college when all the other kids were doing it? It would have been nice to not have to live by my wits for all these years, to actually have some education to fall back on, to make my living in a more esoteric way, instead of falling back onto whatever my employer wanted me to do, business-related things, of course. On the other hand, there is enormous gratitude for the strength and ability to do that, certainly God-given gifts that served me well during life no. 1, the one before I got sober. And I continued to persevere, that seems to be my forte, to cope and make do, so that now I can change horses, not in midstream, but at the end of the trail. It may seem like a little late, but better late than never, right? Anyway, there is a whole bunch of nothing to do today, again. And school beats working, anyday. How many jobs give you a month off at the end of the year?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas stuff...

We had our family gathering today. My mother started this a few years ago, exchanging gifts on the Sunday before the holiday so we could all be free to be with others at Christmas, which has the effect of orphaning me, of course. I no longer have in-laws who demand command performances. Last year, I went to the movies. I may do that again. We'll see. Anyway, I came home with a haul, as usual: two sweaters, nightgown and slippers, a wonderful throw for the sofa, See's candies, it goes on and on. Best gift came from my oldest brother, a picture made from one of my Dad's old slides of the three of us, me and 2 little brothers, taken in 1955 when I was 11. We always got new pajamas, and I was dressed in my turquoise flannel baby dolls, my hair in little pink curlers, with legs as long as all outdoors. My kids got pictures of me when I was young; my son got one of me and his father. I had forgotten how young I was. And Amber got one of me at around 13; I was surprised to find how pretty I was then, so fresh and freckled. And my mother gave me a bracelet she bought when we sailed on Matson Line's Lurline, in 1963. It is still the vacation of a lifetime, one I will never forget. So, some precious memories went around the family this year. As much as I dread it every year, it always winds up to be a blessing that we are all still kicking, and can spend a few hours together in harmony.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The red leaf story.

Last year, I was wrestling a 40 lb bag of dogfood up our many steps at the house on the edge of the world, and I noticed this iris plant by the fence. It was not blooming, but one leaf was bent down horizontal to the ground, and it was bright red. Such an ordinary plant, but that one leaf in a sea of green was arresting. So, when I caught my breath, I came down with my camera and took a picture of it. I didn't know then what it was I found so fascinating that I had to record the moment. Later, I had an enlargement made of the print. Once in a while, I get a picture that is just wondrous. This was one of them. It was balanced and had lots of interesting light happening. And I know now what that leaf said to me. I have always felt different. The red leaf said different is not always a bad thing. Different could be a Mozart or an Einstein. And different does not mean beautiful, either. Certainly this was a homely plant. But it certainly had pizzazz. Yes, I am happily different today. What can I say? It's a zen kind of thing.
(And did I mention, it looks like this plant is sticking its tongue out at the world? Now, that's audacious!)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What to do when you have nothing to do...

Well, school is finished for a while, and since I was up way before the sun yesterday I slept in way late today. I am thinking of maybe cleaning the house, and maybe going out to do a little grocery shopping (I wanted to stay in bed all day today and eat junk food only to discover I am totally out of junk food). I may wrap a few of the Christmas presents I have piled on the far side of the bed, or not. It occurs to me that Boo is looking a little poochy, not unlike me, so a walk would probably be a swell idea, too. I will have to get to the bookstore at school soon to sell back my books, and scope out the next tomes so I can look for them online, maybe save a buck here and there. And a peek into the ironing basket, that fortunately has a lid to keep the dust out, tells me I may have to dig out the ironing board from beneath the giant-economy package of paper towels and the enormous bag of dogfood, too. Gee, that's a great big bunch of nothing to do today!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yay me!

I have spent many angst-ridden moments studying for my Political Science tests. Somehow, this material is so murky and incomprehensible. And the best I could do was a high B on the mid-terms. I clinched on the last one and blew the essay question, well, I got 41 out of a possible 50, but that was not good on my list. So I really worked hard at the final, outlined the study guide and just in case, reviewed the chapters, all 7 of them, as well. And he still threw in some questions that I didn't know. Sigh. But this time, I had a heads-up on the essay questions because I ran into a classmate yesterday, the one I had taken notes for, who had already taken the final and told me the questions we would be answering, so I studied for that, and really dazzled Mr. Freidig in my BlueBook. Then, after handing it in, I found out that because I was there everyday, and did all those little assignments like designing my own political party, I had a 95 going into the final! I got an A in Political Science! I am pretty sure I aced the Psych final, and I had an A- going into the final papers in Critical Thinking, so it is possible I am an A student! Since I have nothing more pressing to do, like work, I think I should be an A student if I apply myself. Truth is, it is really hard. But I am learning how to learn, and trusting that I can actually do that. What fun!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A little knowledge is not enough!

Clinicians observing my current behavior might conjecture that I am in prodomal stage of schizophrenia. I wander around in my sweats, which I wind up sleeping in, too, muttering things like "Brown vs the Board of Education" and "judicial restraint?" OK, the psych final is history, and I am 100% sure of 90% of it, I think. It is, of course, possible to be 100% wrong even if I am 100% sure. Wouldn't be the first time. Now on to PoliSci, and I got creative and went online to take the chapter quizzes. Not good. If Monte does the whole test on the Presidency, I am AOK. Everything else is sketchy. I will continue to study, nevertheless, even if I wind up schizotypally affected. Add insult to injury; the final is at 7 AM. That's in the morning, way before my usual day begins. Well, something to be grateful for; there will be plenty of parking!

Monday, December 12, 2005

One down, two to go...

I just turned in my final paper in Critical Thinking. He said to wow him, and I did my best, with a doozy of an allegory based on the characters from The Wizard of Oz. Fortunately, I had this in my mind months ago, so I didn't need to spend a lot of time procrastinating and actually had the assignment done before it was due. So I drove over to campus, the first time I've done that for a while, and it was good that I did, because parking is still a crunch and I need to be on time for my Psych final tomorrow, no time to be circling the lot like a lonely buzzard. Anyway, there is a feeling of completeness already, having finished this course. I read the syllabus on the first day of class and thought, yeah, I can do this? Well, I did it. It was a stretch sometimes, but I kept plugging away. One of my short suits is discipline. I prefer to call it devotion. Then it seems worth doing. Discipline sounds like forced marching to me. Anyway, I am now devoting my day to my studies, what a good girl am I.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Sunday before everything...

OK, now getting serious. Did a serious AA meeting, a closed meeting where sobriety is top priority, before the fashion show and the peanut gallery mentality. Now I am home again, in my sweats, and settling in for a day of serious studying, and finishing the final paper for Critical Thinking. It is an allegory, and you would think it would be a lot of fun to write. I am kind of balled up on the ending. Will I let Oz survive the onslaught of self-serving government and runaway corporate power? Or will it slowly sink into the sunset, back to the Mesozoic age where slime monsters rule? My, talk about powerful. It is all between my ears. Just need to get it out onto the paper. I am doing fine with everything else. Study guides are well dog-eared, and books are well cracked. Bring on finals week!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Scarred and limping...

Last day of class was a doozie. Our lecture was on violence, which is not a psychological disorder, but certainly ought to be. I have been a victim of a lot of it in my life. Today, if a parent leaves a mark on a child, they can be put in jail. Man, where was that law in my childhood? Wire hangers leave awful welts, for a week. My first husband's mother was beaten by his father, and he continued to tradition with me. He skipped the loving contrition stage, though, as he thought it his right. And strangely enough, I took it as a sign that he loved me, since the only time my mother showed any emotion toward me was when she was angry. So I grew up kind of skewed, and yet I was given an inner strength that has served to help me heal and grow, once I got over the need to anethestize myself. And even though I am verging on health now, I will always limp a little. Whoever I was supposed to be is lost to me forever. I can only become the best me I can be, using models of other strong women. I mourn that loss, and sometimes, like today, I get sad. And I am so happy that I finished the semester, well, almost, just have finals to get through. It is an accomplishment that I am very proud of.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Marching, virtually...

I joined the virtual march on Global Warming recently, and now get e-mail from Al Gore. Wow. And now I have joined the 42 day Gratitude March, not a bad thing to do in this dark time. Honestly, is anyone else disgusted with the Christian Right, those people who kill doctors who perform abortions on undifferentiated clumps of cells? Now they are all het up about el Presidente's "Holiday" card. Do they think they own December? It is high on almost every major religion's list, too, numbskulls. Channukah, Ramadon, stuff like that. And not everyone in America is Christian with a stick up their butt. Some of us are actually Buddhist. Or agnostic. OK, I grew up with Christmas trees, but that was a pagan ritual before adopted by Christians. Even the Christ story belonged to another religion before they adopted it. No one knew when he was born, so they borrowed from the myth of Mithra. Heavens. What a tempest in a teapot. One can only wish for the spaceship Mayflower to whisk them off to their promised land, somewhere far, far away.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Monochromatic thoughts...

I knew a woman once who always wore green. She was a redhead, and had green eyes, so green became her signature color. Until she underwent a psychic shakeup, a big breakup with a lifelong partner, then she segued to black. I like the idea of having a theme, though. I would like to just have one color in my closet, and never have to worry that things will clash with my lipstick or my hair color du jour. It's just that I don't know what color to choose. Black, well that's been done, and it is kind of depressing, and doesn't go well with Boo hair, which I have floating about me all the time. And I like white and all its gradations: mushroom, eggshell, etc., but it shows everything, and with my level of clumsiness, I would have to change too many times a day. Plus, my flowered underwear would show through. Red is an interesting idea, it just seems awfully audacious. Blue, well, it goes with my currently red hair, and is a possibility. But could I give up my sweet soft rose cashmere scarf? Never! So, pink? Oh, really. How prissy can one get. Yellow is good, but still, it is better as an accent, yes? And orange, oh nonono! OK, this isn't going to work out. I am going to have to muddle along in multi-hued splendor.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Now, really...

I remember when TV dinners were new, and what a thing, dinner all in one little aluminum tray that you didn't have to do anything to except heat it up! It was really freeing for my mother, who spent her days chasing my two bratty little brothers around, to have a night when she didn't have to cook. And now, there are all kinds of prepared foods out there, pre-seasoned meats, casseroles in a box, jars of all kinds of sauces, side dishes like wild rice with herbs, gourmet soups, you can even order your holiday dinner from Safeway, all cooked and everything. For a few dollars, more, of course. For a few dollars more, one need never really cook, or bake, for that matter. Cookie dough is all packaged up and waiting to be cut and baked. And today, I saw that Kraft is selling crumbled cheese in a bag. Now, that just seems kind of lazy to me. I cannot imagine anyone who is so busy they are willing to pay more for a bag of pre-crumbled cheese. Grated cheese, maybe, save themselves scraped knuckles and a sticky grater to wash, but a moron can crumble cheese. Right?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Love came out of my closet last night...

Getting ready to go to a Saturday night meeting, I reached for one of my scarves to wrap around my neck and keep my chin warm in the chill night. I have several. One is pink cashmere and was a gift from my daughter. One I bought in Piazza Navona at a street fair (that's in Rome, the piazza with three Bernini fountains in it) for 10,000 lire, a restrained black wool. One is red and superlong, and I knitted it for myself. And the one I took that night was made for me by my son, a red plaid with tiny fringe, sewed up by him on his big old machine. When I was newly sober, 16 years ago, I studied the Course in Miracles. I did the daily exercises, most days, and one taught me how I invest things with emotion. Things are, well, just things. But somehow they become more than that for me. Like the coffee cup that is striped green and white, like old printer paper, and says "Friendly User". I found it when I moved, and was surprised, because I thought I had thrown it away. It was a gift from an ex-lover, and embodies pain for me. Glad to say that has changed, the charge is gone. And I am happy to have all these warm and cuddly scarves to remind me that I am loved.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Little circles everywhere...

Oh, dear. My life has shrunk, again. I travel in little circles; home to school and back again, home to meetings and back again, home to Costco and back again. Pretty boring. And I have not waved at a cow for ages now. Funnily enough, I love my little circles, too. It takes a big event to get me out of them. So, when I went to Vacaville, sort of the middle of nowhere, Thursday night, no one was more suprised than me. We sat in horrid traffic with even more miserable rain for one of the two hours it took to get there, at rush hour, not the best planning ever. And it was all worth the angst, as we gave a presentation to the Solano Intergroup guys on how to wow the drunk drivers while informing them about AA. Since I had only done this gig twice, I guessed I was pretty far down my co-worker's list, and no other female from Sonoma County was willing to go. And since I gave up back-to-back episodes of CSI, it was a bit of a sacrifice. In the end, it was delightful being with a different group of former drunks, and we wowwed them, for sure. Could have skipped the dinner at Baker's Square, but it was 3 hours past my regular dinner hour, and I would have eaten road kill by then. It was a tad better than that, I think.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Some lessons cannot be unlearned, after all.

My turkey breast carcass is currently boiling on the stove with some celery and onion, and sage. Waste now, want not, as my Scots mother would say. She grew up in the Great Depression, and we lived with a frugal ethic as I grew up, saving string and rubber bands, making leftovers into casseroles, and what we didn't eat, the dog did. Our stove had a burner that sank down so you could cook a pot of beans, just red beans, onions and bacon, on a long slow simmer all day, and man, those were like ambrosia with a slab of cornbread on the side. And that pot lasted a long time, too, and they got better for the waiting. We ate tuna noodle casserole at least once a week, and Mom made almost all our cookies from scratch, too. She still does, fills up the same old cookie jar, just a big glass jar with a red tin lid, so that whenever one of us drops by, we can have a snickerdoodle or butterscotch brownie. Oh, and at Christmas, that upsy-daisy burner made steamed carrot pudding, an unlikely mixture of grated carrot, potatoes and raisins in a savory spicy dough, that you dished up with hot lemon sauce and a dab of hard sauce, a buttercream with whiskey in it. Sounds like a mess, right? But is was a feast for the angels. I forget that heritage in this time of solo stirfry dinners. I am actually thinking, once finals are over, that I will dig out my sticky recipe file and find all the cards that are splotched and ragged, the well-loved and well-used recipes, and cook up a little storm.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Observations du jour.

Today I realized there are advantages in being tall, beyond being able to see parades over the heads of those in front, and being able to reach things on the tallest shelves at the supermarket. I also never get the hems of my jeans all raggedy from walking on them, like my little classmate in Psych. Indeed, the hems of my jeans never come anywhere near the pavement, even when I special order them in tall sizes. Also, there are good things about standing on the shuttle bus. There's a refreshing breeze up there, and the ceiling is upholstered in the same pattern as the seats. Imagine that. And then there is that satisfying sense of personal pride that comes from maintaining one's balance through the jerks and bumps, and not ending up on my ass in the aisle, or worse, in some poor student's lap. And I have learned that it helps your grades when you show up, even in scary, hairy thunderstorms like we had today. I got 28 of 30 right on my quiz, almost as good as yesterday, when I got them all right, my first perfect score. It looks like I will actually finish the semester, and emerge to go on to another. This is amazing progress.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What a difference a day makes...

So, I aced my PoliSci test this morning, Yay Me! And my paper is on track, as well as extremely well written, of course. So now I just need to study, study, study for the Psych test tomorrow, then I can begin my moral narrative and study for finals. It is looking better than I thought it would just yesterday, when I was thinking I was a nutcase for even starting down this path. I think it will get easier still, once I begin to work the system and let it be what it is instead of trying to plow down the academic establishment. They are terribly invested in their way of thinking, aren't they though. I can, when beaten into it, be very flexible, yes I can.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rainy day session...

We had that when I was a kid. I loved rainy days, because we didn't have to have PE, which I found excrutiatingly embarrassing as I was like a giraffe in a herd of gazelles. On rainy days, we had recesses inside and played games like Fruit Basket Upset, and Kings and Queens, where we chased each other up and down the aisles between desks with blackboard erasers on our heads. I could do that kind of stuff and not look ridiculous doing it. Then we got to get out early. I often wound up walking home in the pouring rain, as my mother was home with two baby boys, and I was pretty much on my own, even when I was little. I know, poor me. But I still loved the rain, and I get all excited when it begins every year, still, like maybe I will get out of work early? Well, that happened, too, when I was commuting and Hwy 101 threatened to flood in Novato. Now I just keep trudging. They don't worry much about the weather in college. Back to the infamous moral narrative. Two more weeks, just two more weeks and we get a month off.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Math anxiety and other dysfunctions...

I saw my counselor today, and she had my transcript from 1963, that's like the dark ages, right? Anyway, it was bleak. I actually got a couple of (gulp) Ds. However, I have a lot of As ever since, and it is looking up here. I get to keep all those credits, or I can take them over and they disappear. We'll see what comes down the pike. I am planning on taking a science (geology), American history (up till 1877) and Music appreciation, which I already had once but didn't complete, and that should be a walk in the park. I have listened to a lot of music over these many years, and know a bit about it. And I need it, yes I do, if I want to go on to a university. But there is still that @$^&% math requirement, and I guess I will bite the bullet and take the )(*$%&* placement test during semester break, which I can barely wait for. It is only a couple of weeks away now. Unfortuately that means the finals are only a couple of weeks away, too. This is where I wonder what I could have been thinking when I climbed aboard this ship. Just hope it is not named Titanic.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Many things to be grateful for...

I went to my favorite coffee house today for a 20 oz non-fat latte, my Sunday morning treat, and there was a woman in front of me that was at least 18 inches taller that I. That would put her well over 7 ft tall. And she was beautiful, slim, long swanlike neck, and in proportion everywhere. But what must it be like? I mean, beds and automobiles are made for people a lot smaller, and where did she get those jeans that fit so well? So I was grateful to walk out, all 5 ft 9 inches of me. At my early morning (10 am, but that's really early for Sunday morning) meeting, a man spoke who had lost his wife to cancer, just two months ago. It was a heart-breaking story of everyday courage, especially for an alcoholic, who did not drink in the face of this tragedy. And I took a deep breath and thanked HP for my health, which I had been grumbling about lately, because I get these irritating sinus headaches whenever the weather changes. Perspective is such a wonderful teacher, don't you think? Now, at home, dog at my feet, homework spread out all over the place, getting ready to get going, any minute now, really. Wonderful to be alive and sober on this crisp autumn day. Yes, it is.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Middle of the night musings...

I am often awake at 4 AM. It is a funny time, too early to rise, for sure. So I toddle off to the bathroom, just in case that is what woke me, then settle back into the cocoon I fashion for myself, full of hope of another 4 hours, sometime soon. Usually, they come, but later, like at 6 AM. So I meditate. Because if I don't quiet my mind, it flits about like a famished mosquito, feeding on every fear I ever could imagine. (Why is it that fears are fifty times more frightening in the night?) Money is high on the fear list, along with rapid aging (I'm going to wake up looking like Boris Karloff in the original mummy picture), schoolwork (a five page paper, two chapters of PoliSci and one of Psych before Monday, oh my), etc. So I shut off the worry works and go to my sanctuary, this pristine house where there is never any dust, or other people, for that matter. Just crystal vases filled with flowers, sunlight through lace curtains, and music everywhere, where I walk about weightlessly in flowing silky robes and rest on poufy-soft upholstery in seashell colors. And before I know it, morning is with me. Sometimes I have not gone back to sleep at all, but I still feel refreshed. Beats pills, any night.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Suffering from bloggitis...

Just have not thought an original thought in days. All the leaves are now gone from our sycamores, and the atmospheric changes make my head ache. I kept schlepping off the school, but not much else has been going on. This morning, I am baking (please, no applause) an apple crisp for the orphans' Thanksgiving dinner I will be attending later. I am too challenged by crust to do a pie. I had forgotten what an ungodly mess this makes of the kitchen, but no matter, I was watching the parade as I peeled, and peeled, and peeled. All the balloons were nose down to the street, on tight rein, so I guess it is windy back in the Big Apple. Later, the National Dog Show is happening, one of my favorite things to watch, and I will be in the kitchen again, making brunch for my big guy, Booboo, my son. I made him a little apple crisp all his own. I know, I am such a good mother. Well, sometimes. Feeling a little of the old holiday ennui, too. My favorite memory of Thanksgiving was the time my mother, grandmother and I finished cleaning up the feast, and sat down with all the liquers from the cabinet in the middle of the table and got royally toasted together. Three generations of boozy broads. Only in America.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Trouble in Paradise...

Ever notice how there is always something calculated to irritate the hell out of you, even in paradise? At the little house on the edge of the world, it was mosquitos. The whole town was a mosquito hatchery. Apparently, no one had even heard the word "abatement". And nothing is as crazy-making as having one of those buzzing little suckers dive bombing you in the dark. That little old problem-solver me bought a mosquito net at Pier One. I think they were basically used for decoration in these environs, but not at our house. There was only one problem with it' on occasion, we would close a mosquito in with us. Then things got really nuts. And did I mention the poison oak? We got rid of it in the garden, but it was everywhere in the bushes. So, you say, just stay out of the bushes! Except then we got a dog. And I got to spend half of every year with itchy red rash from my knees down. Here in town, the problem is noise. Yes, I live on a sweet little street out of the hubbub of city traffic. But there is this constant rushing sound of the freeway one half mile to the east. Not loud, just always noise, running in the background like an uninvited guest. And, man, it is c-c-c-cold here! At the coast, it cooled down, sure, but not brrrrrrr cold. I usually climb into bed early in my pj bottoms, a cami and thermal t shirt, then strip down before turning off the light. Now I add soft little socks and another quilt on top of the four I already have on the bed. And winter isn't even here yet. OK, time to get grateful. Any minute now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I ideate.

I raked up piles and piles of leaves from our front yard, and tried not to think about how we waited with so much anticipation for them to arrive last spring. Though it looks very bare, more sunshine now comes into my bedroom, and my rainbow maker gets all charged up, so there is a blessing there. My writers' group was kind of sparse yesterday, only one of us brought a piece to read, and it was short, so it got a thorough going-over (not mine, thank HP) and probably more criticism than it would have otherwise. So we gabbed, and I found out one of our members teaches screenwriting at the local college. He invited me to check it out whenever I wanted. Now there's an interesting concept, I could write a screenplay! I always say the movies are, for the most part, amazingly facile, which has led me to believe that movie audiences are, too. But I notice a fair crowd at the smart people's theatre savoring the clever and deep independent movies, like Capote and The Squid and the Whale, movies that are atmospheric and thought-provoking. I could do that, right? Sort of a Ladies in Lavender set in suburbia thing, with a hint of The Graduate thrown in for spice. Sounds like a plan.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's about time!

My new homepage here at SBCGlobal.net gives me all kinds of tidbits from the news, like Sen. Ted Stevens' "bridge to nowhere" he got out of the pork barrel in Congress for his Alaskan constituents, for a mere $27 million. Are we at all surprised? Ted is 82 and knows how to work the room, for sure. He is the poster boy for term limits. But the really amazing news is that Heidi Fleiss is opening a "stud farm" in the Nevada desert, a bordello for women! How great is that! For only $250, women can buy themselves an Adonis who will adore them, for an hour. I am not sure how well this will play out, though. We women love our Chippendales, for sure, all swarming to put $5 bills in a sweaty jockstrap, but actually pay some guy to do the big nasty? Especially when a trip to the neighborhood bar would serve up a smorgasbord of men who would do it for free, or even pay us, if we so wanted. Maybe truly beauty-challenged women would want this service? But then I am wondering about ability to perform. (Well, forgive me, but I do wonder about these things.) And Viagra makes you blind, I heard. Gosh, that sounds like an urban legend, doesn't it. Anyway, what a world, what a world.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry rocks!

It was the best one yet, full of impending doom, magical special effects, and all this wonderful teenaged angst over learning to dance and asking a girl for a date. Herminone grew up to be stunning, Ron sulked in his frou-frou dress robes, and Harry was, well, Harry. That little guy has so much dignity and integrity. I just love that the Christian right is all huffed up about Harry being evil. That'll sell more books and movie tickets than the ads. Honestly, how sad it must be to be that scared all the time.

It's Harry Potter!

We are going to see the new movie today, my little schoolmate and I. All the blurbs and clips show it to be really fantastic, and kind of callow, as well, as Harry goes to his first ball with a date. Of course, I read the book, so I know how that goes for Harry, who is far from a smooth operator, bless his sweet soul. Herminone does infinitely better, but then, girls are aeons ahead of boys at 14. That is a lot of the charm of Harry, the English schoolboy thing, with snakes and magic and looming peril thrown in. I always get all fired up, and after the movie, feel this great emptiness just waiting for more. So I made plans with friends this evening, too, so I can work through my hangover with good company. And maybe watch the third movie on DVD when I get home. Sounds like a plan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Very interesting...

You know that old adage, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, stuff like that happens to me all the time. Like, this woman came into my life, and I was trying to help her. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was studying about personality disorders. Good thing, too. Because what happened next would have been ever so confusing otherwise. Somehow, my stock with this woman, which was blue chip to say the least, suddenly plummeted to a level somewhere below belly button lint. Other clues abounded, that she suffers with borderline personality disorder, a really devastating dysfunction that causes these huge and catastropic shifts in attitude. She's got some paranoid tendencies, and a few histrionic symptoms, as well. Makes me grateful I am just schlepping along with plain old humdrum depression, a little SAD (that's seasonal affective disorder for you who remain uninitiated in things psychological), and fleeting moments of anxiety as deadlines for things like term papers draw near. Oh, and a smattering of procrastination, hence the anxiety. Let's not even go to the alcoholism. Just another symptom, actually, of a wounded soul. One among many, it seems. But, definitely a grateful, wounded soul. I know where my wounds are, and I know how to heal myself. This poor woman may never get through. Makes me glad I found my prayer bracelet. If ever there was a candidate for the big bead...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We're off to see the Wizard!

What was I thinking? Going to school is really hard, and I am really tired. The mid-semester, midterm, term paper blues have descended and I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world around in my big red book bag. OK, I got a B on the PoliSci test. Though I love the teacher, all witty and smarmy in this 60s-ish kind of way, his tests are really obtuse and difficult for me to decipher. And my Psych term paper, well, I have been obsessing over it for months. Now, it's due on Thursday. Mostly written, really, and I have all the research here, tabbed with Post-Its, just need to do the last little bit. Treatment does exist for narcissistic personality disorder. It's just that narssicists don't think anything is wrong with them. If they think anything is wrong, it is with other people. So, they don't ever get well. Actually, they never get reasonable. Narcissism is an affliction of everyone around the narcissist. Interesting disorder. Anyway, once I get through this week, I think it will be clear sailing, right into finals. For now, I will just keep shlepping along like that lopsided camel with my big red book bag attached.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Everything old is new again, part IXXX

Some things are better the third time around. I saw the new Pride and Prejudice last night, and have to report I have not felt that young and juicy for a long, long time. Kiera Knightly, in her brown-eyed brunette personna, was delightful as Elizabeth Bennett, and this new guy whose name escapes me brooded delightfully as Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley was very jejeune, which made Mr. Darcy's concern for him quite justified. And dear June Bennett was this lovely blue-eyed blond, and though Lizzie was quite dazzling, June had an instant appeal. Donald Sutherland played the father without being too sarcastic, considering the flibbertygibbit of a wife he had, played by Brenda Blethyn with sweet dittsiness. It was an atmospheric film, filled with sweeping landscapes and houses that would cost the world to heat. Best of all, the Bennett domicile was somewhat seedy, always reminding us that they are not rich. At one point, a huge pig took a walk through the back door. And rural England was dusty and a lot like Tombstone in the old westerns, just a little more sartorial. The (smart peoples') theatre was filled with old folks, and I mean filled. They packed us in. We clapped. This is one for DVD, as soon as it is released. Cannot wait to see it again. And again.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A November kind of thing...

It's gratitude month. That makes a lot of people go Blecccch! But not I! In fact, after today's class in Abnormal Psych, I have reached new and more wondrous levels of gratitude. We are studying schizophrenia, which affects 1 in 100 people (that's a lot, if you think about it), is incurable, and even the treatments, which are effective about 75% of the time, to varying degrees, can cause potentially fatal side effects. It begins in late adolescence and early adulthood, and can cause horrible hallucinations, delusions, and major break from reality on all levels of existence. And no one knows what causes it. How devastating is that. And I am so grateful that those I love are well and functioning, even if some of us, me included, will limp a little all our lives. There are degrees of misery that I have not known, and that makes my angst over yesterdays Political Science midterm, which I think I blew, bigtime, so not important. Again, perspective rears its head and what a mavelous teacher it can be.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The downside...

I am aging well here. That is not a bragging kind of thing. It is a grateful kind of thing. Even though the calendar tells me I should be old, I don't feel it most of the time. I can still put my panties on standing up, I don't huff or puff going up the stairs at school, there are no aches in any of my joints. That being said, I could wish for a bladder larger than a shot glass. True, I get lots of exercise on my nightly forays to the potty, but really, it's getting ridiculous. Is this worth taking a drug? I mean, I see them advertised during my soap opera everyday, at least two of them, so I can't be the only one with this little deficiency. Not to mention the aisle in (soul-sucking) Safeway with the Depends and Poise pads. That wasn't there all that long ago, was it? It just goes to show, things change, and change, and change.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Leaping into the 21st century here!

I just installed my new DSL. What a trip! The phone rang while I am still online! Is this wonderful or what! Feeling so grownup and sophisticated, I can barely stand myself. Meanwhile, Beany went home this afternoon. This was after we innocently went out the front door to get the mail, and Beany met our neighborhood flock of wild turkeys, who ended up on the roof of the new house across the street. Didn't know those big suckers could fly! So, it's just all so exciting, and yet so much calmer now that the hyper one has left. Onward.

Oh frabjous day!

That's from The Jabberwocky, for those who are literarily challenged. I have broken through the ceiling, and I got a solid A on my midterm in Psych. Not a measly, mealy-mouthed A-, but an A. OK, this is good. Now to study for the PoliSci midterm, tomorrow, where a B will be most appreciated. Politics are a sticky, messy business. How they think they can turn it into a science is beyond me. Maybe it is like Hari Seldon's psychohistory (Asimov's Foundation Trilogy), and predicated on the ripple effect through the masses. Certainly, our system is interesting, and difficult to nail down. You think you have campaign finance reform, and those buggers just wiggle through the first available loophole. Depressing. But, not today. Today I am going to jump up and down for a while, celebrating the opening of new and more vital neural networks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Repeat after me: I am not a brown-nose, I am not a brown-nose...

I have returned from my ivory tower, once again, fired up by my higher education. We were supposed to bring in a draft of our paper on abortion, now there's a juicy issue to contemplate. I was determined to sit back and let them tear someone else's essay apart this time, but guess what? I was the only one who had done the assignment. And I did it, in bed, cold pills and Kleenex within arm's reach, piddling away on my laptop, sniffling as I went. It was not long enough, but hey, 4 out of 5 pages is better than nothing, which is what everyone else brought. I got shot down, kind of. The essence is there, just too much me in it, as usual. I do have this kind of passion that bristles Joels hackles. Then he did his usual explanation of why some of the grades on the last assignment may dissapoint us, and I got to that trembly stage of fear and loathing even before he handed them back. I thought I found the argument, and based my premise squarely there, so I was mentally preparing a defense, then I got mine and it was yet another A-, which is my grade so far in the course. Sigh. I intend to dazzle him with this next paper. The writing is not the problem. I am the problem. It just isn't in my nature to not feel anything, and that seems to be the gist of this particular discipline, to use reason instead of passion. OK, I can do that. I think.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Once again, into the abyss...

You know how it is. Other people's defects are just soooo glaring and easy for me to see. My own exist in this perpetual murk. However, I get clues from what spins me out about other people. Clever how that works, right? So, yesterday, I went to my very spiritual AA meeting, where all the spiritual giants of the Program meet. It was our first day in a new venue (we got the boot at our old one, by the winery that rented the back of the building, how bizarre is that), and I was feeling kind of disoriented anyway. I brought all my goodies, the cream cheese Danish tray, the muffins and a huge bowl of strawberries, just gorgeous. Beany and Boo were with me; I didn't want to leave them home to bother Janet while I was gone. So I parked in a shady place somewhere on the south 40, carefully guaging that it would stay shady for at least the next hour and a half, rolled down the window and popped the poptop. No sooner had I settled in my seat and this woman comes up to say I'd better be prepared to check on my dogs in a half hour, the sun will move. Gee, you think? Not the first time I have been admonished about how to treat my dogs. And, unfortunately, not the last, because instead of saying MYOB, I defended myself. Old behavior. My whole life has been spent defending my actions to someone, usually my mother, but could be a husband, too. So, this week I am working on not being a wuss, beginning with telling this woman, how sweet of her to think of me, now don't ever do that again. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Deep thoughts...

I had one of those dreadful nights, awake for a couple of hours in the wee hours. Usually equally dreadful things parade through my head, like should I call my mother and the state of my finances. But last night I got to think profound thoughts courtesy of my midterm study guide, things like "tricyclics work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine by the presynaptic neuron". Now, that's an impressive thought. Also jockeying for consciousness were such weighty ideas as refutation by analogy and political socialization. I don't know how any of this will further my intelligence, but it is less threatening than my bank balance at 2:30 AM. In the end, I thought about how dispassionate critical thinking seems to be, dry, dry, dry. But politics are ever so juicy, and current therapy techniques no longer require that stonefaced detachment, but are actually seen more efficacious when filled with positive regard. There's another wondrous postulation. So, perhaps there is a benefit to these midnight meanderings, allowing stuff to bubble up that normally just sits on the back burner and simmers.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

He's baaaack!

The Bean in visiting for a week. Who is the Bean, you ask? Beany is Boo's little buddy who lived with us when we lived in the house on the edge of the world. My partner got custody of Beany by virtue of being joined with him at the hip. Little guy just loved the mad-man artist, sitting by him on the bench in the garden, sleeping at his feet when he stood at his easel, even rode in the canoe out to the mouth of the river to pick up interesting bits of driftwood for creating cunning little sculptures. Art-man has gone to Maui for a week to paint plein-air and restock his gallery there, so we got the Bean. Now I remember why I didn't fight for custody. Beany is a terrier mix, translate that to terror, yappy, hyper little bugger. Town has him all flummoxed. He jumps up every few seconds to bark at something, some perceived little noise or twitch. Good news, though. He figured out how to get in and out the doggy door in the back, and bad news, he does it ten times an hour. I have now crawled around the backyard and stuck my nose everywhere he could and ascertained that there are no holes in the fence through which he can wriggle, and yet I still worry. This little guy is used to roaming free and wild up on his hill by the sea. Five more days. Just five more days, while I am studying for a midterm (another one), writing a 5 page argument for Critical Thinking, and a term paper for Psych. Right.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Crazed and confused...

I turned in the dreaded term paper, which is probably going to get shot full of holes and oh well, progress not perfection. Now to work on study guide questions for 75 question midterm tomorrow, then 5 page paper on abortion rights for Critical Thinking, 7 page term paper for Psych5, and another lengthy study guide for midterm in PoliSci, and I am thinking of pulling the covers over my head and remaining there forever, or at least until this semester ends. What was I thinking? This is nuts, and I don't even have a full boat; I'm only at half mast. OK, it's doable, I think. I hope. Just keep putting one foot in front of another. I may not be speedy, but I am reliable. Right.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Welcome to the world, little term paper...

I have just birthed my first term paper, an awesome tome on Proposition 76, just possibly the most dry and boring, not to mention mind-boggling, initiative to come down the pike lo these many years. Even the experts couldn't understand it, and the Governator has virtually abandoned any effort to foist it off on us beleagered voters, well, except to threaten to raise taxes if we don't pass it. Anyway, it was a breech birth at best. And I am all tuckered out and would now like to ensconce myself with my dog, and his visiting buddy Beany, in my soft-as-a-cloud bed with a steamy mystery novel and a large cup of hot chocolate. But, nooooo. I have to keep truckin'. There is a study guide from hell for the Psych midterm Thursday, a thousand page article on abortion (that sounds really exciting) for Critical Thinking and other very exciting projects to do, like clean the bathroom and rake the leaves that have fallen since the last raking, it never ends. OK, off to make some tea, and think about what to eat for dinner. My life. A thrill a minute.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Back in olden days, in the little house on the edge of the world, we had to wait 2 months to get a phone line. One or the other of us spent half of every workday down at the little store, hunkered down under the pay phone, pleading with or threatening the phone company. Finally, someone came out and ran a line from the pole down on the highway up to our house, and voila! And we were really, really grateful. Now I am in town, and I went to CompUSA yesterday to try to get info on networking my laptop to my PC. Somewhere in that seven year sojourn in the boonies, I became a techo-dinosaur. When I told the friendly compu-geek that I was still using dial-up, he gave me this look of such incredulity, I thought he was going to faint dead away. As a result, I am now about to have DSL installed. Gee, I hope this will be one of those painless transitions, free of angst-ridden, hand-wringing moments of self-doubt, like the ones I experienced as we waited and waited and waited for a telephone, all those years ago. I am used to dialing up the Internet, and flitting around the Web like a fly on uppers.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Welcome to the spin cycle!

School is gearing up like mad. I have a paper due in Critical Thinking on Monday, a term paper in PoliSci on Wednesday, and a midterm in Abnormal Psych on Thursday. I have actually started working on all three, and will be doing that for the next few days. No time to relax after, either, as another term paper is due mid-month, and another midterm coming, too. It has made me question why I thought this was such a great idea. It is all about just putting one foot in front of another, no time to sit by the road and watch the wildflowers grow. So, I ply the vicissitudes of Proposition 76, debate the efficacy of using animals in biomedical research, and wade through substance abuse and eating disorders. It is an intricate dance, and it is amazing how things overlap here. Ideas just keep perking and let us hope they do not upset any of my teachers. I really want to do well, or at least the very best I can do. It is challenging, to say the least. On to homework, a fruitful way to spend my time. I expect to bloom any minute now.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Just give me back my hour...

Now I understand why college students protest. They teach them such interesting things. Like, since the Republicans have been in power, the rich got a lot richer, and the poor got a lot poorer. The oil companies announce record profits, while I struggle to fill up my tiny Ford and consolidate trips to the grocery store where I am paying more for celery because the truckers have to pay more for their gas, too. It has reached a level of idiocy. All because of the morons in the heartland who are afraid Bruce will be able to marry Jeremy and adopt a baby. Or the scientists will use an embryo and create a cure for Alzheimer's. It's the frigging dark ages, people! Let's all bury our heads in George W's sandbox, which is right next to his set of toy soldiers that he is playing with in Iraq, like those are not our precious children. I want to go on record that I never voted for that Bozo, or his father. But then, no one I vote for ever gets elected anyway. But at least I vote. Hell, just give me back that hour you stole from me in April.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The trouble with thinking...

Another paper is fomenting in my fertile little mind. It is the third time I have written this paper. I read the second draft in writers' round table in class and it got shot full of holes, although it was "very well written". Thank God for small favors. Who would have thought that I would fail at arguing? I was born to argue! Look at the mother I got dealt! Taciturn, mean, vitriolic woman, unhappy person no. 18,756,291. Maybe the problem is that I gave it up for lent, about 16 years ago. I just decided not to defend myself any more. If someone liked to argue, I just moved along, leaving them in the dust. There are so many wonderful people in the world. Why hang out with the pickles? And my Critical Thinking teacher is one of those. Well, sometimes I don't get a choice. I am learning so many things in school that aren't published in the catalog. That is the amazing truth about life. You go to school and expect to be able to conjugate verbs and solve equations, but also learn the vicissitudes of dealing with difficult people, a skill I seem to lack. Must run. So many things to think about, so little time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

I have this shuttle thing all figured out. First, I park where I can make a quick turn down the ramp and out of the garage, in pretty much the same place every day. Otherwise, I wind up plowing up and down the aisles of cars, pushing that little thingy on the automatic opener, waiting for my buggy to honk at me and reveal itself in the sea of vehicles. Then I stand patiently in line, sometimes schmoozing with the campus police person they station there to continually remind us where to park, like we haven't been doing this for 2 1/2 months already. There are three shuttles running, all with very different drivers. One is the whippet of a woman, very sharp around the edges, and constantly furrowing her forehead, worrying about her charges. She drives the bus with the low overhead, and though she always warns us to be careful, I have bumped my head more times than I care to admit. Then there is the gray-haired, burnt-out bus driver guy, who hates driving a bus almost as much as he dislikes all of us. He never even grunts when I say "thank you", which I always do, nevertheless. And then there is the big, happy-go-lucky Juan Valdez clone who plays classic rock. I just love it when I get to ride with him. We all bounce along with the Eagles or the Doobie Brothers. Very cool. And good news, they managed to keep the service going till semester end. Super.

A walk in the park...

Taking Boo for a walk is a little tricky. First, you can't let him know he's going until right before you walk out the door. So I sneak back to lock the back door, always a challenge to remember, and stop in the kitchen to fill up the special Boo water bottle, and get a plastic bag and 3 paper towels, aka the Boo poo bag and Boo poo picker-uppers. After palming my keys and sunglasses, it is safe to clue him in and reach for the leash. At this point, he becomes this crazed demon, all wriggly and squeaky. Once out the door, he charges ahead, like he knows what direction to go. Boo doesn't like to walk on gravel, and part of the path to the park is not paved, so I have to continually pull him to keep him from jumping off the curb into the 40 mph traffic on College Ave. It is a talent to decipher during his inumerable stops if this is the one that will produce bodily functions or merely a moment to savor the bodily functions deposited by other dogs. One can hope that there will be no deposits requiring retrieval until the last leg of our walk. This never happens. And once he has made a deposit, it is not wise to ditch the poo bag too soon. Boo likes to do his business in installments, hence the multiple poo picker-uppers. So, by the time we reach the park, we are usually already toting a bag of Boo poo. There's all kinds of excitement in the park for Boo to comtemplate, especially other dogs. Guys on bikes can be a little intimidating for him, and there is always a kid who gets all gooey over the Boo. He bears up under all this admiration, well, admirably. He gets a drink out of his special Boo bottle that comes with a drinking trough, $4.98 at Lillian Vernon, and then its time for the second installment. By the time we round the corner of our street again, he is all tuckered out and lagging behind me, panting. We return happily to deposit the poo bag in the garbage, and Boo returns to his post on the bed where he can survey his kingdom in comfort. Another day in the life of the Boo.

Monday, October 24, 2005

God bless Jane Austen...

I watched Pride and Prejudice last night. God bless public television for these classic movies. This one was made in the dark ages of black and white films and starred Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennett, and Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. I found it stilted. Honestly, even the most carefully cultivated sense of propriety must sometimes become eroded with passion! There people behaved like silly children, even the parents, so that when the younger Bennett daughter ran off with the scoundrel soldier, it seemed no more than a 3rd grade field trip. And what a waste of Olivier’s talents. He was best in films like Wuthering Heights, where he could smolder with barely reined-in lust and fury. Here, he barely stumbled over his love for Lizzy, and she gave him the barest moment of bloodless pondering before declaring her turnabout affection for him. I am looking forward to the newest version, due out very soon, hoping that passion will erupt somewhere in this mess of civility. At last, something worth re-making!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Saturday afternoon at the movies...

I had one of those marvelous encounters yesterday with an old friend. We met for lunch at the world's best Chinese restaurant and schmoozed our way through walnut pineapple prawns and orange sesame beef. Lots of catching up to do over the oolong tea. Then we mosied over to the theater, not the mega-multiplex where one can see Texas Chainsaw Masacre IV or Barbie's Dream Adventure, oh nonono. We went to the smart people's theater, where instead of your brain getting pumped full of fluff and feeling all cottony afterward, you actually get to think about what you saw, and you come out enlightened and enriched with a brain bursting with new thoughts. In other words, the theater that plays the independent films, or the ones the big studios make as acts of contrition for the rest of the tripe they produce. My choice, and I was really dragging my friend to see it, was Proof, starring the divine Gwyneth, along with Anthony Hopkins, Jake Guylenhall, and Hope Davis, who was less white-ratish in this film than I have ever seen her. It was about the fine line between genius and madness, a great cinematic subject in my book. Actually, I think it could have been a better work with better editing, more tension-filled, but all in all, it satisfied my need to feel that I can entertain and elucidate myself all at the same time. We walked out with smug smiles to the parking lot full of vintage Volvos and new hybrids, passing all the other smart people on their way for their helping of intellectual grace.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Everything old is new again, Part 9776

Well, they have resurrected Zorro, again. Man, he should have been embalmed decades ago, after the really lame TV series Disney did with that actor who later became Will Robinson's father in Lost in Space, which they also did a hokey rehash of a couple of decades ago. Guy Williams, that was the dude. The original Zorro was Tyrone Power, and there was a guy worth paying to watch carving Zs in everything and everybody. Then there was a movie serial, one chapter a week, usually 15 in total, then the TV series, then more movies, including George Hamilton as Zorro, the Gay Blade, admittedly original but still, blah, Zorro. And that dear Banderos chap, well, he is yummy, but wasted, just wasted in another black masked-man epic. But that is not the really bad news. They remade The Fog! I actually own this movie on DVD, an honor I reserve for only classic trash, and this movie was right up on the top of that list along with The Thing and Curse of the Demon. Jaimie Lee was at her scream-queen prime, starring right along with her mother, the queen-mother of horror since her outing at the Bates Motel. Which reminds me, remaking Psycho? Give me a break.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'd like to buy a vowel, please.

I walked through the Coop yesterday on my way to class. That's the student dining room on our campus, also known as the Student Cooperative. There was a foursome playing cards and I thought, how erudite, they're having a 9 am bridge game. Not so, they were playing go fish. So much for the superior intelligence of college students. I played go fish with my brothers when they were 4 and 6 years old. In fact, my poor beleagered mother taught me to play casino when I was 5 to divert herself when she could get both those little brats to sleep at the same time. As we grew up, our hall closet got filled up with board games like Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Life, and my personal favorite, Sorry. Sorry was particular fun because you could screw up your opponent's game with spectacular aplomb, and I was certainly into that scene with my little brothers. Later, my grandmother taught me to play Canasta, with three or four decks. That was really dandy. My mother took Risk away from us kids; World War III would rage in our living room every time we played it. And I went through a period of addiction to shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Those are events most fun when shared with another addict, jumping up and down on the couch, yelling out the answers to impress one another. Well, I am just a little competitive here. OK, I am a lot competitive. It runs in my family. Our holiday poker games are still thrilling when I can sucker my now old fart brothers out of a big pot. At penny-nickel-dime, it is never very much money. It's all about rivalry. It never ends.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Right up my alley...

We have come to my particular area of expertise in abnormal psych, substance abuse and addiction. I gave a little presentation about alcoholism from the inside today, and I am happy to say the class listened. Our textbook actually gives a pretty accurate picture of the disease, if it is a disease, which doesn't matter all that much except that it removes some of the horrid shame and stigma from suffering from it. Anyway, AA gets a fair write-up, no big pooh-poohing of our spritual concepts, and seeing as how it was a psychologist who came up with that concept, Carl Jung, that only seems fair. About 80% of the people who exhibit signs of alcoholism never seek treatment or recovery. And that's only the obvious ones. There are all those closet drunks out there, too. And of those few who do look for help, a dismal 50% don't make it. AA doesn't keep statistics, what's the use, most drunks would just throw up their hands and go get a bottle, but I know it is possible to get sober and maintain sobriety, if there is sufficient willingness to do so. There it is, the key, and since most of us have a lot of other psychological disorders going on (I have depression, anxiety, social phobias, and panic disorder in my history, just to name a few), we often don't want to give up the one method of escape available legally. I doubt there is anyone outside an Amish community who has not known at least one person who could use some recovery. Oddly enough, if not self-diagnosed, a person hasn't a snowflake's chance in hell to get better, not with Antibuse, not with carping relatives, not even with repeated arrests and incarcerations. Sad. And how grateful am I? There are no bounds. I am the happiest person in the room, most of the time. Happy, joyous and free.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


What a way to start the day, staring at this blank slate and contemplating how very boring my life is. It is gray outside, and nice and cool, thank you, HP. I am tired of summer, want to never polish my toenails again, well, at least not till next June. I am contemplating my day-to-come, classes in the morning, and whipping together a term paper for Political Science in the afternoon. I have got to get going on that sucker, it is due on the 2nd. In the luck of the draw, I got Proposition 76, which is budget reform and as interesting as watching paint dry. Hard to get all fired up about it, except for the fact that there is only one proponent, the governator, and 35 pages of opponents, everybody else in California. I am sure there is a good reason for all this dissent, not the least of which is the systematic destruction of the checks and balances in place in our state capitol, I just can't seem to light my own fire to write about it. Oh, well. It could be worse. Can't think of how, but I'm sure it could. This is happening because I have not read the newspaper yet. Our local fishwrap will provide me with plenty of examples of how very much worse it could be. I need a latte!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Summer is dying a difficult death this year. Yesterday, it was almost 90 degrees out there; I had to water again, even though it had rained (well, sputtered) the day before. Today we have our marine layer back, and it is cool. Which is better than the weather where my friend Lief lives, somehwhere up in the cheese states, Wisconsin, Minnesota, they all run together for me. Anyway, he says they have two seasons, winter and roadwork. Funny, we have that season, too! It has been everywhere lately, and yesterday, it came to my very own neighborhood! I turned into the driveway before I got to the flagman. I have decided that this must be the end of the budget year for the CalTrans people, and they are scurrying to spend last year's money before the new year begins, but gosh, people, do you have to be parked smack in the middle of my life? The only way to avoid it is to never go anywhere, not even to (soul sucking) Safeway. On my way home the other day, there was a steamshovel parked in the middle of College Avenue and I could not turn left for the easy two block jog to my street, on nonono, I had to take the circle route way way way around, at $2.979 per gallon. Well, I am ready for autumn, crisp mornings, frost on the pumpkins, even Halloween pests at the front door. And an end to the season of roadwork.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I have arrived!

When I see myself in my mind's eye, it is something like this: I am sitting in a venerable coffee house, probably in San Francisco, but it could be in Paris, yes, let's decide it is in Paris. I am surrounded by people of similar ilk, intellectual beings, all done up in their academic togs, rather tweedy in an insouciant way, you know, old, butt-sprung skirts, ascots, berets. We are sipping our lattes and engaged in weighty, consequential arguments, like do animals really have rights and what are the moral and ethical ramifications of using them to determine if a new beauty product will cause skin ulcers or not. It all is reminiscent of the Beat generation. I resonate with Beatniks more than I do with Hippies. The Beatniks thought more and screwed less. Whatever, I am now a part of this argument, courtesy of Joel and the Critical Thinking guys, all mulling and pondering with such incredible intensity. Yes! Bring on Walt Whitman and the road less traveled. Let's all wallow in Walden and Paradise Lost. I lift my espresso in a toast to the examined life. What a hoot!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good news...

I saw the new George Clooney movie today, Good Night and Good Luck, a treatise on the legacy of Edward R. Murrow. I am old enough to remember Ed, though I liked Person to Person where he interviewed celebrities like Liberace in their homes. Well, I was just a kid, what did I know. This is about Sen. Joe McCarthy and his witch hunt for communists in the 50's, and how Murrow brought him to his knees. It was a brilliant film, engrossing and certainly timely, considering how our current politicians script and manufacture the news that we get to see these days. So glad to know our soldiers all support Geo. W., right? Uh huh. This administration tried to use Sen. Joe's reasoning, when he said only those with communist leanings would oppose his tactics, by telling us that is we oppose the war in Iraq, we are traitors. Now, really guys. What country did you wake up in this morning? Albania? So glad I am learning to think critically, so I will not accidentally label myself guilty of treason for thinking that our leaders are greedy crooks just out to give their cronies another corporate perk, an overnight stay in the Lincoln bedroom.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Perfectly imperfect me...

A while ago, I took a friend with me to help me mat and frame a photo I had taken in our garden. The subject was this amazing pink flower, all lacy and laden with morning dew, sparkling in the sunlight, with rosy buds in shadow beyond, just a jewel of nature. I called it "Fresh", and I was proud of it. Until my friend pointed out that there were little specks of detritus here and there. And I was devastated. She was right. You had to kind of squint to see them, but there were these tiny specks of stuff, three of them, right on my work of art. I framed it up, anyway, and actually displayed it in an art show, because it is still an amazing photograph. And that became my trademark, the notion that nothing is perfect, imperfection reigns supreme. I have a photo of some plums, round, red, just bursting with sweetness. A couple of the leaves are torn, and there is this spider web between the fruits with an itty bitty blossom caught in it. And my favorite Wild Rose picture has an ant on one of the petals. I am more likely to be disappointed if nothing intrudes on my vision when I take photos now. I expect imperfection to rise up and impose itself at any moment, all the time. It is a much more realistic way to live my life, which has been rife with pimples, scratches and bruises, lumps and bumps and jellyrolls. And I am pretty sure that is never going to change.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A potpourri of angst...

Sigh. I bought a box of cereal at (soul-sucking) Safeway the other day, for a number of reasons. It was moderately cheap, sugar was third of the list of ingredients, and it would have cost me twice as much to drive to Trader Joe's for my usual soy concoction with pumpkin and flax seeds. So I came home with this box of Honey Bunches of Oats, with almonds. My first breakfast was kind of bland. The best thing about it was the organic banana I sliced on top, even if it did say it was whole-grain. Then the next bowl was crunchier, and I realized all the bunches of oats had fallen down to the bottom of the box. Duh. So now, every bowl is a crunch-fest. It makes it worth getting up in the morning, almost. Lots of little niggling stuff going on, like my jeans are tight, probably because the weinie workout has been missing in action for a few weeks, so I am dedicated to getting my blooming butt to the gym sometime today. We talked about the flu last night, and I came home convinced my throat was sore and I was headed downhill, healthwise. So vitamins are on the frontline of my battle with the dreaded virus. And my package arrived from my catalog outlet, just some thermal tops and a sweater, no $$ due till next year, and the sweater was too tight under the arms, one of those strange constructions, I guess. So I dutifully pacakaged it up, then realized my mailing tape was somewhere in a box in the garage. I spent a happy half hour out there, unpiling, the repiling only to find the box at the bottom of the very last heap, after a bunch of stuff fell down on me, and is now probably beyond repair, like my little Lexmark printer. Sigh. I did get the sweater off in yesterday's UPS run, took back my library books, and went again to (soul sucking) Safeway, for ice cream, mocha almond fudge, lots of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

And now for something entirely different...

I heard on the morning show yesterday, as I plowed back and forth between bedroom and kitchen, toting my coffee cup, that there is going to be a Christian sitcom. Forgive me, all you who have been saved, but my take on that faith is that they tend to be a serious, rather gloomy lot. Footloose comes to mind, where the kids were forbidden to dance by the very fervent preacher father. Dancing is too joyous for Christians, and some sects do forbid it, along with movies (too lascivious and tempting), drinking, smoking, even drinking coffee. How awful can it get! Surely laughter is not on their golden plate. I remember the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. The Mormons founded it to finance a university for the children of the Pacific Rim. They came, and worked in the Center re-enacting their culture for the bevies of tourists. They did it swathed in cotton from neck to ankle. It was kind of sad, if you thought about it, these lovely brown people, all covered up, hidden from view like they were stains on the firmament. This is why I am not a Christian, that preoccupation with the body, as if it was a hotbed of sin instead of a vehicle for the soul and a temple of joy. I have no doubt that they will try very hard with this new program, and that it will fail. Laughter just isn't in the Christian tradition.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I think I am losing my mind.

Or it may be mid-semester blues, a new psychological disorder for the DSM-IV or V, coming to a desktop in your town, soon. I am not good at toadying, and it looks like that is the only way to get an A in Joel's Critical Thinking class. Erin did a good job today, telling the little prick that his is an interesting class in a sea of yawning boredom. Little guy got all puffed up at that remark. OK, I'm a little miffed. We got a B+ on our paper, the boys and I, and I think that was probably fair. It was a little disjointed, as we each contributed a portion. But he quibbled, like a rat eating away at a hunk of cheese. Did I really think that it was not just a coincidence than the 9/11 bomobings happen on the date that reflects our national emergency number, 911? Well, duh. Honestly, I hope I get to do one paper on my own, soon, so I can shine out like a beacon from the depths. Oh, hell, if I do, it will not illuminate whatever he thinks is the most worthy of illumination. We will never be on the same page, teacher mine. I don't think that is a particularly bad thing, except for that damned grade thing. Must keep plodding along, and decide if I want to bend over and pucker up, or stand tall and risk getting chopped down. T'is a puzzlment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The captive audience awaits.

Tonight I will speak to the first offenders again at Drunk Driving classes. I guess they do an extensive program for these people, many, many weeks of two hour sessions. This is just one little pea in their very long pod, listening to an hour of us AA types. I would feel sorry for them if I were still drinking. But here's what I know; for the majority of them sitting there, this was not the first time they drove drunk. And for most of them, it will not be the last, even though they think it will be. They all dodged a pretty big bullet if they didn't hurt anyone or anything. And that possibility looms in the future as long as they continue their drinking. So I give them our spiel, which is not to recruit them, or indoctrinate them. We alcoholics know that would not work even if we did try. Instead, I tell them what AA is, what it isn't (a hotel, a bank, a dating service), what to expect if they get sentenced to meetings, even what to wear (anything they want). And I give them a spoonful of the misery that got me there, and a healthy helping of the recovery I have now enjoyed for 15 years, at such a small price; just 3 or 4 meetings a week, a daily practice of gratitude, and a willingness to help others. Even their sorry asses.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm feeling like some snickerdoodles...

I have never really understood this pre-packaged cookie dough thing. Half the fun of baking cookies it to get all the ingredients out, the eggs, sugar, butter, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and blow it all over the kitchen by revving up the Kitchenaid until it burns rubber. Add some nuts and chocolate chips, et voila! Heaven. And besides, there are no pre-packaged snickerdoodles, anyway. There are only 5 or 6 ingredients to snickerdoodles, and the true fun comes in chilling the dough, then rolling each cookie into a little round ball, then dredging it in cinnamon sugar. The cookies spread out perfectly round with little dimples on top, and are crunchy-chewy yummy. I offered to bring cookies to my Sunday meeting. Maybe it is time to haul out the mixer and spend a happy hour in the kitchen while the fragrance of warm cookies wafts all through the house. What an idea!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

If it's Sunday, it must be Desperate Housewives!

OK, I am a slave to network TV. I didn't set out to do this to myself, and yes, I do know how to use my VCRs, well, one of them, but it just seems such a hassle. So I settle into my comfort foam and down pillow with my handy-dandy remote within reach, tea steaming on my bedside table, book in hand, dog curled at my side, and veg out with Susan and Bree and Lynette and Danielle. It is what I live for. This is probably pretty sad, and emblematic of the size of my life these days, which is pretty damned small. Not that I am feeling sorry for myself, oh nonono. I am thrilled at this tiny, sweet existence. My days of going out six nights a week to party and raise hell are so over. Also the days of walking the floor with a colicky baby, or laying awake listening to the Westminster chimes, waiting for a teenager to come home. And ditto the days of waking eight times a night to snores and grunts and tumultuous flopping about of a restless partner. I also don't get up all that early any more. No long commute, six months of it in darkness, one way or the other (I wore out three sets of headlights on my first miniscule Ford). No one lying in wait to heap another task on my bulging inbox. No more lists of tasks to tick off and start all over again, month by endless month. Yes, I will take network TV till 11 pm any day. It is the payoff for getting old. I mean, older.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I think it is ironic that our forefathers originally settled this nation to escape religious persecution, and we are all now just trying to keep for being persecuted by religion. Bush thinks that he can just say, "she's wonderful!" and all the senators and representatives will nod their heads and put this Holy Roller on the Supreme Court. Of course, she is going to wind up there, and it will be interesting to see what happens next. Perhaps we will all wind up in flowing white robes that cover us neck to ankles, and start construction on a new, improved ark to get us through the next big flood, global warming style, retribution for the lasciviousness of wanting control over our bodies and allowing gay people to celebrate their love. Meanwhile, back in the homeland, there is going to be an erotic interactive museum in London. Maybe King George wasn't so bad, after all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Speed bumps on my highway of life...

Sometimes, my life gets all cluttered up with obstacles. I was so grateful to find a quick and easy way to get to the mall so I could park there and take the short bus to school. Then they began road work on an intersecting street, and it got a little tricky. Yesterday, there was an even trickier detour, and the tiny two block connector street was blocked by yet another piece of heavy equipment, installing windows on a new building. When I got to campus, I was early, since I forgot to stop for my latte on my way, so I took the scenic route through campus, winding around under heritage oaks and the ancient brick buildings and was accosted by a huge backhoe doing something awful to the lawn in front of Analy Hall. Three obstacles is usually my limit for the day. Then, last night, I returned to campus to view a movie, for extra credit in Political Science, Wag the Dog, all about presidential spin, a funny movie with a not so funny ending. It was supposed to be in Neuman auditorium, right there in Emeritus Hall, where I have all my classes, and I was feeling particularly happy because I got a parking place in the lot, something that is impossible during the day, and actually got to use my $60 parking sticker. Except that the movie had moved, to Burbank, all the way through campus. Finding it was a little dicey, like I had to ask a whole bunch of clueless people. Happy to say I persevered and even got home in time for CSI and my William Petersen fix. And, as if to make up for all this hassle, I got a whole string of green lights on the drive home. Can barely wait to see what awaits me today.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

War sucks.

Our little town lost its first soldier in Iraq this week. There is a picture on the front page of his widow and baby. By all accounts, this was a remarkable young man and you have to applaud anyone willing to live a military life, even in peacetime. And one could wish for a more noble cause to die for than more gas for our SUVs. But it has always been so; our son's become cannon fodder whenever the leaders cannot resolve their difficulties any other way. Now our daughters join them. And the truth is that we wound ourselves every bit as much as we wound our enemies, since we are all one here on earth. There is nothing gained in the end that requires this kind of sacrifice. All the religions that we pay such devout lip service to could not prevent this awful war. So what is the solution? Well, our leaders need better minds. They should sit in my Critical Thinking class for a while, learn how to think outside that little box they are all folded up inside. One can imagine Bush sitting in his rec room, pushing little tin soldiers around, and feeling terribly important. Better yet, leaders should fight in the front ranks. That would give them the perspective necessary to be leaders. Like Bill Pulman in Independence Day. And we could all watch them on television. Duking Despots, a new reality show. I might even tune in.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Logic, Smlogic.

OK, I know what logic is. But this @$&*#@ textbook has taken a simple concept and muddied up the waters beyond all belief. Hopefully Joel will illuminate this subject today. Certainly, what is logical is true, right? Wrong. And you can take modus ponens and modus tollens and stick it. Please. I have read this stuff twice, and still get all balled up. Who would have thought that a course about thinking would be so murky? I've been thinking for a really long time. You would think I would have it down by now. Like I need an algebraic formula to know what is true or not? Or a Venn diagram? All men are human. All women are human. Therefore, all men are women. Right.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pardon me while I dissociate...

My head is reeling with the plethora of disorders we are studying in Abnormal Psych. We just finished up anxiety disorders, you know, things like phobias and my personal favorite, panic disorder. I've been there, when the floor drops out from beneath and I was left free-falling into terror. Most people believe they are having a heart attack. I just thought I was dying. In a way, I was; I was so lost and afraid in my early sobriety, without any drug to ease the fear. Now we have moved into dissociative disorders, like dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as mulitple personality. Interesting that this is a phenomenon that exists almost solely in our American culture. It stems from traumatic abuse in early childhood. That says a lot about our parenting skills. I particularly like depersonalization disorder, those moments when we just zone out, like on the road, scary. A whopping 80-90% of the population has experienced this, yet they persist in calling it a "disorder". I think it is just a mini-vacation mode, myself. And then there are the somatoform disorders, like Muchausen syndrome, and hysteria, another favorite of mine. Mood disorders are coming up next. Oh, boy, depression. I could never be a medical student; I would die of some dread disease I was studying before I could graduate.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Monday is garbage day on Wild Rose Drive. There is such a sense of satisfaction on Sunday night, when I patrol the house, searching out all those orts that can be tossed into one of our three cans; recycling, yard waste, and general trash. Often, there is a little debate about which can to use, things like bottle caps; the bottles are recyclable, the caps are not. What is that all about? Anyway, I haul out our neatly bagged gunk and happily re-line all the receptacles for the next week of tossing. A little spritz of Lysol under the sink, and the house is fresh and new. Now, wouldn't it be great if there were a mental garbage day, too? I could sort out all the resentments and rotten thoughts, keep the fresh ones for further mulling, toss the fungus-ridden ones that had gotten shoved to the back of the box and festered there, and start each week with a clean new mind, all sanitized, ready to work out the new kinks life has in store for me. Yes, I think that would be swell. And I wouldn't even have to worry about recycling!

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Here comes fall, probably in earnest this time. I had already pulled out all the sweaters and put away the tank tops, so temps soared back up to the 90s again this week, and I wore the tanks I usually reserve for the gym rather than did through the boxes on the closet shelf. I am happy to put them away in their little drawer again. Our weather is fickle. It can turn on you overnight, and frequently does. It can be 100 in the shade during the day, and a chilly 50 at midnight. I took swimming lessons every summer when I was a kid, mostly because it terrified me and it took a lot of summers to get me out of beginners. As I progressed in skill, the lessons came earlier and earlier in the morning, which meant we were in the pool under skys that stayed foggy till 11. It was nice and warm in the water, but when I got out, man, it was c-c-c-cold, especially when I was taking life-saving, at 7 AM, and diving in fully clothed. Ah, but I took it with my boyfriend, and he got to be my hero, slinging me over his shoulder in the fireman's carry. There was nothing as wonderful as a stack of pancakes after an hour of saving each other.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

User-friendly spirituality...

I have this designer God that I devised when I was new in sobriety. It says in our Big Book that the time will come when there will be no human defense against that first drink, and I took that to heart. But my Catholic God, the one that seems so benign then threatens to toast you extra-crispy if you even look at Him wrong, just didn't seem to be a good choice for my fervent prayers. So, I created this big soft teddy-bear God, who lounged around in Her pajamas all the time and loved me right now, warts and all. No more spiritual car washes on Saturday so I could be all squeaky clean for mass on Sunday morning. No more priests intervening on my behalf, either. I get to talk right to the Great Spirit, all by my little self. And sometimes, I yell; I figure God is big enough to take it, and better to yell at God than anyone else. That makes crumby Karma, and I want to keep my Karma flowing with the milk of human kindness. I also built my God to be all powerful, and all wise, so I can take any question to Her and have it answered, often in ways I know came from Great Beloved, because I would never think of them myself. Most of my relationship with my Creator is about becoming open to the wonder of this amazing universe we all share here. God does such marvelous good work, making available to me an infinite variety of flowers and trees and yes, bugs. I wonder why She needs so many different kinds of stuff, then I remember how easily bored I am, and I understand.

Friday, September 30, 2005

My spotted mind...

I never saw that movie about the "spotless mind", but I remember thinking that Jim Carrey probably was not Catholic. Not only was everything that was fun a sin, it was a sin to think about anything that was fun, too. I have given up on being spotless. I couldn't even stay spotless from Saturday afternoon till Sunday morning, between confession and communion. I just figured Jesus would have to live with it. Now, I accept that sometimes I am a perfectly awful person, in my mind, that is. Some people are perfectly awful outwardly, and send signals that if you play with them, you are in danger of really getting messed up. But people who are truly perfectly awful are the ones who cozy up to you and pretend to be your friend, then snicker about you with other perfectly awful people behind your back. I am not that bad. I mostly keep my perfectly awful thoughts to myself, and do my best to turn them around, to see that these perfectly awful people are like me, after all, just full of fear and dealing with it in their damaged little way. We are all damaged, I have decided. Life wounds. I am doing my best to get over it, one wound at a time. And still thinking stinky thoughts now and then. Sigh.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political awakenings...

Our PoliSci professor asked that we give him a paper on our first moments of political awareness. Most of the kids in our class are too young to remember JFK or even Tricky Dick in his third go-round. I, on the other hand, was born when FDR was still in office, and vaguely remember Plainspeaking Harry Truman, who make the truly ballsy decision to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the was with Japan with two very big bangs. I was 5 when that happened. My first awareness of the process came in the 1951 campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the general that commanded our forces in Europe during the war. Ike was this totally bald, benign guy who loved golf. He had a little moon-faced wife named Mamie who wore cunning little hats with flowers on them and smiled all the time. His opponent was Adlai Stevenson, a senator from, I think, Illinois, who was bright and articulate. Neither was an appropriate candidate; Ike was too inexperienced in the political arena, and Adlai was an egghead, far to acerbic for the taste of his blue-collar party, the Democrats. My parents were small business people, and felt the Republicans represented their interests. This was before they allied themselves with the Christian right and started to try to legislate our family lives. Anyway, I was a Republican for a long time after that, because it is what I knew. And yesterday in class, I was the only one who had broken with her parents in my political affiliation. Interesting. And Tricky Dick was Ike's Vice President. I never voted for that man, not then (well, I was only 7), not when he ran for governor of California, not when he ran for President twice, and I was still a Republican then. In fact, it is the kiss of death for most politicians if I vote for them. But I always vote, anyway. Even if I am not a college graduate.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bs are good, too.

I came home early from school today, with a headache and other bodily distresses. Really, it had nothing to do with the B I got on my PoliSci midterm, which was really hard and a bit obtuse, as well. This is going to happen, like, into each life a few Bs must fall. It was more about the workshop in Critical Thinking, where Joel uses most of his time cozied up to Erin, dear luminous blond person who knows how to use those baby blues. Don't think that approach will work very well for me, I am going to have to dazzle with my articulation and clarity. I've already given up on balance, it is not my forte. I am definitely opinionated, as you can see. Anyway, I am taking the afternoon off, once I knock off the piece on my first political memory, a long, long time ago, when Dwight Eisenhower ran against Adlai Stevenson. That was in 1951, for all you youngsters, and Ike was the commanding general of the war in Europe, a real hero, and it was a more innocent era, less mud-slinging, more real issues, though the nation was very prosperous, as a whole, after the war. Guess I will do a little research, too. After my nap.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I think I am in the wrong season, again.

Standing in line for the shuttle bus yesterday in my corduroy fleece lined jacket, I noticed all these young things in their camis with that requisite band of belly peeking out and had one of those moments when I believed everyone else had been issued a manual and I was, once again, hiding behind the door. It was chilly, really. And they did know something, because by the time I trudged back to the shuttle, it was warm. Not shirtsleeves warm, not for me, but not chilly any more. Just one of many instances when I questioned my reality. Like the last trip to (soul-sucking) Safeway for broccoli, and ice cream, of course. The shopping cart had a cup holder. Very handy, as there was a Starbuck's tucked into one corner of this enormous supermarket, as well as a Wells Fargo Bank, not just a counter, a whole bank. Add that to the drugstore and the bakery, and I only need a Gap outlet to complete my happiness. Wonders in merchandising. Anyway, today I am in my cami, with a fleece top over it. Right out of the manual.