Sunday, October 30, 2005
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 $60 parking sticker. Except that the movie had moved, to Burbank, all the way through campus. Finding it was a little dicey, like I had to ask a whole bunch of clueless people. Happy to say I persevered and even got home in time for CSI and my William Petersen fix. And, as if to make up for all this hassle, I got a whole string of green lights on the drive home. Can barely wait to see what awaits me today.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Our little town lost its first soldier in Iraq this week. There is a picture on the front page of his widow and baby. By all accounts, this was a remarkable young man and you have to applaud anyone willing to live a military life, even in peacetime. And one could wish for a more noble cause to die for than more gas for our SUVs. But it has always been so; our son's become cannon fodder whenever the leaders cannot resolve their difficulties any other way. Now our daughters join them. And the truth is that we wound ourselves every bit as much as we wound our enemies, since we are all one here on earth. There is nothing gained in the end that requires this kind of sacrifice. All the religions that we pay such devout lip service to could not prevent this awful war. So what is the solution? Well, our leaders need better minds. They should sit in my Critical Thinking class for a while, learn how to think outside that little box they are all folded up inside. One can imagine Bush sitting in his rec room, pushing little tin soldiers around, and feeling terribly important. Better yet, leaders should fight in the front ranks. That would give them the perspective necessary to be leaders. Like Bill Pulman in Independence Day. And we could all watch them on television. Duking Despots, a new reality show. I might even tune in.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
OK, I know what logic is. But this @$&*#@ 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
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
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.