Tuesday, February 28, 2006
So, originally it was an honor accorded to heroic men in the time of the Romans, and you had to do something spectacular to get one. You were paraded around Rome dressed up like Jupiter, in a golden chariot, followed by your army, your captives, and all the loot you collected on your campaign. Pompey got two of these. Gaius Julius Caesar wanted one, but was denied. Well, I want one, too. I sort of wilted on my geology tests, got Bs, sigh. But today I got back my American history midterm with a big fat A. Considering how this semester has gone so far, I think a parade in my honor is in order here. Really, this college thing is challenging. I have gotten to the point where I no longer lug my textbooks around, just my handy-dandy three-ring binder with its neat dividers and pockets. Saves my back, for sure. Except on Wednesdays, when I need my lab book, calculator, ruler, colored pencils, and my laptop. So I am off to pack up the bookbag, and then to have a chai and a muffin, in honor of my triumph.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Well, we probably don't have to worry too much about global warming, because the Yellowstone Caldera, which erupts every 600,000 years has not erupted in, just guess, 600,000 years. And it erupted with Plinian ferocity, cataclysmically, and when it blows again, all life is over, kaput, history. Gee, I'm really glad I know this. Imagine going about absolutely clueless that we are all sitting on a huge timebomb. It makes me want to go back to my cheerful ignorance, where the most important thing is arriving at my destination without bumping into anything during the journey. I certainly plan on living my life as joyously as possible, because it could be dust pretty fast. I guess the Big Guy was not kidding about that "ashes to ashes" stuff.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
A while ago, I took this picture of a pink flower in our garden at the little house on the edge of the world. It was early in the day, so the bloom was still frosted with dew. It is an eye-popping picture, this great lacy pink bloom glistening in full sun and the leaves and buds in shadow behind it. I took it in to mat and frame it, and I took a friend with me for advice and support. She had not seen the picture, so I laid it out on the table at the store for her. She stood over it for a long time in silence. I thought she was stunned by its beauty. Instead, she remarked that there were some flecks of stuff on the petals. I looked more closely, and indeed, there were a few little specks, like pepper on a plate. I had not noticed them before. Now, every time I look at this picture, I see those annoying little flecks. Oh, I got rid of that annoying friend, yes I did. That was just one of a series of little jibes that said she was not very conscious of anyone else's feelings. And in a way, she did me a favor. I have always seen myself the way she saw that flower, not as a precious concoction of a loving god, but as a collection of flaws, small flaws, but present, nevertheless. And my challenge is to know that it is OK to have flaws, not be perfect, and still be magnificent, like that pink flower is, sprinkled with dew, its very own moment of splendor, captured, framed and hung on my bathroom wall.
Friday, February 24, 2006
No fair. It's a bright, bright sunshiny day. Days when I can sleep in should be gray and gloomy. And could you can the birdsong, please? I have a nasty headache, too. Guess I am entitled to an off day, after the abyssmal stress of two midterms, back to back, yesterday. Essay tests, too. Yuck. At times like this it is hard to remember that I put myself in this situation, heck, I jumped into it with great enthusiasm. Now feeling overburdened and beaten up. I will get over this. Probably not today, though. Sunshine or not, I reserve the right to wallow in my misery. Or, I could plant those bulbs and wash the car.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Imagine, only sixty one years to find out that true happiness lies in being easily pleased. And I am just that these days. Had a moment of sheer joy when the gorgeous golden retriever won the sporting group at Westminster the other day, and another when Smokin', the old English sheepdog took herding group. OK, the strange-looking bull terrier went Best-In-Show, but I still was happy. Now awaiting the arrival of a new piece of furniture, I am happiness on the hoof. I had even more happiness shopping for it, a favorite passtime, and I took my time doing it, too, almost two whole weeks prowling around furniture stores. I almost bought the one at Bare Woods, but the thought of freezing my buns off in the garage painting it, then getting some friendly person over to help me move it into the house kind of queered that deal. I knew what I wanted, sort of, something Shakerish and sturdy, and most of all, commodious. I found it, and judiciously followed my caveat to look at something more than once before making a decision. Yesterday, I plunked down my money, and today, it is arriving, within the next 15 minutes or so. It is a chest of drawers. OK, that doesn't sound too exciting, but take it from me, this is a memorable moment. I hope to be able to find what I want to wear without rummaging through all the various other methods I have used to store my rather large wardrobe, like wicker chests and clever canvas cubes. This is pure heaven.
Monday, February 20, 2006
I remember her, that sweetly coifed and aproned wise-woman who worked so sweetly in the background for her physician husband and oh-so-cute offspring, all in black and white half-hour sitcom land. Well, she morphed into Roseanne. Now, there's a cultural icon for the millenium. Actually, there's some reality, a hefty dose of it. Not all of us have our hair done daily, or dress up for dinner, or keep pristine houses. Our children are not bad, but not particularly good, either. And we are not Kate Moss clones, by any stretch of the imagination. And what does this say for our country? Well, it says that with some wit and talent, anyone can become an icon, even if she does not fit into one of those ideal modes so casually tossed at us incessantly, in the slick magazines, on television and in the movies. Roseanne is a real woman, with a real husband. Her relationship with Dan is precious, full of rancor with a healthy dose of humor. They scrape by financially, living on their wits. They do real things, like go bowling or down to the neighborhood bar for some pool and friendly companionship. And Jackie, well, what a woman. She keeps trying, relationship after relationship, does everything wrong, and keeps coming back. Underneath it all, there is love in Roseanne's house. I loved it when, after winning the lottery, they kept their house. Yes, Roseanne is my idea of a cultural icon, one that lives and breathes like I do, one noisy, raucous moment at a time.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
What is it with people who are always late? I mean, I can understand arriving late for a one-time event, but what about a meeting they attend every week? Like, the first couple of times I was late, I would get that I probably need to leave 5 or 10 minutes earlier. Well, I would never be late, unless something horrible happened, like the other day when I locked my keys in my car. But, the same people are late every week, even though we changed the time of the meeting from 10:30 AM to 11 AM! Now, that's interesting. My mind tells me that these are needy people who cannot travel with the crowd and just want everyone to see them arrive. My mind tells me that because, if it were me, that would be my reason. And that tells me I really need to be at my meeting, every week, on time. I still have a ways to go to become a charitable and loving human being. A long way.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
I am heartened by the fact that I question my sanity with fair regularity. After all, truly crazy people never think they are. Crazy, I mean. They just plow along, often right over other people, doing their peculiar little things. All the peculiar little things I do are actually quite sane. Take the cheesecake, for example. Wednesday, I bought this amazing strawberry cheesecake with full intention of taking it to our Thursday night gathering of women. Except that somehow it got knocked over in the car. Poor thing looked like a natural disaster. And I thought "that looks like my cheesecake now." And I promptly cut myself a piece as soon as I got home. The girls got a perfectly wonderful mocha cake. And I get strawberry cheesecake for breakfast everyday. Can't be worse that bacon and eggs, and it does have fruit in it. Funnily enough, I would never have bought it just for me, though. So that accident was pretty fortuitous. And currently I am finishing a book I have had for over a year, by Caroline Knapp, an ode to her dog Lucille. Poor Caroline worried incessantly; is the dog a substitute for children? is the dog keeping her from social interaction? is the dog a substitute for an intimate partner? Honestly, what a bunch of neuroses she had. I, on the other hand, admit that I happily hurry home to be with my Boo. He is the best bed partner I have ever had, doesn't snore, not ever, and takes up a minimum amount of space, once I get him acclimated to the far side of the bed, usually with the assistance of a well-placed foot. He never complains about what I serve him for dinner, and is still as happy with a $3 toy as he was when he was a puppy. He may not laugh at my jokes, but he never rolls his eyes, either. We are happily nuts, together. And what does it matter what others think of us, anyway? They don't have to live with us. Thank God.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Well, just in case I was thinking too highly of myself, I blew a quiz in Western Civilization yesterday. OK, I get it. My channel got all fuzzed up with too much stuff, and even though I studied, I was horridly confused. All those guys fighting each other, the Athenians getting whipped by the Spartans, who get whipped by the Thebans, then everyone gets whipped by Alexander, who thankfully dies before he can take over the whole stinking mess. Rome comes along and gets harrassed by Hannibal, who gets his comeupance when Scipio gets his number. Really, guys, can't we all just get along? And you know, nothing has changed. There are still people out there who want to rule the world. Well, take a page out of Rome's book. They rotted from the inside after their conquests split their civilization into the very rich and the very poor. God bless the middle class. It will save the world in the end.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Every semester so far (and this is my third), I have a feeling of crushing overwhelm. I decide that I am nuts, I will never be able to do this, what was I thinking anyway. Then, one day, I look up and realize I am kicking serious butt. Yesterday was that day. My Western Civilization professor handed back last two weeks of homework and quizzes, and I did spendidly. This may mean that I am actually taking easy classes, but I don't think so. Lots to think about, all the time, and tons of material to absorb. But it appears that all the gray cells are firing away with fair efficiency. No one is more surprised than I.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Some things are better ideas than realities. Microwave pizza springs to mind. I had one yesterday. After prying it from its cellophane cocoon, I turned the box inside out to expose this silvery film, then carefully followed the cooking instructions, and wound up with cheese on particle-board. Yuck. And zippers on sweaters, what great mind came up with that? Or perhaps others do not experience the little unravelings that get caught in the teeth? I knew it, it is just me, right? And the shuttle bus thing, meant to defray the parking fiasco at the college while they labor away at a mighty parking garage. It was fine last semester, when hardly anybody knew about it. Now, there is a population explosion. The line for those of us going to 9 am classes winds around the mall garage like a tortured serpent. I barely got on the second bus today, and some were actually late for class, I heard in line for the noon shuttle back. Good news, they got one bus that holds 35 instead of the normal 27, plus standees, of which I was one today. Still, there was an army of backpacked kids, all descending at the same time, from all three shuttles, and getting out of the mall garage became an exercise in military strategy. My little puddle-jumper lost a couple of skirmishes with SUVs before I could aim for the exit. What happened to attrition, anyway? Some of these kids were supposed to drop out by now.
Monday, February 13, 2006
I know I am spun out when I forget to eat. Got up with the alarm, and I was grateful to be awakened from this dream where I had (once again) forgotten where I parked the car, endless walking through an immense parking lot. I dressed and put on makeup for the first time in two days. And off I went to make my pitstop at The Filling Station (coffee, not gas) and stand in the long, long line for the shuttle, hoping to get to class in time to bone up on my notes before our first midterm in geology. I got just a fleeting glance, and the test landed on me. It seemed easy, which is never a good sign, I can get pretty cocky and do something stupid. And this was the first time I went through it for a second time and didn't feel I needed to change any answers. I then applied for my Doyle scholarship, which I am now eligible for, having completed 12 units with a 4.0 average, and how happy am I about that! $1,600 always comes in handy. Then back on the shuttle, with the little jowly guy with the bad comb-over (and isn't it sad that the people who need the most love are the most unloveable?). I made crepes with blackberry preserves for brunch, and am now settling down to do some reading for those other classes. We have a nice long weekend next week, 5 days. School is ever so much easier than working.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
So, I set out all dolled up the other day, planning on meeting a friend at the noon meeting then taking her out to celebrate her sobriety birthday. I left early because I needed gas. After filling up, I realized I had locked my keys in the car, not the first time I had ever done that by a stretch. Good news, I was only a few blocks from home, so I let the attendant know my car would be residing there a few moments (in the shade, fortunately, Boo was in it), and took off up the street. Well, a few blocks was actually about 1/2 mile, bucking a fair headwind, and my shoes were far from ideal for a hike. But, good news, I keep a key hidden outside for just such occasions (in the spirit of "know thyself"), changed my shoes and got my spare keys and hotfooted it back. I was a little frazzled around the edges when I arrived, just 5 minutes late, and realized that I had a car key in one of those magnetic boxes somewhere under the car, too. So I decided this whole fiasco happened because I wrote in my journal the other day that I really needed to get more exercise, and the Universe was eavesdropping. Really, Universe, this was a bit obvious. And I will take care of it, from now on. Thanks for the sentiment.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
OK, I pruned the rosebushes, for good or for ill. All my life I have successfully avoided doing anything horticultural, and there I was, on my fanny, looking for those little bud thingies so I would know where to cut. Some canes were woody, so I just lopped them off. Then I hauled the big brown trash container back with me and picked up all the detritus. My friend told me it was a zen thing, and I have to agree. It made me really grateful for my still-flexible body and my strong back. Nothing creepy-crawly emerged from the weeds that I cleared away around the base of the bushes. Boo got bored and went inside, after doing his little woo-woo-woo at our neighbor Dean as he drove by. Now I have to get some mulch and pack it in around the bushes. Oh, and I bought bulbs! I am going to plant those little suckers tomorrow.
Friday, February 10, 2006
I usually take Friday's off. No school. Well, there's no school Saturday or Sunday, either, but I don't study on Friday, I sleep late, do errands, poop around the house. So, Boo and I slept in until 8:30, I made us pancakes for breakfast with a fresh pot of Columbian coffee, which we ate in bed, and I turned on the Arts channel. I can see the TV from the bathtub, so while I bathed, I heard Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, saw a ballet of cranes (no, not birds, but those big yellow construction thingies, very camp), heard some opera (Manon, so French), and a stirring rendition of Johann Strauss II's overture to Die Fleidermaus (and how unhappy was Johann I that his son so outshone him). But the best thing was this 10 minute vignette of about a million and one movies clipped together with appropriate music, like the theme from the Pink Panther and Jaws. I realized I had seen almost all these movies, including Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, and Orphans of the Storm, too. I really love movies, and consider them our national artform. OK, I might want to exclude some, like Porkies film, or the Ernest opus, but there is trashy art out there, too. But there's also Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. We have a banquet of movies in this country, and we import all the good ones, too, Like Water for Chocolate and El Paradiso. Anyway, I am starting my day inspired. A little inspiration goes a long way.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
There are many advantages to doing college at an advanced age, besides the obvious, that my partying days are long past, and I can concentrate on the subject matter ever so much better. I no longer worry about how I look most of the time. If I am tidy, without spots or hanging threads, and my hair is clean, I feel fine heading out the door. I have adopted the tacit uniform of college students; dark sweatshirt or jacket, jeans and athletic shoes. I sometimes opt for my clogs or my little witch boots, and even my Ugh knockoffs. It doesn't really matter, because I am invisible, anyway, to other students. My teachers, on the other hand, often recognize me, as I am their contemporary, and often, their elder. And I am a good student. Well, I should be, it is all I have to do, besides the minimal housework and walking the dog. This semester heated up really fast, though. I am doing my study guide for geology today, and spending Saturday in the library with a bunch of minerals, trying to be able to identify 31 different ones. I already have about 10 of the obvious ones down: graphite (it comes off all over your hands), talc (soapy and pearly), kaolinite (white and powdery), sulfur (bright yellow and stinky), flourite (purple and transparent), halite (salty), calcite (double refraction), hematite (rusty red), quartz (duh), garnet (double duh), corundum (barrel-shaped), magnetite (magnetic, of course), azurite (bright blue), olivine (greenish), pyrite (fool's gold). Wow, that's a lot! Maybe this won't be so very hard, after all. There are a lot that are white or black and look a lot alike, though. Fun to play with, but my hands stink afterward, I noticed. And these are just minerals. Rocks are next, composites of minerals. Next comes quiz in Western Civilization, homework and then big test. And a report due in American History, and a midterm there, too. Well, no one said it would be easy, and of course, I think I should be perfect, which I am not most of the time. I do try, really I do.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I used to do this little exercise for my brain, wear my watch upside down all day, or write a letter using my left hand. I read somewhere that would keep my brain sharp, and I was in the middle of a foggy menopause where I often was dazed and confused, and scared out of my tiny mind that I would remain in this permanent state of mustiness. So, I guess it is a good thing that I have now successfully hidden most of my daily necessities, like makeup and curling iron and deodorant, from myself. Oh, I know where they are, I put them there. It is that they are not where they used to be and where I am used to finding them, so instead of one fluid motion with the Extra Strength Secret, you know, open drawer, pick up container, pluck off lid, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, like that, now I must march about with this puzzled look on my face until it comes to me that it is in the medicine cabinet now, where it is really handy. Right. There is method in my madness. I am about to add a piece of furniture, a much needed chest of drawers, so must move the secretary desk that has occupied my bedroom for this last year, holding things like makeup and deodorant and hair doodads in its miniscule drawers. I'm sure my brain is thanking me for all this muscle-building. Really.
Monday, February 06, 2006
I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm, which means my internal clock is now set to get me up at 7 am every day, even days when I could sleep in. Sigh. My jeans were tight; I look like an Italian sausage. Cherry pie is not worth it. Time for more exercise, less carbs. I notice that it takes a lot longer for my face to wake up these days. I go to bed looking like a reasonable facsimile of myself, and wake up with a severe case of Basset-hounditis, which sends me running for the Regenerist. And what's with this early morning headache? Not fair, I didn't even get drunk last night. Must be another change in the barometric pressue, outside and in my sinuses. It's sunny, and cooooooold. Boo has not even gotten down from the warm bed yet this morning. Smart little guy. So, the bookbag and I are off to academia, hopefully to absorb some knowledge along with the facts and theories. That's a challenge on Monday morning.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
My roommate moved out today. She is a wonderful person, and we got along very well together, but she got an opportunity she could not refuse, and she could not accept it living here. I will miss her. We had the best of both worlds as she was here about half the time, and we both had these busy lives that led us in different directions a lot of the time, but when we could, we laughed and cried together through all those little funny life moments that come up so frequently. Boo will miss her a lot, as she always gave him tidbits, too. And now for the good news; I get to spread out all over the house, put up all the pictures I like, change rooms around, stuff like that. This is far from the first time I have lived alone. I rather like it. I like my own company, and I look at it as solitude, a precious thing, rather than loneliness. I have been my most lonely in relationships. Nothing is more lonely than knowing what might be when it is not happening. So, I am looking at the office, which is half empty, and planning what will fill it up. Life is so interesting. Things just keep changing. And changing.
Friday, February 03, 2006
I was born with a shopping gene. I got it from my mother. Because we lived in the sticks, we would go to the big city once a year to shop, usually before the new school year. My mother would be jumping up and down till I got up to start shopping. Now, I am not rich, at least, not in money, though I would say I am rich in many ways, but that's for another day. I shop for bargains. I love outlets, Costco, WalMart, Target, stuff like that. Currently, I am in the market for a chest of drawers, and will be making the circuit of furniture stores, including the pre-owned stores (so much more gentile than "used", don't you think) and the bare woods store, too. Home Depot is on that list, as well. I am not above staining or painting a piece of furniture, not at all. So that may happen, too. I usually make a habit of visiting any large item at least three times before purchasing it. I need the initial rush to die down, and time to ruminate on just how happy I will be with this item instead of the money I will have to spend. But this time, I am ready to jump on anything that halfway will meet my needs. My clothing has far outgrown its storage capacity, and I have weeded it as far down as I want to go at the moment. Really, I am rich. In clothing, anyway.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I live on the trailing edge. I picked up Star Trek, the Next Generation in reruns only (make it so, I just love that line), and only recently discovered CSI. Better late than never, that's my motto. Yesterday, I got my first Netflix movie. You would think I would have done this ages ago; I love movies and I love getting things in the mail. It couldn't get any better. So, my first movie was Pirates of the Carribean. Okay, it's pretty old, but I never saw it, and all my friends looked at me as if I were nuts, so I ordered it just so I could say I had seen it, too, if it should ever come up in conversation. Now, I know they base movies on books, and old television series (even lousy ones, like the Dukes of Hazzard), and old movies, and plays that were once movies, even video games. But movies based on theme park rides kind of push the envelope. Nevertheless, Johnny Depp is a genius of sorts, and his pirate captain was worth the whole 2 1/2 hours. I hear there's a second movie coming, even. Wish the ride lasted that long!