Sunday, December 31, 2006
Undeck the halls! It's all history, again. A friend sent me an email about the Massai, who do not acknowledge time in any significant way. That is the way of nature, too. Boo has no idea how long I have been gone when I return. His greeting is always the same expression of extreme joy in being with me again. And I know he has no apprehension about the end of his days, either. I envy him that. I spent some time in the night mourning the Canadian ice shelf that fell, and musing about the little spate of earthquakes we have had here recently. Fear is never far away in the night. All my worries are cataclysmic, I am finding. Endings, even the old year passing, are difficult and full of sadness. And when life is good, comfortable and affordable, it is a time to worry more about its loss. I would like that to pass away tonight with 2006. There, a prayer for the new god box. Let go of the old, embrace the new, whatever that may be. Well, it's a direction to steer toward, anyway.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday morning before Christmas, I was barreling home down College Avenue after my last final, probably the busiest street in town, in the pouring rain, and was chagrined to see one of our neighborhood flocks of turkeys in the westbound slow lane, five lanes away from the entrance to our little street. It was the little flock, just three big ones, and apparently the stupid flock, too. I figured they were all toasted, extra crispy. Imagine my surprise and delight to see them mosey by this afternoon, all hale and hearty. Just one of those little holiday miracles, I guess. And even though I managed to run my favorite watch through a load of wash, only to discover it at the bottom of my machine, it is still running. Fortunately, it was a delicate load.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Grades are in, and no surprises. As in speech (yay!), music and art, and the dreaded and hard-won B in algebra. I suppose I am on the Dean's List. Now, there's a first! And scholarship is in hand for next semester, too. Altogether a triumphant semester, and I am grateful to have any little gray cells left at all after 62 years of ripping and roaring. Winter break is excellent. Cold weather is so nice for sleeping, n'est-ce pas? I am wearing my new furry red socks to bed, mostly in self-defense against cramping up in the frigid nights. In fact, I look so cute in my red plaid jammy bottoms, cami and waffle-knit shirt and red socks, it is a shame there is no one here but Boo to see me. Okay, slight exaggeration there, but truly grateful for the heap of quilts I crawl under and the foam topper that holds the heat between the sheets. Honestly, it is embarrassing how little it takes to make me happy these days.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Another Christmas under the bridge. Sigh. It was an easy day for me, starting with Boo kisses, then off to the Alkathon, where I participated in fellowship with my fellow travelers on the recovery road. We are all kinds of folks: old, young, rich, poor, straight, gay, male, female, black, white and every color in between. Street people often show up, some actually wanting to get sober. I saw some of my west county friends, too. Later, I vacuumed a little, dusted a little, and put together dinner for a friend. We exchanged gifts, and I got some sweet little things, especially this beautiful bowl full of goddesses. I like that a lot. Then we went off, thinking we were going to see "The History Boys", but it had gone, so we saw "Little Children", quite an interesting film about children walking around in grownup bodies, mistaking sex for love and fulfillment. As sad as it was, I like that movies like this are being made. We need to examine our values, badly. There is hope, still. People like Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson are out there, saying what is really true, that we need to love ourselves first so we can be of use to others. I learned that in AA. Really. No matter what my mother will tell you.
Friday, December 22, 2006
All wiped out after the finals stretch. Last one was speech, yesterday morning, then home to wrap all the presents, which are now in a cheery pile in the corner of my office. I just got my music grade, an A, yay! I know I was getting an A in art, probably a B in algebra, and that could be my grade in speech, too. Teacher did not admire my last and most heavily weighted speech and gave me an 87. If I did well on final, I may still pull an A, because I showed up every day, and that counts in her class. Well, it was so boring, I expected a reward for showing up. It is over, for good or ill, and I am sooooo ready for this three week break. My house is a disaster area and needs some loving attention. Tomorrow. Today, I just decompressed with stupid computer games, and a trip to nirvana out on Mission Blvd. for walnut pineapple prawns, which I also had for dinner, and will have tomorrow night for dinner, as well. All in all, there is little wrong with my life these days. If there is, I am sure I will find it.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Someone once asked Ghandi if he had a message for the people of India, and he replied "I am my message." Well, wouldn't it be grand if we all did that, became the gift that we wanted to receive? I am working on that. I have been graced with many talents. I can write, paint, draw, sew, knit, crochet, embroider, quilt and I even used to know how to tat, and play the piano. All this is just gifts I was given. My job is to give them back to the world. And sometimes, my job is to receive gifts, too. Saturday, my sister in sobriety gave me an early AA birthday gift, a Starbuck's gift card. Now, I usually don't go to Starbuck's, but my last two finals will have me parking adjacent to one, and I will go armed with a latte to soothe my fevered brow. And later that day, as I wrestled with my algebra, my neighbor raked my front yard for me! What a wonder that was, as I was really torn between solving quadratic equations and cleaning up my yard of shame. Sunday, I took time to hit Costco for one of those wonderful pumpkin pies (I eat a little slice for breakfast, how decadent is that), and found that at last, they had Q-Tips in stock. I am lost without my Q-Tips, and my five year supply had just run out, and they hadn't had any for months. And yesterday, I got a raise! The Social Security people are going to send me $32 more every month beginning in January! How sweet is that! So I am aware that this is indeed a season of sweetness and light. Tomorrow, I am being taken out to lunch. What grace!
Monday, December 18, 2006
I got up a half hour early this morning, because it is (gulp) finals week, and my first one, algebra, was scheduled for 7 frigging AM. Even then, I was so used to getting there at 7:30, I was (almost) late. It wasn't much more difficult than any of the tests we have had so far, just a little longer and a lot more comprehensive. Wouldn't you know, today is the coldest day so far this year. I remembered to cover my windshield, so I could make that speedy exit of the driveway, but wouldn't you know it, it frosted over in the parking lot while I was puzzing over quadratic equations, and I am out of wiper fluid. What is that, anyway? Guess I will hit the auto store later today, on my break from studying, that is. And I will find out what wiper fluid is, and where to put it under the hood. Now, that's a real test.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Otherwise known as JL in Wonderland. I am so out of the mainstream here. I do very little retail shopping. Costco, Walmart, the outlet mall, all know my face. But Friday, I slunk off to our downtown mall, hoping to catch a couple of pre-holiday sales at the glitzy places that my kids seem to like. I have to admit, Macy's smells very sweet. And, whoa, we now have an Abercrombie & Fitch in our little backwater town! It goes well with the Banana Republic upstairs. The usual three story tree has been replaced with a rather understated, just-larger-than life one, with admittedly more gold trimmings. Perhaps this is an effort to understate the Christian aspects, though trees were in place way before Christ was born, and are really a pagan tradition, anyway. And don't you think we should all get over this religion vs. religion thing anyway? It is all just a way to celebrate the return of the light, which shifts on the winter solstice, December 21. I think we should have solstice parties, where we all dance about fervently, review our past year, and plan our next one. I actually used to do just that thing, with a group of women, on New Year's Day. Anyway, I survived my trip to the mall without damaging my admittedly fragile ego, and got just what I was looking for, which will probably not be the right thing anyway. Sigh.
Friday, December 15, 2006
So much for giving God my algebra test. God could only get an 85, too. Oh, well. Bs are good grades. Yes they are. Classes are over, and I must be growing up, I don't have that old awwwww feeling, like I want to move into the semester schedule and pull it up around me like an old quilt, forever. I am actually anxious to get on to the next one, which I have already signed up for. OK, that's a dangling participle, and I am college educated, right? For which I have already signed up. That doesn't sound right either. Whatever, just need to get through finals next week, and Brian, erstwhile algebra prof, promises the final will be no more rigorous than the chapter tests we have endured so far. Good. And the music class is a snap, too. He lectures intensely on the material, and if I know how to do anything, it is taking really good notes. Art is a presentation of my Van Gogh knockoff, and I have my little speech commited to memory (did you know Vincent was named not only for his grandfather, but a stillborn boy born the year before him, and spent his childhood everyday walking by a cemetary with his name on two tombstones? No wonder he went looneytunes). The only snafu is the speech test. Doesn't seem right to have to suffer through five speeches and take a test, too, does it. I will have to really study for that one. And isn't it just like those ivory tower people to take something as simple as communication and break it up into a whole bunch of obtuse terminology that we have to commit to memory? Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I talk to myself. This comes in handy for speech class, when I spend most of the day orating for the dog and the parakeet. When I scheduled this big speech, my rhetoric (persuasive) speech, I thought the algebra chapter test was on the preceding day, forgetting that we were a day behind because the teacher was absent a while back. So I wound up with the test back to back with the speech, and holy predicament, Batman, that was a huge chunk to chew all at once. It is now history, for good or ill, thank the powers that be. Now I can skate into finals, algebra next Monday (we will do two days of review, and how blessed that it falls first, my memory will not be too strained), art and music on Wednesday and speech, the really booooring one on Thursday. And then, three weeks to jump around and not think of anything more stressful than Christmas. Oh, dear. It helps that my speech was about STRESS, and I think I will take my own advice, and meditate on inner peace, hopefully to manifest peace out there in the big bad world, or at least in my mother's living room.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Mathematics is the antithesis to my life. All those axioms that are meant to allow any problem to be solved are pure magic. And the amazing thing is that they work! Every time! My challenge is to remember all the various rules and equations, like x equals -b plus or minus the square root of b squared - 4ac over 2a. Simple, right? Well, as convoluted as it sounds, it does work. Throw in an i and it can solve even imaginary numbers! Now, that's what I call handy. Why are there no simple solutions like this in life? I would happily commit to memory any equation that would solve my life problems. While the quadratic equation always works, it is not always necessary to apply it, as there are simpler ways to find the value of x. That is like my life, too. I will usually take the scenic route to the answer for any problem that confronts me, from my dryer knob fiasco to the angst-ridden morass that was my last divorce. Simpler routes were available, for sure. I think it all boils down to the unemotional pureness of numbers, versus the pure emotionality of life. And as circuitous as the way becomes, I would not give up my joy for anything, not even for the soupcon of pain I must consume to have it.
Friday, December 08, 2006
There must be something wondrous about being more than a little nuts. Look at Van Gogh, tortured soul that he was, how much fun it must have been to be out in nature every day, slapping paint on canvasses. And Wagner, who learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to diddle your patron's wife right under his nose, thus losing wife, patron and mistress in one fell swoop, but still went on to write sterling operas, and the librettos as well.. And Mahler, the last of the great romantic composers, living under the double whamee of being both nuts and German, who became so enamored of poetry about dead children, he composed a symphony about them, and then his own child died. Those crazy romantics left a legacy of amazing art behind in their crazed wake. I feel redeemed in an odd way, because my life has been up till now semi-hysterical about half the time, the half where I was not beaten down with depression. Now that I have mellowed with age, I expect that the nuttiness will just exude, hopefully all over many joyous canvasses. It is the reward for living a long life, that we old folks get to be eccentric, which is a polite word for INSANE!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Okay, I am up-close and personal with negative numbers, exponents and rational numbers (square roots to the uninitiated), but I draw the line at imaginary numbers. That's right, imaginary numbers, like negative square roots. Wait a minute, if you multiply two negative numbers you get a positive number! Square roots cannot be negative! Oh, yes they can. You just express it as a complex number (real and imaginary) using an "i" (for imaginary, I suppose). Since I live in a real world, it seems hardly necessary to be mucking around with imaginary numbers. However, the teacher seems to think there is a use for all this somewhere out there, like around Pluto, which is now an imaginary planet, too. And perhaps the whole world is imaginary, so the imaginary numbers are really the real numbers? You think?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
What I have learned this semester: how to solve quadratic equations, copy a Van Gogh (for fun, not profit), speak extemporaneously, and discern Debussy from Ravel. Oh, and Mahler had a soft side. Okay, not all of this is terribly useful. It sure was fun mucking around in all that art and music, and I even like the algebra. Which is a good thing, because I get to do even more of that next semester. I will miss Brian, though. He is a big goofy guy, who never tells me my questions are stupid, which they are most of the time. I could have skipped the speech class, happily. But in the end, it is the class in which I have interacted with most of the other students, and that is always rewarding. Every semester end is a triumph, just completing what I started. I have a garage-full of things I have started, but never finished. I just promised my writers' group that I would finish a short story during the semester break. Really. Anyway, finals loom, just tow weeks away now, four of them. I am taking my supplements and resting up. They are all but one at 7 AM. God must be laughing up his sleeve.