Saturday, February 28, 2009


The wind is blowing, howling around the corner of something in the back yard. Like a dog, a mournful hounddog cry, a let-me-in or let-me-out sort of cry. My chest is still rattling, weeks have gone by -- it's probably bronchitis, but I won't go in unless things start to get worse again. I've had enough antibiotics this year, believe me.

There's been a strange fluctuation in the communication cycles -- people I ordinarily hear from regularly are all swamped, preoccupied, mum. Whereas, people I either don't know well or haven't heard from in a dog's age are popping up here and there, introducing themselves, resuming old acquaintance, proposing coffee. It's disconcerting.

"Clay lays still, but blood's a rover,
So I am called Killdevil all the parish

Or something like that. Just came into my head a moment ago. From Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn," a book I should dig up and read again since these snippets have regularly cropped up over the past month or so.

I'm tired, tired.

I am pleased with myself in the bathroom mirror, at home, at odd times. I never feel that way at work, even though I'm usually wearing decent clothing, and makeup. A self-portrait in the bathroom mirror is just a celebration of home, of being at home, where one is oneself without much apology.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sex and Money

Here's an article I read this morning about the financial crisis, and media over-play of its effect on the masculine sex. I was sort of taken by this in that most of the "marital advice" books I've read lately make much of the male insecurities, and the necessary female responses to these insecurities. (To be fair, the most recent book, "How to Save Your Marriage Without Talking About It," includes similar though less focused descriptions of the standard female insecurities and necessary male response. But let me tell you, traditional gender roles are enforced.) I'm amazed at the apparent violence of the battle over gender-role-shift. But maybe I'm spoiled. And it's not that I don't have to think about these things ever.

I know a healthy number of men who are able to handle kids and cleaning in the same 24-hour period. Chief among them is my husband. He can watch our five year old son for 3 to 6 hours and still produce a tasty meal for dinner -- after teaching one or two college classes that morning. He's not perfect, but he's quite capable. Ditto a couple of my male friends. And among the rest, even those guys who are indifferent cooks at best can still watch a kid, help her with her homework and manage to straighten up the house before hitting the couch. I just don't know many men (though I know a couple) who have any choice.

Even the one guy who from a distance should represent the picture of genuine reactionary role management turns out to be pretty well-rounded. He owns his own business, is financially successful enough that his wife (who has some money of her own) doesn't have to work, and travels frequently -- yet, he can and often does do the laundry, clean the kitchen, haul the kids around in the car, etc. He'd be embarrassed if something as lame as "masculinity" prevented him from doing it all.

But the point of the article above is this: that as financial times become more uncertain, married men are finding themselves immasculated, and unemployed guys downright rejected on principle, by the usual money-grubbing, bon bon eating females. Actually, the point of the article is that this premise is ridiculous, but also widespread. And the thing is, this immasculation thing is not altogether bollux.

One of my stay at home dad friends feels what appears to be deep shame over his inability to provide on a level that's competitive -- which appears to be due mainly to a short resume. Of course, he's a great father who cooks up a storm, cleans and still finds time to do good in the community as a volunteer. But the kid will enter kindergarten soon, and dad is looking grimly at the job market and contemplating a gloomy future at minimum wage. His wife has a great job, and they aren't in any trouble. But it's a preoccupation for my friend, this inner conflict.

And even my husband, a man of significant earning potential as a college professor (significant to me anyway), goes through wave after wave of anxiety attempting to predict and prevent every possible financial crisis that might come our way, and his provider anxiety makes for some long nights around here. He feels somehow that even the whisper of a possibility of him missing a mortgage payment -- let alone the uncertainties of this economy -- puts his whole lifestyle premise on shaky ground, including our relationship. I myself work, and the pay is okay, though not enough to get us by if we tanked. But I don't worry too much, because whatever happens, we'll get by. My husband would be no less a man if he lost his job. But he would FEEL like less of a man, and that would be our reality -- and I've noticed that when he starts projecting down that road, I become the money-grubbing bon bon eating female counterpart. No matter how unfair or even ludicrous that is, it's as if he can't help himself -- it's the dominant cultural narrative.

What's a gal to do. What's a guy to do?

Monday, February 23, 2009


I'm in a very philosophical mood today. Or would be, if I could quit coughing. Maybe "philosophical" isn't the right word. I would have been in a mood to listen today, if more people had wanted someone to listen. The one time someone came into the office, though, I didn't have a particularly smart response to that person's problem. Just some body language that was meant to convey my discomfort with my chair, but probably communicated waning attention. Nuts.

I wish the listening mood came on me more often. Really, it's just a comfort level -- the ability to be relaxed and quiet. The desire not to speak. The desire not to be alone either, but rather, engaged somehow with someone. Just not in a coffee-fueled gossipy sort of way.

And really, I'd like some decent cough syrup, at the moment.

I don't feel as though there's time enough to really get into anything I want to be doing. Listening/reading/writing/sewing/working/playing with my kid/hanging out with my husband/friends/etc. It all has limits.
"Playing" isn't a fair category -- we had all the weekend, but it was cold and I was sick. I took him sledding a couple times, for short periods; he of course has limitless energy. Tons of focus.

Seashore days. That's what I want. Time enough for everything, or for nothing at all. To listen all day to the waves pushing gently into the beach. Seabirds, wind, surf. To stare out at the horizon line, oblivion, until my head is completely empty of thought or intention or critical voice and there is only the cyclical rhythm of natural things. And maybe the occasional, distant punctuation of shrimpboats clanging into port... ...

links added

Please note that artist links have been added to the post, "continued discerning."

Logical Song

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.

But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

At night, when all the world's asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

-- Supertramp

Saturday, February 21, 2009

continued discerning

While I'm not Jewish, nor were my deceased relatives, there are aspects of Jewish law and custom around death and remembrance that seem very natural and appealing. It's a bit much to borrow wholesale from another religious tradition, but in planning the memorial for my father and his parents I won't avoid borrowing some elements from those customs.

What leads me to this is a chain of events unrelated to my family. It's another example of how fortunate I am to be acquainted with so many wonderful artists in our community. A good friend and mentor, Georgette Sosin, has recently completed a series of paintings that deal with grief and the mourner's Kadish (prayer) -- her paintings depict the rising up of prayer, or spirit -- they contain elements of earth as well as air and fire -- and she uses stones atop the stacked canvases to represent the Jewish custom of placing stones at a grave site as remembrance. She told me a little about the custom, and I left a link in the last post that leads to a good Wikipedia site including info on the subject. Georgette's work always has a strong effect on me.

Another artist who is Jewish, Sandra Brick, recently exhibited a piece in one of my church shows. It was called Yahrzeit Vessel (click link to find image); a hand-made box containing stones retrieved in Israel, at the Holocaust Museum, which were gathered in the box as remembrance of family members killed in concentration camps during WWII. Those family members would not have been given the customary respect due them in burial, and might even have been cremated, which is against Jewish law. They have no grave sites, other than the locations of the camps themselves.

The day I typed up the informational tag to explain the work was a date that fell in the week of the anniversary of my father's death, this past December. I couldn't complete the work at the time, I kept breaking down in tears, because I did not know the location of my father's grave site. It was such a difficult evening -- I was at work, I had to keep leaving the office to cry, and when a good friend offered to help I was so upset -- so angry with myself, with the situation, and so sad -- that I could make no gesture of acceptance for him. I waved him off, which was probably a little hurtful. I just had no idea what to do or say. Finally I gave up on the work and went home.

But, of course, that episode left me with some thoughts, some inspiration.

I don't care for plastic flowers at all, particularly at grave sites. Apparently, neither does my stepmother. She asked if I could think of something else to mark the flat stones, something nice. And certainly I've seen some creative additions at the occasional grave site. But the notion of leaving stones appeals to me a lot. Permanence.

I'll give it more thought.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here Comes Lent

As I mentioned in the last post, I have some planning to do, and some decisions to make, regarding the memorial for my father and his parents. I hesitate even to call what I plan to do a "memorial," since what I have in mind is beyond any ritual I've personally experienced (though certainly it's been done.) But this is something I move towards gladly, in a way -- I want to make something whole. What direction do I take, though? It seems obvious (and I must excuse myself to my non-religious friends again) that with Ash Wednesday coming next week, I might look to the Lenten season for some context. Given the weather and other factors, this memorial won't happen until after Easter anyhow.

Thinking again about my stepmother's request. She wants to attend the memorial. What is the right thing to do?
Or, the least-wrong thing?
Do I want her there, when she is in no small part the cause, having excluded me from most of the family grieving process?
If I say No, she cannot come, am I determining never to forgive her? Will that forever close the door between she and I?
If I say Yes, will I wind up feeling cheated (again) by her, in that it's hard for me even to breathe in her presence? (Some explanation for that might be in order, but another time.)
Must I have some big therapeutic confrontation with her, in order to make this process perfect? I don't really want to do that.
Is it possible for this process to be perfect?

Why do I want to do this, what is it for? The ceremony, I mean -- Clearly, this will not be some neat-and-tidy resolution to all the years of alienation, fear and sorrow. A couple years of child abuse followed by two decades of excommunication aren't erased by this act -- but I don't want to carry that crap around with me anymore, I really don't. I want to be done with it.

It's a step in the grief process, I believe -- a step I've only recently come to identify. There's a story to this discovery, naturally. It involves, peripherally, the Jewish custom of placing stones on the grave of the departed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The ongoing saga

So...on Saturday, my former wicked stepmother called the house in response to the letter I'd sent, wherein I asked her to please tell me where my father and his parents are buried.

For those of you not familiar with the saga, I was estranged from my father's family for many years after he remarried (though not from my father). Only when I reached my thirties did his wife relent in her obstinate refusal to acknowledge my existence (which persisted over twenty years, though prior to that I actually lived with them for 2 years.) While I was permitted, during this blackout period, to attend the funerals of my father's parents (with whom I'd been close), I was not invited to the interrments, nor was I told the location of the cemetary. When my grandfather died, my stepmother did not even list me among the surviving grandchildren in the newspaper. At my father's funeral five years ago, she asked me for forgiveness -- a sort of blanket forgiveness, to cover all manner of offenses -- and I gave it. For a while. But she never told me when and where they buried my father's cremains, and after five years I have broken down and demanded this information from her. Ordinarily, we do not speak. She has been remarried for three years. She is not the only one to blame for this situation; my father always permitted her to make the rules when it came to my part in his life, and mostly he played by her rules.

After some time spent trying to track down the remains of all three relatives myself, I had reached a null point. All three were cremated. When the cremains are received by a relative or responsible party, the state considers that the final disposition; death certificates do not have to list the resting place for the cremains. A search of local cemetaries yielded nothing, and after ordering a copy of my grandmother's death certificate from the MN Historical Society, with the results I described, I knew I would have to take the direct route in finding out what had happened. Fortunately, my last meeting (one of only a few) with my ex-stepmother went reasonably well -- she had me out to their house to pick up some old things of my father's, because they were preparing the property for sale. Only now, having spoken to her this evening, do I realize the full implications of that visit.

As I said, she called me Saturday and left a message; I called her back tonight, feeling I was ready. It wasn't a confrontational dialogue; she has never betrayed more than a faint awkwardness in my presence as an adult. It's as if she has never for a moment considered all that has taken place between us. She was quite pleasant, and got straight to the point.

My grandparents' ashes are buried about a mile north of my father's old home, in a local cemetary. My father's ashes are buried under a tree on the property itself, which has since been sold.

She never told me when I was there last spring. She did not tell me, and I did not ask. I still don't know why.

Tonight she described the location of the ashes, the type of memorial tree she'd bought and planted, where it sits on the property. She told me that the new owners do not know of the burial, though she mentioned the tree to them. She basically asked that I not tell them either, unsurprisingly, because I indicated my intention to try to make a visit. Another letter I'll need to write, and a lie I suppose I'll have to perpetuate. She said that she and their kids made the decision to place his remains on the property in accordance with what his wishes has always been, to die on that property, be "carried out the front door," and buried on the grounds. They had a small memorial ceremony when they planted the tree. When she decided to sell the property, their kids agreed that the remains should stay there. And thus. There they are.

She seemed at first embarrassed as she explained this state of affairs. But I didn't ask her why I wasn't invited to that ceremony, because of course I know why.

She also wanted me to explain why I'm after the information now, and when I told her my intention was to have a small ceremony of my own, at the gravesite of my grandparents, she asked me if I would tell her ahead of time so that she could perhaps be a part of it.

I was unable to come up with an honest response to that request. I told her I'd give her advance notice, but it might well have been a lie. I don't need her permission. It's not a private cemetary. And frankly, I don't want her there.

But we'll see now. When the weather gets warmer, I'll go out and take a look. And I'll write to the people who own the home now, and see if they'll let me on the property, to look at the tree. God knows what they'll think, or what they'll say. Or what they'll ask, if they're reasonably intelligent.

This is all more or less what I expected. Some of what I'd hoped for, but some of what I'd feared.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

thoughts on Job and friendship

I should add "n Stuff" to the title, since I can't promise anything profound here. And it's Valentine's Day tomorrow -- I know people with big plans. I am not one of these. My husband abhors big plans. But it looks like he got me a card, which is nice. I got him one too. And did some baking.

I have friends, close friends, who have suffered and are, in ways big and small, suffering. We all do, of course -- in ways big and small -- but contextually my concerns are pretty minor right now. Sure, I have my little fits of pique now and then. I get tired, stressed, I start blaming my job and the people around me. Sometimes there's a little validity to that, but whatever. Right now, the experiences all seem to run to life's major themes -- suffering, responsibility, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, determination, patience, hope. And it creates the need for a little pause, here and there; a little distance in these relationships, sometimes intentional. After much intense consultation of one sort and another, the problems progress or resolve, the pendulum swings.

It's not like the grief of one's friend when they've lost a loved one -- these quandries don't call for large volumes of comfort necessarily. Or did, but don't right now. Earlier this week, I wanted to reply to some comments one friend made about why she's committed to the church -- comments made time and again, about the desire for community versus genuine feelings of deep faith -- and I know suffering is a keen theological issue for this person as she leans away from crediting herself with a deep faith. So I went hunting through Job, having read it through entirely only once, thinking some insight would be inherent. Something I could share, an encouragement apart from human authority. What I found was, of course, not that at all. And in a certain sense, Job is a treatise on friendship -- on what's expected of you when your friend has sunk low in life. It's a story with a decent message, I think, but a problematic outcome. Problematic if you haven't fully accepted the message, that is. And finally, neither of my good friends has suffered the trials of Job, thank God. (Though a number of other friends would surely point out the irony in that statement of gratitude.)

It's a slow night for email, for Facebook and all my other venues for staving off loneliness. There are many reasons for this I'm sure. And this sort of uncharacteristic vacuum leaves too much space in which to wonder about causes, and wonder I do. Wondering, and snacking. BAD...whoops, I just published when what I meant to do was save the draft. Drat.

Anyway. At one point Job is disgusted with his friends, none of whom have anything more insightful to say than "Well, you must have brought it on yourself somehow. Be grateful things aren't worse." And Job says, "What, have I asked you for money? Have I asked you for representation? You guys are just saying these things to reassure yourselves that what's happening to me won't happen to you. You're lousy friends." And that's no lie, right there. I'm hoping I haven't crossed that line with anyone, but I'll admit there's some semblance of all that in what caused me to crack Job in the first place. Looking for some sort of justification along with the comfort. Looking for a case. Speculating as to cause.

Thorny stuff. I love both of my troubled friends to pieces, love them dearly, and have really laid down every emotion there is to some degree over the past few months or so. Now they are both off dealing with their thoughts in their own ways, and I can't decide whether I've done enough, or too much. Or not enough at all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 1.1

Back at work. This time with a heating pad wedged between my shoulders and my office chair, to hopefully offset the ongoing back pain and also the cold I seem to have caught from my son. I feel like nothing so much as an old woman today, and have tried to compensate for this by dressing very hip and urban. Laughable really.

Another nuts and bolts sort of day at church. Unending finance tasks, the occasional food shelf visitor. The admin assistant is out sick again today, and if I hadn't just taken two (relatively healthy) days off I'd probably be doing the same. Instead, I will take some Vicks DayQuil, and hope it helps.

Listening to Beth Orton now... my attitude is much improved after some intentional PTO, but still needs tightening up. Like the rest of me, har. Wasted an unsatisfactory hour on Facebook last night when I should have just gone to bed. It would be nice to have a worship service to attend right now...this minute I mean. Someplace with space to contemplate without the ringing of the phone. I'm just not ready to get anything done yet today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day Zero - back to work

It is pleasing to be missed when you're only gone a few days. I could have done without the immediate-onset backache, but otherwise...Day Zero began with free latte and ended with my heroic (not really) bat capture just before leaving. I had an audience of youth ministers and music teachers though, that was fun. Whence the bats, you ask? We have them in the belfry, obviously (note to all you new and combative Council members.) But bats can slip through tiny cracks to gain access to interior spaces, and believe me, at Northeast Community we got cracks. The recent thaw (says my husband) is what's bringing them out -- they lay low in the winter, I guess, and now they think it's spring and time for bugs. Problem is, they squeeze into the hallways in the classroom wing and then they are stuck. Zoom, zip! Up and down and around. Fortunately we possess the Bat Net (though my boss the pastor murdered one with a broom just yesterday, home-run style. Yeesh.) The Bat Net is a homemade thing that's been around the church longer than I have, with a very light-weight close-mesh net sewn onto a wire hoop (probably a coat hanger) and attached to the end of a broom handle. Catching bats with one is easy: You stand still in the hallway with the net down and wait for the bat to fly at you, which it eventually will (cause it's a hallway). When you see the whites of its eyes, as it were, up comes the net and the bat flies into it. Piece of cake, but you can't do it too early or the bat will veer around the net. Then you take it outside, flip the net inside out and the bat flies off.Trouble is, at this time of year the bats are cold and weak. All that zipping around the halls doesn't help. I turned out the net, and the bat just plopped onto the sidewalk. I had to prod him into the bushes and leaves (and boy was he pissy.) He probably won't make it, unless he figures out how to get back into the building. It's too cold. Poor thing. But what do I do? Turn it loose in the sanctuary?That's it. Our darned old non-functional sanctuary can become a real Sanctuary, for Bats! Maybe we can get some funding. Just enough to feed the bats, while the ceiling gradually collapses over the next decade. How gothic.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well. My grandmother's death certificate finally arrived in the mail today. And apart from the fact that she died in my father's house (I am pretty sure he said she died in her hotel room), the most revealing item in the record was simply that she was cremated. Because cremation is considered "final disposition," there is no further record as to the location of her remains. They could be in a vault, or in the possession of my father's children (along with the remains of my grandfather and my father.)

Which means I have to contact my stepmother and ask her where the remains are located, something I was hoping to avoid.

I hope the urns are in a vault somewhere, but I won't be surprised if the family never allocated funds for such a thing. Since Carol has remarried it seems safe to assume she's not keeping these urns under the bed, or on the mantle. But my half-siblings are in Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin respectively; it's possible my stepbrother is in the western suburbs somewhere. I don't think I have his current address. Otherwise, I'd ask him. He of all of them has some affection for me, I think.

I'll send Carol a letter tomorrow. I hope this works out. She doesn't hate me anymore, I don't think; but she has never treated me like a member of the family.

day 2 cont'd

Back from the dentist. Ouch, feeling all giddy from caffeine and referred pain, and wishing I could take a nap. But I think the guys will be home any minute. Waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in...

Day Two

So here we are, on the second and last day of my mega-mini-break. I'm posting a couple shots of my work in progress, and then I'll have to hit the shower - a dentist appointment shortly after noon, in St. Paul, means I have to be at the bus stop by 11:30. Not that going the dentist is a relaxing thing by ANY means, unless I can convince my DDS to knock me out this time. But I've cancelled this appointment twice already, and they were able to work me in. It's fate. It's a filling. Whatever. It's an afternoon feeling like someone has konked me on the head.

In brighter realms -- I started a piece loosely inspired by Isaiah 40:6-8 -- "All people are grass." So far the background is in (fabric) and I've made a cardboard mock-up of the figure I'll soon create from fabric, just to see where and how the figure should be positioned. I'm feeling okay with it at this point, and if I don't get sidetracked by embellishments (always a hazard), I might even complete this piece in the next week or so.

science museum of mn pics

Monday, February 9, 2009

DayOne = IF

Thanks Rachel and Alan for "naming that tune" -- Now, help me to stop confusing Bread with America in the 70s pop lexicon, and I'll be forever grateful.

"I've been one poor correspondant,
and I've been too too hard to find.
But it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind."
(Sister Golden Hair)

And then there's one of MY all-time favorites, "Horse With No Name."
"The desert is an ocean with its life underground and
the perfect disguise above. Under the city
lays a heart made of ground, but the humans will give
no love."

Day One

So: It's day one of Jen's Glorious Two Days Off from Work. Here's what I've accomplished thus far -
Spent 90 minutes cleaning the floors and the bathroom, which began right after the guys left this morning.
Took 30 minutes to address my email.
Did some reading and thinking, on the couch, until a nap overtook me (rare thing, the urge to nap mid-morning, but what the heck.)
Slept an hour, woke with a jolt thinking my husband had come home early, was surprised to see how long I'd slept, hopped in the shower.
I woke with a song in my head, something like "Picture of Love," one of those rather awful tunes from the late 70s:
"If a picture paints a thousand words,
then why can't I paint you?
The words just come out wrong,
that's all they ever do."
Or something like that. I don't think it had anything to do with my husband. I think the two items combined were in fact my mental alarm, telling me to get my arse out of bed if I plan to accomplish anything creative today.

Having moments ago fielded the one phonecall from work that I was expecting, I am now free to open windows (it's rainy out, some strange warm weather to be capitalized upon) and ponder the situation in the sewing room.

Send all positive and creative vibes my way! Thanks.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Beyonce is wearing a horrible silver and blue dress that makes her look like a figure skater. With tragically lopsided boobs. It's an 80s prom dress, and I think Beyonce must have been like 5 years old in the 80s, if that. AND her hair looks wretched. It looks like MY hair, in need of a hairbrush. I'm so disappointed. Hardly anyone looks as hot as Beyonce, ordinarily.

Oh heck

I'm a sap for Coldplay, and yeah they sounded good. But Holy Crap, here comes Carrie Underwood looking like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Jane Fonda in Barbarella!

The Grammys - ten tons of barf.

OK, it's five minutes into the Grammys and so far we've seen Whitney Houston on way too much Valium, lovely Jennifer Hudson in an unfortunate dress that makes her look as if she were called to the stage with her dinner napkin still plastered to her chest, some guy I don't know making dumb jokes about the night's lineup. U2 kicked things off with their boots on (and sounded okay), and now Al Green with Boyz 2 Men and someone else besides are up there singing Let's Stay Together. Is it good or bad, happy or sad? It's a drag, that's what. I hate awards shows. Coldplay! Carrie Underwood! Kid Rock! Geez.

in the wee small hours

Well, Facebook certainly is chewing up time I could be spending more productively elsewhere. Like here, for instance. Two weeks of Facebook and suddenly all I'm good for is counting the number of Friends my Friends have, and learning new Apps. Ugh. Hanging around to see who's online. On the flip side, I have managed to connect with 1) an old pal from junior high/high school; 2) an ex boyfriend from the early nineties; and 3) a girl friend from my years in Athens GA. And that's all harmless fun, creating continuity with the past and reminding me of the world outside my small circle of contemporaries. Old pal turned out to be queer and is living a happily productive life including a long-term relationship; ex-boyfriend is married and STILL working for IBM, has two daughters; gal pal is still in GA teaching art and raising her kids.

But it doesn't replace the feeling of creative satisfaction I get from writing. And since my attempts to go to sleep have been met with snoring (husband) and an unsatisfactory trip to the couch with my pillows and blankets (where I commenced to muse on the mortality of parents and the nature of the ideal support system during life's tragedies) -- here am I.

It's been a rough week. A key question about the future of my job has been resolved, and just before that happened my back went out and stayed gone for the week. Many pain pills later, I'm wondering how much of that was internalized stress over church work (notwithstanding the nights not sleeping in my own bed due to the aforementioned snoring), and I'm resolved to take a couple days off to lighten up. Taking myself way too seriously. I've missed calls from Alan and from Brady, and while Facebook is good for connecting with my night owl friends it doesn't replace old fashioned beers and conversations.

I will start a new sewing project this week. I will dig up my new year's resolutions (unexamined since I first wrote them down) and reflect on where they're coming from. Catch up on a little housework, and try to focus on life outside of church. A balance worth maintaining since two of my good friends have just joined the Council.

I've given myself a year to decide if this is the work I want to be doing for the rest of my life; and if not, what's next.

My son had his pre-K screening today, a lengthy and mostly boring procedure that nevertheless turned up some interesting thoughts about his future educational directives. The testers confirmed that the kid is crazy smart, really tall for his age and emotionally level with his peers. He'll need something to do at school while the other kids are learning to read, since he is already a couple grade levels above average. But he needs time to learn how to be a team player, how to get along in a world that isn't impressed with mere intelligence. (My assessment, that.)

Meanwhile, my husband and I need to find a new approach to some old issues. More on that another time.

And I need to figure out what's really going on with Obama's bailout bill. Another busy week ahead, sounds like... ...

A lyric of Peter Gabriel's just popped into my head; And I love to be loved, Oh, I love to be loved.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

sluggish times

Hello Detroit!
Or whomever.
After three days taking Tylenol 3 and Advil alternatively, I'm having symptoms of an occular migraine and not getting far with my back pain. Sorry for the lack of postings, back soon with better nerve endings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

As I sit here eating my bowl of twigs and berries, pondering with great relief the end of the football season (and the weeks of wasted Sunday afternoons it entails), I am also a little sad. Why am I sad? Is my fibrous breakfast cereal getting soggy? Oh no, All Bran never gets soggy. Do I feel sorry for my disappointed husband and his best buddy, who were repaid for their premature gloating with a last-minute crusher that reduced the Arizona Cardinals to stunned sideliners? Not a bit. (When I could care less, I usually pick the Eastern team just on principle.)

No, I'm glum because January is SHOT and I'm still wrestling with 2008 financials on multiple fronts. Shit. It's ENDLESS. How did I wind up in this position? Why have I allowed myself to become intergral to the financial operations of two different organizations, when I HATE this stuff and I'm functionally incapable of doing any of it the easy way? Every other day someone phones or emails to breathe down my neck about something. Every damned piece of paper is supposed to be out the door by the 31st too, which is impossible when I can't get in any significant overtime at the office and my helper is very willing but not too reliable (and doesn't answer to me anyway.) BLAST. So I'm overdue on several sets of tasks, not horribly behind but not ON TIME which bugs me and attracts the attention of critics.

Okay...breathing now...phew.

If I had a beer I'd hoist one for the Steelers, who Pulled It Off at the last minute, and I'd pray for a little of their luck this week.