Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let's see, things I could talk about.
- Five days with a sick child, something viral with a temp and a bad cough. Father and I dodged the bullet, cold comfort that.
- A friend's unbelievably stormy, variegated love life; one week, new love, next week horrible break-up, always a train wreck in progress. Why? Why? He's such a good person.
- My disappointment at not being able to steal the car and drive it without a license, now that there's snow on the ground and car #2 is parked in the garage (with not much gas.) (I've never had a license, by the way.)

Or I could talk about the sail.

Specifically, about feeling like a sail; or a bubble, or a blank sheet of paper; meaningless unless filled and impelled by outside forces.

There are a number of people who like to talk to me about their lives, and their troubles. They assume, I've noticed, that I in turn share with them the bulk of my troubles, my sorrows, my intimate vitae. Truly though, that's not the case. I know no one who knows absolutely everything; one person comes close, and no one else knows about that really, including the individual in question. It's safe to say that if I give an example from my own life of some dubious behavior, there's a better (if more damning) example that I haven't given. If I seem wise, it's because I give the impression of having learned from my mistakes, of having things in my own life under control. HA HA. Not true. And you'll never hear me say "You're the only one who knows." Or if you do, I'm probably ... fibbing. Unless you're that one person who knows pretty much everything worth knowing. But you don't know if it's you, so no harm there. You might think it's you; knowing you though, you don't think that at all. Which is why it's safe to tell you -- you will always assume there's more to me than meets the eye! So I'm never summed up, never a known quantity, never owned, never judged. That's the idea. That, and keeping out of trouble.

But what am I? If you don't tell me anything about your life, if I can't give you something worth having, what's the good of me? I am a fucking sail -- the Holy Spirit blows me from place to place and the people who bend toward my ear and ask for my time are islands in the current. If I didn't know you I wouldn't be worth knowing. Deal with it! The more I have my hand in, the emptier I become. My thrills are largely imaginary.

I'm the blanket around my kid's shoulders. I'm the shoulder my husband cries on. I'm not complaining.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh what a night

I bought two VERY tacky painted wine glasses at Pier One tonight -- red stems and bases, with tiny poinsettias on the bowl, and gold trim... They cheer me up, these tacky Christmas glasses, and I'm presently enjoying my third glass of wine. The boys are watching a movie and thrashing around on the couch -- H is feeling good for an hour or so, while the ibuprofen artificially lowers his temp to something tolerable. He has a virus, nothing major, though as always now we're watching for side effects.

They're watching "Happy Feet" on TV, the scene in which the late Brittany Murphy sings Freddie Mercury's "Somebody to Love." (I just found out that her late husband died just six months after she did, of the same causes, drug-related. In one report at the time of her death, Simon Monjack was referred to as Brittany's dealer.) Sorry - "Happy Feet" is a great movie. But we own it, so it's really not worth watching with the commercial interruptions."When she sings, it darn near breaks your heart."

"You say your prayers, though you don't care.... All the love in the world can't be wrong."

And then there's this little gem...wait for Brittany at 2:39..."Movies Kick Ass!"

Tacky wine glasses. Coughing kids. Movies featuring deceased celebrities. Oh, yeah.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

things I am grateful for this year

That we got the loan and bought the school building.
That Harper's illness last spring wasn't worse.
That in the midst of one of the most exhausting years on record, I also knew great joy, great love, great friendship.
That CW has a good place to live, and a decent new job. 
That my husband is still employed, keeping a roof over our heads and food on our table.
That I've managed to fulfill at least a few of my resolutions for the year! 
That I have a terrific massage therapist helping me to stay sane.
That the election returns weren't even worse.
That I still have faith. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Overheard at the Bakery

...where I was picking up 200 cupcakes (half carrot, half red velvet.)

"It's gonna be smack-ass busy here tomorrow!"


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And in these uptight times
hardcore funkateers
deploy the bop gun

Sunday, November 14, 2010

lost a bet with Nature

"Nature is a hanging judge." That's one of my favorite quotes, though the source (a roll of Quotes stickers, in fact) attributes it to Anonymous. Google concurs, and one of those citations characterizes this as an "old saying." Fair enough. (See, Quotes stickers are a vital source of cultural knowledge!)

Thursday's weekend forecast was every bit manifest in the snowfall of Friday night/Saturday morning, and then some. See below:

     Here are some storm highlights from Today:

*As of 1 PM CST:  The Minnesota Highway Patrol reported 300 plus crashes with 395 vehicles off the road or involved in a spin out.
*As of 4 PM CST:  Just over 65,000 Xcel Energy customers were without power in the Twin Cities, Minnesota (east and west areas) with another 10,000 customers without power across the rest of Minnesota.

   Here are some snowfall totals from the Upper Midwest as of 1 PM CST (Nov. 13, 2010):

Emmetsburg, IA:  14.0"
Eden Prairie, MN:  11.0"
Ruthven, IA:  10.5"
Mankato, MN:  10.0"
3 miles north-northwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN:  9.0"

All that snow fell in just under 12 hours. The national radar image told a story of intimidating proportion: A giant convective comma of precipitation, rotating backward across Minnesota to the east, depositing inch after inch of soggy snow, Ely to Worthington. The tail end of that system to the south was a long conveyor belt of moisture sucking precip directly from the Gulf. Sadly, I can't recreate the awe-inspiring mini-hurricane NOAA image, and didn't have the presence of mind to grab it yesterday morning (though according to the NOAA website this is no small feat anyway, as it must be captured in layers and reassembled manually.) Trust Google images to give you something NOAA can't provide.

Huge tree limbs lay in the street, our lights flickered repeatedly, others lost electrical entirely -- the wet, clinging snow weighed heavily and brought down lines, stopped traffic and generally SLOWED us down a lot. But it was Saturday, thank goodness -- kids home safe, having fun with the white stuff, and relatively few folks on the roads.A snow emergency was declared, FINALLY, at around 4pm, and they sent out the plows. Even the city buses were getting bogged down, stuck at the stops, and that's saying something. I normally rely on that mode in weather like yesterday's, but it still took me an hour to travel five miles one-way.
And to think it was 65 degrees and sunny less than a week ago. You pay for pleasure around these parts. Nature is a hanging judge.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the thing about morning

The thing about morning is that I'd really prefer to be working in the studio. This is when my creative, loose, inspired mind is at its best, when I'm most able to use my mental time efficiently. Not surprisingly however, I'm at work. Definitely NOT using my time productively!

Veterans Day today, and R has the day off but H does not, which spoiled R's plans for the day -- he just assumed ALL schools were closed. H missed so much school last week though, between the conference holidays and being sick, that I refused to let him stay home this morning. It's okay, he and Daddy can go to the bookstore after school, and R can call the insurance company and also go get an oil change, things he's been meaning to accomplish. He can use his morning productively...

We walked as a family to the bus stop this morning and were promptly surprised by a pit bull and a scraggly little terrier -- the barefoot smoker in the ratty bathrobe having turned her dogs loose onto the sidewalk, from the corner duplex, to do their business -- just as kids were gathering at the corner to wait for the school bus. The dog started barking and ran over, and Ron immediately went into killer-father-bear-protection mode -- "Don't move!" yells the bathrobe lady, and R yells back "Your dog better not touch my kid or I'll kill it!" Bathrobe Lady jogs over in bare feet, cigarette dangling, and grabs the pit by it's barbed metal collar. "Sorry, sorry" she babbles, dragging the animal away (after it had given us a good sniff, it wasn't really acting dangerous and R didn't touch it.) Whereupon Crappy Terrier suddenly felt a burst of bravado and started barking and running towards us. Lordy. Nothing bad happened, in the end, and after the adrenaline wore off things were fine. H happily climbed on the bus and waved us away.

Processing time has been in short supply at work lately. Soon enough I'll be back on the big computer, getting my work done; but it seems there's hardly a moment these days wherein any creative thought can occur, on any front, given the constant motion. No time for reflection. Blogging is a start.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a different kind of saint

So. At the end of a long, manic week of doctor's appointments and school holidays, big fundraiser and an unexpected bout of over-consumption, one of our cats went missing.

Wednesday night. 36 hours is the longest Tiger's ever been gone -- three days is actually his record, but that was when he was still a feral cat, living in the woods behind our duplex in Georgia. We'd been feeding him, and his multitude of relatives, off old plates on our patio. Three days gone, and when he returned, his lip was torn from the corner of his mouth right down to his throat. I opened the patio door, and for the first time, he walked past me into the house, where he curled up behind the TV stand for another three days until he felt a bit better. We took him in for shots, and called him ours. No stitches, said our vet, won't make any difference; and for the rest of his life we jokingly referred to him as "Snagglepuss." He had about four teeth, having lost most of them in his second and third years. "Inbreeding," said our vet, "It happens." He drooled. And until we moved to Minnesota, he had seasonal allergies that would cause him to scratch himself until he bled. "Tigon the Destroyer" we called him, for some reason. More often it was "Tiger Buttskie" (again, reasons unknown.) He was a rather disgusting cat, and his pajamas never really fit him - he always seemed thin. But he was loved. He stayed with us through three moves, and even in the dead of winter Tiger couldn't stand being kept indoors more than a couple of weeks at a time. Even if he just sat on the back step for five or ten minutes, he needed to get outside regularly, otherwise he'd pace by the door and yowl his gravelly banshee best until you were quite mad. So out he want, and he always wandered farther, stayed out longer, than the other two cats.

This morning, on my way to church on my bicycle, I found him dead by the road a few blocks from the house.

He was older, at least 12 years. I had thought, maybe hoped, he could have just stayed out too late and been brought down by the deepening cold. We of course tried many many times to call him in. I think now that he probably died Wednesday or Thursday night. He had obviously tried to cross Central Avenue, the busiest street, about four blocks to our west. He was apparently headed for the golf course -- the parkway area, which makes sense -- if I were a half-wild feline, I'd head for the woods at night. But he'd been gradually losing his hearing over the past few years, and it had become quite easy to sneak up on him. A car got him. Always the fucking cars.

I stopped my bike, and turned around to look again, wishing it didn't have to be Tiger lying there. After a moment I took off my scarf, and wrapped his stiff body in it, wearing my cycling gloves. I staggered partway down the embankment away from the bus stop, and laid his body under a heap of dead weeds. I was on my way to teach Sunday School -- didn't want to call my husband, who was at home with our young son. Didn't want to put the sad carcass in my bike basket. So I left him there and went to church. Crying all the way.

By the time I left church for the day I was ready to face my family with the news. But it's still a sad time. Tiger was a good cat, and we'll miss him.