Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Trying not to be glum and morose. Trying to figure out what I can write down and what I don't want to talk about, even with myself.

The truth is, I know I won't follow the physical therapist's restrictions. I'll be very dedicated at doing the strengthening and stretching exercises, but I know that I won't stop running. And everyone is going to hammer on me about it, so I don't want to talk about it. I don't need other people telling me how foolish and short-sighted I'm being, I already know what an idiot I can be. This is one of those times when maybe only Catherine--who has watched how my life has developed over the last ten years--seems to understand why I can't stop.

I don't have any other options if I want to be an impact player this year, I just don't. I'm willing to cut back from 45 minutes to 30. I'm willing to swap one run a week for swimming (until I blow my rotator cuff out *again*). But other than that, what other high-intensity aerobic exercise can I do? It's the pre-season. I need to be getting in at least 5 (preferably 6) solid workouts a week.

I gave up rowing because of my wrist, and it's unlikely the doctor would give me permission to take it back up again right now. I can practically feel my wrist disintegrating every time I use my hand--if I can only use it for one sport, it's got to be hockey at this point. Cycling--same story. Not only does it bother my knee, I can't grip handlebars for more a minute or two at a time. This is all very contradictory, because sailing also bothers my hand, but I'm not going to stop doing that. Why does sailing rank over biking or rowing? I don't know, it's not getting me in shape, that's for sure, and it's contributing to the demise of my hand. Still, if I had to choose between sailing, cycling and rowing, I know it would be sailing.

My weight-training schedule is completely fucked up. I can't do many lower-body weights because of the knee. I can't do any upper-body weights right now because I can't grip. It will probably be another two or three days before I can pick things up without a lot of pain. Three days doesn't sound like much, but when you look at the calendar, you can see there aren't many more days between now and Sept. 6.

I've already decided I'm going to keep writing with my left hand, even when the pain subsides and I can use a pencil in my right hand again. My printing is pretty legible with my left hand, and although I know I'll never be able to do any drafting left-handed, I can at least subtract one more activity from the list my right hand needs to accomplish.

I sound so whiny and insipid. There are tons of people in the world worse off than me. I have a teammate who had to give up the sport forever because of the injury. I just read an article about a runner who got hit by a car and ended up a quadriplegic, and he was all "good attitude" about it, while I obviously would not be. I know my bad attitude is wrapped up with a lot of body image crap. And actually, I think I just hit the point where I don't want to talk about this anymore.

4:25 PM

We're taking a tour of the Kinsey Institute during our staff meeting today. Catherine has promised not to do anything to embarrass me.

According to her mom, Heather Cassady has been picked up by the pro team Akademia in Athens, Greece. I'm very happy for her. I've never seen a player with a better work ethic--I spend a lot of time trying to "channel my inner Heatherness" and "reach Cassadian levels of fitness," to no avail.

I have some mobility back in my fingers, my wrist is still frozen solid. Hopefully, the pain and swelling will go away so I can go sailing tomorrow. I was going to go out today, but I guess that's not going to happen.

This morning, I was using Google to search for articles on coping with athletic injuries. Google has a column of "sponsored links" on the right-hand side of the pane. One of those links is for buying "Athletic Injury on Ebay." Funny, I don't think that's going to be a hot ticket item.

Monday, July 29, 2002

i lied. it hurts a lot.
4:11 PM

Rob's "Work From Home" investigation keeps getting better and better. The epilogue is a new addition to the story. That boy. What a genius.
11:33 AM

On the positive side, getting an injection in your wrist hurts much less than getting an injection in your palm. If I was going to rank the levels of pain associated with the various injections I have received in the past 2-3 years this is how it would look (from least painful to most painful):

1. Shoulder (stings, but really doesn't hurt)
2. Spine (a lot like the shoulder)
3. Exterior of the wrist (hurts, but mostly just feels weird and unnatural)
4. Side of foot (hurts pretty damn much)
5. Bottom of foot (hurts more than words can express)
6. Palm of hand (I'd rather have it amputated)

It did hurt some today. The doctor patted me on the shoulder after he was done injecting the second vial of fluid and told me to breathe. Ordinarily I might find that a bit condescending, but under the circumstances, I guess it is a good idea to make sure your patient doesn't faint from lack of oxygen.

I expect to be running a fever by noon, since that always happens when I get a steroid injection. It dismays me that I have had so many injections that I can actually predict what my body will do afterward.

I'm not sure about this one--first I was being treated for carpal tunnel, then tendonitis, then carpal tunnel again, and now it's been diagnosed as a midcarpal instability (characterized by a midcarpal "clunk"--I don't think my wrist is supposed to stair-step that way). Anyway, I got a new splint (this makes my 5th) and I have to wear it 24/7 for 6 weeks. What a drag.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Today's task--get our Civil War photos online. The supporting documentation is lacking, but I've got our second and third campaigns more or less in place. I'll polish the text later. Also put the Monticello snaps online this morning.

Ten bucks says my family doesn't even look at them.

6:04 PM

Oh, great. Now my congestion and sore throat has worked its way up to a cough. This completely sucks.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Obviously, what I should have been doing today instead of sailing is prep work. It is beyond me how I am going to manage to teach five classes whilst taking two this fall semester.
9:30 PM

Ice on the knee again. I crashed into a pulley on the boom when we were out sailing today, and now I have a nice pulley-shaped cut decorating a rather impressive lump on my right knee cap. That poor knee, I am feeling sorry for it.

Ah...the woman arrives with ibuprofen. We're completely tired, partly because we got up early to run in an attempt to beat the heat. It's so difficult to do in oppressive weather like this. During the summer, Bloomington turns into a swamp. The path is wet, the trees are dripping, and the air is stagnant, heavy, and hot. We run in a steamy fog; the path in front of us is always shrouded in a heated mist. Every breath is a drink of tepid water. I'm amazed we managed to keep going on no oxygen for 45 minutes. I feel a bit like I'm straddling this danger zone--one foot is in Dedication, and one foot is in Obsession, and I'm not quite sure in which direction I'm ultimately going to be headed.

We got back with just enough time to take a shower before we headed off for our final day of sailing lessons. The first half was fun, two hours of being out on the E-scow with the instructor, with him mostly telling us what to do and when to do it. It was the last two hours that almost killed us. I was fine sailing a Sunfish by myself, but today he put us out on a Harpoon (quite a bit bigger) and made us run a test course. Catherine worked the jib and I did the main sail and tiller, and boy, were we stressed out. I about killed us on an intentional jibe, I hate to see what's going to happen when I do an accidental one. Well, we passed (the second jibe was much better) but it's obvious we need a lot of practice.

We received a pass for ten free sailing sessions with our lesson package, so I think I'm going to bail on work a bit early next week and go out and practice tacking and jibing on a Sunfish. Then move up to a Laser class. Then take Catherine back out on the Harpoon we had today. Although our session was fraught with profanity, I must not have hated it because I want to go back and do it again.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Random evening rambling (in which a one-line note grows into a fifty line chronicle of emotional instability):

Catherine couldn't get away from work (because a bunch of people came in today to Adopt A Work of Art), so we missed the game. Instead, we had a quick dinner at Casa Brava and went to a movie. We saw Stuart Little, because Catherine likes mice, and I'm pretty much a 'G' movie kind of gal.

Stuart Little was cute (Geena Davis was cuter), and while I was sitting there watching the Central Park scenery rush by, I realized I was really, really envious that Catherine gets to go back to New York in September and I have to stay here and teach. It's really odd how much I like Manhattan (to visit, not to live there, no way). It's even odder than I only have a post-9/11 Manhattan in my mind. Before last fall, I never even had a desire to visit New York. The WTC collapse was rather abstract for me at time, as I couldn't even envision the skyline as it had been before the attack. I just was not drawn to the city before my first visit, and suddenly, I'm going back every chance I get.

When we visited in November, we had such a good time, and I was really bowled over by all the architecture, buildings I'd studied throughout my architectural history courses but never experienced. The fun we had was, of course, tempered by our visit to Ground Zero, but mostly when I think about New York, I remember how cool it was to be standing at the base of the (former) GE building and just being transported to the early 1990s, when I still loved art/architectural history, before graduate school wore me out. I don't know, it's difficult to put into words, but it was the same feeling I got when I visited LACMA for the first time for the Degenerate Art show (1991?). I was just enraptured by the Modern art collection there, and remember standing in front of one of Morris Louis' "Unfurleds" and thinking "No way!!" Kind of this recognition that here is an icon, I've been studying it for years, and now I can actually see the fibers in the canvas, I can see the way Louis let the paint draw down the surface... There's kind of a spontaneous eruption of...I don't know...joy (me? joyous?) and you can't keep from smiling, and it's all because you recognize this one thing in the midst of all the rest, and know something about it, and it *means* something. This same explosion of emotion happens with (canonical) buildings, the same way it happens with (canonical) paintings.

I only felt vague echoes of this when I was in Chicago, despite the fact that I was surrounded by buildings that were just as significant to the development of the skyscraper as those in New York. Chicago just didn't grab me the way New York did, and it disappoints me to write that, because I really didn't want to like New York (because, honestly, most of the New Yorkers I met in Washington and Oregon were a bit on the boorish side). We also had a fantastic time in Chicago, but I didn't run right back up there like I did with New York. Chicago felt heavy and leaden, and I admit some of that was probably the weather, but a lot of it was the architecture. It didn't speak to me, really.

So, during the movie tonight, I started wondering if there is some weird post-9/11 grip going on inside me somewhere that draws me to Manhattan. Certainly our second visit to New York (in April) was completely entangled with terrorism, but it was also pretty intellectual, and not so emotional. Ground Zero actually felt rather antiseptic during our second visit. My heart wasn't engaged at all, quite different from the first time down there. Maybe there's something about combining the two--get my emotions the first time around, swing back a second time to get my brain. What is there left to give on a third visit, my body? I'm not becoming a hooker, that's for sure.

It makes me wonder how long this thing is going to take to play out in my psyche/private life. On one hand, I am *so* tired of 9/11. 9/11 this, 9/11 that. Shut the fuck up already, okay? No, Mr. President, you cannot become a dictator and use terrorism as a justification. Take the stupid faded flags off your cars already, they're boring. It's just all worn thin, the controversy, the politics, the obligatory patriotism, the obligatory complaining about patriotism, all of it. I am so tired of being an American, that's just it. I am so over this whole country and its problems.

But. On the other hand. When I was out running today, a fighter jet ripped across the sky. We do not get air traffic in Bloomington, ever. Occasionally a small plane will go by, and there are hot air balloons during football season, but we don't have an airport, so thus we have no air traffic. I was running through the trees when I heard the jet, and my adrenalin spiked. The last fighter jets I saw in Bloomington came through on September...uh...14th? escorting a plane that was violating the "no fly" command. I was absolutely surprised by my body's involuntary reaction today, and I was surprised by my desire to go home and turn on the TV and see what was up (nothing, apparently). What's up with that? That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. It's these little events that make me stop and think and wonder when it is all going to end.

9:22 PM

Things I did today (in order of appearance):

  1. Took Lucy to the vet
  2. Went to the bank to have the notary public verify our signatures on the Domestic Partnership Affadavit for the university
  3. Drove to Indianapolis* to visit Tim & Avi's Architectural Salvage, a very cool place. A lot like a used auto parts store, only with architectural detritus instead of automobile bits and pieces. The chalkboard street sign said, "Today is the day you visit this crazy store," and that about sums up the place.
  4. Had an exceptionally unhealthy lunch**
  5. Made copies of the appropriate supporting documents to attach to the Domestic Partnership Affadavit
  6. Dropped off said Affadavit at the IU Benefits office***
  7. Went to the public library
  8. Went for a run (like exercising in a terrarium)
  9. Picked up Lucy (minus a tooth, biopsy results not in yet)

Things still to do today:

  1. Pick up Catherine from work
  2. Drive to Indianapolis for a Fever game

* There are a few parts of Indianapolis in which it is not a good idea to get lost, even in daylight. I'm afraid I visited a few today.

**What is it about privileged, rich, white men that they feel the need to harass fast-food employees? She should have spit in his food, and I should have stepped to the front of the line and smacked him in the side of the head.

***This is the first time I've filed domestic partnership papers, and I did not realize until today how much the entire process *sucks*. Why is it I could put down my husband's name on my insurance forms, and no one asks to see a marriage certificate or anything like that? But to be declared as domestic parters, we had to provide: proof that we owned a home together (I copied a bunch of mortgage papers, it wasn't clear which ones would do the job), a copy of our car registration (which luckily we own jointly, if we had two separate cars, we'd be screwed), and evidence of a joint bank account (will a deposit slip work, or do we need a letter from the bank, or what? Again, not clear). A lot of hassle, a lot of photocopying and running around.

I know at least one lesbian couple at IU who can't file an affidavit, because even though they've been together, oh, nineteen years or something like that, they keep their finances absolutely separate. The house is in M.'s name, the truck is in M.'s name, the car is in B.'s name, and they split the utilities exactly 50/50. That system wouldn't work for me, but hey, obviously the relationship is working if they're still together, so shouldn't they be able to handle their money any way they want to?

The real problem I see with this process is that it forces people to come out of the closet. For me, no problem, who doesn't know I'm queer? But for other people at the university, it may not be such an easy thing. It's pretty easy to defend staying in the closet as a matter of safety, because frankly, people suck. So, this benefit is only provided to people who want to take the risk of coming out, who feel comfortable walking into the benefits office and announcing to the front desk receptionist, "Yeah, I need to file this Domestic Partnership Affadavit" so the whole room knows your business. You know how the university gossip chain works--if you say you're gay in one building, it will be news four buildings over by lunchtime. I think I've compiled enough evidence in my own office to suggest that the university isn't always a welcome place for GLBT people, yet they have to stand up and say, "Hey, look at me, I'm GLBT" before they get the same benefits their straight co-workers are getting.

It sucks, that's all I have to say.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Just when I start to think I'm not an idiot...it turns out I am. How can I lose an entire freaking house? I mean, how stupid do you have to be to misplace a whole damn house? Pretty fucking stupid, that's how stupid.
9:09 PM

Don't bug me. I'm sick.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Well, the apron strings have been cut.
8:16 PM

This is kind of neat. While I was sneaking my brothers' Hardy Boys books away to my room, Max was reading Nancy Drew.

Oh, yeah, and this is why I was so happy to be in Canada last week.

10:36 AM

I like the policy statement on Israeli-Palestinian violence of the AFSC (except that bit about "love").

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

My vital stats at the doctor this morning:

Blood pressure: 90/70
Pulse: 56

Maybe I am already dead?

12:47 PM

I am so frustrated. I am struggling to work through the forms to sign up for insurance at the university--allegedly, IU now provides insurance coverage for same-sex domestic partners. The problem is, the second form in the stack is a "Certification of Tax-Qualified Dependents," and it appears to be an affadavit that will indicate that I am a tax-qualified dependent on Catherine. The problem is, I'm not. Because of my freelance work, we file taxes separately, despite the fact that we own a house together. What this means is that because we are not legally married, we have to pay more for this insurance than straight people have to, whether they are tax-qualified dependents or not. Here's the applicable paragraph from the insurance booklet:

"In general, both the university’s and employee’s cost of providing domestic partner benefits is considered taxable income by the IRS. When an employee enrolls a domestic partner or the partner's child in an IU-sponsored health care plan, the employee’s contribution and the university’s contribution for that coverage are the same as for a spouse and spouse’s child. However, due to IRS regulations, these contributions are taxable income and will be added to the employee’s pay as additional wages. This will be reported on the employee’s annual Form W-2 and increases the employee’s taxable gross income for federal and state income taxes as well as for FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes withheld from paychecks. The amount of the additional taxable income depends upon the plan in which the employee is enrolled and the resulting level of coverage (employee/spouse, employee/child, family)."

And here's the example for the health plan we use:

"Example 3:
An employee enrolls along with a non-tax-qualified domestic partner and partner’s child in the IU Precision POS plan. The employee’s additional monthly taxable income is the difference between the total cost of 'family'coverage and the total cost for 'employee only' coverage ($752.33 - $273.10 = $479.23). The annual tax estimate is $2,243. Employee monthly cost is the $194.26 family premium plus $187 in taxes."

If I was legally married, here's what the numbers would be:

Employee/Spouse: $143.46 (medical only) / $152.50 (medical and dental)

There is nothing in the (straight) employee/spouse section that indicates their health insurance benefits will be taxed like mine will be. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the entire thing, but I doubt it.

I could continue my health insurance under the COBRA Act, but then the prices per month are:

One participant: $278.56 (medical only) / $294.24 (medical and dental)

So, essentially, I cannot afford to leave this job and take a job in the field in which I am trained.

I am really, really distressed. Really distressed.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Here's the deal. You are not allowed to comment on my body, period. You are not allowed to tell me I've lost weight, you are not allowed to tell me I've gained weight. You will not comment on my appearance. If you like my shirt, fine, I give you permission to say, "Hey, that's a nice shirt." Beyond that, you must be quiet. In fact, this moratorium shall be extended to include the bodies of all women, everywhere, including yours. I do not want to know how much you weigh, how much weight you want to lose, or how fat you think you are. I am not interested and I never will be. My body is mine and mine alone, it doesn't belong you, it is not open for public discussion. Don't compare your body to mine, don't compare mine to anyone else's. It is simply not allowed.
12:25 PM

Damn, I wish I lived in Denver and that I had a legal problem, so I could hire the funniest lawyers on the face of the earth.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Correne Bredin was one of our on-ice instructors at camp. Denny completely misspelled her name in the brochure (as "Corrinne")--no wonder Joby never pronounced it correctly. The other female on-ice instructor was Carly Haggard. How cool is that?

Heather recommends the Centre Ice women's hockey camp. Summerland is close to my parents, so:

if I do not go to the adult fitness camp at Smith; and
if I do not break any bones, and
if I still like hockey next summer, and
if I have any money at all after I take a huge paycut next month,

maybe I will look into Centre Ice.

I just took a few minutes and read through the archives of my hockey diary. I also skimmed my rookie diary. There is a definite difference between the entries from last year (after my first camp experience) and the entries from my rookie year (before my first camp experience). Camp really ground me down last year, so much that I couldn't even write about it. None of my teammates understood what I was trying to say when I explained it, and I eventually stopped talking about it. It wasn't until this last Friday, when I was helping Heather carry her stuff to her car after she hurt her groin, that I really felt like someone understood. It was so gratifying to find someone who had a similar camp experience last year. Too bad we both isolated ourselves and never got a chance to talk to each other about it. Anyway, my goal for the upcoming season is to try and recover some of my optimism from my rookie year and bring it to the ice with me.

The first thing I did when I got home was pick up a hockey stick and show Catherine my Tiger Woods imitation.

Camp went so much better this year. So, so much better. A day after I've been home, I'm already saying, "Yeah, I'd do it again," which is a 180-degree switch in my position last year, when I pretty much stopped skating after I got home. I was so upset last year, I decided to quit playing hockey completely, then kind of guilted myself back into playing by thinking about how much money I'd wasted on the sport. Anyway, this year I worked hard, it was intense at times, but it wasn't emotionally devastating as it was last year. That tells me I've improved.

The schedule was kind of strange this year. We didn't have breakfast until 9:15, which sounds good, but we didn't get off the ice at night until 11:45 a.m., so we actually ended up with too little sleep. Every night, I'd go back to the dorm to sleep around 12:30, and the kids would still be awake, making way too much noise. Boy, you really don't know what kids are capable of until you put 50 of them in a room together.

So, every day we had 4.25 hours of ice time, and 2.25 hours of off-ice instruction. The ice time was broken down into three sections:

1 hr 45 min Instruction. This is where we did puck control drills, skating drills, one-one-ones, on-ice shooting practice, etc. In my opinion, this was about 15 minutes too long, especially on Thursday and Friday. On those two days, the instructors did a lot of talking, and our feet got really cold.

1 hr Power Skating. Worked on form and technique. Essentially a repeat from last year, so you think I could do it all by now, but I can't. Backwards continues to be my nemesis, although it is getting a little smoother. My final evaluation stressed making a narrow recovery, so that is what I will focus on this year.

1 hr 30 min Scrimmage. Definitely the most frustrating part of the week. I found it difficult to get excited about playing a position that I knew wasn't going to help me during the regular season. As the team saying goes, "If all five players on the ice fell down, I still wouldn't be playing center. Shame on you!" Anyway, I found it annoying to have to play center shift after shift, when I will never play center during the regular season. I really wanted to refine my wing position, not experiment with some new position. I understand in theory what the center should do, and that's enough for me, I don't have to play it. I really need work on my wing positioning for the breakouts, so I hated not being allowed to play that position.

Off-ice instruction was broken into two sections:

1 hr 15 mins Stick-handling. Stick-handling drills (figure eight, extending the reach, using the feet to kick the puck up, bouncing the ball on the stick).

1 hr Shooting. My off-ice shooting is going great. Now I just need to move it onto the ice.

In general I was pleased, because I didn't skip anything outright (last year, I was so worn down and injured that I had to. My glutes hurt, my hip hurt, my obliques hurt, my feet hurt....), I shaved off some minutes at the end when I could feel my back getting tired, but otherwise showed up. The only thing I did skip was the very last scrimmage, and I'm glad of that. My groin/hip flexor was really tight when I was walking around after power skating, and I didn't want to risk serious injury. Heather (she was at camp last year, had a parallel experience with mine) had the same problem, but did scrimmage, and ended up totally wasting her groin. So, sitting on the bench that last evening was a good idea. I did get up and run 4 k the next morning to make up for my inactivity.
Photos of an absolutely fascinating monument at Harper's Ferry that stopped me in my tracks when I was there a couple weeks ago. I had to read it three times to make sure I really understood what was going on here. A photo of the Shepherd Monument, and a photo of the wayside placed by the National Park Service (text transcribed beneath the photos). Mary Johnson has written a good article documenting the (on-going) controversy of the monument.
7:57 PM

Home, home, home. I am so glad to be home. Clean bed, clean bathroom, clean shower...so glad to be home. The best moment of the week was looking toward Gate C29 in Chicago-O'Hare and seeing Catherine walking toward me. Life doesn't get any better.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Amy was sitting on the side of her bed when I woke up this morning. I opened my eyes and she said, "Welcome to the 7th Circle of Hell." Then we had a discussion about Dante's version of hell--wasn't the innermost circle a ball of cold, frozen ice? That would be appropriate.

Almost done, we've only got one more ice session, a scrimmage at 10:15 p.m. The body is starting to fall apart in bits and pieces. The hip flexor continues to protest, something in my left knee isn't working properly. Still, I've made it through the week, and I'm proud of myself. When I get home, I am planning to post a more coherent, linear accounting of a week at camp. I'm going to need more than a few hours of sleep before I can do that, though.

I can't even remember what's happened since I last wrote. Wednesday was notable because my bench neighbor spilled beer in my helmet and neck guard. She was appropriately contrite, but I was so tired that I just couldn't deal with it. No big damage done, but my neck guard was wet the next day from having to rinse it in the sink.

My backhand shot (off ice) continues to rock, but I'm losing the snap shot. Almost there with the wrist shot. Too bad they all suck on ice.

Went running yesterday morning, kept it to 4K in anticipation of needing my legs for power skating. So right I was. Power skating focused on backwards, and man, is that a hip burner or what. In general, I didn't find power skating as informative this year, not so much feedback, probably because the groups are much bigger. Instruction on Thursday (as well as today) was very low key, with Corinn and Carly running things. Not a lot of skating actually, so my feet got cold.

The down part of camp is always the scrimmages. It's just chaos, no set lines, people changing whenever (like when the puck is in our zone, for godsakes), people saying whatever. I always come away from the scrimmage mad. Well, I think a lot of people do. They just aren't very good for learning. Joby was completely messing with us on face-off formations yesterday--telling us to set up one way during instruction, then moving us another way during scrimmage. Face-offs were jacked, anyway. I had to take 3 different face-offs. Why? Because I got coerced into playing center, the position I hate most. I'd rather play D than play center.

Anyway, it's almost over. I get to go home tomorrow. I think I can get in one more run on the fenland tomorrow morning, that should be nice. I've (re)learned a lot, gotten 4.25 hours of ice time every day (plus some time Sunday), 2.25 hours off-ice instruction every day, so I think I got my money's worth.

p.s. My new record for bouncing the ball on my stick is 30.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

I am so tired. I realized as I was laying on my cot today that tears were leaking out of my eyes, and I wasn't even sad or upset or anything. My body is just telling me to get some rest.

My hip flexor is toast. Power skate was a little on the pointless side today because I couldn't get any strength out of my left leg. Winced every time I tried to push off. I hope it holds through the week. Had a collision in power skating, my back hurts in a different place now, so I guess that's okay. A bit disappointed because I really like quick starts and was just starting to feel confident on them, and now I just can't get going. Should I scrimmage tonight? I would like to rest, but many people are skipping, so I don't want to leave the bench short.

There is lots to say, but my tired brain is not saying it.

Some of the group is going to Lake Louise tomorrow, part of me wants to go, part of me wants to stay here and get a run in. The one person who really gets on my nerves in the locker room is going, do I need to go and be aggravated all morning? I should stay here, sleep in a little, go running. Puck handling (off ice) is cancelled because of the trip, so I could have the dry rink to myself. I'm getting pretty good at bouncing the ball on my stick, my high number is 24 right now, I think I could really get going with about 15 more minutes of practice.

Awesome to hit my backhand shot today. I really like that and my snap shot. Snap shot! Yay!

We did a lot of one-on-ones and two-on-ones today in instruction. Hard work, I only got by the defense once and missed the shot on net. I am getting better, but so is everyone else, so I still lag behind.

I think I need a nap. I *know* I need a nap.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Camp is going great so far. I made it through tryouts, no real problems. Well, of course there were problems (namely, crossovers), but I didn't die of humiliation. And I am skating with the the C group (adults), which is good deal for me. Jenna seemed to be so sure I would be bounced back to the beginner group, so I am very pleased to be a better skater than she thought I was.

Already it is all blurred together. Hours on the ice, hours off the ice. I've developed a decent snap shot and also a decent backhand shot. Still have a lame wrist shot, not even working on the slap shot (no point). Doing better on the crossover drill, suck big time on the grapevine. Two good female coaches, players from Dartmouth, they kind of counterbalance the Messier maleness. Scrimmages have been kind of chaotic, same as last year, hard to keep lines together because a different number of people always show up.

It is the same, if I can get through instruction, then I am fine the rest of the day. The schedule this year is much different, we don't finish our scrimmage until 11:45 p.m., makes it difficult to get enough sleep, I'm jazzed when I get off the ice just before midnight. The kids have already been yelled at and are now quiet at night.

My archnemesis went home early, don't know why--family emergency? I have to admit, it will be an easier camp without her scowling at me. Generally the locker room is fun, a couple of personality conflicts, but also a lot of good people. I feel pretty good, pretty optimistic.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Quick notes, paying a loony for 7 minutes of internet access.

We have tryouts tonight at 6:00 p.m., so I'm trying to just relax until then. I'll have a light lunch, then eat after we skate, otherwise I might just be sick.

Jenna and Amy arrived last night about 9:30, but I was already asleep. It was such a long process getting here. I got up at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning (after not sleeping too much, went to bed at 10:00, but the vacuum/nerves combined kept me awake), took a shower, finished packing, limo pick up at 3:30. The trip was smooth until Calgary. Flew the first leg to Denver with Catherine, hard to leave her when the time came, still wish I didn't have to do so, wish she was here. *If* I come back, she has to come back with me. She would love it here, it's so beautiful, it's a shame to be indoors (I'm going right back out as soon as I finish this).

Of course, Denny forgot to tell Ty to pick me up in Calgary yesterday, so there I was, exhausted, in Calgary with no way to get to Banff. Didn't have the phone number for the rink, and was too tired to figure out how to get it (off the internet, for instance, or out of the phone book!) Had to cough up CDN $40 to take a shuttle. The women behind the counter told me they could get me to the ice rink, but the bus driver wouldn't drop me there, so I had to take a cab from the rink. Frustrating, mostly because I was so tired and I think my equipment bag weighs 200 lbs. He was pissed at me, and I was pissed at him. I accidentally clocked him with my stick bag because I didn't realize he was behind me, and he swore at me. Not a lot I could do, and really, his ticket agent shouldn't have misinformed me.

Got to the rink, chatted with Denny (impossible to stay mad at him), settled in, and met a nice woman named Kirsten. She walked into town with me, where I had a sandwich. Spent the rest of the day dozing, trying to avoid L and BBG. Thought I saw JoElla, turns out I did. That is the worst. To make up for having to deal with her, the nice woman (Jodi) from the spaghetti place last year is back, so that's good. It felt more like a family reunion today, so maybe I'm not so nervous. Going to just try and ignore JoElla, hopefully we won't be in the same group. Try to have a good attitude, give up the pride, learn what I can and take it home with me.

Went to bed about 7:00 last night, so exhausted. Got up about 8:00, went for a run on the Fenland Loop. Was completely sucking air, but my time actually improved this morning. I ran 5 K in 40 minutes. That's the best I've done (I know, it's slow for regular runners). Tweaked the problem hip flexor a little, but nothing too major. Trying to stay loose for tryouts tonight.

Went back the rink, showered, met up with Jenna and Amy briefly, then took my book and went and read in a nearby playground. Realized my back hurt, so I walked into town and read at a coffee shop in the mall. Much more comfortable, maybe not as peaceful.

Mosquitoes are awful this year, really awful. Also, it was *hot* yesterday. I packed all these warm clothes since I froze to death last year, and it turns out it is hot. The rink is full of mosquitoes! I'm already tired of being covered in bug spray.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Printing out the instructions for the complete stranger who will be staying in our house while we're gone. Creepy feeling.

So stressed, can't think in complete sentences. Don't think about camp. Don't think. Don't. Leg, quit twitching. Don't.

Auugh! I *swear* it can't be as bad as I'm imagining it will be. Get a grip.

8:58 PM

Didn't have time to read the paper this morning before going to the rink, but I did glance at the headlines. The secondary above-the-fold headline was "City seeks to tap into gay travel market." I had an hour and a half to think about this while driving to the rink.

Why is that "my people" are a legitimate enough group to be considered a target market, but not legitimate enough to be guaranteed basic civil rights? You'll take our money, it spends just like everyone else's, but you'll deny us work, you'll deny us housing, you'll deny us civil marriage rights, and whatever else you think you might be able to get away with. Well, thanks, but no thanks at all. I'm keeping my money.

Not that I should be railing at the City of Bloomington, the city gov't has done a lot for glbt groups. Bloomington in general is a good place to live. But, as I can tell from my work situation, not perfect.

I'm glad I'll be gone next week. I'll miss the acrimonious exchange of pro/anti gay letters in the editorial section. I'll miss whatever protest those whacked out Baptists from out of town decide to hold now that Bloomington is officially a den of iniquity. I'll miss having to listen to everyone tell me what my opinion should be.

So, whatever.

When I was skating this morning, an eight year old boy gave me a "Hey, Baby" as he wobbled by. The cockiness! Cracked me up. I should have told him, "You know, before you start trying to pick up chicks at the rink? You should learn to skate." Usually kids at the rink annoy me, but there was a group from a YMCA day camp there today, and they were just amusing.

Argh. Airport shuttle arrives in 12 hours and I haven't started to pack yet. It's a huge task, too. Something I discovered today: 120 Band-Aids seems like a lot. When you dump them out of their boxes, it makes a big stack, and looks like it should be enough. But if I tape all of my fingers every time I skate next week, I'll need 170. I probably won't start taping until I see blood, that should save me a few Band-Aids.

If I keep typing, maybe 3:15 a.m. will never come and I can just stay home.


Allow my thoughts to wander while I'm waiting for my Clie to hot sync. This could take awhile since I'm copying over music tracks.

This therapy thing is going to have to come to an end. I think therapy is only useful if you *don't* know what's keeping you awake at night. It's not so useful if you *do* know what's keeping you up, but prefer not to talk about it. Better to cut my losses and leave now, I think.

Other things I thought about this morning: Loneliness is endemic to the human condition (thus, the school of existential thought, really). Everybody is lonely at some point, no matter how many people love a person. I think it's pretty easy to exacerbate the situation, though. Meeting new people can be hard just because of practical reasons (most adults rely on co-workers for friendship, and that isn't always a good thing). Or, you can throw up your own stumbling blocks. Diane was telling me about her dad's paranoia and how it dissolved every friendship he made before he died. And then there are people who just have "difficult" personalities, and take too much effort to get to know.

I often think I should hand out a list of instructions/explanations for socializing with me whenever we go to public functions. Something like:

  1. I will be very friendly and outgoing when we first meet. Don't expect it to last. I am just trying to put you at ease so you don't have to deal with some ultra-shy, quiet person at a party.
  2. Expect that the next several times we get together I will be withdrawn and unforthcoming with my opinions. Especially expect it if you're smarter than I am, because I'm not about to say anything you might think sounds stupid. Really expect it if I think I might like you, because I'm not about to reveal anything that would make you not like me before I decide I don't like you.
  3. Expect that I will have my partner talk for me if I can possibly manage it. She's used to it, and your questions will get answered a lot more quickly if you accept that she's going to answer for me.
  4. Be prepared for me to turn into a chatterbox at the drop of a hat. Some mornings I get up and want to talk, talk, talk. I have just as many mornings when I would rather just sit in companionable silence, though. Or, even better, listen to you talk.
  5. Don't get angry when you discover that I actually have a strident, emotional personality. Look, you're the one who wanted to get to know me, and if I finally trust you enough to be myself, you should be flattered, not judgemental.
That, I think, would chase away many, many people. Good thing/bad thing? I don't know. Possibly it would have helped if I'd had BR read this list before she started grilling me last week. But, maybe she would have just taken it as a challenge. A lot of people seemed determined to draw quiet, shy people out of their shells, and let me tell you, that's just plain mean.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

*ahem* Rumour has it that someone will miss my "cute little tush" while I'm gone next week.
10:01 PM

The thing is, one reason we had 3 boxes of books kicking around the office is that we were out of bookshelf space. We have books stacked everywhere. Do I really need to go buy another $100 worth of books? I think not.

While we were waiting for the air conditioner repair man to arrive (he was an hour late!), I cleaned up the office. Good news, I found my favorite drum sticks. Also, re-tacked the IU soccer poster and put up the Louisville hockey poster. Most of the stuff on the walls of our house is nice (framed and all), but in the office, it is a sports free-for-all. I have poster on top of poster for all the IU teams, tons of hockey stuff, trophies/medals, pennants, banners, etc. Not classy, but it's the funnest room in the house.

4:53 PM

Well, last night when I got home, there was a message on the answering machine. I started listening to it: "This is Harry Thompson, from USA Hockey..." and said to Catherine, "Oh, they just want money, and I've already given enough." I walked away and tuned the rest of the message out--until I heard something about "American Hockey Magazine," "your essay," and "finalist." By the time I really started paying attention, I'd missed most of the message, but the gist of it was...

Mr. Thompson wanted me to send him a photograph because they were going to publish an essay I'd submitted in September's issue of the magazine. And this is when I remember, "Oh, my god, I sent in the world's schlockiest essay!" Well, "essay" is being used loosely here, because we were limited to 200 words. But one day last March or April, I dashed off a couple of completely sentimental, completely sappy paragraphs about what I would do if I had the Stanley Cup for a day. It was right after my dad had a heart attack, and I was feeling uncharacteristically weepy. I wrote out my 200 words, put it in an envelope, and mailed it off. What I *should* have done was write it out, dump it in my journal, and keep it to myself. Now the whole hockey world gets to see what a sap I can be.

The only plus is, I'm now only one degree removed from Jack Falla, since he read the ten finalist essays. If you know hockey, you'll know why that's cool.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Oh...and for those 5.3% of the people reading this journal that use Netscape 4? I'm sorry. I just haven't gotten around to fixing the css and fonts for you all. Maybe after camp.
9:54 PM

Wow. We took three small file boxes of books to the local used bookstore, a place that I rarely shop because it is so cluttered I feel as if I am about to be crushed every time I step through the front door. The owner rejected about 1/2 of a box because I have a bad habit of writing in school books (with pencil! It took years to get permission for such atrocious behavior from Catherine). Still, we ended up with $150.00 store credit. We grabbed several Civil War books--what else--to bring home with us, and still have over $100.00 left to spend. I guess I will just have to face the claustrophobia and go shopping.
9:43 PM

If I can make it through this week, I'll only have 2.5 weeks left at this job.

It took me almost 2 hours to straighten out all the file directories on my harddrive and network volume. What else am I going to do for the next 2.5 weeks?

3:00 PM

I have to say, I love the way Francis Strand uses the word "homosexualist" in his writing.
2:08 PM

Here's the thing--would it be so difficult for the gay and lesbian media to produce web pages that I can look at in the office? It's perfectly okay for me to browse the web when I'm on the desk, waiting for patrons to arrive, and I'd like to read the news. But I can't read any of the glbt-specific news sites because they are *always* splashed with half-naked men. It would be completely inappropriate for me to sit here and read a hetsex publication that had half-naked women all over it, and by golly, serious news websites (generally) don't pad the site with seductive, tight, young men or women. I'm all for sex, believe me, and I'm all for free expression of one's sexuality, and I'm all for reading the news and being sexual simultaneously if that's what you want to do. It doesn't work for me, though. If you think the content on your website is so important I should read it, package it in a way that is suitable for public consumption.

I know this is an old complaint without an easy solution. I remember when The Advocate started styling itself as a news magazine instead of sex magazine. I remember the hue and cry, and generally agreed with those protesting that the magazine was trying to suppress glbt sexuality in order to produce a more hetsex palatable publication. But you know, that was years and years ago, and really, publishers should have found a solution by now. Why does a news magazine have to be a sex magazine as well? Because the market won't support two separate magazines? Probably the news magazine would go under and people would keep buying the hot young men, I don't know.

So, maybe sex sells (yeah, yeah, don't make me trot out the feminist discourse on this one), but it doesn't sell to me, and it's not because I'm a prude. I want my serious sites/publications to be serious, and my sex sites/publications to be sexy. I don't want to combine them. I want to be kept up-to-date on the happenings in the glbt "community," but I have to say, if I can't read these sites when I have a lot of spare time on my hands (ie., at work), I won't read them at all.

8:37 AM

Far be it from me to criticize other people's life choices, but....geez. Jenna re-concussed herself last week, doing a knee-touch drill on the ice. I don't even understand what she was doing on the ice, she shouldn't have been skating. If that non-contact drill jarred her brain, she should take that as a sign to STAY OFF THE ICE. I don't know what the hell is going to happen at camp next week. I can't believe Amy is letting her go. Catherine would tie me to a post in the backyard before she'd let me deliberately re-injure myself like that.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002





2:31 PM

So...recently I submitted a couple of stories to a lesbian fiction website, I can't exactly remember why I thought it was a good idea. I don't think the site gets much traffic, so it didn't feel like much of a risk. Anyway. The site managers were having problems with one of my files, it kept coming up corrupted every time I mailed it to them. I sent a new copy on Sunday, and didn't hear back from them, so I supposed it was okay. This morning I went to the site just to check and see if it was linked/posted, if not, I would re-submit the file. Well, it is posted, and that's fine, but I also discovered that the story was prefaced with the following warning:

This Story is rated 'Adults Only' for its sexual content. CAUTION: This Story contains graphic depictions of violence, abuse, and of rape.

That upsets me, and I can't even articulate why (it's not just the bad grammar!). It made me wince when I read it, and it made me feel like there was something wrong with what I'd written, that people needed to be warned away from it. I don't think there is anything wrong with the subject matter (I also think "graphic" is overstating things a bit, as is the "adults only" tag, but that's another journal entry, some other time). It made me wonder, if 100 women clicked on this link, how many of those 100 would feel comfortable reading the story after see that lead-in line? It's a poorly written story, it needs work, but...I wrote it because I thought the topic was important.

Lesbians don't talk about woman-on-woman violence. They pretend it doesn't happen. There's no support system for a lesbian in an abusive relationship. Shelters are for women fleeing men, not women fleeing women. Partly this is a side-effect of feminism: we're all supposed to be focusing on the accomplishments of women, the potential of women, the oppression of women [by men]. It's difficult to do all that and then turn around and say, "Well, yeah, women beat other women, too." People like to blame violence on the patriarchy, and maybe there's something to that, maybe women learn how to be violent from men, but wherever its origins, it's always been a part of my "community" and maybe always will be.

I don't write much anymore, and when I do write, it's pretty stream of consciousness kind of writing, not a lot of determined thinking goes into it. But I can say one thing about my writing--and this goes for academic writing as well as fiction--it's *supposed* to make you uncomfortable. If you're not at least a little unsettled after reading something I've written, either you're not paying attention, or I'm not doing my job very well. It's depressing that people need to be warned away from confronting scary topics, it's depressing the things we don't want to face.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Ice, ice, baby.

5 days.

And I remember what it was now. A Reba concert.

8:27 PM

Damn. I try to do a good thing, and I fuck it up. I honestly, honestly, honestly didn't mean to. I wasn't trying to be insensitive, I wasn't trying to be thoughtless, I was trying to be *nice*. Damn it all, anyway. I give up. If it had been any other co-worker, it just wouldn't have mattered. But since it was her, it was a complete fuck up.
12:05 PM

Well, good for the Foreign Office.
9:43 AM

I've mentioned Rob's page before, but I just want to emphasize how brilliant I think he is. Everytime I see a "Work At Home" sign, I want to dash home and send Rob another ten-spot. I wish I had the tenacity/creativity to complete his Work At Home research. That guy is my idol.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Oh, yeah...I'm supposed to write in here that I had a really good birthday a couple of years ago, proving that not all of them have been lackluster events...but now I can't remember what we did for it. As soon as I remember, I'll write it down. It was good, that's all I can say.
9:34 PM

What I freaking hate about Blogger is its archiving function. It *never* works out of the box. I am so sick of fighting with it. Every time I change a template, it takes two weeks to get the archives working. I've never been able to make the hockey journal archive work. Freaking Blogger. I definitely see why everyone is moving to Moveable Type. Why should I pay for Blogger Pro when I can't even make the freaking freeware work?

Oh, in other news, now that I've gotten a little sleep, I finally see where the magenta on my web page is coming from. I can be SUCH. AN. IDIOT. sometimes.

9:13 PM

A very cool Google "mirror."
7:06 PM

Good article on problematic patriotism by Paula Martinac.

I hate the word "tolerance." I refuse to be happy with a society that merely "tolerates" my presence. I want acceptance, nothing more, nothing less.

Otherwise, Tolerance.org, a web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a good one. Particularly enlightening (for me, anyway) is their section Dig Deeper: Test Yourself for Hidden Bias. It's always good to remind myself of my own frailties.

3:16 PM

Having re-read my last post, let me just say that I am not *totally* unsympathetic to neo-Confederate philosophy. I actually have a great sympathy for antebellum Virginians (and others I don't know so much about), having to decide in the early 1860s whether to fight for the Old Dominion, or fight for the Union, and today's Virginian culture that grew out of that decision. It's a complicated issue, and it wrenches my gut sometimes when I have to come down on one side or the other, even when talking about current issues in the southern states. And, anyway, a lot of neo-Confederate thought is more about being a Republican (ooOOooo--scary, the party of Lincoln!) than about being a rebel, and just because I'm not a Republican doesn't mean they're all wrong.

That being said, I *do* find (overt and/or elided) racism problematic, to say the least. I am always taken aback by how ingrained it is in some southerners (and probably some northerners that just don't happen to work in my office, since that's generally my social set). It's as if they don't see any problem saying, "blacks do *this*," or "blacks do *that*," as if you could make such a statement about all African-Americans everywhere. All these sweeping generalizations are such a regular part of their discourse that they don't even recognize that visitors are all but recoiling from shock at the end of a conversation. Or...maybe they do recognize it, and figure, "Well, who cares what Yankees and carpetbaggers think, anyway?"

2:28 PM

Yesterday I discovered that you can drive from Sharpsburg, Maryland to Bloomington, Indiana in fewer than eleven hours. You could probably do it in less if the Pennsylvania Turnpike didn't have a double nickel limit. I think that's the quickest I've ever made that drive--I'm usually pretty much a speed limit driver, and really, I wasn't blazing down the freeway yesterday (I don't think!), but was going faster than I usually do. Catherine told me I was in a zone ("it was a beautiful thing to watch"), but I had to break the news to her that what she thought was a zone was merely an intense desire to climb into my own bed before falling asleep (not that that prevented me from taking a cat nap behind the wheel every now and then).

We almost managed to hold true to our decision not to eat at any national chain restaurants. We decided to do this because...hmm...how does that song go? Oh, yeah...because Corporate America Bites My Ass (This is Not a Punk Song). We had to cave and eat at an Applebee's on July 4. Otherwise, we did pretty good, and (re)discovered some new favorite restaurants.

Anyway, we finished up our Civil "Wargasm" (as Tony Horwitz would call it) at Antietam/Sharpburg yesterday. I forgot to take my laptop, and Catherine forgot to take the road journal, so I don't have a minute by minute account to cut and paste into my journal. As soon as I sort through the photos, I'm going to post a website chronicling our first, second and third Civil War campaigns, but that probably won't be until after camp (7 days!). A quick overview: we started in Lynchburg (Ft. Early), went to Appomattox Station/Appomattox Court House, then followed Lee's Retreat in reverse through Sayler's Creek and by Amelia Court House. Ended up in Richmond where we took a side trip to Monticello (he was a slave owner, after all), then finished up with the Richmond sites we missed last time (Chickahominy Bluffs, Gaines Mill, Cold Harbor, Drewry's Bluff). We visited Shirley Plantation on our way to Petersburg, then spent a good long time doing City Point, the Petersburg battlefield and the siege line/Five Forks. Then it was north to Fredicksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, and the Wilderness. Did a drive by of Manassas (we'll have to go back to do 1st and 2nd Manassas justice), then ended up with Harper's Ferry and Antietam. Sort of a reverse tour through the war.

A lot people might wonder what prompted us to do the Eastern Theater of the Civil War for a vacation. Typically, people said, "Oh, neat!" when I told them what we were going to be doing, then tipped their heads as if thinking hard, and I could tell they wanted to follow up their initial response with, "but why?" I haven't always been interested in the Civil War--being from the Pacific Northwest, it was difficult to really get a sense of its importance, or even a sense that it ever really happened, it's just too removed from "the frontier." It's also really a guy thing (I have more to say on that later), and I guess partly that's how I got into it, hanging around with so many guys because of my career choices. It's always amazed me how men have a sort of instinctive knowledge about the Civil War. On our first Civil War trip, we stopped at Gettysburg mostly because it was there, it was historical, and seemed like the right thing to do, and partly because a co-worker had loaned me a book about the battle that I really liked. One day in Gettysburg, and we were both hooked, though.

Why have I become a Civil War freak? We first drove around Gettysburg on a warm, June evening, and really had a lot of the battlefield to ourselves. We stopped at the Union lines on Cemetary Ridge and looked over toward the Confederate lines on Seminary Ridge and saw a path leading across the open space between. We decided to walk from one ridge to the other, doing Pickett's Charge in reverse. It wasn't clear if we were actually supposed to do this--the grass was mowed, and there were no "keep out" signs, but there also weren't any signs saying, "walk the historic Pickett's Charge," so I was a little afraid some park ranger would come throw us out. Anyway, we started trudging across the field. About halfway across, I stopped and looked back at Cemetary Ridge (still nervous and anxious about getting caught) to where some other tourists were standing, and just got the chills. We were completely exposed, if one of those people had taken it into their heads to shoot us, they could have without problem.

And so I stood there for a bit, and looked both directions, and thought, "No fucking way would I ever charge up this hill into Union artillery and rifle fire. No fucking way could I step out into a certain death." It creeped me out, it really did. There's no way those Confederate troops didn't know they were about to die. You just can't stand on Seminary Ridge (or anywhere between there and Cemetary Ridge) and not know what a freaking stupid idea it would be to charge up the hill, especially after two years of the war. It's simply not possible.

So, what I want to know is--what in the hell possesses a boy to do it? You can't give me some story about states' rights or the defense of the institution of slavery, because a nineteen year old farm boy with no formal education is not going to be giving himself a pep talk based on political or moral philosophy before arriving at his death. There are many principles I feel strongly about, but I'm not sure I would ever be able to pick up a weapon and fight for them (I'm more likely to argue for them or flee for them, not kill for them). I cannot imagine myself pinning my name to the collar of my jacket so my family has a chance of identifying my body after I take five bullets during a futile charge at an enemy. It just won't happen.

Thus, my interest in the Civil War can be traced directly to a bone chill.

This trip was great, as much for what we learned about the war as for what we learned about neo-Confederate thought. I really can't add anything to Tony Horwitz's disseration on neo-Confederate philosophy (his Confederates in the Attic is a must read, even if you don't care about the Civil War), so I don't see any point in writing down a lot of what I was thinking about this past week. I have some reactions to his book I want to write out later (more on the "guy thing" of the Civil War), but I don't have them straight in my head yet.

We stayed two nights in Petersburg, an impoverished suburb of Richmond. Petersburg is our favorite battlefield, I think, especially the siege line. But mostly what struck us about Petersburg was its poverty and unofficial segregation. Our friend, BR, definitely a member of the Old South, claims Petersburg went to hell when the blacks moved in (she said this to Catherine, it's just as well I was out running during this conversation). Well, the real story is--Petersburg was integrated in 1970. When African-American families started to buy homes in the central area, whites moved out, yanking out all their money and business and taking it to Colonial Heights. Then they turned around and said, "See? Look how poorly the blacks are doing, look what they've done to Petersburg." And that pretty much summarizes the most benign form of neo-Confederate thought (at its worst, it leads you directly back to the Klan). There are a lot of things about the South that really, really bug me.

Sometimes, we'd be going through a battlefield, and I'd find myself rooting for the South in a particular skirmish, feeling like they'd run into a bad bit of luck, then I'd read or hear something completely racist, and I'd think, "Damn Doris Day! I *hate* the South!" It was an intellectually challenging trip, sorting through the monuments, trying to figure out what they were *really* saying (I hope my photo of the Harper's Ferry monument turns out, there's a dissertation to be written about that one). We had so many great conversations about what the war meant then, what it means now...

We really want to do the western theater of the Civil War, for some reason I've always been drawn to Shiloh. We were discussing in the car last night, coming up with ways to do it in a rental car so we didn't have to drive through the South with Yankee plates...is that whacked out or what? But, the Civil War is still going on on various levels. Yesterday at Burnside Bridge (Antietam), we heard a southerner call Harper's Weekly a "Yankee magazine," and he meant it exactly how it sounded, derisively. I've never thought of myself as much a Yankee--I'm from Washington, after all--but after visiting New Orleans, then going back to the South again and again, I've come to really identify as a Yankee (which is not to say that I identify as a Unionist, though). Catherine is really stressed about spending time in the western theater--she had a nightmare last night in which we were chased by a sheriff in Mississippi, and when he caught up to the car, he pulled the door open and grabbed her. She woke up just as he was going to break her arm. So, spending so much time with the Confederacy has made her somewhat anxious, I would say.

It was sad having to leave Catherine at home this morning to come into the office--a little like separating conjoined twins, I guess, since we spent that last nine days together, 24/7. I guess that's a sign of a good marriage, when you can spend so much time together and still like each other enough to want to do it all over again.