Monday, September 30, 2002

Youch, I hit post/publish and simultaneously received an e-mail from her. I wonder if her ears were burning.
9:21 PM

I'm kind of...not wanting to go out to lunch on Wednesday. Because I know she's going to tell me how much better he will be at my old job than I was, and I'm going to have to sit there and pretend not to be annoyed. I will have to listen to one of three formulations, if not all:

"He'll do a better job because he's got more computer skills." Well, fuck that noise. He's using the books *I* discarded to do tech support in his current position. There is no way he knows more about computer systems than I do, there just isn't. I wrote my first computer program 22 years ago, he just started learning about computer systems last year.

"He'll be better because he's more proactive and will seek out new tasks." Well, fuck that noise as well. I was the most proactive person around for the first 1.5 years. I looked around, some something that could be improved, and did it. Designed databases, bought new equipment, took on new responsibilities. I asked and asked and asked my boss to redefine my position because I was running out of work, to no avail.

"He'll be better because he's more suited to working with people." Okay, this would be a fair enough complaint if I didn't bend over backwards to get along with everyone on a professional level. Hell, I even had the occasional conversation with Charlie! What more could anyone ask from me? I challenge her to find one person (besides Problem Co-worker A) with whom I wasn't friendly, polite or helpful. There ain't none. More suited to working with people? He blushes if you say his name. He makes my social anxieties look minor. He breaks out in a rash if you say Happy Birthday to him, seriously.

And it's completely stupid to get angry over it, because I am SO GLAD to be out of that job, and I don't wish my predecessor ill, nor think that I'm irreplacable. But on the other hand, I shouldn't have to listen to a friend tell me why her boyfriend is more suited to a job I did better than anyone else who'd ever held it to date.

9:20 PM

I've been carrying around the faculty newsletter all day simply because it makes me laugh. Today's helpful teaching hint comes under the heading, "Advice from the Ancient Texts--The Bhagavad Gita." Here's what I need to think about in order to get through my teaching day:

You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive for working. Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender.

I didn't understand the Bhagavad Gita in grad school, and I don't get it now.

Three more descriptive geometry problems, and I can go to bed.

Another mile a minute weekend. Well, it would have been nice to run a mile a minute, but it took considerly longer on Saturday.

I know I've run a faster 5K, but practice on Friday left my legs a little empty. Overall, it was really hard work, the entire second mile was uphill, and about half the rest of the race was, too, not exactly ideal for recovering from on-ice sprints. Somewhere between the one and two mile mark I noticed Yolanda running near me. I used her to pace myself, and we ran a pretty good race together, but she kicked my butt at the finish. I don't know where she found the energy. So, that's kind of humbling, getting out-kicked by a cancer survivor. I started to keep up with her, but after about three paces, I thought, "Look, you haven't thrown up yet, do you really want to do it right at the finish?"

And actually, we both got beat by a guy running in a walking cast. How much does that suck?

I felt like I worked hard and really pushed it, but my time didn't really reflect that. I don't know what my official time is, probably at least 1:00 above the time I tracked, because it took me awhile to get to the start line after the timer started. Then at least another minute was full of trying to dodge around the walkers. I don't know why they let the walkers and runners out at the same time. Next time (next Saturday!) I'll start closer to the front of the pack.

Sometime around the two-mile mark, I was thinking, "No fucking way am I doing this next weekend," but I guess I've changed my mind.

Saturday afternoon Catherine helped me take some more measurements, and I've been chained to the computer ever since. I should have charged more--not much more, but more--because the second floor of one of the houses was really, really strange. The drawings aren't as clean as I would have liked them, but I only had a couple of hours Friday to do the measurements. I tried to get ahold of the realtor over the weekend to see if he'd let me back inside, but no dice. So, Steve is just going to have to make do. I'd be willing to continue to refine them over the next couple of weeks, free of charge, but I don't think he should be too upset since I had essentially 3 days to do a 3-week job. Deadline is noon tomorrow, and I can't do anything else until I plot them. Can't plot them until tomorrow because my printer won't handle that size paper. So, I just get to lay awake and worry about them all night instead.

But, I'm kind of impressed with myself. In 24 hours I've produced three floor plans, two front elevations, and a site plan. That's a lot of work in not a lot of time.

I think I wouldn't mind doing measured drawings for a living, but I would put some sort of clause in my contract for each job that said the occupants of the home cannot be home when I need to measure, nor can the realtor stand by and chat with me. It's torture for an excessively shy person to try and work while at the same time trying to deal with strangers. I had to change my clothes after I finished measuring Friday morning, I was drenched with panicky sweat. Maybe I can work with a team next summer and make my team members do all the talking.

Sucks that it was beautiful fall weather today and I was inside working!

Sunday, September 29, 2002

The "before" picture. I'm not showing the "after" picture.

Hoosiers Outrun Cancer September 2002

Friday, September 27, 2002

This is really interesting. I used to think every woman I knew had endometriosis, then I realized, no, it was just every woman in my family: my mom, her two sisters, all their first cousins, my sister, me. My aunt recently developed lupus, and my mom has scleroderma, both one of those "uh...yeah, I don't know how you got it" diseases. The older I get, the more allergies I develop. It seems rather coincidental, if you ask me, but I'm glad someone out there is doing research on this.

True story: when I was a sophomore in college, I was in so much pain during my cycle that I passed out in the shower of my dormitory. When I came to, I managed to get back in my bed, at which point my roommate went and got a friend and they took me to the emergency because I was basically incoherent. The doctor on call told me he could give something for the pain, but he hesitated to do so because I would become mentally dependent on it and would come running to the emergency room every time I had cramps. Lucky for him I was too sick to get up and kick him where it matters. He left me there in the examining room and never did anything for me. Eventually my friend came looking for me and took me home where I collapsed and stayed in bed for the next two days. That may have been the moment I became an ardent feminist.

10:34 PM

Wow double wow. I finally drove through Martinsville this evening. It looks like a bomb went off. A really, really big bomb. First it was just a few trees, then all the trees, then all the trees and all the buildings, and then it was just wasteland. At first I was pointing things out to Matty, "My god, there was a *huge* warehouse there, and it's gone. Oh, that was my favorite farm house, it used to have a barn, but I guess that's gone. Oh, wow, I've never even seen those houses before, there used to be a forest between them and the highway, and now they're gone, too. " And Matty was commenting back to me, "Look at that!" But then it seemed like all the words ran out and we just drove along in complete silence. It really was stunning. Just devastation. I really can't describe it, it was the type of awesome that makes you want to throw up.

So, I think it will work out to have Matty drive to practice with me. At first I wasn't sure, I tried to sound her out on a couple of things and she wouldn't commit. She's from North Dakota, and she mentioned UND's hockey program, so I said something vague about reading about their new rink, and she said yeah, it was big and fancy, and sounded a little positive about it, which made me doubt that I would get along with her. She didn't mention the controversy at all, so I wasn't sure how she felt.

So, we went to practice, and then afterward, I asked her a couple of leading questions and it turns out she feels the exact same way I do about the Fighting Sioux mascot (I should have come right out and asked her, but I'm a coward!). I thought for a second I was in trouble, she started out her sentence saying, "It's just a name," and I thought she would finish it by saying "so I don't see what everyone is so upset about," but she ended up saying, "so I don't see why they just can't do the right thing and change it." She is apparently from the area of the Spirit Lake Nation and has talked to some Dakota people who don't care about the name. She personally thinks that if it may hurt someone, it should go. And then she went on to talk about why she thinks that the free education Native Americans get at UND is equitable, that she didn't used to, but her mom talked to her about all the ways we oppress Native Americans, and doesn't she think it's time we started turning that around, etc., and she thought about it and agrees. Anyway, we had quite a talk about it, it turns out her mother did a study on retention rates for Dakota students in the K-12 system so she had a lot of interesting information.

And from there we went on to how stupid Bush is, she also voted Green Party (and used the same justification I did), we talked about the Gulf War, and what kind of issue would have to be at stake before we personally would pick up weapons (I quote, "If I had to protect someone I love, that would be one thing, but I'm not going to go to war just so someone can drive an SUV across America"), and just as we got back to her place, we hit on September 11, and had similar opinions.

As it turns out, Catherine was right and I was wrong. I discovered that politics mean a lot to me--if you have similar political ideas, I'll probably make you my friend. It doesn't matter if you're a Christian, or if you're an omnivore, or if you like to shop for shoes--I can overlook all of those if you think Bush is stupid. Well, and it helps if you like sports. That doesn't seem like too much to ask from a person.

9:57 PM

My god, my hand hurts. Clutching a pencil all day is exactly *not* what the doctor ordered. I think I got the interior measurements done. Well, I can already tell I missed a few, but I think I can make it work. It was the exam that really killed my hand. Two hours of scrawling. An hour and a half into it, I was like, "Fuck this, who cares about Kant's categorical imperative, anyway? Only, like, two people I know even know what it is, so why the hell am I doing this?" So I spent the last half hour writing impressions on consequentialist theories of philosophy rather than a full-fledged essay because I was just sick of writing about it.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I might moan about it, but running really is good for me. It's helping me build strength in my legs (good for those on-ice sprints) and helping lose some unnecessary weight. Mostly what's good about it, though, is that it's the perfect workout for a loner. I don't have to talk to anybody except to say, "Hey," to people going the opposite way on the rail-to-trail. Catherine and I run at different paces, so I don't even really chat with her.

This evening I did a quick run at Thomson Park. I love that place, no one ever uses it so it is like our own private park: our own bball hoops, our own tennis courts, our own .62 mile running track. Never anyone around, so it's always peaceful. I can run and watch the seasons change and never have to say "hey" to anyone on the trail.

On the other hand, it can get kind of creepy being out there by myself, especially now that it's started to get dark earlier. Well, I know a lot of it is just that I've had Jill on the brain for awhile now, and it makes me jumpy, but I don't like running through the woods up the quarry slope. The woods by the tennis courts aren't too scary, but the ones on the other side of the park seem more remote.

I have to go through a low income development to get to the park. I mean, it's not like I live in the projects or anything, but it is a low income development zone--to buy a house there your income can't exceed whatever the current maximum is designated by federal guidelines. They're really small, rectangular houses, very plain, they don't even come with porches. If you want a porch, you have to pour a slab-on-grade after you buy the house.

Anyway, most of them are kept pretty nice, and it seems like a nice place to live. A lot of families. But I'll tell you, I seem to live in the land of domestic violence. The last two times I've gone over to Thomson Park, I've had to pretend not to see two different fights. The first one seemed to involve a lot of people, but I didn't hang around to get the details. Tonight's ended with someone (the husband/boyfriend? I didn't turn my head) came out of the house and squealed out of the driveway in a car, with the woman yelling, "You'd better come back, and when you come back, you're gonna have to deal with me!"

The difference between living here and living on the east side is that people on the east side hide this kind of thing better. They have bigger houses so when they storm away from their spouse, it just means going to the family room. And the walls are probably framed with 2x6s so they're a little more soundproof. And people living in Hyde Park undoubtedly do not have the economic stresses in their lives that my neighbors do.

8:48 PM

You know you live in a bad neighborhood when the City sends you a letter saying that they are going to start offering scholarships to residents of underdeveloped neighborhoods, and would we be interested in a program that provided funds to attend career development-type classes? Thanks, I'm already over-educated. The two neighborhoods mentioned in the letter are the one from which we moved, and the one in which we live now.
8:25 PM

I obviously have serious issues.

I agreed to give a teammate a ride to practice on Friday, one of the women who just joined the team. She just e-mailed me and wrote:

"Thank you so much, I look forward to not only hockey but getting to know my teammates better (you)."

Which was a perfectly nice thing to say, but my first reaction was, "Whoa! Back off there, partner! What makes you think you're going to get to know me better?!"

I *am* a misanthrope.

The next time I bitch about not having anything in common with anyone around me, someone should hit me on the head with a brick and make me re-read this.

Addendum: Ha! Catherine read this and laughed. "Even that's too touchy-feely for you, huh? Well, I'm glad you like *me*. How did I get so lucky?"

2:48 PM

I have nothing useful to say.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Lucy looks really awful. We need to make a decision. Do we put her through the pain of a bone biopsy, or not? If we do the biopsy, and she does have a tumor, there's no treatment, we just need to decide when to let her go. If we do the biopsy and it's not a tumor, we yank all her teeth, but she may recover or she may not. The antibiotics did seem to help a little, but her head is all swollen on one side and she can't breathe very easily. We want to do everything we can for her, on the other hand, I hate to make her suffer through a bone biopsy if it's not going to get her anywhere in the end.

I am so not getting any more pets.

10:21 PM

Explain me this: why does the campus bookstore sell soldering irons, but not graph paper?
3:37 PM

Oh, and someone bid on the job and sent a quotation of $1600! What a rip off! If it takes me more than four hours to do the interior measurements, that means I'm being inefficient and/or incompetent, and I would never consider charging for that.

What Steve doesn't know is that I would have done the job for free just to have another project in my portfolio. I thought I was overcharging at $400, maybe I need to start charging $100/hour or something.

1:05 PM

Paper cut season has begun. Youch.

Well, I got the job, which means I'm going to be stressed for the next five days. Mmm...really just stressed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I can't get in to measure the houses until Friday a.m., so there's no point in worrying about it until then. Then I've got an exam to take Friday afternoon, then I have to pick up the registration papers for Saturday's run, pick up Matty, and race to practice. Then the run Saturday morning, and then I can do the exterior and site measurements Saturday afternoon. Then Saturday evening and Sunday I'll knock out the drawings and have them done by Monday a.m.

Which begs the question--exactly when am I going to prep for next week's classes, if I have practice this evening? Thursday evening, I guess. Thursday morning I must finish correcting all this homework before I collapse under the increasing weight of my briefcase. I just worked for two hours correcting, and I'm only about 1/2 way through this week's stack.

1:02 PM

Well, I spoke too soon. Or, I thought about speaking too soon. I meant to note down yesterday that I was all but recovered from poison ivy, in that I hadn't had to get up during the night and re-dose on benadryl the night before, but alas, I was up at 3:30 this morning fumbling around for my drugs. I wouldn't care so much, but it is impossible to get back to sleep after I wake up. Insomnia is insidious--you lay awake and think all these thoughts, and then when you get up in the morning, you realize you were completely wasting your time because you were far from lucid. Last night I spent a few hours alternately trying to come up with a solution to a 3D drafting problem (never figured it out) and writing e-mails in my head. I had a couple of things to say to a couple different friends, and I thought I had it all worked out, but after I cleared my head with a shower this morning, it was apparent that if I'd sent those e-mails, everyone involved--including myself--would think I was insane.

I saw two sun dogs this morning--autumn has officially arrived.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I actually made dinner this evening. It wasn't much, but it did involve chopping fresh vegetables, so that should further my cause in the Be A Better Spouse contest. And I put the groceries away. And I'm going to do the dishes after I finish typing this.

A parting thought on Jonestown. I was 11 years old, in the sixth grade. We studied Jonestown in our block class (kind of like a homeroom class). We also studied the pope getting elected, dying, and a new pope getting elected (smoke through a chimney, wow). We did not, however, study the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, which happened at right around the same time. Because, you know, mass murder and religion are perfectly acceptable parts of a public school curriculum, but hate crimes and queers...can't talk about any of those. That's 'cause everyone was running scared in front of the Briggs Initiative.

Speaking of Harvey Milk and Jim Jones, this is one heck of a primary source. That brass check web site is an odd one--part conspiracy theory, part progressive, part free speech agitation, part inciteful, part whack. How anybody can swing between talking about Jim Jones and a Critical Mass ride in a single breath is beyond me.

9:07 PM

That's not hockey!
2:12 PM

And probably when you're already angry and depressed, you shouldn't read old accounts of Jonestown on your lunch hour.

I swear to god someday I'm going to make good on my threat to burn all my worldly possessions and move out into the wilderness and never talk to any humans ever again.

12:50 PM


Monday, September 23, 2002

A bit of dilemma in class today, and maybe I made the wrong choice.

I have a video on framing that I wanted my students to watch. It's actually a good video, and shows them a lot of things I can't show them in class (would that I could frame an entire house in room C123, but that's not going to happen). I was particularly interested in the floor and wall framing parts, showing the sill sealer, the jack studs, the headers and trimmers at the windows. It was a good way for them to spend 45 minutes, especially right after I lecture on platform framing and floor joists.


The video has two co-hosts, a man and woman. I think they used to have a show on cable. The thing is, the information in the video is good, but the woman is an absolutely incompetent carpenter. Everytime I watch the video, I am newly afraid she's going to bash her hand with a hammer or nail her foot to the floor with the power-actuated nail driver. So, I needed to make a decision--show them a video with basically good information but a basically incompetent woman, or try to come up with some other way to deliver the same information in as efficient a manner.

Well, I showed the video, and instantly everyone began laughing at the woman. The thing is, it was funny. The guy would place a piece of sheathing, and she would pull it down and align it with the bottom of the wall. While he was talking, he'd ease it back to where he wanted it, and she would pull it back down. After they did this three times, he finally said, "Robin, don't we want to align this with the top of the wall?" And she thought it about for a couple of seconds, and said, "Oh, yeah, that's what we were going to do." It cracks me up when I'm by myself, but do I really want all my (mostly male) students see this woman make mistake after mistake? And every time they showed her pounding a nail, three out of four blows missed the nail head. I can't keep from laughing at her, but I could hear the guys in the class joking sotto voice about how "she hammers like a girl!" and I knew I had made a mistake.

I probably set feminism back 40 years. But at least my students now know what jack stud and king studs are. There's some masculine framing language for you.

8:53 PM

Tell me something that my friends of color haven't already told me.
6:16 PM

So, the big topic of discussion today is, of course, the tornado. A 150-mile path cut by one F-3 tornado. This is how much my life has changed since leaving the west coast-I actually know what the Fujita scale is. I shouldn't have to worry about tornadoes when it's not even tornado season, and if you don't when tornado season is, you don't live in the Midwest! Sometimes I really just want to go back to some place where the weather is not quite so insane.

Most of my students are from out in the county, or Martinsville, or Ellettsville. These are the students that go to a tech college--they're Hoosiers born and bred, and live in the working class areas or out in the rural areas. So, most of my students have interesting tornado stories to tell, since this storm system seemed to have some sense of class structure when it went through Morgan and Monroe counties. I don't know if it's true or not, but the word always is, tornadoes like the perimeters of settled areas, and flat areas, which is why Bloomington usually squeaks by without too much damage. What that means is the tornadoes hit the trailer parks on the edge of town, and the flat areas where the farmers and poor people live.

B. came in around 5:00 to drop off his homework, and I asked him how bad his sister's apartment was. It's gone, he says. But she wasn't hurt? "She was home sleeping, because she works out at Cook? she's on that new 9-hour schedule so she was home trying to get some sleep? and her husband called up and told her to go the bank because he needed some money. She said she didn't want to because it was getting pretty bad out, but he said, "What are you, chicken?" so she went, which turned out to be a good thing because there's a tree where her apartment used to be. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff we dug out. We dug out a garage door opener? You know, the motor and drive chain and track? Buried in her living room." He said there are three apartments left in the building (across from the high school), but none of them are habitable.

M. lives between K-Mart and Walmart in Martinsville, the hardest hit area. His house is fine but none of the houses across the street are there anymore. That new warehouse out on 37? It's gone. That model home? It's still there, but it's displaced off the foundation about three feet. In a sick sort of way, I'm looking forward to driving to practice on Wednesday because my route follows exactly the tornado's path. I've seen plenty of pictures, but I'd like to go look at K-Mart, McDonald's, the Hill View Motel, Galyan's, etc., myself.

I am still amazed that no one got killed. It wasn't just that the wind sheared off telephone poles and trees, it sheared off cell phone towers. It brought down one of those grey electric pylon giants that march through clear cut land. How do you knock one of those over? It seems impossible.

Garry of Garry's Marathon was apparently the most serious injury, and that's bad enough. A wall fell on him. Still, as Catherine points out, its comforting to know an entire building can fall on you and you still might make it out alive.

5:57 PM

No internet access at work due to storm damage. One of my students didn't show up this morning, but left a message saying he was still out picking up his sister's stuff because her apartment was destroyed on Friday. In Ellettsville alone, 28 houses destroyed, 39 more uninhabitable, 101 with minor damage. Apparently they're still counting in Martinsville, Greewood, Homecroft, Indy, etc.
11:52 AM

Well, I won't be upset if I don't get the job, but it does seem kind of silly to call me up and tell me my bid was too *low*. Jesus, try to give a non-profit a break and look what it gets me. I'm sorry, but there's no way on earth that it should take more than an hour or two to knock out a floor plan, site plan and elevation. Anyone who is charging you for more is ripping you off.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

This is what else I'm talking about tonight:

I never read the Smithsonian, even though my in-laws buy us a subscription for Christmas every year. I started flipping through this month's issue, though, searching for the article on "The Oldest City in the Americas." I never made it there, because I got sidetracked reading "Latino Legacies."

Okay, I get that the Institution is trying to do the right thing and be more inclusive, so I guess I shouldn't bitch at them. But, three sentences into the article, I was already shaking my head.

"Too often we forget: the history of the United States may date formally from 1776, but the history of America was already centuries old by then. There was a Hispanic presence on the continent for more than 200 years before 13 colonies on the eastern coast declared their independence from England. Indeed, the Spaniards wasted little time in colonizing the new territories Columbus revealed with his voyages. They had already claimed portions of Central and South America when, in 1565, they established St. Augustine, Florida, the first permanent settlement in territory that would one day be part of the United States."

I kept reading, thinking surely the author would eventually get around to saying something about the indigenous people, but it never happened. So, according to the Smithsonian, history began when Europeans colonized the Americas. That is so fucked. Didn't this guy have to read Bartolome de las Casas in college? My freshman history students weren't that clueless.

An unrelated observation: I just finished reading an article on John C. Calhoun ("He Started the Civil War" was the subtitle). The more I read about the Civil War, the more insight I gain into contemporary politics. It's kind of interesting that most Americans know less about the Civil War than they do about...well, Americans don't know much about anything in history, but that's not the point. The point is, none of us know anything about the Civil War, but it's not all that difficult to draw a direct path from the war through Reconstruction into the 20th c. and up to today.

The debate between state's rights v. federal power resonates today. I'm generally a federalist, but every once in awhile, I hear myself saying things that make me sound like a Republican agitating for state's rights. Then this evening I read Calhoun's arguments for "state interposition," and it makes me a little uneasy. Jefferson and Madison wrote up the first argument for state interposition to protest something or other they didn't like, basing their argument on the social contract theory of Hobbes and Locke (which, generally speaking, I don't have too much of a problem with). But the basic argument was that "because representatives of the States had written the constitution, the power of constitutional interpretation rested with the states. So if a state believed the federal gov't was violating the terms of the national charter, it had the right to interpose itself between its people and the federal gov't to provide protection from tyranny."

The article goes on to summarize Calhoun's interpretation of Jefferson and Madison. He claims that "the Constitution of the United States is, in fact, a compact, to which each State is a party...[since] the States...formed the compact, acting as Sovereign and independent communities..., the several States, or parties, have a right to judge of its infractions."

The scary part is, this actually makes sense to me. I haven't completely thought it through, or even read Calhoun's entire manifesto (A Disquisition on Government), but state interposition doesn't sound like such a misreading of the Constitution as it stood in the beginning of the 19th c. It's troublesome to suddenly start sympathizing with Southern politics. I liked it better when I was in high school and we were taught, "Hey, the South sucks. End of story."

What I really find interesting is how much of the state right's v. federal power argument still lingers today. My family are rabid state's rights supporters, while I tend toward wanting a strong (and hey, not corrupt and full of crooks) federal gov't. What would the U.S. look like if power was decentralized and handed back to State legislatures? Would we end up Balkanized and at war with our neighboring states, or could we have evolved into a loose confederacy like the EU? Inquiring minds want to know.

10:27 PM

Okay, even though I haven't seen the movie, this is what I'm talking about, kids.
9:11 PM

Ah, but happiness is a new bottle of benadryl.
6:16 PM

C'est vrai--on days that I actually sit down and focus on the task at hand, I end up with nothing to complain about in my journal.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

A good evening in front of the television. We finally got around to watching Show Me Love (the Swedish title is much better: Fucking Åmål). It's kind of old, it came out in 1998, but it takes me awhile to get around to watching movies. It takes even longer if I have to track them down and purchase them. God knows Blockbuster wouldn't carry the last four movies I bought: Fire, Chutney Popcorn, Better Than Chocolate, and Show Me Love. I have to say that generally speaking, movies with lesbian content started to improve in the mid-1990s and have slowly been getting more watchable (don't even get me started on that Claire of the Moon crap). At least the dyke isn't always a psycho murderer these days. I will admit, though, we overlook a lot of plot/production flaws just for the privilege of seeing some sort of reflection of our own lives on the screen. Hmm...that sounds like I'm complaining of lesbian invisibility in the media, and I'm not, because I'd rather be invisible than the subject of a joke on Friends or on the cover of People magazine as this month's trendy look.

Well, after that, we stumbled across Aaron McGruder on C-SPAN. It was a recording of the talk he gave 9/10/02 at Emory on free speech. Man, he's just a baby! He's not old enough to be that informed. I really enjoyed his challenge to the left, and his comparison of Condoleezza Rice to Darth Vader. And I could swear he was advocating a coup, overthrowing the U.S. government. It surprises me he's not in jail on sedition charges.

10:37 PM

Patriotism Means No Questions
7:26 PM


And we found the dress I bought to take to London, and it's as stunning as ever. It's too bad, I only ever wore it once, the night we got thrown out of Christopher Forbes' house. I'll never wear it again. Luckily, it now looks great on Catherine, and she might wear it to the Bill Blass opening.

We got a little sidetracked rummaging through bins of books we'd put there for storage, and I found a bin of old letters and junk. You know you and your partner on solid ground when you can spend the afternoon together in the garage reading old love letters from failed relationships to each other. Catherine was so mean! She read me some of the love poems John wrote to her, then handed me one and said, "Oh, I can't believe this, this is the one John gave me right before I broke up with him." It practically dripped with tears of eternal devotion to their relationship. And then she goes and breaks his heart.

However, if I started calling her "Kitty" like John did, she'd probably break up with me, too.

I found an envelope that my mom must have sent me at one point with all my report cards, K-12. But, luckily I know better than to sit down and relive my rather pitiful early academic career. I did pretty good in kindergarten, though. Everyone will be glad to know that I could count to 100 by the end of the school year.

5:25 PM

When I left the house for a run this morning, the neighbors were already going at it, at least three of them screaming at the top of their lungs. Just as I was stepping onto the back steps, the wife/mother came out of the house, still yelling bloody murder. I eased back inside our house so she couldn't really see me. She moved the car from the driveway into the garage, yelling the entire time, then went back into the house.

Right after she went inside, I heard the husband/father yelling something, and another female voice yelling, then there were four loud slamming noises. Then a fifth, which shook the windows of their house, and suddenly everything was quiet.

And I'm hovering there on the threshold, wondering, do I call the police? Was that someone throwing encyclopedias at the walls, or someone bashing a head against the wall? Should I just ignore it?

I don't want to get involved, I don't want the police to come and say someone reported a disturbance, because they'll know it was us, it couldn't be anyone else. And I don't want them to come storming over here intent on teaching us to mind our own business. It just doesn't feel safe.

But mostly what I thought when I was standing here--and I can't believe this is the first time in 35 years that this has ever occurred to me--was how ashamed I would have been if my neighbors had heard our family when things like this happened. And then I realized, the neighbors probably did hear us. In fact, there was no way the neighbors couldn't have known what was happening in our house. So, there I was this morning, feeling completely ashamed some 20-25 years after the fact.

Tried to puzzle through some of it all while I was running, how I felt, what I felt, why I felt. I really feel like I should do something, but I don't know what to do, except call the police and try to get a social worker in there. When I got home, Catherine asked me what I thought that would solve. What would have happened if someone had sent the police to our house?

Well, I know what would have happened. Some how it all would have been my fault, and the minute the police left, my brother would have clubbed me in the head. End of story.

But, you know, the truth is, every day, I hoped (and in those days, I even prayed) that someone would come rescue me. Maybe it would have backfired and I would have gotten hurt even more, but really, all I wanted was for someone to at least *try* and protect me, even if they failed in the end. I mean, I very clearly remember the day when I realized that nothing would ever change, that no one would ever help me, that my parents would never protect me. I was devastated when I finally understood nothing was going to ever change. I don't want anyone to be that miserable, even complete strangers that frighten me, and it makes me ache for them. Or maybe I'm aching for myself, I'm not sure. Either way, I guess, it hurts.

5:07 PM

1-3/4" headline in today's paper: TORNADO

"Wow," says Catherine, "that's bigger than September 11th."

Wow indeed. It took Jenny and Catherine two and a half hours to make it here from the airport. It's usually a fifty minute trip, but the police were stopping every car at the turn off to Martinsville to check I.D. Catherine said 67 was lined with abandoned cars, and they were routed through Spencer. That meant they had to come in through Ellettsville. Catherine said it looked like a war zone.

Thank goodness we bought a house in the southwest part of town, not the northwest. We went through one tornado right after we moved here, and I'm still upset over it, I really don't need to experiece anything like that again.

Also thank goodness I was depressed yesterday, and stayed home to read, because if I had followed my original plans, I would have been in Galyan's yesterday when the tornado touched down. The last two weeks I've gone up to practice early, gone to Galyan's, then across the street to Borders. Yesterday I was going to go even earlier so I could arrive at the rink an hour early to get my skates sharpened. I probably would have been more or less fine, but my car would have been upside down in the parking lot like everyone else's. The tornadoes took exactly the path I take between Bloomington and Indy, through Martinsville, up along Southport, Stop 11, Stop 12, etc. So, thank you, psyche, for weighing me down yesterday.

Also thank goodness that MistyD was on vacation yesterday and not at work, since work doesn't exist anymore.

I called Henry in the afternoon, and he said their place is fine except for no power. He was waiting for Erika to make it home.

After it was all over, I burst into tears, of course.

Catherine's trying to sleep. I've reverted to my insomniac ways this week, but I have to say, spending a wakeful night curled against the back of the woman you love isn't such a bad fate.

Friday, September 20, 2002

I'm quite amazed there was only one person killed today.

I'm assuming since I haven't heard from Catherine that she's still on her way home. She may not even know the roads are closed, although hopefully the airline pilot will say something. I truly believe cell phones are evil, but this is one of those times I wish she had one so I could at least leave her a message.

7:33 PM

I'm stunned by how awful it is.

Jenna is fine, her parents are fine. I can't get ahold of Stephanie. The news is showing photos of the area around her house, though, and it looks really, really bad.

4:09 PM

An immediate update:

Looks like I'm not getting through Martinsville. Extensive damage, cars overturned, flooding. And it looks even worse in Indy. Well, and I'd have to go through Southport, too, and that isn't going to happen. But Circle Centre actually looks okay.

2:56 PM

I'm a little freaked, but it seems to be over. I pretty much sweat through my shirt. Fear has a way of doing that to you.

Right after I shut down the computer at noon we got upgraded to a tornado warning. I find tornado sirens a little unnerving, tornadic thunderstorms even more so. Anyway, everything looks more or less okay outside, a few branches down is all. Well, and one side of my driveway is gone. I think I can drive along the edge of the neighbor's yard but it doesn't look like I'm going anywhere today, anyway. All the roads out of town are closed because of tornado touchdowns. The sherrif's department is estimating 10-12 houses hit in Ellettsville, and apparently there was a touch down at the high school or somewhere in that area. I'm supposed to go to practice, but 37 is closed because of storm damage, so there's no way to get to Indy from here. And apparently there's extensive storm damage at Circle Centre (a collapsed roof?), which is where I park the car across from the rink, so I'm not sure if I can even get to the rink. We'll see.

Downgraded from a warning to a watch, so everything should be fine now. I just have to wait for my nerves to calm down.

2:49 PM

Oh. And a flooded basement is the least of my worries. Turns out the plumber didn't do a very good job at backfilling when he connected us up to the city sewer last month. A rather daunting sinkhole has opened up in our driveway. I surrounded it with sawhorses (I'm going to be pissed if someone stops and steals them). If it gets any bigger, our driveway will be impassable. I don't know if I should call the plumber and make him come back and fix it, or just call Bob Rogers and pay him to do the job right. And no, I can't fill it myself because I'm not allowed to touch anything in our garage--I'm not sure I should have even picked up the sawhorses. We'll find out.

Tornado warning in effect for the rest of the day. Hopefully the sawhorses won't blow away.

12:06 PM

Okay, I feel a little better. I spent the morning with Descartes, Berkeley and friends--those crazy kids. I think I've pounded those troublesome emotions back into the dark corner from whence they came.

I also went shopping and bought Catherine a bunch of stuff I know she doesn't need but will hopefully like.

Waiting for her arrival:

A Carl Larsson calendar (proving that I pay attention to her stories about Sweden)
A box of stationery (cute, cute mice)
Two Civil War magazines (she'll like the Antietam articles)
Bookmark (happy monkey)

And because no one ran out and bought me that oh-so-special bookmark I demanded a few days ago, I picked up one for myself as well. It's a rather loopy-looking plastic tiger. Cute, but I won't be heartbroken when I lose it. I saw another one that I really liked, but I knew I would be sad when I lost it (yeah, I know that completely contradicts what I wrote a few days ago--if I ever entirely understood the way my mind worked, the world would probably come to an end).

I also picked up a collection of short prose by Sartre to keep me company the rest of the afternoon. I do feel a little guilty for taking solace in the writing of all these dead white men, but I don't have the energy to diversify my philosophy readings right now.

What I should do is send an e-mail to all my friends and ask them to list five books that I should read before I die. Except Doyle would probably send me five titles on molecular biology or something and then I'd be toast.

12:01 PM

I wish Catherine would hurry up and come home, because I could really use a hug.

I had the most bitter of days yesterday. I was completely inept at teaching in grad school, I don't know what made me think I should give it another try.

I tripped over a branch in the path while I was running yesterday evening, and scraped up my leg.

I completely burned my hand making dinner last night. But, hey, what's one more ugly, festering wound?

Lucy is completely stressing me out, she won't take her medicine and I'm having a hard time force feeding her.

It stormed all night and I didn't get any sleep. I look completely haggard.

It's pouring down rain, so I'm sure Salt Creek is flooded again. Not to mention my basement.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

I was so distracted by the time I got home that I left the mail on the back porch. I just now remembered it. Richard sent us a nice card, addressed to the "Nouveaux Hoosiers." Very funny. And we got two letters from Yong Stanley. And two photos! That makes three photos this year. He looks healthy still.

I can't exactly remember why I started looking for an organization through which I could sponsor a child. Something or other that happened in the world prompted me, but I no longer recall what it was. It took a lot of searching to find an organization that wasn't linked to a particular government, political organization or church. I did not want to be involved in some creepy missionary work.

We actually asked to sponsor a girl, and for awhile we had a cute little girl from Nicaragua, but it turned she wasn't an orphan after all (!) and she went back to live with her family. We asked for another girl, and ended up with Stanley. At first we didn't if he was a boy or a girl. He sort of looked like a boy in his photograph, but not really, because he and his mom have the same hairstyle (ie., shaved head). And the volunteer translator kept writing about a "she." We had to wait a couple years for him to grow up a little to figure out he really was a boy.

I'm really enjoying writing to him, even if he's writing back through a translator. It reminds me of when Ubendran and I first started writing to each other when we were twelve. Yong Stanley Chia's letter crack me up, they are so utterly charming.

Dear Parents,

Accept greetings from Fundong village. I am L. F. a community volunteer from Fundong Village writing for Yong Stanley who is still learning how to read and write.

He says, I should thank you for the nice gift of 3 toys you sent to him. He says, he will show these toys to his friends and play with them along with the twins once Kevin and Kilian who now are trying to crawl can stand erect.

Stanley says, I should tell you they are all doing fine. He says, I should ask you whether you are fine too?

He says that, they are on holidays now though the end of this year's examination did not favour him. He says he is going back to the same class in which he was last year, but promises to do well next year.

He says, I should tell you that they are in the heart of rainy season and places are very cold. He says, that you should greet all your friends on his behalf. He says, goodbye.

Dear Catherine and Susan,

Greetings from Fundong village. I am L. F. a community volunteer from Fundong Village writing for Stanley Chia who is still learning how to read and write.

He says, I should thank you for having him and his family in heart. He says he has received a gift from you. This gift is made up of a globe. Stanley says, he will use this globe to learn about the world. Stanley says, he will take this globe to school, so as to learn together with his friends. At school he says, he will allow their teacher to teach them about your country and other countries.

Stanley says, they are on holiday. During the morning hours he helps his parents to carry home harvested maize from the farms, some days he goes for clearing of new farms. In the afternoon, he says, he goes to the sponsored children club. Stanley says they are 58 in their club. He says, they are taught by two animators. He says, these animators teach them how to read and write, how to draw, how to debate, how to tell stories, and they also do sports.

Stanley says, they are in the heart of rainy season and rain falls every day, bringing a lot of cold.

Till you exchange with him again he is sending you warm greetings and that of his family. Goodby from Yong Stanley Chia.

I'm going to be very sad when he gets too old to sponsor. I know a lot of people actually travel to meet their sponsored child, but traveling to Cameroon seems a little daunting.

8:28 PM

Aristotle would have been seriously disappointed in me today. And I guess that's all I have to say about that.
7:32 PM

Maybe I'll just declare a moratorium on reading e-mail. I'd probably be a lot more relaxed.

Someone I consider a pretty good friend just sent me a "funny" list called "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly." This list included things like:

Good: Your wife's not talking to you.
Bad: She wants a divorce.
Ugly: She's a lawyer.

I'm not even going to go into what's wrong with that set of entries. The one that really caught my attention was:

Good: Your son is dating someone new.
Bad: It's another man.
Ugly: He's your best friend.

Why would anyone think I would appreciate this? I know, I know. I need to develop a sense of humor, but, really, I have no interest in circulating a joke that suggests it's a bad thing for my son to be gay. Honestly, I wish people (especially my friends) would take five seconds and think about how often humor is used to perpetuate myths and stereotypes.
9:59 AM


Catherine called just as I was turning out the lights last night, so I was up way beyond the time I should have been in bed. She had a good day yesterday, did some fun stuff in the afternoon. I wouldn't want to put words in her mouth, but I think she regrets ever dealing w/the museum. It's supposed to open on Monday, and they only have one gallery hung--the rest are just unpainted plywood rooms. That's not a good thing. Plus, they don't have the photos they borrowed from her collection properly mounted, there's no climate control, and they had candles burning along the walls last night. What were they thinking?

One guy came up to Catherine during the reception and told her if she stopped by his studio today, he'd tell her all the things that are wrong with her book. I would have spit on him, but she was apparently polite.

On the plus side, Annie Sprinkle was there, and she told Catherine that she'd try to visit the collection in 2003, and would even try to work out a speaking engagement to coincide with the big Women's Sexuality exhibit opening next year. And Catherine visited a good gallery yesterday that might be able to do some work with her on the George Platt Lyne's collection, so she feels like the trip was worth it just for those two things. Too bad the museum is turning out to be so lame.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Practice went okay. It's going to be hard on my old bones doing a Wednesday and a Friday practice. I'm not even going to think about what's going to happen when I start skating on Sundays, too.

I have tons to say about Jill, but I don't have the energy to sort through it right now. It's bed time, and the one thing I shouldn't be doing before retiring is analyzing today's news.

11:02 PM

My mom cracks me up. Everyone's parents should go back to school at the age of sixty.
10:51 PM

Yesterday I had an e-mail exchange with a friend about my misanthropic tendencies, and I was only partly joking. The evidence supporting my case has arrived in an e-mail. A new member of our team sent me an e-mail suggesting that we carpool to practice. There are now three women from Bloomington commuting to Indy to play hockey, and wouldn't it make sense for us all to ride together instead of taking two or three cars?

Yeah, it would make sense. It's not like I love driving or anything, and it would save me some gas money. But. I don't want to do it. I don't want to spend an hour and 15 minutes in the car with an unknown quantity. Yeah, yeah, maybe if I spent some time with these two women, they wouldn't be unknowns. I loved driving to practice with Beth, but I knew ahead of time we had a lot in common--we were both in the same grad program at IU, I had known her already for a couple years, and I knew she was smart. After Beth moved to Ft. Wayne, I briefly tried driving up with another teammate. Nice enough woman, but our personalities just didn't mix. I was exhausted by the time I arrived at the rink.

So, I'll probably break down and commute with one or both of these teammates, even though I really don't want to, because heaven forbid that J.R. wouldn't be friendly and accommodating. I know what Susan wants to do, but that wench J.R. keeps mucking things up.

12:06 PM

I look like a leper. In a tie.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

My legs are tired, I ran 4.5 miles on a hilly course this afternoon.

The trail I usually run on isn't marked for distance, so I've been more or less guessing on my total mileage for every run. Today I decided to run on the trail at the Y (a .9 mile loop) so I could compare my times and get a little better idea on what I've been running. Turns out I was pretty close with my guess, based on time, it's about four miles to the creek and back.

I really don't like to run. I enjoy being out in the fresh air, and I've enjoyed watching the changes from season to season. I started running in March, so I've been outside for the end of winter, the one week of spring, and all of summer. Now the greens have drained to yellow and the path is carpeted with decaying leaves, and that's pretty nice. But as for the running...I can't say it's my favorite form of exercise. It's effective, but tedious.

Well, the real point of running at the Y today was to time a 5K to see what I could expect to happen during the runs for which I've registered. I should be able to do 5K in about 31 minutes, but since I have practice the night before and my legs will be tired, I think 33-35 minutes is a little more likely. But since this is the first road race I've entered in....oh...15 years? I think I should be nice to myself and aim for a slow 40 minutes. Who knows what's going to happen when I get in a big group of people--I might feel pushed to go out too fast and then blow up in the second mile and have to crawl to the finish. I'm not worried about finishing, really, 5K is an easy distance. Today I ran 4.5 miles and only stopped because it was getting dark, so 3.1 miles should be a piece of cake. Still, all those people....

Oh. Now that I really think about it, it's been 16 years. I last ran a race on St. Patrick's Day, 1986. And I hated every minute of it, as I recall, and I swore I'd never enter another run again. 16 years is almost never, isn't it?

10:12 PM

This is how pathetic I am. This evening I started to make myself supper, and I realized I haven't yet learned how to use our new stove. We got it several months ago, and apparently I've never seen the need to cook since the time of purchase. I couldn't even figure out how to turn the thing on--there was a "start" button next to the "off" button, which seemed like it should fire it up, but no such luck. I just wildly pressed buttons until it finally came to life. I wont be cooking anymore this week, so that's all good.

But as I'm fussing with the stove, it occurs to me that I also don't know how to set the alarm clock. It's my clock radio, for god's sake, I've had it for fifteen years. But Catherine always gets up earlier than I do, so for the past ten years, she has been setting the alarm. On the rare occasion that she goes out of town, I have to get a crash course in alarm setting, only this time I forgot to ask for it.

But--and this is why I love Catherine--when she called me this evening, and I mentioned that I needed to figure out the alarm clock before I got too sleepy to make sense out of it, she told me that she supposed that I would want to get up at 6:30 and set it for me before she left. How sweet is that?

10:02 PM

Because we live in a fucked up world.

Monday, September 16, 2002

The real point: I'm going to be short-tempered until Catherine gets home from New York.
11:00 PM


2:36 PM


I could have handled that better. I'll comfort myself with the thought that next time I'll be prepared.

I was printing something out in the CAD lab, and a group of students was talking behind me. None of them were my own students, and they probably didn't know I was instructor since I just logged into the machine closest to the door instead of the instructor's machine.

They were all talking about taking physics and statics, and one guy said his physics teacher is queer as a three dollar bill. The other guy said, "You must have Ben, he is a big queer." Then the first kid said, "Yeah, we all took a vote and he's definitely queer." Unfortunately, I turned around and said the first thing that came to mind which was, "Dude, Ben is married and has a little kid." I like Ben a lot, and I'm not ashamed of my impulse to defend him, but I'm ashamed of what I said to do it. As if it was important that I prove he's not gay, that I offer evidence that he's *normal*. If I'd taken five seconds to assess the situation, maybe I would have responded differently. I'm not sure exactly what I should have said, though. I can think of a couple of flip responses that I wouldn't hesitate to spout off to a colleague, but I'm not sure what an adjunct faculty member is supposed to say to a student.

The things I need to learn.


But I will say, that JR chick is really starting to piss me off.
11:39 AM

And I have a lot of hockey things to rant about, but I promised myself I'd wait until I see how I feel after practice on Wednesday before I started complaining.
11:37 AM

I have so many things I want to bitch about I don't even know where to start. That may be a sign that I need an attitude adjustment.

I know you went to med school so you supposedly know more than me about this, but I *really* don't think you know what you're talking about. Last time, you were saying, "No, not carpal tunnel." The time before that, "Yes, it's carpal tunnel." The time before that, "No, not carpal tunnel." Now it's back to "Yes, it's carpal tunnel."

Let me explain something, dude. There is no way on god's green earth I'm going to let you slice into my palm with such an exhibition of indecision. Especially when you shrug and say, "Maybe it will help, and maybe it won't." That's supposed to make me want to give up using my hand for a month? You can't even give me a diagnosis, much less a prognosis. Fuck that noise.

And listen, maybe you should skim over my chart, or at least listen to me re-cap the situation. How can you hear me say, "Well, the injection really messed up my wrist, I haven't been able to use it at all since you injected it, I have no mobility and I can't grip anything" and then turn around three minutes later and say, "Well, the injections are working well, so..." What part of "you fucked up my wrist" are you interpreting as "working well"? I'd really like to know.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

When Bush is talking about running, he doesn't sound like the jerk I know he is. I bet he got in trouble from his advisors over his "Tobacco, bad food and lack of exercise" comment. Maybe he knows Big Tobacco isn't likely to read a running magazine.

The most interesting running article of the month isn't online, it's in the October issue of Running Times. "The Talent of Moving Feet: Kenyan Women Having it All" covers the new group of Kenyan women who are currently dominating the long distance races, and the conflicts they each needed to resolve between their desire to run and their desire to be Kenyan.

8:28 PM

I've turned into such a food puritan that I even annoy myself when I'm eating.

It's been a long time developing. Maybe it's been five years or so since I started thinking about trying to eat more nutritionally sound meals, something like that. But it kicked into high gear when Dad has his heart attack in February, right? No, before that. I gave up Coke in November, and had been making a good effort at eating more vegetables before February. But sitting in the cardiac ICU definitely motivated me to really think about what I eat.

And just when I was starting to relax a little, and thinking about adding french fries back into my diet occasionally, Mark died. I've been a complete freak since then. No question.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be upset about the fact that all I eat anymore is healthy food, that's not such a bad habit. But really, sometimes I think enough is enough. I often go out to lunch and think, "Oh, today I will eat potato chips with my veggie sandwich," or "Yup, I'm gonna have those fries," but something always gets in the way. Usually it's the people ahead of me in line that keep me from eating junk food. I can't even count how many times I've had to watch the food prep guy make a pepperoni-salami-cold cut w/bacon sandwich with cheese, mayo and vinegar and oil. Even if I wasn't a vegetarian, I couldn't eat that without thinking about my arteries hardening. Last week it was a guy who ordered a foot long meatball sandwich w/extra cheese and mayo that kept me from breaking my no potato chip rule.

Today, I made a conscious decision to go eat french fries, because that's what I wanted to eat. But on the way, I had to pull over and let an ambulance go by, and that got me thinking that I should call Dad and see how he was doing, and that got me thinking about heart disease, and pretty soon I was skipping the fries and going for the same old boring veggie sandwich.

And I felt bad about it! That's what I don't get. I feel completely guilty about eating right, like somehow I'm passing judgement on what everyone else is eating. I'm really not, I'm only obsessing about what I myself eat. I do care what my friends eat, because I don't want anyone else to die on me, but I would never actually say that out loud (except to Catherine because I have a particularly strong interest in her longevity).

I know there was a point to this entry, but I'll be damned if I can remember what it was besides telling myself it's okay to not eat that garlic bread and almond rice that's going to come with my dinner this evening.

4:11 PM

This week my students get to learn about platform framing, starting with the mudsill and floor joists. This means they also have to start learning about hardwood, softwood and fasteners. Some interesting things I picked up while I was out today:

1 1x3x4 - Southern Yellow Pine
1 1x3x4 - Douglas Fir
1 1/4x2x2 - Red Oak
1 1/4x2x2 - Poplar

1 joist hanger
25 7/16" steel plywood clips

1 box 8d 1-1/2" bright common nails
1 box 4d 1-1/2" bright finish nails
1 box 6d 2" electro galvanized finish nails
1 box 1 1/2" electro galvanized roofing nails

What I'm ever going to do with one pound of roofing nails, I don't know.

3:43 PM

Smart, for a change. I think laying low yesterday helped.
Sometimes I think Francis makes all this stuff up.
10:43 PM

Why you should never use for movie reviews:

"I would just like to say that this is a great movie. And you don't have to be a lesbian to watch this movie. It's not just about two girls getting it on but it also has a good story in it. But if you don't like seeing two girls doing the wild thing than you shouldn't watch this movie!"

And that was supposed to help me decide which video to

10:24 PM

Well....I'm up and out of bed, and I guess that's the best I'm going to do for now. I'm pretty sure I'm just tired, I haven't had more than a few hours of sleep a night ever since I touched that damned plant. I got up early this morning and tried to run, and only made it 30 minutes. Later I took Catherine into town so she could go shopping with Erika. We stopped to have coffee beforehand, and by the time that was over, I was feeling pretty sick and ready to go home and back to bed.

This has really got to run its course and work its way out of my body so I can get something done. Pretty much I spent the afternoon curled up in bed feeling sorry for myself (suck it up, dude! you're such a wimp!). I don't have a fever, but if I don't feel better by Monday, I guess I'll call Dr. Florini and see what she says.

Hmm...but Catherine bought a nice outfit for her trip next week, so it was a good thing she took Erika shopping instead of me. She looks fantastic, but she also looks like some woman I've never met. I bet all the chickies hit on her at the opening.

Friday, September 13, 2002

I haven't wanted to put this in words because I'm afraid I'm going to jinx it, but I think Lucy might be getting better. She came out from behind the couch last night and ate dinner, but immediately threw it up and went back behind the couch. She came out this morning and ate breakfast, and managed to keep it down. She's back behind the couch again. She looks awful, even worse than her usual ragamuffin self, but maybe if she keeps eating, she will recover.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Why I love my wife:

Instead of insisting we come straight home after running our errands after work, she let me hang out in the concrete aisle at Lowe's and compare the various permutations of Quikrete, just because.

Can't buy that kind of love.

7:58 PM

I knew this day was coming, so I dressed appropriately.

Kirk and Tom both alternate their dress between shirt and ties, and polo shirts, so I do the same. This week, I wore polo shirts M-W because I couldn't stand a stiff collar against my poison ivy rash. Today, I consciously thought, "I can't wear polo shirts on T/R anymore. I'm going to lose control of my architectural design class if I don't draw the line between me and them right now."

So, back to the shirt and tie today.

I like the kids in my architectural design class, but the boys are kind of squirrelly. I've had to stop talking a couple of times already this semester and ask them to focus on me, not their private conversations. So far, it's been okay, but I don't want it to get out of control. Today, I had to ask two of the male students to stop screwing around with their computers and pay attention. It worked for about 30 seconds, after which point they started laughing and talking again about whatever it was J. was doing on his screen. Two minutes later, J. interrupts what I'm saying and asks if I want to see his garage design. No, and you need to start paying attention. Giggling continued, so I stopped and told them to turn their monitors off. I think I used the words "completely inappropriate" to describe their behavior. They sobered up a bit, but the instant I was done lecturing, J. told me he wanted to show me his garage.

Said garage was a 3-D surface model. Do you have a floor plan for this garage, J.? No? Then I suggest you start working on the assignment. It was a nice model, though.

So, I'm sitting at the lectern, listening to the four boys in the class *not* work while the two women in the class try to get something done, and I hear T. talking about his garage, and how it's going to have a second story, and how he's going to put a jacuzzi in it, blah, blah, blah. I remind him that he's not allowed to make the garage habitable or he'll exceed the 2000 sq.ft. of habitable space limit. "But you said I could have a two-story garage!" And I explain that, yes, it can be two story, but that I also said it has to be storage space, or a workshop, or a garden room, but not a family room or office. No more habitable space. "But you--!" No, T., no habitable space. "But I want--" No. The assignment is to keep it under 2000 sq.ft, no habitable space. "But--!" This is not a matter for negotiation, T. You can do that garage if you want, but it won't meet the requirements of the assignment.

He kept trying to protest, and I finally said, "Look, I'm the instructor, and I'm the one handing out the grades. I gave you the assignment, and I expect you to complete it. End of discussion."

T. pouted the rest of class, muttering to himself. I felt a little bad, because he looked like he might cry, but I had to draw the line or be crushed. Tom and Kirk seem to have a natural sense of authority that I just don't have, I've got to establish it. I wanted to explain to him, "Hey, I don't want to be a hard ass, but I need to teach you how to design for a client, not for yourself. This is going to help you in the long run, and I really do know what I'm doing," but no male teacher would have to justify his reasons for his decisions, so I don't see why I should have to justify mine.

It's too bad, because they actually make me laugh when they're more or less behaving themselves. I like the casual atmosphere, and that I can just kind of chat my way through the lecture material without being so formal. There's only six students, so formality isn't really possible. But, on the other hand, I have to maintain order, and this is the only way I know how to do it.

4:53 PM

Okay, Linda is officially forgiven. It may take her three years to actually send e-mail, but when she does finally cough one up, it's a good one. I remember now why I try so hard to emulate her.

I love this bit about her latest travels:

"One of my favorite moments was the interview - through a translator - with a woman who had never married. Of course, being unmarried is not a favorable state in this very Catholic community. But she is very independent and lives with a wry sense of humor. What was fun about our interview, though, was our being pulled into reality. The village is small, with two streets that just run to end as they go up a hill and paths that lead to the remainder of the houses. It is easy to become romantic and think that this is a place outside of time. So, when we came to the coffee and cake part of the interview - a necessary component of
every visit from the perspectives of the people in Slovakia - this little elderly woman says, "What would you like, regular coffee, decaf, or CAPUCCINO? Then, after having poured coffee, she walks to her small refrigerator and pulls out an aerosol can of whipped cream for the coffee. Followed by a recognition that aerosol cans are bad for the environment but she occasionally buys it for a treat for her nephew. Then she asks how the U.S. could be so ignorant about environmental issues and asks what is going on with President Bush and Iraq. Of course this last point came up with every conversation in Slovakia; they are frightened about the craziness of the current administration....and of course, we agreed."

Linda was my mainstay during the Gulf War, and was probably the first person to show me how to control my anger and frustration and re-direct it into research and writing. Maybe intellectualizing my emotions isn't always the healthiest option--maybe I should just accept that I feel bad or good and let it go at that--but I still appreciate the fact that she gave me a lot of tools to cope with an increasingly fucked up world (how's that for academic language?). So what if she's the world's worst correspondent?

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Here's my obligatory 9/11 post.


Tuesday, September 10, 2002


We've tried everything we can think of to get Lucy to eat. She's just not getting better. She can't breathe, she won't eat or drink, and we have to force feed her the medications that don't seem to be helping.

I've promised Catherine--and I mean it--that we are not getting any more pets. I can't handle the end times. I can't pick up anymore little bodies, and I can't dig any more graves. I just won't do this again. Once Lucy and Jack are gone, Catherine's just going to have to be content with my company, and my company alone.

9:22 PM

A month ago I was a picture of good health. I have the photographs to prove it.

Today, I feel like death after it's been buried under the crumbling foundation of a burned-out, vermin-infested crack house for ten days.

Who knew plant allergies could be so bad?

The contact burns from where I touched the plant are starting to look better (meaning that the welts look a little else angry now that they've started to weep). But every day I get new blisters popping up to burn and itch. Well, forget every day, how about every hour? I've got blisters where there weren't any a few hours ago. I've got a welt on my right arm, surrounded by hundreds of tiny blisters extending from my elbow down to my fingers and over my palm. I've got it between the fingers of my left hand. My neck is a rash of blisters, front and back. I've got it on my earlobes. I've got it on my stomach. I've got it on my scalp. I've got contact welts on both legs and my right ankle, and clusters of blisters behind my knees, on my calves, on my shins. I've got it on my back. I've got it places that can't be mentioned in public. And it doesn't just itch, it burns. I might as well douse myself in fuel and light the match.

It's keeping me awake at night. I've overdosed on benadryl to no avail. I've got some goopy green organic stuff that doesn't seem to help. I've tried Ivarest, calamine lotion, cortisone, and ice. When I do finally fall asleep and make the mistake of rolling over in my sleep, I wake up as the sheet tears away from where it has been sticking to blisters on some part of my body.

I sound like a whiner (if someone whines in a forest, and there's no one around to hear it...) but if I whined at the volume this stuff really deserves, I'd be screaming at this point. It's driving me absolutely fucking crazy, and it is definitely doing the "it will get worse before it gets better" routine on me.

Woe is me.