Thursday, October 31, 2002

Well, at least I know now. After this school year is over, I never have to teach again.
3:26 PM

Happy Anniversary, dear.

I'll save the sweet, sappy stuff for later, but I guess I don't mind the world knowing how incredible the past ten years have been. I don't have any lyrical poems or snappy anecdotes to offer to demonstrate the depth of my feelings, but I suspect you already know I'm not that kind of gal. I'm not sure how I--how we--got to be so lucky. The moment I met you, I knew you were beyond my reach. And even if you weren't, I knew I would never be able to pull my act together enough to give you what you needed in a relationship. I've never been so glad to be wrong about something (you know how I hate to be wrong!). You have had my heart in your hand since the first time you smiled at me, and apparently you can see something in me that is hidden from everyone else in the world. It amazes me that someone as screwed up as me can end up with someone as warm, kind, nice, tender, caring, intelligent, and beautiful as you. It's definitely not proof of God, but it's proof of miracles.

It's not so much that I try to be a better for you, but just that I become a better person being near you. For that alone--separate from all the other ten thousand reasons I love you--is enough to make me grateful for the past ten years. I'm excited about the next ten years, it's hard to believe they can be better than the ones we've already spent together, but with you around, I'm willing to believe that anything is possible.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The world can just come to an end right now.

Sir Edmund Hillary doing an SUV commercial. What the *fuck* is up with that? How could he? HOW COULD HE?

8:50 PM

Wow. David says ten members of his family have died from cancer since we left high school. He suspects the pesticides. I think he can skip "suspect" and go straight to "know beyond a shadow of a doubt."
1:45 PM

It is so true that facial cuts bleed profusely.

The Son of Beast slid across my face right after I'd crawled into bed last night. Yelling, I instantly pressed both hands to my face because I thought she had hit my right eye. No...I guess my eye is okay, so I take that hand away. But...why does my left hand feel funny?

I pulled my hand away from my face, looked at the blood, and put it back against my face. Repeated the whole sequence. And did it again. Am I bleeding? I'm bleeding. I'm bleeding! I'm *really* bleeding! Blood running down my face, blood pooling in my palm and running down my wrist. I kept saying, "I'm bleeding," and Catherine kept saying, "I know," until I finally said, "Are you going to help me or anything?" and she went for a towel saying, "Well, I kept waiting for you to get out of bed!"

Good idea. So, I got up and tried to keep the blood away from everything until I could bleed in the bathroom. So there I am, bleeding through my fingers into the sink bowl, and it occurs to know, I don't feel very good. Maybe I should sit down.

It did eventually stop bleeding, and Catherine covered it up w/a bandage and some neosporin, worrying that everyone is going to start thinking that she beats on me. It's not a very large cut, maybe only 1/2" (but "remarkably razor-like" according to C.), and it didn't really hurt that much, but it's a little disconcerting to feel and see blood spilling all over the place. I've had some good cat scratches (for instance, the time Jack gouged my forearm w/his back feet while "playing"), but I've never had one quite so gory before.

What a little demon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Time to empty my mind before I go insane. This should take awhile. I predict several thousand words before I'm sick of talking about myself.

Item One:

Every year about this time, I go into the same old routine. I freak out about where we're shopping, what we're eating, how much energy we're using, etc. I don't know if it's the weather, or just the fact that I grew up in the country so it feels as if I should have just harvested something, but every October, I do this whole environmentalist-anti-capitalist-anti-globalist-vegetarian-separatist routine. I threaten to move us out into a cabin in the woods. I decide to start building a turbine so we can live totally off the grid. I stare longingly at images of the off-the-grid house I wish I could design/build/own. I vow we're going to start shopping at Bloomingfoods more often even though it's all the way across town. And I swear we're going to start a garden of our own in the spring.

Last year at this time, I even went to far as to contact the local extension office about planting an organic garden. Then in January, the city came and tore up our entire yard, including the piece I had mapped out for gardening. And I have to admit, I wasn't *too* disappointed because the truth is, I hate gardening, and am only considering doing it because it seems like the responsible thing to do. I don't look forward to it with any sort of joyful anticipation, yet here I am, calculating the number of board feet of pine I need to build some raised beds this spring.

Quite coincidentally, I picked up a book that sort of feeds this "the world is going to hell in a handbasket so I'd better grow my own vegetables" mood I'm in. I grabbed it because of the cover art, checked it out because of the title: Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods, by Gary Nabhan. (Also coincidentally, he has an article in this month's Sierra Club magazine, a publication that should never be allowed in my house because it sends me into a depression so deep I'm in danger of not being able to climb out of it.) NPR has a RealAudio file of Nabhan talking about his book, if anyone cares.

I like the premise of Nabhan's book, that eating locally (and organically) is the ecologically and economically responsible thing to do. Just a quote from the article to demonstrate the kind of stats he's using to support his position:

"Today, locally based diets are nearly nonexistent. Only a tenth of the food eaten in Iowa, America's breadbasket, is grown w/in the state; most produce now arrives by truck via a Chicago redistribution center, traveling more than 1,500 miles before it reaches the dinner table in Des Moines. According to a recent report by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, that distance is up 22 percent from 1981. Nationally, 93 percent of all fruits and vegetables make similarly long journeys, requiring tremendous amounts of fossil fuel and reducing freshness and nutritional value. And w/food passing through six to eight hands before it reaches you, the portino of the food dollar doing to the farmer who produces it shrinks, making family farms increasingly less viable. In 1950, a typical farmer got 41 cents for every food dollar. Today he gets 19 cents." (p. 32, Nov/Dec issue)

The book is interesting for the little bits like that, like the story of why we eat corn-fed beef: according to Nabhan, after WWII, there was a surplus of nitrogen that the military needed to use up, so they took the surplus nitrogen and turned it into fertilizer to boost grain production in the U.S. That created a surplus of corn. So pretty soon consumers were being encouraged to eat corn-fed beef, that corn had to be used for something. The problem is, grass-fed beef is better for you, w/less marbling and less fat. So this led to an overproduction of beef in feedlots, and they had to figure out what to do w/all the excess tallow and fat. That went into chicken feed. Suddenly eggs had a higher cholesterol level than ever before. All because of the military and its nitrogen (p. 72-3).

So, I can recommend it for anyone thinking about food production and global economics. But. Why am I not going to finish the book?

The book is actually about Nabhan's challenge to himself. He wants to go an entire year eating food that was produced w/in 250 miles of his home. This includes locally grown food that he has purchased from other farmers, and food he has foraged from the land. And I admire Nabhan's intent, I really do, but what starts out as a respectable pursuit ends up sounding condescending and classist.

Nabhan spends a lot of time wringing his hand over the fact that old food preparation/eating traditions have died out, and why did this happen, and why can't people see what they're losing, and why won't they just do what he's doing and eat grasshoppers for dinner? He assumes that the spiritual sustenance he gets from the food rituals he is (re)discovering adds some sort of validity to his life that other people's lives do not have. Because he can practically orgasm from eating a lush peach (while blindfolded, I might add), he believes that is a feeling everyone should experience, and that modern life is shallow and devoid of meaning because most of us aren't trading in sex for mesquite-smoked chipotle.

But what mostly bothered me was the basic classism underpinning his political position. He has a year of essentially leisure time (or at least it seems that way) to pursue his goal. It's not clear to me if he's on sabbatical, or what, but let me say, the average working American simply does not have the possibility of spending a full day foraging for saguaro cactus blooms. The average working American can't drive all over the county to buy eggs from one house, milk from another, tortillas from another, and so on and so on. The average working American *works* and works for damn little money. And where are they going to put the 2.5 kids while they're out digging up sand roots on the weekends? It just seems to me that Nabhan has a particular lifestyle--that of an academic--that is considerably more flexible than that of a factory worker.

Add to that the fact that the guy has a graduate degree in agriculture, and you can see his goal can't be met by most Americans. I grew up on a farm, but that doesn't mean I know how to grow stuff. Not well enough to live off a garden, at least. I don't know. Overall, I just didn't think his experiment was viable. The knowledge behind it, the political motivation, yes, I liked that. The rest of it? Not to my liking.

Also, I'm not a spiritual eater. Every meal Nabhan ate was some kind of ritual. I don't like food enough to eat that way. Pretty much I could live off Chef Boyardee pizza and water and be happy. Food doesn't have to have great meaning in my life, or even much flavor. It just has to be handy. And I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. I don't think that I'm single-handedly destroying the world by eating when I'm hungry and not turning each bite into a cultural celebration.

But that's just me.

Item Two:

I thought I was all WTCed out, but it turns out I'm not. Also on the floor next to me is a book of essays: After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City, edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin. A lot of the essays have appeared elsewhere, most in substantially altered forms.

One essay I knew I would appreciate before I even read it was "The Janus Face of Architectural Terrorism: Minoru Yamasaki, Mohammed Atta and Our World Trade Center," by Eric Darton. Catherine read Darton's Divided We Stand this summer while I was reading another book on New York, and we spent a lot of time reading passages outloud to each other. Anyway, Darton continues the same theme: the building of the WTC was as much terrorism as the destruction of the WTC. He argues that buildings like the WTC separate us from our humanity, and although I think he's a little unfair to the architect, it is interesting to watch him construct an argument that says Atta and Yamasaki were the same man.

Quoting his own book (written in 1999 about the WTC), Darton writes about how the design of the buildings gives no signal to passersby as to their function, and suggests that once you realize this

"you realize the trade towers disappear as sites of human habitation and reassert their power at the level of an esthetic relationship. And it is through recognizing this process that you may be become uncomfortably aware of a kindred spirit linking the apparently polar realms of skyscraper terrorist and skyscraper builder.

"This analogy between those who seek to destroy the structures the latter thought it ratinoal and desirable to build becomes possible by shifting focus momentarily to the shared, underlying predicate of their acts. To attempt creation or destruction on such an immense scale requires both bombers and master-builders to view living processes in general, and social life in particular, with a high degree of abstraction. Both must undertake a radical distancing of themselves from the flesh and blood experience of mundane existence "on the ground."...For the terrorist and the skyscraper builder alike, day-to-day existence shrinks to insignificance--reality distills itself to the instrumental use of physical forces in service of an abstract goal." (p. 88-9)

Well, he wrote that in 1999, after the first bombing, but continues to believe it's a valid assertion. Darnton goes on to conclude that the building of the WTC and the destruction of it are "enactments of polarized daydreams of domination. Whether a master plan entails casting away stones or gathering stones together, the project rests up the creation of an abstract, quantitative logica that supposes itself to operate on a higher plane than that inhabited by the human material beneath it." (p.91)

Well, yes, I do think he's being unfair to Yamasaki. He's pulling a single individual forward and pinning the destructive act of building the WTC (and it was without question destructive in so many senses of the word) on him. He claims Yamasaki is like Atta--the man w/the plan. Sure, Osama bin Laden was behind it, but Atta was the planner. Rockefeller/Tobin were behind the WTC, but Yamasaki was the planner. And I totally see the parallel, but Darnton hasn't convinced me. I just don't think you can single out an architect and blame everything bad about the WTC on his design. I mean, Darnton continues on to say that the building was "an attack planned by the city's oligarchs and carried out w/the general consent of its populace," so I fail to see how he can really set Yamasaki up to take the fall. He was definitely partially responsible, but he had a lot of help.

Anyway, also to be considered is Neil Smith's "Scales of Terror: The Manufacturing of Nationalism and the War for U.S. Globalism." Smith puzzles over the fact that the destruction of the WTC was both a local and an international event: local to Manhattan/NY, international because people from all over the world died. How, then, did Americans manage to co-opt the event and turn it into a national event?

One paragraph in particular really caught my attention (given my recent rant on the Baku oil fields). Smith was considering the role of the attack on the Pentagon, and why it was eclipses by the attack on the WTC, and what it all meant, etc.:

"...the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center have given the U.S. elite the opportunity to pursue a war conceived as an endgame of globalization. It is a war whose real interest is to establish U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, a power broadly eroded in the 1970s with the assertion of OPEC's influence and the 1979 revolution in the client state of Iran. For its possession of massive petroleum resources, the Middle East is a vital geopolitical region, but this is not a war, as some on the Left have claimed, over oil. Such old-fashioned geopolitical calculations are not entirely obsolete today, but they are secondary. Rather, it is a geoeconomic war to reassert control in the only remaining region of the post-Cold War world that mounts a serious threat to the vision of neoliberal globalization emanating from New York, Washington, and London since the 1980s. Various strands of Islam represent an alternative modernity--not just vis-a-vis the United States, but often agasinst Arab states themselves--and "antiterrorism" is a convenient galvanizing ideology for this war. This is the real meaning of repeated calls to move on from Afghanistan, to "finish off Saddam Hussein," attack Somalia, smash Sudan."

So, there you have it.

Well, I could quote the book all night long--19 essays, 19 different points of view. The historical ones are the best ("The First Wall Street Bomb," about the 1920 "car bombing" of Wall Street). And "The Odor of Publicity," which starts out with a consideration of 18th c. cemetery in Manhattan full of the remains of 20,000 or so African slaves (40% of the original Dutch colony, 20% of the original English colony), most of whom were literally worked to death. It's a good essay that can take us from the 1700s to 2001 in six pages.

The best quote of the book came in the first essay written by Marshall Berman. He comments that he doesn't miss the buildings, who does?

"It's a lot harder to feel empathy for those buildings. The earliest epitaphs for the towers were of the don't-speak-ill-of-the-dead variety. The Discovery Channel did a show on the buildings, hosted by John Hockenberry, an NPR commentator I used to admire. "Everything that is best in America," he said, "was embodied in these buildings." I felt America's enemies could say nothing more insulting about us than this compliment." (p.6)

Item Three:

Hockey. I've made an executive decision. I have a home game Nov. 10, and I'm going to skip it so I can go to my hockey lesson here in Bloomington instead. Puking aside, I had a lot of fun on Sunday (again). I've decided to do what I want to do for a change, and have fun. I'll go to practice, I'll go to the rest of my games, but I'm no longer getting emotionally involved w/the outcome. I'm just going to treat them like extra ice time and take what I can from them, skills-wise, and focus on having fun on Sundays for awhile.

I am excited about going to Cleveland this weekend. Not for the hockey. Actually, I'm kind of annoyed w/how freaking *team-like* everyone is acting. Everyone wants to caravan to Cleveland, and we're all supposed to exchange cell phone numbers so anyone can get ahold of anyone else at any moment, and I'm, like....why? Respect my privacy, okay? I'm driving by myself, staying in a room by myself, and not handing out my cell phone number to anyone. So, I'm a misanthrope. But I've got plans of my own that don't include my teammates. I want to drive my own pace, stop when I want to stop, get there and spend a quite evening reading in my room, blah blah blah. I'm not a member of the team until I get to the locker room. So sue me.

But, I'm excited because there is a Frank Gehry exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art, about the new Gehry building at the Case Western Reserve University (conveniently located .45 miles from the museum), so I'm going to leave here early on Friday a.m. so I can take in both before the game Friday night.

Anyway, I've got a ton of work to do over the weekend, and I need to be away by myself to get it done. I just don't have time to live by someone else's agenda right now.

Item Four:

Our anniversary is in two days and I haven't even bought a card, much less a present. I am such a freak.

We have stopped arguing about Son of Beast. Catherine thought hard about giving her back, and even mentioned it again today, but we're going to stick with it. At this point, I'd feel mean if I sent it back. Oh, I'm not supposed to call it Son of Beast anymore (and if you don't live in the Midwest, you won't understand it anyway). It's name is Luna, and we bought some film, and an incredibly annoying kitten toy w/bells on it this evening, so I guess it's here to stay. Jack still hates it, but maybe it will get better with time.

Item Five:


"No...that would be your other daughter."

Mom called and said Dad is out of the hospital. Oxygen forever, and I bet my dad is completely pissed off. If I could figure out how to bring the tobacco industry to its knees, I would. It might take me awhile, but I'll figure out how to crush them.

7:32 PM

Yay! I found my watch and my wedding ring, underneath the last tissue in the Kleenex (tm) box in the bathroom.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Wow, Doyle just e-mailed me. David Raschka alert!
8:07 PM

I should be a) doing my descriptive geometry homework; b) doing my Solidworks homework; and c) writing a lecture on moisture and thermal protection. Instead, I'm playing on

What I really want is my own Edward Said trading card, but I'd settle for Foucault. And really, it's too bad the theory action figures do not exist, they'd make a perfect gift for that Ph.D. holder who has everything. Well, and Lego theorists...what more do I need to say?

7:47 PM

Hmmm....which looks more unprofessional, a dugout full of kids, or a bench-clearing brawl?
3:39 PM

I find local politics in Indiana somewhat opaque. I've been totally out of the loop during the last five years, and every year I blame it on the same thing: there's no Voter's Pamphlet in this state. What's up with that? It makes finding out anything about the candidates a really difficult task. It appears that what the voter is required to do is drive around town, note down all the names on the various election signs, and then try to figure out how to contact all these people and figure out what they stand for. We don't even get a ton of "vote for me" literature in the mail; in fact, we get more election material from Oregon than we get from Indiana, five years after we've moved out of state.

So, I'm stuck with lawn signs (I won't vote for one candidate specifically because his sign is on my neighbor's lawn, and I won't vote for someone supported by crazy people), web pages (if they even have one), biased newspaper editorials and insane letters to the editor (the Green Party = the antichrist in some parts of Indiana), and...I guess that's it. Sure, I could get really motivated and spend a weekend tracking down all the candidates and locating their campaign headquarters, and as a concerned citizen, I shouldn't bitch about having to exert myself, but....really.

Just publish a Voter's Pamphlet, for chrissakes.

10:47 AM

You know what? Fuck Putin. He's a sorry excuse for a leader, and the Russians deserve what they get for electing him. How stupid do you have to be to kill the very hostages you are trying to save by using some gas you can't even identify? The "competent" people know the name of the gas. Well, let me say--there *are* no competent people in charge in Russia. This is why Americans should be pissed off at our Cold War leaders. The Russians can't do anything right--what ever made us think they could make a functional nuclear weapon? They can't even make a car that runs more than 50 miles without breaking down. They *are* a dangerous nation, dangerous in their stupidity and incompetence. Couldn't they have contacted some outside agency and consulted on the potentially deadly effects of the nerve gas? But, no, of course not. This is the administration that was willing to let its own navy personnel drown unnecessarily because it couldn't fucking ask Finland for help in opening up the hatch on the Kursk.

I tell you, there are days that I think Lebed' would have been a better President, and if that doesn't frighten you, nothing will.

Freaking Soviets. I used to think there was a difference between Russians and Soviets, but I'm not so sure anymore. They are a people crippled by decades--if not centuries--of graft and corruption, and rather than wising up and using free elections to institute change, they revert to old patterns and elect the candidate that most closely resembles a Soviet dictator. I have no sympathy for them at this point.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

C: I think we should go with "Luna." She seems more like a "Luna" then a "Sam."
Me: She seems more like a "Mohammed Atta," if you ask me.
C: You're terrible!

8:55 PM

So, my wife has a new kitten. Less than twenty-four hours after its arrival, she's wondering out loud: Do you suppose it's too late to take it back?

She was trying to come up with a Halloween type name since our other cat has a Halloween name, and this new one is appropriately all black. I think she's decided on Sam, after Samantha on Bewitched. But this morning, after she'd picked her up out of the plants for the fifth time, Catherine said, "Maybe we should name her...."

Me: Satan?
C: No, but didn't Samantha have an evil twin sister?
Me: Yeah, Serena.
C: She seems more like a Serena than a Sam.
Me: She seems more like a Beelzebub than a Sam. Or a Mephistopheles.
C: She's a bit crazy.
Me: You could call her "Luna," short for "Lunatic."
C: She'd have to be a New Moon, there's nothing very lunar about her.
Me: Okay, call her sin luna, without the moon. You can call her "Sin" for short.
C: That's going to be appropriate.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

A little less tension in the air this morning.

Neither of us felt like running, so we went for a walk instead. Cold enough to require long sleeves, but not so cold as to demand coats; everything still quite damp from yesterday's serial downpours. Fairly reminiscent of the early days in Eugene, walking and talking without really saying what's on our minds. Even the season is proper for this kind of meeting.

But...overall, okay. Everything's fine.

Right now I feel like I'm just a passive spectator in the game of my own life. Everyone else is moving the pieces, and I just get to watch and hope it works out in my favor in the end.

4:21 PM showers. So full of cute things. Kind of odd to be expressing condolences (loss of a father) and congratulations (on impending birth of said baby) on the same morning.
4:10 PM

“A man will always be someone appealing that always will be a stranger; a woman is never really completely a stranger with another woman. There is more of an intimacy and a complicity.”--Catherine Deneuve.


Friday, October 25, 2002

Yeah, and I'll bet they're all sitting around Dean and Joyce's smoking.
11:00 PM

Well, now she's mad.
10:27 PM

What's happening in Moscow is, of course, awful. But what the hell did Russia expect? You can't keep abusing a people and not expect them to react. Russia has totally fucked with the Chechens for over a decade now, and quite frankly, I'm surprised the Chechens haven't done more damage than they've already done. Quite honestly, the Russian gov't deserves everything the Chechen' "rebels" throw at them.
What I can't figure out: why isn't anyone (the U.N., for instance) stepping up and pounding on Russia's head? Why isn't anyone paying attention? Why have none of my friends ever asked me, "Say, Susanna, why is that in the early 1990s, Russia granted autonomy to pretty much any nation that asked for it--Ukraine, Georgia, the pre-Baltic states, all the various -stan states--but not to Chechnya? What do you know about this, oh knower-of-all-Russian-things?"

Well, I'll tell you what I know about it. The Russians have been vilifying the Chechens for centuries. Pushkin didn't pull that "zloj Chechen'" phrase out of a vacuum. But more than that, it's about the same thing it's always about: it's about oil. *Of course* Russia can't let go of Chechnya. And the U.S. can't let them let go of Chechnya. Heaven forbid the pipeline routes to the oilfields of the Caucuses and Central Asia should be jeopardized by not being under Russian control. There is a major pipeline route from Baku through Grozny (the capital of the Chechen' Republic), and it culminates in a Russian city (Tikhoretsk, I think that's how you spell it in English). And the Russians want desperately to preserve that pipeline, as well as access to the Baku/Chechen' oilfields. Russia is doing what it always does: fucking with ethnic hatred to mask its real desire to gain full control of the Chechen/Central Asian oil fields. It did the same thing w/the Georgians, it did the same thing w/the Azerbaijani and Armenians. And the rest of the world sits there and watches it all, hoping for an outcome that is financially beneficial to all the members of the U.N.'s Security Council. Well, fuck that.

The thing is, this is old news. So old, I've forgotten and re-remembered it a dozen times. It's been more than ten years, and still the war goes on in Chechnya.

10:20 PM

Interesting things from my e-mail. My friend, Susana, seems to determined to create webpages that are actually useful. Her newest contribution to the web:

I, on the other hand, haven't updated my main webpage in months. I haven't even updated my architectural consulting webpage recently, and that's bad, because my fee structure has changed and I should really let people know that. I'm so damn web lazy that I'm actually considering *buying* a new template for this journal so I don't have to go through the effort of fixing the lingering errors on this one. Blah. Well, in my own defense, I should note that my hand freaking hurts, but I notice it hasn't prevented me from playing either Free Cell or hockey, so that's a pretty lame excuse.

10:30 AM

"It tastes like childhood!"

Should Flinstones ever decide to market its chewable vitamins to adults, there's their best shot at a tagline.

When we were kids, my siblings and I would drop our Flinstones vitamins in our chocolate milk and stir it as quickly as we could so we could watch Fred and Barney drown in a swirling, lactose-laced whirlpool. Probably they were already in a coma before they drowned from bouncing their foreheads off the glass repeatedly. If we didn't stir our milk, the corpses would settle to the bottom of the glass and dissolve into a solid splash of color. Then we could watch it get picked up with the currents when we played with our milk instead of drinking it.

And speaking of childhood, I just got back from a run in the (pouring down) rain. Catherine completely doesn't understand why I would do such a thing, but it reminds me of being a kid and all those years spent watching/playing soccer in inclement weather. Hell, getting all wet and muddy was half the fun, and why should it stop now just because I'm old? This is the first time--at least since college--that I've gone running "just because." I didn't need the workout since I have practice tonight, and I didn't even take a watch.

Things to do today, probably in the order of appearance:

Go out to Lowe's and pay for our kitchen cabinets--ouch.
Return all those overdue library books.
Find some lunch.
Feed the birds.
Clean the office.
Go to practice.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Along the lines of keeping myself busy, I just spent the evening ripping up the carpet from the hallway. It's going to look really good when the wood is refinished. I just need to get the carpet up off the living room floor, and we can begin refinishing. Well, I'd like to do the office and bedroom, too, but that's a goal to be met some other year.
8:25 PM

I heard the White Spot song on the radio this morning, in a Toyota commercial. Really, I think it's Albinoni, but it makes me happier to think of it as the White Spot song. I wonder what Barb's up to these days.

The weather is beautiful, Bloomington is beautiful. I rather enjoyed dashing across town (twice) this morning to deliver drawings to Steve, it got me out in the cool air and under the fall foliage. I love it when the trees are still a lime-tinted virescence in the center but a burnished gold on the outside. When the sun catches them, they look like a flame burning on some yet-to-be-discovered green gas. The kind of beauty that makes you ache. Or as the poet says, "Beauty crowds me til I die." Leave it to Ms. Dickinson to make even the sweetest moment painful.

It has been kind of good being busy w/the drawings, no time to stress out over the bigger issues of life. I can get all worked up about, "Christ, I need to get these drawings done!" instead of "Christ, what if my father dies?" and that helps. I don't know how people do it, I really don't.

I dad must be scared. Mom says not to come home, it's not like he can talk to us since he can't breathe. She and Aunt Rosie are going down to stay in Wenatchee starting today, either at some hospital housing or in a motel, or maybe at Dean and Joyce's. Rosella has 7 weeks of sick leave built up and seems willing to use it, which is good. She was completely there when Dad had his heart attack, and we probably take advantage of her too much. Mom has (had, at this point) an appt. w/Caralee this morning for therapy, so hopefully she'll feel physically better, at least.

And I swear, if I ever see my brother again, he will feel my venom like he never has before. He doesn't have to act like oldest son, I've got that covered, but he'd damn well start acting like some sort of son besides the evil one.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Will the adventures never end?

I honestly had no idea it would be dark by 6:00. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself 3/4 of a mile away from my car, running through increasing darkness. I reassured myself, surely it's okay, I don't have that far to go, right? But at the 1/2 mile mark, two teenage boys ran out of the woods behind me and shouted something at me. I could see the outline of one of them when I looked over my shoulder, he had on a white shirt. They started following me on the trail. Maybe they were just going home, but did I really want to find out? I discovered that I can indeed sprint for 1/2 a mile. Of course, afterward I had to puke, but that's technicality. An unpleasant one, but a technicality all the same.

6:64 PM

Oh, my....this is funny. Not the story itself, but the musical they were watching. I simply cannot imagine Dva Kapitana as a musical. "And now I will sing the contents of the letter I found on the ground after the postman with the shiny buttons drowned in the flood and lost his mailbag...." "And now I will sing as my party perishes after our boat is crushed in ice flows far away in the north..." "And now I will sing as my head is shaved clean in an orphanage and I eat my cold gruel and--wait--I don't speak, so how can I sing?"

I had to memorize the entire freaking novel in 3rd year Russian, word for word.

4:27 PM

Kirk, Tom and I must be on the same fashion schedule. This is the second time this has happened: Tom is wearing olive pants and an olive/grey dress shirt. Kirk is wearing grey pants and an olive shirt, and I am wearing olive pants and a grey shirt. Our students probably think we're freaks.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Fuck. I knew it wouldn't be good. The last time my mom left me a message like that, Mark had died. Dad is in the hospital, he can't breathe. And I guess he's been slowly developing a case of carbon dioxide poisoning from his weak lungs. Mom says I shouldn't come home, but I think I should. Someone has to take care of things. If he gets out of the hospital, he'll need someone to go to the pharmacy, someone to figure out his meds, and someone to just get things in shape. And it shouldn't have to be my mom. I should be able to trust my brother and sister to do this stuff, but that won't happen, so maybe I'll fly home just to make myself feel better.

And I'm really, really angry at everyone who smokes right now. I wish they would just knock it the fuck off. That includes my mom, all my relatives, and all my friends. STOP IT. I don't want to keep doing this over and over and over. I don't give a fuck how hard it is to break an addiction, I really don't. If you think giving up the smokes feels bad, wait until you have three burly guys throwing you on a gurney, ripping off your clothes and pounding on your chest. Wait until you get strapped onto a tray and shoved in a helicopter and airlifted to another city w/no one to explain to you what the fuck is going on. Wait until you spend a week in ICU w/freaked out relatives hovering in the wings while overweight, out-of-shape, cigarette-smoking health professionals lecture you repeatedly on how stupid you are to smoke.

And that's if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, you get to die on the bathroom floor in front of your wife and baby daughter. You get your chest cracked open, your heart yanked out, and in the end, you still die. So maybe you should hope for the week in the ICU.

Just wait until you get an invite to your own wake. I'll tell you one thing--if you die from smoking, I'm not fucking coming to your funeral.

7:21 PM


2:48 PM

I swear to god I didn't touch any poison ivy.
2:24 PM

Augh! I am so annoyed that I can't find my watch w/the black wristband. I know I wore it to Indy on Friday, and I have a vague memory of taking it out of my hockey bag so I wouldn't lose it in one of the lockerrooms over the weekend, but now I can't find it. It's not so much that I need it to tell time, but Catherine gave me that watch (to replace the one she gave me and promptly lost!). And it's not so much the watch but the wedding ring I know I looped in the band. We're getting new rings in a few days, but it's not like I wanted to instantly lose the old one just because I got a new one.

In other commentary: social workers should not have meetings at local coffee shops. All I want is to drink my coffee and read my book. I should not have to listen to two social workers talk about their screwed-up caseloads. They both had out their notebooks and pens, so I'm assuming it was some sort of formal, pre-arranged meeting. But let me tell you, I should *not* be privy to information about a 14-year-old who has been placed in a group home and shouldn't have been because he has a history of sexually abusing younger children. Idiots.

9:53 AM sweet. Last night when I went out to the living room, Catherine was all curled up in her flannel pajamas, playing with the stuffed Halloween bear I bought her yesterday. She was taking off his cute little cat costume, and putting it back on. She even put a piece of candy in his little pumpkin-shaped treat bag. SO CUTE. One of those moments that make my heart clutch.

We've been going around in vague circles, trying to decide what to do for our tenth anniversary. Go to the Limestone Grille like last year? The Story Inn? The Scholar's Inn? Go to the mall and look at little kids in their Halloween costumes? Drive up to Indy for the evening? About half way home on Sunday we decided we'd do something new and exciting: STAY HOME. I can't remember the last time we actually cleaned off the kitchen table and had a real meal together at home. We "cook" something maybe once a week, and I generally clean my plate whilst walking between the kitchen and the living room. I'm not sure when we stopped hanging out in the kitchen together. Anyway, I'm going to clean the kitchen from top to bottom the day before so we can have a nice, quiet, relaxing evening at home for a change.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Okay, I was living life elsewhere this weekend, and haven't been able to watch the World Series as usual. I made it through 3 innings on Saturday before falling asleep, and only managed to watch 2 ups in the 7th by Anaheim before crashing last night. But this stupid taco story reminds me of why I often almost hate sports. Does everything have to have a freaking corporate sponsor? And god, if I have to watch one more Fox commercial, I will die. I only watched 3 innings, and already I'm ready to slit my throat to avoid all the commercialism, corporatism, and whatever-else-ism that gets on my nerves. If it's a trade off, if I have to put up with all the commercial crap to watch the game on TV, I'd just as soon it not be televised. We'd probably be a better nation if we still listened to sports on the radio. I have no evidence to support that position, just a strong feeling of revulsion every time I turn on the television, and that's got to mean something.
8:19 PM

Oh, yeah. I'm doing another measured drawings job for BRI. But I'm not sure if I'm doing it for money or as a volunteer. I should really ask.

And actually, although the timing would have been really bad, it's too bad I couldn't see Debbie this weekend. She couldn't find her keys, so she missed the game. But hopefully she'll be at the January one, provided I haven't quit the team. I can't believe we live so close to each other yet have not seen each other even once in the last five years. That is so sad.

7:58 PM

Well, Truly has me figured out. We were chatting about why we live in Bloomington (as opposed to Indy or some other city), and eventually she said that could understand how some people feel safer living in the city. "You know, people who are....different." And I said something about how my partner and I feel safe enough in Bloomington, and she agreed that Bloomington was pretty good on the diversity score, and that was that, a sort of silent acknowledgement. I *almost* offered to give her a ride to work in the mornings, but decided I wasn't that nice of a person. But now that it's getting colder, maybe I should.
7:03 PM

There were some really nice things about the weekend, I just need to dig through my anger and my headache to find them.

I (We) love visiting Columbus. We have a little routine that we enjoy, and although we varied it a little bit this weekend, the basic elements stayed intact. We started w/breakfast at Tim's, which is only appropriate since we were there to play hockey. I totally sugar-loaded, but it was good. The cashier offered Catherine a senior discount, much to her dismay.

We had quite a bit of time to kill, so we went to the Columbus Museum of Art. There are some really good collections in the Midwest, I don't think we've been to an art museum we haven't liked since moving to Indiana. There was an excellent photography exhibit (A Thousand Hounds), and an even more excellent architecture exhibit (Museums for the Millennium). I wish I could get my students to make the trip over there, but I guess a ten-hour roundtrip drive is asking a bit much. But the exhibit was definitely worth it, if only for Gehry's Bilbao plans. Absolutely stunning roof plan. Plus, the exhibit included the Tate Modern, which made me want to flee to England instantly. Oh, to be an expat. Totally cool, but no exhibition catalog.

We walked around campus, OSU is really pretty this time of year. Stopped in at the Wexner Center, but it's closed for an entire year for renovations. It's only 10 years old, so that makes me think Peter Eisenman made some fundamental mistakes when he originally designed the building. If it doesn't work after only ten years, it's a lemon. I say that, but I love the space, I hope they don't ruin it with renovations.

Oh, yesterday was the Columbus marathon, and we managed to come across the course around the 23 mile mark. The course had been open for five hours at that point, so you know the people running by were just hurting. I was watching them struggle and kept getting all choked up. I could see Catherine looking at me, then looking at me again, and I finally said, "Quit looking at me! I'm having a sports moment!" and she laughed.

We usually eat at the Cooker after we play at OSU, but I was not going to spend one moment longer with the team than I had to, so I beat it out of the locker room and out of Columbus. We ended up eating at a place called Salvi's Bistro. The subtitle on the restaurant sign said "casual eating," but as it turns out, we were the only casually dressed people there. It was good, but way too heavy. They had these little "pasta Salvi" things that were square egg noodle casseroles rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried. Tasty, but they feel a lot like lead in your stomach.

I pretty much shared every bit of blue language I could come up with w/Catherine on the way home. Poor her, she had to listen to me fume all the way across Ohio. Well, I calmed down some after I ate, but it was a good thing Debbie didn't show up at the game, I couldn't have talked to her afterward w/out looking like a total shrew.

And thanks, dear, for saving my sweatshirt. I really, really, really appreciate it.

4:32 PM

I must be absolutely incoherent at 8 a.m. One of my students brought a cup of coffee to class for me today. When I said thank you, she replied, "You're welcome, dear. You looked like you could use it." I love Hoosiers.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

It's way too freaking early in the morning to be sitting in front of a computer. But I'm waiting for mapquest to figure out my life for me. What a great service.

This may be the morning to find some caffeine.

Okay. A weekend away--or at least, an evening away--might do me some good. A game tomorrow in Indy, then a game on Sunday in Columbus. Haven't decided what we're going to do in Columbus Saturday evening/Sunday morning. Sleep? That would be my activity of choice at this point.

Storm is coming, I can hear the wind.

11:26 PM

So...CP is back in my life on a limited basis. We've been exchanging e-mail for a few months now, and generally just sounding one another out about where we are in our lives these days. I sent her a long reply to her latest e-mail last night, then spent a couple hours not sleeping over it.


Wow. No surprise we didn't make it as a couple. No surprise at all.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It shouldn't surprise me. I know from back in the shrinking days that I'm totally disconnected from my body. I know all about body dysmorphia, I've done all the tedious cognitive behavior exercises. But, still, I'm always amazed at *how* out of touch I am with my physical self.

While I was running today, I was composing a journal entry my head, and it started with the sentence, "Damn, I'm a slow runner." I plod and I poke and I eventually get to where I'm going, it just takes me forever. Today I felt exceptionally slow and lethargic. But I finished my out and back route, and discovered that I had improved my time by a minute and 19 seconds.

How does that happen? I feel really heavy lately--not "My god, I'm fat" heavy, but my limbs feel like they weigh a gazillion pounds, and they don't take me anywhere very quickly. Except apparently they are. Well, I'm still a slow runner, but I'm faster than I give myself credit for.

In other body dysmorphic bulletins, I could have sworn I was gaining weight. I really do feel exceptionally prone to the pull of gravity lately. I avoid the scale if I can, so I can't be certain, but I would have put money on the fact that I was gaining back some of the weight I'd lost.

[erasure] I walk around with my body all day long, you'd think I would know it a little better than I do.
6:42 PM

I'm looking very femme today. Well....okay. That's an impossibility. I don't know if it's the way I walk, the shoes I wear, or the fact that I carry my wallet in my back pocket, but I couldn't even look femme wearing a dress. However, I'm definitely a step down from high butch today--olive-colored jeans and a khaki-colored linen/cotten blend tunic that falls almost to my knees. It even has sprigs of olive like baby's breath or something. The butch shoes kind of wreck the feminine effect, though.

I even ironed it myself. And in even more in the way of will-the-wonders-ever-cease-sort-of-news, I put the ironing board away when I was done. I'm not such a bad guy!

Ten bucks says someone compliments me on my shirt today. Whenever I wear Catherine's clothes, I always get compliments. No one *ever* compliments me on my ties, though, and I have some pretty fine looking ties in my closet. What could be the reason? Maybe when I look more like a girl, people feel more comfortable invading my personal space and making comments about my appearance. When I look like a boy, they respect the boundaries I've constructed around myself. Or, it could be that a woman in a tie just sends everyone around me into a panic--they don't know what my game is--is she gay? is she stupid? does she know how laughable she looks?

On my more confident days, I find it fascinating how people are absolutely incapable of separating individuals from their clothes. They see a tie, and they automatically think "man." I absolutely *hate* being taken for a man. And I know it's partly my fault, I could dress in drag, nice feminine frilly clothes, but really, is it all my responsibility? Shouldn't people think about fashion a little more critically?

Sometimes it's funny. When I lived in LA, I ate at the same Subway shop every day, and the same people waited on me every day. And invariably, about once a week, the counter guy would glance up and say, "What can I get for you, sir?" And then there would be a pause, and he'd change it to, "'am." And then, "Sir," and back to "Ma'am." And I was usually wearing a t-shirt and shorts, nothing very gender specific. I just really wanted to ask him--why is it that you could figure me out yesterday, but today you can't seem to pin me down?

Last week, as I was leaving McDonald's, I heard a man behind me say, "Was that a woman or was that a man?" And I wanted to turn around and ask him just when was the last time he saw a guy built like the Venus of Willendorf eating fastfood in Bloomington.

Catherine was totally joking when she said I should go talk to one of the counselors at the Kinsey about my gender "issues." They don't do the kind of counseling I would need. I'm not one of those TG people who wake up every morning thinking, "My god, I'm a man trapped in a woman's body." I'm perfectly fine w/my body. I'm female, and I'm fine with that. I's bodies are....ick. Wouldn't want to touch one, wouldn't want to be one.

On the other hand, I'm incredibly bad at being a girl. But, then again, I'm not so good at being a boy, either. I don't get half the stuff my teammates talk about in the locker room--particularly not the two most common topics: wedding receptions & getting pregnant. But I'm also not one of the guys--I've always worked in male-dominated fields, and my best friends have typically been male, but I know they change their behavior when I'm around. Which is a good thing, I don't really want to be sitting around making sexist jokes about my wife. So, I don't know. I'm not a girl, but I'm not a boy. I occupy the interstitial space between the socially-enforced gender binary of girl v. boy, and sometimes that really sucks.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I would like to extend my thanks to the individual who invented rumble strips. They're quite effective.
10:34 PM

Okay, apparently I'm just an idiot, but what does it mean when somone says they are having "come to Jesus" talks with their boyfriend? I *think* it means they are trying to save the relationship, but this would be a dangerous time to make an assumption based on vague language.

As an afterthought, I don't get how all those 70s, feminist lesbians managed to do the "let's be friends" things with their ex-girlfriends. I find it incredibly disconcerting to listen to *my* ex-girlfriend talk about *her* (ex?) boyfriend.

1:55 PM

Ouch. Harry doesn't pull any punches. I knew there was a reason I liked that man. It may be an "unfortunate...characterization," but the basic message is the right one: quit sleeping with the enemy.

In other, completely unrelated news, Yay, yay, yay!

1:00 PM

Thursday, October 17, 7:00-9:00 pm, Rawles Hall 100


Professor Salih Altoma, "A Brief History of American-Iraqi Relations"
Kabhim Shaaban, "Report from the Inside of Iraq"
Cynthia Hoffman, "The Children of Iraq"
Deena El Saffar, "Reflections of an Iraqi American"

Professor Salih Atoma is an IU Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Near Eastern

Kabhim Shaaban is an IU graduate and former instructor, and now a
Bloomington businessman

Cynthia Hoffman, has been long active in humanitarian work for the
Iraqi people

Deena El Saffar is an Iraqi-American and member of the well-known
Bloomington-based band, "Salaam"

Sponsored by the Progressive Faculty Coalition

9:03 AM

Things that will amuse only me:

I'm wearing the shirt I wore when we went out with Fran for the first time in New Orleans.

I didn't cut my hand open on my skate blade this morning.

Just because I'm congested, it doesn't mean I have a cold.

Although I blithely wandered into poison ivy on August 30, I still wake up every night furiously itching the contact spots.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Damn, Catherine just yet out a yelp and stopped my heart. But it was just that Esther was on TV, not that the house was on fire.
8:46 PM

Beth had a baby! It's Raymond!
5:19 PM

Okay, I'm starting to lose patience with Alan. How long--and I mean *exactly* how long--do we have to wait for him to come fix our driveway? The tornado was weeks ago, and yet here we are, still no driveway. Yeah, I could hire Bob Rogers to bring in some filldirt and fix it, but Alan should have done it right in the first place, and he should definitely show up and fix it on the day(s) he promised to do so.
5:18 PM

Oh, I so need to comment on this, but I don't have time right now. It is a complete and utter misconception that lesbians don't have as many body image problems as straight women. Lesbians are *not* "protected," they are silenced when it comes to their bodies. They will lie through their teeth and tell you they're okay with the way they look, because that's what they're supposed to say. They want to be good feminists above all else. They're supposed to be all positive and accepting of the female body, but they are absolutely not, not anymore than any other woman in Euro-American society.

Man, I could write a book on how little help there is out there for lesbians with eating disorders. The medical profession en large doesn't know how to treat gay/lesbian patients, and it's even worse when it comes to mental health issues, and even more worse (worser? more bad?) when it come to eating disorders.

But I don't have time to rant right now.

9:51 AM

Awesome. Two e-mails from my coach this morning. I am on the purple team roster for both games this weekend as well as the Cleveland tournament.
9:21 AM

Do you suppose there is such a thing as a Southern California accent? I mean, besides the whole Valley girl thing. Because the voices Susana G. and Susan A. are absolutely indistinguishable on the phone (except for their laughs), and the only common denominator I can come up with is that they both grew up in the same part of the state, more or less.

Also, what is it with the parents of children born in the 1960s? Couldn't they branch out and find a few more names for their daughters? I swear that half the women I know who are roughly my age are named Susan, or some variation thereof. I had 72 people in my graduating high school class, and three of us were named Susan. What's up with that? Not that anyone cares, but I was named after the doll my mom had when she was a little girl. She still has the doll, in fact, and keeps saying she's going to get the arms and legs replaced. It has a china head, but the limbs were plastic, and when she left it out in the sun one day, the doll developed a deep tan everywhere but its head.

Sadly, I do not tan.

C: You two sounded like you were having fun.
S: Yeah. At least, I was.
C: You have a friend!
S: Yeah, it sounds like it, huh?
C: I'm happy for you, honey.
S: Yeah, I'll try not to freak out about it.
C: *knowing laugh*

So far, so good, I did not lie awake all night and obsess about every stupid thing I might have said. I woke up early and took care of that task, instead.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

A prideful moment:

Today the instructors were feeding us pucks out of the corner so we could practice our shots. We had an orange construction cone set up in net to provide a specific target. I hit a one-timer on goal so hard (and so accurately) that I broke the cone. Shattered orange pieces all over the crease, and a puck-shape blast hole in the cone.


10:14 PM

Game last night, first of the season. I am one tired kid, and I have a hockey lesson in two hours. My hamstrings are so tight they feel as if they could snap at any moment. It's going to be a long week. We had practice on Friday, then I made the mistake of staying up until 2:00 a.m. for basketball, then we had a game last night, and had to drive back late, then I have a lesson today, then practice Wednesday, practice Friday, a game in Indy on Saturday, and a game in Ohio on Sunday. I may die. If I'm lucky.

And I DO NOT have a cold. I will not, I refuse.

Something that totally pissed me off and should piss off everyone around me, too:

I stopped at K-Mart because I needed some more undershirts to wear to work. I was back in the men's department when this flash of orange caught my eye--it was a Halloween costume that someone had apparently been carrying around and decided to toss over a rack instead of returning it to its proper place at the front of the store. The costume in and of itself was annoying: what parent in their right mind would dress their kid up in prison orange w/ a number on the back, lock them in a set of fake handcuffs and send them trick-or-treating as a convict?

What really made me steam, though, was the fact that the model on the front cardboard label was a young Latino/Chicano/Hispanic kid with a smear of dirt across his face. Okay, first, you shouldn't be selling convict outfits to kids. Second, if you're going to do that, you'd damn well better put a picture of the rich white guy at Enron on the label. Or a likeness of Cheney or any member of the Bush family. My god--where are the PR people for these companies? Who was it that sat around the table in the board room and approved the signage for this costume? I'd really like to talk to them about the apparent vacuums existing between their ears.
5:51 PM

Crack me up. From my hometown paper:

"I spend a lot of time watching the Seattle Mariner's [sic] baseball games. Some would say that was a big waste of time and a few weeks ago when they were losing every game they played I would have been inclined to agree, but to win three games in a row against Texas, in extra innings, has been encouraging, and also during the times I've watched, I have almost completed a large crocheted tablecloth, so it hasn't been a total waste of time."

2:10 PM


12:41 PM

This is how far removed I am from the cult of beauty and fashion:

I was reading the packaging of the Krazy Glue this morning to see how long it would take a bond to reach full strength. There was the standard "don't glue your hand to your leg" warning on it, and then a longer list of inappropriate uses for the glue--don't use it on teflon, foam, polyethylene, etc. The final prohibition was "Do not use on artificial nails." I seriously spent between 15 and 30 seconds cycling through all the types of fasteners I could think of--galvanized roofing nails? box nails?--trying to figure out what kind of nail could possibly be considered "artificial," before I realized...damn, they're talking about *finger* nails.

12:28 PM

Okay, cut yourself some slack. Remember? You're supposed to be giving yourself a break every now and then.

Sometimes I feel like I spend half of every night worrying about completely stupid things that don't even make sense during the daylight hours. And even though I *know* I'll think something is silly when I get up, I still let myself obsess about it all night long. How pointless is that?

One good thing about having Kirk for a boss is that he is completely laid back. Sometimes it makes him a less than ideal teacher--he's Mr. Big Picture, which doesn't always work when you're talking about something as detail-oriented as drafting. As a boss, though, it's great. I was digging through his file cabinet (after I'd already sifted through the stacks of papers on his desk), looking for the quizzes I lost, and saying to myself, "I can't believe I lost a stack of quizzes!" And Kirk started to laugh, and said, "Oh, I can," meaning not "Susan, you are so incompetent, of course you lost them," but "Susan, when you have hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper pass through your hands during a semester, it's inevitable that you will eventually lose one."

And when I went back to the CAD lab, I had to just laugh at Kirk, because sitting there next to one of the student machines was a stack of tech graphics quizzes (complete w/key) that Kirk had forgotten there last Friday.

10:38 AM

And the vitamins, too.

I meant to sleep in this weekend, and somehow I just forgot.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

I love hockey season. The weather is cooler, and then it gets sharp, and then it gets downright cold. I'm always in the cold, but never cool down enough to really get cold anymore. We get to go to Columbus, one of my favorite cities. Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto...I love to travel. And the smell of ice....mmmm. The sound of ice, almost better. Just walking into a new rink makes me happy. I find myself wishing I could quit my day job and take some sort of rink rat job just so I can be around the ice all day.

The running trail is covered with leaves now, even though there are plenty of green ones still on the trees. The weather is cooperating, providing a fine mist as we jogged this morning. Hopefully the real rain will stay away until we get back from Indy tonight. Winter is coming.

And basketball season has started. Only six months 'til the Big Dance! I can't wait. Some people live their lives by the school year, some by the calendar year, some by the fiscal year. I've always marked mine by the passage of sport seasons.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I seriously need access to my e-mail.

I hope Catherine doesn't freak out when she gets home from work tonight. I did warn her I was going to start pulling up the carpets, but since I've been promising to re-do the floors for four years now, she probably didn't believe me. Either she didn't believe me, and she's going to have a heart attack when she sees the dining room tonight, or she's been worrying about it all day, and will end up being pleasantly surprised in the end. It could go either way. Since I can't e-mail her, I guess I'd better call her before I leave for practice to warn her.

Some parts of the job were tougher than I thought they would be, some parts were easier. I'm not sure if the hard parts were hard just because pulling up carpets is intrinsically difficult, or because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Probably a little of both. This was one of those days I wished my parents lived just down the street. I really needed a hive tool, but I don't even know where you could buy one in Bloomington. Overall, the floor is in pretty good condition. It just needs refinished, and I'm so tired and dirty right now, I think I may hire someone to do that job instead of doing it myself. Plus, I've been feeling pretty butch all day, and lately I've been wondering if that's necessarily a good thing, so maybe I should hire someone else.

My best advice to aspiring home-improvers: always wear your safety goggles. If I hadn't been wearing my glasses today, I would be minus one eye right now. As it is, I have something of a shiner. Next time I'll definitely bring the safety glasses in from the garage, too.

2:11 PM

I really hate it when my e-mail is down. Don't these people realize I actually use my e-mail for things other than just screwing off?

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Well, it's not the first time I've wished my Spanish was better, and I suppose it won't be the last.

It's not that I absolutely cannot function in Spanish, because I can. Or, at least I can buy CDs and pizza when in a Spanish-speaking country, and what more could I want?

But really. I spent a couple hours at Barnes and Noble today, looking for something new to read, something preferably not in English. They have nine shelves dedicated to books in foreign languages, and seven of those shelves are for books in Spanish. (By way of pointless comparison, that's five more shelves than exist for lesbian fiction. It's a stupid comparison because even if there were twelve shelves of lesbian fiction, only three of the books would be worth reading, so it's not like we need more shelf space for these titles.) Of the other two shelves, one was taken up entirely by French books, leaving the rest of the languages of the world to compete for space on the remaining shelf.

Seven shelves of Spanish books can only be a good thing--it's definitely a living language, while Italian and German, for instance, would be used only by college students needing practice. And there was some good stuff there. A book by Julia Alvarez I haven't read, for one. Lots of fiction, a book on virgin imagery, I don't know, some cool stuff.

Contrast that w/the French shelf, which consisted almost entirely of classics. Okay, who the hell wants to read Madame Bovary in the original French, anyway? It sucked bad enough in English. Flaubert, Voltaire, Camus, blah blah blah. I wanted something readable. The German choices weren't much better. Do I really need to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in German? No. I almost bought Hanna's Daughters, but realized how ridiculous it would be to buy a German translation when I have a perfectly good English translation that I haven't even read yet.

An interesting weirdness: I could have bought Clan of the Cave Bear in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and presumably English. But again....why?

Okay, the point is, I saw probably twenty books in Spanish I would have liked to have read, but I know it would take me forever to finish anything w/any depth to it. And every time I run into a situation like this, I ask myself, "Susan, why the hell didn't you just do what you were told and take Spanish in high school?"

Spanish was the only foreign language offered at our school, and I dug in my heels and absolutely refused to take it (and pretty much screwed up my academic career because I couldn't get into UW w/out two years of foreign language, and that started a long, downward spiral culminating in my declaration of Russian (idiot!) as a major). It wasn't that I particularly hated Spanish, and it wasn't even that I was just aimlessly rebelling against authority, although I was known for doing just that. I couldn't even have articulated why I refused to take it, other than saying that it made a lot more sense for me to take another music class since I was going to be a music major in college and *not* a Spanish major.

I wasn't savvy enough to recognize why I refused to take it then, but I am now. It wasn't Spanish I was refusing, but all the implications surrounding it. The principal, my parents, etc., kept trying to sell it to me as such a useful language, I would need it later, it would help me out. But they weren't thinking, "Maybe you'll live in East L.A. when you're going to grad school," or "Maybe when you're walking el Camino de Santiago, you can use it." No, they meant "When you graduate from high school and get a job as a checker at Al's Empire Foods, you'll need to be able to count in Spanish so you can sell tortillas and beans to the Mexicans and you won't get short-changed."

(Okay, forget the principal's assumption that a migrant worker would of course try to rip me off because I didn't speak Spanish--that's another jounral entry.)

I just remember the fury I felt every time someone tried to convince me to register for Spanish I because "I would need it." Even though I didn't really understand it all back then, I hated the assumption that all those people knew what I would need to survive in the world. I wish now I had just taken the damned class, but on the other hand, I'm glad that I never shared the administration's vision for my future. I'm glad I never believed I had to stay there and marry an orchardist and work for minimum wage at Sak-n-Pak until it went out of business. I may not know exactly what it is I want in life at the moment, but I know it's something more than what was being offered to me in high school.

Well, anyway, I ended up buying a book of Russian short stories--how incredibly, tediously dull--and a novel in German. Kind of risky, it could be trite since it's about a friendship between two school boys (one Jewish) during the National Socialist years, but the blurb on the back described it as "incomprehensibly dark," and that sounds like my kind of book.

8:56 PM

Our neighbors have a dog. Or I should say, another dog. They already had one, this white poodlish thing. The wife/mother seems fairly concientious--in her "I'm in a completely different world and can't see anything or anyone around me" sort of way--about taking care of the white dog. She walks it a couple times of day, at least.

The new dog seems to belong to the husband/father, or at least he's the one who does all the chasing and yelling after it when it escapes and appears in our yard. I try to interact w/the neighbors as little as possible, but when the dog is running toward me and the husband/father is yelling at it to come back, I feel compelled to stop and try to catch the dog. Catherine and I were outside together when this happened, and I could tell by the look on her face that she, too, was silently begging the dog, "Please, just go back and sit down like a good dog, don't make him any madder than he already is, please, please go home."

The dog is energetic and friendly and doesn't seem unhappy, so I'm just going to let myself assume it's doing okay.

When I was in high school, I read something about pets and unhappy families. It stuck with me, and I've since realized it was completely and totally inaccurate, but it made me feel better at the time. It was some bit about how unhappy families should always have a pet. That way, even if no one in the house can say a civil word to each other, everyone at least overhears everyone else talking baby talk to the pet, and understands that kindness is possible in their parents/siblings/whatever. And having a pet lets you practice being kind, or something like that.

I remember reading it and looking at our dog and thinking "How true." We might throw things at each other, but never at the dog. Having a dog meant I could have something to love that wasn't likely to bite me back. I would never give my sister the chair that she wanted to sit in (and, in fact, I once pushed her off a chair we were fighting over, she landed on her head and unfortunately got a piece from a Mr. Potato Head stuck in her temple, and had to go get stitches), but you bet I'd always get up and give it to Gus.

Anyway, I've since realized cruel people are cruel to everything, including the family pet, but at the time, it made me feel better. And I hope that dog is doing okay next door, because those crazy people need it.

8:04 PM

Ah...I am a jealous woman. Even though C. and I have been together for ten years, I still hate, hate, hate to hear news of her ex. Do I care that the woman now has a big house with a pool? No, I do not. Hate her, hate her, hate her.

Catherine looked so good when she left the house this morning that I forbade her to talk to any other lesbians lest they try and take her away from me.

She left me a cute note, telling me I am "swell." I feel like a moll.

7:49 PM

We went to church today. Well, okay, it was a concert by the IU Marching Hundred, but that's a close second to church here in the Heartland. Everytime the band played an IU song--the fanfare, the fight song, the school song, the Indiana Chimes--the crowd rose reverently to its feet.

S: You'd think they were playing the national anthem or something.
C: I know, isn't it cute?

One thing, Indiana has the prettiest school song I've ever heard. I don't even know what the school song was for any of the universities I've attended. Fight song, yes (at least for USC), but not the school song. I think it's kind of a Midwestern/East Coast kind of thing to know the lyrics to the school song.

The second thing: The Marching Hundred has one of the best drumlines in the nation, and that's not an exaggeration. They are absolutely amazing. And I've seen a lot of percussion in my lifetime. A great feeder system here, too, with a lot of musical talent coming out of Bloomington North. IU has a great music school (every year we have to listen to the same tired argument: Is Juliard #1 or is IU?) and while I think I've seen better marching bands, the drum line has what it takes.

I think all the American critics who panned Blast! (haven't seen Blast! II so I can't comment on that) need to get out of their tight little urban worlds and spend some time watching drum and bugle corps work. Blast! was brilliant, but unless you've spent at least a little time watching the way flag corps move and marching formations develop, you won't see it. The critics were judging against some Broadway aesthetic and found it wanting. They just didn't understand its origin or its purpose.

I despised being in marching band in high school, and would never want to be in one now. But I love the precision and the flow and the energy, even if the music isn't the finest and the sound quality is low. Because it's as much a visual, visceral experience as it is an aural one. Too bad the Broadway critics are too lame to understand that.

5:39 PM

The Jackster caught a mouse last night. I don't know where he found it. Well, I know where he found it, on the back porch, but that's the first time in four years I've ever seen any small creature (other than a cricket) on the back porch. If I didn't know better, I'd say Jack broke out, ran into the backyard, tracked down a rodent, killed it, and ran back into the house with it to prove to us he was a better hunter than the Lunatic.

Catherine has been training Luna to fetch toy mice, and obviously Jack knows he can't be bothered with such trifles when there is real hunting to be had.

Every time I walk into the living room, Catherine is watching that damned public access channel that shows all the pictures of the animals who need to be adopted from the animal shelter. That's so not fair.
9:31 PM

Catherine's bud, Helen Horowitz, was in town tonight to lecture on her book, Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America. Well-organized presentation, interesting topic, good speaker. Maybe I'll even read the book! But I doubt it, that would seriously cut into my trashy lesbian novel reading time.

I'm not a frequent attendee of lectures on campus. It's not that I don't like lectures, it's that I abhor question/answer sessions. I would have made a lousy academic, I never really wanted to stand up and discuss my work in public. One on one over coffee cake, fine. In front of a bunch of strangers asking stupid questions? No, thanks. And no one really asks questions about the presentation. It's all: "I'm studying this, and I know this, this and this. What do you think of that?" It's all about, "My topic is A, make your topic relate to it," usually couched in five minutes of name-dropping.

9:24 PM

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10:01 AM

Thanks for the orange juice.