Friday, May 30, 2003

I thought for a few moments that today's post would go something like "My thirty-five years of a crime-free lifestyle are over, I got my first parking ticket today," but as it turns out, I beat the parking citation guy to my car by about 50 feet.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

My sister just sent us this thing from Australia. I think it's called a bull roarer? It took me a couple of minutes, but I eventually got it to make noise. It's probably very white man of me, but I think it's kind of cool.
Well...here it is, my new home. I'm sorry that I lost my old journal, but maybe it was time to start something new.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Ouch. I guess I set myself up for that one
I'm so pleased with myself. I really shouldn't have gone out and spent $25, but since I did...I'm pleased with myself.

We stopped at the antique mall on the way home from our walk this afternoon, and I got hung up looking at this way cool movie projector from 1961. It didn't have a price on it, and it wasn't like I needed a projector that probably didn't work, anyway, but it was so neat, I couldn't stop picking up, putting it down, picking it up, etc. I've got a nifty (if small) camera collection in our living room--a box camera, a Hawkeye, an old Kodak Brownie movie camera--and the movie projector would have fit right in with the rest of them. I've never seen a projector quite like this one: it takes 8mm "Magi-Cartridge" films. You just slide the cartridge in the back of the projector, turn it on, and it supposedly works. Kind of a precursor to a videotape, I guess.

No price tag, though. Then I saw an 8mm camera hanging nearby, and discovered that it, the projector, two reels of film, and a small projection screen were a package deal--$25. That's too good to pass up. Even if nothing worked, I wanted it just because of they way they all looked together.

Bought them (after a little hand-wringing over the state of my bank account), brought them home, set the whole outfit up in my garage, and discovered *the projector works*! One of the reels is this totally classic 60s flick on how to use the projector (if you don't know how to use the projector already, how do you watch the film?), and the other one was "Spectacular Spills," a flick of professional stunt ski jumpers. They both rocked.

The projector, front view:



The back of the projector, where the cartridge fits. The coolest thing is the little red button that automatically retracts the power cord:



One of the film cartridges:



The Savoy 8mm camera:



The projection screen (worth $25 on its own):



So, now I have to start going to garage/estate sales and see if I can drum up some old home Magi-Cartridge movies. Very, very cool.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Mm...maybe this will kick me out of my "god, I hate writing" stage.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

I'm pleased to announce the Bloomington Academy of Rocket Science is re-opened for business. I think Catherine just realized this morning that I had an ulterior motive for cleaning out the garage. My real goal was simply to unearth my workbench/rocket lab--having an organized garage was simply a happy side effect.

The workbench has been cleared and dusted, and I dusted off the rockets that have been just sitting there, waiting to be launched. I have some really cool rockets, I (re)-discovered. I just need to renew my membership in the NAR, rejoin Launch Crue (or maybe try ROCI or AMOREA this time around?), and get down to business. I may be heartbroken about not playing hockey this summer, but I'm determined to use the extra time on my hands to good advantage.
I think if I'd realized that cleaning out the garage would be a three day job, I never would have started it.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Finally. The moment of peace only held about ten seconds, but they sure looked cute while it lasted.

Jack and Luna, back porch

Summer is officially here. We went to our first drive-in movie of the season. It's fun watching all the kids and families play frisbee and run around before/between the movies.

Kind of a full day. Got up and did some landscape work for Habitat until noon, had lunch, worked on the garage for about four hours, had dinner, went to the movies.

My allergies are killing me. Not literally, but I look hideous, with a giant rash.
Well...miserly with my emotions...probably not. Miserly with my words? Without question. Where the hell did they all go? I never stop writing, so what's happening? I wouldn't be so worried if it was just that I was tired of autobiographical writing, but I'm not writing anything at all these days. Nothing. Just....nothing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The thing about digital cameras...you can be totally miserly w/your words and emotions in your journal, but still add some visual mark that will help you remember what you were thinking about when you took the picture.

936 W. 6th Street, Mason's Mark
Trying to rehab the front yard:



Raised beds, planted:


I am just stubborn enough to drag my feet about going out to dinner. And maybe I'll regret it later, but then again, maybe it would be nice to assert myself for a change.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. I spent most of yesterday in bed, or on the couch. When I woke up, my head was totally clogged up, my allergies finally kicked in, I guess. I stayed in bed really late hoping it would go away, but it never really did.

I'm down to about three tasks on my "get the yard in at least slightly better shape" list. Yesterday's task was to finish trimming the hedges around the house. I'd done one bush the day before, and had three to go. By the time I got through the second, I was so congested, I almost called it a day. And I guess I should have, because by the time I got through with the third, I couldn't breathe at all. Kind of like...I don't know, an asthma attack? What I imagine an asthma attack would feel like, I guess.

Well, we're going to hire Bob Rogers to finish the trimming, because in the long run, it's less expensive to hire him than it is to pay for a trip to the emergency room. I hate to waste a perfectly good trip to my doctor on something as lame as allergies, but I think I might have to now. Anyway, I've promised to stop working on the yard until Catherine's home to help me.

I think we're supposed to be doing landscaping at the Habitat house this weekend, I may cancel.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Gardening is way too much work, especially since I don't even like vegetables.

Catherine spreading compost/soil in the box Garry and I put together this morning:
Catherine w/a rake
Garry digging out clay so we can build the second bed:
Garry in the garden
Amanda moving soil from the front yard to the garden plot:
Amanda w/wheelbarrow
My shoes after I knocked most of the mud off:
Shoes w/a little mud
How does this work? I get out of bed saying that I'm not going to do any work today, none at all, and the next thing I know, I'm in the mud transplanting tomato plants. Why does this happen to me?

For a day of no work, I was awfully busy. We planted a whole bunch of stuff, almost all heirloom plants. The things that weren't heirloom were at least organic, with the possible exception the cucumbers. Maybe they'll die! I hope something grows for Catherine's sake, she's pretty emotionally involved w/all the little plants we've been raising. I pretty much don't like gardening, so it's going to be a long summer.

This morning we planted: tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, eggplant, beans, onions, carrots, squash, zucchini, melon, watermelon, pumpkin, and maybe something else, I can't remember. Amanda is going to treat the peas and plant those tomorrow, I guess. It's a little late to be putting in some of these crops, but we've got a long growing season in Indiana, so we'll see what happens.

I also ended up edging all the walks, and moving some gravel to fill a muddy spot on our driveway. Catherine is cleaning out gutters even as I type. Why aren't weekends just for resting? I want to know.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Damn, this is the way it always happens.

We met some really cool people, and finally managed to coordinate our schedules so we could spend some time at their house this evening. Rich and Lisa are both artists, and they have the greatest space, a lot of depth to it.

Rich is a photographer, and one of his hobbies is picking up old home movies, like at estate auctions, and having public showings of them on their porch. We went over for a private, indoors showing of a set of films of a family from New Haven, Indiana, taken in the late 1950s. Totally awesome. Melancholy, I guess, you get a real sense of your mortality, watching films of real live people who are probably dead now, but still, awesome. We just had a good time.

So, what sucks is they told us tonight they're moving to Massachusetts in a month or two. They bought some space in a converted mill for studios and apartments, so now all they have to do is sell their house here in town. We tried to be excited for them, because it's a great opportunity and they really want to do it, but what we were really thinking was, "Wait! We just found you! You can't leave yet!"

Damn.
Every once in awhile I do something that makes me feel good about myself.

Just got back from the dedication for Luz Maria's house, the Women's Build house. Ordinarily, I would avoid this kind of function; in fact, I didn't go to the dedication for Ricardo and Luz's house. Who wants to talk to strangers? But anyway, we went tonight because Catherine wanted to see the house, and it was actually pretty fun. Actually, pretty touching, watching a single mom being handed the keys to her own home.

As I was standing there listening to all the thank you speeches, I started tallying up all the affordable housing projects I'd worked on this year. This is my second Habitat home, and we've got three going at BRI. I start a third habitat home next weekend, and then a fourth in June. So, that's seven houses for low income individual/families. That's pretty good, and it just goes to show what a just one person can do to help out around the community.

So, anyway, I gave myself a pat on the shoulder tonight. Unusual behavior, but sometimes I think I deserve it.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Well, if I can't sleep tonight, it won't be from because I didn't work hard enough to wear my body out today. I'm looking forward to a good nap.

Got up, went running. Okay, a short run, but still, it was running. Came home, spent the rest of the morning turning up sod for a garden plot. Cleaned up, ate lunch, then went out to Cedar Bluff and got some flowers I couldn't really afford. Came home and finally filled in the bed around the limestone monument in our front yard. Cleaned up again, went and fed Diane's cats, went to taekwondo. Came home, cleaned up again, had dinner, and then went out to Menard's w/Gary and Amanda so we could get some 2x12s for the borders of our garden. Came home, spent a lot of time standing on the back porch alternately watching the lunar eclipse and the skunk playing in our backyard.

Hmmm...it seems unfair that I can summarize my entire busy day in a single paragraph.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

"I know a woman who says it's only at three o'clock in the morning when anyone can measure things. She says if you love yourself at three o'clock in the morning, if there's someone in your bed that you love at least as much as you love yourself at three o'clock in the morning, if you heart is quiet in your chest and neither muses nor shades crowd the room, it probably means things are well. It's the hardest moment to lie to yourself, three o'clock in the morning, she told me."--Marlena de Blasi
http://www.nuclearfiles.org/hiatomicbomb/manhattan.html
http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/106.2/br_77.html
http://www.geometry.net/physics_bk/atomic_physics.html
http://www.childrenofthemanhattanproject.org/COTMP/bibliography.htm
http://members.tripod.com/~Arnold_Dion/Daghlian/read.html
http://web.mit.edu/dikaiser/www/ColdWarSci.html
http://depts.washington.edu/hssexec/library_list.html

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Well...that's okay, then. A little late with the apology, but at least if I come back in the fall, I know it won't happen again. Or shouldn't happen again. They might have all forgotten about it by then and I'll be right back where I started from. But at least he said he was sorry.
Damn, I hate being an adult.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Monday, May 12, 2003

I am exactly the kind of person for which pain killers were invented. It hurts? Let's do it anyway!

Before I left for the Habitat site yesterday, I told Catherine I didn't care what I ended up doing as long as I wasn't on the roofing crew. That would be my own personal nightmare. I know my fear of heights is totally stupid, but I don't seem to be able to do anything about it. So, when Valerie asked me if I wanted to go up on the roof after lunch, it is completely beyond me why I shrugged and said, "Sure." I thought I would be able to will myself through my fear, I have a lot of pride and figured I wouldn't embarrass myself by admitting I was scared when a half dozen other women were doing just fine, but once I was up on the trusses, I knew I wasn't going to be able to do it. I toughed it out through the first course of decking, thinking maybe it would be better if I had something to walk on, but even that freaked me out, so I finally just said, "Uh, this isn't going to work for me," and called for a ladder.

Well, I felt like a wuss, but it was okay, because the roofing team needed someone on the ground to throw up decking material. So, I spent many hours hoisting 4' x 8' sheets of OSB over my head and up to the roof (luckily Ricardo and Steven were usually around to give me a hand), and cutting OSB to fit the odd spaces. I was totally worn out by 3:00, checking my watch every 15 minutes, but gave it up around 4:30 when I realized that it was going to take another hour or so to finish the roof and I wasn't going anywhere until it was done.

I learned a valuable lesson about cutting OSB. When the person on the roof hands you a diagram for an L-shaped piece, be sure and turn the OSB over before you cut. I *might* have realized that earlier in the day, but by 5:30, when I was cutting this piece, I was so tired that all my energy was focused on the circular saw, not the roofing process. "Okay, you're really, really tired, you have a power tool in your hand that could easily sever an artery if it jumps, so *focus* on what you're doing, ignore everything else." Anyway, maybe if I'd taken a little time out of my focusing I would have thought to flip that piece of OSB. Or maybe I would have just cut a thumb off, hard to say.

Well, we didn't finish until after 6:00. I know now why I've only volunteered for four hours shifts before this. 8.5 hours would have been long enough, 9.5 hours pretty much killed me. And I look like someone took a stick to me and beat me, I'm totally black and blue. Pretty good knot on my right knee where a piece of OSB slipped across it, and my fingers hurt where Michelle accidentally stood on them, but other than that, it's just tired muscles.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I handed Kirk one set of drawings this morning, handed a second to Steve, so now all I have to do is grading, and I'll be done. If I can make it through rehearsal this evening, everything else will be fine. I can sleep in a little tomorrow before tackling my students' finals, and that should get rid of the circles under my eyes and restore my youthful good looks

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Something good did happen this week--we got new neighbors. The owners of the house next door completely renovated it, and Catherine talked two of her co-workers into renting it. The whole moving in process sort of slipped by me since I was away from the house most of the week, but this morning Amanda came over to see if she could borrow an egg. Fantastico! I've always wanted friends living next door who would just stop by for whatever, whenever.

Sadly, we didn't have an egg. But still, it was a nice feeling knowing we would have someone to lend it to if we ever happened to have one.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

"Not that it makes any difference." This is what Mom said to me when she called me to tell me Uncle Walt died on Tuesday. What does that mean, "Not that it makes any difference?" I asked, and she replied, "Well, he was ninety years old, and he had a stroke." Is that supposed to make sense? It doesn’t make any difference that he died because he was ninety? No wonder I have so much trouble coping with loss and the grieving process—look at my role models.

Anyway, I wish my mom would stop calling me, because she only phones when someone dies.

Then also, she called to tell me that Pat died this week, and that's just…I don't know. Cancer of the kidneys. Wayne said they sent her down to Wenatchee, scheduled for surgery on Monday, and they didn’t think she’d make it through the operation. I guess she did, but not much longer. I'd really like to ask my mom what she thinks. Did she talk to her before she died? If not, did she wish she’d talked to her before she died? There's so much lost there, and no way to talk about it. I tried to talk to Catherine about it, but it turned into something bigger than I can handle thinking about this week, so I'll have to deal with all the complexities of our family histories some other time.

This has probably been the most frustrating week I've had since I started teaching full time. There is just nothing good about being adjunct faculty. You get no support. I know that part of it is incidental, I'm getting caught in the crossfire in a war between the permanent faculty, but it doesn't make it easier. I feel like I'm getting pounded from both sides—students behaving inappropriately on one hand, faculty behaving inappropriately on the other. And I'm stuck in the middle, just hoping I get to the end of the semester without hitting somebody.

I'm just a little over-extended right now, trying to do too many things. I just have to make it to Monday and it will be okay.

Well…I could type for two hours and not get to all the things keeping me awake at night. I started in sleep deficit Monday morning, and it's just been getting worse. The more tired I am, the less likely I am to be able to sleep. The only place I really feel like I could nod off is—unfortunately—behind the wheel of my car. I guess I need to find someone to drive me around town for a few hours so I can take a nap to the hum of the engine.

Better topics: I started construction management for one of the BRI homes, so at least I'm partly employed. Well, I get about $700 per house for showing up at the building site once every two weeks to make sure the contractor is doing what he's supposed to be doing. Unfortunately, I don’t get the money until the house is finished, so I won't be seeing it for awhile.

The Habitat women's build starts tomorrow. I really wanted to go help frame, but I'm just too tired, so I'm not going over until Sunday. The Habitat/Bloomingfoods straw bale house is scheduled to break ground on June 14th. They're mixing stucco and plaster for that house tomorrow, but I don’t think I'm going to make that, either. I'm scheduled to build twice next week, then again on the 24th and 31st, then move from there to the straw bale house. So, even if I’m more or less unemployed, I'll be doing something useful.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

I'm just a little tired.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

It was kind of like being in a movie--a small town in middle America, a parade with the high school band, the streets around the town square closed off for a small scale carnival, and a community band on the lawn.

That would be us, the community band. Given it was my first concert in forever, and my first as a percussionist, I think it went pretty well. Well...I screwed some stuff up, but so did everyone else, so that was okay. And I forgot the sunblock, which was not okay. Other than that, it's over, it went pretty well, and I'm ready to take a nap.

Completely nervous before the concert (I should have done up my shirt one button higher):



The entire band, ready to play:


During Windstar, right after Brian yelled at me to throw him the woodblock:


Catherine catches me between songs, looking manic:


Tim, Brian and I, totally focused, during the Washington Post March.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Okay, self....good luck.

I was sort of hoping it would rain today--early this morning I dreamt it was snowing, in fact--but no such luck. I guess the concert will go on. I haven't performed any sort of music since...god...1996? And that was vocals, so that was easier. Hopefully I'll get into a zone once we get set up and just go for it. Otherwise I might die of nervous exhaustion.
A totally amazing statistic: I have seen four movies in seven days. I never watch movies, definitely never volunteer to go to the movies, and tend to wander out of the room when we're watching them on video or TV. So four movies...that's a lot for me. Even more interesting, though, is the fact that every single one of them was about daughters in conflict w/their parents.

In order of appearance (but not preference):

1. Alma. I've had a few more thoughts on mental illness and its role in the life of an individual since seeing this last Friday. There were moments in the documentary when Alma really sounded as if she was suffering from schizophrenia, like when she was hearing voices in the "overhead," for instance. Partly I wonder if meds would help her, but then partly I wonder why we should medicate someone just because they're experiencing a different reality. And really, hearing voices from the cosmic ductwork somehow doesn't seem that implausible. If I can conceive of an "overhead," isn't possible that one exists?

But really, sometimes I wonder what the difference is between mental illness and just a solid will to survive. If you're raped at the age of three, and your family tells you that they can't take you to the hospital because the uncle that raped you would get arrested and no one wants that to happen, do they?, and then you start making up this story about your uncle being your first boyfriend because isn't that better than facing the fact your parents don't value enough to take you to the doctor, is that mental illness, or is that just a really efficient coping mechanism? If you suffer through all this crap, then tell yourself stories to rationalize it, or damage yourself physically to prevent it from happening again, is that really mental illness, or just surviving? I don't know, it just reminds me a lot of what they taught us about eating disorders: we become bulimic not because we want to damage our bodies and minds (that's just a happy coincidence); the real goal of bulimia is to give us something to distract ourselves with so we won't just give up and die.

Tough film.

2. Real Women Have Curves. I wrote out a lot in an e-mail to a friend about this one. I liked it a lot, but mostly was more interested in the peripheral characters than the main character (because let's face it, teenagers really aren't all that compelling). I'd really like to settle down with a novel about the older sister, and not just because I thought she was the cute one. I want to know what choices she made in life to end up owning a dress factory (okay, sweat shop). You could see her ambitions, and pretty easily speculate on the stumbling blocks that kept her from realizing them, but I would really like to know the specifics. She wasn't exactly filling a traditional role, since she wasn't married, but on the other hand, she was staying close to family in a way Ana wouldn't. So, anyway, I wanted to hear about her. And I really wanted to hear more about the old woman who started out the movie with a song.

3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Someone is going to have to explain to me why this was such a big hit. Same essential plot, daughter rebelling against parents, but just not very well done. For one thing, please explain to me why everyone keeps telling me, "Oh, it's all about how the ugly chick gets the guy." Nia Vardalos is beautiful, and I totally didn't buy the motivation (what motivation?) for her self-imposed makeover at the beginning of the movie. There was zero character development, zero plot development, and pretty much was a waste of my time. Blah. I wanted to like it, but just didn't.

4. Bend It Like Beckham. Man. I loved this movie, and for no other reason that it was about soccer. Yeah, it was also about the daughter rebelling against her traditional family values, but it's real value was the soccer. The story was almost exactly the same as Real Women Have Curves, almost exactly. But did I mention it had soccer? Well, like Real Women and Greek Wedding, the movie awards people would dump this into the "ethnic" category, and that always leaves the material open for comments like, "Geez, could they put any more stereotypes into this movie?" I guess all three had a little bit of that (but Greek Wedding was by far the worst), but sometimes I think you've got to put up with at least a little of that, otherwise you're going to be sitting in the movie theater for four hours instead of two.

Ah...that is why this isn't a real Indian movie, it was only two hours long! A real Indian movie should be at least five hours long! I loved the soundtrack, it made me want to run out and rent an Amitabh Bachchan movie.

The lesbian/gay subplot was okay, I guess. I get tired of the whole "my daughter's a lesbian!" routine, played for laughs. Of course, the daughter's not really a lesbian, it's just a big misunderstanding, and isn't that funny? Well, it was kind of funny, but still, how many times do I have to watch this same story?

But, mostly I just turned my mind off and enjoyed the sports. It's sappy, but I felt for Jess not being able to play soccer. I hated having to give it up, and although I've made peace with that, my sports emotions are probably still a little raw from having to leave hockey. So, there was a sports tear shed in there somewhere near the end of the movie. It wasn't the most suspenseful sports movie, doesn't come close to Hoosiers, but I still really liked it.

Oh. The closing credits alone made it worth the price of admission.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Bobby gave me my first cadence today, which is....cool. I know I can get cadences off the web, but this is just a lot more cool. It's the second version of the Bridgemen cadence. Dennis DeLucia brought it with him to the Star of Indiana after he left the Bayonne Bridgemen. Bobby wrote it out for me, which is....just cool.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Oh, lovely.
It's like being a cat toy. I'm amusing for awhile, but no one worries too much if I eventually get lost in a dark corner of the house.

Speaking of cats, the quote on the cat calendar this morning was, "If a cat spoke, it would say things like, 'Hey, I don't see the problem here.'" (J.R. Blount) After watching Luna act up all morning, I'm thinking there wasn't enough profanity included in that translation.
What I read last night while waiting for Mr. Rocca to take the stage.
What Catherine read last night (and I read yesterday afternooon) while waiting for Mr. Rocca to take the stage.
What I'm reading now.