Thursday, October 06, 2005
Monday, September 12, 2005
This room. Forest green walls, open windows, a desk, a cozy daybed, books and more books.
Privacy. Rooms whose walls go all the way around their occupants.
A porch light within my control.
Tomatoes in the garden.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Bob and I got into a silly argument before I dropped him at the T.
I went to vote and was criticized very vocally by the poll workers for using the wrong entrance. Then they couldn't find me on the books despite the fact that I have voted in every municipal and other election of the past several years. Then they found me and again very loudly reprimanded me for failing to send in my city census. Then they announced loudly to the room that I was a registered Democrat.
Stopped into the Danish Pastry House to buy a cup of the chili powder hot cocoa listed on their board, only to be told that they had no cocoa.
Got to my office, sat down, and began to do some work. My co-worker Paula walked into my office, not realizing that anyone was in here, and let out a blood-curdling, ten-or-so-second scream when she saw me seated at my computer.
And it's not even 9am yet.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The last episode of Six Feet Under begins beautifully and unusually with a birth. And ends with the deaths of each central character. Nate's death earlier in the season brings his remaining family the gift of living. I sobbed for the final fifteen minutes, stunned, and thinking about the value of hardship in my own life, and the pleasures I forget to enjoy when I refuse to let go of them. Lessons only, and then we move on...
After a weekend of moving, my thoughts come out a bit jumbled. Need to sleep soon. But will head to this evening's rest aware of the wonder that Bob brings into my life....
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
"We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled." — Roberts, in a 1991 Supreme Court brief he co-wrote for the first Bush administration, while he was principal deputy solicitor general.
"The statement in the brief was my position as an advocate for a client." — Roberts, explaining the brief during his 2003 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to a federal appeals court.
"Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. It's a little more than settled. It was reaffirmed in the face of a challenge that it should be overruled in the Casey decision. Accordingly, it's the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and
faithfully applying that precedent, as well as Casey." — Roberts, during the confirmation hearing, when asked for his own views on Roe v. Wade.
That's all great. But here's the tricky part: unlike lower level judges, Supreme Court justices don't just accept that the law of the land is settled. Sometimes they do the settling. And the resettling. And then make some more tweaks. The media's persistent refrain seems to be that Roe and abortion rights are not truly at risk in the context of our next Supreme Court justice. Just this morning on WBUR/NPR someone said so. Wake up!! These rights are exactly what is at stake. What's left of Roe that hasn't been eroded by Casey and Webster may not be here long. I imagine that in just a few short years time, we'll have to rally our slumbering sisters and resurrect the Jane Collective, to connect folks with legitimate providers. I think we're in for a bumpy ride.
Last comment: I'd like us all to remember back to the Gore-Bush election. Ralph Nader's refrain was that the two candidates were no different. Here's the difference, Ralph. And even though most days, I'm pretty rational about Ralph, and don't blame him...Today, I'm blaming Ralph. Thanks a lot.
So...something's got my right ear confused. Little tiny particles of calcium are rubbing up against the little tiny hairs in the canal, telling my brain that I'm in motion. But then, my brain looks around, realizing that no other motion sensors are telling it the same thing. The result: my eyes go a little possessed and I get really, really dizzy. And this, folks, is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. BPPV, or benign vertigo, for short. Could last a day or two or twenty. Could come and go through the years. And that folks, is what I know. I can also report increased instances of the hiccups and a strange twitching sensation on my nose. I think these are unrelated, though.
so, here's the official story: 10 years ago, someone let some japanese koi fish go in the pond. 10 years later, there's 4 of them: 2 orange, 1 white, 1 black. the black one is the biggest, but the hardest to see. and at this, the lifeguards held out their hands about three feet wide. great.A New Rumor from Joellen:
two very small alligators have been spotted in Walden Pond, the result again, of dumb people introducing them.From Multiple Sources:
snapping turtles abound. i myself have yet to see them. but if they differ from joellen's mimed version (picture a silly girl, wrapping her lips around her teeth, muttering, "myar-myar-myarym" while chomping air and spitting a bit), i might not recognize them.What Have You Heard?
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The only recent dream I recall at the moment was from this past weekend. I purchased two games I've been wanting - Bohnanza and Frank's Zoo. I didn't remember the dream until I was in the store The Games People Play, purchasing the games the day after I had the dream. Couldn't recall this during my lunchtime session, but I'm not sure it was the type of thing she was looking for. Gonna have to start writing them down. Which would be interesting on its own.
By the way - I'm a big fan of both games, as well as the store from which I bought them. I encourage you to check 'em out. Don't know yet whether I recommend Jungian analysis. I'll keep you posted...
Monday, July 11, 2005
Still yawning from our too early rise-and-shine to avoid the summer crowds, we wade into the still kinda chilly pond water. We swim slowly, chatting about kids' names and marriage and pregnancy cravings.
Marissa's never swum across and back, but we're halfway across and decide to go for it. We've stayed close to the side shore, in case one of us gets tired. We pass a family, sitting and fishing, and say hello.
Just beyond the family, the far shore is in sight. I'm excited, accompanying Marissa on her longest swim and making my season's first trip across and back. When suddenly...
"What the hell is that?" I shout, seeing a moving orange figure twenty yards ahead. Marissa stops. We tread water. It's a fish, we decide. "It's gigantic," Marissa hollers. We're laughing, and whooping. We're also nervous and feeling mighty silly, so scared of a fish. I mention that it looks like something out of a Japanese fairy tale. He stays directly in our path for several minutes, then starts to swim toward the middle of the pond. We go forward.
Then stop. Abruptly. Our forward motion has brought the fish back. Now we begin debating in earnest...do we go forward, or do we go back? It's just a fish, we say. True. But the fish doesn't seem to want us to go near it. The shore is in sight. But, that fish is gi-normous.
Marissa screams. "It's coming toward us, it's coming at us!" I scream, too. We're both doing a lot of screaming and flailing and laughing and more screaming. I begin furiously swimming the crawl back toward our home shore. After creating comfortable distance, I stop and turn, seeing that Marissa is still back there, screaming and shouting, the carp circling her.
"Swim," I yell.
"I'm trying, I can only dog paddle," she hollers back.
We're still laughing and whooping and generally nutty. She catches up to me, narrowly escaping the carp's pursuit. We can't stop laughing and talking about the fish attack. Marissa notes that up close, the fish was the size of her leg. It seemed that way from a distance as well. She says at least it wasn't a snapping turtle. She's really afraid of those.
We pass the fishing family on our way back. We tell them our tale. Marissa notes that "we screamed like little girls." And I have to admit that she is right. We ask if they've ever known fish to attack. The dad tells us it sounds like a carp. And the mom says that we don't need to worry about the carp, but notes that there are snapping turtles in the pond, and suggests that we watch out if we see one of those.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I know, I know. There is something seriously wrong with me, given that I'm quoting USA Today and writing about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on my blog. If anyone can help me, please, tell me how to recover.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I promise to show up if you do...
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Sunday, March 27, 2005
I am running anew. Training for, gasp, a timed mile. No race. No competition. No daunting goal.
Picture this. I'm 8. Ronald Reagan is president, and I'm politically engaged enough already to know that he's bad news. My least favorite of his policies: forcing children, such as myself, to run a timed mile once every year as part of the "President's Fitness Challenge." Pull-ups, a weigh-in, and other tests are part of this as well, but I dread nothing more than the timed mile.
This year, I think maybe I've underestimated myself. So...My mom wakes me up that morning, smelling somewhat of the cigarettes she still smokes in the house, despite the frequent requests from me and my dad to take it outside. I eat breakfast and make my way to school, dressed in gym clothes for Tuesday and the Fitness Challenge. Classes are fun, I love playing with batteries and light bulbs in science.
I look up and realize it's almost time. Mary complains that she's not sure she can finish the mile. Even though Mary never really talks to me, I make secret plans in my head to be her friend, figuring that she'll want to talk to me once she realizes that I'm just as slow as she is.
We get to gym class and head outside. We'll have to run around the school eight times. Our gym teacher, Mr. Neil, has measured the distance with a round spinny thing attached to a stick. Right now I hate the round spinny thing attached to a stick, because eight times around the school seems like a lot, and Galen keeps saying that a mile is no big deal, but this seems like a big deal.
We line up, and Mr. Neil yells "Go!" The boys take off very fast, and a few of the girls do as well. I start running, and try going as fast as I can. Almost immediately, everyone has left a handful of us in the dust. I resolve to stick by Mary, and Samantha, and Katie, not to fall behind them. Because if I do, I realize, I'm going to be last. Mr. Neil tells us our time each time we pass him. I've run around the school four times, and some kids have already passed me twice. Mary, Samantha and Katie seem to be holding up okay, but my side stings like nothing I've ever felt. I can't get enough air into my lungs - I keep trying to get taller, to make more room, but it feels like I'm drowning.
Two words run through my mind: This hurts. Again and again. This hurts. This hurts. This hurts.
I give up. I start walking. As I round about my fifth, sixth, and seventh laps around the school, the group of finished kids grows. They are resting on the grass, in the sun. I keep walking, except during the times when I pass them. I've heard that finishing in eight minutes is really good. Ten minutes is fine. Twelve minutes, well, that's slow. Except the thing is, it's already been more than twelve minutes.
I finally finish. Somewhere around fifteen minutes. I'm last. Mary finished long before me, and later that afternoon she makes fun of me for being so slow. So much for our new bond.
Fast forward. I'm nine, then ten. Both years, Mom and Dad, knowing how miserable this experience has been for me, generously write me a note, trying to get me out of the timed mile. It works when I'm nine, much to my great relief. But when I'm ten, no go. I'll save the full story of that year's mile for another time, but needless to say, I finished feeling just as humiliated, and was teased even more than I had been before.
So. Now I'm twenty-six. Married. Trained for a marathon last year - finished all of my long runs beautifully, running the whole way. After months of winter training, finished the marathon itself on an 85 degree day - that took some walking. From time to time, still find myself replaying elementary school and the Fitness Challenge in my head.
Except recently, I had a revelation. I was lying in bed, remembering the humiliation, and wishing that President Reagan hadn't been such a cruel man. Then I gratefully remembered that I am an adult now. An adult who learned how to train. And well, if I'm feeling embarassed that I can't run faster now, I don't need, or want, a get-out-of-gym note. In fact, that's the last thing my parents should have been giving me back then.
What I needed then, and have now, was a training schedule and some encouragement. So. Bob made me a schedule, and now it's my job to stick to it. I started two weeks ago. In eight more weeks, the kid in me is hoping to run the fastest timed mile of my life. With the adult in me there to cheer her on.
Wish me luck.
(BTW, the Fitness Challenge is still around, but a little different these days...http://www.presidentschallenge.org/index.aspx if you're interested...)
Thursday, February 24, 2005
My imagined version of me is much easier to ascertain than the real one. I never know whether I see clearly when I look in the mirror. During meditation, I return again and again to the me sitting on the cushion, breathing, experiencing physical sensations. Sometimes sitting, I feel trapped. Like a metal cage has sprung up inside my skin, my veins filled with wires. Then I remember, I've chosen to sit here for this period of time. Whatever itchy sensation on my nose or back, whatever tightness in my throat or abdomen, whatever heat and burning in my eyes, so what? Just sensations. Innocuous until I react to them like a caged beast thrashing and foaming at the mouth to escape my own body.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Translate anydin' into Swedish Chef. What it is, Mama! Or Jive, Valley Girl, o' Pig Latin. 'S coo', bro. Compliments uh Rena. Sheeeiit...
Translate anythin' into Swedish Chef. Or Jive, fer shure, Valley Girl, fer shure, or Pig Latin. Compliments of Rena...
anslateTray anythingway intoway edishSway efChay. Orway iveJay, alleyVay irlGay, orway igPay atinLay. omplimentsCay ofway enaRay...
Saturday, February 05, 2005
windy pigeons ascend moving small mountains,
iron masked statues watch and I catch closely
their shifting limbs, slipping eyes.
Sun and shade cast definitions –
your hands half-covered in uneasy sunshine,
calm inside the shade,
its restless inhabitants scuffing, shuffling, limping and dressed in green
wool or workpants, footsteps track through the haystacks,
our voices looking like that man in the leather jacket,
tired, a little overworked
and sitting to breathe
a moment or two
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Last night Bob, Deji and I felt unsatisfied half-way through a Celtics game at the Fleet Center. We surprised ourselves when we up and left. I think we surprised our other friends who were there with us, too.
Trudged through Boston's still snow covered streets toward Deji's automobile named, I think, Kenda. There was too much noise and even though he repeated her name three times, I never quite heard. But pretended to, because it seemed rude to make him tell me again.
On our way, we passed Anthem on Portland Street - Deji happily exclaimed, "Fried Twinkies! This is the fried twinkie place. Remember? Miranda and I told you about the Fried Twinkies!!"
Given the absurdity in my belly from an evening that Had Not Gone As Planned already, I said, "Let's get some," feeling that Fried Twinkies were destiny or salvation. Bob wanted home and Deji looked back and forth wondering what we would do. We compromised, and Deji, Bob and I walked in, dressed for a basketball game, not a downtown restaurant. Stopped at the hostess station and inquired, "Can we order a fried twinkie to go?"
"Of course. Just order at the bar." And that I did, gleefully repeating, "Fried Twinkie to go, please!" I clearly enunciated the exclamation point. A few minutes later, I took my fried twinkie to go and we went.
We made it home in time for Everwood and I popped open my styrofoam Fried Twinkie holding to-go box. Two Fried Twinkies! Both covered in fresh cream and ripe berries. Swooped my spoon down and bit in. Bit into sweet warm solid gooey sweetness so divine I swooned and devoured my Fried Twinkies quickly.
Fried Twinkies rock.
Monday, January 31, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
There are some good things to be said for Margaret Spellings, Bush's new Education Department Secretary. Back when they were both single, GW reportedly asked Spellings out on a date, but she brutally rebuffed him. That sounds about right. Also, Spellings was once asked on C-SPAN for comment on census data that showed a decline in the traditional family. Her response? "So what?" She said that there are "lots of different types of family" and noted that she herself was "a single mom." Finally, she replaces Rod Paige, who was the worst Secretary of Education this nation has seen.
That said, some of her first acts in office make me shiver in cold anticipation of what's to come. She's pissed at PBS. She's actually pissed at PBS and a bunny. An animated bunny with his own TV show, Postcards from Buster. Buster travels with a digital camera, giving kids a chance to see different people, places, religions and ways of life. Produced by my own hometown station, WGBH, the show is part of a larger program that receives some of its funding from the DoE.
It seems that in his recent travels, Buster took a trip to Vermont. He learned about maple sugaring, farm life, and - this is what upsets Spellings so much - met two lesbian couples who were getting a civil union. This incensed Spellings enough to demand that PBS remove the DoE's seal from the credits, notify member stations of the controversial nature of the episode, and refund the DoE for the costs of producing it. She also warned that the DoE will be clearer about its expectations for future programming.
PBS has decided not to distribute the episode. They claim that it's not because of Spellings' recent actions. I don't buy it. I am, however, proud of my local station, WGBH, which plans to air the episode in March and will be making it available to other stations.
Here's the thing. Today, 37 US soldiers died in Iraq. Over 1,400 US soldiers have died to date. Over 10,000 wounded, a number that leaves out vast numbers of soldiers suffering mental illness or trauma. According to some estimates, as many as 10,000 more Iraqi civilians have died. But somehow, men marrying men and women marrying women continues to register as a problem for people. I don't understand. My not-understandingness is so physically heavy that I wish I could find plainer words to explain - I don't understand. It's a bunny showing kids lives that may be different or similar to their own. Some kids have gay parents. The bunny isn't saying, look, the gay parents are good. The bunny isn't saying they are bad. The bunny just says that they are. That this is a fact of our lives in 21st century America. The bunny's not wrong. Why, oh why, do the conservatives want to deny and deny and deny the facts of people's lives? And why is PBS taking the politically expedient route and agreeing to denial?
We harm a child of gay parents when we say, 'as a society, we will not acknowledge your existence.' We harm our society when we deny the truth and experience of any one child.
Friday, January 21, 2005
My earliest memory. I am perhaps two and my mother has just finished giving me a bath. She scoops me from the tub into an endless ribbon of terrycloth and wraps me up in the towel and her arms. I am enveloped and warm.
Shooting the shit with Austin and commenting on the superfluity of something he has said. Then wondering if superfluity could be a real word and hoping it is because I like the way it feels to say so much. Like an icy tube for my tongue to slide down. He insists that it cannot be a word. We head for the dictionary - Merriam Webster online. It's a word and I win, which makes me feel smart and sassy and fluent.
No one time, but every time, I find stillness, resting my ear on Bob's chest and listening to the thump of his heart. I try to feel my own heart beat and his at once, and wait for those moments when they are in sync.
Driving up the coast of California with Karen, two unlikely campers. We're so rested and there's so much ocean. Every morning we wake up and watch the surf, eat an apple or some cereal or a peanut butter and banana sandwich. We pack the tent into the car and travel north. Stop for expensive lunch and nap on the beach. Drive further north. Eat an apple or some cereal or a peanut butter and banana sandwich for dinner and watch the surf. Sleep, carried along through the night on the waves that I can still hear three years later. Talking and singing and laughing so much. My favorite conversation that week was repeated over and over. "I'm full." "Me, too." "But we've only eaten half an apple." "But I'm so full." "Why are apples so filling?"
Sitting in my dingle - a dormroom in a suite that is meant to be a double but has only one resident - double single, hence, dingle - sitting in my dingle, junior year of college, revising poetry madly, finding that small pieces of poems I'd written over the previous three years all went together into one poem that actually described something the way I wanted to describe it. That they worked together to convey the sweetness and fulfillment and not-enoughness of sex, and the way I felt while I pulled the lines together was a miracle. I love the resulting poem, but not as much as I loved the feeling of letting it happen.
Letting Laurie cook me pasta for dinner senior year. I'd be somewhere in our apartment and suddenly, she'd say the magic words, "I'm making pasta for myself, do you want some?" And I'd hobble into the kitchen and talk to her and keep her company while she cooked pasta for both of us, sauce and all. And that pasta always tasted better than any pasta I've ever cooked for myself.
Same with chamomile tea and white rice. My friend Bill graduated from college while I was still a sophomore in high school. I used to take the bus from Portland, Maine to Boston to stay with him on weekends. He was a broke recent grad and rarely had much food in his house. He would make me white rice with butter and salt for dinner and together we would drink chamomile tea. I'd never liked white rice or any kind of tea before this, but I've always felt that anything freely given should be gratefully accepted. And I've often found that I enjoy things I normally wouldn't in such situations. That's what happened at Bill's apartment. To this day, chamomile tea and plain white rice are among the strangest of my comfort foods.
Swimming in the post-tropical storm surf on the Jersey coast with Bob last summer. Falling over ourselves as the waves flowed back to sea and the sand sunk us down and confused our eyes.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Laurie and I have a date to write on February 18 - I'm taking the day off from work just to write!! I'm so excited...By the way, the above was just a blind free write. I actually have no idea what I just wrote down and really don't care whether it's good, bad or ugly. Just felt like brain dumping for a moment or two to break up the workday...