Definitely beautiful

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So I work in a high school and it is the first week of a new semester which means kids punching walls (boys) or each other (girls), seniors panicking, and endless, endless amounts of both questions and optimism (well-placed or otherwise).  I am burnt-to-a-crisp tired, seeing about 6-10 kids an hour.  I would like a “now serving” sign above my door — or my head, really, since I cannot walk to the bathroom with being stopped and asked a question.  I may pee on someone’s shoes soon, if this continues.

But it won’t.  It will be over in a week or so.  I am only twitter-capable in the meantime, although I’ll still try to put out the Beeton post this weekend, I think.  In the meantime, please head over to nell’s most recent and terribly well timed post, or just watch the video below.


it smells like letters

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So G. is about 85% potty trained, which is good and bad.  Bad, because 85% trained means 15% not, and that is a messy, messy 15%.  Good because it means she is leaving the baby world behind, and I love that.  I know some people who feel a twinge (or more) of regret when their kids start to become more independent but not me.  The older they get the more interesting they are, as people.  I., for example, at 8, is researching countries on line and writing little paragraphs about them just for the fun of it.  Things like,  “China names its cities cool names… I salute your cool names, China!”  Really.  I mean, when he was in diapers he mostly picked his nose and sang along to The Wiggles.  I’ll take the “big kid” any day.  G. is starting to come out with the quotables, too.  She was given a candy necklace (or as she says, “neck-a-lace”) at day care that had a heart with the word “love” on it.  She opened it at home and took a big whiff  (remember that candy necklace smell?) and said with wonder, “It smells like letters.”  She’s off to a good start.

And now the snow is falling and it’s one of those rare occasions where I really don’t care.  Usually I retreat to bed or, when that’s not possible, just endlessly bitch and moan during a storm, but not tonight.  It’s not supposed to be a ton of snow (4 or so inches), I have nowhere I absolutely have to be tomorrow (no school), and it’s supposed to be warm enough this week that at least some of it will melt.  So I’ve been salting lemons and blogging away and am looking forward to a cup of tea or something stronger before bed.  This is my kind of snow storm.

It’s been a rough week otherwise, with work and the internal messiness that winter generally creates for me.  It’s made me either wildly anxious or middle-school sentimental.  I prefer the latter, to be honest.  Although I do have to be careful to what I listen to when I’m in this state…  The songs have the words but not the ones I want; I parse the lyrics for some deeper meaning  I can apply to my own life, only I’m 37 and not 14 now, and it’s a less fun game than it was a couple of decades ago.

At least there is some good new music — Vampire Weekend’s latest is not too bad and the Phoenix that came out last year is downright dreamy.

Have you donated to Haiti relief via cell phone?  Text “Haiti” to 90999.  It’s all legit and everything.  This is the future, baby.  Do it.  You won’t notice that extra $10 but someone on the other end sure will…

ENFJ, usually.

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m disturbed, just a little, by how well electronic brains can predict what I like.  E.g., I just reupped with Netflix and spent a few minutes rating movies.  Eventually I was in some kind of zombie trance – haven’tseenit3stars1starhaven’tseenit – and so on.  But the recommendations now are scary good and the ratings predictions on the movies it turns out I have seen are almost always exactly right.  And right now, listening to Pandora Radio, the station I created a few days ago is basically churning out song after song that I love.  Songs I didn’t even know I loved, you know what I mean?

So I’m a bit undone by the implications here.  Am I – are we all – inherently predictable?  Is my personality really easily quantifiable?  I’ve taken the Myers Briggs and other personality/interest/etc. tests multiple times, and am somehow pleased when the results change a little, test to test.  I tell people not to put too much stock in their own test results but, really, am I lying to them?  And what’s the big deal if I am?  What if people are easy to categorize?  So what?  My essential little snowflake uniqueness (with apologies to Chuck Palahniuk) melts away but I’m still here, aren’t I?

Maybe I just need a drink.

Anyway – heavy musings for the night done.  It’s been a long few months and I’m thinking that in 2010 it might just be time to get the hell over it and enjoy myself.  Care to join me?

In other news… I. is taking basketball lessons and is loving it.  I, however, enjoy sitting on bleachers for an hour every Sunday a little less.  I love watching him, don’t get me wrong, but my general feeling about bleachers is that I belong under them with a cigarette in my hand.  Which would be lovely, but terribly wrong in this circumstance.  I think I. is going the artsy route, honestly (he likes guitar lessons more than this) but I can only hope.  There was a mom in front of me today saying “Shoot it!  Shoot it!” to her third grader in practice.  And I was steamy.  I believe it was either my foot in her back or the weight of my distain that thurst her off the bench and sprawling onto the floor.  Or perhaps I just imagined that happening?  In any case, she stopped, but I continue to pray that I. sucks just a little at sports, like his dear old mom and dad.  Even if that means having another writer (shudder) or even actor (dear god) in the family.

Speaking of writing, I’m contributing to The Queen’s Scullery.  It’s fun and gives me a good excuse to make obsencely fattening food and write about it.  What could be better?  Check it out – I am LaurieB over there.

bitten by the pig

•November 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s a warn November afternoon, the kids are out with their dad at a playground, the beef stew is in the slow cooker, and I’m thinking about what I could be doing but am not.  Writing, knitting, making a phone call, cleaning the kitchen, and etc., but instead I sit here flu-bitten and exhausted, feeling the sun on my neck and the breeze going by my shoulders, while I type away.  That’s right, I’ve got the oh so trendy swine flu or H1N1 (which looks weird in this font) or whatever you want to call it.  Bitten by the pig, that’s me.  My son had it and breezed right through it in about 4 days; I’m coming up on a week with it now and am ready to throw it the towel and start blogging about my curly tail.

In short, I’m tired of convincing my lungs that another breath is a good idea.

But I’m fine; no reason for alarm.  I’m just weary and taking it out on you.

What I am, also, is kind of uninsprired.  Whether it’s from all the mounting things I’ve left unfinished, or from a profound change in how I look at the world over the past few months, or from this damn illness, I’m not sure.  Probably a bit of all of it, I’d say.  But it’s frustrating.  It’s not like I have nothing to say, it’s almost like there is so much to say that no one thing can fully come through my clogged pipes to get out.

And that last feels most true, I think, especially when I consider that my job for the past few months is to sit and listen and absorb and translate and reflect and reinterpret people’s stories.  Kids’ mostly, but also parents’, teachers’, friends’, and so on.  Endless stories.  Strories without end, I mean.  Unfinished.  And that’s left me flailing a litte, with lots of beginnings and middles but no ends.  In my job I very rarely get the end of things and while living with that ambiguity makes me a good counselor, it makes for a lousy writer.  At least now.  I have page after page (after file after file) of scraps of poems, mostly, and stories and character sketches.  Sitting and waiting, and unfinished.

Maybe they are tired and have the flu, too.

Things I like:

A new (to me, thx Mr. Harkaway) webcomic: xkcd.

The blog of a really interesting woman who was a porn star and is now in recovery from sex (and etc.) addiction.  She’s actually on Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, but I find her blog (continuing the theme from my last post) pretty honest and brave and interesting and funny.  It’s called BecomingJennie – check it out.


very occasional nick horby-inspired post full o’ lists

•November 11, 2009 • 1 Comment

For the lazy writer, a list is a lovely short cut.

Stuff I’m loving now:

fake michael_bay on Twitter.  Be sure to click on the website link on his page.

Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard.  Yes, still.  We may be thankful that the slutty nurse costumes are tucked away for another year, but this beer should be out year round.

Personal, professional, and virtual honesty.  I’ve been dealing with an incredibly passive aggressive coworker who generally disapproves of me and who has been driving me bat shit crazy.  After confronting her on it a couple of times over the past few days, I have to say she is still the same, but her attitude bugs me a lot less.  Amen to being honest, and who cares if everyone doesn’t like you?  Well, okay, I still do sometimes, but the older I get the less I care and the less I care, the happier I am.  And to continue a theme, I’ve had some personal conversations lately that revolve around and/or were driven by honesty and it feels like opening a window and airing out a room.  Completely priceless; try it, you’ll like.

And from a virtual standpoint, check out an unassuming girl for some brave, honest, and often searing blogging.

New music. The new Mike Doughty, the new Phoenix, and new old pixies.  Stay all day, if you want to.

Somewhere to go when I’m complete at a loss in my hipster/old-day geeky new hobby.  And whoever the woman is who taped herself knitting on KnittingHelp has saved my sanity more than once, as well.

Things my almost 3 year old wants for Christmas: (in her words)

A dollie.

A kitty cat.

A phone.

Places I’d rather be right now:



In your arms.

Things I should be doing right now but am not:


Finishing a story that I’ve been dicking around with for two years.


What My World Looks Like Lately:




fat, wet wild things

•October 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

No, not these wild things…


This wild thing…


Just wanted to be clear about what you are getting here.

A day of crisis after crisis but then – I have about 240 kids on my caseload, so it’s really not all that unexpected.  Just tired now, and in need of something.  Something I’m dragging my feet about getting…  This is what I get for working when everyone else is unemployed.  Getting up at 5am, driving to work in the dark.  Oh,yeah – and a paycheck, helping kids, and etc.  Isn’t a complicated life lovely?  Wouldn’t we just hate a black and white/good and bad world?

My plan is an early retreat to bed.  Maybe some TV, maybe trying to seduce the man.  We’ll see…  Mostly I would just like to rest and be still and wake up with all the answers.

Ooooh!  Gloomy!

Hey, go see Where the Wild Things Are if you want gloom.  Was that exceptionally bleak or was that me?  I read the book to my kids all the time but never really thought about it’s lack of emotional payoff at the end.  Or maybe Mr. Eggers has just had his way with it.  Or maybe it’s the fat, wet snowflakes coming down when I got out of the movie.  Or maybe I just need that sleep…


•October 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sporadic blogging is better than no blogging at all, yes?  That’s what I’m going with, anyway.  Between Twitter, Facebook, and this I have what feels like too many outlets for not enough to say.  I find that when I turn off the electronic bits of my life I tend to write more offline, anyway.

Not that that is actually what is happening, but it’s a theory.

I tweet a little more often, so there is that.  You can see it on the funky sidebar, if you are so inclined.

So – trying to write some poetry, learning how to knit (two scarves and a little bit of knitter cred later…), working, trying not to have my heart explode, catching up with some old friends.  That about sums up the past few weeks.

Poetry is sporadic

[I interrupt here to recount a story told to me by a playwriting professor at Amherst College in which Tennessee Williams appeared — drunk as you might imagine Tennessee Williams to be — in one of his own plays.  He mostly sat slumped at the bar onstage, but when one of the other character mentioned “small craft warnings” he piped up to say, “And that’s the name of this fucking play.”]

and that’s the name of this fucking post.

Knitting is fine, although I try to avoid the hipster and also grandmotherly connotations and just do it.  I find it takes me out of my head while also sparking some ideas, which I can’t explain but will not complain about.  Work is pregnant teenagers and chubby boys threatening revenge — in other words, pretty good and about what you’d expect.

The heart thing is less fun.  I had some ER visits, which I don’t recommend.  Super fast heart beat and high blood pressure.  All the drawbacks of chronic coke use without the expense or the rush.  If I still did drugs I would be disappointed.   Then these crazy beats which are better but still happening.  They are called PVCs and we don’t know the cause and can’t make them stop.  Apparently, I can live a long and pissed off life with this, although, again, this is not my recommendation.

I think the change in my pulse has changed me in some fundamental way.  I feel like a different person, with a different rhythm and a different sense of time passing.  Although the beats have started to even out I haven’t sensed a return to self or anything like it.  I still feel jangly and off-center and somehow other.

Also, as I mentioned, pissed off.  I am only 37 and in good enough health.  I want my coffee dammit.  And some chocolate.  And a beer.

But it’s fall and there are leaves blowing around and the heat is on and how can you not be a little warmed at least by all this damn beauty and what can only be described as coziness?  Good lord, you’d have to be dead not to like being under a big blanket with someone you love while the wind howls and etc. etc. etc.   And there is a new Mike Doughty album which is good, and frequent dancing to Top 40 with the kids, and we put the winter and my pulse and ongoing money concerns on a list of things to think about later.