Friday, May 29, 2009

The Invincibility of You

The entire lineup of stories on this week (all previously aired) seemed to be hitting on a common theme: the juxtaposition of the weaknesses and flexible strengths of humanity.

Studio 360's interview with Thao Nguyen takes the traditional indie-artist interview to a different place. Instead of the cheaply predictable discussion of favorite records and touring mishaps with a nice smattering of catchy clips from her newest album, Jesse Dukes gets serious with Thao at an Arlington, VA, laundromat, of all places, and interviews her mom, Nan, too. They talk about how Thao's dad walked out on his family, about how Thao sees similar non-committal tendencies in herself, and about the hard times that followed the divorce as Nan spent all of her savings on a laundromat which she still successfully operates today. The story seems to not be so much about a new album at all at a certain point, but about fragility and resilience, and I can't help but see every person I know in it.

The piece on modern photography, specifically On The Beach, by Robert Misrach, creates the same effect as the interview with Thao. People going to the beach is such an ordinary thing, especially here in FL. During the months after 9-11 Misrach was going through a period of profound artistic depression and had subsequently gone to Hawaii where he was re-inspired. Peering from his hotel window, he unexpectedly saw something precious, vulnerable, and frightened in the everyday beach goers during this period of time and he got right to work, documenting it.

Scenes that would have before seemed ordinary had a darker quality, for example a couple embracing out in the water appeared to be clinging to each other for dear life. People splayed this way and that on beach towels appear to me like lifeless bodies obscenely tossed across the landscape. The gigantic semi-aerial photographs are the vacation souvenirs of our collective American anxiety in the early 2000's.

How funny that this makes me think hopeful thoughts for us as a whole; that there is someone out there able to make money on human vincibility means our economy can't be THAT broken afterall. Maybe we are in pain, but we'll live to see another day yet.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

We're still watching it, in bits and pieces. There are all these interruptions like having to sleep and eat, geez. ;)

Anyways, I'm eagerly anticipating being able to watch the last couple of hours of the Bee, however I don't know when that will be. I'm going to go pick up Conn in Pinellas Park now, then zip back over here to get ready for a BBQ at the Bohler household.

Tonight, we're celebrating the eve of the ever-elegant-Laurie's wedding. Then back home with my kids to put them to bed. Tomorrow, I'm babysitting Avery and taking my kids to a little birthday party and then back home to get ready for the beach wedding.

My dress is an absolute masterpiece while still being casual enough to get more use out of it... but I still need to do my nails and so on. I'd like to squeeze in more time at the gym, too, but there are only so many hours in the day! :(

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

groan. I hate being mean.

It's after ten pm and my freakin kids are still upstairs talking to each other and giggling. There was a lot of discussion about who got which pillow, too. I had to get all cranky and say enough is enough. But they are still talking.

And in the morning I have to force them up and pry their little asses out of bed.
I am so tired of this. GOOD F---ING NIGHT ALREADY.

[Addendum, I also hate when people can't handle homonyms. Seriously, and it's more annoying when it comes from prospective employers and people who have been to college. Which, if I am correct, is where they teach you things. If I have to read "I hope to here from you soon" or "Their is an opening now!" again, I'm going to lose my cool, and WE DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN]

je pense, tu penses, il, pense...

One of the best reasons to have a roommate is having someone to practice foreign languages with. Helen, thankfully has studied as many of years of French as I have, and has the same sort of interest that I do in recapturing and retaining it.

We've been busy bees here, playing with Rosetta Stone (thanks a million, Lloyd!), watching French movies, reading en francais, listening to tapes, etc.

Here's what I think works, and what doesn't.

5+ years of study YES, WORKS but if 6 or 7 years go by without practice, you lose a lot.

Rosetta Stone Program Yes, helpful. IF you already have the background, I think this is a fun way to refresh your vocabulary. Without the background, good luck. Conjugations are barely covered, if at all!

French In Action video series YES run to the nearest library. Radically good for verbs, adjectives, and nouns.

This week we also watched Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, two classics.

The book I've been reading is a collection of short stories by various classic French writers, and it's sort of hit or miss. While I liked L'Etranger well enough 9 years ago, now Camus leaves me wanting... something. His plots are not just sparse but invisible. I just finished L'Hote (The Guest), and while I get it, I just don't get it.

Still working on The Atheist's Mass by Balzac. Slow going, that Balzac.

Anyways, it's almost my birthday month. Why did that seem funner before I typed it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

my pigeon, my little lamb

Cora, with her painting that was chosen for an art show, May 2009.

Conner turns four, May 2009.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

fun-> laughter-> slight embarrassment?

-anthro lectures on youtube

-pitchers of Sierra Nevada in Dunedin

-sitting outside en plein air because it actually STOPPED RAINING for a sec

-wii sports! I'm not so good, but I play to win.

-a terribly embarrassing case of hiccups

-going home so late it's early

Friday, May 22, 2009

so went out with that anthro-guy the other night...

Maybe I was too generous when I described him as "wonderful" and "considerate"... I was poignantly reminded why, years ago, I had nicknamed him " _____ the Asshole".

I picked him up at his parents' house in the burg and we proceeded towards the tavern.

Literal "banter" from the first five minutes of the date...

me: so... you know how to drive manual transmission?

him: of course I do. I have a cock (gestures); I can do anything.

And, later on.

him: awww.... should we get you a map so you can find first?? [first gear]

him [during our vicious scrabble match at the bar]: you are making this game completely worthless!

me: you are SO much less annoying with your clothes off!

He started to open up and not be such a jerk when we were approaching his parents' house again. We were actually talking and sitting in the car and then I said maybe we should drive around the block, since we were getting along for a bit.

We went to Crescent Lake for a little while, and then I took him back home, before I'd feel compelled to strangle him again. He kissed me good bye and told me to not 'be such a stranger', and said that I'm still welcome to stay with him this summer, when I'm in Pensacola.

Ha, right.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the one where I discuss (complain about?) dating and sex and objectification and everything personal

Woohoo! It seems that I'm wholly OUT of break up/rebound territory. Not bothered much by the ole BC any more these days. Except yesterday, when I drove past a black Jeep Cherokee and I think the driver and I made eye contact. And the driver had a square shaped head, nice lips, and black nerdy glasses. I almost threw up, but thank goodness I had to shift into 3rd and didn't have time to get all dramatic.

Helen and I recently noticed that single-ness becomes me. I am happy and healthy. I seem to think that I like relationships better, but when I'm actually WITH someone, I turn into a wreck; self denial, weeping when I fear it's OVER, manic happy episodes when things are good. With someone, I tend to drink too much, miss too much work, and ignore my other friends. It's awful, really.

But dating is a miserable pain in the ass. Let me tell you. I've not really jumped back into that pool yet, just texting with a few people, wetting my feet, so to speak. And you know, I wouldn't even bother, except that I really do want to believe in the whole "falling in love" thing. And if you want a dating relationship to go well, I've learned you must take it a little slower than you'd like and postpone sex until you've defined the relationship. Both of those things are NOT things I'd prefer to do (I'm terribly impulsive), that's just what I've discovered through all my, uh, research.

And I declared late last Dec, after B and I broke it off for good, that I was done done DONE with casual sex (because of the health risk, not because of the psychological implications). And then I was in a monogamous relationship again (which made me miserable) for a while, and now single and wishing I'd not said I was done with casual sex, because if I'm also not getting into a relationship, that's pretty much the same thing as saying I'm done with sex altogether. See? This is a moebius strip conundrum all the way! Argh.

Now, I want to add that my anthropologist friend (who I "have some history with") is in town, petitioning for a bit of my time, and casual is the agenda. It's not very well hidden. Actually, it's completely blatant. There never was much pretense with him. And the kinds of things he says in text are so crazy and outrageous, part of me wants to slap him. But he can back it up, let me tell you. And my brain likes the banter, anyways.

But wait, didn't I say I was DONE with all of that?

So my questions are:

are men who pursue women for sex instead of relationships OBJECTIFYING them?

is objectification actually wrong if it's consensual?

is it any more forgivable if the man is wonderful, brilliant, and considerate?

is it any better considering that I've always happily enough walked away from the affairs in the past?

what if it turns out I can't fall in love without it being a disaster, anyways?

If I can't have what you have... a hand to hold, a compadre, a partner in crime, a yang to my yin... can't I at least have the hot (knocking over lamps and chairs and tall piles of books) sex?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I fixed the crazy guy link

...crazy guy on a bike

Eat My Shorts was a summer camp show, right?

Picking out summer camps for the kids is not as easy as it seems- there are so many to choose from!

Cora's school is a location for SPC's 'College for Kids' camp. Core knows one of the offerings is Math Camp and she told me last night she DEF doesn't want to do that one, because she likes "science... you know, learning about things that happened a long time ago, and how people lived in the old days?" LOL. History then. (Apples don't fall far from the tree do they?)

Conner's school (which I LOVE, even though it's a church school) has a summer camp too, but it's pretty costly and not very long hours (I think pick up is at noon, and I need to get a job). The benefit is that I know the quality of the care there. He's mostly into making paper airplanes these days, and comes home with about half a dozen each and every day.

The rec center, however, is even closer to our house than their schools are, and it might be cheaper too. Conner isn't in Kinder yet, so he can't go to 'College for Kids' but he might be able to go to the rec center camp.

I'd like them to go to the same place, if possible...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I stand in awe of this man (and his project)

At SPC, I had a really really great boss.

(So great, I'd rather answer a phone by chirping "Mr. Hemme's office, how can I help you?" than any other way.)

And not only did he manage the (surprisingly tumultuous) Math and Science Departments with calm fairness and a steady hand, he carried a dream inside of him like a tiny lit coal.

Ok, maybe that seems like too much fluff, but we are talking about a middle aged man with a wife, house, career, bills, cars, a son in college, "responsibilities", and all the other trappings of life in the USA. And he IS LIVING HIS DREAM: TO RIDE HIS BICYCLE ACROSS THE NATION. Yes, instead of watching cable.

And I hear so many people muse about what they would do if only...

Friday, May 15, 2009

I think I have my faculties back (& FYI neurotoxins suck and I am officially too old for this kind of thing)

It's been a week since the neurotoxins entered my body and I'm getting back to normality. The paralysis in my right hand is a lot better, so that I can do everything (well, nearly everything) that I'm accustomed to.

During the first few days I experienced imbalance while walking, temperature regulation issues, weakness, and dehydration, but mental fogginess was the most annoying symptom of the ciguatera. I had this vague sense of deep loss and it was really depressing (depression, another supposed symptom). Having discussions with my friends, typing/using the internet, dressing myself, cooking/housework, and just any kind of making sense at all were all REALLY difficult for a few days. But we've all pitched in concerted efforts to make sure I will regain whatever part of my brain was destroyed.

Since the poisoning, I've taught myself to drive my new manual transmission car, have been going to the beach, reading a lot, exercising, and playing scrabble almost daily. If this is rehabilitation, I think I like it.

But this whole thing is sort of ironic and sad. I, of all people, champion the deliciousness of all the little creatures of the sea. I am a huge sushi fan (yes, the raw kind). Eel, squid, octopus, mussels, and conch all sound like dinner to me, every day of the week. And now I am supposed to abstain from seafood (as well as caffeine, nuts, and alcohol) for a few months, to ensure that I don't have a resurgence of cigua-terror.

But you know what I think? A life without seafood (or coffee, nuts, and liquor) is a life hardly worth living.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mester Morel shan't have gone to hell

Oh no... hell might be too tidy an end.

Instead, he should have paid for his (fictional) transgressions by first being fed aquatic neurotoxins that would leave him retching and grasping for sanity, and then he should have to lay down in the FUMC's wasp-y morning car circle for luxury car after luxury car to use as a speed bump.

Ok, maybe that's too violent. Well then, the lovely wives who wear diamonds in the morning, blonde and beautiful, tan and incredibly fit, could look down in disdain and he would be in HELL.

ANYWAYS, can you tell I'm reading Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence)??? This book has been in my collection for so long, it has both my name and James' name in the front cover. And if you have to ask who James is and why his name is in the front cover of my book, well, then you haven't known me more than a decade.

I sometimes wonder if I did the wrong thing by breaking up with him. I think he would have been true to me, I think he would have stood by me when I wasn't blonde enough, or Protestant enough, and so on, but I would have been relegated to raising my children out of the back of our green and white VW bus.

Wow, I feel so old and frumpy and PLAIN all of a sudden.

Do I need to put on my diamond earrings and go to the gym or something?

Monday, May 11, 2009

ok, I owe you a few details

So, Death Cab was great, and the Hard Rock is like the State Theater vectorized to twice the size. Sound was good, the light show was beautiful, etc.

The opening act, Matt Costa was great, too.

I got right up front. Which is good because with only my cell phone camera, the pics would have been a total disaster from any farther away. I was all smiles, relieved to not run into the most recent ex, thrilled with their set list, although it included the overly-obvious encore piece, I Will Follow You Into The Dark (which I love, but I don't want to know it's coming, I want to be surprised...), and although there wasn't much comedic banter between the band and the audience.

Hopefully the Decemberists show will be more banterful.

now I've got 5 speeds of fun to play with

whenever I feel well enough...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I was poisoned by a barracuda

I'll tell you about it later. Totally 120% exhausted from the ordeal and my stupid right hand is numb numb numb.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the official colors of victory: range road perrywinkle and herculean green

Last night was pretty monumental. I had my trig exam, and I knew I'd gotten an A on it. I did my biology final. I passed my (completely lame) Computer Competency test.

After the exam, I trembled and spoke quickly, caffeinated out of my mind. Helen picked me up and we went to band practice, where I had a little bit of a freak out in my head. I couldn't help but feel the swell and break of the waves.

Adrenaline coursed through me, as I thought about all of those nights that were spent pouring over my books. The cramps I've gotten in my hands and neck, from note-taking or working on papers. I have cried under pressure, begged for drugs to help me get through it, and shook with relief each time a semester ended.

And last night, the sky and the leaves against it seemed to be as jubilant as I.

Maybe this is a miracle... even all the rough patches, the dropped courses, and the occasional bad grades... I am not only graduating, but WITH HONORS. The shock is still with me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

ways the SAT has changed in the past 7-8 years

- There is now an essay portion, graded by humans, that kicks the whole morning off.

- They actually ask a lot less demographic-type questions in the packet you fill out at the beginning of the test, as well.

- The math sections do seem a little harder, but thankfully my skills are better than they were In The Year 2000.

- The reading portions, easier in general, and easier for me, too.

"It's like, what is this? The Love Connection at 5:30 with Travis Short?"

Many funny things were said during study time today. That one (above) has got to take the cake, and I wish it'd been me that came up with that quip.

See, there are these two people in the front row, directly in front of me and to the left a bit, that have this nutty chemistry. They're always, like, poking each other with pencils and someone today said he's picked her up before to crack her back (???) and they just have this... vibe. It's hilarious, really, except they are both seeing other people, somewhat lackadaisically. I pretty much put money down that they get it together at the midnight hour, and go out after our final Tuesday night. Unlike Madonna in that movie where she's on a deserted island with her one true love?

I don't know, I've never seen that movie. I'm just talking.

I did, however, watch I'll Never Be Your Woman and Knocked Up over the past few days (due to cutie Paul Rudd being in them both).