Thursday, November 30, 2006
This other potential job would be nice because it would be regular income because, and here's one of the problems, it is a set schedule. I have not had a regular, set job thing in 10 years. TEN YEARS. Then there is that little matter of needing days off in January and June, which I told them about but I haven't begun to address that little adventure every summer that takes me the east coast for 3 weeks. Yeaaah. That would go over like a lead balloon. Oh, and they want a TWO YEAR commitment. For a 3 days/24 hours a week job. Not that they could hold me to it but D-A-M-N.
I am considering, if offered, not accepting it. I am considering calculating my hours for practicum and if my graduation hours are fulfilled quitting. What about money you say? Good question. There is the option of resurrecting my doula business. Irregular and undependable hours but when the work is there the money can be quite good. If I don't want to work for a period of time, say late August, it is totally my call. Of course I have barely worked doing that in about two years so it could be tricky getting clients. There is the advantage of being able to advertise for free in the BirthWays newsletter but I need to make a decision really soon as we, okay I, am trying to get everything together for the January issues ASAP. Any votes? Any good cash generating ideas? Let me hear 'em cause I need something and something soon.
On Tuesday I went to have my first session with my new client. I posted about my session with my new client in the case presentation section of my class but that was a strict dispassionate telling of the events. The truth is I left that session with tears running down my face as I walked from the grounds of the middle school to my car.
I spent almost 2.5 hours being cursed at, told to leave, had things thrown in my direction or at me, being struck lightly but with considerable emotion by my client's hands and feet. I have almost never been cursed at even when fighting with partners. Ever. I was called a “stupid bitch”, “ugly whore”, I was cursed with “I hope you get into a car accident and die”. As I drove home I thought “well damn I probably have my 250 needed for graduation. I don’t need this. I didn’t sign up for this kind of treatment by a client I had only met once, briefly a week ago. I would find another placement, later. I will still be at school for two semesters so who cares”.
In reality I can’t bring myself to just quit as much as I desperately wanted to, and still want to in a way. It wouldn’t be fair to me to give up that fast, it wouldn’t be fair to have my client be abandoned right off the bat because that what she is probably expecting, she is testing. Right?
The thing that I am struggling with is the fierceness of my reactions, the deep wounding, and the inability to depersonalize from the almost constant attacks. It was really was almost continuous. If she wasn’t cursing out someone else it was me which averaged out to about every 5-10 minutes, and being told in varying degrees of profanity to leave about every 10 minutes. It just hurt so bad to be treated that way. I knew it wasn’t really about me, it was about her rage, her abandonment, her whatever but none of that mattered because I felt absolutely wrecked by it. And yet I was ready to go back today because I knew I owed it to me at least as much as her to give it a few more tries.
When I called the school in the morning I found that she did not come in today, just as she told us yesterday. Was I relieved that she ditched school? Yes and no. I wanted the second session to be over and done, whether some rapport or at least words other than curses might be exchanged or total hell again. Am I happy that the guardian never returned my call today? Again yes and no. The more she refuses to work with the program the clearer it will be that the case won’t go any where and I can exit quietly. If she does actually participate I can mark it off as successful and if I need I can leave at a point that makes sense, hopefully for all of us.
Honestly I have no idea where this case will go, or how long I will hang in with it.
* When I write "inner circle of hell" I am really not sure whether I am referring to my entering her hell or mine.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
In totally unrelated news, I finished the scarf for Lacevember on Sunday morning! This afternoon I blocked it but no photos yet. Can I tell you how thrilled I was that I finished this commitment with days to spare?
Also last Monday I stated to my coordinator that I intended to have a preliminary treatment plan for my new client by Wednesday and I did!
However school work is stalling but on the upside I have never been this on top of things, even though I'm behind. I have made progress with accepting the notion that I will have add yet another semester in the fall. The upside, at least I think it's an upside, is that I can choose do do oral exams or a final project. If I keep working through the winter and summer breaks than maybe I can take a "fun" class in the fall. Yeah, I am the original "if life gives you lemons make lemonade" girl.
For the moment I need to keep plugging along with school, the BirthWays newsletter, work, T'Mane's outfit, the mystery project, a couple of holiday gifts that need to be knitted and wait out the start of my cycle and the disappearance of one area of discomfort in my life.
Quickly I pointed out that in all likelihood I was premenstrual, hence just one of those things. It is true that I have never had a hard lump though I have very occasionally had breast tenderness before "that time of the month". (Apologies to Rashenbo for the subject matter, though I not marking the arrival of said event, though I cannot make promises that that won't happen on this blog for the first time, due to the subject of this post.) Despite my attempts for forestall the impending sense of worry, she looked at me very seriously and said "You have one week to get this checked out. There are free mammograms." I replied that I really didn't want to get my breast squashed.
In truth this probably wouldn't cause great concern, though the pain is pretty severe when touched, when I bend over without a bra, and I swear I can see the lump in the mirror, if it were not just over a year since my mother's mastectomy. As the month of October has just passed I have received reminders from a myriad of sources about breast cancer and how that now my mother had had breast cancer my risk has increased 2-3 times than it was 13 months ago. Just like that my reality shifted forever. I wrote a fair amount in the early months of this blog about how my thoughts had shifted about my mother and our relationship. But I may have glossed over in this blog and in my head about the shifts internally in how I view my body and it's potential for failure, illness, maiming that will keep my alive. Exhausted, it was after 1 a.m. when this occurred I fell asleep alternatively telling myself how when the hormones shifted my breast would be comfortable, no hard spots would be marring the soft surface, the squishy malleability of my breast as I knew it; the other thoughts were scattered around hopes that it would only be lumpectomy because OMG how would I deal with losing a breast? I am not sure how I slept so soundly except I was so tired.
In the morning the tenderness and the lump were still there. If only I had been really tracking my cycle but of course I haven't been, because now I have absolutely how many days I have of this nonsense and according to TGF the clock is ticking. Even if this does disappear and all returns to it's normal state of wonder bread like pliability, I know the loving request of TGF to get my tatas plated and x-rayed will not easily disappear. Rather it's amazing she hasn't forced this issue sooner. I guess there is a level of denial that I have to face but I really don't want to do that any more than I wanted to look at what it would mean to lose my mother. There are realities, or more like potential futures that we don't want to look at but yet often we are compelled. Look at my before bed wanderings to bald headness, breastlessness, versus totally fine in a week or less when I get to laugh at myself for my ramblings. But what will be left is the reality that one day, just maybe it will be something real if not me than someone I love, again. I just hope I can handle it with grace.
Monday, November 27, 2006
From there Greg, Janet, Ruth, TGF and I stopped by the house to pick up dogs and suit up with rain gear. I had hoped the weather would have been nicer to take them to Albany Bulb (these are older photos of art there, a lot has changed as is the wonderful nature of this place) but the reality is the spot has a distinct quiet charm in the rain. I had been waiting to take them there since we first began exploring this place some months ago. As expected they were alternatively amused and awed by the works displayed.
All of us were absolutely soaked when we returned home. No seriously! My pants were at least 3 inches longer because they were so sodden. This definitely called for another pot of coffee and that call was answered, thank you very much. A lot of laziness ensued. Dinner was breakfast: omelets and home fries. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself, though I wouldn't really because it might look like I am bragging, which I'm not. However, if I were prone to such vagaries I would tell you all that I am a damned fine cook and it has been really nice to remember that about myself this weekend.
Given that we watched Dogma last night, we decided to stick to that theme and watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It is an amazingly stupid movie which some fantastic jabs are made at the industry, it is completely transgressive, and takes great pleasure in making fun of itself. I wish I could be more articulate but I'm tired, and I wish I could recommend the film to my dear readers, but I fear you might blame me for cursing you with images that will be burned forever onto your eyelids. This is not to say that many of you would not enjoy it, but I want to take no responsibility for leading you astray though some of you are already there (Rabbitch, JBeeky, among others).
* If you love the title, I'm wise for taking Greg's suggestion. If, on the other hand, you think the title sucks, blame Greg. Send him an email about it.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
TGF had decided she wanted to have turkey, even though we had "the dinner" at the appointed hour and all that. Wednesday night we purchased the bird after finding a suitably small fowl. Did you know that Costc* only carries the ridiculous size of 20 pounds? A size that Cooks Illustrated, my epicurean bible, clearly believes gives you a terrible turkey. I also had the dilemma that Greg is a vegetarian so I wanted to have enough other things for him to eat. Of course I did not decide on the rest of the menu until today, really mere hours before needing to shop for it.
Since I had trouble sleeping I was awake in plenty of time to have the turkey in it's brine by 6am. Yes I said 6am because I had what turned out to be an extremely unrealistic game plan. I decided on a cornbread dressing with green apples, cream of mushroom soup, homemade gravy, and because I knew I'd be exhausted from all that, salad because in the morning Greg whined something about vegetables. The nerve, I tell you. I had planned and shopped for apple crisp (from CI of course) but bagged that idea - waaaaay too ambitious. It will happen tomorrow or Monday.
By the way, it's called dressing because it is cooked outside of the turkey versus stuffing called such for the very obvious reason. At least that's what TGF says. Works for me. She was a little dubious about the addition of green apples to the holy trinity of cornbread, onion, and celery. Turns out her doubt and my concern were wasted moments of mental fodder. The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated. It was so frigging fabulous! I am making more of it soon. I still have enough cornbread to do another batch.
I was inspired by the last episode of Top Ch*f when the winning dish with a cream of mushroom soup. But when I read the recipe online I was horrified by the quantity of heavy cream. Of course I consulted C.I. but two sources are rarely enough for me to make a decision about a recipe or more often what bits and pieces I will pull from. I found a recipe that sounded really good online and I did not alter it. Imagine that. A real winner also.
Starting later than I had hoped dinner came in stages, with me finishing the cooking the next "course" as folks ate, and ended very late it was great. After dinner and some basic clean up courtesy of Greg and TGF because as I said my feet - OW!! And I even wore shoes. We retired to the living room and are watching Dogma, perhaps my all time favorite movie. I mean I don't have singular favorite about almost anything but this film comes damn close.
It has been so wonderful having Greg and Janet visit, and more generally having company in our home, people who are engaging and fun. I must remember to keep extending invitations to people because I do like playing hostess.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Can you guess what this is? No I don't really expect you to but go ahead, try to guess.
It's okay. As my loyal readers know we went to Sue & Sarah's yesterday for a great family thanksgiving. I am not sure who mentioned it first, perhaps Sue. But they offered me this!
It needs some repair as the cording for the wheel is really old twine and needs to be re-strung or something. Apparently there are two speeds.
And this piece needs to be nailed, glued or otherwise reattached.
It seems that it helps to guide the, er, roving? along the spindle so the yarn does not wind up in a lump on one end. That Sarah's father made it from a kit or something makes just a bit more special on top of the already specialness.
I told Sarah that yes indeed I would like it but TGF might have to kill her. I'm only partly kidding! The universe works in mysterious and wondrous ways. In the previous day or two I had been reading Juno's blog about her adventures with spinning and how her ability has developed and grown. I was marveling about this magic I knew nothing about and barely, imperceptively wondered if I could ever learn this thing. Now realize I had exclaimed some time ago that "oh no, I don't want to learn that stuff. Way too much work and fuss. More obsessiveness would only follow." Hah! The stars are throwing their two cents in.
The truth is I believe the wheel will have to sit for a bit while I work and slave at school and my job for the next few months and all fibery goodness will be limited to the yarn I have in possession (okay so I may buy some more of that prespun stuff) and knitting projects. No spinning. Do you hear me? No spinning! Rabbitch stay far away from me.
Truthfully I am tickled. Really I am. One could get all mystical about the meaning of this gift, how the universe has plans for me that I am totally unaware of yet. On the other hand one could say that because I thought about, however minuscule a thought the universe was simply bending to my immense will, which could be the case given according to the name of this blog it is my universe after all. That would mean I created this reality. Hm. I think this is getting rather convoluted.
The first Thanksgiving I was invited our to my friends' Suzi and Tracy's and asked to make the turkey. Using Cooks Illustrated (aka the bible) I made the best turkey I have EVER eaten. And the gravy? OMG I had no idea it could be that good.
In 2002, I flew east and went to my family's just like the old days. Yesterday I was reminded of a memory from that trip. The sun was low, the clouds light gray with streaks of yellow from the setting sun and the light reminded of the almost horizontal light of late November in Massachusetts. Here it was dusk closing in and difference was stark in my memory.
Reflecting back I cannot remember what I did in 2003. How weird is that? Really it's blank. Maybe nothing at all.
But the next year was crazy, absolutely wild. It was only about two weeks before that TGF and I arrived here from a cross country drive. I was still also involved with C, my partner of 12 years. C and I had long before made plans to fly to the east coast again. TGF had plans to fly back to Ohio for the holiday and a dear friend's surprise birthday party. Earlier in the calendar TGF and I had talked about me going with her to this shindig when the dates were different. Both C and I were missing TGF, I felt like I was being split in two. Enough said about that.
Last year Jennie hosted a gathering at her home attended by us and Sue & Sarah with Isaiah. It was lively, loving, and really sweet. In some way I think I was hoping something like that would be the future of the holiday.
This year Jennie has a sweetie and was going to Kyle's family. We had two invitations from friends, but honestly we considered staying home. I can't tell why this was an option, perhaps it due to both of us feeling a bit rootless, trying to find our way as a couple and how we "do" the holidays. In the end we opted for going Sue and Sarah because they are like family and we knew it would be easy, good, and fulfilling. And it was. It was sweet, easy, delicious and close. The food was really yummy too. Sometimes I have gone to other people's holiday gatherings and felt like a total outsider, and though Sarah's* twin brother Darius, and their father and his wife were there, it felt more harmonious than I even hoped for.
I am grateful for my relationship, with ups and downs and large learning curves some days. My love is for her continues to grow and on a totally shallow note, she looked so frigging cute tonight. Having friends that accept me on the level of chosen family is a gift that I am honored by on a regular basis. A house full of amazing and annoying animals - they keep me laughing every day, they cuddle, and restrict my sleep. I can't imagine what it would be like without. As much as I think chemo is a form of poison I am so grateful for the increase of odds it give me to keep my mother around longer. There is so much more but this post would get even more dull.
*Edited. Because I was tired I had written in the earlier version that it was Sue's twin. Jeez. That turkey stupor!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
It took me years, literally years, before I realize I had an alcoholic parent (my third parent, eventually legally my stepmother). It was so much just the way things were, I never saw it as anything other than the norm. Even as I watched the after school specials, I still did not see the alcoholic person on that small screen anything like the person I live with, no one matched my life. Most public renderings are much more dramatic than it often is in real life it is easy to dismiss what is right in front of us. In real life it often is simply an undercurrent, the big moments just that discreet moments thus easy to separate from "real life". The big blow outs are dramatic, short lived, long remembered.
The behavior that is often referred to as "enabling" is so often about survival for the other family members. Much later, after I had moved out of the house and her behavior clear as the gin in her martinis, I did accuse my father of enabling her. After discovering that she had a credit line at the local liquor store I was practically yelling at him about her he was helping her and therefore I did not want to hear any bitching about her drinking. The truth was he was enabling as much as he was trying to make his life easier using the path of the least resistance, the least growth, the way that people choose when no one has any self-esteem left.
Addicted means that you have to have it, the "it" is something that feeds you and diminishes you at the same time. Whatever "it" is. I am addicted to many things, procrastination perhaps the most compelling of the all. I offer as evidence the fact that it feels that I will never graduate from my masters program. Addiction is covering other emotional turmoil, trying to soothe, and quiet. One believes the "it" keeps them better than if they went without, but we know that is not really true. There is enormous ease in the addiction of comfortable instability, which is where I think my procrastination leaves me.
For me, my procrastination means I never I have truly succeeded. That feeds me because of the end result of self esteem that consistently take a beating. It diminishes me because it keeps me from really blooming; from doing what I feel I am really good at (doing therapy, for example). Because this “addiction” doesn’t get in the way in a manner that really interrupts me, or prevents me from having a life, friends, work, it’s harder than hell to break. But it also means there is a multitude of ways to overcome it, to find successes to build upon. That is what I am trying to do, every day. It is part of why I took on NaBloPoMo and Lacevember while juggling school, work, a board position, and generally having a life. If I take less things on it is that much less success I can possible claim. I want to claim more, I am working from a harm reduction model rather trying to promise abstinence. Because I want success. Because as my friend Marlowe says, "it's not when you bloom or how quickly you bloom that matters... it's that you bloom."
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
There is a walkway along the bay near the Verrazano that is a lovely spot to stroll, and though I did not go to that part of Brooklyn often just knowing it was there was a boon to my soul. I spent many more hours at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade as that was walking distance from a few of my home spots.
One recollection I have of the area by the Verrazano is a very fuzzy memory of being there after dark, with Matt. We got dropped off there after hitchhiking back from Maryland where we stayed with a sister of childhood buddy of his on some Native American land with no running water or electricity in November. The whole trip had been an adventure, starting with hitchhiking down there, climbing my first (okay the only one that size. FINE!) chain link 12 foot fence to save time getting to the massive truck stop in order to find some dinner and hope to meet an amenable trucker to take us down the road a piece. The log cabin we stayed in with Maria had newspaper between the rolls of wood, the stove was for cooking and added some heat to the space. Water was down the hill in a stream where I saw my breath as I brushed my teeth. Sometime that weekend was a stealth mission to a corn field that had been picked mechanically and we were collecting whatever was left behind so Maria would have feed for her chickens.
The only time I remember feeling lost and the route endless was back in Brooklyn in an unfamiliar part of the borough I called home. Something about being bordered by water and strips of racing highway that needed to be crossed left me feeling small and vulnerable. In that moment Brooklyn felt more remote than being in the woods with no power, more unnavigable than the back country without a compass.
* this photo is from our recent trip to NYC. Probably somewhere I have a shot I love but that would mean looking for the photograph and scanning it and and and.
I struggle with how to bridge the silence that follows heated exchanges. How do you know when you are ready to engage, with love and the trigger is extinguished? If it's hard to know for yourself it is next to impossible to know when the other person has reached that spot. Edges feel frayed, skin tender listening for the next word hoping it will be soothing, fearing it will form a flinch. Both of you are tired, it's late, deadlines are looming and this just makes everything seem harder. The feelings just swirl and none of them are settled or calm.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Spanish fashion designers have banned excessively thin models from their runways, but German designer Karl Lagerfeld says the models are not too skinny. Who's right? Parade answers: We tend to side with Lagerfeld. No one wants to encourage a trend toward anorexia, but the fact is that designer clothes hang better on slender women. Readers, do you think models are too skinny? Tell us at parade.com.
I am not so sure they would want to hear my response. Lagerfeld's quote here, on the reason for his weight loss, which some deemed excessive and offer that he now looks emaciated and unhealthy, is telling. Not only are the clothes he prefers not produced in his old size but they are not modeled by men his age. Leaving aside the tempting arena of what is age appropriate clothing, let's go back to the Parade tidbit.
What is too skinny for a model? Parade doesn't want to encourage "a trend toward" an eating disorder? Oy, my head hurts. By hurt I mean it is threatening to implode. At my height, just a smidge of five feet, a modeling career just on that fact alone was never in my future. Parade says the clothes hang better on stick bodies that pass for women. I say, that is because that's how they are made, not because clothes can't hang deliciously on larger (and by larger I mean oh, say a size 6 - a size I haven't seen hanging in my closet for about 20 years!) body.
On an episode of Project Runway (a HUGE guilty pleasure of TGF) the contestants had to design an outfit for another contestant's mother. Few of these mothers (or in Vincent's case his sister) were slender and a few were clearly "plus" sized. Robert Best, who I liked despite his whiny voice and "boring" designs, complained about the size of his "model" stating he didn't know how to design for larger sizes. Well who's bloody fault is that? People like Tim Gunn (who I just adore for his wry commentary) that's who! It's infuriating. A very long time ago (like when I was 13) I toyed with sketching designs, and then had school assignments to do that even more. (I did not graduate from that high school, but did from this one.) While in high school, though by reasonable standards I was a "good" weight, given my body shape and lack of height, clothes shopping was a pain in my (even then) ample ass. Hence my first fantasies of designing clothes by shape rather than arbitrary sizes. I sewed more in these days, but infrequently made clothes because I wasn't very good at it and again, the patterns needed so much damn adjustment.
Over time I began to look at most things that come down a runway as art but infrequently clothing precisely because they are designed to fit about 2% of the women in this country. I will leave aside the absolute impracticality of actually wearing some of these things even if it were made in your size. All of that helps to quell the bile that rises when I read things like what were in Parade, or uttered by Robert Best but does not change the overriding status quo in this country of unrealistic body standards for women, or how hard it is to find fun, sexy, flattering clothes if you are not 5'8" and weigh 130 pounds or less.
It's almost enough to get me to unpack my sewing machine. Almost.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
To the best of my knowledge I have never seen Zooey Deschanel in anything before this movie, where she plays the love interest. Given that I have seen very few recent movies it was pretty easy to assume I am unfamiliar with her work, or a lot of folks for that matter. After looking at her "resume" at IMDB the only thing I might have readily caught her in Veronica's Closet (excellent in it's first season but slumped midway through the second season). Apparently Zooey actually does her own singing in Elf and dang but I was impressed!
Anyway. I completed another four pattern repeats, finishing the first hank of Softwist, in Viridian - a very dark green. I happened to bring the project to Jennie's the other night to show it off a little, so I got to use her ball winder. Andrea was terribly enthralled with this "toy" and helped wind this lovely center pull ball. Sarah (blogless!) also helped, but almost made off with the yarn because she loved the feel of it. While I have not memorized the pattern, and nor do I expect to, I am finding it easier to hold the next few stitches in my head, keep track of my place on the chart, all things which definitely help it move a little faster. Initially one repeat would tire me out!
It is not just for whatever the prize is that I am inspired, because I honestly do not even remember if they listed it. I want that blue star next to my name. I want to be a finisher. I want to finish this scarf in November. I want to have a post everyday for NaBloPoMo (more than half way there!) I want to catch up on my three current courses. I want to finish at least two more outstanding courses. I am less confident that I will finish the outfit for T'Mane by next Thursday, but I am sure it will be done soon. I want to be less ruled by procrastination, which I see as an addiction - topic for another post, another day. I want to always strive to be a better me.
Friday, November 17, 2006
When I read the guidelines for the assignment it said no more than 12 pages not including references. I thought, yeah right like I have anything close to 12 pages in me. Well much like this blog I have discovered, damn but I’m mouthy! I have not even gotten to the “applications of theory to practice” and conclusion sections, but there are NINE pages so far. N-I-N-E. When I get frustrated about my inability to just finish this thing, I force myself to remember that in all times (we will not mention just how many) I have tried to finish the course, I had never, never, even written ONE frigging word before. This is the positive spin I keep repeating to myself, that as behind as I am in work this semester (like I had expected to have finished at least 3 old courses by this point) that I am the most on target I have been in any semester. I have already finished one course; I have completed 2 out of 3 papers towards finishing another.
The other sort of finish line is that I have a client and a big meeting set up for Monday so I can gather up information to write a treatment plan. Not surprisingly there seems to be some, ah, shall we say, boundary oddness with social workers and who actually the case manager is for this client. However the other social worker (don’t ask!) seems great and really enthusiastic. While I am excited, I am also a tad concerned about the time having a case is going to take in terms of my school work deadlines.
(Greg, you can stop reading for a minute.)
I have actually worked at least a bit on all three of my WIPs (works in progress). After much hemming and hawing, I sewed the ends of that ladder yarn in order to join the two balls to continue knitting, so I was able to actually do a little knitting on this mystery project. With a great flourish and fanfare I finished the all the pieces for T’Mane’s sweater and it’s being blocked so I can begin to seam and add the border. I even casted on for the matching pants! On Friday night (Yes last week. Shut up as Rabbitch would say) TGF and I watched The Wizard of Oz on television and actually completed three pattern repeats for Liesel. I had not watched this movie in forever an was sad at how short it seems now that I am a grown up, and that was with commercials. But then I didn’t touch it for days and days. So movement forward but not a ton, but movement nonetheless.
When my order came in from Yarnware I was disappointed in the colour I chose of Plymouth Encore. The green (almost like the #17 here) has just too much gray in it to flatter meJ. I really need to return it and exchange it for a totally different colour (burnt sienna).
(Greg, you can start reading again)
TGF and I have not decided what we are doing yet for Thanksgiving day. Friday Greg and Janet are due to come, the earlier the better in my book! Saturday they will be gallivanting in
Okay, back to the damn paper.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Being me, of course I come home to look up Masai hip hop. What did I do before the internet? It has become harder and harder to remember that time. I am pretty sure that this is one of the artists she interviewed. I watched one of the music videos and two things struck me right away. I really wanted to understand the lyrics, and how it wasn't filled with women and bling. What were they saying? Is it riddled with curses and negative images like much of rap in this country?
I asked for some music from her research, I just hope it comes with translation.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Here I was very proud of posting each and every day thus far (for us procrastinators this is a big thing) but I reviewed my month and found I was missing an entry for the 8th. Absolutely not possible. Not. Possible. Dang Bl*gger woes. It showed all these days where I posted twice, which at least one of those is clearly wrong. So despite looking like I broke some rule by changing the date, I was only fixing a Bl*gger operational error, of which there seem to be a few these days. My lovely and dear Rabbitch partner in irony and fiber, well her blog is simply GONE! Poof. Nothing there today. Crazy I tell you, since last night I commented and this morning got a note of concern about the absence of said blog this morning from Jennie.
One November, I really have no clear memory of the year, my maternal grandfather died. He was young all things considered, though I actually have no real idea of his age at his death, but I suspect it was around 56. We had already moved to Brooklyn so I was at least nine, but I think I was more like ten. Really clear huh? What I do remember is my grandmother came to stay with us and the mirrors where covered. The morning after my grandmother arrived, I was in the kitchen with Fran, my stepmother. Looking up at the lighting fixture I spotted a delicate, small, light gray spider. I pointed it out because I was relishing it's fragile beauty and Fran told me not to say anything to my grandmother for fear it would upset her. The idea that a spider could have any impact after losing her husband was confusing to me.
Harry worked in a dental lab making dentures. He also had great dreams of striking it rich with stabs at "easy money" schemes. I have no idea what any of these ventures involved as it seems he had mostly "retired" from his side businesses by the time I was around. It was much later on I learned about this and other darker stories about him. As a child I experienced him as distant and angry a lot, so when he died I was very unsure as to how I should feel, how I was expected to feel. My parents were honest and open with me in telling of his death, that he threw himself from the eighth story of a building. At least I remember as being the eighth floor, and I seem to think or maybe assume, it was the building where he was employed. Really all these years later, those details really don't matter too much.
Many years passed, and as best as I can recall (though I am less sure about my memory and it's tricks right now) there really wasn't anything. Until 1993. This time I was old enough to be called and to be pressed into duty. Again, some details are fuzzy but I am sure it was my mother who called me at home in Massachusetts to tell me there was a death in the family. This time it was a peer, Robert, my first cousin - one of two that I had. He was a little younger than me, but again I have no idea if it was one, two or three years difference. We had not been close for a long time as our lives drifted far apart as I existed on the fringe made up vaguely of arts driven existence and non-profits jobs while he continued down the path of petty crime, drug and alcohol abuse with periods of steady employment sprinkled between lies, stealing from his father, and other edgy occupations.
I rode Amtrak from western Massachusetts to New York City in a fog, stunned at his death and the upcoming events, including the prospect of attending my first funeral. From Penn Station I took the subway to Brighton Beach remembering other times I had traveled to see my grandmother, like the year or so I went to her home every week to give my mother a break and how then her home had seemed magical in a way that only a grandmother's home can seem when you are young. The jewelry boxes overflowed with what only later I would realize was mostly hideously cheap trinkets. Staying up late, watching Saturday Night Live during it's early glory days when Belushi, Radner, and Ackroyd ruled. She had moved since those easy days.
My mother buzzed me into my grandmother's apartment and we waited for her. The apartment had a small balcony which overlooked a stretch of the Coney Island Boardwalk. It was surreal to watch a few people stroll the beach front in the brisk and chilled November air, knowing I was moments away from telling my grandmother that her grandson was dead and by his own hand. Robert was in a hospital, again details are unknown, missing or otherwise forgetten, I have no idea which hospital or how he got there. The story was that he was there, waiting to get a bed in a rehab setting. Either the wait was too long, or the pain of what was to come too overwhelming, or the reality of his life wore him down. He hung himself. The recollection of telling her exists in soft focus, with the sound way down. I cannot remember if we sat her down first, but I suspect we did but that she quickly popped up after the news was delivered.
Later, when we were getting ready to go to the funeral my grandmother said we could wear any of her jewelry that we wanted to, and to keep it. Memories of those boxes came flooding back along with my decades of obsession with her cameos. In the midst of the grief and the surrealism of the moment some glee bubbled up that I would finally get to wear those pins of which my fingers had memorized every ridge and crevice. I attempted to only sauntered to the overstuffed boxes on her crowded dresser top when I heard her call out, "Except the cameos!". Even in her dumbstruck state she was able to remember the "good" jewelry was not to be even borrowed. I laughed to myself thinking, of course not, she's still Helen, grief be damned. It reinforced for me also her strength of character - she survived her mother's suicide, her husband's and now she would find a way to meet this too. It's true she moved through her life largely by using denial, but really wouldn't you?
So why did these events not make my other post? I gave it a lot of thought. For a very long time now, probably somewhere in the years following my grandfather's death it was my mother who had trouble with the shifting light of mid-autumn. After my cousin's death it became even more of an issue, my eye cast in her direction to watch each year for after shocks. Though we share this family history of loss it seems that I had arranged things in my head so that it was only her who would remember the anniversary directly and I would survive the memories by thinking there was a way to keep my mother safe from our battle scars.
Monday, November 13, 2006
1- By how long it took me to post a quiz answer
I swipe this from my dear blog buddy Ancrene. The results that surprise me is that I score so much higher as Data than she did. Not to imply that she is unemotional, far far from that! Just that I score SO high as Data yet I am SO Deanna Troi, who TGF thinks is a tad hot, so it all works over here at Casa de Cedar. I suspect that I scored higher as Kirk because I answered very positively to kissing pretty girls. Of course in my head I translated it to women, some quite butch but handsome which is the flip of pretty in butch-femme speak. Right?
You are Deanna Troi
|You are a caring and loving individual.|
You understand people's emotions and
you are able to comfort and counsel them.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Damn, Damn and Double Damn.
No more drafting in blogger. Clearly. Even though it's simpler.
Just for that, this will count as Sunday's post.
Unless I get inspired later.
So there. Nanner nanner boo boo.
* Thanks to my loverly, ever so loverly pal, Rabbitch, the post is now dated corrected!.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The answer for many of these quizzes are, like the endlessly fun Magic 8-Ball of my youth, more random than meaningful but every once awhile there is something more personal in the answer. Not in the answer is meant just for you kind of personal, but that it triggers something deeper than a blogthing, tickle, or quizilla should have any right to but when it does, it borders on mystical -something no one could really call the internet, not if they were sane.
The quote that the magic of blogthings gave me was:
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
This is witty little saying but rather appropriate because for me not because it is a sentiment I carry in my heart but because it references an ongoing joke TGF and I had while we were long distance. In our case it was more about using kisses to shut the other one up because we were rambling on about something that bored the hell out of the other one. Likely candidates to bore her: knitting, people she didn't know, recipes, and did I mention knitting? Topics that would hold me for a bit but cause a drifting of attention: virus codes, computer innards, people I didn't know - have I mentioned she is Geek Extraordinaire? Not as romantic an image as my blogthings quote, I grant you, but very us. It is one of those inside jokes that help form the foundation of a relationship, one of those private witticisms that one can use to break a stormy patch, which I think make them way more useful than anything an internet quiz can give you. Sure you may generate an inspiring quote from this quiz or others like it and put it over your desk or bathroom mirror, but odds are against something random like that becoming that restful shore that you both find comfort in against the sometimes roiling seas of love.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Literally holding my breathe a bit, and chewing on a thumbnail, riddled with trepidation I decided to look at my evaluation on the Research course. The professor marked as not satisfactory but excellent in several categories such as:
- Breadth of coverage
- Creativity in approach
- Connected self reflection in course material
- Organization and development of ideas
and, Sunny will be SO pleased
- Grammar and punctuation
Not so surprisingly I did not do quite so well on APA style issues and in his assessment of my comprehension of quantitative research - I agree! He wrote some other nice things that definitely gave me a boost. This is just the thing I needed to keep me focused on school because let's face it, I need all the help and bolstering I can get to make progress on my highly ambitious goals there.
Next up, on Wednesday I got a call from The Agency saying they had two referrals for clients for me to choose from. A 13 year boy in a nearby (relatively speaking) location or a 15 year old distinctly further away. I asked my contact person who she would choose and she replied "the girl". So I said okay. Nervous anxiety floated to the surface immediately. One, can I be even close to successful again. Two, what will she be like, will I connect with her and her guardian (her grandmother). Three, how will I adjust my schedule to add in all the freaking writing this will require in addition to my outrageous academic goals? Scheduling? Ha. Less web time? I can feel the withdrawal already and am not sure I can do it without klonopin.
Yesterday was my phone interview with House o' Sperm. It went okay, though I was less than pleased with parts of my performance but apparently the Executive Director felt otherwise because she informed me that she would like to proceed on to the next round. My interview time, tentatively is in three weeks. Yes, three weeks, November 30th. After that I would have a meeting with the peer group and either that day or another I would sit in for a bit to see what the job is really like. So, even if everything in the world works out and it's all a mutual love fest, I would not begin working there until the middle of December. Good thing The Agency has a client for me.
Later that day, really right after the phone interview I went to The Agency for a staff meeting and group supervision. I was assured that my client and I are a really good match. Going over cases was really good, and I got to exercise some brain muscles in a much more real way than school work provides - always a good thing. Afterwards was the best however. I reviewed the referral file and I do feel good about my new client. But. But. But. It gets better, oh so much better. I got a check, which I promptly slipped into my bag. After we broke up our groups, my supervisor, a Jewish Santa Claus of a guy - such a sweetie - told me to open the envelope up. I had just figured it was my replacement check for the first two weeks of August pay that disappeared into the void that is that office. Given the fiscal situation at Casa de Cedar I was grateful for anything at all. It seemed a small thing and most of the other staff had left, so I opened it. My eyes FLEW open at the amount. Jewish Santa explained that they had followed up on my question about getting paid at a lower hourly amount than I had expected. Apparently I had been underpaid for at least some of my months there and I knew they were seeing how much retroactive pay they could procure. Seriously I hadn't thought it would amount to much at all. This check will take my checking account out of the red and put it firmly in the almost black. I hugged Jewish Santa and am amazed I didn't burst into tears because given the situation, moneywise right now, it would have been totally appropriate.
In other news TGF went to an info meeting about a job and felt really good about and was told in hushed tones that it was a no-brainer that she would get hired. However this too is a long process in terms of hiring. So in the meantime she has reworked her ad to go back on craigslist as the magnificent computer tech of your dreams.
We are also getting excited by the prospect of Greg and Janet coming to act as our house guests over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am really excited for them to meet our newest additions, Saana and Marcel. Since Greg's eyes glaze over when I write about knitting, I am thinking of making him sit though an L-O-N-G interview with my yarn stash and knitting magazines. Yep, I'm evil and he knows it, loves me anyway.
To quote various pop culture, that's all the news from Casa de Cedar. At least what's printable :-)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
When young the months of the year have few associations, mostly days off from school, your birthday, the major holidays your family celebrates, mostly benign. As you get older, memories of events get added in, with some month’s being laden more than others. There are months that have lots of great moments to remember when they come around, but somewhere after you have lived a few decades, it becomes hard to find a month that doesn’t have at least one bad association. Sure, every month holds happiness in a day or a string of days but there are months that hold images, words that echo outlining the scars that fade with a flip of the calendar but never go away.
A very long time ago November just meant Thanksgiving, seeing family. When I was quite young it was hosted at Cousin Fritzi’s house on
In my house politics were a hot topic. I was taken to anti-war protests and women’s liberation demonstrations, our house was among the first subscribers to Ms. Magazine, thus November became about elections as well. I ached to be older enough to go into the voting booth, tugging the curtain around me and pulling levers, making an impact. Ah, youth. The first election I voted in my candidate lost. Every year I have hope, but plan for the lesser result.
Then November became about my siblings. Yes plural. The year I turned eleven my stepmother unexpectedly gave birth to twins. Everyone just thought she was carrying large, neither she nor my father are exactly small folks. When folks asked if they had a boy or a girl, my father had fun saying “a them”. So then the month became a new birthday to celebrate and marked the beginning of my identity as an older sister.
There November sat for years, decades even, as I cannot think of anything else that carries the weight of visceral memories. Now November marks the beginning of a season of rollercoaster changes and deep love. In 2004, I flew to
Last fall developed a new level of memories that I really thought I could live without but a year later I am not sure I feel quite the same way. In the middle of October last year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer*. There is no way to know how one will process, assimilate that sort of information and every individual goes through the experience in a unique way. I was blown away by how it affected me. By twists and turn I told myself it wasn’t that big, that things pointed to the fairly minor in the world of cancer, that last part was true, but my emotional life shivered in the warm sun and left me tired but unable to sleep.
Once again it is hard to know whether to think of it as a year already or only. TGF remarked that she could not fathom that a whole year has passed because that time is so frozen for her. This November becomes the first year that we will count how many years cancer free. This is year one and all signs point to no cancer and we all breathe a bit easier. Of course the statistics say the real margins are two years and then five years. So while I am breathing well right now, I realize that we still have another year, another November before something like safe returns. Another year before I can start to fully believe again that my mother will always be at the other end of the phone, that she will always talk about one day being up for traveling to see me (she has some issues that have nothing to do with last year), that I will always laugh at her puns, that I can hear her say “I love you” the way only a mother can. Because the reality is that until we lose a parent, we hold a belief they will always be there, though logically, rationally we know it’s not true. It is one the childlike things that guide us and hold tethered to a foundation that we need to launch from daily. I learned that I will handle losing that foundation but I prefer it to be a date very far away.
November represents new levels of beginnings, changes, and endings thanks to the last two years. In marks now how we guide our destiny, how fate intervenes, how karma can both seduce us and bite us in the ass.
(*For new readers, Sunny’s cancer had not spread to lymph nodes, she did do one of the two recommended courses of chemo and is in good shape overall.)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So without further ado, my submission to the pressures of the group.
The Knitting Questions, or The Usual SuspectsHow long have you been knitting? In total maybe 3 years, for real, just over a year. The total includes a episode of craftiness from decades ago and that number is too horrifying to put down.
How did you Learn? I taught myself, both times. Mostly from books, a little online. I still suspect I really am doing twisted knits and purls rather than the “real” thing.
Favorite thing about knitting? One thing? Surely you jest. Making gifts for no reason. It is soothing, mostly. Makes my fidgeting look productive and less like I have ADD. It's magical to take this stringy stuff and produce wearable objects.
Knitting lace for how long? Not sure I really have started yet ;-)
Favorite thing about knitting lace? It looks pretty when other people do it.
The Yarn Questions, or Flash Your Stash
Favorite lace yarn? Too new to say. I learn toward subtly variegated or solids.
Favorite lace colour?
You ask that like I have a favorite colour for anything.
Technique or Show Us Your Skillz
Straights or Circulars? Hm, hard one but I given that I don’t ID as straight it would odd to pick straight needles, though some of my best needles are straight.
Lace knitting trick? Tell me yours so I can steal, ahem, I mean, learn some.
Lifelines? Haven’t used any yet but I’m thinking I really need to start after the other night. I’ve heard great things about dental floss. Or was that for cutting cakes. So many uses for that dang stuff. Wires or pins? Wires would required a purchase with non-existent funds, so the answer is pins, on my area rug or twin bed.
Lace knitting track? Tell me yours so I can steal, ahem, I mean, learn some.
Wires or pins? Wires would required a purchase with non-existent funds, so the answer is pins, on my area rug or twin bed.
Pattern, or Can You Follow Directions
Shawls or lacey items? The difference would be……
Triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls? When I’ve made some of each, I let you know.
Charts or printed directions? I am trying to learn charts but dang!
Favorite lace I’ve knit? Rabbit Tracks because it’s done.
Just Fun, Yup That’s Right, Just For Fun
Favorite jelly bean flavor? I’m not much for the jellied bean, but I would have to say “buttered popcorn”.
What do I know about Eric the Red? When he used to come over he drank those HUGE cans of Fosters Beer.
Coke, classic or with lime? Did you learn nothing from your other “favorite” questions? Depends on my mood and perhaps what I am eating.
Definition of irony? Oh, don’t make me answer this! My mother is an ex-English professor and I hate to make her cringe.
# of Licks to the Center for a Tootsie Roll Pop? At least 30 more than TGF can manage before biting down.
Why is your cat always puking in front of your son’s bedroom door? I don’t know, when was the last time made them play together.
Luxury Laundry Room tile colour? Oh that’s hard. Only one colour, have you learned NOTHING from my previous answers.
For Dinner Tonight? Since you’re coming over, I thought you were bringing the grub.
What is clogging your children’s bathtub drain? Clearly it’s toilet paper. Next time use a fine mesh strainer.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Artist’s Illustrated Talk
the dance which "makes the music visible."
TABLA RASA GALLERY http://tablarasagallery.com/ 224 48 Street,
If you didn’t make it to Janet’s recent show Goddesses at Microcosm Gallery at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors
you can see it at http://janetmorgan.net/microcosm.html
and check out the newly updated Morgan’s Supreme Beings: The God and Goddess Project