Saturday, September 27, 2008


So A. & M. are here, and last night we went out to dinner with their friends K. & M., who have a one-year old son who was so cute that it's a good thing I am of sound mind and morals because otherwise, the kid would have gone home with me. Whenever I imagine having kids they are always girls, I presume because I am a girl and it's just easier to imagine, but I found myself thinking, "A boy would be just fine. Perfectly, totally fine". And then I started to think, wow, babies and cats have a lot in common. They must be fed. They must be played with. You must deal with their poop. And they sleep a lot.

On the other hand? you can leave a cat home all day by itself and no one will send you to jail for it.

The place where we had dinner is owned by the father of the kid who played Dewey on "Malcolm in the Middle". The dad was there last night and the resemblance is stark. And, let me just say, I would expect that if my kid got famous I would NOT still be running the family restaurant, but perhaps that just goes to show how naive I am.

This weekend: rain. And more rain. I have not been sleeping well the past few nights, and naps will be necessary. I am feeling horribly, horribly lonely, despite the good company, and craving things (and people) I cannot have (not that you can actually "have" a person, they aren't posessions, but you know what I mean). This too shall pass. I so dearly, fiercely hope.

Addendum: significantly perked up after french toast with A & M at Harry's Diner. Then I came home and cleaned out my purse, where I found a $10 bill buried at the bottom. That's half a skein of yarn!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


About the time last night when Bush uttered the words, "The market is not working", I just about fell off my couch. He might have just as well have said, "We're taking over the airline industry because gravity has stopped working". I mean really, it's preposterous: the market is doing exactly what it's supposed to do when institutions make billions of dollars of loans their customers can't pay. There's nothing wrong with the market, there's something wrong with how these loans happened to be created in the first place. Which, by the way, was not the market's decision, but the decision of people in institutions who made some really bad calls, possibly out of greed.

I feel like I'm missing something, and I really wish I'd paid way more attention in those god-awful economics classes I had to take in college. Because I feel like things are really, really bad; bad in ways I cannot comprehend; and in some perverse way having Bush pre-empt David Blaine's latest stupid trick does not assuage me at all. It just makes me wonder, what don't I know?

And seriously? Go read the book "Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas" by Tom Robbins. I'm going to go find my old deck of Tarot cards and start counting frogs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cracking Eggs (Metaphorically Speaking)

S. said that I seem like I’m on the verge of something these days. I replied, “yeah, a nervous breakdown”. Ah, the demons are swirling around me, and I cannot seem to write them away. Or knit them away, either, although I am quite enamored with the newest sock on my needles. How I do love to turn a heel. And then all this talk of babies…I declared this a worry-free year, and yet I can feel the anxiety of turning 38 from seven months away. Can’t wait to see what sort of shape I’m in come May.

Most days I think I’d have a really great kid. Other days, I’m afraid it might be deformed, severely autistic, or turn out to vote Republican. Let’s face it – with all the Diet Pepsi I’ve consumed over the years, chances are that whatever eggs are left are probably drowning in aspartame. It can’t be good.

Oddly, I don’t worry that I’d be a bad parent. I’m pretty convinced that all parents screw up, to one extent or another, and I’m sort of ok with that. Or, more to the point, even if I did screw up, I’m pretty sure it would be in an interesting sort of way. My mother always claimed that if I had a child I’d lose it, since I’m both messy and absent-minded about things. She forgets that she lost me once, in a rack of clothes in a department store that I thought it would be fun to hide inside. I turned up eventually.

I do cringe at the idea of sending my (imaginary) kid to school, though. I’m intensely curious about the unschool movement, which appears to be an ultra-liberal alternative to home schooling. I’m starting to think that traditional school is simply a construct to suit our economic structure, and particularly now with all of the emphasis on testing, it’s less about learning and more about mass workforce development.

In the meantime, it's turning colder and I must focus if I'm ever going to break out of this funk I'm in. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Creative Angst

First, indulge me showing off my new alpaca socks, which I finished earlier this week with literally a grape-sized amount of yarn left over:

I love these socks - they are incredibly soft! - and the colors are really neat, perfectly matching an old sweater of mine. However. I hand washed them last night and left them to air dry, and...well, turns out that wet alpaca smells EXACTLY like wet dog. Ugh.

The rest of the week was filled with a cold, a fever, a sick day from work which I spent on the couch watching TV with the cat, and a major meltdown. The meltdown was deconstructed late Thursday night by S., who I think -at least in part- correctly diagnosed it as a creative crisis. Which, y'know, sounds infinitely better than "I want to put my head under the covers and never come out".

Part of my morose-ness is the time of year - I hate and loathe fall, always have. Every year, I'd go back to school thinking "This is it. This is THE year that it will all fall into place." And, three weeks into the school year, it was clear that nothing had changed and I had not magically transformed myself. (I know I'm being vague here, but just think of intense anticipation met by intense disappointment). I also get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), much like many of my female relatives, and the minute it starts getting dark at 7 pm I start yearning for March. Some years are worse than others, and this year appears to be getting off to one doozy of a start.

But, it's also being fueled by the fact that my writing workshop did little more than discourage me.  And here it is, September, and I have just over three months left to meet the goal I set out for myself in February: to submit something for publication by the end of the year. I have about six things that are in various stages of completion, but the one that was closest - in my estimation - was roundly dismissed by my peers. Some of their criticism is easily ignored, but they were completely right in that the structure of the essay didn't work;  I had suspected that myself. One of the most experienced writers around the workshop table said once that each story has its own structure, the one that will tell it the best, and the trick is to find that structure. And I think he is completely correct, and I think that eventually I will find the right structure for this particular story. The problem is, it will not be in the next few months. My writing teacher actually suggested I put another piece away for a couple of years and then try rewriting it, and I was initially highly insulted until I realized that she actually might be correct. It isn't about my ability to write, or tell a story, but that sometimes things get better after a certain amount of time has wine or cheese.

And what? The last time I set a goal for myself, it was to get my master's degree by the time I turned 30. In actuality, I turned 30 in May and got my degree in December...but CLOSE ENOUGH, y'know? It was clear on my birthday that the goal was in sight and attainable, and seven months wasn't enough to get all wadded up about. And I shouldn't get too upset if it takes me six months longer to submit a writing piece than I planned. But for some reason, it's got me all in a knot. In fact, I spent several hours yesterday untangling a couple of skeins of yarn, and while I felt like I was wasting time I also felt like it was cathartic. Now, if I could only untangle my brain in the same manner...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend in Pictures...

1) New Yarn...from a tiny little yarn shop just down the road, where a bunch of middle-aged women sat around talking about how much they like Obama:

2) After the monsoon yesterday, open windows this evening:

3) After an oddly icky banana bread fiasco (really, who kills banana bread?!), a happier result:

I seem to have a cold, or perhaps allergies, but I opted not to photograph the trail of tissues I have scattered throughout the house.

I also discovered a new BBC series, "Hex", which fits nicely after the vampire books; got lost (again) in Uxbridge trying to find another yarn store (this is akin to getting lost in South Paris, for the Mainers out there); and was dismayed to discover that I will probably run out of my lovely teal and navy alpaca sock yarn 3/4 of the way through the second sock. I am crossing my fingers; it's $25 a skein and I'd really rather not have to buy more, because if I buy one more skein, then I will have WAAAY more than I need to finish my sock, and therefore will actually have to buy TWO skeins so I can make another pair. The socks are lovely and I wouldn't mind making another pair, but $50 for yarn is just silly when I have a whole bunch of it sitting around here, waiting to be knit. Still, though...these are awesome socks, and it will suck to have only 1 and 3/4 socks...grrrrr.

Finally, I decided that I really ought to be a tad more literary-minded and picked up "The Wings of the Dove" by Henry James. Stop laughing. One cannot exist on vampires and David Sedaris alone!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Random Thursday

1) Tonight on the train, a man dropped a mango on my head.
2)  I get home so late most nights that I rarely bother to turn the TV on, but tonight I happened to catch Jon Stewart skewering people left and right (like the guy from Fox News and later, Sarah Palin herself). First he played clips of them saying all sorts of bad stuff about Hillary Clinton, and then he played clips of them saying exactly the opposite of Sarah Palin. As in, it's ok to make an issue out of Clinton being a woman who might cry in front of a foreign leader, but it's NOT ok to suggest Palin might do the same. Ugh. It was hysterically funny and highly disturbing.
3) I am now thoroughly peeved and must go soak in hot water.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

But Can She Spell Potato?

It's been an odd couple of days, hasn't it? On Friday, my parents' house was broken into - they live in rural Maine, for crying out loud, and the idiots who broke in did more damage to the door they kicked in (it was deadbolted, if that tells you anything) than the value of anything they stole. Mainly, they lugged off my dad's guitars, which is really sad (one of them was his 50th birthday gift...). It's maddening, to say the least, and is making me rethink my recent fantasy about having a little house in the woods, complete with a flower garden and tomato and strawberry plants.

But they came down here anyway, and brought me down a bed as well as my desk, book case and sewing table. Yay! It's an odd thing to be 37 and be sleeping on either a pull-out couch or an air mattress, I just have to say. My friend D. came to visit as well, with her daughter L., who saved the day because my parents were slightly wigged out at the prospect of being here at my sister's house with all the grandkids in CA.

I also made some amazing blueberry muffins and a mediocre lasagne, and lost a battle with a 23-pound plastic container of kitty litter. Don't ask. It wasn't pretty and I may have a permanent scar.

In between all the commotion, I've been pondering the Sarah Palin dilemma while knitting a new pair of socks in this unbelievable alpaca yarn...I swear, I would eat it if I could, it's just THAT good. Wilbert (or "Yogurt", as L. liked to call him) seems to approve:

On the other least this election won't be boring. At least Nader can't come along and say they're all alike (which he no doubt will, but it's a more difficult argument to make these days). I'm pretty convinced, though, that there is a special place in hell for Joe Lieberman, and that if Al Gore had his druthers, ol' Joe would be out floating on one of those melting ice caps.