Archive for the ‘quotidian’ Category

Say, what’s your number?

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The astute readers will notice that #reverb10 pretty much ended for me when the new job began. So it goes these days, but I can’t complain: exciting stuff is afoot. Since I last wrote, I started the job, got some things done, took a road trip with Julie and got more things done, and went back to that Vipassana center for another ten-day stay, this time serving (sitting a bit, mostly cooking and cleaning).

So much to say about all that. But right now, there’s a more pressing matter. Somehow, in transferring my iPhone to sync with another computer’s library, I lost all my contact records. Did I have your info? Would you like me to? If yes to either or both, please email me to let me know what I should have for you. Thanks!

changes coming

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Seasonal changes, for the most part.

Many of my friends are busily packing for Burning Man. I’m not going this year, and it’s the right decision, and mostly I prefer it to going (this year), but damn, I miss the playa.

Today I experienced a full-on blood sugar crash for what might have been the first time ever. Martin said, when I got home, “Wow! Congratulations on going this long without!” Honestly, I can do without ever experiencing this again. The 25-minute walk that was the beginning part of my after-work commute ended in me entering the T station, shaking. The train came pretty much immediately, and by the time I got out at Davis three stops later, I couldn’t see or think straight. The ten-minute walk from there to my house was unthinkable, so I sat at a cafe and ate a croissant. And then another one, this time filled with sweet cheese for more fat and sugar. Then I walked home, and felt vaguely week by the time I got there.

What the hell? I hadn’t starved myself today, far from it. I was a bit low on carbohydrates, but not that low. But maybe it just wasn’t my day. Twenty minutes ago I dropped a laptop power supply on my toe; my allergies have been acting up; and mere moments ago a tree fell down right outside my window. It would’ve fallen on top of my car, except Martin was borrowing it to transport some heavy paper objects and moved it a few minutes prior.

I’m going to sleep now. Please don’t let the world blow up in the next few hours. And please let me successfully fight off this cold by morning.


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Life’s been chugging along, and the best I can do sometimes is keep up. In the now-venerable tradition of good-thing, bad-thing, here’s my week and a half, give or take.

  • ++ Birthday! I had one. I went out to dinner with mom and Vlad, and later had a party. It was well attended by lovely people; Mark supplied lights and gorgeous swathes of cloth to drape around things; the food was appreciated; much merriment was had.
  • – Then last Monday I started feeling sick.
  • – Then last Tuesday I came in sick to cover library supervision in the evening (until 9pm), and proceeded to lie on the table floor for most of the time I was in, unable even to watch stupid TV online, much less work.
  • — Then Wednesday I discovered that what I had was strep throat! I don’t remember whether I’d ever had it before; certainly not since I got to the States almost twenty (!!) years ago.
  • + Yet I recognized it for what it must be, went to get myself checked out (thanks for the encouragement, mom), and got
  • +++ penicillin, which is a wonder of (semi-)modern medicine, even though it’s kicking my butt by greatly diminishing my baseline energy level. But hey, it’s only for ten days.
  • – Meanwhile, I missed my weekly playdate/kid-sitting night with four year old Natalie. SO looking forward to seeing her today.
  • ++ On Saturday, I had fantastic dinner with my family, all of them—even brother Zhenya, sisinlaw Jo Ann and nephew Tesher came up for this—as a first, early celebration of my mom’s 70th birthday (coming up in May). I do so like hanging out with them, particularly when it involves food and then sleeping in my own bed.
  • + The last two nights, I had excellent dates, with conversations and food and laughing that left me feeling hale and whole.
  • + Yesterday, I finally finished up the saga of having had to have a tooth extracted a year and a half ago, then get an implant, then get a crown for the implant. Dentistry has been the bain of my didn’t-grow-up-with-fluoride-in-my-water body, and I’m glad this one’s over.
  • ++ Also yesterday, I acquired a physical therapist and a therapy schedule to finally fix a year-and-a-half-old shoulder injury. I like the therapist, and I like that he’s two T stops away from the building where I work. Major win.
  • + I’ve been productive and happy at work (except for that miserable evening with the strep throat). We submitted an NEH grant proposal; I’ve been talking to faculty about teaching with technology; we have several IT and digital library projects going; and as terrifying as it is to essentially be my own boss most days, I’m also learning new stuff at a pace I can feel. Mostly learning about managing time and expectations. Valuable stuff.
  • – Work is also exhausting and often frustrating. Yesterday I shut down my computer after reviewing and commenting on four long library policy documents, and literally couldn’t think for a while, just let myself be on autopilot going home.
  • + Good thing cooking perks me right up.
  • – I’ve also been chronically under-sleeping again, mostly by making bad time-management choices in favor of being with good people.
  • + Good thing I got plenty of sleep while sick with strep throat!
  • + On a different note, I’m participating in a Tufts study on how people manage their personal finances (or at least that’s what they claim the study is about). This got me thinking more deeply about my own personal finances, and once again coming to a conclusion that I can manage them well even if the jam-tomorrow enticements that just keep coming from my ex never materialize, and I have to pay his share of our mutual debts too. I wouldn’t be happy doing it, but not having any choice, find it more pleasant to be sanguine about it. Of course I have a rant about that, but that’s not the point: the point is, this isn’t driving me crazy anymore.
  • +This past weekend, I saw a bunch of old friends and acquaintances from my days of hanging out on the interactive fiction MUD.  I also got to see a screening of the excellent documentary Get Lamp, by Jason Scott of textfiles fame, which (both Get Lamp and textfiles) I’m highly recommending if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • ++ My house and my life are full of people so good in so many ways, it makes me dizzy sometimes.

And these are just the highlights. Life’s full, and mostly good.

darker and curiouser

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

A few weeks ago, due to a fantastic coincidence of events and a generous friend willing to share the experience, I saw Kate Bornstein perform. She’s a force of nature, she is. She was standing before us, all 75 or so audience members, revealing to us bits of her head and heart with her own words. She used Keynote freely, showed us slide shows of family pictures, talked about her parents separately and together. These days his mom thinks he’s a nice girl.

She talked about living in the interstices of definition, defying it and longing for it or something similar, recognition of what she is, at any rate. “Look at me,” she half-invited, half-acknowledged. “I’m not a woman.” Then smirked, “I’m not a man, either.”

I mean, I’ve known for a long time that gender is a continuum, but I’d never been in the presence of someone so fluid, so grounded, so kind and generous and loving after having been through a hell of haze and doubts and danger — because we beat and kill and damage transgendered people, because we fear the absence of neat little boxes — that I’ll only ever imagine.

The end of her evening’s performance took me by surprise, and I stood there with Michel, shell-shocked, at words’ end. Later we talked with Kate for a few minutes, and I must’ve articulated something or other well, because she asked me if I was a writer. The question took me aback, and I spent most of the rest of the evening composing this post in my head, but that was weeks ago and is lost to time. Now I dust off dim recollections to make them shiny again for a moment.

This is why I don’t think of myself as a writer: to me, that identification comes with a need to write, and what I have is the occasional need to cook.

Been cooking… some. In the last month I’ve made kickass chocolate pudding (for the first time ever; what took me so long?), water chestnuts wrapped in bacon (thank you, fellow party goer, for the idea), bacon wrapped asiago stuffed dates (ditto), and a bunch of unremarkable meals, some involving bacon. I need a challenge involving reasonably priced ingredients.

Thanksgiving, though, oh! It was perfect. I dislike the holiday, I think it puts gratitude in bad historical company, but this year it was exactly right. Four of us, just my brother, sister IL, nephew and me. (Mom opted to stay in MA, as she and her partner were taking off for warmer places that weekend.)

We had no dinner table. We had things in the oven and other things on the grill, and no timing congruency at all. We ate food as it got done, cooked with wine glasses in hand and chatted. All evening. Then we spent most of the rest of the weekend sitting by the fire with tasty drinks, mustard seeds, mortars and pestles, other fiddly food tasks such as scraping out a dozen roasted squashes, and ice cream. It was pretty much my idea of idyll.

Emily and Jesse are settling in, and the house is homey. Emily’s cat Destroyer of Worlds (Mundi, for short) is getting comfortable despite Nochka’s grumpy growling. Life is re-acquiring a rhythm at SCD.

Work is the kind of chaos that makes you throw your hands up in the air and go with it.

Winter is undeniably here, in my ribcage. Copious amounts of vitamin D help a surprising amount, but winter still sucks.

Still, Equinox (wedding anniversary) is past, and November 17 (the day my marriage was pronounced dead) is gone, and we’re fumbling towards Solstice. Strange, that in only two weeks the days will start growing again. Autumn lasted so long that wintry weather is really only just beginning. The time of long sleep, warm blankets and tiny LEDs is upon us.

then, some days are perfect

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Life’s been tough lately. Another bout of non-communication with partner-that-was, about which I can do nothing. Missed communications with loved ones—happily, these being much more fixable, since they involve people who’ll talk to me. Utter dearth of sunshine, most of the time, and decidedly non-summer-like weather.

I could go on (and on), and tell you about the lightbox I got back out in June, and the several draft posts I haven’t made yet (among them one about my not-quite-ADD brain, and why the not-quite part is hard). But instead I’ll trap a little bit of today in amber, because it was perfect.

Never mind that yesterday gave it a run for its money. Yesterday I’d woken up gloriously late, and finally gotten all the parts of my tent in one place and set up and hosed off, ridding the thing of 95% of its playa dust quotient, just in time for a camping trip this weekend. Never mind yesterday, most of which is a tad too personal for this venue. Today.

Today I woke up at 7 (don’t ask). Had breakfast with coffee and quiet sleepy laughter with housemates. Unpacked and moved around some of the stuff that was cluttering the living room, slowly, minding how the house feels to me. (Like home, is how.)

Just before ten I was at Moosecasa, getting quite the reception from two very excited small girls. We took off a half hour later, the three of us, me and two three-year-olds, for Chestnut Farms, from where I get my CSA meat. They had an open barn today. There were goats and chickens and cows and pigs and sheep and baaaaaaaby animals, and they were so warm and soft, and the world was ringing with birdsong, and.

And it was a two-hour drive each way, and that went pretty much perfectly, even though everyone got tired at the end. Trips like this with one adult and two inquisitive, smart, engaged children are a complete toss-up, and this was my lucky day. We talked until we were hoarse, sang songs, listened to Puff the Magic Dragon like half a dozen times, and I got the best small-girl radio from the back of the car. Having the two of them entertaining each other was, I think, most entertaining for me.

We came home, tired. Cee and I got to spend time together, quietly. Three small children and six adults frolicked in a backyard exploding with the gorgeous fruits of gardening, eating cherries and a couple of almost-ripe mulberries and maybe even a strawberry. I came home and cooked dinner, and ate it with People of the House.

I’m exhausted, and for once, my soul is light-filled and well-fed.


Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Found this in my drafts. From May 13th, 2003. This was when I was in grad school, taking a writing class, and most relevantly living next door to Talan. (Where’d his site go? It had such literary-critical gems. Aigh.)

To sleep… to sleep is a price too steep, must work, mold words, count-downing ten pages — downing a beer after allergy pill, a mistake in the making — mold words meekly, humbly tumbling tattered idea to tattered idea, just-do[ing]-it getting over it getting it over with, thought passing over and under and either side of computer, books, words, work, up and away to coffee or not-coffee, to still softness, still tentative, still — sleepy and still… movement come from within, building gilding the rose, rising welling up then dive, a well so cool then still

to be behind below beyond the chatter of Greimas grimacing from out his structurgrid grinning — to leave, to weave instead a bed of leaves or sheets or page, to think nought about wages, war, weakness, wage peace in stillness, movement minute, diluted further by soft smooth laughter out from the inside.


Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Since intersession ended on January 5th, I have not had a single full school-night’s sleep. Catching up on the weekends is useful but still not healthy.

Thursday was one mad dash after another at work right up until about 6:30pm, and culminated in drinking wine at a reception in our library, chatting with coworkers, then cleaning up and getting a ride home, arriving around 7:45. And immediately turning around to drive the car I time-share to its home, take the bus back, and collapse.

Friday was one mad dash af… well, you know. Ran around almost non-stop 8-6 with a two-hour break for a dental appointment (three cheers for my dentist, again), came home and had a fantastic dinner with this gorgeous babe who is funny and fascinating and has good taste in movies. I showed her An Ordinary Miracle.

Now it’s almost 2am. Not setting an alarm. Still, I’d like to figure out how to live life as fully as I want, and still get anything approximating enough sleep most nights. I feel my immune system wearing down.

hello, the world!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

My phone is back. I’ve lost some IMs, some budget updates and… that’s it. Tonight, I back up my computer.

psa: no phone for a few days

Monday, January 19th, 2009

I lost my phone on the highway. Don’t ask.

I’m getting a new phone shipped to me; given that it’s a refurb I couldn’t just walk in and get one in a store. It’ll take a few days.

No phone until further notice! Email, comment, etc. I love you all. In fact, I love you so much that I’ll write down all the information you need to get a replacement refurbished iPhone for $200 (8GB) without having to pay for a whole new phone line, even though the customer service reps say you can’t. (!!) I will write it after I eat breakfast, at 1pm this glorious Martin Luther King, Jr. Day morning.

add, subtract

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009


– this fucking economy, which makes me fear losing my job

+ Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, which taught me history and made my heart skip many beats

– the Rhode Island bureaucracy, which could’ve saved me weeks of waiting by putting a single piece of information on their website, but didn’t, and the person I talked to on the phone was totally unapologetic about it even while telling me how to save weeks of waiting

+ Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which I only just started listening to (see Audible, above) and which is pretty fantastic

– people I’m close to are unhappy, and this makes me sad

+ I got to play dairy fairy today

+ Having finally received a memory order long time in coming, I’ve made several people’s computers go faster at work, and they’re, all, yippee! And I’m happy.

– I need to pour candles, and have everything necessary to do that, but haven’t done it yet, and have no excuse

+ finally settling down at work and getting some of the backlog done. Though, see fear above.

+ only a week ’til inauguration!!! (Not going, but I sure wish I were. As it stands, I’ll be glued to the internet feeds.)

+ the winter is receding.

+ check out this fantastic lamp Vanessa made for me! Holy cats!

+ the new dean of our school, whom I met for the first time today, is great

– life doesn’t have enough hours in it, and/or I need too much sleep. Can haz functional brain on, say, five hours of sleep a night? No? Well, it was worth a try.

– occasionally anxious about the future, and future planning

+ have tools to deal with that

+ live in a house full of great people, both resident and transient

+ my relatively-new primary care doctor leaves nothing to be desired

– my recent past is sad, and won’t stop being sad at least for a very long time

+ cats and small girls and time to myself and sleep are all balm for the soul

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. There is only now.