2.28.2003

Big Picture
I really think Jesse was right when she said we should be living in an agrarian society, raising animals and having babies. I can't help but feel that 26 is being puttered away without offering all that I can give. I think it has something to do with the whammo love I feel; a love like that, after all, can nurture so many more. You find the person, and then you feel ready. We can love more than just tiny fish. Even more than my sweet part-time cat. And more than a pug puppy at the pet store. Although my baby is good at absorbing all the love I have to give, I would like dogs and children, at the least, to join our circle.

But although this flourish of feelings seems to have a stranglehold, the critic in me worries that I am just bored with my job, and therefore professionally unfulfilled, and my envy of women with children is an easier distraction than the task of determing just what it is I really want to do with my life. I already know one element of what I want to do with my life: Dan. I swoon just thinking about it. But as to the rest of it, anything is possible. And there's the fear that if I go about the task of scraping out some definitive plan for myself, then maybe I wouldn't be as flexible to move where ever we need to in a couple years for his post-doc. I've never moved away with anyone before, but I know we'll go together, and make the decision as a team. Right now, this team member just wants to go somewhere warm.

I think about environmental law, but I don't really want to be a lawyer. I like writing, but the idea of being a journalist is kind of draining. See? And how about the job of complainer? I can do that just fine. I really just want to live on a farm and take care of animals and babies, and live near enough to my dearest friends. Oh, and write books.

There's not a lot of motivation, either, because so far I have done alright not knowing what I want to do. I got to be an adolescent rebel and still make it safely to college, got a BA, hitchhiked, dyed my hair, played drums on an underground album, got published in a hipster magazine, had addictions and quit them, and have hung around with photographers, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, metalsmiths, and comedians. I am someone's godmother. I have traveled to England, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and Costa Rica. I have a successful career, oddly enough, reasonably good finances, scored a Master's from Harvard at 25 and moved in with the love of my life shortly thereafter. It's really not going so badly when you think about it.

But still, a career behind a computer is definitely not what I'm aiming for. Computers don't love you back.

2.27.2003

New Versions of an Old Life

Because my family lives far away, our visits are like a crush. I am nervous, queasy even, to see them, and then swoon, forgetting everything, burning toast, when they finally arrive. I am even distracted from sleep. The good things are gleaming mountains, huge and present, and the tougher things are too, like the reminders of the fact that it is my job to do things that it shouldn't be my job to do. Parents need their children, even after they grow up; this I understand. But sometimes it feels like we function only because they cooperate when I take care of them. And there are light criticisms, like everyone has to endure. This morning, disputing a memory of mine, my father commented on what he considers to be "fantasies" of my childhood, of stories I have intentionally spun together to create a coherent past.

It is reasonable, of course, for him to correct me, but his tone hinted at something larger than a correction. I can imagine how threatening it might be to have a child who grows up; to be responsible for an entire consciousness and then have them witness your young life and young marriage. But my memories are what I have, and the threat to me when disputed may be equal in scale. I wish it were facts at stake, and not identities. I trust my own sense of my childhood, and think I have it mostly right, at least in feelings. But when I am trying to share it, for the first time, with a partner, to see what a family together might be, I have to give some narratives. My family participated in a few odd things that always stuck with me and helped shape who I am, and yet my father looks back on the time of my childhood as being marked by the mundanity of listening to baseball games on the radio and ordering produce for the store, and swears that my life was quite unexotic, despite the terrors of school and the awkward loneliness of being 7. It may be that nothing is mundane for a child, and as I grow older, I begin to understand that.

And yet, also as I grow older, I understand that my life was unusual when compared to that of my peers. This isn't good, isn't bad, but it may be that I was more affected by elements of our family than he realizes. After all, what does he think I was doing all the time that he was listening to the Cardinals play the Astros and picking out peppers? Because, I think, I remember.

2.26.2003

the grind
Right now my dad and brother are racing traffic, heading east out of upstate new york and south towards the border of Massachusetts. They should be here by dinner time, and after a night of relaxing with me and Blue, will be on their way to Worcester, to interview with another college in the morning. It's tough for my little brother, in love with his girlfriend and loaded down with school work, to keep re-imagining himself at new schools, but he's got to do it. I get so caught up in lecturing him (as I'm sure I will tonight) about fiscal responsibility, about the need to acquire skills that he can cash in on. His eyes glaze over. He's 17 and he wants to be an actor. There's not a thing wrong with this dream, but because he is so accomodated by our parents, I worry madly about him tumbling into adulthood. It was fever-pitch over Christmas, when no one seemed to be thinking about college but me, and now it's down a few notches that he's been scooted around the region's colleges. We have wonderful parents, but for some reason this part of the process did not work.

I just hope that he can focus himself tomorrow, sit in an interview and present himself honestly, envision himself a student in this other world.
*
Speaking of the world, there's a must-see interview with Janeane Garofalo on Foxnews.com. The free registration is SO WORTH IT. This video is a classic summation of the debate over war with Iraq in this country.
*


2.21.2003

On my way to Marlboro, MA.
Driving on the edge of the road, in among the dirty snow. A man with a handlebar mustache and a red flannel shirt looks into my eyes as I drive past him. Men in jeans working, stoking the business at ScrubADub carwash as the salt washes into the ground, running freely among the sponges. The thermometer reads 56 degrees on this Friday, and I am thinking of my boyfriend, out to lunch in the square and, I imagine, happy, his eyes reflecting that optimistic February light. In the drugstore, bags and bags of jelly beans with Real Fruit Pectin, but I don't buy them. Satiate myself with the meager calories of a peppermint patty. Pull out of the lot into glinting traffic.

2.20.2003

[cat] pounce on side of bed and I
whip around to the sound of all four sets of claws, but she's already underneath the covers,
body buried, just a lump of mole moving steadily across the bed
a sleuth unseen

I come over and roll the lump underneath the covers
a series of tail flicks in response
"Maaaaow!" as I kiss the part of the sheets shaped
much like a cat's head

In the bath
she perches on the porcelain
a steady gaze and four tucked paws
a tail slightly damp though it curls so carefully just over the water.
"Hazel," ask quietly, and she will look up while the surface sways within centimeters of her fur
make the water move and light moves, too, across the deepest green in her eyes

*
One thing I did on Monday, besides PowerYoga and pre-storm laundry, was to accumulate snow provisions. You know, the staples: milk, wine, Peppermint Schnapps. By 3:30, I was having spiked hot chocolate on the couch with the cat. I love storms.
*
Note to fellow Type-A'ers: A.) Not everything has to work out. B.) You don't have to be responsible for everything working out. Even if people come to expect it of you. C.) It's true. D.) Really.
*
Many thanks for reading today's meandering entries. I really appreciate you, the reader. The best reader in the whole world.

2.19.2003

Also:
wonderful pictures of protests around the globe (see the all-nude-revue in Australia!).
Beam Your Head
If you've taken a class in what I consider a yoga hybrid (think Power Yoga), then you are probably familiar with the odd class of language utilized by the diamond-wearing, pedicure-rich instructors. "RINSE your spine!" my latest exclaimed, stepping around the room with her maroon toenails. "RINSE your spine, people!" What? What on earth--"Let your bellybutton SHINE the left side of the room!!" she yelped. "Now let your bellybutton shine the right side of the room!" Come again?

But when she told us to bow in thanks for something we appreciated and were grateful for, I knew in mid-bow what to thank: the masses of people that filled Manhattan on Saturday, 49 blocks just on Third St., standing, walking, whole families and older people, all colors and classes, 500,000 strong, standing in solidarity for peace.

The People, United, Can Never Be Defeated

From today's Times:

In one scene an officer catches up to a man who is walking, appears to hit him with a nightstick, and the man falls. When others move toward the fallen man, they are met with pepper spray in the face.

"This is some of the most brutal stuff that we have," said Justin Lipson, who edited the tape.

Leslie Cagan, the co-chairwoman of United for Peace and Justice, the umbrella group that coordinated the New York protest and dozens of others around the globe, called for the resignation of Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

City Councilman Bill Perkins, the chairman of the Council's government operations committee, speaking at the news conference at the Midtown headquarters of United for Peace and Justice, said he would hold hearings on the handling of the rally.

Ms. Cagan said she believed an order had come from "higher up" to make things difficult for the protesters, beginning with city's denial of a permit to march.


[...]

Advertisements for the event said it would be at 49th Street and First Avenue, but the stage was actually at 51st Street, and the crowd extended for more than 20 blocks northward.

As the blocks near the stage filled, the police barricaded side streets and told people on Second and Third Avenues to move north. Some reported that they were ultimately sent back south or directed to take routes that were blocked off or led away from the rally.

Such confusion increased tensions on both sides and contributed to the notion that the police were purposefully keeping people from the rally, a charge the police denied.

2.14.2003

Addendum to New York

One more thing about New York: it is one of 603 cities having peace demonstrations tomorrow. Something about the fact that people in Baghdad will be demonstrating tomorrow, too, fills me with awe. And I'm also inspired by the fact that they'll be demonstrating in Cape Girardeau, MO. It's nice to have a voice against the Bush's faceless approval ratings.

This list is a must-see.
Off to New York

As the time to attend the most mammoth anti-war protest on earth approaches, I find myself growing more and more confused by the barrage of messages about catastrophe in New York. Bio-chem attack predicted for the Big Apple on Valentine's Day weekend? Stay out of the subways? No march permit granted? And no Porta-Potties, rules Mayor; too dangerous. Mmm. It's an insane spectacle if you go looking for it. The Internet is filled with postings like, "my brother is in the secret service and he told me to stay out of enclosed spaces this weekend..." New Yorkers also report a swirl of rumors that the city will shut down the protest. Wait, is it the city that's against us? Or the terrorists? Or Bush? Or all of the above?

I have to admit, though, that knowing people who care and yet aren't going because of self-consciousness scares me, maybe even more than the black-masked bio-chem bandits. I mean, it's one thing if you just don't care, but if you care, but are scared of how others will see you...ooohhhh, what's the whole point, then, really?

I don't mean to be too self-righteous; I mean, jesus, if we hear tonight definitive information that the city is likely going to be under attack, then yeah. We're not going. But that's just common sense. It's not that strange hipster ethic of "I feel something, but to show it would be SO EMBARRASSING! So I shall vow to never show fear, anger or pleasure. To do so would not be cool." Oh, I find that annoying. Although, I guess that's where "losing your cool" comes from.

Hm. I think I lost my cool a long time ago.

Happy hearts and candy, y'all. I woke up this morning with a boyfriend for the second straight V-day in a row! Astounding! And it's the same one! Plus, he's so awesome.

2.13.2003

A Terrible Thing
...happened to the shuttle Columbia, and today the Times published a Jan. 31st email [PDF] from an engineer on the project who had been worried that terrible things might occur. The incredible thing about this email is the *response* to the engineer. Though it is very sad that his ideas were dismissed, he was still treated with great respect. Respect. In the workplace. Respect. Workplace.

My reaction to the email is not without irony, I know. If he'd ACTUALLY been listened to, then maybe they would have tried to make fixes before bringing the crew down. Right. But just read this:

Bob, I really appreciate the candid remarks. As always your points have generated extremely valuable dicussion in our group. Thank you. We have been discussing and continue to dicuss the all possible scenarios, signatures and decisions. Your input is beneficial. Like everyone, we hope that the debris impact analysis is correct and all this discussion is mute.

That's the whole response. I felt so moved. "Your input is beneficial" ?!? "Your points are valuable" !?!?!?! "THANK YOU" ?????
I remember when I used to be told those things in the workplace. Not anymore. I really need a new job.
*
PSA: If you are in Massachusetts, please give Kerry (617-565-8519) and Kennedy (617-565-3170) a ring and let them know that you think the current Democratic filibuster against Miguel Estrada's nomination is excellent. Be a voice of support. Estrada is a nutcase, and the Dems are taking a stand against him. I just called and the people on the other end were so surprised and grateful! It's like no one ever calls them. This concludes this PSA.
*
My parents are spending Valentine's Day apart. Who really cares, right? What do I care if my parents are together or apart on Valentine's Day? But I want them to care. This will, however, mean that 3 out of the 4 members of my immediate family will be at the world's biggest most mammoth protest on Saturday in New York. 3 out of 4 of us, plus Rosie Perez and Susan Sarandon! Plus, I'm just betting that we'll see the new baby of Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker in one of those hip European strollers.
*
My first blog post ever (check it out) was regarding Hazelnut, my wild little cat. We bought a book recently called No Naughty Cats and it is my new bible. NNC suggests 5 categories of cat, including the Destroyer and the Prima Donna, but it was the Crybaby category that described my little bundle of joy so perfectly. It turns out that her incessant desire for mothering and attention can be partially satiated by simply setting up a comfortable box for her, lined with something cozy. We did so this morning, seeting it up in her room, and she immediately climbed inside and got really cozy and funny-looking right away, shooting us "Is this really My Box?" looks. She didn't even accompany us to the door, where she often lingers and hands out looks that induce guilt in even the most hardened of hearts. Instead, she sat upright in her happy little box, blinking big round eyes.
*

2.12.2003

We (Heart) Inspections
OOO! And also: http://moveon.org/inspectionswork
Post it now!
This blog
Man, ever since I started checking the referrer logs for this site, I've been a little hampered in my writing. Way more self-editing. Who ARE the readers of this blog? You can write and let me know, if you want. If we both know each other, then you probably already know that I'm going to New York this weekend for the big protest against an attack on Iraq, with a side trip to the Museum of Natural History. You might also know that I am newly enraptured with Power Yoga and making hearts (I highly recommend that last link!).

But what's on my mind? Well, family members, primarily, and my feelings about their decisions. The ties to family are so bittersweet. And what else? A major email I sent out last night that could completely change my life---but more likely will not. But both of those topics got unanimously vetoed by the "Good God Should People Really Read That" (or, GGSPRRT) board in my head.

I have been thinking about a secondary character in my ever-developing children's book. I know his name now, and I know his fundamental role in my protagonist's life. But GGSPRRT generally pooh-pooh's writing about one's writing ideas until they are Incredible-Hulk strong.

Today it's cold in Southborough, snowing continuously, making all the traffic a little bit more confused, making me wish I was home, with my warm cat and some warm cocoa. The reservoirs have been frozen for months, leaving vast white spaces of open among the forests that line the highway.

2.03.2003

I now realize that my excessive purchase and manic use of seven bottles of hand sanitizer this past week is symptomatic of a deep-rooted fear of my company. I call it "my company," but I'd rather classify it as "the company I work for." I am afraid of the kitchen, the den of germs. What's more, I am afraid I will come down with the sloth of middle management, and rampant lack of engagement or connection with life. If I can only apply enough hand sanitizer, maybe I won't catch it.