Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

and in other news

I can't seem to sleep all the way through the night lately.

At first, it was the heat. Then it was the raucous morning wake up screeches by the grackles perched in the tree immediately outside my bedroom window. Also, I have regrettably been drinking a large mug of ice water while reading before sleep every night. What's wrong with that, you ask? This results in me sitting bolt upright at about 4am with the urgency to sprint down the hall to the bathroom, stubbing my toe or bumping my head on a doorframe nearly every instance.

Not this morning, however. So, you ask, what woke you up today? Well, I'll tell you. At exactly 4:50am I awoke to the sound of some unknown seriously drunken stranger making his way down the street, retching loudly with every step.


Was anyone else completely disgusted to find the Michael Jackson acquittal plastered all over the front page of the paper? Who cares? Why is this news worthy of a front page headline??

Also, to add to my dismay, it seems the closest appearance Ms. Amos will make to our fair city is Saratoga. Or, I suppose, if feeling adventurous, we could travel to Cleveland for a show. Only I'm not ready to go back there yet. What is a girl to do?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The book meme, via Julia

Answer on your own blogs, please, and spread the love. The questions!

Name three books on your book shelf. One from each end and one from the middle.
1. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
2. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
3. Herzog by Saul Bellow

What reading material is in your bathroom?
A giant book of old NY Times crossword puzzles and various LL Bean Catalogs.

Favorite authors and why.
-Margaret Atwood - my favorite of all time, for exploring female relationships with men in so many different ways. I relate to her writing moreso than to any other author I've read.
-David Sedaris - for making me laugh out loud while reading.
-Erica Jong - for writing about sexual relationships with fearless candor.
-Jeannette Winterson - her work is visual to me...her lush, artfully descriptive language is unlike any I've ever read.
-Susan Dodd - weird, highly unusual plot lines.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald - what an incredible story teller.
-Alice Walker - beautiful truth in her work.

Least favorite authors and why.
Danielle Steel! Such awful trash! I don't understand how she can stand to write the same book over and over again.

What author is over rated?
See above. Also, apologies, but I don't like Tom Clancy.

Would you (have you) picked up a woman (or man) in a bookstore?
I never have, and I guess I won't now, either.

Do you eat while you read? If so what'?s your food of choice?
Depending on when I'm reading..If it's at night, usually I just have ice water or tea. If in the morning or afternoon, I have cereal or lunch while reading.

Name one book you'?d recommend for someone searching for meaning or insight or inspiration.
Well, I can only speak from experience. Some books that I've read that were life changing are: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, & Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. There is something universal to me in all these novels.

Name one book you'?d recommend for a day on the beach or a rainy day in the house.
Beach: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Rainy Day: Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Do you judge a book by its cover?
Usually only at the used-book sales at libraries around town. You know, those $3-for-everything-you-can-fit-in-a-Wegman's-grocery-bag sales. Since you have to fight the hordes of people for books in a limited amount of time, I pick up anything that looks remotely interesting.

In the bookstore, what section do you head to first?
Usually the Barnes & Noble bargain basement. It's exciting to see how many hardcovers you can get for $20-$30.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

chronicle of a birth-day

A mother quietly gave birth - her first - alone, while a father played nine holes.

Awakened by the dog, whining at the foot of the bed. Maybe she was just nervous about the paper boy outside. Nope, whining continued till I got up, took her downstairs for her nature call. I stood at the back door staring blankly at the porch while the dog wandered around in the grass, sniffing everything...plastic chairs, chiminea, patio floor. I thought about getting some coffee and staying up to watch the sunrise. Why, I don't know. There are too many trees in the way, anyway.

Jammed black and white piano-shaped pillow over ear to block out the noisy birds waking up. Tossed and turned. Could not get back to sleep.

Remembered dream about large bugs - black and yellow striped arthropods; long, chitinous bodies, no wings, 6 legs; dark green, waxy schefflera plant leaves protruding from sides. When dead, either from natural causes or the fly swatter, they dry up into black mounds, stuck to the wall.

Checked e-mail. From The Writer's Almanac: It was on this day in 1870, in London, Charles Dickens dropped dead at his chair at the dinner table. He died of a stroke, or apoplexy as it was called then. He was 58 years old. In the months before he died, he must have already suffered a stroke. He spoke in his letters of weakness and deadness on the left side and of not being able to pick up things with his left hand.

Phone call from sister in Tennessee.

Phone call from high school friend now in the insurance business.

Phone call from aunt in Ohio.

Phone call from brother in Maryland.

Celebratory dinner at Shamrock Jack's. I had a fantastic Mediterranean shrimp dish, with sun-dried tomatoes smothered in goat cheese. Yummy. Ryan had Coq au Vin. Shamrock Jack Pale Ale, craftbrewed by Custom BrewCrafters, completed the meal.

Beer run.

8:04pm Birks and more knitting lessons. Also, more beer consumed.

Quiet time for reading, then bed.

No other thoughts to report.

Thanks to all who remembered.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ah, Summer.

There is nothing like a good game of pugilistic Scrabble to welcome the warm nights of June.
(Lauren, Ryan, & Sue)

Friday, June 03, 2005

friday meme

TEN Random Things About Me:
10. I wash my hair every other day.
9. I hate cartoons.
8. I rarely wear shorts in the summer.
7. I already have tan lines from my favorite flip flops.
6. I make my bed every day, even if it's right before I go to sleep at night.
5. I would take in every stray animal I found, if I could.
4. I want to go Vegetarian permanently, but I like cheeseburgers too much to give them up.
3. I will not attend my 10 year high-school reunion this year.
2. I forgive easily.
1. I go on and on about how I hate mushy romantic movies, but I secretly really do like them. And cry while watching every time.

NINE Ways To Win My Heart:
9. Cook for me.
8. Take me out for a beer.
7. Talk about classical music with me. Sincerely.
6. Love animals.
5. Have compassion for people.
4. Make me laugh.
3. Engage me in thoughtful conversation or a heated debate, even if we disagree on something.
2. Be silly with me.
1. Read and love the same books as me, or recommend new ones.

EIGHT things I want to do before I die:

8. Be published.
7. Visit Cornwall, England.
6. Take an Alaskan cruise.
5. Own a house on the beach somewhere, or at least have a pool.
4. Learn the cello.
3. Have a baby. Maybe. I don't know.
2. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
1. Pray at the Wailing Wall.

SEVEN ways to annoy me:
7. Make racist comments or jokes.
6. Talk about Rush Limbaugh.
5. Forget to clip your toenails. (Boys, this means YOU!)
4. Don't use your turn signal.
3. Post anonymous comments.
2. Don't say what you really mean.
1. Hold a grudge.

SIX things I believe in:
6. Love.
5. Same sex marriage.
4. Lots of alone time.
3. A good cry.
2. Mothers really do know everything.
1. Nothing heals better than hugs and kisses.

FIVE things I'm afraid of:
5. Reckless drivers with road rage.
4. Becoming embittered with age, like some older adults I know.
3. Having to drive in really bad snowstorms.
2. That I will have to move out of this country eventually because of the religious right.
1. The day my dog dies.

FOUR favorite things in my room:
4. My book collection.
3. My matching antique furniture.
2. My plants.
1. My embroidered red suede comforter.

THREE things I do everyday:

3. Play with the animals.
2. Check e-mail.
1. Tell people I love them.

TWO things I want to do right now:
2. Have lunch - I'm starving.
1. Knit, knit, knit.

ONE person I want to see right now:
1. I really miss my brother.

(Yes, I stole this. From Spacedog.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I gave up living my life by other peoples' rules a long time ago.

I am about to discuss something I don't normally talk about, except with the people to whom I am closest, but I think maybe now is the time to let it breathe...

When my soon-to-be-former-husband was diagnosed with Schizophrenia a week after our wedding two years ago, my life came to a screeching, seriously whip-lashed halt. Suddenly, in addition to being a newlywed, I became a full-time mother and caregiver. He couldn't work so I worked more. I kept the house and yard up while working 60 hours a week, while making sure we went to the doctor every week, sometimes twice a week. Eventually, our house had to be sold and we had to move. The relationship became stale, resentful, cold, and very, very unhappy.

The worse things spiraled out of control, the more I thought about divorce. As soon as I talked about the idea openly, I was met with disapproval from a lot of people, including some of my own family: How can you even think about such a thing while he is obviously so sick and helpless? What about your marriage vows, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, which you made in front of God and everyone you know? How can you be so selfish? He needs you.

He needed me, but what I needed seemed inconsequential and insignificant, unimportant and unnecessary by comparison. Taking care of myself was dead last. I felt like I was spirit was drying up and disappearing, not to mention my physical self. I lost weight...I hovered near 100 pounds for several months. There was no color in my face, no light behind my eyes. Gaunt-looking and exhausted, I ignored the bathroom mirror at all costs, probably to avoid myself and the guilt I felt.

It is excruciating to tell the person to whom you are married that you don't love him and no longer wish to be married...that this marriage is dying a slow and agonizing death and you wish to be free to care for your soul before it is extinguished. The honest-to-God truth is that I didn't want to have to have a first marriage to fully understand what my personal limitations are. Like everyone else, I wanted to do things right the first time. Thus, the consequences for ignoring my heart and what my inner voice constantly whispered were insufferable.

What it really is all about is self-sacrifice versus self-preservation. I chose to preserve. I can't say people were stunned when I left my husband, but I sensed the head-shaking and finger-wagging, the frowns of admonition, the whispers and staring.

I have been an admirer of Ayn Rand's since I first read Atlas Shrugged, some years ago while I was still in college. I find her philosophy of Objectivism especially helpful and comforting whenever I feel a wave of guilt coming on. Rand said: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

So, I live my life by what I think is right and by what makes me happiest. I do not do things simply because they are expected of me, or because other people think I should behave in a certain manner. I have gained a tremendous amount of strength and self-reliance in the last two years from my experiences, and now I am proud to claim them.

*National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
*The Ayn Rand Institute - The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism