Sunday, January 17, 2010

Year On

Okay. 2009 was my Year Off. Everybody gets a Year Off, right? I almost posted something at the end of December, but then part of me didn't want to ruin the postless year, so I held it in. But it's 2010 now (which means it's safe to post again), and I'm done with homework-producing grad school classes (which means I'll have room in my brain to think of interesting, blog-worthy thoughts again). So 2010 will be a postful year. You'll see.

ps - grad school's not quite done yet; this is just a lull between classes ending and my thesis project getting going. so don't congratulate me yet. instead, stay on my butt about getting done already.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poor Little Rich Girl

I have made a dilemma for myself.

A couple of months ago I made my yearly donation to Michigan Radio, and for the first time in the history of me giving them money, I indulged my compulsion to check the "I want a complimentary gift" box and picked out a tote bag (because when one is a teacher, one can never have too many tote bags). It finally came in the mail last week, and today was the first day that I got to use it. I was ferrying things from my car to my apartment after school, and while making my way up the front walk, school bag slung over my shoulder and "Michigan Public Radio" canvas tote in hand, I was unexpectedly struck by a feeling of sheepishness and slight shame (unexpected sneak-up feelings are apparently a Thing this month - see "betrayed by bread" post below...).

I suddenly wanted to disassociate myself from that tote bag as quickly as possible, not because advertising the logo of my favorite radio station made me in any way self-conscious, but because it dawned on me how much that bag is a symbol of my greed. Here I had essayed to commit a charitable and altruistic act by giving money to a non-profit organization, and yet, at the same time, I had selfishly taken advantage of an offer that cost that same organization money. My full pledge amount was decreased by the price of the gift that I demanded; resources were taken away from some other, far worthier project for what? So that I could add another bag to my collection? It's kind of disgusting. I hurried inside with my bag of shame.

But as I started to unload it, the real crux of my predicament came to me. From now on, whenever I use that bag, I will feel guilty for ordering it AND, rational or not, I will imagine that others who see me using it are judging me for following the letter of the fundraiser but clearly missing the spirit; yet if I stow it away in a dark and dusty corner of my closet, I'll feel even worse for ordering the stupid thing and then not using it. I guess this will be my penance then. Every time I use that bag (and this will be often, because I seem to have a lot of stuff that seems to need moving around quite often), I will be reminded that I couldn't muster up the chutzpah to give an unconditional gift and I will remember that my soul still has a lot of growing to do.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Today I came home craving, more than chocolate or salsa which is a big deal if you know me, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I just bought new peanut butter last week, and eating fresh peanut butter is delightful anyway, because the top is smooth and perfect, and dipping into it with your knife (or finger...who am I kidding?) is just as satisfying as popping bubble wrap, if you ask me. So I had this new jar of peanut butter to look forward to, along with delicious grape jelly and bread in my mouth all at the same time. Until. I discovered it. My bread. All of it. An entire half a loaf (today's blog is brought to you by the word "oxymoron") was green and fuzzy. And, as I sadly transferred the plastic bag of formerly-edible-bread from the bread box to the trash in an unceremonious dumping sort of way, I was surprised that more than anything else, I felt betrayed. Betrayed by my bread that was not there when I wanted it most. I mean, what's the point of being a food staple if you're going to turn on someone like that? I blame Thanksgiving, where, for a week I had food provided for me through the family dinner, the leftovers, the going out with friends, and the having time to prepare real food - there was just no time to think of sandwiches, nor room for them in my stomach. So anyway, I was betrayed. That was the point.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that the wind is whistling around the eaves while I sit here typing this, but it doesn't sound like wind, it sounds exactly like pigeons cooing. And when I get too absorbed in typing and forget where and when I am for a moment, I hear it and wonder at the birds sitting outside my window. This has happened at least three times in the last fifteen minutes or so. So there's that too.

This whole post has been written in the dark, since I really only stopped by the computer to check tomorrow's weather report before bed, but I can never just 'stop by' the computer. So now I'm sitting, but I never managed to make it to the light switch, so it's still dark, and I'm realizing that there are certain computer keys that I still don't know automatically, like the question mark key. I must glance down to find it unconsciously, because I didn't realize this was an issue until it took me four tries to find it by touch back up there when I was talking about bread.

I think it's important to be aware of these things that we usually do unconsciously whenever we can be. Noticing things in general is useful, and much easier for me to do again now that my semester of grad school has ended and I have time to do things like think and breath and write for fun. My next post should be about my recently developed, new-and-improved 5 year plan. But saying it out loud might jinx it. How does academia look upon people who are ardently superstitious? I hope the answer is "favorably."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just a thought in passing...

From time to time, I get bats in and around my apartment. This comes as no big surprise seeing as I live in an attic and everything. But last weekend the Halloween episode of This American Life featured callers telling real-life horror stories. And one of them was about bats. In a sound bite that couldn't have lasted longer than two minutes, my formerly tolerant opinion of my nocturnal, mammalian, winged neighbors (and sometimes roommates) was egregiously readjusted. Apparently bats have been known to bite sleeping people without waking up their victims or leaving marks. Many bats also have rabies, and the window within which someone exposed to rabies must find treatment is an alarmingly brief 72 hours. So what happens if a bat bites me in my sleep and I don't realize it and get the anti-rabies vaccine in time? Exactly.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Some 2am Lists

Fun Board-Game-Related Phrases to Throw Into Everyday Conversation as Punctuation:
Do Not Pass Go!
Check Mate!
Go Fish!
King Me!

A semi-reliable source told me that 25 is the age where the body stops growing and, essentially, starts dying. I have 40 days of growing left.

Lesson of the Day: How to write a good facebook 'status' update - be ridiculous enough to be interesting without being personal enough to be meaningful. (This can be a fine line).

Other Things That Are True:
Job-school's done for a spell
Grad class is starting again on Monday
Matt's here
I'm busy living as hard as I can (read: sans reflection/narcissistic blogging) for the next 40 days
I like cake and sangria

and you

Friday, May 16, 2008

I don't understand how running works with my body. Or I should say I don't understand it yet. But I'm learning. There are patterns I'm noticing - things that work and things that don't. For instance, earlier this month, I was running a few times a week. After couple weeks, each run was killing me. I had no energy or stamina, I got cramps and stitches in my side after the first half mile, and I actually gained a couple of pounds. Gross. Then it got cold and grey and wet, which I took for a perfect excuse to stop exercising.

Today I went out again for the first time in a while, and it was great. I did my longer, 4-mile loop (the other times I was going about 2.5) and it was good. Nothing cramped, nothing stitched, I have a few almost-blisters and I don't smell great right now, but I'm willing to take all of that in stride.

I think the big thing that changed (I mentioned patterns before - this is what I meant) is what I ate beforehand. Today I had a bottle of Blue Moon, Meijer sushi (readers in South Carolina need to bit their tongues. It's not that bad, ok?), and a mountain of chocolate chips, while before I was eating healthier but heavier things like pasta and drinking lots of water. This latest combination of victuals was magical - the sushi was light enough not to gum up my intestines, and the chocolate gave me enough sugar-energy to make it more than half way around the lake before I needed to stop and walk a spell. This menu might have to be a regular pre-run thing.

Also, I've decided that I'm a compulsive exerciser as much as I'm a compulsive eater (but neither of these things to an extreme degree, don't worry). When I got home from work today, I had no intention of going running, but once my "after school snack" turned into a feast, my guilty conscience chided me into a few miles of cardio. Maybe I'll wait a week and then go again? Tomorrow Danny and I are garage saleing, but before that there will be cream puffs and long johns, which might at least be incentive for a few jumping jacks or a sit-up. Or maybe we'll just power walk through Heritage Hill and I'll tell my conscience to deal with it. Because that usually works (?)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's May and I'm tired. I've been trying to diagnose why (or of what) I am tired. I think the reason simply is that it is May and May is awfully far away from September. This school year has not been bad, but it has been full. So there's that.

Robert Frost wrote a poem called Neither Out Far Nor In Deep about people watching and watching the horizon, even though they know they won't be able to see anything that they can reach or understand, which can either be read as uplifting or bitter, depending on the mood you're in when you read it. We all already know how much I like Robert Frost, so I don't need to expound on how deliciously (excruciating-ly?) apt is the duality of this analogy for things and life and the effect of May on a young teacher approaching the end of her second year.

Today I just...left. After more than an hour, I stood up from half a pile of tests still waiting to be graded and walked out. I needed to be gone from there. Usually when I get impulses like that I'm able to quell them pretty quickly. I get that there is this discrete (yet never ending, like the post office, like everybody's job) amount of work that I am responsible for finishing, and just because I abandon it today does not mean it won't be there tomorrow morning; this is usually why I stay after school until I'm done, or at least until I reach a nice, neat stopping point. But today for some reason I just didn't want to. And when I got home I didn't feel any better.

But now I've posted for the first time in more than a month, so that helps a little. It's something, at least (for once, then, something...)

Update from The Future (Two Hours Later): I figured out the real reason for the tiredness. I had a caramel apple today at school (It's teacher appreciation week and our PTA has chosen 'Carnival' as the theme of their daily treats for us) and, after spiking in the middle of sixth hour, my blood-sugar proceeded to bottom out right in the middle of my grading session and maintained its dangerously low level all the way through the end of my original post. Nice how I get so emotional about it and immediately assume I'm spiraling into terminal lethargy, hm?

Anyway, because being enigmatic and obtuse isn't cool, here's what I'm (that is, I was...why is there no contraction for 'I was'?) talking about:

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull

he land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be--
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?


Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something