11/01 Direct Link
Day of the Dead or All Soul's Day - take your pick. Made traditional Scottish scones for breakfast, per custom. Some delinquents stole my jack-o-lanterns last night, before 11:00! Quite disappointing, but they were very nice. I did get photos for posterity.
A beautiful day - all blue sky and sunshine. Planted peonies, tulips and glads, always an act of faith as the results are unknown for so long.
Remembering those who have crossed beyond - grandmama, Rae, JoeP and MikeS. I am fortunate that the list is still so short, even if the last two still feel ominious.
11/02 Direct Link
It gets me every time - the first glimpse of something more between them. She makes a special request to help the dying, he balks - once she's in the quarantine zone he can't let her out until the disease is identified and contained.

"All life is transitory, this world is an illusion," she says with a detachment I have to admire, even as the hedonistic animal within me disagrees.

Later, she stumbles out from the carnage, every one of the infected dead. Her movements always struck me as affected before. Now, I know the actress is right. I wish I didn't.
11/03 Direct Link
The land is on fire, from burning bush to fire king maple, its a blaze of glory. Three weeks after the yellow glow of House in the Woods and the muted tones of trees along I-80, the South Shore has exploded.

It is a moment frozen in crystalline clarity. This, I cannot leave behind. They don't have this glorious finale in Florida (not that it matters anymore) and I can't believe it exists out in Santa Fe or Taos. And I've never lived more than 45 minutes from a large body of water - I can't imagine being away from it.
11/04 Direct Link
I am trapped in a dream - rendered immobile by the hazy wisps that stay with me after I finally crawl out of bed. They wrap around my eyes and mouth, making the reality of day seem distant, and weigh down my limbs, anchoring me in limbo. I relive the dream constantly, while cooking, driving, even while reading. I know it is impossible and ridiculous, but that doesn't stop me from succumbing to its temptations whenever I am not wholly occupied by something else. I go to bed again dreaming, and see with even more clarity that which will never be.
11/05 Direct Link
I still can't shake the dream, although I've learned a bit about how to keep it at bay. Like so many things in life, when you fight against the currents, you're beaten to a pulp, but when you relax and allow the currents to guide you, they often sweep around you, putting you a bit off course, but causing no real harm. I did some research on the dream and I was right about a number of things.

I've gained just enough distance to wonder what the dream is a substitute for, as it isn't a message or a lesson.
11/06 Direct Link

That single word sums up my existence. Sipping morning coffee on the train, the slight burn at the back of my mouth prods me towards "awake."

There is no particular reason to be so bone weary. Other than the last seven weeks on top of the last three years of matching the work madness has left me exhausted. Drained. Unable and unwilling to wake in the morning, even on weekends. That concerns me.

By noon I'll feel normal, and around 3pm I'll finally have energy. Come 9pm though, I'll be drifting towards morpheus' arms.

I still haven't cried.
11/07 Direct Link
"Who are you?" - a favorite question. Cast aside name, rank, ancestry - and what are you left with? She struggles to find an answer that can be formulated into words.

"What do you want?" is equally difficult to answer honestly when the artificial supports of greed and materialism are stripped away.

I contemplated both questions before JMS arrived. I'm never sure if the answers I have at any given moment are valid. And then I realized that simple fact is for me a defining characteristic of the real answers to both questions.

Who are you? What do you want?
11/08 Direct Link
The women on the train are klatsching about tires and "deceptive advertising" of a particular shop. What a redundant term - deceptive advertising. Truth in advertising doesn't exist anymore, not in the US anyway. A cynical point of view, perhaps, but it keeps me from having my hopes dashed. I never really believe the promises offered but always look for the catch. Who really believes a chewing gum will get you a hot date or a car will make your life more fun and exotic? Are Americans so desperate to change their live, or have they lost the capacity to think?
11/09 Direct Link
Texas welcomed me with open arms after missing the 6:30 am flight because the alarm never went off. Everyone is so certain about Elizabeth and Charles, I can only hope they are right. The one woman I know who matched my opinion of marriage is getting married and I have changed my mind without having found anyone.

Their families are so at ease with each other, they fit together so well, I am overjoyed and yes, a bit envious. A quaint little church and a bagpipe, it all suits her so well - it's a world away from NYC and Fitzpatrick's.
11/10 Direct Link
Be Prepared. The Girl Scout motto. I always liked getting things ready, laying out the tables for a party.

Setting up for the wedding at Steepside Ranch was one of those moments - puddling the blue velvet swaths on crisp white tablecloths, nestling votive candles in curls of French ribbon while the sun came out from the clouds as the bride's sisters reached into buckets of perfect flowers, preparing the centerpiece for each table. Finishing the buffet table inside with even more candles and magnolia leaves, edging the bandstand with rope lights.

The curtain is about to go up - its Showtime!
11/11 Direct Link
Don't know how I managed to drive to the airport. Two and a half hour's sleep is not enough to be functional.

Wedding was lovely, especially the bagpiper! Ties and cummerbunds of tartan on the men. Ceremony was too religious for me, including communion, but Mother Kelley was a modern Celtic priestess. Used the service drive to park myself, eluded the security. Took a few pictures, delivered some soda to the outside bar; played bartender for an hour. Missed cutting the cake and bouquet throwing. The wedding party gathered under the tent and drank past the wee hours of morning.
11/12 Direct Link
Back into regular routine of New York and it feels good. The slight rush to get out the door - if I have enough time to relax, I'll never make it out of the house. Getting coffee from Dan at the station, settling into my seat.

The day will probably be anything but routine, but that will make the day go faster. Slept for nine hours last night, yet I can still feel the edges of exhaustion. To get away for a weekend was great, even if I had to talk about WTC. I felt like an exotic artifact on display.
11/13 Direct Link
Changed the radio station I listen to in the morning. WCBS is all static on the new radio - all AM stations are. Now it's local NPR. No traffic and weather updates, not good; I was lucky to hear that once in the half hour rush. The stories are longer and more interesting but the pace of my morning is now distinctly off, missing the checkpoints of sports (15 minutes left!) and wall street update (get downstairs NOW!). I look up to see time run out. I sprint out the door to face the day's uncharted territories of traffic and weather.
11/14 Direct Link
I aim to low.

That's the consensus among the ranks, anyway. I believe they're right, but unfortunately, there are no other targets in sight. No one to broaden the scope, to let me aim higher.

Helene, having met most of the candidates, agrees that only Robert was truly appropriate, but of course, we never actually dated. He told me something that night, as he drank whisky at Fitzies in '92, something I can never totally forget, he was absolutely correct. Others never realized it, probably why things failed. Because he did see it, that is probably why we never dated.
11/15 Direct Link
Some days you just get nothing done, nothing that you planned to get done, anyway. Its not the for the lack of trying, or preparing, its just that the universe has other plans for you.

Today is one of those days: from the start, it was obvious certain things were simply not going to happen. And since I haven't figured out how to get a "do-over" for a day in my life (if you have figured it out, please tell me!), I decided somewhat ungracefully, to go along with the universe's plans.

I'm still not sure I really accomplished anything.
11/16 Direct Link
New moon influence rising to unpredictability. "Your sins are totally original," he said. I hope he's right, that the end I have set in motion is glorious, as the contract is signed.

At work, using "imaginative disruptions in routine" to gain strength and momentum in the cause, with advocates coming form unlikely corners All those academic skills learned at IFA, acquiring knowledge at a rapid rate, fashioning a new understanding and drawing the correct conclusion as if by magic, will be tested next week. And if I succeed, the next set of doors will be blown right off their hinges.
11/17 Direct Link
Its Fionnbhar's first anniversary with us and he seems to know it. Any and all opportunities to cuddle and snuggle are being maximized. So tiny then, he still seems small next to Merlin: the fairy king and the wizard.

Driving to and from Woodside today was a breeze - no traffic to speak of in either direction. If it were only like this all the time the Island would be a great place to live.

Helene was delighted with the Vernor's - much more so than I'd anticipated. Must remember to have Mom & Dad bring some on every trip now.
11/18 Direct Link
Went with Garrison down to the waterfront, lights of the pier being somewhat less than streetlights and 4:15 being too early to drive too far without coffee. It was like 4th of July, a community gathered in darkness to gasp in wonder at lights in motion - except for the bitter cold.

It was a marvelous display. Wonder what the ancients would have thought at similar displays - would it be a herald, a harbinger of good or evil? Meteors racing across the early morning sky gave another opportunity to realize how small the human race is in the universe.
11/19 Direct Link
The most memorable thing that happened today was seeing the crescent moon as I walked from the car into the house tonight. She hung just above the houses across the street, glowing low in the southern sky, a pearly sheen to the slim ivory curves. It was a moment bathed in the unreal, like the peculiarly faded yet bright images of childhood memories. The streetlights seemed inconsequential, dim in comparison to La Bella Luna.

I stood for a moment, caught between the two worlds of cold here-and-now and the warm not-quite accurate past of memory, wondering which way to go.
11/20 Direct Link
I thought he as looking at me, smiling at me. I couldn't seem to wipe the smile from my face. I mentioned Booker T and he parried with Green Onions. Startled and delighted that he knew that much, I delivered a minute lecture that surprised everyone at the table. His ice blue eyes burned, framed beneath elegantly distinct brows like wings - reminiscent of a proud Centauri.

He went off to watch a football match in a pub. I wanted to have drinks with him, not with the man I'd arranged to meet after work. But perhaps next time we meet…
11/21 Direct Link
Provincial - the word was a silent premonition, and utterly correct. With absolute clarity I realized I can't understand supposedly bright and educated men my age who have lived their entire life in the same city and almost the same job in this day and age. A six-month jaunt at age 28 is insufficient. By comparison, my life to date is simultaneously exotic and bewildering.

I would much rather have had drinks with an Englishman in New York who listens to NPR while tooling between the city and DC, the manual tranny smoothly shifted as the BMW glides between lanes.
11/22 Direct Link
Today I give thanks for:
A job I love, in a career that continues to unfold before my eyes.
My parents, who are my best friends .
Best friends now my family, wherever they may be in the world.
A house that is This Old Home (regardless of what Dad says).
The wicked laughter that La Bella Luna brings to my life.
Garrison, my trusty steed.
Fionnbhar and Merlin, their unqualified love and devotion.
The freedom to live my life as I choose, as an expat abroad, or a single Midwestern girl alone in NY.
For hope, though wounded, still alive.
11/23 Direct Link
U2 and fireworks floods my mind with memories of Bonn, 1987: Dressed in Black and White we watched from the rooftop of Am Wichelshof as the colors exploded over the Rhine, acrid gunpowder smell floats past. Walking home in the rain after another tortured session of Egyptian hieroglyphs with chocolate, earphones firmly in place as I dancing without an umbrella, past the bridge, the funky light store, the Beethovenhalle. The beat from Bono & The Edge pumping the blood through my veins, my traveling companions everywhere I went.

I can't let it go, surrender - dislocate.

Wide awake - I'm not sleeping.
11/24 Direct Link
It's done, finally. Or has it just started? I can't tell yet.

Awash in memories of a time when I was truly living in the moment, no real thoughts of future what-ifs, simply happy to be an Ami expat lost in the crowd of 40,000 students, living for music, Egypt, art and Kaffestunde, the music triggered another, more unexpected response. A poignant love song that confronts the pain of differing personalities twists inside out to become a global plea for humanity. The tide descended over me, and the tears rolled from my face like so many lives that were lost.
11/25 Direct Link
A day of indulgences. Memories of Egypt at the Met, the American Wing courtyard much more peaceful than the Temple of Dendur: it's tucked away in a corner where visitors rarely find it. Bought new collections of Harlan's stark fables and a journal, then a couple of hours lazing in an Irish pub with tasty lamb stew and brown beer to restore my depleted energy. Then Pierce, guitar in hand, moving and shaking on the bar - by now it's hardly a surprise to anyone.

The best part of the day whole was the surprise of seeing Johnny and his smile.
11/26 Direct Link
Absolutely nothing remarkable, hardly anything of note today. Monday after a long holiday weekend and everyone was in a fog, literally. The early morning mists were deep and low early this morning. An unreal transition, it was hard to distinguish if it was still dark or if things were just obscured by the mists. A moment when the worlds of night and day seemed to meet, yet it was neither.

Ah, well, I guess something interesting did happen today, even if it was only a fleeting moment that was eclipsed by the ordinariness of the many long hours that followed.
11/27 Direct Link
This week now has a theme. Discovered the photo album I bought for Rae at the Bonn Weihnachtsmarkt. Felt compelled to dig out the contemporary photos. I'm living in the past this week, Germany all over again.

Organizing the few photos before my unexpected going-away party was easy. Party shots took longer, but there they all were: Nadir & Nadir, Hannes, Markus, Peter, and of course Heine: holding me like a treasure in his arms, looking straight into the camera, telling me in a photo what he couldn't in person. But it was too late then for both of us.
11/28 Direct Link
New CDs arrived today - I played them immediately and was transported away from today's problems and struggles into yesterday's heartaches. A Dark Kind of Stranger - he introduced me to my forgotten past: Murphy, Tennant, Godwin, "Images of Heaven," indeed; Marcus Meyn, what a voice, the German lilt, with words and music.

This is Ron's soul I'm listening to - I wonder if he's happy. It was most peculiar yet lovely seeing him at Peter Murphy last year. We danced around each other just as we used to do late Friday nights at the Bank.

I'd turn back time for him.
11/29 Direct Link
I don't want to write about work. It takes up enough of my time and energy in the real world, I don't want to allow it to intrude here. But the events of today were so unbelieveable, they overshadow anything else. I hate people who cry wolf. And it seems that is a favorite pasttime of the consultants' technical lead. How very disappointing.

It's a full moon, a blue moon, and it seems a good time for the Ceremony of Rebirth: Give up something that means a great deal to you. Tell one person something you haven't shared with anyone.
11/30 Direct Link
The lineup has changed a bit and Vinnie (oh-oh-OH-Deleo!) gets the biggest roar from the crowd when introduced. I feel the ballroom floor bounce and sway underfoot. We are separated by a distance in our lives of almost a decade. They are creating their memories of these songs; they only know the heyday of this town, the massive growth and prosperity. I am reliving my memories: "Criminal" on the night the ceasefire was announced in '94; "Talk to Me" with the liquid cascade of Eileen Ivers' fiddle pouring through the band; singing along with songs when they debuted at Flemings.