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Today is the sixty-fourth anniversary of my parent's wedding (Dad died in '97). It's also, strangely, the sixty-fifth anniversary of the day either Russia or Germany invaded Poland. Someone is always invading Poland. It's quite tiresome. Thank God my grandparents had the motherwit to slip out between wars in an impossibly high-stakes game of double dutch jumprope.
Given my parents' passion about an independent Poland, I always wondered why they married on the first anniversary of an invasion, but I have never mustered the nerve to ask them. I suppose my biggest fear is that they never noticed the significance.
The Sunday Times magazine section had an article about true mirrors. Now a "true mirror" is a particular item: it reflects your image back without reversing it (by means of two planes meeting at right angles). The claim in the article was that such a mirror, and only such a mirror, lets us see ourselves as the world sees us.
I've been mulling over this one for days. I happen to think that the reversal of the beholder's image in the mirror is wholly superficial, and that the reflection is accurate. The biggest obstacle to perception is in our brains.
It's early. I do my hundred first off every day to make sure they get done.
My public day starts today with three meetings in a row.
In a few hours, I will be meeting a client for breakfast at the Longshoreman's Daughter. This restaurant is located in the part of town with the salvaged Lenin statue. Something tells me they will not have delicate meals there.
I dreamt last night of sorting art supplies, something I rarely do in real life. The client I'm meeting is a real artist, unlike me, which may be the source of the dream.
I have been trying to convince my nine-year-old son that chess is superior to Yu-Gi-Oh as a game of strategy. He's not buying it.
Our debate so far, which I acknowledge is ultimately pointless, has led to my taking out my old collegiate dictionary and reading out to him the actual definition of "strategy." He can't see why the necessity of purchasing cards with a variety of deus ex machina powers makes the game intellectually any less challenging.
Secretly, I think Yu-Gi-Oh is in fact superior to chess in one way—the anime artwork on the cards is quite interesting.
I went to a haircut chain and had my ragged ends trimmed for ten bucks. This comes only a few days after I dropped a cool hundred seventy-five to have my hair colored.
One might ask how it can possibly cost that much to color hair. I have it dyed dark blonde all over, then streaked with lighter blonde. When the gray grows out it is almost undetectable. Yes, I have tried coloring it myself. Once. It looked like a dog's breakfast.
One might then ask, why the cheap haircut? Ah. I wear my hair up, so it doesn't show.
Labor Day. I think white dress shoes for women are appalling, but it is time to put away my bone-colored pumps with the cut-away sides and the stacked wooden heels. Soon, it will be time to wear my brocaded velveteen shoes (that I have nursed along since 1984). Time to put away the hot pink lipstick in favor of my reds and purples. Time to put away the pale scarves and take out the deep ones. Time to don pantyhose and even tights again. I may work in an ebony tower, but I make note of the change of seasons.
Today is the first day of school! What joy fills the heart of a working parent at that realization.
My daughter, age seven, spent ten minutes styling her shoulder-length hair by tucking it meticulously behind her ears. My son, age nine, who goes to a different school, managed to miss his early bus. This means I have to drive all over Hell's half acre on the way to work.
As a bookish, sedentary child, I always longed for school to start so I could shine again. Who knew, back then, that the start of school would still thrill me now?
I am reading a book called "You Don't Have To Go Home From Work Exhausted."
Yes, one is supposed to italicize book titles, not put them in quotes, but fancy formatting is forbidden in the hundred-wordiverse.
Also, although it's not strictly correct, I learned years ago from a partner in my firm in NYC that if I capitalize every single word of a title, I save a lot of time agonizing over capitalization.
Where was I? The book. It suggests short frequent play breaks as a means of sustaining energy throughout the day. Today I'm bringing my Spirograph to work.
The fall flamenco season started again last night. We have new music for sevillanas that goes lickety split. One of the other girls broke a castanet trying to keep up.
In the advanced class we started caracoles, or at least I started learning it. I need to have a bata de cola (Spanish for "pain-in-the-ass skirt") made. It is a long skirt with a ruffled train that you literally kick around the stage. Yeehaw!
I take one class at 6:30, take a break, take a second class at 8:30. My 70-year-old teacher teaches three classes in a row. Iron legs.
"When life matters, the care matters more." This remarkable sentence comes from a commercial I just heard on the radio for a "cancer care center." Sounds good, but makes absolutely no sense.
The care matters more than what? Does the care matter more than life itself?
When does human life ever not matter? Umm. For that question answers do spring to mind. If one is a suicide bomber, I suppose personal medical care, for cancer or anything else including mental illness, really doesn't matter.
Somehow I don't think this was the train of thought the advertisers had in mind .
When I went to my office in my ebony tower this morning (by seven thirty on a Saturday, working on this accursed billing software) I noticed that the flag on the building in front of me was at half-mast. For a moment I thought in confusion, why is that? before I remembered. Oh yeah. Makes a heck of a lot more sense than when a former president dies of natural causes, frankly. I couldn't understand why the flags were at half-mast when Reagan died. Was it a surprise to anyone? Other than the old man himself, who might have been.
I have spent way too many hours on mastering "practice management" software since my official close of business at five p.m. Friday. I am going to spend my remaining weekend making art.
Mind you, I'm not proclaiming that I'll make good art. But even bad art is better than no art at all.
The other day I took an old journal and wired a number of jingle bells onto the spiral binding. This particular volume contains a description of my first date with the man who has become my husband. Because of the bells, it chimes when it is moved.
The Eighties are always reviled as the era of Big Hair, but certain fashion items are underrated. I speak now of scarves. Among the cherished volumes in my library are several vintage books on tying scarves. I bought them used on amazon.com a couple of years ago.
There are some styles that I wouldn't wear in my coffin. I will admit that freely. For example, the ties that involve long ropes of fake pearls woven into the scarves. I just find that draped fabric is a classic statement. The black I wear needs to serve as a backdrop to something.
I finally finished assembling all the documentation on my academic career that I am able. When I copy the last few items today, I will mail it off to the adult ADHD specialist so that I can make an appointment.
This application was so complex that I speculate my ability to complete it suggests I don't have ADHD. At the age of forty-six, I had my mother complete a Parent Questionnaire. I persuaded my cautious spouse to fill out a questionnaire rating my behavior ("Does patient hear voices?" Heck, I don't even listen to real people, let alone imaginary ones).
I went to see a dead body yesterday. I took my kids, too.
This isn't something I do often. When I do, I am always surprised at the absolute stillness and impassivity of death.
It happens that I spend a lot of time looking at sleeping people, who to me look completely different. But when my son whispered to me, "It just looks like she's sleeping," I didn't get into a debate with him.
There was all the difference in the world between holding my stillborn baby and the lovely, squirming bundles of life I later held in my arms.
I got up this morning and thought, I can't stand the thought of wearing black today.
Now, I started wanting to wear black when I was in kindergarten. I negotiated with my mother a brown plaid dress because a black dress, in my mother's mind, was not appropriate, even for a proto-Goth like me.
When I turned sixteen, and gained control over my clothing budget, I started buying black clothing.
Moving to NYC was like coming home. Travelling to Spain, the same.
But after spending a day with everyone in black (not: punk but: Italian funeral) I reached saturation point.
Overheard at dance class the other night. One of the male dancers was confiding to a confrere that he liked the working world much better than college because his day had an end, and a paycheck. He contrasted college, when he had no money and no time.
Made me wonder. I love what I do for a living, but I perceive more of a time crunch in the working world than I did in college. Yes, I could learn an infinite amount, but I knew when to stop, even for my 4.0s. But when do I stop taking new clients?
When I was twenty, I had the opportunity to push the button that released the dirt from the bucket on a very big digger.
It was an enjoyable enough experience, except for the girlie pictures posted inside the cab. I've never felt any particular interest in repeating it. I have declined to bother with standard shift motor vehicles because all this gear-shifting seems ridiculous to me.
I have at least one former boyfriend who fell in love with Army methods of transportation and at one point was flying helicopters, and a brother-in-law who rehabs bulldozers and such as a hobby.
To a small boy with a hammer, the world is a nail. Having discovered greeting card journals, I believe everyone within my sphere of influence needs a single-signature book made with a greeting card, preferably recycled, as the cover.
In my first attempt I went overboard with the quality of the watercolor paper I used and ended up with a book (pamphlet, really) that stayed open at a forty-five degree angle owing to the thickness of the paper. Later iterations have resulted in refinements in the color of thread used to sew the signatures and more complex tassels and ornamentation.
My clutter obeys the laws of entropy. I find it extremely difficult to straighten things out, and very easy to mess them up again.
I am trying to deal with the volume of books around here by getting more shelving, and finding little islands of space where I can wedge in more books.
I have started lining up books on the back of my bedroom dresser.
If this were in a magazine, it would look artful. And no one would have actually read the books. My house may not be picturesque, but by God I know what's in my books.
I've started learning the farruca. It's a four-count compas, and it's traditionally a male dance, so I may be dancing it in trousers when I perform it. Now that I am no longer afraid of syncopation, slotting my steps into the rhythm is oddly addictive.
We also learned one llamada that was finished up with two step turns, STAMP spin, STAMP spin. As we all whirled around more or less spotting, I caught sight of our little Japanese photographer, who at least this week traded in his sneakers for a pair of hard-soled shoes, gamely rotating in place. Not turning.
I love cubbyholes and nooks.
When I was a child, I loved the illustration of Owl's study in the Winnie the Pooh books. I had another book that had a picture of an antique spice chest that appealed to me as well.
I've been struggling to cope with the tide of ephemera I've collected for my various art projects. It dawned on me that I had an organizer with lots of little drawers, half of which are empty. It's sitting on my desk now, with the empty drawers rapidly filling.
True, it's plastic and metal, not wood. It's still charming.
I am working on reducing the total number of bottles of perfume arrayed on the back of my dresser. God knows I just love the good stuff, but it does, eventually, spoil with age. I am disappointed when someone gives me cheap perfume. Gone are the days of childhood when I could be bought off with a cobalt blue glass offering of Evening in Paris (as if). When I was in Madrid, however, I bought a bottle of dime-store perfume whose scent still haunts me. It was splendid, and I've never found anything else with its delicacy. Memory of scent.
This year the partnership wised up and decided to have our retreat in the States. Cheaper, faster, no border hassles. What's not to like? My long-suffering spouse will be bringing the home front along once the kids have escaped from school. It doesn't make sense to pull them out of school for a trip to a pseudo-Bavarian town, no matter how charming the wooden scrollwork on the buildings.
In a startling example of social caste, the retreat is all spare, Scandinavian blond wood with natural finishes. No bric-a-brac. The locals think the environmentalist millionaire who built this place is nuts.
I actually used, for the first time today, the watercolor set I carry around in my purse so I will feel like an artist. I feel handicapped by my relative lack of skill in drawing still. And painting is not at all the same as outlining what I see and then filling in the colors. Rather, I would like to build what I see out of different blocks of color. I have no idea how to accomplish this. I did an outdoor scene that was disappointingly generic (trees, mountain, blah blah), then a somewhat more interesting view inside our cabin.
A couple of years ago we bought eighty pounds or so of apples in the fall. Mark and I peeled them all. We had a pretty good system going after a while. I had a production line going, stewing kettlesful into applesauce with a dollop of sugar and a hefty dash of cinnamon. I am canning-impaired, so we froze it all. What a good little housewife I was!
The kids, very young at the time, turned up their noses because they preferred the boughten stuff. Then Mark began his Atkins-plus-beer regime, and gave up applesauce. I've got frozen boat anchors.
I have never been able to figure out a good way to gather and transport emails in bulk.
Thus, although I relocated from my home office a year-and-a-half ago, I only recently started moving a lot of old emails stored on my home machine.
It seems hopelessly dumb to print them all out. There wouldn't be enough trees in the world. So I'm gradually forwarding them to my office email and then saving them to my practice management system when I get there.
I've learned a number of obscure keyboard shortcuts during this unutterably tedious process. How boring is that?
It was no surprise that I was officially diagnosed with ADD (predominantly inattentive) today.
Look! A bird!
It explains a lot of things to me, but provides me with an excuse for nothing. I have a separate medication appointment coming up.
I suppose the hundred word format is ideal for me. It's long enough to be interesting, and too short for me to get distracted.
The single biggest item that made me convinced that this is not just the Disease of the Month was reviewing old report cards. They didn't even know about it then, but the descriptions are classic.
Select an ADD medication (non-stimulant). Go to deposition site at company office, take two depositions.
Run home to pick up kids for group dentist's appointment. Smoke begins drifting out of steering column of car. Bad sign.
Run car to dealership, spouse comes to dealership, gives me his car. Babysitter arrives, gives me kids, takes spouse home.
Kids have lousy dental exams, I have small cavity. Filled without novocaine.
Back to office, with kids, driving spousal car. Car not looking good. Something in the electrical system.
Time for flamenco. Going to stamp the crap out of the floor. Good God.
Lovingkindness. Metta. Affirmations.
I wish there was harder scientific evidence that any of things can actually reprogram the mind. It just seems to simplistic to me that by repeating "I hold myself in high esteem" often enough I can make it so.
I mean, suppose that Stalin had done that every day? Ummm, well, maybe he wouldn't have killed quite so many people if he had liked himself better? No, that's just too preposterous.
One might say that it is my failure to believe in this process that defeats the process. Totally unprovable. And that's what worries me about affirmations.
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