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12/01 Direct Link
Well, November is over, and with it NaNoWriMo. I think I'll continue my novel, but have so far procrastinated. On Friday night Mayaoel asked me to read to her from it. I began to read the first few paragraphs, in which I set the story up. When I stopped she looked at me questioningly, and said, “Then does the story start after this?” I hadn't seen it that clearly as a set up leading to the beginning of the story, but that's what it was. I'm fine with that, I like it even. Her perception is what impressed me.
12/02 Direct Link
My noveling obsession, if my lackadaisical approach to writing one could be called that, today has turned to knitting. Having nearly finished my first project, I went out and bought yarn for three more scarves. Soft yarn, in colors of pink and lavender, blue green and brown. Variegated colors of alpaca dyed by hand in some South American country. Araucana it is called. Colombia maybe? Peru? It reminds me of the hand dyed silk ikat threads of northern Laos that they weave into such intricate patterns. Artistry reminds me that we are not all that diverse, regardless of our origins.
12/03 Direct Link
How does clutter accumulate so fast? Our consumer-obsessed society has made clutter a career - decluttering coaches, or feng shui coaches whose entire job is to help people free themselves from their junk, and to place what is left in a beneficial arrangement. There is even a TV channel largely dedicated to showing people getting their houses cleaned - often against their will, it seems like - by a blowsy loud-mouthed house cleaner. My front porch is piled with stuff that I mean to get rid of but am too lazy to carry off to donate. Where is this going?
12/04 Direct Link
I woke up dizzy today. Nauseatingly dizzy, which brought up feelings of desperation. Feelings of what will happen when I'm old and can't do things for myself? I never want to be a burden to anyone, yet the day could and probably will come that I can't just jump up and do everything. Like today when even moving my head is excruciating and overwhelming. How long is a life anyway? What's mine good for? Do I benefit anyone here or do I just go through it? Those thoughts make me tired to think them. Tired enough to take a nap.
12/05 Direct Link
Still dizzy today, but I decided I could drive to Sacramento for a meeting. It's odd to be always on tenterhooks for the dizziness. Will it remain abated, or will I suddenly be unable to walk across a room? It lurks at the edge of my head all the time, threatening and cajoling me. Threatening incapacity with a migraine-like headache. Cajoling me to slow down, be gentle with myself. Not to move too fast, not to ignore myself in the flurry of all I do. Clouding my head so that I can't quite think clearly. Have I learned enough yet?
12/06 Direct Link
Tonight I took the little actress to see the Wizard of Oz with the alternate cast, the one that doesn't include her but does include her best friend, Violeta. One can't help but compare the two casts. This Wicked Witch wasn't as convincing as last week's, but this Dorothy has a stronger voice and prettier face than the other. Glenda's braces made her lisp this week, but her hair is to die for, and what's with the twin Wizards? It's easy to critique their performances, but ultimately, they are all children, putting their hearts into an expressive activity they love.
12/07 Direct Link
It is a week since NaNoWriMo ended. I haven't returned to Courtney and Agatha yet. Part of my mind wonders what they are doing since I left them. the thing is, they won't do anything until I write them again. Last night the little actress asked me if I had been writing about them lately. She is waiting for what is next. I think it is like a book on tape for her. She waits for the next installment, patiently but not forgetting. Does this mean I have to write it for her? Is she what it is all about?
12/08 Direct Link
Last night I bought the tickets to go to Mexico with the little actress. In nineteen days we leave. My mind is full of all the things I want to share with her there. The beach, churros on the street, the market, the boats in the harbor, the sundial that overlooks the bay, the delfinato. We'll have a three-generation photo safari. I tell my mom all these things and she hesitates, unsure where to find the churros, says the tank is too small for the dolphins, maybe we can't get in. She wants to take us to visit the orphanage.
12/09 Direct Link
Last night I bought the tickets to go to Mexico with the little actress. In nineteen days we leave. My mind is full of all the things I want to share with her there. The beach, churros on the street, the market, the boats in the harbor, the sundial that overlooks the bay, the delfinato. We'll have a three-generation photo safari. I tell my mom all these things and she hesitates, unsure where to find the churros, says the tank is too small for the dolphins, maybe we can't get in. She wants to take us to visit the orphanage.
12/10 Direct Link
We traveled together, an unusual thing, as I usually travel alone or with a different set of colleagues. I have the most stunning hotel room: huge windows that look out over San Diego harbor, a fluffy bed with feather bed and down comforter, crisp white sheets and downy pillows. We went to the Brazilian barbecue ln 4th street. Meat and meat and meat and more side dishes than Home Town Buffet. I was smart - only took fruit and vegetables, no bread or starch because I knew about the meat that was coming. Turned out to be too much meat.
12/11 Direct Link
This conference is weighty with keynote speakers. I especially enjoyed Guadalupe Valdés. She's so smart and asks important questions, ones that need to be asked. Questions that make me want to get a doctorate, do some research and then write about it. I try to not think or act like I think I know it all. I want to think about what we don't know. Today I was troubled by not recognizing a young woman who came up and gleefully hugged me in the restroom. I figured it out without her being any the wiser. I was glad about that.
12/12 Direct Link
Today a visit from a dear friend, one who believes in me and wants me to shoot for the moon. He reminded me that if I want to go to Berkeley for a doctorate the universe will line itself up to make it possible. I say NONONONONO, yet when I read the description of the Language, Literacy and Culture PhD program I feel a thrill in my being that constricts my very heart. So am I resisting the inevitable, dragging out the commencement of the journey? Or will I find something else to do if I decide I want to?
12/13 Direct Link
On this date, 33 years ago, I married my second husband. Friday the 13th, and we were camped near Lake Arrowhead, in a place called Devil's Hole. It seemed fitting at the time. We got married at a roadside wedding chapel near an Air Force base. I was six months pregnant. My dad didn't believe we were married because we didn't have to have a blood test. I didn't know then that marriage is nothing to mess with. It can last a long time, whether you want it to or not. The divorce was final on Halloween, twenty years later.
12/14 Direct Link
Today was the office gift exchange. Two of them actually. The first one was between six people, and no one knew who they would be giving a gift to. I think this generates indifferent giving. The gifts included a Starbuck's card, a package of gingerbread mix and a cookie cutter (regifted?), a tacky rhinestone bracelet, a box of See's nuts and chews and a couple jars of jam. We'll change that next year. The second was a stealing ornament exchange. Fun, except when the big girl decided something was frozen when it wasn't. That's the benefit of being in charge.
12/15 Direct Link
I just realized I entered the same paragraph two days in a row. I guess it was a high impact subject for me. Speaking of redundancy, I'm learning to knit, and lacking the skill to go back and fix a mistake, I end up ripping great quantities of work out so I can redo it perfectly. I have reknit the beginning of the current scarf at least eight times. I'm doing a knit and purl combination, which tries my skill severely. It's the counting that takes me down. One, two, back, one, two, front, on and on. I will persevere!
12/16 Direct Link
This is indeed a severe day. After two days of cleaning and draining, I have to face that something is wrong with my hot tub. It makes a motor sound, and is supposed to be silent. It just shuts itself off after a few seconds and refused to hear or do anything else.. It is so cold outside, and now this. Why not in the summer when I don't care about it? It'll undoubtedly be expensive to fix, but fix it I will. I'm such a Californian. Can't live without my hot tub. I'll call the shop tomorrow. Come now!
12/17 Direct Link
Today was the next to the last time I will be doing school meetings for the tutoring. The class was a fifth grade ELD class, but the teacher didn't know how students get designated, and they were pulled out for ELD instruction. SO what makes it ELD other than the corraling of students who are designated EL into one room? He was an earnest guy, but didn't seem to have a clue or a whit of interest in anything that actually had to do with English learners or English Language Development. He seemed overwhelmed by all the interruptions. Go figure.
12/18 Direct Link
I am wondering what to do about my current dilemma. I have a lot of pain in my neck, knees and I am still dizzy. I had an injury, (neck) and I am overweight(knees) and I don't know what to think about the dizziness. The injury, I guess. The thing is, it is all making me a different person. One who is tired and wimpy and short-tempered. I wonder about possible environmental contaminants that may be exacerbating the issues. The molding shower curtain and the stinking memory-foam mattress pad. The whine in my office that drills into my head.
12/19 Direct Link
I'm making a list and checking it twice. Suddenly I've got the fever, it's time to shop. Today the little actress and I will go out on a mission. A coat, some special yarn and a Barbie Cash register. Important things, that she can help with. Cookies to make, gifts to wrap. Full steam ahead - I like it best when the end is in sight and I can rush around for about, oh, one or two days. That's enough for me. I feel the spirit, but not for too long. Surely not long enough to get sick of it.
12/20 Direct Link
The little actress and I completed our mission, to some extent. What I always forget in my propensity to shop at the last minute is that I don't have time to look around and come back later, which doesn't coincide well with my difficulty in making decisions. The other thing I forget is that I get so easily wiped out by it all that I have no great store of energy for shopping. That and my lack of money at this time of year make me less energetic and less decisive. I'm a definitively wimpy Christmas shopper. But I'll persevere.
12/21 Direct Link
The stinking toxic mattress pad has been returned to Costco and the money spent on Christmas gifts. When I went to remake the bed I realized I had no mattress pad, as I'd thrown the old one away. I couldn't conceive of sleeping on a mattress without a pad beneath the sheets, so went to buy one. At midnight. I won't shop at Wal-Mart under any circumstances, but I remembered Mervyn's ungodly holiday hours. Open until 2AM. It was eerily desolate - shoppers in bathrobes, open boxes in the aisles, no cashiers. I felt like a looter after a disaster.
12/22 Direct Link
Oh, it is so hurtful and maddening when you've learned something cool and you want to share it with someone, and they loudly say “NO, I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW.” It is like being slapped in the face. The least they could do is say “Could we do that at another time? I'm not feeling it now.” Or, “Great, maybe later on today.” Something. Just fucking be nice. Now that I have offered and been slapped down, I don't even want to help. At all, ever. I'm over it. I hope I NEVER sound like that. Ever.
12/23 Direct Link
I'm making caramels tonight. The actress's mother asked me to make them for her father who loves them so. She said “we” should make them, but then she decided to babysit and so I am doing it. I don't mind, it would be me anyway even if she was here. The wrapping takes more effort than the making, and she will help with that, I expect. It just seems ironic that I'm making these Christmas goodies for her father, my ex-husband who was so underwhelmed by my giving him a Christmas gift several years ago. It made me feel stupid.
12/24 Direct Link
That moment has arrived: the gifts are spread out on my bed, unwrapped, and it is zero hour. The wrapping must begin before the little actress arrives and spots her present. Presents, but the one she is yearning for engendered the others. I haven't purchased any new wrapping paper, so am hoping I have enough. With any luck I”ll use it all up for once, and then can buy more next year. The cunning little name tags have all disappeared. Can't figure that out - I know I kept a bunch. I'll go to Pier One to buy some more.
12/25 Direct Link
Ahhh, made it. Today is a nice, low-key Christmas day. The little actress was thrilled with her NintendoDS, and we are all enjoying playing with it. big breakfast of salty meat, eggs and toast, then an afternoon of doing laundry in anticipation of leaving for Mexico tomorrow. I never know what to take on a trip. I seem to lose all my clothing sense and arrive with a bunch of disconnected stuff. I hope I did better this time. I've packed a lot of clothes for Mayaoel. It's me that doesn't seem to know. And I'm the one who travels.
12/26 Direct Link
Sitting in the airport, waiting for our flight to be announced. Maya is playing Super Mario Brothers, and I'm writing 200 words. After NaNoWriMo last month, writing 100 words a day is a breeze. So we're off. Maya is a little nervous - caught by the fact that she's never traveled out of the country (in her memory). I think she'll be pleasantly surprised at the comfort and familiarity of it all. I'm thinking an iMovie of the trip would be great. We'll see if it doesn't embarrass her too much. We didn't need the notarized letter yet. Disjointed!
12/27 Direct Link
First day in Mexico. When we finally landed in Hermosillo, the little actress gave me a long look and pronounced,” I'm home.” Whatever. After a long drive, we stopped for dinner at a little Greek place on the beach outside of San Carlos. The Palapa. It was too dark to see the water, but we could hear the surf crashing. It was nice. Tomorrow we'll go to Alamos for a couple of days. Photosafari time. In the meantime, we must acclimate to the cold nights, cold floors in the casita. It seems so cold when the floor is cold.
12/28 Direct Link
Alamos today. We're staying in a casita which has only one bed. That's not going to be popular. The hosts have children of an age equal to that of Maya. Just after dark, Maya was playing with the children, and some neighbor kids came over to start a fight. What a welcome to Mexico! She hightailed it into the casita, saying they were playing a game she didn't really understand. It took a while for the whole story to come out. She said, “I'm just not the fighting type. You either get hurt or in trouble. It's not worth it.”
12/29 Direct Link
We came home a day early. The one bed thing ended it. That and the cold. We went to breakfast at the Inn, and then got on the road. Mayaoel said the Inn was disturbing because they didn't let you choose your food. She doesn't like other people chooding her food. She is truly a tribute to the theory that kids come as they are, with less influence than you'd expect from their family environment. We are pretty (overly?) easy-going about what we eat. So we are back where the TV is abundant and the food expectable. More's the pity!
12/30 Direct Link
Today I am preparing hot chocolate, cookies and brownies for the party this afternoon. My mom's Mexican family will arrive at 3:00 with all 6 grown kids, 13 grandkids and carnitas. In making the cookies, my mom offered a variety of sugars. One of them was sealed in a bag, and given the spicy flavor of the batter, was probably originally intended as a sweet topping for something. When I mention it, my mom says, “I don't know, I would have followed the recipe.” In said comment lies a passive-aggressive reference to one of our sources of conflict. Meow!
12/31 Direct Link