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Staying in a hotel in Denver - private room with a balcony. Hotels provide a refreshing anonymity sometimes, but home is better. It is actually best not to think too much about a hotel room. Who was here last? How much of themselves did they leave behind? I don't mean the `physical stuff, like take off the bedspread. Well, I do a little, but more than that I mean what little wisps of spirit did they leave? Did they call it all back before checking out and moving on? Some hotel rooms feel crowded even when empty. Especially cheap motels.
Last night I emailed the author of the novel I'm reading because his website said he would be happy to hear from me. After reading a little further, the book became graphically sexual. I repented my enthusiasm, feeling a little embarrassed for having written so eagerly of his realistic characters. Later I received a gracious message from him which nearly vanquished my feelings of prudishness. He encouraged me to sign up for his workshop at the Iowa Writer's Festival in July. Did he somehow sense the kindred spirit of a fellow writer? Couldn't he tell Iíve never written about sex?
There is a Womenís Professional full-contact tackle football league. I didnít know until today, when four players boarded the airport shuttle. They were tree-trunks of women wearing cargo shorts Ė sturdy and loud, piling the luggage racks high with big bundles of gear stuffed into football jerseys. I felt like Iíd been let into a little slice of life that is so not mine, and I appreciated it. They were so much a part of a ďscene,Ē so confident within it, seemingly oblivious to anyone else on the bus. Iíve felt that before. Not any more, though, and I miss it.
I wonder what they call the opposite of the Peter Principle. I mean, where a person (Okay, me.) is put in a position that doesn't truly utilize my capabilities, and then those who put me in the position say that I am being underutilized. They seem to blame me for not doing as much as I could do, which makes me feel less than capable. I wonder if my capacity could actually diminish from being placed in such a position. I definitely crave and feel like seeking out opportunities to use what I know. Like teaching ELD at a Community College.
I have an issue with the mini-storage place where my stuff is stored. I never thought I would be a storer of things like that. But I have a tiny mini storage stuffed with stuff. I got a bill on May 15. I planned to pay it today when I pay my bills, and today I got a notice of a lien being placed on my stuff, saying they were going to sell it at auction on yesterday if I didnít hurry and pay. And of course no one was there to call so it had to wait until today.
So, tonight I'm a little bent by the impact on me of someone else's trying to exert control over a situation. I've been asked to share a hotel room with my daughter at a conference this summer. It isn't a problem staying with her - I'll be fine with that. I just don't want to share with anyone, and since I'm having my own room paid for by a different agency, I really don't have to. If I share, I am bending to someone elseís frugality. And that person is being pretty controlling lately so I am feeling particularly resistant.
Thirty-five years ago tonight I became a mother. It was a wild and stormy night, and after a 4 hour labor my son was born. I was so unprepared, and so excited. I had never felt that kind of all-encompassing love. I guess the demanding labor should have been a clue. The last 35 years have been hard, so hard. Thanks to him I know a lot more than anyone should have to know about methamphetamine addiction, and visiting jail. He is clean now Ė calm and pulled together. What a blessing. Why do I still feel sad and empty inside?
Today I went to a party to celebrate the high school graduation of a rather difficult child. I hadnít seen him for years Ė he seems to have turned out just fine. The guests were all adults, friends of his parents, people I knew twenty years ago, before I was divorced. I could see that we are all aging. I keep thinking that inside my cloak of fat resides the young woman I used to be, and that if I lose the fat I will look like I did before. Looking around yesterday, I could see that I am probably mistaken.
My friendís beautiful book is finally published. She shared it with Chico today at Lyonís Books. My name is listed alphabetically in the acknowledgements, along with a myriad of other miscellaneous people who pass through her life, right after the ones she mentions individually. As she stood before the crowd, she kept noticing people and calling out their names, sometimes mentioning why they are important to her, or to the book. When she saw me, she called me Amy. I guess Iím pretty peripheral. Funny, it never seems like that when Iím with her. I left soon after she finished.
Wasnít Sunday June the 10th? And didnít I already write on that day? Have I lost an important bit of reason? I remember writing because it was on that day that I heard Susan read from her book, and she called me Amy. The name slip left a big impression to me, obviously. It isnít as though I have never done anything like that in a moment of nervousness. Yet I felt personally affronted by it Ė unlikely to call her again, even though Iím sure I will. I wonder if Iíve caused the same sort of consternation by forgetting names.
This is the first year Iím not on vacation as soon as school is out. At the DO we work four 10 hour days, a week. Even though I often stay 10 hours, having to do so is exhausting. I am ready for some down time and there is none in the immediate offing. I do enjoy the people I work with, for the most part, I just donít want to be working! I will appreciate having worked in the summer next December when I have 3 weeks vacation, if I choose to take it. Iíll choose Mexico in December!
Teenagers are so resourceful. Today a big group of them showed up with food, volleyball, music, and a piŮata at their teacherís house, to celebrate their high school graduation. They hooted and hollered, ate and ate, showed off their skill on the piano and applauded one another. They were nice to a little girl who had no one else to play with. Soon they will all go off to their respective universities, each of them a first-generation college student, full of hopes and dreams. They give me hope for the future. Weíll be hearing from them in years to come.
I am interested in what people do when they are not working. It has been a long time since I did anything but work. Now I am in a position to change my habits, so Iím looking around. My friends do the following: ballroom dancing, make chairs, write novels, volunteer in a home for senior citizens, play music, go to the gym, garden, make jewelry and I donít know what else. A few weeks ago Vicki asked me what I wanted to make and without thinking I said, ďPrayer beads.Ē I love them. So that is what I will do..
Today when I arrived at the Management team retreat and I went to sign the attendance roster, my name was missing. I looked for the secretary who had made the list, and since she wasnít there asked my supervisor if there was something I needed to know. She said, ďNext year the management team is going to be only those who manage people. I guess the secretaries got overzealous..Ē At first perusal it appears that my name is the only one being removed from the list. This job is very belittling, all in all. And it sounded like an opportunity.
Being bilingual is an underappreciated gift. I was thinking today about peopleís irritation when they hear immigrants who arenít speaking English. There is an assumption that they donít want to learn English. English is necessary to progress in this country, I agree. What people donít know is that although many learn English to get by in the world, they still speak in their native language when they are with family or friends because it is the seat of their soul. To take away someoneís natal language is to take away who they are. Who would wish that on another person?
Buying shoes is a big undertaking for me. I can barely balance in high heels, and putting all my weight on the ball of my foot is painful, so they are out. Pointed toes cause corns and I think they look stupid. Flip-flops cause blisters between my toes, and even though I think flats which offer toe cleavage look cute on others, they look dumb on me. So I buy Danskos, Birkenstocks, Tevas, Naot , and BornĖ the ďcomfortĒ shoes. Not cute at all, really. Is anyone really comfortable in those pointy high heels, or do they just look good?
Today's a long hot day. I've been putting off buying a window air conditioner. Today I regret that - I'm too lazy to go out and buy one because it's so hot. Self defeating, I'd say. I am collecting books again - planning a busy reading summer. I have lots of fiction - some miscellaneous stuff from the used bookstore and the bargain rack at B&N, along with some compelling reads like Khaled Hosseini's new one. My reading list is behind - I can see that I'll be making up for lost time, especially if I buy an air conditioner.
Well, today I stopped at Sears on the way home and bought the air conditioner. I couldnít face going home to the heat again. Rye came over and installed it. Itís funny Ė I kept calling it the ďaircoĒ and Rye informed me that no one anywhere calls it that. I told him he was mistaken, that in Asia the English speakers all do. He said that here we call it AC. Even in our home language socio-cultural differences exist. Like Bush saying the House and Senate werenít going to affect ďmy government.Ē Missing the meaning of democracy wouldnít you say?
Today Iím at middle school summer school. The rules are strict Ė no hats inside, no underwear showing, including bra straps, no bad language. Sounds acceptable, especially for their age, yet itís so different from high school. What happens between middle and high school? Do we just decide not to fight certain battles or do we diminish expectations as the kids get older? At middle school they line up before entering a classroom. At high school, weíre glad if they show up at all. I wonder if weíd lose fewer of them if we kept the rules tighter in high school.
The kids who come late to summer school really donít want to be here. So far today, three girls were late walking in from the field after break, one boyís alarm didnít go off so he came in at 10:35 and another didnít have any clothes to wear and came even later. Iíd predict the one without clothes will not finish the 20 day summer school program. He's sulky. Maybe one of the field walkers will quit as well, but maybe not. Itís possible the others will make it through. Maybe or maybe not. Itís hard to be their age.
Thursdays are dress-up day at my office, and those who dress up get off an hour early. I really donít like to wear costumes, so I said I would pass, and just work all day. Then I heard it was ďhippie day.Ē All night I processed that as I slept, and in the morning I thought, ďDuh, Lynn, what would you have worn 30 years ago? Just wear that.Ē So after all these years of looking as straight as possible, Iím letting my freak flag fly again. Only this time Iím not hitchhiking home or smoking anything. I feel free.
Ten dollars an hour, times two people. Twenty dollars an hour. I am so hiring those house cleaners. Two hours a week after the initial visit should be fine. Maybe a little more. Worth working extra. What is the cosmic morality of hiring someone to clean your house? I could say, clean up your own shit and thatís that. Or I could say I am helping someone else feed and clothe her children. As long as they stay home and donít run around while she is cleaning. I am not rich. Not. But I sound like a snob. Oh well.
I have a shiny new iPod. Iíve never had one before, Iíd always avoided spending the money. But now through little fault of my own, I have one. I am importing music into my iTunes, subscribing to podcasts, and making special photo albums. A month ago I didnít even know what a podcast was and now I am subscribed to several of them. Now I have to make my house wireless so I can sync my iPod. God. Itís like opening a box of butterflies Ė suddenly I have to know and own all this new technology. I just love that.
I am an intermittent force. I get up and bustle around for a while, then suddenly, for no apparent reason, stop. Have to go play Mah Jongg, or write a hundred words or make something to eat. Then I start again. Work a little, then stop and find nothing to do before I start again. Laundry works pretty well that way. Floor mopping doesnít. Thatís why Iím not mopping the floor. Or washing the windows, although Lord knows they need it. Laziness is mine. It didnít used to be. I prided myself on being industrious. Now I donít really care.
Last day of work today. Iíve met my 204 days, finally. The thing is, my office is all packed up, and there is nothing for me to do, really, so Iím heading home early. What work I do need to do can be done at home more comfortably. Is that a cop out? Not really Ė even if I donít do it today, it does have to be done, so will be at some point in the near future. This first year as an administrator has taught me how hard teachers work. And how undervalued and underappreciated they are. We are.
A whole day off. Early morning coffee, then a little laundry and housecleaning and then what? I go to Barnes and Noble with my daughter and granddaughter, and I realize that daytime is not a good time for me to go there. I prefer to save it for the evening when I need something to do. I can fill daytime more easily, I guess. What an exciting life Iíve conjured up for myself. My big decision is what time of day to go to the bookstore. Iíll have to see if I canít come up with something more interesting today.
Yesterday Mayaoel and I began to plan a peace garden we will plant in my flowerbed out back. I wanted an outdoor altar, and this seems like a good way to frame it. So far it just has jasmine growing on the fence. We will plant peace roses, lavender and other flowering, aromatic things. Weíll add a statue of Buddha or Kwanyin or the Virgin, and a clay bowl for sand, shells, candles and incense. Prayer flags, a bench and our best love. This seems a fitting project for an eight-year old and her grandmother. Weíre both excited about it.
OMG (as they say) I thought today was July 1. I donít know how this thing works Ė if the door locks after the end of the month and you could lose your whole monthís batch simply by a moment of inattention on the last day? Iím not going to risk it, thatís for sure. But which 100 words will matter about yesterday? (Well, Iím writing yesterday today Ė outing myself, arenít I?) And how many days can you go back and make up? Do you have a two or three day window and thatís it? Tick tock the game is locked?
I always begin the day with an ambitious list which I manage to dissipate not by completion, but by losing the piece of paper on which it was written. Today I plan to clean all the corners of my house, plant a peace garden with my gd, make a lot of cookies for my daughterís weekend away, clean up the garbage on my computers and something elseÖI forget what. Oh yeah, begin that conversion of my thesis into a book for teachers. Iíll definitely make the cookies Ė I promised. I may even clean a little. But then again, maybe not.
Why am I surprised at my bodyís weakness? It hasnít been stretched, flexed or tested for years. Its weight is enough to make my feet hurt after walking a distance. What once was like nothing now tries me severely. I can drown out pain with my iPod, but that doesnít take it away, really. I feel it later. Compound that with lack of sleep after walking a large field late at night looking for something lost, and the following day feels like a painful trial. But now that I have begun, I wonít give up. I canít let myself quit.
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