Looking for translation software? You're in the wrong place. But. If you think you might be interested in the musings of a cranky forty-something learning to follow her dreams, live without fear, love herself, and look good doing it, well then, hell, come on down!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Marcus Christopher Montgomery II

Funny how, when some part of us is injured or broken, we not only stop using it, we stop trusting it, certain that it will let us down or that we can't stand the pain. So we engage in avoidance behaviors, when what we really need to do is let ourselves feel. As a friend said to me, we can lose a piece of our hearts, but our hearts never get any smaller.

I lost a big piece of my heart on Saturday. Bubba, whose real name was Marcus Christopher Montgomery II, never really recovered from the dental surgery on Friday. Although we took no x-rays, we feel certain that he had some tumors growing on or near his lungs that were slowly decreasing the ability of his lungs to move oxygen throughout his body, something that didn't become apparent until he went under anesthesia. I brought him home Friday night, weak and uncomfortable, where he spent most of the evening lying on an electric blanket in our sunroom--his usual sleeping spot. But he never relaxed. If he fell asleep he couldn't keep moving air through his lungs and he'd wake up. He wasn't interested in food or water. When I came home from rehearsal, he purred for a couple of seconds and pressed his head against my hand, but it was clear he wasn't doing well.

JT thought he would recover, but I had a feeling he would not.

When I got up to check on him in the night, he had moved from the sunroom just into the living room and was lying on a corner of the rug. I think he was just looking for a place where it would be easier to breathe. I laid on the floor with him for over an hour, before moving him back to the loveseat. His paws were cold, and he was beginning to shiver. He didn't cry out when I picked him up, but made a little noise of protest. I'm sure that holding him made it harder for him to breathe. I checked on him twice more. No one got any sleep Friday night.

Saturday morning we took Christopher back to the vet. We put him in his carrier, knowing he would be more comfortable on an unyielding surface than on my lap, put I sat in the back seat with him, and opened the door so I could pet and talk to him. He seemed more alert than he'd been at any time since I brought him home the night before, watching the houses and cars pass. I was glad that he didn't seem to mind the trip, since riding in the car was pretty low on his list of pastimes.

It was clear to everyone that he was not going to improve, and we talked about our options, which really amounted to letting nature take its course, or easing him into a peaceful death. After the vet finished examining him, Christopher crawled away from me to the edge of the examining table and lay his head down, breathing heavily. "Looks like he's made the decision for us," the doctor said, and I thought he meant that Christopher was going, right then. But, no. "It could be a little while, or it could be twelve hours." No, it couldn't be twelve hours; I wasn't going to do that to him, no matter how much it hurt to say good-bye. Whenever he's been sick, I've said that I wished there was something I could do to make him feel better. On Saturday, there was.

The vet took us to a room outfitted with a couch, chairs and rocking chair and left us alone with Christopher. We were able to spend time with him in privacy and comfort, to say our good-byes and make peace with what we were about to do. I told Chrisopher what was going to happen, that he would just go to sleep, and that when he woke up, he would be with Mikey and Riley (with whom Christopher spent 16 and 17 years of his life). I told him I loved him and that I would always love him. And I asked him to tell Mikey and Riley that I still loved them. At that point, Christopher, who had not really reacted to anything we'd said, raised his head and gave me a look that very clearly said, "What are you doing talking about them at a time like this?" JT and I burst out laughing through our tears. For all the years that Christopher and Mikey and Riley lived together, Christopher still sometimes acted as though he was an only cat, and for him to appear affronted, in his last moments, by a mention of the other two, was a wonderful gift. It was a last glimpse of his unique personality.

When we were ready ("Ready." What a funny word, ready. 21 years wasn't enough time to get "ready," how could 10 or 15 minutes or two hours make a difference? I kept thinking, "How do parents do it? How do they turn off a child's life support, how do they prepare for that moment between before and after?"), the doctor administered a sedative, warning us that the sedative alone might be enough, given Christopher's respiratory problems. JT and I each kissed him and said our final good-byes, and then he drifted off to sleep. I wish I had asked the doctor to administer the other shot too. As Christopher slipped away and his bladder released, his body went into involuntary spasms, gasping for air. Although JT has assured me (repeatedly; every time I ask) that Christopher was gone by then and had no awareness of what was happening, it's a memory I wish I didn't have.

Afterwards, Christopher lay in my lap, head across my arm, as if he were truly asleep, and we sat with him for a while longer. I knew he was gone, but I also knew it was my last chance to feel his weight against me and to stroke his soft fur. Once we left, there would be no going back. The vet's wife prepared a place for us to lay him, and said we could just leave by the back door when we were ready. They both did everything they could to make us feel as comfortable as possible. I covered Christopher with one of my old tee shirts and put one of his favorite toys between his front legs, the way he sometimes slept with it. I covered him with another towel, and he looked as though he were just sleeping. It made me feel better to do those things, though I knew he was beyond caring about towels and tee shirts and catnip cigars.

In a little while I will go back to the vet's office for his cremains, and I will bring him home for the last time. I will go back for him, because I promised him that I would always, always come back for him.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bubba Goes to the Dentist

The house is quiet. I keep thinking I hear the rustle of Bubba getting down from the love seat in the sunroom, where he spends his time sleeping, or the click of his claws on our hardwood floors, but it's always my imagination. I keep thinking I should check on him, but then I remember that he's at the vet's office, and that someone else is looking after him today.

On Wednesday we went to the vet for his monthly acupuncture treatment. We knew he had a tooth that was bad, but we'd put off doing anything about it. In addition to his kidney problems, Bubba has a congenital heart murmur, and at his age, any procedure is a concern. And yet, it doesn't seem right to allow him to suffer the agony of a toothache, an agony I know well, just because I'm afraid of the what-ifs. So this morning I dropped him off for a tooth extraction and came home to await a late-morning call from the technician saying I could come get my cat.

I was surprised and more than a little apprehensive to hear the doctor's voice on the phone instead of the tech's, though his first words were reassuring: "Bubba is doing fine now." Now. Now? "But we almost lost him." Ah. His breathing has been a little rapid since Wednesday's vet visit, which could have been due to pain. But it could also, the vet said, be due to some pathology in the lungs. As in, this could be It. Or the beginnings of It. That's so hard to contemplate, even though Bubba, at 21 1/2, has already lived a very long time.

But there is some good news. The pre-surgery blood work showed that Bubba's creatinine level (an indication of kidney function) is at the same level it was nearly two years ago, slightly over normal, amazing given his age and health. He's on IV fluids and in an oxygen chamber, but he's alert and stable and in a few hours I should be able to go get my cat and bring him home where he belongs--for as long as we have left together. Because I promised him I'd come back for him. That I would always come back for him.

Afternoon update:
They've taken Bubba off the oxygen and capped his IV, but left it in, in case they need to administer more meds. And they want to keep him for a few more hours. Just in case.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

(So Not) Ready for My Close-up, Mr. DeMille

I am not photogenic. I am, in fact, whatever the hell is the opposite of photogenic. If I'm lucky, I take an okay picture. Which might explain why I'm not looking forward to tonight's publicity photos. It's my first time. The Playhouse always takes archive photos on Preview Night, but those are a piece of cake, action shots, as close to candid as staged photos can be. This is different. These are the photos that will go to the papers, expressly to entice people to come see the show. Yeahhhh. Pictures of me, making the play look fun and worth the money. Aiyeeee.

And then there's the whole costume anxiety issue. This will be my first view of my costume. After tonight, I can stop imagining how hard it will be to climb up on a headboard, crawl into a rabbit hole and roll on the ground while wearing a 1920s-era dress. After tonight, I'll be able to picture exactly how fun it will be to be dragged across the floor, bounce on a bed and jump off a toybox--while wearing a 1920s-era dress.

Why is it I do this again? Oh, yes. Because it's fun. I am so in need of an attitude adjustment.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Resistance is...

a) futile
b) a waste of time
c) sometimes based on fear
d) all of the above

Last night I couldn't sleep for thinking of all the things I've been avoiding. High on the list of things I should be doing is working on my lines. I know them, but not like I should. One of the things I do to learn lines is make a tape of my cues, leaving enough blank space for me to recite my lines. This allows me to "run lines" with myself, and to work on lines on while doing other things. At least, that's what I usually do. The play opens in less than three weeks, and I haven't even finished the tape yet! Once in a while I ask JT to run lines with me, but not nearly enough. I just can't seem to bring myself to really work on them.

I think it's because I don't feel like Pooh. I don't think I'm doing a good job, think the director should have cast someone else, and believe I'm going to be the weak link in the show. How fun is that?

And the play should be fun: lead role in a well-loved children's show, the director's great, the cast is wonderful and talented. Why else do it, if not for the fun? So why not just relax, do my best, and have fun? Yeah, easy for you to say.

My natural inclination is to 1) castigate myself for not working harder (and being more talented), and
2) ridicule myself for being so stupid. But. Neither of those things are very helpful.

So. In the interest of treating myself kindly, I'm going to acknowledge that I feel scared about my ability to play the lead. And I'm going to tell myself that it's okay to feel scared. And that being scared to do something doesn't mean that I can't do it. I just need to relax. Do my best. And work on my lines.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

How Many Roads Must a Man Walk Down...?

What do you think it costs a man to stand on a busy street corner searching the faces filled with downcast eyes, while holding a cardboard sign that announces to all who care to look that he is "Homeless and hungry"? I don't know, either, and, if I'm lucky, I never will.

Mine was one of those faces with downcast eyes. Rehearsal ran until 1 today, so JT said he would eat lunch without me. I was tired and decided to pick up a sandwich on the way home. I'm not great with directions, so as I drove east along Ingersoll, I asked myself, more than once, "Did I pass it already?" Just as I decided that no, the Subway was still ahead of me, I saw him. A man my age, holding up his handwritten sign. Homeless and hungry. I looked away, not wanting to see the pleading in his eyes. Not wanting him to see whatever might have been in mine. And there, just through the intersection, was the Subway.

I pulled in. Told myself that I could at least buy the guy a sandwich. Climbed out of my paid-for Saturn (a '96, but still in great shape) and saw that the guy was crossing the street, moving away from me. Well, that's that, I thought. At least I had good intentions. But I thought about Girlbomb, who was homeless for a while as a teenager, and who now volunteers at the shelter where she lives. I thought about the women at the prison, who had written so eloquently that morning about silence. I had $20 on me. I couldn't cure homelessness or end starvation in the world, but I could feed one man.

I walked to the edge of the parking lot. Watched to see if he kept going down the street, away from me. No, he stopped at the corner, just trying a new vantage point. I waited for him to look my way, was just about to cross the street after him when he finally turned and caught my wave. He jogged over to me, the sign tucked under his arm. "I was just about to buy a sandwich at Subway," I said. "Would you like one?" His smile lit his face. "Yes, ma'am, that'd be real nice." He was dressed in work boots and jeans, and carried a jacket over one arm. He was clean, but seemed a little fuzzy around the edges, as if his hair hadn't been trimmed in a while. There was a light stubble on his cheeks, and his light blue work short looked soft and faded from multiple washings.

I said my name was Hannah. He was Don, who was from Des Moines, but had been away for a while. He was trying to re-establish himself but said it was hard. "Order whatever you want," I said, wondering about soup, salad, what he'd last eaten. We looked at the menu together. Should I go first, I wondered, so he wouldn't feel pressured to make a decision? Or let him go first, and then tell the cashier I was paying for both? I couldn't even remember what I normally ordered at Subway, or think of what I might want. "How about a #7?" he finally said, and I told him sure, if that's what he wanted.

He hung back a little, to let me order. I told the sandwich artist (no lie--that's what they're called) behind the counter that we'd have a #7, and she said, "6-inch or foot-long?" I asked Don if he wanted a foot-long. Get the foot long, I wanted to say, maybe you can get two meals out of it. He finally agreed that a foot-long would be good. I think he didn't want to take advantage. Then the woman behind the counter asked me what kind of bread. I asked Don, showed him the bread choices. He chose wheat. She asked if we were going to share the sandwich. I said no. She asked me if I wanted it toasted. I looked at Don, who said no. I wanted to say, "Talk to him, it's his sandwich," and maybe I should have. But I didn't quite know how. I wanted, most of all, not to condescend. And second, I wanted not to make a big deal. For all anyone needed to know, we were two friends, one of whom was taking the other to lunch.

I ordered my own sandwich, a 6" roast beef, then the sandwich artist dumped two paper baskets full of hot steaming beef onto Don's bread. "That looks good," he said. I told him I was thinking the same thing. I was glad he'd gotten something hot. By the time we got to the condiments, the sandwich artist had gotten with the program, and talked directly to Don about what he wanted on his sandwich. I told him to make it a meal if he wanted, which meant he got chips and a drink. He said, "If that's okay..." and thanked me for buying his lunch. I told him he was welcome, but that really, I wasn't doing much.

Our order came to $10.26, so I have the cashier $20.26, and gave Don the $10 change. "Maybe it'll help with another meal," I said. "Bless you," he said, "and thank you. I really appreciate this." He told me he'd had a job lined up for Monday--day labor--and then he got sick, but that he was hoping things would turn around next week. I shook his hand, said it was nice to meet him, and wished him luck. I wondered, as I left the restaurant, if people were watching, and what they were thinking. Did they think I had just gotten scammed? That I shouldn't have brought That Man into a decent establishment? Had some of them driven past Don themselves, or watched him from the comfort of their tables?

I don't know, and I don't really care. I just know I used the money in my wallet to buy a man a sandwich. And that I cried all the way home.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Waiting is Over*

Sometimes no news is good news. Sometimes no news is news. And sometimes...sometimes you just know in your bones that no news, when it eventually turns into news, is not going to be what you had hoped to hear. Which means that I'll be heading west to Antioch instead of east to Goddard for my graduate studies. (Holy crap, I'm going to graduate school!)

I am disappointed. Who wouldn't want to be accepted everywhere they applied? And Goddard was my first choice. But Antioch's quick acceptance and friendly wooing had begun to work their magic on me, and I've been leaning toward Antioch for the last week or so. Truly. I mean, where would you rather go to school: the place where you can't get anyone to return your phone calls, or the place that says, "We love your writing"? Uh-huh, me too.

Back in the day, when I was an Assistant Registrar at Virginia Tech, a certain Director of Admissions from the east coast tried to impress upon us that Admissions was everyone's job, that the contact a prospective student or parent had with someone in another office, on the phone or even on the sidewalk could affect whether or not the student applied or enrolled. I really hate that he was right.

*for graduate school results, anyway. No word on JT's job yet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Waiting for Go-ddard

Have I mentioned (lately) how much I hate waiting?

Oh, sometimes--once in a while--I manage to go about my business (la la la) without thinking about whatever it is I'm waiting for.

This is not one of those times.

There is much business I should be going about, but all I seem to be able to do is compulsively check e-mail (hold on...Nope, nuthin') and listen to the phone not ring.

I hate this.

Makes me want to stop being Good Hannah and indulge in some good old-fashioned Hannah B. procrastination. Yeah, yeah, procrastination, that's the ticket. That will make me feel better.

Crap crap crap.


Okay, okay. I'm off to buy groceries for tonight's workshop. But just so we're clear? I have to. Doesn't mean I want to.

Monday, April 10, 2006

School Daze

Some disturbing dreams this morning, most involving communal living (i.e., college dorms) and going back to school. The deadline for accepting Antioch's offer of admission is Friday. I still haven't heard from Goddard, which I'm starting to think is some kind of sign that maybe that's not the right school for me. Yeah, choosing a graduate school is exactly the kind of life decision that should be based on signs and dreams. Perhaps Antioch would be willing to grant a short extension. I may ask, as I should hear from Goddard "any day now." (Whoa, déjà vu. Methinks I've said that before.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pen Pals, Part Two

Just before I woke up, I dreamed that I was on a crowded patio, waiting for a seminar on writing (or maybe MFAs) to start. It was one of those days that was supposed to be warm, but the temperature had dropped, the wind had picked up and everyone was under-dressed. And the seminar was late in starting. People started chatting and woman nearby made a comment about my MFA plans being a good basis for "going on." Which I took to mean going on to a Ph.D. I told her that while those who wanted to teach English or writing often got an M.A. and then Ph.D, that an MFA was considered a terminal degree, and that, depending on the school, a person with an MFA could teach at the college level. A man sitting across the table made a face at someone sitting above and behind me, as if to say, "What does this woman know? Nothing." Which made me wonder the same thing: what do I know, really, about writing or about what doors an MFA will or will not open? Or about anything at all? After all, the "man" later became a woman. Then the wind got worse and it started to snow, and I decided I didn't need whatever information the seminar was to provide badly enough to suffer the weather and left. Or woke up. Again.

Bubba was hungry this morning. Bubba can be very pushy when he thinks someone should be feeding him. Bubba is 21 so he gets away with a lot. On weekday mornings we get up at 5:30 and go for a walk. Bubba doesn't eat until 5:40 or so. On weekends he thinks we should get up at 5:30 and will often start talking to us about rectifying the situation. Still, I managed to ignore his cries of imminent demise from starvation and sleep (and dream) for those last few minutes. Cats don't do time changes. Which, in the spring, works in our favor. Last Sunday I was able to sleep until 6:30. It was wonderful. But he's figured out the schedule now, so here I am.

Yesterday we had our third meeting of WHEW! at the prison. WHEW! is the new name of the prison writing group (aka Creative Writing class, as the COs call it). Crackly announcement, intended to be heard everywhere on the grounds: "Creative Writing Class is meeting in 202." I like the way the women put it: "Writing Class is on the grounds." Creative Writing Class is punctuated by similar announcements:

"Parents Anonymous is meeting in room 201."

"The library is now open. (At 10:30) It will remain open until 11:30."

"Bible Study is now meeting. Anyone signed up for Bible Study can now come to the Admin Building."

"Those in Bible Study 2 can now go to Unit 4. Bible Study 2 is meeting in Unit 4."

I find it very distracting. I don't know how the women manage to take the announcements in and yet not acknowledge them. Practice, I guess. Frequently there are also announcements asking that "Inmate Smith come to the visiting room. Inmates Smith, Jones and Doe come to the visiting room." Actually, I'm making those names up because generally I can't begin to understand what was actually said. Half the time it sounds like Miss Othmar got her hands on a bullhorn.

Yesterday was the 25th birthday of one of the women. She showed up in her usual denim and fleece, all in shades of blue, but with her normal ponytail had been replaced by I-have-a-visitor-today hair, all braided and curled. She looked very pretty. Her father, whom she hadn't seen in four years, was coming to see her, but she had told him not to come until after class. Every time the announcement was for someone to come to the visiting room, I tried a little harder to make out the name called, but it was never hers. She didn't seem to be concerned, didn't even seem to be distracted. I hope she had a good visit. I really hope she had a visitor.

We got some gorgeous writing yesterday, particularly in response to a poem called "Where I'm From." (Which I can't share with you, so don't even ask.) I have used this exercise before, but have never gotten such wonderful writing, nor have I ever much liked what I've written. But yesterday was different. JC, the other facilitator, led the exercise, asking us to close our eyes if we wished while we listened to her read. So I did. And it made all the difference. Usually I think, "I don't even know where I'm from. I'm from Detroit and Georgia and Virginia and I don't know any family history and..." You know, I resist the precise thing I'm asking the other writers to do. Yesterday, images of Detroit came to me, and before I knew it I was writing through tears. I was completely taken aback by my emotional response to a poem I've read many times.

I am from grey city streets, broken concrete hard beneath my hopscotching feet, streets where houses, left behind by the flight of whites to the suburbs, stand abandoned and barren, surrounded by waves of encroaching grass. Where the embers fanned by the flames of the 60s still smolder among the scarred ruins of a once-proud city. Detroit, city of my birth, soul of my mother, symbol of the worst of the worst. I have abandoned you in body and repudiated you in spirit. You are no home of mine. And yet, you are the sing-song chants of my childhood, the innocence among the rising menace of approaching crime--and the only place I ever believed that my family was real.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Money Talks (Back)

We survived The Money Talk, and graduate school is still on the table. Whew!

Incidentally, WHEW! is, as of this morning, the official name of the prison writing group. It stands for Writing Helps Empower Women. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Money Talks

So. JT and I are going to have The Money Talk tonight. We hate talking about money. Hate hate hate it. We've been married 7 1/2 years, and I think I can count on one hand the number of times we've had The Money Talk. Okay, maybe two hands. But still. We each lived alone for a long time, and were very used to (and comfortable with) handling our own finances. The hardest thing about moving in together was not always having someone around where before we'd had plenty of space and privacy. Nor was it fighting over closet space. (JT conceded before the battle ever began.) No, hands down the hardest part about sharing our lives has been Talking About Money. It's only been a few months since we set up a joint checking account, for pete's sake! (Hey--no judgments. You do it your way, we'll do it our way.)

With JT's job situation cloudy (or, as Spike's 8-ball just told me, "Outlook not so good"), he thinks he'll feel better if we talk about finances. That I can do. I can't make Whirlpool keep the design center in Iowa open; nor can I conjure up the perfect replacement job. But I can talk about money. Even if it means talking about deferring graduate school and giving up the cleaning service. Talk is cheap, right?

But all is not gloom and doom here on the street with the trees. I learned the other day that one of my poems was accepted by Patchwork Journal. I'm amazed at how calm I am about this: Oh, yes, another of my poems is going to be published, ho-hum...Like this is an everyday occurrence. Right. Only, not. (Perhaps I've just reached by adrenaline quota for the quarter.) And I've been awarded a small grant at my second-choice school, based on diversity (WTF? Diversity? I'm white, middle class, live in the middle of the country, middle-aged...ohhhhh) and merit.

I think I am a little bummed about the whole graduate school thing, though. (Wanna know how I know? I'm sitting here nibbling on a fingernail--nasty habit--and staring at the computer screen.) I'm waiting to hear from the first-choice school, which should happen any day now. Today would be good. Very good. Or at least far better than Monday.
See, my second-choice school wants a written commitment to attend (plus a non-refundable $250 ) by April 14. They're in California. If I overnight it, I could hold off sending anything (i.e., deciding) until maybe April 12. That's five days from now. I can't make a decision like that in five days! (Nibble nibble nibble.)

Maybe I should defer. That would allow time to decide, plus we would then know JT's future with Whirlpool. (Nibble nibble nibble.)

But I don't want to defer. I'm afraid if I don't jump into graduate school now, when I'm poised on the edge of the pool, that I'll never do it. I'll never even get close to the water again. (Nibble nibble.) There will never be a perfect time to go to graduate school, and it will be all too easy to find reasons not to do it. (Chomp chomp.)

I've got to post this and back away from the computer. This isn't getting me anywhere, and I have something like 16 pieces of writing to comment on for tomorrow's prison workshop.

Fingernails harmed during the writing of this post: 2
Hours spent writing this post: 1
Things accomplished/settled/decided: 0

Oh, yes, this was a good use of my time. Only, not.

I did manage to talk to my dad today, though.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Too Busy to Call Your Dad? You're Too Busy to Blog

Last month I read 3 books. Sound like a lot? Not compared to the 21 I read in February. Or the 27 I read in January. Yeah, I read a lot. Or, I used to. This month I'm hoping to finish Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir, by the awe-inspiring Janice over at Girlbomb, but so far I haven't had time to read more than 5 pages.

I haven't learned my lines yet. That is so not like me. I'm so competitive that I just have have have to be the first one off book. Oh, and? It's a point of pride for me to know my lines verbatim. Ha! Who has time to learn lines? I'm lucky to make it to rehearsal. And now they want us to spend time--our own time, mind you, not rehearsal time--doing physical and vocal warm-ups? Every freakin' day? Who has time for that crah--uh, helpful stuff?

And I just--just, like, while I was typing the last paragraph--got an e-mail from an editor at Meredith. He's got the bluelines ready. So I can come in anytime I like, this afternoon or tomorrow, to proofread. Anytime I like. Anytime I like? Yesterday I went in to do some proofing for this same editor (they got a million of 'em). Thought I'd be there an hour, hour and a half, tops. He had a couple "extra" things for me to do. No biggie. But while I was proofing, another editor walked by and said, "Oh, are you proofing today? Would you have time to do a job for me? It might take a couple hours..."

What did I do? I said yes. Even though I had a ton to do. I was there four hours. I missed lunch. Traffic was terrible on the way home. I got home hungry, cranky and stressed. But, good sister that I am, I called my little brother to wish him a happy birthday. While I was fixing lunch. Fortunately for both of us, a customer dropped by his shop about the time my grilled cheese sandwich (hot, melted Velveeta cheese--mmm!) was ready. So I called him back later. While I emptied the dishwasher. I did not call my dad yesterday. I have, however, tried him twice today. No answer.

And I just got (yes, wait for it) another e-mail from the Meredith editor, this time wanting to know about weekend availability. Am I free this weekend? Well, let's see...I'm going to the prison Saturday morning. And then to rehearsal Saturday afternoon. And then I really should spend time with JT. Sunday I have another rehearsal. know I'm going to say yes, don't you? I can't afford to turn down paying work, not with JT's ambiguous job situation. I still believe we'll be fine, but we don't know that yet. In addition to everything else, we're going to have The Money Talk tomorrow night. Ick. Necessary, but still? Ick.

I guess I need to go call this guy. And then get back to my regularly-scheduled activities. Oh, and? Bubba just sat on my arm, and I'm not entirely positive that he left everything that belongs in the litterbox in the litterbox, if you know what I mean. So I might also need to change.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sometimes I Fly Like An Eagle...

You have totally got to check it out. A local dj talked about this on the radio yesterday and I totally forgot about it until this morning. It's live during daylight hours, Pacific time, but good luck getting through. In the last few days they've had 2 million visitors per day, with as many as 4500 connections at any one time. I keep getting kicked off, but it's still pretty cool.

Bald eagles nest along the Des Moines river in the winter. It was the first benefit (aside from my husband) I found to life in the Midwest. The first time I saw an eagle take flight, I was moved to tears. I had never seen one outside of a controlled setting, and seeing them in the wild reduced me to articulate exclamations such as: Look, he's flying! Here he comes! There he goes! Oh, oh, oh, now he's diving for a fish. Yeah, not me at my most brilliant. Fortunately, only JT is privy to most of my less-than-stellar moments, and he appears to have a high threshold for inanity.

Enough about me. Go check out the eagles. But if you start saying things like, "Look, she's preening!" or "Look, she's sitting on her eggs!" well, consider yourself warned.

Monday, April 03, 2006

People are Strange

Why is it that there are just some people that we'd like to see fail? Or, conversely, whose success and happiness we resent? A guy I went to high school with was appointed a judge last week. I was flabbergasted. I immediately sent a note to a lawyer-friend, typing, as fast and as hard as my short little fingers would go, "WTF? How the hell did that happen?" (Okay, I didn't say WTF, as my lawyer-friend is quite conservative and would have found the f-word highly offensive. And I didn't say hell either. But I was quite agitated.) The reporter covering the story could only find 2 or 3 attorneys willing to go on record, and then saying fluffy things like, "He's a great guy, and he totally deserves this and I can't wait to plead a case before him." Oh, please. My lawyer-friend said, for the record, "Well, he has parlayed his basic gifts into a success that is beyond the sum of its parts." Isn't that great? Perhaps not a good career move, but it made me laugh out loud.

So, how'd he get to be a judge? Politics, influence, money, hard work? What does it matter? Why does it matter? I don't even live there any more, and I really have no reason to resent the guy. He was in my brother's class, so I knew him slightly. His family came from money and what passed for influence in our little town, and maybe he was arrogant about it. He was kind of a wiener, but he never did anything to me, and so I have no reason to sneer when I think of him as a judge. And yet, I do. I'm sneering now.

Maybe it's because he was Bobby* all through high school. Once he finished law school and returned to the area to practice law, he insisted that everyone call him Robert. "I'm Robert now," he would say, loftily. (Or snottily. Or perfectly-within-his-rights-ly. Take your pick.) But then, when he decided to run for Commonwealth's Attorney, suddenly he was Bobby again. Or rather, Bobby! Everywhere I looked were billboards, yard signs, bumper stickers and buttons that said, "Bobby!" Someone came to my door to campaign for him. "I'd like to tell you about Bobby!" he said. I said, "Oh, I know Bobby!, all right." He's a Republican, so I wouldn't have voted for him whatever name he called himself, but it just made me crazy that he went back to a nickname he'd repudiated just to make him seem for like one of the common people. Or maybe it pissed me off that it worked. At any rate, he's been Bobby! ever since, and now he's Judge Bobby! Pftt.

By the way, I'm quite aware that his success takes nothing from me, that he has the right to call himself whatever he wants and that sneering reflects more poorly on me than on the object of my disdain (not to mention the risk of having my face freeze like this.) Still. I sneer. (Or, as we sometimes say in the south, I snerl up my nose.)

*not his real name