Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear Diary,

It is the end of the year. I will try to be brief in sharing my development over these three-hundred, sixty-five days.

I have earned double last year's income, both with the frequency of new clients and with the raise in rates.
I have graduated a two-year student.
I considered buying a historic hall, a former church, or a beautiful earth-friendly building.
I considered buying a house in Steamboat Springs.
I officially became a school.

I have found some time for the homeschooling community, and am not sure where this segment of my life will take me; I so prefer solitude.
I have taken on the education of a high school student on the fast track to becoming a pop star in a foreign country.
I have spent more money this year than any other on education.

I have made a friend of a family that gets along with mine.

I have spent three separate months attempting to write in an organized fashion.
I have written very little overall.

I have become a refuge and rescuer to people who need deeper than fair-weather friends.
I have been a home, a ride, a source of income, a shoulder to cry on and manual labor.

I have gained four dogs and lost three.

I have been to court twice, once for myself and once for a friend, one for each of the above two causes.

I have lost my grandfather to suicide--a controlling man of ailing health, he was also in control of his death.
I have retouched with my grandfather's family, and discovered he is not my blood relative.
I have paid off debts due to his generous bequeathal.
I am grateful, and I miss him.

I tread the ground I grew up upon for the first time in many many years.
I touched the trees, breathed the air, tasted the water, smelled the rain.
I let my sisters play with my hair because it made them happy to doll me up so.

I have played no music whatsoever.
I barely touched a wind instrument, fingered a keyboard, hummed a tune of my own devices.

I constructed a shed and deconstructed a fence.

I have made gifts, a schedule, and progress.

I look to the coming calendar year.

I see the second wedding anniversary, eight years after the original.
I'm thinking, New Orleans.

I see a library for home school curriculum.

I see more times my friends may need me, and hope there are no or few times I may need them.

I see my sister deployed to active duty, hopefully stateside, potentially in Europe, possibly in Afghanistan.

I see a house with fewer things, and more of the things we need.
I see new floors, a remodeled kitchen, and a proper artspace for the artist.

I see a repaired and properly tuned piano.

I am hoping to see visits from far away family and friends.

I hope to see another 365 days, plus one.
Happy New Year to all

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Diary,

Trying to get a teenager to do her Year in Review of 2011 based on mass media is like, well, I'm so frustrated. I don't even have words. Just do the freaking assignment. How hard can it be?

So I decided to write on the things that I remember from my Freshman Year, using these Year in Review lists.

Things that I cared about:
(1) The internet, tobacco, and OJ Simpson.
(2) Oasis, Alanis Morrisette, and Mariah Carey
(3) Braveheart
(4) OKC bombing, Dolly the cloned sheep,

The internet:
Did you see the card catalog they put in the high school? It's a COMPUTER! Soon it will be attached to all the other libraries. Creepy, huh?

We can't watch Cigarette ads on TV anymore. There aren't any more. So, all those lessons about how to not be influenced by tobacco ads--OUTDATED! We can skip that chapter in class.

OJ Simpson
Could you ever have a sports hero ever again?

Will my sister turn that OFF already? (We shared a room. I hated oasis!)

Alanis Morrisette.
Seriously, my mom can't like pop music. That's not right. But, she bought this album, and I've always loved it.

Mariah Carey
I love I found a soul singer I can sing along with. My sister got this on tape.

I hate Mel Gibson. I hate that my last name is Wallace and everyone says, "Are you related to William Wallace, the guy from the movie?" However, it's really fun to make fun of.

Oklahoma City Bombing
OH MY GOD that was not good. Everyone was in shock. NO one could stop talking about it. I don't even watch Television and I can draw pictures from memory of the stuff they showed all over the media.

If they could clone a sheep, is anyone safe? Can we save our DNA and maybe live forever? Will my friends and I ever stop talking about dinosaurs? EVER?!?! Didn't we all see Jurassic Park? ISN'T THIS BAD?!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dear Diary,

I love shopping on Christmas Eve because people are so extraordinarily friendly.

Everywhere I went there were free cookies and/or complimentary coffee. Sometimes homemade cookies.

There were bell ringers dancing.

The tip jar was stuffed full, by 10 AM.

The roads were nearly empty.

Main Street was full, but everyone was grinning.

They had free limo rides as well as free horse and carriage rides.

You could see other people in their cars singing Christmas songs along with the radio. (Pa rum pa pum pum is quite recognizable.)

Everyone says Hi when you walk in, and Thank You when you leave, and even the customers call out Merry Christmas before the door closes behind you.

Sometimes, on a normal day, I wish I could make one day--just one--that everyone could be in a good mood.

Seems like someone beat me to it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Diary,

My friends say, it's remarkable how little drama I have in my life. But my local post office hates me and goes out of their way to make me miserable. Why? My dog bit the postman five months ago. I've been to court. I've paid everything. I've agreed to get a PO box for a year because they refuse to deliver to my house. I don't have the dog anymore.

I'm heartbroken for losing the dog I tried so hard to rescue (another story for another day). My sentence for owning a dangerous dog has been deferred for 1 year, should there be no additional incident, so I get all panicked when I don't see my dog in the back yard. If the county picks up my little dog the escape artist, I could go to jail for a year and pay upwards of $2000 in additional fines. This feeling is recurrent. Further, my son is extremely sensitive about having the dog taken away from us. Occasionally he comes in and climbs into my lap and cries, spontaneously.

The Post Office tells me they'll hold my mail. When I go in, they've sent it back. I fill out another hold order, and they lift it after I pick up my mail twice even though I told them not to, and they send my mail back again. I open a PO box and fill out the forwarding information, but the system is slow and a weeks worth of mail gets returned--again. The people are rude. They tell me I deserve it because of what my dog did. They tell me I'm a bad guy.

I would love to stop using the Post Office. As a personal protest, not as a political statement. I think they're a valuable part of the United States infrastructure, vital, in fact. So I feel terrible when I find myself glad they're having problems and a sketchy future.

I don't have constant drama, but if I were a TV show, you'd have to explain the backstory to an episode to someone who hasn't been following all season.

Every time I have to go get the mail, every time I have to mail something, every time I see my mailbox, I have to breathe deeply to keep from crying. Seriously. They took away, locked up in a punishing cell, and killed my dog for this. Why should the Post Office continue to retaliate? Will it end after a year? Will it end only when I move? Should I be finding myself considering buying a new home and moving to escape the treatment of the Postal Workers?

How much is fair?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Dear Diary,

The month of noveling has ended.

I have this love-hate relationship with words--I could put together everything I've ever written about the ability or inability to write.

I know every detail of the English language. But I don't mind if you break the rules, make up a new word, jumble your grammar a bit.

I write because when I speak no one listens, and when I write, no one listens either but at least I can go back and read it and revel in what I have the ability to say. If I speak it aloud, it's gone. Though, then I think of my dad and his musing that sound waves are energy and cannot disappear, but get infinitely weaker, so if we had the technology we could listen to Abe Lincoln as he spoke at Gettysburg. Or me, in high school, reciting these words spoken at Gettysburg.

I made a friend who claimed me as an Author. I decided to accept the post but I really can't let you know anything I've authored, truly.

I am connecting--possibly, finally--to a person I have always admired but has left me with the perpetual insult that maybe wasn't supposed to be at the time, when she looked at my business card and said, "so you're proficient at everything?" and I had to answer yes, as if I thought it were true, but to answer no would not be true, and now I have to carry that with me infinitely. For her, I must be proficient at everything, and she rarely gives me the time of day.

I am proficient at everything but fiction--I reached a mere half my writing goal for this month.

I don't like when people are recorded sounding like they are not well-spoken. I don't like people who are not well-spoken. I don't like when I read poorly written communications, and I don't like it when people know I don't like what they've tried to write. Seriously, if you can't handle the idea that you could always be better, how can you ever improve? Do you like stasis?

Stasis. That's where I am--I am a writer who writes the same things now that I've been writing for years and years.

Like Shakespeare or the guy who wrote the stuff attributed to Shakespeare, whichever ends up being true, I want to have measurable growth over the course of my career as a writer, but I don't trust that that will happen, so I expect that will never truly have a career as a writer.

I don't like musicians who are bad at what they do. I don't like politicians that are easy to make fun of. I don't like when people decide labels for me, because they are inevitably wrong. I can always prove a label wrong.

I don't like when people say they can't write, but often I can't write so it's a hell of a struggle.

I dislike more when people don't even try.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Diary,

During the month of November,

everyone is fair game.

If I see you, am reminded of you, notice you in any way, you become permanently part of me. Of my novel. Whether this novel is something I ever look at again, or anyone else will look at, you are a part of my repertoire. The description of you I used, the characteristics I found fascinating, these will remain with me always. There is no one in the background.

You cannot be a wallflower in my life if I am writing. Today, I am writing.

I find you beautiful. I find your dress absurd, but your face, your hair--nothing goes unobserved. I love your braid. I don't like your lip color. I like the way you shape your words with your mouth.

I like the pattern on the sole of your shoe, the volume of your voice, the look on your face while you think about the person on the other end of the cell phone call. I like your kid, though he needs a haircut, because his smile is stunning.

I especially like your boyfriend. But my character is looking for a woman. So I don't have much to do with your boyfriend; at least, I promise I won't say anything too nice about him.

I like the sound that's made when the mug you bumped hit the floor, and the nervousness that's in your voice while you clean it up and people walk in looking down at you.

I like the shrill condescension in your voice as you talk to the girl behind the counter as if her coworkers are her pets.

I like the look you gave your husband after he watches the girl in the tights, high boots, and tiny skirt walk by.

So if you want to talk to me, or show up in my vicinity, behave yourself. Because if you don't, your antics may stay forever as an extension of my imagination.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Diary,

I would blow this up and print it on huge banners and post it everywhere:

I was just talking about this with my niece, as we're driving around trying to figure out what we're doing with her life. Pretty much we're sure what the goal is for her, but we're also talking about how awesome my life is and how I got here.

I started homeschooling my niece in June. We're just about done with her Freshman year (or so I believe...I have yet to tally up the hours and make an evaluation). We're trying to get her to audition for a Korean pop-music company before she's 17, which means we have to finish high school shortly after she turns 16. This is pretty easy, but I'm also trying to make sure she can actually be a pop star.

Things a Korean pop star from America needs to know:
How to dance
How to sing
How to write music
How to audition
How to choreograph
How to design costumes
How to read Korean
How to speak Korean
How to write Korean
How to get around Korea
How to defend herself physically
How to get into a Korean college
How to defend herself verbally (so she doesn't get taken advantage of)
How to get back to America, should it be necessary
How to make money

So if you've ever thought about learning all these things in two years, ask me for the full story. It's not easy, and on top of that, there are legal requirements that she has to meet to get her high school diploma, otherwise known as academics.

I target the whole curriculum towards this goal. She's doing well.

But we're talking about what it's like being her dance instructor, and what it's like being me. How the people she's meeting have made a life for themselves without being trampled by "the man" or even "Uncle Sam." People like us, we're kicking butt. Her dance instructor is teaching a class of Hip Hop to adults. When I was a kid, I guarantee you couldn't find that class available anywhere.

See, we're adults now. WE get to decide what we do for a living, and WE get to choose what is considered "grown-up."

Grown-ups dance Hip Hop!
Grown-ups dress up and sit in coffee shops pretending to be from the future!
Grown-ups bring their typewriters to write-ins!
Grown-ups get to sit on the floor and play with kids who are afraid of getting smarter!
Grown-ups go caroling!
Grown-ups throw parties and turn out the lights and light candles!
Grown-ups can pour the whole bottle of bubbles into the bath!
Grown-ups stay up all night and shoot Zombies on the xbox!
Grown-ups can eat all the cookie dough before baking a single cookie!
Grown-ups can choose to spend all their money on play pit balls!
Grown-ups can paint Animal on the back of their car!

I love my job.
I love what my job affords me.

I get to play.
I get to get up in the morning to a phone call of a friend in distress and drive 2 hours to go rescue him and his family in the snowy mountains.
I get paid in cash and can go grocery shopping.
I set my own hours, and I can cancel and play hooky and my job is still there when I get back.
I have time to write and draw and knit and do all sorts of hobbies.
I can call my friends and they can come over, whenever I want.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear Diary,

Prepping for NaNoWriMo. Hoping to get my writing groove back.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dear Diary,

Part 1 of potentially only 1.

The awesomeness of an adventure weekend presented itself as we reached ultimate fed-up-ness with the experience of waking up yet again to daunting day-to-day-life pressures.

And we have a great life, I am to remind you I am pleased I am not part of a 'normal' family routine.

It all started with the Family Reunion road trip--which leads to another more intriguing story, for another day--where we packed and slam-bam hit Kentucy in fewer than 36 hours after leaving home.

Tip #1: Avoid the Interstates
Tip #2: Look at the map of the campgrounds you might hit BEFORE you leave.

Driving blindly ahead at two am seeking a campsite the Garmin assured you you passed a half hour ago and a lonley sign once suggested you were on the right path is not ideal for sleepy travellers.

Tip #4: Make sure you have paper maps in addition to your GPS. Who knows if you're going to short out your charging outlet?

So the trip to Kentucky was quick, wet, and less than refressing. The perfect length of time for a road trip averages three week, within a few days on either side.

For example: Our three week tour through Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the UP of Michigan, the LP of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and aKansas. Or perhaps the three weeks through New Mexico to the Hill Counttry of Texas with a one week layover and then on to the Gulf of Mexico, along the Mexican border, Arizona Rockies, and Utah. Or even the two week quickie through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio to Michigan and back.

A road trip is about windmills, campsites or hotels with windowseats, merry-go-rounds, slides and swings; rivers, lakes and beaches. A road trip is about dirt roads, the local pizzeria, brew pub, or greasy spoon. A road trip is about lookingin museums the size of my backyard and riding restored carosels. It's about inside jokes, pop songs on the sirus radio, and overused words. A road trip ais about making the country feel huge again.

Tip #4: Bring a Jacket.

So upon arriving home, we laid out our musty, smelly tents to dry, gave up and washed them over the next week, along with the sleeping bags that absorbed some of the August air from the midwest.

We had lives to reinhabit, work to employ us, and the same dirty dishes we'd left behind.

We were just getting to the part where we communicated well in a small space when the trip ended.

Tip #5: Use a road trip to strengthen your relationship. Nothing says I have time for you like being strapped in a metal egg for hours with someone.

We find ourselves talling about long-harbored issues with the casualness of how lovely the sunset is. Of course, there's a break-in period where we're both holding back and being abrasive, but the electricty finds the pat of least resistance and we open up.

Tip #6: Children are an exception to the fifth tip. They will argue more at the peak of the trip and again towards the end when they know they'll be home soon.

We clashed with each other and the kids for the week we were home, then we packed the trunk with horseshoes, frisbees, a skateboard and pads, fishing gear, tents, bags, charcoal, swimming suits and towels, and water and took off.

We had no idea where we were going.

Tip #7: Use recreational maps, not just road maps. Dirt roads do not mean 4x4 only.

On Friday, we ventured out timidly, skateboarding in Palisade, drinking a beer and eating popcorn at the brewery, and then heading home.

On Saturday, we were gone. We dropped off keys, said hi to a sister back from out of town, and took the highway down to Crawford, leaving Land's End and the Mesa for a different day.

We said hi to grandparents and looked at gardens growing, showed off our new car, and talked about the weather.

We drove to Paonia from the south and drank the best cherry soda ever made while playing chess at the brewery. We consulted a map and chose a dirt road to Crested Butte. We'd never been to Crested Butte.

Trains leaned in on the turns in the road-coal biled high. Huge miming operations glittered up the mountainsides in the sunset, hidden in the trees, extracting the black gold.

Tip #8: If searching for Craft Breweries, pick up the most recent copy of Rocky Mountain Brewing News, or the local equivalent, type in the address in the Garmin and go.

We got to the pub in Crested Butte, who sponsors the local hockey team, has a large deck for the chilly night air, and one girl running the whole kitchen.

Avacados must be in season. My daughter and husband split a bowl of deep-fried avacado slices, a salad topped with avacado, and an avacado, cheese, bacon, and tomato sandwich.

We drove up toward on of the little flags on the recreeational map indicating a campground. Garmin didn't believe us. Gothic, it said, was a town. The map didn't agree. We were determined to find the truth.

The road turned to dirt again and that--that fluffy-looking creature was a porcupine. Those were deer, and that was another porcupine. That might have been an owl.

Garmin won--Gothic is a teeny town founded for research in 1929. They had barrels--traffic barrels--orange and white striped--in the middle of the road, with 15 emblazoned on the speed limit signs perched on top.

Gunnison National Forest greeted us on the other side of the town, and I laughed at myself for using the car as an oversized flashlight to read the signs posted on the side of the road. I turned into the sign: Parking, no camping. The next: Parking, no camping, Later, after several more Parking, no camping signs, a larger one: Day Use Only: Flash Floods blah blah blah Please don't camp here Blah blah You'll regret it. Fine then.

Finally, the map wins--Goth the campground announces Bear Country and I pick up a pay envelope.

We tour the campground--#1 has a camping motorcyclist. Five feet later, #2 has a large truck. Another five feet and #3 has a little Subaru. Take a turn and immediately ahead is a 4-runner in #4, and to the left, #5 with nothing but a fire pit.

I pitch camp as the family sleeps. I pitch camp crooked, apparently.

Tip #9: No matter how tired you are, don't skimp on setting up camp properly. A bad night's sleep fror all can be a direct result of the pressure to get under the covers.

Remember the part about bringing a jacket? We camped at 9500 feet. It was cold. We were crooked and people and pets all slid to one end of the tent. The boy child had nightmares.

At some point in the darkness, both the husband and I are awake.
"This is camping," he said. "This is peaceful. Hear all that racket from Kentucky that's missing up here?" He's right, the silence at altitude is comforting. The constant white noise of insects punctuated with the staccato of various other night critters was disconcerting down near sea-level.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Dear Diary,

I went out for my normal knitting visit with friends, and managed to domino the rest of the day into oblivion.

I let my daughter get away with not working on her 4-H project.
I missed the bank.
I didn't stop for milk, which my husband really needed a shot of for the day.
I finished the errands so late I couldn't meet a friend for taking the kids to the Dinosaur Museum.

Then a friend posts in my feed the serenity prayer.

My dad had it on stained glass. It sat on the table, in bold, Catholic-window colors. It was a tri-fold frame, each pane with one part of the prayer. I didn't know it was a prayer each time I read it, which I did frequently. I know each line of lead, each pairing of colors. I can follow the ornamentation of the font. I think these words were the first things I memorized, etched into my mind as much as any education I've ever had.

Sometimes it's all in just remembering.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Dear Diary,

I have taken two plunges today, and bought a new mattress.

The mattress first: We're ditching our Sleep Number for a basic Sealy Posturepedic and topping it with a NexGel OrthoGel topper. It'll be awesome--in two weeks. *sigh*.

I have announced to those who might tend to expect things that I am going to try to go to the family reunion in Kentucky this year. Road trip! and camping. I'm already excited.

And lastly, I have fallen shy of my wordcount goal for the day by a mere fifty words. I don't want to start the next chapter yet. It is called "The Gospel According to Cassandra" where we learn what happens if we heed the advice of strangers. Maybe. I'm only to the third chapter. It might be something else in a while.

An Excerpt, for you, after the break:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dear Diary,

So of all the petty things in the world, Facebook has offered me a forum for a deep sense of rejection.

Of the five or so years I've been on it, all but one has been waiting for a friend to approve my request of friendship. Which is odd, to me, because we were very, very close in school. At least, I thought we were.

That's where the rejection comes in.

I have a lot of "friends" on social networking sites--I enjoy vicarious contact as much as or more than real time, due to things like "expectations" and "dedication" and other friendly-like things I am not willing to offer to as many people as populate the list. There are people there I have actively forgotten about, or people I choose to watch from afar like a little stalker girl. I'm a good little stalker girl, though, nothing that isn't offered on the FB news feed. You can control that with your privacy settings. I just look at what pops up with interest and move on. There are friends I never expected to spend as much time exchanging ideas with as I do. And then there are people with whom I decided to enjoy "expectations" and "dedication"--these people I communicate with through social sites to arrange real-life meetings, or to supplement our face-to-face relationship. Link sharing and the like.

And then there are the people who used to rest in that role--those worthy of my attentions, real-life pals. Of the nine of us that there were, four are my Facebook friends, three of whom lead quiet social lives and I'm not really connected to. Three have disappeared completely from all aspects of digital life--one of whom I know is on the other side of the line, all I have to do is call it and she'll be there. And one has ignored my request years ago, and my fresh request of a few months ago.

She may not be online, but I do know that she's gotten married in the mean time, and had a child. I know this because I'm friends with her cousin who posts photos and other stuff that is available to friends to view. And her profile picture has changed at least twice since I've emailed her.

Was I not one of nine like I thought I had been? Wasn't I? Didn't I belong to the group, an active participant in every-member support, encouragement, and academic bravery? (Of the nine, three maintained the highest possible GPA--she and I making up two of those.)

All I can think of is my abrupt departure--swiftly and entirely erased from the environment. The last day of Junior year is the last day I saw any of the nine, and the first day of  the vast silence before social networking.

What happened that day that was my last, or that year they could continue to bond or unbind without me? What happened to me, or to her, that we can't even exchange aloof pleasantries and allow each other to see polished and carefully chosen details of ourselves? Or at least email addresses so we can catch up?

Hence, I find I have been rejected.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dear Diary,

I am back to words.

  1. I have caught up on all but four of the webcomics I read.
  2. I have looked up writing competitions.
  3. I have sketched out plotlines.
  4. I went to the book give-away
  5. I am reading
  6. I am teaching English, and learning some details of the structure of Korean language.
    • I can write "Seoul" and "South Korea" and "Wan" in Korean, though I can't pronounce them.
  7. I just signed up for Camp Nanowrimo. There are two--one in July and one in August. Both of those months have 31 days instead of 30, which means 1,613 words a day--fifty-four fewer than in November.

So. Maybe I'll write more in my fancy beautiful diary and insert the fun parts here. I wouldn't get my hopes up, though.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dear Diary,

A great weight has been lifted. If only the rest would ease up.

It has been a difficult year. The things that could happen have been settling around my shoulders in the form of a constant crick in the neck. I love my friends, and I would do anything for them, including bear their stresses. The empathy gene keeps me from having many friends because I have to truly and entirely love you to keep you close, and I can't just do that for anybody. This came from my sister being my best friend since the day she was born (possibly sooner, but I'm being general as I can't actually remember). It became normal to love one's friend unconditionally.

Here is no timeline, just five families struggling.

Two families have had miscarriages in the past year. I have been there, cried for me and cried for them and cried for three babies--all potentially first children--that I will never know.

Two families have had unjust charges brought against them by the same policing entity. From kidnapping to domestic abuse, only the stress and uncertainty of a trial could weed out what happened from what didn't happen for each of these. Both fathers were given probation- beautiful for the families- for crimes they did indeed commit, which are minor in both cases. The justice system, however flawed, works well enough I can keep my faith in it.

Two families will move away from me in the next year, maybe three. After watching three friends leave already, and making only three since, I am slow to keep up.

One family has broken down completely, needing care and supervision and trust and patience.

Five families, none of them mine. If I had compartments, I'd use them. Instead, my body revolts with headaches and nausea that last for days, and other remnants of shock and shot nerves. When I count my blessings, I am only reminded of those things I have that others don't. Do I have survivor's guilt?

It seems most suspense has truly ended, and next is a series of starts, whether I start helping friends pack, or start knitting another baby hat, or start homeschooling another student, I hope I find in these starts a remarkable lack of this guilt, if that is what it is.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Dear Diary,

 We managed to get the rest of the house finished up and emptied today. I expected to help load the furniture but the girls seemed not to need my help. I went back and canceled the newspaper while the boys (my uncle, my cousin, and my other cousin's husband) disassembled the carport. When I discovered my uncle's back and my cousin's COPD brought them inside leaving my cousin-in-law out in the cold by himself, I passed the last cancellation job over to my sister (who had brought me coffee and donuts) and went out to help.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Dear Diary,

I couldn't get out of bed, but I wasn't up long when my sisters came knocking eager to do up my hair again. I turned them down, but ended up over there anyway. They crinkled up my hair with a different hair product from yesterday and raved at how pretty it was. I'm not sure, but I think that the constant raving about the amazing nature of a feature makes most girls pretty happy. I was a bit irritated and couldn't wait to get done with it. I thanked them because it was kind of nice to be fussed over, but I'm glad I don't have that done often. I escaped to the lobby with Dad's laptop to check my email.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Dear Diary,

Prologue to the next four days.

I flew to St. Louis. My sisters picked me up at the airport.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dear Diary,

My written journal for today reads:

"Knitting that shawl is taking forever! [Insert story about J & how the pen & how that got all weird]"

The story goes...
My friend got a job teaching just after she got her degree. I started thinking she'd like a fountain pen, if only I could find and/or afford the right one. She's steampunk (very interesting pens to match this quality) and Victorian (there is one pen...just the one, but the absolutely perfect one--at over a thousand dollars). So I needed to compromise. I invited another friend (the aforementioned J) to assist and co-give this with me. So she and I spend months--months!--eliminating pens and narrowing down the qualities.

The pen she chose--she did the ordering--was offline, after she didn't check the pens I directed her to at a particular brick-and-mortar. It was, however, on the list, and she did remember to order a bladder, cartridges, and an inkwell.

When everything had finally come together (the shipments came all staggered and weird), she brought the box to knitting today, and anticipated my arrival. She brought it in and sat with it across from the reciepient. I was on my way. Unfortunately, I did not prioritize getting to the coffee house, and J had to leave to go to work. While I wasn't there, the recipiant was probing for an answer to what was in the box. J had two choices, leave the recipiant hanging and take it with her, or give it to her before she left, hoping I would arrive during the process.

When I got there, she had left. The gift had been well received. The giver was bummed I wasn't there, and I was bummed I hadn't been told there was a time limit.

Eh, it wasn't the most perfect gift-giving experience, but I had done it. We had worked together, chosen the perfect pen-and-ink combination and gave a "Congratulations! You're a Teacher!" gift to a teacher who'd been teaching nearly 5 months by now. I love that pen, and the time we'd spent choosing it was well worth it.

Now, if I only knew if she was writing with it...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dear Diary,

It was the Open Reading night for the Professors of Mesa State Reading Series. I read first. The person who signed the page first signed halfway down the page. I signed halfway between her name and the top of the page. No one signed before me. I don't mind...I accepted that risk when I wrote it.

The kids were being watched by my husband's aunt, the first time we've ever asked her to do that. The way the extended family unit is crumbling is affecting even us, here, out of the way.

I had spent a few hours browsing the short bits my husband had selected during the day from my LiveJournal. That's where I keep the really good stuff, by the way. Or, where I kept it, anyway. I'm trying to bring that energy over here but it's a tedious thing to change one's habits and make one perform for people one knows.

Which is what I did tonight anyway. My bits were all short. I chose six. I read the one about my sister in the news playing baseball on base in Baghdad. I also chose the one about drag racing a cop. I read the one about how a successful progeneration is one that out ranks the intelligence of the parents.

It was a good night. I recognized most of the people I expected to be there, though the professor who told me I should read was not there and I was a bit miffed.

My husband enjoyed it much more than I thought he would, too. Maybe we have more open readings in our future....if only I could get him to read something of his own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Diary,

The family that is our family's friends came by. The whirlwind of stresses they relate make mine seem like cake. I don't always understand the decisions other people make.

This is a common comment about this family. One day, I will have something different to say about them. In the meantime, I will refrain from being redundant.

My neighbor stopped by when he returned from Las Vegas and making arrangements for his father. He seems remarkably composed. Hopefully grief does not disintegrate his ability to get credit for the classes he's taking this semester. I understand how one bad semester can end the pursuit of a degree.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dear Diary,

It was a co-op school day, so it was just the boy and me. We walked to Main Street and logged cars by color and make. He didn't seem to like it much, but he's very good at recognizing a car before he sees its badges. He much better liked the bar graph we built to demonstrate the colors of cars we saw, and the pie chart that we made to show which make of car we saw most often. He's a boy of concrete data--just, someone else can collect it. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dear Diary,

Do you like Veggie Tales? You should. If you don't know about them, just wait until you have a tiny tot and then find out how awesome they are.

While my daughter recovered, my husband went to register kids for his class. While they were gone, my son had a monopoly on my attention and we started by listening, singing, and dancing to some of his favorite tunes on Grooveshark, including "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Yoda," as well as some "Silly Songs with Larry" hits from Veggie Tales.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear Diary,

It's a long day. My neighbor and boss is back from her honeymoon in Europe and there is work to do. It's  nice getting back into the swing of things, looking at things logically (editing is pretty black and white) as opposed to theoretically (tutoring is remarkably imprecise).  I told her she should write "how the vacation went" and send it to everyone instead of having to tell the same stories endlessly as she reconnects to each new person.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Dear Diary,

There's an upheaval in the family that is nearly 6 months old now. My husband's sister's divorce has really shaken him up. This is a tight family I've married myself into. I live in this town because his sister moved here, who moved because her mother moved here, who moved because her sister and mother moved here. What's really rocking this family knot is that she's more or less divorced the whole of us, not just her husband. I suspect it's because she's afraid of judgement, but by not talking she's left a trail of nothing but judged steps.

I talked to her for real today, the first time since.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Dear Diary,

There is a story of a shawl. I started it near to the beginning of my knitting career, then frogged it in dissatisfaction at my meager skills. The yarn waited. Time passed. The recipient mentioned owning a notable lack of items I'd created with my fiber art. I looked at the yarn. I did not use it. Then, the holiday approached and I had the skills, the time, the art, and the beginnings of the yarn. The shawl was re-born. I worked diligently, choosing the right yarns, the right stitch and pattern and gauge for each yarn. I built the stripes. The holiday closed in and I worked harder and faster. I knit like a madwoman. Then my elbow started to holler, and finally gave out when my shoulder joined in. I had injured myself knitting.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dear Diary,

Another successful birthday party. The pizza part was funded by Book It! so it was an award and a group event all in one. My son was getting antsy as the pile of gifts next to him had ceased growing, and he said, "Can I open presents now, before anyone else gets up?" I realized I had kept asking him to wait for various people to return to the table, and he was patiently observing that all were presently seated. His maturity smacks me in the face, sometimes. I don't have babies anymore.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Dear Diary,

Today was a day to feel blessed. I have my share of what I consider to be woes, but perpetually-plagued family friends came by and tried to refrain from relating half their woes. One of my student's mother has just learned her eldest son has an addiction, and another mother is faced with a losing battle with bad renters and their outrageous and unfair lawsuit. If one is built to handle everything that comes one's way, I am glad that today, all I have are broken cars and a stolen licence plate. I would like to think I am stronger, but am enjoying the lack of that test.

On a lighter (and ironic note), it's "someday we'll laugh about this" week.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dear Diary,

The first of today's two quotes is one I found by chance. I had just had an ingenious brainstorm, then exclaimed to myself (yes, out loud) "That is a good idea!" Then I looked down at the cards I was sorting in preparation for usage, and the one on top said:
On great ideas:
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them own people's throats.
--Howard Aiken
 The second is from my son, who just turned six today. He has just engrossed himself into one of his birthday presents--a full version of a video game he had perfected his route on the trial version of. He bursts out:
"Thank you, Mom!...Wow, I think that is the first time I ever said thank you for something I really wanted."

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dear Diary,

I spend the morning juggling money and the afternoon juggling students. It is wonderful to project projections about the budget, but it is another thing entirely to have the discipline to live by it. Also, my addition is getting better, I noticed. This is likely because of the amount of time I am spending training one of my students to see addition as a manipulation as opposed to a series of facts. We will get to the multiplication application of this concept soon enough, but the addition drills and practice have been awesome for me as well. It is an exercise in understanding moreso than anything else.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Dear Diary,

Today I wrote my Facebook invitations to Mardi Gras (March 8) and St. Patrick's Day (March 17). Should you be in town, come by. We'll be happy to feed you. We hold these celebrations every year, so should you be unable to attend this year, and discover it is one of these holidays in some future year, again, come by. We'll be happy to feed you.

I was surprised for the day with the impending opportunity to resume my regular Tai Chi study. This is wonderful news, as I have been noticing a general malaise about my being.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Dear Diary,

Another good quote that inspires me for the year:
"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."
- Arnold Lobel
Hence, I made a book list of the top books of 2010 as chosen by various people interviewed by NPR (See my page Reflections of 2010). The ones I chose sound most interesting to me, so if you want to join me in reading one I think I would be more inclined to share the experience than reading alone. Dang literature degree, literature classes...Maybe that's why I don't read anymore (except to be informed).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Dear Diary,

To start with a quote for a year hopefully filled with more writing than ever:

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." Edwin Schlossberg.

I rang in the new year with an auld lang syne in full for the first time, tart sparkling wine, noisemakers, fireworks across the valley.

I sketched some hopes and dreams for the ones I love in my diary, and some predictions for the new year with a reflection upon the old. Am I prepared for this year? Heck yes. I've worked all last year for this year to go off smoothly.