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.