< ? Random Acts of Journaling # >
Last Updated 25 May 2004
Time: 10:24 pm EST
Date: 25 May 2004
Reading: "I Am of Irelande" by Juilene Osborne McKnight
Hearing: Eric Clapton's blues album
Inspiration: A friend newfound
Entry: Girls Night Out
Yes, you read that correctly, I had a girls night out. And no, it didn't require Eric putting a dress and accompanying me on various frivolous errands; I actually had a real live girlfriend with me for those frivolous errands. My friend ('cause I think she is, even though she should know better) from work, Rachel, and I shrugged off our fiances and spent the evening together. She was hunting down a kahki skirt, and I was looking for a smashing ensemble to wear to dinner with James and Julie and Eric on Saturday night in D.C. So, basically, we went shopping. This is something I really rarely do, especially when it means that I'm going to buy clothing for myself. I hate, no abhore clothes shopping. My personal hell is the little mirrored cubicle with built in bench, the cold tile floor felt by hundreds, even thousands of other people's feet, and the certain florescent lighting that illuminates every possible shadow and imperfection on the skin and body, right there in all its full-length, tri-mirrored glory. But tonights trip was made a bit better by Rachel's being there, since she's generally good humored and mostly sarcastic (just like me). It was fun going around the stores making fun of the Sex in the City manequins and the stereotypical mall rat crowd chatting insipidly on their cell phones. Rachel and I seemed the most unlikely pair as well, her petite and slender frame juxtaposed to my full-figured 5'7", she being 22 looking 17 (as quoted the waitress at IHOP), and my sage 28. She didn't know how old I was before tonight, and I think it shocked her. Apparently I don't really look my age. That's nice to know. Anyhoo, we shopped then went to IHOP, since she wanted breakfast food and had not yet been. Then a little more shopping (and actual buying) before returning her to her home and flying home myself. I don't think her fiance was best pleased with my keeping her out so late (9:30, but by fiance standards, when they are not there too, that is a long time). He seemed angry, and I hope that my appology helped to smooth things over a little. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if she's grounded. We chatted about how we met our future husbands, and a few other little things. It's really the first time we have had a chance to really talk, since most of the parties we've converged at have been minglers, and our time to speak was brief or inebriated (on my part, and the part of the red wine). So it was a good time, and great opportunity for us to really speak intimately, personally, and get to know each other better. Yay, I like Rachel!
So this weekend, Memorial Day Weekend in the US, Eric and I are headed to Washington D.C. and Baltimore to meet some friends and sightsee (and finish our song, James and I). That should be a good time too. I know it is going to be bloody hot there in the Capital, so Saturday I think that we are staying inside museums as much as possible. Hopefully Saturday night we'll be able to have a nice supper, maybe dress up a little (Eric and I were thinking the Blues Alley), where good food and wine will make the evening warm and cheerful. The whole weekend will be great, I'm sure, but it will be nice to see James especially since he is my "brother" and I miss him. I will take pictures, write a lot, and post what I can when I can. Until then, be well...
Time: 9:19 pm EST
Date: 17 May 2004
Reading: "I Am of Irelande" by Juilene Osborne McKnight
Hearing: Washer and dryer sounds
Entry: Language and Music Appreciation
Well, here I am, out from under the little rock that is Barnes & Noble weekend retail. Geez, you'd think that an eight hour shift might actually end when you leave the store, but no. It begins all over again at your own house, or your future in-laws house, or something. When is there ever "free" time?
I finished "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road" by Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush, today at lunch. I've been ploding through it for months, since my "brother," James, got it for us for X-mas last. All semester I've been reading a page or two before bed, and now I've finished. So what's next, you ask? This first book by Joan Knight Osborne, "I am of Irelunde." I just bought "Daughter of Irelunde" at the store the other day as incentive to read them both before the summer ends. My non-fiction endeavor is going to be "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler, because for whatever reason, I seem to be the only Pagan who has not yet read it. I've owned a copy for years, just never read it. No time like the present, right?
Currently, my mailbox (the snail mailbox) is overflowing with garden and bulb catalogues, promising $25 off my purchase when ordered by 31 August. Oh, how I love bulbs! I cannot tell you what a joy it is to create a little nest in the soil for a hefty bulb and wait and wait (just like a mother would) for the first green heads to emerge in spring. And then, these joyous, delicious smelling tulips, daffodils, crocus, jonquils, paperwhite narcissus, and hyacinth, so bright against the dull winter garden, the fallow field, the crisp white carpet of snow. Ah, it is the first sign that spring is on its way, and I adore them! They are easy to manage too, and mostly multiply themselves with little to no help from the gardener for the first year or so. Then, you go in the ground, and divide the well-formed bulbs for still more bulbs and more flowers. This is infinitly possible! Amazing!
I've been colaborating with my "brother" James, as I might have mentioned in the last entry. This is going well. We had a phone session, an audition it felt like to me, where I played the song fragment I had for him via the telephone, and he gave me feedback. I was totally nervous, and it did feel like an audition. These are chords, music, that he has gifted me, that he trusts me to do something with. They inspire me, which is great, and I feel that I truly can do them justice lyrically and with a decent melody. Well, James just loved it, and that was a load off my mind. It gives me the confidence to move on to the chorus from the verse structure I've managed so far. The chorus to a song is the tricky bit, though, the place where it can all go wrong. It is where I feel one should make the point, tell the moral, hook the listener to the point that the second time around, they are singing along. And it had better be powerful, catchy, and absolutely stunning in respect to the rest of the song--its light illuminates the rest of the gem. I really believe that music is like religion, and then the chorus is the communion with the listener, with the Creator, with the world. The chorus should be universal, electrical energy, it should flow, it should move, it should move people to move, either in dance or action. It is a responsibility I don't take lightly, and this might seem obvious. I am an obsessive lyricist. This particular piece of music is no exception--what I do isn't really songwriting at all. That is what Britney Spears does, what the people who write for the boy bands do. What I do, and what a few other amazing artists do, is better termed songcrafting. Mary Chapin-Carpenter is a songcrafter. Sting is a songcrafter. Alison Krauss and Union Station are songcrafters. Ani DiFranco is often a songcrafter. And every once in a while, a lot of other people have moments of songcrafting. It is a rare thing, to put as much thought into the total package. It is a hard thing to appreciate, just like etymology. Most people just say words, just as some people just write them. The don't think of the weight of that word, its power, its history and origin. They rarely concern themselves with the sound of a word, the way it fills the mouth, or snaps against the teeth. It is a rare thing. But it's my thing.
I'm the same way with most things I write. It is something I am conscious of 90% of the time. I adore language!
Time: 8:20pm EST
Date: 07 May 2004
Reading: "Ghost Rider" and old issues of Sage Woman Magazine
Hearing: Insturmental version of Tori Amos' "Mother"
Inspiration: Grades/Music/Julianne Moore
Entry: The Results Are In
Posting my final grades here:
Undergraduate Course work
ENG 303 02 Approach to the Study of Lit A- (11.10 quality points)
ENG 358 01 Modern Poetry A (12.00 quality points)
FRE 204 01 Intermediate French B+ (9.90 quality points)
GEO 103 09 Introduction to Earth Science A (12.00 quality points)
Attempted Earned GPA Hours Quality Points GPA
Current Term: 12.000 12.000 12.000 45.00 3.75
Cumulative: 49.000 49.000 49.000 181.30 3.70
That's right folks, I got a B in French. That is mostly because I got a C on the final--It was tough! I'm not mad, it didn't bring my average down much at all. I'm still in the top 10% of my class at this point (closer to 6%). I'm not hurting. Still have yet to hear about the English Department Research Essay Contest results. I imagine that if I don't hear by the end of next week, I'll assume I didn't win. My essay is really good, and I know it and that's what matters.
In music news, my musical soul brother, James, and I are collaborating via e-mail. It's a little weird, but cool at the same time. Not real time, but close. I really like the music he's composed and asked me to compose lyrics/melody to. I've had a bit of a musical dry spell for the last year and some months (since I've been in school actually) and it feels good to work like that again. If it turns out as well as I think it will, I'm certain there will be more collaboration in the future this way, until we can actually write together in person. James rocks! He has sent out some CD's for me in the mail, a compilation of Dream Theater stuff and the recordings he just finished up with his now defunct band, MasterMonk. I'm sad that it's over for them, because it seemed like such a short-lived thing (not quite a year, I think). It seemed like the music that James really wanted to do, a sort of proggy quartet. Shame on the lead singer and the guitarist having a relationship (not that they could really help it since they were together before the band formed), and then breaking up. The list of bands with that sob story is a mile long. Shame that MM had to go out like that, you know?
I just finished watching Julianne Moore's interview on Inside the Actor's Studio. That is one of my favorite shows on T.V. I don't watch much, but when there is an interesting actor on the show, I'm glued to the screen. She's just brilliant, Julianne, and the show was very insightful. There are times that I long for the boards, that I yearn to perform again in an acting capacity. I don't know if I could hack it these days, though I think I would be better than I was six years ago, when I was acting a lot more. I've gained more life experience, and I feel more comfortable in my skin, so to speak. I'd be better at coming up with motivations than I had been, need less direction. Maybe I'll try something after graduation, though it's nearly impossible to find a group/troupe that will let you in without the "right" references. I saw that start to happen with some of the theatre companies in the Colorado Springs--always the same rotating cast, the same voices, and hardly any challenging plays/roles. Thank the gods for Upstart (Performing Arts Ensemble), for coming along when they did. They put on the first Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival in Colo. Spgs. and I had the opportunity to be in "Torch Song Trilogy." That was an awesome experience, but alas, Upstart too feel into the land of cliques. It's sad, really. Community theatre is supposed to be about taking risks on new faces, creating new talents and using the theatre as a school for the art of acting, theatre, and performance. It's a shame that there aren't many groups who will just bite the bullet and "risk," whether there is money in it or not. They should take a cue from the Independent film industry and go for quality rather than box returns. Hello soapbox.
Time: 10:08 pm EST
Date: 30 April 2004
Reading: Nothing, for the moment
Hearing: Nothing, for the moement
Inspiration: School's out for the semester!!!
Entry: Could it be, free time?
This week sucked! But now, for the most part, it is over. My brain was full to overflowing, and now it is not. I dumped it on a few pages on Thursday. My first course, Lit Theory, was pretty much over. We had to give a ten minute presentation in the final weeks that was worth 50% of our grades. I got an A-, whatever that means. My professor said that I could expect the same mark for the course. My second class on Thursday was French, and we had our final exam in the hour and fifteen minutes alotted for the course. I got the verb conjugations spot on, did fairly well on the "if" clauses and the subjunctive tense, and the direct object/indirect object portion was a breeze. We were also required to write a composition, which she allowed us to prepare outside of class. I feel pretty good about that exam as well. Third course for the day, second exam, Modern Poetry. I have really grown fond of my professor for this course, and I am sad that I won't be able to take any more classes from her in my tenure at UNCG. In the fall she is going to London on sabattical to write a book while her husband, a Shakesperian, teaches abroad. I wanted to take my Shakespeare class from him as well, but alas. The poetry exam consisted of a fifteen minute objective section and one hour for the essay. I finished the objective section in about five minutes and got started on the essay (5 pages, front and back in longhand). I did well, I'm sure. My final course and final was in Earth Science. The test was 50 question, multiple choice and I missed 3-4. Another A, but that needs to be averaged with other tests of A- and sometimes B+ marks. This might be my B course for the semester. So, no Chancellor's list this semseter, and I'm okay with that. It was a difficult semester emotionally with Eric's father's declining health, so I'm surprised I made it this far as well as I did.
In other academic news, I turned in my research essay from last semester's Chaucer class for the annual English Department Research Essay Contest. I won the contest last year, much to my surprise, and this semester I was encouraged to enter again. The secretary in the English Dept. office recognized me from last year, and said, "I was wondering if you would enter again this year." I feel good about the work and am confident it will be a worthy opponent to whatever else was entered this year. I know for a fact that another comarade from the same Chaucer class, Darren, will enter an essay, and he won the contest the year before me. I encouraged another English major, sophomore Chris, to enter an essay he wrote for our Lit. Theory class. He was mulling it over as of Thursday. I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't think his essay wasn't as well written as my own, though I think his will be better served in the Critical Essay category. In any case, and outside of the monitary reward, it is nice looking print for the CV's and academic resumes of the furture. I wonder if anyone has won two years in a row before?
So a quick update on non-school items. Eric's dad was in the hospital for about a week for complications due to blood clotting in his arm around where his dialysis catheter was. He's back home now, a little worse for wear, but happy to be in familiar and comfortable surroundings. He is still taking three dialysis treatments per week while on his chemotherapy regement. This made things very stressful for us the last few weeks, and especailly last week. But now that my semester is out, I can go with the flow and help out a lot more without feeling "put out" and then guilty for feeling that way. No news on Eric's new permanent position at UNC as of yet. His application is being reviewed. I'll soon be back at B&N full time, or as near as they allow, for the summer months. This means some serious bill paying and possibly some saving of money. Isn't that a novel concept? Saving money? Next week I have plans to get Ruby (our Honda Civic) an oil change, and then lunch with my very pregnant friend Stacey. She is due at the end of May, and now that I am not going to France, I will be able to kiss the "baby head." Thursday next, the ladies at the office at Jackson Library are taking me and the other student worker out for Mexican food (and a margarita or two!) as a token of their appreciation of us. I'm never going to say no to a free lunch, even if it means a 40 mile commute. I think I'll go window shopping at Garden Ridge and a huge rubber stamp/scrapbooking store in Greensboro beforehand, then pick up my finals from my profs afterwards--maybe stop in and visit with Dr. T, whom I've hardly seen the entire semester.
The rest of my summer will be spent doing the following things: 1) practicing, practicing, practicing the guitar 2) recording the songs I do have complete in a digital format 3) attempting calligraphy for the first time in years 4) reading for pleasure 5) gardening 6) landscaping and home improvement 7) traveling to visit friends and new and wonderful places 8) losing the last 20 pounds 9) spending as much time in nature as possible 10) love-love-loving live!
Time: 10:43 pm EST
Date: 13 April 2004
Reading: Les Jeux Sont Faites by Jean-Paul Sartre, Feminist critical theory
Hearing: Theme song to "The Facts of Life"
Inspiration: Rain has washed the sky
Entry: An Old Quiz I Found
three things that scare me:
- being the passenger of an erratic aggressive driver
three people who make me laugh:
three things i love:
- the sound of two cats purring
- laughing until I cry and gasp for breath
- the smell of the deep woods after a rain in spring
three things i hate:
- exhaust fumes
- lima beans
- closed-minded people
three things i don't understand:
- religious intolerance
- many forms of Maths
- why we are all still driving cars that use gasoline
three things on my desk:
- a pile of storage media
- a bottle of water
three things i'm doing right now:
- researching feminist literary theory
- reading too many books at once
three things i want to do before i die:
- visit every sacred/holy site in the UK, EU, and Australia/New Zeland, from ancient times to now
- make a comfortable living as an author
- make music for and with my very talented friends
three things i can do:
- sing and play guitar
- write an award winning research essay about medieval poetry
- put things into the Earth and make them grow
three ways to describe my personality:
- good sense of humor
- romantic (not in the lovey-dovey sense, necessarily)
three ways to describe my looks:
- average, with some above average accents
- fair (skinned, haired, eyed, etc.)
three things i can't do:
- drive a standard transmission (yet)
- calligraphy (yet)
three things i think you should listen to:
- intimate conversations
three things i don't think you should listen to:
- the doubts in your head that hold you back
- the President/Government/Establishment
- anyone who tells you what to believe; you should decide for yourself
three things i say the most:
- "You know?" in a very Cali-Valley way
- "Oh yeah?" in a very mid-western way
three of your absolute favourite foods:
- veggies (except lima beans)
three things you'd like to learn:
- how to better play guitar
- Irish Gaelic
three beverages you drink regularly:
- red wine
- coffee/herbal teas
three shows you watched when you were a kid:
- The Smurfs
- Pee Wee's Playhouse
- Anime (Transformers, Thundercats, Speed Racer, Robotech, etc.)
Time: 5:41 pm EST
Date: 07 April 2004
Reading: W.H. Auden & "Town and Country Lovers"
Hearing: Unknown song from B&N in-store play (in my head)
Inspiration: Descisions made
Entry: April is Looking Better
So, I've decided to opt out of the trip to Angers, France this summer. I made the descision after long deliberation, with Eric in the end, late Monday evening. I promptly called my father, who was in the process of finding my plane tickets, and told him to let them go. He understood, of coruse, though I could hear the disappointment in his voice. He'd asked me to ask my mother for half of the funds, since it was looking like he wasn't going to be able to cover all the costs (that being a flight there and back AND a EuRail pass from Norway to Paris). I'd called, but due to some new financial strain on her due to her medical insurance she was unable to help me out. She has the money, but to ask my mother for a loan is like begging to me, and I don't want to be put on her shit list if I have any troubles paying it back in the agreed upon ammount of time. Not worth it. But now my father is angry that my mother wouldn't see that this is/was a great opportunity and that I will have my diploma and graduate in December and that it might be considered a gift for a long and arduous job well done. I hate when my parents talk junk about each other...it's just uncomfortable for me because I can see both sides, and I'm held in confidence on some things, and I know I could just fix the whole thing if I could sit down with them both and talk. But they are acting like they are 5, and I'm not ready to be the parent in any relationship. Anyway, then I sent an e-mail to the program director and asked to meet with him the following morning. He obliged, heard me out, and tried to talk me out of opting out, but by that point my mind was made up. I simply cannot afford it financially, nor can I afford to miss a month or more of Eric's dad's life. I think we all know that it is getting very short. There will be another time for Europe, time when I am not stressing about mortality and my final year of university, time when I can go with people I know and love and share the journey with. So anyway, it's off. Now I have to go through the lesser stresses of un-enrolling myself and getting refunded the $1500 that I've paid in. (And that's another thing--I was scheduled to make another $1300 payment on the 15th, and for $3000, I could take a really awesome trip to Europe where I'd get to visit more than one country, more than one city...heck, I could take two trips! Granted, most of that was the tuition to the University of Angers, and I won't have that opportunity again. But who knows, maybe I'll take my Ph.D. overseas or something.)
Ironically, I recieved my passport in the mail today. Eric says the photo makes me look like Uma Thurman. I told him that was awful nice of him to say. I don't think so, except maybe for the lips, because they are sort of petulant looking, like most models. NOT to say that I look like a model, just my lips. I also look high, my eyes are drooping a little in the outer corners and I kept wondering what they would say at customs (la douain). I think I like it though. It feels very good to have a passport, for what it's worth. Now I have an excuse to just go somewhere, I've never used my passport. And gods know I paid out the ass for it--$85! That's insane!
Tonight, Eric and I are in the process of extending our little garden. We are adding another 25 ft. run along the front of where we had our corn last year. This year we'll double our corn rows to four, and have all our green beans, and other vegetables out in front of it. The herbs are staying where they have become well established, with the addition of lemon thyme and fennel so far. I'm sure there is more to come. In the space where we had our vegetables last year, we now have sprouting snow peas, carrots, turnips, spinach, and two kinds of lettuce and strawberries. Soon we will plant all of our vining plants, like cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, canteloupe, and also our swiss chard. Tomatoes and peppers will also go with the beans in front of the corn. We should have a very healthy bounty this season. Anyone who wants some fresh, organically grown veggies, come on out!
Time: 7:00 pm EST
Date: 04 April 2004
Reading: "The Yellow Wallpaper," Theodore Roethke, Denise Levertov
Hearing: Soundtrack to "Finding Nemo"
Inspiration: April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
-- T.S.Eliot The Waste Land
Entry: Baking in April
Baking again...for those of you who don't know, that happens when I get depressed. That is why the Winter holidays are always filled with sweetbreads, cookies, pies and other goodies, because I need to release some pent up frustration on beating some eggs or making some glutens. Then I eat everything (and sometimes share) to asuage my guilt over being depressed and generally difficult to be around. Then I have guilt for eating everything, I gain weight, I get depressed, and the lovely cycle begins anew.
Normally, I would disagree with the opening lines of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, a poem thats depth is only equalled by its, well, length. I love the poem though, especially The Fire Sermon and What the Thunder Said (parts III and V), and all the allusions to Wagnerian opera and Celtic mythology. Makes me want to write something showcasing all of my varied interests in something as epic. But instead I baked about 100 peanut butter cookies. Imagine that...
Why am I depressed? Why am I wallowing in it here before your very eyes? Those of you who know me understand that I have a dislike for money. Those of you who are closest to me understand that this dislike is more akin to extreme loathing. I hate money! Rather, I hate that we are a society driven by money, that everything requires money, and that I don't seem to have enough to do even the simplest bill paying, let alone attempt to enjoy myself for a month in Europe without taking out a huge loan. (Another huge loan, I should say, since paying for my higher education has set me back nearly $15,000 in the last two years.) So, now with the postponement of my trip to France hanging in the wings (and yes, it is hanging there, because something in me still hopes beyond hope that I will be able to go...thing is, I'm just not excited about it anymore because I know how much it is setting me back, how much it is costing me monetarily and emotionally, i.e., stressing out over how I'm going to pay for it constantly!) I'm a little pissed off, frustrated, and yes, depressed. Certainly, think about it isn't making anything better. That only serves to deepen my dark thoughts when all manner of OTHER depressing things enter in quick succession. I fear I won't go into those now. Let me spare you something...
So, this year, April is indeed the cruelest month. Normally, I'm rejoicing with the sprays of redbud and lilac, the jonquils and daffodills, the lovely little wild pansy faces in the greening lawn. As of late they have been a pain to my eyes. My cats are excited for spring as well, but their chattering and whining has reached my late nerve. I'm feeling great pressure in my studies as well, and focusing on what needs to be done is something I can only do for short periods of time. I'm fairly certain, no Chancellor's List this semester. What's worse? It's only the beginning of the "cruelst" of months. Alak!
I had started writing a short story, the magic tale I'd mentioned in the last quarter. The deadline is well past and I only have a page of type. Just like me, starting and never finishing; there are so many examples of this in my life both past and present. Why am I afraid of completion? What is it about me that I will find out, aside from the fact that I am not yet complete, despite my great strides in the last year towards such an end. Will I be disappointed with a descision not to go to France, even if I find that I am able to just scrape by financially? Will I regret it (something I probably wouldn't admit if I did anyway)? Who will be disappointed in me, and why will it matter very much to me? And what other obsessive fretting will replace fretting France once I fret for it no further?
Baking again...because it keeps my mind busy and my hands full, and my tastebuds free of the acridity swallowed tears.
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