I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Latin and Kids and Age all in one.

I really should be studying for my Latin quiz, but I am so not in the mood to study. To me, studying is like writing; it takes that part of my brain to kick in and usually comes after my third cup of coffee. I am a morning person; therefore, everything occurs after coffee cup three. Yep, sleep is for evening, work is for early morning. So, around two, I get up and put on the coffee and start my day. Here it is 4 and I am still thinking about that work.
Yesterday, an interesting thing happened. Most times, I think the other students don’t really see me, they are all so tall and walk so fast and seem to be in that world that kids are in with music thingys or cell phones permanently attached to their ears. I was walking to the Union, a great place to see freshmen acting stupid, but for me it was to get food. Anyway, I stepped up on the sidewalk and my gait isn’t strong and I almost stumbled and a very tall and cute and young lad grabbed my hand and steadied me and says you okay and I say yes and thank you and he smiles and says want me to carry that, talking about my backpack and I say thanks but no, I can do it. He walked on and I walked on. Now, to the average person it was a kid being nice to an old woman but to me it was much more, it was being accepted as part of the school, not an outsider, but one that is part of a whole and when that part needs help the others offer. See, that’s an optimist. Meanwhile, the young girl who was walking a few feet in front of me and is my friend says wow he was cute and I say what’s more important is he is a gentleman, a lesson to learn. If a man offers a woman a hand to steady her, then he will, more than likely, be a good man to have around. That is why Mr. Zelda is here, well that and the screwing in of the light bulbs and the taking off the lids off of new jars of mayonnaise and putting gas in the car and air in the tires and carrying out the trash, but, it’s the hand offered to help me up on the curb that I appreciate the most. Another interesting thing, my friend’s mother is ten years younger than me. I am sure when my friend meets people at school and makes more friends, I will fade into the background and will still be her friend but young people need young people. That is why I introduce her to all the young people I meet. But, some people just have old souls and maybe my friend will always be more comfortable around people her parent’s age or older. That is something I will have to think about.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sand, one of the Earth's great gifts.

Yesterday, I took the grandsons to the park where we played in the giant sandbox. It amazes me how many people bring their children to the giant sandbox with no toys. These poor little children sit and let the sand fall through their hands, and you see their frustration at not having anything to do, in the giant sandbox. The parents want to sit and read or watch for honeys and scold the little ones when they are not allowed to sit in peace. Fortunately, I had plenty of toys to share and before long our corner of the box was filled with children and the big kids were making tunnels and roads and castles and the little ones were just digging and filling the many containers that I brought. The older ones, I sent to the water faucet to fill bottles with water so the sand would be nice and wet. Some of the parents, who were sitting on the sidelines, kept trying to scold the kids for getting loud or wild or dirty. I finally said, “Hey, you bring them to the park to use their out door voices and to play. Leave these babies alone.” Needless to say, the children loved me and the adults were left with no recourse but to let the old woman rule. My point, I am queen of the sand box. I am the pied piper and the children didn’t want us to leave. My seven-year-old said, “Nana, those kids really liked us.” I said, “Yep, they really liked you and the baby.” He smiled, his ego boosted about ton.
My observation, leave the kids alone, let them play, let them be loud, let them get dirty and when you get them home, fill the tub with water, wash the sand off and the children will be tired and full of stories and memories and will rest good. They will have had time to experience one of earth’s great treasures, sand, and to children, sand is more precious than gold.

One of these weekends, I am getting that granddaughter up here and we are going to the giant sandbox with shovels and containers and I am going to show her how to build a castle. Her mother will just have to deal with her getting sand in her hair. It, like paint, will eventually come out, with enough washing.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Just Rambling.

Yesterday morning, I met with my pedagogy professor. He is a nice man and a stickler for rules, which I like. He drinks coffee from a very dirty coffee cup, reminds me of my favorite professor in under grad school, and I want to volunteer to wash it for him, like I did her cup, but I decline. He might take offense and I don’t really know him well enough to wash his cup. I think that is a personal thing, like do I know someone well enough to offer to braid their hair, or make them a meal, or get them coffee. I think that is a thing that comes more with friendship than knowing in a formal classroom setting. So, I sit there while he sips from his dirty cup, and I try to focus on him and what he is saying and not what he is putting in his system and make a mental note not to get to close to him this winter, because his immune system will be low due to unwashed coffee cup. He pretty much promised all three of us grad students a position teaching next fall so I am relieved on that one. Maybe in the spring one of us will get one but he doesn’t hold out hope. I am fine with that, but Mr. Ass kisser, the guy who taught high school and thinks he is an expert on everything, kisses ass, right in front of us, I was embarrassed for him because he was blatant, oh, he says, thank you for your time, oh you are so wonderful oh your class blah blah blah. I think you fool. I, on the other hand, waited until class was over, shook the professor’s hand and told him thanks for the time. I left to catch the elevator while Mr. Ass Kisser, who from here on out shall be called the Ass Man, walked along side the professor going on and on and on about how much he is learning from class. I roll my eyes and look back at the professor who smiles and I recognize that smile and I laugh.

Now, I am drinking coffee, listening to the bacon fry, not one piece but three and two eggs and bread and real butter. Yep, I am due some comfort food. Yesterday, after staying up all night studying for my first Latin test, I came home and ate cold pizza drank a hot soda and went to bed. Today, I am so incredibly tired, not mentally tired, but physically tired and I am going to eat whatever my aging heart wants and it wants real bacon, not turkey bacon but real fatty hog bacon that has rendering to be done and splashes grease everywhere as it renders and makes that sound and that smell. Hmmm, I feel like I am a child again. And my coffee, yep, I can refill it all day and drink it really strong and hot and think while I drink. Not rushed like during the week.

My final point, at the University there is a lot of walking, a lot of carrying heavy books, and a lot of stress trying to keep from being ran over by hoards of students who are always going the opposite direction as me and who are taller than trees and don’t see the old short woman scurrying about. So after my bacon cooks, and my eggs cook, and my toasts browns, I am going to eat fatty food, drink strong coffee, and yes, lick my fingers and when my food is all consumed, I am going to burp real loud. I might take an extra Xanax, because I can and relax for about an hour, then get busy learning more about Latin clauses. I am so happy to have this opportunity and yet still feel compelled to examine and re-examine my life and if I am doing the right thing. From the first week's experience, yep, I am doing the right thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

An Observation

They look so lost, though they are standing in front of the assigned classroom. Big doe eyes, searching the crowd for a kind face or a familiar face and yet just a few months back they were a part of a pack, where their world was owned and ran by their word. They made others happy or they made them sad. Many were rulers who were kind, others were cruel and survived off of other’s misery, and these cruel rulers seemed to be the most lost.

Pack runners do not know how to survive outside of their community and they fear becoming the victims, that is why the first days, they arrive with a designer hair style complete with designer product, their clothes, designer too and their shoes and accessories including their bling bling all match. Many carry the trendiest school apparel from the name brand backpacks to the designer note pads and pencils and pens. Some haul around laptops and the latest listening devices and have cell phones attached to their ears or their belts or outside their purses and many call old friends, family, and you hear their nervous laughs. You will see them carrying logo coffee mugs and trying to appear to be grown up and old, while their newness is so apparent.

I watch them and smile at them knowing if I had invaded their world a smile from me would have received no response. That would not be cool. However, I also know that if they make it, many won’t, but if they do, they will gradually make friends who are not like their old friends, diverse instead, lasting friends, and their pack mentality will leave and they will become members of groups and their behaviors will change. Next year, they will dress less designer and more for comfort, their hair will get combed but the product will not be a priority, their back packs will still be new but things will not match and they will smile and fit in and have friends and will not be lost. The young men may sport a new beard or unshaven face while the girls may come to class with new looks that are different from how they were, perhaps piercing, or tattoos or even less or more clothes.

By their third year, their back packs are torn but they do not care, their clothes have faded but they do not care, their conversations will revolve around their disciplines and they will know some things, new things and they will have survived the facings of the truths and pulled through with few scars. You might hear new ideas contrary to their families’ beliefs and the coffee mug that they bought in the beginning is now without the logo and instead of hot chocolate they drink espresso or coffee, black no sugar, they are, after all, grown.

The fourth year, they lose it all, they are lucky to carry their books in a sack, their clothes are torn and unwashed as is their hair, they arrive to class on some days wearing pj bottoms or tops and they have bags under their eyes and all they want to do is get through the last year and if you confront them they tell you this is their last fucking year and to leave them the fuck alone. Their friends give them support, their professors understand, and the graduate students smile and remember the senior year with profound binary oppositions from love/hate to happiness/sadness and the gamut of emotions added to the work load prepares them for their life after undergraduate school.
It is the evolution of education. The process that takes lost doe eyed freshmen and transforms them into adults with individual ideas. It takes the blank slates of childhood and adolescents and family and gives them their true identity through nurturing and education. They have life-long friends, new heroes, and their experiences will never be forgotten. It is the American way, the way it is suppose to be. It is growing up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I feel like I am home

I am two days into graduate school, and I think, well I know, that I can do this. I have found that my professors from my undergraduate school totally prepared me. I am able to contend with the other great minds from all over the country that have assembled in this institute of higher learning, in fact, I am more than a contender, I am far superior or so it seems thus far.

All my anxiety has dissipated and now I have my confidence back. It is amazing the feeling of walking into a class room where everyone wants to be there and are determined and well read and well researched and well educated and the feeling I got listening to their profound interpretations of the literatures and having the ability to understand and expound on their thoughts and it was like doing cocaine and the hours passed and I was so high on the atmosphere that I wanted it to last forever. I am finally where I belong and I feel like the gold fish who has lived in a tiny fish bowl and one day it landed in a fish pond and one day after it exercised and grew and became a big fish, it ended up in a very large lake. Maybe not such a good allegory but hey, it’s better than the bird one that I was going to use.

Anyway, I am better and after this week my routine should be such that I can blog and write and study. I am not sure but I think I will have a little time.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Big Fucking Day is Here!!!

Today is my first day of graduate school. I feel like the little girl that I was 4o something y ears ago and my mamma woke me up to go to school for the very first time. My belly hurts, my knees are wobbly, and I’m thinking what if I have to go pee.

Because of the high anxiety, yesterday, Mr. Zelda and I went to the campus, parked in the handicapped spot near the library and I tried my legs walking from my English building to the library to the union, not going to be easy, but it is a possibility with a lot of pain medication I might can do it. Then, we went to a couple of used book stores and I bought all my books except one and I can buy it new at the university book store. We navigated the course from my apartment to the school three times so that I would know exactly how to do it and we sat on a bench in the cool evening air, and I listened to the tree frogs, watched the squirrels, and the freshman, (one and the same) and thought why in the hell didn’t I do this years ago. Did I tell you how beautiful the campus is? It sits upon a hill amongst the foothills of the Ozarks and for miles around you can see the tops of beautiful rolling hills. I can’t wait until the trees change colors.

I guess what is hard is that I have not slept a wink all night. That means that I am going to sit through Melville and Hawthorne on about two hours sleep. Plus, I have to hustle around and get into Latin before 9 am. Yep, it’s going to be hectic and no sleep. I’m fucked.

I have to be at the library before it opens to be first in line to get the semester long study room, which is like an office with my own key. I can study, write papers, and do the things I do to prepare for class.

I think I am way stressing and should at least calm down but can’t and won’t until the day is near the end. On the bright side, I started reading one of William Carlos Williams’ books last night and he described the just born babe so poetically and so perfectly. The man’s use of words is so poignant that I think he may be quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Who knows?

My problem today is will I suffer with insomnia the entire time I am in graduate school and if so, will I ever be the same and of course the age-old question of will they like me? Isn’t it important for the classmates and professors to like me? I here my speech that I made to my children whenever they were confronted with new things and new people, just be yourself and you will be fine. My problem is that myself is…well she is not like most people, she is a bit bipolar and runs a little manic and takes a lot of drugs to maintain her tongue and then among all of that, she really wants to fit in. A 50-year-old Nana with bipolar wanting to fit in. Imagine that. Focus, focus, I can do this. I will think about Buddha and what he would do and how he would handle this life-changing event. No, bad idea, he would run and hide and get all thin and all of that; maybe Christ, no he would want to save people and I don’t have time for that, oh I know, I’ll do what women do, be strong and get though it, sorta like child birth. Go the length of time for the product to mature, go through the necessary pain, in the end give birth to a great Master’s thesis and then a doctoral dissertation and that is how women do it. So, I will be a woman and just do it. No pun intended.

Friday, August 19, 2005

When Sisters are More.

Yesterday, my older sister and I spent the day together. We rarely get to spend time alone so it was really nice.

She is the sister who raised me. When my mother’s cancer had totally ravished her body and she was in the hospital for the last time, my older sister came to my house and picked me up.
Before she rescued me was the most frightening day of my life. My mother had been hospitalized the day before and all of my older siblings drove to the hospital to be with her, and I think they forgot about my little sister and me. I was 13 and my younger sister was 9 and that night we waited for word and no one came. They were all concerned about our mother. I got my sister up the next morning, and we walked to school; that afternoon, I walked over to her school and the principal said that one of my older sisters had picked her up. I was afraid that perhaps my mother had died and they might be looking for me and while I wanted to be found, I didn’t want the news, so I walked to the park and sat in the swing thinking about what happens to families when mothers die. It wasn't like I wasn't expecting my mom's death. She had been sick for three years and the last year her body was quickly losing the battle. Her weight dropped and most of the time she spent asleep.
When I got home, no one was there. Later that evening, I was sitting at the kitchen table reading; my oldest sister came and told me to get my things together so I put all my clothes and toys and books and cigar box filled with treasures in sacks and left my home for the last time.
I learned that my little sister was going to live with my next to the oldest sister and I would live with the oldest. I was glad, my oldest sister was smarter, but I wanted my younger sister to live with me, so we went to her and I begged her to move in with us but she wanted to live with (really the only way to describe my next to the oldest sister is) the crazy one.
Mama lived three weeks. At her funeral, my little sister and I wore jumpers that my older sister made for us. We dressed alike from our jumpers and blouses to our socks and shoes. They even put bows in our hair and I thought it was disrespectful to wear such pretty things on the day we were burying our mother.
Anyway, my older sister and I are more like mother daughter and when she comes to visit or I go to visit her, we spend our time excluding the world and just absorb each other. In fact, we talked so much that we both had scratchy voices by the end of the day. We went to the mall and walked up and down and sat and watched people walk up and down. It was so funny watching her buy candy at the candy store. She picked out what she liked and what she remembered me liking and then she got us blue frosty things. We went to the toy store and looked at dolls that we both said we would have liked as kids. She offered to buy me clothes for school but I declined so she bought my grandchildren clothes and I bought her grandchildren books. We looked in the mirror at one of the stores, me in front and she in back. She laughed at her wrinkles and admired my salt and pepper hair. Her hair was blond and it went from blond to white, my hair was black and is still a little black but now gray. She told me that she always wanted green eyes like mine that when I got mad they were exotic looking. I told her that I would keep that in mind in case I ran into some man I wanted to tempt with my exotic side. I’d just get really mad. Maybe that is why Mr. Zelda keeps me angry all the time, my exotic eyes.
By the end of the day, we agreed that me moving so far away from her was good for now, and that she was so proud of me. I told her that because of her, I loved to read. When I was a child, she bought me my first book, Green Eggs and Ham. She had forgotten about that but remembered when I told her.
Families are really nice and while my family is so messed up and was messed up when my mother was alive, there is one thing that is certain, my older sister and I are always going to support each other, defend each other, and take care of each other. I think that is why my other sisters are so jealous of us, well that and the fact that we do have gray matter, we do have looks, and we can actually spell more than our name.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Big day, New Bra, and in the Middle is a mess

It’s the big day, the day that I go to the reception for grad. School. I didn’t sleep well, and got up early, and while I wanted to look a few years or months or days younger, I will be going in with giant bags under my eyes, not that they weren’t big already, which brings me to a thought of what happens to post menopausal women’s breasts. The filling goes to the eyes and the arms. Yep that’s it, the puffy eyes are forming breasts buds and the suddenly swimming arms are residual breasts tissue that absolutely couldn’t stay in the breasts. Anyway, I got up early and was reading the dictionary, not really helping the eyes, and I took drugs, legal ones not that I wouldn’t have taken illegal ones had I had them, and I am thinking about my courses and can I do it and do I want to know everything there is to know about Melville and Hawthorne and 20th cent American writers and what about my commitment to grow old gracefully and travel and dig for fossils in the New Mexico desert and taking life easy and wearing old women’s panties. I can’t do any of that while I am in school. Maybe the old women’s panties but then what if there’s an accident and they have to cut my pants legs and the students are around and they see the emergency people cutting the legs and then the big loose old women panties are accidentally exposed and they would say, my god, she is like my great grandmother. What am I thinking? I could stop here and get a job teaching high school English, but then I wouldn’t be able to talk about evolution, mythology, African American writers and the injustices done to the African Americans or the Japanese or the Hispanic, I would not be able to introduce contemporary literature but would have to stick to the canonized white men. I would be miserable and would probably say fuck in class and would be fired and maybe put in prison. I am thinking that I need to move forward, go to this reception, and if I fall on my face, well I will get up, or try to get up, and then I will move forward. Plus, I bought this really nice new braw without the under wires but it makes me look a little less cowish and a little more perky. So, maybe I’ll go just to try out the new bra.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Not a Cheater but a Fucktard

We are in need of a small car that will get really good gas mileage, so my husband has been internet shopping, something, by the way, he likes to do. Did I tell you in our new Apartment, we share the living room as an office? No television, music boxes, or any other distraction. It is an all workroom, a place where I can read and write without distractions. Well, the other day, I was trying to write on my novel and my husband kept saying over and over again, look at this one, this one gets good gas mileage, look at the inside and on and on. I told him after about five cars, that I was tired of car shopping and wanted to get back to work. He can’t resists that urge to irritate me so right when I am back into the flow and doing so well and have my character knee deep in drama, he says, this one gets 51 miles to a gallon. I finally close up shop and storm up stairs to watch the cooking channel. He then yells behind me, come back, I’ll be quiet and I say Fuck You and he says, aren’t you going to look at my paper, and I say Fuck You. So, that was my Saturday.

Then Sunday, well it was worse. He has to work and I drive down the mountain with him so that I can go to my daughter’s house, which is really my house but she is living there. I am going there to help her organize her house. She is a good housekeeper but has no sense of setting up house. She has lived there for over a month and still doesn’t have anything unpacked. So, I go to unpack her kitchen and direct her. I suggest where things should go and how she should organize and how I did it when I lived there and she, then, gets an idea and can see the tree. On the way down the mountain he kept telling me I shouldn’t help her that she is grown and that I am not helping her but making her dependent and on and on and finally I had to say it, shut up you fucktard. Yep that is what I said. I remind him that she is my daughter and I am going to help her because when I was her age and moved and needed my mother to help me, well she was dead and I had no one and I had to learn how to arrange my cabinets alone and most of the time an experienced hand would have been nice and I am not going to let my children ever have a time when they need me that I can not help. He tries to interject and I say shut up and he tells me I must not be taking my medication. Yes, that is it, now that I have no uterus to blame, it is my drugs, my antidepressants, because god for bid, I would rebel on my own, me being a helpless female and all.

I hate that this seems to be a husband bashing blog but really, he makes it so easy. We both go to school, we both work, although, I tutor and work in the computer lab at school and he works as a computer person for a big computer company. Anyway, his work isn’t as physical as mine or as mental as mine. I say to him, try getting some one with a learning disability to understand the four major types of sentences in English. Try getting them to understand preterit and imperfect verb usage in Spanish. It’s like beating my head up against the wall but eventually she got it. Then there are all the other students who come to me with things like look at my paper, what courses are the best to take, what instructors are the best, I can’t get into the computer system, I forgot my password, I, I, I. And by the end of the day, I am so frazzled that I just want to hit the drugs and the wine. But I don’t because that would be so wrong. In addition, yes there is more, I write. No it is serious writing, a novel, and I try to get at least a chapter a day although that chapter might have to be reworked the next day. I try to get a short story or two done a week. Plus, I have a life, like being a Nana to my grandchildren and being a friend to my friends, and being a reader who likes to read for fun. But then he can not even remember to prepare his lunch, put it in a sack, and take it to work. His reason, I just don’t think like you. You are so organized. Bull shit, I say, that is an excuse to get out of helping. Just like you not doing the laundry or carrying the heavy things up and down the stairs for me or putting your dirty dishes in the sink and washing them out or even loading or unloading the dishwasher. I finally tell him yesterday that if things do not change, I am going to consider a legal separation. My children are raised and I am tired of being a mother to him. I wanted to be his wife, a position that I consider a partnership, and not someone to keep his socks clean and his drawers organized and his appointments made. It would be so much easier for me if I were only taking care of myself.

In the mean time, I am stressed over whether I am going to get this TA position and if I get it, which I really really need, can I do it.
I wonder if he, my husband, really understands how far and how fast he is pushing me away and do all men do it or am I married to the only fucktard in the world? By the way, Fucktard is a word that I borrowed from Delagar and I know she won't mind me borrowing it to describe well a perfect fucktard.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Good News!

I have great news. My son’s best friend, who just so happens to be like a second son to me, just got back safe and sound from Iraq. He and I have exchanged emails and I haven’t heard from him in about a week nor has his mother. She and I were both frantic but last night, my son calls and says someone wants to speak to you and I say okay and the someone says hey got any gravy and I say oh my god and I started to cry and immediately called his mom who says the little stink surprised her too. The only ones in on the surprise of his coming home were his wife and my son.

When he enlisted, my son tried to enlist too. I tried to talk them both out of it but they were both determined to join and do the army thing. My son, thank god, didn’t pass the physical. For the first time since my baby injured his knees, yes knees, playing basketball, I was thankful.

My son is 6’4” and when he was going through puberty his long bones grew faster than his joints causing his joints, especially his knees, to loose their ability to support him. Unfortunately, we didn’t know this until he fell during a ball game and both knees blew along with the anterior and posterior ligaments and tendons. They repaired them and he can walk but he has to be very careful. The stupid recruiter kept trying to get him to join and they would fix his papers or go to an orthopedic that they knew and he would say his knees were okay. I hit the roof and started calling every political person I knew. The recruiter backed off and my son stayed out of the army.

That was then and this is now. My second son is home and is safe and he is getting out of the army and says that things are not good for the troops and he is so glad to be home. He also says that he wishes he had not joined. This was his second time to go over there. He said some of the guys in his troop couldn’t wait to get over there and be a fighting machine but there were many, like him, who just wanted to stay alive and come back home.

Monday, August 08, 2005

When words don't help, drugs do.

It is 2:30 in the morning, why am I up?, well I am having a giant anxiety attack. It’s graduate school and will I make it and can I compete with students who are really really smart, and I am a non-traditional student and not really really cute, and my ass well it is not where it used to be and, my breasts are not perky, and I have gray hair and wrinkles and wear trifocals and limp and am partially deaf and most of the time smell like Ben gay. So, isn’t that enough to have an anxiety attack.

I woke up, sweating from a bad dream about having lost my notebook and when I finally saw it and opened it, my teacher had written in red letters that C came after B not before A. I am supposed to be in comparative lit graduate school and couldn’t keep the alphabet in order. I got out of bed and I ran to the bathroom and washed my face and looked in the mirror and squinted until I put my glasses on and this old woman looked back and I went Yikes and took the glasses off and cleaned them and peaked back and yikes she was still there and I said fuck I need to fill in those fissures and faults on my face and then did a total geological survey of my face and neck and while the neck doesn’t have many wrinkles the face, well she has seen better days.

I immediately went downstairs, a feat in itself, and turned on the pc and started looking for words to make me feel good and found an email from a friend who is my age or older and is in graduate school already and she told me how the professors and all those people who are advisors and stuff like that like the young, cute, and rich, and I am going fucked fucked fucked. Yep, I don’t fit in any of those categories, and I am fucked.

So, I drank an entire diet cola in one sip and burped really loud and began chewing my nails. What have I got myself into now? I am so thinking that if I flunk out, I will lose face, considering the look of my face not a bad thing, but lose face and have to crawl back to the little hole in the wall where I came from and face all those people who have admired my determination and all of that and knowing they would say things like knew she couldn’t do it and who the hell did she think she was going off like that to be somebody.

Then I remembered I am certifiably crazy, have good drugs, and I got another pop, yep pop that’s what we poor folks call them, and took a Xanax and Pain pill and finally am feeling better. Let those young assed good looking rich assed kids smoke their good pot and drink their trendy drinks, by god, I have legal drugs and I can take them anywhere and not get into trouble. I am one up already.

Okay, I think I have it under control for another night. Maybe, just maybe I can do this.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Potato Soup for Mr. Zelda

Today, I am cooking potato soup. This is usually the day that I cook meat and lots of other things like vegetables as my son used to say when he was young, “On Sundays, my mom uses all the burners on the stove and the oven too.” That meant, they got really good food. Anyway, it is still a tradition and usually on Sunday, my children and sometimes a friend or two will drop in for a big meal.
But today, my husband, who has crones, is having a huge flare up. So, it’s soup, good soup, but just soup. My son called, my daughter called, and while they want to come visit, they don’t want to come visit for just soup. I get the feeling most of their visits are for food. I told them, the soup is good and all that, but they wanted roast, carrots, and the little bitty potatoes, home made bread and a pie. Yes, I do it up on Sundays. So, they are not driving up the mountain and I am going to give Mr. Zelda good soup and hope he is feeling better.
On the bright side, I get to spend the day writing, and reading, and studying Latin. Yep, those are my favorite things to do these days.

Why do we spoil our grandchildren?

Last night, I went to my grandson’s birthday party. He is my oldest grandson, seven-years-old, and his birthday parties are like Christmas mornings. He gets gifts like ten speed bikes, mind you for Christmas we bought him a BMX bike that was almost 200 dollars, he has dirt bikes, and all kinds of bikes but the other grandparents got him a bike he doesn’t have, a ten-speed-bike. He also got a scooter that is just like the one I got him last year. My husband and I bought him a trampoline and it was an extravagant birthday gift, but in my defense, it was not just for him and it was the only outside activity he had at our house in the small town. So, my point, we are totally spoiling this child.

You know what he played with more than anything else? Little parachute men that one of his classmates gave him. They were in a package and marked two bucks. Yep, just like my youngest grandson who has more toys than he knows what to do with, well his favorite toys are my empty Rubbermaid boxes and some old milk cartons that I use to store things. He loves to stack them up and knock them down. To hell with all the little fisher prize building block toys, the wonderful gizmos that talk and play music. Give him a wooden spoon and a pot and he will play for hours.

What do children ask for when they have everything or four or five of everything? I told Mr. Zelda that for Christmas, this year, they will get money to go into the bank, one small toy a couple of good books, and that is it. No more 300 and 400-dollar toys. Money for education, for books, for life when they are old enough to want a life away from the neurotic adults who compete for their affection by giving them extravagant gifts!

My oldest the birthday boy was sitting on one of my knees the other was on the other knee and he had his arm around me and told me he loved me for infinity, a word that I recently taught him and recently introduced the concept of forever time, and I said I love you more and he said how much more and I said infinity times seven. He thought about that for a while and he kissed me and whispered that I was his number one Nana and I whispered back, Thanks, you are my number one grandson. He then said but you love the baby infinity times seven too. I said, yes.

He is spoiled and he likes a lot of stuff, but he still knows how to share, share especially his nana’s love. We sat for a while and the pain on my knees didn’t matter and my back pain didn’t matter and finally they both saw a frog and jumped down to go chase it and the one and only little girl at the party was tormented for about five seconds with the huge frog, my year old grandson wanted to touch it but would pull his hands back and squeal. Finally he succumbed and touched the frog, the little girl touched the frog and the night came to an end. My life is good and I am so happy to have so much.

My drive back up the mountain, I listened to oldies and saw deer and when I drove through the tunnel, I turned the station to my favorite Spanish station and listened to Spanish words and every once in a while knew what they were singing.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Cure for Blood Suckers

When I wake up, the first thing that I do is make a pot of coffee. I grind the beans and while the aroma is filling the house, I read or write or just stare into space.

I have coffee stations at the university, like the secretary, she makes a good pot of coffee, and my first refill is in her office. My second and sometimes third refill is my Cajun professor’s office. She makes the good strong Cajun coffee. The first time I drank her coffee it came with a warning, and I thought milk in coffee no way, so I took a sip and fell hopelessly in love with the coffee that she has delivered from her mother, who lives in New Orleans. In the winter when the other students, the really young ones, traipse over to the cafeteria, they bring me back a large coffee from Starbucks, and I am content. Coffee is my addiction and I have no plans to join a twelve-step program, nor go to rehab, nor any of the other ways that addictions are overcome.

The other day, Mr. Zelda and I were sitting outside on our tiny patio and he kept hitting mosquitoes, I asked him what was the problem and he said, “I’m getting ate alive out here.”
I looked at my legs, my arms, and in my personal space and while the mosquitoes were getting close, they didn’t get on me. Maybe scientists have it all wrong, the use of toxins for pesticides, maybe they need to look to the coffee bean. I mean an insect hasn’t bitten me all summer. Come to think of it, I don’t remember the last time, I had any kind of insect bite. Perhaps, the coffee is the key or it might be that I have so many other chemicals in my body from all the medicine that I take, the poor things overdoes after one suck of my blood. Nonetheless, the coffee thing might be a project to pursue.

From now on when we go outside, Mr. Zelda rubs a little cold coffee on his face and arms. He says the insects now leave him alone too. That could mean one of two things, coffee is toxic, or I make a terrible cup of Joe. Maybe all Buffy needed to do was drink my coffee.

Is This Home?

I am finally getting used to my new home. It is becoming mine slowly and surely. I still don’t have my books unpacked nor do I have my pictures hanging on the wall nor do I have my rocks and other prized possessions on display, but my nesting instinct has caused this townhouse to become my town home.

One of the things about my new location is the drive up the mountain. We live in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, and I have to say, after being in a lot of places and seeing a lot of things, the Ozark Mountains are right there with other great mountains. I know that where I live, lacks the geographical dimensions to put it up there as being a real mountain, but when I look off the top and down at the rolling hills and babbling brooks, and I see the hawks and the occasional eagle soaring, I have to say these Mts. are as majestic as the Rockies or the Blue Ridge, they are contenders to earth’s great wonders.

There are these streams of water that roll off the side of the mountain and in the winter they freeze to form solid thick ice sticks. On the side of the road, it is common to see deer and coyotes and raccoons and large hawks. The trees, in the spring bloom out in beautiful pastels and in the fall the leaves change to the beautiful golden, red, yellow, and brown. IN the winter, the large bare trees have ice and lines of snow adorn their limbs.

And I am right in the middle of all of this natural wonder, yet we still have a huge library, excellent university, an arts center that continues to entertain us with plays, concerts, dance, and other forms of entertainment brought in from New York’s Broadway theaters, and I can drive about thirty minutes or so and be in Eureka Springs and see any form of hillbilly shows from musicals to comedies. I think, I am right where I have needed to be for a long time.

My question is what does it take to make a person feel at home? I guess my answer is it takes my stuff and my happiness. The big house that I left behind was my home but I am realizing that while it was my home, I never felt at home. I never felt really content. There was something more and I think that something more is here in the foothills of the Ozark Mts. I think home has to do with the heart and happiness. I am happy here in my little townhouse in these foothills. My heart is really content and I believe it has every bit to do with where the home is, like here in the hills, where I can look out on a cloudy day and see the clouds and in some cases look off the mountain and see the top of the clouds. Sometimes geography makes a difference.

Free Meat, Clouds, and Neighbors

Last night, Mr. Zelda and I redeemed the eat-free-up-to-fifty-dollars letter that I got as a result of poor service at one of those really trendy, expensive steak houses. The free meal was a result of a complaint lodged by me. One night a few weeks back, we were seated next to a table where the foursome had a dog. Yep, not a working dog, but a family pet. He was well behaved, didn’t bark, wag his tail, or even beg for food. But, the waitress kept go by and touching the dog, and then serving us our food.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, and think they are necessary to the existence of a decent quality of life for us humans; however, I don’t want them in my restaurant where my steak cost a fortune. I don’t want the waitress touching the dog and then serving me. I know, I touch dogs all the time, and then plop food in my mouth, but it isn’t the same. Nope, I don’t expect to see dogs in the place where I go out to eat. So, I sent a letter of complaint and got a free meal.

We redeemed the free meal. We both got the largest steaks and while Mr. Zelda kept saying, “You will never eat all of that.” I tried and tried and got a good portion of it down. He ate his entire 17 oz steak. I watched him taking bite after bite after bite. My steak was delicious and I wanted to eat it all even the fatty gristle, but I couldn’t.

Afterwards, we drove around in our new city, the clouds were low and off the sides of the hills we watched them and were reminded of the Blue Ridge Mts. Later, I ate yogurt and he complained about his belly hurting, I said, “No wonder, you pigged out.”

Getting out of the truck, yes we drive a truck, not a big truck, but a truck, our neighbor greeted us, and I introduced Mr. Zelda and myself to him. He apologized for his loud music; I apologized for my screaming obscenities at, well you know, Mr. Zelda. He said I never hear a sound. I looked at Mr. Zelda and said, “See we don’t have to whisper all the time.”

All in all it was a nice evening. While I translated a little Spanish, he kept complaining about his belly. Finally, I went to bed. I slept straight through from midnight until 6 a.m. That is a first in a really long time. I didn’t even have a weird dream.

I wonder, is there magic to free things?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Binary Opposition?

I’m at school and there is no one in the building but the janitor and me. He looks so unhappy, he is new. Our old janitor has been sent elsewhere, I am glad because this guy, at least, cleans the toilets and mops the floors. YEAH! But he doesn’t smile. Now the other guy, if I smiled at him, took that as a license to touch and talk and tell me too much information. See, why is it that you can’t be too friendly and you have to decide on that person before you can even be nice. Is that a female issue or do men have the same problem with some women?

I don’t want people to think I am a snob. “Oh yeah, you have a degree, you’re too smart for the janitors, you are going to graduate school, oooh, maybe I shouldn’t talk to you.” See, that is what I want to avoid, but then, when I am nice, it gets all twisted.

Now, here I am worried that the new janitor doesn’t like me. Maybe he thinks I think I am too good. I don’t know but I hate these feelings of inferiority and then fear of superiority. Is there ever going to be a balance?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

And Then I Have These People In My Life

Yesterday was the first day that I entertained in my new townhouse/apartment. My friends came up for a visit. I fed them spaghetti, not the best that I ever made, but considering that I am working in a kitchen that has not been fully stocked with all my spices and cooking tools, it was pretty good. We ate off of TV trays, which was fun, I think, for the baby. I really love my friends, but I really really love the baby. She is a girl and while I have two grandsons who own my heart, I don’t have a female grandchild so to have this perfectly darling baby girl, who is so like me when I was her age, is a dream come true. A seven-year-old prodigy who reads on a very high level and talks like an adult and still likes books that have paint and activity books and has a real grandmother far away, well you can guess how I just have to step up to the plate to grandmother this child. She with a grandmother far away and I with no granddaughter. It is a scene right out of…well a really good book I think.

Anyway, they are familiar with this town that I have moved to, so they took me on a tour. They showed me where they lived while in graduate school, where they shopped, where they did their laundry and the streets they walked. It was so novel this tour. They took me to the huge library and now I know where to go to get free books.

We ended our tour at Barnes and Noble where I just happened upon Don Quixote in Spanish. Just what I have always wanted. I snatched it up and then the baby and I went to the children’s section and looked for really cool books. WE had a blast. Our day ended at Starbucks drinking coffee and talking about books. It is so nice to finally have friends who like books as much as I. To top the day off, they gave me a wonderful going off to graduate school gift. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. It was so great. I am so lucky to have such good friends.


I have a friend, well more like an acquaintance no I guess a little more than an acquaintance, anyway, he is a pathological liar. I wonder why he lies. Could it be, that his life is so boring, so normal, that he needs to create these lies to sound interesting? That is my guess, the interesting thing, but then nothing is ever that simple.

His latest was a huge lie, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. In my anger at his alleged mistreatment, I called the news stations to get them on his story, to get them to help him and they informed me, it never happened, the whopper was the one that got away. It was the made up lie and now I am thinking every single thing the guy has ever told me is a lie.

His need to be the hero, the man who does the disgusting to save the whole, the man who was dying, the man who had many tales of horror that he brought back from the desert, and how he was the hero, is all made up.

He showed his medals, built his own website and he looked so handsome, now I learned that his medals are not even on in the position they are suppose to go. I say to my “expert in military etiquette” friend, medals go on a special way, he says sure. I say, why are these not on correctly, he says his guess, the guy didn’t earn them, was careless in his lie.

See, they always do that. In their eagerness to create this perfect scene they lie and they always do one tiny little thing that someone will pick up on. Someone like me who has an aporia and asks, why? My aporia now is why does he lie, why does he do that and how can I make him better?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sex in Class, Is it Ever Right?

There is a young girl in a class that I am taking this summer. She has been in several other classes that I have taken, and while she is smart, she is also unrestrained, without boundaries, uninhibited, what my generation might have called a slut. Don’t get me wrong, I am no prude and have been known to discuss sexual subjects, even personal sexual subjects, but coming from the mouth of this what seems to me to be a child is wrong. It sounds wrong, it sounds indecent, taboo, like someone needs to take her outside of class and explain to her the topics that she should not discuss. An example is that I don’t care that she wishes she was both male and female and could have sex with herself all the time, and I wanted to point out to her that you don’t need male genaltalia to have sex with yourself but then she might have told me more than I wanted to know about her alone time.

In class discussion or pre-class discussions, she hones in on any little topic that she can use to make a sexual remark. I am neither offended nor shocked but I am worried. I’m worried about her ability to judge when it’s okay to cross the boundaries of conversation and pull into that conversation topics that are offensive to some to make a point or create a little humor. I think that is what she lacks, good judgment. What she needs to know is that while sitting around with her friends, sexual discussions are okay and even in some classroom settings, but not all atmospheres are right for those kinds of discussions.

Soon I will be teaching as a TA Comp. I and II and my fear is that when I finally relax and am able to allow for a little class room banter, I will have students who are uninhibited, and if so, what will be my recourse to get their minds out of the gutter without making an enemy of the student or without ruining their fragile egos.

Am I getting too old to be hip with the youngsters? Are there no boundaries these days and does everything go?