Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last night, I kept being awakened by the gnawing sounds of a nearby mouse. I'm still not sure where the sounds were coming from, but this morning there were two almonds inside one of my boots.

Not the first place I'd think of when looking for somewhere to cache food. But then again, I'm not a mouse.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Since I get off work early Friday morning and don't have to be back at work until Monday evening, my weekends stretch over 4 days. Supposedly, it's a long stretch of free time. In reality, there are always a number of tasks and obligations that fill up that time. This weekend I spent some time trying to wrap up a task known as a Teaching Performance Assessment, which is just what it sounds like. I'm being assessed on my ability to teach. In this case, the assessment focuses on how I gather information about my students and how that information informs my instruction design. Thrilling, right?

I had ample time to go hang out too. Willow had her soccer game on Saturday, and played well. Later, I went to a costume party thrown by a couple of co-workers, accompanied by a taller, better-looking version of none other than Sarah Palin. She even had the accent down. Yesterday, I went and saw the latest Central Works play, which is based on Paul Hawken's book, Blessed Unrest. As usual, it built to quite a level of intensity. Unusually, it ended on a note of hope. My brother, who designs sound for Central Works, mentioned that Paul Hawken himself had been in the audience the day before, accompanied by Muriel Hemingway. Apparently though, the performance I saw was superior. I found myself moved and inspired, despite the fact that in this case I already count myself as a member of the choir being preached to.

Yesterday also marked our six year wedding anniversary, and day now destined to pass uncelebrated. Six years ago, I never would have expected to be sitting in a studio apartment, writing this. I guess it just goes to show that anything can happen at any time. The choices we make dictate how the future plays out, and sometimes it doesn't matter what you do. Shit happens. That last remark is in no way an excuse for not trying though. When shit happens, make a choice to shovel it up and get rid of it.

Still shoveling.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I actually got a full night of sleep last night. Sure, it started after midnight and lasted until well after daybreak, but it was for the required number of hours. It is a little noisy around here in the mornings, with the sounds of my neighbors bleeding through the walls (the sounds, not the neighbors, you understand...), but it didn't faze me this morning.

The computer is being temperamental, but that's not really news. If I could afford it, I'd upgrade a few things around here - the computer, my camera, etc. Of course, I still have a list of things I need. Most of the items are relatively inexpensive, and I'm sure that after I get paid I can make some headway. I keep thinking that I've got to focus on quality, and I'm not just talking about my list of items - I'm talking about life decisions and how I spend my time. Not to mention how I take care of myself and those I love.

I'm not quite there yet, but will be. I'll start by getting off the computer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My emotional state seems to deteriorate as the each week progresses. This is mostly due to lack of sleep, but I'm still finding it difficult to watch all four of the kids at my old house - it brings back too many memories, and I'm having other issues with it too. I don't feel like we're sharing quality time there, and life is really too short to engage in pursuits of questionable quality. I know that a lot of it has to do with my attitude, but some emotions are hard to overcome, and some situations just remain intolerable.

I love the kids. That goes without saying, and it's especially hard because I've helped raise three stepkids for the duration of the romantic relationship that Jen and I shared. Once the divorce has happened (and it has already, in spirit if not on paper), they are no longer my stepkids. Our relationships will still be what they are, but in some ways I feel like I've lost way more than just Jen (not that "just" is exactly the right word, but you know what I mean). Right now it's hard to be over at the old house with a smile on my face, pretending that everything is okay, when everything is patently not okay. Our lives have diverged, although in some ways they will be entwined forever. The engraving on our wedding rings read, "here we merge to form a river, and travel to the sea together", but now our streams have been sundered and we lie in seperate beds, still traveling towards the horizon but day by day forgetting what it meant to be together.

That said, we forgot what it meant to be together quite awhile ago. Fault lies on both sides, and blame is not given. We ended up being incompatible in some very basic ways. I think both of us knew this early on, but chose to ignore it. That's how it often goes, doesn't it?

Thank the fates for sending some old friends back into my life, not to mention all of the newer friends who make things more bearable on a daily basis. I'm feeling much more open to newness at the moment, and I'm finding it all around me. It's a good feeling.

Now I just have to find a way to comfortably deal with the death of a long relationship, and the resulting emotional fallout.

Maybe if I get more sleep. Maybe if I forge ahead. Maybe...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For the second day in a row, I've been busier than expected. Today it was because Willow has some sort of bladder or urinary tract infection. I took her to the doctor this morning, but poor Willow, who had been sitting on the toilet all night thinking she had to pee (and even falling asleep there), couldn't pee at the doctor's office. No pee equals no urine test equals no diagnosis. The doctor wouldn't prescribe anything for her, and recommended I buy cranberry juice for her to drink. Willow is not a fan of cranberry juice, but dutifully drank a small, watered-down cup of it. It's hard to tell if she's getting better or not, because now she's asleep. I have to wake her up in fifteen minutes or so to take her back home. Too bad, really. I wish I could just lay down beside her and go to sleep myself. Work obligations and coffee consumption don't allow this. The bigger kids now sleep over at their dad's on Wednesday, and Willow would sleep here at the same time if it weren't for my work schedule.

Things will change again when I stop working nights, which could be as soon as the end of the year, or as far off as next Spring. The one thing we can always count on is change. I'm reminded of another conversational thread from Monday night: stasis equals death. I think there is more truth in that than I'd care to admit.

Time to get off the futon and get ready for work now. I'm going to have to carry Willow to the van. Hope the sleep is doing her a world of good, because she means the world to me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today is turning out to be busy. Since about 4:30 PM yesterday, I've been home for about 2 hours, give or take. Maybe 3. At the moment, I'm trying to wrap up some reading and writing assessments on a third grader at the school where I student teach. I'm also teaching an after school science program on Tuesdays. And now, I'm going in early to run the astronomy program up at camp.

I did have a bit of down time last night, sitting by the embers of the evening campfire with one of this week's teachers. The night found both of us in a reflective mood, which was good for my soul. Strangely enough, one of the most memorable exchanges during the conversation had to do with a quote from the comedy, "City Slickers": "We may be lost, but we're making great time!" This kind of sums up the way I feel sometimes, or the way I view the negative effects of modern culture. We all seem to be rushing to get to someplace else. We can't find the time to take care of ourselves (or the people in our lives) in any meaningful way. We make snap decisions and sometimes stick to them for years, despite the fact that they may be, at best, wrong, or at worst, killing us. But hey! - we're getting there quickly, so it must be okay.

Is it?

Some of this, at least, applies to me. I'm trying to grow and reflect on this all.

It sure was nice to sit by the dying fire though. Fire itself symbolizes change; transformation - painful transformation that allows new life to grow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm concentrating on trying to feel good. It usually comes naturally, but these days I have to concentrate on it. It's probably character-building. Right now I don't feel all that bad. Since I don't drink, I've had to rely on actual coping mechanisms during this whole separation/divorce process. I'm not used to this kind of pain, but I'm getting better.

That said, I've had some dark days too.

At the symphony last night (I got free tickets because I helped host the symphony camp when they rented our site over the summer), Willow lasted for about half of it before conking out in my lap. I sat there for one more piece, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade", before taking her home to bed. Glad I stayed for that one though. It was quite nice.

Now, I'm listening to Ghost's "Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006". One of these days I'll even watch the DVD it's packaged with. So little time, even now...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yesterday was nonstop, with a walk-a-thon, soccer game, and wedding all following on the heels of each other. Willow walked 8 laps at the walk-a-thon, played well at her soccer game (even though the other team trounced hers), and ran around like a crazy girl at the wedding, with her newly pink hair matching her pink dress. The wedding, the union of Richard and Heather, was performed by a drag queen (although he wasn't in drag - "dressed down", as he put it), and was definitely a much needed breath of fresh air.

There was a moment when all eyes were on me too. I attempted to walk through a closed door. Unfortunately, the door was glass, and the resulting shattering, tinkling sound of flying daggers of glass presented a definite full-stop punctuation mark in the midst of the ongoing flow of wedding revelry. Fortunately, none of the daggers punctured anybody. I was uninjured.

A mere feet away was a friend who did the same thing as a kid, and who still sports the scars from his own encounter with a closed door.

The world is a strange place.

Tonight Willow and I are going to the symphony. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There's a Great Horned Owl calling somewhere off in the darkness. The moon is one day past full. I'm hiding in the computer lab at work, drinking a cup of herbal tea. The cabin leaders are all in the lodge, eating donuts and hopefully staying out of trouble. Through the wall, I can hear the teachers talking.

I haven't yet found the inner calm I require to truly move forward. It's hard to focus on what will be when you're still mourning what was, or what could have been. I have to take into account that my state of mind is negatively affected by a serious lack of sleep. I've known this all along, of course. I always tell kids who come into the camp office at night that their problems are magnified by exhaustion, and that the best thing they can do to make things better is sleep. Sleep doesn't solve problems, but it makes them more bearable.

I wonder what the future will bring. How will I feel about all of this a year from now? Will I have successfully made the transition? I plan on living in my apartment for at least six months, or maybe until the end of the school year. Who knows, maybe I'll be there longer. It's not a bad little place, with the park nearby, a skylight in the kitchen, and an air conditioner. The wood-paneled ceiling is a plus too. Too bad the mail delivery seems to be so chaotic.

I'll be glad when my school term is over in December. I've been having trouble focusing on my assignments lately, and am stalled on the current one - not due to a lack of focus, but due to a lack of a subject for the literary case study I'm supposed to perform. I may be able to fix that tomorrow. After this term is over, I only have one more. For the last term, I'm hoping to find an internship so I can work at a school.

In a way, this is an exciting time. Part of me recognizes this, but I don't feel excited. I feel wounded. There will be a scar, but with each scar comes wisdom. I will heal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's strange how we sometimes seem to go in circles until we gain enough momentum to fly off on a new path.

Going through one of my journals, I found the results of a Native American tarot reading an old friend did for me years ago. My guide animals were (are?) the skunk and the otter, with the skunk representing respect, and the otter representing playfulness (if I remember right).

At the bottom, my friend wrote: Change is in the air - let go of old habits. Let your true feelings guide you rather than being complacent. Stand up for what you really want and need. Let your love flow - it's pure and true - don't fear it - trust it. Guide or offer guidance to others right now when they seek you out. It's called Faith.

Here and now, years after the fact, those words hit home. I really do need to offer more of myself. I rarely do that. I'm too busy looking inward.

Habits. Complacency.


Monday, October 13, 2008

It's the start of a new week, and today I'm finding solace in Firewater's "The Golden Hour" and getting shit done.

Carpe Diem, after all... I'm tired of letting the day seize me. Still, there are days when I feel limited in what I can accomplish. These limitations usually take the form of lack of funds or people not getting back to me in a timely manner. That said, today most people are getting back to me pretty quickly.

Oh yeah, the other limitation has to do with the computer printer being out of ink, which of course means any home printing fetches up against two limitations: lack of ink and lack of money. Good thing there are computers at work.

Yeah, I'm still sad, but I'm attempting not to dwell on it. Dwelling is counterproductive in many ways.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I've been in my apartment for exactly a month and, despite some emotional setbacks (one of which was Jen announcing her intention to divorce me), I'm slowly adjusting to all the changes in my life. I suppose more changes are in the offing too, since I'll be working in a classroom before too long. I just don't want to hear any more bad news for awhile.

I had long, unrelated phone conversations with Jen and my mom today. Right now, I feel the need to talk to people. It's both hard for me and good for me to talk things out with Jen. I still have some issues I'm dealing with, but hopefully over time things will get better. I'm slowly starting to reconnect with the outside world too, and trying to keep in mind lessons learned.

School is getting tougher too, partially because I've been distracted. I'm trying to iron out some financial aid wrinkles too. There's always something that needs attention, and my mind still tends to cannibalize itself when I'm left to my own devices for too long.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

I've got Tracy Chapman's version of "House of the Rising Sun" playing in my head, particularly the lines, "I've got one foot on the platform/and one on the train...". That's how I feel right now, like I'm starting off on a new journey. The thing is, especially when using this as a metaphor, one must remember to get both feet on the train before it leaves the station. Indecision could be messy. I'm sort of feeling that right now, but becoming more clear about getting on the train with each passing day.

I miss traveling.

To belabor the metaphor a bit more, I can hear the loudspeaker reminding me to mind the gap. Every life change comes with a gap - a gap between the comfort of the known and the uncertainty ahead. It's both fitting and somewhat soothing that this gap comes during the transitional season of Autumn.

Now I'm seeing the hilarious train platform murder scene from Dario Argento's "Cat O' Nine Tails". My train of thought does this to me.

Mind the gap.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I just met one of my neighbors after around three weeks of hearing him groaning and cussing through the wall. Nice guy, in an alcoholic drug addict kind of way. He provided me with a litany of his woes, mentioned several times that he was a member of a cannabis club, even showing me his membership card, showed me pictures of his daughter, told me about his health problems and about how he was from Detroit, and on and on and on.

When I finally managed to extricate myself, his last words were, "if Whoppers weren't 99 cents, I'd already be dead."

He's unemployed too, which explains why I always hear him.


Lots of other stuff going on too. Not going to blog about it now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Right now, I'm loving the way Willow sings as she plays. It makes for some interesting juxtapositions of music and drama:

(singing) "Peace and love, peace and love, that's all I'm thinking of bay-beee, peace and looooove"

(playing) "I GOT SMOOOSHED!"

Now she's singing, "I miss Mommy, I miss Daddy." She's trying to come to terms with the changes in her life.

Now she wants to go to the park. Let the healing power of play commence.

That's what I need right now too.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tess Gerritsen and Ed the Head

Tess Gerritsen and Ed the Head, originally uploaded by Corbie.

Even before she'd mentioned that she'd brought something along, I'd noticed the small box she held in her lap. As she started to open it, I asked, "what's in there? A shrunken head?"

I was right.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stop the emotional rollercoaster! I want to get off! It has been a tough week in a tough year. I'm not going to write about it here because printed words take on a reality all of their own, and who really wants to remember the kinds of feelings I'm experiencing at the moment?

Not me.