Monday, May 31, 2010

By fastening your saftey belts and stepping toward the ledge

All the time people say if they could have done things differently they would have gone to school and gotten an education. I sometimes think if I was starting over I wouldn't bother. In a family of people who all had PhDs you might think I would have experienced pressure to do the same but I didn't. My parents told me in my final year of high school that they wanted me to know that it was okay if I didn't want to go to university. They probably intended this to be supportive but my suspicion was that they meant they sort of thought I couldn't. It certainly meant they weren't funding it. This may have had something to do with why I went to university. But not really, not really because I had no idea what else I could do to delay adulthood.

It isn't that I didn't enjoy my undergraduate years. I did, though mostly for the social aspects. In those days I liked being with people all the time, all the time. In fact I extended my undergraduate years by changing programs so I would finish with two degrees instead of one. But I didn't do that so much because I was loving school as because I still wasn't ready to have to find something to do with myself. I had started out promising in elementary school, skipping grades and being drafted into gifted education programs, but by twenty years old I was stalled out.

If I was choosing over again I do not think I would study theatre or education or even psychology which is a more recent decision. Instead I think I would go and learn woodworking. Maybe cabinet making, or furniture building. I have the right temperament to work in the trades, more so than in academia. Not that teaching high school is even remotely academic. But I worked for the university, briefly, while living on the winter prairies, and the endless meetings with mentally masturbating professors bored me to death, not because I couldn't follow their conversation but because I did not care, I do not care about outwitting people with words. I'm not a professorial type.

But if I spent my days building things instead of having to talk to people, I think I would be less lost sometimes. Building things makes me feel like I have purpose. But I do not presently have the skills to build well. This is what I would have liked to learn.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hey the broken things in my life

I finished the psych assignment, and had time to bring the lawnmower to a repair shop for servicing. I just wanted the blades sharpened but the guy at the service bay seemed highly suspicious of me. First of all, I hadn't cleaned off the mower which was, granted, sort of an oversight. But they repair lawnmowers, right, so why should they be offended by a lawnmower having grass on it? He looked incensed.

He took it outside and shot it with an air compressor, grumbling.

Then he asked me what I wanted. I explained I just wanted the blades sharpened and a tune up. He asked me, sharply, what was wrong with the mower. I said nothing. There is nothing wrong with it. He looked incredulous.

Then he told me there was oil on the outside of the mower. That wasn't much of a mystery. Last week when I mowed I remember opening that oil thing to see if there was oil inside. And there was. And then I forgot to close it properly so while I mowed, oil spilled out. But the mechanic was looking at me so angrily by this point that I was afraid to tell him so, so I just shrugged. He said, When was the last time you used this mower?

Meekly, I said, Last weekend.

He shook his head at me. Obviously I was lying. He waved the dipstick at me and said, It's running without oil? I must have been trying to pull a fast one. Drop off my broken mower, sue him for breaking it, something like that. He was on to me.

I didn't know what to say. He added some oil. And some gasoline (because I hadn't filled it after it ran out last week). He glowered at me, and then pulled the starter. And it started just fine.

He turned it off. He said, It works, in a very accusing way. It works without oil in it.

I didn't know what to say. I felt like a criminal. Finally I said, Can I go to jail for this? and he scared me by laughing abruptly, and then stopping just as abruptly.

He gave me an invoice and told me I could pick up my mower in "a week to seven days" which I thought was extremely strange but I said nothing else and went home. I miss my lawnmower.


hang me up and out to dry

There are three weeks left in this school year, three weeks left with teenagers. Then another week and a bit of empty sleepy building. I always wonder what other people are doing with that week of time because everyone looks so busy. I lock myself in my office when I'm not stealing zebras so people cannot see that I am wasting time. That sort of thing causes resentments. People want to feel that everyone else is just as miserable as they are for their pay.

I'm looking forward to being finished with the teenagers; they're getting on my nerves. A couple of them in particular.


Last night I nearly lost my engagement ring down the shower drain. I saved it in the nick of time. This would have been the second time I lost my engagement ring this way - and by this point Shawn would have been justified in un-engaging me. I have had this ring sized twice already but it seems to be rejecting. (A little late now.) When I was a child I used to wonder why the stone on my mother's engagement ring was perpetually turned to the side, why it slipped instead of staying straight, but now I see the same thing is happening to my hands as I age. Getting bony like an old nag- and the rings slip sideways. Or off. Whatever.


I have a psychology assignment that is due today that I have not even started. My motivation is dwindling. I will get it done but it won't be very good, and I don't particularly care. It's one of those Pass/Fail things that don't inspire a whole lot of creative energy. I'm very much like the teenagers that irritate me, shooting for the lowest spot I can hit while making it over the bar. But why? I wasn't thinking like this a few months ago. I think I'm getting tired. Or maybe I was thinking like this and I just don't remember.


Monday, May 24, 2010

(each one a little more than he could dare to try)

Shawn's friend J came to visit on Saturday night. J lived with us last year while he was going through his divorce. He looks better now than the last time I saw him, more like himself when we were teenagers - in a way. He is working now which I am convinced makes a difference because although working is clearly for the birds it makes people feel like they're doing something meaningful even when they find their jobs meaningless. Now he has something to complain about like the rest of the world, something on which to blame any negative feelings that flit by. Now he gets up in the morning and sleeps at night. When he lived with us he slept literally sixteen hours a day and I mostly saw him on weekends waking up as I was going to bed. Now I think he's recovering well.

For the better part of a season he wandered around England in a big black coat, pretending he was Leonard Cohen. But now he's J again which is good because I missed him.


This morning when I was mowing the lawn the mower ran out of gas with only one small triangle of grass left to cut. I looked at it for a long time and asked myself what would be the harm in leaving it like that rather that lugging out the petrol container and refueling the mower for that last thirty seconds of work. Part of me was screaming against it - a travesty almost - but in the end I asked myself WWSD (What Would Spindrift Do?) and I decided he would leave it like that, show it to his wife, and they would laugh at it. So that's what I did. Left it, showed it to my wife, laughed. And it's not bothering me at all to know it's out there like that still. Nope, not at all. Nuh uh.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

And this is the Pileated Woodpecker. He's a big bird and today was the first time I have seen him in my yard. He is easy to pick out because of his red crest and cap. He flew back and forth between the feeder and the biggest tree, scaring away all the little goldfinches.

The Northern Flicker. Some people know enough about birds to know the difference between male and female. I cannot tell except in cases where there are really big differences. But I have decided this one is a girl because she is wearing a lot of makeup. Flickers are easy to identify by the crescent mark on the breast.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

This is the shower, here comes a shower, a show, and a long wait til wonderfully wet that makes me swallow water, swimming across the bedroom floor. Air comes through the open windows and blows pieces of me around - you remember how to settle me. It gets harder to explain after that.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"? Sometimes I am so frustrated by human beings that I do not want to be one anymore. This reminds me of the bully at school who smirks when the freaky kid is talking, his expression making it clear that he thinks he is superior, no he knows he is superior and is waiting for the Achilles heel to be exposed so he can clamp down on it and make that kid cry.

Every every time it turns out the same. Vulnerability floats to the top like cream. And the freaky kid, he does exactly what the bully wants him to do. He throws a chair, he screams, he cries, he sets a fire. He loses because he looks freaky. Doesn't matter that he was provoked. But which of these kids do you want to hang out with?

Me? Neither of them. I don't like either of them. My heart aches for the freaky kid because he is hurting, he is being hurt by someone who enjoys his pain. But I do not want either of these two for my friends. I want no association with either one.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And this is Rufous Hummingbird. I think she is very pretty.

She feeds at sunrise and at sundown. She is not afraid of the bigger birds eating sunflower seeds nearby. I wondered if she would come back this year; she did.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This is Evening Grosbeak who has been visiting us lately. I like his scowly-looking yellow eyebrow. He is called Evening but I see him in the mornings when I sit at the kitchen table with my coffee. I think he is happier than he looks because he does not have to go to work. He can stay outside and watch the sun come up and nibble sunflower seeds and listen to the other birds sing. I did not see this bird last year. I think he is new to my yard.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

it had something to do with the rain leaching loamy dirt

Sometimes I want to know how normal people do their grocery shopping because I am certain I do not do mine like a normal person. When I see other people sauntering around in there, confident, with their carts overflowing and lists in their hands, I am certain I am doing something wrong. How do people have any idea what they want or need for a whole week? I do not understand this. First, I find it nearly impossible to predict how much food my family members will eat because they always eat more than I think possible. Second, I cannot get my mind around the idea of planning a whole week's worth of meals and sticking to that plan. I usually decide what to eat based on what I feel like at any given moment and the idea of planning several days in advance seems impossible.

As a result:
- I throw a lot of food in the garbage
- I end up having to shop several times a week

I know this is far from ideal but I cannot seem to change it. I guess I don't really want to. There are a good number of things like this, things that grown ups figure out how to do, that completely escape me. But I can't seem to convince myself it's worth the effort to change. So I'm perpetually wandering around the grocery store looking for something I forgot, something I wanted at the last minute, or something I thought we had lots of.

And I hate the grocery store, really. Why does it have to be so cold in there? My nipples don't know what to think. And why does some guy always try to get me to sign up for a credit card in there? And why do I need to have a card to access their amazing discount prices? I am seriously thinking it would be worthwhile to invest in having someone else take care of this aspect of my life for me.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

where the power lines steal esses from the hourly news

When I went running tonight I passed a house where a big dog was lying on the front porch. He watched me with his ears pricked up. Then as I was getting a little further away from the house and close to the path that leads me into the park, the dog suddenly got up from the porch and started to follow me. He was not exerting much effort to keep up because I am not especially fast, and for awhile he loped along behind me at a distance. I was aware of him though because of his tags which jingled as he jogged.

After a little bit of time he decided to catch up and run along right beside me, almost close enough to touch him, matching my stride perfectly. He wasn't racing me, he was just keeping me company. He stayed with me the entire time I ran, nearly an hour, and as I was leaving the park a man in a truck slowed down as he drove by and yelled at me out his window for not having my dog on a leash. I did not bother to respond. When we got near to his house the dog went back to his porch.


J - I do not know if you read here anymore. I tried to write to you about writing and Mailer-Daemon accused me of trying to send you spam and told me to go away and reconsider my intentions for a 24 hour period and then try again. I did this, contemplated my intentions, but was unable to figure out what they are. Maybe that is why M-D still won't let me speak to you. I'll try another 24 hours and see if I can sort them out.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I got my caseload today, the students I will be counselling during my internship. I know some of them because I have taught them which I hope will be a good thing rather than a roadblock. And some of them are new to me. I will be meeting with them tomorrow and trying to convince them - and myself - that I know how to help.