Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Writing home

Yet another post inspired by Tim...
I am trying to write my home. And that keeps me from writing other things. And I am not sure that I can write it until I come to terms with it.

As much as I love the Ozarks, and the Ozarkers who live there, growing up, I was more ambivalent. I never really fit in as a child. I read too much, I had asthma. I have a non-verbal learning disability-- I don't pick up some social cues, especially non-verbal ones. And I was sensitive as a child and cried easily. Sounds like a textbook case for alienation, doesn't it?

And so I hung out with my family. My grandparents lived on the next hill. My great-grandmother across the field from them-- a quick walk around the pond. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I learned to sew. I learned about when they lived in Kansas City and in California. I admired the strength and determination that allowed them to buy the farm that we all lived on (my parents bought part of it).

But then school intruded.

Everyone I knew is dying, though, Joe Kenneth, Timothy, Amber (a girl I used to baby sit-- baby sit! She was 26), my granny, my grandparents, Gladys (my grandmother's friend).

I would love to do this well-- a cynical A Long Way from Chicago... a story that shows the beauty of the area and its people, and that shows me as, well, frankly, not a pathetic victim. I want to be a smart, engaging observer. But the problem is, of course, the reality of who I was. So really, the first character I have to create is myself as a child. And that is a major reconstruction job.

So, of course, I am paralyzed. I write about what I would write if I were to write. And I really only manage to write that here. So.

There you go.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I am watching a Designing Women rerun, which makes me wish for the 80s, or at least 80s television. Mary Jo and Suzanne are debating the difference between "come hither" and "happy to make your acquaintance" looks. That is so what I want to see on TV Land, not the High School Reunion reality show they are hawking. I have managed to miss my own high school reunions. The only one I have any desire to watch is Romy and Michelle's. It makes me wonder what is wrong with those people who sign up for that show. Kind of like Who Wants to be Superhero (which I love, don't get me wrong-- mostly out of adoration for Stan Lee).

Now Mea wants to watch The Breakfast Club, which I think glorifies drug use. And worse, it shows drugs solving isolation. Drugs don't ever solve isolation. Drugs don't solve anything. I try not to judge people who use. I understand that some people need to escape from their lives. I try to construct my life in such as way that I do not need to escape it through anything more than a couple several hours of husband & kid free scrapbooking. Mostly, I have been successful with that.

I am obviously getting old. It is 10 pm and I am falling asleep as I type.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


My life is a bit overwhelming. Miss O was not feeling well, so I let her sleep in and then took her to school. W didn't realize that she was at school, so he did not get her.

And our childcare provider completely forget about the kids. Completely. And her cell phone battery died. So we could not contact her.

And of course, today was one of those days when I had a meeting with my department head and people outside my department (including another department head).

And the renewing contract that I thought I was getting? Seems be have become someone else's tenured position. But I am sure they will still let me do site visits.

Oh, and the circus I thought I was sending my kids to? NEXT week. In my defense, Todd had the tickets with the date, not me.

I want to go to bed, but I have another hour of class.


Monday, February 11, 2008


This began as a comment about Tim's really wonderful piece about Southern Funerals.

My family is about as bad. I know which funeral home will be called, and where my family members will be buried. I even know which florist various members of my family will use. I think we are all leaving the songs up to whoever is stuck planning the thing (and paying for it) though.

And I don't know where I'll be buried and funeraled, which I find distressing. Everyone I really know is down here, but "our" funeral home is in Harrison. The older I get, the less I belong in Harrison (or the surrounding areas). So what do southerners do who have lost their place in the world?

Joe Kenneth died week before last. It is not like he and I were close, by any stretch of the imagination. But Joe Jr. and Craig were best friends all the time we were growing up. And when Jr came over, I played GI Joe with them (I got to be Scarlett) until Algebra destroyed any free time that remained in my life.

When my parents called me to tell me that he died (okay, so Dad emailed me-- we are just that dysfunctional) my question about the arrangements was "when" because I knew where. And who would officiate. And I wish I could have gone. Right now, my life is not arranged in such a way that I can just take off. Although when Aunt Dorotha died, I made a flying trip to Harrison for the visitation.

There is something comforting about going to a funeral in my hometown. I know the people who are there, many of whom I care for a great deal. I know what will happen. (Well, except the time I almost pulled out of the "family side" of an icy parking lot at a funeral home). But a funeral, for better or for worse, is a ritual. And as such, it reinforces our place in the world.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lots of family time

Everyone was over at one point or another today, since it was W's birthday. The house, of course, is a wreck, but at least the seating areas were cleaned off by the time everyone got here. Dad helped Todd cut a tree and put up cement board in the bathroom. We still need to replace the window with glass block, but that will be a pain, so I am avoiding it. After the window, we (read I) will have to tile the surround. I am avoiding that, too.

Todd is changing sheets, because he told me two days ago that he would. He didn't actually mean it, as it turns out, but I'm holding him to it (I hate changing sheets-- cleaning the bathroom I don't mind so much). So he is fussing at me to find stuff and is making snorting noises as he works so I will fully understand how vexed he is.

Now that the bed is made, I am going to get it in. Today has been a long day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Oddly enough

Pilots may benefit from anti-impotence pill

I am not completely sure why this article from Reuters strikes me so. I find it both funny and terribly, terribly wrong.

And Ricky is off of Project Runway. I'll grant his design was not as good as some of the others, but I was so happy that he won last week's challenge. Had they not done away with immunity, he would have been fine. I suppose that one reason I liked Ricky so much. besides his constantly feeling unsure of himself in a non-annoying way, is that I have an affinity for people who come from marginalized backgrounds. Not from my own background, which was fairly solidly rural middle class, but from the working class background of so many of the people I grew up with. I get so tired of hearing how they could be "just as successful as anyone else if they just tried harder." Well possibly, had they been blessed with parents who read to them, mentors who encouraged them, a prestige accent, and above average intelligence. But that is not really trying harder, is it?

Friday, February 01, 2008

So I am old...

My daughter (who is really only 14) has a job. It is a temporary job, working in a church nursery for a Bible study. But still. One more milestone in the downhill slide to old-ladyhood.

We're going back north tomorrow morning for another attempt at History Day interviews.

I played hooky this afternoon. I did. After my classes, since I had no office hours, I left. Just walked out. Becky and I went to Bread Company and had lunch, and then went shopping. I bought the girls some stuff & me some shoes. I needed shoes. I have a hard time getting shoes that I am comfortable in all day walking around, so if I find shoes that I can get by with wearing with a skirt that are socially acceptable, I snap them up. And then wear them until the insides are shredded and/or the soles disintegrate.

Miss O is having multiple meltdowns this afternoon. She is "hungry" but only wants food that I don't have here. She doesn't even want to go shop for food. She evidently only wants to terrorize me.

And she is succeeding.

And to make things worse, she is watching Animal Planet. I HATE Animal Planet. I had rather sit in a room with flickering lights. Even if they buzz.

She has subtly changed her demands so that they can, technically, be met. Perhaps that means they are negotiable? And I do get to run some errands this afternoon? (Although it must be noted that I can no longer run them all, since it is now after 4:30).

So I am now off to do the bidding of a tyrannical five year old.