Friday, January 23, 2009

Figaro, Figaro, Figaro....

I love opera but have never seen a live performance so I was very excited when I found out that Camille's class was going to see the Barber of Seville. They are studying opera with the end result of producing and performing their own opera. The school did a great job preparing the kids. Camille knew the story and could recognize both music and songs from the opera. She was also very excited about the whole prospect of dressing up and going out.
H and I both knew that five year olds were not going to be able to sit through a whole opera. But I was naive enough to think that she would make it through at least the first act. She was giddy as we dressed up, impatient when I had to take time to get money from the bank. She skipped all the way to the theater. She glowed under all the compliments. We meet up with my friend A and her son. We discovered once in that it was a full dress rehearsal and "student night." This meant that it was going to be noisy but it also meant dealing with Jr. kids who had no manners. Groups of them shoved by us as we tried to get into the theater. They stole a row of seats from us. They were constantly in and out of their seats, moving around to get food and go to the bathroom (skittles at the opera?). I was ready to scream by the time they dimmed the lights.

The wait didn't do much for Camille either. She was wiggly and bored by the time the music finally started. She liked it all for about five seconds. Soon she was shifting around in her seat, kicking the panel in front of us, sighing loudly. She paid attention for another five seconds when the "pretty girl" finally appeared. The teens actually seemed to enjoy it. They LOVED the sexual innuendos but when you're five and can't really read really is probably dull.

We made our escape after Camille's loud sighing really got notice. My friend's son was not overly thrilled either and kept whispering "Can we go home now?!" We bumped into the aide in Camille's room who told us she might not make it through the evening. She had five fifth graders asleep behind her, and a bunch of K kids who couldn't stop moving. "Whose idea was this anyway?"

Lesson learned: Opera and five year olds...not the best mix....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More...Mundane...But Me

I think I should use that title in a poem. But alas I don't write poetry. I keep forgetting that...I am a wanna be poet. A poet in my own mind...

My readers are owed something pretty but I don't have much time or energy for pretty right now. But I figured it would be good to let you all know periodically that I am alive. Breathing...all that stuff. I suspect that later on I will be compelled to write thanks to an independent study on sacrifice with a professor deeply interested in studying suffering. But for now some updates.

This semester promises interesting things for my brain. I am taking one class on the field of American religion with my fav. professor, the adviser. We're reading lots of interesting books including one that mentions GWAR. My second class is, as I mentioned, an independent study. There is a regular class but I am teaching during that time. We'll be reading some classic theories on sacrifice, Taylor, Frazer, and Maus but much of the class focuses on the work of Bastille whom I have never read. All in all, lots of fuel for thinking and hopefully getting me excited about the academic endeavor again.

My thesis...well the adviser loved my second chapter, said it was the best thing I had ever written, had the potential to become and article, and that if I modeled everything else I had written on this I was going to be fine. Whew. This was the chapter that really blew between the old adviser and I. I had sent her, by mistake, an unedited copy. She went nuts, said she couldn't read for all the errors etc. When I realized what had happened I sent her the edited copy, but she was still angry. It was a hard blow because I was so excited about this chapter. And I felt some vindication after the new adviser's comments. All said, I should be done by March.

In addition, I seem to have a really steallar group of students for the class I'm teaching. I just saw on the dicussion board I set up that one them actually got Foucault's theory on sex. How about that? I'm looking forward to a really good semester with them.

And drugs? Drugs you say? Well I am a fool. After a week of feeling this incredibly bitchiness edging in, I finally exploded on Monday. I've decided that some numbness is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Profound Mundania

For some reason, okay from a total funk due to the proverbial wrench, I spent some time Saturday morning reading through past posts. About this time last year, I was coming out of the tail end of a pretty bad depression. I realized that H might have a point that my depression is linked to the seasons. Now that things are lightening up here (yes yet another reason to love the South), I am finding myself not so mournful. In fact, I have taken my meds for a few days....
Which no doubt calls for an explanation. I do have some left in the cupboard, I didn't just stop without a fall back. I forgot to take them on Friday. I woke up Saturday feelings with a sharpness, a color a vivid intensity that had been lacking....a lack that I didn't notice until it came back. And yes not all the feelings were positive (due to the above mentioned wrench) but the intensity was nice, and of course at this point, I felt a bit more capable of mucking through the crap. And I did. Instead of sulking all day which I wanted to do, I spend some quality time with H, picked up repaired cars, brought the kids on a bike ride, and had a spontaneous gathering with copious amounts of red wine, hummus, and pita chips and best of all friends.

Thus I am left with wondering about the meds. Did they help? Yes, they actually did, and I wished I had started them in October when things were getting really yucky. Do they numb me? Why yes, and I suppose that in some ways that is why they help. Where I am now? I don't know. I haven't had any meds since Friday, and right now I don't plan on taking any. I have some ideas about therapy (I'm trying to figure out a way to afford a cognitive therapist). I suspect I have a seasonal thing, and am looking into ways to combat that come next year. Yes I am dreadfully fucked up. I know this but I am not sure if I want to keep taking drugs....perhaps if I could for a part of the year? I just don't know at this point where I will go with this decision. I'll keep you updated.

Last night as H and I were attempting to go to sleep....H felt a need to launch into a discussion about memory. I hate it when he does this...he picks the most inopportune times to think about these profound topics. I was at that point when I knew if I didn't sleep soon, I'd be in the grip of insomnia. But he was off, and there wasn't much I could do because of course it was fascinating. H finds himself troubled by memories in ways that I am not. He sees them as unwanted experiences for reasons I'll let him expound on in his own blog.

But what I was thinking about as he talked is how memory works in two ways (at least for me). There is a fictional aspect to memory that is obviously created. When I tell stories here about my past, it is a literary engagement. It is a creation that perhaps at one point may have had a foundation in some kind of notion of reality...but through the telling it is embellished. The memories I create stories of are memories tinged with the memories of others, photographs, and the ever present present in the past. But then there are these other memories that i think of has being much more primordial. They are body memories that surface unexpectedly because of some kind of physical stimuli. The smell of Mexico City in the early afternoon, slammed me with a fragmentary slew of images from an earlier visit to the D.F. The way that a APTBS' song left me with the unsettled feeling that I was once again 20, at Astor Cafe on Monroe Ave in Rochester...the way that a certain shirt feels against my skin, or the way that someone else's body touching mine brings a physical experience of images from the past. These glimpses are fast, fleeting, and not linear. There are no stories to them as they come. They are physical in ways that my memory creations are not.

And lastly, H and I talked about being older and death. H is always agitated that people don't
find the time before being born as freaky. He finds it confusing that the nothingness of death is more frightening the nothingness of beginning. But for me I argue, I have felt that beginning. I have carried that beginning in my body. While I may not remember my own beginning, nor will my beasties remember their beginnings, I do have a physical experience of such a thing. I have not, I argued with him, carried death. H says that we all carry death.

Finally a picture of my wine drenched Saturday evening...solely because I need some lightness after carrying death, and also because I promised (threatened) D that I would post the evidence on my blog...

OMG...D drinking wine? I am such a dreadful influence.

My beautiful profound husband.

D and I both a slight bit tipsy at this point. Note how old I look. Sigh.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Identity Crisis

I like to think of myself as unique. Deep inside I harbor this fear that I'm actually a conformist. I have amazing chamelon abilities. Part of this ability, I suspect, is an inherited trait from my father. People love my dad. He has this kind of friendly demeanor that attracts people. I at times have this as well (at least until my inner bitch unleases herself). This ability to attract people is linked to being able to talk with anyone about anything. The ability to become who people need you to be. To blend in with whoever you're around. And I fear that this is really me...not the rebel girl I yearn to be.

And I find myself blending into whatever life I move into with ease. When I was teaching, I spent some time thinking that I could do this for the rest of my life. When I was in the midst of grad. school that seemed like the life. Now that I'm basically a SAHM, I find myself rather enjoying it.

Which leads to this whole problem of identity. I find myself agonizing late at night, in the grips of insomnia, about who I really am. What is my essence, I worry, as I toss about trying to slip into a dream. What do I want to be when I grow up? Why can't I just find myself and be content? Why is identity such a fleeting thing for me? Why can I just figure out who I am and what I want to do?

Of course, it seems like most people don't go through this. I look at people and they seem pretty content with they agonizing late at night about their identities.

And I feel shallow and wishy washy. Can't I just commit to being a nonconformist? Or even a conformist? I feel like I double talk as I try to balance how I feel while being bombarded with multiple expectations about how I should feel. These are the times when I wish I just could have a solid opinion without worry, without fear, without doubt.

People think I'm this strong, opioninated bitch woman from hell. But really I feel like a scared little girl trapped in a big person's body. A tiny being who is unsure, insecure, and uncertian. I am a chameleon sometimes when I feel like I shouldn't be. There are times when I anger myself for not speaking out, and times when I anger myself for speaking out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Small Gifts

Last night, my friend D brought his external harddrive over. It's filled with music. The small gray box, ugly in a utilitarian kind of way is filled with beauty. You can't touch the beauty just by looking. Instead you have to hook it up with wires to something else...that something else being my least last night. I loaded soundbytes of beauty until my laptop really couldn't hold anymore. The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus Lizard, Christian Death, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, Front Line Assembly all bands that become time machines on my ipod. When I plug myself into these sounds, I touch the past which haunts the present. The past exist in those songs, and the songs bring back images, only half seen, smells, emotions, states of being that remain buried inside me somewhere. Perhaps these memories, these remembrances are soul.

And of course there was the new too on that gray box. More A Place To Bury Strangers (because really can there be enough?), the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (still beating myself up over not seeing their show last year), Boris (another band I really should have seen last year), Jesu. Older bands that I had never heard of such as Iconoclast, Arab on Radar, Pussy Galore. These songs will all become part of that remembrance soul. Someday plugging into them will bring me back to this gray house in Charlotte, to a night spent drinking wine, and listening to music with D and H.

This small gift from D was really not such a small gift. I still feel a little glow when I open up my music file and see all that music. It may get me through this dry spell of no shows. I haven't seen a show since APTBS in October. And it was a good show, enough to get me through for a bit but I need something soon. We have tickets to see Morrissey at a small venue in Asheville (!!!!!!!) but that is in March which seems a ways off right now. I keep scanning the internet hoping for something exciting, something to push me through these rainy January days. But so far nothing has inspired me to make the two to three hour drive required to see good bands in North Carolina.

Music has become something vital in my middle age. My adviser told me jokingly that my midlife crisis was going to shows. And he's right I suppose. I didn't do many shows when I was younger. Clubs bothered me then, made me feel trapped and hot...self-conscious and vulnerable. Now I don't care. I just want to be in the crowd, swallowed up by music. And I listen to more music now, and I listen to a much wider variety thanks to H and D. Everyday is marked by a band, a song, a musical moment.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Time: 8:35

Today was not awful which is a good start to 2009. Despite my fears about morning, it was not too bad. Umberto only got bitchy at the end. Camille was roaring to go, up, dressed and almost out the door before the rest of us were ready. She had a bag packed with love notes to her friends and the teaching assistant. Piper was even in a good mood...excited about going to school with me. I dropped them off, gave things away, and head to school. I photocopied all the readings for the class I'm teaching, hung out with our totally fab. office manager, and saw our department head who seemed to be saying that I was safe in terms of a job next year (oh please let this be true). Tomorrow, I'll scan everything into a PDF file...luck me. Oh fun. Oh Joy.

But the best thing today was that I finally got the courage to look at my thesis. Yeah the one I actually wrote but felt too demoralized to do anything with. And you know it's not all that bad. It's funny how distance and time can distort things. In my memory, this thesis was horrible. It was disconnected, random, and not thoughtful. I felt discouraged even trying to imagine it could work so I wasted my whole summer trying to come up with something new. I ended up semi ruining my summer in Mexico with this frantic worry. And then I felt paralyzed all last semester...not just in terms of the thesis but about writing in general. I couldn't write here. I couldn't write in a journal. My papers for the semester were last minute, penned in this sort of "must bull through the terror" kind of haste.

And then I vowed this morning that I would spend two hours on my thesis. I made this deal so that I could justify my nap. I delayed...played on crackbook, checked my email, penned unnecessary updates. But finally I opened up that first chapter. And you know it wasn't horrible. I could see that there were areas that would need work but over all it wasn't 41 pages of dreadful writing filled with bad ideas and poorly thought out arguments. In fact, I was kind of proud of the summaries I did on Otto and Durkheim.

I feel...hopeful. Maybe just maybe 2009 will not suck half as bad as 2008.

Winter Festival

Some pictures from the kids' winter festival at their school....H commented to me as we drove to the school that night..."Is this what the National meant by the "unglamorous life of adults." There was something disturbingly grown up about driving to a school play that featured your kids....

And one of Umberto with his teacher...

Early Morning

Time: 6:39. I haven't been up this early in two weeks. Despite being in bed by ten I am still tired, and would love nothing more than to curl up under my covers and drift back into dream. Soon the inevitable morning battle will begin....dragging children out of bed, fighting with them to eat breakfast, to get dressed, to brush their teeth, to get into the van. Camille will have a tantrum over some item of clothing doing something she hates. Umberto will complain bitterly about school the entire time. It makes for a tiresome morning. The kind of morning where it feels like a whole day has been lived as opposed to a miserly one hour.

And then once we are on our way, we'll listen to Joy Division. Umberto will scream "Day in, Day out" along with Ian Curtis. It helps him. Then we'll listen APTBS...the kids now like them. First Umberto's song and then mine. By the time we get to school we'll have exorcise our demons about this whole process. And then I'll have to deal with the school...the aftermath of an email gone awry. How people can think that they have a right to be angry over a private email shared without permission is beyond me but it has happened and I hate dropping the kids off. I am afraid they'll face the consequences of the whole situation.

I hate school. I understand how Umberto feels. I miss the lazy mornings where we all got up when we wanted, and then laid around until we were awake enough to function. I miss lazy days at the park, wading in creeks, walking in the woods. I miss park days with other kids...I miss lessons at the dining room table. I miss reading to my beasties. I miss it all. And I find myself a little resentful of school. And yes, Umberto is doing amazing...he's actually reading. Camille is reading as well. But you know I'd do almost anything to have the homeschooling days back.