Sunday, January 31, 2010

Your Cold Heart Won't Be Missed...

Good-bye, January. You've been around long enough. I thought you'd never leave. Things are looking brighter now that you are on your way out the door. I don't hate you, I just don't warm up to you. Your cold heart won't be missed...

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I just wrote a poem
But it's stashed away.
I'm not going to share it
With you today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

OK. I won't rant. Or maybe I will...

Just deleted a big rant. About cell phones. In short, when you answer a cell phone, it is like beaming up. You are no longer present but somewhere else. If you are with someone when you answer, you are cutting them off for someone else. The message: just about anyone who calls me can interrupt whatever you might have been saying to me. Think about the situation you are in, and what is appropriate. Consider the option of turning the d--n thing off. Don't be a slave to a puny piece of technology.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surviving January (or "Don't Believe Everything You Read")

Getting through January in Michigan has definite challenges, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Depression. Here are some tips to survival:

1. Walk the dog every day. I take Jack with me. If he's not available I take the other Jack (Daniels)...
2. Sit in front of your happy light for a half hour. You could also convince yourself that sitting in front of the lit up computer screen playing Spider Solitaire has the same effect, but it takes at least four hours of play time.
3. Call up a friend and talk. I can't hear on the phone, so I talk to myself. I'm very interesting most of the time, and my enunciation is perfect.
4. Drink lots of hot drinks. If that doesn't help, add brandy.
5. Do a creative project. Playing four hours of Spider Solitaire at a time counts. So does Zelda.
6. Listen to some favorite music. I can't hear music anymore either. It's because that person that is always talking to me drowns it out. But her enunciation is perfect.
7. Get regular exercise. Going up and down the stairs to get a hot drink every hour when you're playing Spider Solitaire for four hours at a stretch counts, but only if there's brandy in it.
8. Make a fire in the fireplace. Don't try this after the fourth hot drink...
9. Watch a favorite movie, with captions, to drown out the person with perfect enunciation.
10. Offer that person with perfect enunciation a hot drink. That might shut her up.

Hope these tips help. Can't guarantee that the PWPE will shut up, but you could always pretend to be listening while playing Spider Solitaire, and you won't mind it so much after four hours.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ah! Now I Understand...

According to the American Psychiatric Association, this coming
seven days [January 25th to February 1st] is officially the most depressing week of the year.

It's a cold, dreary day in mid-winter. Spring is still too far away, and the last vestiges of Christmas cheer have evaporated. For some of us, we are still too near the beginning of a semester to see the hope of an end to it.

We have all gotten our tax information to remind us that the government is going to scalp us again. Our credit card bills for December are due.

There is more daylight every day, but not enough yet and too dim to be felt--since we see the sun so infrequently in Michigan.

And living in Michigan could explain a lot for many people. The economy sucks. Unemployment is horrendous. Lake effect is oppressive. If you hate your job, you don't dare quit unless you have another already lined up. If you own a home you can't move because it won't sell.

Personally, I'm just tired of being cold most of the time.

In spite of all that, life is still good.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Things don't always run smoothly. This morning is one of those times. It's my own fault. I didn't deal with the printer displaying an error message all weekend. I just wasn't up for it. This morning I needed to print something... big. In desperation I finally just followed the cord of the printer to its source and (gasp) unplugged it. You techies out there are probably laughing to split your sides, but for me, that was a desperate measure. My God, the world could have ended! But it worked. I am now printing away and not sure I'll get it all done by my late morning deadline.

I don't like that technology makes perfectly intelligent people feel helpless. But knowing this stuff isn't everyone's favorite fruit smoothie. For some of us it is a chore, and the future looks bleak. It's just going to be one long dreary scramble to keep up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Half-time

During football season, half-time is that breather where you get things done. You suddenly wake up from the mesmerizing effect of staring at the television screen and realize, "Ah, now I have a chance to get something done. Quick." You rush off with a purpose in mind, and voila!, you actually accomplish something. Then the game begins again.

Sometimes it seems that we live our lives this way. About half-way through, we realize we have just a few moment/days/years/whatever to accomplish something. We rush around and then life kicks in again. We go with the flow until the game-over sign flashes, and we wonder why we went back to the set at all.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lost and Found

The mystery is solved. I lost a recipe card today and Laura and I searched high and low for it. Finally I went up to the computer and retrieved from a file the information that I had the foresight to type in. However I was saddened. The original recipe was handwritten on a card by a close friend. It is a sweet reminder every time I pull it out of that person and her specialness to me. Her penmanship is beautiful and the little added tips that she contributed to the recipe speak of her personality.

I have many similar recipe cards--some splattered from use, some on decorative cards, some written on scraps of paper. The most special ones are handwritten by the person who I got it from, and these I treasure above the newspaper clippings and magazine versions with full-color photos. Some are written by people no longer alive, and the cards are yellowing with each passing decade.

Sure, it is prudent to type them into a computer file. If the card did get lost, at least the culinary treasure is not. But the printed out version, though neat and legible, is utterly sanitary and sterile. It won't have any life to it until it gets smudged, aged and tattered.

There is a happy ending. I did find my original card. I must have left it on the counter when I pulled it out to complete my grocery shopping list. It got swept into the dishwasher and survived a full washing cycle, mostly due to the fact that I had tucked it into a clear plastic sleeve to help preserve it. Soaked clear through, it was miraculously still quite legible; the ink didn't run and the card didn't tear as I carefully pulled it out of its sleeve to dry it. I thought about all the fussing and fuming I did in the kitchen upon its disappearance. During all that emotional aggravation, it was within arms reach, but out of sight!

It was lost, cherished more dearly in its absence, and reverently pressed between towels when found.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Queasy Uneasy

Yeasty bubbling
almost cramping
not liking smells
or the thought of eating

stomach flip-flops
mucky-taste mouth
too much swallowing
too little craving

not quite nauseated
it's the queasy uneasy
belly kneading
prelude to something

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Great White Expanse

Outside my window is a great white expanse--a snowy field. The temperatures will doom this clean whiteboard slate to an dreary, dead, brownish green by week's end. The snow will melt off so gradually that from moment to moment one would hardly notice.

Ahead in my life is a great white expanse. A whiteboard of classes, lesson preparation and paper correcting. I've made it through one class already. More coops start up this week, and in February the last one I work with begins. My life will hum along, full and somewhat hectic. But at last one day I will look up and the dreary, dead green of late winter will have arrived and spring will be around the corner.

At the moment it hardly seems possible. But the melting snow promises me it will be so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Procrastination part three

Two days into grinding it out and there's still more to get done. My brain is feeling like over-cooked cauliflower and my rear-end, perfectly molded into the swivel chair, now feels a part of the furniture. I long to move around, to escape, to fly away--but there is enough discipline left to remind me that I did that first, and now I must earn it. When one goes on vacation, one must still pay the bills for it when once back at home again.

I long to make my lesson plans adventurous, eye-popping and a joy. If some plans are more drudge than elation, I feel a sense of failure. As the sand slips through the hourglass, so escapes the opportunity to dig deeper, search more thoroughly, to hack more vigorously through the jungle of possibilities. Every explorer has their near misses. If we had only swung a little more to the east, then the secret burial grounds of the African elephant and all the riches of ivory would have been ours. But instead we turned back--the call of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of life was too strong. The glory will be for another time, and the PB & J will have to do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Procrastination part two

Today I am in the purely perspiration state of things. Not much time left. Now I really have to just dig and sweat and grind out some work. At this point, it will just be ugly. When inspiration doesn't come, and time is running low, you just have to make due with some less-than-stellar ideas and a dim bulb instead of brilliance.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Procrastination, Inspiration and Perspiration

Sometimes you just can't make something happen until it's ready to happen. It would be easy to say that true procrastination is this. That would be laziness. I'm willing to suggest that sometimes it is not procrastination, but a prolonged pondering of what to do. Those of you who have read The War of Art will probably get all over my case about this. Sorry. I have just experienced sometimes that I can put off and put off because I'm stumped. Then finally the idea comes, the inspiration. At last I'm ready for the perspiration in getting it all together.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Examining My White Christmas

I recently read a book that was entirely about snow crystals, more familiarly known as snowflakes. It was fascinating, and made me realize this common fluffy stuff is way overlooked--literally. Do yourself a favor. Get a magnifying glass and step outside someday with it and a piece of dark paper to catch the crystals on. Look at them closely. The big fluffy ones are merely clusters of smaller stars. Individual stars are amazing. Be patient. Many are broken. They melt quickly. If you don't gasp at the beauty, or even wonder at their symmetry, you have my deepest sympathies.