Back to normal at work, for one whole day. Then tomorrow through Thursday there's
a three-day kickoff meeting I'm involved in, which of course doesn't mean I don't
have to do all my normal work, including all that stuff I couldn't get done while
I was in training last week.
But I bought new shoes
yesterday, so at least my feet look good.
They also feel good. And
looking up the website linked above just now, I found out that Born sponsors the
Head of the Charles regatta, so I'm happy all around. Hmmm .... if I'm supporting
my sport, does that mean I'm justified in buying the cute red ones
Speaking of rowing, it was blissfully cool this morning, so I
celebrated by doing an extra 1000m. I hope we've seen the last of summer for this
Company's gone. Did I mention we had company? A guy Rudder went to school with,
also an engineering major, who lived only a few doors down for three years later
went to law school and became a patent attorney. He was out here working on
patents at Rudder's company. And it's not a huge company. I just think
that's totally bizarre, even more than the time we ran into someone I knew from
Penn on a rock-climbing in Texas. Everyone I've told the story to just looks blank
and shrugs, "Yup. Small world." But it still blows my mind.
It was a
good visit. Rudder managed to get tickets for all of us (plus the rest of his
department) to the ballgame Thursday night, where we got to watch the D-Backs
break a 6-game losing streak. Damn, Randy Johnson is something to watch. As long
as you don't have to look at his face close up. Then the college friend, IE, came
home with Rudder on Friday night and we all went to Copelands to remind the boys
of their halcyon days in New Orleans. According to Rudder, I consumed one of the
bottles of wine we ordered, solo, in its entirety. Oops. Of course, drunk women
and memories of New Orleans combine well, so I don't think either of them minded
much. I'm not a sloppy drunk, anyway -- no vomiting or personality changes or
indiscretions to regret later.
Then yesterday we went out to Sedona
for the day. Just as we were about to leave, Rudder started suspecting that the
water pump in his Cherokee was dying. So scratch that, as we didn't want to be
marooned two hours from home. Scratch the Civic, because we wanted to go down
Schnebly Hill Road, a rough dirt road with incredible views of Sedona's red rocks,
and it's Not Recommended for Passenger Cars. You can do it, but you'd better be
resigned to bottoming out a couple of times. And my pickup has no problem with
that road, but riding in the flip-down back seat wasn't on my list of fun ways to
get over a (slight) hangover. IE saved the day by volunteering his rental car, a
Corolla. So for the second time, we took that road in a small rental car,
no doubt pissing off all those people who'd paid big bucks to go on a rugged off-
road tour in a Jeep or Hummer. We got looks that had us laughing all the way down.
We decided that what we really needed was a big sign that said, "IT'S OK. IT'S A
RENTAL CAR." If I ever do that again, I'm making one.
Came home, had
brisket that Rudder had started before we left, and some asparagus and bowties-
and-kasha I threw together. IE seemed to like it all, and I restricted myself to
one beer. We spent the evening talking out on the back patio, where he gave us
fascinating insight (really) into the life of a patent lawyer, and how to do it
right. Cool stuff -- I love hearing about other people's jobs. The weather is
finally cool enough to sit out in the evenings and the mornings, and I think our
patio may have been IE's favorite part of his visit.
D-backs game last night. I'm glad to say they beat the Rockies, ending a six-game
skid. I kept thinking how some faces just don't look right in game uniforms;
watching Randy Johnson pitch to another guy whose face belongs to a man rather
than a boy, I kept picturing where those faces belonged. Randy, whose baseball
skills are amazing but whose face looks better from the higher sections, always
makes me think o a guy out of a Zane Grey novel. Other players looked like
everything from truck drivers to movie stars -- and at least a few looked right
under the duck-billed cap.
Last bit of training today. Then I'm
running over to the office to try to get done everything I'd normally have done
this whole week!
Arrgggh! No time, no time, no time!!!
Rudder comes home late tonight
from a one-day business trip, so I'm resigned to interrupted sleep. And I promised
to help someone set up his new boat tomorrow. And my team in this training class
wants to stay late tomorrow to work on an assignment. And despite being closer to
home I still don't get home any earlier because training always runs late. And we
have tickets to a Diamondbakcs game tomorrow. (In a suite, thanks to Rudder's
company - yay!) And we're having company Friday and Saturday nights, a college
friend of Rudder's I don't know well.
Did I say
Oh, yes, and today's TMI tidbit is that all my intestinal
flora appears to have committed mass suicide. In green.
Yet another problem with telemarketers is those autodialing systems they all have
now. If I answer the phone and no one's there, not only did I have to interrupt
what I was doing and get up, but I have no way of knowing if it's a crank call, or
someone trying to check if the house is empty before attempting to break in, or an
autodialer hanging up on me because one of the three other people it dialed
simultaneously answered first. These days the last is by far the most likely,
though I'm starting to think it's every bit as invasive as the other two. (Well,
ok, having the house broken into would be worse.)
Last night we got
five phone calls and not one of them was anyone either of us wanted to talk to.
One caller evinced evidence of working brain cells and I was so bedazzled I agreed
to let her give me a quote on auto insurance, though I'm happy with my current
company. (Then she said someone else would call me back. Humph. I bet he's not up
to her standard even if he does have a fancier title.)
I could get
Caller ID, but then I'd still have to get up to see what number was calling. I
could even get the deal where the Caller ID shows on your TV screen, but I have no
desire to watch that much TV. When they get one that flashes across your book,
maybe it will be useful. I could get one of those systems where callers have to
know a special code to get through, but I never remember the code of those friends
who have one, and I have no reason to believe anyone else would remember mine, And
I've run afoul of those systems when I wanted to get through to someone in a
The worst is the nmber of callers that dial us at 8:30 or so,
which is generally just when we've managed to fall asleep. If I were less of a
worrywart, I'd unplug the phone when I went to bed. I keep thinking someone could
be calling with an emergency message. I have gotten calls then or later to find
out one parent or the other was in the hospital, and though I can't do much from
2000 miles away, I do like to know these things when they happen. Besides, I'd
never remember to turn the phone back on the next day. I could just turn off the
upstairs phone but I sleep lightly enough that the downstairs one wold probably
wake me up.
Clearly, abolishing all telemarketers is the only
solution. Does anybody really want to hear about glass repair, upholstery
cleaning, or mortgages over the phone anyway?
I'm in training all this week, so probably very little journal activity. No net
connetion during the day, and tonight at least I've got a bit of homework. So far
it's reasonably useful, except that it's mainly geared to hardware and I work on
software. The people in the class mostly seem bright, which is
But it sure would have been easier if they'dsent me away to
class so I wouldn't have to keep my normal wakeup/workout schedule. Just think, if
I didn't have to get up at 4 or 5 I could stay up til 10 or some exotic hour like
that to finish this bit of homework. And go out to eat!
Fuck it, I just lost a whole entry. The gist was that getting the damn cats to the
vets for their shots today was much harder than flying an airplane (did that
yesterday) and that putting them in to a pillowcase, as recommended by a coworker,
actually did help, because then I could keep the beastie still while Rudder went
and got the carrier. Much easier than sneaing up on them with the carrier, which
is sort of harder to casually conceal ("Oh, this? It's a, a new sex toy I was just
bringing up to the bedroom. Yeah that's it -- just ignore us,
And we had steak au poivre for dinner and didn't even share
any with our poor traumatized felines, meanies that we are.
Flying today went well, though at least part of that was that the instructor went
easier on me than I think he should have. My airspeeds were off a few times and
I'd rather he got on me about them (after waiting for me to see and fix the
problem myself) than just say, "Well, but you corrected in the right direction and
that's the important thing." He did have me do some VOR work as well as steep
turns under the hood and we did about 5 landings, all of which went relatively
smoothly. He also pulled the power out on me to make me simulate an emergency
landing -- I think it may be a rule that every instructor flying with a new
student has to pull out the power to see if you freak.
year I might even pass 100 hours in my log book. I got my private pilot rating
somewhere around 1997 - can you tell I hadn't flown much after my check ride??
Next time I should do some slow flight and stalls. It would
also be good to do a cross-coutry trip (technically, that's anything over 50 miles
from the starting point). Rudder keeps nagging me to fly up to the property. I'd
want to do that with an instructor anyway -- the runway is sloped so the landing
gets a bit tricky. And we're stuck flying with an instructor unless we change to
renting from a more expensive place. The 9/11 attacks savaged private flying and
one result is new insurance policies that have made lots of places inclding the
one we rent from rent planes only with an instructor or as part of a formal flying
course. One of these days we're just going to have to brake down and buy a damn
I really don't give my family enough credit. I tend to think that they gave me a
love of books and that that made all the difference but that's not really true.
They taught me a lot about love as well.
My Dad is a product of the
foster system. His foster parents were the only real mother and father figures he
nknew; unfortunately, the system at that time was not to leave a child with a
family for more than a year for fear he would bond with them, as if having a child
grow up with no one to love weren't far worse. (I will spare you the rant about
awfulness of the system then and now, as well as the one about his birth parents.
If you love your child, you either do anything necessary to raise him, or you cut
him loose entirely so other people can become real parents to him. This is not
what they did.) At any rate, he did bond with one set of foster parents, even
running away from other (sometimes abusive) fosterers to go back to them.
They divorced eventually, and he remarried around the time I was
born. I knew him and his new wife as Grandpop Chuck and Grandmom Fay. We weren't
as close to them emotionally as to my mom's parents, and they were closer to her
grandnieces and grandnephews but they lived only a couple of blocks away and we
saw them often. As a little kid, all I knew was that I had two complete sets of
grandparents, plus a couple of extra grandmothers (Chuck's first wife, my dad's
birth mom, with whom he had sort of gingerly reconciled by then, and my mom's
grandmother). That's extraordinary in itself; imagine being a grandmother to the
children of a kid your husband had fostered years before. Fay had no kids of her
own, so my brother and I and her sister's grandchildren were the beneficiaries of
her grandmotherly instincts. That's one sort of love.
Chuck had been
in bad health for as long as I can remember, mostly due to the effects of years of
heavy smoking and a resulting cases of asthma and emphysema. Once when I was 12,
my parents called me at a party and told me to go home with a friend who was there
also. A small plane crash-landed on my grandparent's tiny street and the smoke
from the explosion triggered an asthma attack that sent him to the hospital.
By the time I went off to college at Penn, in the other end of
Philadelphia, Chuck and Fay had moved down the shore (as we say in Philadelphia)
to Atlantic City, to be near her relatives in Margate. During my last couple of
years, I worked for a behavioral geneticist who had his office in HUP, the
university's teaching hospital. In what turned out to be Chuck's last illness he
was med-evaced to HUP, where they tried angioplasties and eventually replaced a
heart valve. That operation killed him. It wasn't the doctors' fault at all; his
system was just too damaged by then to withstand general anesthesia; his kidneys
just stopped working. They performed the operation only because he would have died
almost as soon without it. Since I was on that campus and even in that hospital
every day, I was able to visit him daily. I never once saw him without Grandmom
Fay by his side, and it was then that I realized exactly why they had married each
other. It was impossible to miss.
Now, they must have been in their
fifties when they married, and they were old as far back as I can remember. I know
lots of people that age now who are nearly as young as I am in every way but
chronological age, but they weren't, and I don't think it was just my youthful
perceptions that are clouding my memory. They smoked and ate heavy foods and had
lots of health problems. They were short and dumpy, wrinkled and gray-haired. They
didn't look like Sean Connery and Sophia Loren; they looked like the sort of old
people you don't generally notice. And, it became increasingly clear as I visited
them in that hospital, they were as deeply in love as any couple I have ever met.
The wrinkles and blood pressure and the occasional presence of an oxygen machine
in their house had nothing to do with anything important. They married because
they fell in love and they stayed that way.
And death didn't part
them, though it tried. She was devastated to lose him, but she was also upset that
he had gone on without her. She told me once that they had planned to go together,
holding hands and walking out into the Atlantic Ocean in front of their apartment
until they bacame part of the ocean. Her family had a talent for dying, or maybe
an unwilingness to live alone; two sisters that had lived together for years died
within a month of each other. She manifested the family talent, dying of nothing
but age and grief within a year after he went on before her. I am very glad I paid
her a visit after I graduated college and before I moved far away; I had a feeling
it was something that needed to be done, and it was. It was the last time I saw
her. There are stories of people who die of broken hearts, but apparently it
really happens sometimes. That was when I learned that love really doesn't take
account of age or infirmity; that it can ignore wrinkles and age spots and that
Hollywood was entirely wrong in showing falling in love as a glamorous thing,
restricted to glamorous (or at least young) people.
That's not all.
My dad is not an emotional man. I think he may have misted over slightly at my
wedding, but I have only seen him crying, really crying helplessly, once in my
life and that was when Grandpop Chuck died. They were no blood relation, and I
don't know whether Grandpop Chuck and his first wife got into foster-parenting as
charity, or to earn a bit of money, or just as an act of neighborliness. (They and
my dad's birth parents knew each other and I think had all grown up together.) But
once they did it, they were able to be parents in a real way to a boy who needed
them. Parents aren't born into motherhood and fatherhood when their children
emerge from the womb; they are molded by love and responsibility. Chuck was my
dad's real father in a way that had nothing to do with the name and genes they
didn't share. My parents did OK raising us, and I can't imagine that my dad could
have done that, or could have stayed married to mom for nearly 40 years now,
without being shown what love looks like.
Crazy day at work. At the moment I'm playing hooky from the 5th of 5 meetings
today. May update later if possible.
First, congratulations to Mousepoet on the birth of his son. Any man who can describe his wife as coming through labor "like a warrior"....well, if he can pass that sensibility on to his son, the world has improved another little bit.
I goofed this morning. Since I wasn't ready to leave the house until 4:40, I decided to put on shoes, go to the gym instead of rowing, and do my rowing tomorrow. Unfortunately, I forgot that I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll just do one lap and then accompany Rudder on his planned Sunday row. We're both going flying on Sturday, which should be interesting since it will be my first time since passing the biannual a couple of months ago.
Al person que leéme in Español: Algunos partes del traducimiento (??? Como se dice translation?) son muy divertido. No hablo Español muy bien (duhhhh) pero es posible que puedo ayudarse entiendar este pagina, si lo quiere. Por ejemplo, "Abajo de una cerveza" debe a ser "Beba una cerveza." Mejor, sí?
Genibee's entry today and the last half of Kuinileti's go together in a very odd way and I'm glad I read them in that order.
Trickster, turn the world over,
it's time for a change.
Let's see what's on the other side.
Raven-black coyote, quicksilvered Puck,
Take hold of the corners,
Billow it like a bedsheet
Then toss them across, and flip
North to south, up to down.
I'll be First Woman and explore
The new land. I will name names
And learn new ways, new laws, new medicine.
Who will talk to me?
What will be the immanent fire?
Last night we lived out the slogan on a T-shirt I once bought Rudder in New
"Up a mountain. Down a beer."
It was a small
mountain, so I stuck to a small beer.
Actually, it all started when
Mechaieh and the BYM rode into town,
and I mean that literally -- over 1000 miles on a motorcycle. And people think
we're nuts. They appear to have enjoyed it, and were in good shape when we
We met by Gordon Biersch on Mill Ave, that being our local
cool-shops-and-restaurant street (though the cool shops are morphing into Gaps and
Borders these days). In deference to the BYM's dislike of chain restaurants, we
skipped Biersch (I'm not crazy about their beer anyway, though the food is good)
and went to a nearby Thai place Rudder had heard recommended.
food wasn't bad, but the most memorable part of the meal was when they served my
soup in a miniature volcano, something like a cross between a soup tureen and a
Bundt pan with a not-too-small fire burning out of the center hole. Our server
brought it out very gingerly, commenting that he was afraid the fire would melt
his polyester shirt. Unfortunately, the presentation was more picturesque than
functional, as they didn't seem to have a ladle. They did offer a large spoon, but
my Asian-style ceramic spoon had a larger capacity. Still, filling a bowl was a
After eating, we asked the restaurant to hold the
leftovers and went off to climb up 'A' Mountain. I would just like to state that
this was entirely Rudder's idea, even though he had to get up early today to row.
It was cool enough in the dark not to be unpleasant to hike up, and it's a little
mountain, only about a 15 minute hike to the top. (It's called 'A' Mountain
because there's a big A on top, for ASU, and the stadium is built into it -- you
may get a glimpse when ASU or Cardinals games are broadcast.) The valley here is
flat, except for mountains sticking up here and there, so the view from the top at
night is very good.
After that we went over to Bandersnatch for
beers -- their beer is worth chortling over and Mechaieh was charmed with the
name. After being told they wer out of milk stout, I had the chocolate stout,
Mechaieh had the barley wine, and the menfolk had IPAs. The adorable waitress had
the sort of gamine look going that keeps making me doubt my decision to grow my
hair out, not to mention considerably more functioning brain cells than our dinner
waitress. We'd only met the BYM once before, but he'd had another friend visiting
then, so we got to talk to him much more this time, which was nice -- about
everything from bikes to planes to automobile companies to software to marketing
to music. After more comfortable conversation, they left for a concert, while we
picked up the leftovers and headed home to bed, an hour or so late. Rudder is not
a happy rower today.
He made an odd comment as we were settling down
to sleep. I had commented that it seem odd how well Mechaieh and I get along
considering how unlike we are. We have quite a few interests but very few
personality traits in common. He said something like, " I don't know about that.
You have very different views on life, but you apply your views similarly." I'm
still not sure what that means, but told him I'd ask more later when we weren't
short on sleep.
I'm back, having duly cogitated. No deep thoughts hit, but I didn't really expect
them to. I did do a lot of unwinding and catching up on some things I'd meant to
do forever; not only did I let my mind empty out, but I got the basket full of
papers that site on my file cabinet nearly empty as well, And I finally
embroidered T2's smartass signature on my tablecloth as well. I also made chili. I hadn't really wanted
to go out and spend money, but I needed a few cans of beans so while I was out that way I finally got the oil changed in my truck, as well. I met my husband for lunch, something we can't usually do on weekdays due to distance. And I read and read and read.
It felt right, somehow; much better, at least, than in other years when I've worked through the holiday. Yom Kippur isn't actually meant to be a one-day festival of contrition; the whole ten days before it are for remembering and atoning for sins. Yom Kippur is the seal of all those, the day of Judgement -- and, in a case convincingly made by Baraita, mercy. Maybe I'm doing a bit of cafeteria religion here, but worshipping an infinite God(dess) in a strict and prescribed way sounds pretty silly anyway. Whatever yesterday was or wasn't, it was good for my mental health and my putative serenity. I appreciated the minutes of my day, including even the food I ate (my biggest departure from strict tradition), and the media fast did keep me from gettig sucked into the usual frenzy.
Am I making excuses? Silly of me. This is what I did. I liked it. It worked well for me. I felt bigger at the end of the day than at the beginning.
One decision that I did make was not to waste any further time online. By "wasted time", I mean time in which I am not having fun, or learning something, or getting paid. I will keep updating this journal, but I will not write when I don't have anything to say. (A much rarer occurence than you'd think; remember I didn't say "anything profound to say". But when I don't feel like writing, I won't.) I've written in this journal every day since starting it a year and a half ago, often more than once a day, except for days when I've been out of town. If I ever had anything to prove, it's proved. I will not read other journals or email lists just to keep up with them; I won't read anything online, except as required by work, unless it entertains me or teaches me. Doing recreational things out of a feeling of "ought to" is just silly, and my free time is too scarce. The only real difference to Dichroic Reflections, probably, will be the occasional skipped weekend entry.
What a weird feeling. I walked in here earlier and Rudder had an old Dichroic
entry up. He was looking at my Alaska summary while trying to index our photos
from the trip. I had told him long ago that he could read this diary if he wanted
(actually when I started it and we were nearly 3000 miles apart, I though he ought
to). We've discussed various things I've written and he was the one who suggested
his own pseudonym. I meant it when I said he could read it, too, but as far as I
know he's never actually done it before. I didn't even know he knew how to search
through it. ("I just clicked on the link, went to the archives page, got the
appropriate month, and opened the one called "Alaska Summary". OK, it's not rocket
science - and he's perfectly capable of handling rocket
Also odd is that I was in the mood to go out somewhere nice
for dinner tonight, but Olive Garden somehow sounds appealing. It may not be haute
cuisine, or even Italiano autentico (and that probably isn't real Italian either;
I'm just guessing) but their food always tastes good, and I always enjoy myself on
our infrequent visits there. Maybe it's the generous carafes of
Tomorrow I will read and read, possibly meet Rudder for luch,
listen to music, and maybe even embroider a bit. If I finally get T2's name
stitched onto my tablecloth (it's been a veryvery long time) I can take it with me
when me meet Mechaieh for dinner this week, to get the signature we discussed but
later forgot when she was here last.
I'm taking Yom Kippur off work on Monday. It's not something I usually do, but I always feel guilty when I don't. It feels a little silly to be taking the day off,
since I don't intend to go to synagogue, but somehow I do feel the need to spend a day in reflection. I have no real idea why, except that my days include almost no unscheduled time these days except on weekends, and I'm severely in need of down time.
As I think I've written before, I've never entirely understood the idea of fasting for Yom Kippur. The theory is that abstaining from food permits the mind to concentrate on Higher Thoughts, but if I go too long without eating I end up either distractingly hungry or lightheaded and dizzy to the point of uselessness. I've decided instead to do something that makes more sense to me, and go on a media fast for that day -- no radio, TV, or internet. Therefore, there won't be an entry here from sundown Sunday to sundown Monday. That should allow me to reconnect with things that are more essential to me. I'm not abstaining from books because they fall into the category of "essentials" -- I'm not sure I even have an identity left if you remove the concept of "reader" from it. People who know me would argue that I do, because they've seen me interacting with the world and other people, and it's true that I'm very engaged in it when I do it, but from the inside it feels like reading books is an even more central component of my life. Also, honestly, I have no idea what I'd do for a whole day alone if I couldn't read. Somehow hanging out at the mall, or spending money in any context, seems not to agree with the spirit of the occasion. I don't plan to row either, though I may go for a short hike.
It's sort of a hard line to draw. I've decided that even reading books online counts as being on the net. I haven't decided about magazines, but I don't really spend enough time reading them that
withdrawal is much of an issue. I'd abstain from newspapers, but then I would have anyway. I will listen to recorded music -- somehow that feels more like the category of books, for no logical reason.
If I do any writing, it will be with pen and paper. Maybe I'll play some guitar, and change the strings on my instruments. Mostly, I hope to think. But I don't know what I'm going to think about.
I'm tired of reading journals and listening to friends and not being able to tell
them what to do -- because, of course, it's easy to see that right thing to do
when you're not the one involved. Sometimes it's easy even when you are the one
involved, but seeing it and doing it aren't the same. On the other hand, I believe
that people have the right to make their own decisions, that it's rude to offer
advice unless it's asked for, and that no one takes advice anyway until they're
ready to move on it. And I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or invade their
privacy. So here is my own version of Dear Abby, with names omitted and details
left out to protect those involved. It serves no purpose except to relieve my own
mind. If you think a bit of advice may be meant for you, it likely isn't. (Some of
these aren't even people who read this diary, or who I know from the D-land
community, and I've tried to be vague enough that the rest won't be obvious.) But
if any of it feels helpful, feel free to use it. I don't imagine it will,
You're getting good experience but if you don't use it you'll waste your life.
Make plans to go back to school in a year or so.
You've got a lot right now. Remember that before you shoot for more and take the
risk of ending up with grave heartache.
Dump him. You know you should, and you know that when he cries and says he will do
better it won't last.
The company will not fall apart if you take time off when you're sick. Trust
Keep him. Peripherals are not as important as compatibility and real caring.
You've got the time, now do some writing!
COnsider if some of those things could be your own fault. Watch your temper.
Try actually caring. Cynicism is a false shelter.
Take time every day to revel in your blessings. Maybe while the baby is asleep.
Try to get more sleep.
The way he's been resisting your reasonable and normal requests? Red flag. Dump
Stand up straight!
Technical competence is important, but in your job, so are interpersonal skills.
Your people and your peers will do more work for youif you don't piss them off all
Take a good look at what he brings to the relationship. If it can't be one thing,
it should be another.
If you loosen the reins, the horse will run more easily.
There, I feel much better.
Somehow, the opposing suggestions I've been reading in various places, that people
should care less about victims of attacks in this country because we pay too
little attention to the masses who die of war, famine, AIDS, earthquakes, and
other forms of genicide in other countries, and those that we are justified in
caring about our own tragedies and to hell with other countries strike me as
Here's a suggestion instead, derived more or less
from the ideas behind the celebration of Passover, but it's not limited to Jews
and it's not limited to this attack. Care about those who died. Think of them.
Remember them. Try to get your mind around the magnitude of 3000-some deaths. Try
to get your mind around the magnitude of one death -- the concept of a living
person suddenly ending is almost as mind-boggling as the concept of birth.. And
then next time something awful happens anywhere in the world, remember how it felt
when it was you who were suffering. The point of Passover is that if you remember
how it felt to be a stranger in a strange land, you will now how to treat the
strangers in your land. Similarly, if you know how it feels to be bereaved,
mourning, shocked, or suffering, you will know how to help those who are bereaved,
mourning, shocked, or suffering.
On to forgiveness. I confess I have
seen a lot more objections to forgiving bin Laden and crew than actual proposals
that we do so, but it's a timely topic in the ten days of repentence between Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Judaism teaches that offenses against another person
cannot just be confessed and forgiven by God; they must be atoned for and forgiven
by the injured person. God only forgives for sins against God. Clearly if God
cannot forgive a sin that did not harm Him/Her, then certainly a person cannot do
so. Also, God will not, and a person is not expected to, forgive unless the person
asking forgiveness repents sincerely and does his or her best to repair the
OK, now take it out of religious context. Forgiving someone
who has not repented is not saintly, it's illogical, and fairly stupid. Forgiving
someone who does not want to be forgiven only annoys them, and tempts them to a
greater attack in the future. In the case of the September 11 attacks, of course,
some of the perpetrators are not in a position to atone, being dead and all.Since
they are either completely irrelevant or in some afterlife where they are learning
of their errors, depending on your belief, forgiving them might be all right, if
you think somehow it will help you feel better, except for one thing. You
can't forgive them the harm done to someone else. If you have not been
injured, you do not have a right to compensation for injury, so you also do not
have a right to waive that compensation (whether it be in hard currency or the
currency of apologetic words). Forgiving an injury done to someone else is not
only logically inconsistent, but intrusive, selfish, and presumptuous. It does the
true victim the additional injury of not being taken seriously.
related topic is justice. If the injurer does not repent and atone, justice may be
visited -- though justice needs to be effected by the society, not the individual
victim or else what you have is a lynch mob. The thing about justice is that it
only lives up to its name if the penalty is extracted from the actual person
guilty of committing the injury. Which is something we need to make damned sure
we're careful about if we go into Iraq.
Why do I always decide to get a powdered-sugar-covered doughnut when I'm wearing
I'm wearing dark colors because I had felt like wearing
a black outift yesterday, and didn't for fear it might look like mourning clothes.
Wearing mourning somehow seems presumptuous, since no one I know died in the
attacks (as far as I know).
Though it was shocking, during the
reading of the names from the ATC, to hear a few names of people I knew. None of
the names I recognized were terribly uncommon in areas with large Jewish
communities, like the one I grew up in. And like New York. Still, it's possible.
Northeast Philadelphia to New York City is not such a big step.
Someone at work commented that I wasn't wearing red white and blue.
No way in hell. I believe in patriotism, as I've said several times, but in
patriotism of the reasoned sort. Jingoism scares me. Also, I believe it's as
important to remember all those from other countries who died in the WTC (that
"World" in "World Trade Center" is not just window dressing, y'know) as it is to
remember all of those who weren't Jews but who died in the Holocaust. And for much
the same reason.
This is beginning to remind me of last year, when
for weeks all topics led back to the attacks on the WTC and the
Enough of that.
I realized this morning that
if I add together my rowing and erg distances, after tomorrow's planned workout
(which only includes about 2500m) I will have rowed roughly 35K this week. The
national team probably does that in a day, but I don't care. It still sounds like
a distance to be proud of for me. Besides, the National Team members don't work
for a living while they're doing their two workouts a day (though they have a hell
of a time getting funding and sponsorships and I don't want to make light of
that), whereas I am not only an Athlete in Training but also a Rising Young
Professional with a Responsible Job. (A description of my life worthy of a
professional spin doctor -- but it sounds good, doesn't it?)
been thinking of starting a weblog, because all kinds of things like the above
keep coming to mind. I always mean to put them in the day's journal entry, but
forget by the time I'm writing it. Occasionally I'll make notes, if I have a geat
idea for an essay, but all the little fluttery train-of-though bits get lost.
On the other hand, not keeping a blog may be a valuable
writing exercise. The problem with writing down everything I think is that it begs
the question of whether everything I think is worth writing down. No, on further
thought the answer to that is obvious, so rephrase the problem. It begs the
question of whether everything I originally think is worth writing down really is.
I'm fairly sure it isn't, which would mean that there's little point to having a
record of everything I thought on a given day. I honestly believe that if Internet
archives survive that long, online journals and blogs will someday be an
invaluable resource to historians hoping to study how ordinary people lived and
thought, but journals are already informal enough for that, and there comes a
point when more information is not useful but just superflous, not to mention
boring. (If I've already passed that point, I hope no one will tell me.) So no
blog, though I may try to be better about jotting thoughts down so I can judge
whether to expand on them or toss them away.
Come to think of it,
these are useful for more than just historians. There's the soap-opera
entertainment aspect of course, and the somewhat more worthy aspects of making and
keeping up with friends, and of the feedback from guestbooks and comments but
there's also a tremendous reassurance from peeking into other people's lives: Yes,
there are others who feel the way I do. Yes, there are people who have faced the
same dilemmas, and yes they survived, and here are how their choices worked out.
Yes, everyone else sometimes feels unworthy too. Reading journals may also provide
the occasional healthy smackdown: no, you don't feel things more intensely than
everyone else. No, you're not the only one who likes to use irony and can spot
hypocrisy. Yes, you're made of good stuff and you have potential; no, you're not
superior to everyone else. Yes, you deserve to be taken seriously; no, you
shouldn't take yourself too seriously. Or as Aunt Eller says in Oklahoma,
"I don't say I'm no better than anybody else, but I'll be damned if I ain't jist
as good!" What else does anyone need to hear, in the lifelong process of building
There I go, trying to be all profound again. So much for
not taking yourself too seriously!!
John LennonI never saw such hands
Malvina ReynoldsShow me the country where bombs had to fall,
Phil Ochs (who died in 1976)There were roses, roses,
Tommy SandsAll rights and all wrongs have long since blown away,
Stan RogersWhen will they ever learn?
Pete SeegerOne moment of conviction, one voice quiet and clear,
Fred SmallLight one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Peter YarrowWhat can you do with your days but work & hope
Bob FrankePeace is the bread we break
Fred SmallOseh shalom bimromav
Note: the original says "Israel", where I have written "ha'am", "the World"
Bill StainesYou may say I'm a dreamer
They said everything changed (over and)
Everything changed (over
Everything changed (over again)
Did everyone lift to help shoulder the
Or was it all Just a bump in the road?
For those who've lost someone they knew, there's
still a hole in the world, rougher-edged and slower to heal for that they were
untimely ripp'd. No one death in the September 11 attacks was any more tragic than
a thousand other deaths every day, and we need to remember that there are people
suffering just as severely for those who died on other days. But somehow, as in
war, a mass of murders together have a collective gravity. They have a cumulative
impact not just on those directly concerned but on all of the society that is
greater than the sum of their individual effects.
everything changed (over and)
Everything changed (over and)
changed (over again)
Did everyone lift to help shoulder the load
Or was it
all Just a bump in the road?
all seemed to be deeply and sincerely affected by the events of September 11 ...
for about a week, Maybe two. That's how long all the bipartisan efforts lasted,
before they resumed. Single exception: those who want to use the attacks for their
own good, either to distract the nation from the economy ("Look over there! It's a
terrorist attack!") or to seize power ("The Constitution? We can't worry about
that now; we've got bad guys to catch."
They said everything changed
Everything changed (over and)
Everything changed (over
Did everyone lift to help shoulder the load
Or was it all Just a bump
in the road?
I don't judge journalists as severely as
politicians, except maybe the big business-types in the background. There was
serious shock on those faces reporting the news last year -- at least on the first
dozen repetitions. Now, though, for many stations it may just be a chance to play
cool explosion footage over and over again. There has been some good coverage
sandwiched in with the weepy patriotic repetition, though. href="www.npr.org">NPR, my main news source, had an interesting piece on
why the anniversary coverage has been so overdone, and this morning they
had on a man, href="http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=09/10/2002&PrgID=3">Hale
Gurland, who had helped in the rescue attempt, and who had commented last year
that he was "searching for freedom" as he dug through the rubble looking for
survivors, worrying about how his country would change. This year he also had
actual insights, and unique phrasing. I'd like to hear more from
Everything changed (over again)
Did everyone lift to help
shoulder the load
Or was it all Just a bump in the road?
I could generalize (and certainly the
media often are) but I'd be wrong. Reactions seem to be everything from "Huh?" to
"Let's go kick some Osama ass!" to "I still get nightmares," to "My life changed
completely," to "I don't see much change at all," to "What am I going to watch on
TV now American Idol is over?" I've seen comments I agreed with and comments I
abhorred and comments that just left me baffled -- none of which is either bad or
surprising in a country this big and varied.
I don't know what to
think about it all, still. I didn't want to write about this at all, but as href="http://caerula.diaryland.com">Caerula wrote, it's not something you can
ignore. But somehow, I am glad my company is having a minute of silence
I should have known. Never tempt Murphy; he's fast and he's mean and he thinks
he's funny. And he's got a Law. Yesterday while waiting for my Jello to jell, I
stopped at the Aveda store for shampoo and conditioner for my gym bag (and at
J.Jill for a bunch of new shirts). Yesterday night, I carefully put the new Aveda
stuff into the gym bag, restocked Q-Tips and cotton pads, put extra undies in a
baggie to stay in the gym bag for those forgetful days -- the baggie is so they
don't have to hobnob with sweaty gym clothes). I remembered to pack underwear,
shoes, socks, and jewelry.
In the gym this morning, I told the very
nice women who laugh kindly at me whenever I forget underwear that I was now
organized, prepared with extras. Then I walked into the shower and realized that
instead of buying shampoo and conditioner, I'd bought shampoo and another kind of
shampoo. Then I got to my locker and realized I'd left my clothing hung in the
car. One of the nice women offered to go fetch it for me, but I figured it was
easier to pull the gym clothes back on and do it myself than to have her trying to
figure out where my beige Civic was parked. It wasn't until I got to work I
realized I had put a silver ring on under my engagement ring instead of on the
other hand where I meant to put it. Murphy's Law and hubris are an ugly
When I was in J.Jill yesterday, I noticed the background
music was a collection of songs by the Kennedys (Pete and Maura, not the Dead
ones). The other week, when I went with Rudder to test drive a used Jaguar (he
didn't buy it) the dealership was playing other Kennedy songs. This is beginning
to worry me. It's not that I think Pete and Maura have sold out; Pete's guitar
wizardry, Maura's pure voice, and the insightful lyrics they sneak under pop hooks
are certainly not degraded by being played in the background of places that want
to sound tasteful, yet alternative. And singer-songwriters have such a
nonlucrative job (even with several albums out and after playing backup for Nanci
Griffith for years, I bet the Kennedys don't driveJaguars) that any way
they can make aliving from their music, without compromising its quality, is fair
game. It's just that now I'm wondering if I've been buying and listening to Muzak
all these years.
Nah. See "guitar wizardry, pure voice, and
insightful lyrics", above.
Today is a Food Day. First thing this morning .... no. There was no first thing
this morning. I didn't get out of bed until 8:30. Partly it's because I was up 11
last night (couldn't sleep, went downstairs, and couldn't find anyone online to
chat with) and partly because yesterday was fairly exhausting. And partly because
sleep is a Very Very Good Thing.
When I did drag my ass out of bed,
and "drag" is certainly the appropriate word, I headed over for a grocery Trudge.
$112 dollars later, I had all the ingredients for a two-person Rosh Hashanah
dinner. We didn't have our big dinner last night on the fist day of the holiday
because we had to go to the property yesterday, since the brush pit isn't open on
Sundays. I've got dessert started (a simple jello a la Grandmom -- you know, with
the top layer mixed with whipped cream) and will later be roasting assorted
veggies and making chicken breasts in phyllo dough with lemon tarragon sauce. Wish
me luck -- I've never worked with phyllo before. I have read all the stuff about
not unwrapping it until you're ready to use it and brushing each layer with butter
or olive oil, so I think it will work out OK. Add a small salad, good bread and
some wine and we've got ourselves a dinner.
I need to do some laundry
too. I'd think I was chanelling SWWooP but I doubt she deals with jello and I'm
fairly sure she doesn't do Rosh Hashanah either.
Cutting beetle-infested trees down again today. We took a record 4 loads to the
brush pit. Off to grab some food and go to bed.
Rudder on the loose
with a chainsaw is a scary idea. Fortunately, it seems to have tired him out
thoroughly and left him sore.
It's raining, for the second day in a
Well, today was every bit as hot but somehow not quite as miserable. I took it
slow but did manage to eke out over 10K. (Note to SWWooP: Actually, I don't get up
at 5:30 to row. I get up at *four*, and have dressed, driven to the lake, carried
the boat and oars down, and am on the water promptly at five.) (Second note to
SwooP: I've never quite gotten the acronym. Shouldn't that be SWWoP? For "She Who
Was Once Phelps"? Or even SWoKaP, if you want to stick in a "known as", Prince-
style? Just curious.)
Here is the big news: the weather forecast I
just checked is predicting double-digit temperatures here this weekend -- highs
well under the 100s. On Sunday, the low is supposed to be 72. This is worth
celebrating. Too bad none of those cool breezes made it in time for this morning's
In news that a more rational person would consider even
bigger, I have accepted a position offered to me by the company I work at. The
drawback is that I have to become a real employee instead of a contractor, which
translates to a fairly major pay cut. (The company has great benefits but they
don't really make up for hard cash, though I will enjoy getting 3 weeks/year
vacation.) The advantage is that I'll be getting a lot of useful training and
experience and will be working on some interesting stuff -- though I think there
will also be plenty of opportunities to be a visible part of a fairly spectacular
failure. I'll try to avoid that -- not so much the visibility as the failure. And
this is supposed to lead to lots of new opportunities. Of course, that's what they
told me at the last job, but this company has a far better track record. Plus,
even after the pay cut, they'll be paying me more. I've said hat I don't want to
start until the end of next month, which (my secret motive) gives me an extra two
months to sock away that contractor pay, in addition to allowing me to finish up a
bunch of stuff and stay here through a major upcoming audit (the public
So I'm looking forward to that, but mostly I'm just happy to
be looking at a weekend where I can go outside without feeling like I've stepped
onto a frying pan. Tomorrow Rudder and I are headed back up to the property for
the day, to cut down the bigger trees that have succumbed to bark beetles. This
will entail use of a chain saw, something I had hoped to avoid. (I'm not sure if
Rudder has used one. He's from Oregon and appears to have logger genes -- not to
mention a grandpa who still splits his own two cords of wood and then more for the
neighbors -- so he may well have.) We've got some obnoxiously bright orange Kevlar
chaps to keep us from slicing off any legs, so all should be well, though if you
haven't heard from me by Monday you can speculate about what's happened to my
Later addendum: Odd. Just went to get lunch, planning to
post this while eating. In the cafeteria a total stranger just told me the "shape
of the back of my hair is cute", Sort of strange, since it's in the early stages
of grpwing-out-hell. At the moment I've been encouraging it to curl, with a good
bit of gel, so it's a very boyish look -- not that it wasn't already -- and the
longest bits are maybe 3" long. I'm still ambivalent about the whole growing-out
thing; I think I have been since spotting a woman at the GBS concert last month
who was looking awfully cute in hair as short as mine had been. I wish that
growing it out took longer, or that I could put up long hair so that it looked the
way it does short.
Last night I was browsing through the Nordstrom catalog (yes, still in
materialistic mode), lamenting all those wonderful suedes and wools I couldn't buy
because it's never cool enough here to wear them. Usually it's the LL Bean Fall
catalog that gives me that nostalgia for changing seasons; this year for some
reason it was Nordstrom and J.Jill. Maybe I'm just getting tired of Bean's
clothes being made for someone with the figure of an ancient fertility goddess:
swelling out above and below a small waist, short limbs. In other words, not
Getting wistful over Fall clothes is an annual manifestation of
my general nostalgia for proper seasons. It's way too damn hot for nearly half the
year here, yes, but that's only a part of my problems with this intemperate
climate. The other problem is that without bracing breezes in Fall and newly-balmy
ones in Spring, hot but saunterable days in Summer and snowy gray winters I am
lost in the year and ungrounded. I need that cycle to satisfy my love of change
and to give me milestones in time, so that I know when I am.
markers of Fall are that first crisp breeze that brings the unmistakeable aroma of
the season, the pulling out of sweaters from storage and starting to wear a
jacket, the first piles of leaves to walk through, and yes, the beginning of
school and all the rituals appertaining thereto. And the holidays; Labor Day is
really still part of summer, but Halloween and Thanksgiving belong to Fall, with
their decorations that imitate the colors Nature dresses in then. The end of the
season is marked with the first wearing of winter coats and the real Christmas
season (as opposed to the September shopping of the highly-organized Marthas and
the advertising retailers begin in August). Despite what the calendar says,
September is Fall and December is Winter.
Fall is the nesting season
for humans. Summer is to be spent out of doors as much as possible (another area
in which this desert climate fails we -- we spend summer in air-conditioning
whenever possible). Fall brings cold rain, wind, and then sleet, and getting a
home ready for winter suddenly looks like fun. Candles, flannel sheets, and sofa
throws all seem like good ideas, and all those warm colors that looked too heavy
in summer start looking homey again.
This is what I'm supposed to be
feeling like in Fall, but it's not easy when the thermometer hit 111F yesterday
and it will be weeks until we can even hope for consistent highs in the 90s. And
wearing short sleeves in February is somehow just wrong. Yes, our February weather
is wonderful, but I'd like it better if it came in about May.
On another topic, check out a couple of interesting perspectives on free speech in
3e">article by Penn president Judith Rodin and in the response to the article.
Last night I recited some of my I-want list to Rudder -- all of it I could
remember, laying there in bed, which is the only place we seem to have that sort
of discussion. (Unfortunate, since it cuts into sleep time, and not very nice of
me, since he had to get up at 4 to row while I only had to get up at 5 for the
gym. But he always falls asleep while I'm still talking, so it balances out.) His
comment: "It's surprising how many of those are mutually exclusive."
Well, yeah. If they weren't mutually exclusive, they'd be possible (some of them -
- I'd also like to be able to fly like Superman, and row like Steve Redgrave, but
those weren't on last night's list). And if they were possible, I could go get
them. I've already gotten many of the things (material and otherwise) I wanted,
and I am grateful. There are some few things I want (e.g. new living room
furniture without a depleted savings account) that are possible with some planning
, an that's good too. It gives me something to look forward to plus somehting
unattainable to yearn for, and what's a life without both of those?
I am out of joint with my time, though. I have no problem with wanting things and
experiences; I'm resigned to being materialistic as far as daily comfort is
concerned, and in some insteances, wanting is related to yearning, which, as I've
said, is an important part of being human. It's the first spur to growth. But this
isn't the time for that. September has felt like less of a new year for me since I
haven't had the start of school as a built-in reminder. It is a new year, though,
in the Jewish liturgy, and these few weeks before it are meant to be dedicated to
study and contemplation, as the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is
dedicated to repentance. (See href="http://www.baraita.net/blog"Baraita's recent sermon for a better and
fuller perspective.) I am not terribly observant, as is clearly shown by the
decade or so since I've attended a synagogue service, but both the Torah and Jimmy
Buffet(*) say it's a good thing to stop and think every year or so, and when you
get advice from sources that disparate, you know it's probably got some universal
value. It's a time to turn back, to turn inward, before plunging into another
year, a time for resolving to be a better person, instead of just a more fit one
or a more diligent one as typical January resolutions would have it.
*In both When the Coast is Clear:
That's when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear
and Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes:
I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
wonderin' where they all disappeared.
Feh. Ugh. Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I wrote that mornings were finally
cooling down? Well, apparently it was just a tease. The heat is
This morning's row was purely miserable because of that. I was
hoping to finish 10K, but at about 8000, I started to think about how this is
supposed to be something I do for fun. That convinced me to turn around and head
it, because it wasn't being fun at all, not one bit. I ended up rowing about 9200
meters, none of it at much pressure.
I wish we could just build our
house up on the Airpark property and move in. That's a perfect climate, four
seasons but none too extreme. And also a proper appreciation for community
fireworks, apparently. On Saturday, they had all their July 4 activities, because
the whole town had been evacuated due to the
Rodeo-Chediski fire back when it was originally scheduled. I had heard and
forgotten about the postponement; fortunately a neighbor reminded us about the
fireworks show in time.
Wow. Just wow.
These days, when
they're refer to that community they motly call it "Heber-Overgaard", because the
towns are contiguous, but even when you consider them together, it's a small town.
That's why we were so surprised at how good the fireworls were. They were as
spectacular as any I'd seen, lasted well over least half an hour, and
included some effects I'd never seen -- 3 colors of sparks insterspersed together,
or one that opened out into the shape of a five-pointed star.
the last quarter of the show, though, when my eyes had glazed over a bit and the
"oohs" and "ahs" around us were starting to sound automatic, I started to think
about the way fireworks shows used to be, back when I was a wee lass. You'd get to
the park, stake out a spot, spread your blanket and wait. FInally they'd shoot up
the first rocket, and it would burst in spangles across the sky. You'd stare at it
because it was the most beautiful thing you'd seen since last July 4th. The
firework would dissipate and all the sparks would flicker out, then you'd wait
there in the dark for a few minutes until they shot up another one, or maybe
another set of them, if it was a big show. After maybe ten of these, the pauses
between would start to seem longer and longer, and after each one, you'd wonder if
this was the end. And that, young boys and girls, is why fireworks shows always
have grand finales. In days of yore, you needed something to tell you when it was
really finished and not just momentarily dormant. When it did end. you went home
wanting more, wishing the show could have lasted longer.
are better now than they were then, and I wouldn't want to go back to the long
wait for each one, but shows that go on for so long you get tired of them tend to
destroy the mystique and sense of wonder that make fireworks so magical in the
Something irrelevant I learned last night: there's
actually a Great Big Sea song in the soundtrack to Something About Mary.
A little girl who may be themost wanted
baby in the world is being born right now and I'm sending all my best
wishes her way, not just for an easy birth but for a life so wonderful that it
makes all her mother's worries and tears worth it all. (I think Heidi will think
it was worth it no matter what, though!)
We came hom last night after
a couple of days camping on the property, clear
out still more low branches and dead wood and attending the annual homeowners'
meeting. Urgh. That went on much longer than expected; they're makig some changes
to the CC&Rs, and there is not much agreement on what to change. I must confess
that I spoke up enough that I really shouldn't complain. It drives me nuts,
though, when the document's exact words say things that are clearly not the
intended meaning. This is a legal and binding document, and a change in personnel
could lead to conditions being enforced that no one really wants. One example is
motorhomes; as written, it now reads that motorhomes cannot be set up on a
property except while building is going on. Well, that's not what they mean. No
one objects to people occasionally camping out on their own lot; they just don't
want motorhomes permanently out in view. So now they're changing the rules to
allow them to be used "not more than 15 days per year", as if anyone's going to
We had a very upsetting realization while we were there. All
of our Ponderosa pines seem to have contracted bark beetles. The tallest tree on
our lot is dead, as well as several smaller ones. Several more are showing signs
of infestation and I think we may lose all but the little seedlings. We cut down
some of the smaller ones and will buy a chain saw and go up next week and take out
the big one. I feel like a tree murderer. Thank goodness we have some other types
of pines on the land as well. Today's projects: sleep late (done) and shop for a