March 03, 2003

Two days after the snow, I was outside lounging with the dogs in the sun. Today I wore shorts and a tshirt to take them to the park. The weather is odd, but I still have this nagging little do-nothing cold. It hasn't gotten worse, but it's not over yet. Michael caught it and it hit him much harder. But then, he smokes and won't take the medicine I offer him. So there you go.

I would have been at work today except that one of my coworkers wanted some extra money, so he worked for me. I didn't get to all the housecleaning I promised myself, but I did take two little naps, the kind where you're not even sure if you slept or not, or if what you're thinking at the time is a dream or not. There's that little grey area between the two that can lead to some strange experiences. But usually they aren't worth recounting. I did wash my bedclothes and quilt. My sheets were bought at a yardsale recently and I don't use any others anymore; I just wash and dry them the same day and put them back on. They are an indescribably soft cotton, not really satiny, but very smooth and delicious to lie upon.

The book that's kept me company through this new cold is Walk Two Moons, which won the Newbery Medal for Sharon Creech. Sal is a 13-year-old girl on a cross-country journey with her grandparents to visit her runaway mother (this seems to be a very common motif in teen novels). She thinks she is going to convince her mother to return home; along the way she is telling us her story and telling her grandparents her friend Phoebe's story, whose mother is also a runaway, but Phoebe turns her story into a sinister mystery. Stories within stories, things about Sal and Phoebe are revealed only in slow, minute details that build in little guilts and grievances: Sal's stillborn sister, Phoebe's widowed neigbour, a past separation of the grandparents. One of the mysteries is that someone is leaving cryptic notes on Phoebe's doorstep before and after her mother disappears, including "You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.". This is one of those books you don't want to put down but you don't want to end either.

February 22

Miss Irene whose entertainment center I have been working on called last night and said she needed me to come over to connect her digital cable to her surround sound and that she would call me right after church. She was going to feed me and my roommate too. So I took the boys (and Beyla this time too because it was just so pretty) to the park early. By 12:30 she still hadn't called, so I had to eat leftover Philly cheesesteak pizza with jalapeños. Then she calls at 1:30, so I went over there and had to eat fried chicken, dirty rice, and chocolate cake on top of the pizza just to be polite.

I got everything connected, and we sat around gossiping about people at work. K left her husband and she's sleeping with J, who is S's bf and who works with K's husband. And they were all at a party last night I wish now I had gone to. But I came home bloated on food and soap opera, so I made my way to the gym, and I just got home.

Today is the last day of my regular 4-day weekend haha. I work 3 12-hour shifts in an emergency room in a hospital, then have 4 days off. The days on aren't as rough as they may sound, but the days off are not as long as they sound. I had to make 3 visits to a customer who bought a computer from me a few weeks ago. Her name is Janet but I call her Crazy Lady. She's 73 and still trying to work as a headhunter for engineers, a business she took over from her dead husband and runs from her house with the help of her creepy divorced, chain-smoking son. She's a nice enough lady, but I'm tired of her screwed-up house. She even has an old blind and deaf dog who is very sweet and well-loved, but pitiful. As for the service calls, the first was because someone had got on her computer and installed all kinds of viruses, though not in the usual sense. I'm including all porn-site loaders and homepage hijackers that lacivious surfers ignorantly install trying to get a quick fix of something, whether it's "Bargain Buddy" or "Lovely Ladies of Leather", both of which made it on this computer, among many others. CL and Sleazy both claim they didn't do it, and it may have been one of sleazy's friends that came over to use the computer. But it was so clogged and useless I had to take it home and reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows and all my goodies. I took it back the next day and she swore she wouldn't let anyone else use it but for her business. We'll see.

Saturday morning she calls as I'm getting ready to go to yardsales, one of my most sacred of weekly rituals. The computer "won't boot" now. A buddy usually goes yardsaling with me, so we went, but I swung by her house to see. And to show him she is indeed crazy, so now I have a witness. The monitor had come unplugged in back, so that was easy. I screwed it in tight this time and we were back on the road.

I'm supposed to go to another friend's house today to hook her digital cable into her entertainment system, but she hasn't called yet, so I've just been piddling around the house. Read the Sunday paper and took the dogs to the park. It seems like Spring is here already. There are crocuses and jonquils blooming in my yard.

March 5

Looks like it's going to rain soon. I just got back from Bishop Park and the tennis players were all running for their cars like they were scared of getting hit by lightning. Jackson found THREE tennis balls, and managed to get them all in his mouth and carry them to the car. That's a record for him. He's tried to get 3 in his mouth, but be's always dropped one trying. Maybe his mouth is getting bigger or the balls weren't as full and rigid.

I'm not going to get a rat today. I'm resting and doing housework (3 loads of laundry so far). I also need to work on the computers some. I'm ready to sell some more haha. I just paid the rent and I'm very low on money. It will be tight tomorrow for yardsales, and I may not be able to go out of town next week. But we can still do things together.

Lucinda's concert is tonight and I'm very stoked about that, even though I'm not over the little cold thing and I don't look forward to losing sleep. But I'm going to try to take a nap after supper tonight. The concert is listed as 9, but that usually means when the doors open, and she is notorious for starting late. The first time I went to see her, it was supposed to start at 10 and she didn't get on stage till 12:30. You can only be pissed so long, once she starts performing. And the second concert was even more amazing. And I think her last CD is better than the two before it.

If I go get a rat tomorrow, though, you are welcome to watch Benjamin eat. And no matter how broke I am, yardsales are on. So call me if you want to do that. I haven't gotten the paper today, so I don't know how they look. And if it rains tomorrow, that will change things.

March 29

One motivation for me is that this is my New Year's. My trip to York, SC, to hear Anonymous 4 was something of a pilgrimage to me. Not just because they were performing a religious music programme, but because music is a big part of my religion. It doesn't have to be gospel music to be spiritual to me; that's just the nature of music. But this WAS gospel music and it really moved me. It was very expensive to rent a car and motel room, and even though this is far from their best work, it was worth the trip. It helped get me in the mood for Passover and Easter, which I celebrated this weekend.

Passover and Easter was very lowkey for me this year. Thursday I ate lamb and matzo (unleavened bread) and drank some kosher wine and did a little ceremony with herbs, salt, and honey. And by Sunday I was feeling the effects of the joy of the season. I'm still going home for the tradition Easter in April, because I have to help hide the eggs. My mother's egg hunt is almost a community event. Last year we hid over 400 plastic eggs filled with jelly beans, Hershey's kisses, and nickels.

Today was the last of the rituals. I shaved my head. The last month of hair is so maddening—— it's always in my eyes, it's hard to manage, it never looks right, it's too hot. Shaving it off is an act of liberation as well as a nod to Spring. And I LOVE the feel of it. I spend the first couple of weeks just running my hand over it. I went to work today for an hour or so, and the women rubbed it too heh heh. So it's worth the wait and worth the effort.

I went to a birthday party Saturday night for a nurse from work. I usually don't join in those social work events; I feel like I see them more than enough 12 hours three days a week. But the guest of honour is a very sweet girl I like a lot, so I went. It was crazy. We went to this Cuban restaurant called Caliente Cab. When it first opened here it was nothing but a rundown trailer on an empty lot and a few rickety picnic tables. Now it has spread to take over a huge area, mostly open air, on both sides of a creek running through the lot, but the service is still the same. You wait in line and order from a window and take a number and they finally bring your food out on paper plates in wicker holders. The foods not even that great. But it was packed Saturday night. And it didn't take long to figure out why. Everyone was bringing his own drinks. Coolers and sixpacks of beer. Big jugs of daiquiri and margarita mixes. Most of them weren't even eating there, just drinking and partying. So many frat and sorority people there a smaller Hispanic contingency. Standing behind us in line to order was an Aztec Iggy Pop, if you can imagine that, very spooky. It was actually kinda fun watching everyone, though it l was too noisy to enjoy the company of our party all that much.

My present was a book, of course, Stargirl, which I mentioned in my last letter. This is the note I put in the front:

Here is a story that nearly brought me
to tears when I read it because it showed
me how good we could be. A gospel story,
then. Like all good stories, I didn't want it
to end, and maybe it's really up to us to see
that it doesn't. I hope you enjoy, and if you do,
pass it along to someone else it may change
for the better.

It was a moment of inspiration, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw how much the book was like a gospel. A strange girl comes out of nowhere to a new high school and alters everyone's life. She is viewed with suspicion at first but then wins over her followers with her unflappable goodness and individual strength. She breaks the rules of society she sees as contrary to good sense, falls out of favour and is villainised, then figuratively rises from the dead to make a final showing and prove that she was right all along to those who really see the truth. Having said all this, it's not a preachy story at all. It's full of magic and odd moments. And just when you think everything's working out in the end, there is this touch of sadness to it all.