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December 2003
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friday five (on saturday)

Morgaine this week:

Well, I've been thinking about absent friends - the people you just aren't in contact with any more, for whatever reason. Maybe it was intentional, on either of your parts, maybe there is something unresolved between you, maybe you just lost a phone number or address and you would be in touch, if only you could! - so:

Who are the five people from your past you would most like to be able to see, speak to or simply communicate with, by whatever means? Why did you lost touch? What would you tell them if only you had the chance - without fear of major repercussions, especially if that's why you haven't been in touch already!

The one is perhaps the most serious:

1) My mother's brother, who died well before I was born. He could answer so many questions, really, and help me figure out why there are all of these gaps in the family narratives. However, my time travel skillz are not mad, so this one is out o' the question.

The rest are just kind of "whatever-happened-to..." sorts of queries. I don't really have that many unresolved issues and intentional rifts.

2) Lisa Trimber. One of my best friends in high school. We lost touch when we both went to different colleges. Her parents were strict Catholics and Lisa apparently rebelled after she left home. Rumor has it--based on reports from my last high school reunion, which I missed--that she is currently a dominatrix living in Columbus, Ohio. No, really.

3) Dave Brzozowski. The first of many geeky artist crushes that I've had. Dave (and, yes, that is his real last name and not a series of typos) and I did summer stock together in Pittsburgh. He was a couple of years older and went to Penn State. We used to write each other long, strange letters. His were always filled with wonderful drawings. I think he always saw me as more of the little sister type. Ah, well. We simply lost touch.

(Strangely, I recently rediscovered the whereabouts of yet another geeky artist crush I had in high school--one Malchus Janocko. Yes, that is his real name. But that is a story for a different day...)

4) Laura Ashley. No, not the retail store. Also her real name, which she received long before the purveyor of milkmaid frocks made it on these shores. High school. Lost touch. Notice the trend? I suppose that's what happens when you leave town after graduation and never really come back.

5) Michael Dalmon, an actor I knew in Austin. We just got weird around one another after a very strange night, the details of which seem to be lost in a haze of smoke and liquor. Just always wondered what happened to him and if he ever made it to rehab.

Other fivers in the left list...

more on falkner fox

Who do I think is forcing me to act like someone I'm not? Some days, it honestly feels as if there's a roving mother patrol out there checking up on me, making sure I'm spending the requisite number of hours doing the trivial shit that everyone else seems to think is so important for kids' well-being. Like buying matching Thomas the Tank Engine napkins and plates for my son's birthday party. I did this once, at a place called Party Pig. The sub-50 temperatures maintained by massive air-conditioners blowing interminably, the bad Beatles songs, the insane amount of plastic, the depressed salespeople, the sugared-up wailing kids -- this is hell.

But still, I feel judgment when my son has plain yellow plates at his party. Doesn't he like trains? Doesn't he like Thomas? Sure he does. But I think he also likes a mother who is not a basket case. I actually think he likes that more. Of course, I could be wrong -- Thomas is pretty cool -- but even so, I will never voluntarily go back to Party Pig.

Finally got around to reading this and loved it. The parenting frenzy sent Ms F to an ashram...

more on spalding gray

Inevitably, the progress also came with a downside. “Doctors will tell you that the problem with the recovery of a person in his depressed state is that you have to be very careful,” [Gray's wife] Russo says. “Because that can also mean that they’re finally organized enough to carry something out.”

Excellent piece in this week's New York magazine on Spalding Gray. Not only does it give a good primer on both Gray and mental illness, it also hints that shrinks may band together to make their patients boycott the movie Big Fish.

Nipped from Gawker.


My drive home from yoga last night was serene. Not because of the yoga, which helped quite a bit, granted, but because of the snow. It was like driving through a snow globe that had been recently upended. Streets were fairly empty, made even moreso by the town's law that your vehicle can't be parked on the side of the road if there's more than two inches of snow expected. A good thing--both for plows and less-professional drivers who like to not have to worry about hitting someone's car. Driving in the snow is kinda fun, if you're not in a hurry and the path is short. I just turned up the V-roys and crept along. By the time I got home, the town had that snow hush, like the sound waves themselves had snuggled in for the night.

This morning, classes were cancelled. Given how undaunted most Yankees are about snow, this should tell you how deep it is. From my home office, I can watch intrepid (and stupid) drivers slide down the hill on the corner. Plows are out, but with the snow still falling, they aren't making much headway. A good day to stay inside and do something I've been meaning to get to.

I've set up two photo albums. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. A word of warning--something is strange either in my camera or on the scanner (or both) and the quality is rough. Soon, I shall do something about this. But it will require leaving the house, which isn't going to happen soon.

Two more pixs that I found. Here's me in July of '72. Here's Maddy at about the same age. Yeah, it is uncanny. But there are differences. I promise.

Oh and here is the woman she is named after, my great-grandmother in a picture also from 1972.

And, now, to make hot chocolate and watch the flakes. And by "flakes" I mean the undergrads in the rental house across the street...

slavery. here. now.

An intersection:

First, Peter Landesman's story in the Sunday NYT mag about U.S. sex slavery:

Bales estimates that there are 30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time. Laura Lederer, a senior State Department adviser on trafficking, told me, ''We're not finding victims in the United States because we're not looking for them.''

It is a haunting piece and brutal.

But it collides nicely (for relative definitions of "nice") with this discussion on Making Light about the girls of Short Creek, a fundamentalist latter-day saints' (FLDS) town that squats on the Arizona/Utah border:

Teenage girls are assigned to much older and already-married husbands, essentially as chattel, in much the same spirit in which an Anglo-Saxon leader would hand out gold rings to his followers. This monopoly has made multiple wives an index of status and favor for men in the community.

Don’t imagine these households as cheery group or line marriages. Most of these women are leading bleak, impoverished, hopelessly dreary lives.

What's most striking to me, at least, is the similarity of these examples. It goes beyond the mechanics of how you break a young child's will to the vivid exploration of how little is being done about this. I suspect most Americans know more about Bennifer's break-up than what goes on in FLDS strongholds and suburban basements. And I'm not sure why that is, although I'd welcome any insight.

And for more on the FLDS and their pathological wackiness, check out Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, which is nominally about a brutal murder of a woman who dared question the FLDS lifestyle but is also a great primer on all that is Mormon.

Some have questioned these biographical details behind Greenwood's declarations, but I won't. He's a singer/songwriter, and not necessarily the guy he's singing about. Greenwood wasn't necessarily a volunteer soldier or an ideal husband. Johnny Cash didn't necessarily shoot a man in Reno.

My former co-worker Jack Neely takes on Lee Greenwood's horrid ditty about the U.S.A. Essays like this make me thrilled that I do know Jack. It's a shame, however, that Greenwood (and his supporters) will probably miss both the point and the references.

busy, busy

Sorry about the recent lack of updates. The term just started and I'm teaching one more section of Comm 100 than I thought I would be. While I'd like to say it's because I'm such a wonderful prof., I suspect it has more to do with being available when they needed someone. Still, the extra cash will be nice, but I'm trying to get the hang of the new schedule. Should be on it by next week and then there will be no stopping me. *snort*

In other news, it is snowing. And it seems that my agent is avoiding me. And my latest irritation is folks who won't return phone calls/queries. Seriously--I don't care so much if the answer is no, just as long as it's an answer. The constant limbo is tedious, at best.

It's probably chapping my bottom more than usual as of late because the Diva has now decided that nights are not for sleeping, but for chatting and/or shrieking. This, too, shall pass, but I am very, very sleepy. I dream of luxury hotels where I could sleep the day away, ensconced in high-thread count cotton sheets and have a maid. A view would be nice as well, but I shan't be picky...

more miscellany

* Any amateur dream interpreters are welcome to have a go at this one, which I had last night (A note: normally, I won't share dreams, just because mine are pretty run o' the mill. This one, however, has a high amusement value.): So in the dream we were moving again, hired movers like saner people would and just had just arrived in the new house. For reasons that are unclear, I decided to walk to the truck depot, which was a mile or two away, to ride to the new house with them. For reasons that are even more unclear, I decided to make this walk with my 24-pound child in my arms--so by the time I actually got to said depot, I was exhausted. The place is enormous and full of other people's furniture, which they are selling. I track someone down and ask her about my truck. She looks it up. It's not coming, she says. Why? I ask. It was impounded on the PA border, she says, because New York State just passed a law banning Def Leppard albums, which they found in one of your boxes.

Even in my dreams, my music collection isn't cool enough.

* On knitting: Bing and Bong (Tiny Planets dynamic duo) had a whole episode about knitting this morning. Bing is quite the crafter.

* Jon Wertheim has released his Aussie Open seed report. I hope he's right about Agassi. Warns my heart to think of someone my age (in exponentially better shape, granted) winning the whole burrito. Course, Wertheim's usually wrong, but still a great read. Plus, he's also a David Foster Wallace fan, which has always made me want to have a beer with him. For what that's worth.

I think I need more coffee...

friday five

Marvin today:

I don't usually remember my sleeping dreams, but sometimes I do. I have a handful stored away in my mind, dreams that for one reason or another have stayed with me over the years from childhood on through today. What are your five most notable dreams; when and where did they happen; and what do they mean to you?

In no order, really:

1. One of those recurring dreams that I had for a few years when the fam was living in Atlanta, which means I must have been 6 or 7--In the dream I would wander down to the basement and discover my parents in front of an old school mad scientist's rig (you know--bubbling beakers and the like). They would swill one of their potions and both change from my parents into big scary monsters who would try to eat me. Any shrink worth his leather couch would have a field day, especially since these years were when the 'rents were realizing that they shouldn't be married anymore.

2. The details of the dreams I had during the last few weeks of pregnancy are no longer fresh--but on the whole the dreams were blood-drenched, violent and grotesquely erotic.

3. Another recurring dream that kept popping up during the years we lived in Knoxville. The ceiling fan in the bedroom was actually a big giant spider that was scurrying down to do something horrific to me. Given that I also tend towards night terrors, this usually led to screaming my lungs out at 3 a.m., which simply scared the bejesus out of Scott. I would then drop right back off to sleep, while he would lie in the dark and wait for the adrenaline to fade. He puts up with a lot, Scott does.

4. Duran Duran's John Taylor. I was barely a teenager. There was licking involved.

5. Most recently, heart-stopping nightmares in which we have one day to move again. Ah, the horror.

Other Fivers on the left list.