dubious attics & barge-driving lessons & groundhog hillside & artificial sight

lisa and merritt have moved into another big old house with a mansion-sized fireplace and rooms without 90 degree angles– instead the sides of rooms angle gently inward, forming outside alcove courtyards. lisa is selling shares in some enormous roll of carpeting that they’ve gotten ahold of, and I buy in and then immediately regret it because I know I can’t afford it. I keep wanting to see the attic and then being told all over again that it’s not a good idea and going, oh, yeah. right. I forget now what’s wrong with it, but something ominous.

there are barge-driving lessons on the river, and I’m taking part. there is some discussion of a canoe-type boat and whether or not it’s what people are calling a tanker.

I’m walking across a hillside, my arms swinging at my sides, when the knuckles of my right hand brush over one of the many holes in the ground– and something clamps on– not painfully, just alarming me. I look down, and in my hand is a prairie dog (though the word in my head in the dream is “groundhog”). I shake it off, and, there, still in my hand, is it’s baby. it’s miniature and adorable, and I think about hanging on to it as a pet, but then think better of it and place it gently at the mouth of the burrow it’s parent has disappeared down. I continue across the hillside, realizing the ground is full of burrows and small creatures, vulnerable at my feet.

someone points out a man in the room and tells me he has artificial sight– he was blind in one eye, and another of the tenants devised the solution– there’s a chip implanted, not in the damaged eye, but rather in the tip of his nose– it’s mapped to a vast universe of coordinates the designer has spent the last twenty years plotting. he shows me examples of the patterns penciled on the wall of the room, travelling all over it, describing it entirely.

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busy brain

these days as soon as I wake up, the dreams fly right out of the room, driven by the force of whatever waking idea comes barrelling in. this morning I wake up writing part of my dissertation, fleshing out an idea on the page by using the puppet-people from my dreams themselves to play out the discussion with one another or else sitting at a desk writing out the ideas I intend to, and do, get to myself once I’m more awake.

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homeowner to-do list

3:30 a.m., post-bath.

– connect roof vent tube to bathroom vent, reconnect fan
– back bedroom: paint walls, floors, closets; put in low cupboards on eaves closets, built in shelving above; put rods in closets proper
– stairway: runner; shelves?
– fix up basement front room for a workspace: add shelving; paint walls, ceiling, floor; put in carpeting? area rugs?; get new dehumidifier; figure out why dehumidifier keeps tripping the circuit breaker
– laundry room: add three-quarter bath; paint to brighten walls, ceiling, floor
– all basement: new window well windows to brighten

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perennial overwhelm

sometimes, even tho there’s never any question about any possibility of keeping all these balls in the air, I drive myself nuts trying. sometimes, when my head aches for two days straight like this, I suspect it might be ready to blow. sometimes I’m juggling jobs, for pay or pro bono (though in my line of work that’s more the rule and therefore seldom named as such). often what I’m juggling is sarahs— the poety sarah, the teachery sarah, the researcher-scholar sarah, the friend sarah, the sister sarah, the hermit sarah, the cut-to-the-chase-and-say-what-nobody-else-is-willing-to-air sarah, the movie-watcher sarah, the hikey-campy sarah (god, somebody please wake her up– it’s been like a hundred years already), the arty sarah, the hand-makey book sarah, the homeowner sarah, the bill-and-tax-payer sarah… phew. that’s all I have the energy to track at the moment. but, believe you me, it’s a house of mirrors in here (and you thought juggling out in the open was difficult…)

so sometimes I put on the socks with the individual toe sockets and no-skid ladybugs on the bottoms and feel better instantly.

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food poisoning

okay, so refried beans not, probably, the culprit. still waiting for the alien to bust out. please please get it out of me.

oh right– ides of march. how appropriate.

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unholy frijoles

it’s really hard to know for sure whether the refried bean is your best friend or your worst enemy. one day it’s a marvelous uberfood: tasty, easy to eat, filling, packed with protein– but then another–[queue dramatic music] duhn duhn duhn— it’s got you in its evil clutches, up with middle-of-the-night throes of zinging pain accompanied by unsavory emissions.

such flip-flopping behavior is just no good in a relied-upon food.

and a dilemma– of course I’m going to throw out the rest of that can of beans– but what about the three others I got at the same time? are their contents part of the same tainted batch? and I constitutionally loathe waste. so do I risk another (or potentially *three*) excruciating night(s) up in the wee hours? I suppose I could give the unopened and suspect cans to the food bank, but that seems like a rather shabby trick– potentially! because who knows! friend or foe?

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in which thefacebook.com lets me down

I am so very very sad at the moment. not only to learn that the father of a dear friend of mine died recently– and, no, I do not include this in this post in any glib way. quite frankly, not only is it awful news, impossible to respond to other than lamely and uselessly, painful to sit by while a friend suffers. also it’s a wake-up call for me with all my blather– that there are far more weighty and grievous things going on in the world, and that perhaps I ought not to be quite so blythe and irritating. also that my own parents are no vernal poultry. and I’ve no idea how I’m going to react when the inevitable comes to pass, as it does more and more frequently for my contemporaries. either that or long-term care necessities. the stuff of real life.

with this perspective, what does it really matter that my new toy only allows membership to the micro-section of the population who happen to have .edu email addresses?… only that I’ve just emailed a whole slew of my favorite people, prompted, probably foolishly, to mash the “Invite” button. and now they’re going to be not only pestered with my group-emailing but also frustrated should they actually attempt to join. gr. and feh.

evidently it’s time for my nap.

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o donuts

so like the shape I wear around my middle, cast in flesh, perhaps in an effort to become one of you… how you croon to me from the glass-fronted case of the supermarket: “eat me… eeeeeaaaat me.” or at least the bavarian cream among you. lord help me, I am fortunate that his brethren keep mum. else I could not resist, as I so usually do, in my travels through the flourescent-incandesced aisles in search of more necessary and healthful good.

(as an aside, every time I get an automated email message from donotreply@whateverdomain.com, I read it “donut reply” at first and get an inkling I’m being offered treats. or being hailed by smart pastries, which is rather more unsettling.)

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yikes, I have OPINIONS

who knew? well, okay, so my students know it quite well. also people who’ve been in classes I took myself as a student. the classroom is, apparently, a forum where I feel comfortable, nay, compelled to air my position– I sometimes fear, annoyingly so. but in the rest of the world not so much. not so much online, where I’ve tended to retreat into the un-accountability of my dreams. how’s that for slippery? just try to call me on what I said, buster– it’s a dream! ha! hm. possibly a lame device. I certainly hope that’s not the only reason I’ve been doing it all these years. scary thought. the truth is, there are just very different rhetorical goals and strategies that we can serve by writing or talking– and I’ve tended to largely steer clear of the argumentative. small wonder, knowing my dad. but somehow I feel like I’m coming into it now. like it’s okay– to use more of my palette, work with more of my toolbox. this morning my thought on waking was how cool it would be if I could assign all my students to learn something in an entirely new (to them) mode– for example, if the assignment was on the somatic, to take carpentry or knitting. if the assignment was on the proprioceptive, then dance or one of those trapeze school things like carrie did on sex and the city. on the auditory, then voice lessons or flute or what have you. on the visual, painting or photography. see, this way I could really begin to home in on what working in the various semiotic modes really does for us, heuristically— which is the basis of my dissertation. the only problem would be resources (who to teach these diverse skills?) and, more significantly, time. I mean, a semester’s only so long. and learning is excruciatingly gradual. then again, somehow, through tapping novel modes, it seems possible to make cognitive leaps. like, look at me having opinions. for real. that’s all about the blogging, I’m pretty sure. having my static, fix-it-up-locally-with-dreamweaver-and-upload-it-via-ftp web site just didn’t get me to this particular rhetorical/cognitive place. weird, huh? for years something else, then this. it’s kind of overwhelming actually. kinda tempted to pull the plug, at least for a little bit. maybe it’s NOT such a good thing I have so much undisturbed time on my hands this week… then again, if my phone stays silent and my inbox empty, at least I have someone to talk to.

nevermind the manic laughter and wide, staring eyes.

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we are all forevermore in high school

doesn’t matter what you do. doesn’t matter where you live. people are people and people are high schoolers. through and through. this is the key to the cult popularity of napoleon dynamite, and why I myself adore it. also rushmore (different socio-economic bracket). we don’t ever grow up, silly goose! what were you thinking? maturity? responsibility? well, okay, yeah, so some of us hold jobs, raise kids, balance checkbooks. I know I’m hardly the authority on worldly progress. but I’ve seen how those people behave too. we are all of us high schoolers, for goodness sakes. take my word for it. that mom backstage at the church choral production herding those madcap three-year-olds– she’s the insecure bossy girl who never has the right hair accesories. that marketing manager? she’s the niblet with the four thousand boyfriends and the hot car. that sales guy? he’s a hockey player, I don’t care if he hasn’t strapped on skates in years. and that vivacious guy with the awesome wardrobe and the killer sense of humor? he’s that closeted loser who took art or never came out of the band room. just get us together in one place, trying to work together or at least coexist, and the truth will be made clear unto you. life is high school. we never graduate, not really. and god help the teachers.

I’m sorry for the cynicism, but you know it’s entirely age-appropriate.

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