Monthly Archives: January 2007

To Sleep, Perchance….

Ugh.

I have not been sleeping well lately, and I can’t figure out why. I’m not unwell; there’s nothing in particular that is occupying my mind; my house is warm and my bed is comfortable and, in general, all’s right with my world. So why do I keep waking up around 2:30 in the morning?

It’s almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy: I wake up in the dark, then I’m frustrated that I’m awake in the dark and that frustration keeps me from falling back to sleep. So I lie there and think, or listen to whatever song is playing in a loop in my head (it’s currently “Driven to Tears” by the Police, in case you were wondering), and wonder whether I’m going to be doing this exact same thing in 24 hours. So far, I have – like clockwork.

It occurred to me this morning (at about 2:20) that there may be something that happens at around that time that actually DOES trigger me to wake – a passing train or a signal from the fire station down the street or something – but I’ve not been able to confirm that there’s any external reason for it. It’s just my body conspiring to make me crazy.

So far, it hasn’t impacted my mood too much; I’m trying to be mindful of NOT being a cranky so-and-so, particularly in the morning. If I can, I’ll try to sneak a little bit of a nap this afternoon, though my schedule is pretty jammed this week and a slot for napping may be impossible to find. I’ve got some tea that is supposed to be soothing; I might try a bit of that before bed and see what happens….

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Ten Things Tuesday

We’re into the second half of 100 things!

51.  I am constantly amazed that I can go into a store for toothpaste and shampoo and come out having spent $100 dollars and only carrying two bags.

52.  I love the West Wing, ER, Medium, Grey’s Anatomy, Wanted and Rescue Me.  I’m really hoping Wanted and Rescue Me get picked up for at least a few more seasons (though it looks like Wanted is gone for good), and that Santa gifts me a season of the West Wing on DVD until I have every last show.

53.  Even though The Sixth Sense is one of my all-time favorite movies, I’m always a little sad that I can never see it again for the first time.

54.  I was 37 years old the first time I smoked pot.  I must have done it wrong, because I don’t think it had any effect on me.

55.  I believe that all the truths in the Universe can be found somewhere in Calvin and Hobbes.

56.  I am deeply, deeply suspicious of organized religion.  I’ve seen it do far more harm than good.

57.  I watched far too much television as a child.  I have many fond memories of Hogan’s Heroes, The Munsters, All in the Family, Chico and the Man and a bunch of others.

58.  I hold a Master’s degree in Secondary English teaching.  I’m not sure, but I think I may want my Ph.D.

59.  I’ll spend $15 on an item I never intended to buy to make up a high enough total to get out of paying shipping for Amazon.  I hate paying postage.

60.  I can swear with alacrity (and often do!).  This amuses some of my friends, shocks others, and annoys my husband.  I totally get blamed any time my daughters swear in public (and rightly so!).

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Bumper Sticker Meme

Lacking anything better to write about (sorry, I’ve got brain freeze), I’m going to tell you what’s on the back of my car. Try to contain your giddy excitement.

I drive a fun little VW Golf. I love the thing, and affectionatly refer to it as “the hockey puck.” Puck and I have been through a lot, and I try very hard to keep her in tip-top shape, both inside and out. When it’s not STUPID cold, she gets vacuum and Armor-All treatments fairly regularly, and I never actually stick anything to her exterior. All my decals are the cling-to-the-glass kinds. Here’s what I’ve got:

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An “old school” Patriot’s logo. Not that there’s anything wrong with the NEW logo, mind you; it’s just not the one I grew up recognizing.

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The Chinese symbol for gratitude. Before I put it on my car, though, I asked my neighbor, whose native language is Chinese, if that’s what it REALLY says. I’m just cynical enough to worry that they sell these things to us and they really say “Stupid Americans will pay good money for Chinese symbols that mean “Stupid American””

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The rainbow flag. Gay rights are very important to me (no one is free until ALL are free), and this was the first decal I ever got.

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A decal for Gallaudet University. Long ago and far away, I wanted to teach English literacy and literature to Deaf kids, and I spent part of a summer at GU attending a seminar on literacy and the Deaf student. I learned a lot and, while I’ve pretty much shifted my focus away from Deaf Ed., I still have a deep and abiding love of their language.

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A pawprint decal for my alma mater. I got both of my degrees from this school and, while I don’t have a typical nostalgia for my college, I do recognize the opportunities it afforded me. Starting, as I did, as an adult and never having lived in a dorm, I missed a lot of the usual college bonding experiences, but I still appreciate the top notch education I was given at the school and the amazing professors who taught me how to think and behave like an English teacher.


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Happy Birthday, Grampa!

img_3265.JPGMy grandfather turned 80 today.

He’s a strange duck, my grandfather, and the more I think of him, the odder he seems to become. He’s nothing like I think of typical 80 year old men to be, but then again, he’s exactly like that.

He’s set in his ways, and can be a cranky, cantankerous auld bird, but he loves me in exactly the way I understand grandfathers to love their granddaughters. There’s something about his old Yankee spirit that speaks directly to my own.

He seems equally as happy in his ratty old chair as he does out in the woods or on his tractor.

He wears long sleeves year round. I’ve never seen the man’s knees.

He hugs me without hesitation and allows my daughters to crawl all over him, but he’s never been outwardly affectionate.

He is quick to laugh, but not at just anything. One of the things that makes me feel special around him is how often *I* can make him laugh.

He will almost never ask for help, but will be the first to offer it.

He adores my children in a way that has never given them a moment’s pause to realize that we are not related to him by blood.

He loves my grandmother in a way that, more often than not, drives her to the brink. We laugh about that, she and I, but she knows that she chose well when she married him, some 55 years ago.

He’s going deaf, but staunchly refuses to admit this. We’re just not speaking clearly enough.

I love this man with a sublime, profound kind of connection that goes far beyond simple admiration or affection. He is a kind of kindred spirit to me, and I’m grateful to have been adopted into his family some twenty years ago.

Happy birthday, Grampa!

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My Hero

On Thursday, I was driving home from a few errands, listening to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. She was interviewing Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who is the first American serviceman to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that the war is both illegal and immoral.

After doing some research to be better prepared to understand his role and lead his men in combat, Lt. Watada discovered that the war in Iraq does not meet the standard for either American or international law. He tendered his resignation, but the Army refused to accept it. He offered to be deployed instead to Afghanistan, but the Army again refused. He is currently manning a desk somewhere and is under indictment both for his refusal to participate in what he sees as an illegal undertaking, but also for statements he made concerning his decision. He could spend up to six years in jail.

Now, I understand that this man is likely to lose his case. I understand that servicepeople don’t get to decide what they do or do not want to participate in.  I am sure that his military contract has provisions for this sort of thing, or the military wouldn’t be undertaking to try the man in the first place; the Army not being fond of losing public pissing matches.  My understanding of military justice is a little fuzzy, but I don’t believe they work with the same rules as civilian courts. I also understand that Lt. Watada won’t be tried by a jury of his peers, but by a panel of judges. None of this seems right to me, but I do get that the rules for military order have to be different than the rules for civilians; they function with different purposes and have to be able to maintain a sense of discipline and security.

That doesn’t really matter to me, though. I’m so thrilled that someone within the military machine is standing up to say that this is not only wrong on a humanitarian level, but on a legal standing as well. Participating in this war is contrary to what we, as Americans, have defined ourselves to be, and it is counter to our creed. I’m pretty sure that’s what Colin Powell (who is also a hero, in my mind) was saying when he gave up his job.

Lt. Watada’s court martial is set to begin on February 5th. I’m going to be keeping track of his trial, and paying attention to what other people in the military system are saying. I admire the man for standing up for himself, for our constitution, and for me.

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Never Forget

candle.jpgTomorrow is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Given that there has been a lot of noise lately from those who would deny that particular darkness in our collective history, and that, despite the lessons of the past, we still stand idly by while our brothers and sisters suffer, I think it’s important to recognize this day of remembrance.  I wish that we would all stop more often to think about the implications of where we’ve been and of where we are, and of where our actions (or, perhaps more properly, our inactions) lead us, but I’ll settle for calling attention to it for just one day.

I watch as the stunning and altogether casual lack of simple empathy that I observe in my everyday life ripples out into the world.  We give ourselves false comfort in order to cope with the enormity of the horrors we create: there’s nothing we can do to change the past; there’s nothing that *I* can do to help someone suffering in a distant African nation; I’m not contributing to the problem.  We do this without realizing that everything we do has consequences.  A simple kindness can have a profound reach, and I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for the power that we hold by simply recognizing each other’s humanity.

There’s a saying that’s popular among the yoga community and I’m sorry, but I can’t attribute it for you; I really don’t know exactly where it comes from, or even if I’m quoting it correctly here.  It goes something like this:

Each of us holds a piece of the Universe within ourselves.  When I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, we are the same being.

We will never find peace until we can learn to truly understand that we are the same being.

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GIRD YOUR LOINS!!

spec_trop9_277×187.jpgIt’s going to get COLD!

The weather prognosticators are saying that it’s going to get seriously chilly in our neck of the woods. I called Organic Mama the other morning to ask her to tell her countrymen to keep their effing frigid air to themselves, thank you very much, because it seems our neighbors to the north are going to be sharing their frosty climate with us for the next few days.

Gee, folks. Thanks. SO much… Really.

This is what I hate about New England winters. It’s not the snow, really. I can handle snow (particularly now that my beloved takes on the job of shoveling for himself. It’s kind of an unspoken trade-off for my scooping the cat box year round). I mean, yes – I despise the feel of snow seeping into my boots, and I roll my eyes whenever someone refuses to clear his or her car off, and I worry when I or anyone I love actually has to go OUT in the snow, but it’s not the snow that puts the burr in my bonnet about winter.

No. The thing that gets me cranky and really wishing I could migrate south is the cold. The stupid, mind-numbing, “I can’t feel my fingertips” cold. The eye-stinging, “my-car-won’t-start,” “my garage door is frozen to the ground” cold. The “don’t let your children wait out for the bus or they’ll get frostbite” cold. The booger-freezing, teeth-chattering, “are you KIDDING ME?!” cold.

It’s just wrong, and it’s headed our way.

**P.S.**

It’s Friday morning, 7 a.m, and three degrees outside my door.  I may just crawl right back under the covers…

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