I’d thought I wanted to address the hideous clog in the shower.  Until I realized tonight that the unpleasantness of having to slosh around in ankle-deep water is helping hustle my 8 yr old out of the “shower” (aka one-person reenactment of the movie “Frozen”, with some water falling) more quickly.  So now I’m pretty torn about whether I want to unclog the drain.

A bit evil? Yes.

But quite understandable?  Also yes.

Toodle Like an Egyptian

The kiddo has a new habit that is hilarious when she does it to my husband, and slightly less amusing when she does it to me, although still pretty funny.  She will ask a question, and when you start to answer she begins playing a tune on her recorder full force and cannot hear your answer.  It’s almost like, she wants to register the fact that she has a question – so, basically, “Don’t go anywhere b/c I need your input on something” – but the urge to blast away on the recorder is too overpowering, so we are expected to press pause and wait until she’s done playing and then remember what her question actually was, once the buzzing noise in our skulls settles down.

She has also deemed her current recorder style to be “Egyptian.”  It does sound quite exotic, kind of reminds me of perhaps Israeli singing or some kind of trilling or ululating vocal style.  So it’s been her “Egyptian style” of recorder, at top volume, that she starts booming in your ear just after asking you a question.

Other Duties as Assigned?

I am back at work after a 2 week vacation.  An odd sensation, to be sure.
I have never taken 2 weeks of vacation in a row in my 20 or so years of work (out for several months on maternity leave, but that sure as hell doesn’t count).  It was not a restful stretch, as it was back to school time, I got a stomach virus, and we traveled to see our niece, but it was wonderful.

I eased into my first day back by trapping a rather large cricket in my supervisor’s office and releasing it outside.

“You need to stay out here,” I told him gently but firmly as I shook him from a plastic cup, knowing there would be little food for him in our building.  Part of me wished for someone to tell me gently but firmly to stay out of this office.  But one does not get paid to putter around one’s house, or churn through personal to-do lists, or pluck cherry tomatoes from one’s garden and stuff one’s gob.

Does one?

Rabbit Hole

It’s too easy to go down the rabbit holes in my mind these days.  My imagination leaps about like an….an…undisciplined terrier.  Which can be a good thing (can delight children; can help me put myself in others’ shoes to accomplish small talk; fodder for creative pursuits) -

or, a bad thing.

Example from this morning: I had to set up a new monitor at work.  A large, awesome new fancypants monitor that I love.  Anyhow, these days, hardware is no longer just a matter of plugging in a couple of things.  There are quite a few cables, accessories and shprockets.  So I did indeed consult the Product Information Guide to make sure I had addressed all of the important things.  The Guide is a thin sheet folded about 9 times, written in 3 pt font.  I squinted at that mofo trying to find a reference to the driver files on that came on CD – do I need to install them or not? – when I came across a large notice (large in this context being roughly 6 pt font) saying that there is a certain icon in the instructions that will alert the consumer to “a potential for property damage, personal injury, or death.”

And off we go…I started trying to think of the various scenarios in which my gorgeous new monitor, or the process of setting it up, could kill me.  There’s the more common and banal – for example, it overheats and starts a fire.  It has crazy frayed cables that give me an electric shock.

But then I challenge my mind to think of more imaginative scenarios:

  • Ok, I am setting it up and I drop the monitor on my exposed pinky toe.  This causes an abrasion which gets infected with some rare staph infection and I die.
  • An intruder comes into the office looking to steal the nicest and newest equipment on the floor.  S/he spots my beautiful monitor and begins to mentally calculate the resale value.  I have already become too attached to the monitor to let it go without a fight.  The intruder tases me, then hits me over the head with the monitor, one fatal blow.
  • A poisonous lizard has become a stowaway in the monitor box.  It leaps at me and latches onto my neck, releasing its crazy jungle toxins into my bloodstream.
  • It turns out that this monitor had been used once before by a peanut butter sandwich fiend.  They didn’t like it and returned it and it looked so new the company fiendishly decided to sell it as brand new.  Too bad you can’t see peanut molecules CROUCHING ON THE SURFACE of the monitor, waiting to make me rashy and puffy.  I should not have patted and caressed the monitor with such glee, for it is a deadly histamine weapon.

Before you know it, I am staring into space, running down the rabbit hole, instead of demonstrating how much more productive you can be with a larger monitor screen.

The Magic Eyes

I’m no scholar.

I have a B.S., yes, and an M. Ed.  I have taken courses in literature and read books about poetry as well as many books of poetry.   I do not allege I am any expert of poetry, therefore the following statement may merely be a show of my ignorance.

However –

I can’t help but notice that over the last couple of years, the poems I have read in The New Yorker sound more and more like those nonsense spam emails – the ones that must exist for something like luring people to “unsubscribe” from a list and unwittingly confirm an active email account.  To me the poems lately seem distant and cold, robocalls of poetic expression, and hella disjointed.  I feel like I could grab phrases from fortune cookies, Bazooka Joe wrappers and Monopoly game Chance cards and string them together to create something similar.

Here’s one I made up that I think could fit right in:

“Do we not strive for a ladder, the blue

cat will not say:

Is there a Chanel store in this hogs’ earth?

Breaking the sixth board is

difficult for everyone, anyone.

If the glass shatters on His Cake

He may not nearly hear the cock crow in the morning.”

It almost seems like there is a contest happening for who can be the most obscure.  Except no one has informed the “dear readers.”

But then, I wonder.

Because, other people at the local mall could see the hidden image in those Magic Eye pictures and I never could.  I blinked and winked and squinted, moved in and out, and finally would state that it was a hoax, like the Emperor’s clothes – none of you really see that sailboat; you just say you do so you don’t feel left out.

And because other people slowly move from one side of a Pollock dribble to another – they step closer, move back, hand on chin.  I watch them watching the splotches and cannot father what it is that I cannot fathom.

There are too many people who have explained to me a deep meaning in a seemingly random post-modern story, or nonsensical-sounding punk song, for me to disregard all seeming obscurity.  So I think there is more to many creations I’ve initially dismissed.  In fact, I am related to someone I consider an amazing “close-seer.”  When I have scoffed at seemingly superficial creations (“sure it’s fun, but what does it mean?”), my brother often explains it to me in very persuasive detail.  The guys knows how to support his assertions.  He’s a master analogist and the English teacher’s dream.

When I was in college I was in the Sondheim musical “Assassins.”  I liked to sing and dance but looking back I think I was a rather shallow sort of performer.  I had never trained well enough to find deep and personal connections to content and characters (or if someone had tried to train me to do so, it didn’t take).  I don’t think I really wanted to connect, anyway – I wanted to escape and pretend – that was the whole point, for me.  I didn’t want to find the Me within the part.  I wanted to stop being me while I was in a show.  So, that is how I came to play a major role in this musical without having done much soul-searching or plumbing the hows and whys of these various assassins, would-be assassins and political figures.

I saw a hummable pageant.  My brother, a highschooler at the time, came to the show, and saw something else.  I made an offhand remark about liking the tunes bit not really feeling like the show had much to say.  After having seen it the one time, he gave a compelling analysis of what he believed Sondheim had put forth in this work, that floored me.  Of course these many years later I cannot remember now what his thesis was, likely dystopias and anti-heroes were a part of it.  But I do remember I looked at the show very differently after that, for the remaining few performances.  And wished I had cared enough to not assume that a master creator like Sondheim would phone it in and put on a hummable pageant just because I hadn’t spent the time to figure out what he was saying.  Or wanting people to think over.

I do remember that I shared my brother’s thoughts with the play’s director that night.  She was similarly amazed by his sophisticated and thoughtful views of the show’s meaning.  She was not one to be speechless yet this had left her mute for a bit, that it had come from a highschooler.

It’d obvious he’s a master analyst, and yet I’m the one whose job title actually has the word “analyst” in it.  He’s a code breaker, a decipherer.  He’s an actor now.  A real actor, not a pageant giver or jazz hand waver.  And perhaps that’s what true soulful acting is, after all – not my world of pretend but rather the product of a master sign-reader interpreting a text for the rest of us, who are blinking and winking and hoping for the hidden sailboat to appear in the Magic Eye picture before it’s time for Mom to pick us up at the food court.

If I indulged my paranoid side – which I generally don’t – I could start to wonder if there may be some subculture of such hyper sign-readers – maybe ads and New Yorker poems are merely coded messages being traded back and forth.  But, probably not.

Spring gifts

There are some early spring blooms I really love, such as magnolias and lilacs.  They aren’t around for too long but they are so beautiful, and the lilacs smell so wonderful, I reel and luxuriate, short-lived though it may be.

These exquisite blossoms are rather like gifts from a rueful lover, approaching with hands hidden behind him.  He realizes extravagant gestures will be necessary.

“Sorry about that . . . whole . . . bigass snowy winter thing,” he whispers.

“I got something for you.”  Hopeful smile.

Sound good, “Bob”?

The small one has an adorable “Junie B Jones” journal – JBJ is a series of books about a kindergartener and then first-grader who has lots of misadventures.    The books are a hoot.

Anywhoosie, there’s a part of the journal where the kid needs to capture things about their parents.

She asked my husband one of the questions: “Do you wish you had a different name than the one you have?”

He considered this, and then launched into an earnest reverie: that though he didn’t necessarily love his name, he had never really considered having another name or felt he had wanted another name, and that he had had his name for so long it was a bit difficult to imagine having any other name than his own.  And so forth.

There was a long pause, and she looked down at the blank line on the page.

“I’m just going to write ‘Bob‘,” she concluded.


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