Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Friday, August 31, 2007

    Chemistry Lesson

    I should be studying, but I've got that black magical combination of stress and a hormonal surge that leaves me with the choice of either chewing my skin off or writing.

    Which choice would be more satisfying? Sometimes it's a tossup. But my commitments oblige me to choose the latter. Lucky you.

    Dammit. I had my feelings surgically removed when I was in college and they just keep growing back. They don't help at times like this. They tangle and I go tripping through them. I keep in mind that they arise from chemical reactions, atoms stealing electrons and taking up with the wrong sort of molecules. They are out of sync with reality, totally overblown. There is no greater reason or purpose. Everything boils down to chemicals following their fractal paths. If I just take a little more vitamin B and lie down in a dark room, all will be well.

    And it is. I take my own advice for once and the impending migraine – heralded by that ridiculous sensory overload – is averted. I go to class migraine-free.

    At the end of class, I stay after to ask my instructor a question about membrane regeneration in the rough endoplasmic reticulum of a cell. She says it's a matter of chemical reactions, lipids attracting lipids. I ask her if it is directed by an organelle, or if these lipids are free-floating, random. She tells me there is no 'cell brain' to direct it, that it is all chemical reactions, that you could go so far as to say that our emotions themselves are simply a sum of our cellular chemical reactions, that self-direction is possibly an illusion.

    Then she almost apologizes, and wonders what took her in that direction.

    I just smile and thank her, tell her she's clarified a few things.

    I can't wait to take physics.

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    Thursday, August 23, 2007


    I just finished my first week of school. It's been fourteen years since I took a class that didn't involve sharing a story with the group. I thought I'd sort of slip back into school slowly so I'm starting with Biology for Majors.

    I've spent fourteen years thinking about what I would have done differently in college, in order to:

    A) Actually have a job when I graduated

    B) Avoid sinking into a depression for a year after graduation

    C) Maintain a 4.0 without suffering nervous exhaustion

    D) All of the above

    E) None of the above

    So far, so good. I think I'm doing things right this time. First I bought my books:

    A) Online and saved a hundred bucks but broke an international copyright law in the process

    B) Brand-spankin' new at the Campus Bookstore for the outrageous full price

    C) Used at the Campus Bookstore for two dollars less than the outrageous full price

    D) American copyright laws that allow publishing conglomerates to over-charge Americans are stupid

    E) A and D only

    After getting my textbook and lab manual two weeks before class I immediately:

    A) Put them away neatly on a bookshelf and haven't opened them since

    B) Conducted my first biological experiment by standing naked on the bathroom scale with the textbook and determined that fucker weighs eleven pounds, or approximately 4983 grams

    C) Then sat down on the toilet and read a chapter and a half while my butt fell asleep

    D) None of the above

    E) B and C only

    My classmates:

    A) Are all younger than me

    B) Are all children

    C) Are all rude because they all shout out answers without raising their youthful hands

    D) Are not actually all younger than me, or children, or all that rude, but it sure feels like it

    My instructor:

    A) Actually IS younger than me and has a nose ring

    B) Has a three-year-old and is four months pregnant

    C) Has read less of the textbook than I have

    D) Is extremely smart and friendly an accommodating as well as an entertaining lecturer, especially when it comes to stories about how evolution affected certain bat testicles

    E) All of the above

    JustCallMeJo came over and watched the boyos on Tuesday until O got home from work:

    A) And had a horrible time and so did they

    B) And did not introduce the boyos to the megafun of stamping with metallic inks and glitter so there weren't any works of art for me when I got home

    C) And did not introduce the boyos to Godzilla

    D) And Jack did not ask me the next day, 'Mommy, who are the guys who pray a lot and hit people with sticks? To which I did not have a blank look. And then he did not show me a stamp of a nun wielding a ruler and I certainly did not fall down laughing.

    E) None of the above

    On my way home from class tonight I:

    A) Felt more like myself than I have in years

    B) Felt confident

    C) Felt like a complete idiot

    D) Held back tears from an unidentified emotion when I thought about my answer to a question in class and my instructor's smile and her reply of, “That's a perfect textbook response.”

    E) All of the above

    I am thrilled to be back in school.

    A) True

    B) True

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    Friday, August 17, 2007

    Cheesy Meme

    But aren't they all? Kidding.

    I can't think of a darned thing to say about girls today, (a consequence of drowning in testosterone I suppose) and I did say that I'd do Cheesy's meme next, so...

    Real middle name and then my
    Web middle name lol
    Pretty simple and straightforward...
    Here are the rules:

    1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

    2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

    3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts.

    4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.


    A – Always thinking. If I could turn off my brain, then I would. Except I'd be left with nothing but a dark void. Never mind.

    N – Neurotic. See comment above.

    N – Nude. And typing. Heh.


    P – Music-lover. (Yeah I know, but 'M' is close to 'P', right?) I will listen to anything. And I'm a human jukebox. Throw out any word or sentence and I can make a musical reference to it.

    A – Anarchist. But not the violent, destructive kind. I just like my own rules best. They make the most sense.

    N – Nerdy. I used to work in a comic book/gaming store. I could expound on all things X-Men, Sandman, DM and read your Tarot cards. All in Elven.

    T – Talented in the kitchen and elsewhere.

    Ssynesthesiaspecifically music-color synesthesia, which allows me to see some sounds as moving, colored shapes; ordinal-linguistic personification, which means that numbers, letters and dates have specific genders (there are three) and definite personalities for me, and number form synesthesia; wherein numbers and dates occupy a certain 'space' and have a shape. Cool, huh?

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    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Two for One, or The Accidental Buddhist

    Posts piling up. Here's a sample.

    * * *

    Two (or three?) Mondays ago. Most of my fears are settled. People return my calls, and they all have good news for me. A time is set for the evaluations. My financial aid is credited to my account. My textbooks are on their way and I'm saving almost $100 buying them through Amazon. My laptop is back, repaired, and free since it's still under warranty. Lottery numbers, anyone? I'm hot!

    Wednesday comes, and I'm crashing back down. I can't even name it. The boyos are bored and cranky. I'm getting a cold. I can't think straight. I can't write, and that's like being unable to light a cigarette. I read, sinking into blogs, into novels, into anything black and white and not a part of my life.

    I download music. I discover Vampire Weekend. That cheers me immensely. Then there's Reindeer Section and Gary Lightbody is singing all the things I want to hear.

    Emails pile up. I'm supposed to be working on a tattoo design for a friend and she's wondering where it is. Clowncar emails with fantastic news and I'm pathetically slow in responding. Rain cancels a get-together with a neighbor who criticized Jack and I'm relieved. I don't even attempt to reschedule. I haven't bought food since before RockyGrass and I'm scraping the bottom of my pantry. (Not that we're starving. You haven't seen my pantry. I perform miracles with prosciutto de Parma one night and Thai vegetables the next.)

    I make a chocolate cake because Jack tells me he wants to learn to cook and bake, 'before you're gone forever.' I swear, I didn't start out to make my boyos existential. He's just incredibly insightful. He asked O and me the other night if we played together as kids. O said, 'No, we didn't know each other.' Jack thought for a minute and came back with, 'You guys are lucky you found each other.' The boyos will be five in about a month. I'm really, REALLY too stupid to be their mom.

    * * *

    And last Sunday:

    Life in Colorado is green. A little too green. Green outside is fine. Green outside is right. Green inside though...

    We have a basement room we rarely go into, filled with my old things. The boyos had made a mess in there at one point, so there were clothes on the floor and some quilting fabric and artwork from high school and college. Not anything I need, but stuff I can't really throw away. We'd just closed and locked the door to keep them out.

    O noticed a musty smell when he ducked in there to grab my sleeping bag for Rockygrass. And I could hardly sleep with is mildewy smell. But it's a very old sleeping bag, no stranger to damp Illinois basements, so I didn't think much of it.

    Today we decided to go in there and clean. I picked some cloth off the floor and it felt cold and tacky, almost damp, like clothes taken just a few minutes too early from the dryer. I noticed the paint on the walls bubbling out. And then I knew what had happened. The room had flooded. Not a grand flood -- we would have noticed that. No, a seeping in the walls and floor. Rising damp.

    A moldering eucalyptus wreath left green fuzzy stains against the floor molding and wall. The brown carpet was green and fuzzy as well. And there was a cardboard box of my clothes that I didn't unpack after we'd moved...

    The worst though was an old photo album from high school and our wedding guest book. The mold seemed to like leather the most. And I still need to go through another wardrobe box of my business suits. (What DOES dry-cleaning cost these days?)

    I ended up throwing out seven bags of memories and old clothes. But, I don't feel so bad about it. Everything is changing. The boys are going back to school and so am I. The bookstore is closing. I hardly recognize my old name anymore.* Maybe we'll even get out of this house one day.

    Hey, so I guess this makes me an accidental Buddhist.

    *I thought I was going deaf at RockyGrass. Clowncar and Lil Hux had to call my (real) name two or three times before I'd hear them. Then on the second day, someone shouted 'Nancy' and my head shot up. That's when I realized I wasn't deaf, I was just unused to my own name.

    P.S. Cheesy, I'll get to your meme next.

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    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    Out of the River

    Hi. Remember me? Last you knew, I was going to spend a weekend sitting on a rock in the middle of a river listening to music with my good friends Mr. Clowncar, Lil Hux and their adorable daughters, otherwise known as “the fiancées” collectively.*

    I did sit on that rock in the middle of the river and listen to music. I also witnessed the miracle of Declan actually playing in the river. This is the boy who is allergic to all things aquatic. This is the boy who loudly accuses us of infanticide every time we put him in the bathtub. And yes, it takes two of us to keep him in there.

    I wouldn't have been more astounded if he'd walked across the river. Actually, I would have been less astounded, since walking on water wouldn't actually bring him into contact with it.

    It's a Rockyfestivus miracle!

    Here is our camping site:

    We were treated to the loveliest thunderstorms the first night. The lightning flickered behind clouds over the mountains. The thunder followed and the ground rumbled under us. Rain poured down, obscuring the sound of the river only a few yards away.

    We stayed nice and dry, except for the occasional 'plimp' of a stray drop somehow penetrating the nylon and falling on my face. It was just enough to keep me awake with my thoughts, which spun out a web of anxiety about what I forgot to pack, what I did pack that we didn't need, the boyos upcoming evaluations, their immunizations, my own college financial aid snafu, buying textbooks, whether I'm doing the right thing going back to school, the fate of the bookstore and the fate of all used booksellers and their sometimes unfortunate wives, global warming, anxiety over what little bit O has told me about Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and that scary void I need to leap over every night to get from safely awake to asleep and safely dreaming.

    And even then I woke up at one point enraged at an HR director I haven't seen in nine years. What the hell is wrong with me?

    My two favorite moments from the festival:

    There is a tightness in my chest that I'm unaware of until it loosens. My heart beats faster with anticipation at seeing the old silo on the grounds, it leaps, and settles into a slower, surer rhythm. We're here, we're here, we're here. Safe in this place where every purpose is the same, is sincere. The river is this way, the music is that way, over here there is good food, over there the trees and tents and let the wings relax a bit. Here are friends. Here is home.


    The second day. We aren't in our usual spot, but in a better one sheltered from rain and sun under the trees and within sight of the St. Vrain river. A perfect spot, a place I want to sink roots into and never leave. A man walks by under the trees, a man in dress pants, button-down shirt, a tie. He's carrying a cello. He walks slowly, even more slowly in my memory. His chestnut hair brushes his shoulders. A woman follows him, beautiful in a cornflower-colored dress, carrying a violin. They are joined by two other performers in a circle of grass under these trees by the river. And then they play. Cellos belong outdoors with dappled light playing them as they play. I can't quite get across how beautiful these players were, all dressed up under the trees.

    *at least until we figure out which daughter of theirs is marrying which son of ours, and then another arrangement must be made with DMG...

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