walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (he said "the world is as soft as lace")
I'm calling today a wash. I pronounced it dead c. 10:30 this evening and it's shown no signs of reanimation.

The day started well enough—okay, the day started with mixed feelings and continued unevenly until crashing and burning. I had to get up early for a 10 a.m. optometrist appointment, but the appointment itself was good-time fun: I got a new prescription (the last time I had a check-up was almost three years ago: in the interim, my eyes have gotten better—it must be all the beta carotene?) and he dilated my eyes. Having your eyes dilated is so cool!! Your pupils swell up so big you look alien or animal, and you can't focus your gaze within two feet of your eyes. He gave me these roll-on temporary sunglasses to wear on the way out.

My mom's been attending a workshop at her school in re: technology in the classroom, etc. and on the way home I stopped by to drop off a pair of shoes (she'd broken hers that morning and called for reinforcements) and show off my temporary roll-on sunglasses. My eyes are dilated, I told them, can't you tell? Either that or I've been off getting high. The doctor told me everyone was different, but my eyes would probably take three hours to get back to normal. Sunlight was appropriately excruciating.

Dilated eyes stopped being fun around the time I got home and tried to sift through blueberries, picking out the moldy, mushy ones and dropping the good ones in my yogurt. The blueberries were on the counter and out of focus and I had to rely mainly on touch. I got through an article on the Wimbledon draw in the Sentinel (Wimbledon starts next week! Whether you care or not!) but had to give up on reading after that. Television, then. Four episodes of Dead Like Me, the entire third disc. In between there was an aborted trip to the Division of Family and Services and a severe thunderstorm. By "severe thunderstorm" I mean that it was sunny, then it was cloudy, then it was pouring, and then lighting was cracking constantly and the trees were bent over backward. It was all so loud and violent and sudden I went looking for a weather advisory: Channel 10 showed satellite pictures of three storm cells, one of which was basically over my house, moving northeast across Dade and Broward Counties; people were advised to stay inside, as winds were up to 60 mph and there could be three-quarter-inch hail. The wind speed sounded about right and I did hear hail tapping at the roof and windows. It poured, noisily: the water level in the koi pond rose rapidly right to the top. Lightning flashed and flashed and thunder boomed. Half an hour later the sun was shining. Welcome to South Florida, home of extremely local weather.

My eyes didn't start returning to normal until after three hours from dilation. Even four hours later the pupils were smaller but definitely not responding naturally to light. Between that and the storm I didn't get to the gym today. Yesterday the car was in the shop and I didn't get to yoga. I have been to the gym exactly once this week. I am so tired of myself.

The cap to the whole day was dinner at my aunt's house, which I usually enjoy for the most part, but I was just bored out of my MIND tonight. It was my family, my aunt and uncle, and another couple, long-time family friends: they're not very interesting people. She watches an awful lot of television and they go on cruises all the time, all over the world, and they didn't talk about much else. I just don't have a lot to contribute to a conversation about houses (buying houses, finding houses, re-decorating houses, etc., etc.) or grandchildren or luxury cruises. All I could say about luxury cruises I learned from David Foster Wallace, and I didn't think death-transcendence and having every need met choicelessly from someplace outside me would really spark any dialogue. My parents raised a well-bred child: when I exploded in the car on the way home with OMG THAT WAS SO BORING they were surprised and said I'd looked interested. I'd tried to send my mother looks of silent desperation, but obviously they didn't take. She says we need a code word. I offered to tug on my ear, but she vetoed that.

We got home just in time for Numb3rs, but I found it uneven1—and halfway through my dad came into the kitchen where I was watching and let my sister play with the running water in the sink, and I just couldn't take the noise anymore. He got annoyed that I was annoyed, because was it really that loud?2 but it was, and I couldn't even watch in the family room because my nerves were just shot, too many people and too much noise in the house; I was just prickly and wanted to climb out of my skin, leave it here, and take myself off somewhere dark and quiet. My mother followed me to my room a minute after I'd stalked off, to see if there wasn't anything she could do, and I told her I was fine, just prickly. We looked into ordering tea online for a while, but nothing came of it; and in the end I was working at not snapping at her too, glad when she kissed me goodnight and closed the door behind her.

I retreated to my cave of a room, signed online, and turned on music, starting with Leonard Cohen's Suzanne, music to drop your blood pressure. I'm tired, and it's PMS, though happily without any unprovoked urges to burst into tears, so things could always be worse. I will go to sleep and I will wake up; in the morning I will go to the gym, and in the afternoon cousin M. and I will go see Howl's Moving Castle. I'll pick up a Father's Day present too.

1. But the scene that made me sit up and take notice: Charlie and Don's father brings lunch to Don's office and warns him that "Charlie would do anything for you." Boys! There was that one-night binge on Numb3rs fic a while back, and then nothing. Dare I venture off the rec-path and seek my fortune in the archives?

2. I've been kinda pissed at my father for a while now, and we've been pissy back and forth. I'm always resentful on my mother's behalf for how little he helps out around the house and how much he begrudges what he does do. The other day I was sniping at him to take his stuff off the kitchen table where he was reading the paper, so I could set the table for the dinner my mother had made; he handed me the ripped-up mail that had been sitting next to him so I could throw it away, and I was like, Jesus, why can't you throw it away, and he said, "wow, look how lazy you are." I said, incredulously, "I'm lazy?!" and in classic Dad fashion he smirked and said, "I'm glad you admit it," and I snarled as I walked by and told him he's lucky I'm not the violent type because that kind of thing just makes me LOSE MY SHIT. Or words to that effect. My dad calling me lazy (which is not untrue—I'm the first to admit it) is like me poking somebody in the chest and shouting "where's your direction? Where's your sense of purpose?! Slacker." This is a man who routinely leaves a tablespoon of soymilk in the refrigerator so he doesn't have to throw away the carton, and then pretends he has no idea what I'm talking about when I get apoplectic about it. No one can make me apoplectic like my father can. It's like his super power.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
Yesterday while I was sorting colored construction paper in my mother's classroom, I blurted out, "Mom, what was I doing when I was ten?" and I don't think I've ever startled her so badly in my life. I explained when she asked that I thought it would give me career guidance: it seems that people tend do what they've always done. She wasn't very helpful, not recalling much more than that I read a lot. But I never read excessively, or even extensively, and besides, there are limited opportunities to read for a living. Most of them involve editing in some capacity, which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world.

The pattern holds true, I suppose: I never had any direction and I still don't. I did a lot of art when I was even younger, nothing spectacular, with markers and paints, etc.; I drew on the walls for a while and my parents kept taking my supplies away, until one day they found me on the floor with talcum powder, a glass of water, and a paintbrush, painting in the hardwood tiles. They gave everything back after that. For a long time I had to use every color in the crayon or marker or colored-pencil box at least once, taking them all out and lining them up, putting them back after I'd used them. There were a lot of rainbows. For a little while my mother worried about OCD, but I never developed anything crippling. I've been watching and reading about real and fictional characters with brains the size of small planets, and it eats at me that I'm bright but not brilliant. I'm not terribly proud of having a jealous personality, but it's a pretty big part of me and I'm well aware of it. It's almost time to move on to the next thing. I can only hope that this restlessness builds up enough and enough to drive me not only out of here, but toward something.

Today, however, was not a day for doing things. My dad got me up for brunch with my mom at 11:30, much too soon after I'd gone to bed that morning. The sun wasn't out (the rain and wind are apparently the direct result of Tropical Storm Arlene, chugging through the Gulf of Mexico and on course for Alabama, Louisiana, etc.) so I didn't even bother with my contact lenses. We ate at Einstein's and afterwards my mother and I did more work in her room. I climbed carefully on a ladder and pulled down bulletin boards, finished sorting FCAT practice packets, wished for a nap. We cut out at a little after three. My mother tried out her first day of Pilates (verdict: inconclusive) and I watched and commented helpfully. I'd woken up with tight hamstrings and over the course of the day other muscles made themselves known, especially my shoulder blades and the long slabs of my back, down either side of my spine, aching faintly when I shifted and sore to the touch. I had a mid-afternoon meal and went to sleep at four-thirty. My mother let me sleep until dinner three hours later. Afterward we all watched two episodes of Dead Like Me. Great character development, and I'm still in love with Mason, but "Reapercussions" (1.04?) was a little scattered. It did further the canon though, and the plot arcs and the relationships. I am still a fan.

I've downloaded about a dozen songs tonight, all fantastic, because the kids who run the music blogs, they know what they're doing. You can get I Found Love at Stereogun, where Matthew from Fluxblog is filling in for the weekend. He describes the track thusly: "This is a selection from The Now Sound Redesigned, a collection of remixes of songs by the twee-est band of the '60s, The Free Design. Styrofoam and former Velocity Girl singer Sarah Shannon don't quite remix "I Found Love" so much as cover it, recasting the tune as a syrupy alt-pop ballad for a post-Postal Service world." It's lush and light and liquid, and the lyrics are almost unbearably happy-slappy, but her voice pulls it out and there's enough going on in the music—crackling, booping layers along with, um, something drum-like yet electronic? yeah—that it's all okay. I'm listening to it on headphones too, which I recommend. Is absolutely everything better with headphones?

Check out also The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, recommended over at Said the Gramophone, the blog that introduced me to Andrew Bird's "Fake Palindromes."

I haven't read more than fifteen pages of a book at a time in the last few days, and I miss it. There are more filled requests to be picked up at the library tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow too I'll be whole enough to put myself through my paces at the gym.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
I put myself through a fantastic workout yesterday. Then I came home and showered before sitting down to the birthday dinner my mom had made for my aunt, and that was super-fantastic. Mmm, mmm. Today I reluctantly skipped the gym because I am sore, sore, sore, ow.

Instead of going to the gym I slouched around the house, gingerly stretching my muscles. My mom and I checked out the pilates video we'd ordered a couple of weeks ago, which looks helpful and doable and will hopefully not aggravate my mother's back.

I started The Search and almost tossed it aside after the first page, but gave it a second chance. It was originally published in 1934 and the characters and style are very much of the time, but this is not the best example of the period. In his Note to the 1958 edition the author says, "I ought to say that I have cut the original version quite considerably. It was in places more discursive than I can now bear," and that's almost hard to believe, considering how self-indulgent and discursive it is now. The next time I have to roll my eyes, I'm giving up on it.

Cousin M. had lent me the first season of Dead Like Me at the same time as Firefly, but I hadn't watched it until tonight. It's hilarious! I've only watched the pilot and the first episode after that, but it's charming and deadpan and they've got quite the world going. Plus Mason is cute. Cute! And George is wonderful. She looks twelve, but I know the feeling. I love that she's growly and never smiles. In her place I don't think I would have any trouble collecting souls, but that's just me. She's shaking things up, that's probably good for them. They have a good balance going, of serious and morbid stuff with absurd and broad comedy stuff. My parents came in while I was in the middle and refused to understand when I told them that the reapers weren't killing people. Their opening credits are good-time fun.

I can't help but notice that the traffic on my flist comes to a screeching halt some time soon after one a.m. Aren't other people up way past their bedtimes?

March 2011

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