Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rain & Coffee

Rain. Thunder and lightening. A long wait in traffic, finally brought to an end by driving over a low median and through town, all to get my tire changed. I'd had a flat on Friday, and since they didn't have the tire in stock that I needed, they gave me a "loaner" used tire, free of charge, until mine came in. I had told the guy I had to drive to Long Island this weekend, and he didn't mind, didn't hesitate: "Don't worry," he said, "it'll get you there." He'd known my brother, as it turned out. I had to tell him that he was dead, watch his face recompose itself. They'd been friends. I'm sorry, I say, sorry. Had his problems, he says. Yes. We used to go visit your father. I shake my head. Oh. He's happy, though, to meet my mother, and the unexpected reconnection makes the events leading up to it (riding on the rim for 1/4 mile down a shoulderless country road at 1 am; a repair shop guy so lousy that I told the tow to take the car elsewhere) seem, if not providential ---we're not providential types---, then unwasted. Is there such a word ? Not "well spent," and please don't write to me about synchronicity. Somewhere between "meaningless" and "meaningful," I suppose, is the concept I want, the random very annoying event achieving some kind of found value.

I had meant to carry on a bit about one thing I've noticed of late: other people's blogs are pretty. They have lovely graphics around the frames, pictures aplenty, different colored type. Some may also not be free, either, girl, I tell myself as I tire of typing in the html code for every italicized phrase, every everthing. I have three different browsers, and not one will give me the editing features offered here. I could, though, upload images, hence the espresso machine that graces this post and, in the real, my every morning. I have an earlier version of this machine (a Krups) pumping steadily since 1997. I mean two cappuccinos a day on an average day. What html I've learned, I've cribbed and copied, and the "preview" feature here helps oodles because I can witness my mistakes before committing to them. Some people talk of "moving" their blogs. Hadya do that ? I'm not tempted in any serious way yet, but a look at blogs created with typepad and even make me yearn to do something more creative with mine. Eye candy is so, so, so... tempting. So is this:

If I win the lottery, I'm ordering the Pavoni before I do anything else. I met someone once whose life was the sort of life where she had acquired one of these as a Christmas gift. She'd never used it. It was like being handed the keys to a Porsche that someone never drove. She wasn't silly enough, alas, not to want it as a kitchen ornament.

There is something magic about that first cappuccino for the chronically underslept. I should now be logged into an online training course I must complete, I should now be in bed since I have a meeting in the morning, but neither of those things is going to happen just yet. I don't even know how I came upon it, but I've been reading a blog called "Struggle in a Bungalow Kitchen" that got me started on the eye-candy issue. It's a blog, and I am suspicious of those blogs--- a good number of them seem to be (very comptetent) writers hawking their books and linked to other blogs of murky commercial intent. "Struggle" will probably get added to my blog list; I'm enjoying it and she's linked to some really excellent blogs. She links to one called Juno whose most recent post, the only post I read, says all I've wanted to say about Rove and his, I admit to hoping, comeuppance. Smug ugly little creature, isn't he ? Vanity Fair had quite a long article on Rove and his ways. The title of Juno's post is "Bead and Feather Him." Yes, do. I'm sure anyone passing by this blog has noticed my blog links to left, right and center. Well, probably to the articulate who live somewhere on one side or another of the radii emanting from common and meaningful human ground . No radical outliers, to change mathematical metaphors here. Well, enough of that. I need to go to bed, dream of Pavonis and make sure my suit is pressed. I loved today, a follow up to a late afternoon spent at the lake yesterday, bobbling in the water and drying out in the early evening sun: a real summer day. Even the rain and the traffic jam couldn't shake it from me today. After the tire was put on, I drove back through town and stopped at the ice cream parlor, brushed water off one of the benches outside and sat, vanilla fudge cone in hand, watching the cars find their way to the Main Street shortcut, the barber shop pole twirling across the street, the utility trucks making their way to a the downed pole, everything sunny and waterlogged all at once.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Dies Natalis

It is 3:46 am. I can hear rain on my roof and the cats are slumbering beside me. It is my birthday. Amen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Green Olive Tree in the House of God

Hope may have been lost, but at least the car engine kept running....
and run it did, taking me away from the seashore down country roads, that run, ultimately, to a big city: in the late spring rain, I followed a lumbering Coachman along a two-lane road while thinking there is a _____ job in South Dakota, near the Corn Palace. I was following the Coachman on a road that has often led me out and away on my way back from here to the midwest, so it was easy to maintain a kind of dual consciousness where I knew I was off to an interview for a better lateral option, all the while feeling that a life near the Corn Palace was at stake. The interview for the option du jour went well, and I was offered a contract on the spot. This took care of some mounting worries, and I hope my one known reader, the beautifully articulate Willoboe, did not despair of ever knowing if my request for prayers and/or kind thoughts had brought about any results. Indeed it did: it was actually fairly amazing that the week and the interview went that well, and I was determined to keep the momentum going. I downloaded the SD job description, and then it all hit the fan: illness, overworked, over-scheduled, couldn't stay awake long enough to make the deadline, couldn't blow anything off because I had to catch up on all the previously blown-off matters that I had sidelined to make room for these more urgent lateralities (hmmm.... there's a word that may have uses in this blog) and the secret afternoon trips I had to take to follow up on them. And maybe the last straw was the Omigod of one of my favorite new acquaintances, followed by the question, which is really an assertion, have you ever been to South Dakota ?, which barely required its rhetorical counterpart, you don't want to go there. If you are not from the east, but have spent time in the east, as a recovering easterner, I can tell you that this set of utterances will get you through any number of cocktail parties and backyard barbeques where the grill costs more than your car. It works like this: Person A: We were glad we held onto our Martha Stewart stock. Person B: Martha Stewart ? Have you ever really looked at Omnimedia ? You don't want to be there. You dismiss any follow up questions with a few clichés: "there is July, then winter"/"it's not real growth". For the record, I do not hate the east; I am just anthropologically minded. Back to there, it wasn't my friend's disparaging remark that did it, but it rattled around in my mind as I found myself falling asleep at my computer and wondering if a late in the season stab at regaining my former life was really all that well thought-out.

I needn't have wondered. I person I know who is in the same field and who has been enduring her own exile of sorts phoned to tell me that she was on the verge of a one year contract with a very small, uh, firm, which would mean moving all of her possessions across country with no allowance to do it, taking a pay cut and almost immediately beginning a search for something more permanent. Of course she is going to take it. I would take it at this point. I think of that bulky Coachman camper meandering on a route that has been my entry and departure to and from this part of the world for so long. I would at about this time in an ordinary world be preparing for my jaunt to here, cats riding along, presents from "the middle" tucked into the trunk. I miss those long drives: the Pennsylvania mountains, the stop at Midway for Starbucks...

Yes, I would have taken it, too. It is so hard when I am so weary to contemplate yet another "temporary" life of the kind I thought I had left behind when I found myself last in the midwest. All today, a phrase from a psalm kept making its way into my head: "a green olive tree in the house of God." The poet Louise Glück once wrote in The Wild Iris, "how lush the world is/how full of things that don't belong to me:" ah, the house of God. And we are green, aren't we ? So green: we never know what's coming, we don't expect it, them, what happened. The change, the loss. Saplings, all, so best to hold onto that image of flexibility, trees dancing in the wind, the verdancy that we carry, that is possible for us. A point of rest in this unwieldy post, in the unravelling of my exhaustion during, finally, a time to write, think, and renew.