Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Not gonna lie

I feel like a bit of a badass. Broken drawer? No worries, I have clamps and wood glue. Maybe it doesn't work but it bides me time.

Unfortunately my back wall is deteriorating and I need work done.

Being a badass means knowing when to grab a clamp and when to grab a carpenter. I should learn to do most things myself, but not right now.

Monday, May 22, 2017


The Young Man texted this morning to say he happened to be working nearby.  I happened to be coming home at 3 pm to deal with termite inspection (that didn't happen really because of not being under contract).  And Ziggy adores him. 

So she mauled him.  And he was a good sport about it. 

And then we went to my other house and he helped me fix a doorknob that would have taken me an hour to figure out and only took him a minute because he's smart like that.  And some other things, and gave lots of mold advice (he remediates that for a living), and promises to change out my taillight replacement for me.

He shows up like a knight in shining armor a whole lot of the time.  He's really helpful and sweet, and have I mentioned how well hung he is? 

But he's like a bee pollinating a flower - he buzzes in, he buzzes out.  It makes me weary.  And I know that we can't be in an actual relationship but this on-off thing isn't me anymore.  So I guess we need to talk about that.  I offered to make him dinner but we can't mesh our schedules enough for that.  Work, school, and now he lives in another town.


My friend S. says she can't be around sweets at all, can't have one little bite because it can make her eat a whole cake.  That works for her, to avoid it.  And I'm kind of like that with The Young Man.  It's easier to just not see him.  Because when I do, I want more.  I want consistency and availability. 

We kiss in public.  It seems strange to me, but we kiss in greeting on the street. On the lips, where people can see, and it seems evident to me that we're lovers by how we greet and say goodbye.  And not like HNIC and I would hug and kiss in public, which could be perceived as two very close friends happy to see each other.  Which we were.  God I miss him and the thought of never seeing him again slays me. 

And I don't want to lose the Young Man altogether.  I like our chats, his visits with the dog, our drinks.  I of course like how much he helps me.  I just don't know that I want to keep having sex with him. It kind of throws me off my equilibrium. 

At one point, Ziggy took a break from kissing him all over to run to me and kiss me all over.  I was like: no worries, dog, I'm not jealous.  She loves him more than a frozen banana stuffed kong, and she loves me more than him even though she doesn't jump on me. 

Very nearly done with the house.  A bit more cleaning, And caulk.  And then done!  Yay! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

good neighbors

Yesterday I caught my neighbor on his way to work and asked if he could give me a hand with a project at my other house - the bathtub dilemma (the front-of-tub drywall had rotted out and needed replacement).

Today he rang the doorbell half hour earlier than we had agreed to and I asked for five minutes and when I came out he was machateing along the fence where his grass grows through and I need to weedwhack and ohmygod my front yard is such a mess I'm about to get cited and that takes A LOT in this laissez faire city.

WE went and looked and he said that while the greenboard (which is actually purpleboard now) would work, fiberglass would be better because of the humidity issues.  And while I agreed with him, they don't sell that at Lowe's and the nicer places are closed today.  We talked it through and went to Lowe's together and he said: wait, what about vinyl sheets like what surrounds the tub?

Brilliant.  So he silicone-affixed to the plaster and drove in nails and installed new molding and BOOM it's done.  Well, not really because I have to go back tomorrow and paint and caulk more and he kept saying: are you sure you don't want to just finish? And honestly, no.  I like to take time between coats of things.  The compound he used is best not messed with for 12 hours.  I *could* paint on it, but so much better when we can take time.

And then I'll clean that bathroom thoroughly and then also the kitchen and then haul paint cans to the attic, wash out paint brushes, haul gear and tools to my truck, sweep and mop floors, and I am DONE. I could make myself crazy with more chores to do with it but I won't.  Unless the tenant - whom I'm meeting tomorrow along with the roofer and termite inspector - sees something urgent, we're done. 

I said to my neighbor as he was finishing up: "What is your hourly rate?"  "No, this was a small job.  How about $20?" 

It was just under 2.5 hours since we had left our houses and I usually pay carpenters $25/hour and I said, "Oh no.  LIsten: if you don't let me pay you properly, I can't ask you to do things for me and we both lose."  "OK, how about $20?"  "How about $70?"  "No, too much.  How about $25?" 

And so it went.  We landed at $50.  Which I still think is a deal for me because his solution was genius.  And when this tenant rolls over, we'll probably do a more extensive renovation and retile it all again.  I had to take out the tile when we renovated a few years ago because it was in poor condition, and I didn't replace it at the time.  Now I know it's a better option.  Live and learn. 

He said he does all aspects of carpentry in new construction, which is good to know.  But the company he works for is selling them for upwards of $600K so that's outside my price range.  By a long shot.  But hopefully he can help me with repair of soffits and fascia and replacement of my carport.  We should move on that.  He's just cautious because he wants to make sure I'm on board with the decisions and it takes time. 

Now I need to cancel the carpenter I have lined up for Thursday.  They were dragging their heels, feeling no real urgency, and it was stressing me out.  And they still haven't gotten me an estimate but I'm sure it would be over $200.  Maybe even more.  Guess I'll never know.

Today I got some money back on the chicken coop (damaged when I received it).  And I took time finally to packing up two things to return so I'll get money back then, too.  And, rent coming in again for June.  I'll be ok.  I was born under lucky stars. 

texts with my godson reveal underlying wishes

Yesterday I got a good amount done at the house.  I just merrily moved from one chore to the next - painting and cleaning and such.  My godson started texting midway through and he was chatty.  Specific things like what's my favorite food here, to more specific to him if I ever get bored (how can I get bored?  I have too much to do).  I said I was in the middle of painting and he said: "Oh, for work?"  "I wish!"

I do wish.  While it's physically exhausting, there is such reward in the completion of tasks like this.  The walls I painted look great (same color, but the tint was different so couldn't just touch up).  I think I got rid of the mouse urine smell in the laundry room.  The tub is ready for a new bead of caulk as soon as the surround is fixed.  And so on. 

Probably I would be annoyed if this were my full-time gig, but I'm only really annoyed when I have to do it after a long day at the job that I hate, when I have to be away from home too long.  I like being home, especially because Ziggy Stardust is there and she makes everything better with this face.
So, in that vein - I came up with an ideal future.  It involves a partner, which is not because I emotionally particularly need that but because logistically.  Which was of course the way of the world since the beginning of time, so who am I to judge marriages of convenience? 

Move to a farm preferably near-ish to New Orleans (and I keep a pied de terre here).  Work the farm with animals and plants - diversification for interest and sustainability sake, but not overextension.  In this fantasy world, the chickens and dog will become friends and roam the property with whatever other animals the partner has.  We work hard physically and rest well, and come to New Orleans maybe twice a week to sell products and make groceries and other errands. 

And when the farmwork is not at full frenzy (it's a cyclical life), spend time on research and writing.  A la Wendell Berry or even Henry David Thoreau or I think that's the life Barbara Kingsolver is living now. 

A combination of lives blending together. 

This wouldn't have to be in and around New Orleans, though I can absolutely picture it here.  Other places nearish an urban center for access to the luxuries I like so much.  (My current house would be perfect for the pied de terre since it has the studio apartment attached and I could rent out the main house for income to cover mortgage.) 

There are many lives that I can live as a single person, as I like.  But I cannot live a life between two places like this.  There are just too many details such as animal and plant care.  But also: I am not a laid-back person about home details and I need somebody else living there to take care of things appropriately, not favors from a neighbor.  Someone who knows how to snuggle with Ziggy and tell her what a good dog she is, and preferably take her on rounds of the farm (Ziggy is the kind of dog who loves a job but also takes serious responsibility for grounds maintenance - anytime me or the tenant bring something in, she must investigate it thoroughly.  Whenever the tenant lets Ziggy inside to visit, she immediately inspects the entire apartment to ensure that nothing has been moved or is missing.  To have a whole farm to inspect like that would definitely keep her busy.)  

So how do I meet this farmer person?  How do I make this future happen?  I don't have the technical expertise to run a farm in so many ways.  I can research and learn a lot, but there is so much that takes time to learn well.  Like right now my tomato plants are yellowing and I look it up and there could be any one of 37 reasons for this and I need more time growing tomatoes in the South to understand this.  Or whatever leafcutters are destroying so many plants - is it ants?  What do I do?  The internet throws up its hands without a solution.  Or the vine borers that wiped out some zucchini - according to the internet those shouldn't be coming around until end of June, so why are they taking me out now?  These are things I just don't know here because i haven't gardened enough.  And this is a hobby - the stress that would happen if I were to try to farm without having that knowledge?  Yikes.

And of course there are all sorts of problems with this plan, such as student loans.  But there could be ways round it like forming a non-profit to pay me for farm work?  I don't know.  But it seems there could be a way to make things work. 

So, universe: time to actualize!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

millennial communication patterns

Every time my godson - the sullen, suicidally-depressed one - and I text, I am startled at how delightful and communicative he is.  He says how excited he is to come spend time with me, how he's nervous about coming to a new city.

In person, this is not him.  And a lot of that may be a conflict between him and his father and how masculinity is manifested and defined.  Maybe here he can feel free to not be constrained to patterns of grunting and rage.  They have many generations of father-son conflict haunting them, and sometimes it's just really best to pull away from that.

He's sweet and sensitive, which I've always known but ... honestly, my mind falls into gender traps.  While I think women can do and be anything, I forget that men can, too.  That our notions of masculinity can lead to as much unhappiness for men as it does for women. 

And so every time we communicate - this time it was to tell him to bring one nice outfit as we'll likely go to at least one nice place, but otherwise to be prepared for warm weather - I look forward even more to his visit.  I talked it through with my BFF who is also their friend (she and my godson's mother and I lived together happily many years ago) and she thinks this could be really helpful for him, to get away. She remembers her fear at his age about the future and it was kind of a similar situation, not knowing what to do as none of the paths she knows of click for her.  She struggled in schooling probably because of some pretty serious undiagnosed dyslexia and other learning disabilities, and she didn't want to follow her driven attorney brother and artist sister.  She knew that wasn't the path for her, and she struggled with her sexuality and drugs and various other things.  She's definitely found herself and did decades ago, and I think he will too.  The issues are different but they both require a good deal of understanding.  I think our world right now is really scary to an 18-year-old who doesn't necessarily have a lot of resilience.  He fears making mistakes - and is he wrong when that could lead to massive student loan debt he can't get out from underneath? 

In our criminal justice system we no longer allow many kids to do stupid kid things that they will grow out of - we are so heavily punitive and ruin rather than rehabilitate them.  As a whole though, the world is more onerous than it was when I was 18.  Social media makes things permanent. 

So I'm not the most understanding person (understatement), and this reality isn't mine.  When I was not much older than him, I decided to just move to Germany on my own.  The thought of being nervous of being in a strange country without a real plan never even occurred to me.  I got a backpack, got rid of everything that wouldn't fit, and bought a one-way ticket.  I just do shit like that and it usually works out fine.  

He isn't bold.  His mother is bold, and so she doesn't really get his make-up anymore than I do on any kind of visceral level.  She can take any situation and turn it around to work fine - she is so hard-working and motivated and just willing to do whatever it takes.  She's one of the strongest people I know, able to go through things that are harrowing and emerge just dusting off her knees a little.  Her son doesn't have that.  He is more careful, more measured. And those are good qualities too - and they are likely because she wanted to provide him a safe world in which to grow up. 

But now he needs space to figure things out.  Make some mistakes.  Chart his path. 

And first, he needs to fucking finish high school and stop skipping.  He used to be such a good student and then not so much.  He should have great academic scholarships, but they put all the eggs in the basket of a sports scholarship but then he got a really serious concussion and it was very poorly handled and he refused to play anymore (wise choice). 

Anyway, we'll see what happens and if I play a role. For now, I'm planning where all we'll eat when he arrives.  I should probably plan things that aren't food, too, but that's a little harder since I don't know his interests well.  Neither does he.  We'll figure it out.  Some music, some art, some outdoors.  And lots of food. 

Summer will be hard for me financially, with the things I want to do with him.  Plus, books for my new dissertation topic.  Dropping almost $300 this morning, and there will be more.  I need to buy more shelves, too. 

Friday, May 19, 2017


The guy I bought the house from was an asshole.  I knew that, and I knew I could change the house energy, which I have.

But his assholery comes to haunt me.  LIke the rotten soffits he just told somebody to paint over to hide the damage, which I now have to get fixed.

And today I got a call from my termite company except that he never paid the $1100 as in the purchase agreement, so I am not under contract.  Which fucking sucks.  That's a lot of damn money that I shouldn't have to pay.

I emailed my realtor to see if there's anything to do, but I'm sure there's not.  He moved to Miami with a super common Cuban name so he'd be nearly impossible to find without a serious search.  And then what - sue him?  He doesn't care.  He knows he'll die without ever paying a penny.

What an asshole. 

If there's nothing to do the realtor way, maybe I'll try to talk the termite company down a bit.  They know I'm not to blame and feel bad for me, so they're coming on Monday as previously arranged, before they realized the bill was never paid for this property.  Some money may be better than none. 

These are the things to look out for when dealing with assholes. 

progress forward

Today I went to talk to a professor who may become my advisor.  My dissertation research interest is somewhat related to his field - not exactly the same, but much closer than anyone and my previous topic. 

He was engaging and interested.  I think that based on today's conversation he's ready to become my advisor. And I think that he would probably be a good choice for me - he seems like quality faculty and also we could riff.  We talked about a lot of restaurants (I have a list of places to explore with my godson) and other things like Katrina refrigerators.  He gave me things to read, asked questions about my interest and focus.  It was a pretty good conversation - much better than I'd expected as I'd had to run out of work to get my water turned on and that kind of thing throws me these days. 

The interesting part is that he asks questions that normal people ask - like what I do and my background, and it makes me remember yet again that I'm a pretty well-rounded person.  With a lot of education and life experience.  I've done interesting and challenging things and been successful.  Just because I'm in a job now where they don't understand that I am so much more capable is no reflection on me. 

Today I saw the woman who caused me grief earlier this week and we're both pretending it's all fine.  We found a common enemy so focused on that. 

OK, I have to go mow the backyard and I hvae a shit ton of work to do in the front but we'll see how my energy lasts.  I have probably 10 more hours of work to do at my other house and I need to power it out.  There's a qi gong class starting on Sunday that I'd like to go to - I've not done it much but I prefer it to tai chi. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

chick report

My co-worker told me that the new chick has been introduced and feeling at home. There was only one chick left after the predators killed the others and it had been hiding in the coop, terrified of dying also.  Now that the new chick has come, they are hanging out together and venturing a little further out.  She says it's giving their chick more security, perhaps because the new chick is a bit bigger.  But probably just because chickens are social animals and these two orphans were both lonely and and now they have each other and it's a beautiful thing. There are two more babies that need to grow a little and then they will join them and they will be a happy little foursome. 

She also says her husband will reinforce the coop.  It's 2"x4" wiring which means predators just reach through and kill them.  ONe was found with just its body - the head had been forced through the wires and eaten.  HOw awful for that poor survivor to have witnessed all this. 

Am I anthropomorphizing?  Maybe, but I don't think so.  These chickens are wicked smart and they show a wide range of emotions - fear, annoyance, frustration, eagerness, curiosity, greediness, anticipation, and so on.  It is not crazy to think that they can feel trauma and fear. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

chicken matchmaker

My co-worker's husband just showed up to pick up the chicken from my neighbors.  He was able to easily catch it and was delighted and the chicken wasn't even stressed with him - he only had one left from the original four he got, and he picked up two other chicks today, and this one is the same size as the originals - so she replaces those that were lost to chicken hawks. 

I'm a freaking chicken matchmaker genius.  I imagine that they will all live happily ever after, these four chickens of different origins. 

My hens may have eased up on the pecking.  I caught it happening twice and scolded which made them immediately stop.  Don't know that that had any effect, but I see new feathers and less damage than before.

I tell you what - these birds are smart.  I put a chair in the run and when I was taking out some leftovers to a bowl, the lead hen jumped up and gave me the look like she was going to fly over it to get to me like yesterday.  I said, "Lady, you better knock that off," and she looked at me and hopped down and met me at the gate.  They love the evenings - they love perching and rolling in the perfect little indentation that they dug out and just watching the day end.  I'm not bonded to these chickens emotionally, but i sure do have some respect for them. 

my dog

A friend was over last night and said: "Ziggy only listens to you.  She won't do what I tell her."

Ah yes, that's my dog.  When I got her, she didn't listen to me AT ALL.  But now I get preferential treatment in all things. 

I can't get her to stop mauling people because that's her lizard brain - the flight-or-fight part of the brain makes her SO EXCITED about people.  She has to investigate the situation which usually means pinning them to the couch and French kissing them.  Or some other iteration of full body contact.  I have not figured out how to make her not activate that sequence as it seems deeply hard-wired in her. 

But when I can distract her, she's responsive to me.  The vet who visited last weekend noticed how she is well-trained and pays attention to me and does what I ask.  And she does - she is so very good with me.  My friend yesterday said she doesn't mind the jumping it's just the scratching - and I looked at her arms and said: oh good, she didn't break skin, that's progress.  "How can we get her to not do it to you?" she asked.  "Oh, she doesn't.  She never scratches me." 

When I come home after a long day, she greets me at the door very calmly.  Happy to see me, all four paws stay on the floor and she waits patiently for me to set things down and then I pet her and then she investigates whatever is new to the house.  She is obsessed with new things - tenant says that when she lets Ziggy in, she immediately does a full sweep of the apartment to look for anything out of order or new.  When she recently got a new bed, Ziggy waited for permission to get on and investigate then was quite happy about it. 

She's super attentive - she knows the order of things and tries to keep us in line.  The other night I was quite late putting the chicken coop closed for the night and she was agitated until I took care of it.  She used to get worried when I'd be home from work during the week (now she's more used to it). 

I just wish I knew better how to handle her mania about visitors and dogs.  I'm not even sure if she's as stressed out anymore or if it's a residual pattern because she doesn't know better.  HOw do I teach her when her brain is shut down?  Sigh. 

But if the only two issues we have are her jumping on visitors and overreacting to dogs, I've got a damn good dog.  It's delightful to see how far we've come.  She is a great little dog in so many ways. 

And maybe she can teach me about myself - how I can overreact, how I'm standoffish. 


Just checked my grades and the prof last semester gave me an A even though my final exam (90% of the grade) was crap.  I just lost interest in taking it an hour in and so I pretty much stopped until I could discreetly leave.  I've never really done that before, but I appreciate his generosity for the portion I did ok on.  He's kind of a peculiar fellow - he has a reputation for being mean and too demanding, but I found that not the case.  He's very student-centered and it was one of the best classes I had because every student spoke and participated and he had mechanisms for that which worked.  If people are opposed to his class because they're opposed to theory, then graduate school shouldn't be for them - that's a crux of graduate studies that aren't in a professional program, which this is not. 

So what's good is that now I only really have one more class that I have weekly seat time for.  I'll also do an independent study and a hybrid class with irregular meetings, but only one more sitting class.  And for that I'm grateful.  It's just hard for me to go to class because I'd rather be home with my dog.  And I just have a lot going on it feels like. 

I want to stay on track and finish.  Hopefully I can stick to the plan - this summer do much of the work for an independent study I'll register in fall and study for exams; fall take class and study and start proposal; spring finish dissertation proposal and take exams (that's a lot); following summer start preliminary research, fall continue research and start writing, following spring finish and present?  That's a tight timeline with all the other things I have going on and I"m not sure I can do it but I'll try.  I'm fortunate to have faculty who aren't trying to force me to stick around for eight years or more. 


And then what?

I have no idea.  Try to market my dissertation as a book to publish?  Find another job?

The future is wide open.  With my superhero Catahoula by my side for another 12 or so years. 

middle managers

A friend posted this article today on research on the challenges of being middle management.  That's a little ironic because she was once my supervisor, a middle manager, and she handled it very well. 

I'm not crazy, and this article helped make sense of it.  I'm having to constantly shift everything - and it's not that I just have a boss and employees, I have 37 different bosses who all want different things. 

One of my core qualities is that I am who I am - I don't pretend or fake.  So to have to pretend and fake all day every day in 499 ways is so difficult for me in ways that I've never encountered before.

This job and me are such a mismatch it's miserable.

And i need to go deal with the apartment and I don't want to.  So maybe I won't.  I feel anxiety-ridden.  Wish I lived in a state where marijuana is legal, just to take the edge off.  

Ugh, no I need to.  Even if just for an hour or two.  To do some painting and repairs, so I can turn the AC back on.  I did errands this morning and survived. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

risk forward

I do this on-line training course for my dog with people from the UK.  They focus HEAVILY on optimism and such things - they're super upbeat which is Ziggy energy so that works well.  It's mostly a series of short games which is good for the short attention span my dog and I share, as well as videos about research and theory on dog psychology and such.  And part of that is their life theory - they are big proponents of taking a risk forward.  She for example has been a teacher and is trained as an attorney and now runs a big dog training operation which she says and seems to love.  He is a veterinarian who is creative in his endeavors.  They encourage others to give up what isn't a good fit for them and be optimistic about the future and out-of-the-box thinking and opportunities.

Who knew that I'm so in-the-box that I can't even conceptualize what I actually want to be doing?  Days like yesterday make it so clear that I can't stay long - that my integrity is seen as a liability, and fuck them I'm not sacrificing my integrity. I'm not going to start lying because then it makes me as far away from the truth as the rest of them. 

And this is going to get worse in the Trump era, though to be clear it's a liberal POC who's such a tyrant in my life.  Tyranny is on both sides of the aisle.  The kowtowing and subsumption of reality - that's how the crappy folks are thriving.  And they aren't really crappy folks but they do a damn crappy job and now I understand why - empty promises. That's all we're supposed to provide.  And that is the opposite of who I am, a woman raised that a person is only as good as the promises they keep.  And I have no desire to lose that about myself because I think it's a very good thing. 

On paper this is a perfect job for me.  Paper lies. 

But I want to try to stick it out until I finish my dissertation because of the benefits it provides to me.  Like taking off today "sick" because I'm just sick of their shit, so I'll do chores around my house instead of hear them blah blah blah. 

So many chores.  LIke, how does one person have this many chores?  Sheesh. The day will get away from me and my list will still be long.  Maybe I just feel overwhelmed with the apartment because of the whole water damage thing and once that's done it will feel ok.  I have a carpenter coming on Thursday for an estimate and they said they'd do the work next week and that really has to happen because the new tenant is crazy to move in, and I appreciate her enthusiasm. 

If I can stay at this job until I finish my dissertation, that would be wise.  But then my hands are still tied until my student loans are done - if I can stay within certain full-time jobs, in five years I'll be done with them.   Five years is a long damn time.  Last night i was looking up how to become a carpenter's apprentice and remembered I can't do that.  I'm trapped for five more years.  Oh, 5 1/2.  If a lawsuit is won, which I'm hoping for. If not, 7 1/2 more years. 

And I could go back to teaching public school, but my dear teacher friend, my education comadre, has just taken a leave of absence and likely won't go back - the grading papers and all that has taken its toll.  Which is a big reason that I left.  We're not afraid of hard work, we just want to have lives outside of work, and to teach well easily becomes all-consuming.  Plus it's stressful and all that.  On the other hand, I've usually been able to handle administrators pretty well - I'm difficult and they leave me alone because I get results.  The micromanagement is considerably less than what I'm enduring now. 

What do I really want?  A tenure-track professor position so that I can have the life that my professors of 30 years ago had - research and writing and teaching and office windows with a view of a green campus.  And this article pulled together why that is extremely unlikely"Tenured faculty represent only 17 percent of college instructors. Part-time adjuncts are now the majority of the professoriate and its fastest-growing segment. From 1975 to 2011, the number of part-time adjuncts quadrupled. And the so-called part-time designation is misleading because most of them are piecing together teaching jobs at multiple institutions simultaneously. A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays. In 2013, The Chronicle began collecting data on salary and benefits from adjuncts across the country. An English-department adjunct at Berkeley, for example, received $6,500 to teach a full-semester course. It’s easy to lose sight of all the people struggling beneath the data points. $7,000 at Duke. $6,000 at Columbia. $5,950 at the University of Iowa.  These are the high numbers. According to the 2014 congressional report, adjuncts’ median pay per course is $2,700. An annual report by the American Association of University Professors indicated that last year "the average part-time faculty member earned $16,718" from a single employer."

Y'all, I'm not planning on spending my 50s making less than $17K per year working hard and schlepping all over the place.  Especially without benefits. And I can't even consider that until my student loan is dealt with and y'all, I cannot stay in my job for another seven and a half years or I will lose it. 

So if I am wallowing in negativity about my future, sorry.  I know how fortunate I am.  I just miss environments where I don't get in trouble for telling the truth.  And where I get to use my mind.  And all that.  So, in the meantime - I'll enjoy these sicktime benefits.  And if I get in trouble for calling in sick - well, add it to the list. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

and then I understood my co-worker situation

Today I got in trouble for something stupid, and I just kept staring blankly and finally I got it.  "Wait, so you want me to NOT underpromise and overdeliver, which is what I've always understood to be positive.  You want me to tell high-ranking people whatever they want to hear and then not do it and come up with excuses after the fact, instead of telling them the truth up front?"

"Yes, you got it."

Y'all.  Seriously.  This explains SO MUCH.  How people who are completely unqualified and don't do jackshit get promoted, especially. 

No matter how important I may get in life, I hope that people will never stop being honest with me because this is some jacked-up shit, y'all.  But it explains SO MUCH. 

Thank god I come home to a dog who is always honest because this kind of pressure to lie is too much. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

back to herself

Ziggy seems to have let the worries go and she's back to her usual self.  Thank goodness.  Hope it lasts.

I think she might be my little worry doll, taking on my worries and fears and stress so that I don't feel it and she does.  Which isn't fair to her, so I need to have fewer worries. 

She seems to have enjoyed the company yesterday so I should probably keep doing that.

So the good-ish news is that the bathtub damage isn't as extensive as it could be.  With a mask on, the mold bothered me much less so I was able to rip it all out and spray it with mold killer.  Hopefully a carpenter can fix it soon.  I cleaned cupboards and behind appliances and GOOD LORD they had a horrible mouse problem BECAUSE THEY HAD FOOD OUT.  Gross.  Their outside garbage can was ripped into by rats - they chewed through - BECAUSE THEY WOULD NEVER TAKE IT TO THE CURB.  And mind you - that's about 2.5 feet.  Less than three feet and they just wouldn't do it.


Some priming done, caulking of cracks, joint compound, various other things.  A massive trip to Lowe's with an overly helpful clerk.  Tenant on the other side needs some cash so she'll wash the walls for me.  I might have her help paint.  Mostly what I really need is the bathroom done. 

OK, evening.  Time to relax.

food hoarder

Today I gave away four dozen eggs, and a child broke one (which made Ziggy's day and was not a big deal and I'm glad I'm the kind of adult who doesn't get mad at kids for things like that), and now I have only one egg in my refrigerator and I'm kind of panicked about that situation.  Like, how will I survive the apocalypse if it happens tonight without more protein?

I've just gotten so accustomed to having great fresh eggs available in such massive quantities, and to not is strange.

And I'm glad I gave them away.  Two to the guy who gave me the chickens, because he'd been craving a vegetable frittata.  And one each to the groups of friends who visited today.  Everybody was super grateful - these things are gold.  And if I can get off the couch, the last one to tuna treats for the dog.

How will I breakfast?  How will I survive?

Chicken owner problems.  

Oh oh!  I just found a place with humanely raised chickens for sale - as well as chicken feet (a great treat for Ziggy) and organs (more treats).  And they sell their farmer neighbor's humanely raised beef.  (And pork, but I don't go that way.)  AND they raise goats and they live down the road from a place that processes animals.  I could buy a whole goat.

Time to think of getting a chest freezer.  The freezer on my refrigerator is very poor so I've been wanting one for that reason.  Plus, if garden produces I want to store things.  I can get a pretty small, good freezer for about $120 on sale, I think, which may be worth looking into.  I realize my priorities are evident with my house - I dropped $400 on electrified netting for the chickens, but I won't buy art? A couch?  Various things to improve how my house looks?  I'll spend $1400-$2800 per term of school, but I won't buy new clothes for myself?  Get a haircut or pedicure?  I'll spend $400 to get a bone cut off my dog's jaw, $300 for her training, etc. but I won't buy a more comfortable bed for myself or go out to eat and drink often?  

Choices.   I probably need to be more balanced about it. 

Ugh, the mold from the bathroom rot is bothering me the day after - it gets in my lungs and takes time to clear out.  I'll need to get a mask and deal with it, get it all out and let it sit and then come back to it.  Vinegar you are my best friend.  Do I want to take my dehumidifier and possibly be contaminating it with mold spores?  Hmmmmm.  Choices.  I hope I can get a carpenter to fix it this week as I would like to move on. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ziggy's new friends

Today we had six guests!  One, whom I didn't know before, is a veterinarian who has her own crazy dog and she thinks they would play well together. 

I spent the whole time managing Ziggy, and they all made points of her not being that bad, just a little exuberant.  But, when a little girl tried to pet her when she was eating a kong and Ziggy growled and snapped, I was not going to be letting Ziggy off leash.  I get that other dogs do that and people shouldn't approach dogs like that, but Ziggy has never done it before and that spooked me.  PLus, everybody was dressed up nice and wearing white dresses and come on - didn't I tell you my dog's a jumper? But, she made nice with the little girl in the backyard playing frisbee and things were fine. 

We need to do this more and more, I know.  It's just taxing and exhausting and time-consuming.

And now Ziggy sleeps.  Well, actually she's pacing because I just got up and she's trying to figure out where to lay down to rest.  She would really prefer that I not move, and that may work out because I have an 800-page book to read, and I'm only on p. 26 or so but so far I like it. 

Went to remove and replace caulk and discovered that tub surround is all black molded.  Greeeeaat.  I emailed a carpenter and we'll see if that can happen next week - hopefully so, or I'll try to do it myself and I don't see that going so well.  The new tenant is ready to move in - emailed me today.  I told her at least another week, because I have things to do on it.  I also ripped out some of the wall in the laundry room because of roof leak damage, and honestly I should have just painted over it - no mold and it's old stains.  Oh well.  Now I have to figure out how to repair that.

And, do I caulk the plaster cracks?  I can't decide.  I could do repair with joint compound but I know my house shifts a lot, so will the caulk be better.  Thinking it through. WHY IS SO MUCH OF MY LIFE ABOUT CAULK?!

One of the friends who came is the 12-year-old who has autism that I mentioned before - that I ran into her and invited her over, and she came.  I'm touched.  She walked in and the first thing she did was greet me by name, which really touched me.  And she sat and interacted with people to the extent she felt comfortable and was fine, and then when her mom and I wanted to see things she didn't want to, she pulled out a kindle and read and when Ziggy barked she put on her ear protection, and frankly I could not have been prouder of her for all of her coping skills that she put into play today.  She is a great kid. And she even said that Ziggy is a good dog. 

The vet noticed how well trained Ziggy is, which was gratifying.  She's super reactive and I can't control her from jumping, but she does do lots of tricks when I get her attention.  She's just super intense. 

But, in all, it was a successful afternoon.  And it was really good to catch up with my friend whom I haven't seen much of but we've been close and I even stayed with them for quite some time.  I've invited her to a book group and we'll be in closer touch.  And she'll help me write a will with a pet trust.  And so on.

And the other friends - it was good to see them, though I'd kind of expected we'd sit outside we just sat in my low-end living room but I'm fine with that.  And it was nice to meet the vet, especially if our dogs hang out - she said she lets her dog play rough with other dogs, and honestly that's exactly what Ziggy needs.  I always stop her because I worry what other people think, and because I don't want her to get a bad rap, but she needs to play hard.  

So, a successful day I'd say.  Next step: shabbat dinner, for the reason only that I love to make challah especially now that I have fresh eggs.  I may take off next Friday to work on the house and prepare dinner for that purpose.  Hmmm. Who to put on the guest list? 

View of the city

Friday, May 12, 2017

chicken fever

Yet another friend want to get chickens!  They want to save the chick that is with the neighbors.   I can't believe I've found three different places to take a chick.  Wowza.  (Well none has actually take it yet, but there are promises for the near future.)  And now convinced friends that they want to enter the chicken life.  Honestly, if I hadn't spent hundreds of dollars already on gear, I'd just give my chickens to them.  It's a fun experiment but I'm not emotionally attached to them. 

The hens are definitely pecking feathers off each other.  I assumed it was true, since they haven't been growing back well.   I knew there was a good chance of it happening - when I got them, they were in very feather-less condition, which we assumed was the rooster. And today I busted one doing it.  And I saw another with a new bald patch.  So, time for action.  Where can I buy Blu Kote without having to drive an hour?  I don't want to deal with the advice on-line of separating out the trouble-maker to shift the balance of power - sheesh these things are trouble.  I just them to co-exist peaceably. 

Oh - I just figured out why they're doing the pecking - the loss of the rooster.  It messed up the dynamic and they're trying to figure out pecking order. 

I'm working from home for part of today - meeting a plumber at the other house and doing various errands.  I need to get rolling on these projects, though it's hard with working FT and then needing to come home to the beast.  Hopefully once I get started I can figure it all out, now that school's out.  I want to take the rest of this month off from school - while I need to try to get some meetings, no reading, no proposing no nothing.  Just other things.  I have an 800-page book to read for book club in two weeks (why do these people do this to me?) and SOOOO many other things to do.  So many projects, things to take care of.  Some of them are easy but I just put them to the side until I wasn't focused on school.  I still can't believe I bit it on the exam so bad but I was just done.  Oh well.  Who cares. 

Then come June, once back from work trip, I start back up with self-paced school - research for my dissertation topic and starting to study for exams. 

I am eagerly awaiting the CBD oil for Ziggy, hoping it takes her intensity down a notch or two.  I realized she is taking on my worries and spinning out about that. 

This old house

I'm sitting in my old house while the plumber works.

I remember having HNIC look at the house with me before I bought it, his insight helpful. I remember the time he walked in when I unveiled the work and he nearly gasped at the transformation. The many times he said how much he loves these newly plastered walls and the colors and how it is so me. The time he helped me cut the lock off the gate. The many hours we spent here together. The many stories he told of the neighborhood as he spent much growing up time around here.

He was such an important part of my life here and sometimes I get hit again with grief.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

full moon

Someone posted yesterday about their dog going crazy on the full moon, and that was yesterday, so maybe my dog will turn normal now?  Sheesh she's insane.  And she's back to hating the chickens with a burning, murderous rage.  Which - one of the thigns I like about this dog is her overtness - she's not sneaky at all.  If she steals something, she prances in front of me until I see it.  She makes VERY clear who and what she likes and what she doesn't.  Much better to know this than to have an unfortunate incident of her being an actual chicken murderer because I thought she was ok with them. 

The chickens are doing their job and wrecking the front lawn and can I just say that I am impressed with their tenacity.  I knew that the root system of this lawn is tougher than anything I've ever seen, and they have made that even clearer - as much as they try to scratch through it, the web keeps them at bay.  But these are some stubborn chickens and I think they'll prevail. 

They're also not very nice chickens, but that's probably normal for chickens.  They can be rather mean to each other - like "god, you're annoying, get the fuck away from me" and a chase 'round the yard.  these are complex creatures and anyone who says otherwise hasn't spent any time with them. I got them with lots of feathers gone due to the rooster, and most of them have feathers coming back in except for one, and I wonder if the other hens are plucking those feathers.  They're not very nice.  I have friends in Oakland California who have backyard chickens raised by their children, and those are the nicest, sweetest chickens I've ever met.  These are NOT pets, even though I treat them that way.

I found a home for the neighbor's sole chicken, which is rather exciting.  A co-worker's husband is obsessed with food production like I am and he recently got a batch of chicks so this one will fit right in.  Need to discuss with the neighbors and hopefully they'll be ok.  When his chickens stop producing, E.'s uncle from the country comes down and slaughters them, but I'm ok with that.  This poor chick has been really traumatized, so let her have a few years of social happy life running around their yard, and then a quick end to the soup pot.  That's not a bad life.

In Eskimo culture it's super important to have a clean kill, that the animal not suffer.  There are explanations such as:  if the animal is stressed when you kill it the meat will not be good, but there is also a very rich tradition of treating prey with tremendous respect.  They don't say that they kill and animal, but that they took it - and really they're most comfortable saying the animal gave itself.  These were mostly kids teaching me this, so this is very deep culture.  That respect for life and death profoundly affected me.  I am not opposed to eating meat for the philosophy of not killing - plants also have a type of consciousness, so it's impossible to live without killing something.  I am strongly opposed to eating meat that is from animals which have been mistreated.  And I am also aware of the environmental consequences of eating meat - so I try to not make it front-and-center. 

I must say again how much I like this cycle of dog-chicken-person-garden.  That my leftovers can be consumed by other creatures makes me quite happy.  Ziggy has her jobs - protection, companionship - and the chickens have theirs - eggs, manure, lawn destruction.  And I provide what they need.  It's a good relationship. 

Now if I could just figure out how to make my dog less insane.  She's outside right now shouting at the neighbor, and I don't have the fortitude to go get her because if she's here with me she's shouting out the window at the chickens (yes, with the blinds closed).  She's just a lot of dog with a short fuse and a lot to say. And my neighbors are good sports.  Their little dog barks constantly at us and Ziggy ignores him 85% of the time, but sometimes they play together running along the fence, which is a good exercise for Ziggy.  She just came running in, very proud of herself for protecting us.

Yesterday Ziggy stopped traffic - a man in a truck stopped in the road to shout - "Is that an Aussie mix?"  "Nope, she's a Catahoula, the Louisiana state dog."  "She's SO CUTE!"  I know he wanted to get out of that truck and come play with her, but Ziggy isn't actually all that crazy about people who shout at us - she ignores them.  Plus she had her eye on a kid walking from the dorms and she really wanted to run away with him.  She's such a peculiar dog with such strong feelings and opinions.  Friends want to come visit and I just don't even know how to make sure it's a positive interaction with the insane dog - I just never know how she's going to act because it all depends on her mood and alignment of the stars and how people smell and who knows what else.  And no, training doesn't do jackshit, because of how her brain is wired.  Miswired.

I dreamt last night that I had other dogs - a yellow and black lab.  And I felt about them like I feel about most labs - sweet dogs, I don't really bond to them.  They're a little too compliant maybe?  I don't know.  I don't like how they smell, mostly.  There is a black lab on our morning walks who is perfect - he and Ziggy are the best of friends and he is so patient and sweet and happy to see us.   Anyway, in my dream, these labs were my dogs but not like Ziggy, who gets to sleep in my bed if she wants and run the house.  And they were fine with her having preferential treatment.  And also, somebody did some kind of voodoo on me and put moss or something like that in my ear - it wasn't bad, it was to make me like them or something like that.  But now my ear is itchy and I'm even more resolved to have no more pets.  These chickens don't really take much time, but it's just something to think about all the damn time.  Let them out, lock them up, feed them, protect them, collect bolted vegetables for them, clean their water, check their nest boxes, clean up poop, etc.  A total of maybe 20 minutes per day, including watching them, but it's the having to remember thing that's a bit of a drain.  Ziggy had to remind me last night to lock them up because I forgot for the first time.  I would be happy with fewer chickens, but if a predator comes I hope it takes the meanest ones.  Unlikely, of course. 

OK, Ziggy is finally calmed down so I'll go walk her.  And drag into work, late again.  Hating it.  Yesterday I was on a call and people in other stateUgs were asking me to attend something that they want me to be involved with and I'm like - I can't commit.  They were all offering all sorts of things to help, such as scholarships and free housing, and I'm like - it's not financial, it's political.  Because it is, constantly.  It's a constant personality struggle between the 37 insane people I have to kow-tow to and I'm fucking exhausted if I think about all the careful stepping I have to do.  Ugh. 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

day after exam

Recently a nearby school we regularly walk past was in the news, which reminded me to email their office to ask if can take some of the bolted wormy vegetables in their garden space.  Surprisingly, I got a response and an agreement and a request that I take a picture of the chickens eating it.  How fun is all that?  So tonight the hound and I will cruise that way and pick some up.

It is so delightful to be free of school, though I really did phone it in on half of yesterday's exam.  Sigh.  Oh well. I just wasn't in the mood.

I came home to a Ziggy much less anxious than she's been in a while.  Hopefully that lasts.  She's right now chilling on her dog bed so that's always good.  I ordered some CBD oil and look forward to trying that out.  Because a freaked out Ziggy is not fun.  I just feel so bad for her when the anxiety overtakes her little brain.  I wonder if she's my worry-carrier.

Lord I have so much to do, things I put to the side while waiting to finish the term. So much yardwork, to start.  Housecleaning.  Correspondence.  Visits.  Dog training.  I left work early to check my now vacant apartment - now I'm emailing the roofer (there are ceiling water stains and that's a pretty new roof), the plasterer (there are some cracks - plus I really like him and would love to catch up with him, if he's not already retired).  And so on.  I have the plumber on Friday which is great because I need advice about the bathtub - it looks awful, and there must be ways to make it look better.  Can I scrub it clean? Should I have it painted?  Sigh.  Next week, termite inspections here and there.  Waiting for confirmation on AC unit checks.  And so on.  Not sure yet how much painting I'll need to do.  Some small repairs but not too much, it appears.  I need to get stainblocking paint, a door sweep, that sort of thing.  Replace the refrigerator door handle, WD40 some knobs.  Recaulk the bathtub - which I don't really understand why that's all wrecked, but ok.  It takes some time.  Confirm cleanliness.  IT didn't look that clean to me, but, well, so it goes.  I'm pickier than any cleaning service I know.  Way pickier. 

OK.  Housecleaning, communication, and gardening ahead.  As much as I'd love to binge watch, that can't happen until I'm too exhausted to move. 

time to focus back on the dog

I had my big exam last night and I didn't do great and it's hard to care too much.  I got bored and tired and headachy, so I left with a pretty half-assed attempt.  Better than my friend who had a meltdown and had to leave.  I can't decide if I should check in with her - she's super embarrassed and sometimes things like that we want to have ignored.  I'll check in with her to have her come over and visit Ziggy - she's the one who saved Ziggy's life (watched her when I had to travel so that I didn't have to abandon her to the high-kill shelter as I was advised by the rescue society) so we will always owe her.

This morning the dog walked past with the person who recently got chickens.  I asked if she'd take the sole chicken that my neighbors got from friends that they were hoping I'd take.  My coop is too small, my hens too mean, and that poor baby would never survive.  We chatted about it and she's a soft touch so she might, and I'm trying some other places to take it.  I eat chicken but this little one is in the pet zone from all it's gone through. 

This dog is super sweet, a new rescue.  And it's not afraid of Ziggy's aggressive barking out the window.  Most dogs look up nervously, refuse to turn on our block, etc. - but it doesn't faze her a bit.  Which is pretty amazing because she was rescued because she was attacked by other dogs and badly mauled, but she's still not worried.  She has to start heartworm treatment soon but I asked if after that she would be willing to try parallel walking and she was so down for that which I'm very excited about.  I want Ziggy to have another friend, and so nearby would be great.  Poor Ziggy is just such an intense bundle of nerves. 

Ever since I dropped off the daily dog training, she's been a mess - so anxious and on edge - and things keep escalating it.  I hate seeing her like this.  I'd start the PRozac up again, but it increases her anxiety.  I've been looking up CBD products - we just need to take the edge off.  And back to more intensive training now that exam is over. 

Tenant is staying a few more months which is good, and I'm really looking forward to godson coming.  I just can't figure out why Ziggy is so on edge.  She's pacing and panting, with eyes dilated.  I thought we were past this long ago.

Time to focus also on getting the apartment ready to rent - good news there is that as I look at my list, it's not so onerous, though I can't reach my termite company.  The list will likely grow as I do my check now that they're moved out, but it'll be fine.  I have a couple of weeks and I'm phoning it in at work.  Those people piss me off and they don't deserve the best of me. 

Which means I really REALLY need to keep my eye on the prize of finishing my PhD.  I have a tough year ahead of me if I want to stay on track. 

And now I'm officially running very late to work.  Oh well. 

Monday, May 8, 2017


Interesting article here by an older woman and the struggle for employment.  Her book is for 55 and older.

Y'all.  I'll be 50 soon.  Not next week, but soon.  And I embrace aging and have no regrets but holy fuck what if I lose my job and can't pay my bills? 

Sure, I can hustle, and I'm not snobby about work. 

OK, deep breath.  I can always go back to teaching in California.  I have my license active, there are a shit-ton of students, and I am certified as bilingual for teaching English learners which makes me pretty desirable.  Not as desirable as special ed, but pretty desirable.  Oh yeah, and my secondary endorsement for science is pretty good, too. I had a job in Cali at an alternative school that was really sweet - I was done at like 2:00 every day.  I think it was 7 am-2 pm or something like that, which makes it possible to have a life of some sort.  IT wasn't a job where they expected loads of extra time.  While some of the teachers were really committed and put the effort in for quality education, the school itself was just shoveling kids through - most were from juvenile detention or otherwise short of credits.  I had great kids.  I had to let go of some of my teaching strategies, like building on the past learning, because I didn't get the kids for a year.  It was super fluid with kids in and out and I couldn't get upset about that, just changed how I did things.  I had two kids arrested for murder before I left.  They probably both did it, based on how they talked about such things. 

I left to go to law school.  Which I'd like to say I dont' regret but then I see the balance of my student loan and, well, things would be better financially were I still a teacher in California.  Lots better.  But it's a stressful life.  I remember looking around a meeting once and realizing that every single teacher in the room but me was on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications.  That was when I made my exit strategy - took a leave of absence to study full-time and then take a world roadtrip.  No regrets there.  How fortunate I have been.

And I don't really want to move back to California.  Certainly not to the desert.  But I will hustle how I need to hustle.  One of my co-teachers was a chiropractor who left that to become a teacher. He was older and he wanted to have summers off, to get more custody of his kids.  He did whatever it took to get what he wanted. 

Ziggy seems to be fine this morning.  she woke me up way too early - she was lying on the floor by the bed licking where they'd shaved to put in her IV.  She's still a little off but much better than last night.  Poor baby.  She seems nonetheless for wear, but my credit card balance hurts.  Oh well.  We do what we have to do.

I almost asked the vet if they see chickens, just to know, but I can't imagine taking one of these chickens in to the vet.  These aren't those kind of pets.  But I don't know how I would end their lives if they're suffering, so there's that.  I'm not particularly bonded to these chickens.  They weren't handled much, and while they come running for me and flock around me and are always very interested in what I'm doing (while they completely ignore the dog), they're working animals.  They eat weeds, make manure, produce eggs, scratch up grass.

Oh, I know what I'd do if a chicken needed to be put down - ask my Honduran and Mexican neighbors to help.  They're from farms, they're sure to know what to do.  In fact they're my plan if I need to get rid of the chickens - hopefully they would take them.  They really seem to like them and I was super impressed at their chicken-wrangling skills. 

OK, I'm not planning to lose my job today so no worries.  Though I do need to pay off that credit card bill somehow. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

staying on the grid

I was watching a TED talk - don't even remember who - that was about his journey.  Encouraging other people to take their next steps.  He didn't speak for 17 years and he didn't get in a motorized vehicle for longer than that. 

And I was thinking: how much freedom I would have if I lived a simpler life.  I don't really need all that I have, all that I buy.  I'm trapped and it doesn't have to be this way.  HOw much do I really need to survive on?

And within ten minutes, Ziggy Stardust had gotten a marrow bone stuck on her jaw.  And I had to rush her to the vet ER, and $400 later she can barely stand and I think she may have fallen down the stairs and I need to go check on her.  Oscillating saw on both sides to get it off.  The vet couldn't figure out how she got it on, and he had to give her hard-core sedation.  (Yeah, because all the animals are back there together - she had to see all these other dogs staring at her so OF COURSE she needed sedation.  When I went to pick her up, I immediately recognized her screaming that didn't stop until I got her.  Does this flash her back to her shelter days?  Poor baby.)

Oh, she just came back in.  Drunken sailor.  She gave me the dirtiest look and wouldn't let me pet her - she's a very good dog that even when in this shape, she will work her way through a dog door and stairs to pee and poop outside and not in the house.  What a good dog. 

So, this is why I have a job that I hate.  So that I can have an automobile to take my dog and drop $400 on vet care.  And when the vet asks: "If something happens, do we resuscitate?" I can answer FUCK YES YOU BRING HER BACK TO LIFE.  "Look if she were 17 years old and in pain, I'd give you a dfferent answer, but yes, absolutely, yes."  Because cost doesn't matter.  She's my responsibility and I have credit cards.

So, no I'm not ready to fall off the grid, as delightful as that sounds. 


Whenever I have time to really slow down and think about theory (today: because of my exam on Tuesday that I'm studying for; and because my dog has finally CALMED THE FUCK DOWN for the first time in what feels like weeks, so I'm sitting still to not disturb her) I think how much I would enjoy a life immersed in that.

If I could spend my days thinking and researching and writing, I would be happy.  I would love to think about Herbert Marcuse's notions of manufactured needs and how it's keeping us dumb.  About fetishization of commodities.  About hegemony (god yes, I ALWAYS want to think of Gramsci).  ABout Stuart Hall, who is new to me and who is really resonating. 

I want to figure out if I'm a conflict theorist or not.  I want to dig into class struggle.  I want to contemplate Sahlins' Stone Age Economics and Graeber's Debt and apply it. 

Part of why I'm always obsessed about money is because of my theoretical AND everyday struggles with it.  As I've been re-reading Marx, so much of what he says is so directly relevant to RIGHT THIS INSTANT IN TIME. 

I see connections and can make good points and I would love to spend my waking hours doing THAT instead of the bullshit that I do for a job.  Even better if I could mix it up with gardening and dog walking and all those quality of life things.

So here's hoping that I can write a brilliant fucking dissertation that gets attention and leads to a job that would let me think. 

And also, that I figure out what the hell is going on with my dog.  She's on her bed attempting to be calm, but she keeps groaning (I can't tell if she's being melodramatic or what).  In the past week she's become massively more vocal.  I know I need to spend more time training her. Soon, pup.  Let me get through this exam. 

Actually as I type that about the groaning - I wonder if she's in some kind of pain.  I haven't seen any indication of a localized source of pain - does she have a headache or muscle aches or something that doesn't cause a limp, etc.?  If she's in pain it would explain some of her other ridiculous behaviors of late.  She's been a maniac. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

lessons in life and death

I hear HNIC's voice in my head a lot.  He was always clear about what he thought, and he was adamant about maximizing earnings.  Earn the bank.  He always me to do what was the most fiscally prudent.

And I have often really appreciated his advice.  I turned to him often, even when I didn't end up doing what he'd advised. 

"Stay in your job," he would say.  "You're making a good salary, earning a pension, you can retire at 60."  And I would grouse about how I hate it and he would tell me to grow up or something such. 

But do you know what? 

He hustled hard his whole damn life.  Usually working more than one full-time job.  For years he was a full-time high school teacher and a full-time police officer AND working police details.  And managing rental properties.  I never understood how he fit so much into his hours in the day. 

He worked hard.  He recently started taking weekend getaway vacations, dipping his toe into the water of travel.  Once his son had tried to bring him to Egypt on their fraternity's trip and he had refused - seemed an indulgence, he said. 

So he worked hard, and then he died.  At 50.  Not only did he work hard and rarely rest, but he denied himself so much other pleasure.  He ate so healthily I found it boring.  He never drank alcohol or soda.  He was so healthy.  And fucking doctors killed him.  This strong, virile man is dead due to medical malpractice.  He did everything right.  EVERYTHING.  And he's still dead.

And when I think of that instead of the advice he always gave me, I'm ready to just never go back to work.  I hate it.  Golden handcuffs. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

too much

I want too much.  From life, from everything.

One thing about being in school is that I say no a lot.  To friends, to me, to dog.  Nope, I can't go to that party, or that function, or walk you again. I can't build the bench or watch that movie.

And then I have breaks.  When I should really be studying for exams, but all I can think is: FREEDOM. 

I mark "interested" on all the FB invites now.  Not just "no."  A Jane Jacobs film and walking tour?  SIGN ME UP.  A talk on fermentation with water kefir grains to take home?  Yay.  Socializing?  OK.  Tour of the prison?  Email me the details, I'm there.  (Our major prison is named after the plantation that used to be there, which was named after the country where most of the enslaved people allegedly originated from - Angola.  Would you like to talk about the racial composition of the prison?  Or how 13th amendment doesn't prevent slavery of people who are imprisoned, regardless of how unjust the punishment?)

I get overwhelmed because there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF IN THIS CITY.  It's completely overwhelming. 

I'm putting together a list of places to eat with my godson - just cheap places I think he'll like.  IT COULD TAKE A YEAR.  And that's only the cheap not-too-exotic places.  IT's that way with EVERYTHING. 


Today I was talking on the phone with a man from this region.