Sunday, February 28, 2010

ruthie foster

On Friday my friend Hillary asked if I wanted her extra ticket to hear some music. I said okay because I like music and trust her judgment. I forgot to look up the artist, and didn't know the venue. We drove nearly an hour to a sleepy suburb, got lost, and eventually showed up at an auditorium inside a city hall... nothing like the downtown bar I realized I had imagined. The crowd had a lot of white hair with a few loud exceptions.

Now here's the beauty of surprises. In this auditorium in the middle of nowhere with no expectations I saw the best singer I've ever heard. The opening act was Eric Bibb and he was amazing, and had this awesome harmonica player with him. BLUES. I love blues music. But then she came on and blew him away and everyone else I've ever heard live. Ruthie Foster. A little lady whose voice filled the room as easily as if she was just breathing. My jaw actually did drop a few times. What?! Is that possible? (Maybe I was slightly over-impressed having just watched American Idol this past week!

But decide for yourself if you like her. Here's an a capella song she played. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Last night I tossed and turned a few hours, and then it was snowing in my dream. I was arriving at an event in my honor. Many, many people were there - all people I have known well or slightly throughout my life. There was an understanding that it was ALL the people I have ever known, somehow. It felt like a long dream, visiting each person and saying hello again. Eventually there was a ceremony in which I received some kind of award or acknowledgment. Then the evening was winding down, we looked at the night sky and the snow falling, and everyone found their cliques - people from school, people from Boston, people from this job or that job. I understood I had to say goodbye, I wouldn't see anyone again. I visited a few rooms, trying to say good-bye to everyone but got too teary to do it.

After that vivid and solemn dream that seemed to last all night, I woke up in Chapel Hill with sun streaming through the windows and was thoroughly freaked out for a moment, like it was my last day here. I told my husband about my dream, and said maybe I should play it safe and not do anything dangerous today. He just shrugged and said everything could be dangerous with you. (This is true... last week I bruised my brow bone carrying a broom from the kitchen to the closet. Note to self: don't dance during this task next time.)

Did you ever have that feeling that you literally traveled somewhere else during the night? That everything was slightly changed now that you've returned?

Monday, February 22, 2010


i was browsing poetry today. of it all, the line that made a home in my memory is not from a poem but is a comment:

this is a terrible poem and i just think that you should have put more thought into it and made it not so horrible

i make a habit of not reading too many online comments, and it's a strict rule when it comes to forums of any kind. under cloaks of computerized anonymity, humans reveal they are angry, wretched, and live to insult others. this is my only take-away ever, and it zaps all my love for the human race. if you think i'm being overly dramatic, pick any youtube video and read the comments. within a page there are online equivalents of the nasty 3rd grade bully with minimally masked low self-esteem. it's thoroughly depressing.

the comment above was the sole one for a certain experimental poem. it contains about as many words as the original poem. and there is something so simple and earnest about it (to me) that makes it not so mean. perhaps it's because i agreed with the commenter, or perhaps it's my current mood, but i found it delightful. there is also something magical about 'not make it so horrible', as if it's that easy all the time.

incidentally the word 'just' strikes me. we all say this so much, without thinking. i was just going to say.... or starting sentences with no, it's just... oh, nothing, i just... i'm going to go ahead and just...

so many diminutives, so many unnecessary past tenses and verbal ways to distance and defend. no, i mean, it's just a thought, but i was going to say, that maybe it would be interesting to see how much i would change if i eliminated 'just' and spoke simply in the present tense.

just for a day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


At 32, it should come as no surprise to me that I'm an adult. I remember the first time I started feeling like an adult - I had newly arrived in Boston for college, without visiting beforehand. I had no trepidation, just excitement. I have a distinct early memory of being alone in the city, and thinking 'wow, i could just buy a huge bag of candy right now, and eat it all, and no one will say anything'. Luckily, I've grown to use my adult independence for more lofty goals than eating entire bags of Skittles.

But sometimes it hits me. I can do anything! I can stay up all night! I can wear pajamas all day! I could get a puppy! There's nothing stopping me from climbing that tree! I just love that feeling of permissionlessness... and yes, I'm allowed to make up whatever word I need. There are social protocols I've learned well, and I know I'll probably injure myself climbing a tree, and I'm married to a man whose needs I value as much as my own, and I care deeply about others' reactions to my choices. But there's still an immense adult freedom I'm valuing all over again. I think it is because I'm spending a good part of the day teaching kids about cause and effect, actions and consequences, and developing behavior charts on neon posterboard. Teaching about how parents own everything, and children earn privileges to use it. As much as I know it's for their own good, my heart goes out to them. It's tough being a kid. Especially around two and three, I think. You're realizing all this stuff you can do and get... finding your words to express it...and everyone around you is saying a bigger no than you are.

I've also been having other moments that make me feel like an adult. Not in a soaring freedom kind of way, but in an, omg, I am getting OLD kinda way. Like how I still can't bring myself to ever text 'omg', because I feel like I'll be called out on it. I am aghast at how children dress nowadays. And how the kids I work with have this vocabulary and lists of favorite things that aren't vaguely familiar to me (What? Is that on tv, or a video game? Say that again? Can you spell that for me?). And then yesterday. I went to the public library to get a book. It wasn't available but said 'title available through audio download'. I had no idea what that meant, so I went to the reference desk. The librarian walked me through an online service they have, in which you put in your library card number and pin, and you can download audio books. You can download them right to your computer, to your iPod, or burn them to a CD. I was wide-eyed and thrilled. I finished talking to him, looked at the people standing in line behind me, and announced, Oh my goodness, the technology they have these days!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

blogging from a minimally functioning brain

Snow update: The snow from last Saturday caused school closings through Weds, and today and tomorrow are 2-hour delays. As far as I can tell the snow has melted, so I'm confused. There is freezing rain tonight, and snow to rain this Saturday so perhaps it's an early precaution? I've pretty much stopped trying to figure it out.

Mostly because I'm currently trying to figure out what is wrong with my brain. See previous blog posts for my generally ungrounded walk through life, and my near-misses with mental illness. But the past couple days have even surprised me. For instance, it is not normal, even for me, to eat cereal in the late morning, get up from my chair and dump out the milk in the BATHROOM sink. I didn't realize I had done it until I turned on the faucet and I felt it was the wrong faucet. Still reeling from that crazy lapse in normal behavior, I then poured myself some grapefruit juice and put the carton back in the pantry instead of the refrigerator. That night I spent a full 20 minutes trying to assemble a food processor. No, not the whole food processor. One pole-like thing, and one blade. I could tell they fit together, I knew it should be obvious, but I just couldn't do it. I sliced potatoes by hand, and then my husband came home and showed me in 2 seconds how to do it. And it was obvious. Today I followed behind my supervisor's car to a client's house. It was a ten minute straight shot down the road, and I'd been to the house several times before. Easy. Driving, driving, driving... oh, where am I? My boss's car had turned right and I had not followed. I was a couples miles down the road. And also today I was at someone's house and one person in the room rocked on an armchair the whole hour. I couldn't look or I got vertigo. I felt like I was going to lose it. Don't even ask me to explain, I don't know why either.

I am hoping this blog doesn't turn into the dissolution of my mind, but there you go. I also got into a fender bender yesterday, for the first time ever. I was sitting at a red light and someone bumped me, so it definitely wasn't my fault, but somehow it just fits into the whole thing. Two days of fog and unthinking, and nonsense, and a growing resignation that it's going to be one mishap after another. I can't figure it out. I (for once!) have had really good sleep all week, have no emotional issues at the moment... my work is fun though mentally demanding. (that mentally demanding?) Not sure at what point I should be really concerned, or if I'm past that point. Maybe when I start trying to unlock other people's cars and houses thinking they are mine? Or call my cats the wrong names? On the bright side, perhaps this is all a prelude to a Matrix-like sci-fi revelation :) I'll keep you posted.


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