Showing posts from August, 2011

The Doldrums

The Doldrums ( the intertropical convergence zone ) are a physical place, near the equator, where winds from north and south converge. The Doldrums encompass both violent thunderstorms and what Wikipedia calls "stagnant calms." The "calm" part of which I think of more as "lack of anything happening," instead of "peacefulness." And the violent thunderstorms are most often expressed as "Omigod what happened to summer????" In any case, several people have mentioned symptoms of being in The Doldrums lately. Maybe it's the heat, which discourages purposeful activity but doesn't erase the guilt for "wasting" perfectly beautiful sunny days. Regardless, summer is slipping away (September is THURSDAY! Autumn is nearly HERE!) and that stirs up feelings of panic or wistfulness, depending. Natural disasters like storms or earthquakes don't help. Neither do unsettling events, like the death of Jack Layton at a young 61.

Giving: Risks and Rewards

I love it when people do nice things. It's inspiring in ways they may not even have considered. Here are two examples. Last year, a poet friend and her sister collaborated with one of their friends who makes books. "Makes" as in hand-makes, stitches, selects paper, does the fancy folds -- really makes them, hands-on. This bookmaking friend had been part of a course in which participants discussed that question that plagues all artists: now that I've made it, what do I do with it? Obviously, many artists want to sell things. But let's face it, not everything artists produce is something others want to own, much less pay for. Then what? Writers fill up filing cabinets (now virtual), but when you're a potter or a painter or book-maker, what do you do? How many storage units can an artist afford? This book-maker decided she would use her skills to give to others. She came up with a theme: seasons. She recruited co-conspirators. The painting sister painte

Looked at "no" from both sides, now

Sorry for the earworm, and if you're too young to have it appear naturally, here . You're welcome. This is the version (pared down: Joni Mitchell + guitar) that plays in my head. (Though, okay, I first heard Judy Collins do it; I'm American.) And this version (Measha Brueggergosman + lots of production) is also beautiful. It's obviously an enduring song. In any case, my point: I've had the chance to "say" no recently, and being on that side of the rejection was a different kind of difficult. A group I'm in has a great program starting (again) this fall, and we put out an RFP that elicited dozens of applications. I wasn't involved in the entire vetting process, but I joined toward the end, and since I was the one with a little time, I was responsible for bearing the news. First I notified applicants that selection was taking longer than we anticipated. About ten days later, after much discussion and back-and-forth and research, I had to n

Set. Sprung.

So. Still living in the country. Still fighting to enforce a line between indoors and outdoors. New opponent, though: this time, it's a rodent. Last week, a mouse made its way into my office. I am not a fan of rodents, so my inner alarm system shrieked to alert the household to the presence of the intruder. Just trying to keep everyone else safe. That's me. After a quick trip to the little store for peanut butter, my husband set four traps. Meanwhile, I donned my "wellies" (wellington boots, similar to these , except mine have glitter flower stickers on them) and stood by, trying to keep my alarm system from tripping again. Soon thereafter, the intruder reappeared but eventually made his way up the vacuum hose to heaven, where s/he frolicks with friends and enjoys the absence of shrieks. It's been several days, now, and I have heard nothing in the way of further mouse activity. (Sadly, I am familiar with its scritchings and tappings.) However, the set

Life as an Antagonist

I haven't had the joy of parenting a teenager, so I have little direct experience as an antagonist in someone else's drama. At least, not that I'm aware of. Except for...never mind. However, I live in the country (stay with me), where the line between "indoors" and "outdoors" is porous. Periodically, critters get confused. At the moment, we're dealing with some flies. Big, slow-moving flies. And I am their antagonist -- even their nemesis. Today, I have armed myself with a vacuum cleaner. I have conducted several sorties against them and emerged victorious in battle, though I have not yet (and may never) win the war. Because I have seen enough advertisements in my life, and I have watched enough episodes of CSI: Wherever in my life, I know what the presence of flies indicates. (Where you see X vermin, 10X actually exist. Flies are a reliable indicator of the time of death of something, which means...never mind that, either.) Yuck. To distract myself