Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I have:


                :many good opportunities right now. I need to figure out how to take appropriate advantage of each of them. Thanks, universe. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

so far

new year's resolution/theme: not doing so well. Good thing I have a whole year. Also, I think it's probably time to revisit this (last year's goal). Maybe?

In other news, I just finished reading 130/250ish pages i need to have read by Wednesday.
(which is not to even mention the book I have to have read by Thursday).

This semester might just kill me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

navigator, first class

I like Lincoln about sunset time, on days when I get to go home and be alone. Does that sound as sad as I think it does? 
It's the time where I can like, breathe. I know I have  a lot ahead of me still to do, a lot of day left to live and the likelihood of copious amounts of reading left to do before the next day. But those are put on hold for me around sunset time. I like to look at the sky. It's so big here, and it frequently looks like this:

which is pretty okay, if you ask me

I guess the early night is sort of time for me to stop thinking so damn much and start to feel things. I put feeling things on hold a lot throughout the regular day: work, reading, class all require nothing but THINKING. Thinking is pretty nice, but there needs to be a balance. Balance.

So here's what I have been feeling this week. Since I am trying to work on presence, I am trying to focus really hard on not missing people and letting myself be here. With that in mind, I fill myself up with thinking about the reasons why I liked people to begin with; the things that made me miss people once I leave.
This week has been full of my dad. He and I have a very strange relationship. Mostly I just spend a lot of time admiringly perplexed by him and wondering who he is.
When I was a kid, the best adventures were ones where I could either go to the store, or a ride in the car with my dad. I just wanted him to take me somewhere so that I could look at things. I like looking at things a lot. On many of the drives, my pa would turn the navigational duties to me (assuredly to help me build my brains and confidence: #GoodParenting). When I became an angsty teen, he tried to help me feel powerful by declaring me, a fully refined Navigator, First Class.

He even made me a badge.

I loved it. I took so much pride in the fact that I could navigate anywhere, and really, I did have some reasonable navigational skillz. A large part of it was intuitive direction, the rest was map reading.

Today in (one of three bonkers philosophical/crazy difficult) seminar, we were talking about maps as images. I like to think that my map-reading abilities intersect somewhere with my abilities to understand paintings. We (I) decided that maps are actually just images/ paintings. Aaaaaaand, it stands to reason, that since I spent so much time looking at/deciphering them as a kid, it led me (at least in part) to my attempts to speak/think/understand art historically (hi steve.) in everything I speak/think/understand about today.

So there you have it.

Now I MUST get to work reading a 300 page book and pretending to have the capacity to respond to it intelligently by 4 tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


...is probably the scariest GIF image of all time.
Thanks, Phineas P. Quimby.

Monday, January 16, 2012

les houseplants

I think I need all my relationships to be like my relationship with the spider plant my sister gave me before I moved here.

Or like the cactus she gave me before I moved to Utah.

Those plants always love me and are there for me as another  living thing in my life, but they are also pretty low maintenance. Plants can be forgiving; I've always loved and admired that quality. I need to learn from them.

I was always confused by people who claim to be incapable of caring for houseplants. My Granny is like that- she says she can't keep anything alive, and it's true. Plants always go into her house alive and beautiful, but come out crusty and dead. How does it happen? I have never battled with that. Maybe I have just been lucky? I'm not sure.

Every two years or so, the cactus wilts and has  a really dramatic phase where it turns into a spine covered jelly mess. It's so weird; I probably should ask a botanist about it. I always get into a fit of panic whenever it happens, because I'm terrified of the things I love dying. But somehow it always makes it out alive... better than alive. It thrives.

I think I need to learn something from cactusbaby. You know, like: we all have down times, but then we come out stronger. Or maybe something like: life is mysterious and amazing, but through all of that, life goes on.

Life goes on beautifully.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It Happened

I am finally used to the train noises in the night.
They aren't comforting yet, but comfortable at least.
Maybe some day, I will miss them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Live With Children

People (maybe even you) are curious.
I am presently sitting in my room overhearing my roommates talk. It is one of my number one favorite activities that I use to avoid home-working.
They are a source of constant entertainment to me.

Tonight, they are talking about big cities, which is a favorite topic for them. Neither of them had ever left the state of Nebraska until last October. The largest city in Nebraska has a population of 408,958. Their naivete is unceasingly amazing, wonderful and comical to me.

Also, I am pretty sure I scare the hell out of them.

They are telling one another facts about New York (particularly interest in the Bronx) and LA. I have surmised that these are the cities that make up the dream landscapes of Midwestern children. The one just told the other that most of the gangs are in the Bronx (What? Most of the gangs in the world?).

As I listen to them, I feel like a hardened old woman. I first went to New York when I was 19, and to LA when I was 14. Hollywood happened when I was 15, and I left the country for the first time when I was 12, but it didn't seem unusual. My first plane ride was at 11. First concert: 17.

I was a child! They still have yet to do any (except the one who flew for the first time last year) of these activities (they are both 22 years old). I consistently feel like worldly individual whenever I talk to them. I knew Jewish people and black folks! They wonder about them vocally and frequently. One of them had also never met a vegetarian before she met me. I think I dazzle them with having a passport (WITH STAMPS IN IT!!), and tales of a high school graduating class of 1000+ students. That is a population larger than both their hometowns combined and then doubled.

They had no idea what they were getting when they let me move in.

It's good to be reminded of the power of wonderment. 

I wonder what they think of me...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

semester II

So far, I have been to one class.
I am the only student in the class.
Holy cow...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Real Work

I just got off a plane where a baby was literally howling for three hours straight. The connector from Denver to Lincoln should have only taken an hour and forty, but some troublesome air, and we doubled our flight time.

It gave me more time to think.

I always need more time to think.

I probably need less time to think.

Today, work was the main topic chasing itself around inside my brains. Not my work per se, not my employment, but the big, theoretical WORK work. I’m sitting there watching all of the screens in the plane. I suddenly get totally creeped out by how many screens there are. It felt very sci-borg grossy to me: this is the matrix, and we are all plugged into it. 

Every seat-back has a screen embedded, and they are a one foot distance away from the face of every human being in the plane’s womb. One is given a crumb of control in the armrest that seemingly allows volume change. What a pitiful modicum of dominion, paltry pretension of stewardship. The screens are all playing the same thing, in-synch with one another. Mine is graciously malfunctioning, and so is the only blank screen in the place (what luck).

The scene is an extended five-minute commercial for a line of luxury vehicles. Because that’s obviously what we need. 

I am struck by the juxtaposition of the wailing child and the monotony of the hyper- tan man on the screens.
There is a girl across the aisle from me that has her headphones plugged into the armrest: she is listening politely to everything they are trying to tell her, but her eyes look tired and she might not understand everything. The good news is that the exact same thing will reload in five minutes. She doesn’t need to listen. 

I incur Wendell Berry (because that is always who I incur).

Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   
 -from How To Be A Poet, 2001

And then, probably because I have been reading a book that makes me think about things like work and the world and the gospel, I begin, and I cannot stop. Why are they trying to sell a luxury sedan to this girl? What is she thinking? How insidious and totally brilliant. They win! We loose.

What are we all working for?

And then I get into meaning.

I flex my legs.

I was afraid last week that I was atrophying in my mind and my body for lack of use. I realize that my body is in the shape it is because my actions have carved it so. I'm reminded of how the story of 2010 exhibited itself on my legs after I chased my professor across Europe. The story is the same for my mind. With a holiday break, my body goes lesser-used and aches from the falling down and scrapes it encountered. Blegh. My leg is feeling weak, and not as chiseled as I remembered it. I flex, and it isn’t difficult. I need it to be difficult in order to improve. I need things to be difficult in order to improve generally. Thus, opposition in all things? Sure. 

I think they are telling her that there is meaning in having things. In buying the luxury sedan and loading your dogs into it and going to the beach alone. It’s really all about the sedan- lifestyle that accompanies such a purchase. I want to take her headphones out and ask her what she loves, her favorite color, whether she prefers early mornings or late nights, have her tell me about the boys she admires in secret. I want to tell her to love the glittery pink shirt she is wearing because she is almost too old for it. I want to tell her that it will be hard to grow up because that’s what growing is: hard. And that it will hurt. It always hurts. I want to tell her that they are lying to her. They are enslaving her into a life that is filled with working for dinero that will enable her to buy, buy, buy.

This is not where life has meaning. Life has meaning in working to overcome difficulty. Life exists in opposition to death, and while we may not face it on a daily basis in our cush first-world of-luxury-sedan-advertisements on airplane-rides-in-the-middle-of-the-country, it is the actual basis of existence. And we a re being lied to if we can really divorce ourselves from the actuality of death's encroachment. Death is stagnation. I want to rail at myself for forgetting this; for forgetting the beauty that comes in growth and the power that is hidden in opposition. I need to remember that it isn’t all about the benjamins. It’s about the people; always the people. 

And here we are.

Meaning in life is found in opposition and in its absence. Meaning is found in work and overcoming. Meaning is found in change. Not luxury sedans, but howling babies whose ears hurt because of the altitude's sharpness. The baby who doesn't know that his pain will end.