Friday, October 30, 2009

Roadblock: New and Improved

Every morning we leave before it gets light. Every morning there are at least two (usually three) furry mounds waiting outside the door waiting for us to come out. I say outside the door- I think I mean on top of it. Her Majesty the cat is spooky- she's been stepped on too often- and usually gets out of the way when you wave a foot over her head. But the not-really-kittens-anymore still completely trust that of course we won't step on them. So they don't move. The only reason they aren't very flat is that they glow in the dark.

I think I should write about this to the Texas road department, if there is one. Their roadblocks don't keep moving to cut you off. They don't meow or purr or stare up at you with huge eyes either. They're obviously obsolete.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mourning Darkness

I admire sad stories. Stories that make you cry. Stories that seem absolutely hopeless and yet have an intrinsic, I'll-give-up-on-it/you/me-when-I'm-dead-and-cold-and-buried brand of optimism. Stories that recount epic battles, the labyrinthine complications of politics, the class of foreign cultures trying to unite against a common evil. Stories that make you feel noble and strong and silent just by reading them.

Then I go and try to write one of these. And then I cry, because....

Well, the best example would be Eddie the Combat Worm.

Eddie the Combat Worm was (is?) a comic I wrote/drew a year ago on a personal challenge. Eddie began as a dark, drinking, glowering character, someone who was angry over the end of the war. He had a pet silverfish named Murphy, who ate newspapers. I think Eddie was a seargent in the war who led new recruits across the front lines and watched inept officers get them all killed, but I never knew, because a 24 hour deadline on this story and my inability to take dark seriously hijacked the story. Eddie turned out to be speed-happy, trigger-happy, war-happy, cynical, sarcastic, and daring-only-in-that-he-did-things-no-sane-person-would-ever-dream-of. I also had a French centipede (munitions expert and illegal immigrant), a female worm (Lola Spie, because she was a government agent and I'm very imaginative when I'm under deadline), a hayseed dragonfly veteran (pilot) and the infilitration and destruction of a beehive. The first five, six pages were classic twenties detective novel imitation. The rest was a farce. A badly drawn farce.

That, admittedly, I enjoyed very much. But I still admire darkness. I just can't write it.

It's very sad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Forget the Plumbing

I came out of mutual last night very upset. Quivering, about-to-scream-or-cry-or-both upset. I won't go into why.

My dad knows me well. I'm not sure how, but he could tell how mad/upset I was, and then he talked me out of it. In twenty minutes he turned me from a sulking, raging mess to something vaguely human who could sing with the radio.

Forget plumbing. I need to marry someone who can help me when I can't help myself. Someone who can talk me out of a bad mood. Someone who knows when to agree with me and when to keep me off my sorry butt.

I'm not entirely sure there are two people in the world like that. But then, it was a surprise that there was one, so maybe there is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Contagious

All growing up I observed the symptoms of move-it-itus in my mother. (More commonly known as if-I-don't-rearrange-all-the-furniture-right-now-I-will-go-insane-but-not-before-you-do-so-start-hauling-buster. It's a very common maternal disease.)

This disease shows most clearly (for my mother) in the living room. At one time it was so bad that her visiting teacher (who visited monthly) said that the furniture was different every time she came. I'm not sure even now if she was appalled or amazed or admiring.

For years I prided myself on escaping this one female fault. I was still perfectly sane and willing to let the furniture stay in one place for years on end. If I wanted change, I sat upside down. More fun than moving furniture and much less work.

I can't feel that way anymore. I've detected three separate occurrences of move-it-itus in the past week. First I switched the crock-pot (used twice a week) with the elephant of a juicer (used never) so that the crock-pot was in the actual cooking area. Then I cleaned out a sort of shelf/drawer/bin area and reorganized things so that I could move the cutting boards from the other end of the kitchen to be in the area I actually use them. Then, this morning, I moved the toaster oven a full four feet (to the other side of the sink). Never mind that each of these moves makes perfect sense from the point of view of the person who cooks all the meals and would like it to take less time, thank you very much.

I have move-it-itus. My only comfort (and revenge) is that if I keep going at this rate I'll be the only person who knows where anything is and when I leave home the Teacher won't be able to find anything. Ever. And it will serve her right for teaching me (oops, I mean giving me) this disease.

My husband will think I'm insane. So will my children.

On the other hand, they would have thought that anyway.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am a storyteller. I can't say anything without telling a story. When I see something strange, it looks like a story. When I hear a new name, I wonder what a character named that would be like. When I find out about something that makes my insides seethe and boil and yearn to lash out and spread the burning, I wonder how to tell the story that will light the wildfire.

I have always been a storyteller. Many well-intentioned people have tried to change that, but since they aren't God and they don't know anything about rewriting DNA, they haven't had much success. One of their last ditch attempts to recall me to normality, to force me into a shape they can cope with, is a quasi-question: "But what is story good for?"

I say quasi-question because they believe they know the answer: Nothing. And that's what I usually say, because to me this is a question like "What's the good of oxygen?" or "Why do we bother with this whole living thing anyway?" The only response I've ever had is a long, blank stare. I'm good at stares.

I have an answer now. It's a story.

I'm taking Drawing. We work with 18" by 24" drawing pads, which is small in the world of Art but huge when you only have forty minutes of class time left. One of the things about drawing is that you have to be close to the paper to work, but you can't actually see what you're drawing without backing up at least six feet. (Someday someone will make a bird's eye view of an art class and it will look like a firework of people running back and forth.) You can draw or you can see what you're drawing, but you can't do both. It's like working blind.

When you're alive, it's like you're drawing. Every action (line) or inaction (negative space) makes a mark on your paper. Your paper might be huge or it might be small, but either way, you can't really see what you're drawing. You only see each individual mark. This is like looking back on the last week and to you it looks like milk in the living room carpet and too much chocolate, and to someone else, standing six feet away, it looks like mentoring a desperate teenager looking for more than he has and not yelling at your kids for being persistently, well, children.

This is what story is good for. Story steps back. Story says, yes, this looks like hodge-podge normality from where you stand, but over here it's beautiful. Or hideous. Or confusing. Or boring. Story can't lie. It can try, but you wouldn't believe how hard it is to tell a lie with story. Story is, by it's nature, truth.

True 'stories' include Uncle Tom's Cabin. Stories look at something accepted and/or ignored, and tell you what it looks like from six feet away. And once you know what it looks like six feet away, you still remember that even when you're up close. It changes everything. That's how one novel, a harmless, helpless story, swept a nation and planted the spark to light the wildfire. That's why slavery is no longer an acceptable resident in the United States.

This is what story is for. And this is what I would tell the people who try to reshape me, except the people who try to change me aren't the people who listen to me anyway, so I won't.

But at least my stare won't be blank anymore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Ages of Growing Up

When I was ten, I first started staying home. Sometimes I would be home alone for four whole hours. It was very exciting.

When I was eleven, I spent a week away from home with no parents, relative, or friends in the company of lots of strange people. (This is otherwise known as 'girl's camp'.) This was also exciting, but not nearly as much fun. I felt much older and grayer at the end of it, and proud of my survival- the crying hardly counts.

When I was thirteen (a week away from fourteen; my birthday has put me on the shy side of a lot of these age limits) I went to my first dance, which was also exciting but almost no fun at all.

And now, at seventeen, I have reached the next coming-of-age marker.

I went on a walk. A two mile walk. Which took an hour. By myself.

Can't you just feel the antiquity radiating out from me?

On my scary and dangerous walk I met: one man, two cars, four excited dogs, and one pony who might've come to meet me except it had expended a lot of effort in finding the absolute sunniest spot in its yard and wasn't going to budge.

The adrenaline is still rushing through me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Don't Even Get a Pension

Grilling used to be a manly job. Something that only the Principal did, and we only ever had hamburgers/steaks/hotdogs/chicken breast/pork chops when he was home to do battle with the grill.

But I'm older and taller and older now, and am generally considered to be fire-capable, so it's my job to handle the grill now.

This is not a good thing.

We have a gas grill- that is, there's a metal canister underneath and when you turn the knobs to Light I can smell gasoline- not a briquette grill. This should make cooking food fairly simple. It's not. Because our gas grill is also an old grill. The things inside that shouldn't come apart are rusted/burned through and mostly held together by old charred meat and grease. It would be disgusting if you could tell anymore what's metal and what's not.

Lighting it is the most exciting part. First, as I already said, you turn the knobs to Light. Then, standing well back, you carefully light one match. The grill is now hissing like an enraged rattler and will remove your fingers from your hands if you let it. Still standing well back, line the match up with the gaps in the grill. Then carefully throw or drop it. If you throw it, you risk setting the yard on fire or putting the match out, neither of which is the result you're after. If you drop it, be prepared to pull your hand back very quickly. Remember the rattler metaphor.

When the lighted match reaches the interior of the grill, fire will spurt out of the sides, bottom, and top of the grill. It's exciting, in a it's-a-good-thing-the-fire-warden-doesn't-know-about-this way. After the fire has sullenly retreated, you throw the meat onto the hot spots (you can have two pieces of meat on that grill for the same amount of time and if you don't know where to put them one of them will be black and one of them will barely be thawed) and slam the lid down. Every time you turn the meat with the spatula (iron, with a handle that isn't long enough) you will risk your meal and your knuckles. When you remove the meat and turn the gas off, the fire will live on, devouring the grease I mentioned before. Close the lid. It'll go out eventually. Probably.

And for this, I don't get a medal. I don't even get a pension. Sometimes I don't even get leftovers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Things I Do

I (more than) once wrote 50,000 words in one week. I ate a three pound bag of m&ms to keep the words coming that quickly.

I once wrote a character who was lame. I spent (I think two) days wearing a long strip of fabric tightly wrapped around my left knee to see what it would be like to be lame.

Now I have a character who can write with both hands. So I'm practicing writing backwards with my left hand. Backwards as in hold it up to the mirror and you can read it. With my left hand. I am not left handed. To say my handwriting is juvenile insults juveniles everywhere.

This character is also a mathematical genius, but you notice I'm not hitting the math books. Devotion to art has its limits.

Things That Make Me Happy

Getting a 100 out of 102 on my Span Vocab.

Stippling. I will never look at grapes the same way again.

A chocolate malt.

Getting a 100 out of 102 on my Span Vocab.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh, Obviously I Have No Personality

The Teacher has a very strict parenting style. So strict that when I was little and you couldn't tell yet how things were going to turn out, she appalled her in-laws. They thought (but probably never came right out and said) that she was Ms. Hitler, and I was going to be a timid, nervous person with all the personality squished out of me.


Two examples of just how very squished I am:

About a year ago, my YW leader pinned me down and tried to get some information out of me. I gave it very unwillingly (there's a story about that, but it's for another day), and she could tell. 'Cause, you know, she had these things called eyes. So she told me "Rachel, you know you can always ask and come to me for help with anything, right?" Trying to pressure me into promising to always tell her when I have a problem.

I thought about it and came back with "If I ever have a problem you can help me with I'll let you know." (Because she lives an hour away and most of my problems involve keeping the house clean and doing school, neither of which she can do for me.) She had to be happy with that because that was all she was going to get. The result is that none of my leaders have a clue of just how sick the Teacher is and how much I'm having to do. Because they can't help and I've never told them.

A few months ago, up on the stand waiting for Sacrament Meeting to start, the woman next to me, who was also giving a talk that day, started asking me about different people. She asked me about one girl in particular, who had become inactive while she was gone. She wanted to know how she was. And then she wanted to know what her 'problem' was- trying in the subtle way (maybe guys don't know what I'm talking about) women do to get me to give her the inside scoop. She wanted this girl's vital statistics and psychiatry analysis served on a platter. (This was actually the same girl the YW leader wanted to know about, and the only reason she had any success was because she was the YW leader and had a Need To Know.)

I'm not comfortable talking about people's problems to other people. It makes me feel like a turn-coat. I don't like feeling that way. It makes me feel angry inside. And I don't like feeling pressured. That makes me angry on the outside.

I was mostly polite. I told her I didn't feel comfortable talking about it because it felt like being a tattle-tale, so basically shut up and talk to her yourself if you will really, absolutely expire on the spot if you can't know everything.

In roughly that order. In maybe those words.

Yes. I'm so timid. And so squished.

And we all know I have no personality whatsoever.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Hundred Years Ago I Would Be An Adult (Part 2)

There are three different kinds of teachers. (There are bajillions of different teaching styles, but every teacher, whatever their style is, falls into one of these three groups. Because we're human, they probably skip back and forth, but if you're a teacher, you are always in one of these categories.)

There are teachers who encourage you to do your absolute worst.

These are the teachers who never accept responsibility for their own state of preparedness, their own attitude, or their own life. These are the teachers who announce at the beginning of class that they read the lesson an hour ago, but they're sure we can 'all work together to learn something' anyway- and then jump on anyone who tries to contribute or help or pull things out of the lesson ('Excuse me, excuse me- I'm the teacher; this is my class; shut up'). Then, when everyone gets the hint that their views are unwelcome they shut up and refuse to share; in scenarios where the teacher has acted like this for some time, they will refuse to answer questions or even read text from the book or manual. Having achieved this, the teacher will then proceed to tell anyone with ears, including her own students, what a terrible, delinquent class she has, how they never work with her, and how can anyone teach a good lesson in this atmosphere?

I've had teachers like this, and I'm not bitter at all.

There are the teachers who encourage you to do no less than the absolute minimum, will be concerned and constantly try to help you if you do less. But if you do more than the minimum, you're a freak, a genius, someone above and beyond. Pretty soon, you are doing the minimum- the minimum to be praised and admired without ever going so far as to actually break a sweat.

These are the teachers I and most people get most of the time. They're good people, but they never inspire you to greatness. They inspire you to boredom and mediocrity, and never realize they're doing it.

The thing is, mediocrity is different for different people. If someone with a learning disability reads the Book of Mormon in a year, that's amazing. It's above and beyond. It is their personal best. But if I read the Book of Mormon in a year, it isn't amazing. It's good that I'm maintaining a habit of regular scripture study, and that I'm acheiving my goals- but I could be setting those goals higher. When I read the Book of Mormon in a year and expect public recognition, besides being a jerk I'm being mediocre. I'm expecting praise for doing something that comes easily.

Mediocre is what you are when you do anything less than your best. Your best might be better or worst than someone else's best, but if it is really your best, it doesn't matter.

The third kind of teacher is the one who sees you falling into the habit of mediocrity, calls you on it, and both bullies and inspires (it requires both when you're in the habit of coasting) you to do your absolute best.

This is what I mean when I say that a hundred years ago I would have been an adult. A hundred years ago, doing less than your best was a good way to get killed/starve to death. Maybe life wasn't as fun then as it is now, but people did their best. On a personal level, they were better than us.

People tell me that things have changed and there's no comparison. We need more education now; that requires a longer 'growing up' period.

I disagree. I think we only need a different education. Do you know how to keep a fire burning through the night? How to milk cows? How to shear sheep? How to clean the wool, spin it, weave it, and sew it? Do you know how to hunt a deer through the woods without an automatic rifle? Do you know how to make hats? Do you know how to ride or shoe or train a horse? Do you know how to keep a house clean without modern soap or electric help (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner)?

None of these things are things we have to know now; we have our own set of things to learn. And if you try to tell me that modern life is more complicated, try sailing a ship without a GPS.

I don't wish I lived back then. Life is certainly more comfortable now. But I wish that as a culture we had kept that attitude of always doing our best in everything. We can do our best individually anyway. But when we are surrounded by an attitude of good enough, it's hard. People resent it when you rise and do your best, because it makes their mediocrity look and feel bad. And so, through peer pressure, our teachers, and our culture, we are constantly told to do the minimum and no more.

I hate that. I want more than that. I'm going to be more than that. But I'm not going to have the automatic support or encouragement or understanding I would if I were to settle for less.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Hundred Years Ago I Would Be An Adult (Part 1)

I feel really cheated. A hundred years ago, girls my age were married and had their own house and their own kids. They cooked on a fire and made elaborate quilts and waited for husbands as young as they were to come home. A hundred years ago, boys my age were officers in the army, schoolteachers, business owners, independent farmers, captains in the navy, scholars, writers, newpaper editors, scientists- anything you would think of as being 'Adults Only', people my age did it.

(Let's overlook the fact that a woman's life was much less interesting and varied than it is now.)

I'm their age. I could be a politician, a captain, an editor, a scientist, an 'Adult Only' anything. Instead, I'm seventeen. People act surprised when I use words longer than three syllables. (They act surprised when I use words shorter than three syllables. I was the only one in my class who knew what the dole was. How sad is that?) I've never worked outside of my home (volunteering and digging my neighbor's garden doesn't count). I'm nowhere near ready to get married, let alone have children. I start to sweat inside when I consider getting a job and working my way though college. My tongue ties itself in knots in every social situation. (Communication I can do, no prob. Conversation, not so much.) I've had twelve years of education but I don't know how to drive or do any kind of plumbing.

I'm a child. I'm their age. But they are immeasurably older than I am.

Why? Is it because humans have evolved so that childhood has gradually extended into what could and should be the beginning of our adult years? Or- more believably- is it something self-imposed?

It's easy (as a homeschooler) to point at the public school system as the cause of this extended childhood. But it goes farther than that. Even after school, people are encouraged to be childish. If you feel like it, do it. If your class is hard, drop out. If your boss doesn't like you, find a new job. Buy things before you have money- a grown up version of endlessly 'borrowing' money from parents. Put off 'getting old' as long as you absolutely can. Side step responsibility.

This is the culture I'm growing up it. And it's hard to rise above it and grow up. It feels like defying gravity. No matter how hard I flap my arms, gravity will win.

Maybe having a long childhood doesn't seem bad to you. I'll explain why I- and everyone else- is being cheated by this attitude in the next post.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Why Hollywood Hasn't Returned My Calls

There are too many James Bond movies. They keep getting redone, newer, better, bigger, and shinier. The James Bond format is a parasite draining creativity out of Hollywood's scriptwriters and only giving stupidity and cliches in return.

I have a solution. Give me the next James Bond movie. I'll write the script; I'll even direct it. And to show how my way would solve this problem, I'll give a sample of my script-writing.

Bond: My name is Bond. James Bond. I have a stupid way of introducing myself, but you're going to sleep with me anyway.

Stupid Woman #1: Yes, I will, even though I'm dating/living with/married to the bad guy and know that you're working to discover his evil plan, because I think that I can actually get something useful out of you.

Bond: Heh heh. By the way, I'm very picky about my drinks. I might kill you if you get it wrong.

Stupid Woman #1: That's okay, my lover/husband will kill me in the next scene anyway. Now let me tell you about a mysterious lair (could be factory, mansion, launch site, or just a well decorated cave) where the unknown as yet evil plan will begin/become unstoppable.

Bond: Gee, thanks! That saves a lot of trouble.

Stupid Woman #1 dies horribly.

Bond's Boss: Very interesting, Bond. Now that you've gotten us the information, let us send in the experts to take care of it.

Bond: But I must have screen time! The people love me! They need me!

Stupid Woman #2: Why don't you sneak in without telling anyone? And oh, look, I have a boat/airplane/helocopter/jeep you can use to get there. But you have to promise to take me with you.

Bond: You will undoubtedly get me caught and nearly killed, and you're almost certainly in the pay of the bad guy, but sure! Come along! The CIA always involves civilians in its operations. Besides, you're cute.

Stupid Woman #2: Sniffle, wiffle, wiff. I'm sorry, James. He has my uncle/aunt/parent/relative of your choice/the mortgage on my business/friend/fiance/child/pet cat. I must betray you now.

Bad Guy: Bwa ha ha! That will teach you to trust stupid women!

Bond: Curses! But don't worry, Stupid Woman #2; I know you're actually a good person, even though you're getting me killed. When I break out I'll come to find you and we'll escape together. Because I'm the good guy, and couldn't possibly leave anyone to suffer the consequences of their actions, and because we haven't slept together yet.

Stupid Woman #2: Now that I've given you what you want, pay up!

Bad Guy: Oh yes! How silly of me. Here- take what you deserve!

Stupid Woman #2 dies. Horribly.

Bad Guy: Now, Mr Bond, let me tell you everything about my plan, exactly how to stop it, and also just how terrible my childhood was; because having a neglectful parent (or any other significant/insignificant) justifies and excuses killing lots of people. Because you are truly the only person who could ever understand me. And because Bad Guys have a built in inferiority complex that demands that we bask in constant admiration and receive validation of ourselves and our goals from everyone and anyone.

Bond: escapes.

Stupid Woman #3: Bond! Quick! The big red button to stop the evil plan is this way!

Bond: But I don't know how to push a button! What will I do?

Stupid Woman #3: I'll give you step-by-step instructions if you promise to take me with you when you escape and to love me forever.

Bond: But we just met.

Stupid Woman #3: I've admired you from afar ever since I figured out that the Bad Guy is a sinking boat, and rats are survivors. To the red button!

Bond: Okay! But just to warn you, I'll discard you the moment the movie is over. And of course, once we've slept together.

And there you have it. I hate James Bond. And no one sympathizes. But if this script hit the theatres, I'm sure the eyes of the people would be opened.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Personal Style

I've already commented, possibly not here, that it's a good thing I have my Spanish class before Art. Spanish swells me up, and Art deflates me, and I come out of college with a head that's the right size.

However, halfway through the semester, I have finally identified my personal style of Art. (Maybe I should call it an approach to Art- as in, 'before I was robbed blind, a smiling stranger approached me'.) I didn't know I had one, but I know now.

First I observe Art. I listen eagerly to details of its daily life, and in which settings it is most likely found. I hear about shading, gradations, highlights, and 'specificity'.

Then I stalk Art. I slap down an outline (not literally- my teacher hates lines) of what I'm supposed to be drawing. Having cornered Art in the dark alley of my drawing pad, I proceed to approach slowly and speak soothingly.

Art never buys it. It's smart that way.

So I tackle Art around the knees, and bring it down to the ground. I pin its arms- receiving several blows to the gut in the process- and begin to go through its pockets. And I talk to it, because everyone needs a friendly voice and I like to talk.

"Look, Art," (I say), "There's an easy way and a hard way to do this. The easy way is for me to slit your throat, take you to a taxidermist, and keep you in a formaldehyde acquarium as a conversation piece." (Insert Art making whimpering noises here.) "The hard way is for you to get out there, front and center, strut your stuff for the class critique, and promise it'll go well. 'Cause Art, I don't know what'll happen if it doesn't go well... but I'm sure I'll rise to the occasion."

At this point, Art tries to make a break for it. I'm ready for it though, and slam its head against a handy outline (literally this time) until it's too weak to resist my evil will and I work my desire for a decent grade upon it.

The other students in my class have a gentler approach, but like I said, it's all a matter of personal style.

The Days of Honor Have Returned!

Honor! Duels! Seminary Tournament!

(Quick summary: everyone's name was randomly drawn from a bucket and listed on the whiteboard. You may challenge anyone one to two places ahead of you to a scripture chase duel. You may not challenge anyone below you, but they may challenge you.)

I am a knight in black armor, carrying a gold flag and riding a burgundy-rose horse (my three-in-one). My honor goes untarnished as I charge through the ranks, unhorsing all comers! My honor is challenged but goes undefeated!

(I've read the Book of Mormon five times this year. We're covering the BOM in seminary. To say that I have an edge is like saying a samurai blade is sharp.)

People flee before my ascending glory! (I challenged one girl and she literally ran away, because, oh darn, it was time for her to go. It reminded me of Potipher's wife.)

P.S.: I need to buy some hamsters. The Teacher must be punished. I will not say why. Honor is discrete.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Reason

My room is not clean. The only time it has ever been clean was when I had it as a Personal Progress goal. It is not clean anymore.

Normally I pretend this is the way I like it. "It might not look organized," I tell myself, "But if I can find what I want, who cares if no one else can? I don't want them in my room anyway."

This works right up until, ahem, I can't find what I want. Or when I notice the quarter inch thick layer of dust. Or the drifts of books, paper, and laundry. Or I stab myself on a drawer that refuses to close.

But now I have a new reason for why I never clean my room. For why things end up in such bizarre places.

From now on, when I lose something and find it in somewhere that makes no sense, I will hold my head up in pride and say "It was the lucky place to put it." And my parents will still mock me, but I'll feel better.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Usual Suspect

I'm a teenager. Therefore, I'm the Usual Suspect in our house.

I wouldn't be so bothered by this except that I've always been the Usual Suspect, and have no hope of growing out of it until the Teacher can admit that she has anterograde amnesia.

Yesterday morning, while I was on the computer, the Teacher was hunting around her door and on the floor. "Peaches!" she said. "Where's my [embarrassing piece of clothing]?!"

"What do you mean, where's your [embarrassing piece of clothing]?" I returned. "I wouldn't touch your [embarrassing piece of clothing] with a ten foot pole!" (Which isn't exactly true, since I also do laundry in this house, so I probably have touched it at some point, but it made my point.)

Every time the Teacher or the Principal lose, forget, or misplace anything, from embarrassing pieces of clothing to forks or miniature keyboards or keys- keys are a favorite- they always ask me where it is. I'm the Usual Suspect and back-up memory rolled in one.

This is annoying. Someday I will have my revenge. It will involve hamsters. Because hamsters are cute and mildly insane. (Why else do we keep them in lifetime solitary confinement in impenetrable rolling balls?)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Out of Computer Time

What can you say in one min

fifty-two sec


What can you say when you have no computer time left? What's most important to say?



Life is good.

And it's okay to be corny.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Value of Time

This is how you make a Schedule. You write down what time you wake up. (What time you really wake up, not what time you want to wake up. There's always a difference.) You write down what you do the very first thing after getting out of bed. Maybe it's staggering to the bathroom or to the kitchen for the Coffee of Life. If it's longer than five minutes, it goes on the Schedule.

Determine how much time you think you can get dressed and ready for the day. Add five minutes. Add it to the schedule. (You should be putting clock times on here, not '15 min- shower', because then it's just a to-do list.) Decide how long it takes to cook and eat breakfast. Add it to the schedule. Is there somewhere you have to go? Is there a gap between when you'll be ready and when you leave? Put it on the Schedule and decide what you're going to do in that spare time. For me, it's fifteen minutes of writing before I leave for seminary.

And so on and so forth. Write it all down. If you don't Schedule it, it doesn't happen, or worse, it does happen, and then you feel bad for throwing off the entire Schedule. And this isn't a list of chores. Schedule time to crochet (after you've studied, or whatever it is you do). Schedule time to read (during mealtimes for me, which is heathenistic, I know, but I don't care). Schedule time to get on the computer and waste time. Schedule!

I made a Schedule. Can you tell? And I would tell you how wonderful it is except I don't really know yet. I'm treating it like exercise. I'll do it for a month, and then I'm free to jump off the wagon if I want to. It's much easier to commit to a month than to a lifetime. But if you commit to a month, soon you'll commit to a year, and the next thing you know you're ninety-seven and dead and your children are marveling over the beauty of all those old, yellowed schedules, carefully preserved for posterity.

Or not. Probably they'll just throw them away. But don't dwell on that.