tuzemi: (Default)
2011-08-14 07:33 am
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Walking Kroger's at night

I've called it "Kroger's" my entire life even though it's really Kroger without the s. Maybe for the same reason my mom sometimes pronounces "wash" as "warsh" or when I'm stressed I say "cain't" instead of "can't". My third grade teacher was from New York and was the first person in my life to correct me about using the word "ain't". But anyway, last night after sunset we went to the local Kroger and walked the whole store, picking up bread for me and wine and noodles for her. It was the first time we've done so since moving to Michigan. We used to do it a lot more in Texas when I was in school. The Kroger there was adjacent to a Half Price Books, and we would hit "Ooks" as we called it (the 'B' in the sign was broken for a couple weeks once) and then Kroger and walk the teeny distance back to our duplex. It was our little ritual to get out and chat, and it was really nice.

Speaking of Michigan, one of the engineers I used to work with will be here this week to interview with my company, even my same unit. I'm really excited and hopes he does well enough to get an offer, it would be nice to have someone else I know up here. Before I left Texas I had pushed him to apply, and within the company I spoke well of him when they asked. This is my first time to really go for broke on a recommendation, but I feel that with how they work here he could get up and running with the pack as well or better than most others they could ask for. If he gets it, that would bring us up to three people who used to work at the old site who now work here.

And still speaking of Michigan, my new license just came in. That leaves us just one driver's license and one car title registration away from being formally severed from Texas. I spent nearly all of yesterday afternoon organizing our books -- we have six bookcases and they were quite full of stuff from the last seven years of collecting. I got one large pile ready for donation to the local library, but it was a weird mental/emotional process to go through sorting some of the things leftover from my childhood. Like three picture albums including my old baby pictures, and my first full-size bible. These things make me sad/angry/guilty now. I put the bible in a pile of things to be destroyed/shredded along with some confidential training stuff from my old company (I'm not required to honor their confidentiality, but it's the ethical thing to do so I stick with it).

I don't yet fully understand why pictures of my own childhood make me sad. In most of them I'm smiling and seem bubbly, at least up until I started elementary school. When I lived it, it didn't feel too bad, but I think I was basically depressed by age six and never really got out of that until age 25. I used to feel so keenly out-of-place and like an outsider looking in, yet also trapped. There was this one relative who liked to grab onto an arm or leg and not let go; I think everyone in my family thought it was a game but it freaking terrified me and I would get a full fight-or-flight response. I'm now thinking that that response might not have been typical for most kids at age 5-ish. I also see other details in the pictures: our crappy brown almost-shag carpet, old toys that you would see in antique store today, the clothes of the late 70's and early 80's. We were in all honesty a family others would label poor white trash. It's one thing to kind of joke about it in high school without fully feeling the punch, but now being older I do feel it.

I wonder sometimes if this is just a regular part of growing up or if it is instead like a de-conversion story similar to those who not only left the city of their birth behind, they also left behind their family, childhood friends, and entire psychological landscape? I remember in junior high wondering how one would calculate things like trajectory, and I scoured the library and didn't have a clue where to even start looking for that answer; I don't think anyone in my family or friends could have even named the discipline that had the answers. Now 22 years later I have at least six different books with that answer. If I was meant to be someone who really likes science, why did I have to grow up with so many people who basically hate math and science? Yet within my family they tried: we went to a few school events promoting science, they supported me in a "gifted" program that had regular trips to the library. When the real moment came to let me run off to college at age 16, they worked hard to get me there.

But I still look at those pictures and they make me sad more than anything else. I'm hanging onto them for a little longer so that my wife can see them if she wants, but I think in a few months they're going to go away for good.
tuzemi: (Default)
2011-05-30 01:59 am
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Quiet night

It's been a long time since I've been able to be up on the Internet late. I didn't plan it, she's sleeping in the other room and my digestive system is a mite unhappy so I'm waiting for it to settle. But in the meantime I return to LiveJournal to summarize the day.

Started out well, with perhaps 5 minutes of sitting still and a quiet breakfast to get things started. A reply to a friend 1000 miles away, and a few minutes perusing pictures of the last eight years. They haven't been entirely wasted, it's really just the last three that seemed so forgettable. There were trips to some real cities, pictures of our cats when we still had them, and pictures of our old house. It was nice to have those memories to shine through the years of bullshit with the previous job. Then came laundry and some work to improve my texting speed (which will be an extremely important skill to develop over the next 20 years), lunch, and reading the rest of my graphic novels we picked up last week.

Tonight is TV in the background and getting used to LJ again. It used to be such a loud boisterous place nine years ago, and now feels quiet with the inactive accounts of people who update first every month, then twice a year, and finally never. But for now it feels nice to me, a place to park my more substantial thoughts where I can find them again.

I need to find the right word for this late night mood. I miss it. It's not a sad thing really, it's being the only people in the subway station at 4:30am and exchanging a look that says "I feel you".
tuzemi: (Default)
2007-06-11 02:05 pm

The Mists of Avalon

I read this book about eight years ago and absolutely loved it. Besides the Arthurian stuff of course, I liked the way Bradley had turned the legends over and wrapped an interesting fantasy around it, focusing simultaneously on the emotional flaws of the main characters and the encroachment of Christianity into the region. (And I laugh at the 1-star reviews over at Amazon.com that trash the book because it's ahistorical, as though there exist ANY Arthurian legends that aren't already intertwined with fantasy. Who cares that the depiction of the pagan religion isn't historical? _Mists_ is already shelved in the fantasy section!)

What really struck me though was when Morgaine goes to Wales and slowly begins the process of re-finding herself as a Priestess. I vaguely remember being on the floor reading those pages and them having such profound effect.
There was no sleep for me that night. Alone, I walked in the garden till dawn, and I knew already, shaking with terror, what must be done. I did not know how, or whether, alone, I could do what I had begun, but as I had been made priestess so many years ago and renounced it, so must I retrace my steps alone. This night I had been given a great grace; but I knew there would be no more signs for me and no help given until I had made myself, alone, unaided, again the priestess I had been trained to be.

(Ah...I remember now. I was on the floor at Somerset, and I had gotten this book near the beginning of my search to find my center again after a long-term relationship had imploded. I had spent years trying to be someone else, anyone else, than who I had been growing up, but after the relationship I realized that I would need to struggle to be a better person but also let go of my own self-loathing. In _Mists_ I found the same struggle in Morgaine.)

This is still one of my favorite stories of someone who threw away their chosen path only to fight their way back. Yet Morgaine is still human, and we already know how her story ends, and it is a train wreck that you can't avoid. She's going to become one of the most hated villains in legend, but from her perspective she is trying to save her world.

The other thing I really liked is the calm Zen-like practices of Avalon. A day spent in meditation and quiet living has always been appealing to me. I really can't wait for the day my wife and I can have our own place.