Monday, December 25, 2006

Don't keep a secret from me!

I was going to write you a blog about my Christmas Yarn, but I read Jen's blog: Music is my Husband, and I have changed my mind.

Apparently, someone has a secret in my group of friends. Hmm.

It is a female, so it could be me, Jen, or Shannon.

Let's just say it isn't me. I have no secrets. I'm not smart enough to keep them. I can barely keep from giving away what I bought people for Christmas in conversation. It kills me to not talk to my friends.

So it could only be Jen or Shannon.

What could it be?

Is Jen moving out? Did she find a Christmas Boyfriend? Does she have a teaching job? Is she going to be an aunt?

And if the secret is Shannon's...I have no idea.

This is killing me, and it doesn't help that I'm hours away and cannot run over to Jen's to demand the truth. I can only hope and pray that she will give away the truth to me in another edition of her saga, or in a response to me. If she doesn't tell me soon, my stomach acid will almost certainly bore a hole through its carrier and into my torso, leading to my untimely demise.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Joy

Last night, I stayed up too late. I admit it. It was not my aim, not in the slightest. But it all comes down to socks.


Because that is, in reality, what life is all about.


I enjoy myself knitting; there is no pleasure like slipping on a warm woolen sock. Well, except slipping on two woolen socks. To me, that is an experience of great joy, first of knowing that I myself crafted my footwear with nothing but string and pointed sticks, second of knowing that I have the skill to do it correctly--my socks are NOT sloppy concoctions, and thirdly that I am my intended recipient and can enjoy both the process of knitting and the product I put on before I leave the house.


Knitting gives almost immediate gratification. A tangible item, finished or no, awaits one after an hour of knitting. I also can hold it in my hand, show it to others, and see their reactions, which I don't get from this blog, for example. You may well enjoy reading it, but I can't see you do it. But I can run up to you, whip off my shoe, and point downward at a wooly sock.


DSCN1717


How could I not? Just look at them!


So last night, I finished the Christmas Socks, which made me superbly happy. The last sock was knitted in two days, half in one, half in the other, as a product of the massive anxiety related to seeing the wrong side of the family for pre-Christmas. But yesterday, though the cause of my terror had subsided, I could not help but burn through the remainder of it simply so I could see the way they looked on. I originally intended to have them for actual Christmas, but I suppose Christmas Eve will do nicely.

Ohh! Check this out!

For those of you who knit, you probably know the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I adore her. She just wrote this post for those of you shopping for knitters this Christmas:


http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2006/12/23/print_at_will.html


I found this hilarious enough to come back after writing a blog only moments ago so you can enjoy it as much as I. And remember, like Steph said, their are gift-giving moments besides Christmas. Like: birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, New Year's Day...need I say more?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Laura Learns Technology

A sock:


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And another:


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Yet another sock:


DSCN1707


And another, this time on two circular needles--a fancy new trick of mine:


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Here is a group shot of all the socks I had until about two weeks ago (more now):


DSCN1727


Now there are two more pairs and some baby socks. I have no life, but I do have a great hobby.

Happiness is Christmas Time

Poor Andy.

His holiday has been ruined by the demonic forces of Walmart. Since mid-October, he has had to deal with the lights, the ornaments, the trees, and the ever-present music of Christmas.

I feel his pain, I understand it, but frankly, that cannot stop me from experiencing Christmas Joy. Sorry.

Christmas fell flat last year, death can do that to a holiday, and The Antigrandparents only made it worse. This year, I managed to survive the horror of the annual Christmas Visit to the Mouth of Hell and have come out with my Holiday Cheer intact. Now my wrapping is done, the house is decorated, and I am prepared for a good time.

Author's note: this is the point where my screen flipped out and attempted to post this entry hundereds of times. Who knows why...

Fortunately, it seems, for once, as if the world is attempting to work with me here. I have no commissioner's meeting to run home to, no horrific nightmare of travel weather (as of now). The Anti Grandparents will be out of state, I have a good feeling there is yarn with my name on it somewhere under the tree, and I am almost finished with my Christmas Socks (so named because I purchesed the yarn to last me until Christmas).

It would take some kind of horrible nightmare to screw this thing up. Let's wait and see...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Christmas

Oh, tomorrow will be Hell. Absolute Hell.

Christmas with the people I fear above all others.

So here is how it will go:

Pre-dawn. Laura crawls out of bed and dresses, knowing that whatever she wears and no matter how clear (or not) her skin is, she will be looked up and down and found wanting. If I have worked out, I will be called fat. If I have proven myself academically, I will be told to get a job and move out. If I wear a beautiful sock, knitted by me, I will be told that somehow it is unattractive to Them.

8:00 a.m. Laura gets into the car. She sits in the back, whips out a sock and knits her way to Elkhart. Along the way, Dad recieves two or three phone calls demanding to know why he is so late, despite the fact that our arrival time is set for noon.

Noon. We pull into the driveway. She asks us why we are here so early. He told us noon, she said five. She has a Hair Appointment and has to be gone by 2:30. She won't reschedule. Or cancel. Christmas and the family can wait. We sit on spotless furniture in a room copied peice by peice from a decorating magazine.

12:30 p.m. We eat around the tiny kitchen table, knowing that we are not worth the use of the dining room, which would only afford us a little more leg room. But we do not deserve that. Food is eaten. Dessert. Coffee dispersed. We sit until our backs begin to seize up, as She tells us about dead relatives and their miserable ends, dispairs about her health, and demands to know the particulars of Laura's life, which She will passive-aggressively tear apart.

2:00 p.m. We all sit carefully in a circle. Gifts are handed out. One by one, beginning with the eldest, the gifts are unwrapped. A picture is taken of each person with their present after it is opened. No one unwraps anything prior to anyone else. No one rushes anyone else. Smiles are, of course, optional.

2:30 p.m. She goes to her hair appointment, either forcing Dad to drive her or Him. The rest of us wait in the house or the salon.

4:00 p.m. Leftovers are dispersed, eaten, and someone falls asleep on a chair. Paul has long retreated to the TV room to watch Spike marathons of Star Trek and James Bond. I knit.

Time Unknown. Dad, complete with Furrow, decides that the time is right to flee. He drives in complete silence. We do not dare disturb him. Arriving home, we each find a corner of the house to sulk in. Laura flees to Jennifer's house for peace.

The family will, depending on the severity of Her behavior, suffer depressed emotions and increased anxiety anywhere from days to weeks to months, or, in the incidence of last Christmas, a year.

Last Christmas She criticised my mother for being away. She said Mom should have been here instead of with her father. She thought She was more important, even though Grandpa needed Mom to be with him, since Grandma had just died. She thought Grandpa needed to prioritize and realize that we needed to have Christmas together. She wanted to be Entertained. She insulted my mother then, to my face. And I have not forgiven her. I am physiologically unable to handle that task.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Candy in a Bucket

This is a sad story, so brace yourselves:

I am sitting at work, writing a blog. Well, okay, that isn't the sad part.

Once upon a time, Laura woke up all by herself at nine in the morning, without the traditional shock from sleep wrought by the alarm clock or parent nearest to her. She crawled out of bed, knowing that she would be Doing Something during her day. She would be shopping. Ready for fun, she dressed, cleaned her teeth, ate something, and made the traditional vain attempt at creating an attractive exterior for others to see (basically, poking at skin with varied cosmetic products to simulate the flush of life which some organisms lack and must artificially produce). She then recieved a phone call from her friend, Becky.

Becky exclaimed. "Come walk to Studio Jewelry with me so I can pick up my rings!"

Becky has joined the Dark Side--my single friends who have suddenly sold out to become coupled off in a semi-permanent way or married. Once we frolicked free from future plans, now Becky has a house, a fancy dress, and a tafeta-swaddled sausage of a bridesmaid named Laura. But being supportive of her friend's drastic lifestyle change, Laura got in her glass-filled car (long story) and drove to North Manchester. No Becky.

Becky, bless her, had gone about other business.

Alas! Laura sat and waited for her friend, assuming that an interview or meeting was taking place. Laura would not be a bother.

All the while, Laura continued to wait for the call from Jennifer or Shannon proclaiming the beginning of the shopping excursion planned for the day. Not expecting her friends to wake up before noon, Laura did not call anyone. Now she feels like an idiot and sits at her desk chair, waiting. Hours pass, perhaps days will soon turn to weeks. But Laura has a pathetic and miserable existence empty except for the brief glimpses of friendship at which she grasps. And rather than giving up hope and going back to sit in a cold, dark (light bulbs burned out) bedroom, she waits.

And as if to make the misery complete, Laura cannot even post this new blog, since for some reason, the Mac at her place of employment does not work and play well with others and therefore refuses to publish posts in anything other than gibberish.

So Laura waits with only a bucket of anonymous candy to console her...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Day Without a Project

I finished a pair of socks last night, and though that may seem a cause for celebration in the world of project-knitters, for a process knitter miles and miles away from the nearest LYS, life has just become very bleak.

The problem is as follows: I am a poor college student and the only transportation I currently have is a van with no brakes. Yes, that's right, the universe has tried and failed to kill Laura yet again. I am beginning to become bored with the many chaos-inspired attempts at my life. I am no longer suprised at the near fatalities. So I won't bother with the brake story. It's boring to me.

But that means that I can't get to the Shuttle Shop (my Warsaw haven) unless I hitch hike or discover previously hidden car-repair talent. I am stuck.

Without a project.

What is a girl to do?

Many friends of mine could argue that it is finals week, and that might be a good time to put the knitting away and study for a while. I disagree. I took such agonizingly boring classes this semester that I could care less what happens grade-wise. Really. I don't even plan on checking the grades. I just have lost all drive to achieve. That may be an improvement over the misery I put myself through over the past years of my life, but I don't see it as a cause for celebration or for grief. Just the usual apathy.

I have a bundle of double-pointed kneedles in my hand, more in my room, and only tiny scraps of yarn to knit into...nothing.

And seeing the holidays come closer and closer, I no longer have an excuse to blow all my money on yarn. I need to be a good girl and spend my money on Christmas presents and car repair. That way Laura won't kiss glass at sixty miles an hour when her brakes fail, or when the bald tires skid over ice, or when whatever it is that sends billowing, acrid smoke out of the van's engine poisons her and leaves her stranded in the snow, her frozen, cyanotic corpse still open-mouthed, since her sinuses forced her to become a Mouth Breather.

Yarn is just too expensive for a college student to buy in large amounts. I can't just build up a massive stash and pull down a fun color or texture when I'm bored. I'm stuck. Mom doesn't complain, but I think she has a bad feeling that I will begin to delve into her cashmere supply and knit a pair (I used the same kind of yarn for a gray pair of socks for myself). I mean, what is she going to do with so much red? There isn't enough for a sweater, or for a matching scarf and gloves. But there is just enough for me to knit her socks. And there is nothing in the world like cashmere socks. I promise.

Life is bitter and lonely. I have no wool to comfort me, no crisp pattern freshly printed off the internet or carefully written down in line by line instructions. No opportunity to create another sock pattern (I make my own now) or use one of Nancy Bush's beautiful vintage sock patterns.

I try to console myself with images of another day, a day with new yarn freshly wound into a ball, but it is of no use. My needles and I are forced to use the remainder of the day as one of rest, wearing perhaps my lounging socks made of hand-dyed silk and cotton or the forest green socks in the shell pattern made to precisely match the turtleneck I bought at Elder Beerman for practically nothing. Perhaps I will bring out my first pair, made from wool spun with aloe so that it conditions my feet as I wear them or the most recent pair, made from the same yarn used to make the Weasley sweaters in the first Harry Potter movie (Rowan Tweed). Maybe I'll put on my favorite blend of colors: Rocktober by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a wool I knitted into a knit three, purl one ribbing that gives it a stretchy feel.

But in my heart I know it will not be enough. I will have all the socks in my lap, wondering which I should take apart and re-knit so I can have something to do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ditch Mitch

I have a problem with Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana.

I know what you're thinking, "Laura, is there actually a polititian out there you don't have a problem with?" And I swear there are. I just haven't met one yet. But honestly, the problem I have with Mitch is personal.

The man tried to kill me.

Now, you might be thinking, "Yeah, way to go, Laura, throwing it all out of proportion again. What did the guy do, give you a splinter? Squeeze your hand to hard? Trip you with a poorly positioned campaign poster?" The answer is no. The actual event was much more direct. More tangible.

When dear old Mitch was running for office, he made the extravegant, gas-guzzling purchase of an RV, which he decorated with his catchphrase, "My Man Mitch," and painted in festive colors. He then toured the state, visiting each and every county. And on the day he drove through Wabash county, roaring down State Road 15 as he poured out Greenhouse gases, I was on my way home from church.

Everyone who knows me, or has read my blog knows the many complaints I have about my car.

We have a love-hate relationship, you see, we love to hate each other. When I do something nice for it, that action is reciprocated with a massive head-gasket blowout. Or worse. But the biggest complaint I have is that of the color.

Fill a glass with some water. Now walk outside. Stand on the asphalt nearest to your home. Now pour the water on the aspalt, taking care not to spill any on your clothing, shoes, or socks. Your skin will dry if moistened. Most medical experts agree that skin is waterproof.

The color that the asphalt has attained following the pouring of the water is the exact color of my car. The color of wet pavement. Now imagine a cloudy, stormy day. Are the colors not very similar, especially to the untrained eye? And can we not agree, that the nearest thing to an untrained eye in rural Indiana is any other driver on the road with you?

So, in short, my car blends in perfectly with the rain, the pavement, and the cloudy sky. This has almost resulted in my death several times. On the day that Your Man (he's not mine) Mitch was driving on State Road 15, it was cloudy. My car blended nicely with the clouds as I drove on State Road 15. Mitch and I were heading toward each other.

Now in a perfect world, Mitch and I would have passed each other. I would have thought, "Hey, would you look at that, they're still giving Republicans licenses to drive. Imagine that!" He would have thought, "What kind of an idiot doesn't buy stock in Big Oil and get themselves a new car with the profits?"

But this is not a perfect world.

So Mitch's driver was taking his half out of the middle of the road. The road I was driving on at that minute.

We grew closer. I began to be concerned. I had, since I do live in Indiana, no where to go. We have no shoulders on our country roads, just massive ditches guaranteed to make your call roll over faster than you can scream, "I never should have bought that SUV!" I decided to share a message with Mitch's driver. I began to wave my hands in a desperate gesture, directing the driver to move over in his lane. I even screamed for him to do so. I was certain he had still not seen the little tin can barrelling down the road toward him. I then honked my horn, continuing the wave and the verbal barrage.

Mitch took this to mean something different.

Perhaps his driver had told him about the crazy girl honking and waving as she screamed. Perhaps he thought, "wow, I couldn't do any better than having a voter as fired up as she is!" I don't know.

What I do know is that just as I began to lower my car into the ditch, slowing to a complete stop half in and half out of the chasm, Mitch Daniels stepped into the cockpit area of RV One. He smiled as my hazard lights, activated as a last effort to save my miserable life, glanced off the polished surface of his head. He waved and gave me a cheery thumbs-up as he whizzed by.

The air currents the RV displaced rocked my little car as I trembled in his wake.

Now let's talk science. The frame of his RV is positioned at least as high as a truck or SUV's, if not higher. I have a compact car that is shorter than anything I have ever parked next to, except for one bicycle at work last summer. The frame of my car would have fit neatly under that of his RV, shearing the top portion of my vehicle off along with my upper torso and head. This is a process I have dubbed "detorsification." Not only would I be killed in that action, I would also meet an unfortunate fate concerning my seat belts.

I have what one safety expert called, "suicide belts." The kind that automatically move across your chest when you sit in the car and close the door. In an accident, the belts in my particular car have been shown to snap like matchsticks or not bother to engage at all, resulting in the driver and passenger kissing glass at sixty miles an hour. Not the ideal Sunday lunch.

So, Mitch, honey. I really am sorry. But when you go on television and call for my support, encourage me to be physically fit (are you going to pay for that gym membership, buddy?) and tell me that hocking the toll road for a sweet chunk of change that would theoretically buy a lot of yarn but won't ever be used to fix the pock-marked, cratered road (SR 16) I live on, I have to say, I'll pass. Have fun down in Indy, but don't expect me to invite you back to stay. I have a no-tolerance policy for near fatal accidents/murders, and I don't usually give my support to people who have shown a conscious desire to see me dead.

Best foot forward

Nothing starts a semester off worse than being ill. More and more accumulates daily, forcing the student to overcompensate upon returning to class. It seems as if this fate often befalls me.

This semester, I missed over a week of classes after only being well enough to attend the first week in full. I missed all the logistical information, the last-minute assignments, the field trip information, the projects, the group work. Now I have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. The semester is drawing to a close and I could care less. I have done all the work I care to complete and that is it. I plan on being done. I'm taking Jan term off and not looking back. I don't care anymore.

And I have developed a singular attitude toward all this, one that may become hazardous to my GPA: "You can't make me!" I don't feel like studying, writing, or taking on gigantic projects single-handedly. Usually I force myself into action anyway, since I have nothing better to do. But one change has occurred since the Spring semester ended.

I began knitting, buying seasons of The X-Files and found a boy who didn't scream blue murder and claw at his eyes every time he saw me.

Of all those things, the one with the greatest impact on schoolwork-neglect ratios is the knitting. Certainly the most detrimental thing I ever could have done was pick up a knitting needle. Now instead of studiously examining texts, reading ahead, and making absolutely sure my grammar is perfect, I am turning heels, casting on, and weaving the toe closed. I am learning complicated patterns and shopping for yarn online all while pretending to write a paper.

And it doesn't just strike me at home! No, socks are PORTABLE knitting projects. That means that a person can easily find Miss Laura sitting through convo, a movie, or simply alone in the Lounge or the library while knitting faithfully at a project. Where once my friends saw me recline with a novel, now they find me with a new ball of yarn.

I shop the yarn sales, the discount bins, coming back with multi-colored strands of merino, smokey gray cashmere from Italy that exactly matches the color of my cat's fur, or a soft striping of gray, blue and green with aloe and jojobo oils in the strands, leaving your hands conditioned and soft as you knit, or your feet when you have completed the project.

I find hole-in-the-wall yarn stores born out of abandoned railway depots or in a strip of anonymous storefronts in Highland. I leave cradling bamboo kneedles, intricately carved buttons for the purse I plan to make over the winter.

Sleep becomes a thing of the past as I plan to work "just one more line" or turn the heel before curling into a wilted Laura puddle and sleeping away the cramps in my fingertips.

If the endless trips to yarn stores like Stich by Stitch in Highland, the Cass Street Depot in Fort Wayne, and, most importantly (because it is closest to me) the Shuttle Shop in Warsaw were not enough, I have discovered the glory of the knitting world ONLINE! There are a massive amount of websites dedicated to helping lonely knitters like me socialize, and before I knew it, I had found a soul mate in the person of another blogger: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, who knits and writes, just like me. Bless you, Stephanie! And will you teach me to spin?

I want a sheep now. A merino sheep. I will care for it, pet it, love it, and shear it, spinning and dying the fleece as I create my own individually crafted sock yarns. Don't tell me how absurd this is. I want one. I already have a sheep dog!

I have reached the point where I have created a photo album of the socks I have made, so thrilled by them that I plan on making them available for the world to see. I may be walking holes in them, but I can honestly know that their woolen souls will live on in blogging infamy for all time. Or at least until blogsource decides that this Idiot Girl is never coming back and wipes me from the internet as a whole. We'll see.

I Suck as a Blogger

Why?

For the same reason I suck as a human being. Too many people wanting too much from me in too short of a space of time. I would love to give you a sound and fascinating description of why I have not given you, oh glorious reader, something to pour over while pretending to work or study. But I don't have one.

In short, I have been writing, working, and home-work-ing myself into a coma, one that may go on for months.

But I get January off. Let freedom ring! No classes to bog me down, no horror of extra homework, and plenty of time to knit a sweater and finish my novel. Glorious.

Now, if only the stupid server would allow me to post blogs for you from everywhere, not just this crappy computer in a crappy campus computer lab, we would be in business.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Sleepless in Roann

I think sleep has gone out of style.

At least, amoung Manchester College professors it has. I belive quite firmly that they all meet in the Winger Conference room at the start of each semester in order to give me as many oral progects as possible, all scheduled within the same week. Tuesday I taught two classes, Thursday I taught one, and Monday I will teach another. All this ought to be accomplished simultaneously with a massive feature article covering the retirement of an English professor, an independent film script I must draft, and the fact that National Novel Writing Month has arrived.

I must pen a 10,000 word novel in the short span of this month alone.

At least I have a plan for the book. The rest of those projects are being thrown together with a manic flair I only achieve when I am moments from having a panic attack. And this week, I have had several. Nothing seems to be moving as smoothly as I like it to. This leads to the traditional problem I am plagued with: perfection.

Who told me I needed to be perfect? I wish I could find out so that I could make them pay. Only at the height of stress do I feel the need hovering at the edge of consciousness. Usually, the feeling is more subtle. An extra five minutes before the mirror, an hour more of research, a chance to clean the kitchen, the living room, to wash the car, to do laundry, anything to make life easier for those around me at the expense of myself. But anxiety from other activities makes this troubling. Instead of feeling remorse that I cannot be more of a help, I feel guilt at being a burden.

I grew up thinking that as a child, one is worthless. You have to earn your place in the world by working hard at everything you do and impressing people by appearing to be more mature than you are. As a result, I was more an adult at the age of ten than most of my peers are today. I prefered studying and reading to sleepovers or parties, I never went out for any reason unless my parents escorted me. This trend continued until the age of eighteen, when I started going places out of the need to make my mother feel as if I was normal, though I feel quite strongly I am not.

I have never met an agorophobic, but I identify with them. I feel myself to be a functional agorophobic, horrified to leave my home and family but forcing myself to comply with societal constraints that depress and aggravate me. Then I feel guilty for not feeling desire to go out. Medicine made me want activity, but the attempt I made to live without the medicine has placed me in the same category as previously. I never want to be exposed. I don't feel safe. I shut myself in empty rooms on campus and focus on silence. I feel utterly apart from the boistrous classmates surrounding me. In times like these, I feel that I am a wonderful student who is also a below-average human being.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Eight cats, a flattened fox, and the back half of a snake

I think that just about sums up the last week.

Nothing just happens at my house. If there is an occurance of some kind, it is nearly always followed by multiple other calamities of varied size and shape.

I suppose in order to explain all of this, I must first relate the fact that my family has a new puppy. She is a Shetland Sheepdog, lovely, and a darling little baby of a pup. She was added to our menagerie, which up to now only included an incredibly spoiled cat, Myst. Myst believes that Darcy, our puppy, is a retarded kitten with bad personal hygeine and no sense of personal space. Often Myst will smack Darcy with her paws, hissing. Unfortunately, this has only taught Darcy to walk up to Myst, stand up on three legs, and bat at her kitty friend, since Myst never uses her claws and Darcy has come to believe the situation to be a giant game.

The two generally get along, despite the fact that there is some concern over whose food is better, resulting in the two eating each other's food, sometimes waiting in line for the other to finish before setting in on the more favorable of the two dishes.

I had just finished the daily session of teaching dear little Darcy to have an "indoor" bark (or sneeze bark, as I call it), when she began to demonstrate her newfound skill, pacing worriedly about the door to the garage. This continued for some time, until Dad ventured outdoors to find out what the problem was.

Deep in the dark space under his car, two little eyes stared back at him. And then there was a meow.

We had a little kitten visitor.

There was adoration from my family, we love animals. But when we all came out to see the sweet little baby, there were three kittens instead of one.

"Oh, no!" Mom cried. "What if they've been dumped?" her eyes filled with tears.

"No!" I interjected. "I'm sure I saw the mother. Yep, there she is! She's teaching her babies to hunt!" because of course our garage would be the best place to do so, seeing how it is currently home to several mice and a particuarly angry chipmunk, all the while acting as a weekend getaway for some kind of finch. In addition, the garage is the store-all for the garbage on its way to the curb, meaning that dozens of half-eaten meals make their way daily into the Mecca for wild things, our garage.

But I was wrong.

The "Momma Cat" I saw was just another kitten.

Now our count is up to four.

The next day, I thought the kittens had gone. I walked into the garage, looked around, and noticed some kittens asleep on a carpet remnant. Three were there. The fourth was atop a box.

Then I saw number five, hiding in the woodpile. Number six was under my car.

And they all looked so tiny, so lonely. There was only one thing I could do.

I fed them. One, Two, Three, Four, and Five scurried out of their hiding places to munch on kibble. Soon joined by Six, Seven, and Eight.

Eight kittens were living in my garage.

And they didn't want to go anywhere.

We gave them a trip to the humane society the next business day, meaning we had eight kittens for a whole weekend.

I may have said goodbye, but one thing is certain. The memory of those little babies, so cruelly abandoned by the world, remains in the cardboard boxes we store in the garage. We can all walk into the family catch-all, take a deep breath, and realize that our urine-soaked posessions will always remind us.

At least until Dad forks over the money for the garbage guy to come pick them all up.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Alas, poor Laura II

I never stop complaining, don't think I haven't noticed. And what better outlet for my various whines and moans is there than a blog? But here is a complaint to which few others can relate, here is a circumstance without precedent in my short life, a moment in time at which all joy has been sucked out, replaced by the wheezing of a soul stripped of all purpose.

Dad has gone back to college.

And he chose MY college.

This is, although akward, really neat. Dad knows that his old man brain is withering, atrophing, wasting away, draining down and out the ear canal in a form of thick yellow wax which obstructs hearing and, regretably, intelligence.

So he's taking Spanish, tired of hearing my last-minute crash course in the language before he hops a plane to Guatemala, moderately equipped to request a bathroom, food, and a tourniquet for seeping wounds which he could obtain in a kidnapping ordeal. He knows I don't have the spare cash for a ransom.

Dad came up to me on campus, seeking, or so I thought, to say hello. Little did I know that I now have a new job. I am my dad's guidence counselor, helping him to decide what class would suit him; his advisor, helping him pick the right time and the right place, signing him up for the class, walking him to the class; campus store worker, finding him the books he needed and the "neck-thing" he wanted to put his keys on; business office helper, since he needed an ID and to look good in his picture with the right lift to his hair, sitting up straight, and all that jazz; and technical support since he can't work a computer which is less than five years old. In one hour period I escorted him in a quest to get an ID, burned him a CD of Spanish excersizes, taught him to use SpartanPrint, introduced him to the librarians, showed him how to use Word, and witnessed a moment of senior inspired forgetfullness.

You see, Dad had gone up to a fellow student's dorm room. They had there attempted to burn CDs, and had become frustrated. Dad had led her to the library for help, leaving his book in her dorm.

"Laura," he told me. "Can you believe this? I bet they're all gone! I need to do my Spanish homework!"

There is nothing like mothering your own father, especially when you aren't equipped with mothering capabilities.

'So just go!" I told him. "It won't hurt you! She's probably waiting right there with your text to give it to you. She probably thought you were coming right back!"

The furrow appeared."Oh," he said.

The down side to having your Dad think you are his caretaker as well as his daughter is that you can't say any of the mean things you think of, like "Suck it up--get your book!" or "I don't care if you have to walk back to Oakwood--I'm still too lazy to go with you!" That would be hurtfull. So instead I have to spend the rest of the semester trying to walk the fine line in between kicking him in the shin and telling him to sink or swim and coddleing him.

My poor dad is about to witness the decay and dessication of what little patience I had at the beginning of the year. It's gone. Oops. Too bad.

Daddy, it isn't your fault! Every old man reaches the point when his daughter has to take care of him. It just means we're a step closer to that nursing home we saw on 60 Minutes. You remember which one...

Thursday, August 3, 2006

The Second City

I told all my friends, my family, everyone that when I go to Chicago something insane always happens.

One year I was interviewed by a Chicago television station. They asked me where I would go to get away from the 100 degree tempertures. I answered Cairo. The reporter stared at me and asked, "Hey, isn't that hotter than here?"

"Dry heat," I replied. "Also, I was a July baby, I'm used to hot. I'd rather just enjoy myself seeing King Tut at the museum."

I got a blank stare. I turned with my cousin Krissy to go, Paul trailing behind us as he drew ever closer to heatstroke. Then on the way home, the Southshore train line broke down due to a power failure. We only just made it home before the horror struck all the poor commuters. Then we went back to Grandma's house.

Another year, I went home just as a massive blackout rolled across the east cost, causing all the poor commuters much trial. Gran called us on the cell phone, saying ominously, "The lights have gone out and the people are walking." It took us ages to find out what she meant, when we got back to her house with White Castle hamburgers. We also found out that if we had taken the next train, it would have died when the power went out and the horror struck all the poor commuters.

The next year, we went again, I was caught in a revolving door, and Paul wasyelled at by a security guard for touching a piece of artwork, and he said, "Come on, it's a piece of freakin' string!" the minute we walked around the corner.

But this trip...

Nothing happened.

I waited.

And waited.

And overanalyzed.

But NOTHING.

I mean, sure, that sniper and that copycat sniper has been following me around the state and shooting random people who were in the same place at almost the same time as me more times than I care to talk about. But nothing happened IN Chicago. And what's up with that? I mean, every time I've been something freaky has happened, I mean, my friend got mugged! But this time?

Okay, well, turns out it didn't happen to ME but it happened to someone.

I am going to be a pseudo-aunt. My cousin is having a baby (which makes me a second cousin but darned if I am giving up on an opportunity to be called an aunt).

I met up with her and all the rest of the family at Olive Garden, and Mom said: "Hey Krissy, you should have the baby while were up here so we can come and see the two of you!"

The next morning, we got a phone call.

"Auntie Julie jinxed me!" Krissy wailed. "I'm induced!"

Krissy, a diabetic, had hit the time at which she could have the baby and the doctor wanted her to go ahead and do it. Oops.

But then they did the ultrasound again and they found out that the level of amniotic fluid was actually okay and NOT to low, so they sent her home. After being admitted to the hospital, having a massive amount of tests, and being IV-ed. Which, according to Krissy, was superbly painful. And on the way to and fro, she and her immediate family passed where the sniper or sniper copycat was lurking and shooting at people.

So there we go.

So...

I'm writing this blog with a dead flower on my desk. I think that bodes ill...

Plus I just found a dead fly underneath my keyboard.

Maybe this means doom.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

King Tutankhamun: A History for the Amataur Scholar

This history is dedicated to those who cannot remember dates, names, places, statistics, or even general concepts. It is inspired by the glorious history which Jane Austen penned in her youth.

Once upon a time, there was a kid. He had a father, but no one knows who he was. And I bet he had a mother. But nobody knows anything about her either. But we all can say with a good deal of certainty that whoever his parents were, they were probably a king and a queen. But they died.

So the kid walked into some kind of temple, some priests waved a stick, said some words, handed him a different stick with a hook on it and then a whip, and he was king. Also, the kid was named Tutankaten. But he also was named Tutankamun and Nebkheprure, and four more different names which no one really cares about.

And he got married. But he was about eight, so nothing important happened. In fact, nothing important really ever happened, because Tut kicked it too early. Then his wife did too. So no one needs to know about her. Except that she was nice to him. At least in the pictures she was, and that's all anyone cares about.

But Tut had a problem.

See, his great-something, Akhenaton, or Akhenamun, was weird. He looked freaky, and had a new religion. And since the guy was king, everybody had to listen to him, and they did. He changed the whole religion, and ended up making some people mad, and other people madder. Some were so mad that they chisled his name off statues. Others just messed with his tomb and sold off the loot.

Tut changed it all back to the old way, since change is bad and everything was much better in the old way, since there was no rioting or anything back then. Also, Tut could then tell everyone he was Horus, who was a god, and therefore really cool.

Also, Akhen-something was married to Nefertiti. And to some girl named Tiye, who some people say was his daughter. But if you tried that today, you'd get arrested. But there were other wives too, which smart people call polygamy, and that gets you put in jail too. Or called a Mormon.

So King Tut was probably pretty inbred, which was bad, but they didn't know it.

But one day, after all this stuff had happened, Tut and his impacted wisdom teeth, which nobody knew how to fix, kicked it, and he was buried by some guy who helped him run the country in that guy's tomb, since he was old and already had one. That was why Tut's tomb was dumpy, for a king. But since it was done in such a hurry, things weren't as fancy as they would have been. There were no books or scrolls or fun graffitti on the walls. And then the old guy became king, or regent, or something, and took the tomb that would have been Tut's, so they switched. And Tut got the raw end of that deal, but he didn't care, since he was already dead. He probably didn't even know what was going on, and if he did, that's really creepy. And then old guy married somebody some time, but I don't remember her name or when it happened, so it probably wasn't that important.

And there was some kind of robbery, but they didn't take any of the really cool stuff, because they couldn't get very far in.

And then in 1922 some grave robber who had a certificate and some money that said he was actually a historian or scientist, took more money from an old rich guy in England, and dug a hole in the desert.

At the bottom of the hole, he found Tut, the dead guy who had been that king from the beginning of the story, But Tut had been dead for a while, so he didn't look the same. He did a little, though, because some people had ripped out his guts and his brain and put the guts in jars and the brain was given to cats or thrown out, because no one really used their heads back then.

But most people say know that there was nothing important in the hole. No people with big brains and expensive diplomas can tell you anything new about Egypt that they couldn't tell you before.

So why do we like Tut?

Because we like shiny things, especially when they are really shiny and pretty rare almost everywhere, so the people who want to be rich or like rich-person-things have a King Tut fetish. Also, people really really liked shiny things back in the twenties, when all anyone ever did was dress for dinner and drink lots of alcohol, even though it was illegal. The alcohol, not the dressing for dinner. But the dinner thing probably made the servants have to do tons more laundry than they should have, so it should have been illegal too, maybe.

But one bad thing happened right away, because the guy who gave the guy with the shovel money kicked off, and people said it was a curse. But now we're pretty sure it wasn't, or at least we can't prove it was. And the tomb was looted and it was all taken to England, because they had an Empire, and later it went back to Egypt to live in Cairo, which is some kind of town on a river. It is on a river because Egypt is a desert, and try as you might, you just can't live without water, even if crocadiles do live in it, and hippos with bad breath.

And now we think the dead guy had a broken leg which was infected, because no one knew what antibiotics were, even if they did eat lots of bread, some moldy even. But life just got harder for Tut, because the digger guy broke off some ribs and his whats-it. But he didn't need it anymore. And he had resin in his brain, which would have killed him, but he was already dead, but this was why people thought he was murdered, which he probably wasn't and that is good for him, if not as interesting for us. And he went to lots of places where people stared at his corpse and mispronounced his name lots of times, or at least he did until someone dropped his mask and screwed it up. I bet that guy was fired for that. But anyway, now none of the coffin stuff can come to the US or anywhere else. It has to stay in the museum in that city over there in the desert.

But his stuff can travel, and people can spend hundreds of dollars stepping on each other's feet and not wearing deoderant while looking at it all. Also, a replia of his necklace costs five thousand dollars. Which is more than my car is worth. But cars take people places, which is better than just being too gaudy to leave your tomb in.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lunch has changed my mind

I am the most cowardly person I have ever met. I can't seem to confront anyone, ever, and those of you who are with it would know why I mention this. I have just deleted two blogs. Which ones, you ask? The ones that were personal. I have this problem, you see, a problem with talking to others about my "negative" emotions. And I am so scared of having my father judge me, or his parents hate me more than they already do, that I have destroyed any evidence that once existed of any family problems that may or may not exist. That way we can all go back to pretending that life is perfect and wonderful at all times, and that there is no way to improve anything so we might as well just go on the way things are because they're perfect and anyone who wants to change it just doesn't get it. So there. I give in.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fair Enough

I was never one for the county fair.

I mean, I always loved seeing all the animals, having my token elephant ear of the summer, perhaps even taking the opportunity to flee or overtly hide from acquaintances. But honestly, knowing that some (if not all, potentially) of the animals I cooed over, petted, and adored, were one day destined to be on someone's--maybe even my--dinner table was enough to make me buy a fry daddy and some yeast rolls and stay home.

But I have a new job, one that requires a little more fair experience than making elephant ears in the comfort of my own kitchen. More even, than treating the second degree burns sustained in the making of said elephant ears. More than cleaning up all the sugar spilled on the floor after the elephant ears are made, the burns are treated, and the delicious deep-fried glory of summer's greatest gem has been consumed.

I am a reporter.

This means that I, a city girl who has somehow managed to survive for the majority of her life in the country--okay, all of her life--must finally learn what it is that makes up a county fair, what it is that keeps the community coming back year after year, what makes countless parents force their children to raise animals three to four times their size only to have them kiss their beloved pets goodbye as they are loaded onto a Ronald McDonald brand Slaughterhouse Truck.

And it isn't pretty.

I have already whined and moaned about the waste products these animals produce, the fumes that contribute to, I would estimate, a third of all our greenhouse gases. I have complained about the two near-death experienced I have had in the past week, both at the hands--hooves--of rampaging farm beasts. But I have not complained about the most horrible element of the fair, the element that will leave me scarred for life, possibly forever:

The people.

I'm not talking about the sweet little 4-Her kids, who everyone has to love. Here are tiny little third-graders who lead giant steers around on ropes as thick as their upper-arms without fear--who wouldn't adore these kids? And not the farm parents, who will love and comfort any kid with a hurt arm, a spooked animal, or with missing parents. And not the organizers, who give so much of their time and attention to make the week work out right, who carefully manage every moment, who live in the tiny office built into the most horrible portion of the most miserable building (that's the dead center of the hog barn). God bless all these people. They could all certainly use His attentions.

I'm talking about the visitors, the attendees, the businesspeople, the nuclear families, the teenage wanna-bes. Those people. The people who think it's cool to live at the fair, even though the only thing they really are doing is running around in circles and shouting, while consuming twice their body weight in pork products, pretending that junk food doesn't count during fair week. Well it does, I promise.

These are people who stepped on me, who bumped into me as I tried to get a good shot of a kid for the front page. These are people who knock poor innocent reporter's notebooks, cell phones, and digital voice recorders into puddles, laugh at them, and walk away, leaving the poor staff writer to pray for her notes and recording of the Sidney Town Council meeting, since that town is really messed up and people ought to know about it. Really.

So I have decided to document three such individuals for you, people who made my last week a little more interesting, and a shade more miserable.

The Hover-round Biker

Okay, so this was just one guy, but he is too priceless not to mention. This man was around sixty-five. Tattooed. Mustached. Bedecked in black leather. Mohawk-ed. Yes, he had a Mohawk. And dyed--his Mohawk was colorful.

If this guy had been on a motorcycle, it would have been natural, normal, if not disturbing.. But instead, he was sitting in/on a Hover-round or Jazzy brand scooter.

The poor man had lost his legs, which is tragic, and it made me quite sad for him. But luckily, the accident had not ruined his day, he was perfectly happy to chain smoke next to the food booths and make inappropriate or lewd comments to young women. Whether his legs had been lost in some kind of war or in a high-speed motorcycle accident, I do not know. But I believe the latter to be more likely. He had tricked out his ride with Harley Davidson paraphernalia.

The Down-Home-Country Whore

This young woman, invariably a woman, has come to the fair in an attempt to attract eligible young farmers, or perhaps their fathers. She follows in the example of the other 4-H competitions and uses the opportunity to beautify herself in every possible way, and wears as little clothing as possible in order to display her bone and muscle structure to the judges. While the display of flesh, perfectly tanned (or well-fried) is necessary, the Down-Home Country Whore must also give the impression of a capability to complete various task including, potentially, hard labor. This is achieved by creating a clothing ensemble designed in the style of the Blue Collar Comedy group. She makes cut-off shorts, with the pockets peeking, okay, hanging, out. They are cut off at the bend of the thigh, but also slashed further up, across the pocket region, in order to properly exhibit the ham. Bras, of course, are optional, and either removed or worn in such a way as to make them completely visible. This feat is achieved by wearing brightly colored under things, lacy brassieres which provide a kind of topography, or by choosing a sheer outer garment.

The hair is teased, the makeup caked, the tan flawless and sure to generate years of crippling skin problems to creep up and strike the weathered flesh of this future mother of ten. But as important as the skin revealed are the style of the garments which fail to cover it. Yes, the Down-Home-Country Whore must be certain to imply her country-ness by selecting plaid work shirts, tied snugly beneath the bosom, and by carefully selecting footwear. Cowboy boots are appropriate, as are work boots, but more importantly, the sexy exterior must be maintained.

This is achieved by wearing boots which reach the knee, or surpass it. The result is a sultry look of farmhand meets Anna Nicole Smith meets Paris Hilton. Which, come to think of it, might make Paris Hilton quite happy, if you know what I mean...

The Idiot Child and Irresponsible Parent Combo Platter, Jumbo-sized and Good to Go

There are many varieties of this final category, beginning with the annoying and proceeding deep into the "If only murder wasn't illegal in this state" or "I wish I could still be charged as a juvenile" stage.

The Idiot Child can be any age, sometimes even an adolescent or teenager. This life form desires something, anything, to be given to it immediately, by the nearest adult. Usually it is paired with an Irresponsible Parent, who allows the Idiot Child to roam free around the fair alone, accosting other adults for treats, assistance, or attention. The Irresponsible Parent solves his or her problems by putting as much food as possible into the mouth of the Idiot Child. The Idiot Child is therefore the size of a small killer whale. If, however, the level of ADD dwarfs the level of food consumption, the child is wiry. The parents may be emaciated out of the sheer stress of having such a high maintenance child, or they too are obese, caused by a manic habit of drowning anxiety with food.

These are the people who race around the barns, knocking over gates, spooking animals, frightening hapless reporters. These are the people who dump reporter's bags into puddles where their electronic devices become drowned in questionable substances.

These are people who run food booths that give poor, unfortunate reporters food poisoning, leaving them sprawled on their bathroom floors, regaining consciousness only long enough to throw up the sip of water they had consumed in between fainting spells. Oh yes. That was my post-fair weekend.

So I suppose it can be understood that, now that I have typed up all fair results, now that I have washed every article of clothing (including the footwear) that passed through the gates of the fairgrounds, I really only want to pretend that the fair never happened. I want to have my mother's selective memory, to block out the horrific events that plague my nightmares. But I can't. All I can do is thank God and Becky that I only have to cover one fair a year, and that I have a whole year until the fair comes again.

But that's too little time, I think, for me to want to see a pig before next summer.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

If the Sock Fits...

So life has reached a better level recently, because I discovered something. Something marvelous.

I can knit socks.

I love it! I am more relaxed when I have a set of needles in my hands, wool with a built-in pattern, and a good episode of Monk in the DVD player.

I have finished my first sock, it fits, and it looks marvelous. I could never have anticipated the joy of decreasing and increasing stitches, the kitchner bind-off which leaves no seam, and the smooth, glossy pages of my new Nancy Bush pattern book. Perfection!

A perfect relief after the horror of the fair.

Tuesday I had to go take pictures and record the results of all the competitions. I worked hard to get all the names right, all the breeds of cattle, pigs, and other livestock down straight in my notebook. I braved crowds, ate elephant ears, everything I needed to do to fit in with the group.

And then it rained.

I was soaked to the skin. My shoes squeaked. And I was pretty sure the mud I kept sliding around in wasn't really mud at all... And the mad heifer that got loose tried to kick me and kill me, and it took thirty guys to finally pin him (it?) to the wall. And the cell phone got soaked and wouldn't turn on, much to my horror, and it took until just now to turn on, though it keeps turning back off and I am gravely concerned.

So today I made a decision. I would pull out my boots, my Docs, and wear a pair of old jeans. I would put my stuff in my Ugly Brown Bag, the bookbag I bought because it was so drab I thought it was cute. I would slap the pigs to keep them moving (yeah, that never happened) and make myself fit in completely.

But then the pig chased me, squealing, I fell in grossness, and then the real horror occured. My bag, the Ugly Brown Bag, was knocked over into the mud and into, far worse than mud, the water. But the most terrible thing was this: my digital voice recorder was balanced neatly on the top of the bag. It fell into the puddle. The guy who knocked it over laughed at me, at the dripping recorder, and walked away. The bag was soaked, my notes were soaked, everything from the emergency poncho I had brought (after the horror of yesterday) to the camera to the new sock was soaked. And the bag was filthy, perhaps coated in something worse than mud, but I don't know.

I am finally dry, the sock is safe.

But the fair is now EVIL. I will never enjoy such a horrible thing again. Gone are the days when I could look out at the pens of cows and rabbit cages to smile at the little furry things with soft noses. I cannot look at a pig, no matter what a cute face they had, without having a sense of dread.

I am a city girl.

I came home and scrubbed myself with every soap I could find, I tossed my filthy clothing into the basement as quickly as possible.

I petted my puppy, who is CLEAN compared to the horror.

I knitted.

And now I am going back to my tiny tube, to add on three more inches and stop for the evening when it's time to turn the heel. Tomorrow I will take pictures, I will get results, and then I will GET OUT. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

And if a chicken so much as looks at me, I am stopping at KFC on the way home, to revel in the sweet taste of vengence and mashed potatoes.

Friday, July 7, 2006

And I have no life, so...

I shop for shoes.

I love shoes.

I switch pairs several times a day, just for kicks.

And buying new shoes is the best feeling in the world.

I love using the waterproofing spray to protect my footwear from the dew found on my lawn first thing in the morning. I love polishing them with the special balms I keep just for that purpose. I adore keeping them perfectly and trancendantly clean at all times, even the bottoms, and have been known to, in cleaning the visible portion of the shoe, continue on to cleanse the bottoms as well. Just in case.

And I buy shoes regardless of the clothing I have to match them, because I organize my wardrobe around my shoe collection.

So you can imagine the problems which are about to erupt in my house. Why, you ask? Why problems, Laura?

You see, the only thing Laura loves more than buying shoes is having pets. As many as possible. It is my lifetime goal to be the Crazy Cat Lady on someone's block. But not just with cats, because I also love dogs, and turtles and hampsters and birds and rabbits and cows and sheep and goats and just about every other living creature in the world--except I prefer the endoderms to the ectoerms. Just a personal preference there.

And when my dog, Patches, died last year, I was miserable. I thought I would never get another dog; I loved her too much to ever reach a point at which another dog would be welcome.

But things change.

Patches was almost fifteen when she died, which is old for an outside dog. She was a Dalmation/Border Collie mix, and was the most adorable dog ever to be found. I couldn't imagine ever finding a dog so wonderful, even if she did constantly carry around fallen trees which were triple her length, often turning her head to smack innocent bystanders in the back of the knees. And even if she did find a dead groundhog head and present it to my mother on Groundhog Day (dead serious here, folks). And even if she did roll on dead things, the freshly-fertilized field across the street, or my little brother's face after he fell and broke his leg. She was a great dog.

But I started getting a little tug at my heart in March. Something that made me wonder...
I wanted a puppy.

Now my dad has always hated animals. Some kind of childhood indocrination. But Mom has been a dog-person since birth and wouldn't stop until we got Patches. Dad hated Patches, yelled at her (reducing me to tears) and kept her at arms length, even though Patch loved him, big-time.
I never thought he would cave.

But I had a secret weapon I never knew about, stashed away.

See, when I was younger, I had this sweet little face with big brown eyes (gosh, what happened there? I sure peaked early) and I could look up at Dad, say please, and he would give me anything I wanted. I just assumed that, once I reached adulthood, or even pretend-adulthood, this look would no longer be effective. In fact, I was sure it would only bring pain to me by making Dad incredibly angry.

But I looked up at Dad one day, said, "You know what would really make me happy?"

"What?" he asked.

I concluded, "A puppy."

And he said OKAY.

So now we have Darcy (that's her in the profile picture--like a little bear cub). She is an adorable puppy; I love her and have no idea how we survived without her.

But there had been a huge gap in between our initial puppy experience and this new one.

Puppies are hard work.

Every day, Mom is up at six to take Darcy out. Then she tries to get the puppy to go back to sleep, which never works because Darcy knows Mom is a sucker, and all she has to do is whine once to get out of the crate and have fun. So Mom has to wake me up (or Paul) so Darcy can have someone to watch her while Mom sleeps a little more. And the second Mom leaves the room, Darcy falls back to sleep again. So no one gets the sleep they want, ever.

And she loves to chew. On anything or anyone that comes into her path. And this shows no sign of stopping any time soon, and although we have done everything in our power to keep her chewing on the right things, there is always a moment where she slips up and gnaws on something else, like people-fingers or--guess what?

My shoes.

Yesterday I caught her with an insert, today I caught her giving a flip-flop a test-nibble.

I am afraid my babies are about to become the victims of my baby.

But this has accomplished a glorious feat, one I have been waiting for my entire life.

It has given me a reason to put my shoes away, instead of leaving them by the door. And for that, I'm sure Mom is eternally grateful.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Ugh.

So I went to see Darla today, and cried and cried. She tried to help with the self-esteem thing. I hope it works. At least I'm doing something about it. Life would be way worse if I did nothing, you know?

I just hope something changes.

See, I need to work on my relationship with my Dad. And I'm a little scared to do it. I am afraid to talk to him about anything, for fear he will get angry with me, which is the most terrible thing I can imagine in my life. So that won't be happening for a while. And when it does, I think Darla will need to be there to facilitate. Because I can't really have any conflict with Dad at all, unless I want him to get angry, interrupt me, and never listen to anything I have said.

I really don't think he reads this blog, no one in my family does even though I have asked them to, but if he is reading it now, know that I will come to you, Dad, when the time is right, and I am not angry at you nor do I have any grievences with you.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Eww

I have recently realized that I have what could possibly be considered the lowest self esteem known to mankind.

This is an unfortunate thing to discover, especially when it follows a long line of other unpleasant discoveries, such as the amount to which I loathe my Grandma B and the fact that I haven't been able to feel angry or to actually cry because I'm truly sad for years.

I started to wonder, a few weeks ago, when the anxiety got real bad again, why I was made this way. I thought for a long time, and finally came to the conclusion that I really need therapy. So that's what I'm doing now. Therapy.

My counselor, Darla, says that journaling (and by this she doesn't mean starting a diary and making it into the beginnings of a new novel as I usually do) can help a person come to heart of their problems, and mine is self esteem.

I suck as a human being. I can tell you that and feel in my heart that it is true. No one seems to understand this when I tell them so in person, but it's true.

I know I am a disappointment, a failure, and idiot. I may not have proven it to the world yet, but it's coming. I know that one day all the people who love me will realize this and do what they should by all estimation have done when Baby Laura was placed in her little hospital crib in front of the big nursery window at the hospital: they'll see who I am and run away from the demon they once thought they had known.

I hate myself for many reasons, most of which would cause my friends to laugh. "How can anyone think they deserve only bad things to happen to them, really?" they would laugh. "She must be joking." But I'm not. That means no one should laugh.

I must be some kind of a liar, since everyone seems to think I'm smart, talented, successful. I should be a criminal, if I can get so many people fooled. Or a lawyer, a polition, an actress, something that utilizes my real talents. If I can't be me in front of anyone, why shouldn't I just embrace it?

"Why would anyone give me a job doing anything?" I keep asking myself. It's no wonder I do terribly in interviews for jobs. If I wouldn't hire me, why would I think anyone else would?
When I was born, someone somewhere slapped me with an "Ugly" sticker, the mark that makes all other people recognize the freaks of nature in the world and leads to the natural avoidance we all have for the crazed, the unclean, the flawed. My classmates in elementary, junior high, high school, and even college have seen this mark and run from it. And who could blame them? They avoided lepers for a reason, back in the middle ages, and that reason applies today. I was taken from my plastic baby hospital prison and placed in a different one from the babies called Stephanie, Julia, Elizabeth. Good old Laura was placed with the other gremlin babies, seperated from the herd. And I don't blame anyone for doing it.

I am trying so hard to convince myself that I have friends who care about me, no matter what, but it isn't working. Some days I look up at the ceiling when I wake up in the morining and say, "Well, I'm not dead yet," and feel cheated, dissapointed. The way I see it, I can't fix the problems I have or the world has with me, so why bother making everyone wish I was different? Why not just give in?

I can remember, in a dress fitting once, somone told me I was pretty. I couldn't believe they were saying it. I had to keep saying, "It's the dress, it would look pretty on anyone," and I kept highlighting the physical flaws I couldn't stop seeing. When I left, I had decided that they didn't mean my face, just everything from the neck down, and only that because of what the dress was doing to help things out. I went home from the shop wishing no one had said anything about me or the dress and prayed that my cousin wouldn't put me in the front of any wedding pictures.

Now that I'm a little older, I don't even believe that. I now think that the woman was just trying to earn her commission.

I keep thinking, "Why on earth would anyone in their right mind bother to date me?" I know I don't deserve anyone's attention, and the idea of someone giving me any time which they could spend doing something more interesting or productive makes me feel a little sorry for the people who think they have to settle for me. I don't deserve it. I wish I could pretend I did. This is why I never dated anyone. I only am starting to now because I seem to have found the one nice guy in the entire world, and it would be a shame to give up entirely on happiness, even the momentary kind.

The therapist has her work cut out for her, is all I can say.

And all of this comes up just because I tried today. I actually tried to be pretty, stylish, classy. And I really don't think it worked. I mean, it was better than the norm, but not really. I was what I always am, just another face in the crowd of humanity.

And I know people will think, "What is this?" when they read this blog, but these are the thoughts that live in my brain. If you know a way to get them out, I'd love to hear about it.

What the hail?

Brring!

My old phone was ringing, and since it is older than I am, I had to move fast.

I dove over the puppy, dodged my brother, and grabbed the receiver before the phone gave up hope of human intercession and stopped ringing.

It was dear Becky."Laura!" she said."Becky!" I replied."I need you to go cover something," she continued. "They're testing the water down at the public access site in Manchester. Just go, get some pictures, maybe talk to some people, whatever."

"Sure!"I got on my shoes, styled my hair, and hopped in the car.

Two minutes later:

Thunder boomed over my car.

Minutes passed, hail began, the little gray car I drove had begun to pour water onto the passenger seat. As I had no passenger, I moved my belongings and allowed the water to soak the chair.

I realized after driving past the Roann gas station that the level of gas my car currently had in its tank was nearing the level of emergency. Not only had it reached the "E," it had passed it, coming to rest on the bright red emergency fill-up-your-tank-right-now line. But it was pouring sheets of rain outside, and I wasn't about to stop until I could get to a place with a canopy I could stand underneath.

North Manchester

The rain had worsened, hail battered my car. A steady stream of water poured through my windshield. The soggy Wendy's napkins had fallen out of the cracks where I had stuffed them in a futile attempt to stop the flow of rain. They lay defeated on the floor of my car, where I am certain they will remain until Dad decides I'm a total slob and cleans my car for me. This should happen within the next month, after he notices how badly my oil needs changing and does that, too.

I stopped for gas. At this point I realized that the level of water had exceeded ankle level on the ground, my legs and feet were icy cold and very, very wet. Now I had to pump gas.

As I did so, the wind picked up. Rain blew under the canopy, drenching me completely, from head to toe. I punched in the payment information, threw my gas cap on my tank, and ran back to the car.

Unfortunately, the car had taken the moisture which had fallen into the vehicle and it had evaporated, fogging the windshield completely. Since the defrost in my vehicle does not work, I was forced to roll down the windows on either side of the car. Now I was off to cover the event which I was certain had been canceled due to the fact that rain and hail were coming through my windows and assaulting me.

There was no one at the river.

So I went to the office, sat down, and wrote this out.

Becky, you know now how dedicated I am to you and to this newspaper. Otherwise, I would have called you back when I was in Roann, laughed at you, and turned around to go back home and sit with my puppy. I would have knit the case I'm making for Dad's Irish whistle and fought to keep the wool (from the Peruvian Highlands) from going into little Darcy's puppy mouth. I would have been warm and dry.

However, if I had given up like that, I wouldn't have had blog material, and for that, at least, I am grateful.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

So now that the temperature has risen well above that which any human being can endure, I am reminded of a moment in the past, when the air was cooler, and the sun had fled before the wind and snow.

My family, being the pastor's clan, had just come from the candle light service. I was still pulling wax from my skin, where it had pooled from the overly-waxy candle and its inadequate paper holder, causing great pain. I was shivering, as usual, since the van has barely enough energy left in its aged corpse to move forward, let alone to spread heat to its passengers.

I had chosen, or rather been told, that this was a good opportunity to wear a skirt. Muttering words that no PK should say before a church service, I selected the kilt my gran had sewn me from wool she'd bought in Scotland. Hundreds of pleats weighed me down, and the miserable shoes which matched pinched at my toes as I hobbled into the van, out of the van, into the church, out of the church, and back into the van. The last thing I expected was the noise that the van uttered, a miserable groan, a cry of automotive terror; the agony the van was then experienced seemed to be a precursor to its demise.

"What's going on?" I cried. "What was that?!"

Now, in order to understand what happened next, you need to know my father's history with automobiles.

Back in the day, with a friend of his, he had bought and restored a fancy old car, which he then thought made him The Man. However, after restoring the thing, he let it go, got in accidents, and eventually gave up on what could have been a promising hobby of fixing his broken cars. As a result, no car we as a family have owned has ever been fixed in any way by my father.

Instead, he comes up with "solutions" to percieved problems, which include turning up the radio when the engine is making a funny noise, shoving napkins into the gaping holes in the windshield-seal (my car), or calling out random car parts until the repairman says he might be right, and he walks away thinking himself a master diagnostician.

My father has also been known to take the blunt end of an axe to the doors of his car, in an effort to correct the damage done by a run-in with an unfortunate deer. The doors would no longer open more than a few inches, barely enough for a person to squeeze through, and his solution involved bashing in the door near its hinge so it could open with ease. He did, however, neglect to fix this problem on the passenger side, meaning that the poor passenger (me) would either have to shimmy through the tiny gap in the door (the usual solution), or crawl through from the driver's side (people other than me, who were slightly more important). This was the car I dubbed "Puff the Tragic Wagon," and during the years my father drove it, I created an entire theme song set to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon." When Dad finally decided to sell it, he made a giant sign proclaiming, "Still Runs Every Day!" in big, happy letters. The man who bought it from Dad took it right then, licence plates and all, and drove it across country until it finally died, at which point he proceeded to walk away. This was possibly the path of his flight from prosecution. In fact, I would bet on it. Dad ended up having to pay to have the vehicle towed from its position on the interstate and to a car graveyard, leading to the tiny sum he had earned from its sale being siphoned into its destruction fund.

So Dad, following these events, no longer answered his children's horrified screams. His solution to any problem was to pretend it did not exist. So when our tire had lost every bit of air at the side of a country road in a blizzard which had pushed snow plows into the ditch of state road 15, I had no idea what was going on.

Seeing as how no country road, even county-line road, had any form of lighting, Dad had to be creative. He took the tiny, AAA battery-sized flashlight from his keychain and held it between his teeth as he struggled to jack up the car and free the flat tire. We all took turns shivering with him in the cold, as a form of family support. However, soon he began to cry "aaaAAHHH!"and the furrow appeared in his brow, sure signs of a coming explosion, so we fled back into the car.

Then, randomly, a man pulled over. Not only did he want to drive us home, he was someone we knew. He took Mom, my brother, and I all to our house, where we turned up the heat and made hot chocolate for Dad, who had begun to put on the spare before we left. We expected him at any moment, and, even as the chocolate cooled, we began to wonder.

A half-hour later, he pounded in from outside.

A problem had occurred. The spare, apparently, had been almost flat too. The man who had picked us up had gone back to Dad, offered help, then had given him a can of emergency tire sealent for the leak in the not-totally flat spare. Dad had fitted the tube of the can into the tire, sprayed it to seal the leak, and had attempted to remove it, to no avail. After trying again and again to free the can, Dad had given up, and had driven home with the can still attatched to the tire, showering sparks behind the van as he drove.

Later the next day, Dad liberated what remained of the can by cutting off the tube and using pliers to free it from the tire.

Mom, finding all of this as humorous as I, took the flashlight and fashioned it into a Christmas ornament.

Now, every Christmas season, it is the first to adorn the tree. When we see it, we all dissolve into laughter, except Dad, who goes outside to check the air levels in every tire, including the spares.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Somebody Call the UN

My dad has just brought home paint again. It is a blue-gray color, usually the color of a cloudy day, the color that means we stay inside and read good books and drink cocoa. But I know better. The cans he brought were not a nice omen, because they were filled with house paint.

Now, Mom has been begging us to do something about the house for over two years. Dad is way too busy to handle managing the painting, unless he takes vacation time, since he is attatched via a Brethren umbilical cord to all members of our congregation, their friends, relatives, and distant aquaintences. She is miserable with the way the paint has curled up, whimpering, and given up the hope of clinging to our siding, falling away in long, snakelike chips, never to return. And the mold growing behind our bushes in the front of the house, which made its appearance a full two weeks after our last paint-job, has reduced her to tears more than once. I firmly believe that the mold was always there, but the green paint of my childhood had shielded us from noticing what cadet blue has drawn to our attention.

From the moment I saw the cans, anxiety has been growing deep inside me. Yesterday, when I nonchalantly picked up a paintbrush to put it away, I had a full-out flashback, which led me to drop the brush in horror, shaking bodily.

I am twelve. Dad is thrilled with Mom's decision to repaint the house, because he has realized that his children have reached the age where slave-labor is acceptable. Or at least they could be employed legally. He has determined that they will paint alongside him, so he can teach them a Work Ethic. They will then become Responsible Adults, proving that he has been a Good Father, after all.

However, he also knows that, being young, the two young and innocent members of the family might need valuable fatherly attention while learing to paint. This, he concludes, is far too much of a commitment on his behalf. He needs all his attention to put toward the house painting, not the supervision of two novices. He has conveniently forgotten that his children had painted INDOORS many times already, and is convinced that they have never held a paintbrush.

He also knows (or fears) that if he leaves them under the watchful eye of his wife, they will be allowed to wander away to other pursuits. This is unacceptable. No pain, no gain.

So Dad set off for the hardware store. Now the owners of the hardware store know my father by sight. The few times I have accompanied him on trips there, I have watched as they scurry to the back room, scattering keys and paint-stirrers in their wake. The novices are left to listen to my father's rambling, aimless questions, their eyes wide, shaking behind their counter. I pity them all. But this time, Dad knew exactly what he wanted.

Hey kids!" he cried when he returned, brandishing the nondescript brown paper bag. "I got you a suprise!"

I was looking forward to painting the house, quite naively. I closed my eyes, imagined white overalls, a little white hat, and an artistic sprinkle of multi-colored paint over the purity of my crisp new clothing. I would perhaps have a smear of paint on my cheek, which would be alluring on a tween like myself. My hair, in its loose ponytail would be shiny in the sunlight. Passing motorists would be transfixed by the adorable Laura, expertly painting her home, and would hire her to paint their homes, paying her in library cards and trips to Barnes and Nobles.

Dad pulled the bag open and brandished his gift.

It was a half-inch wide, barely two inches long, with a flimsy, four-inch wooden handle. And it was made of foam. He had brought home sponge-brushes,

Believing his children incapable of handling a real paintbrush, he had determined that the best solution was to bring them a fail-safe: something that would easily protect from errors of massive proportions, no drips, no loose fibers caught in the paint, no spiders drowned and fused with the siding, no mistakes.

Laura and Paul spent the next two weeks grasping the miniature brushes, meant by their designer for fine-detail work, never for painting the massive sides of a country home. Paint dripping down their forearms, they were unable to swat the mosquitos which fed off their blood.

By the time Mom discovered the sponge brushes were in use, I had lost so much blood that I could no longer stand without assistance, and I spent the next two weeks believing I had contracted malaria.So, standing at home yesterday, I dropped the paintbrush that I had discovered, which clattered to the ground at my feet. Ever since then I have been in the office, drinking Big Gulps of Dr. Pepper and eating Tums like candy. With any luck, the house will be finished before Dad notices I'm gone.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

At Three A.M.

Everything seems bleak.

This is the time of day when Pink Floyd sounds its best.

I debate philosophy and sip raspberry lemonade in the blue glow of my computer monitor, writing blogs I never post.

This is when I question "Never."

I have become a student of Never. I am submersed in this concept, in the Nevers of my life.

What is existence without Never? I believe the human race defines itself by what it is not, what each individual fails to accomplish, accept, or experience. We believe our Nevers save us, protect us, ensure us success or failure. Never doing wrong by default makes us right, by definition, and ensures that even if we cannot define "right," we are in the clear.

I have contemplated twenty of my Nevers. They are as follows and in no particular order. I will leave them to you to define:

-Never disobeyed my parents
-Never failed a class
-Never complained about being a PK
-Never liked Rap music
-Never doubted God
-Never been the Pretty Friend
-Never voted Republican
-Never held hands, kissed, dated, or had my heart broken by anyone
-Never forgave myself for not achieving perfection
-Never believed myself worthy of praise
-Never accepted human mortality
-Never liked High School; never missed it
-Never liked talking on the phone
-Never been happy with my appearance
-Never looked good in shorts
-Never took a trip somewhere new alone
-Never played sports for fun
-Never got drunk
-Never fought with my mom
-Never been socially brave

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Friday was marked by an important event...

I finished and turned in the last paper I will ever have to turn in, and delivered it to a professer teaching the last lit class I ever will have to take. That's it. My English major is done.

I've written a lot of papers through the years. Some of them were good, some of them were crap, but the one thing they all had in common was the fact that they had to be turned in typed. English majors type well. We have the kind of speed only achieved by future secretaries, or medical transcriptionists. I can type a five page paper in the time it takes to make myself Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And if you consider that I typically write my paper while typing it, this is no mean feat.

The invention of the modern keyboard began in a way much more efficent than what we now know and tolerate. Originally, the positioning of the keys was much different. It was intended to be comfortable, easily used. But then people tried to use this arrangement with the typewriters in circulation. And things had to change. You see, if you had a decent typist using one of the typewriters with the efficient design, the keys would jam together. You either had to have a crappy typist, which no business wanted, or a crappy keyboard, which was the option agreed upon.

Years passed. The typewriter was improved, then discarded. Keys could be pressed at rapid speeds, with little to no force.

But one thing didn't change.

The keys stayed in the same place.

You see, it would be too hard to change it now. People would have to re-learn how to type. That would be unneccessary.

So now we're back to my day, when college students are basically given the same amount of paper to type as professional assistants, and a problem erupts. I feel it even now.

When the old keyboard was made, the idiots who okayed the design were aware of a little flick of the wrist which would need to be made, often, and which could lead to some problems...

They thought it was pretty good. Then their secretaries would slow down even more, because typing would hurt. You see, if a person didn't get above a high school or vocational school education, business people thought they deserved to suffer. They thought it would teach those slackers a lesson to get excruciating pain in their wrists and hands, to be plagued by limited mobility, calcification of the joints and tendinitis. That was cool. It wasn't their problem.

And with the computer revolution, the only thing that changed was: that problem became mine.
I don't know what the heck is the matter with me right now. I sure hope it isn't carpal tunnel.

But it really hurts. Bad. So you understand, when I don't post a blog a day. I have to type it. You guys just have to use a mouse. Which, by the way, I can't use with my right had at all anymore.

So know, I haven't forgotten you. I will finish my comical romance. I just have to find an OTC pain reliever which will do its job before I lose both appendages for good.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

SuperMegaActionYouveNeverSeenAnythingLikeThisAndNeverWillAgain

Part Eight

Carie was dead.

She was pretty sure that this was the only proper explaination. But there was a lingering question, outside of her grasp of the known universe, the relationship of the soul to organic flesh and bone. How could she know truth at all? How could she reason out her own demise or prove to herself that she did in fact exist? It was all very much out of her grasp. She engaged in what could only be described as a short reprise of all modern philosophical considerations on the subject, quickly finding that none of them accurately described the current quandry.
It had been very hot outside. She had been very thirsty, for a very long time.

There was no telling what had happened.

But you are more fortunate than Carie.

You have a narrator who writes from the third person, and the third person omniscient at that! I know everything, and can tell you all. Isn't that lovely?

However pleasant that knowledge has just made you feel, I do have to warn you. Carie, alive or dead, is in terrible danger. If she does make it out of this dreadful place, she won't be very happy at all. And knowing how stressful human life can be for all of you, I have to tell you, you may be better off forgetting Carie altogether. You don't know her very well after all. If you passed her on the street, I'm certain you wouldn't recognize her at all. It would be like meeting your hairstylist at Target, you wouldn't know her from any other customer. And it all would be rather embarassing for the both of you.

I'll give you some time to think it over.












No?

You'd like to know?

Well, okay. But don't say I haven't warned you.

SuperMegaActionYou'veNeverSeenAnythingLikeThisAndNeverWillAgain

Part Seven

The recovery had been almost painless; Toby's new kidney was functioning fine. He was thrilled and honored to find that another patient had just given him a kidney on the spur of the moment.

All his life he'd been restricted because of his health. Now he could climb Everest. He could tour Europe. He could sky-dive. Life was wonderful!

Except, he really didn't want to do any of those things. Toby knew he'd be much more comfortable sitting at home. He would really rather keep things as they were. He liked the bus, riding his bike to work would only make him sweaty, and he'd really rather not bump into people walking to the office. And he liked the mask the doctor had made him wear over his nose and mouth. It kept him from catching colds. Besides, Nepal was too far away. He'd have to ride in a plane, and everyone knew how sick you could get breathing all that recycled air. And how was he supposed to take his morning and evening showers at the top of a mountain?

He would just rent a documentary. Over the internet, so he wouldn't have to compete with other customers for a copy. Then he could cut up a few vegetables--organic, of course--and watch it in peace.

Toby grabbed his jacket. It was only around 70 degrees outside, he wouldn't want to catch a chill.

The real question was what to do first. His parents were dead. His wife had divorced him years earlier. She was dating her yoga instructor now. They had had no children. He had always found them to be unhygenic.

It would be great, he thought, to meet the woman who had done this for him. She deserved a personal thank you.

Toby turned and walked toward the bus stop. It would only be a three-minute ride from his house to the hospital.

***

Victoria was worried. She'd been home from the hospital for a few days, but the pressing sense of concern had never left her. She seemed to have forgotten something important.

Carie hadn't called yet. Typical. Her daughter had no sympathy for her nerves. There were no letters, no messages on the answering machine, no e-mails, no telegrams...

Carie had been in Alexandria for two weeks without a word. Carie's flight had landed, but the airport insisted she hadn't collected her luggage. How could her daughter be so inconsiderate?
The doorbell rang, Victoria answered it, hoping it was Carie.

"Hello my darling," Drake was somewhat disappointed. Drake was doting, but he seemed unconcerned and uninteresed about Carie.

"Come in," she stood aside as he swept through the door.

"Dinner?" he smiled.

"No, I don't think so Drake," Victoria hung her head. "I want to find Carie. Will you go with me to Alexandria? She needs to know how worried she's made me! I have to tell her how inconvenient it was for me to leave right now. I mean, look!" Victoria gestured to her spotless living room. "Can't you see how much I have to do?"

"You know I cannot leave the hospital, Darling," he cooed. "You'll have to take care of it on your own."

Victoria was disgusted. This was her love affair? How droll.

"She is an adult, isn't she? I should think she could take care of herself. And you can't think of risking illness so soon after your surgery, Victoria darling. I wouldn't want to have to operate again," he looked at her wistfully.

Victoria thought over the situation. There were terrorists out there. And tribal warfare. And scorpions. And she had heard of the Egyptian Asp. Who hadn't? She wouldn't want to end up like Cleopatra. She examined Dr. Ramore. It was a pity she was so dreadfully ill, in so much danger, he would have made such a handsome Mark Antony...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fear and Self-loathing in North Manchester

Alas, I am an absolute idiot.

What can I do?

My character seems to be fixed.

I have just realized what an unbelievably insane thing I have done.

I volunteered to deliver a speech. And not just any speech! I am speaking at the HONOR'S CONVOCATION! Or, as I like to call it, the Festival of Horrors.

Let's chat about public speaking.

Every time I speak in front of my fellow human beings, I am overwhelmed with uncontrollable panic. The last time this occurred (while I was doing a photography presentation) I had an out-of-body experience. For those of you who don't know what this is, an out-of-body experience is when you float away from your body (hopefully not your soon-to-be corpse) and have the blissful realization that you are seperate from it. You feel horribly sorry for whoever it is standing there stammering on and on, but, as Vonnegut would say, so it goes. It took a full six or seven minutes of talking Monday before I returned to Being. I think that the philosophers who theorized about the human soul must have had panic attacks too.

I am a people-pleaser. Yes, I will bake you a cake. Yes I will ice it. Yes I will drive through three states and take a plane into the heart of Africa in order to deliver it. Yes I will track down your long lost third cousin twice removed who lives there, and whose name you do not know, in order to deliver this cake. Yes I will complete these tasks in time to edit your paper for [INSERT ANY CLASS YOU LIKE HERE] in time for you to turn it in on time. No, it isn't any trouble. I promise. No, I mean it. I really feel like I can do it! It will be TONS of fun! I can't wait!

So I have to develop an idea and present it at convo. For you non-MC people, convo is basically an all-school assembly. So everyone I know will be staring at me when I reveal what a hopeless case I am.

I am a trickster, you see. Somehow I have the ability to make everyone and anyone who meets me come away with the impression that I am educated, poised, maybe even talented. I have been awarded scholarships, fellowships based on this ability. Luckily, most of these people never see the true me. They never know that I am in fact a dissappointment. I must be a skilled liar to achieve this. But my lack of honesty is easier to believe than the possibility that I retain a shred of intellect, talent, skill.

When I humiliate myself, I will undoubtedly return to the cycle of panic attacks which plaged me in September and January-March. Know that I have warned you, and understand the development of obsessive-compulsive behavior, such as re-cleaning the Lounge, which will ensue. At least the horror will take place before finals, so that I will be able to channel the mania into studying for ETA and European History. If, however, the panic is too great, you may be seeing me on campus for academic reasons rather than just so I can add a teaching certificate to my English major. "So it goes."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

SuperMegaActionYou'veNeverSeenAnythingLikeThisAndNeverWillAgain Romance

Part Six

Victoria awoke from a short nap, warm in her hospital bed, and realized with a jolt that her daughter Carie was dead.

This may have been more of a shock to her if she had not fallen asleep with her chin resting on the morphine button the doctors had given her. Had Doctor Drake Ramore been less attentive, the level of morphine released would have been lower, and she would have been more conscious of reality. Perhaps then she would have felt more horror, sorrow, or shock at her newfound insight.

But she didn't.

And if she had been on less medicine, she may never have known anything had happened to Carie, and that would have been most unfortunate. Victoria had always been an attentive mother. She truly experienced all Carie's pain as if it was her own.

But right now she was on a lot of morphine. And demoral. And everything seemed pretty okay. If she didn't hurt, Carie certainly couldn't.

And maybe, in Victoria's reality, that morphine and demoral was helping Carie feel much better, wherever she was.

Victoria closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

It seemed the most logical solution.

SuperMegaActionYou'veNeverSeenAnythingLikeThisAndNeverWillAgain Romance

Part Six

Victoria awoke from a short nap, warm in her hospital bed, and realized with a jolt that her daughter Carie was dead.

This may have been more of a shock to her if she had not fallen asleep with her chin resting on the morphine button the doctors had given her. Had Doctor Drake Ramore been less attentive, the level of morphine released would have been lower, and she would have been more conscious of reality. Perhaps then she would have felt more horror, sorrow, or shock at her newfound insight.

But she didn't.

And if she had been on less medicine, she may never have known anything had happened to Carie, and that would have been most unfortunate. Victoria had always been an attentive mother. She truly experienced all Carie's pain as if it was her own.

But right now she was on a lot of morphine. And demoral. And everything seemed pretty okay. If she didn't hurt, Carie certainly couldn't.

And maybe, in Victoria's reality, that morphine and demoral was helping Carie feel much better, wherever she was.

Victoria closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

It seemed the most logical solution.
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