True north and all that

So this conference that is keeping me from being in Canada for Thanksgiving and also making me miss The Bandicoots is now redeemed by the fact that I will actually be there for this (which I’ve missed for the past year or two) and for a friend’s graduation from library school in London (the one in Ontario that actually has its own Thames). Pretty good tradeoff all in all.

Also on the agenda:

  • Groceteria research in Detroit, maybe Toledo, and Niagara Falls
  • Quality time in the Toronto Reference Library
  • Falafel Queen (just discovered it’s now closed and I’m depressed) and all my other favorites
  • London and Windsor for the first time in twelve years
  • Seeing friends (I hope) in Toronto, Detroit, and Buffalo
  • Maybe another side trip yet to be determined

More later…

On the road (foreshadowing)


So I’ve kind of started pondering a pretty monumental road trip for this fall, the like of which I haven’t attempted in many years. No real details yet, but most of my ideas center around Winnipeg, and one of my drafts got me as far west as Alberta.

I know I have some readers in the prarie provinces, so if any of you want to remind me how boring I will probably find some of the vast spaces between all these cities (seeing as how I don’t much care for nature and the great outdoors) now would be a good time to rein me in a bit.

An alternate agenda would replace the western provinces with time in the US Midwest–specifically my first trip to Minneapolis in almost two decades. But I’ll probably still go to Winnipeg either way. It fascinates me. And after this year–what with the tenure process, all the teaching, and all the consulting work on the side–I deserve a big trip.

Inspiration includes this, which led to much geekerage and to this.

The other update

So there was one other update I didn’t make the other day and I’m torn about how explicitly I want to discuss it.

Like the breakup, this issue is personal and involves someone else. This time it’s a health issue involving a very close family member that will probably have a major impact on my life over the next few years. It’s very sad and it’s causing me a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for me right now. Although I had some idea it might be on the horizon, the fact that it came to then forefront when it did (approximately one month after the big split) was especially unfortunate and has made it all that much harder to deal with.

Frankly, I’m a  little bit overloaded with change right now. In the past year, I’ve started a new career (good), put two houses on the market (neutral but emotionally taxing), initiated a divorce (bad), and come to the realization that the rest of my life is going to look radically different than I’d planned twelve months back. And now, just when I need to start looking ahead with a positive attitude to determine what the rest of my life should look like, I’ve hit one more roadblock that’s making it really hard to focus on a happy future. I’ll be able to eventually, of course. It would have been easier if I’d had time to get over one big heartbreak before the next one hit, but that’s not how life works. All in all, though, I’m coping. I’m dealing with things much better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m trying to find small things that will keep me happy for now (a road trip here, a 42-inch TV there, etc.) while I try to find a  way to process the future. I’m not particularly mopey (at least not publicly) and I’m still maintaining my sense of humor. I like to think I’m also maintaining some sense of perspective; these things haven’t been easy on Mark or on the rest of my family either.

If I keep my mind off it all, I do pretty damned well. And yes, I realize that there’s a very precarious balance between “not dwelling on it” (which is good) and avoidance (which is bad). I’m not sure how well I’m maintaining that balance.

Anyway, I don’t plan to whine regularly in this space. But a little disclosure seemed to be in order, if for no other reason than to get this noted in the “public” record of my life. I’ve been publishing for fifteen years and it seems somehow wrong for there to be no mention of my current state of mind, even a somewhat vague one. I’ve been writing lots more on the subject(s) but practicing some judicious self-censorship; maybe I’ll retroactively publish those entries someday. I also wanted to make it clear that all my current anxiety doesn’t stem from the breakup. Obviously some of it does, but not all of it. Probably not even most of it at this point, but my anxiety priorities shift from day to day. I’m efficiently flexible that way.

A side benefit to those readers and friends who miss the bad attitude for which this site was once known is that my reaction to life has started involving less sadness and crying and much more anger and impatience. I’m hoping bemusement will become a big factor again soon, too. This bodes well for some good old-fashioned rants. I’ve been working on one about the rapture for  a couple of days. Stay tuned…

Where am I these days?

A fair question, I guess, since I’ve really not posted anything of substance in quite a while.

All in all, I’m doing OK. And I mean that. The past two four eight months have been absolute hell, even though I’ve tried to minimize this for public consumption because (a) no one wants to read about me curled in the fetal position on the sofa crying like a baby and (b) I perhaps didn’t want to show much weakness publicly in my compromised state. Mind you, this is not all about the breakup. A lot of it is about the breakup, but not all of it. There has been some other pretty nasty family-related stuff going on in my life for the past month or two as well, so there’s been plenty of suckage to keep me occupied, thanks.

None of this has seemed really appropriate fodder for the website because it’s personal and would require a higher level of sharing than I’m really comfortable with these days. I also wanted to avoid any possibility of passive-aggressive “communication by website” as I realized damned near anything I said could easily come across as either whiny or accusatory, neither of which I really wanted. Talking too much about other stuff would minimize how much of my life has been consumed by all of this, and talking endlessly about my troubles would have emphasized it too much and also would have made for a really unpleasant website. So I pretty much just shut up about everything. Even to my friends and family, which was probably a mistake.

And now? I wouldn’t say I’m in the best of shape, but it’s getting better.

With respect to the breakup, I’m at least coping. I had no illusions that there would be a reconciliation and I concurred completely that we’d reached the end of the line, but there was a long period of mourning for the loss of what once was and for the future I’d hoped we had together. And I’m still in the middle of that. It’s hard not to keep asking myself what the hell is wrong with me and what I might have done differently to keep this from happening. But I’m starting to realize that there’s not really anything wrong with me and that whatever either of us could have done differently is a moot point because whatever it might have been, neither of us did it and it’s too late now anyway. Yes, I think it was a big waste that probably didn’t have to happen, but I can think that for the rest of my life and it won’t change a damned thing.

The family issue (it involves an aging parent) will become a bigger and bigger part of my life in the coming years and that’s what I really fear right now. I could have dealt with either of these things individually, but having them both hit simultaneously has been overwhelming. I essentially lost my two closest family members over the course of just a few weeks, although neither of them is really completely gone. Each is just sort of transforming into a very different individual than the one I’ve known and loved for years, necessitating a significantly altered means of relating to them, and in some ways denying me two sources of support I could really use right now.

I’m learning that staying very busy works for me because it keeps me from thinking about things that suck. I’m not 100% sure this is the most healthy way of dealing with all this. I wonder if maybe I’m avoiding important issues I should be thinking about. But it’s the approach that’s working for me right now and is generally keeping me from “going fetal” on a daily basis as I was doing for a while there.

I’m probably never going to really go into specifics about a lot of this here on the site, although there are a few cloaked posts I may make public someday. But I am going to try to write more and self-censor less in the coming weeks. Rather than sharing nothing and doing the bare “put on a brave face” minimum as I’ve been doing lately, I’ll try to share both some of the happy and some of the sad. I’m still sad a lot. And occasionally just plain devoid of emotion. But I’m at least relatively happy more often now too.


So it’s Thanksgiving Day, the traditional start of that period known as the “holiday season.”

For a variety of reasons, I’m having a hard time working up much enthusiasm for the holidays this year, but here we are just the same. Today brings lunch with my dad’s side of the family in Greensboro (in a suburb, actually, but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference) and tomorrow we’re leaving for a few days at the beach. I make it a habit never to go to the beach during the summer; November through February is beach season for me.

A few extremely busy weeks of work follow. I’m on two search committees right now, and I’m also hiring a temp and several student workers in my department in a mad dash to spend as much money as possible before the state budget crisis comes crashing down around us. The next six months will be really hectic, which is actually a very good thing for me right now.

The week before Christmas brings ten-plus days in California visiting Mark‘s family in Fresno with side trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will be my first trip west in two years, my first multi-day visit to the City of Doom™ in maybe four years, and my first time in Southern California since 2005. I wish the circumstances and timing of the trip were different but it will be good to see some old friends, some palm trees, and Clifton’s again. And lest I forget, there’s that whole exciting option of choosing cancerous death rays vs. getting felt up by a (probably ugly) complete stranger at the airport.

After my long flight home comes the new year and what I anticipate will be a very long and cold winter. But I’m not even going to think about that just yet…

Cafeteria Line of the Damned


Thanksgiving dinner at the K&W.

Thanksgiving has never been one of my family’s bigger traditions. When I was young, we usually spent it with assorted aunts and uncles, but we always left the big celebrating to Christmas. In recent years, my mom and dad have taken to having their turkey at the cafeteria (except for 2007, when the hubby and I had them over for a big feeding). The past two years, Mark has been on the west coast for the big day, so I’ve joined them (and hundreds of others) in this charming New South tradition of turkey, two vegetables, bread, dessert, and tea for $6.49.


It’s not such a big deal. Mark and I had our own spread last Sunday before he left, anyway. I’m glad I married a boy who not only cooks, but even makes his own pie crust (sans dodgy Japanese ingredients).


Now I get to spend the rest of the holiday weekend writing my last paper as a graduate student, as well as preparing for my final final.

Father’s Day 2009


It’s a minor miracle. For the first time in recent memory, I was able to find my dad a father’s day present that he not only liked, but actually got sort of excited about. You see, my dad is not just difficult to shop for; he’s damned near impossible. He has almost no hobbies, and when he says “don’t get me anything,” I think he really means it.


This year, though, I came up with something really unusual. Since I’m working temporarily in a museum where many city archives have landed, I was able — OK, my boss was able — to find a large photo of the entire 1950 Greensboro Fire Department, with captions identifying everyone in the department, including my dad, who was in his second (and final) year there at the time. He really liked it and was really excited about it, and is planning to take it to show all his friends, etc. It was one of those rare moments when I actually felt like I’d done something kind of cool for my dad. It was nice.

Don’t forget to call your own dad today, if he’s still around.


Sometimes I miss the old days when all I had to do was call the landlord when the heat wasn’t working, never having to worry about how much it might cost to fix it, nor about choosing who should do the actual work.

Unfortunately, that’s not the weightiest thing I have on my mind today. Alas.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas…

Christmas, family, food, etc. You know the drill. This year, we hosted my dad’s side of the family (a dwindling group, alas) and my mom took care of her side of the family, which meant she had a much bigger group to face.

Mark and I are off to Charleston WV, Pittsburgh, and Richmond for a week starting tomorrow morning.We’ll be giving the new (to us) Buick its first major road test, and hoping today’s three hundred bucks worth of repairs will have corrected all the problems we inherited with it.

Just in case this turns out to be the last post of 2008, happy New Year.

He’s Back

Back from Fresno and other assorted points west. More later about:

  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Vomit.
  • Machaca in Madera, pizza in San Francisco, waffles in Millbrae, and chicken pie omelettes in Fresno.
  • Loving my boy.
  • Running into someone I’ve “known” for years but had never actually met, on a travel day that was even more sucktastic for him than mine was for me.
  • Safeway Select Diet Grapefriut Soda.
  • The rather exciting fact that most radio stations in California seem to be broadcasting in Spanish these days.