No words
Friday September 20th 2019, 9:48 pm
Filed under: change,himself,summer,tired,vacation Tags:

Really. They all fall short. He whimpered in his still-shallow sleep, maybe thirty minutes ago. The velcro that holds the front part of his sling had come off, so his arm was a bit free, and he was rolling his body around trying to get comfortable. And it hurt.

Such animals, we are, in pain, or near the end, or at the very beginning. Awake, he has all the words. He charmed the doctor (who already loved him, bless her [literally]), and the three nurses it took to get the bandage wrap off. 5 nights, six days, and all is, from the outside, about where it should be, though that offers no real reassurance. But the tricky tacky bandage, which clearly should have been taken off some days ago, needed 4 and 6 hands to hold and lift and unwrap and brace. We kept saying “brave.” That’s not the word, really. An exceptional, unwarranted, unearned response to being put in pain by people you know to be helping. Honest, and not afraid to express what hurt (and, afraid of being hurt), but gracious and grateful and mindful of it being needful. I struggled to watch the struggle. He doesn’t have a choice, and his little soul (and arm) bore up under what had to be done, and he never really stopped talking.

What comes next didn’t happen today. And today’s silence probably means it’s not Monday. And so the urgency of the now is not met by the arrangements for tomorrow. My adrenalin-fuelled imperative to Get Shit Done Now is unhelpful in the marathon we face. He faces. The tragedy of creating another person is rather Proustian – he’s his own person, lovable but unknowable. I don’t know what he will or won’t remember of all of this. I will never forget the terror of that night. But that doesn’t matter for the pediatric orthopedic surgeon we will or won’t see today, Monday, someday.

The long night was long. But after he, with his splint and sling, bounced back to being himself, the two moments that brought me to my knees and near to being sick to my stomach were back in London – once, playing with a boy and a dog in a back yard, once slipping on a stair in a playground. I was right to worry, as we learned today from the doctor, right to be concerned that now is the time things can get really fucked up. No school next week, which we had blithely assumed would carry on per usual. As term begins for us. Scheduling is gonna be a bitch, but it’s just that, time in small or medium blocks, swapped about in a fucked up game of emotional capitalism.

To my knees, on a bright sunny day in Richmond. Not an Indian Summer, as the Uber driver after assured me, as that requires a frost first, which London hasn’t seen. Just a late September sunny day at a wonderful playground that made clear how different it is. I remember Christo’s gates in Central Park, the saffron i-beams and little fabric drapes (which were themselves smaller than I’d anticipated from the drawings in the newspaper and the web), made a place that was a bit familiar become radically unfamiliar, and then did so again when they were removed. That’s how I see him moving through the world, now, and presumably will ever after. A world that, even on the hilltop of a small town after a lovely meal, when you fall to the padded rubber safety surface, can still expose how very breakable he is, how very temporary his body could be in this world. That his temporary might not be the same as the temporary we all share (even as Humpty, of the previous grief/anger post, has returned, miraculously (snort) to the living yet again).

Dunno. No words. Really. And I imagine the feelings will dull. “You scared me and I broke my arm,” he said, and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

Large numbers large difference small changes
Thursday February 28th 2019, 10:11 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,change,family,himself,money,nextish,something new,tired Tags:

Large numbers moved around today, after delays. Life changing, I suppose, though the life changes will be incremental rather than immediate. And, frankly, I already got a second shot a 13 years ago, and dug a hole just deep enough that I could always keep shoveling, and wasn’t going to drown, but wasn’t going to get very far ahead either. Which was fine. But instead, one typo and three sets of lawyers later, here I am. One completed, one pending, one with an additional step, and one to be folded in with some others. And then, presto magico, not only am I still part of the global bourgeoisie, but will be even more so. Neither elated nor despondent, not proud nor ashamed, nor quite meh. It’s a big deal. It will make his life different, and that matters, assuming we manage to make the differences the right ones. Who knows. I’m fucking tired. It was a weird day.

Vanitas vanitatis
Tuesday November 20th 2018, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Boozy,damn,Oxford,tempest in a teapot,tired,Work Tags:

ok, so I’d never heard of before – a search engine that apparently finances social and environmentally beneficial projects. I’ve no idea if that’s true. But, new search engine, first instinct is to do some work, see if anything new turns up. I ran three or four searches about the big article I’m slowly working on. Nothing important, but definitely a new slice of info out there. Then, curious/vain, a vanity search on my first book.  Only to find something new – reported statistics for the most-borrowed books from the English Faculty Library, Ford of Oxen. Only to find my book on the first page – the 24th most checked out book in academic year 2016-17.

Really, I’ve no idea how to process this fact. I assume it’s a version of me – one student, renewing and renewing and renewing it 38 times in the year, hoping Roberta won’t notice. Also, there are way too many medieval books on that list, suggesting serious imbalance. 1 and 10 are renaissance books, and 19 is post colonialism. And the rest of the top 25 are medieval, which is nuts.

Anyway, I’m apparently big in Japan, except Japan is Oxford, and that’s fucking mind boggling

(Update: it was totally one person, just the one year  I was big 2016-17, but not even top 200 since then. Missed my own damn 15 minutes, apparently)



I used to know them. Possibly all of them. Sometime after moving to HelLA, when Google Earth was still a new product, I made a flythrough of all the places I’d lived. A few were approximate, and I’m sure I started only notionally in HelLA before the litany of addresses in the Bay and UK – Unit 1, women’s co-op, Dwight, funny summer sublet that the dead guy from Sublime had rented, Piedmont/Oakland, MLK couch, the Mission, Ward, Warehouse, Fyfield, Iffley, North Oxford, (redacted), Goldhawk Rd, West Ken, LES, UWS, West Village, East Village, Brooklyn, aaaand back to WeHo. And then the list continued – midcity, Silverlake, Echo Park. And now, my ultimate fear, back to the suburbs. As if all the in between places didn’t happen. (Apparently, I do in fact know them all still. But that’s not my point.)

Which of course isn’t true. This isn’t the leaving of Ox, or even the leaving London despair of present and future purpose (though return still looks slim). This is a move cross-town to save time, lots and lots of time, for people large and (more importantly) small.

The tangible scars of my past can live again. Not the burns or pierces or tattoos – the BOOKS. No longer in boxes in the basement, the selves that rose and fall, lived and died, and folded tens of thousands of pages over to varying depths. Who failed to read, and failed to fold, chastened, even humbled, by the staggering expanse of unread pages. On bookshelves, freshly ordered for delivery in 10 days.

A walk up in the wet from a bar I’m fond of, but never lived at. A last hike tomorrow, I think, more meaningful, a thousand loops later. Likely without the 35 pounds, though. Toddlers don’t experience nostalgia, I don’t think, in the ways I do.

Though, I think we’ll come back to look at the mustard flowers.

Stress, and grief

She said, to answer my question what points she was working on. Also, where your spine meets your ribs, so, a major parenting spot. Not really an empty center. And her “hot hands” (shared, apparently, by her 11 year old daughter but not her 11 year old son) healing. And also disturbing, working through old and newer ambitions and desires, aspirations and intentions. A Greek meander left to right, hyper rational and logical, and all I am, a Celtic knot, mystical and magical and all I’m not very good at being and have, frankly, neglected. And a not very empty center.

twenty weeks was a lifetime ago
Saturday February 18th 2017, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Boozy,himself,tired Tags:

Helen’s congratulations on the halfway point of YCT’s pregnancy greets me every time I log on here – the last approved comment. At 2 plus 2 minus 4 days, “mine own self” over there (tossing and thumping), who today broke out “Yes. OhhhhKaaaay. Hiiiii” and “hidden junction” (!) (too many Thomas/train books) is long past the on-his-way phase.

Pacifiers. The bane of my existence, the chief solace of his. Alas, time to take it all away, particularly before preschool begins in a handful of months (!!!!!). But not today.

Dunno. Drunk. A day of taxes, books, music, walks, and Vietnamese food. There have been worse.

Wednesday October 26th 2016, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Truly,tired Tags:

It’s not a word. It’s just the truth. Who knew things could bring more tired into the world. I read after a meh day, where being prepared seemed to make everything less convincing. Which is discouraging. But so it goes. Meh. Tired.

Eleventh Fall
Monday September 19th 2016, 9:24 pm
Filed under: calendars,can't make that shit up,nextish,seasonal,tired Tags:

Having been shopping for child seats for a bike, not a great title, perhaps. But so it goes. 10 fucking years. 11 fall quarters. Thousands of students. And today, the 8th volunteer day, sorting canned goods at a food bank. The kids are alright (though, I know I wasn’t a kid at 18. Nope. Not at all.). Amusing that one of them was a junior-year-abroad from London, via TCD, who when I was describing my current book to a crowd tilted his head and said “Ashburnham House”?

Playing with the finally-upgraded new version of Logic, messing with vocals from North Oxford two? three? life-times ago.Double-tracking, re-pitching for harmonies and counter-lines, fiddling with pitch and timing for realism. Oh, the things you can do. Technology. Kids today. Etc.

Mostly, tired. But I try to begin fall with something more than the baseline of requisite enthusiasm. A few days in DC getting actual work done were a nice push to slough off the summertime sadness of another 6 weeks sold for money in a compromise I will always resent. Gonna be a busy year. It always is, but this one looks like more work and less ohmygodchildicanthelpfuckitivegotanexcusesorrybye.

Wednesday October 28th 2015, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,himself,tired Tags:

Frittata. I couldn’t come up with the word. Egg thing that begins with f. Quiche. Quiche with an f. F quiche. Just gone. Other words have gone as well. I lost it 90 minutes into a three hour seminar yesterday. Just ran out of things to think, to say. I rambled unconvincingly. It’s week 5, of 10, and I’m hitting a wall. Two more reviews to write and a DH talk. I’ll get it done, cuz that’s what I do, and sheer force of will and coffee will see me through as they always have. But the ruthlessness that used to make that work is impossible in the face of a smile that glows and vibrates when you nuzzle his neck or chomp on his nose. Or even just look at him funny.

Dunno. But my god I’m fucking tired.

tempura tempora
Wednesday September 10th 2014, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Boozy,himself,seasonal,something new,tired,transitions Tags:

Deep fried time. A few more local deadlines – a final exam tomorrow, papers to grade and finals to grade. And then a few weeks to sort myself, solo, to get some work done. And then, TIME. Time ticking down to the arrival, of course, that’s one of the only clocks really pressing on me. A strange lull, this evening, as YCT meets with her writing group, her own work nearing a pivotal series of moments that will, in’sh’alla, lead from private to public. A strange lull, this, with a few weeks of the archive on the horizon, and then a YEAR of time (well, 9 months, but subtract and then re-add 6 weeks at the end, and there’s some uncertainty about the status of the 10 weeks after that, which could go either way). But, a YEAR (loosely defined) of time to work, to write, to think, to be properly miserable and DO something with the misery other than shut it down to get the devoirs done. To find new rhythms and new habits and new ways to indulge, no, to engage in existing hobbies. It all goes out the door, of course, in some ways, but so what? Burn the shit? I have time. I’m where I want to be, if not quite who I want to be, and certainly doing what I always said I would, and I’m not that fussed whether or not I feel I haven’t won at all. As half of ABBA would write. “Coming up for air” sings The Acid on KCRW, and I think, yes. That. Exactly fucking that.