Monday, September 29, 2008

to be, or not to be...happy?

a great day at work, a terrible day for the economy. but i don't pretend to understand half of what is wrong with wall street, aside from the obvious fact that it is failing. why that is, however, and what this bail-out bill actually proposed, or still less why it was voted against if it was meant to save the economy, no one can seem to tell me.

so i'm rather terrified with not knowing what is happening, which directly competes with the otherwise good day that i had. considering that it's monday and our office is so lonely without everyone there, i had a pretty nice transition back. my colleague, leigh anne, went for her ultrasound today, too, so i look forward to seeing the photos of twenty-week old baby.

so if i ignored the world, i would be singularly happy. but it's foolish to bury your head in the sand. even south park knows that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

tea and cakes and cakes and tea

a rainy sunday in gettysburg! today is a day to have tea in town.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

home in gettysburg

but only just for long enough to repack, kiss my cat, and head off to the midwest. i feel so impatient, but i don't know what for. it's like i must run around in circles to distract myself from whatever is sending my mind into space.

maybe it comes from reading david mccullough's john adams. he and abigail adams have always been inspiring to me; they both had such spirit, drive–passion in the vision that they shared for the future of this country. but they were apart so often and for so long, i don't know how they bore it.

what would they say of this country if they were alive today? i hope it would be positive. here, have some john donne–he always does me good:

as virtuous men pass mildly away,
and whisper to their souls to go,
whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"now his breath goes," and some say, "no."

so let us melt, and make no noise,
no tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'twere profanation of our joys
to tell the laity our love.

moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
men reckon what it did, and meant ;
but trepidation of the spheres,
though greater far, is innocent.

dull sublunary lovers' love
—whose soul is sense—cannot admit
of absence, 'cause it doth remove
the thing which elemented it.

but we by a love so much refined,
that ourselves know not what it is,
inter-assurèd of the mind,
care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

our two souls therefore, which are one,
though i must go, endure not yet
a breach, but an expansion,
like gold to aery thinness beat.

if they be two, they are two so
as stiff twin compasses are two ;
thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
to move, but doth, if th' other do.

and though it in the centre sit,
yet, when the other far doth roam,
it leans, and hearkens after it,
and grows erect, as that comes home.

such wilt thou be to me, who must,
like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
thy firmness makes my circle just,
and makes me end where i begun.

Friday, September 26, 2008


yawn. i miss my sweet love muffin. by whom i mean my cat. and no, i'm not ashamed that i have ridiculous pet names for him. he is also my pooky, my petite smook, and my little monster. i promise not to use such terms to any future children or husband...except maybe in joking. but really, i won't. but i can't resist with my kitty; he's too cute.

things that i've discovered in these first two weeks of travel:
-pittsburgh=reminds me of upton sinclair's the jungle, but i like it anyway
-ohio=some particularly excellent aspects, minus the extensive miles of nothingness
-michigan=mostly unremarkable

i realize that these are judgments founded on biased moments but again i can't help what i observe.

ok i'm watching tv and burger king just used the national anthem in its commercial, probably because of the debates tonight. i hate the marketing of patriotism. get off my national anthem, evil burger king marketing division!

nevertheless, i'd be a hypocrite if i claimed that i do not desire to wear the burger king crown every time i go in to get a whopper junior.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the passion of chopin

tonight i had a little chopin accompany my evening. no, i didn't play him, as there's no piano about in this hampton inn in columbus, ohio; and besides, i really butcher chopin so it wouldn't be pleasant for anyone to hear but myself. thanks to youtube, i was able to enjoy one of his nocturnes, which in fact is so lovely that i'll share it here with you. ok you should also here this one, since it's more famous so you may recognize it.

i do love musicians; and yet i don't think i could ever marry a man like chopin. i used to have such an admiration for him, because of that haunting portrait of him done by eugene delacroix, where his expression is so brooding. but, in the usual fashion of artists, he was so unsteady...and appealing as that is in many ways, the last thing i need is to marry a man who's even more unsteady than i am. so i still love him, but i'm reasonable. also, he's been dead for over a century, but you know what i mean.

p.s. i just noticed that there is a weird video of peasants on the first chopin piece. not sure what that is about, since it seems to be in german, which is even odder as chopin was polish and french.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

not only meaningful but sacred

traveling for the college so far this fall has made me deeply miss being a student. i don't mean that i don't love my job--rather, the opposite: that everywhere i go, i meet students who are on the brink of such a tremblingly exciting moment of their lives, and most of them don't even realize it. i didn't.

it makes me consider the thoughts that run through the minds of the students whom i meet. what about the ones who don't see college as a natural next step--not because they have other ambitions, but because they've been told that they're never going to amount to anything, or that they won't be supported in their efforts to get a college degree-financially or in spirit? what about those who really can't afford it? am i an elitist to feel sorry for these young people who won't be able to gain a degree?

being a graduate of a nationally ranked college myself, i of course have the biased opinion that, unless you are extremely motivated and talented, eschewing a college education is the equivalent of cutting off both of your hands. it doesn't mean that you can't succeed and have an incredible life--obviously a majority of the world does--but that so many doors will be closed to you unless you can prove through some other fashion that you've learned how to think. and yet, for all that my college fervently believes it can inspire young people to sense the world around them, i know that it's not the only means by which to do so, nor does every graduate leave with a profound concept of their place in the greater order. still, as one of my friends reflected when we were seniors, wondering why graduation was such a depressing prospect, college is "where you become who you're going to be."

another friend sent me a copy of the commencement speech of a writer who recently committed suicide, david foster wallace. i know--that's horrible, but his words were so haunting, not only because he said them before ending his own life, but because he grasped so clearly that an education--whether attained at college or in your back yard--is ultimately the culmination of your discovery that you alone hold the power to choose what direction your life will take:

"but if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. it will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars -- compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: the only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. you get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. you get to decide what to worship..."

~ek-onkar satnam~

Sunday, September 14, 2008


i'm watching the coco chanel special on tv and it's so inspiring. i never knew anything about her life, except that she revolutionized the fashion industry, and introduced a corset-less woman.

Monday, September 1, 2008

sun moon stars rain

if by yes

ten points if you can guess the reference. twenty points if you can tell me what it means. to me it is hope. 'if' is possibility, and where there is possibility, there is always the possibility for goodness.

with that attitude ever-present (or at least i try to keep it so) i'm ready for the fall but still don't know what my future will bring, for my career, my life... i know–that sounds ridiculous; of course i don't know the future. but i have a bad habit of over-planning my life for all contingencies, with the need to control everything, and i'm really working on stopping that. it's ok not to know what the outcome of everything will be.

still, here i will take a moment to display my accomplishments thus far, due to planning and mental preparation:
• done: travel plans for pittsburgh, ohio and michigan (my first round of travel this fall)
• acquired: one (1) upright wurlizter piano with chipped paint and sixties'-inspired vinyl siding
• done: refinishing piano in more attractive oak or whatever the color was
• done: laundry at courtney's house while we watched miss pettigrew lives for a day

it's not just for the classroom!