Category: Work


(Transmissions from Summers past…)

Interpretive Interloper

a telescope transcendent.

***

Rain Journal

 

Witness

Gathering Clouds

No False Alarm, this

(much desired drenching)

This flammable

Wooden

Ocean

 

the doves go

silent

slowly

 

The ground

is FISSURED

 

In need of

soaking

 

Wind

chime

symphony

bliss

 

The garden cries “THIRSTY”

 

Ecstatic

Pattering

Drips 

 

the air is

ELECTRIC

 

slowly

building

 

and I am

on my front porch/parched

waiting

*patience patience patience*

 

Lay

back in 

the Rain

 

for the downpour.

 

photo (3)

***

My problem is that I find myself in a situation I never dreamed I would be in. A single parent. A professional. With a career. And kids. How did I end up here? And single. As in totally alone. As in no one with me. No support. No help. Or, at least, not an adequate enough amount to ease the burden. That’s where I find myself. And making a modest income. More than I ever have before. And yet, somehow, still struggling. Still working hard to catch up & stay caught up. Still – perhaps more now than ever – worried. Because once you’ve achieved a certain level of success, you are expected to perpetuate that success. And THAT is what frightens me. I was EXPECTED to be ambitious and to continue to accept advances in my career…and now I’m EXPECTED to continue to advance. If I don’t, I’m viewed as unambitious. If I don’t, I’m somehow flawed. But where are these expectations coming from? Are they internal or external expectations? Do I want to move up & am I just scared of the responsibility? Or is it true that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing? If anything, I would like to be able to move DOWN. And not out of laziness or fear. I don’t think. But while I’m doing what I love to do for a living & I truly love my job, if I’m honest there are aspects of my job that I don’t enjoy & that prevent me, I think, from achieving what I want to achieve.

***

…excerpt from an unwritten novel…

Last night, goofing, he says something. she says “Oh shut up” he says “I will not shut up. You always get your way and this time you will not get your way I will not shut up.” She says “If I always get my way you would have shut up a long time ago.”

In the restaurant, everyone was talking about weird stuff. Somewhere, someone was discussing a tapeworm – behind them, another person mentioned a medical condition…..they said they were lactose intolerant. She said “is this a restaurant or a gastroenterologist’s office.”

They proceeded to get buzzed on $3 margaritas which were unusually strong, paired with (intentionally) overly-salty Mexican food. They talked…meandered. Tried to say weird and interesting random things at a slightly higher volume, just to entertain their fellow eavesdroppers. There was a party breaking up in the party room of the restaurant. So many conversations. A guy caught his eye. Flirted with him. He looked away. Was not interested, but kept checking back to see if maybe it was his imagination, but he kept catching his eye & flirting, no matter how fleeting the glance.

They ate a lot of food, then stumbled home in the dark. The long way. Both of them needing to pee. She proposed stopping in at a bar along the way, but his usual anxious pessimism kicked in and after warding off 5-6 worst-case scenarios of the imagined ambiance of the place, after they had already walked past the bar, he said he would go if she would buy him a drink. She said “Nah – we’ve already passed the bar.

Back home, in bed. He’s having a hard time staying hard. Is it the alcohol or the fact that she has obviously been visibly exasperated with him since they initially discussed getting together. First, it was the argument about walking (too hot, too tired, too far) then, the give in. The argument about who would pay (a.k.a. the argument about who was more broke, which often ended in me pointing out that though she makes more money, she is raising two pre-teen girls, aka the human plague of locusts.

Then in the restaurant, amid the pleasant conversation…the argument about what denoted sucky taste, with the inevitable sighing and eyerolling on both sides of the table as one party was deemed overly critical and the other party overly emotional. Again.

So, he was having trouble keeping it hard, although clearly enjoying himself. She was battling mixed feelings & not wanting to be touched & STRUGGLING to stay present, but feeling somehow belittled by her inability to turn him on enough to keep him hard while he fucked her.

Eventually, he gave up & rolled off. She felt tired. Snuggled up to him. He reached over & touched her breast, but she was sensitive, asked him not to touch. A familiar boundary that had been violated by many men before him. And then the invalidating happened. Once something is deemed off-limits, even temporarily, at random intervals, the child fixates on That Thing and will not be deterred. So, “Please, don’t touch those right now” (while giggling & trying to deflect) becomes “Seriously, don’t touch them.” And then the conversation becomes entirely about how horrible and mean she is for limiting access to her body. His insecurity turns on her, tells her she needs to just “get over” whatever is making her fel like she doesn’t want to be touched. And she gets smaller and smaller, shrinking inside her skin until all that was her is now a smooth, hard, dense pellet inside the carapace of her skin.

***

OH in Clute, TX: “I need a wife.” (4 year old)

“You got something better – you got a mother.”

Outside of Clute, there was a street named This Way. Other than that, I saw not much of interest.

There’s a big family in here, having breakfast. Grandparents, parents, and 3 children.

There’s a heat warning in New Orleans. More reason to get there late in the day.

Lots of weird weather going on.

Leisurely morning. There’s no point in rushing. My amended amended plan includes visiting some nature preserves & rolling into New Orleans after dark. Then spending a few hours on Sunday walking around New Orleans before heading back to Austin.

Apple and banana and coffee. There is a rhythm of the road that I missed. And I drive and I drive and I drive.

***

That veggie chorizo gave me gas!

***

Goals for Chicago Trip:

Walk Daily

Swim regularly

Write frequently

Learn to draw

Watch Lost

Minimal scheduling

FREE CHILDREN!!!

***

photo (1)

Space is Love

The space between the leaves

 

Let me remind myself of the ways in which I am human. Besieged. You are impart. In full or in part.

angry, soul-throated. Off

Loaded.

***

Rain delays my morning swim. I am looking around my room and admiring my sloppiness. My computer desk cluttered with precariously leaning piles of ripped CDs (I finally got my entire collection on my computer) dirty clothes litter the floor. My bed disheveled – sheets need to be changed and I am sleeping with books & journals that are scattered all over – my own & the ones I have been reading to the children. Incense dust covers almost every surface. My laptop is on the floor, covered with clean clothes that I folded, sorted, then totally pushed off my bed while sleeping one night. Dirtbombs playing on the computer as a perfect complement to the grungy state of affairs & the thunder & lightning add ambiance. I roll up my shades so I could look out at the dripping grey world, cracking a window to catch a breeze.

There is an assortment of rhinestoned barrettes and hair pins on the window sill, left there before make out sessions and naps.

***

I pronounce you – unpronounceable. Confounded by your intrigue & intrigued by your con-foundation – alacrity – you lack, gritty. Seething yet gleaming – you spit into the hole you have created. It is sad, isn’t it, that freedom can leave you so imprisoned. Trapped in this prism. White light enters & only strands of colors escape. Leaving you – half in/half out. Drowned in drought. Twisting about & consumed by doubt while I sit and pout.

***

My tired heart and your bitter hands. Float dreamily – a lazed interpretation, crazed regurgitation of faith like a lizard, caught sleeping in the sun. A rock of consequence. Drear dread apparent. Negotiation – frittered forever an ever love lost lorn warn. I send a warning. You. Dopamine. Mine own Clementine. Clementine.

Sorrow is a gracious hostess. She invites us in and we lay back, relieved of our joyous burdens. She feeds us so we don’t realize she is feasting on us. We dream in soporific haze. A daze, glazed, amazed at the lack of feeling.

Sorrow is a row of sows. Incredible how quickly my house catches fire. Burns to the ground. How quickly I am reduced to ashes.

***

What Do I Want? There are many categories, and it’s a long list:

Here’s what I have in my life currently that is consistent with my desires:

-An excellent community

-lots of love

-opportunities for intellectual enrichment

-creative outlet

-time to play

-a nice place to live that is safe

-relative harmony in my immediate family

-food food & people to share it with

-a good job doing something fulfilling and where I am appreciated for my strengths

-strong, wise women in abundance

-a few good men.

***

The Tao of Bird, age 2.5, who is prone to bursting out into song, busted out today with “A-O – Let’s go!”

So – at least one of my kids has apparent good taste in music.

***

Excerpts from an unwritten novel, part 2

He’s having another of his extended retreats to adolescence. He’s storming about the house with that disgusted look on his face, and exclaiming dissatisfaction with everything. She is trying to ignore it and proceed with her own life, but he frequently goes out of his way to clash with her. She realizes that much of the bullshit he throws her way is projection, but she doesn’t think he realizes this.

So he can continue to live the life of a failed rockstar who gets drunk and stoned every night and comes to life during the day as wonderdad to protect his children from their conniving slut of a mother. He can continue to sit around on his ass & do nothing & then blame her for all of the negative shit he feels about himself. He’s going to do it whether she argues with him or not. He might stay in this mode for a day or a week or a year, until she decides that she has better things to do than worry about his fragile little imaginary world where she (and possibly all women) is some sort of weird, evil villain who seeks to destroy him by paying all of his bills, buying his cigarettes, feeding his children & living her life.

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I want to write more about my vacation, but today was an exceptionally good day, and rather than write about the then, I’d prefer to gush about the now.

I’ve been struggling lately. I mean…I’ve actually been struggling for awhile, but I do a pretty good job of managing my own personal struggles I think (I hope!) – but lately I’ve been struggling in a positive way – overcoming, is the word. I’ve been overcoming some of the residual imprints of struggling.

Overcoming seems to involve a lot of self-reflection. A lot of heavily guarded alone time. Sometimes to an extent where I wonder if it might be unhealthy for me to spend so much time alone, without really desiring the company of anyone else in particular. Not that I don’t love and adore my friends and loved ones…it’s just lately I seem to adore spending time by myself an awful lot more.

I sometimes worry that I don’t have the ability to deal with ever surrendering any tiny scrap of my autonomy to be in a relationship with another person…but I’m too busy not caring to worry about that for very long. Though I do have a corollary worry that my inability to surrender any tiny scrap of my autonomy will cause me to end up being bitterly alone when I’m too old to find someone who wants to surrender a tiny scrap of their autonomy for me.

Who knows. Maybe it’s just a phase.

What I haven’t been struggling with lately is being ridiculously appreciative of the gentle rhythm of my days, which is possibly WHY I’m feeling reluctant to risk losing control over them. I notice that I really seem to enjoy my job on a soul-nourishing level. It’s nice to help people all day. To be able to talk to them as a human being and solve their technical issues. I really enjoy people treating me like an authority on something. One of the first things I had to learn to do to succeed at my job was to eliminate my tendency towards humility when helping people with technology. I’m used to approaching people in an exploratory way, which works pretty good for training, but generally when you are calling tech support, you want someone to be a bit more authoritative. I’m really enjoying mixing both so I don’t come across as a know-it-all and intimidate people who just need a little nurturing. It’s actually not a bad way to spend 10 hours a day.

I’m also really happy with the habits I’ve formed around preparing and eating healthy, homemade meals all week, reading, getting some sort of exercise, and writing in my journal every day. It’s been awesome to have time to spend on myself. And while I have had weeks of getting sucked in to one TV series or another (most recently, Eureka, which actually gave me some of the most amazing dreams and, in spite of the fact that it was a pretty damn cheesy show (or maybe because of that) has me mourning the little world I lived in with all of those characters for a month or so.

I guess this is all sort of related to my vacation, because part of all of this is the fact that I’ve also been able to travel more – take more road trips – get out of town more. It’s something I feel I’ve been somewhat deprived of over the past few years. It’s really nice to be able to pick up and leave town for a bit. The endless rhythm of the tires on asphalt with trees and signs and other cars whishing by. The places my mind goes when there’s endless novel monotony all around me. My face focused forward, but watching the world peel by on either side. Tracking time by moon and sun and moon again. Driving. Driving. Driving. Being driven.

I’m in the process of writing a long post about my experience with the Occupy movement over the past 2 years. I started writing it on 9/17 – the anniversary of OWS. But it’s such a personal topic for me. I want to be careful that I don’t make my experiences sound as if they are universal experiences, which is what frustrates me most about what I read about the Occupy movement. So, it’s going to take some time. Perhaps I’ll have it done by 10/6, which is the anniversary of Occupy Austin.

I’m also immersed in a spree of overtime. Like ACTUAL overtime that I’m ACTUALLY PAID FOR! Time and a half, and everything. It occurred to me tonight that I haven’t been able to take advantage of overtime pay since before I had children. I’m really enjoying being paid for every fucking minute I work. I can handle a little temporary work/life imbalance for that. I’m also really enjoying my job. It’s gotten to the point where most of the situations I deal with are easy for me to handle, and I really love the fact that I get to talk to people all day in the spirit of helpingness. Plus I really love my team, who I only have to interact with in chat. We’re on a team of about 20 people who all work different schedules and are from different cities, and every person on our team has some sweet, endearing quality that I adore. Today I worked an entire full day of overtime and I actually really enjoyed myself pretty much all day. I’m missing my friends and activist activities, but all in good time.

from _Gregory_ by Marc Hempel

I’m pleased to say that both of the boys are settling into the school year nicely and seem to be doing really well. I feel like a broken record, but I’m so proud of those guys. It really has been a rough couple of years for them, and I hate that. I especially hate that decisions I have made have made their lives more difficult, because I want only for their lives to be peaceful and easy and uncomplicated. Ha!

But the awesome thing about those guys is that they really are totally brave and strong and resilient. And also really quite funny and fun to be around, even though they do both have their teenage moments that occasionally stretch on for days and even sometimes weeks. At this age, parenting requires a magnifying glass, to enlarge fragments of microcosms of moments into a bonding experience. I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets, but I have recently discovered the wonders of plopping down on my sofa and watching a dumb movie as a means of enticing my children to emerge from wherever they were hiding and clamor for conversation. And I’ll take that!

 

from _Gregory_ by Marc Hempel

Tattoo gets finished on Sunday. I’m already wanting another one. Several. Maybe even that little mouse, Wendell…or Herman Vermin. hahaha.

 

1240531_10151548663831330_2009934747_n

 

This week has been kind of a whirlwind. I had really just begun to establish myself at work and not stress at all about whether or not I could do my job…and they threw us into training for something new. Which is awesome. It’s nice to learn new things…but I was just at that point where it seemed like I might maybe start establishing a good rhythm in my life & my schedule was thrown all out of whack, I’ve had to work extra hours, and now we’re being offered a bunch of overtime that I’d feel silly to not grab up while the grabbing is good. So, there’s that. A mix of bad and good things. Good things and their maybe not-so-great consequences, is what I’ll call it.

On my walk today, I had all sorts of ideas about what I might write about tonight. Apropos of the above, I thought a lot about how I have this love/hate relationship with chaos/order. I like making plans and schedules, but I rebel against them regularly. It’s possible I dislike commitment. It’s possible I am not fond of predictability. It’s possible that patterned behavior annoys me. OR…it could be an exercise. It COULD be that my rebellion against my inner organizer is just practice for when all of my plans go to shit and I work 12 hours of overtime in a week or something.

Maude (from Harold & Maude): Vice, Virtue. It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life.* Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.

But mostly, I think I just figured out a long time ago that I will never ever get done all of the shit that needs getting done, and decided I might as well prioritize the fun shit as much as possible.

I also decided, after years and years (gosh, more than 20 years, really) of de-prioritizing my own desires, needs, and rituals out of fear of spending money on them, to get a tattoo I’ve been hoping to get for some time. Fuck the fact that I can’t afford it. I also can’t afford any of the other stuff I’m forced to afford, and I somehow get by. And how many packs of ex-boyfriends’ cigarettes, guitars, and whatever else have I paid for in my lifetime of waiting to get this damn tattoo? I could have gotten a zillion and a half tattoos by now!

Needless to say, I’m already planning the next tattoo.

 

Note To Self:

...for heaven's sake BE STRONG

…for heaven’s sake BE STRONG

or…if I may borrow a quote from a picture taped to a friend’s wall…HARDEN THE FUCK UP.

Sincerely,

Me.

In other news, first day of training for the new job. First day of a 5-week training, which is a damn good way to ease myself back into work. The last two months passed like nothing, as I thought they would, but I have gained a TON of perspective. I had some great rest; managed to completely redecorate my room (though I’m still slowly putting everything back in order & not COMPLETELY done with the painting (need to prime + paint doors and window frames and trim. Srsly considering priming door and closet doors and finding friends to paint murals on them. *bats eyes at artist friends please oh please oh pretty pretty please?* Maybe stenciling around the window frames, too. But, anyway;) spent a lot of time visiting with friends; met some new friends; put a good deal of work into getting over that damn man who broke my damn heart (&, to be honest, I’m still fighting bouts of misery over that one;) wrote a lot; made a lot of art; dreamed and schemed and gleamed a lot. Oh, and I ended my funemployment with a 10-hour marathon zine alphabetizing session (well, broken up over a couple of days & with small breaks here & there):

Librarian For the Revolution

Librarian For the Revolution

Speaking of zines – you see that big stack in the middle column of the middle shelf? Those are all Maximum Rock & Roll. There are even some in the column directly to the left of that stack. And 3/4 of the stack on the far right of the shelf right above are all Flipsides, including the issue that led me to befriend a couple of my favorite people on this eart &, really, who am I kidding, probably saved me from a life of drudgery and capitulation.  Though who really knows? Maybe I was destined to be a bit of a freak, with or without the saving grace of punk rock fanzines. I mean, I had to have already been somewhat of a freak to find punk rock fanzines in the first place, right? At any rate, it was delightful to touch each and every lovingly-created, copied, and stapled sheaf once more, regardless of the  fair amount of physical discomfort I’m suffering after sitting and sifting and sorting for hours on end and days in a row.

The stupid popcorn shit someone thought was a really good idea as a decorative or somehow functional-in-a-way-that-no-one-has-ever-been-able-to-explain-to-me feature is still up there on my ceiling. I scraped bits that were actively peeling, and now my ceiling has little islands of bareness amidst the popcorn. I actually don’t mind it all that much. I’m excited about getting the posters up on my bed so I can string colored lights all over. I realize I sound like a stereotypical hippie, but the idea of writing in my journal in my bed with the curtains drawn around it and colored lights all about makes me feel all warm and squishy. I bought myself a plant today. We’ll see how that goes. Somehow I’m certain this new journey I’m on will transform me into a green thumb, and I’ll GROW plants, rather than slowly kill them to death.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah…the new job. Not much to say there. I’m not going to be talking about work on this blog, other than how it affects my life. I’m steadfastly refusing to allow my job to define me. However, speaking as  a critic, the trainer in me commends those who facilitated today’s training, and whoever is in charge of devising the training schedule. I’m pretty picky about that shit, and remarkably I wasn’t annoyed at all today. And you really can’t beat wearing slippers and pajamas to work. 🙂
My Uniform

My Uniformd

You know you are officially a blogger again when you have a running list of topics that you want to blog about, but you end up just blogging about random shit, instead, because that other stuff requires actual thought and research & it’s so much easier to just, well, talk about your damn self. At least in my experience.
I’ve had some interesting conversations with random people about race/class privilege and assumption. I’ve been thinking a lot about the definition of “work” and who defines what “hard work” is. During Sunday’s Immigration Reform march, there was a couple standing at the side of the road, giving the march the “thumbs down” and shouting out “LEARN THE LANGUAGE,” among other intended aspersions that I didn’t feel were appropriate to shout at a group that included many young children. So, my aim was to distract him when I walked over. To provide him the audience he seemed to desperately crave.  He was all “I have a right to express my opinion!” and I was all “That’s great. Well, I’m here. Here’s my camera. My name is Lainie Duro, would you mind giving your name before expressing your opinion?” You can probably guess what his response to that was. Hahaha. But he expressed his opinion, regardless, only on a much smaller scale. And not only did it stop him from yelling at the march, it actually provided me with a great deal of insight into what some people actually (quite wrongly) feel about immigration, and to respond to those things. Not sure if/highly doubt that I got through to this guy at all, but it was vaguely satisfying to have interrupted him, at the very least.

& you know what? Sometimes choosing a simple subgoal of the larger grand scheme is the best course of action. We all have things to work on.

Yesterday, I submitted my new-hire paperwork for my new job. Today, I had the phone guy come out and install a direct line in my room. He was nice & didn’t charge me, so I took a friend bowling with the money I saved. ❤

I’ve started packing up my room so I can paint, rearrange, and re-organize my space. I’m looking forward to starting with a clean slate in here.

I keep waiting to stress out about money or being unemployed, but I haven’t yet. It’s doubtful I will. My income will be pretty significantly reduced in this new job, but I’ll be working from home, and should be able to save money. Not to mention the fact that I’ll be able to step out during my lunch break and tend to my garden, hang my laundry, sit on the front porch and write in my journal. Take a nap. Do the dishes. You get the picture.

Is this what it’s like to be a grownup? Things just seem to roll off of me. Maybe it’s a result of having been through a hellish year. I was pretty determined that 2013 was NOT going to be another 2012, which was largely spent having the legal battle that had been waiting to happen for the past 10 years or so. I feel like now that’s resolved, I can pretty much take anything on. Even though I technically “lost” (though, really, it’s the kids who lost…but whatever. They are as tough as I am, and will be fine regardless) I am so relieved it is over that nothing can really get to me anymore.

I guess I just feel very fortunate, having been in the presence of so many people who have struggled through and survived far more difficult challenges than I’ve experienced, with far less agency and ability to control the situation. It doesn’t feel right to allow myself to wallow. So I haven’t. And I’m really kind of proud of myself.

After bowling, I went out and got some paint samples for my room, came home and ordered pizza for dinner, watched Mary and Max, which was brilliant, touching, and perhaps a little too sad for the kiddos, but I made them watch it anyway.

Went for a walk.

 

Tree Sweater

Tree Sweater

Observed the sky.

Metal Heart

Metal Heart

And fallen pomegranates.

pomegranates

pomegranates

And the beautiful full moon was my companion.

Full Moon

Full Moon

(I really need to start bringing my real camera out with me on my walks. These photos suck!)

The most pressing decision I needed to make today was where to go get drunk this Saturday in celebration of the end of my freedom.

Personally? I got nothing to complain about.

***

On the other hand…

Fuck this guy:

Noted Constitutional scholar and mayor Michael R. Bloomberg remarked today that given the constant threat of terrorist attacks, America’s views on privacy and freedom may be a tad outmoded. “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Bloomberg said, “But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.” http://gothamist.com/2013/04/23/bloomberg_terrorism_warrants_change.php

And fuck all of these people:

“While nearly 15 million Americans still can’t find jobs due to the 2008 Wall Street-created crash, the top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an hour in 2012 – that’s as much as the average American family makes in 21 years!” https://www.adbusters.org/blogs/financial-porno.html

And FUCK ENBRIDGE:

Enbridge’s Line 2 **Line 67 tar sands** pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons of crude oil at its pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company’s Kalamazoo River tar sands spill. http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/04/24/another-pipeline-leak-enbridge-alberta-clipper-line-67-leaking-tar-sands-bitumen

Also, these assholes at the West Fertilizer Plant…who seem to be taking for granted that people will continue to treat the explosion as a natural disaster rather than a criminal act:

The company’s regulatory history going back to 1976 comes to light as investigators seek the cause of last week’s fertilizer explosion that killed at least 14 people.

For example, in 1987, the company — then known as West Chemical and Fertilizer Co. — was venting ammonia that built up in transfer pipes into the air despite explicit orders in its permit not to do so. The company apparently changed its practices. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/west-explosion/headlines/20130422-west-fertilizers-environmental-compliance-problems-go-back-decades.ece

And mad love for the superheroes striking for fair wages in Chicago:

We, Chicago fast food and retail workers, are striking to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Our employers are raking in profits while workers, mostly adults with families, don’t get paid enough to cover basic needs like food, rent, health care and transportation. We are willing to risk our jobs to stand up and say ENOUGH. And we need everyone who supports us to join us. It’s time to give every worker a chance to survive and thrive – and strengthen Chicago’s economy. http://fightfor15.org/en/

As well as students who walked out of Chicago schools today, protesting over testing and school closures, and joining with the striking fast food and retail workers in solidarity:

Dozens of Chicago students boycotted a required standardized test on Wednesday in protest of high stakes testing and the city’s plans to close 54 schools as part of deficit reduction measures. The walkout is the latest in a series of community and union protests of the March 21 announcement. http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/24/chicago-students-protest-standardized-tests-school-closings/

Shadowplay

Shadowplay

Shadowplay

That moment when you are driving, and the only voicemail that transferred from your old phone to your new one – the one where he was full of signature run-on sentences, sweetness, and support in the wake of your layoff. The one where he says “Fuck them – You’re amazing.” and you can tell he really means it. The one he left the week before he broke up with you. That one. THAT mysteriously comes on over your car stereo, casually inserting itself, full blast, between Joni Mitchell and Joy Division. Ouch. Yeah. That moment. That’s a rough one.

I haven’t read the news today. In fact, I’ve not read much news since the end of the manhunt on Friday. I’m tired of external reality. Particularly larger external reality. I needed to be in my tiny little world for a little while. I’ll probably venture out tomorrow.

Trying not to do the countdown to employment, but you know I am doing it anyway. Two weeks. I might as well say it out loud. Two weeks until I’m fully employed, and I’m already having to run little errands for work to prepare. But it’s not so bad. Mostly, what I’m looking forward to in this job is the ability to just turn off work at the end of the day and not think about it. And on Sunday night – or the night before my workweek begins – I won’t have to “prepare for work.” All I’ll have to do is roll out of bed and go to work. I can do that for awhile, for sure. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing at this point.

Like I said, I’m trying not to do the countdown thing. Instead, I’m setting goals that will overlap with the start date, so it doesn’t feel like starting work is the end of my time. I will still have time. I will still have time. I will still have time.

So…today.

Today was the day that my master plan paid off.

The master plan being: Don’t worry. Don’t waste your time. And I didn’t.

Instead, I made a conscious effort to relax with breakfast and reading on the porch every day.

Today's reading material

Today’s reading material

And long walks – taking time to witness the life cycle of a pomegranate

Life Cycle of a Pomegranate, Pt. 1

Life Cycle of a Pomegranate, Pt. 1

Life Cycle of a Pomegranate, Pt. 2

Life Cycle of a Pomegranate, Pt. 2

And irony.

Sanctuary?

Sanctuary?

And Texas.

We Don't Dial 911

We Don’t Dial 911

And then, just as I was heading out the door for a meeting, the phone rang. It was The Job. I mean, not THE JOB OF A LIFETIME, but the job I’d been hoping for. Because it pays enough, and demands little, and has growth potential…if that’s what I want to do. And, frankly, I’ve had jobtopia. It was quite a coup there for a good run. I feel like I’ve had excellent job karma thus far, and I can find a way to enjoy just about any kind of work.

But it sure is nice to have it. Guaranteed. With a month to relax and REALLY enjoy before the training begins.

*Bliss*

I think I’ve done it. I think I’ve pulled off another coup.

Now I can focus on art, activism, and Education Never Ends. And maybe a nice mama retreat road trip for good measure, while I have the time.

And breathing. And walking. And being mindful of the life cycle of the pomegranate.

And listening to lots and lots of Nick Cave. Particularly Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus, like these gems:

And now…the news:

Haven’t gathered many links today, but I have some saved up…

Remember the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a circumvention of government. Its draft statement is not a product of the deliberation of U.S. legislators or apparently legislators in other countries, but of the Obama administration and representatives of deliberating nations and roughly 600 corporations. The talks are held multiple times a year and always in secrecy. Helicopters hover overhead while paramilitary teams patrol the conference grounds and a near-total media blackout ensures little is learned by anyone outside. As U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, the chair of the congressional committee that is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP, said in a statement to Congress:

“The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement.”

If ratified, what would the agreement do? Much in the favor of big business. Signatory nations, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam would agree to give “multinational corporations unprecedented rights to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think will undermine their expected future profits straight from the treasuries of participating nations,” journalist Nile Bowie explains in CounterPunch. “It would push the agenda of Big PhaRMA in the developing world to impose longer monopoly controls on drugs, drastically limiting access to affordable generic medications that people depend on. The TPP would undermine food safety by limiting labeling and forcing countries like the United States to import food that fails to meet its national safety standards, in addition to banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences.” http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/the_trans-pacific_partnership_more_power_for_the_global_on_percent_20130405/

TPP has been criticised for being negotiated in secret with no drafts of the text being released to the public. In August last year, the Australian Labor Government and Opposition joined forces in parliament to vote down a motion by two Greens senators to disclose the full draft text.

Leaks of the TPP negotiation drafts suggest the treaty would contain several intellectual property law clauses, inserted after lobbying from US industry representatives, which may or may not affect local laws. http://www.itnews.com.au/News/339017,deadline-slides-for-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement.aspx

Courtesy of the Roundup, the Real News Network recently did an interview highlighting the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the stunning implications this rarely discussed treaty would have on labor, environmental, and internet rights. TPP is the next step in expanding Corporate Power at the expense of democracy and free expression. http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/04/01/trans-pacific-paternship-targets-internet-and-labor-rights/

This:

White people who are confronted with their white privilege and the white supremacist acts they perpetuate have been known to cry, “You’re being a reverse-racist!” That is completely true: people of color have the power and control to create, perpetuate, and maintain brutal systematic reverse-racism that oppresses white people every day.  As such, we have created this handy list on how to continue this oppression. http://blackgirldangerous.org/new-blog/2012/11/27/9csnr2cmsrexpoxro1f16csj18zgcy

Oh, today…

Today, today, today.

*sigh*

Book and breakfast on front porch has officially ingrained itself into ritual…

IMAG0080

And a blurry companion

IMAG0081

Made my first posts on the Education Never Ends blog…took a long walk…tutored for an hour or so…watched Killer of Sheep.

Said Goodbye (I’ll miss you.)

***

Anyway…lots of stuff in the news today.

I’m not usually the kind of person who passes along petitions to sign, because I generally feel like others already have that covered. (I’ll get the same petition by 9 or 10 of my friends, so I assume everyone else does, too.) However, I think this particular campaign is worth the risk of duplication:

The State Department’s official public comment period on Keystone XL Pipeline is now open — and it’s a crucial opportunity for us to flood them with comments. We’ll take your comments and deliver them directly and immediately to the the State Department. http://act.350.org/letter/a_million_strong_against_keystone

The award for the surrealiest headline of a lifetime goes to:

Exxon wins safety award as Mayflower sees no end to spill cleanup: http://rt.com/usa/mayflower-spill-cleanup-video-410/

And best quote from an Attorney General:

“That neighborhood was like a scene from ‘The Walking Dead,’” state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Wednesday after visiting the Little Rock suburb of Mayflower. “There were still Easter decorations on homes, but there was not a soul in sight other than people in Hazmat suits.”http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/exxon-ark-oil-spill-walking-dead-official-article-1.1307468#ixzz2Pedz6X4M

Meanwhile, in case you were unclear about who is actually running this country:

“But the reek is only a hint at ExxonMobil’s presence here. Since thick black sludge first began oozing across backyards and into the streets, surprising many residents who say they didn’t even realize the pipeline was there, the company has instituted something like martial law.” http://grist.org/climate-energy/arkansas-town-in-lockdown-after-oil-spill-nightmare/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

But, you know…they’re not trying to block media coverage or anything. News helicopters can just CLEAR IT WITH EXXON first and they should be fine.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford confirms that news media helicopters can now once again fly over the site of the Mayflower oil spill.  Lunsford says if news helicopters want to fly over the site, however, they will need to call ahead of time and clear it with Tom Suhrhoff of ExxonMobil. http://www.ualrpublicradio.org/post/media-faces-barriers-covering-arkansas-oil-spill

At this point, I’m seriously flipping through all of the links that I thought I might want to share today, but they’re all really fucking depressing. hahaha. In thinking about something that we might actually be able to DO about all of this…I’m hoping we can at least get a couple of people from environmental groups around town and maybe some Tarsands Blockade folks to do some teach-ins on Mayday to give people who seem alarmed by all of the spills some ideas for what they can do about it.

That’s all I got. Tomorrow will certainly end more pleasantly.

For the first time in many, many, MANY years, I am being asked to work a “normal” schedule at work. Up until now, my schedule has been pretty much Monday-Thursday and Saturday, and broken up over the course of 24 hours. Since the program I manage is an evening program, and we sometimes have activities on Saturdays, I imagine I might still have occasional strangeness in my schedule…but the idea of working within the hours of 8ish and 6ish Monday-Friday is vaguely comforting to me right now. Novel ordinariness in my life.

This change is causing me to re-evaluate my task management system that I’ve been using, where I just randomly choose areas to work on during periods that I’m not working. It seems the kids and I will now be able to work within a much more predictable framework. So I’m planning to spend some time reorganizing our daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms so they are less like unsyncopated jazz and more like, well, it will probably be more like straight-ahead three-chord punk rock – because I don’t think our lives will ever not be chaotic at the very least.

Right now, my planning system involves 7 focus areas:

Work

Kids

Community

Art & Education (I might consider splitting these up)

Friends

Fitness

Household or Housework

I try to spend at least an hour on each of these areas every day, but it doesn’t always work out – especially since work takes up a huge chunk of my day. What I might try to do is block out time on the weekend for larger household, kid, and art projects, and just sustain the rest of the week. Off the top of my head, my schedule might look something like this:

Monday

Work (8)

Kids (2)

Community (2)

Fitness (1)

Household (1)

Art/Education (1)

Tuesday

Work (8)

Kids (2)

Fitness (1)

Community (1)

Friends (2)

Wednesday

Work (8)

Kids (2)

Fitness (1)

Community (2)

Household (1)

Thursday

Work (8)

Kids (1)

Fitness (1)

Friends (2)

Art/Education (1)

Community (1)

Household (1)

Friday

Work (8)

Kids (2)

Fitness (1)

Friends (2)

Art/Education (1)

Household (1)

Saturday

Kids (3)

Household (3)

Community (4)

Friends (4)

Fitness (1)

Art/Education (1)

Sunday

Kids (4)

Household (4)

Friends (4)

Art/Education (2)

Fitness (1)

Of course, if I economize, and make the kids or my friends do housework and/or exercise and/or art/educational projects with me…that will leave me more time to lock myself in my room and be all by myself. 🙂

I’ll probably break this down even further and be more specific in the coming weeks. Because I’m nerdy that way.