April 4th, 2005

I have meant to get back to you sooner dear blog, dear readers, and I apologize for not doing so. I have been x where x equals someone who is very busy doing non-internet stuff. For one thing, the weather’s been gorgeous. Sunny, warm, all the windows thrown open weather. The first day I did this Kurt came home and said, “Do you want this window open? Because if you do, I can open the storm window.” Storm windows. Duh. I wasn’t completely imagining the breeze I was feeling, because not all our windows have storm windows on them, but a number of them do, and I didn’t even notice. Having fresh air blowing through the house is something neat that is very hard to do in the South. It goes from cold to crazy pollen levels to insanely hot so fast that there’s never many days where you have the windows open instead of running the AC. I very much like having all the windows open. As do the cats. At night, when we go around the house closing the windows, Oz stalks us through every room, complaining. There’s also finally enough daylight in a day for me to feel energized. I can’t tell you how happy I am for the warmth and the light.

This morning, taking stock, I realized that I was almost a week behind on blog reading. So I caught up, even though it seems like it’s been two weeks since I’ve done any real writing, which is what I was supposed to be doing. Still, (important, useful, necessary) things have been accomplished, though there’s nothing to show for it round here or in word counts. Ah well, I’ll be tending this space a little better over the next few days than I have over the past few and words will come when they come.

Our federal taxes were filed this past weekend. There’s still state to go (two states, actually) but the big obstacle is over and done with. We’re getting lots of money back, enough to possibly wipe the slate clean on the credit card, which should do wonders for stress levels around here. More importantly, my parents have successfully filed their taxes which, for reasons I won’t go into, involved me way more than you would think it might.

Besides taxes, in the last two weeks I have : taken Sophia to the zoo, started giving Spanish lessons at the Montessori school (once a week to both primary classes, fifteen minutes a piece), lost my yoga mat (gah, it was just the right amount of used so that one’s hands didn’t slip in down dog and it’s 20 bucks for a new), finished reading The Silver Chair with Sophia, changed real estate agents, been to Jackson and back, taken Sophia to a birthday party, spent hours almost every day outside with Sophia or Sergei or both, joined Critters and critiqued three stories, eaten outside on our deck any number of times, found a wonderful pet sitter for the animals (making us, when we have funds again, no longer quite so tied to St. Louis), was given and unpacked and have functioning a new HP 4600 scanner (thanks for the recommendation, Elaine, it’s perfect), watched the yard sprout all sorts of plants I don’t know the names of (which are the weeds and which are the flowers? I’ll have to wait until they bloom, I suppose), planted some herbs in starter containers (most of which germinated), and much more.

See? I told you I’d been busy. So this is the lowdown. I got about forty billion things I’m thinking about blogging about and at most, only one or two entries that I can afford to blather on in. What does this mean to you? Well, basically, your mission (should you choose to accept it) will be to pick which of these things gets blogged about and which gets put back into the drawer for a later time. Yes, I am ceding control to the people! Power to all of you. Make your voices heard! Whatever you say goes. I know I’ll likely only get the sound of crickets to this request, as commenting here isn’t that well-developed, but that’s a win-win, because if I don’t get the participation I desire then I get to decide what to write on. It’s all good.

Here’s your ballot:

  1. Scanned Gems from the Vaults
  2. Internal Images of the Self (in two parts)
  3. Random Thoughts on Parenting (with links and anecdotes)
  4. Stuff I’ve Noticed about Missouri
  5. On Being Unemployed
  6. Why I am Uncomfortable Drawing Attention to my Religiosity
  7. The Stages of Grief, and Why I Think I Might Be Broken
  8. Question of Fat
  9. Political Identity and Shifting Measures (or, what’s with the astrology question popping up at
  10. Extolling the Virtues of Sophia (yet again)
  11. Something Other than the Aforementioned Subjects (be specific as to what)

Vote early and often.

The passing of the pope is affecting me deeply. I am not now, nor have I ever been, Roman Catholic. But Pope John Paul II was part of my era, my landscape, my culture, and I feel about his leaving this life the way I’m sure many, many people felt about Reagan when he died. My life’s JFK moment is when the pope was shot. I have atrocious memory (one of the many reasons why I blog), but I can remember exactly where I was standing when I was told, who was with me, who told me, what I was wearing, what the air felt like on my skin, how the day seemed suddenly changed when I heard. It was, perhaps, my first experience with cognitive dissonance, with the strangeness that is the complex and hidden motivations of other people. It made no sense to me that anyone should want to shoot the pope. He was the quintessential man of peace. I have no similar memories for Reagan’s assassination attempt, nor for the Challenger, which is what most American people my age have JFK memories for. It defines me in ways I’m not sure even I can explain. There’s more, of course. I saw the pope ride by in his popemobile outside my window and I remember it vividly. Crowds of people lining the streets, me peering through the blinds for a glimpse of him. I don’t even know if he did the Roman Catholic Church and the world any good at all, and thankfully, I needn’t be the judge of that, but I do know that I was a person who lived while John Paul II was Pope, and now I’ll be a person who lived afterward.

Lastly, in addition to blue jays and cardinals and sparrows and all the normal birds I am accustomed to, my yard is full of European starlings, like these:
European Starling
Apparently they’re an invasive non-native species particularly well-suited to city living. They’re lovely to watch with their high contrast, iridescent feathers. They are nesting in all the trees that surround my yard, in these little knotholes with potrusions above them that look like intended overhangs. I’m trying to figure out how they managed that, whether the tree just naturally does that or what. And there’s woodpeckers. Have I mentioned that already?

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