Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seat of Pants

Today I am supposed to sub for another teacher at the college who is ill, too ill to tell me what the class is doing. I will walk in there cold, totally unaware of what they are supposed to be studying, and take questions I guess. I hope what they are studying is something I know a bit about. More later.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I think spring is here in earnest. The cold has mostly cleared away, and the hills are still green, with all the rain. It is wonderful to be in the thick of them here in our new place!
There is quite a bit more wildlife in this place than in the old one, sometimes in the house, as with the lizard who popped out of the furniture when we were trying to unwrap it. I think he's the guy who now lives outside in the defunct air conditioner.
And some kind of bird is singing its heart out every morning. I haven't heard whatever it is before. The only thing I regret is the dearth of trees, aside from eucalyptus. In the old place, we had all kinds. However, my favorite tree, the silk floss tree, grows on the median strip up the road to the house.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Denise, my yoga teacher, has gifted me with a small figurine to place on my mantel--Ganesh, bringer and dispeller of obstacles. I was pleased to place him up there, hoping he will dispel more obstacles than he brings.
Everyone at choir was so curious last night to know how things at the house are going. I wish I had more to tell them. It's a gradual process of putting things together, getting comfortable, becoming used to inhabiting this place.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I must say that it feels really fine to be perched up here in my own little eyrie with a view of a patch of sky and the feeling of being up in the trees I can glimpse in that patch.
I've got the sound working and have cleared away few more boxes, with the aid of about 100 hangers I have used for hanging my all-too-abundant clothes. I need to get rid of some of them I haven't worn in a while and have forgotten I had. There's even a charity that picks up weekly to make that convenient, or else I can take them over to Goodwill at the College.
The stove is working again, though I haven't used it yet. Dim as I am, I didn't figure out that the PL on the stove probably meant "pilot light," but perhaps those problems have taken care of themselves because it doesn't say that now.
The handyman will be back tomorrow to finish up the sinks and make another try at the fan in the bedroom and in the outlet in Jeremy's room. Jeremy doesn't live here yet, but he will move in after his lease runs out in July. I don't see how we can measure up to the place he has now, with its three gyms and Starbucks as well as the many people his own age who live there. But he will have a nice little pad downstairs and we won't bother him much. I will ask him to clean up after himself, but I think he is used to doing that now. He probably won't even want me to do his laundry! Most conveniently, he'll have a live in pair of teachers to help him out with his schoolwork. Richard is the one who does most of that though.
They are going to Georgia together this weekend for that golf tournament. All that male bonding!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caught Me

Everyone, students and others, seems to have been sick the past couple weeks. A few of my students had a horrible virus that mimicked food poisoning, striking suddenly and violently. Some had flus that sent them to the hospital. Others had bad colds.
Through all this, thanks to yoga, I remained unaffected. But this morning I woke up with a runny sore nose and red eyes. Oh well....

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We are OUT of the old place. And the landlady, though she did not ultimately meet with R to get her keys back, has already been through the place and complemented him on how clean and good it looks. Perhaps she will give us the deposit back or at least most of it. That would help us to recoup some of the work on this house.
Meanwhile, the tv has arrived. The table isn't yet put together. I'm not sure when it will happen. I hope soon.

Good news!

The washer is doing its thing right now! One down, several more to go. We have also managed to make the lights come on upstairs, though not the fan.Good thing it isn't hot. The TV should arrive today, but the tv table isn't yet assembled. We need to get that done and then bracket the thing to the table if possible and get the cable people to connect it.
I haven't missed tv much. Too much other junk to do! And I've been so exhausted! Last night I finally slept in just a little, though the cats are still waking me up to eat in the middle of the night.
RE: cats, they love it here! So many closets to explore and get locked into accidentally! Whistler has now ended up in two different closets. You would think he would figure it out! Right now he is making me nervous by standing on the ledge in the office, looking down on the first floor. There's a little lip there that will probably keep him from falling.
So there's a little progress, and I'm definitely feeling more optimistic about everything!

Friday, March 25, 2011

House VS Nesters: House 5, Nesters 2

We continue to wrestle with all those little joys that make homeowning what it is.
The electricity in the bedroom blinked on and off all night. Now it is off. At several points during deep sleep, I was awakened to the overhead fan light not so gently nudging me awake. Now, when I want it on, no dice.
The washer continues to balk. It is brand new; there is little support for customers via the company, but I did send an email last night. AND I called the handyman, who is busy working on the realtor's new rental purchase. He held off to work on ours, thinking it would have been done long ago.
We still can't make the stove come on, so I am planning microwave and salad meals and those things I can make using a toaster oven since the new toaster oven has arrived.
R. is going to the old place to swab the floors thoroughly. Actually, he needs to rent a professional floor scrubber to get the place where the fridge used to be clean. He was able to dispose of that fridge through the electric company, which took it off our hands and gave us $50. The old place is now empty except for the old futon, which the guy cleaning out the place said he would take. Today sometime, R will give the keys back to the landlady. I'm glad to be shed of that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some More Roadblocks

Yesterday evening it began pouring. And before we went to bed, there was a pool of water emerging from the floor near the fridge. It didn't seem to be coming from the fridge (we checked) and we haven't yet used the washer or dryer, which are brand new and have been connected by professionals. So we assume it's the foundation of our condo. That, along with the electricity, is turning out to be a problem.
The electrician installed a beautiful ceiling fan in the bedroom, which gets very hot when one turns on the heat. But it soon stopped working with the remote and then began going on and off by itself. Uh Oh! The electrician cannot return till Monday. This is turning out to be a very very expensive job.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Much Better Today

While I was in yoga class this morning and class this afternoon, Richard was slogging away at the other place. We still had the mattress and box springs, huge old console tv, the bbq, and assorted crapola in the kitchen to dispose of. But when I came in, all of that was gone! What a miracle! I knew R couldn't have done it on his own; he has only an aged (1988) Honda Civic that barely limps along. So what happened?
The story he told me was amazing!
We have lived in this place for 9 years, right next to the dumpster, but apparently we never noticed the scavengers who come twice a week to salvage metal for scrap. While Richard was pondering how he was going to get rid of all this stuff, he looked out the window and saw a tough looking couple pull up to the dumpster in a truck and start picking through the trash, filling the truck with bags of the very things he had just thrown away. So he invited them in, and told them to take their pick.
He said that they almost cried when they saw the bbq! And the tv apparently also filled their hearts with joy. So he showed them the mattress too, and they filled up a truckload, promising to come back Friday for the rest.
The house is now almost empty. We just about emptied the fridge too. There are still dishes and other things in the cupboards. In fact, I was planning to make supper this evening, but I just realized we didn't bring any dishes. Silverware yes, but no dishes.
It's always something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Altered State

I am deep into the process of moving out of one place, physically and psychologically, and into another. The mess is knee deep in both places, and I am a person who gets extremely anxious and bent out of shape when faced with any kind of task of organizing and cleaning. Now I have not only ONE such task, but two. Plus I must prepare and teach three classes. I am not doing any too well at any of it, particularly since I am not going to yoga class or sleeping very well. Probably those are not unrelated either.
Tomorrow the task of tasks--the kitchen in the old place--is facing me, and I have lots of papers to grade and classes to prepare, plus that plagiarism case that I must finally deal with. I had hoped to get it out of the way today but the student didn't show up, at least not up to the 15 minutes I was able to wait for her in the library this morning before I had to go help Richard clean out the bedroom and baths. And when I got home from teaching this afternoon at 6, hungry and tired, there was a pile of clothes on my bed to be hung and organized.
I hope to go to yoga class tomorrow, even if I ought not to try it, ought to keep on slogging away on grading and cleaning. I don't think I could face another day like that without yoga.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Closer and Closer

Today I found out I was not so inept at design as I had thought. I designed a counter that would not be too expensive or tiresome because of a color/pattern that got old and boring after a while. It's an almond tile with diamond accents in natural slate. Each piece of slate has its own texture and color variations, so it looks really stunning, particularly with the natural stone border I chose to go on the wall around the counter. I have never seen a counter quite like this before, and I think I will really enjoy it. All of us will.
However, today when I was putting some clothes away I realized how sad and wilted and in need of cleaning many of them were. I will have to decide which clothes to clean first--probably those for the upcoming season. The rest will have to be cleaned next winter, when I take them out from storage.
Not everything was ready for us yet. The spigots upstairs still have to be put back on the bases and the fans upstairs still haven't been put together and mounted. The counter will be done tomorrow or Monday. By the middle of next week, the new t.v. I just ordered will arrive.
It's very exciting. I vow to keep it looking as beautiful as it is now. It will mean changing my habits big time.


Now it is this old place that is full of echoes. The new one is rapidly filling with the spirit of the life that will soon be going on in it. Houses are not like people. Their bodies take on new life readily, breathing it in as they are filled, while people's bodies have only one go round in them.
I am now wondering whether I should transfer the cats over there this weekend, or wait. There will still be work going on over there after we move in. The counter guy will be getting a late start, and the handyman will install a new kitchen sink and faucet. We will have to eat out for the first couple of nights. I'm not complaining.
Still haven't found the new flat screen we need.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where's the Camera When You Need It?

I haven't been able to find the digital camera, which is technically Jeremy's anyhow, for a long time. I had lost the cable, which is probably attached to the computer or lying on the floor near it. Now that we are moving, the cable may get tossed away or when we get to the new place with the computer, we will wonder what that cable is and, if we are not careful, throw it away.
I want to take a picture and show you how lovely the new place looks, so airy and full of light, with beautiful light fixtures and something you can't take pictures of, a good feeling to it when you sit in the rooms.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Worrying about Worrying

And I thought I was anxious! Today I was listening to public radio, as is my wont, and there was a talk show about how much it was healthy to worry... for instance, about the plume of radiation that might be coming our way from Japan. Apparently, anxious east-coasters and midwesterners have bought out the world wide supply of iodine pills to ward away the effects of radiation, thereby making it more difficult for those who really need the stuff to get it.
Since 9-11 (and the advent of yoga and anti-anxiety medication in my life), I have stopped being a news junkie. I don't watch tv news, most nights, and only glance through the paper. Mostly I listen to the radio. When things get too heavy for me to deal with, to the point where I can't sleep, I stop listening. That may be ostrich-like, but it is my way of dealing with the ambient level of anxiety and staying healthy. I'm no good to anyone if I am freaking out.
So here I am, living on the west coast, where there is a nuclear plant not far down the coast, and the very large chance of a giant earthquake in my future. Am I worried? I'm trying not to think about it.

Asking Again

If anyone knows of a story from the pov of a child that might go well with Pan's Labyrinth and What Maisie Knew, I would rather use it than Roman Fever. I could also use a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, "First Death In Nova Scotia." What do you think about that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lots of Stuff to Do

We are supposed to move in Tuesday, but our closets are still full here, and the kitchen hasn't been touched. I need to throw things away, but I should probably wait till it's closer to Monday, when we are actually moving ourselves and the animals to the new place.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Disciplines

One of the most profound ideas in Foucault's Discipline and Punish, which I am at this time teaching in all of my three classes, is built on wordplay. It is play of the best sort, like poetry, aimed to communicate extremely complex ideas with a few multi-purpose words, rich in meaning, a sort of verbal compost. These are the words "discipline[s]" and "intelligence."
We have all heard the old saws about knowledge and power. These are the ones that the students want to fall back on, comfortable and comforting. However, Foucault turns these ideas on their head.
In Discipline and Punish, Foucault examines what he calls "the history of the present," the system of justice, punishment, and how it connects to just about everything we hold sacred in the west--the much vaunted Enlightenment values and rights, the "humane" system of judgment we have developed, and which has replaced the "spectacle of punishment" and torture prevalent in the ancient world.
When Foucault connects knowledge and power, he does not mean what we usually mean by that connection. As a teacher, I have always been heavy into the notion of knowledge as empowerment, but I have never thought about the origin of this system I am part of.
As Foucault points out, the democratic system of government as well as the academic system of disciplines arise alike out of the techniques of the Inquisition, minus the physical torture. The word discipline applies not only academic topics of inquiry, but also to the panoptic methods of control our governments have developed, which permeate our societies and which grew in tandem with and because of what Foucault calls "the sciences of man," the social sciences that make human beings their subject. This is why Foucault pluralizes the word, "the disciplines," those twins, knowledge and power.
As for "intelligence," there are other old saws, jokes really, about military intelligence and cognitive intelligence being mutually exclusive. But they aren't. They're connected too.
It is no accident that the Soviets used the old ruse of psychiatric hospitals to eliminate subversives and dissidents. Psychiatrists are provide the basis of the current system of punishment and discipline we now have.
This is a difficult connection, and we naturally resist it, so no wonder the students are not getting this concept.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I am between right now--between two times, between two houses, between school and vacation (it's spring break at the college, but not at the U). This house is emptying; the other is beginning to fill. Already it doesn't echo the way it did. The shelves in the pantry, though it still needs to be fixed, are stocked with cans and boxes from the pantry here. The drawers in the bedroom are almost full. There are now new sheets and a matching coverlet on the bed.
We figured that the new mattress, meant to shield us from the hard slats of a bed without a box spring, is too big to accommodate the sheets we have now, which are old and shrunken from many washings. I will have to buy some more. Steinmart! I hope they have a coupon this weekend. If not, it'll have to wait till they do.
Today after yoga, the neighbor, who is out of work, will take me to the consignment store for rugs and whatever other little odds and ends I can get there. I will pay him for that. I'm not sure how much is fair.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rugs and Daylight Savings

I spent all last night looking at area rugs online. In the process, I fell in love with a particular line of rugs that are like lovely contemporary paintings on the floor. They are called Sphynx rugs. There is even a line of them that reproduces Andy Warhol paintings! They are easy to clean and pet friendly. However, I couldn't get one in a good size for under about $300.!
Then I started to think about what I had learned from my modern slavery class. Many cheap rugs are made by child slaves. Do I want to be responsible for a child's misery? Not for a rug, I say. So I decided to go to the Habitat for Humanity consignment store, which advertises many area rugs for cheap. And all the money goes to the charity.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Taking Shape

This morning I went to yoga, where Bob, upon hearing about my sprained ankle, predictably chose the most tortuous asanas to get the circulation in my foot going and encourage me to stop favoring the other side. I screamed and cried, feeling as though I would like to hammer him upside the head, but I stayed put, and for the rest of the day, the foot barely hurt, though now it is getting a bit stiff. I will have to keep doing that every day till it gets better. When I sat down to try it a while ago, it was not anywhere near as painful as this morning, and I guess that's good.
Afterwards, Liz and I went to the house. She wanted to see the new furniture, which we picked out together, except for the sofa. We tried to unpack the gigantic sectional, with the aid of her trusty Swiss army knife, and in the process, startled a fencepost lizard that that made a home on top of the plastic, where it was basking in the sunlight filling the living room. We couldn't get the lizard to leave the house (it's in the fireplace now, I think). I hope it leaves before the cats get there, or it will become their playtoy, I fear.
I bought a few things like pillows and a zippered mattress cover for the bed, as well as a trash can, and put some sweaters in the drawer. But there is lots lots more to take there. If I can get J to help me, and to transport some of it in his car, this will go a lot faster than it did today.
Now I am looking for an area rug for the living room and perhaps one for the bedroom as well, though it will probably come later. The closets need to be done, so I can hang up clothing.
The place is going to be beautiful!

Today is the Beginning of the Sort of Break

Next week, the college has spring break. The U though doesn't. So I'll be off on MWF, but not on TuTh, though at that time I'm free till 3. Lots to do with moving! I need that time.
Today I will unwrap the mummy sofa and buy a swiffer to clean the tile/laminate. The place looks lovely, though there is still tons to do. The handyman has been down with the flu. Yesterday he went to his daughter's soccer tournament, though he has been down for over a week. The whole family has, as I understand.
I won't even think of all the little household stuff I have to buy, though today I'll get a trash can for that plastic.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unintentional Prediction

Remember how I spoke yesterday of "limping along"? Well, today I'm actually doing that. I sprained an ankle last night on those infernal spiky seedpods that fall off the trees around here. Normally, I just turn an ankle and continue on my way. This time, I hurt myself, and couldn't sleep all night. I feel awful.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another whack

Today is furniture day. I'll go to yoga (at last) in my newly fixed car, still limping along, now unfortunately sans radio because I stupidly turned it off after the car guys fixed it (it used to be available only sporadically, on one station; I couldn't turn it off). When I got the car back, it was working completely again, even showing the correct time, so I confidently switched the stations, turning it off. Now it won't come back on, and I miss it.
I will teach and then go straight to the house, where, with any luck, I'll take delivery on bed, dresser and other bedroom furniture, and the big sofa. Yay! Wish I had time to run up to the consignment store to buy some area rugs!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Never Made It to Yoga

As my title here suggests, I had a trying day yesterday. Sometimes I feel that I get into trivial (and not so trivial) scrapes that are reminiscent of I Love Lucy, only they are generally not funny, not funny at all. This goes for the times I was marooned at the emergency room with my dad, mom in tow, complaining every minute that I couldn't make her sit there a single second longer. It took 9 hours to get my dad seen, but after two or three, Richard came and took mom home. He hadn't been available up till then, and since he refuses to have a cell phone, I had no way to reach him.
And also for times when R and I took a winter trip to Scotland the train broke down in a snowstorm, where it stayed for about 5 hours, without food, water, or toilets. And oh, the train was packed beyond sardines.
Yesterday was small compared to that. I set off for the garage at 7 AM, hoping to be there when it opened, but instead, I waited half an hour for the opening, when the owner came in. I had to wait another half an hour for someone to take me to the rental place. If there had been no line, I might have made it, but there was only one guy at the rental place, and a line. It was almost 40 minutes later by the time he got to me, already 8:15, so I gave up on yoga. When I got the car, a snazzy update on my Corolla with a seat that raised up to my required height, I lurched off, unused to power breaks. I'm used to it now.
I went to work to give back the papers. Interestingly, even after I showed that student a line from the paper on MySpace, she still doesn't understand what the big deal is. I don't know what else to say. I discussed plagiarism at the beginning of the semester, having them read about what it was, and did an exercise in class. I talked about it often in class, gave examples from papers, including this person's. STILL she clearly had no idea it was not the thing to do. She cried, genuinely, in her mind, innocent. I wouldn't be surprised if I hear from her parents, though I'm not supposed to talk to them.
Then I went home, my cellphone buzzing at me like an angry hive. There were 3 messages on it, 7 on my home phone. The delivery people whom I had called to cancel furniture delivery, postponing it till Weds. were all calling me back. One of them had already loaded my huge sectional sofa onto the truck, and there was apparently no unloading it.
I ended up skipping choir and sitting in the echoey house alone, all workmen gone for the moment, waiting for the truck to come. It never made it. It seems that everyone from Lake Elsinore to Irvine ordered furniture from Big Lots during their one day sale. I waited till almost 8:30 before I said I can't wait a minute longer. I was hungry, tired, and had to teach this morning at 7:30 AM.
Meanwhile, back at the car place, the catalytic converter had disintegrated because of the leaking oil that constantly inundates it; ditto the spark plugs. I dallied with the idea of skipping off to the car place and buying another Corolla, but made up my mind finally to get this fixed, hoping to get another year or 6 months out of it, and then buying a car, in a leisurely way.
Today I have to teach, return the car (when mine is ready),pick up my car, and go teach at CSU, where the papers are due. Next time I get observed there.

Monday, March 7, 2011


My car's engine light is on. Assuming that means something dire, I am taking it to the garage this morning. I've missed two days of yoga, and couldn't sleep last night until I stood on my head for a while. Today, I hope that I can rent a car easily and go to yoga. I am wearing yoga attire assuming that this will be the case. Let's hope that dressing can make it so.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Plagiarism, for Real!

I was finishing up grading a set of papers, and I went back to a suspicious paper I had graded the day before. Sure enough, when I typed the lines into Google, they came up on MySpace! So sad. I want to see whether she denies it,but let her challenge it. I had marked her draft for inadvertent plagiarism, explaining why she couldn't do it that way. She probably got angry. Add to that I had accidentally dropped her from my online grading program and left the person who had actually dropped there. I thought I would have to reinstate her by getting the grades of all the homework she had gotten, but I was able to do it through the program. Probably that didn't help, when I asked her to give me all her homework. I didn't end up needing it, but she probably took it personally.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


We customarily refer to bestial or brutal individuals as "animals," yet I firmly believe that no matter how the puma eyes me as I pass his cage, sizing me up for his supper, or whatever noxious bacterium or creature one can think up, no creature on earth but human beings can be evil. I suppose I buy into the definition of crime that Foucault discusses in his book Discipline and Punish, the notion that intentionality is all. But who knows what the intentions of a killer whale or a gila monster really are? I am making a lot of assumptions about this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Summer Class

I am still trying to settle on works for this summer. It could be The Secret of Roan Inish, as I said before, or Pan's Labyrinth. If the latter, the element of political intrigue enters in, and the first work can pursue that too. But the only other work I have taught before (I useful thing for summer classes) is "Roman Fever," Edith Wharton. It's a short story about a personal secret involving a child, albeit a grown one, and a cracking good tale.


As the house creeps closer to being ready for us, I am filling in all the details in my imagination. What will I toss, and what will I bring? The old toaster oven? The microwave? Perhaps it is time for them to go. I want to give away the bbq, as there is no place for it, and truthfully, I was afraid to use it. It has barely been touched. Unlike most men, R wanted nothing to do with it, and I think Jeremy feels the same. Besides, in his apartment, shared with three others, there is no room for it, and he will be moving into our new place next year, into the little bachelor's pad downstairs, a small bedroom and bath, with a neat little patio off the room. It's too small to cram in that bbq, and besides, we're right across from the pool, which has bbqs of its own.
So if anyone close wants that bbq, please let me know. You'll have to come and get it, but you are welcome to it.
Sickness seems to be haunting the place among the workmen. The handyman, Dan, has a terrible flu. He smokes and is overweight, so it has hit him hard. He asked me how I stay so healthy. I told him yoga. He isn't going to do that.
The floor guy spoke to me yesterday. He has a bowel obstruction, a tumor. He had an emergency procedure yesterday to remove it, and it may be cancer. Besides that, he is rather addled by a car accident, and perhaps by the chemicals he uses in his job everyday.
I cannot be concerned about my house when the people working on it are so ill. I just hope they are okay.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tyrants are All the Same

Contrary to the sentiments of Lev Tolstoi, in my favorite novel, Anna Karenina, all dictators seem to be alike. Look at Kaddaffi. Who could stop looking at him, he is such a nut, and yet so shrewdly effective at enforcing a total control of power for 42 years. He dresses like a diva, talks like a moron, but rules cruelly and meticulously.
His compatriots in North Korea follow the same pattern, and extend their megalomania beyond the borders of their own countries to others that they, in their dangerous and unhinged fantasies, imagine to be hanging on their own every word. As with their Libyan brethren, these rulers have no compunction about wiping out every soul that populates their border, if it helps them to hold on to power.
The Cambodian Kmer Rouge were just such individuals, fueled by a crackpot ideology and ruthlessly efficient in their control and enforcement.
There is something about total power that unhinges the human mind in a way that is diagnosable, a kind of psychosis. Surely, someone should give it a berth in the dictionary of mental disorders.


Last night I dreamed I was visiting my friend Linda in Philadelphia. Linda has an animal rescue in her apartment, and at any time, she will probably have a dozen animals in that large one room place up on the 6th floor. In my dream, she was living in a ground floor place, much larger, and had a back yard with lots of puppies and kittens. Then I was riding on the subway, aware that things had changed so much I didn't know where I was, and this was dangerous.
I guess the poem put Philadelphia back into my head.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Summer Class

I have to order the books for my summer class, a Writing 1 class with the theme of secrets, and perhaps involving children. I decided to go with the film The Secret of Roan Inish and What Maisie Knew. I'm looking for one more book. Any suggestions? It can be any genre, even a poem.

A World In Flames

Like everyone else these days, I turn on my radio or T.V. news not knowing what I will hear next. It seems that a good quarter of the world, far away places I have always thought very distant from myself, not the least because they belong to the arab world, and I to the Jewish one, have begun enduring upheavals the like of which I have only read and do not in my lifetime recall.
Once, when I was an undergraduate, I studied the European Romantic period, and this reminds me of the days I read about, when revolutions fanned across the continents, and new nations, like our own, were established.
I cannot help but to be excited, and to hope for those people that the world will truly change in their favor, even though, at the same time, I realize that this change will not necessarily favor us, since some of these countries hold large amounts of oil and the dictators favored Israel, while these new governments may not, may turn against us, and perhaps with reason, for siding with dictators and being the indirect agent of their oppression for so long.
I remember too the election in the West Bank and Gaza that brought Hezbollah into the picture there. This is the chance one takes with democracy, and ultimately, it is a chance worth taking, but it can be waylaid when any one party brought into power stops the process cold. Remember Russia, right?
I have been thinking too of the dictators who have been featured lately in the news, and remembering Nabokov's and Chaplin's characterization of them. Yes, they are buffoons. Even Idi Amin, the cannibal. They are all, in their insane ideosyncracies, cut out of the same cloth.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Avoiding Papers

I've got a stack of papers waiting for me, and I know I've got to get to them, if only because I'll get drafts this evening at CSU.
I wrote that poem partly because the house we just bought comes to me care of that house, the one in the poem, the one I grew up in. I wanted to acknowledge how influential that place has been in my life, and continues to be, despite my desire to escape it.
My father once said "No one will ever love you but your parents," and I would reply, "Then God help me." I was thinking that if that was the best I could do for love, I was in trouble. But by the end, things had improved of course, and I understand what my father, in his typically spiky way, was trying to communicate.