Archive for July, 2010

my brother’s watch

July 24, 2010

I started this blog during the week of my brother’s passing, as it helped me to sort through what I was feeling. Upon his death, I started wearing his man’s watch. I thought about all the places it had been, how many parks where he spent his days and slept, all of his struggles with life and yet the watch was still running. It comforted me somewhat, to wear it, though it did not feel like me. It felt like him. It had a crack going across the face of it. I wore it to classes teaching, and used it to always know the time, since the clocks in my college haven’t ever worked.

Just before I left for this trip to Indiana, it stopped running, somewhere around 10am one morning. Perhaps the sand and salt at the beach got into it the week before. So the watch continued one year and 3 mos. after his spirit left this world behind. And I have now thrown it away. It was time to move on.

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back home again…

July 24, 2010

in Indiana…

Not really home. This is my hometown & will always feel like home. But I am not home. Still in other people’s spaces.

Walked through the Mall here today, used my new Penny’s card. It is always fun to spend money when it doesn’t affect your immediate cash available… Dangerous freedom. There is one Mall in this town. I remember when it was built. My husband and I came home from college & noticed this huge new complex being built, which was to be called a “Mall”. What a concept. What came before Malls? Stores in the downtown area, something which does not really exist any longer. Non-franchise food. Drive-ins, and car hops, ice cream joints next to the park where teenagers hang out. It is always a walk into the past to come back here.

I await the arrival of my in-laws to their own home, which is where I currently am, having entered with a key. My son and his wife are here for his 10-yr high school reunion. Will see them soon as well, along with my daughter after she gets off work, and her 2 boys again. At this moment, all is quiet.

If I get time alone, I can once again gather my thoughts and feel somewhat together. When I am with other people 24/7, I begin to lose the capacity to feel whole. I am a true introvert.

My school laptop was stolen out from under my feet, at a public library yesterday, where many homeless hang out. Not to say a homeless person took it. Anyone could have taken it. But middle class people are not so desperate, or sometimes daring. It is a huge loss, and I do not yet know the ramifications of it. (Will they charge me for it? If so, how much? Will they not get me a new one right away? If so, I cannot function as a professor. I need to read my mail and to advise students for classes, need to be connected, plus a million other reasons.) At the same time, I would perfectly understand their being upset with losing it and I wonder how often this happens, or has happened, with students. (Do they get another laptop? Are they charged another laptop fee [which is outrageously toob much for the equipment they receive]?)

It is very difficult to just get my bearings each day, decide what to do. I have no home to come back to, to reorient myself. Staying at my daughter’s where my cell phone does not get reception, there is no Internet and no tv cable. Disconnected from the world.

This blog has become somewhat of a diary, which is probably not a good thing. Not all that interesting to anyone besides myself.

I have been home I think maybe 3 weeks since May 24th, and one of those was with a grandson there. Another week with 2 other grandsons there.

I will make it to New Albany somehow, for 1 day and at least locate and photograph my great-grandparents’ Agnews graves. Frustrating that I have not had the time to do any more family history research.

my “book”

July 22, 2010
The publisher said my book is not really quite up to publication yet. But the editor cannot really spend time talking w/ me about it, since I do not have a contract w/ them. And he really likes the subject. (How I am supposed to figure out what they want when they cannot advise me except in generalities is a sucky business.)
 
I am feeling many things. This whole academia thing is a racket, and I’m tired of it all. I am close to my limit with things I will put up with, and also my capacity. My choices are to turn the “book” into a number of journal articles, or possibly hire someone to get it into shape for publication. I don’t have money to hire someone, but am going to find out what they charge. This book cannot wait another 2 years for publication. It is getting close to being out of date now. So I either do it this year or not do it. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I am at my limit with stress over this book & topic, & I’m turning 57 yrs. old. Perhaps my getting a PhD at age 55 was miracle enough. I have a job. I can work on journal articles.
 
just not sure, and will pray over it,

Hoosierland

July 22, 2010

I am now back in Hoosierland for another week & 1/2. Still trying to get AL here for the wedding, trying to work out finances. I came to return Raven & Caspian to their home. Family niece’s wedding July 30th.

Will hopefully have time to work on family history while here, but it’s amazing how the time goes flying by, especially when J. has no internet. I am currently sitting in a Starbucks. I may go to a public library or Purdue to use public access to a printer. Thinking of leaving here now for an Arni’s Jr. w/blue cheese & garlic bread– pure and total delight! One of the finest enjoyments of life.

I hate having no home of my own, being without a place to hang my clothes, things like that. It’s always trying to be out and far from home. I’ve been this way all summer.

What strikes me about being back in Indiana:

  • It is not hot. Not after South Carolina. People here have sweaters on and it’s summer. You dont wear sweaters in July in SC.
  • The weather still sucks. It’s been raining off & on since I got here.
  • Flat land and corn. I still love the flat land and corn fields. It feels like home every time.
  • I still feel like I’m going to see my mom, and feel like I need to call her.

Beach house JL16

July 22, 2010

Friday night

 We leave tomorrow. It is about 10:30pm. Levin and Raven plan to swim tomorrow morning at 8am for one last time. Leah & Jean plan to take a morning walk at 5am. I plan to take a morning walk at about 7am. We’ll see how all this works out!

 We have had 4 cakes (one tonight for Raven), numerous games of chess, a few games of Monopoly and Yahtzee, I think one game of cards. I am too tired to give an account of the last 2 days. It has been a good family time, but very tense many times. I can’t wait to be home again. We found that we usually spent only a couple hours on the beach per day. Without Naylah it may have been more, but with sunburns and the intense HEAT this summer, about 2 hours was it. We went some days at 5pm and stayed for an hour & ½, when it was pleasantly cooler and less crowded. One day we spent 4 hours there when we took the cooler, sandwiches, and water.

 We learned Levin got a call from Barnes & Nobles & also a gas station for a job, today. Hopefully he will manage 2 part-time jobs for awhile and get some of his bills paid off. Learned today from Jamal that Shelly got 2 job offers as well. Some things are working out.

 I don’t remember what I’ve written & what I’ve not written. One thing I want for next year is either a bigger place, OR NO TV! I want no tv. It is constant, constant noise, and goes on into hours of the night after most of us are in bed. Yes, there are adults who want to stay up later, but when you think of last year, at the cabin, we did not have tv and we were all much more together and focused, and relaxed. We would hook up movies and watch them ALL together, then talk a little bit, and then all go to bed! We were much more united. This tv is just constant blaring of background noise, and no one mutes the commercials. It is almost too much to bear.

 I am going to bed. Caspian needs to crash out at about 10:00, 10:30 at the latest. He is realizing now that he is tired by that time. He goes into mine and Dad’s bed and lays down. We are all so tired.

 Went to a music concert tonight on the museum grounds. It was quite nice. People were dancing, even did the electric slide. It was a good Motown-type blues band. They had fun & got the crowd going. Sunset is really nice and peaceful with a big sky out here in ocean-island land. We are off the mainland here.

 We took turns doing the “baby dance” – holding Naylah while she is awake and fussy, trying to keep her from fussing. Jean has this step-dance type thing that he does which quiets her down, so we started saying that was his “African dance”. Then everyone started making up their own unique style of rocking and stepping while holding Naylah. Baba does it best though.

 Al, Levin, Jean and Raven are watching a fight on tv at the moment, and telling old Halloween stories. It has also been a sports weekend on tv, golf, Tiger Woods, some soccer game, the All-Star baseball game, and now boxing. We go from Sponge Bob to sports, except for 2 nights of “So you think you can dance”.

 I have about 150 pics on my camera, about 10 short videos I will put onto CDs for everybody and send them a copy. I want Levin and Raven to get done swimming in the morning and stop worrying about someone getting caught in a riptide and drowning. They experienced it late yesterday, when Caspian, Levin, Jean and Raven all felt it, and had trouble getting back in. It’s something you have to be constantly aware of and prepared for. You have to be constantly alert.

Beach house JL15

July 22, 2010

THURS., July 15, 2010

 Yesterday late afternoon we spent an hour at the beach, just Leah & Jean, Zakiah, Caspian, myself holding Naylah. I did not get in the water. Naylah was so sound asleep, I did not want to wake her. Leah had a great time riding waves on the boogie board. The tide was low, waves were great but not too big, and they rode the waves easily. It was a good time. The wind has been relentlessly strong. That’s the only thing that makes it difficult. It was low sun, cloudy, and in fact we left when we started hearing regular thunder.

 I took Caspian & Zakiah to the official “museum”, paying $18. to get in. They had about 6 rooms and a gift shop. It was okay, nothing super. They had numerous taxidermied animals in displays, which I found rather bizarre.  They had a “touch tank” where the kids couldn’t touch most of the stuff in there! They had puff fish in a “touch tank” and constantly told the kids not to get the upset by touching them and making them puff up. Of course, that’s what the kids would like to see most. It was kind of dumb. “Don’t touch the starfish!” If there’s anything you can touch and not hurt it, it’s a starfish. They were supposed to touch with 2 fingers, the ROCKS inside the touch tank. There were some turtle puzzles, a puppet theater they could play in with ocean-type puppets, and a few other things.

 At 3:30 we returned for a kid’s program on water safety, which was worth it, they had fun. Then at 7pm, Caspian and I went back for the “ghost walk” where they told us a few stories about ghosts sited in the area. Then they let Caspian dig for shark teeth, where they had lots of them buried in a gravel pit. All in all, I finally got my money’s worth.

 Caspian & I stopped by the turtle watch on the beach, where “turtle parents” (adults) are watching and waiting for baby turtles to hatch & then lead them to the water. About 60 people sit there 24/7 waiting for them, which is pretty cool. You can’t see anything because they are buried in the sand until they come up and out. It is nice to see so many adults watching over small living things to aid in their survival. If only human beings could care as much for one another as they do for hatching turtles, the world would be a good place. Somehow, with human beings, we set limits and lines of nationality and create friends vs. enemies, while turtles are just living creatures subject to extinction that we should nurture and cherish.

 Levin avoided the beach due to his sunburn. They played Scrabble and chess all evening. It was a good day.

Beach house JL14

July 22, 2010

WED., July 14, 2010

 Yesterday at the beach was tense for me. I realize I feel responsible for everybody. I think it is my personality that makes me tense. I need to rely on other people and not feel like it is only up to me to watch the kids so they don’t drown, a thought which I am obsessive about. We went to the beach late, to avoid the bright sun, arriving at about 6pm. The waves were large and relentless, one after another without a break. The wind was so strong we couldn’t put up the umbrella. I went in for a few mins. w/ Zakiah, then came out and held Naylah after Leah nursed her. I kept fidgeting, trying to get in a position to block her from the wind, also holding the pacifier to her mouth (which she doesn’t do well), and it was just exhausting for me. It was impossible to shield her from the wind. The current was sweeping everyone to the left, which is fine, but they have to realize it and continually get out of the water and walk back to where our towels and things are. The waves were so strong, Caspian could not manage himself in the water, and pretty quickly gave up, staying in more shallow waves and playing w/ Zakiah. Levin, Jean and Raven battled waves for an hour, sometimes catching them and riding in 30 ft. or so. We left by 7:30, Raven & Jean staying another half hour, then we ordered pizza and salad.

 Today it rained a downpour, so we’ve been inside and everyone is getting restless. It has been nice because the guys are all playing chess and we played “Aggravation”. The tv hasn’t been on for a few hours. Jean is now trying to finish a movie. I went out for milk and got caught in the downpour, so sat in the car for 20 mins.

 Z is continually saying “No,” talking back and getting in trouble! He is going through a stage which is very trying on his parents.

 We had our feast last night, which went well. Caspian welcomed everyone, explained the feast, Zakiah asked everyone to “please be seated,” something which he thought up himself, then Caspian opened with singing Blessed is the Spot. We had 3 readings which mentioned the ocean; we sang “O God guide me,” and then we had one reading from the Tao, and 2 Psalms which mentioned the ocean and the sea.

 Caspian thanked everyone for “being a good audience”  and asked people to contribute to the National Fund. Both he and Zakiah asked if they could “send a picture” to the Fund. I said they could send one with our contribution. That was probably the most spiritual moment of all vacation . . . Then we had strawberries, blueberries, ice cream and whipped cream. Caspian wanted to make everyone’s bowl with whichever combination of ice cream and fruit they wanted, & he and Zakiah passed them out to everyone.

Beach house JL13

July 22, 2010

TUES., July 13, 2010

 We are having quite a more relaxed day today, since everyone except Jean has a sunburn and we are doing other things besides the beach. We plan to go swim in about an hour which will be 4:00, until about 6pm but that is all.

 This morning Leah took Zakiah to a free kid’s program on turtles at a community center. I took Caspian to go search for a post office or mailbox and mail some bills which I meant to mail in Chapin before we left town! There are no mailboxes here. Fireworks are not allowed on the beach, and some streets do not allow cars. Ocean Isle is a small, peaceful beach town, a few restaurants and surf shops, 2 groceries and 2 drug stores, that’s about it. I finally found a post office about 4 mi. from our beach house. This house cost us about $1000. for the week, with 8 people in the house. We have spent about $100. on one surf shop gift visit; $100. eating out for dinner last night; and $100 on groceries. We are done spending. There is a planetarium and small museum which cost some money. We may go to the planetarium laser light show once. Other than that, eating out is going to be at the burger joint down the street until we leave Sat morning.

 The waves are incredible. Everyone is enjoying them. I held Naylah for about an hour yesterday while Leah went out. Everyone is having fun. I worry about a drowning every minute we are there. I am just determined not to have any accidents. Raven goes way out and Caspian, who I DIDN’T THINK would be so daring, is TOTALLY out there. I instituted a “buddy system” so Raven and Caspian cannot be in the water without a buddy. If their buddy comes in, then they have to come in. Yesterday, toward the end of our 4 hours on the beach, Caspian went out too far. He suddenly went out 10 ft. beyond where anyone else was, and it was TOO far. Levin swam after him, Caspian then got back in and out of the water, but Levin had trouble getting back in. It was that far out. That is the worst fear of a week at the beach. So Caspian was done for the day and everyone was really upset w/ him. Jean got ahold of him on the beach and prevented his return to the water, and we all got out.

 I had a good half hour to an hour w/ Zakiah at the end of the afternoon just playing in the water and having fun. Zakiah has lost his fear of the waves and would easily be out too far for him as well, without a buddy. I looked over once and saw his feet straight up in the air, and his face down under. He got a mouth full of salt that time.

 Managed today to have Raven, Caspian and Zakiah plan a feast with me, and tonight we are hosting our own family Feast of Words for the Baha’I month beginning today. All of the readings mention the ocean and water. “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My Words…”  We have ice cream, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream for refreshments. Caspian is singing Blessed is the Spot, Zakiah is saying O God Guide Me, and Raven picked out a few readings. I am looking forward to it.

 Al’s old friend RUDY is here right now, came to visit and talk over old times. I think he lives about an hour away.

Beach house postings

July 22, 2010

I am going to post some blogs I wrote while on vacation at a beach house JL 10-17.

JULY 12: MON.

July 12 Monday

Yesterday, Sunday, was our first day at the beach. We all went for a “walk on the beach” at about 10am, the kids ran to the water and didn’t come out for about 2 hours. Caspian and Raven, with Grandpa, Jean and Uncle Levin, went out as far as anyone was out swimming, and were riding over the waves as they washed over them. I was nervous and worried the entire time. I realized we need a “buddy system” for swimming, so each child is partnered with one adult and I don’t feel like I have to keep track of them every minute they are in the water. The ocean is a wonderful, exhilarating and deceivingly dangerous thing.

My husband rode the waves, I think for perhaps the first time in his life. Now he has a major sunburn on his back, I’m pretty certain. Today I’m guessing he will keep a shirt on.  For myself, I have memories of body surfing, swimming in the ocean, and even trying to get up on a surfboard (basically without success) when I was 15. I don’t feel any compulsion to do it right now. I will get in the water today but I’m really relaxed without doing it also.

We made spaghetti at the house, then had a spice cake for Zakiah’s birthday. He got a present from Aunt Jasmine (a super heroes spoon), and from Grandma and Grandpa (25 hot wheels cars). Raven is turning 14 July 27th and got a large boogie board at the surf shop today from us.

We are all crammed together at this beach house and tensions were high yesterday. The thermostat was constantly changing, as people have different preferences. We need a swimming buddy system, we have different preferences on movies, watching tv and bedtimes. We are going to have to consult, make decisions and try to respect one another.

This a.m. I first took a walk by myself for 45 mins. on the beach from 8:30 to 9-something. It was GREAT and very needed for my soul. I have to get just a little time completely alone, to retain my sanity.

The I let Leah go to the store by herself without Naylah. She stayed asleep on my shoulder for an hour, which I’m sure was the highlight of my day. It was really, really so nice. She is so sweet, at one month old, if you can imagine this little body curled up in your shoulder and hugging you for an hour straight. 

July 12 Monday

Yesterday, Sunday, was our first day at the beach. We all went for a “walk on the beach” at about 10am, the kids ran to the water and didn’t come out for about 2 hours. Caspian and Raven, with Grandpa, Jean and Uncle Levin, went out as far as anyone was out swimming, and were riding over the waves as they washed over them. I was nervous and worried the entire time. I realized we need a “buddy system” for swimming, so each child is partnered with one adult and I don’t feel like I have to keep track of them every minute they are in the water. The ocean is a wonderful, exhilarating and deceivingly dangerous thing.

 

My husband rode the waves, I think for perhaps the first time in his life. Now he has a major sunburn on his back, I’m pretty certain. Today I’m guessing he will keep a shirt on.  For myself, I have memories of body surfing, swimming in the ocean, and even trying to get up on a surfboard (basically without success) when I was 15. I don’t feel any compulsion to do it right now. I will get in the water today but I’m really relaxed without doing it also.

 

We made spaghetti at the house, then had a spice cake for Zakiah’s birthday. He got a present from Aunt Jasmine (a super heroes spoon), and from Grandma and Grandpa (25 hot wheels cars). Raven is turning 14 July 27th and got a large boogie board at the surf shop today from us.

 

We are all crammed together at this beach house and tensions were high yesterday. The thermostat was constantly changing, as people have different preferences. We need a swimming buddy system, we have different preferences on movies, watching tv and bedtimes. We are going to have to consult, make decisions and try to respect one another.

 

This a.m. I first took a walk by myself for 45 mins. on the beach from 8:30 to 9-something. It was GREAT and very needed for my soul. I have to get just a little time completely alone, to retain my sanity.

 

The I let Leah go to the store by herself without Naylah. She stayed asleep on my shoulder for an hour, which I’m sure was the highlight of my day. It was really, really so nice. She is so sweet, at one month old, if you can imagine this little body curled up in your shoulder and hugging you for an hour straight.

I don’t like to leave my house…

July 10, 2010

The older I get, the more I am like my mother was. I don’t want to leave my house!! Leaving now for a week away at the beach, & then 2 weeks in Indiana, is wreaking untold stress on my body & psyche! I just want to stay home! When I am really old, I will be just like her saying, “I just love sitting in my house, drinking coffee.” This is stressing me out big time. I just have to tune that out and change my attitude.