"...you can call it the Palmer Bunch!"

I blinked twice, then winced at the reference. "I've never watched that show!"

"Well, you should... to get a feel for your character."

I could only glare at him. Me. Watch the Brady Bunch. So I'd be a more convincing stay at home mom. "I've already sacrificed most of my self respect for this team, but this might be where I draw the line..."

"Well, it is so nauseatingly sweet that you'd probably kill yourself if you watched it..."

Blink. Smile-- reflexive. Move on.

Every day. Every god awful long tiring miserable day. All I want is a break. From feeling alone. From sitting here wanting to be anywhere else.

It's been over a year since I've seriously thought about suicide. Not that things have gotten much better since then. Sure, I have a boyfriend now, one that won't try to screw me and leave me. I hope... And I'm at college now, which outclasses good ol' Hammond High by a large margin. And I'm almost over it. Really.

But that's not what's really changed. It's me. I don't want to die. Life has its pettiness, its miseries, its failures... and I love every minute of it.

But with every breakthrough, every step forward, comes a new hurdle.

When you don't care about life, you aren't scared of losing it.

Just when I'd broken free of death's shadow his grip tightened on me. I feel each second of the clock ticking down the moments until there is nothing left of me. I can't even comprehend it, It's more than the mind can understand.

I can't imagine not existing...

Being an atheist is great on paper... but sometimes it's more than I can handle. I want the delusions I mock others for, I want to believe there's something greater than me, so that I can believe that I will go on...

And then there's the two people in my life who mean more to me than anything. I go home to them every weekend, without fail, and bask in love and contentment and bliss.

Without them, how could there be any joy in this world? They bring to it all the beauty I have ever known. I love them. If only that were enough. I know my mother's health is fading fast. Just when I may have to be ready to let her go... I cling more than ever.

To not care was to be oblivious to all that was to come.

Caring hurts.

Too much time in Europe makes me want a pair of jeans like a cowboy would wear and a wool sweater that can get wet and shrink and bleed. I want long uncut grass on highway dividers that turns gold and sharp at the tips, and the convenience of a cliche when thinking of something you do not have.

In an emergency exit aisle seat in economy class (oxymoron) the little map says that we are over Cork. I have bought a Vanity Fair magazine and paid 15 francs for it because it was the only English they had. The magazine said that ‘February is all about après-ski.’ I have never heard anybody use the term ‘après-ski’ in a normal conversation. The term annoys me like 'prestigious' or 'luxury.' The word prestige comes from the latin word praestigiae, which means 'illusion', which is all I can think of. Five people died that week at an avalanche on the mountain in Zermatt, and the red air lift helicopters would ferry people from the pistes to the hospitals every day.

Some people say that in New York the subway people in the winter smell of quiet desperation. Or rather, both desperations (‘hopelessness’ and ‘reckless fury’) smell like a crowded F train at 6 in the morning. People who are asleep shift and dream, and their polyester-down jackets release stale cigarette smoke, cooking oil, an apartment that might perhaps contain a kitchen with a linoleum floor. In New York none of the restaurants have any Michelin stars and it is comforting to be able to speculate that they might reuse the untouched bread in the baskets. But I am 19, and it is my job to pretend to be dissipated.

Up in that bankrupt SWISS plane I met a woman with a fur coat named Toni who is a television producer who asked me personal questions. We became plane-friends. Somewhere over Newfoundland she told me she was born the same year as my mother and is going to St. Moritz, to meet her boyfriend, who lived in London. She giggled a bit and told me, “oh, he has lots of girlfriends.”

It seemed ludicrious; the way she said it so flippantly. I am used to hearing 26-year olds refer to such a subject as a matter of grave importance; who are mostly either very worried or very afraid. On my previous flight I sat next to a rabbi who couldn't sit next to me because I was a woman. So it goes.

My boyfriend lives around the world and every two weeks we flip through books of leading small hotels of the world and cities and islands and go to the ones where they cook every dish on the room service menu every 15 minutes so that they will be able to deliver it in under 2 minutes. We stay up all night in bed and watch the CNN international edition where they show the trailer to ‘Inside Africa’ for start times in 6 different time zones.

We watch it again until the cycle repeats, and order room service breakfast which we finish on the way to the airport. This is desperate like all its definitions, except for despair, and I feel like we are Humbert's madly expensive hotels and his expensive indulgences and ruinous love at six in the morning.

Every time he leaves me he will buy me something that shines dully platinum white. He will buy me a pretty gold bracelet and a necklace with a teardrop made of diamonds in a robins egg box and a fat white Charlois cow that lives on a farm in Ireland, whose hooves sink into the mud because the ground is too loamy, and a Tribeca loft for us to live in closing April, and he will quit his job for me and and I will cry every week at the airports of war heroes like Charles de Gaulle and Chang Kai Shek; as the privacy in public places is too lonely and glamorous.

About time, I think, for my first foray into the daylog arena, since I have a humorous anecdote to relate.

So. Hence. Therefore. As such, let me start by mentioning that the Konhauser Problemfest, one of the three major annual purely math contests that a lot of Mac students do, was yesterday. To participate we had to be at Olin-Rice by 7:30 this morning so that we could be at St. Olaf College by the start of the contest.

Some of you already know this story. You can shut the hell up. Yeah, you too, you with the derisive laughing.

Anyway, I had set my watch to go off at 6:30 in the morning so I would have time for a long shower, a cursory breakfast and the 15 or 20 minute walk to campus. All three of these things were completed satisfactorily and without incident, the latter in spite of the ass-freezing weather outside at that time in the morning.

I arrived at Olin-Rice at about 7:33 a.m. by my watch. There was no one there and the doors were locked. I began to get uneasy and continued to get cold. I went around to the back of Olin-Rice, where the parking lot is, expecting to find a group of people crowded around or into cars. I found neither people nor cars. The back doors were locked too. I continued to get uneasy and to continue to get cold. Wondering if maybe I had misread the email about the trip, I walked hastily down Macalester Street, scanning the various parking lots for running cars and/or people, and persisting in seeing neither. I started to panic more than a little bit, and to store up curses and furor to heap upon either myself, if I had missed the contest because I didn't know where I was supposed to meet; or the people in charge, if they had left just two minutes after 7:30. This is college! Everyone is late in college! Even the professors! Right?

I walked briskly, still seething at the world in general, across campus and was, at about 7:39 a.m. by my watch, just in front of Old Main when a thought struck me.

My watch has, for several months, been an hour fast.

For some reason this had eluded me when I set my alarm last night. I had been up since 5:30 a.m. No wonder it had been so God damned dark. I rolled my eyes and hissed, "Jeeeesus," and felt every muscle in my body relax. Then I got some hot cocoa at Dunn Bros. It cost exactly $2.

The rest of the story is not terribly impressive, but suffice to say that my team, or perhaps I should say the team of which I was a member, came in third in the Konhauser, behind two of those cursed Carleton teams. I even recouped the money spent on the hot cocoa; we got $15 apiece and a book of problems by the late Mr. Konhauser and a current Macalester professor. And I am damn tired now. Thank you for your time.

I enter Barnes and Noble with my sweetheart feeling happy. Bookstores are good.

"I know you're headed for the bargain section. I'm going to pass through magazines, then look for the books on my list, and then I'll meet you there. Love you."

"Okay, love you," she says as I wonder off.

I float past the boating, automobile, and muscle magzines, then pause to look at the covers of the Men's magazines. Those are definitely not natural. I continue on down the racks, faster through the wedding and home area, slower past the computer and cinema section. Have you ever noticed how the Women's and Fashion mags show just as much flesh as the Men's (sometimes more) but they do it with more varied clothing and more tasteful makeup? I guess sex sells.

I stop and leaf through Premier, which has a scantily clad Christina Ricci on the cover. I read bits of the articles, but none of them catch my interest.

Eventually, I escape the avalanche of eyes and skin, color and flash, type faces and clever names, teeth and TMI. My eyes have started to glaze over. I stubble from the minature canyons of attention grabbers, into a cavern of even more of them. How will ever find anything in this mess, let alone a single book I want to read?

The list in my pocket now forgotten, I scurry along the tiled path towards bargain books. Lucky, I know this store pretty well, so I can get there with minimal glaces at my surroundings. The book covers jump out at me, but I side step their titles and let their colors wash over me like water. I ride the flood past row upon row, past Self-help, past Business, past Classics, past Cookbooks, into bargains. I keep moving, looking for one color combination in particular. Six feet tall, blond with olive green coat on top of black pants. Finally, I see it and turn down the aisle.

"Hey."

"Hey, I found two cookbooks and a hardback Garrison Keillor."

"Oh, good. ... Look, can we go now?"

"... Sure. Uh, everything okay?"

"Yeah, I'm just not feeling so great. You go ahead and get those, I'll meet you outside at the car."

"Okay." She sounds concerned but I can't see if she looks it. I'm fleeing as fast as I can without running.

So many people, so much noise. They keep getting in my way. I can't get out. I can see the doors. Now I'm through them, but I'm still not out. Another set of doors, and now the cold night air hits my face and stings my throat as I breath deep. I tilt my head back and look up at the night sky. So many stars. For a moment I'm afraid, but then I realize they want nothing from me.

Martin rings on Tuesday to ask if I can babysit Lio Saturday night. I say yes without hesitation (knowing that I never do anything on Saturday night these days). Half an hour before I have to leave the house reality sets in and I begin to feel anxious (I am going to have to change out of my pyjamas and face the world). I arrive just after 6:30. I knock on the door

knock knock

and from inside I hear Martin approaching, telling Lio (in Italian) that Amy's here. Martin opens the door (his hair is wet but he's otherwise smartly dressed), and over his shoulder I see Lio, shrieking happily behind the baby gate at the top of the stairs, rattling the bars like an angry zoo inmate, bouncing formidably.

Martin fetches him downstairs and we kick a plastic ball around while Sasha gets ready. Lio lurches confidently after the ball, shunting it forward with whichever foot is less vital for balance, a far-away expression betraying the feat of concentration this requires.

Martin scoops him up and carries him upstairs - "Let's find out what Mommy's doing". I hear them speaking to him (again, in Italian), telling him they are going out. They come downstairs together. Sasha takes a chair next to me and asks me if I need to know anything. They have bought food for me; I can warm it up when Lio's asleep.


They leave, and Lio doesn't stop crying for an hour. He scorns any attempt to lighten the mood. Favourite toys and books provoke increasingly loud screams; my sympathy meets a reproachful stare and a shove on the shoulder.

I switch on the television. It's a documentary about early country music singers. I sit on the floor. Lio is standing on my lap, crying into my shoulder. I ignore him, and it seems to work. He also becomes quieter whenever music is played on the television.

It's still early but he seems tired so I take him up to bed, and he falls asleep almost immediately. After 20 minutes lying in the dark, listening to the rhythm of his breathing gradually become slower and deeper, I fall asleep too.


I wake up after half an hour. I try not to disturb Lio as I leave the room to go downstairs and make my dinner. I pour myself a glass of pink grapefruit juice and set out my food and cutlery. Just as I am about to sit down, the baby monitor crackles and emits an unnerving disembodied wail. I set Lio's milk to warm up and then go upstairs. His nappy is damp so I change it, then fetch the milk. He drinks for five minutes before settling down again.


I eat, watch tv - this time a program about Titian - and then clear up the kitchen. I go to check Lio is sleeping ok. His sturdy body is curled into a C like a fat caterpillar. His expression is serious, his translucent skin seems to radiate a pale light in the darkness. His eyes are red-rimmed from crying.

Martin and Sasha return at about 12.30 am. They've been to see a comedian at the Gardner Arts Centre, and they've been to a restaurant in Brighton. They've had a good time. Martin gives me a lift home. Although I'm tired I can't sleep. That which briefly gave my life purpose has suddenly disappeared but the sense of responsibility hasn't.

I suppose this weekend can be compared to being blind-sided with a punch. I had no idea it was coming and it hurts like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

How could a thing that is so great, and that has become so rock solid, suddenly deteriorate so fast?

Only now do I know what it truly means to be utterly miserable and depressed. Food and sleep have taken the very back of my life, replaced by sadness and anger. It is such a vicious circle. All I can think about is the problem, and how I can solve it, but the bad points always seem to blind me towards the good and I become even more depressed. It is as if I am in a hole, and for every inch that I manage to climb out, I slip back a foot at least.

Last night was the worst so far. Even more problems were thrown onto the already large pile, and it soon became too much to bear. I found myself curled up into a ball in the corner of my room, crying uncontrollably. But the more I tried to tuck myself away, the more I thought about it, and the more it hurt. Even now as I sit here, I must take long pauses to gather myself to be able to type.

How could it have come to this? More importantly, why do I seem prone to this type of pain and suffering? Even though this has happened in the past, never before now has it tortured me so much. I do not know what the next week will bring. The only thing I can be certain of is that the days, and even more so, nights will be long and agonizing.

I am sorry if my emotions bore you or I seem petty, but I needed to vent so very bad, and get down in writing how I am feeling. Writing seems to calm me down.

Today's Headlines

US News

Howard Dean Perhaps Early Frontrunner For Democratic Party
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who has previously said that he hopes to win votes from Southerners "who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals," was the "star of the show" at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting, according to Tom Lakin, a DNC member. The purpose of the meeting was to showcase the 2004 Democratic candidates, including Carol Moseley-Braun, Joe Lieberman, Richard Gephardt, John Edwards, Denis Kucinch, and Al Sharpton.

Chicago Gets Tough on Nightclub Inspectors
Chicago Fire Department inspectors were out late into the night Friday and Saturday, inspecting nightclubs for fire safety in the wake of the 21 deaths in the fire of the E2 nightclub on Monday and the later Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed just shy of 100. The city investigated 17 nightclubs on Friday night, and 15 more on Saturday evening in a series of surprise inspections.

Republican Party Vows To Bolster Bush and Defeat Boxer
The California state Republican party met in Sacramento on Saturday to discuss a response to their resounding defeat in the 2002 elections, as the party lost all statewide offices in 2002. On the table was agreement to focus on supporting George W. Bush for President in 2004 and also to knock off Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. However, the party was split on whether to continue pursuing a recall against unpopular governor Gray Davis.

International News

Ten Dead as Gunmen Attack Shi'ites at Prayer
A group of gunmen on motorcycles stormed a Shi'ite mosque in southern Pakistan on Saturday at the start of evening prayers and opened fire with automatic weapons, killing at least ten worshipers and injuring at least nine others. The work is believed to be the result of radical Sunni Muslim extremist groups operating to persecute the minority Shi'ite Muslims. The two groups have been in conflict since the 7th century, when they had a falling out over who should be the heir to the prophet Mohammed.

United States Must Boost South Korean Ties, Says Powell on Tour
While on tour in Tokyo, US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged the rampant anti-American sentiment in South Korea and said the United States will have to demonstrate the benefits of cooperation between the two nations. Powell said that the alliance "created conditions for solid economic growth that has brought South Korea clearly into the camp of democracy ... they have benefitted greatly from this alliance."

Israeli Government Shifts To Right
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has signed an agreement to bring the far right wing [National Religious Party into his coalition government. This move sinks the possibility of a national unity coalition with the left-leaning Labour Party. The NRP is known for strongly supporting the settler movement, which has been at the root of the conflict in recent years between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Labour legislator Avraham Shochat said that Prime Minister Sharon "clearly selected a right-wing extremist government that won't pursue a peace process."

Business

G7 Finance Ministers Ready To Respond To Economic Weakness
Despite a global economic slowdown and the threat of war with Iraq, officials from the world's richest countries are confident in the strength of their economies, but have plans in the event of a war. The nations are largely sticking to discussions of economic and other social issues during the G7 summit, avoiding the thorny Iraq issue.

Illinois Sues Wal-Mart, Target Over Sales Tax Issue
Illinois is suing Wal-Mart, Target, and several other retailers, charging them with failure to collect sales tax on items sold through their Web sites. Current Illinois law requires all retailers that have a "physical presence" in Illinois to collect sales tax on merchandise they sell to customers in the state, whether through their stores, Internet sites or catalogs. Many companies, such as Wal-Mart, structure their Internet divisions as separate entities from their physical stores to avoid this requirement. The suit and its' verdict will probably indicate much of the future of online businesses.

US Oil Firms Increase Dependence on Iraqi Oil
American oil refiners have significantly increased their dependence on oil from Iraq in the last few weeks, even as the Bush administration prepares for an attack on Baghdad. This is the result of a recent political crisis in Venezuela which caused a huge decrease in oil exports from the nation. Iraq rarely sells oil directly to American businesses, but the oil is purchased through middlemen, who have been purchasing a significantly greater amount of Iraqi oil in recent weeks.

Science & Technology

Snow Found On Mars
Phil Christensen, a planetary geologist, has spotted conclusive evidence of fresh snow on Mars. This discovery implies the presence of a significant amount of water on the red planet, which is the core material needed for the development of life. If conditions are right for life to appear on Mars, then the strong possibility exists for an abundance of extraterrestrial life.

AOL, Microsoft Team Up Against Spam
American Online and Microsoft have teamed up to press for tough federal legislation to stop the proliferation of spam delivered to email boxes everywhere. In the last 18 months, spam has seen a 500% increase, resulting in massive amounts of spam delivered across the internet. The companies seek penalties of jail time, large fines, and injunctions to prevent the spread of email addresses and the distribution of spam.

Lindows Steals Show At Desktop Linux Summit
At the first Desktop Linux Summit this weekend, Lindows stole the show by demonstrating several recent products, including a $799 Lindows Mobile PC, which features a 933 Mhz processor, 256 MB of memory, along with USB and Firewire. Other products shown include SuSE's Linux Office Desktop, which allows Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to run under Linux, as well as VIA's Media Center PC, built around Linux and designed as a home entertainment machine, including 2.1 channel satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and DVD playing capacity.

Health

Transplant Teen Dies
Jesica Santillan, the teenager who survived a botched heart-lung transplant long enough for an odds-shattering second set of donated organs, died yesterday. Jesica was declared brean dead at 1:25 PM EST and taken off life support machines shortly afterward. Jesica was 17 years old.

Cancer Cure A Fraud, FTC Says
Cell Specific Cancer Therapy, a company based in British Columbia, has been using its website to advertise a $15,000 electromagnetic cancer treatments, claiming to have successfully treated more than 800 people since 1998. After a year long investigation, the FTC has determined that the therapy is a fraud. "It has absolutely no effect on cancer cells, and tragically, some consumers lost a lot more than $15,000; they lost time," said FTC member Howard Beales.

Sports

Tyson Easily Defeats Etienne
Mike Tyson flattened Clifford Etienne after only 49 seconds of their heavyweight fight here on Saturday, setting the stage for a possible world title rematch against Lennox Lewis. Tyson's record rose to 50-4 with 44 KOs. The rendition of the US national anthem before the fight lasted 18 seconds longer than Etienne.

Louisville's COllapse Continues
A week after being ranked third in the world of college basketball and being mentioned as a possible top seed in the NCAA tournament, the Louisville Cardinals have lost three of their last four. Saturday's loss, a 101-80 drubbing to the Cincinnati Bearcats, included an ejection of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who vociferously argued calls throughout the game.

Entertainment

Grammy Awards Held Tonight
The music industry's annual self-celebratory blowout known as the Grammy Awards will be held tonight in New York City to hand out awards to the top musical performers of the year. Among the expected winners are Bruce Springsteen for his strong album The Rising, newcomer Norah Jones, and The Dixie Chicks for their strong bluegrass-heavy album Home.

Clooney Steps Up Critiques of Bush
American actor George Clooney stepped up his criticism of George W. Bush's administration on Sunday, saying he feared a war against Iraq was inevitable but would ultimately only lead to more violence. On German television this morning, Clooney said "America's policies frustrate me. I think a war with Iraq is as unavoidable as it is useless. I think it's coming, but I also think the real danger is going to be what happens after it." Clooney has been very public in his criticisms of Bush over the past few years, particularly in terms of military policy.


And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Besides my writing here on e2 and my own fictional writings that I continue to try to sell to publishers, I also keep a very detailed personal journal. I keep it electronically, encrypted on my hard drive thanks to public key encryption and backed up on a series of burnt CDs. My journal, in hand with prayer and meditation, is my only real window for true honesty with myself that I have in life; without it, I would go quite mad.

I usually fill page after page of rants, random thoughts, quotes that pull on my mind, and other such things. On occasion, I'll pull out pieces I particularly like (such as this one) and post them here, but mostly they remain private. I never really understood my compulsion for keeping them; I have hand written journals from about 1990 to about 2001 that I keep as well.

What I can't figure out is why I write so much, and why I do this every day. I estimate that I put on paper somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 words a day, and towards the higher end of that range in the last couple of weeks.

My life is relatively balanced; my largest concern is whether a new co-worker will work out and my upcoming wedding plans (which I am very happy with, I should point out). I've been sleeping well lately, and my dreams have been less vivid than usual (I often don't sleep well).

Is it because of changes I made to my life in the last year? Is it because of some indescribable fear of the future? Or is it simply because I am a growing and changing person, and this is a direction I am growing in?

I've long had an urge to just leave everything behind and go work on a fishing vessel for a while, or go Foxfire and live in the hills of Appalachia. I've found myself agreeing less and less with many of the choices my country is making; I feel it is time for a strong libertarian push in our government. But I guess I have this sense that something needs to change.

Thomas Jefferson said that America needs a revolution every twenty years or so. I'm twenty four.

Tonight I find myself sitting here with nothing to do.
Correction: I find myself sitting here with nothing I wish to do. I have work that needs to be completed, but now is not the time for such busy malarkey. Of course, it would be good to know what exactly it is time for.

As always, it's been a while since my last daylog. In all fairness, I have written two since, but never completed or posted them. There's nothing wrong with them, it is only that I fell behind and the material they speak of became out of date.

Current news: I have come to the realization that my poor car, as much as I love her, is becoming a liability. I recently sunk money into her for a complete front brake job (rotors, shoes, and pads) and new front tires. The drivers side lock broke sometime mid-January after being stubborn in cold weather for two years and change, and the passenger-side door mechanism has a tendency to stick and not want to close and I lack the patience to rip the door apart and grease everything. The power seatbelt for my passenger has developed a minor gremlin and only works after much cajoling, lighting candles around the car, and begging for mercy from the seatbelt gods. This, combined with a door that won't close, make for a perilous journey for anyone who wants to travel with me. There is also a slight tic from the engine that appears when I accelerate. I thought this might be the valve springs, and checked the oil: no such luck. All of this, has led me to the conclusion that she is getting old. I passed 134,000 miles the other day on my way home. I must admit, I'm impressed that a car this old still starts up reliably and runs smoothly, even on a cold day.

So I bought a new car. Just like that. I was home this weekend, as it is Winter Break for my students and, consequently, for yours truly. I have been researching this for some time, and I looked around, did a little shopping, wheeled and dealed, and may have found something nice. Can't talk about it now: might anger the Gods.

I must admit, I am giddy as a German schoolgirl about this new car, but I would be lying if I was to say I was happy to see my old car go. I currently drive a '93 Ford Escort LX, Red. She was and is my first car. Thinking about the miles I have driven and the things I have seen through the windshield of that car causes me to drop into full-tilt nostalgia mode and nearly go a big rubbery one. There is something about the particular characteristics of your car that make it uniquely yours, and you come to appreciate how the seat feels after you’ve put your butt down in it a couple thousand times, or when cleaning out the back you realize what happened the last time you were in the back seat, and you're still back there, twenty minutes later, lost in a reverie, a bottle of Windex in your hand. I appreciate my car not in spite of her problems but because of them. I don't know, perhaps it is a guy thing.

When I was home this past week I saw old friends that I miss madly. Took Binet out to dinner as a belated birthday present: SUSHI! I actually wanted something a bit more substantial (gasp), but she was the boss as it was her birthday. I also traveled west and spent a couple days with James, my good friend, sometimes sidekick, and the only guy who can cause me to laugh so had I cease to make noise. This time we were in a Pizza Hut, noshing on a stuffed crust and swilling root beer. Somehow, the conversation got to talking about bad jokes, and times where we have made a scene by laughing uncontrollably, and in recalling these events we were once again sent into fits of uncontrollable giggling. We remembered one event that happened over four years ago, in a small strip-mall diner that was our home-town hangout (they have excellent French toast). Don't ask how we remember stuff like this, it is simply how our minds work. It was a particular phrase that sent us into hysterics, and as we remembered it, we received glances from the other Pizza Hutters:

"Princess Poupoli has plenty papayas, and she likes to give them away."

Even now, I'm not sure why it is so funny to the two of us. Perhaps the fact that our princess likes to give her fruit away tickles our funnybone. I guess you had to be there.

Tomorrow I start up work again, which means rising before the sun does. Currently, the wind makes threatening noises outside the window and tries to find ways into my house, which I can feel moving during particularly strong gusts. Considering the size of this place, it is strange to feel it shake in the wind. While I know it ain't going to blow away, it's enough to make one a little nervous.

    Famous diarist Virginia Woolf once explained, "The past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past."

It was midnight at the oasis when panamaus put his camel to bed. I was overjoyed to see him arrive safe and sound from haze's with an *eeks* fire salamander from Jet-Poop. I hugged maus then the salamander, 'cause it was just so sweet; more hugs for maus who said he had another one for me from our esteemed administrator. Up early the next day we drove out to Old Tucson to wander around a bit catch a shoot 'em up. Sadly there was a great fire a few years ago and so much movie studio history was gone in a flash that the place has more of a small amusement park theme.

maus wouldn't ride the stagecoach *sniff* *sniff* and told me to stop petting the horses. *smiles* He is such a gentle administrator. It really was boring, so we returned to the local watering hole for some great Veggie fajitas and chili releños. Yum yum!

She was right, but it's the kind of weird you want to be around; only a surreal landscape like the Sonoran desert could have. What happens when you get two generally quiet people together? You get a nice relaxing visit! Driving westward through a forest of giant saguaros (*proud smiles* I only got us lost once), we got to the Sonoran Desert Museum by early afternoon. Chras4, can you believe they STILL don't have the hummingbird aviary done? But we were treated to one perched in a mesquite tree and got a picture of another drinking his fill at a blooming salvia.

    For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
    Be caught in a commonplace way.
    Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
    Not a chance must be wasted to-day!


    Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark
There was some picture taking under an odd and out of the ordinary looking tree. Sometimes in the desert one can get a definite feeling as if they are on another planet. Walking through a maze of boojum trees (Fouquieria columnaris) will evoke an other-worldly-ness. (There is a picture of one in my homenode right now.) You might be wondering where this quaint little common name came from. The boojum tree is one of the strangest plants imaginable. For most of the year it is leafless and looks like a giant upside down turnip. Its common name was coined by the plant explorer Godfrey Sykes, who found it in 1922 and said, "It must be a boojum!" Of course, he was referring of the outlandish and storybook creature Carroll called a boojum in his children's book, The Hunting of the Snark.

Home came alive as soon as we got back. Hubby returned from work, Number Two Son came home from a friend's house and Number One Son called to say he was still alive. We feasted on pirate food and retired to a nice quiet conversation with the Grammy Awards playing in the background. We talked about good times and sad times, of E1 and E2; how things have changed, and where we hope it might go one day. Mostly though we both agreed that it has impacted our lives profoundly and in more positive ways than I could have dared to dream.

    Whonk, whonk, bump-ba-da whonk, whonk
    He got electric shiny jeans,
    He got the fever, eating up the collard greens!

As panamaus headed out we said goodbye; wei la la! I collected my hug from bones; more hugs from maus. Later that days I got the glad news from WolfDaddy and Quizro that he made a happy homecoming to his new residence in Santa Barbara, California. (See their day logs on February 25, 2003.) It was a certain sadness when we said so long; I can still hear his last words,
"Bye sweetie!"


Really love them... Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other... be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. Romans 12: 9,10, 13 (NLT)

Devotion

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