This morning on the BBC World Service John Peel played Magazine's A Song From Under the Floorboards. It may be 17 years or so since I last heard it. I used to own the album it's on--The Correct Use of Soap--the Virgin Records vinyl LP. Then I left the LP in someone's house and never went back.

I had another interview today, this time with Raytheon. That's right, the guided missile/baby killing corporation. It was just another "What are your goals, What are your strengths, etc." bunch of bullshit questions that they ask just make sure that you aren't a moron and can present yourself as a somewhat competent human being. But, word is that they need to hire an assload of engineers, so I'm thinking that this might be better than the Teradyne ones.

I also did some more prep work for my premier at this weekend's steeplechase. Mainly practicing water jumps and the like, after our workout that beat every ounce of speed out of my quads. I'm going to try to qualify for the ECAC championships, which requires a 9:52. The reason is that this is latest race I can reasonably qualify for, May 15. And that is when my parents are coming out, for my graduation.

I haven't talked to my mom for a couple days, she just started chemo last weekend. Apparently there is nothing better than shooting a person full of poison and cutting off parts of them to cure cancer. Her mastectomy is probably going to be either at the end of April or early May. Hopefully, she'll be fine enough for the trip out.

Needless to say, this is the reason I want to qualify for ECAC's: So my mom can see me run. She hasn't seen me race since high school. Is this incredibly self-centered, or a good thing? I donated $20 to my friend Hilary's Dana Farber Boston Marathon fund raising effort in the same spirit.

So, this need to qualify to please my parents (as well as find a job, I suppose) is driving most of my actions. Every time I start to feel the wind throw me around on the track, I think about how much time I need to drop on every lap in order to get that time. My legs turn faster, and it hurts, but it's motivated. Every time I'm lifting and the end of the set just won't come, I'm thinking of her when I crank out the last few reps. When I'm heading into the job interview, I think of mom, who won't be able to afford to pay my rent anymore, so I need this job.

Maybe it's bad, true. But I'm motivated. Stay strong Claudia. I will too.

Last week I started a new job: butler for a bed and breakfast. So far, it's been an interesting job. I'm using a lot of different skills, things I've learned in other occupations and experiences which have proven useful in this new job. I think I like it. Granted, I absolutely despise cleaning work, normally, but I'm finding this kind of cleaning work to be of a different sort entirely and actually quite pleasant. Who knew?

Anyway... last Friday one of our guests was a young woman from Boston, Jennifer, who was in Nashville to better acquaint herself with her own new employer, Terry. Terry is an editor for a major book publishing house- the kind with lots of big-name subsidiaries which nearly everyone in the sci-fi writing genre has heard of at one point or another. My new boss-lady got to talking with Terry for a short time and mentioned that I am a writer with some promising talent. So Terry poked around throughout the house to find me and then chated me up. Pleasant chit-chat. Turns out that he and I went to the same high school and lived in the same area of Dallas. He was a fan of my dad's and uncle's music. Holy shit, he'd even heard my own name through the grapevine somehow- mentioned a story or two I'd submitted to a few magazines, which had come up in conversation with another editor up in New York.

My skin began to crawl and I felt something which Spider-Man would easily identify with- some weird sense tingling at the back and forefront of my lobes.

Terry gave me his card, wrote down his personal email address on the back of it, asked me to send him some stories I'd written. He requested that I send him the best examples of my writing style/voice.

So, for the past week, amidst various life-trials, I have been agonizing over the cache of stories I've written over the past few years. I struggled for days, torn between the desire to send my favorite stories versus the ones which best represent me as a writer. It was probably one of the most painful processes I've ever gone through, as a writer and artist. The Editor in my brain was relentless.

I sent him three documents tonight: two short stories and the first chapter of a book I've been kicking around for close to two and a half years now.

I don't know what to expect now. I don't know if he wants to help me polish my writing or if he's looking for new talent or what.

I'm kinda scared. I'm kinda excited. I'm kinda ambivalent. I'm kinda curious. I'm kinda waiting.

Waiting is.

Why is that every woman I meet wants children? Why do they have "clocks" that keep "ticking" And why do I constantly attract these kinds of women?

And it isn't ever the ones who want kids someday...They want to be pregnant on the day after the honeymoon, have the kids' names picked out already, basically they only need the husband to be a seed factory and then a second nanny, It drives me insane!!

Even after I had asked my last girlfriend if she wanted children and she said "No"..she ended up really wanting 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl and had their names picked out already, how am I supposed to take this seriously??? Can the tell the future, and know what sex the baby is going to be beforehand? No, but they already have this all planned out and they will be damned if the husband has a say...utterly sickening.

This week it happened again, although I was only interested in this girl, she had a lot of the qualities I am looking for in a woman, and as a bonus I knew she had a crush on me. I had'nt actually asked her out yet. I had managed to slip in the question "What if you meet someone who is a nice guy but doesnt want kids?" Of course the answer was, "I only want someone that wants to start a family right away" It made me sick to my stomach.

So, since this seems to be the only kind of woman I have a chance of dating, I figured some self-examining was in order. Why do I hate children so?

I guess when it comes down to it, I believe once these women get their kids, I think they will more or less forget about me. So I guess that is being self-centered on my part. But there are other reasons I dont want kids also.

  • Kids are expensive.
  • Kids are a huge responsibility.
  • Kids are targets of sickos like Michael Jackson.
  • I do not want to raise a kid in this world, to know I am putting them in a dangerous situation.
  • As it stands now, when I hear a kid throw a tantrum, I cringe.

I always thought these were all valid reasons...then why do I feel so empty as I write this???

The current presidential campaign has made me do things I have never done before.

I donated money to Howard Dean's campaign more than once. I wrote letters for him to voters in North Carolina and Wisconsin. I donated money to a website and received an Anyone But Bush T-shirt for Lovey.

Today, I wrote my first letter to the editor. Allow me to share:

To the Editors,


George W. Bush and his backers at the black-tie event with radio and television journalists had a good laugh during a slide show lampooning his failed attempt to find WMD in Iraq. His arrogance and irresponsibility have reached a new low.

The Bush administration based its invasion of Iraq on neutralizing Saddam's WMD. They twisted flimsy evidence to send American troops to war, and the weapons have proven to be phantoms. So far, 585 soldiers have been killed and 3354 have been maimed in a war based on a myth.

So what does Mr. Bush do? He makes a joke of it.

War is the most serious duty a president can assign to his military, the most dire event he can bring to his country. His tasteless actions cheapen the sacrifice troops and their families have made.

Mr. Bush has neither explained nor apologized for his administration's actions leading up to 9/11 and the Iraq war. I doubt he will apologize for this latest proof of unsteady leadership.

Lovejoyman, Orlando, Florida

I would liked to have written more, but I'm aware of editorial page constraints. Why the mainstream media has not pounced on this is beyond me.

Every American should be screaming for impeachment.

Just as Monday have been deemed “Fear Factor” night, the other night was what we call “Survivor” night in my household. My kid has taken a liking to these shows and even though I’m not a really big fan of reality television, these shows seem rather tame in comparison to some of the other junk that serves as entertainment. After getting home from school and running the usual errands and whatnot, she asked if it was ok to play outside. Of course I said yes and off she went. After about an hour or so of jumping rope and playing hopscotch with the neighborhood kids, the time came for me to make dinner.

For the most part, I’m sure the vast majority of us have either boiled some hot dogs on their own or at the very least, seen somebody else doing it. For those of us who don’t care all that much about we ingest, it’s a cheap, quick dinner. The aroma that they leave behind kind of lingers in the kitchen and if you use enough condiments you can usually hide, or at least mask, the taste. The water that they boil in though seems to retain a fatty film that really doesn’t congeal like the rest of fats. It seems to form orange like bubbles that float on the surface and stare back you. Nothing like those images and smells of Ball Park Franks (hey, they plump when you cook ‘em!) to get the evening off to a roaring start.

But first…

I was in sort of a funky mood the other night. It was one of those kinds where you can’t put your finger on what’s bothering you but it’s clear to anybody around you that something is wrong. I figured a couple beers and some tunes might be just what the doctor ordered to shake me out of my malaise. It was actually starting to work. I felt a little bit inspired and started looking forward to the next day and any adventures that might be in store.

Eight O’ clock rolled around too fast. Borgette asked if she could put on “Survivor”. Being the fine, kind, understanding, patient, all around good guy that I am, I said yes and it wasn’t long before the music was shut off and my attention began to wander. Not to Survivor though…

I thought about a nice evening out. Of getting dressed up and actually trying to make an impression on somebody. Of fine dining with a wonderful woman over candlelight in a nice restaurant, Of nice conversations over shrimp cocktails, rare steaks, and fine scotch. Of the soft tinkling of the piano as it plays some unnamed jazz tune in the back round. Of rich desserts and Irish coffee. Of uttering the words “You look beautiful” over and over throughout the evening. Of late night whispers and promises. Of getting home and making love and falling asleep without nary a thought as to when I needed to get up again.

My thoughts are interrupted as my kid starts asking me what I thought about the show. Who would get voted off, what tribe did what to who, who did I think was going to win?.

I answer blandly at best. I start to wander around the house picking up various pieces of fuzz or scraps of paper left behind by the cat or the kid. I put my kid to bed, we go through our bedtime ritual. I wander into the kitchen and am greeted by the sight of dirty dishes and a pot full of hot dog water. I turn and walk out, it can wait for the morning, or until I get home from work the next day.

I make my way to the other room. I glance over at the pots where we planted the seeds the other day, I hope to see a sprout.

Well, it sure didn't take me long to fall off the wagon; missed two days of updates. Sorry.

Physical: My weight remains constant at 189 pounds. Because this is "technically" in my safe weight range for my height and build, I am pleased, but not entirely satisfied, with this. More crunches, and continuation of my current eating habits is required to reduce this. I have been doing crunches daily (the right kind; where you pull your gut in, not push it out).

Emotional: The strain of everything still weighs heavily on me. As she suggested it might, the raw pain I feel is morphing into a sort of dull ache. Whenever I see her body unclothed or barely covered, I long to reach for her and to touch her, but don't since that's no longer my privilege. Anytime I'm close enough to her (at a movie theater, a dinner table, in the car, in the same room for longer than a few minutes), I pick up her lovely scents (soap, shampoo, body odor, whatever) and they always make me feel good.

There are still times when the intense waves of pain, hurt, and loneliness return. I'm loathe to admit, though, that these are decreasing. I feel guilty as my mind begins to at least consider the possibility of "officially" releasing her exclusive hold of my heart's affection and my mind's faithfulness to her. Of course when you're being faithful to someone who doesn't want to date you or have sex with you anymore, it means you're not dating or fucking anybody :). The guilt is weird. Am I staying "faithful" to her and leaving myself available in the hope (possibly/probably in vain) that her heart may change its mind someday? Am I just afraid of getting back out there into the "singles scene" since I don't have a clue what to expect and don't want to get hurt again? Am I worried about hurting her feelings (pretty deeply, I think) if I do find someone else?

I don't know right now what the answer is. The good news is the "burning urge" to be with someone, anyone, has subsided entirely. Our friendship together remains strong, and she's proving herself a good, loving friend every day that passes. The fear that she's just going to toss me out on my ass is gone. I really am turning inward, but not in the bad way -- I spend time thinking things through and working on myself, instead of just racing out there for a new relationship.

It's good for a number of reasons, but most importantly among them is the fact that I'll emerge from this a stronger, better person, and a better mate for whoever I do ultimately end up with. I won't ignore the additional benefit that staying single means she still has a shot at me :) My mind seems to think that eventually, I'll have to stop waiting for her. Right now, though, my heart doesn't want to. Nobody else is "in line" for me that I know of, so my heart doesn't have to. I still love her, and no point in stopping right now. Given that she, too, is waiting for someone else right now, that might just work out fine. A lot can happen in a month or two. Seal's tune Don't Make Me Wait (Long) comes to mind, though. It's the not knowing part that generates lots of agony (and if you happen to be reading this, don't rule something out that you're unsure of just to spare me some suffering -- you're worth it, and if there's the slightest chance, I'll take it :)).

It's still weird to us both to revisit places we'd gone together on dates, knowing we're not dating anymore. The movie theater was weird tonight, for example. The only other time I'd gone to that theater was also with her. On the way out of the theater, we kissed a good amount in the elevator. It occurred to me tonight that that very night was our last real "date". It was the day after that she first told me she didn't think it was going to work out between us long-term. Sure, I opened up a lot and "salvaged" it for awhile, but we were only really "dating" for about a week after that before she decided, again, to give the other guy another shot.

Remembering that last date, and being back there tonight knowing I couldn't just lean in and kiss her beautiful lips, was hard as hell. Having said that, I don't want to stop doing things with her. We still work well together. I'm still her #2 in the company. It feels pretty damned good to know I'm second in command at a pretty impressive business. When she heads out on vacation next month, it's all in my hands. I'm glad she still trusts me enough to do that. She really is making good on her promise, so far, to keep me in her life.

That's what keeps me going sometimes.

In terms of sleep, well, here it is, 6:30am and I'm not even tired yet. I took Unisom three nights in a row (ending Friday morning when I got up), and I'm stopping that because it kept me asleep until 4:00pm.

I think I'm having some pretty nasty nightmares lately, too. I don't know this from remembering them, but from the fact that when she comes downstairs to wake me up each day, the past two days I've apparently all but lept out of my skin. She says when I wake up I'm just terrified, startled, and disoriented. I can vaguely remember this, but no details of the dreams.

Regardless, I'm clearly not enjoying the mindtrip she wakes me out of, so I'm grateful to her for doing so.

Spiritual: I haven't heard from my spirit guide Jacob for awhile now, but it's okay. I've tried to be more receptive to actually hearing from him, so I figure maybe right now the other side just doesn't have anything important to say to me. I'm okay with that. I try to talk to him and to God on occasion. Not much to say these days that I haven't already said. I suppose at some point I need to find the strength and trust to hand it all over to him for awhile (hey, maybe I need more help than I realize?). That's hard to find. I might manage it though. I hope so. I'm curious to see where he might lead me.

Financial: Not much change there. Got the car paid for at least. Now I'm just past due on NextCard and Discover, and I'm driving on expired tags on my Spyder. We'll see how things work out.

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