In Which We Have Three Views of the Same Time Frame

21 July 2003

One of you asked whether I accept birthday presents from journal readers I haven't met. I do, but I don't feel comfortable with large ones. So, a paperback book, fine; a convertible, not so much. A little moose trinket, fine; a mink coat, not so much. Is that clear enough? Is it also clear enough that time spent, e-mails, cards/letters, phone calls, etc. all count as birthday stuff that will make me happy? I hope so.

(Hmm. I don't want a convertible or a mink coat, but they were the typical expensive things I could think of. I also have all the diamond jewelry I could want in my life, and if I had to do it again knowing what I know now about diamond cartels, my wedding ring would have something different in it. I have very expensive taste, but not in the usual ways. More in the take-me-to-Iceland way. And I want things that will cost a lot of money proportionally -- a house, for example, and rugs and furniture for that house and probably stuff to fix it up. But I don't need those things to be on the expensive end for houses, rugs, furniture, etc.)

Watch me avoid going on about rugs, floors, installed vs. inherent crown molding, etc. I really do try not to bore people with this stuff, but when I was on the phone with Scott, he kept responding with actual sentences and not just, "Mmhmm," and even asking questions. What was I to do? I ask you.

Sigh. For me, the crushing angst of leaving Minneapolis for California was tempered: I did Omaha in the middle. (And don't you tell me I'm being melodramatic. I am crushed not to be in Minneapolis right now, and it hurts.) I'll visit my folks in Omaha when I live in Minneapolis, so I only cried a little when I was leaving Minneapolis. And then when I was leaving Omaha, I would have liked to stayed on a bit longer, but not indefinitely; it's not where I'm going. So there was that, and I never got to leave the Minneapolis airport the day I left. It's not that way for Timprov now. It won't be that way in September when we've been looking for houses (I know I've said August -- in all likelihood, we'll go in August and come back in September). It's a sinking feeling, facing it, and yet the goal is clear, and the goal is coming up, quickly. When I contemplate the goal, it hardly seems that I'll have enough time to reroute our mail and pack our books.

I should spend more time contemplating the goal, since the rest of the time it feels like I will experience every nanosecond until then in soul-grinding detail. I have moments of, "Oh, man, more than two whole months to get through," and moments of, "Oh, crap, only a little over two months to get all this done!" What I need to cultivate is the moments of, "Hey, only nearing two months, not bad, I can handle that on all fronts." Except that sometimes those cultivated moments feel pretty delusional.

The back doesn't help, of course, and I'm hanging on to the idea of Dr. Bill's return. It also doesn't help that it hurts when I swallow about half the time. Which is almost worse than if it was all the time, because it sneaks up on me in the middle of breakfast: enjoyment, enjoyment, enjoyment, pain! I didn't sign on for pain! I was having a Nu-tilla!

Crab crab grump grump. I know. I'm sorry.

The picnic was fine, but I could feel the remove at which I was attending. I talked to one of Vince and Chelle's high school friends, who has a PhD in acoustics and lives in Berkeley, and I didn't really try to see if this guy could be a friend. Mostly I just did polite-stranger chat, just like I did with the woman who was up from L.A., and for the same reason: we don't live in the same area. Not any more, not really. I already don't see enough of the Berkeley geeks I have -- I don't need to acquire another at this juncture. But it's very strange for me to be at that kind of remove, to not think in terms of finding more in common with a person and gauging how much our senses of humor overlap and so on. To just be chatting politely. Usually the other is automatic for me.

That sounds really cheesy, doesn't it? "Usually I go through life trying to make friends with everybody!" It's not that, though, it's that I try to find the friends thrust under my nose. People tend to pop up like that. It's good to be able to sniff 'em out. I can't say I make friends with every good friend-candidate I meet (hee -- sorry -- that just seems like a really silly way of putting it), but usually I'm open to the possibility. Yesterday, nope. No possibilities there. I'm not from here, and here's not where I'm going, either.

I worked on "Gilding the Dandelion" and the Not The Moose Book yesterday, and I have the silly feeling that I really can do all this, in the time frame desired. I don't have any reason to feel that way about it, since I'm almost certainly over-committed, especially when I'm also committed to not driving myself nuts with work in the next two months. Not very nuts, that is.

Finished reading the Gould yesterday and remained spectacularly unconvinced. I just finished rereading L.M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon for the first time in at least a decade, probably a little longer than that. It's the same Montgomery who wrote Anne of Green Gables, but I was always much fonder of the Emily books. I enjoyed this one again. Without rereading the whole series or the Anne series at all, I think one thing this book had over the Anne books is that Ilse could whup Diana's butt all over town. It's the difference between having a best friend and having a sidekick -- Diana was always Anne's sidekick, and neither Emily nor Ilse would stand for having a sidekick, much less being one.

Very much a girlybook, but that's okay sometimes.

I'm going to read F&SF next.

Well, I'm going to read F&SF for the next thing I read. Next, I'm going to finish the grocery list and go to the post office, possibly Target, Office Despot, and the grocery store. There are so many contingencies in my plan for the day, it's not even funny. I can't let the list eat my brain. I think that's the goal for the day: follow list, do not allow list to eat brain.

I'm not sure if it's helpful that I now have Vanya's voice in my head crowing, "Eat brains! Eat brains!" I'm not sure what kind of day that would make this. The kind of day I'm having, I guess.

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