Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cabin Fever

an exact replica of my front yard

I am suffering from some serious cabin fever brought on by the debilitating heat.

Here I have my big list of projects I want to complete, but I'm not really interested in painting right now, and my personal trainer is absorbing my extra money that would ordinarily go toward buying light fixtures, etc. All that leaves me are my outdoor projects, and I have no desire to work in this extended summer heat. I can't plant anything. It's too darn dry. And I definitely don't want to start my landscaping renovations while sitting outside breaks a sweat.

I've already made the conscious decision to pretend it's fall by wearing scarves and sweaters to school despite what temperatures it might be outside my band hall walls. Trying to time taking my doglets out on a walk is hard with my school schedule while still waiting for it to cool down enough for their low to the ground tummies not to rotisserie on the pavement. AND my electric bill is crazy as I require 69 degrees for a proper night's sleep.

I am sooooo over this weather.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Decade Revisited

I realize I'm a day early, but my mind is thinking of it now, so I'll explore it now.

I really can't believe that September 11th was 10 years ago. I, like most of you, remember exactly where I was at the exact moment I heard. I was a sophomore in college, in the shower of my dorm, getting ready for my 9:30 Geosciences class. The shampoo was in my hair when I heard a girl run in to tell her roommate, who was brushing her teeth, that we had been bombed... well not bombed, but hit by a plane. I heard this and couldn't understand what exactly that meant... We'd been hit by a plane? The girl was almost unintelligible because she was talking so fast, but my first thought was 'Are going to war?' followed immediately by 'Are we going to start a draft?' I was thinking solely of my boyfriend at the time, wondering if he would be sent away to some foreign country against his will because someone hit us with a plane... I still didn't understand what that meant.

I rinsed out my hair, didn't bother with conditioner or anything else (which if you've read my curly hair page you know is just wrong), and wrapped myself up in a towel so I could go into the commons room on my floor where probably 20 girls were crowded around the big screen TV watching the news. Everyone was silent. I was only in there for about 10 seconds before they replayed the video we've all seen probably 1000 times too many - the first plane hitting the tower. I was not the only one seeing it for the first time, and we were differentiated from the rest by our sudden gasps and subsequent holding of breaths. The others merely continued watching in shocked silence. It wasn't long after that the silence turned to tears for many of the girls as we watched the second plane hit and the reports of the other two rogue planes were linked to it all. Contrary to what we all quietly hoped, this was not a horrible accident, and the world would be eternally different.

Not a week before, I had been talking with my boyfriend and some of our friends about how every generation has their war. We wondered if we were finally at a point in civilization that our generation would skip that. It's funny how the universe chooses to wait for those "knock on wood" phrases to escape our lips before acting... not that I truly believe that conversation was the catalyst for a decade of tragedy, but on more than one occasion that day I eerily thought back to our words just days prior.

Gas jumped 80 cents to $1.88 in a few hours. I remember this because, unlike the mob of crazy people that instantly decided they needed to stock up on gas, I was running on fumes and had to wait in line for more than half an hour just to fill up. I didn't have a cell phone to talk to my parents while I waited, so I was forced to listen to the radio reports and replays of the mornings events. It was bizarre and surreal and more than my 19 year old frame of mind knew how to process.

As I consider where I was 10 years ago, I have thought a lot this week about where I have been in the 10 years that followed. First of all, you know you are a full-fledged adult when you have an abundance of clear memories from 10 or more years ago. :) I feel like even though we label childhood and adolescence as "the formative years", the past decade has shaped me in ways the first two could not even reference.

I saw my first national tragedy, had my heart completely broken for the first time, and took my first stab at the reinvention of Darcy. I took on my first students, long before a piece of paper called me a teacher, and realized reinvention was merely growth. I got my first B, took my first (and last) attempt of holding two jobs, and got fired for the first (and last) time. I experimented for the first (and also last) time with dying my hair, and although I will probably never do that again until I encounter more than the occasional grey hair, I do make a good red head. I went to Europe for the first time, following that up with 4 other trips, and made my first legitimate effort at using a foreign language for real. I got my first tattoo and pierced my nose for the first time (oh yes, there will be a second... even if it's when I retire). I accepted my first "real" job, lived alone for the first time, and bought my first new car. I had my first experiences of dating as a working adult, got married (for the first time...), and took out our first mortgage. I got my first dog, decided a first wasn't enough, and got a second... and a third. I went to the Smithsonian for the first time, won my first contest, and painted the first of many walls. I learned to make my first crochet chain. I got my first power tool (a circular saw) for Christmas. I put down my first pet. I learned for the first time just how untrusting one can be of "the system". I lost my first husband and learned a whole lot of firsts with that. I bought my first DSL camera and took the first picture where I thought I knew what I was doing. I learned to make my first t-shirt necklace and bought my first voluntarily-purchased dress. I, for the first time, am feeling pressure in my job that I honestly need help to alleviate. AND... I saw my first muscle in my arm the other day. :)

The last decade has left me at the point that I actually feel like I kinda know who I am, what I stand for, and maybe more importantly what I absolutely do NOT stand for. I realize that virtually none of this has anything to do with the actions of terrorists, but it is where my mind takes me as I contemplate one of only a handful of days I will never forget.

Project for the day: unpack everything I packed when I though my house might burn down and pack up a lot of what I decided was okay to burn to give to Goodwill.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I am the master of my fate

Poetry is rarely my outlet, but I serendipitously found this poem last night that, while slightly more graphic that I would necessarily write, embodies much of what I have found in myself.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

                  -William Ernest Henley