Monday, September 27th 2004

posted @ 4:04 pm in [ ]
She awoke again in the ‘vert, this time to droplet prisms on its rear window as thousands of tiny suns rose behind it. She stretched on her way back to the driver’s seat, started it up, backed onto the dirt track that had brought her here, turned around, and began to think of going home.

She stopped at the first diner, sharp and ravenous. Eggs, toast, coffee, more eggs, pancackes, hash browns… she felt as if she hadn’t eaten in days. She was sure she had, but she had no memory of the food itself, what she had eaten, and what it had been like. She remembered something about mixed fruit jelly in the little plastic square bubbles, yet it remained entirely surprising, as if the experience had been implanted in her without her actually having had it. It was so good–why couldn’t you get these things in the supermarket? She got a large coffee for the road and set out.

The trip home was quick and direct. Getting found was easier than getting lost. Late afternoon shadows reached toward her from the city where she lived, and she pulled up to her apartment building as the stars would have been lighting up the desert sky again. She couldn’t see the piercing starlight from there–just the whining sodium lights of city parking lots and streets. She gathered her things from the ‘vert: the camera, the bottles of Jose, the suitcase with a few quick getaway items, the bag of drive-thru trash, the receipts from diners and gas stations and the Desert Inn, and went inside, half hoping her key wouldn’t open the door.

Once inside, she was comforted by familiar scents. The apartment was again sparse, no plants, no fish, but it still smelled like the sagebrush and pinon pine incense she liked. Her photos were all still there, and so was her bed, and everything else that was just hers. The things that were gone were only the things she didn’t miss: the hard leather couch, Alan’s law books, his half-dozen or so corkscrews. She hadn’t wanted to come home to any of those things. The red velvet garage sale couch was pushed into a corner, presumably so Alan could get his knockoff Persian rug out from under it. She moved it back to its place of honor, then glanced at the few pieces of mail that had come through the silent brass slot in the door. There were no messaages on her answering machine, for which she was grateful.

She put the clothes from her suitcase into the washing machine and went downstairs to the shops along the next block of her street. She dropped off her film so she could later choose the next addition to the photo wall. The Desert View Inn, maybe, or the arroyo from last night. She got a few groceries, which the bag boy somehow managed to place in the bag so it looked like a still life, a tip of bread and some green leafiness poking out of the top. In a smaller bag, she carefully carried a new addition to her apartment: a small spiky cactus, round like a grooved barrel, with the promise of a bright pink bud on top. It should be fine, she thought, if she had to go away again, and it would be nice to have another living thing in her space. She found a spot for it on the windowsill and looked at the mail again.

Between the few bills and pieces of junk mail, there was a postcard of a small, slender, green-eyed coyote on a high mesa, the points of his fur glowing in the fading light. “I’m still thinking of you,” it said. “Just found out I’ll be in town next week and I’d like to see you if that’s OK.” It wasn’t signed. She smiled and set the postcard down next to her new cactus. Would it be a small grinning coyote at the door next week, or the equally beautiful and unpolished Seth? She wrote “pork chops” on the shopping list for next week, curled up in the center of her own bed, and fell asleep without dreaming of Alan, Jose, or hard couches, just the endless dome of desert sky.

Saturday, September 25th 2004

My bike wealth increases geometrically!
posted @ 12:54 pm in [ ]
I will finish the storyline, I promise. In the meantime, though, I’ve finished up at the bike shop for the season. Before that happened, I accumulated more bikes. I had two, now I have four. While it seems like this is a lot of bikes to have for someone with only one ass, it’s not unusual in the industry or for enthusiasts to have several bikes.

I bought a new cruiser for the Moonlight Classic several weeks ago. It’s an Electra Townie, which initially I thought were really stupid, but the Townie, which is sort of feet-forward, feels so good on my back (nothing feels good on my back) that I not only got over it, I started to actively like it. I built that one myself. It’s fun to own and ride a bike I made. Often, I build them and then never see them again. Occasionally, a bike I built will come into the shop for adjustments or repair. I recognize my own work, and I like seeing how well it’s wearing.

I also bought a friend of mine’s mountain bike. It’s a Specialized, black and yellow, with XT and XTR components, a screaming deal for what I paid for it, and it helped my friend out to be able to sell it when he did. I had to do a little bit of work on it to make it rideable, but it’s good to have an actual mountain bike with actual suspension. I figure it will get me through to a time when I can afford some kinda full suspension setup.

I still have my road bike, a Miyata frame with Campi components. I don’t ride it all that often, but I hope to participate in some events next season where I’ll really need it. I like to train on heavier bikes and then be knocked out by how fast it is.

I also still have my old hybrid, my first grownup bike, now about 12 or 13 years old. I’ve put thousands upon thousands of miles on it, and it’s still a good errand bike, but it’s starting to need a lot of work to keep it going (i.e., about to become a money pit), so I’m easing it into retirement.

So there’s now a real crowd of bikes in the shed. I suppose I will have to put some ceiling hooks in there or something, at least hang them up. That, or grow some more butts.

Monday, September 6th 2004

Of endings and beginnings
posted @ 10:43 am in [ ]
I barely recognize my life of about 6 months ago. This is actually rather a good thing–there isn’t much I miss about February and early March. As a chaoticist, I hope that the equilibrium of my life stabilizes right about here. But first another little flurry of turbulence.

This week:
* 2 days off (today and Thursday), jealously guarded. Planning on finishing what I hope will be my approved dissertation prospectus.
* I have an interview to teach an online globalization course at DU in the winter.
* Returning to the dance studio for work and classes. This is a good thing, I have started to feel unbelievably squishy in the last two weeks, and I really miss my get-well job and the folks at the studio. I will likely change ballet classes and possibly pick up a fifth class, as I’ve been curious about trying hip hop.
* Jobs: DeVry course, dance studio, bike shop (reduced hours).

Next week:
* Monday, I will meet with a faculty member about replacing someone on my dissertation committee. If he agrees, I think I can look forward to a relatively smooth, speedy process. This is the last best point to make the transition: before the signatures land on my prospectus and my project is approved. Meanwhile, my most trusted committee member will be talking to the member who is to be ousted. This is mostly because he rather hates my project and I don’t want to deal with his internal/academic/political issues while I’m writing a book or have to rely on someone so unbelievably moody and busy. I want support and constructive criticism and NO CRAP. He’s done a good job of getting me to this point, but I see senseless roadblocks ahead if he stays on, so I’m trying to gently vote him off the island.
* I will start 2 different TA positions at school–both blessedly pleasant and well-paying. One for my trusted committee member leading a discussion section, and the other, returning to the distance-learning course.
* My last week at the bike shop. Maybe for the season, maybe forever. I had a great season, accomplished what I wanted to, and am leaving on excellent terms. I would feel okay about not going back in the spring, especially if I’m making good money doing other things. If I went back, I would likely try to do it just a couple of days a week. It takes a lot of time and doesn’t pay all that well, but is really satisfying in other ways, especially with good management, as Matt has turned out to be.
* Beginning nonlinear dynamics discussions in my DeVry class.
* First meeting of Arts for All in about a month and a half.
* Jobs: Dance studio, bike shop, DeVry, distance learning course, GSIS. 10-12 hour days all week long until Saturday, a mere 8.

Following week:
That’s the plan, anyway.