Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And a little crabby too

Last night, I was invited out for a drink with some very close friends. We usually just hang out at somebody's house, but last night, we went out (in anticipation of another friend's birthday, actually). Anyway, I just ordered a coke, and the whole time I was there, I wanted to leave. In fact, Dereck was halfway through his Bloody Mary when I announced that we had to leave after that drink because I had things to do at home.

What I had to do was put Sam to bed and write a post about last night's episode of House. Not very pressing, either of them. Sam was okay either way, and the post could have waited for morning. I don't know why, but I very urgently felt that I needed to be at home, and then to stay at home. So, when the birthday friend arrived at the DuKum and I received multiple text messages, I begged off.

Nothing significant to report as a result of that. Sam kept texting me from his bed because he couldn't sleep. He had taken a nap after school, so today, I am trying to keep him from collapsing from the tired. Tommy was then up with his cold. Christian was then up trying to get ear plugs into his ears because Tommy has been snoring.

The kids were bouncing up and down like jacks in the box. I finally just gave up myself and headed to my bed. Where I heard Sam creaking as he turned in bed, where I sighed and tried various sleep positions, where the phone rang at 1:43, and I had to get up at 2:15 finally to settle loud bickering from the younger set's room. Christian was keeping Tommy awake to prevent the snoring, and Tommy was weeping with exhaustion. I settled Christian into the TV room futon and stumbled back to bed. By this time, Dereck was awake and feeling frisky, but I kissed him and soundly fell asleep, so he got up and started taking quizzes on Facebook.

I was amazed this morning when the kids got up and got themselves ready for school according to schedule. I thought for sure they'd all sleep in and then wake in a panic. I would have kept Tommy home with his cold except they are doing state testing this week and I get text messages several times a day stressing the importance of attendance. And actually, Tommy was the only kid in a half-way decent mood this morning.

So, we are all tired. I would have slept in later today, but my guilt at the fact that my family had to push through the tired kept me from doing so. As a result, I don't feel like going to karaoke tonight or doing much else, either. Did I mention that we are all tired?

I think this is why I don't blog more often. I find my life boring to write about. And, yes, a little boring to live. We had a very nice weekend with friends with St. Louis. We got snowed in with a delightful baby boy, and there was lots of knitting and crocheting and lots of episodes of House. It was very pleasant, but that doesn't sound very interesting to read about, does it?

Right now, at this period of my life, which is recurrent by the way, I am so bored and depressed with living in this town. I will be 40 in April. Turning 30 didn't bother me: I had three kids, owned a house, was starting grad school.

Turning 40 only bothers me because I no longer feel like I have my life stretched out ahead of me. When you're in your twenties, your life is stretched out, but you don't see all of the possibilities. You see the blank sheet of paper that you're terrified to write on. You edit yourself, you hold back, or you don't see all of the possibilities-- you only see the blank sheet.

Now that the past twenty years of my life has already been written, I can look back and see so much room for editing. That point where I got married right after college graduation? That could have been filled with grad school, travel to Europe, and/or Peace Corps. I could have followed my dreams of being a writer and moved to New York City to pursue it. And then maybe I wouldn't feel so much contempt for the other people I see driving their kids to school. I sometimes feel like this town, these people, well, none of us really matter. Our lives don't matter. We are just a small blot on the planet. People in NYC or Chicago or LA are somehow living lives more vividly, in living color. And as a result, I find I don't take particular care for my appearance here-- because I just don't care.

So, my biggest problem with turning 40 is that I am still living here, have lived here for FIFTEEN YEARS. That seems huge to me. How many years have I lost? How many dreams are dead now? How many can I revive? I can see the light at the end of the tunnel: Tommy will graduate from high school seven years from now. I will be 47. What will I have time for? If I get the PhD, will I be able to get a job? Will I be able to move? If I move, will I discover that I don't matter any more than I do here, that the people there don't matter, that it doesn't make any difference?

I have always hated the adage to bloom where you're planted. That is just stupid to me: Instead, go plant yourself somewhere else! Why would I want to settle for this????

Then, I think in terms of practicalities: It takes me 5 minutes to get everywhere. We can afford to live here (sometimes! Ha ha ha!). The kids are safe. We have great friends here, and the people here ARE great, my disdain notwithstanding. How will we meet people if we move? We will move anonymously through bigger supermarkets and have more anonymous Starbucks to go to, but we will lose connections to place and people that we have here.

I don't know what the answers are. I don't know what about my life I will regret. One friend tells me that I have books in me to write. I had better start writing them. Part of my problem isn't just the fatigue that I have written about over and over. Everyone is tired. EVERYONE is tired. That's what happens when you reach a certain age. My problem is my refusal to start new projects unless I feel as perfectly refreshed as the princess without her pea. Now that I work at home, I don't push through the tired. I go to bed. So, I need to start doing more when I'm tired. I need to make my bucket list (oh, please forgive me).

Did I mention that I'm a little tired today?

But I'm not going to take a nap. I am going to print out a knitting pattern and start knitting it, and I am going to start thinking about what I'd like the rest of my life to look like.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Makes me to laugh

My youngest came home with this joke last night, and it never fails to make me laugh when I think about it.

Two men were sitting at a bar, drinking. The bartender washed dishes behind the bar and watched them. The first man drank a shot, jumped out the window, and came back in another window. Then he sat back down.

The second man asked, "How did you do that?"

The first man shrugged. Then, he drank another shot, jumped out the window again, and again returned through another window.

The second man drank a shot and jumped out the window, plunging to his death 50 feet below.

The bartender said to the first man: "You're mean when you're drunk, Superman."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Things are tough all over

Things continue. I suppose that is the only thing we really have, isn't it? The inescapable knowledge that whatever our troubles or pleasures, life marches on.

And by "things continue," I mean "things continue to suck." The depression hasn't lifted; however, it has taken on a new form and shape. On Saturday, we went to our accountant to have our taxes done. In spite of saving last year, the fact that we had to get a new roof and a new water heater, and the fact that we traveled some last summer, all contributed to meaning that we didn't save enough. I have almost half of what we owe.

I am horrified. I mean, almost paralyzed by this. I have vacillated between a wild range of emotions since we found out. When we walked out to the parking lot, I knew that Dereck had some errands to run. I said, "Take me home so I can change my clothes and get drunk."

We got home and I burst into tears in the driveway. Then I went into the studio, lit a cigarette, collapsed on the couch and cried some more. On the one hand, we aren't the only people who have gotten screwed like this with taxes. But after the two projects I finish up in the next two weeks, I have nothing else in the hopper. Nothing. And now, after every cent I earn, I have to pay present AND past taxes. We can set up a payment program with the IRS and it will probably take us FOUR YEARS to pay it off.

I texted my friend John that I was on a mission, and he came over within the half hour. I changed into shorts and a T-shirt and we sat in the studio watching House and drinking cider while I chainsmoked. By the time I sent inside for a nap, my problems hadn't gone anywhere, but I didn't care anymore. Mission accomplished.

On Sunday, I was cautiously optimistic. I took the Kathy Howe approach that I could view this as an opportunity to grow my business. I started researching research institutes to which I could send promotional letters.

Yesterday, I was despondent. I watched some of the TV that I had to write about for ClickClaque, and then I went out to the studio to work on a deadline. I sat out there for three hours, chainsmoking, paralyzed. I have a black ashtray in my studio. I clean it out frequently, and then I watch again as it has first one butt in it and a little bit of ash. By the time I clean it out, it is covered in ash, has a couple of bottle lids in it, sometimes crumpled foil from a new cigarette pack, and I am searching for places where I can ash without the ashtray flowing over. Then, I take a Walmart bag, dump the ashtray, tie a knot, throw the bag away and start again.

By the time Dereck came home from a work dinner, I was nearly catatonic. I hadn't eaten dinner, and when I walked into the house to use the bathroom, I found that the dog had emptied the trash, the compost, and the cat food all over the kitchen floor. I went back out the studio and lit another cigarette. That's when Dereck found me. I told him what the dog had done, and when I had finished the cigarette, went into the house and helped him clean up the mess. That's the second time I've cleaned up that mess in a couple of days.

Then, we drove up to get the kids from their father's house. In the car, I told Dereck that I am leaving Kirksville. He said, "What are you saying to me?"

I said, "You can come too. But I can't stay here. I am not staying here for the rest of my life. I can't have a real career here. I am so sick of the uncertainty of self-employment and the worry. When Tommy graduates from high school, I am gone. You can come with me; you have six or seven years to figure out what you want to do."

So, he wondered if he should start looking now, and I said, "Yes."

We were pretty silent for the rest of the ride after that.

I perked a bit for the kids. I am sure they always know when something is wrong, but I decided not to tell them about this. Sam worries about money anyway. They wouldn't be able to NOT freak out about this. Even if by some miracle we turn out to be okay sooner than we think, they wouldn't be able to shut this off. So, I'm not telling them. I turn vague when Sam says his friend has a nicer cell phone than he does (Sam hasn't asked for a new phone in two years-- why now?), and try to put the kids off at the grocery store when they want to buy two bags of Chex Mix.

Fortunately, we've never been rich. But we have been able to escape relying on a strict grocery budget up to now, and we've been easily able to get a couple of new books at Hastings when we want to. Sam needs new shoes; I am worried.

When we got home last night, the dog had gotten into the garbage in the studio and strewn it all over. I was so furious that I took my grocery bags into the kitchen and as I reached below the sink for garbage bags, I slammed the cabinet hard about four times, cursing the dog as I did so. I went out to the studio and sat down and calmly picked up one piece of trash at a time.

Two friends called and suggested some House. It's the remedy for everything. We have been watching House together since Season 1 episode 1 this winter, and we are half way through Season 3 now. I went into my house, calmed myself down, put my children to bed, and then went out to the studio for more cider, cigarettes and television. I excused myself at 11:30 and put myself to bed so quietly that Dereck didn't even realize I had come into the house.

In spite of my early bed time (that IS early for me), I still went back to bed this morning after taking kids to school. It was raining, so I got up again at 8:45 and picked up John to take him to work so he wouldn't be a puddle. We went to McDonald's and ran downtown for him, and then I dropped him off. I knew I was probably awake enough to get up and begin work with coffee. I went back to bed until noon.

After I got up and showered and dressed and went out to the studio to work, my phone rang. It was my friend Rebecca from one of my client sites. She had contacted me on Facebook and wanted to know if we could just chit chat this week, catch up. So, when she called, I knew it was her and I was expecting it. I told her what was going on. She said that she had really just wanted to chat, but at a meeting fifteen minutes earlier, she had been asked to check on my availability for a grant that has a deadline of April 27. That's the day before my birthday. I told her I was available. We talked for about 45 minutes more.

I got off the phone with her with a renewed sense that maybe I can make self-employment work; apart from the work they may have for me in April, she seemed to think that there is plenty of work out there. It's just a matter of FINDING it. It's tedious, but is it worse than committing myself to a 9-t0-5 job that I hate?

I wonder. Last night, I was staring off into space on our drive and thinking that what I want most in the entire world is financial security. However, I am also leery of The Monkey's Paw way of thinking. Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you wish for.

I always think of the advice one of my friends at the university here once gave me. I was still in graduate school, looking for jobs, and I told her, "I just want a job that will put food on my table and a roof over my head."

She fixed me with a stare and said, "If that is all you look for, that is all you are going to find."

It's so hard in the face of financial crisis not to ask for the bare minimum of what will take the edge off the anxiety and pain and worry. Yesterday, I was so anxious as I sat and smoked that my palms kept sweating. I was trying to type to my friend Mary P. in Ottawa, and I had to keep wiping my hands on my shorts in able to type. I have never actually hyperventilated, but I have certainly felt lately like I might.

I don't what is worse: This acute depression or the lingering, dull depression that plagued me for the first part of winter. Neither of them is good.

Today, before and after that phone call, after I had dressed for the day, I sat and worked on a project that is due at the end of the week. I worked on it until 5:00 p.m., and I might work on it more tonight. Jes and Elliot and Beth are coming up this weekend, and I'd like to be able to have Thursday afternoon at the very least to clean for their visit. Tomorrow, I should get another call about the April grant, and hopefully know more by the end of the week.

I am grateful for the call; I am grateful that news like this comes along to save me. However, I feel too much like a yo yo right now to actually be happy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My funny family

In the absence of anything really interesting to share with you, I thought I'd pass along some links to some new blogs I've been reading.

Full disclosure: These people are all members of my extended family. And they are all terrific, funny writers. I have been cracking up reading these this afternoon. Well, not all afternoon. But you get the point.

One Magpie is written by my second cousin (first cousin once removed?) Charles's wife Erica. I have never met her. She is completing her MFA in creative writing, and he just got accepted to the program. Writing runs in the family, even when we get married it seems.

Smells Funny
is written by Charles's older brother Ed. He is funny as hell. You should read at least the first page of the blog.

Five Crows
is written by Charles and Ed's mother Louise. She taught one of my writing classes when I was at BYU. She is married to my mother's first cousin Tom. My mother was born to Blanche and Perry; Tom's parents were Elva and Gail. Elva and Blanche were sisters. Perry and Gail were brothers. My mother and Tom were born 12 days apart. Louise has published a bunch of books now too. She was one of the hardest professors I ever had, bless her soul.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Books Books Everywhere and Not a Word to Read

I'm in between books. And I am coughing up a lung (status: Three weeks and unchanged). I stayed up waaaaay too late last night, so I am exhausted. I have been pushing fluids. We are almost out of milk, but I am too tired to go get more milk, though I want to drink milk.

But I hate being in between books. The thing is, it's not like I don't have loads of books around that I haven't read. Either my dad sent them to me, or I purchased them with every intention of reading them and then chickened out.

I have to be careful what I read: If I read something too upsetting, it just makes the depression worse. I tend to do all right at movies, but reading is a whole different ball game.

So, I toyed today with the idea, in the name of frugality, of trying to read some of the books I have instead of wanting to go purchase more (because, let's face it, with the crap I read, I can get a new novel or three while I'm buying more milk). It makes sense to shop your own bookcases, right?

Off to Amazon.com I went and typed in the names of some of the books on my shelves that I haven't yet read. And review after review, I realized that I cannot read these books. They are about harrowing events, children who have grown up with sexual abuse and parents who are alcoholics. I am sure these books are finely written, but they are also, just by their reviews, devastating.

So, I have decided that I will shop the kids' bookcases first. I am sure I can find something there that won't push me over the edge.

In the meantime, do you have any good book recommendations for me? That don't contain utter tragedies in them?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My hands are rough. On my palms and finger tips, for maybe the past week or two, my hands have been covered with tiny white blisters. The blisters peel almost instantaneously, leaving little broken white pieces of skin attached to my fingertips and the heel of my hand.

This also leaves my fingertips red and raw-looking. Today is the first day it's started to hurt, just a teeny bit.

Before any blisters appeared, my palms showed little red dots underneath the skin, as though they pushed through the skin to form the blisters.

Dr. Google suggests it is a form of eczema that comes and goes. Dr. Google tells me it is stress related.

I'll buy that for a dollar.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Money money money

It's all about the Benjamins these days. I should be working right now, as a matter of fact. I have two projects to work on. I think I'm scared-- scared that I don't know how to do this anymore, when, in fact, it's a lot like riding a bike. What I need to do is go out to the studio, pop a DVD of House in and just do the work. Instead, I am sitting in my living room, listening to Rent, and blogging.

Back to money. We have been having some serious conversations this week about where we can cut corners. Last Thursday, for the first time, we went grocery shopping at Aldi's. I have never been there before, and from what others have told me about it-- dirty, bad produce, no shopping bags, extremely cheap-- I was scared to go. So, the fact that we decided to do our shopping there felt ominous: Okay, here we go, we have hit rock bottom. We are shopping at Aldi's.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was clean, organized, the produce looked fine, they had really an amazing selection to choose from. We got almost everything on our list there, and saved, we estimate, between $40-$60 on our groceries. That makes shopping at Walmart or Hy-Vee hard to justify, except for things like meat.

One of the reasons we have been talking about money is that last week I made a misstep when I was making credit card payments and left myself with very little money with which to get through the rest of the month... unless I run the cards back up, which I'd like to avoid.

In the midst of conversations about getting rid of cable and eating out less, deciding not to head down to Dem Days in Hannibal (thereby saving $50 on a dinner and $70 on a hotel; we spent about $20 going to see Watchmen instead), an old college friend (haha, you're 40, so you're old!) invited me to read his blog about the recession and how he and his family are handling it. It's a sobering read. He and his wife are both artists, so things are tight.

One of my friends here in town, though, is defying the odds by landing his first professional job (he's a young 'un). So great is his relief that for the first time he has been telling me stories about the poverty he has faced during his college career: Eating raw potatoes; sitting on the steps of his apartment listening to his landlord pound on his door asking for rent... Stories that made my jaw drop. He wins: I've never known that kind of poverty. And Aldi's actually gave me a lot of piece of mind: We will probably be able to feed our family just fine. The kind of poverty that we are facing means that we will have to think more seriously about spending money for entertainment, not that we are in imminent danger of losing our home. It's very different. And we are very lucky.

I have two projects to work on-- and I can't bill for them until I work on them. I have one more coming in next week. Sometimes I look at the statcounter for my business website and feel happy-- people are looking! And then days go by with no email and no calls and I feel despondent.

I toyed with the idea of applying for a position at the university. I am not yet ready to change careers, though. If I got the position (big if), I would surrender days of complete freedom, summers with my children, the flexibility to fly out to care for my parents at a moment's notice. I would rather continue having faith in my company and hoping that more projects will come. How long can I continue to do that? How long before I have to face "facts" and change careers? I could get a job at the convenience store to tide us over, or some other kind of fast food job. In some ways, that kind of solution is preferable to a career change. A career change would involve a commitment. A commitment to not quitting, to making the best of that choice. I am not yet ready for a career change.

I realize how this sounds: It's easy, when you are on the outside, to say, "Get over yourself. Get a fucking job. Support your family. Get your head out of your ass and do your projects."

Or, perhaps, to say to my artist friends, "What are you thinking? If you can't afford to be an artist, then maybe you should get a real job."

It's hard to explain why we can't.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I thought you might find this amusing

I recently took a chance on adding one of my ex-husband's friends as a Facebook friend. He recently commented that he was going out to his car in a parking garage, and I asked them if there was a strange man sitting in this car... this time. So, he posted a story this incident, which I later wrote a poem about.

So, without further ado:

Get the f*** out of my car!
Per request:

The infamous story was that I went back to my car in my downtown work parking garage after a Springsteen concert some years ago (about midnight). The garage was mostly empty as it was where I parked for work, and my brother (the cop) and I had walked to the concert from there. I opened my door--and found some guy sitting in my car! It was a really cold January night, and I assumed he was a homeless guy looking for shelter. That was my first thought. My second thought was then "why does a cold homeless guy have a large screwdriver, and what is wrong with the face of my radio?"

Ah, crap. I'm being robbed, I then thought. And, I realized, he's using MY screwdriver to rip out my radio! Now, keep in mind, it's midnight and there's no one around (my brother is waiting on the top floor of the garage in his pickup, waiting for me to drive up from a floor down; "You wait up here; I'll be fine" were my last words to him). This is not a good situation.

So, I yelled at him, "What are you doing in my car?!" He has this shocked look on his face, but does nothing. "Get the f*** out of my car!" I yelled. That helped. He was, luckily, in the passenger seat and I was on the driver's side. He started to get out, but I noticed he was taking my screwdriver with him. I said, "Leave the screwdriver!" He put it on the seat and got out and stood there looking at me. All I could think was that I wanted to be in the car and I wanted him OUT of the car. But he's just standing there with the door open.

"Close the door!" I told him. He started to close it. But then I thought, how do I know he won't jump in with me once I get in? So, I gave him this exasperated look (like he should know better) and said, "Lock it first." He did. "Now shut it." He did. But, he's still standing there.

"Now get the hell out of here!"

He turned around and started walking away. I jumped in, started the car--and realzed he'd taken my visor CD holder. Bastard. I drove upstairs, jumped out of the car and told my brother what happened. "Was he wearing a green Army jacket?" he asked.

"Yeah, I think so."

"He walked just past me! Get in! Let's get him!"

Let's get him? Then what? I'm thinking.

So, we drove pointlessly around the Warehouse District looking for a guy in an Army jacket who had a soon-to-be-disappointing collection of R.E.M. and Indigo Girls CDs. My brother the cop berated me the whole time for not tackling the guy and making a citizen's arrest or something. Thankfully, we never found him, and I got to drive home a weary victim of Cleveland street crime once again (third time's the charm!).

As a coda to this story, Jen wrote a poem about it, which I had completely forgotten until she reminded me. Some of the details were off, as I recall, but art is art and I trust her judgment. Now, if one of you is a musician and would like to set it to music...

And here is the poem:

The Woman Who Sat in the Car

Did you hear about the guy, this young guy, well, okay, maybe not so young, he was thirty-three, who walked out to his car one night... Oh forgive me, I'm getting ahead of myself.

One night this not-so-young guy kissed his new wife (his second, actually) before he went to a Springsteen concert (his second wife didn't want him to go; his first wife wouldn't have *let* him go, so he thought he was making progress). So anyway, this guy walked out this car after the concert, downtown Cleveland, parked in the same spot he uses for work, and when he opened his car to get inside, there was a strange woman in the passenger seat, actually sitting in the passenger seat of his car! The guy who was not young and not so newly married felt angry, scared, excited by the woman in his car, who was neither young nor old, and apparently not doing anything in his car besides sitting, so he asked her, and he felt his hand trembling around his tightly clenched keys, *What the hell are you doing in my car?* And she did not look at him, did not answer, so he told her to *Get the hell out of my car!* And she did it so quietly he couldn't remember hearing the door of the car click open. *Now lock the door and close it,* the guy told this woman, late at night in the parking garage, where they were the only two people in the world. And she did. So the not-so-young guy got into his car, locked his door, turned on his lights, and drove away from the strange woman who had occupied his car, who remained standing in the darkness as quietly as she had sat.

As you can imagine, there was great excitement when the guy told his second wife about the woman sitting in the passenger seat, which is usually the wife's seat in the car, which used to be the first wife's seat in that car, and his now wife told him he should not have gone to that concert (progress takes a step back) and she was glad she had not gone to that concert, and wait a minute,

why didn't he call the police?

The guy and his wife are talking about this in bed now (after all, they have to get up early for work tomorrow), they are in their pajamas, they have brushed their teeth, and all the while his wife has been talking about The Woman Who Sat in the Car (and who now seems to occupy the space between them). *How did she get into the car?* Had he locked it? Was he sure? Maybe he shouldn't use that parking space anymore. And he lies on his side of the marital bed and hears his wife, his new wife, his second wife, his current wife, say that maybe the woman was crazy, maybe she was dangerous, maybe she was waiting for a boyfriend who could have killed him or cut him or maimed him, and maybe he was lucky,

he could have been changed for life.

The not-so-young guy lies in his bed next to his second wife, whom he has newly married, one arm folded behind his head in the dark, staring at the ceiling, and he sees the strange woman sitting in the car, the exquisite stillness of her hands folded on her lap, the way her hair dipped forward so he couldn't see her face, the way she was sitting so quietly maybe she *was* waiting for someone.

And the last thought he has before he lies awake all night is that maybe,
she was waiting there for him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not the State of the Union Address

I seem to be able to speak cogently about depression, even when I am in the midst of a bad patch, like I am right now, like I was on Friday. Actually, today isn't bad. Saturday, I was almost manic with my energy levels and good mood. But on Friday, I was in the vice grips of despair.

The thing that really pisses me off about depression is that nothing triggered Friday's "episode" as I like to think of it. I woke up, had lunch with friends, but suddenly I found myself sitting on a stool at Il Spazio, talking to my friend John, unable to accept even a coke to drink. I realized I was in danger of breaking down into tears there, so I called another friend and spent the rest of the day watching re-runs of House and smoking cigarettes. I smoked 21 cigarettes on Friday, if you're interested. I had 4 on Sunday. Yesterday, I had none. Today, I have had none.

The reduction in smoking isn't deliberate. I am not trying to cut down. It's just the way things go: When things suck, I smoke more. When things are better, I smoke less.

For what it's worth, since I'm talking about depression, I would say that I have been in a depression since August 22, 2008. Amazing how you can sometimes pinpoint things exactly like that.

I would define my depression as causing everything to be more difficult. I used to be able to make bread, edit a manuscript, make dinner, and go for a run, all in the same day. Now, I can do one of those things. I have to make a choice. I sat on the couch for about two hours this morning before I forced myself to move to a different couch to watch television so I could write about it. I have not yet written about it. It's like I am paralyzed and I can't move. The only things I am fully capable of doing are getting the children picked up, dropped off, homeworked, fed, and bedded down for the night.

This is the longest funk I've had. At least that I can remember. The huge grant project that almost killed me still makes me tired and still makes me not want to work. I long for structure, I have some client work now, and yet I can't do the work. I was talking to a friend on Friday, we were smoking together outside Il Spazio while I was still there. I said, "I have work to do."

He said, "Then you should do it."

"I can't."

"I know."

I don't know how to explain this to people who haven't experienced it for themselves.

Okay, I have now showered and dressed. My son is home with me today-- he pulled his neck yesterday by stretching, so we went to the ER. They gave muscle relaxers and recommended cold compresses. He has more range of movement today and less pain, but I am glad he is home and not at school. He still has trouble turning his head to the left.

We have to make flan today for a school project. A friend tells me not to think of what I *have* to do today, but to think of what I *can* do today.

1) I can take a shower and get dressed.

2) I can go pick up lunch (I promised Taco Bell in return for him reading this essay).

3) I can make flan with him for his Spanish class.

4) I can blog!

After that, we'll see.