April 26, 2010

Got out, sort of.

Showered and got out of the house insofar as to drive Priss & Rocky to Walmart so they could run in for a couple things, but I still feel gross and mutated.

It's like after surgery or being in labor or being really, really sick, when you hurt so bad you don't want to move. That's what it's like, and I don't want to move. I just want to sit in the soft, quiet, secluded bed until something relieves me.

April 25, 2010

Hiding: Day 10

Tonight, it was Elizabeth Taylor and Sonja Henie. And I researched the effects of drinking pickle juice, because I've had the overwhelming craving to do just that.

Otherwise, I spent 90% of my waking hours sitting in this one spot in bed, alternating between watching movies, online research, and sleeping.  Agonizing.   But what's more agonizing is the fact that's exactly what I feel like doing -- nothing more, nothing less.

Mom tried to call again tonight, but I didn't pick up.  I hate that for her.  I hope it's not as heartbreaking to her as I think it is.  It's not on account of anything negative about her at all.  I just can't communicate right now.  With anyone.  Just can't do it.  And I'm sorry.

April 24, 2010

Whole Lotta Nothing

Three old classic movies in a row -- Jayne Mansfield, Barbara Stanwyk, Jean Harlow, and Lauren Young. Before that, obsessive research on Social Anxiety Disorder. Before that, the crimes of Rodney Alcala.

In summary, a full day of nothing. I say nothing, but a full day of occupying my brain and then dreaming of that cabin in the hills.... Miner would build it, and it would be beautiful.

Over the Horizon

Must resist the temptation to write about specifics because there are all sorts of lawsuits pending and drooling journalists and grieving families.  Wouldn't want to do anything to compromise things that need to unfold in a certain, controlled way.

But Miner's just breaking up out there.  He had to box up his buddy's personal effects this morning so they could be returned to the family.  I can't imagine cleaning out a friend's locker that way.

And a little at a time, details coming out, personal stories here and there.  Stories of people so panicked, they ran even into places where there was no where to run.  Like people running out into the open air seventy floors high in the sky on 9-11.  Desperation eclipsing reason...Just run...run...run...run until the ground runs out.

Stories, glimpses into people's heart-of-hearts, and what lies there -- heroism or cowardice.  Some kept their minds and fought the primal sense to flee until everyone was out of harm's way.  Others fought to break away no matter who was clawing for safety...Every man for himself.

Some of them won't ever go back again.  They'll fade quietly into new careers.  Probably won't fly or fish anymore.  They might move away from this place altogether and try to build new lives and forget.

Miner's not going anywhere.  He'll grind forward with routine as he has year after year, checking off the risks just like he checks off the days on the calendar, just part of the job.  He'll take his smoke break outside and peer across the blue miles there.  There used to be a speck there on the horizon. There was activity and communication and purpose.  Now, the sky meets the waves at those exact coordinates, and there is nothing but a sad, silent surface.

Popped Seams in My Skin

This morning, I woke up remembering the senses of my dreams. I dreamt I had princess seams in my skin that extended from the tops of my breasts to the underside of my belly. The seams had torn, so the muscle and tissue beneath was exposed. I thought, "Wow, I need to either get that fixed or sew up the seams myself."

And I dreamt Miner went out of his way to stay over at Stripper's house where other females -- including SuccessfulModel -- were staying, too. I left with the intention of running so far away he'd never find me.


Didn't get up until 11:30-ish.  Messing around in my iPhone apps last night, and found Ambiance Lite.  I put the "Long Thunderstorm" sound file on perpetual loop, and apparently, the white noise worked.  Almost hypnotic.

Kids came into the bedroom this morning and were really confused that they heard rain and thunder, but when they looked out of the window through the blinds, they saw no rain.

Hiding: Day 9

Still withdrawn. On a positive note, I found a Social Anxiety support group online, and I've discovered many of my symptoms or "quirks" all go with the territory of "SA." Like avoiding public, burning bridges, letting down friends because you can't offer as much as they can.

Conversely, I also discovered a type of reclusion that has nothing to do with anxiety but everything to do with philosophy, spirituality, and/or nature. Personally, I think a lot of them are hyper-elitist freaks who are so full of their own superiority they don't feel the rest of society deserves the privilege of their presence. Or they hate their fellow humans so much, they'd prefer the company of trees instead.

I acknowledge my anxious motivations, and I don't necessarily apologize for them. On the other hand, I also admit I idealize the company of trees, too, but not because I disrespect people. Honestly, I think it's just because I'd rather walk alone where I will.

And I can't believe how fortunate I am to have married a man who appreciates the same.

April 19, 2010

Hiding: Day 4

Today marks the 4th day of self-imposed isolation, and yet, it feels like I've only just now withdrawn. I require much, much more time. I need more time to go through whatever it is I need to go through.

I haven't accepted any emails, texts, or phone calls except Miner's and to answer Sister's inquiry about her taxes. Not a blip all weekend.

I'm jealous of the people I read about who have the freedom to live in isolation. I wonder why I can't. Moving miles away from civilization sounds all the more appealing every year.

April 11, 2010

Homeschooling Travel Inspiration: Houston Museum District

Family studying:
Ancient Egypt.
Mom wonders:
"What local venues might provide some fun reinforcement?"
Research leads to:
Houston Museum of Natural Science
(FREE on Tuesdays after 2PM!)
which leads to:
Houston Museum District
(tons of FREE educational venues!)
which leads to:
an inspired planning frenzy!
The result:
3 days
2 nights
1 adult
5 kids
10 museums
4 galleries
2 landmarks
4 recreational sites
3 purchased meals
(excluding gas & accommodations)

Click image to view tentative itinerary.

The itinerary is air-tight.  I doubt we'll be able to see everything on the agenda, but it'll be a lot of fun giving it a shot.

I could honestly spend hours planning trips, itineraries, and cost analyses.  Problem solving...cutting, pasting, rearranging in order to find the most efficient solution.  I love reading reviews, analyzing maps and transportation routes.  I love researching venue hours and admissions, reading histories and descriptions.

And the final reward comes when we arrive, and all that planning and research and preparation pays off, and we all get to see first-hand the details we've been exposed to through brochures and online.  SO much fun.

And hotels are fun.  Housekeeping, swimming pools, little soaps wrapped in shiny paper, crisp and cold sheets...waking up early, early in the morning to be first in line for the continental breakfast.


If this Houston trip is successful, I'll be planning many more.  Other destinations I'm currently researching...
  • Louisiana State University campus (museums, galleries, landmarks)
  • Baton Rouge State Capitol and vicinity (State Capitol, museums, galleries)
  • Baton Rouge College Hills area (museums, botanical gardens)
  • Arkansas Crater of Diamonds (prospecting, campgrounds)

April 10, 2010

Camping: Disaster, Devastation & Delight

Camping was just what I needed. I could imagine no better way to spend a birthday week than with my family far from civilization. (Though I do exaggerate just a bit. The state park is not exactly "far from civilization." One is not "far from civilization" if she has easy access to a toilet, a hot shower, a washer and dryer, a soda machine, and free park-wide WiFi.)

I might be able to honestly declare the camping trip "perfect" if it weren't for the thunderstorm that barreled in on us our last night there.  The final two photos taken (of "taco soup at sunset" and the wonderfully bright campfire) give no indication anything threatening is approaching.  The wind kicked up a bit, and the certain fragrance of rain was in the air.  But we had no idea we were in for it.

At dusk on Wednesday, I trekked to the Comfort Station to wash a small load of clothes. I patiently knitted while waiting for the clothes to dry.  That's when I overheard a park ranger talking to a couple just outside.  "You better tie down your tents and take shelter here for a while.  The storm is gonna be pretty bad, but it won't last long."

Fifteen minutes later, my clothes were dry, so I stepped outside right into a sudden downpour.  (Yes, I wasted a dollar on that stinkin' dryer.)  By the time I made it to the trail leading back to our camp, lightening was breaking apart across the sky.  I took two steps down the trail and ran right into the rest of the family rushing back toward the van.

We piled inside the vehicle, soaked and shivering (with some of the younger ones in frightful tears).  It took a few moments to calm everyone.  Then, someone asked, "Where's the dog?"


In his rush to get the kids to safety, Miner left the dog zipped up in the tent, alone.  "I'll get him," he growled, then he disappeared down the trail, into the dark and deluge.  Two minutes later, he deposited a wet and grateful pooch into the back of the van with everyone else.

"He might have been better off in the tent, you know," Miner said.  "He was huddled in a corner, dry as a bone."

And there in the van we stayed.  After our dinner of Pringles, Fritos, honey roasted peanuts, and peanut butter & honey sandwiches, we slept, curled or contorted into whatever position of near-comfort we could manage.

In the morning, Miner and I returned to the campsite to find a disaster.  The kitchen shelter (pictured behind the picnic table) had collapsed and broken off halfway down the legs.  All the clothes from the line were strewn and scattered from one end of the clearing to the other.  Our main blue tent flagged in the wind, blown open and flooded in an inch of water.  The walls had torn, rendering the tent useless. All our belongings inside -- including the camcorder, kids' journals, plush toys, and all the sleeping bags -- were saturated.

With the girls still sleeping in the van, Miner, Rocky and I set about recovery.  The unpleasant task was made even more unpleasant by the cutting wind still scraping in from the lake.  The wind-chill must've been at least forty degrees.  It robbed me of a lot of my motivation and most of my fine motor skills. 

There really wasn't much we could do but throw all the wet clothes and bedding in large trash bags.  Everything else, we hauled back to the vehicles and loaded up as-is to sort through and repair when we got home.  The kitchen shelter and main tent went right to the trash bin.

Eventually, I had to take a break to sit in the van and let my fingers thaw so they'd work again.  My cell phone alerted me to text message from Mom:  "Chicken & dumplin's for lunch. Call me when you get into town. Love you!"

I could've cried!  The thought of hot, soupy chicken & dumplin's just waiting for us back at Mom's house!  After all the trauma we'd endured!  Comfort food at its very best!

That's all I needed to boost my morale.  I told everyone the good news, and we were out of the woods and on our way in half an hour.  And let me tell you...those were the BEST chicken & dumplin's my stepdad has ever, ever made!

Back at home today and reflecting over the past week, I realized I lost my temper only once the whole trip.  Depending on who you ask, that one time might have been the equivalent of several lesser losses of temper throughout the week, but still, I think I'd rather blow up once and get it all over with for a while than chronically bubble and steam.

I'm refreshed, calmed, rejuvenated, readied for whatever comes next.

April 3, 2010

Camping: A Departing Thought

Over our years of camping, I've discovered something essential about the experience. The perceived stress of "roughing it" melts away along with our expectations of convenience, which we've grown accustomed to, to the point of desensitization.  The self-maintenance of life carries with it a loud static that we're eventually deafened to, like the sound of a train or plane to people who have long lived beside a train track or airport.  We forget what silence sounds like.

When the static and the sounds and the expectations are suddenly stripped away (or dropped), the natural, default silence of the earth falls and settles around us.  The world slows to the lazy trickle of a stream.  We're able to let down our eyelids, open our ears and our lungs, and observe and feel our environment breathe around us -- slow, natural, peaceful breaths.  Instead of commanding our surroundings in the name of progress and productivity, we become passengers -- or better, companions to the natural flow of time.

For a while, I am allowed to feel quite small and nurtured instead of feeling like I'm constantly trudging for or toward something.  Under such a profound protection, what is it to sweat a little? to get some dirt under my fingernails? to wear the same t-shirt another day?  A person might not consider herself when beholding the stars in God's hands.

So I'm off to embrace a closed-mouth world for a while, leaving the noise behind.


  • Saturday -- cousin's birthday party
  • Sunday -- Easter, camping
  • Monday - Thursday -- camping
  • Thursday/Friday -- depart

Weather:  "Mostly sunny," but a couple mentions of t-storms here and there throughout the week. Then the overnight temperature is supposed to drop into the low 50s and upper 40s. Despite advice otherwise, I'm packing the thermals.

Knitting:  Purchased a large skein of 100% virgin wool and two small skeins of soft, fuzzy bamboo yarn.  Goal is to complete one baby soaker and perhaps begin a light summer shrug for me (really cool customizable shrug pattern generator here).

Camping Wish List:
  • find some really great petrified wood
  • catch a fish
  • keep my daily camping journal
  • renew peace
  • take a midday nap in the sunshine
  • weave something from plant fibers
  • press a lovely plant
  • write a forest poem