Monday, February 01, 2010

it's unusual when it snows here, and it actually sticks around for about a week; in that sense we've had an unuusal winter, because we've had maybe a couple of weeks of white. and, it stays white. i've been thinking about upstate new york, where i grew up for a while, and where it snows a lot, and snows constantly. but there, the snow starts graying and blacking up right away; then, dogs add a little yellow here and there, and pretty soon, there isn't much white left. and this is such a regular occurrence, that one forgets that snow, and winter, are white (if you live in a city) and instead start thinking of it as gray, dull, acrid.

i know what a humungosaur and a maxus dragonoid are, because i have a four-year-old and eight-year-old boy. these loom big in their worlds as powerful agents to be feared, though, of course, they fear other things too. they have imaginations, and these capture their imaginations at the moment. but in fact what you buy in the local store is more likely to be plastic, and have parts, parts which hurt, underfoot, when they are left on the floor. eventually one judges all toys by how they feel underfoot, and this puts legos at the bottom of the list, although they're quite expensive. the boys never cared much for stuffed animals, though; nothing about them at all ever captured their imagination in any way. too bad; you can practically sleep on them. the dogs love them; they'll rip one apart in about two minutes. but the boys can hardly bother to touch them.

so, when you get a beautiful snow, you ought to send boys outside to play around and make snowmen, so that everyone gets a lot of fresh air and the neighbors can clearly see that the house is occupied by young spirits who know how to stick a carrot in a snowman's head. we, however, never made it outside this weekend, since i was too exhausted, and it's a huge production getting these boys all bundled up with plastic sacks on their feet, so that they don't come back in and ruin the wood floor. instead, we watched television, and though television is new in our house (we lived without it for about nine years, perfectly happily in fact)- it still is taking a lot of attention these days. i might watch the super bowl, yes, that's a february thing to do, i guess, but mostly i've been working on the thirty-year quilt and am grateful that the boys go off quietly, and leave me alone. i'm totally exhausted from an overload at work, and have to find ways of keeping a work week down to around fifty hours; it should be forty, but i have a conscience and want to grade & prepare. the quilt is coming along well; sometimes, i'm obsessed. i want to put a picture of it up here, show it off a little. get some opinions. i want to finish it too.

work is a humongosaur...yes, so i'll stop boring you with complaining about it. what little free time i have, i've gotten a little protective of; i've streamlined a few things right out of my life. i've got no plan to start watching "ER" or even the local news; i've gotten somewhat impatient with obama and halliburton's war, or the buying of the state of massachusetts, or even the election tomorrow here in the land of obama, which is important, if anything is. oh yeah, i'm sure i'll vote; but, lately, in fact, i've been writing haiku, when i'm standing in line, or watching my students suffer through a test, and then, burying it in the deep blankets of this very blog account, though it's another blog....poetry about gray slush and dark winter in the northern states. it's a way of escape, and, it works.

the harmonica is back in the pocket again, though it's a coincidence, really. one boy actually gave it to the other, and the other didn't want it, not recognizing its value...i am clearly failing as a father here, too busy to even teach them that. i did teach the older boy how to tune a guitar, though; maybe that will lead to something. i also lost the cell phone, but unfortunately, just found it later, in the pair of pants i'd been wearing, and had already checked. is this a coincidence? i'd rather have the harmonica. there's a lot less to it, when you pull it out and try to use it. sometimes, with my cell-phone, i pull it out, and turn on the camera accidentally. all of a sudden i realize i'm saving all these images, of wherever i am, and don't even want them. i feel like dropping the thing instantly, but fortunately, i've learned how to turn it off, and i usually do, very quickly. if i could save these movies, and put them on my hard drive, i might have a better time using clips and making stuff; maybe i'll work on that. but how do you get a movie from a phone to a iMovie? good question.

so i have a phone now, and that means i can walk across campus, and look busy like everyone else, too cool to even breathe the normal air, while walking all the while. there's a lot of snow out there at the moment, but it won't last; there's the groundhog, and then, spring, and then, soon enough, it gets too hot. but in the meantime, there's a full life to be lived, a quilt to be made, songs to be immortalized. life is a maxus dragonoid; one has to take it by the hand, and snap it on a magnet, and watch it extend its pieces, and not worry if it's not perfect, and don't, for heaven's sake, leave it at a friend's house.

the colors are fantastic. our back yard has not a single footprint in it, and the days are getting longer, by minutes, but longer anyway; the afternoon sun shines off the fresh white snow, every day, and the deer are busy; they haven't mucked it up even a little. out on the road, ice stuck to the grasses and the sun reflected off these brownish grasses with their chandelier kind of reflection; it's beautiful. the ground is kind of wet and soggy; the snow is unusual. i have a ticket to new mexico for march; then, boston, later in the month; might be time to get out, and think about stuff a little. i eagerly await the arrival of the quilt's recipient; she's due in late feb....maybe i'll be flying, when she's born. such is life. thirty years ago, i started the quilt, while i was watching her mother, who was then about three or four; i had some old army shirts, and was determined not to throw them away, since they along with old jeans were made of durable comfortable cotton whereas everything else seemed to irritate me. i told her, i might not finish this in time for you, but if you have a baby, maybe i'll give it to the baby. but now that baby is coming. what started out, maybe a swords into ploughshares kind of idea, is now just a bowtie quilt with a couple of army shirts worked into it. ah well, these things skip generations, and i can't even begin to understand the one i received once, through my mother, and grandmother, from an ancestor of some kind. didn't learn who exactly made it, or what they intended; but, they didn't have blogs back then. we're richer now, and have documented history, of every quirk of weather that has hit southern illinois in years. and, if i get it together, you'll see the whole quilt too; then, even if it perishes somehow (i lost one in a rambler once), it will still leave some of its virtual essence behind. life goes on, and some things last longer than a generation. not the humongosaur, probably, but some of the other stuff, for sure.

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