Monday, December 6, 2004

The weekend

A student, Elias, told me last week that he decided he was going to trick the tooth fairy. He had lost two teeth, and with the teeth he put a toenail that he had, for one reason or another, lost off his toe. When he checked under his pillow in the morning, the teeth were still there, along with $2.00, but the toenail was gone. The student was ecstatic at having tricked the tooth fairy. Some parents have such fun.

Yesterday my mother tried to mow the lawn. She had a miserable time. Did one whole round of the place only to discover she didn't have the blades in gear. On top of that, the engine kept cutting out, and she couldn't start it again. She sat on the yard swing looking very discouraged. I went and put my arm around her and told her she didn't have to take sweetie's place. She said she wanted to mow the lawn because she didn't want Dad to overwork.

Dad and I were digging ditches to repair the buried electronic fence for Mattie. Mattie has taken to visiting the neighbors across the street, and she is an idiot about cars. I could see her getting knocked flat. So Dad and I dug up the wire, a tough job in our clay soil, found (or made) four breaks, repaired them, and the wire works fine again. That took all day.

Dreamed this morning that someone needed to have sweetie around to get a picture of us kissing, so they brought him back, warmed him up, and he was alive again, thinner than before, but alive. We made our kiss for the camera last a long time. I was told I could only have him back for a little while, but in my dream he stayed around for hours. When I awoke the empty feeling was back. I suppose I have to get used to it.

Woke up this morning at 7:30 am, so it was a rush to get to school. Drank some powdered something-or-other instead of eating breakfast. Ever since then I've had this heartburn feeling. Makes me think about the feeling sweetie complained of, his last day. My heart pain has many origins - my breakfast (or lack thereof), crying (or holding back from crying, I suppose), possibly real heartburn (but it doesn't have quite the same feeling), and maybe just a messed-up mind. I don't think I have heart problems.

This week we have half-days at school because of parent conferences in the afternoons. It is polymer clay week for my students. Today they made Santa ornaments. Exhausts me, but they have fun, learn how to pay attention to directions, and will be writing about one thing they made next week. Little do they know. . .

I came home early today, sickish. My cells are missing someone important. I have dinner tonight with friends.

© 2008 LDN

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Photos: The verse begins on one door and ends on the next.

Don't let anyone look down on your youth, but set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Vacation Bible School ended tonight. It was so popular that word of mouth expanded attendance nightly, and even tonight, the last night, new children came. The pastor didn't stop by on any of the nights to see how it was going.

Afterwards I cleaned up my room and berated myself for forgetting the paint with which to sign my painted border. I went through the closet and took many of the things that were mine, the songbooks I had made and had bound at Kinko's, the decorative borders, the activities books, my CD player. No one seemed to notice I was taking a lot of stuff. I was feeling a little teary, so I'm glad no one noticed. Teary because it is very likely I'll never be back.

It's strange, but those of us who are on the leader’s "hit list" are all very active in the church. We are the ones who are always there and help out in music and children's programs, help run a supervised visitation program for non-custodial parents in the community, organize social activities for the church, run the Clothes Closet for the needy in the community. I'm not saying this because I feel like it makes me any better than anyone else; I just like being able to help out. I know I'm not indispensable (no one is), so there is sure to be someone to fill my spots. It's just strange that he would attack his most faithful workers.

One of my fellow sufferers told me tonight that they feel this man is not acting on emotion, but that he has a plan. I wonder what kind of plan it is. Run the church into the ground? It certainly looks like it. I think he is pathologically addicted to crisis.

© 2008 LDN

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Border painting

Photo: Close-up of a small part of the border painting.

I found the church empty and spent three hours painting leafy vines and little red flowers along approximately 50 feet of border next to the floor. If I had done this ten years ago, I wouldn't have been in such pain. By the last half hour my neck hurt, my eyes were unfocused, and my wrist was aching because of the angle at which I had to hold the paintbrush.

Tomorrow I will return and finish the job, which should take me about an hour. I don't want the entire room to seem engulfed in vines and leaves, so above the window and around two doors and I will write short scripture verses, exactly which is yet to be determined.

This evening the Vacation Bible School leaders seemed to like my border. They called everyone in to look at it. They said, "Why don't you use stamps or a stencil?" I said, "Because I have no luck with those things, and they take three times as long as free-hand painting." I didn't say the other part of my reason, that I like a design that isn't so predictable.

One of my fellow sufferers, knowing I'm finishing the job in a hurry because I'm planning on attending a different church, said, "What if someone just decides to paint it over?"

"Fine with me," I said. "It won't hurt my feelings at all. But I'm quite sure they won't get around to any redecoration for a good long time." Before I painted the borders, that room was so baby blue bare it was depressing. Now it is the only bright and cheery classroom in the church.

I'm going to hide my signature somewhere, and date it. Wonder if it will ever be noticed. . .

© 2008 LDN

Friday, May 14, 2004

Bumbling idiot

My soles of my feet itch, probably from going barefoot outside, first time this year. Last night sweetie rubbed them the way I like, lightly running his fingers over my skin and sometimes up toward my ankles, never too long in any one spot. I swear it was as good as sex. He would want me to add "almost" to that sentence, but for last night, "almost" wasn't needed.

My head is sprouting a few little wavy white hairs. If these little hairs are replacing good old straight hairs, I will looking like Einstein one of these days.

When the sun rose, I was ready to go. My crate was packed with clay and pasta machines and Bic pens, ready for afternoon activities for a group of students who didn't have a clue what they were getting into.

Since this is my first year teaching at this school, many students don't know my passion for polymer clay, and most have never even heard of it. When the sign-up sheets went around last week for the various classes the elementary students could choose for this afternoon, only ten signed up for my class in decorating pens with polymer clay. I was surprised, because usually three times as many want it than I have room for, but then I realized this bunch hasn't been initiated.

I told the principal that if any students had somehow slipped through the registration crack, I'd take the extras. That gave me five more, who straggled in a few minutes late.

After making two pudgy pens, pudgy Brian said to me -- so earnest it made me smile -- "Teacher, this is the best class I've ever had. I had fun this year, and I never have fun in these classes. I'm going to take it next year and the year after that."

They all seemed to have fun. My favorite pen was the one topped with a hula dancer, complete with grass skirt and coconut bra.

At times I've thought I might like to be a Program Specialist, so today when I was having lunch with Janet, our Program Specialist and a gal I really love, I asked her how she likes her job.

"Not very much," she said. She started writing in her datebook, her head down. "No, I don't like it much." Her head went down further, and in retrospect I think she was having a tough time staying even keeled (I know; I've been there). "In fact, I don't like it at all."

She was probably near tears, and there I blew it by switching to a slightly different subject. I don't know how to deal with people who need to be comforted or heard. I wish I had that skill. What do I do? Any questions seem nosey, back rubs and hand pats seem too intimate, and I'm awkward at anything mentioned in this sentence. (I come from matter-of-fact parents, and I have no role model at all for close friendships and overtly intimate caring. Sweetie thinks I'm tough and unemotional, but that's only the skin I wear. It's only a skin that's been grafted onto me that seems to be fusing into my bones with each year that passes and nothing changes, especially the marrow and the heart within which is not so hard after all.)

I appreciate Janet so much. She does a difficult job very well, and there I acted like I didn't care at all. I want to do something special for her, to show her how much I appreciate her. Ideas are starting to spout. Off I go. . .

©LDN 2008

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

This looks like craziness

I am blocked, I am locked, I am a prisoner of my stuff. My collections of things to use in creations cover the flat surfaces of my creation room and in it I can't think. I can't walk into my craft room, just climb over boxes, closed, heaped, open, spilled. It looks like a room belonging to someone who is very sick in the head, someone who collects dozens of cats and then dies in a back room to be found only when the smell notifies passersby and the media comes in to take pictures.

I want to paint, I want to throw pots, I want to make mosaics, I want to scrapbook, I want to sew, I want to sculpt, I want to make paper and books, I want to write, I want to live long enough to do all these things well.

This evening I've been packing girls' things into boxes and labeling them. Perhaps one day they'll look at these things, old diaries that are closed to me (I fear to read them), mementos of another life, and either write of them or wonder why they saved them. It would be good if they saved them, the art, the words. Once the words are gone, the past is filtered, and without the past one can't learn for the future.

Was it yesterday? I think it was yesterday afternoon. The phone in the classroom rang, the secretary said, "Your husband called to say he's in the emergency room at the hospital."

I immediately sent my students back to their regular classes and drove to the hospital. Sweetie would not be in the hospital unless he were very sick. Being sick is a weakness that can be overcome by the mind. Hasn't worked for him recently, but that's an anomaly he says. I call the hospital on my cell phone on the way. No one seems to have heard of him. I go to the ER. He's not there. I walk all over thinking I'll find him, or hear his deep voice rumbling down the hallway. I feel lost and frantic. Why would he call and then there be no word?

"No news is good news," I keep telling myself. After much time I head home, and there he is, in bed, coughing. I was so glad to see him.

"I felt like I was dying," he said. "I couldn't breathe, my heart was irregular. One of the doctors squeezed me into her schedule. She gave me some antibiotics and ordered a chest x-ray to see if I have pneumonia."

Since the doctor sent him home, he feels better. They wouldn't send him home if he were dying.

Back to the heaps.

©LDN 2008

Saturday, May 1, 2004


I'm desperate to create handmade paper.

I'm desperate to make handbound books.

Sweetie is making plans to build me a studio, isn’t that sweet? I'm rejoicing. I can do all this space-intensive stuff, and leave it out overnight and for days and days, and my house will maintain some semblance of normalcy.

Dreams sometimes come true.

©LDN 2008