Monday, November 22, 2004

Roots 1.0

the causes of depression and anxiety, and for that matter ocd, are not definite. It depends who you ask. Most likely, there is a cluster of causes, and every individual is just that, an individual. But while there may be a genetic component, a chemical component, a behavioral and cognitive component, there is most certainly an emotional element. And upbringing, home environment, trauma and the resulting anxiety/hypersensitivity, these things are clear players in my own struggle.

Fact is, it's been a hard month and a half. The whole work/teaching online thing, while it has settled down now (and I have will be able to teach online at least two more years) completely triggered me. It felt all too like the insecurity and parental distance and disapproval I lived with my whole life. After having a couple of really good months, very hopeful months where I was not anxious or even obsessing, my symptoms crept back in as the work thing was unfolding. Now that I feel better about that, at least for now, I have more coming onto my plate: my brother had some interaction with my father this week, and I did also, and it brought up loads of feelings for me. When I saw my therapist Friday I feel as though I talked about my father in ways I never have. I'm sensitive enough now to how aware I really am that it feels like meeting Dad for the first time: oh yeah, that guy; the psycho who neglected me and messed with my head for twenty years.

This is going to be a raw post. A recovery community post. If that's not your bag, hit next blog.

My father is a tricky person. His most oustanding characteristic is his incredible withdrawal. He can't hold psychological contact for more than a minute or two. If we're on the phone, and I start talking about, oh, scuba diving or something, taking cert. classes with Mikey, he can stay into that about a minute. Then I realize he's moved on in his head to another topic WHILE I'M STILL TALKING. He's no longer listening. When he's at a table, say, having dinner with a group, he will look away, mutter to himself, sometimes look at me when I address him with this big smile on his face, but his face is loaded with emotion. And it has nothing to do with what's happening at the table, or what I'm talking about.

He can't take care of himself. He forgets things. His keys, his checkbook, his wallet.

His other oustanding characteristic, besides his away behavior, is his extraodinary self-criticism. He is terrified to take risks, to try anything. He can't take any criticism or anger directed towards him. Zero. I mean none. This means, that along with my mother who had the same problem, I was unable, not allowed, to express ANY ANGER in my home, throughout my entire childhood. I shut everything I felt up into a box and grinned like my fucking father and pretended everything was great. Except...I just couldn't stop feeling anxious, from, oh, about first or second grade on.

Right now, I hate my father. And I have a list of reasons. I have tried to re-establish a relationship with him, unlike my brother who wants to have the very minimum contact. Understandably. I'm too nice in some ways. Sure, some of my desire to speak with him has come from working through so much of my stuff over the years (plenty to go, no worries). I understand him. He is emotionally about eight, and a disturbed eight at that.

He views himself as the victim in every interaction. When I was seventeen, he remarried and decided to move to Lake Elsinore. I lived in Lakewood. I was going to City college, but I had a girlfriend who I had been glued to for three years; her family fed me, took care of me, as if they were my own almost. I thank God for them. But my dad decided to move without providing for my situation. He never asked my opinion. My brother remembers them telling me 'we don't really have room for you in Elsinore' but I admit I don't remember that until after they moved. What I know is I ended up living wherever I could after they split. I stayed with my stepsister for a few months, paying rent, until I turned 18 and she put all my stuff in garbage bags. Just like that. I was an adult now. I called my buddy Jeff, who at 16 was living with drug addicts and dealers in the house he grew up in because his mom split with a biker gang, and I lived there. Eventually, later that fall I think, my mom moved into the area and took my brother and I in. My bro had been living, as I recall, in an entry way in this house in Elsinore, while my stepmother's grandson had his own room.

Am I getting any of these facts wrong? Have I forgotten how it actually was? My brother reads this blog from time to time. Feel free to let me know.

I feel like I haven't really dealt with my father. I've avoided him, not seen him, almost since I was 17. Years have gone by with no contact. Then what typically happens?

Once, at least ten years ago, maybe more, my bro and I went to his house on his birthday. And we brought a cake, a card, some balloons. Tried to connect to this self-muttering person. He made some vague comments, smiling to himself, 'yeah, I should get you guys a key, you should come around more.' All nice. My stepmother cornered me and was telling me, 'oh, troy, you have to come around more, he cries at night because he thinks he's lost you both.' Do I believe she's supported things between my father and I? Not really, but she's another issue and only God knows her story. Mostly on her face I see disease and hate.

So after this, after what was rather a large effort (considering how things fell out in our teenage years) did my dad call us, say thanks, drop by? Nope. I might have gone over again at Christmas, but he's just not capapble of reciprocity, of adult behavior. And he thinks, then, he's the victim. It's our fault he never sees us. Even when he knows where I live. What I do remember is that that year my birthday came and went, sans card or gift or call.

Ah, I'm just beginning. I've felt so crappy since Friday, except for sharing about dad on a phone call with a friend Sunday, I might as well keep going. Feel it to heal it.

I hate how manipulative he is. Oh, I love that word. He uses anger, even rage, even threats, and when we were children, some physical violence, to get his way. And fear. He's afraid of bloody everything. As is my mother. And I wonder why I have a fear core, why I have ocd? Jeez. I just mentioned some of this work stuff to him and he said, so sternly, in a peremptory tone, 'now don't go making any drastic moves; you have it great where you're at.' Something like that. But if you could have heard him say it. It was like, don't mess up your life completely like mine; you can't make choices for yourself; this is my rage/anger voice so you better do what the hell I say; above all, be afraid of ruining your life. Whatever, you freak. I was a professor at 34 years old. Bite me. I've held together a family (which couldn't have happened without the longsuffering love of my wife) in spite of all my history and my disorder. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it.

You know, this is feeling good. Like I said, I don't think I ever dealt with dad. That's one horrible part of ocd: the obsessions take up so much time, so much energy, in and out of therapy, that when they start to receded...all that work beneath remains. Or so it seems to me. Thank God for exposure work and relaxation breathing.

Okay, so there you go. Enough for a beginning. I never felt loved by my father because he never showed me or told me. He hated, and hates, himeslf so much I don't think he's capable. He never held me. Neither of my parents could or would. And in the case of my father, he couldn't even hold a conversation; what little I got from him was mostly rigidity and terror. Can you imagine that? Someone with my psyche locked away in such terrifying isolation? I know he's got some kind of mental illness; he told me he was a prophet once, but then he was going to a pentecostal church at the time. That may have been standard. But his grasp of reality, his self-hate, his constant talking to himself...really, he is emotionally a very wounded child; not the best person to raise two of his own.

About six years ago when my bro got married, he went to see my father. They had not spoken in years and years. My bro invited him to the wedding, but asked that he not bring my stepmother unless he felt he needed to. That is no easy request. I wouldn't like it if my son asked me the same. But I'd fucking go. I would go. My father did not go. And he never explained himself...more years without contact went by. I finally found him again on the web.

Oh man, I'm tired. I don't think I can understand my own pain and dysfunction without taking a hard look at the feelings I still have for my father, the tragedy of my own childhood. I'd rather take a pill or do it some easier way, but gin is no solution, and I reacted poorly to ssri's as a class and got no real help from the tricyclics. All that means is I have to do it the old-fashioned way, for now at least. The only way I've ever known.

I'm not going back and re-reading this post. This is a share, not a post. The only art I can put into this is the art of getting well. Thanks for letting me share.

I'm going to long beach this week and those are always hard trips emotionally. Being in the old space, smelling the old air. Neither of my parents will be there, and I can see my bro's new baby girl and my darling nephew who is 3. But still. I guess the trip can't be any harder than the last three days have been.

Happy Thanksgiving regardless. How can I not love a holiday built around a meal?


Friday, November 19, 2004

Cheerios and Bananas

A while back I mentioned how S turned me on to cheerios and bananas. Today, by pure chance, I discovered the perfect addition: soy milk. I was out of regular milk, and went with the soy, and oh man. Cheerios, banana slices, and Silk soy milk is heaven my friends.

In other news: S got into grad school for psychology; she wants to be a therapist. They told her at interview they were only taking 50 percent of those interviewed, and this is at a CSU (the only place she could go because of where we live). And she got in. I knew she would; she is such a brilliant conversationalist, but you never know with those things. When we found out, we both cried.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

San Fran

I've been working on my Schweitzer response, but it keeps getting longer and I'm unsatisfied with what I have. It is coming, though, for what it's worth.

But what I want to talk about now is THE CITY. Saturday when S and I woke up Mikey was out of town (an unusual combo; generally S works when he's gone) and she looked at me and said, 'san francisco.' And I said, 'yeah,' and we went.

It took about three hours from my house to Powell, a little over two driving to Walnut Creek (where I was born) and then the rest on BART, through the east bay, oakland, under the water, and then into San Fran proper.

Man, what a town.

The weather was warmer than we expected, but we caught a cab right away to the Legion of Honor, one of the fine arts museums. I have never been. It's far on the west side of the penninsula; you can see the water from the grounds. They have an impressive Rodin collection, and I saw paintings by Rembrandt (what a master) Picasso, Monet, others. There was a Mayan exhibit downstairs. This was interesting, but not as captivating as the art above. By then we were starving and caught a cab to north beach.

It's tough eating in a town like san fran because there are, literally, hundreds of good restaurants. Hundreds. Some blocks are nothing but restaurants, and while in my small town I'm very limited, in sf I can eat sushi, chinese, irish pub, italian, burgers, seafood on the same street. It was pretty close to heaven.

One thing I learned, via Steph, is the way to find a good restaurant is to find a good wine shop and ask the owner. Wine geeks are foodies, almost always. We got lucky, found a wine store, and were sent to washington square bar and grill. Bar and grill? I wouldn't have stopped in. But the food was oustanding, and the selection!

I began with an islay scottish whiskey I can't spell; then we were seated and I had duck confit, a crusted goat cheese salad, filet mignon buried in mint (it was great, but did cloak the flavor of the beef itself...though it was the tenderest beef I've ever had in my mouth) bread pudding which wasn't like normal bread pudding...all custard and liquid dark chocolate, a bottle of mouvedre, coffee, I could hardly walk out the door.

Yet walk we did. Up the steps to coit tower, where we stared at the city and called Mikey on the cell. Then back down. We went to city lights, my first trip to the beat bookstore mecca, had a gin tonic at the bar next door, pictures of ginsberg, kerouac, cassady everywhere. We walked to mason and caught a cable car, something S has never done, and then back to bart.

The best thing about it all, besides the art and food, was the conversation. Our first cabbie had an m.a. in biotech; our second had just dropped out of a graduate program in computer science; the guy working the back of our cable car had some great things to say about the government (ah, a blue city) and everywhere we went people looked and spoke urban! I dug the contrast, natch; I want to go back. Yes, the mountains are very beautiful, and I love having four actual seasons, but there is no place like sf I know. So many restaurants, museums, bars...and cabs grown-up disneyland...I can walk anyplace I need to go or catch a ride in seconds. It even has 'lands,' you know, italian land, chinese land, japanese land. I don't mean to be silly. You can travel from one ethnic neighborhood to another, eating, eating, eating.

I will say we first got off the bart I was pretty nervous; it was probably five years since I'd even been. How would we get to the museum? I wanted to catch a cab, but could I? All I had to do was stand on the curb and the guy was waving me over. What a town.

It was a good time for S and I, and while I was afraid, to be truthful, much of the time (mom fears) and anxious being in such a different place, I just did it, faced it, and looking back have nothing but good things to say. We actually drove home that night. Next time we'll crash with my friend in benicia or stay some place out there. But wow. The food options alone stagger.

Be well all. Too much work to do to linger. I'll write again soon.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Red and the Blue

I admit I haven't read Lakoff's book, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, but I heard his interview on npr and found his metaphor one of the most interesting political ideas I've heard. You can hear the complete interview at npr's website here. He's a professor at Berkeley, and that sonorous voice is a little dreamy, but his concepts, his metaphor of the family to understand the world-views of those on the left and the right, is ingenious.

Even if you don't buy his description, the questions posed at the beginning of the interview remain. Why do many on the right feel so strongly about gay marriage and abortion, but also often support the death penalty, the use of the american military abroad, and oppose many social programs which are designed to feed and educate?

And while I've never raised an infant, Lakoff's thesis reminds me of the Ezzos' On Becoming Babywise. The Ezzos have backed off their original, and rather inflexible, feeding and sleep schedule for babies. But even in the early 90's, before the book was published, his ideas were popular in my evangelical church in an underground way. Parents were meeting in groups, actually in minor secrecy, to adopt his concepts. Perhaps if I were a harried parent of an infant I'd look for an easier path also, but there is something rigid, even non-loving, in Ezzo's tone. I remember going to a friend's house, one of the couples I knew using Ezzo, and the wife was home alone. She had locked her daughter, maybe two or three years old, into a bedroom with a bunch of toys. 'This is her time to be with herself; this is my time for me.' When we opened the door and I saw the girl, she was obviously distressed, sad, even disoriented.

What most bothers me most about Ezzo isn't even his ideas (which apparently can be helpful when taken in moderation) it's the rapidity with which his early inflexibility was embraced by some Christians. Gotta train those little sinners into saints, was that it? Or, I want to raise a child and somehow lower the personal impact? I don't even want to discuss spanking children, which I utterly oppose, which no research I've seen supports, and which will never happen in my home regardless of two verses in an ancient Hebrew wisdom book called Proverbs.

I've never had a baby, and I admit I haven't even read Ezzo's book (though I read much of his website a year or two ago, and articles from both sides; I realize these facts severely limit my credibility). I do know when S was raising Mikey she gave everything she had; she fed him when he was hungry, she held him whenever he cried because she believed there was a reason he was crying. In short, she sacrificed and nurtured, at 18 years old. I'm astounded when I think of it. It exhausted her, yet her son is one amazing kid and other parents tell us this all the time. He's far less neurotic than either of us. I have only been able to participate in his parenting since he was four, maybe five, and while we're not perfect parents, I believe I have seen dysfunctional cycles which go back generations in both our families end. Thanks be to God. Like Moses, we have seen the promised land, a land we will never live in as Mikey will.

I admit none of these issues, political parties or parenting, are simple, and one great thing about writing on a blog (as opposed to actually publishing something) is I can have as many questions as I want; I can go back later and say I've changed my mind; I can figure things out through the writing. I'm certainly open to comments from parents who have Ezzoed and found it healthy, or Republicans who feel their party is addressing the nt's concerns with charity. I am quite sure some will read this blog who are better parents than my wife and I; we probably got lucky with Mikey. But when I listen to Limbaugh, or O'Reilly, or all too many Christians discuss politics (and I was here at one point in my life also) I sense an undercurrent of severity, judgement, a lack of compassion. Especially when we think the person in need broke our moral code or somehow brought their suffering on themselves. Christ warns against this kind of judgement explicitly. The sermon on the mount is, in significant part, about every person's inability to live by God's moral standard. While many Christians do in fact attempt empathy for homosexuals, girls or women considering, or who have had, abortions, the uneducated, the desperate and the homeless, the mentally ill, the poor at home and abroad, some don't.

I am divorced, as you know; I am also remarried. Forty or fifty years ago, less actually, my Episcopal church would never have let me be on vestry. Our deacon now was asked to leave the church he currently deacons when he was a teenager because the woman who was bringing him to church, an aunt I think, divorced her husband when he left town with his nurse. Beauty, heh. Yet many evangelicals, including the episcopal church, have softened their position on divorce and remarriage because they've seen, even in the face of Christ's explicit statements in Matthew, that spiritual health is often furthered by a remarriage. Is divorce a good thing? Generally, no. Mine hurt very much; that's not my point. My point is many heterosexual Christians have cut themselves slack. Even Jesus said celibacy surely wasn't for everybody, and we feel it and know it. What about those facing much greater challenges?

Finally, and most seriously, we have the constant pronouncements in the gospels and the epistles to care for the poor (the original job of deacons, apparently). The early church immediately began to take care of those in their community in need; this is clear from the nt. Jesus elevated himself above the poor as he elevated himself above everything else, but he condemns love of money and the accumulation of wealth. So when I hear O'Reilly bleat about not wanting to pay for a single woman's baby, or almost anything that comes out of Limbaugh's mouth, I have to ask myself: how did these guys get so popular with the Christian right?

Maybe Lakoof is correct. Perhaps our upbringing does affect our political instincts. It makes sense that it would, including in my case (I can't deny my intense, emotional reaction to spanking comes from this). It would also make sense that I hopefully look at my attitudes and experiences with God's help and try to adjust toward a loving path. Christ said that's how the world would know us; he also said loving action is how he would recognize us. That is a stark and sober thought, regardless of my political party.


One thing I'll add as I re-read this (and this post of course is my comment on the American election) is that I hope I don't sound pompous and alienate those who read. I tend to adopt that sermonizing, didactic tone; it comes from so many years of b.s.'ing college freshman for a living. Active charity is certainly an area of my own life that needs to expand and improve. My little parish models this kind of service on an impressive scale for how small it is, and it's good for me to see it. I'm learning like all the rest. Peace.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Drive By Truckers and A Penny for the Old Guy

I know, those of you who have heard of this band or will now listen to them will think I've gone off the edge of some rural, barn-dotted horizon. But DBT really aren't country; they're dirt rock, if I can coin a phrase. And I recommend them.

I actually got their album, Decoration Day, free in the mail from Steph's BMG club. Free. I didn't play it until one day last summer when I was laying wood in the hallway and grabbed the nearest thing. This album has true poetry. If you have napster, check it out. Buy it if if you're feeling adventurous, and give it a a few spins before you write it off. A very different sensibility. A couple songs, like Gun in the Closet, remind me of moods I find in Robert Frost's poetry, but that's the only thing yankee about this album.

Like Social D., like New Bomb Turks or (the ex) Bikini Kill, DBT is an underrated but brilliant band. Next time Brittany's latest hit causes you to choke on bubble gum, try some DBT.


Today is my church's harvest feast. And what are we eating in the foothills? Taco bar, man. My job is to bring the pony keg, so I have to swing by the British brewery tucked into the apple farm country up here. Since yesterday was November 5th, Guy Fawkes' Day, ("Remember remember the fifth of November/
Gunpowder, treason and plot,") the brewery, which is owned by a real brit., has traditional dancers doing the old dances and it will be packed. Stick dances like those in the offbeat film, Wicker Man. Fun. They even burn the effigy at dark, though I've never been there for that. Too bad S is working and Mikey is with a friend. I don't like going to parties alone; it feels lonely! But the harvest feast should be fun and I hope to lift today for the first time in probably three weeks. I've been jogging, which feels wonderful, but I miss the weights also. A set or two of 16 oz. curls at the brewery don't count of course, and if I wait much longer I won't have time.

Be well all. I miss you, and I can't even see you.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Day After

The election is over, you that know me know I am disappointed, both in Bush's victory and in my country. I realize that last is harsh, and I know some of you must have voted for Bush, the two friends we have up here our age are ardent supporters of Bush, but that's how I feel. History will speak in future decades and tell me whether I am right or wrong. God will speak to each of us, and that will be the only enforced final word.

Blessed are the peacemakers

I don't even want to go into why I dislike Bush's administration so much, or challenge the christian right that had so much to do with electing him. Or talk about Iraq. Or the evangelical view of homosexuality. The one bright side I see is I'll have another healthy tax return; hopefully I'll consider doing something with that money to alleviate the suffering of others. Probably I'll buy a laptop and furniture for my house. Certainly my stock market pittance is going up today.

So what do I want to talk about?

I'm trying to improve my attitude and self-care in a number of ways. I'm home alone a lot working, and not working. So I started cooking. I had a few dishes under my belt, but once I opened Joy of Cooking and actually followed the directions, I've found I can make all kinds of things: killer shepherd's pie, great beef stew, good quick breads (here I discovered the wonder of molasses); a couple nights ago I made chicken sandwiches with goat cheese, carmelized onions, and arrugula. I got the recipe from cooking light and it took me, oh, 45 minutes? I enjoy cooking 'good things' from recipes. It gives me something to do and to look forward to during the day. I can shop, plan, marinate the meat, in between working online and grading papers. Even laundry, scrubbing a tub...these things help when I feel the long alone hours ahead and depression setting in. I will probably not have so many of these days in future years whether I stay at my campus or move, but I'm learning to make the best of the stay at home working dad motif.

Rain, all day. It is so beautiful. Our dogwood is setting very yellow. I really should learn to use my wife's camera and post some pictures.

And I've made up, some, with the chair of my dept. That helped my mood as much as anything, just emailing with her a little. She is supportive of me as a person, though of course our vision of online differs radically, now. When she starts teaching those classes, who knows. I have all winter to think about moving campuses, but it seems likely.

Still, there are times I miss the city. I think, I should be walking around SF or LB with my wife, in black leather jackets, jeans, black boots and gloves, shaved, cologned, gel in my hair and mango oil in hers, looking for a warm table in an italian restaurant just around some paved corner. Long scarves, the sound of traffic, wet pavement after a rain, thinking about pasta in a tomato and cream sauce and a bottle of supertuscan. The self-confidence that comes from wearing fashionable clothes and knowing a wine list. Maybe after a ballet, or symphony, or opera, or the theater; I miss those and I also miss museums that actually display art and aren't about gold panning or dead cowboys. Of course, people take the train into SF all the time. I could drive an hour, take a two and a half hour train ride, and bop out into Union Square: plays and restaurants to walk to everywhere.

It's craving what I don't have. If I took a job in the east bay, I'd dream, in the tiny condo I could afford, of jogging in the pines. I'd regret all the hiking I didn't do when I lived up here. I'd probably make long drives to get into the woods. And would I be the same? Have the mountains changed me in ways I don't know? I'm not sure.

I am so appreciative for Sheri's comment to my post below. She said it wasn't as easy to shift culture as it appears in her blog. That is comforting. I actually do remember her, a little, as a culture girl. But I'm such a perfectionist. And I admit I hide my fears and insecurities under a thought-veneer of superiority: oh, I teach college (at a city college) I read books and have a graduate degree. I drink wine and microbeers instead of budweiser. I cook with fresh herbs, dahling. My flannels come from l.l. bean and pendleton instead of mervyn's or the long's drug. And where does all this get me?

No effing place, that's where (nothing wrong with l.l. bean, jack russell beer or fresh rosemary; it's the thought-veneer that's hazardous). Since I'm not surrounded by people with similar inferiority/superiority visions, as in some sense I was in LB (and I always find this very comfortable) I'm stuck having to find out who I really am and what I really feel. I am flawed; my body is aging; I'm fearful as prufrock. I live where looking and acting hip, two things I know well, isolate me, not integrate me. Jeez...I'm a long way from the orange curtain. It takes a secure man to be genuinely friendly and caring.

Did I have a central theme in this blog? I don't remember. But I'm looking forward to cooking dinner and baking pumpkin bread for the first time. And if it stops raining, I'll get my first jog in a week in. How glorious that will be, running on the tree-thick streets around my house, rain heavy in the leaves and on the muddy streets.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween Epilogue

After reading Sheri's halloween post here and her Montana-loving post here I am humbled. She has taken to the new culture so quickly. I know I'd go into shock singing clementine with cowboys I knew I now lived with; I don't even have any snap-button shirts. I have a hard time where I am, in a little closet of mountain culture, less than an hour from a fairly large city, less than three hours from S.F., one of the greatest cities in the world.

Why? Why has the culture up here been hard for me, for us? I don't know, but it's something I want to think about. Sheri and Andy are doing so well under the Big Sky I have to look at my own attitudes, my own lack of faith, my own fear and anger. Not that I don't like the Sierras, but I've been here three and a half years and I still feel isolated. A couple we know, really the only couple our age we hang out with, had a halloween party two nights ago (S and I went as Kerry cheerleaders) and we ended up at a little bar in the town below me. There was a local band; I wasn't drinking but we danced. And I was looking around thinking man, this place is heavy hick. And it was. Late night Sierra drinking culture. It was still fun, but though I can split wood and shovel snow with the rest of them, I haven't yet felt at home. I'm afraid to join the bowling league (apparently being a below 100 bowler, as I am, is not supposed to matter). I'm hopeful things will improve in my little parish; maybe S and I should have tried the baptist church in my town more than once, but we like the liturgical service and the episcopal culture and we drive, and tolerate an older congregation, to have it. And then I joined vestry...I'm committed for a while now.

I have to see my reticence to meet new people, especially those who lack the city polish I once drew identity from, as results of my life experiences, from learned critical attitudes which pervade me like water. But that doesn't mean I can't work on those attitudes, can't act in spite of those fears. What does mike ness (from social d.) say? 'But wherever I have gone, I was sure to find myself there; you can run all your life, but not go anywhere.' I brought myself to the mountains, but it doesn't mean I can't change my self.

It's something worth praying about. Right now I'm still so drained, trying to catch my breath from the emotional turmoil of the last three weeks at work I don't want any new projects. And maybe Montana really is a better place than my little town! But I know there is human beauty here I've missed, that S and I have isolated ourselves from people who could support us in various fashion. Heck, I'm even inside more than I want to be; I work at a computer looking out the window at my forest front yard; I started jogging around our little neighborhood the last few weeks, and want to run today. There's something about being out in all that beauty and cold air that revives my spirit.

Well, if nothing, else, you must read the Halloween post I linked above; it's wonderful. Better than Garrison Keillor, or something out of the old Lands' End catalog, or a Frank Capra film; most wonderful of all because it's true.