Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at KankakeeRolls
along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

when I got on board yesterday evening in chicago at 8 PM (spot on time), I had $4, half of a chicken burrito, a bottle of water & two kashi go lean bars, one unread book, several already or mostly read books & zines, lotsa dirty clothes, extremely dirty hair, smelly feet, and four hours of sleep under my belt. which is not enough for me. sleep, that is.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

I don't regret sitting up late sunday night talking with sal & yantra, at all. spending time with them was the highlight of my weekend, even if I did forget to say thanks for dinner (thanks for dinner, lady mamas). I don't regret my decision to take a 7 AM bus to chicago on monday morning instead of a sunday evening free ride. coming all that way, I needed that extra time with friends to make the trip worthwhile. I had imagined, though, that I'd be able to sleep on the bus trip. how was I to know that I'd wind up with two tedious woman-girls sitting behind me, on their way to some fucking theater camp in madison and singing the whole damn way. fucking fuckers.

Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car.
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score.
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor.
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.

I went to sleep early, before midnight, and even though I was hungry, I forgot to finish that burrito. I finished ariel gore's new book as soon as I got on, and then started tony hillerman's second.on the ride up I was so cold and uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep more than a few miserable hours. I kept dreaming about being locked out in the snow.on the way back, it was just as cold but I was more tired. I wore two t-shirts (1 long sleeved), one button down shirt and a sweater, jeans, socks, shoes, and I was still freezing. I pulled out a long skirt from my bag and used it as a short blanket, but my only good sleep came once the sun came up and warned me through the window.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

at 10 AM, just after I'd used the toilet, brushed my teeth, run some water through my hair, used face wipes on my face and feet (!), and put on clean socks, I went into the lounge and watched Spiderman. what a lot of killing.all the toddlers in the lounge (3) ragefully resisted sleep. and I found their carrying on strangely soothing.I missed my kids.

Nighttime on The City of New Orleans,
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
Half way home, we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea.
And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
The conductor sings his song again,
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues.

I hate to say it but I am kind of over the train right now. trained out. if I had it to do over, I'd totally fly to minneapolis. I'd still take my summer's other two train trips... assuming all goes well on friday when we get on board bound for DC.I have relished the peace and opportunity to read on my previous child-free train trips, but this time I was uncomfortable and the time dragged. I could not turn my brain off - I was either worrying about all of the things I have to accomplish in three days time when I get home, how I'll manage the DC train trip, how my mama gathering workshops would go (on the way up), or (on the way down) reliving every word I said during the weekend and wishing I'd been, depending on the situation, smarter, clearer, kinder, more concise, or, sometimes, just completely, wisely silent.

Good night, America, how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

we got in on time at 3:30. liam and nash both ran to hug me and be kissed, let me smell their hair and hold them tight. they're bickering and being monstrous and I don't give much of a fuck. I have bathed. I went to see rosana for a few hours. I am exhausted. I have much more to say positive & negative, about the weekend, but this is it for now.I feel pretty good.

(this is from tuesday night)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

liam is having an impromptu overnight. nash is excitedly doing double digit addition problems. he has just discovered the concept of carrying the one. we ate a post-king fu dinner with rosana & family.
I should be writing and I am so not feeling it. I want to just tell all my stuff into the tape recorder and send that out to the world, in an envelope with a few photos.

meanwhile, I enjoyed taking this:
I am the Alakai Swamp on Mount Wai'ale'ale!
Which Extremity of the World Are You?
From the towering colossi at Rum and Monkey.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

a few looks at our two weeks in california

Nash at venice beach on wednesday, june 23

and this is Liam aquiescing to a photo with our friend Dorie

the beach itself was windy and I was freezing.

a week later, we went to the labrea tar pits.

this is my favorite store name ever: ethical drugs

Monday, July 05, 2004

but I do wanna put out there, even though I'm inarticulate from lack of sleep, that william upski wimsatt was tremendous and got me good and fired up for the upcoming elections. it feels possible now.
check it out: the league of pissed off voters
yo ho

we got into the new orleans station at ten til 8 this morning. we'd been scheduled to arrive at 8:30 last night. I'm exhausted from a night of fitful half-sleep, afraid we might miss our stop and wake up in orlando. at 3, I had to get up and rescue my glasses from inside the workings of the bed/chair. I'm lucky they weren't mangled.

I can't really say much about the trip until I've had some rest. and a high quality shower. I had a short one first thing, but I couldn't escape from the kids long enough to get serious and wash my hair. I still have beach hair. stiff.

I'm not leaving the house today unless it catches fire. the kids and I just watch pirates of the caribbean.

I wish I had some pad thai. or flautas. a gyro would be nice.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

gee, why do people keep telling me this?

from here

You are an SEDL--Sober Emotional Destructive Leader. This makes you a dictator. You prefer to control situations, and lack of control makes you physically sick. You feel have responsibility for everyone's welfare, and that you will be blamed when things go wrong. Things do go wrong, and you take it harder than you should.
You rely on the validation and support of others, but you have a secret distrust for people and distaste for their habits and weaknesses that make you keep your distance from them. This makes you very difficult to be with romantically. Still, a level-headed peacemaker can keep you balanced.
Despite your fierce temper and general hot-bloodedness, you have a soft spot for animals and a surprising passion for the arts. Sometimes you would almost rather live by your wits in the wilderness somewhere, if you could bring your books and your sketchbook.
You also have a strange, undeniable sexiness to you. You may go insane.
greetings from the edge of hollywood

we left long beach (where we'd been attending the uu general assembly) on tuesday afternoon and are back with our amazing, kind, generous hosts in the city.

we were scheduled to get on our train last night, but get this: due to a freight train collision and derailment in texas, my train has been cancelled. har, har. what a capital T trip this is/has been/will continue to be. after a whole day of limbo (which I hated - I really don't enjoy limbo), we are booked onto the friday noght train with high hopes of no further amtrak snafu action. if all reasonable amtrak options (reasonable meaning a)not the fucking bus and b) getting us home by sunday) had failed us, we would have got our money back and got on a plane. which I didn't want. which I fully admit that I fear, even though I know all of the everything about statistics and safety and yada yada yada.
meanwhile, my mother and my official Oldest Old Friend (that is to say, the person I've known longest, who is not a blood relative, and who is still my friend)(we've been friends since 1982 and although there was a period of 1996-7 when we were totally NOT friends, we're friends now I think it still counts), mark, rented a car yesterday and we set off with our friend jon for roscoe's chicken and waffles to eat, take pictures, buy tacky souvenirs and such.
I'm thinking (since I never did manage to get into the cybercafe in long beach) that I haven't posted about my roscoe's obsession. it's an offshoot of my john cusack obsession. if you don't know what I'm talking about, get thee a copy of tapeheads and watch it, now.
liam and I ate at roscoe's in long beach on sunday, and it was extra tasty, and just confirmed my need to go the original location in LA and tourist it up. alas, the wait for lunch yesterday was an hour at least, and we were mighty hungry, so we took a picture, bought t-shirts and then drove over to el conquistador on sunset to eat. which was excellent and I even a margartita - one which has been proclaimed the best in los angeles, no less.
I'll talk more about this later, but I have to say, before running off to attack my inbox, my time in long beach was really good and rewarding and meaningful and fun and I owe it all to kateadelle and her gorgeous partner, for taking such excellent care of my kids so that I could get into the program without guilt or worry. you two are the best.
this whole trip has been particularly successful in terms of, you know, F-U-N for me and the kids, and it's all due to good friends and kind people: sonja, dorie, alecia, kate, all of my rowe camp sweethearts, nash & liam's "uncles" jon & mark, everybody... big, big thanks and love to all of y'all.

today: sonja has this painting up on her site right now (collage-o-scope), "sonic nurse," it makes me so happy.

last night jeff said, if you're going to be here for two more days, we've got to get you out of the house to see the world. ha. even before I had children, I've always been the kind of houseguest who amazes my hosts with my level of sloth. I need downtime, now more than ever. but we will go out today, to the labrea tar pits (my strongest association of which comes from that scene in the forbidden zone) and the free children's space museum and the art museum and so on and so on.

nash and charlie are still loving on each other like mad. I have this fantasy of the two of them going to sleep away camp together next year. next year and for many years to come. I'm like, planning their wedding and everything.

each of them has gotten into real live reading this summer via their pokemon obsession. which is hilarious and amazing and weird and okay, I guess.

liam is having a good time telling stories to our hosts, but he has a hard time with feeling left out of the nash-charlie coupling. and he often expresses that with aggresion. which is hard to respond to in a patient, compassionate and constructive manner. jeff & sonja manage to, though. their parenting is amazing. it's like, I know how to say the words but they engage in the empathetic (is it empathetic or empathic?) response so much more sincerely and thoughtfully than I do, and the kids really feel that. I'm trying to soak up their calm.

last night we all turned in early - early compared to what we have been doing. around 10 for the 6-7 year olds, 11 for mighty, energetic, tenacious liam and my weary self.

I dreamed complicated, layered tales of crushes and longing and camp directing and office work. and snow.