Bread and Roses

Location: Southeastern, United States

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Down to the River

Today I helped add half a mile to the Appalachian Trail, and learned to sing shape-note hymns with four-part harmonies. Life is good.


Friday, August 26, 2005

The District Sure as Hell Sleeps Alone Tonight

1) I know that having to get up at 7 am tomorrow sensibly precludes getting shitfaced at the freshman/sophomore parties tonight, especially since I'm not a freshman/sophomore and don't drink that much. Nonetheless, it is kinda sad being the one person left in dorm.

2) Am having to be careful when talking to guy friends my age lest I interrupt their pursuit of nubile freshmen. Goddammit, where're my nubile freshmen?

3) My poor, broken laptop. As soon as I get a fresh, shiny laptop, which I will treat much better, I will buy Velvet Goldmine on dvd. I swear I got through last year mostly through the extreme nakedness of Velvet Goldmine.

Hey, has anyone seen Y Tu Mama Tambien? Does Gael Garcian Bernal at any point take his clothes off?

that is all.



It makes sense, I guess, that the town should feel diminished through the absence of one person, one person who I was in love two years and a lifetime ago for nine days. He was, at that point, exactly twice my age, and departs now to actually raise goats (we all joke we will grow up and start goat communes) in a solar house in the northeast, with his dear partner. I really had no pang of regret; my life could be very very different, but I realized that last year, holding a baby that could have been mine if I had taken an entirely different course. I like to think, as far as choices and courses, that some part of me knows where I'm going.

There is no such thing as too many people who love you, admittedly safely, and from quite a difference, and there's no such thing as too many goat communes in the world, I suppose.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


People here walk at the speed of slow molasses, rural girls, the gait of east-campus kids who don't have to climb down one side of the valley and across the stream-crossed valley floor in the ten minutes between classes. People here are friendly, their faces gentle when they look at you, asking, do I know you? I know more of them than I thought I would. I know a whole world, I guess, just because we were in a class together once, way up in my dorm, up on the western wall of the valley and the world. In front of us when we wake up every morning lies a single street of shops, the neighborhoods hidden behind the laugh-line wrinkles at the mountain's base, the far expanse of a single farm, the highway out. Behind us when we go to sleep every night is a wavering track of road up past the parking lots and the woods they replaced, the source of the stream, the muddy pond, apartments holding to one side of the hill, and then down the mountain through houses and lives and poplar groves to the other highway, the road on through. That is where I live, in part of a single valley, and it can be claustrophobic, but it is also rich and alive. It is a teeming city of students, a dense settlement, a colony hive for the teachers and businessmen and preachers and farmers of the mountain towns. It is important. It is a whole world.


Monday, August 22, 2005

The World in a Mustard Seed

I just got shanghaied by a sophomore who wanted to show me his new kale sets and his bottle of fish emulsion.

It turns out that that garden-center smell is fish emulsion.


Sunday, August 21, 2005


My heart is full, of course. I've stolen a year, to know these people as sophomores - a year more confident, a year more tired, all together beautiful. I've stolen a year to watch the freshmen and learn not to be one, I've stolen a year to live in the great monastic expanse of my college in air filled with crickets and moon.

The first year I was in college, on Sunday night a girl made lasagna, and we sat in the lounge and ate. Last year, on Sunday, coming down the stairs, Doug B invited me to share a tupperware of penne pasta with soy sauce and olive oil, me and a gaggle of juniors on the couch. This year, my junior - junior? - year, today I ate angel hair with vegetables and parmesan bread and balsamic vinegar in the tv lounge with staff and sophomores. I have lived three years in this dorm, in this program, past my official graduation and into an uncertain, beautiful place. I am glad to be here. It is insane that anything can be this intensely good as being here. It is like being a child, a freshman, shellless, boundless, in love with everything.

Wonder, maybe, is the word. It is very intense. I missed the intensity, all this summer.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

First day of Spring

What on earth was I talking about, this last week? It is insanely good to be here. My only problem, again again, is that I have to tell myself I can't do it all at once, that the people will still be there - the freshmen to meet, the friends to reconnect with - after I unpack, nap, shower. I love it here. Friends that I valued might have migrated out of my reach, but there are still people here whose smiles make me light up inside, whose words I value. There is still a life for me here.

I may change blogs again soon. Claustrophobic coffee-stained wallpaper was what I needed this summer, but in the indian summer academic air, what I need is space and trees and light pouring down golden. I will be okay.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

My own damn laundry

p.s. 'someone' #1 was me, I try to only complain about one person twice per entry.

Re: the school I'm about to go back to, it sucks not to be counted.

People I swore I'd see this summer want to hang out but I'm not sure I can summon the strength to leave the cul-de-sac, again. I am, in fact, kind of a shitty friend.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dirty laundry?

These last couple of days at home have been very hard, which is a particularly bad thing because my last couple of days at work have been amazing, and maybe I want to tell the internet and posterity about how both the pre-schoolers passed the swim test and went off the diving board and then we played in the creek, not about how my siblings and I, all well past the age at which such behavior is acceptable, are getting into actual fist-and-feet brawls over whether we watch tv with captions or without. Also, my mother hit me on the head with a plate.

One of the hardest things is realizing that people make emotional promises they can't keep. People might, for instance, say that they can be understanding when you're cranky under stress, and then when you're actually cranky under stress call you names and hit you on the head with a plate. No one on this earth has any real obligation, I suppose. I suspect too that people present the person they want to be up until the person that they actually are takes over. For instance, *someone* might want to be so logical and sensible as to be able to handle stressful family interactions while in a state of high anxiety without snapping and hitting the near-adult who desires to yell at you about your close-captioning preference in the middle of your favorite movie, without even having the decency to pause. But that person, anyway, is not that logical and should probably consider cloistering themself during such anxiety. And *someone else* might want to give up hoping they can be Nuestra Senora in all situations and instead announce, hey, cross me with your cranky anxiety, and I will whap you upside the head with a plate.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

I tried to do an instant-survey!

But the form-creator didn't work. SO I made one up! It is super-fun when one has had more claritin than one ought!

You have five minutes to decide what zoo animal you'll be transformed into: Fish are mean to each other and it's too hot here for polar bears, so I'd have to say otters would be your best bet.

Are you going to be a cat lady when you grow up?: Maybe if I was interested in death-by-sneezing. Cats: fluffy. friendly. Forbidden.

Aliens land in your backyard. What do you say to them?: I have not seen "War of the Worlds" but would still prefer cowering under my bed.

Are you the sort of person that enjoys rock-climbing: See above.

Awkwardest moment ever that you'll put on the internet: One day in the third grade, every possible synonym for 'hot dog' became dirty. I did not get the memo in time. This might be why I'm a vegetarian.

Do you secretly want to become a Really Famous Blogger?: Bitter answer: ::looks down:: still a chick! Apparently not, according to some people! Honest answer: I'm enchanted by people liking my ideas, but I'm not willing to become organized, or, in fact, work hard. And I overreact to trolls. ::baits trolls::

Favorite way to get around the n-word while humming hiphop: "cure for cancer, cure for aids, makes a neighbor want to stay on tour for days... da da da... BOMBS OVER BAGHDAD..."

I'll go away now.

Thanks internet.


I know it's cheap, but the form made it so easy!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

God Bless the USA

River: You can make a lovely cucumber salad with some nice onions and tomatoes

Crazy American: YOU'RE TRYING TO POISON US ALL!!!!!!

I do love my country.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

On the other hand

could someone who sees biting cultural commentary in, of all things, the 1964 Mary Poppins movie survive outside academia?

Seriously, how could people see that movie and not expect impending massive cultural upheaval? Zeitgeist, my friends, zeitgeist.

If I don't see y'all again, have a nice weekend.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I think the words 'unwashed illiterate' may have been used.

One of my nanny kids just dissed my academic ambitions. For the record (as I told him) there is nothing wrong with my academic performance; by small-town college's standards, I'm pretty darn good. But I'm not sure I want to go to graduate school, especially not right after college. I'm pretty gosh darned sure (sorry, the nannying is taking a toll on my language) that I'm uninterested in pursuing a prominent position in academia.

I said this.

Oh, he said, in a tone I would describe as dismissive, you don't think you could even get in to graduate school?

I've been dissed. By a nine-year-old.

I suppose if I really do intend to go through the world with no master's degree, it's a feeling I'll have to get used to.

do you want fries with that?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Revenge of the $300 dress.

Look how nice you can look, and still be fair trade, if only you (and I) had the good taste to live in England.

The girly phase is not ending, and all I really want is $50 anthropologie tank tops, but dammit I will stick to my morals. Patagonia is okay (leech on my family that I am, I'm willing to pay full price and buy one t-shirt a year) but I really, really want something that could concievably be worn when leaving the house after 7 pm.

It may be fortunate that US fashion is horrid right now, and therefore I don't really want much of anything in normal stores.

That's really about it. I have had 24 hours of peace and quiet, by the way, and it has been glorious.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Not for our purposes but for their own

One of the nanny families has kittens, two little rough-furred fuzzballs found starving by a roadside. All week I have watched the human children and the cat children learning each other, roughly, heavy-handed, claws out. The youngest boy feeds the cats from on top of a wooden chest, out of their reach, crying when they get too close. The cats, afraid of the height of even a short human, clamber out of arms and up necks, digging their feet into napes and scalps trying to grab a hold. Gently, we tell them, gently, while the kittens in their crate tussel, digging teeth and claws into each other's necks and crying piteously when pinned. Gently, we tell them, gently, mixing condensed goats' milk and kitten formula and setting it down for cats who already are more interested in stalking and eating the giant carolina roaches that sneak in through the cracks in the sunroom. They go their way in our lives, I guess.

Anyway, parrots can do abstract math, and chimpanzees can talk like deaf people, and every house on my road also encloses something with fur or fins or feathers, something that looks us in the eye and does not know our names. Space travel is all well and good, but if we met sentience out there, who's to say we'd know it there either?


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nae simul pudere quod non oportet coeperit; quod oportet non pudebit

I have been having wretched dreams about the ex-relationship. Dreams in which my subconcious is constantly railing at me like a priggish but clear-sighted aunt. I liked a long-distance relationship; not having someone in my space, crowding up my room, messing up my carefully-deposited clutter. Moreover, not having to see someone not just through my own eyes but through the more-critical eyes of friends, family, community. So, my subconcious nags at me, poking into the over-tender parts of my mind, shaking out my emotions like pebbles on a rug, was I ashamed of him?

Of course not, my thinking mind replies. There was a time when I felt more strongly about him then he felt about me; I certainly had enough insecure times. I wanted him to meet my family; it was the family that wouldnt' cooperate. But it is true that it fell apart for the last time on campus, under the weight of the residential college's mythos, under the imagined eyes of a compassionate but very curious group of teenagers. It is true that the dreams I am having have the same feeling as waking up nights, listening to breathing in the silence and thinking this does not fit.

What does my subconcious priggish-aunt want? Should I be ashamed of how my feelings turned, or should the turn of my feelings indicate that I should be extra-careful to avoid him upon my return to campus? Internet, I'm not asking your opinion, but if you've got one (besides 'stop whining') we may as well hear it.

I only have three weeks left here, after all, and maybe I should try harder to be here instead of in a remembered and anticipated somewhere else. Here, I am teaching the kid to play chess, and despite the heat it is raining every day all the way through drought season. Maybe I'll go to the beach this weekend.