Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bad Attitude

I should be thankful. I just don't feel it.

My daughter and I just put our tart in the oven, and decided to pre-whip the cream. I'm a whipped-cream snob; like my wine pretensions, it's a skill owed to my lengthy stint in restaurants, where hand-whipping the cream was the waitstaff's sole contribution to the culinary craftsmanship that justified the high prices, which, of course, translated pretty darn frequently into very generous tips. One of the few corners I do NOT cut in the kitchen is in the area of whipping cream.
But as I got out the battered stainless steel restaurant-supply issue bowl and whisk, I was struck with an image of my husband, who eagerly adopted most of my food tics, and had become enamored of things like hand-whipped cream, especially when it could be paraded before his decidedly Cool-Whip relations. I could see him in his tailor-made dress pants, bought during a work trip to Singapore--one of his few indulgences. And the knit shirt he used to wear for family occasions that didn't demand a jacket or tie (although he had exquisite taste in ties; unlike many men, he was willing to wear ties with extravagantly beautiful patterns, although he generally favored clothes that were simple and quietly stylish. His dark hair fell across his brow and he watched with concentration and delight as the cream slowly, inevitably, and yet magically turned from its liquid state.
Whipping the cream was always the last chore he did before we headed out to the car (this was in the pre-daughter days). All those holiday outings--so uneventful, so unremarkable, and so, so precious.

I suppose I should tell you that I whipped the cream today, in his memory, as the salt tears fell into it.

Instead, I used the mixer. Sometimes, I am a coward.

I miss you, my love.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Accidental Genius

In one course we've recently been talking about Ben Franklin and the concept of "happy mediocrity" that he claims characterized Revolutionary America. Or, as a student suggested, the idea that America was (and is), a "Mediocracy."

I could not agree more.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

One more thing

I am shamelessly enamored of my new pedagogical slogan, which is particularly apt given that I have spent the weekend on the assessment equivalent of climbing mt. Everest, without oxygen or sherpa:

In this class, you are either an asset, or an ASSHAT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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I am not a souse

But you wouldn't know it to hear my daughter talk.

Tonight, we are rolling out pizza crust in the kitchen, discussing our topping options:

Mama: Well, we could have pine nuts on our pizza...

Darling Daughter, (suspiciously): Why? What are they?

Mama (extracting one from bag and popping it in DD's mouth as if she were a baby bird): They're yummy and toasty. They are good for us! [thinks, When did I become the freakin' food pyramid spokesperson, anyway? SHOOT ME!]* See?

DD: No, thank you, Mama. Maybe with cocktails, but not on my pizza...

Mama (stunned into silence): ---

*I should point out that, ever precocious, my daughter has picked up the mantra I use to encourage her to eat something besides noodles and bread products. "I'm eating my protein, Mama," she lisps sweetly, "because I do not live by STARCH ALONE." She slays me.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Such is my life

1. There is absolutely NO good reason to find a single surgical glove on one's front lawn. Am I right?

2. Why on earth do I have a computer file called "redneckweddinginvitation" on my office computer? And why can't it be opened with any program known to mankind and Mac?

These are the things that occupy my mind...


Monday, November 12, 2007

Grief hurts

But not very many people talk about it. It's exhausting, the constant clenching of the jaw, the tightening of the shoulders, that defensive crouch that one assumes as if--ha!--to ward against further blows, greater losses. It's a dull throb in the base of the skull, inexplicable sharp pains in the joints. Compression in the spine. Twinges in the tendons. Those who haven't experienced it can't know--and those who have "recovered" forget--but grief is as much a tactile disturbance as an emotional one. It's dry, swollen eyes, tender sinuses, sudden cramps in the toes. Oh, and, of course, that great gaping empty wound at the center, the jagged aching hole left behind, with edges that are still raw and won't heal over. The absence that hurts more than any presence ever could.

My daughter is having an overnight at her grandma's tonight; great for her, but for me, the empty house, the bleak days stretching forward in this worst week of all, and the absence of my one link to warm, physical connection is unbearable. No, she doesn't make up for the loss of my husband (not that she should have to); yes, she saves my life, every day.

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Dark Days

What can I say that I haven't said already? I miss him. It's not fair. It sucks. It gets less actively awful, but not really any better. I miss him, and I miss the life we were supposed to have together. I'm tired of being alone in the universe. I'm tired of having to find reasons NOT to wallow in despair.

I miss you, babe. I hope you know that. I hope you know that whatever else I someday find, it will never, ever, take your place--or fill the part of me that was completed by you. In so many ways, you were the part of me I liked best. I miss the laughter, and the hopes, and the memories we didn't get to make. I miss celebrating our daughter with you, and laughing at the same exact thing you find funny. I want to tell you about the funny line I just read on Salon about Jack Black, and hear you say, "He rocks. So HARD," and laugh, not because it's funny, but because the joke is ours and we are together to share it. I want you to see your daughter dance in her first (and probably not last) "Nutcracker." And to pick out a Christmas tree together, and laugh bitterly about how your nutty family has canceled Thanksgiving again, and not really mind because the three of us are all the family we really need.

I may not hurt as badly, but I miss you not one iota less than I did 729 days ago. I still feel bereft, blunted, and impaired.

Now I am going home to get powerfully drunk and maybe watch the documentary about the Dixie Chicks before I humiliate myself by crying on campus...AGAIN. I keep thinking I will just quit this stupid blog, since I never have anything new to say, or the energy to find new ways to say it.