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I was in a foul mood today. My husband looked at me and said, “Do you need to go away?” … in the most loving way.

About 1pm this afternoon I brought out my pet project idea. Spurred on by Adam Savage and the Maker’s Faire in Chicago I had missed (and the one in Atlanta I still hope to attend) I brought out an old VCR/DVD, my tool box, a piece of cardboard to work on and my son.

Game on.

The cover came off first, I was akin to a G-d for I had opened The Technology (time out for DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME…. WELL, WITHOUT ME).

The VHS side was, not surprisingly, more interesting than the DVD side (40 years of development between the two will do that). Every time I found another screw we whooped with joy – screws meant opening new things. We found the magnets, we found the laser, we found the gears and the grease and how the doors opened (different for each). We found the circuit boards and how the power cord plugs into the rest of it.

Jeff pulled his own mini circuit board, and kept it as a souvenir. Tonight, with Husband’s help, we started looking at resistors and whatnot. A friend on fb is telling me what I can do with the motors (Dear American Science and Surplus … please send me anything to help this make sense). There is a dead vacuum in the house as well …. I suspect it is likely going under the chopping block as well.

It was great.

Still, I know. It isn’t long. Soon being A Man will make my adventures less interesting. Being right, and understanding (or pretending to) will be more important than the wide eyed wonder that is my specialty. Colors and sizes. Shapes and similarities. All of that won’t matter in a couple of years, or 5.

I like wide eyed wonder, my heart is full of it. We can dance and jump and spin. We can do math and write the last page of The Great Gatsby. We are amazing – even if it is only for our devotion to finding the perfect mac & cheese.

In having a young son, I have someone who will get down on the ground with me to look at the broken rocks and try and figure out how or why or monsters? or big trucks or or or or or….

When I talk about being able to sword fight at 6:15 in the morning, if I’m honest, I’m not sure what I’ll do when he doesn’t want to anymore.

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Boy :  Why does [second tier female superhero] have her belly out all the time?

Mom :  Her belly is so strong the she doesn’t need her uniform to have armor it.

Boy : Is that why Wonder Woman only wears bracelets?

Mom : Close enough.

 

In 1999 I joined a dance troupe that was based in the local community college.

Many of numbers were a mix of rehearsal availability and dance needs, it wasn’t a rigorous group by any stretch. Except an instructor I really liked was actually auditioning for a very physical dance. I went, not expecting much. A long time ago I had learned that if overtly feminine was part of the requirements for a thing (like cheerleading, or dancing) I was likely to get the role of weakest male instead (I have played the Munchkin Mayor (in drag), the football coach (in drag) and the far edge of the bottom of the pyramid more than once).

When I went to the audition we were all taught a two-person combination. One person stable and grounded, the other approaches from the front – left hand to the stable person’s right thigh, right hand to the stable person’s left shoulder and then feet in the air to be caught by the stable person.

Think about how a baton twirler walks and carries a baton tucked into their arm kind of like a baby. Like that, with the head of the moving person at the stable person’s hips and their feet waaaaay up in the air. Hold for 5 seconds and then disassemble in a way that doesn’t kill anyone.

I learned that move 14 years ago, if I trusted my body and a partner well enough I could still do it because I remember it that clearly.

The best part was that everyone who would be accepted into the piece had to be able to do BOTH parts. For once I would be able to do the beautiful flipping part as well as the stable part.

My partner and I nailed it. Then the instructor looked at the program – I was in the dance before and the one after. I wasn’t replaceable in either by that point. I wouldn’t get to play. The song before gave me the chance to get across the stage in 8 beats with a running roll thrown in for dramatic measure (I suspect I could still do the roll too). The song after was non-descript and a bit of an embarrassment as the choreography kept deteriorating to accommodate the lowest common denominator.

I have a tiny sad in my heart that I wasn’t in the extremely physical piece because it was stunning. I also know that I was eating a pound of peanut butter a day during the Saturday rehearsals and my feet were so gory by the end I was taking pictures of them. The celebration dinner after the opening show also included six ice packs. I am not sure I could have physically really pulled it off but my GOD I was having a wonderful time working so hard to be ready for the show.

It really remains a highlight of those years — and those years were really really good.

Last night a friend of mine & I drove to Durham, NC to see Pilobolus perform at the amazing DPAC. We ate at the Blue Olive where you should totally eat if you have the opportunity.

Pilobolus does the type of dance I long to do, even though my body is far past the opportunity. I love that when I go back and look at the website I recognize the dancers. I saw two world premiere pieces and the first one (choreographed in part by Penn & Teller) was great but the second … will be how they close the show for a long time because it is perfection. I also got to see two men untie themselves from a Gordian Knot on a Stripper Pole – and if you ever have the change — you should see that as well.

There may be hesitation because any YouTube search shows folks in G-Strings. You might wonder if your kid / mom / uncle / grandma should see it. They should. You should. Bodies are amazing, and more than the physical proximity of the dancers to each other (they are CLOSE), the intimacy of the trust they show each other, the respect, the absolute faith they have is mind blowing.

If you are mid-air, I will catch you.
If you are head-down, you will not fall.
If you flirt, I will flirt back.
If you trust me, I will trust you.

Go see Pilobolus. At least in Durham they also did a shorter “children’s show” which (I suspect) involves a different level of clothing.

I tend to normalize things pretty quickly. Stuff might get strange, but if it stays strange for more than a week or so I start thinking it is normal. Usually not in an awfulizing way, but in a way that lets me move on from the surprise of the strangeness.

With the end of LLV I have the strange sensation of having just walked out of the TARDIS a year into the future.

Every person I care about here has had some world-view-altering experience in the last year.
On the one hand, that is pretty awesome for most of them, and for those who had a hard year I still see wonderful things on the horizon for them (the universe conspiring to bring them something positive).

On the other hand, for me, it is kind of like finding out that your best friend is a singer because you see a poster for her show instead of her telling you about it. It feels distant in a way that I didn’t expect.

At the same time, I see things in myself that weren’t true a year ago.

For the first time in 11 years I am considering taking a plane somewhere other that ATL and ORD

For nearly two years my mental energy has been divided between two places – here & there. I’m closing those loops, un-liking the non-human fb pages, and finding out what comes next.

Last night I sat down to paint -something I started doing on LLV. I realize that I still haven’t totally normalized the strangeness of the return. I saw clearly the table where I began to figure out painting (I don’t have it anymore) and the way the light rested there (we don’t have a good west window here).

I remembered throwing out John’s art kit on the last trash day, which was the right thing to do – but a surprise that I had the ability to do it.

Things can be right. Things can be strange. They will be normal – just not today.

In a couple of weeks I will loose Google Reader, and in November I will lose iGoogle as my general homepage. I have not done anything to replace these sytems yet. Instead, I am thinking a lot about digital clutter and how much I actually want.

There are blogs that I have read for more than a decade. A couple that I still consistently enjoy, and some where I feel invested so I keep following along. What if I only read them when they crossed my mind?

I don’t watch the news, or go to CNN.com, if I am unsubscribed to the feeds which bring at least a small amount of current events my way then … what?

There are blogs that I find professionally interesting, which I can bookmark at work I suppose. There is following on fb and Twitter to keep sort of caught up. I spend more time on those two sites in general (and if I was better at Twitter it would be my first choice), and I find the connections easier and more personable there than in blogs in general. WordPress keeps me updated on blogs I follow within that universe.

The more I think about it, and think about it in combination with spending my time doing things that I value the more I suspect that the strangest thing about losing Google Reader will be how little I actually lose.

6:00a – Jeff hollers for me. We had agreed to go out to breakfast and do a couple of errands when we woke up. By 8:30 in the morning we’d been 4 places and returned home.

It is Father’s Day, and my Husband awoke to his son and I chucking cards at him on our way out the door. He fixed the toilet. I bought groceries, a sprinkler, and a linen sun hat (for me).

By one in the afternoon the real celebration of the day began. For me it began with an hour of pulling vines out of the trees. I did it in part to help, but in part because I love getting vines out of trees (when I’m in the right mood to ignore bugs and potential oogly-boogly).

Then came the man of the hour. First the easy tree, which was pulled over with a little additional ax work. The second tree happened while kiddo and I played in the sprinkler. The third tree was the main point of the day, as it was encroaching over the house.

He didn’t use a chain saw. When he climbed the tree he didn’t tie in. When his shoulder made him roar he didn’t stop. He just did what he needed to do to keep the house safe, his wife safe, his kid safe. It was hot, and it was hard, and it sure as hell wasn’t a ball game or grilling up some tofu dogs.

I know that he took down a bunch of trees before we met (a LONG time ago), I’ve seen him do it from time to time and it always scares me some – but less so as time goes on. Today, when he finally got everything to ground I got to do something to help. I grabbed a 12 foot length of tree and dragged it where it needed to go, and then I went and grabbed another one.

I’m blistered and sliced up from the vines, but I did a bit to help at the beginning and then end, and it was genuine.

He’s a good man. He’s a good dad. He’s a good husband. He has a lot of confused deer in the front yard because it looks a lot different than yesterday.

Dear Son,

I promise to care about swords at 6:17 in the morning.  To care enough that if we both throw on shoes we can go outside and fight if you try not to get to loud because everyone on the planet is still asleep.

I promise to look at your day, through your eyes, because getting bossed all the time is no fun if you don’t get the chance to boss back every once in awhile.

I promise that your job is not to be a third adult in this house, even when you look like you can do it.

I promise to try and get you around other kids a lot because being able to look people in the eye is important.  For your mind, for your neck, for your imagination, and because that is what it takes to move around in the world.

I will play in the rain and snow with wild abandon because that is how you do it.

I will pour my hopes and dreams into myself, so as not to crowd out your hopes and dreams with my own.

 

I made choices about how I would use my body to have kids.  One and done.  That means that I promise to take on the responsibility of demonstrating joy, and lighthearted exploration.  Kids with siblings have someone to slay the dragon with. I promise that as well as I can, I will put on my helmet, grab my shield, and head into the woods.

 

There is a picture of me at about 14.  I am sitting at a picnic table glaring at my mom, because I’m 14.  My hair is super short, and permed on top.  I have acne that will eventually be medically managed but then I managed it by tearing my face apart. I am wearing at least two, but I think three, tank tops – red, yellow, and (if there is a third) white.  I am wearing below-the-knee shorts that are red, yellow, and white.  I suspect that I’m wearing my white, leather, zip up at the heel sandals – but I’m not sure.  It is at least 93 degrees where I am.  All of my limbs are 14 years old, which is to say they are stretched long and tan, and I’m never quite sure where any of them end.

 

I was so cool that day.  That was my favorite outfit, and I rocked that haircut.  I had spent time on it even though I was going to spend the day moving back and forth from the bench to the patio on The Hill, which was a lot of beautiful not-much, in the middle of a lot of beautiful no-where.  I worked hard to be that cute.

 

I can look back at that picture as an adult and know that my style has always been consistent.  Identify what is “on trend” and then do something near it, without fear of the things that make me happy.  I own plenty of things that look absolutely normal for a working 40 year-old woman; the stuff we all have – chunky necklaces, nude heels, black slacks.  I also own zebra shoes, Vibrams, and silver ankle boots.  Just like I did when I was 14, I have buttons on my purse (Doctor Who and The Book of Mormon).

 

When I look at that picture of me, I don’t see bad hair and the dodgy fashions of the day.  I know, right away, that it was the days of Dippity Doo and Aqua Net and that my 14 year old hands knew less about fixin’ hair than I do now (and I still wear short, basically un-styled hair).  There weren’t flat irons and reliable ways to maintain loose curls all day long.  Nobody I knew had any idea what an up-do was (as far as I can tell) and I certainly had never had one.

 

Here is the tricky part (a buried lead if ever there was one) – I refuse to judge 14 year old me by my 39 year-old eyes.

 

I look in the mirror this morning and think Cute, Stylish, Rockin’!, just like I did when I was 14.  I was right then, and I’m right now. 

 

I will not chip away at my energy and love for myself today by tearing down the person I was then.  I did the best I could, and I rocked it.

From my son’s eyes…

T-Minus 11 days – Bye dad, we love you and drive safe.

T-Minus 10 days – Bye school, I love you and I’ll miss my best friend Logan, but at least I took his picture.

T-Minus 9 days – Bye Aunt Julie, Bye Miss Lisa……

T-Minus 8 days – Bye family, you are great fun (WHAT? We get to spend the night with cousins??”) and we will see you at Christmas time.

T-Minus 7 days – Bye Grandpa, happy birthday, we hope you enjoy the cookies.  See you at Christmas

T-Minus 6 days – Bye Grandma as the both return from their ritual walk with red eyes.  HeLLLLO Bumblebee at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

T-Minus 5 days – I have seen Rock City and FIIIIIINALY made it back to Athens, and my room.

T-Minus 4 days – That’s a whole lot of unpacking I’m watching y’all do.

T-Minus 3 days – That’s a whole lot of unpacking I’m watching y’all do AND I AM SUPER BORED WITH THIS.

T-Minus 2 days – Now we get to move boxes for our friends, wait ?  Is she going somewhere?

T-Minus 1 day – Hello Maemaw & Papa it is great to see you again.

 

My kid was a trooper in the last few days, and never was anything except what I thought he could be.  Tonight, with some supportive and loving words from my mom, I broke into tears.  It has been a lot of hello and goodbye, a lot of rallying to gain strength for a specific moment and leaving less and less for the moment that followed.  Any single moment of the last 11 days has been perfect, what it needed to be.  We all got home safe and we are 95% re-integrated (which is good because tomorrow we are back to full speed life).

Still, tonight, as my son struggles to fall asleep there is a resounding truth.  We are back, and we are different.  We are back, and our friends are different.  We are back, and where we spend our time is different.  It is all familiar, the same, and totally different.  I can walk this house with my eyes closed – but now it holds a piece of furniture I knew when I was 6.  I can drive these roads with confidence, but the grocery stores I can move quickly through are in a different time zone.

I want to talk about LLV in some broader and more literary sense, or maybe as a list of things, or a series of photographs.  In the end, it was 370 days of a life where I show up over and over and try to do the best I can for myself and for those that I love.  This 370 days feels a lot like I got good work done.  LLV is over, really over, but I am different now.  As is everyone else.

Chicago Skyline at Sunset

Chicago Skyline at Sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think the 11th Doctor will ever leave Trenzalor.  I think the 50th and the Christmas special will happen there.  He is still there at the season finale, it provides an old school story arch, he’s messed up in his own timeline (so Tennant makes sense), and the idea that he’ll escape Trenzalor and then fall just seems wrong.

Now – why is John Hurt there?  Is there a Doctor Prime / central embodiment?  So the 11th falls at the same place where his (and the TARDIS) will ultimately die?

John Hurt

John Hurt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)