I'm listening to Suzanne's CD. It is beautiful. The more I listen, the more I feel like I knew her a little bit.

I don't know if this always happens when I come back from a trip. I suspect it does not. At any rate, I've come back feeling very different than I felt when I left. I feel like I'm on the verge of changes, but I can't quite see around the corner to identify them.

And then I reread that and I just feel like I'm being unncecessarily dramatic. Maybe nothing is changing. Maybe I'm just not caught up on sleep yet.

*Title courtesy of Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance"

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My vacation in numbers


I am going to write one or many real entries about the wonderful trip I just got home from, but first I desperately need a nap. So, for the interim, I give you My Vacation In Numbers:

Number of sushi dinners eaten: 2
Number of states visited to which I had never been before: 4
Number of modes of transportation taken: 5
Number of hours spent in transport: approximately 20
Number of beds/futons/couches slept on: 3
Number of wonderful online friends met in person: 5
Number of roller coasters ridden: 8

Sounds like a great trip, huh? More details to come...but first, sweet, sweet sleep...

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The great midwestern adventure!


Tomorrow morning, way way way too early, I embark upon my great midwestern adventure. I am very excited. Right now I'm really nervous, too, because I feel very time crunched and like I am almost certainly forgetting something or forgetting to do something that I will find essential in a day or two. I've never been to any of these cities I'm visiting before, and in Chicago I am pretty much on my own to navigate mass transit and the like, so I'm a bit worried about that. I have printed out every map known to gracekind, though, plus route plans for everywhere I plan to go, so I can't imagine it's going to be that tough.

Anyway, I still have stuff to do before I go to bed, and I have to be at the airport at 7am, so this is going to be it for now. I will be back late next week with lots of tales to regale you with. Or something. Until then, miss me!!

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The weather is out to get me


So I am going on vacation tomorrow. This is my first vacation since Christmas (well, if you don't count going to D.C. for the March), and I'm stoked. I wanted to start packing, so I looked up the weather forcasts in the cities I'll be staying in.

The weather is out to get me.

Thurs: Thunderstorms
Fri: Scattered thunderstorms
Sat: Scattered thunderstorms
Sun: Scattered thunderstorms
Mon: Scattered showers
Tues: Scattered showers
Wed: Rain


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If you missed the March


Go to Margaret Cho's blog and watch her little film clip (top lefthand corner). It's good stuff.

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Growing up old

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**Warning: This entry gets a bit triggery.**

I don't know if anyone else is a big TLC head, like I am, but I watched the most amazing and awe-inspiring and depressing program I have seen in forever tonight. It was called Growing up Old. It was about kids with Progeria, which is that disease which makes you age really fast. So these kids were from 6-14 and they looked like very small, very old people. And they had old people health problems (strokes, heart trouble, arthritis, etc.). It was so sad. One little boy was only 6 and already had two major strokes. All of the kids were bald, had vericose veins, swollen joints, wrinkled faces...

It gave me a lot to think about. Aging is one of the most difficult things that any of us go through--can you imagine going through it super fast? And at that age? How could you possibly understand it? I don't understand it, and I'm supposed to be an adult. The idea that my body is deteriorating, that my cells are dying faster than they are being born--that is nearly enough to make me cry. I look for wrinkles and try to pretend I don't have gray hair. How could I possibly have even wrapped my mind around these thoughts at six?

And even if the six year old doesn't understand that he's aging (the older kids most certainly did understand), he does understand that he's really really sick. I can't imagine that, either. Again, it's hard enough as an adult, or even as an elderly person--how can you be anything but permanently angry if you are a sick child? Or, maybe worse yet, if you have a sick child? That was the other thing this program really had me thinking about--how does one parent a child that is aging faster than you are? It kept showing these kids with their parents, and the parents all looked so young. I can't imagine the feeling of watching your child grow to old age in only a few years.

Mark and I were talking during the show, and one thing that came up was how some human disease just seems like a sick joke. This is one example of that. It's like a very vengeful god, who is very familiar with our culture and what hurts us the most, invents ways for death to be not only painful and dehabilitating, but also as horrifying and humiliating as possible. What other explanation can there be for having to watch yourslef grow to old age and die as a child? Isn't the one benefit of early death supposed to be avoiding old age? What other explanation can there be for Alzeimer's, turning people into something they never and torturing their families, often for years, before they finally die? What explanation for cancers that attack the parts of our body that society most expects us to display? What explanation can there possibly be besides a god who hates us and has a very sick sense of humor?

I should so not watch TV.


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While I'm here


I have a running list in my head of things I want to do before I die. It's got to be 1000s of things long by now, and of course I have forgotten a lot of them (and done a few of them). But I've decided I should add them to my blog, for posterity, when I think of new ones.

Things I want to do before I die:
1. See Elvis Costello
2. Actually learn some kind of dance
3. Write a novel
4. Write a children's book
5. Travel to every continent
6. Learn a second language
7. Be a mother
8. Find faith, or have faith find me
9. Learn to knit
10. Live abroad

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Things I love


Two things I love are rolled into one in this book. It's a book about my favorite (I think) artist, Frida Kahlo, illustrated by the author/illustrator of my favorite children's books, the amazing Tomie de Paola! It's fucking fabulous. If you have a kid, get it. If you don't, get it anyway. Hell, give me your address and I'll send it to your kids. There aren't enough kids in my life. My neices would inevitably think they are too old for it, and Sadie and Li-li are still a bit too young.

Today we solved all of our bed problems. We ordered the bed for our room, and we went shopping for something for the guest room. After hours of trial and vists to at least a dozen stores, we decided to just buck up, spend the money, and get something we like and can use in the future (hopefully as a couch, and hopefully sooner, rather than later, I say, because our current couch is an atrocity), rather than settling for whatever we could find the cheapest (not much, as it turns out). So we ended up with a very nice futon. Beautiful all hardwood frame, Japanese style, dark Java finish, thick futon mattress with inner coils, queen sized. It's really lovely. They'll deliver it on Wednesday.

So much adulthood.

We also took Chancey to his first agility class today. He was great! He did everthing he was supposed to do. It was wonderful. Mark was in heaven, too. I'm sunburned now, though. I have to remember that yes, it is summer here now, and yes, that does require sunscreen.

Lots of sunscreen.

Was it just me, or was tonight's episode of The Sopranos weirder than hell? Now Mark is watching Deadwood. I've never actually watched this show, but just hearing it from the other room pisses me off. The cursing is so historically inaccurate! Can't they even get the easy details right?

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We are buying a bed. This bed, to be precise. Let's hear it for getting the mattress off the floor! I feel so grown up!

We're also trying to figure out what to do in our guest room to get that mattress off the floor. We'd like to just buy a box spring for it, but we can't find one used and don't want to pay for a new one. The mattress is actually in fairly sad shape, so we may just scrap the whole thing and put a futon in there (I think that's the best idea, but Mark just can't stand the idea of getting rid of anything, especially not a mattress we hauled across the country).

Is there anywhere you can donate mattresses that comes to pick them up?

Chancey has graduated to a group agility class! Our first one is tomorrow morning. I'm less than thrilled about the Sunday morning classes, but Mark was fairly beaming when the trainer told us he thought Chance was ready to move on to group work. Mark's been itching to try agility stuff for awhile, too. I'm sure it will be fun.

I still don't want to have to get up at 9:00 on Sundays, though. If I were able to get up at 9 on Sundays, I'd go to church. This class wipes out any possibility of my doing that for the next two months.

Oh well. Guess I'll have to remain a heathen a little bit longer.

By the way--what do you think of my fancy new template? Blogger added a bunch of new ones when they did all their other upgrade stuff. Very exciting. Now I don't have the same template as half the other blogs I look at!

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This surprises me


(From Zoe.)

Grace is the #114 most common female name.
0.189% of females in the US are named Grace.
Around 240975 US females are named Grace!
source namestatistics.com

In other news, my middle name, which I have never heard of anyone having, is the 4232rd most common female name in the U.S. Apparently about 1275 people have it. My last name? 41st most common. There are around 400,000 of us in the U.S. alone.

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Birthday color


This is from Pinky, and it amuses me.

My month color is marigold and my day color is apricot. I am very happy about this, as both are orange-y, and I love orange.

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Once again, I am struck by the overwelming urge to do more. I am not doing enough. Not doing enough to better myself, not doing enough to better the world around me, not doing enough to help people, not traveling enough, not loving enough, not living enough. I want to do more.

But it seems so difficult just to do what I must to get by, doing "enough" would be impossible. There is never enough time or enough money or enough energy. The whole situation is very frustrating.

This is stemming from a wonderful class I had tonight. My last class of the semester, and it couldn't have been better. I put myself on the line a bit and took a journalism class this semester--the subject was coverage of international crises. As one of the (many...I still have 30 pages left to write...) requirements for the course, we were to do 20 hours of volunteer work somewhere in the community and report back on it (write a field report and do an little informal oral presentation). Today, our last class, we had those presentations. And the organizations people worked with were so fascinating, so vital, and so in need. I ended up wanting to volunteer for all of them. And I ended up feeling really, really bad, because I just used the non-profit job I already had to fill the course requirement. I wasn't cheating or anything--the professor OK'd it--but I feel like I should have done more.

So I'm trying to figure out how to do more. Now is the absolute worst time to be thinking in these terms--I've got PLENTY to do in the next week or so, thanks! But I am thinking about the summer. Yes, I have to take a calculus course, and yes, I have to work full-time, but what else can I do? My reasons are fairly non-philanthropic--I want to contribute because I don't feel like I am pulling my weight, and that makes me feel like ass. But whatever my reasons are, one more volunteer body is one more volunteer body, right? And it's about damn time I got involved in something beyond myself.

That being said, I move on to the subject of friends and my not having any. It's quite strange. I went out to lunch today at a campus place (between work this morning and class this afternoon), and I ran into a group of acquaintances from school there. I talked to them some, but sat by myself and read my paper for the most part. I go to lunch by myself often enough now that I don't really think of it as weird, but today I was very much aware that these people were thinking "Poor pitiful Grace, doesn't have any friends to have lunch with," or something of the sort. And it's true. There isn't a single person at my school that I would call a friend. There are a handful of people I say hi to or am happy to have class with, and I'm doing better with school-oriented social events (such as going to Happy Hour after class yesterday), but basically, I have no friends.

The really surprising part, though, is that having no friends doesn't bother me at all. I feel like I have lots of friends. I have my online friends, and I have my real-life friends, most of whom happen to be far away at this point, rendering my relationships with them very similar to those with my online friends (although really, reading my blog and being in my internet community are the only ways to communicate with me from afar on anything resembling a regular basis--I don't even talk to my mom on the phone more than once or twice a month). I absolutely adore the friends I have and hope they will always be my friends, geography be damned. But not having friends at school here just doesn't bother me. And it's not that I don't think tere are people here I'd like to be friends with--I'm sure there are--but I don't know how to form friendships intentionally, and I can't be bothered to figure it out.

Is that severely misanthropic? Maybe it's because I have Mark and we spend a ton of time together, but I honestly don't think that's the bulk of it. I just don't consider geographic nearness to be a particularly important factor in friendship, I guess. And at this point, I don't even consider regular communication to be that important a factor--as seeing Howell and Melinda and Ron and Sandy in D.C. the other weekend demonstrated to me, we fall right back into the same friendship no matter how recently or not we have talked. And to me, that's what it's all about. If they need me, I'm here, and if I need them, I trust they'll be around.

Still, I should probably attempt to be at least marginally social here. I'm really not an anti-social person. Just lazy, I guess. Or guarded? I don't know. Mostly I think I just don't have the patience to develop friendships over a long period of time--I love hanging out with good, close friends, but I'm not exactly enamored with the first date-esque stages before that. And making new friends really does remind me of dating, another activity I would never be good at and I'm kind of glad not to engage in.

This all reminds me of how strange it is to meet people IRL whom you have interacted with for a long period of time online. The idea that you are just now "meeting" them is so strange, because chances are you know more about them and have shared more with them than is true of most of the people you see quite often in your everyday life (at least in my circles, this seems to be the case). So it's not really meeting them. Ani has a line that goes, "I have only just met an old, old friend," and I always think of that when I meet someone whom I already know I like. It's a strange dynamic. On one hand, you wish you could just brush away all the preliminary getting to know you stuff that is inherent in meeting someone, but on the other hand, you don't want to be too familiar with someone who you "just met." And I know that I am far more open online that I would be in relationships with people in person, so it's weird to meet someone and know how much they already know about me. It's this strange feeling of not knowing what face to put on, because they are going to recognize that your public face isn't you--after all, they've never seen it before.

Actually, that makes it sound like it's a really excellent way to meet people, doesn't it? No pretenses that way. Why doesn't it actually work like that?

Or maybe it does.

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Margaret on Hedwig


Read Margaret Cho's 4/30/04 entry on the absurd genius that is Hedwig and John Cameron Mitchell. She makes me happy, in a sad way. I wonder how many of us there are around who feel that way about Hedwig?

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April 2012

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