…been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Sure has. Nothing like a little led Zeppelin to get the day going. I am not sure I even really like Led Zeppelin, but I like this song even though I have never really understood what it was about. It’s amazing that I could listen to a song a million times, at every high school dance (the three I went to) and on the radio, and never really get the lyrics.
I suppose it hasn’t really been lonely, but it has been a long time since I have written anything. So much has happened since the last time I wrote, it seems like light years since I went to Michigan, since Merideth got engaged, since I took my comprehensive exams, since Jacob spent two weeks at our house and taught me to love disc golf, and since Dave, the little man who is fixing our house, started fixing our house.
Because so much has been going on, I feel a little life-vertigo, like no matter where I put my foot down, it will be the wrong location and everything might come toppling down. I am not saying this to sound dramatic, I just feel a bit disoriented. I don’t, however, feel stressed, though I must be because I woke up yesterday with this kink in a muscle in my back. Today it was worse. While we were walking the dogs this morning, Bec said that I have the most amazing ability to somatize my stress. I do. I would much rather have a sore muscle than to have some deadly illness like I had last winter.
I started running last winter with the intention of finishing the mini-marathon in Indy, but I got so sick I couldn’t keep running. My lungs were pissed and they were having no part of my exercising in the cold air. Well, I since have started running again, and I am up to running 4 miles at a 12-minute mile pace. I say that’s not too shabby for a fat kid. I was supposed to run this morning, but when I woke up at 5:30, it was dark outside so I slept until 6:30 and walked the dogs.
Since the last time I posted, I have taken a Nazarite Vow that will end when my dissertation is finished. I took it on my birthday, July 22, by shaving my head and spending the day relaxing and contemplating the parameters of the vow. I amended the original Jewish vow, so I am not only following it, but I also added some things of my own. For the next year and a half to two years, I am abstaining from anything containing grapes, wine, or raisins, all alcohol, cutting my hair, eating meat, caffeine, sugary foods. In the same time period, it is my goal to walk at least 5 miles each day, which can include the morning run. I plan to start swimming three times a week next week, as well. It is also my goal to run a marathon before I turn 40. So far, I am doing pretty well with my goals, and I have been managing quite well abstaining. The side-perk is that I have lost 30-35 pounds.
I feel all rusty and weird writing. I am having a hard time being articulate and creative without feeling like I am forcing it. I guess this is why every writing book, every writer, says that writing should be something that we do every day. I suppose, too, I should actually write about the things I mentioned in the first paragraph, which is typically what one does when setting up a piece of writing. Introduction: body: conclusion.
I should start off by talking about my vacation with Merideth’s family. We stayed at Little Bear Lake Hideaway, and the lake was beautiful. I swam across it, kayaked around it, and ran or walked the road that circled it every day we were there. One day I even went around twice. Usually I was the first one up and out of the cabin, so I got to see the water all quiet and smooth before anyone else was awake to see it. The water was a clear green, and I could see my feet when I was standing up to my neck in the water. The water was also incredibly cold. Very cold. Numbingly cold.
The days went by quickly, too quickly. I could actually live up there on a lake if I could find a job that would sustain me. We went to Gaylord, the closest fairly large town, three times and ate lunch at three decent diners. We went to Lewiston and ate at Talley’s Bar, and Merideth and I went to a little bar by the Outpost for coffee while Josh got Merideth’s clothes ready to go to Mackinac Island.
On Wednesday, we went to the island, and all day Merideth kept talking about wishing she could stay at the Grand Hotel. Finally, when the kids got tired, we walked up to the hotel and pretended we were all going to look at the porch. Little did she know, but Merideth and Josh were staying at the hotel. And, she also didn’t know he was going to propose to her. He did, and she said yes. They are getting married next June 5, and I am performing their wedding on a beach in Florida.
When I got back from Michigan, Bec’s nephew, Jacob, came and stayed with us for two weeks. We painted the outside of the house, which still is not completed, and we pulled up the carpet in the downstairs. We had tons of good conversation, and Jacob cooked dinner for us a few times. The best part of his stay were his disc golf lessons.
Nearly every afternoon, Jacob and I walked down to McCullough Park and pitched some discs. For an hour and a half or so each day, we just chilled and threw discs … and occasionally went poo-diving. Poo-diving happens when someone throws a disc into the drainage channel that runs along the edge of the course. We call the channel, the poo channel, because it is one of the ones that may or may not contain sewage when the storm sewers overflow. I only had to go poo-diving once, but Jacob had to go several times. Yum.
Jacob and I removed the carpet from the downstairs while Dave, the little man that is fixing and rewiring our house, redid the ceiling in the living room. About two weeks ago, he told us that it would only take a couple more days to finish the work, but I think he bit off more than he thought he was biting off with our rewiring. It has been a huge project and most of it had to happen through the uninsulated attic, so for a few days he couldn’t do much because of the intense heat. I can tell you, though, that I am ready for it to be finished, so we can start putting our house back to normal. I want to bring my couch in from the porch.
I took my comps last week and will know by Labor Day whether or not I passed. I am not confident that I did. The hard part about thinking that I may have failed is that I also got a job teaching American Literature at Burris one period a day. If I don’t pass my comps, I don’t get to teach at Burris next semester. If I don’t get to teach there next semester, I lose my foot in the door. And, I want to teach middle school English there next year! I keep trying, in the spirit of my Nazarite vow, to let God be in control and to trust what [They] are doing, but that is so hard for me. It is hard for me to realize that I am not in control, that God is.
I suppose another major event in my life is that my pastor is leaving. Last Sunday was his last Sunday to speak. I was fine until at the end of his message he remarked that he had been at our church for five years, and that it had been a good five years. Then I cried. I cried pretty hard through the last worship set, and then again once it was over. Of course, he came over and harassed me, when I was reading my book to stop myself from crying more, by singing, “I have my books and my poetry to protect me; I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island.” It’s true, but I am trying to become less of a rock, less of an island. I am trying hard to let people in. I suppose that is why my back has a huge knot in it.