aimless love

But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow. billy collins

Friday, June 30, 2006

close but no cigar

Well... I wanted to finish the proposal by today, and then I wanted to finish the upward mobilty section by today, and now I just want to go to sleep! Enough. I gave it the old college try and now I have to take a break. We are planning to go on a road trip this weekend, so I probably won't work on it much, so I have to be satisfied with what I've done.

I will try to get up early tomorrow to see if I can finish the UM section, but even if not. I feel good. I wrote 17 pages this week, and I'm really close to being done. Next is the analysis of the pilot and then finishing my own personal stance part. Then I think I'm done.

Then comes a lot of re-writing and back and forthing with my committee.

For now I am trying to be satisfied.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

just like that

just like that - two paragraphs have become 8 pages. It's a miracle! and I am GRATEFUL!!!

I'm going to celebrate by getting some ice cream at Rancatores and watching the Gilmore Girls!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

messy drafts

Well, I hate to admit it, but
I’m a stubborn fool!!!!!

I want to be able to just sit down and write without it taking too long, and without the pressure and craziness of needing to “discover” and “find” my way!

My timeline has been so out of whack for so long, and I’m so unhappy about how long this has taken, and about how much I have complained, that I just can’t bear to believe that I still have to do many more messy drafts, that I have a lot of re-writing to do, and that I just have to keep sticking with it!!!!

I decided to go back and read the writing section of “writing your diss in 15 minutes a day” and it’s really helpful – even if it is completely humbling!!!

So here I go…

The book talks about basic writing principles that I really should follow… I’ll try starting today!

why can't I be done?
miraculously finished
no more messy drafts

ah, the imagination... if only!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

baby steps

I tried today to stay focused on the diss - I wrote about 2 paragraphs!!

I'm really worried that I don't know how to write this section, and I've started it several times, but I'll just keep working it until something breaks through!!!

practiced, went to the gym, wrote in my journal... just showing up!

pick up foot, step down
shift weight forward, lift back leg
pick up foot, step down

Friday, June 23, 2006

running out

I feel totally blocked! I can't seem to get around this snag. I'm frightened and frustrated and it's really hard to have faith that it will all work out.

Why is writing sooooo hard???!!!

I've resorted to returning to the basement - at least part of the time! I don't have time to re-create a work space upstairs. I don't have time to find a desk. I don't have time to rewrite any of the sections I've already tried to write. I don't have time to go to the gym, or get a message therapist, or argue with my man, or read novels or do any of the things I think I should be doing!!!

Instead, I'm hanging out with the kids - sneaking in an hour here and an hour there, and I can't concentrate at 10 pm no matter how hard I try!

I can't figure out what to do - I'm despairing of ever getting past this point and finding a new rhythm/pace. What if it takes me another month to move past this point? I feel the sand in my hourglass running down - I don't know how to move past this except to try to stick with it. I've been thinking of hiring a writing coach... how is it that so much of my process involves reworking my space and set up? It feels like I keep reinventing the wheel - each time I try to circumvent it I end up having to just get back to it, and set up the scene again and again, and I never get past the point of setting things up!

over and over
something's wrong with this picture
time is running out

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


vanity, vanity, all is vanity

I can't say anything that isn't just awash with my intense feelings of the moment - and those seem so, well, self-centered!

Part of it is living with a 12 and 14 year old... speaking of self-centered!!! The world is so unfair, and so difficult, and my duaghter keeps insisting that there is NOT enough love to go around (a core belief I work really hard at not succumbing to), and that she is not getting enough ________ fill in the blank! I'm sure it has something to do with my son graduating from middle-school today, and even that seems difficult. How to make it special enough?

And well frankly I feel a bit drained! And it's mostly because of that little project I have to do - the dissertation!

I have been at a stalemate for about 3 weeks. I just can't move forward! I can't seem to find enough uninterrupted time, and I can't seem to get past this little conceptual snag I seem to have walked myself into. And I can't stand that all I have going on inside are these little narcissistic rants...

Oh, wait...I did go to see An Inconvenient Truth the other day! WOW! I guess one reason to become so self-centered is so that I don't have to really think about how UNBELIEVABLY selfish we are all being here in the States. Could we use any more of hte world resources than we already do???!!!

I went to a cousin's party (my husband's family has a cousin'g party once a year) on Sat, and the folks live in one of those McMansions in the western suburbs of Boston -
and OH MY GOD! was it conspicuous consumption at its height. They had about 12 rooms, a pool, a three car garage that looked small next to the house! I mean you could fit my mother's apt in the downstairs family room. This is for four people mind you... and...

It's boring... my endless diatribe about the rich and poor - But the thing is that it's real in my life... most folks don't have to manage the constant contradiction between the projects and the McMansions.

I can't stand it - and my daughter's developing this way of distinguishing herself from me, which is by WANTING to live like the nouveau rich! so she and I have this little game we play - where she acts like she's going to become a Republican when she gets older, and I throw my little liberal tantrum, and then she says something like, "wish I could live in a place like that!"

I swear she does it just to get to me.

failing and falling
over and over again
it's all about me

Friday, June 16, 2006


What is it about our capacity to hope, to keep looking for the silver lining, to keep expecting the possibility that things will get better, that the next time it will be different??

Someone once described me as having pathological hope - I'm always trying to make things seem better than they are... I used to be annoyingly positive - you know if someone was saying how awful something was, I'd always be looking for the bright side. I do that a lot less now, for others, but also for myself. I understand this instinct/problem/solution as having in roots in my very dysfunctional family - and the need for an active fantasy life that involved escape and the delusional possibility of things getting better. But I'm not quite sure what attitude to have about things today. I don't want to be pollyanna-ish, but despair isn't a viable answer either...

Today I'm going to try to work on one section of my dissertation proposal that has been particularly thorny... I've decided the process is like a puzzle... or a knitting project with a yarn full of tangles... I keep running into these knots... I try to untie one, and then I get another tangle... I just have to keep unraveling and putting it back together. (isn't this photo perfect... it's from scottdesignworks - check it out!)

I'm also going to try to practice cello (yesterday was the first day I didn't practice - that is not a habit I want to get into), ignore the house, and ignore the growing to-do list that haunts me! I need to pick my son up around 4:15ish. My daughter's planning to come home at 2:30 and I know I will be frustrated with her here and my attempts to ignore her while I work, but I'm really going to try to maximize today - especially since tomorrow and Sunday are probably a wash! with lots of family obligations.

hanging on a thread
almost there, think almost there
hope springs eternal

Monday, June 12, 2006

deep tones

I spent Thurs night and Friday in NYC - I tell you I do love that city! Spent a wonderful night at the San Carlos hotel in mid-town. I tell you that city is a lot more fun when you have a lot of money!! Not that I do, but it was a business trip and the company was paying! So I walked around midtown and pretended that I could eat anywhere I wanted. You could buy pasta for $10, $15, $25, $35 depending on how much you wanted the "right" atmosphere. I ended up eating at the La Gioconda for $15 - it was ok... standard pasta, nothing to write home about, but definitely not a total bust!

Sat, I was at a cluster meeting, and Sun I spent part of the day playing scrabble! By the time I got to today I had really tried to give my arms a break from the abuse of the laptop keyboard and I really did ok with the cello!

I learned two scales, and I really think I'll be able to enjoy my practicing this week!!!! Monday is definitely my fresh start day!

I'm feeling lost with the diss - just roaming around my lit review acting as if I've suddenly gone blind and can't feel my way to a straight line. I have done little to move forward there, and spent part of the day shopping for a new desk to help the tendonitis, but aaahhh... I need to finish this proposal before the kids are home for summer vacation!!! 6 more days.

blah, blah, blah

grateful for deep tones
simple pleasures, fingers down
resonating strings.

Thursday, June 8, 2006


I have a serious problem... I may not be able to play the cello because of my tendonitis. See all this crammed typing caused a pretty serious case of tendonitis about 3 years ago, and since then I'm pretty vulnerable to it. Then about a year ago I got a laptop, and it's been great because now I work mostly at my kitchen table which I love - I get to look out the window and there's a LOT more light upstairs than in our basement which is where I was before... but, the tendonitis has been a lot worse because the ergonomics at the table are BAD!

Well, just 5 minutes of practicing cello and I'm in severe PAIN! It should not be that way. I should be able to play for hours without any pain at all, but my shoulder and elbow and forearms are in REALLY BAD shape...

I'm going to try changing the ergonomics at home and try going for weekly message - that's what cured me last time... but I'm really scared!!!

I'm off to NYC for a professional assn meeting this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to it, and to hanging out with my friend M. But this has me troubled, and while I'm there I'll try to see my grandma, and she's not well either...

see how I turn everything into a worry...

searing pain dashing
hopes of orchestral rapture
please, let it not be...

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

joy and worry

see... by Wed there's already failure!!!

Part of it is that it's M's birthday, so I had to do some shopping yesterday, and will take some time off work to hang with her today. But part of it is also that what I am reading makes me anxious - anxious about being a good enough mom, and upset about what my life was like as a kid. I'm reading stories of why famous psychotherapists decided to become therapists... It's interesting, but a bit disturbing. I think having psychotherapists as parents ruins psychotherapy for you. You become disillusioned. You know they are just flawed people like everyone else, and that hurts. Anyway, reading these makes me worry for my kids - how are they going to find adults in their lives who they can learn from and be fed by (spiritually and emotionally) when their dad and I fail them?

So, I've been a bit stuck a bit. I didn't work enough on the diss yesterday, and I didn't get much done when I was working.

There is this piece I'm writing in the dissertation that's autobiographical, and I know it's a little too "precious" - it feels self-indulgent a bit, and yet it also feels like my voice, so I'm not sure whether to cut some parts out or keep them in.

So these are my worries.

And in the midst of all that - JOY! pure joy at having such a great kid. Happy Birthday Miss M!

grateful, yes, and more
you're fierce, and smart, and wanting
the best out of life

Monday, June 5, 2006

sister Lola

I'm feeling exhilarated! I had my first cello lesson, and it's going to be great!

First of all, I spent a good part of the day working on the proposal (for the dissertation). I got a haircut, and did some email both for IEATA, and for the university. I spoke to a few folks on the phone, and so far don't feel too lonely...

Then - I walked to the music school (about a half-hour walk) and had a half-hour lesson, and walked home. WOW!! I'm so jazzed. Mondays used to be my favorite days for just this reason - clean slate, a chance to get to the things you want to get to, no failures yet...

Someone recently told me about a memoir of an adult who learns cello - John Holt's memoir - ok... it's a little hokey - the title is "Never Too Late." If I can get it together I'm going to read it.

I'm reading Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult now. She's entertaining. I want more time to just sit around and read! Maybe if I can get a rhythm with this dissertation, I actually could get time to read. I'm trying not to get too confident. It's scary being alone with my writing... so far, so good, but I know that it can get pretty intense.

Meanwhile -

plucking strings, I sit
with wooden sister between
my knees hold us both

I've decided to name my cello, Lola.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

the still small voice

unsettled still... we talked about the Quaker practice of discernment this morning at church. I do love the stillness and the paradoxes of being still in the midst of all the noise of this world! Especially the noise of FCC.

I also like the idea of quieting the self enough to listen for a "leading" of one's spirit. I think it's related to how rudderless I have felt most of my life! I like to feel I am in a "flow" - where I "should" be.

listening, can I
hear a still small voice within
taming fears I try

Saturday, June 3, 2006

damp black forest

Well... it's official. I am now on sabbatical! I brought my plant home. I backed up my computer at the office and brought the CDs home, boxed the files that were on the floor and put them in the closet!

I'm totally nervous about using the time off. I'm scared and unsettled. I feel as though I'm entering an abyss.

Black forest, no light
are those green sprouts emerging
or only my wish

My friend B came and took me for a walk today with her lovable big horse-dog. It was unbelieveably beautiful in the damp fern groves. I need those kinds of walks so badly. I feel moody and grey. Not really able to sort out how to be in this place of possibility. Needing to trust that by just moving forward it will all work out.

I'm going to try to blog every day. I'm going to try to practice cello every day. I'm going to try to read and exercise and eat healthy. Why are those basic things so hard? Why am I so sad all the time?

Last night, I dreamed that I moved into a house that was huge, there were about 20 people living there and I was relieved that I would have some company around... They were several incoming Lesley students living there, and I was trying to find a place to put my desk, when I suddenly realized that I had totally forgotten to show up at work for the last several days/wks?, and I was thinking I better call them, but couldn’t remember their number....

and how do I integrate being a mom into all this? being a partner?

I found a poem that was shared at Camp a few years ago - it seems worth posting...

If you have time to chatter
read books
If you have time to read
walk into mountain
If you have time to walk
sing songs and dance
If you have time to dance
Sit quietly, you
Happy Lucky Idiot

Kyoto 1966
Nanao Sakaki

Blackberry Books
Nobleboro, ME