Contemplations from a Saturday

I finished Look to Windward tonight. I wish I knew exactly why Iain Banks' Culture novels aren't being published in the States. They're thoughtful works with a lot of depth—something that I think is lacking from everyday fiction in the States now.

I could go on about that for paragraphs and paragraphs, but it's the weekend and I'm trying to make it as computer-free of a weekend as possible. I stare at screens all week; why in the world should I do nothing but stare at screens on the weekends too? I think walking away from things for a couple of days each week helps with my perspective on things a bit.My nose is telling me that Jeff is cooking something in the kitchen. Hard to tell what it is from the opposite side of the house, but it's definitely got chicken in it.

I'm starting to get a bit excited about next week. Things are happening, and people are returning/coming to Huntsville—Kat returns home on Monday night, Terry shortly thereafter, then Brad arrives on Friday night. Tuesday night is the Sting concert in Birmingham (my budget says "Ow, dammit!" but my ego says "Hell, yeah!") and then Labor Day is the Dave Matthews concert.

My budget is whimpering and my social life is more full than it's been in years. It is comforting to think that the reason I'm cleaning my house this weekend is because we're hosting a geekdrunkfest here in exactly a week. (insert terror and fear here)

I'm not sure that I would've wished for my life to work out the way it has, but I can't say that I'm going to apologize for it anytime soon. I look back now and think about the first year that I spent in Huntsville, miserable. My previous job, at Redstone Federal Credit Union…well, I hated it. I worked in the marketing department there, and I liked the people in the department, but a few months into my employment there I'd lost a goodly portion of respect for the people I worked for. While I was there, I called Redstone "my penance." For what I'm uncertain, but I signed my employment papers there planning to stay a year and no more. When I left (a year and a couple of weeks later) the weight on my shoulders was enough that it took months for it to completely slough off.

I'm not sure I'll ever take another standard marketing job. I enjoyed the graphic design and layout aspects of the job, but I could never quite clean the smarmy grime of sales off of me. There were days that I drove home with hands clenched to the steering wheel, jaw tense, physically leaving my work and stress at the office but mentally taking every bit of it home with me.

It took me a few months at my new job before I realized that something had changed—I was no longer getting up in the middle of the night to take antacids.

Believe me when I say that I appreciate how things have changed in the past year. There are days that I look at the new friends in my life and marvel at the fact that we lived maybe five miles from each other when I was so miserable—had I only known they were there!

May I never be accused of taking my friends and my life for granted.

All in all it's a good day. Got some troubling news from home—my aunt, who has battled bipolar disorder for years, appears to be losing her battle. It makes my heart ache for my grandmother, whom I know is trying to help her youngest daughter because that's what she is supposed to do. I can't even imagine how dealing with the spectre of her daughter's mental illness over and over again over the years has wracked her inside.

All I know is that when I'm eighty, I want to be like her. I want that strength of will that I admire in her so much. She has outlived most of her family; she buried a brother, dead in the Korean War; she buried her youngest child after his suicide; she buried her spouse of over fifty years after he died of a stroke. She has seen friends and family come and go. She hasn't always been right, but she's lived. She chooses to meet her life head-on, and not to give up because she has faced hardship.

Did I mention that she's also one of the most bull-headed people I've ever had the pleasure of butting heads with? (Repeatedly!)

I care about my family more now that I've moved away. There are many intricacies in that statement that could be explored, but I'll leave those to your imagination. Explaining would take hours upon hours of patient typing that I'm not willing to spend right now.

To those of you reading this—to shamelessly steal a quote from Iain Banks and Eliot, look to windward and remember from whence you came.

Meanwhile, I have a living room that needs cleaning. Cheers.