Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Traveling Woman

John Hiatt, via

Martin Sexton - The Way I Am
Dave Matthews Band - Cry Freedom
John Hiatt - Take it Down
John Hiatt - Crossing Muddy Waters

That was my soundtrack on the way to work this morning.

Those four songs provided a seemingly perfect backdrop as I drove south on U.S. 421. Martin Sexton's smooth voice serenaded me through Campbellsburg, and his yodeling toward the end of the song seemed to ring over the gentle hills and farmland, before Dave Matthews voice came from the radio.

And then came Hiatt. His voice washes over the landscape, almost ringing across the very gently rolling hills. The music is perfect for traveling, settling into a nice rhythm with the car at 55 miles per hour.

We have just the one album - Crossing Muddy Waters. I've cleaned, cooked, read and, obviously, driven to Hiatt's music. He is nothing short of a brilliant story teller. And I've had more fun car-singing to his songs that I care to relay here.

There will be more John Hiatt on our CD shelf to come, oh yes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just a few more minutes...

I have developed a deep and abiding dislike for Tuesdays. It's the day, for the last seven years, that we put the paper together. It's a long, stressful day that for me starts around 4:30, or whenever I actually roll out of bed.

Today, it was 5 a.m., and I took advantage of MSNBC's wee-hours Olympics coverage to watch some curling. The match actually was kind of tense, with the Danish team leading until the end, when Great Britain knocked three of the Danes' stones off the board.

Anyway, I get up, have my glass of water, then some tea and either toast or cereal and start getting ready for my day. I like to get to work around 6, though it was more like 7:15 today. The papers have been pitifully small lately, thanks to the economy.

But the Tuesday process almost always dictates that I don't get to see much of my husband. Usually, I'm out the door before he's even out of bed. No hug or kiss goodbye. Typically, I walk back, kiss his forehead, tell him I love him, and head out.

But sometimes, like today, I know I have enough time before I get ready for work that I slip back into bed, tuck along behind him, snake my arm under his and cuddle up for a few more minutes. I revel in the smell of his skin, the peaceful rise and fall as he breathes, the sound he makes as I run my fingers through his hair. This morning, I loved it as he softly stroked my forearm while I rubbed his feet with my own. Then the alarm clock went off again, and it was time for him to get ready.

Just a few more minutes of that, and I think I could be invincible today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This is your brain on speed

I still remember my first panic attack.

That first sensation of being totally overwhelmed and drowning in open air hit about 10 years ago. Then it was specific - it was about money. Or, more specifically, my inability to pay all of my bills. My starting pay at the Charlottesville Daily Progress was a pittance of $18,500, just barely enough to live on in a major university city. Funny thing was, I did just fine before I got roommates. Or, so I thought.

Since then, I've had about half a dozen panic attacks, generally work and/or money related. Most often, I wake up with a sense of dread that won't let me sleep. It needles at my brain starting around 3 or 4 a.m., and grows stronger as I continue to put off getting out of bed. It typically centers around a sensation that I've forgotten something; that I've been lax in some particular duty or responsibility.

About half the time, once I get up and out of bed, it's gone, and I'm left wondering what the hell my subconscious thought was so damned important. The rest of the time, I get out of bed, trip over the cats on my way to the living room and write until the claws let loose of my head.

The first one I had in my current job was a doosie, and sent me to therapy. There were, and are, a variety of issues, but therapy was fantastic. Sometimes I think I should go on a permanent basis. Since my husband's motorcycle accident in 2004, the frequency of my anxiety stepped up a notch.

The truth is, the greater the responsibility, the greater the anxiety - the stakes are higher. Waking up early on a weekday morning with that sense of dread isn't uncommon, and it's strongest on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday's anxiety tends to be the "Oh, crap, what did I forget in the paper," or "who's going to call and complain about something trivial today," variety.

The one thing that really stems the anxiety for me is exercise. And this morning, because the last week hasn't really afforded the opportunity to exercise - I've worked out just once - the anxiety is a little strong. This weekend was a busy one that, while spent with friends and family, didn't really afford the chance for much relaxation (which I also need), or 2-hour chunks of time to peddle and lift my demons away.

Sometimes, it takes a "crack" game with repetitive actions and goals to lull my brain into a sense of evenness. My husband sometimes makes fun of these games, but they do serve a purpose for me.

So this morning, once I post this, I'll turn on the new crack - Popcap's Plants versus Zombies, play a couple of rounds, and then work on the lastest baby afghan. It's going to be one hell of a long day, I think.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Constant companion

As I was digging through the computer, looking for pictures to use for this very blog, I came across three pictures of a fella who is very, very important to me.

In August 1997, fate crossed my path with that of a wee kitten, a dumpling. It was the weekend of August 31 — the weekend Princess Diana died, which is the only way I can remember the date. My cousin Laura and I, and her then boyfriend George, were heading to an Aerosmith concert in Indy. I crashed on Laura's coouch the night before the concert, and the next morning, she woke me up asking if I wanted to see a kitty.

There was no question - of course I did.I got up, went to the back porch and there was George with a grey kitten in his lap. My cousin pointed to the neighbor's driveway and said there was another one in the wheel of the car. In the wheel?

Sure enough, I walked over, and the hissing started before I even knelt down to take a peek. I could see the eyes, and stretched my arm through the wheel, and into the wheel well, and wrapped my hand around a kitten. But he was a squirmy buggar, and slipped out of my grasp, ran to the neighbor's house and ran up the screen door, crying and hissing the whole way.

I rescued him from his precarious position, took him back to the porch and cuddled him. It sounds so corny, but the moment I looked into those tiny, beedy little eyes, we were bonded. That night, he slept in the crook of my neck. He has been my constant companion for the last 12.5 years, and these kitten photos brought back wonderful, wonderful memories.

He is laid back, the most un-cat-like cat you'll ever meet, and the cat that helped Derek to become more of a cat person. He is my Bubby Gato, Senor, Lord of the House, Sir Mickey.