There, that should be sufficient complaining and whining for the moment.
Weird evening. Visiting family in some ways makes me feel outside of my own "now": my own current concerns and habits and relationships. Nothing too surprising about that, I suppose. So what did I do this evening? I played this "autobiographical mix" of music on iTunes – songs of great significance for my life, usually with stories attached and such, set chronologically – which is enough to get me in that melacholy mood, that equally takes me outside of my own "now" as much as being around family does and all the history contained there. This somehow led me over the last two hours to my old typed journals on the computer and updating those into current Word files from the old versions they were, and glancing through them, seeing old stories, happenstances, and even a fair amount of recorded dreams, which I hadn't remembered doing back in 1999, but which recalled certain images from those dreams to my head now, seven or eight years later. One, from a letter to Jen Sushinsky as she worked her service project in the Dominican Republic (I would often throw such "news"-bearing letters in as journal entries) stood out especially strongly in that way – I remember enjoying that particular vivid dream especially strongly:
Had an interesting dream last night: back in Ireland, walking into a village named Bally-something (not Ballyvaughn, but someplace, very landlocked and midwestern-looking, landwise). It even had Spice Girl signs peppering the streets like we saw in 1997! The sky was starting to roll, though, twisting clouds and turning a violent red-black color – the kind we might get in a really scary pre-tornado sunset in Illinois. I had managed to get myself separated from my family (Dad and them back in Sterling) and I remember finding a pretty girl and asking her what country I was in (somehow I thought – in the dream – this was very cosmopolitan of me!). I remember looking through the trees along the road at a farm silhouetted against the western horizon, not very far away, maybe up on a slight rise. Turned and started back down the road and I was out in the country when I looked up and saw the clouds absolutely churning blackly above me. Out of the edge of this vast disk of clouds, a very thin tornado was darting down, stabbing the ground and then drawing back up into the sky, with large chunks of turf – as big as my torso – falling out of the sky when the twister withdrew. I hurried to a crossroads just ahead of me that was lined with large, straight trees shivering in the wind. I was taking some kind of shelter from the falling earth underneath them, as chunks continued to fall, ripping branches away. Then there was a young woman there with me, yelling at me for being an idiot and dashing out to the field further on, away from the trees, which makes a lot more sense with a tornado. I knew that, being a Midwesterner, and was aghast that I was stupid enought to be standing there underneath these towering trees, which could start falling or twirling around at any moment. And then I woke up. And really, I was quite disappointed that I didn’t get to see the end of the story! What a blast, though!So, anyway, I thought that that made for a bit of an odd evening. I'm going to try to compound some of that out-of-time experience by getting back to this epic, 1100-page novel I'm reading, Kristin Lavransdatter, which has been every bit as good as I would hope when faced with an 1100-page commitment. I'm about halfway through following Kristin's life in the early 1300s in Norway. Most happily, as an historian, I haven't had any historical complaints: I suppose that's one part of why the author won the Nobel Prize for Literature. amea, that puts me at Kristin leaving her father's estate after her sister's marriage to Simon – about halfway through. Where do you stand at this point?
I spent the afternoon yesterday at my sister and brother-in-law's with Dad, playing with the nieces. Grace, who can be a bit moody, was particularly playful, which was great fun, though it involves quite a bit of lifting for me. Haley had knocked no less than three of her front teeth out of angle after a fall a few weeks ago, maybe killing one or two of them, and then went on a 10-day spree of eating nothing but ice cream, with the last four days being an all-out hunger strike after the doctor told them to stop giving her ice cream and to starve her out of her fear of pain in eating. She broke through that about four days ago and last night out with everybody at Outback she continued to be a two-and-a-half year-old eating machine.