~Forgotten Wings~

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31 August-- There was something odd, and nice, about waking up this morning at about 11 and realizing that this wasn't just the luxury of a Saturday, but that I won't have to get get up early in the morning again for a very long time. I'm not quite as thrilled as I expected, though. Although certainly I woke up most mornings groaning and wishing there was some way I could sleep another hour, there's a feeling of discipline and accomplishment somehow in getting yourself up routinely at such an early hour.

At least I'll have a job to take up some of my time, so I'll feel somewhat purposeful for the next couple of weeks instead of lying aimlessly around the house, although it looks like I'll have plenty of time to do that too. I'm scheduled for all of 13 hours this week at the chocolate store. But my hope is that these few weeks will pay off at winter break, when I can log many hours as a manager with the accompanying hourly pay.

Besides, it won't be all bad to have a preponderance of free time in the last weeks before school starts. Beyond the extra sleep, maybe now I'll finally be able to get all those things done that I planned to accomplish this summer. Riiiiiiiiiiiight...

30 August-- It is my last day of work.

Paul is doing a debate today, and it's on MPR. Everyone in the office is listening over the internet. Matt, upstairs, can't get it to work on his computer, so I give him the play-by-play over IM. Paul sounds good; he is a fighter for Minnesota and for workers, and he is an accomplished Senator who gets things done. Coleman says that Paul never gets anything done, because he is an extremist where bipartisanship is needed. Moore and McGaa similarly denounce partisanship, but they otherwise agree with Paul and generally make Coleman look bad. When it's over, we all recap our favorite parts and smile.

I have a few surprise press releases to write, and I try to come up with convincing things for Paul to say about higher education on Native American reservations. I send out faxes. I correct e-mail addresses on our mailing lists. I clean out my work area for the last time. I put about five envelopes of newspaper clippings back on the shelf for whoever comes after me.

By 4:30, I have finished all the projects that must be done today. I look at the tall stack of pasted newspaper clippings that I really ought to get photocopied before I leave. I carry the pile over to the copy room, thinking that I should've brought only half as many, that I'll be lucky to get through a third of of them in the half-hour I have before the room gets locked up. I start out leisurely placing the pages on the glass, but then I begin pressing my limits, and suddenly I am making copies as fast as I possibly can, with the crazy idea, "I'm going to get all of these copied today!" The second I see the flash of the page being copied, I have lifted the top and replaced it with a new sheet. My arms are constantly in motion, moving through the patterns until they start to ache. And when it's all over, at 4:57, I have made copies faster than I have any right to, and I breathlessly carry them back and file them to no fanfare whatsoever.

At 5:45, I am still in the office, which is becoming progressively emptier. No one in their right mind would be at work this late, not on Friday, not the Friday before Labor Day weekend, not the last Friday of recess. Not unless it's the last day, and there are loose ends to tie up, and goodbyes to say. But eventually even I leave the Hart building this Friday, leaving an office that may disappear forever within the space of a few months or may be there to return to for years to come.

29 August-- Have I ever mentioned how much I like Donahue?

Not, not how much I like Phil Donahue, but how much I like Donahue. The man himself is okay; there are some things I like about him and others I don't. But it's just really refreshing to turn my TV on at 8 and see people who I'm not used to seeing on TV discussing things, at least not very often. And topics you don't usually see discussed either. There's something so tiresome about the talking heads that always show up on these shows, and this is such a breath of fresh air. I'm not being very coherent-- it's late-- but it's just good, okay?

And no, I haven't gotten a call from the chocolate store yet. Let's not talk about it.

28 August-- I was not contacted by the chocolate store tonight. I am keeping in mind that Elizabet said she'd try to talk to the district manager and would probably give me a call this evening, and am making an admirable attempt not to come to any conclusion. It's not a big deal. It's only six weeks worth of paychecks at a really good job, complete with management experience, right? Who cares?

Today was such a wet and soggy day. I got drenched on my way in this morning, dried off in the cold air conditioning all day, and then got soaked again after work. Some days I can enjoy the rain, hearing it pound against the window or even getting delightfully drenched and jumping in puddles. But when it's pounding and windy and you're on the way somewhere and you know that you're going to be sitting around in your soggy jeans, it's just frustrating.

It's almost September. Can you believe it?

27 August-- I have decided that I complain about work too much. Thus, this space will not contain the description of how this morning, I got called downstairs and . . . .

In other news, I had a job interview tonight, trying to secure gainful employment for the next three weeks as well as for winter break. I think it went well, but the store manager has to speak to the district manager about hiring decisions, so I (and you) won't find out the results until tomorrow night. I'm reluctant to count my chickens before they've hatched, so we'll just have to wait and see about the chances for Britt's Adventures in Chocolateland.

Oh, did I forget to mention this is a chocolate store? Browsing as I waited for my interview was wonderful, as I was treated to eye candy in the most literal sense. And afterwards, I got to try some of their free samples. All I can say is mmmm . . .

(I almost, but did not quite, ask what the policy was on employee discounts. If I am hired, I intend to research this point immediately.)

26 August-- And then today I had to come home. So I said goodbye to Alex and his family and his delightfully homey home, and boarded my plane and headed back to DC.

And as I sat here and worked on updating this page, I listened to my sister talk about how she doesn't want to attend her senior year of high school-- which starts tomorrow!-- and would rather just go to the community college this year. Notice any family resemblance in the putting things off department?

Ah, well. She'll figure something out. As for me, I should get to bed.

25 August-- The House on the Rock frankly defies description, but I suppose I should attempt it anyway. Alex, his parents, his sister, and I drove about an hour from Madison to reach the place built by an eccentric man named Alex Jordan.

The first part of the tour was quite neat, and somewhat normal. We wandered through the house section of the complex, complete with all sorts of great architectural features, tons of stained glass, mood music, low ceilings, soft cushy couches, and an "Infinity Room" stretching out high above the ground and narrowing to a point.

But it was the rest of the place that was truly bizarre. Room after room after room of wacky collections of dolls or ocean memorabilia or replicas of crown jewels. Tons of love tester machines, and great mechanized sections full of moving instruments playing all sorts of music, from a hearse to an octopus playing "Octopus's Garden" to a full orchestra. A giant whale, and a huge carousel with blinking lights and blaring music and hundreds of animals, none of them horses. A vast tiny miniature circus. You just kept walking for hours, just waiting to encounter something new and unexpected and random.

It was . . . it was . . . it was. That's all I can say.

24 August-- When Alex and I arrived at Miller Park in Milwaukee, the sun was shining and the roof was open, quite a contrast to the rainy overcast day when I went to the ballpark for the first time this spring.

We got there early, and headed down to the field to try to get autographs. But after a quick mental runthrough of the Brewers' and Pirates' lineups, we quickly realized that the coolest person by far in the stadium was to be found in the press boxes, and climbed up to the loge level to see Bob Uecker. After patiently waiting for a while to get a good view of him, he noticed me and cheerily smiled and waved as I snapped a picture.

The game wasn't pretty. The Brewers were down 3-0 after half an inning, and the exciting parts of the game were when the Brewers pulled within six runs. The Pirates ended up winning 17-10. But we did get to run around the bases at the end of the game...

23 August-- After Alex and I explored the state capitol building in Madison, we wandered around downtown for the afternoon.

But the highlight of the day had to be playing a hilarious game which Alex found somewhere in his house: "Class Struggle." It's delightfully propagandist and quite entertaining. Land on "Church attendance rises"? The workers lose points, because of course religion is the opiate of the masses. (So is pornography; workers lose points when porn sales go up, too.) Reach the "Elections" confrontation point? The capitalists automatically win unless the workers have landed on the "Workers form a political party" square.

We played four times. Three times the workers won and the game ended in socialist revolution; the fourth time, the world was destroyed by nuclear war, thanks to the capitalists. Luckily, Alex will be bringing the game with him to PARC when school starts.

22 August-- I've walked from the Hart Building to the Union Station Metro stop so many times this summer that I could do it in my sleep. This is not a problem unless you need to do things differently from the routine. So it was that I made it halfway to the airport after work before realizing that I had forgotten to get my suitcase from the storage room I'd left it in before work. After backtracking and picking up the suitcase, I made it to the airport, where I went through security three times (don't ask!) and had my bags searched twice before getting on the plane.

Then, as I stepped up to the gate in Detroit to get the boarding pass for the second leg of my flight, the attendant told me, "We don't have a seat for you right now, actually." Apparently the previous flight to Madison had been canceled, and so our flight-- at 11 PM, the last of the night-- was overbooked. I spent a rather nervous half-hour waiting and listening as they called out for volunteers to give up their seats. And then as soon as I had my boarding pass in hand, I of course started thinking, "Hey, a free night in the hotel, a $300 flight voucher, and a flight into Madison tomorrow morning isn't a bad deal!"

Instead, of course, I boarded the plane, and was soon standing on Wisconsin soil.

21 August-- Grrrrr.

After spending more than a week working on The Big Press Contacts Book Project, while what are typically manageable projects like pasting regional clips and sorting interview transcripts piled up, I finally finished it on Monday. And after spending several days catching up on the things I was behind on, I was on the verge today of being on top of everything I was asked to do. The chance to have things under control and be able to relax and goof off was tantalizingly near.

(Well, that's not quite right. I do get to relax and goof off. I'm just not supposed to. The proper phrasing should be "the chance to have things under control and be able to relax and goof off without guilt.")

Well, whatever phrasing you choose, it was cruelly snatched away from me. During what seemed like a routine 15-minute faxing job, Allison decided that she couldn't follow the pages when the alignment of the columns changed from table to table, and told me to redo the whole thing with all the mini-tables combined into one table to ensure alignment.

Okay, so it won't take forever. It's not really a big deal. It's just a hassle, and destroyed my well-earned sense of closure.

20 August-- Today I had the hardest time sitting still. I had piles and piles of articles to paste, but I wanted to walk and run and move. I kept having these mental images of rolling down a long grassy hill. I was being slow enough with my work that I couldn't justify taking a break, but I kept hoping that someone would give me a job that would involve walking over to the Capitol instead of sitting at the same desk for hours. I know it's not bad at all to sit in an air-conditioned building, and it usually doesn't bother me, but today I was jumpy and looking for some excuse to do something different. Alas, no luck. So I spun my chair in circles and stood up to bounce up and down intermittently as I worked. And eventually the afternoon passed, and I got to walk outside to Union Station and stretch my legs.

19 August-- In the middle of a long afternoon of pasting article after article after article onto pieces of white paper, I happened across a very welcome distraction. Okay, so it may not be a big deal to anyone else but me, but as I pored through the stack of every article mentioning Paul published anywhere in Minnesota, I came across some words that seemed rather familiar. I recognized it from a press release I'd written earlier in the summer. That in and of itself is not remarkable, if you use "written" very loosely. The vast majority of press releases I write are for transportation or firefighting or COPS grants, things we announce a dozen times a year, and so my job is basically to shuffle a few words.

But for this particular press release, there was nothing to base it on, and so I wrote it off the information, and sat around trying to think, "What would Paul have to say about this community alliance against drug abuse?" And what do you know, I found those very words as a quote from him in an article today. It was rather neat. Granted, it wasn't the world's finest prose. But it was pretty cool.

18 August-- So my family wants to move again. Yes, again. Of course, this time it wouldn't be several states and four hours away; it'd be less than a five minute walk from where we are now. But since the rent is cheaper, and since we've decided we're staying in the area, it looks like we will be packing up all the things from this apartment and lugging them over to the next apartment.

And not only that, but the time frame in which we'll be moving coincides neatly with the time period in September for which I am currently unscheduled. Thus if I fail in my attempts to acquire a job for those weeks, my family seems to think that a great way for me to spend that time would be doing this moving. I mean, it's logical, since both my parents would be at work all day and my sister at school. And I don't mind too much, since I seem to have developed some sort of aversion, be it temporary or permanent, to lounging around doing nothing. But I can't help but feel a tiny bit of resentment at the thought of how many weeks my sister has spent lying around the apartment doing nothing this summer-- while everyone seems more than willing to find ways to fill up my free time.

17 August-- If there's anything that can make spending 10 hours in the car on a single day worthwhile, it's spending the day (okay, the 4 1/2 hours not taken up by driving) with my cousin Michael. Today was his third birthday party, so we drove up to New York City to celebrate it with him.

There's little that's more gratifying than the way his eyes lit up when he saw me. "Cousin Britt!" he said with this giant grin. "You have to play with me!" Then he grabbed me by the hand and pulled me over to a corner of the private room the party was being held in. "Look at the water over there," he said earnestly, pointing to an alcove where the floor sloped downwards towards an exit, and promptly "dove in." Then, all of a sudden, "Oh, no, I can't get out! I'm stuck! Help me!" I reached out my hand to him and slowly pulled him back to "the shore," where he gave a little sigh of relief. "You saved me! Thank you," he said seriously, with a look of gratitude as if I'd just given him the best present he'd ever gotten. Then we sat by the fireplace to "dry off." ("Are you dry yet?" "No, all wet and cold.")

Not long after a little girl of about four years old joined us, and I ended up simultaneously facing Michael and trying to play with him ("You need to sleep in the water with me!" "I am. Look, my eyes are closed") while keeping my head raised enough so that little Abby could play with my hair, the present-opening began. By the end of it, I became convinced that my cousin owns every bit of Thomas the Tank Engine paraphernelia known to man. I swear, the kid, at his party with his Thomas tablecloths and Thomas balloons and Thomas cake, received a good dozen new Thomas-themed toys. It's insane.

But the topper was the end of the party, when my aunt and uncle announced that Michael is going to have a little brother or sister in March. Some people may take cousins for granted. But up until age 15, I only had three cousins, and they lived in Oregon and I rarely saw them. Noah, who's about to be five, and Michael are very special to me. So this is big news. (And I can't help but hope for a little girl.)

16 August-- I think I have too much compassion for the wrong people. I think something is wrong with me.

I got really upset this evening thinking about Andy Williams, who at age 15 killed two and injured 13 others, and who will now be in jail for 50 years. I listened to a debate about it on TV, looked up information online about his harassment by his classmates, and thought sadly about 50 years of his life being taken away. It actually shocked me when in the course of looking this up I was reminded of the actual murders he committed.

I do this a lot. I have compassion for criminals of all sorts, feeling like we ought to be working to help them (to become better people, of course). I have compassion for suicide bombers. I have compassion for people who supported the Nazis. It's starting to worry me.

I've always felt like it's extremely important to have understanding for all people, and to recognize all people as human beings, because allowing yourself to dehumanize people can have some pretty awful consequences. And I absolutely hate the way people who talk about holding people accountable for their crimes, who talk about "evil people" and "justice being done" and people facing the consequences of their actions, seem to think and feel. But I'm starting to realize that I dislike that sort of people more than I dislike the people who have done the horrendous things they're judging. That can't be right. I really need to think about this some more.

15 August-- You know how sometimes you're doing a boring, tedious job, you run into problems, and you figure you can just cut some corners and no one will ever know the difference?

Well, I've felt that way a lot lately at work. Except that whenever I think about shirking, I start wondering about the consequences. "Sure, I could give up on trying to get this press release faxed to the proper place. But if they don't get it, they won't write about it in their paper. If they don't write about it, maybe some people won't realize what Paul's doing for them, and they won't show up to vote for him. If not enough people vote for him, he will lose the Senate race. Then he won't be in office getting good things done, and the Republicans could have control of the Senate, and all because I was lazy and didn't want to call the newspaper to figure out why the fax number wasn't working!"

And then I sigh, think, "Britt, that's ridiculous!", and try again to solve whatever annoying problem I'm dealing with.

14 August-- What do you do when someone wants you to stop sending them faxes and you have no record of ever dialing their number?

It all started when we got a very angry phone call from City Hall in Peckham, Minnesota, at about 2 PM. According to them, every few days, our fax machine called the phones at their front desk, made noise, and generally annoyed them. When they transferred the calls to a fax machine, they discovered we were the culprits. So they called and demanded we remove them. "Sure thing," we said.

Only one problem-- their number was nowhere in our records! We called them back: "Are there any other numbers that would reach you?" "No," they said huffily. So Allison and Sara (my bosses) and I pored through fax number after fax number after fax number from the large pool which we'd had the press release sent to, searching for any numbers that were similar to the phantom. (At a busier time, the job would be all mine as they focused on Important Press Business, but since the most important business of the afternoon involved crossword puzzles, they were willing to pitch in.)

Finally we found one with the same beginning but a different four-digit ending, and gave it a call. "Hello, City Hall," came the voice. "It's Britt, from Senator Wellstone's office," I said. "Oh," she said, in a nasty tone of voice. And as much as I wanted to say, "We've decided to send as many faxes to this number as we possibly can, so take that!" I said instead, "I think we've found the problem."

"I think we lost their votes," said Allison.

13 August-- I'm not sure exactly why , but something made a lump form in my throat and caused my eyes to water a little this morning as I learned about the flooding in Prague. I just had this visceral feeling of panic, knowing that the waters were rising higher as I sat reading about them. The Vltava was flowing through the streets in the worst flood since at least 1890, and there was nothing I could do. I wanted to shout, "No, you're not allowed to damage anything before I get to come and see it! And preferably not afterwards, either." I had the craziest feeling that I somehow ought to be over there filling sandbags. But instead, I seached around until I found a Czech newswire in English and kept the window open behind my work all day, watching the predictions of the time the water would reach its peak creep up from mid-afternoon to past midnight.

Yeah, I know, it's just a city, a far-away city that I've never been to, and it will still be there when the waters recede. So I'm weird. Shut up!

12 August-- Sunday was Minnesota Day in Sweden, I learned this afternoon. "What? Why?" asked Colleen. And quicker than she could say, "I remember that Kirsten from the American Girls immigrated from Sweden to Minnesota," I had already opened up the American Girls website and was browsing through the dolls and books and accessories myself, and we oohed and ahhed and reminisced and talked like old women about how there were only three dolls back in our day. And as I clicked through the pictures trying to remember what outfits and accessories I used to have (not too many, thanks to the ridiculous prices), a nine-year-old somewhere inside of me remembered getting catalogs in the mail and desperately wanting things like this and this, and suddenly I had the odd desire to dig up my old Molly doll (packed away somewhere in NJ, most likely) and start dressing her up. But I never played with Barbies! Really!

11 August-- Today I stumbled across something eloquently titled NaNoWriMo. Yes, NaNoWriMo. That's short for "National Novel Writing Month," which, apparently, is November. It seems that every November a whole bunch of people who have always meant to write a novel decide to sit down and actually do it. In a month! This is actually rather intriguing. I am, of course, one of those people who has always meant to write a novel. And the communal nature of the project (writers encourage eachother through e-mail and chat, and those in geographic proximity work together in person) sounds rather nice. Plus, having time constraints couldn't help but be good for me. However, I have the distinct feeling that I'll be a bit too busy in November to be writing a whole novel. And I guess I'm still young enough to hope that real novel-writing can be in my future without gimmicks. Besides, what kind of a name is NaNoWriMo?

10 August-- And then my family left this morning, and it was good. Okay, so I have only slightly over 24 hours with the apartment to myself, but it is decidedly a good thing. I find myself appreciating this time so much, between the opportunity to be alone and the chance to relax. I listened to lots of U2 very loudly, wrote a journal entry, watched Shawshank Redemption on TV, ran the dishwasher, played Text Twist, did a little writing, and somehow stumbled into Virtual Hogwarts and got sorted into Hufflepuff and looked around for a while. Yes, I know this is a rather dull summary of a rather dull (but wonderful!) day, but I have put off writing this to the point where my mind stubbornly refuses to compose an enthralling anecdote. Sorry.

9 August-- A word to the wise: when you purchase ice cream or frozen yogurt, it's typically advisable to get a spoon as well. I neglected this breathtakingly obvious fact today. I have some excuse, considering that we were in a rush to get upstairs to say goodbye to one of the several interns leaving today, and that this mission was already delayed by me needing to borrow some change. (Who'd think that on Tuesday the cafeteria would charge for frozen yogurt at a flat rate but on Friday it'd be by weight?) Anyhow, after rushing upstairs and saying goodbyes, I realized that I was lacking the crucial utensil. I canvassed the upstairs and downstairs kitchens in the office for plastic spoons, with no avail. Finally I found a very large black ladle, at least 2" by 2", and decided this was the best I could do. So I ate my orange creme frozen yogurt out of a spoon that barely fit in my mouth, and I plugged away on (or shirked off) the boring work I was asked to do, and I said goodbye to many of my fellow interns, and I finally made it home for the weekend.

8 August-- In lieu of a bit of brilliance of my own, I point you to Shannon's page, wherein she discusses a knitting magazine which reveals that no, my friends are not the only college students weird enough to knit in their free time, which was my original hypothesis. This intrigued me enough that I invested a good 15 minutes and registered online at the Interweave Knits Magazine homepage, searching in vain for an online version of the article; it did not, of course, convince me to get up off the couch and take the approximately three minutes to walk across the street to Barnes and Noble, where Shannon informed me I could find the aforementioned magazine, to read the article in full.

7 August-- Washington DC's Metro system has many failings. The exorbitant prices, for one. The inconvenience of having to swipe your card both before and after you ride the Metro. And the strict rules against eating and drinking on the train or the platform, which prompt complete strangers to look at me with concern if I transgress, saying "You'd better put that away!" in attempts to save me from impending fines. One thing that the Metro system seems to be adequate at, however, is informing riders of the end of the line, with their blinking lights and repeated announcements that all riders must leave the train. But today, apparently, the lights and sounds failed to distract me from German U-boats sinking Allied ships in the Atlantic, and I didn't notice anything unusual until the train came to a halt and then switched direction in the middle of a dark tunnel and I realized that I was the only one in the car. It was only then that I remembered that I had never actually checked the signs to make sure that I was onboard a train that went to my stop at the end of the line, instead of ending only midway at Grosvenor, as the Metro has an irritating tendency to do. So when the train pulled back to the Grosvenor platform on its way back into the city, I got off and waited for the next train that went all the way to my stop. And it would have been nothing more than an amusing anecdote had this delay not resulted in me ultimately missing the shuttle to the apartment by approximately 45 seconds and having to wait a half-hour for the next one. Perhaps it would be wise to pay attention in the future.

6 August-- Today I got a chance to play DC tourist, seeing things that I probably never would've gotten around to if Eileen and her family weren't in town. This morning Eileen and her parents and sisters came by the office, and we headed over to the Capitol, looking at places like the Rotunda, the statue gallery, and the old Supreme Court chamber. For me, the Capitol building consists of the places I need to go for work: the Senate floor and the reception room, the press gallery, and Paul's hideaway; I'd never been to most of the places we went today before. Of course, this resulted in me being a less than stellar tour guide, and so my main function was having the staff ID that allowed us to move about, while asking the people I was supposedly leading, "If you see any of the arrows for the tour on the wall, let me know! Hmmm, which way did we come in? I wonder what's down there. Hey, maybe if we go up these stairs-- I guess not." Anyhow, I met up with them again for dinner with my family at a restaraunt on top of a hotel with a great view and overpriced food, where I was somewhat frightened by the ability of Eileen and her mother to name all the children of all the presidents from the twentieth century and a fair number from before that.

5 August-- Recess, time for recess! No, not the time in elementary school when you get to run around outside and play on the playground, but the time during the year when the Senate is out of session, Paul goes back to Minnesota, and those of us in the office get to kick back and relax a bit. One of the benefits is that I get to sleep a little later and don't have to get up until about 7:40 AM; another benefit is that there's more downtime. I took advantage of this time to play euchre with my friends online, which was pleasurable completely out of proportion to the experience itself. I just got a huge kick out of playing cards in Washington DC with my friends despite the fact that they were in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It's good that such a delighful social pastime can be shared despite geographical distance. I think that after we graduate from college, we should pick a time and meet online every week to play euchre and talk, no matter where we may be. In the meantime, I'll just play on the computers at work and hope to convince friends to join me.

4 August-- Today my family and I got together with a lot of relatives from my mom's side of the family, which is always an experience. Although it would have been a good time to reflect on age, considering that it was my great-uncle's 90th birthday. Instead, I reflected on youth, and specifically marriage. While I have been confronted, this summer in particular, with the abundance of young twenty-somethings getting married, today was my first chance to see the specimen in the flesh-- specifically, my second cousin's 25-year-old wife, and her 24-year-old engaged sister. I must admit I stared a bit, although I hope I wasn't too rude. This girl looked about 21, like any college student you've ever seen, and she was married! I'm a "twenty-something" myself now, after all, although there isn't much of a "something" yet. Despite the fact that there are parts of me that love the idea of marriage, it's also a very frightening thought that kids around my age are getting married. I don't feel that old!

3 August-- In some ways, I'm amazed at how content I am with life right now. It's good to have a few months of summer, and although I miss school and my friends, I feel like there's a lot that's good about right now, and I'm not nearly as impatient to get the summer over with as I used to be. It's good to work instead of have classes, and have the nights and weekends without feeling like there's schoolwork that needs to be done. It's good to have the free time to do the leisure reading that never ever seems to happen during the school year. It's good to have different experiences from the routine of school, despite how much I enjoy the bulk of that routine. And although I miss my friends, I think in a lot of ways it's healthy and good for me to have this sort of distance from everybody, some time for me to spend with myself. I'm not counting down the days until 19 September anymore; I'm just taking each day as it comes, and generally keeping my mind free of any sort of heavy thoughts.

2 August-- I've spent much of today, or at least the latter part of it, wrapped up in poetry, which is far from a bad way to spend an evening. This all began a few days ago, when I randomly stumbled upon Langston Hughes' poem Let America be America again. I'd read excerpts from it in the past, but it was only when I read the whole poem this week that I realized and appreciated how beautiful and powerful it is, and it really amazed me. I'm currently trying to learn the whole thing by heart, but in the meantime I was trying to think of some way I could put it up on this site, to share it with everyone, and I ended up deciding I should create a whole section full of poems. One of the biggest benefits of starting to compile my favorite poems has been the opportunity to explore more of Pablo Neruda's poetry, which is so stunning that I constantly regret that I'm not fluent enough to truly appreciate it in the original Spanish. I plan to spend more time on this very enjoyable pastime in the future, and I must admit that all of this has inspired me to try to capture on paper the poem-fragments that have been floating through my own mind for months.

1 August-- Well, I've had my compliment of the week, seeing my site mentioned in the same sentence as Newtonline, that late great home of Internet wit and wisdom. (Thanks, Shannon!) A smile like that was needed, especially in the wake of the news that PARC's been charged for $1300 worth of spring damages, which will deplete our damage account, maintenance account, and take a nice large chunk out of social money. Unless we can find which individuals did the damage and charge them (highly unlikely) or talk the powers-that-be out of the exorbitant repair prices (even more unlikely), money that PARCers could be having fun with this fall will be going towards fixing holes, screens, and the table in the basement. It's so frustrating to have to pay for the actions of the destructive people who just happened to have lived in our building.



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Last updated 3 March, 2003

Intellectual Property Rights denounced by Britt Gordon-McKeon, 2002