zoethe: (Star Wars)
Friday night, after driving home with Erin through a driving rainstorm, I was sitting at my computer when something that can only be described as a severe low-pressure event hit the house. It wasn’t like a wind blowing, it was like the air sucked away from the house. There was a crashing boom, the place shook in a creepy way, and the windows in Ferrett’s and my offices sucked open. I jumped up and back away from the glass, ready to head for the basement. Ferrett came in to ask if I’d felt that and the pressure in my ears made him sound like he was talking underwater.

This is not my first experience with isolated, pre-tornado weather events. One fall when my youngest was only a baby we were visiting my in-laws in Indiana when the most severe storm I had ever experienced whipped across the plains. We returned home from a shopping trip in rain like someone throwing buckets of water at the windshield. We pulled into the garage and I got the kids out of the car. I came into the house and stood looking out the big picture windows at the waves on the lake, when suddenly there was this eerie whine through the whole place. Not being from the Midwest, it took me a moment to realize that the house was depressurizing—tornado symptom. I grabbed the kids and ran for the basement, but it passed. Later that evening we heard that a tornado had touched down in the next lake over from the house.

The next morning we surveyed a 30-foot-wide swathe of destruction going past the southwest corner of the house. It was like a lawnmower from hell had bulled down one path, ripping out the big oaks across the street from Oprah’s, charging through the yard, taking out the trees by the dock, and crossing the lake where we could see open ground that had been tree-covered the previous morning.

At the cabin 500 yards away the leaves hadn’t even blown off the trees.

And so it was at our house Friday. We were frightened out of our chairs, but the empty garbage can next door wasn’t so much as rolled over.

And this morning Ferrett pointed out the pile of shingles that have torn from the roof.

I really don’t need roof repair added to my bills and my stress right now. I am barely holding on as it is. Driving to work this morning I felt ready to abandon everything, sell the house, move someplace small and cheap and nondescript, buy a little place, and live off my equity. There are tiny beachhouses in Oregon that are only $45,000. I could hide out, walk on the sand, live small, write. It’s never too hot and rarely terribly cold and I don’t need much. Really.

I don’t want to be the grownup.
zoethe: (Default)
Lesson of the day: don't write a href code in Word and expect it to translate right. Always change out those quotation marks for plain text ones.

For anyone who tried to click through and couldn't, here is the repaired link to
Stan Hywet Hall
zoethe: (Default)
I walked out the door in a short-sleeved dress with no jacket this morning, because it was so warm and beautiful. By the time I had to make an errand run around campus it was cold and threatening rain. What was I thinking - it's March in Cleveland!

On the other hand, in a small protected corner near the psych ward, a microclimate has allowed a cluster of daffodils to outstrip their still-budding compatriots all over campus. They are in full bloom, bright yellow "sneak peeks" of the good things to come.
zoethe: (leafy pent)
Every morning and evening, I drive the length of a ruined boulevard. Euclid Avenue is a shabby mixture of vacant lots, boarded up storefronts, empty factory buildings and soot-stained stone churches from 30th Avenue until just a few blocks west of Case Western Reserve University. It’s a concrete border zone between the downtown and Case, a dead spot between two centers of activity. I always thought it bespoke an industrial era gone awry. Sad, but easy to ignore – once you got past the creep-out factor it had no more impact on the mind than a stretch of vacant highway.

Then my friend Christa lent me a book about Euclid in the past century. And my casual complacence melted away. Euclid isn’t the tale of a former industrial park now dead and gone; it’s testimony to the tragedy of thoughtless industrialism.

As impossible as it is to imagine now, Euclid Avenue used to be a tree-lined boulevard of mansions, estates, park-like lawns. Home to the elite of Cleveland from about 18th Avenue all the way out to the borders of the Western Reserve. The book is filled with photos of stately, imposing houses—some of which rival Stan Hywet Hall, our local mansion museum, in glory. The photos are silent testimony of a genteel past along this scar of a road.

There are hints, once you know where to look. It explains all those large, elaborate churches where no people now live. And three or four houses remain, awkward and stranded amid the rubble, a testament that “change” and “growth” can be an ugly disease.

Because the robust promises of a thriving industrialized Euclid Avenue never materialized. It limped along for a dozen years and then faltered. By the mid-1950s the storefronts were vacating, the boards going up over the windows. All those houses were lost during the Great Depression by their owners, and lost to all of us forever by rampant and unjustified speculation.

There is one picture of the destruction of an enormous stone manse. Workmen stand on the top of the wall, silhouetted forever against a gray sky. I look at it and wonder, did any of them weep? Did they grimace in dismay as they swung sledgehammer through plaster and wood, knocked stone from stone until all that was left was rubble? Or did they just believe that this was progress and swing away without feeling, maybe even with a bit of smugness that the rich no longer owned what they themselves did not have. Would they have worked so vigorously, if they had foreseen the ugly roadway that is their legacy today?
zoethe: (legolas)
Checked the weather report this morning. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for “Wintry Mix.”

Is it just me, or does this sound like a snack food? “The Wilson’s are dropping by this evening, dear. Please stop on your way home and pick up some Wintry Mix – barbecue flavor.”
zoethe: (legolas)
Traveling all of 20 mph this morning, I managed to lose control of the car and spin out across four lanes of Chester Blvd. Good fortune was with me, for I was all alone in that stretch of road, and the traffic coming up behind me had room to stop and wait for me to get turned around and back in forward motion. 30 yards later I passed someone who hadn’t been so lucky – her car was up in the park, wrapped up against a tree, and the car she had ricocheted off was backwards in the far right lane. My heart went out to them both, and my knees were trembling as I climbed out of my safely parked car to face the day. The adrenaline finally worked its way out of my system at about 10:30.

Winter has battered and bruised and generally abused us all, and I for one am ready for it to stop. I just got a call from the girls – they are in Pittsburgh, but missed their connection. Now I’m waiting anxiously to see how long they will be stuck there before the next bus.

Make the bad weatherman go away!!!
zoethe: (Default)
In the age of computer technology, it's very easy for law students to get way too reliant on the internet tools available to us for free while we are in school, only to suffer a severe reality backhand when we get into the real world and find that these tools are not only not free, in many cases they aren't even available. So our Legal Writing Professor gave us a research assignment that requires completion in the library, handling big dusty books and competing with each other for their use.

Lovely idea, but a pain in the ass. And triply so because I am temporarily handicapped, making the handling of those large, cumbersome books quite difficult. I therefore obtained permission to bring Jeff along to help me handle the books--requesting permission because he is an attorney and I wouldn't want to be accused of taking an unfair advantage. With the proviso that he was only to help me cart and carry, permission was granted.

Leading to me referring to him as my trained monkey assistant. Which is doubly funny when you realize how smart Jeff is.

All this has gone out the window, however, because Winter is administering yet another bitchslap to the U.S. Erin and her friend Nicole came home for the weekend and this morning I tried to put them on the bus back to school. Greyhound has given up for the day, and so did we. But the trip there and back in white-out conditions on unplowed roads convinced me that there will be no driving back down to spend the day in the library. I feel lucky to have made it home in one piece, between the drivers who are too timid to go over 15 and are therefore road hazards and the insane truckers who are still roaring along at 50. As it was, driving slowly and carefully I got to feel the adrenaline burn of recovering from that starting.... to..... slide feeling several times.

How the hell I'm gonna finish all this research by Thursday, I have no freakin' clue. But today is gonna be spent getting ahead on my other reading so I can stay after class and work during the week and not have to get up early.

For the rest of the semester Legal Writing is just ball-busting, large assignments every week. Our class is doing about 8 times as much as the other section, to which I frankly say, thank the maker. Even though it's a lot of work, I don't get the impression that the other section is learning that much (let's put it this way: the poor students are all glad they have that section, and the good students in that section are all regretting that they got stuck there). But one of my fellow students showed our syllabus to one of the attorneys where she works and his reaction was "I thought you were a first year student," because he thought it looked like the syllabus for an advanced course.

My mantra is, "This is good for me, this is good for me, this is good for me....."

Okay, gonna make coffee and get to work.

How the hell I'm gonna deal with all this snow is beyond me, though. Ferrett, one more marker for the "Most Inconvenient Leaving Town" award. More snow storms are supposed to be behind this one. Does the fun never end?
zoethe: (Default)
I was, perhaps, too ambitious when I took no Motrin this morning. Doing fine until afternoon, then started really hurting and haven't been able to get on top of it.


Small branches protected by the covering of the walkway over the stairs to the parking garage have burst into leaves, and the air felt soft today. Tomorrow is more snow, but winter is losing the battle now. Spring is on the way, and as the seasons change, the days wax longer and I will regain strength in my arm.

I concentrate on that when everything else threatens to overwhelm me.
zoethe: (Default)
It’s raining and windy out today. Great hunks of ice are hurtling down from the roof, crashing into the side of the building, skittering among the shrubbery and bounding out into the sidewalk. I am reminded of glaciers calving.

Just having them crash down on my windowsill is alarming. Playing dodgeball against the roof would be pretty damned scary.
zoethe: (Me)
Yesterday at work I was sitting in my little corner of the copy room (I can't even say cubicle, it's so tiny) when the sun came out and poured in through the windows.

The sensation was not unlike when you have a cramped muscle and someone is rubbing it out and it hurts so good! Like a shock of warmth through my system. I literally could feel myself feeling better.

After 19 years in Alaska, I move to Ohio and get Seasonal Affective Disorder???

I suspect that the combination of stress and exhaustion made the added frisson of darkness just too much for me to bear--like the cold you can resist unless you are worn out.

Having something to hang it on makes it considerably better, so when I got blue last night I at least wasn't quite as viscious in my self-loathing.

After today, the school stress ends for a month. By the time it starts again the light will be returning.

Thank you, all my friends, who expressed concern and support for me when my nose was hitting the pavement. I think the worst is past.


Dec. 6th, 2002 12:03 am
zoethe: (Default)
Walking to the car this evening, there were skeins of geese all across the sky, grumbling among themselves in squawky goose tones: "I thought we WERE south! What IS this cold crap?"

Last year on this date, Cleveland set a record high of 71 degrees farenheit.

Today it was a lofty 14.

I like this weather better.

I'm used to chill, still temperatures and dry air. Medium cold, damp, with howling winds? That;s fuckin' COLD!!!.

The geese are protesting that their ponds are ice-locked, but I am happier with a winter that looks like winter than the damp, windy mess we suffered last year.
zoethe: (Default)
We're used to seeing cars in the ditch, and they are a minor curiosity. Today, however, I saw two semi-tractor trailers and found that my reaction to them was remarkably different.

The first was amazing. Going through a cutbank we came across this semi completely in the ditch, completely off the road, nose down, right side up--with the trailer straight up the hill. Essentially, it looked like the trailer was driving down the embankement, except its nose was buried in the ditch. I can't even imagine what kind of force would put a trailer in that position. But before Erin and I could even begin discussing it, we came across a jack-knifed semi, upright, its cab folded back against the trailer like a swan tucking its head under a wing. This one was across the highway from us but in the median ditch so we had a good view of it sitting there on the other side of the guardrail. It hadn't knocked the guardrail down--the back tires on one side were resting on top of it. With only about 200 yards between these two phenomenal accidents, it was as if some giant's child had been playingwith his trucks and left them helter skelter.

I know what my emotional reaction is to accidents and ditched cars. This was nothing like that. This was the same feeling I've gotten when coming across the remains of shipwrecks in Alaska and in Oregon. Curious, and awed. I found the reaction interesting. I thnk it is because of the size of the things and the odd and precarious positions in which they found themselves. They changed from being trucks to being eerie. Titans befelled by forces I cannot analyze.
zoethe: (Default)
Spring. Aahhahahaha! What was I thinking??!!!

Sleet. Inches thick in places. Old women driving 20mph. Slipping in the slush and that warm adrenaline feeling in the back of the arms when you recover traction and realize you aren't going to die this time after all.

I hate Pennsylvania.

I'm not totally strung out, but getting up for work tomorrow isn't sounding like something I'm ready to face, either.

Oh well. Next weekend's a PTQ that Ferrett promises to attend. That will leave me alone with no wheels. Enforced solitude is just what I need.


zoethe: (Default)

September 2012

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