In Which We Celebrate Easter And Have Plans

20 April 2003

Hi. Happy Easter to those of you who want one. I have a hard time not wishing people happy holidays, so I tend to go around with, "Happy holiday you don't celebrate!" and also "Happy my birthday!" when appropriate. My family celebrates enough holidays that other people don't -- we just like parties -- and I think in part that is a religious thing, but not in the way people might think.

Anyway, Mark and I will be heading up to Pleasant Hill this morning for a bit of breakfast and church. (I've already eaten breakfast. For those of you just catching up, I tend to keel over when not fed regularly. So I "have breakfast" with people the way I "get coffee" with people: as a social affair not necessarily involving breakfast or coffee.) It'll be nice to see more old friends and to see more of old friends we've already seen. Tenebrae on Good Friday is a service where silence is observed after, so that was not much of an opportunity to talk. We knew it wouldn't be. The quiet contemplation of it makes it one of my favorite holidays of the year, especially since there's a lot of non-verbal communication afterwards, hugs and brushes of hands.

I really liked Easter egg hunts when I was little. When I was medium-sized-little, my folks would do things like hiding a clue for where to find a book or a softball mitt in the little plastic eggs. It worked well. I wouldn't particularly want to do it again now, but it was good for then, and I'd do it for someone small, given the chance.

"Next year in Jerusalem" is not my religious or cultural phrase. That's other people's. But Rachel said to me in February, "Next year in Minneapolis." Yeah. We joke about it being the Promised Land, but...we're not really joking. (Telling when people from the Upper Midwest are joking is much, much harder than I ever thought when I lived there. Not for me, of course, but I've watched people have trouble with it over and over again.) And now, I think Rachel and Ben may already be there. It's all right, though. Next year. I really mean it.

We're at that stage where we're not announcing to all and sundry what the plan is, because there are details that have to be approved on the plan, things that we need to hear in writing from people, things that need to be worked out. But there's a plan, more or less, and the plan has involved discussion of neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. Contemplation of when Taste Of Minnesota is, when Aquatennial is, when all of it is, because we'll need to know next year, because I am doing it all. Going from the Dayton's Eighth Floor Auditorium (Marshall Field's, I know, I know) all the way down to some rutabaga festival somewhere near C.J.'s parents' house. (They serve rutabaga shakes. Dude. We're totally there. And I'm telling everybody the story of the old lady hitting on my uncle Phil in the grocery store, too. You can hear it now, if you want.) If the universe doesn't rise up against us in the form of the people who still need to write things down for Mark, I am doing the full Minnesota calendar. Really. I will be the Woman To Ask. When they have fresh torv at Lund's, I will know it. When some little Greek church in the St. Paul suburbs is having a festival with all kinds of flaky things I like and cheese I hate, I will be able to tell you where.

I've heard that there's nothing more zealous than a convert. I wonder if lapsed folks who renew their religious fervor are more zealous than that. It could well be, if I get to be Exhibit A.

Hey. I will know what the new exhibits are at the Science Museum, because I'll take the small cousins there. Woo!

At this point, after all the ups and downs of this process, if the people who need to write stuff down for Mark don't write decently, there will be much wrath for them to face. But we have reason to think that it'll be all right.

This has improved my mood somewhat, over the last week and a half or so. I still have some pretty hard moments, but they're more tolerable at this point.

It may be the first time in years where neither Good Friday nor Easter is particularly hard for me. Usually I can handle one of them and one knocks me on my butt. Still might be that way this year. Don't know yet. But it also might be okay.

I'm also feeling more social than I have in weeks, maybe months, so once I know the Lizward schedule, I should be poking people for social activity. And that'll be good, maybe.

The Samurai's Garden got better as I went along, but I still didn't really like the way the historical context was handled. Even when it was more involved, in the last third of the book, it didn't seem to be particularly well thought-out. Which was really too bad, as the book had some pretty aspects to it. After I finished it, I started reading Kathryn Reiss' Paperquake, which I didn't like at all. I quit 90 pages in. It had clunky prose, an unappealing, wussy, whiny heroine, unbelievable family members, and a speculative element that bored me silly. Also, the author, who apparently lives here in NoCal, kept referring to quakes of three-point-something as scary, noticeable, big quakes. I might have gone with that before we moved here, but now I know that anything that begins with a 3 is more or less indistinguishable from a truck going by on Mission. Sigh.

I'm glad I've started quitting books I don't like, though. There are enough books I want to read that feeling compelled to finish those I don't want to read without any particular reason is silly. I'll still read things to discuss with people, and generally I'll finish those so that I can have a coherent discussion and not "the first twenty/fifty/ninety pages sucked, the end." But for books like this one...yeah. No reason to go on.

So I started Sven Rossel's A History of Scandinavian Literature 1870-1980. I do not expect this to be a scintillating read. I do expect it to be informative and possibly give me ideas for other books to read. It may even give me points in the world-timeline for the world of the Not The Moose Book. Maybe. I don't know if I know all the high spots of Finnish literature in that period. I guess we'll find out.

Yesterday I was asking myself how I got to this point without having a finished draft of "Wishing on Airplanes," and so I sat down to see where I needed to go with it next. And half an hour later, I was still typing -- on the Not The Moose Book. Oh. Well. I guess that explains that. I'm having a hard time, though: my back seems to be more ickible than usual, and I want to keep it decent. So is it more back-friendly to just write on the computer, or to write things out longhand in my journal and then transfer them to the screen without a convenient way to prop up my journal? (Hmm. I just thought of Mark's music stand. Maybe when I'm home alone or nobody needs to go into the kitchen, we can see if that'll hold my journal. The next place we live, I swear I will get a better work set-up. In the meantime, I keep trying to improvise. We'll see.

One of the strange things about keeping a journal like this is figuring out what to repeat. For example, I don't repeat "related to the accident we had moving out here" every time I mention back problems -- so at least one long-term reader didn't know that I had back problems beyond the lots-o'-computer kind. And she was making all kinds of helpful suggestions that do work somewhat for the lots-o'-computer aspect of things, but she just hadn't been informed that there was anything else to it. I think that's worth it, though, to avoid having ten million explanations every entry. You-all will pick it up as we go, won't you? And ask questions if you don't? The worst I'll say in response to a question is, "Well, I'm afraid I don't think that's any of your business." And that's not too bad, is it?

Good. All right then. A chocolate egg for me, and then off we go.

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