Monday, June 30, 2003

There was some slight excitement this morning when I went to work and found that I had been given an out-of-date address for the company I was supposed to go to. Luckily, however, they had only moved to the next building. Disaster averted.

I spent a while this morning waiting for someone to set me up with a computer. This seems to be a pattern for the beginnings of jobs, especially now that I've been watching it happen to other people this summer. The job itself was slightly less exciting than the trip in, but I did learn a few useful tricks with Microsoft Word and Excel. (It's handy being able to learn on the job. No one has to know that when you say "Yes, I can do that" what you really mean is "Well, I'm pretty sure I can figure it out.") The schedule is a bit annoying. They don't want me in there until 10 in the mornings, which leaves me with an amount of extra time that is small enough to make it difficult for me to use well at that time of day, but large enough that I feel guilty if I don't. Plus I have to work later if I want a full day's pay. Also, they want me there for the next two days and then "probably next Wednesday." So I had to explain that they can have me for as long as they like, if it's continuous, but since I have to make money at a reasonably steady rate, I can't promise that I won't have another job next week.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

I chose Holes as a good post-Harry-Potter thing to read. It's been fun to read some fiction again, even kids' books (though "kids' books" really covers a huge range of things, as can be seen by just these two examples). I should do that more often. I should also get back to my other readings that have been severely neglected this last week. And then there's the piano that I haven't been practicing. But first things first: tomorrow morning I start a new temp job. It's just for a couple days, though, and then hopefully I'll get something longer.
Well, Friday night turned out to be a somewhat long and difficult one for me, so I wasn't in very good shape to do much of anything yesterday. I still went to part of the contra, just because I really wanted to hear Driving with Fergus play. They sounded really good, and I even saw a couple Waltz Week people there, but I didn't last very long. I was back home and asleep before the dance was even over. Oh, and I found out last night that the rumors I had heard were true: the YWCA will be closing at the end of August, so dances like the Palo Alto contra and Friday Night Waltz will have to find new homes. If anyone knows of any other good places for dances, we're taking suggestions.

Today I've got several errands to run, plus clean up and organizing to do in my room, which has fallen into disrepair over the last week. There will probably be napping involved, as well. And music, I hope. Listening to Lúnasa CDs yesterday and Driving with Fergus at the dance made me want to play some Irish tunes. I need to start going to sessions again sometime.

Friday, June 27, 2003

...and that's the end of Waltz Week, too. For me, at least, since I won't be at the closing ball tonight. But the last afternoon session was fun. Some of the classes performed things they had learned, and I got to dance with a lot of my favorite partners, so it was a good end to the week. And there's a contradance tomorrow, just in case I start feeling deprived after 24 hours without dancing. :-)
Finished. Wow.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Well, today was my last day as an actual Project Read employee. Sad, but at least I won't be entirely gone. Next week I'll go back to my old volunteering time on Wednesday evenings. Before I left, Alice and Yenda gave me a cute card and a framed photo of me and Dani. I'm going to miss working there. I'd say that it's been, without question, the job at which I've felt the most at home of any I've had. Too bad the library's losing so much money. In addition to losing employees, they're going to start closing the library an extra 6 hours a week soon.

Tonight is the night of rest for Waltz Week before everything wraps up tomorrow. So no dance tonight. That's probably just as well.
Last night's dance was the Bal Blanc, and I actually wore white this year like I was supposed to. Yay me! Baguette Quartet played a lot of very nice music, and I had several good dances, including a tango polka with Eric. You can find polkas everywhere if you just know where to look. :-)

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding Waltz Week. I get a curious feeling half way between being in camp-mode and being in real-world mode. There are lots of people together for lots of dances and classes and having lots of fun, but then I also have to take breaks to go to work. Plus, everything's over by 11 or so at night, hardly camp hours. Hmm. No point to all that, really. Just something I was noticing about the way I've been experiencing it all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Wow, I just had the longest Spanish conversation I can remember, like 15 or 20 minutes or something. We had a really busy afternoon and early evening here at Project Read and then most everybody cleared out early except for Thelma. She always makes me practice my Spanish when she asks for help with the computers, but today we also had a relatively long, fairly coherent conversation, all in Spanish. I don't even think I sounded like a complete idiot, though it's sort of hard to tell. It was a brain stretch, and I got a bit stuck sometimes on stuff I knew I should know, but it was good practice.

Something I just realized is that earlier today I passed the midpoints of both Harry Potter book 5 and Waltz Week (including the weekend) at approximately the same time. That's just a random, useless fact there. Unfortunately, I had to come in to work, so I left off after chapter 21, which was a doozy. I'm afraid I may have another night of insufficient sleep ahead of me. :-) But first, I'm heading off to tonight's dance.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Happy Birthday, Cass!
Long day today. Biking to campus for dance classes all morning (third day of those now, and my leg energy is going down), then biking home and driving to Redwood City and unloading rented sound equipment (with a guy who wouldn't help me carry the huge amps), then finding out we were missing two cables, then biking back to campus and signing up for a piano practice room, then finding Richard to get the cables sorted out, then a couple more hours of dance classes, then biking back home again and driving to Redwood City again to return the cables (10 minutes before catching an $80 fine), and now mustering up the energy to head back to campus (driving this time, thank goodness) for tonight's dance. I also didn't sleep a whole lot last night. We spent an hour after the dance cleaning up and taking down risers and whatnot, then I read some more Harry Potter, and then my mind wouldn't even stop swaying around in 3/4 time to let me go to sleep. I'm going to be waltz-bonkers by the end of the week. So anyway, I'm really rather tired today, but I've been learning a few neat things in the classes (the Bronco schottische step was a doozy) and I'm bummed I won't be able to go to any more of the afternoon ones (because of work). Of course, I should also mention that two of my favorite new cross-step moves so far have come from people outside of the classes (thank you, Justin and John). Alright, I'm going to try to get my legs moving again now....
Brave Combo was very cool. We need to get them out here more often. And there was a hustle exhibition that was just amazing. It started out as a three-person hustle and turned into a four-person, partner-switching hustle. Wow.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

More fun waltzing today, then some decorations and folder-stuffing for the next wave of people coming in tonight. Brave Combo is going to be playing, which is very exciting. Right now I'm am going to go be horizontal for a while and read more Harry Potter. Current progress on that: 8 chapters.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Fun first day of waltz classes today, though I had to miss one that I really wanted to take. I was picking up one of the instructors for the week at the airport. But that was fun because he was a neat guy to talk to, and we still got back in time for some zweifachers before the end of the day. I actually had one of the nicest zweifachers I've had in a long time (thank you, Tina!). Tonight there's a dance, but maybe first I'll get in another chapter or two of Harry Potter.
I have it... it's mine... hee hee hee.... my own... my precioussss..... er... *ahem*. 'Scuse me.

Anyway, the crowds were insane, but I managed to read a couple chapters while I waited in line, so it could have been worse. I'll read more tomorrow, in between Waltz Weekend stuff. Off to bed now.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Today was Georgina's last day at work, which was very sad. She has to leave to do a summer school job, but hopefully there will be enough money still around to hire her back in the fall. So she brought Dani again to play with me one more time, and she definitely had more energy than I did tonight. It's not often she actually wears me out. :-) Oh well. The most confusing bit of the evening was when I was supposed to guess what she was pretending to be. For the first one, she just lay down on the floor. I guessed and guessed and finally got her to tell me that she was, in fact, the London Bridge (having fallen down). Sheesh. Anyway, since I had my camera still in my backpack, we decided to take some pictures of all of us at Project Read while we're all still together. Here they are. Actually, Dani took most of them, except for the ones with her in them. She was really having a blast with that camera.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Today I discovered what I should have majored in. Eudemonics: the study of happiness :-)

Monday, June 16, 2003

I finally posted a few pictures from Saturday. They're just some shots of collections of relatives, so they may not be super interesting to everyone out there, but anyway, there they are. Lacey will probably have some better ones up at some point, too.

On an entirely different topic, Harry Potter book 5 is coming out this Saturday. This is very exciting. However, my original plan to spend three solid days reading it as soon as I picked up my reserve copy has been somewhat derailed by the fact that Waltz Weekend/Week is starting Friday night. Argh. I will just have to have patience.
Happy Birthday Kari!

And congratulations to everyone who graduated yesterday. Welcome to the outside world!

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Yesterday we had the Celebration of Life for Grandpa Marsh at their church in Walnut Creek and it was really wonderful. A lot of family members spoke at the service, but Dad was sort of the anchor of it all and said some things that really touched me, so I wanted to mention a bit of what he said here, though a brief description will hardly do it justice.

Dad started out by saying that the great spiritual leaders of the past are no longer with us in physical form, even though they may have demonstrated that death is no obstacle to that for them. It's just that they could be more effective reaching millions of people through spirit, rather than dozens or hundreds through their physical bodies. So then he said that, while Grandpa Marsh's body is not with us anymore, we can still ask the question "Where is Marshall?" And he had Aunt Pat, the first of Marsh and Jackie's children, stand up. He pointed out her business sense, and her stubbornness, and other qualities of Grandpa Marsh that were embodied in her, and he said "There's Marshall." And then he moved on to Uncle Jim, Aunt Kathy and himself, and finally to the grandchildren, Aprill, Pam, Lacey and me. Each one of us got a unique "inheritance" from Grandpa Marsh, whether it was his love of God, his love of nature, his craftmanship or any number of other characteristics. And then when we were all standing, he turned to the congregation and asked anyone who has ever been inspired, influenced, or loved by Grandpa Marsh to stand up. The entire room rose, and he said "There's Marshall." It's hard really to describe how perfect it all was. Dad managed to pay a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man while at the same time binding the family together and including the entire community. I always know that if there's ever anyone who can rise to such an occasion it's my Dad, but he will still always amaze and inspire me.

So on that note, I would like to say Happy Father's Day -- to my grandfathers Pa and Grandpa Marsh, and most especially to my own wonderful father, Robert Waldon. I love you all.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I had my camera at the library yesterday, taking some pictures of students and tutors for the new Project Read brochure we're making. Dani was there, too. Little kids seem to love digital cameras, so we got a few pictures of each other. So if you want to see the cute kid I keep talking about, look at the pictures here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Slow night at the library tonight. Yesterday was much more busy and interesting, with some new students coming in as well, but everyone disappeared tonight by 7:30. So now that I have more blogging time, there's not much to blog about. Well, I suppose I could complain about this new PC. I've been happy just having Macs in the lab, but Alice wanted to get a PC before all the money ran out, so now we've got one. I don't think it's as good a choice for our population of students, though. Also, maintenance is more of a pain when one computer is different from all the others. Also, I just don't care for PCs and I was enjoying finally having a job where I didn't have to use one. Oh well.
So yes, I'm a complete bookworm, but sometimes that's just the most exciting thing going on. I started reading some C. S. Lewis the other day -- I never even read the Narnia books before (well, maybe the first one), but now I'm starting to look at some of his writings on Christianity and it's just fascinating. He's an amazing writer, of course, and I feel like I'm being offered a tiny glimpse of something huge that's beyond my grasp. And it's exciting in a way that mere books usually aren't, even to me. It's hard to explain, but last night it got to the point where I didn't want to put it down, but I also couldn't read a whole lot of it at once without getting up and physically moving around to use up some of the excess energy. But that's probably good, since there's so much I'm trying to absorb right now that my brain needs to be forced to take it in small doses. The other books I've been starting are really good, as well. See the list on the sidebar for details. The Most Reluctant Convert is about C. S. Lewis, so it also contains lots of fragments of his writing. It's really interesting to see the amount of change he went through in his life and beliefs. Anyway, back to work for me....

Monday, June 09, 2003

The angel card that I chose for my upcoming year was Abundance. I've never seen a bun dance before, but I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be good as a single word, as well. :-)

Thanks to everyone yesterday who contributed to my day with birthday wishes, cards, phone calls, presents and cupcakes. You're all wonderful.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Today, as Joyce would say in one of his more lucid moments, is the anniversary of the first assumption of my mirthday suit. I don't think I'm going to actually make it though Finnegans Wake right now, but that was a bit I liked from the little I did read.

I've been looking through my old journals, particularly those concerning my recently completed 24th year. A lot has happened since last June. For starters, I graduated, which I was not entirely pleased about. However, it was an occasion to have both my parents and all four grandparents together for the first and only time in my memory, and I am very thankful for that.

Let's see, what else? In July, I cut off more hair than I ever expected I would and found (thankfully!) that it was still me underneath it all. I danced a lot with the summer dance crowd that was still on campus and got to know some good people. I got a temporary job over the summer and made the very difficult decision not to accept a permanent position when the offer came in September. I started blogging shortly before I found myself once more unemployed. Well, I suppose I was never entirely unemployed, since I was teaching occasional music lessons at the time, which was rather interesting, though it's died down since then.

October was when I first started volunteering at Project Read. Grandpa Marsh had his second-to-last stroke but thankfully made it back from Germany to recover. Around this time I also started to realize that my spiritual life had been left somewhat on hold for a long while and that I still have a lot of thinking and considering to do about my beliefs. This is still very much a work in progress. October was also when I bought my first pair of dance sneakers which, as far as my feet are concerned, revolutionized my dancing life.

Towards the end of 2002, I started to experience the world of temporary employment. That made for some interesting times. It's certainly not the most stable of situations, but in a lot of ways it's been really good for me. Camp Harmony was the usual crowning event of the year. I got to teach a lot more this year, which I enjoyed, though I came home with some considerable New Year's blues.

January saw me temping again, including the beginning of a long stint at Google (which I mention chiefly because the food was so memorable). February carried so much emotional baggage with it that I could hardly move sometimes, but there were good times, too. Viennese Ball was very good, in a lot of ways. This spring I took a two-step class and succeeded in actually coming to enjoy two-step. I also got to begin my current temporary job with Project Read, which has been very nice, though it will be over soon.

May was pretty much the month of confusion. Grandpa Marsh had his last stroke and I was lucky enough to see him twice in the hospital before he passed away. There have also been lots of things going on in the lives of various friends and various relationships, but the people who should know about that already do, so I won't say much more about that. Life has just been complicated recently, though hopefully it's all working out for the best.

And now it's June again. I wonder what the next year will be like?

Thursday, June 05, 2003

The last couple days I've abandoned my usual morning piano time in favor of sitting out in the hammock, reading and writing in my journal. It's just been that kind of an introspective time, recently. Not only are journals good for sorting things out in one's head, but I am often struck by their creative power as well. Looking back about three months I find some lists I made about the way I wanted my life to be, and it's interesting comparing them with what has happened since then. The list I made of job qualities, in particular, seems to be especially well represented in my current library job (which I got a month after making the list). I'm not quite making an ideal amount of money, but on the other hand that's been a trade-off that has allowed me to keep other aspects of my life balanced in reasonable proportions (well, about as much as could be expected). When it comes to the rest of my life, though, I notice that the areas that have been causing me the most confusion recently are the ones that I did not detail as specifically back when I was making these lists. There's a correlation there, though I suppose you could interpret it in various ways. Anyway, this is all just the most recent phase of a process that's been going on for over a year. I think it's important for me to remember how far I've come in that time without forgetting that I still have a lot to do to get to where I want to be.

Hmm. Having typed that, I realize it sounds like there's something that's going to happen sometime in the future, at which point everything will be over, though that's obviously not the case. I do feel that I've been in a very distinct transitional phase for a while now, though it seems like it might be sort of hard to define the end of it. And even when I reach the end, I still hope to be always learning and changing and growing, so I'm not sure what would be after this. Oh well. Another thing to add to the list of stuff to figure out.

There's just one other random thing I feel like sharing now. I learned a wonderful new word the other day: glisk. A glisk is "a slight touch of pleasure or twinge of pain that penetrates the soul and passes quickly away." (From There's a Word for It! by Charles Elster.) For some reason that word just seems perfect.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Long night last night. I probably ought not to be awake now. Jammix was fun. I managed not to lead any of my swing dances and had much fun following. I was somewhat iffy about having a birthday dance, but I shared it with Kari so it was alright. It was a cross-step and I like cross-step. I also had a good two-step at one point, so it was nice to see I've retained a lot from the class I took. After Jammix was the long part. Things are confusing sometimes, but we just have to do our best and hope that we make the right decisions. I will say, though, that I'm very lucky to have a certain friend that I do.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

I am very happy right now -- I just found a recording of the Brothers Cazimero singing The Rainbow Connection in Hawaiian. I've been looking for that ever since Richard played it for a cross-step waltz sometime back in October or so. Hawaiian is such a great language for that song.

And speaking of waltzing, Todd and Cara (housemate and temporary housemate) have mentioned that they really need to learn to waltz before they get married in August. So I get to teach them and maybe drag them to FNW or something to get them dancing a bit. That should be fun.

And not speaking of anything in particular, the streets here in my neighborhood are getting blocked off, which is becoming really annoying. Apparently they are being made into "private streets," which is a concept I don't entirely understand. Even if you block off part of a street, you have to leave another end open so people can get to their homes. So the only result I can see is that it is now much harder to get anywhere from my house. I either have to take the street with all the stoplights, or else zigzag around all the stupid barriers. Grr. Anyway, end of rant.