Everything old is new again

When I was young, I set up my father’s record player in my bedroom, with his old drawing table, and I painted watercolors on any piece of paper that made the mistake of being in range while listening to Peter Paul and Mary, the soundtrack to 1776, the Kingston Trio, and occasionally some of his other stuff.

Tonight, I’m home alone, listening to Peter Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio while drawing comics on a Wacom tablet with a surface about the size of the paper I used to paint.

It’s a good way to be.


I’ve had a weekend where I didn’t actually complete a single project I started.
I’m sleepless right now and I have a long week ahead of me.
I’m angry because I’m tired and I’d like to be asleep,
not failing at writing poetry, failing at working on the novel, or failing to check my email.

December 5th marks exactly 1 year that I’ve owned the kirabug.com domain.
The various incarnations of my website are much older;
my geocities site was started 5 years ago, though none of the archives are still there.
from there, to Earthlink, to Comcast, and now to here, my home

through two moves, three or four blizzards, various car accidents,
experiments with html, experiments with php, experiments with javascript
experiments with poetry, fiction, comics, forums, more poetry, more comics

I’ve changed. The site’s changed. We’re getting 1500+ readers a month
(that is, if I’m reading my logs right, but even so) it’s an odd feeling to think someone’s listening
especially at 2am on a monday which promises to be a very long day
when i feel like the whole world’s asleep, and i’m alone

I’ve been a little too quiet lately; I’ll try to remedy that
not that I’m sure that’s what you’re here for – the logs point to a strong
possibility you’re here for the comics, but hey
i’ve been babbling on for a year here and you keep coming back

thank you, all of you, for giving me an anchor, and a milestone to achieve

the longest nights

I can’t sleep.

Oh, sure, I can hear my grandmother’s voice in the back of my head pointing out that I didn’t even try much, now did I?, but there’s not much point. I can’t sleep.

I suspect that by morning I’ll be fighting a migraine or a cluster headache or whatever the hell it’s called when my head feels like it’s attached to a live wire that carries, not electricity, but pain. I’ve come off a long and wild day at work, to a home where my family treated me like a princess – dinner ready, intelligent stuff to watch on TV, the whole works.

But every single sound I’ve heard all night has been too loud. My husband’s voice was too loud. The television was too loud. I walked the dog and the leaves were too loud. The train running in the valley about a mile from my house echoes up into my yard, and it’s too loud.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so loud if it wasn’t so cold. Despite warm socks, a heated office, and warm clothes and blankets here at home, my feet have been freezing all day.

And everything’s been too close. My work clothes were too close. I changed into the loosest pair of jeans I own and a comfy teeshirt, and it was too close. The dog was too close. My husband was too close. And let me tell you, when I feel crowded by the man who I’d willingly spend my life stapled to, if being stapled to him was required, something is wrong.

But right now my head doesn’t hurt. Right now I don’t feel needles stabbing into my cheeks, and I can’t count my pulse through my left eyebrow. And if somehow I could push the entire universe back by about three feet so I could get some space and just breathe I’d probably be fine.

Nighthawk is upstairs, snoring. Jessiedog is snoring from her bed aside of ours. I’m on the sofa, thinking that these keys are too loud, and so is the server.

The clock is too loud, though strangely its ticking is comforting. I grew up in a house with an old-fashioned chain-driven cuckoo clock – someday I’ll own one of my own – and it always ran in the living room, where I was exiled to the sofa when I couldn’t sleep. When I close my eyes I can feel the cold emanating off of Nana’s mirror behind me, hanging the length of the sofa on the wall. I can see the recliner in the corner with the rainbow-colored crocheted seat covers. The cuckoo clock is in the right corner, between the stairs and the fire place, with its huge slate hearth. The room was usually dark, like this one is now, but i can see the glow of the kitchen lights as they reflect off the dining room table. Nana and my folks liked to sit around the kitchen table and just talk sometimes. On nights like this when I couldn’t sleep, they’d put me on the sofa, and then go into the kitchen and talk about whatever parents talk about.

Eventually, the warmth of Nana’s crocheted afghan and the song of the clock would wrap around my arms and my shoulders and my freezing toes and lull me to sleep, and Dad would carry me upstairs to bed, but until then, I remember curling up in a ball on that sofa and watching the glow of the lights. The murmer of their voices was interrupted every second by the tick-tock-tick, and the occasional jangling of the dog’s collar.

I miss being small.

I can feel my pulse in my temples now.

I can’t sleep.

Today is a new beginning for someone, just not for me.

This morning, I got up early to drive my sister to school. It’s the first day of 11th grade and her schedule is a total mess, so she wanted to beat the crowds to the counselor’s door.

It’s a strange feeling to drive the old roads on the first day of school. I’m out of high school eleven years now. The building hasn’t changed on the outside, but the traffic through it (and around it!) is not the same traffic that greeted me. It’s a different world there, and I’m a different person.

It’s easier to notice how much things change when you’re in school. Every year is a new start, and a new chance to make your mark. Entering tenth grade (the first year of high school in our district), you’re terrified, but entering eleventh, those fears are gone. Entering twelfth, you’re terrified to leave and anxious to get out all at the same time. College flows the same way; your life is delineated by semeter and roommate and building. You know when each year has passed. You know (if you have time to stop and think about it) how much you’ve changed from one year to the next.

Once that routine is broken, it’s not so easy to tick off the changes. I measure my time by the movement from one cubicle to the next, by the change in supervisors and the change in responsibilities. Without the seasonal terror of a fresh start, one day runs into another, and one year starts to feel much like the next.

I wanted to stop this morning, point out the sites that were important when I was an eleventh grader. Here’s the tennis courts where I got cut from the team. There’s the house where we hung out after school sometimes. There’s where the pay phone I used to call Dad to get a ride home was tucked in at the end of the band hall. There’s where the science teacher lived, there’s where the twins lived, there’s the pizza shop that was a gas station that used to sell smokes to the kids when the truant officer wasn’t around.

But the fact of the matter is that it’s not my junior year, it’s hers. She’s got her own demons to chase and her own memories to forge. And I have trainees to teach, special projects to complete, and a routine to maintain so that each day can continue to blur into the next.

It goes by so fast…

Apologies for the radio silence, folks. It’s been a bit of a crazy week.

Wednesday evening I went out for celebratory “We did it!” drinks and snacks with a classmate. Had a good time but got home fairly late, and still had to work a bit on the comic for Saturday, which I can just about guarantee won’t be up on time.

Thursday night I went over to Mike & Steen’s to visit with them and Justin and Ginia. Justin and Ginia (who you might know from the forum as jzimbert and vjinton) were up visiting both friends and family all over Pennsylvania all this week – their first trip north from Georgia in five years. We had a great time, dinner and card games until late into the evening.

Today we took the day off from work to visit some more – took a trip out to Reading to a Dave & Busters-like arcade called The Works, where we also had a lot of fun, and some good food. But J&G need to be in Nashville by Saturday noon, so we couldn’t exactly make a weekend out of it.

And this evening, after returning from The Works, Nighthawk and I drove over to my parents with the pudge-dog, ate pie, checked out my sister’s schedule of classes for high school, and celebrated my brother’s birthday. We only arrived home here at about 11:00pm. (Did I mention the comic? It’ll be late.)

Lots of highs and lows – a rollercoaster’s the best way to describe the week. Everyone and everything is busy, busy, busy, and has been since I graduated. I feel like I’ve barely gotten my feet under me. I wouldn’t trade the time I spent with J&G for anything, because it’s been way too long, but it also felt way too short, and I miss them now more than I have for a long time. I can only imagine how their minds have been reeling from a one-week tour of the places and people and things that had once defined their lives. If the “up” of seeing them is tempered by the “down” of watching them leave for me, it can only be that much harder for them. Still, they’re doing well in Georgia, and I’m glad to see them happy and healthy and able to visit.

It doesn’t feel like 5 years since Ginia and I were roommates in college. It doesn’t feel like 13 years since I entered 11th grade. It all goes by so fast.