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A Week in the Life - Day One: August 18th, 2010 - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
A Week in the Life - Day One: August 18th, 2010
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a meme as much as the "A Week in the Life" one that a number of my Live Journal friends have done. Come to think of it, it's been a long time since I've enjoyed Live Journal that much. While I don't necessarily want to know about a fellow human being's every little mood swing, I love documentary. And I especially love it when it's used to make ordinary people a little more visible.

When I started this Live Journal, whose seventh anniversary is rapidly approaching, I was eager to enter into a community where people shared details from their everyday lives. And I set out to make myself more visible, even though my default tendency is to be wary of revealing too much, because I didn't think it would be right to derive pleasure from the openness of others if I was closed off to them.

A lot has happened since then, much of it unpleasant, to make me much more reticent about the confessional mode. Live Journal long ago ceased to be a place where I felt comfortable providing access to my innermost thoughts. Or my outermost ones, for that matter. As a consequence, I've retreated into a perverse form of self-presentation.

I still feel a duty to reveal things about myself. And that duty has, over time, turned into an urge that demands satisfaction. But I've been burned too many times by people reading -- and reading into -- this journal, not to mention the mixture of fascination and malice targeted at other Live Journal users with whom I was close. So I've developed a way of baring my soul without anyone else seeming to know what I'm communicating.

Anyway, I don't imagine that I'll suddenly return to a more direct kind of expression after I'm done with this meme. I am very glad, however, to have an excuse to peel away the layers of protection that have become my standard attire in these parts to share what I'm doing. Alright, here goes.

Once Skylar had left for school, I decided it was finally time to check the engine of her grandmother's car, which we have been driving for sometime. It needed oil, but less than I had expected, and coolant. After having struggled to mainpulate things at the odd angles imposed by tightly packed VW engines, the airy compartment of this Geo was a relief.

The innards of a Geo Prizm



I worked at the computer for several hours, then took a break to look for tortoise action in the backyard. By this time of the morning, Max, our Sonoran Desert Tortoise had bestirred himself and was seeking further sustenance. That guy sure eats a lot now that he's almost full grown. But when you spend most of the year hiding in a burrow, it's important to stock up. Here Max is looking up at me with glee after murdering a particularly luscious strawberry.

Max murders a strawberry



Eventually, I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch. I rummaged around inside the fridge and found some dessert-ish items I'd been meaning to eat that were in danger of going bad soon, raspberries and rice pudding. So I decided to redeem their promise by making them into a very sweet lunch. Accompanied by my favorite sparkling mineral water, Gerolsteiner, and a copy of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash on which I'd made no effort to restrain my use of tape flags, this meal was a pinnacle -- for me, obviously -- of what I call "comfort consumption."

Comfort consumption



Then it was time to head down to campus to photocopy my syllabi for tomorrow's first day of classes. I may complain about the heat or the desiccation or the sense of being overwhelmed by Fundamentalists that beset our neighborhood. Burt when I turn the corner onto Camino Cortaro and see "our" mountain -- the western terminus of the Catalinas -- looking so close and so majestic, I forget all the bad stuff. I swear, the sight of that mountain range has gotten me through more personal crises than any people I know.

Our mountain from Camino Cortaro



When I'm not too despondent from exhaustion or a surfeit of idiocy, I like to pass my time by musing on the bumper stickers in front of me. This one is simultaneously dated and au courant, but gets special bonus points for being on a VW.

Ron Paul ReLOVEution



While I was making copies, I looked out the window at a sign I've often walked past. The university's medical center is remodeling and clearly wants to prevent people from getting lost. But I still find the cheeriness of the guidance they provide -- notice that this family is following the arrow on the sign -- to be rather creepy.

Pied piper?



After I was done with my syllabi, I headed to the Trader Joe's on Campbell to buy Skylar some tomatoes to snack on before our Zumba class. Then I snaked my way up to Skyline to meet her and her mother at AJ's, which became a family tradition when she was about to start elementary school. Most days, she gets a rotisserie chicken breast, several slices of Boar's Head sharp orange cheddar, chocolate milk and -- most importantly -- a baguette. Here she is finishing up her homework with her mother's assistance.

Baguettes make math easier



When she was done, we headed down to the JCC for the Zumba dance class we've been taking as a family since early in the year. Yes, I do it despite the fact that I'm almost always the only male in the room. It makes Skylar happy and encourages her to keep exercising.

Ever since she surpassed the size restrictions for sitting in the front seat of our car, I've been relegated -- somewhat willingly -- to the back seat. She gets car sick, you see. And I don't mind being out of sight where I can use my Blackberry without her reprimanding me constantly for "twittering." That's my pate in the rearview mirror.

Back seat driver



This is where we zumba. I wish I could have gotten a photo of everyone exercising -- I do love having fun with mirrors -- but had to settle for a post-workout shot of the room where we salsa and samba.

Swivel, hon!



As we were leaving the JCC, I heard Skylar say "polish." I knew what that meant and rushed to catch up. You see, back when she was only two, during our first year in Tucson, she dropped a bottle of Tweetie Bird fingernail polish onto the sidewalk in front of the pre-school. It made a big pink splatter mark and immediately triggered an enormous meltdown. Back then she was at the developmental stage when children develop unusually intense attachments to inanimate objects. So I drove her straight to the now-departed Robinson-May store in Tucson Mall and bought her a new bottle, which, I believe, she still has. The mark on the sidewalk has faded until there's barely a trace of pink left. But I don't think the pattern is going anywhere unless they tear the whole thing out.

A spur to memory



On the way home, I had to get dropped off back at AJ's, where I'd left grandma's car. I wasn't looking forward to all the errands I had to run before getting home, but my temporary frustration melted away when I saw this gorgeous Monsoon thunderhead in the eastern sky. I swear, Tucson has taught me that the "fake" clouds I used to deride in Rococo art really do exist.

Monsoon thunderhead



From there it was off to Walgreen's to get a prescription, Safeway for cat food and cat litter, among other things, Ross -- in theory, as they were sold out -- for zip-up pouches and Target -- I know, I know, but sometimes it's hard to avoid -- for a water bottle to replace the one Skylar lost at school today. And then, after I finally made it home, I had to clean the cat boxes because tomorrow is garbage day.

Scrub-a-dub-dub



Well, that was my day. Here's hoping that tomorrow is more exciting. Given that I have to drive up to the Phoenix area in a few hours and won't get back to Tucson until 8pm or so, I can at least guarantee that I will be more tired than I am right now.


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Comments
alsoname From: alsoname Date: August 19th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love these kinds of posts! I hadn't heard of this meme.

R and I were marveling at that very cloud today. And we went to TJ's too, but the one on Grant.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love how we often seem to see -- and photograph -- the same weather conditions from different locations, as R pointed out in a more recent reply to you.

It's a good meme, but an exhausting one, particularly when one picks the worst possible week to begin it!

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
(Deleted comment)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Great to have you reading. That tortoise, Max, is our favorite. We're taking him in for a check-up with a reptile specialist today, as he has been acting a bit odd recently. Fingers crossed...

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
flw From: flw Date: August 19th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Up and Down

You know, where I come from, you could have gotten all that done by walking up and down one street. You would have run into fifteen people you know. I wonder how many times we've driven past each other without a clue. Probably fifty or thereabouts.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Up and Down

That's a really good point. I thought about it a lot over the course of my attempt to document the rest of the week. Far too many of the moments that seemed to mark noteworthy activities involved either driving or being somewhere I had to drive.

I suppose the internet could serve as the "neighborhood" rendered impossible by the far-flung-ness of places like Tucson, but it never feels quite as intimate as I want it to be, even though it is often more intimate than I can bear, if that makes sense.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
springheel_jack From: springheel_jack Date: August 19th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
ooh point me to some other examples of this meme for I do not know it
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'll have to track them down, as I got a late start. I know friends like elaine4queen, _luaineach and croneitude took a stab at it. And my friend kdotdammit managed a thorough account of one day.

I know some people find this kind of documenting-the-everyday exercise tiresome, but I love reading everyone's attempts to pull it off.

BTW, it's nice to have you back on the "Friends" list. I've been less active than I'd like this past year, due to family troubles, work stress etc. But I still care a lot about LJ.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)

Edited at 2010-08-30 03:26 pm (UTC)
e4q From: e4q Date: August 19th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i've currently got that 'dark' photo you took recently as my desktop. it took me ages to realise there was a person in it!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I am a man of mystery! To be fair, though, in that case I wasn't trying to be quite so obscure, either figuratively or literally. The monitor I used to Photoshop the image tends to make things much brighter than many, including the laptop I'm using right now, which makes the photo almost too dark to see at all. That said, though, the photo that you perceived comes close to the way I have generally presented myself here in recent years.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)


Edited at 2010-08-30 03:30 pm (UTC)
e4q From: e4q Date: August 30th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
: D

sending you wishes for spacious moments in your hecticness!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm beset with guilt for taking a VALUABLE MORNING HOUR out to return comments. But I'm still glad I did!
e4q From: e4q Date: August 30th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
hooray for the morning hour!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love your new LJ icon, BTW. It makes me very happy!
e4q From: e4q Date: August 30th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
thanks!
croneitude From: croneitude Date: August 19th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Wonderful! I missed a day yesterday -- couldn't seem to get myself to document it all. Hopefully I'll be back with my next installment today.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's so hard to keep up with this meme, especially at the beginning of the semester. As I wrote in my entry for Day Three yesterday, which appeared nine days late, looking back over the documentary record in my photographs -- which I did manage to take, at least -- now feels like an exercise in nostalgia.

Anyway, I really liked when you were doing it. It's the sort of thing that makes me warm to Live Journal all over again.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
masoo From: masoo Date: August 19th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
My favorite picture is the one of your lunch, which I think encapsulates your desire to peel away the layers of protection, when you are still affected by your wariness of revealing too much. Peeling away: you show us what you are eating, and write about how much you like it, also including your reading material. Wariness: the photo is perfectly composed; nothing is left to chance.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a really interesting point, Steven. I really was looking down at that composition, more or less, when I thought, "Hey, I should document it for the Day in the Life deal." But the fact that I was willing to share the photo no doubt is an indication that it passed my diligent censoring mechanism. I had to decided that it was alright to represent my "comfort culture" in that way.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)


Edited at 2010-08-30 03:34 pm (UTC)
quuf From: quuf Date: August 19th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love lingering markers of personal history, like Skylar's spilled nail polish. Years ago, I worked with an elderly man who told me he'd hidden a buffalo nickel in the 'secret spot' of a built-in sideboard of the house his family occupied in the 1920s. Jimmy was convinced the nickel was still where he'd sequestered it, some 70 years earlier.

We planned on venturing to the house, which is in the Haight district, and asking the residents if we could check -- but never got around to it.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's such a great story! I love relations to the past that are routed through such highly personal details, which is why seeing the polish on the sidewalk always pleases me.

Also, it has been wonderful to have your comments here recently. I've been too busy to reply in a prompt fashion, often, but it always makes me delighted to see the mark of your LJ presence.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
la_sauvage From: la_sauvage Date: August 20th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
always enjoy your pictures, it was very interesting to read too :) thank you for taking the time!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
So nice of you to stop by and say that! It does take a lot of time to do this kind of exercise, as my greatly delayed posts for Day Two and Day Three indicate. But I hope the effort will have been worth it, in the end.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: August 21st, 2010 01:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like these kinds of records a lot too. If my digital camera was even halfway decent I might give things a try myself. Except most days would just involve pictures of my computer screen, mountains of library books, and/or the fluorescent glare of my office on campus.

Your picture of Max is priceless-and the clouds make me wish even more that I was going to make it home for a visit this summer instead of having to wait until December. The idea of you doing Zumba makes me smile, I confess--but I mean that in a good way. I'm glad it's something you can all enjoy together. It honestly does sound like a lot of fun when I think about it rationally, without the frustration inspired by living on top of a dance studio that was primarily ballet but has since added Zumba three nights a week--with zero volume control on the bass...or the wails of ecstasy from participants.

I've gotten used to it, though. I plan to do other types of work for those hours when dissertating is virtually impossible.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 30th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Believe me, for several of the days in the week I -- stupidly? -- chose to document, I could have used screen shots of my computer-bound labors to stand in for the many hours when I had nothing to photograph.

I can totally imagine how living atop a studio used for Zumba would grate on the nerves. But it is fun to hear pop music I probably wouldn't hear that much otherwise, especially the sort with the Latin or World stamp.

(Sorry for the long delay in responding. As my subsequent -- and also belated -- entries for Day Two and Day Three of the week I chose to document explain, I just didn't have the time or energy necessary to do much aside from work, commuting and parenting. I really appreciate your response. Even though I couldn't set aside time to reply to comments until now, seeing yours made me happier in my hectic week.)
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