I haven't daylogged in a while. Some days are better than others.

I wake up, I go to work. I wait for school to begin, when I can yet again question why I'm going for my masters in literature, since I have no desire to teach. I make very little money working in a bookstore, and spend most of my time scribbling notes on pieces of paper and reading books while I'm supposed to be working.

I've been rejected again. Let's see--since this time last year, it's been three homosexuals (obviously I'm clueless), two friends who weren't interested, a co-worker, and a guy I met at the club.

Everything I write seems to be crap these days. I can't seem to come up with one decent poem, one finished play, one simple song. I'm stuck. Blocked.

I go outside and look at the snow. Birds fly around. I wish I was one, able to simply up and fly away. No luck, unless you believe in reincarnation.

It'll pass, I suppose; the depression, though not the lonliness. I'm listening to a lot of Cure, Smiths, and Elliott Smith lately.

But what the hell--I hear Royal Tenenbaums is good, so maybe I'll get off my lazy ass and go to the movies.

thanks to cbustapeck and VT_hawkeye for their kind /msgs. It does help.

A very slow day at work. Most of the chaos of the last few days at work has been cleared way, the customers with problems have been cleared up. I'm a geek by nature and not comfortable with a role that obliges me to field calls from irate customers when no one else can help them. I did a refund, what else could I do, the silly Old Age Pensioner pressed refresh on the "buy" page when it didn't respond after 10 minutes while the mail connection failed (still don't know why). That's his story anyway. I have to justify the refund of R150 to the boss when he gets back on monday. Or something. Why am I in that role anyway? Give me some code to write! My job is boring right now. I don't like the structurelessness of this place.

In the afternoon I found some more code to write, so I was more absorbed and content, and less angsty.

Surfing the internet, I see several orders of magnitude more work available for my skills in London than in Dublin. My plans will have to adapt accordingly, but I'd still like to visit and test the waters in the republic of Ireland. I need to know that town better. London just is, I don't care about it. A beached behemoth, to large to describe, filled with people from all over the world, including plenty from Cape Town. Thus it is characterless.

My house is empty, and I can feel this place slipping away from me. I am emotionally already in transit. I look at my stuff, and each object prompts the question: take, store, throw or leave it?

I will be alone and lonely up north. So what? Right now I am alone and lonely in my home town. Happyness is a transient chemical imbalance. I wouldn't say that I'm particualrly unhappy right now, just averagely so.

Last night i watched the DVD of Leon:The profesional and drank wine: Backsberg Rhine Riesling 2000. Jean Reno is wonderfull actor, and the international version of this movie is certainly ... deeper, more moving and more thought-provoking than the american cut. The extra footage is mostly dialog and emotion between Leon and Mathilda, which clearly didn't go down very well with the morally repressives. I think it's a good study in unhealthy obession on Mathilda's part mixed with emotional redemption and resisting temptation on Leon's part. And a lecherous french director, Luc Besson. This makes the movie much more than a standard thriller.

I suprised myself by finishing the bottle and the movie, and still feeling quite good this morning.

I have a ticket for the transgression outdoor party on Saturday. Skazi are playing. It should be fun, even though I have no intension of binging like at new year. If I do imbibe, it will be quite limited. I expect not not last all night and all day, and leave when i've had enough. If the weather holds, the Silverstroom venue will be great.

I have embarked on a project to node some major African music styles and bands. The genesis of this was years ago, when I discovered that Winamp's genere list contained goth, industrial and goth-industrial but not even afro-pop, let alone high-life, marabi, kwela, kwaito, mbaquanga to name but a few styles.

I have done kwaito and mbaquanga, and will soon attempt kwela and the band Juluka. If nothing else, it gives me a pool of high-quality song lyrics that no one else has mined. I will make level six in the next few months, dammit! That homenode pic will be mine. This is actually promting me to get into this music more. I'd like to get some Matlatini and the Mahotela queens on CD

Ahd Frankie has agreed to marry me too, I will be husband number eight!

I wrote a terrible daylog yesterday. Its actually something i wrote several months ago... more or less a release of pent up stupidity and agression. I'm not at all proud of that part of me, but i refuse to be ashamed of it either. Although it is an ugly part of me, it's an ugly part of me. To deny it's existence would solve nothing. So I know why it got downvoted. To be quite honest, I would downvote that part of my life to node heaven if I could. But I don't regret posting it. It is still part of me.

Iza gently stroked her mother's hair. It had been thick and dark in her youth, but now was brittle and silver. The face, once full and smooth and happy had grown care-worn and sallow. Her lips, once pink and pretty, struggled to say something. A prayer, perhaps, or maybe some words of comfort. Then she quietly closed her eyes.

Iza looked at the nurse, 'She's gone, hasn't she'? 'Yes,' came the whispered response.

It was a heart attack, three hours earlier which finally felled her. Strong as an oak in heart and mind and body, she had seen the world and suffered at its hands. Now, after 82 years of heroic struggle she was resting in peace.

She had seen the world, but not in a way to gladden the heart. Her journeys had been full of pain and anguish. Born into the hard countryside around Lwów, she grew up on a farm. In that time and place women worked and did not go to school. She grew up with a peasant's perspective on life. Your elders are your betters and older people are wise and clever. The youngsters learn from the older people, and always show respect. She showed respect for her first 20 years, and then she was married. Soon a son, Lech, came along, and then the war.

A midnight knock on the door, a cattle truck, long journeys across bare landscapes, with little food and few clothes. The young family, with a few relatives ended up in Archangel in the far north of the Russian arctic, felling trees. A daughter, Lucyna was born. Jewellery and gold was exchanged for food. And then the gold ran out, and she grew ill and died, because the rations were so thin, and the cold was so bitter and man is so inhuman to his fellow men. She hated Jews to the end of her life. Bitter experience taught her bitter hatred.

South to Persia, and her husband went to fight at Monte Cassino. Her two-year-old son, tested by two years of hunger and cold finally succumbed to typhus. Then north to Lebanon, and the end of the war. But brothers and relatives were dead in four corners of the globe. Reunited, the remains of the family could have emigrated to the USA, but the US immigration wanted only the young couple, not their ageing relatives, so the three of them: grieving mother, her own mother and her war-hero husband, all went to the UK. They watched their friends as they set off for the Land of the Free and saw Churchill and Roosevelt split their country in two at Yalta.

In the UK, they were housed in a thin-walled, draughty hut on an old airfield, and worked and then worked some more and saved every penny and found a way off the airfield ghetto.

A house, more work, and two daughters were born, but still they worked night shifts and day shifts and did the jobs that the Brits refused to do, and worked harder, but were paid less than their neighbours. She respected her mother, and her mother knew best, and her mother brought up the children while the parents worked for money. When they were not working, they were building and growing vegetables and looking after the chickens and helping their friends who were doing the same thing.

The first daughter went to school aged five, not knowing a word of English. Polish was the only language she knew, and the girl was terrified, because she was locked in a classroom for an hour for a prank, and she screamed and cried and was desperate, and has never forgotten it. The parents barely knew, because they spoke Polish, and the teachers spoke English, and there was no communication.

The father had an occasional night out with some vodka and small-scale gambling, and his wife berated him. She worked in the factory, and she looked after her mother, now herself dying.

The daughters grew up and learned English and understood England and the English better than their parents. The parents worked and saved and managed to send their daughters away to a Polish boarding school from age 11. They grew up away from their parents, and learned more about England and the boys at the school down the road, and still the parents worked.

University for the daughters, coincided with a kind of retirement for the parents. But with retirement came illness, and the father took to his bed and rarely rose from it again. The mother looked after him and worked some more and watched her daughters growing further apart. The daughters brought their university-educated men friends back to the house, and all was alien to those sophisticated menfolk, who didn?t understand how it feels to watch your babies slowly starve to death, or what it means to live with no money in a cold, damp refugee camp in the bleak fields in windswept East Anglia.

The daughters married those strange, English men, and went to live miles away from their ageing parents.

And finally, a small son came to one of the daughters, and the father knew his daughter had grown up. He died a few months later oblivious to the uproar around his hospital bed. The doctor had been on duty for two solid days with no rest, and it reinforced his wife's fear of hospitals.

The grandmother was strong in her mourning. She berated everyone about the world, and the wickedness she saw in it. She dug the heavy clay soil every year for her potatoes and onions, she looked after her grandson, as her mother had looked after her own daughters, and she watched as her daughters grew up in times of plenty and how their lives seemed charmed to this woman who had travelled the world amid pain and suffering and death and disease.

More grandchildren came along, and the daughters wouldn't take her advice. 'No respect', she would mutter.

Gradually the daughters saw that this rock was getting weaker. She worked and she dug her potatoes and she walked into town, but when she fell, the bruises took longer to heal. When she walked, her chest would burst with pain. The doctors got tired of treating this 80-year-old and ignored her, or didn't do the right tests, and then she was diagnosed with diabetes, and gallstones, and then the paramedics had to rush her to the cardiac care unit and they put a catheter up her rectum, and tubes in her arms and pipes up her nose.

One daughter rushed out there, and gave the other sister the news. The next day, Iza journeyed the 90 minutes to the hospital, and her mum was back to normal, telling the nurse off for living with her boyfriend when they were not married. She came back home, relieved and told her husband and children and friends that things were well. Next morning the old woman spoke to her daughters and her grandchildren on the phone. She sounded bright and as happy as she ever was. An hour later, the hospital rang with the message no-one wants to hear, 'Come as quick as you can!'

Iza crossed London and got there with 15 minutes to spare, tending her mother at the bedside and smoothing her hair. 'I love you, mum' she said, just as those eyes closed and the pipes and tubes and catheters were of no more use.

Yes, this is a true story. Nothing made up. Sorry if the reference to Jews causes offence, but she was prejudiced.

I am not prejudiced, and I was sad that she thought that way, but that was how it was with her. She had some good reasons to hate some specific individuals. Who can blame her for extending that to a whole class of people, given the circumstances?

This aspect of Polish history is becoming forgotten as the people who lived it die. They do not especially want to talk about it. It was not a happy time, but I think it needs to be recorded and this is my way of helping that process.

Little by little things are happening that show me that I am healing. Those things are usually people, people that happen. I have been struggling on and off through a minor depression as I work to make sense of myself. For a brief time I tried to drink in the problems of others, so as to ignore my own, saying to myself that enough time has passed, I should be over this, I should not be thinking about this. I have bent and chewed off all the ears I could find and I couldn't talk about things any more, I felt, with certain people, if anything than because they were sick of it and had to heal in their own ways. I didn't think talking would help, but it was something, it was a start.

The gatherings and visits have been fun. Having Ted in my life has been nothing short of bliss, but after New Year's was over and he went back home, I had burnout on people. I felt pulled in all directions, many of which I allowed myself to be. I put myself in the middle of everything so I could have a good seat.

Earlier this week, I had reached a saturation point. The cold weather kept me inside and staring at one screen or another, being broke kept my options limited, and I hadn't taken much interest or made much effort toward seeing anyone who wasn't already in my daily view. We haven't had Bible study for over a month, so the one place where I could be around other women was missing as well. The dramas of everyone else began to drag me down, and I felt helpless, because I wasn't so bouyant myself. The only thing I had going for me was this really amazing person that could not be with me for a while, until we could be together again. I felt stuffed with so many feelings that none of them could take precedence, none of them could take the reins and just run with it.

So I reached out once more, for Ashley, a woman who, I felt, would be the only one who could understand my situation. I don't know why and have no reason to believe that, except she'd helped me at the gathering as she worked to express things she'd seen herself before my last breakup. She told me things I already knew, mostly, that I'd been bogged down and rushed without any time to myself to heal and get over this, that it hadn't been very long at all and that how I was feeling was totally normal. I'd been trying to be strong, to blow it off, to not care, but the whole thing got to me. The whole series of events made me ill to think of it, and on top of it all feeling like such an ass for having wasted almost a year of my time on a guy who was never capable of what he had found himself in way too late.

But talking to Mitzi helped. It calmed me down, gave me room to vent and an audience that hadn't been numb to it already by overexposure. I realized then that the overanalysis I'd put my current relationship through was unfounded, to a degree. It was like my mind was drawn to dissect a frog and all it could find were frogs that had already been dissected and lay spread eagle and rotting. It needed something to understand, to make sense of, since nothing else seemed to.

I walked away from our conversation that with a sense of peace. I slept better that night than I had in weeks. Since then I've tried to stay offline a bit more.

Suzy and I had a nice long conversation today on IM, one that was not so much long overdue as it was completely the right time. We started just msg-ing each other on E2 about this and that. She likely didn't know that I wracked myself over the weekend looking for images of her from the NYC gathering, that I wore out my mouse refreshing images from the compound cam, for reasons I am still not sure of. It was her response to the pic I had on my homenode, taken the night of the ordeal, that got us started. All this time, I've wanted to say things to her, but I felt like I shouldn't, like I shouldn't acknowledge her. After enough of this msg-ing, I said to hell with it and re-added her to by IM list.

First we were just exchanging bad jokes, but soon enough we were bound to talk about us. There were things I asked her that I'd been dying to know, things that hurt but things I needed to hear if I ever wanted to be over this. I had to see the whole story, even if I didn't have the benefit of having both sides. I had already gotten as much from his side as I would ever get, and now it was her turn. Throughout the discussion, it became clear that many of my suspicions were right and that my anger and hurt had been, in some ways, misplaced. No one is innocent, of course, and we've all been through this act of knowing what our part was, but I learned quite a bit today from talking with her, but very little of it shocked or really surprised me. It reinforced the fact that I felt like a complete ass and a fool as I'd said before, but it was amusing to hear some of things he thought, how he flattered himself, how heartless he really was, or scared, and caring without an ability to focus it, or not caring at all. It was funny, but it hurt more than anything. It wasn't about ganging up on him, or absolving her, it was something we needed to do. We had been needing to talk from these islands where we put ourselves for many many tides.

And it felt good. I mean, some of the things we talked about were painful and some of them were quite nice. We'd been able to speak to one another back and forth in the past, but it was never really this involved, this me looking at you. I remember, when this all started, when she wanted me to take it out on her, and how crazy I thought it was then, when that's exactly what I needed to do. Not scream at her or anything, but hear her side even if it hurt, that somehow that hurt could cleanse what the other hurt had clogged up.

I don't know when I will want or be able to see her in person, since I had made sure we wouldn't see each other since this whole thing started. Part of it was that I didn't want to face her, didn't want to be so clearly hurt by someone and at that time having no clue how this had all affected her, that she is human too, despite my fantasies. I also didn't want our past to be some drama for other people to gawk at, in the flesh. But I think now, and over time, I think I could.

Much of the exchange with Suzy reminded me of something similar that happened between me and my friend Sandi. Sandi got me fired from the office where we both worked by showing co-worked a node I'd written. A month later, after not speaking to each other, she showed up at the Bible study (which we also shared) and asked for forgiveness. I was so happy to see her I didn't care about what she did. We just sat there and hugged and cried. Women are weird like that.

And I guess I learned some things about myself, too. I always thought I was confrontational, but I'm not. Being afraid or indifferent was how I got stuck where I was, how we ended up so unhappy and unfulfilled. I thought I was bold, but I was meek; I had been humbled by my own intent. I was embarrassed by it because it would never be returned in kind, and since all the relationships prior to it had been that way, I thought this was as good as it was ever going to get.

But I am learning how little I've learned, and how far I have yet to go. It is hard to trust people, or love them, but it is equally hard for me to stop trying. To forgive them and myself for our equal folly.

Today I finaly sent my application form to an American College, namely Augustana in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Imagine that, me, that dumb little kid from a rural area in southwest Norway spending (hopefully) one, maybe several years at a good college in the USA.

I never thought I would be doing anything like this, but now that I have come so far, I do feel ready for it, so to say. I was planing to send my aplication some time ago, but there was more planing to be done than I had forseen. Everything is done now though. The dice have been thrown.

Why am I writing this? Because, even though I don't normally think of this all the time, I can't get it out of my head now. Will I be accepted? Could I be rejected? My grades not to bad, but this school seems to set quite high standards for their students.

I guess these might seem like a trivial question for the hoards of Americans on E2 that have been through college, are in college, or are hoping to enter college sometime soon. To me however, the implications are enormous. It is quite a big deal to move from the countryside in a small country like Norway to a big city in the USA. If I am accepted I might stay for as long as four years, and that would definitely change my life beyond anything I can forsee right now. Hence my nerves today, as I went through the final ritual of posting my application form.

Wish me luck! :)

Ten days nicotine free, and it kind of sucks.

I'm not in any kind of mad climbing-the-walls ripping-my-hair-out withdrawal. I never smoked a lot -- half a pack in a day was a real binge. Besides, I often took a day or two off, usually weekends, since I didn't smoke around my wife and kids, so the first few days were actually not a big deal. I haven't had any huge temptations, but the thought of a cigarette crosses my mind alot, and I know that I'll have to decide not to start again about a million times. (I say this from lots of experience -- as the old joke goes, I'm very good at quitting, I've done it dozens of times.)

On the other hand, I miss the excuse to take a break, sneak off, misbehave a bit. I miss the outlet for my gloom. When I'm miserable and angry and sad, I want to go off by myself and smoke and be hard and bitter and tough and don't-give-a-damn. I don't want to sit here trying not to cry.

Machine Head, and Sweet Child O Mine, and Sabotage, and Mirror People painfully loud in my headphones. If I can't ruin my lungs, how about my eardrums?

Thinking about it makes it worse.

I am getting Married.

Yes dammit...a capital M. Since it's my first and hopefully only...it deserves a capital. I've been so busy with house remodeling and school preparations and Frances that I've not had a chance to write in some time.

I actually proposed on New Year's, and thankfully (but unsurprisingly) she accepted. So much in my life has changed in the last six months..maybe i can node it all tomorrow...but right now studying foir my A+ test is more important...this daylog is just a quick break. For all of those E2 noders who want to get hitched...I hope you find someone...it's better than you would believe.

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