August 15, 2000
Struggles
Today's Pic
It's threatening to rain outside, and, as you can see, I biked to work. Harumph.
Cycle 9b, Day 15
Temp: 97.5
Cervical Mucus: Nothing
Cervix: High, closed, firm

   

I want to thank everybody for all their kind words after yesterday's outburst. I really appreciated the letters a great deal. Today is a slightly better day for me, even considering that I may have ovulated yesterday but did nothing to take advantage of it. Eric wasn't feeling well, and I was simply in no mood to press the issue.

Perhaps my temp will drop tomorrow, but I'm not counting on it.

Anyway, I don't want to write another entry like yesterday's. Once was necessary, just to get it out of my system, but I've no desire to wallow in self-pity. I can wait three weeks for the urologist visit. There's no sense in worrying about anything beyond that before we know exactly what will be in store.

   

I think that I've decided to go to JournalCon. It's really only three hours away, and I've got a bunch of vacation time stored up - half a day won't break me. The only snag keeping me from committing myself before now was the New Music Festival, which is usually scheduled for that weekend. Happily, it's been moved to the end of October this year, leaving me free to head for Pittsburgh.

I must admit to some feelings of intimidation, though. I will be, certainly, the proverbial small fish in the Mariana Trench, and I'll more than likely end up walking about for the entire weekend almost able to physically feel the gazes sliding right over me and my little nametag on their way to bigger and better things. I don't mind. It'll be just like the first time I ever went to the New Music Festival - a little intimidating, yes, but exciting and stimulating at the same time.

I remember that festival well. I was just a freshman at West Virginia at the time, and Eric and I had only been dating a brief period, but we and several of the other composition majors piled into a few cars and drove the six hours to attend what I was informed would be a "pivotal experience." (I assume the speaker was referring to something other than the fact that I would be sharing a hotel room with Eric and another male friend. No, nothing serious happened, though I did manage to healthily tarnish my "saintly" image in the eyes of the other composers.)

Pauline Oliveros was the guest composer that year. Eric, Jim (the other roomate), and I managed to make it to Bowling Green just as the lights were dimming for the opening concert of her works, and I sat in breathless anticipation, though I'd never heard note one of hers before that moment. Mind you, I was not reared on twentieth-century art music, and my ears were still twinging a bit at some of the more raucous dissonances of my new studies; I had no idea what was in store for the evening, but I was determined to meet it with an open mind.

The lights went down. After a few seconds, flashlight beams began to rake the walls and I heard a thin, whining sound. Ms. Oliveros was slowly making her way up the aisle of the auditorium, playing an accordion. I use the term "playing" very loosely here, for she was simply causing the instrument to emit an extremely high-pitched sound that went on endlessly. After about ten minutes, when she finally reached the stage and sat down, she stopped the note and sat quietly for several more minutes. Finally, she said, "I'd like to dedicate this performance to my yogi, who recently left his body."

Then - madness.

She began to squeeze the accordion as though it personally had slain her yogi and she wished to exact revenge. For two hours, she made the instrument huff and groan with nothing that even resembled organization. I sat there in the darkness and began to doubt myself: Was this supposed to be good? Am I supposed to understand this? Look at Eric and Jim - they're enjoying the concert, and I have no idea what's going on! How could I have thought that I could make it in music? Maybe it's not too late to change my major...

Suddenly, the music stopped abruptly. Oliveros reached out and turned a page of music on the stand before her, then began to play again. Beside me, Eric and Jim could no longer contain themselves and began shaking under the weight of their laughter. With a wave of relief, I began to notice that I was not the only one in the room who was not enjoying the experience; I matched the faces of the distinguished composers from my festival program with the faces of composers getting up and leaving the auditorium. I was not an idiot after all!

There were more concerts with her works that weekend, and I tried valiantly once more to grasp the music, but I'm afraid that it was no good. I'd say that my ear was simply too green, but I've never yet managed to handle her music much better than I did that weekend, no matter how much exposure I've received.

Here's hoping I'll do better in Pittsburgh!

   

Tonight is my night to cook. Eric and I are trying an experiment, wherein we each take personal responsibility for certain nights in the kitchen instead of trying to collaborate on meals. If it's my night to cook, I'm more likely to actually stand in front of a stove than if there were no plans at all and we were to rely on one of us to step up to the plate and make dinner. We will beat our restaurant addiction! Confidence is key, right?

Anyway, I've thawed out some chicken which was frozen with a barbecue marinade. As it thaws, it marinates, see? I was able to remember that trick from an old friend's recipe book, but I've rather unfortunately forgotten the most important part: what to do with the chicken once it's thawed. Help?

I'm not a cook. I can bake some mean cookies and cakes, but when it comes to actual meals, I'm a complete wash. Not that I haven't tried, but I'm afraid that I lack "kitchen sense"; unless it's blatantly obvious, I have no idea what spices go well with which entrees, or even how to make simple things like mashed potatoes. (My old college roommate taught me, with much rolling of eyes.)

Once, during my first year of college, I stumbled upon the wonderful, world of Kool-Aid. A pitcher of beverages for only twenty cents? How could I pass it up? My family had never drunk Kool-Aid at any time during my childhood, so I was a bit unsure of myself as I mixed up the pitcher in the dormitory bathroom, sloshing red liquid over my hands. I tasted it: awful. More water didn't help, and more powder only made things worse. The puddles around me grew larger and larger until I finally called my mother in desperation.

"Mom, my Kool-Aid tastes awful!"
"Well, how much sugar did you put in?"
"Sugar?"

I throw myself upon the mercy of the court. If anybody has any good but exceedingly simple chicken recipes, I'd be forever in your debt.



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