Good morning,…

Good morning, everyone.

Sunday, day for peace and reflection. Though I left the Catholic church almost 14 years ago, some habits linger. Sundays tend to be quiet days for me, even when it's as physically active a day as the rest of the week. My mind is quieter.

I'm listening to a CD I really love. It's "Comon Ground: Voices of Modern Irish Music". I bought it on a bit of a whim, since I don't know most of the aritsts on here. It moves beautifully from joyous to sad, from cheerful to bitter. Even if I can't understand many of the songs, I love this music. I don't own many CD's -- just never got into the habit of buying music. In high school I tended to tape a lot of albums from friends; in college I listened to the same things over and over. Now I own about 40 CD's. Some musicals, some classical. The rest I will now list here, by artist, for the curious:

  • Tori Amos (modern)
  • Ani Difranco (modern)
  • Kenny Baker & Josh Graves (fiddle)
  • Boiled in Lead (folk rock)
  • The Chieftains (folk)
  • Clannad (folk)
  • Enya (folk)
  • ESQ (jazz)
  • Fairport Convention (folk rockish)
  • Frank Ferrel (New England fiddle)
  • The Flash Girls (fantasy folk rock)
  • James Galway & Phil Coulter (Celtic flute)
  • Sophie B. Hawkins (modern)
  • Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning (modern Irish)
  • Christine Lavin (modern folk)
  • Four Bitchin' Babes (modern folk)
  • Annie Lennox (modern)
  • Tommy Makem (folk)
  • Loreena McKennitt (folk)
  • The Nylons (men's a capella)
  • Bonnie Rideout (Irish folk)
  • Paul Simon (folk)
  • Tangerine Dream (new age)
(yes, I keep my CD's in alphabetical order. I told you I was compulsive.)

Some collections of world music and Irish music, the musicals and classical mentioned above. Favorite musical: Camelot for the story, with Chess and Les Mis close behind. Favorite classical: varies wildly, depending on mood. I loved playing Rachmaninoff best, when I played classical piano, probably because he had such fun variation in dynamics and tempo. Vivaldi similarly. Yet Alex played so much Bach at Clarion that I was reminded how much I did like it, when I didn't have to practice it. I have a lot of Beethoven and Debussy, though I think that's fairly random. Much of the above is random, I'm afraid -- gifts from friends or whims. I tend to play the same CD over and over again, especially while I'm working. The infinte repeat button the CD player is my friend (though not my roommates'. God, Kevin hates it when I do that).

I wish I knew more about jazz. Ditto world music. Generally, modern rock music doesn't do much for me. Not enough sense in the lyrics. There are exceptions.

I'm not sure what all this tells you about me.

Sherman's coming by again today, trading lunch for another driving lesson. I spent a quiet morning reading Jane Lindskold's When the Gods Are Silent (a nice fantasy, but without the punch of Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls which had such great characterization that I ignored the plot holes that Cliff informs me are there). I should have been working. I must work at some point today. After the driving lesson, perhaps. Still feeling very lethargic. I have all these bills hanging over my head that I know I *will* be able to pay if I just do the damn work, but their mere presence is paralyzing. I hate worrying about money.

Join the crowd, right? :-)

Seriously, I don't particularly want to be rich. Oh, if I had the money, I could do great things with it -- build a beautiful house (I'll tell you about my dream house some day), endow a library, start a school. All sorts of possibilities. But for my day-to-day life? Well, until I have kids to think about, I get along quite well on $15-20K a year. Another couple thousand for travelling and I'm very happy. My parents don't understand this at all.

I think it's perhaps part of being an immigrant. The push and drive it takes to come here, melded with the over-riding messages of this society tend to tell people that they need to get all they can to feel secure -- and then they don't feel secure even when they have it. There's always more to want. There's an odd contrast between my British friends (Thida/Alex) and my American ones. The British ones save. They live on what they need, and put the rest away in bank accounts. This is how Thida was able to buy at house at age 25. Whereas I know other people who have 50K jobs who often are late with the rent or have rotten credit ratings. America encourages us to spend to our limit...and a little beyond. There's always another credit card, right? This isn't a culture that says 'live within your means'. The folk wisdom of 'A penny saved is a penny earned' is long lost. You can't hear it in the advertising shout.

I am so very glad I didn't go into advertising. At one point it seemed a logical place for an English major without many other skills. I now have serious ethical issues with the way advertising is practiced in this country. (Probably other countries too, but it's so blatant here that I can't help thinking about it). I would have gone into it cheerfully, probably have been pretty good at it, and it would have sucked out my soul. I hope I'm never so in need of a job that I go back there.

For now I'll scramble along on my student loans and writing contracts. Hopefully when I graduate I can teach somewhere part-time. (I start teaching in two weeks. I'm excited, and scared.) I'll never be rich, unless by some miracle one of my books becomes a best-seller. That's okay with me...I just want enough money that I don't have to worry every month over whether I can make the rent and utilities and food. And a little for travel.

That's just for me, of course. I imagine once I have kids, my need for cash will sharply increase. We'll see.

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