Doldrums Antidotes

1) Antidote #1:  Get a good night’s sleep, which is exactly what I did the night of my previous post; when I woke up nine hours later, cobwebs had cleared, and a song–not a dirge–beat in my heart. This, in turn, meant I had to spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen that afternoon pretending to be a member of George Clinton’s band and/or part of Agnes de Mille’s dance troupe. The two groups actually have significant areas of overlap. Remember, for instance, when Ms. de Mille staged her “Get Up into Yo’ Funk” program shortly before her death? Some still speculate it actually led to her death, what with the steady expansion and contraction of her ribcage in sync with the lyric of “tear the roof off the mother.” Few things will more assuredly bring on a stroke.

2) Antidote #2Appreciate that my daughter and her friends’ favorite activity, during playdates and sleepovers, is to toot and pluck together in raggle-taggle musical ensembles. Since they all attend the local music magnet school, they were able to take up a non-piano instrument this year, in 4th grade.

Girl represents the orchestra, and her pals, seen here, bring on the brass and winds. It is nearly impossible for audience members to remain seated when these girls pull out the stops on their “Good King Wenceslas.” Even better is when I get to wave my lighter in the air during “We Will Rock You.” (sidenote: the school district issued an announcement this week that, starting next fall, the city’s magnet schools will be demagnetized, cutting out music, science, environmental, and language foci at various elementary schools; as part of this, non-neighborhood children whose families have elected to send them to particular magnet schools will no longer be given bussing…all of which means, since we rely on bussing to get our kids to their magnet school, that it’s hella good we’re going away next year; it gives us time to hammer out a new schooling plan for our kids, which may very well be that we start an illegal Quaker/Buddhist class in our basement with a curriculum that emphasizes quiet, peace, and cessation of suffering. Imagine the quiet hum that will constitute “recess.” Anyhow, my point here is that I can only use 4th-graders-who-come-to-our-house-and-play-music as a Doldrum Antidote if I practice active denial of next year’s realities…so keep coming over and firming up your embouchure, and make sure you don’t vote for a Republican governor when you grow up).

3) Antidote #3Go get passport photos taken

(My children are very, very small, aren’t they? Relative to their pin heads, I am a towering figure of authority. Actually, I just can’t be bothered to figure out how to save their pictures as larger files. I mean, I’ve got dance and blunt-rolling classes in the kitchen with Ms. de Mille and Mr. Clinton in five minutes, so it boils down to priorities). What perked me up most in the whole passport photo adventure this week was Paco’s attitude; he gets really annoyed with photographers telling him to smile and, in particular, to show his teeth. The fact that he’s in first grade and already has a pretty vehement stance against making posed situations feel even more artificial pleases me no end. In fact, the more he looks like a model for American Gothic in his photos, the happier I get. My secret hope is that his next passport photo will feature him flipping off the photographer.

Renewing our passports is the first step to upcoming journeys, necessary before we launch into the visa process, which gets pretty entangled when travelers want to go live for a long stretch in a country without seeking employment. It will take some doing to prove to Skeptical Visa People that we don’t want to leech off the economy but, rather, will contribute heftily to their wine and chocolate industry profits. Incidentally, and purposely cryptically, I will say only that we do seem to have something like a plan in place for next year (sort of nailed down; sort of loose), in terms of where we’ll go and who will live in our house…but I’m hoping to have a few more things firmed up before disclosing details. Just for fun, we can play a guessing game, though. It looks—fingers crossed–like we’ll be in a place where English is not the primary language of use, on an island, near an active volcano. Anyone?

4) Antidote #4:  Hop on an airplane to a warmer, sunnier place, which is exactly what Mein Groom and I are doing from Wednesday-Sunday (as in, right now!) of this week. You may recall back in October that my sister flew me to Denver to help her organize her stuff and watch cable tv. Ripping a page out of that FranklinCovey Planner, my college friend Shannon (and her helpful mother) bought both me and Groomy tickets to visit her in Austin, Texas, to do the same. Apparently Shannon still has the dress she wore to our college graduation nearly 21 years ago; it doesn’t fit, nor has she worn it since. A little warning to Shannon: Jocelyn doesn’t think you need that dress anymore; she’s aiming to put some space between you and that dress. Keep the memory. Ditch the dress. Plus, Shannon? Let’s get those Christmas decorations put away—and in a big old labeled tub while we’re at it. Then let’s have margaritas and an entree with the word “carne” in it. Because I’m pretty sure “carne” can cure any case of February blues.

There you go. Thanks to sleep, Agnes and George, musical ensembles, the inherent promise of a passport, and the beautiful gift of a junket,

I’m back.





23 responses to “Doldrums Antidotes”

  1. kmkat Avatar

    Welcome back! And bon voyage to the warmth of Texas!

    Your volcanic, non-English-speaking island might be somewhere in the Pacific because when I googled "island 'active volcano' -Hawaii -Zealand" most of the hits were for islands in that ocean. Then again, you could be going to Sicily or Stromboli — one of those is probably more likely. Not that I am jealous. At all.

  2. Shania Avatar

    Oh my goodness, can I be Bootsy Collins in the band? Pllleeeeeaaaassee?

  3. ds Avatar

    Good thing you're going to Texas; it'll give me time to figure out what non-primary English-speaking volcanic island that produces wine and chocolate–and requires a visa– you will be going to.
    Majorca??? 'Tis a puzzlement!
    Enjoy your mini-vacation.

  4. jess Avatar

    OMG. Are you going to Krakatoa? Because I hear it's lovely, and you'd have the whole island to yourself! On the other hand…

    Hey, come visit my new bloggy blog and enter the giveaway!!

  5. diane Avatar

    I thought the entree had the word "came" in it, and then I put my glasses on.

  6. Midlife Jobhunter Avatar
    Midlife Jobhunter

    The adventure of travel. And wish Austin could offer you some warmth, but our weather is like everyone elses – odd. Cold. Enjoy the town, the food, the music, the outdoors. The sun is shining today.

  7. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    Oooh, oooh, I'll be the Quaker! Okay, Buddhist works, too, just not exactly with my skin palishness.

    Okay, let's see, islands… volcanoes… My guess is Tonga!

  8. Jeni Avatar

    Like Diane, I too thought the entre had the word "came" in it as well. Only difference was I already had my glasses on. Maybe it really is time I have my eyes examined (and do it soon) and get me some new glasses to make my reading easier -as well as (hopefully) more accurate.

    Enjoy your little get-away to Texas. This isn't going to impact on your Minnesota accent now is it?

  9. phd in yogurtry Avatar
    phd in yogurtry

    Jealous. No passport photos here. With this economy kicking our boot-asses, I don't see it happening in near future, either. Grrr. Love that your kids playdates involve music. Ours does too, but it's the Lady Gaga video and dance-a-thon variety.

  10. phd in yogurtry Avatar
    phd in yogurtry

    You will be in Austin? This weekend? Must contact me about this. See my email address on my profile.

  11. Middle Aged Woman Avatar
    Middle Aged Woman

    Are we headed to Sicily? AS an avid crossword puzzle completer, I know about Mt. Etna! Also, I think that the whole "on sabbatical, doing research" thing helps grease the visa skids significantly, as you be getting paid by somebody back home.

  12. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    Greece! Right?
    How exciting!
    I want to deplete a country's wine and chocolate resources, too.

  13. geewits Avatar

    Yay! I'm glad you got your groove back. Watch out for crazy people flying into buildings there, though.

  14. choochoo Avatar

    oh, I wanna go somewhere warm and toasty too. Damn snow. I'm jealous, I am.

  15. secret agent woman Avatar
    secret agent woman

    I'm in despearte nee d of antidote #1. And I also need to get teh kids' passports renewed, bu that will probably wait until plesant weather.

  16. Jim Berg Avatar
    Jim Berg

    If there really is an island called Stromboli, as kmkat suggests (and really, I can't be bothered to look it up, I have serious procrastination to do–Oh, look google says there is one!), what was I saying? Oh yes, you can bet that Joce and Groomy are going there because it also sounds like a food and there's some kind of song lyric that mentions the island of Stromboli. Ah yes, it's that bloke Billy Bragg and his "Ingrid Bergman." Now that this comment is nearly as long as her blog, I shall go back to my procrastinatin'.

  17. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I'm glad you're back and Jocelyn's evil twin has once again departed.

    Guesses as to where you are planning to spend next year:

    1. Philippines near Mt. Mayon (Does mayonnaise come from there?)

    2. Canary Islands of Spain (Do canaries come from there?)

    3. Hawaii – many active volcanoes and Pidgin is also an active language. (Everything that comes from Hawaii is good.)

  18. Pam Avatar

    Well, that's the Land of Oz out of the picture. Australia's one and only lonely little remnant of a volcanoe last spluttered in 2900BC. C'mon Jocelyn..another hint please, can't believe how many volcanoes there are on the world volcano map!!

  19. Patois Avatar

    I hope you had a fab — and productive — "cleansing" trip at Shannon's. I would like to come with you next year so, I, too, could become queen of denial regarding my kids' school locations next year.

  20. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar
    Jenn @ Juggling Life

    I am so jealous that you get to combine travel and organizing–that is so very me.

    Have a blast–the recuperative power of the sun is just amazing.

  21. chelle Avatar

    ok seriously how come you look so good in your passport pic? I always look like some insane criminal in mine 🙁

  22. lime Avatar

    music and passports and volcanoes oh my! all good antidotes no doubt.

  23. Larraine Perris Avatar

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