Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year In Review

I've always loved lists.

Especially lists that involve the word "Top."

Being as inspired as I am by E, VH1, and other "Top 2007" lists, I've decided I need my own.

Welcome to the first annual A Skirt Around The Issues Top 5 Blog Posts of 2007.

#5: "And So The Skeptic Begins Her Work." Seriously, how could my first blog post EVER not make the Top 5 list?!

#4: "So Totally Real It's Unreal." Meeting up with my childhood best friend was such an awesome experience of 2007--maybe the most awesome. The blog post for this reunion doesn't do it justice, but it's the thought that counts.

#3: "Something Nice to Say. (And Some Silence.)" Of all my blog posts of 2007, this one is the most important one to me because it really helped me rethink my writing life and forced me to start writing seriously again--nonetheless in a new genre, creative nonfiction. Bonus: it mentions Paris and her release from jail--one of the every lists "Top" moments of 2007.

#2: "Sea Bands Suck. (aka I Broke Up with Taco Bell (aka When Things Went Terribly Wrong (aka Beware: This Post Contains Gross Accounts of Vomit.)" I'm a sucker for any story that involves vomit, but this one really takes the cake. Fact: I have not eaten Taco Bell or any other fast food since summer. Honestly, I stopped craving it when I stopped eating it.

Drum roll, please.

And #1...Did you guess it?

"In Adulthood You Don't Always Get What You Want, You Get What's Do-able."

All I can say about #1 is that I still think about and want those sunglasses every day.

~

Stay tuned for a post tomorrow regarding our fantastic meal tonight and my 2008 New Year's Resolutions.

Friday, December 28, 2007

So Totally Real It's Unreal

My childhood best friend left about an hour ago.

I'm sadly happy. Sad we couldn't have more time, but happy we got the time we did.

It was amazing to pick up right where we left off--with no bullshit about losing touch or any guilt trips. We just hugged and started talking.

It was awesome.

I want to say so much more, but I'm still processing the last 24 hours.

This holiday season has been awesomely full of blessings!

AWEsome.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Suppose...

it's best to not post when you have nothing to say.

I have nothing to say.

But I'm posting anyway.

Ha!

~

Now that's I've started writing, I thought of a few things:

1.) I'm so excited to pick up Bleu I can hardly stand it. Normally around Christmas all I can think about and dream about are the gifts I'm going to get (I told you I was greedy!), but this year I'm only dreaming about my boy Bleu.

2.) As I write, my childhood best friend (who I haven't seen in 15 years!) and I are making plans to get together next week. It was so awesomely weird to hear her voice on my cell phone. I sincerely can't wait to see her. I'm so excited. But a little nervous too...15 YEARS! C'mon, wouldn't you be a little nervous too?

3.) Who wants to watch a Robots marathon on FX all day Christmas Eve & Christmas Day! TBS has it right with A Christmas Story. Hopefully, TNT and USA will bust out some L&O marathons--that would rock.

On that note, I have nothing more to say.

Ha!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is one of my favorite holiday tunes.

But after listening several times a day for the past 20 days, I can't help but to obsess over the lyrics.

And my obsessing has led me to the belief that the plot of the song is basically a date rape.

Which upsets me. Greatly.

But then I just ignore that blazing fact, and I love the song again.

I have a feeling that my awareness and ignorance in regards to this song is a glaring metaphor for how date rape is viewed by society, even today.

Sorry if I ruined this tune for you. Leave it to me and my ever-thinking mind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the Surface

Meet our boy Bleu.

He's 5 weeks.

As SEM says, "1/2 dog, 1/2 angel."

I sooooooo can't wait to bring him home January 2 or 3, depending on the weather.

~

All weekend all I did was imagine meeting our puppy. And I read, reread, & reread again our puppy books.

OK, not really. But you get the idea. He was on my mind.

Really this weekend I watched a boat-load of movies & experienced a fantastic snow storm!

But under the surface, seriously almost every minute, I kept thinking about our puppy.

~

Monday we went to the kennel to pick our puppy.

What's funny is Holly, the breeder, emailed us pictures of the four male black labs, & from those pics FD & I picked Red. In his pictures Red always looked engaged and really active.

Yet again I find out that I cannot base decisions/first impressions on looks alone.

When we finally met Red, he was rambunctious, to put it lightly. He was a showstopper, showing off, continually stretching his little body in the middle of the pen--imagine a dog diva. He whined when me, FD, & FD's bro AJ (who found this litter and had first pick) weren't paying attention to him. At first, his charm worked its magic on me. But then I started thinking, "Dude, Red, chill. I want to see the other pups." At that moment, Dan looked up at me & said, "I don't think we want Red. He's too rambunctious & too needy." I agreed. Totally. I kept imaging whining every time we go to teach or go out to eat. I imagined separation anxiety. I started feeling anxious. That wasn't good.

Then Bleu came over, sat down by my hand that was hanging over the edge of the pen. I started petting him, & it was chill. We were just calmly kicking it--that's the kind of dog I want! Bleu was really active too; he played with his brothers & rolled around & murmured a bit. The best was when he came over to me & rolled over so I could pet his belly. I even got his leg going. That was when my heart melted, & all the "things" that have been on my mind cascaded away.

I think having a dog buddy is going to be so good for me--mentally, emotionally, & physically (how stoked am I to have a walking buddy?! BOSS!)

And I have a feeling I'm going to become one of those doggy moms that talks about her angel all the time. You know I've been annoyed by those people for years. Now I get it.

Sorry, doggy-mamas I've been impatient with!

Now I'm going to be impatient, waiting to brag about my buddy Bleu.

~

Bleu will be FD's fourth black lab. He'll be my first dog--EVA. But I've been reading & studying up. And FD & I have talking about what will be like & what I should expect, realistically, & all the hard work we're going to have to do. I feel confident I understand the challenge & am ready for it.

Seriously, I've been setting my alarm for the middle-of-the-night pee & the early morning pee. And I'm preparing myself for puppy accidents, with lots of stain removers & acceptance that the house might not be the immaculate place it once was. And I'm dedicated to spending lots of time training and playing. And each night before I get ready for bed Bleu & I are going to get him ready for bed too with a little grooming session, a perfect time for us to bond.

Why else would I be busting my ass so much this week to complete next semester's course syllabi & new assignments when I have 3 weeks off? So I can devote more time to Bleu, of course!

I'm prepared for the hard work AND the awesome reward that comes with it.

My little pumpkin!

Maybe a puppy will help me be less selfish & a little more open-minded about the possibility of kids...

& maybe one day I'll be willing to grill in the middle of a blizzard for the love of my family.

Keep in mind I said, "Maybe..."

Under the Surface

Maybe it's the new year's approach...

Or maybe I'm just way too sensitive...

But I'm doing a lot of reflecting and noticing a lot of "things" are changing in my life right now. Some reallyreallyreally good. Some seemingly not-so-good--at least on the surface.

I'm still processing all these "things" and feeling tons of emotions. Every day. Excuse the cliche, but my emotions are a roller coaster.

Seriously, I thought in my 30s I wouldn't have to be dealing with all these "things." I thought life just gets calm and simple, and you coast along.

Maybe it's later in the 30s when that happens...Or the 40s...

I have awhile then.

Oi.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Public vs Private

Lately I've been thinking.

And that always gets me into trouble.

Or lands me in my therapist's office.

But I can't stop thinking about blogs, Facebook, and all these other Web 2.0 apps that constantly make it easier and easier (or more and more tempting, I should say) to make private things public. Really, where is the line to be drawn? I say many personal things on this blog, but I hold back what I feel I need to.

Does that make me less honest to my readers?

(I think I'm pretty darn honest...)

And how do I know what I should hold back?

(When I hear an inner voice say, "No..."?)

I'm really cautious about my online life. I mean, think about how "public" the internet is. I could walk outside right now, completely naked, and maybe a few neighbors would see me. Well, definitely the smokers across the street who practically live on their porch. But if I posted naked pictures on the internet BILLIONS of people would see them.

That really freaks me out.

I think it's only fair to myself and my loved ones to be selective about what I post and very thoughtful about how I represent myself in my posts.

Seriously, I've gotten in enough trouble (especially with my father-in-law! LOL!) for being misquoted by Scene magazine who didn't put the word "c-u-next-tuesday" in quotes to show I didn't say it but some girl in a Fafa league I was in did.

I couldn't imagine what would happen if I voiced some things that are really personal and maybe not-so appropriate, in terms of family, work, friends, or society.

And why do we feel this need to make our lives so public now through the internet? Is it for community building? Or is it to show off, to feel like we're special and should be heard? Maybe a little bit of both or something else? What you fellow bloggers and Facebookers think?

I'm still thinking.

My brain kinda hurts.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I am Loved After All...Nonetheless in Hello Kitty Style

Like any other day, I woke up around 8, did yoga, & ate my yogurt with flax/bran cereal and maple syrup.

Then I cleaned my closet and purged some old clothes to make room for new ones from Boden. Thank you, Johnnie Boden for your 50% off sale. I adore you.

But the day felt hectic and rushed when I realized that while in my clothing keep-or-go-? mode, it was already noon, and student portfolios were available at 1. (If you want to see what the portfolio process is all about watch this video. Guess who the narrator is...?)

From 1:30-5 p.m. I sat in my East Hall office, eagerly awaiting students to collect their passing portfolios and end the semester of Fall 2007. (Meaning, I played on Facebook the entire time. Did you know you can now use present tense verbs instead of passive ones? That kinda of made my day.) Anyways, many students came, collected, and conquered 111. But one did more.

One gave me PRESENTS. (Yes, with an S!) A Hello Kitty fleece throw and Hello Kitty slippers. (Ones so special I can't find them online!)

SCORE!

I'm sure you've all guessed I get greedy around Christmas; I can't help it. I start buying presents for loved ones, only to find loads of "things" I want. It's bad. I know.

And when I talk to my sister-in-laws about gifts they bought for their kids' teachers or day care helpers (do they have an official title I don't know about?), I always complain that my students never buy me gifts, especially this time of year. Seriously, the ONLY reason I would ever teach at the elementary level is for the gifts, which I probably wouldn't get after the parents realized their kids learned a little too much adult language from me...

But I had a student care enough to give the best--Hello Kitty. And right around Christmas! My greed lessened quite a bit today.

And to boot, when I got home I got another PRESENT from SEM, which put me even more into Hello Kitty heaven. Dude, a mix CD covered in HK stickers! Does life get better?

Why, yes, it does! Because the book that I ordered months ago on Amazon that I've been not-so-patiently waiting for arrived: Rachel Zucker's The Bad Wife Handbook: Poems! I ADORED her last book, and I'm so stoked for this one I can handle sit still long enough to write this post. Seriously, I'm wiggling all around trying to type fast enough so I can curl up with my HK throw, my glass of Cab, & The Bad Wife Handbook while I listen to my new sweet mix from SEM.

F! This day would have only been better if two things had happened: we got our black lab puppy (more on him soon) and I got my new threads from Boden.

But it's good to have somethings to look forward to, right? It means more good days to come!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Closing Remarks on this Weekend

Friday I went to lunch with Just A Girl; Living in Captivity.

We had a blast. I am now addicted to the Cheese Dip at our local Mexican restaurant. AD, it did change my life!

More importantly, it was good to listen to Just A Girl talk about her life, dreams, and fears. I learned a lot about ALL the things my younger friends and current students go through. Seriously, I think they're dealing with everything in their twentieth year that I dealt with all through my twenties. Crazy! But I wholeheartedly adore Just A Girl's commitment to herself and her need to help others; she's got her head on right for someone who has a lot of life experience.

I'm always learning. Life is good.

Then it was off to my in-laws for some much needed Quality Time! We had a blast a Hunan (one of my all-time FAV restaurants!!!) Friday night. Then Saturday my mother-in-law, S, and I caught up, which was much needed and more important than ever. Thanks, S!

Saturday night our precious niece Buggy had her second b-day! Her mama gave a great party with HOMEMADE REFRIED BEANS. Needless to say, I was in heaven! And it was great spending the night with all the in-law clan, catching up, busting up, and hugging a lot. T, EJ, S, Q, L, and I all got in some really valuable girl-time that really made me feel at peace. Thanks, ladies! I love you! And a special thanks to Q for keeping the red wine flowing...

Today S and I went to the Mustard Seed Market. I LOVE buying groceries there. But I was so happy shopping there, I totally forgot ALL the items on my list at home. Thank God we're going to the Andersons tomorrow evening.

We drove back to BG early this afternoon through the ice storm. We're crazy. But I have meetings and work tomorrow, so it was kinda a must, sadly...

I white-knuckled it, driving and singing along to my life soundtrack while FD kept me occupied with questions about music. It was OK until we hit the first patch of ice in Wood County. Then it kind of sucked until we got off the Turnpike. I think we missed it for the most part, though.

The streets were clear in BG.

The trees and wires were drooping with icicles. And FD's car was covered in 1/4" of ice.

We snuggled in and watched Star Wars, and, suddenly, all within our little home became calm and relaxed once again.

Sigh.

Looking forward to yoga tomorrow morning. Staying centered this upcoming busy week is a MUST.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

As Promised...

But the sad thing is I don't really have anything to say.

I'm trapped in my office collecting student portfolios.

The joy in that is that this semester is almost over.

More joy: Snow blankets the ground here. I love snow.

Even more joy: I have a secret that makes me squeal with delight and feel totally happy.

Even when I'm dealing with my less-than-polite students.

That says something.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More Tomorrow, But...

Yoga kicked my ass.

So what do I do?

I come home have a Cosmo.

How's that for healthy?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Theory

Feeling much better today, but I'm still tired. (Them's are the breaks.) But the house is officially disinfected. Yay!

OK. I do daily yoga; I do daily cardio & weight workouts; I take many vitamins, including C supplements; I sleep 7-9 hours a night; and I'm a compulsive hand washer.

So why am I sick so often?

I'm a nail biter. Most times without thinking about it. Most times when I'm thinking about something else, like during class when I'm thinking about my students' questions and concerns. Most times in class before I've washed my hands. Gross.

Some of you may not know this, but college, especially college dorms, is way more germy than, say, grade school.

Double-gross.

My pre-New Year's Eve resolution is to stop biting my nails.

I just don't know how.

Any ideas?

I'm thinking a manicure that includes acrylic nails. I just hate how long those things are.

And I hate the price...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

For Real Sick. Gross. But with a Sunny Disposition.

For the past three days I've been out of commission with the flu. No fun.

I missed out on some really important plans: I love you, Noodles.

I am, however, caught up on The Hills and all my previously recorded shows on Tivo. I also had time to finish one horrible book not worth mentioning and begin one that is worth mentioning but not right now.

I might be sick, but I still have my ability to create suspense.

(The hint, though, is this: FD and I might be getting a very special Christmas present this year, and NO, I'm not pregnant.)

Being that I couldn't take another day of lying around, I got up and decorated our Christmas trees in my PJs as well as strung my Hello Kitty Christmas lights around the windows in my office. I've been rocking out to some Christmas classics as well as new Christmas tunes by Aimee Mann and Sufjan Stevens. If you don't have the Christmas box set of his, it's a MUST BUY.

Decorating and singing along to "We Three Kings," I felt pretty good. But I now, as I write this, I'm feeling tired again.

Dude, I hate being sick.

Two things I've been thinking about. Real quick.

The movie The Fountain sucks. I think it's too hippy-ed out for its own good, so much so that it distracts from its overly contrived message and acid-trip cinematography (that is at times lovely). FD and I watched it last night and had a huge discussion about it right afterwards and when we were trying to go to sleep. I'm too tired to give an in-depth review of it. But I'm totally sick of these movies that end and nothing happens, nothing is resolved or the ending is so indie it's all symbolic. Seriously, what's up with that? I told FD I'd rather watch Superbad or Knocked Up any day over this horrible shit these hipster directors call movies. Someone, please recommend some quality indie movies to me that disprove my skepticism. I like I Heart Huckabees and The Royal Tenenbaums. Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Science of Sleep look good, but am I going to be disappointed again? I guess when you're as smart and skeptical as me and FD, blockbuster movies are best movies for us to watch--we know what we're going to get, and, sometimes, they're even better than expected like Transformers...I guess I just like music more than movies. I might like TV more than movies too...I'm sure I'll revisit this issue again soon.

Second, Christmas shopping has begun. This year I'm ahead of schedule, but I still have a quite a few presents to get. My goal, usually, is to get loved ones what they want from their lists. I don't like to stray too much because when I have I've been broken-hearted by the initial-frown-before-the-faux-smile expressions. However, when I do deviate from the list, I try to go homemade and/or independent. Here are some BOSS sites you might want to check out for your loved ones:

Lemon Cadet: Rockin' the Bean, Bunny, and Yeti goods for kids, ladies, and men since 2006. I can't stop thinking about this Bunny hoodie. Oh my!

One Good Bumblebee
: Gnome Jack-in-the-Box!?!? How rad is that?!?!

Redbird: Stokes bought me some of these totally unique concert posters for my birthday, and now I check out this site like every day. I'm waiting the Sufjan poster!!!

Haworth Homemade: Some loved ones might really like that snazzy TV cover...

The Grey Colt
: If you're not from the Cleveland/Akron area, you can always call the ladies at the Grey Colt, and they'll help you find the perfect something for your special someone. If you are from the area, head in and support this local business that is so totally rad and unique!

OK, I need another nap.

I'm thinking tonight some soup and Elf with only our Christmas trees lights on...

BEFORE I TOTALLY FORGET: Check out this Scene article about Fafarazzi. Both Stokes and me are quoted. How rad is that?!?! And it's even more rad that the journalist quoted my most foul answer rather than one of my funny ones!

Monday, November 26, 2007

So Sick, It's Sick!

The HK Credit Card.

Just when I thought I was getting out of debt, I'm pulled back in.

I'm delightfully disgusted that HK is encouraging her "friends" to "CHARGE IT!"

Who Am I To Brag About My Relationship with Jesus?

Yesterday I started our Christmas decorating.

And this is one treasure I'd like to share:

our new Playmobil Nativity Set.

Seriously, how could I not brag about a Playmobil Baby Jesus and a gorgeous Mary sporting some lovely eyelashes as well as the awesome assortment of animal and three kings who look like pimps?!?


As I kid I envied those other kids with Playmobil.

Seriously, the Playmobil dollhouse kicks Barbie's manison's ass any day of the week.

I'm thankful now we own our own BOSS Playmobil toys.

Just look how happy Jesus is for us!

And so begins the Christmas season in the McRz household.

The Last Town on Earth: A Book Review


I read The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen for the BGSU Common Reading Experience Book Selection Committee. Well, actually I read it twice: first, a very quick skim and hated, then again very closely and realized it actually could be a pretty good CRE choice. As for a "fun" read, if you like historical fiction, it's worth it. If you don't, you could skip this one and not really miss out on anything. Based on how it's written, I bet there will be a movie soon.

In terms of exploring values, which is one of the criterion for the CRE, this book is perfect. Virtually all the main characters and some of the secondary characters are confronted by values choices at some point in this book, and the author writes the book in a clear enough way that even reader who weren't experienced at picking up on undertones could see how the characters' values were being challenged. From Philip to Graham to Mr. Worthy to Frank to Rebecca, each character struggles between what is right and what is wrong in terms of war time choices and choices regarding an epidemic. I've read many possible CRE books, but this one is by far the most direct about clearly exploring values.

Also, The Last Town on Earth is extremely interdisciplinary. Not only could I see academic in the humanities being able to connect to this book but also the hard sciences (there is a lot of medical references, which also explore the different values decisions people in the medical field face in times of need), the social sciences (based on how character interact with one another and themselves), historians (the 1918 setting makes this a perfect lead into discussions on World War 1), folks in business and business administration (there is a lot of discussion about running a mill, which could lead to discussion on entrepreneurship and doing "what's right" for a company), and many more. This book is a strong choice in order to satisfy almost all disciplines.

I wonder, too, if it would be easy to get the author to visit and if he wouldn't cost too much because this book was published in 2006 and it's the author's first book...Does anyone know how this writer is with students?

The one main drawback for me was the last part of this four-part book. I found Part 4 to be over-dramatic in way novels that are written intentionally for the purpose of striking a movie deal are. The author doesn't tie up the loose threads neatly, but some of the action is a little over the top and feels a bit "untrue" to the characters, especially Philip, the main character.

Generally, I'm really skeptical of endings to novels anyways, but this one really fuels my skepticism's fire, which was one reason why I hated the book so much on my first read.

After a closer read, though, I really feel that this book merits the CRE's serious consideration. It is a easy read--few "big" words and really strong images and scenes that most readers can easily visual and understand--in addition to it being values-based, interdisciplinary, and contemporary.

Based on this criteria, I think someone looking for something to read would find this book a quick read. Honestly, it's not really my cup of tea, but I feel like I'm a better person for reading it because it got me thinking about our current war on terror, our troops, and how history does repeat itself.

3 out of 5 fearful-of-epidemics Hello Kittys.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Week of Thankfulness (in Fast Forward)


Because of our holiday travel and time with our families, I didn't get a chance to post my other thanks in honor of Thanksgiving Week. So here are all the rest of this week's days in one big post--what I'm calling a fast forward.

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 3):

I was thankful for a day off. At least in terms of my "school" work. It's been go-Go-GO(!) as the semester is coming to a close in two weeks, so a day of rest from that hectic schedule was much appreciated!

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 4--Thanksgiving Day):

I'm thankful for my families.

We spent the actual day with my family because it also was Hons' 60th birthday. (Happy Birthday, Hons!) We had a great time cooking as a family and hanging out, just talking and catching up around the dining room table. My sister Angie's birthday also is in November, and while at the Hallmark store getting cards, FD and I found Care Bear Jibbitz for Crocs! We gave those to Ang Thanksgiving Morning, and she freaked out! She kept pressing her hand over her heart and sighing like she was going to pass out. It was really cute! The whole day was a real treat to spend it with Mom, Ang, Pops, Hons, Ross, Holly, Grandma Rita, and FD.

We headed to FD's brother's for dessert to round out our day. I always have so much fun with my in-laws too. I'm really lucky to such a close relationship with them because I know most people aren't fortunate enough to get along with their in-laws, let alone love them! Over at A and T's we played Memory and Buzzword as well as Euchre, while we snacked on some turkey, crack potatoes, and pie! (One of these days I'll post the Crack Potatoes recipe! They are soooo good! And great for make ahead! The first time I had my mother-in-law's holiday potatoes I renamed them "Crack Potatoes" because I was instantly addicted to them!)

It was a Thanksgiving to be thankful for!

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 5):

I was thankful for Motrin and Coca-Cola.

After eating so much my sensitive body wasn't all that used to, especially the sweets and stuffing, I had a pretty bad headache and tummy ache Friday.

Despite my pain, I did help my mom-in-law, sisters-in-law, and nieces make Crisco Cakes.

And I did manage to play some Euchre and Memory before hitting the hay really, really early.

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 6):

I was thankful for online shopping, being an aunt, and sleeping in my own bed.

EJ, T, S, and I went shopping at Aurora Farms. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE shopping. However, being that we live kinda far away from malls, a Target, or outlet stores, most of my shopping is done online, through Hons who buys me clothes at the FL consignment stores, or at the Grey Colt when I'm out on the Eastside.

Needless to say, I forgot how crowded in-store shopping can be. Every store we went in there were seriously at least 60 people, and most of the stores weren't big enough to hold 60 people.

Of all the stores we visited, The Children's Place really freaked me out. The clothes it was selling to toddlers and young girls were slutty and cheesy. Henely tees with lace tanks under them. Gross layered shirts with lame graphics of a bratty girl or a rainbow splashed with The Children's Place. I quickly faded. Whatever happened to kids clothes with cute prints of birds, cherries, cupcakes, whales?

I've been thinking a lot about my back-and-forth between wanting kids and not wanting kids, so when I was confronted by The Children's Place, I was happy to be kid-free.

But then we went to Carter's and I wanted a kid really badly. The clothes at Carter's were delightful with their little embroidered owl on a fleece nightgown, their cherry-printed hoodies, their clearance summer dresses with a skort bottom and little embroidered whale logo. EJ started playing at the kid size Lego table, so I took a load off, sitting next to her in one of the kid sized chairs with my knees up to my chin. We hung out while S and T Christmas shopped. EJ and I always have a great time together. She tooted and blamed it on random customers who weren't even close to us. At one point, after we had played enough Legos, she said, "What the...? What the heck is going on here? I'm boring and ready to go." I laughed so hard my eyes were shut, and when I opened them, I saw 30 people staring at me blankly. Then EJ started laughing.

Kicking it with her makes me want to have a kid really badly. But she's not like other kids. She's not really a cry-er or bratty or whine-y, and with my luck, I'd have one of those kids who I would have to pretend to like when really I couldn't stand him/her. Oi! Also, she's my niece; I'm not really around her when she experiences crazy meltdowns. When I'm around, it's usually about us having fun. Being an aunt is pretty good times.

But I know FD and I have great genes, and I bet we'd have some really great kids and I know once I had my own kids I would love them with all my heart and be biased about them because I loved them so much. But I just am not ready to give up my shopping in my stores for shopping in obnoxious kids' stores. I know that sounds evil, but it's the truth. Why hide it?

Right now, I'm thankful to be a cool aunt. One of these days, maybe I'll be thankful to be a cool mom.

After so much shopping and time away from home, I was thankful to snuggle up to FD in our bed in our little house after such a busy holiday.

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 7):

Today at home, doing laundry, packing up Fall decorations and setting up Christmas decorations, I'm thankful for time. Simply time: to catch-up on lesson plans, begin decorating, go for a walk with FD on this crisp day. Write this blog post.

I'm thankful I'm starting to learn how to use my time wisely. The older I get, the more I realize life's too short not to be thankful for time.

Also, I'm thankful for realizing that sometimes my post endings sound cheesy like a sitcom/drama, like The Wonder Years or Doogie Howser, M.D. I need to work on that.

(The picture for this post was taken the day after Thanksgiving when Cleveland had their first snow.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Week of Thankfulness (2 for Tuesday)

Today, I'm thankful for two things:

First, yoga class.

We began class by breathing in a meditative posture. Then we moved into poses I was pretty familiar with like Downward Dog. But then we did Plank, which I hate because I have no upper body strength. And when Megan, my yoga teacher, told us to do a side plank, I rolled my eyes at her. Seriously, I'm pretty sure she saw because she smiled the smile that says, "I saw that." I hate plank, but what I hate even more is rolling onto the side, not the sole, of the bottom leg's foot and balancing there on only the side of the foot and one arm.

What I'm thankful for, though, is my ability to surprise myself. Actually, I had more upper body strength and balance than I realized. I could actually do side plank, not perfectly, but enough to feel proud that I did it.

So when Megan said, "It's time for Triangle," I almost squealed, "THANK YOU!" Triangle is one of my all-time favorites! It always makes me happy. (I need to remember that...) From that point on, my practice was focused because I was focused and in side angle series heaven. Time just flew by.

Sitting here, typing, I feel tired but renewed, which is a feeling I'm definitely thankful for this week.

Also, I'm thankful for the new issue of NOON: journal of the short poem. They aren't online, but this link will give you sense of what it looks like. I have one one-liner and one two-liner in it. Getting published makes me feel good about my writer-self, but even better is the fact that the journal is based out of Tokyo (Hello Kitty's homeland) and that it is the MOST beautiful journal I've ever seen. It's hand-bound and the paper is glorious, so soft and fine. I'm thinking it's rice paper. Seriously, I almost wept with joy when I opened it and saw how special it was. I thought to myself, "It's worth being picky about where I send if the end result looks as awesome as this!"

You can order your own copy by contacting NoonPress at noonpress@mac.com or, as Philip Rowland wrote in his email to subscribers & contributers, sending "$10 / 5 pounds / 1000 yen, but please add $4 / 2 pounds / 400 yen for airmail postage and packaging, or 200 yen in stamps for postage within Japan to

Philip Rowland
Noon: journal of the short poem
Minami Motomachi 4-49-506
Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 160-0012
Japan.

British bank cheques or international postal money orders (made payable to Philip Rowland),
cash and international reply coupons are acceptable forms of payment. The journal receives no funding other than that of the editor and subscribers, so your support would be much appreciated."

Thank you, Philip, for such a fabulous literary magazine and for letting me be a part of it!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Week of Thankfulness (Day 1)

This past weekend I realized how thankful I am for two special students.

One sent me the coolest care package ever with some Detroit Tigers goodies, a stuffed baby turtle, AWESOME mix CDs, a pic of her yellow lab (which is officially hanging on our fridge), and one of the most honest letters I have ever gotten from anyone in my life.

The other called me to talk about her plans to transfer and her major change. I think she was looking for advice or confirmation, but without knowing it she gave me more than I gave her. She renewed my faith in people who actually want to help others in need and helped me feel not-so-alone in the competitive world of writing.

Thank you, ladies!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reverend Chico's: A Local Restaurant Not Worth Supporting

Auditions are being held for Kitchen Nightmares.

Even though, Reverend Chico's has been open only for a couple of months, they would, no doubt, benefit from Chef Ramsay's forceful help.

Reverend Chico's is located in the Main Street area of Bowling Green, Ohio. From the outside, it appears to be fresh, hip restaurant & bar with raised tables and classy barstools for window seating and modern tables and booths for seating in the bar and dining section. Several wall mounted plasma TVs provide decoration throughout the dining section and bar. Doesn't sound so bad, huh?

Remember, looks can be deceiving.

The bar side is sleek in a martini-bar way with its spotlight on the bottles, black granite, and candle center pieces on the high-tops, but all four of the TVs give it a sports bar atmosphere. It felt the owners didn't know what kind of bar they wanted it to be, so they senseless mashed together several kinds.

The dining area is clean, but it feels void of any personality or unique characteristic that related to the food, which is Latino. Within the first several minutes of being seated, I couldn't decide what kind of dining experience I was supposed to have at Reverend Chico's. The decor did nothing for the restaurant other than make it look brand new, even though it is part of the old hotel that takes up several blocks in downtown Bowling Green.

And I had plenty of time to be confused about the decor while my party and I waited 15 minutes just to be approached by our waitress, who proved to be consistently slow, inarticulate, and unfriendly. Without giving us a menu, she impatiently tapped her foot and demanded our drink order. After explaining to her, this was our first time at Reverend Chico's, she brought us a photocopied drink menu. Yes, photocopied; what a disaster! When we said we wanted to eat, she went back to the back of the house. Meanwhile, in her absence, to further add to the unprofessional customer service, the manager approached our table, not to ask if we had been helped, but to ask if there was "only going to be three of you tonight." When we all looked appalled, she said, "You didn't do anything wrong. Stop looking at me that way" and just walked away. Still miffed by the manager, we hardly noticed that it took our waitress 10 minutes to reemerge with an atrocious stack of paper.

The menu at Reverend Chico's is a beyond a disaster! Upon getting the stacks of paper (which, to point out, was completely wasteful and not environment-friendly!), I asked the waitress to explain the menu to us because none of us understood why on earth we each needed 6 pieces of paper that looked like bubble form tests with various meats and ingredients. Our waitress even said, "Yeah, the menu is really confusing. I don't even really get it. It's like a test."

When a waitress can't sell a menu, there's a big problem.

Basically, Reverend Chico's has one sheet of paper for each of their menu items: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Paninis, and something else that got lost in the shuffle. Each item's menu serves as the order ticket. A patron checks the meats, veggies, and other ingredients he or she craves, puts his or her name on the top of the ticket, and hands it to his or her waitress. Is this because their waitresses can't be trusted to take orders beyond drink orders? I wonder...

If I wanted a dining experience like the one Reverend Chico's menu encourages, I would go to Qdoba or Chipotle. I expected a folding menu that I selected a dish from. And by dish I mean the kitchen creates the meal, not the patron. Based on the decor, I expected to see a new spin on Mexican food. Sadly, what we got was some bland chicken Quesadillas and Tacos that were soggy, salty, unoriginal, and, to boot, over-priced ($7.00 for Tacos, $11.99 for Seafood Tacos).

The only two things keeping me from walking at Reverend Chico's were my party, who were quite enjoyable, and the tasty Sangriatini and Mojito Reverend Chico's offers.

In other words, go there to drink, not eat. Or drink so much you don't care what you eat.

In order to succeed, Reverend Chico's must, first, step up their customer service. The waitresses working the bar seemed really friendly; why not have that same attitude carry over in the dining section? Also, they MUST simplify their menu. If they would like to be more of a bar than restaurant, then just offer some contemporary hor'dourves that would compliment the drinks rather than some below-average, amateur Mexican food. The TVs probably cost more than the ovens in the kitchen, which only proves how little thought goes into the food.

Until Reverend Chico's puts more effort into their food, I refuse to go there. I support local businesses with all my heart, especially those in BG, but this is one restaurant I can't endorse.

1 out of 5 Thank-God-for-Sangriatinis Hello Kittys.

(For new readers, Hello Kittys are equivalent to stars. And Hello Kittys is an intentional typo.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Hero

There's only ONE person in the world who can make me laugh like this: my hubby!

Without even reading my "crappy" blog post, he "sensed" my bad day and did something really wonderful for me: He got me cookies from the Cookie Jar. (I've been craving them all week. Yeah, and they deliver for FREE!)

I may be down in the dumps lately, but I know I can always count on him to brighten my day.

Here's to you, FD, and all your radness! Thank you, love!

Ugh...

I'm having one of those days where I don't really like people. (Generally speaking.)

Does everyone feel this way? Every once and awhile?

Two examples: I'm in a CTLT Web 2.0 Presentation today (I signed up hoping to learn more about del.icio.us), and this idiot's cell phone goes off. (Imagine: he's sitting in the front row in a computer lab. And the presenter is standing next to him.) He doesn't silence the phone and apologize. NO, he TAKES THE CALL!!! HE TALKS ON THE PHONE DURING THE PRESENTATION!!! WTF?!?!

Then I sign into my blog and find this ad about some lady who has a book based off her blog which is a bunch of to-do lists (huh?), much like PostSecret lists secrets. While I do like PostSecret (they rock!), I don't like this lady. (Disclaimer: I'm sure I would like her if I met her, but I'm saying this for effect and to illustrate how I don't like people today.) How do these people make money off of this stupid shit? Who do they know? And how can one call this stupid shit art? I got my freakin' MFA. I have freakin' debt. And I can't get this blog turned into a book to save my life! WTF?!?!

In order to stay sane, I'm brainstorming career changes. I need to getaway from these crazy people.

Sadly, I realize they are everywhere.

I think I need a career change that involves being a hermit.

OK, OK, I know God's trying to make me humble and appreciate others' art and feel love and kindness for all that is good, smart, happy, and wonderful. And all this is really nice. Really, really nice.

But today it's pissing me off.

The more I think about creative non-fiction and writing and art, the more the "I" is becoming so boring and drab to me. Even me as an "I" is Snooze Fest '07. And the more I hear about these specialized books like a to-do-list-blog-turned-book, the more I feel disgusted by art, consumerism, and self exploitation. Which makes me wonder what is the point of art today? And wonder whether I really want to contribute to this whole mess of culture. And wonder why I blog and pick blog topics like these that are way too honest and make me look like a schmuck.

Is this frustration stemming from jealous or some inner-battle to get to the heart of my own art and beyond my "I" in my essays and poems? Or is it some intellectual fight with art and society? Or just end of the semester stress? Or dare I be cliche and chuck it up to PMS?

All sound equally good.

Right now, all I know, for sure, is I need something like a to-do-list-blog-turned-book, so I can work a hell of lot less and play on Facebook a hell of a lot more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two for Tuesday II

Being very productive means I'm not updating my blog as much as I'd like.

So here's two things to tide us over:

1.) I did not have yoga class today. I am sad. I missed it. I can't wait for next week. During my daily practice though I'm feeling better about my inversion poses.

2.) Last night on the phone with Stokes when I told her she should do yoga, she responded, "I'm not doing that Buddha on the Mountain Bullshit." I couldn't stop laughing. I love how different we are. Sometimes I'm amazed that we're even best friends because we are so different. But maybe being different is what makes us such best friends. Really, what's the fun in being best friends with yourself?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Two Cents

When I took yoga during my undergrad days at Kent State, my instructor had us keep a yoga log, a little journal that we jotted down poses that felt good or ones that we struggled with.

Well, as you know by now, I'm an over-achiever. My log wasn't a log but a lovely illustrated journal that, seriously and sincerely, connected my experiences with yoga to my writing life, my personal relationships, my driving, my breathing, etc. I think that semester I wrote a few good poems, a good paper, and a sucky paper. Beyond that almost all energy went into my yoga journal.

Needless to say, my instructor loved it so much that she kept it for her teaching portfolio and to use as sample in future classes.

I'm bragging.

About yoga.

Clearly, the plot is thickening.

Because I haven't been able to attend yoga classes at night because I teach during those times, Megan, my yoga teacher, has been having private sessions with me Monday mornings.

Honestly, those sessions with her have been one thing (apart from Dan) that make me happy this semester. They keep me sane.

I've overcome a lot of fears and mental obstacles working with Megan. She's playful yet challenging. Just what I need. And not having others around helps me. It forces me to be competitive only with myself. A lesson I keep learning over and over again. Our sessions have really helped me develop my daily yoga practice and work on poses that help my back and heart (emotionally speaking). And I'm not bragging when I say this, but my practice is growing and I'm proud of my yoga accomplishments, especially my Downward Dog and Inversions. I work hard every morning to center, focus, breathe, and shine. Some days are better than others, but I see my improvements and I'm really proud of them. And there's nothing wrong with being proud, unless it goes to the next level.

When I found out that Megan was teaching a 6:30 class on Tuesday nights, I realized I could attend it. I only teach until 5:15 on Tuesdays. So I signed up.

And this is where my story/yoga journal begins.

It's a Yoga 1 class, so I went to it, thinking, "Cool. I know this stuff. I'll be all good."

I mean I wanted to practice in class again because I wanted the group experience. I like the idea of a bunch of people creating energy in the same space and, figuratively speaking, sharing it with one another. And I like knowing poses already because then I don't feel like an idiot during class.

However, my competition ego kicked in (I blame my competitive ego on my MFA program--survival of the fittest), and upon getting to class I was scoping out which peeps were my yoga rivals. (I know, I know, WTF is wrong with me?!)

I realized this line of thinking (as yoga teaches and Jesus), and I made a conscious effort to let go of this ego. To acknowledge it and then say, "Competition does not belong in yoga unless it is with myself, so the people I am with are my peers, my fellow energy builders..." (Yes, I do honestly say this hippie BS to myself and I believe it.)

The competitive ego started going away, which made me happy.

We started out breathing, doing Mountain, Downward Dog...I was thinking, "Yes, I know all this. Good. I can do this and push myself further in my practice." I was happy with this level. It was safe.

Then we started walking from pinkie toe spreading our foot flesh inward until the whole foot was on the ground--it was so slow. We started "flopping" (on our stomachs with our toes raised, then rolling over or "flopping" so we had flat feet) and "reverse flopping" (from flat foot to toes raised). I got all this, but I had a hell of time doing it. In fact, I couldn't do it.

Suddenly, my thoughts went from happy to "I fucking hate yoga! This class sucks!"

In classes, I always have a love/hate relationship with yoga. Ugh.

Then we did backbends. Fine. I'm working on those. But when we started doing the Table as a backbend, I hit my limit. I couldn't go any further. I was all, "Fuck this!" until I realized I could be hateful and pissy or I could accept my limitations, breathe and realize there's always something I have to learn. And then be open to that learning.

I thought, "I've been doing a lot of learning this semester. I'm kinda sick of it."

Then I almost laughed. Right in the middle of class. I was sounding, in my head--of course-- like an crotchety old man. Me who loves learning. Who loves challenges. Who loves life no matter how shitty it seems to be. Me who is a cute Hello Kitty-loving girl.

I've been taking myself way to seriously lately. And that is why I'm not having fun this semester.

I arrived at my first lesson of this yoga session. On top of "flopping." I'm in for a big treat.

So yesterday was totally shitty, and I was all worked up about stupid department and school bullshit. But now that I wrote this reflection, I realize that yesterday I wasn't practicing what I learned in yoga class. Not flopping, per se, or weird walking, though I am working on these things, but the main lesson--not take myself so seriously. I'm not perfect. I have to learn. What the fuck else is life about? If not these life lessons or meditation practices, then it's about having a job, earning money and dying.

I'll take the life lessons, thanks.

My favorite thing about class was this: I actually craved Savasana.

During my last private session with Megan I told her that my daily practice is really good, but I have a hard time staying in Savasana at the end of it for more than an minute. I just want to get up and get on with my day. Resting and reflecting on the practice is the hardest part for me. She said at some point my body would crave Savasana.

I didn't think it would be that soon.

My body and I are beginning to understand each other. Now if only I could get my mind to settle. Another challenge to overcome. Or still to overcome. Or to always overcome.

I'm thinking, though, that after every class (my private sessions are private) I'm going to write reflections. Not to show off my BOSS reflection skills, but to help me overcome.

This one is already starting to do the trick.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just one more reason...

...for why I love Tina Fey: she supports writers.

Granted TV writers, but still writers.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Reflection

Last night, FD and I went to the opera.

For real.

We saw La Virtu de Strali d'Amore (The Power of Love's Arrows), which was put on by BGSU's Bowling Green Opera theater and the Eastman School of Music Collegium Musicum.

It was nothing like what I thought the opera would be like.

First of all, I expected to see women in evening gowns. So I chose to wear a grey dress I'm quite fond of--which looks dressy cas. I fit in perfectly. There were women wearing jeans.

Needless to say, I shouldn't have busted FD's chops for wearing jeans and sport coat. He totally fit right in too.

Then we were worried about being able to understand what the hell was going on. Thankfully, they provide programs with the plot in summary as well as the translation of dialog for each scene. And, even better, our theater had a screen above the stage that showed the translation, much like subtitles in a foreign movie. We knew what the hell was going on after all.

There were gorgeous costumes, a simple yet lovely set, some pretty good humor, fab acting, and three brief intermissions for stretching. (Don't get ahead of yourself, FD and I are certainly not going to become all-out opera goers...but we are going to start going to more university functions. Once I figure out how to find out about them. I heard about the opera through Facebook--see Facebook does have some realistic benefits!)

The main reason we went was because my yoga teacher, Megan, was one of the leads. I know how talented she is. One time, during mediation, she sang to us, and I vowed to go listen to her the next chance I got. And so I saw her perform opera first-hand. Awesome. I don't feel biased in saying this, but I know it will sound biased: she was my fav. She made her character (the god Amore) come to life--with her voice and her body language. Yes, all the cast did a great job, but she really stole the show.

FD and I really enjoyed ourselves. It was neat to do something new on a date night--something we've never done before that showed us a new side of art/culture.

The opera. Who knew?

~

This afternoon, after a much-needed trip to the Anderson's House of Meats, I made one of my favorite cook-aheads--Tamale Pie. I got the recipe from the Low Fat Moosewood Cookbook.

While making it, I chilled out with Ira Glass' This American Life. (Which reminds me, I need to check out Radio Lab...)

This episode was one that will remain dear to my heart. It was on Special Ed. For the first time ever, the voices of those with Special Needs were represented. I was really moved. In that way, that I have so much to say, but I don't know how to say it yet. It really got me thinking about my sister project and ideas for essays.

When I am a better able to articulate myself, I will.

~

Having a weekend at home has been nice. FD and I in our little place. It feels good after so much traveling and so little alone time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Oh My Goodness, So Much to Post, and So Little Time.

We've been back from Utah for about five days, and this is the first chance I've had to blog about it.

It's just one of those semesters.

We saw Logan, Provo, Park City, and Salt Lake City during FD's mini-book-tour in support of Neck of the World.

Utah is gorgeous! Check out my photo journal of our trip on Flickr.

The highlights for me were FD's interview on Utah Public Radio (a dream come true--This American Life, here we come!), FD's reading in Logan, our side-trip to Park City (where the Sundance Film Festival is held), the Butterfly Reading mobile in the Salt Lake City Library (the MOST beautiful library I have EVER seen and maybe my all-time favorite architecture), and dinner at Metropolitan.

Our trip wouldn't have been half as great as it was if not for the company of our fellow Monopoly competitor Mr. Nate!

And I'd like to thank all of those who hosted us, drove us around, or kept us in good company: Susan, Star, Micheal and Sylvia, Micheal, and Hui-Hui.

For more detailed info our trip you can always read my Twitter archive.

All these links should keep you busy for awhile...

+++

[While getting the to This American Life, I saw Ira Glass has a Facebook page.

I so friended him!]

About Time

Natasha Trethewey's Native Guard is (I swear) one of the BEST collections of poetry I have read in a long time.

This collection is seemingly simple. The language is clear, stripped down, and imagistic. The narratives are straightforward and very easy to follow, especially for those who don't read much poetry "because it is hard to understand."

But for those who LOVE poetry and understand it, Native Guard is virtually flawless. Each poem is layered in so many different ways one could read the book straight-through in 45 minutes and be pleased with the read. But if one re-reads it again and again, the layers start shedding--in terms of form, fixed form, line breaks, manuscript organization, response to New Criticisms, etc., etc., etc.

Get this: the formal poetry is so veiled by the gorgeous language that I almost didn't even realize it was written in form. How I've longed to be able to pull off that trick!

This book is a throw back to older contemporary poetry--in the good way. It has that pure, honest integrity of Sharon Olds, Jane Kenyon, and, dare I say, Robert Bly.

In other words, Native Guard is sincerely unpretentious. It's not full of experimentation for the sake of experimentation. It's a collection of poetry that is simple--in the most complex sense of word, not at all complicated to be complicated.

I wholehearted recommend Native Guard to poetry readers and non-poetry readers. Its poems about loss, history, the South, race, religion, and humanity are accessible yet exceptionally well-crafted.

This book clearly deserved to win a Pulitzer Prize, and I'm excited to see what Trethewey will do in the future.

The gems in this collection: "Photograph: Ice Storm, 1971," "Myth," "Scenes From A Documentary History of Mississippi," "Native Guards," and "Southern History."

5 out of 5 can-you-believe-it-I'm-so-skeptical-about-poetry Hello Kittys.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Utah Public Radio: A Voice You Might Recognize

While we were in Utah, FD did an interview on Utah Public Radio.

Fast forward to a little over half way.

I hope he doesn't kill me for posting it, but I'm proud of him!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Two Less Specific Reviews (My Airplane and Trip Reads)

I read Flannery's The Weather Makers for the BGSU Common Reading Experience Committee, and I think it's a great book selection for the Common Read--and one that I would recommend to readers interested in the environment.

Like Field Notes by Kolbert, this book tackles
the issue of global warming by providing background info, but Weather Makers is much more personable. Flannery gives his own impressions on global warming and its history AND proposes possible solutions to global warming. Kolbert's Field Notes was a saturation of scientific support for global warming, whereas Weather Makers takes scientific facts and makes them very real on a human level.

I wouldn't say this book is a page turner, but it is a lot less overwhelming to those not all that scientifically-minded than Kolbert's Field Notes and it leaves one feeling less saturated too.

I vote for it as next year's common read, and I think it's an important book to read generally speaking.

Four out of five environmentally concerned Hello Kittys.


~

Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You is good, but not as special as I thought it would be. I was expecting something like the works of Sara Pitchard or Aimee Bender. My expectations weren't met. The stories were readable, but after a while I kind of got bored with the first person point of view. And the quirky-ness. I felt like the stories were projecting hipster-indie writing, but they weren't really all that new or fresh. They were different...different, I feel, for the sake of being different.

Maybe I'll back to this book some point later in my life and like it a lot more. But for right now, I felt this collection didn't live up to its hype.

3 out of 5 mildly amused Hello Kittys.

~

The best bookstore we visited in Utah: BYU's University Bookstore. They had the BEST selection of contemporary poetry I have EVER seen in one location.

~

More deets on the trip coming soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Very Short Hiatus

Back from a great weekend.

Which I still haven't found time to post pictures of yet.

So is life, right?

And I'll be away for a few days. More details on that when I return.

Until then, enjoy this!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

For the Love of Zappos!!!

Katherine just sent a link to this Consumer Review of Zappos.

And I thought they showed love to me.

I think it might be the ONLY place I buy shoes from when I buy shoes.

Which won't be for awhile b/c I'm so content with my Zappo purchased discounted Campers*.

(*Upon looking for the link to my comfy Camper shoes, I found they are no longer offered...God does take care of me...)

~

On another note, I write my blog posts usually on Mimi the Mac.

My blog looks so much prettier on her.

On my campus PC, it's not so pretty. What to do about that...

Yo, Yo, Yo! Check These Out (or Not)...

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert is awesome book that made me really think the history and evidence of Global Warming. I just wanted it to be more personable. It's almost too full of facts and journalistic writing that sometimes I couldn't help to get bored or tired. Yes, Global Warming exists. Now I want to see a book that makes Global Warming more "human." In other words, I want to see a book that meshes the scientific evidence of GW to human life. Anybody know of one?

3 out of 5 environmentally aware Hello Kittys.






~



Honestly, I was more intrigued by the all the research Kate Greenstreet did for case sensitive than the actual writing itself. The narrative, at times, for me, was too disjointed--to the point that it became experimental without any real intention other than that. I comprehend that this book is working with associative connections and extended thinking and it's all about ideas and how narratives overlap (--I get it!--), but I believe writers need to work these experimentations into the writing and that the writing should bring out these things. Ultimately, the writing should come first and be the best aspect of a book, in my humble opinion, not the research. And in my opinion, sadly, that wasn't the case with this book. I reallyreallyreally wanted to LOVE this book because I think the idea of it is utterly amazing. It just wasn't for me.


2 out of 5 disappointed Hello Kittys. 5 out of 5 satisfied-to-have-thought-that-much Hello Kittys, though.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Two for Tuesday

Do you all remember?




OR

Emmitt Otter's Jug-Band Christmas?

(I guess that's 3 for Tuesday if we count the Melrose theme music...)

Quick & Easy

For dinner I made French Fried Onion coated Chicken, Annie's Mac and Cheese, and salad: Quick & Easy.

I used Flickr Uploadr to post pictures of our recent visit with Mom and My Sister:
Quick & Easy.















I needed a laugh and watched this YouTube video that KLA shared with me awhile ago:
Quick & Easy.






I made to-do lists for our upcoming trips: Quick & Easy.

And, yes, I've already thought of several dirty jokes that go with "Quick & Easy."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If...

If I didn't think it is unprofessional (for me, not others) to blog about students, I would post something. Something really good.

But I can say this:

Have you ever had a day where you've been around, like, one or two people who you can't wait to get away from?

I had one of those days. Actually more like one of those 1hr and 15 minute classes. Make that an hour class after I said, "Just leave."

Ughhhhh!

What bums me out is I have sooooooo many totally rad students who are motivated, work hard, put forth great effort, and think critically. I should be focusing on them--my angels!

But it's so hard to think positive when all I really want is to punch something.

God, for real, where is my inflatable Weebl Bop Bag from childhood? Seriously.

Or my boxing gloves.

Yes, Pops bought my bro and I boxing gloves so we could "have it out--safely."

Wait, I think I know where my boxing gloves are.

I should take up boxing.

I've always admired honesty in folks--true, bleeding heart honest--so I figure why not be honest with you, my readers.

It's not Always Sunny in Bowling Green.

If only I was Charlie in the Green Man Suit. Then it might be Sunny. And I might be Sunny.

(OK, I tried to find Charlie in the Green Man Suit on YouTube, but this will have to do:

So wrong, but so right when I need a laugh...)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Mini-Vaca of Fall Break

As some of you know teaching full-time (face-to-face and online), doing university admin work, developing an new online course, reading, writing, housekeeping, and participating in online communities can be exhausting. Thank God our university (BGSU) acknowledges the mid-semester burn-out and rewards students and instructors with a Fall Break.

I needed it more than I thought I did.

Of course, I worked during Fall Break--revising lesson plans, developing my next semester's online class, housekeeping, etc.--but I managed to sneak a little bit of fun.

Thursday afternoon after some much needed vegging FD and I drove down to Findlay to buy some fresh veggies at the Farmers Market.

My only regret is that we just now found about this locally produced heaven. We got tasty heirloom tomatoes, fragrant basil, a perfect cauliflower, crisp peppers, just-dug-up potatoes, a ziploc baggie of very sweet lettuces, an gorgeous eggplant, delicious zucchini bread, homemade granola, a mouth-watering mini apple pie, awesome goat sausages, freshly ground turkey, and some jams.

Needless to say, we've been eating like royalty for the past few days.

There's nothing like getting food straight from the farmers, not some refrigerated, fluorescent-lit supermarket. Honestly, we didn't pay much more than grocery-store prices. And if we did, I'd rather support local farmers than Kroger.

Sadly, though, the Farmers Market's last week is this Thursday. FD and I teach during its 4:30-6:30 hours, but come May we will be visiting it all summer long. I can hardly wait, even though I'm dying for fall to get here.

(90 degrees in October...And there are still freakshows who think Global Warming does not exist!?! WTF?!?

In addition to our Farmers Market trip, my parents came in for a visit, which was super-nice.

We hung out at the house for awhile, grabbed a nice lunch at Biaggi's, and then looked at a mini-storage unit. (Yes, I got my masterful multi-tasking from my Pops. In addition to his work addiction. Pictures do speak a thousand words--one cliche that totally accurate.)

FD and I caught up on some movie watching too: The Last Mimzy (totally AWESOME--a family version of Donnie Darko in a way--5 out of 5 Hello Kittys) and 300 (rad camera work that slowed down footage so sequences replicated frames in a graphic novel--too bad the ending kinda sucked--4 out of 5 Hello Kittys).

We got a bike ride or two in and lots of reading.

Goodbye, Fall Break. I'll miss you until next year.

Hello, Final Drafts of Essay 2 and a very, very busy week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Potential Dognapper

Friday FD read at Detroit Mercy. He, of course, was awesome! And I, of course, looked cute in my cupcake hoodie.

Friday night we hung out with our friends John, Sarah, Ethan, and John's sister Emily. Sarah made an amazing pot roast (one of my all-time favorite meals) and plum cobbler (with homemade whipped cream--HEAVEN!!!). We talked late in the night by their outdoor fire pit. Fantastic times!

But in spite of the awesome poetry, goregous campus, great company and fabulous food, one little dog stole the show: Benny!

I ADORE Benny. I want to put him in my pocket and carry him around with me wherever I go. I want to put a basket on my bike just so he can ride to campus with me and teach with me and watch tv with me. I want to share an ice cream cone with him and hunt squirrels with him. I LOVE BENNY!

Seriously, I want to dognap him.

This morning Benny and I had a photo shoot so I could always have proof our undying love for each other. He modeled like no other dog. Ever. He owned the camera. Move over Tinkerbell! Here comes Benny! Booyah!

I think John, Sarah, Ethan, and FD thought I was completely crazy, but that's what puppy love did to me--made me completely crazy...

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Tweet of Twitter

My Twitter addiction is increasing every day.

I keep thinking of the book Feed by M.T. Anderson, where people have the internet hooked up in their brains.

Frequently, I imagine I have the internet hooked up in my brain.

I imagine quite awesome, very frequent Twitter updates.

Of course, I have the option of text messaging my Twitter updates from my cell phone, which is like having the internet hooked up in your brain.

But it's not really an option for me; my inability to text quickly and efficiently is beyond any help. Even if it means feeding my Twitter obsession.

~

A little over a month ago I found one of my childhood best friends from Florida on MySpace.

I was so excited I messaged her brother on MySpace and asked him to call her and tell her to check her MySpace page. (She's not internet-addicted like me.)

Immediately upon getting an email from her, I just wanted to drive to M-town to physically see her, hug her repeatedly, and catch up over bottles of wine and an all-night chat. Of course, the day after hearing from her was my first day back teaching. And, besides, she's getting her PhD; she's in Med School. She doesn't have time, in general, for anything.

What's mind blowing about the two of us is that we haven't been far away from each--at all. When I was in WV, she was in PA. Now she's in WV, at the same university where I went to grad school. It's one of those "for-real-this-is-so-crazy-I-don't-know-how-to-verbalize-it" things. I don't know about you, but this whole "the world is really small" thing freaks me out to the point I become speechless.

~

While reading Kate Greenstreet's case sensitive, I noted her note on the use of [ ]: "Penberthy describes 'the pervasive empty bracket sign [ ]' used by Zukofsky and Niedecker in their correspondence as 'a signal of deep caring for which words dare not and need not be found'" (16).

Of course, after reading this, I started obsessing over the other punctuation marks that would symbolize the "words [that] dare not and need not be found." But they all seemed to have other more important jobs: the ellipsis with its trailing off..., the parentheses with its asides (not to mention all its MLA work), the dash with its speed and/or hesitation before moving onto the next thing--

And, of course, I obsessed about those punctuation marks almost the entire night--to the point I'm not sure I slept.

And I kept thinking, Get up and record these thoughts on Twitter.

Then, If only Twitter was a program in my brain and my brain was already wired with cable internet.

OMG, Online shopping would be so much easier...

~


I wrote A, my found childhood best friend, a long email, detailing my life now and what I'm doing.

But it felt all wrong.

There were too many gaps in the past. And too much focus on now. I wanted to record all of that that led up to now--from when we last spoke to now. But that seems impossible.

How can I say all the stuff from the past that sometimes feels unspeakable b/c it's over and done with, but that's the stuff that got me here to this moment right now?

So does all of that stuff become [ ] ?

Catching up is weird.

So weird, it completely explains my addiction to Twitter.

~

It's not laziness that makes [ ] so effective.

You know some people just choose not to talk about all the [ ] or don't even experience [ ] at all.

Others want to talk about the [ ] and can't b/c there's no language for it.

And then there's the [ ] for those who don't need to say anything b/c it's already know between the self and a other: "a signal of deep caring for which words dare not and need not be found."

I thought about writing A a letter:
Dear A,

[ ]

Love,
Manda

But that's way too post-postmodern for my ass. And it still doesn't say everything I want to.

~

Twitter: the true intention, I think, of this Web 2.0 app is to keep others updated of your going-ons.

"Saw clown drive past house yesterday. Started laughing. He looked too normal." Things like this. What you would text a friend.

But what I love about Twitter is different. I'm trying to get myself to post beyond the surface stuff (of course, I still do post surface stuff), but it's more interesting for me when I post more complex thoughts and fading memories that I want to record, not forget.

If Twitter had been up and running 15 years ago and I joined back then, I could send A my Twitter link. Maybe then [ ] would be more clear.

Because then the silent gaps between my Twitters would accurately replicate the [ ]. The [ ] for her and others, right? Because we can have [ ] with more than one person...

~

OK, I just had a "WTF am I talking about moment..."

That means it's time to stop.

I'm now thinking of the barriers of language and how [ ] could still be language and now my brain is propelling forward into sister territory and the language in non-verbal-ness.

Sadly, I don't have time for all this right now.

~

Twitter forces me to say it all in 140 characters. God bless them.

~

Endnote: If you join Twitter, be sure to friend me. I'm addicted to reading Tweet as much as I am to writing them.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bathroom Humor



























When you have to go, shouldn't it be fun?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

With a Promise of More to Come

I was going to write a long rant about an outer-body experience I had while presenting/discussing Values and Writing Assignments to the BGeX faculty today, but, now, I don't feel like it. So I back-spaced until it was all gone and started over.

It's been one of those weeks. Ups and downs. And I really want/wanted to be contrary, but thought better of it for the sake of my morals, sanity, OCD, relationships, and obligations. How do you like that for talking in code?

Really can one be totally, completely honest about thoughts and feelings in a blog? Seriously, it's public space, not the personal journal with the hefty lock pad that I keep in a very, very secret place.

Like Abs, I'm essay-free this weekend. I have so much planned: Housekeeping (of course! (and, for the record, I love what a catch-all term that is)), a much-needed hair cut and color, a grocery trip to the Anderson's, letter writing, essay writing, a nap or two, reading, and, maybe, a much more satisfying (for you and me) blog post.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Totally Rad Blog with Real Valuable Purpose

21st Century Citizen.

It's helping me a more conscious human.

I dig that.

Totally, Totally Biased! (But Really It Is An Awesome Book!)

There's only one thing I can say about Neck of the World:

If I wasn't married to this man, I would find him and marry him.

His poems are imaginative, brilliant, thoughtful, and innovative.

And he's even more so.

Ten out of five very proud Hello Kittys.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's A Small World After All (The Question Is: Will You Be Singing that Song to Yourself The Rest of the Day?)

Here are three blogs totally worth a damn:

The Bee's Knees : Finally, Stokes has rejoined the blogging community. Hilarity may now resume ensuing.

The Real Irony
: Through Stokes I found her friend Christy who has a funny bone too. All this laughing is going to a.) keep my weight off, b.) help me deal with my daily life frustrations, and c.) keep me closer to girls I adore.

Lemon Cadet
: Talk about RAD homemade goods! I randomly found Lemon Cadet on Etsy and discovered she's a very dear friend of mine from grad school. The world is small.


And I haven't even told the story about finding my childhood best friend on MySpace yet...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hum Along

Thinking about the soundtrack of my life made me put together this playlist.

I narrowed it down to 50 from 150, and I still feel like a lot is missing.