Friday, August 31, 2007

Not My Favorite Emotion But One I Definitely Feel Often

As you can see I changed my page.

I was going for something a little more clean, mature, and visually appealing in that Mac way.

Really I was getting sick of pink and becoming green with envy.

Yes, I felt jealous this week.

Frankly, I usually feel a little jealous all the time; it gives me my competitive edge. Sad, isn't it? But, at least, I'm honest with myself and others about this very gross and usually-kept-secret emotion.

It got really bad Wednesday night.

I was reading my bookmarked blogs, and I started reading one in particular that made me totally lose my cool. Background: a few months ago one of the popular girls from high school friended me on Facebook. We weren't close at all in high school and still aren't, so I was honestly a little surprised she chose to friend me. I mean we were friendly at our class reunion, but I didn't hug her and want to steal her away to the bathroom so we could get some quick good-talk-alone-time. I accepted her Facebook offer, though, and perused her profile. I discovered and clicked on her website/blog, and was genuinely excited to read her smart, humorous, Bridget-Jones-esque musings. Since then I have become a regular reader. And am very proud to be one. Believe me, this story makes her look good and me look bad.

On this particular post she contemplates the blog and pays homage to the BlogHers and the awesome women writers she respects and admires. Cool, right? What's the problem? In my delusional world (where I had convinced myself that my Pops over the past year secretively had restored my '79 VW SuperBeetle Max for my 30th Birthday and that he was going to drive it to our house on my birthday and give it to me, and, lo and behold, when he showed up Max-less I cried a little and all my family was like, "What the???") I actually thought my blog would make her list. Immediately, I felt like that dorky-punky-pimple-faced kid in high school who looked up to the popular kids and wanted to be one so badly while at the same time equally hating them for being so popular. Seriously, WTF?!

Here was this cool girl giving a shout out to cool girls, and here was me all Mean Girls, all Jawbreaker, all other-teen-girl movie-ish.

And once I felt the left-out-ness and jealousy, it just snowballed. I obsessed over all the other better BlogHers, all the other better girl poets with their published books, all the better lyric essayists. All the funnier kids. The smarter kids. The great instructors who never have a class discussion go poorly. The PhD getters with their soon-to-be tenure track jobs. Whata shocker, no one even showed up for my pity party! That's how bad I suck!

I barely slept Wednesday night. Sadly, FD couldn't even snuggle me back to self-confident.

Thursday morning I did an hour of meditative yoga. It helped a little.

Then I sped-walked (speed-walked?) 8 miles at the rec, praying the rosary with a priest and parishioners the whole time via Ellie the iPod.

In other words, I knew I had I get rid of my jealousy or I was going to be a goner and screw up a perfectly good long weekend.

The sad thing is I think I have to work through this emotion at least once a month. And guess, usually, around what time?

It's not easy admitting it. I'm Amanda, and I'm a Jealousy Addict.

Really I just want to be one of those cool hippy girls who always loves everyone no matter what.

But as I was praying and sweating and forcing myself to go faster and beat my own record for each lap, I realized something: That in admitting my jealousy and understanding it and learning from it, I actually can see myself letting go of the emotion which helps me rid of it faster each time and then I truly can appreciate what it was I was jealous of.

I feel like Sufjan Stevens has a song that would say what I'm trying to say way better than I can say it. (And I'm very fine with that!)

I feel like my jealousy addiction stems from my label-whore-ness, my inner consumer. I have trying to be less of a consumer lately...

I hate it (jealousy & consuming), but I learn so much from it.

And then I wonder why is it that I observe that girls are more jealous than guys. Where's the love?

I'm doing what I can. As Sufjan sings, "I'm working it out inside..."

In the end, I'm glad I learned about the other BlogHers. They really inspired me to do something more with my blog.

I just wish Jealousy wouldn't have led me to that conclusion.

Thank God (Mary and Jesus) I am back to my old self. With a little newer self insight.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bringing Back the Popped Collar

For Crying Out Loud!!! (Literally!!!)

I got my true love shoes that I fought so hard for.

They arrived this morning.

I'm returning them tomorrow.

They DIG into my heel.

They PINCH my toes.

There is no way I can break them in without torturing myself.

Lesson Learned: True love shouldn't hurt.

Good-bye, Lovies.

Hello, comfy new true love shoes!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

People Do Care about Books...

I've been reading OpenCulture since Terence introduced me to it at the beginning of the summer.

So when the folks of OpenCulture asked readers for their favorite books, I couldn't resist adding to the list!

And, guess what (?!), my comments made it on their post with the compiled list!!!

Maybe I am special after all. ;)

Look Carefully

Sometimes I feel this little.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Sorta Shoetale

I'm laughing.

This is so crazy.

Short version: On Thursday, I got an email from Zappos saying that FedEx lost my shoes, and they weren't in the warehouse.

After teaching that evening, I called Zappos and cried a little. Damon, the Customer Service rep from my first phone call, gave me another $30 coupon.

Tears = cash. I need to cry more often.

I searched through the Zappos site, ready to burn my $100, but found nothing.

After Big Brother 8, I tried again and found a pair I have wanted since last year.

I called in my order b/c the online order form wouldn't accept all of my coupons.

Friday morning I woke up, did yoga, and then went the rec.

When I got my home my new pair of shoes were waiting there for me. (Can you believe Zappos shipped them that quickly?! They left the warehouse at 11:00 p.m. and were in Ohio in route to our house at 7:30 a.m.! Awesome, huh?!)

I started wearing them around the house to break them in.

I wanted to wear them to see Superbad (which was so funny I pissed myself. Seriously. A little came out from holding b/c I didn't want to miss anything and then laughing so hard at what I would have missed if I had gotten up to go pee. Note to self: Wear Depends to movies. Note to readers: Superbad earned 5 out of 5 penis-shaped Hello Kittys--see the movie for the joke.) but I didn't wear the new shoes because I still need to treat them.

When we got home from the movies, Camper had left me message. (Yes, Thursday I called Camper to order my true love shoes, but the rep told me the shoes weren't available in the US, that she'd have to call SPAIN to order them straight from the manufacturer, and that she'd have to call me back Friday after she talked to the reps in SPAIN. WTF!?!)

Marianne from Camper said she could get my shoes, but it take awhile. Very fine! All is right in the shoe world. I'll have time to break in the first pair before my new pair arrives.

I happily watched Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on TNT (even though we own the extended versions of the trilogy on DVD) Friday night without my mind obsessively worrying about shoes.

This morning I woke up, did yoga, and then checked my email.

Zappos emailed about my true love shoes. THEY FOUND THEM! FedEx shipped them back to Zappos, and Zappos needed me to call them to reauthorize my credit card and confirm that I wanted the shoes shipped via UPS.

Of course, I called them immediately!

After writing this post, I have to call Camper and cancel my order in Spain.

Lessons learned:

1.) Wait. Be patient. (Why do I have to keep relearning this lesson?!)

2.) Zappos has the best customer service on the face of this planet. I will only buy my shoes from them from now on. (Well, them and The Grey Colt...) Zappos were always kind, and they always followed through when they said they would.

3.) Crying does work. ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'd like a side of self-absorbed with that...

Hundreds of people in Findlay, 30 miles south of us, are homeless because of the flooding.

It's the worst flood Findlay has seen in 100 years.

So bad, in fact, Findlay, OH made it on "Your World Today," CNN's International News program.

And I have several students from Findlay...

But here I am obsessing over some flippin' shoes.

I'm a schmuck.

So Pissed I Could Spit (And I Just Might)!

Get this silly shit:

I've been walking to and fro campus everyday in an attempt to avoid the mess of traffic and fist-clenched fight for an open parking space. Also, I'm trying to be healthy and environmentally conscious. I'm a good girl.

Apparently, a good girl with not so good "teacher" shoes.

I have the WORST blisters on the face of this planet. They're on my heels. They're on my ankles. They're on the top of my feet. WTF?!

My summer "teacher" shoes suck!

The obvious answer: buy a pair of summer "teacher" shoes that don't suck and match almost all of my outfits year round (which means I could spend a little more on them...).

Of course, I think Camper. I looked on, but they don't carry Camper shoes.

Then I went because they carry Camper and usually for a little less than other places.

I found the dream pair.
I ordered the dream pair. Zappos said I got free overnight delivery. My precious Camper shoes were slotted to arrive Wednesday by 3 p.m. Perfect: right before my trek to campus.

They didn't arrive Wednesday, so I called Zappos last night to see where they are.

Damon, the Zappos customer service rep, told me he doesn't know where they are. They should be with me.

"Well, they're not, Damon."

He gave me a $20 off coupon, and said to call back if they don't arrive by 3 p.m. Thursday (today).

During my chat with Damon, I was polite and laid-back. I figured I'd get them today. FedEx likes to come first thing in the morning in our neck of the woods.

I got up early. I skipped the gym. I took my shower when I knew FD was going to be reading on the couch by the front door.

They didn't come this morning. I had a bad feeling.

I called Zappos and spoke with a very kind and compassionate Camille. I seriously couldn't get bitchy with this woman. (And those who know me know I can get very bitchy about fashion...)

I did calmly tell her I was so pissed I could spit.

FedEx never picked up my shoes from the warehouse. And Zappos is now out of the black in my size; they only have the white. And Camille said she could send the "Resource" people to find my pair, which was the LAST pair in black in my size. Or, she proposed, she could send me a black pair in size 9 with some free insoles to force them to fit. I rationally explained to Camille that the whole point was finding and wearing comfortable shoes, and that wouldn't be comfortable. So she put the "Resource" people to work trying to find my pair of shoes.

Camille promised me her "Resource" people will call AND email me once they locate my shoes. But it will take some time--at most a couple of months. WTF?!

She refunded my money.

She called me "sweet" and "baby" as I wept.

She gave me a $50 Zappos coupon.

I now have $70 worth of Zappos coupons, but all I really want are my Camper shoes.

As I blog away, right now, my Camper babies are in some crazy 4-football-fields-length warehouse with 3.2 million other products. (All stats provided by Camille.)

They're crying for their mommy. I'm crying for them.

Even though Camille was one of the best customer service reps I've ever had, I wouldn't spend another dime at Zappos if I didn't have these coupons and if they didn't sell Camper shoes.

I'm torn between "half full" and "half empty."

No, I'm not torn. This is an instance of "half empty."

Yes, definitely "half empty."

*Searching desperately online for them for 50 minutes while thinking, "My students better be good today." And, "What if I lose track of time and forget I have to teach altogether?" And, "I really should be working on my next online class..."*

I might break down and buy them from the actual Camper site. I can't even find a pair that looks anything like this, and this is exactly what I'm looking for. Oi!

*More tears.*

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Sign of Old Age?

I'm online for my "virtual" office hours: (Wednesdays 9-10 p.m.--There's never any good tv at this time anyway!)

So here I am in my "Life Is Good" PJs at my desk in my home office. I'm checking my Fafa points, and the next thing I know I wake up to Johnny Cash's "Jackson" playing at blast-the-roof-off-this-mutha volume, the keyboard imprinting the right side of my face, and drool puddling on my keyboard's mouse.

Poor Mimi the Mac...

And poor me!

Who knew 30 would be so exhausting?!

Or better yet, I had no idea going from "summer work" to "work work" would be so exhausting!

I got a get a towel and clean up this mess.

Then I need to wash my face with cold water and wake up!

Geez, Top Chef is on in 15 minutes...

(& p.s. What's your guess? How many students IM'ed me this first week of class? Prizes are nonnegotiable.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some More Lovin' (Or My New Favorite Adjective)

Usually I devour books.

I savored this one. Really savored it.

Maurice Manning's Bucolics is boss. For real.

The poems in this collection read like the Psalms. They're lyrical, mysterious, gorgeous, and divine. Literally: theses poems are mediations on the relationship between God (Boss) and one inquisitive human.

Manning's choice to not use punctuation beautifully replicates the human consciousness--the speed of emotion, question, reflection, and praise.

Many times these poems reminded me of Emily Dickinson, in terms of their music, pacing, and leaps.

I adored them all, but especially XVIII, XXVIII, XXXI, XLVII, LV, and LXII.

How on earth could I not love a speaker with so many questions?

Sometimes I creeped myself out thinking that Manning could read minds, and he read all the questions in my mind and then wrote this book.

I do have a lot of questions I ask Boss. Unfortunately, my phrasing isn't as imagistic as Manning's.

5 out of 5 boss Hello Kittys.

ps Katherine and Terence, I really think you would dig this book! Of course, everyone should read it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day of School

All went well.

My students seem bright and energetic.

I have a feeling it's going to be a good semester...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Blessings

1.) After telling my Grandma Rita that FD and I start school tomorrow she said, "Have fun, doll. Just remember, you're still as cute as you were in kindergarten!"

2.) I finally beat my mom at Yummy after four hands!

3.) Hons gave me her LaMer Cleansing Lotion.

4.) Sally, my rad mother-in-law, bought me the CUTEST Cupcake hoodie from Grey Colt.

Not bad for back-to-school compliments, defeats, and goods! ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's A Go!

My online class has 8 students, and I got official word it's going to run this semester!

I can't find language for how relieved and excited I am!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm Funny. And It Makes Me Feel Good.

My father-in-law just called to ask how we were feeling.

I told him we were feeling better, but "Taco Bell and I are no longer friends."

He busted a gut.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Short-Short Book Review

Carrier's Running After Antelope taught me a lot about short-short inter-connective essays. I admired his honesty and humor. For some reason, though, something was lacking for me--just a tad of something. And I haven't yet figured out what "that something" is...

3 out of 5 Antelope-costumed Hello Kittys.

Click here Carrier on This American Life, my fav NPR show.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

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)

On Friday FD and I, buzzing with excitement, left BG for Port Clinton.

Once we arrived at Holiday Village, we unloaded the car, changed into our swimsuits, and jumped in the refreshing water. As a pool junkie, I was ecstatic to swim and tan and be happy.

FD was ecstatic to drink beer and watch me swim.

After many rounds of Blink, devouring pizza and salad while watching the Simple Life (nothing else was on--seriously!--and we didn't feel like CNN), and reading quietly, we were joined by the other Rz family members.

It was our yearly fishing charter on Lake Erie--a time we relish to bond, laugh, tan, and hook some fishies!

Friday night we all partied it up--played Euchre, Concentration, and Blink; drank some wine and beer; listened to 80s music; and laughed it up. Nothing out of the ordinary or crazy. Just usual fishing pre-gaming.

After some wine, I usually crave Taco Bell (aka TB), and luckily, my sister-in-law Q had brought some with her. FD, my other sister-in-law T, and I split a Chili Cheese Burrito.

A little while later the girls went to our room where we shared a beer, chatted it up, drank lots of water, crowded around an US Weekly, shared fond stories of Britney's craziness, and went to bed.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a nasty feeling--Taco Bell working its way up. (Trust me, it wasn't drinking puke. I hadn't drank enough for that.) I went to the bathroom and, luckily, didn't puke. But my body did rid itself of TB. Or so I thought.

Us girls were woken up at quarter to six by the guys knocking on the door--and then running away. A, T's husband, did come back to bring coffee, though, which was super nice.

We got ready in a NY minute, and then hit the docks, ready for some fishing. We were all smiles. All happy. We were tired, but who isn't at the time in the morning?

Motoring out of the marina, the sun rose over the calm water. All seemed right with the world.

Then we got to Lake Erie, where the water was choppy. No big deal. I've been through water like this before. Just in case, though, because I have started getting motion sickness during long road trips in the past year, I bought and wore Sea Bands.

About 3/4 of the hour run into the lake, my stomach sloshed and I knew things had gone from good to bad. When the boat stopped and I stood up to get my pole, I started dry-heaving. I had to sit down and put my head between my legs. I waited for it to pass.

Then FD puked over the side. Then T. Then me. It was like the scene in Stand By Me.

(Photos not available.)

From 7 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon, one of the three of us was puking. Sometimes two of us at the same time.

The three of us who don't ever get sea sick and who took precautions against sea sickness. (Stokes, you can vouch for me. Have I ever gotten sick while on the boat?)

The three of us who ate TB the night before.

I had planned a lovely photo journal post of our fishing and fishies caught. But no. Instead, on Flickr I posted photos taken by me, wearily lifting my arm to capture something, anything (even a edge of a head or arm) before passing out again.

I was a good sport during my bouts of hurling. I made a few good jokes about puking. Laughing really seemed to take the edge off.

And God Bless, T, who fished the first two or three hours in-between puking her guts out. I told her she became my new hero.

After the morning and rounds and rounds of gross bile puke b/c there was nothing else in our systems to puke, T and I shared the center bench and slept and FD went down in the hole to sleep.

I woke to see this sight. I snapped this picture.

How symbolic, right?

Bummed out, exhausted (physically and emotionally) we drove home, where we fell in and out of sleep while watching Law and Order SVU on USA. Watching my favorite detectives made the rocking motion a tad bit more bearable.

It didn't make us feel better, though, knowing that the "well ones + T" caught only 8 (EIGHT!) walleye. They just weren't biting. Anywhere on the lake.

I really love the tasty treat of fresh walleye.

Maybe next year...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Those Who Run Together Stay Together

Because of the crazy amount of work we've been doing and the threat of "dangerous" storms each night, FD and I haven't been able to take our night-time walks together, which sucks.

Peeking between the mini-blind slats last night, we saw star and clear skies. Our desks were clean. We needed to burn off our BB8 adrenaline. We gave it a shot.

We trot down the drive. We turn onto the sidewalk in front of our house. We see lightning.

We do not turn back. We wanted this walk, and walk we would.

We walked about 10 blocks (? we were talking I don't really remember) and looped around to make the circle back. Distant lightning, muffled rumbles of thunder served as backdrop for our delightful convo, which was fluid, smart, and funny, at times.

Five blocks to home, I feel a little splash on my arm. A drop on my nose.

Me: Here it comes.

FD: RUN!!!

And we ran. And ran. And ran.

I do yoga. I do weights. I do pilates. I do the elliptical machine. I fast-walk on the treadmill. I half-jog on the track at the rec.

I do not run.

I should. It's fun.

We ran, laughed, panted. Ran some more. Panted.

Good times.

In the home stretch I beat FD. It's all about the breathing.

Of course, when we got inside it stopped raining, lightning, thundering.

Whatever. We had fun. We felt healthy with our flushed cheeks, pink noses.

I just can't get motivated to go to the Rec today.

Does running last night count for exercise today?

I am going swimming later...hopefully...if these clouds disappear...That's exercise, right?

And tomorrow I'm going on a fishing charter...that will be a lot of arm exercise...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Typo Central

While re-reading some of my older posts, I realized I'm the queen of typos.


The part of me that's rigid composition instructor says I need to go back and revise.

The part of me that honors very rough first drafts and all their mistakes says I should leave them.

Because I have some more important business to attend to at this time, the typos will remain.

However, I vow to more carefully read for typos before posting.

Sorry again.

OH! And before I forget: I don't consider Hello Kittys to be a typo. I want her proper name to shine, and I think Hello Kitties looks kinda messy...

OK, off to morning meetings and some afternoon housekeeping.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I and "I"

I cannot relate everything I want to say in language.

I did not learn medical terms in medical school that diagnosis "retardation."

I did not hear the sound of my sister sliding out of my mom's vagina.

I did not see the sterile forceps that grasped my sister's infant skull.

I did not witness the slam of a doctor's door, the stubbing my father's toe.

I cannot name a person to blame.

I cannot know the pressure of a baby who "frequently regurgitated her formula."

I cannot feel for my sister.

I cannot describe why.

I did not "tell" like my sister.

I cannot identify the meaning of every noise my sister makes.

I cannot recount my sister during the years I spent sister-less.

I cannot narrate the experience of being brain-damaged and non-verbal.

I cannot voice my sister's thoughts.

I cannot relate every emotion I feel to a word.

I cannot recall every memory accurately.

I is "from my point of view, first person."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Bad" Words Gone Wild

One scenario: On the phone with Pops today:

Me: Yeah, I'm fucking pissed. Our fucking basement flooded again. I’m so sick of that fucking asshole plumber acting like it’s our fucking fault. Whata fucking prick. That shit-ass. Seriously, if he would just fucking call the city like we fucking tell him every time maybe we would never have to call his stupid-bastard-ass again.

Pops: Why don’t you kids get a sump pump?

Me: Who’s going to put it in? That fucking crazy mofo? No way!

Pops: How about the next time I come down I’ll look at the foundation and see what’s going on?


Scenario 2: On the phone with Pops at age six:

Pops: How’s school going?

Me: Good, but I hate the bus. They guys on there act like retards.

Pops: Act like what?

Me: Retards.

Pops: Put your mother on the phone. Immediately.


When I tell my friends that I drop the f-bomb in front of my parents, they don't believe me. Until they witness an account first-hand.

Most families' forbidden words are fuck, shit, Jesus, goddamn, and/or for Christ sake. And there are taboo words like nigger, dyke, fag, chink.

All of these words were punished with a grounding in my childhood.

However, in my parents' houses the worst "bad" word, the one that to this day that still makes me thing spanking, is "retard" as well as all of its variants: retarded, retardation, retard-o...

You get the point!

I have gotten away with saying fuck in the presence of my parents since I was 16.

I have never gotten away with saying "retarded." I even tried recently with my dad. I was 29 & 11/12. After saying it I heard nothing but a dial tone.

That word is just pure evil.

That word is a personal insult.


Function: verb

1 : to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment.
If not for my sister, I probably wouldn't love language as much as I do, I wouldn't have started writing, I wouldn't have earned a Master's Degree in Creative Writing.

: to delay academic progress by failure to promote.
Once my sister was enrolled in "quality" special-ed programs, her teachers told my parents she was a joy; each year my sister "passed."


Function: adjective

3: sometimes offensive : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress.
My sister won the "Yes I Can" award in 1994 and she's the first to get a tissue when someone starts crying and she choose not to learn sign language.


Function: noun

subaverage intellectual ability equivalent to or less than an IQ of 70 that is accompanied by significant deficits in abilities (as in communication or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning, is present from birth or infancy, and is manifested especially by delayed or abnormal development, by learning difficulties, and by problems in social adjustment.
My sister waves at people, tells them she is "Fi-ne." She doesn't see the point in money, in counting. She stubbornly refuses to do anything she wants doesn't want to do like learning sign language. She gives hugs when she's ready to go to bed. She brings me nail polish and points to her toes when I visit. She lets us brush her teeth, wash and comb her hair, and bleach her mustache because, I'm convinced, she likes feeling cared for. Isn't that the same reason women go to salons and spas?


One summer when my brother and sister were visiting from Florida while we were playing with the neighborhood kids, a boy called my sister "retarded." I punched him square in the nose. He bled. I cried. My sister held my arm and cried. I held back my brother's writhing torso, his fisted hands flailing.

I never played with the boy again. Even after my sister and brother left for Florida.

It used to be anyone mentioned that word and I fought, I cried, or I did both at the same time.

I used to be so angry.

I used to think people who said that word were ignorant.

Then something happened.

I stopped punching people when they used it.

I don't like it, but I realized fighting would never explain why I hate the word.

It would only beget more hate.


I've been sitting here wondering what that something was.

Did I grow up?

Did I just get accustomed to the word? You'd be surprised how often people say it.

I counted one day. I heard it over 100 times. And I didn't got to mall.

I can't tell you what that something was.

But I think it was my sister.

It was her showing me she wasn't "retarded."


Or it might have been me actually saying the word without actually attaching my sister to it.

Two for Tuesday

How could I have not mentioned this sooner:

My nephew
called me to talk about Harry Potter Book 7 after he finished it. I adored our conversation. He's smart. And he knows it.


I've been working on my sister essays. While I do most of my writing via typing on Mimi the Mac, I have been making revisions on paper using my Kate Spade pencils. I adore these pencils. Entirely because they are Kate Spade.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rainy Sundays Are the Best

After obsessively adding books to my goodreads this gloomy morning, I spent the rest of this rainy day in comfy "pirate pants" (as FD calls them) and a cute tee, but more so I was in bed, under very soft Ralph Lauren sheets, reading all day. (Yes, I am even a label whore about my bedding and towels.)

I felt so content. It reminded me of my grad school days. The ones when I stayed inside all day and only thought about books and writing, besides food. I loved those days, especially when I wasn't, wait, when I was, when I wasn't...

Though, I would never be able to read the two books I finished today if I was hungover, so thank God I was sober as a shower. Make that a rain shower.

Adjectives to describe Kate Northrop's Things Are Disappearing Here:
gorgeous, subtle, complex, stripped-down, hearty-substance, challenging, disturbing (in a good way)...

Seriously, this was one of my favorite reads of the summer. Northrop's poems are threaded like something delicate but really they're elfish rope. I envision them as cinematic, moving backwards, a disappearing. And after several rereads, I discovered layers and layers, more and more disturbing details that distort the over-current of seemingly simple moments, simple language, simple images. In other words, these poems are like the Atlantic Ocean; it looks nice for a swim but watch out for the rip tides.

My favorite poems: "The Dog," "The Reconstruction Team," "Lines," "Three Women," "A Glimpse of You, A Vision," "The Countess," ... Really, I should just list every poem in the book.

As I was reading her book I totally kept thinking to myself, "If only I could write like this..."

I was so jealously happy while reading it.

Without a doubt, 5 out of 5 Hello Kittys.


I already knew I was an idiot.

After reading Larrissa Szporluk's new collection Embryos & Idiots, I realize now I'm an embryo and an idiot.

Szporluk's shit is so brilliant that I don't feel completely ready to comment on it.

Mostly because I'm still like, "WTF?!"

How does she do it? Make logic out of crazy-fast-musical language?

Again, I was jealous but, even more so, happy.

However, I feel like I need to drink a case of wine and smoke a bunch of crack in order to "get it."

Maybe I will be hungover tomorrow...

Too bad it's supposed to be sunny and 91...

And I have yoga class at 9 a.m....

4 out of 5 jacked-up Hello Kittys.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Perhaps The Most Clear Narrative Ever...

Rachel Zucker's The Last Clear Narrative is the bomb! Exclamation point!

Her second collection of poems, probably, has been the most influential collection I've read this summer. It's in a close tie with Spahr's Response. It definitely has informed my non-fiction writing the most.

The Last Clear Narrative is an intellectual autobiography of Zucker's experiences with herself knowledge, marriage, pregnancies, childbirth, death, and motherhood. These aren't just your straight-forward confessional poems, though. Zucker meshes memory with fragmented narrative and continually comments on narrative (or lack thereof) in order to craft brilliant and accurate poems. Much like Carly's book steam sequence, Zucker draws on second (or third generation) memory--as defined by my friend KK--the memory of children of survivors of trauma, essentially--in this case, of the Holocaust. In fact, as I was reading Zucker's book, I kept thinking to myself that I should have read it right after I read Carly's book. They would have made quite a pair.

Of course, I'm fascinated with Zucker's notions of memory and narrative b/c I'm obsessing about both of those things as I work on my sister essays.

There are many other glowing attributes in this collection: the sarcastic humor, the unpretentious language, the gorgeous music, the visceral honesty, the thoughtful logic, the control of white space and lack of punctuation, the dead-on pacing, the kick-ass punch of so many single lines...

Normally, I devour books, but this one I savored for a few days. It tastes so good.

I feel like there is so much I'm leaving out. I talked with KA about it last night, and I think I was more articulate then. (Don't you hate it when that happens?)

Here are a few of my fav lines:

"...I tend to doubt
his hazy reportage." (page 2)

"You happened
and happen to be here--
where I am
which changes and is always,
from my point of view, first person." (page 5)

"...I'd like to describe myself as she
but am only myself and you--not separate
or symbiotic..." (page 43)

" The essay is too easy
to dissemble. The sentence
sickens, then dismisses:" (page 45)

"when will I measure my life
by the by or sentence again" (page 50)

" express self or not self
to unimagine the house it-self is no new idea" (page 70)

(Of course, I'm biased to these line for my own selfish reasons.)

My fav poems:
"Endnotes for What the Living Look Like"
"I Cannot Write Essays, Will Not Be Famous"
"What I Want You to See Is She When Not Here As In Now"

One of my new favorite poets:
Rachel Zucker

5 out of 5 fragmented Hello Kittys

OMG, I so HAVE TO BUY her new collection when it comes out in October!

It's Tempting, Isn't It?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Several Things...And Then Some

OK, so I've been silent lately.

Because I have nothing nice to say. About myself, that is.

This "bridge incident" in MN has me kinda messed up. Since when do major bridges collapse without a earthquake, without a hurricane?

And then I couldn't stop imagining myself on the bridge. Maybe I would die. Maybe I would survive. If I did survive, I would be f***ed up. I already hate tunnels, am convinced they will collapse sooner or later from the pressure of mountain or, worse yet, water. I think about having bridge problems (which I sometimes do) on top of my tunnel anxiety and then mixed with surviving a bridge collapse on top of all of that, I would be in definite need for therapy. And we haven't even gotten to seeing the pictures my husband showed me that his brother sent him of a polar bear attack and the HOLE (for real) in the guy's leg.

Also, there's still my OCD problem with cleaning and straightening towels and obsessively watching CNN.

So why, when the world is so screwed up, can't I find anything nice to say about myself?

Instead of praying for people and sending them good karma and volunteering my time, what do I do? I hide in bed under the covers and obsess over how I would react to all this trauma. That's really sad and selfish. I'm sorry. It's just why I can't be "political."

And I haven't even mentioned all the jealousy I feel when someone wins a writing contest I don't...

I just wish I could be like Melissa. And I appreciate her gracious review.

I just turned 30. I suppose I have even more time to grow and mature. God willing.

Then again, I dragged FD to the pool today. I sat in the shallow part of the pool for hours and felt happy. I didn't go down the slide b/c I was kinda scared of getting vertigo again, but I did forgot about the bridge, the hole the in the foot, my jealousy, my selfishness. All was right in my world.

Then I got home.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Maybe I Have a Long Lost Twin...

Donald Miller's writing style reminded me of someone-I-know's writing style...

He cracked me up. He made me think. He made sense. He answered a lot of my questions. He counter-argued my skepticism. He used examples from pop culture to talk about Christian spirituality: Jane Austen, Ethan Hawke, Emily Dickinson, and Ani Difranco to name a few. He listens to Wilco, the Boss, Patty Griffin, Eliot Smith, and Whiskeytown to name a few. I believed him.

Donald Miller renewed my spirituality and helped me understand how I can have a relationship with God (and Jesus) that actually makes sense.

This book is a worthwhile read, especially if you are like me and have your doubts about faith and Christianity. Now the rest is up to me.

Thank you, Terence, for giving me a copy and sharing Miller with me. I hope you did give me this copy. I wrote all over it. I underlined favorite phrases. I doodled in the margins while reading. I seriously loved it!

4 out of 5 jazz-listening Hello Kittys.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I Might Be the Next "I Did It For Fafa Points!"

The videos from my online class are ready to be viewed. Check them out on uTube!

And for an update on my online class, visit my blog Behind the Scenes.

Oh my, I've given you lots of Web 2.0 treats today. ;)

Finally, Vaca Pics!

Here's a little teaser for you.

Check them out on Flickr.