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 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
Tokyo 160-0012

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!


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, 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.