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!


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.



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.


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.


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!)


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.


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


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.


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!