Friday, December 31, 2004

Holy 60 degrees, batman!

Central Illinois is saying goodbye to 2004 with a 60-degree day! Makes me want to do some spring cleaning.... No turtlenecks tonight, boy.

One of my resolutions for the year 2005 is to enjoy what I have rather than wanting what I don't have. Sounds so simple, so cliched, so blah. But I've already begun the work, and I'm appreciating things so much more. And how can that be anything but good?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

the joys of winter break

1. Spending hours at the coffee shop with my laptop, never having to rush off to teach.
2. Going to the doggie park every day with my girl.
3. Keeping Belly home from doggie day care so much that, when I do decide to take her just for a half day, she's thrilled. Me to Belly in the morning: Who wants to go to school today?
4. Finally figuring out one of the major problems with that g.d. article and exorcising Foucault from it. Farewell, Michel!
5. Having lots of fun--really, fun--figuring out how to make it a much, much better essay.
6. Knowing that this time is limited, so having the presence of mind to savor it.
7. Napping.
8. Making lists and crossing things off of them.
9. Eating leftover apple pie.
10. Watching lots and lots of Law & Order: SVU (not that that's limited to winter break, of course).

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Law & Order: in memoriam

Our favorite wise-cracking detective has died at the age of 69.

Some small hope

This makes me feel a teeny bit better.

Napping and the writing process

Been s-t-r-u-u-u-u-u-g-g-l-i-n-g with the revision of a certain article which shall remain nameless but which readers of this dear blog will surely recognize as the damn thing which has been haunting me for 2+ years now. Anyway, as I was in the space between waking and sleeping last night, I got a fantastic idea for an introduction, and now I realize what at least part of the problem has been with my writing process: no naps. When I let the ideas just kinda "go" in my head without consciously trying to figure out the way to go with an argument, 95% of the time, I have a great insight. The other 5% of the time I fall asleep.

And if I don't write it down immediately, instead convincing myself that of course I'll remember that great insight in the morning, well, I never do remember it.

And while we're on the subject, does anyone else out there dream in complete sentences?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Just bumping along...

Last night I dreamt that I was driving around my hometown of Chicopee, Massachusetts in a bumper car. It even had the little bar up the back. It was painted in blue and pink stripes. I couldn't control it, so I called my big brother to ask him if I could borrow some money (not sure what one has to do with the other). He wrote me 6 checks: one for $100, one for $67, one for $33, one for $210, one for $7, one for $500. Then I got back into the bumper car to head for the bank before it closed (in my dream I knew the time: it was 6:30 pm) and the dang car wouldn't go fast enough.

Have at it, Freud.

Monday, December 27, 2004

This qualifies, I think, as a fear

Oh good lord. The mail came today and, as always, Annabelle barked like a crazy dog at the mail carrier. And I wanted to run after the mail carrier and yell and scream, too. Because, you see, today I received an ugly piece of paper documenting the amount of money I owe to the dreaded and faceless entity known as EDUCATIONAL LOAN SERVICES, INC.

Please, somebody, make it stop.

Shoot me now.

Barring that, send money.

why I like lists: a list

1. lists provide the illusion of control
2. items on list are cross-off-able
3. items on list are finite
4. lists are aesthetically pleasing
5. parallelism ;)
6. lists leave more room in one's head for other, more important things
7. lists help us remember while paradoxically allowing us to forget
8. lists provide a sense of accomplishment

Movies I want to see over break:

1. Ocean's Twelve
2. Spanglish (even though I really don't like Adam Sandler)
3. Garden State
4. Amy
5. The Village

Sunday, December 26, 2004

a good, healthy cry


When I came home after the Christmas Day festivities, I switched on the TV and My Dog Skip was on. Annabelle was already in bed, so I had to keep getting up to go hug her as I bawled my eyes out. I'd seen the movie many years ago, but at the time I didn't have a dog and I wasn't this old. With age, I'm learning, comes an appreciation for the little things in life. Cliche, cliche, I know, but it's true.

I wanted to pick up Skip and run away with him. I bawled. This was not weeping or even crying, folks. This was all-out bawling.

People so often say that it's a dog's unconditional love that endears us to them. For me, it's that and it's Belly's simple satisfaction with life. Her needs are so easily met. Mine, it sometimes seems, will never be met, and so I take heart in the fact that some things in life really are easy. Food, love, affection, toys, treats, running, playing (not necessarily in that order), and she's happy.

Now, friends, I'm off to write my very first faculty productivity report, and I'm hoping my readers will also appreciate the little things in life. Sigh.

Friday, December 24, 2004

we don't live here anymore

Rent the movie, people, rent the movie.

I'm reading the book--which is three novellas--right now. It's the kind of book that you want to savor. I try to read it only for a few minutes a day because the language makes me want to cry. I don't want it to ever end. It is gorgeous pain.
In a marriage there are all sorts of lies whose malignancy slowly kills everything, and that day I was running the gamut from the outright lie of adultery to the careful selectivity which comes when there are things that two people can no longer talk about. It is hard to say which kills faster but I would guess selectivity, becuase it is a surrender: you avoid touching wounds and therefore avoid touching the heart. If I told the story, she would see it as a devious way of getting at her: the man's cooking would be the part she smothered; Hank's buying the seafood platter would be my rebellion. And she would be right. So I treated our disease with aspirins, I weaved my conversation around us, and all the time I knew with a taste of despair that I was stuck forever with this easy, lying pose; that with the decay of years I had slipped gradually into it, as into death, and that now at the end of those years and the beginning of all the years to come I had lost the dedication to honesty between us. Yet sometimes when I was alone and away from the house, always for this to happen I had to be away from the house, driving perhaps on a day of sunlight and green trees and rolling meadows, I would hear a song from another time and I could weep (but did not) for the time when I loved her every day and came up the walk in the afternoons happy to see her, days when I never had to think before I spoke. As we ate lobsters and drank wine we listened to the ball game. (39-40)

This is just one of my many obsessions: marriage. It was Andre Dubus' primary obsession. Soaking it up slowly....

Holiday wishes

May you be the recipient of neither lyings nor tirades, and may your fears be unfounded today.

P.S. I can't take full credit (I could, but then what kind of person would I be) for the fabulous title of this blog. One of my oldest, dearest friends penned it back when I was in college. If I remember correctly, it was in response to some minor paranoia on my part. Who me?? Never!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I got hit by the T!

Here's a fun distraction. The Boston snow plow game! I suck. Bad. I got hit by the T and I had a hard time backing up. The plow doesn't work when you back up. But there's peppermints and snowflakes and presents to get...just like in Pac-man. Remember Pac-man?

I think I like not working.

I thought I left Syracuse...

Okay, so it's not as though I thought I'd be moving to southern California when I moved to the middle of Illinois. But I did think I was leaving Syracuse behind. Today's forecast: high of 9 with windchill factors, and I quote, "well below zero." Tonight: windchills at 15 below. Tomorrow: more of the same.

Lest I somehow find myself back in Syracuse, I'd better point out that there are two big big differences between there and here: 1. The sun is shining on this bitter cold; 2. Ain't no snow to be seen for miles.

The only antidote: baking with good friends. Today's agenda: gingerboys and gingergirls, sugar cookies shaped like the snowmen we can't make outside, and sprinkle-covered snowflakes. Yum. Plus, Belly's boyfriend Tucker, a four-year-old golden, is coming over too.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Who I want to marry

(just in case they're reading...)

I do. Crack myself up. I do.

1. Darby Conley, creator of Get Fuzzy
2. Vince D'Onofrio
3. Stabler
4. Mark Ruffalo

Raise your hand if you see a pattern here.

Who'da thunk it?

I've always thought of myself as a pretty practical person. I drive a Geo Prizm, for instance, and time matters to me. As an academic, I have a perception of myself as, well, practical. I'm a teacher. I don't know that I'd ever ever ever identify myself as a theory-head, as those who love theory have been called. And, yes, I know that there really is no distinction between practice and theory, especially in composition studies. Is there a difference between doing theory and adopting theory? Well yeah, I guess so. I think I like to do both.

My point, though is this: I've been told recently that my work is highly theoretical and that, perhaps, it would benefit from an anecdote or some such. An anecdote? From Amy? I'll give you an anecdote. I'll give you three. Four. Five.

Paul Auster: "The anecdote as a form of knowledge. Yes."

Oh, how I love Paul Auster. And if you, too, love Paul, check out his wife! Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved is scrumptious. Love it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Question of the day

Will there ever be a blog post on Lyings and tirades and fears, oh my! that does not reference the Belle? And if so, will it be worth reading? And if so, what does that say about the kind of person I've become with this dog? Am I destined to grow old and live alone with five cats? Ahem. Revise. Am I destined to grow old and live alone with one large dog and be the crazy person who talks only about her dog to others so much that it's futile to carry on an intelligent conversation about, say, movies or something?

These are some of the un-pretty thoughts in this head.

Dog park etiquette

We have the most wonderful dog park in Normal. It's the quote, unquote unofficial dog park, but the official one is the size of my bathroom, so only the weenie dogs go there. The unofficial one is huge, fenced-in, and mostly poop-free.

So today, like many days, I brought Annabelle there. And the woman who brings her two pugs (pugs are just not cute) left the gate open when she left, even though there were two other dogs in the park, thank you very much. So my girl escapes, big surprise. Even though she had been doing very little running in the park, the minute she got out, she was off.

Now the other person who was there was training his dog to fetch and retrieve. He was a large guy, dressed in camoflauge--which in itself is a bit intimidating--and had the dog on the leash. His command voice was quite loud. So loud that at one point Annabelle sat while she was out there chasing squirrels.

If only.

So there I am, outside the fence yelling like a fool for my dog. I know she's not gonna come. I've been through this enough times with her before. I now know to wait about five minutes and then I can start worrying. But still. Perhaps it's all in my head--there is a lot in there, after all, and it certainly ain't all pretty--but I could feel this camo man's judgment bearing down on me, the dog owner who can't control her dog. He could surely control my dog if only I'd give him the chance. Internalized critique of my doggie-owning skills. Thank GOD I'm not a parent.

The beast returned, as she always does, tongue bigger than her head. And just as I was making it back to my car, camo man is making his way to his truck with his perfectly trained dog. I walked just a wee bit faster to get into the car so as to avoid any smart-ass remark about my dog running off. I don't need to be told what I already know.

She sure is gorgeous when she runs.

Amy hit the blogosphere

Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter
And she's never coming back, I fear.

First blog post. The pressure.

Had a date with a cop this weekend, and I learned a few things.
One: The portable flashing blue lights that you see the bad guys slap onto the roofs of their cars in the movies are magnetic. They don't work on convertibles.
Two: Where do they get the kids for a lineup? At the local high school. The kids are paid $20 to stand next to someone who is probably a classmate or at least an acquaintance.
Three: There are many women out there who are attracted to men in uniforms.
Four: K-9 dogs! I want one!
Five: I'm not the only one who thinks "Booda" is an awfully cute nickname for a dog.
Six: A mid-life crisis car is not a turn-on.