Thursday, March 31, 2005

precious metal

Gold crown inserted into mouth today. Shiny.

Reactions to this have been interesting. Friends here think it's great. Friends at home think it's gonna make me look like a gangster. It's in the way, way back, so you can't see it unless I open my mouth really really wide, which I never do when I laugh or anything. Never.

More durable than porcelain, and its value only increases, regardless of what I've got stuck in it. When I die, people, be sure that someone goes in and gets the gold before they put me in the ground. Buy a round of drinks in my honor.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

tornado watch

This girl from Massachusetts isn't quite sure how to react to a department listserv message that the entire state of Illinois is under a tornado watch until 8:00 tonight. Do I go outside and watch? Do I panic? Do I teach class? Do I move to a house with a basement? Do I tie bricks to Belly so she won't blow away? Do I follow the yellow brick road?

softball envy

This warm weather is making me long for evenings of softball and cookouts. We couldn't get enough people together here to form a team, so I'm sad sad sad.


Um, driving my car today in the 75-degree sun, I was HOT. And I said to myself, out loud, mind you, "it's downright hot."

I write this, knowing full well that my SYR friends want to throw tomatoes at me. Make those sun-dried.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I know none of my readers shop at W**-mart, but if you do, this story should make you stop.

One of Hillary's co-workers told her this story today. Let's call the co-worker Lara.

Lara buys a big bag of W**-mart's brand of dog food, which is called Ol' Roy, the Ol' being right on the money in this case. She goes home, opens the bag and jumps back, startled.


ACK! ACK! But not just one mouse. Said mouse has friends, in varying stages of decomposition.

Some decapitated.

Some just bones.

Some still moving and eating.

Christ. I need a shower. ACK! ACK!

Lara composes herself somehow, takes the bag of food (what's left of it), and a baggie with dead mice back to W**-mart. THE ASSHOLE EMPLOYEE ASKS IF SHE HAS A RECEIPT! For their own brand of dog food! AS IF DEAD MICE AREN'T RECEIPT ENOUGH!

My skin crawleth.

Monday, March 28, 2005

on normalizing illness

If you, too, ever wondered about the meaning of the term "wellness," here's an article for you. Just remember, when I tell you about the smell of burning flesh or about the lack of skin on my fingers, it's because I'm normal.

good things

In keeping with my New Year's resolution, I offer this list.

Sunshine. Sixty degrees. Pink pants. Hot coffee. Sitting on the back porch reading, looking up every once in a while to watch Belly chasing and eating flies. Tired doggie after our 40-minute morning walk. Our 40-minute morning walk. Time to read. Good stuff to read. Generative thinking. Flip flops. No more sniffling red nose. Diet coke. Hillary making me snort with laughter at 8 a.m. Students making fun of my penchant for lists. Tomorrow: seventy degrees.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

domestic diva

There's not a speck of dirty laundry in this house, including the kitchen rugs.

Picked up sticks and trash in the front yard.

Swept for what seems like the hundredth time this week.

Vacuumed. Even broke out the attachments for along the floorboards.

Dusted. Picked things up rather than dusting around them.

Cleaned doggie slobber off front bay window.

Cleaned doggie ears.

Took down the blanket I had nailed--yes, nailed--around the window that is directly above my head when I sleep.

Changed from flannel to cotton sheets, the kind that are cool to the touch when you first get in them.

Swept back porch. It looks great except for the lumber leaning all along one side of it.

Now I'm feeling like baking. Except I promised myself I'd keep all sweets out of the house for a while. Spring is coming, after all.

if you give a dog a muffin...

  1. She might just stop yelling at the neighbors for being out in their yard on this gorgeous 60-degree day.
  2. She'll get crumbs all over the place and spend the next half hour or so trying to get every last one, ingesting lots of dirt in the process.
  3. She might begin to see that things are getting back to normal around here and RELAX. Corn muffins on Sunday morning are one indication.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

70s. here. next week.

That's all I'm sayin'.

Friday, March 25, 2005

a beautiful sight

Good lord. I'm at Denny's this morning with Julia, having a very yummy breakfast--it was her idea, and I'm so glad I went along. Now, I have a cold and yesterday was probably the worst day of it. Lots of runny nose, sniffling, and crustiness going on. No coughing or headaches to speak of, so I'm lucky. I just look like Rudolph with this honkin' red nose.

Well, there I am at breakfast with my piles of tissues, both used and unused, and I'm blabbing away about something or other and I just happen to swipe my finger right above my lip and it's all wet.

Me: Um, when were you gonna tell me I have snot running down my nose?

Julia: Well, I was just about to. I figured it'd hit your lip any second.

When a nose is running completely unbenownst to its owner, it's time to go back to bed.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Annabelle's regression

She's been so mad at me since I picked her up from the kennel. A couple nights ago, when I said good night to her, she bared her teeth at me. My, what pretty teeth you have, little girl. Sunday afternoon, Julia and Hudson and Tucker were over, and Belly got into the trash in the office. She never does that. And last night was the icing on the cake.

She ran through the goddamn screened-in porch again and was missing for an hour. The wind had knocked over the lovely pieces of lumber I'd stacked up along that side of the porch. This time, though, I was more mad than scared and I just kept saying to myself, "I'm done. DONE with this." So after going up the street once, knowing full well that she wasn't going to respond to my calls, I did what I was originally going to do when I discovered she was missing: I went to the grocery store to get my vanilla ice cream and ginger ale (nursing a cold since I got back, too). When I came back from the store, she wasn't here, so I called Julia again to report that she hadn't returned and, as I'm talking to her, here comes Belly running up to the front door. She knows where she lives. She knows where the bed and the food and the treats are kept. I went out to the garage, brought in her crate, and set it up in her little room. And the kicker is, I think she's happy about it. She went right in, stretched out, and slept the rest of the night.

If nothing else, the mail carrier will be happy that Belly's being crated.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

COPYRIGHT = 20 points

And that's 20 points with no special double or triple squares, which is unlikely, if not impossible.

Susan (aka Schmoozin) and I will no longer be able to compete with each other via escrabble. The owner, Jared, recieved a cease-and-desist letter from a firm representing Hasbro, and the site will be shut down in the next day or so. The rules, the board, the name, they're all copyrighted, and Jared apparently didn't get copyright clearance, though in his defense, he certainly wasn't profiting from the e-version of Scrabble.

In related news (not really), I brought my travel Scrabble with me to SF and nobody played with me. I feel dejected.

Monday, March 21, 2005


As all who read this blog know by now, Annabelle stayed in a kennel while I was in San Francisco. She stayed at the same place that she usually goes to doggie day care, so they know and love her and vice versa. They gave me a key so that I could go into the small geriatric room, where they'd put Belly on the last night, and get her at whatever ungodly hour I arrived back in town. Turns out that hour was 2:00 a.m. Well, she wasn't where she was supposed to be. And I was TIRED. Cranky. Where's my dog?

Went into the very large room where they board all the dogs. Turned on the lights. Holy barking, bat man. Every single dog in there was put on orange alert. I thought the cops were gonna show up. I found her right away. But all her stuff--Baby, mommy's sweatshirt, her leash, for crying out loud--was nowhere to be found. So I grabbed her by the collar and walked her out to the car. I felt like I was kidnapping my own dog.

Turns out whoever was on duty Saturday night didn't look in the computer to see that I'd be picking up my girl real late.

The result of Belly's time in the kennel: she's been humbled. Took her to the dog park yesterday and one of the other regulars said, "Wow, she's not her loud self today. She's subdued." Yup, she just got back from the kennel.

I'm sure it won't be long before she's got the fire up her ass again. She's so so happy to be home. She's probably emotionally exhausted. I know I am.

miscellany and C's

I think I might love Lawrence Lessig. His talk was by far the best thing I saw at the conference. So happy he'll be at the Michigan one as well. I came home and immediately ordered two of his books.

The panel I was on with Michele Eodice and Lauren Fitzgerald went beautifully. We had a big room and it was nearly full. Julie tells me that, while I was reading, people around her were furiously taking notes. Happy. And I got lots of great ideas from listening to Michele and Lauren and I can't wait until I'm awake enough to process the crazy notes I took.

Sleep. Christ, I needed sleep. I slept most of yesterday and until 9:00 this morning and I still don't know if I'm the same person I was when I left for San Francisco. I was delirious with fatigue at times, which resulted in my feeling pretty weepy most of the time. I was not the regular fun Amy. I even skipped out on a trip to 826 Valencia to see the pirate storefront. Tobi tells me I would've loved it.

The other highlight of the trip was seeing Jack Brereton. That made me weepy and happy and weepy and happy all at the same time. So glad he's okay.

I won't say anything here about the worst panel I saw because, well, I don't want this to ever come back and haunt me. But you can ask me about it.

Belly's home, safe and sound. That's another story for another entry.

I feel old. All I wanted was my bed and my dog. Felt sorry for myself a lot, an effect of not getting enough sleep and of seeing really good friends. I didn't realize how much I'd missed them.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

a reflection on the big city

Any big city. I'm not a city girl. I guess I always kind of knew that, but this aging process I'm going through has solidified this knowledge.
  1. Cities are lonely places. So so so many people make me feel even more alone than when I'm all by myself.
  2. Cities offer too much incoming sensory stimulation. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. The constant noise. Ugh.
  3. Cities make me feel as though I'm always missing out on something (which is, of course, an issue I should be talking about with a shrink and not necessarily blogging). No matter what I choose to do, there are fifteen million other things I could be doing. That could make any sane control freak nuts.
  4. Cities confirm that there are too many people in the world.
  5. I didn't see enough dogs in this big city.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

anticipating withdrawal

I'm not taking my computer to San Fran. I'm so addicted to blogging and reading blogs that I'm not really sure how my system is going to handle it. What will I read with breakfast? The cereal box?

what Belly's taking to the kennel

  1. food
  2. rawhides
  3. treats
  4. blankie
  5. Baby
  6. Mommy's sweatshirt
  7. her overnight bag--an L.L. Bean tote with her name embroidered on it
  8. a little bit of apprehension
  9. lots of thoughts of mommy
How are we gonna get through this?

My mom tells me that this is a chance for the two of us to grow up. Crossing my fingers.

the ever elusive Elmo

How I spent day 2 of spring break:

Going from store to store searching the young boys' departments for Elmo underwear, size 2t or 3t. Keita wrote me from Germany to tell me that Trevor, her 2 1/2 year old, will only wear underpants if they've got Elmo on them. Pull-ups have Elmo, so why wouldn't underwear? But noooooooo. Prowling those young boys' departments, feeling like some kind of perv because everybody there somehow knows I don't have a little boy, I came up empty. Sorry, little boy. They've got Spiderman, Bob the Builder, Scooby, but no Elmo.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

how I know blogging's getting to me

How else? I dreamt about it. Last night I dreamt that I went to dooce's house to walk Chuck. When I returned him to the house, dooce herself walked in with Leta, and I said, "Hi Dooce. I just finished walking Chuck for you." She thanked me, never asked me how I got into her house or why I was there, and asked me if I could watch Leta for ten minutes. Of course I said sure, but then when I was leaving, I didn't have enough money to rent a car to get me from Utah back to Newton, MA, where I was apparently living. I was exactly $160 short. The rental car man would give me a deal if I went over to that movie theater and stole the poster for We Were Soldiers. I know where this comes from. The other day Julie and I were talking about Mel Gibson's issues with violence. I remembered that I could only watch 10 minutes of WWS before shutting it off.

But why am I walking other people's dogs and watching other people's children? For ten minutes in a state hundreds of miles away, no less?

Yeah. And I say Mel Gibson's got issues.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Friday night at the Normal Denny's

Yes, folks, this is what I do with my Friday nights. I spent two hours in Denny's tonight grading midterms and, I gotta say, I do love people-watching. The 20-year-old in the booth behind me was explaining to his younger brother Benny that he [the older brother] is addicted to apple juice and if the waitress asks him again if he wants more, then Benny ought to kick him and make him say no. Because he just can't refuse it on his own. The young father of three at the table in the middle is trying to teach his four- or five-year-old son how to do one of those puzzles where you have to draw all the lines of a squarish-looking object without lifting your pencil or going over the same line twice. "No, no, no. You just went over that line twice. You have to do it without going over the same line twice." And then there's the very heavy couple with their little teeny girl of about 3 or 4 who really, really has to go potty but the mom convinces her, by whispering something in her ear, to wait until they get home to go potty. "Lulu, the potties here are really, really gross," is what I imagine her saying. "But we eat here nonetheless."

They sure do move 'em in and out pretty darn quickly in Denny's. Guess I never noticed because I was too busy being moved out myself. Not tonight, boy. I got some grading to do and if I go home I'll just plop myself in front of the TV and tell myself I've got a whole week. And my friendly waitress didn't even charge me for the four gallons of diet Coke and the pot of coffee I drank.

Lulu, I used the potty 'cuz I couldn't wait until I got home.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

next week at this time

I'll be having multiple beers with good friends I haven't seen in a long time. Yippeee.

I'll have finished grading 23 midterms. I gave the first midterm of my teaching career this week to the students in my rhetoric course. Good decision.

I'll be missing my girl. For the first time since I adopted her nearly three years ago, Annabelle will be staying in a kennel. It's the same place she goes to daycare, which means everyone there knows and loves her, but it might kill me to know she's sleeping in a little cage. Today when I dropped her off for daycare, I asked the owner if Belly could sleep in his bed next week while she's there. He said there are too many other dogs in his bed already. He said I could call as often as I need to.
"And can I talk to her on the phone?"
"Sure," he said. "We could try that."
Oh, the Booda.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

is your refrigerator running?

Crank calls: the pre-Internet spam.

Doesn't Bucky know that most people have caller ID? Even my 71-year-old mother has it. It's nearly impossible to offer practical advice about refrigerators anonymously anymore.

Monday, March 07, 2005

C's paper. Status: complete

I am such a dork.

News flash: Amy needs to get a life.

My C's paper is complete one point five weeks before the dang conference begins.

It's trendy, of course, to brag that one has written one's paper on the plane or that one has stayed up all night putting the finishing touches on it.

Trendy I am not.

Besides, the effect of such boasting is a denial of the labor involved in writing. The same way that, as Linda Brodkey notes in "Writing on the Bias," students are encouraged to disown their own labor by claiming that they didn't do the homework or study for the test.

I've done my homework. I've always done my homework.

Ooh! And I'm teaching another special topics grad course next semester, and I'm thinking of going with social class in composition. Text suggestions?

what doesn't kill me...

Garret Keizer, in this month's Harper's:

The right talks about protecting life and tradition, but on some is mostly interested in protecting pain. For two reasons.

The first is theological: the belief that pain holds the meaning of life.... This explains the conundrum so perplexing to the liberal mind: why hard-pressed people can vote against their own interests in support of someone like George W. Bush. How can they not see? In fact, they do see: they see from the same point of view that has led them to believe that the misery of their lives is the foundation of their integrity.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Julia, her two dogs--Hudson and Tucker--and Belly and I all took a 1.5 hour walk today in this gorgeous weather. By the 45-minute mark, all three dogs were moving more slowly, all 3 tongues hanging out. The tulips and daffodils are sprouting and the air smells like a midsummer barbecue. The Belly girl is snoring on my bed, and I'm about to go have a glass of wine with Julie while we watch Their Eyes Were Watching God.

All of this to say that weather like this makes life worth living.

outside: 58; inside: 56

It's officially warmer outside than it is inside, so Belly and I are going outside to sun ourselves and read for tomorrow's grad seminar. Well, I'll read. She'll chew on sticks.

Life is good.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

of scarred flesh and hot dogs

This is not for the faint of stomach.

The taste that the scarred flesh has left in my mouth is reminiscent of hot dogs. So of course I begin to think about the possibility that the filler in hot dogs is some animal's gums.


Friday, March 04, 2005

no goin' back now

I made a big step toward making my residence in Illinois official: I got my Illinois driver's license. I had to take written (aka computer-generated) exam, and I only got an 85%. I had much more faith in myself as a driver than that.

I've never been licensed anywhere but Massachusetts, so this is a big step.

When I was fifteen years old and had just finished downing nine--NINE--shots of Southern Comfort in my garage--with who else but Hillary--I promptly puked it up, along with all the Doritos I'd eaten to help the liquor down. My first question: "does this mean I won't get drunk?"

Does this mean I'm not a New Englander?

Well...I've still got the Massachusetts plates on my car (cuz, folks, that costs $143 to transfer, and the license was $10. you do the math)....

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I've smelled burning flesh, and it ain't pretty

Another dental visit today. Dentist decides that the tooth he's working on in the way back has got a little too much gum.


Burns the gum away from the tooth. And I'm thinkin, it's bad enough to know it's happening and to smell the burning flesh, but that poor man has to SEE it. Why on earth would anyone want to be a dentist? Gross. Gross. Gross.

I left the dentist feeling as though I still smelled like burning flesh. Good thing I didn't teach today. End-of-the-semester evaluations: She's a fine teacher and all, but there was that one day when she smelled like, um, burning flesh.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

this one's gonna cost ya

Last night I dreamt I was in Germany, trying to find my way around the subway/bus system, and to take a break, I decided to see a movie. But first I had to find just the right blazer to wear with my brown pants. In my dream, movie prices were based not on the movie or on the time of day or on one's age but on the frame--as in how many frames make up a movie. The more frames, the more the ticket cost.

In other news, I signed up for softball today. ISU doesn't have an intramural program as far as I can tell, so we're putting a team together for the town o' Normal. Contest: name that team!

Like the youngest child that I am, I walked around the department yesterday with my copy of Authorship in Composition Studies open to page 41. Look at me, everybody, look at me. Yesterday at lunch with Hilary-with-one-l, also a youngest child, I confirmed that my tendency to say "You can't make me" in response to any request is indeed a result of being bossed around far too much in the formative years.

Hillary-with-2-ls, aka, the one I've known all my life, is getting an inground pool installed in May! That's all I ever wanted as a kid. Well, that, and to be an only child, but still. How cool!

Wir gehen schwimmen.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Scrabble players unite!

My friend Hillary and I have been playing Scrabble together since before we could talk. Okay, a minor exaggeration. Since before we kissed boys, anyway.

Last year for my dissertation defense, Hillary generously agreed to craft 3 foot-tall Scrabble tiles for each member of my dissertation committee--each would receive their 3 initials. Janee Hindman, with the initials JEH, won for points (13), but Eileen E. Schell had the most coveted letter of all: the S.

The mistake I made when asking Hillary to make these was not asking her to make AER (wimpy 3 points). Here's a picture of Collin's. How freakin' cool are these?