Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February is the longest month

Buh-bye February. They say it's the shortest, but jesus h., if it were one day longer, I might slit my wrists.

This even though the weather has been in the high 50s last couple days and will be in the 60s on Wednedsay.

Nothing really new to report. Well, nothing new to report that can appear on the blog. Cryptilicious.

Happy birthday to the Schmoozin tomorrow. I shall not reveal your age.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

smiley green goldfish

I'm no longer allowed to purchase bags of parmesan goldfish. I cannot leave them alone. I ate yet another entire bag yesterday. Well. Not an entire bag. I gave Annabelle a handful so that I could report (to whom, I wonder) that I in fact had not eaten the entire bag.

Ah, the things doggies are good for.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

tonight I paid full price for a Disney movie

and I have no regrets.

I finally got that cry I've been wanting since Brokeback.

Eight Below. Can't say I'd take a child to this movie, though it was an added bonus that I was sitting behind a little person since it was easy to see over her head. There were a couple really scary parts. I screamed once.

At times when I get all caught up in school work and scholarship and working working working until I can't work anymore but I keep on working because I'm not really sure what else to do with myself, a movie like this makes me remember that work is not life. Life is not work. My Booda Booda Stinkbomb, she's worth working for.

I came home and hugged and hugged my girl. If I could, I'd rename her Maya. Don't be surprised to see lots of little female puppies named Maya this year.

Annabelle Blue Maya Butler. Cuters.

America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir!

In last night's dream, I was working at Arby's. My biggest problem with working at Arby's was not the uniform but the possibility that my students would come in and see that I was working at Arby's.

And on the second day, I showed up two hours late. In my dream I was stressed out about this.

Not coincidentally, I had a sandwich from Arby's last night. Not roast beef, though, sir.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I watched North Country last night. Well, actually I watched the first hour on Wednesday night and kept it an extra day to finish it last night.

Hard to believe that the kinds of things the movie dramatizes actually happened in the late 80s in this country. Un-fucking-believable. I wanted to throw things at the television but all I had were the forty-three remotes on the coffee table and if I'd thrown those I would've had to get up and get them when it was time to pause.

Not that shit like that doesn't still happen EVERY SINGLE DAY in workplaces in this country. It does. It happens in classrooms and in board rooms and in living rooms every day. The home is a workplace, too, after all.

The other night I was talking to a friend and I said something about the way I wanted something done. "Damn, you're demanding," he said.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

my favorite part of the whole affair

The nurse comes at me with a green marker, asks me to show her the spot on my abdomen that the doctor will be working on, draws a green circle around it, and asks me to initial it. Now that's a literacy act that could use some analysis.

By signing your own flesh, you hereby acknowledge that you are granting the doctor permission to cut into you on that spot and not on another.

By signing your own flesh, you hereby promise not to sue the doctor or the hospital for cutting into your flesh on that spot and not another.

By signing your own flesh, you hereby recognize the need to shower sometime in the near future. Else you will forever be stained green.

Clara 1994-2006

Please note the time of this post. I'm up, showered, dressed, and fed. Belly's outside doing her business and waking the neighbors.

Not sure how likely it is that I'll get my cultural trauma reading done at THE HOSPITAL, but hey, I can give it a shot. Intentions and all that.

I called my sister last night to tell her that if they give me the wrong drug or something and I end up in some kind of vegetative state--persistent or otherwise--pull the plug. Find Belly a good home. Burn my journals.

This is what we call drama of the melo sort. Not mellow. Melo. Love that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

teaching always makes me feel better

Sunday and Monday I was depressed, let's just say. There was a semester during grad school when I was doing admin work and so didn't have to teach. It was also during that semester that I came closest to jumping off a cliff--that is, post- antidepressants.

My generalization doesn't exactly work, though, because in the summers I haven't ever searched the internet for the gun laws in my state. But after every break--summer and winter--I'm always more than ready to get back to the classroom.

I do feel better today. My students help me see things differently. They're so smart and so trusting and so good. While I can understand teachers becoming frustrated with individual students, I'll never understand why teachers so often complain about this group of people called "students."

Teaching is the way I learn the most. I'd be one dumb cookie if I weren't responsible for teaching this stuff.

I do feel better. Today's teaching was good.

Monday, February 20, 2006

the meaning of individual and social life

There's a goal for something at ISU--and I'm not going to name what that something is--but it includes the words "analyze the meaning and purpose of individual and social life" by doing x, y, and z. On the writing committee, each time we get to it (last week and this week) a little alarm goes off in my head because, sheesh, if we're (and that we casts a wide net) supposed to be teaching students to analyze the meaning and purpose of individual and social life, I do believe I wouldn't be qualified to graduate from ISU. Cuz hell if I know the meaning and purpose of individual and social life.

THE meaning.


Still feeling a little bit down, but at the same time, I feel like I had a pretty productive day, so that's a good thing. But here's part of what makes me sad: going home and there being nobody to tell this silly little thing about the meaning and purpose of life to. Nobody to laugh with. It's the loneliest part of the day.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

if nothing else, there's a pattern

Look at what I wrote exactly one year ago.

Now hear this: I'm feeling utterly down. Knowing that there's a pattern to it doesn't really change the way it feels, alas. I'm feeling like I work and work and work and I'll never be done working and I'll just never be done. Not that I want it to be done because then what would I do with myself? But perhaps an entire day off would be nice.

But then even if I had an entire day off, I'd still be sad. It's not about work. Still feeling very alone. Really not all that much has changed since I wrote that post a year ago.

I have so many friends, I really do. But I still feel so damn alone. It's a goddamn curse.

they say it's all about luck

Match Point. I'm not persuaded.

Sure, luck plays a huge role, especially at the end. But it's about more than that. It's about the tragedy of getting what you wish for. It's about seeing things for what they really are. It's about vulnerability and desire and knowing that what you have is enough for a good life but wanting more anyway. Knowing full well that what you're about to do is going to ruin everything. But you do it anyway.

Here's my thing about that: it's about curiosity and the inability to live your life wondering what if. I mean, switch things around. Imagine that Chris Wilton doesn't give in to his desire for Nola Rice. What's worse: living your life wondering or living your life with the consequences?

I loved this movie. I loved it because it was so tragic and depressing and I wanted to just be in it for a few hours more. Afterwards, I just wanted to sit and stare at a wall and hold onto that feeling. Far more than Brokeback, this movie is one that's going to stick with me. Maybe the big difference is that I wasn't left with the sentimental so much as I was left with a slap in the face. And life has to go on, but in a way that is just so damn depressing. The beginnings of the dysfunctional family.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


It was one of those weeks. Nothing seemed to work right, I was dropping shit left and right, I'd get frustrated at the teeniest things, and I was just exhausted. I slept in a bit today in a freshly made bed with thick flannel sheets and fourteen thousand blankets on top of me, so I feel a bit better. I don't feel like I have fourteen thousand things to do today, and I just might be able to have a simple day of cleaning the house and grading rhetoric papers. (Note that whenver I exaggerate, the number is some form of "14." Julie's number is "8." When we play softball this spring, we'll have to adopt those numbers for our jerseys.)

I think I might be beginning to be susceptible to the reading danger that plagues all dissertators. As I prepare to revise my prospectus, I find myself so easily swayed by all the other arguments out there that have even the slightest thing to do with Bourdieu or with authorship, and I convince myself that what I'm doing is stupid and obvious. I think that if and when this stupid and obvious book ever sees the light of day, it will have to include somewhere those two words together.

Stupid and obvious and a total of 14 copies sold.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Whooh boy, have I been a cranky thing the last coupla days. Hence no blogging. Or because of no blogging?

In any case, Clara has scheduled her coming out party for next Wednesday the 22nd. There'll be shots and drugs and stitches, oh my!

Here's a funny from my lunch yesterday with my good colleague Katherine:

Me, moaning about how tired I am: I gotta stop saying yes to everything.

K: What else have you said yes to besides ______?

Me, stumped: Well....I don't know but I still have to stop saying yes to everything.

When you're suffering from crankitude, even one small thing can seem like everything. That's my defense.

I've been having milkshakes from Steak n Shake just a few too many times in the past week. A bit addicted, I think I am.

I feel like I could sleep for a full 24 hours. Without even getting up to pee.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

stupid valentine's day

I'm not bitter. Really I'm not.

When I was in my 20's, I would announce that if I were single with no prospects at 30, I'd shoot myself.

Good jesus.

This morning in the Advanced Exposition class, I had students write about their shortcomings--happy valentine's day--in order to get them to think about what it means to implicate themselves in their writing. Here's me implicating myself.

It's easier to call it stupid than it is to admit that I'd really like to go out for a fancy dinner tonight and there's nobody to take me. I've forgotten what it's like to be part of a pair, and that makes me sad.

Monday, February 13, 2006

working 9 to 5

three days a week.

I'm forcing myself to be at school from 9-5 for three days every week: M, W, F. It's my new plan for working on the book. I like to think of myself as simulating a real-world office job, complete with breaks, water-cooler gossip, and a lunch "hour," though I'll hardly ever take that much time to eat my PBJ.

Report from Day 1: I think it's working.

Annabelle won't be too pleased, since this means only two days to go to the park, but she'll adjust. Good thing she has no concept of time.

Perhaps I shouldn't write yet that it's working. Perhaps I'm jinxing myself. Egads.

Friday, February 10, 2006

2 things I'm not proud of but I'm telling you because you're so devoted to me


1. I ate an entire bag of parmesan goldfish today. An entire bag. I've decided that if January was the month of the diet, February is eat-as-much-fat-as-you-can month. Sheesh.

2. I went to Wal-mart today because Target still didn't have any watermelon Trident. And, well, a girl needs her watermelon Trident after eating an entire bag of parmesan goldfish. Gotta make sure my breath is sweet.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

something of a recurring nightmare, Batman

In last night's dream, I had given birth to a tiny baby boy I decided to name Daniel. I was at Wal-Mart, for chrissakes, searching for tiny socks and onesies because apparently nobody had given me a baby shower and I was not at all prepared for this tiny beast.

And all I kept thinking as this dream was happening was that I wanted my old life back. And then I was thinking that all new mothers go through that initial period when they want their own life back and I'd eventually come to love this thing called motherhood.

Then I woke up before I could start that appreciation thing. Thank christ.

when a student makes your day

In my Advanced Exposition: The Personal Essay class this morning:

"I have never been so pleasantly frustrated as I am in this class."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'll probably forget to GET the mail

I've written before about Belly eating the mail as it flies through the slot in the door onto the living room floor. This behavior has not abated despite my complete and total avoidance of the issue. On days when we happen to be out of the house when the mail comes, I breathe a sigh of relief. On Sundays I even open the shades in the front of the house (the other 6 days I figure I can at least spare the mail carrier the sight of the big black beast who wants to bite his/her head off).

Yesterday was a typical day. Teach in the morning/early afternoon, come home, check phone messages, check mail, go to the dog park. The mail consisted of two things--a J.Jill catalog (from whom I no longer buy anything) and a flyer for C's. Both had bite marks. It was only much later that day--in the evening, in fact--that I discovered ON MY BED a piece of mail that Belly had had an especially good time with. It was an advertisement for some random teaching program and the ad included a CD. Well, the CD was in six or seven pieces in the plastic casing. The last straw, so they say.

Now, in addition to the "No Soliciting" sign on my front door (it was there when I moved in and I have no problem with that sentiment) there's a little note taped to the door slot: "Please leave mail between doors. Dog eats it. Thank you. AR"

when the Scrabble server is down...

...how can life go on as usual? Part of the new routine is to have a quickie game before I go off to work each day. NOW what am I going to do? Get started working 15 minutes early? Harrumph.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

the hippo and the tortoise

Holy. Cute.

Cute factor maxed out for the day. I love hippos.

Please do not share anything cute with me today. I might have an epileptic fit.

Monday, February 06, 2006

watermelon Trident crisis

Target was completely out of watermelon Trident tonight. That's the whole reason I went there. Granted, I picked up a few other things while I was there, but there I was at the checkout and there was none to be had. So I went to the next checkout. And the next one. And the one after that. Defeated, I paid for my diet coke and peanut M&Ms and hung my head low as I walked to my car.

In other news, Clara is 90% better. Doctor's visit tomorrow to weigh and measure her. KIDDING.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

what I picked up at pottery today

1. a nut dish. It's got three Scrabble tiles--one in the middle of each of its three sections-- that spell out N U T. 3 points.

2. two ice cream dishes that are cute and small and restrict your consumption of ice cream to two scoops max. unless you go back for more.

3. three Scrabble tile coasters: J (8 points), X (8 points), F (4 points).

4. two salad bowls to match the salad bowl I made months ago. there's one more that I finished today and it's ready to be fired.

What I painted today at pottery:

6 Scrabble tile coasters, one for each member of the exclusive dog park crew: A (me, 1 point), B (Bernie, 3 points), D (Denise, 2 points), K (Kelly, 5 points, and the winner), N (Nan, 1 point, though if I'd made her a G it would've been 2 points), and S (Sarah, 1 point).

Friday, February 03, 2006

I didn't feel as sad as I wanted to feel

This is my primary reaction to Brokeback Mountain, which I saw tonight with the Julie Wonka. It'd been built up too much, I guess, and while the final scene was touching, I didn't cry even though throughout the entire movie I was waiting for the tears to well up.

I wanted to cry. It feels so good to get a cathartic cry at the movies. But my expectations were too high this time.

That makes me sad.

The Squid and the Whale

Lynn Worsham's class was canceled last night, so I decided to take myself (and Clara, of course) to the movies. The Squid and the Whale was playing at the Normal Theater, where admission is $5 and all snacks are a buck.

I love, am obsessed with, dysfunctional family dramas, so this was the movie for me. Jeff Daniels was fantastic as a dried-up writer whose only source of self-esteem is putting his wife down. There were moments when you just wanted to reach up and slap him, and his oldest son, Walt, is taking after him in scary ways. Daniels' character was so pathetic. But I'm not a movie reviewer. What I really want to say is that there's this moment, very early in the film, when the whole family is driving home from a tennis game. You see the parents from the kids' perspective and, in that moment, there's something about Laura Linney's ponytail that is just so sad. You see that these are just two people tired of one another, you imagine them younger, filled with promise and happiness and young children, and you realize--well it made me realize, anyway--just how arbitrary it all is. Coupling. Marriage. Children. Moments like that when the people aren't members of a family--Mom, Dad--but you can see them as the individuals they once were and you wonder how they got to this point. And you know they're wondering how they got to this point.

Of course, the armchair psychologist in me knows that this is me shaping that moment to help me understand my own issues. But it was a powerful moment nonetheless.

Go see it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hillary, my oldest friend in the world, she kills me sometimes

Talking to Hillary tonight and she said something about Jokkmokk, so I knew she'd read my earlier post today. Then she said something about how all I was writing about lately was Clara and I said, I thought you read today's post. Didn't you like the thing about Belly's collar? That has nothing to do with Clara.

H: I didn't like that part. You sounded like a snob.

Me, flabbergasted: A snob?

H: I felt bad for the dog, that you were calling him the ugliest dog in the world and you didn't want Belly to be anything like him.

Me: Do you want your dogs to be like the ugliest dog in the world?

I gotta tell you, people, this really did have me flabbergasted because Hillary does not participate in conversations about dogs, let alone dog collars. So we talked about other things during the phone call but I kept coming back to this idea that she now thinks I'm a snob.

H: It's like you think you're better than other people.

Me: No, I think my dog is better than the ugliest dog in the world. She's the precious booda bugger.

Off on other topics for a few minutes...

I bring it up one more time and FINALLY, we get to the real issue (I should really be a psychologist):

H: All of a sudden I felt like the ugliest dog in the world.

Me, howling: So, it's not about the dog at all.

H: Just you be quiet.

things I haven't blogged about because of Clara

1. Frey on Oprah looking like he was run over by a steamroller. Oprah saying to Frey, after a commercial break, "I know you were probably joking when you asked if there was a gun backstage, but [puts her hand on his knee] it's really not that bad."

2. Reading Jo Ann Beard's collection of autobiographical stories, The Boys of My Youth. Holy shit. Good stuff.

3. Ordering a table and chairs set from Ikea and the item name is Jokkmokk. Say that with me now. Jokkmokk. Imagine the Scrabble points on that one.

4. The ugliest dog in the world showing up at the dog park wearing the same lime green collar that Belly wears. Switching to blue because Nan gave us Molly's old collar. Belly shall not be in any category that includes the ugliest dog in the world.

5. Brokeback Mountain finally making it to central Illinois. The plan is to go with the Wonka on Friday night.

6. Giving myself the entire week off from writing--well this is because of Clara, but hey, it's big.

7. Telling my rhetoric students I'm going to write an article about bullshit and then, a week later, one of them asking how it's coming along. Um, I'm not even starting that until March.

8. Turning down a request to have my photo appear in the university's glossy faculty report--because of the CE essay. Realizing that I never leave home without my issues.

9. Worrying that this year is going to be trouble, that perhaps Clara is some kind of metaphor for my life.