Tuesday, October 31, 2006

breathe some life into this blog, dammit

er, I mean, Happy Hollow-weenie!

I'm feeling stunted in the blog department. Nothing funny, nothing creative to say. And nothing really to report. Perhaps I've hit the point in my life when life is just a daily grind. Now that I can't bitch about being alone, what can I bitch about? I mean, isn't that what blogs are for--bitching about things that aren't simply perfect in our lives?

I'm bringing Krispy Kreme pumpkin-shaped donuts to class tonight. Yummers.

Part of my problem lately is that I'm reading all these files from job applicants and I'm feeling like I'm not publishing enough. I've got two things out there and Becky and I are doing the book, but it all feels so damn unfinished. I wrote a grant proposal this semester and I did my Watson paper, which I want to turn into something, but still I feel so damn unproductive.

Hmmm, I wonder if any of this has to do with it getting dark so damn early? Harumph.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

annual post in which I whine about it being dark at 5:00

Let's talk about sleep. This morning I slept in until 9:15 and it felt so. damn. good. I was covered in layers and layers of thick blankets and I couldn't move and I slept like a log (a log just lies there and doesn't move, says S. As opposed to a baby, which sleeps in fits and starts). Because I went to the dog park in the afternoon instead of the morning, I had a leisurely Sunday morning for the first time in I don't know how long.

Last night S. and I were snuggling on the couch watching the Law & Order I'd taped the night before and he fell asleep on me. The magic, as they say, it must be gone.


The darkness. Let's talk about that, shall we? But you already know what I'm gonna say. It makes me sad, depressed, tired, cranky, especially when I leave class at 5:15 and it's dark dark dark. But hey, the new drugs just might counteract this depressing darkness, as I wasn't on them last year at this time. Cross your fingers.

In absolutely unrelated news, I'm on a search committee this year and I'm going to MLA, it seems. On the other side of the fence, as it were.

That's my new saying: as it were. I'm saying it left and right and beginning to drive myself nuts.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

pooped. simply pooped.

Exhausting week. Close friend had surgery for cancer. Lots of visits to the hospital, lots of worry, but as of now it seems like things are okay. Scary stuff. Which then makes me want to step back and appreciate all the good things I have in my life. And there are many.

But before I did that this morning, I had to bathe the girl after she rolled in something quite foul in the dog park.

I think this is officially the first weekend since the semester began when I HAVE NO GRADING TO DO. Holy shee-it, batman.

Doing happy hour with some grad students later as a way of forcing them to take a break and have some laughs. October breakdowns are aplenty.

I hate not blogging. And then I hate coming back to blogging after having not blogged for a while cuz there's so much to say, but first I gotta explain why I haven't been blogging. It's exhausting. Like catching up with an old friend I haven't spoken with in months.

And now I'm at the point where I've been running running running going going going for so long I'm not sure I know how to take a few hours for myself this afternoon. What does Amy-time look like anymore?

Flannel sheets and snuggly doggies who no longer stink. That's a start.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

when stuff happens to your face

How's that for a title? I'm going for curiosity in my readers.

Only because there are two things that happened in the last few days that affected parts of my head, literally.

First, S.'s dog Scully is the most potent farter in the entire world. I don't have the words to describe just how deadly her farts are except to say that when one hits my face, I feel like I've been punched, like my nose hairs have all been burned to a crisp, and I have to run out of the room regardless of what I'm doing at the time.

Second, last night in class the grad students brought in fixins for us all to make our own sandwiches, and I chose the white bread. Um, the "country" white bread--because we all know that putting the word "country" in front of the words "white bread" makes it healthier somehow. Anyway, it was the best sandwich I've had in a long time. And the thing that happened to my face: the pasty white bread was sticking to my teeth and to the roof of my mouth. And I LOVED it. I gotta get me some of that country.

The last thing that's been happening to my face is WRINKLES because I'm so stressed out and exhausted. Why? Because I assigned WAY TOO MUCH writing in my undergrad rhetoric class. Gotta remedy that somehow. Belly, can you come help with this grading stuff?

Monday, October 23, 2006


S. told me this weekend that Julie Wonka is quite possibly the funniest person he's ever met. We both almost wet our pants on Saturday night at my birthday party. I wish I could describe her funniness, but to try to do so would be an injustice. You just gotta be there.

Last week in my rhetoric class, we were talking about the ways that metaphors shape the expressions we use everyday. For example, the metaphor "argument is war" shapes the way we conceive of argument when we say things like "I attacked his position" or when we talk about opponents and winners and losers. One of the metaphors we spent some time on is "sex is a game," which leads to expressions like "he's a player," "he cheated on me," "I scored last night," "I only made it to first base," "he plays for both teams," etc. As we were listing these expressions, one student threw out "playing with yourself" as an example, and of course the entire class erupted in laughter.

After that, I decided it was time to "switch gears" (metaphor: class is a journey) and spend some time on the Harriet McBryde Johnson piece they'd analyzed as part of the midterm. So, what do I say? Following a discussion of cheating and scoring and playing with yourself, I say, completely seriously, "okay, now, everyone take our your Johnson." As soon as it came out of my mouth, I caught myself, but didn't make eye contact with anyone. There was a silent moment during which many of the students were surely deciding whether to react, and then they didn't. So we moved on, switched gears, chewed on some ideas, saw things in a new light, and processed those ideas even further.

But boy, did I have fun telling that story this weekend. Laughter, it erupts.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

me and my honey on my burt-day

S. is probably not all that pleased with the idea of my posting this photo for all the world to see, but I reassured him by reminding him that I have all of about 20 readers on a GOOD day. And it's mostly my friends--friends who will note the roll that my pink blouse highlights so beautifully and think, 'well, at least she looks happy.'

Yesterday was the best birthday ever. If you look closely, you might be able to see the gorgeous earrings S. gave me. But that's the least of it. I have the greatest friends in the world and one damn good honey. More friends are coming over tonight for games and beverages and cake and oh, what shall I do when these celebrations are over?

I think I was funnier when I was miserable. And jesus I look like my mother.


Friday, October 20, 2006

next year my birthday falls on sweetest day

My honey, he's a good one. The FedEx man, Belly's archnemesis, delivered these gorgeous roses this morning for Sweetest Day. And it's my birthday too! I've decided to name the little bear Stinky Bear cuz that's what I'm always calling poor S. And he STILL sends me flowers.

AND, I just got word that my teaching nomination for the College award was forwarded onto the University committee, which is itself an honor.

Today's plans will come as a shock to nobody who reads this blog: drinking at the dog park at 3:00 (cuz it's Nan's burt-day too!), then going to dinner with S. tonight. Until then, I think I'll lay around and read and drink coffee and maybe take that girl for a walk. All good things.

happy birthday to me and to Nan and to all the wonderful people born on this day.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

why I'm laughing while grading midterms

I can't reproduce their responses, of course, but just imagine the field day my students had when I asked them to rhetorically analyze a letter to the editor that included the following paragraph:

"While I disagree with most of what this person says, I am grateful that she admits that off-leash dogs harass and taunt dogs that are on leashes, that drug dealers and vagrants roam the park, and that fires are often set in the bark mulch that often remains unspread and in piles for months on end. I would add to this the used condoms, homosexual activity at night and piles of poop that most dogs not on a leash leave behind."

It's almost too good for words, as though a bad textbook writer came up with this to demonstrate the rhetorical effects of bad grammar. Or of a citizen hell-bent on lumping unleashed dogs in with homosexuals, cuz, well, we all know how bad those two groups are. How downright dangerous. Egads. This is our public.

Monday, October 16, 2006

bizzy bizzy bizzy

I decided that the word "busy" needs a few z's in it to make it more onomotapoeic. How's that for a deep thought on a rainy Monday evening?

On Sunday S. and I did the Spoon River Drive, which is supposed to be all scenic with foliage and all sorts of autumnal sources of happiness, and maybe it was because it was an overcast, rather chilly day, but we didn't really see the beauty of it. I really wanted to see the beauty of it.

Me, looking around at the corn fields that surround us on all sides: This isn't exactly how I'd imagined it.

S: Yeah, I thought it would be pretty.

Some of the small towns had craft fairs, and those were fun to walk through (we'd brought Belly with us and her favorite booth was the one selling home-baked doggie treats, 3 for a buck. Can I have a dollar, ma, can I, can I?). (More parens--can you believe I'm dating a guy who enjoys walking through craft fairs with me? Holy sheeee-it.)

Here's what I consumed yesterday at these various stops: two sliced apples covered in caramel, a package of peanut butter crackers (those bright orange ones), some fried Wisconsin cheddar balls, and, later in Peoria, a spinach and feta pizza. Can you say DIET? Say it with me now. Ugh.

Other bizziness: teaching and grading and prepping and listening to Julie Wonka do a run-through of the paper she's giving later this week at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. When she was finished I told her that I was a) so so proud to be her colleague because she's so damn smart; and b) wanting to keep her all to myself, to publish her work somehow myself, and to thereby claim some sort of credit for it, if only by association.

On Saturday night I experienced the first of many birthday-week celebrations, because my friend Nan and I share the same birthday. Gifts were given. Fun was had. Gambling was happening, and some damning photos were taken, but I've promised not to post them publicly. Sorry, folks.

Let the celebrations continue, I say.

Friday, October 13, 2006

the impact we have on students

At a meeting yesterday I ran into a student from my 101 class last Fall.

He: Dr. Robillard! I miss our class. How are you?

Me: I'm good. Glad to hear you miss the class. What do you miss about it?

He: Well, we had an end-of-the-year party in that class. No one else does that.

Me: That's why you miss the class? [sigh]

He: Oh, and we actually had discussions and you cared what we thought. Not many people do that either.

I want a dress made of creme puffs!

A creme puff dress. Yummy! Should I ever get married, this is what I want to wear. Except perhaps in a banana cream version. Yummers.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I've never taught first-year honors composition, in large part because I always seemed to be working through complex ideas with my classes that I wanted to research, and I wanted to protect myself from the charge that the only reason x or y worked was that I was teaching the best of the best. So I've always opted for the "regular" 101 classes. Plus, let's be honest for a moment--I don't really want to deal with even more entitlement when it comes to grades. And I assume that with a course labeled "honors" there comes a bit more entitlement about A's.

Victor Villanueva has a new online journal called FYHC: First-year Honors Composition (and related matters). (I'm not sure if the parens is part of the actual title.) In any case, check it out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Scully the snausage

A photo to make you laugh. What do you get when you mix a dachschund with a Basset hound? A Scully snausage! Check out that body from this angle.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

when bad things happen to good people




But a cliche for a reason. Two bad things are currently happening to two very good people in my life, and it makes me very sad because I'm virtually helpless to do anything about either one. Why can't bad things happen to bad people? Or maybe they do happen to bad people but we never hear about it because they don't have friends blogging about it. Cuz you know, don't you, that people can be separated into two fairly distinct categories: Good and Bad. Never mind the ugly.

The one thing I can do in all this is to be a good friend, which I think I can do. And I'll also be grateful that I have these friends and that I have such a good life. My job, my friends, my boyfriend, my dog, my health, all of these are good. I am lucky. And I am loved. And I'm grateful.

And I want to eat fried cheese every day for the rest of my life. And pie. Apple pie. Pumkin pie. And banana cream.

I'm gonna go snuggle my girl.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the Watson roundup

Here's Paul and Jim holding the door open for us at dinner on Thursday night (click on the photo to see more from Watson 2006 on flickr). There were only six of us this time, so we really got some quality time together, talking and laughing and sharing funny stories about publication rejections and drinking wine in honor of my birthmonth. Six is a good number for dinner at a conference--not so many that you end up talking only to the two or three people around you and not so few that you end up talking to the only two or three other people there.

I'm so so happy that I got to spend so much quality time with Paul and with Jim and Nancy and Schmoozin and the Wonka. The Wonka and I had an absolute blast driving together and rooming together and shopping at the outlets in Edinburgh, IN together. I bought myself a leather jacket for my birthday.

Our papers were really really good and our panel really did kick a little bit of ass. I'm so glad I wrote this damn thing, despite the pain and suffering of getting it done during the semester I'm teaching 3 courses. I'm definitely gonna try to do something with it beyond the conference.

My favorite moment from the conference: Nels comes up to me after our panel, introduces himself, and says that when he first saw me, his first thought was "I wonder who's taking care of Belly." The joy of blogs is that you get to talk about the dog everyone knows about when you finally meet them in person. Not the best constructed sentence I've ever written, but there it is.

The plenaries: largely disappointing, and I think that's in large part because the conference four years ago had such outstanding plenary speakers that the subsequent ones just can't compare to Lynn Worsham and Jim Zebroski and Harriet Malinowitz and Eileen Schell. Plus it was so damn dark in that damn auditorium that sleep was not far off if the speakers had nothing but a monotone. And the first one had exactly that. Ugh. Sleeeeeepy.

Belly hasn't punished me yet, and I'm mostly caught up with teaching stuff. Knock on Belly's smart bump.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

happy birthmonth to me

I'm so self-absorbed that I like to think that I can celebrate an entire month for my birth rather than just a day.

And so I will, each day of this month, breathe more deeply to take in the scent of Autumn, smile when I see trees changing colors, and be so happy to crunch crunch crunch through the leaves with my Belly girl each evening. Oh, and eat lots of apples and bake a few pies.

So what if it's 90 degrees out there right now?

Yesterday in class a bunch of students mentioned that they have October birthdays, so of course I say, "me too. Lots of people have October birthdays."

Student: You know why, right.

Me: Yup.

Student: Because it's nine months after the coldest month of the year.

Happy October birthdays to all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

someone tried to ban fluffernutters!

This is the best article in the ooey gooey world. Read on.