Saturday, June 30, 2007

the cleaning trap

Last night S. and I went to opening night of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival's Much Ado About Nothing. It was fab.u.lous. Laughed out loud at many parts and developed a crush on a couple of the actors. These things translate to a show well done.

As those who have just experienced a night of thees and thous are wont to do, S. and I found ourselves speaking in a pathetic imitation of Shakespearean English. As in, "Does thou have to go pot?" "I dost." "Let us thou go then."

On the drive home:

Me: Dost thou lovest me, honey bunny?

He: I dost.

Me: You dust? Ooh! You do love me.

He: I dost.

Me: You dost. Get it? You dust.

He: I get it.

Me: But you dost'nt dust. You must dust.

He groans.

Me: Dost thou lovest me?

He: Dost thou have a gun with which to shootest myself?


Friday, June 29, 2007

on humidity and frizzy hair

S. and I have begun a couple of home-improvement projects at his house, largely because if a social worker ever stopped by the house and saw the state of the carpet, they'd take me away from him. I've begun the grueling process of removing the wallpaper from the hallway bathroom--and let me just say that it's been g.r.u.e.l.i.n.g. But perhaps its best that I chose to begin with this project because the other painting project will seem like a cinch in comparison.

We're painting the living room Old Mill Blue and, though I can't find it on the Dutch Boy website, it's a medium purplish blue. It's gonna look fabulous because THEN we're putting in fake wood floors in the living room, dining room, and hallway, and Jesus H., the house will be completely transformed. The wood furniture in the living room is dark, the couch and sofa are light, and the walls are gonna give the room a burst of color. Fabulous.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about humidity and hair. See, yesterday I figured out that the best way to get the wallpaper to peel off the bathroom walls is to turn on the shower super hot and shut the door. I was in a sauna. The sweat was dripping from all parts of my body. My hair looked like little Orphan Annie's. Let's just say it weren't pretty.

And this reminded me of my 7th grade science project. I wasn't really all that into science, so I went to the library and read through a few books about the weather. I found one such project that demonstrated the effect of humidity on one's hair. I shit you not. All you had to do was get a piece of long human hair (I had to ask many friends for samples, as mine wasn't long enough) and tie it up to this contraption. Turn on the water super super hot and watch as the hair begins to shrink.

The story of my frizzy headed summer life. My project earned an A even though when we turned the hot water on in the science classroom, it didn't get hot enough, so I and another girl took the contraption to the girls' bathroom to turn it on really hot.

My 7th grade science teacher was named Mr. Such. Isn't that a funny name? Mr. Such and Such.

A lifelong battle against the elements. That's what my hair has endured and will continue to endure until I decide to up and move to Arizona.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

never thought I'd see the day


On Sunday afternoon, with no honey around, I turned on the television to watch the Cubs.

Let me repeat that.

All. By. Myself. I turned on the television to watch the Cubs. S. had told me that they were on earlier that morning, but still. This is a major. move. on. my. part. Am. I. overusing. the. every. word. period. thing? Mayhaps.

But oh how the drone of the crowd in the background gets to me. And the announcers who NEVER. SHUT. UP. Can't they let a minute or two go by with just, I don't know, happy silence? I often prefer to watch baseball with the sound muted, but on Sunday with that 8th inning craziness, I had to listen to the announcers telling me what was going on. That base running looked like something our softball team would've done last year.

Who am I? Last night S. and I watched part of the game and when I got home, I had to turn it on to see what was happening. This before I watched a rerun of Close to Home.

S. is playing Scrabble. I'm watching the Cubbies. Voluntarily.

Things, they is wacky here in the middle o' Illinois. Simply wacky.

And look, I'm even making a new category for posts: baseball.

Holy shitters.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the moving sale

We called it a moving sale because, well, I'm a rhetorician, so I like to think, and people are more likely to come to a moving sale than they are to a garage sale or a yard sale because moving sale implies better stuff. A few people asked us where we're moving. One even told S. that it's good that he's getting out of the neighborhood now. Not really sure what that was supposed to mean.

On Friday night we put all of the big stuff out in the driveway so that we could arrange the little stuff inside the garage. Well, that was a good move since by doing so we sold over $150 worth of stuff to the neighbors who had just moved in across the street. Good start to the sale, I'll say.

But then on Saturday we woke up to pouring rain. All of my beautiful signs--they really were good--you could see them a mile away. All of my beautiful signs with the balloons attached had to be ruined by all that rain during the night. Amazingly, most of the balloons survived the night. And balloons attract attention. As do ads in the paper. The signs said the sale started at 8, and there were people there right at 8. I'm sure if it hadn't been raining, the early birds woulda been there at 7:30.

It rained on and off, but it didn't really pour again. We did manage to get some of the big stuff into the driveway for a while when it stopped. S., being a veteran garage saler, tells me that you need to put all the good stuff out front and center to draw people in. Indeed.

We made more than $500 and we didn't sell any of S.'s exercise equipment. If it had been a sunny day, we would've cleared $700 or $800, I'm sure.

My favorite moment from the day. S. is inside the house doing something and I'm "negotiating" with these three young guys about a stereo that we've put a $15 sticker on. One of the guys points to the sticker, says "$15?"

Me: 15

He: 10

Me: 12

He: 10

Me: 12

S. comes out into the garage, sees that they're looking at the stereo, and says, "I'll give it to you for $10."

Me: Honey!

Others in the garage laugh. They'd heard the whole exchange.

Um, I was practicing my negotiating skills, thank you very much. And I wasn't going lower than 12.



Monday, June 25, 2007

writing advice from Hooters

Originally uploaded by aerobil
Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick. Do I even need to comment on this?

Don't work. Come to Hooters instead.

Save your precious time for ogling women--much better than actually thinking.

I wish this were a doctored photo. But no, this is for real. This is America.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

make mine a double

Coffeehouse, yesterday morning. Julie and I are working diligently away in anticipation of the reward at noon: lunch. Last week when we had lunch at the Coffeehouse, she had a bagel egg sandwich and I had French toast. Breakfast for lunch. Mmmmmm.....

At 11:00 yesterday, I whisper to the Wonka, "What're you gonna have for lunchers?"

W: Well, that sandwich last week was good, but it wasn't enough FOOD.

Meanwhile, a very pregnant woman walks in and I can't help but point her out to the Wonka. Cuz, well, she's huge. Julie doesn't care. She's still thinking about her lunch.

Me: There's gotta be at least two in there.

W: Hmmm... Maybe I'll have two sandwiches.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

once again, she's back

Lots of small trips planned this summer. We're going to see the Cubs again in mid-July, then Keita will be in Chicago the following weekend for a conference, so I'll go stay with her and then bring her back here for a visit. Then in early August, we're planning a two-day trip to the Toledo Zoo to see the hippoquarium. Hippos! And finally, in September, my friends, it's Hawai'i! S. earned his CPCU designation by finishing up his exams this spring. Each year there's a CPCU annual meeting where new designees are recognized. State Farm pays for the entire trip, including a guest, and this year it just happens to be in Hawai'i. Holy shitters. Next year it's in Philadelphia or something. He picked a good year.

So, yeah, the Cubbies lost BIG TIME on Sunday. It was actually kind of painful to watch. But I had my hot dog (yummers) and I had my beer (or two) and we had a fun time in spite of their big loss. I took a few pics but haven't had time to upload them yet.

Oh, and the teaching anxiety dreams have begun. Class was in session, I told students I'd be back in five minutes--I just had to make copies--and it took me more than an hour. I got lost or something. Stuck in a ridiculously long line. And they desperately needed whatever it was I was copying. Ugh.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

off to see the Cubbies

We redeem S.'s fabulous birthday present this weekend, folks. Tomorrow's a day of shopping in the big city, including and most importantly, a few hours at IKEA. We're staying with family of S.'s, so that evening we'll sit around and eat and drink and talk and drink and talk, etc. Then Sunday's the big day: my first time at Wrigley Field. I'm gonna have a hot dog and a beer.

Lately I've been stressing a bit about the work I've been trying to get done. It just seems to be going so sloooooooooooooooooowly. And then I try to remind myself that all the prep work I'm doing before actually beginning to write is indeed important and, I don't know, to give myself a break. But it ain't easy. I'm inside this head of mine WAY TOO MUCH. And my new office in the haunted building is very remote--no other voices to be heard unless I go seeking them. So it gets kinda lonely.

But this weekend will be lots of fun. Beginning tonight, with, I shit you not, the carnival at the Epiphany Catholic Church. Because it's fantastic for people-watching and because the Boat Drunks, a Jimmy Buffett cover band, will be playing. An epiphany in margaritaville, if you will.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'll take the BIGGER half, thank you

Last night I was SO TIRED that I couldn't even get up off the couch to dish ice cream into a bowl. So I asked S. ever so nicely to do so. He did. He filled up two bowls with chocolate (low fat, no sugar added) ice cream, and then presented mine to me. I noticed that his had more in it. Like prolly an entire scoop more. So I whined about it. He gave me a little bit more from his bowl.

Me: Don't you know that when you do the serving you have to let the other person pick? It's like when you were a kid and you broke a candy bar in half.

S.: What?

Me: You know, the person who breaks the candy bar doesn't get to pick which half she gets--that would be unfair.

S. is quite perplexed.

Me: You should have scooped the ice cream and then let me decide which bowl I wanted. That's what you do when you share candy bars.

S.: I don't share candy bars.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

slice of small-town Illinois life

On Friday night, S. and I and another couple went to the booming town of Secor, Illinois (population 400) for their sesquicentennial festival. That's like, this town has been around for 150 years. And um, they still have a population of only 400. What's up with that? The reason we went was that C.'s guitar teacher was playing in the band, and they were actually quite good once we found the band/beer tent, ALL THE WAY around the corner from where we parked. This festival had a total of four port-a-pots--that's one per 100 people, not including the out-of-towners--make that one per 101 people. And when beers cost only a ticket and you get 6 tickets for $10.00, that's a lot of beers to go through you rather quickly. My point: there should've been more than 4 pots.

S. has been on me the last few days to blog about his big win at the Secor fest. There was a game where you had to throw the baseball as fast as you could into the "catcher's" glove. The first time you threw it, the carnie person would tell you how fast you threw it. Based on that, you had to predict how fast the next throw would be. S.'s first throw was 45. Not bad. He thought it was bad, but hey, I was impressed. Then, a wee bit disgusted with himself, he predicted that his next throw would be 47. And he was right! Holy shitters. He won a stuffed cardinal, which we promptly recategorized as a Redbird thankyouverymuch, and he didn't even give it to me! What kind of honey doesn't give his prize to his girl?

The kind who has to listen to the rest of us saying that the bird can be sold in our upcoming garage sale.

well huh.

Speaking of the upcoming garage sale, people, it's gonna be a doozy. June 23. Mark your calendars. It'll be at S.'s house because, ahem, most of the stuff we're selling will be his. But the redbird won't be for sale. Sorry.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

the fun house

Mike's entry about the carnival coming to town triggered not quite a memory since I didn't actually know this until a few years ago--call it an interesting little tidbit, one that goes a long way in making me feel some kind of small connection to my father. See, I've always gotten in trouble for laughing too loudly. At every place of employment other than academe, I've been "asked" to keep it down, please. Lord knows we don't want the other employees to think you're having fun while you work. It surely must mean you're goofing off.

In any case, the little tidbit I learned recently about my father is about the fun house at the smallish amusement park that we used to go to as kids. Mountain Park it was called and jeeebus, I would get so excited when I knew we were going there that I'd get no sleep and then get carsick on the way to the park the next morning. My mom had to stop telling me we were going there. Mountain Park was no Riverside Park (now Six Flags in nearby Agawam, MA), but it had a good-sized roller coaster and fried dough (yummers to this day), so it was pretty exciting. My dad, it turns out, was one of the recorded voices doing the sinister laugh in the fun house at Mountain Park. I wish I had known that when I was small enough to fit into one of those fun house cars. You gotta wonder how he got that gig...someone at work heard him laughing and decided he'd tell his cousin's wife's father about it cuz it sure would make a great addition to the fun house they were working on....


Saturday, June 09, 2007

why Belly loves the farmer's market

1. free cheese curds
2. pets and massages from strangers
3. more free cheese curds 'cuz she's so damn well-behaved
4. free peanut butter whole wheat doggie treats
5. thoughtful vendors who put out doggie watering stations
6. free cheese curds
7. strangers telling her mommy how well behaved she is
8. free cheese curds
9. sniffing other doggies' butts

One thing she's not so keen on: Mommy telling the cheese curd man that Belly's had enough. If I just do my pathetic face a little bit longer...I might be able to weasel one more out of this nice man.

Um, yeah, I ended up buying a block o' cheese from the cheese curd man because I was feeling a bit like my child had eaten up all the samples. But what I got should be deeelicious: cheddar with tomato, basil, and garlic mixed in. Yummers.


Friday, June 08, 2007

conversation snippets

Snippet the first:

person at school: It's summer. Why are you here?
Me: Because it's summer.

Snippet the second:

J: How often do you wash the dog?
Me: I dunno. Most labs should only be washed twice a year because of their skin.
J: Twice a year? Why doesn't your dog smell?
Me: Do you mean her breath or all of her?
J: All of her. The dogs I live with smell.
Me: Dunno. Does it smell like dog in my house?
J, and others: No, that's the thing. Your house doesn't smell like dog.
J: So, how often do you wash her?
Me: Three or four times a year because she likes to roll in stinky stuff.

This occurred to me later: perhaps she likes to roll in stinky stuff because she's afraid she doesn't smell enough like dog.

Snippet the third:

Belly's being all snuggly and lovable as I'm sitting in my living room talking with D., a grad student whose essay will appear in the book.

D.: I'd get a dog if I knew it'd be like that.
Me, petting the snuggle snuggle bug, who only does this when other people are around: This took me five years to get. Five years.

To steal a line from Jo Ann Beard, I said that last part in italics.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

what kind of doggie mommy AM I?

Originally uploaded by aerobil
In the midst of vacationing and eating too much (aren't these two the same thing?) and visiting with S.'s parents and reading novels last week, I completely forgot about the 5-year anniversary of adopting my Belly girl. This is not a new photo, but I figured it expressed the sentiment exactly.

This girl has brought me more love than I sometimes know what to do with. I'm a horrible mommy for forgetting our 5th anniversary, but to make up for it, I'll be taking her for an extra walk today. Yesterday she had a visit to the vet for her toenails and her shots, and hearing her cry down the hall as I waited for her was bringing tears to my eyes. I can't stand for this girl to feel pain. I want her to always be happy and healthy and mischievous and the funny funny girl she has been for the last five years. Just thinking about her funny little habits makes me smile.

the 14,000 projects I'm working on

Now that I'm back from vacation and ready to get down to business back into my routines, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the 14,000 projects I'm working on. Okay, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration.

1. The Violence of Class, a collection of personal essays by graduate students on the rhetorical and symbolic violence that the very categorization of people into classes effects.
2. Pluralizing Plagiarism--formerly known as Sites of Plagiarism, Sites of Pedagogy--but luckily I've got a three-week (at least) break from that.
3. The Affective Economics of Plagiarism, my solo-authored book on, well, the affective economics of plagiarism. I'm eager to begin this, but it seems that I'm treating it as a dessert of sorts--gotta get all the other loose ends tied up before I'm able to sink my teeth into this one. Number 1, that's a loose end. Dang.
4. An article with Julie Wonka on the absurdity of the ways we construct audience when we talk with new teachers about teaching writing. And with students. And what these ways of talking about audience allow us as teachers to do--or, to be more blunt about it, what these ways of talking allow us to pretend.

I remember very clearly the telephone freak-out sessions I'd have with Becky as I was writing my dissertation. I'd spill out something like what I just wrote for number 4, and she'd spit it back to me in such intelligent language that I felt as though I actually had a workable argument. Now, when my graduate students and I are discussing one of the essays for Violence and we get to something meaty and good--which we unfailingly do--I tell them, "Write that down." It's become something of a little joke about the way I work. But you know what? It works. And as much as it seems sometimes that this Violence project is taking FOREVER, it's been one of the most intellectually satisfying things I've worked on yet.

So soldier on. I shall.

But first, I gotta get that girl her morning walk.


Monday, June 04, 2007

get your homemade pizzas here

So proud
Originally uploaded by aerobil
While in North Carolina, we visited S.'s cousin Al and his wife Jean, who have a gorgeous home but an even more gorgeous brick pizza oven IN THEIR BACK YARD. We had such a fun time coming up with new combinations for our pizzas--they even let us make a couple to take home with us. I named mine Amy's famous broccoli and pepper pizza (S. HATES broccoli, so I knew I'd have it all to myself) and S. called his the Fat Scully--a meat eater's delight.

I think this was my favorite night in North Carolina. I loved Al and Jean and I loved their little doggie Waylon and I loved all the wine that kept reappearing in my glass when I wasn't looking.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

and she's back

You know how there are certain friends that you can never seem to reach, and then when you do reach them, there's never enough time to catch up, so that eventually talking to them seems almost like too much work? I had that feeling about the blog this morning. How can I ever catch the blog up? And my devoted readers--how shall they ever recover from an entire week without lyings or tirades or fears or Belly?

S. and I went to North Carolina (just outside Raleigh) to visit his dad and stepmom, both of whom I like very much--and they seem to like me, too. Sometimes S. was feeling like they liked me better than they liked him. Poor S. As an only child, he never had to compete with siblings for attention. Have I ever mentioned how desperately I wanted to be an only child when I was a kid? But that's a whole other story, as they say.

On Friday night we took in a Durham Bulls game, one that began and ended with a home run. We visited with family, shopped, ate a whole whole lot (and I've only gained 2 pounds, it seems, unless my scale is feeling sorry for me and is thus lying), saw The Waitress. Holy shit. This deserves its own sentence.

Shit, it deserves its own paragraph.

I loved The Waitress. I didn't realize until after the movie was over that Adrienne Shelly was in the movie, and knowing about her horrible death before seeing the movie made the last scene that much more poignant. What I appreciated most about the movie was how scarily real Shelly portrays domestic abuse. Like an essay brought to screen, the movie implicates all of us who have ever said "Why doesn't she just leave?" Amazingly, the movie is playing here in Bloomington, too. And I thought I was so smart by seeing it in Raleigh, sure that it wouldn't get here until DVD.

This trip constituted the longest amount of unbroken time S. and I have spent together. We did good. We did real good. One small disagreement that we worked through in a very adult manner--look at us go. One thing I'll never ever ever get used to (okay, maybe I will, but it will always carry a hint of the strange) is family members who actually want to be in the same room together, who go out of their way to see one another. Who love each other. Who enjoy spending time with one another. I envy that.

Belly was mostly a good girl while I was gone. Oh, how good it was to see her yesterday, to take in that black doggie scent. To hug her and snuggle her and brush her. It seems like every time I leave, I miss her even more.

S. discovered coffee on this trip. He's mighty proud of himself. Don't ask me why it took him this long to figure out that coffee'll give ya an extra little bounce in your step. I'm just happy he did.

The exhaustion I'm feeling is unlike anything I can remember recently. I wish I was one of those people for whom sleep wasn't so crucial. One night of not sleeping well throws everything off. That's what Monday is for: catching up on my Zs. Can't wait.

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