Tuesday, July 31, 2007

oh, the differences

How S. and I are different, as driven home to me this weekend after a visit with Keita and a visit with S.'s cousins up near Chicago:

1. He assumes the best about people and is genuinely suprised to learn otherwise. I, of course, usually assume that people don't like me and respond accordingly until I have reason to believe otherwise. So I assume an antagonistic stance until I figure out I that don't need to. This means I generally assume the worst. Less room for disappointment, more for surprise.

Number 2 is really just a corollary to number 1 and is most certainly related to gender: I become on-the-verge-of-hostile whenever any kind of sales person tries to talk to me in a store, especially an electronics store. S. talks with them, sharing stories and making friends. I stand there seething, knowing I'm coming off as such a royal bitch--it's the contrast between him and me that does it. But S. has never been a woman being sold in stores like this.

3. S. genuinely likes his family members and wants to spend time with them. It's a way of being that I envy. Sometimes I feel like I've been ripped off, but I'm happy now to spend time with his family. They're fantastic. Every man in his family is as sweet as he is--kind, generous, and assuming the best of people. And it just doesn't work to assume the worst about people like this.

So I'm workin' on it.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

once again, she's off


Off to Chicago again, this time alone, to visit my dear old friend Keita, who's been in Chicago for the last week for a conference. We'll spend the night tonight and the day tomorrow and then come back down here so that Keita can meet and visit with S. On Saturday we'll go to a bbq at the Wonka's house and then to a Peoria Chiefs game and then Sunday morning, Jesus H., we'll LEAVE. THE HOUSE. AT. 5:30 A.M. in order to get her on her 8:40 am flight. Lordie pie.

Yesterday it took me two hours to write four sentences of my research statement for an award nomination from my department. Two hours for four sentences. Do the math. I'm gonna work on it some more this morning, and I think the hard part is done--four sentences that characterize my research agenda for people outside the field. This is my favorite: "Central to my scholarly project, then, are the rhetorical implications of teaching and writing as social practice." Or something like that.

I've started moving boxes of books over to S.'s place--and I'll have to get used to calling it our place. Belly already has a shiny new bone-shaped tag with her new address on it, and I've called all the utility companies. Things are a-moving. I'm a-moving.

And the week after next, Hillary comes for five days to help us put in new floors. Moving. Visiting with old friends. Getting ready to start school again. Wondering how I'll find time to watch the Cubbies when I'm in school again.

Go Cubbies!

This is my life. Life, it's good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

where we hang our hats

Originally uploaded by aerobil
Yup, it's true. Belly and I are officially moving in with S. and Scully and Mulder on August 15. There's a "For Rent" sign in my front yard. It's becoming real.

And with this very grown-up move (some might call it living in sin) comes a new development in Amy's psychic life. I'm slooooooooowly learning to let go, to give myself a break. This is about work, of course. The work I thought I was going to get done this summer. The work that clearly isn't going to get done this summer because I've been spending a LOT of time getting S.'s place ready for me and Belly. Painting. Cleaning. Garage Sales. Hillary's coming in a couple weeks to help us put in the new floors. THAT'll be something. I'm SO hard on myself about constantly working working working and I'm ALWAYS worried about what I'm not getting done. What I have accomplished: I sent out a book propspectus and I'm finishing up work on the edited collection on plagiarism with Becky. Account for yourself, Amy. Ugh. Someone kill that voice please.

S. and I are gonna have fun together. The other night we were lying on the couch watching TV together and I said to him, "Wanna know a huge advantage to my moving in? You get to get things for me while I just lie here." Yeah, he'll be loving life.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

8 things you never knew about me

Nels tagged me, and I shall comply because I have nothing else to blog about, but I'm not following the rules. Why? Because it requires that you tag 8 people, and as Nels is already one of my four blog friends, I don't want to look too pathetic. So there will be no tagging from here. Sowwy.

1. My first illegal job, held at age 14, was washing dishes at a restaurant in the mall. I absolutely hated it. Everytime a rack full of really disgusting pots would roll back into the kitchen, I'd look around to see if anyone was watching and I'd throw away one or two of the worst ones. That job didn't last long--Hillary and I quit one night. We simply up and left because there was a party we wanted to go to and the dirty pots wouldn't quit.
2. I weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces when I was born and my heart was beating way too fast. They had to move me from Holyoke, MA, to a hospital in Hartford, CT. I was on a drug for the heart for my first year of life.
3. I have the world's most refined parking karma. It rarely fails. It endlessly blows Wonka's mind.
4. I grew up in a house with cats and was afraid of dogs for most of my life, especially German Shepherds. The dog who turned me around lived in my landlord's house--I lived in the attic of a private home while I went to UMass Boston, and the sweet sweet Portuguese Waterdog came up to visit often. She brought me over to her side.
5. I have recurring nightmares of my teeth falling out.
6. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a writer. Okay, not a writer but an author. I remember a middle-school teacher hearing this and telling me just how difficult such a thing would be.
7. I have a really hard time with clutter. You probably already knew this about me. I like things simple, clean, and in their place.
8. When I go shopping, I have two major weaknesses: earrings and sheets. I love new sheets. I don't buy the really really expensive ones, so that way I can have more variety. Thus, my linen closet is always cluttered. In this way, I am my mother.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I've become one of those people

...who yells at baseball players on TV. Like, what the fuck, how did you miss that ball? And um hello, what on earth are you swinging at? This isn't golf.

I have lost complete touch with myself. I no longer know who I am.

But I do know that the Cubbies play today at 1:00, so I'm planning my painting around that. This morning I'll work, have lunch with the Wonka, then go over to S.'s place to paint a second coat on my soon-to-be home office--and listen to the Cubbies.

And I'm not exactly in the know, but um, do we loathe Barry Bonds or what? His name will forever be associated with steroids in my mind, and um, he looks like he knows nobody likes him. And Will Ohman, S.'s least favorite Cubbie, struck him out last night. That felt good.

Look at me with all my sports talk. Call the paramedics.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

oh thee of the curved ass, speak to me

S. and I recently bought two twin beds, which we've pushed together to pretend that we actually sleep in the same bed. Same size as a king, see. But I get to have my own blankets and I don't feel when he twitches in his sleep. Also, when one of us is sick, we can push the other away. All kinds of benefits, these beds.

The other morning Belly jumped up on the beds to snuggle up with us. But really she just wanted to lick S. to death. I swear she thinks he needs to be bathed by her at least three times a day. Vigorously. Oh, that tongue of hers. She'll give him a couple kisses on his face and then start in on his hands and arms. She will clean him until I tell him to stop because, well, I need snuggles too. As she was coming over to my side of the bed, one of her legs fell into the crevasse between the beds.

"Honey, Belly just fell into the crevasse."

"The curved ass?"

"Who has a curved ass?"

"Everyone has a curved ass."

"Everyone but the Julie Wonka. She's got that tortilla butt."

Later when I tell the Wonka this little funny, she tells me that with all the spinning she's been doing, her butt's developing not a curve so much as a swerve.

She nearly made me spit my diet coke all over the newly painted walls. A swerved ass. That's a reach if I've ever heard one.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

precious Cubbies fan

Cubbies fan 2
Originally uploaded by aerobil
S. and I went to see the Cubbies again on Friday and all Annabelle got out of it was this hat. Oh. My. God. Note the strap that goes under her chin. And note the way that the reflective collar is doing its job in this photo, so that the camera I'm driving is likely to stop before hitting this little MLB fan.

Um, can you say EX.HAUST.ED? S. and I have been maniacally working on his house, getting it ready, yes, for me to move in. We're postponing our big trip to the Toledo Zoo because we need every weekend we can get before school starts again. What with the pregnancy and all.


I look around my house at all the stuff I have to move, all the stuff that duplicates what S. already has at his place, and I want to just go back to bed and hide. It's overwhelming. This on top of painting and wanting to put in new floors. Amy tired.

For her birthday, however--more importantly--Belly received this hat, her bunny, and had a Frosty Paws ice cream cup for breakfast. Then she went to visit her friends at the park before helping her daddy and me move shit around the house all day. What a weekend. Lordie pie.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

this town is on fire

Last night in the car we saw a woman jogging. Nothing all that remarkable about that, right? Well, she was wearing knee braces, and on the knee braces were blinking red lights. Not reflectors. Blinking red lights.

"Look, honey. She looks just like Belly."

"For what? In case she runs away?"


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

adventures of a doggie who looks like a fire truck

Okay, so you all know by now how much of an escape artist the little girl is. Oh, how she likes to run free and chase the opossum, the bunnies, the squirrels, the trash that litters our street. And you also know that she now wears a reflective collar, which wouldn't be my first choice because, well, she's no longer a fashion idol for all doggies in central Illinois--instead she wears her collar like a scarlet letter. I am a doggie who escapes. Who has escaped too many times. My mommy is tired of it. And scared for my safety. So I wear this ugly collar that looks like the waistband of a pair of tighty whities.

S. suggested long ago that we also get her a blinking light for her collar. I at first shrugged it off, but then for some reason last week I gave in. I went to Petco, who I know used to carry them, but they had discontinued them. I went to a local pet store and found a red-and-white blinking light that attaches to her collar. You turn it on by tightening it clockwise, and when it's on and it's dark out, it's BRIGHT. That combined with the collar should save her from any oncoming cars should she ever escape my grip again.

The other night I took her for a walk in the dark and turned her blinking light on. Funnnee. I love how she just jaunts along, oblivious to the fact that she's lighting up the night. It also makes things easier when I have to pick up her bizness. The light shows me the way.

We passed a group of teenagers sitting on their porch. They laughed and said how cute Belly looked with her blinking light. "She's pretending she's a fire truck," I told them.



Monday, July 09, 2007

why summer is so hard for me

This piece from the American Scholar really hit home for me today, more than two months after the last day of class. I miss my students. I miss their energy, their enthusiasm, their very presence. "Teaching," Deresiewicz writes, "finally, is about relationships. It is mentorship not instruction.... The feelings we have for the teachers or students who have meant the most to us, like those we have for long-lost friends, never go away."

It's not as though I'm counting the days until August 20. I'm not intellectually ready to begin teaching yet. I still need this down time. But it so often blows my mind how much of a funk I can get into when I'm not teaching--and how much teaching makes me feel so. much. better. It never fails. Even if I'm dreading going to class, I always feel better when I leave that day.

I have the best job in the world.


Sunday, July 08, 2007


I picked a good year to become a Cubbies fan, I think. Am I jinxing things by saying that? Last night S. went to an indoor football game with a friend and I stayed home and watched the Cubs beat Pittsburgh. Yes, this is Amy writing. Nobody has coopted my blog. It's really me who stayed home and watched the Cubbies. Will wonders never cease? I was going to rent a movie, but then I decided that a baseball game requires less full-on attention. So I caught up on magazines with the game on.

We're going back up to Chicago on Friday to see the Cubbies play Houston. This heat wave is allegedly going to break on Wednesday, so we should be okay. The first 20,000 fans get a present (last time it was a Cubs Sharpie--I love Sharpies!), so we gotta get there in time for that.

Busy busy summer. I'm exhausted. Tired but not sleepy. S.'s house is coming along, though. We did the hallway on Friday--a golden yellow called Willow's Gold. Who comes up with these names? Next is the foyer, which is gonna be a bitch because of the stairs and the height. English Ivy that one's called. I won't be painting on a ladder, but S. will. I promise to post pics as soon as we put in the fake floor. Right now the carpet cannot show up in any photos. Local ordinances say so.

As for my writing, it's coming along very slowly. I've got so much guilt for actually having a life and not working all the time. But I guess this is why I worked all the time: so I can have a life.

This afternoon I'm doing a different kind of painting: pottery. Haven't done that in months and I'm looking forward to some girl time.

Go Cubbies!

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

There's a bunny inside our house

Belly's bunny
Originally uploaded by aerobil
The Booda turns 6 next Saturday. How on earth can she be 6 already? This means I'm getting old. Ugh.

All summer she's been happy as a clam chasing bunnies in S.'s back yard and at the park near his house. All she wants is to catch one of those beautiful little bunnies. So I got her this one for her birthday. Too bad it doesn't come with a remote control. I might never need to leave the house to walk her in that case.

We shall name this bunny Bunny. We're creative that way.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Oh, my aching cheeks. Rather, my cheek. My right cheek is quite swollen after having a wisdom tooth removed yesterday. I look like I

a) have taken up chewing tobacco
b) have decided to join the squirrels in storing nuts for the winter
c) was struck on one side of my head with a tire iron
d) will trying anything to get out of painting the other bathroom at S.'s house

The second bathroom shall be painted khaki and will blend nicely with the dark wood trim already in there. We installed a new light fixture in the red bathroom and, much to my dismay, the 180 watts of light (3 60-watt bulbs) brought out all the little imperfections in my paint jobs. A couple of drips, a stray piece of wallpaper stuck underneath the paint. Grrrrr. I think we'll replace those 60-watt bulbs with 25-watts so nobody notices. 'Cuz you know everytime I go into that room I'll be staring at the walls noticing every little problem. That's just who I am. As S. likes to say, I gotta be me.

And right now, it's not easy being me. The ice pack is helping some, but mostly I just want to get back to my regular activity level. I'm no good at sitting around.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

my arms are rubber

I wish I had a penchant for exaggeration because I don't know how words can possibly express how unbelievably exhausted and, well, made of rubber I felt last night after painting for two days at S.'s house. Oh. My. God. I was hurtin'. I could barely walk. This morning as I made an omelette, it was all I could do to whisk the eggs. There's still more work to do, but since I had a tooth extracted this morning, and this qualifies as "oral surgery," I am not allowed to do anything strenuous for the next day or so. But the living room looks incredible and the little red bathroom is just darling. Amazing what a couple coats of paint'll do.

A nap is in my near future. Indeed.