Monday, October 29, 2007

because you've missed her

A Monday morning photo of the girl:

Does it get ANY cuter than the girl with crosspaw? She'd just finished reading Cheryl Strayed's "The Love of My Life" and was thinking hard about how to respond.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

this one's for my honey

He's been bugging me for a while now to post pictures of his Don Ho souvenir from Hawai'i. See, we'd been planning our trip to Hawai'i for months before we learned of Don Ho's death in April. S. really wanted to see him on our trip. It would be untrue to say that that was S.'s entire goal for the trip, but close. He couldn't find a Don Ho bobblehead, so he settled for the next best thing:

He's made of ceramic, and his head is open, so you could technically drink out of him. On the back it says "Ho-waiian." Yeah.

Our hotel was not far from this road, which was alternately


Our own small tribute to Don Ho. Rest in peace.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

morning peace

This morning S. and I made pancakes together for the first time. Usually we just have separate breakfasts, mine a bowl of cereal, his an English muffin. Boring. But today we got out the griddle and made two kinds of pancakes: blueberry for me, pecan for him. Yummers.

He was up before me and had turned on the TV. Apparently, The Scariest Places on Earth marathon was on. I turned it off while he was in the kitchen.

S.: What'd you do that for? It's The Scariest Places on Earth.

me: I just wanted some morning peace.

S.: You had peace all night.

(This post read and approved by S.)


Thursday, October 25, 2007

when teaching completely throws you off

I teach two sections of Advanced Exposition devoted to the personal essay. This is the third semester I've taught the course, but the first time I've had two sections. On Monday, I wrote here about how excited I was to be teaching Cheryl Strayed's essay, "The Love of My Life." And in the morning class, it was fantastic. It was essentially a love fest, all of us sitting around talking about what we loved about it. Sure, there were a few students who didn't quite love it, but they were able to see what she was doing and why she was doing it. The theme of that morning class became, in reference to the essay "how much honesty can we take?"

Well, my afternoon class couldn't take very much honesty. I was completely floored by some of my students' reactions to the essay. I purposely saved this one for toward the end of the semester because by now students have the vocabulary with which to articulate what's going on in a personal essay. But so many of my students couldn't see past the first line, "The first time I cheated on my husband, my mother had been dead for exactly one week." This is not to say that there weren't a few in the afternoon class--mostly females--who loved it. But lots of the men wanted to judge her even more than she was judging herself.

But there was a bright spot later that day. One of the men from my afternoon class emailed me to say that he'd just finished reading Strayed's other essay, "Heroin/e," and he liked it and thought perhaps I should think about pairing the two up so that naive students like him (his term, not mine) wouldn't be so quick to judge.

And that is what I shall do.

I feel a bit as though I've been pushed out of bed. My admiration for this essay has been challenged, and I feel therefore as though my own taste has been challenged.

I'm awake now.


Monday, October 22, 2007

a list after the birthday weekend

1. new Wild Blueberry Twist Trident--it'll knock your socks off.

2. 2 new Cubbies t-shirts from my honey. I almost have one for each day of the week.

3. Pumpkin cheesecake.

4. Banana cream cheesecake.

5. Learning how to spend time with family and enjoy it for what it is. Okay, so it's taken me 35 years to see the value in this. As I said to Hillary on the phone this morning, this weekend we went up to Chicago to visit S.'s cousins--on purpose. Not because we needed something but because we enjoy spending time with them.

6. Smiling happy when a student comes to my office (not five minutes ago) to thank me for assigning Cheryl Strayed's essay "The Love of My Life." She can't wait to go home and write her reading response about it. "How could I have never found this essay?" she asked me. That's what I'm here for.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

only two days left

Two days left of being 34. Once I hit 35, something happens. I become what is, in my mind, an official adult.

Not sure I'm ready for that.

I know I say this with every year that passes, but 35 just seems so old. I mean, really, it's the oldest I've ever been.


S.'s parents are staying with us for a week-long visit. All 3 dogs are a bit out of sorts because they're not allowed in our bedroom. S. and the parents are down in Springfield today visiting Lincoln-related tourism stuff. I gave them trouble about my having to work while they're off playing, but really it's good because I've never been very patient in museums. Surely a class thing.

Here's a funny for you on a windy windy Thursday afternoon:

When we were making the beds for S.'s parents (we sleep in two twin-size beds pushed together to make a king), I said something about the bedskirt on my bed having a tear in it.

Me: Does your bedskirt have a tear?

He: Mine's a kilt.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

can't. write. today.

Monday afternoons are supposed to be writing time for me, before I go to my grad class at 5:30. I'm having a hell of a time. Not. fun.

There's TOO MUCH to say and yet it all boils down to something that seems so obvious to me: THEFT metaphor=bad. GIFT metaphor=good.

Who needs to write a book about it?


And let's just get to the heart of the real issue: I have fears of sinking all my time and energy into a book and never coming up to breathe (mixing my metaphors here). And also of never publishing anything again because I'm stuck in the quagmire of this book.

Sometimes, I tell you. Sometimes writing just sucks.


the devil

Jesus H. I've been eating a lot of sugar lately. It just sort of creeps in.

What I just threw away:

1. half a bag of M&Ms--I actually emptied the bag into the garbage so I wouldn't be tempted to dig for them later
2. half a box of Good and Plenty's that my honey bought for me last night
3. half a small bag of Twizzlers
4. half a box of Hot Tamales

All of this candy was "hidden" in various places in the house--in the kitchen, in my office, in my school bag. See, cuz if it's hidden and nobody knows I'm eating it, it doesn't count.

And on the chalkboard in the kitchen is a note to myself: NO MORE SUGAR!

Sugar, my friends, is the devil.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


comma, apostrophe, single quotation mark:


Friday, October 12, 2007

buh-bye Grey's

Last night I resisted watching Grey's Anatomy. I read instead. A novel, not anything for school. I was so proud of myself. See, a couple weeks ago I renounced it for being so stupid, but last week I switched it on anyway cuz I was too tired to do anything else. It only confirmed for me how ridiculous it's become.

Right now I'm reading Susanna Moore's The Big Girls and loving it. I'm reading a whole host of academic books, too, and I can't help but wonder this semester how I've ever gotten anything done during my 3-load semester. Of course, in years past I was living alone so that made things a bit easier.

While we're on the subject of teaching, last night I dreamt that I was interviewing for a job at the University of Utah. I remember missing Illinois while I was there, and I skipped out on the "exit interview" before finding my way to the airport in Utah. To get to the airport, you had to go to the post office and wait for a shuttle. It was a Sunday and the post office was open. See, things are different in Utah.

And no, this doesn't mean I'm on the market.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

S. writes verse

He composed this on Sunday, the morning after the Cubs collapsed. He recited it to me Sunday night, and I had to smile and have a meta-moment: how fun it is to live with someone with such a great sense of humor. I offer it here, unedited, for your pleasure.

Homage to a Total Collapse

The corner of Clark & Addison
was jubilant that day
the Cubs had won the Central
with two more games to play

We apologized for all our doubts
for only expecting the worst
for God, in his mysterious ways
had put the Cubs in first

The goat that gave birth to the World Series curse
the cat, the Gatorade glove
Bartman with only five outs away
could never dampen our love

Our lovable losers were always there
for 81 games a year
to entertain first and then break the hearts
of the fans who held them dear

On a cold October night in 03
& the North Side fans in heaven
three games to two & now we’re back home
with Prior for game six & Wood for seven

Then fate stepped in when the Marlins won
& the Cubbies were shown the door
but we held on to hope that wouldn’t die
for next year was 2004

So we crossed our fingers & prayed to God
that this is finally the season
but after finishing the year losing 7 of 9
we cried & searched for a reason

05 had only a glimmer of hope
as our roster looked pretty lame
the Sosa purge was our complete off-season
after he ditched the last 04 game

The Orioles offered Tejada for trade
the price being Prior or “Z”
but Hendry also demanded Bedard or Cabrera
& the transaction would never be

No big moves were made this off-season
but Hendry was laughing with glee
for Prior & Wood would be healthy all year
& pitch like they did in 03

But both our aces got hurt as we know
their Achilles & elbows broke down
& some of our fans bemoaned the trade
that would have brought Tejada to town

05 stumbled on as we watched in denial
the Sox helped us live all our fears
their championship drought was over at last
& our bleacher bums cried in their beers

06 was over by opening day
Hendry’s hope again in Prior & Wood
but the usual happened to both of our stars
& the teams played as bad as the could

Although Dusty’s welcome was over that year
we can’t blame the woes all on him
the pitchers were going down one at a time
and now fingers pointed at Jim

Hendry did little to aid our dear Cubs
& it came back to bite one & all
when we looked at the standings at the close of the year
we knew it would be a long Fall

Now Dusty was gone & we counted on Lou
but Hendry was now just beginning
he re-signed Ramirez & brought Fonzie & Floyd
& now he was talking ‘bout winning

More was to come like DeRosa, Marquis
Ward, Fontenot, Kendall & Lilly
& anyone picking us other than first
was thought to be rather silly

With “Z” starting slow & our hitters not hitting
our new players adjusting to town
hopes were extinguished like flames in the rain
our smiles one collective sad frown

But Lou finally pulled a tirade one day
his ejection brought a jolt to our team
the hits started coming, the pitching was good
& we were starting to realize our dream

“Z” woke up after a fight with Barrett
& for two months was pitching “lights out”
the good play kept coming, the wins piling up
& we lost all our traces of doubt

Now August was making us nervous all month
the Brewers & Cards on our flank
the same question arose in everyone’s thoughts
would we win or just go in the tank?

But the bats woke up in September again
& the Cardinals had started to drop
it was now only us & the team to the North
who we knew would eventually flop

Fonzie caught fire, the pitchers were stout
& we sped past the Brewers at last
with one week to go in this magical year
the curse seemed to be in the past

Again we were bitten by the team from 03
as the critics delighted with doubt
but with help from the Padres & our rivals the Cards
the Brewers went tumbling out

First place at last after only four years
we would now crush the Champs of the West
our Cubbies would be the first to win three
the D-Backs maybe one game at best

But the Cubs showed up having forgotten their bats
tho “Z” matched Webb ball for ball
then Lou yanked “Z” cause he needed his rest
& we’d end up regretting this call

Now Marmol was in, we relaxed just a bit
for all year he had kept our leads going
but after one inning the D-Backs had won
from a homer that flew like a Boeing

Okay, that’s their win, now we’ll take it in four
with Lilly we know there’s a good chance
but that night was different, as he looked like a man
who was scared that he’d pee in his pants

Soto’s dinger might save us, but Lilly was bad
& Lou left him in way too long
at the end of the night we had lost 8-4
now three wins in a row or we’re gone

Back home to Chicago, where we’ll win three & four
Arizona’s walking into our trap
however, that night, we learned a good lesson
that you don’t win while playing like crap

Our boppers did nothing but swing at each pitch
whether it looked like a strike or a ball
at the end of the night we had lost 5-1
three games caused our season to fall

I give our opponents the credit they’re due
as they took the field ready to play
their pitching was good & they scratched for their runs
and won all three playing their way

All year the Cubs fought, like each game they would win
and we knew we’d compete for each game
but for three nights in October, to everyone’s shock
they played so incredibly lame

O’ somewhere they’re laughing & drinking Champagne
corks popping & good cigars smoked
but that won’t be happening at Wrigley tonight
as our Cubbies have once again choked!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Happy about Scrabulous on Facebook. This is why I joined Facebook. I have four friends and I feel like I'm 13 years old again, wondering if I'll ever get more friends. And what I have to do to get more friends. Of course, when I was 13 I wasn't stepping back and wondering whether quantity of friends really mattered. Cuz, you know, four's a nice round number.

Becky and I are now playing a game of Scrabulous. How do I know this? Because my profile tells me so.


order up!

Yesterday I put in an order for some fall weather. Um, hello, I like hot weather and all, but not at the beginning of October for days on end. The reason I love October (aside from the obvious reason of PRESENTS! for my birthday) is the cool, crisp weather and the crunchy leaves. Pittin' out in class is not fun in August, never mind 8 weeks in.

So this morning was nice and chillers when I got up. The forecast calls for a high of 81, but 60s and 70s for the rest of the week.



Monday, October 08, 2007

what I'm watching now that there's no more Cubbies

I feel a little bit like I've lost a good friend with the Cubs no longer on every day. Worked and worked all day yesterday while S. did manual labor downstairs installing parquet flooring in the hallway. A test-run for the parquet we want to install in the kitchen. Not bad, not bad. Not great, mind you, but that's what accent rugs are for.

So after working all day and taking the girl for a nice long walk, I wanted to watch something. So I rented Stephanie Daley. I'd read about it somewhere and knew it was the kind of movie I'd want to see, so it'd been on my list in the back of my mind for a time when there was no more baseball. And indeed, last night there was no baseball. Well, the Yankees were on, but I'm a Red Sox fan in the American League.

Anyway, holy shit that movie was devastatingly beautiful. Devastating. Haunting. One of those movies that sticks with you and prods you when you least expect it. The way the movie captures what it's like to be 16, shy, clueless, and confused when a boy pays attention to you. Jesus. I almost had to look away. Rent it. Shit, buy it. And whatever you do, don't look away then or during the bathroom scene. Makes me shiver.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

what it was like, watching the Cubs collapse

Game 3, Saturday evening, over a frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza (holy shitters, was it good. The Margherita, people. Get it. Crispy crispy):

Me: It's like watching a car accident. I can't look away. I know I should, but somehow I want to see more blood and guts.

S.: This is like watching old people eat.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


S. and I have recently made a pact to stop spending money on stupid shit that only clutters up the house. But when we went to Target the other day and spent a few minutes in the Halloween aisle (always a bad idea, what with all that chocolate), and we got a glimpse of Trick or Tater, we could not resist. I shelled out the $5 for him happily. Here he is dressed up in one of his outfits, my favorite:
What can I say? I have a soft spot in my heart for any toys whose butt open up for storage. In his butt now are the parts to his other outfit: his pointy green ears, his red nose, his little trick or tater pumpkin bag. If you look real hard at this photo, you'll see that he's got his scary fang teeth on under that costume of his. And his eyes glow in the dark. He currently sits in our bay window, facing out, scaring all the children in the neighborhood. Schmoozin tells me that there's a store in Syracuse, A.C. Moore, that sells individual Potato Head parts. Oh, the fun we could have....


Monday, October 01, 2007

weekend recap

Last night I watched our taped version of Grey's Anatomy, and Jesus H. on a popsicle stick, I almost turned it off halfway through. Come on with the deer and shit. Why didn't I turn it off? I wanted to see what happened with Meredith and her "sister." But I really do have better ways to spend my time. Even Katherine Heigl looked ridiculous as her character was trying to find out what George did on his vacation. Come on. Grey's, I renounce you. Set the DVR to not record from now on. Lordie pie.

On Saturday I decided it was time to come to terms with the fact that S. and I are no longer spring chickens. We cannot schedule more than one activity in one day without suffering the consequences for a long time. See, we went apple picking on Saturday at Tanner's orchard, which is about an hour from B-N. Witness:

We also stopped in Chillicothe, where S. went to high school, and had lunch and looked around some. By the time we got back to Bloomington around 5, I was absolutely exhausted. And then we had to turn around and go out with our friends that night. One a day. Sounds like a reasonable rule.
But damn, our apples are delicious.
And I haven't even yet mentioned the Cubbies! Go Cubbies! Love them love them love them. I have lots of crushes on members of the team. No need to list them. They know who they are.