Wednesday, May 28, 2008

stops and starts

Tomorrow afternoon, once S. gets home from work, we take off once again for North Carolina. This time we're driving. Flying has just become too much of a nightmare. Though driving all the way to NC comes with its own brand of stress, at least we control the stress. And we get to stop to pee whenever we like.

S. and I have never taken a road trip of this length together. We've driven to Chicago and back many times, but this summer we're doing this trip and then we're driving to Massachusetts at the end of July. In my cute little Honda Civic. It's cute, but it's not exactly roomy.

In other unrelated news, we watched Rendition the other night. A few weeks ago, I updated my Facebook status with something like "Amy and S. watched The Savages last night and she dares anyone to name a more depressing movie." Well, folks, I found one. It's called Rendition. Slit-your-wrists depressing.

I'm not so good at watching movies without pausing 100 times. The pause button and the DVR were made for me. I guess I'm a little bit ADD. After I'd paused it four times during the first twenty minutes of Rendition, S. was getting really frustrated with me. At one point, I was saying something over the movie and he couldn't hear, so I paused it. He looks at me: what? Me: I paused it because you couldn't hear what I was saying. He: No, I couldn't hear the movie.

Then last night we took the girls out for their evening walk. Fifty feet from the house, I had to hand Annabelle over to S. because I'd tied my shoe too tight. I tied it, took her back, and realized once again that it was still too tight. So I stopped to tie it again and he went ahead with the girls. He: We haven't made it a block and you've stopped twice. It's like watching a movie with you.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

we were REALLY hungry

HOW hungry were we?

SO HUNGRY we each had a monstrous hamburger and then we fell over dead.

Ya gotta love how my eyebrows make me look like a mad scientist who's just discovered that this hamburger thing has to be eaten before WE ALL BLOW UP.
It was deee-licious.


Friday, May 23, 2008


What's better than watching a dog chase her own tail?

The look she gives you when she pauses, as if to say, "you have no idea what you're missing."


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

one more thing

About my need to work: this makes me feel better.

"The passage into mystery always refreshes. If, when we work, we can look once a day upon the face of mystery, then our labor satisfies. We are lightened when our gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom."
Lewis Hyde, The Gift (25)


wee epiphany

I like working. It makes me happy to feel like I've gotten stuff done. It's part of who I am. Talking with S. last night, I realized that I feel better when I feel like I've accomplished something for the day. Then I can relax and not have that nagging little voice tapping me on the shoulder while I try to read.

Plus, I like what I'm working on. This isn't justification for working too much (how that sentence itself sounds like justification). It's coming to terms with what makes me feel good.

And, from the department of "what does this have to do with anything," I give you this conversation between S. and me a few weeks ago.

We were watching a History Channel one-hour segment on the Unabomber. S. loves true crime stuff, and I had seen the Unabomber's brother speak at ISU my first year here, and it got me thinking about the role of writing in his being outed. Anyway, there was this:

Me: Why's he called the Unabomber, anyway?

S. Because he's a bomber and there's only one of him.


Actually, he's called the Unabomber because his first targets were at UNiversities and Airlines, so they took those first few letters and called him the UNAbomber. Not very original. Or creative, but there it is.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

on that little nagging voice in my head

Finished all the loose ends associated with grading yesterday. I am officially done for the summer and, with the exception of a diss proposal defense on Thursday, have a few weeks before I begin teaching my summer course. And those few weeks I should be using to a) rejuvenate; b) write; c) sleep in.

But here's the thing. Last night I was on the couch reading a memoir, S. was at the table studying for another insurance exam, the puppies had been walked and fed, and the Cubbies were coming on in an hour. All was well. Except every few pages or so, I'd stop reading because of this nagging voice in my head telling me that there was something I should be doing, some kind of work that needs to get done. It's a real bummer.

Because here's the other thing. I'm doing very well with my writing and my publications and my teaching, so we can't really say that it's tenure I'm worried about. I've got three articles in CE, one in JAC, a co-edited book, a chapter in another co-edited book, and much more in the works. My book--the real one this time, after many false starts--is coming along nicely.

I'm 35 years old. I've got a terrific job, a terrific partner, two terrific dogs, and I should be able to sit back and enjoy some of it without this nagging voice in my head telling me I'm not doing enough.

Like today, for instance. I took the day off and there's some guilt there. I want to just hang around the house and read, take the girls for a walk, drink my coffee, and chill. And wait for the Cubbies to come on at 7. Perhaps this is all a result of defining myself for so long by the work I do. When I'm finally able to relax about the work, I don't know who I am. So there's the nagging.

On Friday we're going up to Chicago for a Cubs game and we're staying overnight with S.'s cousins. Then on Sunday Jen & Michael & little miss Nola are stopping by on their way through to Houston. That'll be great and I'll be able to have fun because it's stuff I've been planning. But just having an entire day in front of me with no work to do. It's hard.

It's called living my life. I wish I had the confidence to just shut that little voice off and tell myself instead that what I'm doing is more than enough. I won't be on my deathbed wishing I'd written just one more article. Ugh.


Monday, May 12, 2008

dressed up for a good cause

On Saturday we got up butt-ugly early to drive to Peoria to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We decided that if we were gonna walk 5K, so were these girls. On Friday night we bought pink fabric and hot pink ribbon to signify that they, too, would race for a cure.

There was a teeny-weeny part of me that was a little bit worried about how Annabelle would do with the huge crowd. But my god, these girls were both SO GOOD. Whenever someone wanted to pet Wrigley, she'd sit like a good girl. And Annabelle let people pet her and even leaned in on a few choice people.

Lots of people took pics of these girls, and the crowd got a good laugh when Belly found the only possible puddle on the entire walk and plopped her belly down in it.
S. had been wondering if perhaps this year's t-shirt would be a bit more gender-neutral than last year's, and, well, nope. But he wore his shirt with pride all the same. His mom died of breast cancer, so we walked for her and for our dear friend Nan, a breast cancer survivor.

What better way to spend a Saturday morning in May?

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Friday, May 09, 2008

cupcakes, part II

My colleagues/friends Cheryl, Katherine, and I have a routine on Tuesdays after we eat lunch together: we eat cookies. Yummers. This week we were really full from the pizza, and we skipped going to the Garlic Press because it was in the opposite direction. But when we passed the new Medici bakery, Cheryl let out a little whine and pointed to the door, so we went in.

The first thing that caught our eyes was a row of BEAUTIFUL cupcakes decorated to look like sunflowers. The yellow frosting was expertly applied to look like leaves, and there were tiny chocolate chips in the middle made to look like the brown center of a sunflower. Have I mentioned that they were beautiful? I wish I'd taken a picture of them.

Me, to the person behind the counter: Are they muffins or cupcakes?

She: They're chocolate cupcakes.

We three, collectively: Yummmmm.

We decided to share one because they were HUGE and, well, they were three bucks a piece. Cheryl treated.

We walked back to school gawking at it in its to-go container. I kept saying how I wanted to just stick my finger in that frosting and do a big swish across the top. I restrained myself until we got back to our offices. Katherine opened the container and I stuck my finger in. The frosting was hard. I couldn't do a big swish. I pushed at it and some frosting stuck to my finger. I put it to my lips. "It tastes like...nothing."

Cheryl: WHAT?

She takes a swish and agrees that it tastes like nothing.

I run down the hall for a potty break (as I am wont to do at the most interesting times) and when I come back, Katherine has taken a bite out of it. "It practically broke my fork," she said.

It was not a chocolate cupcake. It was a burnt, hard yellow cupcake and did I mention that it was hard. I lifted the entire thing with my fork and no crumbs fell on my desk.

We were pissed. Katherine takes a bite of the chocolate chips in the middle and declares that they are not semi-sweet; they're BAKING chocolate.

We begin imagining possible reasons why it could be so bad. The bakers had to practice making sunflowers for some competition they'd be entering. Or they had LOTS of yellow "frosting" left and they had to do something with it, so why not put it on the burnt yellow cupcakes?

In the midst of all this, I say, "If my honey had bought something that he thought was a chocolate cupcake and he got this, he would've had a little breakdown."

Cheryl decides she's gonna call them and tell them how horrible it was. We would've returned it, but we all had things we had to do soon and it was a little bit of a walk. So Cheryl calls and says, "I was just in there and I bought one of those sunflower cupcakes and I wanted to tell you that it's....terrible." I'm in the background, reminding her to tell them it's hard as a rock and don't forget about the chocolate chips and the frosting had no taste. I'm helpful that way.

She's listening to the person on the other end and says, "Oh, I seeeeee." She hangs up and tells us she's the SECOND PERSON who's called today to complain about the cupcakes. They're taking them out of the case.

And I'm left wondering why they left them in the case after the first person complained. And even more, what kind of person calls to complain about a cupcake? Not just us, evidently.

It was, after all, a $3 cupcake. That's almost a gallon of gas!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

that new little baby girl of ours

Let's talk, shall we, about the number of nicknames this stinker girl has acquired in the almost-four months she's been home.

Most important and really not even a nickname anymore because I call her it ALL. THE. TIME: Wiggles

Mac was one of her early nicknames because she walks around the house with her bone--or any other toy--hanging out of her mouth like McArthur with his pipe. And then she says, "I shall return."


Wigglesworth. Which leads to the corresponding Bugglesworth for her big sister. Wigglesworth and Bugglesworth. Freakin' cute.


Piggie Nose.

S. came up with this one: from Rigs to Rigatoni. Our little Rigatoni girl.