Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Boodas for Obama

The original Booda, complete with her new "flower power" collar:

And the Junior Booda, who's still learning how to read:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

doggie day care

Faithful readers will recall that when I first arrived at ISU, I had a wacky schedule, so I decided to put Annabelle in day care one or two days a week so that she wasn't home alone for 12 long hours and so that she could socialize and make friends and do up her hair pretty on those mornings. This routine ended when my schedule became more manageable, and since then I've noticed that any time Belly's in a large group of dogs that she doesn't know, she gets anxious. She shows this most often by walking away from the other dogs and staying off by herself. Or trying to leave wherever she is.

So when S. and I talked about taking Wrigley to Doggie Day Care because she so desperately loves other dogs and she equally desperately needs more stimuli, I was concerned about my big girl. On the one hand, I wanted to take her because I wanted her to go with her little sister and have fun and I couldn't bear the idea of putting just Wrigley in the car and leaving Belly home. But on the other, I kinda knew she wouldn't like it. So when we toured Paradise Pets--a different place from Belly's original day care, as this one is much closer--I told them about my concerns about Belly and asked them if they'd please let me know if it seems like Belly's miserable. Because lord knows I can't deal with that idea. S. and I decided we could afford to take them one day a week, and we chose Thursday because it's one of the days the staff grills hot dogs for the dogs. I shit you not.

Week 1: When I drop the girls off, I remind the staff that this is their first day and that I'm concerned about Belly, so please keep an eye on her. When I pick them up later that day, they tell me that I was right about Belly, that she did what I said she'd do, which is hang away from the other dogs. So they put my horse in with the little dogs and she seemed to do okay. Wrigley, of course, had a blast.

Week 2: When I drop them off, I again remind them about my concerns about Belly, and they remember that she did well with the little dogs, so they'll do that with her if it seems like that's what she wants. But when I pick them up later that day, they tell me that Belly was in with the big dogs. This leads me to believe that she was doing better.

Week 3, this morning: When I drop them off, Wrigley is so excited I think she's gonna pee herself. All Annabelle wants to do is get to the door. As in, the door to go back to the car. She so very clearly doesn't want to be there, and one way to know this for sure is that she refused a cookie. She does this at the vet when she's scared to death. So I wavered at first because the woman told me that lots of dogs do this when they first get there, especially when there're lots of dogs coming in at once. So I said okay, she can stay. But then when the guy tried to take her back and she resisted with all her might, I had to say no. I wasn't going to force her to stay. Wiggles went, never looked back, and Annabelle RAN to the car. I brought her home, took her for a walk in the neighborhood, and left her home.

My big girl, it seems, is not up for any more changes to her routine. I'm glad I didn't make her stay, but at the same time, I feel horrible leaving her home alone.

I guess I knew from the start that this plan was really for Wrigley, that Belly probably wouldn't like it, but it breaks my heart nonetheless. Nothing worse than seeing my girl scared.

This afternoon, while Wiggles is still play-play-playin' at daycare, I'll make my big girl a hot dog of her very own.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

randomness cuz it's been a while

First, please read this piece on white privilege. Thanks to Angela for posting it to Facebook.

Amy been stressed.
Amy trying to do too much.
Amy no like.

S. and I went apple-picking on Friday afternoon and I've sworn we'll never go back on a Saturday again. Last year when we went there were 8 million--seriously--people with their 4 million children and you could barely move inside the store with all the cute little autumnal doo-dads. This year, no problem. Apples, cider, blueberry pie. Yummers.

The girls got new collars yesterday because their old ones were all faded and stinky. Wrigley got a new version of her old one because it suits her, and Belly got one with flowers on it. Because she's so femme.

Last night when the bases were loaded and Jason Marquis stepped up to bat, I said to S., he could totally hit a grand slam right now. And he did. And I am officially psychic.

I planned a bowling outing for my group of friends this past weekend and then had to call in sick because of a sore throat and a horrible headache. No fair.

I feel disconnected.

I'm overwhelmed very easily these days.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last night as I walked up my driveway after walking the dogs, our neighbor, Doug, saw me and invited S. and me over to help celebrate their son's fourth birthday party. So I came in the house, asked S. to go find a suitable Star Wars gift for little David, and we went to join the fun. S.: Will there be cake?

Helping our friends celebrate was a couple who'd lived in Illinois all their lives. S. was asking them about their lives, where they lived, what they did, etc. They all three--S. and this new couple--work at State Farm. And he asked me, "Are you at the Farm, too?" No, I said, I'm at Illinois State. Someone else hears me and asks what I teach. English, I say.

And instead of making a remark about being careful about their grammar, Kevin asked me if I was there when David Foster Wallace was there. No, I said, but I've heard wonderful things about him. I haven't had a chance to read much of his work, but I know he's terrific. My friend Julie sat in on a creative nonfiction course with him when he was here.

And we talked about him for a while. And we had cake and went back home to feed the girls. Watched a movie (Smart People) and then when I went to turn off the computer for the night, I read the news. David Foster Wallace had hanged himself. I can't really process this; I'm stuck instead on the fact that his wife found him. Incredibly sad.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"lost in a blizzard of words"

I can't help myself. I know you've probably all seen this by now, but I can't get over the absurdity of this interview. There's a youtube video, too, where Matt Damon compares this whole scenario to a really bad Disney movie: Hockey mom using her folksy ways to charm Vladimir Putin. Is this really America? Am I really not dreaming this? If he wanted to pick a woman, aren't there actually qualified Republican women out there? I have to believe deep in my heart that there are enough people in this country who can see this. At least see the looks on her face when she's clearly in over her head.

Monday, September 08, 2008

CCCC 2009

I'm not in because I didn't apply. One can only present on Saturday afternoon for so many years in a row before deciding one needs to take a year off.

I'm writing primarily to link to Becky's blog entry about a panel on students' citation practices being rejected from C's this year. Like many others, I'm beginning to wonder about the priorities of a conference dedicated to college composition and communication if a panel analyzing the results of a study of students' citation practices doesn't make the grade. Perhaps we're swinging the other way on the whole pedagogical imperative? Perhaps if it has direct classroom application or it comes out of classroom work, that means it's not theoretical enough?

Nothing seems more central to what we do than an analysis of the ways students draw on the work of others in their own writing. If we teach writing as conversation, aren't we also responsible for understanding better how students conceptualize those other voices in the conversation?

I comfort myself by telling myself that at least I won't miss Becky's panel.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

on teen pregnancy

Remember this story about the alleged "pact" among teens at Gloucester High? Remember how it was national news and it was fair game to talk about the role of the parents and the role of abstinence-only education? It was only a couple months ago, after all, that news of this pact ignited discussion once again about whether Juno and Jamie Lynn Spears were making it seem cool to be young and pregnant. Crisis in this small fishing town.

But when Sarah Palin's unmarried 17-year-old daughter reveals that she is 5 months pregnant, suddenly the Palins are a normal American family dealing with children making their own decisions. Blasted children.

Is it still a question of whether it's cool to be 17 and pregnant? No, the discussion this time is private. People with supportive families are allowed their privacy, while people in Gloucester are blamed for not being there for their kids.

Imagine for a moment if this had been the daughter of Joe Biden. Imagine the outcries about those damn liberals' lack of morals. Premarital sex. Harumph. That's why this country is falling apart--because people simply aren't involved enough in their children's lives.

This is why I love rhetoric.