Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I have a pretty ridiculous new blog if you are interested. It's at:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas, etc

School starts in about two weeks. I'm working on getting materials prepared for classes. I've changed a few books this semester and it's been interesting getting up to speed on everything. Every year before school starts I just get so anxious. Thinking about how completely well Christmas went is soothing.

This year we did Christmas for my dad's side of the family at our house. It was quite unsettling for a few reasons. One, Christmas is a big deal. Two, there would be 15 people (including us) at dinner. Three, I was sick. Sick!

So Bobby ended up making all of the food for the dinner (didn't want to contaminate the food with my cold). It was pretty amazing of him. The family gave him a standing ovation at one point, which he certainly earned.

We spent pre-Christmas with Patrice & Co. (Joe, Jess, Jim, and Kate). We had a lovely dinner at this charming restaurant in Delray (it's called Dada. We actually play there a lot, so it was fun to go there in a kind of more formal way). It was fabulous.

Christmas morning we were supposed to get together with my mom and sisters, but my youngest sister was sick, so we skipped it and we're going to have Christmas morning on New Years Day instead. This is interesting because I still have some Christmas left to look forward to. I mean, I'm not happy Anna was sick, of course, but yeah. It's kind of exciting.

All in all I can't really believe how well Christmas went. In my experience, Christmas is always the time of the year when people melt down, crises occur, and nothing works out. This is the reason Christmas hasn't ever been my favorite holiday. Things have to be "perfect" and I'm really too well aware that nothing in life is perfect.

That was one of the nicest things about having the dinner at our place. We got our first Christmas tree. We had food. We kept things, I think anyway, rather low key (or at least ish), which isn't to say that my family is formal or anything; they aren't - they are wonderful, loving, warm, effusive people and I'm so happy they've continued the tradition of having everyone get together each year.

But we've got, you know, a bloody hand from Halloween still stuck up on our bathroom mirror. We have weird pictures in the living room (including a painting of a turtle/zombie eating brains above the TV). And none of them seemed to mind (or at least they didn't let on that this stuff bothered them). I guess what I'm saying is that I felt like everyone accepted us in a way that I've never felt before. They loved the house. They stayed late.

And when Bobby missed their first standing ovation, they called him inside and did it again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This is my brain on grading

Happy Veteran's day, folks. I had today off! Do you know what I did all day? If you do, it's because either a) you are psychic or b) you read my subject line.

Yes. I graded papers. Approximately 35. In seven hours or so. It was a marathon. I eventually got into a strange-grading-mindset. I just stared at the computer screen and it was as if the paper read itself. I'm still feeling that way a bit. I need to go outside.

But first! I thought since I'm in super-computer-mode I'd update this blog. There are only a few weeks left of school. It is insane. How does time move like this? One moment it feels like time is standing absolutely still, like nothing is every going to change, and then suddenly it's two months later.

Example the first: We closed on our house a month ago yesterday.
Example the second: It's Thanksgiving in like five minutes.

Crazy. Speaking of the bungalow, we've gotten almost everything unpacked. This is good because I had a lot of work this week (hence the grading-marathon). And it's also nice because now there are many rooms in the bungalow that look like rooms in a house instead of like rooms in a storage facility (a nice storage facility, but still).

We're going to have Patrice & co. over the week after next. Exciting. Now we just need to figure out what to cook.... Last night Patrice made the most delicious lemon fettuccine. I could never, ever spell that word without the spell check. Maybe we'll make something with lemons, lettuce, and, oh, what's another L food? Legumes. That sounds good. L themed dinner, here we come. With lasagna and linguini. I'm not convinced that that is spelled correctly. Hm. Maybe we'll leave all noodles off the menu so that I don't have to deal with spelling mistakes.

My brain is begging me to turn off the computer, so I must bid you adieu, my friends.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The hamster is a tiny little elderly gentleman

Did you see the subject line of this post? It's absolutely the truth. He's across from me. The hamster, that is (I always thought hamster was spelled with a p. Hampster. But no. No p). In the living room. Of our new house.

Reasons why this is great: 1) He's in the living room! Not our bedroom. Now I can see him more often and he won't wake us up in the middle of the night. Score. 2) We're in our new house! Maybe this should have been number one?

Ha. But I'm trying, you know, to be calm about things. It's entirely exciting, however, to be sitting here in our yellow living room with our new (well, from the thrift store, so let's say "new") yellow couches. Mm hm. When the delivery guys dropped them off they said, "Huh. Yellow couches for a yellow living room?"


If you'd like to read a story (should maybe be "story") I wrote, go here:

It's nearing the end of the semester. My kids are working on their finalish (I say ish because there will be one last revision) papers. I have a big stack of grading to do. They just read a new essay called "Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era," by Richard Restak. They really like this one because it's about them. We also watched a PBS special ("Digital Nation," from Frontline, it's excellent, here, have a link:

So they love the essay and they loved watching a "movie" (even if it was a PBS documentary. Funny story, one of them asked me when it was produced and I said last February. She responded, "oh, I thought all PBS stuff was old"). I'm anticipating interesting essays from them, so that's exciting, except for the sad reality, of course, of the digital stack of papers I have virtually in front of me, hahaha.

Okay. So that's my composition class(es). The lit and creative writing classes, you ask, how are they going? The lit kids just read "Bartleby the Scrivener," by Melville, and I have to say they were not enthused about it. When I told them it was published in 1853 they all kind of went "Oooooooh. That explains it." I think they don't have the patience for the longer, sort of less plot driven stories. Maybe I should have them watch "Digital Nation."

The creative writing kids are writing poetry. We're in the middle of a workshop session which means everyone reads certain students' poems for the day and then we discuss the poems as a class. It's entirely fun, maybe the most fun thing I get to do. They have written some pretty good stuff this semester.

And! I finally remembered to change my address today, so that's good. See, I'm getting things, you know, done. Mostly. We haven't finished unpacking, and I do have this stack of papers, but I feel like it's all going to get done.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Strange lingering scent

Maybe it's because the cleaners came yesterday, but my office smells weird.

It's not really my office. Don't let me confuse you. It's our office. Four instructors share this space (might make a really bad/interesting sit com). We've never all four been here at the same time, however. Usually it's me and one other instructor, I'll call her Ms. Awesome (say it out loud, come on, it's fun).

And Ms. Awesome? She is awesome. Which is good, because the entire English Department is moving to a new building in December, and she and I shall be office mates once again. We are, in effect, moving in together. The new building is also awesome (I thought we'd stick with this adjective, it seems to be working well so far). There is a movie theater (I always spell it the French way first, theatre, and then the spell check admonishes me) downstairs. And a wine bar. It also happens to be awesome-looking (see, I'm not going to let you down. We've chosen an adjective, okay? And we're sticking with it. It's this stick-with-it-ness that is going to get us through this blog post!). I saw it for the first time over the weekend.

For the opening, the movie theatre (I am rebelling! F off, English spell check) is showing Pyscho. Sooo cool. We are going to try to drag Patrice to it with us (and by drag, I really only mean ask her to go. I don't think it will take much convincing. I don't know why I'm exaggerating, except perhaps to give you, dear reader, a bit of a jolt. A sense of action. Of plot. Of awesome).

Are you curious about the house? Me too! However! We are in good hands, so I'm not anxious-anxious, just anxious (in the same sense there is a difference between liking someone and like-liking them [if you're not familiar with this, it's the difference between being in love (the parenthetical is out of control now, sorry), or just being friends ]). Did you follow that? If so, you are officially awesome-for-the-day.

No really. Print out the below award to hang above your desk:

Today, (insert date), (insert name) is officially awesome. This title shall be enforced for 24 consecutive hours after receipt of award.

Ms. Awesome has a "renuzit" thingy on her desk. It's adjustable. I adjusted it so that it would overpower the strange lingering scent. It did. Now it smells like artificial lilacs, which is much much better than what it smelled like before.

What did it smell like before?

Use your imagination!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Goodbye, September

My sister moved out this weekend. Here is a brief list of things she left behind (she might be planning on coming back for them): a box of toys, a broom and dustpan, a mattress, one beach towel, a chiminea, a tv, dust bunnies, broken beach chairs, an almost used up piece of soap, a new piece of soap that everyone is probably allergic to, a little basket of cat toys, a dvd/vcr combo. There might be more. I find her things unexpectedly.

Something else I found unexpectedly is that I miss her. So much.

I have a short story in this online journal (in issue three). You have to open the e-book. Mine is the last story in it, under MR Sheffield.

I finally finished my entire first stack of 80 or so papers. While I was expecting a feeling of supreme accomplishment, alas, it never materialized. Instead, I was seized by anxiety.

Reasons I feel anxious: we have to move soon (house or no house, we probably won't stay here in the "bad" neighborhood where the cops will pull you over and search your car for no reason), it's really hard to move in the middle of a school semester, I miss my sister, the house is a mess (partly due to her moving out, and also because we haven't felt like cleaning because everything has been in such a state of upheaval [see: my last post]), I'm teaching five classes...

Now. Although I'm nervous about a long list of things, I'm also surprisingly calm. I have the wherewithal to remind myself that things will work out. And I have incredible family members and friends who support me. So. I find myself often sort of swinging back from panic to calm.

Today I feel good. More grading is in order, but it's not insurmountable. It's, in fact, really do-able, mostly because I finished the big pile yesterday.

Oh! And we made everything-roasted-vegetable soup last night. It was really helpful, because I find that when I'm having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, if I go over a recipe in my head (a bit compulsively, but still), it calms me down and allows me to sleep. Before bed last night I was remembering slicing the potatoes and removing carrot peel.

Looking forward to Wednesday at Patrice's. Bobby and I are making raviolis, but we're not making the pasta or anything; we're using wonton wrappers. This is actually my favorite kind of ravioli. But we shall see, shan't we?

One more thing. Now that I've memorized all 105-110 of my kids' names, I think I've been forgetting other people's names. They've been pushed right out of my head.

Friday, September 24, 2010


This exact moment in my life feel like that sensation when you're falling, but you're momentarily floating, and because it's strange or because you're scared the moment slows down so that you see your hair lifting away from your head, and your skirt floating above your knees. Everything is in motion around me.

Laura is moving out today and tomorrow.

I have chipped and chipped at the papers, and have a mere 14 left to grade. I'll probably need to speed this up in the future, but for now I'm pretty satisfied. It's entirely possible we'll be closing on a house either soon or soonish. Everything is in flux.

Even me. I find it difficult to sit still. Bobby and I have been learning the ukulele. This, for some reason, helps. Not that things are bad, oh, not at all. They are just, you know, changing. And changing in fundamental ways.

Which is good and bad. More good than bad. Bobby got a raise at his job. It's awesome that they value him; I know that he loves what he does. Plus he's good at it. I don't think he'd like this section of my blog, so I'm going to move on.

But this moment? The one where everything around me feels suspended? The one where I'm falling but don't know it yet? It's also exhilarating.