Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I snuck away for a minute while babies are engrossed in Grandma's player piano & a video and daddy is installing a new light fixture in the currently almost done being remodeled guest bedroom. :) Hah ha! I don't have long though.

I hope you and yours have a happy new year. For those of you coming to the PJ party tonight (it starts at 6 by the way. And PJs are optional-- you can wear other clothes, not optional like no clothes) we'll see you later. :)

XO
Kim

Monday, December 29, 2008

On the Road Again

We're about to leave for a week in Texas. We'll see family & friends that are almost family. We're going to the zoo tomorrow (most likely tomorrow is the best day). The kiddos are very excited about that.

We'll have Internet access while there, (we're staying at the Mother-in-law's place) but I don't know what all I'll be up to writing. Anyways. Have a happy New Year (if I don't blog before then!)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Accounting!! and Facebook!! And Bears!!! Oh My!!!

Can you believe Andrew actually has me doing ACCOUNTING for him?!? It's a really easy online program for our Real Estate stuff, but I can't believe I, Literature Guru, am doing Math. PFFFT. Blech. Ick.

I'm also searching for peoples I knows on Facebook. So I don't look so pathetic to be all students (not that there's anything wrong with students, but I want actual friends on there, too.) So if you have a facebook account and haven't told me about it, let me know. I'm on there as my Real Name so "friend me," or let me know who you are.


*Not to mention Lots Of Exclamation Points, apparently!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Addiction #5

Okay, by the way, I am totally addicted to this damn gum. The blue kind, which is pepperminty.

I need about twenty pieces a day. I saw a blog post that compared it to cigarettes-- the packaging, the pulling out of a piece in an awkward moment... and I agree. Good job creating a need, Wrigley's. Hopefully, it won't prove to be as bad for me as smokes.

My Break

After this crazy-busy semester, I keep feeling like I should be doing something. Surely there are papers I should be grading, somewhere. Just doing nothing on the weekend, minus the guilt, is weird. It's kind of a similar feeling to the years of "should I be writing on my dissertation?" that I'm also still not completely over. (Mostly over it. It just changed to "shouldn't I be revising my dissertation into a scholarly book?")

Anyway. We're not leaving for Texas until Monday, so we have a weekend at home with kiddos. Watching El Perro y el Gato on HBO. The kiddos LOVE it. I don't know if they're learning anything, but it certainly will help them understand Spanglish better, if not actual Spanish. I love how they show Texas. Anyone who hasn't been there surely thinks it's all desert & cowboy shops. (It's NOT.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Maia & Mommy both try out new presents

The piano thingy is for Sean, technically. And mommy is trying out our new Flip Mino. Let's see how well it works. :)

Sean Meets Santa

cutest fast food ever
Last night we went to Chick Fil A (the babies favorite fast food, and one of the few places we go like that). Guess who stopped in? Sean, who would not go near Santa during the photo shoot, was happy. He grabbed Santa's hand and tried to pull him around. It's adorable. Thank goodness for camera phones!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Grrrr

My contact lenses are all wonked up because I ran out of one eye and am wearing two left eyes. I know. They're really close, but my right eye has astigmatism. So it's just a hair off. And when I first did it, I didn't realize what happened; I had one more box of Rights than Lefts and then I was out. And my prescription is expired so I can't get new ones right now to fix it without an appointment with an optometrist, which is SUCH a racket. My eyes haven't changed in 20 years but every year I have to see a doctor. PFFFFHHHT!.

Anyway. It's making me crabby. And a little cross eyed when I try to read. Especially squinty blog text.

Now, off to Indian food. MMMmmmmm.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I worship Johnny Cash.

Isn't this awesome?



These pictures of babies w/ Santa have been bought & paid for, so I figure the steal is okay. Sean would have nothing to do with Santa. Maia was convinced. I love the picture of Sean wanting the present, but still as far away from the bearded buy as he could get. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boho

I don't know if there are any rock songs that are greater and more awesomest than "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.

Seriously. Don't even think of disputing me on this.


Vacation

So I'm off school right now. And, another adjunct called this morning and said with budget cuts, adjuncts could be laid off. You know, yeah, that makes sense. Cut the people who teach the most and get paid the least. Don't cut admin or something. So that's fun news. I suspect the "budget cuts" are related to NEXT school year-- I think the money and courses are already there for this coming semester, but I could be wrong. I have been before!

Anyway. Andrew's car is sorta broken so he took our main family car today and I'm stuck at home. I'm doing laundry & working & right now, Office Space is on the TV.  I'm also using a new web browser cause I hear that Explorer has a ton of huge new vulnerabilities without patches, and when I downloaded I-Tunes a month or so ago, I got Safari, so I figured I'd try it out.  So far, a few annoying differences, but we'll see what happens.  


Now, I need to go get some coffee.  Boring post, dull day.  YAY!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bump

This is just to bump my daydreams blog to the top of my list of blogs. Now that I've created all the student blogs I have to look for the most recent one!! :)

Coming Soon

For the January= Spring Semester, my classes are all going to be required to blog entries about the literature we're reading. Other things, too, since I'm going to be teaching a "how to be a college student" class.

What does that mean for you, gentle readers (if there are any of you out there...)?

I'm going even MORE public. This blog will be totally an extension of my work life, my teaching persona. I doubt a lot will change. I'll probably try to control most of my whining. If you're just dying to see me in a less public way and don't know my myspace persona, let me know & I can send you there, but I don't blog there much anymore, either. Perhaps I will do more now that I'm mmore out of the virtual closet.

It also means a student or two might show up on this blog to comment, since they'll be able to see it in the dashboard. Just a heads up. You don't have to behave any differently, really. It's all good in the hood.

Friday, December 5, 2008

And How Was Your Day?

I did something today that I haven't done in 10 years of teaching. I forgot about a class! I was almost 10 minutes late to the very last class of my comp students in the afternoon. I WAS working; I was hanging around on campus, actually waiting to go to that class, but I was grading portfolios for one of the OTHER classes, and I just lost track of the time & place. It was really embarassing. They were waiting around for their final exam prompt, (the exam is Monday) and one very good student came to my office and said "um, is class cancelled?"

Doh!!

I rushed over, did the whole "here's your test" thing and that was it. Not too big of a deal, but man, this semester I have been flakier than normal. It's mostly because I am way busy, and sometimes a little too busy. But I AM getting everything done, at least.

Anyway. I'm dog tired right now and Andrew is not yet back from his soccer game. We chose to NOT go with him tonight because of previous "dog tired" ness.

Anyway. Things are fine. But I can't WAIT til bedtime.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In Grading Jail.............

but not even that fashionable
will surface sometime mid-next-week. ACK this semester has been a doozy!! I'm ALMOST done grading the 70ish research papers. NOW I have to start grading the 100ish portfolio/reading journals. Then I'll have final exams to grade.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cold!

I interrupt your day for a whiney rant. :)

Dang my office is chilly today. I'm not right on the outside wall so usually I'm a little warmer than the folks who have a window office... but today, I can barely stand to be in here! I'm glad my office hours are almost over.

Now you may return to your own day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Want a cute "Holiday" card from us?

send me your addy. Email at kwellsatlsusdotedu and I will send you a card. It's cute.

I know it if you already know me from a past life or something. :)

I expect a cool card back, of course. :)

I have my cards all addressed and mostly stamped, in fact.

Cause I'm cool like dat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing Your Second Novel

A co-worker recently had her first book accepted for publication from a respectable publisher & has a three book deal. It's the type of fiction I really love to read, and that I have a couple of books "in the works" myself. (I have two which fit that genre, and a couple which are other genres but which I think will be cool, too.)

I am a little bit jealous, on the one hand, but I truly am also happy for her; it ultimately gives me hope. Hopefully the jealousy is the type that spurs me-- makes me get up off my butt and DO it. Like when someone runs past you, making you put in a little more effort, run a little bit faster to try to catch up. See-- people I actually know have managed the task; it's not just people from far far away with brilliant & genius gifts, awesomely disciplined writerly habits. She is a regular, funny, normal person who writes at a coffee shop and stresses over student behavior, just like me.

And dammit, that has to mean that I can do it too. (This is where it's not about the jealousy but more about a productive kind of hope.) If she could do it, with the English major analysis of the type of book & direct thought about how to create a hit, perhaps I do have it in me, too.

This summer, I did write 10 awesome pages on my first idea for a similar type of concept. I have GOT to figure out a way to make more time to write that stuff for myself. The kiddos are getting to a place where I can leave them to play and trust them to not tear down the house TOO much. And I wish I were like Toni Morrison, who wrote her first book, The Bluest Eye, with kids on her lap. Amazing.

I want to write! Dammit! It doesn't have to be the Bluest Eye-- it can be more like Charlaine Harris or something equally lowbrow. I'm good with that. Muse, please guide my fingers along the keyboards of my life. :)

So I decided to think of it like that old joke about working on your second million dollars, because the first one is too hard to get. So now, I'm working on my SECOND novel. And I will try, very hard, to set time aside over the holiday break to really work on it. I wrote the cool 10 pages I have in one afternoon. If I could do that much in the 20 or so days of break then I'd have a decent sized first novel in progress! So, that's my goal for the break. If I fall off the wagon, I'll probably just work on some academic stuff which is not nearly as interesting. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Poet & Mom

Reading the work of certain writers inspires me. Anne Sexton is one of them, always, always. I am not depressed or suicidal, although there have been times in my life when my poetry was an outlet of my romantic misery. (A long time ago. And generally not bad poetry, either.) These days, I write in spurts-- I'll read something interesting, I'll have a week or two off from work during winter or summer break and I'll write. It's not something I have a ton of time to do all the time. When I focus, I can write things I truly like.

Apparently, I am not the type of poems that "literary" journals-- at least not the ones I have submitted to-- like, though. There's nothing wrong with writing just for my own pleasure, but it is nice to be validated. I haven't tried all that hard in the years since my graduation from college when I sent out about ten poems to as many literary journals and got nothin' except a comment from a former professor that he would have thought about publishing my work if I hadn't been such a recent grad of that university. (Anti inbreeding policy, apparently).

Anyway. Reading Adrienne Rich theory because I'm doing a lecture on her next week in my American Lit class and it does amaze me that even now, even 40 years after her struggles with writing and being a mom & wife some of the issues/problems or concerns or pitfalls are still. exactly. the. same.

Anyway. I have a nice warm fire, and I'm going to grab a glass of wine and go read some of that inspirational poetry in front of that fire. For the first time in weeks I don't have a TON of work for school to do (that will change tomorrow when I get a bunch of research papers in). So one night of relaxing without guilt while the kiddos watch Wall-E.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Lovely Girl*

You are not a stringbean.
I cannot eat you, yet.
Nor an illusion. Or me, but smaller.
You are your own star. Shining. Never
falling. Hands thrown up in the air, yelling, rollercoaster glee.

It's true I was a magical mother, (I
saw your heart, open and close, light against
darkness. Blood and tongue and teeth. Smiling already).
A message, a language, even then.

sono: sound gram: to write.
Your letter to the world; we hear it in light.

They say they don't seek out
(for girls versus boys)
a lack, an empty spot.
Castrated boy equals female.
But a line, a presence of lineage.
A string. Going back.

(Oh how Freud would tremble to know this.)

You are not a moon. Nor
darkness but your own sun.

You quirk your mouth sideways in a smile.

Reaching wide, dancing the world into being
and scaling walls I
never could have dreamed.

There are no lies yet to tell.

And you will find your way there
line or lack.

************************

(For Maia, at three. Future Fourth Waver.)
*Inspired, in part, by Anne Sexton's "My Stringbean, My Lovely Woman." Also refers to my older poem about seeing a sonogram picture, which is available online here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For What It's Worth

Those who know me or have been around the blog for long enough in the olden days before it became very mommy & sort of boring to anyone who doesn't know me :) know that I am a pretty staunch third wave feminist. This means that I believe in the principles of feminism: equality. (that's one principle. I know. The only one that really matters.) And one of the ways I put my money where my mouth is (or rather, Andrew's money, but he's a feminist too so who is counting?) is my website Women Writers. Sometimes it's a pain in the neck. It's a full time, 40 hour a week job that I took on, by my lonesome with a little help from a couple of faithful friends and I don't "gets no money for" it. The most I get is a free book now and then, (which is awesome, by the way, and I'm not really complaining).

Well, yesterday, I got two emails about the site. Very different emails, but both of them with a touch of "feminist agenda" to them. One from a woman with a problem with some graphics on one of my sites (very specific, and I won't post details, but let me tell you it required some thinking and some trust) and another from a woman trying to explain in her college class that textbooks written in 1997 do not contain "contemporary" feminism. Well DUH to the second one. To the first one, I wrote a letter attempting to fix the problem and to the second I haven't yet written back.

But it's soooo cool to get the "thank you for your work" emails. They fall few and far between but when they come, it makes all that work and all that complaining about that work just fade away. Someone appreciates the effort. Someone is inspired to do something themselves. It's "passed forward" in a way.

That's all it takes. On days when it's hard, when the monkeys are climbing the chandeliers and the husband is off playing soccer and my banana bread has been smooshed into the newly mopped floor instead of eaten by Monkey #2 and I still don't have a grown up job (fingers still crossed) and there are a half a ton of papers to grade and I have an awful cold and it's cold outside...

The one or two emails that say thanks "just do it" for me. So thanks for listening. Now back to my regularly scheduled weekend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Red-Nose and All

I love the Fall-- but this weekend, just last night, I have a cold. Urgh. Runny nose, sore throat, headache, sneezing & coughing. I was kind of okay yesterday (a little cough) but I've been fighting this thing off now for a week. I've bailed on all my tentative things for today and am going to whine and moan at the husband and kiddos for a while.

Whine. Whine. Anyone for some chicken soup? Chamomile tea with honey & lemon? ME! ME! ME!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I can't believe

it's only 6:30. It feels like it's been a really, really long day and it should be much later. Babies are playing outside with dad & I need to go help. But it still just seems like it ought to be later.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

IN Which We Adopt a Turtle...


No, really. It's a cat, and we've named him Turtle.

And he really does kinda remind me of this character in Entourage. Except without the smoking habit. Yet. :) I did buy him some catnip, though, but he's not interested yet (not old enough).

He'll "lose his manhood" on Monday. Here's a picture. (of him. Not his manhood. That would just be creepy.) Turtle cat

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Na na nana na na naNA! It's my birthday too, yeah!

Since it's crazy early in the AM and I'm up and fitzing on the computer (couldn't sleep...too many things to think about) I thought I'd acknowledge that yes, indeedy, I turn 39 today. I got a nice present from Andrew already-- a cute new outfit w/ leather boots & a tiger's eye necklace & brown citrine earrings.

I think we're also going to go to the Animal shelter later today and get me a kitty cat. :) We haven't had one for a while-- the two I was "fostering" got weird when Andrew's dad was dying and we were gone every other week (was that really over a year ago now?) And we waited. The main thing we were waiting for was the babies getting ready. Maia has now been campaigning for over two weeks to get "a kitty and a doggy." And there's a neighborhood cat who she calls "her kitty cat friend" she wants to see and both babies LOVE petting it. And they're good with it. So I think it's time. We are NOT getting a doggy, at least not for a while. I think just having a kitty will make them happy. And if not, Santa can bring a stuffed doggy. :)

I'm doing some researchy things to prepare for Monday. And I still have the eternal PAPERS TO GRADE this weekend that really realllllly have reached their outer limits for reasonable time to get back to students. I've just been totally not in to grading them this last couple of weeks. I do love my students & sometimes I am delighted by their papers and ideas but it's just the logistics of getting myself to sit down and comment & really do their work justice (I do a lot of writing on their papers-- way more than I probably should).

So that's my weekend plans. Enjoy my birthday. One more year til the big 4-Oh. And my own personal goals to try to get some Big Things done by then. This should be a year of taking stock-- making sure that I am not letting Things Slip By. But that's another blog for another day.

And my IPod seems to be working again. I let it totally charge down and now it's happy again. I am NOT using that car thing anymore, though, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You-Pod

I am a PC person. It all started just about my junior year of college-- hubby bought me my first real computer outside of the campus comp labs which were mostly Mac. I was hooked.

So let me say, we bought an Ipod last week. 8 gb. Cute hot pink. And our Bose stero system thing that we're supposed to hook said IPOD into to play music at home. I loaded about half the 8 GB with music from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. We also have this gadget that's supposed to play the IPOD shuffle on your car stereo.

Sometime Monday ish the first IPOD flaked out. I took it back, said "this un's broken" and got a new one. Today, second IPOD seems to have done the same thing. I THINK it's the car stereo gadget doing something. It's really really irritating. I hope that it's just a wonky battery or something and not a need to go BACK to Sam's and say "I have a second broken IPOD" cause I think they would think I was doing something wrong. (When I really have been very careful.)

Technology, if didn't know this already, is inherently evil. If you don't believe me, ask Murphy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Pool is Dead; Long Live the Pool

The source of so much summer fun, our little backyard pool, is languishing. The pump/filter thingy is broken, there are leaves clogging the bottom, and Sean has chucked dirt off the porch of his fort so that there is sandy crap all over the shallow end. In the deep end is the beginning of a greenish algae bloom, hampered only by the cold weather.

I feel guilty. I should do something, get it fixed, clean it. I know it's too cold to swim in right now but it just looks like a swamp. Perhaps a ghost will start haunting it, being picturesque and gothic. Only nice ghosts, please. None of those violent ones.

And yes, right now, that's the biggest news around here that's fit to print. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Carvings

be afraid, gourds.  be very afraid....

Here I am carving punkins for Halloween. I'll post actual costume-y pix eventually. I know it's a little over exposed but Andrew had a weird effect on the camera, and this is the best one, really.


And here's what they looked like in the dark. I wish they weren't blurry, but it's part of the slow shutter speed that I haven't mastered. happy, cat and pirate pumpkins

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility....

I know. That's a pretentious title. :)

I have been doing my Women Writers academic journal/webzine for ten years. It started off as a summer project and now is basically a full time job for which I am paid in the occasional good book. I complain about it sometimes and rarely have the time to devote to it that it deserves. I've looked for grants in the past, and maybe I need to see if I can find something again. BUT. That's not the point of this entry. It sometimes feels like a huge burden and responsibility, but it's also really cool. Sometimes, I have been the first place a budding author sees their work "in print" and sometimes we're the first book review, too. So it's exciting!

I get review copies of books. An awful lot of them are icky, and I read a few pages and go looking for something else. But recently I got one that I quite liked. The cover art was awesome & I liked the premise. So I started reading it and I really, really, really like it. I'm going to write a real review of it on the website, but I have to say that this is my greatest compliment: I wish I had written it. It's the kind of book I long to write.

Perhaps if I get the new "grown up job" I'll have time to do my own writing instead of merely grading other people's writing all the time and I can finally write my own "paranormal romance" that has a few little (awesome) pages done. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

RL(ong)BOC

  • One of the small stones fell out of my engagement/wedding ring the other day. I could feel it rough on my finger all day, but it often does that when it starts getting cold and my hands shrink. But it suddenly felt rougher and I looked down and the little triangle shaped side stone was gone! Luckily, it was in the chair I was sitting on and I found it immediately. It was one of the smaller of the diamonds, but it would have been a pain in the neck, I imagine, to find one shaped just that way and I probably would have had to redo the whole setting. And I feel lucky that I found the stone; it seems like a good omen overall. :)
  • Tuesdays are less hectic days for me; I only have the one class to teach and it's slightly later in the morning. I also have most of the lectures for that class already made up from last Fall, so not as much to do. I do update them, fiddle with them a bit. Especially the ones from earlier in the semester. And last time, I got the author totally wrong (I thought we were doing Ralph Ellison when they were supposed to read Robert Frost. Oops! Luckily, I glanced at the syllabus right before class!) but mostly the lecture was fine. A Youtube video I had used last time was missing but it was recoverable. Anyway. My point is this: I'm kind of feeling relaxed and good today. Babies are mostly ready for school & I'll take them in a minute.
  • I was going to post about a weird dream I had, but nah. Keep the strange Freudian crap to oneself, I vote today. :)
  • Speaking of voting, I did mine (absentee ballot since we're still Texas residents) yesterday. Get on out there and do your thing, folks. This is, one way or another, a historic election.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memed! AKA Daddy Would Have Gotten Us Uzis!

Maudie has tagged me!

The Rules:Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Because I'm a terrible "meme-r" I'm not tagging anyone, but anyone who reads me who feels like doing this should let me know, cause I like reading them.

7 Things about me:

  1. I am eating an awesome Waldorf Salad right now. With strawberries added because they're yummy.
  2. I'm thinking about getting fake nails later today, painted black, for my witch thing later this week. But I'd have to get them repainted for any potential job interviews and that's going to be annoying. Hmmm. And I generally hate the fake nails because I can't type in them, but it's SUCH a good part of a "sexy-ish" witch costume to have lonnnnnng fingernails. Which I cannot manage naturally anymore.
  3. I'm being so lazy in most of my classes this week. Showing Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the "Hush" episode) in most of them. But there's a really theoretical reason behind it. Seriously. I'm teaching film & popular culture analysis. (Heh Heh).
  4. Night of the Comet is one of my all time favorite movies. I wish it were out on DVD.
  5. I did an online Tarot reading last week before the job I'm applying for was listed and it predicted good things. I'm hopeful. I know Tarot is just hooey but still maybe it's going to be real!
  6. I still want to be a ballerina. But not enough to take classes. I'd just like to magically morph into a Prima.
  7. I've got pistachios, too! mmmmm. Addiction is my friend. (Can you tell I skipped out on some of my office hour today to go to the store?) :)



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Maia reads Go Dog Go

It's too cute. Then dad ruins it by talking. :)

Sean, Maia & Mommy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Amuck Amuck Amuck!!

Next week is my favorite holiday of the year: Halloween. I love the potential of the holiday-- dressing up, feeling the excitement of the air suddenly grown crisp. In Shreveport, we're beginning to get the leaves changing color, and it will be gorgeous in a few more weeks.

I'm going to dress up as a witch (albeit, a somewhat sexy one with pink fake eyelashes) and my students will all have a free day and watch movies. I'm also giving a presentation-- sort of a dramatic interp reading-- my part is about witches-- with two other engaging faculty members. One of them plans to do a ghost story & the other plans to do a short story she wrote. It'll be really fun, I think. I will probably give my students extra credit for showing up, but then that will also make me kind of nervous. It will, however, pack the room if a bunch of them show up and that's a good thing.

We're also going to have a Halloween party for the little rugrats & their school friends. I need to finish printing out the invitations for it, but it will be "fun" and possibly a bad idea. :) After the party we went to (with 2 ponies! ) and a dozen under 5 kids running amuck I am a little nervous about having that many kids in my house but man, it's all good.

So what are you planning for Halloween, if anything?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

What I Got Done

Computer organizey things. We now have TWO desks downstairs with two setups, one for me, one for Andrew. And a laptop upstairs-- all new & shiny. We are a three computer family. :) I also got a wireless printer. I haven't gotten it all set up yet properly (the printer) for wireless printing but soon.

I'm pretty pleased with the day's work. BUt man oh man I HATE putting desks with awful instructions together. There was a moment of much very vulgar swearing...but it's together and things are good. Hooray! More work tomorrow; we'll see.

To Do List: Hollyday Day 1

The first day of my Hollyday is rainy and a little muggy. Blech. But, since nothing I truly need to do is outdoors, it'll be okay. I do have an absolute TON of things I need to get done. I do have several days for these chores but what I don't get done today is just going to pile up on me.

  • write myself into a grant being written by this Librarian at work. If I piggyback on her grant, I may be able to get some money for new A/V equipment at work. I'm torn about this since I want a "real job" elsewhere and why do a bunch of work when I'm leaving, right? But it will look good to have done it. Getting grants makes one attractive on the academic market. So. Write myself in there. DONE (mostly)
  • clean sort toss a bunch of old baby toys. They're a mess & Andrew hates it and we need the storage space for other things. My house is such a good candidate, in some ways, for one of those storage experts you see on TV. We have some real messes here and there, and lots of actual space, but much of it is poorly used. We need some organizational gadgets, but damned if I know how/what to do with it.
  • Purchase gifts for kids' birthday party we're attending on Sat. There will be a pony. Cool, but a little freaky. I feel like a character in Steve Marn's Parenthood so many times. DONE
  • work on applications for jobs. You already know way more about this than you want to, I'm sure.
  • get van cleaned out. On our recent road trip, about a cup of Quick strawberry powder got spilled on the floor. It's not a pretty sight. Contrary to what one might think, it doesn't smell like strawberries either.
  • Check on a new laptop. My old one, Pele, died over the trip to San Antonio. In a very dramatic and annoying manner, in fact. I'll have to tell you about it sometime. Maybe. DONE
  • On a related note, I need to figure out a better organizational scheme for the computers I already have. Yes. ComputerS. Two of them. And printer and fax/scanner. They're set up in such a way that makes them somewhat unusable. What do I do about it? So far, procrastinate. La lalalallallalalala. DONE
  • Grade papers. (A Perpetual issue).
  • Finish lesson plan for next week on Billie Holliday's "Strange Fruit." So far it's a cool lesson; it just needs a bit more juice.
  • Feel icky because Andrew made me drink too much wine last night. Seriously. He's such a wanker about it. Forced me and everything-- poured it right down my throat. :)
  • Fix the upstairs toilet. A flapper broke-- it's a minor annoyance, but I have to get the right kind from the Hardware store and it's one of those weirdly shaped ones. Not the "standard" which Andrew bought already. Trip to hardware store. Blech.
  • I'm sure there are more things that I'll think of later. But for now, I'm going to scan the news headlines, check my email, drink my coffee, and decide which thing gets to be done first.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Holly-Days

When I was 17, the marching band (yay Vikings!) that I was a superb member of went to Arizona for a band competition & parade. We also had a day trip to the Grand Canyon. During that trip, one of the blond girls named Holly made some crazy stupid remark about cows and vacations. She was totally serious, and it was a "blond moment." We all teased her about having a "Holly day"-- a day when you get to vacay from being smart.

Well, Thursday & Friday are Hollydays for my campus. We have what they call a "Fall Break." So I've got "no class," as Rodney Dangerfield would have said. Yay!

I have SO many things to do and probably will not get half of them done but I am going to try. Mostly I'd like to just loll around on my couch, read some kind of stupid addictive vampire book and eat pistachios. Sigh. I guess that's for December. Counting down the days. 'Til every day is a Holly Day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blech: 2 things I hate about today

I feel awful today. I don't know if it was just the weekend road trip or I've just picked up another of the interminable bugs that children drag home to you when they are young. I've sipped some chicken broth & ate a bunch of saltines and drank some water so I feel a little better than I did when I woke up, but I hope that the food doesn't come back to haunt me.

I'm also crazy tired and just want to take a nap.

I spent the morning googling things about the upcoming election and feeling irritated about generally the political climate. I think it's just me, but it seems like it's worse this time than it usually is. More negative rhetoric, less about actual issues.

This time, I'm voting for Hello Kitty.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

wicked witch poems

I'm going to do a presentation on Halloween wherein I incorporate several poems related to witches. What I have thus far is: "Her Kind" by Anne Sexton and "Witch" by Jean Tepperman.

Can you think of any other "witch" poems that I am forgetting? :) Suggestions in the comments.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tiny Dancer

Last week, Maia took her first "ballet/tap" class. She's been dying to take classes ever since one of her schoolmates (who is in the class with her, actually) had a birthday party at the studio. On the way there, we were discussing frogs. I asked Maia if she was a frog and wanted to eat bugs.


She said: "No, mommy. I'm a ballerina." (As if I was a complete idiot).

Before even taking a single class.

Here is one of several pictures daddy took of her getting ready to go. Can we say Drama? Ah, the things we have to look forward to.
cute much?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hanging Over One's Head...

Things. Stuff that needs done. When I was writing my dissertation it was always that-- research, writing, editing. Send it to the committee. Wait (forever) for their input. Repeat. Then I was done! Unaccountably. After the self-induced computer inspired Tourette's of editing the damned thing to turn in to the graduate school I was done.

I had heard about the "you feel like you still have something to do" syndrome of post-dissertation land, and I felt it for a little while. But mostly, I DO have things I want and need to do.

  • write novels (I have three or four of them in my head. Just like with the dissertation, I tend to get bogged down in research).
  • finish the proposals for the two scholarly books I'm trying to get together
  • write myself into a huge grant to get stuff for the English department that I want to use.
  • write up applications for jobs
  • figure out if I want to try for HS jobs
  • clean my house
  • prep for Halloween-- buy some pumpkins, costumes, etc.
  • garden (my poor garden is ridiculously choked with weeds and tall weedy grass)
  • revise several things for my Women Writers site
  • things I'm clearly forgetting

Of this nice long list, I'll probably accomplish one or two things this week.

But today, I'm mostly thinking about cleaning. And being annoyed by the way Shreveport + service industry jobs work (or don't) together. Last time the lady who had been cleaning my house every two weeks came over, I essentially fired her, in my head. I didn't really tell her but I feel like she got the hint when I was as pissed off as I was when she left. And today would be the day she would have come by. I really liked having someone come and mop and do my bathrooms every couple of weeks. For the most part, minus munchkin clutter that happens on a daily basis, we keep the house pretty clean. But with all the hardwood floors, we need mopping regularly. But I was just sick of the drama that came with this lady. So now, she's supposed to call me and come by early in the morning (one of the bits of drama was perpetual lateness.) So now I'm thinking what I really want to do is have a babysitter come by and watch/play with the monkeys while I clean the house. It will end up being cheaper, and I like the way I clean. I just don't usually have the time and/or energy to keep up with the kiddos while I also am elbow deep in Fabuloso cleanser. (My favorite-- smells like lavender Kool-aid. And while that probably would not taste good, it is wonderful in the house.)

Anyway. Right this second I am feeling a little icked out by the smuggy smell of the air in the swampland today (we have sulfur-y swamp-y today. Mildew + Wet, a bit muggy, rotten eggs. At least it's not hot, but it's still stinky.) And planning to get myself dressed and clean the house and go shopping with the kiddos. Husband is working today so I'm on my own. Bleeeh.

But I really tend to feel guilty for that long list of things I'm not going to get done today. Let me add another list here so that I can at least get something checked off:

  • Spoil my children.
  • Love them crazily.
  • Smooch and play with them.
  • be amazed as Sean says more words than he used to (he sang "My Country Tis of Thee" the other day).
  • Repeat.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Things We Lose

I am terribly sad about the fact that Kate Chopin's house in Cloutierville burned the other day. It's pretty much gutted, and many artifacts were apparently lost. It looks like grad students saved the originals to one of her collected works that was in the house (perhaps someone was studying it?) but the house is really gone. The best story online I found is this one from a local network: here. It's quite a loss, historically. She didn't live there all that long, apparently, but it doesn't matter.

I had always intended to go down there and see it, like when a friend who'd be into it came to visit. But I hadn't made the trek, and now I never will get the chance. Very sad, very sad.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm just a squirrel...

tryin' to get a nut.

To move your butt.

To the dancefloor, til your butt's up....

FYI.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Accomplishing...stuff

So today, a student who I had in the first semester comp course a couple of semester ago, who is in my second semester class this time, came by all happy because he had made such a good grade on an essay which he ROCKED. It was so nice to see the energy and light on his face. And honestly, he really worked hard to get that good grade and it SHOWED. It was the best of all 75 papers I graded this week, and the best reading of that particular story I've seen, probably ever. I was waaaay impressed, and said paper will join my stack of "examples of students who rock" for future classes. They probably won't believe it was a real student, it's written so well.

And it just really was cool to see how happy he was, how much he enjoyed the paper and doing well, and how he could very well be someone who, if in a class with a prof who didn't "get" him, wouldn't do as well. On the whole, in the past, he has tended to over write his essays and he really worked hard to fix that. I was soooo happy to see him. So that feels great.

Then I got stuff done that I've been trying to do for weeks. Cleared out about half of my inbox for email (something really hard to catch up on, too). Picked up kids and we went for a ride and then had a good dinner and now they're vegging out with Winnie the Pooh while I look to see what movies are shooting in Shreveport.

Apparently, the horrible traffic we got stuck in was the result of a movie that's filming here with Edward Norton called Leaves of Grass. It makes me wonder if it has anything at all to do with the Walt Whitman poem, but given the car and traffic issue, I suspect it doesn't. But it was still super cool! We saw this car on the bridge and it was literally on its back end, standing straight in the air. I thought "holy crap how did someone manage to do that?!" Well, apparently, it was the movie set! Cool. It makes sitting in that ridiculous traffic jam a little bit less of a pain in the butt. We got to daydream about buying and restoring these really cool industrial loft-style buildings that are near the freeway. They're these cool brick buildings and they'd make really cool places, but they'd cost TWO arms and two legs. But it's a nice daydream. We also drove past the other movie shooting here, accidentally, on the way home. It's a Bruce Willis directed (I don't know if he's acting in it) movie, and it's really fun to see those things. Shreveport doesn't have a million of those like some big cities and so I find it very interesting when it happens. It's not that I'm starstruck (although I think I once saw Jack Black at Target... and didn't say hi because I just thought "Hey, that dude looks just like Jack Black".... never entered my mind it might BE him). But it's just kind of fun.

And I had the chance to possibly have our house used in a location filming for the movie Queen Sized about a year ago. It was in the middle of a crazy time in our lives and I didn't pursue the "note on the door" scouting us. But I kind of wish I had! Maybe we'll get another chance one day.

Anyway. This has turned into a fangirl rant and I gotta get over it. Maia wants to know "what I'm doin?" Writing, sweetie. And now, hugging you. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the 80s strike back?

So I decided, without any regrets, to not go to the (gasp cough) 20 high school reunion that was this past summer. Today, though, I was dragged by one of those clever damned "Classmates.com" banners back into the 80s.

I found out that there was a website for the '88 reunion and spent a bit of time today lurking there. I saw a few people's pictures who I remember, but for the most part, the person who was in charge of the reunion and I didn't really know each other. I remember her, and I think I may have had a class with her, but very few of the pictures on the site had "my group" in it. But that's okay.

cute kid. wonder who she is?On looking at the pictures from the yearbook that they have posted on the page, I am actually pretty pleased with my hair. It really could have been embarrassing-- after all, it was the late 80s and the bigger the better. I think I went for nicely timeless. Cute little bob and restrained makeup. And gigantic hoop earrings, but hey that's my inner gypsy. Aussie Sprunch spray and the reek of cigarettes still brings me back to the girls' bathroom at lunchtime.

I dunno. I may decide to go to the next one, just because I think I'm lookin' pretty good. OOOH, and on a "ha ha ha ha" note, two people who were NOT nice to me during my high school years had pictures up there and they are NOT looking good for the 20 years. Hee hee. I know that's mean, but they were the type of person who made my life a living hell just for the fun of it and therefore, I feel good about feeling glad they aren't perfect. And not nearly as cool as me. Mwah hahahahahaha. I know I know. I should be nicer. But so should they have been. Karma and all. I'm willing to bet my karma for being glad they don't look great doesn't even come close to the way they treated me.

Anyhoo. Nostalgia-- it will strike when you aren't expecting it. Be warned.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sixteen Candles Bunny

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1137726506?bclid=1137970978&bctid=1566340326

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100 Things About Me

I think I'm going to do this one post at a time for a while. Maybe I won't really do 100. I've done this list before on other blogs, but I am trying to think of content that might be interesting without being too damned controversial. :)

Anyway.

Today's thing about me:

I am totally and irrefutably addicted. To pistachios. I have a real problem with it, actually. I need a 12 step program because I get the damned shells all over the place, and they get stuck in my teeth, but when I don't have the big giant 5 pound bad of them from Sam's, I get all jittery and think about them all the time.

I know. It's kind of weird. But they're SO tasty!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

In The Pink

I've been wearing a lot of pink lately. Today's outift is a light pink skirt with these really cute scalloped ribbons all down it and a choclate brown t-shirt with pink and white turtle doves kissing under a heart.

Chalk all this pink up, perhaps, to the mood I was in when I went shopping for my "Fall wardrobe" or chalk it up to an optimistic feeling that comes and goes... but nevertheless, I'm enjoying my rosy wardrobe. There have certainly been many black outfits in my life at times but I have some light and bright pinks that just make me happy right now. One of my co-workers, the newhire from last year who teaches Milton, noted an all pink outfit early in the semester and said it "worked." I tell those who ask that I buy a lot of my clothes at this wonderful Goodwill "smart shoppe" in town (it's truly smart in that the shoppe ends in that extra pe, you know). So not only are they cute clothes, they cost me a fraction of the original price (and some of them end up coming with the original tags on them, like the skirt I'm wearing today!) But in spite of the compliments, I don't think other folks have ventured into my little fashion secret hideout. I like it because it's thrifty, yes, but I also like the "reuse, recycle" element of it. :) So. 100 bucks bought me enough new clothes just before the semester started (about three weeks ago) to have still new stuff sprinkling the daily look. Super awesome, in my humble book.

I sort of like to imagine I feel like Molly Ringwald's character in (you guessed it) Pretty in Pink. Stylishly unusual--not the creamy rich girl who was dressed so blah 80s that you just didn't think it looked all that good. Interesting. Kind of vintage. Redheads aren't supposed to wear pink for some reason but I think it looks really good. Yes, it might make someone with Molly's very pale skin (mine is ruddier, I think) look a little TOO pink, but I still am all for it.

Some of it is because Maia looks so adorable in it. Watching her makes me realize many things about myself. She truly looks very much like me, and she will behave, often, like me too. So it's a self esteem boost because she really is quite pretty and lovable. A reflection of oneself like that can be so much better than a real mirror, I think.

Anyway. Time to go wake up the little inspirations. They're in the bedroom, sprawled and snoring like a couple of long haul truckers. But still-- they look cute in pink. (Or blue, for Sean. It's not a boy girl thing, really. It's just the colors that look really good with their coloring!!) :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Better For Worse comic

I really miss this comic that the writers has retired from writing-- For Better or For Worse. I used to read it every day, and now that she's just re-running old strips, I just don't read it. I know it's still technically "there" I just don't care to read it. The thing I used to like about it was the way the characters aged and changed with time-- not a lot of comics do that. And now that it's all a rerun of the 70s I'm just not that interested, even though technically they're mostly new strips to me. But I do miss it. I find myself with a second or two and think that I ought to do something on line, and where I would have had a small laugh or even just a smile reading that FBFW, now I am at a loss. I know there are other comics out there, but it still ins't the same. Pooh. Silly people--finding more important things to do than amuse me.

Ah, I hear the pitter patter of a baby up from naptime.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Moving Day

So I'm dusting off the old, anonymous blog and moving things that I want to keep to this one. I'm not going to write in the old one anymore, I think. I had it set up for a long time that I could write things that I didn't want to share with the entire world there, but frankly, that's tiresome. If I can't share it, then I probably shouldn't put it in writing anyway. That probably means it's not my best me-- the one that I should be promoting. There are some things that one shouldn't write about, probably.

I know that last year, when I was feeling a little depressed and crabby, the blog writing definitely seemed to encourage the bad mood. I know that the day I was "undiplomatic" and said some things I shouldn't have that the blog was part of it. I was not thinking about it, and let my crabbiness and a mood that I really don't feel all the time get the best of me. So. That's that.

I'm trying to rename my library widget and post it here but right now the mylibrary folks have the "rename" function disabled. I wish they'd undo that, because I did pay for a lifetime membership and would like my little library to move to this blog.

Today, Andrew is doing his "Reserve" duty thing. He's an active duty Reservist. So that means he does a regular 40 hour week most of the time but then, once a month, he also hangs out up there on the weekend. It's kind of a drag for me because weekends are the hardest time to be on my own with the kiddos. We have a lot of things to do today, including a birthday party for one of his co-worker types' kids. I like these folks, and they're kind of new to town, so I'd like to encourage a friendship there. But things have just been so busy that I haven't had much time to devote to that. It used to be easier-- just go hang out with a group of likeminded people on Friday night at the Church of Flats, and zippo. Sigh.

Okay, before this gets entirely too maudlin (apparently, that's my current mood) I'll just drink some coffee and go grade the papers I'm supposed to be working on this weekend. Ack! I'm out of coffee!! Who drank all my coffee??!!! Surely, it wasn't me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

News? Anyone? Anyone?

I don't watch much TV news. Mostly, when I'm watching TV it's usually kids' programing or something I've DVRd and really like (Eureka, True Blood, etc.) So I've taken to reading the Google News feed to keep up with "big events." Just so I know if the news is reporting, you know, random zombi attacks or something.

So is it just me or has the news been really, really tedious and irritating lately? I think this is something that happens to me during election years. I HATE the horserace mentality of elections, and I think that most people who want to be elected probably should be therefore disqualified (have it be by lottery, or something equally random. I know it sounds crazy, but the ego and craziness of most elected officials really gets to me).

But today, looking at stories about Tom Cruise's cradle robbed wife, Ophrah's book pick, bank bailouts, hurricane bailouts, greenhouse woes, China's crappy milk, I just want to not read any more. I just am generally pissed at all of it. And none of it makes me want to read more. Bleh. Meh.

Whatevs.

Weekend Updates: Friday edition

Whew. This was a CRAZY week. We got power back on Monday and everything has rushed by in a blur since then. Teaching this semester is four classes and that's a pretty full load. I have papers to grade or else my students will get crabby that I keep them too long. (75 papers is a lot!!) So I'll get to that when Andrew is at work doing the AF Reserve thing this weekend and babies are playing in the yard. I really really am enjoying my students this semester. I have more English majors than I usually have and that makes for some fun discussions that I don't always have to lead-- one of them even came up with my "Bartleby the Scrivener" = Office Space argument on his own this week. I was so excited!!

I also showed this video in class. They loved it, and it made so much sense to them. Told them things they ought to know, but if I blabber about it for a whole class, they hear "wah wah wah wah" a la Charlie Brown's teacher all day. So. I am a big fan of this guy:



It's nice and temperate here in the swampland now. Low 80s during the day generally, low humidity, cool at night. It's my favorite time of the year for many reasons. We moved here almost two years ago during the first real cold snap of the year. And I like cool weather. We can light a fire in the fireplace and sit in our nice living room and read while the kiddos play. And they're getting, at three, to that independent play phase where they get into fewer scrapes that we have to monitor.

Speaking of those little monkeys, they are really in to The Nightmare Before Christmas right now. Sean will throw his arms out, all future drama kid-like, and sing "I, Jack, The Pumpkin King".... I love that little movie. :) Goth kids in training. I thought at first it might be too scary, but it's not, apparently. They got mommy's goth gene (which, granted, is recessive, but still there). They'll be the first ever goth jocks at their school.

Now, to go get another teeny tiny bit of vino. It is the weekend after all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stuff & Nonsense

When babies get up, mama gets up. 5:30, and Sean is up. Poor little monkey has a boo boo and it's keeping him awake. Maia is still snoring away, sprawled in reckless trust on the bed. Andrew is getting ready for work & I'm half ready.

It's been such an odd semester so far. My new hair, and tendency to wear makeup every day instead of randomly has apparently attracted a lot of attention. I guess last Spring, when I wasn't feeling wonderful, I wasn't taking as much interest in my appearance as I am used to doing when I work. I mean, I don't wear makeup all the time; I don't really think I need to. But usually, when I work, I go the extra 30 minutes. And I'm getting all kinds of compliments. It may have to do with the 10 or so pounds I lost over the summer from the flu, also. Anyway. It's kind of fun. I had mostly resigned myself to not being the "Hot Mom" since I was older as a mom, but I've gotten compliments from random men here and there and it's kind of fun, as long as the compliments are harmless.

So then. Lots of things to think about and do. Not everything is blog-worthy nowadays, though. I guess I'm falling out of the habit a bit. I can see by the sparse commenters that folks are out of the habit of checking in, too. That's okay-- and I'm not fishing for comments. I know some people will pop in here and there and that's fine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Ode To Dental Receptionists

Here is something I just will never understand:

A 'TUDE from a receptionist at a medical office (in this case a dentist).

First of all, you're a minimum wage, usually non-specialist person. You probably don't even have a 2 year "technical assistant" degree. I'm not trying to be overly snobby about this, it's just the fact of the matter that if you are a specialist that can't be replaced by a trained monkey, perhaps you deserve to be snotty. If you're a glorified phone bank, you shouldn't think you're blessed and important. You're not smarter than me, nor more special, so your 'tude only serves to alienate and piss me off.

So I call, because I've chipped a tooth, and it's kinda sharp and I'd really like to get it cared for before it gets worse and I end up with a gaping hole and possibly pain. I explain that I would be a new patient but I do understand that my emergency is not a major one. I neither "bleed" nor "lead" in the triage world. But I am forming my first impressions here. I have called this office because the other one I called kept sending me to voice mail, not something that makes me warm and fuzzy about how I'll be treated as a regular patient, there, either. I'm shopping around. There are lots of dentists in my neighborhood, many of whom probably need a new car. That is what I have, essentially, in dental care in my mouth, by the way, which needs to be cared for. I have put it off. I've been a bad patient. So I do need some expedited care, yes, but I still deserve to be treated with courtesy. Customer service is SERVICE to a customer. A receptionist is a customer service agent.

Newsflash, lady: Your patients pay your salary, essentially. It's not that you're doing me a big, massive favor. I'm going to pay for my services. A lot of money, eventually. I'm trying to get in sooner, rather than later, but I actually don't expect miracles completely (although if you could perform one and get me in immediately, I'd probably worship you.) And I am NOT an idiot, although your tone seems to imply you think I am one. Simply because I cannot bend my life to fit the one tiny slot you have available this week.

The chick on the phone had to snottily explain to me, when I told her that the only time she had available I actually had to WORK (shocking that I should have a committment to my job, I know) that she "had to have a chair available to put me in."

Really? I'm new here, yes, but I thought perhaps you could perform the dental care while I floated on a sea of contentment awash in gentle waves of light. Cocooned in light and goodness and forever peaceful. I'm shocked that you actually need a place to put my ass, but now, because you were bitchy and unhelpful, that ass is going to be in some OTHER dentist's chair. And that receptionist was actually a human being, who didn't have a GOD complex. And I imagine she understands that new patients keep her in paychecks, too.

By the way. We do have power back at home. And yes, I have chipped a tooth. But I should survive it. It's just, as the post above shows, rather annoying.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Whew!

So this weekend, we have been without power for most of the time. Hurricane Ike has done his damage, and mostly it was mild, in my hometown. Yes, there are a few houses with trees in their living rooms, but most of the damage wasn't too bad. It could have been much worse. The wind was howling like crazy, but we didn't get too much rain or other weather.

But we lost power Saturday afternoon, were without it all day Sunday til about 6. Then we had an hour and a half of glorious normality and it was gone again. This morning's call to the power company has them saying "Well, we hope to have everyone restored by THURSDAY." Um. Thursday. Really?! That's your reasonable response??!! ARRRRRRRRGH!

I'm hopeful that by the time I go home tonight, I will actually have power. Pray, or whatever it is you do, for us, please! I am not really very happy about the prospect of that many days power-free. There will be a generator purchase in our near future, but it may be sooner rather than later. You wouldn't think, living this far from the coast, that we'd be in this much chaos, but yes. We are. And it stinks.

But it could be worse, so I'm trying to keep perspective on that. Many, many bad things happen in the universe and me not being able to get my coffee at home this morning was not that much of a crisis.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Adventures in Home-Repair

So our rental property is all set to go. We have tenants-- a sweet couple who don't have excellent credit but who are trying. They have three cute kids and love the house and I think they have paid the same rent for a real craphole in a bad neighborhood and so are thrilled to be getting something much nicer in a better neighborhood. In other words-- they know what is out there and they know how much we ROCK. I really really wish we had thought to take "before" pictures. The place was such a mess-- dark, smelled musty and old-lady, with ugly 30 year old curtains that fell apart when I moved them that had been stapled to the walls to keep them tight, ugly ORANGE carpet in one room, blue dingy nicotine stained wood paneling in one bedroom, three layers of wallpaper from various periods peeling but stapled (seriously) to the walls in the hallway/foyer. Lamps that looked stripped, as though if you tried to change the bulb you'd get a shock. Etc, etc.

isn't it cool?We finished up the last little things last week. I put up wallpaper, we had our handyman refinish the wood floors. Yes, when the tenants tried to move in a fridge, the movers scratched the floor a little (figures). I put up "lace curtain Irish" pretty curtains. We put up the pretty little part glass, part nice plastic chandeliers you can see in the picture-- from Lowe's, not super expensive but soooo pretty.....

It just rocks. Seriously. I love this little house. If I were living there, I would probably make some of the rooms bright, bold colors, and we did this place in white, mostly, but I still really love it. One of the things that I feel good about is fixing up a historic house from a sad state of disrepair. And when we get the roof done, that will be even more so because while the roof isn't yet leaking, it's not long til it will be and that would just trash this "diamond in the rough" home.

cinder-maiaSo I'll shut up about it and post some pictures. The first is the view down the Living Room/Dining room area. You can't really see the big awesome china built-ins. But that's allright. The other picture is Maia. While I was doing the last bits of cleanup (vacuuming, picking up shreds of the ancient wallpaper from the closets) she wanted so much to help. I put her to scrubbing up the bits of white paint that someone (Andrew, maybe?) tracked over the fresh wood shiny stuff. (It didn't work. And the place is NOT perfect. But still.) Our little Cindermaia, hard at work.

I just have to finish off saying that I truly hope the local authorities don't freak out so much about this incoming Hurricane if it isn't truly coming this way. It looks like it's going to Houston (where my sister just moved, funnily enough...) so we do not need to cancel everything here in our little town. I JUST got my syllabuses re-organized, please!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Momentarily

.......distracted. Happy.

A little red wine. A little buzz. A few hours of casual, pointless TV and babies being angels. Pistachios, to which I am a complete addict. (Is there a 12 step program for them?)

Babies ready for bed. Hubby getting drinks (kool aid) and diapers ready. Me, ostensibly checking email. For what reason? Not really that big of a deal. Never get anything but spam, anyway.

A moment. Or two. And then... back.

Morning Musing

I know I've been lazy about blogging lately. Anyone who has done this for a while knows that you go in waves of writing-- sometimes, you're just on every single thought for a blog. Then, you just figure-- who really wants to hear about Sean's ear infection (fine) Maia's learning her ABCs and potty training, my teaching, Andrew's daily grind and Real Estate Tycoon biz?

My mom does, but I talk to her all the time. (Cell phones and driving. It's a skill.)

But I am trying hard to reduce things in my life that do not specifically add to it. Blogging is not one thing I plan to really reduce that much; it's my little journal to myself, where a few people from the world also pop in now and then to see what's up.

Anyway; back to school again today after a week off (almost). Baby waking, time to go.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav Fizzles

For us, at least. We had rain, yes, but honestly a regular thunderstorm about two months ago did more damage around here, flooding several houses down the street from us (literally down-- downhill and in a bad spot, apparently). There were some downed tree branches, and I did see a fairly large tree branch downed a few blocks away but it didn't look like it damaged the house. So we're all good. We had two days of class cancelled for it, though.

I spent those days working on restoring the rental property. We have a tenant that wants to move in on Sat, so we need to get 'er' done.

The property is a Craftsman style bungalow house and it's really quite pretty. There are so many nice features that I'm excited to rent it to someone. I would live there, myself, if we didn't have an awesome place already. Today, I put up wallpaper. It was work, and for a few minutes of several crooked corners in the walls, I was cursing a bit. But I got it done. It looks really nice.

What's weird to me is to grow up as poor as I was, and now be "the landlord." Checking people's credit (which, by the way, we mostly gave up on. The folks we're renting to admitted to not having great credit, but they're such a sweet little group of family/cute kiddos that we just want to give them a break. And we have this dream of making up some really nice places that are affordable for people who otherwise wouldn't get a nice house. It's kind of cool, but a source of much cognitive dissonance for me sometimes.

Now, tomorrow, back to school. I am going to meet with my new class, which I was just assigned a week into the semester, for the first time. The professor who was going to teach it has had to take a semester off, so they asked me to take it and I am happy about it. I love teaching survey courses. :) I'm already ON it. :) But the day off delayed us again and I had to delete one new reading. Ah well. So it goes.

Anyway. I'm TI-IRED. And I have wallpaper glue all over me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Francine

She is one of those people who fall
out of your life too easily.

Laughing, hair fluttering:
declarations over coffee of a philosophy that
doesn't make much sense to you.
She is nostalgic about the eighties.
Like a small child, she gushes over Venus and Mars and Plato and
then rushes out to pick purple flowers
that smell like Kool-Aid. She tries to fill rooms, and then
she is sad when they wilt,
as wildflowers will do.

She talks about love. Loses it again.

Bill collectors looking for her threaten you;
if you don't reveal her location they will do terrible things. They
know who you
are.
They hover in dark cubicle filled offices
scratching mindless doodles on
nicotine stained notepads.
They are ruthless in their pursuit.
They love her in a way.
You tell them, "Of course she has unpaid debt.
What else would you expect?" and they hang up on you.
Call again, breathing silently on the line while you answer hello.

You've always been practical: filling out forms with
well-sharpened number-two pencils,
separating out the colors and whites, using
organic detergent for your wash and wear clothes.
Maybe this is why she is so appealing, her ideas so seductively simple.
You're willing to think about them in spite of yourself.

Then, you don't even realize she's gone until one day
you notice the smallest gap. Your foot slips on a piece of loose
brick in the foundation of things you knew.
A place where there was something--
one little hold-- one little moment-- one little voice.

And suddenly, you crave purple flowers.


***********************************************
This is kind of a character sketch, kind of a poem. Kind of a person I used to work with (a little exaggerated, too). I really needed to write it all of a sudden, and had to fight with babies and husband for the time it has taken to draft. I get a room of my own but only during daycare hours, after all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last Day Of Freedom

I know, that's a little melodramatic. Tomorrow, the fall semester starts & I'll be teaching again. 3 days a week, 3 classes on those days. Not at all a bad schedule, really. I plan to try to continue working on professional development projects on Tuesdays & Thursdays-- the novel, the scholarly anthology, the dissertation into book. So maybe I CAN do it all. :) Supergirl gets it going strong.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the classroom. As an adjunct, I have never taught over the summer. Those accelerated classes are taught by tenured faculty, for a number of reasons, one of them being there's just not enough of a demand to justify having adjuncts in summertime. But while it's cool getting all that time off, I kind of feel like the kids do-- all this summertime and my brain is mushy. What, exactly, is it I teach again? Luckily, reviewing the syllabuses & textbooks tends to get me back in the swing pretty fast. I'm a little bummed because last Fall I got to teach an American Lit survey course (since we were short the tenure track faculty member who taught that course) but this year I don't have anything other than Comp. Don't get me wrong-- I actually quite like teaching Composition courses.

First year students who take Comp classes are often in their first ever year of college, and in the Fall semester, they're often first time college students coming fresh out of high school. So they're so excited, and they're learning what kind of student they are. That first semester, if I can influence them at all, I feel victorious in the war against the "I don't ever read books" syndrome. And I also get a lot of "I don't like writing" students, and many (not all, no, but enough) of them change their view by the end of the semester. They at least don't hate writing and are much better at it, too.

Anyway. Academics are funny, because we really do cycle on this semester-to-semester schedule of life. Everything is renewed and often we see this as a chance to renew ourselves. Hence the haircut & trip to my favorite little shop for new clothes. It's a new start, and even though it means fewer days lying on my couch reading smutty vampire novels, I am very happy with the new work. It's fun to be useless for about a month, but after that I need to do something with my brain. So here goes: brain, re-engage.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Homegirl Paints

We have this new property we bought to rent out. It's in a good part of the sometimes a little rundown in need of fixing up historic part of town, but it's a really nice little house. It has hardwood floors & crown molding, built in cabinets, 3 br 2 ba, a nice yard and garden. But the woman who lived there before was very sick and the place was trashed. It needs serious cleaning and probably has been 20 years since it's been painted.

So that's what I'm doing today and yesterday. Yesterday I got paint in my lovely curly hair so today I've got a dew rag on it. Add that to my oversize white t-shirt & very baggy green-khaki pants & I look like "a homegirl."

:) The handyman who is helping today when he first came in and I was listenin' to rap & looked like this was a little shocked and said "I never thought I'd see you like this." I said, what, "you didn't know I grew up on this side of the tracks?" I guess he just thinks of me at "the college professor" and doesn't realize I'm a girl from a trailer park in South La "cross the river." How things change.

Now I'm checkin' the credit on a possible tenant. It's kind of cool how fast one can do this. In fact, it's probably ready already. Back to the old paintfest.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dental Damns!

Today, I discovered something worse than getting a root canal.

Watching your 3 year old son get one.

Seriously. Sean had a pretty big cavity, and they did a "baby root canal" on him. This means just the part of the tooth that isn't in the gum line. But it sucked, big ones.

They gave him Vercette (I'm not sure that's the spelling) which is supposed to make him forget all about it. I sure hope so, otherwise, we're not getting him into that dentist's office again.

I was crying, and it was soooo hard to watch. But he seems fine-- full of piss and vinegar-- now. Poor little monkey. It's all because he has a serious love of orange juice & hates to let me brush his teeth.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cute Curls, Crappy Picture

Okay, so my laptop tried very, very hard to eat my novel this morning. I was typing away, about to do my first LOVE SCENE (yup) and the damn thing had a VERY SERIOUS error that made it go to BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. Luckily, I had saved fairly recently. I only lost about a paragraph. So I'm not going to risk using it. It was something to do with the freakin' wireless internet adapter, which how does that happen, anyway? I wasn't even USING the thing.

So now I'm on the big computer. And that inspired me to take this picture of me with my camera phone so you blog friends can see my hair.

It's not a very good picture. But you can mostly see how curly & cute my hair is. I'll post better pictures someday. Now, back to the love scene. (On a first date, no less! Trampy character!!) me with fabulous hair

Monday Monday

Blergh.

Some days, you just have to keep moving. I know it's early, but already it's been one of those days. Sean has a cavity in one of his little back teeth-- the boy LOVES him some orange juice and it's had an adverse affect. So I had an appointment made for this week, which took us about a month to get. But I typed it into my calendar on my phone wrong, and I wasn't sure if it was today or tomorrow. Since he has to not have anything to drink or eat, and get there at 8 am when the doctor's office opens, I couldn't call to check and I wasn't sure. So we went-- it's not today. So we get to do that whole early morning rush out the door tomorrow, too. Yippee!!

Today was the first day of regular school around here, too, so there were cars everywhere and the school zones in effect. I have two school zones to go through and I remembered and didn't get myself a ticket, but it was close on one. Then there was a wreck right in front of the dentist's office-- minivan meet SUV.

Whew. Lots of drama for so early already. Now it's calming down and I'm going to work on my novel. And eat some breakfast. And play with my wonderfully curly hair. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Did I mention that

It is Pizza Night around here? Mmmmmm. And I am currently starving since I did not eat any lunch. I wanted to go to campus & copy stuff and clean my office and I ended up chatting with a co-worker for a while and I just never got around to eating. Argh! I'm starving starving starving. :)

I'm thinking Pizza night is officially going to be EARLY tonight.

Pizza. Drools.

Back to School Prep: Permanently Crazy

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in 15 years!

Intrigued? Hmmm?

I got a perm! Yay! I know this is kind of banal news, but I'm excited about it. I figured heck, 80s clothes are in style again, we gotta have the hairstyles not far behind, right?

Basically, Louisiana humidity makes my hair weirdly wavey. I can't do anything with my hair short of crazy ironing and lots of product, (which is SO not my thing--too time consuming. I want to be out of bed and out the door in 30 minutes or less.) So I figured I would make it easy on myself and make it really really really curly.

I've always loved my hair curly. It's so much easier to just put a little gel in wet hair and GO. So I just went for it. Found a picture on the Internet and went in to the salon.

The really daring part of my story is that I actually went to a student-school-training salon. Yup. I'm a crazy woman. The girl who did my hair had never done a perm on a real person before. Seriously. This is a walk on the wild side. She had a supervisor, yes, who hovered, and even did a little bit of the rolling, but still. :)

I like it. It looks cute, if very curly. I'll post a picture after I can wash it and it's a little less slept-on frizzy. (As Legally Blonde told us, we can't wash our permed hair for at least 24 hours.)

I keep thinking of that Frieda, the girl in Charlie Brown who was always bragging about her "naturally curly hair." :) I know it's not naturally curly. But I like it anyway. It makes me feel purty.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fall-ing Again

Well, it is rounding on end of summer time hereabouts. A week and a few days til school starts. I'm teaching three classes of mostly first-time fresh-folks. (I know, gender neutral seems weird but that's a good way to say it I think). I am OCD about doing my syllabus really really early, and I do a very detailed syllabus with every day's lesson plan in advance. This way, I don't have to plan that much during the semester. I know exactly what I'm doing each day. And I do update the syllabus every semester, removing things that didn't work, or that I am just tired of. And I'm still trying to tweak it for perfection of "low grading, high feedback" for the students. Still haven't figured that out. I spend way too much time grading.

Anyway. So yesterday I finish up my syllabuses and then I find out that the campus bookstore had ordered the wrong anthology for one of my classes! Argh!! Then, I find out that the book for the other classes, which I haven't taught since last Fall, has updated with a new edition. Argggh Again!! That means I have to go update my syllabus with the changes. They always take out a few readings in the new editions to justify charging 80 bucks for a textbook, which students can't get used when it's a new ed. And I think about three of my essays are gone. SO IRRITATING. If I weren't compulsive and put off the syllabus making til the last minute, I wouldn't have to re-do. But I am paranoid that if I don't do it early, something will come up (an illness on my part, or the kiddos) and I won't have time to spend the hours I spend tweaking the darn things. So I get sort of self-punished by doing the work early. Ah well. It's not ditch digging, after all is said and done.

I made a cool sign for my office hours on my door, using this graphic. I like having something new each semester, something that fits my mood. And my door has several cute comics (mostly Calvin & Hobbes) and I try to be "that interesting teacher". I think it generally works.

Now to go re-do my syllabus. Pfffhhht! Darn publishers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pigging Out

Oh, so I went with a friend to see Mamma Mia at the movies. For the last month or so, I've been kind of sick & lost a few pounds as a result. So I felt pretty okay getting a popcorn with extra butter & a soda (Mr. Pibb, thank you very much).

And I made myself a little sick on the half bag of popcorn I ate. No one else wanted any so my small bag was really very much like a large bag used to be.

Remember back when you could get that little red and white striped box of popcorn? And it was just enough. You didn't have to gorge yourself. Of course, they couldn't charge 10 bucks for it, I guess, so they feel guilty and give you so much.

And the movie was pretty good. Meryl Streep is such a good actress. There is this scene where she's singing The Winner Takes it All to Pierce Brosnan and she emoted and did such a wonderful job that I was all teary eyed. It was not at all corny (that scene. there were other corny scenes, but nicely so).

I did feel, through most of it, that I should be there with my friend and Abba-freak Vicki. Sigh. Moving too far away from your dearest friends is so hard. I wish I hadn't had to do it so often in my life. (But don't let us end on a down note....let's see. How about a YouTube clip, instead? This isn't the whole song. It's pretty long, and this is about oh, halfway through? It's very good in the context of the movie. Here, it almost doesn't work. But if you like Abba and musicals, you're going to like this film.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WA to LA: 15 years

I: Whidbey
There is a drum, like a slow, resting heart
just beneath the surface
of a sweet high flute.

Everything is green, green.
Trees taller than God
rocks that shine black, sharp, along with the cold of waves
that touch leaping salmon.
And rain that never stops, creeps into your pores
to lay you out into salt and blood and cold.

There have been volcanoes, here, dearest.

Remember that night,
driving along the shore, we saw
fire,
hanging low over the blue of a small close mountain--
hot, round, touching a cloud that hugged it too close?

We wondered what it was,
for a while, orange, just in a spot we could not imagine.
Our guesses ranged widely but then, embarassed--
suddenly, the strangeness was gone and it was just the moon.

That same old lady who has been following us forever.
Glowing with harvest, eye hiding in a winking cloud.


II Shreveport

Everywhere an animal you did not expect--
tiny whitebacked lizards bite at gnats in the hot pink lantana
a possum burrows under the bamboo
a turtle ducks its head behind the white coneflower cluster.

A wild fox prowls the patrician neighborhood at night
scuffs up against the topiary of Mickey Mouse and a Bear.
Leaves red stringy fur.

It is green here, but in a younger way,
a toddler's
insistent energy.

And the years between stretch --
an instant gone by,
but so much change.
"The volcanoes here are mostly in the food," you laugh.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Random Bullets

  • I have a head cold thingy. I think it's allergy, but I'm not sure. Add that to the stomach flu I've had still for three weeks & I'm really tired of being sick. Ugh!! Now to take a Nyquil and try to sleep, cause I didn't last night.
  • Babies are fine, mostly . Sean has the same bug I do, I think.
  • I start back to teaching on the 25th. I look forward to seeing new students; I shouldn't have any that I've had before so it'll be lots of new faces.
  • Maia & I are sharing Pistachios. We both are addicts, and are eating them by the handful. She keeps giving me more, and little cute kisses while I type. What an adorable thing she is.
  • Watching the Muppet Movie (which, for the record, I adore) for the millionth time this weekend, I noticed this weird thing. Right after the scene where Richard Pryor sells Gonzo balloons, this guy walks past in the background, twice, holding a Confederate flag. It's very weird for that to happen when one of the few black characters in the movie is onscreen. I don't know what to make of it. Husband and I discussed it a bit but I haven't googled to see if anyone else has made anything of it. I'm sure there's a youtube about it or something but I'm too tired to look. But it really seems bizarre.
  • Babies went to a birthday party this weekend. Maia dressed up as Tinkerbell, Sean as Peter Pan. It was a bit of a misunderstanding on my part-- I thought they were supposed to show up in costume (the deal was they actually had outfits AT the party, so we were the only ones who had our own, other than the birthday girl. Ah well.) It was kind of fun, though.
  • Now, I'm tired. Bedtime & nyquil, here I come.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Selling Out

Okay. I have to say that if I were someone anyone would offer, say, a million bucks to for a commercial or something, I would so do it. Sellout? Hell yeah.

On that note, I am going to complain about a sellout I just heard. On a JC Penny "Fall clothes for teens" commercial, they had a track of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me." That song has long been my "theme" song, kind of. I love it, and have always had great memories of it.

And now it's a JC Penny theme song. Sigh. JC Penny. If it were the Gap, or some other cool shop, I would feel better.

See. I'm a totally hypocritical contradiction. Enigma, wrapped in a riddle.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Surprise!

This morning, while I was tappity tapping away on my website (women writers) getting the new issue ready, I found out that my domain name registration had expired!! AUGH! This is how people snatch up these kinds of things. You have a domain for ten years and then forget to pay the renewal fee and a porn site is suddenly parked on your cool domain. Luckily, I had been working hard with the site all day and realized what was up, and renewed ASAP and now I have it for another 9 years. Whoopee! :) Take that adult industry squatters who were probably chomping to get after my domain!!! But the trouble was that the service that used to do it did not have an easy way to update contact information, and all my contact info was ridiculously old. Luckily, I had an old, still accessible email address that I never use, so I did not have to go through the pain of faxing stuff to them. Whew!

So. But the weird thing is on my laptop, I can get my site. And other people can get it. But the computer I'm on now keeps loading the "renew your domain" splash page. It has something to do with DNS renewal and stuff I don't understand, that the tech support guy explained to me when I called. I don't get it. If I whack it with a rock or stick, maybe that will fix it. Kim Smash! Kim Angry! Arrrrr!

Anyways. My website is so cool right now... the voodoo issue. It's gonna be awesome and I am so glad I thought of doing this special topic.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day holed up with the "vampire teen" book's finale (called Breaking Dawn). I thought it was very well done, very good, very gripping. I am kind of sad it's over and wish she'd write more stuff. I really liked the lack of too much information on the "eros" elements of vampire lore. Other vamp books I've read go into TMI for sure, and the fact that the author, Stephanie Meyer, is conservative was actually a plus for me. I want story, not barely disguised "adult materials" pretending to be a mystery/horror story.

Now to go upstairs and eat lunch. Ack! I can't believe it's 2 already!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hopeful

We have NEW neighbors! Since our old ones were nice but very standoffish, we're very hopeful that perhaps these new ones will hang out with us a bit more. One thing that might help is that they don't actually have kids. I know, I know, that sounds contradictory. But I've found that couples without kids (call them child free rather than childless-- it's the new way to say it without the stigma of "less." which I never felt in the past anyway but I did catch flack once from a stranger about it-- still, I say who the heck has to define themselves by their procreative ability nowadays? Well. Other than Brangelina--but I digress) are much more willing to pop in for dinner & drinks, or whatever, than their child having peers. It's just about 200% more difficult, I think, when you either have to get a babysitter or drag the whole fam along. I remember fondly our child free days, staying out til 2 am, going to like three of the first episodes of the new Star Wars in one day (in a tired haze, yes, but still). Nowadays, if I'm up at 2 it's either because one of the babies is crabby or something similar.

Anyway. This week is going to be crazy for me cause the Hubby is out of town til Friday. It's possible (but not probable) that he can come back on Wednesday, but no matter what, he'll be gone for a bit. When he told Maia yesterday that he was leaving for a while, she pouted prettily. Then, prompted by me (yes, I'm awful) she lit up and said "A Present?!" Ah hah! Princesses need presents when daddy comes home from a business trip. That's the rule. Mommy doesn't need squat (other than, perhaps, the occasional visit from a housekeeper to do the more Cinderella-ish things in the house). But the Princess Papaya gets some kind of sparkly present this time. Or else. :)

Now, off to finish my Voodoo issue of my magazine, which, by the way, is going to be awesome. My guest co-editor & I are even thinking about pitching this one to a real book publisher. We'll see what happens. :)