Monday, August 25, 2008


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
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


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
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


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


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. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I've experimented with Yahoo IM before in the past and been annoyed with it. However, I'm going to give it a shot again. I changed my name from the old anonymous one I never used to a new one that is the "real me." So. I'm making it public again.

My Yahoo chat name is daydreamsdandelions if you ever wanna IM me. :) I don't know how often I'll be on there, but just in case. I just spent ten minutes setting up my new "real me" avatar, anyway. I was amazed at how many new choices there are for clothes! Anyway. Me and my obsession with little virtual dolls.