Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-End Wrap Up: Last Post for 2008

I guess I need to post before the clock strikes midnight. I am inspired by everyone's year end/ best of lists, but I'm not sure I can review the whole year right now, given that I am only one cup of coffee into what will surely prove to be a two cup day (at least...it may be a three cup day...).
So, in my muddled way, I will try to remember the highlights, best ofs, etc.
  • Most surprisingly good movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Best vacation: I can't choose. Austin; Boulder, Utah; Pinetop/Flagstaff, AZ; Vegas
  • Best Margarita: Mesa Grill, Las Vegas
  • Best Martini: Four Seasons, Las Vegas
  • Best New Drink: Watermelon Margarita (my backyard!)
  • Favorite Book: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
  • Best Gift Received: Keen boots (from MB) and coat/scarf (from my mom)
  • Best Gift Given: The Best of Ogden Nash and NBA socks (to MB)
  • Best Activity: Ragnar Wasatch Back (because of the bonding with my teammates)
  • Best Rediscovered Activity: Tennis
  • Movie that should receive an Oscar, but won't: Slumdog Millionaire
  • Favorite TV show (on DVD): Battlestar Galatica
  • Favorite TV show (on TV): The Office, 30 Rock, Lipstick Jungle, Samantha Who? (I can't choose! I suck at these lists!)
  • Favorite activity: Lunch & a Movie (with Lisa B!)
  • Favorite newly discovered restaurant: Tin Angel
  • Favorite newly discovered divey restaurant: Victor's Tires & Tamales
  • Favorite workout: Master's swimming
  • Best Item I Made: Peach cake
  • Best Item I Ate: (suffering from immediacy) stuffed peppers at Cafe Madrid; sweet potato tamale at Mesa Grill; Winter Green ravioli at Union Square Cafe; Mushroom Soup at Ems; Bread Pudding at Hell's Backbone; Conejo paella at Sylvia & Don's.
That's all I can think of. I'm sure I left something out...but if I remember, I'll mention it next year. See you all on the other side.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sleeping In

The conditions under which I, a mother of a seven-year-old boy, am able to sleep in:
  • son is safely stowed at friend's house for sleep over;
  • drank a considerable amount the night before including, but not limited to: one mojito type cocktail, numerous glasses of red wine, a glass of port;
  • ate a considerable amount the night before including, but not limited to: warm frisee salad with Camembert and grape vinaigrette, lamb chop with dried apricots, pomegranate, and Israeli couscous, various chocolate desserts;
  • sat up reading while trying to digest;
  • went to bed around or after midnight;
  • was awakened at 4:37 a.m. by a stranger trying to get into our house;
  • laid in bed, heart pounding, while MB patrolled the front door, called the police, then observed four squad cars and their various activities for about one hour;
  • tried to go back to sleep around 5:30 a.m., unsuccessfully;
  • finally went to sleep, eventually, only to awaken with a start at 10:57 a.m.
And this, friends, is the story of how I learned that I could, indeed, sleep in.
(Also, it turns out, that the guy was probably drunk and meant to go next door to his girlfriend's house, possibly, and the police made him do the drunk test, cuffed him and put him in the squad car, and searched his car with flashlights but then, maybe, just let him go? I'm not sure.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Stats

Here is some of what we did over the last few days:

  • Last minute Christmas Gifts purchased: three (all for MB, all purchased on Christmas Eve!)
  • Cookies baked: four (peanut butter cornflake chocolate bars, seven layer bars, peanut butter kiss cookies, sugar cookies)
  • Other baking: cranberry maple cake for Christmas breakfast
  • Meals cooked: One (Christmas, Caesar salad, baked potatoes, steaks on the grill, easy!)
  • Other cooking: Spanish style shrimp, which included three parts, making the garlic oil, making garlic chips, then finally cooking the shrimp.
  • Tamales consumed: um...four? five? we ate some the 23rd, the 24th, etc etc etc. We still have some left and will be eating them for dinner tonight.
  • Bottles of wine polished off: please don't make me divulge this number!
  • Christmas movies watched: Three (Christmas Carol, the George C. Scott one; It's A Wonderful Life; A Christmas Story)
  • Presents Opened: A gajilion? All for Son, of course, who got the haul which included a Lego Star Wars ship from Santa, a spirograph, a puzzle, two games, a Rubik's cube, numerous art supplies including a sketching kit and some painting canvases, a spyology book, night vision goggles, and some Wimpy Kid books. I got him some shirts and a sweater and an orange for his stocking!
  • Gifts given: I got MB the NBA socks he so wanted, also two sweaters and The Best of Ogden Nash and a moleskin notebook. He also received a Godzilla action figure from Son, but I'll let him report on that. I gave my sister a bunch of movies, and my mom a book she wanted. That's all. Oh, and various gifts for the neices and nephew.
  • Gifts received: a great exercise shirt and sweater from MB, also the London moleskin, complete with maps, etc, a book from Son. My mother got me a coat and crocheted a scarf to match. Cute! Lip stuff, Luna bars, cocktail napkins.
  • Books read: one, The Subtle Knife. Now I'm on to The Amber Spyglass. I need to finish this series before school starts again!
  • Trips out of the house: in the last two days? None! Which is why I need to get off my fat (cookie) ass and at least go for a walk. I don't want to drive anywhere, even though the hardworking civil servants are plowing and salting, even as I write this.
  • Further festivities: a dinner with Jason's retauntuer friend, a dinner with Otterbutt and Sylvia. Then maybe I can stop drinking for a month. Or at least a week.
Merry Christmas to all! I wish you a fabulous 2009. I hope I get to see you all real soon!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nothing To Report

I wish I had something to say, but I don't. So here's my blog about nothing.
This morning I asked Son to choose between two of our traditional Christmas cookies and he chose both. So I guess that means that we have to make both. So this morning we'll make the peanut butter, chocolate kiss ones, sugar cookies tomorrow. I hope Son will eat more than his fair share, because I don't think I can eat very many (though I'm sure I will eat more than I should).
What are your favorite cookies readers? Here at our house, it's a tie between the seven layer bars and sugar cookies.
Happy baking and happy eating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Current Obsessions

Since I got back from Vegas, I have been thinking about the menus for the various days and meals we will or should be eating in the coming days. I have also been trying to pick and choose from among the traditional cookies my family usually makes, asking Son for his input of course.
I haven't made much progress, but I have made some decisions (sort of?). To wit:
  • Christmas Eve: MB has decided that this year, instead of making tamales, we will buy them from Victor's. We took a research trip out there. Delicious!
  • Christmas Day: We'd like to have some local, organic meat, baked potatoes and Caesar Salad. Easy!
  • Appetizers: On Christmas Eve, I'd like to have a selection of appetizers, like the obvious veggie platter, perhaps with our traditional cottage cheese dip or maybe something new, like this herbed goat cheese dip? Or perhaps these Spanish style tapas, such as shrimp or tortilla?
  • What about Christmas morning? I think I'll make the cranberry maple cake I made this year. See these pics from last year.
  • Cookies? I already made the peanut butter chocolate bars. Son demands the 7 Layer Bars. I bought stuff for the peanut butter kiss cookies, but might not make them, because we have to make sugar cookies. Those are required. I'm trying to draw the line there, but I will miss the oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies. But oh well. I'm trying hard not to gain too much weight over break.
  • Drinks? Red wine of course, and maybe some Claus-mopolitans. And perhaps some more bubbly wine. And egg nog, with rum of course. And maybe some Baileys to add to the coffee. Yum....
I would love to hear what you will be eating, especially ideas for appetizers. I think I would rather eat lots and lots of appetizers and save myself the trouble of making any big meals.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"I've never had so many drinks in so short a time": Vegas Redux

That quote is from my sister, Lisa, on Day 2 of our Vegas Extravaganza while we were sipping yet another margarita at a Mexican restaurant. It happened to be our 7th drink. Sigh. So here, for your edification, the stats.
  • Margaritas consumed: 6-- 2 at the hotel the night of our arrival, one at Fat Tuesday in the mall (actually all of shared this one), 2 at Mesa Grill (the best ones of the trip!!), one at lunch at Mexican place at The Palms
  • Other drinks consumed: 2 -- a "dresser" at the hotel (vodka tonic); one extremely delicious dirty martini at the Four Seasons (olives stuffed with bleu cheese!)
  • Meals consumed: 3 (I'm not counting breakfast at the hotel or the guacamole that we ate for dinner after the show). The best meal by far was at the Mesa Grill (yummy pork tenderloin and this delicious sweet potato tamale!), I also had a delicious mushroom quesadilla there, and had some good tacos at a place at the Venetian.
  • Shows seen: 1 (Stomp Out Loud! It was very impressive and fun!)
  • Trashy TV watched: sadly very little, but I did see a bit of "The Starter Wife" which seemed trashy
  • Movies watched: 1 -- "Four Christmases" (cute!)
  • Celebrities Sighted: 0 -- I heard that Donny Osmond was on my flight, but I didn't actually see him.
  • Inappropriate Outfits: too many to count!
  • Hotel Lobbies Seen: I'm going to say 6, but that's an estimate.
  • Dollars Spent Gambling: $2 -- I spent one on something called Cops & Donuts, and one on two cent poker. Edifying.
  • Casinos lost in: all of them. They don't want you to get out!!
  • Times I thought "That is her job. Her JOB.": at least twice, possibly more. First when I saw a woman dancing on a bar, and then when I saw some girls dressed in what can only be described as cop-uniformed themed bikinis (with hats!). It turns out that they were dealers at the Pussycat Dolls tables.
  • Number of times I thought "You're going to drink that?": Every ten seconds on the strip. Most often it was when I saw someone with a 100 ounce margarita. They had them in very tall cups, huge cups that looked like tubs, and cups in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Amount of fun had: infinite. Mostly just hanging out my family, eating at the Mesa Grill, but also drinking martinis at the Four Seasons (so quiet!), and laughing as we tried to walk in the windiest weather I've ever been in.
I'll post some pics on Facebook.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Report

I had a lovely birthday, thanks for asking!
I swam in the morning, did some shopping with MB, had a delicious (delicious!) vegetarian lunch (a cashew coconut curry with portabellos and other grilled veggies and brown rice. so! good!), and then went to see "Happy-Go-Lucky" with friends.
First, I love Mike Leigh. I've loved everything he's done except "Naked," which I hated. I loved "HGL" because of its spirit, or what one reviewer called its "invitation to find joy and grace in everyday moments." One reviewer called its pace "leisurely" and I have to agree. But I quite enjoyed the way the movie meandered through Poppy's life and I really, really loved the scene with the Flamenco teacher, which was sad and hilarious at the same time. I heard Leigh on NPR ("On Point") a few weeks ago, and one of the callers made the point that the movie was about teachers (Poppy teaches grade school, she has the Flamenco teacher and a driving instructor), and it is, but it is also about world views. My companions wondered aloud whether they loved Poppy or wanted to kick her in the teeth, but I definitely loved her. I think it's because, as the movie progresses, I came to see the ways in which she is open to the joy around her, but it's not because she ignores the pain, but rather that she tries to understand it, or temper it. I highly recommend this film. It was a great birthday film!
We had a pretty regular dinner, and the wine I've been wanting to try, Sofia (Coppola), which is a sparkling white wine. On the label it says "coming of age, bestowing of presence, petulant, revolutionary, reactionary, poetic, sparkling, ebullient, effervescent, fragrant, cold, cool" which I think describes the wine and/or the woman it takes its name from but which I hope also describes me. I didn't notice the words when I bought it, but it seemed appropriate when I finally read them. In any case, we loved the wine, more than champagne, and will be drinking it again soon!
A friend came over and brought cupcakes, which I think are the best thing ever. They are small, we each had one, and then no leftovers to consume. We chatted with her, then put Son to bed, and then we watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" because it's what we had. MB and I loved it, with no reservations. It had some cringe worthy moments, and we laughed out loud, a lot. As far as I could tell, there was nothing, nothing wrong with that movie. I loved that it featured male nudity but very little female nudity.
So all in all, a great birthday. I go to Vegas tonight, which I am really looking forward to.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Canticles and Omens

Perhaps I invest the days leading up to and the day of my birthday with too much importance. I believe, superstitiously, that what I do in these days sets the tone for the coming year and in some ways determines how the year will go. Last year on my birthday I went to IKEA and then drank too much. I won't be letting that happen again, rest assured.
This year I plan on starting the day early with a swim workout, taking Son to school, and doing some shopping at an event that benefits his school. Then I will go out to lunch and see a movie. In the evening, I plan on having some wine, a nice dinner with the family, perhaps a slice of cake, and then going downtown to see the lights and drink fancy hot drinks. A jam packed day, it sounds like!
But, I'm left with this question, on this, the most auspicious of birthdays, what are my wishes?
  • I want to finish the novel (please, god of unwritten novels, please just let me finish! it can even suck!)
  • I want to get some poems together and write some more
  • I want to finish some stories
  • I want to spend more quality time with Son
  • I want to read some really excellent books
  • I want to eat a lot of really good food, but in a moderate way
  • I want to exercise a lot, and run another race this year
  • I want to spend time with my friends
  • I want to learn more about myself
  • I want to take my yoga practice to the HNL
  • I want to just sit with husband, drinking a bottle of wine and watching the sunset, anywhere
  • I want to go to London and Paris (let's keep our fingers crossed)
  • I want to go to the coast
  • I want to take more photographs (with my SRL)
  • I want to speak more Spanish
  • I want to be better at tennis
  • I want to mountain bike
  • I want to ski
  • I want to keep swimming
  • I want to figure out our housing situation (either move or stop thinking about it. It's driving me crazy!)
  • I want to live simply to simply live

Monday, December 08, 2008

Meme

Since no one else posted the rules: bold the ones you've done.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (oh yeah, let's hear it for the FJH marching band!!)
4. Visited Hawaii (but I want to...does wanting to count?)
5. Watched a meteor shower (on Cape Cod, in Idaho, in Washington, etc.)
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (let's hear it for the HHS senior trip!)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (does in the shower count?)
11. Bungee jumped (and I never will!!)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea (spelled lightning, no?)
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (do hand-turkeys count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (Yes, but I think technically it was "beer" poisoning)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (actually, vegetable: tomato)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked (sort of by accident in Thailand)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (hell yes! And got my boss fired in the process!!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (you're not supposed to look right at them, right?)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (not intentionally, but I have been to Ireland and England)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38.
Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (ditto for things I'll never do again!)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (Sing with me now "At the Copa!")
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (no, but I gave Christmas gifts to a family)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance. (thanks to my almost drowning incident)
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (Again, in Thailand)
52. Kissed in the rain (and ran naked in the rain? How about that?)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (I took Self Defense...)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (yes, and it made me sick, so I stopped)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (only once. Don’t tell my mom)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous. (yes, Sharon Olds and Galway Kinnell at my first AWP ever. Lydia Davis, Ron Carlson. I bumped into Robin Williams, but does that count as meeting? Also David Kirby, later. Richard Buckner. Does it count if they become famous later? I used to work with Nick from Death Cab for Cutie.)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (Although I don’t think “swimming” is quite the term).
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (so many times it's ridiculous!)
100. Ridden an elephant

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I Love Coffee!

I didn't post yesterday, but for good measure let's just say that yesterday I was thankful to reach a milestone in end of the semester hoops (almost done!) and that I was also thankful that we found the place we got our tree last year, a local garden shop and the tree was less than $50 (which seems to be the starting price?!), and it took us about half-an-hour.

Today, I am thankful for coffee. MB tipped me off to this cool & funny tribute to coffee, which I share with you. Today I'm going to finish grading and decorate the tree (it's small and really quite adorable). Then I'll take Gus for a walk (off leash!), and then go to Book Club. I'm thankful for all these little gems in my life (dog, books, friends, canyons, etc.).

Friday, December 05, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Words

Last night, I made the mistake of saying that "bi-otch" was one of my favorite words (which it is!! I swear!!), but then I couldn't think of any long, beautiful words that are also my favorites, so I was left with that. But now that I've had time to think about it, here's my list, in no particular order:
  1. Omphaloskepsis: navel gazing
  2. Canticle: it means "I'm a pretty word!" No, it means hymn, but to me it also suggests candle light
  3. Tangential: divergent
  4. Jeeves (as in "I fancy a martini, Jeeves.")
  5. Like ( I like, like you, you know? or He's, like, like a girl.)
  6. Flibbertigibbet: whimsical person
  7. Phoneme: a sound, uttered
  8. Glossolalia: speaking in tongues
  9. Synesthesia: crossing of senses
  10. Sesquipedalian: polysyllabic (I used this in a poem once and it drove my teacher crazy!!)
What, dear readers, are your favorite words?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In Which I Plaigiarize From Son

I am just tired, tired, tired. So I will steal a poem from Son and let that be my post for the day.

awestruck like a dog
foresty blackness blinding
sunlight coming

He's been studying haiku and he wrote three or four yesterday. But I like that. Sunlight coming. It's gots too, right?
Originally the first line was awestruck like a monkey, which had too many syllables. Too bad, because I wanted to see where that was going.

Today, I am thankful for Son and his inspiring creativity.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Best of Lists: A Complaint

Why are everyone's end of the year BEST lists so predictable? Take this one for example. Now, I know these people read all year long, new books, that's their job. (That's their job! How did they get so lucky??) But...why so predictable Michiko Kakutani and Janet Maslin? (I know there are others, but theirs are the only names I know...)
I'm happy to see Steven Millhauser on the list, because even though he's been around a long time, he's not very popular. So who am I not happy to see on the list? Toni Morrison and Jhumpa Lahiri. First of all, does anyone not know about Toni Morrison? Say you wander in to your local bookstore and see this book propped up on a table. Is anyone likely to pick it up and say, "Hmm...Toni Morrison...never heard of her"? No! So the NYT book review does not need to promote books that will be read no matter what. People will pick up that book. What they need to do is point out to me a writer I have never heard of and say, "People!! You should be reading this book!! What have you been doing? Put down that 'Twilight' shite and read this. This!!" That's what I want them to do for me.
And I am sorry, but I am not (NOT!) going to read any of those nonfiction books. They are all about war, war, war, and egomaniacs. Blah!
Sadly, I read very few (2?) book published in 2008. But, of the books I read, I can tell you which ones I liked.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: This was very good. It had dogs and a sympathetic narrator, and did I mention dogs? Also, it used some parts of "Hamlet," which I just taught. I thought it was well written and did not draw attention to its own style, unlike some other books that I read that were published this year, but will not appear on this list.
The Long Goodbye: Do I even have to explain this?
All the mysteries by Arnaldur Indridason: If you haven't read these, get on it. The new one comes out in February.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: This was really good and sweet. I think I might teach it in my novel class.
Lucky Jim: Funny!
Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender: Why isn't she on the list???? (oh. it was published last year.)
Blink: I love Gladwell's style.
Time's Arrow: There's no Amis, like old Amis. Apparently. When I saw him in NYC, I thought he was a blowhard, but I loved this book. Love.
Writing at the End of the World by Richard E. Miller: I actually want to reread this. It was great.
Okay, one more: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. It took me awhile to get into this one, but I really liked it.

So, having criticized lists and created one, I'll say I'm thankful for books and all those hardworking folks who write them.
Please, friends, tell me what books you loved this year. I'm sad to say that no book made me cry or rethink my life, but I'd have to say Edgar Sawtelle came closest.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Obama: Bringing Sexy Back

Is it just me, or does Barack Obama make a friendly handshake look like an intimate opportunity in this photo with Hillary Clinton? You really should get the paper and look at it in order to get the full effect. I think, "Wow!" and then I think, "Hillary deserves to be looked at like that by a man." And "if not one President, then another." You know.
I think it's a good thing Obama has an emissary to represent him around the world. Otherwise leaders, male and female, would be swooning.
Obama: Bringing Sexy Back to the White House (and not in the way Clinton did)(in a Good way)
Or is it charisma? Or charm? Or is it just plain sexiness?
Sigh. On this second day of my birthday month, I am thankful for Obama.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy December!

Now that we have entered the month of my 40th birthday, I think it's important that I treat every day like a celebration. To wit, I am celebrating Monday the First, the first day of the last week of class, with some TV (Samantha Who?) and a delicious drink (Jack & Ginger).
Today is World AIDS day. So today I want to remember all those lost to this disease, and also to be thankful for my health and the health of those I love.
I love you all! Stay healthy!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Something More Positive

I feel compelled to post something positive to outweigh the negative post just prior to this. Read this story about hosting a party (in Manhattan no less!) on the cheap. Be sure to watch the slide show. Of course, it helps to have absolutely amazing taste and to be able to see beauty in the 99 cent store. And I wouldn't be able to stomach the Three Buck (inflation!) Chuck, but otherwise, it was an uplifting story. Even in these hard times, it's possible to have a party, to entertain. I want to turn our house into a winter wonderland!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sometimes America is just Stupid

Now, I am all full of hope and thanks, but stories like this remind me that sometimes Americans are heartless, selfish and just plain stupid. Sadly, I think this story represents the worst of American culture: shopping and violence. We seem to love both.
I stayed home today and bought nothing. MB went out and bought some stuff, which I'm not allowed to know about it.
Now I have to just try to forget that I know about this.
Sigh. That "Yes We Can" American-hopeful feeling sure didn't last very long. Maybe if I just hold still the feeling of despair will pass....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"This is My Boss"

After all the eating and the coffee drinking, after the Monopoly and the wine, I settled down to watch some SlateV (read: sla-TV). I ended up watching some Charlie Rose. I most enjoyed Neil Young and Steve Martin for the following reasons: Neil Young said that song writing is his job, "This is my boss," he said, which reminded me of all the discussions lately about who is or is not the boss of me. It seems right, somehow, that creativity be ones boss. Young said that if he has an idea he'll just get up and go work, no matter what's going on. "It's a gift," he said. "And you can't just let it sit there." So that's one.
Then Steve Martin talked about how he stopped doing stand up because he had nothing to say. He continued talking and then he said he and an artist friend were exploring the similarities between making art and therapy. His friend replied there was one difference: with therapy, you want to retain your discoveries, and with art, you abandon them.
Those seem like two truths worthy of Thanksgiving Day: your gift is the boss of you, and you make discoveries in order to abandon them, to move on.
I'm thankful for all of you, for all of your abundant gifts, for your presence in my life.
Thank you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Infinite 8: Because Hightouch is the Boss of Me

8 Shows I watch

  • 30 Rock
  • The Office
  • Battlestar Galatica
  • Dexter
  • Weeds
  • American Idol
  • Samantha Who?
  • Entourage

8 Restaurants I love

  • Big City Soup
  • Martine
  • Em's
  • Mazza
  • Thai Siam
  • Tsunami
  • Lone Star
  • Eggs in the City

8 Things I did yesterday

  • "Taught" in the loosest sense of the word
  • Worked out (again "loosely")
  • Made Curried Pumpkin soup
  • Talked to my mom on the phone
  • Did some Facebook stuff (read: "wasted time")
  • Hung out with Son
  • Drank coffee, then some beer
  • Blogged (of course!)

8 things I'm looking forward to

  • Christmas
  • Thanksgiving
  • Any movie I might be able to see again, ever, in the theater
  • My fortieth in Vegas (baby!)
  • AWP
  • Waking up in the morning
  • Swimming
  • My next overseas trip (London? Maybe.)

8 Things on my wish list

  • Live in Ireland or Scotland with Son and MB
  • "In The House" 2010: The eco-tour in our retooled VW bus: a family trip and reading tour all rolled into one great big van!
  • Finish a fucking novel!
  • A Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, light blue, and, while we're at it, a kitchen it will fit in!
  • An amazing digital camera
  • A room of one's own
  • A YA novel (written by me)
  • Another 10 years (at least!) with MB, including another $50 bottle of wine

8 things I love, in no particular order

  • My wonderful, adorable husband
  • My gifted, artistic Son
  • Food (right now, mostly pie)
  • Wine
  • Gus!
  • My family
  • Reading
  • Trashy TV

8 things I can’t stand, in no particular order

  • Anything involving Vampires of any kind, type or form
  • Pompous blowhards of any stripe (takes one to know one, though) (ditto!)
  • Bad service. Don't they know we're in a recession? Be nice to me.
  • Bad restaurants. There is just no reason. (and why are the bad ones so expensive? idiots!)
  • Cynicism
  • Self-congraulatory meta-style. You know what I'm talking about.
  • Popular writing that's so bad it makes you want to give up language (see number one)
  • Working (talk to me in one month, though)

8 people I'm tagging: Everyone i know, which might not equal eight. You're it!!

Success on One Front

I roused Son from a deep slumber this morning at approximately 7:18 so that we could leave the house by 7:50 (yes! accomplished!) so that I could do my necessary, last minute Thanksgiving shopping. I plied him with promises of muffins and chocolate milk. We dashed to Whole Foods, purchased required WF things (cheese cloth, eggs, local whipping cream, local bread) along with the promised treats. Then, we dashed to Expensive Local Store where, it turns out, things are not as expensive as I once thought. Local turkeys, for example, were cheaper than the non-organic ones at WF. I also got (expensive) olives, inexpensive beets and parsnips, local apples (the owner assured me these locally grown Ida Reds would make me forget the Empires with which I made the best pie ever...), carrots, I can't remember what else. While there I saw the local bread delivery guy who I had just seen at WF. I bought my bread at WF, but does it matter? I got it from the local bread guy.
Then I got coffee and now I'm about to leave to get my hair cut and colored (for the first time ever!!!). Son was not happy last night about my getting my hair colored. He's afraid it's going to be ugly. Nothing like a little confidence from the loved ones.
I still need to get cheap, white bread for the stuffing just like grandma used to make. I'm dashing to the store across the street to get that on the way to my hair appointment.
So then I'll be done with shopping and the cooking can start. One of my favorite rituals is to hang out in the kitchen drinking wine while I toast bread.
Another favorite ritual is the night before Thanksgiving soup and salad dinner. I made Curried Pumpkin Soup last night and tonight I will serve it with my famous Ceasar Salad. And some more of that local bread. I got some white wine too.
And tonight I make pie. Which we have for breakfast tomorrow. (Another favorite ritual). Then we'll watch the parade and the dog show and cook all day. I told Son we could play Monopoly, because we always run out of time. But tomorrow, we have all day.
Blessed Turkey Day to you. May it be everything you need and want.

Monday, November 24, 2008

At Last: A Loss For Words

At this point in the semester I want to say to my students: Go away. Just go and write your final paper and stop complaining and leave me alone. What do I have to say to them? Nothing.
It is with this loss of language that I approach blogging today. I wish I had something funny to report (nothing. Wait! I did spill chicken vegetable soup all over myself today!).
I'm not sure if it is the late Thanksgiving break, the two day work week, my sinus problems, the pre-finals blahs or some combination, but I am finding it hard to care about anything except chocolate, beer and/or wine, and TV. Oh wait! And potato chips. Seriously. I feel like I could watch hours and hours of TV. But the TV is not cooperating. There is nothing trashy on! What's wrong? (should I be blogging that at TWIT?)
Sigh. What I need is a good mystery novel and a solid month off. I am still trying to figure out what it is about teaching, specifically, that exhausts one so. What is it?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Synecdoche, New York

We had a lovely time last night with Hightouch Megastore and the Historian. First we went to see "Synecdoche, New York," then we had dinner at a funky little place downtown.
Having finally seen the film, I allowed myself to read the reviews this morning. I had, actually, read the New York Times review, which is glowing. But my favorite was this review by Roger Ebert. I felt like Ebert really got the movie (in a way that I didn't!), but also that he was generous and smart, which I appreciate.
So: what's my reaction? First, I thought it was huge and sprawling, and ambitious, all of those good. I also thought it was beautiful. And a mess. A bit of a mess. I agree with Ebert that maybe I need to see it again to really get it, which I think is to Kaufman's credit. And I think the average American movie viewer (the people who made "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" the number one movie in America, at least for a time) are not going to have the patience for it. And that's fine, I think. Not everyone loves everything. I'm not saying it's above them, but that it takes attention and time. I mean, these are the people (sorry, Hightouch) who are sleeping overnight on sidewalks to see "Twilight." Maybe this movie is not for them.
So, I think this movie is for me. And, as one of its intended audience members, I have to say I felt bewildered at times. And, now, I think this is the point. The movie is not supposed to feel like a "movie" but like life. Sometimes it doesn't make sense. It's confusing. A lot of the time, you feel bad. You wish some of the events had gone other ways. When the characters are gone, you miss them and want them to come back. You want more of Adele. Where's Adele? Gone.
Much of the movie is touching and funny.
Okay, I have to say it: Kaufman is a genius. Damn him!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post-Reading Break-it-Down

First, I love our valiant MC. He was so over the top nice in his introduction. You know what I'm talking about.
Second, I DID read the F-word/sex story and everyone seemed to love it. I'm not sure all the elderly folks in the room loved it, but everyone else seemed to. My former student and her friend liked it. Some random audience members I didn't know liked it. My smart fiction friends got the whole "unreliable narrator" thing. Thank you, friends.
Third, the person I read with was nice and lovely and new to me, so that's always cool, to meet a new writer person.
Fourth, a friend and I had an interesting conversation about the first-person, which is always interesting (to me anyway), talking about narrators, etc.
Fifth, I gots paid! There is money to be made in fiction, friends, don't let anybody tell you different.
Now, I must go collapse into my bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pre-Reading Panic

I am reading tomorrow and I don't yet know what I am going to read. I have some good short things, but they all have too much sex in them (not just sex but the F word). Plus, I feel like crap, like I'm on the verge of a big cold. Unfortunately I have student conferences tomorrow and then the reading.
That's all.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Madagascar 2: The Adult Review

First, and I cannot say this strongly enough, I only like animated kids' movies with jokes for the adults. Hello, am I going to pay $5.50 for a movie that doesn't pander to me? The short answer is no. Wait, $5.50?? And, in addition, the movie theater was crowded!! We had to pick seats within the row, which, as many of you know, does not really account for the length of Middlebrow's legs. On the plus side, the fact that we arrived late meant that we only had to watch three trailers and not the requisite nine, along with multiple ads for soda and popcorn and turning off of the cell phones which we do not possess.
But, to the movie. Hilarious! Now, I know some have called it "mediocre" and "not as good as the first one" but, who are these people? Were they aware they were not watching "The Godfather, Part II" or even "Grease 2" ? (which was terrible, btw, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't watch it again given popcorn and a sudden rainstorm)
The best parts were, in this order: the penguins and King Julian. See, I could take or leave the main characters and the main plot line (though come on, Alec Baldwin! Did they think they could slip that one past me? and will.i.am? Bernice Mac?), but who doesn't love penguins with insane mechanical knowledge and a love of music that rivals my own? (Copacabana anyone?). Penguins who have to negotiate with monkeys because they can't use tools? (they have no thumbs!)
The best joke of the entire movie is when King Julian suggests that "we invade a neighboring country and impose our ideology on them even if they don't want it."
C'mon! What's not to love?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Art!

I went to an opening last night for some friends, a couple who are both painters. The show was at a media company which, by the way, had three old video games in one room. One of them was Asteroids.
In any case, I saw some new local artists, including Nathan Florence. I had never seen it before, but it's very pretty. I especially liked the work that incorporated fabric into the paintings. But my favorite was this one Love Poem. You might not be able to tell, but it's a Shrinky Dink. How cool is that?
My friends are Emily Plewe and John Sproul. They are very different painters, and I sometimes wonder how it is to be married to someone who works in the same medium as you do. I love the colors in Emily's work and she told a friend that she is inspired by the cosmos (as in, images from deep space). So that's cool. I especially like "Nimbus."
John's work usually has human forms in it. His website doesn't have any of his new stuff on it, which is a shame, because it's fantastic. He had one there last night that was called "Cut the baby in half" and was a huge canvas with a drawing of what looked like a falling man (wearing a shirt and tie, with no eyes). The words were written on in pencil too.
There were some other cool things there. But I'd have to say my favorite were John's new drawings. It was nice to connect with them again.
I told John I was going to contact him so we could do some collaboration, so I'm hoping that works out. It would be great.
It's nice to be reminded that there is lots of great art right here in my very own town.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Marathons I Might Run....if....

Here at Dr. W-MB Inc. we spent the evening watching "Run Fatboy Run" which we thoroughly enjoyed, given our devotion to physical humor and all things Simon Pegg.
Which leads to today's topic: if one were going to run a marathon, which one would it be?
To wit:
  1. London Marathon: of course, one would have to arrange to be in London in April, but we all make sacrifices, don't we?
  2. Reykjavik Marathon: because if you are going to run a marathon, why not in Iceland? Also, I love that one of the places for entertainment is called Lazy Town. You'll find me there.
  3. New York City Marathon: THE marathon. Really. Now, I know several people who have already run this, but they are real runners. I am more of an Oprah runner, if you know what I mean. Like, can I finish it? Will I beat Katie's time? (5:29. I'd say probably.) That's what I'm about. Also, can I drink the free beers offered to me along the race course?
  4. The Boston Marathon: Apparently the "world's oldest marathon." Except for the one that gave the marathon its name, right? Well, I'll never run that in my lifetime unless I suddenly sprout wings. I'd have to run like an 8:10 mile, which has never happened in the half, so I'm guessing I wouldn't run faster in the full marathon. Just a hunch.
  5. Paris Marathon: I'm guessing the route is amazing. Plus the French are usually sweaty and smell bad, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to just go ahead and run. Plus, then you could drink gallons of wine and eat lots of things cooked in butter and say, "Oui, oui, I just ran ze marathon." So that makes it all worth it.
  6. Midnight Sun Marathon: I just like the idea of starting to run at 8:30 at night in the full sun. Sounds cool.
  7. Edinburgh Marathon: Because it's in Scotland. Also, they take runners rejected from London. Now isn't that just the Scottish way?
  8. The Great Wall Marathon: I mean, as long as we're dreaming.
  9. Phoenix: I'd run this one because I could see my family.
  10. Vancouver Marathon: I love Vancouver. And this course goes around Stanley Park. And then you could eat the most delicious food ever in Vancouver: Chinese, Indian, Thai, whatever you want. That would be worth it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Movies or Just Another Way for me to Waste Time

Favorite Movies A to Z
I saw this meme on-line and I thought, "I don't have anything that HAS to be done right now..."
Some of these are actually my favorite movies, some are just the movie I could think of that started with that letter. I'll buy coffee and/or wine for anyone who can tell the difference. There's a surprising number of Woody Allen movies on this list.

Annie Hall
Big Lebowski
Croupier
Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Friends with Money
Grease
Hannah and Her Sisters
Iris
Juno
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Ladyhawke
Madness of King George
Notes on a Scandal
Once
Paris, Texas
Quiz Show
Raising Arizona
Stranger Than Fiction
Tootsie
Until the End of the World
Victor/Victoria
Wall-E
Xanadu
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Zelig

I tag Hightouch, because it should be easy for her!, Otterbutt, Erin Alice, Middlebrow and Lis.
I look forward to your lists.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Nothing in that drawer"

I am writing to say that I have nothing to report. Is that post modern? Deconstructive? New Historical?
See, I've been reading theory and trying to make a concept map for my class and what I would really like to do is go to sleep. So off I go, and I apologize for boring you with nothing, nothing, and nothing.
Doesn't a taco sound good? (or is that my diet talking?)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

All that is good and righteous















Add friends, wine and conversation.
Mix liberally.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Yesterday's Post, 10 hours late

I thought about blogging last night, and I may have had an idea about what to say, but now I am drinking coffee and thinking about pie. First, there is no flour in the house. So I'll have to make pie after my tennis lesson, which is at 10:30.
But first a word about my "diet": For each week there are three "open" meals and you can eat anything. But, and here's the catch, after not eating certain foods, you eat them, and then you feel like crap. So the diet is self-enforcing in the sense that you may eat them, but you don't want to. I went out to dinner with a friend last night. I ate hummus and bread, which tasted good. But let me tell you, nothing is so delicious as a potato when you haven't had one for 10 days. After dinner, however, I felt that stuffed, full feeling. And today my stomach doesn't feel so great. So I will definitely think long and hard about which of the tantalizing "forbidden" foods I will eat during my open meals.
But the only thing on the menu today is pie, pie, pie.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Music I'd Listen To

Today in the car as I was driving to Son's school I heard Rick Springfield's "Don't Talk to Strangers" on the radio, which caused me to think about all the music I like and sing along to, but probably wouldn't put on my iPod (never say never).
So I offer a list of songs (in no particular order) that I'm usually glad to hear on Pop radio, but probably wouldn't buy or download. Please offer your own guilty (alone in the car, singing along) pleasures.
  1. "One Night in Bangkok" Murray Head
  2. "Livin' On a Prayer" Bon Jovi
  3. "Photograph" Def Leppard
  4. "Back in Black" AC/DC
  5. "If This Is It" Huey Lewis & The News
  6. "Our Lips Are Sealed" The Go-Gos (actually, I might buy this one...)
  7. "Your Love" The Outfield
  8. "All I Need is a Miracle" Mike + The Mechanics
  9. "Something About You" Level 42 (and this one)
  10. "If You Leave" OMD
  11. "Panama" Van Halen
  12. "Angel is Centerfold" J Geils Band
  13. Fleetwood Mac (just, in general)
  14. "Don't You Want Me" Human League
  15. "Holding Back the Years" Simply Red
Okay. That's just a start. I'm still trying to think of a song by a man/woman duo...just can't remember the name or any of the lyrics....maybe it was about love? **(Obsession by Animotion)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pic

I was going to post a pic of the snow, but I'm lazy. So here's a photo taken by Sleepy E at Hell's Backbone Grill. We're eating bread pudding and some kind of dense chocolate thing. Delicious!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm afraid to go to sleep....

in case I really just dreamed this....right now they're reporting 49% for Obama here....am I dreaming?
Don't wake me up.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Memes & "Temes"

I watched this Susan Blackmore video over at TED. It's interesting, but what I don't understand, and explain, please, is the way in which she endows "memes" (which she defines as "that which wants to be imitated") with intention. She defines meme pretty broadly (any habit you have which you didn't invent is pretty much a meme), so, tell me, how can the meme itself want to be replicated? (like, running, for example)

Watch and explain.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 2: Post 2

So I guess I'm supposed to be blogging every day, although nothing of note has happened to day for me to blog about.
Except: I went for a run. Then I had a smoothie. Then I made some shrimp and ate two. I need to take a shower and grade papers. I need to clean the house.
Well, in my crazy-eating-habits way, I started a new diet. And by diet I just mean way of eating, not weight loss regimen. You may have heard of it: The Paleo Diet.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. But, it focuses on lean protein at every meal (and since I'm almost hypoglycemic I need to do this anyway) and fruits and veggies. Having read some of the book, I would have to say that it jives with what I think I need to avoid to feel better. The doctor who wrote it also blames many of our food allergies and illnesses (like IBS, Chron's, etc.) on eating foods that are difficult for us to digest (like grains and legumes and dairy).
So, we'll see how it goes. So far I like that I feel full without having that stuffed, over full feeling. And on phase I, which I am on and plan to continue, you get three open meals a week where you can eat anything you want.
So. Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloweeny


It was fun, but I'm glad it's over and I'm looking forward to purging all of Son's candy before I manage to consume it.

















This is Son with the neighbor's granddaughters. They were both witches. I think. Son was a geeky cowboy. Check out those big glasses. And the cap gun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Exposing the Women's "Health" Scam

Leave it to The Daily Show to finally confront one of McCain's new tics: the use of "air" quotes.
Unsettling and funny. Watch for yourself.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Obsession, You're My Obsession....

New Obsessions:
FiveThirtyEight.com: more poll information that one human being needs or would want. Simultaneously comforting and disconcerting.

Huffington Post: Okay, not really new, but I check it hourly now instead of daily. Where else can you get political news and find out that Joaquin Phoenix says "I Quit!"? Good for what ails you. Maybe.

Boots: Can I get a pair of boots now? Please?

Cookies: Can there be a cookie that tastes delicious and doesn't make me feel guilty? We'll see.

That's all for now. While I should have been planning for class, I was obsessing. Now, off with me...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Instructions for a Saturday

  1. Sleep in. With a 7-year-old, this means about 8. Ish.
  2. Make coffee. Very important.
  3. Make banana muffins.
  4. While the muffins bake, grade a few papers. Let's say 2.
  5. Eat a muffin and drink coffee. Participate in the festivities/argument going on in the living room about Son's inability to name any state and its capitol.
  6. Take the on-line state location quiz. Get a respectable 80%. Ignore husband when he lords his 100% over you.
  7. Take an on-line quiz about European capitols. Get stumped on San Marino, which, it turns out, is the capitol of San Marino, a practically non-existent little dot within Italy.
  8. Grade a few more papers. One? Two?
  9. Fight with son.
  10. Stomp around the house while getting ready to take dog for a hike in off-leash canyon. Guilt son and husband into going with you, even though neither likes hiking or the outdoors. Not even a little.
  11. Hike. Watch dog run about 20 times the distance covered by the humans.
  12. Go out to lunch with family. Sit in the sun. Gorge yourself. Reminisce about the pickles of your youth.
  13. Guilt husband into getting a new drum of propane by saying it seems like a "guy job."
  14. Roast peppers from last week's farmers' market.
  15. While peppers are roasting, read "The Awakening" for your lit class. Ahh! Multitasking!
  16. Make delicious Chile Verde from Otterbutt's husband's recipe.
  17. While it's simmering, grade a few more papers. Two. Three.
  18. Taste the Chile Verde. Damn! That's hot. So. Hot.
  19. Open the wine.
  20. Grade another paper.
  21. Call and sign up for tennis tomorrow.
  22. Cut up some carrots. Eat carrots.
  23. Read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle while waiting for husband and son to get back from movie.
  24. Drink wine.
  25. Add sexy, bald writer of Edgar Sawtelle to your Sexy Bald Men list.
  26. Sit on couch, blog, think about making dinner, drink more wine.
  27. Watch something on TV, then go to bed. Plan on that. Allow for surprise.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another funny song

I got this link via Otterbutt, and I've seen this crazy duo on other, similiar parody song/videos, but I thought this one was really good, and funny and true. Funny because it's true. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Got Tagged

Little Hands tagged me to answer these questions with only one word. One word? Has she met me? I'll try!

Where is your cell phone? Non-existent
Where is your significant other? there
Your hair color? brownish
Your mother? Phoenix
Your father? Inkom
Your favorite thing? books
Your dream last night? gaggy
Your dream/goal? writing
The room you’re in? living room
Your hobby? exercise
Your fear? Spiders
Where do you want to be in 6 years? here (SLC)
Where were you last night? book club
What you’re not? well-rested
One of your wish-list items? bigger house
Where you grew up? Oregon/Colorado/Iowa/Idaho
The last thing you did? ate breakfast
What are you wearing? smart wool sweater
Your TV? hulu.com
Your pet? sleeping
Your computer? dying
Your mood? early fall pessimism (TM)
Missing someone? Nik
Your car? Saturn
Something you’re not wearing? earrings
Favorite store? TJ Maxx
Your summer? active
Love someone? Many
Your favorite color? blue
When is the last time you laughed? last night (John Stewart!!)
Last time you cried? Yesterday (listening to NPR Obama rally)

It's hard to limit oneself to one word: impossible!!
I tag Hightouch, Cold North, Slimy Six, and Erin Alice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

I was happy to hear that Colin Powell endorsed Obama this morning. I watched the video, which actually made me cry a little. It was quite moving, so I provide it for you here.
And you can see the photograph he refers to (from The New Yorker) here. It's worthwhile to look at all the photographs if you haven't seen them before.
Listening to Powell talk, kind of makes me pine for the days of old (when Republicans were articulate and sympathetic).


Saturday, October 11, 2008

What I've Been Doing: A Photo Essay

Mix and match these captions: Went to a fundraiser in my new dress; went on Fall Break trip to place with beautiful leaves where it rained and snowed; played cards (Son took that photo); found odd things in Son's pockets, including surgical gloves, half a velcro closure, paper clip, chalk, clothespin.
Now I'm just trying to stay warm.









































Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Feeling Despair? I have the answer!

After reading a great post about grief on Salon, I found this great solution, from a reader, and I thought I would share it with you.
It's all George Bush's fault. Eery damn thing that is bringing you down is his fault And Karl Rove's and Whatizzname the VP. Every damn bad feeling you are having is on those scrawny shoulders and came from their wicked, untruthful hearts.

Get a big old margarita, drink it, write down their names on a piece of paper and go outside and burn the paper with those names on it and anyone else's name you think hand a hand in all this. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice,Sarah Palin.

You'll feel better

I did.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Love Fall!




Every time I go out and do something amazing in Nature, I wonder, "Why don't I do this more often?" What's the point, I ask, in living in this most amazing place if I don't get out there more?
This is actually me, biking away from my friend, who took the picture. See? I think it is heaven.






This is my friend Dean who, I've decided, is definitely one of the top 5 nicest people in the world. He is SO nice. He took me and Jane mountain biking today. At place pretty close to where I live that I have only been to 2 or 3 times in 10 years. Sad. And pathetic!









Here Dean and I discuss something Really Important. I think I was telling him about some personals I read on Salon. com. They were funny. I might have mentioned the one where a guy was looking for either a woman, or a couple (two women). Cuz you know how lesbians are dying to find a straight guy to have sex with.






I like red trees in fall. Beautiful.












I hope you all had weekends as beautiful and edifying as mine. Now it's back to work. But only for another week and then there's another weekend. How lucky is that?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some Levity in These Hard Times

Through a new bloggy friend, I found the most genius invention ever: The Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator.
You absolutely must do this.
My name is Geese Whalebone, son is Duct Idaho, and MB is Rifle Panzer, which is my favorite. I think I'm going to call him that. All the time.
Gus is Rust Mustang. This is the hardest I've laughed since Palin was nominated. Maybe there is hope for laughter in our future.
Another reason for hope: A Call to Arms by Anne Lamott. Man is she amazing. I'd be a Christian if I could be like her. But it's not possible. I'm not that funny nor that full of forgiveness. I'm too cynical, and I can't give up wine (not that Christian's have to give up wine, but she's an ex-addict, so my guess is she doesn't drink...)

Monday, September 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace

I know there are many people blogging about David Foster Wallace and that it will happen for a long time. Here is an excellent remembrance from NPR.
I wasn't the hugest fan of his fiction, though I liked much of it. But I love his non-fiction, especially "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again."
Here's a link to one of his stories from The New Yorker. And a link to his essay on Roger Federer from the New York Times.
But my overwhelming response, besides sadness for another human being and writer, is a question.
Is it possible to be a successful writer, a wildly productive one, and still be a happy, normal (not just seemingly normal) person?
Unfortunately, the longer I live the more the answer seems to be no. And not just no, but NO!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My Son: The Pugilist

He looks like a boxer.
These are his scars.
He bled like a champ and took his stitches like a hero.
He has lived through the purple arcs beneath the eyes and the doctor's manipulation of his membranes.
He will look back on these stitches fondly, as the first of many situations which showed him who he is,
and who he will be.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Milestones in Son's Life: ER visit #1

Yup, it's true. Son finally got to go to the ER for those stitches he always wanted!!
This weekend, Son was invited to go biking with a friend near his house. MB dropped him off, then ran some errands...then came home. Shortly after that, we received a phone call from his friend's parents. He had hit some rocks and flipped over his handlebars. MB rushed off to pick him up.
When he got out of the car, my heart nearly stopped. He was covered (covered!!) in blood. We stripped his clothes off and got him into the tub.
Turns out he had only one (one!) cut, on the bridge of his nose. In this cut was a dark spot that we thought could either be a rock...or a hole. After getting him out of the tub and into his pajamas, MB decided he should take Son to the clinic near our house. They were going to put stitches in, but then the Dr. called the Children's Hospital and they decided they wanted to see him. So they came home and got me and we all went to the Children's Hospital. They couldn't tell if his nose was broken or not, so they just put in stitches and sent us home. He has to got back to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) this week. If his nose is broken, they'll reset it. Also they will take the stitches out.
I did get some photos. The weirdest thing is that he looks so unlike himself right now. He is developing some bruises on his forehead and some dark circles beneath his eyes.
His stitches look pretty gnarly. And he has a good story to tell. And we all know how important that is.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

David Byrne!!

If you don't already know it...David Byrne will be playing in Park City on October 11. Apparently, David Byrne wants my email address so he can send me a free music download. Is that okay with me? Yes, yes and yes.
Not many people know it, but David Byrne played a role in the courtship of Dr. Write and Middlebrow. It went something like this, after a poetry reading, at a bar (Archer's, if you must know).
DW: I went running today.
MB: Oh?
DW: Yeah. I like to listen to the Talking Heads when I run.
MB: Really?
DW: Yeah. Not many people still listen to the Talking Heads, but I think they are one of the greatest bands. Ever.
MB: David Byrne is a god.
(They look lovingly into each other's eyes. Their fate sealed.)
Also, in this same conversation, I believe we talked about Molly Peacock (me, proclaiming my admiration for her sonnet "How to Fake an Orgasm") and maybe a few other poets. It was shortly after this conversation that I invited MB over for Thai food, on which he burnt the roof of his mouth. And then began our long (one month) dating-period, during which we did not even kiss. I'm not joking. You can ask Middlebrow, or our friend Gary, about it. They know.
So Middlebrow and I will be enjoying the David Byrne concert. I hope you will too. Drinks in Park City anyone?

Monday, September 01, 2008

You had me at "drunk"

For next month's book club, we are reading Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye. It didn't take me very long to become enthralled with the novel. (For the record, the word "drunk" is the 12th word in the book.)
A few lines in it reads, "You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline."
Oh Chandler. I have missed ye.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh What Have You Done, Dr. Write, Dr. Write?

Well. I finally slept in and recovered from the Neko Case/Twilight Lounge debauch, which included rum, tequila, shoju, and beer. Then more beer.
Also, my friend Jane bet me $5 I wouldn't talk to the two guys in front of us whom we overheard mentioning Baby Jessica. Why? Well, it turns out they had been to a grad student reading and someone had written a story about Baby Jessica from the point-of-view of a mole. Why? Good question. In any case, they were both grad students. Then, later, I ran into other grad students who, I am sure, had been to the same reading. Sing it with me now, "It's a small town after all."
So today I slept in, then went for a run, then went to the Farmer's Market. Normally I would not go to the market after 10, but I just had to.
I ran into several lovely people, AND I purchased:
Beautiful heirloom tomatoes from Tremonton farmers
More tomatoes from Chad
More tomatoes from different Tremonton farmer, and also potatoes and beets
JalapeƱos from groovy woman-farmers
Peaches from same place I got them last weekend
Blackberries from someone else (do you foresee another cobbler in my future?)
Corn from known Republicans (sorry Historian!!)
Natural beef from Zoe (couldn't find the Idahoans)

Then, I had to go to the store to get cilantro, lemon, and chips. And butter.
I made salsa. I ate lots and lots and lots of salsa. It was a kind of lunch.
Soon, I must make cobbler for the cookout tonight.
I'm hoping Son & I will finish Harry Potter (#7) as it is due soon. We only have a few chapters left. I'm pretty enthralled with it. I want to know what happens. No spoilers please.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Take Us on Outings, Bring Us Treats"

I'm sure by now you've heard about the brutally honest posting for a nanny on Craigslist. But in case you haven't.
Click on the PDF and read the original. Honest and funny. And true. So true. Way too true.
And don't forget to go down there and tell me your favorite songs. I'm going to develop a playlist!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Favorite Songs: New & Improved Post

Last night at the Bonnie Raitt concert she sang "Angel from Montgomery" which I had forgotten is one of my favorite songs. (The John Prine & Bonnie Raitt version; link is to a version with her and lots of other cool people)
This led me to ponder what other songs would go on my list of all time favorites.
So far I've come up with:
"Fire and Rain" by James Taylor
"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (and the Rufus version, of course)
"Dancing Queen" by Abba (the Robbie Fulks version from a Fresh Air interview, it's at about 27:00)
"Norwegian Wood" by The Beatles
"My Home Town" by Iris Dement (and the Kate Rusby version)
"Don't Go Back to Rockville" by REM
"Tangled Up in Blue" by Bob Dylan

*Additions:
"Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac (I also like the Dixie Chicks cover)
"Killing the Blues" by Shawn Colvin
"Oops I Did it Again" cover by Richard Thompson
"Tempted" by Squeeze
"Lady is a Tramp" (Here's a version by Sinatra & Fitzgerald)
"Summertime" Billie Holiday
"State Trooper" Bruce Springsteen
"River" by Joni Mitchell
"Out on the Weekend" by Neil Young (cool version from the BBC)
"Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" John Prine


I know there are many others, but my mind is tired from staying up late last night. Dear readers, what are your favorite songs of all time?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Too Busy

I'm too busy to post.
Oh, you say, she must be writing and doing teaching related things.
No.
Okay, a bit, but mostly what I have done is: speed work at the track; sprint workout with Master's swimming masochists; pool Friday with colleagues (this didn't involve swimming so much as drinking and sunning) ; much watching of "Battlestar Galactica"; shopping at the Farmers' Market (purchased: tomatoes, basil, arugula, more tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, peaches, blackberries, bread); made pesto; ate pesto on delicious bread with sliced tomatoes; drank wine; made peach-blackberry cobbler (oh! my! goodness! so delicious!); ate cobbler & ice cream; slept (a bit!); ran 9 miles with friends; made French toast for Son (he said I make the best French toast! but I claim it is the bread and the expensive vanilla!); made eggs and toast for myself; ate eggs and toast, then the last piece of French toast; logged all my workouts on-line; drank some water (and some coffee, and some Gatorade).
Add in there a fair amount of email (at all hours of the day and night) with students that involved adding students to classes, reading their on-line introductions, and calling the help desk to get a student added to the on-line portion even though she was already enrolled in the class, and adding homework to the website because the bookstore doesn't have the book yet (let me not go off on a rant about that!!).
All in all, a crazy and crazy first half-week of school. I am not dreading this next week as the first week demonstrated to me that I am actually a teacher. And I actually like my students. See? Not so bad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sexy Bald Men: Now with more Sexy and more Theory!

MB doesn't believe I can have a Sexy Bald Man list without also having a Sexy Bald Man theory. But, as HighTouch pointed out, theory and sexy are opposed. If you have to explain it, it isn't sexy. That said, I feel I do have to explain some of my choices.
To wit: Eyes make the sexy man sexy. His eyes must smolder while saying things like "I will rip off that tight bra that lifts and pads, and I will make mad, passionate love to you." Or something like that.
I decided that some of the "sexy" men are only cute (Bruce Willis) or handsome (Patrick Stewart) but not sexy. It's my list and I get to decide. I'm the sexy decider.
Michael Chiklis has those sexy blue eyes and he also looks strong. Like strong enough to lift me up. Hey. That's really saying something. He looks like a guy who could give you a real bear hug. A guy they coined the word "burly" for. And that's sexy.
As for the suggestions: I'm thinking about MJ, but it's hard for me to include him. He's cute and charming, but...I'm not sure. Also: people I don't like, even if they are sexy, I won't include.
I might have to develop a list of "other sexy men" because I keep thinking of men and then thinking, "Oh! But he's not bald..."
I'm off to another meeting, if you can believe that. I certainly can't.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sexy Bald Men

As you can see, I've added the Sexy Bald Men widget to the right there. Please study carefully and suggest additions or note who is both sexy and bald and was somehow left off the list. Michael Chiklis is at the top of the list and may never be knocked off. Bruce Willis, is, I think, merely cute and not sexy, but I still (sort of) like him. Patrick Stewart is the original sexy bald man, but, sorry, Michael is both and at a higher temperature.
I'm sure I will add more men as I become aware of them.
Why, you might ask, did I decide to develop and post this list?
Because I have so much to do!! There must be distractions. Distractions!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Staying In

Sometimes, after an exhausting week, it's nice to stay in, which is what we did last night. We watched Mellouli of Tunisia beat the favorite in the men's 1500m Freestyle and win the first Tunisian swimming medal. We watched Phelps win his eighth gold (Son and I were chanting "USA! USA!" as they brought it home), and we watched Dara Torres win silver. I am a little irritated that no one is really talking about how Natalie Coughlin has won more medals than any other American female swimmer, because Phelps overshadows all. You can see it all for yourself here.
But oh well.
MB and I drank the expensive wine I bought him for our anniversary. As we were finishing it, MB said, "I won't regret paying so much for this wine. I regret other things, but not that." It was good wine. I even took a picture of it. Maybe I'll post it someday. We also watched some "Battlestar Galactica."
We are both neck deep in syllabi construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. It's hard to think about what we're going to do in class after Thanksgiving when right now it's still August, and, frankly, a little bit hot. It all seems so very abstract. But come Wednesday it will be oh so real. Actually it will be real on Tuesday, but I don't want to think about that now.
I'm going to work, ever so briefly, on my course websites. Then I'm going to talk Son in to listening to some more Harry Potter. It turns out that I am not crazy and that Jim Dale, who reads the books, IS also the narrator for "Pushing Daisies." Have I mentioned how happy I am that I am now seeing promos for all my favorite shows which are indeed returning to my TV this fall?
Which shows, you ask? So far I have seen promos for "The Office," "Pushing Daisies," and, yes, "Lipstick Jungle." Before you laugh, I have one thing to say: Brooke Shields. And that sexy Brit who plays her husband. Okay, that was more than one thing. But I'm allowed. I'm a teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Good thing I'm staying in!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympic

The opening of the Olympic games makes me feel nostalgic for the Olympics of my youth: Nadia Comaneci winning the gold. Other gymanstic feats. Mostly gymnastics. And track.
With nostalgia in my heart, I watched the opening ceremony with Son last night. But I couldn't help myself. I found myself scoffing and replying to the over the top commentary. Why couldn't they just shut up and let me watch?
It was visually amazing, stunning, beautiful, expertly choreographed, making exquisite use of the newly constructed space.
But...but. How can one watch and not think of all the things wrong with China? And watch President Bush and Putin exchanging pleasantries as Russia drops bombs on Georgia? Or not feel bad for the Iranian athletes who were booed? Did they really choose their leader? They just want to run or play table tennis.
In any case, I love the Olympics, but I can't watch blindly.
So I offer you Scott Simon's brilliant words of commentary as a salve for Bob Costas saying inane things about China, Chinese Taipei, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.
Let the games begin.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hypothesis Confirmed: Idaho IS Heaven















Actually, I think this cloud photo is from out recent trip to Arizona. But they are nice clouds, no?














We spent a day at Henry's Fork of the Snake River. I got in the water, briefly, just long enough to confirm that the water was too cold to have one's butt in for very long. But it provided a beautiful scene in which to sit, think, and drink a beer.














Does Gus think Idaho is heaven? Yes, he does. It has water, bugs to chase, lots of room to run. Did I mention the water?














As if we weren't already aware, on our way home we stopped at Upper Mesa Falls and observed this spectacular rainbow. If we hadn't already been convinced that Idaho was heaven, we might have thought Idaho was showing off.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Farmers' Market

I've just returned from the Farmers' Market with my haul: a watermelon for the get together tomorrow night, green beans, 3 tomatoes, garlic, beets, 3 ears of corn, a loaf of delicious bread, 2 summer squash, mixed greens, and the most delicious pastries known to human kind: cinnamon pull aparts from Crumb Brothers. I'm not sure why anyone eats anything else...
We also got some grass fed beef from Lau Family Farms. They come to the market once a month, and one can order bundles ahead of time. I'm excited to try it, as I'm trying to eat more locally. I also vow to try, try!, to eat fruit and vegetables in season. The two things I don't think I can give up: bananas and avocados. And coffee. It's hard to find local coffee, but at least we can buy locally roasted coffee that is fair trade. As far as I can tell the most sustainable coffee that I've found is Cafe Feminino from Ibis, a Utah roaster.
Middlebrow just bought Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, so I guess it's a vibe that's going through the house. I think this means that we'll be cutting back on trips to Costco, unless it's the Idaho Costco, which sells wine (but we'll be focusing on California wines, or Northwest wines, as opposed to the South American or Australian variety).
In other news: If Obama doesn't win the fall election, we'll be buying a small farm in South America, where we could find local coffee and wine. And maybe grow all our own food and write novels and play clay court tennis. My needs are few. Let's stay optimistic, but check back here in November, if you want to buy in to this post-apocalypse dream.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where's Dr. Write?

I know you have been fretting, thinking to yourself, "Where's Dr. Write? What could have happened to her? Why isn't she blogging?"
Well, I hate to tell you, but nothing exciting has been going on. For one week I was in Pinetop/Lakeside Arizona at a condo with my mother and her husband, my sister, ErinAlice and her family, Middlebrow & Son. It was great fun hanging out in the pines where it was very cool, it rained nearly every day, I wore the same sweatshirt for a week, we over-hiked (meaning we thought we were going to hike 6 but really we hiked 9.5), we engaged in all kinds of sports (miniature golf, fishing, swimming, ping pong, basketball, pool, hiking, tennis), and the liquor flowed like water sometimes as early as noon! Unheard of! We also watched our share of cable, including "Deadliest Catch" which is strangely addictive, and plenty of HGTV.
Then we stopped, too briefly, at Otterbutt's, where we hung out, ate, did some hiking, and adored her beautiful and amusing daughter. Also drank sufficient amounts. Also experienced more torrential rain. Also watched "Flip This House!" Vacation = Cable.
What else? I read the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy. (Loved it!) Finished Cloudsplitter. Finally!!
Also saw "Mamma Mia." Ridiculous and totally entertaining. How could you not love a movie that has Meryl Streep AND Pierce Brosnan AND Colin Firth AND Julie Walters? I tell you how: it's impossible. You can't.
I also started running again and am running two races in the next two months. I started swimming again, and I went to the tennis workout. (News flash: my backhand still sucks!) Also I went for a hike (not too long) with Sylvia and Gus (who was very well behaved! He's a champ!).
Next week we are going to Island Park, which as you know from our friend Hightouchmegastore, may or may not be heaven. I'll give you my verdict when we return. So much depends upon the density of the mosquitoes and the quality of the margaritas.
Pretty soon, I'll have to face reality and work on my syllabi. But for now, there's a Corona in the freezer with my name on it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Of Watermelon, Peas & The Farmers' Market

This is a picture of the delicious Watermelon Margarita I made this week. I made them three times, and my advice is to freeze the watermelon for at least 24 hours and to add a dash of superfine sugar. You can put sugar on the rim, but it's unnecessary.

I bought some peas at the Farmers' Market this weekend, mostly because they were there and because Melissa told me about them. But then, when I got them home, I asked myself, what will you do with these? In the past, I have purchased vegetables which have languished in the crisper drawer because I'm not sure how to approach them.
The solution, my friends, is to google "peas" and "recipe" and then sift through those to find a winner. Which I did. Witness: Pea, Mint and Avocado Salad from Nigella Lawson's cookbook. At first I was dubious about the combination of mint with peas and avocado, (I kept thinking about how the British like corn on their pizza....) but it was excellent. It was even better the second day. I actually just tossed the peas with mint dressing, then added avocado and minimal greens. So tasty!

So now I'm really off. Well, Thursday. I guess I'm taking my computer. I might do some writing. Or something.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Memory Meme & I'm Off on Vacation

Thursday, MB, Son and I are heading south to the cool mountains of Northern Arizona. I'm not sure what adventures we will have there, but we're meeting ErinAlice & Co, and my mom and her husband. So it's sure to involve meat, some fishing, and some hiking. Perhaps some tennis? I bid you farewell until the end of July. (yikes!!! the summer is almost over! I'm having an anxiety attack!)

And, thanks to High Touch Mega Store, this meme.

1. As a comment on my blog, leave a memory that you and I shared. It doesn't matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember! If we're only blogging friends, write about a post that is most memorable. If you don't have a blog and don't know how to sign in, please comment as anonymous.

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your own blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's a lot of fun to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I promise to write one about you... either on your blog, in my comment box, or I will email you back!

and . . .

3. If you can't say something nice, shh! Say nothing.
(just as a highlight: this song reminds me of music class in Morning Sun, Iowa, when I was in kindergarten. We sang this song, and even then it gave me the heebie jeebies. I think I foresaw my future of hostile silence wherein I said nothing and seethed. As you all know, that didn't come to pass)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sometimes You Talk About Idaho



Dog in Field. Serene.

Fleur.
Le Taco Truck. Yum.
Literary Paver in downtown Pocatello.
An old sign. And a sign of dying downtown.

(FYI: the title of this post is taken from my least favorite Pam Houston story. It's about New Yorkers who talk about Idaho as if they understand it. I think the line from the story is "It [Idaho] is something you can talk about with certainty." Or some such bullshit. It's always grated on me. So here's a bit of Idaho I don't think she means: the taco truck, the dying downtown. She means the rivers and the rest of the stuff she can romanticize because she never lived there. Maybe I should write a story entitled Sometimes You Talk about California. It might include a wildfire that burns down a cabin belonging to a writer who lives in the city, but likes to "get away". Or maybe not.)