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 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


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
Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Friends with Money
Hannah and Her Sisters
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Madness of King George
Notes on a Scandal
Paris, Texas
Quiz Show
Raising Arizona
Stranger Than Fiction
Until the End of the World
Y Tu Mama Tambien

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


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 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


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.