28 November 2007

The Problem with Honesty

Or the one about weight....

As I was sitting in our university's nutritionist's office this morning, I suddenly realized that I haven't been completely truthful with myself lately. As I gave her one answer after another that sounded right, I wondered how honest I've been with myself lately.

Since Little Man's birth, I've been trying on-and-off to get back to my pre-baby weight. We knew way ahead of time when we wanted to start trying for a baby, so the year before, I had joined Weight Watchers and lost 18 lbs. I felt good then--I liked that I could go into my closet and find old clothes that my newly married euphoria had eaten me out of. I liked that I felt almost ok in a bikini at the beach. I liked that I felt healthier.

I was doing pretty well with trying to get back to that weight and trying to get back into those clothes. Until, at least, I stopped nursing. It seems like since late May, I've put on 10 lbs. I've been telling myself that I'm still practicing healthy eating habits, that I'm still living a healthy lifestyle, and that maybe my metabolism's just starting to slow down because I'm getting close to 30. I've also been telling myself that I am happy with my body and the way I look right now, and for the most part I'm telling myself the truth.

But part of my, I now realize, is lying...has been lying. It's no secret that I love food. No just food in the abstract, mind you-- really wonderful, delicious, and well prepared food. I haven't wanted to give up a bite of it. But yesterday, at a physical, I realized that my weight has now crept over the healthy BMI index into "Overweight." Sure, it's just a pound or two of overweight from Thanksgiving, but I don't want to make excuses about it. I want to do something about it. So, I made an appointment with the nutritionist, and as I answered her questions about my diet and my daily eating habits, I started to wonder just how honest I was being with myself.

It's not about looks--though, that does matter to me. It's about health. I come from a family where weight is an issue, but it's often an issue that no one wants to address or take action on. And it's not something that's talked about (except by my grandmother, who means well, but doesn't help with her comments). It's a joke that's made or an issue that's ignored, but my heart aches every time I wonder how much longer before that weight affects the health of someone I love in horrible and tragic ways. It's something that weighs on me, but I know that it's also something intensely personal, something that I cannot have an effect on, because I know--to a large extent--weight is a choice we make every single day, with every bite we take, and every meal we eat.

I can't do anything about the choices made by my loved ones, that much I know. But I can make the choice to do something about myself.

It's not much, those ten pounds. Ten pounds never is very much. Your clothes still fit, mostly. you still feel the same. But they can be a slippery slope. They can impact every aspect of your health. And as much as I would love to be back in a size 8, it's so much more important to me that Little Man never has to have his heart ache the way mine often does. I have a child to raise, and continuing to ignore this small issue, continuing to lie to myself about the reality of my daily choices is not going to give my child a mother who can run through a park with him or teach him to climb a tree.

But that's the problem with honest--it forces you to realize that the responsibility always was yours.

24 November 2007

Ho Ho Ho

One of the things that my parents got unequivocally right was the whole Santa thing.

Growing up, Christmas was a religious holiday first--no presents were opened until we went to mass on Christmas morning--but it was also a magical holiday. My parents did Santa like no one's business. My brothers and I all believed in the big guy until at least 4th grade or so. When all of our friends already "knew," we still were adamant in our belief.

It was easy to believe, in part, because Santa seemed so far out of my parents' realm. When we were young, my parents didn't buy random things whenever we asked for them. It just didn't seem like they could possibly come up with the mountain of gifts that awaited us each Christmas morning. But it wasn't just about the gifts.

To start with, Santa brought our tree. For about a month before Christmas, we'd wake up each morning and rush down the steps to see if the tree had appeared yet. Then, one morning about a week or so before Christmas we would start down the steps and the scent of pine would greet us. There it would be-- the biggest, fattest, Scotch Pine you could imagine, laden with ornaments and ablaze with colorful, old fashion lights. Somehow we never noticed the trees in the backyard waiting to be put up or that my parents seemed more tired the next day. To a 5, or 6, or 7 year old, a tree magically appearing over night seemed a magical feat.

We looked forward to visiting the mall Santas. We wrote him letters that disappeared from the mantel. We got calls and letters from the jolly old elf. We read stories about Christmas-- The Gingerbears, a book about Silent Night and a little mouse, and of course, the Grinch. We watched Christmas movies for a month--each explaining a little more thoroughly just how Santa managed his magical endeavors. And each Christmas eve, before bed, we would curl up with my dad and he would read us Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's really the only time I remember him reading to us--and it was his thing to do that evening.

And then, on Christmas morning, my brothers and I would sneak down stairs before dawn and stand amazed in front of a tree overflowing with gifts. The stockings were always filled, always with some sort of theme. And it seemed impossible that my parents the ones who were so cost conscious could have even begun to produce that mountain. Where would they have hid them all? How could we have missed them wrap them?

No. Santa was real and true and the best part of the holiday. It was the anticipation, the waiting and wondering that made it all wonderful. The butterflies in your stomach if you wondered if you were really good enough.

J didn't really grow up with Santa. When he was 5 or so--maybe younger-- he asked his mom if Santa was real and she said no. That was the end of it for him. I'm surprised and happy that he's on board with wanting to give Little Man Santa. I know that those memories are some of my happiest. And I know that something changed irrevocably the first Christmas that I was on the other side of the suit and beard. Sure, I finally got to help pick out the tree. Sure, I got to stay up to the early morning putting it up. But Christmas morning lost that anticipation. The sparkle was gone because the surprise was gone. There was no doubt that Santa would come, that there would be another mountain of gifts.

I know that Christmas shouldn't be about the gifts--I don't think Santa is. I think, though, that the magic of the season when you're still young and you still believe is important. Children grow up so fast. The world, with all of its realities and wars and horrors will be theirs all too fast. Santa holds all of that at bay for a while. It's an age old tradition, and in those few magical years, our 21st century children are no different, no more modern or grown up than their 19th century counterparts. They can be innocent for a little while longer.

23 November 2007

Truly Thankful

Yesterday, the in-laws drove almost 8 hours to celebrate the holiday with us. Although I missed having the craziness of my family, having a quiet and stress-free Thanksgiving was wonderful. Dinner was perfect--The turkey wasn't overdone, the vegetables were perfectly crisp, and the homemade rolls were almost better than any of the rest. And the wine....mmmmm. Such a beautifully delicious Bordeaux. Top it all off with homemade pies, a little Bailey's, and you have a wonderful holiday.

It was a bit strange to have such a small Thanksgiving; I'm used to big dinners with at least 12 people involved eating a 22 lb bird. But as we move into this Christmas season, I'm coming to terms with the fact that what I might have always known may not be what my own children know. This will be my last Christmas where the tradition will be what it's always been. But even this year it won't be the same. Things change, people change, and traditions change. I think that it's good to have a little change, even if it's hard to come to terms with. As each generation adds, subtracts, and adjusts traditions, the holidays become more meaningful rather than less.

I have much to be thankful for-- and I love this holiday less for the food than for the fact that it forces us to take a minute and realize what we are grateful for. Too often it's so easy to see only the clouds and disappointments that punctuate our lives, but I think it's important to realize how much we have. How much we are given. How much we have to give.

22 November 2007


Is a special night....

And thankful I am for so many blessings.

21 November 2007

7 Weird and Random Facts

I love these meme things, even if I don't have the foggiest idea why they're called memes. But MGM tagged me, so off I go- 7 weird and random facts about moi.

  1. I used to love peanut butter and balogna sandwiches when I was a kid. It all started with butter and balogna (because that makes more sense), and then one day someone threw on some peanut butter. I haven't had these in years, mostly because I can't really stomach balogna any more, but man did I crave them when I was pregnant.
  2. I made so many cookies for my wedding, that we had boxes left over. It was supposed to be this big Italian shindig, so we needed a great big cookie table. I baked for almost a month, and every time I'd deliver another couple boxes (we're talking file-size boxes) to my mom's house, she'd look at them and say, "it seems like a lot, but there's really not much there." So I kept on baking and baking and baking. And damn- they were gooood. There were just way to many of them-- that with the 12 cakes, and our guests had a serious sugar buzz going all throughout the night.
  3. I hate things jumping out at me-- seriously, I still can't even think about going through a haunted house. At Universal Studios, I closed my eyes or looked at the floor when the stupid anamatronic slow-moving shark appeared on the ride. Hate it-- makes me nervous just thinking about it.
  4. I used to dance-- tap and ballet mostly. When I was little I was convinced I was a ballerina and I dreamed of being a Rockette or a star on Broadway. Needless to say, I can't sing at all.
  5. I have this fantasy about someday opening a bead and breakfast somewhere. I don't really like housekeeping or anything, but I think it would be fun to always entertain people.
  6. I'm absolutely terrible in social situations-- I get panicky when I think about having to attend departmental events or meet and greet type things. I'm find in front of people-- public speaking isn't the problem, but I get nauseous even thinking about going to a reception at a conference when small talk will be necessary. I hate small talk- I'm not at all good at small talk. Even with people I know and like. I feel awkward and anxious trying to keep a small-talk- based conversation going.
  7. I love driving-- love it love it love it. At least I did back when I owned a little red camaro. That's long gone now, and I find that since I've been pregnant, I tend to automatically get into the passenger's seat even though half the time J's timid and polite driving drives me batty.

So there you do, 7 random, but not overly weird (apparently I'm surprisingly normal) things about me. I'm tagging the yellow dart, DS, mommy prof, and anyone else who wants to play.

19 November 2007

It's not easy being green....

especially when you're a pair of socks...

or a shirt...

or a tiny pair of Baby Gap jeans...

And yet, green they all were, because somehow a green Crayola crayon decided that today was the day it would sacrifice itself to the dryer gods.

Luckily, most of the clothes that are now sporting bright green spots were Little Man's. Not so luckily, all of them were his new fall clothes. Only a few of my clothes and Js were damaged, but now I think I have 3 pairs of socks left and no workout pants.

My hands now reek of WD-40. Apparently, that's the way you get melted crayon out of clothes. But so many were so green, so covered with crayon that they're now in the trash. In all the carnage was moderate- 3 of Little Man's shirts, two pairs of his pants, all but one of his pajamas (even the cute ones with little monkeys on them) and every pair of socks he owns, some of my undergarments and most of my socks, one of my shirts, and my only pair of workout pants.

It could have been worse. There could have been more our our stuff, that's much more expensive to replace, or so J says. Somehow that isn't helping me feel better right now.

18 November 2007


Out of the blue, my FIL got us a subscription to Gourmet magazine. Every time I visited, I would sit and compulsively read theirs as I simultaneously got my Food Network fix. (ah, how I miss Mario when we're not in Akron!) So I was surprised and really really excited when one of the magazines showed up in my mailbox a week ago.

Tonight J made one of the recipes out of it-- an Asian inspired babyback rib thing. It was unbelievably good-- Serve it at a dinner party good.**

The thing that I love about this magazine is that the pictures are beautiful, the articles are just intellectual enough to make me able to convince myself that I might be doing "research", and the recipes are so darn simple.

Ok, so that was 3 things.

But the recipes are ridiculously simple. Often they call for one odd or unusual ingredient, but the overall preparations and directions are so easy. And every recipe we've tried so far has been a keeper.

They're so easy and so good, in fact, that I think I'll go make us the caramelized chocolate banana splits that I've had my eye on.

**I should have taken a picture of them, like some of those wonderful food blogs I love to read and then never make recipes from, but they were gone--totally polished off-- before I even thought of it.

17 November 2007

Everyone's a Critic

Today I let J take the first shower and I got Little Man dressed. I put on his little blue sweatpants and a brown shirt that says, "Define good" with little candy canes on it. I thought he looked just fine.

Enter J-
Is that what you want him to wear?"
Me- Yeah, why?
J- "Where's his football shirt that matches the pants?"
Me- "I dunno, so I went with this one. I think it's just fine."
J- "Well obviously, it's not. I will go and find the correct shirt and rectify this fashion Faux Pas."*

J leaves and returns with blue and white "touchdown!" shirt, takes off the brown shirt and replaces it with the blue shirt.

Me- You've gotta be kidding me.

***ok, so he didn't really say this. But he did change his shirt

16 November 2007

The One about God (Part II)

Or-- the problems I have with Catholicism....

Ever since we moved out here into the land of corn, I've been wrestling with the issue of religion. To start with, we haven't really found a church community that doesn't either bore me out of any spirituality I might have had or make me boil with anger. Churches out here are super- conservative. They admonished people to vote for the Shrub because voting for pro-choice Kerry was a sin. I sat through one memorably homily where the priest told us this lovely story about how he saved a marriage by convincing the wife to go off of birth control--the husband wasn't happy, but apparently that doesn't matter. We finally found this tiny little parish composed mostly of Koreans that we actually liked, but then we had Little Man, and church with a 1 year old just doesn't seem worth it.

But as I've wrestled with trying to figure out where we belong, I've been forced to confront issues about the Catholic church that I find intolerable. For instance, we were flipping through the channels one day and came across the Catholic TV station. On it, two nuns were explaining how women's health care in Africa was nothing more than a euphemism for abortion services. They went on to explain that without all this (apparently unnecessary) prenatal care, the infant mortality rate would necessitate that women have more children. Wha?? Or the mass we attended in Ohio where the priest was rallying the congregation against electing congressman Sherod Brown by quoting Bush as a great protector of life. Huh?? In what flipping other universe??? And, I completely and utterly blame the stupid Ohio one-issue-catholics back in 2004 who elected Bush because he is against abortion. This is on top of the fact that the church does stupid things like cover-up for pedophile priests, refuse women a full measure in spiritual life, and tell people in Africa that condoms are useless because the sperm are small enough to swim through them. These, to me, are dangerous, ridiculous ideas and actions that do more harm and spread more hate in this world than good.

These things all make me question my ability to remain in the faith. If I have a daughter, can I really raise her in a religion that teaches women that they aren't worth as much as men, that even if they feel called to serve, they will never be able to?? Can I really give weekly offerings to a church that will fight against my reproductive rights even as its members abuse children? These things worry me. They bother me.

The problem, I think, is the difference between the religion and the faith. The religion has an awful, torrid history of conquest, domination, and intolerance. When you walk into St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, you can immediately understand why Martin Luther railed against the church--the sheer wealth that spills out before you is astounding. The Church is a government, a business, an economy-- after all, there's nothing in my faith that makes me understand why there's a souvenir shop on the roof.
What? You didn't believe me?? You can shop above the heads of tourists and crypts of saints for all of your religious goods. Don't forget the rosaries emblazoned with Padre Pio or Pope John Paul.

But splitting the religion from the spirituality is the hard part when you're trying to raise a child to have some sort of faith in something beyond himself. You can't explain to a child that "we're Catholic because we're supposed to be, because it's what our family does and because there are certain salvageable things about the religion. Even though we believe there's other ways to get to God, to believe, or to have faith. Even though we believe that everyone's faith is equally valid, because we believe that only God knows and can judge. Even though we believe that you can praise the higher powers without sitting through stuffy masses that leave you uninspired and with a noisy and angry soul. Even though we know that there are other gospels, that the Bible might have been divinely inspired but certainly was written by some men back in the days of yore. And that we believe you should and must argue with this one, "true" church, because without growth, faith is static and dead and useless. Even though we can't agree on what heaven looks like--or if there even is one. Even though we have so many reasons for turning away."

The council of Nicaea would not be amused.

15 November 2007

The One about God (Part I)

I was just about to leave the house today when the doorbell rang. It was two young men doing mission work for the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints. I'd seen them around the neighborhood earlier in the week, and to be honest, I was relieved that they hadn't come to our place yet. The last time a pair were in the neighborhood they just told us about a PBS program that was going to be on and went on their way. Today, they were a little more persistant.

Let me just say that I respect that these two young men have a calling to do this sort of thing, but I'm also uncomfortable having someone try to evangelize me. I remember when I was living at my parents house, once, a woman and her 8-year old daughter came to the door. She asked me if I knew whether I was going to heaven. I told her no, because I don't think anybody knows that. That's for God to know. She wasn't pleased and I finally had to shut the door on her to get out of the conversation. I felt bad shutting the door on her little girl as well, but I was in such an uncomfortable position that I didn't have any other way to end the conversation.

Today, the pair of Mormon missionaries told me that they believe that Jesus visited the Americas. They even showed me a full color portrait of Jesus with some lovely native Americans. Squanto might even have been one of them. They quoted some bible verses (which, for all I know were completely made up) and asked me if I'd like to know more--all after I told them I was Catholic.* The entire conversation made me extraordinarily uncomfortable. I understand the position these young men are in and that this mission work is what enables them to marry in their church, I respect their decision to believe that Christ skipped over all of Europe and decided to visit Utah instead before he was crucified, I even admire that they believe in it enough to want to convince me. But I'm not interested in being converted. I wasn't sure where the conversation was going, and I was running late, so when they asked "Would you like to set up a time that we could come back and tell you more about this?" I answered by simply saying that I didn't think so, because "I'm too devout in my Catholicism."

I could almost feel the angels cough a collective "bullshit" as I sensed the lightning about to strike me down.**

The truth is that I'm a horrible Catholic. I've gotten worse over the last few years. There are things about the religion that I love, but there are so many things about the religion that make me boil with anger that I often wonder if I should remain. I mean, come on, we now have an ex-Nazi for a pope. And Joey Ratz ain't the looker that John Paul was, let me tell you.

So claiming my devotion to a religion that I waver on was a surprise, even for me. It certainly wasn't the out I was expecting to use when I started to talk with them. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. As Little Man gets bigger and bigger, I wonder what we should do about faith and about religion. I'm not ready to leave it, yet. It's too much a part of my family culture, but I also have trouble supporting the church in much of what it's done. I hate its stance towards women and I think it needs to stay out of people's bedrooms--that's just for starters. But I think the church gets things right, too. I like that there's no biblical literalism, I like that it believes there are other paths to God. (although, I do understand that the church prefers that you use their own, private gilded path)

This is a hard issue for me. It's one that J and I struggle with and debate about fairly regularly. It's something that I think is really important, but I'm not ready to make any decisions yet. I'll write more about it later, but until then- what do you think?? Any moments of doubt or conversion that helped to show you the way?? Because the two guys at my door today apparently didn't work.

*My mom told me once that a good way to get rid of certain types of evangelists is to tell them you're Catholic-- apparently, there are some things worth than being a heathen.
**In case you aren't aware, Catholics are good at guilt.

14 November 2007

Dissertation? What Dissertation?

The bibliophile in me loves my newest way to waste time while still thinking that I'm doing something productive.

Check out Goodreads.

13 November 2007

I hate proposals

Hate them. Hate them. Hate them.
Maybe somebody could please explain to me why I need to write a 1,750 word proposal and then turn around and condense it to a mere 800 characters?? Can't they be bothered to read the longer one? And if they're only going to judge me on the shorter one, why do I have to bother with the longer one. Which makes me wonder--which will they read first? Which will be that crucial first impression that may make or break my chances of getting a fellowship? Can I be repetitive and use the same language in both? Or will they see that as laziness? I'm so close to being done, but the mind games you can play with yourself before you finally submit the stupid thing make me absolutely crazy. But, really, are two versions of the same proposal really necessary here? Uf.

What makes matters worse is that I'm stuck showing this stupid movie tonight to the class I grade for. It's the 3rd time I've had to sit through it, and I'm having the worst time trying to concentrate with the silly dialog and the giggles of undergrad girls smitten by the sight of Denzel Washington's buttcrack.

Ah, to be young.

12 November 2007

Committee-- check

I've finally got around to arranging a 4th member for my committee. With only a short break to sew up a new tree skirt (pictures to come later), I've been working fairly non-stop on catching up on reading and on this stupid %#%(!# fellowship proposal. God I hate writing these. My chair told me to "brag and be forceful in the first paragraph." I wish my project was just so obviously brilliant that I didn't have to figure out how to brag about its strengths. I have about 36 hours to figure it out.


11 November 2007

Holiday Road

The holiday's are approaching, it seems, at breakneck speed. It's taken me quite a while to get excited this year, what with some of the changes to family traditions and all. But slowly and surely, I'm starting to get more into the spirit. After all, I've already heard "The Christmas Song" at least 5 times this weekend--how could I not be getting into the Christmas mood.

We've gotten a good start on Christmas shopping, we have the Thanksgiving menu all planned out, baby bro has confirmed his New Years/Birthday visit with us, so we've started planning the menu for that. The one thing I can't get excited about is receiving gifts. My parents want their usual Christmas list from us, but I had the hardest time thinking of things to tell them. The thing is, there's a whole lot of stuff that I'd love to have, but it's pricey and upscale and unnecessary in our small house. And, I don't really feel like I have any right to ask people to buy that sort of thing. I drool over the monthly Crate & Barrel catalog, but I really don't need a set of matching tumblers just for mixed drinks or the hammered steel serving bowl I've had my eye on. And as much as I would love to go shopping for clothes, I don't really need any clothes. Having someone else pick them out takes the fun out of the hunt and the purchase. Plus, they've just opened a Banana Republic at the local mall, and I've gotta say, I'm in love. But even if someone was willing to buy me something from their racks, it wouldn't be as much fun as picking it out myself. That's the thing about living on the grad student budget--every purchase is scrutinized. No more happy day shopping trips.

So I'm having a lot more fun thinking about what others might like and planning menus for our holiday dinners. I have to say, the recipe for Roasted Baby Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese (wrapped in bacon) is getting me pretty excited about New Years.

10 November 2007

Why Apple Will Eventually Take Over the World

Last night, I threw my ipod nano in the wash by mistake. I thought my days of listening to music while I work out were over.

This morning, the little bugger turned on and works just fine.

Go figure.
Yay Apple.

09 November 2007

Time Out

At his 18 month check-up, the doctor told us that this was the age that we could start using time-outs instead of only redirection as a form of discipline. That was almost 3 weeks ago, and let me tell you, I haven't been looking forward to that first time out we have to give.

That first time out came last night. He threw a grape. I warned him not to do it again, and he threw it again. I've been dreading putting the time-out system into use, in part, because I know that it's going to take a while before he gets the idea. It's going to take many, many time outs, and during each of those, I know that we will have to continue to replace him into the designated naughty spot until he figures out that, yes, he really does have to stay there.

So I have to say, that I was pleasantly surprised that after replacing him in the spot only 4 or 5 times, he stayed. At first he thought it was a game. Then, he realized it wasn't and tried to escape. I'd set him in the spot and he would jump up and run for his little scooter, as though he was a rebel without a cause ready to set out for the open road. But the open road was only our hallway, and he's not that great at steering the thing yet, so he didn't get very far before he ended up back in the spot. Eventually he stayed, crying "I want mama" over and over in the short minute he was in time out.

I don't have any fantasies that time outs will continue to go this smoothly. I think it will probably get more difficult before he finally accepts them as a form of punishment for bad behavior, but I'm glad the first one it over. It's like taking the plunge in an icy pool and realizing that the water really isn't so bad.

08 November 2007

Rockin' On

Liz over at Mom-101 recently blogged about her antiquated knowledge of the music scene nowadays. Her "Old Fart Musical Creed" is witty and made me realize that my own musical knowledge is falling embarrassingly behind.

With my own little rugrat quickly approaching the age where he repeats everything he hears (note to self--stop saying shit so often), it's made me think a lot about my own music choices. In particular, I'm really not sure what to do with the fact that the station I listen to most often has a DJ whose favorite word is douche bag. But, damn it, I'm just not ready to be old enough for a mix station.

I like music that rocks. I was a child of the 90s alternative scene who bought CDs like some people buy cinamochanillafukachinos and went to countless concerts in college. I even went to Woodstock '99--that ill-fated one that disintegrated into a riot.

My mother was so proud.*

I think I had this idea that by liking hard, raunchy rock, I was making a statement about my own independence and strength. You would never catch me at an Ani Difranco concert. The only girl bands I would listen to were Garbage or Hole. I still like my rock to, well, rock. I loved that when I was pregnant, the baby seemed to react to Green Day and Metallica more than other artists. On the way to the hospital in labor with Little Man, and I saw it as a good omen that Bawitaba was playing and it was a little Rage that got me through hour 5.

Now that I'm older and a littler more distanced from that time in my life, I'm starting to wonder why I listened to some of the more misogynistic of the late 1990s bands. I'm also starting to realize I am hopelessly out of touch. You know you're getting old when you're pregnant and nauseas at a Foo Fighter's concert. Rock on.

So, in homage to mom-101, my own declaration of my transition into old-fartdom.

I accept that the world of hip (is that even what the kids are saying now?) music is swiftly passing me by.

I accept that I will probably never catch up with the musical trends, and I am becoming less and less likely to want to.

I accept that I am completely confused about what emo is and that I'm not even a little embarrassed that I think it sounds suspiciously like a type of muppet.

I accept that Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, and Korn were all fairly terrible mistakes.

I accept that today's youngins only know who Gavin Rosdale is because he's Gwen Stefani's babydaddy. (Whatever that means.) And they only know Gwen from some terrible song about bananas.

I accept that I do not, and probably will not ever know what a milkshake is, care that London bridge is falling down, understand why someone would name themself Qtip, or say "fitty" when referring to 50 cent.

I accept that because of mp3s and the wonders of itunes, I will probably never again have a favorite song that is not already playing on the radio somewhere.

So what do you think? Anything to add to my musical credo? Post away--

So proud, in fact, that she wouldn't speak to me for days after.

07 November 2007

And suddenly, it's real

For the last 7 years, I've been working toward this far off date when I would finally be done, finally have this thing called a dissertation finished and on the shelf. It's been five years, then four years, then three years, then two years away. Now, it's just over a year.

I think I realized just how solid a reality that future is yesterday when I was looking over a proposal I was writing and noticed the title I've selected. It sounded so authoritative and real--like something someone would actually write. And then it dawned on me, I am writing it. Slowly and surely, the jumble of half formed ideas I've been wading through for the last three years is becoming a dissertation...the first draft of a book.

It's strange when you work and work and plan and plan, and then, suddenly, you realize that it's working.

06 November 2007


As I walked around campus yesterday, the wind had a certain bite that seemed to instantly bring to mind memories of falls past. Fall has always been my favorite season; with the musty smell of fallen leaves and morning nip to the air, it is refreshing without the damp squishiness of spring. When I was young, my family would spend fall weekends hiking the various metropark trails together, trying to earn hiking sticks that my brothers and I would inevitably use as ninja weapons during the summer. I love this seasonal rush, where one holiday runs into the next until another year has run itself out, and we have only February snowstorms to look forward to until spring.

Yesterday, though, the memories the chill wind brought to mind were more specific. For a moment, somewhere between the Quad and my car, I was taken back for a moment to that one fall in 2000 when J and I started dating. That fall is really the only fall I remember from college. I was a commuter student and could never really figure out how to get involved in the life of my university. My college friends didn't come from my dorm floor or some big lecture class, but were work friends, most of whom weren't college students themselves. My memories of the university are limited to getting on and then getting off campus, because I never really felt like I belonged there. At least until that fall.

Our first real date was during the halloween celebration that the quaint campustown area held each year. I had never been to this quintessential Kent festival until he asked me to go along with him. I wasn't even sure it was really a date, at first. But when he put his arm around me on a cold street corner, I realized it was.

Our relationship was never really supposed to work. I knew that I was graduating in December and would be going to grad school somewhere not in the state I drew up with. I wanted a city. I wanted to live out on my own--and no boy was going to get in the way of that. He knew that he would be doing a year or two stint for Americorps, and then he dreamed about grad school in Wisconsin (a place I categorically refused to go). We just said to each other, "let's see what happens," not really thinking that the relationship would go anywhere.

But things were easy, comfortable. Perhaps because we laid our cards on the table so early, we didn't play silly games and we didn't worry about where we were headed. That fall was one of my most favorite. That fall, in my final semester, I finally felt like a college student. He took me to campus events that I would have never known about on my own. We went to poetry slams in the African American studies building some evenings. We spent evenings at Ray's, talking with his friends, who became my friends. I went to flute recitals and student films. And I spent hours with him, just walking around campus.

It's strange to say now, but in my first 3 years of college, I never walked around campus. I walked through it--trying to get from my car to my class and back. I didn't have any reason to linger. I didn't really know anyone to linger with. But that fall, Kent finally became my school, too.

Yesterday reminded me so much of that fall. For a moment, I was taken back to that time when I was the girl with the little red camaro, driving over to see the boy I kind of liked who didn't have a car of his own. Suddenly, it was that moment when I would dial up to his apartment, butterflies in my stomach, wondering what would happen next.

05 November 2007

Early Morning Working

Daylight Savings Time is no fun at all with a toddler. Somehow, he didn't quite get the message that we were allowed to sleep for another hour. Nope-- he woke up at his usual time, right around 7:30, which translates to 6:30 AM during DST. Somewhere around 6:30 PM, J and I looked at each other and wondered when the day would ever end. The upside is that now I'm awake at 6:00 AM. I've gotten in almost 40 minutes of basic housekeeping work--sending emails to silly students and to my chair about this fellowship application I've gotta finish in the next 10 days, reading the NY Times, stuff like that.

In other news. It is apparentl National Blog Posting Month. So I'm going to start this contest where you post every day. I'm hoping that maybe by having something due every day, I'll get more of my own work done in the process.

01 November 2007

A decidedly non-hoochified Halloween

For your viewing pleasure: