30 June 2008

Just that kind of day

It's only 4:00 in the afternoon and I just got done making myself a lovely mix of vodka, Starbuck's Liqueur and Cream.

It's just been that kind of day.

26 June 2008

Proud to be an American

Apparently, at the Miss Universe competition, there's some sort of national costume event.
Could someone tell me how a looking like one of those shiny doo-dads you hang up for Christmas parties represents the good ole' U S of A?

23 June 2008


Or- ways I know that I am officially getting "older"*

  • The station I usually listen to on the radio has changed from the "New Rock Alternative" to "classic" alternative. And while I think someone should tell them that Duran Duran is not really alternative, it does depress me when they announce "1994" before a song and I realize that it's a song that still feels as new as yesterday. Has it really been that long. Indeed it has, Smashing Pumkins, indeed it has.
  • So I've been reading the Twilight books--totally enjoyable fluff--and looking forward to the movie coming out in December. And then I realize-- they're all just babies. There's something about the book that doesn't read like teen-angst fiction, but when you see the cast all dolled up, it looks likes one of those teeny-bopper reality soap things- One Tree OC or something.
  • I went into a store called "Forever 21"--new at our local mall--because someone had said they had some cute accessories. Suffice it to say that I am no longer 21. Not even close.
  • Old Navy is out. Express is out. Banana Republic--totally in. Thank goodness we have one now.
  • Someone thought I was already 30 the other day. Sheesh- I get to go to Vegas before that happens.

*Not a bad thing- just an observation

20 June 2008

Two for Five- and Then Some

The flowers were dead. Not just a little wilted looking. Dead. And they were ugly.

I noticed the ugly before the dead. How simple bouquets of red roses could be ugly is beyond me, but they were. No pretty ribbon on the stems. Instead they were wrapped with what looked like the cheap plasticized ribbons you put on Christmas presents in a dull rusty red color. No bow, just an awkward knot. They were absurdly long for bouquets, and their ends were sharpened into points--dry, ugly diagonal points.

My mind raced--we could send someone down the road to the local Joanne's--they could buy some nice ribbon, we can grab a knife out of the church's kitchen and hack the ends off. Never mind that I was wearing a dress too ridiculously white for such a task. Never mind that the ceremony was going to start in less than an hour. My first thoughts were surprisingly calm, considering. It was all about fixing what was a cosmetic problem. I could handle it. We'd already lost one bridesmaid at the hair salon and duct-taped a flower girl's hem, this was just as fixable.

And then I saw it--the half opened bud wilted brown straight through where the stem met the petals, the flower's head drooping inconsolably. The rest zoomed into focus. They were dead. How can roses--the heartiest of flowers--be dead? I picked them for their simplicity and their ability to withstand the summer's heat, and the fact that I love deep, dark red roses. But these were not so much red as blackened, tinged with brown. My heart sank and panic set in.

I called the florist. I cursed at him on the phone and then cursed at him for making me curse in a church on my wedding day. I handed the phone off to my mom and she told the elfish man on the other end to come fix it. Now. I don't have much memory of what happened next. I was too panicked. We had spent far too much money on those flowers-- far too much money. But it was the one thing I was looking forward to. The girls picked out their own dresses, I backed down about wearing a veil and about having a white (rather than a deep, dark chocolate covered) wedding cake. The roses were for me. And they were dead.

I had to see J. My mom didn't want me to, but I do remember in the heart of that confusion, panic, and disappointment, I suddenly and quite clearly knew that none of it would matter if I could just see him. My brother, against my mom's better judgment, went to find him. My mom tried rigging up this thing where we'd be on opposite sides of the wall. It didn't work. I begged-- just let me see him. I knew that's what I needed.

And it was.

With his arms around me, it seemed simple: the flowers didn't matter. After a ridiculously long engagement, we were finally, finally getting married. In that moment, that was enough. That was everything. I would walk down the aisle with no flowers--it didn't matter if he was at the other end. I was fine.

And suddenly I was being dragged away--as though it mattered how much time we had together now that the grand "surprise" (one I was never set on in the first place) was "spoiled."

It's hard to believe that was five years ago. It feels like yesterday, and doubtless, many years from now I'll look back and truly know how short a time 5 years is. 50 years is.

It doesn't really matter that the elfish man came and I did have a (mostly) live bouquet, or that the great showbiz wonder--a family friend who was to sing for the wedding--didn't actually sing anything at all during the mass except the Ave Maria, which he belted out so ridiculously that it was all J and I could do to not visibly laugh while we were supposed to be praying. Or that we tore a hole in a flower girl's dress and the ring bearer's rented pants. Or even that we had the most fun we'd ever had at a party, dancing every dance together and leaving so exhausted that the walk into the hotel was excruciating.

It's easy to remember so much from that day, but really my favorite memory is that moment before the ceremony--just the two of us remembering why we were really there. And the feeling of complete calm and contentment that confirmed what I already knew many times over--that he's exactly, perfectly what I need, what I always will.

So happy anniversary sweetie. Here's to fifty or sixty more.

19 June 2008

Um, right.

I hate getting my class evaluations back each semester. No matter how many wonderful or glowing comments there are, I inevitably focus on the few students who were unhappy with the course. It's especially hard if the class they are evaluating is one that you put extra effort into and/or is one that is your subject. I got my spring evaluations today, and while J says that they are quite good--enough for our schools list of super duper incomplete teachers--they still bummed me out. For instance, if you wanted to read a bunch of British canonical writers, you should have dropped the course after day one--the syllabus wasn't going to change. And if you don't want to read that much, you probably shouldn't be taking a lit class at all. The worst was one student who called the class "ill-conceived." It doesn't matter that I can tell who it was--and that she wasn't even in class half the time, or that there were 10 others that said that the class was great and one of their favorites. I take it too personally, I know. The most frustrating?? The ratings of less than excellent for the consideration and quality of grading. You'd think that a page of comments would be enough-- apparently not.

But I suppose J is right; they really aren't bad at all--far above the average ratings for a university course here at Prairie U. It's still frustrating to see the amount of comments that claim there's too much work, that there should be only 1 essay question on the exam, and that I should make them read less. right.

But in the interest of finding the bright side- here are a few of my "favorites":

"I think the grading process is rather tough, but not impossible to obtain a good grade"

"Important notes for each work should be on slides. Taking notes by hand is out dated and too hard to get everything down"

"Love the outfits"

18 June 2008

First Foods

My stomach turns at the smell of most baby food. Not so much the first stages; bananas and apples are pretty non-offensive. Once they move on to the pureed version of turkey and noodles, though, I can’t quite conceive the yellowish gelled glop as food...


15 June 2008

Things I've learned in the last few days:

1. One should not put too much energy into conference presentations. That way, when no one asks you a question and the moderator gets your thesis wrong in his wrap up, it won't matter quite so much.

2. Six hour drives are not that bad--unless you have a two-year-old, unless you're driving down a two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere-Missouri, unless the six hours turns into closer to 8, even if the two-year-old behaves like an angel.

3. Apparently kitty kibble gets stale-- or that's what the cat-sitter who replaced our bag of cat food thinks.

4. If you show a two-year-old "big boy" underwear, he will want to wear them...over his diaper...even at night.

5. I have now officially read so much "great"and serious Literature that I am officially done. It has now turned into work--work I greatly enjoy doing, but I miss trashy fun stuff. Especially now that Harry Potter is all wrapped up. So I've made it my goal to start reading fun stuff instead of watching what passes for TV this summer. My new favorites? The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers and the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. Who knew I liked cheesy fantasy stuff so much? I haven't read anything so fun since I discovered VC Andrews in 7th grade.

06 June 2008

Random Summer Bullets

  • The surprise retirement party for my mother-in-law went off without a hitch. Food was wonderful (if your ever in NE Ohio check out Vaccaro's). All I can say is, yum. And she was, I'm pretty sure, genuinely surprised. Plus, one of the guest's husbands works as a professional event planner, so if this whole PhD thing doesn't work out, I've got a contact
  • I still don't have my syllabus done, even though classes start Monday.
  • Little Man has been sick for a few days, and when he's sick, he turns into a whiny little snuggle monkey who has to be attached to my leg or hip at all times. I know I'll miss this phase when he's older, but did I mention my syllabus isn't done yet?
  • I have a book review due Tuesday. Oh- and I'm giving a conference presentation in a week that I haven't exactly written yet.
  • I have too much to do to even think about doing anything, so if you don't hear from me in a while, don't be surprised.