Monday, December 31, 2007

JKR Documentary

I know, I know. But it's my blog, so you have to put up with my obsessions. :)

Here's a link to the JKR Documentary that aired in England yesterday.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year's End

New Years Meme-age

Where did you begin 2007?
Singing Driving Down Highway 40 with a bunch of drunken revelers in my living room. I was also menaced by an o'possum.

What was your status by Valentine's Day?
What does this mean? Married for almost 2 years.

Were you in school (anytime this year)?
No

Did you have to go to the hospital?
No, thank God.

Did you have any encounters with the police?
Nope.

Where did you go on vacation?
No vacation this year. :(

What did you purchase that was over $500?
Yikes. I only spend that much on computers and cars, so nothing.

Did you know anybody who got married?
Several! Congratulations Becki and Jacob, Kim and Sam, Kirby and Erica, and Kim and Ben.

Did you know anybody who passed away?
No.

Did you move anywhere?
No. My moving days are thankfully over for a while.

What sporting events did you attend?
Blech....sports.

What concerts/shows did you go to?
WE Fest.

Describe your birthday.
I turned 30. Togaliciousness ensued.

What's the one thing you thought you would not do but did in 2007?
Wrote my first novel. Never dreamed I'd do that.

What has been your favorite moment(s)?
It's hard to name a favorite moment. Finishing Deathly Hallows, finishing the novel, celebrating my birthday, poetry readings on the porch...

Any new additions to your family?
Oscar Peterson, the yellow-bellied slider.

What was your best month?
October was pretty good. The drama of the summer had ended, I was writing, we celebrated Halloween in style...

What music will you remember 2007 by?
Depeche Mode and the Smiths ruled my iPod, with honorable mentions by these songs:
Stolen by Dashboard Confessional
Alone by Heart
Save Me by Aimee Mann
Crash by Dave Matthews

Made new friends?
Always. I thrive on friends.

Favorite night out?
Discovering THE Chocolate Cake at Circa with Thomas.

Overall, how would you rate this year?
A very spiky year. Lots of peaks and valleys.

Other than home, where did you spend most of your time?
At work, of course, with Lula's in a distant 3rd.

Change your hairstyle?
Ha. That only happens once every 3-4 years. This was not one of those years. It's maybe a little redder than usual.

How old did you turn this year?
30. Finally starting to freak about that, a little.

Do you have a New Year's resolution?
My resolution is always to have no resolutions. Whatever happens, happens.

Do anything embarrassing?
Please. This is me were talking about. I do 10 embarrassing things every day.

Buy anything new from eBay?
I love eBay. Every once in a while we have to have an intervention. This year, I mostly bought CDs for the iPod. I remember buying Cloudcuckooland by the Lightning Seeds, God Bless Satan by Mephiskapheles, Apollo 18 by They Might Be Giants...

Get married or divorced?
No.

Get arrested?
Of course not.

Be honest - did you watch American Idol?
I adore American Idol. I didn't miss an episode.

Did you get sick this year?
Inevitable when one is an elementary school teacher. But the immune system gets stronger every year.

Been snowboarding?
I don't do snow or sports.

Are you happy to see 2007 go?
Well, I'm looking forward to 2008. 8 is my lucky number.



Additional things:
My parents just left us, so we've finally completed the Christmas season. Everything went really well, and it was great to see them. Here is an update on Christmas loot:

Please check out this amazing bracelet that Thomas bought for me:


Book Lust:
For Christmas, I recieved:
Run by Ann Patchett
Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
also working on my new Early Reviewer book: Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb

Happy New Year to everyone. Celebrate fully and safely and best wishes for the year to come.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Talented People Love Me

Thomas saved my life by giving me a wonderful, huge, flat-screen monitor, which could not have come at a better time, as my monitor gave out on Christmas Eve day, and we all know what happens to me when I cannot connect to the internet. Thank God that was averted.

Thomas also gave me the Harry Potter movies box set, which came in a little trunk that I can take with me when I finally get my Hogwarts letter.

Thank you, Thomas.

Two of my favorite gifts were things that people made for me.
Michelle made me the most amazing tablecloth:




My little sister-in-law Jessica made me the Potter Puppet Pals:



I'm humbled to know such giving and talented ladies.

Merry Christmas!

Do I believe my site meter that only one person has visited today? Surely not, as despite the holiday, I've spent the better part of 4 hours online. Yes, I'm sick on Christmas again this year, and consoling myself by spending quality time with the internet.

We had a nice visit with Thomas's family and are home now, presents opened, preparing to launch again into the fray tomorrow, to prepare for my parent's arrival on Thursday.

No matter what, I'm still glad it's Christmas.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Counting Down

So, I finished the wrapping today and did some last minute baking for a Christmas party tonight...I think I'm actually going to finish everything in time, so that's good.

Last night, Thomas and I went down to Lula's and hung out with some friends. Thomas was asking, "Who would win in a fight, Little Orphan Annie or Dick Tracy?" (Who would win in a fight is one of our favorite games.) I told him that when I was little, I was always embarrassed to sing "(The Sun Will Come Out) Tomorrow" because it had the word "bottom" in it (as in, "bet your bottom dollar that tomor-rooooo...") so I was convinced that it was dirty.

As we cackled over my childhood obsession with Annie and my apparent fear of the word bottom, Thomas pointed out that I'd been singing a weird song around the house lately.

I should note that I spend 99% of my time (while not at work) singing. I sing in the shower; I sing while I cook and clean; I sing in the car. I'm mostly singing whatever played last on my iPod, but lately I've been singing a lot of Christmas songs. I really miss caroling.

Anyway, he was like, "Yeah, it was something really odd, like Radar Love." I looked at him with disdain and announced that I would never sing Radar Love. Then I thought about it for a while and realized that I had been singing Hot Blooded the other day while baking, and Thomas confirmed that he was, in fact, remembering Hot Blooded.

"Why were you singing Hot Blooded?" he asked.

"I don't know. It was hot in the kitchen from the oven."

Apparently now I just choose songs by free association.

In other news, I'm pretty seriously considering attending Portus this year. Ashley, want to meet me in Dallas?

Friday, December 21, 2007

On Break

So, it's my first day of Christmas vacation, and the dogs woke me up at 5:50. Which is fine, I guess. It was at least 20 minutes after I would have usually gotten up. For once, I did not go out and get obliterated on my first night off, so today I'm reasonably prepared to do the 8,000 things still on my to do list. This will be one of the least restful breaks I've ever had--there are at least 2 major things to take care of on every single day of the 12 days I have off, but I'm still happy to be in my pajamas right now.

Last night I watched the movie Once. It was as wistful and lovely as everyone said it would be. Then I read the rest of Olive Kitteridge and felt wrapped in the comforting arms of art. A good book came in the mail yesterday. And I scored another Early Reviewer book for December, so I'm feeling that at least my intake of other worlds is high right now. I'm having trouble writing, but I think that has, for once, to do with my breakneck schedule, and not my terrible procrastination. I've been dabbling in several projects, but I have one that seems to be about to supercede the rest. I'm going to try to wait until January to begin it, though. The holidays are going to be hard enough.

Today's list includes:
Shopping for Christmas dinner
Wrapping all the presents
Taking a good friend to the airport
and...hopefully? A beer or 4.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deck the Halls with Gasoline...Fa La La La La!

Last year's Christmas post makes me ashamed. Yes, I am still baking 10 batches of cookies for an ever-growing list of people which, I am sad to say, does not include our waitress at Golden Corral this year, but does now include our Fed Ex Delivery Guy, and would include the mailman if he were not prohibited by law from taking my cookies. That sounded dirty.

Yes, I am mostly done shopping, and the tree is up...but I have no Christmas spirit whatsoever. What I have is a migraine, and a terrible dread of the days to come. Days in which I will bitch and moan and snap at my family, even though I love them and can't wait to see them. Blarg.

The week before Christmas with 6 year olds is trying, and I feel very tried. Tried and found weak and lacking. My feet hurt. My eyes hurt. WAAAAAAAHHHHH!

In good news, I am finally reviewing a book for LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program that is AWE-SOME. Awesome. It is called Olive Kitteridge, by Elisabeth Strout, and I am loving it. Which is really nice, because so far the count had been:
Nay: 4.5 Yay: .5

Sunday, December 16, 2007

When the Cows Come Home

The Cow Is BACK! And she's dressed for Christmas!



I nearly drove off the road, I was so excited to see her. Thomas kindly took me to the cow to photograph her today. I think we'll do our Christmas picture with the cow this year.

In further returns, the OPOSSUM is BACK! Thomas spotted it tonight. Pictures to follow if we can get any. *Shudder*

Also, it is Poem Sunday.

1989 by Ron Koertge

Because AIDS was slaughtering people left and right,
I went to a lot of memorial services that year.
There were so many, I'd pencil them in between
a movie or a sale at Macy's. The other thing that
made them tolerable was the funny stories people
got up and told about the deceased: the time he
hurled a mushroom frittata across a crowded room,
those green huaraches he refused to throw away,
the joke about the flight attendant and the banana
that cracked him up every time.

But this funeral was for a blind friend of my wife's
who merely died. And the interesting thing
about it was the guide dogs; with all the harness
and the sniffing around, the vestibule of the church
looked like the starting line of the Iditarod. But
nobody got up to talk. We just sat there
and the pastor read the King James version. Then he
said someday we would see Robert and he us.

Throughout the service, the dogs slumped beside their
masters. But when the soloist stood and launched
into a screechy rendition of "Abide with Me," they sank
into the carpet. A few put their paws over their ears.
Someone whispered to one of the blind guys; he told
another, and the laughter started to spread. People
in the back looked around, startled and embarassed,
until they spotted all those chunky Labradors
flattened out like animals in a cartoon about
steamrollers. Then they started, too.

That was more like it. That was what I was used to--
a roomful of people laughing and crying, taking off
their sunglasses to blot their inconsolable eyes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Criminal

I had a friend named David when I was in graduate school, a very smart and very talented friend, who told me once that it is impossible to write an unlikable narrator in the first person.

The readers will identify with him, he said, no matter how terrible you try to make him. They will see themselves in him and they will love him.

I just finished the last season of the Sopranos.

All I have to say is: I am the mobster, and the mobster is me.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

T4: Back For More

I almost missed poem Sunday, due to putting the Christmas tree up today. I'm too tired to post pictures, so I'll do that tomorrow. But I do want to give a special Thank You to Velocibadgergirl for naming our Christmas tree this year.


What Would Freud Say?
by Bob Hicok


Wasn't on purpose that I drilled
through my finger or the nurse
laughed. She apologized
three times and gave me a shot
of something that was a lusher
apology. The person
who drove me home
said my smile was a smeared
totem that followed
his body that night as it arced
over a cliff in a dream.
He's always flying
in his dreams and lands
on cruise ships or hovers
over Atlanta with an erection.
He put me to bed and the drugs
wore off and I woke
to cannibals at my extremities.
I woke with a sense
of what nails in the palms
might do to a spirit
temporarily confined to flesh.
That too was an accident
if you believe Judas
merely wanted to be loved.
To be loved by God,
Urban the 8th
had heads cut off
that were inadequately
bowed by dogma. To be loved
by Blondie, Dagwood
gets nothing right
except the hallucinogenic
architecture of sandwiches.
He would have drilled
through a finger too
while making a case for books
on home repair and health.
Drilling through my finger's
not the dumbest thing
I've done. Second place
was approaching
a frozen gas-cap with lighter
in hand while thinking
heat melts ice and not
explosion kills asshole. First
place was passing
through a bedroom door
and removing silk that did not
belong to my wife.
Making a bookcase is not
the extent of my apology.
I've also been beaten up
in a bar for saying huevos
rancheros in a way
insulting to the patrons'
ethnicity. I've also lost
my job because lying
face down on the couch
didn't jibe with my employer's
definition of home
office. I wanted her to come
through the door on Sunday
and see the bookcase
she'd asked me to build
for a year and be impressed
that it didn't lean
or wobble even though
I've only leaned and often
wobbled. Now it's half
done but certainly
a better gift with its map
of my unfaithful blood.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Scar Tissue

Tonight I was talking to my sister who recently took a bad tumble with her bike. She was telling me that the bruising took some days to reach the surface, as a really bad bruise will.

I reminded her of the time I fell down and skinned my knee on my way to my first day of a new job ("Hi, I'm the new girl, and I'm bleeding, so I have to go now...")

and the time I slipped while dancing, landed on a box and got a hematoma in my butt, necessitating a donut pillow. Classy.

I said, "Did you know that sometimes when you bruise yourself that badly, you get a little knot of scar tissue deep inside you?"

"Yes," she said, and reminded me that that's sometimes a beginning problem in breast cancer.

It reminded me of a long ago time in which my mom, Ali and I were walking along Water Street downtown. It was pouring rain, and we were making for high ground, heading up the hill to Front Street. My mom turned and marveled at how fast the water was rising and I turned to look---

and ran full-tilt-boogie into a parking meter. With my boob.

Oh, god, the pain. It was brilliant, shining pain.

And my mom said, "You'll want to remember that later, if you get breast cancer."

Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hey! I Had My Tonsils Out!

Tonight I was talking to Thomas when I suddenly realized that it's December 4th, and on December 4th, 1988, I had my tonsils out.

I said, "Hey! I had my tonsils out--" and then I paused (for probably longer than an elementary school teacher should have to) to figure out how many years it had been.

Thomas looked at me with amusement and repeated, "Hey! I had my tonsils out!" And I realized it sounded to him as if I were relating some startling revelation.

I've been giggling ever since.

For those who have been kind enough to comment, I'm working on the gray in the background. Hopefully by the end of the week it will be kinder to the eyes, or else I'll give up in disgust and we'll all go blind. Whoot!

I was generally disappointed in the Heroes finale last night, for many of the same lazy, sloppy reasons I've been complaining about. I mean, come on now. Why couldn't Peter have just read Adam's mind? And he had like, 8 different ways to get through that door at the end, not the least of which would have been to phase through it, as he and Adam did to get out of the prison.

Because I am such a Potter-head, I kept thinking, "But Peter is a superb Legilimens!"

Dork, dork, dorkitude.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Megs in Blue

I loved the peach, but after a year, I was ready for a change.

There went Sunday night. :)

It's poem Sunday again, but I'm tired, so it's going to be a little one.

Tired Sex by Chana Bloch

We're trying to strike a match in a matchbook
that has lain all winter under the woodpile:
damp sulphur
on sodden cardboard.
I catch myself yawning. Through the window
I watch that sparrow the cat
keeps batting around.

Like turning the pages of a book the teacher assigned --

You ought to read it, she said.
It's great literature.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Came home from work in full panic mode today--my student teacher quit rather unceremoniously this morning and it threw off my whole day. Am I a terrible teacher? Am I mean? What?

Fortunately, good sense won out and I called Michelle who made me laugh until it felt like Friday again. There's nothing like having a conversation in which you discuss the terrible and the mundane, reassure one another, have a horrible realization, and end it all in hysterics.

Random questions of the day: Why are people who sell cheese and fish called "-mongers" but no one else is? And what makes some fish sashimi grade?

P.S. NaBloPoMo is over. My forced Bataan Death March of blogging, as my friend Bernie so wittily called it, has come to an end. I did it! Again.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Energy, Money, Time, Beer

Time is going by too quickly.

Lately I've been so exhausted by going to work that I haven't been able to convince myself to get anything done besides walking in the afternoons--which makes time feel even more short as I watch all my various chores pile up around me. Is tomorrow really the last day of November? But I haven't gone through all of last year's posts to catalogue 50 more weird things about me!

Tonight I am cooking dinner for the first time in ages. Our grill broke, and so the Thomas-is-cooking streak of the last 3 years is temporarily ended. Don't get me wrong, I still cook for major occasions, but this is my first just-because meal in some time. It's kind of nice. And the oven heats our house up to the point where I'm not freezing, for once.

Things I want: energy, money, time, beer.
Things I need: energy, money, time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meme-Tastic

So, I'm stealing this meme from Gina because I like this meme and dammit I want to meme.

8 Random Things About My Wedding



1. Although Thomas and I are not beach people, and have never been to the beach together excepting the 3 times we took the dogs to the beach to cackle over how they try to dig to China, we got married on the sound at Wrightsville Beach. We rented two side-by-side beach houses and illegally had our wedding there. I freaked out the entire time that the police were going to come. No, officer. This is not my wedding. This is the family reunion we claimed on the rental forms. I would never have a wedding in a rental, particularly when I signed a special part of the lease that said I would not have a wedding here. Why am I wearing this big white dress? Because it's March! Doesn't everyone wear a big white dress in March?

2. I bought my dress on ebay. Several months before Thomas even proposed to me, I thought it might be nice to look at wedding dresses on ebay because, hey, you never know, and plus I am totally an insane stalker type who insists that you marry me immediately. I saw my dress and it was exactly the dress in my mind and only cost 200 dollars. I agonized for several days about whether I should just buy the dress and keep it in a box in the closet just in case. Then sanity won out and I stopped obessessing over the perfect dress for my imaginary wedding. But the day he proposed? Yeah, I bought that bitch.

3. My friend Michelle, who is awesome, and who arranged all 300 of the gerber daisies that I bought online, brought a fishing pole and some squid so that she could fish off the pier the day before our wedding. When she was done, she wrapped up the remaining squid and stored it under the railing of the deck where we all forgot about it until two days later when we tracked that horrible smell to its source.



4. I had my bride-zilla moment when my mother in law tried to have the cake delivery guy set up the cake on a table that was not the motherfucking cake table. Because I had a motherfucking cake table and that was NOT it. Still embarrassed. Sorry, Linda. And thank you to Kasey who listened to me seethe and never once pointed out that it was totally ridiculous.

5. My best friend Kasey flew in from Maine to be in our wedding, and her husband Andrew pressed the buttons for our music, because Thomas had done so for their wedding 6 months earlier, even though she didn't know him at all then. But I guess that's more about her wedding than mine. Kasey was a godsend, of course. She always is. But she helped me string the gazebo with 8 hundred thousand pieces of ribbon that barely show in the pictures.

6. We walked down the aisle to Depeche Mode's "Somebody." We walked back up the aisle to Tony Bennet's "The Best is Yet to Come." This is totally indicative of Thomas's and my completely different taste in music, and yet, it was lovely.



7. My friend Mary married us, which was very cool. We had our ceremony in a gazebo at the end of a tiny pier, so all our guests were on land and could barely hear us. Mary was having trouble projecting, so I whispered to her to just talk like we were at the bar on a Saturday night. When she upped the volume, her voice got very flat and she delivered some very lovely sentiments about Thomas and me in a very loud and affectless voice that made me giggle until I nearly cried. I giggled through our entire ceremony. Mary did a wonderful job. I'd ask her to do it again in a second.

8. Our wedding favors were fake mustaches. Thomas and I collect them. We really wanted a vintage photo booth with a box of costumes that people could put on, but that would have cost more than our entire wedding, so we went with a polaroid and fake mustaches. I was peeling them off every available surface for days. My friend Jennifer put one between the legs of a very fancy ballerina sculpture. Yeah, I had to peel that off in front of my dad.




Bonus:
For our honeymoon, Thomas and I just stayed on in the house we'd rented for the wedding. It was very convenient because then he could still drive into town for order day at the store, and we could invite tons of people over all week to hang at the beach and help us eat all the food. The day after our wedding, after we'd finally gotten everyone to leave, we sat down to watch VH1, because we have no cable at home and were feeling sadly behind on I love the 80s. We snuggled up together on the couch and settled in when suddenly the power went out. Thomas got up to look out the window and see if the other houses on the street had power, which they did. Suddenly we heard the elevator (the house had an elevator) coming up. We both panicked like no two people have ever panicked before. Thomas ordered me to get a knife, but I couldn't find one in the dark. I'd heard horror stories about the sites of weddings getting robbed for the presents and I was seriously in a condition.

There was no one in the elevator, of course. It just returned to its home floor when the power went out. A call to the power company confirmed that the whole street was out--what we were seeing were the houses across the sound. We still laugh at ourselves about that.

Thanks to Gina for the help with getting through NaBloPoMo--check out her side project at Teeny Manolo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If I'm Dead Tomorrow, You'll Know Why

I know double posting during NaBloPoMo is a cardinal sin punishable by death, but DUDE.

The weirdest thing just happened.

Thomas and I were working with the TV on and he asked me what that noise was. I said I thought it was sirens and he turned off the TV so we could hear better.

It was CATS.

Multiple, multiple cats. All yowling and screaching and moaning and groaning and I have never, ever heard anything like it. If you listened closely, some sounded like babies crying. Some sounded like demons. Thomas said (and once I heard it, I couldn't stop hearing it) that one sounded like it was saying, "Help! Help!" over and over again.

If I'd had any way to record it, it would be on this blog right now.

Honestly, I got really scared in the middle of it. We went over to the window to get a better listen, and our dog started to cry, as if to say, Don't you see this is what they want you to do? And I started to imagine that at any moment the window was going to burst in and there would be a monster with its claws in my face.

Thomas went out onto the porch to hear and I wanted to scream, "NO! Don't do it!"

Then the (brave) neighbor came out and clapped his hands and cats scattered everywhere. Maybe they were witches. But the thought I kept having was...vampires.

Into the Home Stretch

There are some hard truths for NaBloPoMoers at Schnozzfest. And those hard truths made me laugh very hard this morning before going to work. And look, now you know what I did this morning before going to work--so I'm already ahead of this blogging game. Watch me go!

Today was my last day (I hope) of teaching the middle school and the elementary school simultaneously. By this afternoon, my feet hurt badly and I was most short tempered. At one point, I looked up at a kid who thought he was talking behind my back and while grinning, I said, through my teeth, "I've taught 2 full classrooms simultaneously for 5 days now. Could you cut me some slack?" He went back to work, God bless him.

Writing continues in dribs and drabs, though I feel lucky to be writing at all. Where does my time go, oh sucking internet box? And why is my computer screen flickering lately as if in a portent of death?

Thomas's store's 15 year anniversary celebration is this weekend, so I'd like to take time out to say that I'm so proud of Thomas. He opened a business before I could drive a car and it's still here and going strong. My husband rules. Fanboy rules.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Resistance is Futile--Woo Child

I'm brain dead today, so please accept these pictures of me at awkward ages, for your enjoyment. My dad brought them with him to show my school kids, so now they know what I looked like with braces, mini-boobs and bad hair. Yes!



I am 11 in this picture, and the rabbit with me is 3 ft tall. I won it in a raffle at the grocery store. I would also like to note that the strange green "numbers" sweater I am wearing was my absolute favorite and I wore it with green stonewashed jeans. And although I look stoned in this picture, really I've probably just eaten all of the rabbit's tail and am sugared out. Also, nice bangs.




I am 9 in this picture, rocking the bra-less look. (Lest anyone think I was kidding about my tales of young-boob-horror.) In addition, that is my string of fish. We cut the head off the biggest one and nailed it to the telephone pole outside our house. I don't know why! My dad told me to! Perhaps to intimidate the neighbors?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Poem Sunday

I Go Back to May 1937

by Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don't do it--she's the wrong woman,
he's the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don't do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lions for Lambs

Today Thomas woke up yearning to go to the movies. Because I never watch TV, I rarely have any idea what's playing so I went to Yahoo Movies and read out all the titles and Thomas gave me brief descriptions. He wanted to see two movies and eat lunch, yet there was really nothing playing that I was peeing in my pants about.

Finally, we agreed on Lions for Lambs at 1:05 with a mad dash for American Gangster at 2:50.

I did not want to see American Gangster at all (Denzel and his overly eager smile! It's just so wrong! I know I'm in the vast minority about this.) But I agreed to Lions for Lambs based on the interesting cast and plus, I figured I'd learn something.

Well, I did learn something. I learned what it feels like to be stripped naked and beaten to a pulp. Rarely have I been so disarmed and destroyed by a movie. A one hour and 28 minute movie, at that.

I almost hesistate to talk about it, as I haven't completely processed it, and of course, it's such a hot button subject. But Lions for Lambs is an incredibly well-written, well-acted film. Meryl Streep was flat out formidable. And I was very impressed with how Tom Cruise allowed the movie to use his rather perverse celebrity.

It's propaganda, for sure, though I haven't figured out what exactly it's propaganda for. There were times I knew I was having my strings pulled in one direction, and then moments later, a strong tug from the other. Thomas said as we drove home that it was very different from a Michael Moore film and it seems to me that it's almost the opposite of a Michael Moore film. When I watch Michael Moore movies, I inherently resist them. His level of unabashed propaganda and hate-mongering (again, I know I'm in the minority) makes me feel as if his agenda, even if it's my agenda, is inherently questionable and wrong. With Lions for Lambs, I felt as if I finally just had to give over and let it happen to me. I felt manipulated, but because I couldn't locate the source or what it wanted me to do/believe, I felt ok with it.

Never since ET (and I don't mean that to sound flippant), have I cried so hard at a movie. I'm a movie-crier; I admit it. Those of you who know me know my emotions run close to the surface. But I was sobbing: crumple-faced, breath-hitching, sobbing. What a cock up this war is, what a catch 22. There are no answers in Lions for Lambs, just the horrible explication of the myriad ways we've fucked up.

We didn't make American Gangster. I was in no kind of shape after Lions for Lambs. I don't know if I wish I'd never seen it, or if everyone should be required by law to see it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

300th Post

I hate early morning posting, but I already know what today's blog is going to be about, so I'm powering ahead.

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post about Thomas's little sister's birthday. She was 14 then. The last line of the post is, Still, isn't it time she thought someone other than Harry Potter was cute?

Jessica is 15 now, and growing up so fast I can hardly believe it. She's got a learner's permit and her first job, and thank god she hasn't given up thinking that Harry Potter is cute, because otherwise, how would we spend 6 hours together watching the OotP video game and taking online quizzes about book 7? Because it's possible that we spent most of Thanksgiving sequestered in her room watching Potter Puppet Pals. Maybe.

It all began when we first arrived and I asked to see the standee we'd given her for her birthday (see, I told you I couldn't live without it). So we raced up the stairs together to see where she'd mounted it on the wall in the hallway, and as we stood there admiring it, she says to me,

"Do you want to see Daniel Radcliffe's butt?"

(I can see that this post is going to set off a flurry in my sitemeter of people fruitlessly searching for Daniel Radcliffe's butt).

I say, "Sure! Why not?"

Apparently she'd just found the Equus pictures. We looked at it. Then we giggled hysterically. I'd forgotten how awesome it was to be 15.

All day, we made jokes about it. Then we looked at it again.

I love my sister in law.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful, but I Still Wish I Could Gleek

So, I've spent this fine Thanksgiving morning looking up the word "gleek" online. I just woke up today thinking about gleeking, and wondering if that was a universal term, or if I could find any diagrams explaining exactly how to do it because I've always wanted to.

And now, for our scheduled Thanksgiving post. I am thankful for:

1. My husband, who puts up with my insanity, laughs when I make hideously inappropriate statements, does the dishes every day, remembers to vacuum, doesn't beat me about the head with the vacuum when I forget to vacuum, takes care of me, loves the dogs, shows up whenever I need him, is always supportive, lets me retain enough of my private self to keep me from going insane, orders 3 pizzas so I won't be without, gets my sense of humor, keeps me laughing, watches Regis and Kelly and doesn't mind when I tease him about it, and provides me with the best life I could have possibly hoped for.

2. My family. Here is my favorite quote about family: "What I am, I suppose, I am either because of or in spite of them, which amounts to the same thing. [...] And in this world, you can't ask for more." William Goldman. I have a wonderful family and they support me in whatever crazy idea I'm bent on pursuing at any given moment. And they seem to actually like me, which is awesome, given that I actually like them, too.

3. My friends. I've been blessed over and over again with the kinds of friendships that keep you afloat, no matter the circumstances. I sometimes wish I could freeze time, and preserve my roster of friendships, as it is always changing and I have trouble accepting that as the way of the world. But I have my one constant truth (Kasey, I'm thankful for you) and the rest can swell and recede and I will just enjoy bobbing in the waves. Friendship is the thing I value beyond everything else in the entire world. I hope that I'm growing into being a good friend. I have excellent role models.

4. My dogs. Thank god for both of them. I've never loved any two beings so selflessly and completely. And at 8 years together, it's my longest running relationship. And also you should see the adorable way that Gertie's nose is twitching in her sleep right now.

5. Fiction. Both writing and reading. I don't think about that enough, how much my life is enriched and made valuable by reading and writing. Without books, I would starve.

6. My students. Without my kids, life would be boring, and who needs a boring life? But really, I think I would be deeply afraid to have children if I hadn't spent the last 5 years with some of the most fun and genuine, loving and smart kids on the planet (or in the city of Wilmington, at the very least).

7. The internet. Which doesn't fit the theme, but let's just go with it, shall we? Seriously, I do not know how anyone wrote anything before the internet. How many times did I pause what I was doing to type: "define: saturnine", "latin root for hair", "medical term for freckle"? And then just the things from my personal life: "Why isn't my turtle eating?", "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptom", "How to Gleek." And of course, the internet gives me LOL cats, Harry Potter fansites, and you, my lovely internet friends. And I am always thankful for you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Drabbles

As usual, I have totally wasted my first vacation day--I slept and read for most of the day. Right now it's 6:30, and I just got out of the shower. Yeah, boy.

Last night was a late night with friends, which was fun. We determined that saying, "You don't even know," over and over again is, seriously, the height of humor. Really. It is. You don't even know.

Started writing a bit today--not .100th of what I'd hoped to accomplish, but a step forward from the incredible display of laziness going on in this house recently. I can't seem to do anything lately but stare mindlessly at the internets.

So, tomorrow is the Turkey Day, meaning a planned Thankfulness post, and for that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Teeth are Important

I'm on vacation!

5 days off...starting....now! Bring on the wine.

I just got back from a very pleasant walk with my friend, Good Lauren, with whom I've been carrying on an extremely amusing conversation regarding the "Ten Fictional Characters I Would Totally Make Out With...." meme. She suggested Pa Ingalls. I burst her bubble by insinuating that I'm not sure Pa Ingalls had a full set of teeth. Though I appreciate that he rules.

Monday, November 19, 2007

TV Night

I've never had a TV night before, because I've never watched enough TV to warrant one. But now, Monday is my TV night, due to How I Met Your Mother and Heroes being on.

I was disappointed in TV night long before the writer's strike, and now I will take time from my busy schedule to tell you why, as if you care.

Lazy writing.

First off--Characters behaving in out of character ways. Predominantly, I've been pleased with this season's How I Met Your Mother, with the large exception of Lily's credit card thing. I mean, please. We've been led to believe that Marshall and Lily tell each other EVERYTHING. We've seen whole episodes that revolved around this idea, where Marshall recounts for her what it was like to brush his teeth and then drink orange juice. It is just not believable to me that she has kept a secret this large from him.

But mostly I have a problem with this season's Heroes.
What is going on with that show? Last season it was, like, the best television I'd ever seen. Now it's some of the most convoluted, bizarrely justified nonsense.

1. Last week, we caught up on the last 4 months as Peter remembered them. Except that we learned an awful lot about Nikki and DL. Which is curious, as how could Peter be remembering all that? Sloppy, sloppy writing.

2. Was it me, or did Micah actually say, "Wow, you're really a hero now, Dad!" To which DL replied, "I guess I am"? Because, retch. Ditto to Matt's confrontation with his father.

3. I hate the border crossing, eye-bleeding twins. That is not a power, and they are so boring to me that I want to die whenever they are on screen. Sylar better figure out how to off them soon.

4. I also hate the whole Molly Walker story line. Mohinder and Matt's constant bickering makes me wish they would just kiss already. And under what circumstances would Mohinder EVER turn Molly over to the Company? I don't think so.

5. And why is Peter in love with this Irish chick we just met five seconds ago? I'm not buying it.

6. And while we're talking about things that are poorly justified--some dude KILLS DL because he removes Nikki from a club. Come on, now.

Things I do like: Adam, the alchemist (Bob), Nathan, and West. But that's all.

TV night had better rock tonight.

edited at 10:27 to add that tonights TV rocked. Perhaps I should blog diatribes against my favorite TV shows more often.

And this is for Tom, who thinks we've all gone soft and don't say it enough: Fuck.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Poem Sunday

Last night I was out with some friends, including a very smart man that I went to graduate school with. He was describing a poem to me, and he told me that the poem had a humorous taint.

I laughed so hard I almost fell down. My friend stood there, looking at me disdainfully as I choked and gasped for breath. I held my hand up, both to beg his patience and to indicate my age.

"Five," I sputtered. "I'm sorry. I'm 5 years old for a second."

"And you just dragged me right down with you," he said.

So, for your enjoyment, a poem with a humorous taint.

Sea of Faith by John Brehm

Once when I was teaching "Dover Beach"
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, "I'm confused
about this 'Sea of Faith.' " "Well," I said,
"let's talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.
What confuses you about it?"
"I man, is it a real sea?" she asked.
"You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on a vacation?"
"Yes," she said. "Is it a real sea?"
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I'll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.
I'll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I'll have to teach them history, too--
a few weeks on the Dark Ages might be instructive.
"Yes," I wanted to say, "it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance
IN WHICH YOU ARE DROWNING.
Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we might continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It's fresh from the River of Forgetfulness."
But of course I didn't say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don't exist.
It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I'd betrayed myself
and been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Urg.

Why must I consume so much beer on Fridays?

Every week we think of some reason why we should wait until Saturday to go out, usually because of fundage, or some play that we're going to see, or because that's when our friends will be out. All those things were true yesterday, and yet we went out anyway.

Why? Because on Fridays I fill up with joy and blossom like a flower and dance about the house feeling relentlessly social. I want to drink and be young and forget, for a moment, that I am a grown up teacher lady who is so not going to enjoy tomorrow if she consumes all the beer in the world today.

Urg. again.

But I started my Christmas shopping today, which is always very enjoyable. I am pleased, if a little staggered, by my purchases.

And tonight we are going to see a production of Reefer Madness downtown. So I expect tomorrow will be more of the same with the added bonus of having to do my schoolwork.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thankful Part 1

I'll do a real Thanksgiving post on Thanksgiving, I'm sure, detailing the many things I'm truly thankful for this year and always.

But today my kids began preparing for their yearly "I am thankful" project. Usually, I supervise this project carefully, making sure that we're all thinking of things that we should truly be thankful for, rather than being thankful for, say, Nintendo. But this year I let my student teacher handle it and the results were very amusing, to say the least. There were kids who were thankful for Double Fudge, the Judy Blume book, that I am currently reading to them. There were kids who were thankful for eraser caps. But my favorite entry was from a 5 year old boy who was thankful for:

Trains
The color blue
Being five
Sharing
and Friends

This is so perfectly him; I could have kissed him. But the color blue entry got me to thinking of odd things I'm thankful for.

1. Chapstick. So, so thankful for chapstick.

2. These songs, with which I am currently obsessed:




3. The ironic qualities of leopard print

4. Pizza (illegal) and Carb Smart ice cream (So deliciously legal)

5. Steve Madden shoes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Page Turning

So, I was searching for a book meme to do, as I'm feeling kind of blah today, and I found this bit of hilariousness on a blog called Whatever.

A Book Reading Meme

In response to all the "book reading memes" with which I am continually tagged, a new book reading meme:

1. Open the book you're currently reading to page 133.

2. Read the fourth line on the page.

3. Put the book back where it had been resting.

4. Tell no one of what it was you just did.

5. Think of five friends to tag with this meme.

6. Do not actually tag them. They are busy and have lives.

7. Go about your life as if nothing has happened.

8. Carry the secret of this meme to your grave.


I don't know why that cracked me up as much as it did, but I'm still rolling.

VBG tagged me not too terribly long ago on her book blog, but I don't want to do that meme because all my "most important" books have already been covered here at some point or other.

I'm currently slogging my way through Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, but to be honest, I'm not totally sure I'm going to finish it. Who knows. Also still traipsing through Good Omens, which I'm enjoying but am vaguely removed from. There's a humongous, and I mean really humongous, pile of books next to my bed, but the other night I stepped into Barnes and Noble (why? why did I do that?) and saw that there is a new Richard Russo, a new Ann Patchett, a new Alice Sebold, a new Ann Packer...I almost hyperventilated. If only there were more money, and more hours in the day...

Oh, hell, I guess I'll just do the previously scheduled book meme:

Total number of books owned: I have 530 on LibraryThing, but there are more than that, as some things are too boring to put onto LibraryThing. Probably around 600.

Last book bought: The Sword by Jean Johnson. This was my very first foray into reading a romance novel. I wanted to see what it was like, and I knew Jean's online persona, so I thought I'd give hers a try.

Last book read: Chatter by Perrin Ireland. This was my most recent early reviewer book from LibraryThing.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to You:

1. The Temple of Gold by William Goldman.

2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

4. The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

5. The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken.

Honorable Mentions:

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
It by Stephen King
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
What's Not to Love by Jonathan Ames

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sir Memes A Lot

Ok, so Joshua tagged me with the 7 weird things meme.

And because it's Nablopomo, I'm going to try it, even though, for God's sake people, how many more weird things about me am I going to be able to come up with?

Velocibadgergirl also tagged me with a meme that has the best title I have ever heard: Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This. And I so, so want to do it, but I can only come up with two, and they've already been discussed this month, so...I'm still marinating on that.

Onward.

1. I have only 24 teeth. And what big teeth they are! (All the better to eat you with, my dear). I'm minus the wisdom teeth, of course, but also 4 more because the poor orthodontist couldn't get them all to fit in my tiny, unaccomodating jaw. Please god, let my children have better luck. Turning the key in my palate spreader, growing up, was one of the worst forms of torture I have ever endured. (Side note: Joe McIntyre of the New Kids on the Block also has only 24 teeth, leading my 12 year old self to believe that we must be meant for each other. Why do I keep mentioning the New Kids on the Block lately?)

2. All together, my dogs take 12 pills a day. Between the chinese herbs for Gonzo's epilepsy, the fish oil for their skin, glucosamine for their joints and CoEnzyme-Q10 for Gertie's heart, the dogs practically need those little pill containers to keep everything organized.

3. I absolutely love new/internet words. Snark, squick, squee, blogosphere, celebutante...bring them on. Words delight me, but onomatopoeic ones tickle my heart. I'm also a fan of LOLcats and the "im in ur" phenomenon that predates them. Let's just say internet crazes in general. I once belonged to Mahir's fanclub. I also love co-opting teenspeak into my general vocabulary in an unironic way. I say BFF, Whatev and natch with some frequency. Sometimes, and you have to promise not to repeat this, I will say, "I'm outie." (I know. The shame.)

4. I will dress up for any insane costume party you throw at me. In fact, the first work-party that Thomas brought me to when we were first dating was a pimp and ho party. So I met all of the people Thomas works with while dressed as a hooker. No way to make a better impression than that! I actually have a picture, but it's so hideous that I think I should save it for my next humiliation extravaganza. Thomas and I are throwing an ugly sweater party for New Years and I can. not. wait.

5. I own only one pair of blue jeans that I just wash over and over and over. Or else wear until they are practically standing up on their own. I don't know why. Cheapness, I guess, or the horror of trying on jeans when you carry all your weight in your waist but have slim, athletic legs...I don't know.

6. Cats hate me. I don't know if it's that they sense that I'm afraid of them, or what, but all cats pretend to like me at first and then bite the shit out of me. Or maybe it's that I'm such a dog person that I don't know how to touch cats properly. But yeah, they're always all about me until the hissing and scratching and biting begins.

7. I am obsessed with Threadless. I bought myself 10 t-shirts for my birthday and I pretty much don't wear anything else anymore. My favorites of the ones I own are: Haikus are easy, Loch Ness Imposter, Defend the Kingdom, and Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poems.

Ok, now I just really want to link to all my threadless shirts so you will all know how hilarious and well dressed I am with my 500 t-shirts and one pair of jeans.

Tagging just seems circular lately. So if you want the meme, take it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Can't Do It

I can't. There's nothing to blog about today. I tried to write something amusing about how we ran out of dog food today and the dogs nearly resorted to cannibalism. I tried to write about how Thomas and I are five years old and think it's hilarious to point it out when people say 'joint' or 'box' or the like. But nothing is coming out funny. I'm just a tired girl who had a long day.

I can't even find a funny picture to post.

Just now, I finally answered the 1-888- number that has been calling this house during dinner for the last 3 weeks. The person on the other end claimed to be from AT&T and asked for Me-han (that's a new one). When I agreed to be Me-han, at least for the moment, he asked how my computer was working. I said, "Just fine," and he wished me a nice evening and hung up. WTF?

Here's one final thought for you: Once, my friend, Michelle, and I decided to start a blog about public bathrooms, because we love them. Not horrible rest-stop bathrooms, but swanky restaurant bathrooms. Yeah, it never really got off the ground, thought I've filled up my computer with pictures of bathrooms from all over downtown.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Random Monday Stuff

From my site meter today:

WHAT DO GONZO BEANS LOOK LIKE?

Like this:










But I think what you were looking for was:










In other interesting news, I was accosted by a panhandler yesterday. In general, I don't mind being panhandled. I grew up outside Washington, DC, and it was a fairly regular occurrance. I'm used to it. I don't, as a rule, give anyone any money, but as long as I can walk away, it doesn't bother me. What does bother me is being panhandled at red lights. I am deeply discomfited by being cornered in my car with no place to go.

Wilmingtonians may know the person I am talking about. She stays at the corner of Dawson and 5th Street, tapping on the windows of all the cars waiting at that (nortoriously long) light. This woman is ALWAYS out there. I've been seeing her there for 3 years at least. And she's very, very pushy, the type who, if you refuse her money, will start asking for the things she can see in your car. My mother-in-law reported to me that she ran into the woman at Burger King and the woman was demanding water from a kid's cup.

I've been very clear with this woman in the past. I asked her to please look at me and look at my car (you know the one: covered in polka dots). Remember me, I said. I'm never going to give you anything. Leave me alone. And she has, for almost 2 years now.

Yesterday, as I was driving home, I was sitting at the light when the woman emerged from the shrubbery and came toward the car. I calmly reached over my left shoulder and hit the automatic locks. And she just freaked, beating on my car and screaming that I'd better watch for that light to change, that I had better hope that light changed soon, etc. Oddly, she called me "baby girl" as she shreiked at me. In my loudest and most authorative teacher voice I yelled, GET OFF MY CAR. She backed up, still screaming, the light changed and I drove away. But it scared the crap out of me. I don't want to go through that intersection anymore.

So, anyway, my dad is here, and he came to visit me at school today and met my kids, which is great, because no one has ever met my kids before. He brought pictures of me so that they could see what Miss Meg looked like when she was a little girl. They loved it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poem Sunday, for Michelle

It is always hard to declare what you love most, because there will always be people who do not love it, or worse, hate it, and look at you with eyes that say, Really? But I thought I knew you. I thought we were the same.

Recently, I coerced my friend Michelle into reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which, I have come to know now, is my very favorite book. From the time it first passed into my hands (loaned to me by my sister), I have owned 5 copies, as I cannot stop pressing it on other people. Read this, I want to say. Inside you will find the contents of my heart.

After Michelle told me that she had begun it, I picked up my copy, half-knowing what I was about to do to myself, but unable to deny myself the pleasure of reading it along with her.

The other night we walked, slicing through the cold air along the river, feet clomping on the boardwalk, all the lights dancing on the water. Once we saw a rat, a river rat, I guess, and we clutched each other and danced away, screeching and laughing. And while we walked, we talked about this book.

Finally, we came to talking about the epigraph, a poem by Derek Walcott, and Michelle told me about reading it, and what it made her feel. "It's funny," I said, "I have a story about that poem, too." And I told her that when I first started at UNCW, and I was meeting with my new advisor, I blurted out what I had not yet managed to tell anyone, that I was divorcing, that I found myself in Wilmington without friends or acquaintances, that I couldn't drive a car, that I was living in a hotel, holding on to the writing program like the victim of a sinking ship, clinging to a piece of sodden driftwood.

A week later, this poem was in my mailbox. I took it home and thumbtacked it to the wall in my first apartment, right above the computer. The place where I finally typed enough words to make myself a boat.

This is not my favorite poem, but it reminds me of so many things, not the least of which, now, is reading my favorite book with my dear friend.

Love After Love by Derek Walcott


The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Won't be Able to Look at this Post Later

So, tonight I was over at my neighbor's house and we saw a picture in a magazine that reminded me that there is, in fact, something more terrifying than worms.

Something that is causing me to blog the top five things I'm most afraid of. Outside of uncomfortable silences.

1. People with their fists in their mouths.

lauren can fit her fist in her mouth.

I discovered that I was afraid of this when that anti-drug commercial featuring a kid with his fist in his mouth started airing. I began to get the feeling, watching it, that his fist was never going to be able to come out of his mouth.

2. Worms, naturally.



There's actually a good reason for this, too. When I was little, we had concrete steps that went down from the yard into the basement. There was a drain at the bottom, of course, so that the basement wouldn't flood when it rained. And the drain would occasionally fill up with leaves and other debris, so it was my job to clean out the drain. I was reaching down there one afternoon and pulled out the granddaddy of all worms. It had been living a good life down there and it showed. Ever since then, worms have given me the heebie-jeebies in the extreme.

3. Zombies



Why are they so dumb? Why do they eat brains? Why?




4. Things that should have eyes, but don't.



Thomas recently pointed this out to me, as I was trying in vain to explain why the new Japanese brand of horror movie bothers me. I was sputtering about terrible plots and images that are just wrong, when he said, "You just don't like things that don't have eyes." So true.







5. Choking



I was seriously scared to google an image for choking. Partly I'm afraid of choking because I've choked 3 times in my life, all because I was laughing while eating and all of which resulted in my mother reaching down my throat and pulling out the cheese/onion/bacon. As an elementary school teacher, I am constantly terrified that one of my kids will choke during lunch and I won't be able to reach whatever it is.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My Car Hates Me

So, I got out of work today and drove to the bank, like I always do on Friday. I parked the car, deposited my paycheck, got back in the car and my gearshift (automatic) was locked in park.

I assumed that I'd made some sort of idiotic operator error. I tried getting out of the car, getting back in and trying again; I muttered incantations; I attempted to wrench it free from park. Nothing.

At this time, I was in a bank parking lot EXACTLY across the street from our usual mechanic, but had no way to move the car to the mechanic's. So, Thomas came for me, and we went across the street to call a towtruck to tow my car 100 feet.

The towtruck man showed up, stuck my key into a secret hidey hole by the gearshift, unlocked it and told me to have a nice day. Love, love, love for the towtruck man.

But now it locks EVERY single time I put the car in park. I have to manually unlock the gearshift every time.

What do you think, people who are more knowledgeable about this than I (by which I mean everyone)? Is it ok? Should I have it fixed? What, exactly, is the problem?

Blech.

Why me?

In other news, I have a fine new haircut and my dad is coming to visit next week. Hurrah!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Faux Friday

Do you ever have one of those middle of the week days that just turns into Friday by accident?

My friend Michelle came over to walk this afternoon, and we walked, and then we bummed around on the internet for a while and talked and generally made me feel as if I hadn't been to work today but instead was having a super-fun time being Meg.

Then, as we stood on the front porch, I pondered the whereabouts of my neighbor, Paul, who works far, far away and occasionally comes home on weekends.

"I wonder if Paul will be home this weekend," I said.

"That is Paul," Michelle said.

"It can't be Paul. He'd never be home on a Thursday."

"It's me, you dumbass," said Paul. Not really. But he could have. Because it was Paul. And he doesn't have his kids tonight. So it's par-tay-time.

I love these nights, and yet tomorrow, I will hate this night with all my being. I have done no grading and nothing at all productive, and I have a big weekend ahead of me and drinking beer tonight is so not a good idea.

So, cheers.

Interestingly, two weekends ago, Paul had some friends filming a short film about garden gnomes in his yard. The filmmakers came over and borrowed a bunch of my gnomes to use and hey--now my gnomes are famous! The next day Paul went back to far, far away and didn't leave the house unlocked for the filmmakers so they came over and asked if they could use our power. We determined that their extension cords were way too short, and so, they filmed the rest of the film on our front porch. So hey--my front porch is famous too!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

FanGirl



This is an unstaged photo of my bedside table, complete with scissors (why?), reader review letter from Algonquin, gnome chapstick, Harry Potter lamp and Dumbledore's Army diary.

The lamp was a gift from Thomas today. Hurrah!

And yet...

What is becoming of me?

I mean, ok, we needed another bedside lamp, and he'd ordered it for his sister, so it was already here and all...and the diary, that was a present from my friend Mary for my 30th birthday. And the Ministry of Magic hat hanging just outside the picture? Well, that was a promotional gift from the theater upon the release of OotP. It's not like I ordered it.

But I did order the Trust Snape shirt. And the tattoo? Probably not just going to leap onto my body. Probably I'll have to pay someone a lot of money for that. Also, I don't think I can blame anyone but myself for my current obsession with Snape-Hermione fanfic.

When did I become a fangirl?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When Panic Attacks

I can remember the first one I ever had. I was 11, in my bedroom at home, and my parents were at a parent-teacher conference, learning all sorts of terrible things about me.

I paced, I sweat, I felt like I was trapped in a tiny box, waiting for the inevitable collapse of the universe.

It seemed normal. I'd done wrong and I was about to be caught. For years I described the feeling that way. "I don't know. I feel bad. Like I've done something terrible and someone's about to find out and there's nothing I can do about it."

It wasn't until I was out of college that I realized I was having panic attacks.

For me, it starts slow. There's a buzzing, a sense that I'm very, very behind, that there are 40 things I need to be doing and that I don't have enough time to do any of them. I get frozen in place, a little flailing starts in my heart--do this, no, that's not the right thing--do that, no not enough time--I should--

And now it's creeping through my bloodstream--a swarm of bees nesting in my fingertips, eating my brain. Panic, adrenaline, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. I sit, I stand, nothing feels good. I want to run, outrun the bees, but I don't know where to go and now there are rodents nibbling at my extremities--pain--

I can't think. I'm starting to stutter now--thoughts trying to push each other out of the way to escape. I'm bad. I'm just a bad, bad person and nothing I do is right.

I want to go fetal. I want to explode. The rushing, rushing, heart pounding, blood so loud I can't hear whatever thoughts are left.

Help.

Sometimes I type that word into a search engine as I try to force myself to concentrate. Check email. Check blog. Adhere to the schedule. The schedule will save you. Dogs out. Dogs in. Time to walk.

You're ok, Meaghan, you're ok. Think of nothing. Think of a blank slate. Think of a blank slate. Think of a blank slate.

Slowly, so slowly, it backs down.
I'm ok. The rushing is still there, but I'm moving now, decisive. Time to walk. Put on your shoes. Get in the car. You're ok. Depeche Mode on the stereo--an almost involuntary smile. You're ok. You're ok.

Hours later, I feel hung over from the adrenaline, exhausted. A few lone bees are still looking for the hive. Buzz. Ouch. I'm ok.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Odds and Ends

I've been more thrown off by the time-change than usual. This morning at 4:30, Thomas woke up and started prowling the house, convinced that he had heard someone screaming. Later he conceded that this may have been a dream. However, because 4:30 is my body's 5:30, and 5:30 is the hideous time at which I'd been forcing myself awake for the last two months, I was up and totally unable to go back to sleep. Now I am tired, but it's Heroes night, so I must stay awake.

I walked with my sister tonight and she was telling me about this soup she ate. It was carrot, cashew and ginger soup, which to me sounds dreadful, but that's not the point. The point is that until 4 years ago, my sister did not eat vegetables. Like, at all. In fact, she ate great quantities of ground beef and pasta. I told her tonight that I wished I had a time machine, so I could go back and tell her younger self that one day she would eat carrot/cashew/ginger soup. There's no way she would believe me.

If I had a time machine, I don't think that there's anything about my life that I would go back to change, but I do wish I could tell myself things that would be useful later. For instance, living off credit cards for a year? Probably not a very good idea. And I wish I could have given myself the heads up about the diabetes thing a lot earlier. Mostly, though, I think I would just want to reassure myself. It will be ok. You will survive. Things will get better.

After a huge round of celebratory drinking on Saturday night, I was feeling quite at odds with myself. As I have previously documented, I don't seem to get hung over anymore (perhaps a good thing about getting older) I just get bone-tired and out of sorts. I always feel a kind of deep and horrible despair. I'm always convinced that I'm just the worst person and everyone hates me. I wandered the house all day not knowing quite what to do with myself. So finally, I just started writing. And damn, if I didn't feel better right away.

Novel 2, here I come.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Poem Sunday #1

Everybody's got a gimmick for NaBloPoMo, right?

Right?

Well, mine is going to be poem Sundays. Some of my happiest blog memories come from sharing my favorite poems, so this month you get four more.

Lawrence

by Tony Hoagland


On two occasions in the past twelve months
I have failed, when someone at a party
spoke of him with a dismissive scorn,
to stand up for D. H. Lawrence,


a man who burned like an acetylene torch
from one end to the other of his life.
These individuals, whose relationship to literature
is approximately that of a tree shredder


to stands of old-growth forest,
these people leaned back in their chairs,
bellies full of dry white wine and the ovum of some foreign fish,
and casually dropped his name


the way pygmies with their little poison spears
strut around the carcass of a fallen elephant.
“O Elephant,” they say,
“you are not so big and brave today!”


It’s a bad day when people speak of their superiors
with a contempt they haven’t earned,
and it’s a sorry thing when certain other people


don’t defend the great dead ones
who have opened up the world before them.
And though, in the catalogue of my betrayals,
this is a fairly minor entry,


I resolve, if the occasion should recur,
to uncheck my tongue and say, “I love the spectacle
of maggots condescending to a corpse,”
or, “You should be so lucky in your brainy, bloodless life


as to deserve to lift
just one of D. H. Lawrence’s urine samples
to your arid psychobiographic
theory-tainted lips.”


Or maybe I’ll just take the shortcut
between the spirit and the flesh,
and punch someone in the face,
because human beings haven’t come that far


in their effort to subdue the body,
and we still walk around like zombies
in our dying, burning world,
able to do little more


than fight, and fuck, and crow,
something Lawrence wrote about
in such a manner
as to make us seem magnificent.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Finished the Novel

August 30th to November 3rd. About a month and a week too long for NaNoWriMo, but still pretty impressive, I think. The final count was 477 pages. 30 chapters and an epilogue.

There'll still be editing to do, of course, but I'm satisfied that the plot is complete. It's called If Memory Serves and it's a magical love story. That's pretty much still all I'm going to say about it.

Yesterday, I had only 2 pages left to write and I knew it, which left me time to do certain things that I haven't done in the last two months. Like a load of dishes.

Some things I learned about or while writing a novel, in no particular order:

1. My husband is a saint. Never once did he complain as our house drifted into general disarray. He did tons of errands that I normally would have done, but refused to, as I had to get home to write. He allowed me to half-listen through tons of conversations when I was obviously thinking about the book. He listened to my vague but enthusiastic ramblings daily, though I never did tell him anything about what I was writing at all. He still refers to it as my 'sci fi porn.' Thank you, Thomas.

2. Copious and careful notes are absolutely necessary. I had a huge running summary of every chapter that had been completed and all my thoughts for future and in progress chapters. This was immensely helpful if I was going to organize a major plot twist and/or change, as I had quick reference for all the places certain ideas had appeared. Also, there were many things that didn't get used where I thought they would, but because they were still in my notes, I remembered them to use later.

3. You have to just let it go. I tried never to know what was going to happen more than two chapters ahead. Until I was actually in the last few chapters, I had no idea how it was going to end. I think this kept me true to the story--I wasn't overly committed to plans I'd had from the beginning--but also kept me interested. I think often I stop writing because I just get bored. I know the story inside out and backward and everyone else should too, I seem to feel.

4. I suck at writing settings. Changing locations was the hardest part of writing this, for me. I much prefer dialogue. Though my characters are always---
--interrupting one another.

5. Also, I need to enter an Adverbs Anonymous program. I know that I use way too many adverbs, and I've spent countless hours weeding them out. They're just so...descriptive.

6. Under no circumstances should anyone try to write a novel that moves along a day-to-day chronology. I wrote the first 20 chapters as 7 consecutive days and then realized that the date I'd set up for my big final scene was two weeks in the future according to the timeline of the story. This made for big problems.

7. I still don't know where story ideas come from. I was absolutely possessed by this story--obviously, since I wrote every single day for two months, sometimes for 7 hours at a stretch. And though I'm taking notes for my next project, it's not the same. I don't expect to charge along at such a furious pace.

8. I can do this. I did it once, and I'll do it again.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day 2: Electric Boogaloo

So it's only day two, and I'm already like, uh.....

uh.....

Because life hasn't been much fun lately. Not too much to blog about in ye olde blogosphere.

But I will say that since the fake quitting debacle of June 2006 I have been absolutely, 100% in love with my job. Maybe it was that I needed to go back to an office for three months to realize what a pleasure it is to be around a bunch of insane elementary school kids, or maybe it's that last year I had an assistant and this year my class size is beyond reasonable...but today I stood out on the playground, playing tag with my kids, and thinking, I love the shit out of every single one of you. And who gets to go to work and actually love the people that they work with?

There's nothing like the feeling of that little hand reaching up to nest in yours, even when you're leading that child to the principal's office for telling a teacher he had a great big butt.

Think what a ball of craziness I'll be when I have my own kids.

Tomorrow's post is going to be a big one. But I can't talk about it yet.

edited to add: when I got home tonight, an orange adirondack chair that sits on my front porch (behind a table!) was placed directly in front of my door. What can it mean?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Introducing Me

Hello NaBloPoMoers! And what up to my regular readers who will be putting up with this.

Last year was my first NaBloPoMo, and so I didn't realize that one should introduce oneself immediately. This year, I shall do better.

I am Megs, more commonly known as Meg, though my two best friends actually do call me Megs. I swear. Though not Incredible Megs.

I am 30 years old. I'm married to an awesome man named Thomas, who owns our local comic book store. I have two dogs, Gertie and Gonzo, with whom I am obsessed.

I'm an elementary school teacher in a one room schoolhouse. I'm also a budding novelist--I'll finish my first novel this week. This is exciting for me, because although I have a Master's Degree in Creative Writing, this blog has been the extent of my writing for the last few years.

I was suspended in the 7th grade for writing porn about the New Kids on the Block.

I struggle with borderline diabetes and hence have to eat mostly meat and vegetables, though occasionally I lose control of myself and eat two pizzas in one sitting. I have a very severe weakness for pizza. I walk 4 miles a day, and I've lost 50 lbs in the last 3 years.

Last week, my kids at school were getting ready to do a unit on seeds, so I soaked a bunch of lima beans in water to get them to open up and brought them to school in a bag which I forgot about and left in my car. Now my car smells of rotten, fermented lima beans, and I don't quite know what to do about that.

I am a maniacal reader. Usually I read an average of 7 books a month, but I've been on a two month hiatus while I wrote my novel. Learning to fall asleep without reading was very hard. Since I lifted the ban, I've read 5 books and am currently working on 2 more.

I swear with alarming frequency, though I am trying to grow up and tone down my vocabulary. But isn't everything funnier when prefaced with "bitch-ass motherfucker"? Obviously, I do not say that at school. At school, if I feel moved to swear, I say, "Handbaskets!"

I've been blogging for a year and a half now, and I've made some wonderful blogger friends, most of whom I met during NaBloPoMo last year. This is a wonderful time of year, and I've been looking forward to it for weeks. I can't wait to start cruising the randomizer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaBloPoMo, Here I Come

So tomorrow begins the blogging extravaganza that is NaBloPoMo. I'm actually pretty excited.

I'll give you a rundown of how things stand for tonight, on the eve of the insanity:

Novel: page 459, about half a chapter left to go. End deliciously in sight. Today was the projected end date, but I'm guessing Saturday is more reasonable. I know I keep pushing it back. What if it never ends and I just write this forever?

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Hooray! Reading again!)

Flip flops: Covered in cat shit

Trick-or-Treaters: None

Tires deflated by highschool students: 2

Money: None

Saved up posts for NaBloPoMo: 2

Novel 2: In the note-taking stage

Planned writing project with best friend Kasey: still projected for November. Feeling hopeful.

May God give me strength. And wine.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Attention: I Have Won Another Costume Contest!

Inspired by 30 Days of Night, Michelle, Thomas and I went as a kindred of vampires.

We were scary.


We won the scariest costume prize.


The prize itself was very scary. It looked like a fake camera on a keychain, but this morning, when I looked in it, it was filled with pictures of naked men.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Obligatory Page Count

430.

Two chapters to go.

I'm almost there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rocking the Dirndl





Page count: 371
Chapters to go: 4

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forgive Me, Folks. It's Gonna Be A Long One.

I've had an eventful 24 hours.

Thomas and my friend Michelle have been dying to see 30 Days of Night, so after much finagling we managed to secure tickets to opening night. I was not excited to see it at all. I don't do horror movies well--usually I spend the two hours either trying to wrench Thomas's hand from his body or with my face buried in his shoulder, whimpering. I was also very freaked by the previews--that whole "No God" sequence had me peeing me my pants and my school kids, having figured this out, spent the week raising their hands and saying "No God" when I approached them.

Thomas suggested, wisely, that I might do better if I read the graphic novel first, so that at least I'd be familiar with what was going to happen, and wouldn't suffer terribly from repeated shock. You can startle me repeatedly. Like, twice in 30 seconds, seriously.

So I read it, and I absolutely hated it. I thought the artwork was odd and distracting and the plot almost non-existent. There was no dialogue in this book--it was all description. The characters were indistinct, and what plot there was often took seemingly meaningless turns. I was unimpressed, and even less excited about seeing it.

All that said, I really liked the movie. The plot was still horrible, though they took out some of the dangling ends of the book, which was nice. The characters were much better rendered, but still essentially stock characters. But it was so visually arresting and beautiful. I loved the way the vampires looked and moved and spoke--and it was shot very starkly against all the snow--the people really looked Alaskan--just kind of rugged and weather beaten. I never, ever, say this: in fact, it may be a first--I didn't mind the story because it was so interesting to look at.

In general, I hate movies like that. I'm story or nothing. I don't care if it was shot in a basement on someone's video camera if the story is good. I'm the opposite of a film buff--when we watch movies, Thomas is all, Oh the cinematography and I'm kind of like, what's cinematography? My feeling is that the way a movie is made is important only in how it helps to tell the story--much like writing. But this was awesome. I've spent the day making vampire noises and have decided to try to be a vampire for Halloween, though I've been planning to be The Log Lady from Twin Peaks all year.

So we went to Goodwill to shop for Halloween costumes, and I got 5 black dresses and went into the dressing room. If there were a camera in those dressing rooms, someone would be very amused to watch a 30 year old woman trying on dresses while baring her teeth and hissing at herself in the mirror.

Part Two of this post contains Harry Potter discussion and Deathly Hallows SPOILERS. You've been warned.

So, I woke up this morning at 7 and was immediately greeted with the news that Dumbledore is gay.

Which is startling, only insomuch as I always thought of Dumbledore as asexual. I never bought into the fanfic idea that he was secretly with McGonagall--in fact, I find all fanfic concerning Dumbledore to be a bit squicky. This is just not a sexual dude. The man was 116 when he died, for God's sake.

I am completely untroubled by the idea of Dumbledore being gay--and I'd like to add because of all the online backlash, that being gay does not make a person a pedophile--what bothers me is how the notion that he was in love with Grindelwald changes the story so significantly.

I was in a small camp of people who was unfazed by the complication of Dumbledore's character in Deathly Hallows. The things we learned there didn't detract, for me, from who Dumbledore became. I like him as a more complicated character than just the stereotypical wise old man.

But we learn in DH that Dumbledore struggled with the idea of going to fight Grindelwald, that he put it off as long as he possibly could because he was tormented over the death of his sister Ariana--that he was terrified to confront Grindelwald because he was afraid that he would learn that it was he himself who had fired the curse that killed her. The idea that he was in love with Grindelwald changes that significantly to me--it makes the struggle less about the Ariana and the complications of Dumbledore's family that we learned about--and more about his relationship with this man.

So, ok. That aside, it seems strange to me that someone whose great love turned out to be essentially the Hitler of the book, whom he had to conquer and subsequently, we assume, decides that love, much like power, is not for him is the same man who believes so steadfastly in the power of love. Not just the power of love, but the ability of love to destroy evil. It confuses the message for me.

Just to reiterate: Dumbledore being gay does not confuse the message for me. What's confusing is that JKR says he was in love with Grindelwald.

Then we went to Octoberfest to see my friend Kimberley playing a coronet and wearing a dirndl, because who wouldn't want to see that?

Oh, dear. It seems pictures are still broken. Oh well. I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007