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


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.

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


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! 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
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


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:

The color blue
Being five
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.


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:


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?


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


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.


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?


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.


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.....


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.