"I am playing with myself,
I am playing with the world's soul,
I am the dialogue between myself and el espiritu del mundo.
I change myself, I change the world."

Gloria AnzaldĂșa

11 December, 2008

I am so very, very old


I saw this display at the gas station this afternoon, and I thought, "What an intersting idea, a roll of paper for writing notes--Neat!" No comment.

02 December, 2008

Film at 11:00

One of the benefits of having a puppy is watching how my old dogs respond.

Dinah, the 106 pound, ten year-old labrador retriever has been frightened. She runs out of the room when Bess shows any interest in her.



Alice, the eleven year-old hound dog has not been frightened, but she is often crabby and disinterested.

But yesterday, Bess gave the girls a lesson in playing. They actually romped around the yard a little bit. It is a true joy to watch the old gals re-learning how to stick their butts up in the air and paw the puppy with glee.




I may post a video as soon as I get my camera back.

29 November, 2008

Self Medication

This Thursday I received a lovely note from my friend, BipolarLawyerCook, who wished me a good Thanksgiving, no matter what substances I had to take in order to get through it.

Well, this has been a rough month. I've had stomach and other related illnesses, I've had to change my antidepressant because it wasn't working anymore, and, of course, I ended my relationship and moved back to my old house--largely by myself. So, when I think about self medicating, I'm serious. On Wednesday, I decided it was either heroin or this:

This is Bess.

Bess is four months old and almost 14 pounds. The folks at the humane society thought she was a 10 week old Lab, but she is not. She has tiny ears, a short nose, and a tail that curls up. She is also quite small. I am not at all sure what she is, except darling. Any thoughts?

12 November, 2008

Heidi's Coming (hide your heart girls) (apologies to Three Dog Night)

You all remember my BFF, Heidi

Well, we were talking the other day, and she said she really dreads this first Christmas without Eion. I understood. After all, I'm rather dreading the holidays (and my 50th birthday) without a partner, and we weren't together nearly as long. And S. , thankfully, is alive and well.

We both bemoaned the fact that neither of us could afford to travel to be with the other. Indeed, if Heidi could come here, she could see her sons and her other American friends.

So I got to thinking.

Could each of us afford half of the air fare and the dog boarding? I looked it up. I could. I called her. She could. And she could get off of work.

And so, Heidi's coming to San Antonio for my birthday, Christmas, and New Years!!!

And Michelle's talking about coming up after the first of the year, too. Yea!!!

07 November, 2008

Embarrassing Personal Revelation #892

Joni Mitchell once wrote, "All I really, really want our love to do is to bring out the best in me and in you, too."

It didn't.

My partner and I have separated. We tried. We really tried.

I am embarrassed to admit this. I even considered erasing this blog from the internet so that I would not embarrass myself or her. But my whole purpose in blogging was to have some kind of a community where I could be open and explore my writing in a personal way. You have shared the good things with me. You have seen my ugly 5K Ass Project photos. It would feel cowardly to just disappear.

Plus, I could use the support.

08 October, 2008

I'm Just Part of the Gotcha Media with their concern about words


The other night, Susan and I were having a discussion about McCain and Palin and their liberal use of the word maverick.

I said that I rather resented the use of Maury Maverick's name by a couple of right-wing nuts. After all, among liberal Texans, especially liberal San Antonians, Maverick is a name that evokes some of the finest memories.

Susan hastened to inform me that a maverick is an unbranded cow or horse.

Yes, I said, but I'm sure it comes from the name Maverick first--at least that's what I've always heard.

Since all of this was pillow talk (aren't you guys jealous?), I waited until morning to look it up.

It turns out that we were both right and both a little bit off.

The word maverick does indeed stem from the men of the Maverick clan, but it comes from Samuel Maverick (Maury's grandfather) who was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a great liberal who, by the way, didn't brand his cattle. So an unbranded cow was often called Maverick's.

But just as I was getting ready to do some research about the Mavericks and write a scathing post, Charles Karel Bouley at Huffington beat me to it.

24 September, 2008

What the heck is Prof. J doing these days?

My bloggy friends, I have been unfaithful to you. I have been spending all of my computer time on Spark People.

This is a weight loss website similar to many others, I am sure. I know it is similar to Weight Watchers. It offers food and exercise tracking, a recipe calculator, advice and information, exercise videos, blogs and support groups. And it's free.

So, two weeks ago, Susan and I joined a group called TOPS club, inc, and we started using Spark People.

In other words, my ass project started in earnest.

This may well be a good combination of programs for me. The TOPS group is something I never imagined I would do. People join together once a week to weigh in, sing songs, report whether they have gained or lost (out loud--in front of everyone), sing more songs, and talk a little about diet and lifestyle changes. It is corny and goofy, and I kind of like it (after I got over feeling uncomfortable and a little superior to it all). And, of course, I like being online and playing with all the tools and corresponding with the folks.
--------------------------------
This morning, I was reading one of the Spark articles, and I came across something called Solution Focused Brief Therapy. I've never heard of this before, and I used to be something of a therapy junky.

Anyway, the idea of this kind of therapy is that the therapist and the client focus on the solution rather than the problem--the future rather than the past. I'm intrigued. Indeed, I think that, if I ever decide to do therapy again, I might try to find someone who practices this technique.

Has anyone of you ever done Solution Focused therapy? Tell me about it!

15 September, 2008

Sarah Palin: Quick and Dirty (the post, not the politician)

"The Democrats underestimate Palin at great risk." --Michele Norris (NPR)

We need to focus here, folks!

The stupid commentators (are you listening Bill Maher?) who joke about Palin's inability to lead because of her gender are working against us.

Focus on the record.

--Palin is against abortion even in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. (Though perhaps it is acceptable to save the life of the mother.)

--Palin is for drilling for oil in delicate ecosystems.

--Palin said we "should not be afraid" of going to war with Russia over Georgia.

--Palin does not believe in evolution.

--Palin believes in "abstinence only" sex education.

--Palin says we should not ban assault rifles.

Is that not enough?

We can also look at the serious allegations that face Palin about abuse of power, nepotism, and book banning. And we can look at the truth (or lack there of) in some of her claims. The fact that she took the money for the "bridge to nowhere" and spent it elsewhere doesn't sound as good as "Thanks, but no thanks."

We cannot afford to be swayed by a folksy demeanor and a mean-spirited sense of humor.

I know I am preaching to the choir here, but we need to talk about this. We need to forget her appearance, her voice, her many children (all of which are fodder for the pundints--pro and con--and FOCUS ON HER RECORD.

There. I'm done yelling at you.

I know I once wrote that, as a life-long feminist, I was compelled to vote for a woman with a good platform (HC). But this woman has a platform I would vote against if she were a Labrador Retriever. And believe me, I loves me some labs.

04 September, 2008

ch ch ch ch changes

Thank you darlings for your notes of concern. I have many things to write about: my trip to Northern Ireland to bury one friend and offer small comfort to another, Sarah Palin (because sometimes a vagina is not enough), and the changes in my life (once I figure out a way to do that with some semblance of decorum). In the mean time, I am beginning new semesters at three schools and preparing to move--it's been a heck of a summer, gals! I'll be back. And I'll be checking in on you all.

14 August, 2008

Ass Project Week Three

Here's Prof. J before coffee or comb.

I gained two pounds last week and then lost them--leaving me even. I did, however lose 1/2 an inch on my waist and 1 inch on my hips. So that's progress, I guess.

13 August, 2008

Another Humorless Feminist Rant


Tropic Thunder opened in theaters today.

It is a satire of adventure/war movies and self important actors starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. What's not to like?

Plenty.

This morning, when I was watching Good Morning America and drinking my coffee, Ben Stiller assured me that the frequent repetition of words like "retarded" and "retard" are meant to make fun of actors, not intellectually challenged people. I suppose I'm just too tight assed to "get it," Ben. When you use the word retarded to make fun of people, you are not making fun of actors. Retarded means "slow development." It is comparable to nigger, kike, or faggot when used as an insult. It's not funny.

This is very much like the discussion we all had when Don Imus opened his big mouth one too many times. There are many people who are arguing that "political correctness" has robbed us of our sense of humor and made us a nation of uptight maiden aunts. After all, it is only satire. Don't you have a sense of humor?

As a matter of fact, I do have a sense of humor and it is often bawdy and silly. Have you ever read Chaucer? Nothing but scatological, sexual, and fart jokes. But making fun of intellectually challenged people is not funny, Ben. Making fun of college girls (calling them whores) is not funny Don.

Here's what I understand about satire. Satire is used to illuminate the faults of people in power and institutions of power. It is amusing when satirists make fun of the president or the congress or the church. That's why Jon Stewart is my secret boyfriend.

It is not satire when you make fun of people who aren't in power--people who need our protection--it is just mean.

I know that this movie will make a ton of money and will probably become a cult favorite, but I am going to follow the advice of my local news anchor who said, "If you don't line the 'R' word, stay home."

I think words are powerful. Use them carefully.

07 August, 2008

Heidi and Eoin

Heidi and her granddog

Heidi is the kind of woman who makes you love women. We met when we were both undergraduate English majors in the 1990's--we were both "returning students." Heidi is one of those people who collect strays. All the strange little people in the English and Political Science departments buzzed around her like flies on a hot day. It was a little off-putting,to tell the truth.

Heidi was one of the three smartest students in the department. We were all returning students--all odd ducks. And we weren't friends. Finally, one spring semester we were all in the same class. Fiction. Heidi and I were assigned to do a presentation and lead the class discussion on The Damnation of Theron Ware. Our professor later admitted that she thought we would both hate the novel and the process of working together. It was quite the opposite.

We met one Saturday morning at 8:00 am at the IHop near the campus. We both loved the novel! We sat and talked until 2:00 about the novel, about life, about literature. Heidi and I fell in love that day. While she still loved men and I still loved women, we were bonded that day as friends and comadres.

Heidi and her sons (the strapping lads)

The next year Heidi was doing a paper on the Wye River accord, and she met a nice Irish man on a discussion board (remember those?). Within months they were talking of love. Eoin visited her in the winter of 1998-99, and the two of them went off for a whirlwind tour of Mexico and central America. There they fell madly in love.

I loved that big hairy man from the moment I met him--even though I could rarely understand him when he spoke. He has a Limerick accent, which is hard on my poor ears.
Eoin blowing an Irish flute

Anyway, Heidi and Eoin eventually married, and I was the maid of honor (hardly a maid but truly honored). And Heidi moved to Derry to live with Eoin.

The past three years Eoin has been very sick. He has heart failure and something else the doctors could never put their fingers on. A few months ago they put their fingers on Eoin's liver and decided that he has liver cancer. They still don't know where the cancer originated, but they don't think it was there.

Monday morning I received a phone call from Heidi. Eoin is dying. He's confused, the cancer has metastasized to his brain, and his heart is doing badly. Of course the doctors don't want to say, but when she asked if two or three weeks was a reasonable time frame, they said yes.

Here's the odd thing: Monday evening, I received my passport. I had only applied for it ten days before, so I wasn't expecting it for months.

And I have a week off coming up.

So, I'm going to Ireland on the 19th.

The funny thing is that I applied for the passport so I could visit Ireland next year with Susan.

So, it isn't the vacation I had hoped for, but I am SO GRATEFUL I will get to see Heidi and maybe even Eoin.

05 August, 2008

Ass Project Week Two

Here I am. No different, I think. This is just before I worked out this morning. It was great!
The diet is still my biggest problem. Send me will power vibes, will you?

31 July, 2008

08 Ass Project


Okay, this is not my official picture for the Ass Project this week--I'll post new pics as soon as Susan gets home from work and snaps them for me. However, this is a picture of my posterior that was taken on the great art festival of St. Susan's day (last Saturday), so it is recent. I plan to have a weekly photo of me in my workout clothes -- sorry, I just am not brave enough for the granny panties.

Here is my plan: I will exercise at least five days a week. I will do strength training three days a week and do cardio everyday (though I will feel free to take off one or two days a week). I've been exercising this summer, but I haven't been working on my diet. So, although Mrs. G's program does not include diet, I believe I will try to cut back on the fats and on bread.

Here's the weekly update: On Monday, I met with my trainer Adrian. (Yo.) I did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, and then we did a good deal of lifting and other exercises for a total of a 60 minute session. We focused on arms, back, and core. On Tuesday, I did 30 minutes on the stationary bike and 20 minutes on the treadmill. On Wednesday, I did 15 minutes on the bike, and then worked for 45 minutes on strength and core. I worked arms and shoulders and core, but I also tried to do some leg exercises. Then Susan and Morgan joined me at the gym and we did 30 minutes on the treadmill. I have not exercised yet today, but I plan to do some cardio--maybe just the treadmill today--and I plan to do strength training again on Friday.

As far as the diet is concerned, I have been eating somewhat better this week than last (at least this week contained no Kahlua cake), but I've still been somewhat free about the consumption of carbs and booze.

30 July, 2008

Just a little something for Mrs. G


Mrs. G has a small tribute to Ingmar Bergman's comedy genius on her recent post about Ikea. It reminded me of a parody by one of my favorite British comedy teams-- French and Saunders.

I couldn't figure out how to imbed this video, so just click here.

28 July, 2008

"I'm not questioning his patriotism."



(And I'm not saying that McCain is a misogynist old fart who will drive us straight to hell, if given the opportunity.) The juiciest part starts at around 5:37--in case you don't want to listen to the smarmy old goat.

26 July, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear Susan

Today is my beloved Susan's birthday. I would make a joke about her age, but she sweetly informed me earlier that, while the first five or six comments were uproariously funny, it was wearing a little thin.

Today is all about Susan.

About a month ago, I asked Susan what she would like to do for her birthday. Travel? Go to a nice hotel downtown? Go to a spa? She said that what she really wanted was to visit the art museums here in town.

Am I lucky or what? If someone offered me the same opportunity, I might say "Let's buy some fire-engine red lipstick and go kiss Oscar Wilde's grave!" (Not that I am a HUGE fan--but who can resist Paris?)

But Susan opted for San Antonio. So today, after we stop by the gallery and help the new artist open up, we're off to see art. Our first stop will probably be The San Antonio Museum of Art. Neither one of us has been there for some time, so it will be fun. They have a great collection of Precolumbian art and some nice Americans as well. Then we're off to the McNay. This is one of my favorite museums in the world. It has some great modern pieces. The McNay was closed for many months while they built a new building and renovated the old. I can't wait to see it all! Finally, we will go to the Greenhouse Gallery, which is one of Susan's favorites, to look at contemporary art.

Somewhere in there we'll stop for lunch at Twin Sisters.

Then we'll come home and nap before dinner with family at Texas Roadhouse.

It should be a wonderful day.

I just want to say that I am grateful that Susan is. She makes my life so sweet.

03 July, 2008

My Friend, Carolyn


My friend Carolyn died this morning. She was --I don't know--79? 78?

Carolyn was an amazing woman. She had polio as a young girl and in her later life developed what they call "post polio syndrome." All the time I knew her, she was on those crutches you see beside her. Carolyn was a social worker, an English teacher, a civil servant, and I don't know what else. She lived in Turkey for several years, developing many life-long friends.

I met her in 1992 when I had just moved back to Texas. She and my friend Jane went with me to see Romeo and Juliet in the park.

Like my mother, Carolyn was a volunteer at CASA (Child Advocates San Antonio), where she met with children who were in the family court system and acted as a go between for all of the different services and the court. She also volunteered at the San Antonio Public Library and the San Antonio Zoo.

Carolyn was a world traveler. Besides her life in Turkey, Carolyn took trips to Europe, Alaska, South America, Greece, and anywhere the winds took her. While she often traveled with friends, she also did a great deal of that travel alone. On crutches.

Shoot, I can barely drive to Austin by myself without whining.

Carolyn had many dear, dear friends and a few loves, but she never decided to settle down with anyone. On her 75th birthday, Carolyn rented a barge and took 20(ish) of her dearest friends on the San Antonio River complete with fajitas and pitchers of margaritas. I was honored to be among that crowd. It was a great party. Indeed, I hope to do the same thing on my 50th birthday later this year.

Carolyn had three cats at the time of her death. I'm going to take the oldest one, Chatty (20 years old) to the vet this afternoon, so she can join Carolyn. At her age, and in her present state of health, it is the kindest thing. The other cats will go to the Animal Defense League.

I loved Carolyn and I will miss her. Here is a picture of Carolyn, our friend Jane (still with us, thank goodness), and my mother. I like to think of Carolyn and Mom having some wine and Indian food right about now.

30 June, 2008

Exercising Update

Saturday was the six week anniversary of working out at the gym. Of course, I did have two and a half weeks when I was sick and didn't attend the gym at all, but for the most part, I'm there every day.

I am getting much more stamina in the gym. I used to think 30 minutes on the treadmill was good, and now I walk on the tread mill only after I've done the "real" workout. I see it as a way to cool down. I've even started to do "core work" (groan) every day.

I'm still working twice a week with Adrian

and now, I look like this:

Okay, maybe not so much. I have been shocked, to tell the truth, at how slow my weight loss has been. Of course, exercise is only part of the solution, but I am more active than I have ever been, and I thought that activity would do the trick. I guess that folks were telling the truth when they said that it's hard to lose weight when you're approaching 50.

Nevertheless, I have lost a couple of inches, I do feel stronger, I have more energy, and I feel proud of myself.

14 June, 2008

The Summer of Love


In 1995, I spent ten glorious days in San Francisco, walking through the neighborhoods, eating falafels, visiting City Lights bookstore, and glorying in the environment. There were two highlights of my trip. One day, after visiting Coit Tower and those marvelous murals, I walked down an improbable street that is really a staircase, and saw the infamous Parrots of Telegraph Hill. And, I was there when Jerry Garcia died.Why was that significant? Because the hippies came to San Francisco from every corner of the world. They drove their VW Microbuses to the Haight, and there were impromptu altars on three of the four corners of Haight-Ashbury (there was no shrine in front of The Gap).

I remember walking the streets with my friend Lisa (who was ten years younger than I and who had never heard of The Grateful Dead) and I told her that this day, this time, was the closest I could ever come to experiencing the summer of love. I was a tad too young to experience the San Francisco of the sixties and seventies, but I wasn't too young to romanticize it. THIS was the San Francisco I wanted to see.

And now, forty-one years after that time of free love, rock 'n roll, and acid, comes a new Summer of Love. As of Monday, gays and lesbians will be allowed to marry in California!People are planning to travel to California, and specifically San Francisco, from all over the world. They will be descending on that fairest of cities in their Subarus and Volvos to have the opportunity to legally marry the loves of their lives.

I know this is only one of two states that allow gay marriage. I know that there are Californians who plan to fight this ruling, but it gives me hope, my friends. The times may indeed be a'changin'.


10 June, 2008

Okay, so we lost

You all know that I am a die-hard Senator Clinton fan. I have loved her and supported her through campaign misteps and misstatements in large part because she offered us the first (and possibly only) opportunity to vote for a good person who was also a woman.
But now that is over. I keep hearing that there are many women who are sad and angry and ready to vote for Senator McCain. I keep hearing that women need a reason (besides the war and healthcare and Roe) to vote for Obama.

Okay, my feminist friends, here it is. Carol McCain.



Carol McCain is Senator McCain's first wife. She is the woman who waited for him while he was in Vietnam. She is the woman who had a tragic automobile accident while John was a prisoner of war and had to undergo losing much of her mobility, four inches of her height, and much of her "classic" beauty without his help. And then McCain returned from Vietnam and opted for the life of a playboy and a star without his faithful, and still beautiful wife. He later got a younger, prettier model--the wife we all are familiar with--Cindy McCain.

You all know I am a yellow dog democrat, and I was never likely to vote for a Republican as long as issues of public health, women's choice, and civil rights for gays and lesbians were still issues, but for you my friends, I offer yet another reason to vote for Senator Obama.


McCain's a dog.

And that's not fair to dogs.


Thank you, Hillary, for offering me the opportunity to vote for a woman I respect. Thank you for your service, your vision, your heart.

Now. On to the future.

24 May, 2008

Judy


My dear friend and my boss, Judith Gardner, died this Thursday afternoon.

Judy was a great woman. She was smart--one of the few remaining writing program directors with "only" a Master's degree. I know that the university had to ignore its own policies to retain Judy, but it is to their great credit that they did.

She was the most committed worker I knew. She worked up until two weeks before her death. Through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and all of the assorted madness, Judy was there. Heck, I call in for a bad headache! But she didn't judge me or others for being weaker than she.

Judy was kind and loving and committed to her friends, her coworkers, and all of our students. Every single teacher in the writing department (I think there are 63 of us) considers Judy a mentor and a friend. How did she manage that? And Judy's last words to me, though neither of us knew they'd be her last, were, "I love you, kiddo."

I love you, too, Judy. And I'll miss you, awfully.

03 May, 2008

Friday is Date Night!



Last night Susan and I went to a local bar to see these guys. Their average age is 14, I think, but they're a talented bunch of kids.

Besides, it was fun to get out of the house--just the two of us!

02 May, 2008

Eight Prompts

Mrs. T. at ChucherĂ­a tagged me for this meme, and it seems as good a way as any to take a break between grading essays.

Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about her or himself.
3. At the end of the post, tag 5-6 people and posts their names, then go to their blogs and leave them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago? I was a senior in college (a returning student). I was having a great deal of fun feeling incredibly smart and talented. I believe I was taking Women's Writing, The Twentieth Century Novel (that wasn't the course name, but it was the course function), Rhetoric (a grad class for undergrad credit), and Research Methods (a political science course). Those were heady times.
What are five things on my "to do" list today? 1.
Grade papers; 2. Call for an appointment for doggie baths; 3. do the laundry; 4. grade papers (did I say that twice?); 5. work on syllabus for summer term
Snacks I enjoy: hummus with veggies or pita bread; black bean dip with anything; apples with peanut butter; and coffee ice cream (not currently on the "can have" list)
Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Pay off my bills; rebuild my house; purchase "ranch" in the hill country; travel (notice that these are all things I plan to do without the billions)
Places I have lived: Jackson, MS; Decatur GA; San Marcos TX; San Antonio TX; Grand Canyon AZ; Omaha NE; Minneapolis MN
Bad Habits: eating when stressed, bored, lonely, and for sport; taking on too much work; being short tempered
Jobs I have had: maid, short order cook, waitress, artist's model, nursing assistant, tutor, adjunct and full time instructor
Peeps I want to know more about (or at least peeps I think may be interested in responding):

Cheri at Blog this Mom!
Claire B. at Claire and Me
Sojourner at What does it all Mean?
Anne at Almost Quintessence

I would love to know more about EVERYBODY, but most of you gals don't take part in memes very often, so I'm just going to leave it up to you!

30 April, 2008

The End of an Era

Albert Hofmann is dead. (Not to be confused with Abbie Hoffman, who died almost twenty years ago and was a frequent user of the drug Dr. Hofmann created.) Albert Hofmann is the Swiss chemist who created LSD.

It has been some time since the days of the "spirituality" of drug use has been a hot topic. Most of the men who championed that idea are dead. What is it about human consciousness that we seek to alter it? Why do we enjoy a distorted reality? And we do. Even if the hardest drug we ever ingest is gin.

I think that self awareness makes us want to understand how the brain works--we'd like to take it apart like a legos creation and figure out what happens if we put it together differently.

More than that, Hofmann believed that LSD would help us become aware that we are one with the universe--that all creation is connected. LSD, he thought, should be used a spiritual ritual.

Of course, Hofmann hoped for more than a drug that would help people commune with nature. He had hoped for a drug that would alter the consciousness of mentally ill people. He had hoped for a cure for schizophrenia. Too bad that didn't work.

He did manage to create another drug that would stop postpartum hemorrhaging. No small thing, that.

I tried LSD once. I wouldn't say it was spiritual, but the grass was VERY TALL and it was singing my name, so I guess I got the whole "one with nature" experience. But, as interesting as I found it to hear my mind unhinge, I decided it wasn't worth a second try. What about you, readers? Any of you reminiscing about your hippie past?

28 April, 2008

Will it never end?

I am still struggling through the end of the semester.

For those of you who don't know, let me tell you what an idiot I really am. I teach composition full time (four sections) at our local satellite school. I also teach composition and literature part time (two sections) for an adult degree completion program at a local private university. Last summer, I took on a section of World Literature online, as well. Yes, my fellow university people, I had seven sections--two full time jobs plus.

Well, this term, a fellow teacher was unable to fulfill his commitment to the online classes he was assigned, and we didn't know until two weeks into the term. So when my dean contacted me in desperation, what was I to say? I do know the word no. I just don't seem to be able to say it.

So now, I'm teaching 9 sections, which a normal school would call three full time schedules. And most of those sections (7) are composition.

Are you getting a sense of my idiocy yet?

Of course, I'm not doing a good job at any of it.

So, I've decided this will not happen again. I am going to learn how to say no. I'm going to learn how to pass a "Help Wanted" sign without thinking about whether I can do that job. I am going to learn that I don't need to work every waking moment of the day in order to get by.

And, my in laws have been visiting for the last five weeks. Lovely people, both. I've had great fun. But god I need a quiet place in the woods for a week or so.

And just to update you folks. This is Joel:



Joel is the sweet gray cat who is interested in becoming friends.

This is Millie:

Millie is the stray who hates Joel and growls a lot. She is pretty, though, and sweet to people, so I have some hopes. But if anyone wants Millie for a one cat household. . .

22 April, 2008

File under: Well, You Asked. . .

Today before class I went to the cafeteria for a sugar free, fat free, flavor reduced smoothie.

"Would you like a booster with that?"

"Yes. Vodka."

It's been a long morning.

18 April, 2008

Getting to Know you



There's a cat in the neighborhood who wanted to come live with us. That is, until she met Joel.

16 April, 2008

Still Drowning




I'm about mid-way through that pile of papers (okay, more like a server full of documents), but I had to share this with you. Jozet sent it to me, and you know how I heart her.

I was lecturing the other day and I said, "I am not endorsing any political candidate," and one of my students said, "Oh yeah? I've read your blog!" Busted.

11 April, 2008

That's me

Don't expect much anything from me for awhile. Just one question: do you suppose I'm burning calories doing this?

04 April, 2008

No Kidding

I stole this from Gina at Ginaagain.



Just a bit of trivia. In my profile on Match dot com, I said that I was a Labrador Retriever with a good vocabulary. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks so.

03 April, 2008

While I was sleeping

I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day, and I was struck by my friend BipolarLawyerCook's list of things to do in life. One of the "things" was "Look for something beautiful everyday." I thought that she was so right--it is essential that we remember that the world is a wonderful place and we celebrate beauty wherever we see it.

This isn't too hard for me to do on a regular basis. I live in a beautiful home in a beautiful city; I live with two beautiful women, two beautiful dogs, a beautiful cat. I live a life I love, and I am surrounded by art--Susan's and other people's. What's not to find beautiful? But sometimes I get a special treat.

Susan goes to sleep later than I. Of course, she gets up some two hours after I do, but she also seems to be able to get by on much less sleep than I require. Anyway, I often get up at five and she has done lovely things. She'll have cleaned the kitchen, or posted on her blog, or, on special mornings, she'll have created some art.

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, and on the counter was a lovely pencil drawing of an old fan that's in the living room. It is so sweet to be able to look at something I see everyday through the loving eyes of an artist--especially this artist. It is such a privilege to see things anew.

That's what art does for me--visual, literary, musical--it allows me to see the beauty and the glory and even the horror in this world through other eyes. I am such a lucky woman.

26 March, 2008

My Artistic Endeavors (or what I'm doing when I should be grading papers)



This is my friend Patty's dog. See? Doesn't the camera take a nice little video? And Doesn't the professor have a lovely voice?



And this is why I get happy when I'm walking.

22 March, 2008

New Toy!

But mine's pink.

This little guy takes thirty minutes of video and plugs right into the computer for downloading! Plus, the video isn't half bad! Me likey.


19 March, 2008

Why Hillary?

When I was an undergraduate, there was a young man in the English department, another student, who was a bit of a jerk. I remember one March day when he was complaining about the women’s history activities on campus, and he said, “We have black history month, and we have women’s history month. When are we going to have White Men’s History Month?” I reacted to this query in much the same way that I reacted to everything Andy had to say—with a sneer and a snort. “Every month is white men’s history month. Have you ever taken a history or literature class?” He didn’t like me very much.

A couple of weeks ago—after the Texas primaries—Julie asked me to write about why I had decided to support Hillary Clinton and become a delegate for her. Obviously, I haven’t done so yet. Indeed, I find it difficult to continue my support in the face of so much negative campaigning. Of course, I have obligated myself to be a delegate and to support Senator Clinton, so clarifying my reasons for supporting her is a good idea.


I am a second wave feminist who came of age during the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment. When I was twelve years old, I subscribed to two magazines: American Girl (the Girl Scouts’ monthly) and Ms. (My mother thought it was the perfect expression of adolescence.) I cut my teeth on the early writings of Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, and Robin Morgan. I came out as a lesbian in 1980 at a National Organization of Women conference. As it was years before my first sexual encounter with a woman, you might well say that my coming out was as much a political act as it was a response to the crush I had on Sharon.

For much of my adult life I have identified as a radical feminist.

And so, the opportunity to vote for a woman as president is no small thing for me.
Even so, I originally supported John Edwards for president, and I was torn when it came to choosing between Senators Clinton and Obama. I like to think that I have grown beyond thinking of gender as the defining issue of our times. That is, until I witnessed the gross and blatant misogyny of my students and the internet campaign against Senator Clinton.

Let us tell the truth. In the fourteenth century, women made sixty cents to a man’s dollar. What does she earn now? Sixty-nine cents? Seventy? In the nineteenth century, many of our great writers were dealing with the fact that marriage, while ideally a wonderful institution, is often a burden on women. In the twenty-first century, most women work outside the home, giving them the illusion of freedom, but they are also the keepers of the home. It is their responsibility to care for the home and children. As a result, most women work two jobs. The institution of marriage is still not a democratic institution for most families.

And it is more acceptable to hate women than it is to hate African Americans. Not that we don’t hate African Americans—we just can’t say so.

In the furor over Sen. Obama’s pastor, I realized that, although I wouldn’t put it in quite the same way, I agree with much of what he said. I don’t think white America created AIDs as a way to kill African Americans, but I can remember thinking that it was a mighty convenient way to kill gays. A little paranoia is difficult to avoid when the really are out to get you. I really appreciated Obama’s speech yesterday. I wish Senator Clinton would address gender issues as well. And mostly, I wish they both would address issues of class and poverty. Because the truth is that gender isn’t the central issue, and race isn’t the central issue: the central issue is the fear of the other.

Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama would work to bring about social change that would benefit our country. Simply offering health care to the poor and the working poor would be a huge change for the better. I will happily vote for either of them in the Fall.

I remember when Geraldine Ferraro was running for vice president and someone asked my mother if she would honestly vote for someone simply because she was a woman. “Damn Right!” mama replied. I remember when I first got auto insurance from my adjuster, and she was shocked that I had picked her name out of the yellow pages simply because she was a woman.

I am a feminist.

And, as shallow as others may think it, I must support the female business woman, the female candidate, if I can. Certainly I would not support a business woman who was shoddy or dishonest, and I would not support a female candidate who held a position I considered reprehensible. Fortunately, I do not have that problem today. I believe that Senator Clinton is a decent person with good values and ideas. And so, I support her.

12 March, 2008

Womyn's Herstory--my first s/hero

I stole this idea from the Irish Goddess. She has a couple of wonderful posts about women who have influenced her--you should check it out!


Mama tells me that from the age of four until I was six or so, I used to stand on the picnic table in our back yard and enact a specific scene. "Ladies and Gentlemen," I would holler, "MISS JUDY GAARRLANDDD!" I would then applaud wildly while I took my stand in front of the imaginary microphone to sing "Stormy Weather," or "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe," or any one of my many other favorite songs.


I do remember that my first purchase of a record album was a Judy Garland disk (I still have it), and I was inconsolable when she died. And I can still do a mean "Stormy Weather."




Am I saying that Garland was a feminist icon? No, of course not.



But Judy Garland was my introduction to a powerful woman who allowed her power to destroy her. It was her passion and her vulnerability that made her a great singer; it was her passion and vulnerability (and lack of control) that led to her death.



Power

Living in the earth-deposits of our history


Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.



Today I was reading about Marie Curie:

she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified

It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil



She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power.


Adrienne Rich


A life lived without passion and the power that comes from it is not a life worth living. What is the answer? I don't know. Balance? A connection with Source? Finding a community? I try for all these things. But I will not sacrifice passion.

01 March, 2008

My Utterly Awesome, Insanely Happy, Fabulous, Feminist Morning

Bloggy friends,
Are you sitting down?

Oh, right.

Anyway, I have big news!

Last night I got a call from my cousin Butch (hereafter known as the best cousin a girl could have or BC). Well, BC had donated 250.00 to the Clinton campaign in order to attend a breakfast with the candidate. AND HE COULDN'T GO! So, would I mind filling in for him?

Well, OK. I'm all about the family.

So, I went to the Hyatt Regency this morning, and who is introducing Senator Clinton?


That's right. . .

Gloria Steinem.

Yes, my friends,

The .
Gloria.
Steinem.


Of course, the 250.00 tickets were the cheap seats (read, no seats at all--we just stood in the back), so most of my pictures of Senator Clinton ended up looking like this.


And this.

And this.
Yes, that is a man with thinning hair in front of the senator.


Before the speeches, I heard a rumor that Gloria Steinem was going to be speaking at Justin's Ice Cream Parlor later in the day.
So I high-tailed it down there and I met Gloria Steinem.


It was love at first sight. We laughed, we cried, she invited me to live with her in New York.


Okay, I could barely stammer out that I was honored to meet her, but it was still great!

Here I am with my new BFF.


Both women were stunningly beautiful, exciting, and inspiring.

I am a very happy girl.


I apologize for the general suckiness of the photos, but I had to share this with you.