Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So much to report! And so relatively much time to do it! (Due to mild illness, I am remaining absent from workshop today.) But first things first: wild turkeys. Yes, a family - flock? - of wild turkeys lives near UMass. Sunday, as I was driving home from campus, four female turkeys ran in front of my car; I stopped to let them pass. This was only the second time I'd seen the birds, but I hope to see them more often: they seem like a good omen.

Yesterday I turned 24, which (as of now) seems not much different than the year before it. I completed a few celebratory acts, which included:

1) Going to the gym (healthy in the new year!)
2) Getting my nose re-pierced (Last semester, I was fiddling around with my nose ring and of course lost it; the piercing closed. Fortunately, I had a coupon for a free birthday piercing! I decided to make the best of this opportunity.)
3) Having a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie with coffee in the mid-afternoon
4) Going to Judie's for dinner (w/pals), and later to the Tunnel Bar for appletinis. Boy, those appletinis: they'll get you. Because they are appley and so delicious, they can lead one to forget that one is consuming alcohol, and chaos ensues.

Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate: it really was an excellent day, minus the nonstop rain. Hopefully, the rain will let up by this weekend...

A cooking experiment: made homemade croutons this morning by slicing a stale baguette, cubing the slices, brushing the cubes with a little olive oil, and sprinkling them with fresh pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. I toasted them at 300 for about half an hour, then let them cool on the stove top. I must admit, they turned out really well, and I didn't have to throw out my baguette. Nice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It is blazingly, profoundly hot in Bartlett right now. (Bartlett, for those not at UMass, is the English building: the place I spend the most on-campus time.) For whatever reason, the heat has not been shut off - I think this reason has to do with the fact that the heating facility is not on campus, hence difficult to contact - and so, though the outside temperature is expected to reach 79 today, the heaters still pump out hot air.


An excellent weekend, mostly spent bumming around town (literally just bumming: walking aimlessly, looking in shop windows, dawdling) and doing spring-like things. A few games of basketball, an ice cream cone, some watermelon, some time spent tanning. It's weird: I don't have much experience tanning, and I don't yet have much patience for it. This is not to say that I dislike the practice - I, of anyone, could certainly use more sun. It's just that I get restless when I sit/lay outside too long without doing anything. A few times I tried reading for class, but that got old quick when the sun's glare made the pages ultra-white and abrasive to the eyes. Perhaps my mild discomfort tanning will be assuaged once the school year is over and I don't have to worry about things I should be doing?

Sunday night, there was a mouse in Eric's house(!) (I'm not sure why I put that exclamation point: just seeing the mouse freaked me the hell out.) We were watching "The Deer Hunter" (really good) and out of the corner of our eyes, we noticed a dark furry form scooting along the far wall. I screamed; Eric looked worried. We set out immediately to get a mousetrap. But once we got to the store, the traditional mousetraps, their boxes emblazoned with the claim "KILLS!" in several languages, seemed so barbaric. So we got a few "mouse cubes" - cruelty-free traps that allow one to release the caught mouse into its natural habitat. We set the trap near the stove (where the mouse had evidently been seen before, though not by us) and went to bed. The next morning, there was the mouse. It was tiny! And scared-looking. The mouse cube was steamed with its breath. We took it out to the yard behind E's building and set it free. For a moment, it curled into a ball, but a few taps on the cube sent it hopping toward the railroad tracks (and hopefully toward a good life in someone else's house).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Birdseed was her middle name.

The Academy of American Poets' Poem of the Day yesterday was from James Tate:

Father's Day

My daughter has lived overseas for a number
of years now. She married into royalty, and they
won't let her communicate with any of her family or
friends. She lives on birdseed and a few sips
of water. She dreams of me constantly. Her husband,
the Prince, whips her when he catches her dreaming.
Fierce guard dogs won't let her out of their sight.
I hired a detective, but he was killed trying to
rescue her. I have written hundreds of letters
to the State Department. They have written back
saying that they are aware of the situation. I
never saw her dance. I was always at some
convention. I never saw her sing. I was always
working late. I called her My Princess, to make
up for my shortcomings, and she never forgave me.
Birdseed was her middle name.


In other news, today is the most gorgeous day of spring: 70 and sunny. I'm wearing flip flops and a short-sleeved blouse: yeah! A full third of my students were absent today, but I couldn't even get annoyed because it's so freaking nice out. Who can blame them?

Last night, in front of the breezy window, E. and I read some James Wright and talked about horses. Before that, sitting in the same breezy room, I worked on a poem with no title. I slept deeply and for half an hour in the afternoon, because I'd woken up so early. I woke up at 6 o'clock in the morning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm a little disappointed that I didn't have more chances to wear the camel coat I bought this late-winter (February?). So, the obvious perk of buying a coat at the end of the season is that it is cheaper than usual(!), but the downside (which I have so often forgotten/continue to forget) is that there's not much coat season left. It was pretty cold this morning - 30 - and instead of reaching for the camel coat, I wore the black wool one. Not bad, not bad, since I'm wearing an all-black outfit [clarinet], but my recognition of the dwindling winter makes me sad to think of waiting til next fall to wear the camel.

"Dwindling" is a word I use a lot lately.

I should be making copies for workshop right now, but instead I'm cruising the internetz. Also, I should be reading No Country For Old Men for my Contemporary Fiction class, but I am cruising the internetz. I'm not sure I like No Country. The only other McCarthy I've read is Blood Meridian (and that was two years ago now), and that seemed more intricately crafted than this. Though I have to say, McCarthy does an excellent job of describing guns.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Yes, waffles: pure deliciousness. I have not eaten a waffle lately but was somehow acutely reminded of how good they are. Since this reminder, I've been finding pictures of the best looking waffles and wishing I had a waffle-iron.



That word sounds strange to me now.

A good weekend, if not the most productive. Friday was low-key [since Thursday was a late night out with S. and D.]: filled out forms for my summer job, had lunch at the ABC with Eric, watched a movie. Yesterday, too, was lounge-y, but more quest-filled - when I woke up, I really, really wanted coffee and a pastry, but not just these things: I wanted these things in a quaint cafe setting. So I laced up my shoes and brought Eric with, and we searched Northampton for a good cafe. Woodstar seemed the obvious choice, and it was a choice obvious to everyone else: it was packed. Bakery Normand seemed like it might have good pastries (I've only ever tried the bread), but nowhere to sit. We ended up at the cafe side of Sylvester's, which had great coffee and pretty good baked goods but a less-than-optimal dining room setup. Sigh.

Though I've lived here two years, this town's lack of bakeries continues to surprise and annoy me. Damn! If Galesburg could have Swedough's and Uncle Billy's, why can't Northampton - which is larger and also surrounded by more colleges - have anything similar? My personal goal, after completing the program, may be to open a bakery here. Though I'd first have to learn baking skillz and acquire mad startup cash. A project.

After brunch, we bummed around town for a bit, played a little basketball at the court at Bridge St. School, went to the gym, went shopping for clothes to wear to Ruth and Adam's wedding (I found a dress!). And then, an indoor picnic dinner: hot-dogs, corn on the cob, chips, and Amstel Light. The night air blew in through the screen door and the sounds of outside people were far away. It was a perfect meal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Two other things:

1) One of my neighbors is listening to Alanis Morissette and I can hear it through the walls;

2) Lately, all I want to drink is orange juice.

But seriously, I will now start my work.

Noche del Guajolote

In a bit of a rush right now - am supposed to be simmering some baked beans - but I wanted to say, I am so glad that the weather is spring-like and that tomorrow is my last day of class for the week. Hallelujah. Driving to Target with the windows down, I listened to Bitter Melon Farm (tracks 1-6) and felt like a new person. Because of the weather and the songs: not because I was going to Target.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wings! Beer!

Yes, wings and beer were part of my last evening's activities (after my internship meeting, of course). The ole' house television was in use, so Eric and I headed to the Toasted Owl to watch the basketball game. Why am I writing about this seemingly routine activity? Because yesterday marked the first time I'd ever gone to a bar with the express purpose of watching a sporting event! Yeah. Admittedly, I did bring student responses to grade during the first half (I promised to hand back the responses today, and the ends of sports games are always more exciting to me), which action may have marked me as a "fraud." But E. and I did order buffalo wings and cheese fries, and I did drink a Bud Lite in solidarity with my fellow Kansas fans.

Now, it's time for class and I am eating some peapods. More later.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This morning I taught and then, still feeling sick, came directly home and slept for three.five hours. That nonsense behind me, I made applesauce, loosely adapting the most basic recipe from the Joy of Cooking. It turned out better than I predicted, though it's a little sweet - too much cinnamon? Vanilla? Next time I'll add even less sugar.

I started this blog on a whim. Why, you might wonder, would you start a new blog if you have a perfectly good one? I myself am not fully sure, but it might have to do with this new-season itchiness, or the fact that I post now (when I do post) for different reasons than when I first started blogging. I'll admit: when I first started my livejournal account, it was mostly a platform for bitching and/or drunken updates along the lines of "COLLEGE! WOO!" Suffice it to say that I still consume alcoholic beverages, and that I still do kvetch about topics widely varied - just not [as] publicly. In any event, I'll likely keep the ole' lj around, if only for nostalgia's sake.

The potential exists for a big weekend, if I can beat this unidentified illness: Emma's birthday party is Saturday night, and there are basketball games to be watched, hoops to be shot, plants to be repotted!