Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time: WTF?

How is it already the eve of 2009? New Year's tends to sneak up on me: the excitement of the Xmas buildup and the holiday proper seem to overshadow all else and then WHAM! It's New Year's Eve. This year, the overshadowing/WHAM happened even more quickly than in the past, and here I am, sitting in the kitchen with a mug of tea, updating my blog. Resolutions? Not really, though I hope to 1) sort through my mail and other papers more diligently, with greater frequency; and 2) at least try to floss more often. (See how irresolute those pseudo-resolutions are?) Big plans? Nope. We'll probably go out in town, the roads being slick as hell, and I would like to wear my ruffly dress(!) But if I don't do either, I won't be too forlorn.

New Year's: it's the lamest of holidays. For most of us, the weather is horrid (an argument that doesn't apply, of course, if your home is in a [sub]tropical clime), which presents real difficulties to the individual trying to look hot. Indeed, only some of us can manage to look jawesome wearing acres of wool and opaque hosieries. Then there's the anticlimax of New Year's in comparison to Xmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Solstice), which is usually rich with tradition and spent with family/friends. NYE, too is usually spent with family/friends, I concede, but there's an air of mania and desperation undercutting the whole thing. The practices of one's-year-in-review and writing resolutions seem to force a linearity onto less easily defined motivations, occurrences, thoughts. Life is random; resolution-making assumes unflagging willpower (initially, at first), that the maker's desire to even uphold said resolutions will remain unchanging through the year. Flossing? Screw flossing. Actually, no: flossing is important, but I won't beat myself up if I don't floss every night.

I don't know. I don't mind NYE, but I'm not a fan. That is, if facebook allowed people to become fans of the date/event/holiday(?), then I would not become a fan. (Maybe I'll check now to see if that's even a possibility...)

Well, this sounds more curmudgeonly than I'd hoped. I am excited for the coming year: I just don't want to cram all my excitements into one night.
Happy K9, friends(!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

WINTER BREAK! YEAH! I am so cozy: all my gifts are wrapped and the cranberry candle is burning and I just ate a delicious sandwich and I found my mittens. Winter break mode! Has finally set in.


It's finally winter: the season of Netflix. This weekend, we had two huge snowstorms - school was actually canceled on Friday, the last day of finals. We stayed inside, ordered Chinese food, watched "The Dark Knight." Having seen it, I can't say I feel too bad about having waited this long...meh. Overhyped, in my opinion. BUT: back to Netflix: I need to update my queue because all that's on it at the moment is "How I Met Your Mother" (as many discs as allowed) and "Who Killed John Lennon?" And I might delete the latter. Movie suggestions, anyone?

Ali and I went skiing yesterday, despite the horrible road conditions and subsequently ueberdangerous drive(s) to & from the hill. It's strange: I love skiing, although I'm inexperienced [read: not too good] at it. This affinity for the snow sport defies my usual behavior pattern of hating & scorning things I'm not good at - for example, basketball, public speaking, singing, dancing, and so on. In most cases, I fervently avoid activities for which my skills are underdeveloped. Don't we all? But skiing: skiing is a horse of another color. I'd really like to be good at it, and the only way for me to get better is to practice, despite looking like an ass whilst practicing. But good news: I did not fall once while disembarking a chairlift yesterday. Jawesome.

Well, A. & I found out the hard way that our landlord is less than fastidious about having the parking lot/alley plowed. Last night and this morning, I got stuck trying to enter/exit the parking lot because there is so freaking much accumulation. True, Toyotas don't handle exceptionally well in the snow, but there are at least eight or nine inches of snow in the alleyway. And that is bullshit.

Friday, December 12, 2008


though, this good news is irrelevant to me, since I taught my last classes yesterday.

I cannot be totally filled with end-of-semester glee, however, because I have three days of Final Conferences with students (Mon-Wed next week) and then my FINAL GRADING. Still, though, after I'm done with those shenanigans, I'll have a good two weeks to: work on some crafts, hang out with my mom for Xmas week, and refine/finalize my creative writing syllabus. And re-read some of the books I'm teaching. Totally manageable, right?

I am becoming perhaps inordinately excited for my impending move back to the Midwest. (Warning: this may turn into a minirant about Why New England Can Never Be As Good as Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois.) It's not that I dislike New England: nay, it would be foolish of me to claim hatred for an entire region. I just dislike the certain part of N.E. that I'm living in now. Having grown up in a midsized suburb of Minneapolis, and having gone to college in ueberrural Illinois, I'm no stranger to the non-city life. I do not mind driving to my favorite deli, or to a concert, or to a museum. Yes, it's nicer to be able to walk to these things - to have access unhindered by the pain-in-the-ass activity that is driving - but it's not requisite for my happiness.

That being said, I'm starting to get restless in the li'l corner of MA where I now reside. It's just really...small. Imagine it as a less cool, way smaller Peoria. Or, for Minnesota residents: a less cool Blaine or Andover. YEAH. There's nothing that's open 24 hours; the nightlife is a little meh; the restaurant scene (with a few notable exceptions) is a lot meh. Meh. Now I'm just whining. What it really comes down to is this: the Midwest is my home, and though it's not on a coast*, it is leagues better than Western Mass. The end.

*Actually, neither is my current city, despite its supposed "coastal" status. BOOYAH.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Am scoping out the housing scene(s) in the cities where E. and I might possibly move next year, and HOLY CRAP: housing in the Midwest is so, so much cheaper than it is here, I can hardly stand it.

Hell yes!

Finally, I am done with the semi-annual gradeathon! Yes, Sunday and Monday I forged through the insane amount of work I created for myself (using various methods of procrastination/accompanied by bouts of balking). Handed back my students' unit three papers yesterday, and the semester is mostly downhill from here. Get this, though: one of my students, after receiving his paper and as he exited the classroom, called me a bitch. This student, I assume, was disappointed with his paper grade. Such is life. Still: WTF? You don't do the work, you don't get an A. End of story.

In other, less obscenity-riddled news, I'll be teaching my creative writing course during winter break, and I am psyched. When I applied last year for a creative writing position, I received a continuing ed slot to be taught during J-Term. I didn't really know what to expect in terms of enrollment; I got a letter notifying me that minimum enrollment was eight students, that if I didn't reach this quota my class would be cancelled and I'd be given a mini-stipend as compensation for my planning. This did freak me out a bit, and I continued being freaked out as the enrollment held steady at six. But, sometime last week, two more students signed up: the class is on!

It's going to be intense: a semester's worth of work condensed into three [four day] weeks. It's going to be awesome.

It will be strange, not going home for winter break. Every year for the past six, I've headed back to MN for a monthlong (or sixweeklong) stretch of arguable R&R. My time was equally divided between working (random part time jobs; more recently, subbing in the public schools) and reading. Here, most of my time will be spent working: teaching, at the key office, on my thesis. Work, work, work, and the gray sky getting dark earlier every night. To keep from going nuts, I'm planning: 1) to go to the gym as often as possible; 2) a few ski trips; 3) to resume where I left off with various craft projects. Strategies: oh yeah!

Friday, December 5, 2008


The problem with procrastination is that it always leads to the same end. Yes, I've had fun during the past few days, feigning a devil-may-care attitude and bummin' around like a champ, but now I'm having a minor heart attack at the thought of all the work I must do. Intensifying my terror is the weekend's recreation lineup: Boomer's 1920s semi formal on Saturday, and a tentative day trip Sunday, all day Sunday. Eek! Eek!

Unrelatedly, I observed some strange behavior at the gym yesterday - dude on the crosstrainer next to me was wearing a hat as he worked out. I'm not talking about a baseball cap: this was a legit hat (woolen, thick). And he wasn't lackadaisically exercising: he was exerting himself and sweating all over the damn place (I noticed because he is also the sort of person who doesn't clean the machine after using it). What would possess someone to wear a hat to the gym? I don't...get it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am procrastinating: yes, it's true. The semester ends in nine days - is that right? - and I still have a pile of unit three papers to grade, but what am I doing? Reading Perez. Brewing endless cups of tea. Creating excruciatingly detailed lists in googledocs. And Xmas shopping. My day was in some senses productive - I paid bills, went to the gym, graded other student work, looked over last night's workshop critiques, grocery shopped, cleaned. Just not productive in the sense I'm looking for.

Sunday, I started reading Carole Maso's Defiance, and I hate to say that I'm a little disappointed. This judgment will most likely prove to be premature (I'm only 35 pages in), but the language seems flattened out, normative. I read Ava and Aureole about two years ago, one after the other. These were books I couldn't put down, the language was so of its own creation. Defiance, though...
Has anyone else read it? Would anyone like to discredit the above statements and give me hope for the remainder of the book?

I am kicking myself now! In allowing myself to become so preoccupied with sundry procrastinatory activities (i.e., browsing around TJ Maxx), I totally forgot to buy Candy Cane Joe-Joes! CRAP.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let's just say I'm less than thrilled that the holiday weekend is over & that it's back to the regular routine. That's the thing about holiday weekends: afterwards, the transition back to one's regular schedule is un-fun and grouchy.

Some good things:

1) I realized today (while re-doing the Key Office's whiteboard calendar) that there are only two weeks of classes left (three of the semester). Hot damn! Salvation will be here before I know it.

2) Saturday, my mom, sis & I spent the day in Shelburne Falls, quite possibly the cutest place in MA. It reminded me a lot of Osceola, WI: both towns are on the scenic riverfront, both are rife with mom & pop cafes/gift shops/trees, both are nice weekend diversions. I hadn't thought about Osceola in who knows how long; when I was in high school/college, I used to drive there from CR to get my hair cut. (A good family friend has her own salon there.) Getting a haircut was a daylong event: the drive to Osceola took an hour; the cut itself, an hour. Afterward, I'd get lunch at Dagwood's, a place on Main St. specializing in subs and tacos. Then, I'd spend an hour or so browsing the antique store, looking for Lucite earrings and chunky plastic bracelets. Ah, Osceola. Dagwood's is closed, I'm fairly certain. In fact, it may have closed while I was still in college, the market for tacos and cold cuts not being as strong as it once was. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to venture (mid)westward before the winter's up.

Happy post-Thanksgiving! And pre-winter! Let's all not be too long faced at work and school today. The end.