Thursday, October 30, 2008
I know my posts have been boring, but I am trying to save some good stuff for NaBloPoMo!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Yesterday we had a family day. We loaded up the kids and headed to a local farm to pet animal babies...cow babies, goat babies and pig babies. Check how cute:
Friday, October 24, 2008
--I had thought about a blog where I could list all of the things I have learned from pop culture (namely television and movies) so that I could write a timely piece on how television is GOOD for you, and it does not rot your brain. Unfortunately, all I could come up with was that I learned that capybaras (which I called "hairless faced bears" for two months) are the world's largest rodent (from Survivor: Amazon) and that Wilson gets credit for the 14 Points of Light (American President). Not sure I can make a case with those two.
--This weekend is finally pumpkin patch and corn maze weekend. I am very excited. Both kids are excited (again, teenagers with low parental expectations, happy about a family outing), and Mr.P is excited. I even got a pumpkin carving app for my phone so I can practice.
--I think I have SAD (seasonal affect disorder) and RLS (restless leg syndrome). I am not even kidding.
--I had been thinking about buying a food processor. I have no idea why since I don't cook...but today when I was looking for the mixer and crock pot I found a food processor. mm. Who knew?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Scene: Chick-fil-A, Wednesday afternoon, approximately 1pm
Dad: I watched Schindler's List last night.
Grandma: Yeah, that movie is pretty sad, but it all ended pretty well.
Daughter: ♪♪"It's 9 o'clock on a Saturday, regular crowd shuffles in..." ♪♪
Seriously, the kid was young to know Piano Man.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I have lots of "favorite songs", but a few songs are so monumental, when I hear them, I am almost transported in time.
Billy Don't Be a Hero: Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
--I must have been 4 or 5. I remember going to the ice cream shop, playing this song, over and over and eating bubblegum ice cream. I have it on my iPod even now.
All of out of love: Air Supply
--I was 12ish and was allowed to listen to one side of an ALBUM as I went to bed. When I hear this song I am laying in my bed, singing at the top of my lungs, trying not to cry, the music is so so so so so so sweet. Eesh.
Pour Some Sugar on Me: Def Leppard
--In college we used to hang out a bar that played music and we danced like fools. This is the first song I danced to with Mr. P. Later, this song became his karaoke staple.
Nothing Compares 2U: Sinead O'Connor
--When the kid in college was born she had bad reflux and we had to walk her constantly. Whenever this song came on the radio, she was instantly calm.
Blue Eyed Girl "Life's a Dance": John Michael Montgomery
--The kid in college was nuts about this song from when she was old enough to request music. Every day on the way to daycare, "Mama...blue eyed girl?" When she was 9 we were finally able to take her to a concert with JMM and she was in love all over again.
I find it interesting that the last song in my soundtrack is likely the first song in my kid's soundtrack. I guess it's the musical circle of life. What makes up your soundtrack?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Put a cat and some radio-active stuff in a sealed box. After a while, theoretically, the cat is both surely alive and surely dead. In actuality there are a lot of scientific calculations, theorems, and proofs that demonstrate scientifically that the cat is both alive (radio-active stuff decayed) and dead (not decayed). Schrodinger's point being...the cat isn't alive and dead, it is either alive or dead, and noone will know for sure until you open the box.
This paradox might be what makes my relationship with my mother so crushing. She is that damn cat in the poison box. Her box is her apartment, her poison is drinking and anti-depressants, oh, and wallowing, we can't forget the wallowing. She doesn't answer the phone for weeks on end, so in my mind, she is both alive and dead. I have to mentally prepare myself every. single. time. that this might be the time that her tiny body can't withstand anymore abuse. I also have to prepare myself that she is sitting in her apartment watching Golden Girls and eating pizza, perfectly fine, thriving on my sister and I calling her every 5 minutes to make sure she is okay, because she has our utmost attention.
I guess it would be like Einstein stealing Shrodinger's box, opening it, then refusing to tell Shrodinger whether the cat was actually alive or dead. And Shrodinger having to always wonder what happened to his cat. That would be brutal because even though the cat got mean, and you talk terribly about the cat to strangers, and sometimes you really feel like if you never saw the cat again you would be fine, you can't help caring about what happens to the cat, because, well you know. It's your cat.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Me: Am I going to like the play?
Me: Because it's a good play, or because you are in it?
Kid: sigh. me.
But I did like it. It helped that my kid was excellent, as usual. But it was a good play, with a message I needed to hear, right when I needed to hear it. At the end, the point was, when we are alive we need to take 5 freaking minutes and look around and appreciate who we are, who we have in our lives, and what is going on around us. I needed that. I tend to wish time away to get to an "easier" point...but really, how much easier can my life get? I let myself get so twisted up in the drama my mother creates that I have taken time away from my kids, from Mr. P, the rest of the family, and that is just not fair, to them, or to me. I hope I am done with that.
But back to play...this was our last high school production...which seems surreal. Over the course of high school we have seen Oklahoma!, Arsenic and Old Lace, Wizard of Oz and Our Town. I would have probably never chosen to see any of them on my own (other than Wizard of Oz), and all of them were really, really good plays. I guess maybe the drama teacher knows more than I do about play selection. Bahh.
Our kid in college turns 19 today! We made sure she got good dinner last night, a rent check, cupboard full of groceries, some Chinese takeout for lunch, and a little bit of spending money. I know for many, this would seem like a regular thing, not really a birthday present...but she really wanted to be able to put herself through college, so she could feel free to pursue whatever she wanted, and we really would have no say. That is why all that was a "gift"...that way it is still all her.
Now to finish off the post, and to start the weekend on the right foot, I am going to take a few minutes and do what Wilder would want me to do.
Mom: When I was 10 I found this 13 layer cake in a cookbook that I thought looked so good. For the next 3 years you made it for me for my birthday, and I know it had to have taken forever...it was so good. Then you invented sprinkles in Angel Food cake, I swear you deserved the patent on "confetti cake." Thank you.
Dad: Right after I got married, Mr. P was sent to the desert for training, and I came home for the time he was gone. I was pregnant and oh, so pathetic missing him. You packed us all up, and took us to the Holiday Inn with the big waterfall pool that I had always wanted to go to. Thanks.
I actually started this post last night, immediately thought of a "fond" memory for each of my parents, then there was just so so many things I wanted to share about the kids, Mr. P and my sister. I thought I would sleep on it, and then have a decisive memory that I wanted to share for each of them...and you know what? I don't.
My husband, my sister, and my kids have been my constants. Always. Every birthday, every holiday, every "event"...monumental or miniscule. And that, is pretty great, so thanks, Mr. Wilder...I took the time to look at what I had, and I know better today than yesterday how lucky I am.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
In general, poverty drums up images of the hunger problem that is faced by so many in our own country let alone the world, the lack of accessible health care that lead many families to homelessness, corrupt governments that "skim" the aid from foreign donors and keep their countries infested with malaria and tuberculosis (diseases that I thought had been eradicated until my thesis student did some research on fraud and foreign aid), people who are forced out of barely livable conditions to no conditions by natural disaster, the list goes on and on. Those are forms of poverty that are so so big, that I can't even begin to tackle those in any intelligible form, especially not in a blog where so far this week where I have tackled such subjects as returning condiments, going to a cereal restaurant for lunch and whether I should change my name to JackassesSuck.com.
So instead, I am going to tackle the subject of my own stint with poverty.
We had been married for about 5 years and had just finished a stint living in Germany courtesy of the USAF, and were stationed on the Florida Gulf Coast. The only place we could find to live within an hour of Mr. P's base was $560 a month, in 1994 on an E-4's salary, which was one whole paycheck plus $45 dollars. Mr. P worked 3 and 3's (3 days off, 3 on), 12 hour midnight shifts...which were from 6pm - 6am. I worked the dayshift at a buffet style restaurant and had ONE pair of khaki pants that I would wash out in the sink and line dry at night because we had no washer and dryer. At night I worked at Winn Dixie as a cashier, and if Mr. P was one the kids were in a seedy after hours daycare center, and it made my gut hurt to take them there, but the older one was old enough to tell me if something shady happened, and they liked eating and indoor plumbing. I looked at our Social Security reports, and in 1994 we made $15,275 together, both of us working all the time, and paying half of that out in rent.
I remember working that check out at Winn Dixie and watching people go through the line with all kinds of awesome stuff...fresh fruits, fresh meat, juice, whole gallons of milk, peanut butter...I was so upset that my kids weren't getting that food. We were killing ourselves and only getting further behind. We were trying. so. hard. and it just. didn't. matter.
It is this poverty that I speak of...that wafer thin line between families trying, really, really trying to work at regular jobs and being able to support their children, and failing dismally.
We were teetering on that line and something had to give that would push us firmly on one side of that line or the other. Something did give. The AirForce gave Mr. P the opportunity to get out. We made changes. We went to school. We made more money before we were both in school full-time, but when I look back...we were impoverished in 1994, and after that, merely "broke" until 2004.
Come to find out, the difference between poverty and poor isn't cash. It isn't fresh fruit and gallons of milk.
It's the light. The hope. The knowledge that at some point, sooner or later, things are going to be okay. Even good. Maybe, if you are really lucky, even great.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
First...a teenager changed her name so that she could heighten awareness that not all kids like to cut stuff up in high school biology. If I were to take that approach, what would I protest?
The amazing number of jackasses I run into on a daily basis, and how I think they suck. Therefore, my new name: JackassesSuck.com. You can just call me Jacks. FYI: She named herself CutoutDissection.com...Cutout for short, but her family is still calling her Jennifer.
Second, apparently there is a tool that will prevent me from drunk-emailing...how it works is you have to do a series of math problems, with the theory being if you can get through them you are probably lucid enough to realize that your email is a bad. idea. Now if I could install that tool on my phone for calling AND text messaging, oh, and blogger comments. Problem is...I ROCK at those brain enhancing games and probably could do most math problems hammered. Sounds like something that needs to be tested. I think I might conduct a little experiment this weekend. Disregard any emails after 10pm just in case I bust it wide open with my mad math skills.
Outside of Internet weirdness, my Dad sends my sister, Mr. P and I text messages that him and his 2 year girlfriend (uhh, Dad it was was 4 years) broke up, and he will be okay in two or so days. Weird news to get via text. But the Queen MOTHER of all things FUCKED UP was still to happen...it is weird and disturbing and about my mother...so you might want to just go ahead and move along...how about checking out a connect the dots tattoo that is a ....giraffe?
I am telling you....YOU need to go, the next bit of disturbing information is for my own angst release since Mr.P would not let me throw my guacamole taco at him at dinner. He even made the comment..."we probably should go home so you can just blog".
Heaven help you...here goes, my mother's dog died today...yeah, I know...sucks, right? That isn't all...damn, I wish that were all. But, here goes...she spent the day in her apartment with the. dead. dog. getting sloshed on wine. See, in her twisted fuck of a mind, no one will go to her rescue because her dog died...dogs die, it's sad, but it happens. HOWEVER, if she is so drunk and sad and crazy that she spends a whole day with a dead dog, someone surely will rush there and take care of it all. I do hate that her dog died, that dog was my dog's sister, but if she thinks one dead dog is going to wipe off the last ten years of her screwing us over she is crazier than I even thought. Sorry, I told you it was awful... but if you couldn't help yourself and you are appalled that I would talk about my mother like this...before you report me to the worst daughter of the universe police, you might want to read this.
OH. and a spider bit my cheek. Gross.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Now I have a dilemma. Do I throw the salt and pepper packets away? Do I put them back in the condiment bins? It seems like a waste to throw them away, but I was getting kind of skeeved thinking that someone else might have ever touched a ketchup packet that I used, even though I am not a germaphobe in any shape or form...I share a tailgate apartment bathroom with a single man.
I even twittered to find out, and I got a response about Used. Condoms. Not really the same thing.
What would you do? I took the easy way out and left them in the center of the table.
P.S. I really, really thought germaphobe was a real word...but when I ran spellcheck I was offered HOMOPHOBE and GUMBO as possible replacements. In all fairness to the spellchecker programmers...I am neither of those in any form either.
P.P.S. I decided I needed to know what fear of germs really was, and in a seemingly bizarre coincidence it is Spermophobia. Apparently, used.condoms. are more relevant than I originally thought.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here is her interpretation:
"Hmmm.. well my World Literature/Psychology education tells me that perhaps you have what is known as the Oedipus Complex. By being essentially blind, you are blind to your own identity and perhaps subconsciously you know that you are married to a close relative and have inbred children.
Or maybe, psychoanalytically, you have a subconscious want to be blind due to a horrifying image seen and repressed by your brain.
Or maybe it was just a dream."
Interesting....but my own interpretation is that I am feeling guilty that several of my students saw me at a bar, and tipsy at that. I am also feeling bad that I am really far behind at work and instead of spending the day working, I was catching up on the dregs of my recorded television and voting on my favorite candy, and reading pages and pages of stranger Twitters.
Friday, October 10, 2008
- As posted, I got a new iPhone, and have been practicing Twitter. It is fun...I even have TWO people following my twitters already! Why does that make me feel popular and smart? It is the same feeling I get when I get a comment (4 total, thank you very much), or a new person visits the blog. I guess maybe since I know that noone ever reads my published work (academic business articles, anyone? I can provide links...) that I feel somewhat happy that someone is reading some words that I have strung together.
- I got my first "google" hit to my blog...and it was for..."Olive Garden."
- I am working on my 101 things to do in 1001 days list. So far, 6 things.
- I got my second postcard from my PostSecret swap...dude, that secret was a doozy! If it were my secret, I would have been way too worried that my swap partner was someone I knew that would rat me out.
- Today is my sister's birthday AND her husband's birthday. They are exactly 10 years apart.
- My husband was entering his contacts into his new phone last night and asked me what HIS sister's last name was. HIS sister. Get it? HIS sister.
- I am really, really far behind at work. Really far. behind at work. I am actually at work, right now, doing a blog of random things, instead of getting less behind at work. I have 40 exams to grade, 12 projects to grade. Three articles to get revised and submitted. All probably should be done by next Friday. Like I said, really. far. behind. at work.
I am leaving work now to go have some lunch, and get supplies to make jello shots for our tailgate. Priorities, man. You gots to have the priorities.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
So I was popping around on different blogs tonight, and came across the idea of making a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I even googled the phrase and came across more and more lists. This idea is fascinating to me in many ways. First, I like to make lists. BUT even more than I like make lists, I love crossing stuff off said lists (as I complete them...of course).
Someone (and now I can't seem to re find that someone...sorry) listed they wanted to read 10 books off of the Time Magazine's All Time Top 100 novels. Sounds like a definite goal for my list, whenever I manage to get the list done. In anticipation of tackling this goal, I decided to browse the list for books I have already read...surely there is a bunch, and so basically my list might read...45. Read all the other books on the Top 100...you know, since I read an average of one book a week. and. and. and. I was in Oprah's Book Club.
Didn't really turn out the way I thought...here is what I have read:
~Are You There God, It's Me Margaret (easily 100 times as a tweenster)
~The Catcher in the Rye (during the summer that my sister and I had a goal to alternate our trash with classics...this is the one I read)
~The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (in my C.S. Lewis kick when I was 11)
~To Kill a Mockingbird (I told my kids when they started highschool that I would read every book they were assigned so that we could chat about them, and I could help them with discussion questions, etc. This is the only one I followed through on. If you couldn't tell...I rock as a Mom.)
That's it. I have read 4% of the best books of all time...and 2 of them were before I was even in junior high. While I am here and feeling VERY uncultured, I might as well take a gander at the AFI's Top 100 Movies. (I linked to Wikipedia because you have to register on the AFI.com website to download the lists and I was just that lazy.)
Apparently, I am a much more sophisticated movie watcher as I have seen 20% of the best movies. However to be quite honest, I only CHOSE to see 5 of them...the rest I saw because my Dad or Mr. P wanted to go. We went to tons of movies when I was a kid, at least one a weekend, and Mr. P LOVES movies...not really going to movies, but having lots of movie channels and DVDs.
6. Wizard of Oz (we watched annually until the monkeys scared my sister)
11. It's a Wonderful Life (once, and I didn't like it)
15. Star Wars (I had this on a VHS tape. Loved it.)
41. Westside Story (in high school, actually in a class)
48. Jaws (I have seen the TBS version...does that count?)
49. Snow White
55. Sound of Music (LOVE. THIS.)
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark
65. Silence of the Lambs
71. Forrest Gump
94. Goodfellas (Ray Liotta...yum)
95. Pulp Fiction
Those are from the 1998 list, then a new list came out in 2007 and Close Encounters got bumped. The numbering then must all have changed, because there are duplicate numbers here...
71. Saving Private Ryan
89. The Sixth Sense
The organization of this new list escapes me...
72. Shawshank Redeption (I even read the Stephen King novella/short story)
99. Toy Story
So, in summary, it appears that most of the top movies I have seen or books I have read, I did so before I turned 13. Maybe I need to work on Top 100 lists of movies and books for people who are kinda smart, but not that smart, and who go to the movies and read books, but to be entertained and not culturized.
Yup. You read it here first. Culturized. Spread it around.
However, I am sorry to say that she is not a very good singer. I have no idea what song she is singing...but it does have "crazy" and perhaps..."someone".
While I have always thought she was very nice, I now love her. SING IT!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The movie was another story. Mr. P had to do some work, so he went off after lunch and the kids and I headed to the movies. We wanted to see Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, but due to timing, we went to see Blindness instead. SPOILER: If you want to see Blindness, skip the next paragraph (you know, the 4 other people that have ever even seen the blog...)
I am freaked out by the possibility of being arrested or put in jail for something I haven't done and having no one believe me....I truly believe the frustration would drive me mad. It's like when you were a teenager and you tell your parents that you did not go to the party in the field 7 miles out of town and they. just. don't. believe. you. even though you didn't go (this time). This movie brought that up for me HUGE. It was in a word...disturbing. Basically a bunch of people go blind, and in a state of panic the government locks them all up without any oversight (no pun intended). One group of people get ahold of the food and first ask for all the valuables in exchange for eating...then ask for the women to...well, you know... it both broke my heart and twisted my guts.
It is this type of feeling that gets me so upset about work. Two years ago I had a horrendous Fall semester. My grandfather died the first day of classes, my mother went downhill, my sister had just had a baby and I wasn't able to be as active in that as I would have liked, and then my grandmother died. I was stressed beyond belief and one day in class my students were very unprepared, I snapped and sent them home for the day. They retaliated by raping me in my evaluations...to such an extent I nearly got fired this past semester (a whole other story for another post). There was absolutely nothing I could do. Was I unprofessional? Maybe for 3 minutes of an entire semester, but I was teaching a graduate class and they had not done their work. Was I so horrid that I damaged them in any way? NOT EVEN CLOSE, yet their damage to me is still not repaired, and it makes me crazy. I have one other situation at work where there was a misunderstanding between me and a full professor, and the person who caused it thought it would blow over and so may no efforts to fix it. Another blog for another day...but suffice it to say it hasn't blown over, and now it may be too late. It sucks because the cause of the misunderstanding is my boss.
Do I think my work junk is as bad as the movie situation? No. But I feel frustrated and trapped with no recourse just the same. I know the answer could be...go get a different job...which in theory is excellent advice, but major research Univesities are pretty limited in this particular neck of the woods, and it would require a major move for Mr.P and I, which may be forthcoming, but it is best for the family if I stick it out and hope for the best.
Bottom line: I went out with the kids today to see a funny movie with no message and a potentially good soundtrack. Instead I got twisted guts...no fun for Sunday night.
Friday, October 3, 2008
- I got notified that my sixth academic article was accepted for publication yesterday. I am not sure if I have mentioned, but I am an assistant professor and to get to associate professor (which means tenure!) I have to have TEN articles published. 60% there. Whoo hoo. Go me.
- Our kid in high school got a letter on Tuesday that he was accepted to the college of
- Our kid in college got ink last weekend. Yup, a tattoo. I don't hate it. Jon and Kate (of Jon and Kate, + Eight fame) showed their tattoos on their show Monday, and our kid's is way better than a Winnnie the Pooh. gag.
- Enough of the sunshine and roses...my mom still hasn't made any move to return to normalcy. SIGH. It is a bummer that I can't call her to tell her about the kids, or my article, or even that bouncey, bouncey deer.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
So back to the first time stuff. I mailed my first swap-bot swaps today. Postcards with PostSecret type secrets on the back. Here they are:
If you can't tell...I made them myself. Putting them in the mailbox was kind of hard....First, I painted/cut/pasted them to mean my secrets in sort of an abstracty kind of way. Second, what if my swap partners don't get me? Or think I did a good job? They can rate me, what if they give be a bad rating? I am really nervous. One is going to England, the other to California.
I also got my first swap postcard today:
It is the back of a card with some stickers on it. I was kind of bummed at first. Then I read the secret...I won't tell, but it was a secret that I share with this stranger. It is weird, but knowing I have something in common with a woman who lives thousands of miles away that is so different from me in many ways ( she is a stay home mom and apparently loves it...I was not a stay home mom and didn't want to be, she is very crafty, me not so much, etc.) made me feel better.
That was fun. I am ready for another.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I am apparently still a secret from the whole everyone else on the blogosphere, except one person in Canada, one in the Phillipines, and one in the Netherlands...I am an international "oneder"...HA HA.
Now to a totally unrelated topic...television! I have become increasingly obsessed with watching shows on TLC about people with multiples...and twins/trips just don't cut it anymore...OR people with a buttload of kids. I watch those families with utter fascination, and I am coming from the perspective of a sibling, not the parents. I think I have a pretty good relationship with my sister (don't let the bloggy breadcrumb story convince you otherwise), and I maybe three friends that I keep up with...how the hell could you have relationships with 17 brothers and sisters, and have your own life? I just can't fathom it. I guess my point is, if the relationships can't be kept up, what's the point?
Instead I am going to ramble on excitedly about a field trip I am going to take with Mr. P and the one in college and the one in high school (which we found out got into his college of choice yesterday). Those one's to which I refer are our teenagers...one out of the house (college) and one in the house (high school)...duh.
All of us have been in a sort of funk of late. I am having mother issues, Mr. P is having toothy troubles, the one in college is mirky in her own drama and stress, and the one in high school, well...he is in high school, need I say more? In search of a funkbuster I remembered that while we lived in Texas a few years ago a friend organized a trip to a pumpkin farm/corn maze and we LOVED it.
The corn maze was of the US and the clues would be "Go to the maple syrup state", and you would then have to figure out where in the US that might be...then decide how to get there based upon where you were in the maze and go there for the next clue. (I just tried to find a picture to insert to give a visual, but couldn't find one quickly.) We also got to stuff our own scarecrow and even thought the straw/hay? was super itchy it was really fun. We also picked pumpkins and drank cider and even though it was 85 degrees (we were in central TX) it was really fun. The only downer was they were out of pumpkin ice cream the day we went.
For some reason that day popped into my head and I googled (thank goodness for google) corn mazes and I found a farm that promises such fun that I can barely sit still with excitement. I am not even kidding I feel as excited as I do right around Christmas...the place I found has a corn maze. baby pigs. peacocks. pedal tractor races (that wasn't in my top 3 things, but Mr. P was instantly onboard with that revelation). pumpkins. cows and donkeys to pet. AND. AND. if you go at night you can do the corn maze with flashlights...byoo ha ha.
My funk is clearing already and we aren't even going for 3 weeks!