Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My friend Craig is missing

Dr. Write, who called, and Hightouch, who blogged, made me realize that the "Find Craig Arnold" facebook was not a game or a hoax. Craig is really missing on an island in Japan. There's work to be done: John Gallaher posted some information about how to urge the searchers to keep looking for him.
I was just IMing with him like 4 days ago. Where could he be? I can imagine he just wandered off, deciding to become more familiar with the trees and the women of the forest. But I also know stupid things happen: falls, slips, disorientation. My hope: is that he got turned around on that 14 square mile island but has now rediscovered his compass and is heading back toward the inn and the people who know him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Post party post

I am beat. I just went outside to "help" Egg trim the hedges. Such help included lying on the driveway. Z helped by taking a branch and pretending to saw like her dad, first asking Egg if "It's OK my use one of your branches?" One day she will stop saying "my" for "I" and it will be a sad day.
I came in to empty the dishwasher and make lunch. For lunch we are having leftover bacon wrapped water chestnuts! Pick out the toothpicks--rumaki is no longer an appetizer any longer. We're also having leftover cabbage and cucumber, which I had prepared to serve the tuna tartar. Now, tartarless, they'll be a great comb with the bacon and water chestnuts. I hope. The leftover (3/4 of a pound) tuna tartar is in the freezer along with the fully 2.5 lbs of ribs we didn't end up cooking. We couldn't. There was so much food.

This party made me feel grateful. Grateful to Egg who cleaned the office, went on an ill-fated trip to Arby's for lunch, went to World Market, fixed the drain on the upstairs bathtub and barbecued the ribs we did eat, for the graduate students who brought fruit salad and flowers, 15 avocados worth of guacamole, hummus, carrot-curry dip, and delicious artichoke dip, for the professors and staff who brought popcorn and chicken curry, stuffed mushrooms, homemade raisin bread (which I ate for breakfast) smoked salmon cream cheese and delicious miniature chocolate cakes and beautiful white flowers.

As I put the dishes away, I'm thankful for the platter I got for my wedding and the blue dish that set off the tuna tartar. I didn't end up talking to many people because I was always getting someone drinks or turning over the rumaki we did eat and then retrieving from the garbage, rinsing and recycling the plastic plates (I could reuse them but they still smell like curry. I still might go get them out of the recycling bin). But everyone was funny and kind and even though the kitchen was mobbed and the other rooms just waiting for people to sit down in the comfortable seats, I felt pretty unstressed the whole night. I think I messed up a couple of people's names and maybe overstated my plans for the Lit Mag before the current staff finished up for the year, but overall, I put few feet in my mouth, went to bed with a mostly clean house and in general feel like this is a good department and I am so lucky to be able to host with my blue plates, Korean bbq ribs and tuna tartar (though Egg thinks maybe he and I ate it all--which is fine with me!) and chopsticks and comfortable chairs, a pretty good party.

There's leftover wine to boot. And much hope that by tomorrow I'll be fully recovered.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I used to host parties a lot. I think though I burned out on big parties after I made a hors d'oeuvre of deep fried crouton stuffed with "cassoulet" for Steve Fellner's goodbye party. But then also Z was born. I had family parties but no big shindigs. So, this weekend, I'm biting the bullet and throwing a party for my grad students and some English Dept. faculty. I'm making Korean bbq ribs, tuna tartare and edamame salad. I also asked everyone to bring an appetizer and drinks so I can be monetarily responsible with the pending furlough etc. I've never had a party where I invited my chair although I did have Thanksgiving in GR with almost all of my colleagues there. So I guess it won't be that weird.

I wish that Little Hands (should I even link, she who blogs no more?) and her people could have stayed for the party. They were here for nearly a week and it was one of the loveliest weeks I've had in a long time. And Little Hands is the best co-hostess. She made waffles for breakfast. I made frittata for lunch. She made Egg's entire birthday dinner--a whole turkey, mashed potatoes, turkey broth and strawberry-rhubarb pie (which we're eating the final bits of now). I did make the gravy and may have, against her will, made her a gravy convert. The next day, she made more waffles--this time with blueberries. I made open-faced sandwiches with turkey and gravy. We made spaghetti bolognese together. One night, we madenachos. (Egg made popcorn. For dinner!) Why is so much cooking so much less effort even when there's twice as many people to cook for when there are two of us?
We had a great trip: Slide Rock Park in Sedona, Oak Creek Brewery (with a bill that made us never want to eat out again), shopping at Gene's Western Wear downtown to buy Carharts for Little Hand's husband, a very fine western shirt for Egg and stuffed horses for the kids. We went running in the hail and snow and to wine at the wine bar. We went to the Skate Park for Little Hand's eight-year old and the regular park for Z and Little Hand's four year old. Z has not been the same since they left. She wants someone to play Crocodile with, stamps with, red-light-green light with, Tinkertoys and horses with. It's always when they leave that I feel guilty that Z is an only child. I think Little Hand's kids don't feel the absence of their cousin so much because they still have each other.
I did promise Z her best friend from school will be at the party on Saturday. It's not a cousin but it's better than nothing. I just wish Little Hands were here to help host.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Environmentalism as bad work ethic

Sometimes, two belief systems get in the way of each other. I try to make a slightly smaller impact on the environment. I also try to get some work done. But there are many ways that I've chosen to do a little bit to be less of a energy/resource glutton that have probably gotten me into a bit of trouble.
To wit:
  • Letting students turn essays and poems in on Vista to save paper: This is fine in the abstract but students take the electronic deadline as a negotiable one. And I care and tell them they'll lose points for turning in late but if everyone does it, then the points don't really take or matter in the end anyway. And since I grade/comment the day before class, I don't care as much as I should.
  • Speaking of grading or commenting: I grade/comment electronically to save paper. This means I give great, long narrative commentary but not so much of the grammar/proofreading variety. I will do "Track changes" on larger documents but that's only so helpful.
  • My own writing: I revise online. Sometimes I'll print it out to great guilt. In revising this last project, I printed twice and revised from there. Perhaps this will appease the publishing gods.
  • I try not to drive. So I go to campus less often than I would if I lived across the street. I go in twice as much here as I did in GR though, probably because campus is twice as close.
  • Clean house: I hate to use paper towels. Sometimes, that's all that works. If I could use a paper towel each time I had to clean up a tiny spill, well, my table wouldn't look like this.
  • Dog: She probably would be a lot thinner if I didn't try to save water by letting her be the pre-recycling, pre-dishwasher cycle that she's become.
  • Yard: I'd try to grow some flowers or plants this summer if I didn't cringe at the water I'd need. However, we're planting wildflowers when the monsoons hit so it won't look exactly like a campground outside our house.
  • Alerts, newsletters, etc.: I think I might have a better outcome if I put notices in my grad students' boxes. But instead, I send email reminders weekly. I'm wasting electrons as much as I'm wasting my time, since I'm pretty sure students have come to ignore my incessant emails.

I'm sure there are more instances but even if I find them, I'm not sure I'll reform. I pretend these little things make a difference.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Orange Marker

Zoe is covered in it. And since I believe this will be a random updating, starting with that random bit of information is a good start. She's drawing her letters. She just asked if she could draw a note on her hand or something. If she wants something and she's just thinking she's the first ever to come up with the idea of wanting that thing, she says, "Can we go to Fratelli's for pizza or something?" or "Can I have gummy bears or something?" As if something is an option.

Speaking of food I made the most delicious thing I've ever made. Last week, I went to my butcher (see? Mountain Town has some of the basic necessities) and asked if I should get a flank steak or something. He's prone to suggesting the prime rib eyes ($17.99 a pound. Haven't splurged yet. But did buy the Kobe beef burgers). He took a flank steak and said, let me do something first. So he took it, butterflied it, and put it through his tenderizer--I think he called it a ricer. I didn't look at it. I took it home and proceeded to convince Erik that we should go to dinner.
But on Sunday I decided to make the flank steak. Usually I marinate for an hour or so in something. I made up a Korean sauce with sesame oil and soy sauce. And then I waffled for an hour about whether I really wanted to make that. I looked online for awhile. I tried to convince Erik that I should do something new. He truly did not care.
So I found a recipe about braciole or pinwheels. I had none of everything. But I had some of a few things in some recipes. So I julienned some red pepper, some carrots and some scallions. I grated some fontina. On the one side of the steak, I layered the vegetables and topped with cheese. I rolled it up and stuck it shut with some gigantic skewers. Erik grilled the packages for 6 or 7 minutes a side.
We ate them with rice pilaf. I had never been so happy.
Tonight, I think I'll take that leftover rice and stuff some porkchops. With a little more fontina.

And, in the revising world, I'm working on the manuscript that did not win but finalisted. It's close I think. I re-read it today and didn't cringe. That's a good sign. I had to axe three whole chapters and might have to delete one more but I complicated one of the already complicated essays and in doing so, think I found the narrative thread through the whole thing.

And I'm happy that Hightouch and Dr. Write invited me to poetate this April. I'm already behind but I'm trying to keep up with their good work.

It's snowing here. We're staying in even though it's Gallery Stroll downtown. We went in March and it was super fun but cold then. We'll go in May when there's a 50% chance it will be warm. It's supposed to be 64 degrees here on Monday!

Edited to add. Actually, it's snowing sideways. The snow's smacked up against the east side of the trees. Erik is says we're just getting the tail end of the storm--flicked like an alligator.