Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Complaining

I think I shall change the name of the blog from Otterbutt to the Complainer. I think that sounds more professional and more accurately describes the content found here.
The return to the semester has put me in a sour mood. Every second seems chock full of things to do and, my only release, blogs, appear to have been abandoned for more interesting territory. As Dr. Write says on Facebook (where, I fear everyone has gone), the only thing left good on the internet is the Go Fug Yourself website. It's almost enough, but on the weekends, when you're writing recommendations, and sticking evidence of scholarly activity in a binder, working on a grant, figuring out why takes 24 hours to make your website available, when you think you backed up all your files before your computer went kaput somewhere between Rome and Bari but you realize that you are missing some important, annual review file files and all your responses to your students from last year that you like to use to make writing the letters of recommendation specific, when putting your kid to nap (or discovering that this is the weekend that the nap will be forsaken), writing the proposal that you can't write, that your agent says, be funnier!, when you're grumpy and you can't be funny, you want something to go to on the internets, like Go Fug Yourself but they don't update on the weekends and neither does anyone else and you can't decide what to make for dinner, when the pizza you grilled last night turned out floppy and so you really don't feel like making anything tonight and when you stretch your muscles because if you don't then your body never wakes up but then if you do you over stretch and walk around all old-woman like anyway, and when you got another rejection from The Normal School and were only a semi-finalist for a novel contest, and when your regular clothes are all too small and your new pregnancy clothes are still too big and you really want a popsicle but you're all out, then even Go Fug Yourself is not enough.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Complainer

Some people won't do it but if I don't, the as-of-late-untouched-blog will prove insurmountable and I'll never be able to return so here I go with the complaints. Please forgive me in advance.

Start-up funds: Where did they go? One day I had some money. Then the next day, I bought a computer and some books. Now that I have to use start-up funds for travel, I'm wishing I bought a much cheaper computer (would an iPhone have sufficed?) and read far fewer books. Or at least read them on the cheap computer or iPhone for free even as I complain that no one buys books anymore. How can they? The start-up funds are gone.

Advising Center. No I can't get you into a math class. I can barely get you into an English class.

Pre-class-beginning discussions with students: Don't spoil it! If we talk about the class now, what will we talk about on the first day???

Book cover: If I didn't tell you I have a book of poems coming out, well I do. I feel very, very happy about it but I am not 100% certain that I will have the cover art I worked hard to get the permissions for and who I asked my good friend to go through the book and help find a piece that she felt fit the book the best. This makes me crabby even though I know, I'm very, very lucky.

Agent: Again. I'm very lucky and I actually adore my agent but she thinks I need a beloved blog or a revered restaurant to launch my writing career. Is this not a beloved blog? Don't I already have a writing career nascent and small-press-y/lit-maggy though it is?

Hornets: Yesterday, Erik was poking at the ceiling above the staircase where some drywall had fallen. When I hear, "Nik, will you come look at this," I know it's time to barricade myself in the laundry room. Which I did until Erik called someone who rushed out and dusted the hornets nest. I did let Erik into my barricaded room but he brought a bee with him, who was pissed at him and stung him. Erik's not entirely persuaded that the dusting of the bees was an awfully harsh response. I'm a hypocrite for wanting both no bees and no hurt bees. They're hornets, he reminds me as he shows me his swollen arm.

No rain: The cobwebs from my last post. Perhaps you were afraid they had swallowed me and that's why I hadn't updated my blog. They had.

University Graduate Committee: We meet in August? Really? In some building I've never heard of? And you're going to ask for volunteers for the review committee and I'm going to have to avert my eyes and stare hard at the floor for at least ten minutes and may have to whip out the excuse that I'll be on maternity leave next semester.

Maternity leave: We don't actually have maternity leave at my U.

Being pregnant: Didn't I tell you I was pregnant? If not, it's because I don't like people to know I had sex but now you can tell by looking at me which means everyone knows. And I walk sometimes with that cliche'd hand on my back. Embarrassing all around.

Classroom: I forgot I agreed to have my class on the first floor, across from the English Office where now the powers that be (e.g. the Administrative Assistant) can record my every move. Are they just talking in there? Is she giving them writing time in class? Does she really put her feet on the desk? Even when she's pregnant?

Milkweed: A rejection letter from then about my water and wine book from Monday that is still harshing my groove.

The end of the world: I can't eat fish or I will deform my unborn child with the mercury that courses through its once coursing veins. It's hot in Flag. It won't rain.

Laundry: Laundry

Friday's email: Few and far between.

Dinner: We're having fish tacos. Good thing I'm not that hungry.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


In my mind, I think I title a post every three months or so "vultures." If not, I apologize. If so, I think I'm due for one.

Today, Cleo and I went running out in the woods behind the house. We get barely passed the fence when I see on a snag 12 hunch-backed turkey vultures. You know they're turkey vulturs when they're heads are disproportionately smaller than their bodies like Beeker on the Muppets. The snag sits right on the trail and lo though I love vultures, I don't feel particularly safe walking under them. I don't want them to fly off. I don't want them to poop on my head. I don't want them to cruise down and run off with me or my 90 pound dog (unlikely, but vultures are big and travel in groups). So I walk to the right around the snag and what is in front of me but another snag filled with more vultures. I see a guy walking up the trail and though I love vultures, I'm happy to see him so he can bear witness to the vultures flying off with me or can grab my shoe and tell me to hold on. His dog runs over to mine and I'm like, it's cool (meaning the dogs are cool, meaning "I love vultures, even if they are staring at me). But the dog running sends the vultures flying, so I of course duck, thinking they'll fly right into my face or decide that someone must pay for all this skag-sitting-disturbance and they'll decide to carry me off. But instead of taking me by the shoulders and letting me know who's boss around these parts, they just fly off and form one of their dead-thing-sighting gyres.

Sometimes I worry that we live in a place where the predominant wildlife is scavenger--ravens, vultures, coyotes, flies. Maybe we all live in that place.

I also worry that there are more vultures here this year than last. It's been very dry this non-monsoon season. I imagine all the thirst-dead creatures lying out in the woods or off of the road. At least the vultures won't be thirsty.

It seriously needs to rain. It's so bad that whereever you walk, you have to wave through cobwebs. That's how the world will end. Not because of drought or flood but cobwebs blocking our entrances and exits, no rain to wash them out. And the vultures will just patiently watch.