Tuesday, May 30, 2006


All the cable to the TV has been unplugged. There is no furniture to sit on. I can either go to bed or go outside. Z has gone to sleep. I come out back. I take my computer. I've never seen the screen so clearly. It's a little cold and all I can see is the light emanating from the active display, but man is it nice to be outside. It makes blogging seem less nefarious, more healthy. Me and the moon and the lot of you.

I may be out here all night.

I may, when it gets really hot, figure out how to write outside at night, in the dark, but for me and this funny TV.

Monday, May 29, 2006


One hard thing about writing work is that there is scant evidence of that work. Egg will go to his job at 9, and, if I were to write all day, when he came home at 6, nothing would have changed. Even the kilobyte count of my harddrive would be more impacted by downloading a song than the filespace of eight hours worth of writing.
Also, when there's more obvious work to be done, it's hard to make writing the number one priority.
So, instead of writing much this week I mowed the lawn, packed the living room and front room, moved the furniture out of said rooms, swept the driveway, weeded and mulched the flower beds, swept the porch, cleaned the garage (to make room for moved furniture) and repacked a bunch of book boxes.
Impactful and somewhat satisfying (plus, such heavy lifting alleviates the non-running guilt). I also cooked twice and cleaned the kitchen at least twice. This work can be seen immediately, if someone were to look.
But, no one's really watching. I suppose, like writing, the joy of it is in the doing rather than in the recognition for having done it. I look around and I admit that I want the credit, that I want someone to notice--wow, what a great system--the to go boxes on a platform, the thrift-store boxes to the side--or, wow, you started that beastly lawn mower yourself?
Unlike Dorthothy Parker, I love writing; I am happy to have mown the lawn.

Monday, May 15, 2006


I ran very slow. So slow I was practically running backward. So slow, Cleo the dog could actually keep up. But I ran the whole thirty minutes stopping only to pick up dog poop. I even ran in place while Cleo sniffed flowers, ate crab grass and pointed (she is not a pointer) at a squirrel. Usually, when I run, I run so hard that my lungs clutch at air by the time I get halfway. This time, I ran so slowly it actually hurt my muscles--strange, stoppy muscles-- to go so slow. The iPod shuffled John Prine, Spoon, Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies, Jimi Hendrix--much goodness for Slow Running. Perhaps Slow Running can be like Slow Food. Me and my local produce and my mile an hour running speed.

The good news: Erik's going to get me proper running shoes for mother's day. He said he needed to go shopping for Mother's Day on Saturday but I said all I want for Mother's Day is the hallway painted. I also said all I want for Mother's Day is the glass taken to the recycling bins. I also said all I want for Mother's Day is breakfast. But for the fact I made the breakfast I got all that. And, when Erik asked if there's anything else i wanted, I said running shoes. He said sure, that's what he wanted to get me but he didn't want me to think that I thought that he thought that I needed to run.
His mother also got me running shorts and shirt. She said she didn't think I needed to run either. Sweet.

Other good news. Did the Ask Marilyn puzzle in the Parade for the first time ever. Easiest thing ever, a lot like running slow, but did it nonetheless.

Friday, May 12, 2006

First attempt

Thanks to Doctor Mama's Blog I tried today a new way of running. I tend to "run" (scare quotation marks seriously meant) about once or twice a week, but I always hate it, never want to go longer, dread doing the next day, etc. But Doctor Mama says to go slow, so slow that people will laugh. I like to make people laugh so I figure that I will give this a try.

So I woke up, a bit worse for wear because of the two glasses of wine too many and the dog vomit interruptions of REM sleep. It's OK, I think. There's nothing like a good sweat to get rid of a tiny hang over.

I have three cups of coffee, feed Zoe some applesauce and read the paper. I really read the paper. Stalling? I'd say so. But it's ten and it's getting hot and Cleo the dog hates running almost as much as I do, especially in the hot, so I get going.

I put on a pair of yoga pants, a bra and then one of those tank tops with a built-in bra thinking this is what Doctor Mama meant when she said "double bra."

I put Zoe in her stroller, let Cleo follow behind off-leash, and walk up the hill to warm up.
Once on flat-land, I put the iPod on the stroller because the yoga pants have no pockets. I turn the Pod ot shuffle and hear The Melvins, the Stooges, Fugazi, and Nirvana all in the first five minutes of "running." You'd think the hard core would make me lift those knees, but not so much. Instead, I keep stopping to skip the song. Then I stop to yell for Cleo who is now a whole block behind. Then I stop to pull up my pants which are riding down, down, down. So with one hand on the stroller and one on my pants, I tell Cleo to hurry and begin to run so slow. So slowly in fact that it turns out I am walking. I've been walking for some time. Perhaps even ambling.

We get to the park. Cleo thinks she wants to say hi to this cute (so not cute) Bloodhound so I wait for about half and hour for her to play. She approaches and runs away, approaches and runs away. She's a huge malumute/shepherd but she thinks she's a Chihuahua. Now that whatever elevated heart-rate I once had slips away, she finally sniffs the dog and we're off again. There had been a slight incline on the way to the park, but the way back slants down and I'm hopeful I can keep the bounce in my step to qualify as a "run."

I put Cleo on her leash this time to force her to keep up though this means half the time I'm pulled to a deadstop so she can smell the daffodils.

But foor one whole block, I'm running and bouncing all the way to the next street when Cleo darts for a squirrel, the leash is torn out of my hands, the iPod falls, I bend to pick up the iPod, the stroller rolls on its own, threatening to careen down the very steep L Street, I dive for the stroller, the pants lose whatever hold they once had and, as I push the stroller to safety, pick up the now-scratched iPod, scream for Cleo, and finally, finally pull up my pants, an jerk in a truck drives by to whistle, "Nice crack."

I drag Cleo the rest of the way--hand on leash, hand on stroller--my pants staying up thanks to the slow, slow walking of my feet.

I'm going shopping for proper shoes, bra, and, most importantly, pants or shorts with a string, tie, or other cinching devices. Plus, pockets for the iPod and a long, long leash for the very ass-dragging (though not ass-crackin') dog. I'd give up the dog, but she could stand a little heart-elevating exercise as much as I could.

I'll try again on Sunday & let you know how it goes.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I thought it would be majestic. I thought it would be full of ceremony. I thought that the ritual and commraderie would be transformative. What it really was all my graduate school anxities piling up. I spent most of the two hour ceremony sitting on an aisle, separated from the rest of the English PhD's because of my last name being, well, last, trying to get my mortarboard to stay on my head. I think my hair is slippery. I don't think my head is particularly small, (you can't get a PhD with a SMALL head). My mom said that the band was overstretched. Thanks mom.

My name was not in the program which made me think I wasn't actually graduating. I kept looking up at my family but I couldn't see them very well and they couldn't see me and I was sure they were freaking out more than I was that my name wasn't listed. It was all very grim with speeches and honorary degrees until the hooding of the PhD's--then, three of my professors came up to hood me--which entailed not the K*K*K-like hooding I'd imagined. In fact, it's more of a draping, or perhaps a shawling. But regardless of the dumb name, I felt summoned and enveloped and invited. And photographed. Badly. I'm very very worried about these pictures. I'm pretty sure I look like a frog with a square on her head, set off in squareness by my square face.

Then, the 982,217 undergrads were given their diplomas. I about had an anxiety attack waiting for the names to be called. I kept watching the rows, thinking now we're 1/3 done, now a half, wait a minute, I said half over 789,212 people ago.
Apparently, my mother, whose chair was being kicked by a thirteen year-old who was playing his gameboy, was also made anxious. She turned around and stared at the kid for 7 entire minutes and then asked why in the hell did he bother to come. My mom loves crowds even more than I do, let me tell you.

Afterward, we had the lovely Batts and families over for drinks. Then, to the Metropolitan, sans husband who couldn't get off work, but all six of us (mom & SO, mom & dad in law & Thirty one, in one car, The Chrysler Pacifier, to support eco driving.
4 of the 6 of us ordered the prix fixe.
Amuse bouche of Porcini Fritter with Truffle anglaise.
Then the 7 courses:
1. white gazpacho with celery leeks & parsnips (Mom & MIL had spring vegetable consomme where the tiniest veggies in the world came in a tiny bowl and the servers brought out a teapot full of broth and poured it on top of the veggies on site.)
2. Chilled seasonal vegetables--baby squash, radish gelee, micro basil (pretty good but the radish jello didn't dissolve as I hoped it would)
3. seared foie gras with black truffle ice cream, balsmic vinegar, & microgreens. (much discussion about animal cruelty and the foie gras ban in Chicago. Ate it all anyway. Not eco-eating. Loved it though the truffle ice cream tasted a lot like vanilla. I do love those tiny veggies)
4. Butter poached giant prawn with shrimp crisps, cilantro (micro, what else) & savory bisque. (One of the best courses, though the shrimp was about 2 seconds overcooked).
5. tangerine sorbet (you call this a course? OK, whatever.)
6. tenderloin surf & turn with wild ramps (like baby onions), dungeness crab, horseradish hollandaise (pretty good though the tenderloin was a bit mushy. I stole thirty-one's bigger portion then ended up giving it back).
7. dessert sushi (Metaphorical sushi-the ginger was candied, the nori was granache, a sliced strawberry was ahi, a sliced mango was hamachi, the pistashio creme was wasabi.

Did I mention we drank some wine? About 18 bottles? Maybe not quite that many.....

The whole day I was reminded of my college graduation. where I had been invited after to Emeritus Professor Kaspar Locher's house. I was one of 8 students invited, plus a guest. I took my ex-boyfriend. We sat on the back deck, drank champagne and ate cocktail shrimp as spring blossoms fell into our glasses.

Ah, maybe Spring is the ritual I was looking for. That or being invited to play with the big kids.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Colbair Repair

So exciting, all these politics. Immigration protests all over the country thrilled. It gives me hope that enough people can agree and plan and get it together to get out, all on the same May Day. I particularly like that it's International Labor Day (not the US's we-have-to-have-our-own labor day.)
I, however, screwed up and sent Erik to pick up Barbacoa for lunch today. I was staying home, not buying anything to support, if nothing else, the day-laborers who get hosed on home-improvement projects such as my kitchen and landscaping projects, but I blindly said, I'd love my favorite Mexican food for lunch. Duh.
Turns out something like 49% of day-laborers are hired by home-owners.
Mostly though, I'm happy about Stephen Colbert and the White House Correspondent's Dinner. A White Bear has a smart post about satire. Colbert is one of the most subversive because he talks the funniest Conservative talk, undermining every word that comes out of this administration's mouth. Not for everyone, apparently, but I'm not sure why. The video of his talk IS uncomfortable. No one laughs. But I laughed. He's my hero.
In less politicky news: I painted the bathroom entirely by myself. I'm not usually allowed to paint because I a)tend to flick paint b)have a hard time "staying within the lines" c) not stepping in, walking through, or running my butt into the newly wet paint. But time restraints and Erik's painting threshold pretty much crossed, I sanded, cut in, rolled, re-sanded and second coated the whole damn bathroom. I did cheat on the medicine cabinet and the closet--if you come over, you'll see my sloppy work there, but, for the most part, it looks pretty good. All white though. Maybe, if I promise to be good, I can do two-tone in the future. Though now my "they won't let me paint" excuse not to paint is kaputt.