Sunday, September 30, 2007

Putting the Cooler Away

We went camping on Friday night. We tried to go Thursday but about halfway there, it started to rain so we turned around. Of course, the skies cleared up the minute we pulled up to our house but that night, it thunderstormed pretty majorily. Interpid souls that we are (hardly) and with the car still packed (lazy) we headed out Friday afternoon. We drove north and west toward Silver Lake and Lincoln Bridge but the state parks there were pretty small with the sites on top of each other. And, Z didn't fall asleep for her daily nap until we pulled into the campground. What better reason to look for a better spot? So we turned south and drove toward some lake-y campgrounds. We found a great spot at Benton Lake--a bit of sun, a picnic table, a fire pit, a deer flaying hanging-post--all the things you want while camping with a two year-old.
This is our first camping trip since Z was born. How can that be? Well, last summer it was all moving and selling the house. And this was a lot of travel. But it was so great and Z loved it and now that we've got a lay of the camping land around these parts, it won't be such an inertial effort.
I didn't cook a gigantic meal like I like to when we're camping. I once made leg of lamb. For a backpackign trip, I once made and then dehydrated my own stew. This time, we just had brats and onions and kraut--in the end, I was glad Egg insisted we not make anything complicated. And so few dishes!
The temperature got down to like 40 degrees that night but we had plenty of firewood and an extra featherbed (it was roughing it in the least rough way) for Z so we were warm and toasty. The best food news? We found both birch and aspen boletes in the aspen forest and had them with our tuna (bad, awful, ahi from Costco) last night after we got back. They were delicious if a bit sandy.
It should be easier to take these one-night or all day jaunts if I remember that I can run errands and do laundry as soon as we get back. And if I have forest mushrooms to go find. Z is really good at finding mushrooms and particularly good, thank god, at not eating them.
I feel really behind with work (Dr. Write! Scorpion's Tail! Novel!), grading, student blogs, etc. But if I go running now and make some sort of list, I think I won't be in danger of flubbing next week entirely.
Egg has two big tests but then next weekend, maybe we'll try another big activity. Bike ride on the rail trail? I hope so!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's that ringing sound in my ears

I joke a lot about the fact that the only person who calls us on our home phone is A.M.--and then usually only to plan disk golf with Egg. I IM with my sisters most of the weekend, email everyone else. I don't absolutely hate talking on the phone but it never occurs to me to call anyone just to chat.

And yet, this weekend, I think I spent 14 hours on the phone. 3 to my friend in New York, 2 with my mom, and 9 with my friend in Wyoming. Divide each of those numbers by 2 and the numbers actually reflect reality. I used to talk for hours to two of my friends but we're not that close anymore so my the hours I'm putting in with the handset tucked under my chin have dropped off considerably. My chin is the better for it but not much else.

I hate to call to interrupt people's regularly schedule. And the time difference makes it hard to calculate when might be the best time to call. And Z the McFree is not particularly conducive to phone calling. Maybe now that so many of my friends have kids, none of us use the phone like we used to. And I get frazzled on the phone in ways I don't in person (though I do get frazzled in person--just in different ways). I make up words and laugh in the wrong places and say "cool" way too often. When I was on the job market, I had a phone interview for one job. I made myself dress up in my suit anyone just so I wouldn't fall prey to my own spiral-talking.

But perhaps some of the isolation I'm feeling this fall (I know, it's only really been fall for 2 days), could be alleviated by using the telephone. The electronic media does what it does but there's still something quiet about it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Please to include

On my list of things to do:
Proofread blog posts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The problem with lists

I knocked a few things off the list, added others. Got swamped by advising and teaching stuff and then we all got sick.
Zo has her regular Darth Vadar breath. I don't think even Darth could handle as much albuterol as we nebulized all over her last night. But she seems to have turned a corner. Or is maintaining. Or mainlining the albuterol.
I, however, have lost all hope for the list.
If you need me, you'll find me under the kitchen table, eating Tabbouleh. I'm sure I'll take my computer under there with me. So I won't be out of touch. Just out of range of the onslaught of reviews and conferences.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No way it's all going to happen

I was just reading over at Limon's about how she's not going to get all the things done this semester she needs to. I am panicking about my own semester by blogging. Actually, I'll make this a listing blog so the list and the weight can be palpably felt. And perhaps in order to lift the weight, I'll actually do one or two of these today.

  • Host Grad School Night Sept. 24.
  • Write a review by Oct 15.
  • Read 40 student blogs a week (whoops! What a great idea! Student blogging! 750 words a week! Ack!)
  • Write conference paper for Nonfiction Now.
  • Contact my panelists for Nonfiction Now.
  • Read 7 books for my independent study.
  • Finish novel draft by Sept. 30 (60,000 words yesterday. 10 or 20 more thousand to go.)
  • Compile 3rd year review file.
  • Read apps for new hire.
  • Review affiliate faculty.
  • Finish Hospital poems for contests.
  • Send out old book to contests of finalist last year.
  • Write conference paper for AWP.
  • Revise 14 essays.
  • Buy plane tickets for SLC, NYC, and NYC.
  • Develop course for Spring 2009.
  • Finish kitchen (admittedly, my role is small. I mostly have to by drawer pulls and wine racks but still).
  • Submit funding requests for trips to NYC and NYC.
Actually, now the list doesn't seem so bad. The biggest trouble is the 3rd year review file but I think that's mostly a matter of organization. Which is not my strong point. But perhaps lists like this are a sign of things to come.

Hope I didn't stress you out on a fine Sunday morning. I feel better though.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hispanic Festival

Finally. A good taco. Better than a Salt Lake taco. Here, in GR.
We had a great day. Z's daycare hosted this odd fundraiser where we paid $20 and they watched kids for 4 hours to help pay for new playground equipment. If it was only $5/hour every half day--it would be an ideal amount of school for the Z where maybe I could get some work done without having to say, OK Z, five minutes. Mom's working. And then giving in to play magnet puzzle for twelve minutes.
So we went to the Hispanic Festival, purchased an adorable Equadoran sweater for Z featuring embroidered cacti and llama and I got a sweater full of orange colors.
I drank beer there.
Then, we went to Founders. Which has many a beer and nary a glass of wine. I drank half a glass of beer there.
And then our good friends who make GR a great place to live came over and they had another beer and I returned to my stand-by, wine. We had to escape the onslaught of mosquitoes and so came inside where we were accosted by Z's stuffed animals and Egg's lascivious jokes about portfolios and balance sheets.
Ah, the MBA. Who knew how sexy the MBA could be...

Stymied by Yahoo

Usually, I'm a pretty good Googler. I can find out what translocated genes are and what Rolling Stone cover Britney Spears may have graced and which New Orleansy foods are considered Cajun and which ones Creole.
But two answers the internet has denied me:
1. How do squirrels get inside of walnuts. Is it gravity that breaks the outer husk? Then how do they get into the harder one. I tried throwing it on the ground, stomping on it, even biting it but then the bitterness of the outer husk choked me and my hands turned black from the essential oils and I wonder do squirrels have little bearded nutcrackers in trees or do they just wait for the husks to rot or are their teeth the stuff nutcrackers aspire to be? The internets would not tell me. I googled a bunch of phrases and nothing.
2. Then, last night, while we're watching Children of Men, which I shouldn't watch because I tend toward a dystopic view of the universe and I find all things baby-related extra tear-provoking, Michael Caine's character says Shanti Shanti Shanti when imagining the hopeful Human Project. So I look up Shanti Shanti Shanti which , it turns out, is a common meditation mantra. But what poet says it three times in one of his poems? Gary Snyder? (ETA. TS Eliot. It came to me five minutes after I posted.)
And, although I could find it but I'm too lazy, on Hightouch's blog I used the phrase "bogart" as a verb. Does it mean plain old steal or just sort of take too much space up on? Because the latter is what I meant.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First Two Weeks in Review

I've been refraining from blogging. Partly because I'm overwhelmed and partly because I feel complainy and I don't want to complain too much here. I'd prefer to list the delicious foods I've eaten of late, but there haven't been too many. I've been too busy.
Egg started MBA school last week so he's gone two nights of the week. I like to cook for Z and her palate is pretty broad for a two year-old but she doesn't act as impressed as I'd like my diners to be. So we eat noodles and pepper for dinner.
My foot. It is hurt. I pulled the outstep but it feels like the skin and the muscle became separateed and whenever I walk, the skin goes one way and the muscle and bone go another. I can't run so I'm grumpy. Even though I run slow. And short distances.
School. It is a long distance and also slow. I hate how I already feel behind. The first week of classes seem to require such tremendous energy--like right now I have to press all the force for the semester into these first weeks. If I do it well, the rest of the semester rolls right along, clicking along, amassing speed and work like any good roller coaster. And the more I teach, the more I know how much energy these first weeks require. Once we get going and I establish a rhythm, I think it will be fine.
Fine, that is, if I don't do anything but teach. I'm getting a bit bogged down in the details and I have a review coming up and assessment and benchmarking and curriculum making and etc. and oh my.
But it seems like it should be a pretty fun semester with some smartly students whose mindsI'm trying to blow by making them read hardcore theory. If my mind doesn't blow first.