Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween--a retrospective

Thanks to LisaB, I realized how close it was to Halloween and that I didn't have a costume. My favorite option of hers was "Closet Yeti" which I would steal if it would act like fall down here and cool down. It's still 70 degrees. It's almost November. These are the mountains. It should be snowing. They say maybe next week.

So, lo though the weather is interesting, this Halloween may prove to be the least interesting in a decade. Erik has to work and there are no parties insisting that I dress up. So instead of listing potential costumes for this year, I shall list the costumes of years past. I'll begin with 1998 for that was the first year, as it was my first year in grad school as well, that I put effort into my work.
  • 1998--Twister (Twister board as toga, spinning device as mortar board.) Party at Craig and Satina's. Car shot with automatic rifle sometime in the middle of the night. Fortunately, I'm not in it and no one got hurt.
  • 1999--Costume? This is the one year I can't remember. I blame it on PTSD from the previous party at Craig and Satina's, where it was held again this year, but in their new house. That's what I should have gone as--PTSD.
  • 2000--Group project with KJ and co as The Monkey Wrench Gang. Party at Mary Anne's. Halfway through, KJ and I realized we should have gone as The Blair Witch Project. If only we'd brought our video camera.
  • 2001--Martha Stewart. I came prepared with edible scary treats marshmallow and licorice spiders, scary dismembered hands made from gloves and popcorn and other Stewarty like crafty-foods. Party at Kate's.
  • 2002--Lemon Fresh Scent. Shorts and shirt adorned with lemons--car scent tree hanging from neck. Lemon drops in pockets. Kate again hosts. Kate's porch suffers from too much fun.
  • 2003--The Drought--sand glued to dusty clothes, empty water bottles dragging behind like so many ghostly chains from a Christmas Carol. Party at Rebecca L.'s.
  • 2004--Binicula. Party at Erik's friend's house. No one gets the bunny ears and vampire teeth.
  • 2005--Stuccoe'd O'er with Quadrepeds. Zoe, newly born, goes as one of the quadrapeds (a lamb) other four-legged Beanie Babies pinned to outfit. No one gets the Whitman reference. I send a photo to my dissertation director.
  • 2006--The Forest Floor. Again with the safety pins. Amanita muscaria of red felt with white dots and fall leaves stuck to me. Zoe goes as a bear. I carry her to make the sense of floor more (or possibly less) clear).
  • 2007--The Michigan Real Estate Market--Cheap and Easy. Blue eye shadow. Glitter. A sign (safety pin) on my bum reading "Price Reduced."
  • 2008--The Stock Market? I could get really drunk and go as "Tanked." Otherwise, I'm slightly clueless. Z is going as a Fairy Princess but I could convince her she's a butterfly. My friend at school suggested that then I could go as a cocoon but I worry it would look to much like the tampon a friend of mine of went as. He was pissed when someone squirted ketchup on him. Irrationally so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please Let the Election Be Over

And please let it be over in a good way.

I called Indiana today. Last week, at the MoveOn Party, I called Virginia. 4 sheets of names, 14 names per sheet. I only ended up talking to about 10 people. I want to tell MoveOn--people have Caller ID. I wouldn't answer either. (Although Egg did answer the phone yesterday all willy nilly, no caller ID checking and they--of which I am one-- called to see if I'd go to New Mexico. I told them I couldn't do that but that I'd make calls from here.)

Still. I got two volunteers although one was only 16. I wonder if she showed up at the volunteer office.

Today I called 25 women voters in Indiana. It's getting easier. It's funny how much shame I was living with--either from being from the Reddest State or from the bad turnout in the last two elections. But I'm getting prouder. So I made calls without sweating as I dialed. It seems most of the women in Indiana had been contacted before. I talked to about half of the people--which is surprisingly good odds. Most were sick of being called. A few were strong supporters. Most I just tried to convince to vote early. One still hadn't decided. I went over my handily available tax information with her telling her unless she made over $600,000, her taxes weren't going up. She still wouldn't decide. She said she'd read everything she could get her hands on and had watched all the debates and still hadn't decided. I kind of admire that--waiting to get into the booth to commune with whatever is holy to help you decide. She was 82. I said I'd keep my fingers crossed that she'd vote for Obama.

I went to see my Ob/gyn today. She says she's a one cause woman. She'll vote democrat until she dies to keep women's right to choose. She gave me hope too. I reminded her to vote early.

So even though the bad news is that the rangers who protect the gorillas in Virunga have been flushed from their posts by Congo rebels and the habitat for Orangutangs in Indonesia is being destroyed at 1 football field per hour in Indonesia, some of the information I received today was good news.

My blood pressure? Not such good news. I blame it on the election. And the stock market. And Z's cough. And the 17 meetings I have scheduled this week. Maybe they could take my blood pressure when I'm on vacation. Or in a coma. Perhaps next time, I'll take Xanax first.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Loneliest Number

Both Cold, Cold North and Little Hands tagged me for the meme. I'm the least likely to ever do memes but how can I deny the freezing one or she with tiny hands? Also, I was able to pinch a bunch of their ideas so in order not to tax my one-worded brain.

Where is your cell phone? Taped
Where is your significant other? Computered
Your hair color? Blond
Your mother? Awesome
Your father? (Like the) Dow
Your favorite thing? Butter
Your dream last night? Anniversary
Your dream/goal? Water
The room you’re in? Dining
Your hobby? Dining
Your fear? Bronchitis
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Portland
Where were you last night? Teaching
What you’re not? Revise-y
One of your wish-list items? Obama
Where you grew up? SLC
The last thing you did? Coffeed
What are you wearing? Sweater
Your TV? Dora!
Your pet? CleoBox
Your computer? Always
Your mood? Scratchy
Missing someone? Steve
Your car? Depreciated
Something you’re not wearing? Bikini
Favorite store? Powells
Your summer? Missing
Love someone? Dozens
Your favorite color? Green
When is the last time you laughed? Sarah
Last time you cried? Obama

I tag Mary Anne, Mapmaker, Xena One and Two, Econtrario, What Now and Pretty Hard, Dammit

Monday, October 20, 2008

Productive Productivity

This was a good weekend. Unlike last weekend, which was 50 degrees max and 19 degrees min most of the days, it was 70 and sunny Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Egg, Z and I went to the playground to fly a kite (and some of us went to slide on the slides) went to dinner on Friday (OK. Is it dinner if it’s 4 o’clock? Really, it was a late lunch.) With wine. On the patio on the way to Sedona. I was fighting a cold so we just came home to have a fire and watch TV.

Saturday, feeling mostly healed, Z and Cleo and I went running and then there was much house-cleaning and laundry-doing then a good bit of writing done by me thanks to the editorial suggestions of Egg. Then, we went over to some people’s house—our first visit at the home of someone who lives in this town. They had a 2.5 year old and a 18 month old. Z played with the little girl (yay! A friend for Z!) while we ate guacamole. We also walked up the hill to a block party (other blocks’ parties are even more odd than one’s own block parties) for which I’d made a frittata (thanks to the brilliant suggestion of Little Hands) and hummus. No one ate it because we were so late they’d finished off the savory chapter of the pot luck and had moved onto the dessert portion of the evening. We took both back to the new friends’ house. Perhaps they finished it off after we left? I can only hope. They cooked some chicken wings from Sam’s Club. Z liked them a lot. We came home and ate peaches and yogurt and then went to bed at 9. Productivity plus new friends plus block parties equal exhaustion.

But Sunday was by far the most productive day of the three. Egg took Z to the park again—to play disc golf and to slide and then to the grocery store. My list will look so much more productive in bullets:

  • Finished essay about demi-glace.
  • Made bread.
  • Began to fix essay about Z and butter.
  • Took Cleo running.
  • Read for Grad Class.
  • Showered.
  • Made delicious salad of smoked turkey and turnips.
  • Went to party.
  • Called MoveOn-like folks in Virginia to get them to volunteer (stressful but not nearly as as calling undecideds).
  • Stopped at Ace for Egg to get him some clear silicon caulk to cover the nails on the roof (I had no idea how many kinds of silicon caulk they have. I stared at tubes for 15 minutes until I found the right one).
  • Raked and stuffed 5 bags worth of pine needles. They’re everywhere and seem to be a fire hazard. Some of our neighbors seem to rake them up, some don’t. So we’re doing a half-assed job and doing some of them.
  • Made guacamole.
  • Sat on porch and played letters with Z.
  • Moved inside. Egg set up the stereo (our last box! We’ve been listening to the iPod magic player for 2.5 years. We never unpacked it in GR. I think we may stay here for awhile.)
  • I found and dusted speakers.
  • Danced to music with Z.
  • Made tacos.
  • Watched Mad Men.
  • Read student essays while Egg gave Z a bath.

Went to bed when? That’s right. 9 o’clock. Thank god we’re on Pacific Time and the sun has been down for 3 hours already so it doesn’t seem entirely lame.

Now, I’m ready for another weekend. Instead, I have two presentations this week (one about publishing, another about PhD school), 16 more essays to read and comment on, 3 student meetings, hardcore advising now that students are registering for spring semester and trying to graduate in the spring, plus a dinner party on Friday and, I hope, some submissions going out the door.

Next week will be also busy but soon we go south to visit our friends and then it’s winter break. Well, my birthday, then Thanksgiving and then winter break. November. What a great month. Almost as lovely as October.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The great thing about my mom coming to visit:

She comes to see me almost as much as she comes to see Z.

She plays with Z so I can write (except when she needs help working the remote).

She cleans the spots, like behind the kitchen faucet, behind the toilet, between the washer and dryer, I don't clean and rather than suggesting I clean it myself, just points out tools—such as toothbrushes and Comet, that make such cleaning easier.

She pets the dog even though she doesn't like dogs.

She loves everything Egg and I cook—even if the pork chops were slightly undercooked. She asked Egg for his green chile stew recipe.

She loved the breadmaker and ate every loaf I made—even the very experimental underdone dill loaf.

She bought me a new bread knife to cut said bread.

She loves turkey vultures ("a committee of" is a common collective term we learned) almost as much as I do. She even wanted to put out some hamburger to see if that would bring more but then she decided that would be messing with the system a bit much.

She brought Play-doh and race tracks for the Z.

She knows how to get Play-doh out of a sisal rug (let dry. Use knife).

She's amazed at the number of ravens circling overhead.

She wipes Z's nose, puts Vaseline under that wiped-raw nose, puts Menthalatum on her chest, learns how to use the Albuteral nebulizer, and wakes up when Z coughs and goes to sleep in Z's bed when Z asks.

She brings tissues wherever she goes.

She loves lunch, the Grand Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Slide Rock, and Sedona in that excellent and proper order.

She and her great boyfriend are up for about anything, including hikes with tarantulas and stopping at 3 different grocery stop on a Saturday, plus the 3 additional grocery stop trips they took on their own, restocking our entire kitchen.

She brings her boyfriend and his great vegetables for his great garden.

She's willing to play Cranium.

She and Egg can talk politics and yell at the TV during the debate in great animated good fun (they're on the same side and yet still manage to disagree over the details—in good humor).

She can watch Z do her singing and dance moves for even longer than I can.

She dances and sings.

She likes to learn new songs like Frog Went A Courtin'.

She tells me what her favorite songs were and when.

She sings the songs she sang to me to Z. And then some new ones.

She promises she'll come back soon.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Temple of My Familiar

There's a street behind my house. Behind that street, there is forest--a Ponderosa-filled, trail-ridden, semi-hilly, sometimes flat, sometimes hilly forest. I like the idea of living on the edge of the wilderness. From the trails I run every other day, I could conceivably run/ride my bike/walk to Walnut Canyon which is a National Monument. The trails only let you near the actual canyon but inside that canyon supposedly live bears and fox and owls and mountain lions. This space is temple-like to me. That it exists right behind me seems like a miracle. And because, like any empty property next to any (every?) house I've lived, the space has been eventually developed, that eventually, this place will have more streets and more houses on it makes it all the more precious.

My mom was here with her boyfriend last week. We had nonstop good fun including going to the upper rim of the Walnut Canyon as well as the upper rim of the Grand Canyon. As well as the pinnacle of Sedona's vortex (can a pinnacle be a vortex?).

We also went on a hike in behind the house. As we rounded the last turn to go back up the hill, what crossed our paths but a gigantic tarantula. The cephalothorax was all black. The opisthosoma was a rusty brown. He didn't like being on the path with us. He could sense our footsteps, my mom thought, and so was already on the move out of the way. He crawled, as quickly as he could without calling too much to himself by scurrying, across the path. I wanted to tell him that we already noticed him and that we too wanted to look cool but that we'd go ahead and wait for him to make it into the crispy grasses.
Then, Erik and Z and I went walking on Sunday far, far back behind our house and there was another. And then on Monday when I was running with Z, there was another.

At the risk of letting my arachnophopbic sister know this story and vow to never come visit me again, I thought that this was a particularly good October story. And although I'm a little sketched out by seeing 3 (three!) in one week, in these dark times I worry less about big spiders trying to eat me and more that I'll end up having to eat them.