Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surprises, both welcome and un

I know that I have a sewer hook-up in my backyard, but surely there's some rule somewhere that they have to inform me *before* they come onto my property to dig up my yard. Seriously. Plus, it's a fenced-in yard. What if I had a dog outside? What if I kept my gate locked? What would the sewer people do then? I'm miffed, seriously seriously miffed. Furthermore, when I got home at 3 and called a calm lady about it, all of the workers were done working for the day. At 3?!?

And then a quick, unexpected, oops-I-forgot-to-fill-out-that-paperwork-about-my-retirement-fund-stuff-again, trip to my financial advisor (so that she could fill it out for me, not that I expected her to do that...but then again, maybe she trusts herself more; I do!), I realized that today is a lovely day to surprise myself and Ben with a DUNKIN' DONUT!! Kokomo is now a bustling metropolitan (that is losing jobs by the hundred) apparantly if we have TWO Starbucks and a brand new D D?? Now every time (right, like I'll stop by every day or something!) I stop by, I can fondly remember the trip to Cape Cod when all I craved the entire trip was a donut from the neon-colored donut shop, especially seeing as how there are oodles (and tons) of them everywhere out there! And just so I wasn't dissapointed, there were 2 cops getting their donuts and brew.

And for Sarah (instead of a quote), the recipe for my potato & leek soup, my vichyssoise.

2 T butter
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1/2 c chopped onion
3 medium russet potatoes (but I was rebellious and used 4 med. yukon golds...mmm)
2 c chicken stock or broth
1 to 1 1/4 c half-and-half (I used milk)
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
small handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add veggies and saute for 3 minutes. Add 1 c of the stock (I had to use 2 to get to the top of the veggies). Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Add more stoc, if necessary (hence why I added more). Transfer to a blender or food processor in batches and puree. HOWEVER, I left the last third unblended and it made the soup deliciously chunky, albeit not a traditional vichyssoise idea. Return to pot and add remaining stock, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and cheese. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer. Blend again for extra creaminess if desired. Delicious with chives, too.

Maybe next time I'll post my cheddar broccoli soup that is totally delish as well if someone requests it. It does turn your, ahem, poo green, howsoever.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I love soup. I think that it might be my new favorite food. It's really the perfect meal all in one bowl. Mmm...especially the thick, chunky kinds. I made such a delicious soup today that I nearly made myself sick off of eating it. I couldn't stop. So this is my ode to my soup. Yum.

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something." Mitch Hedberg

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm in a habit I guess

I find that the only time I have to go grocery shopping during the school year is around 6:30/7:00 on Sunday morning. I don't have to mess with other people, the shelves are stocked and there's no other time during the week that I can go and not give up a significant amount of time doing something that is more important. I often get out of bed and throw on whatever clothes and sometimes my Braves hat if my hair is particularly bad, which would be most mornings.

I guess this morning was a good-Sunday-morning-grocery-shopping hair day. Therefore I wasn't wearing my hat. Apparantly, this is noticeable to the guy stocking the bread shelf...a bit wierd, a bit funny. Ben and I were leaving the produce and walking toward the regular aisles and Mr. Stocking-the-break-shelves-Man said, "Hey! You're not wearing your Braves hat today!" Am I this predictable that the Meijer employees know my shopping habits? Us Braves fans stick together wherever we can find each other up here in the cold North. :-)

The puking never ends

We're going through a week long stretch here where we're dealing with multiple moments of pukage each day. These two cats are certainly having some upset tummies right now.

Some of the highlights:
-4:23 am, Thursday morning (Toby and abnormally a lot)
-we got home last evening after being gone overnight and there was 1...2...3! (trifecta!) spots that needed to be cleaned up
-Ben putting on his shoes this morning...oh, here's another spot
-it blends in well on our wood laminate flooring, apparantly; i stepped in it...barefoot (SO gross)

"The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals." Sir William Osler...this seems quite truthful to me considering what a struggle it is to slather the gingivitis gel stuff on Leo's gums. I can't imagine why a cat would have an issue with that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"the horror, the horror"

It all started 6 years ago, I guess. At some point early in the summer after my first year at college, my tooth really hurt cause it cracked and el dentist said off to the specialist you go for a root canal, my friend. Yet the subsequent crown never really fit right despite all of the pain & the agony, both for my and my parents' bank account. My fault for asking my new dentist about that this summer, and this time I had to pay for the crown myself. I'm going to utilize my whiny voice or a moment and squeal, it's not faaaaiiirrrrrr. Bad luck I guess that I have to get it all redone after only 6 years.

Even better, the tooth directly below it cracked or broke a bit (hmmm...could it be because of the ill fitting crown???) and a cavity developed. Yay. Let's do both of these procedures at once! But he had to take out the old filling in the lower tooth (I've always been cavity prone, also not fair; I floss and brush religiously unlike my college roommate who frequently forgot to brush for a day or two at a time, oh Crys...) and then drill around a bit before he put the new filling in. It's kind of funny that he kept telling me about how it's a enamel colored filling (!!) instead of a silver filling (!!) as if I'm that fashion conscious about the fillings in my mouth. Who's looking at the very most back teeth anyway. Oy vey.

I think that I counted 8 novacaine shots, including one in the roof of my mouth. 2 of them came after his drilling commenced and it still hurt. Not the first time this has happened when I have gotten fillings. Is it any wonder that I hate cavities?? What's with my mouth that novacaine in normal amounts doesn't have enough of an effect? It's also not the first time that a dentist has stopped and been like, "What, you can feel that??" Oh yes, el dentist, yes yes I can. The funny thing (funny...) about today's episode in discomfort and pain was that they gave me these huge plastic sunglasses to wear (because of the light? the shower of water spraying my face?) and apparantly they couldn't see my eyebrows contorting and flinching. So when the dentist re-numbed me and left the room for a moment, the dental hygenist kept saying, don't be a champ, don't suck it up, let us know that you're in pain!! And I was like um...not trying to. I was definitely flinching and pulling my head away as much as I could. It's hard to convey such flinching when your head is cemented in place by 4 hands, a spit sucker, a blower of air, a mirror and a drill. Plus, my gums/teeth may not have been numb enough, but I definitely bit my tongue a few times trying to adamantly assert I FLINCHED I FLINCHED!!

So I've been in some form of numbness for 3 hours now, and after the last 2 just-to-be-sure-since-it-hurts-to-have-air-blown-on-this-cavity novacaine shots, and I'm still numb all the way over to my left ear. Maybe now would be a good time to get some ear piercings. Good news #1 that comes out of this: Ben didn't object when I called him, almost crying because my mouth had been wide & open and drilled and poked and prodded and shaken and jammed for 2 hours, and told him that I was getting a milkeshake. Good news #2: el dentist gave me my original crown back so that I could take it to one of those places that buys gold fillings and jewelry so that I could get a few bucks for it if I wanted to do so. Nice of him. I kind of just want to see what it looks like!

Alas, no gum until the middle of October.

I don't know why I kept calling the kind dentist "el dentist" because he's totally a 50-something white man. There were some moments when his hand(s) were shaking and I couldn't tell if it was his bordering on retirement age or if it was the tool in his hand.

Extra credit kudos (and bonus points if you press me) if you know what literary reference the title is from. I'll count that as my quote today. :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I don't usually vent about other teachers, but...

As a teacher of wanna-be adults, I find it frustrating to just hear people vent about how horrible this or that teacher is. I guess that it's my idea of professional courtesy to try not to indulge in the same senseless venting. HOWEVER. Sometimes, it's not gossipy just to be gossipy but venting in frustration. Three weeks into the semester, and I realize (a eureka moment that actually happened about an hour into the first class) that this is going to be a long semester in my Chaucer class.

During the first half hour of class last night, mind numbingly inconsequential, especially when I'm paying for it!, I decided to take some notes about my observations and then share these thoughts with you. I also yawn a lot when I'm bored and/or nervous. I feel bad about yawning, but seriously! I'd been working since about 7 yesterday morning and was in my second class of the night. I'll give you half of what I paid, take my A, and we'll call it even, eh?

1. He speaks quickly and in a monotone.
2. Random, pointless clearing of the throat. Ask Ben; lots of throat clearing bugs me. It's so grating on the nerves.
3. He sprang this one on us last night: each one of us is supposed to take a turn telling a joke at the beginning of class! Oy vey! I'm 25 and the youngest one there...must we really partake of such asanine, junvenalia? A classmate, fantastic person that she is, and a former Manchester student (ergo, she can't be bad at all, right?) volunteered to tell a joke. It was hilarious in its stupidity and was a blessed one-liner. Check...let's move one with class. Oh no, Mr. Professor Man proceeds to tell TWO jokes, neither one short, neither one particularly funny. To his credit, they may have both been funnier if I wasn't beginning to get so peeved. Jokes are fabulous, but as a homework assignment of sorts to begin a grad class?? I try to avoid situations where I feel child-like; next time, apparantly, I must needs sit closer to the door.
4. Joke time over, Senor Professor says that now it's time, little boys and girls, to talk about world events (another "fun activity" that he likes to open a class with). So he read us, literally, a random news article about the chunk of the iceberg that fell off a few days ago. He chose this simply because it's called the Ellesmere (spelling?) iceberg, and a really early, rare Chaucer manuscript is called the Ellesmere manuscript (of which I'm not sure if there's a connection). Really? This is worthy of (his) discussion for 15 minutes?
5. Dramatic pauses. Annoying! Annoying when there's nothing about which to pause dramatically (I realize that I already ended at least one sentence with a preposition, so I have since reworded 2 sentences to not end with a preposition. I always feel self-conscious about doing that; will people catch me? Laught at me? Mock me? Death by a thousand pin pricks? Sidenote: irony...I realize that if I was just saying that out loud, I would have paused dramatically between them all. Apparantly, I'm a dramatic pausing hypocrite.)
6. ENDLESS, endless.......endless stories. To his credit (??), he did not include any last night. However, both classes previous had about an hour's worth of family stories ("Oh, as you are leaving our class tonight that I have already held you too long, I just want you all to know that it is my 41st anniversary..." applause, applause, applause).
7. His notes are yellowed and older than I am. This isn't necessarily a slam against him, but an observation about his unique teaching tactics. No wonder he says "Did I tell you about..." to which we all replied "Yes..." No worries, he can tell us again!
8. He repeats himself. It's like when he says "Did I tell you about..." to which we all replied "Yes..." No worries, he can tell us again! (Did you get the joke there???)

Chaucer's my homie, but alas, Dr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named will never receive the duece (peace sign...I recently learned this from my wanna-be's) from this home skillet.

"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated." Alec Bourne

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another survey

This one goes out to you all...a survey of intellectual yet mostly un-literary people. This question came up in my class last night. If you have any thoughts, I definitely want to read them!

Question: I'm taking an Ethnic American Lit. class this semester. What do you think that we're reading and studying in this course?

Mind you, this is an honest question. It may sound simplistic, but we found out that not everyone thinks of Ethnic American lit. in the same way. Ideas?

"When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth."
George Bernard Shaw

(It's not necessarily a quote that goes with the topic, but seriously...find a quote for me that goes along with Ethnic American lit.! And, it is by Shaw; he's literary! Not ethnic, but literary!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hard to be in a grumpy mood when...

It's so gorgeous outside. Beaches and mountains are nice, but seriously, all I need to be happy are days like these. How gorgeous sans humidity!

"Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon...the two most beautiful words in the English language." Henry James

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Musings about gender

Twice a week, I drive an hour and back to Ball State; furthermore, quite a bit of this drive is through endless-seeming Indiana-ness. I seem to latch onto one or two specific topics per drive and just dwell/introspect on them during the drive. Tonight--gender. If we haven't chatted about it lately, I'm studying literature, focusing on women/gender stereotypes as they are portrayed/changing and why. The first time that I remember being interested in this specifically was undergrad w/ Dr. Ings...my American Lit/seminar/feminist perspective prof at Manchester...whose kids watch hippie kid shows that are gender nuetral and not at all mainstream. Oh, and Isabel Allende's writing, too. Wonderful stuff.

My musings tonight were a continuation of self-absorbed conversations that I have had with me before. I'm always amazed when I think of how much each of us are simply because of the stereotypes that our parents label us with because of our particular chromosomal make-up. Gender is so laden with traditions--why must boys' rooms be blue? Who said that girls' hair should be long and have pretty bows in it?

I find this both fascinating and frustrating. When thinking about my own (unborn) children, how will I approach gender with them? To what extent will we follow tradition and guide our children into a specific gender category? Not that I mind exactly, but if only parents were more aware (and maybe they are and I'm selling humanity short) of the enormous influence that they have on their children. That said, I'm all for gender. I'm all for gender delineation. I just haven't reconciled in my mind to what extent it should matter, how absolutely. Likewise, I'm all for pink and blue...but let's not forget the yellow, green and purple. There is so much more, it seems to me, that comes with the weight of your gender other than strict stereotypes.

Gender stereotypes within the home disturb to me. But in turn, why does my generation find it more acceptable to break the stereotypes? My parents perform the same gender roles as their parents. Why don't we? Why do I find it abhorrent when my mom finds it acceptable?

The crux of my rant: as much as I don't want to, I do it, too. I speak heavily gendered language with my students. Maddening hypocrisy! I continue to spend thousands of dollars to teach myself about gender stereotypes and become more and more convinced about the detriment that such stereotypes cause, and then I reinforce them with my students who are already so jaded, disparaging and wrong.

Blessed Virginia Woolf--for all of her work that is so yay-women-if-only-we-all-had-a-small-allowance-to-support-ourselves-without-needing-to-rely-on-men-so-that-we-can-do-what-we-really-want-to-do, A Room of One's Own is really not as much women-rule!! as one might think. Nevertheless, an essential text for my interests. The next step is figuring out what kernel of insight no one has cracked open yet. The voice of the acclimated minority woman? A connection between the feminine voice and the elements of music? Other?

Thanks Dr. Ings and Isabel; I owe you.

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." Voltaire

P.S...anyone have any ideas for a really cool project that I can do for a grant? $8000 or less?