Monday, March 31, 2008

Fie upon it.

The weather has entered a realm that I like to call Hot Bullshit. Appropriate usage (e.g., upon stepping out the door in the morning): "What is this hot bullshit?" We have about 5 inches of thick slushy snow on the ground and it's falling down in heavy chunks. Nothing kills my plans to gymify more quickly than this weather, so I suspect it will be more tea and Curb Your Enthusiasm tonight, rather than slow jogging and shoulder presses. One good thing about drinking greens in the morning is that you continue to feel very virtuous throughout the day, however, regardless of your activity level. And tea and comedy are good rewards for your virtue.

I had one of those work meetings today where you feel like a total fraud, except that no one else really knows it, depending on how good you are at presenting yourself. I have to remind myself that I felt fraudulent when I first started teaching as well, especially when I was a music history TA, except that at least I had a whole wack of training and expertise and book-learnin' to balance my feeling of fraud back then. In my current job I just have spreadsheets and, like, excellent googling skills, and smarts. I guess the smarts are the main thing. And next week I am going to get 30 hours of training, which I am certain will be excruciating. At least my boss and Anna have to suffer through it with me. And at the end: certification! expertise!

Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut into a fake bob unless I am otherwise instructed by the divine Kathy. I have been waffling about this haircut for awhile because truly I am tempted to get the super-short pixie, but I dread the maintenance, DREAD IT. And I have let my hair go for what, almost three months, and so I have enough length to simulate a completely different hairstyle once I get this mullety stuff shorn off the back. Most likely I will grow it out for another haircut cycle, and then have it chopped, which will be very satisfying. And now you know my plan.

Also tomorrow I have no teaching responsibilities (thanks to "spring break"), which means I have almost an entire day to TCOB, read Veganomicon, listen to Gnarls Barkley, and work on my thesis. So excited; just can't hide it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Progress.

Yesterday I finally, FINALLY joined my favorite co-op. To give you an idea of how stupid it is that I hadn't joined earlier:
  • I have been shopping there since I was an actual child.
  • I lived in the neighborhood for 3 or 4 years, and did about half my shopping there during that time.
  • Prior to that, I lived just a few neighborhoods over, for 4 years, and did a quarter of my shopping there.
  • I am a fan of the co-op model.
  • Their share price is one third that of other area co-ops.
When I lived nearby I kept putting it off, and then when I moved out of the area I thought I wouldn't be going there so often. As it turns out, I'm there once a week, if not more. So yesterday when I was loading up on green smoothie supplies, I finally joined up.

Along the same lines, some friends and I have been trying to sort out which CSA we're going to join for the growing season and how we're going to divvy up the food. I'm pretty excited about this move. I'll pay about $250 up front to split a share of local produce for 18 weeks or so, starting in June. That ends up being about $14 a week for 4-13 pounds of produce, depending on the season. Sweet sweet! And then, as Anna said, we will have Ladies' Nights where we have to use the vegetables we have no idea what to do with. I think she was talking about potluck dishes, but it sounded filthy.

These items, along with the green smoothie experiment (basically, I've started drinking my greens every day), are helping me along on my little food journey. What WHAT!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rollin with the homies.

Okay, my friends. As you may remember, four weeks from tonight, I shall be bowling, possibly badly, in the Pro-Choice Resources annual Bowl-a-thon. This is the 15th year for PCR's Bowl-a-thon and they've ramped up their fundraising goal to $50K, so I've ramped up mine as well--and I'm over halfway there.

This is my third year doing this fundraiser and I'm not likely to quit. Here are just a few of the reasons that I support an organization that works every day to reduce barriers to the full spectrum of reproductive health services:
  • Government intervention in sex education has helped lead to yet another crisis: according to a national representative study released by the CDC earlier this month, 1 in 4 girls between 14 and 19 has a sexually transmitted disease. Young women's health is a casualty of abstinence-only sex ed curricula. PCR provides real, comprehensive sex education to teens and women in my community and beyond, through neighborhood festivals, professional conferences, and community forums, and via the Birds and Bees Project website.
  • The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed country, despite the fact that American teenagers are not more sexually active than their Swedish, Canadian, or British counterparts. In countries where comprehensive sex education is the norm, people don't start having sex at a younger age--they're just far more likely to use contraception when they do.
  • You think the welfare system is a mess? Almost half of teen mothers end up on welfare, and teen moms are less likely to complete high school or go on to post-secondary education, too. Support an organization that provides comprehensive sex ed and help break this cycle.
And I haven't even gotten into the rest of the reproductive health issues I want to talk about. Next time, next time.

Here's a great chance to put your money where your mouth is. Any donation to PCR, in any amount, can make an immediate impact on the people who are served by PCR's programs. Really! PCR doesn't get funding from the government or United Way, and they really depend upon your support.

Here's my personal fundraising page, or you can just click on that big button at right to make a contribution to PCR. And because I like you, for every donor that ponies up, I'm going to throw an extra dollar in. So far, that's $17 extra for PCR, and it could be lots more!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Boughten.

I just ordered:
1. Harley boots
Boots I done bought.

2. Veganomicon.

3. Gnarls Barkley's new joint:


I am jazzed for the mail.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Food problems.

My diet seems to be undergoing some kind of revision, and I can't yet tell where it's going to end up. What I do know is that for the past few months, I've been clicking away on vegan blogs. And then on raw food sites. Going vegan makes good sense to me; going raw is appealing for reasons I haven't quite parsed yet. I can tell you that it seems right to me because basically we are just fancy monkeys, and a raw diet is a monkey diet. Of course I capped off reading about the raw diet the other day by having a delicious toasted ciabatta roll with earth balance and apricot fruit spread, none of which bore any resemblance to the green smoothies and what have you.

One thing I haven't personally sorted out is what happens to farmers if we all stop eating dairy products etc, bearing in mind that I don't really give a shit about what happens to factory farmers. I also wonder what happens to the animals that have been domesticated for farm life and for use as food in one way or another. Obviously you want them to live out their sweet ruminant lives in a field somewhere, but they can't live in the wild anymore, can they? Does this mean cattle, goats, sheep, and all the rest of them are going to die out and/or go feral if they're not being raised for cheese? I'm not being flippant; I am actually wondering about this. I wonder about people like the Reads, profiled in this excellent article in City Pages not so long ago--people who tend their animals with great love and who make (apparently fabulous) cheeses, on a small scale.

I also wonder about how to reconcile the food choices you make for yourself with the ones you should rightly make for the health of your pets. This is especially potent at the moment, because we're switching Ace to wet food and the mass market stuff is repellent in terms of what it contains, and the alternative is expensive, but both contain meat because he is a carnivorous beastie.

Then of course there are leather goods, which are infinitely superior in every way to their vinyl counterparts.

Sigh, sigh, sigh.

It's boring to read about other people's food dilemmas if you don't share them yourself, I'm sure.

The thing is, I don't really see myself becoming rigid about any of these things. It's more likely that I'll just go ahead and exist inside a paradox or two for the rest of my life.

I'm turning off the computer for the evening, FYI.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm cleaning up my hard drive, which I will allow you to read as procrastination, and I found this niblet that I wrote last summer, after a late-night run for analgesia, and then forgot to blog:
The Hiawatha Walgreen’s is a slice of life after midnight. The cashier was an older woman, bleached blond, with two pentacle necklaces and a nametag that said “Cougar.” The guy right in front of me bought a tub of Astroglide and a box of frozen White Castles, which is a recipe for a party of some kind.
True story.

Taking care of business and working overtime.

I have another brilliant day planned, much like the last one in which my primary objective was TCOB. It's true that I am much more likely to have these productive days when I am flying solo--must be the introvert in me--and the Brit is out of town again this weekend, this time in TX. This trip meant that he missed the first truly upliftingly springy day in MN on Thursday, but weigh that against 80 degrees down south and it's really no contest.

The largest item on my to-do list is to knock out a chunk of my thesis. I mention this only by way of creating some public accountability. Frankly, no one on my committee really cares whether I ever get it done, nor has there been any "advising" along the way. However, members of my crew are gradually beginning to finish their papers and because I am happy for them, I want theses and their associated bullshit to cease to be topics of conversation.

So that's one reason to finish. Here are some others:

1. To earn the actual professional/academic credential.
2. To finish what I start, a la Madness.
3. To lift the psychological weight of an unfinished task so that perhaps I can stop having those dreams where I don't go to class all semester and now there's a math test. But I am a nerd, so I will probably always have academic dreams.
4. To return 50 pounds of books that I have had checked out for about two years. Seriously! How is it that I've been able to renew them so many times? At least I know no one else is doing any work on Amy Lowell.
5. To contribute something to some sort of body of knowledge, though truthfully this is low on my list.
6. To quit bitching and DO. This is high on my list in life and not just w/r/t this paper.

Anyway, it's a beautiful day, the office is sunny and yellow, I have a pile of tasks and a good measure of caffeine, and as of 10 AM I have already dinked around enough to feel like I've had a Saturday morning. The two hours of dinking is thanks to the cat, who woke me up at 7 for a battle of wills that truly only I was engaged in. All he's thinking is "hello, HUNGRY" and I'm thinking "OH MY GOD, go away, I will NOT be a slave to your gut." Unfortunately he is chatty anyway and around 7 he just gets tired of people being asleep and starts hollering, also jumping up by my head, putting his ass in my face, rubbing the bedside tables, batting the blinds, and sometimes pouncing on my toes, purring all the while. If I put my head under the covers he investigates with his paw and his wet cold nose, not in a playful way--more like he's concerned about my well-being. Occasionally he will spoon with me and shut up, but it is always short-lived. So at 8 I caved and got up. Furry jerk.

My productivity plans were almost totally derailed when Henry called me at 9:30 to ask if we wanted to hang out today. When I talked to his mom, however, I found that he was actually calling to get the Brit to bring him a microphone. Henry is a smooth operator. I mean I'm sure he would have enjoyed hanging out. But he's good at seeming to negotiate perfectly reasonable terms while also getting what he wants. I need to show you some more of his drawrings, by the by. At the beginning of the schoolyear he was drawing very expressive but simple little frowny faces, and now he's doing expressionistic and detailed portraits. Yay kindergarten! And, sniff, that boy is almost SIX YEARS OLD.

Anyway, I made plans to see them tomorrow instead, so my Day of Thesis Etcetera, it is solid. The etcetera includes etsy listings, recreating a lentil curry salad that I always buy at the co-op, doing laundry, and getting gymified. Hooray!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fashiony, styley.

I don't read very many style blogs, but why is no one talking about the Converse One-Star stuff from Target? Since it looks underwhelming when viewed online, I'll tell you that it's basic, well-designed, sporty uniform clothing, in substantial fabrics, in standard neutrals--all of which I am kind of feeling right now. Last year I would have said "feh." But now, since I can't find (or really afford at full price) the excellent pieces by Dunderdon, and I am into the idea of wearing a uniform, these little Converse dresses and jackets might fit the bill. That is, if I even decide I need to buy anything, which truthfully I do not.

So, since I'm not buying stuff, the good news is that there was a clothing swap yesterday! And I came away with some excellent new/old stuff, including a stellar pair of cowboy frankenboots by Fluevog in olive green! Primarily the clothing swap was a hilarious parade of my sister Mol's old, spotty clothes, some of which I remember from the early 90s. She's attempting a clean slate approach to her wardrobe right now, which I support, but it made for some very funny viewing. My preferred method for the clothing swap is to have each participant try to "sell" her clothes by describing the brand, cut, fiber content, etc, and Mol had a huge load of crap to get rid of, so she was doing a LOT of selling, mostly unsuccessful.

Willa was also there, wearing JEANS:
Jeans!

She got passed around and around and she was an angel the whole time. She also actually fell asleep while her mother was yelling about clothes and wrestling into tiny tank tops for comic effect:
Baby passes out while mother is yelling about her old clothes.

Conclusion: naked lady party=good times. If you haven't done this before, I recommend it--though, per my promise to the partygoers, I now have a carload of leftovers to take to Goodwill.

In other style-related news, WHAT IS UP with the Amsterdam crafters having access to the best vintage fabrics with which to make fine, fine pillows? Everything I like on etsy, pillow-wise, seems to come from katrina kaye and absoluut. Check them out for yourself.

Also, look at what we hung in the living room:


It's by Koloman Moser. I lurve it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Pro-Choice Resources Bowl-a-thon.

For the past two years, I've spent part of my spring raising money for Pro-Choice Resources, a righteous local non-profit that works every day to improve access to a full spectrum of reproductive health services by providing education, outreach, advocacy, and financial assistance under one roof. It's not a clinic or a lobbying organization, and receives no United Way or government funding. So each spring, PCR throws a Bowl-A-Thon at the Bryant Lake Bowl to help raise money to cover their programs and operating costs.

I'm only a fair-to-middling bowler, but fortunately that doesn't really matter for this fundraiser, since it's based on flat donations. And every little bit helps, from the $5 that will buy condoms to be distributed to at-risk youth to the $100 that will buy gas for reproductive health educators for a month. If you click the bowling button at right, you'll go right to my secure donation page, and help to make a difference in the lives of women and youth who need the advocacy and empowerment PCR provides.

Don't worry--the bowling button will stay up until the event on April 24th, and I'll keep bugging you about donating, in case you forget.

Roll on!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I have been severely chastised in some quarters for my failure to update, though I DID do that meme AND tweak (read: mess up) my template yesterday. Today I am home with proto-sickness, mostly sitting under a blanket and chugging tea. The goal is to prevent the sickness from becoming full-blown, by abstaining from going to the office. Everyone I know has had The Plague this winter, with ferocious respiratory consequences, so I'm not messing around. Also, I am supposed to have Willa tomorrow night, and I don't want to jeopardize that. She is rolling over and she actually talked to me on the phone today, and I am overdue for smooching her cheeks and posting new pictures of her.

So far I am not that impressed with March, are you? My car was covered with snow Wednesday morning, and then there were the wind chills and seriously lame high temps. My high school students speak longingly of Spring Break, which is coming up in a few weeks, and I groove to the academic calendar until I remember that Spring Break is no longer part of my year. But the fact is, I never really went anywhere springbreakish in the years that I could legitimately celebrate Spring Break. My last two years in high school, I went to Chicago with a friend to stay on the floor at her aunt's house and shop and eat and go to the museum. Fun yes, warm no. One year in college I went to El Paso with my old boyfriend Schmalec, to stay at HIS aunt's house. I was just remembering this trip last night, because I was describing how Schmalec returned to Wisco from Spring Break in El Paso the previous year with longhorns bolted to the hood of his 80s Volvo station wagon. (I am astonished that the car made the trip more than once. It used to stall out at intersections.) Then a few years later, Foolish Boy and I went to visit Mammoth Cave and the distilleries of Kentucky. Again, fun, but not exactly SPRING BREAK WOOOO! and certainly no relaxing on beaches.

Since my Awesome Day of Projects, I have stayed on my organizational rampage. Arc's Value Village did a pickup this week, so a few bags went out the door. The BFS is hosting a clothing swap this weekend, and I am unloading many, many things, including pants that created actual disbelief deep in my soul when I held them up for inspection, because I can't believe I ever fit into them. All the collective leftovers will go to Goodwill--that will be a satisfying trip.

Dom (who is back at home growing his immune system) has started a PR food blog: Cuca's Puerto Rican Kitchen. I will probably have to make some recaito. He gave me a frozen wad of it years ago and it cheered up my rice and beans many times.

Friends, I have updated, but I am fuzzy-headed and dull. See what I do to please you? I am going to brew another pot of Echinacea Elder and make some mac and cheese for the Brit. Oh also: I moved up to 15 pound dumbbells for bicep curls this week, so grating the cheese is actually going to hurt.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Page 123.

Ye olde 123 meme is rearing its cyclical head on the internets again, and Ed has done tagged me.

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Sadly, what is next to me is the March/April Journal of Singing, the official journal of the Natl Assoc of Teachers of Singing, of which I am a (lax, non-participating) member. A good chunk of my yearly dues pays for this publication, and I can't say that I've ever really read it. Maybe someday, though. That's why it's sitting next to me here at work, in case I go take a break somewhere and need reading material. Anyway, here's what it says--this part is a review of a new piece of published music, apparently a duet setting of soap opera updates (which is a pretty funny idea):
The vocal lines are syllabically set in whatever melodic form is appropriate to the text, complete with matter of fact passages and dramatic leaps of emotional outburst. In short, these songs would be fun to sing--and who could resist camping them up? Moreover, audiences would be highly amused, especially musicians who appreciate the dramatic forms of music that often accompany melodrama.
I tag whichever 5 of you haven't done this yet and are having slow blogging weeks. I am definitely having one of those.