Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Writing

Okay, we can all relax now. I've had two days of good work on the chapter. I was beginning to think I would never write again. I'm reading a Jane Yolen book about writing and she emphasizes that it can actually be a joyful experience. She has some good tips for staying at it. The Pema Chodron book I'm reading says to stay open and curious to what's happening in the work, even when it gets hard. I'm not a behaviorist, but as I've done well the last few days, a pedicure might be on the docket tomorrow. A dissertation writer's guide told me to treat myself well, as I'm my best asset. Scary thought.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Powers

#1 Son and I saw Sky High tonight while other family members went to the Musical Arts Center to see HMS Pinafore, whatever that is. Sky High rocked. It’s all about high school kids with assorted super hero powers. Some kids have powers that are less than impressive, but even melting like a popsicle or turning into a rodent can help when the world needs saving.
#1 spent last week at a YMCA Adventure Camp where he learned skills for surviving in the wild. By Friday he and his pals were able to make fire, with counselor assistance, and he demonstrated his technique for us at home, using these tools that he carved himself. I asked him how long he thought he could survive in the wild and he predicted, “About 24 hours probably.” Wilderness survival might not be one of his super powers, but like the kid in the movie, he probably has other powers we don’t know about yet. Maybe we all do.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Hesitance

On my way out to watch American Graffiti in the park I noticed that the night was chillier than I’d expected. I wondered aloud if I might need a jacket. But instead of going back in the house and getting one, I worried that I was holding up the waiting family and hurried into the minivan. When we got to the park it was clear that everyone needed sweatshirts. I drove home and got everyone sweatshirts and blankets, missing the beginning of this classic film. This incident represents a character trait that’s been bugging me for a long time. I am ridiculously hesitant when it comes to making a decision. Even when I’m totally sure I’m right about something---being out of toothpaste, for example---I hem and haw with wishy-washy remarks like, “I think I may have noticed…” and “I’m not sure but we might consider…” I’m annoying the hell out of myself with my hesitance. Is this how I want to live? Is this who I want to be?
I might try and work on being more decisive today. But I'm not sure if I will or not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Pimp

Husbandman and I split in our reviews of Hustle and Flow, the film about a pimp who tries to become a rap star. I have a bias against pimps that makes me a less than objective viewer. When the pimp sits in his car thinking up song lyrics all day and sends the main investor prostitute climbing into cars for 20$ tricks, that gets on my last nerve. I am also frosted by the song that’s sung over and over again during the film, “It’s hard out here for a pimp, Trying to get the money for the rent.” Boo hoo on you pal. I don’t feel sorry for you. Sadly, I can’t get the song out of my mind and whenever I sing it at home, husbandman tells me, “You know you love that movie.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Supreme

Everyone seems to think John Roberts is in like Flynn. If he can dodge questions about Roe v. Wade satisfactorily, we’ll be dealing with this guy for the rest of our lives. Or at least I will. I think Roberts should also have to answer for his son’s footwear. He should field at least a few questions like, “Do you think it’s fair to foist saddle shoes on a person who doesn’t have the resources to know better?” and “At what age is it appropriate for your child, or any child, to stop wearing saddle shoes?” Catching Roberts offguard with some saddle shoe questions may very well produce some pertinent revelations into his character.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Permit

The woman who sells tickets to the High Museum sees me holding my camera and asks if I intend to photograph. She gives me a form to fill out for a permit and tells me that there's no flash photography. As we walk into the museum, Husbandman whispers, "Do you even know how to shut off the flash?" I don't, but I figure it out when we get to the gallery, experimenting in a corner when no one is looking. With my sticker and my cheap camera, I take on the identity of art photographer as I saunter through the exhibits. I think I'm not doing enough with props in the dissertation work. This could be the answer.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Roadtrip

Traffic in Atlanta beats Chicago traffic to hell. We got stuck in traffic every day we were there. The worst story of our lives happened Saturday night. We had tickets to Springsteen and were on our way so cheerfully when we got stuck in traffic due to a hideous accident that kept us on the freeway for 4.5 hours. No Bruce. 200$ gone forever. And no Bruce concert. Husbandman and I are working through the grief stages. We're still in shock and denial, but the anger will come probably later in the week. Just getting back into the car today for the 9 hour road trip gave me shingles, but Harry Potter saved the day. Teen daughter and I traded chapters and we're about 1/3 through. The trip zipped by. Kudos and thanks to Dorothy for this picture of Samantha reading Harry Potter. That's a cooperative dog. I wish my foto subjects could be so cooperative. Every time I took a picture of my brother this weekend he kept saying, "Don't blog that!" I love him anyway, but geezlouise, it's clearly an honor to be represented on the blog and everyone knows that.

The Slip and Slide

A slip and slide is an activity to consider when it's 95 degrees. Just hook it up and slip and then slide. This one is inflatable, an innovation on the slip and slide of yore. We didn't inflate it because it was 95 degrees out and we would have sweated too much waiting for full inflation. When sister Joy arrived she insisted we should do it up right. She inflated each section using her car battery to power the pump. Joy confirmed my memory that the slip and slides of yore were about 100 feet long. The present day variety are a mere 20 feet. My arms hurt today because of my spectacular moves imitating Olympic gymnasts as I dove into the slide, and my parents' lawn sports a 20 foot brown patch now. But the slip and slide would not be denied. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Dream

We're visiting my parents in the Southland, so I had planned to take a break from the blog.
I was getting a bit obsessive about a little leeway, I figured, and my parents own the slowest computer on the planet. But last night the blogosphere would be repressed no longer and took over my dreamscape. Shakespeare's Sister (not linking here because of slow computer) was an interior designer of some sort. She was giving us an estimate for some work on our house, similar to blog entries by Savvy Mom and Domestic Bliss. Then Husbandman and I had a disagreement about the pricing. So I sat down at the computer and composed a nifty blog entry about it. I hate when people tell me about their dreams, so I apologize, but this one is odd and interesting, don't you think?

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Potter

I give up trying to work in the basement and set up shop over at large chain bookstore. The place is incredibly noisy with whining kiddos (nap time, people!), and women planning birthday parties, and a guy reading about Italy whose sneezes startle everyone, causing us to shake our heads at one another in disbelief. Probably the most annoying noise has to do with the Potter #6. Every ten minutes or so, a customer breezes into the store as if arriving at a party and from across the store gleefully sings out to the cashier, “I’m here to pick up my Harry Potter book!” I’m glad they’re so excited, but I feel sorry for the cashiers, who seem pottered out.

Back at home, teen daughter reads Harry quietly. And #1 son gets into the Potter spirit by booting up a quidditch match on the computer.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Movies

Wedding Crashers, Cinderella Man and Fantastic Four. I've seen them all on this movie weekend and I will now ramble about my impressions. Vince and Owen do their thing in Crashers and the movie amused me so much that I gave a little whoop of excitement at the end, embarrassing Husbandman and teen daughter. I had been avoiding Cinderella Man because I overdosed on boxing movies with Million Dollar Baby. But Cinderella Man is so terrific. Please go see it on the big screen. Paul Giamatti gets an A, for his burning voice and soulful face. The fight scenes didn't freak me out as much as those in Million Dollar. They're shot quickly and when contrasted with the the degradation of the Depression, they seem less harsh. Crowe looks good with the dark hair. While I watched, I kept wondering where I had heard the name of Max Baer, a champ fighter in the film. At last it came to me. His real life son was Jethro in the Beverly Hillbillies. So that's an interesting tidbit. Fantastic Four was good too, though #1 son didn't like the romantic bits. I liked Mr. Elastic's rubbery arms and face. He was my favorite super hero.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Toe

Husbandman has tennis toe. His toenail turns black and then it falls off and then it grows back and then it turns black again. Tennis toe is part of our lives and probably always will be. It's part of the game for the tennis ace. Especially for the tennis ace who does not wear the proper shoes. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Wedges

If you come to this town, you will probably want to have a wedge salad at the long time restaurant. All day I was looking forward to blogging about the wedge, my all time favorite salad. The wedge came and I gave it my full attention. I only remembered the camera when a few shreds of lettuce remained. K and J, but not Ray, ate the wedge as well. Post wedge, I got the camera out and started snapping pictures of K and J, sisters. This is the 32nd picture I shot during dinner. I think they still like me, but you can see they're getting slightly tired of the slow camera at this point. Thankfully, the wedges sustained them through the ordeal.
P.S. Bella the pup has a new home as of today. Judy wants you to know. Posted by Picasa

The Memos

Code Pink will be running ads about the Downing Street Memos this weekend. We haven't been making many political donations this year after sinking, for us, a goodly amount of cash into the Kerry campaign. Maybe it's finally time to let go of the sadness and the resentment and the cash. I'm inspired by people on the internets who keep the Downing Street Memos in the news, and I donated a small amount here. Significantly less than the amount pictured above. I'm going to take it slow with the letting go.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Garden

Working on this little garden is one of my favorite dissertation distractions. For a month, I weeded, planted, and mulched for 15 minutes each day. Slow going, but the job is done. I stand and stare at my six plants each afternoon, in admiration and awe at my handiwork. I have pretty low expectations for myself and that seems to be working out well so far. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Cheering

To cheer myself after grueling revisions, I headed out for a manicure with teen daughter this afternoon. I exchanged my original selection (on the left) for a pale yellow called "A Little Less Conversation" because it fit my mood. I watched lacrosse on tv during the application of less conversation to my nails. I was surprised they didn't have Oprah on. The magazines were odd too. U.S. News and World Report and Business World and Redbook, pictured here. Maybe this salon is a front for something. But for what? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Fox

Mitzi took this fantastic fox foto in her yard today. This is probably the same fox I blogged about that I didn't get to see at Mitzi's house. The fox other people did get to see. But here's the thing. I saw two pileated woodpeckers in my backyard today. AND two robins were just going to town in the sprinkler this afternoon. So what do you think is more impressive:
a.) fox.
b.) TWO pileated woodpeckers.
c.) robins cavorting in sprinklers.
d.) b and c.
e.) other

The Mosque

Someone threw a molotov cocktail (whatever that is) into the window of our local mosque last night. Miraculously, a man was praying at the mosque and was able to put out the fire and the damage is minimal---broken window and some burnt wood. It's hard to believe people this stupid are walking around town.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Review

Diane Ravitch criticized this book in a WSJ review in June. She doesn't think math should be politically relevant. She doesn't even believe it should be relevant. Ravitch's review has been taken up and repeated in conservative media and on right wing blogs lately and Rethinking Schools has published rebuttals. I don't have this book but I have many texts published by Rethinking Schools and they do exactly what Ravitch doesn't like---advocate the use of curriculum "to advance social justice." Wouldn't want to teach anyone to think about justice, would we? Geezlouise. Ravitch is such a punk.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Reactions

After a meal and a chat last night, Nancy and I end our evening as parking lot loiterers, sadly talking about our distrust of our own government and the horror of the London bombings. Back at home I turn on cnn and I’m reassured to watch a newsguy asking New Yorkers about their reactions to the bombings. About a dozen people give similar remarks about their feelings that nothing specific can be done to guarantee safety or prevent random acts of violence. The tone of all of the talkers is sad, but calm and reasoned. Right after that segment, some banshee who has a cnn show is screaming her lungs out about how the patriot act needs to be strengthened, how we all need to stop whining about restrictions of our civil rights, and that we need to root out the terrorists by any means. The gal is wailing. The mismatch between the reactions of actual folk who bravely move through their city each day and keep living their lives and this weirdo keeps me awake for hours wondering about what the next weeks and months will bring.
p.s. Tube foto borrowed from BlueHaze

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Pup

This pup needs a home. Judy is its current foster mom and she flattered me by suggesting that the blog might be a good venue for pup adoption. I spent the evening with this canine and she played happily with Judy's other dogs while we conversed and enjoyed snacks and bevvies. She's very sweet and surprisingly soft. Do you know any trustworthy loving types who would consider being this pup's family? I think her name's Bella so far, but I'm shaky on that detail. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Works

It's not that easy to take a foto of a firework, especially with an old camera with a long time delay, but it can be done. I'm basking in my glory for another reason as well today. I worked on the diss yesterday and produced some pages. Though I'd rather spend my morning blogging, I'm heading back to the basement today with my fingers crossed. What incredible determination have I. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Sidecar

Peter expressed excitement about the Vespa sidecar when I showed him this foto, taken in the cool city of Chicago. This surprised me because he refuses to consider a miniCooper, my third favorite car right behind the Gremlin and the Pacer. Does this make sense? Clearly the cooper is roomier than the Vespa sidecar. I guess I should be encouraged, but I had kind of thought of the Vespa as a solo gig. I feel selfish, but there you are. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Traffic

Traffic out of Chicago was hideous on Thursday. It took over one hour to get to the toll road. Then I made a critical error and got on the wrong toll road heading to Ohio. Took an hour to bump the 10 miles to a place for a U Turn. Guy at toll booth was not sympathetic, "Lady, you missed it," he told me when I asked about 65 south. Lady? It didn't help that my two hour traffic tragedy was accompanied by constant radio reminders that I was in, and would remain in, traffic. At one point I started screaming hysterically and feared my mind might have snapped. But I found 65 after 2 hours and stopped for snacks before heading on my way. Bought a moonpie and was surprised to read microwave instructions on the wrapper. Microwaved moonpies? Something to ponder on the road south. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Bean

Last time I went to Chicago, I didn't get to see the Bean at all. This time, I got to see a bit of the bean. Something's wrong with the bean and the people inside this tent are trying to fix it. But the bean is still remarkable. And next time I hope to see it in all its glory.

We got reservations at Charlie Trotter's magnificent restaurant thanks to Janet's friend, Master Stone, sommelier extraordinaire. During dinner, the waiters brought over two ridiculously large glasses, and we were treated to some surprise wine. When Charlie visited our table, he said that these glasses were great because you could tell someone waiting for you at home that you'd be home as soon as you finished your glass of wine. I had to hold mine like a bucket in front of me.  Posted by Picasa

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...