Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Oh. The calm before the storm. Thank GOD I'm here with my mom. I watched her repeatedly bluff Zoe into believing "that's it! you're all better..." What a pro.
Anyway, Chuck isn't well enough to drive back to Tallahassee yet, so we're still in exile. And I'm very thankful for it all.
I bet my email is filled to the gills... but I haven't had 10 minutes to check it.
Plus, when I do check it, I'll start writing back -- apologizing for not sending cards, etc -- , and then who will catch the holiday bug as it leaks out of my kids (both ends???)
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
But I mean the flu.
Or food poisoning, we can't agree. All of us (except the kids) have been struck by cases ranging from "where are my spare underwear?" to... well... do you really want the details???
I'm a historian, not a nurse, OK?
I think I was the first to go down with whatever this holiday fever was. It hit at 1:17 am, as Christmas turned to December 26. I couldn't get comfortable on the hotel sleeper-sofa, and Zoe's constant kicking wasn't helping.
Then... oh.... I ran.
And out came... well, I don't want Cuban food again for a long time.
It hit Chuck in the middle of the night last night.
What's worse than hearing someone throw up through thin hotel walls??
I went in to check on him, and had to restrain myself from correcting his form.
He was standing up and puking.
Hello? Kneel to the porcelain goddess, I thought. But I kept quiet.
My parents haven't gotten as sick as we did -- and hopefully they won't. They just both have a low-grade "eeewwwwwwwww" about food (and wine). The kids haven't shown signs of illness (please God don't let them get sick for the 8 hour drive tomorrow --) but oddly enough they are both napping.
All of these non-holiday things are converging to create a very quiet place for reading, writing, and daydreaming.
And isn't that what the holidays are REALLY about???
Friday, December 23, 2005
In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is Another Day..."
Only, her dress was bit dirtier than mine. Too bad for her.
I bet she got her people to go shopping and mail Xmas cards.
Way to go, Scarlett.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I don't know her name, but she is the woman that I'd thought was a figment of my husband's exaggeration.
Despite the fact that it was 28 degrees outside, she was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, pacing her lawn, sweeping it.
He had told me stories before about our across-the-street-and-two-houses-over neighbor, but honestly I live in my own little world and notice our neighbors almost not at all.
She is dark haired, thin but curvy, and (( in my well-educated opinion,)) 31 years old and childless -- but not by choice.
We paused and watched her.
The unnamed she-neighbor swept, squatted, surveyed, sighed, then repeated her work until -- we guess -- her lawn was relieved of the offending.... dust?
As we drove away, still shocked by the spectacle, I offered my theory that this was foreplay to her cleaning the entire house, top to bottom, everyday, before cooking a five course meal and meeting her husband at the door with a cold beer, wearing nothing but cleverly tied saran wrap.
My husband thinks that she is a bit crazy, but that some guys like crazy women.
ESPECIALLY if they stay at home and become Domestic Slave-Goddesses.
(Domestic slave-goddess, by the way is a term of my own invention, not his. I think he said "house bitches" but I'm writing this on 12/23 and pretending to publish it yesterday, so go with me here, OK?)
Whatever her story is, I bet you $20 she already got her Xmas cards out.
Merry 2-days until Xmas.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Most years, we just buy the cards and never mail them.
When we were packing for our move to Tallahassee in August, we found 3 boxes of Xmas cards (2002, 2003, 2004).
Together, we had to face a serious decision.
Pack the old cards -- still in their pristine boxes?
Or toss them and just buy new ones?
If you've already taken Melissa 101, you know the answer. I packed them, and they are in a box in the attic, but I feel too fat (or too cute, or too hungry or too full or too whatever it takes to get out of this ---) to climb up to the attic and find them. And no, I cannot describe the box to Chuck so he can find them. I have to use my special powers to see through the box. All women can do that, but most have learned to lie about it. Don't tell them I told you ---
Chuck bought Xmas cards 10 days ago - the kind that you insert a cute picture so that your relatives and friends will actually have tangible proof of your goodwill (and high cheekbones).
For 10 days, he has been CONSTANTLY reminding me (did I mention I have lead in my ears?) to locate and print some good pictures so we can mail these cards out.
But we're homeowners now, so things have GOT to change.
Well, today (hours before we leave town) I went to Walgreens and had them print over a hundred pictures so that I can make cute scrapbook-y books full of stories (courtesy of yours truly) and filled with adorable pictures of our perfect kids, who, by the way, NEVER both look at the camera at the same time. I bought a book for my parents, one for my grandparents, and one for Marilu, who is a whole other story, but trust me, she deserves a cute book.
So, imagine my shock when I sat down for Xmas cards and REMEMBERED.
I have a mother in law. In Tallahassee. I just talked to her on Monday, how could I forget her existance????
Gotta make a one for her, too.
Oh! Double s****.
I have TWO mother in laws, one of whom lives in Houston and hasn't seen the kids in over a year and who (along with much of that side of the family) believes that we named our son Charley, after his great-grandfather.
I have to make a cute book for Papaw, the above-mentioned great-grandfather, who lives in Dallas and never gets to see these poor kids.
Oh well. I'll get it done today.
Now, as far as getting it mailed out before Xmas?
Not my department.
Until then, Merry December, and bah humbug to people who've already sent their Xmas cards out -- except for those of you who have wives to take care of these things.
In which case, good job, keep up the good work.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Kinda like a teenager in a really shallow movie.
Monday, December 19, 2005
And again, I look forward to a day of quiet.
I associate birthdays with deep thought.
I've spent recent birthdays (and plan to spend today) losing myself in a bookstore, taking a drive down canopy roads, really thinking through where I am and how I got here.
Today I'm especially grateful for my friends (new ones, and an old one I thought I'd lost --), family, students, writing, new house, and... for where my life is now and where it seems to be heading.
And just in case you're wondering, the hubcap fairy did NOT sneak around overnight and hook me up with some shiny new bling.
Oh well, the day is young, and so am I.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
This is fun. Go to www.ratemyprofessors.com.
Then to FLORIDA and to Tallahassee Community College.
Then to "Soldani-Lemon"
There aren't too many ratings b/c I only started here in August.
Students have told me I'm rated at Broward Community College (south campus), Nova Southeastern University, and St. Thomas University (Miami).
I don't know -- honestly, I can't go to those sites. It's tooooo weird.
Like reading great things about yourself on the bathroom wall. I mean, don't compliments just BEG for graffitti'd responses full of obscenities?
NOT ONLY can students (hmmm - and other professors??? stalkers??? hmmm???) anonymously RATE me, they have the option of adding a CHILI PEPPER to indicate..... well..... "Hotness."
"Getting the Pepper" becomes a joke among faculty. "Hey, I heard you got a PEPPER."
The problem with academia is that is both competitive and supportive... so getting a pepper is only good unless a ranking professor indicates with a slight raising of the brow that PEPPER-NESS isn't a quality that contributes to tenure. *sigh*
As for me??
I'm feeling a little spicy, and I have to give my LAST final of the semester in 15 minutes.....
Response? "I move things from A-B."
Brilliant. Vague, but important.
And just boring enough that no one would want more of an explanation!
Then I realized -- I HAVE THE EXACT SAME JOB!
See, I don't move things, though. I move people.
I help connect them from where they are to where they want to go.
I teach them, mentor them, step back and watch them toddle when necessary.
At the end of every semester I dress up in my academic regalia (including the super-cute beret!!) and cheer loudly at graduation, full of pride and gratitude to have been allowed to play a minor role in a few people's "moving from point A to B" saga of college.
Every semester since I started teaching in 1990 I have had students who moved at brilliant paces, enlivened the classroom with their charisma, insight, something that made them more like stars than students.
Ask any professor about the students who they are truly proud of, and your ears will ring for hours.
I have a collection of my own, some of whom are in my classes now, though I wouldn't shower this praise on them until I see them cross the stage!!
And yes, there are the "lost ones."
Did Daniel Morgan become a denist?
What happened to Marisa Parkes?
As this semester ends and I see 150 students take steps (some larger than others!!) closer to their futures, I hope that a few will remember to drop an email, a card, something to let me know that they made it to Point B.
I promise to cheer loudly.
Actually, I was awake, I just needed to finish thinking about something. Plus, Zack was a little awake and I wanted to wait until he fell back asleep before sneaking out of bed.
So, I decided to make the kids lunches BEFORE I got dressed.
Because I am competitive by nature, I started the coffee and decided I would race around like mad to get the lunchboxes made before the coffeemaker gave it's genteel beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep signalling the entire pot was ready.
I did it!
Making lunches wearing heels is MUCH harder and slower than racing around the kitchen in my sweatpants. Not only did I finish packing their lunches BEFORE the beeeeeeeeeeeep, (hang on Mom, this is a BIG one) ....
I set the table for my kid to have BREAKFAST.
Yes! I put out placemats, cute little animal plates, and matching animal cups for each kid.
THEN in the middle of the table I made a nice display with some fruit, poptarts (chocolate AND cherry), cheerios and granola bars.
Honestly, I haven't a clue what the kids eat for breakfast so I thought I'd cover all the bases.
Zoe is going to wake up and be SHOCKED. Which should be any minute now. So when she calls me on my cellphone to report the surprising turn of events in her life, I'll be sure to cover it for you....
And I just realized I only set the table for two.
Sorry, dear husband.
Well, maybe if the kids are eating you can go to the bathroom by YOURSELF this morning?
Now I've *got* to go back to grading finals.
And yes, being a better mother is kinda satisfying, though I'd deny it if you asked me directly.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I made an apple pie from scratch.
Seriously! I even peeled and cored the apples.
It came out AMAZING.
Chuck is taking part of the credit, because he told me to chop the apples into small pieces. I'd share the glory with him, but that is totally against my nature. Of course, he gets to eat the entire pie, so it isn't like he gets nothing out of this.
The worst part?
While I was looking online for an apple pie recipe, darling son joined me, took the wireless mouse and (for lack of the a better image) spiked it onto the hardwood floor like he just made a touchdown at the Sugar Bowl.
So, since computer (Mac G5) is where darling husband does all of his editing.... he kinda needs his mouse fixed ASAP.
At least he has some pie??
You weather wimps are pathetic.
Oh? My Smart Brother in Chicago already emailed me to tell me that they SELL this miracle stuff, de-icing wiper fluid.
Who do I have to sleep with to get THAT?
Or does the rest of the country just hope Florida goes down in hurricanes and ice?
I'll resist the urge to answer THAT question and suggest merely that you visit a local gas station and ask. Do NOT offer to sleep with the guy. He will accept a small number of US dollars instead.
You hit the nail on the head with what the rest of the country thinks of Florida.
You forgot "ass" in "Smart brother."
Monday, December 12, 2005
At 5:30am I had to make decision of whether to "nab" the good car (the one that was all warm and waiting in the garage ) or use the one I alway use..... which was covered with ice.
I took the less-selfish path (for once) and found myself unable to make the ice go away by just running the windshield wipers.
Wouldn't you think some genius would make wipers that could do that?
After a few minutes I realized I would finally have to learn how to scrape ice.
No idea how to do it, and OF COURSE, no ice scraper.
I found the top of a tupperware container in the trunk of my car (and some really cute strappy pumps I forgot about --) and used it to scrape the ice off my windshield.
It was sorta fun, but NEXT time I would like to have GLOVES on.
Then, of course, just like EVERY morning, I went to the coffeeshop(and coughed all over everyone there, but at least my cold is getting better).
I finally got to TCC around dawn.
All the grass was covered with ice -- a beautiful sight to these been-in-South-Florida-for-so-long eyes.
So I got a brilliant idea.
I was going to stomp on the grass and hear it crunch.
Did anyone ever tell YOU that icy grass is slippery???
Consider yourself educated.
Today's secret: I didn't spill the coffee all over myself when I slipped and slid outside on the grass. Hooray!
Friday, December 9, 2005
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
All week I’m having students come in to discuss books they’d read.
You can call this “oral examinations” but I call it grilling them.
Have I even mentioned how wonderful it is to be a professor?
Every semester I get to play a small role in amazing people’s lives.
One of the students who came to see me yesterday is doubtlessly going to be a famous leader. I know his aspiration is for the Air Force, but this guy has a future as a leader in whatever sector he chooses. He has this charisma, intelligence and intensity that I don’t think he is old enough to yet see or appreciate in himself.
Another student, I predict, will one day be the principal of a large school. After all she’s gone through with her kids and balancing school and work, she has the insight and skills to create a successful and supportive school community.
#2) Even though I’ve been taking care of sick kids since Saturday, I really didn’t have any notion that I’d catch their colds.
It’s OK. A little coughing and my voice does a cool Hepburn thing.
And I took the good car, so I didn’t get too cold this morning.
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
She looked up from her magnadoodle, cocked her head and answered (as if I'm an idiot), Dresses.
No Zoe, I'm asking what you're going to GIVE not GET.
This has caught her off-guard, and she paused a second before responding.
Oh. I get it. I remember. All the presents under the tree aren't for me. There will be some for me to give some to Zack, some for me to give some to Tita....
At this point, I thought she had caught on to the whole point of generosity, so I continued....
Right. Now, what are you going to give them? Are you going to make things? Or should we write a list of what you'd like to buy?
My daughter looked at me like I was nuts. What?
I don't understand which part of the whole "Christmas" thing she isn't getting, so I push on with the same question.... wondering if it's a language gap, or just a horrible failure in parenting.
This time, I spoke VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y....
What are *YOU* going to **GIVE** the people you love?
Zoe threw her hands up in mock exasperation.
Giving PRESENTS is SANTA's JOB.
Is he not going to WORK this YEAR?
Monday, December 5, 2005
Again, it's a rainy day.
Again, I'm wearing a suit, heels, pantyhose (yeeeeck) -- and forgot to bring an umbrella.
So, maybe history does repeat itself.
Which is ironic because I'm part of a panel discussing "history" - as in "why (or why not) major in history."
History majors are really good at seeing patterns in the past.
And checking email.
Friday, December 2, 2005
I mean, come on.
I don't get it.
I've been in Florida waaaay too long.
Especially on college campuses.
Even more so on days like today when it's clear, cold, and breezy.
I love my life.
I have the nice car today, the one with the sunroof, CD player (and hubcaps, elbow-elbow-hint) and I blasted the stereo driving between campuses.
--> Dave Matthew's cover of "No Rain"
-->Janis Joplin "Take Another Piece"
--> Hootie and the Blowfish "Let Her Cry"
-->and another song that I'm too embarassed to admit to!
I caught Meagan smoking this morning! At 6am!
I'm pretty sure she didn't charge me for the coffee, though (shhhhhhhhh)
Thursday, December 1, 2005
During our short but intense involvement in WW1 (the war we fought to END all WARS, not to "win" or to "kill people" etc) the US government's Food Administration, lead by the soon-to-be-hated Herbert Hoover, came up with the CORN CAMPAIGN.
You see, to most Americans, corn was hog-feed.
Only poor, starving people would resort to eating CORN.
And corn cobs were for wiping... well, you figure it out.
So, here's the poster.