Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Dr. Law, the President, brought a bunch of us to Apple headquarters for lunch and a great training on iLife & podcasts. Great stuff. Seriously.
And it was going *so* well, until they brought out the boxes.
The iPod boxes.
One for everyone. Some black, some white.
The BEST iPods, the ones with the color video screens.
Wonderful wonderful wonderful.
For a brief second, I felt like a milfy housewife who happened to get tickets to Oprah for a give- away day show.
Sheeeeer joy and greed welled up in me, and it felt good.
My Very Own iPod!
Then they told us we could have them for the rest of our time in Austin.
What? What? Give them BACK?
And so soon?
We're leaving tomorrow!
To lessen our disappointment, the Apple people said that we could keep the iPods for the rest of the week, maybe until the end of next week.
Protest boiled up deep in my gut.
Oooooh. No. No. That will not be long enough for me to caress and love my iPod, to watch it, carry it, show it my little part of the world.
Still, a week together with my precious iPod is better than nothing. A week is like dating. And affair. Cheating on my mp3 player, and feeling no guilt.
I brought the iPod to my hotel-room-home and tried to synch it up with my computer.
It did not go well.
They are not playing well together.
ItunesMusicStore ignores my WMP files.
Snubs them, hates them.
In a country where we are all trying hard to pull down walls, to play nicely together, can't my iPod synch with my Toshiba? Can't they find a middle ground, something to make small talk about?
So here I sit -- writing in silence, no music at all -- after an hour of fiddling with the iPod and not getting any music.
I'm starting to think fonder thoughts about my other mp3 player, the less-than-$100-one that synchs up to my music, plays nicely with the laptop, and straps perfectly on my arm while I run. The one that is red, my usually-favorite-color-most-days.
Seriously, I do not NEED an iPod.
When I'm at work, I have 2 computers going at all times.
In the car I have my rattly stereo that wouldn't synch with an iPod.
There is no time or place for the iPod at home, except maybe while hiding in the bathroom.
And the iPod deserves better than rushed meetings, hushed visits, latenight phonecalls.
It deserves to be flaunted, loved, filled with music and songs.
I love this iPod, love it in a way I reserve for people I do not know but who capture my imagination and tug on my gut.
I want more.
I want to know it, to look into it, to bring it into my world.
Those neat white earplugs.
That shiny silver back.
So sleek, so cool, soooo Melissa.
We were meant to be together, this iPod and me.
Maybe for just a plane ride, maybe for a week, maybe a little bit longer.
Perhaps when I'm less tired I will find a way to synch it up better.
I am willing to put effort into this relationship, nurture it, breathe life into it and ask only a little diversion in return.
However long this torrid affair lasts, I promise, I will savor every crumb.
Not that I’m into women. I’m not. But Jarrett and I travel well together. Separate rooms. Calmness. Freedom. She’s very low maintenance.
Also, Jarrett believes in hiring a maid. That’s a good thing. And she makes enough money to hire one.
The clincher is that Jarrett loves kids. So yes, she would definitely make a great wife. The house would be clean, the kids would be happy, and I would be free.
Debbie might make the list, too. Texas Debbie, who sat next to me in a session this morning, and flashed her new shiny silver toe ring. She already had toe rings on her right foot, so this makes her balanced. In a hippie sort of way. But she can’t be a hippie because she wears suits.
I take it back.
I would never marry Debbie. She is working on her Ph.D. Automatic disqualification. Graduate students are 1) crazy 2) busy 3) too busy to take care of the cooking and cleaning 4) poor. She probably also likes cats and hates golf. Let me ask her.
I was wrong. She hates cats and loves golf. Damn. The woman is getting hotter by the minute.
Besides that, she’s very very smart.
Smart is something best experienced in short, intense, interludes. Rented, not owned.
So I’ll probably just smile at her, tell her I’ll call her, then avoid her for all eternity.
That will teach her to be a happy golf-loving, Texas-accented, toe ringed nymphomaniac self!!!!
Monday, May 29, 2006
I'm still in training, still on target, still ridiculously happy.
Now I hear there's another Conference on Student Success June 14-17.
Can I even hope to have this much fun, again, so sooooooooooon?
Could Ohio hold a candle to Texas?
Granite countertops in the bathroom.
Mine mine mine.
But *why* is there a scale in the bathroom?
Why would they do that?
It's Monday evening, Memorial Day, and pretty much everyone at the convention is 1) drinking 2) about to drink or 3) eating enough to get a good buzz without eating.
The rest of America is pretty much doing the same.
At least in my imagination.
I have a long day tomorrow.
So I'm going to go work out (damn that scale. And damn me, for being so competitive!) and then just come back to the room and enjoy the peace.
After I lock the scale in the closet safe.
2) Bad bras. They're everywhere! Look, ideal nipple placement (inp) is exactly midpoint between shoulder and elbow. That's where they started, that's where they should be. The whole point of a bra/i.n.p. device is to hoist them back up there. If they're too low then you have major frumpage. Not good.
3) Open toed, flat, ugly sandals. Long yellow toenails. Ewwww.
4) Anything bought before the year 2000. I'm being GENEROUS here.
If it's older than 6 years it:
- is old
- is (clearly!!) out of fashion
- no longer fits
- is faded
- is ugly
- is sad.
Please. Please. Please don't wear it anymore.
Not getting up and working out has left me, well, relaxed and happy. Which means I'm not so sharp. And not being sharp is, well, um, tiring.
Great sessions this morning.
You don't need a summary of what I learned. Trust me, my mind is filling up with great things.
Then a lunch break which didn't include lunch, so I'm not eating lunch today.
I need a companion, a leader, to bring me to food. I don't go willingly on my own.
So I guess it's diet coke. I'll keep an eye open for dinner.
Options for tonight:
Option A: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, with ????
Option B: Southwestern Buffet at the conference, then slip back here to write, be quiet, be alone
Option C: Go out on the town with other conference attendees
Well, Option A isn't really an option - I was just messing with you. And Option C sounds like it would take great effort. So my money is on Option B.
Which doesn't make me a recluse. Just a person thirsting for quiet reflection.During the lunch break which didn't include lunch at all, not even chips, I watched a ballet folklorico of dances from different regions of Mexico.
One of the dances included the women swirling and stomping withglasses of water on their head. The men each had 2 knives, which they clicked, flashed, tossed and caught.
It reminds me of how people spent their time before TV.
We've come a long way.
My friend Debbie is from Texas and one time during a faculty seminar she responded to a tense situation by pounding her fist on the table and saying, "Well then, pack a lunch and bring it on!"
I seem to fit in with the forward, blunt, generous, happy people I'm finding here.
And the funny thing is, I think my husband is from Texas, but I've never asked him.
I should. When I get home.
If I go home.
2) The water. I don't know what the f* is in this water, but I washed my hair this morning and it's the happiest, fluffiest, shiniest, bounciest hair I've had in years.
Now I *totally* get the whole "big hair in Texas" thing - it's not hairspray. Its the water.
Or maybe it's the shampoo I used? So nevermind about the water.
The best part of my day so far has been blowdrying my hair.
Alone. Taking as long as I want.
I don't how many non-mothers, non-long-haired-people are reading this, but I think it's an important thing to discuss.
Blowdrying hair in a bathroom where the humidity is 99% is torture.
Blowdrying hair with kids around is a pain in the ass.
Don't touch that.
Mommy's almost done.
NO don't put that in your mouth!
Hey! Don't put that in the toilet EITHER.
Mommy's ALMOST done.
No!! Don't put those on. Boys don't wear pantyhose!
I mean they do. But you don't.
I mean, if you want to later, we'll totally support you. But don't.
Mommy's almost DONE!
When I get a little wealthier, I'm seriously considering permanently renting a hotel room in Tallahassee (or Texas, but it's a long commute) where I can go on my way to work, take a long shower ALONE and blowdry my hair ALONE.
I would be so happy.
Alright. It's time to get dressed and join the convention.
Here's my checklist:
- Namebadge (Check!)
- Swingy shiny hair (Check!)
- Spectator slide pumps (Check!)
- Roomkey (Check!)
- Cellphone (Check!)
- Lipstick (Check!)
- Convention schedule, pens and literature (Check!)
- Sense of humor (Check!)
Rhymes with today. Sashay. Hooray.
Recovering cheerleader and honor student who was the epicenter of the cool crowd.
Breathtakingly honest writer.
Has a vegetable garden, compost pile, and the breasts of a sixteen year old.
Feet firmly planted in reality, eyes toward the sky.
Fearlessly following her own path, building a future with a man who is clearly her soulmate.
A person I would choose for a friend, again and again.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I was in 17B, a *dreaded* middle seat.
Jarrett was next to me, and she and I travel well together. I'm vice president of receipts, she's vice president of time management. If it were up to me, I'd be everywhere an hour early. Everywhere. It's a sickness. That's another story.
Anyway, so we're almost ready to go when the stewardess (what's the right name for them? Air Safety Waitresses? I don't know!!!) had to seat 3 people who were either flying stand by, or were entirely clueless.
She told them to decide amongst themselves who will sit in the three empty seats - 14E, 12B and 5E.
The tallest man in the group -- the one holding a box of Popeye's chicken -- replies, "But those are all center seats" then laughs out loud to no one in particular.
No one laughed with him.
I have a great view of this, and I'm waiting to watch him settle meekly into a center seat.
Well, Mr. Popeye Box walks to row 14 , points at the center seat and asked the girl who was sitting on the aisle, "Is anyone sitting there?"
She said no.
So he said "Then move there so I can sit down."
The best part?
She just moved.
She moved and had to sit next to Mr. Popeye Box Man.
Life is like that.
Serves the girl right.
I hope she didn't embarass herself further and let him wipe his greasy fried-chicken hands on her skirt.
But she probably did.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Curses appropriately, with great proficiency, both out loud and under her breathe.
Damn good taste in suits.
Amazing time management skills.
Held my hand through a stressful time without once kicking me, even when I seriously deserved it.
Happy Robin Day!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
So, anyway, what I'm doing is creating quizzes for students to take online, but they need a password to get to the quizzes. I give the password out in class, which reinforces attendance, at least in theory.
The passwords have taken on a life of their own. I think this comes a lot out of a conversation from a few weeks ago with Andrew, who loves learning big words.
(Hello? Andrew? Are you alive?)
Here -- for your reading pleasure -- are a few of the words I've been tossing at students.
10 points to anyone who can write a great sentence using at least three of these words correctly.
15 points if you can make it funny.
Vive is having a party the Sunday night that I'll be in Austin.
Which is convenient because Vive lives in Austin, where -- apparently -- they have lots of parties.
I went to school with Vive for the better part of the 1980s.
And I don't think I ever went to a party with her.
No. Definitely not. Never. None. My mom wouldn't let me.
Vive, sign me up.
Even though I haven't seen you in 20 years, I'd love to come to a party at your house filled with (interesting) strangers.
I enjoy strangers. Greatly. They are a great weakness of mine.
I'll be there.
Maybe in a suit and heels. With pearls.
Forgive me, but I can only change so much before the world completely spins out of control!!!
Sharp tongued, quick-witted, high-heeled wearing, happy-hour going 20something.
Tolerates idiots poorly.
Her name is NOT pronounced Jenny. Or Jean-eeeee. Or Gay-Nay. Or Jay-NAY. It's Jen-AY.
Has sexy windblown hair. All the time. In a good way.
Is older than Martin. And always will be.
Makes me laugh and tell awfully dirty stories to see if I can shock her.
Which isn't easy, but I'm usually up for the challenge.
Is on the very very very short list of people I see when I go to South Florida.
Now, for your viewing enjoyment, here is a picture of the very accomplished and sexy Jene. She's wearing a black tank top and laughing while dancing.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Hugh Grant. Still not married.
I respect the heck out of him. He's rich. He has a job he loves. He doesn't have kids. Why does he need to get married?? Seriously?
And what woman in her sane mind would get involved with Hugh Grant and try to change him???
That's like sketching in another eye on a Picasso painting because it made you feel creepy the old way.
Just buy another painting. Please.
And leave Hugh alone.
I've known Debbie for about 10 years.
I was only truly terrified of her for the first 5 years.
Now I'm just respectfully fearful and awestruck.
It isn't just that she's powerful. Apparently the woman knows a bit of Santeria, a smidgen of voodoo, and a chunk of common sense stuff too.
Debbie is sharp.
She hears everything, pieces it all together, has a quick and accurate answers.
Which can sometimes make her stand out among crowds of often-bumbling professors.
Just now, I bopped into Debbie's office -- yes, bopped, because I'm still in workout clothes and no makeup, and that makes me feel ridiculously free and young --- and blurted out, "Can you read Monte's mind?"
She didn't laugh at me. She answered me.
No, she can't read his mind.
Then she went back to glancing over the paper.
So, um. Again, I looked kinda dumb.
But I did promise her I'd put my suit on and brush my hair before teaching. Of course!
Happy Day, Debbie!
Thank you for your email. And for the compliments.
Since you took the time to write such a grammatically-correct-and-witty-yet-anonymous-email, I think I owe you at least partial answers to your questions
Yes, those are my legs. Yes, they are real. I know Canada *is* a foreign country, one with great medical advances, but I am not sure even the brilliant Canadian leg-doctors could fabricate legs like those.
And if they did, they would probably be kinda pasty-white, so um, yes.
Yes, they're mandatory.
Pearls. Heels. Earrings. *NOT* shoulderpads.
My car is old. Not old-old, but respectably old. 1990s old. 100,000 mile old.
And it's just perfect. It never breaks down, it has great A/C, and the passenger's door is mysteriously stuck closed, so I can never offer anyone rides.
Which is OK with me.
Ideally, I would like to play something beside AM stations in the car, but I've gotten over it.
It's paid for, it's mine, and I love it.
Um. No, I actually like football better on TV. Baseball, live (with someone to guard me from fly balls, of course ---) . Football on TV, with the kids occupied.
I hate when the kids bug me during football. I'm all "hey, it'll be OVER in three more hours, just wait!" but they can't wait, and then I miss everything except the commercials. I'm not really that into commercials. Give me a good blitz or interception over a beer commercial anyday.
Unless it's Notre Dame playing.
No one likes Notre Dame.
They are *so* 1980s. But that's another story.
Actually, no. Pepsi One.
Or the cool new Tab Energy drink. Yum.
But I feel guilty paying $2 for a teeeny tiny can.
My Top 5 favorites (yes, they change, but today, this is what I'm proud of)
Have a nice day up in the frozen tundra.
Oh!!! Yes, the South is beautiful.
Monday, May 15, 2006
With the kids.
And while this sounded like a *nice* thing, I think they can read my mind because on Sunday morning they miraculously came to their senses and whisked the kids away to the Magic Kingdom, leaving me to...
To do whatever I wanted!
Within limits, of course.
And to be done by 4pm.
Well, I went to the Virgin bookstore (nerd!) and read for almost 5 hours (nerd!) and loved every quiet, reflective, wonderful (nerd!) moment.
It WAS a Happy Mother's Day!
Well, we found something NEW at Disney World.
There is a new "salon" where you can pay a lot of money to get your young one d0lled up.
Mom and Dad spent Saturday afternoon with Zoe taking care of her makeup and photo shoot.
I was back at the hotel, away from all this glitz and glamour.
Zack napped for awhile, and I admit I fell asleep outside on the porch.
Wonderful wonderful wonderful.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Now when you comment, it goes to my email for approval and gets posted unless I delete it.
I just approved a whole ton this morning, so they're up, people.
Up, like me at 5am!!!!!!!!!!
(anonymous comments -->)
who is Dr. J??? Description or First name would do. You mention a Jarrett's first name. --
Posted by Anonymous to Melissa * Laughing at 5/11/2006 01:06:26 PM
Names have been changed to protect the... the.... um, whatever.
It's private. She's private. I mean, her personal life is private.
She won't go out in public with me, and acts like she doesnt' know me.
This happens a lot.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I do that, you know. Routine.
Come to work, make a pot of coffee. Check email.
So the MSN messenger page that always presents me with headlines and options that might expand and enhance my "wake up" time pops up.
I skim it as usual.
My jaw drops.
"How to Wow an Older Woman"
What??? So I read it. Of course.
Um. Interesting. I guess.
I am still fascinated by the subject, because there is nothing like that for women.
There are NO articles on "How to Wow an Older Man."
Where's the sport THERE?
According to my dad, younger women (and this is a quote) "Just need to breathe. Show up and breathe."
Rachel's 24 and her husband Jimmy is a little (cough-cough, giggle, trying to get a straight face, hang on.... ok, I'm better now.....) older than me.
I enjoy them.
Over the past few years Jimmy has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
While we were watching the kids and drinking my new invention of vodka and iced tea (sugar free, extra lemon) and catching up on small things, Rachel announced that she's going to a clinic on Thursday to get sperminated. Or something like that.
After 2.5 years of marriage they haven't conceived, so it's time for intervention.
So I ask the obvious -- um, are they going to start with the sperm count?
I'm NOT the kind of Dr. or person that encourages pregnancies in general, but I do have a particular fascination with medical tests, especially ones that involve counting.
Like, hello, how do you get trained to count sperm?
Do you have to count to a trillion or just a million 1,000 times?
Oh! Rachel tossed her head back and laughed.
She has high cheekbones and a long blonde ponytail.
Watching her laugh is like watching a doll come to life.
A much nicer Marcia Brady. I'm captivated by her laugh, then shocked by her words.
We've already done that. While Jimmy was in Iraq.
Our troops in Iraq actually (ummmmm) donate (?) their sperm for medical procedures while deployed for war??
Dear God, I don't care what the rest of the media says.
If our troops have time for a little "filling the cup" action, I get the feeling we are SERIOUSLY winning this war.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
2) Go in public without a bra.
3) Steal money, hearts, ideas, or anything else.
Monday, May 8, 2006
People don't return emails.
Children go to bed hungry.
My hair is kinda frizzy today.
But the WORST thing of ALL is this whole coffee thing.
Today I made one of my super-famous-wonderful pots of coffee, which I generously shared with Dr. J.
I offered some fat free, sugar free creamer and she said no... because she had her own half-and-half.
She disappeared to her office fridge to fetch it, then stood in my door sniffing it.
"It says March 4. Do you think it's still good?"
No. No. Ewww. Get it away.
"It smells OK. Want to smell it?"
No. No. Please, just kill me. The thought of chunky green moldy half-and-half makes my stomach churn, fascinates and repulses me.
Then I give her the benefit of the doubt and ask if Maybe, JUST Maybe she meant to say MAY 4.
"OK, May 4. You're right. Give me the coffee."
I give her coffee, she pours her half-and-half, drinks it. We smile.
As she walks out, she says over her shoulder, "it DID say March 4. And it's still good."
Ewwww. What a liar.
I have a love/hate relationship with "first days."
Maybe because last semester ended so well. OK. It was only like 10 days ago. But it was sooooo good.
I knew my students. They knew what to expect from me. We had something.
Now I'm going to have to go into rooms full of strangers and convince them they're in for a good ride.
That this will be fun, fruitful, engaging.
That I'm not crazy and history isn't a form of medieval torture.
This is not an easy feat.
Thursday, May 4, 2006
Before I sunk into deep desolation of guilt for wanting to ship my kids to another country, Jarrett offered words of unparalleled brilliance.
It isn't the kids you're annoyed with. It's the mess they make. You don't want to get rid of them, you just need a maid.
She was right.
I asked if I could just have a wife instead of a maid.
Jarrett said no.
Probably right about that, too ---
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
After commenting on the raspiness of my voice, he turned the conversation to an admission that he can't sleep, either.
That always throws me. I don't know who reads these words, althought I have an idea of the quantity of traffic. My brother's conversational curveball was the third in a week.
At a picnic on Saturday, Aron's mom started talking about book.
I was kinda dazed. I can't carry a smart conversation with small children around. Or cake. Or trees. I was in a daydreaming mood, and talking was work.
I write because I can't talk.
Because sometimes I have things to say, and there is absolutely no one to say them to.
So I just scribble them down on the blog and leave them, like a note on the table, and walk away.
Lots of times I forget what I've written, so it's weird when people bring up things I've done, like
- flashing a gorilla
- bouncing quarters off my ass,
- Texas Toast
- being kinda rude to idiots but looking cute while doing it
- being traumatized by a CCD teacher
- discovering a stapler burial grounds
- another (YAWN) tv interview
But anyway, today is another day.
With lots to say.
Like my sudden realization that the best way to teach a kid to use a spoon is by giving them a bowl of M&M's and a very very long DVD.
Or the fact that I honestly hide from my kids. They think it's a game, but it isn't.
Yes. I have a lot to say. I'm just wondering who I'm going to say it to...
But back to my brother. What's keeping him up at night is his 3 month old twins (not identical).
Now, I'm not being competitive, but I think that what's keeping me up is a bit more interesting. Melancholy, creativity, wistfulness, and writing. Quadruplets (non-identical).
So, um, again - I WIN.
Not that anyone's counting, right?
Monday, May 1, 2006
And dammit, I forgot to get diet coke yesterday, so not only am I finally being the activist I always thought I could be -- I'm also being a martyr.
Which is cool.
Because I get to stay home, alone, and do it.
Maybe I can get someone else to bring me some diet coke.
Would that count?
In another lifetime, I would've taken a drive last night.
A long drive. To water and waves.
I would've loved to run my toes in the sand, face the wind, breathe the salty darkness.
But that seemed kinda irresponsible, so I stayed here.
I took a walk, smelled the jasmine, sat in the car (the good one!) and blasted the stereo for awhile.
I needed to think.
To puzzle out what I'm doing, where I'm going, and to ask myself some hard questions that I am usually wayyyyy too busy to answer.
People who don't know me laugh when I say I'm an introvert. I am. When I need solace, when I need help, I retreat inward. Introverts aren't shy, they're just internally directed.
So I spent a whole night alone with myself while the family slept.
Thinking until my heart and head hurt.
Yoga helped. Situps didn't.
Burning a candle only helped a little, because it reminded me of something -- but then, candles only count if they're in church. And this one wasn't. But it did smell like bleach, and that makes me ridiculously happy.
By 4am I was well into my gloriously happy middle of the night time alone fest.
I made a pot of coffee and set up the the laptop to dive back into book writing, chapter writing, pouring my heart into a character that popped out of nowhere and is adding this delicious texture to the book.
It's bittersweet writing something when I already know when and how it will end.
It's fiction. Imagination.
A love story that can't be true, which makes it all the more real.
That's the fun of writing.
It's all in my head.
I have the keyboard, the ideas, and the veritable delete button.
Life is not that easy.
Once things are said, they're out there.
Floating, growing, hovering. Words -- and the emotions behind them -- have lives of their own.
It's time to be quiet.
To be alone.
I'm on a big Green Day kick these days (what? You can't hear the music? Everyone else in the building can!!), so please forgive me the cornball-i-ness of writing this quote, but I love it.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.