Saturday, October 31, 2009


Okay, I had a crazy busy day, and did not manage to give blood or bake pie, but that's okay! I did many many many things. And there may or may not be a baby ninja involved at some point. Whoa! Also I came up with the PERFECT birthday present, by imagining what I would *like* someone to smuggle back into my house, which I think is a perfect present criterion, honestly. Am I right or am I right? Yeah!

The only thing I could not find, and this amazes me, is a plastic or acrylic skull. Honestly, people. It's the day before Halloween. Where is my skull?

I would accept a femur or tibia or one of those anklebone things, too, of course. Or phalanges. Phalanges! Dancing phalanges!

I'll be dressing as Temperance Brennan, OBVIOUSLY. I mean, DUH. I couldn't find a blue lab coat, and believe me, I looked. I don't believe they are commonly used and neither do the various scrubs salespeople in the greater Bangor area! So I'll just dress as Brennan, i.e., jeans, long knit shirt over a camisole, chunky necklace, awesome shoes, hair pulled back in a big clip. And possibly makeup. But only because I'm a bit of a perfectionist where obsession is involved.

In other words, I will be wearing a costume indistinguishable from normal clothing and correct in every particular! Yes!

Plus a keychain shaped like a spinal cord and pelvis. Well, yeah! I have to find that, by the way. Where would you be if you were a skeletal keychain?

With the skeleton keys, obviously!

Hee hee hee.

Please let the baby ninja thing work out. I will take pictures, oh yeah.

Oh! The school mailed my check to me, phew. I kept checking for direct deposit because of how I filled out direct deposit forms and gave them a check and all, but then when I went to HR today the nice lady was all, "You are smoking crack, woman," and pulled out my file and showed me how that form wasn't there, even though obviously that proves nothing, and my records show a voided check given to Husson. But hey! They mailed me a check, I got it today, and I drove right back out and put it in the bank, boom.


I can't even tell you all the stuff that happened today. Jeez oh pete. I went to the NaNoWriMo kickoff meetup shindig and bought people donuts, as the only professional-type person in the group. It's funny how a total baby-people nerdfest full of college students and social oddities makes me feel like the most sophisticated and put-together person that ever was. Wearing dress clothes! Teaching at a university! Wearing the only glasses there NOT held together with tape! (I SWEAR.) Have left the state! And so on.

It's one of those completely awesome side effects I never, ever would have predicted. I mean, good lord, I'm so much more together than I realized.

Also, I love nerds! I do! So much! Especially when we say, "My hat has a cow," in unison. YAY!!! My people!

Clearly the lesson here is something something something. Amen!

My new Online Job iteration seems to be up already, but I haven't gotten the contract. But I got the whole "this is not a contract" contract announcement email. So that's good!

Also I hear Borders is hiring. I really want to work over the Christmas break. A LOT. The paycheck thing, see. I had this funny conversation lately about how I think of money in terms of "I'm broke" or "I'm okay." And I don't really understand what "I'm okay" means in terms of time frame. It's like I'm a primitive society that can only count "1, 2, 3, oh gosh, a whole bunch."

I'm kind of innumerate, but we knew that.

Well I figured it out in terms of multiples of the rent, because that's how primitive I am, and it's not a lot of money in the numbers sense. It just feels like a lot because it's not next to nothing. No! I have to sit down with Quicken and figure out what I can pay and when and whether I'll make it through the NEXT two months without going broke again. Oh boy, fun times, doing money math! Plus there's the thing about how I should put 15-20% aside because taxes weren't taken out because I'm an independent contractor, which I think also means I don't get all those various things paid like social security. Yep. I HATE THAT.

Boreanaz sure is pretty. He sure would make an excellent prop to go with my Bones costume. Come on by, David! Except, don't. I don't think that would go well in reality at all. Actors, brrrrrrr.

Tomorrow's going to be insanely busy also, especially because I have to do the grading I didn't do today (ack!) and a bunch of that grading which is due back Tuesday (woe!) and a dozen other things besides. Like bake a pie! And vacuum. And order Thai food. I get overwhelmed by the tiniest commitments, I know. You know my hands actually start to shake when I'm just doing something as simple as trying to turn off the faucet before the water bottle overflows. Probably I should retire to an anchorhold in a remote mountain fastness. Oh wait, I already did that!

I LOVE coming home and hearing absolutely nothing from anyone nearby, I am serious. Okay, cars drive past, but that's all right. On weekends I might hear distant lawnmowers, chainsaws, and rifle fire, but that's okay! That's normal. Being around people really reminded me how much I appreciate an unpeopled place of refuge. It is so utterly peaceful. But I think it's good to have people time also, don't you think?

Bunnies bunnies bunnies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I found out what Saturday's thing is: brother asked if I could get them food and also Halloween candy so that when they get home exactly at trick-or-treat time, they'll have it to give out to the various bunnies who come to the door.

I remember last year there were a million of them. Also I went through the roof every time the doorbell rang. Why was I over at their house for Halloween? I do not remember. But I DO remember I dressed up as the Black Rabbit of Inle and it was AWESOME. I put white pipe-cleaners on my black headband to make the moonlight ears. I am so tickled by that costume still. Yay!

I don't know if I will dress up (hmm...) but you do realize this is my opportunity to find a costume for a two year old, right?

Really Yoda is the only appropriate costume. Yoda! Yoda! But then we'd have to dress my brother as Luke Skywalker and I don't really see that happening. But think of the possibilities for the baby backpack. I KNOW!

At any rate I'll be getting some tiny little Baby Ruths or whatever and stocking the house. And then Saturday I'll get Thai food (by request) on the way over. Easy peasy.

Yay, this will be fun. I wasn't going to have Halloween otherwise, so I'm kind of psyched about it. Woohoo!

Today's classes went really well, since I decided to forego the benadryl last night. Alas, that meant I was all itchy and psychotic and also could not sleep one bit. I was awake forever. Blargh! But it meant I had a BRAIN today, woohoo!

Also we just so happened to be studying causal argument so we got to talk about my friend who says she doesn't get sick because she doesn't give in to things. Yay! That was fun.

Time to get out of here. I narrowly escaped being interviewed on Question 1 by some NESCOM kids. I'm wearing my white knot of ribbon, see. That's the sign that you stand for NO ON 1, though you could also tell from my bumper sticker taped inside the back window of the car. Question 1 is something like, Do you want to repeal the measure that legalized gay marriage in Maine? It's one of those backwards sounding things. Anyway, we do NOT want to repeal that measure, because rights must be universal. I mean, come on!

Which is what I would have said on camera, too, but they scarpered before I could get done with office hours.

Why does Under Armour spell it that way? Isn't armor spelled armor, even in Anglophonie? Under Armour is the tremendously awesome long underwear that soccer players wear, and I suppose football too, and probably runners and all. That just looks very strange. Armour. A big boy is wearing a sweatshirt that says it, that's why I'm thinking about it.

Lunch, a pepper jack sandwich with no lettuce, turned me all scarlet and grated-looking so I was not that excited about going on camera anyway. Puffy scarlet rashy professors for equality! Rah rah! I had this theory about lettuce, since it's on all the bad lists, but apparently that wasn't the culprit.

Oh well, everything sets it off, whatever. I AM SO OVER YOU, SULFITE MALARKEY! This is making me wheeze, however, which makes me unhappy. This stoopid thing has to stop.

Okay, I keep ogling everyone's awesome boots, because you know I need dressy boots for the winter. I'm not really clear why they're wearing them NOW, when it's 40 degrees and dry out and you don't even need a coat.

I just paid my cell phone bill. BECAUSE I CAN. Isn't that glorious? No sign of tomorrow's direct deposit yet. I keep checking the bank account to see if it's pending. Maybe tonight.

Of course I started checking yesterday, because I wasn't clear on which day it was, because I take too many drugs! Gaaaaah! So far I've managed to be in the right places at the right times but this is seriously unsustainable. Also sucky. So stop, already, thing which is happening!

Maybe I'm a supreme optimist, because I just make lunch and bring it and eat it, figuring one of these times I won't have a reaction, but then I always do. Hee. It's weird. I mean, that I just keep eating. Except, what are my options? Don't? I've cut out everything that could possibly be setting it off and it's still getting set off so I kind of just give up.

Don't suggest it's tea, though. I know tea is on the lists. Fermentation causes sulfites, that's why they're in wine, so it might be in tea also, but I'm not really sure I'm ready to cross that line.

I suppose I could go on white rice and tea and see if that helps. Or NOTHING and tea, except I can't drink tea on an empty stomach or I'm sick for hours.

Surely it isn't the tea. I mean, come on now. Not REALLY. Be serious! Hello? Anyway, no no no, I drink tea all day, and I don't get a big red face until after lunch.

So are you suggesting that the adrenaline of teaching somehow depresses the reaction and it's actually going on all the time? Since teaching time is when it's always at its lowest ebb, and I always eat lunch right afterward? That's an interesting theory. Tell me more!

Oh heck, I really have to get out of here. I have to hit Stately Burns Manor and then I have masses of papers to grade at home. SO MANY! And Online Job, which I should do first, come to think of it. Yes. Tonight I'll do Online Job and my papers and wash those dishes from Monday when I made dinner and instantly started playing Massive Attack on my limbic stereo and haven't touched them since.


And then I am going to watch The Plan, bunnies! It's two hours long! Whoa! I was all set to watch it last night but absolutely could not, just not enough time. I can't WAIT! Oh boy!!!


Okay, you've got to promise me things are going to get better, because this is pretty ridiculously intolerable and keeps on being that way. Things are going to get better, right?

For one, payday will help, right? I am full of complete terror that I'll finally get paid, the thing that's been causing so many problems, and it WON'T HELP. I'll still be all useless and wretched. Come on, payday! Help!

For another, you've got to promise that I'm going to find some friends one of these days. Right? Promise? I adore my pen pals and all (when they're not telling me that you can just *not give in* to food allergies--guh?) but it's not cutting it.

And we're going to find some of those useful Reasons To Live here one of these days, right? The cat is good. Yes, the cat! And, um. Caprica! I want to find out how that's going to be. Bones! Presumably we'll get new episodes at some point. And I want to watch The Plan. Er, there's a soccer game Sunday I get to go to, see my boys play. And I might get to buy back my Jeep.

I have to tell you, having a massive allergic reaction when I eat ANYTHING (yes) is making the whole day to day existence thing pretty much profoundly unpleasant. Anything. I know, I know, after a big flare-up, everything sets it off for a while. But it's not dying down. I ate raw vegetables and that set it off.

I can't think clearly when it's happening, and it's happening ALL THE TIME. I can't think clearly when I take the drugs for it, either. The astute mathematician will realize that leaves me approximately zero times to think clearly. While teaching college, okay?

On the plus side, my mid-semester grades are done! Woohoo! And the rewrites (two). And the reading for tomorrow.

My brother emailed to see if I can do them a favor on Saturday.

I stopped at this funky antique store on the way home today to look for a present for S. for her birthday, but came up empty. Should have gone for the cow lamp! The cow lamp was cool. They just don't need anything at that house.

I am not sure the whole present thing is working out this year.

Okay so blah blah anaphylaxis blah blah chemicals released in your brain blah blah benadryl hangover blah blah blah always darkest before the whatnot, right? You SWEAR? Cross your heart, strike you dead, stick a lobster on your head? I am holding you to that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yo yo yo

Oh hi. I think this must be what it's like to be an alcoholic or drug addict or something, except in reverse. Right? I keep having these periods of almost-blackout where I can't really remember what went on, because of benadryl, plus then benadryl gives me a wicked hangover kind of thing where I feel terrible for half or 3/4 of the next day. Or maybe that's from the reaction to begin with, who can say?

It's making life VERY COMPLICATED. I don't remember yesterday well at the best of times, even without the fairly regular blackout times! Sheesh!


If only this were alcohol or something that you can quit! I need a twelve step program for normal food, apparently.

Today was fun because a) we watched 50 minutes of Shawshank Redemption in my class, and b) I got to go grocery shopping for the first time in weeks, woohoo!

I got purple potatoes, yum! They are all cheap now. Remember when they used to cost a lot of money? And I got cheese, though not the evil fresh mozzarella all full of vinegar. And bananas and green beans and whole wheat flour and nut crackers. And avocado and a big ol' tomato, which is what I had for dinner, along with a slice of bread. Yes, I ate the ingredients of an avocado and tomato sandwich *separately* but you have to make allowances for how out of practice I am, right? Surely? Yes?

Mmmmm, avocado and tomato.

Now I just have to learn NOT TO HOARD FOOD. It's going to be a tricky thing, you betcha.

Warning: what follows is very annoying and might make you punch things.

An old, old friend emailed me today and told me she never gets sick because she doesn't *give in* to illness, and she remembers that when she was depressed she was always glad to get sick because then she felt on the outside like she felt on the inside. HINT HINT.

I kind of got furious. Because although stress makes everything get worse, and of course when your life is full and busy and you're all surrounded by friends, things don't seem as bad, I really don't think I could make my whole face and mouth and throat swell up just by thinking it was going to, especially when I am eating foods that I don't think will make it happen. NOR WOULD I WANT TO, HELLO.

I just can't begin to describe the rage that made me feel. There was more, too. She said vegetarians don't get sick as much as meat-eaters (where is your evidence? where?) and there was more but I think my head had exploded already. The gist was that I'm weak and self-indulgent and all of the allergy thing is in my head and oh yeah so is asthma.

Seriously. It's so deranged to suggest any of those things. Even though I know it's nuts, I'm trying to break it down and figure out what benefit I could possibly get from allergic reactions. It makes everything so much harder. It keeps me from eating foods I love. It causes a hideous disfiguring facial swelling. (Google angioedema if you are feeling brave and not eating food.) It makes me throw out beautiful hand-made tortillas that taste like heaven! Why would I WANT that?

Does she think that maybe someone comes over and takes care of me, and that's what I want, so I subconsciously cause all this to happen? Let me assure you, that is not so. No one is coming over. Is her theory that maybe if it gets bad enough, I'll get attention? It's as bad as it can get without making me dead, so I don't think so, sorry.

Does she think I'm hoping my family will get worried and call me and ask how it's going? Negative, bunnies.

In any case, NO, I am not looking for attention in the form of solicitous visitations, and I do not expect to get it. That's just not how it works.

Her theory just doesn't make any sense on so many levels that I'm bewildered anyone would even think this. She reminds me of how B. went evil and blamed me for her not staying in touch with me for many months at a time. Er, hello? How exactly did my email to you make you not email me? Because that is an awesome superpower, and can I please learn to use it on spammers? And Orbitz. Stop sending me email, Orbitz!

Nope, isn't working.

I think that's all pretty vile, or possibly vicious, or possibly hilarious, to suggest I'm Doing It On Purpose. To suggest that someone is causing their own unpleasant medical things that are just profoundly out of their control is at the very least extremely unkind.

Also I'm a little worried that she used to be glad when she got sick (wait, doesn't that contradict her "I never get sick" statement?) because then she felt on the outside like she felt on the inside. That is messed up.

For the record, I do not feel allergic to fresh mozzarella on the inside. In fact I love that stuff. Mmmmmmmmm. Also pasta! I would happily dive into a bathtub of fettucine. And shrimp, mmmmmmm.

I'm going to learn to make fresh pasta once I get moderately caught up, here. Which I am NOT. Due to the gigantic periods of uselessness and blackoutyness.

Hey, can I tell you what's awesome? I have a garage! To put the car in! I have never had a garage. I've had sheds, attics, basements, but never a whole big room where you can drive your car into it and shut the door. I love it! For one thing, I'm way more likely to go get something out of the car when I don't have to brave the imaginary/invisible wild animals prowling around outside!

I am outrageously bad at backing up the Outback, though. Its mirrors do not seem to reflect (heh) reality in a way that my brain can process. And you know strangers in Los Angeles used to stop and compliment my parallel parking skills in the Jeep, which was much larger, so it's not me, it's this car. I've backed up giant rental trucks. Outback, what is your malfunction? What is out back and why can't I see it?

Sometimes it takes a couple of tries before I can get the thing slotted into the garage. Woo, boy.

Okay, I have to tell you something: finances permitting, I'm going to buy back the Jeep. I had a long talk with my visitor student buddy the other day about winter and unplowed gravel roads and a driveway that is shaped like the front of a sleigh runner, and I decided to get a vehicle that can handle it. A familiar one. One I can afford. One whose brakes and water pump and radiator I've paid for recently, for instance, and whose quirks I know.

Oh, you know how the landlord is so much into the rose-colored interpretation of things that he was able to show me a completely smashed plastic garbage pail and say, "It even has its own trash can!" with a big grin? He looked at the Outback and the road and said, "Hmmm." He was not sure I'd be able to get out either, since plowing on tertiary roads is next to non-existent. This was when I was looking at the place to rent it, too, when Mr. Cheerful Liarpants should have been in the ascendant.

So I'm pretty excited about that. Being able to get to work is high on my list of priorities. Also, Jeep! LOVE! I still get all woeful whenever I drive past the lot and see it sitting there.

Days like today weaken my resolve with the food restrictions because every single thing I eat, including that tomato and avocado and slice of bread, set off the reaction again. If everything sets it off, WHY WORRY ABOUT IT?

See what I'm saying?

I realize, however, that in addition to all the other unpleasantness, it causes unclear thinking. So instead of making big decisions, I'll just go grade some papers like a good professor-type person. Right. Never mind that unclear thinking is going to hamper that effort as well

Too much to do, too much to do. Okay, I'm on it.

Good advice

For most days, actually.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aha! An answer

Okay, about yesterday: I should have gone to the freaking emergency room. I don't actually understand why I didn't. I could have died so easily. If my throat had closed up a bit more, there's no way I could have gotten there in time.
One of the most alarming things about the allergic reactions, next to the whole *almost dying* thing, is that it's impossible to think clearly when it's going on. Impossible! I can't do it! The allergic reaction takes away my brain. I think you devolve to something like an intelligent housepet at those times. So clearly blogging is perfectly possible (heh) but rational thought about your SURVIVAL is not.

I'm upset about this. Given that it's going to keep on happening, most likely.

This is when it would be really handy to have FRIENDS. Also handy when I've taken two benadryl and am all woozy and can't walk in a straight line and THEN discover I ought to go to the emergency room. Because my family members are out of town this week, see.

And I literally do not know anyone else in town. I have no phone numbers. I have no phone numbers because I have no friends. It's a problem!

Right now I'm kind of frantically eating food because I didn't bring lunch (speaking of no brain--why didn't I pack a lunch?) and then forgot to get hold of Shawshank Redemption for class tomorrow.

I figure I'll eat and then see whether the brain vanishes and the face puffs up, and then I can combine shopping with being near potential medical care. Multi-tasking!

Jeez, I felt worse today than I have felt in ages. That hit me so hard last night! I woke up at 1:08 and took two more benadryl, because it comes with a four hour clock somehow, then got up at 9 a complete wreck. Even though it wears off in four hours. I don't quite get that.

I suppose there must be chemical fallout in the system from the reaction, right? Histamines and whatnot all over the floor?

Okay, no more stalling, time to go to the Walmart. Blah!

The exciting news is that the Maine department of labor decided I should get unemployment for those two weeks in August after all, hurray! It's pending in the bank, I see, so it should be available tomorrow. That is very good because having to get Shawshank eats up my gas fund. Oh the exquisite hosedness of it all!

I really am astounded. I could have sworn I wasn't going to get that. I guess Maine likes a good dramatic rescue as much as the next state. New Hampshire? Is that what you're all about?

You know I desperately want the BSG final episode/movie The Plan but I guess not quite yet. Oh, The Plan! I cannot WAIT to see that! I watched it grow up and all! There were ribs and sweet potato pie! And now it's all grown up and out at Best Buy but I'll be able to bring it home soon. Maybe tomorrow!

This additional sudden burst of funding from Maine changes the landscape a bit. I can relax a little about the paycheck flakiness because I can pay at least some of the rent even if they don't come through. Some is infinitely better than none. And I can fill up the gas tank and even buy some food.

The grocery store is full of terror, though. I wonder what else is lurking there to attack when I least expect it? Masa harina, man. I never would have expected it.

It seems tonight's dinner has given me a flaming face also but that I did expect--everything does once the red alert has been sounded.

Whoop, whoop, whoop! This is not a drill.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The good news is I made amazing tortillas out of that masa harina I bought from the bulk section of the judgy hippie store. Oh so good! YUM. I ate up a whole lot of fabulous tacos and now I'm all full and happy.

The bad news is they gave me a horrendous reaction that made my mouth and throat swell up.

The good news is that I took a bunch of benadryl so I'll probably survive and all.

The bad news is...well, I guess we covered that already. I got kind of scared. That's the worst reaction I've had since the shrimp that time. But it got to a certain point and stopped. It's just not so good that it got that bad. I mean, I have the phone within reach and put my shoes on. Jeez.

That sucks.

Still: homemade white flour tortillas are still out there to be tried! And the tacos were just ridiculously stupidly good, holy cow.

I love the feeling of tortilla dough. I think a chemist would call it a colloid. It's like a very solid liquid or a very liquid solid.

So how are you doing?

Here is a digression. I hate the word "tips." Do you hate that too? I do not know why exactly. Well, partly because it's a noun with no visual. I picture fingertips, sirloin tips, pencil tips, tiptoes, whatever else. What exactly about the narrow pointy end of something are you trying to evoke here?
Keep in mind I'm having an allergic meltdown at the moment and am not at my highest peak of mental clarity. I can tell you right now that if I choke at all, I mean on drinking water or anything, I'm going to the emergency room. Actually choking on ridiculous things (or nothing) is often my first clue that something is up, allergically speaking.

I really did research this first, I promise you. Of course I don't have the bag, as it was bulk flour--there is no bag--but I researched the ingredients of masa harina and NOTHING said anything about sulfites. It's not listed in the ingredients anywhere. So I suppose it could be one of those things they do to corn before it gets made into food.

Damn, those were really good tortillas, too.

Are you allowed to, like, drive to the emergency room and sit around in the waiting room until you know whether your throat is going to swell shut? Because I'd say I'm almost certainly going to be completely fine, but you know, it's FAR.

Hey! Let's talk about more fun things.

Oh, there aren't any. Wait! I went for a walk! That was fun. I had a long conversation with the boy who comes and visits me in the Campus Center. I forget how we started talking that one day but I'm sure I wrote about it here. Oh my goodness, was it the eagle? I think it was the eagle! The eagle mascot went past and I wigged out and made him take his headphones off to commiserate about the eagle with me.

Anyway now he's like MY BEST FRIEND and comes to visit and hang out all the time. Not that others are not keeping an eye on me, because another student just hangs out with his cool football and basketball friends at the tables up by the windows and avoids catching my eye while maintaining a clear line of sight, see. And my favorite student the Unusual Gentleman is nearly always down in the couches near where I am too. But this kid isn't one of my students! He just comes to visit.

In fact today he was looking for a place to sit and I pointed to the comfy chair near my couch and he said, "I would, but then I wouldn't get any work done!" and I was all, "Oh..." and then he sat down anyway and it was TRUE, we just talked for like 20 minutes and nobody got anything done. Whoops!

I need actual grown-up friends, people. I'm serious. All my conversations are with students.

Actually my old friend H. and I were emailing today (I KNOW!) and I said I really like college students, they're always so much more interesting than they present themselves as being, so I always give them so much more benefit of the doubt than anyone else and they always live up to it. And then I thought...oh. Is that a coincidence, that the people I give huge benefit of the doubt to turn out to be awesome? NO IT IS NOT.

It's like if you walk up to a cowboy or geek or whatever and think, "Yay, I like cowboys/geeks/whatever!" Then that person sees your happy-to-see-me face and picks up on your comfort level and willingness to be pleased with the way this conversation is about to go.

Whereas if you walk up to someone and think, "Oh boy, how long before this jackass stabs me in the eye with an icepick?" then they can kind of pick up on that dynamic also.

My particular damage (not that you don't know this) is that any reasonably eligible being gets the icepick in the eye reaction. Like I start thinking, "Will the blood stain my shirt when he stabs me in the eye with an icepick? Maybe I'd better move this fragile glassware. Oh, I don't want to wreck the hostess's carpet with my everted viscera, either. Let's go stand on the tiles." It's not IF but WHEN. I am so sure that look of dread/horror/terror is HOT. Also the edging away. And the hockey pads.

The upshot of that conversation was that I think this is why college students get crushes on me, when they get the full barrage of the happy ranty cheerful hour-long hyperverbal outburst multiple times per week.

So basically THIS, only in person, about books, with chalk and a cup of tea. For credit! No wonder they all re-up.

Wow, it is fascinating how fast my face swelled up. Hello, Orson Welles! I'd missed you! Except, no I hadn't. Not one bit. And the flaming face and hives aren't my favorite. Nor the panicky feeling. My old friend, sense of doom! Aha, sudden drop in body temp and the familiar uncontrollable shivering!

I promise you I really didn't think this would happen or I would NOT have tried. Seriously and truly.

If I apologize a lot for the tortillas, can we have this go away? No? Well I apologize chemically. Do the talking for me, benadryl, but can you hurry it up a bit?

Notice nothing in this list says anything about masa harina or corn flour.


From here.

The toxic effects of sulfites can trigger allergic reactions. Symptoms of sulfite sensitivity include asthma, urticaria, angioedema, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, seizures and anaphylactic shock resulting in death. Levels as low as one part per million can trigger asthma. Symptoms also include:

* Severe respiratory reaction
* Flushing
* Feeling of temperature change
* Vomiting
* Difficulty swallowing
* Dizziness
* Contact dermatitis

Occurrence of sulfites

Sulfites occur as a result of fermentation and are found in:

* A variety of cooked, processed and baked foods
* Dried fruits, canned vegetables, guacamole and maraschino cherries
* Condiments, jams, gravies, dehydrated or precut or peeled potatoes, molasses, shrimp and soup mixes
* Beverages such as wine, beer, hard cider, fruit and vegetable juices, and tea

Processing of food ingredients including beet sugar, corn sweeteners and gelatin can also generate sulfites.

Sulfites also occur naturally in a number of foods such as maple syrup, pectin, salmon, dried cod, corn starch, lettuce, tomatoes, soy products, eggs, onions, garlic, chives, leeks and asparagus.

If you are allergic to sulfites, don't eat anything, ever, or everyone will get mad at you when you have a reaction.

Panic early, avoid the rush

Yes, it's a panic week. Because I'm getting 9 papers to write notes on today, then another 37 or so tomorrow, plus Online Job. And it's the last week of that. I'm confused about some things. All will be well.

The short answer is: email the facultyassist people and hope they get back to me in time.


So dealing with all the grading. I PANIC when faced with this much work to do, even though I have plenty of time to do it. I have a week on the 38, four days on the 9, six days on the 12.

I also have to set up a new Online Job iteration.

Speaking of which, it's Get Paid We Hope week, which is good because I'm getting threats of legal action from the propane people. Not that I blame them. I've owed them money since about March or something. And I moved! I called them and gave them my new address, of course.

They are tricky to deal with because they will totally lie. Or rather the person who answers the phone has no idea about anything and will say whatever she thinks will make you happy, and then it isn't remotely true--and they hold you to the thing you never heard about. My old landlord and I had a long talk about how much they suck one day and why neither of us ever wants to deal with them again.

Honestly I am sucking more for not paying them any money for a million years. I mean, be serious. But I don't have it.

It's all very stressful over here in panic land.

I'm trying to figure out ways NOT to panic, to have a calm, reasonable week, instead. I am probably fine with all those things but I don't *think* I am and so I completely freak out and freeze up and that derails everything.


Also somehow I woke up with tennis elbow. Explain that one! Both elbows hurt but the right one more. Folding laundry? Raking for five minutes? Kneading bread? Ironing? Maybe ironing. I ironed EVERYTHING last night. It's all nice and starchy in here now.

I'm wearing a crisp starched white Oxford shirt today, which makes me very happy. Of course with a black skirt practically to the ground and a black vest over top, so I look like the Addams family's Victorian lawyer, but that's okay! I might even wear dressy girly shoes since it's draft workshop today.

I got up at 8. You should be afraid right there. Normally I'd be getting up right about now, not sitting here typing super fast in a blathery hyperverbal panic, all showered and dressed and full of rice pudding and drinking my tea. I have had wicked insomnia the last two nights, which is another very bad sign, because sleep is my natural milieu. Not being able to get to sleep for hours is bad enough, but waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep is ALARMING to me. But also kind of good, I guess. I mean, here I am, right?

When is the time change? Oh, next week. That's great that the EU and North America do it a week apart. I'm sure that doesn't cause any confusion or anything.

Apparently David Hewlett is in Romania playing a UN person for a movie. How did I get so utterly attached to David Hewlett? I know! I don't care where the actors from Battlestar are or what they're doing (this is true) but I'm so fond of David Hewlett, I got sad when he moved to England because SO FAR AWAY. Though is it any further from here than Los Angeles? I doubt it. Probably closer.

I really need a globe. Stupid Mercator projections!

If the United States were a ship going east, we'd be the eye on the figurehead out on the prow.

Oh, right, panic. There's your solution: think about nice David Hewlett! I need a McKay action figure. It can try to bicker with Helo and get nowhere because Helo is the kind who will just smile, and then it will pick fights with Apollo and make him snap and yell and then laugh. Yep, that's what would happen.

Oh, good, there are lots on Ebay. One of these days. McKay is a glorious character. I just adore him. I don't know David Hewlett at all, obviously, never met the guy, but he looks an awful lot like McKay, see. And I'm smitten from his Twitter.

Okay, so how do you cope with panic that ejects you from bed early on a Monday morning before any of the actual circumstances have begun?

1. take steps to counteract it, like talking to the propane people
2. make reasonable plans, instead of trying to do too much, failing, and freaking out
3. keep exercising
4. keep cooking and eating food (NOT CANDY CORN)
5. do fun things that relax the old brains, like reading, dvds, sewing
6. KEEP WRITING. Do not let the panic interfere or everything goes to hell.

I am pretty sure that one of the solutions is always MORE TEA, right? Yes? Surely? Okay. Then MORE TEA!

It was a lovely weekend. Thank you world, for a lovely weekend! Soccer boys and yard work and lots of sleep and reading good books and ironing everything while watching Rosemary & Thyme and baking bread and snuggling Mr. Kitty and all!

I'm just going to do Online Job right now and get it out of the way. Yes.

Happy Monday, non-panicking types!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oh my breadness

That is the best bread I have ever baked, and I have baked some great bread in my time, let me tell you. YUM. I might have to have a third slice while it's still hot. Oh oh oh. Yum and yum some more.

I also made rice pudding that came out kind of not gooped, or something, but then I left it in the rice cooker on warm for a while and it cured itself. Yay! It's still not as gooped as I'd like, but then again I used milk instead of cream. Mmm, remember when I used to make it with heavy cream? Oh man oh man...that was so good.

What else did I cook? I was all set to make Minnesota tacos but the meat wasn't defrosted and I couldn't bear getting all onioned up right after my shower. I think the kitchen needs one of those hanging curtains (as opposed to what, a levitating curtain?) that keeps the onioniness in, though that wouldn't stop it from getting all over me. But at least it would be CONTAINED.

There's no fan, natch.

Some creature has been pressing its cute little nose against my basement windows from the outside. I think maybe fox. It's about fox level. And the coyotes were doing their twilight barking again tonight. I can hear it sort of geographically, like that the ones over at the power line cut are barking to the ones over here in the woods. And yes, there was fresh bear poop in the yard again today. I so rarely go out back without finding fresh bear poop.

I actually headed for the back deck and then slowed down in case our beary visitor was sleeping underneath it or something. What is it doing here all the time? Why does it go through my yard constantly? It must just be conveniently on the way between Bear Point A and Bear Point B.

Still eating apples, you'll be interested to know. Or not.

The best part was, I was bending over it and said out loud, "Still eating apples, I see, bear," when Surly Goth Girl walked past the house, though she blasts music out of her cell phone or a little radio or something and I am sure did not hear me talking out loud to the bear poop.


I did SO MUCH today! Aaaaaah!

To wit:

Online Job
took the giant screen off the garage door
cleaned it and put it in the back of the garage
ran the mower until it ran out of gas
moved all the stuff in the garage to make room for the car
weedwhacked around the front of the house
dumped the dirt from the container garden in the compost pile
put the recycling in the car
put the Goodwill stuff in the car
washed a million dishes
did the laundry
changed the sheets
baked bread
made rice pudding
failed to eat all day (except a slice of bread for breakfast) until 3 pm when I nearly keeled over

I still need to do the massive amounts of ironing and a bit of reading for class tomorrow.

Also, there isn't any food. I mean I didn't make anything that could be considered a main dish of any kind whatsoever. I suppose I can make a sandwich for tomorrow, but hot food is infinitely better at lunch.

Tomorrow I'll make Minnesota tacos, but I can tell you right now I'm kind of daunted by the whole making tortillas thing. I used to make them all the time in high school, and I have the tortilla press, but I can't remember even one single thing about how to do it, like, er, the ingredients. Is it just masa and water? Masa, oil, and water? I can't remember.

If you are making tortillas, you are generally a person who knows how to make them, is what I'm saying.

I've been trying to remember everything I can about it and all I can come up with is how good they smell cooking in corn oil, how nice the dough is when it's working right, that you have to use waxed paper or plastic or the ball of dough will stick to the press, and how amazingly good they taste fresh and hot off the grill.

Also I only have the one frying pan. How can I make two things?

You're supposed to cook them on the gas flame directly--you throw them on that metal grate thing that holds up the pots. But I have an electric stove here.

Well, we'll see. Tortillas are easy, once you get the knack. It's not a big deal. It's the easy thing you do for the meal.

It's also perfectly possible that the masa harina will be all sulfite city and there will be no point in all this, though I can always make white ones, which are much easier, I seem to remember.

So there we go. Tortilla drama! Minnesota tacos! Mmmmmmm, thinking about those tortillas makes me really hope I can manage to make them tomorrow. Yum yum yum.

I ought to make some sort of vegetable-based food, too, instead of my constant BOWL OF VEG that I keep on eating. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but it's deeply uninspired. It's only one step above eating ingredients. If that. Maybe a half step.

I'm trying to live beyond eating ingredients, is all I'm saying.

Time to iron things. Kitty will be so psyched because he'll get to hog the chair.

We are having couch fantasies, Siegfried and I. I want one like the one in L.A., only big enough--that was teeny tiny, a little loveseat. But like that in the sense that it's not squashy. It's firm and smoothly upholstered, right? I don't like couches where they're all squashy and saggy and the fabric moves around. So that's what I want.

I'm considering looking at used ones and ripping the upholstery off, but that is a BIG DEAL and given how the blue dresser is still unusable even with all that shelf paper, I am thinking NOT. Seriously, that dresser is not a winner. No. The smell! And it's not the paint smell, either. It's something else, something chemical and smoky and just tremendously ungood and ineradicable.

Actually I smelled the exact smell one day when I was driving through Brewer, not exactly a mecca of awesomeness economically and socially speaking, so I'm wondering whether that smell is cooking meth. Does anyone know what that smells like? And can you then communicate it to me in print? Of the three people reading this, what are the odds? Okay, never mind.

I am getting rid of that dresser as soon as the car is emptied out again. For real. Maybe if I put it by the side of the road, someone will take it, do you think? It's worth a try.

People driving past my house: they have pickups. It's true.

I think I need a dresser more than a couch, but the cat and I are really dreaming of that couch, seriously. Or at least a second chair so we don't have to fight over this one. But even more important is a desk chair. Also soap, laundry detergent, whole wheat flour, fresh vegetables, and a list of unpaid bills as long as your arm. But those will be taken care of soon, right? RIGHT! Knock on your unusable blue dresser!

Why yes, I would love some more hot fresh bread with butter melting on it, how did you guess? Mmmmmmmm.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Soccer = bliss

I think I'm 100% happy at soccer games.

Especially if the obvious negatives are not happening, like ninnies jabbering in my ear, or the entire nation of South Korea banging on drums two feet away, or three little girls singing annoying songs right behind me. Two of those happened at the Women's World Cup in Philadelphia and I'm still flinching, but I avoided the third today by not sitting in the stands with #18's sister.

I like my student #18's parents! I introduced myself today by asking his dad when the playoff games were, but he said it depends on who else makes them. Our boys are 1st in their division! YAY!

Then #18's mom and I got talking about FERPA because of course I said, "Your son is in my English class," and I wanted to say nice things about him but I'm all federally not allowed, so I pointed that out in case they thought Silence was Condemnation.

I am so fond of my athlete students. Isn't that odd? You know I asked my friend Dennis what I was like in high school, thinking he'd say "obsessive musician" or something, or, you know, "language genius," since I frightened people with that, but he said, "You were a jock." Whoa!

Interesting given that I did not play any sports in high school. At all.

Anyway I wasn't crazy about student athletes when I was a student, even in college--not the big team sports. I liked club sports like rugby and ultimate and so on. Team sports were so intimidating, with coaches and travel schedules and fascist workouts at 6 a.m. Yeeeesh.

Today watching the game in the outrageous pouring rain, I was completely 100% blissed out, though.

I stood down on the lowest tier of the three, where no one else was. All the parents huddle together up on the top tier and the students all sat on the bleachers, crowded together. It was just me, the ball boy, and the line judge.

Actually I got to fetch the ball twice and give it to the ball boy. With my foot! I love when I get to kick the ball at soccer games. Hurray!

I can't really explain how blissed out I was. I keep on trying. It's like the sun was shining out through my face. Like all there was in the whole world was me and the 22 boys on the field. (And the ball boy and the line judge, of course.) Everything was all sharp and clear. Did I mention the torrential rainstorm?

Yellow slicker, jeans, wool sweater, wool socks that got soaked ten minutes into the game because the grass was a lake and my cheapo Walmart slip-on boots are not waterproof, wool hat, which is vital or else you freeze, which I knitted myself and is the exact same color as my hair, which was an accident--I was trying to match my coat--Thinsulate gloves, Scotland scarf because it's warm and because of that old student, and a big black umbrella over everything. I stayed warm, thank goodness.

They played so beautifully today. How come the whole thing is so beautiful? I know it's called "the beautiful game" and all. I guess that explains it. You could put those same players in another game and I'd go, "Eh," and go home, so it's obviously not THEM. It's the game itself somehow. They fight so hard! And they throw themselves into it completely! And they just run run run run run, all sopping and muddy and red-cheeked and trying so hard!

I was trying to figure out what this team does that the women's team doesn't, and all I can tell you is that the women's team doesn't have heart. At Willamette it was the other way around. The women's team was the only one worth watching. But here and back at Lock Haven, boy, the men's teams just pour their hearts out on the field.

I walked back to the parking lot with #18's parents and got to talk to them, so that was really nice.

So the playoffs, huh? That's fabulous! More, more! I will drive long distances! As soon as I get paid on Friday! For which, please cross whatever you've got, because I'm going to have to buy gas with my remaining change to get to work until the end of the week, when I supposedly am going to get paid. I want direct deposit, I want the full amount, and I want it Friday by the time I wake up in the morning. Okay? Okay.

Oh yes! The new office/gym! It is AWESOME.

How could I not have a good day, with chicken pot pie and chocolate pudding in the fridge, a gorgeous rainy soccer game which our boys won 6-0 by the way, and FURNITURE MOVING?

I'm preemptively sad about the end of soccer season. Is there any way I can learn to love another sport that much? Do they let you stand up at basketball games? Because I do not have a fun time at sports unless I get to stand up. I have proven this empirically. If I get to stand up AND walk around, like today, when I paced like a nervous coach and jumped up in the air when they scored. Yay! Do they let you do that at basketball? Because I hear there's going to be some coming up here at some point and I had WAY too much fun today to have this end.

By the way, that book I started out not liking is called _Bet Me_, which I tried to read before and nearly threw across the room, but this time I persevered and now I love it. So there you go.


You can see the room is so small, I had to stand in the living room to take this picture through the doorway, but the setup is just tremendously awesome. I can ski! I can bike! I can work at the computer and not freeze! I can play my baritone (that big black case) and frighten the moose! Still some chaos. Still a stack of boxes. Still that poster for Souseloaf, my friend Bjorn's band, that I need to send him as soon as I get a short poster tube. Still unmatching curtains and no hook for the orchid in the middle and a mysterious necklace hanging on my calendar to keep the kitty from biting it. Things to do!


It was cold, and it rained, so I felt like...okay not an actor, so David Bowie does not get to do the soundtrack today. At least the song "Rollercoaster" can get bumped out of my head for a while, though.

It is COLD. And it's RAINING. It's seeping into the basement in three or four places, that's how much it's raining. I will allow damp patches, though. It's the seven by three foot lake that I will not allow.

It's really been a pleasure, not having to go down there with the Shop Vac every morning and vacuum up all that water. Let's keep it that way!

Man oh man is it pouring out there. Wow.

Okay, so the office is very very cold, even with the plastic on the sliding glass door. VERY cold. Kind of too cold to sit in here for long. Your feet freeze, your legs freeze, you get cold even though there's a heater down each side of the room. And they're turned on. The heat doesn't overcome the cold blasting right atcha, see.

I'm thinking about possibly moving my desk (and the computer which is on it) into the living room. Maybe.

The cold is only half the reason, though. The other half is: then I could bring my bike on its wind trainer stand and the Nordictrack in from the garage! The office could be the gym! Fun times!

It's a thought.

Really the only warm place to be is in the comfy chair right next to the heater in the living room. Or in bed.

I had thought that all those grayish darkish marks on the wall over the living room heater were sort of smoke or something, coming up from it. Baked dust. But now I can see that they're from previous people sitting there with their feet on the heater, exactly as I do. Yep!

Maybe I could just shove the desk over by the wall and hover next to a heater that way. And still have room for the bike and Nordictrack. It's not like anyone is going in and out of the sliding glass door. It is so very taped shut! Seriously taped shut. And very very covered in plastic wrap, which at the bottom is taped to the floor, because the metal frame of the door would not stop getting covered with condensation no matter how often I wiped it off, so the tape wouldn't stick.

Even all sealed up, the floor by the door is so ridiculously cold, you can't believe it unless you experience it. It's refrigerated. And so am I, sitting here.

However, that can be so nice when you're exercising, right? Plus I'll have all that lovely snowy forest to look at while huffing and puffing away.

I woke up with an enormous desire to grow muscles again and be all speedy and svelte. That's a very good thing since it helps encourage me not to eat stupid things that will kill me! Yay!

By the way, chocolate pudding seems to be IN THE CLEAR. Hurray! I came home last night and ate some without thinking, because apparently the whole REMEMBERING THINGS CAN KILL ME part still needs some work. So I was sitting there reading a Connie Willis book, snuggling the kitty, eating some pudding, when I suddenly remembered.

But it didn't have any effect. So that's good!

Mmm, pudding. It's instant Jello chocolate pudding from the box. Yep. Living high on the hog, that's me.

Man I love that stuff. Why is it so good?

I'm trying to read this Jenny Crusie book but she keeps doing Bad Writing things that irk me. And I mean, it's not just that I have different tastes or whatever. I actually can't tell what she means. She's being unclear. It's making me grumpy and I'm only three pages in.

I'm used to deciphering freshman papers, so I really don't think it's me. Nope!

Last night I had awesome dreams for the first time in forever, which I blame on all the benadryl, for taking them away, I mean. Dreams like going to Ikea with Lars, which I have never done, and finding my way around Berlin without a map, which I *have* done, and playing soccer without understanding the rules, which I have also done. Except in reality it was intramural and I got yelled at a lot by my own teammates, even though I told them right up front I had no idea how to play, and in the dream I was a total ROCK STAR so the team was desperate to keep me even though I didn't know the rules. Which in fairness the intramural team thought too. The rock star thing. But only because I was captain of the rugby team and super fit and stuff.

I think that might be why I want to get speedy and fit, that soccer dream.

The weekend's jobs:

laundry (with concomitant monitoring of the basement water influx situation)
quilting that quilt at last (YAY!)
figuring out how to fit the bike and Nordictrack inside
taking down the screen over the garage door so I can put the car inside
grading those papers
watching last week's Stargate Universe (YAY!)
ironing all the ironing
writing book book book book book
going for walks even in the pouring rain, sure!
dumping out the dead tomato plants ('s a killa)
slacking off, eating pudding, and reading fun books (a large proportion of time)
cleaning the house? maybe....I think I vacuumed last week
but tidying, yes indeed. tidying up makes me happy
OH YES dealing with those four boxes stacked right there <---- br="">And that is all I need to worry about. No big deal!

You know, if I just turn the desk to face the wall, I will have all the room in the world and will probably be a whole lot warmer. But then I can't face outside. I will have to turn my head! Oh woe! Er, okay, maybe not WOE. Oh, mild inconvenience!

Though it may turn out it's just too cold to sit in here no matter what I do, with one wall almost all window. I dunno. Must experiment, eh?

Have I ever told you how much I adore the Nordictrack? I ADORE the Nordictrack. I can't walk past it without getting on and skiiing a bunch. Once I can get hold of a book rack for it (and the bike) there will be no stopping me. You add together my inability to sit still and my love of repetitive motion and the fact that I get cold when not moving around (this is true everywhere) and that is a perfect recipe for lots and lots and lots of exercise on indoor equipment.

Here's a powerful example: I am always complaining that classrooms are too hot, taking off sweaters, etc., but then we did a draft workshop last week and I was sitting there grading things, and got cold. I put my wool shirt on and this rectangular baseball player kid in the last row looked up at me astonished and in the totally quiet room said, "You're cold?" I said, "Yeah, I'm freezing." He said, "But you're never cold!"

Your students know you so very well. Isn't it frightening?

I also had a revelation this week about why I like teaching writing to athletes, musicians, gymnasts/dancers, and former members of the various armed services more than any other groups: they know how to take criticism. Can you believe I finally figured that out, after so many years of teaching? Other people have to learn to take notes, or they resist them, or they get their backs up or get mad or just ignore them. How cool is that?

I will tell you who I'm not crazy about in classes: nurses. It's true. Future nurses, I guess they are, but still. I am not a fan. They are so impatient and huffy! All of them! Jeez, calm the heck down, nurse people. They are so utilitarian that if they can't quantify what a discussion is doing for them that very second, they call it useless and get mad that I'm wasting their time. We do not see eye to eye on the world.

I think I'll just put Ziggy Stardust on and move some furniture around, because I'm so cold right now I'm getting shivery. Too much sitting around! Also it's lunch time. Last of the chicken pot pie! I took it over to Stately Burns Manor yesterday and my brother and I (and baby Julia) ate up a bunch of it. That kid is using so many long, complex sentences, it's kind of mindblowing. She saw me eating pot pie and said, "I want some of that," which is a big step up from making grabby hands and yelling, "HAVE IT! HAVE IT!" Like, you know, last week.

Also I got to visit her day care, which is so great I wish I had a kid to put in it. And because I don't have a sense of decorum, I said to the owner, "This place is so great, I wish I had a kid to put in it!"

Yep. She was nice. She let the dogs in so I could play with them. Tammy's extremely good at reading people. Room full of toddlers and all I want is to play with the dogs. Though to be fair (to me) I was wearing a short skirt and wasn't really able to get down on the floor with them. So I guess I do have a sense of decorum after all.

Brrrrrrrr! Ziggy Stardust! Chicken pot pie! GO!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NaNo NaNo

Time to commit: I'm doing Green Witch for NaNoWriMo.

I suppose I was all set to commit last week but that was so very much not working out, John Crichton notwithstanding. I think it needs to go back into the oven of my brain for a while until I get it sorted.

Okay, I cooked chicken pot pie and it was OUTSTANDING. And! There is about a ton of it still. I have food for days and days. Mmmmm, food. And it's 100% guaranteed non-allergical in any possible way.

Oh boy was that good.

I'm finding I am now extremely tired. I washed a million dishes and made the pot pie and put plastic on the sliding glass door and listened to Tracy Morgan on Fresh Air and then the Jupiter symphony which came on the radio after it, which I've played so many times it's almost boring to hear, but I love the middle movements so there you go.

Actually it's only the first movements of Mozart that make me want to scream.

This is why. The cello part goes like this:

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

There oughta be a law, I tell you. And I've played the continuo part to Pachelbel's Canon. There's nothing I don't know about orchestral tedium. But the first movements of Mozart take the everlasting cake.

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

(That's a slight exaggeration but the core of it is true, I vow.)

It was odd to listen to Tracy Morgan and then switch to Alec Baldwin introducing the symphony. I mean, 30 Rock makes that an odd juxtaposition.


I am still working on that plan to write as much of Green Witch as I can before starting NaNo. That might even be possible now that the heinous endless so much worky papers are out of my life, for now, at least. I get them back Tuesday.

The research paper is coming up next. Aaaaaaaaargh!!! Oh well, breathe, phew, worry about that when the time comes. Okay!

So the office is about a trillion times nicer with the window all sealed up. That is the draftiest sliding glass door ever. Of course it's put in all poorly and air whooshed around it all the time. My feet are still a little cool but not nearly as bad. I might put that thick opaque plastic on the bottom two feet, but I might not because once I get a bird (not bear) feeder, Mr. Kitty will want to watch the birds. And he's only 14 inches tall.

He's such a good cat. Yay, Mr. Kitty! He even sleeps on the bed with me sometimes, though mostly he's underneath it, on my other comforter.

I was all ready with the camera in case he tried to eat my pot pie, so I could say, "No Mr. Kitty, that's my pot pie!" but he was not interested. Oh well.

Dang that was good pot pie. Good job, me, for getting it together to cook the food and then eat it. For lo! That way you get to be all healthy and okay and stuff. Yay!

I might just go to sleep, if there are no objections. Motion passed!


This is the snow from whenever that was. Last week?

Flu shot, yay!

That was a weird experience. They're giving flu shots in the Campus Center today OF COURSE because this is where everything is, but that's good, because I could get my shot for $15 instead of $25 and also the nice pharmacists made me wait around in case I turned red and swelled up like a pumpkin again.

One of the contraindications for a flu shot is sulfite allergy. I guess the sulfite bastards are in the shots, too.

THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. YOU BASTARDS! [shakes fist at sky in impotent rage]


Any the nice pharmacist dude just came over to tell me that HQ called them back--they were all standing around me and conferring over my head as I sat there in the chair with my sleeve rolled up--and said I'd be all right, there isn't usually a reaction.

Anyway I was already taking a bunch of benadryl for the reaction already in progress. The one pharmacist was all impressed. "Ooh, you're prepared!" I kind of didn't elaborate.

I'm not sure that was the wisest thing I've ever done, getting that shot when I'm already all red and shaky, but they were LOOKING at me so if they'd seen anything to worry about, they wouldn't have done it. Right? Right?

And so I'm having combination office hours/waiting to swell up like Violet Beauregarde. I ate up my fez of veggies and my piece of bread and butter. Yum, veggies.

So far, day one of My Fascist Diet Life has gone swimmingly. Except for the total shakes and cramps in my arms until I ate lunch, but I think that's low blood sugar, isn't it? I had oatmeal for breakfast, plus walnuts, but by 2:00 I was not in very good shape. At least I figure that's what it was, since eating lunch cured it. Hurray!

I shall endeavor not to suck. By eating stupid foods, I mean. I think the whole shebang is going to cause massive weight loss, to be honest. Woe, candy corn! Woe! But then again, I'm not sure it's a trigger--but I have to wait until I'm all calmed down allergically speaking and try it on a clean slate.

I am not crazy about the twitchies. I mean, I look like a detoxing crackhead or something. Or Parkinson's. My arms won't hold still. But it's way better since lunch.

Here's the other cool thing today: the guy who's head of the campus democrats sat down near me so I asked him about when I'm allowed to change my address and is there time before the vote? He was the right guy to ask! He not only knew the answer off the top of his head, he knew where to go in Orrington to register and what time they're open.

I'm trying to talk him into getting a flu shot. He and his girlfriend started telling me how you can get paralyzed from it, which is one of those daft ignorant don't-understand-statistics kinds of things. Probably more people die in school shootings on college campuses than get any of those insanely rare reactions, but you don't see him refusing to go to class, do you?

Okay, I have to figure out foods I can make that aren't a fez of plain vegetables. Not that those aren't delicious and all, but how many days can I eat that? I am not thinking clearly (obviously) what with the drugs and everything, but I can probably come up with a decent list if I work at it.

Here, I'll start:

one million types of homemade soup
sandwiches with home-cooked meat/chicken or tuna
raw veg and homemade dips
rice dishes, like pilaf, fried rice, etc.
pie! including pot pies! by the way I have a whole book of pie pies
casseroles of various things, including flavors, whoa!
large bowl of popcorn
fancy quick breads, right? why not?
fruit salad
salad salad
chicken salad!
those three things are using the word "salad" in very different ways
members of the paste food group, such as hummus, baba ganouj, etc.
pancakes! if I make my own cooked fruit/syrup kind of thing
biscuits, mmm
bagels, dude--I have made them in the past
ice cream, sherbet, and so on
pasta! I have the technology!
tacos (absurdly fun) once I master making tortillas. Yes we can!
cake! In fact I have cake I made at home that I forgot about.
every kind of ethnic food ever, seriously--as long as I make it myself

My, I'm feeling loopy. Apparently I was totally funny in my second class today. I had them do a draft workshop because I'm so out of it. They find it just hilarious that I'm so drugged up I can't teach my classes. Ha ha!

Aren't you DELIGHTED that the frelling papers are over? YAY! I don't get them again until Tuesday. And then I have a whole week to get them back. I am so glad I changed things around. That was TOO HARD.

It's making me VEHEMENT.

Also, I'm all red. Drat it. I'm going home and having a nap.

I am SO EXCITED to get home and not have all those papers hanging over my head. What a thrill! What should I do? Run wild? Sleep? Iron? Go crazy? Make some kind of delicious pot pie? Sit in the comfy chair and watch Rosemary & Thyme episodes the whole evening long?

I think those last two get my vote, sequentially, that is. Then I can take food over to Stately Burns Manor tomorrow instead of putting them in the position of having to work around the impossible food bans. It's a plan! Though I might iron while watching those dvds if that's okay with everyone.

No objections? Grand!


Apologizing for my printer, which is nearly out of ink and printing pale copy, I handed a student a paper back and said, "Yours is almost unreadable." Look of terrible shock from the poor student.


Not your paper. My notes! Sorry, sorry, sorry!

How embarrassing. Poor guy!

Indefinite antecedents, dear me.


I got the papers done. I was hoping I'd get miraculously cured of all allergicalities so they'd be proven psychosomatic or something, but that has not happened. Alas!

I think I really am stuck with this. YUCK.

I made a big pot of veggies. I love buying frozen veggies. Do you know what the ingredients list for the cauliflower says? Cauliflower. And for the peas? Peas. And for the green beans? Green beans.

And so on.

That makes me happy. Plus they don't come with the ticking time bomb of crisper drawer decay, which makes me TENSE, when I have it, and RELAXED when I don't. I mean, within the local definition of the term. Which is to say, not very.

I was thinking about walking down to the next house tomorrow and seeing whether anyone trick-or-treats here. I am guessing very much not, but they do have kids, and there's surly Goth girl down the other way, though I don't know where she lives, come to think of it. But this way I could meet my neighbors and find out whether I need to get a bag of miniature Snickers or something.


There are kids at the house where they had the mobile home, too. And the one with the horse and goats. And the crummy one with no garage where all the toys are always in the yard. But I really can't imagine people walking along the side of a busy road with kids to trick-or-treat. Maybe they drive, though. It's possible. It's not UNpossible.

Time for my drugged stupor again. It takes a while for the dose to kick in, during which I lie there with eyes wide open, being all shivery and squirrelly. Then I wake up in the morning looking like Orson Welles, puffiest face you ever saw. It ain't pretty.

I checked out all these Ann George and Jenny Crusie books from the library today. I had to ask my favorite lesbian librarian (we have a selection to choose from!) to figure out Ann George's name, since all I could remember was the series was about Southern sisters. Well, it turns out that Southern Sisters is the name of the series. Aha!

She got all nervous and blushy, which is sweet and flattering. And at least she's the right species. I seem to remember that the last being who got smitten with me was a mourning dove. Remember that? Couldn't stop staring at me through the window in L.A. and making that purring burble at me, and puffing up his neck and showing off?

I LOVE those Ann George books. They're kind of lightweight but very vivid and totally fun, with the heroine's exasperating but indispensable sister and these convoluted mysteries.

My pumpkin, carefully chosen because it was so cool and green and veiny, has turned ORANGE. What is up with that? Conformist pumpkin! I chose you for your individualism and now you're all toeing the line with the masses!

I adore my pumpkin. There is nothing quite as glorious as a nice big round pumpkin. And it has the best stem ever, twisted and gnarly. When I figure out what's wrong with the internet on the desktop computer I'll post pictures. Oh you know I will. The desktop's internet hasn't worked right since I brought it out to the living room and back again. Why oh why?

I got carpal tunnel writing all these paper notes. I kid you negative. Frelling ow. That just proves I'm not writing enough or it wouldn't have happened. Exactly! It is a motivational call to action!

I did write a thing that's the start of a thing and it's even going to be possible to keep on writing it, for which HURRAY, plus I got super good helpful notes on it which makes all the difference in the world. So there's that. I'll give you a link one of these days when I feel ready.

Oh! And I got a revelation, one of my usual blindingly obvious epiphanies, about how to do this one project and where and in what manner. It should all be a million times easier now and maybe I really can do it for NaNo. I sure hope so. Yes yes yes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Still alive! I think. Am I? I'm on the massive allergic attack rollercoaster, where eating anything turns me maroon and my arms cramp up and shake and I get all short of breath and get HYSTERICAL and hyperventilate and then I have to take benadryl and fall into a stupor such that I practically drool, and forget to blink. It's awesome!

Also I'm still not done grading those papers. I AM IN HELL.

I think I have nine to go or something. Very doable for tomorrow, if the crazy shakes would just stoppit.

Once this thing gets going, I get all super-extra-allergical, sort of in allergy red alert, so that everything sets it off again. It started last week. And then everything else re-upped it. And on and on.

I'm on white rice and plain oatmeal for the duration, which is so amazingly fun, I can't even tell you. Woooooooh. Yippee.

Right now I'm in trouble because I tried to eat a lunch of apples and mozzarella. Seriously, that's all. Except it started up the allergy mariachi band again, and then I looked at the label of the cheese and apparently fresh mozzarella has vinegar in it. WHY??? Boy, you just can't trust cheese these days. Vinegar!

I can't even express how useless I am on benedryl. It seems to hit me a lot harder these days. Why would that be? I've been taking one instead of two, except for when I call up D and she yells at me for anaphylaxing and makes me take the second one.

See, the other thing that comes with allergic red alert is I HAVE NO BRAIN. That comes with benadryl, too. So either I'm in this total crackhead state of shaking and spazzing out with my eyes open all big, and I have no capability for clear thought, or else I'm zombied out and have no capability for clear thought. Either way I'm pretty hosed. And either way does bad, bad, bad, bad things to my psychological well-being. Like massive chemical mood swings. Like being alternately cracked out and supremely drunk. Well, you can just imagine.

And of course in lucid moments I'm forced to confront the whole issue with the food, which is to say, I can't eat practically any of it, forever, which makes me seriously frustrated and angry and depressed and also not surprisingly HUNGRY.

I can cook things from scratch, but even then there are big limitations, especially in the flavorings/condiments area. I guess I've been trying to push it lately out of sheer frustration and also complete inability to cope with making meals to take for lunch with these absurd restrictions and oh yeah NO MONEY.

So that's where I've been for the past week or whatever.

How are you?

It's actually really hard to type right now because my arms want to go flop around and shake elsewhere.

It just keeps reminding me of that stupid heroin addict girl at the bakery, remember her? The one who said it looked like I had cotton fever? I know!

Well, I wanted to get this in while I'm crossing baseline on the way to a benadryl zombiedom dip, which will be followed in its natural course by a rise to the scratching, itchy, maroon-faced heights, and so on. Or I could do what I did yesterday and just take a benadryl every two hours, which sort of levels it out more.

Yesterday was not good. Teaching Tuesdays With Morrie was easier today and Monday. We're getting to the end of the book, where (spoiler alert) Morrie is totally dying of Lou Gehrig disease. I mean, it's not a spoiler, you find out it's going to happen in the first chapter, but still.

All last weekend I read Anne Lamott books because she's so good at being funny and self-aware even when (or especially when) she's being self-destructive and a walking disaster area. D and I talked about whether eating a Payday was a self-destructive act, but I really don't think it was. I mean, I read the label--it's not like I didn't read the label--and there were no red flags.

But I guess the upshot is, everything that's not absolutely made from utter scratch in my own kitchen is off limits. And that really does make me kind of crazy. That means no restaurants, no travel, no bi bim bop, no sushi....I mean, seriously. I cannot get behind that. But considering my tongue is swollen up and my whole mouth itches from eating mozzarella, I suppose I have to cope with it somehow.

I might be going through the stages of mozzarella denial here. Because then I think, Well, maybe it's just fresh mozzarella. Maybe the regular kind is okay. And so eventually I'll get this reaction calmed down to regular old baseline again, without the trapezoidal maroon face, and I'll try mozzarella again, or some other thing that seems harmless, and I can almost guarantee you it'll start all over.

That's the thing I have to give up. That thing where I keep trying it again because how ridiculous is it that I can eat all these foods my whole life and suddenly they make me a frantic scratching red-faced monkey? How is that okay?

I'm not good with FOREVER. It's great in fiction and all but it's super lame in reality. No beer. No wine. No cheese. No baked goods unless I bake them my own self. No pasta unless I make it myself. No cider. No maple syrup. Hey, ice cream should be okay if it's the super good kind, right? No grapes because they treat them. No prepared foods of any kind. No restaurant food. No eating over at anyone else's house because believe me, they don't get it. No turkey because they inject it with that stuff. No cold cuts. No bagels. No donuts. And so on.

Anyway. You see why it's making me kind of crazy, even when it's not physically making me crazy, which it's been doing for days and days now, like having sunburn and poison ivy all over that comes and goes, with the chills and fever and shivers and racing heart along with it, and the big red pumpkin face. Gack!

In case this wasn't totally clear: I hate this so much! I'm just trying to get through it. And, you know, stop making it happen again, since it's 100% preventable by non-idiots! Which is maybe why D says it's self-destructive to eat a Payday and get all allergical and then eat a cheeseburger because I'm already in that state so why not? When I know better. I have to call her and implicate the mozzarella. A shocker!

In positive news, I pulled my hair back today, just the front, you know, and everywhere I went on my errands, everyone was super nice to me. I always forget that it makes me look all adorable and non-surly! Especially now that it's so long. Must keep doing that. Especially since long hair makes me look totally surly otherwise. Grumpy hairdo! Let's not!

Okay, so in the interests of survival, I'm going to be a very very good girl and not eat anything that could potentially set off Allergy Armageddon again. Right? Right. Even though that includes FREAKING EVERYTHING. How do I make a sandwich when I can't use cheese or peanut butter or jam? What goes in it? I am serious here. A slab of roast beef I roasted myself? If I had that, I could try it.

You see how I get into trouble. What do I take for lunch tomorrow? There's no food in the fridge besides half a purple cabbage and some garlic. I guess I can take bread and butter. Or a fez of cooked vegetables and rice, if I went and cooked some vegetables and made rice. There's no chicken or meat around. I could bake a potato, I suppose.

Hi! I'm frustrated and cranky and seemingly incapable of feeding myself in a manner that is not half killing me! And my eyes are swelling shut! So I'm gonna take more benadryl and grade some papers. Your Earth foods are problematical!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Still trying to convince myself I want to write anything *other* than speedy rollicking crazy hyperactive tense fun times.

I do not know exactly what my damage is here, Heather.

On the one hand, you should be able to write whatever the hell you set your mind to.

On the other hand, if you are IN LOVE with a particular style and no one is hitting you on the head and saying, "Ack, stop writing that, bleah!" then you should probably write that style.

On the third hand, if you have a story that isn't like that, does that mean:

a) you should not write that story, no matter how much you're in love with it
b) you CAN not write that story, no matter how much you're in love with it
c) you should make that story like that, crazy speedy etc., and then write it
d) what's your damage, Heather?
e) I know if I just bang my head against this wall long enough, one of us will crack!

I am not sure.

I know that just because something is super hard to do and making you crazy, that doesn't mean you quit trying. But sometimes you should. Only, when?

Plus. Well. What is wrong with me? I keep writing scenes and chapters where THINGS DON'T HAPPEN. You know the adage about starting a book with your hair on fire and all. Well, I keep starting it in a dark cave where no one knows what's going on.

That's certainly one of the famous Tiptree methods, to start a story in a mining shaft twenty stories underground where no one knows how they got there or what's going on, but there is a certain amount of tension in those stories which I do not find to be present in my MULTIPLE FIRST CHAPTERS. Ahem.

I really think I write best when I throw the protagonist off the cliff and he or she is flailing and trying to figure out which way is up before splashing into the water below. When I'm trying to figure it out along with them.

And when I get to narrate the inside of their head.

Okay, so, well, there you go. Let's do that! All right! I have not tried that yet, in the lovely week of blindfolded potshots at the styrofoam deer!

I did grade a whole lot of papers tonight. It was pretty grueling, mainly because it's the narrative paper, but most of all because they are writing these heart-breaking stories about terrible things that have happened in their lives. WHEN I KNOW THAT IS MY STUDENT.

It's taking a while, is all. I did seven, but I kind of ran out of steam with that last one. Ouch and ouch. They're just little bunnies and they've been through all this hell. They were born in 1991. I mean, come on. Born!

I thought of the 1991 thing because since it got cold I've been wearing these lovely soft blue leather gloves with cashmere liners that I got when someone left them at our Starbucks in that skyscraper in Seattle and never came back for them, so soft and warm! The gloves, not the Starbucks. And then realized I've had those gloves for my students' ENTIRE LIVES. And they are people who vote and go fight wars and stuff.

I got all Vertigo shot for a minute there. Gloves are kind of ephemeral after all.

Oh, and to answer the question no one asked (A THEME) the reason I just said screw it and ate on campus today was that I was already allergified so I might as well eat food, right? I realize that's one of those character-type decisions, but oh well. All I had to bring for lunch was apple pie without the pie, not portable, and half a purple cabbage, not really edible in that form.

Must bake bread! Must organize portable food! Not tacos, for instance. Um, shepherd's pie with a nice thick non-liquid filling would be good. Thick soups, fine. Things that won't leak or dribble or turn toxic in three hours without refrigeration, perfect.

I challenge you to pack five lunches that meet those criteria:

--no sulfites (so no lemon juice, vinegar, cold cuts, pasta, tomato sauce, etc. or apparently Paydays either)
--won't leak or dribble
--not messy to eat or it'll get all down my shirt, I promise
--won't turn toxic when unrefrigerated for a couple of hours
--can be eaten without a table
--oh yeah often my home-baked bread won't work for sandwiches--too thick or crumbly--so sandwiches rarely work. Plus I run out of bread a lot.
--has to be eaten hot or I don't feel like it's really a meal

I leave home T/Th at 10 and don't eat until 2:00, which come to think of it is four hours, not three. My lunch bag isn't actually insulated. It's kind of a gesture toward a lunch bag, in fact.

You would give up and eat a cheeseburger you were allergic to also, wouldn't you? Yeah! See?

I realize that being all hopeless and giving up about FOOD is not good but it's just too hard. I can't seem to work it out. It's been seven weeks and I've managed to bring a decent lunch about six times, tops. I think the best ones are super thick soups like chili that are really hard to spill down your shirt and won't escape from their fezzes inside my computer bag, sullying my laptop and velvet hair bands. Whoa!

I would just not eat but I don't get home until 3 and then I'm all wild-eyed and ravenous and bite the cat and devour the fridge and then fall asleep and wake up not hungry for dinner and useless all evening. How is that a good thing?

Aren't you glad my spring schedule has me teaching AFTER LUNCH?

So, um, maybe I'll make some chili. The end.

The heat is humming a lot. The baseboard heater is over there ----> but the thermostat is over there <----- already="" because="" br="" but="" cyclical="""" goes="" heat="" i="" in="" intermittent.="" it="" not="" office="" or="" out="" s="" the="" tuned="" ve="">

Okay, here's hoping that tomorrow's papers don't rip my heart out and hold it up against some cashmere-lined gloves and make me meditate upon The Pain Of Our Brief Existence or any of that unproductive stuff. Here's hoping that I'll get through my batch of papers fast and well and without the ouches. Here's hoping that I'll cook food and eat it like a human, jeez.

I did get some hot italian sausages that said NO PRESERVATIVES in the biggest possible letters on the package. I mean, bigger than the words hot italian sausages.

In fact that was a nice thing because there they were in my cart on top of the cat litter fez, with my glorious pumpkin next to them, when this teenage mildly retarded kid in the produce section said, "Whoa, that's a big pumpkin! What are you gonna do with it? Carve it?" And I said yeah, all excited, because PUMPKIN! and we talked about that a bit, and then his dad pointed out my sausages and said they got some too (it is a trend!) and they were going to make sausage sandwiches and carve their pumpkins and the kid was SO HAPPY that it made me really happy too. And I was already unduly excited about the PUMPKIN! and the SAUSAGES! on my own, believe me. I get kind of excited about stuff. I know! It is a shocker!

I have taken approximately a million pictures of my pumpkin so far. I am pretty sure I got the very best one! It's all veiny green and so very very pumpkin-ish!

That interaction reminded me of that day I was decorating a million cakes and rushing for ten hours on my feet nonstop like a maniac, and the last one was Happy Birthday Billy so I made it and it was nice and all, I'm kind of a perfectionist, but just another cake, and I was wiping the counters again, waiting around for the person to show up and get it so I could go home, all impatient, and it was a dad with a retarded teenage boy--Billy, of course--and Billy was just completely in awe of the cake and wanted to carry it and his dad let him, and Billy walked off looking down at it like it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and his dad had a hand on his shoulder.

I will try again with the first chapter tomorrow. I think when I get it right I'll just be able to go and go and go. Maybe he can be one of those people who hides big dark feelings in funny sarcastic self-justifying rationalizing jabber. That would make it scary and dark but also speedy and hyperactive. Season four Crichton! That's it! Plus then the villains can smack him in the head a lot for sassing them! Yeah! How else do you solve the problem of incompatible but non-negotiable requirements for a piece of writing? There you go.

Tomorrow seems like one of those days that Stately Burns Manor will not request my presence. I'm just guessing here. Also there's a soccer game at 3:00. We'll see how it all goes. I mean, I'm going to the game--duh!--but the rest is sort of up in the air. Written in pudding. Right!

Off to bed. Try again tomorrow. Excelsior!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fixed! And so bad for me, too!

Yes! I fixed whatever was broken with the browser, somehow, I do not know how, and somehow also fixed the laptop, or something? I do not know.

UPSHOT however: now Twitter lets me post, instead of stonewalling me in an infuriating manner. And Hulu works! Which is very very bad! Oh dear! And YouTube even works now, which it did not before! Wooooooo!

I have Hulu, people. I could get myself into serious trouble. Because what do I love? TELEVISION. I know!

And, I mean, other stuff. Soccer! Tea! Bunnies! Winter! Candy corn! Wool socks! Blue goblets! Sushi! Duck fudge! Kahlua! Siegfried the cat! Walking and walking and walking! More tea! Quilts! Books! Cheerful burbling! Popcorn!

But also really really really television for real. Really a lot. Mmmm.

Fortunately that MiFi data plan only covers a certain amount so it's not like I'll spend my life watching Hulu episodes, because if I do, I'll pay through the nose. Ow.

So instead probably DirecTv is looking more likely. Later, when the ink is black and not red. I'm thinking that the odds are inclining in that direction.

I just tried it because I was eating this bowl of popcorn, a food that notoriously does not allow a person to write or type anything. Nothing. Not one bit! So there you go.

But I really have to get back to grading now. Grade a paper, get a cookie. Where is my cookie? Where? Must source Tim Tams closer than Sydney, people! I know about five places in L.A. where I could probably get them but in Bangor NOT SO MUCH.

40 papers. That's a lot of cookies, come to think of it. Still, it's better than my backup plan: Grade a paper, drink a beer. Not that I have beer.

I can't offhand think of anything I'd want 40 of in a row. Well, I divide them up into smaller groups anyway, so ten. Sushi! I could eat ten of those no problem.

Why YES I am finding myself STRANGELY RELUCTANT to grade my giant stack of papers right now, WHY DO YOU ASK?

Oh oh oh oh oh, that Bones episode, I nearly swooned at the end like a swoony thing, all with the dress and the tux and each change of angle closer together and oh my golly SO GOOD though that pink dress, brrrr, and did you notice that was totally my story about the incorruptible saint body only an Egyptian mummy? It was! So cool. It suggests itself, of course, the body you can't cut up. How about that woman with her skin off and the top of her head removed, huh? Dripping goo. GROSS! Bones always delivers, I tell you what. LOVE THAT SHOW!

I finished my first Diana Wynne Jones book today and it blew my mind. Wow, jeez, excellent world-building and wonderful characters and infinite cool setup and what a great book! More please!

This is awesome:


Very little battery remaining.

I was thinking it would be totally fun to start a whole new blog with a Secret Identity who is a great big liar and also an unreliable narrator.

Or maybe I did already, mwahahahahahaha!

Okay, no.

They evicted us all from the Campus Center so I'm in the weirdly dark Starbucks place with tall tables and chairs and no outlets and only 17% battery, woe! I've been following tons of new people on Twitter, which I'll no doubt regret soon, and eating the richest piece of cheesecake ever. I might die of cheesecake overload mid-sentence. You have been warned.

Apparently THIS is where all the faculty come to get expensive coffee beverages, aha! Now we know. I'm in terror that some fleece-and-jeans-clad graying professor man will come over with one eyebrow raised, sip his coffee, and say, "Is this seat taken?" And then I will have to stab him with a plastic fork and run away.

I am wary of my demographic.

It's because I'm wearing my Deeply Fetching Scarf today. It slays them all! It's silk with tiny stripes of navy blue, teal, light blue, and silver, horizontally. Why it draws so much attention I'll never know but it's guaranteed. NO you cannot borrow it. YES I bought it from my friend Gil at our mutual yard sale for $1. Mine! Mine!

Really it would be better if it would attract that adjunct wildlife biology professor/park ranger/soccer uncle Jen and I invented. He doesn't watch football, but takes his little nieces and nephews to soccer games! He coaches very small soccer! I'm half smitten already. Too bad he's imaginary. Sigh.

10% battery left. Woe. The cheeseburger was so very very good. The cheesecake was far too rich. I might be flying on a massive sugar high, WHO CAN SAY?

Time for more tea to go, and then so much grading I want to weep into my darjeeling, sob, sniffle, dab at eyes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Oh. Um. I wrote my book instead of grading eleven papers.

It's not like they're due back tomorrow or anything. They're due back Tuesday. But this puts a bit more pressure on the next few days. Oooof.

But the latest first chapter of the book is the very best! It's all literary and awesome and tells you stuff without letting you know you're being told! And our guy has heart. He has broken Crichton heart and an urchin protege and we don't really know how much of what he says is true!

I wonder if I have, like, evening brain. Like maybe evening brain will remember the book tomorrow. Maybe my mistake was using afternoon brain to read something that evening brain wrote!

I'm just stupidly tired. No more constellation of nasty allergic side effects tomorrow, okay? Those are exhausting and distracting and not conducive to awesomeness. Allergy = anti-awesome. Down with it!

I also wouldn't mind not having the cat throw up. Though I do appreciate the miracle that somehow allowed me to walk down a pitch dark hallway without stepping on any of the islands of the feline vomit archipelago.

Seriously, what are the odds? Normally I'd say if there was one tiny spot in a room where I should not step, I would inevitably step in it. Especially wearing wool socks. (ACK.) But this! I am telling you. The wheel turns under my hand, bunnies. That's one of the reasons I put aside the grading (without starting, though I did count the papers! twice!) and wrote my book instead.

I downloaded a lot of super cool pictures of walled cities. That is such a great thing to do! Those pictures set my brains on fire! Also I learned about Kowloon which somehow had escaped my notice all these years, but of course I know that I know essentially nothing anyway except a lot of dead languages, sci-fi tv, and a lot about the Fourth Lateran Council of 1220 or whenever it was.

One day I should ask Craig if he has the invisible teaching footage still. He probably does. I don't think filmmakers throw out tape like that ever.

I tried to download pictures by doing a Google image search for "biological warfare." DO NOT DO THIS. Unless you want to see what meningococcal septicemia looks like, and all sorts of other horrific things done to children and other innocent people. Holy crap, people. Stop being evil to each other RIGHT NOW. I MEAN IT.

The images of the walled cities really helped me with the psychology of the book, how that feels, what it does to you to have that out there.

So search! But search carefully.

I think it would be best to treat the books like painters who have a picture they work on in one area for morning light, then another area for noon light, then another one for afternoon light, etc. Right? Write the speedy rollicking hyperactive unwilling gift recipient book when it is tween time of day. Write the cozy academic mystery in the afternoon in the Campus Center (clearly). Write the grim dark apocalyptic cupcake festival (well, no noun sounded good there) in the evenings.

I think it might be a plan. That sort of cuts out a lot of grading time, but you know what? Grading needs to stop taking over my life. I talked to my mom today and she said, "You always seem so surprised when students turn in all these papers and you have to grade them. Didn't you assign them in the first place?" Hee hee hee.

Really I called to tell her about my victory over the forces of basementdom, considering that she just had a whole team of guys building a WHOLE NEW WALL in her basement because one was about to fall in and drop the house on top of it. Yoicks! Foundations. They should be sturdy! It's all in the metaphor and stuff!

I have to go to sleep. So do I count all those chapters in my word total, or not? I'm going to say not. I really like how they're sort of forays, like trying this route on a maze then coming back when it doesn't work. At least that is my anti-frustration rationalization. What do you think? Is it working? Is it--gasp--actually TRUE?

How to cure poor Google image searches: search for glaciers instead. So blue! So beautiful! So beautiful and blue!

Look at the coolest picture of a glacier ever: