The Dangers of Gym Bags

I took a big chunk of skin out of my middle finger today as I fished around in my gym bag for my shampoo. I poked my razor. That resulted in me attempting to dress one-handed while sucking on the middle finger of my other hand, which I do believe weirded out the other ladies in the locker room.


The Writing Nook

I have built a writing nook! I’ve already started calling it “The Nook,” even though Nook is, I think, copyrighted by Barnes and Noble for their rip-off Kindle. It’s a fold-out table purchased from Target–the box portrayed the table being the perfect party centerpiece hosting a collection of wine glasses (into which a man is pouring Perrier).  In reality, it’s a fold-out table with a rubbery top, but it’ll do nicely when paired with my $20 Target “student” chair. (That really is the name of the chair).

I’ve printed a series of inspiring writing quotes, and will back them with construction paper and then tape them up on the wall. And I have speakers! I don’t really need speakers, as I’ll be right next to my computer and will be able to hear the audio just fine, but if I want to blast some pop music, I can really blast.

And all of this is in the corner of the bedroom. Why the bedroom? you might ask, or P did ask, and my response was, “We live in a one-bedroom. It was either this or the bathroom.”

At least I won’t have to plant myself at the dining table anymore, because the dining table already has too many uses, including (but not limited to) storage area/television watching station/where to sit to avoid the hairy futon. The dining table is definitely not Nook-y.

HBO’s Girls

Watched the primere episode of the hotly-debated Girls last night. Contained glumness, women in hipster-stripes, terribly awkward ‘we’re HBO and we relish it’ sex with Mister Wrong, and a tongue-in-cheek conversation about SATC.

The central character is a 24 year old woman aspiring to be a writer; she’s been working as an unpaid intern for a year. At the beginning of the episode, her parents cut her off financially, and she begins wailing about the economy & how she needs her parents’ money to become the person she wants to be. All of the women in the ensemble cast are fidgety, unsure of their self-worth (fiscal and otherwise) and seemingly on the verge of shattering.

I’m told this is a comedy, but what sort of monster finds this funny?

Will never watch again. It was like watching the Seinfeld soup Nazi episode, if you were actually acquainted with, and terrified by, an actual soup Nazi.

Sophie Kinsella is a Pen Name

Currently reading:


I loved Kinsella’s Shopaholic series (though the concept wears a little thin when, in the sixth book, the protagonist just doesn’t understand how she could’ve spent so much) but the tone is light and readable, the characterization vivid, and all in all, the series falls into the category of Exceptionally Well-Done Beach Read.

I read the first twenty pages of I’ve Got Your Number last night before bed and already hit a laugh-aloud moment when the protagonist stalled an Asian businessman by performing the Beyonce’s Single Ladies dance in his path towards the exit.

I’m normally skiddish of books that rely too much on texting. Texting is not a form of communication that translates well to the page. (It’s a lot like the problem of many reality television shows these days–all of the fights revolve around “You posted something mean on Twitter about me!” and the accused yells, “Prove it!” and then there’s a shot of someone running a finger over their iPhone — very low dramatic impact).

But am looking forward to retuning to it tonight.

Every noble work is at first impossible. –Thomas Carlyle

I am almost always crabby after work. It doesn’t matter if I love my job, hate my job, or am apathetic about all of it; whether the trip home was a fifteen-minute el ride or a fifteen minute walk on a beautiful evening; whether I’m coming home to a spotless apartment or one in which fruit flies are sort of dreamily occupying the space above the garbage can. I always need to take ten (okay, forty) minutes to unwind, be silent, kick off shoes, flounce around, eat something, before I can return to a halfway-human state.

So I should’ve known that heading out for margaritas last night after work was a bad idea. P & I decided to venture downtown after I’d done the “I don’t care where we go!” part of of the dinner-negotiation ceremony. We went to a Mexican restaurant that’s always brimming with undergraduates who wear their hats backwards and who pack the restaurant’s patio.

We were seated at a four-top by a pleasant host, and then ignored for ten minutes. After attempting to catch the eye of several servers, I went back up to the host and (in Miss Manners-approved fashion) told him that we hadn’t spoken to a server yet. After I told him where we were sitting, and then pointed to where we were sitting, and then said see, we’re sitting right there behind a group of teenage boys wearing their hats backwards, he apologized and said we’d be taken care of.

Our server, a guy who was probably 19, appeared. I asked him for an alcohol menu, as we hadn’t gotten one. He helpfully pointed to the two most expensive drinks on the menu to tell us that they were the best.  I ordered an amaretto-flavored margarita, which, I can tell you from previous experience, looks like a Sno-Cone with a sugar-y syrup around it. Ten minutes later, he re-appeared with P’s drink and mine.

My drink was a light green. It looked like a standard margarita. I interrupted my crabbing at P to take a sip. Juuust a regular margarita.

P: Do you want to trade? I got watermelon.

Me: No. I want the drink I ordered. This is a thing now.

P: [Crestfallen] It’s a… a thing?

I attempted to catch the eye of our server three times (twice while he was marching past us in a singing birthday procession of servers) but couldn’t snare him until he came over to take our order. I told him that he’d given me a regular margarita instead of the amaretto flavor I had ordered.

He whisked it away, only to return two minutes later. He set the same glass down on the table.

Server: This is an amaretto-flavored margarita.

Me: [Taken aback] No…. it’s not.

Server: No. I just checked with the bartender. That’s the amaretto margarita.

Me: [Staring at him] No. It’s not.

Server: So I don’t really know what to do…

Me: [This moment P later described as “I knew it was bad when you let out your ‘pissed Well’] Well…. [looks at server. Looks at P, to see if P will beat up server to stand up for my honor. P is not pushing up his shirt-sleeves.]

Server: Yeah, so… I mean, that is what you ordered…

My ears: [turning red]

Me: [in pinched manner, due to involuntary jaw-clenching] It’s fine.

Server: Is it fine?

Me: [pointing at the well-traveled glass] Fine. Yes. I’ll just drink this. Thanks.

Server: Yeah?

Me: No, no, it’s fine. Right. Thanks.

The server returned ten minutes later to tell me that he “felt bad,” and that I could order whatever I wanted, so we did another round of “Is it fine?” “It’s fine.”

P tipped the server over 20% — I think there was empathy there.

I’m trying to decide if trumps the time that P & I had a server who, after we asked her for the bill, wandered by our table three more times (without the bill) to ask us if there was anything we wanted, to which we kept replying, “Yes. The bill.”

Karma Police

The irony (?) of getting an ouch rejection letter while I’m vigorously critiquing student papers is not lost on me.


Me: sitting in a wide-open stretch of grass on campus after a long walk with Montana. Two female college students approach. They walk within three feet of Montana. Montana stands (which should be differentiated from lunging, barking, etc.)


Montana: sits, rolls in grass with big ears.

Currently keeping:

office hours

Lesson plan for this week:

how to write a proposal, including proposals to ban all standing dogs on campus

On New Jobs

I am now in the business of selling clothing. Before yesterday, I’d never spent four hours carefully applying Final Sale stickers to heavy woolen pants and white knitted sweaters reduced to $9.88. Crashing through new barriers left and right.

This, I find exciting for two reasons: first, because Change is Good (although it’s a little scary when women come charging up to you asking if you have shorts in this size or that size, because once you have a Final Sticker dispenser in your hand, you carry a certain gravitas), and secondly, because it’s so easy to look at the clothing and think of all of the possibilities. If I owned a pair of white linen pants and a white-and-blue striped sailor-type top–man, the places I’d go with that. If I had that outfit, I’d be the kind of women who can wear big, floppy sun hats and look fashionable instead of goofy. If I had that A-line skirt, then I’d also be the type of woman who can paint my own toenails without my feet looking like a painting by a kindergartener.

And yesterday? At the gym? I saw a man whose face looked exactly like this:


Currently reading:

Editing the Master’s Thesis

It’s a pretty unique sensation, opening up a 43,000 word novel that you wrote 3 years ago. Emotions from the gamut from “Can’t cut too much, because nobody buys novellas,” to “Wait, what’s this metaphor supposed to mean?” to “I thought I was fairly healthy and well-adjusted at this point in time, but due to the number of violent deaths and missing limbs, I find myself forced to reevaluate that notion,” to “Is the plot coming yet?” to “Did I write the same scene twice and just not realize it?” to “I’m really tired of my own made-up verbiage, and why do I keep comparing everything to eggs?” to “Good Lord, there is no plot. None whatsoever. Perhaps I can pass this off as pretentious writing — you know, the sort I hate, in which nothing occurs…” to “I’m going to copy-and-paste all needless metaphors into a separate Word document to watch that Word document grow and grow,” to “Urg. Not a speck of plot,” to “Why did I think it was a good idea to have a central character in a coma?”

Still currently reading — and will be for some time:

Little Dorrit


On the Topic of Lazy Dog Butts

The puppy is prone to flopping down on the grass whenever she’s asked to walk more than half of a mile in temperatures above sixty-five degrees. I wonder if this is a matter of lack of proper training, or if she’s out-of-shape, or, more likely, has never been in shape in the span of her short life, or if it’s the fact that she’s ‘wearing a coat’ (because that’s what everyone says, right? although today on our walk I was completely overdressed, too, in a long-sleeved hoodie and a vest, and I was able to power on, so I’m not sure that coat argument holds water) or if she is dehydrated, or if she is a complete and utter diva.

She is napping on the futon next to me, and I know as soon as I move into the bedroom to continue with Little Dorrit, she’ll nap in there, and then I’ll start napping, too, and I say this with confidence because it’s what’s happened the last two times she and I retired to the bed to read Little Dorrit.

Currently drying:

the colors load.

Currently teaching:

causality. Students floated their ideas for their cause-and-effect papers. I & fellow students threw in suggestions.

Currently craving: