Posts

Showing posts from 2009

P.S. This Just In

I got the fancy, downtown publishing job.

Thank heavens. Literally.

A Two-Year-Old Deja Wishes You Well

Image
Merry Christmas, all. Sam and I are in Tucson with the sunshine (!) and his sweet family. Last year I was suspicious of cacti with christmas lights on them. This year, I love them.

And this little girl loves you. I'm the cute, small, flirting one.
Merry day!



(sorry for small image. no idea why that's so. click on it?)

Sigh

I'm sitting in an empty classroom. It was the last session of my evening class and my students' final exams are in a stack in front of me.

Also in front of me is a Christmas card from a sweet student. Inside she said I was a good teacher, a helpful teacher. She thanked me.

And maybe she does this for every teacher. Maybe she's just a nice kid. But it's making me weep. I have three days left of teaching and I'm weeping about it.

I want to leave the school with all my heart. It's the right thing to do. It's a toxic, insane department.

But I'll miss my students. I'll miss teaching. I'll miss.

How to Drink a Cookie

Image
In regards to my long-standing quest to not eat a cookie, I submit the following successful, harmless substitution:



I'm back to not eating sugar. I stopped eating treats of my own awhile ago, but I'd been having bites of Sam's sweet treats here and there, thinking bite-shmite, but I'm over that. Last night, at Cheesecake Factory, Sam got a slice of, well, cheesecake. And I took not a bite. Not. A. Bite. And you know? I didn't even want to. I could clearly remember the way it coats the mouth, how it churns in my stomach most uncomfortably, how my head hurts instantly from the sugar.

What have I had instead? Herb tea (like the sort above, or mint, which is my handsdown favorite) makes a remarkably excellent substitution for sweets; baked apples with cinammon and a little stevia; chocolate "milkshakes" made from almond milk, cacao powder, a bit of cashew butter, frozen banana, and stevia (Sam loves the milkshakes, too. They're goooood.), etc. N…

Vote a Coat!

Image
The zipper broke on my new winter coat, so I took it back. They gave me money. Amd now I need a new coat. I want a prrrrettty one. I've spent much too long online but I think I've narrowed to these three. Please to tell girl which one to purchase? Also, which color? Coats one and three only come in grey, but coat two I could get in that there purple shade. Am I brave enough for a purple coat? Do tell.

Additional notes: I sort of adore the big buttons on coat one, and the neck seems warm, and I can make it smaller on the back (if need be, heaven help me). Coat two just seems lovely, but I'm not quite as into the buttons, but the swishy back! Oh pretty! And it would be long and warmie, too. I like coat three, and it seems perhaps the most classic, but I'm worried I'd look like a semi-fancy sack of beans.

I leave it to you. My winter life is in your hands.

Coat One (only available in grey)




Coat 2 (available in grey or "deep plum")




Coat 3 (only a…

Ear Bones

I have an ear canal infection. I find this odd. And painful.

I think this is how it happened: A few weeks ago, I took a bath before bed. Then, because there was some snoring up in here, I wore some ear plugs--that smooshy silicon kind.

The doctor said this weird bacteria only grows in dark, damp places, and I think the combination of the bath and the plugs sort of sealed the deal, literally. Ha.

I don't want to think of how this bacteria got in there in the first place. My house is clean as a whistle, honest.

My ear started to feel funny after that night, but I just thought I had done the ear plugs wrong. I always do the earplugs wrong. You know how you're not supposed to shove them in there? I have no idea how they would work without a little shoving. I mean, I've tried the seal-it-off approach, but it don't do no good. And so I shove, and then it gives me a headache, and I wake up feeling like I'm underwater, and it's not pleasant.

Anyway, so the n…

Gratitude: Page 6

Image
(image credit here)

Avocados.

Is there a more perfect food?

If avocados did not exist, eating healthy would be no where near as interesting or tasty.

They're outrageously expensive here ($2+!!), but I buy them anyway, because when I eat a good one, a perfect one, one with no spots, one that's just the right amount of firm and soft, it feels like God invented them because He loves me, personally.

Gratitude: Page 5

Image
I'm a sucker for things hanging from the ceiling. I don't know why. I remember going to an art exhibit at BYU which consisted of hundreds of tiny white paper boats hanging from the ceiling, swaying ever so slightly. I stood and stared and swooned.

When Sam and I were on our honeymoon in DC, we sat in the Calder room at the ... what, Smithsonian? Okay, I can't remember the museum, but there was a room full of Alexander Calder mobiles and we sat on a bench against the back wall, watching for a very long while. They made these gorgeous, moving colored shadows on the tall walls, and I rested my head on Sam's shoulder, and we whispered about how happy we were to be together and how pretty the room was. That has to be one of my favorite memories. Maybe that's part of why I'm so obsessed.

If I had my way (and maybe someday I will), we would have something hanging from every inch of our ceiling. And I would just sit with my head turned up, smiling. All day lon…

Gratitude: Page 4

This is harder today. For some reason, days off are so much more depressing than days when I have to work. I hate the working, but it gets me out of the house and I have to smile at my students and pretend like I'm happy teacher lady. I am my best self in front of them.

Ah, there it is.

Teaching. I love teaching. I love that I must be my best self in front of students, and I find it makes me more that way. I call up reserves of patience and energy and enthusiasm from heaven knows where. Probably from heaven, as a matter of fact. There have been plenty of days I didn't have any of my own.

Gratitude: Page 3

Image
This pictures seems to capture so many things that are lovely to me. (Did I post it already?)

Open windows. A sunny day. Green green leaves. Gauzy pretty curtains. Framed postcards from Europe trip. Decorative object from Portabello Road. Handsome, contemplative, tail-less kitty. Our first apartment in Boston.

Gratitude: Page 2

I heard yesterday that there are jellyfish larger than blue whales.

Let me say that again.

There are jellyfish larger than blue whales.

I don't know why this delights me so. Driving home from church, hearing it on the radio, I had this feeling like God is really something. How does he come up with this stuff? He makes me, this little human thing that drives a red car and thinks what she has for dinner is important, and He also makes this enormous blobby, beautiful creature that's bigger than I can fathom and lives deep deep in the ocean. So deep I'll never see it. So big that if I did see it, I'd only be seeing one piece of it.

Walking around on campus, I think of the jellyfish's long, ribbony tail. And I am happy.

Gratitude: Page 1

I'm at my least favorite place (ie, work) and I can feel the nausea coming in like the tide. I feel sick almost the entire time I'm here, lately. And often when I'm not.

But oh well. I've done all I can do, and now I just have to ride it out until it's my pleasure to leave. In the meantime, I've decided to focus on pleasant things, happy thoughts, if you will. Teddy bears and buttons and the smell of fabric softener. I'd like to try to do more posts, and shorter ones, maybe even several a day. That's the plan, anyway. It seems a good week to concentrate on all the things that are going well, rather than profound disappointment.

So, part one. Sam. I like Sam, the husband.

Here is reason number 4,763:

Last night I read a few poems at a little church meeting, and Sam agreed to come. Just before we left, I said, carefully, because I was worried he'd be annoyed at having to change, "I don't know what other people will wear, but I think …

Well, Ummmm

After all that thinking last night, I got called for an interview at that big fancy publishing job downtown. This was just hours after I told the chair I wouldn't be back next semester.

Who knows if I'll even get the job, but that story doesn't really sound so bad. Working around the corner from Boston Commons? Come on now ...

Also, I got a poem accepted for publication.

Today is okay by me.

A Snatchable Moment of Clarity

It's late, very late, and Sam's asleep. Every once in awhile I hear him mumble something insistent but incoherent. I should be sleeping or grading papers, but instead I've been popping around on blogs, looking at people who have pretty lives, and imagining what I want mine to be. Here is the blog I just found tonight and have been reading for over an hour: Heart of Light. She buys pretty flowers and bakes pretty things and crafts tiny somethings and sells them in an etsy shop. Everything in her life looks bright and scrubbed into beauty.

I want that.

I've learned stuff this year: about myself and about working and academia and students and cooking and marriage and cleaning and eating and sleep and my body and healthcare and unhappiness and cats and meanies. I didn't want to know everything I learned. I didn't want to know I could fail. I didn't want to know that sometimes people won't like me. I didn't really want to know that getting a tenure-track j…

A Bit More Info

Sorry for all the vagueness.

Here's the deal: The job-jerks are almost certainly not reappointing me. There's some strong evidence that this due to religious descrimination, so we're looking into fighting along those lines. (Read: possible lawsuit.) I have no idea what will happen with that or if I'll even carry it through, but for the moment, it's totally unbearable for me to go to work. I try and try, and I love my students so that makes it easier, but I'm not sleeping well and I'm constantly nauseous and I'm afraid to go the faculty lunchroom, etc. It's ugly.

So I've pretty much decided to leave the job in December when the semster ends. Sam and I are both applying for jobs. I'm applying for immediate positions in the area, and Sam's applying for tenure-track stuff all over the country. (I might apply for tenure-track stuff too, whenever I stop dry heaving at the thought of it.) We have no idea where we'll be or what we&…

Welcome to Privateland

Image
(sigh of relief)

I have no big secret announcements. I'm just glad for a little space where I don't have to be quite as careful.

I'm probably leaving my job at the semester. Very long story, vague pieces of which you've heard.

Leaving at the semester will be the happy ending to said long story. Sam and I look forward to packing up my books and bringing them home, to safer pastures. I plan on rolling down the car windows and giggling maniacally.

Now I just need to find another way to bring in money. Maybe I'll knit toilet paper hats like my grandma used to make and sell them on etsy. Sort of like this:





(source here)

Hmmmm... Not a bad idea.

Spider Fight Continues

I'm sorry to be so unposty lately. I hope to be back to my usual self before too long.

In the meantime, I have a couple of requests.

This thing with my job has taken an interesting turn, one that is calling for my being a bit more careful. I hope you can help.

Request 1: If you have a link to my blog on your blog (or anywhere), will you make sure that it doesn't list my last name? I'm particularly worried about my married name, as this is what I go by at work. If you could just keep me as Deja, that would be excellent.

Request 2: I hate to do it, because it makes me kind of sad when other people do it, but I need to go private for awhile. Please, PLEASE, leave me a comment if you'd like to still read. Sometimes when people go private I'm too sheepish to ask to be added. Please don't be sheepish. Leave your email address here or shoot me an email as soon as you can. I want to get this privatized in the next few days.

Thanks for your help. Maybe when I'm priva…

This is my hand in the spider's mouth.

Thank you for all of your sweet, kind comments on that post. They made it seem okay.

And then, pretty much right after I wrote it, things got worse at work. Really bad. And since it's all I think/pray/talk about, it's hard to think of what to blog about. I don't want to say much.

This week, the fight was out of me. My fate seemed sealed, and I was ready to just quit before it could get any worse. Not fight, not defend myself, even though there was (is) this mountain of injustice. I just wanted to quit and move on. That's what I WANTED to do. That was the only thing it made SENSE to do.

And then I had this dream. It was an answer to prayer (it probably makes me weird that I dream my answers, but I love them.) and I don't want to forget it:

I'm in a kitchen, trying to make a salad, but the bag of lettuce explodes, and it's all over the counters and I'm frustrated. And then I notice there is an ENORMOUS spider on the counter, flipped on its back, it…

Dear Little Girl

I've been fighting off writing this, even though I knew as soon as it happened that I would. It's scary to write it, more personal than I would care to be. But I can't stop thinking I have something so say, and so I must say it.

I'm in Utah visiting my parents for 30 seconds or so (Saturday-Monday). While here, I usually hit up Ross, as there ain't no Ross in Boston.

So there I was on Saturday, at Ross, waiting in line to purchase several cozy, well-priced sweaters, when two little girls came up behind me, pointed at my butt, and said, "Big butt! Big butt!"

Oh, the things I wish I could/would have said.

I turned around, said, "That's very rude."

Her mother heard me say it, asked the kid what she had said, and a minute later a very embarrassed seven-year-old came up and told me, "I'm sorry."

I didn't know what to say there either, as my smart sister (Kira) has pointed out that telling kids "That's okay" when they…

Speaking of Teaching

This morning, while trying to grade papers, I asked Sam, "What am I supposed to do with a paper on cheerleading?"

"Hmmm," he said. He was really thinking about it. "It's too bad we don't have a paper shredder because if we did you could shred it up and make two little pompoms and shake them."

This made me giggle uncontrollably for several minutes. Lately everything he says makes me giggle.

And it's a good thing someone is here making me happy, because my job is terrrrrible again. Not the students. I love the students. The teaching is fine.

But, to be vague, there's a bad guy in the department who is out to get me.

There are channels for me to fight back, which I'm doing. But the chair is his best buddy friend, so I'm probably out of luck. They'll make me miserable.

And I am miserable. Sad, and disappointed, and angry. It's different this year because I know they're wrong and I'm healthy enough to deal with it, but oh…

Axing Frozen Seas

I love Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. Love it. If you're unfamiliar, the main character, Gregor Samsa, wakes up one morning as a giant human-sized bug.

I can't explain why this tugs on my heart so much, except to say that I think it's one of the most gorgeous, odd, true, terribly sad accounts of what happens when disease, mental illness, or addiction changes us beyond recognition. It's about what happens to families when someone is sick, how it breaks and remolds everyone involved. And I love it.

My students, on the other hand, do not.

They have in the past. I taught a class where they ate.it.up. and wrote about it in their papers and I could feel in what they wrote that it felt true to them, that Kafka struck something.

But not this semester.

"This story sucks," they said at the end of class today, after a week of talking about it. I wish that sentence didn't bother me so much. I wish it didn't make me feel like weeping, like a failure. …

I Don't Know What to Tell You. I Want to Tell You Everything.

It's been awhile since I poked my head up and said hello. We moved and it was hard. The semester started and it was busy. We went whale watching (!), and that will be another post.

It's late. I taught the third week of my night class tonight, during which this grown up accountant man said, "This class is like going to therapy!" I think that was a good thing, but I can't be sure. We were talking about childhood and identity and innocence and experience.

And out of all the things I could pluck out of the hours of my life to tell you, it seems most important to say this: I am, finally, happy. Really happy. Pleased as a peach to be in my life, not really longing for anyone elses'.

I can't explain this, really. I was depressed last year, and sick. And all of that seems so clear now: that I simply wasn't okay. Depression makes every moment into a brick; they weigh so much and take so long to stack up and once they're stacked you feel trapped and …

And my bathroom's blue.

Moving in Boston is very strange business. Word on the street is that 1/3 of the state moves on Sept 1st, and judging by what it's been like the last few days, another third moved over the weekend. Think narrow streets clogged with moving trucks, sweaty college students hauling boxes and lamps and sometimes chairs and bookcases and couches (!) across busy intersections, and mounds of castoffs lining the sidewalks.

Tonight I was introduced to another piece of moving culture when I noticed women pushing carts and strollers down the sidewalks, digging through the mounds of garbage and claiming what looked good. It's like grown up trick or treating.

While I was moving the last load out to the car, a little girl in a stroller kept shouting "bangBANGbang" and shooting me with a toy gun her mother plucked out for her. When I saw them a little later, she had big hulk gloves on--you know the ones I mean? So I guess it's sort of kids trick or treating, too.

But that&…

If You Find My Foodie Ramblings Tedious, You'll Find This Post Tedious

I feel obliged to record some clarity of thought here, but I may just be talking to myself. In fact, I am talking to myself, but it's a self down the road, days or weeks from now, when I'm buried in the semester and not taking very good care of the Deja.

Self: poor, sad, unhappy self: listen up.

Awhile ago, when I posted something about going veganish, my friend Tara asked in the comments what made me make the leap. And I didn't answer, mostly because I didn't know how to answer concisely. I've turned the question over and over in my mind since then, figuring out how to articulate it. And, if you see how long this post is, I've given up on concise.

The short answer is that several months ago I was at the doctor's office, feeling really sick and miserable. I was getting a physical, which turned out to be the most absurdly lame physical I've ever received. I mean, my cat has given me better breast exams, if you'll excuse the image. This wa…

Summer Dining

Image
It's been hot here. 90 degrees by 10 in the morning, 97 by early afternoon. When we got out of our little yoga class yesterday, I groaned, "It feels like Mississippi." And it was so.

We're without air conditioning in our little place, which makes matters most unpleasant. The kitties station themselves under beds and couches and chairs, lying on their backs with paws tucked to their chests, surrendering. Sam and I sit on the couch, laptops in front of us, sweaty selves sticking to our clothes, writing and working or playing with blogs and facebook, and whining about the heat. Our two big fans make it sound like we're in an airplane, but do little for the actual temperature.

So yesterday we escaped to the only place that makes good sense: the movies! We drove downtown, parked under Boston Commons, and strolled over to the theater on Tremont. We went to that one specifically because it was showing two movies we wanted to see. As in, Sam went to one and I wen…

A Poem I Wrote This Morning, Yo

Not polished, but pretty. I think.


Upon Attending a Yoga Class with My Husband

It’s a basic class, involving blankets and a dozen grey heads
on pillows, and soon he’s asleep, snoring slightly. I reach over
and tap his ribcage, and we giggle in the back of the room,
our bellies trembling, the lights low.

When we reach to twist our imaginary lightbulbs on and off,
I watch his hands, concentrate on them instead of my breathing,
how long his fingers seem, how deep his palms, how shocking
that he has a body, that he exists separate from me,
from how I think of him as husband, from his laugh, his job,
his methods for loading the dishwasher and taking out the trash,
even the way he touches me when I sleep.

We’re on the floor moving like elephants, like cows, like our cats,
like the very deliberate and slow. His left hand stutters
when he realizes it should be his right. It feels like kindergarten,
like somehow the two of us, who are eleven years apart,
have skipped backwards for an instant, join…

Summer Movie

Tonight I went and saw (500) Days of Summer. Sam was more interested in hanging out at home, and the friend I called (check me out, calling friends.) couldn't make it, so I just went on my own. I've gone to a movie on my own once before, but that other movie made me feel crazy, and this movie made me very happy. I loved the music, the clothes, the insides of their houses, the wacky formal stuff they did (split screens and, well, I don't know how to explain it. it was cool.), and the story.

After it was over I walked several blocks to my car. It was about to rain so the air was sort of heavy and cool and flashes of lightning lit up the street. I remembered why I love seeing movies at the theater: when I leave, I always feel like I'm in the movie. I think that's particularly true when I watch them by myself, so it's good that the movie was so happy (sort of--I cried at the end) and full of gorgeous details that made you know everything just by the way the l…

My New Most Favorite Summery Treat in the Whole Wide World

Strawberry Lemonade.

Check it. All you need: blender, some water, juice of two fresh lemons, 15-20 small frozen strawberries, a bit of stevia.

You do the thing and you make the thing and you put the stuff in the thing and then you blend the thing and then you drink it and then you are glad.

Watermelon? That works too. It's all summer in the tummy.

Ghosts in the Trees, Wearing Nightgowns

Image
We went to the Forest Hills Cemetary yesterday, the same place that did the lantern festival. It's huge and full of trees and sculptures and they let you drive around and park wherever you want and have a picnic. We didn't picnic, but we did drive around looking for the contemporary art stuff. I'm not sure that Sam liked it as well as I did, but I certainly fell hard for a few pieces, for the whole place really. I made a mosaic of my pictures in Picasa, so that's what you're seeing here. I had too many pictures I was in love with to just post them one by one, and as it is this represents a severe butchering of all the others I wanted to show you.



My favorite was probably the one that looks like the trees are wearing dresses. In fact, the trees are wearing dresses, delicate-ish wire ones. I think you only see the mama dress here, but there was a whole family--one for mother and father, an older sister, and a child. Man, they're spooky and gorgeous. While…

Pretty Baseball

Image
Sam and I got tickets to a Red Sox game through the church. They were a killer deal, and Sam likes him some baseball, and I have fond memories of Padres games with my dad (okay, mostly I have fond memories of the NACHOS at Padres games ...) so we went.

I know it's probably not a baseball thing to say, but it was so pretty there. The sun had just gone down so the sky was this violet blue, and the lights were bright and the weather was perfect and everything was so deliciously green. See?



We had a notion to be fasionably late, which was dumb. I just remembered Padres games taking FOREVER when I was a kid, so I figured we had all the time in the world. But the Sox were playing Baltimore, and apparently Baltimore was, um, not so great, because they were getting socked very very quickly. (Get it? Bah!)

By the time we showed up 45 minutes in, it was inning 5 or something, and the last innings were over in less than an hour. It was crazy fast. Which was probably good, because most…

Quoth the Raven, Ouch

Image
I went to Dollar Tree the other day for frames. Dollar store frames are my favorite. I put several of our Europe trip postcards in them.

I also couldn't help picking up a cat toy for a buck. I got a little fake bird--styrofoam covered with feathers--thinking it might remind them of days at my parents' house when they were allowed outside. They'd catch big dirty birds, murder them, then drag them into the living room to show my parents. Much to my parents' delight, I can assure you. Apparently vacuuming up feathers is annoying. Who knew?

Now, from the way they sit in open windows, noses pressed longingly to the screens, I think they miss those days. So I bought the bird.

Meatsock immediately commenced murdering it. Until it is, after a day, as you see it here. Poor thing.



Here is Kitty, giving Bird a big friendly kiss.



And here he is again, just after he'd knocked it to the ground and gnawed its styrofoam jugular a little more. They're the best of fri…

Pictured, Not Pictured

Image
We had friends over for dinner last Sunday.

Yes, friends! I was as shocked as you are. They're ward friends who were excellent at ohhing and ahhing at our food and our little house and such. I like that a in a friend.

I managed to snap a picture of the table before they arrived.



Pictured: the pretty set of dishes Sam's mom gave us for Chistmas, hydrangeas from our yard, our special $1 placemats from Target, Sam's pink lemonade, and, in the back there, our glamorous trashcan. (Is the silverware on the wrong sides? Sam set the table, not that I know how to do it myself. Oh well.)

Not Pictured: green salad full of herbs (have you tried fresh dill in salad--yum!), homemade balsamic glaze, lemon cashew pesto with angel hair, broccoli, potato onion garlic bread from When Pigs Fly Bakery. For dessert, Celestial Cream (whipped cream sort of thing from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan), fresh blackberries/blueberries/strawberries/cherries, very naughty Blueberry Cranberry Lemonade bre…

It's Too Late to be Awake

But I'm so taken with this line from Jean Rhys' book, Good Morning, Midnight and I updated my goodreads review of it to include this, and I want to record it here, too. So's I remember it.

Not even sure why I like this bit so, but I do:

"I want a long, calm book about people with large incomes--a book like a flat green meadow and the sheep feeding in it."

Maybe I like it because it's so not what this book is like--it's about a very poor, sad, desperate woman--and there's something delicious about saying that within its walls. Maybe its because I know that feeling--not just of wanting to read a book like that, but of wanting to BE a book like that--a calm book about a person with a large income, with something akin to well-fed, drowsy sheep. If only.

Warning: Mushy Anniversary Post

Image
A year today, folks. A year we've been married.

I could do the traditional wedding day pic, but I don't have them on this computer. So instead I give you each of us in a dryer at a little laundry mat in Italy. Why? Because this seems like an aspect of marriage to me: a little cramped, a little silly, not always comfortable, but good grief it's fun.

Especially to be married to Sam. When we were doing laundry and waiting for the clothes to finish in the washer, I turned around and Sam was as you see him here, just to hear me giggle. And giggle I did. Then I climbed in one of my own.

Lately my insomnia has been raging, so I stayed up most of last night working on a video for Sam - an extremely amatuer compilation of a bunch of pictures from the last few years and "our song" - Fiona Apple's version of Across the Universe. (Did I ever think we'd have a song? No, no I didn't. It just sort of happened, honest.) I figure no one would be interested e…

We Become Delicate Boats

Image
Several years ago, I watched Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. It doesn't happen in the book, but there's a scene in the movie where these villagers write the names of people they love on little paper boats and send them out onto a lake. The movie is good. That scene was incredible.

I thought maybe the boat thing was just in the movie. But I'm ignorant. Turns out it's a Buddhist ritual to remember the dead. It also turns out that a nearby cemetery participates. Sam and I went tonight.

We had no idea what to expect. As Sam said, "When it's called a Lantern Festival we should have expected a festival." There were hundreds of people gathered around this lake, eating picnics, listening to traditional music, surrounded by lanterns they had decorated for their loved ones. Sam and I neglected to bring a blanket, so we perched by a tree and ate our dinner--falafel wrap for me, cod wrap for Sam--from our favorite little healthy food place.

We got a lantern …

Since You're Dying to Know All About Deja's Eating Habits

Image
I haven't wanted to say much about the vegan thing since I got home because I didn't want to jinx it. I knew I was going to have a junk food fling in Europe and boy did I ever. But I was also rather careful, got the smallest cups of gelato and threw them away when I didn't want anymore, ate vegetarian and tried my best to get as many veggies as possible, etc.

Vegan is the wrong word for what I am, anyway. I mean, it's sort of my goal and I like thinking of myself that way because it helps me steer clear of a lot of food that makes me feel lousy. But I'm not in it for the animals. And if I order veggies and don't ask for them butterless, hey, I don't care. I am pretty strictly vegetarian now. It makes me feel sick just thinking about eating meat. I can't handle the texture or something. I ordered a shrimp pasta dish one night in Italy because I really wanted everything else in it and I thought I could handle it. Oh no I couldn't. It didn&#…

On the Grass

I'm teaching right now. Sort of. I'm sitting on the grass with my students and they have their laptops open, writing. The sun's setting, light coming through the trees and bouncing off a big map of the school, so that every time I look up it blinds me. The students are lovely here, bent over their keyboards, young brows furrowed. Can I say their young brows are furrowed? They are.

It's not quite as romantic as it sounds. I mean, it's lovely out here, and the sun is well-deserved after an astonishingly gloomy summer. But I think I'm moving back into my depression, old friend. It's arrived fiercely in the last few days, leveled me. It feels shameful. I'm working on kicking it out the door, but who knows how long that could take.

The students and I have had a semi-painful discussion about poetry, in which I had to explain why it's not true that "there's no wrong answer." If you can't support it with the text, folks, it d…

One Picture

Image
A cat in Monterosso, the town in Cinque Terre where we stayed. He was sitting patiently on the windowsill of a fancy seafood restaurant. On the counters just below him were mounds of prawns and squid and eel and floppy fish. He didn't seem to want to get in, just sniff deeply, remember such a world exists. Who can blame him?

Can you see the man in the window? We thought he looked like an aging Popeye.

I Am Buried

Got home Sunday at eight or so, having bickered all day. We're so not bicker-ers. We were tired and ready for non-vacation time.

I had to teach Monday afternoon. I thought my syllabus for the class was on my laptop. It wasn't. I thought it was perhaps on another laptop, which was in the shop. It wasn't. I learned this an hour before class started. Whoops.

Maybe the syllabus never existed. Maybe I'm out of my mind. Maybe all the gelato turned my brain to mucus. Ew.

Anyway, then I had jury duty. They didn't pick me, glory be.

Then I had to write the syllabus that perhaps never existed.

All this to say, Paris? I was in Paris? How very odd. This is a different world, a different life, and I haven't even unpacked yet. My pretty pink shoes are still wrapped in a scarf, tucked in my backpack. It's been too rainy here to wear them anyway.

But I do remember. Our very last night we rode the train into the city and wandered around, bickering, trying t…

Playing Hard in Pink Shoes

Image
I'm way behind, yo. We've been to Cinque Terre, now we're in Rome. We fly back to Paris tomorrow and then home to Boston the day after that.

I've gotta say, we've had a lovely lovely trip, but we're SO glad to be heading home.

Here's my advice: if you make it to Italy, the place to go is Cinque Terre. It was probably our favorite place throughout the whole trip. It's an area along the Northern coast, a series of five colorful little fishing villages. We went swimming in the Ligurian sea (which is very very salty, it seems to me), ate the best food of the trip (bruschetta, foccacia, pesto, pine nut gelato, chili pepper herb tea, etc), took a boat to a few other towns, lounged on the beach in fancy beach chairs and read books. A man walked down the beach carrying a big basket full of huge tropical leaves and chunks of fresh coconut shouting, "Coco, bella coco!" Oh how I loved that man. And each little town had a few friendly kitties lo…

I may have bought a pair of pink Italian leather shoes.

Image
Okay, I did.

Okay, I bought three pairs--one hip, pink (ish), pretty, heeled item (you'll see, once I'm back to real Internet access); one pair of shockingly comfy blue sandals that Sam had a crush on; one pair of more conservative, lovely deja-esque mary jane-ish dark brown ones. We were in that store for about ten years, Sam trying to convince me to get all three, me squealing at the impracticality of it all, but not being able to put any of them back. And the Italian woman who runs the place mounting in irritation. In the end, they were a steal--much less than I would have paid in the states. And they'll make perfect school shoes. Plus, I'm in love them. It was the kind of purchase you take out of the bag and box as soon as you get home, even though it's too rainy for leather shoes, but you just have to look at them again, to hold them and snuggle them to your face.

One other happy thing before we do laundry: We ate dinner at a little place overlooking the …

Catching David

So I got sick. Real sick. I'm feeling better enough now to be out and about, but yesterday I slept and slept. I'm pretty sure I was feverish and my throat closed and ached; my nose hated me. Sam spent the morning tracking down vitamin C and orange juice in little Italian pharmacies where they luckily understood the phrase "wife sick" and were willing to help.

I finished reading Poisonwood Bible (which I adored until the last 100 pages or so) and read all of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (which I absolutely did enjoy--quick and delightful, if full of some unrealisticly lovely dialogue). I can also recommend The Cellist of Sarajevo, mostly. I found it to be rather, slightly, oh, dramatically written? May I say that when it was about such a terrible event? I think I can. I was in a swoon for it for many many pages, but then it seemed the characters thought thoughts that were too similar, ultimately too simple or something. Nevermind. I'll do a…

I Have Seen the Clothes of the Future, and I am afraid

Okay, so much to say, but the clock's a'ticking at the old Internet Train Cafe, and so I must be brief.

-David is one sexy beast.

-Uffizi Gallery gives you the history of art in under 2 hours, but by the end you want to kill yourself.

-Pizza is yummy, even without cheese.

-I bought a black leather purse, thinking I would be practical because I don't have one, then remembered I DOOOO have one. I should have bought the pink one after all.

-Lemon gelato. Pistachio gelato. Coconut gelato. Chocolate gelato. Minty chocolate gelato.

-Sam stepped in a big pile of crap. I tried to say, lookout lookout! But he didn't know what to look out for. Next time, we have a code word.

-I have a fierce cold and sore throat. I blame this on the gelato.

-Italian people hate me. I can't speak Italian, so they either look at me like I'm a moron or ignore me. It's depressing.

-The truth: we wish we could say we were enjoying Florence more. It is damn crowded and damn hot and sometime…

Safe in Italy

Florence, to be precise. It's magic. But we don't have internet at our place this time, so posts will probably be sparse.

Here's what I think so far:

*It's a bit warm here. What I mean to say: Good golly it's hot.

*There are people on little scooters (mopeds? vespas?) everywhere. And not just hip young teenagers, but middle-aged men and women, business people in suits, and the young folk.

*I just ate a pizza at a place called MaMMaMia. Among more traditional veggie toppings, it had thinly sliced zuchinni and carrots (!) on it. Sam was afraid of the carrots but they came out all roasty and sweet. Yummmmmm.

*Time for gelato. Caio.

P.S. Thank you for sweet comments on my last post. I was afraid to say it. You made me glad I did.

Kid, Bad Kid

Image
A few notes on London.

Last night we had dinner at Wagamama with John, Karla, and Chris Bennion. (John was/is my mentor professor at BYU/life.) It was lovely to see them. I don't even know how to say how lovely it was. Sam made John laugh. That was what I hoped would happen. And it made me happy. I talked with Karla as we walked up to Kensington Gardens to see a performance of Peter Pan. They built this special venue for it that consisted of a big cone-shaped white tent, with a theater in-the-round inside. I can't say it was stellar acting, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It's hard to explain this part, but they did stuff with projecting up on the top of the tent, so when Wendy, Peter, Tink and crew took off to fly to Neverland, not only were they were really suspended in the air, but it looked like they were flying over London--THE London, with parks and the National Gallery and St Paul's, etc. I couldn't catch my breath during that part; I felt like I would weep;…