December 2006 Archives

Two Milestones, One Invitation and Six Weird Things


Way, way back in early December, Janet tagged me for a "six weird things about me" meme. I am finally getting to it.

But first, I want to announce two milestones.

1: This is currently my 301st post. I say "currently" because occasionally, I review old posts and if there's a news item I've summarized and it's either no longer news or the links don't work anymore, I delete it. Anyway, I'm sure there are people who've managed to rack up more than 301 posts in the 17 months they have been blogging, but still, I find my efforts respectable.

2: I finished all my grading and submitted my last set of grades yesterday at 3 p.m., so I'm DONE for the semester.

And I also want to mention that I'll soon by flying to Arizona, where I'll spend time in both Tucson and the Phoenix metropolitan area. I know I have readers in both places.... If you are one such reader and you have any desire to meet me, leave me a comment saying "Hey, I'd like to hang out while you're in the state." And I'll email you and we'll set something up.

OK. On to the six weird things.

Baby Needed a New Pair of Shoes


As I mentioned yesterday, I wore a holiday get-up of green and red for my last day of teaching, and as I planned this outfit, it occurred to me that red tights in the same shade as my skirt might have been better than either the black or cream tights I had to wear. So I went tight-shopping.

And I found diddly. No red tights were to be had in this entire town, not at department stores, not at Target, not even at shoe stores.

However, at one shoe store, I found these:


And as I had a birthday coming up (that's right--I didn't make a big deal about it this year, but my birthday came and went over the weekend), and as baby needed a new pair of shoes, and as they were on sale and fit perfectly, and as I had two coupons I could use to reduce the cost of the shoes so that they were practically free, I had to buy them.

OK, I didn't real need the shoes. And OK, they weren't practically free. But they look really great and I wore them to a party on my birthday and I plan to wear them again soon, so I still think I did the right thing in buying them, and I didn't mind at all about the tights.

Broaching the Subject of Brooches


Although I really love jewelry and often wear a lot of it, I never used to like pins. In fact, I actively disliked them. I thought they were silly, and I disdained people who wore them, because A) they were jewelry for clothes, not people; and B) they couldn't be worn on more delicate garments, without risk of ripping them; and C) they just seemed out of style; and, most importantly D) only old ladies wore them. Every so often someone would give me a pin or brooch, and I would exclaim, "Oh, how nice!" before putting dragging out a trunk I kept at the back of a closet, where I stored all my ugly, rejected jewelry.

Then, one day this summer, while browsing at a jewelry store while I had my watch repaired, I found this guy:


Christmas Meme


This is the first meme I've ever written. It was inspired by Dale's story about his father chopping down Christmas trees.

What greeting of the season do you use?

Happy Holidays. It's not that I'm unwilling to say "Merry Christmas;" I just prefer to include a reference to New Year's as well.

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning! Are you kidding? Santa Claus doesn't come down the chimney on the afternoon before Christmas!

Did you leave out milk and cookies for Santa?

Here's a clip from John Safran, a guy from New Zealand, who rails, quite amusingly, about what's wrong with the ways Mormons conduct door-to-door proselytizing. And then, just to see how Mormons would feel if someone treated them the way they treat each others, he flies to Salt Lake with a friend, some pamphlets on atheism, a copy of The Origins of Species, and a nametag that says "John Safran, Atheist." Then he goes around and knocks on doors.

The whole thing is pretty damn funny, but I especially love when he says to one person, "May I offer you a reading from 1980s concept band XTC...."

My Take on the Movie Meme


I got this from Dale--he got it from someone else.

1. Popcorn or candy?

Neither. I don't really like the taste of movie popcorn and I hate paying exorbitant movie theater prices for movie candy. Sometimes I buy candy ahead of time, or make my own popcorn and smuggle it in.... but usually I just like to watch movies and save my calories for later.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever.

Run, Lola, Run. I've been told it's really good.... but in grad school I had a friend who was getting an MFA in film production and I would have to sit through student film shows featuring LOTS of movies where people just walk down halls for 20 minutes or wash their hands repeatedly or whatever, and I just don't relish the idea of watching a movie that consists primarily of scenes of a woman running.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar and give it to something else. What do you choose?

Oh, god, only one?!

I'm really tempted to take away the 1990 best picture Oscar for Dances with Wolves and deliver it over to any of the other four contenders--DwW is schlock to begin with, and anything that inflates Kevin Costner's ego is a source of genuine evil; whereas I think Whoopi Goldberg's performance in Ghost (for which she won best supporting actress that year) might have elevated that movie to best picture status.... then again, maybe not. Or I could correct a historical wrong and see that the marvelous Peter O'Toole won for any of the wonderful roles he was nominated for.... But if I gave him the Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia, that would mean depriving Gregory Peck of the Oscar he won in 1962 for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and that would upset a lot of people; so perhaps I could do something about the 1964 Oscar for best actor, which went to Rex Harrison for playing Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady instead of to O'Toole for playing Henry II in Becket, except that I'm not sure that's such an injustice; but then, there's the other movie where O'Toole plays Henry II, The Lion in Winter, for which he was nominated but lost to Cliff Robertson in Charly.... what the hell was Charly and who has seen it? Oh.... it's an adaptation of Flowers for Algernon. Hmm.... that might be a wrong that truly needs righting.

Gather Ye Roses

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Here's what the rose bush outside my front door looked like at the beginning of last week:


In other words, it was pretty darn warm for the Northeast at the end of November. November 30 it was warmer in northwestern Pennsylvania than it was in southern Arizona: at my house, the high was 67 degrees, while at my parents' house in Tucson, the high was 45 degrees.

Here's what my rose bush like at the end of last week:


In other words, it got cold.

Stonehenge as Hospital


I own a book called Love Is in the Earth. It's an encyclopedia of various gems and stones, both precious and semi-precious, but it won't tell you how to judge their monetary or aesthetic value, how to cut or set them. Instead, it explains the mystical healing properties of the stones listed in it.

Now, that sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo to plenty of people, but I was profoundly and profusely ill at more than one point in my life, and collecting pretty stones and hoping their vibrations would do me some good seemed as sensible as visiting a man in a white coat, who would bombard parts of my body with invisible "rays" (as in X-) or "waves" (as in sonar) as some sort of diagnostic procedure, and then tell me stuff I already knew, such as "You're ill," before adding, "but I don't know how you got that way and I don't know how to make you better, so go home and hope it clears up and if anything changes, come back."

Understand: I still visited the guy in the white coat, but I figured I should cover all my bases. So I also bought pretty stones. I would hang them in front of my window, or put them under my pillow, or tote them in my pocket, though I was also fond of carrying them about my person in the form of earrings, pendants, rings and bracelets. People have asked me, when I've mentioned buying the stones, "Didn't that get kind of expensive?" I suppose it has, if you count the really fancy stones in really fancy settings that I wear as jewelry.... But the cost of all the loose stones I've ever bought in my entire life hasn't come close costing what I paid for prescription drugs during a single year of grad school. (This was back before we managed to get a grad student union at the University of Iowa.) Not only were the stones cheaper; they were also more psychologically empowering, and still look pretty in the container where I keep them.

Blogging as Habit, Blogging as Confession


OK, I admit it: my dismal blogging lately is due only partly to the fact that I've been really busy; there's also the more troubling fact that I've gotten out of the habit.

There was a message my mother communicated to me early on: it's important to develop good habits, because good habits support your ability to do everything else you want or need or like to do, and generally make your life easier. She didn't phrase it that way; she just made me do things every single day, like make my bed very shortly after getting out of it so that it looked neat and tidy all day and the sheets felt "rested" and smooth when I got it in at night, or brush my teeth before I go to bed so that I didn't have to spend lots of time in a dentist's chair having cavities filled (unfortunately I ate too much candy as a child for that to work as well as desired), or hang my clothes up neatly so that they looked good when I took them out of the clothes, or do my homework as soon as I got home so that I could enjoy a leisurely evening. I learned this lesson so well as a small child that when it came time to go to college I already had impeccable study habits, and my money-managing habits are pretty irreproachable as well.

For over a year I blogged three to five times a week, and it was a habit that helped me feel like I was keeping my writing skills honed, staying in touch with friends, reserving a few hours every week for something that entertained and informed me.

And then my life got really hectic and something had to give, and blogging was what I decided to let go.

For a little while I felt kind of triumphant. I have a couple of friends who gave up blogging, "released themselves from the tyranny," as one of them put it. "I can give it up, too!" I crowed to myself. "I'm not an addict."

But now I feel empty and sad when I think about how I used to blog, and overwhelmed and hesitant when I think about blogging again, because I've let it go for so long, neglecting not only my own blog, but the blogs of my favorite fellow bloggers, and it seems like I'll have to work very hard to reestablish my habit, and get caught up on all that has transpired in my absence.

Still, I'm going to try.


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This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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