Monday, April 30, 2007

Poetry Monday

I will always love this poem, because my dad used to read it to me before bed when I was very small. I always hear it read in his voice, and it makes me feel warm and cozy.


The Owl and the Pussy-cat
by Edward Lear



The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pretty Day!


Today was a beautiful day, so R and I walked around Central Park looking for wedding spots. I think we found one we liked, but I am going to wait to talk about it until after we successfully go through the permit process. We saw three wedding picture couples as we went through the park, as well as many ducks, biker, rollerbladers, and the scary Alice in Wonderland statue. Also, we briefly thought it would be cool to get married in front of this statue.

The walk in the park was nice, and it made us super excited to get married in the park. One of the things we are most excited about is the unpredictability of having it in a public space. Who knows who will happen by!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Books!

26. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I had this on my library request list forever, as apparently everyone in the world was reading it. It was worth the wait, though. Pollan did not present a lot of new information as he looked at three different ways of getting food (industrial farm, pastoral/organic and hunting and gathering) but his thoughtful look at how we get what we eat and what that means was excellent. I am usually pretty good about thinking about my food. I have been a vegetarian for 12 years, and I am always thinking about why I don't eat meat, and re-assessing that choice and the limits of it. Anyway, I appreciated the way Pollan led me through thinking about the different ways we get our food and what it means on a lot of different levels. For awhile now I have been trying to eat more local food (which was easy in Florida, but harder in NY) but Pollan convinced me that I should really try to eat more organic as well, despite its problems as a big industry. Anyway, I haven't been good at it because the frugal side of me can't stand the prices, but we will see how it goes. I could probably do a whole post just on food, so I'll wrap this up by saying read this book, it is good.

27. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
A very fun book by Fforde, following Jack Spratt, a detective in charge of investigating crimes involving nursery rhyme characters. This is the author of the Thursday Next books, and I actually thought this one was better than that series, although I enjoyed the other series greatly. This one just seemed more tightly written, and more subtle about inserting the nursery rhyme characters into modern day England as if it was all normal to have a giant egg walking around.

28. Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul by Jack Canfield
Melinda sent this to me, I am sure as a joke, but I found it soothing bed time reading so I read the entire thing. I learned many warm and fuzzy things about my white dress and princess wedding that I am supposed to want. I was also struck by how many people in the book lived with their parents until they were married, so the wedding was also about being grown up, leaving their parents, etc. Also, one of the contributors has kids named Aprilynn, Evelyn and Madeleine, and another has kids named Kiandra, Kezia and Kaden. Ha!
To sum up, a typical Chicken Soup book and good for puttin' you to sleep at night.

Friday, April 27, 2007

me me me

Here is an update for you all about me!

I was in my University's Town (UT) last week to meet with my committee. For many reasons this was a preemptive strike to help prevent anything bad happening with my dissertation later. Although I felt a little silly paying $150 for a plane ticket for a 20 minute meeting, it was worth it in the end. My committee loves me and thinks I am smart. I just need to make more time for dissertation writing. I was actually doing pretty well this week and have 9!!!! pages of my first chapter, plus various and sundry other bits and pieces. I have fallen off the wagon a little lately, because of my new dog walking job.

That's right, the bakery job is no more. I called while I was in UT to see if I was scheduled to work, only to get a message that the number was disconnected. I finally got a hold of the owner who told me, indeed, the store was closed. So I am waiting for him to mail me my last check, but in the meantime I got in touch with a pet store I had applied to work at way back in January. The woman who owns this place doesn't need any more store help, but she does need some additional dog walkers, so I have been training in that this week. On Wednesday and Thursday I walked 6 hours each day with many dogs. It was fun, but my legs are sore!

Also while I was in UT, I was sitting my advisor's office when the phone rang, and I heard her say "yes, I have two doctoral students." Then she talked a little more and told me that someone from another university was calling to say they needed a person to teach primate biology to gifted high school students for 3 weeks over the summer. So after a whirlwind of applications and a phone interview, I got the job and will be in a different state for all of June, teaching the kiddies about primates! Woo! It is awesome because the university is a good place to make contacts, I'll get more teaching experience AND I will get paid all kinds of money.

So lately we have been working hard around here. I'm trying to plan this summer class which starts in less than two months, and has all kinds of immediate deadlines. I have been dog walking a lot the last few days, which has exhausted me and taken away from my dissertation which I am finally really excited to do, AND I still need to plan my fall primate class, the wedding, AND write two more papers. Poor R is crazy busy too with the end of the semester and his computer just crashed. Right in the middle of writing four papers! It is very sad.

So there is a catch up from me. I have some more books to post, which I might do today as well. I'm also trying to get some work done.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Poetry Monday

Sonnet CXXX
William Shakespeare

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ice Cream!

Back when I lived in DC, my friend Erin made me a fabulous mix tape (yes, we are old. Shut up.) with Eddie Murphy's Ice Cream man routine on it. I loved the mix tape and listened to it often, until recently when I find myself living with no tape playing devices. I also took the tape to Suriname the first time I was there, and have some great memories of sitting around with field assistants from 4 countries, laughing our heads off to Eddie Murphy. So here is the Ice Cream bit, followed by another hilarious one about his mom throwing shoes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blog-a-rama!

I am just crazy blogger today! It is procrastination, pure and simple.

Anyway, things are good. I had my 30th birthday last week. Woo! So far I feel no different. It is weird to be hanging out with friends and look around and realize we are all 30, though. The wedding planning is moving along nicely. We now have a date and locations. Next on the list is invitations, but R is doing an awesome job making those. I'm also trying to see if I can get any hotel deals for all our out of towners, but I might just share some links and let them go it alone.

My new dissertation goal is to do just a little every day. I am in data analysis mode now, and I really can't do it for too long stretched or I start making mistakes. Tomorrow I am flying back to Florida to meet with my committee and make sure everything is hunky dory. I don't want any surprises later in the game. But if I can get a little time in on the diss each day, I feel so much better about everything.

Books!

24. Intimate Weddings by Christina Friedrichsen
I have not read many wedding planning books, because they are all about the kind of wedding I am not having. I have leafed through a few though, and this is the only one I thought was any use. The author is really good at stressing how you should think of the kind of wedding you want, the budget you have and then work with that. She doesn't ever talk about needing things like flowers or bridesmaids. So if you are thinking of having a small, slightly non traditional wedding, I recommend this book.

25. The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
I have read quite a few books by Drabble, who is the sister of AS Byatt. I always enjoy the books, but find them very cold in a way. I rarely connect with the characters, but am interested in seeing what happens to them. This book is about a woman who moves to London after her divorce, although that is just a small part of the story. I enjoyed it more than many of Drabble's other books, but it didn't make a huge impression.

Poetry Monday

a clown's smirk in the skull of a baboon
by ee cummings

a clown's smirk in the skull of a baboon
(where once good lips stalked or eyes firmly stirred)
my mirror gives me,on this afternoon;
i am a shape that can but eat and turd
ere with the dirt death shall him vastly gird,
a coward waiting clumsily to cease
whom every perfect thing meanwhile doth miss;
a hand's impression in an empty glove,
a soon forgotten tune,a house for lease.
I have never loved you dear as now i love

behold this fool who,in the month of June,
having certain stars and planets heard,
rose very slowly in a tight balloon
until the smallening world became absurd;
him did an archer spy(whose aim had erred
never)and by that little trick or this
he shot the aeronaut down,into the abyss
-and wonderfully i fell through the green groove
of twilight,striking into many a piece.
I have never loved you dear as now i love

god's terrible face,brighter than a spoon,
collects the image of one fatal word;
so that my life(which liked the sun and the moon)
resembles something that has not occurred:
i am a birdcage without any bird,
a collar looking for a dog,a kiss
without lips;a prayer lacking any knees
but something beats within my shirt to prove
he is undead who,living,noone is.
I have never loved you dear as now i love.

Hell(by most humble me which shall increase)
open thy fire!for i have had some bliss
of one small lady upon earth above;
to whom i cry,remembering her face,
i have never loved you dear as now i love

Friday, April 13, 2007

Present!

It was what I thought it was! We went to see Altar Boyz. Oh my god, it was hilarious and awesome. I loved it sooooo much. Melinda, I feel you would especially love it -- boy bands and Christianity, what could be better?

Anyway, it was an awesome birthday present, and there is no way I can get Christopher anything half as cool. Alas.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No time

While I depend on others to provide me procrastination entertainment via their blogs, I realize I have been remiss on posting on my own blog. Hence, this post about nothing. I have been working at my part time job like a mofo. This is because it is going to end, so I feel I need to rake in all the money I can while I am still employed. I also need to find a new job. And throw something together for this wedding, and write my dissertation! eek. It will all be ok though.

I drank so much espresso at work today I feel like I might die. Or maybe I will just nap. Tonight I am meeting Christopher for my surprise birthday present. I am 90% sure I know what it is, and that it is just what I was going to get him for HIS birthday, so now I need to think of a new birthday present for him. Curse you, Christopher! :)

Ok, now I am off to nap.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poetry Monday on Wednesday

I am so busy right now, with work/wedding stuff/Phd. I swear I will post something cool soon.
In the meantime, here is another poem I love.

Losing Track
by Denise Levertov

Long after you have swung back
away from me
I think you are still with me:

you come in close to the shore
on the tide
and nudge me awake the way

a boat adrift nudges the pier:
am I a pier
half-in half-out of the water?

and in the pleasure of that communion
I lose track,
the moon I watch goes down, the

tide swings you away before
I know I'm
alone again long since,

mud sucking at gray and black
timbers of me,
a light growth of green dreams drying.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No more stress!

Hey! I am doing great right now! I went to a conference at the end of last week where I got to hear lots about monkeys, catch up with old friends and meet new people. It was really inspiring, and I had a good talk with my advisor about a paper I am spiffing up for submission and about my dissertation. I have hope that I will one day graduate. So that was all good.

Also, for both R and I, our wedding stress has magically disappeared. I think it was the fact that we were all of a sudden thrust into this new world of the wedding industrial complex and didn't even know how to deal. We have more concrete plans for when we need to decide things now, and both sets of parents have offered to help out some with money. Last night we had dinner at an Indian restaurant in the 'hood that would be awesome for the reception. We'll have to see, though. We'd have to rent the whole place so it might not work out. We're still hoping for a ceremony in Central Park. We might actually do the legal deed on Friday at City Hall and then have a re-enactment for guests the next day.

I also have 8 credits of teaching lined up for the fall. That's my primate class at a 4 year school and intro bio at a community college. Yay! I love the teaching. I was offered more sections at the community college and was so tempted by the money, but then I remembered I need to graduate so I only took the 5 credit section. I need to get cracking on planning the readings for my primate class, though.

So that's my life right now. At the moment it is good. Also my birthday is Friday and I am going to sushi with awesome friends.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Books

20. Thursday Next in Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
This is the last in the Thursday Next series of literature detectives. As the others are, this is funny and smart and imaginative. I am sure I miss plenty of the literary illusions, but the interweaving of real life and fiction is great.

21. The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes
Another mystery set in England. People on a tour are killed.... love the Englishness of it.

22. Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell
Same ol' same ol', but good mindless reading.

23. Everfree by Nick Sagan
This is the third in a trilogy by Carl Sagan's son. I read the first two books last year while in Suriname -- my friend Erin had them. They are about a post-apocalyptic world after much of humanity is killed by a plague. It is hard to write much about them as it will give away the story. Be that as it may, they are very well written and engrossing and I enjoyed them all. I am sad I finished the series.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Poetry Monday

For a long time I did not like poetry at all. It just seemed confusing and overly opaque. I read this poem in 8th grade or so, and it is the first piece of poetry I can remember liking.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding--
Riding--riding--
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He'd a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle--
His rapier hilt a-twinkle--
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred,
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter--
Bess, the landlord's daughter--
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened--his face was white and peaked--
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter--
The landlord's black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I'm after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light.
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o'er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!),
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops came marching--
Marching--marching--
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say,
"Look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way."

She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.

Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear;
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding--
Riding--riding--
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still.

Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight--
Her musket shattered the moonlight--
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him--with her death.

He turned, he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

And still on a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy's ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding--
Riding--riding--
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter--
Bess, the landlord's daughter--
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.