Wednesday, May 30, 2007


38. Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir by Janice Erlbaum
Erlbaum is (was?) a columnist for Bust Magazine, which is how I heard of this book. It is really good, well-written and interesting. Basically, Erlbaum leaves home when her mom keeps getting back together with an abusive man. She lives in a shelter and a group house for awhile, and the book is about what happens to her from about the ages of 15-18. Coming from my sheltered background where I spent my high school days watching Star Trek: TNG and listening to musical soundtracks, the stuff she got into is crazy, but she manages to come out ok. I think it could be really comforting for teenagers to read this and realize they can have an awful adolescence, yet making it out. Anyway, it was a good, interesting, well written book.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

blah de blah blah

So I am a little disappointed in the state of the blog. I feel it has degenerated into lists of books and poetry by other people. Alas. I would like to write fabulous blog posts about my witty thoughts, but I am not sure I have those thoughts that often. Maybe I am just not that kind of blogger? I should at least write a little more about my life, since the purpose of the blog is to keep up with friends. I should also write a little more about the dissertatin', as another purpose of the blog is to not feel so isolated in the cold cruel world of academia. Perhaps I will try and set aside a day each week where I write something more than what I read....

On Thursday Melinda is coming! I am so excited! She is the first visitor I have had in NYC and although she is here for a conference, she will sleep on our air mattress in our living room so there should be some awesome Melinda times. We are also going to see Grey Gardens on Friday night, which, since I saw Xanadu with Christopher last week, will mean I have been to two Broadway shows in 8 days. I am so cool!

After Melinda departs, I am off to my undisclosed teaching location where I will begin teaching the gifted high schoolers about primates. I am pretty excited. I have a TA AND I might be mentoring a middle school teacher. I am a little alarmed about both those things as I do not really feel mature enough in my teaching to do either, but we will see. I will also be living in a dorm and eating in a dining hall. ha! That is going to be an experience. I had to have my mom mail me extra long dorm bed sheets.

Okey doke, that is all the catch up you get for now as I must go to sleep soon. R is back, but my insomnia had not totally disappeared as of last night. We'll see how it goes tonight....

Monday, May 28, 2007

Poetry Monday

homage to my hips

by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!


32. A Wizard of Earthsea
33. The Tombs of Atuan
34. The Farthest Shore
35. Tehanu all by Ursula LeGuin
I read the first two of the Earthsea books last year, but we brought them all home from R's parents this Christmas and I wanted to finish the series but wasn't sure I remembered the first two enough, so I just read the whole thing. I love these books so much. They are so well written and so thoroughly imagined. The characters are awesome. I am sad that the series is over for me now, although I think I will get some more LeGuin to read.

36. Mort
37. Sourcery both by Terry Pratchett
More fun Discworld books. You can never go wrong with these. They are hilarious and fun, but also very well written.

This pack o' reading is brought to you courtesy of my insomnia which is brought to you courtesy of R's trip out of town. Luckily he is coming back this evening so I can sleep again! whew.

Friday, May 25, 2007


This is what happened when I tried to do yoga today. It is a crappy camera phone pic, but you get the gist.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


31. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
The third of Ruth Reichl's memoirs. I really enjoyed this one as well, although it did seem a little more detached than the others. I liked that she moved to New York in this one, and I looooved reading about the fancy meals she went to, which also just made me wish I was rich and could afford fancy food.

Menstruation nation

Wherein I write about my vagina on the internets.

(aside: Melinda, I looked up menstruation in an online rhyming dictionary, hoping for a more clever title, and one of the words I got was 'goshen'. ha!)

A few months ago, I bought a Diva Cup. I had heard of the Diva Cups and their cousins the Keepers for many years, due to my associations with hippies and my reading of Bust magazine. For some reason, I did not buy one, mostly due to it's around about $30 price tag. While in Suriname, however, I had two colleagues who used Diva Cups/Keepers and loved them. I realized that $30 for something that I would use every month for years and years was a bargain, so I finally bought one.

I was so excited about this thing, I kept telling R about it and it was passed around (pre usage) at my birthday party. I finally got to use it two months ago and it was so awesome! Seriously, it rules! Prior to my Diva Cup conversion, I had been using tampons and had found some drying issues with them. Also, they apparently may leave cotton/rayon fibers behind. But whatever, I have been very happy with my Diva Cup. I don't need to remember to carry tampons with me all the time, I can put it in a little early to catch the beginning of my period, it can go longer between changes, it is reusable, and my girlie parts just feel generally better about the whole thing.

If you are uncomfortable with really getting your fingers up in your own bizness, or easily grossed out by looking at what is actually coming out during your period, the Diva Cup may not be for you. I really like the chance to see what is going on, though, and am proselytizing the Diva Cup to the world!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

nothin' much

So R is in Germany making us a pot of money. woo! Money! I should be working hard but instead I am overcome with alternating exhaustion and hunger. What's up with that? Seriously, I just keep having to go to sleep. I did run some stats tests on my dissertation data and I have some significance. Score! Although with R gone I could theoretically work more tonight. I will likely run some more stats and work on my summer class.

In the meantime, here is an awesome flickr song.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Poetry Monday

This is a brand new to me poem, shown to me by the internets....

Falling in love is like owning a dog
an epithalamion by Taylor Mali

First of all, it's a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you're walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain't no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you're all wound up and can't move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

There are not enough cats on this blog!


30. What Happens in Paris (stays in Paris?) by Nancy Robards Thompson
So when I was at the library last I was getting too many non-fiction books and feeling a need for a break to something more fluffy. I saw this book, assumed it was chick lit, and picked it up. I was horrified when I got home to realize it is part of Harlequin! Now, I will totally read romance novels, don't get me wrong, but that is not what I was looking for at the time.

Anyway, the book is not really a romance novel and was actually pretty good. The main character's marriage suddenly break up and she ends up moving to Paris for 3 months for an artist's residency. She meets interesting people and grows, blah de blah blah. The writing was pretty good and the characters were believable and it was what I was looking for, a nice fluffy read. I was concerned about the fact that the woman kept talking about how until she went to Paris she thought her life was over, she was 41 and middle aged. Isn't 41 a little young to be going on about how you are an old frumpy middle aged woman these days? I mean, I thought 40 was the new 30?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Poetry Monday

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

--Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Happy Saturday! It is a beautiful day here. R and I went to the farmer's market today -- they still don't have much, but we got some apples and some asparagus which was picked yesterday. yum yum. The asparagus will be for dinner. On the way home we walked around the grounds of the Cloisters and saw some amazing flowers and flowering trees. I forgot my camera so no photos. Tomorrow we are going to the Bronx Zoo. I have never been before and am allegedly supposed to take my fall class there, so we are going to scope it out.

Speaking of vegetables, we're trying to join a CSA. We don't eat enough veggies so we are hoping that pre-paying and getting them will force us to eat them before they go bad. And the pickup location is right next to our apartment. Convenient! Anyway, I say hoping because I mailed the check yesterday so it will get there right at their cut off date AND all the other CSAs in hte area or filled, so I hope they have room for us.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Poetry Monday

Almost let Monday slip by without a poem!



How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget's steeple leaning a little to the left

here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting's not so blue

where's Lana Turner
she's out eating
and Garbo's backstage at the Met
everyone's taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park's full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
why not
the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we're all winning
we're alive

the apartment was vacated by a gay couple
who moved to the country for fun
they moved a day too soon
even the stabbings are helping the population explosion
though in the wrong country
and all those liars have left the UN
the Seagram Building's no longer rivalled in interest
not that we need liquor (we just like it)

and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining

oh god it's wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

- Frank O'Hara


Did I post yet about how I want to wear a red dress to my wedding? I won an Ebay sundress, but it came today and is not going to work. Why do I keep falling into the empire waist trap? I cannot wear empire waists, or tent dresses, or anything of that ilk.

People who have seen me, how do you think I would look in this dress? I am nervous of spending so much $$ online, but I don't have a nearby Nordstrom's at which to try it on.

Maybe I just need to walk around to stores I can get to, but I do like this dress, although I am not sure it will go with the tennis shoes I was planning on wearing....

Sunday, May 06, 2007


So I've noticed on SiteMeter that I am getting all kinds of referrals from the Altar Boyz web site. I finally figured out that I am the featured blog of the month. ha!

news from me

I think I have been giving all my writing energy to my dissertation and the other paper I am working on. While that is good for my career, it means the poor blog suffers.

Earlier this week we went to Target which was super exciting. It is always a crap shoot as to whether or not they have things we need in stock, but this time we score three!! 7 pound bags of cat food! Boo-ya! The cats will not be hungry for months. I also got two skirts and two tank tops. The skirts are awesome and super comfy. I'm all into wearing skirts in the summer instead of shorts, so they are a good investment.

My fall primate class in under-enrolled, so I had to send a draft of my syllabus in so advisers could convince their students to sign up. The chair is not worried as we still have the whole summer, but I have been so excited about this class for so long, I am concerned and hope it gets more students. I've also been working on my syllabus for my summer class, and that is going well AND I already have my plane ticket. yay!

Back to the academic writing....


29. Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano
I was inspired to read this book by Dr. Crazy, and I agree with much of what she says in her review of it. I thought it was a really limited view of the experiences of people who grow up blue collar and move into the middle class world. My feelings about the book were that it was 1) not well written, 2) made many many sweeping generalizations that had no support and 3) presented what it was like to move from blue-collar to white-collar in a limited number of cases, but did not capture the diversity of experience had by people who do this. Anyway, the book was more interesting for conversations and thoughts it has sparked, than for what is actually in it. It made me think about my background a lot, and while I technically would say I grew up working class, I don't know if just poor is a better way to describe it. I definitely have had VERY different experiences than most of my PhD getting peers, but I don't feel a lot of angst about it, just amusement that they all assume I am just like them, when I am not. It is like I have a secret identity.

If you read the blog post I linked to above, and also this one, I think maybe I do relate more to the growing up without security idea, or just poor. I don't know what class I was in, as I did go to Catholic schools and my family values education above all else. However, we also got food from the food bank and Christmas gifts from the church and I did my homework by candlelight because of unpaid electric bills on several occasions. It is also interesting that Lubrano's straddlers move from class to class relatively linearly. Another aspect of my childhood was our switching between classes. When both my parents were employed I felt middle class, when they weren't, we were back to being poor. And now my parents are doing really well and are securely middle class, while I am still poor, but I fully expect that my poorness is temporary.

Anyway, I didn't think the book was really that good, but it made me think a lot of interesting thoughts.