Monthly Archives: June 2005

A Bit More to the Left

Despite the name of this blog, I currently live to the right of the Mississippi, in Ohio. However, come July 5, I’m moving left to Iowa, thus trading one vowel-laden state name for another. My stuff is shipping out on June 29, meaning that I get to live four days with only a microwave, a blender, a cat, a bird, and an air mattress — let’s hope I stay sane and centered enough not to combine any of these items in any way whatsoever and, if I do, that I remember to put the lid on the blender. On 7/5, I get to drive 12 hours across three states with the bird and the cat and I’m pretty sure that at least one of us will have to be drugged at some point in that trek. Cheetos and Mountain Dew will also be involved.

At any rate, this blog is going on summer hiatus, just like the sitcoms do. We may come back, also just like the sitcoms do, with a new theme song, new characters/actors,* new plot, and Tom Poston. But we won’t be gone as long — look for new bloggy goodness on or around July 15th.***

*I, for one, refuse to work under these conditions. I’m a professional and I deserve top billing and Peanut Butter M&Ms and George Clooney in my dressing room right now! Oh, and a dressing room.**

**One without mops and buckets in it.

***Notice the nifty, color-coded "just the facts" for hurried blog readers, those with short attention spans, and folks who just really, really like blue.

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Bubbly & Chubby

I’m moving to Iowa in early July to join the faculty at Buena Vista University. So this weekend, I had a farewell visit with one of my sisters, her hubby, and their son. While there, we celebrated my brand-spanking-new Ph.D.* with 2 barbeques, beer, and champagne.

Pics of me and the sis are below.  Just after the pictures were taken she said, "Put my real name in your blog and I will kill you." And, since I am secretly terrified of her in the way that only a younger sister can be of a woman who 1) never quite forgave me for being born (she was the baby for five glorious years) and 2) can, more often than not, use all 7 of her Scrabble tiles on a triple word score, I will comply. Therefore, to all of us in blogland, my next-oldest sister forever will be known as Mrs. Fanny Assingham.**

So here’s me and Fanny. I’m the fascinating redhead in the tiara:

Tiara1 Tiara2

(click on pics to embiggen them, if you dare)

The tiara and earrings were presented to me with the champagne and are what all fashion-conscious preschool princesses and Ph.D. recipients are wearing this summer. Fanny seemed a bit taken aback when I did not remove the tiara for our evening walk. Tcha! I think that anyone who’s known me for 2 minutes, let alone nearly 42 years, would realize that if you give me a tiara, or a cape, or, say, a boa constrictor, I’m going to wear it in public. And talk to strangers while doing so.

Oh, and after looking at these pics and confronting the 17 lbs that I earned along with my new degree, I’m going to up my daily exercise routine, which currently consists of getting out of bed. So I may be writing about that in the near future. And if anyone knows of a patch for Peanut Butter M&M addiction, please tell me.

*no, not a degree in branding. Or spanking.

**Her suggestion. From a Henry James text. James, of whom she is a scholar. Also, she is a literature professor. At a public university. Named after a famous pair of aviation innovators. In Dayton, Ohio. See how well I am keeping her secret identity?***  We little sisters are like that.

***Why must she preserve her secret identity, anyway? Does it involve crime-fighting**** and a spandex suit?

****In this family, more likely grammar-and-pronunciation-correcting.*****

*****The Nu-cue-lar Avenger!

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Da Boid

People (including me whenever I vacuum) often ask why I keep a parrot. Okay, they don’t actually ask why, they mostly say something like, "Gee, I never thought owning a bird took so much work," or "Gosh,* who knew a bird could have so much personality." But I know from the way they say these things, with a tell-tale little inflection at the end, that what they really mean is, "How is it that an otherwise intelligent and reasonably sane woman has completely relinquished her freedom and much of her disposable income to 3 oz. of feathers and hollow bones and ARGGG the God damned bastard bit me! take him! take him! I’m bleeding!"**

Why indeed? The fact is that any parrot, from the smallest to the largest, combines in one feathery package the neurotic arrogance of a cat, the pathetic neediness of a dog, and the inventive troublemaking capacity of a toddler — really. If a parrot could attempt to flush an action figure down the toilet, it would. Repeatedly, and all the while laughing in your exact tone of voice.

So what’s up with me and Zeke the Quaker Parrot? Why, when I exist mainly on protein smoothies and frozen dinners and Peanut Butter M&Ms, do I feed him a hot breakfast of veggies and seeds, a hot dinner of specially-mixed birdie couscous, his fill of most of the food I eat, and pricey birdie kibble? Why does he live in a $250 cage draped with $7-and-up birdie toys and perch on his choice of two bird perches and one bird playgym strategically positioned throughout my apartment? Why do I have a wardrobe of at-home-only t-shirts that are chewed to ribbons and dotted with poop stains?

Well, it could be that Zeke is my one eccentric indulgence.  I tell folks that I’m a single, middle-aged English teacher and therefore it’s either the bird or a dozen cats.  But that’s a lie — I’m perfectly capable of owning the bird, a dozen cats, a dog or two, and some hermit crabs.*** Or it could be that Zeke’s a bit of bad boy, and we all know about that attraction.  Quaker parrots are illegal in 11 states and if caught, they are made to wear tiny orange jumpsuits and pick up trash by the side of road.

But the real reason is the absolute magic of holding this strange creature, completely alien in his non-mammalness, his scaly little feet betraying his dinosaur ancestry. I bury my nose in the feathers on his back and he smells warm and powdery and like nothing else and when I rub his head, he tilts his chin up and closes his eyes and hums. He says "Hey you!" when I come home from work and "Gotta pee!" when I go to the bathroom and he yells "Get down!" when the cat jumps on the counter. And really, who could resist this:

Wetncute

Lilpeep Carrypink

*In my imaginary world, I’m the only person who actually swears.

**Ever been bit by a parrot? Anyone would swear then.

***Or sea monkeys! Remember sea monkeys?

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My. First. Post.

It feels kind of like a date, the type of date that results from friends setting you up or from whoring yourself on an online dating site. You get dressed up, which is fun if you don’t exist outside jeans very often, and a little nerve-wracking too, especially when you try to zip up a skirt or slacks you never usually wear and are rudely faced with the results of that last 1 lb bag-in-one-weekend of Peanut Butter M&Ms. At the same time, you tell yourself not to get your hopes up, it’s just a first date and nothing will come from it probably and remember the last guy Sharon set you up with* and besides, you’re saving yourself for George Clooney.

This first post feels just like that. Except it’s all fluid in a postmodern-y kind of way.  See, the reader could be the mysterious date and I’m sitting here with spinach in my metaphorical teeth and too many M&Ms on my hips, BUT it could also be that the reader has innocently stumbled into this space OR been set up to read this by a friend and I’m the one who swears that really, the restraining order was nothing, she blew it way out of proportion and she’s never had a sense of humor at all. Or the reader could actually be George Clooney, in which case he should call me.

There, it’s done…first post out of the way and we’re all still standing. Treat yourself to some Peanut Butter M&Ms.

*"I know this guy who is just perfect for you. Well, perfect anyway, he’s a perfect guy, and he just happens to be single at the moment, quite a coincidence really, and that whole thing about his ex-wife and the restraining order was nothing, she blew it way out of proportion and she’s never had a sense of humor at all and you have so much in common. He reads lots of books too!"

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