Monthly Archives: March 2008


So. I was going to apologize for not posting in a while. I mean, it’s spring break, I’ve been assiduously Not Grading (that has to stop today), cleaning house, and reading. But I’m not going to apologize — instead, I’m going to complain. If Iowa can’t get its act together and give me more than one day of sunshine at a time, well, there’s nothing I can do, but these clouds make the Desert Girl feel distinctly non-creative and un-posty. So there.

As for a general update:

1) I’ve gone vegan except for skim, organic milk on my cereal and fat free half and half in my tea and on my oatmeal. So I guess that’s not really vegan but ultra-vegetarian, or at least more vegetarian than I’ve ever been. At any rate, I’ve lost 9 lbs.

2) I’ve grown my hair out. It’s in about 5″ layers, the longest it’s been in 15 years. And guess what — it’s moderately curly! When I was very young and living in the Seattle area, I had curly/wavy hair; later, living in Nevada, my mother told me I’d just grown out of it. Turns out it’s the humidity — here in the midwest, my hair is curly again. Oh yeah, the gray also helps, as it adds body (gray hairs are more coarse). Anyway, people keep asking if I’ve gotten a perm, but no, I just brush it and then shake my head vigorously and presto! It took 37 years post Seattle, but I finally have fabulous hair!

3) I’ve been playing around with a 2′ triangle loom, deciding if I want to invest in a 7′ one (or talk my newly retired BIL Leroy into making me one….).

4) Because spring, however cloudy, turns a middle-aged woman’s fancy to thoughts of whether or not she’s ever going to go out on a date again, I’ve been perusing dating sites. Which leads to disappointment because all evidence indicates that single, middle aged men in the Midwest are largely bitter about women, post pics that look like sex offender mug shots (when they aren’t pics of the guy’s much worshiped Harley or pics in which a woman has obviously been cut out), have no idea how to use spell check, list their interests solely as NASCAR and hunting, and, despite the fact that many of the men aren’t prize pigs themselves, stipulate they are looking for a woman who is slender/athletic. All of this, combined with the clouds, leads me to work on my stash of organic milk chocolate, reducing the weight loss mentioned in #1 to 7 lbs.

So that’s March in Storm Lake.  C’mon summer!



Yesterday, a student came to see me to talk about switching his major to English. He’s interested in writing fantasy, so he was sent to me, the lone light of popular fiction in our tres literary department.

He was the kind of kid who knows everything and is infinitely wiser than his peers and his professors. When I was younger, that type of teen/young adult really annoyed me, until I got older myself and realized that a) often that attitude is hiding social fear and b) many such youth outgrow it. So I was going along, doing my teacherly/advisorly thing, nodding and smiling, until he said this:

“I really think Tolkien is overrated. He just got good press. Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind are much better writers.”

After smothering a very unQuakerly urge toward violence, I asked if perhaps Tolkien and  Lewis hadn’t paved the way for modern fantasy writers (I didn’t mention that The Sword of Sha-na-na, or whatever, is a complete rip off of, say, Tolkien).

He just shook his head, quite evidently in pity of my ignorance, and said, “No.”

Well, I guess it’s good to know that I’m not too jaded to be aghast and appalled.