Her Green Figs

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

26 February 2007

I Suppose I Might be a Dog After All

From The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell, " Retracting the commissure in dogs signifies submission or fear. Sometimes it has a similar significance in humans: some researchers believe that human smiles evolved from the submissive grimaces seen in many primate species. We're all familiar with happy smiles but think of all the smiles you've seen that were related, to some degree, to nervousness. Perhaps you, like me, have smiled when you wished you wouldn't, anxiously awaiting test results or submissively seeking favors from someone in authority. Primates also have a similar expression, somewhat akin to a nervous or submissive 'smile,' termed the 'open mouth bared tooth display,' which is associated with relaxed, friendly, social contact."

Two people have given me grief about looking "unhappy" at choir events. I've been accused most of my life of looking miserable. I'm also told that I frighten people. Think these may be related? Perhaps I am a bit of a dog, like those jerks in junior high said.

24 February 2007

Great Saturday

1. Watered shrubs all night, so went over to house at 8 this morning to switch the soaker hoses. While I waited to pick up J, I climbed into my new bed and read three Jill McCorkle short stories. It was delightful.
2. Picked up J with sausage biscuits at 10:13 exactly, as requested.
3. Shopped for dog toys at Target.
4. Drove out towards Sumter to find the dog. Got a tour of SC's cocaine trade transfer point.
5. Met, played with, confirmed accurate analysis of my new dog, soon to be renamed Guinness.
6. Visited J's mother and watched them play Nintendo Wii. I could really have fun with one of those!
7. Ate lunch at a famous diner: smoked sausage, biscuits, macaroni casserole, best coleslaw ever, butter peas, and peach cobbler. The coleslaw and cobbler were nearly worth the trip on their own.
8. Sang the Carmina Burana through twice.
9. Bought new gym clothes and ingredients to make my own peach cobbler.
10. Edited and submitted first article for paper.
11. Made peach cobbler (not so good! too much baking powder, not enough sugar).
12. Invented new cocktails: fennel-infused vodka, pink grapefruit juice, tonic, chipped ice; gin muddled with cantaloupe plus black pepper vodka and peach liqueur
13. Watched Ray.
14. Cuddled under electric blanket.

21 February 2007

I Just Done a Line

of Chunky Chips Ahoy! like the cartoon ones on TV who sing and are surprised when they are eaten. They are dreadful, awful, bland, salty, powdery, crumbly disks of nonsense and only qualify as a "treat" because they have 80 calories each. RIDICULOUS! NAUSEATING!

Today in class I assigned some group class work and my students proceeded to talk so loud about so many unrelated things for such duration that I really lost my patience with them. I encourage a friendly, easygoing, fun atmosphere, but I still expect them to shut the hell up when I'm trying to teach. Apparently, I expect wrong.

After class, I came home and played in the kitchen. I loaded and ran the dishwasher (everything's dirtier than when it went in again) and scrubbed the counters and stove then I cleaned out (most of) the fridge (I put off emptying and washing the yoghurt maker container again) and scrubbed it down. I emptied the chicken soup out of the stock pot and into freezer bags and froze them. That's when the fun began. I baked chicken in cabernet with lots of thyme, two who cubano peppers (sadly, no anchos at the market today), and two quartered onions. While that cooked, I browned ground beef and sausage with a bunch of oregano in the washed stock pot and pureed carrots and celery and green peppers and onions and garlic and bunged that on top of the meat. I topped that with 7 cans of diced tomatoes and two cans of tomato paste and cooked it down to a good colour and consistency. It's a bit too salty, unfortunately. While that bubbled, I simmered a can of tomato sauce with salt and pepper and thyme and pureed carrots in a small saucepan. While that got going, I pulled the chicken out of the oven and shredded it in the food processor (with the companion onions and peppers) with a can of black beans. I used that and a pound and a half of shredded Monterrey Jack to roll enchiladas. I made 12, four to a casserole. I topped them with the sauce and sprinkled a little more cheese on top. They're sitting in the fridge ready to heat up, except I gave one dish to K and M. I had some of the bolagnese for a late lunch with some rotini. It's looks better than it tastes.

Rehearsal was putrid. I feel really ugly and stupid and hated nearly every time I'm there. And yet I keep going back. K even moved away from me several times, going so far as to trade seats with someone. I realized a couple of Sundays ago that I am a MUCH better singer, and a happier one, when she is not there. I think it is because I respect her skill a great deal, and she has never once complimented me on any part of my musical ability. She talks about other people's musicianship probably 70% of our conversational time, and the omission of comment on mine is enormously telling and hurts me deeply.

I have been approved to adopt a DARLING little pup from the pound in a neighbouring county. She's younger and less trained (not at all trained) than I had wanted, but she really seems to be calling my name. I have people lined up to give me a doggie bed and water dish and leash and collar. I'm hoping someone will have a cage to share. They are quite expensive. The thoughts of handing her a toy or scratching her head whilst I grade papers makes me smile. I think she will be good for me.

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19 February 2007

Tomato Slaughter

I have three trays of seedlings going... about 250 plants (peppers, tomatoes, oregano, aubergine, tobacco, flowers, weeds) and they make me really cheerful! They're so healthy and vigourous and ambitious. They inspire me. The tomatoes have gone a bit crazy though, they're too tall for the dome, so they're bending and weaving about and the poor peppers interplanted aren't getting as much light as they I'd like, and the tomatoes are confused, so I thought I'd mini-stake them with wooden plant labels and cut up red satin ribbon from my Valentine's package. Well, tomato seedlings are more brittle than I expected. I'm afraid I savagely severed a few of them. Luckily, I bought rooting hormone earlier today, so I tried to get them back in the grow sponge. Fingers crossed. I feel bad about it. I trimmed out the new leaves on top of them so they'll (hopefully) grow a little sturdier and stouter.

The pepper plants look lovely! short and dark and glossy and determined. Also looking good: aubergine, coriander, nicotiana.


18 February 2007

Books Everyone Should Read

According to my students (sometimes they make me want to cry):

The Odsisye
To Kill A Mockendird
Bowel Wolf / Bewolf / Beaowolf
Angels and Demonds
Herosheima (if he means Hiroshima, good idea!)
Winning Everyday by Lou Holtz
everything by Zane
Night (yay!)
Clifford the Big Red Dog
The Autobiography of Marilyn Manson
Huckle Berry Fin ("the only book I read in highschool I understood")
Canneberry Tales

Then, of course, there's the thoughtfully annotated list from my favourite student, the stripper. It's great. Really, really great!

14 February 2007


I am in so much pain that:

I cannot catch my breath,
I cannot stop myself from trembling all over,
I am moaning and crying aloud,
I have no problem imagining what it means to be inspired to rend garments,
and I just prayed.

12 February 2007

What Animal Are You?

Don't know how we got on the topic, but KM and I were discussing which were our (various people and us) animal selves. Her husband thinks he's a grizzly bear, but he's really a brown bear. She mentioned pumas for herself, but Gummy Bear is probably more accurate. She asked me and I think of myself mostly like a bushel burlap sack of waxy potatoes, but that's not an animal, so I asked her to pick my animal. My Valentine's-Day-week-self-confidence has not been bolstered by her choice of "elephant." I asked her if this was because I'm humongous and clumsy and dumb-looking and old and slow. She said it was because I am "wise" (gag) and "frightening and clumsy looking but really quite gentle." Super, right? I think I'll slit my wrists now.

So, I guess I should come up with an aspirational animal now, so I can work towards something instead of dwelling on my elephantine qualities. Giraffe would be okay--tall and exotic and graceful, or flamingo--strange and attractive and festive, or panther--sleek and rare and powerful.

Blast! Go take this test (http://www.animalinyou.com/survey.a. It says I am an elephant or walrus or possibly a hippo. I don't want to be any of those animals! Here is its description of elephant: "An elephant personality is a person whose deliberate movements exude confidence and calm in all aspects of his or her life. While maybe not the king of the animal word, it is surely a member of the royal family. With an imposing physical presence and kind, spiritual demeanor, it moves easily through life where few barriers can hold it back. There's a touch of cool in the stoic elephant that's appealing and reassuring. In all probability this composure stems from the knowledge that they have no natural enemies; for even the lion and crocodile personalities pay homage by giving them a respectful berth. Only the unpredictable tiger has been known to trigger any semblance of anxiety in this otherwise fearless animal. But even the sober elephant is prone to tantrums, proving to be enormously disagreeable if it believes it has been wronged. And for the record: elephants don't forget. Fortunately these moods are rare and confined mainly to the male of the species, but when an outburst does occur, all should evacuate the area until the drama has played itself out. When elephants set their minds to something, they don't waver in their commitment until the task is complete. Their intelligence, combined with a formidable personality, gives them a terrific advantage in business and social affairs while their communication skills make them first-rate leaders. Trustworthy and honest, they always let others know where they stand with regard to their feelings. Their vocal skills make them excellent singers and musicians, and their sober natures align them with the classical arts rather than contemporary music. In business, they are usually found in leadership roles as CEOs or company presidents. And although they're highly paid, they are never ostentatious with their wealth. If you think that it's just the elephants' size that impresses its lovers, you'd be mistaken. Sure size matters, but it's more than just physical prowess that has given rise to the legend of the elephant lover. Certainly it isn't for their looks; elephants are somewhat underwhelming with their plain gray appearances -- it's because elephants are able to inject so much emotional and physic energy into a relationship that lovers find them so compelling."

That doesn't sound so bad, I guess. Their description of walrus doesn't fit me at all, but I have some characteristics of the hippo.

Oh right, we got on the subject because we were trying to decide if Kirsten Dunst was more like a shrew or a vole and whether there was any difference.

05 February 2007

Niggling Comments Keeping Me From Sleep

1. "Have you ever tried any of those dating Web sites?"
"Well wouldn't that be way to help you feel a little better about things?"
[Uh, no, pretty much exactly the opposite. The only man interested in me whatsoever is unattractive, whiney, morose, pathetic, charisma-free, tacky, and married. TO YOU! Oh, and except for the married part, he's exactly like me. Nobody wants to date somebody like that. I found this pin on Cafepress the other day and really thought about getting it for myself. I have absolutely nothing to offer in way of pleasant temporary romantic partnership to anyone. So no, I don't have a listing on Match.com.]

2. "Did I wake you?"
[Even though it's 11:45 on a Monday night] "No, I'm in the car. What's up?"
"Why are you in the car?"
"I think I may have forgotten to lock the front door at the house, so I'm going over there to check. Any maybe get brutally murdered by a neighbourly crackhead."
"You really should think about maybe calling someone when you do stuff like that, so that if you're never heard from again, they could at least tell the police that, last they heard, you were driving to the ghetto at midnight."
[Who in the hell would care or possibly even notice if I were shot in a bungled burglary at my own house in the ghetto?!] "Yeah, well, I figure the less evidence I leave the better."
"Right, well, whatever. I'm calling to tell you..."

I have not finished my syllabus for the new course I'm going to try to teach starting next week. Nor have I read the book.

I have not packed anything, which will be a real problem for the movers I have scheduled to come in two days.

I do not have the money to pay both the plumber, who will be working tomorrow, and the movers, who are supposed to come Thursday.

It is unlikely that I will get any classes to teach this summer.

The nearly perfect job for me is currently open at an itty bitty school about 45 minutes away. It's a real 4 year school. I can't apply, since I can't even get admitted to a PhD program, much less finish one.

There is a job open at an unaccredited historically black college with 10 students and collapsing buildings that requires only the MA I already have. There's an excellent chance that it pays worse than I make as an adjunct at the tech school. Plus, am I not the whitest white girl who's ever lived?!

I read a story about two girls, missing for a month, recently found, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning, in a car parked off some rural road in suburban DC. Peaceful suicide. My first reaction? Envy.

01 February 2007

Snow Day

It snowed today for the first time in about 4 years. Nothing special, but it does mean pancakes! I made basic baking powder (not yeast) pancakes filled with chopped pecans and fresh blueberries and topped with sweet butter and wildflower honey, served with warm vanilla milk. Yum.

A couple of days ago I made chicken enchiladas, except they were so good I never got around to making the sauce and we ate them dry. One and a half chicken breasts broasted in cabernet with black pepper and toasted garlic with one enormous ancho on top and three quartered onions stuffed around the sides. All that went in the food processor with a can of diced tomatoes, some salt, and a couple shakes of Crystal until shreddy. Put that inside some big ole tortillas with some Monterrey Jack and baked until crispy. Next time I'll make the sauce first.

Grad school application turned in.
Music critic job applied for.
Claim submitted for stolen car.
Dishes cleaned. Floor swept.

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