Friday, November 27, 2009

It may be too late for some of you . . .

. . . but for the rest, remember that today is BUY NOTHING DAY, a day to resist the urge to splurge and keep your hard-earned earnings out of the pockets of corporate thieves, scoundrels, and no-goods.

I don't advocate going to the extremes that some observers of the no-shopping movement propose -- like abstaining from ALL consumer spending by turning off all power-consuming appliances and lights, fasting, etc. -- but the Black Friday madness has truly gotten out of hand over the past decade or so, and there really is no consumer good out there that is worth killing or dying for.

My resolve would be tested mightily, however, if one of these bad boys was offered at, say, 50% off MSRP.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Make A Wish

For now, all my immediate wishes are fulfilled. Intellikid is home (well, she's within 50 miles of home, since her boyfriend's car ostensibly has a headlight out). I don't have to go to work for the next 96+ hours. My culinary obligations for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast, hosted by my sis & bro-in-law, are almost fulfilled (the cranberry sauce is made, and the chocolate birthday cake for my sister is baked - I'll whip up the peanut butter frosting tomorrow).

Well, there is one wish that I could put out there: I wish that the Obama I voted for last November was the same one that's in the White House this November. But at least the Oval Office isn't occupied by the same turkey who sat there previously!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate, and Happy Thursday to those who don't.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Independence Day (therapeutic blathering)

People ask how I ended up here in Bubbaville, because it really isn't considered a target destination for ... well for much of anybody or anything. I answer, 99% truthfully, that this was as far as I could get on a tank of gas when I left my ex.

It was eleven years ago today that I landed at my sister & brother-in-law's homestead out in Bubba County, having made the decision that it was time to get away from TMFKAH*. At the time, I wasn't sure the move would be permanent, although I knew that my actions would change everything one way or another.

Separation wasn't a decision made lightly -- how could I not consider the implications of breaking up a family? -- but in the past eleven years there was never a single moment when I doubted I made the right decision, both for myself and for my daughter. Now that she is older, I hope that she can see that it was TMFKAH's sickness that destroyed any chance she had of a relationship with him, and that little by little, her hurt goes away.

That has been the hardest thing these last several years, watching her suffer, confused, because her father would not return her calls or answer her letters. I know now, however, that he could have inflicted much, much worse hurt if he'd remained in her life. It helps us, too, that I've maintained a relationship with my ex-in-laws and they've always support my decision fully, and love my daughter as much as they can, from this distance.

Life in Bubbaville has been pretty good, in spite of all the complaining I do. Most important of all, I had the support of my sister & a safe place to stay while I decided what to do next, and the years have mostly been good ones. Sure, I have to drive 25 miles to see a movie or buy a bottle of wine, (and to work since I prefer making above-minimum wage), but having the freedom to do so makes the drive worthwhile, and knowing that I have a peaceful home to come back to is worth the journey.

Just a few highlights of life in Bubbaville:
  • I haven't actually been shot at -- not intentionally, anyway. (The afternoon I arrived, pheasant hunters in the pasture below my sister's place peppered her kitchen windows with shot as we sat there having coffee. My brother-in-law ran out of the house yelling at the guys, who apologized, "We didn't know the bird was gonna fly up towards your house.")
  • I only had one wild animal enter my house uninvited. (One afternoon while washing dishes, the living room window exploded with what sounded like a shot. Shaken, I turned to see that a grouse had flown through the window,landed on the sofa, and expired. Shaken, I called my sister to help clean up the mess -- I still found shards of glass when I moved from that house years later. My brother-in-law ate the bird, and my sister made me a pair of earrings from its feathers.)
  • I have herded renegade cows (actually they were Holsteins), disentangled my sister's angora goats from barbed wire while pet-sitting, and chaperoned 6th graders on a field trip to Dollywood. You guess which was more challenging.
  • I have made some new friends who have brought music and joy back into my life. I hope that somehow I have brought happiness to them, too.

So...Happy Independence Day to ME! I will now return to my customary cranky, bitchy posting.

(*TMFKAH = The Man Formerly Known as Husband)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night Poetry Reading

(Since I don't have a date tonight, I've been sitting here assessing the drinkability of a free bottle of Cab I acquired, and looking through my computer archives to see what can safely be relocated to the Trash. I re-discovered a poem I wrote some years ago when I was trying out Yahoo's personals and discovered that my former Lit Crit professor had his profile posted there. Quelle surprise! I mean, this guy was adorable, if a bit high-strung, literate, articulate, and one would think that he'd have coeds lusting after him day after day and have no need to resort to an intermediary such as an online dating site to get him some find a soulmate. At any rate, instead of putting out the standard bio, Dr. B posted a number of poems critiquing the online dating environment from a male perspective. I wrote the following poem in response, but never had the nerve to send it to him.)

You think you got it bad?
We girls have it worse –
Most guys on Yahoo
Can't write, much less converse
(Although I will grant you
your talent with verse!)
Dudes put up photos
So tasteless, I cringe --
It's obvious they come
From some lunatic fringe.
I'm not all that picky
When going on dates,
But teeth, hair and shirts
Are all admirable traits
For a guy to display
(So in that regard,
You're doing okay.)

Bongo photo appropriated from fotopedia.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still Life with Peaches and Figs . . .

...but no dates.

Except this update: After a week of relentlessly pursuing me via telephone and e-mail, culminating in what seemed to be a successful and highly entertaining dinner date with Mr. Compatible two Fridays ago, all communication from him has stopped, and my attempts to contact him have gone unanswered.

It's quite possible that I have simply stunned the fellow into silence as he contemplates whether or not he is truly worthy of my companionship. Or perhaps he is bi-polar, and we just happened to initially connect during one of his manic phases. (It wouldn't be the first time that's happened....)

I'm not sure I have the will to sort through all the nuts out there, just to get another date.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pro Choice

One workday a week or so ago, my stomach was feeling a bit queasy, and so I headed off to one of the mini-markets on campus to buy a can of ginger ale. After searching all the refrigerated beverage cases, I was pissed off dismayed to discover that the University's new marketing agreement with Pepsi means no more ginger ale can be sold on campus! Until then I had been under the (false) impression that only the vending machines and dining units were beholden to PepsiCo. (I'm thinking I could make a little money on the side selling black-market Coca-Cola and Canada Dry products in the parking lot at lunch time.)

This morning I heard of another blow to freedom of choice: It turns out that Michael Jordan's son Marcus chose to play his first university baskeball game wearing a pair if his dad's Nike Air Jordan shoes. No problem here in the land of the free, right? Wrong. Marcus Jordan's action was a violation of UCF's contract with adidas who, unmoved by such acts of sentimentality has said it will terminate the $3-million/year agreement with UCF.

What's the point of sending thousands of troops overseas to defend our freedoms if the Corporate States of America are going to deny us the right to choose what to drink and wear?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Intellikid reports that all is well in Boston. She is dismayed that her class schedule won't allow for attendance at either the Tea Club or Linguistics Society meetings, but that seems to be her worst complaint so far. She is an inveterate worrier, however, and while I'm glad that we have the sort of rapport where she feels free to ask my advice about matters of import, her habit of asking questions I am not qualified to answer is sometimes less than endearing.

Her latest quandary: whether she should change her major from Linguistics to a new Philosophy and Linguists double major the university offers. Do I think she should switch?

My advice: "I think that someone considering a major in Philosophy should work that out on her own, don't you?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Confederacy of Tooters

I've just spent the end of last week at a conference in Richmond, VA, schmoozing it up with all the big names in the world of professional tutors. But readers, it's not as glamorous as it all sounds. For example, two colleagues and I had to drive the 350 miles to the conference site in a motorpool minivan with bad rotors and an even badder smell -- which turned out to be the dog poop that two of us had stepped in prior to our departure.

The conference hotel, despite its $140/night room rate, did not provide free internet access -- nor many other amenities -- in its rooms, so for entertainment I spent a few hours each evening in the hospitality suite and people-watched while trying not to abuse my own liver too much, a task made fairly easy because the Shiraz ran out on night one of the conference and I wasn't in the mood for Chablis from a box or Bud Light from a can.

Besides, one of us had to be sober enough to drive back home Saturday morning....