Tuesday, December 27, 2005

relaxing, finally

So, I have been done with school for nearly two weeks, finished my teaching portfolio a week ago, and I have finally started to unwind. Even though I have been in Des Moines for five days and getting plenty of sleep, I have just been exhausted and when I am awake I always feel that I NEED to be doing something constructive. I was working on my syllabus for next semester on Christmas morning. I have been going through CPR submissions while watching TV and movies--I have about 1/3 of the stack left. I've been trying to skim books to find a text for my comp 2 class. I also read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince over the weekend, and I think maybe that was part of the reason I couldn't just settle down and relax. I always get so anxious when I read those damned books, I thought it would be a nice break from homework and the more intellectual selections I brought home for the holiday, but apparently I should have just stuck to the Milosz. Today though, I feel much better. Although I am still trying to get things done, I don't feel quite so obligated to do much (or like I have to l;) haha).

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Last semester, we poets of CCC were asked to submit works to the art and design department for a collaboration project. They put them up on a wall. Here's how mine turned out (they shifted it about a little, so I retyped the poem below).

Beneath the Cupola

A cloister hushed in predawn haze.
Pale bellies of curtains exhale secrets.
The sun roof’s pudendum bulge
enfolds the oval balcony below.
Doors steal glances from mirrors
as beams sink deep into the room.
The gilded railing shivers as tilting rays tickle
calligraphic curls of metalwork.
In the refracted glimmer, floor tiles giggle.
Frescos flutter, until flustered,
and shimmering, the whole room shudders.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My first blog picture

c'mon, everybody's doing it . . .

try it, you'll like it

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm wide awake, it's morning

Well, it's not quite "morning," and I am not exactly wide awake. I am nearly done with my portfolio, and no I didn't stay up all night to finish it. I just wandered over to my computer to get some of it polished up a bit. I have been awake since 4. Sure I got about 4 and half hours of sleep, but I feel like crap and I just want to rest. I will be going to the store in the morning, the real morning which is at least 3 hours away, get the necessities to make my portfolio look presentable at the very least and take it to school. Then it will be out of my hands and I won't be allowed to worry about it anymore.

In the morning (again, the real morning) I am calling the spa and making an appointment for my massage. Thank you, again, Sean. Best early Christmas gift ever.

Speaking of gifts. . .
Christmas is just a few days away but my family won't be celebrating for a while so here's my real wishlist:

Origami books &/or paper
The Lord of the Rings books
A bike lock
The new Neil Diamond CD
A bible, one that is written above the first grade level, maybe a study bible--I don't know anything about the bible, should that be capitalized?
Oh and I'd kinda like the Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVDs, even though Sean has them, sometimes I have the urge to watch them and they aren't around for my immediate viewing pleasure

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I am not a cook.

I now know the real reason I have gained so much weight in the last 7 months. After getting into the habit of going out all the time I realized that restaurant food is way better than anything I can make. I am trying to get by on what I have left in the apartment without having to go to the store and I'm really scraping bottom. So I made soup and a cheese sammich. My velveta slices are a little old and had those dark dry corners. I had to thaw frozen butter just to spread a little on the bread. Then getting a couple ice cubes to cool the soup I was reminded how seldom I use ice. There was none, practically, and it wasn't because I forgot to fill the trays, no, it's been so long since I did fill them that they have all but evaporated. Wow. That was the saddest moment because the thing I love most about soup is tasting the ice cubes in warm broth. I'm odd I know.

On the bright side I finished making dinner just in time to see The Office, the american version, which I have never seen before. I love Steve Carell, but I have my doubts about this series. I will give it a chance. All that I can say at this point is I am glad to see that creepy Arthur from Six Feet Under got a new gig. I got so excited about this that I pooped a hammer.

Yay!! I love creepy Arthur.

why can't amanda sleep?

uggh. . .
I got to bed at a decent hour, 11:00, was asleep by 11:30. I woke up at 3, but got back to sleep relatively quickly. And woke up again at 5:30. 6 hours is not bad by any means, I am usually quite pleased with that amount. But I really need more right now. I am trying to recover from this past semester but I have to get my teaching portfolio done. And I just want to sleep for days.

again I say,

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A.D.D. meets O.C.D.

So, even though I hadn't used the stove since Tuesday night, I suddenly freaked out that maybe the burners weren't turned off completely as I was walking out my door this morning. I went back into my apartment to check, and sure enough they were fine. Then as I was shutting my door to leave again I realized that I had left the kitchen light on when I went back to check. Durp.

And this is why I could never be an obsessive person, I just don't have the attention span for it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Which is greater: my need for reassurance or my procrastinatory tendencies?

According to a little internet IQ test I just took:
My IQ score is 136

This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Visual Mathematician. This means you are gifted at spotting patterns — both in pictures and in numbers. These talents combined with your overall high intelligence make you good at understanding the big picture, which is why people trust your instincts and turn to you for direction — especially in the workplace. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.

If I am supposedly so smart, why am I wasting so much time taking dumb quizes when I still have a paper to write that needs to be done in one and a half hours?


Hmmm, I haven't done a meme in a while OR What a girl needs, What a girl wants

Here's the deal: google your name and the word needs and post the first ten results. For example:

"Amanda needs"
Amanda needs a mom in her corner
Amanda needs her local food bank to put food on the table
Amanda needs to read Barbara Bush's speech to Wellesley graduates
Amanda needs a wise friend to tell her that this too shall pass
AMANDA needs to be rebuilt
AMANDA needs changes to the network service
Amanda - needs gnutar?
Amanda needs a family
Amanda needs a small config change
Amanda needs to be loved

Plus, Amanda needs to avoid dairy

alright I cheated I did 11, but come on, it said "plus"

So then I modified it, Christmas is coming and everyone is asking what I want, so according to Google here's my wishlist:

Amanda wants to be a cat
Amanda wants more…not less
amanda wants to be one of these strange pathetic lady creatures that goes "poot" when she gets angry
Amanda Wants To Party.
Amanda wants to make sure that she doesn’t miss the fauvist art exhibit at the museum
what Amanda wants is a life pretty similar to the one she and her parents have now
Amanda wants to be just like her big brother Oliver
Amanda wants to do it
Amanda wants to know why Sheena
Amanda wants to know where Sheena is -- she didn't get to thank her

Well that started out cool, but ended totally eerie. This summer my friend Sheena took her own life. I didn't know her that well, but she worked for me at the library and I adored her. She was from the Chicago area and was so happy for me to be moving here. We kept in touch off and on and honestly I was really looking forward to getting to see her here in Chicago last summer. But at the school year's end she was gone. I am still not really over it, I mean it's not like I deal with the idea all the time, but I do think of her often. And I just don't understand. So, I guess now I will thank her for all the things she told me about Chicago, and telling me how much I would love it. I had my doubts, but you were right.
thanks Sheena.

And I guess while I am thinking of googlisms and how the wrong people seem to go too quickly another strange story.
The first blog I ever read was my brothers, and he would often reference Jaq. So, Jaq's was the second blog I ever read. Lately I have not been reading the right blogs--but more on that another time. Over the last couple of years I have stopped in to read Byzantium's Shores, and I was always particularly touched by his posts about his son, Quinn. Well, two weeks ago yesterday, I was checking in on my bro who had not posted in a long while, and I learned of young Quinn's death. I balled for two hours in my office. I had planned on telling Kelly how sorry I was for his loss, but I couldn't find words for it. That night I tried looking up an article for my Milosz paper, called "The World, Again" I remembered one of the author's last names was Quinn, probably because of the news that afternoon of Little Quinn's passing. Anyway, I googled "'The world, again' Quinn". The first hit was Kelly's blog. That was too much. The crying started all over again.

So now, quite belatedly, I'd like to tell Kelly and family how very sorry I am for their loss. Although I don't know him personally, I have always been intrigued by his blogging, it's a model for the type of blog I should read more often.

P.S. I've now decided not only does fate act in strange ways, but so does Google

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

as of December 23 this semester will all be over. . .

If I can just finish everything in the next 10 days I will be all better. I would like very much to just end this semester and start over. Unfortunately I have nothing to look forward to next semester. The one class I was really looking forward to taking was cancelled. SO I get two other lit classes in its place. Oh well.

I have to write a book review by tomorrow, which should be easy as pie. And I have to make a bunch of cheesecakes which should be yummy.

I am also looking forward to seeing the final episode of the Amazing Race tonight. I don't often get into shows, but for some reason this one got me. I especially like seeing all the yuppie dumbasses make ignorant remarks when they are in foreign countries. I haven't been too excited about this season though. The only team left that I mildly like is the Dad and three daughters, they seem to be the least annoying. Anyway it will be a good way to relax while the cheesecakes are baking tonight and my Milosz presentation is all but a vague memory. (I'm hoping everyone else forgets it as soon as it has been read too).

After the review, and a short explanation of my craft project I will be done with my homework for the year. Then I need to get my ass in gear for my Teaching Portfolio. I am hoping to have that done by next Wednesday. I also have thousands of CPR submissions to wade through. I would have likely quit the editorial board if it weren't for the next meeting being pushed back. But I am feeling better about that whole thing over all. Hmm, after that I am free. . . sort of. I still have to create my class for next semester. I am teaching Comp II, likely ethnography. Any ideas for text books to use?

Well back to the homework. I am nearly done writing my explanation for my Serial Poem. Hooray!

why am I no longer dancing around my study?

I lost it folks. The passion I mean. I still very much want to write this paper, and technically it has reached the ten page mark so I should feel good about it. It should feel as though an end is in sight. But this is not the paper I wanted to write. I wanted to say something interesting. I feel like I have only just started to hint at my point. It took me all day and most of the night just to get the structure together, and I don't even think the structure is right, but it is all I can work with now. I swore my Neruda paper was the worst paper I had ever written, and it was true. I just didn't want to write another stinky paper. Blar. My hopes for an A went out the window three hours ago. Oh well. There are better things in the world than A's. Like sleep, and sanity. Neither of which are in store for the next 23 hours or so. Well I better get back to it and patch up what I can to make sense of this thing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

why am i dancing around my study?

Because I am writing a paper that I really want to write and every time I sit down to write it I get so happy that I just have to get back up to dance around some more. Some people might mistake that for procrastination but I know better. It feels good to have this passion back. Sadly, it doesn't mean this paper will be any better than the last. I have learned that no matter what, any paper I turn in ends up being a first draft. I just can't summon the words until the pressure is on. If I had the opportunity for rewrites I could write some amazing shit, publishable shit.

Ooh, what was that pang? Is that my ego showing? Hello, old friend, it's been a while.

p.s. no paper would be complete, or good, without the mandatory freak-out. I'm projecting a mionr one will happen around 6 pm, another of catastrophic level probably around 10pm.

Friday, December 09, 2005

better days are on the way

While I got very little sleep last night today has been a pretty good day. I stayed in bed late, even though I woke up at 7. I just kind of stumbled around the apartment a while. I biked to get myself going. And started reading yet another article on Milosz. I think I finally got my head around what I want my topic to be. This paper should not be nearly as difficult to write as the Neruda paper a few weeks back. I have a genuine interest in Milosz and the topic I will be writing on. Though, every paper I write is difficult, they just all have their own difficulties. For this one the trouble may be that I have too much of an interest and may overload myself with outside sources and have difficulty actually getting to the paper itself. Anyway, enough about that.

I am making about a million cheesecakes in the next week and so I needed to venture out to the store. So I went out to start digging Frank (my car) out of the snow. It looked so cozy inside of the dark car when I reached in for the scraper, I was half tempted to just crawl in and take a nap. I wish some part of my apartment could be that dark during the day. I kept working on my car and a woman pulled up to park in front of me. The poor woman had only a squeegee and was trying to dig out enough street to park. 8 inch deep snow versus a 6 inch wide squeegee:hmm no competition. I offered her my snow shovel while I brushed off my car and then helped her a little. So I figure I did my good deed for the day. And luckily I was able to get a close spot once I got back from the store.

I worked a little longer on my Milosz ideas. Then Sean came over after he got off from work and we exchanged one early Christmas gift each. And I have decided I have the best boyfriend ever. He gave me a gift card for an hour long massage at an Evanston spa. This makes me very happy. I have never had a professional massage, but for quite a long time I have wanted one. My only fear is that I will form some sort of addiction to such pampering. Well, my only other fear is my chronic ticklishness, but I will deal with that when it comes up. He had good reason to want to give this to me early, because he knows how stressed out I am and how stressed out I will be over the next week and a half. So, this will be my reward and I might end up spending a little extra when I go, make a long afternoon of it and get all the pampering I need. I will be very happy in 2 weeks, once the Milosz paper is done, once my teaching portfolio is turned in and I am free from the craziness that has been this semester.

After exchanging gifts we went out to dinner at Leona's. And it was good. We said goodnight, he made his way to a poker game. Now I am going to change into my jammies, snuggle with my turtle and watch some Red Dwarf on loan from Netflix. What a great day!

Tomorrow will be good too. I will keep working on Milosz and we may go to see the Zoo lights tomorrow night. YAY!!
As much as the little things stress me out, it works out in the end, because it's also small things that make me happy and lately I have been spoiled.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Is this Karma?

I know I haven't been the nicest of people lately. For example, the other night on the train, I was utterly exhausted and a man who was wearing a knit hat shaped like a chicken head got on. It made me snicker and I quickly looked around hoping to catch other people's reactions. I started to entertain myself with the idea that someone might see it and suddenly get the urge to beat the guy up. (Seriously, I had nothing against the man or his hat, but you really gotta have balls to be in your 30's and wearing a hat like that and/or expect to be mocked by someone). A couple of stops later another man got on the train and he looked about the same age and he was muttering to himself. I really wanted him to see the guy with the chicken hat and go start something. For anyone who doesn't know me, please understand that my imagination is completely animated, seriously. (Often times porky pig shows up at the end of my imagined scenarios and says "Be-de-be-de-be, That's All Folks"). I would never actually want to see people fight, but for some reason everyone I saw on the train that night felt animated. Anyway, I felt a little bad about my urges. And lately I have just been all around snarky.

Well, I have also been having troubles with my apartment manager, mostly mid-last week. I was going to call her boss to complain, but the number she gave me was disconnected. I asked for the real number and she gave me the fax number. I do have the real real (pha rell rell--not pha plah plah) number now but I gave up on it. Over the weekend fate served her well enough. I came home late one night to find the main door to my building was shattered, hence the security of our secure entrance was not so secure, the passenger elevator was broken down and as I passed the laundry room to the back elevator I noticed a sign on the door that said, "Do not open this door, there is a large bird in the ceiling." So, I assume she had do deal with some havoc. And none of these things really bothered me at all. (And no, my building is not normally like that, it's a really nice place to live. I have no idea why all that happened at once).

I have been totally on guard with the woman because ever since she started working here she has been after my apartment and after a few problems with the laundry facillities and package delivery I was beginning to wonder whether she was looking for ways to get me thrown out.

I know she has nothing to do with this, but today, I ran downstairs to throw out some trash and only locked the dead bolt. When I came back up to my apt my key would not turn and I could not get it back out of the keyhole. I freaked. I was supposed to get down to school for conferences with my students. Luckily, I had passed the main building maintenance dude, who is a saint, when throwing out the trash. (at least in asking him directly to help me out I wouldn't have to deal with the manager). So he said he would be up when he finished unloading some stuff on a truck--a couple minutes. No prob. I came back up, tried the lock a few more times, finally got it turned far enough I could at least open the door, but the key was still stuck. Just as the guy came down the hall I had gotten the key loose. He came and investigated and is currently fixing the lock. Blar.

I tried out being ms mean jeans but apparently it's not for me. This kind of crap always happens, really, there's always something about to break, right? Just the fact that so many things happen at once combined with the difficulty of keeping a positive attitude lately has been really dragging me down. So, I will go back to being the sweet, happy, helpful girl I once was, hoping to one day solve all of the world's problems with ponies and mandatory naptime.

be-de-be-de-be, That's All Folks.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

donning the invisibility cloak yet again

I have been in grad school for nearly a year and a half. Since I began I have scheduled 6 conferences with professors. And nearly every one of these conferences has been forgotten by the professor. The first one, the professor forgot and didn't show up. When we rescheduled the professor was 15 minutes late and spent most of the time responding to a piece of mail he had gotten that day. With another professor I arrived and he was with a walk-in and he got annoyed that I interrupted by knocking on the door so I waited and then he realized when the walk-in left that we did have a conference scheduled and he kind of apologized. THEN, when I went to do a conference with another professor the next semester who was also consulting an walk-in I didn't knock because I figured from previous experience that was rude. She got on my case when her walk-in left and I was waiting in the hall because I had not knocked to remind her I had an appointment. Last week I had a conference with my workshop prof and when I showed up she was very confused about my presence, thinking the conference was next week. And today as I was walking down the hall toward yet another conference I ran into the professor all bundled up on his way out. I mentioned the conference and he seemed confused. He was more than willing to go back to his office do the conference and for once I wasn't made to feel like it was my fault that someone else had forgotten me. I am very appreciative of that.

Back in Des Moines I had similar problems when scheduling Dr's appointments. And the same thing happened once when taking my mother to an appointment. I am not complaining about this, well not too much, I just think it's odd that this continuously happens to me.