Friday, February 24, 2006

OOh, here's the pix I promised from my V-date

Us, full of steak, chocolate & champagne


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The gushing of the Andoumboulou

Have I mentioned how much I love workshop? We had another amazing class last night. And afterwards some of us went out for drinks. Every bit of time I spend with the new class makes me happy that I am taking my time and staying in the program for another year. As I am losing a couple of really intelligent and insightful pals as they graduate this spring, it's so great to be making new friends that I'll be getting to know better over the next year.

And even though I felt some troubles in my teaching this week, I am going into the next week feeling even more dedicated to what I am doing. I’ve had a lot of doubts about whether I am suited to teaching ethnography, I feel so shakey, but my students are just so awesome. I just got their first round of fieldnotes and I am so impressed by what I am seeing. I love teaching the enhanced course, even though their grammar is sometimes weak or their writing a little hard to understand I’m just so amazed by the insights they have and their dedication to the work.

Oh and an update on Kay my friend who is currently teaching English in China. She emailed me, she's safe and sound. Like I figured she is still on holiday, I think in Japan visiting her grandparents. It was such a relief to hear from her finally.

There is also a reading this saturday at 1pm at the Harold Washington library. Ed Roberson & Nathaniel Mackey. I am so pumped that I just said "pumped."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Johari Results


(known to self and others)

caring, intelligent, reflective

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

accepting, brave, introverted, loving, observant, organised, sentimental, trustworthy, warm, witty


(known only to self)

able, giving, independent


(known to nobody)

adaptable, bold, calm, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, happy, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, kind, knowledgeable, logical, mature, modest, nervous, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self-assertive, self-conscious, sensible, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, wise

Dominant Traits

66% of people think that djork77 is accepting
66% of people agree that djork77 is caring
66% of people agree that djork77 is intelligent
66% of people think that djork77 is loving
66% of people think that djork77 is sentimental

All Percentages

able (0%) accepting (66%) adaptable (0%) bold (0%) brave (33%) calm (0%) caring (66%) cheerful (0%) clever (0%) complex (0%) confident (0%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (0%) giving (0%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (0%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (66%) introverted (33%) kind (0%) knowledgeable (0%) logical (0%) loving (66%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (33%) organised (33%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (33%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (0%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (0%) sentimental (66%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (33%) warm (33%) wise (0%) witty (33%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 22.2.2006, using data from 3 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view djork77's full data.

Thanks to Sean, Aaron and Theresa for participating. You can still add your input by going here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

you can take the girl out of the flower shop . . .

but you can't take the flower shop out of the girl. I moved my flower arrangement into my room because I don't really have a good place for it anywhere else in the apartment (it deserves better than the cluttered dining room table between the tostitos and crackers). And then I noticed that four roses were all bunched up together in the back and so I started plucking them out and rearranging to fill in holes elsewhere, making sure those in the front are facing me. Part of the reason they were off-balance is because one had been removed--my own fault. Anyway, i'd already been feeling a little down today, still just feeling awful, had to leave work early again. I can't concentrate on anything, and even though we had a great date, we haven't spent any time together since then and won't probably until Saturday and that is making me blue. I'm feeling very lonesome. Anyway, I was reminded how much I really like arranging flowers. I didn't do a lot of it in the shop, and I was always paranoid about whether I was doing it right. But when I did, I think they turned out okay, and like I said I really enjoyed doing it.
I miss sean.
I miss home.
I miss a lot of things right now.



Well we now know how to get Amanda drunk quick. Alas it is still expensive--damn my high tolerance and expensive tastes. And yeah I survived my first ever hangover. I'm still not feeling 100% but I will live. Honestly, I love a good buzz every once in a while, like Tuesday night, but really drinking is not that appealing to me. As long as I am around great people, I'm just as happy drinking cherry cokes.

So I didn't make it through work yesterday I pooped out one hour into it. I went home and slept for two or three hours, got up to email my workshop instructor and felt sad about missing class so I said "f" it and drove to school. That's how much I love my workshop. I'm not only willing to drag my butt out of bed for it but willing to pay to park just to make it in time (as opposed to the free near-hour train ride). And of course it was totally worth it. Workshop rocks.

Afterwards most of us went out--one of those great people and cherry coke nights for me--and for the first time in my life I got to brag about an amazing Valentine's date. And everyone was very tolerant of that too.

I havent done anything productive since the date, well outside of my responsibilties(I somehow lead a decent discussion with my comp class and of course the aforementioned workshop). But other than that I have not read or written anything since Tuesday night. Just too happy still. After lunch I will have to buckle down though and get it together.

I still have to post the specifics about tuesday night I know, but I want to post the few pix I took--which I plan on getting developed this weekend. Hopefully tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


This was my first Valentine's Date ever. Not bad. Not bad at all. The only downside is today Mr. Dom Perignon is having his way with me and it's not so fun. Last night however was amazing. more later, now i pretend to work, and pray i make it through the day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

It's all the rage

So everyone else is doing it, therefore I must as well. The Johari Window. So I can learn more about myself? Is that the deal?? Whatever, anyway, go here and add your input.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"These are not the bikes you're looking for. Move along"

No one quotes Obi Wan like Ewan. I just finished watching Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Totally worth the 2 years of anticipation. It was just great. If you haven't seen it, track it down and watch it.

Also this past week, I watched the Maya Lin documentary A Strong Clear Vision. Seeing both of these documentaries in such proximity of time reinforced how important I feel it is that my father visit the Vietnam Memorial and soon. When I was back home for Christmas break he shared much more about his experiences than he ever had before. He has also recently met a fellow vet who is in a group of bikers that travel to the memorial every year. I hope that he does whatever he can to make that trip in the next couple of years. It just seems like the best way for him to make the journey. I know that when he has talked about going before he wanted to go alone, which I think was a scary thought for my mother. I understand her wanting to be there for him and the other reservations she had about him going without her. At the same time I understand his side. It really needs to be his trip. I think going with the other motorcyclists would be a great opportunity. He would have the commradarie of travel mates but also the kind of mental solitude such a trip really deserves.

Friday, February 10, 2006

If You See Kay. . .

Tell her I miss her.

One of my closest friends is somewhere on the other side of the world. She has been teaching in China since September. I believe she is still on her New Year/holiday break from school, during which I believe she was going to be traveling. Well it has been one month since she last logged into Myspace, and I know I shouldn't be but I am worried about her. And I miss her. If anyone out there has heard from her lately, let me know. She will probably turn up tomorrow, safe and sound.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

i honestly thought i would be fozzie

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I CAN'T READ . . . or, the return of the aura migraine

About half an hour ago I felt as though I could not focus. I was reading a book and it seemed like something was just outside my vision, keeping me from paying attention. Well it moved into my focus, it wasn't mental it was visual. The flashing cresent is back.

Boring history follows:
About a month before I started my MFA I was put on this horrid medication to help with head and limb tremmors and an increased occurrance of aura migraines (which I have had all my life). I took the meds, but they were awful. I couldn't exercise or perform any physical exertion, because for some reason they stop or lower your sweat production and cause serious problems. Another side effect was the feeling that I was in a fog at all times. I was so mentally absent. Oh and they were supposed to be an appetite suppressant, which apparently means simply making everything taste so awful you can't bear to eat. It was the one time in my life I voluntarily gave up Mt Dew. (the only good thing about the drug). Well right before I moved here I knew I had to exert physical energy not only for the move but for the St Paul Classic Bike Tour which I take part in every fall. So I stopped taking the pills. There was no immediate recurrence of my symptoms--likely because I had finally quit my job and the stress of moving passed. Well although I was more alert in everyday situations, I never really felt like myself again. I felt uncreative, I had no desire to write, and homework was much harder than it should have been, I couldn't grasp most of what I was doing. Honestly, it felt as though I had a surgery-free lobotomy. Well slowly over the last few months I feel that I am finally regaining the intellectual and creative energy I used to have. I seriously thought I would never get that back.

I have had a couple of head tremmors upon waking over the last few months, and a lot of aura migraines. For now they seem harmless, and since they brought my awareness back, they are welcome to stay.

The auras are like this forced break I have to take, like my body telling me to get out of my head for a while. I can't read or write for much of the time they occur because of the visual impairment. Right now they are happening a few times a week. At least they aren't accompanied by pain most of the time. And I will gladly take the auras over pain.

This page has some art inspired by auras, but I can't read the text. What I experience is very similar to what I see in a few of these pieces--this cresent shape of flashing color that grows until it has worked its way out of my perspective.

Define yourself. . . I am what I am

Amanda --


Sexually stunning

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In the Mood for Haiku

Even in Chicago--
hearing the trains go by--
I long for Chicago

Yeah so i ripped off Basho, sue me. No please don't I am broker than broke and just learned that I maxed out a credit card. Shit. I have never done that, ever. I'm not sure how it happened, and I am a little upset that it did. The scariest thing is how far below my limit I was as of the last bill. I am on a serious spending freeze. SERIOUS My biggest weakness lately has been books. It's probably time I start visiting the library again.

Anyway, that whole thing set me back a bit as I sat down to write and got the email from Amazon saying my payment was screwy. But, eventually I did write a poem. Our workshop assignment (should we choose to accept it) was to continue writing in the voice/style of the poem we workshopped last week or in response to a classmate's work. So I wrote another Haikuesque piece. And no, I don't mean the one above.

A few weeks back Aaron commented that, finally, I posted a poem on my blog, after being in an MFA program for a year and a half. Well, the only reason I even posted that was because it already existed in a public place. I don't really like the idea of posting my work here. Maybe in the future, if I have work I consider done. Right now, I only have a few pieces that really are "done." Perhaps next year while preparing my manuscript I will post pieces for perusal. Until then, I'll be all talk.

Anyway, now I am off to plan my class for tomorrow. I have my students reading The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong. It was on the list of commonly used texts for the ethnographic model. I am not so sure why. . .

So far teaching is going really well this semester. I feel challenged by my students, and at times I feel like I am not giving them all I should. But every class is so satisfying that I should know better. Also, today I got my portfolio back from the comp director. I was very pleased with her comments and advice. And I feel pretty damn secure about keeping my position. Also, the thought of going on to composition studies has been planted in my mind. One more possibility. (thanks to Sean)

Also thanks to Sean it sounds like I will be having the best Valentine's day ever. . . Since I've never had a Valentine he doesn't need to try too hard, but I already know it's going to be awesome. yay for me and my perfect life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I am poet, hear me rhyme

So, after only a year and a half of working toward my MFA I am finally feeling like a poet again. Everything feels as though it's coming together. I suppose it is a number of factors intersecting. I mean there have been moments over the last year and a half when I felt that I had grasped some part of the whole. Yet with so much missing the feelings of accomplishment were usually short-lived. I know the feeling I have now will fade a bit or even pass altogether. But there's a peacefulness to it that gives me hope. Anyway, the main thing is I am actually writing poems. Not just to complete assignments, I am writing them on my own. I have ideas coming to me, I don't have to force them on myself. And that feels really good. I am so glad I made the decision to extend my time here. If I were trying to do the thesis course this semester I think my entire time here would have been wasted. I mean, I'm finally getting it. What a shame it would be if I were to rush through now.

On a related note, I really enjoyed my workshop tonight. It's a very small group, only 7 of us. It had the intimacy (and to some degree the honesty) I have only felt in a couple of my former craft courses. While I absolutely loved Stephanie Strickland's workshop, it was a larger group and because she had us go around the entire room, all of us having our say. The trouble with that was much of the time advice was repeated repeatedly, which was a little counterproductive. Also, for once (for whatever reason) I really felt like I actually had some good comments for other people's work.

Additionally, Ed, my professor, really liked my poem. During our break from class he offered more compliments. I felt so blessed that Stephanie could see potential in my work, but I've never been given the praise I got tonight. And that feels so good.

And beyond the world of poetry, work and teaching feel very good right now too. As an advocate I had a great discussion with a student--it was challenging and satisfying, and she expressed her appreciation for my help. An interesting turn came when she learned I was also an instructor, she was embarassed by her candor in talking about professors, but I reassured her there was nothing wrong in anything she said. I mean I am a student too, and its part of my job to hear students' perspectives on such matters.

That discussion also had an interesting intersections with my class this morning as we worked to define worldview and mindset. I feel really good about that class. I just hope I don't let them down, they're really an amazing group.

Other random notes:
Best idea today: Snow Dogs 2 starring Paris Hilton and her team of Chihuahuas traipsing across Antartica.
Best response to the question, what makes a poem good for you?: "it has to rhyme"


I was just sitting here in my office, drudging through work (homework mind you not work work, I don't really work, as I am so often reminded by others with real jobs) and thinking,
I love Jack Klugman.

I really love him.

that is all.