Category Archives: Imported from Blogger

Drag Shows, Winter Break, Hard Times

My papers have all been written, and all I have left to do is grade things for my students. My grades are due Monday morning by 10:00, but I hope to have them finished by Friday at 5 so I can help Drew with last minute details for the Drag Show on Monday. My goal is to be as helpful as possible without getting in the way. I have never been behind the scenes at a show, so I think it will be pretty cool. Becs and I are going to go out for dinner with some of my old friends before the show, and then I am going to go out to celebrate the end of the semester afterwards! This semester has been a real challenge, but I am happy to say that with the exception of the past three weeks, I have enjoyed it. I think I even learned something!

One of my goals over break is to read. Incessantly. I already have my sights on some Anton Chekov and a few liberation theology texts. I also need to start collecting Toni Morrison texts and some of the other books I will need for next semester. I figure I can get them for less over break when the undergrads, who were required to buy them, sell them back to get money for the holidays. Maybe I can profit from someone’s lack of interest in good literature. I know my list for my independent study will be pretty expensive by itself. I still owe my little brother some cash, too.

Another goal is to write. Every day. I would love to have enough material generated by the time I graduate to begin revising and editing in order to publish a memoir. I don’t know whether it will happen, or if my stories are interesting for anyone to purchase if it does happen, but I can try. I want my break to be a celebration of reading and writing and out of school goodness. I hope to do some experimental poetry stuff, too.

The third goal: running. Ever since I got sick with what I believe was mono—and since the doctor at the health center let me diagnose myself, I guess I am right—I haven’t been able to run. I have lacked the energy to do much of anything. Over break, I can nap if I need to, so I plan to start on Monday morning with a little jog and take it from there. I am hoping to run the Indy-Mini in May. If I don’t run it, I will walk again!

Finally, I have all sorts of household chores I need to accomplish, like cleaning out the fish tank, writing to my sponsored children, and playing with dogs. I am sure Bec would love it, too, if I folded my laundry and cleaned up my library. Things get a little chaotic near the end of the semester. I forget what I am doing. I lose my head a little bit.

Times are hard. I just finished my last paper; it was about gleaning or foraging. Basically, what I learned is that we throw away a shit ton of products that can be still be safely used or consumed; commodities with little or no defect find their way to dumpsters to be piled in landfills. I was going to buy myself a new jacket with my Christmas and I still might, but I think before that I want to buy a little wagon to load full of scavenged items from the dumpsters I can walk to. I am thinking that I live within walking distance of Dollar Stores, a Hostess outlet, the Mall, and KMart. Maybe I could even scavenge a new coat from Rural King? Maybe they throw them away for minor blemishes. I also live near Panera, and I hear they throw out their day-old bread. I wonder if Concannon’s throws out their day-old donuts. We’ll see if I have the fortitude to try it.

When I was in high school, Jaymes and I used to dive for potato chips at Seyfert’s distribution center. Usually the bags were still sealed and they were marked out on the date we went, so the chips were still fresh. The books I read suggested that things like yogurt and cheese were good months after their dates indicated otherwise. I am not willing to try it out. I have a weird palate when it comes to dairy: only the most pristine will suffice. It’s the mold factor and the soured factor. I just can’t do it. If I had to, I could. But, I don’t have to—yet.

Every time I turn on the television, look at Internet news services, or pick up a newspaper the economic news is worse than it was the time before. I wonder how low our country will go before it rights itself again. I wonder when I will have to start standing in line for bread or for the Second Harvest Food Bank truck. I wonder how we will pull through. I know the sentiment is that our country has come through worse, but I am not sure if we even know the worst of this yet. I am not trying to be pessimistic, but I want to go into the next few economic years with my eyes wide open. After all, I will be on the job market and Ball State has even put a freeze on hiring. I am trying not to get too scared or worried or concerned, but it doesn’t look good for a person in higher education right now.

I guess this is where faith comes in. Not my strong suit.

*edit* I am going to try to ween myself away from the computer over break. I recognize that I have become addicted, or at least obsessive-compulsive, about Facebook, email, and this blog. I plan to write in my blog every day, but I will not be checking my email regularly. I am going to try to limit it to Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you need to get in contact with me in a timely manner, please call me. If you don’t have my cell phone number, then you’ll just have to wait until I check my email. Similarly, next semester I will have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I will nto be checking my email except for on those days and Saturday.

Funny Comic

I really don’t have the energy right now to deal with much, so I am simply posting a cartoon that I thought was funny. I found it on a friend’s Facebook page.


Actually, I do have some thoughts:

What does it mean to give grace? I am always trying to answer this question—and I am sure some of you who read this blog are tired of riding the same old horse with me— and I swear that just when I think I have it figured out, I am shown a bit more about what real grace means. I mean, grace is frickin’ hard. It’s hard to let people be who they are when it rubs against who you are. It’s hard to love people when they wear you down. But isn’t that what grace is about. I hear people all the time say that it’s not about being a door mat, but I think it can be for a minute. It can be about bending over backward for people, and not giving them what deserve, but giving them mercy, which is precisely what they don’t deserve. Because I try to live my life this way, I frequently find myself disappointed that other people don’t give each other grace, but everyone doesn’t have the same code of ethics. I dig that. Sometimes though, it is that very acknowledgment of other people’s mind frames that can be maddening that can make me want to give up on grace and just open the gates of judgment. But I don’t want to live that way. I want to give grace. And I usually do. But sometimes it is so hard.

Gone Windigo

This is the beast that has consumed me:

This is also the beast after whom my Girl Scout camp, which I never attended, was named. You wonder why? Have you ever seen a girl-fight?

I finally finished the paper for my Native American literature class. I am afraid that I made assumptions I shouldn’t have made about a culture I barely understand, that I let the critics speak too much, that I didn’t make my own voice heard as well as I should have, that I tried to tackle too much in the paper and I barely got to scratch the surface, that I didn’t synthesize the information as well as I would have liked, and that I realize I could have written a whole paper on Fleur, a whole paper on Nanapush, and a whole paper on Pauline under the overarching narrative of the consumption of Ojibwe culture by the windigo of white culture. My problem, I have finally recognized is that my brain doesn’t deal well with compartmentalization. I can’t focus intently on more than one idea at a time, not within a paper, but within life. What I mean is that I need to only think really hard about one class at a time in order to write a paper. Right now I am split between Native American Lit., Fat Studies, CNF, and cross-genre themes. I have a hard time keeping my Foucauldian analysis of clothing stores separate from my windigo analysis of Tracks separate from my memories of Jaymes separate from my interest in gleaners and freegans. I think when I am writing my dissertation, I will be fine because I will only be teaching and writing and balancing life. I won’t be teaching and writing and taking classes and balancing life. I do suppose, however, that I will have a whole new set of stresses, like trying to find a job. I also won’t have to write about things I don’t care about, which will be nice. Not that I don’t care about what I wrote about this semester; in fact, I care quite a bit about the stuff for this semester. Maybe that it is why it was so challenging to write about. I have only thirty pages of new writing to achieve and 12-20 pages to revise. Sadly, I also have 100 (well, technically 98) student papers to grade and 49 portfolios. I will finish them all by December 19! I will do it if it kills me, which it might.

In more exciting news: my parents 40th anniversary party went off well. They were mostly surprised, although one of my father’s coworkers let the cat out of the bag about half an hour before the party. There were some people there that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and some others that I had never even met before. The soups were a hit, and the sandwiches were too, once we found the mustard in the church fridge.

Procrastination

This is not my usual procrastination. I am exhausted. I am not putting off writing. I simply have not had the time to write. I should have listened to Debbie. I should have listened to my own nagging doubts. I should have dropped a class in the first few weeks of the semester. There. I said it. Now we all know that all of you were right. I was wrong for maybe the second time in my life. Of course, I jest. I have been wrong before. I don’t think, however, that I have admitted it. I am kind of an ass like that. I know it. Now I am just procrastinating.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I couldn’t think of what to write today because I have so many other writing projects to work on, so I decided to make a list of my favorite things. Here they are in no particular order:

  • a cup of good coffee with a couple of shots of espresso, some cream, and some honey
  • a nice sweet clove cigarette
  • Guinness, Bells Porter or Avery Porter or Bob Nowatzki’s Porter, Dogfish Head Punkin Spice Ale or any of their other beers, almost any IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale or any of Stone’s other beers, mostly beer
  • softly falling snow that doesn’t stick
  • Christmas lights on other people’s homes
  • bread, never met one I didn’t like
  • peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches
  • sweet tea, Coca Cola, and all drinks Southern (Hurricanes, Mint Juleps, etc.)
  • ice cream, especially Mint Chocolate Chip, Mandarin Orange Sherbet, and Blue Moon
  • family and friends
  • the Bible
  • writing by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Kate Chopin, bell hooks, Louise Erdrich, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Judith Butler, Joy Harjo, Lyn Hejinian, James Wright, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen Crane, Thomas Hardy, Allen Ginsberg (this list develops still)
  • music by The Doors, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, David Crowder, Matt Redman, Mozart, System of a Down, Ani Difranco, The Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge (this list is in progress as well)
  • foods from these cultures: Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Cajun/Creole
  • sleeping a dreamless sleep, sleeping in, snuggling

I need to actually work on my other writing now. This little trip down my favorite lane has been fun.