despite how i hate being cold, “january” is one of my all-time favorite words

18 01 2008

night-before-last i crashed over at shawn’s, because it was kind of a sad night & there were things to talk about but also because we started watching more x-files to deflect the sadness, & then suddenly it was very late, and i was very sleepy, so morning found me having a couple hours of flannel-and-coffee conversation. about: red dragon & hannibal lecter’s other cultural appearances, academic progress or at least successive feints thereat, tap shoes, the resemblance of some folks we know to different muppets, atypical cat behavior, the ideal practice of christianity in a culturally diverse world, what the notion of white privilege has to do with suburbia in America & what that has to do with appropriate childrearing, rocks & bugs, better-vs-worse oatmeal, the great tragedy of another few movies/tv shows i’ve managed to get through life without knowing, & the likely internet-searchability of a few separate i-no-longer-remember-whats.

i’d promised to be at claire’s by 10, so i trekked across the neighborhood on the crunchy ice, passing a girl & a loooooong hound dog that reminded me of seerofkell and bonnie, & made me think about how weird it would be to see them in the snow when in my head they’re always in the desert, & was let in the house by a squeaky-clean kiwi, who made me a cuppa tea & set me up w/the electric beater to whip the egg whites she so artfully separated w/sticky fingers into high lovely fluff for a pav we were to take to dinner. she had to get to class before the baking was done, so after exchanging walking-time-estimates with her roommate’s girlfriend, catching up on more NZ travel photos, & otherwise chatting aimlessly about fashion accessories & parental personality quirks for most of an hour, she left me sprawled on her bed w/a novel watching the clock for fifteen minutes until it was time to turn off the oven, smile at the proto-pav, and head back out.

next was an hour-long visit home to check the mail, snuggle the cat, water the cat, have a shower, chat with sangeetha about school & soup & schedules, print out a document for the meeting i had to get to by 2, eat the rest of the leftover soup (chicken tortilla, made by sangeetha herself) and corn muffins (made by paul) for lunch, pack my bag, find my ipod, & head to campus, a chilly windy half-hour’s walk, to meet craig in his office, where we were soon joined by evangelysta, to progress-report about & make more task-divisions & plans for the book the graduate school is publishing for which we are the (brute squad) editoral staff. and we did those things; also we talked about job searches, competing demands on our time by all our scattered committments, the price of die-cast models of cars & guitars on the internet, & the structural differences between a stratacaster & a telecaster.

leaving that meeting, i walked down to Funk’n’Waffles to read as many pages of _aurelius‘s diss, one of the editing center projects currently in my queue, as i had time to get through before my friend sarah, who’s finally finished a complete full draft of her dissertation (the good role models, they are all around me) arrived after the class she was teaching to meet me for coffee. (_aurelius‘s diss, incidentally, is about medieval female saints & hagiography; i was reading it pre-x-files the evening before, too, & wouldn’t you know that it was during this round of x-file watching that scully tried to autopsy a body that wasn’t decomposing & smelled of flowers, & mulder told her that was a common occurrance reported in medieval hagiography & named a few of the female saints about whose bodies such stories had been told. that fox mulder; there is nothing he doesn’t know.) sarah and i had a sugarcharged conversation about all our favorite topics: our advisors, departmental drama, the systemic broken-ness of the ivory tower, pedagogical rescues for classroom challenges, the health of our pets, which of our friends were driving us the most crazy lately, & how many times an hour she & her husband exchange 1-2 minute phone calls (that girl has got to learn about the virtues of the text message). when she left, we were both giggling a little bit breathlessly about variations on our own neurotic themes, so i consider it a successful mental health meeting (which is really why we get together).

then it was time to crunch back through the ice & over the park hill & back into the neighborhood to return to claire’s to finish decorating the pav with hand-whipped cream (she beat me to that part) and a festive array of blueberries, so that we could walk it through the snowy windy abuse of the falling dark over to matt’s & jenn’s house for dinner, which i finally got to meet the much-crowed-about (at least by claire) caleb smith, who is just past 2 months old & cries very easily but also quits pretty easily & is otherwise typically baby-ly adorable & gives me typical adorable-baby-pains & for whom i’ll probably be doing a good bit of babysitting this semester, as his parents & primary-babysitter-claire have an overlap of unavailable time twice a week due to teaching conflicts. dinner was a delicious affair beginning with garlic-cheese & crackers & chips & salsa as snacks & intricate discussions with maggie-the-dog about how she couldn’t have cheese with garlic in it & we were sorry for creating such a canine tragedy, but, really, we meant it; no. also there was wine, and beer, and when we finally got around to sitting down around the dining room table, salad & garlic bread & homemade lasagne made with ground chicken that matt ultimately sent both of us home with some of in tupperwares because we were so obviously delighted with it.

between dinner prep, dinner consumption, dishes afterwards, & all of the storytelling in between, going to dinner at the smiths’ turned into a 4-hour affair & a linguistic smorgasboard, between maggie’s and caleb’s wordless vocalizations, jenn’s & my different regional American accents, claire’s kiwi & matt’s (i’m not sure exactly where-in-England) English. in no particular order, we talked at length about the test jenn had to write for her 12-year-old students to take today, a recommendation letter for one of them, matt’s extended family, pregnancy, living in a barn next to gourmet chefs in albany, rugby, rugby, soccer & more rugby, new years eves at kitty hoynes, panic & confusion in the alien(s) movies, labrynth, pulp fiction, tarantino directing the episodes of csi wherein nicky was buried in a box, the effects of steroids on dogs, grad students’ ability to afford child care, my babysitting availability, the history department, the entrance requirements of the local christian academy, the paucity of good writing instruction in the world & how much of it matt has to do in his courses that are not supposed to be about writing, why the aussies insist on pretending they invented pavlova, fire-building, maggie’s protectiveness of caleb, maggie’s annoyingness as a cheese-begger, infant-feeding-schedules, why or why not to say “fuck” around the baby, and the car parts matt’s friend bill ran over with his own car while on his way over to deliver caleb’s first adorable babywear actually in support of matt’s favorite footie club (as compared to his growing collection of team-logoed apparel for other people’s teams).

claire & i walked each other back to her place with slidey feet and full bellies, getting a bit pelted by confusing ice-bits flung down from the sky, & there i picked up my backpack, dropped off her leftovers, collected one of paul’s tupperwares that had migrated to her house (they do that all the time around here), & took home one of hers with the rest of the whipped cream in it, as she swore no one at her house would eat it (as she only likes milk in her tea, never cream, and doesn’t drink coffee, and lisa only drinks coffee out)); i took those home through the pelting, called shawn to say good night, installed leftovers in the fridge & praised them to paul in the hopes that he’ll eat (i fear that boy would live on cliff bars and slim-fast if nobody nudged him), watered the cat again, & crawled into a book with a novel that i think i managed to stay awake for the first ten pages of. i was almost entirely asleep when deity_inc called from seattle to tell me about how people are stupid, it’s predictably cold and rainy there, his schedule is highly variable, wine is (as usual) a gift from the gods, and he’s going to make his cat into gloves (this was the only part of the story i didn’t believe a word of). i did fall asleep before actually ending that conversation properly–another stab must needs be taken–but it was nice to hear his voice & add his accent to the list!

this morning my going-through-email start to the day was embellished by a bowl of banana in genu-ine cream, which the lucky cat (who never gets threatened to be made into anything) got to lick post-banana, & during my shower i missed a call from my dad telling me a package was in the mail full of transcription work for me to do & a check to pay for it (working out of guilt for a check already arrived is not my usual pattern, & actually sounds sort of nerve-wracking, but he’s a good daddy and he knows i’m broke, so i’m going to try it!); i did manage, before having to leave the house, to get the catbox cleaned, to do a round of dishes, & to concoct something asian-style & tasty out of the green beans that had been agining in the back of the refrigerator–they’re now back in the fridge made ornate with hot pepper oil, garlic, ginger & teryaki, if paul hasn’t eaten them already (i told him to–i made them b/c i didn’t want them to sit in there considering going bad any longer, but i didn’t have time for lunch before i left, and didn’t really want green beans for breakfast). this morning’s walk was made especially delightful by: the bright sun dazzling off of everything that wound up damp from last night’s pelting, & the thick dollop of cream in my travel-mug coffee, & especially disappointing in that it also involved me accidentally deleting a voicemail i really wanted to keep. darnit. thus far today, campus has involved 3 task-acquiring client meetings (one 45 minutes later than it was scheduled to occur, thanks to the confusing labeling of campus buildings), a few hours of emailing & catch-up record-keeping for the office, & an hour and a half-long editing center staff meeting, wherein mainly we came up with a list of things we as a group needed to accomplish, & agreed that because this office is only 1/10 of jason’s job, & henry’s already booked up to his payscale weekly hours for the next few, i’ll be doing them (almost) all! but at least, being a meeting, it came with a free slice of pizza.

so: having taken & exhaled that deep breath of reflecting & record-keeping, i’m now ready to shake the snowflakes out of my hair & the cobwebs out of my head &, over the course of the next 3 days, see how far i can get into accomplishing: 10 or so pages of text-generation for the AI book (1 brief new article, discussion questions for up to 10 existing articles, & 1 or 2 section-introductions), 2-4 pages of text-generation for revamping the GEC website, 4 semesters worth of counting/data-crunching 16 kinds of gathered information from the GEC editing logs, 35 pages worth of new editing (3 separate assignments), 40-some pages of the diss i’m reading already, & some 20 undergraduate papers coded and analyzed sentence-by-sentence along four different question-trajectories. & also the laundry is dirty & the floors & bathroom surfaces in my apartment are really quite disgusting & could use a bit of focused attention themselves.

love to everyone, & bye-bye! ::disappears into tasklist with a puff of ice-crystals::




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