Saturday, January 31, 2009

Very Proud Mom

So I'm watching a movie earlier when I realize that my son is explaining to his two friends about one of the pictures on our refrigerator--the one of our terrific San Francisco friends Jeff and Bill. Of course, I stop listening to the screen and really tune in to the 11-year-old boy conversation.

Let's just say most 11-year-old boys 'round these parts aren't that familiar with pictures of sharply-dressed gay men bearing flowers (they were dressed up to serve dinner at their church). I heard a couple of strange noises from the guest boys, then Frick says something along the lines of, "This is Jeff, and this is Bill. Jeff taught my dad in college and that's how they became friends, and Bill is a great cook. And he's really nice." And he proceeds to explain that yes, they're gay, yes, they're a couple, yes, we hung out with them in California, and yes, they are totally cool in a tone of voice that basically lets his friends know that there will be no gay man bashing in our kitchen, thank you very much.

I look over at S and we both think--and he says--"I could cry." Me, too. There's hope for this old world yet.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Classy Dame: Jill Biden


Dr. Jill Biden, our new "Second Lady," really classes up the joint. Since her husband's election to the Vice Presidency, she could stop working and focus on hostessing or whatever the wives of the Vice Presidents do. Instead, she fought to keep working as a college professor of English. And not at Georgetown, or American University, or some other high-dollar campus. She took a position at Northern Virginia Community College, because she enjoys working with that group of students. That says a lot about her character.

Her story is well-known. She married Joe Biden when he was a widower with two small boys. Those boys, now grown men, call her "Mom." In fact, she married the whole family when she said yes to Joe and took the boys on their honeymoon. She's worked during practically their whole marriage, and she's a walking, talking, very fashionable example of how capable a smart woman can be. Yep, I love me some Jill Biden!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

10 Favorite Articles of Clothing You Own

  1. Pajamas. Any style. Cotton in the summer, flannel in the winter. I loves me some jammies.
  2. Birkenstock Tatami Ashley sandals. Discontinued, of course, so when I wear this pair out, I will cry. Or, Crocs. The cute ones, not the clunky ones. Whoever designed these goes into the Teacher Hall of Fame.
  3. Ratty French terry striped boatneck pullover. The ultimate in comfort after a crappy day at work.
  4. Chico's Bella crop pants. Fun and sassy.
  5. Fuzzy orange and green "Tigers" school colors slippers my sister found for me at Mega-Lo-Mart. They don't match a thing I own, but my toes get cold on all that tile.
  6. Sterling silver charm bracelet. I know, it's technically not clothing, but it's part of my style. Whatever that might be. Plus, all those charms were selected and mean something to me.
  7. V-neck 3/4 sleeve cotton T-shirts. These might be the perfect garment.
  8. "Go to Hell" Pants. Wild patterns just for the hell of it. I have them in blue flowers, primitive embroidery, hot pink/green plaid, and a beige/black combo that remind me of Africa, just to name a few.
  9. "Conjunction Junction" sweatshirt. I don't really like sweatshirts (ribbed hems are deadly with a butt like mine), but this one is too classic. On the back, the eternal question: "What's your function?" Perfect for your favorite English teacher. And for the writer in me...
  10. "Be careful or you'll end up in my novel" T-shirt. Just for funzies, and the weird looks you get from the people in the Panera or the Starbucks when you're there for free Wi-Fi.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Face, er, Crackbook

OMG my college roommate Mr. Lizard finally browbeat me into getting on Facebook. Then I started looking for friends. From the number of "Finally! There you frickin' are!!" posts, I guess I am, as usual, the last to get to the party...but it's fun! I have caught up with more of my college buddies than I've talked to in years. It's amazing how far we've all relationships, new cities, new careers, new religions. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, after 20+ years.

I can see how Facebook could become a total time suck, though. My page exploded from the initial group of six friends to over 60 in two days. Happily for me, people I wasn't sure really remembered/cared were just as excited to find me as I was to be found. Neat, huh?

Okay, off to see more. I'll have to gorge for a while, then I can settle into a routine. I hope.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Um, Not So Much

I was catching up on my blogroll when I found an intriguing link at Diana's Diversions to this Publisher's Weekly post on "The Book Loved by Everyone But You." Naturally, I had to go and check it out. Amazing! Other people besides me don't love everything loved by everyone else!

In the spirit of full disclosure, a partial list of books other people adore that I can't stand:
  • A Confederacy of Dunces - overwrought and unfunny. This was a sympathy Pulitzer, methinks.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - nonsensical.
  • The Scarlet Letter - okay, that's stretching the "adoration" point, but English teachers are supposed to at least revere this one, right? Not mimi. Hate it with a Scarlet Passion.
  • Twilight - wimpy female leads do nothing for me.
  • The Sun Also Rises - you can toss most of Hemingway in with this one, except the short stories. Those are worth keeping.
  • Life of Pi - confusing and depressing.
  • The Horse Whisperer - "romance" written by men never ends happily. I'm not much into finding the perfect love and then having him/her ripped away so the remaining partner pines until death. There's enough sorrow in the world without mixing love all into it, thanks.
  • A Separate Peace - I'm probably just the wrong gender for this one. Certainly the wrong social class.
  • Eragon - Anne McCaffrey did the dragon thing better. Mixing in her mythology with a healthy dose of Tolkein does not a great book make, even if it was written by a 15-year-old homeschooled wunderkind. Color me unimpressed.
  • Catcher in the Rye - another one I'm supposed to love because of the teacher thing. I don't.
  • anything by Ayn Rand. - I've tried, but I can't finish anything she's ever written.
  • The Double Bind - clever use of Gatsby, poor way to conceal your plot points. This book was better when it was Robert Cormier's I Am the Cheese.
  • The Accidental Tourist - the character building. I'm all for giving characters quirks to make them realistic and human, but the quirks on top of quirks on top of quirks got to me. Put me off Anne Tyler. And speaking of Annes...
  • Interview with the Vampire and all the other Lestat books - Anne Rice. Meh.
Okay, so which ones did I forget? Which ones have bought me a trip to the woodshed? Dish, please!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



There's a much more official-looking portrait at the White House site, but this is how I like to think of our new president: sleeves rolled up, ready to go to work.

It's been a long, long journey to today--and I'm not just talking about the length of the campaign. How fitting that the first president of African descent has been sworn in the day after we celebrate the life of a man who embodied the struggle for equality among the races in this country. Today, we can claim, rightly, that Dr. Martin Luther King's dream has been fulfilled--partially.

But as President Obama (how fun to get used to saying that!) reminded us during his Inaugural Address, one man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can't do all the work. All Americans now bear some responsibility for getting our country on track. For shouldering our mutual burden. For offering a helping hand up and a push from behind for those who are timid. For complaining less and working more, for shouting less and listening more, for doubting less and hoping more.

The thing that strikes me during a Presidential inauguration is the renewal of the promise of this country. It is a great country, stitched together with laughter and tears, blood and sorrow, joy and promise. We have fought common enemies and fought ourselves. For more than two hundred years, we have celebrated our triumphs and suffered our losses and kept striving toward the goal of freedom for all citizens.

How fitting, then, that our new president echoed the words of my favorite president, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence:

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

Amen. God bless you, Mr. President. And God bless America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Musings: Something New

Have you ever wondered why the men you're attracted to are the men you're attracted to? Something New, a gem of a film that didn't receive nearly the attention it should have, explores this phenomenon, tossing in the prickly black-white relations in this country for good measure.

But far from being preachy, Something New gets you to enjoy our differences even as it explores those similarities that draw us together. A brief summary: Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan), a successful accountant on the verge of a partnership in a mostly white firm, is on the lookout for her IBM: Ideal Black Man.

Enter Brian Kelly (Simon Baker of The Mentalist). A friend of Kenya's at the firm sets them up on a blind date, promising that Brian is tall, gorgeous, and talented. Kenya's nervous and excited, then shocked. Brian, you see, is white. He's also a landscaper--a guy who does a dirty job, nothing like the high professional standards she expects in her ideal man. She tells him straight up that she doesn't "date white," but she ends up hiring him to transform her dead, overgrown garden into something wonderful.

When they connect--and you know they will; their chemistry is amazing--their relationship is tested by the mines so callously planted over years of black-white relationships in this country. Can Kenya introduce a white man into her proud, close-knit professional black family? Can Brian understand the pitfalls a successful black woman faces in a predominantly white workplace? And what happens when Kenya meets Mark, the IBM she claims she's been looking for all along?

This movie made me laugh, cry, and think. And swoon. As Brian tells Kenya when she asks why he traded a corporate career in advertising for a dirty job like landscaping, "I like to take hard earth and make it bloom." Oh, that we all could find a man like that. And oh, that we wouldn't be more concerned with what skin he has than the heart he finds underneath ours.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mii, Fit?

Rushed out to my favorite French store, Targét, this morning and managed to pick up a Wii Fit board, the Holy Grail purchase of the new year. Anything to get me moving, since I do very little of that!

Buttercup has a Wii Fit and has been using it to do yoga, so I started with that. Turns out the board is much slower than I usually go when I'm doing yoga at home. Slow's supposed to help tone the muscles better than zipping through poses (although ashtanga can really kick your butt if you're not ready for it).

The interesting thing about the Wii Fit happens during the setup. The balance board tracks your center of balance, and it also works as a scale. If it's right, then my bedroom scale is *way* off--nearly 10 lbs. worth--so I'm happy. What's funny, though, is after you enter your height and it weighs you, it fixes your Mii so it resembles what you look like, weight-wise. Ooo, scary. That's a shape I don't like looking at! Good thing we Puffs in our little "DietTribe" are planning to do something about that. Now if I can only get the comfort eating under control. A bit difficult with the sinus thing cranking up again. Oy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

So Sexy!!

Found a link to the "Sexy Name Decoder" on Katherine Garbera's website...too funny! Here's what I found out mimi really means:

Minx Incomparably Made for Indulgence

Get Your Sexy Name

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joining the Tribe

New year, new goals. Best buds and general partners in crime Nancy and Kathy and I are forming our very own DietTribe. If you haven't seen the show on Lifetime, check it out here. Much more helpful and inspiring than The Biggest Loser, methinks.

Nancy has done a fabulous job explaining what we're up to in her post "I Get Fly With a Little Help from My Friends" at The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills. Nip on over and give girlfriend some love, won't you?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Later, Sooners!

Pretty, ain't it? That's the BCS Championship trophy, and the Florida Gators just won another one, putting away the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14. So, Big 12, how does it feel to get your butts chomped?

A little advice for next time, teams from the midwest (are you listening, Ohio State?)--when a gator clamps down on its prey, it DOESN'T. LET. GO. There's a reason they call it a "death roll," folks! Remember that next time you talk smack about Florida football!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Out the Door!

For pickup today: two boxes of assorted kitchen tools (including a ginormous clay roaster that has never emerged from the cabinet in which it was originally shoved) and six bags of outgrown, outmoded, outdated clothing (children keep growing, and I have decided that super-high heels are no longer my thing, thanks). Yay! 

Now if only weight loss were this easy. I have about 20 lbs. I'd be glad to leave on the porch for someone to pick up...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

You Say You Want a Resolution...

...well you know/we all want to change ourselves.

Day one of a fresh new year, and I never made it out of my pajamas. That's a successful day, methinks! I did work, though, cleaning out kitchen cabinets and making hoppin' john and collards. How many times do I have to tell you people, Florida IS in the South!

Today's the day for New Year's resolutions, but I'm not going to get all weird about those. Instead, some goals for the year:
  • Finish 2009 healthier than I started.
  • Continue decluttering my house.
  • Read every book that has won the Newbery Medal in addition to anything else I find interesting.
  • Honor my time by saying yes only to things that matter or that make me and my family happy.
  • Honor my writing by devoting time to it, too.
Wish me luck!

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