Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hang In There, My Kittens

Updates, photos, holiday gorging, and end of the year AND end of the decade ruminations coming.

I've taken this week off...fully and completely.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Useful, Perhaps

As y'all know...every few weeks I have to buy air tickets for a group of int'l students as part of their grant agreement. I was debating between two different itineraries for this guy from was $60 cheaper but it had him spending the night in the Bangkok airport. The other was more expensive, and a longer itinerary, but it had him spending the night in the Singapore airport. Luckily, I found this website, that showed me that it was a no-brainer - anyone would be happier staying in the Singapore airport which, I've heard, is almost luxurious by airport standards.

So any of you who are travelers might be entertained or interested to find in which airports around the world are better for sleeping.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Rotten Cherry on Top

As though it isn't bad enough to have to work today and tomorrow when I feel like everyone else is on holiday and getting ready for Christmas and I feel more behind than ever....there is some EXTRA OBNOXIOUS construction happening on the floor below (above? Who can tell with this racket?) me...jackhammering right into my skull and I can feel it in my teeth.


Four more hours to go today....

Friday, December 18, 2009


I thought this day would never get's the final day of our last term of the year. I could cry from relief....if I knew that I didn't have to get up at 3:30am tomorrow morning and make sure that 25 students can all get checked in and on their flights by 6am....that's my final hurdle.

But still! The end! I can see it!
Awake at 3:00am, watching our Netflixed Mad Men. This is the only time of day when I can really talk with D. Our schedules have gotten so intense and out of hand. I can almost relax. If you call trying to cram all my Christmas shopping into three days "relaxing."

But first I've got to make it over the huge hurdle of the next two days. Taking 25 students to the airport at 4:00am on Saturday morning. F me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Can Now Do This From My Phone. Yay!

Testing out mobile blogging. Very full day today. I got into a small accident this evening while taking students to our holiday party. No one was hurt and the damage to the other party's car was very minimal. The complication was that the other driver didn't have a license and was probably illegal. She became horribly distraught when she learned that I'd called the police to come make a report. I was following protocol for an accident in a University van. I felt awful as she became more upset. I mean, I definitely did do damage to her vehicle, albeit very small. Luckily I was able to call the police back and explain that there were no injuries or damage. I guess the police were only too happy to not come out in 15 degree rush hour, so we all went separate ways. The other driver hugged me and had tears of relief in her eyes. I still felt guilty for tapping her back bumper. I can't imagine feeling so afraid of authorities all the time. I guess it all worked out, but it was all I could do to go straight home, climb under the covers and eat a bowl of lentil stew with one big ol' glass of tempranill0....

Thursday, December 03, 2009


For some reason this morning on my awful, awful drive to work (you people don't get it - FIVE MINUTES rules my life in the mornings. If I'm five minutes late there is NO PARKING anywhere and I have to park at a meter and I always forget to go back to feed the meter or move my car and I've racked up nearly $100 in meter tickets THIS MONTH ALONE...roy g. biv of colorful language, for sure) I started thinking about back when I was in college and I had a few hours blissfully to myself that I'd spend in the Periodicals section of Mullins Library. The Paris Review, Interview, Der Spiegel (back then I was semi-fluent), tons of Literature reviews that only dorks like me read.

If I could say one thing to younger people it would be - take advantage of all that TIME you've got. Jesus. What I wouldn't give for a few hours every day to myself.

I still love magazines.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Gratitude, Less Attitude

Okay I guess I should begin with last week's trip with 35 students to Little Rock. No matter how many times I do this trip, I am still crippled with anxiety over it. I think it has something to do with the weight of being responsible for the well-being and (hopefully) good experience for so many people. I do this trip at least six times a year and for the past four or five trips I've gotten sick ON the trip. One time was a killer migraine (the 2nd one I've ever had), this past summer was a middle-of-the-night attack of a stomach bug that incapacitated me the entire next day. At the very least by Saturday morning I usually develop an intense, throbbing headache that I can feel in every bone in my face. YES I KNOW this means that I need to work on stress coping skills...but somehow even when I have other faculty or staff members along (like this time), I still feel completely drained by the whole experience. Even though I also love this trip. I love experiencing everything anew through the students' eyes. It never gets old.

Even though I'm getting old.

That's another topic...coming up later, just you wait. Yay!

The highlight of my trip was dinner, drinks and high quality conversation with Ai Lien, the delightful, multi-talented, hilarious, soulful woman behind Fear Ants. We can talk and talk and talk. She has that rare gift of being able to stay completely present with you. Know what I mean? You know she's not drifting off into other thought or looking over my shoulder to see who walks in the room or worrying about the image she's projecting....all those distractions and affectations that people adopt in order to craft a semblance of a personality but really just puts up walls between people. I'm finding more and more what a big challenge it is to be fully in the present and, even harder, find like-minded people. So it's not just refreshing, it's downright miraculous that we found each other.

Saturday I got all the students on the bus and ready to go back home, despite yet another medical emergency (I'm telling you...the students with this group have had the strangest list of ailments, nearly all requiring one complicated procedure or another) with one of my guys. D. met me in Little Rock and we drove up to visit his grandmother, who we hadn't seen since his grandfather's funeral in April. Not much to say about the visit....good homecooked southern food, hearing about every person's disease or depressing diagnosis in her life, watched three excellent Mad Men episodes on the laptop late at night....the next morning I received a very upsetting phone call. I will protect my daughter's privacy but suffice it to say that YET AGAIN, as soon as I'm lulled into a lovely, peaceful, extended period of happiness in my relationship with her she somehow manages to destroy it all to shit with one bad decision. Of course I also blame myself for giving her enough rope to hang herself. It's not HUGELY awful...but bad enough that we had to cut our weekend away early to drive directly home and deal with it. I keep telling myself over and over, "This is what teenagers do. They make mistakes. It's how they learn. It's how I learn." I think about Cesar Millan, who when he's dealing with a particularly difficult case, says, "This is good; this is good" when the dog makes its typical mistakes....meaning he can't work to solve the problem if the problem doesn't present itself.

Oh's 1:30am and I've got a superbig day back at work tomorrow after the holiday break. This will have to be continued....but stay close - there's ruminations, pie descriptions, aging-related angst, and film reviews in the near future.

This week, as most Americans are reflecting on gratitude, I must mention how thankful I am for this space for me to spew, blabber, brag, seek help and connection, and share the random and semi-formed thoughts that occupy my brain. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for emailing, and for helping me to feel less alone out there. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Hero(ine)

Is Jane Goodall not the CUTEST WOMAN ALIVE? I think I died (of happiness) a little when she went in to hug Jon Stewart like a chimp.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Ranting, More Art

I will NOT get off this soapbox. This country needs health care reform so badly. We're in crisis and if anyone doesn't think so, they're in denial. Today, Veterans' Day, I read about 2,266 veterans who died last year because of insufficient health care. SHAMEFUL! Anyone who thinks the VA is a good system needs to carefully read this study. Anyone who thinks private insurance is the way to go needs to jump off a cliff.

My personal struggle continues. My jaw, head, and neck have been killing me all week and I can't afford to see the doctor. AND I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. I am pretty concerned about other health issues I've been having but guess what? Can't afford it. Why the hell do I continue to pay these ridiculous premiums? Fear. Fear that I will become one of the more than 60% of people who file bankruptcy because of medical bills. I have a partner who lives in fear of getting sick because he doesn't have health insurance. I have a daughter whose father stopped paying child support over a year ago and with that child support, also the insurance that was part of the child support agreement. "Luckily" I JUST BARELY fall under the income guidelines for our state's Child Health Insurance Program. Yay me! I'm poor enough for my daughter to receive state support!

In other news...last week I visited my friend Flannery (an old friend, as well as her bf another old friend, Clint). She is gifted with an insanely imaginative artistic vision, coupled with such an eye for detail. It's no secret that I looooove jewelry and if I had my druthers, I'd have a studio like hers, etching and soldering away. You can see some of her other work here and here. Her prices might seem normal folks like us, but trust me, she undersells herself once you consider not only the price of materials (metals and stones are NOT cheap, y'all) but the TIME involved in making such intricate pieces. I couldn't even hazard a guess as to how many hours go into each lovely ring or necklace. Many, many, many would be a start.

She let me photograph some of her works in progress. I want every single one!!

Like this house locket that from the front looks like....a house with a faceted aquamarine (my birthstone. Just sayin'). She also hand forges the linked chain.
But on the inside, there's the awesome secret tableaux: antlers, a vase of gold flowers, golden boots below the entry table.
And also this handmade flower clasp!
Dude. Handmade Spanish tiles? Are you serious?
And this one! A massive faceted citrine (awesome in its own right) in front...
...and behind a tiny cat napping in a tiny hammock THAT SWINGS BACK AND FORTH!
Check out that etched wallpaper, too. Unbelievable.
Here we have a blue tourmeline bird house...
...with a ladder going up to a loft level. A tiny golden bowl. And that incredible etched gingko leaf wallpaper!
Flannery has owl motifs everywhere, as well as a few very impressive taxidermied owl feathered wingspans. This little pendant is so lovely.
Oh! And check out the pink tourmeline scorpion. Just awesome.
I had to get a shot of this corner of her house, full of treasured art pieces and plants. It says so much about her inspirations and personal taste.

Last week Stella and I went to our friend Golsa's latest exhibit as well. Golsa is Iranian and she paints women whose faces are inspired by women who protested the latest elections in Iran. Her work is powerful, moving, and often leaves me speechless and in awe.

I feel so lucky to know such amazingly talented women.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Lookin' Good

Last week I went to the sort of thing that usually makes my skin crawl - a "ladies night out" event at a big convention center up in Rogers. All these local businesses and Wal Mart vendors were on hand to give away samples and hawk their wares and services. There was a terrible thunderstorm that night and Stephanie and I risked our lives in getting there...but we did make it in one piece, albeit a little late. We rushed around trying to figure out what was going on and how we could get entered into the door prize giveaways. The vendor fair thing was closing up but we did manage to get free bags of Terra Chips, some Celestial Seasonings green tea bags, and two cases each of Yoplait yogurt. Um, yay?

My main reason for going was to see my sister show some pieces from her boutique. She was one of the last to go on, unfortunately and I had sick ones at home to attend to, so Stephanie and I found her and her models backstage. I did manage a few snaps of these gorgeous women and my sister's fantastic clothes, however:(That's my sister, Jessy, in the middle in black. She can really strike a pose, huh?)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Perspective Schmerspective

It just doesn't ever slow down or let up. Nope. Last week D. and Stella both were really sick, probably the flu but they wouldn't know for sure, being uninsured and broke!

In addition to one of my students having an emergency appendectomy, yesterday I was busy with another student having an emergency root canal. It just won't stop.

I feel disconnected from the people and things that make me happy and bring joy to my life. I can't remember the last time I went dancing. Or to my yoga class. I've made a commitment to exercise more and cook more at home and so far that's working out pretty well. This week's menus include chicken, spinach soufflé, saffron basmati rice, baked butternut squash* with marinara sauce, homemade falafel, and roasted poblanos stuffed with queso fresco served over caramelized carrots and onions. So that makes me feel good, at least. What doesn't make me feel good include dealing with generations of deadbeat dads and the psychological trauma that gets stirred up every time I think about all that too much, not being able to afford health care for my daughter, feeling adrift and out of touch with my partner, feeling like a lazy piece of shit, political grandstanding, feeling like I'm alternately wasting my life and killing myself with all work and no play, and on and on and on.

And when my pity party (table of one, please!) gets to be too much, I get an email like this one below from one of my former students. This guy broke my heart. He's from China and was so distraught with having to return to his country without a home. The government in his town razed his apartment building and offered his family a fraction of what a new apartment would cost in return, leaving them effectively homeless. The stories I hear about the Chinese government could turn your stomach - and yet they retain Most Favored Nation status and own the majority of our debt! I think of China as some sort of deadbeat dad, doing whatever it wants with no thought to how it might affect the psychological well-being of its people. I want to quote part of his email to me (please forgive the ESLisms):

Now, I am working as a officer for Health Inspect and Supervision in my city. But more and more social problems occured in our community, these issues had made heavy burden to local people in their nomal life.
High inflation lead to everything which pursued to high price and benifits in all occupation, this reason pushed our government becoming rich but most of local people or household with poor conditions. High price house, Education system corruption and Health care with high cost, these are likely new three mountains hold down Chinese people after new China was found in 1949 by turndowning the old three mountains such as feadulism, stratocracy and imperial.
Like my house removed by local government, they told us that they wanted to set up a new residential building in our location. Most of my neighbors had to move another place to live or rent for waiting the building construction about two years. However, we had to pay more money for them that we could move new one. As you know, there is 6500 Yuan (1000 US Dollar)/squ meter for our house price, I need to pay 350,000--400,000 Yuan for the extra fee to them if we continue to return our new apartment with the dimension of 100 sq. meter. It is equal to the value of salary for working 15-year without any expenditure. In some large cities, the price of real estate surpass 30,000 Yuan (5,000 US Dollar) per square meter. Most people in China appeal to inhibit the high price of housing for residents.
Food price is also high speediness comparing with the income of local residents. For example, the pork meat is about 12 Yuan/Jin (one Jin is equare to 500 gram) as same as 3.5 US Dollar/ Kilogram. Every food included vegetables, egg and soybean products with not normal ratio. In meantime, education system was corrupted filled with smell of money. Like the compulsory education of elemantal school, most teacher compel students to attend their extra class in Saturday or Sunday for special tuition. Some knowledge of text were not lectured in normal class but giving the weekend courses. Because of obtaining extensive knowledge, the students had to attend these weekend class such like my daughter and their classmates. These children are so hard work in very day but also have not time in their weekend.
The third burden for local people is a difficult thing for seeing the doctor. Although the reformation of health system was advocated by government again and again, there are many unfair facts in patient treatment in hospital by health policy-makers. Some people have privilege for treatmen in hospital such as governmental offical, and other people have not basis health care like local resident. The Social Medical Insurance is just superficial project showing outside and most of category in common diseases did not include in SMI.
So, How about the economic development of China is, as saying as it is a model ecomomic of price makeup in nation. As the leader of government says that the development of economic is improving high price of commodity. They called that this is startup the requirements of domestic costumers. Like housing, food and shelter, these are rigid consumption whether or not how high the price is. Consequently, the rich of government in our country is set up the foundation for sarificing many benefits and interests of the local people.
May be a reason of the experience of abroad study, compared other country like Thailand and The United States with my homecountry, I found the difference with others and wanted to try doing something in order to arouse my compatriots. Last week, I was very sad to hear a message for "returned chinese scholars commit suicide" . He was Dr.. Tu Xuxin (涂序新), a graduate of America's Northwestern University and committed suicide when he hired at the lecture of Zhejiang University. Just short time of three months after he returned home from Chicago, Dr. Tu chose this extreme method to end his life. Although existed his personal character with the conflicting for environmental survival, there is not ignore social problem pushing him into the one way to end.
I also reminisce of many things happened in the period of my visit-studying in U of A .These are likely the moive show in my brain. Especially I recalled the anecdote that there were 3 students like freshman helding the activity of donation for some organization when I went to Student's Union in one day afternoon. I expressed very interesting and talking with them, they told me about their vision and goal and they worked for the organization of Blood:Water Mission. I was moved by their passion and loving and did not hesitate to donate 10 Dollar to them. They sent a Red T-shirt to me in the return. From the simple thing, the youth take part in attending social activity to enhance the responsibility and obligation for sociality in our community.
For the influenza H1N1pandemic, there are more and more cases in our area but not death case. Local health authorities called the residents keep good health habit to fight this plague such as washing hand, covering mask and avoiding the crowd. In addition, you can avail to take traditional medicine like herb syrub something. In my opinion, I found the result in the newsletter from our journal which 35 cases were confirm Influenza H1N1 out of 214 suspicious cases. That is to say that there is 16 percent for H1N1 and remnant is common colds. Even now, there are also many schools would be closed if found any suspicion in case of the epidemic..
I was regretted for writing this prolixity to let you understand my situation and the truth reflection of my thoughts. I also know there are long way for making our country to become more democracy and freedom to all people .
In the special day, I express my appreciation to your encouragement and hearten. This is end of this time, I will share my story or ideas next time if you are interesting to listen.

So this email did a number on me. Why am I complaining? I have freedom and health and enough love in my life that I feel overwhelmed sometimes. I think the least I can do is share this man's words. Frankly, I'm shocked that the government allowed his email to be sent to me. Another former student of mine who lives in Urumqi has no internet access whatsoever because of the unrest there. What a mess we've all got ourselves into, huh?

*PS - whomever came to this site searching for "butternut squash anal sex," I am deeply disturbed by you. Although you might be my soul mate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time Is Not On My Side

My sister is on my case for not writing in a while. There's good reason for this.

We had a one day turnover between terms. That means 13 students depart on Friday, and 33 new ones arrive on Saturday and Sunday. That's rough. Way too many 4:00am airport runs followed by 11pm airport arrivals. I'm getting too old for this. Speaking of which...and this will likely be the proverbial TMI for many of you (you know who you are - and you can stop right here if you'd like), but I think I'm perimenopausal. Do I have an official diagnosis? Of course not! Who needs those in the days of WebMD and Wikipedia??'s on my list of Things To Do Once I Get Paid. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate my insurance that charges outrageous premiums and co-pays? HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW! And fuck that Republican in disguise Blanche Lincoln. So much for the sisterhood. But anyway, back to my dwindling periods and biological clock that is ticking more like a time bomb than a clock inside my uterus. No one warns you that as you enter into your mid-30s that a fresh kind of panic sets in...the "you only have so many child-bearing years left" panic. Even if you don't necessarily want children right away, the knowledge that you probably won't be able to have them much longer makes you (and by "you," I mean "me") want one so badly you can't see straight. BABIES!!!!! My body craves one like a physical addiction.

Speaking of of my new students called me the other night in a lot of pain and freaking out. She kept saying she had pain in her "womb." I assumed she must have some sort of endometriosis-type ailment. After a long wait at the ER and no doctor in sight, we decided to dose her with Ibuprofen and go home for the night. The next day I took her to the women's clinic on campus where it was determined that no, her womb was not involved at all - she had acute appendicitis. So it was back to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Never a dull moment, y'all.

The one evening in the past two weeks that I had free, I spent in Eureka Springs at the Auditorium watching one of my favorite bands, The Maybelles. I am totally biased, as each one of the members is a good friend. Their new songs are really great and I look forward to seeing them all year long. I was worried how these photos would turn out, considering that I don't have a zoom lens and the lighting and stage had a minimal look. But I really like how it looks like they might be playing in a void. The focus was just on the three of them, their beautiful music, and incredible voices.

Jan Bell's beautiful smile and Katy Rose taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Plans

It's been a long time since I've posted a new installment of my 100 Things I Want to Do Before I Die.

And there's no time like the present. So without further ado, here are Numbers 21 - 30:

21.) Set up a scholarship for single parents. A full scholarship - all tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. When I was in college I received a small scholarship from the Single Parent Scholarship Fund. It was definitely helpful, but very small. What a difference a full scholarship would have made in my life...

22.) Do a headstand in yoga.

23.) Be on a Habitat for Humanity team that builds a house, preferably an all-female team.

24.) Make jewelry with gemstones that I've mined myself!

25.) Own and renovate my own home.

26.) Have a month (at least!) in which I go to sleep and wake up according to my own, natural Circadian rhythm. That would be the closest I could ever come to Utopia.

27.) Learn to bake bread...without fail. Different kinds, regularly. There's nothing better than the smell of fresh bread in your kitchen.

28.) Have a picnic with friends on a perfect Spring day. Sunshine, blankets, good food, wine, good company, nature. Okay - that would be Utopian.

29.) Attend a Cherry Blossom Festival, either the national one in Washington, D.C. or (even better) one in Japan.

30.) Learn to dance, starting with the basics and moving on to salsa or possibly even tango!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


What did we do before Amazon customer reviews?

We battle ants every spring but because it's been raining for the past 45 days straight (or at least feels like it), the ants have come back! Worse than ever! Last weekend some friends recommended an ant bait called Terro that you can get at Walgreen's. At first I was skeptical because it's so low tech - a bottle of sugary poison and some perforated cardboard strips on to which you dab the liquid. Within minutes the ants SWARM those drops. I was freaking out. It was an ant party out of control (see below), and it was all I could do not to get out my spray and wipe them all away. But I took a deep breath, logged on to Amazon and read many, many accounts similar to mine. I knew I had to patiently wait for the ants to take the boric acid back to their compound in order to get to the whole nest.

I woke up this morning to significantly fewer ants. I'm hoping this works for good. Then I will write my own testimonial. You certainly can't beat the price of Terro.

Our bathroom. I can't even look at this without getting twitchy and panicky.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thanks For Asking...

My thyroid's fine. My irregular cycles, overwhelming fatigue, and hair loss, however are NOT.

I guess I'm just getting old.

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Evening Activity

I love commercials!

Otherwise I never would have gotten the idea to jump on the bed in my PJs while balancing my wine glass right next to me.

Thrilling. But totally worth it!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Upgrade Fever

One of the nicest surprises when I was in Washington D.C. for the African students' conference back in August was discovering that they'd put my hotel room on the Concierge Floor. Basically this meant that I had free WiFi and access to the concierge lounge, which had a fully stocked bar, full breakfast buffet, and happy hour appetizer spread every day. I was too busy to take advantage of most of the perks, but it felt so nice to know they were available nonetheless.

I had a similar experience last Friday when I was taking my students on the usual trip to Little Rock. I went to check into my hotel room and at first thought I couldn't find my room. Well that's because the hotel manager very sweetly booked me into the Presidential Suite! I bring students to this hotel every single time we visit, so I guess he was making me feel like a valued customer.

I think I really did gasp when I saw the whirlpool tub in the middle of the room. A bubbly bath was exactly what I needed after driving an 11-passenger van the 3+ hour drive and then visiting various destinations in the city.

Check out my room! I was kind of bummed that D. couldn't come with me on this trip and enjoy it with me.

I snuck away from the students and had a deeelicious and fun dinner with Ai Lien, her boyfriend, and sister. She has completely transformed my work days into something I needn't dread nor despise. We keep an ongoing commentary throughout the a MST3K for our lives. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's saved me on many an occasion. Anyway, it's even more fun when I get to see her in the flesh and share in our favorite activities - eating and talking.

The next morning we went to the Clinton Presidential Museum and Library. I realized this was my 15th visit. I still haven't seen it all and I'm not quite sick of it yet! Amazing!

The students always get a big kick out of this painting of Bill and Hillary Clinton as African nobility. Ha!

After the Clinton Museum we can now just walk over to the new Heifer Village. They have a great interactive set-up inside. If it weren't for the overzealously annoying employee inside (No, I DON'T want to fill out a comment card or take a tour today - trust me...I know my students and I come here all the time!), it would have been a perfect visit.

Sunday, my only full day of the weekend due to the Little Rock trip, was also full. D. and I went to a benefit for Michael Garrett, a very talented singer and songwriter from Eureka, who has massive medical bills from a very unfortunate fall. Can you imagine being a guitar player and carpenter and breaking both arms? Me neither.

Unfortunately, the perfect weather we had in Little Rock didn't stick around and it was cold and rainy all day long. So much for outdoor music starting at 1:00pm! They did manage to still have the cake walk, but I was cold and cranky and starting to come down with something. D. was just happy to drive anywhere in his new vehicle, a Hyandai Santa Fe that looks just like this minus the cool background:

Friday, October 02, 2009

God Help Me...

If this kitten weren't so stinkin' cute I would have gotten rid of him days ago.

He's taken to using my indoor potted plants as litter boxes. Mind you, he still uses the litter box...and goes outside for the same purpose...but he really prefers the soft, fresh dirt of my potted plants!

How can I discourage this from happening? I wrapped the base of the plant, covering the top of the pot, in aluminum foil. I thought that might stop him but really all it does is give an audible clue as to when he gets in there and starts digging. I scream and holler and he runs off, so he knows better...he just can't help himself.

But look at him up there, nestled in D.'s arms! Who can resist???

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hormones Make The World Go Round

In two hours I will have my blood tested for possible hypothyroidism. All my symptoms point to it, but we'll see. I first started thinking about my thyroid when I read an article in the New York Times over the summer (still searching for it so I can link to it). I had nearly all of the same symptoms but hadn't thought that they might be related to one issue. I ignored most of them, as many busy women do. But I got concerned enough to make this appointment.

If I were patient and scientifically smart enough to be a doctor, I would definitely want to be an endocrinologist. The gland system is by far the most interesting and mysterious in the human body. It seems to affect every aspect of our health.

My new past time is online research into glands, hormones, and how they're all inter-related.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Naturally Beautiful

This is the bar at the new Greenhouse Grille, which is probably my favorite restaurant in Fayetteville. I say "new" because they just moved from their small, original location to the much bigger old (and very much missed) La Maison des Tartes location in the Mill District building. The actual bar is cement with things like paper and coffee grounds in it for color and texture. Then there's a really thick, shiny lacquer on top. Way back there you can also see my sister, Jessy. She works hard for the money, y'all. Her boutique, Good Things, is also one of my favorite places. I don't care if I am biased - she has incredible taste and I could happily own just about everything in there.
In this economy it's even more important to support local businesses. These two make me really happy to live where I live.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Angry Does Not Begin To Describe It

All I can say is that it will feel VERY VERY GOOD to vote against Blanche Lincoln next year.

Get that horrid woman out of my state, out of the senate, out of my life. RIGHT QUICK!

How dare she?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Embarrassment of Riches

It's a supreme understatement to say that I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing, inspiring, talented, strong, witty, intelligent women.

A bunch of us gathered this weekend to celebrate the birthday of Jude and the new house of her sister. The weather was perfect and it was one of those weekends in which the stars aligned, allowing just about everyone to be able to come for the whole weekend and providing the most beautiful weather we've seen in a month.

Paula brought a rainbow of sweet peppers:Maria came over on Saturday to prepare sopes from scratch. On the right you see her impressive stack of homemade tortillas. On the left you can see how she pressed the tortillas when they're warm and fresh to make a little ridge around the edge - to keep the sauce from spilling over.
Here is a finished sope, topped with a fresh sauce made from freshly sauteed tomatoes, chiles, and garlic, ranchero cheese, and shredded cilantro and lettuce. SO GOOD! I could happily eat these every single day of my life.

Heck yes we did typical "girls weekend" things like braiding hair!
Gonzai, the Shiba Inu, and Bella, the Tibetan Spaniel-mix, collapsed in the shade.
This guy is seriously cute, and seriously stinky after he carried a freshly-killed mole (or maybe a vole?) up the hill and proceeded to roll around in it.
Oh, the effort involved in lifting up her's exhausting.
Gonzai smiles when he's happy!
Sunday was deliriously beautiful and warm. We gathered up chairs and flotation devices and walked down to the river.
I've never seen it up so high in September.
Sacnite with "her Jude"....her abuela.
Molly marveled at the smooth, "perfect" stick.
Colin and Kristen. It's really not fair. Kristen had bronchitis, and still managed to be beautiful inside and out.

I feel energized, spiritual and emotional tank no longer hanging out at E.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Remember Only Few Of My Dreams

For some reason this morning I transitioned from sleep to waking with the thought, "I prefer the dreams that are more like short stories than long, genre-specific novels."

There you go. Give me variety and tie it up quickly, please.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Politely Declining Once Again

Man, people in Fayetteville sure do love to hate the annual Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue motorcycle rally that rolls into town (ha. I kill me) every fall. Me? I kind of like it. Not because I love hearing thundering biker pipes, or really bad classic rock cover bands, or more leather and exposed flesh than necessary.

It's because I like events that gather a lot of people who are unintentionally hilarious. Not only do you get the awesomely sincere and amusing bikers, but you get the equally sincere and hysterical religious zealots who are "protesting" the bikers. And it's all packed into one small street in my town every year, like a recurring amorality play. Remember, I grew up in a tourist town and our only entertainment was people-watching. This is some grade A people-watching.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll get a chance to hang out with my camera as in years past. I'm leaving town for the weekend to hang out at the river with a group of amazing women. So you'll just have to take my word for it. Or walk over to Dickson Street and go check it out yourself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rachel Maddow in a Razorback Hat!

This might be a dream come true...if it weren't for such frustrating reasons, namely our so-called Blue Dog Democrats (Blanche Lincoln and Mike Ross) coming out AGAINST the public option in any healthcare reform bill...against their constituents' wishes.

The Razorback hat moment arrives around 5:50, but watch the whole thing to learn about an iffy real estate transaction that leads us to believe that Rep. Ross isn't thinking about his constituents as much as his campaign coffers.

Arkansas voters - you can contact Mike Ross here and Blanche Lincoln here.

For good measure, you can also contact Mark Pryor here and John Boozman here.

I've written them all, plus the president, in the past few weeks. I urge you to do so as well. It's simple and easy. I am extremely frustrated with health insurance and our entire health care system. Every month I ask myself if I should cancel my health insurance because the coverage is so dismal, the premiums are so high, as are the co-pays...but I don't BASED ON FEAR. It's ridiculous and I keep holding out that a reasonable new system will be put in place and I don't have to continue throwing money away every month.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Minor Improvements

I finally got in the spare bedroom and dragged all my boxes of old magazines and ripped ad copy and newspaper headlines from the hall closet into that little room. I set up a card table and got to work, tossing a lot of old pieces into the recycle bin and putting together some new pieces.

I don't think for a minute that this concept is new or unique. Plenty of other artists (Jenny Holzer, perhaps most famously) have done it bigger and better. But I have so much fun cutting apart phrases and reworking them to say things that amuse me and placing them on images that either reinforce or ironically contradict the rearranged captions.

And of course a few obligatory Rocket pics. I wish Chickie would hurry up and be friends with him instead of stalking and trying to attack him.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Slimedog Millionaire

OH MY GOD, John Edwards just reached the apex of douchiness. He promised his girlfriend a rooftop wedding with the Dave Matthews Band? While his wife was (still is) fighting terminal cancer? And he's trying to run for president? Gross.

I don't know if I could invent a word that properly describes how wrong and morally reprehensible his actions were. What an asshole. It just figures, though, right?