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in the hoosegow

Monday, October 31, 2005


I dressed up as my dean today, for Halloween. A few folks have already recognized me, despite my really weird hair and inauthentic skirt length (hey, I tried to pin it up but it was all bunchy and wrong). It's fun to dress up as someone else in your workplace!

Only one other person in my office is dressed up. I give us both mad props for our guts.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

to a t

Just took the "which wife of Henry VIII are you?" quiz and guess what? I'm Anna of Cleves!


The little blurb in the picture box is way too accurate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

gravy ladle thief

Certain kitchen items of mine disappear on a regular basis. For instance, I've had a couple of potato mashers, but now I have none. I don't pay any attention to this fact until I am called upon to mash something and then I have to frantically call all of my friends and ask them to borrow one. My mother used to misplace kitchen items as well. We seemed to lose a variety of odd things when my parents divorced and we moved. One of the main AWOL items that always bugged my mom was the gravy ladle. Its disappearance became lore and forever more anything that went missing was blamed on the Gravy Ladle Thief.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

orange in my veins

Halloween is just around the corner, if you're like me and you visualize time as a sort of n-dimensional sidewalk or the board of a boardgame.

Anyhoo, I've got to get my work costume straightened out for Monday. I have part of it but am missing one key piece (possibly two if I can figure out what to do with my hair). My team is carving our pumpkin on Saturday but I haven't bought any for myself yet. I was invited to a party but I'm not going to it and no one else has asked me to do anything fun. I also haven't decided if I'm going to be home on Monday or not. I'm not a big fan of giving out stuff to kids at my door and Halloween is for hooligans, after all. So I might go out and come home late to clean up any tricks.

Basically, despite the fact that Halloween is my favorite holiday, I haven't really prepared for it, except to badger other people to wear costumes to work and to participate in the library's pumpkin carving contest and to watch a bit of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I blame the world series for distracting me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

my job is dangerous

Two vaguely interesting things happened to me in the last 24 hours. First, I was folding up the cart we used to drag stuff from the library around campus for classes, resource fairs, etc. I was folding up the last piece, not paying attention, and smashed my right index finger. I can move it and everything so it's probably not broken, but it's still a bit swelled up, it's partially numb and it hurts to type this. This morning I had to walk down to the farmer's market to see if my colleague could buy a bunch of pumpkins with our purchasing card or if she needed cash. I strongly suspected that cash would be king because most of the vendors don't have phone lines for credit cards. I walked around, trying to figure out which vendor she'd talked to, and picked out two possibles. The first told me that they sell pumpkins by the palate (is that the right spelling? anyway, you know what I mean) which according to his estimation holds about 60 pumpkins. That's at least twice as many as we need but I had some fun imagining all of the things we could do with 30 extra pumpkins! I walked over to the other guy to see if his price was radically different and/or he took credit cards but his answer was a smile and "no english." I asked if any of the guys helping him unload watermelons spoke english but all the response I got was a derisive wave toward the store (which has the worst prices but does take credit cards). And now I'm at work trying to figure out if I have to use the campus catering services to buy alcohol to serve on campus. Will the fun never end?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

along the way, bad things happen

**contains spoilers**
Have you ever read a book that you weren't that into but kept plowing through because you love the author and were sure it was going to get better? I just finished Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt. It took me forever because I kept putting it down for something else. The first 3/4 of the book was depressing and I had a slight hope that the end would be less depressing. It was, in a way, although the main character dies. After I finished it I read the back which noted that this is the third in a loose sort of series. Apparently I'd skipped the first two and now I have to decide if I should go back and read them or not. If you're wondering about the plot, it's about two boys who escape a hellish life only to become captives of a roving band of killers & pillagers. They escape from them and become puppeteers as part of a plan to get one of them into a tournament that will allow him to gain an earldom (earlhood?). Along the way, bad things happen.

Monday, October 24, 2005

moment of bliss (at work)

Last week a student came up to me and said, "Thanks for all of your help. I aced my annotated bibliography." It's pretty rare that reference types get thanked for a job well-done, so I pass this along to all of you. Even if your students forget to mention it to you, your help has been invaluable.

red light

Occasionally the GE tries to get me to write details about our s*x life in my blog. After something particularly interesting happens, he'll look at me and ask if that's going in the blog. Never fear, dear readers, I will not share those naughty bits with you. That said, let me tell you about the movie we watched.

Born into Brothels is a documentary about a photographer, Zana something, who lives and works in the red light district of Calcutta. She has met and befriended several children and begun teaching them photography. The film follows them as they become adept at creating and editing photographs. Because of where they live, their personal lives are meanwhile going downhill, most of the girls facing a life of prostitution and the boys facing drug addiction and not much else. The film is beautiful, partly because its subject matter is so colorful. The children are as pretty and beguiling as their surroundings are sordid and filthy.

The GE said that it's hard to believe that places like Calcutta's red light district still exist. In a way I agree with him, but I think that places like that will always exist, at least while there are inequities in society. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the photographer's decision to get a group of the children into school. She spends hours and hours gathering their paperwork, begging schools to take them, convincing their parents to let them go, but she says at one point that she has done all she will and all she wants to do, which is way more than most people would do.

Friday, October 21, 2005

that's no bear, it's my stomach

I was so distracted by the fact that I was leaving on time this morning that I forgot my lunch. Dang.

Update: Fabby Jane and I had a Taco Bell fix and it was cheap so I am feeling better about being so absentminded.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

i'll be a better fan, i swear

It was my intention to watch the Astros game at my local last night with a friend. I stopped by the GE's house first to see if he wanted to come along but as it turned out we went to run errands and pick up some food. Along the way I got pulled over by the fuzz and, short story long, I never made it to watch the game. I did see a small bit of it while the GE was scarfing pizza and I was calming my nerves over a bowl of tiramisu. And now we're going to the World Series for the first time in Astros history. I am very excited. I have to clear my schedule. I cannot miss any more games for silly things like traffic tickets and food.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

sore and boils

Tension is mounting on Gilmore Girls, but it's not clear where the explosion will occur.

I love Emily. She is the most amazingly passive aggressive person alive. Mailing dozens of boxes, each packed with an individual statue, urn or geegaw, threatening to give the dollhouse to goodwill, she is the master. She eclipses Taylor, but he is more annoying in his scheming and stubborn disregard for logic and good sense.

I'm teased, I'm interested, I'm hooked.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

condiments make me happy

I may have mentioned before that I have a favorite question to ask people, which is: if you were stuck on a deserted island with only one condiment, which condiment would you choose? I've received a variety of answers, from soy sauce to salsa to (my favorite and my answer) mustard. I especially love Chinese mustard. When eating at a local fast food Chinese eatery last night, I put some extra mustard packets into my bag to bring to work. I also try to keep TB hot sauce and ketchup in my desk drawer because with one of those three items you can make nearly any sad sack lunch taste good.

Monday, October 17, 2005

sure i'll go drinking with you

Friday night I found myself at one of those bars where I feel completely out of place. All of the girls seem to be wearing some type of ho-top and tight jeans. They're blonde or brunette and madeup. I am wearing a t-shirt and plaid skirt and while I had makeup on, it's not that Texas all-over type of makeup. Still, I hung out with my friend and her friends while they played darts (I'm not allowed--I tend to hurt people) and we drank and listened to this crazy latino cover band. They did a great version of Sweet Home Alabama but some of their other songs were a little bizarre. Then I spilled my beer all over myself. I spilled probably half a beer or more and it soaked directly into my shirt and skirt and for the rest of the night I smelled like a boozer.

Most people would have gone home at that point, but of course I had ridden with someone and I didn't want to ruin everyone's good time so I stayed out with them until closing time.

It really made me remember just how important going to a cozy place is to me. I have a few regular spots where I can slink in, grab a beer and not feel at all out of place, but I tend to take them for granted or forget why I like them so much until I go to the opposite sort of establishment. So thank you, crazy pickup bar.

Friday, October 14, 2005

2 things of note

1. Lonestar in a tallboy can is just as good as Lonestar in a bottle. It's even better if you're lucky enough to score the retro can.

2. 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange oil is just a bit too much to flavor a batch of butter cream frosting. However, orange frosting on chocolate cake rocks.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

reading and eating

Yesterday I left work a bit early because I'm reading this excellent book on working with all kinds of students and teaching them "the new library" (sorry, can't remember the exact name right now) and I'd left it at home. Also, I told my boss, I have cookies there. So I drove home and ate a mass of oreos and macademia nuts, which is a surprisingly good combination, and read my book and watched the Astros play.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

entourage? what entourage?

Okay, who's holding out on me?

"Change is good, but when it comes suddenly it can be scary. Certainly that is what you feel today, as someone in your entourage announces a major change without any warning." --my horrorscope

tuesday night shenanigans

Right now I'm missing a seminar on how to become a millionaire and a lunch meeting with a fun group of alumni. Why? Well, the millionaire people never confirmed that I had a spot at their lunch and my calf is too sore for me to feel like walking to the other meeting.

My calf is sore from an early morning leg cramp (is there any other kind?) possibly caused by too much second hand smoke. Seriously. My colleague swears she stopped getting leg cramps once she stopped smoking. I got the smoke seeing Acid Mothers Temple play. Despite its name, the band consists of aging Japanese dudes with long hair and (3 of 4) beards. The band name pretty much describes the sound. Think Buddhist hippies who took a lot of acid. Unfortunately before they came on we had to suffer through some other band called gods temple of family deliverance (I might have the words in the wrong order) which we called gods temple of family tinitis. They stank and they are touted as one of Houston's best up and coming bands. In this town both of these things can be true simultaneously.

Monday, October 10, 2005

buzzard party

We got a few minutes away before I realized I'd left my sweatshirt behind. As we drove back to the campsite, we wondered if anyone had already swooped in and claimed it. Driving up, we saw a few dozen buzzards sitting in trees and on the ground. They had waited politely for us to leave before reclaiming a favored roosting spot.

in the middle of the night

So I'm sleeping outside, curled up in my sleeping bag, when I start to hear scritch, scratch, scritch noises. I make some noise to see if that will send whatever animal scurrying away. Nope. Then I get up and move toward the noise. Whatever it is runs away. I lay back down. I fall back to sleep. Some time later the noises begin again, along with dragging sounds. After some mild swearing, I get up again and shine my headlamp around. I see a small dark animal (fox-like, not raccoon- or armadillo-like) run away. I pick up the bag it was trying to drag off and hang it in the tree.

In the morning, I get up to see what was so enticing in the bag. Charcoal. Either the critter had a bad sense of smell or was planning a big barbecue.

Friday, October 07, 2005

beer-y budweisery

I ordered Shiner bock on tap last night and when it came it tasted distinctly like it was mixed with Bud. I don't like Bud, at least not for my first beer of the evening. The cheese fries on the other hand were cheezalicious. A small paper container of homemade fries covered with cheese appeared to have been deepfried. Heaven...I'm in heaven....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

saint ranger

From today's horrorscope:

"You are a giver and a saint."

So there.

sweets and eats

Mid-week exhaustion due to lots and lots of classes taught was alleviated in part by birthday celebrations all week. No, not mine, but several colleagues have their birthdays this week (happy birthday!). There's not much that german chocolate cake can't fix.

While I was at home recovering last night, I baked a loaf of banana bread. A while back our receptionist made some with two bananas and I'm a convert. Two-banana bread is soooo moist and soooo banana-y.

In other news, H-town is currently the mosquito capital of the world. According to some news anchor's speculation, salt marsh mosquitoes blew up here from the coast on Rita winds and are now in the midst of a biting frenzy. The other morning some got in my car and rode with me to work. I only barely avoided several accidents as I swatted at them. Today, one was valiantly trying to bite me through my cords.

Some researchers think that people who eat a lot of sweets are more prone to mosquito bites. I'm proving it!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Watched Ramblin' Jack Elliott last night, a documentary made and filmed by his daughter Aiyana Elliott. It's good and I'd recommend it to anyone who has an interest in folk music, documentaries or father-daughter stories. He learned from Woody Guthrie and other folks greats, was a huge hit in Europe, influenced Bob Dylan but he recorded only a few albums and never felt like he'd achieved much until Clinton presented him with a medal.

Jack's a good example of a man who can't be tamed. The guy spent most of his life on the road, working rodeos and playing music. He had four wives, some of whom tried to tame him, some of whom merely tried to get him to be more organized, and all failed. It seemed, especially toward the end of the film, that his daughter experienced the same frustration. She kept asking him for time, time to sit and talk and have a conversation. Ramblin' Jack Elliott doesn't have conversations, though, he tells stories. Great stories, weird stories, rambling stories. It's easy to say because I'm not his daughter, but I think Aiyana should have been content to capture his essence, his stories, because she can never capture him.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

next birthday

No, my birthday isn't for some time (read: more than 4 months), but I have already decided upon a theme. I'll be turning 35, so this must be the Presidential Birthday year. Finally, I'll be able to embark upon my dream and pursue my long-held passion for political power and gain the highest office in the land. Wait, do we still call it that? Wouldn't that be in one of those tall buildings?

Anyway, look for my name in the primaries, debates and on billboards across the greater southeast Texas area!

Monday, October 03, 2005

80 people

So, um, when did a room full of 80 people begin to look like a small audience to me? I teach in the same classroom several times a semester. The room holds 100 or so, and when it's really full kids are sitting in regular chairs at the back rather than in the chair with an arm that mostly fills the room.

I taught my first class of the semester there this morning and I felt like I did the first time I revisited my old elementary school--like a giant stomping around in a tiny tiny place. Well, since I'm rather short I didn't actually feel like a giant, but you know.

Then it struck me: I started teaching in a brand new classroom this semester, a room that holds 4 or 500 kids. It's so big, there are two huge screens and all of the kids have assigned seats so that the class minions can take attendance without killing themselves.

So thanks, giant classroom, for making my usual room feel so cozy, so intimate.