Archive for April, 2008

Learning from the Cat

Watching my cat Speckle this morning, it occurred to me that he really has it figured out.

He meowed, plopped his chubby butt down on the floor, and waited for roomie to pet him. He meowed some more, and finally roomie pet him. He purred (Speckle, not roomie).

All that cat wants is love.

And food.

All that cat wants is love and food, and to chase a ping-pong ball around. And, as roomie put it, we’re all idiots for thinking we need more than that.


Leftover Rehab

Even though I went to Trader Joe’s today and bought way too much food for my weekly budget (the goal being to not have to go shopping again until classes are over, so I can be über-productive in the meantime), I had leftovers for dinner.

And they weren’t even leftovers that I had made!

My friend and I had an impromptu pot-luck last semester, the type of thing where you grab whatever is in your fridge and bring it over. He brought lentil soup.

He is normally a pretty good cook, and certainly enjoys cooking, but this soup was… um… not his best work.

He left it at my house, and I put it in the freezer for later.

(I feel only slightly mean saying that the soup wasn’t delicious, because this friend abruptly stopped speaking to me this semester. I have tried to call him, invite him over, hang out, etc, but he no longer replies to my calls/emails/IMs. I could elaborate as to why I think this is, but I will not. And the ‘too busy’ excuse is no longer tenable. I have friends that are much, MUCH busier than he and they still call me. Or at least IM me. I won’t lie. It hurts.)

I was really dreading the day that I would have to eat this soup up.

I literally spent all day dedicating part of my brain to figuring out what I could do to make the soup more tasty. While I was reading, the little section of my gray matter (okay, it’s a big section) assigned to thinking about food was churning away. In the shower, while I was planning my lesson for tomorrow, that little food section was still hard at work. The cogs were spinning, the hamster running hard on his wheel.

It needed something acidic… I had some tomato paste in the fridge… I could add that with some broth to thin it out… or some garlic chicken sausage? Bell peppers? All these were potentially disastrous in combination with this gray soup.

I finally decided to keep it relatively basic, caramelizing some onions and garlic, and adding salt (always a good idea) and lemon juice. A small handful of parmesan cheese on top, and the soup was actually pretty darn tasty.

One set of unsavory leftovers successfully rehabilitated.


For some reason, I kept thinking today was Sunday. I’m really glad it was Saturday, and I have a whole other day to work.

Got up early and went for a lovely hike in the woods out in Dexter.  Cohortmate and roomie went with.

I deliberately didn’t bring my camera, though, because I knew if I did it would take me twice as long. The idea was just to go for a quick hike (1 hr) and then come home and work. That said, I found myself framing shots in my head… perhaps I’ll go back tomorrow with my camera.

I was planning to go to the “Curator’s Ball” tonight (Archaeology party), but have lost motivation. My excuses? 1) I don’t have a space-cowgirl costume, 2) I didn’t read nearly enough today, and 3) …. I don’t really have a third reason. I’m tired? I went out last night?

So, in closing, a gem from my mother.  I share this knowing that she meant it with the best of intentions:

Mom to my grandma, after telling her about the fellowship: “So I guess that stuff she babbles on about maybe isn’t all bullshit after all!”

Thank you, mom.

Guitar Thief

This is the gist of a story I heard on NPR this morning, with a few of my own embellishments…



Police are on the lookout today for a shoplifter in Lewiston, Maine. A man and two accomplices stole a guitar from a music store. The man shoved the guitar in his pants while he thought no one was looking, but security cameras caught him on film.

As the man was leaving the store, the clerk asked, “Is that a guitar in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?” To which the man replied, “I’m just happy to see you.”

The clerk thanked him and wished him a nice day.

Killing the Lawn

The doorbell rang as I was getting dressed this morning (okay, okay… this afternoon. I was up early, but dawdled). TruGreen Chemlawn was at the door, but the guy was in a “Bob’s Roofing” truck. Interesting.

It should be noted that “TruGreen” has in fact dropped the name “Chemlawn” from their title. Nevertheless, in the following imaginary conversation, which is based on the real-life characteristics and themes pertaining to Mr. TruGreen Rep and his spiel, and what I should have said in response, Mr. TruGreen Rep will be referred to as “TGCL” for “TruGreen Chemlawn.”


I open the door several minutes after the guy rang the bell. He’s wandering around the front yard with a clipboard. He approaches the front steps, but does not come up on the porch. The only thing that identifies him with “TruGreen” is his hat, which I only notice after he starts talking. Seeing the “Bob’s Roofing” truck, I think maybe Kyle called the roofing guys about the green stuff over the porch. But that’s silly– why would Kyle do that? It’s even sillier, as anyone who has seen the lawn will agree, that TruGreen thinks for a second that we give a tiny rat’s @$$ about what the grass looks like.

TGCL: [in a soft, somewhat pervert-y voice] Hi, I’m from TruGreen, and we do some of your neighbor’s lawns. I was just wondering what your guys’ plans are for, um… [looks around at the spotty, brown grass] your lawn?

Me: Oh, my, um, [should I lie and say boyfriend? husband?] roommate mows the lawn.

TGCL: [with a note of disdain] Really? Because it looks like you just let a hamster chew on it.

Me: Funny, my roommate said the same thing when I mowed it. Once. I think it’s the reel mower. But we’re all set, thanks.

TGCL: But what about fertilizers and weed control?

Me: We don’t do fertilizers. Thanks, bye.

TGCL: Why not?

Me: We’re both environmentalists. We don’t like the thought of killing fishes in the Huron River just so we can have a lawn that looks like it was spray-painted green. In fact, I think we’d rather just spray-paint the damn thing.

TGCL: But we have an All-Natural program we can do.

Me: In fact, we’re trying to kill the lawn. I hate grass. I think it’s a drain on the ecosystem and provides next to no benefit for native wildlife. We’re waiting for it to die, slowly and painfully, so that we can plant wildflowers and native ground-cover instead.

TGCL: But grass is so easy to take care of. You just have to mow it weekly (sometimes bi-weekly in the summer) and dump a bunch of chemicals on it and set a sprinkler on high in the middle of it during the hottest, driest months of the year. It’s great!

Me: I’m allergic to grass pollen. It makes my life a living nightmare during the month of May. I hate grass. Bye.

Shuts and locks door with deadbolt.

“Triumphant Blog Post”

Errrr… yeah.

I received the best April Fool’s non-joke ever.  Sitting and waiting for  my least-favorite class of all time to start (I even like monkeys better, I swear), I got an email first from the program coordinator, and then from my [former? current? TBD] advisor congratulating me on my receipt of a very nice fellowship.

Confused, I typed back, “Really? This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, is it? I haven’t gotten a letter yet!”

Come to think of it, that’s how I found out I was admitted to grad school, too. My advisor (same person) emailed me in Guatemala to say “congratulations” and I replied “Seriously? I haven’t gotten a letter yet!”

So I verified it on the fellowship website. It took 10 minutes, because they made me change my password. Twice. Shaking, I stood up and left the class, alarming a few people in the process.

My first thought was “wow! now I don’t have to worry about the 10-term rule!” and then “…but I was looking forward to teaching Latin American Studies next semester.”

I called my mom, and she didn’t quite get it at first. “Wait, so you won’t be teaching? Won’t that hurt your chances of getting a job after you graduate? What about tuition? What about your stipend? They’re still paying you?! Why?” And then it clicked. “Oh! Wow!!”

I had a celebratory chocolate bar during the lecture for the class I teach.

In an incredibly sweet gesture, my friend brought over a bottle of (nice!) wine to share, and the appropriate glasses. He claimed it didn’t taste ‘right’, but I thought it was delicious.  🙂


In other news: I found my second gray hair today. In my eyebrow, like the first.  Maybe that’s a good thing– it’s weird that my eyebrows are darker than the rest of my hair (I don’t dye my hair, really).  If they’re all gray (actually, the hairs are white), then they’ll blend in more.

My mother also (just) informed me (on the phone) that if I would like anything from ‘my room’ [in my parents’ house] I should get it while I can.  Because she’s turning that space into a studio.