Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February was so long that it lasted into March

Sometimes I hate this month. Especially when I have a chapter due. Advisor has told me not to worry, but I've promised (myself) to stay on target, and for that reason, I have a chapter due to my wicked smaht friend up North at the end of the week.

Meanwhile, I'm crashing intellectually and physically. I need a nap and I need about 10 more pages. What do I really need? Some Dar! So here goes:

February, by Dar Williams

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back,
They'd frozen halfway down in the ice.
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.

First we forgot where we'd planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that we'd planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?

You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And wed drop to sleep exhausted,
Then wed wake up, and its snowing.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, "That's a crocus,"
And I said, "What's a crocus?" and you said, "It's a flower,"
I tried to remember, but I said, "What's a flower?"
You said, "I still love you."

The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house,
And when we got home, well we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And we'll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.

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My dirty little secret

I'm effin' good at math. Always have been. Well, up until Calc 2, that is. Dad wanted me to be an accountant (while Mom wanted me to marry an accountant... a Catholic one. That I would meet while matriculating at Notre Dame.) Didn't so much happen that way. I'm happy with my word-centric life. But...

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Tip of the beret to Elle for this fun trip down memory lane. Mr. Cohen would be so proud!

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Monday, February 27, 2006

As a mother of biracial children...

... I get comments like this from a friend of my mom's, who knows me but not Spouse, upon seeing pics of the Drama Queen: "She's beautiful. Is she adopted?" Gee, thanks.

And this from the new reception desk lady at DQ's school. "You're here for [DQ], right?" I nod. "Usually, I can tell right away, but you don't look anything like her." I'm aware of that fact.

I'm wondering when we'll start the "why is Daddy brown and you are not brown?" converstaion. I expect it any day now. Let the identity crisis begin.

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Crafty stuff for Annika

Some you have probably already heard about Annika here or here or maybe here. Either way, know ye that there is need, and we can help.

How many times have we started a sentence with "the great thing about the internet is..."? Well, here's a great thing the internet is doing. Blogging communities are getting together to provide donations and other assistance to a family in need.

Of course, you can donate. But there are more ways to help. Do you want to buy a crafty gift for someone special? Do you make crafty gifts for special someones? Then check out the raffle. Or you can make a virtual casserole for Annika's family. And let's hope there will always be cake.

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Seeing things

I was watching basketball on ESPN a few days ago when they put up a graphic for the next programming, an NBA game between Chicago and Milwaukee. It said, "Bucks vs. Bulls." What did I see? an advertisement for the 1927 supreme court case that upheld the constitutionality of forced sterilization, Buck v. Bell.

I need a vacation.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Sausage King of Chicago

Was watching Ferris Bueler's Day Off last night, for perhaps the thousandth time. I can honestly say there is no movie I know better.

Which is why I was so surprised when Spouse pointed something out to me. "You probably know this already, but is his dad having lunch with Abe Froman?" If you listen, it works. In the scene outside Chez Quis, where they're trying to catch the cab, his dad repeatedly talks about raising the advertising budget to his business associate, who I always thought was "Dave." But now I'm thinking it's "Abe." Party of three.

It's the little things.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's official

We're leaving the red-hot red state territory and moving to the cool blue North. The house is on the market. Spouse has accepted a job. I have applied for jobs. Cross your fingers for us.

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What next?

Evidently, it is now "legal" for women (sorry, ladies) in figure skating to wear pants. Wow, what next? The vote? Thank you, Amelia Bloomer. We've come a long way, baby.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Using Utensils and Adverbs

(points to the first to identify the above reference... K-lyn, I'm looking at you!)

Update on The Boy: man, can this kid eat! He's 14 months old, and starting to pack on the pounds now that we've got him on the soy milk and a low-dairy diet. He's still suffering from various forms of allergy/sensitivity issues -- eczema, excess ear wax (has anybody ever tried flushing the ears of a 14 month old? now that's a challenge!), and of course the ever-present poopy situation.

But he's not as cranky or as wakeful as he was two months ago, and for that I send out my love to my pediatrician, the makers of Silk, and the gods and goddesses of every pantheon I've ever known.

Now that he's human again, I can really appreciate some of the amazing strides he's making. He eats with a spoon now. A spoon, y'all!!! The kid's a genius. In fact, he gets downright angry if I don't give him a utensil with his meal. I'm not saying his accuracy rate is very high, but he's definitely got the "put food on spoon, get spoon as close to mouth as possible" concept down.

Still no words, but that's not entirely surprising. For someone not so verbal, he is a great little communicator. He signs "help" when he wants food or a spoon or to get out of his high chair. He has a great little gesture for "give this to me" when he sees something he wants. Point at object, point back at self. Point at object, point back at self. He even does movements with "Wheels on the Bus" and "Row Row Row Your Boat."

This kid. He's a keeper.



Day Six of the evil post-nursing period. The writing is also not going well. I'm going to have an Excedrin with a Kit Kat chaser and try again now. Thanks for the love, y'all.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

A Bronze in Procrastination

I wrote two pages today, so does that mean I can play in the blogosphere for a bit? I can? THANKS! (I'm sure that more than makes up for four days of worthlessness.)

I love the Olympics. Always have. I think it's the combination of sports fan and geography buff -- a rare duo? But seriously, it doesn't matter if it's Snowboard Cross or figure skating, I'll probably watch it. Except for Hockey. Just can't do that.

That being said, there are a couple of things I've enjoyed in particular this Olympics, and that's not even counting one blogger's inspired erotica.

First up, shallow thoughts: Apolo Anton Ohno. I like him because I like Short Track and he looks like a prettified version of my high school boyfriend. Long brown hair, bandana, little soul patch. Of course, high school boyfriend didn't quite have the legs, but who does?

Not-so-shallow thoughts: In long track, I hope Joey Cheek's philathropic gesture garners more attention that a brief mention and a possible date with a post-Brad Angelina. It's really saying something when a guy who works at the Depot is willing to give away that much money.

In the family bonding category, I love these little I-Control previews that are available on my digital cable. They have 6-7 minute previews of various sports, so I can turn them on with the Drama Queen and we'll practice our skating. We don slippers, go to the hardwood floors, and slide around. Hands behind back for speed skating, hands holding an imaginary stick for hockey, and hands floopily twirling for figure skating. DQ thinks this is a fantastic game. And a good workout. Unfortunately, she didn't dig curling yesterday. Oh, well.

A word about non-Olympic Sports: J. J. Redick broke the Duke all-time scoring record last night, as Duke took back the number one ranking in the country. Go him and go us! Spotted Duhon in the crowd. Go me!

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Th-hers-day, for the ladies...

... including the ladies who like ladies. And not so much for the gentlemen who like gentlemen. (Sorry, A, but this one's just not for you.)

[Cue scented bubblebath and Dove miniature chocolates]

I'm officially not pregnant. I mean really not pregnant. Had my annual exam yesterday, which confirmed it, despite not having a period since The Boy was born. It's been 3 months since I weaned, and I was a little concerned. Even peed on a stick about 3 weeks ago. But I'm sooooo not pregnant. Good.

Today confirmed it. Aunt Flo has arrived in all her long-lost splendor. Can any of you mommy-types out there confirm that the first one out of the gate is about eleventy different kinds of hell? 'Cause this is horrible. I'm really pissy and uncomfortable and I've said the F word to my computer about seven times today. Not that I'm working... just "why won't the mouse move faster?" and "why is this idiot emailing me?" types of things. Peppered with the F-word. Totally undeserved F words.

Call me a bad feminist, but I'm going to say forget it (or another suitable F word) and eat some sour cream and onion chips, watch some telly, and call it a day.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The ultimate Quinn the Brain moment

Met briefly with Advisor today to confirm a later, more extensive meeting, and to thank her for her comments on my chapter. I basically told her that things had been going poorly, and her comments were very helpful to reassure me that I could do this.

Her response: yes, it's hard, but yes, I'm doing well, and to just keep going. "Besides, your hair looks fabulous and that's what really matters."


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Moving forward

I got the edits back on chapter 3 from Advisor. Much better than I had anticipated! So that's a good thing. Even if chapters 1-2 are killing me, she thinks 3 has got lots of good information and argument and just needs a fuller analysis/context. Whew!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Reason #8,359 why Spouse is the best...

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V-Day, not 1945

Before Spouse, I never managed to have a significant other during this most hallowed holiday of commercial displays of affection. So the holiday didn't do much for me for a long time. But there is one Valentine's Day that sticks out in my memory.

Freshman year in college, I had recently broken up with Stalker Dude (long overdue). Two platonic male friends were also going it alone -- one having broken up with his hometown girlfriend over the semester break and the other, well, I don't remember what his story was. So the three of us were chatting and walking out the dorm to classes that morning and Platonic Male Friend 1 makes the comment that there was no V-day kiss for any of us. Platonic Male Friend 2 says, "well, let's kiss each other." So PMF 1 kisses me (chaste peck), I kiss PMF 2(chaste peck), and PMF 2 kisses PMF 1 (yes, chaste peck).

This story would have no real lasting significance had it not been for certain rumors that continue to this day. Among certain circles of my college friends, rumors abound that Platonic Male Friend 2 became a porn star after graduation. Yes, a porn star! (And yes, he's got the body for it, as far as I have seen.)

In fact, at our college reunion, I ran into PMF 2 and was bold enough to strike up a conversation with hopes of confirming or denying the rumor. Conversation re-created to the best of my knowledge:

Me: Hey, how are you doing?
PMF2: Good, good, and you?
Me: Great. What are you doing these days?
PMF2: Well, I moved to LA and I'm working in the entertainment industry.
Me: [!!!] Really? What are you doing?
PMF2: A little bit of everything. Writing, acting, you know.
Me: [!!!] That sounds great.

I then chickened out of any of my possible follow-up questions (perhaps "Anything I might have seen?") I wished him well and departed.

I'm so lame! But then, I've kissed a porn star! (Well, maybe.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Phantom Menace

Work has begun on chapter 1. Pardon my French, but this fucking sucks.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Quinn the Brain, Superstar

I had the honor of guest speakering at a small college about an hour north of here last night. Fun! It was a military history roundtable, so a very different audience than I'm used to. But they enjoyed the material, laughed where appropriate (which was often, luckily), and asked me very good questions afterward. I had undergrads (the Human Sexuality class gave extra credit for attending), community members, and vets from a wide variety of historical conflicts. Learned a little bit more than I may have expected about whorehouses during World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The best was a woman talking about how her grandfather had been in World War I, and when his friend got VD and had to go to the doc, he was so terrified of the contagion that he made his friend ride on the bumper instead of sitting inside the car.

Oh, and I got the tip jar at the end, which was more than I had expected.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trouble in Genesis

Drama Queen received a Noah's Ark play set for Christmas, as some of my previous incarnation's readers will remember. All was going well on Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride, but it looks as if there is now trouble in Genesis.

Noah's wife has left Noah. But don't worry. She's found gainful employment at the Little People Garage, where she now drives a tow truck. Maybe she's saving up for a first name.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Che Guevara T-Shirt

[I'm procrastinating today. Sue me.]

I was listening to Richard Shindell's CD, Somewhere Near Paterson, yesterday on the way to pick up the kids. Transit came on, which is just about my favorite Richard song ever (forgive me, Mary Magdalene). And not just because I'm the kind of person who likes six minute songs with no chorus. And I finally figured out what makes this song so compelling for me: the sense of motion, of constant and relentless journey toward some attainable or unattainable goal.

I figured this out because I have a new favorite Richard song, off his new album, Vuelta. Che Guevara T-Shirt. It's another song about traveling, this time stowing away by boat. But the same sense of motion -- no chorus to loop you back, you must go forward. You have no choice. It's magical. As tragic in its journey as Transit is triumphant. It's the rhythm, the words, the mood. The total package.

He may be a cranky old folkie, but geez, can this man write!


The (Tobacco) Road to Self-Discovery

No, this post isn't about my new-found affinity for cigarettes. As the Drama Queen says, "that's nasty!" It's about basketball. Or, more specifically, about The Rivalry.

While this blog is pseudonymous, I feel pretty safe in admitting that I went to Duke. Sometime in the 1990s. I'm a Duke alum, fan, and a former Cameron Crazy. I camped at K-ville. I painted my face (but not body like the kids these days). I jumped and screamed with the best of 'em. And so last night, of course, I joined in the ritual known as the Carolina Game.

Great game. We won, which made it great. Otherwise, it just would have put me ina foul mood.

But over the course of the last 24 hours, I've learned to things:

1. I have willingly (if not knowingly) linked to a Tarheel in my blogroll! (Gasp and clutch pearls!)

2. I don't really hate Carolina. Sure, I tell them to go to hell, but do I hate them? Not really. Especially this team. I don't even KNOW these guys. When you're halfway into the first half and you find yourself saying, "Hey, there's David Noel. I remember him," there's not much hatred in that sentiment. I didn't hate Sean May. I hated McCants, but that was justifiable. I don't even really hate Roy Williams. But that's maybe because he so famously said, "I don't give a shit about Carolina" after Kansas lost their championship game -- and even better, told the reporter that her question was not one that a good human being would ask. So true. Any guy who says that, even if he later takes the job, has won points from me.

Sure, they're our rivals and I want to beat them, but hatred is such a strong, visceral thing. I've found that the past few years (let's call them the Doherty years) have deflected my hatred to new, more worthy targets. Who do I hate?

1. Wake. From Packer to Prosser and everywhere in between. Hate them. I just do. Don't know why.
2. Maryland. This is the most intense (and dirty) rivalry in last few years of the ACC, and while there's not much to it anymore, it still exists in my gut. Plus, there is the comeback. Best basketball comeback ever.
3. The jerks who expanded the ACC. Wait, they should be #1. We don't play everyone twice a season anymore, and it sets up "Rivalry Week" matchups like Boston College/Wake? Oh, yeah, that's a rivalry.

So there you have it. A couple of years ago, I got together with about 10 good buddies from my college days, including two all-Duke couples, to attend the first rounds of the NCAAs in Raleigh. During the Texas/Carolina game one night, someone asked if anybody would marry a Tarheel. I remember one answer in particular. My roommate's husband, who graduated before we got there, said, "Definitely. Which would you prefer: someone who understands the rivalry and the importance of this weekend and can share it with you, or someone who doesn't even get it?" So in a choice between a Tarheel and a non-basketball-fan, I'd take the Tarheel.

But I'm glad I've got my little Blue Devil.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

There's a double meaning there!

Note to self: when discussing VD during World War I, you cannot write that sexual immorality "endangered a soldier's fighting ability, thus risking the safety and success of his unit."

Perhaps I ought to say "comrades" instead.

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Back by popular demand...

... More conversations with the Spouse:

Me: I'm going to start on the next chapter this week.
Him: So that's chapter 4?
Me: Sort of. I've written 3, 4, and 5, so this is the fourth chapter, but it's really chapter 1.
Him: So your dissertation is like Star Wars.

Two observations. One, I should totally title chapter one "The Phantom Menace" and see if Advisor (Yoda?) catches the reference. Two, his analogy does not bode well for the next couple of chapters, eh? But here's hoping I can, like Star Wars, finish on a high note.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Tradition? Entropy?

Conversation last night during the Super Bowl with Spouse:

Me: "I don't like our cable's new guide format."
Him: "You just don't like anything new. You resist change."

Extended pause.

Him: "And boy, did you marry the wrong guy for that."
Me: "Yeah, I would have left you by now if I didn't fear change so much."
Him: "Ah, entropy. Keeping marriages together for generations."

Multiple Choice Quiz

With only a pair of needle-nose pliers, what items did Quinn pull out of the VCR yesterday?

a. a digital thermometer
b. an Infant Motrin syringe
c. a set of plastic toy keys
d. all of the above

If you answered d, you are a parent.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's like they're reading my mind, man!

This, from NPR on why kids hate coats, and why we shouldn't care that much. Sweetie and I got into a huge tiff over this issue when last we were up North, and the Drama Queen refused to put on even a sweater. So when DQ tells me, "But I like to be cold!" what she really means is this:

Kids would rather be the way they came into the world: naked. And as they adapt to the world of clothing, extra layers -- particularly coats -- add to their heightened perception of constriction.



I turned in the chapter. Time for a nap.


Th-hers-day, for the ladies...

... and for the gentlemen who like gentlemen. And not so much for the ladies who like ladies. (there, did I cover my bases? Ok? Then let's get going.)

[Cue shirtless firemen and burlesque music]

I took some time out yesterday from my usual schedule of staring bleary-eyed at my monitor and shuffling hopelessly through my chapter notes. What did I do? I watched a few scenes of "Ocean's 12." You know, the movie I sat through a year ago December, timing contractions and awaiting the arrival of The Boy. I've discovered that my taste in movies has evolved greatly since having children. And not just in the "I will never watch that Jodie Foster losing her daughter on a plane movie" evolution. What I mean is, I like a movie that I can watch for ten minutes at a time, pick up halfway through and leave as soon as diaper duty or the shriek of a toddler demands my attention. In this way, "Ocean's 12" is a perfect movie. Well, it is the second time around, when you don't have to follow the plot.

So here's the dilemma: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or Matt Damon?

Of course, me, I'll take Eddie Izzard in his small but crucial cameo. Love that man!!!