Friday, March 31, 2006

The Phantom Mess

Chapter 1 (but the fourth to be turned in) went to the advisor today. It's not my best work, but I need to move on. I now have a clearer idea about where to go with Chapter 2, although Jebus help me I don't want to actually write it! Instead, I'm doing some job-related stuff today, and maybe go to the gym. Mmm... weightlifing...

ps. The Wild Boy is killing me with cuteness these days. Last night, he brought me his "wheels on the bus" book and did all the hand motions with me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Patriot League. WTF?

Neel corrected me after I mistakenly including George Mason University in the Patriot League. They're actually in the Colonial Athletic Association. I can deal.

But their mascot is the Patriot. So it's confusing.

Here's my suggestion: conference realignment for the Patriot League. None of this Bucknell crap. Here are the teams who are currently in the Patriot League and get to stay:
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Lafayette
  • American (especially 'cause their mascot is the Eagles)
New adds:
  • George Mason
  • George Washington
  • James Madison (watch out for their basketball team: they're short, but they're feisty!)
  • Dickinson College
  • Robert Morris
  • Washington and Lee (but I predict they'll leave the conference eventually. Let's say, shortly after a tiff with Brown University)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Drama Queen's New Career Aspirations

"I'm a doctor, Mommy!" she yells as she takes my temperature, gives me a shot, and listens to my heart.

Then she takes off her stethescope. "I'm not a doctor anymore. I'm a playgirl. I'm going to play."

Splenda Time

Still not Equal, but my anti-social dog needs some face-time, according to K-lyn.

That's K petting her!

The Final Four: Megamerican Style

As the NCAA Final Four approaches this weekend, we, as a nation, must take this opportunity to show unwavering support for George Mason University. Anything less would be giving aid and comfort to our enemies. Let's break it down from a foreign policy standpoint:

George Mason was a patriot during the American Revolution. The University that bears his name is in the Patriot League Colonial Athletic Association. So clearly, any patriotic American [who believes in the Colonists' cause during the American Revolution -- ed.] cannot help but support them.

Their opponent in the next round is Florida, which was a Spanish colony while George Mason was being all revolutionary against the British. Not only that, but the team is anchored by a French guy. You hear me? A French guy!

So once GMU dispatches the Frenchies in the final four, they will face either UCLA (Spanish colony and bear aficionado) or LSU (French!) Either way, any American who believes in the Constitution, the President, and Toby Keith should realize that they must support George Mason in this endeavor.

Otherwise, the terrorists have already won.

Crushing the Big D

I've hit a bit of a wall with the dissertation. I'm working on chapters 1 and 2, still debating whether they should be one big chapter (currently sitting at 40 pages, and I'm not really interested in making any chapter larger than 50 pages) or if they should be divided. I'm going thematic rather than chronological (although I tend to divide between pre-WWI and post-WWI, since that's the centerpiece of my work.

Either way, since I'm stuck, I've done a couple of exercises to get me thinking and make me feel like I'm working. First, I developed a table of contents. First time I've done that. It kind of rocked. It allowed me to list out what I've accomplished and what I'm working on. Adding it all up, I've written 160 pages! That made me feel rather impressed with myself. (Even if I admit that many of those 160 pages are rather craptastic.)

Then I started brainstorming chapter titles. I actually really like what I've come up with for Chapter 2, if it ends up existing. Chapter 1 is still under the working title, "The Phantom Menace." I'm having no luck.

Still, the Dissertation Sisterhood are meeting on Thursday for lunch, so I've got lots to say and lots of ask.

Edited to Add: I sent Spouse a brief email mentioning that I've written 160 pages (yay) but that I was stuck (boo!) His response follows:

damn, i don't even know the last time i READ 160 pages. you rock. and you are doing great. so you're stuck... go out and buy yourself a glossy plastic folder -- that's how you know its really professional.


love you. hang in there.

There are times when I think that I may just have snagged the greatest guy in all the world.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Not Quite Equal Time

Not to let everyone thing I only have one cute dog...

Bear Dog takes the Pepsi Challenge... and loses

Dog on my Stuff

As suggested by Andy, more Dog on my Stuff:

On a stuffed animal safari.

On a boppy.

Charter member of the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things

Either I've become lazy or I have nothing to say. Either way, enjoy your day.

The Word

All you educators out there, do yourselves a favor and check out The Word on The Colbert Report.

I'm beginning to think Neel was ahead of the curve when he said, "it's already better than The Daily Show. There, I said it. Sorry, Jon Stewart."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Insult to Injury

Spouse and I hired a babysitter last night so we could go to the local bar and watch the Duke game uninterrupted. Turns out it as a popular hangout for about 2 tables worth of Dukies and scads of LSU folks. Still, it was fun. Until the end. That wasn't so fun.

So we decide that rather than stay for the Texas game, we'd head home. Besides, neither of us were feeling all that well.

Turns out we had food poisoning. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Th-hers-day for the Ladies

[Cue "Road to the Final Four" music and shirtless shooting guards]

That's right, it's an encore presentation of Th-hers-day, Tourney Style! I got several mentions last time around that the Alaskan Assassin, Trajan Langdon, did not make my "for your consideration" list. Lo siento. My humblest apologies. While I happen to think he oozes sexuality, I did not realize that others (besides my fantastic roommates from college) thought so too.

But here it is, by popular demand:

Pictures don't do him justice. But those eyes!

ps. I told Spouse about the list, and his response was, "I hope you included Emeka Okafor." Hee!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

As Seen at Phantom's House

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Mohair.You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.
Take this quiz!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Silver linings

Got back this afternoon from a woefully flat guest lecture on the 1920s at a friend's class. Of 30 enrolled in the class, only 12 showed up and several walked out once they saw it was me and not their normal teacher. Erg.

The lecture was, well, a little disorganized and not as lively as I usually like things to be. Don't know if it was my plethora of other distractions, my lack of knowledge of the audience, or just being out of practice, but I came out of the room thinking that maybe I'm not all that good at this.

But waiting for me at home was a performance review from another recent lecture. And let's just say it glows. My favorite lines: "Students and non-students alike loved her. The prestige of our lecture series was enhanced by [Quinn's] performance. I recommend her to the guardians of academia everywhere."

Aw! Here's hoping the guardians of academia take heed.

Monday, March 20, 2006


A few thoughts on the Sweet Sixteen:

1. Duke. YAY!!!

2. Gonzaga. I picked 'em (Republic of Cascadia bias.) But the more I see Adam Morrison, the more I think there might be something genuinely not right about that guy. Like, psychologically. Not just facial-hair related.

3. George Mason. Even APL wants to see them do well.

4. Bradley. Anybody else notice that the scoring box read "Brad" over "Pitt." Subliminal way to get more women to watch March Madness?

5. Washington. Should have gone with the Cascadia bias here. Great game, too.

6. Texas. Inspiration for perhaps the best commercial we get every break, the "Never graduate" series with the group playing pictionary, and the Aggie refuses to say "Hook 'em Horns." Best part: "Taco meat."

7. UConn. Meh.

8. Villanova. Meh.

9. Memphis. Ditto.

10. UCLA. The Bruins? Stephen Colbert will be displeased. They're on notice!

11. LSU. Big Baby may be a big problem. I do not relish this matchup.

12. West Virginia. You know, as much as I'm not a fan of body art, I sort of like Pittsnogle. Plus, he's got a new baby, so another round of crowd cuts to his wife rocking said infant and trying to stay calm.

13. Wichita State. Go Shockers!

14. BC. Ever since the ACC final, I have quite a bit of respect for this team. While they're not real ACC, represent!

15. Florida. It's not the same without Matt Walsh and his floopy curls.

16. Georgetown. Die die die!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Wednesday: The Wild Boy went to the doc for his 15 month appointment. It seems the soy milk is doing well. He's up to the 50% percentile for weight, which is just short of miraculous. Doc asked me if he had 5-10 words. "No." "How many does he have?" "None." Doc started in on the speech therapy spiel, pressuring me while saying she didn't want to place any pressure on us about it. "But getting these things resolved early is a good idea."

Thursday: WB came home from school to Mommy, who said, "Hi!" He responded back, "Hi!" Double take. Was that a word? Sure sounded like one. Not only that, but it sounded like a completely different voice -- not gibberishy but clear and clean. He said "hi" seven times that night, all in the context of greeting someone, waving, or repeating after someone who had already said it.

One down, 4-9 to go?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Th-hers-day for the ladies... Tournament Edition

I'm not budging from my TV for the next few days, but when I get back, I want to see some results. Who would make the all-time, all-looks NCAA team?

For your consideration:

Emeka Okafor

Miami of Ohio??? Wally Szczerbiak

My alma mater bias: Grant Hill

Alma mater bias II: Kicking it old school with Jay Bilas

A wise woman once said, "If you're going to do a Barry, do Drew."

Sorry, he wasn't hot until he hit the Pros

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A word (or a thousand) about infertility

My bloggy and real-world buddy, Elle, seemed a little taken aback by my casual mention of my fertility problems. Seeing as how we barely knew each other back in the day, and we know each other much better now, that's not hard to understand. To look at me now, I'm the healthy mother of two, still not much past 30, and complaining rather staunchly anytime I'm not a regular-28-day-gal for fear I'll find myself preggers again. So what's with the infertility?

Let us hearken back to those halcyon days of the spring of 2001. Back when the world was new and everything seemed possible. Spouse and I decided it was time to start a family. I went off the pill. Nothing. five long months of nothing. I mean, no periods, no nothing. After everyone had warned me about psychotic periods when you come down off your artificial hormonal high.

I worried a bit, but not too much. But then, since I'm mired in an extended family tree of fantastic doctors, one very wonderful cousin suggested I go see a gynecologist. Scratch that: make it a reproductive endocrinologist. Evidently, Dr. Cousin had noted some symptoms in me for a while yet, but since I wasn't having any problems, she kept her mouth shut.

Meanwhile, deprived of my fake hormonal intake since I went off the pill, my hair began to fall out. Significantly. I worried a bit more.

So in the fall of 2001 -- let's say about a month after 9/11 when everyone was just feeling peachy -- I went to see a reproductive endocrinologist. Her diagnosis: while not textbook on the outside (I'm not particularly hairy or heavyset), on the inside I was textbook PCOS -- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. A very scary name for "your ovaries are lazy and don't like developing or spitting out the eggs." This is the most common cause of female infertility in our country, with some estimates saying that 5-10% of women have it.

Let's just say I freaked. The RE kept reassuring me that we had plenty of time, there were plenty of treatment options, and "we'll get you pregnant." (Now that's an oddly constructed sentence!) So between crying jags, I researched my options. Yes, there's about a 50% success rate for my particular situation. And I was young. So we started off pretty slowly.

I began hormone treatment:
1. Provera to bring on a period.
2. Clomid (low dose) to bring on an egg.
3. Doing it like bunnies.
4. Waiting.
5. Negative pregnancy test. Cry.
6. Repeat.

One little snag: Provera is known to cause birth defects, so you have to be very sure that you're not pregnant before you begin the medication again. And since I don't get periods naturally, every month there was that liminal am-I-pregnant-or-am-I-just-crazy time before I would run out to the store, get a pregnancy test, get a negative response, and start on the Provera again. (Isn't it ironic, dontcha think?)

The other fun thing: The label for Provera warned me that it may make me depressed or anxious. Like I needed any help there. Thankfully, I had many wonderful talks with two very important people in my life -- one who (as a gay male with no family aspirations) felt he was totally out of his element, but was incredibly supportive anyway, and one who had had her own fertility problems (of the permanent and irreversible kind: hysterectomy) in the past. Seriously could NOT have gotten through with any shred of sanity had it not been for those two wonderful people.

I felt very alone, but I was not. My mom started calling me and saying things like "Katie Couric was talking about your situation yesterday!" (maybe that made it more real to her.) My grandmother and I had a wonderful chat ending with her saying, "I wonder if I had that!" She conceived once in all her reproductive years. She had acne and hair loss. I'm thinking there's something to her theory. PCOS wasn't exactly on the radar back in the 1940s.

We did the hormone treatment for a few months. The first month of the treatment, I felt so weird that I was convinced I was pregnant. After the negative test, Spouse theorized that I was probably feeling what everybody else feels -- an actual regular hormonal cycle. Every month was difficult, craziness-inducing, and (when the test showed negative) heart-breaking. And then... the thin blue line.

We succeeded in conceiving after about 6 months on the treatment. We never had to up the dosage or think seriously about IVF or IUI -- although Spouse, I know, was already putting money aside for the possibility, while I was already making contacts with a friend who works with an international adoption agency. We jumped the gun a bit. The Drama Queen was born in Janary of 2003.

After all that hassle, it seemed rather silly to consider birth control in the wake of her birth. We figured, if it happened, great. If not, we'd cross that bridge when we came to it. Sure enough, we conceived The Wild Boy a little over a year later, almost exactly when I weaned my daughter. DQ was 23 months old when he was born. I was 31. I was so lucky.

The months after 9/11 and before I discovered I was pregnant were by far the toughest of my life. I hear the stories of friends and read the blogs of people who have done this for years, with far more invasive treatments than I used, and far more failures, and I can't even fathom how they hold up.

And on the other side, there are the women who conceive accidentally, unprepared for the sudden situation they're thrust into. This reminds me of a previous discussion about white vs. black feminism, and how we must not discount someone else's experience of oppression just because it does not jive with our own. In an ideal world, we would all be able to say "I would like to get pregnant RIGHT NOW" and have it happen. But that's not the way the world works. But we have each other to provide support for whatever challenges we face. That's a blessing.

Labels: , , ,

Fratboy in the making

This morning, as Spouse was making the bed, The Wild Boy comes toddling into sight wearing a pair of my panties on his head, with an eye through each leg hole, waving his hands and screaming with joy.

Oh, dear.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We've come a long way, baby!

Today is International Women's Day. Whoo-hoo! Go women!

And tomorrow we return to 364 International Men's Days in a row.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Revised To Do List

1. Conference paper for early April. Cut chapter 4 into a manageable chunk, clean it up, and rehearse. Do I have any visuals for this chapter?

2. Revisions to chapter 3. Advisor wanted more class and gender analysis. That means trip to the library to pick up some secondaries. And go back through my old notes on the material.

3. Revision and expansion of chapter 1. Distributed the beginning to the study group. This should be a high priority, hopefully to get something to Advisor in the near future. Rethink the chapter outline -- is chapter 2 disappearing completely? Or is it the second half of chapter 1 that I've still got in jumbled bullet points?

4. Watch an ass-load of basketball.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 06, 2006

Polls are open

We're now taking your votes for what The Wild Boy's first word(s) will be. His sister has suggested "cuddle," so he can ask to be cuddled when he needs it.

I'm putting my money on "PUT-ME-DOWN-EVIL-NOT-MOMMY-PERSON!"


I can't even begin to express my anger

But it's in my head, so I've gotta get it out somehow.

Bill Napoli, a state senator from that paragon of human rights, South Dakota, recently went on PBS's The News Hour talking about the state's ban on abortion. At one point, he was asked what stipulations would he personally felt an exception could be made:

A real-life description [of an exception scenario] to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

I'm not going to get into the very questionable nature of his "vivid" description, since the folks over at I Blame the Patriarchy have those bases covered. What I'm going to talk about is how he has categorized what makes someone a deserving victim.

  • It must be a "brutal" rape. Um, aren't they all?
  • The girl must be a virgin. 'Cause once you have sex, you're ready for it from anybody at any time, right?
  • there needs to be sodomy. 'Cause plain old vanilla rape isn't bad enough.
  • the girl must be religious.

    WHAT?????????? Since when does your religious belief impact the severity of a rape? Do atheist women not mind getting raped?

    And considering his supposed worldview, wouldn't the religious women not want abortions? Aren't we to believe that Christians should see their rape and subsequent forced pregnancy as part of God's divine plan for them? So let's let the good little Christian girls suffer the consequences of the laws that the wingnut "religious" right has invoked for them. I say it's the non-religious women who need the abortions. (Only the godless would want an abortion anyway, right?)

    Here's my other suggestion: I think the only exception Napoli should make is for nuns and lesbians, because what could be more traumatic than a raped girl who was saving herself for marriage? That's right: a woman with no intention of ever having sex with a man.

    So his own discussion of exceptions betrays some serious problems. It demonstrates that even he believes there are exceptions to an outright ban. And if we allow exceptions, then who gets to decide which women "deserve" abortions? The women who have to live with the results, or twisted sickos like Bill Napoli?

    Labels: , ,

  • M-hun-day... for the ladies, post-Oscar edition

    Having seen almost none of the movies, I've only got one thing to say: Jon Stewart and George Clooney. Good Night indeed!


    Tag, I'm it.

    Elle tagged me. Here we go.

    Black and White or Colour; how do you prefer your movies?
    Probably colour, but just 'cause of the UK spelling.

    What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?
    Financial planning. Maybe this is a residual of my parents watching CNBC all day long when they visit. I mean, really, how closely do you have to follow your stocks?

    MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?
    I was a big believer in the mix tape, but now I'm quickly learning the advantages of MP3s. I like being able to select 20 songs at random for my workout and just download them and go.

    You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?
    Not a chance in hell.

    Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?
    Would it be a cop-out (an umbrella term) to say the unequal distribution of power? That encompasses poverty, colonialism, racism, sexism, etc.

    How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?
    If I had the answer to that, I wouldn't be sitting here blogging, I would be out doing it.

    You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?
    You know, I'm actually pretty happy with the way even my bad decisions/actions turn out. Each rough experience has gained me something. But maybe just to make life easier for me, maybe I would have tried to take the infertility diagnosis a little less seriously, since it turned out to be, well, not so big a deal (two kids in two years later). That would have saved me some considerable depression.

    You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?
    Hmm... maybe the assassination of Gandhi. Or Lincoln.

    A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry – Which do you choose?
    Opera, I suppose. I'm not a big fan of either.

    What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?What caused the explosion on the Maine. I'd bet it would show American Imperialism for what it really is -- yellow journalism with guns.

    One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?
    Can it be a dead one? L. M. Montgomery. I'd serve monkey face cookies, raspberry cordial, and two kinds of cakes.
    Living? It would be J. K. Rowling so I can ask her what's all this about Snape being evil? I'd serve pumpkin juice and chocolate frogs.

    You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky — what’s the first thing you might do to celebrate this fact?
    I already believe this, and it makes no impact on the way I live my life. I believe in morality for this world, not the next.

    Labels: ,

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    The Drama Queen builds her vocabulary

    DQ is experimenting with new music. After our success with the Wicked soundtrack, we've moved on to The Sound of Music and The Music Man. Since small children love silly words, it is no surprise that her favorite song is "Shipoopie." Sample lyrics:

    Well, a woman who'll kiss on the very first date
    Is usually a hussy
    And a woman who'll kiss on the second time out
    Is anything but fussy
    But a woman who'll wait till the third time around
    Head in the clouds, feet on the ground
    She's the girl he's glad he's found
    She's his Shipoopi

    Very family-friendly. But it gives her a taste for the historical usage behind another favorite song of hers, One Thousand Sarahs by Eddie from Ohio. Sample lyrics:

    Sarah's the kind of girl who's 3 feet tall, but she's built like an Amazon woman.
    Sarah's the kind of girl who's 3 feet tall, but she's built like an Amazon woman.
    And all the boys think she's pretty.
    And all the girls think she dresses so well.
    And all the teachers think that she's the smartest one in class,
    But I think- she oughta go to Hell.

    Sarah's the kind of girl who pierced her ears years before anybody else.
    Sarah's the kind of girl who pierced her ears years before anybody else.
    And all the mothers say her mother was-
    And all the mothers say her mother was a slut
    And we couldn't pierce our ears till we turned 12 no matter what
    And I think,
    Well you know what I think.

    We've managed to stave of the word, "Hell," but she definitely now knows both "Hussy" and "Slut." Lovely.


    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Why I Went Pseudonymous

    [File this under the "posts I don't want my future employers to see," right behind advocating lesbianism for South Dakotans.]

    I survived February (despite all the Dar trappings), have completed 27 pages of Chapter 1: The Phantom Menace, and will send it off to my Wicked Smaht Friend tonight, and behold, it is March. The greatest month of the year!

    March is the home of my religious holidays: Good Friday (ACC Tourney Friday) and Really Good Thursday through Sunday (the first weekend of the NCAAs). Future employers need to understand that I simply cannot be as productive in March. Work must end by 11am on Thursday and Friday the 16th and 17th. That weekend is right out. The next weekend is a little better (evening games mostly). But all in all, the diss is going to take a backseat. That's just the way it's gotta be. You make me choose between my work and my religion, and my religion is going to win.

    Labels: ,

    And now for something completely different...

    Reading over this draft of the latest chapter, I've come to realize I do transitions about as well as Eddie Izzard does.

    So, yeah, the chapter is almost done. But I've got to go now. My grandmother is on fire.

    Labels: ,

    My own personal religion

    I'm not Catholic, although I was raised that way. But Lent offers me a time to think back on my days as a Catholic -- somewhat fondly, even -- and remember what I did like about practicing a religion.

    For those of you not familiar, Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter, and it is traditionally a time of fasting. No meat on Fridays, days of fasting, and the requisite giving something up. In years past, I've given up soda, candy, chocolate. Something to make a personal sacrifice. Recently, I've read and heard a couple of interesting items about Lent, from La Lecturess and from NPR.

    I like Father Martin's analysis that having some else choose your sacrifice is more in keeping with the spirit of Lent, since we don't get to choose the crosses we bear. I was intrigued by La Lecturess's battle with personal religious experience vs. public display in (and out of) the classroom.

    But mostly what I like about Lent, which is just about the only part of Catholicism that I even remotely cling to, is that it is a time of both self-reflection and thinking beyond yourself. You struggle to make a sacrifice, and hopefully from that sacrifice you can channel that energy into helping others. I know people who give up their daily coffee and then take the money and give it to the poor. I like that idea a lot.

    So what am I giving up for Lent? That's personal.

    p.s. How much would I love to give up my dissertation for Lent???


    Thursday, March 02, 2006

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

    I've been thinking about this whole South Dakota situation. What's my response (you mean besides shocked horror at the direction this country has taken?) My other response is to suggest that perhaps the fine women of South Dakota should up and leave. And if that seems impractical, go all Lysistrata on the men up there.

    Or, I suppose another solution would be to find a way that your sexuality will not be used to punish you by forced breeding. The answer? Lesbianism. 100% guaranteed success rate of contraception! Or maybe that's just my white feminist tendencies emerging.

    Labels: , , ,