n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, March 29, 2009

all drama aside

I was told I got the art studio ten minutes after landing in Denver... Well, well, well well well, I reckon the game is afoot and the sun shining in this new neck of woods.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

quote from SWA baggage person, via phone, 16 hours post the announcement of a 3-day delay on my 10-day vacation, as per: where my luggage is located

Well, it looks like your guess is as good as mine.

I'm trying really hard not to panic; get angry; feel like God is against me; get depressed; be frustrated; take it out on baggage people who can't locate my baggage after hours spent patient and hopeful in the airport, then with a friend, then heading back to Bville despite the imminence of another airport-shuttle; be disappointed or sad; wonder about my life in general; feel guilty for having to call my friends and explain the snowstorm (which they're experiencing) delay; cry a bit; kick things; admire cute passing girls who embarrassingly witnessed me kicking things; or worry about my back after having to ice-pack and 'stabilize' it for just this one attempt... etc.

I'm really trying hard to remember: soon I will see friends; take pictures, maybe interesting ones; be alive in a new place; and that as of tomorrow, I will also know whether my application for an amazing huge-but-cheap downtown art studio is accepted.

Cycle cycle cycle. I just want things to change up--in my own patterns--is all. Oh, and for the good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

despite the snow, spring is only nine days away

Spring Moon Through Skylight
And below, CR brought me this comment from The Economist and we both enjoyed it. I then showed it to my students and very few of them laughed, despite having studied Public Letters for a full two weeks. I don't know what that means. It's still fabulous though.

Economist Letter to Editor
And I'm daydreaming about: fewer essays to comment on, grinding my way to being a writer, my summer garden, the books I have on order, reading them, and

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

no secrets for the taking

So, sometimes I don't write on this thing because I'm feeling secretive and creeped-out by the idea that anyone could stumble onto Da Bloghausen and know more about my life than I would want them to. But this time, actually, I haven't been writing on Da Bloghausen because I have little-to-no excitement going on. That's not to say that life has come grinding to a halt, but rather that few of the daily events give me those tingles in my fingers that let me know I must write. However... I've been feeling guilty, almost as if I've neglected to change the crying baby.

So I thought I'd write a list to make myself feel better. Here are a few spattered and splattered bits of whats been going on:

For Valentine's Day, I roped CR into putting up Mum's greenhouse - the particular greenhouse he bought her for a Christmas present in '07, but never ended up assembling. I had my suspicions about the design. Usually CR needs absolutely no excuse to get out his tools and maul things about until a fine specimen of construction results. With help, he did afterall build the house that he and mum now live in, and I have to say it's a keeper. So, why all this fuss about a simple greenhouse that he already had the "kit" to put together?

Well, as it turns out, the kit was a box full of tubes only differentiable by the colors painted and fading on their tips, plus wire and plastic rolls. The combination looked daunting, and whoever wrote the directions certainly wasn't using his primary discourse: "Join red tube next to mauve." Or something like that.

However, the putting together a bizarre collection of supplies ended up being quite a bit of fun. (Although the greenhouse is not yet finished all the way - the plastic still has to be affixed to the frame, and I'm pretty sure that CR wants nothing to do with that part of events, so it'll probably come down to me and mum stretching plastic in a wind storm, perhaps MaryPoppinsing away to a banker's house in London.) The greenhouse turned out to be quite large, actually, larger even than the spot designated for it, which meant that I got to get on the tractor and move boulders, mini-trees, rhodies, and mud with a big, noisy scooper. Herald was truly pissed by the tractor and sat barking at it until I turned the bucket his way and threatened him with the bucket's middle claw. Just so you know, Herald is hilariously cowardly and tucked tail, running away with all his chubby-leg might. He came back five minutes later though and started barking again.

Anyhow, I quite enjoyed digging things up, and compiling the tubing turned out to be like a life-sized jigsaw puzzle, and then I got so excited by the sight of a greenhouse going up that I started planning a full vegetable garden. Yep, I'm gonna be busy because I just ordered 20 seed packets, ranging from Kentucky Pole Beans to Winter Squash. I tried to stay practical, but I might have slipped up on that. This means that one of these weekends I'm gonna have to get back out there with the tracker and set up my beds, and then do a bit of shoveling, and composting, and this led me to one conclusion above all others:

Before too long, summer might be here.

And I'm starting to wonder if maybe I have a hibernation mode, in part because I've stacked on 20lbs since I graduated from Art School, which is the most depressing thing I think I've ever heard, and now I'm pretty clear on one thing: the gain doesn't just have to do too much with what I eat, because I've got an okay system of eating, but rather the sedentary nature of my life. As an art student, I was out and about, over here and taking pictures of that and hovering in the studio for hours with a stomach full of acid and daydreams. I've realized that not having a car for three years was marvelous in some ways; I walked miles every day - to the train, to the beach, to the grocery store, to school, to a friends house, etc. And even though none of that 'exercise' was high-impact, it definitely did its job.

Now, although I go on walks 2-3x a week with Herald, I don't have the regular "must walk every day" provocation, and I actually have to figure in, gasp, exercise, which I've always been morally opposed to, in and of itself. That is, I feel that there is something very wrong with exercise that doesn't yield a practical result such as getting someplace physically new, seeing a different stretch of land, winning a game, establishing a garden, or moving all the fish from one boat into another. But the type of exercise I've had to plan into my life recently is the kind that takes place at home with a stupid exercise-machine and the music on, and me feeling dreadfully bored and resistant. It's a wasted 30 minutes as far as I'm concerned, and I have difficulty convincing myself that feeling cute and not-chubby again is adequate compensation for the loss of time.

Plus machine-exercise makes me feel middle-class, and I'm very clearly not middle-class. Clearly, the correct terminology is "working class dumbass."

But that brings me to the Yoga. I still am not a huge fan of my yoga teacher, although he doesn't annoy me as much as he did. I think he's kind of amusing now; he's genuine and means well enough I suppose. I still don't like him arranging me, but he does it less often, and I have to say something else: Yoga works. My back actually feels good afterwards; for a blessed hour or two, the absence of pain feels like a miracle administered down upon me by sparkling fairies in fluffy tutus. And if I do a little yoga stretching here and there during the week, that helps as well, although not as well as the 1.5-hour yoga class. So, I'm going to keep going, even though I'm not sure I really enjoy the yoga itself.

Only three more weeks of college classes! I'm beyond ecstatic; I'm doubting my decision to teach in many, many ways. It's so damn time consuming, and I'm no longer endlessly fascinated by the patterns of developing writers. I feel freaked out too often about what to do in class, how to address their concerns, whether they're going to rip me a new one on my class evaluations, whether someone's going to drop out, etc etc. Ah, the glory.

I went to a "professional development day" last Friday, and everyone seems really fabulous. Aside from all the back-patting, that is; I find my skeptics kicking in when any group of people promote themselves as a special and amazing group of people. I know it's supposed to be encouraging, but I start looking for the pack of hyenas when I hear stuff like that. But they're good folk who seem to care about teaching, and have found their niche in a wrestling world. Probably much more dedicated teachers than me, although I jealously must note I do think they take their job security a bit too much for granted. Complaining about not having enough money to buy a third car is not the same as not having health insurance to get an MRI to figure out why one has a constant dull pain... I'm just saying.

Anyhow, the college president (who I really liked) addressed the group and spoke about the budget/economic crisis, and her speech explained quite a bit. The jobs I've heard back from in the past year have all been a resounding "No," but more worrisome is that a couple colleges wrote to say that the position I applied for is no longer available--they're not hiring anyone, much less some dufus from Art School.

On a related note, I've managed to actually explain to myself why I've been turned down for so many of the full-time positions; it had to do, in part, with the typical Pacific Northwest concerns about the inferiority of "creative" students relative to their "academic, English studies, and Rhetoric" students, but I've also come to realize that I also don't have the necessary experience in attending meetings, joining groups, heading missions into the Heartland of Pedagogy, collaborating with others, etc. I have little admin experience, and those who did get hired in that long-ago process that made me a little bitter- well, they did have that experience. They may have had less education than I do, and less time working as a teacher, but they had way more experience working with a variety of groups at the college, and writing up curriculum standards, and reading pedagogy papers at conferences. Chutzpah!

But back to the budget: I knew that it had to do with all the above, true, but I've heard with increasing panic about the hiring freeze, and have been wondering what that actually means. Well, it actually means that all the state schools have had a budget cut, and they will be having yet another budget cut next year. A substantial one, by the sounds of it, although Obama has added a significant amount of money for education in the stimulus package. But even more disturbing was the WA state bill passed by the legislature which apparently curtails hiring unless a "special request" is written and approved by several committees/people at the state political level. The college president pointed out that this goes for adjunct hiring as well as full-time hiring, which basically strips schools of the ability to make flexible hiring decisions from quarter to quarter based on an influx of students or whatnot. As in, even as an adjunct, it is unlikely I will be hired at any new locations until, and if, this whole idea of restraining colleges at the political level goes away. So: do I even bother applying? I don't really know - back in Fall I was told to apply to the local State U because they likely would need newbies to teach technical writing and possibly creative writing next year. But that was back then, and I don't know if it'd be a waste of time to try it now? Why do I wait so damn long to do the things I should have been doing way earlier?

Anyhow, as I've mentioned before: New job suggestions? Seriously. I'm not sure if teaching is for me, anyway, and when you add a) all the indirect service requirements, and b) the adjunct hustle, I'm just not sure what to think. I've had it pointed out to me that tons of people have to hustle their whole damn lives. But I keep looking at this from a perspective of, I'm 32, single, no health insurance, poor as shit, have no equity, have student loans to pay, etc. And I have two friggin grad degrees! I honestly am not a big spender, but I do feel that I need to think a bit about my financial security: how I can legitimately support myself and possibly invest in a house, or barring that, maybe an apartment? The answer is: I can't, so what are my other options? Or, would I be able to shift and start achieving a) and b)?

Regardless of the eventual answer, I'm desperately glad that classes are almost over for this quarter and I'm only teaching a mini-class in Spring. The plan to rent an art studio is progressing, and it seems like there are enough cheap studios that finding one won't be a problem. Knock on wood. I need to be taking this time to write again, and all these ideas and characters in my head aren't going to get any easier to write down without getting back into the practice of using words in creative and experimental ways. I need to get myself sitting down with the OED next door and the goal of a novel clearly fixed in actuality. Truthfully, I don't think I've ever thought myself capable of focusing and actually writing a book. I've always treated that idea like a daydream, but SL just sent me a note teasingly suggesting that when I've finished a novel, SAIC will clamor to fly me out! If a disciplined and talented writer-teacher can believe in me, why can't I give it a shot too?

I put together a newsletter for an upstart not-for-profit "Social Entrepreneur" Center - a place that plans to work with local artists as well as small businesses in collaboration. The whole process was frustrating - too soon of a deadline, and some very lofty goals for such a limited time - but overall, I feel pleased with myself. I logged in about 2 full work-days of volunteer work in between all my other stuff, and I got to play around with InDesign again after a hiatus (damn, it's a complicated program!). I hope the center does well, and I must say, I hope they don't need my help for awhile! heh.

Also, I got a haircut. It looks pretty cute.

And finally, yesterday I left the lights on in Rocinante (my Honda), thus entirely draining the battery while in the bookstore coffee-shop grading papers. I was parked on a hill, in slant parking, with a car on either side of me, so the options for getting started were certainly limited. Just as I was calling a friend, a man with an eight-year old boy came up and asked if they could push me up the hill so I could then roll down and pop the clutch. Trying not to laugh, I thanked them for their offer but pointed out that my car was probably too heavy for them to push up a hill. Then, even though I didn't know how I would get the jumper cables to stretch long enough, I called a friend to see if she had any cables and could come rescue me. Unfortunately she had no cables, was working, and her car was unusable to boot. When I got off the phone cussing, I noticed that the man with his son had solicited the help of another young man in his early twenties or so, and once again they renewed their offer to push me up the hill.

I kinda stuttered "Well, ah, okay, but don't feel badly if you can't get it too far... it's a really steep hill!"

So off they went, the eight year old acting as my guide for when to put on the brakes to prevent the car from rolling back over them... Sure enough, that damn hill was a doozy, but they did manage to get me about 8 feet up, far enough that the second guy was able to connect his jumper cables and get me going again. The eight year old, throughout this second half of the action, grumbled and pouted and sulked, and when his father asked him why, he said "Pushing the car was way more fun than cables. We could've done it if we tried harder!"

Anyhow, the world is full of good folks, and hills are imminently conquerable. This weekend, I get to see a good friend I haven't seen for several years, and I plan on forcing her to help me garden (actually I'm taking her to the beach I think), and then later this month: I get to go to Denver and Phoenix and visit so many of my many excellent friends!

Little bits here and there, and oh, I wanted to mention that yesterday I saw a pussywillow tree, not in bloom exactly, but with all its furry buds fluffed out and most sprouting a cacophony of pollen. Standing yellow on the tip of a hill right next to the bay with sea wind and twisted rocks along the railroad track, empty rose limbs and scotch broom surrounding it, those buds made my vision blur, and daily life seemed mysterious enough.

I know, waxing rhapsodic again. Heh.