Thursday, April 26, 2007

Confession & Prediction

Confession: I love Dancing With the Stars. I used to dance - in a "pre-professional" company, if that impresses you - and I love dancing shows. I tivo'd So You Think You Can Dance, but missed the final episode because Mr hated it with a passion, we only have one tv, and there was nothing tivo'd that he could watch while it taped. Whatever, I'm over it.

I haven't been watching Dancing with the Stars because it's on Monday nights and we bowl on Mondays. I don't care for the elimination show because I can just find out online the next day without having to sit through their crap.

Anyway, I was curious about Ian Ziering* and, after hearing about Heather Mills' (honestly? Why was she on this show? She's not a star. She married and divorced Paul McCartney. She isn't a "star." I'm so glad shes' gone.) fall, I wanted to see some of it. So I watched the episode on ABC's website. Now, I'm hooked.

I'm in the middle of this week's episode and I have to say, Apolo Anton Ohno (if you go to the bio, tell me - is it just me, or does he look like he could be one of the Lawrence brothers? Maybe a half-brother?) is totally going to win this thing. That guy is smooth. He's not the best dancer ever, but he really is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition (though only in the metaphorical sense. Dude is short).

Ian is teamed with two-time winner Cheryl, so he's going to get far. Plus, he works really hard. Ultimately, though, he's very stiff. He's trying so hard that he never relaxes and just dances. He's doing everything, but there's not enough breath, if that makes sense.

The other potential is Laila Ali. She's got a lot going against her because women traditionally don't do well in this competition. They're the focus of any partner dancing - it's the nature of ballroom - and so, though the professional partner definitely raises their game, but the pro can't carry a woman the way a female pro can carry a man. However, Laila is awesome. She has the moves and she's graceful, which is tough when you're dealing with complicated footwork. She learns the moves and, unlike Ian, internalizes them and then dances, emotes. But it is going to be tough. I'm really surprised with how good she is. She's a boxer, so I wouldn't expect her to be so smooth. Boxing is so powerful - short bursts of strength. I know there's footwork involved, but I just didn't expect her to do so well.

So, that's my prediction: Apolo v. either Ian or Laila. And Apolo is totally going to win.

*note: I have no idea how to spell these people's names, and I'm not looking it up.
Edited: Ok. I went back and fixed their names. Plus, I added links to their bios.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pictures and Priests

Ha. That sounds like it could be bad. And it could be... if you're squeamish. Coming up: Pictures! My toe, now nearly healed, right after I broke it and the snow in April. It would have been better if I posted that right after it snowed, but whatever, I have things to do.

If you are squeamish, you might not want to see my toe. It was purple and hurty and I don't know why I want to share it, I just do. However, I'll give you a little warning before I throw it out there. Plus, it will be last. If you get to the picture of the snow and you don't want the toe, then quit reading.

So, the priests part. Mr and I met with my priest on Saturday. It was something of a comedy of errors at first. We showed up at church and mass was starting. Mr, of course being always suspicious of priests, assumes we've been hoodwinked into going to mass. Which, naturally, upsets him. Whatever. So, we go in thinking my priest is saying mass and then it starts and it's not him. I want to leave. Mr thinks we now have to stay. "What if he's waiting outside for us?" "..."

So, we leave. There are other buildings on the church campus but... I don't know what they are. I was last a member of this particular church when I was 8 years old. It's changed. Plus, when I was 8 I was really only familiar with the part where they said mass, the daycare center (for when you weren't "being have" as my brother used to say), and where they kept the donuts.

I call the priest and I'm like "We're here... um... could you call me if you get this?" and, lo and behold! he did! So, we go back and meet with him. It went really well. Mr didn't even get a chance to talk about how he thinks all Catholic priests are pedophiles, which is good because I would have had to kill him. Which would upset the whole wedding thing.

So, we have options. As Catholics, we should go to Precana. We can meet at the church for an hour or so five weeks in a row, or we can do a Discovery Weekend in Lovely Niles, Illinois. Let me tell you, Mr was really excited about going away for the weekend to talk about feelings and staying in a strange room approximately fifteen minutes from our home. Fr Priest (not his name but... it seems like anonymity is good for people who don't know I'm talking about them) also said that we don't have to do anything. He recommends the weekend, but we can just do nothing if we want. The most wonderful part is that, even though we don't have to do anything, Mr is willing to do whatever I want to do. Isn't that nice?



So, on April 11 it snowed. I couldn't believe it. I knew that we would have another cold snap before winter wore its way out for good, but snow? Seriously? Naturally, the first thing I did was think of you, my loyal readers. Sadly, I lack good follow up, hence the two weeks late. But isn't it the thought that counts?

That's my street. I had actually left the driveway and headed out to go to work, stopped, got out my camera and took some pictures. Seriously, it looks just like it did in December.


Please ignore my nails. I got a pedicure about eight months ago ... ok, maybe four. Still, the pedicure is pretty much grown out and nothing has been done since then. It is way to much effort to take the polish off. I just let it grow out.

So, first, my good toe. For comparison purposes:

Then, the bad toe. It isn't actually that bad. I really thought I had just sort of hurt it. You know, like stubbing your toe. Seeing it change colors though was strangely gratifying. Like, I'm not a huge wimp who cries over a stubbed toe. I really banged it up. It changed colors. At that point, I'm like a five year old kid. I'm totally fascinated by gross stuff, particularly if it's mind. So, without further ado, my bad toe in all it's glory:

These days it looks pretty much like the good toe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why Didn't Someone Tell Me?

I was wondering why so many people were eating ice cream cones in the train station last night - it wasn't exactly warm in Chicago at 7:00. And, it was weird that the Ben & Jerry's line was so long that they actually set up guide-type ropes to loop it out of the way of the escalators. Turns out, yesterday was Cone Day at B&J's. And I missed it.

Not that I was deprived of ice cream. After a relatively healthy lunch at Subway - made even more diet-friendly because the bread was stale, so I didn't eat it all - my coworkers and I decided to head over to McDonald's for a hot-fudge sundae.

And then I got home and had a lovely grilled chicken breast for dinner.

Followed by a slice of french silk pie from Baker's Square.

So, as you can see, I really needed a free ice cream cone yesterday. I was totally dessert-deprived.

And I wonder why I keep gaining instead of losing weight...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Metra-Inspired Poetry

I'm currently taking a class called "Teaching Literature" and we're doing a unit on teaching poetry. This both fills me with dread and makes me very happy because I do not "get" poetry, and so I don't want to read it or study it, but I also know that I will someday have to teach poetry, and so I should learn to love it. Or at least gain a basic understanding so that I can teach it without making a fool of myself or teaching children incorrectly. Nothing worse than a bunch of teenagers who don't know how to write a proper haiku.

So, for this class, we're reading a book that is the faux journal of a faux poetry teacher. One of my assignments is to try out his assignments. So I did.

The assignment: Write a poem based on "Exercise in the Cemetery" by Jane Gentry

At dusk I walk up and down
among the rows of the dead.
What do the thoughts I think
have to do with another living being?
In the eastern sky, blue-green as a bird's egg,
a cloud with a neck like a goose
swims achingly toward the zenith.

First sentence should place you somewhere, the second sentence should ask a question and the third sentence should describe in images whatever you notice.

The only other time I've ever written poetry was during a particularly angst-y moment in my history. I think I was about thirteen and the resulting "poetry" is so humiliating, just thinking about it makes me want to run away and hide. However, I'm older and more mature now. I shouldn't ask students to do something that I wouldn't do. And, honestly, what is a blog for if not to completely humiliate yourself? And so... my poem. Written this morning and not yet revised.

Be kind.

Just as the sun gets going,
I read and ride the train towards Chicago
and my office.
Why is everyone else going?
The rhythm of the tracks
shift and shake the words.
They rattle on the page
like an old tea set on a platter
carried gingerly, careful not to spill.

Oh god. I think I'm dying. The shame. Seriously.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Feminist Education

I always knew I was a feminist. Even when I was just a little kid, it always bugged me when my brothers got to do something and I didn't, just because I was a girl. My parents encouraged this behavior. I had my very own Popeye shaving kit - plastic razor, shaving cream cup, and brush - and I used to "shave" with my dad in the mornings. My brothers didn't have facial hair to shave, either.

When I got to college, St. Mary's in Notre Dame, Indiana, these views were obviously encouraged. I was sort of shocked, though, at the number of women who did not feel that they were feminists. I mean, how can you not be a feminist?

But I know why they felt that feminism excluded them. Sure, they thought that women were just as good as men. They wouldn't say that they didn't support equality between the sexes. What they objected to was the association between feminism and lesbianism. Somewhere along the line, those two terms became intertwined in a way that today's young women - and some not-so-young ... I would say most women under 35 - can't seem to get past. The forerunners of the "women's movement" were so successful that a lot of women today don't see the need to fight. And so the fight for equality has been taken up by other oppressed groups. Lesbians, by nature, call into question what society expects out of women. Because they are not yet totally accepted, they have to fight. Part of what they fight for is equality between the sexes. I'm not saying that this is an absolute explanation of how "lesbian" and "feminist" began to be seen as synonyms, but I think it is part of it.

There was a time in the when it seemed that following any of what was seen as a woman's role was playing into the hands of the patriarchy. To be a "true" feminist, you had to reject everything that men have set out as being for women, or what women should do. I remember reading Adrienne Rich in college and being so furious to see "It is the lesbian in us who is creative, for the dutiful daughter of the fathers in us is only a hack. " (Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. "It Is the Lesbian In Us Who Is Creative," (1976).) I am not a hack. I am not a "dutiful daughter." But I am also not a lesbian.

Now, I know what Rich was saying. I understand that she wasn't really talking about sexuality. But still, it was upsetting to me because I felt like there was no place for me in feminism. I was (and am) an intelligent, outspoken woman. No man tells me what to do. But I am also a straight woman. I love men. It was so upsetting to me that I felt like I had to defend that position. Feminism isn't about the superiority of women - it's about equality.

I was a member of the Feminist Collective on campus, but eventually stopped going because it eventually replaced the Gay, Lesbian, and Questioning (I can't remember the full name, I apologize) Outreach group that didn't get acknowledged as a campus organization. I felt like the Take Back the Night walk was the only thing the group did that was "feminist" as opposed to "lesbian." I think I was one of two straight women who attended meetings, so I stopped going. It wasn't that I didn't support my lesbian friends, I just didn't want to support the meshing of lesbianism and feminism. It isn't lesbians or lesbianism that I have an issue with. It's the underlying notion that I can't be a "real" feminist if I like men. I feel that the blending of lesbian and feminist implies that I'm a bad feminist if I like men, and I don't think that's true.

This is all to introduce an old post I discovered at one of my favorite blogs. She wrote it three or four years ago, but it is new to me, and I love it. It's called Yes, You Are.

It very much supports my view that everyone is, or should be, a feminist. Because the definition of a feminist is simple: Any person who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. My cousin's husband has a wonderful t-shirt that says "This is what a Feminist looks like." I love it, and I want Mr to wear one because, whether he would admit it or not, he's a feminist, too.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Love for Alanis Morissette Knows no Bounds

This video has been all over the place lately, but I couldn't watch it at work because I have no sound on my computer. I thought I'd share it with you, my lovely readers.

I loved this. She gets all the stutters and whatnots, but slowed down and super-dramatic, all of the truly deep meaning of Fergie's song really comes to light. What? You thought "My Humps" was just silly fluff?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Feeling a Little Old

One of the women I work with is about 23ish. I remember 23 and it doesn't seem all that long ago. Today at lunch, however, I realized that 23 was a lifetime ago.

She recounted her weekend, which involved going out, drinking, hooking up with a guy she's liked for a while. Then she asked how my weekend was.

In my defense, I wasn't really up for much but... my answer was lame.

Friday, I was still a little sick, so we didn't do anything. Saturday we ran errands - Dr's office, purchased tile for the bathroom, went to Macy's to see if there was more stuff to register for, went to Sears to look at lawn mowers, and then to IKEA to look at shelves. It was straight out of Old School, when Will Ferrel's talking to the college kid about how they're going to go to Home Depot, and that's the highlight of his weekend. Of course, we also went to our friend's party on Saturday and stayed out until 2:30 am. But, that's like, notable for us because we never stay out that late anymore. She does it every weekend.

Oh, and Sunday? Sunday I slept until noon because I can't go out that late (we were in Homewood, a whole other story, so even though we left the bar at 2:30, we didn't get home until closer to 3:30). The exciting thing about Sunday was that we ordered Wrestlemania 23. Because we're cool.

So cool.