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Easing back into it

I'm with Michelle: This break has spoiled me too. As always, I had so much fun at home. I hung out with all my friends and spent a good deal of time with their children too, which I enjoyed immensely. I love children's entelechial smiles, scowls, pouts, frowns, and passive, vacant, along-for-the-ride expressions. But more than that, I love the way they observe and listen to everything, then grab you-never-know-what out of the heteroglossia and pull it together to form their own bright, funny, utterly unpredictable remixes.

I'm also with Prof. B. in my readiness for the semester to be over.

Should I assign Deirdre McCloskey's The Secret Sins of Economics (PDF, via Tyler Cowen) in my first-year composition class (not this semester, of course)? Or would that be too cruel? There's a lot to discuss: the style, while self-indulgent, is innovative, and McCloskey addresses opposing views actively and directly. I guess I've had the urge to assign experimental discourse lately; next Wednesday we'll be discussing Nomy Lamm's "It's a Big Fat Revolution," and I'm even toying with the idea of assigning This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself. Right now I'm trying to explain metacommentary and self-referentiality in research papers -- what those are, how much is too much if one's not deliberately using them as style devices, etc., so these things are on my mind.

Wanderlust, and Music to Accompany It

I feel good today (possibly because I've worked on my dissertation prospectus all weekend). If I still lived in Knoxville, I'd hop in my car and run off to the Smoky Mountains and to Hot Springs, where I'd lounge in a hot tub among pine trees all day [edited to add: all kinds of trees, actually. Lots of cedars, as I recall. Doesn't the limestone in the soil enable them to thrive? That's what I've heard.]. I'd relish the drive, and I'd blast these songs, among others:

"You Got the Car" -- Kasey Chambers (*)
"Let There Be Rock" -- Drive-By Truckers (*)
"Daddy Sang Bass" -- Johnny Cash (*)
"Two More Bottles of Wine" -- Emmylou Harris (*)
"A Boy Named Sue" -- Johnny Cash (*)
"Righteously" -- Lucinda Williams (*)
"Last Hard Bible" -- Kasey Chambers (*)
"C'est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)" -- Emmylou Harris (*)
"Barricades and Brickwalls" -- Kasey Chambers (*)
"Joy" -- Lucinda Williams (*)
"Walking in Memphis" -- Marc Cohn (*)
[Edited to add "Get Right With God" -- Lucinda Williams (:o How could I forget that one?!)] (*)

Anyone else want to come along? :)

First Thought in the Morning

Some people think of a particular person they love first thing in the morning. Not I. My first thought is, "Don't hit snooze! Don't go back to sleep! Other people are already up and getting work done!" It's like the slogan on a t-shirt worn by girls on the volleyball team back when I was in junior high: "The player who will beat you tomorrow is practicing today." Yeah...I'm a freak.

Theme Party Tonight: Prom, 1994

Tonight I'm going to be attending a "canciversary" party for a friend of mine who is celebrating the anniversary of the day she went into remission. She didn't get to go to her 1994 prom because she was in the hospital, so that's the theme for the evening. When I got my invitation, I called my mom to see if she'd mail me my red taffeta prom dress. I wouldn't be that embarrassed to wear it; it's a simple, floor-length dress with a slim skirt and a halter neckline -- imagine this dress in red. My mom looked around but couldn't find it anywhere. She did, however, find two other formal gowns I wore to the little debutante-ball style dances my high school sorority had. She said, "I found a purple one and a black one." I knew exactly which ones she was talking about and, amused, I said, "Okay, that works! Go ahead and send 'em." They both fit, so I think I'm going to go for the ugly, tacky gusto and wear the purple one. In about an hour, I'm going to start getting ready for the party, and, at the request of friends I've talked to on the phone today, I'm going to do an "Ugly Purple Dress, Then and Now" photo comparison. For now, the "Then" (I warn you, it's uuuugly -- oh, and it's from 1991, not 1994, but it's the thought that counts, right?). I hid the face of my date not because I'm ashamed, but because I want to protect his privacy.

UPDATE: Leaving for the party now...behold, purple dress 04. I'll see if I can get a better picture, full-length, at the party. :)

SECOND UPDATE: Oh yes...excellent pictures. See below:

Death Clock

Via Slow Learner: The Death Clock predicts your date of death. How morbid, and I can't believe I actually entered my information to find out my date of death. I don't know if I'm necessarily optimistic or not, but if for "Mode" I answer "Normal," I get Monday, December 15, 2053 as my date of death. I tried again with "Optimistic" as the mode, and I got Saturday, January 13, 2074. That puts me at dying between ages 83 and 100...not bad. :)

Where's my on?

You know, on -- you could also think of it as acumen, savvy, energy, joie de vivre. I feel like Lisa Simpson when she shrieks, "I'm losing my perspicacity!"

If you see my on anywhere around, please do let me know. Regular blogging will resume this weekend, hopefully, as I have the oral exam to prepare for and very little energy with which to do it. Sure, we all have our days when we're not on, but this is an unusually long stretch for me. Healthy food and plenty of water, sleep, vitamins, and exercise aren't helping; anyone got any advice?

Three Dreams

I've once again been having especially vivid dreams that stick with me throughout the following day, narrated here for your amusement and interpretation. The first two are from the night before last; the third is from last night:

New Mexico

I'm in a bus. There are people on the bus, but I don't know any of them. It's a little like Nightmare on Elm St. II, Freddy's Revenge, when Freddy is driving the bus, but not as scary. I ask someone, "Where are we?"

The person says, "New Mexico."

I look out the window and see a reddish landscape resembling a freshly plowed field, with small hills and valleys and lots of rocks. Perched atop some of the hills and rocks are ominous-looking Mayan and Aztec statues. There are also some gnarled shrubs, dried up, with no leaves.

"I hate New Mexico!" I declare to no one in particular.

The bus stops and we get out. Someone leads me to where I'll be staying. It's a rundown cabin with swarms of flying insects inside. I'm horrified. All of a sudden, Scott is standing beside me. He says, "Yeah, those flies'll get you."

Family Reunion, circa 1978

Here I am with my cousins and my great-grandmother on my dad's side, whom we all called Mother Myrtle (we called our grandparents on my dad's side Daddy Worth and Mama Rene, as their names are Worth and Irene). I'm sure you can guess which moppet I am:

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