Friday, April 20, 2007

Will (Just Not Much)

Will The Baby Nephew has officially achieved mobility, as earlier this week he was all "Fine," and crawled at something he wanted when nobody brought it to him, as they are supposed to.

It's merely a reflection of the fact, however, that he has no doubt inherited his aunt's work ethic. He'll measure out precisely how far he has to actually move his legs and arms, flop forward the rest of the way, and then lie there. He will either be a writer or a customer service represenative.

no bra at 3 PM at:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ramen Noodles in the $300,000 Kitchen

All hail the kind and generous Rebecca The Reader, who, perhaps recognizing our pending need in married life to sober up on a constant basis, has sent us a Cuisinart coffeemaker and its writer-snobby filter and a grinder and I hereby declare that she utterly, majorly rocks. Thank you, Rebecca. You may come visit us and have coffee. I will let you know when I learn how to make it.

Josh The Pilot and I were so overwhelmed with gratitude for our coffeemaker 'n' Starbucksy accouterments that we immediately attempted to seek out a place to put it. So we went townhouse hunting in Northern Virginia, where property values are such that oxygen molecules are heavily taxed.

Our budget allows for a home of Styrofoam, with support beams of Yaffa Blocks, but fortunately lending companies are amused by people in debt, and so with a much-appreciated assist from Dan The Pending Brother-In-Law, we were cleared for a mortgage which will last until the stars turn cold.

We looked at several places in our price range, which was 27 cents, which made for some fascinating choices.

May I ask something of you, homeselling public? Can we stop with the sponge painting? Who started this? Is it terrorists? Because they're doing a great job of destroying America with nothing more than a half-hour class at Hobby Lobby and a bottle of Bob Ross acrylic paint.

This is the first time I've done any kind of home shopping, and it did nothing but solidify my general fear of other people. Some homeowners stayed while we trotted up and down their stairs and peered up at kitchen cabinets, and the Creepy Factor was pinging at Gary Busey levels. I want to see your house, Other People, not you. It was the worst in Fertility House, where every room we peered into, more children came pouring out, presumably to gather downstairs before the poster-size Glamour Shot of their mother on the wall. This was in no way a building to be trusted, as it obviously really was something in the water.

Then there was Maroon World, which had clearly been a bordello decorated by a Showcase Showdown winner. Burgundy carpet. Black lacquer entertainment center. Wall art that had to be plugged in.

Upstairs: Sponge painting! Purple sponge painting! Floor to ceiling!

We found three places that did not make us cry and run away.

Hardwood Floors House: This was a two-bedroom that consisted of the most gorgeous Brazilian floors I have ever seen, and also the loudest, angriest crated-up Dalmatian I have ever seen. I'm thinking the crate had something to do with it.

Hardwood Floors House had a small kitchen, which was awesome, because I cannot cook. The best part about Hardwood Floors House was, of course, the pompous glory of the hardwood floors. You stand there with your hands on your hips, lord of all you survey: "How many mighty trees shading delicate foliage where gloriously colored tropical birds once frolicked were mowed down that I might skid my Wal-Mart sneakers upon their shiny remains?"

Baby House, so named because it contained a baby, which would presumably be removed as a condition of sale, had a yooge kitchen and a finished basement but highly questionable decor. The kitchen? Was full of apples. Apples. Stencilled on the cabinets.

"Did you see the kitchen?" I demanded of Josh the Pilot the second we were in the car.

"I know, lots of counter space!" he said.

"What are we going to do with all that apple crap? The wallpaper, Josh! It was two hundred square feet of Johnny Appleseed porn in there!"

"What apples?"

You cannot house shop with men; they never notice the important things. At least Josh does not object to my kitchen plans, which are much more classy, and involve sequins.

Perhaps he missed the apples to due the horror that was the Baby Room of Baby House. When we first entered Baby House, the baby herself met us with big eyes and smiled tenuously, then backed up into her father. At first I thought nothing of it, as all children tend to react to me in this manner, but when we saw her room, we understood: It was pink, y'all. The entire thing. Walls, ceiling, embroidery, curtains. And pink is okay, right, if it's a nice calm powdery pink, but this pink was the pink of hell. It was Attack Pink, Electric Youth pink, and the poor child most likely never slept, just lay there in her crib with her eyes wide open, a one-year-old on the outer edge of color trauma.

Then there was Scary Hot Tub House, which had a hot tub, but the hot tub was scary. It looked like a leaf-filled parting gift from COPS.

It also offered a wonderfully inviting entrance hall, which consisted of zero light and a washer/dryer sitting in the hallway. "Welcome to our home! Please do a load of socks."

The rec room was especially homey. Somebody had a cat! For a really really long time!

Comments from real estate listing: "Shows well!"

Comments from potential buyers: "If you're filming the next installment of Animal Rescue."

It sold yesterday. And I am pissed.

continuing the quest on behalf of Rebecca The Reader, that her coffeemaker not remain homeless at:


While channel surfing early on Monday evening to find new information about the shootings, I was reflecting that it was at least comforting that most stations had gone back to regular programming. Until I saw that the local Fox affiliate had chosen to run the episode of The Simspons in which Homer buys a gun and proceeds to use it to turn out lights and open beer cans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Greater Love

I knew it was out there somewhere.

Goodness, I mean. God.

He does exist, He does come to us, even in the smoke and horror and confusion of a day like yesterday. He was there just as He was on 9/11, when many demanded where He had gone. They could not see Him, understandably, through the flames and the carnage. But He was there in the firefighters who ran into the burning buildings, the AT&T operator who prayed with Todd Beamer, the shoestore owner in Manhattan who stood on a debris-strewn street and handed out sneakers to women who ran right out of their stilettos as they fled.

And so I knew that goodness would find its way through the cracks of those barricaded classroom doors as death and terror pressed in. I did not have long to wait.

My dear The Readers, look upon the face of sacrifice and dignity. This is Holocaust survivor and Communist resister Professor Liviu Librescu, an Israeli who was murdered in yesterday's massacre at Virginia Tech. While his students jumped out the windows, he braced his 77-year-old body against the door to give them more time to run. His physical strength did not last him long. His spiritual strength will far outlast any of us.

Professor Librescu met final peace while fighting evil. He was a light, a literary, academic, Godly light, in a world which could have easily poisoned him against his fellow man. He could have become a taker, as did the shooter, also a stranger to this country. Instead of caving inward towards darkness, the good Professor chose the opposite direction. He chose to give-- teaching, marrying, fathering, writing, editing-- he gave and gave, until his final moments on April 16, 2007: Holocaust Remembrance Day.

in awe at:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Their 9/11

My heart is twisting for those affected by today's horrific VA Tech shooting, particularly the families. It's a college campus in my pending home state, and I'm staggering-- please take a moment, dear The Readers, to pray for them all... the parents who have lost a child, the administrators who must now guide the institution through this, the professors whose colleagues were ruthlessly gunned down, the students whose college experience has been forever shattered, the alumni who are now realizing that what was once a place of fond memories is now a tacky graphic on CNN and a synonym for shocking violence.

It makes me wonder what I would do if I were mid-lecture and suddenly heard gunshots. I imagine I would default to Tornado Mode-- herd all the students into a far corner of the room and place myself between them and the door. Well, maybe herding wouldn't be best, because then the classroom becomes a barrel and I've just conveniently located all the fish in the same place.

Perhaps I should keep my students spread out, and tell everybody to get on the floor behind flipped-over desks.

I guess I should barricade. The ones who survived seem to have barricaded, forced the door shut with their own hands and feet as the otherwise silent gunman shoved and fired.

Would I remember to turn the lights off?

Would that make a difference?

Would I hide or be a Todd Beamer? Could I keep from crumbling, me, who is constantly reminding her students to conduct themselves in public as though they were on a job interview? Should I start letting them have their laptops on during class so that they would receive emergency emails before it's too late?

At least I teach young adults, ROTC cadets who may have had combat training. My mother was presiding over of a roomful of young children on the day JFK was shot.

not part of my grad school curriculum at:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Inappropriate comment of the weekend

"It's nice to see guys getting dirty." - ESPN commentator during the Johns Hopkins versus Univ. of Maryland lacrosse game. Yes, I watched a college lacrosse game today, but only after the Nascar race was over.

During Nascar, I also watched the Champ Car race at:

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