Monday, July 31, 2006

Bob and I prepare to move... discarding the contents of our house.

Okay, this is only this week's pile. And it doesn't include the pick-up truck load we gave away today, or the pick-up truck load we will give away tomorrow.

Didn't George Carlin say that a house is a place where you can keep your stuff?

(Oh and you can't see the couch and the rugs on the other side of the driveway. Anybody want to buy a house in Twinsburg?)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Jason On Patrol

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Life's Little Displeasures

I have been thinking about a post but I have come down with an earache. Like toothaches, earaches suck up mental bandwidth like nobody's business. So the post will be postponed.

If I were the kind of person who saved pain medication from when I was sick last year, I would now be coasting around in a hydrocodone haze. This would reduce the distraction value of the earache, but have the side effect of making me fuzzy and unwilling to concentrate on anything demanding.

I think I'll go lie down and see what's on television.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Smith and Shelly

It's my blog. If I want to post sentimental pictures of my pets, I can. (Thank God my stories are edited.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mike the Snake

In about six weeks, Mike will be going back to university. Regarding Mike's IQ, Adam says that the mice Mike eats are probably smarter than he is.

Of course, if we picked our pets based on their intelligence, we wouldn't own Shelly the miniature dachshund.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Marines at Christmas

One of the people who wanted to adopt a Marine was from the Marine Corps Family Foundation. Geez, like these people aren't already doing something.

Bravo Co. will probably be home by the holidays--although nothing is official and it's hard to tell because things are always changing. But check out the links for projects on the Marine Corps Family Foundation. I think I'd really like to find a guy to send Christmas presents to. I spent a Christmas in China and it was one really really weird day. I read the Biblical Christmas story to my class on British and American History and Culture (all of British and American history and culture in two hours a week) and taught my other classes and wandered around feeling as if I was looking at the world from the wrong end of a telescope.

At least the base will recognize Christmas, even if once they go beyond the wire, Christmas and all Christian holidays disappear.

Then again, they don't have to look at Christmas decorations in October.

Making Marines Happy

I'm basking in a self-righteous glow. When I got home from Seattle there was a phone message from Jason in Iraq, telling me that the Adopt a Marine program is a big hit. The guys are extremely tickled to be getting, among other things, boxes from Curves. The writers at Rio Hondo did two boxes, and they may be the strangest packages ever sent or received. Kelly Link and Gavin Grant bought some truly fun stuff--books like Bangkok 8, and strange, strange toys. David Moles bought a ton of weird Mexican candy. If it doesn't melt it will be glorious.

Clarion West is also sending a box (thank you David!) which will include books, and of course, squirt guns. Squirt guns are a good thing in 115 degree heat, I think.

It took me a week to get my act together but I finally sent out addresses to people who had requested to adopt a Marine while I was on the road. I lost my list of Marines. I amorganizationally challenged.

I just put together another box for Jason. Two pounds of Fair Trade coffee. A package of smoked Salmon from Seattle. A copy of The Dark Knight Returns and two other graphic novels. I want to send Sandman, but everywhere I go, they don't have Issue 1. I'll probably have to break down and order it on line. Comic books for Iraq! I also think a copy of Persepolis would be good. But maybe a little girly...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Adventures in Dentistry

I'm really lucky in the dentistry department. I've never had a root canal. Never had a tooth pulled. A couple of cavities. Today I had two fillings replaced. Since they were on opposite sides of my mouth, I'm pretty much incapacitated for speaking or eating. Don't call. At least, don't call before about 1:00pm EST.

I don't know why dentistry makes us all feel so vulnerable. (Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe there are people out there who can go to sleep in a dentist chair.) I'm not dental phobic, but still, lying there with my mouth open and the sort of tender mouth bits drying and vulnerable. It's almost like having one's naughty bits numb and under the doctor's tender ministrations.

Which leads to the natural question--are there people with dentistry fetishes?

Of course there are. Lesbians doing dentistry. People with a fetish for braces. Thank you Google. I think.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The MarQueen

We're staying at the MarQueen, a boutique hotel in Seattle. I don't know what a 'boutique hotel' is, but this is a great place to stay. The reception desk told us that the building was originally built to house workers for Ford Motor. There is an air of industrial utopianism about the place. Downstairs is a good sized lobby (although nothing in size compared to the cavernous lobbies of today's big hotels.) Our room is huge, with old wooden floors and a big four poster. We stayed downtown for two days before moving out to this hotel (when I made our hotel plans, we didn't exactly know what we wanted to do, so plans were loose) and there our room was downtown tiny and the bathroom, which had clearly been added long after the building was constructed, was so tiny that when you sat on the toilet your knees touched the wall. There's a little kitchen and a table with room for two. Floors are worn, ceilings are high, hallways are wide. The place feels used but impeccably clean.

I can imagine this all as part of Henry Ford's vision--temperance, hard work, decent but not ostentatious living conditions. Sundays at church. And then I imagine the people who lived there--men? Women? Busily persuing their own agendas which may not have been so temperate or so pure. I wonder if there was a curfew, and if there were people sneaking up and down the staircases. The little apartments seem small for a family, although I imagine that the boarders had roommates...

I recommend it, although there are no elevators, so if your room is on the second or third floor, you need to be able to handle steps. The stairs are grand--turn of the century wallpaper, a great central stair that splits left and right into two staircases. This being Seattle, most of the time we have the windows open, and the gauzy white curtains bell in the breeze.

And of course, you can't throw a brick in this town without hitting a coffee shop.

Monday, July 03, 2006


It's a pretty incredible substance.

We were wandering a bit in Seattle, which may be a teensy bit more asian influenced than Ohio. You know, Pacific ocean and all that. And Bob said, 'Pho! You love pho!' Pho, if you didn't know, is the national dish of Vietnam. I guess you could say that it's noodle soup. But comparing pho to, say, Campbell's soup, is a little like comparing artisinal cheese to Velveeta. So we stopped in this little dive of a place near Pioneer Square and had pho.

It came in a giant bowl, despite the fact I had ordered a small, and with it came a plate of bean sprouts, basil leaves and chilies and a wedge of lime. The bowl itself was full of beef broth and noodles and onions into which had been added meatballs and shaved slices of raw beef. The beef was sliced so thin that it had already nearly completely cooked in the hot broth. I added the bean sprouts--crisp, fat white bean sprouts that were utterly unlike the anemic floppy things so common where I live--and some basil leaves and squeezed lime juice over it.

Oh, the scent. Beefy, but light with lime and cilantro and basil.

I love Seattle.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

That Name Thing

I found out I'm supposed to say it's raining in Seattle. It always rains in Seattle. (I'm not allowed to say that it is actually sunny and beautiful. I will say, there isn't much air conditioning in this city.)

Clarion week was great. The students were fabulous. With a name like 'Maureen McHugh' I am not particularly used to being somewhere where someone else has my name. I have met a few Maureens. Not so many. I don't know if I've ever met a McHugh I wasn't related to. So when someone says either Maureen or McHugh, my head turns. Bob is used to hearing his name. Even his last name--Yeager--is not so unusual, although it turns out there are a couple of spelling variations. I am under the impression that a lot of people have, you know, shared their name.

Not me.

So imagine my surprise when there were two people in a Clarion class of 18 with the last name of 'McHugh'. And to add, one of them was named 'Maura.' Maura is to Maureen as William is to Willy. Maura McHugh is from Ireland. And Ian McHugh is from Australia. (This week's instructor at Clarion West is Ian R. MacLeod, so Ian McHugh will continue to sow confusion.)

So how do you people with common names, like BOB, manage? I mean, I could get whiplash.

(At Mary Kay Kare's house, for a party on Friday, there were nametags and a sharpie. I was standing talking to Nisi Shawl and Maura handed me a name tag. I put it on and then discovered that it said, 'Alpha McHugh.' Maura's said 'Beta McHugh'--she explained she was in testing--and Ian's said 'Omega McHugh'. All night long people kept referring to me as 'Alpha.' At least there wasn't another Alpha in the room...)