Monday, May 19, 2008

What did you do today?

I've been off for a little over a week, and every day my husband asks me, "What did you do today?" Well. Not as much as I planned on doing. But it's not my fault -- the weather has been horrible (cold, rainy) for gardening. I've done a ton of reading, though -- expect a full report in a day or so.

I've been obsessed with asparagus lately. You know, the green stalks that make your pee smell when consumed. It's asparagus season around here...and I can't find any. Yes, I can find the stuff trucked across the country from California, but nothing local. I've inquired at farm stands, but no luck. I've only managed to find some local lettuce. But everything at the local farmer's market (note: there's another one that I haven't tried yet) is non-local. Yeah, that makes sense.

Inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (I re-read it last week...seriously, everyone needs to read it...NOW) I've been trying to eat seasonally and grow as much as I can. I've started a garden at my parents' (they have more land and sun), but the weather has been so weird that I haven't even put in the tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc. I'm worried that we won't harvest much before fall.

I just have these grand visions of living off the land. My grandparents did it. They had a huge garden, raised chickens and cows (which they butchered and ate...I didn't realize this until a few years ago...yes, I'm a little slow) and only had to go grocery shopping once a month or so for items they couldn't produce on their own. I wish I'd paid more attention to how they did it. I was so young, though, and didn't think about a time when they'd be gone and I'd want to know how the heck to grow and preserve things.

Hmmm...wonder if there's a canning/preserving class somewhere...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Musings...

Lots to write about...

My Exam went well. The questions were what I expected, but I was instructed to answer four, not the typical three. I typed for three hours straight (time allotted). I'm not 100% happy with my responses, but I can fill in any holes at my defense, which will be on Thursday or Friday. I'm 99.9% I passed, though. But anything can happen.

It feels weird to be finished, and I'm not sure what I want to do next. I'm thinking about getting an MFA, but I have to talk to some folks about that to see if it makes sense.

Yesterday, Chad, Dad, and I headed to Dover, DE for my ride-along (won at the URC Banquet in December). After signing in, guests, drivers, and riders were piled into vans and driven around the track for a tour. Everything was a lot smaller than it looks on tv. We then headed to the pit area, where they had about 10 former Nascar cars for the rider & drivers.

The only safety equipment we were given was a helmet -- basic, no visor. That made me a little nervous. Yes, I realize that I'd only be in the car for four laps, but anything can happen. I was assigned to my boy Kasey Kahne's (no, I didn't request it) former car. I got in, and one of the officials helped me get strapped in. Here's where I really started to get nervous.

The official, who reminded me of Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO STRAP ME IN. Seriously. He fiddled around with it, and another official kept coming over to correct him. Not good.

Then, my driver arrived. Now, this is going to sound mean, but...he wasn't what I expected. None of the instructors were, really. They didn't seem like "real" race car drivers. Not that I'm sure what that means. Certainly, none of them were cute. (I'm a sucker for a man in a firesuit). Anyway...

My driver was....a bit older than I expected. He needed help getting his left leg in the car. His hands were shaking as he buckled in. I don't know if it was a joke, or real. But it made me nervous. What if he had a heart attack when we were on the track? Anyway, he was very nice and said that he wasn't out to scare people like some other drivers, and if I got nervous to tap him on the shoulder, and he'd slow down. The max we'd do was about 120mph, which didn't sound that bad.

When we pulled out onto the track, I was terrified. The turns are banked 24 degrees, and it was just...weird. Too fast, for sure. So I tapped him on the shoulder, and he slowed down. After about a 1/2 lap, I got used to it, and motioned for him to speed up again. It was scary but a blast at the same time. I wish we could have stayed out there longer.

On the way home, I asked Dad if I could use his car for Billy Pauch's driving school. He said no -- he'd tried it once, and even he was afraid of being in a sprint car. Chad laughed. I wish I would have tried driving when I was younger, but I doubt my dad would let me. Chad would divorce me for sure, if I decided I wanted to be a driver. Stupid boys.

I should mow my lawn today, but I don't feel like getting the mower out, getting gas for it, etc. Instead, I'm going to grade research papers. I give finals on Monday and Tuesday, and then I'm off until June 24th.

We're going to my favorite Thai restaurant for dinner tonight. Then we're going to see the Kids in the Hall. Should be fun...

Friday, May 2, 2008


I have another hour and fifteen minutes to study before I have to shower and leave for my exam. I've been cramming, trying to memorize lines of poems. I know the material, but having to cite specific poems, lines, etc without any materials in front of me terrifies me. But it is what it is, and I'll have the defense to redeem any mistakes.

So, I'm just trying to stay calm and confident. Trying, not succeeding so far.