Friday, December 30, 2005

I almost forgot... say that I accidentally drugged Poetroad on Monday - that would have been the highlight of my week had I not been at my parents's house last night where my niece is staying (her argument with her father - my brother - resulted in all sorts of drama, including a visit from the ex-wife, the ex-wife's new boyfriend, the ex-wife's mother, and the sheriff).

So Poetroad woke up with a terrible sinus headache on Monday, and we were out of Sudafed. The old kind - you know, the kind that actually clears the passages so one can breathe. Anyway, one cannot procure Sudafed around here without a trip to the pharmacy, a blood donation, and a first-born sacrifice. I happened to have a little bit of a prescription allergy medication laying around, so I gave that to him instead. Bad idea.

Apparently, there is something in allergy medication that acts as a sedative in his system. I might as well have given him an intravenous anesthesia - he was out cold for hours.

It reminds me of the time when he went to get his wisdom teeth pulled - he had to be "put under," and the nurses were getting a little nervous when they couldn't wake him up. They came out to the waiting room and asked me to pull around to the back door. Then they carried him out to the car. No kidding. Well, he was sort of walking. He was upright anyway, but he was definitely being drug to the car.

Later, after he had slept all day long and I worried if I hadn't accidentally poisoned him, he told me, "Yeah, I can't take allergy medication. It makes me pass out."

Now he tells me. Seems like that would have been some important information to know before I dispensed the drugs. Well, at least he didn't die.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pilot Program

A mass of paper.

"Paper, Paper everywhere.
A mighty mass; a flood.

Paper, Paper everywhere.
But paper bound in tomes is good."

from "Rime of the Ancient Flat Surface"
Blue Sugarpoet

We bought a bookshelf to house my volumes. Poetroad has volumes too. Books are always welcome here - go ahead and send them, Mimi. Besides, I am going through my kids's books to eliminate the "unloved" volumes, so I should definitely have some room. I will make room for Nancy Drew.

Poetroad, by the way, describes his paper organization style as the "Pilot Program." "Pile-it," actually. "Pile-it here, pile-it there." It's good to eliminate the piles. It's called cleaning, I think. Still, I like to think of it as, "reclaiming the space." I've been trying to reclaim the space for fifteen years.

Not that I am some kind of "Neat Nancy." I'm nothing like that. I have my own Pilot Program going on in my room - it's called "laundry." I also have piles of books, mostly next to my bed - but who will deny an English teacher her books? Actually, I didn't always want to be an English teacher. This was the one career I could think of having that would allow me to justify my piles and piles of books (and papers).

Come to think of it, I really like books. I like the way they look. I like the way they feel in my hands. I like that they come in all different sizes and colors. I like that the words in them can entertain me and make me think and teach me to cook Fudgy Cappuccino Crinkles (which taste better rolled in the granulated sugar than in the powdered sugar, by the way).


I’m glad we are on a holiday - seeing as how I seem to be more busy not working. Does that make sense? Of course it could have something to do with the fact that all four kids are at home all day long and it has been raining since Christmas break began.

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”

From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Samuel Coleridge

Did I mention it has been raining? For a WEEK. For a FEW WEEKS. Yes, there is standing water in my back yard, which boggles the mind since I live on a hill. Because of that, we have been indoors for that long. If only it was snow… Remember how I said it was in the 20-degree range a few short weeks ago? It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been in the upper 50s and 60s lately. Crazy. It’s that darn “Pineapple Express.” That’s what weathermen out here have dubbed it anyway. Apparently, the weather makes it’s way from Hawaii (hence the “Pineapple”) and douses us with warm wetness.

Poetroad was referencing this weather pattern the other day, but only he accidentally called it the “Banana Express.” I was quiet for a second before I queried, with stifled laughter, “Did you mean to say the “Pineapple Express? You men – everything is about the “banana” isn’t it.” We couldn’t stop laughing.

Christmas was fantastic, by the way. As usual, Poetroad and I stayed up most of the night working on gifts for Christmas morn. This year, he enthusiastically tackled the project of refurbishing his first drum set (a very nice Junior set) for our soon to be eight year old. He had spent weeks ordering the necessary parts (buying some new hardware, new wraps, etc.) and cleaning some of the original hardware, and it only took us three or four hours to put the things together. The drums look SWEET!

I was going to mention something else, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what. Oh yeah – what I have been doing this week….

This week I have been (with Poetroad’s help) reorganizing the entire house. The fact is that we have a large family living in this small space (it’s a six people, a dog, and a cat, to approximately 1500 sq feet ratio). Europe. I pretend, often, that I live in one of those fancy apartments in Europe. I tell myself, “If the Europeans can live in small spaces, so can I.” That’s what IKEA is for – to help us live in small spaces, right?

So, in an effort to maximize our productivity, we are purging the contents of our home with a “top down” approach. That means that we have been clearing out all of the contents from the closets, from under the bed, from the storage areas, etc., starting upstairs in our room. Next, we tackle the kids’s rooms, and then we eliminate stuff downstairs. The final project will be to clean out the garage (if we can get to it by then).

I asked Poetroad, “How long do you think it will take us to finish this project.” He paused, and then replied, “Conservatively speaking, six months. But I’d like to finish our room this week.”

Okay, then. Guess I’d better get back to cleaning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And now for something completely different...

I've been taking all of those quizzes, but I just keep getting the same results as all of you have. Here is one I haven't seen yet, though.

You Are Pink!

Tough. Sexy. Tough. Soulful. Tough.
Guys are both attracted and scared of you.
"I've been the girl with her skirt pulled high
Been the outcast never running with mascara eyes"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas

Lovely little Poets, aren't they?

Besides avoiding the frenzy of pre-Christmas stuff, I went to the U2 concert last night. Wow. Larry is hot.

Anyway, have a fantastic Christmas and New Year everyone!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Worst Gift

I'm thinking that the worst gift I ever received has to be the homemade tee a boyfriend gave me when we were in high school. Now I'm not sure if spelling is a trait valued by cowboys, but it matters when you plan on writing something on the back of a Hanes Beefy-Tee...with a Sharpie.

Yes, that's right, my hunky horse riding guy, that I thought was quite handsome at the time, decided to make us "his" and "her" shirts with a black Sharpie. It was a nice thought, but my shirt - with "He's my Sweetie" scrawled on the back - was spelled more like "He's my Sweaty."

I never mentioned anything about that shirt, and I even wore it once in public. Like it was yesterday, I remember the muffled snickers and jeers coming from behind us at the TCBY.

Conveniently, I tossed – uhm “lost” – the shirt. Eventually, I tossed the guy too - but not because of his inability to spell. Although, that didn't help his cause any.

I don't have a pithy title for this post

Okay, I am sick again. This time, however, it's a respiratory thing. West Coast SARS or Avian Flu? Let's hope not. But I have work to do, so being the dedicated employee that I am, I am still working while I am at home hacking up loogies. I'm not sure how one should spell loogies - I just know how to hack them up, spit them out, sneeze them out my mouth, or blow them out my nose.

Just in case you were wondering, having the nose piercing has not complicated the common cold as one might expect it to.

Anyway, the purpose for this post is to give everyone some things to chat about at the office today. Here are a few ideas. Talk amongst yourselves:

1. Should Novels and other reading material be banned from airline toilets? Notice: they are not "bathrooms," so there absolutely should not be any bathing in that space. Please, people are waiting in line to get in there!

2. Votes for worst Christmas tunes? I've heard a few ("Christmas Shoes" and the "Jew Girl" one - that's a terrible song, Mimi, one wants to think about Mrs. Clause's penis). Now it's your chance to chime in here.

3. What was your worst Christmas gift ever?

Have fun chatting!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Freezing Friday and other randomness

It’s chilly over here on the West Coast (a mere 27 degrees when I pulled into work this morning). This is nothing, really. Twenty-seven is downright warm for some of my readers. Still, 27 degrees isn’t the moderate winter temperature of the mid-forties/mid-fifties fare I’m used to feeling.

Although colder temps unusually don’t seem to affect North-Westerners the same way others are affected by the chill. For example, most people would have the sense to bundle up in a warm coat (a down or frost-free parka perhaps), put on gloves, and wrap a scarf around the gullet in chilly weather. I do have a scarf on (for decorative purposes only – a fuzzy black scarf that I could stretch out and wear as a hat or a tube top should I get the notion to do that). The rest of my attire? Jeans, a long sleeved deep pink shirt, and an apple green corduroy blazer. Come to think of it, I do feel kind of chilly. But not chilly enough to make me break out the frost free jacket (which is mostly reserved for skiing, snow, and enduring any other frozen precip.). Oh, I own a warm coat, but I usually don’t get it on before I leave the house.

I’m such a hypocrite too because I make my kids wear that kind of stuff; they walk to school, I reason. Although it’s almost torture getting the bulky stuff on them every morning. Not wanting to bundle up could be a kid thing. Maybe it’s genetic. One thing is for sure – there is a lot of this non-bundling up going on out here. Heck, I frequently see people walking around in shorts or Capri pants no matter what the temperature is (regardless if snow is falling). Socks are optional. Flops, even in winter, are the favored footwear. Which is crazy because it’s not like it’s warm around here ever (July, August, and September are the exceptions).

But we are a rebellious people who don’t care what people think about our fashion sense. Once my family went for a visit to the Bay area to stay with Selene and Gracie for a few days. While there, we spent one of our afternoons at the beach over near the Golden Gate and Alcatraz. It was 58 degrees that day, and our children were running around in their bikinis and playing in the sand and water. I noticed as Selene and I were watching our kids run around and have fun that the passer-byers were practically shivering. All were bundled in polar fleece type garments, scarves, hats, etc. A few were wearing ear muffs. Those passer-by-ers looked at us with puzzled looks too - as if we were crazy for letting our kids run around with only swimsuits for clothes.

Hey people, it’s chilly here most of the year; we get used to it. We even cope. It rains most of the time here too, and I don’t use an umbrella very often either. Umbrella usage is reserved for extended outdoor activities in highly stormy conditions. Otherwise, we all just walk around with or hoods up - or we are simply content to have wet locks.

Other random thoughts:

Don’t you hate being the next person who has to use the one toilet bathroom after someone deposits a stinky odor in that tiny space? Selene – you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the staff bathroom here is a one-toilet locked door model (almost the indoor equivalent of a port-o-potty), and every time I have to use it, I am forced to plug my nose. The worse part is that when I walk out of the bathroom and someone is waiting to use it, I feel compelled to say, “It stunk before I went in there.” But I never do. And it’s funny that I would even feel that compulsion. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have stinky crap? Sure, I’d like to think it comes out smelling special, but it always stinks. Always. Don’t think you’re improving the bathroom-air-environment any by being a vegetarian either. Cows are vegetarians, and their gas is depleting the ozone layer.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Damn Ovaries!

All men and other squeamish people, avert your eyes. You don’t want to be reading about my female problems. Really you don’t. But I want to talk about them, and since this is my space, I will.

So I went to the gynecologist the yesterday (men, if you are still reading this, you really don’t have a comparison experience. You think you do, but you don’t. Try having a conversation with a woman while she has a finger stuck up your penis and your ass. Yeah, it’s not a pleasant image, is it?). Since my periods have been heavy and erratic (and since Poetroad will not do the deed with me when I am bleeding – it’s rather traumatizing for him, really), I had to do something. Of late, my periods are lasting a full two weeks (and sometimes I will have another little period in the three week off time). A full two weeks without sex is pure torture. Yes, I am spoiled because I get to have a lot of sex otherwise.

The great news is that there aren’t any overtly physical indications for my symptoms – this means there are no fibroids and that it’s probably not cancer or endometriosis. The bad news is that due to the lack of physical evidence, it means my ovaries are just not working correctly.

In order to fix the bleeding problem (and I might add here that Poetroad suggested I am now very Biblical since my problem sounds very similar to the woman’s problem who reached out to touch the hem of our Lord’s garment in order to be healed; that’s a very pastorly response), I have three options: option one, do nothing and bleed most of the month; option two, have a surgical procedure done in which the lining of my uterus is basically scraped away to prevent me from ever having a period again; and option three, start taking birth control pills in order to get my progesterone levels up to counter the excess estrogen in my system which stimulates my uterus to excessively line it’s walls each month.

None of the three options sound like fun. Doing nothing means I bleed all the time. Having a surgery means that I would have to “go under” with anethstisia (and if I am going to have any surgery that requires total anesthesia, I want to wake up with slimmer hips and bigger boobs). Taking the pill means that I have to, well, take a pill every day. I am not a good pill taker.

The hilarious thing about option three is that I had a tubal ligation after my last birth in order to avoid having to worry about birth control ever again. It is highly ironic that a very viable option to control the bleeding would be that I may have to take birth control pills to control a uterus that, quite frankly, will never house a baby again.

I laughed out loud with my doctor at that thought.

My gynecologist is lucky I like him. Not that my non-working ovaries are his fault, but when people go to doctors, they want easy answers. And it was probably nice for a change for him to not have to tell a woman that she needs a total hysterectomy or that she has cancer. It was nice that we could sit there, me with my nakedness covered with a sheet, and him with his young looking face, dyed hair (except for the white side burns – not sure what that look is all about), and quiet, matter of fact tone, laughing about all of this.

All in all, I definitely have some serious thinking to do.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When Harry met Suzie...

Wouldn’t you know it – I took a quick jaunt to the store this morning to replenish our milk supply, and I ran into a guy I went to high school with – Lan Darkin. Of course I hadn’t showered, but at least I had the good sense to put on a bra before I went out. Anyway, Lan was a friend of a neighbor/friend I had when I was in high school – Harold Dawkins.

At the store this morning, Lan said, “Hey, I had lunch with Harold a few weeks ago, and your name came up.”

“Oh really?” I choked. “Well, I’d better be going.”

Harold, the star tennis player and ASB President, apparently had a crush on me when we were in high school. I hung out with Harold, I jogged with Harold, I got a ride to school with Harold, I went out to the movies with Harold. I never kissed or held hands or did anything romantical with Harold. At the time, I never knew Harold was pining away for me just a few houses away. I didn’t find this out until ten years later at the class reunion. How did I find out? It went a little something like this:

Harold: This is my wife, Suzie.

Me: Oh, hi, Suzie! It’s so nice to meet you. Harold and I were such great friends in high school. You have a fine husband.

Harold: Suzie, this is Blue Sugarpoet.

Suzie: Blue Sugarpoet? The infamous Blue Sugarpoet?

Me: Uh, I guess so. Yep, that’s me!

Suzie: Finally, I meet the infamous Blue Sugarpoet. I hope I never hear your name in my house again.

What followed was some awkward chitchat about I don’t know what (although I think it included tales of how I smashed Harold’s heart in the mud and spit on it). I laughed pleasantly, and got the heck out of Suzie’s vicinity and her evil eye. I think I might have parted with nervous laughter and, “Really? I had no idea. Well, lucky you – you have him now!”

So I never asked Lan what was said. It’s a little sad that Harold has such terrible memories of our friendship – it’s sadder that I was apparently involved in some sort of relationship that I didn’t know about. Had I known, I would have had the sense to get a little lip action.

And was anyone surprised about the neurosis? I didn't think so...

You are Schroeder!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I can't believe I didn't blog about this last Friday - maybe it was because I was a little traumatized about the whole idea of it. I have a student who I was supposed to meet with that was a no-show. I found out through office gossip that this student didn't show because she was battling a bad case of the scabies.

Uh, excuse me, but my mind was virgin to scabies. I wish I still had my innocence regarding that...

So the office people gave me the disgusting low down regarding these apparently horney and disgusting bugs, and I wish I had never asked. Selene - please do not Google what these creatures are. You are thinking that you are curious because they are bugs, and hey, you've almost conquered that spider fear. If you ever want to sleep in a hotel again, just don't. Ignorance is much better regarding this issue. Trust me.

Anyway, the best part of this story is that the "IT" guy at my work (no, not the office hottie; the "Information & Technology" guy) came over to my computer and said, "Here, let me show you."

It was like a slow motion disaster...I spun my chair around, and not quickly enough, to find him Googling "Scabies" under the "IMAGE" search. Go ahead. Do that now. See what comes up. One caution: use your home computer, as the images that appear are not the kind that family business will deem appropriate.

That's right: right there on my school computer were visions of the favorite places where these bugs like to hide - in the genitalia. Now if I'm looking at genitalia, I don't want to see seven kinds of nasty on said body parts. I particularly do not want to see this at work. I particularly do not want an electronic record that an image search on my school computer included one where penises and breasts are featured. Nice. Thanks IT guy

Friday, December 02, 2005


Did I mention that next term I will be teaching a course out at the local private college? Nothing big - Writing 123 (aka "The Research Paper"). I think I'll be paid in pigs and chickens. But I'm not really doing this for the money (if I were doing anything for the money, I'd want it to take a lot less time and be a lot more enjoyable).

Anyway, I should feel more excited and happy about this opportunity. Instead, I feel really scared. It's not that I'm afraid to do the job because I know I could teach that course in my sleep. The fact is that if I pursue a college professor career - as I have always wanted to do - at some point I'll have to also pursue that Doctorate degree. Have you looked at what it takes to get a doctorate in English or Humanities lately?

Tackling the course work does not scare me...the "being proficient" in one or more languages - to the degree of being able to translate passages in works in said language - does. The fact is, I only have a working knowledge of Spanish. I would be expected to know French or German (I might be able to squeeze by with Latin) to the "proficient" degree. I find "translating" very difficult. It's hard for me to transpose from Spanish to English and catch everything. I don't know if I would do much better with written work. Bahhhhhhhh!

Or I could simply choose to be an adjunct for pennies for the rest of my life.

"Please, Sir, I want some more [porridge]."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Game

Lining the street like eager children waiting to scurry into it and gather up the candy tossed at a parade, so the craftsman style houses and cape-cod bungalows seemed to stand lit up in the regalia of the season. Fresh-cut limbs shaped into wreaths adorned the doors with more limbs and velvety ribbons carefully wrapped around porch railings. Inside, candles, garlands of popcorn and cranberries, and sparkly glass ornaments decorated the freshly-cut-from-the-forest evergreen trees. It was the Christmas season of 1938.

But shouts of glee and laughter – the chatter of happy children and families - were nowhere to be heard that damp dark evening; the streets chilled with an unusual quiet.

I gathered the children around me – none of my own; these were the few from the nearby neighborhood who had hidden well when the soldiers came and emptied their homes. Eight or ten little survivors in all, I pulled them close. “Children,” I whispered, “let’s play a game.” I looked into the round, frightened eyes of each child, and touched a pale cheek or patted a head in an effort to give what little comfort I could as I spoke. There they stood tired and weary looking in their long worn wool coats with bare hands sticking out from the sleeves. I couldn’t linger any longer.

“We are the hiders and they are the seekers, but instead of each of us finding our own hiding spot, we will hide all together. It is very important for you to be quiet – don’t make a sound. No matter what happens, be brave. Listen to what I say children – not a sound, and follow me.”

The truth was, I didn’t know where we were going. We couldn’t stay. If we stayed, that meant certain death for all of us. All I knew is that we had to make our way out of the city. Like mice scurrying into hiding when caught scavenging for food in the darkness, so we moved down the street in the shadows as we were hungry to find safety in the night.

“Halt!” From what we hoped was far down the street, a shout pierced the silence of the shadows. I whispered, “Remember the game, children! Quickly and quietly!”

Not wasting a second to look behind me and judge the distance between the soldiers and us, I looked only ahead and by chance (or fate) recognized a familiar house. “Look, children,” I directed in low tones. “The white house to your left. Don’t stop to knock. Go right in and out through the French doors to the back yard. Make your way to back of the big pine tree.”

To our fortune, although no one was home, the door was not locked just as I prayed it would not be. I made a mental note that unlocked doors would not be a part of life in the near future, but I would keep my door unlocked just in case someone again needed refuge.

Quickly we slipped into the house and out to the other side. Just as we were making our way up the hidden steps at the back of the tree, the soldiers burst through the front door of the house. It took us mere seconds to get up the tree and rest in that darkness. Deeply hidden there, we could not be seen.

For many years, I cried in shame over my loss of innocence in that tree. I was eleven. Tommy was fifteen. My brothers and I used to play with Tommy in the wooded acres between our neighborhoods – I was always tagging along when they went to catch salamanders or to throw rocks into the creek. Then one day Tommy wanted to show me his secret hiding place in the tree behind his house. The branches were large enough to hold a box of wood three meters across, and the pine needles on the branches were long and dense enough as to hide that box.

I never told, and I never played with Tommy again.

Where once I cursed his street and his house and his tree and his hidden box, the thought that lost innocence would be the tender for salvation of these few somehow made me smile. My heart was still heavy, but it felt different.

“Quietly, children. Not a word. You’ve played this game with mastery – such good little players. Won’t your friends be jealous when they learn how well you’ve mastered the game?”

From the darkness in the box in the tree, without a sound the children and I peered out at the small group of soldiers. These were not men hardened and broken by hatred as I had imagined them to be. Instead, they were nearly children themselves. One boy didn’t look a day over fifteen – maybe fourteen. Another was a little taller – he couldn’t have possibly been older than sixteen. All of their uniforms fit long and bulky – as if they were playing dress up with the clothes found in daddy’s closet. Rifles hung from their shoulders with ease – not the typical care or decorum taken by a seasoned soldier with his firearm.

For a few minutes, they poked around in the back yard, and then the lot of them – four or five (it was difficult to tell in the darkness) – gravitated toward a large pile of wood chips on the other side of the yard. I couldn’t guess why the pile of wood chips was there or how it came into being, but I didn’t care about the origin. It was a distraction for the young soldiers.

First, one scooped up a handful of the chips and threw them at an older boy. Another joined in on the assault. Pretty soon, they all cast their rifles aside and flung themselves into the serious play of wood chip throwing. Pushing, shoving, rolling in the wood chips had them thoroughly occupied.

I took advantage of that moment to begin lowering the children to the safety of the yard behind Tommy’s house.

I don’t know what happened next – that’s when I woke up suddenly. Put that in your Freud pipe and smoke it! These are the very real and crazy type of dreams I have.