Monthly Archives: February 2006

One More Thing to Smile About

Thanks to Susan for sharing her Thursday Thirteen meme -Thirteen Things That Made Me Smile This Week – with us. Since today is Friday, I am going to do a Friday Fourteen meme and I will add One More Thing to Smile About. I think this is a great meme because it makes us take a break from our worries and complaints to think for a few minutes about all the good things in our lives. So, here goes:

1. Hearing Daydream Believer by the Monkees, which played on XM radio this morning while I was driving to work. I love that song! (Cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean …)

2. Watching Dr. Zhivago last night. Although I’m only halfway through, I love it, and I’m really excited to see the second half tonight.

3. Reading “The Bowl” by Aimee Bender. This isn’t a new story; it’s from her 1999 collection Girl in a Flammable Skirt, but I do love it. It’s witty and weird.

4. Creating a pop-up of my mom’s head to decorate the cover of the collage book I had due for Book Binding this week.

5. Eating steak and au gratin potatoes from Gregoire’s last night – something I like to do when I’m coming down with the flu.

6. Seeing a big man on a Harley shouting directions to a suburban mother in a mini-van at the top of his voice. Something endearing about that.

7. Seeing a mentally retarded (MR is a PC term) man make a cell phone call on BART the other day to explain why he was getting off at the stop he planned to get off at.

8. This was last Friday – having a man on BART offer to move seats so I could sit with my friend.

9. My friend Alina getting her husband to babysit so we could go wedding dress shopping this weekend.

10. Hearing that my brother is planning to bring all his kids out for the wedding after all.

11. Receiving a large check in the mail.

12. Seeing our cat, Xeno, sleeping on the butt of our other cat, Ben.

13. Being reminded of Engrish, thanks again to Susan.

14. Having one of my students tap the painting on the wall next to him in the cafe where I tutor him, telling me it was distracting him. I had to explain that the sound he was hearing was music in the shop next door, and that it wasn’t coming out of the painting. He didn’t believe me at first.

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Editing Physics

So yesterday I had a chapter of a physics thesis to edit, and to me it sounded like this:

Using the miganbothams calculated in Chapter 4 for REF and C9TO, we employed a numerical model to examine the effects on the breksers by varying the triapol and thickness of a geffly, and we showed that both of these varafs could be effectively employed to balance the charge in a sessfo. The process of making jojowifs was next examined in order to verify that no brilpews were arising from exposing the gefflies to water during zazzofraz. Examining a loollu YLK/YLK kikko against a pure YLK wurf of same thickness showed no evidence of brilpews arising from the xelto technique.

The great thing about the English language is that you can still edit for grammar, punctuation and spelling whether you understand a word of what you’re reading or not.

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Grrr

A friend of mine visited my dad a couple of days ago and told me today that he said, “Meghan has been working on that book for seven years!” GRRRRR! GRRRRR! GRRRRRR! I want to say worse things, but he IS my dad, and he DID just send me some money for our wedding. First of all, I have been working on it for three years, not seven, and I spent two years before that working on a different book that I decided to abandon for the time being (a book of interviews with other models; one agent liked my intros to the interviews the best, and suggested I write my own book instead.) Second of all, I have been in school full time for 2+ years during which time I have been so busy taking literature classes, taking teaching classes and TA-ing (and now taking Book Binding), that I haven’t had all that much time to write. Third of all, I have been working full time for the past five years-three years working 12-15-hour days (with commute) at a newspaper, and the other two while I’ve been in school. Fourth of all, until you’ve written or attempted to write a book, I don’t want to hear a word out of you about how long it takes to write a book! I know several people who took years-up to 10 years-to write their books. GRRRR! GRRRR! GRRRR!

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Finger Painting for Adults


It’s been an intense and hectic semester so far, filled with editing, tutoring, TA-ing, working on my book, working on my thesis, writing short stories (I’m getting tired just thinking about it all), painting the house, celebrating Martin’s birthday and our engagement, making wedding plans, and working out (I achieved my weight-loss goal yesterday-two weeks ahead of schedule. The elliptical machine really DOES work!) and in the middle of all this craziness I have developed a new pastime that is both a great source of stress and a great source of relaxation in my life right now-book making. I am taking Book Binding at Mills, and it’s much more work than I ever could have imagined. I remember Martin saying that en elective he took at Cal, Indian Music, “bit him in the ass” because it was so much more work than he expected. I am determined not to let Book Binding bite me in the ass (or ruin my GPA), so I am putting a lot of time and energy into it. Our in-class assigments are a lot of fun. We have made five books so far (if you include our syllabus, which we made into a book on the first day of class) and our sixth one is due Tuesday-a big project that feels more like a final than a homework assignment. The meditative part of these assignments is the sewing, the pasting, and the painting. Yesterday we learned how to make paste-back paper. We slopped a gooey mixture of glue and oatmeal into a cup, stirred in acrylic paint and slopped it all over construction paper with a paintbrush. Then we got to make designs with various instruments that create lines and spirals. I made my first design with my fingers. It was the first time I’ve done finger painting since I was about five and had this wonderful finger painting kit (my favorite childhood toy) with a plastic apron full of paints. I LOVED finger painting, and I still do! The stressful part of my homework assignments is that the content counts as much as the binding-we have to actually make art books and Lord knows I am not an artist! My drawing skills are on par with my singing skills, about kindergarten level. So I am relying on Adobe Illustrator, which I’ve never used before, to save my ass. We have to fill 16 pages of a book with designs, collage, etc. Then sew the pages together. Then make the binding. Then case the book into the binding. Then let it dry overnight. By Tuesday. Yeah. No wedding planning for me this weekend!

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And Fun Was Had By All


Our Second Annual Wine Tasting Party was a success, and I am proud to say that Two Buck Chuck didn’t win this year. Like me, I think most of us knew which one it was, which is frightening because that means we drink enough of it to pick it out among twelve red wines. My favorites were the Arrowood Merlot, the Ravenswood Napa Valley Zin, and the Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon (fabulous with Nate’s char-grilled steak!). And the port with chocolate was wonderful, too. I think next year we should do wine pairings – a different appetizer with each wine – although then all the wine connoisseurs will know which varietals they are. I was happy to see lots of babies this year! Ben, Isabella, Anabella, Sadie and Elliott all showed up – and Elliott at just two weeks old! Kudos to the mamas and papas who drag their children to parties. I want to be like you someday. For all the stat heads out there, I’m sure Martin will be e-mailing charts and graphs by the end of the day.

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“Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health Risks, Study Finds”

Everyone must read this article in the New York Times. I’m having pizza tonight. How ’bout you? (What the article leaves out, however, is that, although fattening foods may not increase your chances of getting cancer or heart disease, they still make you FAT.)

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Flaky Friends

I don’t vent that often on my blog, but one thing that really really drives me nuts is flaky friends – friends who don’t return my phone calls or respond to my e-mails for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. At first I think, “Hmm. Maybe my e-mail went to their junk mail, or maybe they’re just really busy, or maybe they’re depressed and hiding out in their room this month, or maybe …” I make all kinds of excuses for my flaky friends. I’ve learned to do that since I moved to California – excuse tardiness (or combat it by being late myself, which is a bad habit I have now), forgive people for not showing up to parties even after they RSVP’d that they’d be there, ignore lunch- and dinner-date cancellations, even last-minute ones, and the list goes on. I try to be patient, try to be a good friend, and I e-mail (or call, because someone may be having technical problems, may be out of town, or may be living under a rock) them again and politely ask when they want to meet for breakfast, lunch or tea, but … no response. Usually I even try again, to the point of making a fool of myself for practically begging the person to hang out with me, and again no response. At this point, I begin to wonder if that person is angry with me for some reason they haven’t communicated with me. Hmmm … could it have been that smart-ass remark I made about their ex-boyfriend three months ago? Could it be the smart-ass remark I made about their flakiness in an e-mail last week? Could it be any number of smart-ass remarks I may have made at any number of times? Or do they just not want to hang out with anymore? Then I wonder how it could be that they seemed to have thought I was the most wonderful, charming friend they had last month (or last year), but don’t seem to think so anymore? Hmm. Is it because I don’t party enough? Because I am not looking to meet men? Because I am not that interested in shopping? Then I start to think, why am I friends with this person at all? Why am I wasting my energy on them? And I start to focus on their negative traits and convince myself that I don’t want to spend time with them after all. Because who needs another FLAKY friend? It’s just about that time, when I’ve given up and decided I don’t want to bother with that person anymore, that I get a phone call or an e-mail saying, “Hey! How are you?! I miss you! Let’s have lunch!” Yeah. And because I am a DOG (this is my year!) and I am LOYAL, like a Golden Retriever, I go romping back with my tail wagging and my tongue hanging out, eager to be patted on the head. Then we’re best friends for a while until they drop off the face of the earth again.

Another pet peeve of mine: friends who don’t tell you what is bothering them when something is bothering them, who instead ignore you (often in the form of not returning phone calls and e-mails, making them FLAKY FRIENDS), leaving you to guess what you did or said to piss them off. These friends often turn to another friend to complain about you, until they are annoyed with THAT friend, then they may turn to you, or another friend, to complain about them. Unless they have a blog. Then they complain to the whole world.

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