2 thoughts about 2 items on the radio

This evening, I drove Pearl down to Selinsgrove to meet up with my mom and spend her Thanksgiving break with her grandma, learning all about consumerism.

I used to listen to Jagged Little Pill over and over and over. I did not remember many of the lyrics to “All I really want,” but the song took me back to being 15 and angry and the way I sympathized with the smart-assed moments of rhyme and allusion. I found out, too, that Lady Alanis is just making a throaty-alt-rock-girl noise when I always thought she was refraining, “A hiiiiiigher ground.” Anyway. I was kind of impressed by the cleverness of the lyrics. They’re tightly written and not boring. And sure, Estella is not an obscure literary figure, but whatever–at least it’s something.

AND THEN, on Fresh Air, one of my favorite programs, Dave Davies interviewed this British veterinarian. Of course, pronouns are fascinating in every case but especially in this one. I’m getting ahead of myself. The program was about end-of-life for pets. When it’s time to put them down, what owners should be reasonably expected to overlook/deal with, etc. But I thought it was really odd that regardless of the sex of the animal, the pronoun both Davies and the British vet used was “it.” So here’s my question: animal rights. Sure, on its own it’s a question, but accepting that animals do or should have rights, and that there are some defined, legally accepted ones. So my question is, why is the academically sanctioned way to refer to animals with the pronoun it?

What’s the deal? Euthanizing animals is totally cool (by which I mean socially and culturally accepted). We do it all the time, and for population reasons/lack-of-human-interest reasons (I think it’s kind of effed up). Also, there are people who have bumper stickers that say “animals are people in fur coats,” and “My boxer is smarter than your honor student.” So clearly, there are folks, even folks I know, who would be incensed by the notion that animals are all its.

good news, and do blogs need themes?

Good news: I get paid 3 days early.

Pearl is a healthy weight/height per the pediatrician.

Thursday is Thanksgiving

Do blogs need to have themes? All the blogs I see are about a specific thing. Nobody, who is successful at blogging, has a blog as schizophrenic as mine. I should get a theme. I know it! But I do not have theme for my life. I do and think about lots of things. I am a master of nothing.

Cochran School Nurse II

The war wages on.

Pearl had a potty accident today. So the Cochran School Nurse called me and requested a change of clothes.

Yesterday, Pearl had the balance of her immunizations and her physical check up. Dr. O’Hara, her pediatrician (who is simply lovely), said that her school nurse is also a beastly, naggy person. I wondered out loud why someone who likes neither children, nor even people, should want to be a school nurse. We all laughed.

After Pearl’s appointment, I dropped her and a copy of the physician’s report (complete with immunization record) at school.

So today, after I helped Pearl change into her fresh clothes, the school nurse, who now has a name (Mrs. Miller–Pearl asked her), said, “Pearl showed me where she had all her shots. Can you give me a record of those?”

I explained, with a chill in my heart and a sneer on my face, that I turned them in with the office. She said, “Oh. Mrs. Thompson must have them.”

Why are these elementary school professionals such poor communicators?

This side note is interesting to me as a feminist: When she called Brad, she called him Mr. Miller. When she called me, she called me April. I mean, I generally dislike being called Ms. or Mrs. Line (I get Mrs. a lot now that I have a kid. It’s a bit creepy since I’m not a missus), but for the Cochran School Nurse, I would make an exception, and I am curious about the higher level of respect she shows to Brad. Hmmmm.

Robot Brain

I had a conversation with little Pearl this morning that went like this:

“Mommy, do you remember when I went with you to buy this fix it tape?” she asked me, waving my white-out tape dispenser in the air.

“No, Pearl, I do not.”

“That’s because you don’t have a robot brain like me, mommy.”


Last night, she was dismissed from dinner because she was not eating. Stomping up the stairs to her room, she looked at me with daggers in her little eyes and said, “Don’t look at me!”

pumpkin spiced pumpkin beer bread

Here’s a recipe I made up today. If I want to make it again, I will not remember. This is multi-purpose writing-it-down/sharing with you, so here it is. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Grease loaf pan, a full-sized one, or several smaller ones. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. each ground cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg (some extra cinnamon would probably be good)
salt to taste
2 1/2 t. baking powder
pinch chili powder
1 T cocoa powder
2 T olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 egg
12 oz. pumpkin beer
1/2 t. almond extract
large handful walnuts or pecans
2 large handfuls raisins

1. mix together dry ingredients
2. add wet ingredients one by one
3. mix until batter is smooth. There may be a few lumps. It will be runny–thicker than pancake batter, but not at all sticky. No need to strive for total smoothness. You don’t want to beat up the beer. 🙂
4. stir in raisins and nuts.
5. pour batter into prepared loaf pan
6. bake for about an hour (50 minutes minimum) until a toothpick inserted in the center pulls out clean.

I served it with pumpkin cream cheese that I thinned down with milk drizzled over. But you should do what you want. The love man says it’s yummy plain.

This is a day full of thinking and doing

Today is the day I consult the physician about having myself sterilized.

Write a story.

Have my first parent-teacher conference.

My mom is coming to visit.

Send a sympathy card and maybe an inspirational book to dear, dear people who have lost someone.

Do laundry and clean our house.

Purchase 10 grocery items and replace our probe thermometer for meat cooking.

Possibly clean myself.

Definitely clean my child.

Play Monopoly Junior.

Mr Bubble T-shirt Offer

So I’m in the shower thinking about how my multi vitamin is working because I’m losing less of my hair now (ah, 30). Pearl’s new bottle of bubble bath catches my eye. It is Mr. Bubble. I practically forced her to get it, because like Dum-dum wrappers, the Mr. Bubble T-shirt offer always fascinated me as a child. I Wanted that T-shirt. I thought maybe I’d get it for Pearl. And one for me, too.

So I’m reading the offer, and I get to the part about, “while supplies last,” and I think, Who are they kidding? Supplies have lasted since at last the late 70s, I’m sure.

I do some web research. Go here. Vaguely creepy, but some vintage commercials indicating that the T-shirt offer supplies may have been lasting since the 1960s!

The Village Company? Too evocative of The Village People to ignore. If it wouldn’t be inexcusably tacky, I’d make a label called “things that make me go hmmm.”

Dear The Olive Garden

I came to your blessed haven of overpriced, fatty, glorified fast food for the first time in many months. I slid my lardy bottom across your glorious, vinyl booth seat and thanked the fates that I still fit. I did this because I have quit smoking and I wanted to eat something bad for me instead. I opened your menu and felt my sense of release and splendor disappear as my eyes scanned your offerings only to find that you have provided calorie counts on every single item.

I am a menu reader. I love menus. I love to revel in the mystery of the caloric content of the excesses. I love to tell myself lies about how much protein must be in the deep fried meat items, to imagine that a fudgy cake has some hidden nutritive value beyond increasing my serotonin levels. I love to order a whole appetizer and think it is reasonable as a meal, since–though designed for two or more persons–it is not a massive amount of food.

You have destroyed my suspension of disbelief, Olive Garden. You have soiled the joy I once experienced in the annals of your vast, rich pasta offerings. You have told the truth, and in so doing you have inverted the order of my skewed food logic.

I’m sure you have patrons who are grateful for this menu theater. I’m sure you have patrons who would not change their decisions about what to order based on these arbitrary numbers listed, in italic font, below the faux Italian titles of the dishes.

You have exacerbated the war I wage between myself and my desire to eat healthfully, except for when I do not desire to do so, which is when I come to you, Olive Garden. You have ruined the lone redemptive quality of your absurdist “Italian” cuisine: the mystery of the nutrition.

More, I feel strongly that you are inhibiting my freedom of choice. If I wanted to know, I would visit your website. You are reminding me of the guilt and shame associated with the remarkable overeating your bottomless salads and soups and bread sticks encourage. You have made a strong, ugly stand that you haven’t a libertarian molecule in your Darden soul, and you have ruined what minor desire I had to visit your jolly, rotund universe of phony Americanized Italian dishes swimming in sauce and cheese and oily cuts of meat.

You are like the California McDonalds that have been ordered not to include happy meal toys in fatty meals to remind parents that they are shoddy moms and dads because they order deep fried slivers of “chicken” and “potato” for the developing bodies they have sired. You refuse to acknowledge my ability to make decisions for myself, or the possibility that I enjoy the fantasy that calories do not exist inside your plaster walls.

I may never return, for the fun, the joy, the lust is gone.


PSPA Conference

The good news: my presentation was neither too long nor too short for the time allotted.
They gave me a Starbucks Gift Card for showing up.

The bad news: only three students came to my presentation.

More good news: one of the three students talked about how I am her new favorite thing/person. There is something really sweet and inspiring about being the object of a teenager’s fleeting affection. Especially when it’s the hero/admiration kind.

I like Bones

The TV series Bones is my favorite. I think season 6 is on now. Season 5 just came out on DVD. I’m a bit behind. But if you haven’t watched season 5 to its conclusion, be aware that a spolier is below.

On twitter, my friend Jim (you can follow him on twitter if you want. His posts are amusing. @jamesforeman) said, “I just watched 15 minutes of Bones, really America?” that post was preceded by some musing about the “portentous” theme music on shows like CSI and Law & Order.

Jim hates Bones. But he loves House. I used to love House.

I’m currently watching through the fifth season of Bones. I’m on the last episode, actually, as I write this. I own all the seasons to this point. I got the fifth for my birthday.

I also have been known to watch Law & Order, NCIS, CSI, etc. The thing about those shows is that there’s really never much follow up. Sure, on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, there were those episodes between Gorin and that kooky Englishwoman Nicole.

Through the fifth season of Bones, a lot of open ends get closed. The Grave Digger gets hers, Angela and Hodgins get married, Booth and Brennan admit their affection for one another, and there’s an odd montage-ish flashback sequence wherein Booth and Bones describe their first case together, and that connect the current characters (who weren’t really in the first season) to the narrative of the series. Also, there was a kind of horrifying plug for Avatar. One of the interns played I-forget-who on that, erm, film?

I commend them for realizing that sustaining the sexual tension between Bones and Booth wasn’t going to work for a sixth season, and they did a really beautiful and light-handed job of letting that attraction out into the open without obliterating the tension and intrigue it causes.

I’m afraid, however, that the shark has been jumped. The last episode has Bones leaving to go Indonesia, Booth leaving for Afghanistan, and Hodgins and Angela leaving for France.

Of course, I’m intrigued, and I’ll certainly get the 6th season, too, but I’m afraid that it’s going to start over in a way that will be disappointing or gauche or just too over-the-top to believe. Or worse, the next season will begin with one episode showing the characters all wrapping up their work and lives in the far-off places, and then bringing them back to the lab to work through murders with a more-contrived set of tensions and conflicts.

Maybe this is the last season ever. Maybe the show is over. If that’s so, kudos to the writers for not jumping the shark. If not, hmmmmmm.