Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weird Shows From My Past

I just want to put this out there. I think the following three shows are just about the weirdest television shows one could ever watch, not just for their unlikely storylines, but also for the bizarre, meager production value that I apparently was completely oblivious to as a young viewer. For your nostalgic viewing pleasure:

1. Small Wonder (1985)

You might remember this bizarre show from 1985 with a central character named Vicki, a young girl who just happened to be a robot. This was the era of ALF, after all, but ALF premiered a year after Small Wonder, so one could really consider this "alien entity invading a typical suburban white household" storyline as the progenitor to ALF, though certainly ALF exceeded Small Wonder in popularity. Still, I remember you, Vicki, with your odd doll-like clothes and monotone voice. I found you far more charming than ALF and would rather hang out with dad Ted Lawson than dad Willie Tanner any old day.

2. SuperFriends (1978)

If you want to quickly identity how many people in any given room were doing the same thing you were doing on Saturday morning in the late seventies/early eighties, shout out, "Wonder Twin powers activate - form of an ice bucket!" If anyone gets that reference, they too watched what was really a very crappy show that, when viewed as an adult, will make you seriously question your aesthetic prowess for all time. The original SuperFriends began in 1973 and did not include the Wonder Twins, which, as far as I'm concerned, really defeats the whole point of the show.

3. The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)

Okay, this show might really top this list of bizarre shows. That's right - it's more surreal than a little girl robot dressed up to look like a Raggedy Ann Doll. What made this show so bizarre? The production value, for starters, is seriously questionable. I don't remember it being as bad as it really is (and thanks to the Country Music Television, modern viewers can relive the reign of the Good Ol' Boys). Reviewing the show ought to really make one consider how such a show like this could have such a profound cultural impact in our country. What does that say about America? About our values? About the characters we most admire? All I know for sure is I've jumped through my share of passenger-side car windows in an attempt to be as cool as Bo and Luke, and if you wanted to play Dukes of Hazzard with me as a little girl, I always called Daisy. (And yes, we played that a lot in my childhood neighborhood).

Friday, January 23, 2009

No, seriously, we really are this dorky

These pictures were taken only a couple of days before things starting going downhill, but now that things are all better (I am Zofran pump free!), I figure I can put up these pictures showing our initial reactions to baby-ness.


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Yes, yes, we washed our hands afterwards. Don't be a sissy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Visiting Normal

For me, normality is bliss. I'd like to take credit for having worked fastidiously to build the life that I get to live, but in no way do I think I get credit for it. I showed up. I turned things in on time. I can take that much credit alone. The rest is pure luck and don't I know it.

The past two months, a break in my usually golden-touched life only served to prove how golden my life is. Now that my pregnancy has become a pretty normal thing, I get my normal life back. For me, this means teaching and hanging out with my big lug of a husband, who's totally bad ass. Watching "Scrubs" the other night, he tackled me on the couch and just hung there like a giant, loving ape. I liked it.

But normalcy for me really lies in standing at the front of the classroom again. When I'm up there, even with my Zofran pump slung over my shoulder, I feel normal. My life is mine again. I'm teaching a new class that involves a lot of research and legwork on my part, but it's studying American history and current American politics - two things I find overwhelmingly interesting.

So, yeah, it's nice to have my sort of ridiculously charmed life back. I'm 3 and a half months pregnant so I'm trying to enjoy this version of normal as long as I can. Yes, my life will still be golden after the baby arrives, but I might not have as much time to dwell on it. Worse, it might come out in spurts of incoherent babble, because believe this: being pregnant makes you kind of stupid. My memory is being sucked away and from what my doctor tells me, that's only going to get worse once I start breastfeeding.

Awesome. But at least that new normal is slow in coming. Maybe not slow enough for my taste, but I've got some months to deal.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not Exactly New Year's Resolutions

Here's a list of my goals for 2009. I'm not going to call them New Year's Resolutions because I sort of think those are dumb, though I couldn't rightly give you a strong distinguishing characteristic between that and what follows:

1. Finish the Pilgrimage manuscript and agent it.
2. Find a way to move back to Michigan.
3. Be a more loving and thoughtful wife.
4. Learn all I can about the great American documents.
5. Read Mrs. Dalloway and get Beth to discuss it with me in detail.
6. Go to Church every Sunday.
7. Volunteer at the hospital.
8. Get to a point where I don't hate being pregnant.
9. Buy a new TV.
10. Get to a point where I can eat real adult food and have friends over more frequently for dinner.
11. Set up my own website for both professional and personal updates.
12. Convince as many people as possible that Blackboard is clumsy and unusable.
13. Plant something (if we're staying in Tennessee).
14. Buy my husband a really, really good birthday present that even he would be impressed by.
15. Learn to pronounce more French words while Michael is studying for his French examination.
16. Get comfortable calling my in-laws some variation of the words mom and dad.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008: The Final Countdown

I'm a fan of lists. It's sort of a problem of mine. But as I always say, better to be addicted to lists than Dilaudid. I don't really always say that. That's a sort of new expression I'm trying out.

Top 10 of 2008 (not ranked):

1. Spending loads of time with my mom planning a wedding

2. Taking dance lessons with my awesome dad in preparation for the father/daughter dance

3. Tiptoeing to the garage with my mom, hands full of glasses and champagne to celebrate Michael asking my dad for my hand in marriage, only to be shushed away by Michael because he didn't have the nerve to ask yet - then stumbling over each other in giggles to back away without my dad seeing us

4. The chocolate ice cream I ate the other day because it was the best thing I'd tasted in well over a month - really, one of the only things I'd tasted in well over a month

5. Running through the lovely, flat, cosmopolitan area of East Grand Rapids all summer long, listening to my music, feeling the pavement, nodding at pedestrians, loving the ability of my body to continue moving through it all

6. My bachelorette tubing party with my favorite people, the day lazy, lovely, liquid-filled

7. Celebrating my friends completion of their MFA, which includes all of the following: watching Beth get a giant lightbulb from Bill Olsen, hearing Michael read with his family present, getting to meet Cindy's mom for the first time, listening to Natalie's insanely lovely poetry and uber-feminine Texas voice, celebrating the wonder that is Benny, watching Turcotte get choked up before his reading, then hanging out boozing it up with Michael's sisters at the Roadhouse

8. Wearing the most stupidly gorgeous wedding dress in the universe and seeing Michael at the end of that long aisle

9. Long, leisurely days spent sewing

10. Teaching two of the smartest groups of students I've ever had the pleasure of working with - a particular highlight was a student identifying Morrissey's music as "happily melancholic"

The Bottom 10 of 2008 (not ranked):

1. The diaspora of the best group of friends a girl could ask for, with a particular hit being taken by both Nicole and Cindy's early exit from Michigan - You ladies suck for that

2. The black cloud that is severe sickness which shall thus forth go unnamed

3. Finding bridesmaids' dresses that weren't hideous, easily the most difficult part of the wedding

4. That really bad haircut I got in Knoxville that culminated in an unprecedented fit of hysteria and made me want to leave not only Knoxville but my new husband as well

5. Ruining the experience of shopping for a wedding dress for my mom by having a not-so-unprecedented (apparently) fit of weeping and desperation in a bridal shop, then calling Beth and freaking out about how I was ruining everything for my poor mother

6. Blood sugar testing pin pricks every six hours that left the tips of my finger purple and blue

7. Missing out on Christmas and New Year's

8. Helping my packing-skills deficient husband move

9. Having to give a ridiculously hardworking student a C because her English was just not strong enough yet

10. Struggling to teach one of the top three most challenging students of my seven-year teaching career this past spring

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Things you think you will never live through, in no particular order

1. Planning a wedding
2. Your first heartbreak at fifteen, realizing for the first time that you'll not marry that one
3. A policeman tapping on a dark, steamed-up car window
4. Your mother's cancer diagnosis, treatment, panicked eyes
5. Confronting your own mortality for the first time when your mother is diagnosed, treated, and panicked
6. People dying young, proving it could be over like the snap of a supple finger
7. A positive pregnancy test
8. Hyper-emesis Gravidarum *
9. Food poisoning from rotten garlic at one of your favorite restaurants **
10. A bad group of girlfriends who put you in a box that is uncomfortable, limiting, quietly cruel
11. Being booed at a basketball game, not realizing the camera was on you and you were supposed to kiss your husband on the Jumbo-tron
12. Hyper-emesis Gravidarum *
13. An egotistical (insert grawlix here) of a teacher who tells you to take a couple years off to spend time with basic grammar books before considering writing again ***
14. A broken engagement to be married after the church has already been booked
15. Lost sisters
16. Reading Madame Bovary
17. Yet another needle coming at you

* I beg you, do not write anything helpful or in a warning tone about Hyper-emesis Gravidarum. I beg you. I plead with you. A little knowledge is far too much right now.

** Let's call it karma. My then-boyfriend found a $50 bill on the ground and took us out for a fancy dinner. Proof positive there is no such thing as a free lunch. Or dinner.

*** Let's assume this teacher does not even know the word grawlix because he's a moronic, beefy asshole who really should retire all those karate outfits he wears to class.