21 May 2008


i've been working. in the library. all day. 8 hours in the same seat with a short break after 5 of them for some food. and the thing that's kept me sane is public radio. which is completely unsurprising given my addiction to it. mostly i've been listening to this american life. if you've never listened before, you should. you can listen to any episode for free online (which is what i've been doing). or you can download. or you can podcast for free.

do yourself a favor and listen to act v. the first time i heard it was one friday night when i left home on a 15 minute errand to the grocery store for the requisite i'm-home-alone-on-a-friday-and-i'd-rather-not-be ice cream. i was so engrossed within the five minutes it took to get to the grocery store that i sat in my car and listened for nearly an hour so i wouldn't miss the few minutes it would take to run in and get my ice cream. it's that good.

{if you want other suggestions for wonderful episodes, leave a comment.}


17 May 2008


yesterday, while sitting in my office on campus allegedly working, i felt something move on my foot. and when i pushed back from the desk and looked, i discovered a huge black beetle crawling on my foot.

i naturally followed the appropriate procedure for responding to such a situation: i screamed, while kicking my foot violently to expel the alien.

but, you say, how do i know this is the appropriate procedure? because it has manifest itself through three generations (my mother, my sisters, and my niece) without explicit instruction. complete with violent foot kick, screaming, wacky arm-flailing dancing (as i was seated, i didn't take that step), and subsequent laughter. because i of course laughed at myself as soon as the bug was gone.

but my ability to recognize how ridiculous my reaction was (i mean, how hard would it be for a giant like me to destroy that beetle, regardless of his hideousness?) did not allay my fears. every little movement against my skin could be another beetle. and the fact that i couldn't see where my expulsion had landed the invader left me a little worried. so i quickly vacated my office (which really was a good thing, as i was too distracted by the internet there). and before i got into my car, i shook out my skirt. just in case the kick had inexplicably left the bug clinging to it, lurking until he could make another foray against my peace of mind...

08 May 2008


this morning i was sitting in the senate cafeteria, working. and i happened to glance across the room and saw a strange scene. there were four senate staffers sitting at a table together, food in front of them. one was talking, hands gesticulating. one was looking at her. and the two sitting across the table from them were clearly praying—hands clasped in front of them, heads bowed, perfect respectful stillness. it was such a strange situation—government employees praying so publicly and right across the table from two people in animated conversation—that i watched for a minute to see how the dynamic shifted.

and then i realized they weren’t praying. they were absorbed in their blackberries. which, i suppose, may be its own form of worship…

07 May 2008


i’m sitting in the salt lake airport, on a layover on my way to virginia for a friend’s wedding. the last 18 hours went perfectly smoothly. grading at j(wh)’s house all afternoon yesterday, munching on yummy cheese and baguette. a quick errand on the way home. more grading—at the amazing rate of 10 minutes per paper. another quick errand to procure cold medicine (yes—i am unfortunately flying with a cold). which errand turned into a jaunt to atomic for a handful of dances with j(wh) and a kiss goodbye before i actually ran my errand. i walked into the pharmacy precisely one minute before it closed at 11. packing my bags. to bed by 12:15. awake (and alert!) by 6. an hour and a half spent recording grades, nipping a potential plagiarism problem in the bud, and planning a lesson. a quick shower. last minute packing. rush off to campus to take care of a couple of clerical tasks. teach a successful class, complete with a break while my students did peer review so i could call my mom and ask her to bring me the meds i forgot to pack. and my mom dropping me off at the airport with plenty of time to spare. and—bless her—my sweet mama made me a lunch to take with me.

having every single thing go smoothly last night and this morning was a wonderful release from yesterday morning’s anxiety and fear and emotion. reflecting on the number of tiny things that clicked to make life just a little less stressful fills me with gratitude. if things hadn’t gone as smoothly, i would have handled it just fine. i’ve had my share of stressful traveling and things have usually worked out in the end. but i’m glad that the stars aligned and life was easy for a little while. and tonight i’ll be in beautiful virginia. and friday—friday i’ll be in charlottesville, which is one of this world’s perfections.

and now i’m looking out at utah’s beautiful mountains, a faint silhouette against a stormy gray sky. it’s raining outside, but i’m warm in my soft sweater. the overwhelming gray makes the brilliant yellows and oranges and reds and greens of the airport stand out in stark contrast. and the world is vibrant.